Bound

The last week or so, I’ve sought connection online where I’m not apt to find it.

Then I load this interface, so familiar to me for almost a decade and the starting point to so many beautiful connections, and I remember: Oh, yeah! This is where I can find genuine connection outside my home.

I have a meeting in fifteen minutes, so I can’t write much.

What I can tell you, in fifteen minutes, is about all the books I’m reading while (relatively) confined to my home. Continue reading “Bound”

there in love

Waiting in line at the bookstore a couple of months ago, I saw copies of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal.

I’d checked out the audiobook from my local library before, but I’d never listened for more than two or three minutes before falling asleep. I’d later awaken to some random excerpt, think that’s lovely, and then tumble right back to sleep.

Seeing a copy of the book in print in line that day, I thought I might enjoy actually reading it—all the way through, from its beginning to its final word.

Until finishing Being Mortal last week, I’d read three or four pages at a time.

Having spent the years 2016 through 2018 plowing through a couple of non-fiction books a week, I’ve slowed down when reading those books that touch my heart. In a world currently so full of fear and condemnation, I want to touch in frequently with those things—those words, those hearts, those authors, those places—that fill me with the wonder of being deeply, achingly human. Continue reading “there in love”

So many pages to share

No matter what changes outside my home, there’s one constant within it: Reading.

Each morning, I read to each of my sons for fifteen or twenty minutes. Each evening, I do the same, before my husband picks up evening reading.

The most popular book in our household right now is Max Brallier’s The Last Kids on Earth‘s newly released sixth book. We’d pre-ordered this what feels like millennia ago, so that my kids had lost track of it and were then bouncing-off-the-walls thrilled when it showed up on our porch on Tuesday. Continue reading “So many pages to share”

Matters of my/our health

On Monday, I didn’t feel well. On Tuesday, I felt worse, and so took the day off from work.

While I wasn’t suffering from coronavirus, there was an indirect correlation with it.

Understanding the correlation helped me set myself down a different path.

In my last post, I wrote about healing the enduring psychological consequences of childhood trauma.

I did not write about the ways trauma continues to impact my physical health.

In my first post on this blog, I wrote:

My childhood home was filled with trauma. Specifically, of the ten adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) studied by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente, I experienced eight. As explained at ACES Too High, experiencing even one ACE can adversely impact a person’s lifelong health. People who experience four or more are at massively increased risks of poor health outcomes. 

I didn’t dive into detail about the “poor health outcomes.” But as Aces Too High explains, Continue reading “Matters of my/our health”

To walk through

Late last Spring, I read a paragraph that sent me tumbling into despair.

Leaning into that despair was the best thing I’ve ever done,

a fact most profoundly clear this last week.

Late one Spring afternoon, I was curled up in bed reading a book on self acceptance. I reached a chapter on trauma and excitedly dug in: Great! Here’s where the healing will really start happening!

Paragraph by paragraph as I read, I felt something unpleasant building within me, until at last I read one that released a landslide. I felt myself tumbling away from my body,
falling,
falling,
falling.

My body knew that feeling. I’d felt it time and time and time again in the face of violence I alternately witnessed and endured as poverty, abuse, and predation throughout my childhood.

I’d just never had a name for it before. Thanks to the pages before The Paragraph, though, I had a name for it. The fact it had a name meant it was real, and the fact it was both real and named meant I could not simply run from it anymore: Continue reading “To walk through”

Today I’ll live today

When I was about ten weeks pregnant with my older son, I started bleeding one day at work. My then manager rushed me to the nearest emergency room, from which I called my now husband, Anthony.

At the time, I was working in California’s Orange County, the county just south of Los Angeles County. Anthony was working on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory much further north, deep into Los Angeles county. His drive to reach me would be long and traffic-heavy, meaning I’d maybe be alone facing what could end up being some devastating news.

I remember calling one of my sisters while I waited, and then another dear friend. I remember sobbing on the phone. I remember Anthony suddenly being there, and the doctor eventually delivering the news: there was a fifty-fifty chance my pregnancy would last the next 24 hours. Continue reading “Today I’ll live today”

Resting & reading

Neither my husband nor I are feeling well. This means we’re prioritizing rest and, as much as possible, relaxation, even more emphatically than we would in less tumultuous times.

Our kids are thrilled. With both parents down, their screen time goes up!

(It’s not unlimited. They’re currently playing Star Wars together. Play and movement are also essential to health!)

For me, downtime means one thing: reading!

Unfortunately, with too many excellent books on hand, I’m not sure where to really dig in. Contenders are: Continue reading “Resting & reading”

Ground rules for our new normal

Late last Friday morning, my husband and I received notice that our kids’ school would be closed for “at least” the next two weeks. We’d known it was coming and prepared for we figured would probably end up being more than two weeks at home.

One of our key preparations had to do with laying down hoe ground rules. As best as we could imagine it, what rules could we set to make these weeks less stressful and more bearable for us all?

The conversation itself made me grateful for a recommendation my primary care provider made middle of last year. She told me to check out Brené Brown’s Netflix special. I won’t say much about that here, having already written several posts describing how the special and then Brown’s books transformed me. What I will say is that one takeaway from all my Brown-reading was this:

Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.

Before reading Brown, I’d misunderstood Boundaries as Really Big Things to be set in Really Big Situations. Thanks to read Brown, I understood that boundaries are best set small and early, which inspired this ground-rules discussion. Continue reading “Ground rules for our new normal”

Our Son

My kids do not enjoy bedtime. This is putting it lightly.

My husband and I have a handful of tools we use on our kids at bedtime only. One of the  bedtime-only tools I use after especially exhausting days is Reading My Books: “Oh, you’re not ready for your own stories? Cool! I’ll read to you from mine!”

Over the last couple of years, my kids have heard Neil Postman, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit, and a handful of other non-kidlit authors. Typically, my kids don’t have to listen to any author too long before hollering, “Stop! Stop! Please read one of our books!”

Something funny happened a couple nights ago, though. Continue reading “Our Son”

In The Forecast: Lots of Reading

Last month, I wrote about my kids and I getting Los Angeles Public Library cards. We were all enthusiastic then, but we’re even more enthusiastic now. 

The kids’ school and our favorite physical world destinations–including, as of the day before yesterday, the LAPL!–will be closed for at least the next two weeks. While there will be chores and some schoolwork to do here, we’ll also have a lot more time to read. 

Many of the books we’ll read here will come off of our own shelves. Others will come from the library via Overdrive, an app that grants LAPL patrons access to a couple million electronic resources–books and magazines and videos, oh my!*

A smaller handful of books will be paper books my kids and I checked out from our LAPL branch library.

On our last trip to the library, my five-year-old checked out books 2-4 of Kallie George’s Heartwood Hotel series. After ignoring the first book, half-finished, for months, he recently fell head over heels for the tiny critters who fill this tree-forest hotel in the woods. 

This morning, I snuggled up with him and read him the last chapter ofThe Greatest Gift (Heartwood Hotel #2). I said a quiet thanks that, due to the library closure, we’ll have this book on hand to read and reread for an extra few weeks.

Even as my littler one and I read that book, my older son was off reading My Hero Academia Vol. 22. Having never heard of this manga just two or three weeks ago, he’s since plowed through almost all of them the way he’d eat pizza: with gusto, not to mention the keenest of focus! 

I’d recently contemplated checking out some new manga for him. I wish I had! And yet, there’s plenty of manga available on Overdrive. If my son has a will to find more, there’s certainly a way!

* Residents of the City of L.A. can check out LAPL electronic resources even without a physical card. You can find more info here. If you’re outside the City of L.A. and have an LAPL library card, you can use your physical card to register for access. 

Outside that zone, please check your own local library for their electronic resources! Alternatively, you can search Overdrive for your library, or libraries; I’ve added more than one via the app.

As I pointed out to a family member in rural Oregon a few weeks back, even their library has tons of online resources available to check out. Yours might, too!