•March 21, 2009 • 6 Comments

oh dear. what have I gotten myself into? Blogging every day is harder than I thought.

It’s almost 11pm and I’m feeling pretty beat. It’s been one of those days when I’m pretty sure that I’m being judged not so kindly by somebody close to me but I can’t tell if it’s really happening of it’s just Nasty mind (and I don’t mean that in that good Las Vegas way). A couple of times today I’ve wanted to say “beg your pardon?” and “Did you just say what I think you said?” but each time I’ve decided that I didn’t really want to know the answer to those questions.

Not eating sugar is also harder than I thought. There are times when I just want to break down and cry I miss sugar so much. I thought that it would get easier, and I suppose in some ways it has. I don’t feel quite like the raw bundle of nerves that I was that first week. It’s amazing how many times my mind shifts to sugar in the course of a day, though. How many times I tell myself that I deserve a treat. And then to realize that I can’t have the treat? That my treat right now is to think of God? Well, it leaves me feeling more than a little deflated.

Which brings me to another frustration, which is that I have a really hard time articulating my thoughts and feelings. I know that I can string sentences together in a fairly coherent fashion, but rarely do I feel like the sentences I write or speak really get at what I’m trying to communicate. I think that may be in part why I stopped blogging, and it’s why I turned the comments off in my last post, because I knew that I hadn’t really said what I wanted to say. Is the remedy for that to just hit “publish” anyway? I always feel so frustrated when, after I’ve shared at a meeting somebody comes up to me and says “Gosh, I know just what you were talking about” and then proceeds to demonstrate that they know nothing about what I was talking about. Does it really matter if they understood what I was trying to say? Not so much, I suppose, when what they heard me saying was what they needed to hear. But still, I get frustrated. So I’m going to practice talking more. Really, I am. I’m going to practice interrupting people, too, and talking over people, and pretty soon, no one will be able to get a word in edgewise around me, because I have a feeling that saying what you mean might just require saying it many times in many different ways until you hit the jackpot.

shoot. the baby just woke up.


Bondage Anyone?

•March 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Or, “Comment Whore barfs on blog”, whichever tickles your fancy. I’m basically emptying out my drafts folder, like a cat coughing up a hair ball, and hoping that Stuart’s challenge will be answered well enough if all of my titles contain words that are at least whore related.

Now, there isn’t much nutritive value in a hair ball, but it’s essential all the same to clearing a channel. Patrick thought that I should just combine all my drafts into one long post, but I will spare you that. (Besides, then I would still have five more posts to start from scratch.) The poem that follows is one that I recently included in a comment on Oleoptene’s blog and, while I thought that I was done with it, it keeps coming up for me, so I’m going to go ahead and start with it here.

If thou could’st empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
And say, “This is not dead,”
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou are replete with very thou
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes He says, “This is enow
Unto itself – ’twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for me.”

I first read these lines from Sir Thomas Brown in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light when I was not quite yet a teenager. They might have been the only lines of poetry I memorized as an adolescent and they still come to mind whenever I repeat similar lines from the 3rd Step prayer, “relieve me of the bondage of self.” Do I like the poem? Not really. Or at least not in its entirety, probably because I hear a shaming tone in it (not sure if it’s really there or not) which has the potential to send me into a shame spiral about having shame, but I am so very replete with me, so full of shrewd activity, and Yes, dear God, please relieve me of the bondage of self.

In my experience, bondage of self usually looks a lot like self-hatred. Over the years it’s shifted a bit. Sometimes I’m actually pretty cool with myself and feel somewhat right sized. On my harder days (or months, or years) I feel vehement self-disapproval. I don’t actually hate myself anymore, which is perhaps why my inferiority complex has been flying under the radar for so long now, but my God it is pervasive. And seriously, how did it sneak up on me again like this? I suddenly feel like I can’t escape it. I apologize for everything. I have a hard time owning anything. I feel like a fraud. Sitting in a large group of other mothers – none of whom have as many children as I do or have been mothers as long as I have – I feel like a novice, like I have nothing to share but my mistakes. We talk about spiritual gifts on Sunday and I think to myself that maybe this is my gift: fumbling around like an idiot and being willing to do it so very publicly.

To be sure I’ve made progress in this area, but it has always been on the heals of unbearable pain. I’m scared to death that I am going to be stuck living like this forever, or that I will have to hit some sort of terrible bottom in order for it to budge again. Honestly I thought I was past this. Plunk me down in the middle of Northpark Mall, surrounded by beautifully manicured ladies with their Coach bags and Prada heels and I feel perfectly comfortable. My hard-earned confidence in this area can lull me into a false sense of security, like, “Hey! I have this thing licked!” because believe me, twenty years ago the Northpark mall would have made me want to go and throw up my lunch. But then I go to Goodreads and I suddenly feel like I’m twelve years old. Like, what have I been doing with all my time? Why haven’t I read Kafka yet? Or I go to the Website of Portland Art and Soul to look at the classes being offered and I wonder why my name isn’t up there on the instructor list. Or I drive down to Austin, TX to meet Mara, there with her brilliant husband who is one of the speakers at SXSW Interactive, and I feel like a total retard. How could I have ever thought that I could make it in the world of interactive design? I can’t even think about the freelance work I just didn’t complete without clenching my jaw and my stomach twisting into knots.

What’s up? It’s been years since I have felt so down on myself.

This is not what I expected as I head into my 40’s. Forty is my self imposed deadline for getting really okay with myself, because damn it, my forty’s are going to rock. I don’t want to be comparing my accomplishments/my skin/my weight/my clothes/my reading list/my art/my children/my husband/my finances/my ANYTHING with others anymore when I’m forty. I want to be like Elizabeth Gilbert’s Rome,

“They all strive to outdo one another culturally, architecturally, politically, fiscally. But Rome, it should be said, has not bothered to join the race for status. Rome doesn’t compete. Rome just watches all the fussing and striving, completely unfazed, exuding an air like: Hey, do whatever you want, but I’m still Rome. I am inspired by the regal self-assurance of this town, so grounded and rounded, so amused and monumental, knowing that she is held securely in the palm of history. I would like to be like Rome when I am an old lady.”

and I don’t want to have to wait until I’m old, either.

Well, fuck. I just made the serious mistake of trying to find the right post on Oleoptene to link to, reread several of her posts and the very thoughtful comments that followed, and am now thinking why bother? What’s the point of a non-writer trying to write? oh nasty nasty mind please shut up. I really need a break.

Fine already, I’ll blog!

•March 19, 2009 • 10 Comments

I’m having a hard time getting a lock on any of the random thoughts careening through my brain of late, but I’m tired of seeing the word “whore” whenever I visit my blog and besides, I have been getting some not-so-subtle nudges that it’s time to start writing again. I’m not even sure why I stopped… I know that my drop-off in blogging coincided with both the commencement of my sugar fast and my decision to switch my home page back to Salon (it used to be my blog). I know that staying up late has hardly seemed worth it lately; I mean, what’s the point if I can’t eat chocolate or ice cream? oh, and Patrick has been traveling a lot, which means I’ve been doing a lot of solo parenting. But Patrick just got back from LA, and I’m determined to use the rest of spring break to put some sort of shlock up on my blog every day for the next week. I’m not sure what the point of that will be, but I’m all about resolutions lately, so what the hell. Do you think I can do it?

I was a comment whore

•February 25, 2009 • 20 Comments


The good news about that flat line you see there following the conclusion of OWOH? I can finally speak candidly about the event without worrying (too much) that I may inadvertently offend some of the more generous souls who participated in the event and who take it at face value. People who might not understand what a loon I am and love me in spite of it. See, I want to be the gracious blogger who, in her entry about who won her giveaway included excerpts from the more inspiring comments she received. ahem. The over 500 comments she received. Alas, I am not that blogger. No, I am the blogger who checked to see how many comments other people received and then calculated my self worth accordingly. I am the blogger who thinks mean and nasty thoughts about the people who copied and pasted their same insipid comment, typos and all, into the giveaway’s of the over 800 blogs that participated in the event. I am the blogger who intitially thrilled to see the hundred plus comments roll in on the first day I posted my entry, and then woke the next morning feeling almost hung-over and wondering who it was I had woken up next to. What was this event about exactly?

And what do I really want, anyway? To be cool? To have a big audience? I don’t really want either of those things. I like the private nature of this blog. I want validation, but funny thing is, when it comes? I dismiss it. The 200+ comments I received eventually meant very little to me because “they had to say something, right?” I mean, I saw the same kinds of glowing encomiums on the blogs where the giveaway was a crappy little bookmark. You see? Evil. I am evil. And ungracious. And I will probably be ex-communicated from the gypsy caravan and I won’t even be allowed to participate next year because shhh! somebody might find out that I didn’t actually include every single respondent’s name in my drawing, but only the names of the folks who said something of a personal nature or who actually took the time to read my post and respond to my question about compassion.

Because wasn’t that the purpose of the event? To meet cool people you wouldn’t meet otherwise and form a few new relationships? To find people and photos and words and art that inspire and feed your creativity? I feel lucky to have found a few such connections through OWOH. So to hell with stats, and to hell with seeking approval and to hell with wishing I was the sweet, gracious kind of blogger who didn’t notice the shallowness of all the canned comments. I’m not and I did.

Baby Blue

•February 19, 2009 • 3 Comments

Coherent thoughts are hard to come by when I’m this tired. I feel a little bit like someone plugged our already full life into an electrical outlet and threw it into some insane sort of hyperdrive. So much for library books!

I uploaded these beautiful photos of Daryl and the baby today, though, and had to share a few of them.


OWOH Winner

•February 12, 2009 • 2 Comments

Well, after much writing down of names, we put them all in Scout’s orange Bilibo toy and I allowed Daryl to select the tiny little slip of paper announcing the winner. And the lucky girl? M is for Martha of Destination Unknown!

As the disembodied voice on “Hullabaloo” would say, “Winner, do a funky dance!”

More to come later on watching my stats plummet back to a near flat line.

For Grandmarcy

•February 10, 2009 • 12 Comments

I’ve enjoyed looking at these pictures of the girls so much I haven’t wanted to write a new post! Well, that and life is happening so fast again I am too overwhelmed to form much of a coherent thought much less write one out.

I had an epiphany at the library yesterday that I have to write about, though, coherent or not. It is going to seem apodictic to the rest of you I’m sure, but for me it was a huge revelation because, you see, I finally got it. I don’t know how it took me 37 years to figure this out, especially coming from a library-lovin’ book-totin’ family like mine, but folks I kid you not that up until yesterday I did not understand how cool libraries are. I mean, did you know that you can find books there? And take them home for free? That if you don’t like them you can return them and get different ones?

It sounds crazy I know. Crazier still if you understand that I have spent a fair amount of time in libraries, especially the big research variety. But to go to a library and look for a book to read just for pleasure? I haven’t done that since I was a kid. Seriously. Not since I was a kid. I’ve found homeschooling books and books about parenting, and religion and travel and of course all the art and design books I’ve brought home from the library at the Art Institute and countless children’s books, but in all those years and all those books, not a single one of them was a story of fiction that I could curl up with and get lost in just for me. And yesterday, as I stood in front of the “New Fiction” shelves and resolved to find a book to read for fun, I felt exactly the way I did when I was a kid standing in a candy store. And hey, if it took me until 37 to have that singular experience? Well, I’m just glad that I finally got to have it. My librarian grandmother would be so proud! (Actually, she would probably be horrified that it took me so long, but I’m going to pretend like she would be proud anyway.)