I Hate the Grocery Store and Why I Gave Up Wine

Yes, that is a retainer case and a plastic container of left over pasta next to my wine. Oh, and a bowl of pretty fruit.

I’m unloading my little red hand basket in the check out line at the grocery store – well, it’s not really a grocery store because I hate the grocery store. Filling up a big cart with lots of food is just a precursor to the looming reality that I must cook a meal and cooking sends me to my dark place.

So no, I’m not at the grocery store. Continue reading

When an Earthquake Isn’t the Only Thing Shaking Up Life

IMG_5977I can’t really say there was a beginning or an end, it happened so fast. The side table lamp rattled a too-late warning, then the bed shook quick and hard like a wet dog. I stay frozen on top of the cozy comforter, gripping the laptop balancing against my thighs to keep it from sliding to the floor. My mind races: run to a doorway? Grab the kids? Where are my shoes? Seconds later it’s over. Earthquake.

“Hey!” I yell in the direction of my open bedroom door. “Did you guys feel that?” Continue reading

How I Lost My Voice, Found It Again and Became a True Life Rock Star

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Image Source: Fanpop.com

I watch my daughter trudge to the car under the weight of her ridiculously heavy backpack. Like most afternoons, she looks exhausted and a little soggy, like she’s been caught in a rainstorm and is still drying off: middle school. Her sister’s going to a friend’s house and the twins in our carpool have been picked up early for orthodontist appointments.

“It’s just you and me kiddo,” I say. She climbs into the front seat and smiles wanly.

“Hi mom. Can we go to Starbucks?

I smile back and say yes. The grocery store can wait. She’ll be 13 in a few weeks and lately I have a sharp sense of urgency around the time we spend together. Frappuccinos it is.

She’s flipping through SiriusXM heading for Hits 1, the all-pop-all-the-time station when she lands on 80s on 8. I barely catch the opening drum machine notes of the song when she clicks to the next station.

“Wait! Go back!” I say. Continue reading

Bee Stings, Midlife and Telling Stories

Xylocopa9I stepped gingerly across the slick wet rocks, boots in hand, the small stream gleaming. There was something important about getting to the other side without falling in. I placed my foot on the next rock and felt the firm, sudden sting in the ball of my foot. Sharp intake of breath, a sudden jerk, a small yelp. I plunged my foot into the cold water and waded to shore where I sat on the edge of the stream examining my foot in wonder. Stung at last. Continue reading

Words That Stick

Meaning of Life

My friend Ariana posted these words on her Facebook page a few days ago. In the middle of my runaway life, that first line – “The meaning of life is just to be alive” – resonated with such a relief. I’ve been so rushed and wound up, overcome by tightening deadlines, overscheduled with meetings and appointments, intimidated by to-dos. Time shrinks without warning, pushing me into the next day before I’ve had a chance to be fully in the one I woke up in. Continue reading

First Date, French Kissing and Wondering Why He Likes Me: When I Was 14

Seeing myself in that three-way mirror was like seeing myself for the first time. All the ways I’d placed myself in the world suddenly gave way.

IMG_5960We were at Jessica’s house in her mom’s bathroom trying on the eyeliner I wouldn’t be allowed to wear for another year, curling our eyelashes, giggling and gasping as they caught in between the metal clamps. I moved a panel of the mirror and suddenly a different me appeared. My nose slanted across my face rather than running straight down the middle. I noticed how slender my face was, thin and long and the way my jaw rounded gently, no strong lines. Until then, I’d only known myself straight on, unaware of my asymmetry. It stunned me, this three-dimensional view of myself, like staring at a stranger then realizing I’d known them all my life.

“Try this one,” Jessica said, passing me a glittery baby-blue shadow. “It’ll go good with your eyes.” Continue reading

Will I Know How to Raise My Teen Girl?

IMG_5859It’s an unwritten law: there will be scraped knees and hurt feelings. Hearts will break, exhaustion will set in; someone will get cancer. One of my three girls will grow up to hate me, maybe all three, hopefully not all at the same time. But then they’ll love me again, won’t they?

I’m reading this article in the Sunday New York Times magazine called The Mother of All Problems. It’s about teenage girls and how they turn on their mothers, become unreachable, utter profanities about us behind our backs to their friends. Hate, hate, hate us. Continue reading