What a rush

I stand half dressed with my shirt in my hand stuck between brushing my teeth and taking my medicine. Which? Which?

It is not unpleasant this feeling of rushing, it is sort of buzzy like caffeine, and certainly propulsive. I remember my socks on the butcher block counter above the washer dryer and feel a bit of a thrill at how well they will go with my new grey jeans. Gotta get the socks, and while I’m there I will just switch the laundry and what a jump start I will have on the day.

But the medicine…and the teeth brushing…

Continue reading What a rush

Strike Out

I can see the good in almost everything, I just often have a wicked big caveat***.

I’m inspired by the bloggess to try to strike that asterisk.(Go ahead and click that link so she will know how much I love her…and fast forward to the bear post. Its worth it.)

Its gorgeous and sunny today, probably for the last time this year.

I left the bed at 11:42, made myself a healthy breakfast, and returned to bed, at 11:47.

I feel engaged, productive, and flexible, like 1 out of 31 days.

Shelburne Community School teachers are friendly, tuned into my kids, skilled communicators and don’t seem to give a fuck about science.

Instead of walking five days I’ve walked twice this week.

Our new house has everything that we could want and need, except a soul.

The laundry is running, dishwasher clean, floors vacuumed, and kids sent off screaming like mother fuckers to school, by Steve, while I stayed in bed.

The flooding in Colorado didn’t touch our friends who moved to Denver, and I owe them a phone call, and my kids owes them a letter, and I miss them, but they wouldn’t know it.

The bus will drop off my happy children right at our doorstep, so I don’t have to get out of bed.

The rocks look great in our yard moved over from the old house, here’s hoping they are approved by the homeowners association after the fact.

Tonight is the first night of our fourth round of Parenting on track, it is conveniently located, populated by parents I like, and Leo can just suck it when he says parenting class makes us worser parents.

My headache is dimming, I’m sure it will be back this evening so I can’t enjoy parenting class.

I love writing this blog, even if it is substantially an act of narcissism that loses me as many friends as it gains me.

There are more fruit flies than food in my gorgeous new kitchen, totally stuck that part in to have a bright spot, but most people would think my kitchen is gorgeous, but I am not most people.

If I read the non redacted text my day sounds pretty good!

See how easy it is to look on the bright side?



Overheard at the gym

This is not what I see at the gym
This is not what I see at the gym

It took not one, not two, but three friends pressuring inviting me to work out this morning for me to make it to the gym. Because I was planning an 8:40 departure I had 2 full hours to sit in my pee bed and ring myself with various devices in order to play plenty of candy crush. Some people pay for new lives, some people cheat and set the clock on their phone a month ahead. In the true spirit of excess I just use my six iPads to rotate from one to the other as get stuck on a level. If you don’t know what I am talking about consider yourself very lucky.

As I drive to the gym I see the gas light. I remember seeing it yesterday, and (is this right?) the day before. I switch the display to miles to empty and it reads 2, and as I wrap my brain around that it switches to 0.

My first thought is one of elation. NO WORK OUT! I could be literally out of gas.

But it is pouring . So the walk to the gas station would be as bad as the exercise class. Maybe.

During the class I barely make it through the 30 seconds exercise 30 seconds rest, and get to the stretch portion where the ladies loll around on foam rollers. Most twisting into different positions to stretch out glutes, hammys, and other adorably nicknamed large muscles. I sit in proximity to the roller.

To my right a friend and friendly acquaintance are chatting about parenting. First of all I have tuned in late and don’t know the context of their conversation, second of all I have been working out, so my internal monologue is crowding out most of my ability to hear. It sounds like this. PHEW thats done. Now we don’t EVER HAVE TO WORK OUT AGAIN. Wow, I smell bad. Why are all exercise bottoms black?

Back in the stretching circle I hear a bit about her daughter crying. Then she says. “I just can’t let her fail.”

Despite making eye contact with a friend across the way and miming the universal sign for zipped lip I chime in. “But if we are all guaranteed to have a set amount of failure in the world, wouldn’t you rather her go through it now, when it teaches resilience, then later when the stakes are higher?” Or thats what I would have said if I had been sorted out. Instead I said “Isn’t it better to fail now than later?” “no.” She answers me emphatically. No. I can’t let her fail.

So I turn away, back to my mimed stretching and think about it for a minute. I wonder why I believe in some sort of conservation of failure. Its not like we have this predestined amount of trial and tabulation, and we can just move through it early in life and coast later. But we all fail some time. Really lots of times, and it takes practice.

Limiting the scope creep of failure, knowing that we are still lovable even if a friend ditches us, or that we can still become experts at something if we struggle with foreign language, or there is a point to running even if we don’t win the race. (Well I actually don’t believe the last one, but you get the idea.) Its better to do that when the stakes are low. That is why we emphasize process and effort and things within our control, not outcomes to children. And still there are winners to races, and one kid picked for the lead in the play. And that is OK. It is OK not to be invited to a party.

[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]That is why we emphasize process and effort and things within our control, not outcomes to children. @annawritesstuff[/Tweet]

Just yesterday Leo told me that Oliver spent all of recess alone because his one closest friend wasn’t in school. I asked Oliver how he felt about it. He said fine, he just walked around. I remember eating lunch in the band room, hiding in bathroom stalls. Despite some vicious and lonely times I have more friends than I can effectively spend time with now. It is all temporary this life of ours.

So it is time to stop stretching. Or stop pretending to stretch, and three of us decide to go get $8 smoothies. Mine turns out to be an $11 juice and it is almost comical. It takes 25 minutes for the little juice dude to prep our three juices and we could have fed a family of four on what we paid. A first world snack stop.

We catch up, talking about philanthropy and social ventures, and then my blog. Which people read and talk about even if they DONT COMMENT. I tell them about my private emails numbering almost 100 after the money post. Seriously people. Start talking about money. You all want to. I joke about putting standard disclaimers at the bottom of each post. “I think about Syria [insert current important global issue], I just don’t write about it” and “I don’t edit, its part of what you love about me. Ignore grammatical errors or stop reading.”

We check in about our afternoons and I tell them I am going back to bed to play candy crush. They know me well enough to no I am not joking, but they only get disturbed when I reveal that my bed has been peed on. (Not by me) We talk about pet problems and how I think putting down the obese, snoring, bed wetting, lumbering one eared cat would send the wrong message to my kid who still does a bit of bed wetting himself. You pee you die.

And thats it. Workout and juice is over. A perfect morning in Shelburbia. Off to crush some candy. We leave with a wave, and she calls out to me. “Don’t get in the pee bed. Don’t do it.”



 I think about Syria [insert current important global issue], I just don’t write about it.

 I don’t edit, its part of what you love about me. Ignore grammatical errors or stop reading.

Oh, and if you want to tell me something I pretty much always want to hear it but I suck at secrets. So maybe use a pseudonym. Or something.



You can’t trust me.


Maybe you knew it already and didn’t want to think it. Or maybe it hasn’t been particularly relevant so you never thought about it at all.

If you want something private. Completely private then don’t tell me. You probably shouldn’t tell anyone in that scenario, but for sure don’t tell me.

I don’t do proprietary. I can try to, and lots of times I can succeed, but sometimes by accident or by plan your information will come out. And I will bear the consequences of that. The consequence of fewer confidences, and less intimate friendships.

It has been a long time since I uttered the phrase,” don’t tell her I told you”. If I tell you, I tell her I told you. And I will probably have less to tell you next time. Because she doesn’t tell me things anymore.

Which is probably better.

Because she can’t trust me.

As I type this I feel so sad, a small scale whistle blower. She thinks its rationalization and hubris that made me tell all. The hubris, yes. I think it is my business. Once I know it is my business. Thats why the bystander law was not written for me. Did I know I was putting our entire relationship at risk. Yes.  The rationalization, maybe. She offers me an escape valve. Can I promise not to do it again? No.

I can’t, it seems, even promise not to blog about it.

More specifically, if I were to go back in time I would still tell. Now that I have the benefit of seeing how things play out I would not stick myself in the center of the story, or even be the messenger, I would leave it to her to tell. And this sounds like pride, I can tell this sounds defensive and righteous and Im not hitting the right tone. But it is really something much closer to resignation.

If there is something that you don’t want anyone to know don’t tell me.

Because you can’t trust me.

Even though I wish you could.




We need another word. Because people under 40 shouldn’t be allowed to publish memoirs unless they are terminally ill. An incredible comedy writer says that people under 40 shouldn’t be allowed to write satires. I will leave that to him, because I know little about that, but the concept is the same. Live it first, retell and mock it later.

This week I spent a load of time with British soccer coaches with an age range of 22-22. Put a beer (or six) in their hand and they say the same thing. They want to live life to the fullest, enjoy every day. For now this has a lot to do with eating and drinking, and less to do with planning. But as they spend the week with me they talk a little about what they hope for. Without these specific labels I think I can reduce it to three areas. Flexibilty, acclaim/$, effectiveness. They want to be able to control their time, they want the money to make choices, and they want to feel that their lives have meaning. None of them talk about relationships. One has a girlfriend in England and he is clearly committed, but at 22 life is mostly you. Not you plus one.

In my attempt to be reductionist, and be able to remember this concept I borrow from construction. I love the “construction triangle.” It has nothing to do with the sink, fridge, stove. Its three legs are good-fast-cheap. Pick two. You can’t have them all. Sitting with a similarly underemployed friend we talked about a work triangle. Flexible- Lucrative- meaningful. Thats a tough order. I think maybe most of us only get one leg.

For a while I dated a writer. He was also an alcoholic. He was tortured by a sense of underperforming, but was clearly wrestling with it. He didn’t think that the standards for success were really his. So he was failing, but didn’t have the internal motivation to change it. I saw him this weekend. Although we met at a bar he was drinking ginger ale. He told me he had been sober for many years, with a bit of a relapse 3 years ago. He is in a  relationship. He is working in a mailroom. He grinned as he told me this, huge dimples carved into his cheeks. He loved the absolute cliche of this “bottom rung” work, from which he never intended to climb. He was so happy, so free. Just quite literally taking it one day at a time.

I have been dipping my toe in the water of zen buddhism. Sitting some at the zen center, doing a bit of reading, some meditating. I am not ready to dive in, clearly. As part of the practice I notice my exploration without judgement and without clear intention. Last night I dreamed that Roshi (the zen center founder and teacher) was telling my mother about how she came to KNOW enlightenment and a higher power. She was explaining it as a chemical reaction, literally diagraming the perpetual presence of microscopic faith molecules, and how they would blanket the ego. As she was telling my mother (the skeptic for those of you who don’t know her, the scully to Roshi’s Mulder) Roshi dropped dead. She lay on the floor under our counter. My mother raised her eyebrows at me. A friend who has been a practicing buddhist with Roshi for 20 years was all of a sudden in the room. I asked her- ambulance or Zen center. She told me Roshi was already gone and we needed neither.

Then we are at the Zen center and I am the only one not in a robe. Should I be here? I asked her. I mean, does the fact that a was a witness to her death make my presence legitimized in this inner circle of saying goodbye? She shook her head at me. I asked. Should I not be speaking?

That is it. I knew there was something here, between the 22 year olds, and the premature memoir, and the dream. Memoir implies a bit of a summation to your story. The coaches are at the beginning, and not seeking much. Because of their culture, age, attitude they are quite literally just living. Not knowing where they will be the next week, with which mates, or hosts.

In my dream I am imagining a scientific answer to the questions that by definition require an answer of faith. The answer is almost provided from someone else, when in fact we each need to answer our own questions. And the idea of an answer, the punctuation to what should be a run on sentence, this idea itself takes us away from the practice.

The answer is in the asking.



Back to the suburbs

I dont want to be blogging right now. I want to be farming, or mining. Or both. I am re-addicted to Puzzle craft. I have traced with my finger many many miles. I guess they display that stat to kick us in the butt a little and remember that there is a real world out there. I remember, I just dont really want to play in it.

This means of course that the depression is back, if it ever left, which it did, but of course it doesn’t feel that way. It is different this time. Not so sad, or dramatic. No weeping over baby birds. Just more the I don’t wanna phase. As in, I don’t wanna exercise, or diet, or re-do the dishes, or learn about pokemon evolves. I don’t want to cook dinner, or switch pee sheets, or source the cat pee and spray it with enzyme. I don’t wanna mow the lawn. Not that I EVER do that. But for good measure I’m saying I just dont wanna.

So last week, as I neared my goal of “imperial castle” level 50 and snatched my iPad away from Leo because he was being “irresponsible with my resources” I decided that I needed to parent myself.

Yes, I told me, you are welcome to go to bed at 6 with both ipads and play puzzle craft and plants versus zombies and generally check out from life. As soon as you select three items from this list.

  • meditate
  • take a walk
  • write a blog post
  • do the dishes
  • switch the laundry
  • clean out van
  • find 20 items to give away
  • BBC headlines
  • watch a TED talk
  • weed (the garden)

Its working a little. That list is not the actual list that I made, because I didn’t want to get up off of my chair to get it. But it exists in a more robust form in my notebook. The house is much more clean. the garden is not so weedy. Although that too is an endless task. Zen and the art of weeding.

I’m waffling between thinking that clearing out my life and commitments to make room for something I have not yet defined is necessary and totally inane.

We are moving to Shelburbia, and I am moving into the role of Shelburne mom. I have a new pair of lululemon – I dont even know the word- pants? tights?  Hopefully not see through. I am one of the 5 mothers that the classroom teacher writes to when she needs fruit for a party, or an extra hand for a special activity. I love being in the classroom, (except reading with that one kid) I’m not sure that I love being available to be in the classroom. I mean, I have to squeeze it in between yoga and my runs. If only I weren’t joking. My day works around the rhythm of my kids. It must be what I want because I made it this way. I seem to have arrived here through a process of shedding things rather than an active opting in.

So once again I dont know what is next, which during a time that I am trying to focus on the “now” seems OK. Maybe even good.

I am incredibly incredibly bored of thinking about eating and diet. Just numbingly bored.

I took a neuroanatomy class in graduate school and remember having the strange sci fi conspiracy theory that the brains didnt want us to learn this stuff.

Sometimes I feel, as I take to the bed, iPad in hand, that my status quo self doesn’t want me to wake up. It doesn’t want me to notice things. It wants me to stay project oriented…with big moments of enthusiasm at the outset, and a relieved accomplished ending and nothing in between. I keep playing with the idea that life is the in between, and then turn away from that. Yeah, so?

I have to go meet the bus. Have my best five minutes of the day with my boys, and go battle some zombies. Or farm. Or something.




Good Gatsby

Our house is on the market. This means that in addition to sweating every crumb, and seeing each loose hinge as a problem to be solved rather than a graceful, soulful aging we are frequently exiled. The call came around noon, asking us to be out that evening, a Sunday, and so we split up for a rare family movie night. By family movie night I mean the boys see something about someone in a costume saving the universe, I see a movie about grown ups talking, and Steve pretends he would rather be going with me while internally skipping down the aisle to Iron Man 3.

I headed to see the third most famous Leonardo woo Daisy.

There were 5 strands of interest for me in the movie.

  • The decor. Overlooking the general opulence I was drawn to details that could reasonably be repeated in real life, piles of jewel toned velvet pillows, billowing sheers, gilded framed paintings hung so close they became three dimensional wall paper.
  • Whether Gatsby was great. The idea of turning away from god to remake oneself for love, decadence as a mask and matadors cape at once. can you be great and be focused on someone…ordinary?
  • What had happened to Leo’s looks. Was his face just thicker? Was it the makeup? Why, if he was wearing too much makeup could I still see his pores? Was he doughy in Gilbert Grape? These questions need answers.
  • Most strikingly though was the camera work. The way it illustrated what I was reminded was my favorite part of the book, the concept of within/without.

The first explicit introduction to this thread is during a scene of daytime drunken debauchery where Nick is both reveler and observer. As the tinsel (more tinsel in this film than all the christmas trees in the midwest) and laughter rained down the champagne bottles and the camera spun to carry the viewers (amongst whom we can count Nick) out of the room to the street below. Here he stands, dressed more properly, looking up at his drunk self. Both within and without.

This visual and conceptual duality continue through the movie as Nick is observer, participant, recorder and judge. So many roles for just one man.

This morning in therapy I sat just shaking my head no. No no no no. It wasn’t forceful. More slowly, sadly overwhelmed. These things I am doing. (I need a stock disclaimer that I know there are real struggles on earth blah blah) Establishing new, healthy habits. Diets, Exercise, spending money only on necessities, meditating, noticing rather than judging, flossing. All so difficult. And yet I have chosen them…but not me really. It is the within/without of gatsby. My narrator self has listed these goals, and the participant me has to enact them.

No no no no.

Speaking with a friend today about writing practice she emphasized the importance of being clear about one’s goal is. For me the habit is the goal, not the output. Eating kale and eschewing chips, not a specific weight. This too, that the process itself is the goal is hard. No no no no. Give me a list. Let me cross things off of it. Doing something for an infinitely long time. No no no.

Gatsby’s goal was to get Daisy to show up. And she did. It didn’t seem like he had thought further down the line than that. Before their reunion he would gaze at the green light on her dock. After she had arrived at Gatsby’s castle Nick mused that there was one fewer item on Gatsby’s list of enchantments. The green light held no magic with Daisy on this side of the water.

I guess each of these goals, fitness (with its imagined endless energy), presence (with the bliss of right now), healthy oral hygeine (with twinkling white teeth), seemed like one day they would arrive in my life through magic. I mean, they are all things that grown ups do. One day I would be a grown up and I would have these things. Perhaps it is the opposite. Once we show up, when our within and without come together and the dreamer, planner, observer, and the live-er become just one self…then the enchantment is gone and the work begins.

No no no no.

Quit Quitting.

I have start stopped start STOPPED the blogging. So many many drafts in the draft folder. Nothing, it seems is quite right.

I. Must. Stop. Editing.

The joy of this blog for me has been the first draftness of it. Write to know what I think. Post to know what you think, repeat. Somehow I began editing.

I am going to write the rest of this as if I don’t have a backspace button. Which of course I don’t because in apple world it is delete.

I was reading a recipe for kale. And in the post the author (Catherine Newman obviously) talks about the dark side of the moon of the blog. Her venn diagram of life (an image I use less frequently than my pie chart, but more frequently than never) had her happy spring self almost completely overlapping with the dark side of the moon. Which I interpreted to mean her sort of slightly depressive side.

Then I began to sense the beauty of everything. The absolute right ness, that felt a bit like five weeks on ecstasy and caused Steve to say over and over what is that SMILE on your face? As if I only grimace or eye roll the rest of the time, it is gone. If you press me I know that “just rightness” is still there. I felt it. It is real. But more real is the I QUIT feeling. And honestly, even I am bored of this feeling. So bored that I wish to quit quitting and just live in the moment again.

As long as that moment is bed+TV.

My little Leo. He has been a messy mess. I mean, he is still sunshine for big chunks of the day. Case: this morning getting dressed he flicks his hair and says. “My hair is annoying me right now.”  “Maybe you want to cut it?” I ask. Honestly not invested in either answer. “no.” He responds strongly. I told you no. Why do you keep asking that?” Strong and curious, not strong and annoyed. I understand I tell him. I have this circumstance with my mother. I just want to tell her about whatever my problem is and she wants to fix it. I just want to talk about it. I just did that to you. He gives me a smile. Yes, you don;t need to fix it, Im just telling you my hair is annoying. I reach out and brush his hair back. “Maybe a headband?” “mama, he says in a patient tone, you are trying to fix again.”

And so I was.

Less fixing, more listening. Less judging, more noticing.

See. I don’t want to finish this. I am boring myself. This jumpy antsy feeling, which is different from the quitting feeling has a similarity in that they both keep me from tuning in. They are also similar because they both suck.

So Leo’s messy mess ness led to a phone call with vicki who told us one liberating thing and one fucking shit thing. Leos fits reliably come during dinner time. So she told us to blow up dinner. No more prep, cook, sit down, have meaningful conversations. If he sabotages them each night just ditch those dinners. So dinner as we knew it is done. At least for now. It was interesting how I clung to it tooth and nail. I gave up baths and teeth brushing, but dinner. Come on, all families need a good sit down meal together. The studies all say so.

The harder one is training him in self soothing away from the iPad. It is the one tool in his tool box. I wonder why? Plugging in is my unplugging. When I am run down it is how I try to charge back up. After 39 years I know that it does not in fact energize me, but sinks me deeper and deeper into the tempurpedic. So this is what Leo knows. Steve has lots of other outlets, hockey, beer, OK well at least two other outlets. Leo is too young for beer.

So when I am doing well, seeing beauty, engaging, not even thinking of quitting I don’t watch much TV. I can tell you all the things I do that give me energy. Yoga, walks, iced tea, meditation, chatting with friends, sketching rooms, even writing. I don’t need tips for those times, and when I do need tips I have already quit. A quitter doesn’t walk. A quitter watches TV, eats, and shops. Like the cardiac paddles the consumptive inputs try to get stuff going.

I started a list of things I find beautiful. Things that don’t have calories, cost money, or come over the airwaves. (OK smart ass the flowers might have calories)  Right now it is short, because I quit on it. But I’m sure there are more. I sort of remember them.

  • Dappled light through spring leaves
  • Lennon and Maisy singing
  • rununculuses
  • this one plate I have at home
  • Oliver’s eyes
  • Leo’s back
  • The way the two pillows on my red couch look together
  • One floor board in my bedroom
  • That one view of mountain layers headed south in Charlotte on route seven. After you turn.
  • ice cubes in a sturdy tumbler
Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.24.05 AM





Parenting through naps and magic

a napping napper napsReading Leo a flier for Invention camp describing campers activities on Planet Zaq rebuilding their crashed spaceship he asks if camp is really on another planet. I can imagine the Mercedes symbol of the pie chart of his mind…equal parts hopeful excitement, fearful anticipation, and sinking realism. He is between these worlds still, magic and science and schedules and infinity.

Oliver rarely naps. Both boys, all three of my family members nap less than me in fact, but something was tiring this weekend, and while I went to the airport to pickup Granny Oliver fell asleep in my bed, ninja mask on.

He woke up enough to stagger to the couch, moan a bit and bury his head next to my legs. He wove between sleep and wakefulness for a bit. Then he was up. Displaying ninja moves, contrasting the merits of board games, and putting the finishing touches on his birthday wish list. That list at least remains fixed for now. Lego star wars, lego ninjago, and bey blades.

Today at indoor soccer I sat chatting with another mom on the bench. Oliver bumped his blue fleece clad self into my legs and I stretched my arms to scoop him up. At first I couldnt understand why his head was out of the reach of my lips. Then I realized. The cluster of friends waiting for soccer to begin. None attending to him in reality but always observers in his mind. My first spurned kiss. I felt…fine. I knew things would be different at home, at least for now.

I am trying to wake up. Like Oliver from his nap I am trying to wake up to live my life. The nap isnt unpleasant. In fact it feels easier than being awake. It hurts sometimes to wake up, all you want is the comfort of your dream state. And still I am trying to wrest myself out of bed.

Not all of my senses work in my dream state. It is like living as a passenger on a train, the characters, setting, events of my life seen through the window as we speed by. I can get off at stops, but it keeps moving. Always forward. Always with a destination in mind. As I type I realize tht I am right on top of the “life is the journey” (idiom? metaphor? saying?) Overused I guess. I hope the train has a really good dining car.

At its best it is liberating not to have a destination. From adolescence on I’ve been waiting to see where I would end up. As if it would happen to me. As if everything along the way was scenery.  We are all going to end up in the same place. We are born with no rupees and we die with no rupees.

In a mostly lovely 28 hour visit my mother broke a glass, a plate and a coffee press. How? First by being helpful. She did two or more rounds of dishes in little more than a day. Also by rushing. We are rushers she and I. Although part of being awake is realizing that we are not any one thing. Historically we look ahead. Arrive early for flights. Take off our seatbelts blocks before arriving home. Oliver too is a looker aheader. He wears his clothes for the next day to bed. (and yes, predominantly this is because he doesnt really ever change back when he did change daily he would change at night.) Once we wake up in the morning we are UP. These three generations of us, heads busy, up with the first light. We know what is coming next. We know what SHOULD be coming next. We have the train schedule after all.

So this idea of moving back and forth between two worlds, Oliver in his literal nap, me in my figurative one, Leo in his changing consciousness feels like a more full description than the train metaphor. It feels more engaged.  The duality of two worlds may be twice as big as the train metaphor but it is still linear. Life is not linear.

Like the infinity in a finite space of my fathers scholars rocks life is never fixed. Our physical and emotional selves. Evolving. (crap I hate that word.) Our relationships, work identities, spirtual affiliations. Our realities change in slight and extreme ways all the time. But we miss it. We create one main storyline for ourselves, or maybe allow ourselves a range. This is still too limiting.

See you on planet Zaq.


ps. If you are wondering where all of this is coming from there are many answers. Here are two. I am giving a talk  (Wednesday March 13 7pm Pasadena) about my father’s collecting, which always makes me think about him and his eschewing of virtually all social norms. And I am reading.

A something- why socks are just socks and loathing is lacking

A wake. A live. A ware.

I have been cleaning out my life to make room to step away from it.

Before you start the private messages, texts and calls I don’t mean step away from it in any frightening way. I mean to observe rather than react.

This seeing myself, in my fatness, in my will powerlessness, in my entrepreneurship, in my parenting. It has lifted. Today. Today I am none of those things.  I am working to untangle my ego from it all.

Selecting socks this morning. I reached into the drawer. Instead of grabbing I felt each sock. I spent 10 minutes with the socks. I listened to my sock judgement. You are too tight. You collect pet hair. I realized that for all these years of my adult life I had allowed my socks to tell a story about me. The person whose feet grew with pregnancy, the person who doesn’t vacuum up pet hair and thus takes care of little, the person who doesn’t do laundry frequently. Without noticing it this 10 second sock selection has been an act of self damnation. You know what? They are socks. Some soft. Some mismatched, Some too tight. Now there are fewer socks, it was clear this morning that some of these socks would just never be chosen. So they are out. Which is neither bad nor good. Imagine that, that the act of getting rid of socks has the potential for me to attach some sort of positive or negative. The kind of person who has just the right number of socks is the kind of person I want to be. It seems humorous and absurd.

For three years I have been reading in my kids’ classroom (s.) What motivated me to do this? The chance to spy. I want to be on the inside and see how things work and have the teacher like me. Plus I want to be thanked for being helpful. Right now, today. I don’t care about that. In any case my selfish volunteering has gone on for a while but I noticed that this year I dreaded it. Really, every Tuesday I began to dread Wednesday morning. This week before I went in I asked myself why I dreaded it so much. And I admitted something that I had been repressing. I LOATHE one of the kindergarteners that I read with. Hmmm. It is so unexpected to have strong negative feelings for a 5 year old. But I do. Thinking about it with less emotion I realized that loathe (particularly in CAPS) is too strong. But I dislike him and I dislike reading with him. I noticed that before I went in yesterday. I chose to read with him first. My feelings didn’t change. I don’t like him. But my response to those feelings did. It was such a small dislike. So powerless. Really insignificant. Shine the light on it and the fungus doesn’t grow. Or something.

In any case I really enjoyed reading this week.

In high school I used to have friends that were “project” friends. And I’m sure the answer is no, it is not you I am writing about. He or she was a diamond in the rough (these perfectly complete boys and girls) that I would polish up with my verve, social capital, and particular psychological insight. I saw their beauty, but as potential. I was invested in the change and the outcome, they were a problem to solve.

The drive to connect, control, boss comes out with friends still. I see it now.

Having expectations, feeling that the other person owes you. This has been all over my work and social life. Inserting myself into the work life, decor, love life of friends. Feeling vital. I, just 2 weeks ago had business cards printed up with the phrase “do that”. Anna Rosenblum Palmer- opinions. Then the flip sides said things like: Yes! Or even: let me tell you…

It seemed so simple. People asked for my opinion. I gave my opinion. I had enough opinions to share. The cards were a wink and nod to what was already going on. Do That.

My feelings aren’t as strong today. I have them…dirty snow, cat pee, bill piles. I see those. I feel something about them. Somehow the power of the feeling is gone. Texting with a friend…one who started as a project and I now recognize as complete and completely without need of my intervention…I asked him a question about someone else’s business. (Literal business) He redirected me to that person. My first feeling was of offense. Why wouldn’t he tell me, I want to be central, in the know, I want him to feel like he can and will tell me anything I ask. I felt all of that. And then it just lifted. I felt it, I noticed it, it left. I’m glad I did, because the absence of the feeling 3 seconds later was made more sweet for it presence.

I was able to let go because my ego wasn’t in this business the way it might have been a few months ago. The way it WAS a few months ago. This is someone else’s triumph, as it would have been some else’s failure. It is hard to have your ego in someone else. So the practice is to set back from yourself. I am tangentially involved, and that is a great place for me. Shedding my central role. It is really about the tangents.

I have been practicing this with my kids for three years and with myself for 6 months. In just the past week I went to the zen center for the first time and began reading Anthony De Mello’s “Awareness.” I was prompted to read it when both the Sensei and Vicki from parenting class quoted from it two days apart from one another. Vicki’s quote I remember. Taking down the self help bible De Mello says it should have been “I’m an ass, you’re an ass.”

A something indeed.