It no longer matters what my life would have been like with my parents' involvement. My "mistakes", in their eyes, comprised my life choices, and I'm where and who I am now because of those choices.
Right now, there are slips of memories flitting through my head, shapes and shadows of people I've known. There must be some key to keeping those people fresh in your life, in your mind, but I have never known it.
Yesterday was Madeleine L'Engle's birthday. Her work was formative for me as a young girl, first as a reader (her most famous main character's name is Meg, after all), and then as a writer. My first short story when I was young was about time travel. Her characters and storylines gave me hope. She wrote... Continue Reading →
power differentials play out in the everyday tensions of our world, and they inform what I think and write about, because they're inescapable.
Trump is a symptom of this infection rampaging through our national biology, a boil on the ass of our humanity. He needs to be cauterized.
I became comfortable with deleting "friends" who showed themselves unwilling to self examine, to evaluate their beliefs in the face of contradictory evidence. As my wise friend Deb says, "bless and release."
There is so much that this disproportionately stressful year that has changed, and I'm not sure it will ever go back to the way it was.
It's not just YOU risking illness. It's not JUST your neighbors. You're putting all the healthcare workers in your area at risk.
People like Kushner and Barrett have gotten where they are because the system that's in place rewards their specific mediocrity; white, inherited wealth, actively participating in the oppression of non-white, non-male people trying to rise through the system that was solely designed to crush them
But the discouraging reality of Church and church has spread its roots throughout my foundational understanding of the world. The last four years has been my undoing, an unraveling of my belief in people of faith altogether.
There's this equation in my head that shows gratitude and want cancelling each other out; all I have to do to live a life without want is to be grateful for what I have. But how do I ask for what I need?
The battle against voting rights is another facet of conservatism that I have never understood.
Do you know any employer who hires somebody and lets them do and say whatever they want on company time? This guy is on company time every second of the day. That's his whole job.
Watching the degradation of the fail-safes designed to prevent total collapse of our system of government has destroyed our sense that everything will be okay "no matter what."
We are called to care for each other. That is our purpose as humans; to take care of each other.
Starting Tuesday, I'll be writing a daily arrangement of thoughts. They may come from the day's national events, or from some godforsaken conversation on social media.
America is experiencing a reckoning. The filming of police brutality has exposed truths Black people have known for hundreds of years; our society was built upon maintaining white supremacy. In big ways and small, our behaviors as a culture protect the property,health, wealth, safety and feelings of white people through the process of diminishing and... Continue Reading →
My dad never talked much about his origin family. His mother was, in his words, crazy, and we had little contact with his three brothers. What I knew about my father's family fit into a 2X2 inch cube. We know volumes about my mother's family, the big South Side Chicago Irish clan she spoke of... Continue Reading →
The version of this piece published on Eat, Darling, Eat uses softer, less-critical language about my mother. I understand why they made those choices, but it's important to me as a person that other women who might not have had a great relationship with their mothers know that they're not alone. My mom had good... Continue Reading →
This has been a period of non-linear learning, picking up bits of knowledge like rocks on the sand. They're unrelated except for their origins, washed to my feet on the waves. I have one favorite pair of pants. I wear them every day. I don't care what I eat for lunch, as long as it... Continue Reading →
My daughter was three years old when she got her first wheelchair. To that point, she had used a stroller provided by a wheelchair company, so NOT a regular stroller; it had appropriate therapeutic seating to encourage her ability to sit, and hydraulic wheels to absorb shocks, and a seat back that reclined completely for... Continue Reading →
When I turned 40, I started picking up on the things people in my age-group were saying about the aging process. There was one post, I forget the exact wording, about if you find yourself on the floor, you start looking for all the other things to do while you're down there; clean up furballs,... Continue Reading →
Some girls spend their time dreaming of a big wedding, planning for motherhood, wishing for Prince Charming to sweep into their lives. Other than looking for a prince, or really any boy, to sweep into my life, I didn't dream that way. Professionally, I wanted to be a baseball player or a priest. But I... Continue Reading →
"You'll act as I demand, or no more fast cars and vacations and living in a dimly lit castle for YOU!"
Despite our best intentions and planning ahead, disability affects every trip we take out of the house, even when we go see a show starring a person in a different body. I don't know why I thought, even subconsciously, that it would be any different.
Thanksgiving has been stalking me like a shadow this year, peering out around the corner weeks ago, with its gluten-centric traditional dishes passed down on my family line;
Sometimes, it takes being in those naked spaces where we can't hide anymore to find out what we're made of, who we are, and how we behave . . .
Have you met my husband? He's the tall one with Max Headroom hair and the quiet public demeanor, always Canadian-polite, gentle with animals. If you have had any kind of discussion with him, you know he's a skeptic. Almost a cynic. On most subjects. I could cite examples, but I (cynically) expect some readers would... Continue Reading →
You all know I love hockey. I've started writing for a Seattle('s Gonna Get an NHL Team) fan site. Here's my latest for them. https://jetcityice.com/2019/09/18/ron-francis-cipher/ Oh, yeah, Tim's the editor/main instigator of the project, so I had an in. But I love having the chance to do some sports writing, which I've always wanted to... Continue Reading →
This has always been our reality; now we understand the reasons why, the facts behind the behavior. Now we know what's changeable and what isn't.
If you have ever watched a recent horror film, you are familiar with a common special effect used to signify that a person has been possessed by or has become an evil spirit; the entire eye, including the white part, becomes pitch black. This happened to me this morning, sans evil spirit. I blame my... Continue Reading →
A slender segment of the skinny population expends effort toward stopping fat people--from going to concerts and parties to buying clothes to trying to work out for whatever reason moves them. These hateful skinnies can't stand it, and they can't shut up about it.
I took a class on Whitman, Dickinson, Keats and Longfellow in college. It was team-taught by two department stars, Dr. Kiefer and Rodney Jones, one a natty dresser with a gorgeous head of curly hair, the other an acclaimed poet, a stereotypical professor in appearance, wry sense of humor and laconic delivery. While I vividly... Continue Reading →
I admire my husband's drive. I love how he can go in one direction persistently, and not be pulled off to the things that trace across his intellectual field of vision.
Growing up in suburban Chicago, I didn't listen to country music. It was either my father's symphonic music on WFMT, or my mother's bobby-soxer/50s crooners, or local pop radio on the radio in my room. Occasionally, we'd click past HeeHaw on TV, but we never stayed to watch. I learned early that that wasn't *our*... Continue Reading →
It will come as a surprise only to people who don't know him, but my husband Tim was hired shortly after putting out his resume. He found an employer that matches his conscientious work ethic, substantially increased Tim's annual salary, and is near enough to our home for Tim to ride his bike. Plus, Tim... Continue Reading →
Preparing to go out is a practice of expecting judgement--explicit or implicit--about my person. Once past the initial introduction, I am powerfully charming, capably playful, and intellectually stimulating. But the judgement phase comes first, and withstanding that onslaught while maintaining my natural effervescence is emotionally draining.
Another repost from the old OI blog, this one about my husband, from six years ago. My daughter's father is my ex-husband. When I left him 12 years ago, she was five years old, and very emotionally attached to her father. She was too young to understand what was going on, too young to see the... Continue Reading →
I've waited in many surgical waiting rooms, nervously sorting the contents of my purse or reorganizing a file box I brought just to release some of the tension that builds when getting my child ready for surgery. My projects never lasted as long as the surgeries, due to my excessive, jangled speed and the way surgeries... Continue Reading →
Dear Class of '86, There's a reunion coming up. I don't have any idea of how long it's been--if I'd learned any math, I might know--but I also just don't care enough to get out the slide rule. I bring it up because its approach has inspired some vigorous conversation, which has, in turn, caused... Continue Reading →
Since my father died, I've been surprised at the freedom of thought and speech that I feel. We weren't in contact except for the occasional letter back and forth, but I was keenly aware of his presence in the distance, a governing force on my thoughts. Don't go there, the little internal voice would say,... Continue Reading →
She's going back to her independence, back to a life she builds herself, back to the process of opening up the world and seeing what it holds for her.
I'm no good at telling long jokes, partly because I forget some detail that makes it funny, but mostly because I am overcome with laughter before the punchline. I prefer short jokes (my favorite: a baby seal walks into a club. It's awful. Makes me laugh every time.) But there's one long joke I can... Continue Reading →
Hey kids. Dad's sleeping. He needs the rest, and he's not feeling good. So if you're going to call him, do it tonight, okay? While he's sleeping, let me tell you some things about him you probably don't know. Or maybe you do, I don't know. But today's definitely the day for it. A long... Continue Reading →
Tim and I have an anniversary coming up. It's not one of the big milestones, but as we were calculating the years we've been married and the years we've been together as a couple, we realized we've been together almost 20 years. Okay, so we're four years short of 20 years. But I was hit... Continue Reading →