Archive for July, 2016

Somethin’ lovely

wedding bwMost folks who know my husband know him as the quieter, gentler half of this couple. That’s often all they know of him, so they think of him as “gentle” and laugh about how he once cried on national TV.

Last night, I came inside after a confrontation with our neighbors and explained to him what had just happened. His face got stormy, following which he very quietly put on his shoes and went outside.

He returned six minutes later to explain what had just happened. It all made sense, and all will be okay going forward. I was grateful that he’d had the conversation.

But his face was steel, just steel, when he relayed his starting message to our neighbors: “Don’t you ever talk to my wife like that again.”

I can hold my own. If you read my blog, you know this. I have held my own since I was very small, so that it astonishes me when anyone else speaks to protect me.

Because of all this, I sometimes forget how seriously he takes his vows of for-better-or-worse.

He loathes confrontation, but he loves me more.

That’s somethin’, folks.

That’s somethin’ lovely.

Categories: Communication, Family, Love Tags: , ,

Dirty millennials: hope

My husband lovingly calls me a “dirty millenial.”

I’m not actually a millenial. I fall a few years outside the category’s birthday boundary, as does–by a narrower margin–my just-younger sister.

Many articles I’ve read describe early access to computers as a defining characteristic of millenials. As I wrote in “The kingdom saved her,” we had a home computer very early. We went to a computer-centric middle school and accessed the internet from home in the early to mid 90s.

You might call us “honorary millenials,” were you not averse to putting those two words together.

During my winter of accelerated learning, I began seeing narratives.

I went from seeing A Unified Story in each and end every event or sequence of events to seeing that there were multiple variations of each. Each person saw an event or sequence of them somewhat differently based on personal history and context, but the thing was: only some were able to amplify their narratives. Folks in positions of power, especially, were able to say: “This is the story.” More than that, I witnessed how others often believed that assertion without further exploration. Read more…

Is this who I want to be?

July 30, 2016 Comments off

My siblings and I endured insult, assault, and predation throughout our impoverished childhood. While many around us judged our mom vocally, barely any offered any support.

We each took enormous loans while working our way through college and grad school. The loans were heinous, to be sure, but not nearly as heinous as poverty that steals all pretense of power.

Now, between my younger sister, my brother, and the brother-in-law who’s endured so much with us that I sometimes forget he didn’t begin with us, we have four advanced degrees and a fifth on the way.

When you call Sanders supporters “ignorant,” “uninformed,” or “privileged,” that’s what you’re calling us.

You sound like our dad.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Read my sister’s aching post on the matter.

And then, the next time you’re poised to type such a slight as if it’s objective truth, please pause and ask yourself:

Is this who I want to be?

Prescribing Joy: Letting the good times roll

Catherine (Ten Thousand Hour Mama) and I became blog friends after a mutual acquaintance shared one of her posts with me. We’ve only met once in person, but meet in heart/words as often as our demanding schedules enable.

She blogs about motherhood–the good, the bad, and the messy enough to require a garden hose. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two girls and dog. For craft ideas, parenting tips and the reassuring knowledge that you’re not the only one who swears in front of the littles, read along or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

prescribing joy

Letting the good times roll

The other day I met a friend and her kids at a park across town. The playground sat at the top of an enormous hill. Peeper, my almost-three-year-old, watched as my friend’s kids rolled down the hill, giggling.

“Do you want to give it a try, too?” I asked my daughter. She is sometimes shy around other kids, often preferring to talk with adults or older children.

“Yes,” she finally said.

Another little girl tried to explain the mechanics of rolling down the hill. Peeper watched and tried it herself, but she still had a hard time.

“Mama, will you show me?” she asked.

I’m not sure about you, but the last time I rolled down a hill was circa 1990. But I’d do just about anything for my munchkin, so I got down on the grass. I lay down on my side. And I started to roll.

As the world spun around me and I gained momentum, I began to laugh. Really laugh. Within a few revolutions I was laughing with complete abandon.

I came to a stop where the hill leveled out and I sat up. I looked to the top of the hill, still laughing. Peeper was watching me, a big smile on her face. My friend and her kids were grinning, too. Unsteadily, I got to my feet and walked up the hill to help her do the same.

Seeing an old hill-roller helped her figure out how to do it herself. She liked it, but she was content to stop after a few gos. She moved on to climbing the spider web-like ropes and zipping down the slide.

We didn’t stay much longer; we drove home for lunch, my almost-one-year-old’s naps and the more mundane parts of the day.

Later in the day, I squirmed as I felt something poke my back. I took off my sweatshirt and pulled out a sharp piece of grass—leftovers from my roll. I smiled, temporarily transported back to the sunny morning.

For just a few seconds, I had given in to the freedom of being a child. I had followed an impulse (it was my daughter’s, not mine, but still—it was spontaneous). I had let go of a grown-up’s inhibitions (What do you mean adults don’t roll down hills? Watch me!). And I had enjoyed something pure and joyful.

Here’s where a grown-up’s filters kick in. You rolled down a hill; you didn’t do anything spectacular, a voice in my head chides me. You’re reading too much into it. Get over yourself.

In some ways, its very un-spectacular-ness is why a 32-year-old rolling down a hill is so wonderful. Because there’s nothing remarkable about a kid letting go and doing something just for the fun of it.

We could all stand to be un-spectacular like that. My girls constantly experience the joy in the moment: Peeper paints her entire body with watercolors because she likes the patterns and the tickly feeling on her skin. Lately Kiwi pauses in her play to lay her head down on the ground, we think just to feel the sensation of whatever is below her: carpet, our dog’s back, the wet pavement at the splash pad.

That’s what I did on the park hill, if even for just a few seconds. I let go—of judgment, of ideas of what I “should” do, of the separation that keeps us parents on the ground instead of on the monkey bars. As gravity took over and pulled me down the hill, I gave up control.

I won’t spend every day rolling down hills—or pulling pokey sticks and grass out of my clothes. That’s ok. But every so often, even for just a few seconds, I’ll surrender to the joyous momentum of living and laughing like a child.

last : Joy Is | Joy : next

it doesn’t take being president

Music refuels,
while noise

I remembered this
when a post I’d
forgotten I’d
went live

it is everywhere.

I want
to make

So I will
make some
music, speaking not
of what depletes me,
but singing what
brings me joy,
and fills me

that’s this guy
named Bernie,
who turned
upside down
I knew
politics. Read more…

Music, the opposite of noise

I’ve recently learned the difference between noise and music.

“Noise” is something I experience almost every waking moment of every day. While some of it is auditory, my other senses are constantly bombarded as well: by motion and color, by fragrances sweet or repugnant, by the shuffle of objects and children around me.

Once upon a time, my ancestors knew primarily those noises native to their environments and clans. Their senses got glorious breaks I can barely even fathom today, in a world where I am reachable at all hours by text message, phone call, email, and snail mail … before I’ve even reached my office, with its own messaging, phone, email, and snail mail beacons.

I know noise intimately these days, but I only recently became acquainted with its opposite: music.


The day I bought a copy of Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, I also bought a book about Aaron Burr. I read a few pages at home. I was taken aback by the book’s aggressive tone, and so set it aside in favor of reading Alexander Hamilton.

"Oh, Deefy. You take such silly pictures." -- my husband, today

Read more…

Categories: Books, history, Music Tags: , , , ,

I will only hear “no” when I want to

“Rape is not about sex,”
instructors explained.
“It’s about power. It’s
about taking power.”

Taking power:
this violence

(If you will not
give me it, I
will seize it
from you.)

Bob: I need (to have sex with you/you to vote like me).

Ann: No, thanks. I know what I want, and it’s not that.

Bob: I told you what you have to do. Now do it. I need it.

Ann: No. No.

Bob: You won’t give it up? Fine, bitch. I’ll take it from you … because I’m bigger. And I can.

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