Monthly Archives: September 2016

Sure, you can validate me.

Well that was fucking awesome. Eldest Child had her evaluation at Stanford today. They told me everything I wanted to hear, everything I expected to hear, and then lots of nice things thrown in for a cherry on top.

Specifically: yes this child has ADHD. Both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive so she’s not one of those one sided ADD children.

Also: verbally she is incredibly high, right at the gifted level and academically she is all over the map. Her reading is at grade level (HA! That happened JUST RECENTLY) and her writing and math are both at first grade level. I said, “That makes sense because she’s working on the 1st grade workbooks in both of those areas.” They suggested that if she doesn’t catch up by the end of the school year I might want to investigate resources in the school district for helping in those areas. They think she might have a learning disability but they suspect that whatever I’m doing is helping her deal with it to the point where it isn’t particularly diagnosable at this point.

That was what I wanted to hear and what I expected to hear. That was very validating.

Then they threw in a bunch of nice stuff like, “We rarely get to see children as happy as her; it’s a real treat.” “I kinda wish you could teach classes to our other families, you really have a lot of this figured out.” “Most of the recommendations we are going to send you are things you are already doing–good job.”

All of the doctors we spoke to expressed that in their opinion with different parents or if she was in school… she would be struggling emotionally and academically. They said, “She is very lucky that you have been willing to build a whole world around her needs. It’s a wonderful thing to see.”

I honestly didn’t expect to get this much of a pat on the back. They literally had nothing to say that I was doing blatantly wrong.

I’m so forking glad that we did this.

I’m just so small.

I need to find some words for what is going on in my head. I’ll start with saying that fake nails are evil. When they come off, my fingertips are sore for weeks and it makes typing very uncomfortable.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole “trying to love myself” thing I’ve been supposedly working on this year. How am I doing on it? I don’t know. Noah asked me what I got out of the experiment earlier this year with stepping out. That’s complicated.

I learned that my orgasm response isn’t as changed as I thought it was. I just don’t react to my long-term relationship the way I respond to sex with new people. Not even just new people, my submissive isn’t a new partner–but he is someone I am not enmeshed with. There’s a lot of individuality there.

I learned that Noah is a lot more attached to me than I really understood. Maybe I should have understood that to start with, but I didn’t. I genuinely didn’t know I would hurt him to the degree that I did. Now I know.

I have managed to get to the point where I don’t have a constant drumbeat of “worthless whore” in the back of my brain. That’s good. That’s progress. That’s a huge fucking deal after decades of trying to drown out that voice any way I could. I wouldn’t say I have high self esteem, but I have a kind of void in my head where I am waiting to see who and what I will be.

I learned that when I get past the breeding period, my identity as a public pervert is really really really important to me. I’m not ok with just being a private player. I am an exhibitionist and being part of the pervert community matters to me. That is not something Noah has ever cared about in the same way. Noah doesn’t need community affirmation of his identity in the way I do. That’s probably healthier but… I am what I am. Given that we are restarting this whole breeding thing I have more time to kind of step back. I don’t feel the same urge when I’m pregnant or when I’m caring for a tiny baby.

I’ve been thinking constantly about why I need to have more children, why can’t I be satisfied with helping some of the many children who need help in the world? It’s complicated. I still would like to foster someday. But fostering will not be about taking someone else’s child and making them mine. It will be about helping someone else’s child. I love my Bonus Kids. They are fantastic. I’m grateful I get to love on them and teach them and spend time with them. They aren’t mine. They aren’t part of me.

I feel so very damaged by not having a biological family who would love and embrace me. The children of my blood and my body give me a mirror in which to look at myself with love. I haven’t had a lot of that in my life. My children are mini-me-not-me’s. They take my characteristics and Noah’s and they mix them up in complicated ways and they become these separate individual people who are worthy of love. They give me a way to see myself as possibly worthy of love. If pieces of me are deserving of love in these other shapes, maybe I am too.

I know people who have been adopted and I know people who have adopted children. I am not trying to cast aspersions on their lives or choices. I am saying that I am broken. I am saying that I have limits. I am saying that I would be one of those assholes who would adopt and always see their adopted children as different from their “real” children. I don’t want to do that to a kid. That would be so fucking mean. Fostering isn’t the same as adopting. I think I could be a very good foster parent. I think I would be a horribly bad adoptive parent and I don’t want to inflict that on a child who already has to deal with the pain of separation from their birth mother.

I don’t want to be responsible for hurting another being like that and I’m fairly certain I would.

I know people who have adopted and had biological children. They are wonderful parents. I admire them and seek to learn from their kind hearts. My heart is small and broken and pathetic. I am not the wonderful person they are. I am a selfish asshole.

I feel deeply ashamed of being so limited. I feel ashamed of my inability to love and care for people not born of my body in the same way I love my biological children. I feel ashamed of how small and selfish I am. I need to see myself in my children in order to give and give and give the way I have. I feel ashamed of the fact that I am as good of a mother as I am because I am trying to reparent myself. I give to my children because I wish someone had given to me and that feels terrible. I would not be able to do the same thing for another child. That’s a failure in me.

I feel ashamed of this limitation in the same way I am ashamed of how small my life is. I have so much privilege. So much security. So much safety and… I don’t help very many people with it. I don’t do that much with my life.

I am a mother and a wife. I stay home and I hide in this little cave.

My friends are not so pathetic. They are part of the world. They have jobs. They have connections to community organizations and they interact with something bigger than their own life.

I feel ashamed of how small and self-involved my life is.

But I’m really and truly not able to take anything else on at this point and be good at mothering. I feel so ashamed of this fact. I read. I study. I try to prepare for a future in which I will be able to actually help people. I pray that I get to that future and I pray that all this god damn study will be of real value in the world. I don’t feel like I am of value now. I have managed to silence the drumbeat of “worthless whore” but I still fear that I am a waste of resources.

Noah’s surgery went well. After a tense conversation with the anesthesiologist who said “Oh I think we’ll do the same thing that failed last time only we’ll use more of the same drug!” we said… errrr… are there other options? Noah got a spinal and stayed awake through the surgery to eliminate the risks involved in general anesthesia. As a result today he is feeling way better than he did the day after the attempted surgery. Which, to me, means that Noah made the right choice in skipping the general. But I can’t believe he stayed completely still through three hours of someone sewing up his vas deferens. That’s a man who is serious about wanting more kids. Holy shit.

After the surgery I commented that it went fast–only three hours of sewing. He joked, “My crotch is more complicated than a maramé plant holder and less complicated than a cable knit sweater.” The surgeon heard this joke, nodded sagely, and said, “That’s true.” I found this exchange hilarious.

I feel guilty as fuck about this whole process. There are good reasons to not have more children. The only reason to have them is because I want them so bad I physically ache most of the time with longing. I want to meet these people. The people who could be part of me and possibly love me even though I am such a deeply flawed human being. My children love me. I know we haven’t hit the rocky teen years yet… but I know children who hate their parents long before the age of eight. It’s not even rare.

My kids and I get along. It’s not that we never have conflict… but we figure it out. It is shocking to me that parenting is going so well.

I don’t feel deserving. I don’t feel worthy of what I have. But life doesn’t look at deserving as it figures out who gets what. You get what you get.

This morning I went to the grocery store and watched the checkers publicly humiliate a woman who is a chronic shoplifter. As I watched this process I thought to myself, “That could be me.” I am not better than her. I am not more deserving of humane treatment just because I have a credit card. I despise the fact that I live in a world that only affords people humanity if they have money. I feel disgusted for the part I play living in this world. I’m going to call the store manager today and have a chat about the store’s policies. I know they have to deal with shop lifters. They don’t have to publicly degrade them. That fucking sucks. That isn’t necessary.

Why do we treat people so badly just as a matter of course?

Why can’t I adopt children and love them and take care of them and share the unfair quantity of privilege I landed in? Because I fucking suck.

I am tired. I’m sore. My nose fucking hurts still. But I’m gleefully breathing with my mouth closed. Like magic.

I just… I’m just tired.

Waiting on a surgery

Twelve days ago I waited for this surgery with barely a nudge of anxiety. Today I’m anxious as fuck. Noah isn’t going under general anesthesia this time. They are giving him a spinal instead. It means we will have to sit in recovery longer. I’m sorry to the lovely friend who will end up hanging out with our kids longer.

I’ve been feeling really… blocked when it comes to writing/talking lately. I’m not blaming anyone else. I go through periods where I feel like I just can’t write about what I’m feeling. I don’t know how to ensure I’m properly understood. I don’t want to give more cannon fodder to the opposite of what I’m thinking/feeling.

I feel like I don’t know what I feel enough to say what I feel. And I’m kinda frustrated with things going poorly because I can’t express myself right.

Better to deal with the problems that come with saying nothing at all.

A failed metaphor

I tried to explain this in therapy and I failed.

When I was on the road trip we went out on Lake Superior in a boat. It was a guided tour. The tour guide said that if Lake Superior were to flood its banks it could cover all of North and South America in an inch of water. This has stuck with me.

If the water escaped the boundaries of “lakehood” in a way that didn’t cause devastating flooding… it would become… just an inch of water. The power would be gone. What makes it a lake would be gone.

Ignore the possible damage from flooding. That’s not the point.

If Southern California were covered in an inch of water, if all of Peru and Brazil and Missouri were covered in an inch of water…

It honestly wouldn’t be devastating. It would evaporate. It would lose power. It would lose the ability to be vast and deep and effective. An inch of water in the Mojave Desert doesn’t do much. It goes away and has very little ability to impact life.

But Lake fucking Superior is immense. It has incredible ability to impact life. Lives have been centered around the lake for centuries, millennia.

Sometimes I feel like whatever it is that I am… I escaped the boundaries. I have become ineffectual. I have become… basically useless. I want to know what I was.

My shrink went off on this long tangent about how even if the waters escaped the lake it wouldn’t take away from what the lake has been, the value it has had.

So what you are saying is that the importance is a has been. It was important. It isn’t once it stops being the lake.

I feel like a has been. I feel like I could have had importance. I feel like I could have been effective and something of value and force… and now I am not. Now I am spread thin and I’m trying to be so vast I can do absolutely nothing.


Too much is in limbo. My nose is still healing and I’m still restricted because of that surgery. The house remodel is still ongoing and has been for years. The stress is really getting to me. I emailed the med doctor I’m mad at because I want testing done and starting from scratch with a new person will suck; I don’t particularly want to work with her anymore but I also don’t want the hunt for a new person.

I’m freaking out because the first attempt at a vasectomy reversal failed. I’m scared the second try will fail and I won’t want Noah to try a third time because… it’s not meant to be.

Noah remembers him getting a vasectomy as a mutual decision. I remember bitterly saying that if something happens to Noah I am going to try again for another kid and that’s why I didn’t get fixed. Even though it would be risking my life.

I’m feeling overwhelmed with bitterness that my parenthood decisions are often out of my hands and yet Noah is telling people that these are mutual decisions.

I’m freaking out because the kids keep telling people we are going to have a baby as if I’m already pregnant and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get pregnant and…

I’m getting really really upset about all of this. It feels really bad.

I am tired of living in a house that is staged and squashed and having to fit around work. I want to just go back to living and it is months until that will be true. I don’t know if I’m setting this house up to handle more babies or if I’m done having babies.

This is hurting me so much. I would like to spend the day sobbing. Because I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to prepare for. I feel stuck and frustrated and helpless. My body is not under my control. My life isn’t under my control.

I am so frustrated I could scream and scream and not stop screaming for days.

Post-surgery update

I had surgery on Monday and it is now Sunday. I just took my first narcotic pain pill of the day because I had to drive this morning and I didn’t think it was wise to go on the freeway on narcotics.

I took the pill because my head felt like it was in a vise. It alternates hurting at the top of the bridge of my nose and at my temples.

Sleeping on the couch is jacking up my back. I’m at the point where I sorta wonder if half the usefulness of the pain pill is helping me ignore how much my back hurts.

I can breathe more easily through my nose but I’m still dripping goo and need gauze taped to my face for absorbing the yuck. The gauze means that my hot breathe is reflected up onto my glasses and that bit is getting highly annoying.

When I clean my nose out I get barely any blood clots. Teeny tiny ones and I have to flush a lot before I get any blood at all. I’m clearly healing… but not done.

I’d say my headache is at a five. Enough that I notice it and it is bothering me but I could work at this point if I really had to. I have actually been doing a little bit of work every day. The demolition of the bathroom starts tomorrow.

Oh this’ll be fun.

Progress is happening

I need to take a moment to be grateful for the delightful progress happening in my nose. Even with the gauze pads I’m still able to breathe through my nose with a speed and force never-before-felt. This is good. When I irrigate the area I get hardly any blood clots now. This is excellent.

I uhhh kinda lost my patience with the toys getting spread out everywhere because of our lack of a toy room and I rearranged the kid sleeping room. This was probably not a wise thing to do in the week post surgery but since when am I wise? I put Youngest Child’s bed side by side with Eldest Child’s bed so there is no walking space at all and I put ALL THE DOLLS under the top bunk. This means that none of the stuff can be accessed easily and no one will be able to play with the doll stuff much till the remodel is over because there is so much of it shoved under there. I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care. I’m tired of not being able to walk in the garage.

Doing this freed up space in the garage so I could work on moving more stuff out of the bathroom and play room because construction should start in there very soon. AKA… I did need the storage space so moving the toys wasn’t mean it was kinda necessary because otherwise I would have had to put the bathroom stuff… I don’t know where. It’s getting kinda hard to have about 1/3 of my house unusable when normally I use every inch. It’s going on a year of this. I’m getting kinda frustrated.

But the new construction company is moving on lickety split and the roofing company has a meeting today. Yay!

I should call the engineering company. Of course. Sigh.

My throat still hurts. I have a headache like whoa (I haven’t taken a pain pill yet and I still have a huge stash of pain pills) and I’m dizzy and my stomach hurts. My body keeps saying, “Hey wench, know that resting you are supposed to do? WHY DO YOU PERSIST IN MOVING LOTS OF SHIT AROUND YOUR HOUSE?!”

Because I’m going more than a bit nutty. And this does have to get done. Doing it all frantically next week won’t go better.

But… I feel like crap.

My back says “Hey wench. You haven’t been exercising and guess what is bad for you?”

Yeah yeah… not exercising. I know. Ouch.

To switch topics to other heavy body load topics: I think our first fertile period of trying for pregnancy will be in November. Maybe. If we can get a few other things lined up. Otherwise December. That will give us a three month window after the trip and a lot of the Zika concern says wait a month. So I think I can stop feeling nervous about that any minute here. Neither of us showed signs of illness and we are waiting through a reasonable incubation period.

Hopefully… that’s just not a problem we need to fret about.

I got almost eleven hours of sleep last night. I still feel exhausted. Healing is obnoxious.

I’m not taking good care of my garden right now. I’m so tired. But life goes on.

Big feelings

This morning I feel like my skin is paper thin. I’m tired of hashtags. I’m tired of seeing the police murder citizens. I’m tired of unashamed bigotry. This election cycle has been one long series of seeing that many people in my country are foul and mean spirited.

How can you hate an entire group just for not being like you? I don’t understand that.

“Weird” is someone else’s normal. Weird just means you haven’t done it/eaten it/seen it enough times yet. Keep at it. Soon it will be normal.

Does that mean violence is normalized? Too much so.

I feel so tired.

I didn’t rest yesterday after the surgery and I didn’t sleep almost at all the first night. Luckily last night I got more sleep.

I was also able to schedule lunch with a friend (thank you for inviting yourself over!), dinner with my submissive, and I need to respond to an email from a dear old friend.

How can life be so wonderful and so terrible all at the same time?

Today… I need to be more relaxed. I’m probably going to shut my computer. I know that there is a whole world of pain out there. I can only deal with the pain in my nose today. I know I’m shallow. I’m out of bandwidth. My head hurts so much. Oh, I should go take a pain pill. Wheeee. I also need to acquire toilet paper and pancake mix. That’s probably enough to aspire to for today.

I have a Bonus Kid. I may have to take Eldest Child in for a haircut if Noah gets selected for jury duty.

Yeah. That’s enough for today. My heart hurts and I can’t absorb more without ending up hiding behind my bed and crying.

I don’t know how everyone gets up and faces this world every day. It is so fucking sad.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

It just bleedin (hahaha) occurred to me… I shouldn’t smoke for a while. Like… quite a while. It could fuck up my healing from surgery.


But I really want to heal properly from surgery. I’d like to have a nose that works as well as it can given all the other factors of my biology and life and whatever. That means… I should seriously take a month off of smoking to heal. The information I’m seeing online stresses anywhere from 3-6 weeks off.

I want to be able to breathe well so so so so so much. So much that I was willing to let this dude carve my nose like a pumpkin.

Given what I went through with the forking elimination diet…. I should take this massively seriously. Like, whoa shit massively seriously.

Sob. Rend garments.


That said: doing the nasal rinse thing tonight was epically gross. Blood clots and mucus and whoa. So gross I sorta wish I had taken a video of it because I’m that awesome. The funny part is that afterwards my throat hurts much more and I’m spitting out big wads of blood. Having a body is awesome.

But! I have a septum that is basically straight (I hope) and smaller turbinates and less other-sorts-of-mass in my nose! And I didn’t have a problem with anesthesia!

Stop bitching, Krissy.

But but… I like pot.



(There is some mixed data on switching to edibles for the time period but given that our country has RIDICULOUSLY CLASSIFIED MARIJUANA SUCH THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO STUDY there isn’t solid reason to think it is safe and a good idea. Which makes me sad.)

This here feels like a solid case of #firstworldproblems.

When I get rich

I was talking to a friend online. She expressed horror that someone could buy food and throw it away without eating it. She is currently at a point in life where… one does not throw away perfectly good food you just spent money on.

I get it. I’ve been there. In some weird ways… I’m kinda still there. If I order a salad and they put fish on it instead of the chicken I’m willing to eat… I eat every bit other than the fish and feel extreme guilt about not eating the fish. It’s not cool to throw away perfectly good protein! But I wasn’t in a space where I could put it in a box and wander around until I found someone who would be willing to eat it. So I threw it away.

I get the existential horror of throwing away food and I get being rich enough that I don’t have to eat all the food I buy.

This is a complicated matter. It plays into health, weight, the right to enjoy eating, as well as financial issues.

She started “When I am rich I will never forget being poor”. It’s true. You don’t forget. Well, I don’t forget. I’m sure there are people who do.

But it is complicated. I tell my children that it is better to throw food away than eat when you do not feel hungry. That’s a militant position I hold. Because my children are unlikely to ever genuinely go hungry. That is a position of staunch privilege.

For me, such issues go along with thoughts about racial issues as well. I tell my children that if they are in trouble, a police officer will probably be fairly reasonable with them. I also tell them that unless they genuinely want a person of color to die, never call the police over an issue with a person of color. It is simply not safe. I tell my children flat out that police officers do bad things and they have legal cover for doing so. Do not invite them into doing more bad things or you share the blame.

To me recognizing where you sit, the world you live in, the choices you have to make… are all tied up. They are tied up in race, privilege, access to help… these things are so big. I’m sure I make mistakes but I’m doing what I can to be a better person.

Not a good person. That’s not a race you ever win. Sometimes I have conversations with people and they tell me defensively, “But I’m a good person.” Bah. Your faves are problematic. I’m problematic. You are problematic too and you don’t want to look at how.

I love you anyway, just so it has been said. It’s ok with me that you fuck up. I’ll probably call you on it if I’m in the room when you do something fucked up… but that won’t change the fact that I love you and think you are important.

I’m trying to learn how to love me. I’m trying to learn how to think I’m important. But I cannot be and never will be more important than anyone else. I will have access to more privilege than most people… that’s not the same thing. Going forward I am going to have an easier life than the vast majority of people who have ever been born.

That doesn’t change that I can be a real piece of shit.

Is someone bad for throwing away food in an area of Oakland nearly blanketed by homeless people? No. But I wouldn’t do it. I would take time out of my schedule and hunt up someone who needs the food more than me. Not because I’m better. Because that is something that is important to me because of my existential issues.

This isn’t a contest. There are people who do far more good in the world than me. I shouldn’t stop doing good things because other people are better. I shouldn’t stop doing good things because other people have more access to privilege and the ability to help than I have. I have to be who I am and where I am.

I’m rich by the measures I would have used as a child. There are still people in this world who would scoff at my “richness” and point out all the things I can’t do at my income bracket. That’s a choice. I choose to stay childlike in this regard. I’m rich. I don’t have “when I get rich” hanging over my head. Sure, I have lottery fantasies… but most of my lottery fantasies revolve around things like college scholarship funds and halfway houses.

I…. don’t actually need more than I have. I have everything I need and more. I have extra. Sure, this year as I hemorrhage money on a house remodel and a trip to the Caribbean and I have surgery and Noah has surgery and…. I could cheerfully find more ways to spend money. I… don’t care. I don’t need more. I’ve paid for this year. Ok, I’ll be paying it off for another few years if you include the house remodel. That is turning out to be kinda brutal. But I’ll pay it off at this income bracket and be jim dandy fine. I’ll wince. I’ll angst. I’ll have feelings… but I’ll be ok. Noah will be ok. My kids college funds will still grow. Shit dude, we are looking at having to come up with new college funds.

And I don’t god damn need more money for it. I’m fucking rich.

So what will I do when I’m rich? I’ll hand off money. Lots of it. Will it make my budgeting more fussy? Yes. But I’m going to do more as the years go by, not less. I’ll find a way to trim my expenses and I don’t need a fancy new car and I will save for years and years before I travel… like I always do.

Because I could be a selfish piece of shit or I can try to make the world a teeny tiny bit better. I’m not rescuing anyone. I’m not solving their problems. I’m saying, “Hey. I see you. I know this is inadequate but it is what I can give right now. Keep trying. You matter.”

It sucks. It isn’t good enough.

I know.

I can do what I can to hand off tools in life. Tools that help people find the resources they need that can actually solve their problems. I can’t solve anyone’s problems but mine.

Goodness that sucks. But it is true.

I can’t save Black people from violent police. I can’t be that savior. But I can tell my children not to call the police on people of color. I can choose to not report Black men who do stupid illegal shit in front of me because they aren’t actually hurting me and I don’t need to wreck their lives. I can teach my children that Black Lives Matter and we need to write our congress critters about police reform. I can talk about how we live in a horribly unjust society. I can talk about how much I believe in reparations. The current citizens of this country owe a debt to the people we murdered, enslaved, and removed from their ancestral lands. We can’t pay it back to the folks who are gone. We can just pay their children.

And we need to fucking do it if we want to think of ourselves as a great nation. The longer we build our “greatness” on exploitation, slavery, and murder… we are nasty, disgusting vile creatures. If you think slavery is over: google “Prison inmates on strike” and tell me again that slavery is over.

This is all connected. Having options. Having the ability to “choose” what you “want” to do is… not really a luxury everyone is afforded and it god damn should be.

You shouldn’t have to “when I get rich” fantasize about helping people. It should be something that folks can do. But many really can’t do much because of the circumstances of their lives. They don’t have the time to walk all over and look for someone to take extra food because they are working multiple jobs. They don’t have the money to give it away. They don’t have they don’t have they don’t have…

I am not shaming anyone. I’m really not. I didn’t hand out money like this in the past. I wasn’t so fierce about giving away food. I wasn’t so ready to help when I was poor. I don’t think I am a better person now. I think I am in a different situation with access to different abilities. That doesn’t change how I should be judged.

Maybe the fact that I work harder on my language now is a mark in my favor, but probably not. Maybe that’s a self indulgent thing I do to try and be accepted and loved. Am I really more careful about my language because I’m better or because I am… more hurt by people hating me for existing. I’ve lost my ability to shrug it off.

I know that rich white people are shit. I’m one of them and I know lots more of them and…. yeah. It’s complicated. Are they all shit? Define shit.

Are they all problematic as fuck? Yes. Unequivocally.

Do I hate them? No. I love many of them, tolerate others, and can’t be bothered to think about others.

I have to be willing to think about someone a lot in order to hate them. A lot of the uberprivileged people I know get thought about way the fuck too much and they expect to be centered in the thoughts of people around them because their lives have always worked that way and…. yeah. I’m not going to do that for you. I’m not going to care enough about you to think about you much.

I’m rich enough that I don’t have to.

That’s the piece of being rich that is most important, in my opinion. You no longer have to care that much about the opinions of most people. Unless you are working hard to get richer and you need to suck up to those people. I’m really not about that life. I… understand that other people need to be. I’m sorry.

If I needed to work I’d have different opinions. I’m very sure. I know that my incalcitrant behavior is a function of privilege. God awful, horrible privilege.

I’m sorry for that too. I think such pissiness should be available to everyone. I’m not rich enough to make that possible though. Life fucking sucks.

I’m trying to help where I can. I know it isn’t enough. I know it is fucking pathetic compared to what needs to be done. It is all I can do. I’m sorry.

Oh it has been a few days

Noah’s surgery on Friday didn’t happen. He had a negative reaction to the first drug they gave him as an anesthetic. He started coughing violently when he should have been falling asleep and aspirated stomach fluids.The anesthesiologist shoved a tube down his throat and suctioned him because pneumonia sucks.

They did not proceed with the surgery. Because he persisted in coughing blood up all day by the evening the anesthesiologist called to check in and just about begged us to go get a chest x-ray because his reaction was extreme and unusual. We did. We left the house around 8pm and got home around 3ish. That was after waking up at 4 in the morning to get ready to leave at 5am for the surgery.

That was a long day. The kids slept through most of the ER wait time. They are little troopers.

Noah is fine. The blood was probably from throat irritation from the quick intubation.

The crazy part is Noah is going to try again. Because yeah, he wants to have more kids. This journey we are on blows my mind.

I slept late today, Saturday and napped through a lot of the day. I have surgery on Monday to fix my nose. Oh yay. And on Tuesday I have an appointment for genetic testing so that my med doctor can get a better idea of why I metabolize drugs so weird.

Oh it’s an exciting week. I’ve made painting progress! The bathroom remodel is going!

Just keep moving. I’ll drop some balls, sure, but I’ll keep enough in the air.

Also: Eldest Child has reached the age of academics and is… cooperating. Just cheerfully adapting to math and reading and writing and specific science study being part of the routine. It’s just another chore. Sure, no trouble.

Youngest Child keeps asserting “I’m not old enough for academics yet. don’t have to yet.”

Yes, yes I know. I didn’t make your sibling at six. At seven I start suggesting occasional academic work. At eight I start insisting. You are on track kiddo, don’t fret.

Eldest Child has gone through and demonstrated proficiency on almost all the first grade skills I was certain I needed to see mastery of in the last month or so. There is a little bit left to cover, but not much. She’ll be done in September. I think the second grade skills I’m worried about will take us 2-3 months. If she keeps up this trend she’ll be working on fourth grade skills by the end of third grade. Having entirely skipped academics for years when her peers were being forced.

God damn I’m feeling validated.

Are my children perfect? First: define “perfect” but…. probably not. They are little shitheads. Like they should be. But I like them. I like them so very much. They are learning things in the ways I hoped they would be able to learn. I started planning for this for years before I had read research to back up my perspective. I totally went and looked for confirmation about my methods. I have found it in research and in my personal experiences. Sure I’ve read research saying it is impossible too.

I just… pay less attention to that research. Like most people.

There are a lot of people who were happy to tell me that “coddling” my oldest child by providing as much cuddling and nursing as she wanted will prevent her from ever being independent. I’ll stop laughing in a few years.

Does she want to go to school yet? No. But she knows that she will want to in a few years. She already can see the ways she will want to pull away and be independent. We talk about it. I feel so lucky that my kids get to pull away as they feel the desire instead of having to adapt to the expectations of others.

I need to order a few more books. Apparently there is a new trend in gifted education focusing on children as asynchronous learners. Hey, gimme that confirmation. I was way ahead in some areas and dramatically behind in others; the same is true of my children. Strangely I would say that Youngest Child is less asynchronous. Kiddo is not as startlingly advanced but also has fewer areas of noticeable trouble.

Eldest Child… she’s all over the map developmentally. They say of early potty learners that the children aren’t trained the parents are. I would say that Eldest Child hasn’t yet been trained in how to accommodate all of her asynchronous learning needs… but I’ve been trained. She and I talk about how my expectations of her are sometimes very advanced and strict… because she is capable in that area. When I talk to her about my expectations on different stuff she rarely indicates she thinks I’m pushing hard. When she does I’m happy to chill out.

Things like not expecting her to sit still very often. That’s been a serious thing. It’s why she didn’t move into a seat belt booster seat till eight. She wasn’t able to sit still earlier than this in a way that made me feel comfortable in a car. Which isn’t to say that I feel all children must be in a five point harness till eight.

But my kid’s developmental maturity is asynchronous. There are areas where she is impulsive in ways that can be a serious problem and I come down like a box of hammers because I had the same impulsive tendencies and I can point at the specific problems I’ve had for the rest of my life because of that impulsiveness.

Sometimes I seriously wonder if I’m hurting her because I’m not letting her fuck up in all the ways I fucked up so she won’t be learning the lessons I learned.

We all fuck up our children.

I’m not a perfect mother. Not by any measure. But I am getting to parent in the most ideal circumstances I can imagine. That’s just fucking luck. Yeah I prepared for it… but I’ve known other people who prepared and didn’t end up where they wanted to go.

Noah’s willingness to adapt to me and to provide the life I want to have is not something one can plan around. Holy shit I’m lucky.

Noah continues to be the only person I really ought to look to for determining my wacky ass course in life. He will be the only one walking the path with me.

Thank you, honey.

A sandcastle for Noah


I woke up early, as usual. The first thing I did was extend my hand towards the bedside table where I keep my glasses—this getting old stuff is rough. I can no longer even see the text on the white board without them. But I keep hearing that getting old is better than the alternative.

Once I finished squinting my eyes up sufficiently to see the wall at the foot of the bed I tried to narrow in on which little square represents today. It’s a good thing we erase the current day at the end of every day or this would be a challenging task to find the right square first thing in the morning. Ahh, Thursday. A work at home day. How perfectly lovely.

These work at home days sure don’t mean what they used to. I sit in bed for a few minutes thinking about what work needs to be accomplished. Today I’m going to be trying to find patterns in the data I’ve accumulated during our last trip. When I’m out in the field hearing story after story after story they feel like waves upon the sand. I can’t figure out what makes one wave similar or different from another… I just try to stand up to them and not get washed out to sea.

Luckily I get to come home to Wonderland and rest in between trips.

As I start to sit up I look over and see if Noah is awake yet, not yet. He always sleeps harder than normal for a few days when we get home. That’s good. He worries about me during travel and that makes it harder for his body to deal with the strain. He’s not getting any younger either.

Because I’m the first one up this morning I stumble into the kitchen and put the kettle on before going to the bathroom. In what has become my tradition I stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving when using the toilet is easy. Thank you Noah for all the lovely cooking. I haven’t had a nasty IBS flare in years, but I don’t forget. Thank you for loving me enough to take care of me.

When I get back to the kitchen (after carefully washing my hands, of course) I reach into the fridge and pull out a bagel and cream cheese. I cut the bagel in half and put everything in place to toast the bagel once Noah starts to stir. I get the tea pot ready. I set everything for tea out on the table. Just one cup with first breakfast.

I putter around tidying things as I wait for Noah. It won’t be long. He still never sleeps well when I’m not in bed.

A few minutes into puttering I hear the toilet flush and Noah appears. As usual the first thing he does when he sees me is smile. I’m so grateful for this man.

We kiss good morning and I pop the bagel into the toaster. When it is done and cream cheesed the tea is also ready and we both sit down to our half a bagel. I just can’t function in the morning without calories and he has adapted to me after so long.

First breakfast rarely involves much talking. We aren’t awake yet, not really. We sip our cups of tea and reach out to hold hands while we munch on our bagel. Sleepy smiles are most of what we have to offer one another.

After breakfast today it is Noah who nudges his head towards the living room and says, “Shall we get to it?”

“Yes, darling. We really should.” Long experience together has taught them that they will have a better day if they start off with meditating and stretching. They can no longer cruise on the resiliency of youth and they must do actual physical maintenance every day. How boring. Noah sets the timer for thirty minutes of meditating and assumes his posture. I grimace just a bit and settle after him.

No matter how long we do this, I always feel that little pull of resistance. I don’t wanna do what I’m supposed to do. But with a Noah here to suffer when I don’t take care of myself… I’m much better at doing what I’m supposed to do now.

We meditate and then when the timer goes off move into stretching. We try for an hour but one or the other of us usually gets bored about 45 minutes in and for some reason… the other stops within two or three minutes. It’s just not as fun alone.

By this point it is coming on eight o’clock. Time to get dressed for a run and go out. It’s a Thursday: a five mile day. Noah grouses just a bit, as usual, because he really prefers three mile days. I grin as he says for the eleven millionth time, ”You are built for distance… I prefer speed.” Some things are as predictable as the sun rising.

No matter who is in second place as they finish up the last half mile there are always comments about how worthwhile the run is because, “Look at the ass I get to look at.”

Runs around the neighborhood always feel like a special treat after they’ve been gone for a while. Getting back to a feeling of normal allows them to adapt with ease to any uncomfortable traveling situation. The discomfort is only for a little while. Soon they will go home.

The post-running shower involves some groping and promises for what will come later. When you are old it takes a little longer to get the motor running for sex, so we try to maintain flirtation throughout the day. That way we don’t forget.

After getting dressed Noah walks in to the kitchen to make second breakfast, the one with all the protein and vegetables. Someone has to be responsible around here.

I walk into the garage while he does this to start setting up my work station for the day. I’m particular and fussy so I always need to spend some time at this. I adjust my standing desk (the erectness of my posture on any given day impacts how high I want it) and play with the monitors and plug everything in. You’d think I’d have this down pat at this point… but I think the adjustments are part of feeling like I’m home. I pull up all the programs I’m going to need today.

I don’t start reading notes yet. It isn’t time. Instead when I’m done adjusting stuff I go into the kitchen and make our second pot of tea. This time we’ll each have three or so cups out of the pot. Ahhh, tea makes life better.

While he’s cooking Noah tells me stories that he has heard from the kids lately. They each tend to tell one parent about an event knowing that it will be passed along. They treat us like one person and sometimes it is funny. A kid will tell one of us the first part of a story and the other of us the second part of a story and it isn’t until we remember to tell one another that we figure out the whole story. It’s like a puzzle. I think they do it on purpose because they know we like to talk about them.

I’m just glad that they still call so often. None of them kept their promise of wanting to live with us forever, but they do come visit often. To be honest… I appreciate not having to carefully lock the bedroom door every time we have sex.

After breakfast we both walk out to our computer desks. We don’t talk a lot for a few hours. Noah continues to work on his railroad (his inner metaphor for building coherency in computer programming) and I work on trying to find commonalities in experience between incest participants.

I’m long past being able to think of folks as victims. Even in the cases where they clearly are and are severely traumatized by the experiences. We are all participants—willing or otherwise.

Maybe I work on bridge building; if you want to extend the engineering metaphors.

After a couple of hours of work Noah nudges me (I tend to get tunnel vision) and says, “Let’s go outside for a while.”

I continue to find it funny that he went from being someone who couldn’t follow a schedule to being the schedule keeper. But he likes pushing me through my day. I’m glad he finds it satisfying. We both put hats on. I walk into the yard first and look around for which area needs attention first. I’m long past having to water (thank goodness) but some area always needs weeding or tending.

Noah waits to see where I end up before dragging a chair over to sit near me. He waits while I gather whatever tools I want for right now and when I seem to be settled into work he asks, “Are you ready?” I smile in assent and he opens the book we are reading and launches into it.

Almost forty years of him reading to me and I still can’t take it for granted. I love hearing how he voices characters. I love that I get to interrupt him and ask questions—he is still my walking encyclopedia. “Why did they do that?” “Ahh! That’s an interesting question. They are reacting to this because…” I get the impression that some of his morning work is reading up on the history of whatever story we are currently reading. No one can just know everything as easily as he does. He must be cheating.

But I don’t mind.

Some days I only work for half an hour. Some days we stay out until he is unwilling to wait longer for lunch. It all depends on how much I feel I need to work out from my morning. Some days I cry through this whole period because my work is so sad. Sometimes I focus on the story and can be present. Noah is there no matter where I am emotionally.

When we come inside I usually head for the pornography. It’s a weird switch after reading about sexual trauma for hours in the morning but if I’m going to be emotionally present and able to have sex with Noah… I need the dichotomy. I have a few pornographers in particular I favor because I know that the participants are joyously having the sex I see on screen. I’m very happy to support people getting to make a living however they want to make a living. And it means that by the time Noah has lunch ready I’m usually ready to grope him and talk about what I want him to do with me after lunch.

Long years of marriage have taught us that waiting until the end of the day for sex means… we probably won’t have sex. When we are home we try hard to hit the early afternoon widow when we are both awake and lively enough to enjoy it.

One of the best parts of being married so long is that I no longer feel embarrassed about being where I am on a given day. Some days I want elaborate foreplay and roleplay. Some days I just want to be fucked without preliminaries (although lube—lube is just important). Some days I want to be tied up and spanked first because I need the catharsis. I continue to feel grateful that I have a partner who is so joyously versatile.

When we finish having sex we tend to grab our laptops and move to the couch so we can sit side by side. This is the time of day when we get to do our personal correspondence and catch up on social media. If we get started earlier in the day… we won’t make real work happen at all.

Of course Noah regularly interrupts my reading to say, “Oh look at this one.” His love of comics continues unabated. I don’t mind. At this point he knows which ones will make me grimace and he doesn’t share those.

After a while of sitting on the couch the phone rings. It is our fourth child calling to ask, “I know I should just check the calendar but I’d rather ask you: is it my turn to cook this week?” Our kids may have moved out but we are very lucky they chose to stay close by. Every Sunday everyone comes over. We take turns making dinner, that way everyone gets a chance of making sure they get what they really want at least some of the time. Of course our first child makes a point of inundating me with mushrooms. That’s ok. I get even by putting olives in everything. Fourth child is the family outlier. That kid likes onions. How oh how did you spring from my loins?

I don’t know. But the little turkey has made me get used to French Onion Soup. Ugh. Fine. Be that way.

“You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” My children mock me with this phrase often. I even eat fish now, sometimes. It took a long time for them to get me to adapt my palate… but I try to be a good sport.

They are worth it. I chat with fourth child for a while about work and friends until I hear another call coming in. “Oh! It’s Aunt Pam. Can I talk to you later?”

“Oh! Tell her to call me when you get off the phone. I want to talk to her about an event I’m working on.” This makes a lot of sense to me. Fourth child is the one who was inspired by Aunt Pam to go work on climate change policy. I promise to pass the message along.

When I get off the phone Noah is already in the kitchen working on dinner. I get up and ask if I can help. Sometimes he lets me, today he says, “Nah. Just keep me company.” So I stand behind him and lean my head on his back while he works. He asks questions about Pam and the kiddo and I relay what I learned.

After a while I move away to set the table and get water for us both.

After we eat Noah goes back to do a bit more work at his computer while I clean up the kitchen. When I finish tidying I go back to my work station and work for a while longer.

When we both feel done with work (sometimes earlier, sometimes later) we wander through the kitchen and have a few bits of chocolate. It’s nice to feel rewarded at the end of the day.

Then we brush our teeth and head to bed. We don’t fall asleep as soon as we should because we stay up talking. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever run out of things I want to say to Noah.

I hope not.

P.S. Hopefully I will write about other kinds of days too, because he is curious what I expect from the future. But these are the days I’m looking forward to the most.

What does it mean?

I had a very positive session with my therapist yesterday. She commented that she thinks that my behavior and attitude are night and day different since the journey. I’m more willing to look at positives and less phased by negatives. She says she rarely sees people have such extreme impact from one journey.

I worry about clinical statements like that. Why are some medications so intensely full of impact and why do some make me want to die? Most of the ones prescribed by a medical doctor make me want to die. It feels like the medications are all designed to decrease my feelings of possibilities. Conform. Be smaller. Don’t want so much. Shut up.

The medications I can get through more alternative settings all seem to be designed to cause me to think about new possibilities.fucking live for new possibilities.

I have incredibly different entire body responses to the narrowing or the widening of possibilities.

I need to believe I can change and that I can change people. Or I can’t see a point in living. Even though stasis at this point would be stasis at by far the happiest point in my life so far. I don’t anticipate later periods in my life being happier than this time. I really don’t. But I’ll figure out how to change more people.

That’s something to live for.

I don’t see a lot of room for “worthless” in the future I’d like to have. I’m not saying I’ll ever stop being an asshole. I’m not saying I’ll stop hurting people as I learn. But I’m not going to run out of “stuff to give”. I’ll take breaks and be selfish sometimes. That’s part of the balance.

As always when I’m on the East Coast I talk to a Disney employee (or a few) about how much better Disneyland is. They can rattle of the reasons. They know they are not the real magic. “I travel out there at least once a year to remind myself of what the real magic is.”

It is about how immersive the experience is. It’s about how much there is to see and think about while you do things.

My house is getting towards being an immersive experience. I’m not done yet. I don’t have the spoons to finish the whole house this calendar year. Sooooo tired. I actually did a few hours of painting yesterday. Woo. I have a bunch of shelves back and today I can put the cabinet doors on to block off the chemicals. Woo. Now we can allow people (with small children) back in our house.

I really hope I finish the kitchen before I need to finish the mosaic. I’m trying to push myself. I’m so glad I did all that lay out work already. So glad. Soooooooo glad. I’ll have to fill in gaps and I’ll do it while talking to the tile installers. It will go faster and be more fun. After they are done with the bathroom I need to hurry up and paint in there and in the playroom. Because I want to not have a ton of paint to store. Right now… my paint collection is a little out of control and getting old. Time to use it up and start fresh in a few years. And I’d really like to be done by Thanksgiving. I STARTED THIS DAMN PROJECT IN JANUARY.

Because of the color palette I work with I don’t work with low VOC paint. I need to air out the house before I get pregnant. As another consideration.

Oh good grief.

So what does it mean to want to change the world? I’m not going to invite millions of people to my home, but there will be a lot of people. And most of them tell me that seeing what I do inspires them.

Why do I do the things I do? Because I see the possibility of them in my mind and it makes me crazy to not change what is to look more like what it could be.

That’s why I plant plants. It is why I paint. It is why I homeschool my kids. It is why I want to be who I want to be sexually. Because I can. Because it is something I need to be.

I’m sorta frustrated with my massage therapist telling me that instead of having more children we should fly to a foreign country and “pick out a baby”. Adoption is complicated and transracial adoption even more-so. I understand that multiple people in your family did exactly that so you know it is possible.

I’m not judging other people doing it. I’m saying I wish you wouldn’t tell me to do it. I think it is complicated. It is a set of complications I think I would fail at living up to. I deal really well with the set of issues that comes up dealing with my dna’s set of trouble. I’ve researched the shit out of that. But I am afraid that I would not put as much energy into tracking down everything I really would owe a child. I’m going to skate with my younger kids. It is going to be a very different parenting experience. I don’t know exactly what it will be like, but I know it won’t be hard the way the first set was.

It isn’t because of the help Eldest Child thinks she is going to offer. Ha. It will be because of the presence of the older kids and Noah working from home. It’s just different.

I should start chores. I have my monthly visit with Taylor today. That should be fun. It usually is.

I don’t need to change the big wide world. I don’t need to be a big fish. I’m happy in small ponds.

The cruise trip

I woke up early enough that I have a prayer of getting this down before the kids wake up. I’ll hurry.

The cruise was fun. The most obnoxious part was my fault and that was related to just how many appointments we needed to have before the vow renewal. That got really old because we kept finding out “You have an appointment in 45 minutes. Stand around and wait.” And in order to get my hair done I had to go in for a pre appointment. And after the pre appointment she wanted me to go find internet (we didn’t have a phone or a computer between us) and get pictures because she wasn’t comfortable winging it from my description. That was the big fuss between us and Disney.

If that is the fuss… it was an easy trip. We adults didn’t get enough sleep because we were up until 11 or 12 every night and we were up before 7 most days.

I should describe the ceremony day. It was placed on my friend’s birthday which kinda sucked. I’m sorry about that. I got my hair done before my friends, which was sorta sad because I didn’t get to hang out and chat with anyone before the ceremony. Noah and I helped each other get dressed (we will do so lots in the future… might as well start then). He went upstairs and I… stood around my room alone for a long time. Eventually the coordinator came and got me and put me in the elevator that was being held all fancy-like for me. (The only elevator on the boat that goes to the top deck.)

It’s a small room called the Overlook. There is a fabulous view. I said I was cool with the piano player just doing Disney songs. I’m not going to fuss about that part. Bonus Daughter got to be the flower girl, my girls loved their entrance moments (hilarity), and I felt like an idiot trying to be formal. It was funny. The opening of the ceremony was the Disney standard non-denominational ceremony for vow renewals. They’ve got that down pat.

We interrupted to do our own vows. (Afterwards the piano player said they were the most real vows he had ever heard. It was kinda funny.) Our vows were… very us. We are careful to promise what we can deliver on. After that it was funny for us to take the rings off our fingers and hand them across to do the Disney-branded-ring-exchange. It was cute. The pictures are fun. I’m particularly charmed by some of the pictures of me with the kids. Because I would be. I like lots of the pictures with me and Noah. It was really fun to gussy up and take pictures.

Our buddy took our kids overnight. Which was rough on his only child who isn’t use to disruptive twerps making noise (aka my kids). Gah. We are so obnoxiously loud. Thank you for suffering for us.

It was nice to have a night in the room alone.

We ate at the sit down restaurant once and otherwise we lived at the buffet for breakfast and lunch. After the first few days were a sugarpalooza I exercised my fascist control tendencies and the children had to eat vegetables and fruit before protein before deciding if they had room left for sugar. Because I like to believe I have some influence on these things, I want to point out that my kids never had a serious temper tantrum. They got enough sleep, rest, and exercise that when I was all, “You know we have to take care of our bodies–vacation or not.” They nodded and agreed I was right.

We didn’t manage to overlap with our friends much. We had breakfast one morning with the dad/kid duo and otherwise we saw folks at dinner. That was a bit hard for me. We just couldn’t get on a schedule to spend time together. The one time Noah walked off to have fun with the other dad I tried to join them after a bit and couldn’t find them. So I just… didn’t have adult hangout time on the boat outside of dinner.

But I liked the boat. I tended to avoid the big crowds so I wasn’t in the pool much during the day. We enjoyed the water slide that goes over the side of the boat. I went on that with youngest child a bunch. I read a huge fat book. I rested. I guess I got what I was there to get. I didn’t sleep enough, but I definitely rested my body from my normal frenetic working pace. That was great.

We tried out the Disney version of a fancy pants tea party. I never ever need to pay for it again. I make as good of tea food. It was mostly a small show with two folks doing songs from Beauty and the Beast with a doll and charm bracelet/necklace an visits from Princesses. We are really spoiled with all our local tea houses in the bay area. The food on the boat just wasn’t impressive and given how we feel about tea as a part of our social rituals… we want good tea food. Not to mention that one of my kids snapped the head off the doll just a day or two later. So this effectively massively expensive doll… yeah. It wasn’t spectacular.

Mostly the kids sat there with cupcakes with a giant pile of frosting. There was 2 or 3 times as much frosting as cupcake. This was the big deal. Yeah…. we’ll pass. We do better tea parties at home.

I’m going to preen a bit about that. Although I don’t perform as Mrs Potts.

And I’m going to look forward to giving a tea party after this damn remodel is over. I’ve been to tea parties from coast to coast and in other countries. I know what makes a good tea party and mostly… I can do it well.

Sometimes I feel quite agog over the skills I have picked up this lifetime. I never thought I’d be this damn prissy. I can coax a whole room full of wild children through tea party manners so they practice their fine motor skills and etiquette. This is my idea of a good time.

What happened to me?

I don’t know, but I’m having fun.

My kids spent some time in day care… but not a lot. They wanted to hang out with us. Even when they went they usually didn’t stay long. (Youngest child skipped one dinner and that was fine with me. They eat in a more casual environment at kid care and I understand needing a break from manners.)

I strongly suspect that is part of how I get such good manners from my children. I understand that it is a performance and that they need breaks. I coax it, watch the performance and then give notes; then I pat them on the head and encourage them to let loose during off times. I’m stage managing them.

It isn’t the relationship everyone wants to have with their kids, but it kinda is what I’m doing with my kids. Recently a friend and I were discussing manipulation. They were expressing that they aren’t a fan of it. I said I manipulate people. That’s why I’m such a good teacher. They said I don’t manipulatemanage or guide them. (Emphasis mine.)

I giggled. Yes, I’m such an intensely good manipulator that people will find other ways of describing and defining it so that they can justify it. Yup. And yes, I am manipulating people basically all the time. I want to cause people to have positive feelings around me and I am an intense, difficult person. I carefully select from an internal menu of possible personality configurations and decide which elements are most likely to cause this person to have positive feelings. I have quite a range.

That’s manipulation. I’m not mean spirited about it. I don’t think I’m being “phony”. I’m being selective about how I manifest in front of people because there are real consequences to not being careful. I’ve paid the price of not filtering. I’m going to god damn filter for the rest of my life and I don’t feel ashamed. Yes, I manipulate people.

I mean you can try to put a fancier word on it to justify it so it doesn’t sound bad because people don’t like the word manipulate… but I try to be honest here. This is where I drop my filters and just tell the truth.

Yes. I manipulate people.

I have the potential to traumatize people every day. I have an overtly forceful personality and a host of topics that are normal and casual for me that could hurt people all day long. I’m very careful how I talk to people. I don’t see it as bad. I see it as trying to learn how to meet people at the level they can meet me at. I get through life by having fairly defined sub groupings of personality traits that I understand that others can handle. How do I decide that people can handle them? I test them in the field, of course.

There are days I can’t muster up the bandwidth to do a good job in choosing. If I have to be social on those days I tend to stand in the corner and not talk much. Like a clock that hasn’t been wound. It isn’t fixed to go in the proper groove so it just… stands there doing nothing. Of course on those days I take breaks from the corner to go find somewhere private and cry for a while. Then I find a corner again.

It is as predictable as weather.

On the trip Noah was reading me The Diamond Age out loud. The kids listened to some of it. Eldest child asked me, after hearing a section on tricky people, why a certain uncle doesn’t come around anymore. I was more honest than I have been in the past. I said, “He believes a few things and wants the right to do things that I don’t think he should do. So I asked him to stop coming around.” “Like what?”

Deep sigh. “Well he believes that all children must be submissive to adults. Remember what submissive means? No? It means you must do as you are told. You must be obedient.”

My kiddo flat out said, “Fuck that!”

I couldn’t have said it better, sweetie.

I continued, “He believed it, and he believed that when you turn 18 it is ok for him to ask you for sex.”

She sputtered. “But but… he’s our uncle, and he’s olllllllllllllld.”

In that moment I felt vindicated. Yes. I can do this. I can teach this. I can win.

My children will not grow up thinking that incest is normal or acceptable.

Even though my family teaches that. I can teach something different. My children understand that they own their bodies. They can kiss who they want when they want. It is up to them to decide. When they grow up and are ready for sex… I’m very confident they are going to be able to figure that out. These kids will point out if you guilt trip them and say stop it. They will probably not grow up to tolerate pestering.

They may end up a statistic because a man feels enraged by not getting their attention.

That’s a real worry in this world. Toxic masculinity is a real problem. I’m not saying every man is like this. I’m saying there are some men who are poisoned by their own beliefs about what being a man is.

Yes yes there are problematic women too. Can I go back to blathering about my vacation now?

After the cruise we stayed in an Airbnb in Orlando with the worst mattresses ever. Oh god my back hurt. And we spent a horrifying amount of money. The rental van was hit and got a big ding in the bumper. That was $500 extra. Oh yay. Universal Studios and Legoland together… I’m not going to admit how much that was. And mostly… it wasn’t worth the money. I didn’t like Legoland Florida for the same reasons I don’t like the World. It’s too damn big and spread out and hot and not shaded and… It’s a concrete oven.

Orlando, I think we need to break up. Ok, Potter stuff (we only saw Diagon Alley–I wasn’t up for paying for an extra park to see Hogsmeade although in retrospect given that we paid for express and could have done that instead… ahh hindsight.) was fantastic. Mostly I’m not into Universal’s theming or visual appeal. It’s ugly. Diagon Alley wasn’t labeled. You had to just… walk into a random building. It was beautiful. They air conditioned the shit out of this little place so you felt like you walked into England. (This is terrible for global warming. They air condition the outdoors in Florida enough to feel like England.) The buildings were beautiful. I hear they hired imagineers to get the look right. It is perfectly dilapidated yet functional and sturdy. Even the colors are just right. The shops are staffed with appropriately wacky people with funny voices and odd gaits. I don’t know if they are acting or if they just hired people with a variety of disabilities that result in different gaits. If so, I think that is awesome.

I sound like a mean bastard. People were real. In the variety of manifestations that is usually hidden or minimized. I don’t mean funny voices to be mean. I mean they sounded like a group of witches and wizards who have been allowed to grow up not hearing voices on tv they are supposed to sound like.

In most of life if someone has a very high or squeaky voice,they try to minimize it in some way. Here, they were the greater at the door and very prone to speaking a lot. It was delightful.

The food was quite good as well. The butterbeer was awesome. We are going to have to make that. But the price… unbelievable. I was kind of sick to my stomach all day. It wasn’t worth the price.

The best part of the Orlando leg was the grown ups hanging out in the kitchen getting drunk and playing Guillotine. That was hilarious and fun. Vero Beach was fun. The kids got to feel a warm ocean. Noah and I dove through waves we maybe shouldn’t have been playing in. The sea was pretty rough. We enjoyed the pool. Then we had a day in the room to rest then we came home.

That was pretty much our summer vacation.

Ok, Eldest Child would not stop yelling at her seatmate (yeah yeah, he was playing in a pestering way) so I told her she had one more warning before she was grounded the next day. Of course he pestered again so she had to yell at him.

We talked a lot about what the options really had been. We came up with lists. I think that next time… she’ll remember that she has options.

Am I always nice? No. I follow through on what I threaten so I’m not always nice. But… the day in her room wasn’t that bad. She did come out when she wanted to put something away. I spent a bunch of the day visiting in the doorway. We don’t really isolate for time out. Isolation hurts. But I will limit your movement a lot. Why? Because as you’re stuck there all day I’ll talk to you over and over about what your other options in that moment were. Yes, it is Monday morning quarterbacking. I know.

But you know what else I know? We are going to be on a lot of planes in her life. I know she’s flat encouraged me to have more kids and she’s going to have to deal with little pests. This is a problem that will come up again many times. I feel like making sure she remembers this time will pay off.

I gave her a solid dozen warnings before I said, “Ok I’m done. If you yell again you are spending tomorrow in your room.”

dozen forking warnings.

I get to have a limit. I also moved her from her spot so she couldn’t be near her buddy any more and she was near a parent. It means I spent the rest of the flight unable to see anyone I knew. It really didn’t suck for me.

We all got through it jim-dandy-fine. We want to stop traveling for a bit. (Uhm it turns out we are going to Las Vegas because we had vacation points to use or lose because some folks changed plans earlier in the trip and… unless someone else wants to go to Las Vegas? I could change the name on the reservation if someone else wanted to go…Oct 16-19 I think? I’m in the back yard in the dark and the paper is inside…)

Anyway! We are not traveling in 2017. Not even to see the cool comet. Hmmm. Maybe the trip to Las Vegas could overlap with us not having a toilet in the house. That would be awesome.

I guess that is how I spent my summer vacation/tenth anniversary.

White trash

I don’t know about you, but I am a social animal. I am so social that for many years I put myself in position after position to be abused because that was the only way I could understand social contact. I expected abuse. I would go so far as to say that I actively sought it out and tried to bring it into my life.

Abuse is… abuse is dramatic and exciting and volatile in a way I expected and needed from life. I went from periods of extreme isolation–the kind that is proven in prisons and mental hospitals and orphanages to cause extreme breaks in the mind–to periods of needing social contact so bad I would seek out the most extreme sorts I could find.

Is it my fault I was abused? Let us say that if abuse is a dance I was not always an unwilling partner.

Most of the men who raped me as an adult were people I wanted to have in my life. They were mostly people with whom I was eager to have sex. But I required a condom for my protection and theirs. I am one of the scariest vectors of potential disease in my community. The other trampiest people usually are around half my numbers. I default to safe choices because I love the people I sleep with and I need to consider their health.

I am thinking about this right now in context of how weird life is.

What does it mean to be treated like trash? It means that your life is not important. You are replaceable. You are just here to (be a hole/fill a role/do a piece of work) and when your usefulness is over you will be replaced.

I have dated more than one person who has shown me a series of photos from their past and all the women look the same and there are pictures of them doing the exact same thing… sometimes in the same clothing.

My family didn’t want me and made that clear. I’ve… been the fill in the blank woman.

I am hard because if I don’t maintain myself to a certain level so that I can find a different position somewhere else where I can be a differently effective tool…. Well this is the closest I have to a survival instinct. I still have work in me. Don’t throw me away yet. I know I’m not that shiny. I know I’m bent and deformed and prickly about how I am used… but I have value. Please need to have me around.

It has been fascinating over the last few weeks to have the din of self hatred in my head be gone. Worthless isn’t coursing through my neurons anymore. See, drugs aren’t all bad. I see much more clearly the various ways in which I am useful.

did get to grow up and be Mary Poppins. Only they are my children. Children do think their parents are perfect. Mine can now joke about knowing that I mess up and knowing that I’m not perfect… but they still express shock every time they witness a demonstration because in their heart I am perfect.

Holy shit.

I really like being a parent. I am grateful I get to be a parent with time and enough money and a secure place to live. We know a large majority of our neighborhood and they express happiness for our presence in the neighborhood.

I was given a tea plant for my birthday because I am nice to my neighbors. I feel like I have done something with the time I’ve had here.

I know that I was treated like I was disposable because now I have felt what it means to be treated like I have intense value. I know that my ability to have had the life I’ve had has largely been because of the color of my skin because I live in a racist system that will give a second chance to a piece of trash if it can pass into the main group without being visibly different.

I may be a bunch of weird things… but I don’t by and large look it. I look like I have been middle class or higher most of my life. I can code switch my language and sound knowledgable around a freakish variety of people.

I’m not treated like I’m disposable anymore. It is an odd experience.

It is odd knowing that I am raising children who have never had a single moment of feeling disposable. How can more people get to their level of safety? What about the kids who are growing up like me? How can they be seen more? I don’t know. But feeling a quietness inside my head makes me want to work a lot harder to find people who need help dealing with incest.

Once I grow up. Once I can actually have more of an idea what the stages of development feel like. I need to know what they mean for me so that I can hear what they mean for other people without interrupting. If I’m still trying to get to where they are… I will be self focused when I listen. It is part of my ability to be patient with children and not with adults who are older than me. I have a hard time being nice when I think someone “should” be better at something than me because they’ve had more time to practice. I am finally to the point where I am not a total asshole about t his because I’ve noticed that people are always asynchronous in their learning. Not knowing something is more normal than not. Just be glad they are trying to learn now.

But I’m impatient and an asshole so being nice is a challenge. When my friends are being kind they say I don’t suffer fools gladly.

I am feeling grateful for what I get to do with my house. I’m also feeling very narcissistic. Other people don’t demand turning their entire house into a lived art experience. But I am. I have had a kind of luck most people don’t get to have. I did figure out how to stop feeling like I deserved abuse and I have ended every relationship that was hurting me.

I may be impatient and chafe at boundaries in my life but by and large I have chosen them. I may have to figure out how to renegotiate some corners of the boundaries… I have really sucked at doing that this year. I have made a number of mistakes I need to make once.

What will the future look like? I don’t know. But I know it is from a perspective of not being even a little bit disposable. Really I am the linchpin. If I go the whole mechanism will break. Or really it will depend how I go.

I chose to bring children into the world knowing that I come from a whole many generations of intense abuse/mental health problems dna pool. I knew that the brain is malleable. I knew that as much as there are genetic predispositions but nurture matters too.

I’m not perfect. I’m not really supposed to be. I’m trying to show what it means to be good enough given the strictures of the world we live in. How do we go about changing this world? There are processes. Let’s talk about them.

What can we do to help other people know that they are not disposable either?

It’s a big hard topic. It’s going to take a lot of years to unpack. I need to think about it as I grow up. Growing up hurts. But if I want to be able to think about other people properly… I have to.

Clear the mind

Oh I’m so glad to be back in Californian hot weather. It is down right pleasant.

This morning we started off with a half an hour run. The kids are getting to the point in martial arts where they are frustrated about not having more physical skill and strength than we have, so they asked if we could start more frequent exercise to build up. Yes! Sounds delightful.

Kids have unpacked their stuff. “Grounding” is pretty lightweight this time because Eldest Child is allowed to walk in and out in the service of cleaning up. I told her that I want her to think hard on how behavior needs to adapt in different locations and why and that’s the part I care about the most. Being inconvenienced by not being able to play all over will help you direct your thoughts.

I’m about 90% unpacked. I cleaned the kitchen (we left a serious disaster–I was so tired). I’ve pushed through a couple of loads of laundry and I have two to go. Unloaded, loaded, and unloaded again the dishwasher. Watering the front yard is a pain because I still don’t have a hose in the front and I have to carry buckets of water. But both yards are tended to and that’s important. Cat care and attention.

I paid the bills. We are decisively in the black. Oh good.

I’m taking a short break. I feel like I’ve earned it. I want my bedroom clean. I need to clean out the play room which has been acting as guest quarters. Construction starts again on Monday and that room is supposed to be empty. Where will it all go for now? Gulp.

I feel like the littlest chicken in Chicken Big (a wonderful children’s story) saying “But we’ll make room!”

I need to hire my quasi-step-sister (Dad’s bio-daughter) to help me with my trees. Apparently she is a professional landscaper and my trees need mad pruning.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I know that Noah arranged for a present because it has been sitting in the fridge since before we left. I’m not supposed to look. He accurately points out that I care about things arriving on the day-of and I tend to be kind of a twat about things that appear in advance. It is good to be understood.

The internet says my squash plants probably need more iron. I feel so grateful to live in a time of information. (Yellowing leaves, but not in a way that indicates infection…)

I’m encouraging my kids to do a purge. We are overflowing our ability to clean up again.

Here are some phrases we say a lot in my house that will go in my “Krissy’s rules for staying sane as a parent” book that my friends keep asking me to write:

  • If you can’t clean up your stuff you have too much and you need to get rid of some of it. Do you want to own your stuff or have your stuff own you?
  • A place for everything and everything in it’s place. If you can’t find a place… maybe you don’t need it.
  • We are workers, not shirkers.
  • If you ask for something more than three times in one day you are pestering and the answer is no for the rest of the day.
  • You are one of the luckiest people ever born. You have food, clean water, safety from diseases, and free time. What do you want to do with it? (I think heavily of JFK when I say this one: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”)
  • If you spend that money today what will you spend when _______ comes around?

That’s just off the top of my head.

On the trip a father was talking about why he bans inappropriate content for his kids. Eldest Child says, “Mom doesn’t ban things she just spends a lot of time talking shit about things she doesn’t like”. He looked like he wanted to do a spit take.

Yup, that’s my approach alright. Glad we understand each other. I read a terrible parenting book about raising perfect children through guilt and shame (that’s almost but not exactly the title and I’m too lazy to google it) and I don’t… exactly do as she preaches… but she had some good pointers. Her mom didn’t ban things. She just made sure you knew why she thought things weren’t good.

My mom went between banning things and going limp because her bans were completely ineffective.

I don’t bother to ban much. Oh. That’s another thing I say:

  • I’m saving my no’s for boyfriends.

Frequently my kids do shit I don’t like and I don’t approve of. I tell them exactly how I feel and leave it up to them to do it or not. My theory is that interpersonal violence between teenagers is a serious problem and I want to have a whole lifetime of credibility that I’ll let you do any stupid thing you want but I’m going to be serious about safety concerns. I’m hoping that my kids will believe me when it comes to my evaluations of people to date. I have a spidey sense about predators. I’m hoping to goodness that my children will be willing to listen to my advice when push comes to shove. I tell them over and over that once they are ready I will be supportive of them dating. But try to seriously listen when I give you feedback. I’m not saying do as I say. I’m saying I won’t say “Get the fuck away from that person” unless I have a good reason and please believe me.

Some day I hope to be able to write down a whole set of formalized advice for keeping yourself safe. It will be created if and only if I can talk some of my sex worker friends into being interviewed. I don’t have the right to tell this story. I can just help pass along what has kept other people safe.

I think I can now. But how do I know how to protect young girls? I know how to go sit on the lap of every rapist.

Hopefully that has changed.

But that’s so far in the future. Time to go back to working.

I told you I would miss you

I am home from Florida. I am flooded with feelings about parenting and motherhood in particular. I read two books on the trip that really blew my mind combined with watching all the families on the boat.

But: A) I can’t type with these fucking fingernails and B) I need to go to sleep and C) I have a mountain of work to do. The remodel gets started again on Monday. I need to take care of my plants, unpack, finish painting the kitchen, and many dozens of other tasks.

My hands will be busy. I’m so glad to be home. We talk periodically about maybe moving someday. As time goes by I wonder if I could. Coming home to Wonderland is such a euphoric experience. I’m surrounded by my art (I’m completely inspired by stuff I saw on the trip both for painting and the mosaics) and I’m such a fantastic home schooling environment.

I feel refreshed and ready to rededicate myself to my real job.

I am home schooling my children. Yes, that means I wear the bossy control freak pants. If you don’t like it, don’t come over.

I’m reminded that my life is as full as I need it to be and perhaps even over stuffed. I desperately want to see a whole list of people but I really want to get work done. I’m going to frantically work for the next several weeks straight. My house is turning into the picture I see in my head and it is glorious.

I don’t want a big house. I don’t want to live in a big city. I like my quiet suburb. I love my garden. I love my neighbors. I love how many hours a week I need to clean in order to have a company-ready-house all the time. (Specifically: not many.)

I love my children. I love that my eldest child got in trouble on the plane ride home and will spend tomorrow grounded and after a very long talk about consequences, other options next time, and why I have to follow through on what I threatened… and she said she understands that I’m in the right.

Behavior modification for the mother fucking win.

I don’t follow through on my threats to be an asshole. I follow through because then you believe me and trust me and know that I will always be consistent with you.

I’ve been thinking constantly about consistency. It was a theme in the books. Consistency from mothers. How much matters?

It’s complicated. I desperately want to write about what I’m thinking about the books (Her Mother’s Daughter, and The Diamond Age) Ok you nerds won’t think that The Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer is really a mother/daughter book… but I can pull that theme right out. Hopefully soon I’ll even have time to write about it.

Nell and Fiona both interacted with parents through the primers. That’s fucking huge.

This book has more influence on my parenting than I want to admit. This is my second read through.

By the way, I’m over Florida. Yeah, Vero Beach is great and I’m super sad I didn’t take Noah to the Keys…. but I’m so fucking over Florida.

I can’t god damn breathe. I can breathe just fine in Hawaii even though it is also humid as fuck. I can’t breathe in LA and I can’t breathe in Florida. Ugh.

Also: I hated Legoland in Florida. I find the California park to be wonderful. This is similar to my opinion of Disney World vs Disneyland. I hate the World and I’ll never go back. Universal, at least Diagon Alley, was awesome. But so horrifyingly expensive I wanted to cry. That was disgusting. And we were rained out of the biggest coasters. Woo.

do love the Potter section. That was gorgeous. Also: gave me ideas for house stuff.

God I love that Noah doesn’t care how weird I make the house.

I will paint until I run out of paint this time. I can just tell. It’s going to be so fun.

To go back to that thing I do where every time someone asks me for money I hand them $5. We were passing a woman with a sign as we came out of getting groceries before going to the Disney Vacation Club property where we were going to go have a posh good time. “Noah! Noah! Get out money.”

She thanked me and asked God to bless me, that’s pretty normal in such situations. But then she said, “I’m trying.” Her voice broke. She sounded so sad and desolate. I said that I believe her and a tiny little spark appeared.

We all need to be seen. We all need to be believed. We all need to be helped.

Sometimes people ask me why I’m not afraid the person might buy drugs. I always laugh. I don’t have a high horse to sit on.

If I can afford to go on this trip I can afford to help people in front of me who need help. I have been that person. I was helped. All I can do is pass it forward. Yes, there might be consequences from getting the money I don’t like. I accept that possibility. But I’m also going to tip like a mother fucker on a cruise ship. Those people are working fourteen hours a day mostly for tips. They get very very little money. Yes I’m going to tip well. To the point where they gasp.

Isn’t this how trickle down economics is supposed to work? I have god damn arrived. I may be shivering (literally) as I cringe and think about my end of the year financial review. It ain’t gonna be pretty. I’m going to… have some feelings about myself and my spending habits. Ugh. But! We have no traveling at all scheduled now that we have given up on the idea of an around the world year because… we want a baby more than we want that.

I can go back to saving.

And I did get my mortgage down below $70. I’m not being too shamefully wasteful. And I am living within my means. I pay off my credit cards every month. I try to not feel like shit when we go on a trip. I save and save and save and build up the buffer and then go travel. And completely go over budget like holy fuck.

It’s bad. I mean, it’s not what I want it to be. I have less self discipline or maybe I just underestimate like fuck? Also, I tip a shit-ton of money. I brought $1,000 in cash. At least $400 went to tips/giving.

So yeah. I know why I spend so damn much money. I give it away. I think it is just.


And… I haven’t done my #GiveYourMoneyToWomen yet this month. *head desk*

I MAY HAVE ANXIETY…… like whoa….

But I’m a privileged motherfucker. I’m so god damn privileged I blow my own god damn mind. I have incredible luck in this life. I have friends who love and support me very very much even if they kinda don’t want to sometimes.

I have a husband who makes me really want to stay alive just to see what he’s going to do over the next few decades. I think this will be neat. I’m going to have to do some ass kicking, but hey… only in ways we both like. Things like: go to conferences and speak about this research you are doing. Yes it is important. Yes I support it.

Even as I cringe about money. It will be comped later. I can take the hit.

I’m really excited to have another baby with this man. The circumstances really couldn’t be better.

Even as I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about nonmonogamy. This will be interesting. Really… a lot of things will be interesting. Probably all of it. We always are.

A train wreck in motion.

Once I read someone say something like “People always ask me how my relationship never has problems and I say ‘We just don’t air our dirty laundry‘.

Me, I hang all the laundry right on the line. The sun is a disinfectant.

We really don’t know what we are going to do. Christfuck.

Sorry Christians. I grew up going to church. I have to deal with my issues how I have to deal with them. Oh man.

I just know that I’m looking forward to every journey I will have with the people in this house. We are figuring it out together as a team because I’m teaching my children how to be able to do that. I like them and I admire them. Are they shitheads? Oh yes. They are my children and I have a different agenda than most people. I can live with that.

I don’t really have a choice because which other agenda could I even convert to? Oh craptastic. Can’t compute. Brain exploding.

Naw. I have to just keep doing what I’m doing.

Sometimes I blow the boat up. Yup. I do that. I’m a fucking asshole.

Life is really complicated.

I sorta live for complication.