What we’re probably not telling our kids about social media

Psst. Hey parents. Yeah, you over there. C’mon over a second. Can we talk?

This parent gig is hard. It’s hard and it’s probably tougher than it was for our parents back in the day because times are different now and there are a lot of different elements we’ve gotta look out for that didn’t even exist when we were kids. We’ve gotta find that balance between how much we care and not being helicopter parents. Raising good people but not raising special snowflakes who feel entitled to everything without putting in the work.

It’s exhausting. Totally rewarding, but… it’s tough work.

And it just seems like it’s forever getting tougher. Take a look at your kid’s social media accounts.

No really. Go take a look. I’ll wait.

I spend a lot of time on my kid’s channels – I look at what she posts, what she comments, what people comment on her posts. I click over on the profiles of the people who comment and like her posts. I randomly take her phone and scroll around.

It’s one of the conditions for getting to be online because I know that it’s kind of a weird space, online. I’ve been active in social media for very nearly ten years (my Twitter profile says I joined in 2007) so I’ve watched it evolve over nearly a decade now. Back when I first joined Twitter, my oldest kid wasn’t even in kindergarten yet and I had no idea how the very existence of social media would impact my parenting or their childhood experiences. I’m not sure if, at that point, any of us were.

I started blogging over 11 years ago… Generally, I’ve been ALL UP IN THE INTERNET for over a decade of my life and so while it’s a passion of sorts for me – this whole web and social thing – my presence in this environment for so long means that I tend to be wary about things because, you know, that’s what happens over time.

I’ve watched Twitter grow up. I’ve watched Facebook change faces. Instagram bloomed.

And then our kids got old enough to sign up.

My daughter got series of unkind messages from a girl whose requests for a follow she declined. The details of this are not entirely important to the scenario. The decline of the follow request was not with malice or with the intention to hurt, but more of a, “My social space is private. I am choosing to let in the people I interact with on a day to day basis.”

[In retrospect, perhaps my kid could have verbalized this. However she did not.]

But, anyway, the girl got upset and in this string of messages referred to my kid as “being a bitch.”

Well. That’s not how you win friends and influence people. And I’m not sure what her motivation is – annoyance at not being granted entrance into a “private” online space (private being what it is on the internet, I’m no idiot) or truly hurt feelings.

Here’s where it gets tricky, moms and dads and parent-type people:

It’s a FINE LINE. How do we teach our kids to be kind and inclusive and yet that they are allowed to set and establish and preserve healthy boundaries for themselves and their environments (online or in the real world). If we consider ourselves a house with a fence around it… it is up to each of us to decide to whom we open the gate. Admittedly, that’s a lesson I learned far too late in life.

I was always trying to be nice, to not rock the boat, and to not upset people. I let people have access to me when I’d have preferred to keep to myself. I didn’t realize for a long time that I could shut that gate at any time. That no one needed to be in my figurative (or literal, for that matter) yard if I didn’t want them to be there.

So here we are: no one is entitled a follow. No one is entitled access to your child’s space. If your child wouldn’t invite them to your dinner table, why would he or she be obligated to grant them entrée into his or her social media world – where they share pictures and videos and sing songs and show off the family pet chinchilla or whatever? Having boundaries is healthy. It’s not mean.

That’s where, I admit, it gets murky to me. Because I’m still inclined to go along to get along – accept the follow, it hurts nothing… because I want to raise good and loving people who are kind and inclusive. I never want anyone to feel hurt feelings, and it’s tricky that creating boundaries for oneself brings with it animosity from those who don’t want to respect those same boundaries.

So, parents, what do we do?

I think we need to have those conversations with our kids about those boundaries. We need to establish how you can be protective of your space firmly and kindly without being a jerk but you can’t stop other people from being bent out of shape about it. We can talk about how your number of followers doesn’t define you. We can talk about what the social media experience actually means to you, the story you want to tell, the person you want people to know you as, and how again, it’s just one small facet of you as a whole person.

My gosh, I’ve wished so many times today that I was raising kids in the 80s where the biggest issue was jelly bracelets and trying to catch your favorite song on the radio so you could record it with your cassette player with minimal amount of DJ blathering before and after (don’t even ask how long it took me to record Debbie Gibson’s “Lost In Your Eyes” because man, I loved that song, but the DJ always talked through the whole piano beginning of that song and it drove me bonkers).

It’s a different world and we have to understand it so we can teach our kids how to navigate it. We have to be present. And we have to be willing to admit that we have a lot to learn and that we don’t know everything… and be willing to learn, evolve and adapt to help our people be good people.

It’s tough stuff, people. Are you ready?


And that’s about when my brain melted

Have you ever started filling up  your kitchen sink to wash dishes (because your dishwasher is broken and every time you think you’re going to buy a new one, well, something else comes up and then you don’t get a dishwasher and you have to keep handwashing everything even though it makes you want to punch a manatee) and then walked away, completely forgetting what you were doing until you register the sound of the still running water and you glance over at the sink, the water dangerously close to the top of the basin?

Or you were pouring flour into a glass measuring cup and the flour crashed out of the jar in a huge glump and then the cup overflows – flour everywhere.

I don’t know what’s up with the kitchen analogies but essentially what I’m saying is this: these containers have a finite capacity to hold stuff. You try to put too much stuff in, and eventually – poof – stuff everywhere.

That’s…kind of where I am. Dangerously close to being an exploding bag of flour or overflowing sink.

And it’s not a great feeling.

My grandma died on Wednesday.

My mom called me on the drive to work – and in the span of ten minutes, I was on a roller coaster: the paramedics were on their third round of CPR and no response to… they had a pulse and grandma was on her way to ER.

Sobbing, I navigated through a dismal road construction bottleneck while sobbing to my coworker on Bluetooth, telling her I would not be into work. I arrived at the hospital the same time mom did, and we were immediately ushered into a family room

Not a good sign.

We waited for everyone to arrive.

There’s not much you can do in a moment like that. You sit, and you cry and you wait. You try to get ahold of family on the phone. You scroll Twitter and feel envious of the people who haven’t had their morning go completely astray. You check your email.

A ventilator was breathing for my grandmother and I was thinking about work and the things I would have to delegate to someone to get done and a teacher was emailing me about an award my daughter was being surprised with the next day at a ceremony I would be unable to attend because I was chaperoning my other daughter’s class trip.

The glass measuring jar. The overflowing sink.

One by one family arrived. The priest arrived. The doctor disconnected the ventilator and we watched as she took her last breaths.

We cried and we hugged and then we didn’t know what to do next and so most of us just went our separate ways.

That push and the pull of all of the obligations facing me in that moment, that’s what has replayed in my mind over the past few days. The moment when I realized that no matter what I did, I couldn’t possibly do all of the things when they needed to be done, to please all of the people.

It was also the moment when I realized: there’s just too much.

If you thought that this was going to be the kind of post that tells you how to overcome that, well, you thought wrong. I had this epiphany several days ago and I’m still pretty much a mess.

I don’t sleep well. My home office is filled with laundry that needs to be folded. There is a crockpot sitting on my counter that needs to be emptied of leftovers and scrubbed clean, but it’s the first time I’ve found to write in days, so I’m typing this post, eating Dots candy and watching the Food Network Star on Netflix. I only feel a little bit bad about that.

In trying to find peace, sometimes all I can see is the clutter on my bookshelves. I stress about work projects and problems that never come to be because I’ve just created some imaginary worst case scenario and beaten myself up over it…only to have it never happen.

I am an overflowing sink.

And I don’t know how to turn the water off.

The thing is, I suspect I’m not the only one. In fact, I know I’m not. And it’s a bit sad, I think, that so many of us are operating in this mode – this gogogogogogogogogogogogogogo mode of getting things done and running-running-running-gotta-get-it-done until we are about ready to collapse.

Until we are wide awake at three a.m. imagining awful things, pulled so far in every direction, feeling like we’re not succeeding anywhere.

Things are going to change. They have to. Because I cannot function like this anymore. My sink is overflowing and I’ve got to let some of this water out. Somehow. Someway. Soon.



Single mom with the check engine light on

Glug. Glug. Glug. Glug.

That’s the sound my car made when I started it leaving work this evening. A rattling spinning heavy noise that certainly doesn’t belong there, and then… it was gone.

And then, less than half a mile down the road as I called the Toyota dealership to schedule a service appointment…the check engine light popped on.

I should have called for service weeks ago, I know this. But there’s always something. Evenings are filled with picking up kids and meetings and school stuff. There’s rarely a night to just go home and stay home, something’s always gone on. Weekend hours at the service shop fill up fast, as you’d expect, and my weekends fill up with activities too – gymnastics runs, events, this thing, that thing.

Suddenly glug glug glug and a check engine light.

And that was after finding my car completely dead this morning when I went to leave for work, having apparently not shut my door all the way before I went out of town for the weekend. I can only blame myself, of course, for leaving the door ajar. The battery, completely drained, required a jumpstart, which required looking up a YouTube video on just how on earth you jumpstart a Prius anyway and calling my stepdad because what the hell am I supposed to jumpstart my car with when my only car is dead?

It gets a bit tiring sometimes – all of the stuff. And while I dig parenthood, and love the groove I have with my kids, what gets especially tiring is the stuff: car maintenance, securing the trampoline so it doesn’t fly out of the yard during a windstorm, finding time to workout between work and mom taxiing and the sun setting, the cooking the cleaning the clothes washing the… you get the point.

There’s inherently so many things to do to keep a home and family running and for the most part? I’m doing it all.

And I’m so tired.

Sometimes something’s gotta give and that something is that you don’t mop your kitchen floors every week.

All too often, that something is ignoring an oil maintenance light until a series of unfortunate events leads to glug glug glug and that bright ominous check engine light and ugh oh my god how badly did I just screw myself procrastinating this one?

I’m built of pretty tough stuff but I’m tired. Today, I am fantasizing about the idea of a concierge service – one that can swoop by my office, pick up my car and take it to the dealership while I sit at my desk in my office, churning away on projects that are so time-sensitive I haven’t taken time off to get to the damn service department in the first place. On their way back, they’ll pick up my groceries and maybe they’ll call my car insurance and make my first quarter insurance payment before it’s due on Monday.

We are not supposed to glorify busy – or so they say – but my god, I am busy and I’m kind of sick of it.

I’d drop a rope if I could tell which one was which – but since I can’t, I hang on to them all, hoping I don’t screw up too badly.

I am hopeful that the noise isn’t an expensive one. I can say that I’ve learned my lesson – that next time, I’ll just take time off for the appointment, and place a priority on keeping my car running smoothly and in good condition.

But I know better.

I suspect, much like my car, that somewhere and somehow, my own virtual check engine light is on.

I figure that, like my car, I missed one or two other signs that it was time to make time to tune things up.

Tomorrow, they’ll hopefully find the source of the noise and repair it and maybe it won’t cost me an arm and a leg and I’ll drive out of there lighter in wallet and quieter in car.

My own repair might not be as easy.


We can’t all be winners

Pumpkin wears a dog hat almost every day from November through April. We bought it in Chinatown nearly five years ago, and when the weather chills, every year since, the hat takes near permanent residence on her head daily. Whether she’s inside, outside, sometimes even when she sleeps, that black and white spotted hat is nestled snugly on her noggin.

It’s a joke almost – that damn hat.

You see, part of me hates that hat. I hate that when she wears it, it’s hard to see her beautiful face – and oh, how I love that face. I hate that it tangles her hair and creates a near perpetual state of bedhead.

But part of me loves that I can pick my girl out in a crowd almost anywhere – just look for the hat. It’s her signature – she’s known for it. I also love the fact that she totally doesn’t care if other kids might think it’s weird that she’s always wearing the hat. She loves the hat, and could care less if anyone else likes it or not.

I kind of admire that about her, her individuality – how she marches to the beat of her own drummer. How she embraces weird, embraces herself. She’s so true to herself, that sometimes I think to myself that I want to be my ten year old when I grow up.

Yesterday she had a school competition. She was excited, nervous. I was apprehensive – I’ve never been to one of these before. I’ve been to tons of gymnastics competitions, so I know what to expect, but this was an academic thing, and I had no idea how it all would go.

We spent the morning racing around doing last minute shopping for the competition – a pit stop that ended up irritating me as I wasn’t expecting to have to do anything in the morning other than wake up and attend. The other moms had been talking about all of the things they had purchased for their kids to bring, and though my daughter’s plan was to bring things from her own collection to trade (because you can’t just have a competition, you also have to have a swap meet), when she mentioned that, the look that crossed the other moms’ faces indicated that wasn’t quite how things were done.

Fine. To the dollar store we went.

To the event we went.

Hurry hurry hurry. Wait wait wait.

The kids have been working really hard for months, so I was eager to see them shine. Eager to see Pumpkin shine. But we arrived at 10:30 and their first competition wasn’t until 1 and essentially we started out immediately with waiting – which is how we spent the bulk of the day. In total, despite needing to be there for hours, the actual performance for the kids was less than a half hour.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

(I am not a patient person)

We sat in a loud cafeteria filled which kids and their parents. Our team, with a later performance time, showed up late enough that the majority of tables were already filled and we tucked away in a dim corner. Dim. Loud. Waiting. Just kids and their moms sitting around the table. For hours.

I tried.

I’m not good at social but I tried. I had two books tucked in my purse – I’d honestly been hoping to read. I’d hoped that we’d be sitting in an auditorium, a gym, and that like gymnastics – when I wasn’t watching my daughter I could bury my face in a book.

That’s not the way this works.

Admittedly, it was frustrating – all the waiting. (Because if I’m being totally honest? I think it’s crappy to have kids – and their parents! – sit around all day. They could have better harnessed that downtime for the kids – maybe setting up some craft stations, reading corners, and the like – could have better occupied children filled with nervous energy far more than just sitting around a table ever could – and it could have relieved some of the parental pressure to be social).


Well, it was clear the other team moms were far closer and friendlier than me.. That’s fine, I guess – they’ve been doing this a few years. But I didn’t know what to expect. They’re lovely and friendly and social and fine… but I was overwhelmed with the noise and the dim and the kids everywhere. I just wanted to tune out.

It’s not because I don’t care.

It’s not because I’m a bad mom.

But it’s because well… that’s just not the kind of mom I am.

I suck at small talk. I suck at making friends with the other moms. Yeah, I’m nice enough, but I know that I come across as aloof and even stand offish. When I don’t hang around at practices, I know it may seem like I don’t care – I do – but I also have a limited amount of free time. If my presence isn’t required at a practice, I’m going to use that time for a sanity saving workout rather than just watching over the coach’s shoulder.

I’m not the mom who knows what to say to all the other kids – or even one who enjoys hanging out with hundreds of strangers’ children in a crowded cafeteria.

I don’t expect people are interested in me or what I have to say solely because our kids share a hobby. And that’s okay, for the most part.

And so.

The kids did their thing. They rocked it. Pumpkin wanted to leave to attend a dance with Princess and their dad rather than stay and wait for awards. Considering that when she found out her competition and the dance were on the same day, she was about ready to quit her team rather than miss her dance, I felt okay with the compromise. Would it have been nice for her to stay and see how the team did? Yes. Did I understand why she made the choice she did? Yes. I wasn’t about to tell her not to go to a father-daughter dance with her dad. That’s an important tradition for them.

But, I realize how it may have looked to the team.

And then I saw the pictures on Facebook. And I felt left out. I could see the parents socializing and I felt outside that circle. I recently heard a podcast that said that when we feel judgmental, it has more to do with our own self than the person we are judging – so while my inclination was: Well, they just have more free time than I do and I don’t want to spend all my time at school making friends with other moms, the reality is: I felt left out.

I know I suck at the school mom game. I’m friends with several people who have kids in my daughters’ school – but I’m not the super involved mom and I probably never will be. I care tremendously what my children do. I want to support them and cheer them on. I’ll probably never coach their stuff and the front desk staff at their schools will probably always smugly ask for my ID when I arrive and then say (as they tend to), “Well, we don’t see YOU much around here.”

I’m… not that kind of mom.

I’m an introvert and to add to that – most of these social situations are challenging for me anyway with my stupid malfunctioning eyes and ears. Most people don’t know that – I certainly don’t wear a sign on my shirt letting people know that if I don’t respond when you ask me a question it may well be because I don’t hear you or see you out of the corner of my eye. Yesterday’s environment felt so challenging to me, that I was really tremendously overwhelmed internally that I didn’t have anything left to give externally – I was just trying not to cry.

So it was a perfect storm of emotion to later see pictures on Facebook of the team and knowing that myself and my daughter weren’t there. To know that no one had let us know how they’d done really made me feel outside the circle. I want to be angry at them but I can’t because it’s not really anything they did – it’s realizing that who I am doesn’t always fit in the circle… and probably never will.

And that’s okay. I have a life outside of the school. I have great friendships and relationships. I know that I am going through tough stuff and I have to be forgiving of myself. I know that I don’t have what it takes to go along just to get along and that, too, makes me seem abrasive and difficult to know and sometimes like.

At one point last night I thought to myself – maybe we can move. Maybe I can start over.

Then I realized: I’ll still be who I am. I will always be who I am. No matter if I fit, or if anyone else likes it. I can’t be anyone other than myself.

And that’s when I realized that I may be more like my daughter than I think.

All I’m missing is a dog hat.


Somewhere almost in the middle of january

We’re over one week into 2016 and unsurprisingly, everything is the same as it was last year save for a fraction of an inch of snow on the ground and a bit of disgust that yeah, everything is the same as it was last year.

At this time of year, it seems that there’s still a lot to read from a lot of people who are in the midst of making themselves completely new people for the new year. Lots of really uplifting stuff and lots of stuff that would be completely useful if I wasn’t such an insufferable cow.

And sometimes, I am an insufferable cow.

I try – of course – to embrace the positive aspects of my life. There are many positive aspects. I’m not so huge a douchebag that I cannot embrace what is truly joyful. I make an effort daily to be fully present and to be aware of the moments that make life magical.

I am not so advanced a spirit that I can ignore the garbage though.

I wish I could.

Last week, I ended up getting insanely pissed off by a note left on my door by the town in which I live. My sidewalk had snow on it, they said. I was in violation of rule blahblahblah. This was my first warning. Y’all, it was less than an inch of snow. Maybe a quarter of an inch at most. It was ridiculous, this warning. Several days later, I’m still angry about it. Do they think I have free time to clean every molecule of snow from my sidewalk any time it snows? I don’t.

This morning as I shoveled, I silently raged about it – even though in the moment, I didn’t actually mind the work. Today’s snow was light and fluffy and easily shoveled away. It wasn’t the heavy sludge that quickly turns to ice. I was wrapped in my grandpa’s flannel that he used to wear outside on days like today and even though it is missing several buttons, I felt the warmth of his memory.

Friday, I had the kind of day that had me nearly sprinting for my car at the end of the workday – so busy that I accumulated a record LOW number of steps because I barely even managed to get away from my desk to go to the bathroom.

All of these beautiful moments in life are packed in up against all of the really tough moments and I find it hard these days to ignore the garbage enough to fully embrace what is beautiful.

My god, I am trying.

I am lucky to be loved – and not just in that way that I feel that we are all lucky to be loved by the people who love us but in the way that sometimes I am an unbelievable pain in the ass and yet people in my life still love me.

I’m not sure why sometimes, but I am grateful for it.

Life is weird and amazing and beautiful. And sometimes I forget that it is indeed life – that part of what makes it beautiful are those moments that challenge you to not be such an unbelievable jerkface.

As I type this, I am in my warm home and I am half ignoring the fact that my driveway probably needs shoveling. My dog is on the couch next to me and he’s farting. It’s sickening and likely toxic. My kitchen counter is covered with junk even though I spent all day yesterday cleaning and all of the snacks I bought last week at Costco seem to be gone already despite the fact that I have two girls and I’m not raising a football team. One daughter is drinking a Gatorade, and she will almost certainly leave the empty plastic bottle sitting on a table in the living room when she’s done. The other is upstairs likely using the last of the hot water so there will be none left when I run a bath for myself later this evening.

But my home is warm and I am loved.

And that counts.

It counts because it has to count. It counts because it matters to me. It counts because if it stops counting, the days become that much more difficult.

We’re ten days in. I made no resolutions.

Even so, I hope to make this year a good one – and so I try.


I have been unbearable, miserable, and generally cranky.

I have been a whiny, miserable, mopey wussbaby and I should probably stop. I should stop, and I know I should stop and yet I am mired in the muck and I don’t know how. But I’m trying.

We hit these points of overwhelm occasionally – and by we, I mean I’m lumping you in with my maladjusted and emotionally stunted world. There are no big fixes, no easy answers and often it feels there’s no answer at all.

I know, because I’m in that place right now. That place where someone says, “Well, what could you do to make a change?” and you want to kick them in the knee because DUH if there was anything you could do, wouldn’t you totally be doing it?

(You would)

And in those cases where it feels like there’s no easy way forward, I guess the next step would be to go sideways. I mean, like you have anything else better to do? If you can’t move forward, move sideways, just for the love of all things holy do not stop moving because you’ve been sitting there for awhile now, and if you don’t move, even a little bit, you’re going to have a harder time finding any sort of momentum to start moving again

(by YOU I still mean me)

So, maybe you’re in the midst of a rough patch

(you are)

But you won’t always be

(this too shall pass)

And somehow and someway you’ll get to a point again where this is all in your rear view.

But not today.

And that’s fine.

Can you feel your right foot? Pick it up and gently take a step to your right. Slide your left foot next to it.

There. You’re doing it. You’re moving again. It won’t feel like much. It doesn’t have to be much. But just… move.

Take a breath and remember how it feels to move, how it feels to take control and just find your way again.

A letter to my daughters on the bigness of feelings

To my darling daughters –

Being a mom is one of the most rewarding and most challenging jobs I have ever experienced. I have been through hell and back in various jobs along the way in my life. In high school, I worked for a banquet hall and there would days I would spend hours on end in a walk in cooler making salads dressed in artificially colored green ranch dressing. I have worked for wretched people. I have spent hours on a trade show floor, touting the benefits of various automotive parts. None of that has been as great a blessing or as big a struggle as motherhood.

This is not a post about that really.

It’s about how sometimes I know I should say something and I don’t know how to say it. It’s about how I have all these words in my head all the time, words I try to share with you, words I hope are sinking in – but I have no guarantee that the words are. I have no guarantee that you are remembering. That these words have taken root and are as much a part of you as your marrow, your cells, your you.

Recently, a teenager in our community committed suicide. A terrible thing made even more terrible because it was someone that you knew, Princess, someone that you spent time with in gymnastics. This was already so awful, and it was made even more awful because for the first time, this awful thing wasn’t entirely outside our orbit. This required that you be faced with the mourning and the explanations and the aftermath of what happens when someone who was there suddenly is not there.

It’s devastating to me to think of anyone feeling the kind of pain she must have been feeling in order to take her life and I realize that I must be so blessed to be unfamiliar with the kind of sadness and hurt that leads to the kind of thinking that results in suicide.

This is not a letter to pass judgment.

I think of what her parents must be feeling and my heart, it breaks in half. I wonder what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling. They must be recounting these last weeks, months, wondering what they did or did not see.

You, my children – you are my world. And I want to take this moment to make sure you know that I am always here. I am on your team and I am your biggest cheerleader, and I am your strongest supporter. There is nothing you could tell me that could ever make me turn my back on you. There is no emotion too big that we cannot tackle it together. There is no sadness so great that I would not be there for you with open arms. There is no problem so big that we can’t figure it out together.

Suicide is a permanent action for temporary feelings.

And that comes from that naive place – that place that has never known pain like that, that place that hasn’t felt mired in despair – I cannot know what drives someone to take their own life because I’ve never been there.

But I guarantee you, I will always be there for you. Please know that you can come to me if you feel hurt, or sad, or if you feel despair. If you feel depressed or alone, please know that you’re not alone, and I will do what I can to find help and to find answers.

And please know that this extends not just to you – but to your friends. If you see your friends hurting and you don’t know what to do, please come to me. Please talk to me. Don’t shoulder this on your own. You don’t have to have all the answers, you don’t have to carry the weight alone. If a friend is hurting, if they talk about despair, if they are making plans to do anything to harm themselves or others, please know that I will do everything in my power to help you help your friend.

Growing up is hard, I know. But we can get through this all together.

I promise you. Never forget that I am here for you. Never forget that you are loved. And never forget that you are not alone – and that together we are stronger than each of us alone.

I love you very much, and I’m so very lucky to be your momma.





This week is Suicide Prevention Week and September 10 is Suicide Prevention Day. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is: 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255)

Please. If you need help, know that there are people you can talk to, people that can help.


no need to ask me why i’m so tired.

Thursday, 10:41 p.m.

5,981 steps on the Fitbit. I give up with this day. I don’t think I’m gonna try to make it to 10,000 and I’m just going to have to be okay with that. Slather coconut oil on my face – not sure whether it will give me pimples or moisturize out my wrinkles but I’m trying it because supposedly coconut oil is supposed to solve the world’s problems and one my problems is wrinkles. Big stupid wrinkles. Attempting to read a book while internally debating whether or not I should go down to the laundry room to get the clean sheets out of the basket. I love tightly tucked in clean sheets. Laziness wins.

Thursday, 11:17 p.m.

Eyes are heavy. I’ve maybe read three pages of my book. At this rate, I’ll never finish it. Everyone’s telling me that they’ve read it in one day, two days. I can’t seem to read more than a page at a time. Message Chris goodnight – I have to stick a fork in this day. I’m tired.

Friday, 3:58 a.m.

Ugh. Why am I even awake?

Friday, 6:00 a.m.

The alarm on my Fitbit goes off but I’ve been awake for several minutes already. TGIF. Not sure why I can’t sleep well – I was up again between 4 a.m. and now. I know I’m going to be tired later.

Friday, 6:07 a.m.

Down the hall to wake up the kids. Holy crap, they’re both awake already? That never happens. It’s our Doughnut Day – so we have to be out the door by 6:45 or we’re gonna be late.

Friday, 6:15 a.m.

Check the weather app: 1 degree, -14 wind chill. Ugh. What do you even wear when it’s so cold? Back to the drawing board – and into the closet: LAYERS LAYERS LAYERS.

Friday, 6:27 a.m.

Ready to go and downstairs to hurry kids and to eat breakfast. I don’t like doughnuts so I get coffee when the girls and I go – this means I need to quick scarf down some breakfast. Mental note: remember to put money in Pumpkin’s hot lunch account.

Friday, 6:46 a.m.

Last night’s dishes are washed (I miss having a functioning dishwasher!) and the laundry is in the dryer. The Princess can’t find her flats that she needs to wear for her chorale festival today. I offer her mine – which she grudgingly steps into and then her eye spots her own flats tucked away. And…yep. We’re not getting out the door on time.

Friday, 7:02 a.m.

Getting out the door behind schedule means that now we’re stuck in the 7 a.m. Starbucks rush. The line in front of us is filled with teenagers ordering Frappucinos. It’s -14 out there, kids? WHY ARE YOU DRINKING MILKSHAKES? Then again, I spy a pair of cropped pants and boat shoes, so clearly if they’ve checked the weather app, they just absolutely don’t care. Teenagers. They’re not the sharpest sticks in the eye, are they?

Friday, 7:23 a.m.

Drop off the Princess at school – she’s supposed to get on a bus for festival in seven minutes so I’m not entirely late. Right? Gorgeous to watch the sun come up on the drive. Deep breath in. Snap a picture on the way. I’ll post it to Instagram once I get to work.

Friday, 7:33 a.m.

Pumpkin is back at home with my stepdad who will get her on the bus in an hour. I’m ON MY WAY. Hoping that there will be a new podcast to listen to on the drive, but all I have is 14 episodes of NPR Fresh Air, none of them catching my interest this morning.

Friday, 8:06 a.m.

Greeted this morning with an email that set me in motion and set my teeth on edge. Could well be a day of clock-watching (and not just because I’ve given myself this assignment of…watching the clock.)

Friday, 9:04 a.m.

Send Chris a good morning text. It’s one of my favorite rituals – to wish him a good morning and to message him goodnight at the end of the day. I usually say hi earlier than this. Gearing up for a 9:15 conference call – it was supposed to start at 9 but someone is stuck in traffic somewhere so… the train is now off the tracks.

Friday, 9:12 a.m.

Check email — ooh, World Market. Spanish Wine Sale. Mmmm. Wine. This DAY.

Friday, 9:59 a.m.

Quickly eat a granola bar at my desk after the conference call wraps up. Email my sister plans for tomorrow for my niece’s birthday. Next thing, next thing. Grammar check with a co-worker – subject/verb agreement can be tricky and I’m not trusting my brain anymore. Need to wrap this up so I can move on to drafting an invitation for a client event.

Friday, 10:13 a.m.

My coworker gives me a gold star. Probably because I’m not yet crying.

Friday, 11:19 a.m.

Just realized I missed a text the Princess sent 40 minutes ago. Ah, Mother of the Year. They did well at their Chorale Festival! Yay!

Friday, 11:28 a.m.

I’ve had to pee for about two hours now. Am I going to go? Maybe after I save this file and get it sent.

Friday, 11:44 a.m.

I give up. I can’t keep holding it. I’m going to give myself a bladder infection.

Friday, 12:23 p.m.

Drinking a chalky Special K Protein Shake while updating a client’s website. My Fitbit is showing 1,900 steps. I’ve hardly moved today. Talk through a project, vent a little. I think it may be time to walk away from my desk for awhile.

Friday, 12:34 p.m.

Coat, scarf, hat, gloves. Go for a walk. I don’t want to be outside, but I know the fresh air will help. Where on earth did the morning go? Spot a sign for my old employer and opt to not take a picture to send them for use on their social media sites – it was cool exposure. I’m sure they’re aware of it. They do get involved with some cool projects.

Friday, 1:24 p.m.

I’m at 6,608 steps. That’s more like it.I feel slightly less stubby and now I’m on the downhill slope of the day. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

Friday, 1:44 p.m.

Bless the coworker who brings in cookies.

Friday, 2:31 p.m.

“No one’s greater than you.” A client tells me that as we wrap up our call – not sure whether she means it or not, truly, but I’ll take it. I really do love to do good work and I’m glad when clients are happy with what I’ve done. We’ve been busting our butt to get a lot accomplished this week – them AND me – so sometimes, we need a win.

Friday, 3:01 p.m.

A west coast vendor delivered something that was completely wrong and then went to lunch. I need them to come back, to fix it. Email. Leave a voice mail. Have a minor heart attack.

Friday, 3:38 p.m.

Seriously, folks, come back from your lunch hour. Email a second person from the same company.

Friday, 4:06 p.m.

Oh my freakin’ goodness. It’s fixed. I’m not usually one to wig out on vendors – I like to be a good client – but that one was threatening to make me grouchy. Relax, Sarah. Eat another cookie.

Friday, 4:36 p.m.

Is there a limit to how many emails I can have open at once? So far…no. Daydreaming of eating potstickers for dinner with Pumpkin. The Princess will be at a friend’s so it’ll be just me and my youngest. I look forward to breathing again.

Friday, 5:11 p.m.

Out the door – but only because I need to get my hair cut at 5:30. No way I’ll get there on time. My laptop in tow, I’m sure I’ll be working again later.

Friday, 5:45 p.m.

Of course I’m late. I made the mistake of having someone different cut my hair last time. I hate it. Lesson learned. Never stray from good hair people.

Friday, 6:25 p.m.

Get home and scramble for a picture of the day before it gets dark outside. Not a whole lot of luck. Order Chinese food. Whoooohooo! I’m up to 7,506 steps. I may just make it after all. Eat a slice of stale beer bread while logging into work laptop. I barely left an hour ago but I need to get some information to a client. This is why my hair is gray. I miss Chris. This week has been a tough one and days are better when I get to see him. Updating Inbox. Those words are scary. Will it be one message or dozens? Fortunately… just a handful.
275 | 365 - March 6, 2015

Friday, 7:11 p.m.

Home with dumplings and the shoes are FINALLY off. The dog ate Pumpkin’s Thirty-One thermal lunch tote so before we can eat, I need to resolve the tantrum AND message a friend who sells Thirty-One to see if by chance she’s got any replacement totes on hand that I could buy.

Friday, 8:25 p.m.

A friend texts from Opryland and I miss all of my bloggy friends. Logging off the work laptop for the night and would love to be sharing margaritas with them. Pumpkin is watching a movie while I work. I cave and FINALLY make my bed. Clean sheets. There’s something to look forward to at the end of this day. Sit with my kiddo on the sofa.

Friday, 8:58 p.m.

Text from The Princess. The next door neighbor is coming over to pick up her frosting piping tip. Can I go look for it? I find it.

Friday, 9:44 p.m.

Whoa. Kiddo is sleeping. Can it be…that this day is almost over? Let the dog out one last time for the night and grab my laptop and head upstairs. I fell asleep watching episode 3 of House of Cards the other night. May be time to try again.

Friday, 10:23 p.m.

Oh Universe, what are you even trying to tell me? Run a bath and the water’s lukewarm. After two minutes, I just…couldn’t do it. Too cold. Sigh. Sometimes the water is scalding, sometimes, lukewarm. I give up. Pajamas on, Netflix on, and jogging in place to hit 10,000. I got there. Didn’t think I would.  I think…I give up. May just let the lull of Kevin Spacey’s lazy southern drawl put me to sleep. Crawl in bed, headphones on, House of Cards episode 3.

Friday, 11:23 p.m.

Time to wash my face. Brush my teeth. Attempt to get rid of wrinkles with a layer of coconut oil. What a day. Thinking of all I didn’t do today – I never did put lunch money in Pumpkin’s account. I forgot to call my ENT to get a copy of my medical records. The dishes from dinner are still sitting in the sink. I meant to clean off my chipped nail polish. But I made it. I made it though the day. Can’t wait to lay my head on this pillow and nestle in my clean sheet tightly-tucked burrito bed.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday Ten: Ice and Cold and It’s Winter Edition


1. I think we all know that this is the time of year that I struggle with the most. I hate cold weather. I hate winter driving. I hate paying my energy bill. I hate that I can’t work out outside.I hate that my car is nearly white now from salt remnants. Yesterday it was -13 degrees when I woke up – and that’s without taking the wind chill into account (actually, the wind chill was also -13, so I guess it could have been worse? What am I even saying anymore?).

2. One of the things I did to just after Christmas is to buy a Nest Learning Thermostat – I had a programmable thermostat before but I’m hopeful that I can further cut energy expenses by better programming my schedule and the ability to set the thermostat as “Away” when I’m not at home. In just a few short weeks, I have noticed that my January 2015 bill reflects less energy usage than my 2014 bill, but there are other variables that could factor in — so I’ll be looking forward to next month’s bill (WHAT DID I JUST SAY?) just to see. Am I nerd’ing out about my energy bill? Only a little. So far.

218 | 365 - January 8, 2015

3. I have been grateful that with the rough roads last week, that I was able to carpool with my mom. Last winter’s car accident has made me even more cautious and I find that driving on icy roads just stresses me the hell out. A storm brought in truly brutal weather last Friday – which resulted in a nearly 200-car pile up near Kalamazoo. Fortunately, I was at home, working at my dining table (and NOWHERE NEAR THE HIGHWAY!), but oy. Stupid winter. Though this week has brought in some very very cold temperatures, I have to admit, I’ll take the bitter cold over the snow and ice. At least my commute is a smooth one and I have coffee to warm me.

4. Chris and I finally finished listening to Serial over the weekend and… well, gosh. I’m not sure WHAT I think. I have gone back and forth and around and around and well, I won’t spoil any of it here – but if you have listened to the series, leave me a comment letting me know what you think. Did Adnan kill Hae? Do you think Jay lied? And what do you think Serial has up its sleeve for Season Two? I admit, I am SO hooked.

5. I got my hair cut last week – had several inches cut off and I have hair cut remorse. I wanted a change. I wanted a noticeable difference. And. I got it and now I want my hair back.

216 | 365 - January 6, 2015

6. My dog has been seriously smelly the past few days and as much as I don’t want to dedicate any of this post to heinous dog farts, it’s pretty bad and he deserves some public blog shaming for whatever he did that is making him smell this way.

7. Pumpkin won her class spelling bee and then went on to compete in the school bee and was out in the first round. It’s a really interesting and terrifying thing, as a parent, to watch your kids do these kinds of things – because on one hand, I didn’t care if she won or not because I was so dang proud already, but on the other hand, I knew that no matter when she was out of the game, that it would be tough for her. And yeah, it really as. She held it together fairly well, but I could see that she was discombobulated. She said later, “I knew that it was good just that I got in but my eyes were still trying to cry even if I knew inside that it was okay.” As much as any sort of “failure” is no fun – I have to say that she handled it was grace – acknowledging that it was tough and that it was no fun, but that she ultimately is okay. Sigh. Learning experiences. Whee?

8. Still watching Gilmore Girls with The Princess every evening – and it remains one of my favorite rituals. Still hate Jess. Rory has just finished her first year of college. Lorelai just opened the inn. I’m glad that there were so many seasons so that our binge still has a while longer to go.

9. And we’ll go from the Gilmore Girls to Parenthood in its last season and still making me cry and what on earth happened to Lauren Graham’s face? (Oh. I just googled. She’s 48. I guess I’m just not used to seeing people age on television. I’m sorry that I made fun of her face.)

10. The thing about the environmentally friendly lightbulbs (besides their horrifyingly unflattering yellow glow) is that they’re all dying at the same time. I NEED REPLACEMENT LIGHTBULBS, STAT.


Aloha, 2014. Aloha, 2015.

295 | 365

I wasn’t sure what to expect last year at this time. 2013 was truly a struggle and I felt every pang of it in the core of my being by the time December rolled around. I felt so defeated – and then along comes January and my part time job was cut altogether and my job hunt, already pretty aggressive, became frenzied. I cried a lot in January. I busted my ass interviewing and applying for jobs and networking, all the while training my former coworkers… and crying a lot.

I didn’t have much hope for 2014. I didn’t.

I had my kids, I had Chris,  my family —  but I was sure that I’d be living in a cardboard box somewhere by the time the snow finally thawed in spring.

I was pretty angry at 2014 already.

(I got a new nephew in the midst of the job hunt. It was a saving grace, for sure.)

My expectations for the year were pretty low.

I don’t mind saying that – they were low. I just wanted to survive this year.

Instead, i feel like… I may be on my way to more than just getting by.

A new job, a paycheck, routine.

An unexpected need for a new car (love my Prius, hate my car payment)

It was a step forward, two back.

But here at the end of it I think – I am doing this. I can do this.

They say it takes a woman five years after a divorce to get back on her feet financially. I’m not sure who they is, but a former co-worker told me that statistic, said it was true for her when going through her divorce. It hasn’t been five years, but I’m hopeful that 2015 is the year that I wipe out any doubt that I can get back on my feet, that I will stand on my own two feet. I hope to finish paying off all that stuff that accumulated during those first few months (the debt made worse by a thousand dollar vet bill from the night that my dog barfed and barfed and barfed for so many hours, over and over, that I ended up at the emergency vet ready to give them all of my money that I didn’t have just so they could make my dog well again).

Yeah. All of that. It’s almost gone.

I did it.

Without all of the love and encouragement I received from the people who love me, I don’t know that things would have gone as they did. But I was lifted and carried and encouraged and embraced during the darkest moments and somehow along the way, I found light.

I still have a ways to go.

But now I believe I can get there.

I am grateful that 2014 was gentler on me than the previous year.

What are my hopes for 2015?

I don’t dare to have big hopes – not because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and for things to turn to crap – but because I still don’t know how to think bigger than one foot in front of the other.

Last year at this time, I was in deprivation mode – fearful of spending money, fearful of losing everything. Yesterday, I impulsively ordered three pair of yoga pants in an Old Navy athletic wear sale. I probably won’t lose sleep over the purchase, either. That’s…huge. It may not sound huge, but compared to the fear that enveloped me earlier in the year, it’s really freaking huge.

I will keep working towards those moments of smoothing out the rough edges – of finding peace where I’ve been stressed, of breathing easy when I once was filled with chaos.

I’ll try to drink more water. Exercise consistently. Find a bit more peace with my body even though hey, I’m aging and I don’t super love the effect it’s having on my waistline. I’ll continue to love my Fitbit and strive to hit my step goal more often than not. I’ll aim to officially set aside money to travel – I don’t know that travel is in the stars for 2015 – but I want to start making plans for travel. I would love to make it a point to spend more time with friends – it’s tough – my schedule is chaos and most of my friends are moms – it’s hard to find time to connect, but I’ve realized lately that I’ve missed that – missed having time to talk with friends and maybe I need to redefine what that time looks like – perhaps it’s not, let’s go out for dinner – perhaps it’s come sit on my couch and talk awhile, you bring the wine and I’ll bake some cookies. I was able to spend time with friends this year – but… not enough. I live in a town that makes me feel isolated, and I need to push through that – because the town isn’t going to change, so I must. I want more of what was good in 2014 – so I hope 2014 has a trip to Traverse City in the stars, perhaps a new bottle of something great that we’ll bring home to share.

In 2015, I’ll turn 39.

I’m gonna have to come to grips with the age thing. Or start. Because holy hell, 40 is coming and I have a feeling I will need more than a year to steel myself against the punch in the face I’m afraid 40 is going to be.

But this is supposed to be a positive thing. So.

I have my eyes open to 2015. I have no idea what is ahead, only that I am allowing myself to feel hope again and that is encouraging to me, and that makes my heart feel better coming into a new year than I have felt in awhile.

I’m still scared of what’s ahead – I think that’s just my nature – but I also believe that I can overcome any of the bad stuff — and I’m starting to let myself believe that maybe it won’t all be bad.

There’s something good up ahead for me.

I’m going to try to let myself believe it.

Goodbye 2014.

Hello 2015. I’m looking forward to getting to know you.

“In Hawaii, don’t they use aloha for like, hello and goodbye?”
“Yeah, so?”
“So if you’e on the phone with somebody and they won’t stop talking how do you get them off because you say, “Okay take care, aloha’ don’t they start over again?”