Adrienne the yoga teacher keeps telling me on the YouTube to move into positions “with ease.”

The COVID After Times are like becoming a mother. Never was there ever an experience so common, so universal, and so bewilderingly isolating. Everyone’s doing it. And everyone’s doing it alone. 

When I became a mother, I thought I was becoming part of a club. Part of a whole. Part of a unified conglomerate. So I was mystified when I felt disconnected, instead. Separate. Detached. As if I was forging a path through the jungle, unsure what dangers lurked around me, equipped with a malfunctioning compass that refused to point me toward the village. I knew one was out there. Somewhere. The elusive village where the other mothers laughed as their children played. Where there was sleep and respite because there was someone willing to hold the baby.  ...  read more

Lesson from a Foster Dog (You Is Such a Gud Human… Yes, You Is)

Daisy was the dumbest dog I’ve ever fostered. Bar none. Hands down. Dumb. Est.

Don’t get me wrong; Daisy was also Top 3 for Sweetest Foster Ever. Never did you ever meet a more darling rug. Her eyes and smile could light up a room. But a genius she was not.

We had Daisy for five months because the poor baby needed surgery, and in those five months she never learned to use the dog door. Other dogs showed her how. My kids demonstrated. We used treats and pets and consistent training. We bribed and cajoled. And nothing. She wasn’t afraid. This wasn’t one of the weird hang-ups foster dogs sometimes have. She’d happily go through the hole if we held the flap for her, and she’d sit next to it all day long, cheerfully watching the others go in and out, delighted whenever they reappeared. She was functionally a small child without object permanence; if the flap was down, the outside and anything in it ceased to exist. Every once in a while—SURPRISE!—a friend would pop through like a magic trick, and she’d look at me, astonished and thrilled, like did you see that?And every time, I’d say, “I did, Daisy!” matching her excitement because it was infectious.  ...  read more

The Most Impossible Task: Saying I’m Not OK

If you struggle with depression like I do, and if you haven’t yet read M. Molly Backes’ viral twitter string about the Impossible Task, I highly recommend it as something to help put words to a common symptom of this insidious disease. 

Depression commercials always talk about sadness but they never mention that sneaky symptom that everyone with depression knows all too well: the Impossible Task. (Other sneaky symptoms they don’t mention are numbness, anxiety, and inexplicable rage—just FYI for folks trying to figure this crap out. Depression comes in disguise, folks. It rarely announces itself via sadness.¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )  ...  read more

On Doing Way Too Much and Not Nearly Enough: What October 2020 Feels Like

I drive four mornings each week up the winding roads of Parrett Mountain, past alpaca farms and vineyards and into the Douglas Fir forests as I climb. It’s a slow drive by necessity; there are steep drop-offs and no guard rails or shoulders to offer forgiveness if you stray.

It always feels peaceful to me, that drive: the forced slowing of my typical pace, the tiered ruffles of the fir branches like a designer got carried away layering petticoats, the falcons that circle overhead, and the deer that dive down the canyons.  ...  read more

Bearing Witness

Before we begin, please imagine me face down on the couch, head smooshed into the grubby cushions, cereal shrapnel and muddy dog prints decorating my periphery. That is where I metaphorically am. I am not sitting upright at my desk typing. I am using telepathy from my frazzled, stuttering brain. Nothing is happening in a linear fashion around here. No thing. It’s all illusion and mirrors. I am stuck on the couch now, and here I shall remain for all eternity because getting up would require energy and I don’t know what that is anymore. ...  read more

1 July 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

Just a few quick things.

Thing 1: I went to the food cart pod in our little town today, and this dude showed up, went to two carts, said, “I don’t need anything today, I just didn’t have any cash to tip last time I was here,” and then he popped cash money into their tip jars. DEAR LORD, DIARY, I CANNOT EVEN TELL YOU HOW MUCH I NEEDED TO WITNESS KINDNESS. I legit teared up. Swear to God Almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, it was a GIFT to watch that. It was like rain after drought. It was like sparkling joy in the midst of whatever cluster we’re in right now with rampant unkindness and a global pandemic and folks unwilling to listen to people who are being harmed. I wanted to follow that dude home like a puppy. Just to soak in his goodness for a little longer. But I didn’t because I occasionallyevery now and then, just to mix things up have appropriate social boundaries. Not following the dude was like my gift back to him. You’re welcome, kind dude. Keep being excellent. ...  read more