Russian Bots Aren’t My Problem

There are days I spend away from the internet and while I can’t say I feel refreshed and renewed (because I’m not out camping and enjoying nature so much as running the kids all over town and catching up on To Do tasks), I do feel moderately less annoyed with humanity.

I blame Facebook. For many things, actually, but hating other people has a lot to do with inane and/or offensive garbage I see on Facebook mostly from people I know in real life and the people they know in real life who maybe I need to know a little less about.

Twitter is a different story for me because I’m on there almost exclusively to engage the writing community and stalk Riverdale creators and actors. All of those people are lovely and I can easily ignore anyone who isn’t.

Instagram is fairly new to me, my personal account is private, and I really only engage with a select few people… and Riverdale creators and actors.

Tumblr, I abandoned long ago, back when raging Teen Wolf fans couldn’t handle life and stopped creating adorable memes to lash out in grammatically infeasible ways that hurt my brain.

And I don’t do anything else because I’m a Gen Xer and I’m too busy being broody and polishing my CD collection to learn anything new.

So I will continue to look at the pretty pictures on Instagram and play writer hashtag games on Twitter and feel all peach fuzz and puppies about it.

But how… do I get away… from Facebook? Honestly? I have business-related pages and an author page and a private friend group comprised entirely of pictures of my children so I can continue minimal interaction with family while still providing life updates. But I want to stop all the rest. How do you just… stop the rest? How do you kill the Facebook feed?


This is definitely me in a Calvin Klein crop top with my manicured nails and dangling bracelets being all addicted to social media and whatnot. Certainly not a generic pic that google has allowed me to use.


Being the Good Voice

Let me preface this preaching with a musical interlude:

I’ve been listening to a playlist in my car of new songs I’ve purchased in the order I’ve purchased them which is how I heard just now, on my way here, Believer by Imagine Dragons followed by Hall of Fame by The Script. “My life, my love, my drive, it came from PAIN!” followed by “You can be the greatest, you can be the best, dedicate yourself and you’ll be standing in the hall of fame.” As parenting philosophies according to popular music go, there’s a pretty clear winner in this battle.

Which made me start thinking about how children are influenced by their parents long after childhood ends.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, kids actually do listen to their parents and they really do internalize those things we say most often. As teens and adults, a lot of those things we said often become the voice in their head that guides them. For better or for worse.


I know of too many people for whom the voice in their head is that of fear or doubt, indecision, conformity, derision, punishment, undeservingness, lack of acceptance. It’s the voice that tells you you’ll never succeed, you’re too stupid or fat, too weak or too weird, that you should let someone else do it, that you’re not ok the way you are, that you should just melt into the background because every action is too much of a risk.

And with the lyrics of those two songs echoing in my head, I’m determined not to be that voice.

I want to be the voice in my kids’ heads that says…

You can do it

I believe in you

Make good decisions

Do your best

Try again 

Take care of yourself

Be respectful of others

Brush your teeth

Just try to go pee before we leave the house

Eat more good food than treats

I love you!

And then I hear my son say to himself, “That’s ok. Twy again. You can do it,” and I feel like maybe I’m doing an ok job at this whole parenting thing.

Simpler Times for Scumbags

Well, I certainly did try to edit my NaNo project into something cohesive and I’m not saying I’m ready to give up on it. But I do believe it needs some space to breath.

This is true for most of the things I write, that I need some space between the writing and the editing, but especially so for a mostly true story about a totally shit time in my life.

So I’ve started something new! Something fun! Something that started out as a merry jaunt through time and space, an attempt to recreate a nostalgic event in the lives of the main character’s parents… but then… my mind went to the dark place and so did the story. Now the main character will share her story with her mom who’s been reading a lot about the #TimesUp movement and following coverage of a fictionalized version of that scumbag gymnastics doctor’s trial and reexamining some of those nostalgic events through the lens of a more cynical and much more informed adult eye.

roadtrip feet.jpg

Also… woo! Road trip!

Pineapple Hot Dog of Doom

The last dream I had before I woke up this morning was of living in an unstable tower-type building, trying to find an appropriate outfit to go get a hot dog and pick up my mom from work. I had just plugged in my long-sleeve white bathing suit, not to wear but so that it would be charged for later, and was marveling at the length and breadth of my favorite jeans as they eclipsed my legs and feet. For sure not hot dog getting wear, I thought.


Home sweet… whoooaaaaaa!

As I dug through the pile of cleanish clothes on the floor in my tower bedroom, wind blew or an earthquake quaked or an explosion exploded and the building began to rock. That happens when you live in an unstable tower building but usually, it straightened itself out, I reminded myself. I scrolled through the hot dog menu in my mind, considering a more classic relish and mustard or a more exotic chili and pineapple.
But my thoughts, my piles of clothes, my reassurances were all interrupted by the disequilibrium that wasn’t re-equalizing. The tower leaned too far to the left. My body rotated in space until I was looking straight ahead at the floor. My stomach flipped over and warmed slowly like a toaster until my breakfast was burnt. I thought, “this is it,”
and “I’m going to die now,” and “Goddess bless my children and keep them safe. Help the people who love me to grieve me without too much suffering…”
But then the building jerked up straight like those dancing balloons outside the car wash. My white bathing suit was fully charged and stain resistant. And I remembered that hot dogs don’t get themselves.

Fully charged, surprisingly stain-resistant

Then my son woke up–my real son in the waking world–and called for me. So I woke up, under the dark cloud of impending doom, and have been feeling this way ever since.
Happy Monday, everyone. May your day not be overshadowed by subconscious gloom.

Pigs are for Bacon, Not That… not that

I’ve been hearing all the hullabaloo about Black Mirror and decided to dive in to season 1 the other day. I didn’t get past that first episode.

This is what people like to watch? I mean… besides the part with the pig? That was nasty enough. But… like… people enjoy being judged in such a cruel and demoralizing way on their viewing habits? Or did they just not get it?


Sadly, probably not.

Because it worked for me. I turned that crap off right quick and picked up a book.

Legit question: does the series get better? Or is it always pointing out how hollow a life lived in front of a screen can be?

Meanwhile, have you seen Kevin (Probably) Saves the World? It’s like, a Black Mirror antidote.


I… yeah, I’d rather be watching Kevin. The real world is harsh enough.


How to Deal with the Indecisive

I have this simple rule with my toddler when I have to ask him the same question more than 3 times: If you won’t decide, then I’ll do it for you.

It always works. Either he makes the decision quickly–which is what usually happens–or I do and the thing gets done.

Meanwhile, I asked my husband 5 or 6 times to help me decide who and in what order to put the emergency contacts on my son’s preschool enrollment application and he has blown it off repeatedly. I don’t have time for this nonsense. I decided, it’s done, and now he has no say in the matter.

So… henceforth… my toddler rule applies to EVERYONE.

Listen up, all the indecisive people in my life:


and guess what else:



Oprah’s Big Ole Heart

There are few things more enjoyable on a cold morning than a warm beverage in a quiet place with a nice view. That place for me is work on a Sunday when less than an eighth of the people who usually work on my floor are here and most of them are just trying to get their stuff done so they can leave. Meanwhile, I’m here for the duration so I’m taking my coffee break in the lobby by the big windows, enjoying the sunshine and silence.

There is so little silence in my life anymore.

Friends, blog readers, countrypeople… I have reason to believe that I have recovered from my “baby blues” and have rejoined the world as a normal person who already had issues with mild depression and occasional existential dread. And it feels wonderful!

It feels like time to start the editing process of my NaNo project, which was written at the height of my baby crazies and is therefore probably a giant pile of poo. I’m sure it has all the narrative flow of my wildly unpredictable mood swings and stays on topic like a dog at the window on a windy day.


And all those concerns that no one would be interested in reading it? Pashaw! Mental illness is all the rage these days! Oprah will be singing my praises for being so “raw” and “honest”. Especially with such emotional tenderness as this:

“See…” I’m clenching my fists now. Emphatic gestures to follow. “That’s not a normal thing to say! ‘She’s not as mean now,’ is not a reasonable justification for continuing to take our child to a terrible doctor. ‘Not as mean now’ isn’t a glowing review on Yelp. It’s not a person you would willingly chose to take care of your sick child!”

“I just don’t want to change doctors now. I don’t like it.”

“What YOU like has nothing to do with the quality of medical care our son gets! How is this about you at all? Because she’s your doctor too? I’ve got news for you, cupcake, she’s not very nice to you either.”

“It doesn’t bother me is all.”

“Then keep going to her. But let’s switch to the other pediatrician.”

“I just don’t… think it’s… good.”

“I just don’t think YOU are good, you selfish prick!”

“Hey!” he says, pointing to the boy.

Because that’s exactly what we need now, I think, to have our kid calling people pricks. The mea culpa stops my tirade for the moment, but I’m not done. I’m starting to think about all the times I thought I was doing the right thing only to question myself after one of her shitty comments. I’m thinking about those first few weeks with my son when I was still suffering silently with the trauma of his birth, the pain of breastfeeding, the discomfort of my changing body, and the overwhelming emotions of it all and instead of having a doctor I could trust and speak to candidly, I had this bitch making me feel worse.

In comparison, my daughter’s doctor asked me how I was doing. He made me feel normal. He listened. He asked questions and he answered mine. And then, when I admitted I wasn’t so great, he offered me resources. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

“The deal was that we’d check out the new place and see if we liked it. We did, we do, I don’t see why we can’t switch,” I say with less bite. Instead, I feel the tears welling up, the warmth in my throat that tells me a mini-breakdown is on its way. “I just want someone I can talk to, like actually talk to and be honest with instead of always pretending everything’s ok just so I won’t be judged.”

“OK,” he says but it’s distracted and dismissive and he’s looking at his phone again.

“Can you just… with the phone? Can you listen?”

“I’m listening,” he says but he’s not. Even when he is, he’s not comprehending, so what’s the point?

“You know–” I start and the anger is rising again. Peaks and valleys, dips and swerves, my emotions are a five star coaster in a two-bit park and it’s about to break down.

But my son can’t find his red transformer and he’s starting to panic. Normally, my husband wouldn’t even notice, wouldn’t hear the repeated phrase, “My red transformer, my red transformer, my red transformer.” Normally, he would ignore even direct requests for help if it interrupted whatever nonsense he was partaking in but right now, of course, when there is something more important happening on the couch, his focus is on the floor.

He gets down on his elbows and knees to search under the bookshelf and I’m left looking at his ass and wondering what to do with all this righteous indignation. The conversation is far from over but I don’t want to interrupt him playing with his son. Instead, I swallow my bitterness, chase it with a handful of my son’s cheese crackers, and check Facebook for the third time in half an hour.

Oprah’s crying right now as she reads this. I’ve obviously touched her heart.



Against All Two Little Adorable Odds

Happy last day of NaNoWriMo 2017! If you haven’t finished, may all the words unburden themselves from your finger tips and your editing brain take a little break until you’re done.

I’m proud to announce that despite a buttload of obstacles (and by buttload, I mean the actual unit of measure equaling a barrel of wine which I cannot drink because I am nursing) I got my 50,000+ words thereby making me a…


I mean, I’m a winner no matter what because I look my mirror reflection in the eye every morning and tell her so, but it is gratifying to accomplish a goal and get a t-shirt so I can brag about it.

What I cannot brag about, however, is having a finished manuscript. Far from it. I can imagine the chapter I’m currently writing as being the last one but I have the kind of ending that’s like… “the only change was in my mind and I still haven’t decided what to do about it. The End”

True to life, man. Because I think I’ve finally emerged from the dark cave of baby blues–or at least found the exit, if I haven’t quite made it through the gift shop yet–and I don’t know what the hell to do with myself now. This WIP, this challenge was the thing that was keeping me going. After today, I don’t know. I’ll just have to use “getting through the holidays” as my motivation to keep moving forward until I find something else to cling to.

Maybe I’ll put an effort into finishing my NaNo project. Maybe I’ll start something new. Either way, I’ll definitely be doing it from a better mental state than I started this month.

Going Dark for Art

I’m having trouble with this chapter in my NaNo WIP because it’s a mental/emotional breakdown scene and I’m just. not. there right now.

Having just resurfaced after a particularly difficult time, I don’t reeeeeally want to put myself back there just to write about it. And the stuff I wrote while I was there isn’t enough to make the chapter work. So what do I do?

I tried locking myself in my room, turning the sad music up to eleven and getting to a bad enough place to start the chapter but both children were crying downstairs, my husband was getting frustrated, and I couldn’t NOT go check on my lovebugs. I ended spending the next 20 minutes nursing, 30 minutes after that playing LEGO house, and then it was just about time for our bedtime routine.

Today, I’ve got to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping, the projects at work that I’ve been putting off because of that whole maternity leave/postpartum pseudo depression stuff, and cleaning my house since we finally fired our officious cleaning lady.

How DOES one find the time to recreate a depressive episode?


Nuts Need Energy to Ball

Chapter 20 of my NaNo WIP reads:

Chapter 20


[MC goes nutballs. To be written later]

I got up early. I’m just tasting my first few sips of coffee. I need to leave for a doctor’s appointment in less than an hour and I have to take the baby with me. Nutballs isn’t something I can write right now but it’s what needs to happen at this point in the story.

Nutballs is just not achievable at this level of momming.

Conversely, this level of momming is not achievable while nutballs. Which may be the point of the story.

Also, it may be a weeeeeee bit autobiographical.


Hazelnutballs is about the best I can do.