Monthly Archives: January 2017

Progress report: 15%/24%

This is a test of my project management skills. If I am correct, we have 85 days of tiling to go. (We have done 13 days, two of them with serious professionals laying tile and I think it’ll be 100 days of work.) I’ve done 47 hours of painting (with help) out of the 200 I estimate needing for the house.

It’s coming along. I’m weary because last week I felt the fanatical need to get through a stage of the project and I spent several nights working till 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 in the morning. When you start working at 8:30 in the morning that’s a long day. But that was scraping all the stupid little tiles so I could hurry up and finish gridding the sections for the shower. Now all the teeny tiny tiles have been scraped and I’m up to spacing and tiling sections. Ok, I’ve been spacing and tiling sections for a couple weeks now.

Hey folks: remember that taping we did of tiny tiles to the carboard boxes? That was maybe kinda a little stupid. Because now getting it off there and spaced and into configuration for the mosaic tape is kinda a pain in the ass. So we put a lot of labor into making my life harder later. Hahahahahaha. Cheers.

I didn’t know.

Oh well!

I’ve learned a lot from this process. A lot I may never use again.

The playroom is back in service! This is a huge deal. I’m super excited. We finished the painting in there (though I noticed after I said that and moved toys that I forgot to edge one side of the door framing. Whoops) and moved toys and the kids promptly threw everything on the floor and exclaimed with glee that they would not be picking anything up. Ok then.

We are now in negotiation about what screen rules look like going forward. I sorta anticipate a decline in youtube in the house because nope you don’t get to make a huge mess then go watch obnoxious rude assholes. Nope. I’m that flavor of asshole. If you want to watch shit I hate… you get to do all your chores first. That includes making it so I can do basic cleaning like vacuuming in the whole house. Because the bug problem didn’t improve with the remodel. We still have ants in the new area. Sigh. We live on a swamp. We can’t escape bugs. It isn’t about me being fussy and particular… it’s just life. We have to clean if we don’t want infestations. Believe me in the last year I’ve pushed these limits to see how gross we can let the house get without problems. It’s pretty bad. Just sayin’.

The living room isn’t clean and tidy but it only has stuff in it that belong in the living room. I’m thrilled. The kid bedroom isn’t clean and tidy but it mostly only has stuff in there that belongs. My bedroom… still has lingering bathroom stuff because the last cabinets haven’t arrived yet.

The garage is the last hold out of troublesome storage. We can’t have an Easter party until the garage is in service again so I feel like I’m racing the clock. I don’t want to miss the third year in a row because of a fucking remodel. That’s ridiculous. I’m ready to move on with my life. Seriously.

The tree of life is on my spacing board. That center area of the tree trunk is what I’m spacing/taping right now. So that’s kind of exciting. The other 2/3 of the shower are nearly done. There is less than 1′ sq of tile left to add to those to walls. They will be finished today. Then they want to start the tree so that the whole shower can be finished before they move on to another area of the bathroom. Personally I think things would move faster if they worked on multiple walls at once because we can only add 3-5″ of tile up a wall on a given day. Any more than that and it gets heavy and starts sliding down the wall and squishing the spacing out. That’s not good. So I feel like multiple walls would give more area to cover. So far no one agrees with me.

But it’s coming along. I love it a lot. The waterfall is finished. It didn’t turn out exactly like I designed to start with for a variety of reasons. I like it. There are more random pieces here and there than I intended so it looks kind of chunky in places. I like looking at it and coming up with reasons in my head why a natural environment would have a random area be different. That’s a lot of fun for me.

The wall I’m working on for the bathtub area (I’ve finished one quadrant of one of the three walls) has a volcano. I figured it out after I’d done most of the spacing out. I looked at it and turned my head and was like, “Hey! I know why there are a bunch of bright colorful rocks at the base of this mountain!” I don’t think it’s been active recently, but there are still neat mineral pockets.

It’s kinda a funny process.

I have laid out and ready for the tile guy to get started: the front tiles for the bathtub/shower facing areas that are outside the water zone. Does that make sense? They are what you see from the walkway. They are going to be a fairly easy layout. Those are 4″ tiles and they will go likety-split compared to the teeny tiles. Those are mean and vicious. Also the tiles for the dividing wall between the shower and the bathroom. I’ve laid out and gridded and taped part of inside the bath tub. I’ve laid out and taped the bottom 5″ tall by about 4′ wide of the tree. That’s enough prep for at least three days of tile laying. And he still complains that I’m not going fast enough to get things ready for him.

I love my tile guy. I will remember him forever. I asked him if he will sign the wall when we are done so I never forget that he was my partner in art. He laughed and said sure. He complains a lot and I absolutely love him for it. He is particular and fussy. It’s great. He does beautiful work. The areas in my bathroom where the tile isn’t that great? Yeah those were the two days he had a helper. Ha.

Now we have a helper, a less skilled guy, and every day is turning into a lecture series for me. The guy (I’m struggling to not call this 24 year old man with a child a kid because he reads as innocent to me) found out I was a former teacher and has been quizzing me since then. “What do you think about ______?” We talk about politics a lot. We talk about the intricacies of fighting the government and who needs to do what. Yesterday we talked about religion and death and the afterlife. We talk about parenting–the tile guys kids are older than me so he has opinions.

Know what I love? A person with opinions. Tell me allllll your opinions. Provided you aren’t a white supremacist. Then I don’t want to hear them. I want to hear the other opinions.

They are schooling me on my Spanish. Which is fun.

All in all, except for wanting my garage back this is a fun process for me at this point. I’m still damaging my body, of course. Noah’s getting sort of out of patience with me having all these hobbies that damage me. He gets stuck picking up the pieces and he’s pretty tired of it. I get it. I do. But I don’t really think I’ll ever be good at being idle.

I’m exercising more. I’m doing sit ups and push ups and stretching other random floor exercises most days. I’m trying to get folks to go running with me. It’s fun. Our sleep schedule has been all over the place.

Something that I should pay more attention to and care about more: Not a single person in my house sleeps well when I work all night long. They all stay up hours and hours past bed time.

I was talking to my shrink about friendships and the concept of chosen family. I think I’m done with the concept of “best friend”. Throughout my life I’ve had a series of people I’ve thrown myself upon. I needed a lot back from my friends. I needed them to be my family because I didn’t really have one. Brittney, Grant, Anna, Alex, and I could go on but it starts hurting a lot.

I wear friends out. I am too much. I need to stop looking for my friends to fill these holes in me because doing so hurts them and makes them have to reject me entirely.

I think this is part of the reason I want more children. I’m allowed, even encouraged, to focus on my children in a way that is desperately unhealthy in every other capacity in my life. I have a lot to give and most people really don’t want to get it from me. So kids.

My kids and I live in a strange little world of our own creation. It’s a fairly happy world as we acknowledge that our larger frame is being part of a sick society we have to work to change. Noah is increasingly included now that he works from home. In the past he felt… honestly less a part of the whole thing. I really like having him around all the time. We are learning a lot about each other and giving space and allowing room for growth.

I feel like a plant that had withered down to almost nothing that is suddenly deeply watered. I grow so fast.

I need to learn how to love my friends with distance even as it is ok for me to enjoy the closeness I have with my family. I understand more why other people have always rejected me to go back to the place where they are normal and ok and their way is right. I feel like I created such a place for myself through brute force. But it wasn’t actually brute force. It was manual labor and inspiration.

I have so many people I love so much. I feel like an asshole because I want to clarify these things in my head. I’ve spent a lot of years around polyamorous folks who believe you shouldn’t categorize relationships you shouldn’t define things you should just accept. That path will lead to me losing my cotton picking mind.

That’s a phrase my mom used all the time. I feel like a racist every time I think or say it. I’m about to lose my cotton picking mind. It’s one of the phrases that feels most natural to me in avoiding cursing. (I am trying to curse less.) But the things I have in my mind I’m supposed to know the entire origin of every word and phrase in order to find out if someone like me is allowed to use it or if it is meant for someone else and I should keep my dirty white hands off it.

I understand how POC can get to the point of internalizing self-hatred because they are internalizing things that are projected by society. I spend a lot of time reading about the atrocities of white people.

I think it is funny when I’m ranting about how white people suck that there is often a fucking white guy who has to tell me “Uhhhh, I hate to break it to you… but your white.” (Misspelling is usually included in their message. *I* know the difference.) HOLY SHIT! REALLY!! WHY HASN’T ANYONE ELSE EVER TOLD ME?!?!!?! Oh wait. This is the 90,432 time someone has. Never mind.

It is as if people believe that being white means I am not allowed to critique whiteness or the actions of people who are white.

I think you better have another think coming.

What countries have white people ruined? Define ruin. The Native Americans have a strong argument. Let’s look at South Africa. Let’s look at… you know what… let’s not.

You haven’t read any books about history and you don’t care. So I’m not going to waste my breath or typing spoons on that kind of lecture today.

Something that is hard for me is, lots of times people I learn from–specifically women of color–say things about white people and I desperately want to believe I am an exception. I want to #NotAllWhitePeople them. I don’t. I sit on my damn fingers. Sometimes I type a response then I delete it without sending it.

It doesn’t matter if there are exceptions. There is a larger pattern and they are right to complain about it and centering myself as the exception only illustrates their point that they are being ignored and erased. If I want to be an exception to invalidating their reality… I need to not fucking argue. I need to accept and listen and shut my god damn mouth.

Recently a white man I had previously respected said, “I have a voice and I want to use it” in a conversation about how it is unfair that women of color want to have conversations he isn’t invited into. Bitch you are a college professor. You have a lot of rooms where your voice is wanted and the voice of marginalized women of color is not. How dare you come into spaces where they finally get to have a voice and complain that your voice is not being heard. GET OVER YOURSELF.

I was feeling bad about losing contact with a corner of a social group. Now I remember why I stopped talking to them.

Clearly I like having a voice as much or more as any other person. There are a whole lot of spaces where the only way my participation is welcome is if I am silent.

I accept that deal in a lot of places when I go out into the world. Even when I go out on to the internet. I don’t get to control the narrative everywhere.

Just in my house and in my blog. I don’t get control of god damn anything else.

Even in my house I’m in a long term negotiation with the other people who live here. I am not a fascist dictator setting terms. I am very clear at all times that my goal is long-term relationships with psychologically healthy adults; I have to carefully negotiate the terms of my house. My family is full of strong opinions and desire for control. I don’t get to run the whole show. Noah now even has a man cave in the garage. See, I give up space as negotiated.

*I* don’t have dedicated space in this house. There isn’t enough room. But I’m carving it out for other people. I kinda fit in around the cracks. Maybe it’s my damn bath tub. Ha.

Setting up this bathroom feels like creating worship space. I’m going to spend a lot of time in this room thinking about my life and my choices and my future. I want the setting to be right.

Set and setting. My time in the theatre shaped my thinking quite a bit. I didn’t understand how I was shaping my brain as a young person. Now that I’m in my 30’s and I have perspective it is interesting to me how I sought out experiences and sensory experiences and chances to do things.

Oh, the other thing I’m talking about a lot with the tile guys is travel. They are both from small villages in Mexico and they came here a long time ago and they’ve never been anywhere else at all.

Oh let me tell you about the country and the world. They have questions about climate and plants and culture. I have my skewed opinions. Ha.

I didn’t know I knew so many things. I know a lot of people who are far more educated than me. They had rich parents and started their educations at more like the ages when my children are starting theirs.

Privilege. Experiences. Options. What do these things mean? What does it mean to want a better future for your children? Why is it so important to me that each of my children travel out of the country before they are a year old.

Most Americans never leave the country. More than 60% of Americans never have a passport.

More than half the country has less than $1,000 in savings.

My kids are privileged mother fuckers. Ok, so I haven’t stopped swearing entirely.

What is that going to mean? How do I create little people who are not entitled to go along with the good luck of being privileged? This is so complicated.

And I’m not going to figure it out today. Noah asked me if I want to go running. Yup. I do.

End of an era

We knew this was coming. We’ve been given warning for a few years now but it is still going to hurt. Our babysitter is moving. Cue sobbing and rending of garments. This is not going to be easy for me. We had a horrible time finding any other childcare. Having a home schooled teenager three doors down just can’t be beat. Now they are moving to Hawaii. The upside is they have a guest room and we can visit whenever we want because they adore us.

So this is going to change our life. I’m really glad that is happening a year after Noah finally gets to work from home. This is less difficult than it could be. Given that we want to have more kids… this is going to be difficult. But it isn’t as difficult as it could be. Take comfort from wherever you can.

I’m not even going to try and replace her this year. We have another neighborhood teenager babysitter (she lives a whole block away) and we will try to schedule dates a couple of nights a month with her and that’s going to be childcare for a while. I could use the time to save up some money. I love our babysitter but we pay her a lot and my budget will breathe a sigh of relief to not pay anyone for a while.

Like, we paid her over $9,000 last year. I’ll be ok with having breathing room in that area. I’ll spend the money on health care instead. Sigh.

My body is in a really bad place. I’m hurting myself. I hope I’m not causing permanent damage.

May. Our babysitter leaves in May. I’m excited for them and sad for myself. That’s an ok balance.

She will be here to help through the end of the remodel at least. Phew.

This week I have a socializing visit with a homeschooling mom, an Ikea date with Sarah, and I’m helping P finish packing up her apartment. On top of all the tiling I’m going to do that sounds exhausting already.

I’m tired. I’m sore. I need to go lay out tile so this week can go fast. Sigh.

Very briefly

My hands hurt. Noah massaged my arms last night and commented that they feel like guitar strings. My two hour massage yesterday concentrated on my jammed ribs/clavicle/sternum and didn’t get to anything else because it took so long to break through the knots fucking those connections up.

The corset is not fully the solution to my problems. Shit.

My massage therapist says that until the tile work is over maybe I can sneak in and see her twice a week. Sure. Sounds great. I feel like shit.

Tile guy is not happy about me taking Friday’s off for medical appointments. That’s too damn bad. He also spends a lot of time commenting on how I don’t look so good and he’s worried about me. But I should work more!

I’m deeply conflicted about a thing that’s going on. But I can’t do anything about it. So I’m just kinda trying to put it out of my mind. Do you know how good I am at that? Not good. Not good at all.

Today the babysitter is here for five hours. I’m going to ask her to help the kids with painting the closet in the playroom. I’ll help too… but having two grown ups around makes the process SO MUCH EASIER that I’m going to do the last painting push with help. I’m being S_M_R_T. Once that painting is done (and it dries) I can move all the toys back into the playroom and get the grown up work materials out of there. That will be a glorious day.

I’m probably going to need to send the construction company owner an email about tile guy scheduling because I’m pissy that he keeps telling me I’ll have more help then I don’t then a guy shows up by surprise then doesn’t come back when he says and… that’s totally fucking with my prep. That’s not cool. I’m going to write a detailed explanation of how many hours past the 8 hours/day I’m working to support this crew and how fucked up it is to jerk me around.

I’m working 10-14 hour days. It’s not cool to tell me to prep for something then it doesn’t happen. That’s fucked up. That’s not fair. I’m fucking tired. I hurt.

Because then the hours I spent prepping for something that isn’t going to happen are wasted hours and I could have been more useful to the guy who is actually here. That’s not cool. Then the guy who is here slows down to a crawl as I try to scramble to properly assist him. It sucks for everyone involved. I need predictable staffing.

Wrote an email. We’ll see how this goes.

My body needs this project to end. I’m exhausted. This is end-of-the-road-trip level pain and I think I’m only like 10% done with the tile. I think I’m like 25% done with the painting. Feck.

Personally I like this pain scale.  I’ve been fighting off pain induced nausea for days. That means I’m hanging around 6-8 on the scale. That sucks.

I don’t think it is healthy, normal, or “appropriate” that someone with the kind of chronic pain I have continues to work the way I do. I think that is a sign of my overall mental health problems and inability to prioritize myself.

I’m not built for doing the kinds of work I do. I don’t let that slow me down very much and I’m pretty sure that is a bad thing. My body hurts to tell me to stop and I just flat out refuse to listen. This can’t be healthy.

Noah rebuked me appropriately last night. I know the kids want to go to Japan this year. I know my friend invited me to Alaska and I want to see my friend and and and….

I need a no travel year. I’m so weary. I’m in so much pain. I need to save the fucking money. Whine.

Looking at Mint this morning turned my stomach. Paying for the remodel continues to suck. I am rather grateful that I only include a fraction of Noah’s income in our budget. That way when I go over it isn’t as catastrophic. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck.

Stop typing, Krissy.

I’m exhausted and weary and completely bored. I hate this state of mind.


My hands are very pissed off about life. Such will be the constant chorus for the next month or more. 5 days in. Lots of progress made. We are like more than 2′ up the shower wall. Woo. Well, on two out of three sides at least.

It’s coming. Today I get to do more grid making for him. If I make grids of tiles then he can put up a bunch at once instead of one at a time.

The work continues.

Micro fiction

(This isn’t real so don’t freak out. It’s just what I woke up thinking about.)

She woke up early every morning to frantically dress in the dark. If she gets dressed fast enough, if she gets enough chores done before anyone else can wake up… maybe no one will hurt her.

But today she dropped her shoe when she was trying to carry her bundle of belongings out of the sleeping room.

Oh no. Now they are waking up.

Soon the pain will begin.

I’m going to post this again. Because holy tomato.

I’m still reading this post about poverty and education. I wish I had seen something like this when I was teaching. I feel this would benefit absolutely anyone who has to interact with teaching humans. It isn’t just about financial poverty. There are other kinds of poverty (from the article):

the ability to choose and control emotional responses, particularly to negative situations, with-out engaging in self-destructive behavior. This is an internal resource and shows itself through stamina, perseverance, and choices.
the necessary intellectual ability and acquired skills, such as reading, writing, and computing, to deal with everyday life.
a belief in divine purpose and guidance.
health and mobility.
Support systems:
friends, family, backup resources and knowledge bases one can rely on in times of need. These are external resources.
Role models:
frequent access to adults who are appropriate and nurturing to the child, and who do not engage in self-destructive behavior.
Knowledge of hidden rules:
knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a group.
That’s a lot of kinds of poverty, yo. I am not sure I have ever seen it codified exactly like this. And this article present specifics of “How to work with children who have _____ deficit.”

I’ll be honest and say… I feel kinda awesome about how often I read this article and think, “YES! THAT’S EXACTLY HOW I HANDLE THAT PROBLEM!! GO TEAM ME!” I always feel excited when I find anything that looks like validation for my approach.

How do we teach children to choose and control emotional responses without engaging in self destructive behavior? That’s a mouth full. That’s a many decades long process in my experience. When someone did not learn these skills during the appropriate developmental windows (Know why I harp on the first seven years so often? RESEARCH. They are important. If you miss that window it isn’t impossible to catch up on areas of deficiency [I present your humble author as an example] but it is exponentially harder) it takes structure, form, and conscious teaching to undermine the bad training that the kid got.

I’ve worked with kids who had severe problems from one thing or another. They were all warm, loving people who had not been given the opportunities in life they need to have. I can’t think poorly of them for it even as I acknowledge how hard it can be to teach them more functional behaviors in a classroom.

I miss the classroom. I’ve been rewatching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo of course I watch the Swedish miniseries.

Sometimes I reflect that I watch shows in a pretty interesting variety of languages: Swedish, Portuguese, Spanish, Hindi, Korean… there are more. I watch a lot of sub titles so I can try to feel the way the language works. I sincerely believe that Korean would be dead easy to learn. It sounds so blessedly consistent. I can pick up phrases from a soap opera series. Also, I continue to feel embarrassed by how poor my spoken Spanish is. I really need to find ways to practice so I can feel less stupid.

Anyway. TGWTDT makes me think about the ways we come into one another’s lives. How do we manage to intersect with new people? In that story/movie/book Lisbeth mostly came into contact with people through the social welfare system. That doesn’t exist in my country the way it does in Sweden. Sure, we have a system but it isn’t well thought out or comprehensive in quite the same way. Many more people fall through the cracks. Sure Lisbeth was caught because she threw a fire bomb on her father but still.

I came into contact with an awful high number of people because of teaching. I have leveled off that number like whoa since I stopped reaching out to the world in that manner.

Where is my place now? I have no role in societies like those pictures. I’m kind of… irrelevant. So how do people like me get to being able to help kids who aren’t theirs?

It’s complicated.

Everything is complicated.

A kiddo woke up. I should go do the breakfast thing since we don’t have a Noah today. Oh Noah. We miss you so. Not because you provide us with food, though that is lovely. I do regulate off of you. I need you to remind me when I’m hungry I should eat and when I’m tired I should sleep. When I’m exhausted but too anxious too sleep you help me calm down. I’m trying to not be super stoned in this pre-pregnancy period of hopefully reduced pot usage. I want my tolerance to stay low.

Ok. Gotta go.

Sleeping is for when Noah is home.

I really should sleep. Instead I’m…. uhh… reading Reddit. It’s a fascinating thread about poverty.

But this other one is one is a super neat thing about educating students who come from a variety of kinds of poverty. This is good stuff for anyone who provides direct instruction. How do you help your kids overcome deficits?


I’m up and no one else is. I’m trying to distract myself from working because I hear I should rest one of these days. So I’m looking up how far baby carriers have come in the last half a decade. Hm. There are new options. I’m not sure I like them better than what I had though.

I am thinking about how I’m going to hold a baby with my fucked up hands. I’ve done a lot of damage since I last had a baby.

It’s funny considering all the angles here. Different carriers put a different amount of strain on my body. Some days I can handle pressure in Areas A & B, sometimes mainly in Area C… so how many carriers should one have? But they cost money.

Noah would like me to stop worrying about money one of these days. He earns enough. I shouldn’t fret. It bothers him that I’m so fretful about money. He works himself ragged trying to get me to stop fretting about money.

Sweetheart, know how it is my job to make your old age comfortable? I will always fret about money. Every dollar I spend now feels like I am robbing Future You.

It’s not about how much you make now. You will not make this forever. I have to make it last.

Anyway. Baby carriers. There are advantages to soft structured carriers (like the Ergo but there are other brands), wraps (like a Moby or a woven wrap–big differences between those two types), ring slings (a strip of cloth that you wrap around your body and tie into a bag using rings–like it sounds), or Mei Tais. Those are like a soft structured carrier but with less shape.

Why do I care about this shit so much? Why is it worth thinking about?

Well lets start with my hand damage and move up my arms to the fucked up elbows and the wrecked shoulders then down to the fucked up lower back.

Why do I think about these things? Because the more I think about how to manage my pain now the less anxiety I will have later because I will be in pain and unable to figure out how to fix it because I will be mentally overwhelmed.

Right now I’m just chillin’.

I can think about how to manage things. Like: a ring sling is awesome and I’ve used the hell out of the one I had… but I’m desperately worried about my shoulders standing up to that kind of strain at this stage of my life.

I’d get myself in a position where it was the only carrier with me on a day when I’m already doing poorly and… that’s a recipe for me being almost blind from pain and lashing out at everyone near me all day. Maybe skip having the temptation in the house.

Which means opting in to more mass/complication every.single.time. Ring slings are lovely. They are quick and convenient and they are super easy to nurse in…

But fucked up shoulders. Like, seriously fucked up. Like every medical practitioner I have spends most sessions lately working on my shoulders because the pain is making it so I can’t sleep much at nights.

Painting sucks. I need to stop.

Less anxiety. Baby carriers. Distraction. Sweet, fluffy, screaming/flailing/puking distraction.

What am I god damn thinking? I’m thinking I like my kids so much that I really really really want to meet more of them. This is the first group of humans I have had this kind of success with. I want more. I like how snuggly and loving and attached we are. We support one another in separate adventures too, but we really prefer to be together. We all get a bit cranky at separations.

The stretchy woven wraps are really comfortable and adjustable for the first 4-6 months depending on how big the baby is. They are really ideal for all the newborn positions but then they stop being useful at all because they are dangerous. Woven wraps are great from birth through early toddler weight and they are entirely adjustable for kid-size… but they are rather hard on the adult’s body. The weight is questionably distributed. They are small and easy to always have with you as a back up, but as a primary one… they leave me sore and aching. They are also not as perfectly awesomely forgiving with a new born.

That leaves Mei Tais and structured carriers. The advantages of Mei Tais lies in how adjustable they are for body size of both kids and grown ups. I’ve shared these carriers successfully with folks from a grown up size XS to grown up size 3X. They are gloriously adjustable. But they don’t distribute weight quite as well as a structured carriers. Structured carriers are the most ergonomic for me and allow me to do the most wearing with the least pain. They kinda suck for nursing or carrying around with you places where the kid won’t be in the carrier all the time. I am an expert at putting a kid in a back carry alone in any kind of carrier, but most folks can’t for a long long time. (I practiced. Over and over and over in my house. Putting kids into and out of carries to see how it works. I’m… kind of boring.)

In my experience the most shareable carriers are the Mei Tais followed by ring slings followed by structured carriers. Woven/stretchy wraps usually scare folks who don’t use them on a regular basis.

I have a lot of wonderful friends who like to snuggle my babies and I think feeling love from lots of people is a big deal for healthy social development so the shareability of my carriers ranks kinda high for me.

I know other people say they nurse in an Ergo without a problem, but I always struggle with the angle. My boobs are kinda big and they get pretty huge when I’m nursing. I find that I need a carrier that allows me to drop the baby down several inches from the normal comfortable carrying height in order to nurse with ease while doing other work. That’s why ring slings are the most awesome for nursing in my experience. Eldest Child spent a lot of her babyhood in a ring sling nursing.

Someday-Not-The-Youngest-Child didn’t nurse all the time so they spent a lot of time in the structured carrier.

After browsing through videos for a structured carrier I noticed that this brand recommends nursing… in the stretchy wrap.

The stretchy wrap is probably as good for nursing as a ring sling for the first few months. Maybe even better in many ways. It gives a bunch of position options that the ring sling doesn’t allow for.

Oh the factors to consider. See, I’m not just a one trick pony.

I don’t really want to just buy one of each. That seems ridiculous.

But I know women who bought more than twenty carriers because they wanted different ones to match their outfits. So I’m not sure why I’m so worried about it.

Every dollar I spend where I don’t have to is money I can’t spend on my mortgage or travel.

I don’t want to rob me either. But I want to minimize pain, frustration, and fussing in the future. It’s a balancing act.

After spending a while watching videos on youtube (we live in a magical time) I’m interested in the Boba. Hm.

Practically vibrating with anxiety.

I have managed to construct a complex and multi-layered argument to something someone said. I found about 10 sources to back me up. I need to drop this.

I’m feeling freaked out and weird about money. Holy shit we go through money. I always thought that if I moved up the privilege ladder it would involve less freaking out about money. Nope. Now I stay up late at night freaked out because how in the hell do I share financial security with more people. It’s not ok that only a few people in the whole world have financial security.

There are developmental windows for learning socialization skills. Many of them occur in the first seven years of life. During that time it is important to practice interacting with as many different kinds of people as possible all day long. You know how people learn to be kind and thoughtful? They practice. They are gently reminded over and over and over again about their place in the world and reminded to think about what they have to give instead of what they want to take in interactions. It is tremendously hard work.

Early childhood education teachers should make six figure salaries.

So instead we neglect this stage of education and wonder why we are getting epidemics of mental health problems and physical problems and we wonder why suicide is a more and more common option for people. It’s the tenth leading cause of death.

People don’t know how to connect. Connection is what keeps people striving.

But if you were neglected during your own crucial periods of development, how can you provide that sort of training for someone else? Well, you can do obsessive tremendous amounts of research and work and learn how to behave and create behavior plans and fucking follow them religiously whether you god damn feel like it or not or you can outsource it.

I support schooling children. I really do.

There are many fine individuals working in education at all levels. There are men, women, and non-binary people who are drawn to a particular age or stage of development and they work magic with helping children learn the exact skills they need at that point in life.

Why in the world would I be against working with such people?

Ok, I recognize some evolution in my thinking here. I was once a lot more uhhh pushy about home schooling. Then I spent a few years home schooling and dealing with the extended home schooling community.

You’ve gotta do what is right for your family. That means right for the parents and right for the kids. No one is capable of teaching everything. Some things need to be outsourced. There is no shame in that. It’s human. Interconnectedness is necessary for a happy life. In my judgmental as fuck opinion.

Outsourcing is saying, “Hey I can’t do everything. You person over there. Let me acknowledge that you are just flat better than I am at Thing and I would love to help support your life by exchanging money for your help.”

Outsourcing is awesome on so many levels.

I outsource shit. I pay for some child care. I do trades for other child care. Do you know why child care is important to our family? A couple of reasons: they learn that I am not actually omnipotent (that’s a big god damn deal and something every child needs to learn about their parents), other people have patience for different kinds of activities than me so my kids get to experience different ways to live and pass time, my children are required to really learn how to follow the rules of different spaces–that’s a huge whole life lesson, and you know what? I need a damn break.

People need breaks. People need breaks of different intensity and different lengths of time. Some people are better parents if they have their children for 12 hours out of 24. Some people have that amount of support in them to give whether they have a job or not. Don’t judge. There are millions of reasons this can be true.

In my life I have been a pet owner, a teacher, and a parent. I have learned that these are all substantially different roles. A pet owner forms a bond that is about mutual dependency until death. A teacher drops into your life for a period of time, helps you over some bumps and then goes on their way. A parent pours their life energy into another living being and says, “Here is all I can give you to help you be independent of me. Go. Thrive. I hope you will call sometimes but I know you have a life to live of your own.”

These are all valid and worthy and important parts of life. Not everyone is called to fill every role. Not every person would succeed at every role. There are many roles in this life where I don’t even try because I believe in advance I would be a failure.

Do you know what I’ve never actually been? A financial provider. I have given people a lot of money. I have made gifts and loans of incredibly amounts of money. (To my, poverty-background self.)

Do you know what the universe did to me this week? It smiled on me. My Dad repaid the $10,000 loan I made to him several years early. He’s been working on installment payments for a while and now he is able to pay it off in full. I’m really grateful on a lot of levels. This is a magnificent time to have that money drop into my lap. It does a lot to shape my schema of trust in humans to see him pay this off early. It was a five year loan. I was terrified it would fuck with the relationship if he didn’t pay it off.

I can now breathe a huge sigh of relief.

That’s a release of tension and strain. Will he be honest with me? Will he follow through? Can I trust him?

That has lived in my mind for a while now.

I feel an enormous wash of gratitude that I can let that go.

Thank you, Dad. I appreciate your actions more than I can say. It helps me feel a whole lot more secure about turning around and loaning a bunch of that right back out to a different old friend. She needs a car really badly. Let’s get one. I’ll call her today. I could afford it anyway. I’m grateful to feel like I got the universe’s blessing at the same time.

Trust in people. Invest in people.

I differentiate heavily between gifts and loans. I have given tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Someday it will be tremendously more than that. I loan very selectively and only for specific good reasons. Often involving pride and support of separate identity. Gifts can hurt people.

It’s complicated.

I had a truly fantastic conversation yesterday. I got a new construction guy this week. He’s a whiz. He’s got almost as many years of experience as I have years of life. We talk about his daughter who is a year older than me and his grandkids who are are barely older than my kids. He was delighted when I told him I understand most of his Spanish and he is now trying really hard to get me to practice. But he’s friendly and upbeat and encouraging about it instead of taunting at all. It’s… really awesome.

We talked about spirituality and the problems Christianity causes in the world (among other organized religions). We talked about faithfulness and honor and how to pick your path in a changing world.

Pam, he spent a lot of time talking about how worried he is about climate change. People are listening.

We talked about the value of connection and relationships. We talked about technology and family and bonding.

I’m telling you. I had a fun work day yesterday.

That was really nice as I stood there with my hand cramping painting stupid flowers. Fucking fussy ass details suck nuts through a straw. I hate painting. Fuck painting. Painting is for idiots who don’t know how to manage their god damn time.

I’m totally going to paint more today.  FUCK EVERYTHING. I want the results. But working is for chumps. Sigh. I’m having a Baron Wulfenbach moment. Hello, I am Chump.




At least I get to look at you fuckers for a very long time. So there.

I’m having very stupid feelings.

Today Noah is having dinner with his parents. The children are going. I’m on the fence. The reason I am inclined to go is so that I can do that reality distortion thing I do if they start talking about the kind of shit they like to talk about. I.E. shutting their racist, bigoted asses down.

I mean, I sorta trust EC to do it for herself. I suspect Noah will just change the topic. I don’t blame him. Get through dinner and get out and talk to the kids on the way home is an approach. It’s just not my approach.

But driving to San Francisco for dinner kinda sucks. And seeing his parents totally sucks. I could work. Or rest. Or do literally anything else and be happier. Watching the paint dry would be more fun.

I think I’ve decided. The kids are in camp today, the family is off to dinner without me tonight. That sounds like a 12 hour work day with a break in the middle to go to the dispensary. Numb the pain so you can continue working long past when it is healthy. Like a dumb ass. (I almost wrote like a grown up and then decided that was fucked up.)

I’m moving the needle on this project. Finally. I’ve been staging and prepping and accommodating other peoples share of the work for so many months that it feels really good to be moving the needle towards the end. Now I can see the end. Now I can list concrete tasks and say, “When this is done the project is done.”

Oh sweet cheese and crackers I need to be done.

It’s going to take till February. Mayyyyyyyybe mid month since now I have two guys who work independently and really hard. That’s a change from one guy who does lots of stuff and a guy who kinda assists and can follow out some tasks but spends a lot of time checking his phone. I will say that the new guy is… less of a perfectionist than the guy who has been here the longest. So I still want the one guy doing most of the tile work. He is fastidious as fuck. I like that in someone I’m paying to help me install a humongous piece of art.

Also: one of the new walls isn’t square. Not sure if the house wasn’t square to start with (totally possible) or not but the vanity couldn’t be installed properly without cutting a hole in the drywall. Just a small one to allow the corner to fit. Whoops. It will be covered with the tile back splash so it won’t be visible… but whoops.

Emailed pictures to the lawyer.

I would share some pictures but whoops I’m on the wrong computer. I’m on the computer that has a working battery.

Speaking of which, because my life is fantastically charmed, a MacBook Pro is on its way to me to help me reduce how much time I spend arguing with the tech in my life. Because some problems can be solved. Yes I have a lot of fucking data. Give me a terabyte of storage and leave me the fuck alone, a’ight?

At this point I spend 5ish hours a month arguing with my tech trying to make it work. That’s time I could be god damn resting instead of getting pissed off.


I lead a charmed life. I don’t have any right to be so god damn anxious. Yeah? Yeah? Watch me shiver like a fucking chihuahua.

I mostly have my living room back. Mostly. It’s coming along super well. I don’t really have the playroom back yet but I’m storing shit in there anyway because I’m about to lose my mind. The house is already feeling less like any sudden movement will cause hours of work. That helps. The garage isn’t better at all.

I can’t move most of the clutter out of the vestibule area until they finish painting the exterior of the house and the dudes can put my sheds back in place and I can move alllllllll this crap out of the garage back into sheds where it fucking belongs. We have a lot of tents, yo.

And I can’t get the main floor of the garage back until the tile is on the walls. It would be very hard to get the tile past all the shit in the vestibule area.

Like how I’m the kind of person who describes stuff as shit in the same sentence as the word vestibule? And fuck. I said fucking and crap, in a different but related sentence ,with vestibule too.

I’m classy like that.

It was the best of times! It was the worst of times!

And I’m not even talking about politics in this post.

Ok. Off to paint a wall. Motherfucker.

Identity and consequences

This video about identity is worth the 20 minutes.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

If you know something is right you have to say it even if there might be consequences. Consequences are part of taking action. I would rather take action than put my head down and keep my mouth shut.

That means I’m going to have problems.

I’m super anxious about ninetyeleventybillion things right now. Many of them are not writing material.

Identity is a funny thing. Knowing that I am who and what I am is a funny thing. I don’t have pretentions about being a gentle or a kind person. But I can play one as a role sometimes. Lately I’ve been feeling haunted by the phrase “I’m not a violent person.”

I am a violent person who has learned a fuck ton of control. Is my control perfect? No. And that creates problems. I know. I’m trying to figure out how to make my slips less frequent and only in more controlled manners.

Because I believe that life requires violence sometimes. I don’t think it is wrong to be a violent person. But I don’t like casual threats of violence.

You only bring violence into things if you are totally fucking serious that you think it needs to escalate to physical violence. You don’t jump up and cross a room and punch your fist unless you are serious about hitting first. You just don’t. You don’t tell someone that if they ______ your wife that you are going to break their legs unless you are serious about breaking their legs.

Last year was a fascinating year for violent posturing. The funny part is, I’m the only one of the bunch who will think of themself as violent even though I wasn’t the biggest out burster of the year by a long shot.

I look angry and dangerous. I don’t directly threaten people anymore. I haven’t in a long time. And so I’m scary. Ok. Yup. That’s true.

I can be pretty fucking terrifying sometimes. I don’t have to do anything. Just stand there and glower and I can make a whole room full of people cower. Uh, it’s a skill. I try not to use it.

So having this as a skill means I think about how intimidation plays into violence. If someone feels I am trying to intimidate them, they will react with an escalation of violence because that seems fair. Whether I was trying to be intimidating or just moving through the world processing the feelings I was fucking having anyway or not.

Identity and perception are interestingly cowoven phenomenon.

Noah wants me to take a lot more of my identity and worth from being married to him. That’s complicated. I know I picked a winning horse. But… that’s… a different thing from having earned what I have.

For the legal definition of homeless we were homeless for most of my childhood. I didn’t live on the streets, we couch surfed for a few days or weeks or months at a time. Sometimes we had our own place when my dad was willing to pay child support but he mostly wasn’t. So we lived in our car. I was put in foster care over and over because my mom couldn’t find places that would take both of us. My sister got married at 17 because that was the most likely way she could find a stable place to live. It didn’t work.

That feels more like who I am.

Jenny wants me to see my story as starting from when I had agency.

Sometimes I wonder why I imprint on people the way I do. I might be a right pain in the ass, but I come back and come back and come back and come back and do work all the time I’m being obnoxious too.

Blacksheep came to visit so I thought about her. She payed attention to me in a polite, respectful, boundaries having way at a time in my life when I needed that so desperately I was a walking festering sore. She was like a salve. An abrasive, sometimes caustic salve. If she sees something that ain’t right… she’ll fucking tell you. I always wonder why Jenny has such a huge piece of my heart. Because she does. Because she was there on two of the most crucial nights of my young life. She was there for me after the suicides. When my mother or sister or aunt or uncle or cousins would not offer me comfort when my brother and father killed themselves because the whole damn house thought it was my fault Jenny could look at me with pity and tell me it wasn’t my fault.

I imprint like a fucking duckling. I’ll come back. It might be expensive… but I’ll show up over and over and over for as long as you’ll have me.

I could keep going but I don’t have a cord for this laptop out here. I don’t have that much longer to type.

I need this project to end.

I’m going nutty. My poor kids. I’m glad they will be out of the house for four days this week cause I’ve been a bitch lately. I’m losing it. I’m yelling about things that don’t need to be yelled about. Noah has intervened and told me to leave the room.

There are advantages to him working from home. I don’t like it or him when he’s doing it but I’m grateful for it in the long run. Let’s minimize how much I fuck up our kids. Cool, yeah.


I have no room to judge. But fuck if that stops me. Judgmental bastard.

I’m wrong about my judgments sometimes. I remind myself of that. I’m not G-d. I don’t know everything. I just don’t. I just have fucktastically strong opinions. Often backed up by extensive research.

As dear Michelle reminds me… I do know a lot about child development. Not enough. Never enough. I’m still studying. I don’t know if I will ever stop studying.

If identity and purpose are about things that are ongoing drives instead of about short term goals then I think I have to examine things a little differently.

I may be an artist and a sometimes painter but that isn’t my life. I put down my paint brushes for years at a time. Why do I so strongly resist thinking of myself as a dancer just because I have down years?

Because I wasn’t one of the rich kids who got to take lessons so I wasn’t a real dancer. When it came time to public social dancing I was told over and over how I wasn’t stage performance material.

Yeah. I know. Could ya shut the fuck up and let me have a few fucking minutes to enjoy being in my god damn body before you tell me I’m doing it wrong? No?


I was hostile and angry and defensive about being called an artist for decades because in kindergarden they yelled at me and told me I was doing art wrong and I decided that meant it wasn’t for me.

My kids are going to be much better than me. They practice about ten times as much as I do and they have never had it internalized that art is for other people who can follow these specific rules.

It is weird to me that they like math and we play verbal math games all the time. Written math is still coming along, but verbally they can do a lot. That’s interesting for me. We are exploring learning through whatever modality works best for them. We play a lot of counting and number games and that is how they learn math. We are doing more formal writing too, but that’s harder and slower. Eldest Child is about two months behind grade level at this point. Given that she started out the year two full grade levels behind, I’m going to say I’m pleased with progress and we’ll keep going how we are going until she decides she is ready to slow down a bit.

The purpose of the first seven years of life is to work on socializing and emotional self regulation. You need to be put into real life situations over and over and over and over and over until you are able to manage them.

Practice, practice, practice.

Sometime around 7-10ish kids will naturally mature into being able to learn to read and read to learn in a few months so that they can explode in knowledge acquisition. But it requires providing a scaffolding of survival/people skills so that the person can see themselves as autonomous and on their own path.

I would be fine if Eldest Child wanted to start going to school at any point here. But she’s not ready. So I have to provide curriculum of some kind now. Because that’s the deal for home schooling.

You teach them about being a good citizen and what it means to take care of business in life and then you help them educate themselves. Because all education really happens in the mind of the student. The teacher is just there as a companion to help you find resources.

At least, that is how it works in my dream world.

That is how it works in Wonderland.

That would be a fun kids book series. How Education Works in Wonderland.

I could be as liberal with my definition of Wonderland as I wanted. Carroll doesn’t really own it you know.

That’s the end of the battery. Until we meet again oh internet, I am semi-faithfully yours.

Wrong again

It’s one of those times when my anxiety is on hyperdrive. I’m doing everything wrong, right? Every interaction I have with people seems to be fraught.

One problem is that I’m struggling with how much control and influence and power I have. There are times and places when I don’t agree with how something is being handled and I shut up because there’s nothing I can do. Then there are times and places where I feel like I am a bad person if I shut up because someone is being harmed and if I ignore that… I’m part of the problem.

I’m part of the problem. If I see people being harmed by others in their life and I do nothing… I’m saying I basically agree.

What if I don’t agree that something is being handled right?

Good luck with those feelings.

Because I don’t get to decide. And I’m afraid that by talking about what I see I am going to become the problem and then I won’t be able to help in any way because I was stupid enough to talk about the problem.

Not everyone can do everything. We all have limits. We all have things we can’t do. I can’t teach fussy, fiddly little activities that involve a high amount of fine motor control. Even if I can do it (under protest) I can’t teach it because I get frustrated and angry and explosive. So I outsource that shit. I can’t teach everything. My kids take classes because I can’t teach everything. I am not that cool. That’s why as they get older they will spend more and more time away from me. Because they will have mostly learned what I have to teach.

I don’t think there is one Twue Way that parenting or schooling should happen. Some people like home schooling and it works well for their family. Some people need to have their kids in school. Some people need to have their kids in school and after school care every day for any one of millions of potential reasons.

None of these choices are wrong if they work well for the child and the family. It’s when the solution is clearly not working for either the parent or the child that you need to look at making changes.

It is easy for me to sit on my high horse and see the problems in other peoples systems. I’m afraid I am failing to see the problems in mine. I was honestly hoping for more criticism from Stanford because other than “Do more academics” which was the plan anyway and which we have already caught up on…. What do I change now?

I have no feedback to help direct me. Just… do something. What you are doing seems to work ok.

THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Everyone fucks up. Everyone has things they don’t do well and things they do very well. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?!

I shout more than I should. But professional evaluators tell me I don’t shout as much as other people and it isn’t that big of a deal.

So what does should mean anyway?

I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.

So anxious. So worried that I’m going to hurt everyone and wreck their lives and make it so they are not ok later.

This is eating me alive. It has been for a couple of days now? Turbo anxiety. How am I hurting everyone?

I want to run away. I want to disappear. I want to go somewhere that no one knows me. (Good luck, motherfucker. Name a continent (other than Antarctica) and I will name countries I need to avoid if I want to make sure I don’t see anyone I know. I run into people I know most times I travel internationally. I know too many fucking people.)

I love you all. It’s just hard to run away from you.

I want to run away from my own self perception. Because I’m afraid I’m doing everything wrong. I’m afraid I’m hurting people. I’m afraid I’m a giant let down. I’m afraid that by trying to help I am going to make things worse. I’m afraid that by trying to help I am going to be hated so much that hating me becomes the problem instead of fixing the problem.


I think I’m going to take a week or so off from reaching out. I feel like I am hurting people by existing. Maybe if I hide in my house and keep my crazy to myself that will feel less true. Don’t interfere with other peoples lives. Even if there are problems.

It isn’t my place.