Category Archives: yard

Another good morning.

Gardening is the best work I do. I feel so happy with the results. I get results so quickly. Ok, there are some pieces that are about long-term-settle-in-and-wait… BUT IF I SPREAD COCOA MULCH DOWN IT INSTANTLY LOOKS PRETTY AND GROOMED. It’s magic. And it smells so good.

I love my garden. Some day I may get to the point of loving my garden more than my children. I love my garden so very much. It’s so pretty. I get to have an almost creepy level of control and I’m not hurting anyone. It’s glorious. I’m allowed to kill plants that irritate me and I’m not evil. I’m allowed to stomp on things if I’m pissy and mean feeling and then I have to deal with the consequences but I haven’t hurt a person.

My garden will forgive me and love me even though sometimes I take big axes to it and chop pieces of it away. I don’t like pomelos. Get the fuck off my tree you mean old bastard.

I’m allowed. It’s ok here.

I love gardening. I don’t know of many better activities in this world. And my children help more and more with every passing year. You don’t know what this means to me.

I love my garden.

Take a deep breath

Do you know one of the things I like about what I’m doing right now? Everyone has said, “So, how is Noah doing?”

I’m being reminded from every direction that I need to keep my priorities in order. That feels like really healthy progress for me.

Also: my Christmas lights are finally down. On the first day of spring. Thank you for your work.

Too much, again. Damnit.

Stuff is creeping in. Today: having lunch with a friend then we are getting tattoos. Tonight I’m having dinner with a lovely friend. Tomorrow is all the massage. The kids also have stuff to get to.

It isn’t that what I’m doing is hard, it is that I’m having to switch gears on what I’m thinking about. I was thinking about that process lately: transitioning. I’ve been staring at the kids all week and thinking about the idea of transitioning from one activity to another and how do we do it?

A friend asked me how I feel about classes that my kids sign up for. Do I insist on attendance? Err… it doesn’t come up much? My kids aren’t very scheduled. Our classes are exciting treats that we are very happy to learn about. There is no dragging. It isn’t hard for us to get out of the house (mostly) because I start getting ready about three hours before we need to leave.

Most days we sit down at breakfast and talk about the structure of the day. What are we doing? Where are we going? I give the kids an idea of what to expect and when I’ll start prompting them to get ready.

Very rarely I run into the room and say, “Oh shoot! I didn’t look at a clock and I forgot _____ and we need to walk out the door RIGHT NOW!!!”

I am shocked that when I do this the kids usually jump up in the air and start rushing to get ready like someone is chasing them with a hot poker. They have bought in to “this is our life and we are obligated to show up when we say we will”.

I talk a lot about respecting teachers because they choose to share what they know with people who want to learn. That’s a gift and an honor. You must respect the efforts of teachers.

Kinda funny given how anti school I am, right? I’m not anti teachers. I’m anti-Industrial-Era-conformity-brainwashing.

That’s not the same thing as learning or education or teachers. In fact I have incredible respect for the process of learning.

Not that every school (public or otherwise) works the same way. I know. But it’s a crapshoot year by year. In “school” you don’t get to pick your teachers, mostly. In life you do. College is a weird hybrid of “school” and life because you have some choice but not that much. You pick your place of education more. (Not that most people research the teaching staff much before picking a university.) You get to drop classes and take a different teacher if you don’t like an approach… sometimes.

I have multiple bad grades (D or F) on my record because of personality conflicts with teachers. Does that mean I know nothing about those subjects? Nope. It means that bitch didn’t like me.

That happens.

School is about measuring how you jump through the random hoops that someone decides to set for you. You think it is even and fair how those hoops are divvied out? Ha. Ha. Ha.

Standardized tests are flat out abusive to most minority populations. Why? Because they say, “Hey, how quickly can you identify all this random shit from White American Culture? Not fast? Then you’re stupid.”

That’s abusive.

And school in America in the year 2016 is about, “How fast can you regurgitate facts about this culture to prove you are ‘smart’.

Yes there are exceptions. Yes there are good teachers in public schools and there are good private schools.

Are those private schools available to people who are very poor? No? Then school in America is about regurgitating facts. I don’t care that your kid might be getting away with having a good experience. The majority of American children are not.

How do I know this? Why am I so god damn confident of what I know? Because I went to 25 schools. Then 7 universities. Then I substituted in about 8 schools. Then I taught in 4 schools.

It’s not a huge sample size. But it’s big enough to let me see a diversity most people get to pretend doesn’t exist. I went to schools in rural areas, in neighborhoods of a predominate ethnic identity other than white, in rich schools, in poor schools, and many levels in between. I’ve seen Silicon Valley, Compton, and rural Oklahoma.

I can’t speak to the east coast from personal experience. But I read a lot of teachers. I’m pretty sure I’m right from coast to coast. Teachers are talking about the problems in the system. All you have to do is go look a little bit and you’ll find criticism. You’ll never run out of it to read.

I don’t think my way is right or mass actionable. I don’t think the solution to our broken schooling system is everyone opting out to home school. But I don’t know how to force the solutions that are necessary. I don’t know how to force a non-abusive mechanism on top of an abusive system and I just can’t be part of that abusive system any more. Not as a student and not as a parent.

Could I be a teacher in that system? Sure. Why? Because I’m subversive as fuck and I think the kids who are there need people like me whenever possible. Will I sacrifice everything in my life on the altar of helping other peoples kids?

No. I made these two people. I’m responsible for them.

Yesterday I cracked. I stopped asking the kids to help and I sent them outside to play. They had a glorious day and I got the house like 75% of the way to clean. Yes, I know people believe that I clean frantically full time and my house is always spotless so it isn’t that much work (or something). Well, actually…. (I find myself using that more often because it is now a banned phrase in many places. I try to only do it when I’m being a snot and refuting ideas about myself that annoy me.) I don’t clean that much. My house turns into a pit just like everyone else’s house. But I host big parties pretty frequently and I usually spend about a week cleaning before hand. So people think my house is always clean.

It’s a ruse.

I can usually flight of the bumblebee and feel presentable for dinner guests. And my kids have to pick up their toys before they get screens so our house doesn’t get that bad. Only mostly they clean by shoving whichever behind whatever and into wherever. So every so often we have to dump ever drawer, every shelf, every everything in order to find things. Because seriously after a while we can’t find anything and then everyone expects me to be a fucking homing beacon and they ask me 9,032 times a day where “x” is.


They ask me to buy them new shoes because they can’t find any to wear. I clean their room and find four pairs. That kinda thing.

So a few times a year we face overwhelming chaos. For the love of toast I don’t know how families with two working parents ever clean at all. When it gets bad (like me being gone two weekends in a row so things kinda pile up extra hard, and we are remodeling, and school level transitioning) it will take a solid 8-10 days of me cleaning for 4-10 hours/day.

(There’s always a day in the middle where I clean for four hours then collapse in a heap and cry for a while.)

This cleaning is extra epic because Youngest child has to be entirely moved out of that bedroom indefinitely for the remodel. They are currently replacing the wall/window and that room is not sealed to the out doors. (They have built the new bathroom walls/front wall in front of it, but it’s not all done and everything.) Lots of construction debris in there. Kiddo can’t use that room.

So they are sharing again for a bit. Which was ridiculous extra cleaning and sorting. Frankly I think they were god damn awesome.

At one point Eldest Child started crying and said, “I’m just not good at cleaning. I’m not smart at this and I never will be.”

I laughed and laughed and laughed. She looked at me and said, “WHAT?!”

“You act like I fell out of my mother’s womb being able to clean. I couldn’t do it when I was seven. Frankly I think you have more skill than I had at that age.”

She blinked for a bit, dried her eyes, and got up and made tremendous progress all in a big burst. At the end she grinned at me and said, “Ok I am getting better.”

Cocky little thing. Yes, you are. Every day. Every year. You are getting better.

So I think about these things because transitioning eats into progress. The more times I have to transition in a day the less progress I make on all tasks. This is a well documented phenomena. You can spend four years taking a Spanish class, or four months of immersion. And after the immersion experience you will be far more fluent.

Some guys I know were bitching at me that I should really stop what I’m doing with my life and learn all about the influential music from 1968.

I told them I don’t have time and they demanded that I justify what is more important than that. I rattled off what I’m doing with my life. They kinda blinked at me and said, “Ok maybe you don’t have time.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Everyone has different stuff going on in their lives. Everyone has a different comfort level of transitions. I don’t need to judge what other people need in order to feel comfortable. That internal Holy Fucking Shit No reaction needs to be turned off. Ain’t nobody trying to tell me that I need to pick it up. Not really.

My inside voice is changing. I do hear you.

Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

Why do I talk to myself? Because over time I am changing how I react to different stimuli. It was said that a lot of what is interesting about me now is that I do fewer global freak outs. When something is upsetting to me I don’t scream about everyone and everything. I can say exactly what I’m upset about and why and I can usually trace it down to the root. That’s letting me pull the weeds. I can tell which tendrils are a problem.

It’s ok that I failed in the school environment. I mean, I was usually an A/B student (except for personality conflicts) and I’m still a failure in the school environment. It isn’t that I’m unintelligent. But I cannot conform in the ways required to go period to period learning in the teeny chunks that can hopefully be absorbed by a large enough percentage of people to not be a complete waste of time to everyone. Woo.

Do you know why I was a good teacher? Because I met before school, during breaks, after school, and on Saturdays with students who could not understand what I was teaching and I helped them catch up on foundational information they missed along the way.

I can’t give that much of myself to people outside my family right now. My kids need that time from me. Why? Because we have some fucked up brain chemistry and DNA from generations of trauma. We need to do what we are doing right now.

We are learning how to adapt to life. We are learning how to learn. We are learning shit loads of stuff that we will be able to use later. We are planning. We are growing.

And we are doing it slowly. We are doing it by concentrating on one thing at a time for a few weeks.

That way we can spend many hours a day on one task and make substantial progress at it instead of spending 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there.

It is hard. It is physically and mentally and emotionally taxing. But I enjoy it. I feel rewarded. I feel like my reward is the conversation I get to have around the table every meal. My kids fucking think.

I know so much intense analysis of My Little Pony characters that it is ridiculous because I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode. I know their back stories, motivations, and things that are being foreshadowed. Yeah. My kid told me, “They are seriously foreshadowing something about her in this episode….” Then later I heard, “In this episode they broke the fourth wall to…”

I asked her if she knows what breaking the fourth wall actually means. Nope. So I explained. In great detail. With lots of examples. Afterwards she started rattling off examples.

Yup. Like that.

I treat my children like if they don’t know something yet it is because I have not yet done a good enough job of talking about it. So I’d better get on that.

I really like my life.

I like feeling responsible. Resiliency experts say that people are most likely to be successful if they internalize that they must be responsible. In other words: we must find a way or make a way. So we do.

I feel that way about anti-racist stuff. Incest research. Home schooling. Teaching my kids how to take care of their shit.

I believe I must make this work. Period. So I will.

What does that actually fucking mean? It means that I picked this life. Who the fuck knows why. So I’m going to live it to the absolute fullest. With great privilege comes great responsibility. I’m one of the luckiest mother fuckers born in the history of all time.

How did that happen?

Even with all the trauma. So fucking what. Every level of person experiences trauma. That’s universal. Not every being experiences trauma (lucky bastards) but every level of human experience has trauma.

What traumatizes one person is standard, normal, and appropriate to someone else. So check your fucking judgment, wench. (talking to myself…)

I have an idea for the tattoo. I’m not going to write it out in advance. But I’m going to have a wonderful time talking to my artist today. He’s so wonderful.

And I’m having lunch with a friend first. Then dinner with a different friend.

I don’t in any way want to complain about the fullness of my life. I am blessed. I am loved. People seek out my company on my terms. Because they consider the effort to be worth what they get in return.

I can’t judge that. I need to just say thank you.

I’m trying to slow down. Frankly the remodel is driving me batty. They are banging all day long. So every second all day long I have to process hitting sounds and decide they aren’t a threat.

That wears me out.

But I have to be home. For Reasons.

So I’m doing what I can to destress in the house. My anxiety is spiking like a motherfucker. But! I know it is temporary so I can have something I badly want and I’ll get to have it as long as I live here. Sounds worth putting up with.

But it hurts my body. It’ll end soon.

Every time I transition from thinking, “Is that the door?” back to whatever I’m doing… it takes a penalty spoon.

So I’m thinking about transitions like fuck right now. How many activities can I manage to get done in a day? How much work? How many different kinds of tasks? I think it is funny how different stages of cleaning feel different to me. I can’t declutter a room, organize it, then remove filth all in a go. I just can’t transition like that. I have to declutter the house. Then organize it. Then clean. I can’t go back and forth because I experience distress physically and psychiatrically.

Transitions are that hard for me. I will fall to the floor and sob and not be able to do whatever it is you want of me because I just can’t.

That’s something that has been a pattern in my life for a very long time and I’m just kind of recognizing what that means in my head. Oh. Flooding. Oh. That’s…


Yeah. That.

I like intense connections with a lot of fucking bandwidth. So when I need to spread that bandwidth out between 37 different distractions instead of 2-3…

I hurt.

It isn’t anyone else’s fault. But I’m trying to figure out what managing that means. I need this to get better. I need to stop flooding when I walk near someone else’s life because I feel like I should try to conform and I can’t I can’t I can’t.

No one god damn asked you to. Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

I’m trying.

It’s funny to stop and think, “This is actually a huge improvement!”

Good grief.

There are a high number of specific high intensity things I want to get done in this life. I won’t get them done in 15 minutes of prep at a time. That’s ok. I don’t need to schedule my life how other people do. It is working for them. Stop projecting.

We all want different things. Health means something different to every person.

I’m trying to figure out what it means to me. This is proving to be more complicated than expected. Not sure if that is because I was naive to start with or what. Anything is possible.

I’m making a lot of progress with my pain stuff. (The overall refraining from typing is helping. Hey–it’s Friday. I kinda took a few days off… I am trying to moderate…)

I’m making progress on pain stuff. My bowels are… well… I’m told this is progress? I don’t fucking know. But it is weirder than hell. I mostly stopped with the pills for a few days (because obviously my body was freaking out) on the doctors recommendation and the freak out ended right away. This is supposedly a sign that things are working right on schedule. I will resume sloughing the parasites from my liver later today. Oh joy. But! I’m seeing… uhm… something fucking weird that I’m told is results?


We talk about poop while eating all the time.


My kids are very comfortable saying, “I’m going to eat lots of vegetables because your body sucks.”

If you can’t be a good example, be a horrible warning. Do one or the other and then do that motherfucker.

I guess?

Yesterday I screwed up. I put in a load of laundry and I didn’t even think about what I was washing. A new dress up clothes thing was put in the basket. It had never been washed. It was bright fucking red. So all the martial arts uniforms were very pink.

Oooooops. Shit. Like rose colored pink. Dark rose. I was all, “NOOOOOOOO!”

Then I thought about my mama and I breathed a prayer of thanks. “Hey kids? Want to learn how to fix a mistake?” I used oxygen brightener and bleach and I boiled it on the stove top and those fuckers are white as snow once again.

Because my mama taught me what to do.

That’s a good memory. Thank you, mama.

Thank you for teaching me how to do my laundry on the stove because that was what we had and you were going to make sure I had the skills to be presentable no matter what happened to me or how bad my life was. You tried. Thank you.

During this process my friend was over and she asked if I wanted her to do the poking/stirring over the fire. I didn’t want her to. I felt entirely Zen in that moment. I am where I want to be doing what I want to do. I’m showing my kids how I fix a mistake. It takes time and effort. But it’ll be ok.

It was one of the most intensely blissful moments I’ve experienced in a while. That’s flow.

If I cared very much about getting out of my house and not being “stuck” with these experiences as the woman… I wouldn’t get to have that. I’m glad I get to have that. I’m glad I get to see the value in my mother.

I miss you, mama.

I miss all the friends I’m not reaching out to because I’m overwhelmed. I’ll come back. I’ll have spoons some day.

In March we have social stuff planned on the first two days. Then… uhm… I don’t know about the Easter party. Wonder how my bathroom will be? Err… I’ll let people know two weeks before?

I think that I need to not schedule anything else in March. Which is intimidating. I’m not resting. I’m working and socializing because I’m so desperate to catch up on the work. I need to rest and I won’t stop working so socializing needs to be back burnered for a few weeks. Just Do Eeeet.

What work do I feel so pressed to do? Well… we are transitioning from preschool to elementary school. Which is a fuck ton of work for me. (I don’t know how you folks who home school with kids in preschool, elementary, middle, & high school do it. How do you find space?! )

The thing I miss the most about teaching in a school is the prep time plus the right to control what everyone was going to be learning. This is much harder. I have to prepare on the fly for a range of topics. It’s brutal some days in terms of cognitive load. It is fucking hard breaking down every little thing into schemas and concepts and repeatable skill training.

This is why other sane people outsource this shit. But we have some genetic stuff to consider that will make us always on the edge of the bell curve. I’m glad the training exists for people in the center of the bell curve. Yay you!

Hi, I’m Krissy. I’m an outlier.

Name the metric.

I just uhm…. like to be difficult?


I should stop now. If I get up and start moving now I’ll have all my morning prep done before Noah finishes breakfast and I will be able to eat at the same time as them instead of sitting down as they finish eating. I’m a pain in the ass to take care of. I struggle to think the effort is really merited.

Know something that I find wacky? Youngest child just fucking loves to stand there and hand me pill after pill after pill. Kid says, “You have to fix the problems. You have to get your poop better so you can digest food. I want you to die when you are very very very old. So here.” It varies somewhat, but this entire experience is just…

validating as fuck.

I’m trying to figure out what I need. My issues are complicated, layered, and difficult to solve. I know you are doing what you need to do to solve your issues and it doesn’t look much like what I’m doing.

I need to figure out how to not feel so fucking bad about that. It’s ok that I need stuff other people don’t need. That doesn’t mean I’m bad. That doesn’t mean I should die so I stop stealing resources from more worthy people. It has to be ok that I need what I need.

It isn’t fair that I have the money to pay for it and other people don’t. There is no fair. There is no deserve. There is no way to have things come out even.

I had to believe there is no deserve when it was really bad. I have to believe it about the good stuff too. Or …. or I just can’t. I can’t do this. I can’t get fucking pompous and shitty and “Oh I have a good life because I deserve it. Because I worked harder than other people.”

Gag. Cough. Puke. Bullshit.

No. I really didn’t work harder than other people. Ok, I worked harder than some people. But not harder than everyone. Some people worked ten times as hard as me. They didn’t get where I am.

It’s not because I’m getting what I deserve.

Nothing is fair.

4,050 words. I should stop anyway. Oh my poor wrists. But I feel better. I feel like I’m finding the words to the parts I need to talk about without talking about what I don’t need to talk about.

That feels better.

How do I get to be me without hurting other people?

That’s the journey.

Holy crud out of the blue

I was sitting at dinner with my lovely family and out of the blue I had really strong visualization of cutting myself really badly. Cutting myself in flamboyant, very attention-getting ways. Razor blades from the wrist to the elbow. Screaming and flailing at the same time.

I have no idea where this visualization came from. It was sudden. It was intense. I had to really consciously choose to not beat my head on the table because my first impulse was to try and get it out of my head by beating my head on the table. Like I almost slammed my face into my dinner. It was disorienting and weird.

I have no idea what the fuck is up with that. Not fun.

Otherwise I’m pretty sure I’m done packing other than perishable food. It will take about 15 minutes to round it up.

We leave in just over 17 hours. I’m tired and feeling kind of flattened.

I’m going to sleep a lot. Tomorrow I want to take a very very very long bath. With epsom salts.

I find it weird that I had the intense visualization given that my general anxiety level has been going down all day. As I get closer to “go” I’ve been settling down. I’ve been feeling better. All of a sudden I feel completely not ok. But I’m going to sit on this.

How I feel doesn’t really matter. What matters is what I do. I noted to Noah, “I’ll write about it later. This is when it started.” I’m pretty sure that other than blinking more times than usual I didn’t otherwise act inappropriately.

Right this second I’m scared of going so long without a consistent witness. Who will make sure I’m appropriate?

Well tonight Noah asked/gave Calli permission to call me on having a negative attitude. I suppose she will be the one to make sure I’m not too much of a bitch.

Have I mentioned lately how much I fucking love that my children have the courage to stand up to me? Grown men are afraid of me. Not my bad ass little babies.

Shanna is developing a very negative attitude about the trip. She doesn’t want to leave Noah. I’m… trying to be ok with it. I’m being supportive of her having feelings. I am sympathizing. I’m still implacable. “We’re going. Why? Because we have things to learn.”

I feel like I am drowning in waves of guilt. We are leaving because I want to run away. Because I need a break. Because I’ve been standing in one place too fucking long. Because I have always wanted to see what the country is like. Because I wanna.

Because I wanna and I’m selfish and you have to come with me.

For just a few years you have to keep me company. I hope it isn’t too awful. I hope you will have some fun. Calli is acting like she will have fun.

I’m trying not to be an asshole about “At least one daughter likes me.” Shanna does like me. But she really likes her dad and her computer and she wants to stay. Not too long ago she was happy to follow me to the ends of the earth and I was enough. I’m having feels. I’ll get over them. This is appropriate.

I hope we will have fun together.

I hope she will not remember this as something her crazy mother dragged her through. I pray.

Both kids are still absolutely adamant that they want to keep home schooling. I’m not dragging them through everything. Shanna says that if Noah were coming with us more she wouldn’t feel resistant to the road trip. That makes sense. She says the around-the-world trip sounds awesome because he will be with us.

Yeah honey… but there are steps here we need to figure out. If we can’t make this work we can’t spend a year away. We have to manage five months away first.

We can do it. But will you still like me?

I like you. I know there are going to be years where you don’t like me much. I’m trying to be ok with it. I know it isn’t personal. It’s normal and appropriate. Lots of books tell me so.

Sometimes I find it startling how “normal” and “text-book” my kids are. They have normal, happy people problems. I love watching it. And I will continue to do whatever I must to not beat my head in front of them. I will not cut. I will not let them see me harm myself on purpose. Just no.

I will not be how you learn about these behaviors. Or, rather, you will not learn about them by watching me.

I will teach you to love your body, to say kind things about it, and to be gentle with yourself. That’s my job.

Every single time I’m having a hard time emotionally I want to say mean/petty/vindictive things. So far I have managed to bite my tongue because I chant in my head, “Their negative inside voice will not come from you.”

My goal is to ensure that my children never hear nasty tapes in their head of my voice dressing them down. That will not be our relationship.

I hear my mom scream that I am a stupid cunt. A bitch. Unwanted. Dirty. Nasty. Pathetic. I don’t know how to stop those tapes.

I can’t stop them in my head but I can make sure I don’t put them in my daughters’ heads.

I mean… I tell my kids that they are obnoxious and annoying… just like their parents. I grin while I say it. It generally comes out something like, “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TURN OUT AS ANNOYING AS ME?!?!?!” They laugh.

“You are supposed to be obnoxious. If you weren’t obnoxious you would have to turn in your kid-badge.”

When I’m being scary my kids will stand there, straight and tall, and tell me, “You are using a mean voice and you need to stop.” Sometimes they are crying… but they do it. I tell them they are right and I do stop. Thank you for telling me.

I’ve had an interesting thing with Shanna lately. I love her hair. I have always loved to stroke her head and she has mostly barely tolerated me touching her. Since it was dyed… I uhm… I’m being annoying. I want to play with it and braid it. I PAID SO MUCH MONEY! I WANT TO PLAY WITH THE COOL TOY!!! Uhm… Shanna has these opinions about it being her body or some bullshit.

Who has been telling her this crap?!

Anyway, I was trying to cajole her into letting me braid her hair. Cool pink and blue streaks are super duper fun and I like playing with plaiting. Shanna resisted some and I cajoled some.

At some point I said, “You know what… I’m pestering which isn’t cool; it is your body. If you really don’t want me to play with your hair I won’t.”

She said, “I feel like you haven’t been very respectful of my body lately.”

I felt like I got sucker punched.

I said, “Oh. Well, I think what is happening is that your boundaries are changing and I didn’t notice. We are going to have to have lots of conversations over the years. We started out with you being a little lump I carried around at all times and it was ok for me to touch you whenever I wanted. That will change slowly and sometimes quickly and I’ll need to be told. I can’t read your mind to know when you change. Also, I’ve been pushing harder on brushing your hair for a few reasons. Know how we make a lot of unconventional choices like not going to school?”

She nodded.

“Well, when you choose to not do what most people do most of the time then you risk people having to come check up on you. Unfortunately when folks from the government come to check on kids… one of the first things they look at is whether you are clean and your hair is brushed. It’s stupid. It isn’t a measure of how well you are taken care of, not really. But people can look at it from a distance. I’ll try to be more respectful though.”

She asked a few more questions about the government checking up on families and then agreed that a basic brushing is reasonable daily. I’m to back off on wanting to play though.

It sucks.

I have watched a lot of movies about mothers and daughters this year. Lots. Dozens maybe. I’m on a kick. It is surprising to me how mother/daughter relationships are twisted around appearance and hair and the perceptions of other people. My relationship with my mom was complicated. She wanted my hair to be about 2″ long so that she didn’t have to be embarrassed all the time about how bad I looked.

I have to respect it when my daughters say no. Even if I don’t want to. Even if it would make *me* happy to ignore their wishes. I’ve got a long game going. I want them to be my friends in thirty years.

Given how cool I am at 33 I bet Shanna is going to be way fucking cooler at 37. Yeah, I really want to know them in thirty years. I want to be friends. And that means I have to be appropriate when they are kids.

It is harder some days than others. Today being appropriate is hard. I think I did ok though.

We went to get passports. We went to the bank; both girls are now square when it comes to allowance. Their savings accounts are up to date. My kids get $2/week for saving. So Shanna has over $700. It’s… honestly a bit weird. I couldn’t have imagined having so much when I was that age. Heck, it isn’t real to her. The $5/week of walking around money is what she sees. I’ve been talking to them about the save money for a while. They only kind of get it.

I drew the watering diagrams for the yards. I’m ready. It’s time to go.

I love you, Wonderland. I’ll come back.

Crossing fingers.

I think the kids will be ok for Disneyland. They are acting ok. They have completely dismantled the normal state of furniture in the living room to build a fort by 7am. They don’t do that when they are sick.

Yesterday I found out that one of my good friends is going to be gone as long as I will this year. And our trips only somewhat overlap. So we will be in different places for the majority of the year. Feels. It’ll be ok–but I’ll miss her. It was hard enough thinking I got 5 months off. Now that I know I get 8 months off… Bummer. Happens though.

I feel like the house remodel will be a strange gift. I’m going to have a very different social load. Most everyone I know wants to be entirely *out* of the house for months while a remodel is happening. I want to be home. I want to answer questions and micromanage shit and drive the poor contractors crazy. We will probably spend more time than usual hiding in the back yard while they work in the house/in the front yard.

I’m pretty sure I know where I’m going to move the flowering maple and the reading circle. I’ll do that when I get back from Disneyland. Maybe I’ll start digging the hole today. It’s going to be a lot of work.

I really love my back yard now. No, I don’t want to cover it in concrete to make it “safer”. (I really don’t understand how pouring concrete under my swing set would make it “safer” but people have weird views. The contractor asked us if we wanted him to fix up the back yard. I all but screeched “NOOOO”.)

I appreciate my life. I’m glad to be here. Right this minute I feel very little anxiety, just pressure about how much work is coming up. I can live with “pressure” instead of anxiety.

Not feeling productive.

I intended for Saturday and Sunday to be rest days. Then Monday became a rest day. And Tuesday. And now on Wednesday… I’m going a bit batty.

Did an hour of yard work this morning. Some planning stuff for trip. Crossed a bunch of tasks off my “to do” list. But I did most of it sitting still so I feel like a slug.

I need to find the energy to go move a bunch of plants in my front yard. But I’m feeling intimidated. That’s going to be a huge job.

I think that I am going to take cuttings from the rosemary to start over, but let them plow the sucker. It’s huge and I don’t really want to try and dig it out. Besides, I only need about 1/4 of that size of plant for my herb needs. I want to move the mums. They were a present from friends. I don’t think I’m going to worry about moving the cactii and geraniums. Those can be plowed. I’ll get more cactii in the future. Geraniums are a pain in my back side.

That leaves the oregano and the flowering maple. I’m scared of losing the flowering maple. It’s doing so well in my yard. But it’s gotten pretty big. I have no idea where to move it. Front yard? Back? I don’t have a good spot. The internet indicates it shouldn’t be too hard to move because I’m supposed to hack it back in March anyway. Awesome. Says up to 1/3 should be taken off. That will help me move the sucker. It can get up to 10′ tall! Maybe I do have a nice spot in the back yard…. Also sounds like maybe I should propagate a few branches in case my main plant dies. Then I have back ups.

I really like the flowering maple. It’s pretty. I’d be sad to lose it.

I also need to move my “reading circle” from the front to the back. That’s going to be some back-hurting labor. Oh-the-well. I’ll manage. We use it more than you’d think. We like playing on it.

Plugging along. I want to get up and DO stuff. But it’s still a good idea to rest. Sigh.

Busy day.

This morning the kids and I woke up and did an hour or so of house work. Then we went out in the yard and did 3-ish hours of yard work. Then we went to a tea party with friends. Then the friends came back to the house with us to play for a while. Now the kids are with the babysitter and I’m hiding in the garage for a while.

When I say “we did yard work” I mean I told the kids they had to weed under the trees before they got screen time. I’m so mean.

I put up the travel trailer for the kids (and their friend) to play in. I put it up, took it down, and they had a lot of time to play in an hour. Yay! This sucker will work out.

I feel like today I’ve had more energy than I’ve had in months and months. Part of me wonders how much of that is related to mending bridges with a friend. Not sure.

I finished attaching the landscaping fabric to the pallets in the back yard. I lined the planter boxes with fabric then covered it with cardboard. I moved all the stupid decorative white rocks into one of the planter boxes and I probably have enough rocks for drainage in that one. I need more rocks for the other two boxes. Then I need fill-dirt. Unfortunately Fremont soil is a clay nightmare. Tomorrow we have a few hours in the morning to work before Lego Club. I’m not sure what we will work on. Probably housework. Lots of laundry to fold.

I miss Noah. But I’m actually having fun with him not being here. I cleaned the bathroom. I’m hoping to get the house really clean before he gets back because he likes coming home to a clean house. I haven’t had the house clean since the housewarming party at the beginning of December. I know people think I keep my house spotless all the time… not so much. I go months without cleaning up entirely.

Heck, I only file once a year. That mess gets kind of insane. I file right before tax time. Because I’m a lazy bastard.

My back hurts and my arms hurt. But my front yard has made lots of progress towards being ready for the remodel. (I cleaned up the front yard a lot.) I have a few plants I want to move. The mums can go further towards the street in the front yard. The rosemary and sage and oregano I hope to propagate and move them to the back yard. I want an herb garden in the back.

I’m probably still a few days away from being ready to plant the mushroom kit. I only have like three more weeks. Eek! I hope to be ready to plant it before Noah gets home on Monday. Oh crap. We should also do the carnivorous plants kit. The seeds are in the fridge. I forgot about them. Crap.

Today the kids impressed me. We were in the car and Shanna and I were bickering. Calli said, “Will you two stop arguing. I am hungry and I’m getting grumpy and I’m tired of hearing arguing.” Then Shanna said, “Yeah. I’m hungry and getting grumpy too. Can we stop arguing?” I thought that was awesome. Yes ma’am. I’ll stop arguing. So happy.

Holy crap my arms hurt.

Some days are like that.

I’m in a bad mood. So I’m out here to medicate and write and hope I can cheer myself up.

My arms hurt. That doesn’t help. It also means that writing is questionable.

Noah and I have been bickering. We don’t get all the way to fighting. Neither of us allow that. We walk away before it escalates. But there is a lot of tension right now. Noah looks at almost any problem as if you have to have a problem-proof solution before you can change things. I think that favors the people already in power (like him) and I think sometimes you blow shit up without knowing how things will work out. Might get better, might get worse.

Given how well his life is going for him I see why he doesn’t appreciate assholes like me. For the life of me I don’t understand why he wants to be married to me.

I’m feeling my feelings. I told him this morning that sometimes I wonder how long we will be married. It isn’t Noah’s fault that sometimes I look at him and see the enemy. I’m not the most rational person on my best days. I wonder if I will be able to get over myself. It isn’t that I think Noah is actually doing anything so bad. But he has a lot of opinions I’m openly contemptuous towards. That’s really hard on a marriage. He tries to be patient with me, but it is very hard to be nice to someone who is contemptuous.

Would I respect him more if he built houses or fixed cars instead of building video games? I clearly didn’t go marry someone in one of those professions. There isn’t a lot of ambition in most construction workers or mechanics. They solve the problem in front of them and that is good enough for today. I really like and admire ambition. How come it had to come packaged with video games? Because that is how it works for my generation. I like Noah. I like how his brain works. I do kind of wish that someone as smart and talented and basically competent did… I don’t know.

He wants to work with computers. I married someone who has been obsessed with computers since he was seven. He doesn’t want to work for the government and he does want to make money. That means you go to the highest bidding company and frequently those are places like… video games.

Just because I don’t play them doesn’t mean they have no financial value to someone.

I feel existentially bothered by video games and I don’t know how much of that is tied to my brothers beating me up when I asked to use their consoles.

I really am a fucking asshole.

This is compounded and escalated by feelings I’m having about friendships. I thought of someone it would be nice to see. I added her to a Google group. Well, I sent her an invite. She told me since she would never come to my events she wouldn’t bother to join the group. But I could come visit her some time if I wanted.

I know a lot about her life and surrounding circumstances. I get it. She has experienced rapid physical decline over the last few years. She is barely getting her job done and her social life has evaporated. It’s not about me. It is not personal at all.

But I have a lot of disabled recluses in my life. If I went from friend to friend every day I would only see a couple of people twice in a month. People who have their own disabilities tend to have more patience with my deficiencies. I have periods where I don’t go anywhere or see anyone for a long time and my friends wait them out.

But I know a lot of people. I can’t carry the weight of going from house to house visiting my friends. Even if I want to. Even if I put them on a rotation and only see 1-3 in a month it is hard.

I wish I had more spoons but I don’t. I have just over fourteen more years where parenting needs to get basically all of my patience and “give” to anyone other than myself.

I don’t feel like a very good friend. This person in particular has been very frank with me that the hourglass is running out on her life. She will not live with the kind of pain she has right now for much longer. I have a lot of respect for that. I think people get to decide for themselves when they hurt too much and they need it to stop. Even if that means suicide.

So I feel like a giant asshole for not wanting to prioritize a lot of visits to her house. I will only have the privilege of her presence for a few more years, at most. How dare I waste even one minute of that time?

But if I prioritize her pain over my own and over making sure I have a network of people who are good for my kids I will be doing the most important job I will ever have badly.

Some people in the Leather community are shitty about boundaries with children. I don’t take my kids around them much even if I love them a lot and think they offer great value to the world.

My kids don’t need to grow up in Leather. No thanks. They don’t need to know it is a culture. They don’t need to talk about being from a multi-generational kink family. (I met a cousin at a national bdsm conference. He says his father and grandfather are openly involved. Seriously. My brother and I have had conversations. My family is so fucked up.)

It is kind of hard to make mercenary choices about who I let my kids spend their time with. I feel really guilty and mean. But I’m going to do it anyway and live with the guilt.

It is hard to make real conscious choices about how my kids are spending their time. It is hard to step back and objectively evaluate “What kinds of relationships do they have and how are these relationships serving them?” My kids are treated very much like clients if I were a case manager. “What kind of care are they getting?”

It is hard to evaluate myself. Much harder than evaluating other people. I can’t see me objectively and my evaluations match my overall self-esteem which means I have more days where I think I am doing badly than days I feel like a good parent. But I persevere because I have a lot of external validators in place telling me to keep on keeping on because I’m doing ok.

I can’t evaluate myself. So I try to make sure my evaluators are people whose opinion is worth listening to. They need to have enough experience in doing what I’m doing that I will listen to them. I like older women a lot. I am a serious asshole about discounting the opinions of people who have never done what I am doing.

Meh. How can you judge. How do you know? When it’s not like everyone who has done stay at home parenting (or even home schooling) is really fit to judge anyway. I’m inconsistent. And an asshole.

I tried to get a bunch of yard work projects done this week. I entirely failed and I feel bad about myself. Part of the problem is lack of upper body strength. Part of the problem is that many of these projects are two person projects because you require three or four hands at times and…

I can’t ask the kids yet. I get too impatient and grumpy and it isn’t fair. I can’t ask.

So my lack of productivity (even though I kept up with house chores and nearly a full time job of socializing) means I feel really shitty about myself. Cause I’m like that.

“If you didn’t let blame take up so much space in your mind….”

Oh fuck you. Did you sit down with a catalogue and pick how your brain works? No? Then shut the fuck up.

I only hear such commentary from people who are highly successful in repressive regimes. By those standards the most success I have had under such a system was marrying well. I really think it’s kind of idiotic to think I am otherwise going to be like people who grew up to be successful in such a regime. I haven’t done so hot on my own.

I’m not financially secure because I’m good at the system. I had some lucky horrible luck. That’s uhh, not the same thing as being good in the system.

I had an extended runway in the form of an accident settlement. It’s not that I’m that good. How would anyone else do if they were given $250,000 slowly between 18 and 32?

I’m not that special. I’m not someone who has risen in this system. Expecting me to be supportive of the system and expecting me to think well of the system is… kind of dubious.

I’m aware that the rug can be yanked out from under me at any point. I’m not secure. My status is not my own. It’s borrowed at best. I’m not going to be real loyal to borrowed status. I don’t care that much if it is lost.

I wonder how long my marriage will last. I’m afraid I’m not going to be capable of being as nice as Noah deserves. I won’t stay and abuse him. If I get too bad I will just go. No one deserves to be punished for all the broken in me. And I’m not sure I can be nice forever to someone who is so supportive of the status quo.

Today I feel very scared and very sad.

Today I feel very sure that I can ruin any good thing and make it bad. It’s just a talent. I can drive anyone away. Just give me some time. And if I can’t drive them away I’ll run away. One way or another I am going to find a way to prove that I don’t deserve to be loved. I am too bad.

I should probably stop writing and stop crying. We need to leave for Hindi class in 15 minutes.

Not a nice person.

Periodically I see references to the idea that every is a good person from their own point of view. Everyone views themselves as the misunderstood protagonist of their own story. Not me. I think of myself as more like an anti-hero. I am not morally superior. If anything I am inferior.

A long time ago it started to seem to me that being a hero was something that just wasn’t available to people like me. I am certainly a protagonist in my story though I am probably mainly an antagonist in other peoples stories.

As Agatha likes to say, “I can work with that.”

I don’t see a lot of point in working hard to be nice.

If I felt physically threatened I probably wouldn’t call the police I probably would beat the shit out of the person threatening me. I’m not so much with the “lawful good” personality trope.

Ok, the first thing I would do is verbally clear up the fact that this person knows it is a really stupid idea to threaten me. That clears up like 99% of issues without violence.

But it is backed up with the real and serious threat of violence. That means I’m not a nice person. I can work with that.

I’m not going around beating people up for casual insults or for doing things I don’t like. I am too apathetic for such shenanigans.  I will only hurt someone if I believe I must do so for self defense. I have experienced an unusually broad range of conflict from mild verbal to physical fights.

Calli turns four in August. Then we all get to enroll in martial arts. Whee! It will be good for us. Maybe they can teach me more control over my abysmal temper.

The goal isn’t now or ever to be a nice person. I want more control over how and when I am not-nice but that doesn’t mean I want to be a nice person.

What makes someone a “good” person or a “bad” person. Are all soldiers automatically bad because they have the potential to kill? Some of them even have. The ones who do kill people tend to come home totally fucked up.

I’ve never killed anyone. Does that make me a good person? But if someone hurt my babies and I thought the police were going to do nothing… Well I don’t feel real bound by the 10 Commandments anyway.

I’d take that person to the desert. My babies are off limits. The penalty for fucking with them is your life.

Does the fact that I will defend my children make me a good person? If I don’t defend my children am I a good person or a bad person? I would be a non-aggressive person. A passive person.

Mostly I just make sure they aren’t alone with people. Not even for a few minutes. And they know ALL the technical names for their body parts and explicitly that anything covered with panties is *private* and people who touch you there mean you harm when you are a kid.

My kids will not be victims.

And I’m very ok with that meaning that I can’t be a nice person. Ok. No problem. I lost that potential long, long ago anyway. I will be fierce instead.

If I were still trying to be a nice person I think I would be paralyzed with fear. I have too much bad in me that might leak out if I say the wrong thing. I might have to stop talking altogether if I wanted to be “nice”.

The little slice of the world I inhabit isn’t very nice. I think it is funny that so many of these writers know only people who think they are nice. Really? I know a lot of people who would laugh at the idea that they are “nice people”.

My shrink says that people who have had easy lives don’t feel comfortable standing near me and that is a lot of why I know so many people with ridiculous trauma histories. She tries to get me to understand that my view of the world is perhaps a bit skewed.

I know a lot of former childhood prostitutes, male and female. I know a lot of people who have been arrested for violence. I know a lot of rapists. I know a lot of people who beat the shit out of people for fun or money. Not like, mafia beat people up or anything.

I didn’t manage to end up friends with the nice fluffy spank-o-philes who just like a nice spanking. I know the people who want to be cut up with razor blades and long whips and turned completely black and blue from all the terrible bruising.

I broke a bone in a scene and didn’t stop the scene for health care. I stayed tied up for hours. We stayed at the party for a while after the scene before we bothered going to the hospital.

Pain is part of my life in a way it isn’t for most people.

I’ve had two hard pregnancies followed by two hellish labors (One unmedicated for 40 hours the other unmedicated for nine days) and neither was anywhere near as painful as when a large man picked me up by my pectoral muscles and shook me like a dog with a toy.

I thought that feeling was so overwhelming I would completely and totally combust from pain. That is still my personal 11. Nothing has been as painful as that.

And I have pictures from a long and storied relationship before that showing how I worked up to it.

Then the week after the hardest scene ever Noah asked me to marry him. Then things changed.

Let me tell you, there is no way to tell the story of me and Noah without it sounding like a rescue mission. All of these pieces fit together and layer.

My Owner was pretty happy with Noah as a partner for me. He gave me Daddy’s permission to date that nice boy. Even Puppy (a not-nice person I dated in between the times I dated Noah) gave me his blessing when I married Noah.

Pretty much all of my ex’s came to my wedding reception. They were all jolly and happy and very glad to see me with someone who wanted to jump through the hoops they were not fucking interested in jumping through.

I feel lucky. Despite the fact that I am not very nice people still love me. As much as I talk about being a raging asshole… that doesn’t actually come out much any more. It did when I was much younger. It did when I was a kid, a teenager. I had it mostly under control by my twenties and I’m doing really well in my thirties.

think mean thoughts but I mostly keep them to myself. To people I say the nice things I think. I’ve learned better how to filter them at full speed. Like all skills it has taken a lot of practice.

But I’m still not nice. Because if I need to say mean things in order to create the effect I want to create I will fucking well do that and probably not feel bad for more than a few seconds.

I have no problem with being nasty to racists but I’m working on doing it with slightly lower volume because I dislike having my throat hurt from screaming. See, still not nice.

My children are the best mirrors in the world. Children learn to treat you by watching how you treat the world around you. They don’t do what you say they do what you do. I don’t really want my kids to have to deal with the punishments that come with being a screamer. And clearly we are all screamers. So I have to figure out how to change myself.

I can’t get through this by telling them what they must do without changing me first. That really blows.

A friend commented with dismay when his childling heard the definition of rules-lawyering and was happy. “No! Don’t do that!” I encourage my kids to do it. Without yelling. Without pestering.

The pestering rule is kinda my favorite thing. Persistence is awesome! Pestering is annoying. Asking for something more than three times is pestering and then you don’t get to have whatever it is that day.


When my kids ask for something a second time all I have to say is, “That is your second request.”

And they zip up their lips faster than you can say, “Bob’s y’er uncle.”

I get the impression they react pretty much how I react when someone says their version of “You are getting close to a boundary.”

React with glee! They are defining themselves for you! This is a good thing!

When people used to ask me to leave the morning after a pick up I took that as a sign of healthy boundaries and I left happy to know that I hadn’t over stayed my welcome.

I like my house. I like that I am not going to be kicked out. I can make it as weird as I want to. It’s ok. I have permission. I don’t need no fucking permission. Something. Anything. I can do it to my house.

Kind of crazy.

I look at the houses around me and think, “Man we have different aesthetics.” My neighborhood is full of people doing shit to their houses. Some are gentrifying. Some are just doing general maintenance and repairs to the facades they created decades ago. They like the look of it.

My house right now is just one of the shittier ones (from the outside) in the neighborhood. Not quite derelict, but man do we need to do some repainting. Shabby. Not improved upon since the 1950’s.

Meh. I don’t want to spend the money so I ignore it.

We all channel our frustrations in different ways. I have lots of control issues and I’m not a very nice person. Only I can be very nice and very polite and great to talk to.

Isn’t that why sociopaths are so dangerous (not that I’m a sociopath–too much empathy)? They are so charming. I don’t have to be nasty just because I’m not a nice person.

So many layers.

Noah says I’m consistent. I think I have so many special cases that it is weird that he can find consistency.

I think it is much healthier that I now side track onto thinking about home improvement projects rather than sex or being hurt. I know that I will have to make my own status in this life. I inherit nothing positive. People think of me only as a sum of what they can see.

I can get away with whatever I try hard enough to get away with. If I want to have a community I have to go out and fucking meet the people around me and introduce myself and consistently say “Hi” and smile for years.

Having a distinctive yard is helping. “Oh! You did that!” Yup.

Small pond. A very small pond. I want to be a big fish in a very small pond. That’s all I have the spoons for. I know all those other lakes and rivers and oceans exist but they are kinda scary for me. I like my very small pond.

Here everyone walks to the table completely neutral to one another. We have no preconceived associations other than the most gross (meaning large–not necessarily yucky) and general racial and sexual assumptions.

It was just dumb luck. We happened to move to the same neighborhood during the same span of time. Let’s talk.

I have lived here longer than anywhere else in my whole life. I want to know my neighbors the way other people got to get to know their elementary school peers. I want it.

My kids need community. Communities happen when people create them. Just keep doing things.

I’m not a nice person. But I can be quite charming and fun when I put my mind to it. When I try.

This is why I try to limit my time with people to the amount of control I have to give.

I am an angry girl. But I’m not angry with you. And I try hard to differentiate my behavior better than that. You are not a representative sample of your group to be punished for the whole. No one is. No scapegoats here.

We are not a collective. We are a bunch of individuals. That is why change is so hard. It can’t be mass taught or enforced. It has to be lead.

People aren’t willing to dramatically change their opinion in public. That would mean losing face.

Grow the fuck up.

Need a rest day.

So on Thursday the girls and I decided to go to the plant nursery. Like addicts. We spent $100 on plants. Because addicts. But I now have a whole bunch of fun hanging plants in baskets out the back window like I’ve been imagining for years. (Mostly because I put hundreds of seeds in the ground and diligently watered and… nada. Stupid seeds. I hate seeds.)

I am tired and weary. Friday we painted the fence some more. It was fun but exhausting. My hands are very tired and sore. Lots of pain.

My back hurts like mad. Calli had nightmares all night long where she was begging for me so I was in their room. Oh man. Ow.

But it is going to be a nice day. Friends are coming over for Girl Genius. They will have to see a messy house cause I clean on Mondays. Damnit.

Oh man my back hurts. But I’m rereading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I have a nice huge mug of tea. Life is good.

The pictures of the fence are uploading right now but later today you can follow this link and see them.

Drips, drabs, ups, and downs.

We went up to San Pablo yesterday to see some friends. This is after that specific friend coming to my house monthly for ohhh four years now? I am starting to try and do some trips up there in exchange for all the trips to my house. The distance between us is not shorter just because he is a guy with no kids. I can do effort too.

And when I drive up there I get to spend time with his lovely wife. I find the visits to be highly educational in diverse arenas. For one thing: she knows way the fuck more about gardening than I do and she’s happy to talk about plants. Lately getting near someone with lots of plant knowledge who does not eschew my children is somewhat tricky. I’ve tried to sign up for gardening classes THAT ARE BEING ADVERTISED ON AN UNSCHOOLING MAILING LIST and I was told I would have to get babysitting. Stop fucking advertising in this space if my fucking kids aren’t welcome you fucking fuckers. I didn’t say fuck to the people in question. I just dropped it.

Beyond the gardening stuff, I am having a bit of trouble with Callidora. Well, phrasing it that way sounds more extreme than it is. Many of my parenting approaches work really well for Shanna and don’t work at all with Calli. Luckily my friends’ wife seems to identify really strongly with Calli. They are very similar temperamentally and she is giving me a lot of feedback for how to tweak our interactions so they work better.

I feel so much gratitude I don’t have words. Someone is willing to look at me and look at my daughter and look at our relationship and say, “You are doing ok, but you both might be happier if you did……”

Err, in defense of my hubris more than once I have said, “I’m afraid I am going to have to do ____” and her response was “Yes. That is exactly what you have to do.” So she isn’t entirely telling me new information. But she is very good at skimming out the bullshit and getting to the heart of the matter. “This is failing because of x.”

I don’t trust many people to give me feedback. I’m not sure why I trust her feedback as much as I do. For one thing she doesn’t use the word “should” and I’m not sure if that has become a specific trigger. Maybe I explode at people for that word rather than because I am completely unwilling to accept advice? It’s hard to tease out.

Also, she tends to say “Calli seems to be a lot like me. When I was a kid I had x and y and z experiences and this is how it went well and this is how it went badly. If Calli is as much like me as she seems right now, you are going to have to deal with a and b and c. It’s not a good idea to do d.”

I guess there is an implied “should” in that but she doesn’t say it.

It also occurs to me that I push Calli in a way I have never pushed Shanna. When Shanna was three I had a one year old. We did not spend a lot of time pushing the absolute physical limits of what she could accomplish until she collapsed in frustrated tears.

I’m having a hard time understanding fully that Calli wants to be able to do things she isn’t ready to do yet and I need to find a tactful way of bailing her out even as I push Shanna to try. Differentiated instruction is a bitch.

(Err, the bicycle riding project is coming along. We’ve hit a few hiccups. As my wise new running mate commented, “Dude. You’ve been out with them four times? Relax and do more low pressured practice.”

Yeah yeah. You may have a point. But we bought the bikes because we want to ride to the park. I need to decide in my adult brain that even if that is the eventual goal… we sure as shit can’t start by doing that. I should probably not try to leave our housing development again until June. We need more low-stakes practice than we have had. Hours and hours and hours and hours.

It is not just a form of transportation. It is about entertainment. It has to be about entertainment at first or they won’t gain enough proficiency to use it as transportation later. The transportation part doesn’t have to be worked out at three, instantly. Relax you bitch.

Medication has been spotty this week. I (re?)noticed a pattern. Whenever I get to the point of using sufficient medication that I actually feel good instead of having just the edge of the pain taken away I punish myself for days with under medicating so I feel a lot more pain. I’m not supposed to be using pot like a pot head. I’m not supposed to be trying to get high. I’m supposed to be just managing the pain.

I think I am too much of a Puritan. My sister told me I had ancestors on the Mayflower (Not her–different fathers.). Maybe it is too deeply buried within my DNA? I can’t stop believing that I must suffer. Anything that feels good MUST BE BAD.

I have been very consistent lately about giving up my morning “off time” to wake up with the kids. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. On one hand I’m more frazzled and I’m not taking a compensatory amount of time later. On the other hand… we are getting along better. When the kids open their eyes in the morning to me in their bed smiling at them… the whole day is easier. The first thing they hear every day is, “Good morning. I’m so glad to see you again. I’m looking forward to our wonderful day together.”

They smile back and say, “Me too!” then grab my neck and pull me close. Then I get a sleepy “Good morning.”

Sometimes it feels weird knowing that I do this as a parenting gesture in large part to make up for the hole in my heart. No one was ever happy to see me during my childhood. I was a terrible, unwanted burden.

I completely support mothers who need to abort children born of rape. I wish my mother hadn’t allowed her religion to force her to keep me. I was not wanted. And they made my life hell.

Now I have something different. It is so very nice. But it’s a lot of emotional and mental and physical work. And I get really tired.

When I’m tired it is harder to be consistent. When I’m scared I start screaming. That’s consistent.

Calli has asked me to stop raising my voice at her when I’m repeating orders/requests/whatever you want to call them. Demands? She told me (while making eye contact so this is serious as a fucking heart attack) “I will be able to listen to you better if you get close to me and whisper in my ear that it is important.”

If a three year old can so clearly ask for the kind of interaction she needs then I am a fucking asshole if I ignore the request. This is how I teach them ownership of their body and consent and boundaries.

I’ve been working on it. I kind of feel that I should create some accountability tool for myself. Maybe another sheet of paper on the wall. I can ask Calli to help me decide whether I approached her correctly or not and we can decide if I get a mark in the “right behavior” column or the “not so right” column. It will also help her clarify which aspects of the raised voice stuff are a problem for her.

My kids are not going to grow up thinking adults are perfect and kids need to bend to the adults around them. Ha. Ha. Ha. No. We want to live together. We need to adapt to one another.

I’m happy about the upcoming social stuff. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed that people are agreeing so delightedly to come to my events. My RSVPs fill up fast. (Err, RSVP for Easter if you are coming… not many spaces left.)

I have had something like six people in the last two weeks get really excited when I confirm that I’m hosting Easter again. “OH! You throw the best parties!”

I do?


Well that’s awesome. How do I do that? What makes them “the best” for you? Because I spend my parties in kind of an anxious hell hoping I don’t offend everyone and run them off such that they never want to come back.

And yet I keep hosting. Irony.

I don’t seem to be running people off. I mean… I do… but I don’t. I run some people off.

I feel very guilty when I admit to myself that I run off people who need things from me that I can’t give. My anxiety and shame around not being able to meet their needs makes me angry and cruel. It isn’t my fault I can’t meet their needs. It isn’t their fault I can’t meet their needs. It isn’t their fault they have needs. I have needs they can’t meet either. But I get mean. This is a major character flaw of mine.

I don’t do this with people who have small needs I can easily meet. If people need something from me that is going to be an up to five hour commitment one time… I love doing that. That helps me feel like I am part of a community and I’m useful and all kinds of good feelings. When someone starts to need 3-10 hours of work from me every fucking week in order to have a relationship with them…

I get mean. I am awful. I am not a nice person. I don’t know how to have healthy limits without being an asshole. I’m not making excuses or justifying my behavior. It’s wrong.

I have been talking to a friend a lot about how different it is in America versus other more crowded countries. Americans apologize for bumping into someone. In China you would never say any word other than “sorry”. So they don’t bother.

I spend a lot of time apologizing for taking up space. I spend a lot of time apologizing for being inconvenient. I spend a lot of time apologizing for not being able to do/be what someone else wants/needs.

I am sorry I am so inadequate. I clearly see that I am.

Right now I’m having anxiety attacks because some folks are mad at me. Folks I don’t really need to “care” about per se. They aren’t my friends. They are the close friends of one of my friends. They are mad at me because my vomiting on Friday caused them some inconvenience. I have apologized profusely for inconveniencing them. I’m sorry they were brought into the situation by our mutual friend. But yeah. I’m the bitch.

And I feel consumed with shame and I have for days. I inconvenienced them. I stole hours of their life and made them about me when they already kind of hate me. I’m really sorry. I did apologize. I have not been acknowledged and that is what I assumed would happen.

I get into these situations. I’m sorry I inconvenienced you. I have very little control over when I vomit. I’m just glad I didn’t make a mess on my floor.

But it impacted your life. And you wish I didn’t impact your life. So you are angry with me because I popped up and existed in a way you couldn’t tune out.

I’m really sorry.

This is more or less why I avoid that whole segment of the “community”. I don’t really like feeling like I am doing something wrong by breathing in a way they can hear.

So yeah. I don’t think I will teach with my friend again. There is a bunch of stress in the lead up and if I get sick there is lots of acrimony, blame, and anger. Not from my friend. He was mellow about the situation. But he didn’t feel qualified to handle the class alone and those are the other people he has in his life to turn to for support.

Yeah well, me hanging around near them feels like an abusive family reunion where they all wish I would drop dead. The sooner the better.

More one of them than the other but… well that’s not a story I’ll write down yet. Maybe a few more decades. It being thirteen years ago still isn’t long enough. Some day.

It’s not all her fault. I was a bitch. But man. Oh man. Ok. Shiny change of topic.

I’ve been having a lot of feelings all week over that. I was doing great last week until I started vomiting on Friday.

I associate vomiting with letting people down and being a bad and weak person. When I get sick my association is that I will also be in trouble for some reason. I am inconvenient when I’m sick.

Noah is working hard to change some of these patterns. He’s nice when I’m sick. He does a lot of telling me that it isn’t my fault and I didn’t do anything bad. I feel really pathetic for needing it. But I do. And he does it. I am so grateful for him as a partner.

I like teaching though. I will look for more opportunities to teach. Just no co-teaching in a situation potentially wrapped in shame-inducing trauma. When I had to cancel a class as a professional teacher… no one made me write a formal apology. I’d like to go back to that kind of treatment. Thanks.

My running mate wants me to stop thinking of writing as a hobby and start thinking of it as a business. I’ve sold enough forking copies of my book that I can stop pretending I’m not a real writer. I shouldn’t have to pay for my book editing and publishing stuff out of my “fun money”. It’s not my hobby. Noah doesn’t take his business expenses out of his fun money. It’s a separate category in the budget. It’s not very healthy for me to demean myself in this fashion.

I will severely limit my career as a writer if I can’t employ an editor until I save up enough fun money by denying myself everything. Denial as a full-time lifestyle in a household that otherwise has a lot of privilege… that’s kinda self-hating. It’s being weird. It’s unhealthy.

Why do women do this to themselves? My writing “doesn’t count”. It’s just… something I do. Like the laundry. And when there are expenses for it, well, they are “mine”, right?

I developed a lot of habits over the years of having the annuities and living with men. What I could have was very strictly limited to what I had in that $1200 every month. I didn’t over extend. And now I have no real personal income and… I’m flailing. The $100/month of fun money is… not enough. Not for me to feel like I can track all of “my” spending separately from household stuff.

We just have a clothes budget. It is for all four of us. If someone gets something then the other three have to wait a while. *shrug* But it changes how I think of things. Although… when I bought the pretty clothes in Portland I took a big chunk out of my personal money. I spent more than $500 on two items of clothing. It didn’t seem fair to make my family give up that large a share of the clothes budget on me getting two items. So more than $300 came out of my fun money. That seemed fair to me.

When the kids really get a big clothes splurge… it goes in the “kid” section even though mostly they come out of the main category.

The kids have a big section of the budget that is amorphously used for classes, home school supplies. books, toys, gear of whatever kind (was baby carriers and diapers now it has moved on to bikes), and rarely clothes.

A long time ago I consciously went out and started spending time with older men. They could talk to me about money. How they got it. What they did with it. I made my own judgments about who lived in which kind of house and who had how much money. I’ve always been tactless as fuck. I would point blank ask them how much cash they had in the bank and whether or not they had investments.

I didn’t understand most of what they told me. But I remembered it. It’s kind of funny to have little memories float up now and again as I’m trying new things with investing.

Be sure you are right, then go ahead. I will, Davey. I will research and research and research and I’ll figure out what I think is right. Of course I know I could always be wrong. Some minute change in my life might make all of my careful risk calculations moot and irrelevant.

I have no way of predicting that. So I have to just act and hope for the best.


Debt is evil.

Make your money work for you.

Pay yourself first.

Sometimes I think I turn to these mantras as the only way I have of blocking out all the voices in my head who want me to think I am stupid and a bitch and I should just stop inconveniencing them by breathing.

I’ve been really stunned by the intensity of my suicidal ideation this week.

I also haven’t been doing my daily check in calls with my friend. She’s really busy on a project. She’ll be back in a week or so. I support and respect her participation in this event and that means she has no time to think about me. I am a big girl and I’ll keep my big girl panties on.

It is interesting how suicidal ideation is not always about depression. I don’t feel like I am feeling depression symptoms. This is more on the anxious/overwhelmed side. Manic is a word people like. But I’m not… doing anything manic.

Just out of the blue driving on the freeway I see a weird opening where it would be possible to turn and be hit by a semi-truck and I want to do it more than I want anything in the world. I want in that moment to feel a lot of pain and then die. I want it as much as my heart wants to beat. It is immediate and visceral and all encompassing.

I have to breathe very lightly and lift my hands so I have a very light guiding pressure on the steering wheel. Sometimes I get off the freeway to breathe and stretch my neck and remind myself, “Not today.”

The reasons I don’t like driving are varied and complicated and… I’m willing to bet that someday I will not be able to drive any more. It is part of the reason I am as strongly motivated to make friends near my house as I am. Walking will always be a good idea. Forever. For my health.

Thanks, Pam, for letting me write this morning.

My head feels better. I feel a lot less shame. Writing it down helps.

I don’t need to feel shame because other people would prefer that their world didn’t overlap with mine. I could reject our mutual friend so that they never have to hear about me again, but given that he values his relationship with me that seems kind of awful.

But I think I should have different boundaries. Still working on where those need to be. Boundaries are tricky things. You only find out you have them when they are transgressed. Ha. THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE CLASS. And what I got out of it is: I need to make sure I never have to deal with your extended friends again. Awesome.

That’s a lesson I can learn.

They aren’t going to like me. No matter what. Ever. I need to not care about that. They are allowed to have their experience of the world where I am… something. I don’t know what. I shouldn’t speculate. I would surely overstate my importance. I certainly don’t suspect that either of them while away hours just hating me. I’m not that important.

So I don’t need to feel shame because they are feeling irritation. That’s not something I need to take on. I gave an apology. I offered restitution to the best of my ability. That’s what I’ve got. Move on. I didn’t vomit on purpose.

And when I feel shame for my social behavior I rush home to assure myself that I am managing my money properly. No one is going to be able to force me to move. I’m allowed to stay here. I’m jumping through all the hoops that actually matter for my life. I don’t have to care that they dislike me. There won’t be any consequences.

And then I can stop thinking about it.

Thank you internet. That’s the end of my confession for today. I have some dirt to play with and a fence to sand. Tomorrow a bunch of little kids are going to come paint a few sections. We are adding more year by year. Drips and drabs. It’s really fun.

Saturday is the Girl Genius Volume 1 read aloud. Email me for details if you want to come hear Noah do all the hilarious voices.

Teaching was fun.

The internet gave me the tentative go-ahead to carry on with my plans since they were more than 24 hours after the last uhm incident. So I taught a class yesterday. It was on boundary transgressions.

The word “rape” didn’t come up. I feel… fairly flabbergasted really. It was not that kind of crowd. We had eight students, so not a big class. Three women. Two of the women were ladies who have been around the block a few times and they were frankly inspirational. They frequently came up with better (more tactful, polite AND effective) responses to boundary violation situations than I did. I’m so glad they came.

This was mostly a new-to-bdsm crowd who wanted to learn more about social boundaries and trying new things. I hope I gave them some things to think about and some exercises to practice. *cross fingers* A couple of people left mid-way and the rest of the class said they were very happy to be there and they learned a lot.

I was surprised by how effectively I co-taught with my friend. I kind of thought that would be a bit rocky. I also kind of forgot “Oh yeah… I’m a writing teacher…” and most bdsm classes aren’t really writing classes. But mine involves writing! I brought paper and pens and everything. And they wrote. Like you do.

It was good though. Self-evaluation kind of stuff you don’t necessarily have to share with the class. They spent the time scribbling furiously so I don’t think they were completely unengaged.

So hard to judge.

There was a point about victimization I never made because it never fit appropriately in the conversation. It was a really… non-traumatized crowd. I remain shocked that most of the bdsm community does not come to bdsm through trauma. I *know* it is true… and yet I feel surprise. Every time I rediscover. “Oh wait. Not everyone is like me.”

But the point was: living in a state of perpetual victimhood will ruin your life. Yet sometimes you have to come to a place within yourself where you understand that for a limited time and duration you were a victim or you can’t grow past that place. You have to be able to recognize that everyone can be a victim but you don’t want to be a victim forever. You have to figure out how to change your mindset after a boundary violation and take back your right to respond.

You always have ways to respond you just haven’t thought of yet. Keep going back to your inner resources and brain storming ways to do it differently next time.

Alas. I made a similar sort of line of commentary but not explicitly that language. These people weren’t victims and they clearly didn’t understand the language of victimhood. It was interesting to adapt on the fly.

We did some fun role playing. Even though not everyone was eager to “act” everyone verbally participated a lot. I made everyone be talkative since the class was so small. I’m really good at that patient-smile-while-people-feel-pressured-to-talk. I’ll just grin expectantly at you while making lots of eye contact. We’ll see who can be silent. Muahahaha.

My co-teacher gave me some specific good feedback (less second person, he worried about one of my lack-of-eye-contact points I countered with “but if you make eye contact during writing assignments they stop writing because they think time is up” he said that was a good reason).

I had a great time. Lots of anxiety around the event for a variety of socially awkward reasons but it worked out. I’m glad I was well enough to attend.

And I signed the paperwork. I no longer have any legal ties to the coffee shop in San Francisco. It is being bought by two new enthusiastic owners. Everyone is excited. It’s staying within the community. Yay! I helped keep the coffee shop open because I wanted that to be a community space for all the young freaks who need it. I’m really glad that more people in the extended community are getting involved. It is more likely to last this way. Yay! Yay!

All in all, canceling Saturday was sad but we had a great weekend. We got to rest on Saturday and maybe that is for the best anyway. We have busy stuff coming up.

Oh! And the hot tub is gone! Hallelujah! I get to clean up and organize my back yard more. The Easter party will be epic. I’m growing to enjoy the Easter parties more by the year. I’m figuring out what I enjoy and what doesn’t work. I’m really pretty surprised that I can hide as many hundreds of eggs as I manage on my tiny property. But I find them for eight months.

I think that the Easter party is partially so fun because I’m not competing with much other holiday stuff. Ok, I lose people for Passover. That’s ok. It’s not Christmas-time. It isn’t over-all as stressful of a time of year.

I bought way way way less candy this year. Last year was overwhelming. See, I learn.

If the weather cooperates this Friday home schoolers will be coming over to paint the fence. This will be fun. I get the impression at least a few folks will come to hear Girl Genius.

This week is a running week with J. Maybe if we are going to do alternative weeks on Tuesdays and Saturdays we should make those running dates split up so we see one another once a week but not on the same day every week. Maybe. I’m going to keep up the running this year. Darn it.

It is time for the monthly pilgrimage to San Pablo this week. That’s a long drive. But seeing those folks in their home is important. The kids have to learn to manage grown-up-only houses. It’s a process.

It will be a very busy and hopefully fun week. Only four hours of driving scheduled over the next ten days. That should be nice. Yay for staying home and having people come to me.

my life is good when I’m not chemically out of whack

The new ergonomic keyboard doesn’t have all the parts necessary to work. This is annoying. That is going to be the low point of my day. Which is really cool. I can exchange my biggest problem of the day.

Every single day I wake up grateful for Noah. He is so nice to me. He is so kind. I have received more love and caring in the past seven years than in the previous twenty-five years put together. I am so lucky.

Many people have childhoods as bad as mine. Most of them don’t go on to have happy adult lives. At this point in time my strife feels like stuff I’m opting into or it is so structurally vast that it isn’t really a day-to-day problem for me. I have conflicts with my friends because I pick intelligent, opinionated, fierce people for my life. I go out and hand select them out of the bunch of quieter and more complaisant people. I can’t bitch that we have conflict. I can learn how to manage it without having a heart attack–damnit. Or I’m fighting things like rape culture and whereas it is a problem every day it isn’t a Daily Problem if you know what I mean.

If I was hungry that would be a Daily Problem. If I didn’t know how I was going to pay rent that would be a Daily Problem. I don’t have those kinds of problems anymore. My big problems are that sometimes my kids scream more than I like or I am inconvenienced by a major electronics retailer.

I just can’t bitch too loud, you know?

My garden is so beautiful lately that it takes my breath away. I MADE THAT MOTHERFUCKER!!! WHOO HOO!!!!!!!!! *happy dance*

I no longer feel like everything I touch turns to shit. Some stuff doesn’t work out. It isn’t all my fault and I am not poison. I can do things. My corn is popping up. Clearly I can do something.

I see so much green. I have more plans. It’s going to take years and every day of work will be a joy. I get to stay here long enough to make long-term plans. I get to dream about the future. Shanna likes to talk about building one of the houses next door so we can tear down the fence between the yards and build a second story walkway between the houses. (Technically she just wanted to fully connect the houses. I voted for the second floor walkway so we could still have the side yards in between for plants. She decided that I am smarter than I look. She is my kid.)

I think that sounds pretty magical and wonderful. When I remodel my house I am getting a sound proof room so my husband can beat me and no one will hear. I want to have that privacy in the future (I’m kind of sick of not being able to play at home) but I also want to have the connection with my kids. I like them as people. It’s not about having control over them forever. I enjoy their company. If they enjoy mine I’d be thrilled to keep hanging out with them. I genuinely like them.

I feel so lucky.

When you decide at seventeen that what you want is to be a home schooling parent there is a lot of room for things to not work out. I feel blessed that not only did I find a partner who is supportive but my children and I happen to have compatible temperaments. They have a lot of freedom to do things that bug me without penalty. Frequently I will acknowledge, “This is not my favorite thing. But I don’t get to control everything you do. I hope it goes well. I can’t watch.”

I feel incredibly lucky that my dreams are coming true and it’s actually a pleasant process. That is a rare dichotomy. Usually if you get what you want you find out it isn’t that great.

Noah is that great. The joy I feel spending all day with my kids is that great.

This weekend was basically perfect. I ran 12 miles. Socialized with a very old friend (16 years and counting–more than half my life now) for three hours; rocky stuff happening in her life but I’m glad she has the fortitude to take the steps she needs to take. It is kind of amazing the way her life is 100% different than it was three years ago. She has a new job in an entirely new field (she left theatre) she has a kid and she’s about to be single for the first time in a very long time. That’s a lot of big changes. Got an ergonomic keyboard and new running shoes. Otherwise we hid in the house. That’s a very slow weekend for us. Eight hours of bustle for me and no one else.

Of course because I was in the house and only busy for eight hours out of forty-eight I did a bunch of yardwork. Grow wildflowers, grow. Damn you. I hung up the hanging pots! I’ve had them for over a year and I haven’t gotten around to it. I’m getting all my residual chores done that I’ve been procrastinating on now that I’m procrastinating on editing. Doo de doo. I’ll get it done.

And the petition. I’m going for upbeat, friendly, everyone should get to live here without pain.

I’m really grateful that my neighbors are becoming so much more friendly over time. I will know everyone on the block some day. We have a new family! With kids! They are visibly Islamic so I will cross my fingers that I can behave in a socially appropriate enough way to manage to not offend the parents so our kids can be friends. My lifestyle is different. I won’t corrupt your young children.

I will wait until they are teenagers.


I will corrupt them with ideas like, “No one gets to touch any part of your body unless you actively want it to happen. If someone does so, find other adults who can help you deal with the situation.”

And, “Sex is awesome and if you want to have it then that is between you and your conscious. If you are going to have heterosexual sex, use two forms of birth control every single time you have sex. Always a condom no matter what. Always another form of birth control for the woman. If you are going to have homosexual sex then one barrier is fine. Use barriers. Every time. Even for oral.”

When you are young you don’t know what is going to happen to you 50 years from now. You won’t know you want to do until you get there. Leave as many options open as possible. Protect your body and your sexual health. There are no take backs once you contract a disease and you can’t tell by looking at people who has what. Even medical testing is iffy for a lot of diseases. Protect yourself until you are ready to have children. Or you get married and are on permanent birth control because you have ruled out kids. I don’t care what married people do. When you are a kid and you can’t take care of a kid, USE BIRTH CONTROL.

I support you having one kid, two kids, twelve kids, twenty kids (though I will instinctively wince just because oh man I can’t imagine that) or no kids at all because oh man kids are icki.

Maybe I will corrupt your kids. I want to introduce them to the concept of plurality. There can be more than one right answer. Your way isn’t the only way. My way isn’t the only way.

I admire many of the tenants of faith from all of the major religions. I think religion is mostly a set of written down rules on how to be good. Every one has their own idea of what “good” means. I think there need to be many sets of rules because we need many kinds of people.

All progress depends on the unreasonable (wo)man. If no one has a belief that is unreasonable to you then progress won’t be made. We have to stretch the borders of acceptable parameters.

Yes, autistic ways of being should be better understood and supported from earlier in life so that folks have an easier adulthood. I struggle with how to deal the bitterness from the current adults who didn’t get any help.

I understand what it feels like to desperately need help during your childhood and to not get it. I have more options for help now that I’m an adult. Autistic adults… not so much. The vast majority of all people with mental illness do not have the resources I have.

I am one of the lucky ones. How much of that is privilege granted to me by the color of my skin? How much of that has been my ability to meet the right people so I can get help? How much of that is that I first had access to state funded therapy and then I had good health insurance and then I had a rich husband?

If you prosecute your rapist then you get state funded therapy. You will be part of the victim-witness support network. That shit is worth its weight in gold. My PTSD has been classified as severe for more than half my life. The state has a vested interest in keeping me off of a bell tower with an Uzi. The state also wants me to not kill myself. The state put a lot of money into educating me and the state wants a productive citizen out of the deal, damnit.

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” JFK was a guilt trippin’ motherfucker. But he’s right.

My autistic friends teach me over and over and over and over that it really doesn’t matter what you “mean” when you say something. It matters what other people see, hear, and feel as a result of you saying something. If you play it right then you get the reaction and relationship you want. If you play it wrong then you alienate people and they hate you and blame their feelings of discomfort on you.

I’m such an asshole. I totally treat other people the way I am treated. Them’s just the rules of the jungle.

But if you consciously believe with your whole heart that it takes all kinds and there is value to every life then you ought not to be that kind of asshole. This is troubling. This is where my ethics and morals and behavior don’t line up. This is not so cool. Ok. When your behavior doesn’t match your ethics you have a few choices.

A) Ignore the mismatch and be a flaming hypocrite.

B) Acknowledge the mismatch and say, “But I have REASONS” and be a flaming hypocrite.

C) Acknowledge the mismatch and decide whether to change your ethics/morals or your behavior. This has mandatory follow up steps if the goal is to change your behavior. If you have no later checks then you will resort to “easier” instead of doing what is right.

Well, as much as I believe that it takes all kinds and everyone is valuable and shit I think that people have the right to reject me. I believe that people have the right to not want to know me. I believe that people have the right to not invite me to their parties and not invite me to their homes because I am rude and offensive. They don’t even need a reason. They can just be not that interested in me.

They have the right to not want to be my friend. I don’t get to take that away from them just because I long for community.

Like my neighbors. Some engage with me more than others. Even the ones who are clearly uninterested in a relationship they have gotten to the point of obvious recognition and acknowledgment of humanity.

My monkey sphere is pretty fucking full. It’s ok that not everyone in the whole world wants to be my best friend. I am incredibly overwhelmingly lucky to have the diverse relationships I have.

Not all of my friends are “nice people”. Some of them are canonical “nice people”. I like variety. I have something to learn from everyone. I am imperfect but striving. That is all I can do.

I’m glad when the anger passes. When the sudden rage dissipates. I don’t really “know” what causes it. It’s about a lot of different factors all exploding at once. It’s different every time.

In the wake of it I feel gratitude for the absence. I’m glad I didn’t fuck up a relationship. I didn’t scream. (One yell. But it was of the “I WOULD LIKE TO FINISH A SENTENCE WITHOUT BEING INTERRUPTED” variety and there are much worse things I could have done. Not great but I call it a win anyway.)

Children are supposed to test boundaries. That is the whole point of childhood. You learn what happens when you do things.

Shanna tries to be a joker. She likes to lighten the mood. She wants to make a face and make me laugh and have everything be all better now. It’s honestly kind of weird to me. Some of her “joking” faces have all the markers of “I want to start a fist fight”. I have taken to asking, “Is that a silly face or an angry face?” The answer is almost always, “Silly!” (She does get mad too–but that’s usually more clear and related to a situation I can understand.)

When my kids ask me to lighten up I either do so or leave the room until I can calm down because I’m flooding. They have a right to not be around a stress-tastic person. I want them to learn how to have boundaries too.

The thing about our relationship is that we always come back and snuggle after tense moments. We are incredibly physically affectionate. If my kids rejected my affection I would stop but they beg for more. I hug, cuddle, and kiss them hundreds or thousands of times a day. Maybe we have the odd day when I only kiss the top of their heads like ten times.

We check in and then we run off to do our thing again.

Are you still there? I still love you and want to be around you. Ok, I’m going to do my thing again.

I have wanted this my whole life.

I feel horrible guilt but at this point I can have two to three hours by myself on many days. My kids can be told to go in the back yard with snacks and they don’t come back for hours. I feel like I shouldn’t be abandoning them for those periods. But it’s good for all of us so I do it. Other parents don’t force their kids to be alone so they can get alone time. They put their kids in daycare so they can play with other kids instead of being forced into solitude. I don’t feel like a nice mom.

I would feel differently if Shanna were less social. I think Calli loves it. She checks in when she needs to for her hug and kiss and then she goes back to playing.

I spend my days making up songs about how much and why I love my kids. My children will not be the type to grow up and wonder if their parents loved them. My kids are more on the smothered end. Only I take them to the park and classes and parties and turn them loose. They are very engaged with the world and they do not allow me to mediate any more. Shanna flat tells me to leave her alone at parties. She knows that my anxiety cramps her style. It’s… a little weird. But she seems to be working with what she has so we’ll see where it takes her.

I’m not the boss of her life. I mean, I sort of am for a little while. But not for forever. It is my job to teach her the rote body memory necessary for caring for yourself with ease an adult. You will just be used to “This is what we do all day to take care of our bodies.” It won’t be this weird thing that involves transactions with other people all day long to get your basic needs met.

The thing I hate the most about all the American bastards who wrote about “self sufficiency” and “self reliance” and living out in the woods by themselves WOULD HAVE STARVED if not for the generosity of women in their communities.

Fuck your self reliance.

And yet! There is a basic level of self care that I believe that every human being should have. I feel rather disturbed by the number of adults I know who say, “I can barely boil water”. What the hell. That shows a dramatic and disturbing hole in your education. Your parents failed you. I’m sorry for that.

See, I’m a judgmental bastard all over the place.

And if you catch me on the wrong day I may rant at you about how debt (in particular consumer debt and school loans) is the boogeyman. It will eat your soul. It will force you into a crappy and terrible life where you have no ability to change the system. Debt will make you a slave.

Ugh and ick. I’m looking forward to the days of not having a mortgage. I feel grateful for this fact. I’m scared I won’t manage it in the five years I was hoping to do it. I’m afraid it may take six or seven because then we will have to come up with mortgage payments during the WWOOF year and that will be kind of annoying.

But it wouldn’t be the end of the year. And maybe if we rented out our house for pretty much the mortgage we could make it work.

“I will find a way or make one.” Roman Carthaginian general Hannibal didn’t fuck around.

The number of opportunities in your life increase as you build skills. I feel increasingly confident that I can meet the challenges that come my way. I may not get rich–but I think I will manage our resources well enough to not eat cat food in my old age. At that point my supposed food ethics may go to hell. I will eat what I can afford. I had better never develop actual gluten issues or I’m fucked. Giving up ramen would be traumatic.

I don’t have a lot of answers. I think I am ready to set some boundaries in a nice voice without being an asshole. I feel more relaxed after the weekend. I feel grateful that my problems are this small.

Six days till my next race. I’m ready but I may be slow. That will be ok too. I hope to best  three hours. We’ll see.

My life is pretty cool.

Wired for sound.

That’s the expression I use for vibrating with anxiety. I woke up because a kid turned the bathroom light on. I need more sleep. But I’m AWAKE.

Yesterday we went to the kid dentist. Both kids got A+ from the dentist. I feel weird about them getting graded. After telling Shanna with great enthusiasm that her teeth were perfect the dentist looked like he was sucking a lemon when I said that Shanna has been brushing and flossing herself for a bit over a month now. “That’s not ok. She’s not able to get her teeth clean yet.” …. did you or did you not just tell me that her teeth were perfect?

He’s also concerned about the size of Calli’s tonsils. Especially given that I do the gasping for air thing that probably means I have sleep apnea. The dentist also bitched me out for that. I should go do a sleep study and seek treatment because apparently sleep apnea can take up to six years off your life.

“You don’t understand. That gasping for breath sends your body into fight or flight mode. That can shorten your entire life span.”

“Uhm, with all due respect I have PTSD and live in a hypervigilant hell of fight or flight every day. I don’t think the sleep apnea is what is going to kill me. But thanks for your concern.”

He looked taken aback at that return.

I spent two hours reading about autistic adults yesterday. I have some ideas about how to manage my current boundary problems with a friend. I’m going to need to solve them and not expect a fix from my friend. Some things can’t be fixed by other people. Some things you have to do yourself. He can’t guess where my boundaries are.

I don’t want to stop weekly visits. But I do want to stop having to spend seven days processing each visit before another one happens to rocket me into feeling angry, used, and like I want to beat the shit out of someone non-consensually.

I think step one is going to be, “I would like to stop discussing the bdsm community with you at all. I can’t be free to say what I want to say in front of my kids and you say more than I think is appropriate and then I can’t respond and then I’m just fucking pissed. I need to not do this.”

That needs to be step one. If you can’t spend a two hour visit talking about something other than the bdsm community then I need to make the visits less frequent. Too much is leaking out around my kids. Not to mention that I’m only tangentially involved in the scene at this point and I really don’t need to be spending my time freaking out about what other people are or aren’t doing. I don’t need this shit.

That is step one. That is as close as I can get to not black and white thinking on this. Move the goal post. I don’t need to end the visits immediately because I’m experiencing too much emotion. I need to figure out how to have less emotion. It’s not “all his fault” I am having these feelings. But having theoretical conversations about what other people should or shouldn’t do causes me more distress than happiness and I would like to stop doing it.

That doesn’t mean my friendship has to go away. Let’s just have a bright shiny change of topic. All the autistic forums recommend going for as blunt and straightforward as possible. “I’m experiencing a full week of activation after our visits and I need that to change. One idea I have is that we could take the topic of the bdsm community off the table for a while and I can see if that is the problem. If that isn’t the way to solve the problem I may ask for further modifications in the future but for now I’d like to start by talking about other things. It’s only two hours. Surely we can find something else to talk about.”

I love you. I value you. I want you to exist not only in the abstract world but in my world. Right now I’m spending seven days a week being pissed off at you and that isn’t working for me. Let’s try something else.

People don’t trigger me because they are wrong or bad or pick a negative adjective. People trigger me because I have a long personal history of crap. My emotions reside inside my body and aren’t the fault of anyone. If I need to manage myself differently that doesn’t mean that someone else is wrong.

I wish I found my boundaries without feeling this much destructive rage. That would be useful. Future Goal And All.

I asked a friend how she handles her autistic son when he’s on a topic she doesn’t want to talk about. She said she tunes him out.

Tuning someone out is hard for me. I do kind of the antithesis of tuning my kids out. I’m nosy, probably borderline invasive (if I listen to my kids this much when they are 12/14 it will probably be an invasion of their privacy–I tell myself that small children have different boundaries) and I believe that the only way I can know my kids are getting what they need is if I provide it. I don’t trust that things will run smoothly unless I micromanage the fuck out of it. (I understand that other people go through life without micromanaging and things turn out fine. Bully for you. I have issues I’m managing.)

We’re always solving yesterday’s problems.

I think it’s funny how people say things to me and it becomes a major touch-stone theme in my writing for years. These little phrases. I am made up of thousands of people. I steal their words and ideas and sometimes their boundaries.

Sometimes loving someone means deciding, “I would rather not talk about _________ with you.”

It has been very rare in my life that someone has been able to provide me with such clear boundaries. I am slaveringly grateful when people can state clear boundaries around conversation. Otherwise I tend towards the “inappropriate”.

It is hard for me to guess which parts of my normal day to day life might traumatize other people. Ok, maybe not my current day to day life, but my past. I can talk about some things with some people and it’s bloody hard to guess what with whom. If I slip then I am a terrible person for traumatizing someone. So I hear. It’s hard to get over having therapists tell me that I should never discuss my history with lay people or I am being abusive.

“Group therapy isn’t appropriate for people with your level of trauma. You will just be abusive with the group members.”


I’m supposed to shut the fuck up. No, I’m not supposed to shut the fuck up. I’m really not. I’m not going to no matter how much some people wish I would. Noah likes reading it. He’s my ideal reader. Stephen King tells me I only need one and then I’m golden.

To abruptly change the topic: Calli is in a phase. I ask what she wants. I say ok, sure thing and move towards doing the thing. She changes her mind. I say, “I’m already 75% done with foo”. She explodes and starts screaming at me about how she wants the opposite of foo. I am terrible. I don’t love her. Hysterical crying. Flailing of arms and legs. It is the end of the world. If we are out in public I pick her up and carry her back to the car and drive home. If we are home I ask her not to scream in the living room and carry her to a screaming room if necessary. Then I need some time alone.

I’m too highly activated all the time. I’m worried about my reflexes right now. I’m punchy and twitchy.

I’m trying to just roll with it. I know from books (thank you child development books. You are the best things in the whole fucking world) that this is normal and standard and the best way to handle it is to teach emotional self regulation slowly and patiently. Validate the emotions and help them learn to calm down. Yup, you really are that disappointed all of a sudden. That sounds hard. Sometimes when you make a choice you have to live with it or get nothing. That’s how life goes. Yup, it’s terribly hard sometimes. Sometimes it is so hard you cry. I can see you understand that step already.

But it takes so much patience and calm. My well runneth dry.

A while ago I told a friend that her husband required the same kind of patience from me as her children. She looked kind of startled. A fair number of my friends (I almost defaulted to the sexist “male friends” but then I stopped and thought–nope it’s not gender related I just have issues with people.) require the same kind of “must stop and patiently explain what I’m thinking to someone belligerent and unfamiliar with my vocabulary” kind of behavior from me. I totally don’t mind doing it with kids. That has always been easy. Explaining “down” doesn’t bother me. It feels just and I don’t get nearly as frustrated.

I’m kind of a raging asshole when it comes to adults. I didn’t try to go for being a college professor for reasons. I don’t have fucking patience for them. Shut the fuck up and get your shit done you stupid fucking piece of shit.

Yeah, 8th period social club was way more effective as a teaching method.

(I don’t really believe that people are stupid pieces of shit for not knowing things I know. But I’m really not a very nice person in my head.)

No one has commented on my lack of tact in years. I wonder what that means about my social skills. It isn’t that I spend less time with people. I spend time with very different kinds of people. And I’m not hunting for sex. That probably is the biggest mellowing feature.

These days hunting for sex is more like shooting fish in a barrel. It changes the vibe. Hunting for sex is one of the least activating activities in my life. *nudge* “Wanna?” “Yes!”

It’s flattering but not exciting in the same way. It’s nice. I’m not complaining. Ok, moving on.

Hi, non-neurotypical brain let’s try to figure out how to make you interact with my trauma damaged brain without an explosion from adrenaline. Your tics and my tics have got to combine. We can find a way. Damnit. Fourteen years. I don’t want to lose more long time friends. Sure you piss me off. Everyone else does too if I spend enough time with them.

If I avoided people because they pissed me off I would never leave my house. Which would suck.

People delight me more than they bother me. It’s hard to hold that focus sometimes. That’s the extremist black and white thinking. “I love you. I hate you.” Me and Taylor Swift.

Our babysitter keeps asking for modifications based on how tired she is. “I know we said going until x’o’clock but can it be x-2’o’clock because I haven’t been sleeping well.”

On one hand I have thoughts of “unprofessional” and on the other hand I feel so delighted by her confidence in caring for her body. She’s a growing kid. I’m glad she is smart enough to prioritize sleep. I am unflaggingly sympathetic and willing to be flexible. I need her more than she needs me. I’d better fucking be nice.

In every loving relationship there is a power imbalance. Whoever loves the most has the least power. That’s what my mama taught me.

Is it mercenary to take stock of whether I need someone more than they need me and plan my behavior accordingly? It means I am much more of an asshole with people who need me more than I need them. That’s not exactly cool. I’m not talking raging asshole, but I’m less flexible.

Are those enough words so that I can sleep? Maybe. I have improved the ergonomic set up but it isn’t perfect yet. I need a better keyboard. The neck angle isn’t perfect but it has improved. At least I’m using the tray and a better mouse already. I do need a better keyboard. This one is way too narrow for me. I’ll save it for kidlets.

Just breathe.

I should post pictures of my garden. It’s beautiful. I have tulips and narcissus and sage and rosemary and the Japanese lantern all in bloom. The rose leaves are beautifully red. The Joseph’s Coat roses in the back are starting to bloom. The strawberries and blueberries have lots of flowers and starting fruit. The blackberry isn’t going to give me fruit this year. The hacking stunted it. I get it. Sorry, dude. I needed to change your trellis. The plum tree is covered in flowers. Yesterday I saw the buds on the cherry tree finally start opening.

Spring is here. We have peas, beans, and squash left to plant. The corn has appeared but I need to let it get a bit higher before I plant the peas and beans that will climb up the stalks. Then a few weeks after that the pumpkins.

The artichoke is huge but I don’t see signs of fruiting yet. I have no idea what it will look like. The asparagus is coming right along. I don’t eat them this year. Next year.

Patience, grasshopper. You have a lifetime.

My neighbor dropped off a few more strawberry plants. I’m thrilled to have them. I have a whole bed of strawberries and one of those strawberry pots. I was given it. I use pots that I’m given. We spend so much money on strawberries every year. At least $200/year on strawberries. I’d like to grow a whole bunch. I understand that Noah and I will eat fewer than when we have no small fructivores in the house. Still.

When I am old I hope my intestine will allow me to largely live on raw fruit from my back yard and meat. That would be rad. Way less cooking. I’ll get me a George Forman grill and I’ll be golden. Rice in a rice cooker. Fuck vegetables. That sounds like the amount of cooking I like doing.

I eat vegetables now because I’ve been brainwashed into thinking my kids must eat them and I must model eating them.

I’m going to take six years off my life due to sleep apnea. Heh. If I manage to live long enough to die of natural causes That’s a win.

It’s interesting how different people have different goal posts.

Medication then catching up

I know I go through periods of fewer posts. Don’t give up on me. I will always come back to writing. My arms were really bothering me. Typing less has brought the pain down to the 1-2 level. Hurray!

Yesterday Shanna asked me about my medication again. It comes up once in a while. She knew I was tapering in December and that I was having trouble with being patient because of it. Now that I am medicating on a more regular question it feels more intrusive to her and so she asked me again why I need it.

I asked her, “Do you think our life together is scary?”


“Do you think anyone in this house might hurt you?”

“Well, we have accidents and bump each other. That hurts.”

“Ok, fair enough. Do you fear that your Daddy or I might do something terrible to you?”

She started giggling.

“Ok, so you feel safe and happy and loved, right?”

“Of course I do. I am safe, happy and loved.”

(I swear to God my heart almost exploded.)

“Well I mostly feel that way now too. Our life is pretty wonderful together. But a long time ago before you were born my life was different. I wasn’t very safe. I wasn’t happy. And for a long time I wasn’t loved.”

She leaned in to hug me at that point.

“Thank you for the hug, honey. My point is that what you learn as a little kid is kind of hard to change when you are a grown up. You will probably always feel safe, happy and loved because you are getting used to it as a kid. I have a hard time not feeling scared and angry and unsafe because that is what my life was like when I was a kid. I have no good reason to be scared or angry or unsafe now. My life is awesome. But it’s hard to change what your brain thinks of as “normal” and the medicine helps me with that. The medicine kind of helps my brain ignore the parts that say BUT YOU SHOULD BE SCARED!!!!”

“Ok, so the medicine makes you feel less scared?”

“Sorta. Not exactly. The medicine helps my brain relax enough to really look around me. Is there any reason in my life right now for me to be scared?”

“Uhm, are you scared I will cut my hair again?” (Calli gave herself a haircut this weekend. Sigh. It’ll be fine. Today we will see the hairdresser and she’ll have sassy cute short hair. All’s well that ends well. I laughed when Shanna said this.)

“No I don’t feel scared that you will cut your hair. It’s your hair. If you want to cut it I need to suck it up and deal with that. Ok, let me try again. I don’t have any reason for my brain or body to be scared. But my brain forgets that I should stop being scared because it was scared for so long. The medicine is kind of a way of gently nudging my brain into saying–‘hey dude–look around, your life is awesome‘.”

“So the medicine helps you be less scared?”

“Sure. The medicine lets me be not-scared. Some bodies function differently and need medicine. Your uncle has problems with his blood sugar, right? He talks to you about how that works for him.”

“Yeah. He has diabetes. He has to check his blood sugar with a machine and then he has to be careful what he eats.”

“Right. So some people who have diabetes have to be on a medicine called insulin every single day and some people don’t. It depends on how the persons individual body is working–right? Because not everyone needs insulin.”


“I need cannabis because my body needs the reminder to look around at how calm and happy my life is. This medicine allows me to do that whereas without the medicine I am too scared to notice how wonderful my life is. And that’s pretty sucky feeling.”

“That makes sense.”

“I think so.”

Then she handed me a book and expected me to shift gears.

I’m making steady progress on Outrunning. I will absolutely be done by June. Many people are bringing up the idea of self-publishing. I think I probably should do that for No Secrets but I’m still afraid that Outrunning will need established distribution networks.

I’m taking a few weeks off of social media. Stop fucking up your arms with lame attempts to connect that don’t really go anywhere, Krissy.

I’m reading, of course. Three books at once. Stealth of Nations by Robert Neuwirth–it’s about System D economies. Piracy, non-registered, street vendors, all kinds of different subeconomies that operate outside the “legal” sphere. I’m also reading Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain by David L. Conroy, Ph.D. It is as fucking cheerful as it sounds. And last but not least: Playing Well With Others by Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington. I feel like an asshole because I’ve owned the book for over a year and I haven’t read it yet. I’m telling newbies to go read the book without prereading it. I recommend it on the basis of, “I’ve known Mollena and Lee for almost a decade and a half and I’ve been to their classes and I’ve played with them and been friends with them so it must be good.” Good to actually read it though. Ahem. So far it is as good as I expected it to be. That is a good sign.

I have more work to do on the garden, of course. That never ends. I didn’t finish putting the last few seeds in the ground. And now it is hella wet which means I won’t have to soak the seeds when I plant them. Maybe I’ll get that done today.

The Prius is in the shop. New auxiliary battery, alignment, and brakes. Ouch. Today I stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving that I am a rich person now and sudden car maintenance is ok. I don’t need to feel scared just because unexpected bills came up. That is such a luxury and I want to be conscious of it for the rest of my life. Relax. I don’t need to be scared. It is only money and we have enough. We have enough. We have enough.

First Sunday in April I am going to co-teach a bdsm class. It will be fun. It will be about boundaries and having them and dealing with people over-stepping them and such. Because that’s how I roll.

Running is going very well. My next race is only 19 days away. Eeep. I still haven’t scheduled the Portland race. I’m dithering for a variety of reasons. I’ll do it though. I have one friend coming over on Tuesday nights to walk five miles with me. That’s pretty exciting. She might make it a regular thing. I want to bully/beg my neighbor into going out with me on Thursday morning runs. His wife says that once my mileage comes down after the race she will shove him out the door for me because he needs the exercise. Saturdays will remain my long days and they might stay solo for a while because post-race I’m thinking I’ll keep to 10+ miles. I feel better physically and I man I like eating like a horse without gaining weight. I seem to have gained ten pounds from all the cookies I ate over the winter. My pants fit better. Yay!

I keep thinking that I should make up a few mailing lists. Shanna is enamoured with the idea of last minute invitations. I’m not so good at making those work. I only know how to get big groups to congregate if I start talking about an event a few months in advance because then I poke people slowly in person over a long period and get them to commit. I’m not good at “Let’s have a spontaneous large get-together tomorrow.” I… I fail. I don’t know who to call. I even feel awkward about individual emails. “If this person isn’t available will they be sad and feel kind of rejected if I bring it up?”

I have been debating with myself how I want to structure this. Do I want one big mailing list that people can sign on to and then they have to ignore the non-relevant emails? That seems like trouble. Do I want a working parents list and a stay at home parent list? That way I am not constantly spamming the working friends with, “Want to go to a museum on Tuesday at 10am?”

I have several friends who actively are trying to run large groups of people already. If I have a mailing list and I want to do things that conflict with their public schedule… am I being rude? Should I have people on a mailing list when I know in advance they will frequently already be asking me to do something else on that day but I don’t want to do what they want to do? That seems… problematic.

But I’m really not willing to drive far enough to just up and join someone else’s group full time. All the folks running active groups are at least thirty minutes from my house and I’m not up for an hour of driving (or more–sometimes two or three hours) of driving for socializing almost every day of the week. I’m just not up for it.

So it goes.

I feel stupid. I want it to be an opt-in thing. But I’m afraid that having it as an opt-in thing will mean that people will feel rejected because I didn’t seek them out and beg them to participate.

I’m being an idiot.

Heck, I’d kind of like to have a mailing list for “Adult friends who do not have children” but who like tagging along sometimes so they want to know what is going on so they can say, ‘That sounds like fun’ without me having to go through my damn Little Black Book thinking of everyone I know before I do stuff.

I like community but I’m shit at organizing it. Anxiety for the win. And I’m a bad joiner. And I want to put a sign in front of my house advertising that I will teach English in exchange for people teaching me their language and I haven’t gotten up the nerve yet.

So many things I want to do and so little time. And so little self-confidence.

Wait! It’s not just lack of self-confidence… it’s uhhh I’m already over scheduled. Yeah. That’s it.

Ok, I should go edit now that I have one more hour of work time left this morning. I miss you, oh blog, when I am not babbling into you constantly. I will always come back. This is an affair I can’t give up on.

Not dead.

My arms are being fussy. And lots is going on. I am having lots of big feelings. Clearly being on medication is not enough to make that problem go away. Stupid shit. I’m trying to not be an asshole.

The speaking event we went to tonight was pretty fun. I think I’ll be talking for them next year. Diversity. Poverty. “Upward mobility”. Adverse childhood experiences. Brain development. Raw potential. Community influence. Sure. Talking to them would be fun. If you live else where check their dates for your city.

Noah and I were treated like B list celebrities. (In a sweet way. We didn’t expect to be recognized.) People knew who we were before we arrived and then spent a lot of time telling us how fantastic we are. I walked out with a puffed chest. Hilarious.

I got to drive a stick shift. That was an adventure.

How to protect oneself from the potential fallout from decisions one can’t control? It’s a mystery.

I come back over and over to this idea: my primary job is educating my children. My primary job is educating my children. My primary job is educating my children.

All the rest is optional. It should get jettisoned in favor of proper focus on my primary job.

No, I don’t think that all mothers should spend all of their time obsessively with their kids whether they like it or not. I have never said they should. (Well you could cut’n’paste and shit and make it look like I did but I didn’t.)

I want to home school my kids. If they want me to do so as well, of course. So far my kids express zero desire to be away from me all day. They get pretty pissy when I’m away from them for a while. This too shall pass.

My primary job is not cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, writing, reading, or gardening. All of those things must be placed in their proper order.

I don’t want to outsource the work of my life. I do not aspire to dropping off dirty laundry and picking up clean clothes. I’m not sure I aspire to a house cleaner. My gardner (whom we keep around to trim the front hedge because otherwise the city gets mad at me and I don’t wanna do it) is always anxious because I don’t want him to do much but I give him periodic raises and he seems to think he is ripping me off. It’s cool. Stop butchering the god damn blue potato vine. I was shaping that fucker.

Oh well.

The best things in life are free.

Noah and I were talking about my feeling that I don’t contribute enough. He disagrees, of course. He was fine with rattling off all the things I do to “contribute”. Yes my dear Mrs. Lincoln but how was the play?

If I can make our investments grow by even 5% a year I will eventually outpace Noah at earning money. Even though I feel he is so much “smarter” than me. I think he is more marketable. He has a much better memory. My memory comes and goes and surprises me. I can’t just memorize long blocks of text the way he does.

I know things he doesn’t, though. Things that do have value in the world even if they do not directly translate into me receiving a salary.

I should pay more attention to the investments because a)I have time b)I have motivation and c)having access to this kind of money is a gift, luxury, and privilege. With great privilege comes great responsibility.

The thing is, there is this balance I’m dealing with. The earlier I put money into investing the faster it will grow and the larger it will get. I could significantly out earn the benefit I get from over paying my mortgage. But having the house paid off is such a psychological thing for me that.. No. I’m not going to reduce my mortgage so I can “play” with investing faster. That’s not for me.

But I keep seeing the phrase “Even $100 a month can multiply to…”. I’m investing more than $100/month. Maxing out Noah’s 401k, maxing out an IRA in my name, $100/month to Shanna’s 529 and $350 to Calli’s account, and now $100 into a brokerage account that I’m picking. Gulp. We’ll see, right?

It is hard having this series of revelations, is that what being an adult means? You realize in layers oh shit–I’m also responsible for this other stuff that I never even knew existed.

I think that the plants help. Responsibility is seeming different now that I perceive it in terms of other living things will die if I don’t pay attention. It changes the perspective. My cat is also much more loving now that I take better care of her. Now that I am less neglectful.

I don’t think my self worth should come from what I do. But I believe that a lot of my life long safety will depend on my ability to create that safety for myself. I don’t have a fall back. I have the security that Noah and I build together.

It is no better or worse than anyone else has in the end. Families have problems. “Support” comes and goes. Your parents die. Medical problems come up.

What does taking care of yourself mean? What does providing for the future mean? Holy shit. How am I going to make sure I have a place to hang out when I’m old and not up for doing a lot of work? How will I eat?

Will I get old? Will I get cancer? Will I kill myself?

I’d really like to see what this house will look like when I’m sixty. It’s a deeply selfish wish. I have to not die even if I have no use to anyone else if I want to see it.

I noticed yesterday that I haven’t made progress on any of the suicide books since I was last experiencing ideation. It’s been a nice break.

I want to relate the change to being more fully medicated but that isn’t it. I have periods where I am suicidal even with medicating. The cycles are different. I think obsessing about money is a better distraction from feeling suicidal than most other tactics I’ve tried.

Tommy’s birthday didn’t trigger me this year. It was a decent day. I kind of talked to him all day long. I told him about my kids. I felt a little sad but ok.

Sissy’s birthday in January was harder but I still didn’t feel worthless.

This is such a deep puddle. Splash splash. Go eat breakfast.

All the things.

I finished The Cannabis Health Index. I may need to own a copy of my own. It was incredibly hard to just sit down and read it (I’m pretty sure I’m confusing a lot of cancer information in my head right now because I’m really not a medical expert.)

Mostly what I come away from the book believing is that I need to do the math on how much pills cost and find a way to earn that amount of money for myself so I get over my overwhelming guilt about taking family money for “drugs” (apparently that is the deal my brother had with his wife as a stay at home parent–he had to work enough to pay for pot and alcohol). I have a lot of “risk factors”. I can’t do anything about that. My body is not in great shape. I need to lower my stress and this is the most effective medication I know exists. Ok.

Apparently my shrink knows the author and she’s going to have lunch with him this week. She says she will pass on my opinions on the book. I feel a little weird about that.

I finished the first round of editing Outrunning a week early. That makes me feel happy with myself. I read through the essays and got rid of the worst of the grammatical weirdness and put keywords all over the place. Round two involves matching up key words and eliminating all the duplicate phrasings. Going through it once helped me spot some of the repetition. Key words will help.

It’s still kind of unorganized and there are a few sections I need to hack and write again to be more explicit. I’m pussy-footing and being vague in a few places where I should be more explicit. Kids won’t understand the PC hand-wavey shit. Say it like it is.

I do need to justify why arbitrary rules can be ignored. Don’t worry Pam. I’ll tell them why eating dessert first isn’t a big deal.

This week has been packed. I am very lucky that people ask to spend time with us. Very lucky. Overwhelmingly lucky. Sometimes lots of people ask for the same week. This week had 2-3 social engagements every day. It would have been three on almost every day but we had some blissful cancellations. Sometimes I feel weird about being glad for cancellations. At least it feels emotionally superior to my years-ago feelings of fury and hate. Easier to maintain friendships and be understanding.

People get sick. The parents of our little friends sometimes have to work. We can either be understanding and supportive or we can give up on them as friends.

I’m not really in a jettisoning people from my life stage. I’m trying to build. Tolerance is in my best interests. Enlightened self-interest and all that.

I do not worry that I am under socializing my kids. Oy. I don’t worry as much about me being isolated either. I’m starting to see my time alone as strictly self preservation against all the different things I have to think about all the forking time.

I appreciate that I am managing to build a life that mostly exists within ten miles of my house. It is a slow process but it is working. I’m existing in the space I’m in. I’m Occupying my space. I take up room and talk to people and get to know them and ask about their lives. I’m getting to know more home schoolers and better know the ones already in our lives.

I’m in the phase I’m in.

I want community. I want it so bad I can taste it. This is the process and I need to figure out how much of the cost I can bear.

It occurred to me that I should stop thinking of our food budget as an area to constrict. Part of the reason that we spend as much money as we do is that we have extra people at meals at least five days a week. Sometimes just one person but often up to twelve. We have several parties a year. That’s just part of our life.

We’re feeders. Come here hungry. We’re happy to fill that need. There are a lot of problems we can’t fix but you don’t need to leave our house hungry.

But I’m kind of a fascist about what I want my kids to eat. And I read too much about food quality to buy cheaper products full time. I have the luxury of buying food that I prefer. Ok, that still includes Kraft mac’n’cheese and ramen because I have some taste preferences I can’t seem to ditch. Also: when I’m very overwhelmed and I need to stay in emotional control I can’t cook anything more complicated than that. Even making sandwiches stresses me out more than that. Making ten sandwiches will result in my hands shaking by the end. Lame.

So I do what I need to do. I feed people. I have good nuts and fruit and cheese and meat and awesomely shitty starches. Take your pick.

We all make choices and set priorities.

I will continue to hemorrhage money on meat, fruit, and vegetables. I will source them as locally as possible. Dairy is more mixed for me. I’m going to keep buying my fucking ramen and mac’n’cheese.

If I want to be able to keep sharing this quality of food with my family I have to just accept that as the cost of doing business and not feel guilty. It is expensive to eat well. It sucks but it’s true. I need to get over my inclination to feel guilty about high grocery bills. I’m not wasting the money. Yes, we “could” spend less money on food. But I get to buy meat mostly outside the industrial meat complex. I get to support farmers trying to grow organic food for a living wage within 100 miles of where I live. I want that industry to succeed. I like shopping at my farmers market.

I have choices because I have privilege. I’m not doing what I “must” if I force my family to live on rice and beans all the time. I could do it. But I don’t see high moral value in doing it. It’s a perfectly valid choice. It is not, however, a more moral choice. It could be argued that a vegan diet would be more moral but I’m at peace with my status of omnivore. I try to make sure the cows, chickens, pigs, and lambs that make up most of my meals lived decent lives. It’s important to me.

I think that understanding my choices in context helps me appreciate my successes against my metrics.

If I had a different amount of money my metrics would change. Like they do.

Trying to look for some peace with my budget process. Looking for that Zen place.

It’s kind of funny. Today I sit down and feel like I’ve checked almost all the boxes for this month and it’s the 21st. I still have some seeds to get in the ground. Two or three hours of work, not bad.

Next week there are one or two things every day. Swimming counts as a thing. Dentist counts as a thing. It’s not all social. Looking at the number of hours of babysitting I think I should spent all day with the kids in between or they will flip out. Brace yerself, Eppie.

I’ve had a lot of alone time this week. (Thus the productivity.) Next week I need to be done at 6:30 and be more present with them during the day. Ok. That is the main job and all. Noah has been reading to them for hours every night and I either hide in the garage or go to bed.

But when I cycle this way sex gets fewer and farther between. (Last night was great, honey. Thanks.) It seems like the main way we can work it out now is to have me go to bed at 6:30 pm so I can take a three hour nap and wake up for sex when the kids are asleep. Ha. Disco nap.

Keep all the balls in the air. Haven’t had a panic attack in more than two weeks. That’s pretty good. I have been medicating. I haven’t felt the need to cut. It is nice to notice the absence of that wanting. I have other anxieties but it’s not extreme.

Just keep swimming swimming… something.

Ugh. Going in.

Plugging along

The girls and I are still a little sick, but not terribly so. We are doing lots of playing and gardening so we aren’t that sick.

I’m putting 70 plant seeds onto the ground this year. A high percentage of them are clearing out the last of the 2002 seeds a friend gave me. I have very little expectation of them all coming up.

Because I’m a huge nerd I wrote them all down. Because you are silly enough to read my journal you may skim the list. Or read it carefully. Whatever you choose, obviously.

I haven’t finished the front yard or the back yard yet. I still have piles of seed packets. I think it’s going to take another two days of working because I have only been working for about three hours a day.

In the ground in the front yard:

Sunflowers(!!!!): Elvesblend, Evening Star, Golden Honey Bear, Mongolian Giant; sweet basil; moss curled basil; carrots (rainbow colored); spinach: Baby Leaf and Bloomsdale.

Still coming to the front yard: marigolds, sugar snap peas, asclepias incarnata (butterfly flowers), climbing nasturtiums: Amazon Jewel and Moonflower, cinnamon basil, broccoli, and sweet corn.

This is added on top of all the front yard stuff already: six or so varieties of roses, hydrangea, jasmine, plumeria, tulips of many varieties (I wasn’t smart enough to write it down that time), pansies, snapdragons, geranium, cactii, three kinds of blueberries, apple tree with three kinds of fruit, asparagus, strawberries, sage, rosemary, aloe, jade, mums, iris, lily, and at least five plants I can’t remember the names of. Japanese lantern? Maybe? (I do these lists because I’m trying to memorize all the fucking names and sometimes I have to stop and look things up while I’m writing this down. This is my botany class.)

For starts inside (just because I want to practice the starting seeds process): more strawberries, parsley, bee balm, lavender: True; Lady; one I forgot to write down, lemon cucumber, white tomato, three kinds of bell peppers (didn’t write it down because I ran out of space on the page in my garden journal–ha.), hot Thai chili, cauliflower.

Added to the back yard: Hungarian Breadseed poppy, larkspur: Sublime Blend, zinnia: Fireball Blend, variety pack of butterfly inducing flowers including more than 20 kinds–I didn’t write them down, climbing nasturtiums: Moonlight, wild Mexican currant tomato, catnip, Rocky Mt. Blue colombines, more four’o’clocks, Shirley poppy, Nigra hollyhock, forget-me-not, marigolds, foxglove (in one secluded corner because they are poisonous), bachelor’s button, calendula, black eyed Susan, heliotrope of assorted colors.

Still to add to back yard: cornichon cucumber, bush peas, and pea: progress #9.

Shanna also asked for an Icelandic poppy plant and it was pretty and $5 so I said yes.

Already in the back yard: orange tree, plum tree, cherry tree, grapes, blackberry, tons of strawberries, lemon grass, artichoke, Joseph’s Coat roses, chocolate mint, spearmint, celery, brussels sprouts aren’t gone, butter lettuce, actual catnip plant, four’o’clocks, and some kind of green I haven’t brought myself to eat. I’m lame.

I counted up and if I only “corrected” two essays a day I would finish by the end of the month. I’ve been doing three or four instead. I’m excited to get to the combining chapters part of editing.

Calli is massively struggling with not being the boss of the world. Poor kid. I’m trying to be patient and tolerant and shit. Like I do. And a kid is up. Dangit.

I need to go run nine miles. Oof.

Find a hobby

My interpretation of “find pleasure in” involves doing things that do not make me scream, cuss, break things, and hate everyone who is stupid enough to talk to me. That means all hobbies are out.

It also doesn’t help that when people start listing off possible hobbies my first thought is “What is the arm load like? Nope.” I am at mass capacity on arm load. I truly can’t pick up hobbies like knitting or crochet at this point. I would fully cripple myself in a year.

My arms burn. Right now. All the time. Sometimes the pain a lot worse. I was dumb in November again. I still don’t have a workable ergonomic set up. I had one that kind of sort of worked only it didn’t. So yeah. That will take money to fix. I just… this whole year sucks for money.

When I paint it is better if no one is in the room with me. If someone is near me while I paint it isn’t going to be very pleasant for both of us. The motherfucking piece of shit might breathe at the wrong time and then I will turn around and scream and scream and scream because how fucking dare they distract me.

Painting my house has been an adventure. I can’t scream at the kids like that. But painting is horrible and stressful so I try to only paint while they are able to be distracted doing something else. I curse under my breath. I sound really bad.

Why do I work all the time? Because I get a sense of satisfaction from it. I do have “hobbies” given that I don’t do anything for pay. Everything I do is a hobby. I work all day long. None of my hobbies are “relaxing”.

When I sit down to read a book as often as not it is dense, difficult to read, and kind of uncomfortable. I read a lot of things that cause me psychological distress because I need the information contained within.

The primary thing I have ever done in my life that consistently reduces my stress is go pick up sex with strangers. Yeah, not doing that any more. So I’m hosed.

I do gardening. That counts as a hobby. It is horribly arm intensive and expensive so I have to carefully dole out my pleasures. Yes, I can always weed for free. Ask me how happy gardening would make me if all I got to do was weed. (Technically gardening isn’t usually that expensive. I’ve had a few larger issues in my yard to correct. At this point I think I am past most of the big expenses. I like seeds. Seeds are cheaper than plants. But I wasn’t going to plant trees from seeds. It’s too hard.)

I clean as stress relief. But I live with people who do the opposite of cleaning all day and that raises my stress. It is an interesting balance.

Running is kind of a good thing. Only finding time that isn’t pre-6am is hard. And frankly, this is the only time I get to sit in silence. I’m not fucking giving it up for running. I will be too angry all day. I need to sit in silence. I need it.

I dearly wish that all these little hand craft hobbies didn’t make me angry but they do. They make me so angry and hateful that I really don’t want to be near anyone for days. I can’t have more of that feeling in my life right now. I don’t get the space to process my frustration. I have to just sit on it. No, that doesn’t make my life better.

I wish that I didn’t get so angry. But I do. I can’t unmake that fact by wishing it away. I have to live with the body I have.

I hear that my friends have hobbies that relax them and make their lives better. I’m glad that works for you. It will make me beat my children.

Yesterday the kids decided to play with one of my tea sets. One I was given as a birthday present. They soaked the tax paperwork we just received and broke a porcelain spoon.

I’m having a hard time controlling my mouth. I have to be alone in a room because I’m cussing a lot. I feel really frustrated and angry. I’m saying things I don’t mean and I need to make sure they don’t hear me.

Relaxation from a hobby comes from being in the flow state. The learning process isn’t relaxing it is torture. Flow comes after a lot of practice. So I walk up to every hobby and think, “Great. One more thing it would have been nice for me to learn years ago so I could enjoy it today. Oh fucking well.”

I like woodworking. That takes tools and money I don’t want to spend right now. Woodworking is satisfying. Knitting a fucking scarf makes me think, “Wow. I could have spent $5 and bought something more attractive. What a fucking waste of my life.”

I honestly dislike drawing. If I have to sit down and do it my stress amps. I start cussing more. I get mean really fast. No, I don’t do a lot of drawing with the kids.

I think I hate everything that is meant to be done alone. Intrinsically. That is the opposite of what I want in my life and giving in to it means admitting that I will always be alone. I don’t want to. I don’t want that to be my fate.

People tell me to find a hobby so I can relax and have fun alone. I don’t like being alone. Being alone means a walk through my shitty brain. Things that require intense concentration and learning just make me feel like I am not paying attention to my surroundings and soon I will be eaten.

I listen to music sometimes. When I’m not feeling obsessed with silence. I like music.

I do like to dance alone. As soon as someone else is there the stress amps. My kids expect me to carry them the whole time. Which makes my arms hurt. Which makes dancing not fun. Which makes me resent them. Which… it’s a bad cycle.

I feel like everything I do just convinces me how incompetent, pathetic, weak, and stupid I am.

Why don’t I go find a hobby? Because I’m a fucking loser. Leave me alone.

It’s not a bad suggestion. I get how it comes from a loving place. Being in my body full time is really unpleasant.

When people try to talk me into their hobbies I really want to launch into a full detailed explanation about how their life would be much better if they embraced promiscuous sex. Let me tell you why!

I could sell it as a hobby. I’m serious.

Why don’t I learn to make music? Because I feel stupid, wrong, bad about myself, and like I should walk in front of a bus because I am so stupid and pathetic. No really.

Have you noticed the “not rational” bit about my brain?

If I could trade my brain in for one that works how other peoples brains work I would. But I can’t.

I did rest yesterday. I read to the kids until my throat gave out. Because that’s “resting”, right? The singing practice with the home schoolers didn’t help my throat. I’m not a singer. And the kids didn’t know the words so the grown ups had to sing loudly and enunciate because a lot of the kids can’t read yet.

Because we came home early from Portland we get to go caroling with the home schoolers at an old folks home. We were going to miss the rehearsal so we couldn’t go. That was a slight factor in coming home early once my friend told me she had strep (maybe she doesn’t and it was just a flu because she feels better–much bummer all around). The kids wanted to do this.

Everything the kids want to do involves me having to teach them shit. Mostly shit I don’t know how to do and I’m not good at. I really do not have the bandwidth to go learn more than I’m learning.

This is where I run into that time as a limiting option. What balls should I drop from my life so I can “go learn a relaxing hobby” that will make me feel angry, pissed off, stressed out, and like I hate every fucking person in the whole fucking world.

I am really angry this morning. I woke up angry. I’m not angry about the comments I’ve been getting despite this rant. (Actually the comments are useful. I appreciate my friends. They cause me to think about the shape of why I am doing things and that is really fucking useful.)

Like I do need to rest more. Whether I can pick up a hobby or not is debatable. I HAVE to rest more. That’s not negotiable. Maybe I will have to find something other than a hobby because I do not find the same physical anxiety relief in it that my friends do (I am really glad it works for you–no sarcasm.) but that doesn’t mean that I get to opt out of rest.

Rest is mandatory. Knitting is not. (I use knitting as a strawman in this argument. You could substitute “do calligraphy” or “learn to make beer”, really anything.)

When I have the kids come over and do painting stuff I watch. I can explain the process. But I can’t get involved and do it myself with them. I will get too control oriented and bitchy.

I throw a lot of temper tantrums. Now that I am all big and stuff I work hard to only do them in private. So I can’t engage in group hobby stuff because my experience of doing them involves sitting and cussing full stream ahead.

I actually limit the cussing in my writing a lot. If you were in the room with me you would hear less than 20% of my words are non-curse words while I’m painting. I can make whole paragraphs and ditties using just curse words. I do slip in conjunctions and prepositions. No nouns.

Studies show that swearing lowers stress. Maybe this is my hobby.

do care about the results of painting. So I’ve worked through my anger and hostility and I’ve learned a lot. I do enjoy it more now than I used to. I made everyone in the scene shop miserable when I was in college. After a while they only let me prime sets because they needed it done and no one wanted to listen to my mouth when it came to the harder kinds of painting.

Painting is the opposite of relaxing.

But I do still like it. I like the results. I just don’t like doing it. It is stressful.

Do you know what I used to do for stress relief? I beat the shit out of people. It is incredibly relaxing. And fun! If I had more spare time and childcare I might take up boxing. Noah and I are talking about enrolling the whole family in martial arts in January.

I do seated work. I write. I read. Isn’t that enough sitting? I cuddle with the kids for at least half an hour often more than an hour every day. Isn’t that enough? I’m sure my ass is in a chair for at least four hours a day. Surely no one needs to sit more than that…

I actually kind of think that is the role the pot plays in my life. It physically relaxes me. I sit down while I smoke. It’s awesome.

More baths? I could start taking daily baths. Those help to physically relax me.

I need to run almost every day. I just need to. I need to stop cussing at everyone. Although it is hard to not use it as stress relief. I mean good grief. I’m trying to not do things like cutting–is cursing really a big deal? I mean really? In the scheme of things?!

But it is actually more important than the cutting. It really bothers me that it is true but it is. Cursing in front of people will cause me far more problems than cutting. It is better for me to cut to deal with my stress instead of cussing all the time.

That feels really sad.

This is what I mean when I say that I live in a time and a place where my problems are mine. I can’t share them with my community. I’m not allowed to telegraph stress.

Learning is hard for me. It is stressful. I cuss while I do it. I always have. I have been getting in trouble for this since I was five years old. I’m unlikely to develop more control over it than I have right now. I can’t wait until my kids are adults and I can start swearing in front of them more. That’ll be awesome. I will have given them a childhood where they got to experience not being around a nasty angry person. They will be able to handle my stress not being about them. That’s the long-run goal. Fifteen years to go.

You can’t get better at things unless you deal with the frustration of learning. But I already have an ambient really high level of frustration. Adding more makes me defenses crack and then I’m not really fit to be near.

It’s about balance.

And yet what I’m trying to do is teach my kids to do stuff. Teach them how to be an adult.

do learn in front of them. But I’m really fully stocked on what I’m trying to learn. I’m doing stuff I planned in advance. I’m slowly acquiring more skills in a conscious way because I am teaching them. I’m learning cooking and gardening and how to maintain a house. These are things that people do need to know. My kids won’t have to work on these skills as adults; it can be run as a background thing in their lives. The goal is competence.

I think that maybe I should think about co-working during writing time. With the kids I mean. They can do their own table work at the same time. They can always find something to do.

I feel kind of insecure about not directing my kids. I don’t tell them to do art. I don’t tell them to draw or practice writing or whatever.

They just do these things. I give them a certain amount of money every so often and we go to craft stores and they pick what they want.

I really enjoy watching them enjoy these things. But I’m shit at making the kinds of things they like to make. I don’t have the physical coordination. The irony is staggering.

Fiddly work makes me crazy. Is that a character flaw? I like sudoku. I play that a lot. Maybe a book of them in my Christmas stocking? That would get me to close the computer and sit with the kids…

That’s all I’ve got right now. I’m trying.