Focus, foooocus.

Cynthia Lee prompt again, and something I have struggled with today.

How to focus. What to focus. What to focus on.

I went to the beach after dropping off my youngest, completely forgetting my Tuesday writing group…. Its only been a few years, that’s all, that I’ve been writing with the same women every Tuesday morning. (evidently a few years is not enough to permeate my long-term memory cache- which would make sense for me, on a lot of levels)

I’m reminded of real cameras, and focus, and the f-stop, the way you decide how much light to let in. (thank you leonard cohen, once and always) There is a relationship between the light and the focus, and I am mindful of it.

I went to a plant sale and came home and planted them, even though it is overly sunny. THAT was a rare bit of focus, to get that job done, rather than letting them languish on the front porch, or worse, in the trunk of the car.

I think focus and avoidance sometimes hold hands in the woods. well, lack of focus I suppose.

I just got up to make sure I had my phone, and I stopped in the kitchen and filled the dishwasher, but didn’t turn it on because the kids are responsible for that. but I hate that it is an unfinished thing, so then i washed off the pan I cooked last night’s empanadas on, because I had to fit dinner in between a million things and everyone had something different, and none of the kids will wash the empanada pan. I had french fries from mcdonalds. And I forgot to bring my phone back in here at all. And the whole reason I came in here in the first place was to start the process of getting a beach pass.

and here I am writing. Sigh.

I’m not focused or I’m out of focus.

Is there enough light in me? Do I need to draw it in or let it out?

My brains are fuzzy.

I do remember my name though, for what its worth.

I can write for hours about the things I get distracted by, but I want to pull it in, get myself together. The things I choose to focus on? Kids. Humor. Pleasure. Expression.

I planted a lupine and some yarrow today, I’m feeling wild gardens to come. Lupine do not like to be transplanted so she will be watched overnight and watered mightily. Such a great pleasure for me, to see these things grow, to have an appreciation for the shape of a leaf. (THAT is why I love the lupine, isn’t that crazy? Its got this enormous, phallic bloom in the most beautiful colors, and I love the leaf, devotedly.)

I can’t get it through my head to be single-minded about anything. There is literally almost nothing that I do, start to finish, all in one sitting. nothing.

Is it just me? What am I doing? Am I using the wrong aperture? Is there too much light coming in? Not enough? How big is the lens I use?

Fstop my heart,

love love,



Yesterday. all my troubles were… on display.

I had it all arranged. All of it. I felt like I had 38 kids. I did. I had to involve the entire community but all the kids were covered to go all the places they needed to in one afternoon. Nobody was going to miss anything. I was the Queen of the World.

One was going to another school to play lacrosse which he loves but i’m freaked out by because seriously, only rich kids play that game. or long islanders. anyhow. my issue.

but the other one was getting picked up by other parents from one sport to be taken to another sport and i was going to drag all three to watch and then bring ’em all home by 8 pm. somehow food was going to happen too.

the third one was to be picked up at school by me, taken to gymnastics and then the grandmother was grabbing her to bring her home and i was going to sneak out and try to have an in-person meeting with someone I don’t know except virtually who happens to be male. Because I actually have a place in my own life, too. I should embolden that sentence, but I won’t, because now that I’ve typed it, it would be weird.

and on the way to school in the morning, the littlest got that look.


She’d been really grumpy and tired all morning but you know, Mom was on fire with keeping the schedule intact so that she could maybe take a shower before the ‘meeting’.

Well. THAT LOOK. the look which means, Mom, something is about to happen, I know not what… but I really don’t feel good and any end is open for evacuation.

So, Mom throws her hands up in the air, turns the car around and drives her carefully laid plans back home to tend.

no gymnastics. no go get em. Ah. whatever.

I did go meet the guy and thats a whole ‘other post having to do with my expectations and desires and how confused I am still by my own sexuality. like, Man, my fires ARE BURNING. and, yet, I don’t want someone who only wants me when I am on fire. (no, I was not showing him any flames, but still) I have not yet found a balance, or a man who has the patience to wait and watch me figure it out, whatever it is. and take me to a delicious dinner, and walk in the woods and stuff, and laugh with me. so.

today i have another one home, different stuff. so there, plans. just stuff it, already.


love love,


black illustration on white printer paper
FIE! I say, FIE! to you and your plans!! FIE!! Photo by Matej on

Bossy pants: mom, sister.

This title is completely and utterly misleading, fyi.

Today my teenager momentarily refused to go to school. Out and out refused to get out of bed.

Yes, I reacted strongly. And I reacted like I was dealing with my brother thirty years ago. My teen was actually righteously enraged that I thought he was ‘serious’, which of course, is debatable. (He was refusing to get out of bed. WTF?)

My brother was a ‘delinquent’ of sorts. When you love someone, the words have a different meaning, and empathy is always a part of everything, which makes it all complicated like it is. So even the ‘delinquent’ has to be qualified somehow. I spent a lot of my teen years trying to control or mediate with him, between him and consequence. Throwing away his cigarettes, paying him to stay home, turning the attention to myself so it would relieve the attention on him? Yes. Did any of it work at all? No. The feeling of uselessness is strong. Useless, helpless, fruitless. Those. SO.

The level of panic I had this morning at my teenager was intense. It occurred to me to call the police, friends. For real. Did he go to school? Yes, totally. Ate breakfast with his brother and tolerated a sincere hug from me. I had a chance to explain some of my reactions and a little bit of my history, and apologize for my panic and rage. Not for yelling, but for the level of it.

He was still mortally offended. (I’m sad he felt that way going off to school but basically he was a turd and he got called out, so whatever.) He got out of bed when I told him I was going to disassemble his computer. And I would have sold it for parts. For real. All the way through.

I’m still shaken now, trying to process the panic through my body, the panic that is a fear that things are spiralling, that the tight control I have on my family is unravelling, that they will all be in mortal danger if I don’t hold it all so tightly. The trick is, you have to actually let go of it, and let consequences happen. And that is very hard to face.

( I do not think my kid will end up in a crack den because of today’s activities. My brother did not. He’s a good, mature guy now. But he was kicked out of the house for a good bit of time, into the foster system.)

so there is today’s parenting boys moment. and its still coursing through me, a good 90 minutes later.

Whoosh, baby.

love love, me.

One beautiful eye.

Raining white problems, aka Grow the Fuck Up.

Grow up. Accept your responsibility.

Its been raining since yesterday. We had one practice and one game cancelled, and still managed to not be able to eat dinner until 7:30 at night. This makes a mom hangry. Or a person, I suppose.

The teenagers are working my nerves. We’ve entered the arena of when they are late or ill-prepared for their tasks, they take issue with my raised voice and attempt to turn the tables and express blame on/for the ‘irrational’ behavior of the mother.

i get it. i remember doing it. (kind of) but fuck off, mates. fuck off.

you are late. you do not have your kit for practice after school. you have missed the bus and you still are not hustling around to make it to the ‘second chance’ bus appearance.

fuck off mates.

i love you dearly. you are super hero legends in my book.

and i am the eye-rolling director of shield. call me samuel jackson, please. PLEASE?

teddy bear placed on wooden shelf with clothes
Teddy with ‘Fuck off’ tee, Photo by Erik Mclean on

In seriousness, the lack of accountability is critical here. I yell, yes I do, because I am aware that it is no longer my job to get them prepared for school in the morning. I feed them, that IS my job, but the rest? nope.

Is that what it is with the continuation of white supremacy? That all ‘we white people’ just think its a problem with cops? Or with ‘the south’? The complete fucking lack of empathy for the humanity of the black and brown people in our communities? Is that what it is?

Blame goes somewhere else and is not directed inwardly? I mean, point the damn finger at yourself, even if its a selfie. Damn, man. Its us. Its all of us.

Take responsibility for the life you are in, damnit. Its not ‘the people who came before me’. Its not ‘them’. Its you. Its me. Get off your high horse, soap box. Don’t tell me you have black friends, or a black brother. It is not enough. IF you are stuck and don’t know what to do, make a sign. give your money. read a freaking post by a black or brown writer. Listen to what they’re saying.

Don’t be an asshole teenager who blames his mother for his problems.

Grow the fuck up.


All quiet

For the first time in my fifteen year shift as mother, all three children were throwing up at the same time. (first, and only. RIGHT?)

Its quarter to ten in the morning, and everyone is lying down somewhere, even the dog.

I haven’t been out to let the chickens out as I’m finding it hard to take more than ten steps at a time. 🙂 I’ve been through tougher spots than this. There was a two week period a few years ago, where the kids all went down consecutively, so there was never any break. This was just one night and at some point, they all stopped throwing up long enough to catch a few hours of sleep.

and now its quiet.

I have a book at my side that is creeping me out, called THE HUNGER, by ALma Katsu. For those of you who regularly read scary things, this is probably not scary. But I’m a novice, and I’m getting spooked by the ominous and the foreshadowing. My brain already knows whats what, but I am waiting, waiting, waiting to find out who and how. Its set in westward expansion times (Donner party) and there is a wagon train and bloody mystery. (even mormons, for godssake.)

So this is what I’m doing, after stumbling to the study to pick up this piece of computer, I am going back to it. Reading. Listening hard for coughing that will lead to more throw-up or throw-up laundry. We shall see. This is the gig.

When my kids were sick last night, they were so grateful. It was insane, but I recognize it. When someone takes care of me when I am ill, I am also so grateful. I love it, in fact, because I get to say to my children out loud…. I love being your mother, all the time, even when you are sick. You are my babies, forever and ever, and I will always take care of you.

Getting to say that, in the middle of the night, to a weak child, while feeling weak yourself? Stunning. Adding to that the sincerity involved? Massive.

So, its all quiet here. And I’m okay so far. Fingers crossed on this. all the fingers, please.

Its not all bad. Not even nearly.