Random Observations from the Last Year

Instead of groaning over the events of the last year, I thought that a better way to celebrate this last day of the would be to squeeze any last drops of learning out of this rotation around the sun. So here goes, in no particular order:


  1. The person who seems to be criticizing you the most is not always the source. In fact, they may be a messenger who resents the source for having to deliver said criticism. Any negativity from the messenger should be dismissed since it is not meant for you.
  2. The saying “You can’t go home again” doesn’t always mean that your home has literally changed. You have changed, and what was once your home can not be precisely as you recall– and that’s alright.
  3. We may judge other people as being short sighted and stupid. Guess what? They think the same about us.
  4. Your children depend on you for defense and support on every single level. Especially if that support means forcibly removing a toxic person and being vilified by said person in the process.
  5. The look of relief you receive when you have give someone exactly the item they most needed at precisely the right time greatly exceeds any cost.
  6. A safe, secure, and peaceful home in the country beats life in any popular city.
  7. Nothing is ever perfect, but it is beautiful in its imperfection.
  8. Relaxation is a skill that must be learned and practiced regularly.
  9. Cat purrs, dog licks, and laughing children are better medicine than many manufactured chemicals.
  10. You know those snow-covered wintry scenes on holiday cards? They don’t capture half of the joy of living in them.

I hope that the new year brings you the desires of your heart. Be safe!

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Posted by on 12/31/2016 in Growth, Insight


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Post house cleaning fallout

So the in-laws departed for their home, several states away, this morning (2 days earlier than they had planned). My darling husband volunteered to go to their hotel to say farewell, which I expected. However, as he crawled into bed last night, he all but begged me to bring the girls and accompany him. The moment I heard that I knew that he was anticipating abuse from his mother and that his only defense was to have us with him. I explained this to the girls, and we all went together this morning. The girls held it together and the standard protocol of “no one is left alone with either of his parents” was strictly followed. The in-laws have a penchant for long goodbyes, so we tolerated as much as we could. I finally pled an end to the visit, claiming pain from the knee injury I’m enduring currently (which wasn’t far from true).

I think the hardest part was watching the fallout.

  • My husband talked to me about how none of the situation was his fault (true), yet he always feels crappy when his mom acts this way. That hurts to hear him admit because it’s the first time in our life together–nearly two decades– that he’s said those words. I reminded him that none of it was his fault. He spent much of the day napping or playing computer games, and that was a good remedy.
  • My older girl spent a very long time outside kicking her soccer ball around, which is her stress relief. When inside, she spent very little time talking with anyone, just self-isolating to soothe her nerves. I did get a couple of genuine smiles, though.
  • My younger one also napped and self-isolated a bit. She snuggled with me for a bit at a couple different points during the day.
  • I buried myself in work, online holiday shopping, and anything else I could do that didn’t involve much movement since I’m off my feet for now. Anything to keep me busy, but calm and focused for everyone else’s needs.

For us, as close as we four are, the silence spoke volumes about our individual distress. But it’s over. Tomorrow is church and then a much-needed antidote of our favorite friends coming over for board games and general relaxation–and turkey pot pie from the Thanksgiving leftovers. Knowing they will be here gave us all something fun to anticipate, and that’s possibly the best medicine right now.

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Posted by on 11/26/2016 in Growth, Insight


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Cleaning House

I just asked my mother-in-law to leave my house and not come back. I will probably go to hell, at least in her eyes. Since she already hates me (her words, not mine) and has told me that she is kicking me out of the family (again, her words), I’m not sweating this one too much. I think she had it coming, and I believe my husband agrees.

After showing up four days early for their visit (!!) and managing to thoroughly upset my daughters over the last few days, I had reached my “had it” point. The in-laws spent money like water, mostly on the children, and I can only guess that it’s to make them feel magnanimous. I have thanked them to their faces and on social media, and have made sure that the girls have said thank yous when appropriate. The gifts were needed and beyond our ability to purchase.

There’s a big “but” hanging out there, right?

I don’t believe that buying people things gives anyone the right to be insulting. My girls have both gotten mad at my mother-in-law for insulting me and for being mean to them. She berates them with a “you should respect your elders.” As for me, I have told the girls that I support them completely and that they don’t need to stand up for me. I can do that on my own. Truth be told, I think the girls are pretty awesome for standing up for me, knowing that they will be yelled at by her for doing so.

The final straw came when my daughter, who has a diagnosed learning disability, was learning how to play a game and asked me to explain it in a quiet setting. This child has the processing speed that makes 99% of people process faster than her. To put it simply, where most of us can process a figurative pitcher full of information at a time, she can handle only a small straw full. I was explaining the game to her on her terms and she was really understanding it, but the mother-in-law kept interrupting. Like I would do with any student with low processing speed, I asked for quiet so I could finish teaching my child how to play the game. That’s when all hell broke loose.

Rather than recounting each sordid detail, suffice it to say that the mother-in-law got mad for being shushed and starting yelling at me. The girls rushed to my defense and I invited her to leave permanently. She will need to apologize before I allow her back in my home or around my girls. Since she doesn’t know how to apologize, I guess that’s that.

I’m sorry, but only because it makes my husband’s relationship with his parents more difficult. I now have to make sure my girls feel safe in their home again, which is a very difficult task.


Posted by on 11/25/2016 in Growth, Insight


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Welcome to the apocalypse


I have not written in a while because I have been consumed, like many Americans, with the anxiety surrounding our recent election. That chapter has now closed and it is a new time.

Today’s sermon was about apocalypse. Many of us think of fire, destruction, rapture, nuclear war, or some other awful end-of-the-world scenario when we hear that term. The word actually is from the Greek word apokálypsis, meaning revelation. The next question is, what has been revealed?

A uncomfortable truth about our society has been revealed: the ugly face of racism, bigotry, fear, and hatred. That is our apocalypse.

This is a difficult time for many people. I have many friends who now live in fear and/or anger because of the events of this week. I am saddened to see the pain, but see a flicker of hope. I may be the only one who sees it this way and I wish to share my perspective.

My husband is an excellent cleaner (yes, this is relevant). What is somewhat maddening to me is that the deeper he cleans, the more initial mess he makes. He clears everything out of the area to clean the area completely, and the result is nearly always better than I imagined.

I think that the so-called uncomfortable truth has been festering under the surface of our society for a long time. We have placed a bandage in the form of hate crime legislation, LGBT rights legislation, etc. We have told ourselves that the problem is healed, forgetting that it is a bandage. By their very nature, bandages are only temporary. The wound it covers must be tended and healed; however we have not done that. We put bandages, forgot them, and the wounds have festered.

My point is that we are long past the time when we need to clean out the wounds that this election season has revealed. The legislative covers we have placed on racism, LGBT rights, and other social issues have been peeled back every so slightly and the festering wound is now visible. It is truly uncomfortable and pretty painful. Healing the wounds, if that is even possible, may take a very long time.

For an individual, this apocalypse can seem awfully daunting– dare I say, impossible. But it’s not. All each of us can do — and should do — is be open: To listening to the pain other people feel, to considering contrary viewpoints, to relieving one person’s suffering. By doing that over and over until the wounds are cleaned, we may be able to look back one day and realize that this time in our history, as awful as it may seem now, was a necessary step in our growth as a nation.

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Posted by on 11/13/2016 in Growth, Insight


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The Moron’s Case For Hillary Clinton…because some of you really are that stupid.

The Moron’s Case For Hillary Clinton…because some of you really are that stupid.

I don’t generally promote political pieces. In fact, I hate discussing politics. However, I believe strongly in the words contained in this piece. Like it, don’t like it, that’s fine by me. But please: Consider the choices carefully and — most of all — intelligently. Please, for all of our sake.

The Contrarian Blog

An old colleague and I were having breakfast this morning when he looked up at the news (I can’t remember which network …MSNBC, I think) and noticed a split screen of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. He lamented long about how terrible both candidates are in this election and I guess we just have to choose the lesser of the two evils or, as he put it, “…put on a blindfold and just pick. It doesn’t really make any difference.”

And that’s when I went off.

I am really sick and tired of people saying both candidates are equally horrible choices, how much America thoroughly hates both of them to the core, that there’s not a single positive trait in either one of them and wow, if only we had voted for that guy behind the deli counter or the neighbor’s cat, America would be WAY better off.

Fuck you. Fuck the…

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Posted by on 10/13/2016 in Motivation


My Exciting Saturday Night

I just spent close to an hour reading a deposition on a Saturday night. I am not a lawyer and have no vested interest whatsoever in the case. So why did I read it?

I read it because an article in the New York Times regarding Mr. Trump contained a link to it and I wanted to read a source document that was not filtered and spun by the press. I wanted to see for myself what kind of man this is without the cameras, without the spotlights, and without the political rhetoric.

In the New York Times (and a similar article in the Los Angeles Times), the reporters portray the deposition as being about how Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants have offended two of his lessees, who have canceled their leases with his company. There was also a reference to his comment about winning the primary elections with the largest number of voters ever. After reading the articles, I expected some sort of inflammatory language.

What I did not expect to read was a first-hand account of how much of an idiot Mr. Trump truly is.

In this deposition, he discussed his preference to sign a lease agreement over a management agreement on at least once out of every two pages of the deposition. He said that, despite his cadre of lawyers and business partners (i.e., his children), he did not prepare for the deposition. He said that while he did make comments that some people might find offensive, he did not prepare his comments in advance of his public speaking engagements — instead, he likes to talk about what’s on his mind. Under questioning, he said that he did not read the leases he signs and admits that his staff places duplicate pages in the leases to make them appear larger. He said that he felt it would be alright for him, as a landlord, to obstruct his lessee’s business operations by placing a sign outside that contained racist or untrue information. He admitted to adding extra materials to the site preparation that delayed the tenant’s occupancy of the premises and raised the tenant’s rent amount.He perseverated about how he likes to include restaurants in his hotels.He also continued the claim that the media is unfair to him. He also interrupted the lawyer conducting the deposition and ignored the advice of his own lawyer during the deposition.

I can understand ignorance of certain details of business deals, especially given the volume of business Mr. Trump’s organization does. However, for someone who has spent decades as a real estate develop, I thought his knowledge of basic ideas to be incredibly superficial. It was as though he thought he could get away with lease or other contractual errors because he did not read what he signed. His ignorance of quiet enjoyment laws as they pertain to business leases was shocking to me. He sounded like a broken record who tries to use a smokescreen of “I did not read that” or “My children read that and I trust them” to deflect any culpability for his actions. Refreshingly, he did not lie — or at least did not perpetuate a lie once he was called on it by the interviewing lawyer.

Folks, this man is little better than pig-ignorant. He refuses to accept counsel on simple matters such as public speaking, depositions, and debates. He perseverates on details in which he is the only person interested. He acts surprised when someone calls him out about a racist, sexist, or otherwise unwise remark, claiming that the mass media is unfair in their representation of him as a boorish, sexist, narcissistic ignoramus. He bullies those he perceives as weaker than he and places blame on everyone and everything except himself.

After reading this deposition, I now think the media should be ashamed of themselves for not communicating just how ignorant this man truly is. They focus on the attention-grabbing headlines, and it seems as if they discover some new scandal about Mr. Trump on a regular basis. I asked myself what the common thread was — is he a criminal or an idiot? Having read this deposition, my judgment is this:

Trump is an ignorant, moronic, bully. He must not be allowed to be placed in any sort of high political office because his lack of regard for preparation or counsel would likely lead the country into a destructive time that could destroy the lives of countless people, both domestically and internationally.

No matter what your political views are, I urge you to consider the choice you make in November, as the fate of our nation is truly at stake.

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Posted by on 10/01/2016 in Insight


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Quiet amidst chaos

I am frequently asked why I would want to live in a small rural community. After all, I grew up in metropolitan southern California and have lived in other urban/suburban areas for most of my life. The simple answer: Peace. On days like today, the loudest noise are the animals outside and the occasional train. The peace allows me to think, to breathe, to be.

I ran across a post recently that has a poem by Pablo Neruda that echoes much of why I have chosen this life. I think that if more people could learn to embrace quiet and the beauty it contains, the world would be a calmer place.

Pablo Neruda “Keeping Quiet”

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Posted by on 09/10/2016 in Insight


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