Shark teeth and pimples, and the attachment disorder. We’ve got it all.

“Mom, what is this?” said the Pterodactyl, pointing to a spot below his bottom lip. “It hurts.” I looked. “It’s a pimple,” I said. “WHAT? WHY DO I HAVE A PIMPLE?” “Well, maybe because you’re growing up. Maybe you’re getting close to puberty,” I mused, although in hindsight, it probably resulted from not bathing. I offered to pop it for him, because that’s what I do, even it could lead to an infection and partial amputation of his entire chin. I’m a risk-taker.Read more


I have amazing news for the gazillions of people who’ve told me I should write a book. I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK. And it’s going to be published. Coming in Spring 2017 to a bookstore near you: The Place of Peace and Crickets: how adoption, heartache, and love built a family Is that the best title ever or what? I could tell you what it means, but then I’d have to kill you. KIDDING. But really. I’m not going to tellRead more

Things missing from my life right now

1   Dad. Fifty-four years ago today, my parents were wed, thereby paving the way for my very existence. Within a two-week period, Dad graduated from college, married my mom, was commissioned into the U.S. Navy, and moved to Norfolk for his first ship assignment. I miss his ability to get things done. 2   My rearview mirror.  I drive my father’s 2001 GMC Yukon. He called it the Burb, because it’s like a fake Suburban. The other day HotRead more

A one-act play, envisioning a future without kids.

SCENE I The car. Hot Firefighter Husband and I are dreaming aloud about retirement in front of the younger kids. We speak of selling the house. “YOU’RE SELLING THE HOUSE?” screeches the Pterodactyl. “No!” I assure him. “Not until you’ve all moved out. Then we’ll sell it and go live in a yurt.” Husband: NO. Pterodactyl: What’s a yurt? Tyrant: We’re moving? Me: No, honey. Or maybe just a tiny house. Husband: We’ll be living on Fifth Avenue in a rented apartment.Read more

Buddy the Wonder Dog and I face off with a restaurant manager. We win.

When Buddy the Wonder Dog isn’t being a furry anxiety anecdote for my son, he and I are a team. We go everywhere together – grocery shopping, to the library, to the gym, and to Ulta in search of the Diva’s special brand of hair conditioner, sold for the price of a month’s worth of organic grass-fed beef. Buddy almost always wears his service vest when we’re out. By law it’s not required, but it helps business managers understand that Buddy is aRead more

Me and my soul sister, Laura Ingalls

Worst-kept secret: My favorite television show in all of history is Little House on the Prairie. Right this second, as I’m writing, I’m watching the episode called “Richest man in Walnut Grove,” in which Charles loses his job at the mill and has trouble making ends meet. So the whole family pitches in until the crisis passes. In the meantime, Nellie and Willie Oleson taunt Laura by saying her father smells like a horse and can’t get a decent job. Pa consolesRead more

The State of the Tyrant, year 9.

The Tyrant is nine big years old, and has decided to play basketball for the NBA because “I just keep getting better and better, Mom.” She actually is very good. Her rebounding style could conservatively be labeled as aggressive, or more accurately as hack-like. She continues to be a magical sort of child who gives feathery kisses and is prone to saying things like, “Oh, Mom, you look so beautiful!” when I’m wearing clean workout clothes. She herself dresses strangely, oftenRead more

Give up your anxiety! Just throw it away! It’s possible! (NOT)

Jesus again has risen from the dead, giving Catholics worldwide the freedom to end whatever pain they inflicted upon themselves during Lent. When I was growing up I usually gave up candy or sweets so I could lose weight while I was suffering, although I cheated my way through those 40 long days. My dad usually gave up beer, which meant I had to suffer anyway. U.S. Congressman, Speaker of the House, and Catholic extraordinaire Paul Ryan gave up anxiety. How smartRead more

‘Tis the season to FREAK OUT, right? Or is it just me….

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Are you stressed to the max? Is it Facebook? I blame Facebook. If I see one more post about loving families doing holiday whatever together, I’m going to plug myself into the tree lights. It’s not that I don’t WANT to be all festive and jolly, but between homework and shopping and feeling guilty because my house doesn’t look like a glittery tinsel factory, I really just want to lie down for a day or a week.  I thinkRead more

I’m back! The same, but different.

PART I I’m emerging from the Place of Perpetual Grief, a strange state of being in which I constantly question every tear, every smile, every lump in my throat. Is it real? Is it feigned? Am I sad because I’m supposed to be sad, or because my dad has left me? Or both. Then my writer-sister-friend Gale Massey sent me an article in which the psychotherapist Francis Weller is interviewed. Weller maintains that modern American culture discourages us from “grieving rituals” common to other cultures, andRead more