Truth for Today

“I am committed to the truth, not consistency.” – Gandhi

This is a quote that really strikes home with my heart, but not necessarily my brain. My dad taught me to be as consistent as possible. Pick something to believe in and then defend it to the death. So that’s what I’ve worked on perfecting for the majority of my life. I learned quickly that my formal logic classes in college were most useful when put to the test in a debate. I started researching the topics I felt most passionately about in my free time, just so that I’d be ready for any argument that happened to find me. I was a little obsessive. But I wanted to make sure that I was always ready to win, to prove my point. To be right.

And most of the time I did win. Who knows how right I was in the process, but I was one of the best debaters I knew. And it didn’t matter who I was debating against, friend or foe, no punches were pulled and no feelings considered.

As I’ve gotten older however, my definition of truth has started shifting as I’ve started shifting. I’m finding the ability to see the world as a black and white place is quickly being replaced by a paradigm shift. My own personal paradigm is shifting into something more fluid and defined by my journey and less by my reaction to the newspaper headlines.

Right now my truth is rooted in joy. As I allow myself to rediscover my spirit; excavate it from the years of bullshit under which it’s been, the core of it is joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. And peace. How lovely is that? I’ve always wanted to be described as lovely and now I’m starting to see it in myself. The ability to see myself with clarity is a gift in and of itself, let alone the opportunity to actually be who I am without fear.

For this moment, today, my commitment is to keep uncovering my truth and living it. Living and breathing joy. Allowing it to radiate from my being. Gently diligent instead of compulsively ruthless. Breathing in and breathing out.


3/30/09 - Today is Today

I woke up tired, but more centered this morning. Which is a good thing. Just focused on today. Which is a very good thing. And feeling better in general physically than when I went to bed. I’ve been just reconnecting with friends, getting everything typed up and posted to catch up the blog and finishing getting caught up on email.

I came home to two job rejections, but really good news in the size of our tax refund, so that sort of balances out. And I’m going out of town again at the end of the week for a long girls only getaway weekend. We’ve rented a house outside of Buena Vista with its own private hot spring. Oh yeah, we’re totally spoiling ourselves. So I’m really looking forward to that as it will definitely ease the continuing process of re-entry.

As I was trying to find something for lunch today, I had a sudden urge to go through our pantry and fridge and just clean them both out. I just spent the last five days eating all vegetarian, completely organic, mostly gluten-free, very low sugar, very low dairy and very low salt diet. And I felt pretty great with a pretty good amount of energy. Pizza was waiting for us when we drove into the driveway last night, which the kids loved and just made me nauseous. I have been thinking about totally cleaning up our diets for a while now, so this may be just the impetus I need to get it done once and for all.

And I am having a hard time getting out of my jammies today. Which is actually ok since it’s snowing and cold anyway. I was going to have us run errands today, but then figured that would probably send me right over the edge again and the snow sealed the deal on staying home this afternoon. We’ll tackle errands later in the week before I leave on Friday afternoon.

With that, I’ll leave you for today with another note from Joseph Goldstein’s talks: It takes practice to alleviate suffering within and without – with every moment of awareness we are developing the wings of compassion and wisdom.

3/29/09 - Re-Entry

My mom and I stayed up until 1am talking last night. And my body was literally vibrating. From all the energy of the kiddos and being back in the craziness of the “real” world. And every time I tried to go to sleep, my brain went into movie mode and just started sprinting. So I did not sleep very well. But I actually wasn’t that tired this morning and driving back home wasn’t a problem.

The Boy was so sad to leave his Nana and Papa this morning, but also really excited to see his Dad. It was hard to see him struggle with that, especially since I was resisting coming home and it would have been much easier to just stay at my parents’ house for another couple of days. I guess that is one big benefit to having them live in the middle of nowhere.

Coming home was really hard. I tried to ground myself by doing very tangible things like unpacking, getting laundry ready, catching up on email, looking through mail. Just generally settling back in. But by the end of the evening I felt so toxic I was having a hard time breathing. I sat for a bit before trying to go to bed to see if that would help. And I think it centered me enough to be able to fall asleep, which is where I am now heading.

I know that part of the toxicity is my response to my environment and my mind going into drama mode. That my life is about to go upside down and I’m projecting drama and tension in anticipation of that transition. No matter how much peace or clarity I have around the changes that are coming, there is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding how it is all going to look and pan out.

But fear only exists in the future. I know this to be true. I just have to remember it and allow it to ground me in the present moment. Even though big changes are coming, I have to remember that each of those changes consist of days, which consist of moments. And each moment is a gift.

3/28/09 - Going Home

Well this is it. Today we woke up at the usual time, did our energizing exercises and then sat in the closing circle. Had breakfast, stalled a whole bunch by chatting aimlessly and then finally filed out, got into our cars and started the trek home.

I found myself ready to go home, but just as nervous coming home as I was coming here. Nervous about re-entry. Nervous about the prospect of being overwhelmed and shutting back down after working my ass off for the past 5 days to open and trudge through all the crap I’ve stored up over the past many years.

But I am just going to stay rooted in the moment and keep breathing.

Here are some more notes from Joseph Goldstein’s talks:
Mental states, judgment, compassion, love etc arise in response to changing conditions – they do their job and they they’re gone. They are not “I.” If they really belonged to us then they would be amenable to our will – we would be able to command them. But they each only follow their own laws.

It’s always simpler to just feel the emotions or physical sensations then to struggle with them through denial or distraction. If there is an overabundance of tension or distraction do a check to see what’s there that you’re denying. Being in this place of denial also means you are not coming from a place of compassion.

Notice what happens when you are in a situation where someone is driving you crazy – how do you respond? Do lock down in tension and judgment? Or can you be aware of that person’s suffering and allow compassion to arise in response?

Ignorance is the cause of not letting in suffering, therefore shutting down compassion.

Satiating desire shores up our ability to close ourselves off to suffering on all levels – which also closes us off to compassion.

Happiness comes by letting it in rather than reaching for it.

Awareness allows us to transform ignorance into compassion.

When I get home I’m going to look up everything Joseph Goldstein has ever done and get my hands on it. I just love this guy.

I can’t wait to see my babies!!

3/27/09 - Day Five

I really, really don’t like walking meditation. It’s the only part of the retreat that I tried once and then didn’t do again. I used the walking times as reflection times and time to myself. Both of which were needed and used well so I don’t feel too badly about it. But I still think it’s a little weird that that was the only thing that I totally flaked out on.

I can’t wait to start talking again tomorrow. I’m ready to be able to share a little with these people. At least share a laugh and be able to say bless you when they sneeze! And thank you. I don’t think I understood how important thank you is to me. I miss being able to say it when the mood or event strikes. And I get to see my babies tomorrow!

We’ve been listening to Joseph Goldstein for the evening discourse every night. And I just love him. He is so completely rooted in his humanity and the minute I hear his voice it’s just like wheels on gears clicking together.

Here are some of my notes from his talks:

“Nothing whatsoever is to be clung to.” – Buddha
Nothing lasts long enough to be called self. Clinging is a contraction – becomes a prison of self. The “I” is reborn whenever there is clinging. As soon as there is rebirth, there is suffering.

Pay attention to the mind’s state in between thoughts – those are moments of freedom in awareness.

Compassion if particularly directed at those in pain. Proximity to suffering is the primary cause of compassion.

Every response is a two-sided coin. The other side of the coin to compassion is pity. When we hold suffering as an individual problem, the response is one of pity. When we can allow ourselves to understand that suffering is universal then compassion arises.

“In the cherry blossom’s shade, there is no such thing as a stranger.” Iza (sp?) Japanese poet

I had this image today during Shivassana that I was floating in water with the Buddha’s great huge hands underneath me – not touching, but always there protecting me. In case I should need them. It was pretty cool.

3/26/09 - Day Four

Today was a bit easier to get through. Although I think I’m getting sick again.

When I was preparing to come here I couldn’t wait to get away from my life. To have space and time to just be. And ever since I got here all I want to do is go home. And not just because I’m uncomfortable and this is hard. I miss my babies something fierce. But I always am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I had an image float across my mind this morning of me as a little kid. I was smiling the most glorious smile and it was surrounded by yellow light that was coming from my heart center. Then the image went into warp fashion and I watched that light get covered by layers and layers of fear, sorrow, anger and self-preservation.

The light is still there – at my center. It’s just been covered up by all of this illusion that I’ve bought into and claimed as my identity.

But at my core is pure, unadulterated joy and peace. That was a pretty cool realization because I’ve been thinking that light went out and I’ve been trying to figure out how to re-ignite it. But really I just have to stop believing in the illusion.

So. Letting go. I think I realized there was a part of me that couldn’t let go of my attachments to people because my mind told me that would mean not loving them anymore. That to let them go would be sending them out of my life. That is so wrong. I think letting go of my attachments simply means that I am free to love them where we are. Not based on my attachment to them. That’s actually really cool and gives me so much more leeway to just love unconditionally instead of needing something from them.

So I become free to love my kids simply because I love them, not because I need them to make me feel like the world’s best mother or that I’m needed above all else.

Without attachments I become free to meet people where I am and love thoroughly.

How cool is all that?!?

3/25/09 - Day Three

“All are brushstrokes of the mind.” – Joseph Goldstein

In other words, we all make shit up all the time. We imagine so many things and then project them onto our inspiration. Also? My practice is my practice. I don’t need approval from anyone else, nor should I look for or expect it. I discovered today that much, much greater focus comes when I sit with my legs crossed in front of me instead of behind me sitting on a meditation bench or cushion. And I also am able to focus more with my eyes open instead of closed. I guess meditating with your eyes open is very in line with Zen tradition (zazen) and a specific branch of Tibetan Buddhism – I can’t remember the name right now though.

We listened to a discourse tonight that just really clicked with me. He was talking about fear and how one of the most paralyzing things we do to ourselves is to fear fear. If we can just allow ourselves to sit with it, be with it, it will most often just disappear all on its own.

Fear of not being good enough causes us to cling to the people we love and then we look to them to be the saviors of our self esteem. We need them to build us back up where we ourselves have torn ourselves down. That is a relationship built on fear.

Fear can only exist in the future. It cannot exist in the present. When there is fear it is because we have projected ourselves into the future. Fear of what will or won’t happen. Fear of who we will or won’t meet or connect with. Fear of whether we will or won’t succeed. Fear of some past this or that coming up at the most inopportune time. You name it and the mind will run freely with it.

If we can bring ourselves back to the present, we will find that there is only joy in being. The fear has evaporated. If we can exist moment to moment with ourselves, exactly where we are, there is nothing to fear and the mind is open to the journey. What a blessing!

3/24/09 - Day Two

Resistance. I am awash with resistance.

I have a major, holy crap kind of headache. My mom warned me about this, but I really didn’t think it would be a big deal since I only drink one cup of coffee a day most days. And I am beyond exhausted since I did not sleep at all last night. I was rolling around my bed almost as fast as my brain was running circles around itself. Filled with projections about what was to come.

Resistance. I am awash with resistance.

The day is scheduled down to the minute from the 5:30am wake up bell to the last sitting meditation of the day at 9:15pm. There’s an hour and fifteen minutes of yoga every morning after two sitting and one walking meditations. The afternoon is pretty much just alternating sitting and walking every hour until dinner at 5pm and then the evening is more sitting and more walking. I thought maybe I’d have more time to myself.

Resistance. I am awash with resistance.

I really thought for some reason that I would just be able to pick up where I left off after the huge New Year’s epiphanies. That I would be able to come to this safe and sacred place and just be. But this day has been really hard. There is so much resistance in me. To the yoga, to the focus, to the being. Just resistance.

Resistance. I am awash with resistance.

I collapsed into pose of the child sobbing halfway through the yoga class this morning. All I want to do is hide in my room. Every time I sit I fidget and twitch and my mind makes up things to ramble on and on about. I want a cigarette. Not because I need one, but because I want to do something rebellious. I just remembered that I have a Milky Way bar in my purse. Score!!

Resistance. I am awash with resistance.

Everyone around me is so still. And their minds are seemingly so much more disciplined and obedient than mine. I’m letting my mom down. I don’t belong here. I don’t deserve to be here.

Resistance. I am awash with resistance.

3/23/09 - Day One

I splurged and got U2’s new album before I left for the retreat. And then I proceeded to listen to it the entire way to The Last Resort in Utah. Keep in mind that it’s a seven hour drive from my parents’ house, so I listened to it back to back about 8 times or so. And I’m totally in love with it. It’s almost as if the entire CD was written for exactly where I am right now. And even if I couldn’t relate to it at all, it’s just such a good album on its own merits.

And now I’m here at the retreat. There is an interesting mix of people here, although it’s not like I have a wealth of experience from which to draw for what “normal” is. There is one other woman who has never done a silent retreat either, so that helps a bit with the nerves. We agreed to figure out together how to ask someone to pass the salt, in silence.

But I am still nervous and feel very strange. I’m sitting right now in my room and I’m so totally grateful that I got a single room. There are only two of them here, the other 4 are shared, double rooms with bunk beds. Which would have posed two problems for me. I’m an only child and typically don’t play well with others in a roommate situation. And if I were the second person to get into my shared room and had to sleep on the top bunk, well given my fear of heights, that would pose a very, very large problem indeed.

The silence will officially start tomorrow morning. We were able to chat this evening over dinner and afterwards so I was able to get to know everyone just a little. It turns out that about half of the people know my mom and have been in retreats with her before. So we mostly talked about her and how she’s doing. Which was a little odd. Almost as if I was starting off the retreat as her daughter instead of just me.

Anyway, I’m just babbling now. Rambling on, my mind just running to run.

3/22/09 - Daddy's Girl

I don’t remember the first time my Dad took me fishing. I just know that it was always there. An activity that bound us, gave us some common ground and allowed him to connect to me, even when he didn’t really understand much about me or the things I did.

I remember standing on the rocky banks of rivers, The Poudre and The Platte mostly, with the sun bearing down on my then small shoulders, dutifully throwing cast after cast. Following his footsteps diligently so as not to make too much noise or stumble myself right into the water.

I remember him stopping at some clearing where I wouldn’t get my line stuck in the branches as I clumsily reached back, ready to use my entire force of will to propel that lure into the perfect spot. So perfect that I was sure I’d have a fish hooked before he had a chance to resume his foraging upstream. He would get me set up with lure, point out the sweet spots, watch me cast a few times and then carry on, looking for his own quiet spot to whisk his flies back and forth in perfect 10 and 2 rhythm.

That was always my least favorite part of our forays into angler communion. Watching him walk away from me. Leaving me alone on the riverbank. I just wanted to spend more time with my Dad. I didn’t care that there was little conversation. I just wanted him to keep teaching, to keep being there. And watching him walk away from me, even though I knew he wouldn’t be much further than 10 or 20 yards was like getting taken on the most wonderful date you could imagine and then being left to dine at the 5-star restaurant alone.

I worked hard on that time on the riverbank. I worked hard to catch a fish that would make him come running back to help me reel it in. I worked hard to perfect my lurching casts. I worked hard on being quiet even though I longed to sit and chuck perfect stones into the soft river. I worked hard on being a daughter that loved fishing.


Silent Retreat

Alright dear readers, I am out of here for the next week. I will be writing every day, but I’m going to visit my parents for a couple of days (who live in the middle of nowhere New Mexico) and then I’m going to a retreat (which is really in the middle of nowhere Utah). So I won’t have any access to the internet and I’m leaving my laptop at home.

So what I’m going to do is come back and post everything that I’ve written while I’ve been away. You’ll have a week’s worth of posts all at once, so hopefully that will make up for not having anything to read for the next week. Sorry about that. I was going to write ahead and then have a friend post every day for me while I was gone. But that felt less in the spirit of this project. I started this project so that I would be forced to write every day. So writing ahead seven days and then not writing at all for a week felt like cheating. So instead I’ll write every day but not post. Sort of a strange meet in the middle kind of thing.

The retreat I’m going to is a five day silent retreat at a retreat center that my mom has been going to for 20 years or so. She’s known the people who run it for years beyond that and they’ve essentially known me for my entire life. Or at least about me. I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve actually met.

And I am nervous. Not about being silent for 5 days, that will be a blessing. But nervous about trying to navigate life with several strangers in silence for 5 days. Living a life of meditation, yoga and contemplation that I don’t live on a day-to-day basis. I think the majority of the other people at the retreat probably do live this sort of life on a daily basis. So, I’m nervous. But know that will pass as I settle into a routine of sorts.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will see you soon!


Walking the Talk and Talking the Walk

“Now we understand that the blanket really does protect Linus and that Schroeder really does play lovely music on a toy piano, because both of them keep at it. They believe.” – Anne Lamott

Here I am, back again at the subject of faith. Belief. It’s a recurring theme in my life. Always has been. Ever since my mom put me in Catholic school for first grade and I was suddenly submerged in this vast culture I knew nothing about, but was rooted in this thing called faith. Where we went to church every day and all the other kids bowed their heads when the priest told them it was time to pray. They knew when to sit and stand and kneel and I just followed along, trying to figure it out as I went along.

I remember in second grade when the rest of the class was gearing up to start the first communion classes (which I was allowed to watch, but not partake in as I had never been baptized). I struggled with watching my classmates learn and take on this tradition, walking in the well-worn footsteps of their families before them, to figure out what the tradition had to do with the concept of faith. There seemed to me, to be a great disconnect between the two. The tradition was walking the walk, but I didn’t understand how that walking translated into talking the talk.

I like to think that I’ve learned a bit more about faith since then. Although I have to admit that I’d be hard pressed to put it into words right about now. Right now I am simply focusing on being present in the moment. Being grateful for being able to breathe in and out and put one foot in front of the other every day. I think the role faith plays for me right now is trusting that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. My walking right now is paying attention to where I am and what there is for me to learn here. My talking right now is believing that the walking will eventually get me to where I want and need to be.



“Listen young stunners, winter is over.” – Head like a Kite

I heard this song on the radio this morning and even though it’s a day early, I really loved the image of “young stunners.” Ever since I heard it I’ve had all sorts of lines and thoughts running through my head about all the things that have me stunned as of late.

The Boy pulling on his favorite and stunningly orange shorts for the first time this season. Shorts that he’s been waiting to be able to wear again since the temperatures dropped several months ago. And after being so worried about his reticence to learn to read, I find myself absolutely stunned at the progress he is making in such a short time. He is truly a young stunner in every sense of the words.

The Girl’s stunning love of going to school. Her absolute adoration of the everything having to do with school and how sweet she is when she says thank you for letting her go to school. And the fact that she stuns me every single day with her kindness, creativity and imagination.

My own apparent endless inspiration by so many things around me, and yet having my creative juices stunned into silence whenever I attempt to put those inspirations into words. And the massive pity party I’ve been immersed in this week with being sick and taking stock and finding so very many things lacking. My own stunningly bad aim when trying to hit what I’ve set my sights upon.

The absolute stunningly gorgeous weather we’ve been having and the knowledge that follows that we are certainly in for a very hot and dry summer which does not bode well for much of anything except for banishing the winter blues and making the ski resorts cry.

And the people around me who stun me daily with the depth of their compassion and willingness to walk by my side through the briar patch in which I currently find myself. Their courage that I borrow to face each day knowing exactly nothing about how it’s all going to go down.

I find myself stunned into gratitude by the landscape of my life.


Yadda Yadda

So if it’s possible for one to be utterly blocked with their mind still reeling with non sequitur thoughts, that’s me today. So I’m just going to write whatever happens to flutter into my mind and call it good for today. Keep both hands inside, don’t drink the water and enjoy the ride.

The Girl’s birthday is in a couple of months, I wonder if we’ll do another back yard party or if I can finagle a fun party somewhere else out of our budget this year? She’s already making her birthday wish list. Although she asks for things for her “birthday party” not for her birthday, it’s funny and cute. Since I’ve been sick I’ve almost entirely ignored my children. I’ve unabashedly set them in front of the TV for hours on end and let The Boy play the Wii almost whenever he asks. Such a bad mother. So blessed to have such resourceful and easily distracted children. Also, they are forgiving, which is probably the biggest blessing I have in life right now. Man do I love McDonald’s quarter pounders with cheese. But no onions. Why is fountain Coke so much better than canned Coke? I took my wedding rings off and there is a noticeable dent and tan line left in their wake. I wonder if anyone will notice. I wonder if I’m noticed? The weather is gorgeous and warm and disturbing. We should still be having snow and starting to get some rain this time of year. Probably in for a very hot summer. Damn. I wonder if I’m missed nearly as much as I miss. I wish that I could get just one interview for one of the nearly 30 resumes that I’ve got out there circulating. I wonder if I’m not as qualified as I think I am. Or maybe over qualified for the positions I’m applying for? I don’t know. I just need and want to go back to work already. I wonder what I’ll make for dinner tonight. Soccer starts tonight. I wish I was telepathic. I wish I didn’t have to wonder what was in other’s minds. I wish I could just know and act accordingly.


Them's Fightin' Words

Here is probably the biggest thing for me being an only child that I’ve had a hard time with. Because I didn’t grow up with any siblings, fighting, squabbling and tiffing on a regular basis, I never really learned the impermanence of anger, frustration or fighting. I never really learned that you fight, you pout, you make up. In my only child brain, even though the rest of my brain knows how thoroughly irrational this is, I fight and then of course the person I just fought with never wants to speak to me again.

So because of this, it’s incredibly hard for me to go back to the person I’ve just fought with to make sure everything is ok. Because that little crazy piece in me is screaming “NO everything is not fucking ok! You are never going to hear from this person again! It doesn’t matter whose fault it was – you just lost this friend forever!” Which automatically sends me into guilt mode and no matter whose fault it was, it automatically becomes my fault. I must have done something, somewhere to make this person never want to speak to me again. And granted, sometimes that is indeed true. But mostly, it’s just my crazy with a megaphone.

It’s usually the smaller fights, that in the biggest picture are really fairly silly, that usually bring down the worst rain of crazy tirade in my head. Because I know they don’t really matter. That perhaps we were both having crappy days. That perhaps trying to hash something out over IM isn’t the best way to handle something where inflection of voice is everything. That perhaps there was a shit ton of miscommunication. I know that in the spectrum of a friendship lasting 20 years or more, that these skirmishes won’t amount to much and will be forgotten in a relatively short time.

But there is still that only child in me that refutes it all. That in her scared little 9 year old voice is weeping and saying she’s sorry over and over. And she is only overshadowed by the 32 year old rational voice that says, “Oh just fucking get over it already!”


Speech Writer

I am a master mental speech writer. I almost always have some sort of speech rattling around my head. There are the more predictable speeches. The if one more person butts in front of me in the grocery store I’ll… and the when I ask you to do something it’s not just because I like the sound of my voice speeches. There are the here’s how much I love you and the it’s not you, it’s me speeches. I think we’ve probably all had at least snippets of these form in our heads from time to time.

Then there are the less commonplace speeches. Like the I know I’m losing my best friend and it’s ok, you can go now speech. Or the I still love you after all this time speech. And of course, the don’t you get it speech that can be used on lovers moving farther away, lovers moving too close, kids who don’t understand why they can’t play in the street or friends making self-destructive choices.

But more recently for me, all the speeches in my head have had to do with affairs of the heart. And they’ve mostly been for my own edification, not because I actually plan on delivering them to their intended audience. I’m not quite that brave I suppose. Not yet at least.

The why can’t you see me speeches and the I’m tired of waiting for you to engage speeches. The how can you possibly still love me speeches and the I don’t know why I still love you, but I do speeches. The can we just run away and say screw it to the rest of the world speeches and the loving you is like coming home speeches.

My mind reels with fairytale scenes. My dignified and yet passionate delivery of one of these speeches that moves its audience not only to tears, but most importantly, to action. They are so moved that they cannot help but come and set everything right. But there is no fairytale in my life right now. My feet are firmly planted on the ground and I’m trying to shoo my need for a fairy tale ending under the carpet.


Sick Mama

I am sick. And crabby. My children decided to practice the fine art of sharing and make sure I got my turn with the flu they’ve had for the last two weeks. I walked through the door shivering so hard my muscles were in knots on Friday night. I went straight to bed and my husband came and covered me with quilts and his arms and fed me Tylenol until I quit shaking.

So I’ve spent the last two days on the couch. Every time I try to get up I almost faint. And every time I move it hurts. I’ve gotten caught up on almost all of my DVR’d TV shows and I’ve watched more movies formatted to fit into a specific time slot than I care to count. I’ve gotten exactly nothing productive done, except my daily writing and posting on this blog. Which has to count for something I suppose.

But due to feeling completely crappy, my post for today is just going to be this. Random writing of whatever happens to run across my brain, down through my arms and out my fingers onto the keyboard. I always sort of feel like I’m cheating you when I do this. And I am sorry about that. But I’ve really got nothing else right now.

Much to my family’s dismay, I’m running on empty presently. On one hand at least I’m sick over a weekend, so I’m not having to manage being sick and two newly healthy and full of energy kiddos at the same time. On the other hand, I didn’t get to enjoy one single minute of the weekend. Except for getting my hair cut on Saturday morning. But even then, I mostly just sat there and did what I was told.

Some day quite soon, I hope, sickness will be fully banished from our house. And I’m hoping against hope that my husband does not get this. Because this sucks. Really, really sucks. And I’ve got to get on top of this quickly. I’ve got a lot to do over the next couple of weeks and I can’t be one with the couch much longer. Up and at ‘em, right?


Coffee and Eggs

His eyes open to a still dark room and slowly pull focus onto the face of a small, blonde boy. His son is smiling as he tries to whisper a good morning and a plea to have some breakfast. He takes a deep breath and fights the urge to flip the covers back harshly. Instead he gingerly slips out from between the sheets and tip toes out of the room, sweat pants and socks in hand.

He is greeted in the kitchen by harsh lights and the burbling of the already on TV. His daughter greets him with a huge smile as he enters the room. He makes his way to the sink, dodging little hands trying to wrap themselves around his legs. He grabs the coffee pot, puts it in the sink to fill and reaches for his contact case simultaneously. As his contacts settle into place, he surveys the room and the scattered snack wrappers and overturned juice cups become clear.

Turning away from the disaster area, he spoons coffee beans into the grinder and turns it on wincing slightly as the loud whir cuts through the canned laughter emanating from the TV. He turns on the coffee pot and pulls down a small frying pan, sets it on the stove to heat and ambles over to the fridge to grab some eggs.

He sets breakfast in front of the kids and steals away to jump in the shower. As the almost too hot water pours over his head and into his eyes, he sighs and thinks about the day ahead. Out of the shower and back in the bedroom, he glances over at the bed, at the woman asleep there and smiles briefly before he rushes toward the door to head off the little feet pounding down the hall.

He herds the children back to the kitchen as he fills his travel mug with coffee and throws lunch into his bag. He makes his rounds giving kisses and hugs goodbye. Have a good day kiddos he calls over his shoulder and go wake your mama up as he heads to the garage.

He starts his car thinking only of coming back home.


Love this life

A youngish mother’s eyes flutter open as the first rays of sunlight start to creep across her upward facing palm resting on the pillow next to her head. Her vision comes into focus on the clock and she realizes that she’s slept much too long. Even though, she snuggles back under the down comforter for just a moment more.

The sounds of her children laughing and quibbling over some toy floats through the warmth and comfort and she can feel a smile slowly start to creep across her drowsy face. She stretches and flips the covers back. As the whoosh of cool air covers her body, she swings her legs over the side of the bed and reaches for a sweatshirt and warm socks.

As she is reaching to rub the lingering sleep out of her eyes, the kids burst through the door and make flying leaps across the threshold into her waiting arms. Giggles escape all of their lips as she is pushed back across the bed covered in bedding now made of wiggling limbs and fuzzy footed PJ’s.

She asks them how they slept and slips out of their grasp to pull on her socks. They wander into the kitchen which is warmed by lights and the flickering images coming from the TV. There is a lingering scent of fried eggs in the air. She pours herself a cup of coffee and sits at the table to figure out what lays ahead of them for the day.

The children squabble over who gets to sit in her lap and she smiles at being fought over. She arranges them both on her lap and they all fade to silence for a moment while something on the TV exacts their attention.

She loves these mornings. Full of expectation for the day ahead and yet so still and unhurried. She loves these children. Full of energy and love despite their proclamations that one or the other has stolen some such treasured toy. She loves being a mother. Full of ideas and plans for how to sculpt these children into productive members of society.

She loves her life. She must love this life. How could she not?


Display of Power

How is it I wonder that we wind up, one way or another, thinking that we’ve given our power to other people? It seems to happen in the most sneaky and unassuming ways. For me it comes in ways that I never see coming. I always wind up in some futile power struggle with my emotions. And it’s entirely self-imposed. I don’t remember anyone ever explicitly asking for a share of my own personal power. It’s not like I get sent notes in class saying “Do you want to swap your power for my insecurities? Check one box: Yes No Maybe.”

It comes for me because I wear my heart on my sleeve. Because once I’ve let a person into my world I can’t ever shut them out completely. Regardless of the big picture of a relationship or friendship, no matter what happens, once I love someone all they have to do is show back up and I’ll gladly lay down in the street for them.

And inevitably I always find myself wondering if it really is giving over power to someone, or if I’m just being open, honest and accessible. I wonder if I’d really want to be any other way. Would I (could I?) choose to be closed off, shut down and entirely dishonest about my feelings? There are days, places, situations, people with whom I’d like to think that I could be that way. As a means of self-preservation. But at the end of the day, what would I be protecting? I think it would be less protection than denial. And denial is most certainly a realm which I am desperately trying to get away from.

I think for me the question at the core of all of this is really, why do I think that being so utterly open with my heart makes me weak? Why do I think that displaying my joy and disappointments for all to see forces my power into retreat? How did I ever come to the conclusion that loving someone diminishes me in any way? Because at the end of the day, it’s really not about who loves you back, but how you love that matters.


List Maker, List Maker

I’ve become a tireless list maker. Grocery lists, to-do lists, lists for what the kids each need to bring to school, lists of things I want to do, lists of everywhere I’ve submitted resumes, lists of clothes the kids need to replace those they’ve outgrown, lists of possible topics to write about. It goes on and on. Some are mental lists, but most are lists that I’ve written down on post-its or random pieces of paper. Notes on my computer are also fairly numerous. I’ve found that my once impossibly accurate memory is now full of big, sucking holes. And almost everything that I need or want to remember disappears into these holes never to be seen again.

I should probably make some sort of list central desk or something at which to keep all of my notes and random thoughts I’d like to be able to find again. Because the only thing more irritating than forgetting something important is losing the paper that I wrote it down on so that I didn’t forget it. And this happens frequently.

There is a part of me that rebels against the need to make all of these lists. That is just positive that if I keep practicing remembering things that the holes will seal themselves back up and I can go back to remembering every little bit of trivia and happenstance. But at this point I’m fairly sure that the holes were created, permanently ripped into (or away from?) my memory sometime during childbirth. Before I had The Boy, I could remember how just about everyone I had ever known took their coffee. After? I couldn’t even remember how I took my coffee. And it only got worse after The Girl arrived.

My memory was always a great source of pride for me. With the exception of being able to remember birthdays, they’ve always eluded me for some reason, I could always recall some important thing about everyone I knew or had ever known.

And now, as I’m reconnecting with some dear friends, I find myself playing tug of war with those holes in my memory. Trying to regain the snippets of memory along with the friendship.



Mama, I want cereal!
Mama, my not feel good!
Mama, my not want Pippin to touch me!
My not want Dada, only Mama can give me medicine!
Mama, my nose is running!

In my mind I am sitting in the middle of the room, legs and arms crossed, 2 year old pout smeared across my adult features. Chin slightly elevated in protest. I am refusing to run around like a chicken with its head cut off in an effort to meet the never-ending demands of my flu-ridden almost 3 year-old daughter.

My want goldfishies!
My want waffles!
Mama, you carry me upstairs!
My need to go potty!
Mama, my want juice!

In my mind, I am in a comfy chair, the ear buds attached to my iPod firmly set in my ears with the volume so loud I can’t hear anything else. A martini in one hand and a cigarette in the other. My senses sufficiently numbed to the grating whine emanating from my normally loud but purposeful children.

Mama, my ear hurts!
Mama, my head hurts!
Mama, my am cold!
Mama, my want blanket!
My want to get dressed now!

In my mind I am whining just as loudly as they are. In my mind I am tired and laying flat on my stomach, my limbs flailing out of control, my voice taken to a pitch not usually allowed for adults. In my mind I am single and childless, sitting in the morning sun with a cup of coffee and a book. In my mind I am sitting in a board room conducting an important meeting where important people are listening to important me. In my mind I am lunching at a bistro in Paris.

Mama, my need your help!
Mama, my am hungry!
Mama, you blow my nose now!
My want an orange!
My not want those shoes!

But in reality, I am sitting on the couch next to The Girl. With her giving her best attempt to actually crawl into my skin she’s so close. I am doing my best to help her feel better. I am biting my tongue. I am giving her hugs and kisses. I am being a mama.


Sick Kiddos

Holy crap I’m tired of having sick children! I’ve been either pinned underneath The Girl with a 104 degree fever or trying to talk The Boy out of terrifically long bouts of whining all day. Well, that and at the doctor’s office. They both have the flu and ear infections. Because you know, the flu isn’t enough and my children are trying to be over-achievers. And when I asked the doctor today what we could do to help them she essentially said that we just had to suck it up and wait for it to go away. So, as you can imagine my nerves are raw, my temper is flaring and if I don’t get some personal space soon I might start screaming.

And I find myself wishing for spring and summer. Not that the kids don’t get sick in those seasons, but if they do it seems to be much shorter-lived and nowhere near as often. But I love winter. I really do. I love jeans and big comfy sweaters. And I truly adore flannel sheets. On the other hand, I absolutely abhor being hot. I would rather be uncontrollably shivering than sitting in a puddle of my own sweat. So I almost never actually look forward to summer. But here I am wishing for it because I just can’t take any more sickness. Or wind. Jiminy Christmas the wind will drive me fucking batty if the sickness doesn’t.

So here I am, babbling in your general direction, for the third (or fourth?) straight day. And I am really sorry about that. But I just can’t bring myself to write something of substance right now. This is actually venting thinly disguised as mere babbling. And as sorry as I am for venting in your general direction, if I don’t vent somewhere I’ll wind up being nominated for the World’s Worst Mother for yelling at sick children.

I ask you to just bear with me good readers. The children will get better. And I will regain my own personal brand of sanity. Levity and personal space will return to my life. All will once again be well and healthy. And then the tulips will bloom.



I was pretty crazy in high school. Lots of partying. Lots of drinking. A fair amount of dabbling here and there and everywhere with all things dangerous and/or envelope pushing. Because of that, when I went to college, I wasn’t all that crazy. I was actually pretty staid truth be told. When I arrived on campus, I had already stopped drinking and wouldn’t start drinking again for almost two more years. I was pretty focused and there to study, not party. I mean, yes, I stayed up way too late almost every night and went to parties, but I did it without killing anymore brain cells.

In high school, I was pretty good at just letting go and doing whatever the moment moved me to do. For better or for worse, regardless of regret come the morning light, if I needed a night of unrestrained fun, crazy or adventure that is exactly what I let myself do. Even when I did start drinking again in college, I never really got to that point again. And I gotta say that every once in a while I really miss it. The ability to just let go and be and do whatever comes next.

Which is one of the reasons why I ran away to Denver yesterday. Not only because I needed some art in my life. Not only because I needed some alone time. Not only because I needed some friend time. But because I needed to just let go and be. And I did and it was more fun than I’ve had in a long, long time. I charmed my friends into staying outside to play darts next to the chiminea when it was entirely too cold to hang out outside. I drank too much. I laughed more than I have in months. And I managed to kick some ass at the second game of darts.

It was grand. And then I woke up this morning to a whopping headache. But it was worth it. And when I called home to check on the kiddos, the guilt returned because they both had fevers. But I’m trying not to let that guilt sully such an amazing day.


Running Away

I am running away to Denver today. I’ve been planning this for about a week now. I decided last weekend that I needed some art in my life, so I’m going to the art museum by myself with my writing notebook to just wander and be surrounded by art. Of course, it’s also a free day at the museum, so I’ll be accompanied by the better part of the city, but still, it should be lovely.

It’s been too long since I’ve allowed myself to seek out and be immersed in art. So, off I go. That’s why I’m writing so early this morning. Well that and I’m meeting up with H later today and he’s vowed to get me resoundly drunk, so I won’t have the opportunity to write and post later. But you’ll most assuredly be blessed with some kind of fuzzy half remembering of my escapades tomorrow.

Whenever I plan these little getaways, I always find myself worrying that my need to get out, away, elsewhere makes me a bad mother. Worrying that my need to do my own thing is more important than whether my family needs me at any given point in time. But like so much other guilt and many reasons for beating myself up, I think I need to put that down and walk away. We all have to allow ourselves getaways to feed the soul. For some it’s quiet time to read or gathering with friends. For my husband it’s time to play video games or indulge in some other kind of brain candy movie or surfing on the computer. Seeing as that I’m a wee bit more high maintenance than that, I choose all the above. Well, except the video games. Those are nice occasionally, but for me my getaways involve friends and alone time.

So as I sit here writing much earlier than usual (which explains the babbling and nonsensical rambling) feeling my adrenaline start to surge at the thought of the day ahead, I’m just going to allow myself to take this day. Because I deserve it, because I need it and because I want it. So, here I go, running away to Denver.


My Day

Today is one of those days when I’d much rather not write. When I would much rather curl up on the couch, vegetate and just zone out. But here I am. Writing. I can’t promise that it will be any good, but here I am writing nonetheless.

So since the most creative part of me is already laying like broccoli on the couch I’m just going to write about my day. After spending about 10 days toggling back and forth between The Boy and The Girl very, very nicely sharing the flu, I was pretty fried. So my husband took the day off to give me a day off and us all a long weekend.

Since I just finished reading The Watchmen, I decided to go see the movie while it was fresh in my mind. I have to admit that I really wasn’t expecting much. I mean, I knew that the effects would be great and possibly even the fight scenes. But I really was not expecting to watch the characters come to life on screen. I thought I’d probably see caricatures of the characters that I had gotten so involved with on the page.

And I am happy to say that I was wrong. The movie is mind-blowingly amazing. I’m not sure I breathed much or blinked my eyes through the entire 3 hour movie. It follows the storyline faithfully, except the ending which they alter in a very strange way. But the few changes did not anger me. The movie is seamless, effortless and gorgeous. It’s also riddled with sex and blood. In true tribute to the book.

Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but sitting there watching this movie, I felt the awe that I’m sure people felt when they first read The Watchmen when it was originally published in 1986. As if I was watching a genre change, elevate, to a whole new level.

I can’t really say much more at this point. It’s utterly overwhelming in almost every way and I need some time to digest it all. So, I’ll just boil it down to the most rudimentary thought - I loved it. Go see it. Right now.


Boy Superhero

“The Girl and I made a deal, Mom. When it is my birthday she is going to get me a baby parrot. And when it’s her birthday I’m going to get her a baby sheep. We made a deal.” – The Boy

This is what I woke up to today. And despite the gigantic crink in my neck and the impending headache, I awoke giggling. I gotta tell you, that’s a lovely way to wake up.

I think that one of my most favorite things about the age that The Boy is moving into now is watching his imagination unfold. He concocts huge involved stories with Captain Rex and Batman in the center, mixing and mashing genres like nobody’s business. He defeats Lex Luthor with his light saber and pays homage to Darth Vader by waging vast battles against the Rebels. These grand dramas are usually peppered with dinosaurs and a smidgeon of other various superheroes. Ben 10 usually makes an appearance somewhere in there just in time to toggle between his many alien shapes and save the day.

And man alive does this boy love babies. Of all shapes, sizes and species. As is evidenced by his heartfelt request for a baby parrot for his birthday. Not to mention the fact that he’s been after me for a little brother for months now. I mean he does play baby with The Girl at times (he love to put her down for a nap) and he chases our puppy like nobody’s business trying to give her a bottle or change her diaper. But if there is a baby anywhere on his radar he makes a bee line to it cooing like a pro.

I don’t know if I’ve ever met a boy his age who can so easily move back and forth between such creative rough housing to complete nurturing and kindness. It amazes me actually. And it’s something that I hope he never lets go of. I hope he always has the ability to conquer the world in a single bound while also gently cradling those who are smaller and perhaps weaker than himself. That alone would qualify him as a superhero in my book.


Work in Progress

Patience (pā-shəns) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.

Endurance? Check.
Perseverance? Check.
Forbearance? Check.
Steadfastness? Check.
All of these things “without becoming annoyed or upset”? Not so much.

I am an only child. I am occasionally too smart for my own good. I am action oriented. I am trusting almost to a fault. I am kind, compassionate, creative and motivated. But waiting for things to just pan out is not my forte. When I make a decision, I am ready to have it happen post haste. Not when it is supposed to or when the universe thinks I’m ready for it. Now goddamnit!

And I know this is something requiring work. That regardless of how charming, cute or full of guile I may be, that there are times when I simply must be patient. Whether that be waiting for the stars to align, for someone to review my resume or to be worked into someone else’s schedule. I must be willing to learn the patience I preach to my children.

Maybe that’s the crux of it all. That I must be willing to re-learn the patience from my childhood. I must be willing to accept that throwing temper tantrums or unnecessary poking is not the answer to anything. And maybe that I’m waiting for a reason. That there is some grand master plan that I’m working out by putting one foot in front of the other and breathing in and out all day. If I do my part, then the pieces will eventually all fall together into some amazing masterpiece. Or something. I don’t fricking frakking know.

Mostly I guess I’m just trying to make myself feel better about being such an impatient person, and give myself some hope that I can be better at it. And trying to come up with something profound to give me the impetus to keep working. I guess life will just have to do for now.



We live pretty close to Fort Carson and in the 7 or so years we have lived in this house, I’ve gotten used to hearing bombs in the background as they do training exercises and just generally have a grand time blowing shit up. Occasionally however, they do fire fighting drills and purposely set something, or a lot of something, on fire for the express purpose of practicing putting it out. And then there are the times when in the process of blowing shit up, they start a rather large prairie fire that looms large in direct view from our house.

Today is one of those days. After getting home from picking up the kids from school, I was on the back deck getting ready to enjoy the absolutely gorgeous weather we’re having and the minute I stepped foot on the deck I noticed that the light was weird and the air was thick with smoke. So those two things tell me that this one is a huge fucking fire. Because we are across the highway and probably close to hundreds of acres away from their firing ranges.

And it’s not like I’m worried or anything, well not about our house anyway. I always worry about those military guys out there and I worry about what they may or may not be doing to the land. But the fire would have to jump the highway to get anywhere near us.

But it’s a strange thing to suddenly have your outside world sepia toned. It gives the whole world a totally different feel. Like I’m in a movie of some kind or some strange dream. Which to be really honest, is actually preferable to my current world. So, don’t think I’m complaining or anything, cause I’m not. Just reflecting on the dream-like quality of it all. Although I really could do without the smoke hanging in the air, so a nice wind shift would be appreciated (you know, just in case the weather gods read my blog).

It’s a babbling kind of day, as you have no doubt already ascertained. But that’s better than a bawling or screaming kind of day. Take my word for it.


Fairytale Beginning

In a land once upon a time and far, far away there was a princess. She was beautiful, but did not know it. She was strong, and only knew it sometimes. She was very, very smart and knew that all the time. But she was also terrifically unlucky in love. And this she tried very, very hard not to believe.

She had passed through the beginning of her life being surrounded by people who adored and lavished her with love. But she did not understand why. What had she done to deserve such devotion (besides being very, very smart)? So she pushed it away, hoping that it would go to someone who, surely, deserved it more than she.

And she found as she grew into the middle part of her life that she was crashingly unhappy. Which made her pause from her daily chores of tending to children, herding idiosyncrasies and bowling with routine and yell in an absurdly loud voice, “Heinous fuckery most foul!”

She found that she was quite shocked, and quite bothered, by this revelation and pondered what to do about it. And being very, very smart she thought for sure that an answer would reveal itself in no time at all. And the longer she pondered, the sadder she became. Because it was beginning to appear that the only way to alter this unhappiness was to change her life entirely.

She would have to give up her rank and all of her titles, except that of mother of course which she would never lay down. She would have to pack that which was most dear to her, and the particularly tasty cheese, bread and beverages that had arrived the other day, and walk away from her castle. She would have to face the world outside the walls without cover of armor or sword.

And so she set forth to accomplish this. She packed and pondered and murmured to herself, “Great teeth gnashing bollocks, this dress will never fit.” But fit it did and she put feet to road and carried on her way.

Hoping against hope that her luck would turn and that being very, very smart would be good enough.


Home Sweet Home

I am having a strange, fickle, wistful sort of blah day. I had a brunch meeting this morning which was great and productive and yummy. Did some errands and thought I might go see a movie, but my timing was off and I couldn’t find parking near the art house theater, so I gave up on that. And just came home. Which probably wasn’t the greatest idea as I’m in a “please stay out of my space” kind of mood today.

I keep having the phrase “I want to go home” run through my head. It’s a relatively common occurrence. Has been since I was little. Whenever I’m feeling a bit lost or forlorn or well, pretty much anything uncomfortable, it’s the litany that I find running through my brain over and over and over again.

It can get pretty irritating actually. Especially when I am sitting on my couch at home and I can’t get my brain to shut the hell up. It’s been going on long enough that I know it really has nothing to do with where my couch is housed of course. Sometimes it’s a place, sometimes it’s an action and sometimes it’s a person. That’s usually the hardest one, when my home of the moment is a person. Because I usually feel like I’m imposing and you know, it’s probably hard to be someone else’s home, no matter how transient they may be.

Mostly I think it has to do with just wanting to be comfortable. Wanting to be comfortable in my own skin, wanting to be comfortable in my surroundings, wanting the comfort that comes when you arrive home. The place where you can be absolutely you, unabashedly and unapologetically without reserve. Where the colors don’t wash you out and the furniture is perfectly placed. That’s probably what I’m after more than anything.

And I know that there will come a day when I’ll feel at home no matter where I happen to be. When I can give myself permission to be unabashed about who I am regardless of context or mitigation. I know that day is coming. But until it gets here, I just want to go home.