Saturday, September 14, 2013


I love those random conversations that one has with people they hardly know.

I had one of those today.

She talked about disappointing a friend- and the analogy she used was marvelous.

She said that it was like she was building a bridge across a ravine for her friend to cross over. Carefully placing planks in front of her feet for her to step on. Until she was bumped, and stumbled and missed a plank. And her friend stepped on emptiness- and fell.

And it wasn’t because she wasn’t willing to replace it, but because- for a moment- she didn’t have a good grasp. She was willing to crawl back up and restore the footing- but it was too late. And now her friend was hurt that that solid ground that she counted on wasn’t there. And now that trust was broken.

Believe me, I’ve been there- on both ends.

Counting on someone else to be that sure footing.

And being the one responsible for placing the planks.

I’ve repeated this scenario over and over in my life. And honestly, they both suck.

But it’s not because I don’t want to trust.

And it’s not because I am not trustworthy.

It’s because ultimately- someone will fail. Or disappoint. Or just not be there. 

It is inevitable.  

We (I) try to be superhuman. And I have tried to build that bridge myself.

 I still do.




And I fail. We all do.

And failing really bites. 

And as I thought about this conversation later in the day, I wondered about who really owns the placing of planks.

Maybe it’s not just one person’s sole responsibility to be ‘plankworthy.’

Maybe if both friends had a firm grasp on one end of each plank- then when one stumbled (as will always happen)- maybe the fall would be only a momentary stagger.

And of course, I’m not that na├»ve. Sometimes, there needs to be one who is stronger. One who takes over the bridge building for a time. A moment. Placing a few extra planks.  

It seems so simple, right?

And if it were, we all would have gotten it right. I would have gotten it right.

But it is. 

So complicatedly impossibly simple. 

To have faith that there is a dual grasp.  

To walk up and over this life with another person- friend or partner or child- knowing that each is strong enough to hold an end.

Knowing that bridges and ravines will be there.

And that there will always be a need for the placing of planks. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Just like teeth.

I've been thinking a lot about teeth lately.

Probably because I started doing Invisilign about 11 weeks ago- and I have this consistent reminder- right smack in my mouth.

Both of my sisters had 'real' braces when they were young. I was always a little jealous. Me? I was given a Popsicle stick and told to bite down on it to correct this one tooth that was a bit out of sorts.

It didn't work.

I have these top teeth that keep getting chipped. My dentist has filed them down a few times, but they still rub on the lowers and keep chipping. No one even notices. I do. I think I look like bugs bunny.

And my lower teeth are crowded. Not hugely. But enough.

It's pure vanity. I know this. Whatever.

So here I am 1/2 way into the treatment. And they are mostly a pain in the ass. My mouth is constantly dry, and I have a slight lisp.

When I first started, I (of course), decided that I was going to cut the entire treatment in half. My teeth would move at breakneck speed. I would wear the shit out of these things. The dentist said that you need to wear them 22 hours a day. I would wear them for 23.5 hours- only removing to eat solid stuff.

My dentist would be astounded and amazed. If anyone could do this, I could, right?

Yeah- not so much.

First- teeth are slow movers. Trying to move up to the next set of trays too early- well- just hurts.

Second- only taking them out for solid food is a really really bad idea. With my penchant for drinking coffee and red wine, they just get stained really fast. And no amount of brushing/peroxide/denture cleaner will clear it up. And oh golly do they start to smell. I'm talking bottom of a birdcage stink here. It's just plain nasty.

Third- don't even try to take a photo with these things in. I made the mistake of retaking my driver's licence picture and ended up looking a little like a serial killer.

And finally- no matter how hard you bite down on them, you won't get any faster results. My first two sets were totally shredded. My dentist hadn't seen this phenomenon before.

Leave it to me.

Of course there's a lesson here. There are several.

Life can be a slow mover. Trying to force along at breakneck speed just plain hurts. A lot.

Sometimes it is all bottom of a birdcage stink. Taking a break to drink coffee or a nice glass of red wine is a good thing.

And the serial killer look isn't exactly ideal.

And, of course- sometimes life just shreds you. At least for the first couple of rounds. But you learn to not bite down so hard, and relax your jaw- and your soul.

Yep- it is, after all, just like teeth.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I have just spent two days (so far) trying to put my daughter's trampoline together. The biggest takeaway she got from being on her spectacular Australian vacation was that she wanted a trampoline just like my friend had in her backyard.

Ok, she liked the kangaroos too.

And another friend was kind enough to give one to me. 


She did have a few words of advice. "You'll need two people." 

I ignored that. 

Here has been my process so far: 

First I just put all the outer rings together, knowing it was upside down, and that I would have to flip it once finished. 

Easier said than done. 

That thing is huge.

Then I realized that it was not only upside down, but backwards. 


That was day one. 

The next morning, I took it apart and tried it again. 

Somehow, the pieces were not fitting together well, so I took all the supports off to try to puzzle it (i.e.- force it) together. 

Big mistake. 

Hammer, twist, turn, curse, hammer some more, take apart again- and more cursing. 

I finally stepped back and realized that there was a pattern to it. Long piece, connector, short piece, long connector, etc. 

Dumb ass. 

A couple more hours of twisting, hammering, starting over- a spectacular display of cursing. 

Finally, the pattern worked, and I now have a perfect circle. 

Just the springs and the jumpy thing to go.

But I was sweating like a pig- and cranky- and very very smelly. 

I intentionally went and took a shower and put on my pj's. 

The rest will come easy tomorrow. 

Yeah- right. 

Once again, this tramp becomes a metaphor for life and relationships. 


In my life, I generally try to do everything at once- and by myself if I can. 

And I have also mostly tended to ignore even the wisest words of advice. 

And I also tend not to read instructions very well. I dive in usually with both feet, and put whatever it is together. If it doesn't fit, i hammer, and twist and curse, and hammer some more. 

And I usually try to finish whatever it is up to its conclusion all at once.  

And it usually takes me a good long while to realize that there is generally a pattern. And that unless you have the right pattern, things won't fit exactly like they should. They may hammer together, but ultimately, they won't make the perfect circle that you are striving for. 

My relationships have been similar- both the long and short ones. 

I dive in with both feet- try to hammer it together- ignore the wise advice of friends and family- and take a while to realize that there is generally a pattern. 

Sometimes the pieces are too long, or too short- or the springs don't fit. And all the hammering, twisting and cursing in the world won't fix it. 

Sometimes the pattern is all mine. 

Sometimes it isn't. 

And sometimes the pattern emerges as the relationship progresses- or doesn't. 

And sometimes the perfect circle you are striving for will never be there. 

And sometimes it's just best to go inside and put on your pj's. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Paying attention to simple things.

I'm halfway around the world.

Amazing to be here, and I feel so lucky to be traveling with my daughter and father, and visiting my friend/college roommate and her family. It's been way too long.

I was told before I left to pay attention to the simple things while I'm here. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the big- sights, sounds, adventures. Harder to pay attention to the smaller experiences.

But I have been.

Like watching my daughter and her grandpa chatting and laughing together while she jumps on the trampoline.

And seeing beautiful colors of the fruit and veggies at the central market.

And the feeling the softness inside a kangaroo's pouch.

And listening to the sea while walking with my friend and her not so tiny puppy.

And the smell of a freshly brewed cup of fru-fru coffee.

And hearing the cool cadence of the oh so kind australians.

And chatting about old times, and new- and generally just goofing off.

And paying attention to my heart- and realizing that I'm finding myself on the other side of a really challenging summer.

It has been great- and so short- but just right all the same.

I'm so thankful to have had this time with my family and my friend and her family.

I wouldn't change a minute of this experience.

It has been so simple.

And I've been paying attention.

Thursday, August 15, 2013



I use it a lot when I'm home, and it's great.

But I'm visiting my family in my hometown this week, and I know this place.

It's not that complicated- a couple of highways, streets that make sense, follow the sea. I know it like the back of my hand.

But I've gotten lost twice so far. Stubbornly refusing to use the GPS handily provided to me by my IPhone.

I can find my way- no sweat.

Left here- right there- through the orchards, past the farmlands.

What the fuck?

Nine miles astray and I succumb to the GPS.

A little deflated that I need assistance. And pissed that my intuition is wrong.

I don't need the GPS for the whole trip- just to get me back on track.

Now I'm golden.

Careening, once again, down the life's lesson highway- I realize that these two experiences are a metaphor for where I am right now.

I falsely believe that my intuition (solely) can guide me, and that I will find the right path.

But I'm wrong. And I'm a little deflated and pissed about it.

I need GPS to get me on the right path. *sigh*

Friends, family, good reads, my therapist, other guides, and sometimes complete strangers are here to help to guide me in the right direction.

And I need to stop fighting against it, and embrace the sometimes not so subtle nudges.

Left here- right there- through the orchards and past the farmlands- follow the sea.

To wherever it is this life I am intended to be.

Yes- as much as I hate to admit it-

I need the GPS.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Making space for a little soul.

I've done a lot of work on myself these past few weeks.

House remodel, new job, getting in touch with my spiritual side.

blah blah blah.

And I was reminded the other day that I need to make some space for my daughter, and focus some concerted attention on her and her well being.

She has been experiencing a lot of anxiety these days- and I'm certain it's my fault.

For sure, my responsibility.

You see, I have been so focused on my own stuff that I have not paid attention.

And I'm pretty pissed at myself for that.

But I've learned some important lessons from my counselors/teachers that I think will help.

In fact, they have already:
  • De-clutter and clean- I have purged a lot of my own stuff- but not much of hers. and her room was a mess! I've spit cleaned and purged and organized. 
  • Let her have some creative energy in the house. She had talked about wanting to paint a wall in our house. I compromised and got a huge canvas for her to paint on. 
It now hangs prominently on our living room wall.

I may still let her paint a wall.

I probably will.
  • Create a calming environment that is fresh and ours.  That means finishing up this house remodel which hopefully will be done by the end of the week. 
  • Take time just for her. Being self employed really helps. I get to spend extra time with her doing things she loves- swimming, play dates, painting, watching movies. 
  • Let my primary relationship for now be her. This means not entering into any kind of relationship right now. 
Good advice- for both of us.
  • Love her up. This is the most important thing for the both of us. Sending her love and light. Expressing our feelings. And lots of hugs. 
Things aren't perfect, but they are getting much much better.

She is less anxious already and I can tell she is starting to feel a sense of peace.

And she digs her clean room.

More to do.

But ultimately, its about making space for a little soul.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Soul work.

Any good strategic plan has all of its parts balanced into a cohesive and concise document. One that is a living, breathing guide. One that will guide the institution or organization forward in an intentional and thoughtful way. 

I've been approaching my life in very much this same way these days.  

For me (in both work and life) I tend to examine all of the different moving parts together all at once and then parse out what is useful and discard what is not. 

I have discovered those parts of my personal strategic plan that are important and have been letting go of those parts that have not been working for me.

This hasn't been easy. Change is hard.

But I think I've nailed it- at least for now. 

And for me, it starts with balance.

If you would have asked me a few months ago how I found balance in my life, I would have just looked at you cockeyed and smiled. Balance was something that was a myth- something that you had after you retired. 

There was simply no time- with having a child, and work, and activities, and other responsibilities.

But I was missing it. Big time.

Once I left my full time job, my life opened up in a way that I have not experienced before. 

Suddenly I had time to seek balance. I had time to spend time with my daughter, time to organize my house, and time to really put thought and effort into my work passion.

And I have discovered that in order for me to have balance, I must have these things:
  • Time for my family, specifically my daughter;
  • Time for my friends;
  • Time alone;
  • Time to do those things that bring me joy- writing, reading, playing my guitar, spending time outdoors;
  • Time to take care of my physical self; 
  • Time to be near or at the water; and
  • Time to nurture my spiritual self- through prayer, medidation, reading, and listening to my spiritual counselors/teachers.  
This new chapter in my life has given me space to find the balance I need as I put together my own life's living breathing strategic plan. 

And I think I'm on a good path. My business has some good clients, and several more on the horizon. 

I feel healthy and clear about my current journey and, well, balanced.

But the truth is that this is more than finding balance and developing a good, personal strategic plan.  

Ultimately- this is soul work. 

Friday, June 21, 2013


OK- I'm officially Slowing. Way. Down. And I'm at home- in Ventura, spending some much needed time with my father. It's been too long, and I need this. And him.

And he cracks me up. He's not the greatest housekeeper. His philosophy on, for example, cleaning the toilet is "well, we're just going to crap in it anyway, so why bother?" He has the same thoughts on locking his car door. He kind of has a point, although I won't adopt those life mantras.

And here's our conversation following the drive home (and a pit stop at In 'n Out Burger):

Me: I forgot my bathing suit, so need to go to Target.
Dad: OK, keys are on the table.
(about an hour later)
Me: I've got the bathing suit, so now I'm going to go for a drive along the beach. That OK?
Dad: Sure.
Me: I'm not sure when I'll be back. 
Dad:  OK, see you whenever.

I love that man.

A couple of hours later,  I come back with Starbucks in hand, flowers for my dad's makeshift alter for my mom, and we are now sitting down to watch ultra liberal TV. Maybe I'll go out later. And he'll just pass over the keys again.

More importantly, home is a healing space for me. It wasn't always like that. I used to find home oppressive and couldn't wait to leave. And I rarely came home once I left. But then I hadn't found myself yet. And I had no clue who I was. And I was angry at my parents. For being emotionally distant- for drinking too much- for fighting.

And my sisters were pissed at me for leaving. For a long time.

I think they have forgiven me. And I've forgiven my parents. Because I (and they) have found ourselves.

And now I come to this space for rest. And for love. And for healing. And I will spend time with myself, playing my guitar, and swimming, and walking on the beach, and reading, and thinking about my future.

And I will relish in walking with my sister along the shore, and getting pedi's, and eating ice cream at the harbor.

And I will cherish this time with my father- watching liberal TV and pocketing his car keys.

Because I'm home.

Monday, June 17, 2013

First day free.

Today was my first day free. And it was. Totally free. 

I spent the first part of my day in my pj's- putzing around the house- my dad would be proud- he is an excellent putzer. 

I went to my 'office' (Starbucks), the hardware store, installed countertops, and put cabinets together. 

More putzing. 

And I did some work on my new LLC. I never realized how much there is to do around this kind of thing- update the website (not live yet), register my LLC and trade name, create the LLC, order checks/credit cards, and make my first appointment with a new client. WOWZERS. Definitely not putzing. 

And then I took a nap. A good one-drool and all. 

And my day was fantastic. Truly. I was energized with my work, and excited about the future. And filled with this sense of abundance. And freedom.

More putzing to come in the next weeks. 

And more freedom.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Falling together.

My therapist told me today that you have to fall apart first in order to fall together. There is a lot of truth in that. At least for me. In our session, I talked with her about the enormous changes currently unveiling themselves to me- house remodel, quitting my job, starting a new venture, travel plans, more tattoos... Basically embracing life and finally living.

And during our conversation, she reminded me of where I have been in my past- afraid to take risks, petrified to let go, battling with depression and lack of confidence. My divorce, losing a parent, being fired from a job, struggling with parenting.

Then there was my back.

Yes, I fell apart. Big time. 

And I'm grateful for those experiences. Because each hurt, each struggle, each letting go meant that I could say goodbye to those pieces that didn't fit, and pick up a new shiny piece of me. 

And it feels incredible. And freeing. And maybe I will find more shiny pieces along the way- a piece that allows me to love again, a piece that lets me walk through this life with wonder and joy, and a piece that allows me to revel in my friends and family and new opportunities. 

So yes, I guess the falling apart does need to happen. 

Because I'm loving this falling together. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mid life crisis.

A colleague at work says that I am having "the best mid life crisis EVER!"  I think she's probably right.

In the last few months I've bought a new bike, a new car, remodeled my bathroom, started on my kitchen remodel, gotten at tattoo, quit my job, dated a girl and broke up with that same girl. Ok- That last bit still kind of stings. 

My sister thinks I've gone mad. My other sister has these few words of wise advice: 

"Stop. It. Now!!!" 

Dont worry- I'll slow down pretty soon. But it's true. If ever there was to be a mid life crisis- I'm well into the throws of one. 

It could be menopause. Or grief. Or truly- maybe just madness. 

But I've just decided to live my life to the fullest extent possible and let the universe be my guide. My psychic friend has told me that I have a strong ability to manifest what I want in this life. And I'm trusting that she is correct. 

I think she is. And I don't know what is next. But I do know that I will have time to spend the summer with my daughter, travel, continue with remodeling my house, spend time with my family and friends, play my guitar, write, date, and cherish this amazing gift I have been given- life. 

The universe will work itself out- and I will be fine. 

So- sis- for now, I'm just going to ignore your otherwise sage advice. 

"Stop. It. Now!!" 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Jesus saves.

Jesus saves. I should know. He saved me three times. Once as a teenager at Camp Tecuya with a Good News Bible in one hand and a "you're going to hell" cassette in the other. Once at a Billy Graham crusade. And the last time when I was 24 and baptized Lutheran by Pastor Rebecca alongside Joey Dooley. I'm pretty Sure He'd do it again if I let him.

I'm also sure that, in His Birkenstocks and linen robes, He was not a big fan of hanging on to unnecessary stuff. 

I've been doing a lot of purging lately. Old photos (thank you Google Drive), jewelry, clothes, furniture, kitchen items, tools, shoes. Old texts, emails, contacts. I've "unfriended" Facebook people who I no longer need in my life. I've even reset my Roku, Netflix and Amazon passwords. Whatever. Anything that is, in my mind, not worth hanging onto or that is reminiscent of the "old me." There is something brilliant and freeing about it. Really. 

And I've saved some stuff too. Coins collected from my mother and grandparents, sea shells, sentimental pieces of costume jewelry and good friends. 

I've even begun remodeling my bathroom. What started out as a really bad mood blossomed into a total gut. New tub, sink, fixtures, tile.  I had originally intended to salvage some stuff but as I went on, it went too. The bathroom mirror- vent- vanity light. So yes, the towel rings are nearly exactly the same as the old ones. But they had to go. I did keep the toilet and the back shower wall in its original brick (the jury is still out on that one though). But, for me, it ultimately is about starting over and beginning fresh. 

I'll save some stuff. And I'll continue to get rid of that which doesn't work for me anymore. 

So yes, Jesus saves. 

But I'm pretty sure He was a fan of the purging too. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Happy Mothers Day- part deaux.

I started this blog a year ago on Mothers Day (ish) and it feels fitting to somehow now come back full circle.

And, it was intended to be about parenting. Particularly- parenting from a "two mommy" perspective. Those kinds of things don't exist in a really meaningful way. At least not for me.

But it evolved into a means for me to work out what has been in my head- and my heart. And a wee bit about the kid. So the title kinda fits- but not in the way that I originally intended.

It has been a whirlwind of a couple of years. I won't go into details- I've already done that. And I've come out the other side. And then some. 

I've moved through lots of stuff- grief, anger, joy, insecurity, pure silliness and wild laughter- to a place that I can only describe as abundance and gratitude. Abundance in my heart and my space in this life, and gratitude that I have had this amazing opportunity to move through the hardest that life has had to offer... and I am still standing... and looking forward to whatever is next. And grateful that I know now that I am stronger than I have ever been. And less lonely. Partially because I have embraced the love from my friends, and partially because I finally have found a pretty darn good BFF- me. 

And I'm so very grateful for my daughter. I'm constantly in awe of her. She is strong and confident and just a little bit sassy. And she's getting ready to start the second grade next fall. And she still has some stuff to learn. But hell, don't we all?

As I try to find the words to really express what I  know to be true, and what I want my daughter to know as she moves through this clusterfuck of a life, I keep coming back to the words of Sarah Kay- a spoken word poet. She says it better than I ever could- so I will let her. 

"B" by Sarah Kay

If I should have a daughter,
instead of "mom," she's gonna call me "Point B."

Because that way she knows no matter what happens

at least she can always find her way to me.

And I'm going to paint the solar systems on the backs of her hands.

So that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say
"Oh, I know that like the back of my hand."

And she's gonna learn that this life will hit you.
In the face.
Wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach.

But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs

how much they like the taste of air.

There is hurt here
that cannot be fixed
by band-aids or poetry.

So the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn't coming,
I'll make sure she knows she doesn't have to wear the cape
all by herself.

Cause no matter how wide you stretch your fingers,
your hands will always be too small to catch 
all the pain you want to heal.

Believe me.

I've tried.

"And, baby," I'll tell her,
"Don't keep your nose up in the air like that.
I know that trick;
I've done it a million times.

You're just smelling for smoke,
so you can follow the trail back to a burning house,
so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire,
to see if you can save him.

Or else,
find the boy who lit the fire in the first place 
to see if you can change him."

But I know she will anyway,
so, instead, I'll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby.

Because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can't fix.

Okay...there's a few heartbreaks that chocolate can't fix,
but that's what the rain boots are for.

Because rain will wash away everything,
if you let it.

I want her
to look at the world
through the underside of a glass bottom boat.

To look with a microscope at the galaxies that exist
on the pinpoint of a human mind.

that's the way my mom taught me.

That there'll be days like this.
There'll be days like this my mama said.

When you open your hands to catch
and wind up with only blisters and bruises.

When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly
and the very people you want to save
are the ones standing on your cape.

When your boots will fill with rain,
and you'll be up to your knees in disappointment,
and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say "Thank You."

Cause there's nothing more beautiful

than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline
no matter how many times it's sent away.

You will put the wind in winsome...lose some.

You will put the star in starting over. And over.

And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute
make sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And, yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am
pretty damn naive. 

But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar.

It can crumble so easily but don't be afraid to stick your tongue out
and taste it.

"Baby," I'll tell her,
"Remember your mama is a worrier
and your papa is a warrior. 

And you are the girl with small hands and big eyes
who never stops asking for more."

"Remember that good things come in threes do bad things."

And, "Always apologize when you've done something wrong.

But don't you ever apologize for the way your eyes
refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small
but don't ever stop singing."

And when they finally hand you heartache,
when they slip war and hatred under your door, 
and offer you hand outs on street corners
of cynicism and defeat,
you tell them that they
really oughtta meet
your mother.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Civil... finally.

Civil Unions passed in Colorado today and it on its way to the Governor for signature. And after I wrapped my head around it, I started to cry… and I just haven’t stopped. Crying on the other side of the furious cry last year when it failed in a ridiculous display of legislative nonsense. Crying because this matters.

Honestly- I have never really cared about civil unions or marriage. In my opinion marriage belongs in the church, away from state politics and constitutions. Marriage is a faith based choice, and should remain so. And civil unions was this thing that would never happen anyway, so why pay attention?

And then I started to pay attention- because I am a mother. And because I realized that civil unions brings with it privileges and responsibilities to our children. The responsibility to care for our kids, and have the protections that all children should always have.

When my partner and I broke up, that became clear. We were kind to each other, and made careful plans for the care of our daughter, but had no responsibility or obligation to do so. And that, I realized early last year, was crazy.

And now I have a choice… and a responsibility. A choice that I can avail myself to… or not. A choice to fall in love and have it matter- not just to my friends and family, but to this larger community. A choice to have my daughter participate in this community too and be protected and recognized… regardless of what happens to her parents. And that is an awesome and overwhelming responsibility that I suddenly share with everyone else.

So, yes- I have been crying. And yes, this matters.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Triple d.

People these days have been asking me how I have lost weight.

It’s not a big secret. I tell them I’ve been on the “Triple D” diet-Death- Divorce-Disc.

Death of a parent- Divorce from my spouse of over 13 years-Herniated Disc, with ensuing surgery from which I’m stillrecovering.

I've said before that these past couple of years have pretty much sucked. And I’ve lost my appetite. More than an appetite for food (although that has been there), but my appetite for living. I've hunkered down to take care of the necessities... and, frankly, not a whole lot more. So I've lost weight. And part of that weight has included a temporarily misplaced bit of me.

It hasn’t been all bad. All in all, I find myself lucky to be surrounded by amazing friends, supportive family, a beautiful daughter...finally healthy, healing my body, and emerging from the world that has knocked me for an ass-kicking loop. But still…

And don't fret- this blog isn’t about throwing myself a raging pity party. Been there. Done that. And I have a trophy, thank you.

This is about finding myself suddenly starving. My appetite has returned with a vengeance... and it's time.


I find myself wanting. Wanting for "stuff" and wanting for more than that...

The stuff:

I want a new car, new clothes, a new couch, a new bed and a deep delicious soaking bathtub with a wine rack (and a big fat influx of cash to make that happen, please).

The more than that:

I want my friends (old and new) and family to know how much they are loved and cherished, and how they have been a gift to me in my most difficult moments. And I want them to be sick of me telling them so.

I want to embrace my inner spirit and harness that which is so much bigger than me.

I want to feel it all... joy... grief... wonder... rage...

I want the inside me to match the outside me... seamlessly...

I want to have my dream job... or at least make this one that.

I want to laugh... a lot.

I want to take risks... and be knocked down... shake it off... and get back up again.

I want to continue to revel in my daughter and be a witness to the wonderful human soul she is becoming.

I want to stop worrying about when the other shoe will drop. Because it will… and I have a spare.

I want to love and be loved. And I want to be in toe curling, mind-numbing love- just once more.

I want to travel more- and worry less- and approach this life with wild abandon.

I want to be thankful. And I want to acknowledge this life as such a gift.

And I want to look back at these past couple of years... bless them... be thankful that they taught me important lessons.. and kiss them the hell goodbye.

So Triple D 2.0 starts now...Dare… Dream… Delight.

I may put on a couple of pounds... but this is going to be fun.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's perfect.

My daughter’s 1st grade teacher, Mrs. W., had a parent volunteer project. Seemed easy enough. Make play dough molds of the continents.

Requirements: make the play dough (salt, flour, water), use supplied mold, press into form, let dry for 2 days, bring completed continents (six of them) to school for firsties to paint for the completion of their mapping unit.

Piece of cake.

I was the first to volunteer.  


So my daughter and I set out to make these creations. Started on Friday. Despite the use of an ample amount of cooking spray, they just don’t release like they should… and the first one is a little squished on one side. No big deal. Five more to go- next ones will look better.

Four down and I run out of salt.

Now we’re looking at exactly forty six hours to dry- assuming we get to the store and back by 10 the next morning and get them done.

We finally finish by noon. Forty-four hours of dry time. Cutting it really close. And, they don’t exactly look up to par, in my opinion.

Sunday evening and now I’m panicking. They are not drying like they should, and they are beginning to crack in places.

What the hell?

This is not turning out like I planned at all, and I am failing my daughter. So I decide to bake them- slowly. And they are continuing to crack. I decide to leave the rest as is. 


There’s nothing I can do now. They are what they are, and I don’t have the time to make them over. I feel like I’ve completely failed at my first volunteer activity. Not to mention destroying my daughters mapping unit. They will never be able to navigate the world now, and she’s never going to get to college.


So, I take my cracked, damp molds to school on Monday and gingerly spread them out below the windowsill in the classroom. Thank god Mrs. W. is not there yet. I send her an apologetic email indicating that they are not what I had hoped, and they are not completely dry- but if the kids use enough paint, they might be OK. I swear to her that I will do better the next time. I’m embarrassed and feel like a complete failure. She’s going to be pissed and disappointed and never ask me to volunteer again. 

That Mrs. W. sends me a one line email that says: “Thank you so much! They are perfect!”

I swear to you my heart just sang.

For all of my worry and panic and failings, these were (at least in her eyes) perfect. No wonder my daughter adores her. I do too. And I know that this is just the way she sees the world. The effort and the time and the dedication- regardless of the end product- is perfect

And I, of course, careen down the “life’s lessons” highway:  

So little in my life is perfect, nor has it been for a long time.

I am constantly cataloging my faults: my inability to keep up with the laundry and keep my house as clean as it should be- my lack of social life- my parenting skills- my failure as a friend- my job performance- my clothes, my weight, my physical condition... 

I could go on and on- and I do- often. 

I am cracked, and squished and not yet dry.

And I know that if I could just take one moment and look at myself through the lens of Mrs. W., I would realize that the effort that I have put into my life is worth something. That the journey to where I am going is just that- a journey. And that, ultimately, my own mapping exercise will teach me to navigate my world.    

Yes, I am cracked, and squished and I’m not sure when I’ll ever be dry.


It’s perfect.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012


My daughter started 1st grade this week. 1st grade outside of the protected bubbled environment of a private Montessori into a public, non protected, non bubbled school environment. She has been nervous. I have been too… probably more so.

When my daughter was born, I had one goal that guided my every waking moment- I had to keep her alive. It was as simple as that. Feed her- vigilantly watch her breathe at night- google everything. I worried excessively about her weight, her color, those obtuse little rashes… I kept track of each of her developmental milestones… and wondered constantly if I was doing a good job… and if I was a good mother.

And I don’t worry about keeping her alive anymore. I worry about other things. I worry that she’s not strong enough to ward off the bullies. I worry that she’s been too protected and insulated. I worry that she won’t fit in.  I worry that public school will not challenge her enough. And I still worry about being a good mother.

And the truth is that she will thrive as a 1st grader. She will love her new teacher, and the bigger classrooms, and the hot lunches, and the hoards of other kids. She will make new friends, and swing, and play on the bars, and laugh and grow.

She will continue to learn to read, and do math, and wonder about the world we live in.

She will do fine.

And I’m so very proud of her.

And although I don’t Google as much as I used to, I still worry. That’s my job… that will always be my job.   

Because I AM a good mother…

And I'm still nervous... 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Good Grief.

So, I decided to get a “check up” from my therapist. It’s been awhile since the break up and the big move and I needed some affirmation that I was headed in the right direction. Just a little “atta girl… you are doing fantastic… pat on the back for you… and call if you need anything.”

Epic underestimation. I should have known.  

You know you are in trouble when in the course of an hour you discuss co-dependence, boundaries, grief and self-esteem.


“What I want from you” I plead “is for you to listen to my words, give me some strategies, and send me the hell out of here.”

“Yeah... not so much… we have some work to do… I’ll see you next week.”


In the past few years, I’ve experienced my fair share of loss. Loss of a job, loss of a parent, loss of a relationship and loss of time with my daughter. And on any one of those stress level scales, I have hit the jackpot.   

All of those things have caused grief, and all of those things I have survived. 

I have, I think, done OK. Not perfect, but OK. I’ve allowed myself the requisite amount of mourning, managed to continue to go to work, been a better parent, and basically taken care of all the “to-do’s” that life requires. I joined a gym, lost some weight, made some new friends, and have even gone on a few (disastrous) dates. 

All of that moving in the right direction. Right?  

But I still have grief—profound and awkward grief.  And one that doesn’t line up with the timelines of regular bad stuff that has happened. And it’s really pissing me off.

It’s that grief over losing myself. Or at least that self that I used to be. 

As complicated as it was, I knew how to be in my past lives. I knew how to love and be loved. I knew how to manage my home and my responsibilities. I knew how to be a parent in an intact family. 

And I knew how to nurture and breed my own insecurities—how to take on other people’s emotions—how to intervene and “fix”—and how to take the blame. And when push came to shove, I knew how to do that which I have expertise—how to check out.

And now, all of those things that I was sure of are not so much so. 

And now there is a big blank open space sitting there that I can’t seem to fill up. 

And as hard as I have tried, I can’t seem to check out. 

Not this time.   

Some people would be thrilled at the prospect of starting over and re-inventing their lives.

I’m terrified.

I am not, and never have been, good at being vulnerable and out of control. And this, quite frankly, feels like a free-fall into an abyss with no ropes.

Call it lack of self-esteem—fear of change—lack of spiritual or mental strength—inability to trust—or downright cowardice.


All I know is that I don’t quite know how to get there from here. I want a manual with step by step instructions. I’ll even take one written in Ikea—I don’t care. Just give me something—anything—that doesn’t require a big fat scary leap and a whole lot of pain.

Something that tells me that it’s OK to feel unsure and grieve for now—and that doesn’t make me crazy or dysfunctional.

Something that lets me acknowledge my past mistakes and make better choices in the future.

Something that tells me that I will get there and it will be better.  

And something that assures me that where I am now is exactly the place that I’m supposed to be- painful and awkward and terrifying as it is. 

For the record, my therapist is “excited” about this next chapter in my journey.

I think it’s going to blow.

And I’ll see you next week.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Real 1st dates.

I can honestly count the number of "real" first dates I've had on one hand (and a thumb). And by real, I mean those dates where you don't really know the person (if at all). I don't say that to illicit pity- I've had lots of dates, and great love in my life. But now in my forty (ish) years, and finding myself suddenly single, I'm just realizing how incredibly inexperienced I am in this new world, and it mostly sucks. And those real first dates have been mostly disastrous.

Let's start with the boys.

There was Larry Ling (real name), who I went to some formal dance with in college. With his blonde afro, powder blue ruffled tuxedo and me in my Gunne Sax dress recycled from my high school prom (hey, it was the 80's- they are vintage now. *sigh*). I had a lousy time. To his credit, however, he worked for a local beverage distributor, and I did get several cases of diet Pepsi out of the deal.

Then there was Adam the Frenchman, who I met on the beach in southern California (also during college- when I was thin and tan). He had that accent that I immediately fell for, and lavished attention on me. Honestly, I think I was more flattered that this exotic guy was paying attention to me, more than really attracted to him. My roommate at the time IMPLORED me not to go out with him (which was odd, because she had absolutely no scruples then, and was a terrible influence on me. Again, I stress then- she's now all corporate and boring). Still I went. And on the way to some random restaurant I lost one of my contact lenses and spent the evening in this weird, dizzying, blind state (which was complicated by one too many saki’s). This was not good, because this was way before cell phones (and I think even cordless phones), so I couldn't call anyone for back up lenses or for general rescuing. Turns out he just wanted to have his way with me on the beach, and I was just too stupid to have figured that out beforehand. My roommate was right.

And then there was Woody, who was just as charming as his name suggests. I've mostly just blocked him out.

The rest of my 'boy' dates throughout my early years were with friends, or guys in my classes, or boyfriends of friends (which I’m still sorry for, by the way) or gay men. None spectacular (obviously), but fine. And when it turned out that I was gay (duh), my relationships were with those women that I fell in love with- slowly through friendships and agonizing self-discovery. I've been lucky to have had two such long term loves in my life.

Suffice it to say that my last real first date was a long long time ago.

Now I'm back in that world and have decided to try online dating. What a joke.

I've had three "dates." Each mostly horrifying.

The first I met for lunch (and I’m leaving out the names here because they live in my same state, and it just seems safer this way). She looked nothing like her profile picture and we had nothing in common. When I joked that what I really wanted was a drink, she, in all seriousness said: “but it’s not even Friday.” I should have just walked away. When lunch was finally over, we said our goodbyes and went on our way. I was more than just a little indignant that she didn’t even bother to text or email to say “thanks” (truthfully, I had no intention of doing it either), but I was even more pissed that she apparently deleted her entire profile after having lunch with me (it could be, I was reminded later, that she just blocked me). Whatever.

Then there was the Buddhist-Reiki therapist- bus riding- free-university massage therapist student- intuitive. None of those things, I should mention, are problematic by themselves- I am open to all kinds of possibilities- but mix in a little mental instability and low intelligence and it’s a crazy cake waiting to be baked. Fail.

And finally, there was my latest. Truly nice enough, and attractive (but I should mention that she also looked nothing like her profile picture- there should be a rule). Met in a decent restaurant for breakfast way out in the suburbs, and we had fairly good conversation. Up until the moment when she mentioned a story about her childhood that she “wasn’t going to tell right now.” I suspect, however, that it had something to do with the 28 year old girlfriend that she had when she was 14. It had middle school teacher (or for our people, gym coach) scandal written all over it. Crap.   

So here I am trying to figure out what path I should travel down. Should I continue to explore the “real first date” scene?

I’m thinking hell no… I’ve had much more success in the clueless stumbling, and I prefer it, thank you.

But here’s the problem- I have surrounded myself with mostly straight and/or taken friends. And they are fantastic. They are like a huge Snuggie wrapped around me keeping me safe and warm, providing endless encouragement, laughing at my stupid jokes, graciously tolerating my needy texts/emails and pretending not to know how extremely vulnerable and insecure I really am. All while keeping my wine glass filled. 

Honestly, I would date any of them. They are all beautiful and smart and talented and wonderfully irreverent and I love them dearly. I would love to seamlessly slip into the kind of relationship that I’ve always had with any of them. And did I mention that they are all straight and/or taken?

And perhaps that’s the lesson that they are here to teach me. That I can’t do that very thing that makes me the most comfortable anymore. That I have a different lesson to learn this time around.  That it’s time for me to step out and be a brave grown-up girl and experience a different side of life and try to make the most of more real first dates. That it’s time to be able to count dates on the rest of my fingers and toes.


But they had better have a glass of wine waiting, because mostly, it still sucks.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


They say that the best way to solve a weed problem is to get them by their roots. Really dig down deep, and pull them up where they start. And then do some "preventative maintenance" and install a good weed barrier.

Rinse. Repeat.

It’s a cinch when it’s rained the night before- mostly. They generally come up pretty easy- except for those insidious broad leafed ones that spread like wildfire, and whose roots are like an aspen grove. And it’s even more of a pain when your front yard is rock, and the weeds grow in between. But you still try to get em. And those that come up instantly are very very satisfying.

But those with the deep roots are a pain, and no matter how hard you pull, dig and will them out of the ground, they just stay stuck. And sometimes it’s hot. And sometimes you’re just tired. And sometimes there's a really good Lifetime movie beckoning.

So you take the easy way out and lop them off. As close to the roots as possible and enough so they are hidden by the neighbors. But you know full well that they will come back with a vengeance.
It's good for now. And those weeds won't kill you. You also know that it's going to be harder when they come back again.  You've calculated the risks and know the consequences.

It's the same with kids.

Sometimes those lessons that you try to instill are as easy as wet soil and a good yank. Brush your teeth, put your shoes in your closet, choose your own clothes, three books and bed, be kind to others. And you know full well when you're being played... no, those puppy dog eyes won't get you an extra dessert... no, that whine is not your ticket to an extra cartoon... yes, I know that dance is hilarious, but you still can't play with the I Phone… and ouch, that pinch in protest is still not getting you out of taking a bath.

But sometimes it’s just harder to get at the roots. That obvious conning to get more free time. That sneaking of the extra several M&M’s. That raging tantrum accompanied with flying objects and “you’re not my mommy anymore.” That sobbing devastation at the refusal to read yet another book.

You know that not tackling the behavior right now will result in it being more difficult the next time.

But still you cave.

You give the extra time, knowing you’ll be late. You pretend you didn’t see the candy lifting. You crack open one (or two) more books. And you reward the sobbing with cuddles and hugs.

You promise (again) to be stronger next time. To conscientiously install that protective barrier and finally stop the spread… on another day.

Besides, it’s hot, and I'm tired, and there's a really good Lifetime movie on.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming out straight.

We tried... we really did.

I've heard it said many times... and the science is clear... gay parents breed gay kids. Perfect! We would raise a little baby dyke just like her mommies.

Before she was born, we painted her room in gender neutral colors (sea and sand), purchased mostly yellow and blue clothing, pledged a not-so-silent vow against Barbie, and looked forward to raising our little girl in our image.

We had plans... big plans. We would indoctrinate her immediately. We would surround her in the subversive gay culture, give her early exposure to Glee, shop at J.C. Penny's, unabashedly hawk Thin Mints, and fill her head with the music of the Indigo Girls, Michelle Malone and K.D. Lang.

Hell, we were even hoping that, one day, we would be able to walk her down the aisle into the waiting arms of her girlfriend, and send her off into the sunset in a U-Haul with a toaster oven and a tool belt.

Plus, she had both the genetic and the nurture thing going for her, right? 

But I'm afraid we've failed. Despite our best efforts, we think she is headed down the wrong path.

She's only five... but she has all the signs... her favorite drawings are of fairies and brides, she has a ton of Barbies, insists on a pink room with princesses, loves to shop for shoes, and (gasp) has a huge blushing crush on a boy in her school.

Oh, we still try to encourage her options. Shopping one day, she stopped dead in her tracks in front of a wedding gown display: "Mommy- that is the most beautiful dress I ever saw! I want to wear that in my wedding!"

"That is beautiful, honey," I urge. "You can wear that dress in any kind of wedding you want! You know, you can marry whomever you love, a boy or a girl."

And, with that incredulous, indignant glare, she responds: "I already told you Mommy, I am marrying a boy... now stop talking about it!"

We can still hope. But despite our best efforts, we're pretty sure that she's straight.

I guess we've known all along.

A mother always knows.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A free-er feeling Mother's Day.

Today is Mother's Day. And for many reasons, today feels different. Today is the day that I decided to scatter my mother's ashes... she passed away over a year ago. Today is my first Mother's Day in my new(er) house... without my daughter, who is at her other parent's house. And today is the first Mother's Day where my life is the topic of a national conversation on equality.

I am a mom, who is parenting an amazing, brilliant little girl with another mom (get the title now?). And this is my story of that journey into and through motherhood.

My partner and I had been together for about five or six years when we seriously began to have the conversation about having children. The plan was simple. She would have a child, and then a couple of years later, so would I. It does sound so simple, right? Seems like the natural progression of things... committed relationship, stable jobs, start a family...

And we jumped in with both feet. Began exploring donors, and setting up appointments with doctors, and... well, just dove. It was all very exciting...a time filled with possibilities and happiness.    

The simplicity wore off, and was replaced by just plain hard. Really hard. Infertility treatments, multiple miscarriages, surgeries, and finally (three years later) the realization that my partner had no problem getting pregnant, she just was finding a pregnancy difficult to maintain. Without much conversation (a decision that we both will always regret), we decided that she would stop trying and I would begin to try to conceive. And I eventually did... and we had our daughter.

From a lesbian parenting perspective, we did everything "right" prior to her arrival. We signed medical and financial powers of attorney, ensured that our beneficiaries were each other, co-owned property, and even petitioned a judge to have each of our names listed on our daughter's birth certificate. We anointed ourselves "mommy" (that's me) and "mama," read (okay, skimmed) parenting books, and had spectacular baby showers thrown by amazing friends. We had discussions about the importance of speaking Spanish in the home, (mostly) organic foods, having male influences in her life, and the roles of our respective biological families. It was decided that I would stay home for at least three months, and then we would have a nanny until she went to kindergarten when she was five.

And, in retrospect, I still think that we mostly held true to our intentions. Our little girl will be entering first grade next year. Mama speaks as much Spanish to her as possible. We have wonderfully supportive friends (both male and female... gay and straight). She spends as much time as practical with both sides of the family. She is a happy, healthy, smart little girl with a great sense of humor, dance moves to envy, and good friends embroiled in lots of five-year-old drama. She is the center of our lives and neither mama nor I would change any of the joy that she has brought into our lives.

But there was lots that we didn't talk about as we prepared for, and embarked on this journey of parenting. We didn't talk about the still present grief over my partner's original attempts at becoming pregnant. We didn't' talk about what our roles would be as parents (in heterosexual relationships, that part is generally assumed). We didn't talk about co-sleeping, or the length of breastfeeding, or weather or not to use the whole cry-it-out method. We didn't have a back up plan when the first nanny decided to go back to school (followed by the second who did the same, followed by the third who got pregnant). We didn't talk about the impact of losing and changing jobs, or losing parents, or just the plain old boring duties of maintaining a household.

But mostly, we didn't talk about the people that we were and who we were becoming in these new roles as parents... as mothers... and as partners. 

And in the end, those things that we didn't talk about were those things that eventually (and very sadly) broke us up. We are good people, and good parents, and we will always love each other. And we will always do what is best for our daughter. But now we have shared nights and weekends, and separate houses, and parenting agreements. And now life is just more complicated as each of us figures out how to move forward... as parents... as mothers.

It's really just that simple, isn't it? Relationships begin with wonderful dreams and good intentions... dreams of good careers and great friends... dreams of growing old with the one person that you love... dreams of raising a family. And sometimes life works out in just that way. And sometimes it doesn't.

And as the nation and my state watches and speculates and judges about what it means to be a family, and who it's okay to love, I can't help but wonder... all things being equal... is my journey really so different?

Happy Mother's Day.