Home > Family, Parenting, Personal, Work > The wild ride that was 20-one-five

The wild ride that was 20-one-five

I began 2015 between jobs, but prepared to begin a new one negotiating airplane entertainment contracts a couple of weeks into the new year.

I was excited to begin that job. I’d be working on airplane-related contracts! For all my flight anxiety, I found that exhilarating. Add to that the fact I’d be traveling internationally for my position and I was stoked. I spent my long commute studying Spanish and Portuguese in my car.

Just as I began to find my groove in that position, my sons’ school closed its baby room at the end of February. I had to scramble to find a place for my Littler J, apprehensive about the impact to my already long drive.

Before the close

Before the close

I didn’t even make it a week driving to Littler J’s new daycare before realizing I couldn’t sustain my lengthened commute. I took a contractor position with a company nearer the new daycare to shave most of an hour off my daily drive time.

I gave blood for the first time in years, prompting me to finally understand what my mom meant when she once told me I had beautiful blood.


Soon after, I wrote my favorite post of the year: my bulimia / my beautiful body.

My mom would have fit in all those skinny clothes at the end.

Cancer stole her weight, her vigor and, eventually, her life from her.

I was starting to settle into my new routine when, in mid-May, my husband and I discovered Littler J had a serious food allergy.

A pair of big red sandals helped keep me anchored through all the bustle.


My five-year-old graduated from kindergarten in June, which thrilled him to no end though he’d still spend the summer with his delightful teacher of two years.

Graduating kindergarten, a couple months ago

I celebrated my twenty-year blogging anniversary the same month.


My husband, Anthony, wrapped up about a year straight of work as an assistant director. This is uncommon enough a thing in Hollywood, but I somehow expected him to land his next gig in a matter of days or weeks.

My youngest sister, defying my expectation she’d remain forever seven, turned thirty in July. My husband, sons, and I traveled home to celebrate Madeline’s birthday with our siblings and the much, much larger family we’ve all made since doing something like growing up. I understood more keenly than ever before that my childhood house was no longer “home,” and that this was more than okay: Home wasn’t in any physical structure, but in the car with me as I drove by.


Rara Ra left prison in late July. Her new home ended up being close enough to mine to walk, so that we ended up hanging out a lot and something that might–in another world–have been tagged as blogging-related in my brain instead became a highlight of my offline year.

Bubbles with Ra

August was quiet in life events, but rich in internal ones. I wrote about my favorite pay, trust in marriage, what I learned following Mike Brown’s death, and not giving a fuck about what you think. As the mother of a severely food allergic child, I was jarred to learn that a newly passed California law seemed to allow child care centers to opt out of administering life-saving epinephrine as federally mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. I wrote some letters, but got swept up in life so that this frustration became a background murmur.

Li’l D started first grade in late August. He was nervous about leaving his school of two and a half years and his teacher of two of those, but he adjusted quickly to the adventure possible in change.

(He’s at a private school, which mean there’s a mandatory minimum of participating in roughly seven hundred fundraisers at any given time!)

Like August, September was a month of internal–not external–events. I posted a series diving deeply into my mom’s mental illness as I experienced it at the time. The series began here. You can navigate the whole series by links included at the bottom of each post.

That same evening

Diving in was extraordinarily painful, but even more freeing. I concluded the series explaining why and how I was no longer afraid of following my mother’s footsteps.

In early October, a seemingly small space reconfiguration at work impacted me enormously. I stepped away from my blog and made almost all its posts private in an effort to reclaim some much needed space.

I’d returned by late October, when I wrote in quick succession about troubles with my Littler J’s heart found to be–blessedly–insignificant and my 37th birthday.

tshirt spread

(Just days ago, my 36th birthday letter to my mom was a WordPress Editor’s Pick.)

2015-04-27 09.42.42

My husband hadn’t found anyone to sponsor his last 30 days as a qualified multi-cam assistant director, so he accepted a gig doing single-cam production assistant work. I’d worked as an extra throughout law school, so I knew this would be a little more time-consuming, but I was wildly unprepared for just how much more time it consumed. If I was lucky, I got to see Anthony daily for five or ten minutes in the morning. If he was lucky, he actually got to see one or both of our kids awake for even a minute during the workweek.

In early November, I wrote about meeting someone whose conversation so completely inspired me that I felt like I could build a rocket to the moon and fly there if so inclined. I didn’t mention that the conversation was actually an interview for a position that I really wanted going in, and wanted even more going out.

I began December with an offer for that job. I accepted immediately, excited for the chance to try my hand at something new and more concrete than I’d done in a decade of negotiating software contracts.

I began that job not yet two weeks ago, equally thrilled to join an amazing team and to be part of solving bunches of puzzles unlike those I’ve solved before. As I wrote in August, what feeds my bank account and what feeds my soul are two very different things!

(I haven’t nearly perfected the elevator pitch for my new job just yet, but I’ll write a little about it after I’ve come closer.)

To close out the year, I celebrated my younger brother‘s obtaining his Master of Education degree. I smiled when I saw my younger sister‘s tears as Big D posed for a picture with our godmother, smiling not at the tears themselves but at what I understood to be behind them: her seeing our mom in our godmother, and knowing Mom, too, celebrated the day with us. Somehow.


I don’t have many plans or expectations for 2016. I do have one big hope for it, though: that it’s quieter than the year almost passed! I’d like my 2016 in-review to be more a listing of my favorite posts and less a recollection of unexpected twists and turns. Pretty please?

For your 2016, I wish all the love, growth, and joy you know to wish for, and just a little more beyond that!

See also:

  1. December 26, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Boy do we have a LOT in common. I look forward to following you through 2016. Best, Jaye~~

    • December 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm

      Ditto that! And, though it’s a tiny bit early, I’d like to say now in case I don’t get to say it the next few days: Happy new year!

      • December 27, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        Happy new year to you and yours, too~.

  2. December 26, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I hear you. There is a purportedly Chinese curse which has always struck me as vicious ‘May you live in interesting times….’
    I love the way your interesting times have led you both deep inside yourself and led you to soar, but hope that you get your wish for 2016.

    • December 27, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Thank you. I’m so, so glad the year has led me to this place, but, man … a little quiet constancy would really, really feel great. I hope the rest of 2015 and all of 2016 are kind to you!

  3. m
    December 27, 2015 at 9:35 am

    What a lovely post. I enjoy reading and trying to imagine what your life is like. I appreciate all the words you write even if I don’t comment often. Thank you for sharing

    • December 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Thank you for this! I write in my handwritten journals for one reason, but write here (and read elsewhere) in great part for the connection. I appreciate your words.

  4. December 27, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    You owned 2015, my lovely friend.
    Good luck next year, young lady.

    • December 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      I spent more of 2015 than most years feeling owned by instead of owning the year. In its last few weeks, though, I’ve felt that all the fumbling has led me to solid ground. I’m feeling pretty darn good about 2016. I hope it rocks for both me and you!

  5. December 27, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    You have such a gift for demonstrating how life is a mishmash of highs and lows, but always rich in experience. I watch my daughter and her husband working out the complexities of schedules and school life for their girls, and it can be so complicated. I hear that in your descriptions and admire how you flex as much as possible! But I do think you have earned the right to hope for some simplicity this coming year. I really enjoyed your review and I hope to go back and read some of the posts I have missed!

    • December 31, 2015 at 3:51 am

      I can’t find quite the words to express how your words feel, so I think I’ll stick with the broadest, plainest to address truth: They are healing. Thank you. I hope your new year is lovely!

  6. December 29, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Sounds like you had quite a year!

    • December 31, 2015 at 3:52 am

      Indeed! My fingers are crossed that my 2016 in review looks like:
      I savored my family time. I enjoyed my job. I dug in. Look, here’s some happy pictures!

      ( … and including, of course, the list of favorite posts. Ahem!)

  7. December 29, 2015 at 10:16 am

    What a wonderful recap to a wonderful life-filled life!

  8. December 31, 2015 at 5:12 am

    What a great summary of year and a roller coaster one at that! Cheers to a quiet 2016 my friend 😊

    • January 1, 2016 at 6:01 am

      It started loud and early, but I have high hopes for lots of quiet ahead … in the hours after 7 p.m., in any case! :p

      Happy new year!

  9. December 31, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Whew! You have been one busy lady.

    Here’s hoping 2016 is full of wonderful, wonderful things for you and your family, Deb.

  10. January 10, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Quite a year. I hope 2016 is peaceful and happy and full of growth and wonder.

    “what feeds my bank account and what feeds my soul are two very different things.” ~ that’s the truest sentence I’ve read in a while and resonates with me right now…

    Happy new year! ~Tara

  1. January 9, 2016 at 7:28 am
  2. January 12, 2016 at 5:31 am

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