Picking up where I left off

A Rollergiraffe Explains Her Whereabouts

Tap, tap, tap… is this thing still on? Right, well, whether it is or not, the magnanimous BroJo mentioned that he was keen to get back here. I prodded him, he prodded me back, and well, here we are.

It’s been nearly a year since I was active on WordPress. It was mostly a conscious choice. The last 12 months were not kind to me. I suffered a miscarriage, I lost my aunt. My grandma died; a woman who was much more important to me than I understood during her lifetime. Other relationships in my family changed for reasons that are too fresh and too big to talk about. Loss brings about a new order as everyone tries to fill the holes and let the earth settle.

Alas, I have small, active children, who were at school for a grand total of two hours a day. I had bees to keep, a garden to fuck up, camping to do, and friends who were in the middle of all manner of things good and bad. Life was too busy for me to spend any amount of time tamping down the earth.


I did catch a bass in July, that was pretty fun. He lived to bite another hook.

I powered through all of this, natural born martyr that I am. By April, I was tired. By July, I was exhausted. By August, I was depressed. And in September I took to my sad bed. My kids at school full time, I gave myself until Christmas to let all this sort itself out in my mind. I needed rest, I needed to shut down. I could not talk, I could not listen. In the past, I would have scribbled all of this out as it was happening, or denied the shit out of it all, or come up with whatever comfortable narrative I could and run with it. But I couldn’t do that from my sad bed. I had to sit with my thoughts and let them grate against me rather than finding a way to smooth them, to soothe me.

Around October, the world started to creep back into my consciousness, and the sadness gave way to discontent.

The thing about discontentment is that you can’t get used to it. Sadness, hopelessness, despair, all those other states I have traveled through this year, can start to feel familiar. You can lay in bed and wallow in those things. You feel heavy, pressed under a brick, unable to move even if you wanted to. People recognize those feelings enough to either avoid you or offer you some sympathy. Medicine, alcohol, sleep; many things offer temporary escape. There is no momentum in sadness.

Discontentment is too uncomfortable. It keeps your brain racing and your eyes pinned open. It is standing on a ball; you might be able to balance for a moment, but you have to hope that the wind stays just right and the earth doesn’t shift beneath you. There’s no rest, and you’re uncertain which direction to head at first. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to master, and from up there, you can see far in the direction you want to go. Everyone around you is jangled because discontentment precipitates change, but you’re traveling so fast you can’t especially sense it.

I am not content. I view this as the best possible place to be at thirty-eight. The world is in a state, there is much to do, and I am hitting my stride up atop my ball.


Gravity can press you down or open you up, depending on which way your orient yourself to it.

Our instinct is to fight this force. Our first act is defiance; to reach up, push up, stand up. We watch dandelion seeds float away, and envy those who manage to escape it for a moment. Whole economies were built girding structures against it, capturing its potential to make our gears whir. We build audacious towers and glorify those who have not felt its effects on their skin.

We imagine we are flying instead of purposefully throwing ourselves from one place to the next. We forget the earth is constantly binding us to her, that the moon is constantly trying to steal our ocean. We ignore that pull toward the sun, constantly falling around her in rotation. We can’t understand that this force tethers us to things vast beyond our imagining.

We pretend as though we will not all be pressed into the earth one day, every mark we’ve left pulled down behind us.

These notions, along with all the other things we carry, can weigh us down. Too heavy a load and we slow to a halt, our legs breaking beneath us. It can feel impossible to stand, dizzy as we try and our head outpaces our blood. It can win, it will always win.

But not all is lost. Braced against the right things, gravity can open us.  When we yield, the force plies our muscles to the ground, giving them softness when we find it in ourselves to stand again. Orient yourself to the light, and gravity takes on a new shape; opening your chest, undoing years of tightness.

Gravity can hunch your shoulders forward or help you pull them back with pride, heart forward. The force is the same either way.


Back from the time warp

HERE I AM! Rocking you like a hurricane. Or maybe more caressing your face like a gentle breeze. I don’t even know anymore. I have a lot happening right now all the time. It’s all good stuff, but it’s so much stuff that I don’t have time for other stuff. Like blogging stuff. I have missed you all though, I swear.

When I started work two months ago I was all manicured, pedicured, spa’ed out, well rested and excited.

The only record I have of myself where I don't look tired.

Proof! I felt awake once!

Now I have been through training and trial by fire. Adding to that is field season, in that being a biology type person who works on industrial type things, spring and summer are the time when all the critters have to stand up and be counted. I am terrible at that sort of thing, so my job is to do paper work while the more talented among us are out enjoying the sunshine. That suits me just fine; I get to go pick up my kids at 5:15 every day and they’re happy to see me. It makes my life.

May is also stupid with birthdays in my family, along with Mother’s Day, inlaws visiting for two weeks. And me insanely deciding that we have to put our house on the market RIGHT NOW the day our inlaws arrived, and despite no evidence that we are going to be able to get our house in show condition without an intervention from that hoarders show.

Did I mention I am in a beekeeping workshop? Yeah. So there’s that too. Although I hate the snow, I am glad at least that our late spring delayed the bees for a couple of weeks this year so I could catch my breath a bit. My hive from last year gave me a lot of grief and I am just going to do a separate post on that for the bee lovers among us.

I have a beekeeping helper this year

I have a beekeeping helper this year

Did I also mention that I am taking a running workshop? I AM GOING TO LOVE RUNNING, GODDAMMIT. Or I am at least going to do it. Because since kids, I can endure basically anything for any amount of time.

This may have been more than I was up for, but in typical rollergiraffe fashion, I careened right into it. As a result, all of that pampering and pedicuring wore off quickly. This is a recent photo:

Smoking relaxes me

Smoking relaxes me

My kids are totally validating my daycare provider’s assumption that I was really shitty at parenting. When they started daycare they were hot messes and we were limping in every day barely alive. In the last two months they have learned to dress themselves, mastered potty training, learned all the continents and many countries, learned to write their names, done art projects that I can’t even do, grown grass, and learned a whole second language. I worked for TWO YEARS on that potty training thing. So, basically feeling pretty amazing about my daycare picking skills, you guys.

But they’re FOUR! My babies are four, and of all the things I have been through this month, that is the most exciting and fun. They’re so cool right now. I love every day that they come home with something new.


Fourth birthday at the amusement park

One of these kids is a bit dramatic. I'll let you figure out which.

One of these kids is a bit dramatic. I’ll let you figure out which.

Anyway, I make no promises about blogging right now, but do know that I do my best to keep up with y’all’s prodigious blogging pace. So tell me, how are YOU?

Sandy Hook Elementary

This isn’t how I wanted to come back to blogging. I was hunkered down this morning trying to think of something irreverent to write when I saw the news. Newtown. Sandy Hook. Adam* Lanza. These words will be part of our lexicon for decades to come, forever putting to mind this terrible day. Our hearts will break again and again in the coming days as victims share their stories. Families will recount the tales of their lost children, the altered course of their lives. We will be grateful for the bravery of teachers who tried to protect their students. There should be no limit to compassion and sympathy for the families who lost so much today.

We have all witnessed too many incidents of spectacularly senseless violence, so we all know what comes next. The inevitable debate over gun control, school protections, and legislation. The logical reaction to something so irrational, arational, completely divorced from any kind of ration, is to figure out how we can make it stop and how we can send our children into the world every day. I understand that debate; I understand that people on both sides of it want to protect themselves.

As Brother Jon stated, perhaps now is not the time to have that debate; it is time for mourning. However, it is already out there, on Facebook, Twitter, and I am sure in thousands of private conversations. I believe it to be a means of feeling like we would have had some control over the situation. If only gun control laws were tighter, if only everyone carried guns; no matter what side of the fence you fall on, you believe that if only things were slightly different you could control the outcome if something like this happened in your corner of the world.

But what really caused this man to do such a terrible thing? There is no justification for his actions, nothing redeemable, and no way to really prevent it, as scary as that is. Perhaps our only method of shaping the future lies in addressing the root causes of violence in this world, rather than the tools used to carry it out. You don’t pick up a gun to harm someone if you’re not sick in your heart and your head.

*I had originally named Ryan Lanza, as it was reported this morning.


Ok, so that didn’t go well. This is an ongoing pattern in my life of starting projects, getting a bit of momentum, telling everyone in the world HOW AWESOME I AM and then quitting. I am going to blame my fear of success.

Anyhoo, boob thing turned out just fine. It hasn’t really stopped my anxiety over every damn thing, but I am trying really hard to stop worrying all the time so I am not even going to talk about it anymore. Ativan helps.

The pantry emptying is going super. I have whittled down the amount of canned stuff to almost nothing (except blood pudding and a can of pumpkin). There’s a nice and reasonable variety of vinegars and oils, almost no snack items left, and my pasta/bean/lentil section is actually under control. The freezer is a disaster though; our fridge broke on Christmas Eve and we frantically threw everything in the freezer downstairs.. I am trying not to think about it too much.

My twins are the awesomest. They are finally saying a few words and running around everywhere. They’re very good natured, apart from the standard toddler jealousy. I’d like to attribute this to my superior parenting skills but I think they were actually just born this way. I am a lazy parent… here I am blogging while they contentedly dance on.. oh shit, one just fell off the couch.

Ok, tears are soothed. See? Growing up in spite of me.

So what’s up for this year? Well, my husband is going to go back to work, so I face parenting alone all day every day or going back to work myself. I feel terribly out of practice at my job, and had such a rotten experience at the last company that I really don’t think I can take that right now. And as I said, my kids are the awesomest, so I’d rather spend my days with them. But twins are tough. The highs are so much higher and the lows are so much lower. It’s a bit like being manic depressive; you never know which one is going to come out and what’s going to set it off. Just the other day there was a huge meltdown over who got to wear an empty cheerio box on their head. One twin would put it on and run into the wall, causing a lot of tears.. the other twin would chase him down to rip the cheerio box off their head in jealousy, causing more tears. It only took me half an hour or so to figure out I should take the cheerio box away, which resulted in frantic tears, beating of chests, hair pulling and hitting. I figure if you can’t beat them, join them, so I did a little therapeutic crying myself.

Like I said, growing up in spite of me.

It’s finally nice out today, so I am going to actually take the kids out for a walk. I have been hibernating most of winter, crippled by anxiety and intense dislike of snow.  But the days are already longer and things don’t seem as grim so it’s time to get back in the swing of it.