The arrival of Mama Ethel, and witnessing a birth – Part II

Are you behind? Click on Part I to read Part I It’s barely 6 am on a Sunday morning, and I’m well into my first cup of coffee. I’m in bed writing, and sweet Ethel is curled against my legs. Cookie snuggles against my hip, and eyes Ethel warily; she’s scared of Ethel, who emits a low growl if she thinks anyone’s too close to her brood. The house is quiet and still; sometimes, I use moments like these to grade papersRead more

The arrival of Mama Ethel, and witnessing a birth – Part I

Currently, five humans live in this little house of ours, plus 13 dogs. I might be turning feral. We’ve been fostering homeless dogs for a while now. First there was Bernie Sanders. Then Skippy, Joey, Chicken, and Cheeto. We found good homes for all of them. Cookie, a tiny black terrier mix who weighed about five pounds, stole Neale’s heart, so Cookie has stuck around, giving us a pack of three dogs – one large, one medium, one small. Cookie’sRead more

Just another day, or why I drink a little

Friday morning I woke up at 5 am like usual so I could make coffee before going to teach my 5:45 am boot camp class. I love coffee so much. I had not slept well because I’ve been having headaches. After class, I came home and got the kids off to school. I straightened the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher with the 14 glasses my family of five had used that morning. Then I drove to Orange Park to getRead more

Before I understood what’s important

The Christmas of 1991, Bob and I were living together in an oceanfront condo in Melbourne Beach which we couldn’t afford. But did you hear me say oceanfront? We weren’t yet married, and although I was 27 years old, I wasn’t yet an adult. We didn’t have much money, but we had more than we do now because KIDS. I was working for the Vero Beach Press-Journal, and scheduled to work Christmas Day. Bob had been a copy editor atRead more

Turtles and grief and a hard, hard world.

One afternoon not long ago, Nico called me from the bus stop. I was at the dentist with Scout. “MOM! YOU NEED TO COME HERE RIGHT NOW! I NEED HELP!” “Honey, I’m at the dentist with your sister. What’s wrong?” I tried to swallow the panic. Was he hurt? Being kidnapped? Had he cracked his phone? “No, Mom, you have to come right now! There’s this turtle….wait….I just need to….okay, I’m tucking some of its insides under the shell….MOM. IRead more

On being a Highly Sensitive Person. Also, mean people suck

I met a friend at the Ponte Vedra an anonymous library last month, and afterwards approached a librarian to talk about donating a copy of my book. No big deal – I just thought maybe there was a local author section. The woman behind the counter took my book and sighed very heavily. “I’ll have to see if it’s been catalogued,” she said. “This could take a really long time.” She picked up the book and started fanning through the pages, likeRead more

Clipping my own wings while Husband urges me to fly

Twenty-three years ago today, Hot Firefighter Husband married me under a gazebo on my parents’ country estate in Folsom, Louisiana. Dad had installed a ceiling fan because, in his words, “There’s nothing more unattractive than a sweating bride,” which is a fact I had not previously known. To celebrate, Husband is working a double-shift to help pay for our new car, and I am trying to convince our oldest daughter that it is earth-shatteringly important for her to know that tooRead more

The unfortunate chaos of busy-ness

The Russian spy ship Victor Leonov is not far off the coast of Florida right now, which means if I hop on a cruise this evening we could meet up by lunchtime tomorrow. I mean, not that I’d want to. I’m not a spy or anything OR AM I but apparently the Russians are our friends now, and with all their eavesdropping equipment I feel like somebody on board could help me get to the bottom of why Common Core math evenRead more

Immigrant status, and the deportation of an American adoptee

Every year around this date, I remember that National Adoption Month has nearly passed without me recognizing it, which makes me feel hugely deficient. So Happy National Adoption Month. Adoption is a beautiful, heartbreaking, complicated way to form a family, and the circumstances surrounding it are filled with joy and sadness and perpetual grief. Yay! My three little bugs, as you know, were adopted, the oldest from Vietnam and the younger two from Guatemala. They were adopted; it’s not a chronicRead more

Depression update, book update, and LOVE YOU PEEPS

When I last wrote, I was wallowing in a pit of despair. I’m happy to report that my proverbial glass is now at least 1/4 full, and I no longer anticipate locusts falling from the sky any minute. Thank you, Dr. K, for that little tweak. And big fat kudos to me, for refocusing my energy on clean eating, reading great books, and getting the kids back to school with pencils. But I must thank you, dear generous readers, for the outpouringRead more