Little Bird

Little bird
Have you come down my chimney
For the delicate scent
Of daffodils on my table
Out of the cold
To this warmth
Of man and burning
Come peck the crumbs
Of my leftover breakfast
Come bathe in the spilled water
Which overturned
With heated words
Of fear and pain

Little bird,
Soft bit of color
Peer at the window
Your twin sits
Equally unsure
Free, but freezing
Or a reflection
Of what you have risked

Little bird
You plummeted down my chimney
Frozen wings stuck unable to move
Prune your feathers
Fluff them at this vent
Still yourself
Celebrate this moment
Of returning from the dead
But still, calm
So I may take this hammer
And strike your little head


I had this written in a dream. I know it’s a silly little thing, but I liked it. I wanted to start posting my silly little things more often.

Upstairs Downstairs.

I do not know how to deal with frustration. I especially don’t know how to deal with my feelings about my downstairs neighbor. I understand when people get upset about quiet time sounds, and i understand how annoying kids and their noises can be. But she bought her condo knowing that it was the bottom unit, and i purposely made sure we didn’t buy a bottom because I can’t deal with sound. if she’s the same, she shouldn’t live there. Because 7 am. I’m not going to tell my kids they can’t COME DOWNSTAIRS or make them TIPTOE at SEVEN FUCKING A.M. Because that’s crap. They don’t fool around, they don’t jump around, they don’t run. They walk, and yes, she’s had an old lady living here for a long time. But it’s time to get used to the fact that we live here. Because if we moved out, a family with a teeny baby, a crying baby, could move in. Or a gaggle of college students.

But I don’t know how to deal with this. I have said we’re not going to do more than we’re doing. If it were midnight or 5 a.m. I would, but not during daylight. But it just makes me angry. I own a noise cancellation device because I can’t stand the neighbors waking us up, why can’t she? I may have complained about past issues, but I did always try to take responsibility for my own comfort. But can you just say that?

And the biggest issue? I can’t stand being someone else’s issue. I hate my husband for making us move here. I never should have agreed to it. I didn’t want to be someone’s complaint. Because I will go out of my way to prevent people from being harmed by my existence. So this is stress. Totally stressed out. Totally unhappy. Waking up in the middle of the night. Which means I should probably go see someone to deal with it. When do I have to choose? When does someone go see a doctor if they’re on the verge of depression? Or dealing with anxiety? I don’t want to seek out a new therapist. It took so long to find one I liked the first time. …but I know I need another way of dealing with the crazy lady and her inability to deal with us (and telling other neighbors how awful we are).


We teach them to sit so quietly in the corner.


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And then we get pissed when people don’t realize they’re stepping on them in the dark.

I suffer, I do. And I’m not the only one with my black dog. And I’m not the only one who has to deal with it, because my poor family has to deal with my mood. Though I’ve recently started talking about it, most of the people in my life don’t know about it.

And then people say shitty things that they think are funny on a dark day. And they’re dumb, these comments, like my brother saying my complaints about my new home are first world problems. Minimizing something that’s really getting to me, something I really care about. And, yeah, it isn’t me feeding or clothing my kids, and, yes, I have a roof over my head, but first world problems means something unimportant like too much foam in your latte. I didn’t think my complaints were similar. But, yeah, dumb. Why on earth would that bug me so much? Because that black dog is whining in the corner, has been for a few days, and he just came in and kicked it. He didn’t mean to, he just didn’t know it was there, and he still doesn’t know, because it’s silent when he’s around.

So, how do I know when to let the dog bark and when to keep it quiet? What mathematical formula? Beyond the fact that some people can’t be trusted with the knowledge, and some friends have already left me for learning about it.

Trying to love that poor thing.

The things we pass along.

I have a serious problem with rules. As an ACOA, people who don’t follow rules make me unbearably uncomfortable. And I police people. If rules are being broken, the world is about to end. Seriously, I stop the asshats that don’t pick up after their dogs, I yell at people on the wrong side of the bike path (especially when afraid they’ll hurt me or my kids), warn people that their shoes are untied, and keep trying to get people to park correctly in the preschool parking lot (it’s already hard enough to drive in there with all the kids!).

And I really need to stop.

Because the parent-teacher conference today, the main complaint, other than Levi being a bit of a goof and talking about things not pertinent, was that he polices other students, that he is looking to lead people to the right way (love the “emergent leadership skills” downplay of “your son is a bossypants busybody”). So crappy way to find out that my idiosyncrasies are messing up my kids. And it sucks, since it’s just another way alcoholism is messing our family. Don’t have kids with alcoholics. Seriously.

So, looking for ways to stop being a busy body. And for a way to tell what is appropriate. (The husband says it’s okay to tell someone their shoes are untied, but not that putting a baby in a baby seat on top of a grocery cart could kill her. I don’t get the difference.) How to stop getting so mad about dog poop that I step in and smell constantly, or roll in when we go sledding. I’m starting with meditation. For myself, anyway. I’ve tried getting the kids to meditate to some adorable kids’ meditation stories, but they are against it. Maybe if I start doing it I’ll be better at convincing them. And I’m going to start giving myself points for not complaining about other people. … or something.

But, honestly, I can’t get past the idea that these are the end times. I mean, how hard is it not to ride your bikes two abreast?


 The Boy has a tic. I’m terrified it will be more. I don’t know how to explain my fear of him not being accepted, because I was accepted. And now there’s this, which may be nothing, but may be something.  

Day One Done!

I realize it’s only the first day of summer vacation (no, summer vacation does NOT start on the weekend, I don’t understand you people who think you can count those days…) Went to the gym with the kids, took them to the sprayground, did our grocery shopping, cooked dinner, played a fucking BOARD game with them, read lots and lots of books (thanks to an amazing gift of hand-me-down books from an amazing friend), gave them a bath (usually this is not my job because COMPUTER TIME), and had a healthy dessert that the kids thought was amazing (fruit and not-kool-whip, the stuff that’s healthy and has none of the crap in it).

I know that this doesn’t mean summer will be awesome, but it’s nice to start out on a really good note. Like going for a run on your birthday (or, if you’re me, the day after your birthday. Weeks start on a Monday and your year ENDS on your birthday. That’s just how it feels right. I don’t know why.)

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m going to start writing here even when it’s stupid, or somewhere else, but honestly, I just need to check in. I need to be accountable, even if it’s only to myself, but here is where I can do that.

But, seriously, I’m going to kill this summer. It’s going to be awesome.

Knowledge Is Power

I belonged to a group a few years ago. We met for a common purpose, and we would occasionally go for dinner together. The last time we met, one of women went around and told each of us how much she loved us, one by one, what we provided in our friendship. She got to me and told me it was because of my ability to always have information. After she had just told the other women how wonderful they were, how much she appreciated their kindness, and their support, and how amazing they are. Me: I’m a dictionary.

It’s bugged me every single day since then. I am not kind, or sensitive or supportive. I just know things.

But I’ve been thinking and I know that the reason I’m addicted to that information is because that was what my dad respected. And I’m doing the same thing to the kids. I don’t know how to not do it. I need to stop worshipping knowledge. But… well that’s how our family is.

I don’t know, I’m just down about it because another friend just told me that I’m good for this sort of thing.

Overdesigned, overplanned, overthought

I’m working on getting healthier, and I am working so very very hard to make sure that I have things set up, but I keep thinking of this bathroom issue. Nothing to worry about, I’m not going to gross you out. But there’s this bathroom I know of. They decided to put in those silly Scott tissue boxes, that hold a toilet paper roll.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We use an old florist vase that stacks three toilet rolls. It’s great. People can see that there are three rolls available, I can easily check to make sure there are enough in case we run out when we have guests. Being able to see them is so helpful.

Well, this other bathroom holds THREE toilet roll boxes. Each one holds only one roll. They are stacked inside another toilet roll holder that holds three rolls or three boxes. Stacked.

So, I ran out of toilet paper. And took the cover off the first one. You see where I’m going here. No toilet paper in any of them. And it took so much time to learn. My host had no idea whether the boxes were filled. Because, honestly, who wants to check that? And if you’re going to take the first one you’re going to need to take out the other two and put the empty one on the bottom. Really, the only way this works is if you fill the box every time you empty it.

So, I stack my new habits and worry that I’m just stacking toilet roll boxes.

“On Your Left”; beware the rage-induced pedestrian

I nearly killed a bicyclist today. Not on purpose. And probably only would have made her wipe out.

I was walking, all the way to the right, on the pedestrian path near my home. For an hour I had been terrified: struck twice, once by a bike not warning while I was stepping SLIGHTLY around a puddle (not even going into the middle of the right lane) and once by a bike coming the other direction passing a whole mess of other bikes, coming around a tight turn, in a large dip, under a tunnel (honestly I feel that they should have known better not to pass, and there was a solid yellow line). Of the hundred or so bikes that passed us only about 25 people gave a warning. By the end of our “relaxing” walk I was screaming when bikes passed us. And then yelling at them to give warning. I was scared out of my gourd.

I had been holding the Girl’s feet against my body since the second person who didn’t warn us because she was kicking her feet. Personally I feel like her kicking her feet on my back should fall within the personal bubble one should be allotted when on a path, but bikes don’t seem to agree, and there really isn’t time to argue before they take off some of her toes.

So we’re approaching home, I am shaking and pumped on adrenaline. suddenly something is in my line of vision and touching my arm. I reach out and grab it. Because my fight or flight skews toward “fight.” At this point I don’t even know what it is. It’s just HUGE and going to get me and my daughter. Only it’s just two twenty-somethings on their bikes, taking up half the path, so they can chat. Bitches. They weren’t going so fast, which is why her handlebar touching my elbow didn’t hurt, but they still scared the shit out of me and I almost took her down.

Other than nearly pulling that girl down, I don’t think I was doing anything wrong on the path. You are allowed, according to posted rules, to walk two abreast, but not bike. I was not walking two abreast, but wearing my daughter in the Ergo, like a backpack. We certainly didn’t take up the space of two people. All I wanted was warning that you are passing me.

Because when you are passing me you are a lot closer in my mind than you are in yours, you are going a lot faster than me, you can’t see if there is a tiny obstacle I might be stepping around and you are so very very very much bigger than my tiny child. I usually look behind me if I’m going far into the path, but if it’s just a slight step for a larger rock, I’m not going to check. I don’t expect someone to be so close to me that I need to worry. Because I CAN’T hear your bike. Not if there is traffic or a river.

But more than that. Something was happening during this time: I got more and more angry at each bicyclist. Each one that didn’t warn before passing reinforced my idea that people riding bikes were hostile, rude, insensitive, and dangerous. Thinking about the ingroup/outgroup effect that You Are Not So Smart discussed, I tried to stop my brain from hating anyone on wheels. At the only light, I asked the bike rider waiting “why doesn’t anyone warn on this trail?” (Notice my global thinking? This is one of the ways I can tell I need to catch myself. It’s a clear indication that I am not being honest with myself or my emotions.)

“There are just so many people, it doesn’t seem worthwhile. But I’ve never seen anyone hit on a trail,” he very nicely replied. I could tell by talking with him that this wasn’t someone who disregarded pedestrian lives! He was smiling at my girl and chatting very nicely with me.

“I have,” I said, “my son was hit last year.” He was surprised and asked about it. (It wasn’t on this path, but it was a clear, high visibility bike path, actually, more of a sidewalk than a bike path, with a bike path along the street.) We chatted a little about the weather and how nice it was to live in such a great place that emphasized outdoor space and trails. The light took forever, but it was nice because I was feeling a little better.

Only that short reprieve didn’t seem to cure me completely. Within minutes another bike made me scream. I was still so wound up and terrified someone was really going to hurt my kid.

And everyone who didn’t give me any warning added to the bias I had developed about two-wheeled people. And each individual became part of the group in my head. And each one already knew the awfulness I was going through. Because I stopped being able to see that these were each new people. This person in the purple bike outfit was the same as the person who passed me in the black t-shirt and cargo shorts three minutes ago. At the very least, in my head, they both contained the same knowledge that this was pissing me off and scaring the SHIT out of me.

I was SO jumpy I stepped off the trail to take a breath.

Honestly, I was as afraid of how much I was shaking as much as I was afraid of someone hitting Phalene or me. I had been on edge for awhile, and I know that when I’m stressed for a long time I start getting crazy. And that’s when the girls made me jump and grab at them. I don’t know if meditation will help in these cases. I’ve been told that it will help in the times when I come really close to punching people out or scream when a loose pit bull is NOT threatening my kids and just sniffing my butt. Maybe this is reason to start. If it continues to happen it may be reason to restart therapy.

But, okay, YOU should know that other ACOA and I are out there, ready to take you down if they find you threatening them, especially if they feel you are part of a group that has been threatening them for awhile. Following basic safety considerations can prevent you from scaring someone who may already be ready to snap. My arm is doing better–the large welts calming down–but my heart’s still racing, an hour after I came in, and my hands are feeling weak in that way that comes only after I’ve been frightened and shaky. Or angry. Very very angry. So angry that I cry. …

This isn’t a threat, but you really should know that there are some of us who try our best to hold it together day after day. If you are being rude and we are under stress (which I for one try to keep myself out of) we are going to react a lot differently than normal people. I don’t look like I’m crazy, especially with my other kids around. I certainly don’t look like I’m going to try to take down your bike.

And I’m not. I’m so terrified you’re thinking I think I was right. I would NEVER grab a bike if I knew what it was. All I could see, though, was something WAY too close to my daughter and me at my periphery. Once I realized what I was doing I let go. I yelled “I’m sorry, but can’t you warn? especially when you’re riding unlawfully?” Not helpful. Why? Because she was also scared out of her mind. All she could do was yell back at me that I was a bitch. Because that’s what you do when you’re scared. She’s never going to realize she was wrong. She’s just going to talk about how some walker bitch tried to pull her off her bike. And it is the same fear-induced rage on both sides.

App Review: Dream:ON, Influence your dream. iOS

I have started using this amazing app, Dream:On. Professor Richard Wiseman, who created it, was featured in an episode of You Are Not So Smart and the idea seemed to much fun not to at least test out.

You place your phone on your bed–upside down so it knows you’re ready to sleep–and it tracks how you are sleeping. You tell it when you would like it to wake you up–or around what time, since it will be using your sleep cycle to wake you up at the optimal time to remember your dream–and what “dreamscape” you would like to use. It then plays that dreamscape in the last cycle of your sleep to influence your final dream.

It didn’t work this morning to influence my dream (I think I had the volume turned down too low), but woke me up at a time I could remember it. Yesterday it DID influence my dream, to the extent that the birds it used to wake me up TERRIFIED me. Yesterday it was a walk in the woods, and I walked in the woods, or near enough. I won’t bore you with the details of my dream.

I don’t know that it matters all that much to influence my dreams, except that there are days I wake up terrified of something and wish I could remember, or I have a dream that I would like to draw and can’t remember it for more than a minute. I’ve found that if you write down your dreams you can remember them better, and when you turn off the alarm on your phone you are given the option of writing down what you dreamt. There is usually an awful lot more to my dreams than I can write. Much more than just the narrative. Depth. There’s depth and context that the narrative doesn’t cover. And I don’t think I’m very good at exposition in my dreams. Like, I feel like I just turn to someone, a la Bones, and say “You remember we can’t walk on our feet any more because the moon queen forbid it last year.” But in my dream it feels less awkward. (Wow, how great is the word awkward with that “wkw” combination.)

There are some “lucid dreams” dreamscapes, which was what I was trying last night (this morning? Why do we have such problems with transitions in language…okay, why do *I* have such an issue?) I don’t know how to test them out to see what they sound like when I’m awake, so I don’t really know what they’re doing to make that work, but having had a few (very, very scary) dreams where I realized I was dreaming and tried to wake myself up from inside my own head, screaming at the other people in the room to help me wake up (but not screaming in real life), just like that terrifying part of Alice in Wonderland (how do people watch that movie?!!) I’ve always had a fascination with being more in control. Of course, that may be a reason to not get in control of my dreams. I have the desire for control everywhere and sometimes you just need to let go. Maybe Al-Anon was helping more than I realized.

The best thing about the app, at least that I’ve noticed over the last two days, is that it really DOES work at waking me at the optimal time. Unlike the UP alarm and a couple other alarms that supposedly watched your sleep rhythm, I do find myself feeling more rested when I wake (though I am feeling more tired throughout the day, as my body realizes I’m not going to bed early enough). I sleep through the UP alarm nearly every morning now, and the other alarms I would turn off in my sleep. Part of this might be because I am SERIOUSLY excited about my dreams. To the point where last night I went to bed looking forward to waking up and writing it down.

One thing that I think would be fun, though maybe not, given the notorious boredom of hearing about other people’s dreams, would be to have a word cloud associated with each dreamscape of what other people dreamt of. Something you could opt into, in case you didn’t want to share, and something you only saw after writing your own dream out, but it would be fun to see what the last 50 or so dreamers dreamt about, in a very generalized form.

As for me, I’m hoping to start drawing out some of the major themes of my dreams. Last night: accepting my son no matter who he is or how much other people don’t (he is a very sensitive kid, our neighbor has asked “what’s wrong with him” and neighborhood kids are giving him a really hard time). Yesterday it was about taking care of our bodies as we age. KNEES!