Sunday, July 10, 2016

Traitorous Treachery

I've been listening to the soundtrack of the Broadway play "Hamilton" for the last several weeks. I LOVE IT. One of the songs keeps playing on a loop in my brain this weekend, as shame and guilt floods me knowing that tomorrow afternoon, one of my staff is going to be laid off.

I've mentored this girl (inherited by me in a bad situation with another manager) carefully and I feel 100% better that she'll be better poised to go forward from here after the last 8/9 months under me. I took a skittish, quiet girl afraid of her own shadow and slowly gave her the tools to rebuild her own confidence.

I'm feeling a lot of things tonight--guilty about all of it, guilty about not being able to stop the corporate wheel from turning, accepting that I may well be next.

History Has Its Eyes On You (Hamilton)

I was younger than you are now when I was given my first command
I led my men straight into a massacre
I witnessed their deaths firsthand
I made every mistake
And felt the shame rise in me and even now I lie awake
Knowing history has its eyes on me.

I don't have the eyes of the nation on me, a mid-level manager mid-level through life. Nor the state, nor the city.

Just the big eyes of young woman, who laughs easily now and has picked up my quick wit. "You make me want to think big," she said to me once.

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story."

She has a trusting look on her face every time she looks at me.

Monday, March 14, 2016


*I've been writing a lot lately, essay-style, mainly. All for myself, not for consumption yet. I wanted to share this one with the blog-world though, for my few but beloved readers, who have watched me reach this point all these years. I'm writing poetry, lyrical things that are different for me. I'm kind of loving it. I'm in a good place, in general, all the way around.

I'm going off to find myself, some will say. I'm going off to blind myself, be kind to myself, unwind myself on a beach or the woods or a mountain far away. Climb, swim, move, be, stop, think, go, be still. Still. Still you're lost until you're found, looking in the mirror on a Tuesday with red eyes. Hello, you say, touching your lips: I've been waiting for so long.

"If you have kids, you'll see that....." Her laughing voice keeps speaking though for me it's become little more than white noise. That filtered air that cycles through an airplane, humming in your ears, as you try to not let your arm touch the stranger beside you. I'm sure I kept smiling and nodding. I'm sure I said the right things back.
As my 34th year comes to a close, and I still don't have my proverbial shit together (or do I?), the If's keep coming. 

To be fair, I started using the "If's" first. This was mostly a defense mechanism, to tell myself that hey man, it's cool. Things happen or they don't. I'm a survivor. I don't need anyone or anything--and IF things go my way or they don't, I'll land on my feet. And what is "my way" for that matter, anyway?
2007: "Just wait, when you have kids you'll learn" as I looked in half horror/half intrigue at the ice pack compartment in my sister's underwear after she gave birth. "Can I have these sexy things when you're done?" I say to her laughing and she glared at me and declared them "fucking wonderful."
In 2007, everything was still a When. I was in my twenties, and there was still a list in my childhood toy box of the names--first and middle--I'd assigned my ten (!) children. I used to dream of them--dreamed of the family I would have. Everyone got along. The husband in these scenarios was always faceless, nameless and pretty much irrelevant to this love-fest I was having with my quiver of children. 

Even as a child, I knew that was weird.
As an adult, here in 2016, that list is long gone. The conversations around this particular topic have become less sure and more urgent at the same time. The high chair is still in my parents' kitchen, even though the babies in our family have outgrown it and there'll be no more unless they come from me. If they don't, well. That high chair, and the Pack n' Play and extra sippies will join the yard sale assembly line some distant summer, where they'll trade ten dollars for the end of an era.
Two letters. There's no "I" in Team but there sure as hell is an "I" in If and I alone am the holder of answer on if I'll add a teammate, if you will. The days keep coming and the snow falls and the snow melts and spring creeps in.
I overheard a conversation in Panera once, standing in line before work one morning. Two women, late forties/early fifties. One casually said to the other, "You know, I was telling So-and-So the other day...Sometimes my greatest regret is never having children, and yet some of the best, most meaningful things in my life came from not having them." "Ma'am. Ma'am!"  I was rooted in place, reeling on a regular day, staring after them.

What if these babies don't actually happen....and if another world opens? I'd genuinely never considered the possibility of an alternative until now that time has forced me to do so. And what if it's....great?
When has become If and my world has gotten a whole lot less certain.
It feels jarringly, unexpectedly, free.


Thursday, November 5, 2015


I have had a backwards kind of day today
not ever knowing what to do or say.
I've twisted everything around
have YOU ever acted in this way?

Said, ' I would like a hup of cot chocolate'
'pace my capers on my desk'
I was trying not to backwards things
I was trying really to do my best!

I promise to turn this day around
but I can't seem to find my way.
For I've made a mess on my desk
in a backwards kind of way

-Linda Winchell

Sometimes you start a blog when you’re 24, and you write entries about learning to parallel park and how you’ve just figured out how to make iced tea and how you threw up against the side of the Treasury Building after a drunken night with your other 24 year old friends. You write that blog sitting at a desktop computer that in tiny apartment—the first you’ve lived without roommates—and reruns of Dawson’s Creek are in the background and you’re lonely but you like it that way.

And then you close that blog, and move away. Then you move again, and you start a new blog. You’re 26 and sitting in the university library where you’re supposed to be studying for grad school. You meet all of you.

Then almost decade passes, and you’ve moved and moved on and your writing languishes because life overwhelms. You drive to work in the morning, swallowing the Zoloft at a stoplight and washing it down with a McDonalds Diet Coke because this is America, dammit. All you need is a cigarette to throw out the window.

You’re 34 and just were prescribed your first blood pressure medicine. HBP and it’s kissing cousin Anxiety are handed down your maternal family line as if we passed down a quilt that we sometimes like to throw over our heads.


I accepted my current job from my office telephone, on November 4, 2014. 11/4/14. I’ve written here before about the significance of the numbers 4/11 in my life, and nearly everything about my move somehow incorporated those numbers. I felt like it was meant to be. Even if it’s still hard and strange (doing different kind of work completely) and nothing I really like enough to write home about, it’s a good job. I’m learning a lot. Yesterday, November 4, 2015, everything flipped. I woke up to find that my state had elected Matt Bevin (an uber right wing republican) who has vowed repeatedly to unroll elements of the Affordable Care Act. If those provisions go….well….I’m not sure what my future holds. Ironically, also yesterday, I met the woman who is going to become my new boss.

What’s she like? Oh, she’s exactly like me. Exactly. Personality, background, even looks. And we’re the same age. Naturally, my hackles went up immediately and they’re still up. I told a friend—I’m trying hard to avoid my natural tendency when encountering new people: eyeing them with suspicion. ;) 

It doesn't help that I've had a couple of fuck-up's this week too at work, which makes me feel about two inches tall. It's not like me. But it is on Backwards Day in Backwards Week.

So. That’s been my week. What’s the last year or so been like? Oh, you know, fine. Great at times, actually. I love being back closer to my family although of course a part of me misses DC. I’ll always miss that city the way I’ll always miss my hometown. It’s just part of me; my DNA. My mom was in a very serious car accident almost one year ago today. It was two days after I accepted this job, and she broke her pelvis, every rib and her collarbone. She’s made a pretty damn miraculous recovery, truly. I know she loves me being back. My nieces and nephews do too, although my two younger nephews and my sister moved to California earlier this year. I can’t believe they’re really gone—it is so strange to be in Kentucky, being left. I’m the one always doing the leaving in the family.

Hello from the Other Side. I’ll be back soon J

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mother, Mother

I’m at the beach where I’ve been lucky enough to go for the past three years, thanks to Maggie May Etheridge. No, not through her dollars or mad hook-ups, but for pointing me to a blog where I eventually met the blogger’s sister and then her friends and then, well, aren’t we all in this crazy thing together in our little blog-land? I’ve known some of you for longer than I’ve known very close friends in my day to day life.
Anyway. It’s become a tradition, and very much of a step-out of my real life since I meet friends that are in different states as we converge on this place. My friend Denise is generous beyond belief, and none of this would be possible without her. She grew up coming to this beach in Avalon New Jersey, and has passed this along to us and now it’s a part of our own histories and in our bones in the same way. Children have grown up here, and they’re not the only ones.

Avalon has become a safe place; a place where we can lay it all on the line. Our catch-up’s often cut close to the bone, and that’s taken some getting used to on my part. Now I come with the expectation that I’ll be asked “to the core” questions within minutes and as the week goes on and beach yoga is done and the conversations will deepen.

We have a yogi who comes to do beach yoga in the mornings, and yesterday she mentioned that she had an astrologist friend and the next thing I know I’m texting my date and time of birth and then this morning, the three of us gathered on the bed while a star chart is projected on the wall. Alexander stated “so everyone here is family, correct?” None of us are family except chosen and we gave permission to “go deep.” He began with me, and I was basically engaged only on a “this is interesting” level. I do but I don’t believe in this kind of thing. The yoga instructor doesn't really know me at all -I am sporadic at best in my yoga attendance. So I assumed that if he were able to peg me, it would be genuine and nothing that she could have "fed" him.
He nailed it. He pinned me against the wall with my character and past, and proceeded to the do the same with the rest of us. My star chart reflected that my parents were very loving when I came into the world. But that something happened in my third year, a financial crisis, and they were driven apart. I'm not sure what this was, but they were divorced by the time I was five. There were several other things he stated about my personality, my work demeanor, my ...well, my core.

It was casual, and we all felt free to ask the hard things.
The Hard Things.

Having a baby has been a thing for me for so many years. I’ve always wanted to mother and nurture and I do on a daily basis for the people (little, big and furry) in my life. I’m 34. 34 is young! Yes, I know this. But I have been building with the reality that if I’m going to go down this road of parenthood, it’s time to think about it. Adoption? Birth? Single parenting, or is there a spouse around the corner? Should I wait for that? Let go and let God? WWJD? And here comes the spiral.
On the bed, in the safe space, I wanted to ask. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer. But then Alexander said - unprovoked - that beginning last summer, a deep deep aura of fertility was surrounding me. Beginning June/July and it was still very strong.
There’s a soul hovering.
I, stunned, said – yes, I can feel it. He said very seriously – of course you can. It is there. There’s free will involved, which he kept emphasizing. I said should I do this now? He demurred, and said that was something he could explore with me further if we wanted to go down that road. But he saw a partner for me in the future. I asked when? He got quiet and said “December 2016; no, Summer 2017.” And nodded a few times and I didn’t push this more. I had enough.

I don’t know what I believe sometimes.
But I do know that several weeks ago, I heard on the radio that someone had mentioned that she’d wished for her daughter her whole life. And that once she’d asked her daughter how she got to be her little girl. The little girl answered “I heard you call for me and I came to you.” Since then, I’ve noticed myself whispering…'baby girl, baby girl' and projecting this into the universe very quietly, and almost without notice by me.

Two nights ago, I stood at the beach, looked into the water and whispered “baby girl..." into the swirling wind.

We had a late afternoon of processing, napping and thinking. The three of us went to yoga tonight and in hour two, I was feeling almost transcendent and I thought about the day. I said in my mind, to the soul hovering….baby, Mommy will get you here. Our lives, they will be extraordinary. I’ll see you soon.

I have no idea how and when and I ... I don't feel like I have to know. For the first time in a very long time. In my whole life?

This has certainly been a Monday. I feel very at peace.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Winter 2010

"Do you want to go home?" I whispered into his fur as we looked out the window at the winter snow coming down.

I remember feeling a little lonely, and he was my solid thing. Something that I could hug, even if he was reluctant about that whole deal. It was a scene that would repeat a handful of times throughout January and February, as I looked out of my basement apartment window at the worst winter DC would have on record in decades.

I moved New Years Eve 2009, and brought my kitten long for the ride. It was a rough adjustment. I'd come back, after four years, to a city where I didn't have intentions of returning--not because I didn't love it, but because it's hard.

Living in Washington, D.C. is no cakewalk. Nor is any major city, I imagine, but DC seems to expend a special brand of hell on its residents in the form of non-voting rights, impossible traffic and almost no ability to have a car without hundreds of dollars in fees and fines, and the reality of thousands of people living in a ten mile wide city that can't govern itself without Congress looking over its shoulder.

And god, I love it.

My second five years there were not without difficulty. That could be the biggest understatement I've uttered since 2015 began. But, it was mine. It became home because I kicked a home out of the rotting wood and packed ice, and started to root.

But, it was time for our life to change. The roots were not enough. I packed him up again, and off we went.

Winter 2015

Here we are. A bigger home, a new job, a new life. Close to home, but not home. The worst winter on the books in decades, just as the winter I made my last transition was. I begin kicking out a home in the rotting wood and the packed ice.

We are here.

Tonight, after they surveyed the falling snow, I picked Charlie up and walked around closing blinds. We stopped in front of the patio door and looked out. I was just a little bit lonely.
I hugged him close and we watched the snow fall. I whispered into his fur. "Do you want to go home?"

Thursday, December 18, 2014


I read once that seeing your birthday numbers on the clock was like God saying, "Hey there." I've always liked that idea, and every time I see them, I've smiled.

Then it started happening. A lot.

Ever since I posted that lost blog, life grabbed me by the hand and dragged me down the road. Metaphorically and literally. I got the offer on November 4 (11/4). A few weeks later, I quit. (11/11/14). As silly as it sounds, seeing the numbers seemingly everywhere made me---and still does---have a certain peace about it all. I have said several times....yes, this is hard. Yes, this is an unbelievable change I'm making. But it's right. I don't know why it's right, but it is. It's absolutely the closest thing I've attributed to any kind of divine intervention in years and years.

I've shared this w/ only my best friend, and she's been the lucky recipient of all my screen shots of the most STRANGE appearances of the numbers. For example...I posted on Facebook my announcement that I was moving back home after five years. I posted this picture on 11/14 at 11:11am without realizing it. 

"I never met a Kentuckian who wasn't either thinking about going home, or actually going home." -Happy Chandler.

So here I am, about a week and a half after settling into a brand new apartment (with two bedrooms! And cable! Movin' on up). Day 4 of my new job just wrapped, and I'm breathing underwater again.

I willingly stepped out of my comfort zone. As I've done many times before, but this is the first time I've taken myself away from a high-level place. I'm working for an old friend, an amazingly smart woman that's impressing the HELL out of me. And only a month ago, she was me. I was at the top of my game, but I'd hit the highest I could go there. I needed to step away while I was on top. 

I've got so much to learn. It's so hard to sit in meetings and not understand things. To not know the players, the jokes, the material. But I'm pretty darn lucky that they're willing to let me try to learn.

On we grow.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More months than I thought it's been

Since I sat down to update this space. I can't seem to walk away from this small corner of the internet that's mine, although I can't help but wonder if its shelf life has expired. I like having the archives that chronicle the last several years of my life, knowing all that I'm not writing between the lines, although it's often painful for me to go back and read them.

Five years ago this month, I got job offers coming at me in all directions--all in the middle of the recession, and the worst financial time that my generation has experienced. I worked in a niche area of healthcare policy, and that niche area had been embedded into Obama's stimulus package of 2009. Everyone who knew anything about this was suddenly highly marketable. It was a flash in the pan moment for me and my fledgling "career" --only 6 years out of college at that time --and the likes of which I will likely ever see again my lifetime.

Five years ago this month, I took a deep breath and made the difficult decision to move back to Washington, D.C.


I've lived in my little apartment in my vibrant bustling city for longer than I've ever lived anywhere in my life. My career has skyrocketed to a level I could never have envisioned--I don't regret that decision for a minute. I am well-known in my field, and we're winding down. Mission accomplished, so to speak, in a lot of ways. It's changing, pulling me down into the depths of which I'm not sure I want to go.

I've grown more than I ever have (in more than ways than one, and I should look very seriously at Weight Watchers in my future!). I am a different person than I was--and that's life as it should be.

"And the walls came tumbling down in the city that we love." 

I'm typing this sitting on an airport floor, outside gate 38, waiting to board a plane to Louisville so that I can have a four-hour long job interview tomorrow. I think there's a good chance I'll get it (I know the woman I'd be working for, or else I wouldn't be nearly this sure), and thus a good chance my life will turn on its head and a new chapter will begin.

Or it won't. And that's ok too, but I am ready to get home. I think I am destined, as a child of divorce, to always feel torn between two homes. DC has been my home for many, many years and I will cry a lot over the next month as I pack up my life again to journey back to my Kentucky home. There is no guarantee, but I've been asking the universe (quite literally, out loud) to bring me something good. Please, let something good happen.

In an attempt to control things I can control, I decided to dye my hair brown, as it finally became clear it was turning under those blonde highlights I kept putting in. Embracing the physical changes, the emotional ones, for what's next.

Cross your fingers.

"And if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like you've been here before?"