Wednesday, June 15, 2022


Last summer Matt, the children, and I embarked on a nearly 5,000 mile, three week, road trip "out west". Exactly a year ago today we were spending the last of four days exploring Yellowstone National Park.

The picture below was taken in the morning while driving through Hayden Valley. We'll always remember this as the day that Michael and I hiked up a small but steep grassy hill and were surprised by a bison standing way too close for comfort just on the other side of the crest. This is a hilarious memory for Michael because I responded to the bison's proximity with an expletive. I will always remember it as the moment I realized I'd be on my own in a zombie apocalypse - Michael was down the hill and back in the car almost faster than I could turn around. 

In the second picture you can see two of our silhouettes standing on a bridge, taking in the visual and auditory spectacle of Dragon's Mouth Spring - it really did sound like there was a beast behind that steam. 

We are heartbroken, seeing the images coming out of Yellowstone this week. Our time there, while brief, was truly amazing. I often felt like I was on a different planet. I'm so sorry for the people who live and work in that area, folks who are having the trip of a lifetime cancelled or cut short, and everyone who is impacted by the current flooding in any way. 

I can't help but wonder how many devastating natural disasters it is going to take before we wake up and take the necessary steps to mitigate climate change. There are choices we make as a family (though I know there's always more we could do) to try to help, but we need change on a much bigger scale. 


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Time to Move On

Nearly six years ago I agreed to take a leap out of my comfort zone and join my friend Christina as a Profiles Editor for Literary Mama. I felt like Bambi on ice as I started to learn the ropes. I'm still not entirely sure what made the powers that be willing to take a chance on me at that point (most likely Christina's generous recommendation) but, eventually, I found my feet as an editor. Over time I was able to take on more responsibility and, as Christina moved on to a Senior Editor position, I even got to welcome a new editor to the profiles department and made a wonderful friend in Susan. I am proud of the work that I've done at Literary Mama in the past few years and proud to have been a small part of a truly remarkable group of women who work on this labor of love from all over the world. 

Month after month I got to work with writers interviewing writers and broaden my perspectives on motherhood and creativity. I learned from the feedback given by the Senior Editors. I had the opportunity to collaborate with women from many different backgrounds. I made connections with incredibly talented writers and I'm grateful. Without a doubt I gained much more than I gave in my time with Literary Mama

March/April 2022 was the last issue of Literary Mama that I worked on as a profiles editor, after choosing not to renew my contract. Working full-time and keeping up with a busy family, I found that the time I spent on profiles was keeping me from spending as much energy as I'd like on my own creative pursuits. For the first time in a long time, I'm not seeing the flurry of emails that indicate a new issue will be coming soon. Fortunately I don't have to sever ties with my Literary Mama family completely. My profile of Jamie Sumner was published last September, and I'm looking forward to sharing the profile I will have in the May/June 2022 issue. 

If you haven't yet taken time to read the gorgeous, thought-provoking, mother-affirming writing that Literary Mama publishes, please take time to look at it soon, you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Week Who Knows What Day or Time It Is

We're far enough into the global pandemic that it's too fuzzy to count the weeks any longer. I mean, I could count them, but I would have to look at a calendar.

Apparently I began this post in May of 2020. Yes, over a year ago. It must have been right around the time that staying home because of Covid went from feeling like a brief moment of sacrifice we were going to make for the greater good to something larger and even scarier. 

We left school for spring break in 2020 and never went back into our school buildings. In our district most students didn't return until late January of 2021. We've been back in school for the year since mid-August. Things are normal-ish, but of course nothing is really normal at all. 

I've been thinking about the things we get used to. People are adaptable. Think of every time an app or online service you use has updated, slightly changing its look. The first couple of days are jarring, annoying every time you open that app, and then you stop noticing the change. I work in an old building and the blowers for the heat/air are relatively loud. There's almost always significant background noise from them, but I don't hear it any longer, it is simply a part of my auditory landscape. I only think about it when someone else mentions they're bothered by the sound.

Here are some other things, for better or worse, I've gotten used to in the last 18 months or so:
  • wearing masks and seeing others with masks on
  • daily news updates about the Covid numbers in our state
  • near-daily emails home about the Covid cases in our school
  • making plans and putting a mental asterisk next to them, just in case Covid changes things
  • checking attendance requirements for places I want to go (masks? proof of vaccination?)
  • random shortages/bare spots on store shelves
  • guessing whether mail I send domestically will arrive somewhere in two days or two weeks
I'm hoping there's a day when most of these become unusual again, I have no idea how long it will take to get there. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Three Weeks In

That first, productive, week off of school, during our actual spring break, was a bit of a fluke. Once I was back to working, albeit from home, things were slightly less peaceful. The first week I was back at work the children still did not have school work. This was fine for Harper, who has been fairly content to binge watch and check in with her friends, but was less fine for Michael. While Michael is also a fan of electronic diversions, he is not as skilled at self-entertaining and spent a week being really bothered by the fact that no one was able to pay much attention to him during the day.

Last week, when there was actual school work for the children do to, was marginally better. However, as is expected, we're all getting on each others' nerves a bit. I know how fortunate we are, given these circumstances. There's plenty of space in our home, plenty to do, plenty to eat. Still, we're all feeling the sting of the things that we aren't able to do, the people we aren't able to be with, etc.

We're under "stay at home" orders until May 1st; however, I can't imagine that it won't extend beyond that. What kind of amazes me is how quickly my mindset has shifted. At first, it seemed kind of wild that our spring break was going to turn into two weeks of online learning. Now we're almost certainly not going back to school this school year. I find myself mentally working through scenarios in which none of our summer plans are happening, and accepting that there's a possibility we might not return to school on time in August. (That has not been stated as a possibility by our district or by our state leadership.) Basically I'm not taking for granted anything that was supposed to happen within the next six months. The idea that it may be months before we are "back to normal" is both horrible and fine. We're getting by. Is there any other way to take this than to get through one day at a time?

I'm also trying to keep in mind what a privilege it is to be able to stay at home to this degree. No one living in our home has to leave home to work. We have the technology to meet our work/school/entertainment needs. We have the access and means to keep our pantry/freezer/fridge stocked with minimal interactions with the outside world. We have a safe neighborhood for walking in. We are even able to worship with our church online. It is not lost on me how absolutely fortunate we are.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

One Week In

So! In our part of Ohio we've basically been on relative lock down for ten days. The children and I were on spring break this past week so things have been very loosey-goosey at home, in a way that is probably not sustainable if we want to hold on to any shred of normalcy. I "go back to work" tomorrow, as we prepare for the students to begin e-learning the following week. Of course every teacher I know has been preparing already, but it is still nice that there is a cushion of time before everything has to be rolled out.

I'm trying to figure out how to do some recording of this time, without just making a list of what we've done to keep from going insane.

Something that has helped me has been getting up, showering, making the bed, and putting on pants without an elastic waistband. I have not forced this onto my children, but I can see the slippery slope that ends with me staying in bed until noon every day. And really, that wouldn't hurt anything, but it's also not how I want to spend the next however many weeks.

I have tried to do something productive every day. Early last week I washed some sheets and then, reader, I ironed them. I think about ironing the sheets every time I take them out of the wash, but there's normally not time for that nonsense so I fold them and hope for the best. Here's some photographic/video evidence of my deeds:

For the record, it takes a very, VERY long time to iron a king size sheet when working it inch by inch along a standard sized ironing board.

This is a time-lapse video of ironing a pillowcase. Yes, it has come to this.

The other satisfying thing that happened this week is that Michael, with minimal assistance from me, cleaned out and organized his room. Here are the after pictures:

He seems pleased with the end result, which I (likely, foolishly) hope will help keep him motivated to maintain its current state. Time will tell.

Harper has mostly retreated to her room with her phone and computer. I did force her to wash her sheets. Michael is loving the family time this situation has left us with, Harper, not so much. We'll just keep taking it one day at a time.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Well Hello There

I started this blog when I was a stay-at-home mom in the fall of 2005. At the time it was a way to remain connected to the "outside world" when I was home with baby Harper. I was looking for an outlet and, ultimately, a form of social connection. It was a way to flex a creative muscle and feel less isolated.

Our governor just issued an order to close schools for the next three weeks and most of my children's activities have been indefinitely suspended or cancelled outright. It's too early to know whether I'll need to report to my school when our week of official spring break is over so we'll just take it one day at a time.

I know some of you have been blogging all along. Others of you who used to be part of the blog world have let if fall off a bit (or completely) as I have now that my kids are older. Perhaps social distancing measures will bring about a blogging renaissance? If so, let me know where you're writing so I can follow along.

I'm aware that it's a poor idea to start writing without a purpose. I suppose my purpose is just to wave into the void a bit. Hello.

Friday, November 01, 2019

NaNo Again

I've decided to give National Novel Writing Month a try again this year. I completed the challenge successfully in 2016, but haven't gotten very far in the years since then. This year I have gone in with some pre-writing done, which I hope will give me a better chance of seeing it through.

The local NaNoWriMo community is wonderful, although November is such a busy month for us that I've never been able to attend any of the in-person events. For those of you who don't know anything about National Novel Writing Month, you can check it out by clicking here. It isn't too late to join!

October was kind of a stinker of a month for our household, so I'm happy to kick it to the curb. November means birthday celebrations for Harper and I, as well as a delightful week off of school for Thanksgiving. I'm already thankful for the break!

Wish me luck with the NaNoWriMo challenge. I may post occasional updates here, just to help me feel accountable. Is anyone else I know participating this year? Send me a message if you'd like to be official "buddies" on the website.