Shaken, but Stirred

I’m the overly cautious driver who slowly backs out in a parking lot. Most commercial parking lots have the functionality of a demolition derby – narrow spaces despite the ginormous size of some vehicles, blind spots, limited turning space, cart racks askew. Add to that the tank-driving, texting mentality of some license owners (you’ll move, right?) and yesterday happened for me. Backing carefully out, looking both ways, I nearly get rear-ended by a minivan rounding the corner at 30 mph. She honks loudly at me as I slam on the brakes and… Read More

Looking for Dad

Years ago, Father’s Day seemed to be mocking me. I had matured just enough to see that it was another holiday designed to sell more shit. My father had left when I was five and committed suicide later in his life. My stepfather was a mean and sometimes dangerous drunk, now also dead. I have never called anyone dad. It rolls off my tongue like a foreign word, unusual and exotic. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I’m not a perky ray of sunshine.  I am, however, a believer in… 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

The Luxury and Cost of Empathy

I’ve written before about being a member of the “sandwich generation”, caring for a child and aging parent. It’s a flippant phrase thrown off to encompass and neatly categorize a myriad of emotions and actions. This week has rendered me battered and exhausted, sleepless and emotional. If there were any time for me to be anti-Zen, it’s now – as in, I’d rather not be in any more moments. I would like to daydream, write feckless fiction, doze off in a chair thinking of an island in Greece. My daughter experienced her… Read More

The Long and the Short of It

Spring is blowing in and that means two things: we will be confused by what time it is for the next couple of weeks and everybody in the family has gotten haircuts. I realize that as a woman, hair is supposed to be my crowning glory. If I were the ruler of Half-AssedLandia where “otium in aeternum” (idleness forever) is emblazoned on the royal crest, this would be true. When a friend suggested we get a family portrait, my husband wryly remarked that the caption would read “Remember that time we got… Read More

Misogyny of the Heart

It hit me like a ton of bricks. My daughter is becoming a girl. She’s always eschewed anything stereotypically feminine for that which is “cool” and rugged and associated with being a boy. She declared at four that she was a vegetarian and at seven that she was officially a tomboy. The transition to a developing body, to the social gymnastics of preteens and all the cultural expectations that come from being female have crept up on us.I was surprised at the fear and anger and sadness that washed over me when… 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

Parenting: The Nostalgic Haze of Never-Really-Happened Days

WARNING: Extreme Defensiveness Ahead This morning I ran across another article jumping all over parents about over-scheduling, helmeting and seat-buckling their children. Already angered by the repetitious message that parents today suck, I decided to throw gas on the fire and read the comment section. Apparently, the best parents are the ones with the shortest memories and empathy-impairment. Let me tell you a story about the good ole’ days. Yes, I rode my bike, without a helmet, around town from the break of daylight until dinner time. Our family of 6 lived… Read More

A Walk on the Ired Side: Gender Rhetoric

It’s been hard to read the news and blogs this week. I’ve been sucked into reading comment sections full of vitriol and spite and rage – not far removed from the emotions that drove a man to kill 4 men and 2 women in California this week. It is only through blogging that I’ve become aware of all the hatred that thrives on this medium of spurious anonymity. I’ve seen the hashtag campaigns, I’ve read a lot of feminist and men’s rights blogs. The tactics, name-calling and dogma are right out of… Read More

Stories from the Road: Walking with Ghosts

We visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, spending most of the day there. It was the last day of our two week August road trip and I was already done before we hit the front door. After being gobsmacked by the fees, tolls, tickets, taxes and tips that saturate Chicago, I just wanted to get home without having to give up my firstborn. And I’d already reached museum brain glaze after seeing 10 or 20 on the road. You’d think I’d be delighted, as a parent, by all the… Read More