Saturday, May 31, 2014



How callous would it be to be grateful in the wake of the death of one's husband?

If 14 months and 15 days can still be considered "the wake." What is the statute of limitations on that term?

Digression. As usual.

A wave of gratitude washed over me on the way home from yoga last night. It was the TGIF class, a class I had only taken once before, and last night it was filled with two women who talked in the middle of instruction, a dude who came in 20 minutes late, and a woman who came straight from work and was still in a houndstooth sweater and pearls. The two chatty women and the late man "reserved" the back (my normal spot), a practice I hate, so I unrolled my mat in the front and listened to the pouring rain by the open window as I waited for class to start. By the end, I was sweating like a hog, feeling pretty dizzy and thoroughly refreshed.

Driving home through rain-scoured streets, I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for everything good in my life, followed quickly by the image of a fairy dancing on a  soap bubble (seriously. This was so vivid in my head I thought maybe  was hallucinating from yoga still). The goodness in life is so fragile and fleeting, like a soap bubble that would pop and send the fairy tumbling.

Thankfully, the badness in life, although ever-present and wretchedly, disastrously horrible, can also be fleeting (if not particularly fragile. It's the difference between an anvil and dandelion fluff, bad stuff v. good stuff, in their physical makeup. I find that to be bullshit.). This death is a bit of a hang around (New Orleanian term for "hangover"), but stupidly the phrase "this too shall pass" generally applies. To good stuff, too, unfortunately.

So it's a delicate balance for me, driving home from yoga, feeling the beautiful sensation of gratitude while at the same time being gripped by the fear of what bad will strike us next. There is ample opportunity in the coming months as this move has many moving parts, but I am hopeful.

Image by fauxto_digit

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Disconnecting Technology


We walk around in the world under the mistaken assumption that people want to understand us. We blog, we talk, we explain. We tweet, we post status updates.

With a few notable exceptions, people don't really want to understand us. They want us to understand them.

"Seek first to understand, then be understood," said some famous person I don't remember.

What if it's really about connection, not understanding? I think that's why I am a compulsive social media checker; I can whip through three email accounts, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook in five minutes, and I do so whenever things slow down (standing in line, sitting at softball, commercials watching TV, etc). I've turned into one of Those Assholes with their forehead resting on their smartphone. It's connection, not technology, that brings me back.

But technology is isolating. Sicily always jokes about being "alone together" when we sit on the couch, watching TV with our faces buried in our laptops or cellphones. If you can email, why call? And if you can text, why email? And if you can just leave a comment on Instagram, why text? Generation Y doesn't even email anymore, and who knows if the generation after them will even text.

The end result of this is disconnecting from the world by connecting to a device. I don't want that for me, and I force myself to be present more and off the screen. Difficult because my job does require a fair amount of screen time, but I can limit non-work hours spent in front of the computer. I'd like to get back to liking people as much as I like humanity, but it's difficult when I am trapped behind the pixels in my face. There is a reason it's called a "cell" phone...

Image by Mike Kline

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Food = Love


Saturday The Child and I ate our weight in food. I think this is perhaps normal, but we have gotten in the habit of snacking and not much else. On my personal menu was bratwurst, four cookies,  a million marshmallows, two chocolate bars, half a bag of salt and vinegar chips, and 1/4 of a watermelon. Oh, and some kale salad and a yogurt drink.

I love food. I love making it, reading about it, writing about it, and eating it. I do not count calories, grams of fat, or sugar. It all evens out in the end, and I do yoga every day. So I eat what I want to eat, and what my sensitivity to gluten will allow me to eat (and plus I found an amazing gluten-free flour mix recipe that you can sub cup-for-cup in recipes which means CUPCAKES AGAIN which makes me SO HAPPY but I digress).

We have gotten out of the habit of sitting down to a regular meal. Even though we spend massive amounts of time together every day, there is something about sitting down to a meal that is different, especially if you have made the meal together and set the table nicely. I believe all the hype about the family meal. I believe the research that shows kids who eat with their families at a table on a regular basis are sexually active later and less likely to abuse drugs.

Plus, as noted previously, if I cook for you, it means I think you're swell. It's a very Jewish grandmother-type thing (of which I had one), but food=love for me. So yesterday's gorging sort of counts; La and I went to the farmer's market together and bought the brats together, then she packed all of our supplies in a picnic basket while I started the fire outside. We started with a s'mores appetizer (she set up the rig - chocolate on gluten-free cookie - and I roasted the marshmallows), and moved on to our brats. Something about the fire and eating outside, but we talked about some pretty heavy stuff while we ate, stuff that needed to be talked about, but because our bellies were pleasantly fully of chocolate and marshmallows it seemed a little lighter.

When we move to Baltimore and settle into a permanent house, I am going to be making every recipe I have pinned on Pinterest, and everything I have reblogged in Tumblr. I will adapt everything to be gluten-free (if it isn't already) and then take pix of the final product (for better or worse). I am not sure if it will be on this blog or not; I may link it to an old blog where Sicily and I tried to bake 25 days of Christmas cookies (hint: we didn't quite make it), and I invite you to play along, either in the cooking or in sending me a recipe you pinned/reblogged/otherwise saved and are just too damn lazy to make yourself. Post a recipe in the comments if you want to play.

Baltimore peeps, get ready to eat!!



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stay On The Mat


I am a shitty Buddhist.

Thankfully, it's called "practicing" Buddhism and not "perfecting" Buddhism.

Today at yoga there was a full-grown adult man. This is important. We'll get back to this.

Earlier in the week at yoga, one of the instructors brought her child to class (she was a student in the class). He wouldn't sit still. He wouldn't stay in the poses. Understandable, as he was 8 and not likely to make it for the full 90-minute class anyway, and we all knew it going in. It was a fun, energetic class, and he was part of that happy energy. Plus, it was the first day of summer.

Back to the full-grown man. For the whole class, this full-grown man wiggled and fidgeted and plain old walked around. Less understandable. He is not new to yoga, and as mentioned previously, he is a full-grown man.

I thought I might have to come up offa my mat and punch him.

I understand discomfort on the yoga mat. As he was fidgeting around, I was bound into a new pose, thighs and hips screaming. This was a new class for me, and I didn't know what to expect. What I got was a beginner's class with intermediate poses and no modifications, just the directive to "listen to our inner teacher."

Well, homie's inner teacher was saying, "Walk around and disrupt the hell out of everyone, even in corpse pose at the end. Especially at the end. Make all kind of weird fidgety mat noises that are way worse than the normal loud breathing you hear in class, and even worse that hearing a fart in class, which happens sometimes. Slide all around, and, hey, take a tour of the back of the studio in the middle of a pose, and walk reallyclose to the annoyed person on the mat next to you because I bet she'll LOVE that."

Buddhists are supposed to be kind. Compassionate. Patient. I get one out of three and I feel pretty good about myself; however, I have very little patience for those who wiggle in yoga. It is a failing. I understand.

It took me a while to learn to stop wiggling myself. To learn to hold the pose. To suffer through the screaming thighs. I read a list of yoga rules from Vytas Baskauskas, the hot dude from Survivor who happens to also teach yoga (and who Sicily correctly identified as being "just the right amount of asshole."), and they immediately helped me stop fidgeting. He points out that fidgeting and getting a drink and leaving class to pee in the middle of class is just your body trying to escape from something painful. I have attended classes where all students left at some point to use the bathroom.

This is not a coincidence. The class was hard as hell, and the students that day all had some serious personal issues happening at that point. #RunAway

My point is this, and it's a metaphor: stay on the mat. Work through it. Don't run away from what's uncomfortable.

I am still a shitty Buddhist, but at least I'm learning.

Monday, May 26, 2014

La Petite Maison Is On CNN!

LPM frontfixed2

So proud.

La Petite Maison is on CNN today. A lovely article featuring two critical people in this endeavor, Andrew Odom and Luke Bair.

Mad love to them, and to everyone who helped us finish, and to Jamie Gumbrecht who wrote the story with such love.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Another Loss


Sunday morning I trimmed my horse, Sadie, for the last time. She is going to stay in Georgia when we move, and I am no longer going to be listed as her owner.

Right before Dane died, we talked about getting a second horse and trailer and going on more trail rides. He was a reluctant horseman, hauling manure for me and fixing fences when necessary, but not particularly interested in horses in general. He just liked to get on and ride. Once in the first year I had Sadie, he hopped on her, turned her away from the barn, and kicked her, firmly. She took off. I mean full stride thoroughbred took off. She had just come from a dressage barn and was incredibly sensitive on her sides, moving off the slightest leg pressure.

His leg pressure was not slight. I was a little worried as she shot down the lane in the direction of the road, but he managed to turn her around and trot back, bouncing around in the saddle with a shit-eating grin on his face.

Sadie was a Christmas present; Dane adopted her for me on December 19th, 2005. She was my first horse, and she will probably be my last horse. I waited 34 years for my first horse, and Dane opened up the space for that to happen.

As I trimmed her this morning, breathing in her horsey smell and feeling her horsey lips on my back, I felt, hopefully, my last loss of this cycle of losing and leaving. I think my brain is foggy, almost like the muddy weeks after Dane died. Still, this seems my coping mechanism, initially. Fog, then clarity.

On Friday, she goes back to the rescue from whence she came. I made her  a promise that I have to break, and I am trying to let that be what it is. Another loss.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Scorched Earth


It’s no great surprise that the Sanskrit word for old habits or patterns is “samskara.” Even the word sounds like scarring.

And although we all know that chicks dig scars (and dudes, too. Let’s be honest.), in this sense, samskara is not a good thing. It is the neural pathways we wear down by doing the same thing over and over. It is why the carpet in our house has a groove and our shoes are worn down in the same way. It’s why the dog looks at us funny if we walk down a different road.

Habits. Patterns. Drudgery. Routine. Stagnation.

I would be super easy to stalk (and, let’s be honest, to rob also, except I have two dogs who would probably rip your arm off if you tried to come into the house uninvited. So there’s that.). I follow the same pattern, have the same routine, for everyday tasks. Dane used to laugh at me because I wash my face the same way, every time, without exception. I follow the same pattern when I wake up every morning. The dogs know where to stand for their breakfast and their joint supplements, and you could set your clock by the cat (who knows when everything gets started).

So getting out of samskara is painful, like slashing open a scar. Except it’s not really all that hard after you get that 4 a.m. phone call and wind up with a dead husband. After that, the scariest thing is falling into the old patterns, not learning from the experience, and taking things for granted.

As previously mentioned, I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl. This may not be evident in everyday life, necessarily, but where it matters I like to swing for the fence. So moving is simultaneously a big deal and nothing much at all. More moving parts this time, but not much different than loading up the Civic and heading west. Or north. Or south.

The scariest part for me is the possibility of scorched earth. Utter destruction in my wake. There is always that possibility. Make one choice here…yikes.

Unless I don’t get caught.

Which, in and of itself, is an old pattern.

Which patterns are so much a part of you that you barely know they exist? For better or worse?

Image by stephen jones via Flickr

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Test

It's all a test. 

This blog has been migrated over to a new website that combines my professional work with my personal writing. The wonderful Andrew Odom helped me out with it because my patience was not what it should have been for that process.

So...what do you think? Keep it all together, or keep it separate? What do you think about site?

Feedback is always welcome. 

Image by thebarrowboy via Flickr

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lighten Up

For my entire life, people have been telling me to lighten up. Most recently it was someone on Facebook who I knew a million years ago. We weren’t friends then, necessarily, but we ran in the same crowd and spent time together. For some reason she wound up on my Facebook friends list.

I have unfriended her.

It’s not that I don’t need to “lighten up” a little. I do tend to run on a higher mental frequency than most folks; I am a little buzzy in the brainwaves, and my thoughts leap around. Sometimes I get intense, and that is fine by me. We need more people in the world who get intense about things that matter to them.

In general, though, I feel that the command to “lighten up” is condescending and minimizes whatever the person is heavy about (man). In this last case, I was treated to a lecture on the difference between first and second world problems, a lecture that is entirely unnecessary and made me realize that this person has no clue who I am and what I am about if she felt the need to get sanctimonious on that particular subject. But I digress.

It is a burden sometimes, dancing along on this frequency. Combine it with the curse of feeling all of the feelings in the world around me (intuition? Empathy? I don’t know. I just know that there are times when I am literally unable to function due to all of the badness and sadness in the world. I can’t watch coverage of certain major news events, like Newtown, because I can feel what the parents are feeling and it is paralyzing and it didn’t happen to me and that is ridiculous. Again, I digress), and you have a particularly heady brew of anxious intensity that cause some people who don’t really know me to tell me to “lighten up.”

I don’t want to feel less, necessarily, but it sometimes it would be nice to float along in the world, lightly. I have moments like this, when my heart is so full and the moment is so perfect that I can feel bubbles in my hair follicles, like the moment when Sicily was  just a few weeks old, and I looked over and she and Dane napping on the bed and was filled with an incapacitating love that was just fine because in that moment I needed nothing more than that.

Or any time when I walk over the dunes and down onto the beach in Assateague, and the sun is setting, and the horses are napping on the beach.

Or standing in the Louve front of Claude Monet’s painting of his wife on her deathbed (Camille son sur lit mort).


These are the moments where my soul is light and airy and everything floats away except what matters. That stays in my vision with pure clarity, if only for a brief moment.

So maybe life is about stringing these moments together like found, precious beads. Maybe the humming and buzzing, the heaviness, is what helps me see the lightness. Perhaps one cannot exist without the other.

Heavy, man.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Thing

It’s hot.

Eighty-four degrees in the house, to be precise.  At 11:46 p.m.

I have this thing (one of many that makes me so attractive) that I don’t turn on the A/C until Memorial Day, and it goes off after Labor Day.

And the rest of the time we suffer.

Here’s the thing about having a “thing”: sometimes it’s good. I also have a thing about bigotry (deal breaker) and standing up for people who can’t stand up for themselves (a must-do).

But sometimes a “thing” can be a serious detriment. Not just the fact that if I had balls to sweat off they would be long shriveled and melted away. This is minor, and I will certainly survive (plus, I already have offspring, so infertility is no biggie. And the dogs are getting a little chubby and could maybe be wrapped in plastic wrap to expedite their weight loss. But I digress).

A “thing” like insisting on never doing something (because you never have done that thing before) or always doing something because that’s the way you’ve always done it: these can be bad.

This past Christmas (and I use this label to mark the date only, as we do not celebrate the birth of Jesus in any way), we threw out every tradition we ever had, sort of a preemptive strike against any guerilla grief. We didn’t get out ornaments . We didn’t eat Chinese or go to a movie on the 25th. We weren’t even on our regular coast. And it was perfect. It was different.

It was liberating.

So I may be too cheap to turn on the A/C early (and that may never change), but I wonder what else I should think of doing differently, what “things” I should re-visit and re-think. Now seems to be the time. I am a big fan of systems, but everything is changing.

What do you cling to? For better or worse?

Image by Pockafwye via Flickr

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Migrating over here to Wordpress; joining the rest of the blogosphere, or at least trying.

La is making breakfast pizza for Mother's Day, and I am still in my jammies, drinking coffee and trying not to throw a temper tantrum because I find changing the font size on the header on this site impossible. I don't really want to be doing this today, but it is necessary.

Even the spacing of these paragraphs is not right. It took me a dog's age to figure out designing and building a website, and this is now making me so pissy that I am snapping at The Child as she makes me breakfast. Hardly a stellar mothering moment.

So goodbye for now. I will not spend the day snapping at La, who has just made her very first hollandaise and is currently trashing the kitchen.

Happy Mother's Day to all...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Weekly Round Up of Random Thoughts

(can you see it?)

Random Thought The First: It strikes me that this blog may sound a little sanctimonious at times, sort of competitively enlightened. That is not my intention. I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic who likes to lecture me like I am four whenever I ask for advice (and even when I don't). This is just my journey, y'all. It's not meant to do anything other than get some thoughts out of my head and onto digital paper. On the other hand, if you're offended, well, that's just your problem. Please see my very first post on this blog for that disclaimer. If I was trying to intentionally offend you, I'd say it to you directly.

Random Thought the Second: When we finally land in Charm City, I am going to make every single thing on my Pinterest and Tumblr. I have delicious-sounding recipes and funky crafts, but they are pointless in digital form. So starting with this today. Just because.

Random Thought the Third: I miss books. Real books. I haven't read decent fiction in awhile; maybe I am at the point in my life where made-up stories just don't cut the mustard. If anyone has a suggestion, I would love to hear it. I need some good reading.

Random Thought the Fourth: Moving day is 76 days from now. SHIT. So much to do. We actually need to be packed and ready to go July 11th, so really it's 62 days from now.

Random Thought the Last: Current bourbon: Elijah Craig 12. Delicious. Totally different than Angel's Envy.

That's it. No revelations for today. Nothing profound. Just a little random airing out of the brain.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone; La is making me breakfast pizza tomorrow morning, and I can't wait. XO

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Remember the snakes? The ones I talked about yesterday?

Well, today I accidentally weed-whacked one. It started writhing and flailing and I dropped the weed whacker and ran, screaming and cursing, to the other side of the lawn.

I am ashamed to admit (only a little ashamed, really) that I invited my 14-year-old daughter and her friend outside to "see it," mostly so one of them would cut off its head and put it out of its misery, then fling it out of the yard. I then made them pick up my tools, and I was done for the day. The bushes in the back remain untrimmed, which is unfortunate because I had to stand on a ten-foot step ladder just to hack them down to a manageable size so I could cut them more easily before the fence guy comes tomorrow and now they remain like a Towering Wall of Shrubbery that may make the fence guy's job a little difficult.

This fear I have has deep roots in the mountains of western Maryland. I watched a copperhead give birth to what seemed like thousands of writhing babies on the patio in front of our front door. My father stood with a shovel, trying to crush each baby before it slithered away, but inevitably, every summer we would have to wind a circuitous path down the wooden steps of our house, on the right side at the top and the left side at the bottom, avoiding known places where the grown-up babies would bask.

I remember crawling, sobbing, through bushes on the side of our country road to avoid a copperhead sprawled out on the warm pavement in the morning when I walked to the bus.

My brother stepped right over one, a big one, and my dad whacked it in half with a shovel.

We found a snake curled up in the corner of our kitchen, a black snake, but four feet long and as big around as a baby's arm.

I opened the cabinet for a glass once and came face to face with a  snake, staring at me.

We found one in our bathroom.

On the stairs.

Curled in the bushes when I reached for a raspberry.

I could go on. They were everywhere.

I can't shake it, this fear, and it makes me think of what other fears I have that I can't shake. After this past Year of the Snake (the irony is not lost on me), I am not so sure that there is anything left to fear. Every other fear seems so irrational and ridiculous and statistically insignificant that I cannot quite bring myself to be truly afraid.

What scares you most? Truly keeps you up at night or jerks you wide awake in the small hours?

Image by David Evans via Flickr

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cracking the Whip

It's Monday again. 

I am trying to make myself go to yoga. Mondays are hard. 

Being your own boss is difficult. You have to be your own cheerleader and task master. This seems like research from the Department of Duh, but I am here to tell you that it is WAY HARDER than it sounds. 

We get all over kids for putting stuff off and and not being all focused and whatnot, but I have just spent the past two hours watching cat videos and drinking coffee. I maybe paid some bills in there, but I can seriously waste some time if I want to. 

I am the Queen of Procrastination, so forcing myself to do something early is challenging. I threaten myself and try to convince myself that if something happens and I get sick or the computer dies or whatever then I am ahead and I can still meet my deadlines and not be irresponsible. So I write two weeks' worth of stuff and feel all proud of myself then go back to watching cat videos and looking at houses in Baltimore for two weeks and am then no longer ahead. I am out of bourbon currently, so there is no drinking but there is lots of coffee which makes my fingertips feel ELECTRIC and my heart feel a little jumpy which is always interesting. 

I should be developing my website, writing nine articles that are due Friday and another one that isn't due but would be nice to write ahead of time. At the very least I should mow the lawn so the neighbors don't hate me, but there are SNAKES out there and I almost stepped on one last time. 

It is beautiful this morning in the way the south is beautiful for about two months out of the year where the sky is so crispy blue that it looks like the trees are outlined in black. We happen to have particularly comfortable rocking-type chairs out back, so I can move from shade to shade and watch the leaves flutter for hours.


Yoga in 30 minutes. I am out of here.

Image by davidd via Flickr

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the 4th Be With You

Fourteen years ago today, Pacific time, I was fitfully resting on a hospital bed while Dane napped, drooling, on one of those uncomfortable pull-out chairs reserved for dads. Husky Stadium (the old one) was shrouded in mist, and the sun was barely beginning to rise.

Later in the day, we would watch the beginning of The Price is Right before things started to get really hectic. There would be lots of crying, and pain I still remember clearly, a moment of panic directly after she was born, and, perhaps in a bit of foreshadowing, someone actually getting shit on. 

The Gorgeous Girl was born at 11:21 p.m. on Thursday, May 4th, 2000, and she has been the love of my life since she drew her first breath.

Happy birthday to my sweetest girl!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Just Be Honest

It is crazy to me how many excuses people make to hold themselves back from doing things.

I think a lot about this lately (and I apparently also use the words "a lot" a lot, which is a cardinal sin in my former writing classes because what "a lot" means to different people varies widely. But I digress). I think that one of the only good things to develop out of Dane's death is the gift of perspective. At 43, and at 13 for Sicily, we are able to look at what is important to us and then act on it. Some people spend their whole lives and never figure out what really matters to them.

According to a palliative care nurse who spent many years tending to people who were dying, their regrets, regardless of background, are pretty much the same: working too hard, not being true to themselves, not spending enough time with family, not staying in touch with friends, not expressing their feelings, and not allowing themselves to be happy. Your priorities may be different now, but I will wager that in the end, they are pretty much the same.

(Side note: when I am harping on Sicily about practicing French, I tell her, "No one ever said on their deathbed, 'Man, I regret learning the second language.'" She is never impressed by that, but when I asked her what she thought one of the five regrets were, the first thing she said was, "Not learning a second language." That made me chuckle. The indoctrination is taking hold!!)

I was on the interwebs this morning and saw a post on Facebook from Macy Miller, a friend who designed and built her own (spectacular) tiny house. The first comment was something along the lines of, "Of course she built a house because she is an architect." The insinuation being that you are utterly powerless to build a house unless you already possess the skills to do so.

Which is absurd.

That was just one more excuse. If the commenter really wanted to build a house, nothing would have stopped her. But instead of saying, "Hey, I think this is cool, but I highly doubt I would be able to persist through all of the scraped knuckles, poor measurement, and other mistakes to learn the skills I need to build the house," she made an excuse. 

We all make excuses, but what a colossal waste of time. Just be honest with yourself and make life a lot smoother (see? Used it again. Damnit.). Sometimes we just don't want to. Sometimes it's too hard, or we don't want to sacrifice something else, or we lack confidence, or, or, or. Just be honest with yourself, and maybe your regrets will be fewer.

Or maybe not. But at least you were honest.

Image by Carmella Fernando via Flickr

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Choose Peace Over Productivity

Ever since Dane died, this has been one of two mantras of mine. The first deals with getting up and putting my feet on the floor every morning which was harder than it sounds in the months after Dane’s death. 

Peace over productivity helps me keep some perspective. I have had to make some difficult choices in the past year, including giving up my school and letting a house go without a fight. This is okay. Peace over productivity means I am giving myself the option of not turning everything into a battle royale; it helps me remember what is important and focus on that.

I am still busy. This morning I applied for two more freelance jobs, wrote two articles, edited another ten that were finished and need to be submitted Friday, invoiced two clients, and took The Child to get her braces off. And now I am working on ten more blogs due next Friday and writing this.

I do yoga five to seven times a week, and I am in the process of making our house suitable for renters, which means replacing the steps off the back deck (then power washing and sealing the deck and privacy fence), putting raised beds in the front of the house, painting the deck railings, selling golf clubs and a snowboard (anyone need either of those?), and still during all of this teaching Sicily. And finding a temporary home in Charm City, locating parking for the tiny house (and coordinating that move), securing a truck and a storage space...all of the stuff that happens in an interstate move.

In addition, I have taken two naps this week. And I may take a third today. Still early.

Letting go of what is not real to me, pursuing another dream (writing), and allowing myself the freedom to choose what I spend my time on is a revelation. It is hard to be so far outside the expectation of society with the way I live my life, but it is my life, and it is luxurious to know that I can make it whatever I truly want.

I still feel stress and anxiety. There is no escaping that for me. But I have the space I need to work around that. 

I will never again buy into the cult of busy. I know that some people look at us and think we are lazy because I don't have a 9-5 and Sicily does her schoolwork in jammies. Sometimes I feel very defensive about that. But that's okay. It is no longer acceptable to me to join in the "I'm busier than you" game. I don't care how much homework your kid has (I could go into the stats and research about the futility and harm of massive homework prior to 10th grade, but I will spare you. Feel free to drop a note in the comments if you're interested, and I will smack you between the eyes with some knowledge.). I feel sad for your two-hour commute. But there is always a choice. And I choose differently.

Image by Baer Tierkel via Flickr