exiled motherhood

There is a routine and a ceremony. The teeth brushing, the bath, the donning of the jammies and the tucking of the blanky.

And lately, there is the holding of the hand to sleep.

I do not enjoy this. I am getting a very stiff back, sitting on the floor night after night, holding her hand to get her to stay calm to fall asleep. She did not always require this extra time consuming step. It seems like, for a long time (or maybe it was long in my memory, a golden age) where she would talk to herself and drift off to sleep with minimal re-visits- less than 12.

But she got scared with the advent of preschool. There was monsters and new fears. And a desperate need for mommy.

Lately, she seems to be coming out of it a bit. She allows me to leave without promises of return. Before there was uncontrollable sobbing. Then, there came the allowing me to leave with promises to come back. For the last couple weeks, I’ve been able to say good night and leave. This is progress

I can use this released time to practice some yoga and release the pains in my back.

But tonight, this night of christmas break and no preschool, she was going through the ceremony, and she hit me. She does this frequently. Not hard, but it’s a bad habit and it interferes with the donning of the jammies.

I was starting to lose my temper, and she was wiggling past the safety zone into going-to-hurt-herself territory. There was a time out. I have to hold her in place for the time out. She took on a remorseful mien and said “not supposed to hit” I asked her to say she was sorry. She said it.

But punishment is a time-boxed thing. She had to complete her punishment. She kicked me.

Now I really lost my temper. I told her I wouldn’t hold her hand tonight.

“NOT FAIR!” she said

But I said it. She can’t hit. And I said it.

Daddy finished the tucking ceremony. He is on hand for further necessities.

But I should stand by my word. I shall not hold her hand.

She is fine. She is happy in her jammies, and content though not yet asleep. I am filled with guilt and conflict. I have exiled myself.

Chris mas

Chris was so good at Christmas this year. I got kinda lazy because he was doing it all.
I bought some things for him, but not much. I wrapped them. they looked very meager.
I put them under the tree and said to him, “I wish I could give you dozens of perfect presents, but I only have four imperfect presents for you.”
He was understanding, but i know he still feels like won the christmas effort prize. I suppose I shall grant him gloating rights.


Shes getting more and more interactive, and i am not as able to take photographs of her.

This christmas is full of cute kiddisms…i haven’teven written down the old ones

Will I always remember that pizza to her is pizzum? That she likes to call us sweetie and honey and dear when she is requesting things of us?

will I always remember these little things? I may be forgetting them already.

blogs and technology have made me nearly obsessive about capturing and keeping these moments. But I dont’ want to miss the moments by tryingto observe them. It changes things to constantly have a camera thrust in

the men and women hallelujah

Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
she tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

What kind of crazy man can sing Hallelujah with a crazy woman like that? She ties him to the kitchen chair and takes all his power away, like Delilah cutting Samson’s hair? What is wrong with this guy?

Men and women. All the crazy the world can hold and room to expand.

But I get it. I like men. And most of the time, I really like men. They can be the best the world can hold and still  surprise you with courage and compassion. This song slaps me and then I realize how true it is.

In a book I read, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. the womanizing hero finds himself facing a woman who asks–demands?–that he marry her. He is not really in love with her. But he’s not the sort of man to wallow in uncertainty. He looks at her, and decided to marry her. He tells his friends, “How would I know if this is the right thing to do? Perhaps it is. Perhaps it is not. The only way to know would be to live two separate lives, one that includes marrying her, and then another which is not marrying her. But I can’t live two lives. I only have this one. So I will try the one in which I marry her.”

I think about that when I hear that song. How there are a lot of men who make choices like that.

Most of the men I know care deeply about the woman they love. And a lot of them have been hurt, but very few of them mope on about it. A lot of them really do remember with fondness. They will look back on a wreck of a relationship and see the good.

breathe out the hallelujah

Maybe I am romanticizing it. Maybe guys just don’t want to talk to me about their fractured hearts and how they wish they had never met the woman.

But it really seems like for most of them, they do believe it was better to have loved and had your heart shattered than never to have loved at all.

Funny, cause a lot of women seem the opposite. We can be so cold, we could say it and mean it

“I wish I had never met him!”

Is that how it goes? Do men, the stonger muscley ones, have less to fear? Do we, the women who might have to take care of a baby, have to be more careful?

it’s true. And we women get together in our huddles, “Oh, well, watch out for him. … you know what you need to do?…Bottom line…” with our get togethers and advice and herd instinct.

And the men will go out and try, and risk. And even if they get flattened…A good bunch of them will still be grateful.

It’s a beautiful thing. Hallelujah

what if I just did something different?

Couple months ago I was stuck. i was stuck in a sad rut, thinking about and thinking again about stuff that hurt to think about.

I decided that whatever it took i was going to stop thinking about it. I worked hard to think about something ELSE. I even took a recording device and recorded myself talking about a project I was working on, which DIDn”T hurt. I recorded myself, listened to the recording, and then said more things about that thing that didn’t hurt.

After a long time, I was able to stop picking the scab. Because I just decided to stop.

So, I am thikning about how I might apply this to other things. What if I just stopped doing something i don’t like and substituted with something I like better?

what if I could learn to write instead of read? What if instead of running away to escape into a book, I could escape into WRITING  a book.

I don’t think it works that way. But I didnt think that fighting my depression worked that way either.

I would be better off if I wrote more and read less.


Blessings are to make you happy

Christmas is coming! The goose is getting fat and so are we as we gather round the Christmas tree.

I am blessed to have you all as my readers. I am blessed in so many ways. I know you are too.

And there are so few days and there is all the stress of what must be done. I have presents to buy and expectations to fulfill. It is easy to feel obligated and guilty. I have been so blessed, and I am probably not living up to my blessings.

Also, many people do not have the blessings I have. I ponder that and it can feel pretty bad. What do I do with this undeserved blessing? I have no right to expect the good things in my life. I mean, I think in particular of the blessing of my extraordinarily wonderful child. Some people have lost their child. There but for the grace of God go I.

I could be fearful, and guilty. I find myself feeling that way a lot.

But that’s no way to live. To know I am blessed should make me happy. I should rejoice, and give good love to those around me. If I feel fearful and guilty  about my blessings, when I encounter other people who don’t have my particular blessing and are in fact suffering, I am more likely to scuffle away as if their tragedy were contagious.

But if I can be happy, and trust in my present blessing I could be generous to those less fortunate. And isn’t that how I want to live? Isn’t that the world I want to live in?

After beginning with fear and guilt over my blessings, I realize I can just be happy.  And at peace.

That’s what I’ve been thinking this week. I wanted to share.

I join the angels chorus:

Glory to God in highest and on earth peace and goodwill towards men

Peace be with you and all my goodwill

Merry Christmas!




sandy hook massacre

I can barely think about losing my child. Sticking my fingers in my ears and humming is not a long-term solution, though.

When I hear about SandyHook, I want to go out and buy a magic amulet that will make sure that me and everyone around me will be safe forever. Except i don’t have faith in an amulet. But I wish I did.

I think that our impulse to say “Take all the guns away from everyone forever!” is that same impulse. Let’s put everything and the kitchen sink in between us and danger.

It is possible that stronger gun control laws would help. It is also possible that looser gun control laws would help. Maybe better enforcement of the current laws would help.

I wouldnt trust my judgement on the matter on a day like today.


Sit down in the dingy lab chair, and login

type the two commands



and there is everyone. The glowing green and black screen that gives me access to scores of people I know and don’t know, but who all want to talk to me.

With a keyboard I can talk to each of them. My own sadie hawkins dance, even more than one at a time.

The terrified teenage college coed stumbled upon the beginnings of the internet.

My state only, but there were rumors of more. A greater reach around the world if I wanted it.

Except I could barely keep up with everyone on this system. I knew what all those 5 letter userids meant. I knew which ones were boring and which witty.

There were other girls online–three I think. I chatted them to sniff out the  competition. This was my playground. My world. My ascii-art landscape of sociability that I could not hope to  navigate in real life.

I never wanted to leave.

But the semester ended. And the world ended.

I had heard rumors of a device that would let me re-enter from home. We had an old radio shack computer, but that modem was past the horizon of possibility. Hopeless.

After Christmas, lonely and driven to see what treasures my inbox was hiding, I tried to get back into the lab, sure I could sneak in and just see. Mat-Su College was dark and snow-dank, echoing empty hallways and the lab. I tried the door. It was locked.

I tried the other door.

The nodie poked his head out.

This was not the cool long-haired nodie-lab assistant- who flirted with me and told me he wore dresses sometimes.   It was the helmet-haircut grumpy nodie who listened to 50s music. I once heard his portable radio playing “Oh why must I be a teenager in love?” How strange, I thought. He is not a teenager, but I am. I wonder if I am in love?

Day after Christmas, not yet eighteen, hand on the locked lab doorknob, I looked back at the nodie. Ashamed of my need, yet still hopeful, I looked in the eyes of the gatekeeper.

“Lab’s closed.” and he turned his back, muttering about vaxheads.

Twenty, no, more than twenty years past and I hear people complain about how they are addicted to their smart phones.

Addicted to twitter. Can’t stop playing on facebook.

Like they invented it. Fresh frantic monkey on their back.

The monkey on my back went grey-haired a long time ago.



I’ve lived in my house now for a while, and driven the same route to my job for a number of years. I could take the freeway, swing north on another freeway, and then turn west to get on the freeway that will take me the rest of the way. Or I could take surface streets to get the to the one freeway and stay on it.

Freeways are faster than surface streets, so for a long time, I took the three freeways. As long as there were no backups on the freeways, it was faster.

Then. Then the freeway overlords and regulators put in a “one car per green” light on the last merge. The last freeway change slowed to a crawl. I kept hoping, and i would try getting up earlier to miss this huge delay. But eventually I realized, with this new choke on progress, it was faster to go the surface streets.

Could I go find a way to contact the freeway overlords and tell them this was stupid? Probably. Would I be able to change their mind about these merging regulators? Unlikely.

So. I just go around it.

No need to get upset, just do something else.

there are some people that I regard the same way. I know their measure, and I know that it is unassailable. They will not change, and it’s just better to go around them.

Except I have feelings about people in a way I don’t really have feelings about that merge. I think people are possibly able to change, and I could affect the outcome.

Sometimes I could. Sometimes I could make it worse.

When I find myself doing that– going around a person — I always feel bad. Like I should give the other person a chance, and maybe I am misjudging them. Maybe if they *knew* what trouble they were causing they would be pleased to change.

But then I am afraid that I might make it worse. I’ve had that happen.

So. If I can go around I usually will. But I wonder if I am doing the right thing.

10 000 hours

So if it take ten thousand hours to get to really good at something, what have I spent that many hours doing?

That reminds me also of the exercise thing, ten thousand steps “Take ten thousand steps every day and that will be enough exercie”

I am trying to wiggle into the jeans of being 40, and I feel so kind of over. Like, I didn’t spend 8 hours a day practicing the piano. I will never ber great.

So all right. Maybe I can be pretty good and manage 3 or 5 thousand hours. Is that enough?

I’m mentally high-fiving myself about all the books i’ve read. I’ve spent ten thousand hours reading, FOR SURE.

but I’ve probably spent ten thousand hours eating. And that doesn’t qualify me for much. AND sleeping. So.

Gotta do something with it or it’s not a thing.