Saturday, June 28, 2014


It's weird having two blogs, because I have no idea who, if any, are reading both. This one's been dormant for over three years, and my Aspiring Buddhist one has been going a good six months.

I find myself doing two takes on the same topic. Today in my Aspiring Buddhist blog, I wrote about the experience we had last week when my son and I went to get his cast taken off. And the nurse/PA/cast cutter asked if he was named after the prophet from the Bible. We said yes, and then my son quickly chimed in cheerfully, "But we're not Christians. We're secular humanists."

The cast cutting lady wasn't familiar with the term and I felt squirmy because saying you're not Christian in this predominantly Christian country is a little edgy, a little bit radical. It lumps you in with atheists and other perceived haters. It's kind of a bad word, like "liberal". So I tried to fumble an explanation about freedom of religion and doing unto others and letting them believe whatever they want as long as they don't hurt anybody. I didn't even get into my Buddhist leanings. I think that may have blown Mrs. Cast Cutter out of the room.

I love how confident my son is about our family's predelictions in the spiritual world, but I hope he doesn't confront someone who says something cruel and hurtful to him when he lays his heart on his sleeve.  I actually worry about my kids being ostracized due to their lack of religion, in a way.

That's kind of sad and scary. If only we could all just be Buddhists, we'd be fine. I'm just saying.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

For Them

My son just mentioned in passing that he worries more when I worry. And since we both have OCD, this makes not worrying a major challenge. His comment hit home since I am ever doggedly working on my abilities to cope in the life I've been assigned, to fight the chemical demons that make normalcy seem like fantasy. Talk about pressure.

I've got to get my shit together to keep my family's shit together. This is no joke. And not for the faint of heart. 

Do it for the kids seems most apt.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Books, Books and More Books

So I think I'm falling into some bad habits: reading self-help books. I mean, I have shelves of them and how much more improved am I than before I read them all? Why do we need so much advice about how to live? Are we overthinking this life much? Should we constantly question everything will do or will that lead to madness? Have I asked enough of the RIGHT questions, and what are the answers to those questions? Have I irritated you yet with my constant questions?

The happiest and sanest people I know do not read self-help books. My husband is someone I consider very sane and rational, but he'd rather go get a perm than read a self-help book. My sister would rather watch The Wiggles than read a book on self-improvement, and she's mighty sane.

So who is reading all of these books? Neurotic people like me. We hope, with each book, that THIS will be THE ONE, the one that transforms our lives for the better. So we read, and we wait. But without action, we won't get anywhere. If we just sit around staring at our belly buttons not much is going to get done.

The one book I know of that really helped me and continues to inspire me is "This is How" by Augusten Burroughs. It's not one of his famous memoirs, but rather a very brutal, bare bones manual for life. It's fucking genius. So I recommend that to anyone, whether they feel the need to be "helped" or not. It's just good, no bullshit writing with spot on ideas about life.

My friend just loaned me "The Girls at the Kingfisher Club". I could use a break from all the non-fiction I regularly consume.

In the improv studio where I went last spring there is a chalkboard at the entrance and it says: "You are enough." Now that's good advice.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Just spent 28 hours with my best friend, catching up on each other's lives. It felt like five minutes though it was longer. We take whatever time we can to get together. We were all business with our agenda of talking points. (You think I'm kidding.)

We had great talks and long walks and a fabulous dinner and lots of belated birthday chocolate cake. What more could you ask for?

It's like Winnie the Pooh says, "It's much friendlier with two".

I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chugga Chugga

Today is the longest day of the year. Perfect for doing a 36 hour compressed weekend with my best friend. And the bonus? A train ride.

I love being on the train. It allows one a certain level of privacy and freedom. This is true especially if you are lucky enough to get a pair of seats to yourself. I always spread out and hope people will avoid me when they get on the train and look for a seat mate. Too bad I can't sport a bunch of scary tattoos so nobody will sit with me. I have too friendly a face unless I'm putting on my bad ass face. Or my totally distracted, engrossed face.

I used to get trapped into talking to seatmates, but I'm smarter now. I have headphones on at all times, even if I'm not listening to anything. (Who would know?) I also avoid eye contact with everyone but the conductor, who is usually charming and efficient.

And I've started taking business class. Sometimes it's cheaper than a regular seat! Go figure. Apparently we get free beverages in the cafe car, but I've made it my mission to always pack enough to sustain me the entire five and half hours to get where I'm going without resorting to dubious train food (I'm a bit of a snob about that). It's kind of a point of pride to me to never see the inside of that cafe car. I never know where it is anyway, so why bother?

I do, however, always use the bathroom, sometimes excessively (thimble bladder). Once I walked in on some doofus who hadn't locked the door. Who doesn't lock the door in a public bathroom?!

Other hazards of train travel, are hoisting your back up on the top rack without looking like a complete idiot. And that's silly to worry about, because you don't know any of the people on the train and you'l probably never see them again anyway.

Being on a train is like being in limbo,  purgatory. You're here and not here. It's cool.

And the wifi is awesome.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Interruptible Activities

Okay, so it's day three of Camp Mom and the kids are already bored. Imagine my surprise. I deliberately did not overschedule them for this first week after the end of school. It's important for them to have down time and be a little bored, frankly. Then they will enjoy the other activities that are planned for them. At least that's my hope.

Being in transition is difficult for many people, myself in particular. I don't know where to hang my hat, and I feel all discombobulated. The challenge in being a stay at home parent is that while your children may be growing more independent, they still need you and you mustn't forget that and get too engrossed in anything while they are under your care.

Because there is the inevitable issue, be it a scrape, a meal, an argument, a bruised ego. All of these things tend to require immediate fulfillment, so if you're doing something engrossing (like meditating or exercising) then you will be frustrated at the constant interruptions. So I'm trying to figure out ways to still be doing things as well as being there for my kids.

Things like blogging, which are easily interrupted.

And slowly going through my bins in my office. Little projects I've been putting off for ages. My house has plenty of demands. I just have to prioritize, and my kids always come first. That's key.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Long Day's Journey into Summer

I think I need a little more room to vent my spleen. I have my new blog, The Aspiring Buddhist, which is where I go to make observations on life and interbeing and other personal and emotional stuff.

But I also feel like complaining. So...I'm back, baby!

Why is summer break SO LONG? It's almost three months and, to quote Ayun Halliday about parenting, "it's fucking brutal, mate". My kids may be older and more independent but there is still drama to be had left and right, and I'm still needed, albeit more as a background player and supplier of juice boxes and pretzels. These long, unstructured days are daunting to me. I have some help with some of them, which is great and much appreciated.

But the days loom long and large ahead of me, and it's ONLY THE FIRST DAY.

I need me some stamina.