• Life,  Parenting

    The Nuclear Bomb of Personal Change

    I turned 40 earlier this month. That same week, NPR ran a story saying studies have shown people don’t anticipate how much they will change in the decade ahead – their opinions, beliefs, personality traits – even when they acknowledge how much they’ve changed in the past. We can’t imagine our future selves as being much different from our present selves. I immediately thought, “Well, it depends on the decade, doesn’t it? I changed much more in the decade from 20-30 than I did from 30-40.” During the decade of my 20s, I lived in 8 different homes and worked at 9 different jobs. I also: Dropped out of college…

  • Current Affairs,  Life

    Empathy

    Last week I did this thing – this big thing, which I was anxious about, and had to psych myself up for – and it was hard. I hated it. When it was over, I felt a sense of accomplishment and relief. A few people congratulated me, or said they were proud or impressed. A friend asked me to write about it. I didn’t do anything important or impressive. I went without food or water for 15 hours. I participated in a one-day fast with other non-Muslim folks in order to experience what our Muslim friends do every day during the month of Ramadan. That part was cool. Joining others…

  • Life,  Writing

    Do you remember?

    Katherine is a teenager in Texas who has been my Twitter friend for almost three years. She is in the final stretch of her Senior year and wrote a fantastic “day in the life” blog post today that you should read if you, like me, are not a teenager. Especially if you (like me) peeled out from the driveway of your own teen years as quickly as possible. There is a writers’ maxim that writing about the specific makes one’s story universal. I’m 20 years older than Katherine; when I graduated high school in 1991 a different (much shorter) war was ending (and if I had to see one more…

  • Life,  Parenting

    Killer Instinct

    We’re at our son’s indoor soccer game, watching him wander around the court as if in search of flowers to pick. So far it’s been a mediocre game: two teams of 2nd & 3rd grade boys and girls, some running after the ball, others standing around or wandering like our son. Occasionally someone kicks the ball towards a goal. I think each team has scored once, though they don’t post the score, so it’s easy to lose track. Suddenly this kid sweeps towards our team’s goal from the far side of the court. He’s one of the larger kids: not fat, but solidly built; his dark hair is trimmed close…

  • Life,  Parenting,  Pregnancy

    The baby’s not in your thighs, Dear.

    I’m seven months pregnant and digging deeper into the storage bin of maternity clothes each week. Today I pulled out “the $12 pants” and thought of this story, written about a week before my second child was born (originally posted on my MySpace blog). Monday, April 16, 2007 My mass and/or girth reached some sort of critical point on Friday and suddenly I could not pull on my maternity pants.  Fearing this might happen, I had purchased a pair of larger pants from the JC Penny catalog earlier in the week.  I wore them on Friday and Saturday.  Happily, they allowed blood flow to my legs while seated (a nice…

  • Life

    Yet another reason I love my husband

    In the car on the way to work this morning, while I was freaking out my lifelong tendency to take on too much (there are new, shiny things I’d like to do), I said, “. . . and I’ll never accomplish anything and we’ll die in abject poverty and shame.” Smoothly and without blinking, my husband said, “Technically it won’t be abject poverty. We are above the poverty line.” That’s my guy.

  • Life

    Brunch Days

    Someone on TV mentioned “brunch” and my husband and I started reminiscing about the last time we went to brunch, a million years ago when we were newly engaged. His parents were visiting from Chicago and treated us to Sunday brunch at Salty’s on Alki. It was fabulous. “The best part was the mimosas,” I said, remembering the illicit thrill of being tipsy at 10 in the morning in a fancy restaurant with my future in-laws. “We were young,” I went on, “childless . . . thinner. Ah, our brunch days.” “Like our salad days, only tastier,” my husband said. “Our salad days, with eggs. And bacon.”

  • Gardening,  Life

    Ask Me What I’m Growing

    At work I team-teach a course called Prepare Training.* It’s a great course, I truly enjoy teaching it, and yes, I think you should have it at your workplace.** One of the messages of the course is when bad stuff happens around you, don’t let it inside. If it does get in, then you need to get rid of it appropriately. The phrase from the materials is something like, “Find positive ways to release stored negative energy.” Stress relief, baby. When I teach this I mean every word I say. I’ve just been terrible – awful – about living it. I release stored negative energy through food: I stuff my…

  • Life

    Why I Boycott Wal-Mart

    This morning amid the lingering #amazonfail discussion on Twitter came the question of whether or not one should boycott Amazon.com. I responded that the only company I can be bothered to boycott is Wal-Mart, which I’ve been doing for about eight years. (One boycott is enough, right? How socially responsible do you expect me to be?) I know that Wal-Mart doesn’t miss my former bi-weekly Dr. Pepper and Benadryl purchases, but that’s not the point. The point is that I have one less thing to feel guilty about. I’ve got unpaid bills, a never-opened box of baby gift thank-you cards, broken vows, overdue library books, white privilege, and 42 other…

  • Life

    My history in leather

    I’ve had this belt for 7 or 8 years. It occurred to me today that a picture of it would say more than a long line of whiny blog posts. (Infer whining – or not – as you wish.)