Tiger mom

I stayed out late last night hanging with friends learning more about totem animals.

So I got home late and didn’t fall asleep till about 1 AM.

Veronica woke up at 5:30 she was awake she wanted to watch TV. She had had a bad dream I could see that she was tired. I knew I was tired.

She had had a bad dream. I could see that she was tired. I knew I was tired.

So I tried to help her get back to sleep.

It was tough. She knew what she wanted, to watch TV. I thought I could help her get back to sleep she kept arguing that the sun was up.

I gave her some milk and graham crackers after 45 minutes. She still wanted to stay awake. Our bargain was she would try to sleep.

She started crying and said I don’t know how. So I held her on my lap. She lay her head on my shoulder. I told her the story of the tiger I knew, that this tiger was strong and powerful. And the tiger told me I was strong. Then she really started crying and said “I don’t feel powerful.”

I told her I thought she was powerful, but my heart was breaking how do I help her?

I wrapped My bathrobe around her and she quietly laid her head on my shoulder. I waited five minutes and then put her back in her bed.

We all slept until 9 AM

Of course Chris is still sleeping. But it reminded me of when she was very little, and how I am grateful that she mostly falls asleep on her own. I am sad that she doesn’t feel powerful.

Maybe she feels more powerful in the daytime, and less powerful right after a nightmare.


I used to blog a lot more. I kind of miss it. 
The internet changed underneath me and there are a lot more tools. I tweet and Instagram and participate in Facebook  Groups. I write a lot every day 

I used to email. a lot more too.  Hmm

The Internet has changed beneath me

Who do you see?

Sitting outside the D.A.’s office, waiting for what’s next. A man in a suit had told me that the D.A. was busy, but that she’d be out soon.

Waiting patiently. Waiting nervously.

I’m glad the guy in the suit helped me out, because the receptionist women behind heavy glass was taken up with a man and a women for a long time.

The older man and his adult daughter were speaking Spanish and I didn’t understand them. They sounded worried. They had a lot of questions. It was a good long while before they sat down in the waiting area with me.

He was holding a subpoena too. I guess I am a person who knows how to recognize a subpoena now.

I’d seen on the schedule that my case was supposed to be seen first thing. Later I learned that all cases were scheduled to start first thing, and then they just kinda fit them in whenever.

Waiting. A middle-aged women in jeans and a shirt asked the receptionist how to find out whether her son was going to be transferred to prison that day.

I’d never been around someone who needed to ask that sort of question.

Subpoenas are not a good day. They start out this way:


All-Caps and everything. You can’t make this up. I haven’t been commanded to do anything in a long time, if ever.

It’s not a nice feeling.

Dad and daughter sat on the seats waiting like me. We were the only ones in the room.

I said, “Good morning.”

Daughter was distracted and didn’t notice. Dad nudged her to respond to me. Then he said “Good morning.”

Daughter shook herself out of her haze and said good morning.

Dad smiled at me.

I asked the receptionist if there was a bathroom nearby. I didn’t want to be distracted while I was testifying.  She pointed to the end of a long hallway.

She was very jaded. She was shielded by more than glass.

I was trying to ask her to let the DA know I’d be right back if she came out, when Dad spoke up, “We will let her know.”

I saw him clearly then. He was a gentleman, he liked being a nice guy. He was not just a person with a subpoena. He could do the nice thing, and he was eager to do it.

There is so much pressure on us to fit our roles. We must obey implicit commands all day long.

The suited men and women had been walking fast back and forth across the hard floors, voluntarily assuming the uniform. I wondered at the stiletto heels and how much sensation those women had in the soles of their feet.

My companion, Dad, with the slightest provocation, became the person he wanted to be: the kindly gentleman, willing to help. I had given him a peek of a chance to be a human, not a role.

He glowed with the opportunity.

It made me want to see all the people all the time. To show people, in all the kind and comfortable ways, “I see you. You are the lovable person you hope you are.”

My attorney finally came out to tell me the preliminary hearing had to be rescheduled. She was wearing comfortable shoes, which made me happy for her.

We’re all just people here. It’s okay to be human.


Thursday I testify.

I will stand before a judge and tell how I was assaulted– thrown to the ground, my pants jerked down by a stranger intent on raping me. My voice will tell what happened describing that unlucky day.

I know my fellow women, my sisters, will be safer because I do.

I also know that many of my violated sisters chose not to testify. A stranger attacked me. Far more women are attacked by someone they know, a family member or supposed friend who harms them. These women must balance their hurt against the value of the community, often receiving no support for her person. She swallows her pain for the group.

I will stand and testify where many sisters did not.

I am lucky–yes, I am privilege–to be in an environment where I can trust the law. My citizenship is unclouded, and my family need not fear scrutiny. My alabaster skin gives me unfair advantage. I called 911 without a second thought. The whole police force, it seemed, came down to the park where I was attacked. I was treated with respect the whole time. I know that is not always the case. After I got home, I paused and called an attorney friend to check if I needed to protect myself somehow. As privileged as I am, I still had memories of stories that didn’t end well. I chose to cooperate. And to my utter amazement, he was caught.

I will stand and testify where many sisters did not feel safe from the police.

An ignorant man said to me “Oh, he wasn’t successful. That’s why you can talk about it.” I’d like to think I would testify with greater intensity if the crime were greater. I know that it would be harder to talk about a greater violation in front of strangers. When I worked with the police, one woman told me that many assaulted women do not report the crime for months after. Some women, when they do report it, say that the police are the only ones they can speak to about it. My heart breaks to think how these women felt so isolated, when I was surrounded with love. I told everyone. I was confident in my community to support me.

I will testify, and not be silent, for my many sisters who were so alone in their pain.

I’m not sure what will happen. They caught the guy, and he’s been sitting in jail for most of a year. A private investigator working for his defense left a business card and a note on my front door. It scared me to think of him knowing where I live. Was it an intimidation move? I don’t like it, and it will not silence me. I think of Malala, and how it’s hard to be a woman in this world. I shall not be a victim. I will not be an object. I am a witness to the world around me.

I will testify.

The First Four are the Ones that Count

I wrote a story about it, and won a prize. My first accolade for writing about my life. “Alaskan Road Rules”, the eponymous story, talks about the wheels of a car.

The car in the story lost one of its wheels. While in full motion.

I’ve learned as a grown-up to have a greater respect for car tires.

You see, cares have a lot of parts and are very sophisticated machines. But the simplest of all the parts that make up a care is the wheel. Maybe the oldest machine ever, these wheels are the only thing that is keeping the car on the road.

Those four wheels are the only thing that touches the road. The rest of the car is only a concept, the potential for motion, without those four wheels.

There’s another wheel, though. If I get into the driver’s seat, I put my hands on the steering wheel. The steering wheel is the one *I* touch. I can sit in the car, put my hands on the wheel, and think about where I might want to go. Where I might NOT want to go.

The possibilities are seemingly endless. Abstractly, I would like to think I am considering the places I want to go. In reality the dread of places I don’t wish to visit occupy a lot of my thoughts.

That mean former friend who said those things–or even the place where she said them—don’t want to go there.

That place where that awful thing happened.

That arena of humiliation.

I think of those far more often than I would like to admit as I sit holding on to the steering wheel.

Sitting and considering while in the driver’s seat looks a lot like going somewhere.

But it’s not. It’s not going anywhere.

Thing is, even if I have to go somewhere I dread, moving those four wheels under the car is a lot different than sitting in the driver’s seat. Every action has unique aspects.

Sitting is sitting. Moving is a completely different experience.

Doing the thing, engaging the rolling rubber tires, teaches me more than any thinking ever could.

Life’s Flow

An old friend came to visit this weekend. He was in town for his college reunion. Our town has a lot of college altogether. But my husband went to school with this guy, so their friendship predated the college experience.

The friend has little daughters. We have a little daughter too, so the first night we talked a bit the Tao of daughters.

They are different from us. They have interests and disinterests. He spoke of facilitating activities that piqued his daughters’ interest, even if it was inconvenient. He was relieved the older one’s interest in soccer had dropped off just prior to the manic commitment—5 am wakeup calls for all day tournaments in the hot sun—required of families kicked in.

I shared that our daughter was basically happy all the time—

“You’ll have to put a stop to that!”

I laughed. “She is happy, but she doesn’t seem to have anything to really feel ambition about. There is a joy is discovering something that really challenges your abilities. First grade is pretty boring—memorizing things by rote. It’s not inspiring.”

But I remembered she did have something she had aspired to. She loves the monkey bars. She can climb up and reach them, and she practiced until she grew callouses. Then she practiced so much that the callouses fell off, and grew back.

She has been dedicated to her abilities on the monkey bars.

I think she needs to find a mental challenge that would give her the same determination and challenge as those monkey bars.
Wait for it. You know where I’m going with this.

Yes, FLOW.
“also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does”
That vista, that scope, the tool that when you pick it up you know to your bones that THIS IS THE WHAT. The what that you can do, maybe the what you were born to do.
I believe there is often more than one what. And how fabulous! Let’s go find all the whats that we can, whether it be rocket science, bongo drums or monkey bars.
Go read about Richard Feynman if you don’t’ believe me. There are a lot of things to delight us in this world.
But I wasn’t done with this friend. We’d stayed up late catching up, but I still had things I needed to know. I accosted him at the breakfast table.
“So. You went to college, undergrad and grad school in the best schools in America. That’s why you’re here, for the reunion. I want to know—what did college do for you? Can you tell me the benefit?”
Because I didn’t go to college like that. I took night classes, and I took forever. I still wonder. What did I miss out on? Did I miss out?
Of course, this is anecdotal. One guy, one experience. My psychology PhD friends would scoff. Still. Statistics leave me cold. What is really the value of these college campuses?

Our friend described a high collaborative experience, where diverse and ambitious students were guided by genial professors to stretch their abilities further than they knew they could.

“Granted, this environment was hard to join. I was with a self-selected set of high achievers.”

“But don’t you think a job could provide that kind of challenge? Working together on projects?”

He was skeptical. Because a boss wouldn’t give you the time to try and explore.
Also, in my experience a job cannot craft the perfect challenge for skills like a professor can.

Like I’m trying to do for my daughter. I am older, I have more experience, and I love her. I want her to have those stretching experiences of exhilaration. Do professors at the right sort of schools make that happen too?

The price tag on colleges of those sorts are a quarter million now. But I don’t know, maybe that’s the front of the store price tag and there is always a bargain at the back.

But that experience is very valuable. Having a right-sized challenge is priceless. Maybe it IS worth it. Maybe it’s worth mortgaging your future to achieve it.

Then of course, I have to wonder. Why is it restricted to the young? Is “flow” a young person’s game? Grad school, the NBA, the Olympics, this is not for people above the age of 40.

I can hope that things are changing. That opportunities for excellence and exhilaration are more self-directed than they used to be.

I refuse to succumb to a life of quiet desperation. It’s easy to have a quasi-omnicient role in my daughter’s life.

It might be more possible than I have been realizing to provide myself with the sorts of experiences I want to have.