Friday, June 14, 2019

Taking Your Dream

I am from, and currently live in, St. Louis. Two nights ago our long-suffering St. Louis Blues hockey team won the Stanley Cup, which is the National Hockey League championship. We haven't won it in the entire history of the franchise. We haven't been to the finals since 1970--we were in it the first 3 years of our history, as essentially the best of the worst. Back in 1967 when the league expanded, they stuck all the new teams in the western division. We were the winners of the western division title, and then got thoroughly pummeled in 4 game series (those would be best of 4's) each time.

And we never got to go back. We would often make it into the playoffs, but never to the final.

The Blues are our "other" professional sports team, of course. We have the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, which wins a World Series every decade or so, with 11 won in our history. We have a loyal fanbase, and I will go ahead and say our fans are classy, usually well-mannered, and convivial. The Blues fan is typically a whiter, rougher individual, although ticket prices have risen to the point that many fans no longer have those nosebleed season tickets in the old "Barn," the Arena that used to be the Blues' home ice.

I went to three home games this year, more than I've been to since the 1980s. I was even at a 6-1 loss to the Canucks that led to a fight at the next Blues' practice. Like two of our players fighting each other on the ice. A new low. They were last by January and then somehow things started to turn around. I watched the playoff series vs. the Dallas Stars and the San Jose Sharks and they were riveting even on my little computer screen propped up on the ottoman.

We lost game 1 to the Bruins, a team many hockey fans hate even when their team isn't playing them. But then we won game 2, the first Stanley Cup final game we'd ever won. Lost game 3, won game 4. Won game 5. We were home for game 6, where we could have taken the championship, but we lost it, and badly. We weren't playing well and it felt like it was slipping through our fingers.

Back in Boston, game 7, and we reigned all over that ice. It was clean hockey, too--only one penalty all game, and that was for delay of game, not tripping or high sticking or anything aggressive. Boston couldn't keep up with us. And they lost. At home.

That must have sucked, being on your home ice waiting for the mandatory gentleman's handshake while the Blues' bench empties and gloves scatter and everyone goes out to hug the rookie goalie who just won his 16th playoff game, beating a record.

And then the cameras caught Brad Marchand of the Bruins starting to cry. The same Marchand who had taunted and made crying gestures with his hands at the Blues when they lost a game earlier in the series. The same Marchand who is famous for his dirty play, including tripping players from behind and ducking down to hit players in their torsos, knocking them off balance. He's been censured, fined, and benched for his techniques.

Back in the locker room, they interviewed the Bruins players. Patrice Bergeron said, "You know, we ultimately didn’t capitalize on our chances and they did. You know, we got to give them credit. They deserved to win, but it’s not going to change the way we’ve competed and the way that we’ve battled to get to this point, but then, it doesn’t change the result whatever we say right now."

That is a typical loser-of-the-big-game speech. We both gave our best but they got the better of us. It happens. It hurts and it sucks but they deserve the win. I've heard baseball players, basketball coaches, all kinds of sports players and managers say those words.

Marchand said, "You know, they just took our dream, our lifetime dream from us, and everything we’ve worked for our entire lives. It was 60 minutes away from that. You can’t describe it."

We took their dream.

Marchand and the Bruins won the Cup in 2011. It was the Blues' first win. Not only that, but no player on the Blues had ever won. The Blues were in last place in January. They had an interim coach and a rookie goalie and a bunch of players dumped by other teams. They were fighting each other during practice in December. Then they turned it around and started to play good hockey. This is their Cinderella story, Marchand, this is St. Louis' Cinderella story. While I'm sure it would have been epic to get your second ring on home ice and celebrate instead of sitting empty hearted in the locker room...the Blues didn't take your dream.

We didn't take your dream, Marchand, because it wasn't your dream. You were playing in our dream this year.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Some good news

My oak tree is still dead, but I got a more reasonable bid ($4800) and a little home equity loan because otherwise it was going on a credit card and I can't have that happening. It's coming down June 24 and it makes me sad but I'm excited about what to do with a sunny backyard.

I have the rest of today and then 2.5 days left of school. Most kids didn't come back after Memorial Day. Right now I have two students in my first block class--and no computers, no books, nothing on the walls--they are each coloring and listening to music on their phones and yes, that is what happens the last week of school.

Maeve has been having a hard time with some friend stuff but this past weekend she had a grade school friend over and it was so nice. She said to me, "I'm so glad I'm not just sad up in the room on my phone tonight" and my heart kind of broke but I was happy too.

I've paid off her braces.

I've been binge-watching "The Great Interior Design Challenge" which is like Project Runway if the judges were nicer but also there are English houses!

I get to loop with my kids--and keep my partner after all! This taught me two things: 1) our boss really appreciates us and I think it mattered when we presented her with our reasons to stay together, and 2) worrying about this shit gets me nowhere. Right now my partner is all worried about her schedule next year but I haven't borrowed that trouble. I am over here, knitting a washcloth and packing up the room and figuring out how to show a movie during my next class but I can't worry about all that anymore because I'm learning that it will all change by the time the shouting's done and I'll have to live with it either way.

My parsley and cilantro reseeded themselves and came back on their own. And somehow, several lettuce plants. My garden is happy this year so far.

I saw "Come From Away" and cried the whole time. Such a good story.

So that's the update. Mostly good news, at least the balance of it.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Sophia's cultural exchange continues

We are 14 hours apart so I was well into my day when Sophia woke up in her tatami mat room where no shoes or suitcases are allowed. She is staying in a guesthouse run by nuns.

Here is their backyard:

And here is what Sophia has learned this morning: "Google Translate is helpful with the overly complicated toilets." Hence:

Sophia's Day One Notes

Sophia is in Kyoto. I can't believe someone so close to me is so far away right now, but if I think too much about that I will start to cry and instead I'm going to post Sophia's note from day one:

Day One

Got up at 4 Central Time, going to bed at 21:30 Japan time with only like two hours of nap in between (I have been up like 26 hours). Shortish plane ride to SFO was pretty chill. Long plane ride to KIX was considerably less so.

Airplane food is not good.

Japan has mountains! Like, I knew this but it never clicked.

I like Sisters and the people who work for them.

The two English native people who are helping us out are a guy from New Zealand named Alistair and an American named ____, who I am pretty sure is a leperchaun in disguise. Just trust me on this.

Japan is super quiet.

Our taxi driver made small talk with us about Catholicism. English was not his first language. Dr. Bohac is not good at slowing down. It was an interesting conversation.

I don't think I have seen anyone wearing clothes that reveals their knees.

The roads are so thin and the cars more boxy and short.

Their airport is so much more relaxed. Customs took less time than a TSA check in would.

Toilets are far too complicated.

The water tastes a bit like seafood.

Friday, May 10, 2019


My oak tree is dead.

My house was built in 1926. The oak tree was probably already established at that point. I'd guess close to 150 years old just by how many people it takes to wrap our bodies around it (Girl Scouts rule of thumb for deciduous trees: one person hugs the tree, 50 years old. Two people to hug around the tree, 100. Three people, 150).

The former owners had it trimmed back but the people they hired were butchers and topped the tree terribly.

Last year the tree seemed sick when it leafed out, but my forester friend John said to give it a few years, it could come back with some TLC.

This spring, a branch 8 inches in diameter and 15 feet long landed on my roof in the middle of a thunderstorm. The tree barely leafed out. It looked bad. I called some tree services who confirmed my fears. The tree's main trunk had hypoxylon canker. No bueno. The tree was suffering and a fungus was helping it die.

I got some quotes. $5600 from one service, $8750 from another. The tree has to come down and my yard, the actual grass area of my yard that is not a detached garage or the house proper, is only about 30 feet by 15 feet. There is no way to let nature take its course gradually as if we had a giant oak in the woods out is the main feature of my yard and it is a dying hazard.

In addition, my boss offered me the terrible choice of either leaving my kids behind and not looping with them to 8th grade, instead staying on the 7th grade floor which is being gutted by teacher and support staff attrition, or go to 8th grade with my students and leave my (sometimes truly annoying but effective) partner teacher behind to be partnered, each of us, with weaker versions of the other.

It's not a choice. My partner told me it's the price we pay for doing an excellent job this year--the boss wants to spread the wealth either to different teams or to different kids. It sucks.

And my allergies are the worst they've ever been and it's already settled into a brutal cough that I'm afraid will become a predatory infection.

But Sophia went to prom for the second time this year, this time with a group of friends to one of the local boys' schools. Maeve finished her first season of lacrosse this afternoon happy and feeling successful. Leo is seeing the Avengers movie and staying the night at a friend's. So it's not all lousy news!

The tree will come down this summer. I will adjust to whatever change the next school year holds, and each school year is like a separate life (ala Mali) so I know as this one dies, all I can do is help birth the next. And I'm young and strong so pneumonia probably won't catch me. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Right now (a periodically recurring post)

Right now I am overcome with worry about Sophia's jaw, which is locking. We've taken her to a TMJ dysfunction specialist, who made a very expensive splint, which seemed to make things worse, not better. We have been serving up too much modern medicine to her--it's like we are making up for her completely healthy childhood with continuous doctor and dentist appointments her last two months of high school. The specialist is puzzled, which always makes me nervous. What if it's something more? What if it never gets better? What is going to happen to her?

Right now my new roof seems to be holding just fine.

Right now my sump pump isn't working and/or the french drain system is not doing its job. I am hoping for a dry summer so I can get it fixed. Until then, right now, I'm using a towel and a dehumidifier to keep mold at bay. So far, so good. But not what I want.

Right now I'm waiting for three bids for tree removal.

Right now my brother just texted with a picture of him holding the cat he's about to put down due to some horrible thing called FIP that came on strong and is making the cat not be able to breathe anymore and I think about his past and present and future and I can forgive him of some things because his face is heartbreaking in that photo and look at how far he's come. Also sad for poor Mittens. "Mittens the Kittens" as he called her. Their other cats Noodles and The Dude will be bewildered.

Right now Maeve is being interviewed for the longitudinal alcoholism study my family is a part of (because all the reasons). I wish they would interview me some more. They pay well.

Right now Sophia has committed to Colorado State and I am happy and nervous. Very nervous.

Right now I am so exhausted by rain and the school year and burning the candle at both ends of the day that I could fall asleep right here next to Rosie, who received an extra treat today because life is short and pets die too soon.

Quotes from terrible adults

"I know I could pay the tuition, but I don't want to. You know? So I think the parish should give me money instead of having to pay." (said by a mom of two kids who go to a Catholic school and who admitted her husband's salary eliminated them from applying for financial aid)

"I have a house, I have a car, I have a masters degree and a son who went to college. What do you want with your life?" (said to a 14 year old girl with zero prospects)

"Ugh I just want to make more money and I don't want to have to work for it" (by a woman involved in a pyramid scheme multi level marketing sales thing)

"I looked around the classroom and almost said, girls, your only chance for survival is lesbianism, I mean, their prospects suck!" (actually this one was pretty funny).

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

At Work

We have been learning about trauma and how it affects our children and how it affects us as teachers. At a professional development day, they had us take the ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey) and cobbled together our results. If you don't know about the ACES, it gives you a point for every category of childhood adversity you survived: physical, sexual, emotional abuse; neglect; foster care or other removal from parent care; death, suicide, mental illness, drugs and alcohol, imprisoned family. Big things. The best score is a zero, of course, and the worst is a ten. For those of you who know about my former student who lived with us as a young adult, he would have scored a ten, and that's just based on what he told me at my kitchen table.

The higher your score, the worse off your adult life likely is. Scores in the 2-3 range have minimal effect. Starting at 4, though, people die younger, people get more chronic disease and cancer, people make reckless choices and don't do well. Remember John had a 10. And he was dead at 29.

Our faculty average was a 5.5.

Be the person you needed when you were younger, the sign once hung in my classroom. I think that's what's happening. I think that's why teachers stay and work against all odds. Against low pay and crushing expectations and inadequate supplies and poor leadership and little public support and random shootings and burnout and extra duties as assigned, against politics and many many idiotic people who think they could teach, just like I'm sure they could wait tables, even though good teachers aren't made, they are honed, against all of this, I think that's why they stay. And I think that's why some of them leave.

I'm staying because I'm 44 and what the hell else am I going to do? And sometimes when I look across the classroom, even now where these moments are fewer and harder to come by, sometimes I look and the kid is looking at me, hoping to get my attention, and we lock eyes for just a moment and we see each other.

If you can do anything else, don't teach. But if it is what you can do best, then come save yourself and maybe someone else too.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Teachers

1. Br. Stephen, the Benedictine author and middle school theology teacher who was the first person who told me I was a good writer and also, later, the first person to articulate to me that boundaries were important (that sounds sinister but it wasn't--it was when we were penpals long after both of us had left the school where we met, and I was kvetching about friends' problems).

2. Mrs. Chott, the second grade artist and poet who taught me nothing but Edna St. Vincent Millay and Shel Silverstein and how to paint flowers with tempera on construction paper. Those will sustain you long after other lessons slip through your mind.

3. Coach Peacock, who understood that coming in 6th in regionals after a season of learning how to run the 880 was actually something to celebrate with high fives. She had a light hand at the rein and made me want to be faster. She taught me to run.

4. Dr. Barmann, who opened my eyes to bigotry as well as excellent journalism and made me want to read medieval primary sources on antisemitism. My only analytical historical class in college and oh, I almost missed it.

5. Dr. Murphy, the Boston Irish army veteran who taught me how to dream in Russian. Now he and my mother take Gaelic together.

6. Mr. May, the high school army veteran who taught me how to see in Russian. Even if I don't know the word automatically, I can read it. It is so natural to me that it surprises me when people can't pronounce what they see.

7. Fr. Kavanaugh, who articulated the Catholic World View in humble Jesuit words (there are two types of Jesuits and he was the good kind).

8. Mr. Green, who taught me that art was more than drawing and that once people know you are good, there is no going back to being mediocre.

9. Mrs. Gabel who took that raw creativity that Br. Stephen encouraged and honed it into academic writing such that no paper, no essay, no 50 page masters thesis, can scare me now.

10. Dr. Bahr, who showed me just this past fall that I really lived and breathed what I do for a living. I know things and I can show things and I can teach.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


Things I'm wondering as I sit on my couch with my tiny dog in my quiet house...

1. Should I accept the friend invite from my cousin who does vampire conventions around the country and is barely holding on to her health and sanity? I just don't know if I have the energy to see her posts in my facebook feed. I unfriended her, though, back when her mom died. My dad's oldest sister, maybe 7 years ago. She posted something about looking in the mirror and seeing her mom looking back at her in the lines of her own face and it was too heartbreaking to keep reading. And she was a vampire convention goer. It wasn't just grief. But that was the moment when I couldn't anymore. Now I feel bad. But.

2. Do my kids suffer when they are with my ex? I don't mean emotionally or physically. I mean, like, I send him reminders about having Leo study for his social studies test, after sending him reminders about the test and the festival they are having at the end of the week. My reminders seem to be a surprise each time. It makes me feel bad for not being with them all the time.

3. Will Colorado State give Sophia enough scholarship to make next year work? What if they don't? My God what will I do?

4. I think the online courses I'm taking from Arkansas State may be a scam. But they were already approved for salary advancement.

5. ------------------------------------------------9

6. Rosie the bichon poo wrote #5 with her chin. She knows the computer is important but can't figure out why. But I sit very still when I'm near it and that makes her happy. I think.

7. Did Robert Plant have to try in order to make his voice like that?

8. My ex has gotten a sweet job working from home. The last time I stopped by, he had little dungeon and dragon minis (like little pewter and plastic figurines) lined up on the coffee table getting ready to paint them. And yet the front porch of his house is still falling down. How frustrated and, let's be honest, seething with rage, would I be at this point, with him at home painting minis and watching TV while I have a 27 mile commute to my rough, trauma-infused middle school job?

9. My parents told me a couple of weeks ago, "If we were to both die at the same time, we want to be cremated," and I asked, "what if you die one at a time?" not realizing until now that they said that because if they both die at once, like in a car wreck, the other one won't be there to take care of the arrangements. How daft am I?

10. Why is my face breaking out in my mid-forties? This isn't fair. I had good skin for like 15 minutes when I was 37.

Potential answers:
1. Probably, and put her on mute
2. Probably not but I can't think about it too hard
3. Probably
4. Probably
7. Probably drugs
8. An infinite amount of rage and frustration
9. Pretty damned daft
10. Maybe because I need to sleep more, drink less, eat better, exercise more, and wash my damned face.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Oh, you're getting divorced?

This is a post I've been thinking about for a long time.

Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, but I'm Catholic in origin and so at Leo's school, I'm the only divorced mom in his class. At the girls' school there is more variety (it's a Catholic high school but not everyone who goes there is Catholic). I still find that I do not have many models and I have no divorced friends.

I had a lot of weird responses to my disclosure that I was getting divorced. Few of them were hurtful but many were puzzling. At this point, I've been official for 14 months, and separated for 4 more than that. I am happy, and although it has made many things very hard, I do not regret the process or decision we came to.

I am not an expert on the subject, having only done it once after all, but when I ruminate on the last year and a half, here are some things I've considered.

At the beginning:

1. When someone, a friend, relative, acquaintance, work friend, whoever, discloses an upcoming divorce or recent decision made to separate, don't ask them if they have tried marriage counseling. Marriage counseling is not like some pyramid scheme multi level marketing product that no one has ever heard of. People getting divorced know about marriage counseling. Perhaps they have gone. Perhaps not. But it's no great secret that it exists.

2. In the same situation, don't tell the person that they owe it to their kids to stay together.

3. Don't tell them they owe it to each other.

4. Don't tell them to pray over it. Again, likely already happened, or if it didn't, they aren't the sort to start now.

5. Telling the person that you will pray is fine, if that's your thing. But don't give that a destination. Do not say "I will pray you two can work this out" or "I will pray for the sanctity of your vows." Please just don't.

6. Don't ask for details. People asking me, "why?" was one of the weirdest things to handle. I would simply answer, "It was a long time coming" and leave it at that.

In the middle:

1. I had one friend who was close enough to me that I opened up to about this and I knew I could go to her anytime with this stuff. Added to that, my (twice divorced) uncle texted me and asked me to go out to a bar and just talk. He scheduled the time and just listened. You might not have that time or headspace to allow for a conversation, but I was so lonely when I was going through the divorce. I think a lot of people didn't know what to do. I lost a lot of friends to my ex, and the ones I still had kept their distance. I didn't necessarily have to talk about the divorce. I just needed a friend.

2. If you are a bridge between the couple (like, you have kids the same age as they do and you are on the same youth hockey team or whatnot), it is fine to talk about logistics ("when your son is at your house, can we carpool since we live so close?") and it is fine to text and see when kids are where. Don't apologize. You don't know all the details and they should understand that.

3. One parent from Leo's volleyball team told me how nice it was that I could sit on the bleachers at the same games as my ex and nobody felt weird about it. This was actually a nice compliment, because I was working hard at that very thing.

When it's done:

My definition of done, here, is a year after the ink has dried. It feels very much like part of my past. Things are less awkward now. People have figured out how to interact with me and the only thing that really makes me cringe is at work, where my married last name is my email address but the name on my door is my birth name.

So I get a lot of "Ms....." and a cringey gap before they decide which last name to add. But I help them as much as I can. The funny thing is, amongst equals (teacher level staff), my school's employees use last names as first names. Like, "Go ask Smith what she wants to do with 8th block." Since I started the year with my married name, I still go by that at this level, and that's fine. Next year I'll move up with my kids and be on a different floor and start fresh.

1. I am sometimes acutely lonely. Not for my ex, but for the social connections I used to have. Divorcing and losing my job in the same year ripped a lot of things away from me. My church friends dropped away shockingly fast. The women who lived on my block almost immediately lost touch with me when I moved (and my first move was literally one block away to my parents' house). My ex was still living there; he was invited to the things now, not me. Leo's school's parents are friendly with me, but we aren't close.

I have my sisters and, like, three good friends...and one of them just moved to Maryland. I know I need to help myself, but my advice would be, don't assume that your newly divorced friend has a full brand new life. She may be walking very much alone for a very long time.

2. Don't ask when dating will commence. Don't assume it will, and don't assume it will be what you think it will be or should be. Don't tell the person that it's time to "put yourself out there." Don't set them up without permission, or frankly, maybe don't interfere at all.

Just be a friend.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Schitt's Creek

Please watch Schitt's Creek.

It's on Netflix, seasons 1-4 Season 5 is on Pop TV or on Amazon.


I'm a long time fan of Eugene Levy, mostly from his Christopher Guest days. I love him, and guess what? His son Dan makes me want to take him home and make him a cup of tea. His character on this show, David Rose, my God, I want to be his friend.

The first season is a little rough, as many first seasons are. It's hard to like the characters for a while. But it is worth it. The end of Season 3 through the end of Season 5 is just spectacularly heartwarmingly awkward and funny and made me cry just a few times thus far. In a good way.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

My quarterly report (ala Indigo Bunting)

I haven't made a list like this before--a report of the birds seen since the turn of the year. I do keep a life list and was able to add one this first quarter for the first time in many years. I haven't traveled much in recent months until this spring break, so most of my birds keep on being most of my birds:

Mourning dove, rock pigeon, mockingbird, cardinal, robin, Canada goose. Red tailed hawk, northern flicker, mallard duck, European starling, American crow, blue jay, red bellied woodpecker. Coopers Hawk, bald eagle, house sparrow, downy woodpecker, turkey vulture. Dark eyed junco, house finch, Eurasian tree sparrow (in my yard), American tree sparrow, chipping sparrow. Hairy woodpecker, pine siskin (NEW).

The Eurasian tree sparrow is not a native species to the US, but was introduced in St. Louis in the 1800s. It didn't spread well (as opposed to the starling and the house sparrow). I had only seen it one other time before moving. I am close to a small river and more open land than I was in my old place, so that might have something to do with it. At first I thought they were house sparrows at my feeder (there are always house sparrows at my feeder), but I realized they had little ear muffs on and I had to be happy. Invasive species are not good, but these little guys keep to themselves.

Monday, April 1, 2019

I'm still here

I miss being part of a blogging group. Last year was really good for me to have this connection to women around the country and English speaking world, frankly, reminding me of the song in my heart and playing it back to me in their own words and making me feel noticed and cared for during a very very rough year that began with my divorce being finalized and tumbled from there.

I moved into this cute button of a house in February, and then spent the spring building IKEA furniture with a friend and making this place into something I could call home. It is so clean and so tightly pretty. It feels like me.

I was walking around on a broken heel that whole time and finally took myself to the doctor and got that mended, and then followed it with physical therapy all summer and now finally a year later I don't hurt anymore mostly but sometimes in the morning.

This whole time too I was working on my masters in special education and already working in the field after losing the job before that in a career-shattering heartbreaking move that cost me many things but most of all my faith in the human organization of the Catholic Church. What was left of that faith anyway.

My oldest picked a college. My middle one picked a high school. My youngest merrily skipped along, easy with his classmates and a favorite of his teachers. Thank God. Something, somebody, needs to be easy sometime. He went back to speech therapy for one last shot at the apraxia and it worked a little bit. Some things will be who he is and I have to learn to love the pauses.

I grew a lot of tomatoes and got a little bichon poodle mix who fits this house and this new little life of mine. My girls settled in the attic and I got a barbecue grill.

And then I spent the fall fighting fucking crime again. And my roof leaked. I feared so much failure, my God, what if I've made a horrible mistake moving here?

But I hadn't. I threw a nice little graduation/Christmas party for myself and people came. Old friends and new ones too. My sister and her boyfriend stayed until after 1 in the morning.

The year turned over to 2019 and I got a roofer to come look at the house and insurance is helping to pay. Anxiety is heavy on us over college funding but we are still hopeful. The job, it's a hard job, but my boss celebrates me and I'm good at it, most of it anyway, and I don't own the heartache like I once did. It was a good rebound to land where I am, where I will likely remain until retirement if I can hack it. I don't work for a district as much as I work for an educational agency, county-wide, so I have some chance of fluid movement later as my seniority increases. I think this way now. Successes are fewer in special education but they are sweetly won.

My ex-husband has a girlfriend and his front porch is falling down just as badly as it was when it was my front porch and I sat there drinking whiskey and soaking up moments with my children, my neighbors, and that stolen summer I got to spend with John before he died. It's still broken-down, but I'm not.

I find dimes everywhere. I can't explain it.

Maybe I'm a dime.

There are things I won't say here because I'm more cautious than I once was and I think about that and the privacy of those I love. But just to say that things keep being hard, things keep being heartbreakingly beautiful and I am soaking up so many moments.

So I am still here. I was reading my old blog, one where I met many of you, South City Musings, which is now closed, and I realized I used to have a lot to say. Now I have a lot to do. But I miss it, the self-revelatory moments and the comments and the community. Without a church, I have fewer communities than I once did. Without my old block. Without that little school I helped found.

There's been a lot of loss.

But I've gained myself.

I am a dime, yeah, I think that's how I would put it now.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A nice little list

Mali made a nice little to do list for 2019. Here's mine:

1. Figure out how to do my own taxes
2. Get Sophia ready for college
3. Rehab this broken heel all the way so I can lose these 30 pounds and be healthy again
4. Plant some bird friendly shrubs in the back along the fence.
5. Replace the door to the garage (not the garage door, but the side door to the detached garage)
6. Get two tattoos
7. Have a new roof put on the house. And the garage.
8. Try not to work this summer beyond tutoring, if at all possible
9. Read 12 books
10. Finish my little basement room

A lot of house stuff. One huge big me thing (my heel still hurts after 9 months of healing--I have stamina and ideas and leads as to how to continue to make it better). I think it's possible. I want to be hiking in the mountains at least a little bit when I take Sophia to college.

Now it's written. Now to get started.

Friday, January 4, 2019


I am in the process of writing a story. Or a book. I guess a book. I just finished the writing and have edited it three times. It's a (barely) fictionalized memoir of my time with the young man who lived with me for two summers and how I tried hard to save him but in the end learned you can only save yourself.

I love this story but I know I'm too close to it so I keep stepping away and then coming back. This afternoon I thought to myself, "my eyes have read these words too many times and I need to find a reader who will be brutal with it."

I have no idea what to do with it now. So it sits in my google drive and I drink tea and watch the waning light of this January afternoon pass into dusk.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Five by Five, Lima Charlie

One time I had to send a text to John's brother--John, the young man who was living with me off and on while I struggled to stay adult and focused on all the important everything. His brother was a vet, had been in Iraq and Afghanistan. I sent him the text and he didn't reply. I sent it again.

He wrote back: 5x5 lima charlie

I hear you five by five, lima charlie.

Loud and Clear. I've been listening and thinking and writing and things seem loud and clear.

I am back here at Euler, Not Venn. I am hoping for good things.

Right now, good things are a bichon poodle hybrid sleeping on my feet and a cup of hot chocolate. Amos Lee in the background. Kids going back to school in the morning. I have until Monday. My son, on his way to bed, asked what day of the week it was. That's a good vacation.