• Music,  Parenting

    When your reggae-loving husband is a stay-at-home dad

    Corey was trying to explain to me his current domestic rut. “You know that song, ‘Smoke Two Joints’? ‘I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night . . .’” Concerned I wouldn’t recognize the song in spite of the fact that his musical selections have created the soundtrack to our lives for the past 22 years, he added, “It’s on the Mallrats soundtrack.” I smiled. “I know the song.” “‘I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints, and then I smoke two more.’” He paused. “He smokes a lot of joints in that song. Anyway, that’s how I feel about my Groundhog Day existence…

  • Dreams,  Life

    Meeting Crystal

    I didn’t speak at the open mic at your memorial. What would I have done besides stand there and cry? Your wife and family were there; their grief has precedence. She spoke without introducing herself. She was passionate and I recognized her from photos rotating through the slideshow all night. When she left the stage, I crossed the room to meet her. “Are you Crystal?” “Yes.” You’d described her to me in detail. My name received no flicker of recognition. Your wife asked why I hadn’t brought my family. I couldn’t face the effort required to have them dress up and drive to Seattle. But also, I needed this moment…

  • Current Affairs,  Life

    A rant for the end of September

    I am not going to black out my social media and stay offline for a day “to show what the world might be like without women.” First of all, whether or not I’m on social media on any given day is dependent on my mood and my stress level and is of no consequence to anyone else. Much more importantly, the last thing America needs right now is for its women to go away and hope men miss us. If anything, we need to be taking up more space, not less. I’ve spent most of my life wishing I took up less space. Tall, solidly-built, loud, and outspoken were not…

  • Current Affairs,  Life

    Standing Letter to My Elected Officials

    I sent this letter to my Senators and U.S. Representative today, but since the idea is that it’s my only letter, I thought I’d also post it here. Plus it gives me something to post — this blog is beyond neglected. Senator Maria Cantwell Senator Patty Murray Representative Denny Heck Dear Elected Officials, You are elected to represent the people of our state/district. I am a voting resident of Washington state/our district. Writing my elected officials is not something I normally have time to do. I work full-time, I am in graduate school, and my husband and I are raising three children. I wrote this out longhand in the back…

  • Current Affairs,  Life,  Writing

    Sunday, November 13, 2016

    Some of our Halloween decorations are still up. That’s not unheard of for our family – we do like to make the holiday last – but it is a bit late in the year. I told my husband I was going to buy flag lapel pins for the zombies in our yard to celebrate Veterans Day. He took the zombies and the fake graveyard down, but the graveyard fence is still up, along with a few skeletons, a giant plastic Jack O’ Lantern, and tiny ghosts in our apple tree. We were watching television earlier this week and a Christmas-themed commercial came on. My husband said, “You know what I…

  • Life

    Cruise Notes

    In a mostly-blank notebook today I found this page, which appears to be the sole journal entry I made on our Alaskan cruise three years ago. Tuesday, July 2, 2013 Cruise notes . . . We’re marveling at an Alaskan glacier, standing on the observation deck of the cruise ship. I’m bundled up and I have coffee and Bailey’s in a travel mug. I say to Corey, “This is how I want to see the wilderness. Much better than camping or hiking. I’m not cold, I’ve got an overpriced mug of hot alcohol, and I get to watch it roll on by.” Corey says, “I want to be in it.…

  • Life

    I refuse to be too old to internet (a GenX adventure)

    I made some new friends on Twitter who communicate primarily via animated GIFs. Eager to fit in, I decided to learn this mysterious new language. First, I spent way too long searching for just the right GIFs online. Next, I tried to practice by texting some to Corey. I later learned that the Android text messenger app we both use doesn’t support animated GIFs, but first, Corey and I had the following text adventure. (I like to think of it as a sneak-peak into our retirement years.) Corey: I’m watching Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting on Netflix. You know, to get stoked for painting the hallway tomorrow. 😉 Don’t be…

  • Life

    Collected Wisdom

    In a few days I will turn 43. Last year about this time, I had a lot of fun telling everyone that this year, the year I was 42, I would have the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Maybe it’s because I never did take up meditation, or maybe it’s because I pretended to forget that 42 itself is the answer, but whatever the reason, I did not become magically enlightened this year. In November I lamented my lack of insight and asked friends on Twitter and Facebook, “What’s your #1 life lesson so far?” They gave me a mix of serious and smart-aleck answers I have collected…

  • Life,  Parenting

    Triage

    I do not have precognitive abilities of any sort. What I have is an awareness of the many things in my life that are undone or have been poorly managed and an ever-present sense of doom because it’s all going to come unraveled some day, isn’t it? I cannot possibly address all the things that cause me to worry in the few hours I have available each day, so as emergencies arise I make choices. Triage. Mostly I live with low-level anxiety that occasionally peaks in the middle of the night, causing me to wake up, heart racing, panicking about something I cannot or will not take care of in…

  • Life

    Emergency Preparedness

    We were standing in the kitchen one night after the kids had gone to bed. My husband leaned back against the sink and asked, “You wanna tell me why there’s an apocalypse’s worth of bottled water in the trunk of your car?” “It was on sale.” He looked at me. “It was on sale. It was ‘10 for $10;’ I bought ten.” “Ten gallons of water.” I shrugged. “We’ve talked about this: I was raised to be prepared. I’m not prepared. It makes me nervous. This seemed like something I could do; a small thing.” I sighed and waved my hand in the air, trying to push it away. “Look,…