Terra-exodus: Menopausal Mutations

Since it’s summer, my family and I have indulged in some low rent binge watching – namely the profligate Marvel Universe on Netflix. On the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., humans undergo a process called Terragenesis in which they evolve through one method or another into inhumans – humans with enhanced powers. In the show, The Ghost Rider is another character who gains the skill to become a fire-hurling head of flame. My head has felt surrounded by flames on and off for a month now. I’m going through peri-menopause, on my way to… Read More

The Quiet Desperation of the Middle Ages

It’s hard to write or talk out loud these days. I’ve disappeared on friends, but talk to strangers just to know that I still can. I dread the question how are you? because I fear that a flood will pour out. At first, I thought maybe I’d simply had too much solitude. Re-entering the world after periods of quiet is like walking after roller skating. Gliding replaced by a toddler’s gait. Then the election came, a demoralizing event that made me rally the get ‘er done troops in my head. I started volunteering again,… Read More

A Small Tmesis Before Re-Entering the Fray

The muddied waters of a chronic depression have surrounded me for months. My highs haven’t been very high, my lows not too low. A mental shoulder shrug answers when I check in with myself. Autumn is in the air and with it, a sense of relief. Finally a season to suit my mood. Melancholy is in vogue again and the suntanned Pollyanna of summer is out. The weeks following a long Pacific coast vacation became jumbled with school starts and appointments and busy-ness. I was taken off guard even though I’d planned… Read More

A Body of Evidence

I finally forced myself to go for a physical, stirrups included. Yee-haw. It was embarrassing when the receptionist announced I’d have to fill out new patient paperwork, since it’d been nearly 6 years since I’d last shown up. After a flu last month kicked off a party of hot flashes and inexplicable pains, I forced myself through the door of the clinic. As they reviewed my information, I stood there stiffly, until I blurted “I’m having an anxiety attack.” My heart was pounding so hard I could barely focus on what the… Read More

Some Disassembly Required

My mother-in-law likes to tell me how my husband tore apart household appliances as a kid, just to see how they worked. I suspect she’s still bitter about a toaster or two. Now an electrical engineer working as a programmer, he continues to take things apart to figure out what’s broken. His great skill is in coming up with non-linear solutions, which is sometimes delightful, other times irritating, if you have any aesthetic sensibilities at all. Nothing ever looks the same again. But it works. There is a level of fearlessness required… Read More

The Reluctant Soccer Mom

This is the first year that my daughter has played competitive soccer. Whatever her skills are, I discovered right away that I’m completely unqualified to be a soccer mom. A group of mothers were standing around talking about how they hoped the coaches were good this year and about the league and volunteering. After several minutes of this, I could barely control myself and blurted “I just hope my daughter has fun.” I got the oh lady, that is SO rec league look. I skulked away to talk to the team manager…. Read More

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Things that Stick

I woke up this morning thinking of Delmore Schwartz.  I had been dreaming that I was starting college again, right after the Army. I was still in uniform, but I couldn’t find my duffle bag in the dorm. I wandered around a lot, met someone at a bar and spent a good portion of my dream signing random forms for people. The words that occurred to me when I woke up were In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, the title of a short story written by the aforementioned Mr. Schwartz. Delmore Schwartz died a… Read More

Unraveling: Fiction as Life and No, No NaNoNette

I put my 5th grader on a school bus this week for the first time. It’s not much to parents who have been doing this since day one, but I worked from home for many years. I felt like taking her to school was an opportunity. I got to know other parents and the school environment. Some of our best mother-daughter talks happened in the car and I was loathe to give it up. But for the sake of her growing independence, give it up I did. Six months ago, I quit… Read More

Middle Age, I Surrender

I stood in the checkout lane yesterday, getting groceries in anticipation of the polar vortex reclaiming the metro area. My eyes scanned the covers of magazines, trying to land on something of interest. I didn’t recognize any of the people on the covers. You know the jig is up when you realize that you’ve just been reading magazines for the coupons. It’s begun. I’m in a battle for personal relevancy, timely quipping and hip, in-the-know conversations at bus stops. It isn’t the shape-shifting gravity of aging that gets me. I won’t whinge… Read More

Midlife Rebellion (or Why I Decided to Get a Tattoo)

Be warned: If you are young, hip and completely cool, look away. This is an old broad’s lament, with dated references and yesterday’s news, when twittering was something only birds did. If I’m fortunate, I will be hitting an age that I’ve always thought of as the middle of one’s life. And I may be going off the deep end. I was raised conservative, Christian and poor. I was raised to be neither seen nor heard, speaking only when spoken to and quieted with a smack across the head. Invisibility was key… Read More