every. single. day.

I grew up very, very poor. There were times I ate from food boxes,
times I ate from other people’s trash, and
times I simply didn’t eat at all.

The last couple years, my husband and I got our finances mostly squared away. We worked diligently to get our debt down to only my (granted, significant) law school student loan debt.

One of my sisters and I have talked about the money-related trauma left us by our childhood. That trauma lingers, though most my debt does not; Continue reading “every. single. day.”

safer

On Monday morning, I spent three hours writing about cultivating empathy in the face of COVID-19.

By Monday evening, I was ranting to my husband about a particular group of people,

a divergence that didn’t amuse me until Tuesday morning.

For months now, I’ve half-heartedly worked on making a habit of morning “RPMs”: Read, Pray, Meditate. The days I begin thusly are often the most manageable of all, a fact that isn’t always persuasive to my 4 a.m. self: “Do I really want to RPM, or do I want to just stay here in bed and half-doze until the kids wake up? I mean, both of these things are good for me, right?”

Until this week, half-dozing has tended to win this morning battle within myself. Fortunately, I chose wisely this Tuesday morning, grumbling as I climbed out of bed and went to find my healing books. Continue reading “safer”

on face masks & my sons’ future

In my neighborhood, more people roam without face masks than with them.

I don’t usually give this too much thought, but one encounter last weekend has lingered in my mind.

My kids and I were finishing a walk around the block. We were, for reasons described in my early April post “A bandana the right direction,” all wearing our face masks.

While my ten-year-old (Li’l D) and I were walking, my six-year-old (Littler J) was pedaling slowly on his hand-me-down Ninja Turtles bike. I saw a couple without facemasks approaching on the sidewalk. Remembering Littler rolling right into a neighbor who’d been standing still just a few days prior, I thought it unlikely he’d be able to skirt around moving targets. I nudged him into the street to enable the couple to pass. Continue reading “on face masks & my sons’ future”

each other

From my very first post here, I’ve written about how trauma has shaped my life.

Since before my first breath, I suffered the effects of violence from within my mother’s womb. This wired my nervous system in very particular ways even before I endured my first direct bodily blow.

I don’t write much about many of the specific blows I experienced. Most the specifics are lost to my thinking memory, stored instead in muscle, bone, and implicit memory.

Because most the specifics are lost to my thinking memory, I can be triggered–catapulted back in time, so that I’m confused about whether I’m in relatively choice-filled 2020 or choiceless 1988–without knowing why. Without knowing what sent me back.

A couple of days ago, my sister Rachael wrote “Meringue Pie & PTSD.” Continue reading “each other”

strange, sweet reminders

There’s a cicada husk in a very, very tiny jar on my dresser.

If this sounds odd, it is. It’s also, given a very particular set of circumstances, an incredibly sweet reminder:

My mom lived, and her living could be such strange fun.

On March 4, I posted “The Magic of Fighting Monsters.” I wrote about the absolute magic I’d experienced fighting monsters in an immersive theatre show a couple years prior.

That show had connected me to the experience of being with my living, breathing, horror-loving mom; in those moments about which I wrote, she was very much alive to with me. Continue reading “strange, sweet reminders”

young life

A few days ago, I noticed a hummingbird flitting around my backyard. I told my husband, who said she’s built a nest in her same old spot.

Same old spot? Somehow, I’d never once noticed what was, to Anthony, a predictable part of life at this house.

He pointed out the teacup-sized nest of twigs and feathers, nestled in a rosebush right at my eye level.

This morning, I saw the hummingbird darting all around the backyard. I wondered if there was life in her nest.

Sure enough, I soon saw tiny twin triangles of orange peeking over its top. Without getting too close, I snapped a shot or two on my phone.

Soon enough, the mom returned to her baby, perching protectively at nest’s edge. I snapped a couple shots of this, too–this time, from a greater distance so as to not send her flying too soon. Continue reading “young life”

extinguished

As a longtime professional contract negotiator,

and now-adult daughter of a profoundly impoverished, stigmatized single mom

who died because she feared the costs of U.S. doctor visits,

and newfound public health student,

I’ve been thinking a lot about

the word “deaths.”

A few times daily, I check the L.A. Times for its updates on measurable local COVID-19 impacts. I then check The Guardian for its broader US coverage.

Each time I close these pages, the word “deaths” lingers with me. I’m disturbed by how passive and neutral is the phrasing compared to the reality, which is that Continue reading “extinguished”

freshly remembered

Talking with a friend this morning, I mentioned “musical breadcrumbs,”
a post I’d once written on my phone while pacing up and down
a tree-lined street on a work break.

I wrote about this post here, two months ago;
it was one of five posts on my old blog
featured by WordPress.

It didn’t feel right linking the posts then,
so I didn’t.

But this morning, I went to find the post
to share with my friend …
and couldn’t, at least not
quickly.

When I did find it, I thought,
“I’d better actually link this post somewhere,
so I know exactly where to find it next time!”

So that’s what I’m doing:
Sharing a link to archives of that post,
and two others of my five WordPress-featured posts.

One, “Reading While Walking,” is not
quickly accessible via this archival copy;

the other, as I mentioned in March, is
not worth the effort of finding.

Here are the three worth finding
(and linking!) today:

What Report Cards Can’t Report
(December 18, 2013) Continue reading “freshly remembered”

a skateboard into the past

Today I rode a skateboard,
while remembering another one
I once barely got to ride.

When I was in middle school, my mom knew I was fascinated with skateboards. Since she was forever stuck with junker cars that lasted only a couple of months before croaking, she wanted me to have wheels that would last. She scrimped and saved for months before that Christmas to buy me a kick-ass board.

I was so proud of that board, I almost immediately showed it off to a schoolmate whose mom stopped by our house.

The schoolmate was so impressed, he immediately told his friends.

Within a couple of days, one of those friends broke into my home and stole the board.

I was crushed. I’d been building up confidence to really ride it, this rare and beauteous first-hand gift, and now wouldn’t even get that chance.

When school was back in session, my schoolmate told me who’d stolen my skateboard. Continue reading “a skateboard into the past”