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Will You Hold the Baby?

This is my Christmas prayer.

When I was a teenager, I felt betrayed by my Catholic church and school. I witnessed and experienced dishonesty, failure to protect children from abusers, dehumanization, and hypocrisy. I broke with my faith, painfully. I reached out to a fellow lost sheep of the flock who was neither white nor straight (which mattered very much in our faith community), and together we brokered a deal with our parents that we would go to church every Sunday if only they didn't make us go to this one. Our parents reluctantly agreed, and so we went on an odyssey of visiting a different house of worship each Sunday, in an earnest search for God.

We found God, many times over.

We found God at the Hindu temple, in the priest who didn't speak our language but who presented us with fresh oranges from the feet of the gods on their garlanded altars.

We found God in the crowds of fellow humans just as lost and confused as our own Catholics, looking for secret codes in the ra…
Recent posts

My Husband Is This Bag of Spinach Fettuccine

Tender but firm, since 1981. Toothsome. Al dente. Easy, yet wholesome. A little funky. Somewhat green in color. Cooks well.

This week, we celebrate my husband's 36th birthday. It's been almost 20 years since we met, 17 years since I quit pretending to hate him, 13 years since we finally uttered the L word, 12 years since our engagement in the woods, 11 years since the elopement, 10 years since the wedding we couldn't wait for, and 7 years since creating a small human to take over our lives.

Don't tell our spawn, but the next phase of our relationship is going to involve the adoption of a fuzzy wittle kitten. I am very excited about this. There are few things sexier than a beefcake snuggling a kitteh. For the past couple of weeks, my man has been building a cat tower out in the garage with big hunks of wood and tools and nautical-looking rope and dangly meow meow toys.

And on most mornings, between his pre-dawn shift as Santa's airplane loader and opening the bike s…

I Took a Shortcut in a Yellow Wood

And that has made all the difference.

Decades ago, in yonder century, I ran with a cross-country team in this very park where I now play with my daughter. In life, as in cross-country, there are shortcuts best not taken. You don't want to get disqualified during an actual race or trample through a hornet's nest or surprise someone trying to take a private poo. (I didn't have to learn all these lessons personally. That's what teammates are for!)

But sometimes a shortcut can save us way more than a few minutes of our time. For example, at some cross-country practices, sneaky little groups of us would veer off the training route so we could hide and eat pastries. I won't say these stunts were mindfully concocted. They arose out of desperate exhaustion and hunger after school. But they ended up creating some of our fondest memories and even (surprise!) being good for my overall health.

I'd had a good run (get it?) in ninth grade, when I made Junior Varsity and outr…

'Tis the Season for Reading

Nux Gallica's trophy shelf is a sight to behold during this first semester of first grade! Just kidding. She doesn't have one. But if she did, it would boast two framed Golden Warrior of the Week certificates, signed by the principal, for most excellent behavior in the 1st - 4th grade bracket, alongside two baby-animal-shaped badges for large amounts of time spent reading (or listening to) books at home.

I'm tickled by these awards because up until this year, sitting quietly with a book was not one of her favorite activities. And I loved my chatterbox wild child rocket-fueled NASA nerd with all my heart.


This fall, however, she has proven to be my daughter as well as her daddy's. We've been reading books together for up to two hours a day, on top of the reading we do apart while she's at school. During these cozy autumn evenings warmed by oven baking and woodstove fires, Nux reads me children's picture books, and I read her my vintage Calvin and Hobbes comi…

Thanks for Our Family, Dead and Alive

Thanks for the Teutons, Celts, Norse, Slavs, and Balts, calling back the winter sun, who fought to keep Christ out of Yuletide as fiercely and for as long as they have now been crusading to keep Him in.

Thanks for the Shawnee, who explored the Appalachians long before they settled down and shared hearths with Welsh coal miners and Italian grocers in a land that would secede from the Confederacy and become the State of West Virginia.

Thanks for our Great Lakes cousins, the Anishinaabeg, whose beautiful words and ways live all around us today.

Thanks for the Asian refugees who erased their tracks but lived.

Thanks for the Congolese slave who crossed through a watery grave and for her unfathomable captors.

Thanks for those who forgot they were passing -- along genes that held a silent scream.

Thanks for the French Canadian homesteaders who persisted.

Thanks for the Russians who resisted.

Thanks for the new Americans who fought the Germans in two Great Wars, the immigrant father from Ger…

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be:
You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")  35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't waste time o…

It's No Wonder We Can All Say #MeToo

"My mother sculpted me from clay, and Zeus breathed life into me."

A likely story, Wonder Woman!

Our daughter has had an excellent grasp of real vs. pretend and the arts of storytelling since toddlerhood, and I believe these to be real-life superpowers. When you control the narrative, you control hearts and minds, starting with your own.

Many of our cultural taboos here in the USA tell us that sex is shameful, and that sexual feelings and contact make us weak. This culture prepares our children to be sexually victimized during and beyond childhood, because it takes away their ability to identify, avoid, and tell about inappropriate sexual conduct, without fear.

You cannot really understand inappropriate conduct unless you understand healthy behavior. Identifying, describing, and teaching our children in an age-appropriate way about healthy expressions of sexuality are the hard parts of sex education, even for those who are comfortable speaking about scientific facts of life…