Monthly Archives: June 2014

My life is so full of awesome.

Yesterday was awesome with a side of awesome-sauce. When the only down part of the day is me bawlling out the kids for “pruning” (aka HACKING ALMOST TO DEATH) most of the food plants in the front yard. Shanna decided that it would be awesome to clean up the house to make it up to me.  I’m not sure some of the asparagus can recover. Luckily it is a spreading plant and even if those bits are dead, more will grow eventually. It’s going to take a good three years to get back to where the blueberry bushes were. My tomatoes are not going to be robust this year. (I’m ok with that. I didn’t want to grow any.) She pruned the apple tree that was just starting to do well. This is my sad face.

And that was my only bad. If that is the only bad in my day, well, I can get ten minutes of yelling out of it and then a little pout and move on. Ok, I’m done now. I really like problems that will fix themselves with time.

Otherwise the kids and I had a really nice day. We spent some time walking around Los Gatos. I talked to them about stuff I did as a kid. They were really interested in all the stories. I find myself perpetually in a state of confusion that they actually give a shit about me. They really do. They want to know about me. They want to know more than anyone other than Noah. It’s crazy. If anyone other than my kids followed me around asking for stories about my life it would probably be a little creepy. But my kids hunger for them.

I feel seen and valued. I tell them all the time that I am so glad that now I get to walk these places with them. Every memory that involves them is sweeter than what came before. I’m glad I get to show them things I like and places I have existed. I’m glad that they are happy I am with them.

It feels like it goes beyond the whole “If my mom hadn’t been alive I wouldn’t be alive.” They like me. They want to know me. I don’t feel I deserve it.

I’m probably going to apologize for yelling when they get home. I lost my temper. It’s ok to tell them why what they did was a bad idea. I probably didn’t need to shout it though. That wasn’t very nice of me. Sometimes, I’m not very nice. Which is a mixed thing.

My kids believe that it is ok for them to fuck up. They take it in stride, apologize, and then move on full stream ahead. “Oh shit. Mom is really mad at me because I did something I shouldn’t have. Hey! I’ll clean up all my stuff! Mom likes that!”

Repair attempts. I hear that acknowledgment of repair attempts are the strongest indicators of healthy and happy relationships. (Ok, mostly I’ve seen this with reference to marriage. If your spouse is TRYING to repair a fuck up, ALWAYS at least acknowledge that you see that they are trying–even if you kind of don’t want to let them make the repair yet. “I can see that you are trying really hard to help me stop feeling mad right now. I’m going to need to be mad for a few minutes. I appreciate that you are trying. I will be back to reciprocate in a few minutes when I calm down.”)

My kids try to repair. I try to repair. None of our fuck ups are that big. And our forgiveness is brobdingnagian. (That’s one of my FAVORITE WORDS EVER.)

Last year, when the awesome dad from the home school group was working in my yard, their teenage son came with him. At one point I told the boy to do something for his mom so she would get really excited. I did my kind of squeak and bounce thing. He his eyes got kind of wide and his head leaned back and he said, “Uhhh. My mom doesn’t get excited like that.”

I told him he obviously isn’t trying hard enough. He seemed skeptical. But I think about exchanges like that when I have my ALL CAPS LOCK ALL THE TIME days. I am that excitable in person. I understand why my kids are loud.

(Jenny–the town is so different. Next time you come to California we need to take Little Djinn there. It’s wacky how different it feels now. The Safeway has been totally remodeled. Now there is underground parking and the store is like twice the size. The Walgreens moved. That was kind of weird for me. Auntie shopped there a lot so the idea that it moved… No! Stop ignoring my sentimentality when you make business decisions!)

This year is fifteen years since I graduated from high school. Twenty years for Noah. Whoa. Time flies. Not that he graduated. And I graduated despite not going to high school. Life is confusing.

Clearly a high school education is not the make-it-or-break-it part of education. The pair of us argue with that idea pretty firmly. “Oh really? People can’t be successful or functional unless they can adapt to a toxic high school environment. Who was it that said it is no measure of health to be adjusted to a profoundly sick society?” (For the record it was: Jiddu Krishnamurti. I LOVE the internet. I never have to say I don’t know something again.)

Success is such a funny thing. The goal posts just move.

Recently Noah and I were discussing my lust for order. I wish I were someone who could be regimented and predictable. He commented that someone highly regimented can’t be successful in his profession. The point of his job is to imagine things. You can’t do that if you are predictable–not really. You can go down a checklist of possibilities, but you can’t imagine something different.

I suppose this is like the Imagineer vs. the Engineer. Ha.

These days when I set goal posts for the future I understand that they are mutable. My original goals of “save $250,000 and own my own house” were supposed to take me till I was sixty or so.  Sometimes it is hard holding in the impulse to just cash out stock and pay the house off tomorrow. I could. And I’d still meet that minimum barrier for safety.

But my goals changed. Yes, I want the house paid off. But holy crap I’ve learned what investing money can do to your overall security. Shanna’s college tuition is almost 1/3 there. She just turned six. I didn’t actually contribute that much. It grows. Like fucking magic.

I feel… less fanaticism about paying the house off Right Now. I’ll get it paid off soon enough. It’ll be fine.

For someone who doesn’t believe in God I spend a lot of time praying. Every month when I pay my bills I sit still and I close my eyes and thank whatever is listening that I can pay every bill without robbing Peter to pay Paul.

My mom got to have that feeling once a year. When she got her income tax return. It was spent the day it arrived catching up on things that had to be paid. Every year of my childhood. The eleven months in between were anxiety filled cry fests. What was she going to do wrong this month. She started out every month short. And she didn’t really have a way to get more money.

Today I went out to a lovely breakfast with Noah. I couldn’t eat very much of it because my stomach hurt. We put it in a to-go container for me to eat after I medicate. It’ll be awesome then.

I see every thread of privilege that runs through my life. I feel like the threads are interwoven with gratitude and sorrow and shame. I’m grateful I get to have the things I have. I appreciate them. I’ve seen the lack. I understand how good I have it. I feel really sad that most people never get to feel this easing of worry. When they say that money can’t buy happiness… it can buy you ways to not worry. I feel ashamed that I have all this and other people have so little. That feels disgusting and inappropriate and wrong.

I feel good that my kids know that when you walk buy a homeless person begging, you find something to give them. Food, money, some conversation if you really have nothing to give. You treat them like a person. We have so much extra. If we don’t share then we are shitty people.

I don’t think I will get my grocery bill under control. But I have relationships with a fair number of homeless people and I don’t feel bad about handing them bags of food. My kids see that a lot. That’s just part of their experience of the world.

We are very lucky. We have extra. If you have extra and you don’t share, then you are an asshole.

Yes, we need to have conversations about systemic solutions. But I am not a hive creature. I am an individual. I can’t solve whole systemic problems. Often, I don’t know what the answer is. But I can help the person standing in front of me.

Are they currently suffering as the “result of bad decisions”? Maybe. But I’ve seen an awful lot of people make the best god damn decisions they had available and they still didn’t work out so well. I’m not in a position to judge. If Noah didn’t like fucking me so much… I wouldn’t have so much extra.

I don’t really feel I have a lot of moral high ground. And I feel a great deal of dismay that I am supposed to feel superior to people who earn their living the same way I do only they don’t also have to do all the fucking laundry. Sex work really doesn’t seem that different to me.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” Sometimes attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt though no one knows for sure.

I have a small mind. Sometimes I think I glory in that. I like to discuss people. I try to do it as more than just gossip–I like looking for patterns and figuring out how people work and why they do the things they do.

I have a strong natural dislike of population studies. I like individual case studies, one after another. I think that in the generalizations you lose the truth. This comes of being an outlier on most scales. Not as many any more… I’m trending towards average as I age. At least on some metrics.

But if you can never undo what you have done, then there are scales on which I will be an outlier until I die. I’m not sure I will ever get over distrusting population studies. But I want to go do a study on a population. I want to do it one person at a time.

Noah just asked me, “Have you ever considered what a system would look like if it was set up to manage people like you?” (Meaning contrary and difficult people who are prone to do the opposite of what you tell them to do even when they are shooting themselves in the foot.) (We’ve been talking about systematic solutions Like You Do On A Sunday Morning.)

More choices. More money. I consider every child born to be an investment in the future of this country. Each individual person has the potential to do Great Things if they are encouraged appropriately. Maybe their Great Things will be in their neighborhood. Maybe in their state capitol. Maybe on tv. I don’t care. Whatever. Do what makes you feel like you are doing the thing that you are good at doing. It is different for different people.

Getting training in your life path is hard and costs money. I really believe in the basic income. I think that children as young as four and five should be allowed to petition the courts to be adopted by a guardian of their choice. Even if the court is a little worried. Kids who are adopted out should retain a child advocate who will work with them throughout their lifetime. Kids who need to leave their nuclear family will probably need a wide net of different kinds of support people.

Kids should be born with the ability to pay for their own day care and food, should such assistance be necessary. These kids will pay my social security. I need them to be as healthy and functional as possible.

Instead our system tries to tell people that they have as few choices as possible. We constrain learning and say that if you don’t learn well by listening to lectures and doing worksheets obviously you are pretty stupid.

Not everyone has that experience of the school system. Some people experience a bewildering array of options and learning possibilities. Guess how much money the parents of those kids usually have?

Maybe money does buy happiness. Or at least it can buy the ease of worry to the point where you are able to feel happy.

But people can learn with almost no money spent. Money isn’t the point. Having a truly engaged teacher is one of the main building blocks of education. The people who help you discover things on your own are the people who increase your options for the future. People who give you a checklist of what to do and what not to do are limiting you.

I think this is beyond me today. And I’m getting stabbing pain in my elbow. I’m going to stop now.

Disrupted sleep = less writing

I’ve had a great week. But I didn’t sleep very well. On Wednesday we went to the Carsie Blanton concert in San Francisco. It was great. We had a lot of fun.

This week feels like a week that just didn’t quite get off the ground. I took naps most of the days. I canceled social engagements. I canceled outings.

Part of it is: when the kids just outright refuse to do their share of chores… I have low impetus to hold up my share of going out to play. So we had a restful week. It’s not a terrible thing any way.

We’ve gotten along well. I’ve been in a good mood. When I realize that I am at my limit and I just abruptly stop doing what is making me feel over-my-limits… everything goes better.

But I feel like a mean mom.

Today will be restful too. Apparently the Godmamas found a way to squeeze in a visit. I did not expect it. I thought that May was the last month on offer. So I’m pretty excited. And the girls are so excited they have been dancing for days. I wanted my kids to feel attached to people. They do.

It is interesting watching Shanna go from resisting-liking-people (because she sometimes gets into trouble and she hates learning new rule systems in new houses) to being totally in love and thinking that having to follow a new set of rules is no big deal. It’s like watching me. I giggle at my own lifetime of folly as I watch her.

In general, despite the fact that they are being resistant to helping lately, they are a joy to be around. Shanna is getting really good at being polite and sweet and wonderful while she is resisting and being obnoxious. I’m always much happier about being told “No” when someone at least does it with a smile.

Learning to manipulate me is probably fairly good practice for the outside world.

Yesterday the kids had a tussle. After the injury-inducing-whacks were over Calli apologized but Shanna didn’t. It was really interesting watching how Calli believes that because she said “sorry” it is ok that she did what she did and Shanna says, “Saying sorry won’t get me out of trouble and I’m not sorry so why say it?”

Development is so rad to watch up close.

A long-term friend has popped up this week to ask my opinion about child development stuff. “Here is what is going on with my kid. Here is what our pediatrician says. What do you say?”

Whoa. Really? You give a shit about my opinion? Uhm… why? Because I’ve read lots of books? I COULD TOTALLY BE LYING ABOUT THAT. YOU DON’T KNOW.


I gave her my standard advice to people who have little kids regardless of whether people fear the kid is behind or ahead. Talk to them more. No, I don’t really give a shit that you think you talk to them a lot. More. More. More.

Explain what you are doing and how you are doing it. “Well, if we want a sandwich for lunch we will need to get out all the pieces. Do you know what pieces we need for this process? We need bread, a knife, peanut butter and jelly, and of course a cutting board. Ok, what should I do first? Do you think I should lay the bread on the cutting board first or should I put the knife on the cutting board first? Hmmmm. I get confused.”

I do this with everything. My kids know so many words because everything that moves past our field of vision I name and talk about how it is made and how it is used.

So if you are a little worried about your childs development my first advice will always be, “We live in a very complicated world. Understanding it and interacting with it is hard unless little apes have a translator. They need someone to explain all the bits. Then they can duplicate it later.”

Kids can learn things without grown ups trying very hard. They usually learn more slowly and more painfully with many more issues.

Yes, there are learning disabilities I am Not Qualified to give advice on. For like 75% or more of kids…. talk to them more. Explain more. Treat them like wonderful people who are going to need to know all this stuff and it isn’t a burden to explain.

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy researching teaching. Not everyone is a verbal learner, but EVERYONE benefits from early repetition and language acquisition help. I don’t think you need to explain things like that to a ten year old. I’m talking doing that with under two year olds.

Although ten year olds benefit from such explanations too. Just.. probably not about sandwiches. When I’m around older kids I talk about politics more. I talk about why grocery stores organize things the way they do. I talk about why different houses have different kinds of yards. What kinds of care do different plants need? Why is that important? What factors should people take into account when figuring out what is right *for them*?

I question kids all the time. I’m less obnoxious with adults because I figure they don’t want to hear it from me. But I’m a teacher by inclination and training and I don’t really give kids a break.

I don’t know everything. I’m happy to say so. I can’t do everything. I’m happy to talk about my own inadequacy and ignorance. It makes kids feel a lot more brave about trying things to know that grown ups are making shit up as they go along.

I like being around kids. Which is funny. I hated kids when I was one. Enh, I’m still not all that fond of my peers. I do better than I used to! But I do best with people who are older or younger. I have same-age-friends. Which still feels weird.

This weekend is Pride. I’m not sure I’m going to be interested in going up to San Francisco. I may… rest. More. Because I’m boring like that. I have a recommended reading list to write. And complaint letters about doctors. And a door to paint. (It’s been off the hinges for almost a week. Get it done already.) (In my defense–I’m trying to paint one side like the back of a puppet theatre. It’s a bit of work.)

I’m thinking about getting one of the over-the-door racks for towels and making a puppet theatre out of a sheet. I’m in love with my own cleverness.

I like my house. I like being here. In the past week and some I’ve had a whole bunch of tiny little guests. It was lovely. Apparently one kid even cried for my house on the way home.

I don’t suck at everything. This comes as more of a shock to me than anyone else. I do ok at hosting kids. I remember that going so badly for me, mostly because adults didn’t understand that I was ignorant as a pig and they punished me for any minor fuck up.

I explain. I explain and explain and explain. “Ohhhh… you didn’t know that this thing would break. Bummer. Yeah. These things break. Ok, Let’s look at it closely so you can learn why it broke so you will know how to be careful next time.”

I broke my tea pot this week. (Oops.) My kids said, “Ahh bummer. But at least we are able to buy a new one. Phew.”

They’ve heard that a lot. “I’m so grateful that we are able to fix this mistake.”

Most of our little friends are in similar-ish tax brackets to us but not all. We know people who have much less money and much more. Ok, not many who have much more. But more.

The difference in the kids is striking. You can tell which kids are from houses with financial insecurity. They are more careful and timid. They are more afraid of being punished for doing something wrong.

Which isn’t to say that I think that poor parents are worse parents. Nothing of the kind. The more-privileged-kids have less innate ability to care about their behavior. They expect their mistakes to just be fixed.

After a while I couldn’t handle touching things at peoples houses. I must have been done trying by six or so. Shanna… not close to done. She’s a toucher. And she breaks stuff a lot. And she can’t be arsed to care. Which bothers me.

“It’s replaceable” is a frequent line. These days her allowance gets to cover it when I told her not to touch and she did anyway and then she breaks stuff.

I don’t tell you to “not touch” everything. I’m specific. I have reasons. If you ignore me and screw up, these are the consequences. No I’m not punishing you. You get to replace what you broke. That’s not about me punishing you. That’s justice.

You are a little rich kid. Get used to what will be fucking expected of you this life time. If you break shit–you have to fix it. No one else has the extra resources to cover a spoiled little rich kid.

Oh man is that a level of entitlement I couldn’t live with.

With great privilege comes great responsibility.

I feel like Shanna is getting better at manipulation. When she doesn’t like something that I have said to her she says that I was too scary when I said it so she can’t do it. Even if I’m talking in a normal, completely flat voice.

She knows I don’t want them to be afraid of me. Smart little shit.

A couple of times recently I have said, “I don’t believe you. If you were scared you wouldn’t be so defiant.”

I also say, “So what is it that you are scared that I might do?”

“Something awful.”

No specifics.

I ask if they think I would hit them. They both emphatically go off on how I would never physically hurt them.

Ok then. I’m not too worried about your fear.

But I worry. Like I do.

I feel good about the fact that my kids really believe what I say. The other day we were leaving Aqua Adventure. I don’t remember what we were negotiating for, but Shanna was trying to get me to go back on how I said things would go. I stopped walking and knelt down to look at her.

“In my opinion the most important part of our relationship is that you can trust what I say. When I say something I’m going to follow up on it. Do you really want me to go back on what I told you? Do you want to stop trusting me?”

“No. I like that you mean what you say. I just kinda wish you would change your mind this time.”

“But then you wouldn’t trust me next time, would you?”

“No. Ok.” Then she held my hand and leaned her head against me.

I don’t bluff. I think bluffing destroys your credibility.

I spend a lot of time with my kids. So I spend a lot of time looking at them. Of course this means I’m aware of the bits that drive me nuts. Mostly what I think when I look at my kids is, Wow. How did so much wonderful come out of me?

Trippy stuff, yo. I like my kids. I like them as individual people. I like them as forces to be reckoned with out in the world. I like that they are so sure of themselves.

Ever since meeting Little Djinn (my niece–her mom is more worried about internet safety than me) Calli keeps playing “I’m shy” games when she meets new people. It’s hilarious because she wants people to come to her and draw her out. She has no concept of the idea that shy people actually want the new people to stay the hell away. She thinks it is just a playing-hard-to-get game.

This has been a really good week. Almost entirely interacting with kids is different in terms of social energy. I get really tired but I don’t have anything like the anxiety.

I uhm, think I understand on a basic level that I will be rejected more easily by adults than by children. The kids go where their parents send them. They don’t get a lot of choice. And kids just don’t perceive some of my slip-ups. When I say a word I maybe shouldn’t say, I can cover and move on and it just goes over their heads. Adults notice and judge.

I don’t slip in big ways. Maybe I start singing along slightly too loud with one of the songs playing in my head. Lots of them are uhm, not kids songs.

I figure if children can hear this shit on the radio I’m not going to hell if I slip up and let a line out here and there.

It is harder for me to maintain boundaries with adults. I always slip into, “Don’t you want to understand me just a little…”

No, not really. Most people are much happier if I stay in my little box. Unless I can find something appropriate to say. Better nothing than too much.

The balancing act is hard. So kids are just easier. They kind of have no choice but to be more forgiving. Their brains are not capable of latching on to screw ups in the same way. I can ooh shiny them and move on.

I really enjoyed having multiple days of kids from different families coming over. A veritable parade of visitors. And having the kids without their parents is easier than having the parents too. Having a “supervising kids” track in my brain is low effort. I do that 24/7 and I have for years. Having a simultaneous “appropriate adult conversation” track running takes serious churn. I can do it. I like the adults I talk to and all. I’m not saying I wish I never had to talk to adults.

But I think it is funny how differently tiring the two kinds of visits are. Having a houseful of kids is not as hard as having two extra kids and an extra adult. I suppose it depends on the actual people involved. There could be much harder kids, of course.

The kids I know who are “hard” are hard in ways that make sense to me and, in my opinion, deserve respect. So I work to their level. I don’t act like they should be able to meet me where I am. And it helps that I model screwing up, apologizing, and moving on easily and frequently. It is always clear to kids that it is ok to be human in my house. I don’t think that is as clear to adults. Probably because I have more anxiety around screwing up with adults.

I uhm, worry a lot about rejection. Way more than is healthy. But I don’t worry about it from kids at this point. I worry about adults. That is not so good or useful. I reduce the Zen in my life this way.

I hope it will be a good day. I expect so. I’m going to take the kids south alone. Noah hasn’t been getting his time off lately. He wants to go earn more money. I don’t really feel I should tell him no. I benefit directly and all. “You want to fund my ridiculous travel urges? Sure.”

I may go to Kiva on the way home. Just because. I don’t think I will be very interested in going to San Francisco this weekend. Not with a drive to Santa Cruz.

Remember how we used to drive to party? Ha. Now I’m old. I care less about those communities seeing me out-and-about. I already have all the credibility and standing I can usefully maintain.

And I’m not hunting. So what do I care?

I’ll stay home and shoot fish in a barrel. Way easier. I think we are actually going to hit quota this month. I confess, oh internet, we have been averaging more like six or seven times a month for a while. My sex drive has been really low. Luckily the breeding years lowered Noah’s expectations so he is way better about handling dips in my sex drive.

He’s more secure that I’m still kinda obsessed with sex and he’s my only access point so… chill out. I’ll come back. I don’t think I trusted that before either. It’s a new stage for both of us.

I miss hunting but I don’t miss the vaginal pain that is involved with condoms and sex with inexperienced people. Ow. Ow. Motherfucking Ow.

Unprotected sex for the win. And with an uncircumcised penis. Yay for less pain. Every vagina is different. I have learned, through lots of trial and error, that I don’t do very well with the circumcised penii. They hurt. Not enough movement. Too much friction. Burn. Owie. Even without condoms.

I’m sorry dudes. Your parents screwed you over. I know this is a hot topic. That’s just my experience of sex.

Other people (male and female) handle cut penii without complaint. Don’t take my issues as being universal. Some people strongly prefer them. Not just for religious reasons.

See, these are tangents I just don’t follow with kids.

I went to a yoga class yesterday. That was a good thing. The class was a bit more aerobic than I prefer but pretty slow for a gym class. I was mostly happy that I know the poses at this point and I can hear verbal directions and follow rather than having to twist and contort to always see the instructor. My body needed the stretching. I think I will try again.

The mother I was supposed to meet at the gym didn’t show. I haven’t followed up. I’m not sure how much I care. Parents flake. I don’t take it personally any more. I still get a little pissy if someone without kids flakes. But less so than in the past. It’s a process.

Remember how I used to rant and rave and fume and scream about tardiness? Oh man. That’s all stuff related to my mom. I’m sorry so many people got trapped in that. I have a lot of issues. This is a known part of the deal.

My arms hurt so I should stop typing. I just like telling you when things are going well, internet. Sometimes it seems kind of sad that I only want to tell you the bad parts of being me. There is a balance–like for every one. Or I probably wouldn’t still be here.

When I talk about the bad, keep in mind that more so than for most people I require that the good outweigh the bad in my life. So if I mostly focus on the bad that doesn’t mean the good doesn’t exist. It means I’m not talking about it in this moment.

I do have good things. I do good things. I have fun. Or I wouldn’t be here. I don’t have the fortitude to sit at home through the dark and just drudge through the rest. I need bright to balance.

I really like where I am in life right now. I feel outrageously secure for me. I feel loved. I feel more loved than I have ever felt in my life. I feel appreciated. I feel liked. I feel needed. I feel useful. I feel like if I am an asshole sometimes, the roof isn’t going to come crashing down on me so ok. I get to experience my boundaries shifting and act on that. It’s ok. I am not just at the mercy of outside forces.

I feel lucky. Most of the successful people I know sneer at the concept of luck. They say that they have worked hard for what they have. I usually manage to contain the screaming I want to do.

If you are one of the most privileged people in this country and you think luck had nothing to do with it, I feel a lot of anger and violence in your direction. Because you think all the people who have not been as successful as you don’t work as hard? Fuck you.

Maybe it has more to do with the fact that your parents were very successful and taught you how to duplicate their success or improve upon it. Get the fuck over yourself.

Maybe you started out in better schools. Maybe you had more support all the way up. How dare you sneer at the idea of luck.

Yes, you worked hard. I don’t denigrate that. People from your starting point often do worse than you. That is very true. But luck decided that you were born when and where you were. Luck decided that you had parents who could help you with college, home ownership, etc.

How dare you act like you are just more deserving than other people. Fuck you very much.

I don’t deserve what I have more than someone else deserves what I have. I did not “work harder” so I deserve it. Even if I did work harder. I have still received so much luck it isn’t funny.

It is very hard to see the support structures that exist in your life unless you try to live without them. I have moved in and out of different levels of support so many times that I’m obsessed with what it means. How is privilege layered into the experience of being alive?

What does success mean anyway? Does it mean having $x in the bank? Does it mean owning your home? Does it mean having y people who love you? Does it mean completing a new big project every z years?

I know a lot of people who define their success by how much love they give and receive in life. I would describe them as professional partiers.

I don’t really feel I’m in a position to judge whether or not that is a worthy focus of love. If Catholic nuns are allowed to chuck it all for poverty and service, why the heck can’t the professional partiers move through the world bringing joy and love and lighter bank accounts to the people around them? Life is about trades. It’s ok to make trades that someone else wouldn’t make.

I was a couch surfer. I’ve lived in my car. As opposed to “out of my car” which is what people say when they technically have a home but they have a lot of shit in their car and they travel a lot.

Being poor isn’t that bad. I mean, it is shitty and people should have avenues out of poverty. But poor doesn’t mean you are automatically miserable and suffering and unhappy every minute of the day.

Your mental health state and the amount of money you possess have very little relationship to one another. Sort of. That’s not true. I want a basic income for all citizens. There is a threshold of poverty below which life is just too hard. There is a kind of poor that is so grinding that mental health really suffers. Above that there is a vast grey area.

I know people who stay there by choice. They don’t aspire to earning more money because that would involve restructuring their lives or learning a different trade or… something that wouldn’t make them happy.

Happiness and money are not the same thing. I understand that saying that as a now-rich-person makes me sound like a fucking asshole.

Having money can provide security and having security or not can be a barrier (or not) for happiness.

Layers and layers and layers.

It’s probably time to stop typing. 4,000 words is enough for one day.


This medication is kind of weird. The strains vary a great deal. One experience is not like the next. Dosage is kind of complicated.

All of my life I have had periods where I feel kind of dreamy and disconnected. I imagine it like floating on top of a still pool. I can kind of hear what is going on around me, but I’m not part of it and it can’t touch me. Maybe I’m swimming in a pool encased in glass? Other people can see me. I can see them going on about their daily labors.

I drift.

It only comes on during moments of repose. I suppose this is dissociation. Disorientation. I feel dizzy.

When I’m having one of those days before I ever touch the medication I know I’m in for a ride.

It’s been kind of weird over the last few years to go from getting the traditional sit-on-your-ass-couchlocked-stoned to being very functional while high. At this point it doesn’t slow me down. But I had to learn how to focus intensely through the pot.

I like it because it derails all of the “side conversations” my brain normally comes up with. My inside voice isn’t very nice to me.

With pot I can forget about the nastiness or stop listening. Something like that. It doesn’t hurt in the same way. I feel less paralyzed in some ways, yet I feel like my legs are jello. Moving is hard.

My kids are off playing by themselves. I told my shrink that I get a good 2-3 hours every morning where they go play hard after breakfast and they don’t talk to me much. Her jaw dropped and she said, “How did you manage that?!” “Consistency.”

I’m starting to feel guilty about how much time I am building into their lives away from me. I feel this nagging guilt that I should be more present. While they are happily playing with Lego’s I should be in there playing with them or I am not properly appreciating the time I have with them.

Oh fuck that noise. People have to learn how to do shit on their own without turning and saying, “Here do this for me.” When I’m there, that’s how it goes.

After the fifteenth time of saying, “No I don’t want to play for you I want to build my own” I am really whiny and annoying and I’m ready to huff out of the room. Better to just let them play.

Normally this is when I bustle around and do my chores. Today… I sit. I slept in. I didn’t medicate or have my silent time before everyone got up.

Getting up in the morning and setting up my little “space” and sitting down for a smoke and some time to write makes me feel centered in a way little else can. Smoking alone isn’t nearly as good. Writing alone isn’t nearly as good.

I know that folks like Steven King exhort me to stop thinking I need the drugs in order to write well. I don’t think I need the drugs to write well. I think I need the drugs in order to have patience, not scream, and not cry throughout the day. But the ease it gives writing is pretty convenient too.

Most people, as part of the normal maturation process, learn how to have a pause in between experiencing things and reacting. I’m kind of broken there. I don’t have the “pause to process”. I have instant extreme reactions. Medication helps with that.

It’s kind of weird yelling so much less. When I do raise my voice I feel horribly self conscious. I feel like I have broken a rule. It is not as normal for me to be screaming across a building at someone. So I feel like I’m bad for doing it in other spaces.

I used to yell all the time. I’m loud. I have been for a long time. That was the ricochet after mumbling my way through childhood. Am I learning voice modulation or am I just feeling more shame about new topics?

Oh, when I say they will “play by themselves” I mean that I will have to go in and moderate several squabbles, help them find something, help them get dressed, sometimes wipe a butt, and say in an irritated voice “If you are hungry you can finish eating the breakfast that is still sitting on your plate.”

So when I say I get 2-3 hours of them being busy… Sigh. That’s what this life means. That’s what I mostly want. I feel bad that I force them into so much independence but I would lose my mind if I tried to be “more present”. I would have to just listlessly go through the day not moving much or thinking. I can’t play their games with them at the speed they go while also cleaning up after them, preparing for them, and being dispatched to the kitchen every 5-10 minutes for more snacks.

Demanding doesn’t begin to explain what this is. Dictators. I’m the fucking lackey. (Actually… no… that’s different. I’m just the lackey.)

For the last few days I haven’t been sure if I was getting sick or just running too hot.

It honestly makes sense that I’m canceling as many things as I am this week. All of my time with Jenny was added after the schedule was made. Much of my additional babysitting was added after the schedule was made. So I made a schedule I could keep for the month, then I added in 60-70 hours of socializing/baby-sitting/driving. No wonder I’m so tired.

It was worth it. I don’t feel bad about missing the county fair this year. I don’t feel bad about missing a park day. I don’t feel bad about skipping Aqua Adventure for a week if my kids outright refuse to do their chores.

If I have to do three peoples worth of work, I am not going to have the energy to go drag you around a water park, sorry. My body has limits.

So instead of leaving the house at 10 am for the fair then going to Aqua for a few hours after that then going to San Francisco for a concert… I’m just doing the concert. Oh man I’m so glad I am smart. I may even take a nap.

I’ll finish painting the door I currently have on saw horses. The kids and I are going to do another toy cull. Their grandmother has sent them six or seven large boxes and we’ve had a birthday since our last cull. It is getting really hard to clean again. Toooooooooo much stuff.

If I can’t get the house clean on Monday because it is more than a day of work to get the house clean… that’s not ok. I start working at 7:30 in the morning. If I can’t get it done by 5 pm, we have too much shit. Some of it has to go. And y’all have to fucking help me because this is fucking ridiculous. I didn’t make the fucking mess.

We clean once a week to vacuum and sweep/mop because otherwise we get swarms of ants. I’m not hysterical. I’m not fussy. I’m not particular about everything being fancy. But we do have to clean. It isn’t an optional thing.

Every house, every family has different circumstances. Not everyone has ant problems. Some people have the luxury of being more relaxed. I’m sorry your dad bought a house directly on top of the entrance to ant heaven and all of them traipse through our property on their way out into the wide world. We get so many fucking ants.

I’m not nearly as phobic any more. I suppose exposure therapy is uhm useful. I no longer scream and claw and fight to get away from them. Wheeee. Now I sigh and clean them up.

Getting older is weird. There are so many things I thought I “couldn’t” do when I was younger. Now… I recognize my limits. But they are much broader than I ever imagined as a kid. I do have limits. I have finite access to money. I have finite strength. I have finite time.

But with proper training, my abilities are many and varied. All I have to do is find a teacher and devote the time to practice. I could do so many things. I’m not afraid of programming or rock climbing or advanced math or learning languages or performing physical feats. I’ve already completed one marathon. A friend is talking pretty hard about getting good enough for Big Sur. 26.2 miles of frightening hills. You HAVE to finish in less than six hours. That’s serious training. (J- I think we should try to get to the point where we can do a half marathon in two hours before we switch to training for the marathon. We will need some speed to go with our endurance for the hills. And oh man we are going to need to find horrible hills for training.)

You know what? I could do that. It would take training. Cross training. Conscious development of my body. But I could do that. Sure.

Give me a calendar, a list of tasks, and I’ll give you a schedule to get it done. Sure.

It is weird having this space in my mind where I know I can do things right next to this place of feeling like I can’t reach out and touch reality.

It doesn’t matter how I feel. It matters how I can make other people feel. That’s what they remember. They remember what I accomplish and my ability to encourage them to feel good about themselves.

I don’t blow your skirt up over nothing. I will tell you the bad right along with the good. Everyone has both.

I was asked yesterday why staying with Noah is worth it if he not the type of partner who would be “defensive” of me if someone got aggressive or hostile in conversation.

I think that if someone tried to hit me Noah would attempt to intervene. I think if Noah say Joe Blow preparing to hit Josephine Blow he would probably intervene.

But the verbal shit? Naw. He comes from a world where that sort of … “conversation” is normal. That’s just how they talk. No, he doesn’t defend me from assholes. I’ve made my peace with that. If I say, “So and so is not welcome in my home ever again.” He doesn’t balk or argue or try to persuade me. I get to have boundaries.

If your partner won’t let you have those kinds of boundaries… well… yeah. I need to feel safe in my home. That includes being able to decide who is and isn’t welcome. It’s a deal breaker.

I don’t have to know everyone. If you want to maintain relationships with people I don’t like, whatever. Do it on your time and away from me.

I have friendships that aren’t during shared time.

I’m still (barely) active in the bdsm community. I go to be social. Mostly I sit around and talk to old play partners and we remember how fun things were. We get cheesy grins. Sometimes there is some fond hugging. There are always the reminders “If you change your mind on this monogamy bullshit… let me know.”

I know. And I love you.

For all that I’m a fucking asshole when I talk about the idea of “chosen family” I have a friends circle that blows my mind. I have so many embedded layers of people who love me. When I think about it at all, I feel really happy.

I haven’t driven everyone away. Not everyone can handle the intensity frequently. And I can’t handle the intensity of everyone frequently. Ow tired.

But they come when I need them or ask them. And I come when they need me or ask me. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Sometimes I think it is kind of a miracle that I have managed to find so many wonderful people to love me. That… doesn’t always happen for girls like me.

It is humbling to think about how lucky I am. All of the accidents and choices that had to happen to get me where I am.

Never new that it was so far from 6 Flags Magic Mountain (the one near Disneyland–I was born biking distance from this amusement park so that is where my siblings talked about “being from”) to Fremont.

Sometimes I feel part of the flow of my life. Sometimes I feel like I float above it. Outside it. Watching it. When I’m not busy telling myself how terrible I am for every mistake I think, “Hm. Not bad.”

It’s a start.

Anger and feelings

Now my ergonomic keyboard isn’t working. Because there is a conspiracy to destroy my arms.

Today was a therapy day. We talked about my feelings. Cause I have them. And I pay someone to listen to me fucking talk about them.

Something that happened before with running: after a while I can’t tell the difference between the different kinds of stomach pain. Anxiety, hunger, and illness all feel the same. They can all involve vomiting (or not) and tons of nausea. There isn’t much difference. So as my exercise increases and I’m using more calories my belly hurts a lot of the time. And I can’t tell the difference between hunger and anxiety. Which freaks me out chemically.

We talked a lot about my feeling angry earlier this week. And how my reaction to feeling anger is days of self-recrimination and punishment. I don’t feel like it is ok to be angry.

Even though these days the extremity of my anger is expressed through slamming a cabinet shut. And not that hard. Because I’ve already had to repair cabinets I’ve ripped off the wall and I uhhh don’t want to do that again. I’ve got enough shit to do.

I have punched a hole in a wall in years. I haven’t cut myself in years. I haven’t hit anyone in years. I haven’t inappropriately screamed and screamed at someone in a long time. I have screamed at my kids, but not recently.

I’ve been holding it together. I haven’t flipped out on anyone beyond a quavering voice in a long time.

I realized today that I haven’t had a panic attack in months. (I think that this is helped by how much pot I use.) That is a big deal. Through my teen years and my twenties I didn’t have very many months without panic attacks. Heck, for much of that time I didn’t have many weeks without panic attacks. They tend to go in waves. They get really bad for a while then they subside a little for a while. I’ll take whatever reprieve I can get.

I’m doing better. I really am. People who have known me since I was a teenager tell me I am much more calm. That’s a good sign.

But when I feel angry I treat that as deserving as much punishment as if I went to the park and started slapping kids. My standards for myself really aren’t within a range I can accomplish. I can’t stop feeling angry sometimes.

I haven’t raged at anyone in a long time. This is about as much control as someone like me gets. I spend a lot of time feeling like I am pathetic and disgusting if this is the best I can do. I’m not actually a nice person. I can just play one on tv.

My shrink asked me why on earth have I been babysitting so much for other people lately. I told her it is because I want those kids to know me. I want to have real relationships with them. I have known some of them since birth. I desperately hope they will see me as more than just an occasional party host. I want them to think of me as a caregiver.

That requires giving some care. With a smile on my face. When I feel frustration I need to ACKNOWLEDGE it and talk about how I will deal with it. That conscious modeling teaches the kids so much. My kids and other kids.

“Gosh. I’m feeling really frustrated because this isn’t going how I want it to go. I suppose I have a few choices. I could scream and jump up and down. Will that make things better? (Kids chorus: “No.”) Err, I could get mad and break it because then I won’t have to deal with this again. Will that make things better? (Kids chorus: “No.”) Oh. Am I going to have to take a deep breath, calm down, and try again? (Kids chorus: “Yes.”) Ah crum. That sounds like work. Alllllllllllll riiiiiiiiiiiight.”

Whine is intentional. It makes them giggle.

I’m not sure when I will feel like what I am doing is “good enough”. Part of my problem is, I deeply admire people who are making radically different choices. I want to emulate them. I want to pattern after them because I like them and respect them and look up to them.

But if I do I will wreck the good thing I’ve got going here. Some things aren’t compatible.

I told my shrink that I’ve been having a lot more sexual fantasy/visualization stuff again. She asked like what. I said I miss going to grocery stores looking for a trick. My favorite game is going to a vanilla place (not just grocery stores–but man I love them) and looking for someone. I win if I can get someone home and naked in under two hours. I’ve won the game. Not every time, of course. That wouldn’t be a very fun game.

I think my shrink hasn’t quite fully picked up on the “queer” thing. Multiple times she used very heterosexually focused language to describe who I would pick up and what I would do with them. I corrected her.

Girls who like casual sex are much harder to find than boys who like casual sex. That doesn’t mean I like boys more. Just that when it comes to going hunting, sometimes I like shooting fish in a barrel. Ahem.

She told me that the fantasy shit is “very empowering”. Which is a phrase that triggers my gag reflex. I’ve uhhh heard a bit too much about how victims should empower themselves. It always sounds squicky to me. (Squick, for those who don’t know, is the visceral, physical sensation you get when someone does something you really don’t like. Like someone sucking your toes if you hate that sort of thing. When you get that instinctive shiver of “yuck“. I kind of want to go on to a long list of things that squick some people but I’ll be kind.)

The scared, shameful, dirty feeling after I get angry is probably the most pressing “PTSD symptom” I have right now. That anxiety eats me for days. It means I can’t sleep. It makes me shorter and shorter.

If I feel intense anger it is really hard to calm down. It is really hard to stop feeling attacked and threatened.

I’d like to be clear that I’m rationally aware that no one is attacking me or threatening me at this stage of my life. Not no one. It’s been a long fucking time. I am not saying that I’m getting threats and so of course I’m scared.

No. If I go through the experience of getting angry (my baby-sitter being kind of flakey is annoying but not really that catastrophic–I get other kid care right now) even if I don’t do anything inappropriate I have days of fierce, mean, nasty self-recrimination. I eat irregularly until my stomach is a mass of pain. I don’t sleep enough–not nearly enough. The last few days have involved a lot of staying up late and still waking up early to grind on what a disgusting piece of shit I am.

I’m better than I was. I can distract myself if I’m awake and in front of a screen and smoking pot. Then I can stop the inside-voice-ranting. If I try to lay in bed and go back to sleep… Forget it. The brain weasels will eat me. I’ll end up crying and retreating to the garage to let Noah sleep anyway.

I suppose I use writing about the way I would use a sponsor if I were the AA type. Instead I smoke my pot. With the blessing of no less than two doctors and a therapist.

My shrink told me that I should probably move my blog to being behind some kind of wall. Folks under 18 shouldn’t be allowed to get access to my main writing.

I have feels about that. But if I’m going to be publishing books for the under 18 market I might now also want to have a public blog where I talk about the super hot stripper who was happy to uhhh come to the bathroom with me at a strip club one night. Or the other really hot girl I fucked in an elevator at a club. We really weren’t supposed to be doing that there.

My life has been pretty good.

Yeah. I like girls.


Up and down.

Babysitting was great. The bake sale went really well. Then I came home and I’m instantly in an angry, nasty, pissy mood. Noah made an off-hand comment. A friend took the kids to the park so the kids weren’t at the bake sale the whole time. Noah said, “Oh so you got a break.” No. I was fucking working and dealing with a bunch of fucking people it wasn’t a fucking break.

And I’m having scheduling problems with my babysitter. She didn’t make it into the summer class she wanted. So she wants to change her schedule again. And her mom has already booked things during times we HAD ALREADY BOOKED BABYSITTING FOR so now I either find a time that works for her or I don’t get help.

I’m struggling with my sense of entitlement. I’m angry that she’s fucking around and not making and keeping timing commitments. I understand that she’s a kid and it isn’t really her fault. But I’m not enjoying having my schedule set then disrupted many times in a week. Make a fucking commitment and keep it.

But I’m a flaky bastard  so I really don’t have the right to be bitchy.

So I won’t get time off on Monday or Tuesday. And I’m babysitting for someone else’s kids all day on Monday. Tuesday morning I suppose I do have time off. I have therapy. So I’ll have an hour away from my kids. And then I get to drop whatever emotional state I’m in because I’m supposed to perform happy at the park.

An hour away from the kids for therapy doesn’t really feel like a break. It feels like throwing a gasoline can into the furnace. Therapy is frequently very emotionally disruptive.

I’m a spoiled brat. I actually get a lot of time away from the kids this week. Pam is staying with them Wednesday so we can go to the Carsie Blanton concert. Thursday I leave them with the other stay at home mom in town for a few hours. On Friday we plan to go to the gym for about two hours (they are going to play with homeschool friends in the daycare. Sounds AWESOME to me).

I’m building in time away from them. But almost all of my time away from them is time where I have to work hard. No, that’s not true. That sounds misleading. It’s not that I always have to “work” but it is all stimulation. I am not getting much hide-in-a-dark-room time. I understand that I’m a privileged asshole to want or need as much as I want or need or whatever this is. It is hard for me to be around people all the time. Everyone requires so much emotional effort.

And I still haven’t written up the recommended reading list for the end of the book. So my time off on Thursday will probably be devoted to that.

I’ve been working really hard on the high-energy-kid-teaching interactions lately. I care very much about the relationships I’m forming with kids. I’m babysitting a lot. Four different families in a week seems kind of crazy. But I want these kids in my life. I want to know them. I want to be one example of a functional adult in their head. I want them to hear the things I believe with all my heart and soul while they are still young enough to really imprint.

Your body is yours. No one ever has the right to do things to you without your consent. While you are a minor there are rare medical exceptions. I don’t even force many medical exceptions. Though I am a dickhead about teeth cleaning. I’m brushing those fuckers. I’ve felt the consequences of not doing it. I know I’m pissing you off, but I have to take care of you while you are in my charge.

Your genitals are off limits to people unless you specifically invite them to touch you. A grown up doesn’t get to demand to “check” after you wipe unless you say ok. Even if the grown up doesn’t like the streaks you leave in your underwear.

Learning is a process. We get dignity.

If you screw up the first time you try something, that just means that you have learned the first lesson. You will learn many more before you get good. They are all part of the process. Keep going.

Your preferences and opinions and voice matter. Make sure you understand you. Try to help other people learn how to treat you properly. We need instruction in order to know. We can’t read your mind.

If you don’t like what someone says, it is NEVER ok to hit them. If someone hits you, hit them back really hard so they stop thinking it is a good idea to hit you.

Be careful with your body. You only get one and people are living longer and longer. The food you eat matters. What you drink matters. If you take drugs… be careful. Know your risks. If you choose to take dangerous journeys as an adult, I can’t stop you and I wouldn’t try. But know that you are important. You have to keep yourself safe because you matter. You probably have no idea how or why you matter. Doesn’t effect reality.

Girls can be abusers, just like boys. Don’t decide that someone “is like” anything without getting to know them. Never judge people by how they look. They can’t help that. All they can help is how they act. If I ever hear you be nasty about how someone looks I will think very badly of you. I’m dead serious. You can be curious. Do not be a jerk-face.

I’ve been known to say point blank to older kids/teenagers, “Anyone who would be nasty about how someone else is dressed is a childish piece of shit.” Usually the response is outright shock. I say jerk-face to little kids.

The world isn’t nice. I’m not going to candy coat this shit for you. I’m not going to grease the rails. You are going to have to deal with a lot of harsh. All I can do is tell you as much truth as I can.

Who you know matters almost as much as what you know. You need relationships with people. Lots of kinds of people.

People remember how you make them feel. You should consider how your words and actions are going to impact the people around you.

If you screw up, that’s ok. I love you anyway. We all do. That is the process.

I’m not feeling angry any more. Yes, there are things in this world I want that I can’t have. Cry me a river. Then build a bridge and get the fuck over it you fucking whiner.

I do get down time. Noah is hanging out with the kids right now.

It’s not just the medication. Although the medication does help. It was a long day out.

I had a fun day. I enjoyed talking to people. I am slowly figuring out which moms enjoy my uhh brand of music and I am sharing song titles with them. “Hard Out Here” is one of my favorites to bring up. I’m feeling pretty comfortable overall with this group. Partially because I’ve been there long enough that I would be difficult to oust.

Is secure the same thing as cocky?

Tomorrow will be fun too. It’s our first day alone with these kids. Before mom has always been present. Adventures!

I’m not angry. I’m tired. I feel overwhelmed. Actually, I feel like a whiner. Sigh.


Babysitting gets better

I started babysitting for K’s kids years ago. There have been up moments in every visit. Some of the early ones were hard. Her kids don’t spend a lot of time away from mom and dad and it was pretty traumatic early on. Hysterical screaming for hours. Spontaneous vomiting on the floor from fear. It was really hard.

I am really glad I toughed it out. Last night, there was less than ten minutes of crying total from both kids. Mostly combined spontaneous outbursts from hurting themselves. They just didn’t cry.

They both said they missed their mom and I sympathized and said I understood and they will see her again really soon. I asked if they wanted hugs, they said yes, and things went fine.

Neither kid woke up in the middle of the night. My kid was up half the night with nightmares but our borrowed babies slept right through. (Three is hard.)

This morning I offered both kids morning snuggles and they smiled so big they lit up the sky. They crawled into my lap and gave happy sighs.

It is hard sometimes because the “productivity” of my life is hard to measure. Many of the things I prize the most highly are things that are impossible to quantify.

Before I had children I dreamed of the day when I would be able to have little friends come spend the night. The playing and shrieking with joy. Little feet running as fast as possible through the house as wild giggles split the air.

I’m living the dream.

Kids like coming here. They have a lot of fun. They don’t get in much trouble. This is a “yes” environment.

I am so grateful that I get to build these relationships. These kids are really awesome and I’m glad I get to borrow them. I’m glad I get to have the experience of learning how to be safe for them. It’s a process.

Every kid (and grown up, but I’m not talking about them this morning) needs very different treatment in order to feel safe. It takes trial and error to figure out tone of voice and speed of movement. (Some kids need you telegraph every movement of your body or they get startled and scared.)

Every child who warms up to me is a balm to my soul.

My niece gave me a high five without touching another grown up. She just did it. That was huge progress from her. I am so grateful. If I lived around her, I feel pretty confident we could work through things.

Earning trust is the work of a lifetime. But it’s hard to measure the progress. It’s hard to feel “productive”.

But I am creating the relationships I want to have. I’m less worried about some of the other more easy to quantify measures of success.

Well, that’s a lie. I’m obsessed with financial security. But relationships are a big deal to me. And I’m starting from scratch on those skills in a way other people aren’t.

When I was a teenager, if I walked up to a baby they would start screaming and fighting to get away from me. It was consistent. It really hurt my feelings. Being on the “safe” side of things is … it’s a big deal. I’ve had to work very hard on changing myself so that I no longer ping the “dangerous” sensor in sensitive people.

I feel very grateful for my life. I feel like I am successful at some things. Today, after a night of getting four kids to bed without terrible upset (sure, it took the baby a while of rocking to go to sleep–but she wasn’t crying or freaking out) I kind of feel like a superhero.

Man I’m glad I don’t have to work this hard every day. Four kids would be so hard. But so worth it.

This morning I got my dear little “middle child” (his sister is my adopted “baby of the family”) a space book he hasn’t seen before and he’s super excited to be here. Life is good.

I tell both of them over and over, “I’m so glad you are here. Thank you for visiting us.” My middle child beams at me and says, “Thank you for having me. I like visiting.” My baby of the family just smiles and nuzzles me still.

It feels like having family.

Frustration: thy name is internet disruption

Every so often the internet at my house gets flakey. I just can’t get a consistent connection for days or weeks. Then the problem kind of goes away again for a while. Not sure what is up but a couple of times a year I have a week or so of enraged fury. It’s almost awesome. Only it’s really annoying. First World Problems.

This is going to be a very busy weekend no matter what. I’m still waiting to hear how busy. I’m feeling some feelings about not knowing what will happen yet. I don’t handle indecision very well. When you are scheduling with other people… it can’t always be avoided. Drat.

I will take a moment to reiterate (state for the first time? Can’t remember) how happy I am that I drove up to see Jenny and my niece again before they left the country. My niece warmed up to me much more than she did previously. I think that after the parade of new people I seemed a bit familiar and that bought me some ease. I got a cheerful, eager high five. That was progress.

Some kind person (no clue who) sent my kids some curriculum. It came from Zulily. Thanks, whoever you are oh anonymous benefactor. Shanna likes workbooks. They are Star Wars and everything. And another science kit.

My kids are going to get older and figure out that other people think that science and math are too hard for girls. I hope their response will be to laugh. They both like math and science intuitively. They consider themselves really good at learning both subjects.

Just like they think their bodies are perfect. And they think my body is perfect.

I am deeply grateful every day for the bubble I get to live in.

I don’t remember what Shanna was watching but she kind of jerked her head back and said, “That’s so stupid! This person thinks he can judge (character name) by how he looks. You can never tell what someone is like by looking at them. You have to watch how they act. What a stupid thing to say.”

She says stupid a lot. I try to introduce other words, but whatever. It’s better than when she says “fuck” a lot.

I did something crazy. At the last home school meetup I got the moms to agree to go clubbing. The idea came up vaguely before this but I talked people into a specific date.

The first question is, “Where are we going.” I said, “Well… I’m not taking you to BaGG so I don’t really know where to go. What clubs play Ke$ha?”

That’s as far as we’ve gone with negotiations. I said I would ask some of my more festive friends for recommendations. Hey friends–any recommendations?

I’ve been talking to Noah about my nervousness about travel and monogamy. I am grateful that most of my travel will be well chaperoned by my kids. Relieves my needing to have self control.

I notice I’m looking more now than I did for a long time. Not to pre-kid levels, but pretty gosh darned interested. It is kind of weird to notice and choose to not really look. I feel like I am learning how to be respectful of people. Maybe these are skills I should have developed in junior high. It is a little weird to try this hard to not-sexualize people.

I go through periods where I sexualize everyone (at least in my head) and periods where it doesn’t occur to me. Trying to stifle it is hard and weird. I’m doing it. Sexualizing people uses a lot of bandwidth I don’t have going spare.

Recently I saw some old friends. I played with them a few times in a variety of settings many years ago. It took conscious mental effort not to play through whole scenarios about how things would be different now. That’s kind of weird feeling.

I have always been grateful that I am a female. Erections are really hard to hide. Guys have to have more control over their mental process. No one knows when I’m all slippery.

I think about affirmation and validation. What things make me feel approved of and loved. What things make me feel like it is ok for me to exist?

I have a lot of respect for people who can be good and kind and loving and celibate. I’m not one of them. If I don’t have sex on a regular basis pretty much all of my self-esteem crashes. I become completely hyper-focused on getting sex. I need that boost. That proof that I’m supposed to still be here. I’m good for something.

I kind of wish I had more ambient self esteem, you know?

I only have a handful of friends I have neither played with nor had sex with. That number grows by the year, of course, but most of the people I was close to when I was younger… Yeah. That’s how I proved to me that they liked me. (And I like the play/sex. Don’t get me wrong.)

Occasionally when I run into former lovers they are enthusiastic. The greeting makes me feel good. Even if I don’t particularly want to fuck them again, I like that they remember me as a positive experience. I’m glad I made them feel good about themselves. That was my goal.

Yes, DSH, I can’t make anyone feel anything. I do listen to you.

I like that they have such positive associations with me. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside that they remember me with such fondness. Even when I don’t love them, I love them for that.

I’m grateful that the piece of me I left with them is well treated and loved. Often way more loved than I can provide for myself. Those pieces went to mostly good homes.

Just like I think about my lovers and wish them well and try to mostly speak well of them. There are reasons I went there. I saw some good. I choose to mostly remember the good. I mean, I’m a catty bitch and I can name some complaints too. But I can honestly say positive things about everyone I’ve slept with. (By choice.)

Uhm, sometimes you might have to jog my memory for a bit before I remember who you are talking about. Kind of like with former students. Only I spent way more time with my former students than most of my lovers so it is more amazing that I remember the lovers.

Seriously, some of those people I had way less than four hours of conversation with total. Who the fuck remembers that.

(Ok, I do remember… but sometimes my memory needs a little jogging.)

I think part of the reason I’m getting more sexualized thoughts is I have more time away from the kids. I don’t look at people in the same way when my kids are standing next to me. I am always conscious that I am a role model about how to be an adult. I am god damn appropriate.

And as soon as they are gone, holy crap it is hard to control myself. I don’t know if I get checked out more or if I notice more. Probably a little of each.

I understand the issues between my mother and my sister very differently now. Hyper-sexuality and celibacy are extremes between which we swing. I am not sure I understand how sexuality works in “normal” relationships. Whatever that means. Define normal for me first.

Cause I don’t know. And if it isn’t “normal” does that mean it is necessarily problematic?

Seriously, is it a problem that given different life circumstances I’d be willing to go to bed with just about anyone who asked (and who had permission)? My life circumstances aren’t different. I don’t want my kids learning that. I had the option. I went into a non-monogamous marriage. I went and found someone who was amused by my rapidly climbing numbers. Between when I met Noah and when we got married I slept with somewhere between 70 and 90 people. He didn’t have a problem with that at all.

But we aren’t doing that now. Why not? Because the way you teach children how to be functional adults is to be one in front of them. Constantly pursuing sex limits your ability to be productive or functional in other areas.

If you don’t have kids, you can probably find the time to hunt forever without it being a problem. If you have kids… things change.

I know long-term poly relationships. I’m not talking about them. Clearly that isn’t what I did. I am analyzing my behavior patterns. If you aren’t someone who goes out and picks up 4-8 new sexual partners in a good weekend… you aren’t doing the behaviors I’m complaining about any way.

And if you have a split custody agreement and you only do that when your kids aren’t with you… I’m also not talking about you. Clearly we lead different lives.

I need to judge this. Not because it is absolutely morally wrong, but because I need to consciously decide what I want to teach my kids. What you teach your kids is your business.

I don’t know if my level of sexualizing random people is “normal” but I don’t want to teach my kids to do it the way I was taught to do it. If they grow up and do it, I will shrug. They didn’t learn it from me so whatever.

I need to not teach hyper-sexuality.

This is really important. This is a hill to die on. No, not for everyone… for me.

It’s ok to like sex. I have a sex buddy. He’s awesome. He’s My Favorite. I’ve tried lots and hands down, he’s the best. So life is fine and good and dandy.

If my kids want to have sex with lots of people I will teach them about safety and wish them well. If they want to only have sex with one person in their whole lives I will teach them about safety and wish them well.

I feel like I don’t have a horse in that race beyond controlling what I model.

I can’t change the past. I will never stop being “the kind of person who does that” like I will never stop being queer.

Recently a friend told me that she was a heterosexual. My jaw dropped. I actually said, “What?!”

That was rude and I apologized and she laughed and it was an ok conversation and all.

I am willing to understand that some people in my life are heterosexuals. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to many of the people I know.

But I still feel shocked when someone who is kinky and poly isn’t flexible. For me, all of my sexuality is just about completely fluid. I can be attracted to almost anyone. I don’t have categorical dislikes. I have categories I haven’t ventured into much because I don’t have a strong draw but I don’t turn down offers. Didn’t. In the past. Long ago. In a land far far away…


Cool. Plans for the day confirmed.

Today I get to run 3.5 miles. Then I need to go to the grocery store. Then I need to start baking cupcakes. Then some awesome-sauce kids arrive to visit us overnight. While the kids are here I will ice the cupcakes. It’ll be fun.

Tomorrow I get to take my kids to a bake sale. We’ll be there for 4-5 hours. It’ll be festive.

Really, we’ll have fun. Shanna will have so much fun. This is a dream come true for her. She’s trying hard to talk me into making her a sales stand for the yard so she can sell things.

I feel kind of guilty because I haven’t built it yet. I’m tired. Ok, time to go run.

Trees, kids, teaching, identity

I love sugar. Sugar makes everything better. Sugar is love. Speaking of which, it’s time to start baking for the bake sale this weekend. Other folks are buying things at Costco to resell. I’m going to make things. Because. Just because I’m already committed to more than 30 hours of babysitting between now and then, and a painting project with kids and…

It’ll be fine. You’ll see. Ok, maybe I will end up crying… but the work will get done.

Maybe this is why they go to Costco. The crying isn’t worth it.

Yesterday was good. Today will be good. Lots of work to do, always.

Yesterday a friend came over and showed me how to prune my fruit trees! I’m super excited! The trees look way happier. Take that home schooling list announcement of fruit tree pruning workshops that don’t allow children. I don’t need you. Nor babysitting. Neiner neiner.

Apparently my kids did not prevent me from learning about my trees. Fancy that.

I’m kind of petty. But I feel fairly resentful of the attitude that children shouldn’t be present for learning opportunities. And I wish that home schooling lists would block advertisements for adult only activities.

But it’s not my list.

I understand that some children are a distraction. Mine aren’t. And when mine are having a hard day, I walk away and don’t distract people as I deal with that. Not every parent works like me though and I get why teachers don’t want to deal with kids. I think they should work through their own difficulty and learn how to fucking deal with kids… but whatever.

Kids know how to do what they are trained to do. They know how to exist in the world they are introduced to but not other worlds.

A kid who has been trained to be quiet will have a hard time getting rowdy. Kids who have been trained to be rowdy have a hard time being quiet.

This is why I work so hard at teaching my kids that both sets of behaviors have appropriate times and places. I need them to be highly adaptable. Sometimes you aren’t the center of attention and you have to just deal with it.

If my kids throw a fit demanding that they get a certain color or it’s just not on… I respond by withdrawing whatever it is they wanted. Nope. Not doing that. You don’t get to fucking rage at me because I handed you the wrong color plate.

We don’t do that shit in this house.

So when Calli tries to throw a fit Shanna can repeat verbatim, “Take what you get or get nothing.”

It is occasionally mortifying when she turns to another family at a restaurant and says that to a kid who is having a fit. It’s about 50/50 with the moms responding, “See! That’s how it works!” or “How dare you correct my child.” (I tell her that’s she is not a mom so she doesn’t get to lecture yet, works with her as well as it did me.)

That’s how it works. I am not going to bend to whims. Get over it.

The other big one that is coming up lately is, “We are not a family of shirkers. There is work to be done. Get up. Now.” I don’t shout it. It works way better when the ‘now’ is delivered in a growly lower voice. No shrieking. Shrieking is super easy to tune out after a while.

That comes after I have asked nicely with “please” three times. This is more or less my alternative to whining, which works not at all.

The growly now generally only has to come out once. I feel mixed. Cause it feels like instilling fear. I have asked my kids if they are afraid of me. The response is something along the lines of, “Kinda sorta some days. Not usually.” Well, that seems pretty sane and rational to me. I feel sorta sick to my stomach that some days they are afraid and it’s a rational response.

I asked Shanna what she was afraid I would do. I asked her once if she thought I would hit her. She said, “Oh you wouldn’t do that. But you might be awful.”

Fair enough. I am awful sometimes.

I’m trying to build more of a pattern. Patterns are how children learn. When I was a high school teacher substitutes loved getting my classes. Because my classes ran themselves without me. I had my students so well trained that they knew what to do and how to do it and they went through the prepared materials without the aid of the sub. The sub could sit in the corner all day and take attendance and read.

I want my kids to be that well trained about what it means to be “functional”. We exercise. We eat healthy food. We clean up the messes we make so that we have the space to make more messes. When there is work to be done, you do the work. Then you play hard.

We talk about our feelings. We make time for affectionate discourse and playing. It’s important. You have to play or you aren’t really living. You are just surviving.

I feel so lucky that I get to spend all day every day with people who are so happy. Sometimes it feels like living in a tv show. I live in beautiful sunny California in my spiffy fun little house. I have two photogenic smart kids. I have a husband who is really nice to me and who wants to have really hot sex all the time.

My life is pretty much what I wanted. Holy shit.

But when I read the letter that my shrink wrote to recommend that I remain a heavy stoner…

Not so picture perfect. I marvel at my children being photogenic because many of the pictures of me as a child were so bad that my mother spent a lot of time telling everyone she fucking talked to how terrible it was that I was so ugly in pictures.

So it’s kind of weird that people tell me frequently how beautiful my children are. I don’t think I’m beautiful. I think Noah is attractive but funny looking. How in the hell did we make beautiful kids? Genetics are weird.

It feels like they don’t really belong to me. Like I am taking care of them for someone better than me. But I’m doing my very best. Clearly they deserve better than my best. This is all I have.

Why do doctors suck so much?

I’m not going to write a lot. Famous first words.

Seeing the med doctor last night was a little creepy. He asked me, repeatedly, when I was talking about anxiety–“Do you feel like a bad girl?” His tone of voice was totally “sexy Daddy is going to give you a spanking” and uhm… whoa. That was pretty weird.

Over all he usually manages to do a good job with “concerned and supportive”. He checks to make sure I’m following up with a “general doctor” for health check ups. He asks enough nosy questions about my PTSD (and makes notes, and has follow up questions years later) that he seems to have some familiarity with my case and with PTSD in particular. He asks specific follow questions about my patterns of self-harming behaviors because he knows what they are.

So overall he is a much better quality of doctor than I normally deal with, in my judgy-ass opinion. He listens to me.

But what the fuck is up with using the sexy Daddy voice? I’ve already stopped seeing one doctor because he wanted to do bdsm with me. (Specifically he wanted to cut me up and cauterize the wounds. He told me so. In detail.)

So yeah. I’m kinda sensitive. But I think I fucking should be.

I think he was trying to tease me. That was the overall tone. He thinks I shouldn’t feel guilty about using medication. He was pretty emphatic. It was a cheerful visit. But I felt pretty fucking squicked for a bit there. It was time to end the appointment.

He never gets to see me nekkid so it’s not an intimidating relationship. He continues to monitor that I have mental health issues. He checks for continuity of care among my other health care providers. He asks after my physical and emotional safety.

He asks questions about my parenting and how things are going with my kids.

What is up with me and the creepy Daddy’s?

I’ve already fucked enough dirty old men. Thanks.

And I’m declaring defeat on the attempted sugar fast. I need too much self control right now. I need the sugar. Yup, I’m an addict.

Life is pretty good.

Wow, thanks for all the comments. That started my day off differently than normal. I’m having trouble controlling my smileys despite my promise to myself that I wouldn’t use them in the blog. Ahem.

I’m in a good mood. I finished scheduling arrangements for the summer. Shanna has a couple of weeks of summer camp. They are kind of random.

Mondays will be cleaning/family-gym night. (Noah and I started dating by being gym buddies. He’s fun to exercise with.)  And the kids love the day care. With a trip to Aqua Adventure in the middle of the day.

Tuesdays switch a bit. Every other week we go to Oakland for therapy. I usually spent post-therapy talking to K for a bit. Sometimes we go to park day afterwards. Or we don’t go to therapy and we try to go to park day. If it is my only unscheduled day of the week, sometimes we stay home during the day. Tuesday nights will be babysitting from 4-8. We will sometimes date but mostly that’s alone time.

Wednesdays are variable. Concerts. County Fair. Visits with friends. Stuff happens. We go to Aqua Adventure in the afternoon. Then Pam comes over to spend the night.

Thursdays mornings for four hours I exchange child care with a local stay at home mom. One week at my house, next week at her house. I can’t believe how crazily productive I am during that period. (It used to be three hours, we decided to bump it after we’ve ended up standing around talking for two hours after most sitting-sessions because the kids are not ready to split up after three hours.) One week I get to go up to L’s house and plan out Calli’s birthday party. (It’s a joint thing cause she’s got a birthday twin. It’s working out.) Every other Thursday I will be running with J. The in between Thursdays will be Noah’s night off.

Friday days are variable. Gym visits with a mom so the kids can play in the day care. Help K clean out her basement (I’ve been looking forward to this for years. I have pestered them asking, “So! When can we clean out your basement?!”) Aqua Adventure most weeks. (All these trips to Aqua Adventure are dates with another family. I have to go.) Nights are Family-Date-Night. The kids will help make dinner. When Noah and I cooperate, the kids always find ways to keep us busy.

Saturdays are variable. We do stuff. Sometimes it is just a massage. Sometimes we go see people. Sometimes we hang out at home and keep busy. This is when Noah gets in the epic reading sessions with the kids. (Would anyone like to go to the day-time PEERS event in August? It sounds fun…. And like my hours…)

Sundays start with Shanna making breakfast. Then we walk to the farmers market. Then we hang out and rest for the remainder of the day.

On top of that I have a very full exercise schedule. 2-3 days of running. One walk to the farmers market. 1-2 days of cross training. (I start out with more cross training and slightly less running but that shifts as I get closer to the half marathon.) Stretching and strength training. One rest day. Must rest or you don’t progress as well.

Dinners are planned until September. I consciously put a lot of easier stuff on the calendar. I’m going to need easier cooking if I will get through it. I’d like to conserve some money. I’ve been uhm, over spending. It’s halfway through the year and I am not over budget on most stuff, but I have absolutely no wiggle room and I really wanted a cushion. Sigh. At the end of the year I am going to send a bunch to the mortgage even if it hurts. I hope to build a cushion so it doesn’t hurt. The mortgage is still hovering at $200,000 and if I am going to pay it off in six more years then I need to get some large payments in, the sooner the better. Interest is a beast.

Debt is bad.

Really, if I got the house paid off in 2019, that would be dreamy. If all the mortgage money was suddenly going spare I could do a lot of interesting things. The longer I drag out the mortgage, the more I pay. That’s the simple logic of interest. The faster I get rid of the mortgage the more of my own money I get to keep. I can do fun things with it instead of give it to a bank.

I don’t pay on my car loans for the full term either.

Interest is yucky.

Except when I’m earning it. Then it’s awesome.

When I was a little girl, my life financial goal was to have $250,000 invested and to own my own home and car. I wanted no debt and a cushion “in case”. I picked that as a goal when I was, 10? 11? I know it was firm in my head before 12.

The fact that we have more than one account with that amount of money blows my fucking mind. I haven’t finished paying off the house yet. Damnit. Soon. Before I’m 40.

Thank you, Noah. I couldn’t have done this alone. To be fair, you couldn’t have either. You kind of suck at managing money. We make a great team. When we got engaged you had one account with that much money. You had a thirty year mortgage that you weren’t making expedited progress towards. You had a lot of debt from motorcycle purchases and accidents and home improvement and medical bills.

I’m pretty good. Doubled the investment. Paid off all the debt. Bought two cars, paid them off nearly instantly. The house is probably only six years away from being paid off. If I slacked it has a maximum of seven years left on the mortgage. Instead of twenty more years.

It is really easy to try hard for someone who rewards my hard work with kindness, attention, and love.

Not to mention that we went from being pretty much the crappiest house on the block to having people stop and offer to buy it because they like the garden so much.

I’ve been good to your bottom line. That’s pretty awesome.

You started off in a privileged position. It would not be reasonable to expect someone to do what we have done without the outrageous privilege of having a bunch of money handed to them.

I don’t know how I had my childhood but came out with different financial values. It’s A Mystery.

I honestly think it was the guaranteed income. It changes your whole way of thinking. When I grow up I might be willing to lobby congress for a guaranteed income. I think that is the only logical solution for a country with our resources and our degree of poverty.

Income inequality is bad for the country. Period. I don’t know when in the fuck I changed. Probably when I got my head out of my ass and looked at what was really happening to people near me because they didn’t have guaranteed income and I did.

I think I had the reverse of most people. Most people are protected by their parents during childhood and they have to make their way as adults–many are ill prepared. I was not financially cared for as a child. Once I turned eighteen I had a guaranteed income until I was thirty. I knew exactly how long I had to get my shit together and I put most of the money into college.

That’s an insane privilege. I didn’t know it while I was young.

It isn’t a hand out. It’s an investment. “I want you to do well, so our whole country will do well. This amount of money will keep you from making desperate choices so that you can survive. That way you can learn to thrive.”

This shit is studied.

Anyway. I’m in a good mood. The kids have been very affectionate and kind of clingy. Given how much they reject me lately I’m enjoying it. I think that they are noticing how much time we spend with other people lately.

Like: in the next two weeks I am providing 32 hours of babysitting for other peoples kids. That’s a fucking job. I do a lot of jobs all at once. I know that is kind of the joke about stay at home moms. Then add home schooling. Even unschooling is work. Don’t be fooled.

Right this minute I feel like I can handle all the balls in the air. I have said no to the things that weren’t fitting for me. It is hard but it was the right decision.

I can do this much scheduled and accomplish the things I want to do. Ok.

Also: I have to take the summer off of Netflix. I am watching too much. I’m going to try to limit my screen time to pre-6:30 am. I have a lot to do. (So I won’t be on chat much.)

I have a lot of projects I want to do. Sitting at the computer means I don’t get antsy enough to do them. If I change that dynamic, I get more done and I feel more satisfied about my time spent.

This is one of those times when my center of focus is moving in closer. I know this has happened before. It happened when I had Shanna for one thing. I just stopped communicating with most of the outside world. For years. I have been re-emerging.

Now I kind of don’t want to. I’ve built a world. I am really busy inside this little world. There’s a lot I want to do.

I need to buy saw horses. I have a lot of projects I want to do this summer and saw horses would make all of them easier. (So much for not painting this year.) That money will probably come out of my ‘entertainment’ budget. Because man is it cheaper to entertain myself at home than out. I have all the paint I need. Maybe another sheet of sand paper. Then we paint. No problem. I own all the other bits.

This is why some people can spontaneously make things. They have already accumulated all the crap. That’s why other people hoard. They want this feeling. “Oh I have everything for that.”

Only hoarders can’t find it when they want it. So they buy it anew for every project.

Man. Layers.

I remember my grandpa’s shed. He died when I was twelve. He was the only grandparent I met. He had painted the outline of every tool on the pegboard so he knew exactly where to put it.

In that moment, of seeing his shed I understood how things “should” be organized. It is all so clear. Yes.

I think I’ve been trying to get there ever since. I’m not there. I’m still shifting. He was in his 80’s. I doubt his work shop was always that meticulous. Give me time.

Someone recently said, “If this is how you use your garage… where do you put your storage?”

Storage? What’s that? My closets mostly don’t have doors. I don’t have an attic or a basement or a shed. My garage is fully occupied but not with storage. Ok, I store books on book shelves. Different.

I have what you see. I’m just trying to get the organization perfect. It happens in layers.

We change. Our needs change. Life is a process. I’m still arriving. I have so much more patience for that now than I used to have.

If a Zen moment appears, grab it. I feel ok. I feel like I am ok. I am doing what I wanted to do. I have, in fact, done far better than I dared dream. I haven’t perfectly arrived, but life is about the process. I’m doing well at the process.

My family thinks I am doing well by them. I’m not a perfect friend but I’m not a piece of shit. I do my best. Sometimes that isn’t enough. That’s life.

At this moment I honestly believe I couldn’t be doing more than I am. But I’m not over extended. Just busy. Booked. I can’t say yes to a lot more. People can join me on what I have already planned. That’s all I have to offer right now. And sometimes, I need to reserve family time. Holy crap do we spend time with people.

We need to reset our normal. Because even we–freaks that we are–have our own normal.

I have lots of gardening I should be doing. See–I need to stay home. There is work to do. While I babysit. Oh man.

It is going to be a blessedly full summer.

Running and body stuff

Bodies are weird. People are weirder.

I spent 2012 running because I wanted to be able to check “run a marathon” off of my bucket list. I had not been much of a runner before that. In the process I found that my body changed substantially. I was already riding the wave of lower-than-usual-weight because my Uncle Bob had recently died and I had divorced my biological family and that was really hard on me and I lost a lot of weight from not eating. I was down to the weight I had previously only reached while starving myself on Weight Watchers and exercising five days a week.

So having the “thinner” body is associated with lots of bad stuff for me. I get there when I’m starving myself and/or dealing with a lot of psychological pain such that my stomach hurts too much to eat. It’s not fun.

Also: when I lose weight the amount of street harassment goes up.

Think about the implication of that. I lose weigh *because* I am already having problems and then all of a sudden the ambient harassment I get in public increases.

Folks ignore the chubby chick running around the neighborhood. When I get thinner men start telling me they want to “come with me” or “distract me” or they just yell shit. And my neighborhood is pretty safe. I know enough of the neighbors that if I have a problem I can go three or four doors down, bang on a door and say, “I’m sorry to interrupt but I’m having a problem.”

I love my neighborhood so much. I appreciate that my neighbors are so friendly with me. I’ve been here for eight years now. I know people.

So it’s not like I’m scared but I really don’t like dealing with it. I feel worn down and tired. Being “thinner” feels more like being a piece of glass that gets thinner and more breakable with time. It’s not a good thing losing mass.

I don’t own a scale and I haven’t in a while and I don’t want to. I don’t care about tracking the number. Knowing it occasionally is just to have data. My recent doctor visit says I went back up to 170. Given the running schedule I’ve put together for the rest of the year… that won’t be true long.

Right now I have a belly. I like my belly. It means my forking pants fit. At this weight my “skinny” pants are tight and my “fat” pants are a bit loose but I can wear everything. It’s convenient.

If I lose a bunch of weight again I should probably just buy some clothes that fit instead of holding my pants on with rope the way I have been doing for a while. I don’t like most belts. So I use the rope belt that Jenny made for her Renaissance Faire costume years ago. She made it by braiding really bright ribbons.

I use this belt all the time. Every time I run it holds up my pants.

Every time I wear the belt I think of Jenny. I think of her kind of silently blessing my endeavors. Jenny loves me. Jenny wants me to keep on keepin’ on.

Being smaller is a weird thing for me. For one thing it means I am more shaped like my mother and that’s a mixed blessing. On one hand, she’s pretty cute. On the other hand… when I catch a glimpse of my body abstractly in a reflection I miss her so much I feel like I get hit with a solid fist of pain.

I want my mommy. I’d much rather be fat and never see her in the mirror again.

But if I’m going to run I don’t think I’m going to pull off fat. No matter how much I eat and let me tell you I try to keep weight on while I’m running. I eat like a hummingbird–my weight sixteen times over a day.

Running puts a natural limit on how much I can eat. After I get accustomed to the pace again I won’t be able to over eat very often. When I’m running my stomach picks a size and that is the size it is. I don’t get to under eat and I don’t get to over eat any more. It’s a really weird feeling. I didn’t exercise as a kid enough to know if that happened then.

So I do my best to eat a lot. I up the calorie density of everything (mmmm butter). But it turns into muscle and I melt away. Because apparently the me I see in the mirror is composed up of a lot of fat.

I don’t actually come from a family of heavy people. The only people in my family background who are heavy are the people with severe mental illness who are entirely sedentary. Everyone who isn’t so depressed they stop functioning is pretty fit.

I think I’ve tried to ignore that most of my life. I’ve always been sedentary and chunky-to-fat.

Losing the label of “fat” is weird and hard. It has been part of my identity for most of my life. I’ve been one of those prideful and hostile people. I don’t mind being fat and I will yell at people who act like it is a problem.

The heavier I am, the less sexualized I am to random men. Of course, there are guys like Noah who like heavy women but they generally are the kind to be chatty and friendly at a party and not the kind who yell things on the street. Which is to say: getting laid isn’t a problem at any size. But I like the invisibility of being heavy in day-to-day life.

My joints bother me off and on. Particularly my hand joints. I now compulsively make the same hand gestures as my mother. This getting old business sucks. As a result I semi-regularly don’t wear my wedding ring set.

I picked a platinum monstrosity. It’s gorgeous and I still feel a giddy thrill of “ohmygod someone let me have this?!” when I look down but it’s solid. Some days I can’t wear it because it makes my finger burn like fire. Which is unpleasant.

Oh holy shit do men feel like it is ok to just get close to me. I don’t remember this from when I was younger. “Hi” is usually the limit of the conversation with the strangers because I think my facial expression is not “welcoming”.

That being scary business is useful.

I wish I could be friendly without getting harassed. Gosh that would be nice.

I can. When I’m fat. So I look at my running schedule for the rest of the year and I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I sure like being fit and strong and there are a lot of things I want to go do with my body that require as much or more fitness than I have now. On the other hand… being attractive kind of sucks.

I’m really kind of funny. I spent most of my early life working as hard as possible to attract as much sex as possible and now that it is appropriate (hey–at least more than it was when I was a kid!) I’m trying to figure out how to make it go away. I’m kind of stupid.

I seem to never be willing to do what is expected of me.

It is easy for me to be loving with my body when I’m fat. I feel less betrayed by my presentation to the world. When I’m fat it is easier to take long baths and rub in lots of lotion and give myself gentle touch. When I’m skinnier I tend to take showers and try to get “being naked” over with as fast as possible. I don’t really want to look at or touch myself.

I can tell by my clothing that my weight is shifting a bit. I’m trying to be conscious of the nicer things I do to myself and I’m trying to not stop.

I’m not sure if stopping the nice stuff is because I was that skinny during periods when I was insanely busy or depressed and most of my “me” time available was spent on exercising or working. I didn’t have as much time to sit around and take a bath.

So is it the chicken or the egg? I don’t know.

There are all these layers of things. When I’m running I mostly eat a reasonable diet… only I can’t keep my sugar under control. Sweet bread. That’s my down fall.

The difference is the exercise. When I get into a good routine for exercising, training for longer distances means specific conditioning, it’s a shit-ton of calories. Not to mention that I’m building muscle, which is more efficient at burning calories.

I think I partially stopped running cold because uhm… I was starting to have thigh gap. I think I stopped having thigh gap when I was eight. I don’t feel all that good about having it now. Yes, I’m aware some women are obsessed with it. I do not want to be in that camp. I don’t want to be associated with that camp.

I want to be strong and fit and have the fucking body I’m used to. God damnit.

If I could be a marathon runner with a size 16 body that would be perfect. That’s what I would want if I got to pick a body out of a hat. Unfortunately when I’m seriously training I’m more in the 8/10/12 range depending on brand. I hate the brands that tell me I’m an 8. First of all: no I am not. There are standards, you fuckers. Stop lying to people. Second of all: it is really fucking frustrating to have to take three or four sizes of something into the dressing room in order to find something that fits. Fuck all you fashion bastards.

I fucking hate buying clothes.

And where am I going to store my “fat” clothes? I sure as fuck am not getting rid of any of it. I’ve very carefully found my wardrobe. Maybe under my bed? Oh man.

I like being strong. I don’t like that it seems to come packed with being thin. That seems stupid to me. See, no one asks me what I want. Whine whine whine.

I understand that I live in a time and place where being thinner is a fucking billion dollar industry. (Many billions? I don’t track.) People seem to waste their whole lives on trying to lose weight. I don’t get it.

Ok, I did Weight Watchers when I hit my lifetime maximum weight and I could no longer ride the rides at Disneyland Paris. That bothered me. Being kicked off a ride because I was too physically big was uncomfortable emotionally. So I didn’t want that to be true. Also: I was in the bdsm community and I was on the verge of leaving my Owner and I needed to hunt. So I did lose weight on purpose then.

Then it came back and I was a lot happier.

Then it went away and I wasn’t so happy.

Then it came back and I was a lot happier.

Here we go round again.

I think my lowest adult weight was 148 when I was depressed after Puppy left me and I stopped eating for a month. I was living on a Jamba Juice a day. I got the big size. Sometimes I could swallow cheese. Sometimes it made me puke. This happened right after I moved out on my own to live alone for the first time ever. No one was there to care. So I didn’t care.

My highest non-pregnant weight was 218 as measured at Weight Watchers. I suspect I was a bit heavier a few weeks previously when I was at Disneyland Paris. Pregnant was 222. In between pregnancies and for a lot of my life I hung out in the 180’s. During my previous “more fit” periods I hung out around 165. Running leads me into the low 150’s.

I know some people gain and lose more than a hundred pounds. I know people who have gained and lost more than two hundred pounds. A range of 70 pounds isn’t that extreme. But my body changes a lot. I understand that in the world of Fat Acceptance I max out at what some people consider “skinny fat”. But if I’m fat enough to have employees of department stores sneer at me and tell me I won’t find anything in their store and if I’m fat enough to have people yell it at me while I walk by… it counts.

And every time I gain and lose my body changes shape. I’m hoping that soon I will look matronly enough to be left alone. I notice the dangling chicken wings below my arms with delight. I have old lady arms! Yay!

I’m not dead. I get to be an elder. Even though I’ve never respected my elders, most other people do. People are getting nicer to me with every passing year.

I note these changes with happiness. I feel kind of confused by the people around me who want to remain as young looking as possible. Being young has not been a good stage for me. I want to leave it behind. Far, far behind.

I like being bad ass. I even like being hot. I don’t like being treated like I am responsible for the random desires of men I don’t know. Yeah, I used to be interested and I didn’t mind so much then. Things change. Figuring out the signals is really hard.

I don’t want to be hostile but I haven’t found a better way of getting men to take “no” the first time I say it. Any softer “no” leads to extra pushing. If I am sure the answer is “no” the first time I must say it with great conviction. Otherwise they will push much farther than I want them to. This is consistent.

Anyway. I’ve been running on schedule for about a week now. I’d been running inconsistently one to three times a week for a while. I trained semi-efficiently for the Oakland half in March and I seriously hurt by mile 11. I need to treat my body with more respect and train better this time. Which means being a lot more serious about my cross training and weight training and stretching.

Which means my body is going to change pretty fast. My body, much to my surprise, likes picking up muscle. The more exercise I do the more it snowballs. I come from a family of fit people. My brothers were sports nuts. They had some talent. Tommy’s team was on its way to the Little League nationals when he got hit by a car. (Not literally on the way. The game was a few weeks? days? away. I can’t remember. I was little and living in a different state.) Oops. I never did hear what came of the team. I was too little to care. My other brother was sixth in the state for cross country in high school. But he was expelled two weeks before graduation for having alcohol on campus so it didn’t go anywhere for him. He could have gone to college on scholarship. Whoops.

I understand more now about genetics. When I was a kid I mistook the fact that I was learning for being unable to learn. I thought that because the people around me were so much better than me and they always won that meant I always would lose and I had no ability to improve or ever win.

Now I feel really sad that no one ever stopped and said, “Dude. You are four. Stop comparing yourself to people who are five and eight years older than you. Go compete with people your age. You are doing just fine. Keep trying.”

I gave up before I ever tried. And moving the way I did meant that I never had… anything. I just stayed home because it was the only way to be safe. Being sedentary was mandatory. So I never improved and it became a self-perpetuating “I can’t because I don’t”.

The things I know now…

If I had somehow had the will to exercise I probably would have been a much scarier kid. Probably better that I preferred reading.

But my kids are buff. My kids have so much freedom to move. Sometimes my inner eight year old weeps at how unfair it is that my kids have so much freedom compared to her. That was probably one of the worst periods of “can not leave my room without pain being inflicted on me”. That piece of me is specifically alive and well and bitter as a pull out of my inner child. It is as close as I come to having multiple personalities. The traumas I incurred at different ages have left specific big knots of scar tissue.

I wasn’t hurt physically for all of my life. For most of the time I was just left alone. Even though I am an intensely social person. Just like Shanna, I came alive at the sight of another person. Shanna can, and does, play alone–but it’s very different from her interactions with people. She gets to be with people all day every day. Well, sometimes I tell them to go play and I spend an hour in the garage. But they have never ever been left actually alone in the house. Well, not beyond taking the trash out. I don’t forking count that. I’m on the property. I can hear them.

Stopping to pay attention to this connection (my inner child acting up means my body has more activation and energy and I feel pissy) is part of the re-parenting process. I feel self-conscious and bad because this is part of what I want to get from the home schooling process.

I have to work through my resentment of other people getting “better” than I had. It is a lot of conscious effort to relax and calm down and be able to be present with my children. I have to actively forgive myself for having the childhood I had. It was not my fault. Both of my children are well into the ages when I was out finding neighborhood kids for oral sex. My kids don’t know what oral sex is. It has never entered into their fuzzy little brains. They are too busy whacking things with swords. As they should.

In being nice to my children through their developmental stages I work through understanding what should have happened to me. I learn what appropriate behavior is by reading multiple developmental books and educational theory books. I cross reference and design a model of an “appropriate” teacher for this stage. And I embody it to the best of my ability.

When I fuck up I apologize, explain what I should be doing and I do better next time. Just like my kids do.

We are all in progress here. I tell them, “I have never been a mother to a six year old AND a three year old at the same time before. I am still learning how it works. I’m sorry I made a mistake.”

Our mistakes are small and our forgiveness is huge. It works out.

My children will never remember anything other than a mother who is physically fit. They will not understand that I spent most of my childhood in a depressed haze sitting very still watching the same few VHS tapes over and over and over.

I’m in one of those phases where I understand why the “Trauma Recovery” people say that you have to forgive. My mom was not in a position to give me what I needed. Not at all. Not even a little bit. I can see why I was so hard for her. I’m actually impressed she didn’t beat me more often. Now that I understand the context of her life better… oh poor Mom. I’m not being sarcastic. I feel really bad for her. But I don’t think she could keep from fucking up my kids. Maybe in thirteen or so years I can look her up. We’ll see.

I am a very active person. It’s kind of insane that I spent my childhood as stationary as I did. I get why it happened. But it was really crazy-making.

I did have periods of activity. Auntie was good about making kids go play in the woods. Well, more accurately… she worked night shifts and I was alone most of the time when I lived with her. So I went out into the woods. I couldn’t wander neighborhoods in the random other places we lived because I got lost or got into fist fights. Auntie’s house was consistent enough that I could learn the lay out.

My relationship to my body has always been one of frustration. I have always been torn between being mad that I’m not bigger and being mad that I’m not smaller. Ok, I’ve lost the desire to be smaller. When I was younger and trying harder to pick up sex partners I was wildly jealous of the women who were 5’1″ or shorter. Now I think it would be inconvenient. I retain my desire to be bigger so that I could be more physically capable. I just don’t have the leverage to do some things. It is really annoying.

It has always been weird how much I trade off using my actual weight for using strength as I get smaller. Many of the tricks to use my weight as leverage stop working. Even twenty pounds of difference is a lot. That’s a lot of strength to make up.

Bodies are complicated.

In the midst of birthday season.

Our birthdays kind of bunch up. End of May, beginning of June. End of August, beginning of September. Then I have a blissful eight months to stop talking about them. Probably more like seven months.

Anyway. It is birthday season. So my birthday is on my mind. The kids are already telling me they don’t want me to go. I hear you. I want to go. I want to go off by myself.

I was thinking Harbin. But now I’m not. I looked around at other options. I think I am going to go to Calistoga. I think I will sleep in the van. I will splurge on body care awesome stuff. Because I get a personal budget and I’m allowed to use it. Noah buys video games. I buy access to mud. We are allowed to be different.

Looking at these websites is more fun than looking at porn. And I don’t twitch when my kids walk in the room.

Happy Fathers Day

Today is a day to wake up and email all the Daddies. I have a lot of adopted/foster Daddies. I’m kind of a charity case in that department. I have Daddies with no biological children and I have Daddies that sit me at the table next to their biological children (who are near me in age).

They include me in their lives to varying degrees. It is never as much as I “want” but it is what I get to have. I understand that and I don’t bitch.

I am very careful to never, ever complain that a Daddy isn’t giving me enough attention. I know better. I know what happens to little girls who don’t make their Daddies happy. They stop having those relationships. You have to be fun the whole time you are with a Daddy.

Obviously I don’t spend much time with these men now that I have children and I can’t pull off such a facade so easily.

I need more support now than I have needed since my own early childhood. So I don’t see my Daddies much now because I can’t keep the whine out of my voice. If you aren’t fun, you aren’t invited.

I understand.

Also: I’m not willing to bring my kids to naked, drug-enhanced camping sessions. So I lost access to quite a few crowds of friends. have no trouble going to such events (whether I do drugs or wear clothes or not I am pretty comfortable around naked high people) so it isn’t a judgment thing.

My kids are not going to grow up with that as “normal”.

It is a specific, conscious choice. They have grown up around casual nudity, but not around casual drug use. They see parents who barely drink, and who use medication grudgingly for mood control. Otherwise they don’t see drug use modeled. It is going to stay that way for years.

Right now the party line is “Drugs/medication are only to be used as prescribed by a doctor for the official use.” And all the super fun things we used to have in the house were passed on to other worthy childless individuals. They are having loads of fun. Good for them.

Am I a hypocrite? Maybe. I’ll talk to them about drugs when they are teenagers after they haven’t grown up with it. I won’t candy-coat anything or lie about anything then.

They are little kids and have poor judgment and a little slip could be fatal so easily just because of their body mass. The only reasonable line is a hard no stance.

Did you notice that whole my kid’s weight is in the 20-something%? (Yeah, I’ve already forgotten. Because I care so much.) She could get alcohol poisoning rather easily. Yes, I know that little kids drink without dying all the time. My brother Tommy enjoyed tequila shots from the age of three. I heard lots of stories. He would go out and drink with the men. They thought it was hilarious. I don’t know how many they would let him have.

I’d like to mention that Tommy was hit by a car because he had such a substance abuse problem by twelve.

My kids are not going to grow up with normalized drug and alcohol use. I believe in better living through chemistry but I also believe that you should be pretty careful what you put in your body. You need to make specific choices. While you are a kid and your body is growing, your cells should remain as whole as possible. What you do as an adult is your business. Get to your full potential before you slam doors shut.

I know a number of growth stunted men who are sad they did so much methamphetamine as teenagers. Hey, sucks to be you. (Ok, they were never going to be tall. It probably didn’t stunt their growth that much.)

Alcohol is poison. Marijuana seems to make it much harder for teenage boys (not as much chicks–no one is sure why) to find a direction in life. If you start when you are older it doesn’t have the same ambition blocking effect, and this shit is researched. No I don’t have the research in front of me so I’m not citing it. I gave the book back to my shrink and I haven’t bought it for myself. I probably should. Not today.

So I feel comfortable starting with “Drugs are wonderful tools that can be misused to become very dangerous easily. Kind of like my electric saw. Just like you exercise a lot of caution with it, be careful with drugs.”

My kids are getting a weird education. We read books about living with parents who have ___________ health problem. You name it, we’ve read about it. I want my kids to have scope for different kinds of lives. I am consciously and specifically working towards children who are not default able-ists. They understand that different people have different support needs in life. We are all highly variable.

It’s not a bad thing. It is just what is.

My kids and I spend a fair bit of time window shopping as a way to pass time. We go out and interact with the world. We talk to people. We walk around. They see and interact with a wide variety of kinds of bodies.

It is neat watching them improve. Shanna is way better at perceiving brush-offs than she used to be. It used to be hard to get her to walk ten feet down the side walk because she got to the first person and was content to stay all day. Now she can complete a walk with only 3-40 minutes of chatting per person. It is almost moving at a measurable pace.

My patience has grown by leaps and bounds compared to what it used to be. Some people meditate. I attempt to take Their Royal Heiny’s for a walk and deal with being on the circuit with beauty pageant queens. “I must stop and greet my adoring fans.” Once in a while… Shanna actually fucking says that. Want to know what is worse? They are her adoring fans.” They’ve been talking to her for years. They think she is great. When they see me running by myself… they ask for her.

Yup, sorry the chaperone got out alone. I know I am less interesting. Deep sigh.

Naw, it’s ok. I think it is hilarious. I’m glad it is happening. It certainly lets me feel like I’m off the hook for being a narcissist. Ha. I haven’t been the princess for years. Sigh.

Today will be fun. I should get up and go to the store to get apples so Shanna can make Noah apple pancakes for breakfast. They negotiated without checking the larder. I kinda wish they hadn’t done that, but what can you do?

Shanna’s new six year old chore is to be responsible for breakfast one day a week. She is surprisingly good at it.

Watching them fills me with pride. I know that kids do what kids do. I don’t think my kids are “special”. Only they are. Because I have been with them almost every day of their lives. I think if you count up all the hours I’ve missed and compressed them it is less than three months. It is going to explode soon though because they are doing more and more classes. Shanna is probably actually getting closer to six months of time away total. If I’m realistic.

But still. I get to be with them most of the time. I’ve watched every minute of helplessness melt into competence. I’ve stared and applauded every fucking milestone.

My baby is responsible for cooking breakfast. I feel pride. Even if it is stupid. My kid is learning things. She’s responsible. She’s helpful. She wants to be productive. She wants to know how to do things.

My kid will know how to cook more things at ten than I knew how to cook at twenty-five. I learn off the internet and out of books. I have had a few female friends kind of sort of show me a few things. Mostly I didn’t see food prepared as a child and I showed up at adulthood living on ramen. And things I could microwave.

Watching my kid learn the life skills that have been hard and embarrassing for me is really trippy. She learns things with ease. She doesn’t struggle. She doesn’t resist. She oozes into understanding. I see her take a few practice swishes in the air before she tries something and then: presto. She just does it.

Sometimes she spills. When spills she says, “Ah shucks. I hate it when that happens.” Just like I do.

She’s learning about cleaning up the space and cross-contamination worries. She can’t rattle off the names of specific illnesses yet, but she will soon.

She’s still pretty serious about saying she wants to be a doctor. I am not holding anyone to the career they pick when they are five, and yet.

I talk to her like she is someone who might have to do medical school. You need to figure out how to memorize lots of long and complicated names if you do that. You need to have a rich and varied understanding of how things layer together.

No time like the present to start learning that.

It’s not just about what happened, you have to care about why it happened and how. You have to think systematically about how to solve the riddle/puzzle. Although sometimes staring into space at the blinking lights and thinking abstractly brings you to the right answer.

It’s tricky. Finding the right answer. You can’t always go straight at a problem. Sometimes you have to figure out how to sidle in sideways.

Social problems. How to fix a toy that breaks. How to make food. How to ride your bike. All of these problems have solutions. Figuring it out might be tricky. Don’t worry, with enough patience we will get to the right answer.

She nods and looks up at me with perfect trust. Like I am Yoda. (I almost said “fucking Yoda” and I decided that had implications that didn’t work for the sentence. Ahem.)

Right now if you ask my kids if I would lie to them the response is something like, “Sometimes in obviously silly ways but never ever for real.” I’ve heard other people ask. Yeah–I do tell silly lies sometimes. I make it obvious in super dramatic massively over the top body language and tone of voice changes. Dropping and raising my voice multiple times on each word. Like dropping and raising the pitch. My whole body will shake and twitch and contort.

You can’t miss that something changed.

So I do lie for effect sometimes. When it is funny.

But no, I don’t lie to my kids. I evade. I tell them the part of the truth they need to hear today. I recognize that their ability to interpret what I say is limited in scope. I reread development books over and over to remind myself of “appropriate” disclosure. I do not treat them like my friends. I do not “share” my thoughts with them much.

When I have a really bad day and I’m crying a lot the kids ask why. At this point the patter is something like, “The things that happen to you in your life inprint on your brain. They make you who you are. They decide how you react to things. The things that happened to me during my childhood were very different than the things that are happening in your childhood and sometimes when I notice how different I feel sad. I wish someone had loved me the way I love you. Watching you makes me realize that I wasn’t actually a bad little girl. I just didn’t have a mom who was able to take care of me. ”

Shanna gives me a hug. Calli (if she is in the room) gives me a hug. Then we move on to playing and the tears kind of roll and I smile anyway. I make sure it is the real-fake-smile. The one I perfected in front of the mirror many years ago.

People usually know a fake smile because it doesn’t reach your eyes. I learned how to control the eye muscles a long time ago. That’s how you make people believe you are “happy”. You scrunch the eye muscles. The lips actually matter less.

So I play with them and hope that they never read this.

This is the happiest I have ever been. I am grateful for every single minute that I get to spend with them. I am glad I get to watch a happy childhood. I don’t resent you. I’m not mad. I am jealous. I wish I could have had someone love me. I wish I had been protected.

I used to rage at Noah because he was not protective. He was totally bewildered. He didn’t have any idea what I was expecting of him. Really most of our engagement was a rage fest. He wrote a lot of long, private journal entries in which he worried about me abusing him. Because I’m a nosy mother fucker there isn’t a “private” in this house.

He says I haven’t yelled at him like that since. I’m pretty careful to listen to feedback that I’m bordering on abusive.

Ack. Kid woke up. Time to go.


I’ve been thinking a lot about behavioral modification and control. I mean, these are frequent topics for me but they’ve been using a lot of bandwidth lately.

What do I want to be? Who do I want to be when I grow up? Am I allowed to be that person while I am fulfilling the same roles I have always filled for people who will not meet my needs?

I have some friends, at least a few, and many of them are guys. Not all of them. I’m not one of those women who “can’t get along with women”. Which I always hear as “it is easier to manipulate men so I stick with them”. I like and hate everyone equally. At least in terms of group identifiers. I like Christians as much as I dislike some of the dogma associated with the religion. I like guys as much as I hate them. Individuals of course all get their own readings.

“When women say “all men” they hurt the feelings of the nice guys.”

Maybe the nice guys need to learn that when people are writing something they aren’t always writing to and for you. If you can’t handle reading something unless it was specifically written to coax you then you have bigger problems than anyone else can solve for you.

I read a lot of very anti-white writing. I read a lot of people of color who have tremendous chips on their shoulders. They just fucking hate white people. I’m white. Do I feel like I should get defensive and try to get them to prove that they don’t hate *me* because I’m *special*.

Or would that make me a self-involved asshole? Think hard here.

I know more men who are not rapists than I know rapists. By a large margin. That does not mean I should give strangers the benefit of the doubt. Sorry. Even if it hurts your widdle feewings.

I don’t figure out who the predators are by looking at them. I do default to assuming that the less physically attractive someone is the lower the chances they are a successful predator. I am more relaxed around men who seem non-sexual enough.

Which is probably something that causes those men enormous pain in their lives. See how I can’t fucking win? The signals that do signal safety are things that are offensive to really judge.

But even that isn’t full proof. I know better. So I’m paranoid.

I don’t think that most of the men in my life would have the balls to attack me at this stage. I have done my best to develop a somewhat scary reputation and those things spread. Folks who know me are fairly safe. But a lot of my male friends are what I’d call Alpha. They are bossy motherfuckers and by and large that works for them. They don’t get called on it much. They have carved out little lives where they are tyrants and everyone around them does what they say and falls in line and things work out. They aren’t violent or “abusive”. But they will grind on you till you verbally give them what they want. I know a lot of men like this. Only a few women.

These men take a lot out of me. They take as much out of me emotionally and mentally as managing a large group of children. For one person. Seriously–I can manage six kids on a day trip by myself far more easily than I can have a friendly chat with many of my male friends individually.

I’m starting to see that as a problem.

As I get older the needs in my life are becoming more predictable. I have more of a schedule. I’m not always moving. I’m not always adjusting to an entirely new cast of characters. I have added in the home school crowd in the last three years and then a running buddy after that. Otherwise I haven’t been picking up new relationships lately. That’s weird. I have been dusting off older friendships. I have been spreading myself out differently.

Sustainability is more of an issue now. I can’t drop many balls in order to completely adapt to a new environment. That’s a privilege I have lost. I didn’t know it was a privilege when I had it. Now “normal” people make more sense to me. Why they say “I can’t” to so many of the things I propose.

Life is different now. I have to have a very different amount and kind of control. Now it’s a marathon, not a series of sprints.

My running buddy and I have decided that it is more sane (given our life constraints) for us to do a 10k at the beginning of October and a half marathon at the end of November. She thinks we will be walking. I don’t think so. I think our first 10k time was pretty fast. I think we will be able to train up to having my third official half marathon be as fast or faster than the second. We’ll see.

Running with her is fun. She and I have a lot in common. If our lives were more similar I think we would conflict like oil and water. Luckily our life constructs are so entirely different that we don’t have to worry about our (ridiculously firm) opinions getting clashed with. We are both very encouraging of taking up space and what that means. We are both also working on control in a variety of parts in our lives. But very differently so we can talk without feeling judged for how we do it. Our circumstances are entirely different. We need different tactics.

A lady I like and respect says she is thinking of starting a discussion group for women once a month. I would drive to Redwood City for that. I would feel comfortable and safe talking to people that woman would invite. I would be different from most of the people she invites. I may or may not be the emotionally explosive (we’ll see) but I will be able to blurt something, then apologize for tone and rephrase and they will try to hear me. The stakes will be low.

When I get too tired from the emotional labor of translating from my brain into “difficult self-centered man language” (obviously not all men or I wouldn’t be bothering to specify a sub-group) I get really testy and pissy. I take it out on everyone who walks by. I feel brittle and made of glass. Like the slightest lean of an arm on my boundaries might shatter them. Then I withdraw and spend a lot of time crying.

I probably need to pay more attention to who makes me react that way and pull back from all of those relationships. I’m starting to see how the cost is becoming higher than I can pay. I don’t have enough spoons to have to process someone that much. And the only way to get them to stop hammering on you is to keep arguing until you win or meekly say they are right a few times so they will back off.

I’m not fucking letting them win their bullshit arguments. I could start using some variation of “You are being an asshole. Shut the fuck up.” But I don’t think that would go over that well.

My other option is to drop the friendships. Which will result in its own bitterness and trauma. Because life works that way.

Knowing you and being your friend is very hard work. Sometimes I can do it and sometimes I can’t. Being friends with me is very similar, so clearly it isn’t an “only men” thing. But aping this form of masculine behavior (because clearly what the people who object to my attitude are really objecting to is that I am a woman with this attitude–from a man it’s ok) causes me other problems.

Men don’t like losing dominance challenges to women (unless they really like it and that’s a whole different ball of string). Although many men are just flat used to losing dominance challenges and they sort of sigh with resignation and get on with it. The fight has long-since gone out of them.

Then there’s Noah. He neither likes it nor has a desire to deal with it much. We try to solve this by not challenging one another because neither of us appreciate losing dick contests. We have different strengths. Cool. You go be awesome over there and I’ll be awesome over here and we can wave. Both of us are grudging losers. But we don’t hold grudges. And we are willing to be convinced when someone has good data. So it works out.

So clearly not all men suck. Yeah, I get it. But some really do.

I have control over very few things in this life. I sorta have control of my mind and body. I mean, I’m not crazy effective with my body but I’m relatively fit. Not mentally. Oh man. But I get by. My deficiencies exist in ways that I can work around and develop counter-balancing strengths that balance things out. Life works that way.

We aren’t all cookie cutters. Trying to develop the control to just do what others tell you is antithetical to developing the control that allows you really define yourself.

You must pick one or the other. If you want to be obedient, you give up the ability to really judge what you are. Your very essence and priorities and impulses have to be secondary to what someone else wants.

I am not a secondary character.

I have been. I was because I wanted to fully embody what that meant. I wanted to understand it.

Apparently I decided I don’t want to be it. That’s been an interesting process.

I don’t know what my very-argumentative-men friends get from knowing me. I think I need to stop caring. They take so much from me that I don’t have enough left to do what I need to do. That’s not fair to me.

I don’t really care if cut-off culture is “mean”. It is mean of you to come to my house and argue with me for hours such that I spend hours crying. For years.

Why do I accept every friendship on offer?

Because I do. Because I always have. I let people come until they don’t want to come any more. But sometimes they have to put up with me being explosive while they are here because I am just fucking out of cope. Lots of people take that as a sign and never come back.

I drive people away. I don’t do it on purpose. I do it when I lose control. When I can no longer choke down how bitter and angry and violent and hateful I feel.

It doesn’t have to be at the person in the room. Maybe I’m just having a day where I’m heavily processing stuff about my biological family. If I’ve done a lot of very hostile writing that morning the whole day might be off. Then I’ll lose the reins on my tongue. Something that is highly tinged by my ambient hostility will come out. Whoops. I didn’t really mean it. No really, I didn’t mean it. I said it because I’m feeling spiteful and that was twisting the way I think about you. I’m really sorry. I’m really sorry.

Is isolation really the best solution? Just work on cutting people out of my life until I get to the point where I can always control my mouth when I am with people?

When I hear people complain that someone requires them to “walk on egg shells” I hear “I don’t want to have to care about who is listening before I speak”.

Yeah, some people personalize everything they hear and decide that the speaker must be talking about them personally and therefore the speaker hates them and is a Mean Evil Person. Yup, I know.

I read a lot of rabidly anti-white writers. They are fully unapologetic as they rant about how evil they perceive white people to be, yes, all white people.

I read this and I try to understand why they believe what they believe. Why it has come to be unavoidably, undeniably true for them.

Everyone has a story. Their story makes sense for them whether you like it or not.

What kind of control a person has decides a lot about what kind of life they have. How do you teach self-control? Financial control? Work ethic? The ability to be adaptable and able to just make something work with whatever it is you have in front of you? These things are all experiential. You have to do them and make mistakes and learn how to do it right. The younger you start the better.

I confess that I feel a little growing anxiety around Shanna not reading yet. I’m reading dyslexia information with dismay. Most of the markers for a diagnosis of dyslexia involve social problems caused by the social stigma of being slow. I am choosing to just read the development books that say “It’s normal for many children to transpose letters till seven or eight.” I notice. But I’m not “doing anything” to correct her.

Everything I have read says that some children are just not physically ready to read until seven or eight. Their brains are too busy doing other things and when you try to force it, you lose a lot of self-confidence that can’t be gotten back.

I’d rather have Shanna deciding what she should be doing with her time right now. She wants her parents to read to her. She isn’t ready to start reading. Ok. I didn’t start reading until the end of first grade. I didn’t really expect her to be required to start reading before I did even though so many of her little friends read. We know a high number of hyperlexic children.

I need to not look at hyperlexia and think my kid is slow. That’s not rational. Good grief.

Shanna’s comprehension skills are several grade levels higher than her physical ability. Lots of research says that will equalize if she’s given the time and space to live and be and learn what she needs to be learning right now instead of worrying about that.

I read the nay-sayers too. I know the con arguments favor conscription into the systematic learning enclave for the sake of party unity.

I don’t think everyone is the same. And I don’t think that everyone has the same ability to be able to conform. I know what the standards are. My kids are always going to be above and below their peers in varying metrics. People are like that. The hope is that they will come away without the bullying and belittling that exists in public schools for any variation.

I’ve been to a lot of public schools. They are all brutal. Some people get lucky and they are in the middle or they are high in the pack so they do ok by the system.

I don’t think my kids will be in the middle.

I don’t think they will always be high across the board. Ha. Shanna isn’t that coordinated. She makes up for it with tenacity and endurance. She’ll try again. And again. And again.

Sometimes watching her fail at things fills me with awe. She knows it is possible for someone to do this. So even though this hurts (and occasionally out will pop “shit”–I ignore it) she keeps trying. I’ve seen her whack her head dozens of times trying to do something. She did get it right eventually. Stubborn fucker. My kid.

Calli, by contrast, is slightly less persistent but much more initally successful. I’m in trouble. I think Calli stands and watches Shanna’s fuck-ups and learns. She is much more able to figure out how to do something right after Shanna has figured it out. Ha.

School is almost out. We are going to be riding the bikes in the parking lot every day. Side walk learning was just a non-starter. She kept falling into driveways. Lots of scrapes. Lots of not-willing-to-keep-doing-that.

She sees no upside. “But I can already run to all the places you want to ride bikes to. It’ll be fine. I’ll just run along side you.”

Only then I have to go at the speed of your running compared to the speed of bikes. NO.

Calli can outdistance her with a balance bike. It’s pretty impressive to me.

In the last month I’ve had a whole bunch of people ask me “Is Calli tall?” Uhh, I don’t know? For the comparative age she is much taller than Shanna was. She’s wearing size five clothes and she turns four at the end of the summer. I think they are only 5″ apart in height. I don’t know what the average gap is between siblings who are two years apart in age. And I don’t know if Shanna is tall. I haven’t been paying attention to such metrics. I could go look it up. I mean, I am on a forking computer. Shanna is in the 88% and the 24% for weight. Calli is in the 96% for height and 57% for weight.

Holy shit. I guess they are tall. And I was right for perceiving that Calli was on a faster growth curve than Shanna. I think Calli will be the taller adult. That’s my current crystal prediction.

On the last few pediatrician visits we haven’t talked percentiles. I didn’t ask and it didn’t come up. I suppose he isn’t worried so he doesn’t say? He just says, “They are growing well. Good job.” and does a no-touch pat on the head.

Wow. I haven’t looked at percentiles in years. I’m writing it down mostly because this is the only way I will have later record.

Since Calli is by far the more coordinated one we should put her in basketball. Ha. I play more catch with Calli. Shanna has never liked it much. I’ve always tried. She likes “fetch” more than catch. It’s kind of hilarious. She’s happy for the interaction. She’s happy to be met where she is. She doesn’t like having balls thrown at her. But she’s happy to chase one for the fun of it.

I can understand that.


Put your own oxygen mask on first.

I used to think it was useful for me to think of people as “family”. Tonight I got to have dinner then go to the Diana Gabaldon speaking engagement with a woman I used to think of as a big sister. I talked to her a lot when I was younger. She did a lot to guide me in the bdsm community. She helped me learn how to keep myself safe.

It’s been a while now that I have consciously eschewed the chosen family dynamic. I have friends. I have really wonderful, excellent friends. I am truly blessed in my friends.

So it’s weird sometimes when I spend time with people I used to think of as “family”. I can feel how my inner walls and boundaries have shifted. In the main I feel like it is a positive thing because I have a lot less hostility towards the idea that my friends are giving me every speck they have to give me than I do towards the idea that they are my “family” and they uhhhh… don’t meet a lot of my needs.

Do I have entitlement issues? Rage issues? Oh yes. I have a firm idea of what “being family” means. I experience it with Noah. I am teaching my daughters how to do this, but it’s different with “chosen family”. I drive people away. Or I walk away.

I have expectations and that screws me every time. The secret to happiness is low expectations.

But you can only keep your expectations low if you get your needs met some other way or if you are so beat down you have stopped hoping.

Sometimes I’m afraid of the bottomless pit of need I feel inside me. The desperate need for attention, affection, love, permission to live, approval.

Yeah, I take any relationship that is offered. They all have things to teach me. They all have things I want. Every person I walk by on the street is a missed opportunity. Sometimes I feel like I spend a lot of time grieving every single one of them.

I want you to love me. I want you to love me. I want you to love me.

I’m selfish. It’s not like I’m really walking around feeling like, “Oh man! Let me love you!” That shit sounds like work.

I really enjoyed getting to hear Diana Gabaldon speak tonight. She was very blatant in her enjoyment of the ego stroking she gets. It was hilarious to watch. She glowed. She’s 62 but from where I was sitting I would have guessed she was in her mid 30’s. She has a kid my age. And one older, I think–I may have misheard because it was loud.

She’s still happily and lustily married. I approve.

She talked a lot about her life and her career arc. She’s a good story teller and she’s obviously said that whole thing hundreds of times. Very smooth and entertaining.

I’m… too twitchy. I’m always afraid I’m on the verge of offending people.

I offend people. And then I feel very sad. Because that offended feeling is what they will walk away with. In their head, that feeling is me.

Oh man I hate that. It’s better to err on the side of being quiet. Only I don’t do that. Because I’m an asshole. But I’m a sad asshole.

Cause I embrace contradictory emotional states. I’m told by experts that such an ability is part of the reason I’m not dead.

Sometimes it feels weird understanding that historically, women like me rarely do as well as I have. I’m not talking about Noah’s money. I did get a bachelors degree and a teaching credential. I did successfully teach. I worked in theatre for several years and did just fine. I worked in libraries for years.

I go out and find ways to be part of things that work for me. I usually take small and/or support roles because I know I won’t be around long. I try my hardest to leave a good impression. I want people to think well of me. So I look for ways to work.

Often that work is social. I like seeing people. I feel validated by people in a way that is surely unhealthy. I do have crowd management skills. You can’t stage manage dance shows for small children without developing them. I like to believe that I’m charming. I like to believe I can turn out a descent conversation for a wide variety of people.

I’m not just a one trick pony. I’m Downer Debbie and I Deliver but I do also have other modes. I am not interested in online dick contests about academic theory (fuck you, grad school) so I don’t get into nuanced responses to the educational theory I read about but I’m happy to talk about it if asked. I travel and have neat stories that conveniently leave out the bits about hysterical crying and beating my head on the ground. These days I talk plants. That’s SO SAFE! It’s an awesome topic. Gardening! Running is safe to talk about.

I’m not just that skanky ho who talks about depressing shit any more.

More tracks. I still have great sex stories. But I need to be asked for them. Or I default to assuming people would retreat with their fingers in their ears screaming, “EWWWW TMI!” So I don’t write about sex much lately. Obviously sometimes I don’t give a shit and I tell stories, but only as they feel like a need to discuss topic.

I’m still obsessed with sex. But now it is legally and “morally” permissible because that just means Noah’s life is good. I do owe it to a man, don’t I?

Ugh and ick and weird. Sex is so fucking weird. It gets weirder every year. More complex. More complicated. Can’t I just go back to tracing the outline of a knot in a piece of wood on dicks and be done with processing this crap?

Even when sex was “simple” (ha!) it was never simple for me.

Sex is tied up in money and rage and entitlement and perversion and pain and love and tenderness and fear.

You don’t pick what you have the talent to write about. Or for fuck’s sake I would pick another talent.


If you do much research on mental illness, or really any undesirable behavior you want to eliminate, distraction is key.

This week in therapy my shrink spent a lot of time harping on the idea that I need to start being a lot more choosy about who I allow into my life. I always wonder how much my shrinks judge me. No, actually I don’t wonder very often or I would be very paranoid. Occasionally I wonder. When therapists very rarely encourage me towards squeezing people out of my life (it is rare but it happens) I always wonder how long they have sat on that impulse.

When did my description of my friend start bothering you? They never tell me, of course.

Therapy is such a weird beast. It is a relationship but not a a real one. It is unidirectional and unbalanced. There is honesty but not full honesty. Truth but not the whole truth. The whole truth involves someones opinions which I shouldn’t be taking into consideration.

I shouldn’t change to make my therapist happy. She otherwise isn’t part of my life. I should not alter the support I get to make her happy.

But sometimes you do have to follow their advice because they are right. She doesn’t say “so and so is icki” she says “what do you get from this relationship and what do you give to it? If the balance doesn’t work for you then you need to move on”. She says to me, “I know that for most of your life you have had to accept relationships with anyone who wanted to have a relationship with you. That is no longer true. You need to keep your children safe.”

I was raped over and over because I made a lot of stupid choices. Because I accept any relationship that is offered. Because I don’t say “no” when I should.

Yeah yeah yeah people think of me as being overly firm with my “no” delivery. You only know what my life is like after more than half a dozen rapes or more. The people who have known me the longest met me when I had been raped at least half a dozen times.

The things that happen to you change you. I did not know how to say “no”. I have learned to say it loudly and firmly. Loudly and firmly enough that I often bother people who wish I was “softer” about the process. Oh fucking well.

“Most people have no more than five people in their true inner circle.” (Quoting my shrink again.)

Jenny. Noah. K. My kids. Pam. That’s six. I have absolute trust in their love for me. Do I feel that way about anyone else? Not really. Jenny bought her way in by being the only person who comforted me during a horrible childhood. K has been the single most helpful person by a humongous margin during the parenting journey. I talk to her more often than anyone I don’t live with. I think she is the most motherly friend I have ever had. She has actually shown up when the rubber meets the road for the past few years. Pam has been with me for more than half of my life. To the best of my recollection I have gotten really pissed off at her, but never for actual boundary violations. I can’t remember one.

Other people were in the inner circle at other points. When they were able to show up. Life changes. I don’t stop loving them. Not a jot. But I don’t have trust any more. If I search my body this moment I’m not angry about the fact that I have seen the waxing and waning of so many friendships. They were with me when it made sense. It doesn’t make as much sense any more.

I can’t explain what it was like in my childhood. I was not allowed to cry. My crying irritated people and it was beaten out of me. That’s a lot of why I cry so much now. I was horribly brutalized and then punished if I grieved.

want to write in excruciating detail about my current emotional outpouring towards people. But I don’t want it as part of the record. There are names I don’t write about. Lots of them. There are lots of specific details I don’t want to announce in public. Mostly because I’m aware that my perceptions are highly biased and I’m a much bigger judgmental asshole than people understand and I need to keep it that way.

I don’t want the fall out. I’m that lame. So I’m having trouble working through the emotions. Writing things out is a lot of how I get rid of things. It has become very useful for me over the years. (Yes, people who like people journals get these things out without the public fall out. Clearly I don’t write that way. You don’t get to pick the writing talent you get. You just get it.)

So I’ve been looking for distraction. Painting went so breathtakingly well. The only time I raised my voice was when Shanna was backing into an open paint can. (It was a good save. She wasn’t cranky.) *phew* I did it.

I’m reorganizing toys again. Because I like playing house. Because it makes me happy. I refine how I organize as I watch them use things. I try to figure out where how to have things “live” where they are played with. I want to make their set up convenient for them so it is easy for them to clean up.

It is hard to find a system when you are a kid. You literally don’t have the schema to do it. Kids need to be shown how to find systems. Some people are naturally very gifted, but usually there is the overall framework of systemization within their life and that is why they are so accustomed.

I’m not very good at providing constant systemic living. I will never run a prison. I believe that needs and wants change dramatically over time and it is good to be constantly tweaking your system to be more appropriate for where you are today.

Sustainability is hard to find. What can you keep up? Deciding to be rigid in your system means you exclude millions of awesome options. I like trying lots of things. I need more flexibility.

It is hard reading my shrinks’ evaluation of me. I don’t think it is accurate that I can’t work because of relational issues. Although I had a lot of job volatility throughout my work life. Ha.

Today will be fun. I have babysitting time this morning. I am going to sit here and do all the work for the home school yearbook. (I’m a slacker. I should have done this a month ago.) I need to go to REI. That will be festive. I’m glad I can do it without the kids. I would like to work on the reading list for the book, but I only get three hours. I will need to get it done soon. Blah.

I need to do scheduling today. I need to plan out my running and exercise. I’m doing a half marathon with a friend in October and I’m really not doing appropriate exercise to support that. I have to start. It takes planning or I just don’t get it done. Deep sigh.

I don’t understand how other people naturally just do exercise. I have to plan how I will force myself. I have to have a reason to exercise–an upcoming obligation that will require my body to have something it doesn’t have right now. Long-term planning is too hard.

Distraction. What is distraction? What is focus? What am I doing with my life? Are the people who come and go the focus or a distraction? Is the painting a distraction or a focus? Is reorganizing the toys so they are easier for the kids to clean up a distraction or a focus?

Isn’t it all about your priorities? Isn’t it different for every person you ask?

Is writing a distraction from my life or one of the focuses in my life? Gardening? House maintenance (both of the repair and of the cleaning variety)?

What is life?

What does it mean to have a focus in your life? I read a lot about what other people do with their time. You can tell what people care about by looking at how they spend their time.

It’s ok that we are all different. If we were all the same that would be boring. We need symbiotic relationships.

The inner circle doesn’t mean that you only have relationships with people you trust that much. There are lots of other kinds of relationships. It is ok to share smaller pieces of yourself with people.

And it’s ok to walk away when it no longer works for you.

It doesn’t make me a bad person. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Not everyone will be there forever.

There are some perverts who probably shouldn’t be around my kids. I recognize that in a larger sense–my kids are not exposed to the broader bdsm community.

Things that are ok for me aren’t necessarily ok for my kids. My kids are impressionable.

Boundaries are complicated.

What makes someone an asshole? Caring about their own needs to the point where they are ok with other people getting hurt sometimes as they take care of themselves.

What makes someone a bitch? Saying or doing things to hurt other people on purpose to be spiteful.

Notice how the gendered one is a lot nastier? I notice that in my language.

I’m an asshole. I try hard to not be a bitch.

I don’t have time to explain why this dude is wrong. There are so many ways he is wrong that I would permanently damage my arms. Ain’t worth it.

I get to walk away. Yeah, it might hurt you but I am not obligated to sit around and tend your feelings. Notice how you have never tended mine? Fuck right off.

But spite isn’t necessary. What’s the difference? When you are writing, what’s the damn difference?

Well, I say fuck you to the universe but I don’t say it to people. I don’t publicly (or privately) slam people when I end a relationship. In general I maintain a policy of being very positive when I talk about former friends/partners/acquaintances. I’m well-fucking-aware that you are judged by how you judge other people

So I’m an asshole, but I try to limit the scope.

always have the right to walk away. It is the most American attitude one can have. Well, or the other American attitude “I have the right to own a gun so I can shoot people who seem scary“.

I seem scary to a lot of people. To the point where strangers will comment on it in public. I worry a lot about guns.

I kind of hope that the next revolution in this country is a call to disarmament. Citizens give up their guns so that police can de-militarize.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Wouldn’t it be nice to stop hearing about mass shootings at schools?

And wouldn’t it be nice if white people were called terrorists when they instill terror just like people of other races? Parity in discussion would help us figure out the common solutions.

I need to answer a whole bunch of emails. I haven’t forgotten you. I just… haven’t scheduled yet. Scheduling goes in batches. I can’t handle adding things in between scheduling-fests. Then I get “over scheduled” and I’m shaking by the end of the month. It sucks.

Tonight I get to have dinner with an old friend before we go to the Diana Gabaldon reading. I’m excited. There’s a new book in a series I love.

This will be the very first time I’ve ever been to a reading for an author I know. I have heard random people at college but I had no previous knowledge of them. A step towards fandom I guess?

What is the focus of your life? How do your actions support that? How does your time spent support that? How does your energy spent support that?

When you are old, what will you appreciate more? That you spent time working in your garden or that you spent time with people you will definitely not know by then? Depends on the person. Depends on how the time with them is spent.

Sometimes you need to pick the garden.

Boundaries are hard. Being an asshole is hard.

Good day.

Today we painted. So we had a good day. It felt nice to stay home and not have to be careful what I said or how I moved. If I cussed I didn’t have to feel guilty. (My kids tune out my frustrated grumbling.) Really, I didn’t grumble much today other than when I slammed my finger twice in five minutes. I was using a sharp metal tool. That sucked donkey dick and yes I yelled “fuck”. I don’t feel bad. My kids just say, “Oh poor mommy. Do you need a kiss?”

I got a new letter of recommendation from my therapist. It is time to renew my medical card. I feel pretty shitty about the way I was described. It is simple and literal and accurate and yup my body sucks. But there are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese so everything will turn out fine.

“Do you like being this way?” No, not so much.

But today I got to paint a picture. (Bailey-I didn’t see your comment until I was wearing jammies.)

More garage painting


The kids helped a lot, more than you would guess by the final product. You can’t tell in the picture but I used a bunch of glitter all over. It’s sparkly and fun.

I’m going to bring the armoire like piece of furniture out of the playroom and create a false wall so that the kids can have a “play room” behind it in the corner of the garage. I’m going to bring the play kitchen out here.

Moving things around my house is satisfying to a ridiculous degree. I feel kind of lame about how much pleasure I get from rearranging my house.

Our needs change. I rearrange based on what best suits our current needs. The kids move through developmental stages and I rearrange their shit. They play with things more and with more intensity for a few weeks after a rearrange. They rediscover what they own.

require my children to be self-starters. If you want to do something, do it. Don’t stand there and tell me to do it so you can watch and be entertained. Not so much. But I like reading educational theory books and rearranging the toys. It feels like teaching. Maybe I am still just “playing school”.

I feel self-conscious about the way I’m teaching my kids. I think that I am nurturing creativity, independence, and self-motivation. I think that because I’m following some theories I’ve read about.

I could sit here and bandy about theorist names, but I’m not trying to convince anyone that I’m right so whatever.

I get two chances in this lifetime to really teach children the way I theoretically think is best. That’s a complicated thing. Modeling and experience and practice and freedom. But how much freedom do my kids really have?

It’s complicated. How much freedom do most kids have? I’m pretty controlling about the things I’m controlling about. (We have chores, dernit. I require manners. I respond very poorly to pestering. Etc.)

I’ve asked Shanna a couple of times if she thinks that she will be sad about missing first grade. I asked her if she wanted to go. When I explained how many hours she would have to be there she changed her mind.

I don’t think I’m trapping them. I think I’m keeping them in a bubble. I have mixed feelings about that.

So many mixed feelings.

I think I’m going to stay home more for a bit. I need to focus more on the kids. At least, this is what I think I will do. Who knows. Maybe I’ll be a jerk and not pay attention to them. It will honestly depend on how much babysitting I figure out. When I “don’t pay attention to them” it means I sit in the room with them and read. I make lunch and clean up and answer questions and what have you. But I don’t do much directing. They have to entertain themselves. They are great at it. But they are hurricanes.

Mess, mess, everywhere! Cause that’s just the chaos we live in. I keep thinking about becoming like those wonderfully mean home schooling moms who only let their kids have art supplies and outside toys. I’ve read about it on the internet. I don’t think I will do it though. I don’t buy stuff for them. It just arrives. They have grandparents who are slowly mailing them a legacy of toys from multiple generations in their family. Oh man. I couldn’t say “no toys”. It would be fucked up.

So I sigh deeply and clean the fucking floor again. I don’t insist on them cleaning up their rooms most of the time. I do insist they clean up the living room. Common space must be respected. I do require you to clean the floor in your room often enough to vacuum because we get bugs. Whether I am a fascist or not I live in a swamp and them’s the rules buddy.

I feel sad that my therapist can accurately say that my relationships are short and argumentative. I hope my relationship with my children goes better than that. So far so good.

Time to run.



This week I read an essay by a female writer in which she mentions that she “never writes personal essays because she doesn’t want them to take away from her reputation”. She writes about “real stuff” don’tchaknow?

Well, I write personal essays. And bugger off if you have a problem with that.

So, that said, lots of feelings lately. Jenny and her wonderful baby visited us over the weekend. (Another mom friend came with her baby on Friday. It was baby central. Having the three of us together with our kids felt like a dream come true. I’ve been hanging out with those ladies (all of us have birthdays within four months of one another) for over ten years. Watching us grow up has been so neat.

Jenny (but mostly her baby) is used to a quieter life than we lead. My kids are *very* overwhelming for people who are used to quiet. My kids are shitty at respecting personal space. We are working on it, but this isn’t a skill that will come naturally to them. They want to be close to people. Like, on top of them close ALL THE TIME.

It is always an adjustment for us to try to tone down for other people. It is good for us but it is hard. If you throw in the whole fact that Jenny is one of the most important people in the world to me and losing her friendship would be devastating it makes for some tension.

I was too worried about the kids. So I started out sounding pretty nasty. Jenny heard my way of speaking and copied some phrasing and then my kids freaked out. That is not Jenny’s fault. But it made for a rocky first day. Jenny asked if they should leave early. I felt so sad that we are so hard to put up with.

So Jenny and I had a talk and then I had a long talk with the kids. Things went way better after that.

Shanna was inclined to get her back up. “This is my house and I shouldn’t have to change.” I said, “But Jenny is my best friend and I only get to see her every few years and I miss her so much it hurts and can we please try hard to make everyone feel comfortable?” Shanna agreed after that.

And the rest of the visit was great. But I had lots of leftover anxiety/stomach pain.

I feel pretty proud of all of us that we managed to have a good rest of the visit. It was really wonderful to see Jenny mother. I have known her for about twenty years now. It was like seeing, “Ohhhhhh this is what you have been building towards all these years. This is who you wanted to be.” It was really beautiful. She’s a very good mother. My friends inspire me to try harder for my kids. Jenny’s daughter is very shy. Jenny makes sure the world is appropriate for her kid and she does not back down. I have so much respect for that.

I have twinges of sad because, why didn’t anyone love me like that? but mostly I stomp on them and I’m just really glad to see that my friends are such good people.

I am so blessed in my friendships. I don’t know how I managed to meet such good people. I feel honored and unworthy at the same time.

I think that if Jenny lived closer we would adjust better and my kids would get used to the different rules. They have adjusted to K’s house (my friend who baby-sits while I have therapy) even though they really didn’t want to do so. (Shanna in particular is really stubborn about not wanting to adapt. It takes me explaining the consequences for not adapting before she is willing to try.)

Then yesterday after Jenny and her wonderful daughter left a different mom and kids came over. And we had a different friend planned for dinner last night.

Jenny was the last person added to the schedule and I was going to shoehorn her in no matter what. But if I had known Jenny’s schedule further in advance I wouldn’t have booked two social engagements the day she left. Holy crap I am tired.

The dinner was easy-peasy. He’s non-stressful.

The mom and kids… whoa. All the anxiety of the weekend multiplied by ten shoved into a 2.5 hour period.

When I get to the point of snapping, “I’m kind of tired of being wrong in my own house so can we just change the topic?” it’s not going well. (She apologized later for jumping all over me, but holy shit it was a stress monkey visit.) I feel like things must be kind of rocky for her, because she had a lot of anxious energy (shoot me now before I go all woo woo on you) and she probably wasn’t so much reacting to me as just in a room with me.

But the weekend with Jenny used up a lot of my ability to sit still even though I felt anxious. And there is the little fact that fucking up my relationship with Jenny would do a lot to ruin my life and fucking up almost any other friendship I have would have lower impact. Yeah, even though I don’t see Jenny very often.

The older I get the more I look at the pillars of self. The things that make someone “Them”.

Brittney was my oldest friend. But Brittney never did a god damn thing to help me. She wasn’t there after trauma. She didn’t want to know about my life. She wanted me to visit her upper middle class valley lifestyle and act like I fit in. I don’t.

Jenny, at this point in time, is the person standing the longest. Twenty years of friendship is an accomplishment for someone as unstable as I am. Especially because Jenny and I have never been the most obvious of friends. We have very different personalities.

But when I can’t function and I need help Jenny has shown up. The emotional support is as important (or more so) than other kinds of support. Jenny held me when my brother killed himself and when my father killed himself. Jenny has been there through boyfriends and friends groups and hobbies.

I am so glad the rest of the visit went well. I felt really happy about seeing her. I probably won’t see her again for two years. I feel like I already want to count the days.

They are going on a Disney Cruise with us in 2016. Because Jenny loves me.

I really don’t understand why. I don’t feel like I deserve her friendship and loyalty. I recognize that I have it, but I don’t understand. I hope I was as nice to her as I was trying to be. It’s always a bummer when I am an asshole on accident.

When I’m an asshole on purpose I don’t feel so bad.

I remain grateful that I get to have the lifestyle I want. I am so grateful that I get to home school my kids. I am so grateful that I can stay home and play and learn with my kids in a non-stressful environment for me most of the time.

The occasional stressy weekend reminds me that my life is so blessed. All of the Jenny stress was worthwhile. I feel anxiety about being nice enough. That is something I have to work on and be aware of. I understand it to be a legitimate issue for me.

It’s not like having to be in a stressful environment for no good reason. It’s not like dealing with school. It’s not like dealing with jobs. It’s not like dealing with extended social groups.

Jenny is one of the few people on the planet whose judgment I actually care about. I mean, yeah, I have issues around wanting people to like me but in general… I don’t actually feel it matters enough for me to change myself for other people.

Jenny is worth any amount of adapting I have to do no matter how hard it is for me. That feels hard. Over longer periods of time I can adjust and change more slowly and that feels easier and more manageable. Just having a weekend feels like “Be good or lose friends” and that is so hard.

I fuck up so much. I feel so ashamed of how bad I am at controlling my behavior. I’m too loud. I’m too aggressive. I say things people really don’t want to hear.

I feel ashamed that I live on the sufferance of people being willing to tolerate someone who is not very nice. I wish I were more worthy.

My stomach hurts so much.

I’m tired of feeling afraid all the time.

Hey, today is a therapy day. Maybe EMDR will help. Ha.

Less to read.

I miss g-blog. I don’t miss facebook. I’m having trouble adjusting to taking fetlife out of the loop but I think I will be a happier person in another couple of weeks.

I’m making it harder to casually maintain contact with me. That’s a mixed blessing. It means “catching up on the internet” doesn’t take very long. I am spending less time just staring at the screen.

But when I want to be distracted a shorter reading list is frustrating.

The last few days have been good and intense. It is always challenging to be around people who have very different physical boundaries. It is totally ok for people to have the boundaries they have–I support people being comfortable. But adjusting to new boundaries is work. I feel very tired. I’m really grateful I have had this opportunity. I had fun. I’m very tired.

Also: I have the cutest little niece and nephew. Life plugs along. It’s kind of crazy how many of my friends have wonderful children now. When in the fuck did that happen?!