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.

Like You

No one tells a tale like you
Creates art like you
Tells a joke like you

No one does a dance like you
Plays a lick like you
Sings a song like you




No one is a man like you
Is a dad like you
Picks a wife like you


And I’m glad that you picked me.

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!

My Comfy Valentine

Valentine’s Day…that once-a-year-Hallmark-opportunity to reflect on hearts and flowers, love and chocolate. In the wake of a year that has at times chewed me up and spit me out a bit, it’s sometimes been hard to get in the mood to feel celebratory. From the holidays to the last week of vomiting, asthmatic, attitudinal kids and late night, no-sleep baking marathons…it’s been hard to really feel the magic that holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day are supposed to illicit.

In my 42nd year, I guess I’ve been having something akin to a midlife crisis. My body isn’t as strong or fit as it used to
be. I’ve had to come to terms with the nightmarish realities of what I had thought would turn out to be my “dream job.” It’s been a year of feeling like things just don’t quite fit…from my shoes to my pants…to my career…to my life. There are times that I haven’t even enjoyed being with myself so I’m heading out on a limb to surmise that others didn’t have any interest being near me either. In such moments, inevitably it’s those closest to the epicenter that get hit the hardest, sustain the most damage. So…I’m guessing that there have been many moments this past year that Chris hasn’t exactly been feeling the love.

486: Valentine's DayWhat I’ve sorted out from all my moody broody moments is that there comes a time when one must reconcile dreams with realities…where one must let go of everything they thought, hoped would happen and embrace what’s actually happening instead. In recent days and weeks, this is what I’ve been working to do. In the midst of such a space, it may sound jaded but—from the perspective of an old married lady coming off of a tough year—the most romantic and poignant thing I’ve heard this Valentine season was uttered by Ira Glass on the February 7, 2014 edition of “This American Life.” He said…

“…one of the things that’s a comfort in marriage is that there isn’t a door…and so if something is messed up in the short term, there’s the comfort of knowing that like, we’ve made this commitment so we’ve just got to work this out. And even if tonight we’re not getting along or something between us just doesn’t feel right, there’s the comfort of knowing we’ve got time to figure this out. And that makes it so much easier. Because we do have times when we hate each other’s guts. And the ‘no escape clause’ is a bigger comfort to me than I ever would have thought…”

So…cheers to love…the new and shiny unsoiled kind…the intense and crazy passionate kind…and mostly—for me—the old and married and comfortable kind. On Valentine’s Day and any day, what more could a girl hope for than a guy who holds her hand and keeps plodding through…even and especially on the hard, grey, murky days.January 2015 037

If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit

All the flats I could wear when my cast was first removed. With some effort, I can wear a few heels now too.

All the flats I could wear when my cast was first removed in the Fall of 2013. With some effort, I can wear a few heels now too.

2013. What a year. I would scarcely know where to begin to describe the transformations, peaks and valleys that have characterized the past year. While transformations are still happening and there is certainly still much to sort out, I would say that in 2014–more than anything else–I am planning to shift from the fire-in-the-belly, take-on-the-world mentality of the 20s and 30s to the quiet contemplation of the 40s. I no longer feel the need to prove my worth. More than anything, I wish to whittle down to those who see my worth already, who value me for what I am, and accept me for what I am not.

Unlike the careless kitty I was in my youth, I see that I do not rebound quickly from the hard falls anymore. I don’t possess the will or facility to dust off and carry on as effortlessly as I used to. Rebuilding is certainly possible but it takes time and struggle and meditation.

Because I’ve lost count of the lives I have left, I want to savor and cherish what remains and feel comfortable while doing it. I want to let go of all that no longer serves me. I want to slip into the beauty of my own skin. I’m clearing out all that is impractical and uncomfortable. I am wearing the shoes that fit.

Gluten Free Cookbook

Baking with B

A couple of months ago, I created a gluten free cookbook for a fundraiser at Oscar’s school. It’s not fancy but it contains a few recipes that might be helpful to those who are seeking some easy gluten free deliciousness. Since a few friends have asked for copies, I am posting it here. Click the link below and print double-sided if you’d like a hard copy for your kitchen.

Note that if you are also dairy intolerant, in most cases almond milk or coconut milk make good substitutes. Also, goat cheese can make a satisfying replacement for cheeses. Many markets (including Nugget and Costco) have a great selection of different kinds of goat cheese. Have fun experimenting and bon appétit!

Gluten Free Cookbook

April 2012 009


It has now been 16 days since the crash that derailed–or at least seriously redirected–the summer in the Wisnia house. So much has happened in that short span to shift my thinking about my life and the people in it. For the most part,  I have been overwhelmed by the positivity and love that surrounds us. We’ve scarcely had to cook given the frequent delivery of delicious meals. The boys haven’t missed a single activity thanks to the many who have so graciously descended to give rides here there and everywhere. We’ve had help with shopping and cleaning and occupying the boys so that they don’t feel like they’re missing out even though there’s much that their mommy can’t do right now. Most moments are filled with love and joy and gratitude.

And then there are the other moments…the moments when I feel completely castrated…the moments when all I want to do is climb up into Oscar’s loft to tuck him in or comfort him when he’s had a bad dream but I can’t. There are moments when I think about all that I COULD be doing since I’m home like vacuuming, washing windows, organizing the boxes of accumulated junk in the garage, even simple things like knocking down cobwebs–and then I remember that I can’t. Even something as simple as getting a glass of water is a complicated task these days as I hop on one leg, try to manage crutches, navigate awkwardly around our tiny, cramped house. Some days–other than the obvious reason of escaping my own stench–I am left to wonder why I’m even bothering to bathe. There is nowhere to go, very little to do. These are hard facts for someone like me who is always going, always doing.

There have also been a few demoralizing moments when I have found support sadly lacking in surprising places. It’s hard to feel supported when navigating the bureaucratic purgatory of so many confusing forms and convoluted processes required to get paid, maintain benefits, obtain accommodations. On more than one occasion, I have been made to feel like I am somehow making up or embellishing the truth of my condition to get special treatment. In these moments, I just feel icky and hopeless and shocked. As someone who has been sucking it up and soldiering on my entire life, I am beyond insulted by the implication that I am somehow doing anything short of what is physically possible for me at this moment.

I am terrified that I may never run again. I am heartbroken to hear Boris say that he wishes he had a mommy who didn’t have a broken foot. I am deflated when simple things that used to take seconds take minutes, hours, or worse–aren’t even possible to accomplish right now.

I am bolstered by the fact that I WILL get better. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for the many many people who must face the truth that their particular accident has caused damage that can never be repaired, will never get any better. As stated–for the most part I am nothing short of grateful for all that has happened since I’ve been laid up. I’m grateful it it was my foot that was smashed–not my head or my neck. I am grateful that healing is possible.

Still, the not-so-fluffy moments are real and important to acknowledge and remember too. I think that this time will help me to have so much more compassion going forward. I have been forever changed both by the immense love we have experienced and the few bits of indifference/lack of compassion we have experienced. I will forever remember how I definitely DO and definitely DON’T want to make people feel in their moment of need. At times like this, there is enough darkness to overcome in one’s one mind. Nobody who’s truly hurting should be made to feel like they have to prove the extent of their hurt to anyone. Nobody should be made to struggle to feel valid when they are convalescing and already struggling against their own feelings of invalidity.

My Left Foot: Summer Plan B

X-RaySo…anyone who has been following me on Facebook knows by now that on June 4th, I had a gnarly bike accident that resulted in me basically breaking my foot in half and dislocating every single one of (and breaking some of) my toes. Surgery to repair the damage is tomorrow. Mandatory bed rest will last most (if not all) of the summer. The this unfortunate turn of events has reinforced many truths. These include:

  1. Wearing a wedge heel while biking is perhaps not the best choice (even if I think I look fabulous doing it).
  2. Life is an unexpected and crazy thing that is totally beyond my control (even though I like to pretend otherwise in my most Type A moments).
  3. Good health care is essential (even for those of us who think ourselves relatively spry and healthy).
  4. Trying times are generally rife with silver linings and hidden blessings.

Immediately following the accident, Good Samaritans started pouring in. My neighbor (who was biking with Ouch!me) and some kind stranger doing Tai Chi in Central Park rushed to get me out of the street and make me as comfortable as possible on a park bench until Chris could arrive to take me to the ER. Another kind stranger appeared from nowhere with a bag of ice. Before I had even officially put out the word on what had happened, we were receiving calls and messages from people who heard something bad had happened who wanted to know how they could help.

I have been nothing less that astounded by the speed with which our “village” has descended to surround us during our time of need. One fellow Type A organizer with a giant, beautiful, shiny heart even spent a morning sitting next to me on my sick bed setting up a website where folks could sign up to bring food, take the boys to their summer activities, do our shopping. My mom and sister swooped in to help me handle parties and other pending commitments. We’ve had deliveries of several delicious dinners, neighbors taking the boys to swim lessons, offers to help put the boys to bed while Chris is at work, great medical advice from doctor friends, and loans of awesome medical equipment. We even received a lovely card with a gift certificate for house cleaning inside! The list of all that we have to be grateful for goes on and on. My heart could seriously burst!

Less obvious but deeply profound are the benefits of being able to linger with my boys on these summer days. Sleepy CuddlesWhile it’s certainly not how I would have wanted it to happen, it has been such an exquisite gift to be able to have so many long cuddles, eat meals slowly all together while having rich conversation. Sure, I wish I could take them to the pool and ride bikes and train for that half marathon I signed up to do Labor Day weekend. Since I can’t, I am relishing this probably once-in-a-lifetime elimination of excuses to just be still…to savor my lovelies in a way that the on-the-go me so seldom does. The boys are learning to be more independent, helpful, empathetic. These are skills that I hope they continue to hone forever. Even after the cast comes off for good, maybe we’ll all be a little better at being still and savoring one another. So Summer Plan A is a bust but Summer Plan B is turning out to be pretty OK too. Thank you, universe for this chance to be still and feel so much love.


As Is

“As is.” It’s a phrase used to describe something that—while not perfect—might be worth something anyway. It implies damage—not the irreparable kind but damage nonetheless. The clear implication is this: if you’re looking for perfect, this isn’t it; if you’re looking for something that could be beautiful if given a chance…this one’s worth a shot.

When talking about wedding vows with a friend recently, this phrase came to mind. Anyone who has bounced around in the sea of life long enough to be thinking about wedding vows has undoubtedly garnered a few scrapes and dings along the way. The marks and scars of all that has come before are there—even when said marks can’t be seen with the naked eye. We’re all “As is” in one way or another.

When Chris and I wrote our wedding vows almost a dozen years ago, we started with this: “I embrace you…with all your quirks and imperfections.” We promised to stick it out even on the tough days…to hang together through all the unknown but inevitable changes, scrapes, challenges, dings that were yet to come. Though we saw the existing damage, anticipated more bumps ahead, we also saw the potential and rolled up our sleeves to work hard at creating something lovely.

Both in and out of the romantic context, I am lucky to have a heart, a life is filled with wonderfully, interestingly damaged people. We all bear the marks of the good and bad that has come before. Together we persevere. Despite flaws and foibles, fears and failures, we strive to know more, be better…to keep opening our hearts and minds again and again in hopes that THIS time we’ll get it right. Even with so many imperfections, we see the beauty, the potential and we embrace one another with all of our quirks and imperfections. We gratefully, unconditionally accept one another “As is.”