Walking Thoughts

Last night cooled quickly, enough to use the oven, and I texted my mother, “I have the stupidest question imaginable. Can you talk?” She was on a plane getting ready to taxi. “No stupid questions,” she said, “I can text.” Imagine now, the time that ellipsed while awaiting her answer to my “How do I . . . roast chicken pieces?”

I didn’t follow her directions, of course, because what is the experience of an adult child but knowing the right way to do things and doing them your own way instead.

It is the first week of the semester which tends to mark the end of my being fully available to everyone else. If I’m toast, they’re charred. No one wanted to join me for my night walk so I set out on my own. There’s a path around the backyard and if I take 4ish trips it makes a mile. It was bright still, and breezy, and I wasn’t sad to be by myself. Behind the barn, past the trampoline, circle the field of drying goldenrod and Queen Anne’s lace. Under a maple canopy, through the apple trees, past the garden – leggy zinnias and still blooming poppies and surprise green beans poking through the fence. Repeat. I laughed passing the trampoline, remembering those first return-to-school weeks of 2020 and how I would drop my daughter off at daycare, return home for Zoom school, and jump, jump, jump on that trampoline until I felt like I could manage the day. After pick up the two of us would return to the trampoline and lay there until dinner.

Every back-to-school headline this year seemed to proclaim a return to a normal that no longer exists, without any awareness that maybe articulating precaution as restriction was a significant contribution to the problem itself. This is a different place now. I’m grabbing stacks of masks for my students to wear in the classroom. They are polite, it seems they get it, and the “out sick with covid” emails are coming in already. It’s taking me longer to bounce back after an August round of covid, and every time I want to go for a run I remember that I’m still napping if I walk more than a couple of miles. And I don’t nap.

I’d forgotten about the jumping until I saw the trampoline yesterday. Without P beside me I remembered myself, and in context of myself the trampoline was an artifact of a time of such confusion and fear and overwhelm I could barely believe I, we, made it here – not to the other end but certainly to another normal, one in which I have a little more confidence in my ability to negotiate interruptions and illness and New! Improved! Anxiety! I take a shower every morning now. I go to work. I make dinner. I sometimes (rarely) do the dishes.

A lone, light, container of sanitizing wipes sits on a table of my classroom. Some chairs have remnants of “leave empty for social distancing” tape across the back, and I wonder how we’ll talk about this chapter in our shared history. I wonder what their trampoline is, what it is these students will remember.


Twenty Years of Dan Zanes and Cheese Sticks

Would it be the beginning of an academic year without a fruitless trip to the campus bookstore? Alas, no. Home now, without the $120 digital code for a virtual nursing lab OR the mango Powerade Polar Pop (RIP) that has supported every marathon work session for the last two years, I realize that I put the trash out too late this morning (fulfilling my ex-husband’s prophecy ofc). I roll the overfull bin back and park it in front of an inoperable garage door. Maybe next week. 

 I’m gearing up for my 4,786th semester and meeting it by throwing away everything I possibly can. Pay stubs from 10 years ago? Gone. Capless markers? Get out. Prehistoric deodorant from my “gym” bag? See ya never. One trip to Goodwill and two to the dumpster and I’m just getting started. I’m sifting through old work habits, too, replacing old (Of course I’ll be on that committee!) with new (Pay me.) and remembering that sometimes assertive and bitchy feel synonymous and ambition doesn’t have to mean self-sacrifice because there is plenty of time. Not everything has to be done or fixed or solved right now. 

In a kind of parenting ouroboros I’m still sobbing over Catherine Newman’s writing (this profile of her home in Cup of Jo is one of the best things I’ve read this month) but this time on both the early-parenting and empty-nest-ish ends. My books and walls are still getting tagged with unwashable marker because I‘m exactly the kind of person who forgets, after 21 consecutive years of parenting, to buy washable markers. I’m making kale salad and laughing when I strip the leaves. And while doing the cheese stick dance with my three-year-old daughter last night I heard the opening notes of Dan Zanes’ “Night Owl,” looked down at my boxy mom clothes and Birks, and clipped my tangled hair on top of my head; the whole scene a carbon copy of my life twenty years ago. Then, I was folding tiny Colby clothes in the dark bedroom of a shitty apartment. My enormous computer took five minutes minimum to dial in to the internet, and I usually fell asleep trying to figure out what to say in my virtual school 1.0 message boards.

This time, though, as I wrap up my final degree I have an actual job running in the background. A skill set I’m proud of that is almost automatic, easy to retrieve. My house may be falling apart but I’m not scrounging for apartments or rolling quarters for gas money. The internet is always on, for better or worse, and right now I’m typing on a system set up by that small boy from so long ago. And when my daughter, his baby sister, who has newly acquired a knack for repetition, says “This is an oven” twenty times in a row while pointing to a listing Play Doh box, I know it does not matter how many times I say “wow that IS an oven” because she’s just going to keep saying it and I can . . .  eat another cheese stick and wait it out

So Logan Isn’t a Role Model, but.

My grades are posted, and I can hear the plastic bag I placed over a broken door window ten fucking years ago flapping in the breeze. That is to say, it is December, my house is filthy, and I probably won’t replace the glass this year either.

This semester turned out to be a totally predictable cluster fuck of closed daycare and me stomping around the house in knockoff Ugg’s and fifteen-year-old sweatpants making jerk off motions with one hand while staring into my phone with the other. I communicated solely by Logan Roy quotes, and while I know he is not supposed to be a role model and in fact every character in that show is irredeemable, I appreciated having the language in which to communicate that I was, in fact, not here for anyone’s shit.

Everything is out of control, of course. My partner and I fought about the price of our daughter’s prescription and my contributions included such gems as “it doesn’t even matter if she gets her Flovent, I guess, since she won’t even be able to vote and she’s going to have to paddle a canoe to school where she will have to wear a bulletproof vest and not read any real books.” I’m terrified about all of these things that are entirely outside of my control while, at the same time, trying to keep us and my career alive.

In the midst of all of this, though, we’re all looking at each other and shrugging and not knowing anything, together. My parenting friends and I are all half panicked half exhausted but fully re-evaluating what is actually important. I keep asking myself some version of, “If I die tomorrow, is it going to matter that we are eating takeout for a third night in a row?” The World is marching on, but the expectations that were set up for us are no longer attainable, and I think we’re articulating what we already, always knew – that they weren’t meant to be in the first place. Fuck ’em.

A few un-edited and tangential paragraphs.

 It must have been Fall 2003 semester because I had moved into university apartments and, unrelated, had a brief affair with the pediatrician. But a classmate in my undergrad creative non-fiction class slipped a cd into my hands as we left class. “Calluna” scribbled in Sharpie over the front, it was housed in one of those old crinkly paper envelopes with a cellophane window. Aimee Mann’s “Red Vines” and “Long December” and three Tool tracks and a bunch I don’t remember and could never identify; it went long, had a logical progression, and I played it for 16 years until I bought a car that didn’t have a cd player.

I don’t remember his name, but I do remember it was after a workshop in which the class and instructor focused wholly on one event in my essay instead of workshopping the entire piece and I was exhausted. I was frustrated that I wasn’t communicating what I was trying to say, and worried that I would never learn to do it effectively. Aside from the mixes my son has made for me, this was the most personally astute and seasonably appropriate mix I have ever encountered, and I wonder still if anyone has ever considered me as well as that stranger from ENG 309.

And now I am forty. This morning I had to audibly tell myself not to go get a pair of maternity pants (my child is 2.5 years old), and I pouted putting on my “good leggings” and a pair of ankle boots in an attempt to Look Like a Grownup. My daughter often plants her sticky hands on the sides of my face and cranks my head around to wherever she is: “Look at me!” she says, and I know exactly what she’s talking about.

We had another stretch at home, everyone has been sick, and I’m in the middle of serial CDC testing. On one hand, I’m glad they are paying attention but on the other, I don’t have time for this. Because the world has decided to move on the we all are moving on and trying to do, I don’t know, our work? But we’re still in the middle of a fucking pandemic and all of this takes time. So much time.


The other day I thought that I might just dissolve into a smoking pile of Reductress memes. Here I am – with one foot on the escalator and the other on the ground making wild leaps in logic. See? I am making all of these moves purposefully and it will work out fine. There I go, glowering over my shoulder at a man looking over his shoulder! See where my eyebrows meet? That’s a permanent mark now.

That is to say, it’s the season of doing everything and nothing and smashing stink bugs on the office window and trying to remember all the tasks and appointments because if I write it all down I will asphyxiate under the weight of the 12pt font. The roof is leaking and there have been many phone calls with still no roofer, the toddler has a tick in her head and needs prophylactic antibiotics and this will require two trips to the pharmacy, three online portal messages, and three phone calls to the pharmacy. There’s an exam to study for, 56 assignments to grade, a paper to write, dinner to make.

Send up some thoughts for us this week, because my sweet, last baby is moving from Toddler’s to Preschool and I dissolve into tears every time I think about it. My entire strategy has been to not think about it. It seems silly but she is so grown already, brilliant and wild. Her Toddler’s teacher was there almost two decades ago when my oldest was there, and leaving her feels like I’m leaving home for the first time. We have been seen, fully, and tended to so well over this last year, and we are so much richer for it.

Oh, October.

I have been either a student or a teacher nearly my entire life, and I still forget what is happening until I am right in the middle of it. We were all out for a night walk on one of last week’s warm and leafy days and I said “we better stay out as long as we can it will be,” and I ticked off seven fingers, “seven months before it’s this warm again.” What a shitty thing to say on such a lovely evening.

I’ve been writing about how it took me eight weeks to notice the gorgeous ginkgo tree outside my office window, how good it feels to be in the middle of chaos that’s all moving toward a tangible goal, and what it’s been like to process some of my own history during this academic semester’s (psych, OB/GYN, end-of-life care) coursework and clinical experience.

Anne Helen Petersen’s writing has been so important to me throughout what began as a pandemic and then turned into just life, and she articulates what I’ve been feeling maybe for all of these Octobers so perfectly in her newsletter today.

She says, “Instead of masking that brokenness, lean into it. Give the wound some oxygen. Be vulnerable and needy with one another. Go ahead and consider or even make big life decisions. You’re not acting emotionally; you’re actually listening to your emotions instead of blunting them, and there’s a very real difference. Refuse the rut and your own complacency with it. Life is hard and will always be hard in different ways, but given our advances as a civilization, there’s no reason it should be this hard. Be mad about it. Acquaint yourself with how you’re feeling and refuse to be embarrassed or ashamed with those realities. What feels like a personal regression is usually your mind and body reacting to an ongoing societal one.

I have pages of writing that span from early in pregnancy with my daughter (2018) to this week that keep spiraling around how inarticulate I feel, and how furious and primal that frustration is. And sitting at my desk today, as I keep rolling my chair back to gaze at that ginkgo and forward to spoon August blueberries into my mouth and sprinkling purple across my keyboard; I understand that this is not mom brain or overwhelm, it’s not the cognitive thud that I feel when depression rolls in, or overextension: it is existential. I re-entered the world as a mother of a young child, and found it not just lacking, but purposely cruel and limiting.

My son was born six months before 9/11. I was 20-years-old and quite actually just beginning to learn anything. I had a wide, supportive family and my closest friends did not yet have children. Humiliated and frustrated with the requirements for financial assistance and healthcare, I entered the workforce quickly and without a lot of thought. We had eight years of consistent (enough) political leadership. We had progress and hope.

Everything is different now. I have ambitions and successes I could not have dreamed up. My friends have wonderful children and lives, and my family has shifted so interpersonally and geographically that we were on our own before COVID.

What feels like a personal regression is usually your mind and body reacting to an ongoing societal one.

As I walked through our cramped and dirty living room the other night, depositing dirty dishes in the sink, my partner looked at me and asked, “are you okay?” to which I replied in succinct Roy Kent fashion, all eyebrows, “fuck no.” But I am as okay as I could possibly be in this world, in this moment – and that’s enough.


Friends, I turned down a terrible contract. I attempted to negotiate, the director of online programs not only refused to negotiate, he refused to return a phone call or an email. If he had said, “Heather, we have no staff and no extra money and we really need help” I would have been said “How can I help?” and then immediately regretted it.

I decided it would be great to take a break from teaching in what was sure to be another gnarly semester. I’m still on deck for vaccinating and testing, and it looked like my services (sob) would be needed, and I was content.

Not one day later I was working with a different university and a different department and, the Friday before classes started — I took another teaching position. Just one that I had zero time to prep for. I’ve been doing this for long enough that I knew it would suck to begin without a solid schedule of assignments. I also knew that I had the skills to enter a classroom, meet my students, and start to develop our rapport and skill set on Day 1.

Here are some pictures of me so fucking happy at work:

. .

My students have been patient, my nursing classes are interesting and I’m so happy to see my classmates. The team I joined for work is so kind and helpful. I was even able to attend a live event for my fellowship with the MHC on campus last.

Screeching halt today, though, as Little P was deemed a close contact at daycare and we got the call to stay home at . . . 7:30 a.m. as we were heading out the door. I’m here, now, in my beloved office that smells like ideas and potential. I don’t even care that the window doesn’t really shut. I am gathering my thoughts and a few books as I prepare to work from home for next 10 days. It feels so selfish to articulate just how bereft this all makes me. We are all safe and healthy so far, and that is the greatest worry. But the fear and frazzle and knowing what it has felt like to have space and room to THINK and leaving that all behind is just, a little devastating.

I’ve been chugging along today, working so hard to channel my energy into a solution instead of feeling grumpy about the problem because, well, what the fuck am I going to do about it. P and I will get into a rhythm just like we did the last time. I’ve already lined up very careful help for the one event I couldn’t miss. We will be okay.

I’ve been having Mary Oliver intrusions over the last few months and the most frequent interrupter is this fragment from “The Uses of Sorrow”: this, too, was a gift. I say it over and over again, but as “this, too, is a gift” and open back up to what will happen next.

Two Horses

One of my favorite pieces of movie parental advice comes from Sweet Home Alabama when Reese Witherspoon’s Melanie Smooter/Carmichael finds herself caught between two men – each of whom represent pieces of her essential self. Her father, Fred Ward’s Earl, says to her “you can’t ride two horses with one ass, sugarbean” and I think about this embarrassingly often.

When haven’t I been riding two horses with one ass? I guess the most important point here is that I’m finally . . . over it? Ready to trade in my double-saddle? I’m realizing that I’m a late bloomer in a lot of ways, and I’m so happy that I have figured this out, finally. I don’t have to do everything! I don’t have to stay busy to be happy! It’s okay. How will this work out while finishing my nursing program and continuing to teach? I’m not sure.

I’m wrapping up a summer nursing course that is easily the worst class I’ve ever taken and cannot imagine I will be in a place to do this again in one short month. I’m breezing through another pre-req in a class that is so simple and drawn out that I’m just frustrated I had to spend the money and mental energy on it. I’m learning a lot, still, about how our choices as educators impact students and it’s heavy to reflect on my own choices through this; I hope I never forget what this felt like.

It’s gorgeous out and I had a quick planning meeting with one of my teaching colleagues – the only one I really interact with throughout the year because I’m adjunct and remote, a double-whammy of isolation. We managed to squeeze a social catch-up, departmental review, and course details into thirty minutes. I left giddy with attention and intellectual stimulation and absolutely floating on what it felt like to be treated as a professional whose presence has worth, who has value. At 8 am I had been ready to quit, wholly convinced that I had nothing to contribute. This is a feeling that I’ve been coexisting with since the changeover, and that shift is so dramatic. When I move from nursing student to humanities educator, novice to professional, one campus to another, I wonder if this is a symptom of simply starting from scratch that will be remedied with time, or if it is a reminder that I am supposed to be in one world and not the other.

However it shakes out, it felt great.


An aspiring one-horse gal

Finally, home.

By the time my daughter ran into the house tonight, trailing one of her brothers through a wall of flies the recent rain has seemed to revive, she was the same kind of sight she usually is these days. Raspberries smeared over a layer of sunblock, over a layer of sand, over a thorough layer of what I now know is unwashable pink marker. Her loosening blonde pigtails were matted to her head and memories of the afternoons ice cream were all over her shirt (and me). The shirt, pink at 9 a.m., now a sort of brown-themed tie dye.

We woke late enough this morning for it to feel like vacation, but early enough to let the day unfold. My oldest, Colby, came over for coffee and leftover cherry pie and a long visit. We sat outside in plastic Adirondack chairs while P zipped around and on top of us – washing dishes in her pretend kitchen, filling the driveway with chalk circles, throwing rocks because she felt like it – the fat canopy of a maple shading us. We walked around the property and lost track of time and when he left I remembered how hard, how often, it is to have him out of the house. Sigh. In the same way I cannot get enough of listening to him right now, and what he thinks about this gorgeous, dumpster-fire world and everything that lies directly in front of him. I love that he is out and I’m so proud of the life he is making for himself. Almost daily I hear these line from Ani DiFranco’s “Landing Gear” and I laugh because it is exactly as demanding as I can be, but my god: “you’re gonna love this world/if it’s the last thing I do”. If it’s not that, it’s a Maggie Smith poem.

We spent the rest of our day playing in an idlyllic Maine lake. It was warm and just breezy enough and I spent most of the day parked in the sand and talking with my brother and sister-in-law and gazing at my favorite little mountain while our girls played, tantrumed, and played some more. I was pulling Princess P and the wagon out of the changing room when my brother passed us. “Hey!” I yelled “Call me if you come to Bangor. I’ll pull the beet greens for you”. If all of my Julys are made up of this exact conversation on these exact kind of days, there will still never be enough.

After a quick stop for some local ice cream (I know, I know) we went home to meet P’s other brothers, my Bonus Boys, the youngest whom she loves more than mac n’ cheese. She loves all her boys but this guy has her whole heart. And we spent the rest of the evening fixing the garden, watching her run while we parked our butts back in the chairs, and fighting blackflies to get to the last day of viable raspberries.

This was all within an hour of my house! Sometimes I feel like I need to get out for the sake of getting out, for perspective, but I just cannot give Maine in July up. Not one second of it. I’m watching people’s Instagram stories and seeing them experience Maine for the first time and all I can feel is the most sparkling joy that even one more person gets some of this. I messaged one and told her about the Bar Island hike, and also Miss Rumphius, without one ounce of irony.

I hope this gorgeous evening finds you, too, overly sentimental and berry bursting with love for a place and its people. xo.

Coffee. Hot.

I am not entirely surprised that this dress smells like pee since I pulled it from the actual bottom of the hamper, and I’m not entirely inclined to change my clothes since nothing else fits right now. This feels like an appropriate stage of toddler and pandemic parenting, so here we are.

My daughter, just over two-years-old, has apparently been taking the details of our life in and is now beginning to show us what she’s observed. She can climb out of her crib and open the baby gates, and we’re operating on a whole new level of terror. Recently I let her pad out in the morning, smiling at the actual pitter-patter of her chubby, little feet, and hung behind to see what she would do if she didn’t think I was watching. I heard her open the next gate into the kitchen, and the scratch of a kitchen chair as she pulled it up to the sink. I thought she was going for the faucet (“wash our hands” is a favorite game now, in stark contrast to the kicking and screaming to NOT wash her hands from December-March). I peeked in and watched her poke the button in the center of the coffee maker. The green light appeared as the machine began to drip and hiss. I get the coffee ready every evening before we start bedtime prep, so everything was ready to roll. She beamed at me in the doorway and said, “Coffee, Hot!”

All day long I wondered about what else she has been observing. She hands me my book every time we sit down, and I feel like this is pretty solid. But what else has she been watching? What else has she been learning?

This summer is already off to a vastly different start than last.

Last summer most of the early pandemic terror had subsided for me because she and I were home, alone, indefinitely. Daycare was closed, so I could not take classes or work. We got our groceries and shopping through curbside pick-up, and our social time consisted of City Forest, beach trips, and the library summer reading program through curbside pick up and YouTube. I volunteered to write a book review for Nursing Clio, hired a babysitter for a few hours a week, and set up shop in my barn where the wifi reached. I packed a bag with chargers and snacks and drinks, closed the big doors behind me, and peed out back so that I wouldn’t be spotted. It was not my best writing, and I made a couple of moves there that I instantly regretted, but 12/10 would do again. I put words on a page when I could barely articulate an entire sentence. We were so much less isolated than earlier in the spring, and I thought in July that I had never been so . . . happy. I felt guilty that this peace was inextricably linked to so much suffering, but I couldn’t see the sense in ignoring it either. There was no timeline for an end, so I no longer worried about my career trajectory or my age or retirement. I was still getting paid, though my teaching job had ended. I read outside with my coffee while my daughter took TWO NAPS A DAY, we walked, we visited, I stole a couple hours to myself when I could. Mostly, I rested in a way that had never been available to me. We had food, a home, and time together. I hope my daughter remembers this ease, and that I am able to hold on to some of that as we move forward.

We returned to school and daycare last fall with the caveat that it could all fall apart at any minute. I remained dedicated to my program and work, but my focus stayed (mostly, this was a challenge) on the knowledge that no one was going to look out for us, so that was my primary job. Keep us happy, keep us healthy. My earlier parenting and working days had been so focused on the hustle – always multiple jobs, always trying to the best mom and the hardest worker, but never enough money – and I do not ever want to return to that spirit. I know what I can make do with now; I know what I can do now. When things got hairy it was always because I was trying too hard and not feeling recognized. So I backed off. I knew my name was on the Dean’s list. I knew I ended that semester with a 4.0. So this spring I gave up three hours of studying each week to go back to yoga. Always forward, always back, always myself.

I’ve welcomed some of my old self back in the reading that fills me, yoga that stretches me, and running that pounds enough of the anxiety out to make me a little more pleasant. I do not forget for one single second the privilege that allows me to do this: another adult human who helps pay the bills, enriching and safe daycare, a community that values safety, vaccines, health, time. Part of me thinks that I have earned this, but – hasn’t everyone? Why are we expected to expected to do so much, with so little, for so long?

My son, so much older than my daughter, was there for the hustle, and he spent his formative years watching me work every opportunity that came my way to move us forward. Each year I coached made Christmas happen. Every summer camp I worked paid for his summer programs. The breaks were sweet, but so sparse. We talk about this, the ways in which that frenzy felt necessary but maybe wasn’t, and he just finished a feat of his own by completing his degree while working full-time, both remotely and during a pandemic.

It may not look like it from the outside with all the new career movement, but all of that downtime let identify a way to keep that peace while participating in a varied life that sustains me. I was able to sift through some of my habits and mindsets to see what I could Marie Kondo out of my psyche. It let me take off scarcity and try on a lens of abundance instead. Some things still fit, and some are out just like my old jeans. I know that we cannot will what our children pick up. I can fill our days with intention and still, I will be there. But this feels like an okay place to start.

Hello, old friends.

If you’ve been with me for awhile, it will come as no surprise to you that I am coming to you with yet another Maine problem. Today, it’s these chipmunks. Mainly *ha* the dead one in my closet. We’ve tangled with rodents before and I know the smell will dissipate, but my god. I almost preferred it alive, rattling the doors I had propped closed with an old tote of maternity clothes (an important detail I forgot to tell our dear babysitter “oh, hey; there’s a chipmunk in the closet but don’t worry I don’t think it can get out” would have been the absolute least I could have done).

But here I am, having been away from writing and blogging for so long that WordPress is entirely new and if I take the time to figure it out I won’t have time to get this post up before my daughter wakes. Also, I’ve forgotten how to write sentences. I have survived this past year sending overly long emails, DMs, and texts to my friends and they would like me to take my run-on sentences over here for a bit. They are tired, too. I’m sorry, you’re welcome, thank you?

An overdue list of the things that have kept me alive throughout this past year or so: 1. Graining In podcast has been keeping me company since about March 16, 2020 when I started taking two walks a day with my daughter. I’ve spent SOME years listening to women and honestly, Noah and Matt may be two of the very few men I can listen to at this point. I’ve loved Brene and Cheryl Strayed and Jen Hatmaker even though I am unequivocally not Christian. And this has been great for awhile, but I needed a break from thinking about my feelings and I didn’t really feel like developing myself any further. I’m good. Noah and Matt are whatever the opposite of toxic masculinity is – these dudes are dudes, but they love each other and life and beer. Graining In talks about beer, and I love the technical episodes even though I don’t know shit about beer other than what I like, what I don’t like, and what I can stand if it’s the only thing left in the refrigerator. The latest, #97 with Jamaal Lemon, is a perfect example of the non-tech features that are a little about beer, a little about life, and a lot about curiosity. Full disclosure, Matt is my cousin and I’m damn proud, but this podcast feels like everything good about the world reliably delivered. Also, bonus points because every time someone says to me “I don’t know how you do it!” I want to point to Matt and say “See! This is how we all are!” I am so grateful. 2. This L.L. Bean Hi-Pile Fleece that feels like the adult equivalent of a security blanket. I’ve been wearing it since early December when I thought I was going to devolve into a pile of old chicken nugget dust and all I needed was a series of good hugs. I want them in all of the colors but they are sold out. If you have one, I am a size small, regular. It is close enough; I’m still here, and I am in no way ready to re-enter this world without above fleece and a winter cap for armor. 3. Reading fiction. I was a high school English teacher in my last life but remembered that I am a reader for my entire life, and this may be the largest part of my remaining identity. People escape into a million different things – stories are mine. I have a decent inventory of never-been-reads that I’ve been trucking through. Over the last months I was really floundering, spending all of my time studying or flat on my back watching tv. What I thought was going to be a disaster – my daughter learning how to climb out of bed – was so easily transformed when I realized that she would STAY IN BED if I just stayed on mine and read a book until she fell asleep. Now, I’m back. A couple of chapters a night, more at weekend naptime, and I’m good. Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior just did me in.

In the same who-was-I-before-this and who-am-I-now vein, I’ve been working on some small, easy meals and I started attending classes at my yoga study a couple of months ago. Each of these things has helped immensely. I’ve seen my friends some. I met up with a couple of mentor/friends and I left a visit yesterday smiling because this person will absolutely not tolerate me living a life that is less than I deserve and maybe the only thing I’ve needed all along was just, that. Everyone experiences love in different ways, and this is exactly what love feels like to me.

You’ll be hearing more from me soon as I wrap up a few courses and move into preparing for a two-semester fellowship with the McGillicuddy Humanities Center at the University of Maine. I’m a third year nursing student now, but this fellowship will, I hope, bring together my earlier teaching and academic life, my time as a Maine Writing Project Teacher Consultant (2015), and my experience moving into a new profession. I’m terribly excited, and terribly anxious.

Please watch Ted Lasso.

Everything I’ve accomplished this year is because our amazing day care.

We are having thoughts about “mama” here and in a lot of other spaces. It has been in every bio I’ve ever had and I’ve been slowly changing them in the same way that I stopped using my middle initial when the last prez was using J. as his. It wasn’t that I was any less proud of that name, but that association was less than what I was going for. More on this later.

Every time I hear someone say “summer is coming” it feels like GoT “winter is coming” because maybe I’m not at all ready. If you see me – give me one beer and I’ll make sense by the end of it.