Sunday, March 5, 2017

Her Only Solace Was Action

[h/t to Delenn for inspiring the title]

After the March, we made a vow to ourselves to engage in at least one act of resistance each week. One march, one campaign, one outreach….Well, life happens. Late nights at work happen. Cranky pre-schoolers happen. Exhaustion happens.

Nice excuses, m. How great that you have the option NOT to take to the streets.

I know. I know. What it comes down to is this: engaging in the March was a real anomaly for me. I don’t like crowds; they make me nervous. And public marches, rallies, demonstrations whatever you’d like to call them, are pretty limited in their effectiveness, in my opinion. And that’s even before the body you’re trying to influence discounts them and claims everyone’s been paid.

Still waiting for that check. I know you are too. Especially if you saved up for the flight, the babysitter, the days off work…what an insult.

So here’s where I am now. I’ve been searching for meaningful ways to engage. To use my skills and experience in a way that might re-balance the power dynamic and negate the awfulness that’s been empowered by the Administration.

1.) I signed up for my local chapter of Indivisible – their guide is an excellent grassroots primer, and local groups are mobilizing everywhere. See if there’s one in your neighborhood.

2.) I’m going to a Swing Left event this afternoon to see how we can get a little bit of sanity back in the House in 2018. That feels like a world away, but it will be here before you know it. So action starts now.

Don’t see this as a full on endorsement of the Democratic Party, because it’s not. There’s a shit ton of housecleaning that needs to occur there. But we have to start somewhere. I’m starting at a neighbor’s house at 2 pm this afternoon. Check their website to see where the closest swing district is to you.

Lastly, have you seen this resource: It’s beautiful, and no small feat. As someone who used to try to coordinate grassroots advocacy, finding when and where Town Halls are being held is some sort of magic. I want to reach out to the team that put this together and place a big wet kiss on their cheeks (with full consent, of course). Bravo, friends. And thank you.

Town Halls don’t have to be contentious. Like your legislator? Tell them. Appreciate the work they’re doing? Let them know and encourage them to DO MORE. Be MORE vocal. Give them cover for the hard work they’re going to have to do. Give them a reason to resist too.

I’m feeling slightly hopeful this morning. I hope there are some glimmers of hope for you too.

As the Swing Left website says, Don’t Despair. Mobilize.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Other Shoe

I’m on a plane by myself this morning. Last night I didn’t sleep. Nor did M. Thankfully, D was sawing logs. I hate the idea of not being near them. Of purposefully moving in the opposite direction of them. Even if only for a few days. I used to love solo work trips – the promise of a big bed, an unhurried morning run, a hotel breakfast, even several hours on a plane to work uninterrupted? Why wouldn’t I say yes?

But now I’m shaving flight times as close to meetings as I can get them. Meeting starts at noon? Great. My flight will come in at 11:30 am. Ends at 3? I think I can hit the 5 pm plane home. I’m texting at every transition point and location to assure M I’m fine. That I’m safe. This is crazy. I am a white woman travelling within my own country’s borders. Yet I am acutely aware that something batshit crazy can happen at any minute that might impact my ability to get back to my family.

Yet this is our new reality. One of paranoia, anxiety, and fear that our “president” will trigger some sort of horrible action/reaction while we’re apart that will somehow keep us apart. For a few moments, my anxiety gets replaced by rage. We’ve worked too hard to be a family to let this fucker fuck it up.

There I’ve said it.

You know, it’s been quite a while since I’ve felt like I could break into tears at any given point in a day. On any day. Oh about, 8 or 9 years. (nine???? I and J would be nine????)

Having this man in that seat of power is Grief all over again.  I am actively Grieving. So it feels only right that I return to this space. A space that’s offered me comfort and safety as I try to find a path forward in the past.

The sight or sound, sometimes the very mention of him is a trigger, and I promise I don’t use that word lightly. Anyone who has ever been bullied, lived through a horrible and abusive relationship, had to deal with a narcissist they couldn’t escape – I know you are feeling this too. And I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. For you, and for all of us. I know many of you are grieving too.

So now what?

I keep trying to find the opportunity among the chaos. To be thankful that someone so horrifying to so many has actually been a unifying factor. That someone whose words and actions are so contrary to what I hope to believe most Americans believe is their country finally allows me to wear my politics on my sleeve in a way I have never done before.  I try to find strength in the sheer number of people marching, calling, acting, rising up.

I try to appreciate that this horrible person has compelled me to write again.

But it’s hard to feel empowered when a very limited number of very corrupt men are steering your country toward ruin and have little regard (or understanding) of checks and balances. It’s hard when you have to look at your son who cries when he hears at the Women’s March that Donald Trump is waging a war against women and that we have to fight for what we believe.

“Mommy mommy, we HAVE to go home RIGHT NOW. I don’t want to see Donald Trump! I don’t want him to hurt you. Why does he want to hurt us, mommy, why???”

I don’t know, sweetheart. I really don’t.  But know we will do everything in our power to keep you safe. But to also show you by our actions that we do have to stand up for what we believe is right. That kindness and compassion are the most important things we have as human beings, no matter what that man says or does. That, I promise.

God, D, I am so sorry.


If you’re familiar with this space, you know that we went through a pretty substantial life transition recently. I quit my job, got a new one. M left his job and is taking care of D full time and exploring completely new skills (landscaping and gardening? Really? Seriously, he’s pretty amazing). We left the home we assumed we would raise D in. We moved to our nation’s capital (ok, just outside of it). We bought a house. We’ve invested in a community. We’ve made wonderful new friends (hey, old friends, you are wonderful too). After a rocky and uncertain start we finally settled into a pretty wonderful existence. We kept wondering when the other shoe would drop, because that’s who we are.

We never imagined it would be the boot of an aspiring totalitarian. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Ring

Ever since the early days of our honeymoon, whenever he entered water, M would clutch his wedding ring. Ball his left hand up in a fist. Contort his fingers in a way that made swimming difficult, snorkeling nearly impossible. He was terrified of losing his ring in the sea, the pool, the ocean, the lake. And I would laugh, and say he was being overly cautious. And that rings don't just slip off fingers into the depths.

 And then last Friday, it did. F me. It did.

 D was under the umbrella, playing in the sand. M was in the water. I was in the surf, attempting to catch baby horseshoe crabs so I could run up and show D since we've been reading this book. It was a perfect, perfect late afternoon at the beach.

 M thought I was ridiculous. So of course I gloated and cheered when I finally got one. He raised his hands to echo my cheer, and then realized his ring was gone.

 Waist-deep. Low tide. I ran out to help but no way any amount of feeling around with toes was going to surface our wedding band. But then D disappeared behind the umbrella and out of my sight line, so given the choice between animate and inanimate object, I chose to go find D, who, for the record, was not nearly as impressed with the horseshoe crab as I wanted him to be.

 M was/is distraught. In his mind, he failed us. Failed me. Losing the ring was tantamount to cheating and how would I ever forgive him. How would he forgive himself? He was inconsolable. To the point where I felt really, really badly about not caring.

 In my mind. It's a ring. Simply a ring. No more. No less. One of many objects that can possibly and most likely be lost. I offered to throw mine into the sea as well. He balked. We'd need mine to find his replacement. Ok. fine. But I just couldn't muster up the kind of sympathy M was needing (I usually can't) and was getting annoyed at his "I knew this would happen"s.

 So I turned to the practical. It's lost. What can be done? I posted on FB and started googling to see if I could find a local metal detector club. I posted on Craigslist. I went up to the police station to file a lost/missing item report in case we needed it for insurance. I removed the FB post bc M said he was embarrassed and ashamed. I deleted the craigslist post after talking with the secretary at the police station, also an avid metal detector user. "Ain't nobody turning anything in; we're all looking for our million dollar ring."

 Well, this is nowhere near a million dollar ring, but M was carrying a weight as if it was. A few days after the loss, he's mellowed a little. Each day seems to make it a little easier for him to stomach. After it happened, I was seriously worried that he'd never want to go to the beach again, but we managed to salvage the weekend. D would see us eying the sand and the surf hoping to catch sight of it and ask us what we were looking for. "More hermit crabs?"

"Horseshoe crabs, D. And no. Daddy lost his ring."

"Oh. I lost my bagel this morning, too."

 Oh D. You sweet, sweet thing. Yes, you did. (it fell in the sand.)


 So tell me, dear readers. What would you do if you lost your wedding band? Are you more of an M or a me here? And how and how soon would you fill that missing and untanned space on your finger?

Saturday, February 28, 2015


Week two = better than week one.

I'm getting into the hang of the new office. New people. New personalities. New responsibilities. A lot more responsibility. It's kind of exciting. And I'm feeling like this is doable, and perhaps even long term, if I can put some things into play. 

By some things I mean more flexibility, a greater ability to work remotely - for everyone, not just me. It feels as if that's possible and pretty consistent with the office vibe, but it is only my second week. I don't want to push too hard too fast. And I've already put a number of things on the table for consideration. 

The boys are getting into a routine and damn if m hasn't made life easier for me when I am home. He's inserted some gentle discipline where maybe some had been lacking before. Or maybe mommy is just a full on pushover when it comes to some things. I am in awe of his parenting. 

I've been camping out in hotel rooms two nights a week, and you know what? That's totally ok. More than ok. Hotels have gyms and cable and internet....things I'd have to set up and pay for in a new apartment. Plus, pricelining a hotel + keeping our super cheap place in this other city = still cheaper than any place we would get in new city. So there's that. 

Two good things about a few days away: 1. When I am there, I am there completely (at least this week. Last week I was a basket case. See previous post) I work from morning until I crash at night. I've been trying to connect with new coworkers for dinner and then studying up on docs and work plans when I get to bed. It's time well spent. 2. When I am home, I am home completely. Hugs are amazing. Dinners taste better. And the weekends are bliss. Everything we do together feels great. 

Again, this is all how this is feeling right now. Let's check back in a few weeks, shall we?

Thank you for your encouraging words. Thank you for your emails checking in. Today, it feels like we are in an ok place. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

That Moment When You Start to Second Guess Everything

And start to lose sleep,
And feel like you want to throw up at every moment
And just want to cry and crawl back in bed (even though you can't sleep)

That's happening. Right about now.

First day on the new job is Tuesday (Monday's a holiday). The plan today was to rent a van, load some of our extra stuff from the apartment here, stop at the Ik*a on the way down to get anything else we might need, sign a lease, move me into an apartment a few blocks away from my new office.

Sometime earlier this week the reality of all of that hit me and M. Hard. Hit M so hard he was home sick in bed yesterday. Paralyzed with anxiety. We were banking on some flex from his work that would enable us all to spend as much time together as possible. Work some weekends? Work remotely a day or two? That's not happening. In fact, he's feeling some clear signals that if can't be present, maybe there's someone else that could be.

That means two to three nights a week I will be sleeping in a different place. Alone. Without my boys. I think I'll be ok. But I don't know for how long. D will be fine. I know M will not be. I don't know how sustainable this really is. And I don't know if I'm ready to furnish a new setting in the hopes of them coming to be with me when I don't know when that's going to be.

I'm wondering if I've made a horrible mistake....

Can I even DO this job? Will I like this job? Will I be in the right frame of mind to even try to tackle this job? I have to try, right?

I don't regret leaving the old job. Because it was time. But I have to confess, with all of this up in the air and this feeling in the pit of my stomach, inertia and boredom are starting to look pretty good. 

So we cancelled everything for today. I got a hotel room for the first few nights. And probably will for the next few weeks until I get my head around all of this. If I even can. Not the best frame of mind to start a new role, but there you have it.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Every week should be Last Week.

I've had lunches with old colleagues, had a chance to have completely personal and not work-related conversations with people I really like and respect. Emails and notes keep coming from unexpected places. And my boss is throwing me a happy hour tomorrow. I think people might even show up.

Gosh dudes, sniff, I didn't know you cared.

But amid the love fest, there are some reoccurring themes that I'm trying to process.

My new job comes with a title. One with a C in the front. And when I say it out loud, you can actually see some folks pause, recalculate and look at me in a totally different light. Never mind it is essentially the Exact. Same. Thing that I'm doing and have been doing for the last handful of years. Never mind that I am the exact same person with the exact same skill set that you already know.  In fact, when I met with my Board last week after they heard the news, the Chair actually said, out loud, "Wow, your stock has really risen."

a.) who says that?
b.) what does that tell me about my stock now?

One of the lunches I had this week was with a friend who just transitioned from an executive assistant to an executive. And she sadly affirmed that the exact same thing happened to her. Same person. Same skills. New title. People reassess. I think that's kind of shitty.

The new job is based in a different city than where we are now and will require me to be apart from the boys a few days a week, at least temporarily. We're keeping our place here (because we love it and its cheap) and getting a much smaller place to perch in the new city, which is about 2 hours away. M will get D to and from daycare or grandparents the days I'm away. Primary daycare will be here, for now. We'll decide where we want to spend the weekends as they come. We think we have the logistics sorted out. But of course, we won't know until we try.

I feel like I've given this explanation at least 2 dozen times in the last week. At least. It's what everyone wants to know. But what about D? How will D feel about all this? Have you thought about D?

This week, the state House and Senate are in session and I've spent a good part of my mornings just going up and saying goodbye and thank you to some of my favorites.  Several of the younger (male) members have new babies at home. At home. As in, not here. As in not in the same place they are spending 2-3 days a week in. Weekly.

Why is no one asking them these questions? When one legislator showed me a picture of his 4-month old, I didn't even think to say, "but did you keep him in mind when you were deciding to run for re-election this session? What about the baby? Who's going to take care of the baby" Yet, if I were talking to one of the (sadly, very few) women in the building, I bet they would have been asked that at every single campaign stop.

And every time I go on to explain our moving plan, it gives me an opportunity to question it. To judge myself, in anticipation of the listener judging me. I'm pro-active like that. And I remind myself that kids are amazingly resilient and adaptable. That there are plenty of families who live and work in different places and make it work. That this is all temporary....

All I know is that I have at least 25-30 more years in my career. And I'm done where I am. And I'm excited about where I'm going. And if it works, awesome. And if it doesn't, I've proven to myself that I can make a change. I'm ready for this change.

Monday, January 19, 2015

#Microblog Mondays - What's Home? What's Comfortable?

Have you read this yet? The NY Times Magazine doesn't always get the ALI stuff right, but I thought this was a very thoughtful piece, particularly since its written by an adoptive parent who herself a mom via open domestic adoption and has also adopted internationally.

One quote from an adoptee who's returned to South Korea is really resonating with me: “Korea is home....But it’s not one I’m completely comfortable in.” But she's sticking with it. As are hundreds of other adults from America and Europe who were adopted away from their homeland and have moved back to South Korea to reclaim it as their home.

Strangely enough, one of D's favorite library books deals with this subject (more or less) and comes to the opposite conclusion. He loves this book, loves it. Mostly because fifi, foo foo and ooh la la bear a striking resemblance to his favorite white poodle Sophie. But me, I've got issues. There's just something about it that's really forced, and tries too hard to convince that where you are is exactly where you should be, even if you look and act differently than everyone around you, and that trying out the alternative (your birth family) will only confirm that.

To be fair, the more I read it, and we read it a LOT, I mean, both doggie families do hang out with each other in the park every day after they meet and learn from each other, so I guess that's kind of an open arrangement? But argh, again, forced, and something sitting not quite right. Not all all like Muppets in Space, my favorite muppets movie ever.

Have you read/interpreted ALI plots or subplots in unexpected places lately?

#Microblog Mondays! What's it about? Learn more and read more here.