Hurricane Oscar

Storm’s a-brewin’
It’s comin’ this way

Ominous clouds
In the sky today.

Waves are a-crashin’
Briny and thick

Wind’s picking up
So evacuate quick!

It’s about to get ugly!
Take heed! You’ve been warned!

He’s headed this way!
He’s clearly been scorned!

Stay out of his path
‘Til the thrashing subsides

It won’t be long now
‘Til he’s spent and decides

Everything’s fine.
Wanna shoot some hoops???

Moms Don’t Take Sick Days

When a mom’s feeling sick
Fighting the ick
Everyone still needs to eat!

After cookies are tossed,
Clothes still need to be washed.
So, soldier up! Back on your feet!

As you shake off that sneeze…
Grab the sports gear and keys…
And deliver your kid to the game…

Take heart in knowing
As you make your brave showing
There’s another mom doing the same.

What I Hate Most

In the morning, you took cupcakes to school
Topped with pics of your lovely face
Smiling, holding up fingers
Of how old you are now.

In the afternoon soiled on the ground
Discarded by the parking lot
A picture of your lovely face
Smiling, holding up fingers
Of how old you are now
With scribbled devil horns and mustache.

I hid that pic inside my pocket
Next to my sinking heart
And wept a little knowing
The truth of being a human kid.

I remembered the girl
Inside of me
Who was called “Two Ton Titanic Tall Titties”
For being too tall and developed
For 4th grade.

I remembered the girl
With the beautiful name
That seemed foreign and funny
To my hillbilly ears

That name that I mocked aloud with my hillbilly friend
Until I could see in the blazing eyes on her sad face
That she was NOT out of ear shot.
She heard. She knew.

No apology could make her forget
That I was as ugly as everyone else.

What I hate most is knowing
That you will experience and perpetuate ugliness.

Will get punched and punch back.
Your hearts will be broken.
You will feel unwanted and disliked.
And you will feel the heat and shame
Of being mean, being wrong.

No attempt to wrap you in cotton and kisses
Will protect you from your own humanity.


Exhibit A (the first in many such exhibits): The laundry that was barely finished and haphazardly hung and closed inside our laundry closet just moments before we were expecting company…

Everything’s done
But nothing’s done well.

I’m hearing, “It’s FINE!”
But inside I can tell.

My usual crispness
Is going to hell.

Everything’s done
But nothing’s done well.

Little Florist

Little Florist:
How did you know
That every flower in this bouquet is my favorite,
That everything touched by your perfect fingers is magical,
That THIS is what I needed today,
That YOU are the most extraordinary centerpiece
And the mere sight of you makes me want to weep with joy?


I wish you were a record
That I could play again and again.
A happy tune to whistle
When my soul is wearing thin.
I wish you were a sweater
That I could wear when I am cold,
Softness wrapped around me
When I’m feeling weak and old.
I wish I were a pillow
Billowy on your beds,
A place for you to rest and dream
To lay your perfect heads.

What I Know about What She Knew

What She Knew

When preparing for a recent work trip which promised much time on airplanes/in airports, I went through the familiar ritual of checking out the “Kindle Daily Deals” in hopes of finding something inexpensive to occupy my mind. With much reluctance, I selected What She Knew by Gillian Macmillan.

As the mom of 7 and 9 year old boys, I had much trepidation about diving into a story that centers around the disappearance of 8-year-old boy. I promised myself that if things got rough, I’d put the book down, back away slowly and resort to crosswords and gossip rags.

To say that I ended up devouring this book would be an understatement. I spent more than one night in my conference hotel reading until my eyes shut on their own, compelled and obsessed to know how it all turned out. It’s not only that the story is an exquisitely-crafted mystery.

This story delves so deeply into the many ways we humans punish one another and ultimately ourselves in times of crisis. When things go awry, we’re so quick to judge one another, judge ourselves…blame one another, blame ourselves. Too often, little room is left for being human, showing compassion…even and especially to ourselves.

In the end, I was left feeling that this wasn’t just a good book for me to read…but an important book for me to read. I found myself weeping and whipping out my notebook to write down passages more than once.

Those who know me well will not be surprised to read that—like lots of folks—I’ve seen some things, survived some stuff. There are dark corners in my mind that are sometimes hard to escape. When I got to the part of the book that reads, “…There are some events and uncertainties that you take to the grave, and they threaten to tumble you every single step of the way…” I wept and wrote and felt understood.

I wept and wrote some more when I read, “I understood in that moment…that being a mother had given [her]…a single silken strand, strong as a spider’s web, which had tethered her to her life. It was the string that had led her, time and time again, out of the enveloping, dangerous depths of the labyrinth that was her depression. It had prevented her from slipping fatally and completely away into the dark seductive folds of melancholia…” I thought of the days when I’ve only had strength to sit sandwiched on the couch between my boys and hold onto them for dear life…the days when I put something light and funny on the TV and just wrap myself around them until I regain the energy to get up, make something to eat, behave like a proper mother.

When I read, “…here’s the thing: none of us deserve a thing. That’s an illusion we all exist under…I should simply have been grateful for what I had. I should have celebrated my life as it was, imperfections, sadness, and all, and not forensically examined its faults…” I loosened the grip on some grief, some guilt.

And finally, when I read, “…I count my blessing every day for my blemished, damaged family, which is full of love, and this is fine, and that is all we need…” I thought, “Amen, Sister!” What I know about What She Knew is that I’m glad I read it and I hope others will do the same. There are books that are read to fill the time and there are books that are read to fill the soul. For me, this book was definitely the latter.Classic

The Season of Realism

For many, the New Year is an opportunity to reflect on all that has come before and ponder all that is yet to come. For those (like myself) who have birthdays on New Year’s Eve, the New Year is a time for double reflection…not just thinking about the past year but about all of life. Am I anywhere close to where I thought I’d be 20 years ago? If not, does it matter? What do I hope for the coming year, the next 20 years, and beyond?

Alien CakeAs I reflect and ponder on the doorstep of my 44th birthday, there is much I have surmised. For starters, I can confidently say that while the glittery, unrealistic dreams of my early 20s have faded, so have the cynical sorrows of my late 30s and early 40s. Like many of my contemporaries, I started adulthood with a few delusions of grandeur (e.g., Maybe I’ll open the world’s first nighttime poetry bakery so that I can sleep in, bake cakes in the late afternoon, and write/perform poetry by night!) When I was shaken still by the realities of parenting and mortgages, traumatic injuries, and the relentless grind of life in my late 30s and early 40s, I spent a fair amount of time being angry and sad…wondering how I could have been so wrong about what my life would become. Though the cocky confidence of youth didn’t seem to fit anymore,Pink Hair at times, I still kept trying to wear it. Other times, I found myself feeling most comfortable in a dark shroud of doubts. Even while cocooned comfortably under all that fabric, somewhere inside I knew that those doubts didn’t fit right either.

Now, I feel like I’m settling into my style…or at least the style I’ll wear for the next season or two. This new style is eclectic…a bit of the pop and color of youth mixed with classic touches of realism. Doubts and confidence are great accessories but should be used sparingly. When it feels like I’m wearing too much of either, I’ll do my best to shed something in pursuit of the ultimate in comfort and style.

Boys' StyleAs my boys grow older and develop their own style, it’s difficult to speculate what trends lie ahead or how my own style will be affected or influenced. As I stand grasping the threads of who I thought I was with one hand and the threads of who I’m becoming instead in the other, I hope that I my instincts will guide me to put aside the colors and textures that no longer suit so that I can weave something beautiful and comfortable from what remains.

XMAS 2015


I sleep fitfully in the early morning hours, nervous that the alarm will ring and wake the lot in our tiny house. I stir and drift, stir and drift until the alarm is imminent. With one swift movement, I force myself awake. Armed with tiny smartphone flashlight, I navigate the fog and ink…tugging on workout clothes, tiptoeing through blackness, silently slinking into the car and easing down the driveway without starting the ignition to avoid waking my still-sleeping, easily-roused first born.December 2014 014

At the gym: Do I have the right form? Am I striking the right pose? Working hard enough? Responding coherently? High-fiving fervently?

At home: Does everyone have the weather-appropriate/organic/sustaining/hydrating/environmentally-friendly everything they need for the day ahead? Has homework been done? Chores? Is everyone acting civilized? Have the pets been fed and exercised? January 2015 027By the way, how’s my husband? What happened on his shift yesterday that I might need to know today? Was I supposed to bake for the class? For work? Speaking of work…best get on the road before all the good parking spaces are taken! Where’s that non-dairy/non-gluten/non-processed lunch I packed last night and nutritious breakfast I prepared this morning?

January 2015 085Morning drive: News of the world…sad, inspiring, beautiful, strange, terrifying, thought-provoking.

Office: Meetings, trainings, emails, voicemails, writing, planning, editing, facilitating.

Afternoon drive: More news. Call Chris. How was the day? Where shall we meet? What time are you off? What’s next? Baseball? Basketball? Karate? Soccer? Who needs gear? A snack? Am I coaching? Team momming? Snack shacking? PTAing? Book Clubbing?

At night: Dinner for the boys. Straighten the house. Feed and exercise the pets. Shower for the boys. Snuggles and kisses. All tucked in! Time to read to the boys. Dinner for the adults. Prep for tomorrow. Read a bit of that Book Club book. Maybe see Chris, maybe not. Sometimes…self-doubt. Am I doing too much? Not enough? Am I giving everyone—including myself—what they need? Am I making the most of being a human in this place at this time with these people?January 2015 031

Inside this dense forest of shifting attention and substantial remembering, sometimes things get lost for a while. Perspective, time…passwords. And so it came to pass that almost one year ago, I lost the password for this very blog. Since password retrieval was set to send to my now defunct old work email address, it seemed at times that the blog was dead, that access would never again be granted, that I would wander around tormented by the typos I would never be able to fix, the posts I would never be able to write. I searched the recesses of my mind unsuccessfully so many times that I started to give up hope. I almost called off the search. One day—for reasons I’m still trying to understand—a flash of clarity penetrated the forest and revealed the location of the long-hidden magical password.

Now that I have once again been welcomed into the land of the blogging, I can’t say that I’ll have lots of time to write. This said; I am thrilled to be back, to be able to post when I can, to have a handful of you indulge me when I manage to put something up. After a year of serious Momnesia, BEHOLD THE RETURN OF COMIC BOOK MAMA!

Spazzy Intensity

Behold the extrovert: Front and center and hamming it up. Behold the introvert: Brooding in the background.

Behold the extrovert: Front and center and hamming it up. Behold the introvert: Brooding in the background.

The current dynamic in our house is this: We have one very intense, sometimes melodramatic introvert and one spazzy, in-your-face, wacka-wacka-wacka extrovert. Mr. Intensity can often be found reading or playing in the corner by himself while Mr. Spazzy does his level best to draw Intensity out by peppering him with questions, trying to show him stuff and—if all else fails—being as annoyingly adorable as humanly possible. This often results in Intensity punching or insulting Spazzy and Spazzy (who is also the Town Crier) tattling. We are typically treated to every excruciating detail of Intensity’s misdeeds and usually none of the details related to Spazzy’s part in the fallout. It’s only after a major effort to extract information from tight-lipped Intensity that we are able to piece together something resembling the full story. My hope and dream is that eventually these two will balance each other out. My current experience is that they drive each other to the brink of madness and often bring me and their daddy along for the ride.

A perfect example of this dynamic presented yesterday on the drive home from karate. In the last couple of days, Oscar has been caught sneaking treats. This resulted in the loss of the privilege of dessert. Following the loss of privileges, much dramatic sadness inevitably ensues. I have learned that trying to reason or explain in such moments is futile. If I have any hope of inserting a life lesson, I must bide my time until the emotional storm has passed.

And so it was that in the relative calm of yesterday’s post-karate routine that I decided to say, “Oscar: Do you know why it’s so upsetting to me and Dad when we catch you sneaking and being dishonest…even just a little bit?” Beautiful brooding Oscar set down his book, let out and exasperated sigh and said, “Why?” “Because,” I said, “It won’t be long before you’re out in the world without us and we want to have faith that even when we’re not watching, you’ll do the right and honest thing.” “OK,” he said and resumed reading. After a short silence I asked, “Do you know what defines the kind of person you are?” Again, he set down his book and huffed, “No. What?” “It’s the kind of person you are when nobody’s looking. My dream for you is that—even when nobody’s watching—you’ll choose to do the right and honest thing.”

At about that moment, we arrived at the front of the pet store and I instructed the boys to sit tight while I ran in to purchase some sawdust for the guinea pigs. I returned to the car moments later, to this excited report: “Mom!” Boris said, “Oscar said he can’t relax with you in his life!” Oscar summarily issued his brother a sideways stink-eye. After summoning much strength to push down the bursts of uncontrollable laughter that were bubbling up inside me, I said, “Oscar: I’m not trying to stress you out. I just want you to understand why Daddy and I make the decisions we make. I want you to understand where we’re coming from.” “OK,” he said as he returned to his book.

I have no way of knowing if any of the seeds I am planting will grow or if they will simply blow away in the wind. I can turn the soil, add water, try to coax out the sun. Still since I am growing a completely new and unique species, this is all a bit of an experiment. I may fail to provide the right nourishment, bugs may come to eat my spoils…all I have toiled to produce may die on the vine or fail to sprout in the first place. For now, I am enjoying my time in the garden. I remain hopeful that someday I will taste the sweet fruit of many years’ labor.

The camera doesn't lie. Spazzy Intensity abounds.

The camera doesn’t lie. Spazzy Intensity abounds.