untitledFrom the daughter:

Dad bought a truck that looks just like your boyfriend’s.

Dad is taking me to Paris on an overnight train.

Dad is doing a lot of biking.

Dad bought a sailboat.

From the old neighbor:

They’re painting your house.  It’s sage.  Looks nice.

From the mom:





I HEART my therapist

two women talkingShe’s a woman.

We are from the same (gentler, slower) part of the country, which is not where we live now.

I’ve seen her off and on since our family had a sailboat accident when my daughter was very young and she got caught under the boat when it capsized (in an air pocket turns out).  I was wracked with guilt that I couldn’t get to her and it would have been my fault if she had died.

My therapist thinks “–” is clinical, as she puts it.

She thinks I’m “gifted.”

I know that first assessment sounds right.

I learn something new every time I see her.

Today I was telling her that I feel like I’m getting through this very, very, TOO slowly.  People are done asking me how I’m doing, and definitely done hearing about it when I spontaneously share.

She said it’s taking me so long, which isn’t that long, really, because I’m “deep.”

My son had just told me in a text recently that I was deep.

Meaning, I have got to turn over, and thoroughly examine EVERYTHING about it — the obvious, the things that hurt the most, the things only seen in hindsight — etc.

This is my way.  Funny, I thought I was just a “bad transition-er” like a kindergarten child who doesn’t want to switch to something new, and then doesn’t want to switch from the new thing, to the next new thing.

No, she said.  I’m not that.

Well, I’m buying what she’s selling.  That reframing changes everything, from thinking negatively about the way I am to thinking positively about the way I am.

She also said that she would tell me the truth now — that it will likely take someone like me years to turn over all the rocks.   Two years ago she told me it would likely take two years — so I could survive the beginning, most likely.  I am definitely over some things, but not nearly over ALL the things, and I have to go through them all.

It’s a deep thing…



This round of depression is really freaking me out. Hurry up Prozac.

There’s no drama associated with it.  At least, closely associated with it.  That I can pinpoint or admit.

There’s always Trump.

And my far-away sick friend.

But things are fine, up close.

And yet…


I feel like I’m quietly going mad.  I feel untethered. There’s nothing to blame it on, and several happy things to concentrate on, but…

I don’t think I’ve gone through this before without a some side of drama to blame.

That makes it a very lonely place somehow.  And numb.

When people say, “How you doing?” or “How was your weekend?” I swallow a big hot ball of…something that tastes vaguely metallic.  That could be the Prozac, though.

I stare at them, trying to figure out if I am really am standing in some other universe from them, but parallel enough to see and hear them.  I know they don’t really mean to find out if I’m doing well, or had a good weekend, at all.  But from where I’m standing, it’s such an irony.

I’m doing shitty.  I had a shitty weekend.  And the depression is stronger than the fact that I saw my college-aged daughter, went to a very cool surprise birthday party, got plenty of sleep and, whatever, things that make non-depressed people happy.  They made me happy, too, but they didn’t make me not depressed.  It’s like when people are audacious enough to keep living their lives when one of your loved ones has just died.  You want to scream at them, “Can’t you see the coffin?!  How could you ask me if I had a good weekend?  Are you blind?”

No.  They’re just being polite.  And trying to figure their own shit out.

I remember telling my daughter when she was depressed once to please hang on — to please give me a chance to be there for her — and she did.  Now I wonder how she actually accomplished that.

I had to REALLY talk myself out the door this morning.  I walked to work because I thought it might make me feel better.  It felt like a huge accomplishment, but it didn’t feel good for very long.

I can remember trying to escape my feelings at a very young age.  I’d guess 7 or 8.  I’m still doing that some 50 years later.

I’m trying to hold on.  I’m riding this line of needing to get it all out and knowing that it will sound crazy.  And worrying.  Even to me.  But I’m trying not to break the dam because, you know, I’m scared of what’s below those falls.





Living large and dangerous-like without my daughter around


Is it wrong to be SUPER pumped that my daughter, who has been home from college since December 16, is going away today for the weekend?


My apartment is a very small, 4-room, 3rd floor, haven.  And that’s counting the bathroom.

She’s a slob.  Not as slobby as she used to be, but just sayin…my sponge was missing from the edge of the sink yesterday when I got home.  It’s not a good sign when your sponge is off presumably cleaning up some mess you have yet to come upon.

  • She does MANY things VERY well — gets excellent grades, jobs she goes after, has many friends, is very musically talented.  But, if left to feed herself, I think she would starve.  That leaves me with lots of money shelled out for food, or lots of cooking that I was enjoying not doing after 20 years of kids at home.

Chastisements from inside my head and from “them”:

  • I should be grateful she decided to stay with me during her break instead of her dad
  • I should be thankful that we have mostly had a fun, funny, enjoyable time together
  • I should remember that there won’t be too many more extended periods of time together before she’s an actual adult with an actual place of her own she prefers


I’m glad to see her get out, and I’ll be glad to see her return.

In the meantime, I’ll be tucked in bed wearing pjs as much as my little schedule will allow, with the cat, remote, iPad, stack of books, cake (one whole — diet starts Monday), and gin.

That’s right…living large and dangerous-like.




yes, naming the things I’m grateful for is canceling out the straggling painful feelings

img_3209Remember this?  There are a few more strips in it than in this picture, but I don’t think I’ve put one in since before I left for my Thanksgiving week.  So, I’m probably behind 18 days or so.

I could have put in a strip about:

how the week with the newly met, and old hat, relatives went as well as possible;

how there was really only one tiff between my daughter and me, and we spent seven whole days together;

how my brother looks, acts, talks, and laughs more like my dad every time I see him, which warms my heart toward my dad, who I had a difficult relationship with, and it is getting more and more difficult to remember why;

how my brother texted my son and me when he finally finished the puzzle we started during Thanksgiving (my brother and my son met for THE FIRST TIME over Thanksgiving);

how when I pulled up to my house back home, I could see into the first floor windows, where there was a long table filled with my neighbors’ family and friends who were laughing and eating as if they were a modern day Norman Rockwell painting;

how I had another whole, fabulous, Thanksgiving put on by my bf when I got home;

how my boss gave me a $100 bill in a Christmas card — early;

how he’s gone until tomorrow which allows me to get a lot of behind the scenes things done, including blogging on the job ; – );

how I’m finally mortgages-free;

how there are two women at work I spend 15 minutes talking to from 8 to 8:15 (read that 8:30) about how our evenings went, how our kids are doing, current events;

how I have a Christmas party to go to tomorrow and the office is closing early for it;

how we got to break dress code today and wear jeans;

how I listened to a Charlie Brown Christmas cd on the way to work yesterday as it was snowing big, fat, fluffy flakes;

how I stashed all the gifts I bought on Amazon under my desk to wrap up on my breaks and lunch hours so my cat won’t gnaw on all of them at my house, and how it makes me feel like Santa;

how I get emails daily from the Hungry Girl with great recipes, and I got one today for pumpkin chili, which is all kinds of up my alley;

how my cat has changed her stripes a little and curls up in bed with me now;

how I get home about 5:30 every night and immediately put on my new cozy nightshirt and socks;

how my daughter remembered to tell me how to live stream her college’s candlelight service so I could watch it.

And now I’m all caught up.  I didn’t have to do it, but as you can see, I continue to be grateful for the little things, and yes, naming the things I’m grateful for is canceling out the straggling painful feelings.






Depression is a Depressing Lesson

It runs in my family.

I couldn’t wait to move away from my family, partly because I couldn’t take it any more.  Up close.  Day to day.

I have had my own bouts to focus on surviving, too.  Because it’s not a one-and-done thing.  It’s a frightening, chronic bad penny that shows up periodically on the sidewalk of life.

What I’m learning, though, is something y’all may know already:

If you run from a lesson the first time (in this case how to live with and through depression — yours or someone’s that you care about), that’s not going to be a  problem.

It can wait.  It will wait.
It will hit you up again in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s…are you ever going to learn this lesson?

You will give in eventually.  It’s exhausting to be haunted by lessons that insist on being learned, especially if that lesson is living with, and through, depression.  Yours, or someone’s that you love.

It is a re-fucking-lentless law of the Universe.

I ran from family members with depression, who I couldn’t keep “helping,” in my own haphazard way.  I had my own shit.  But now I have a child with it.

Let me tell ya…it’s much worse to watch someone you pushed out your vag struggle with depression.  I wish I had learned more about it before she came along.

I also have daddy issues.  Now he’s gone.  I can’t work it out with him anymore, but I’m pretty sure he sent my bf to help me with that lesson.  Thanks, Dad.

My advice, which is worth just what you’re paying for it, (a saying of my Dad’s):

When the lesson comes for you —

Don’t run.
Sit still.
Try to share it with someone so it can’t hide in the dark.
Learn the lesson when it presents itself, and when you don’t, try again the next time.
Don’t be afraid that you are not an expert.  It’s not about that.
It’s about abiding ourselves, and our loved ones, as we are, and not looking away.
The lesson will still be there when you turn around.
It’s only going to hide while you’ve looked away at “plans” or “life” or  blah blah…
You must stare each other down for things to get better.
And it escalates when you’re unwilling to look it in the eye.


Who knows, maybe depression is learning lessons from how differently it manifests in each of us?

If that’s the case, you’re welcome depression.

Have your people call my people.  Let’s learn how to interact with each other a little more harmoniously.



A goal met, and bonus, a thorn in the X’s side

My wedding anniversary was 2/15.  The last one I celebrated, which was in a nice restaurant, was full of loud, yet restrained, and sarcastic, bickering about how our kids had never met my brother.  Or his daughter.  How his wife had died before they met her.  My X didn’t like my brother.  Although, he had never met him, either.  He doesn’t let things like that get in the way of his judgments.  I remember it being kind of an escalated clash, fueled by expensive wine.

Happy Anniversary.  He started his affair the next day on a business trip.

But, I digress.

I’m the youngest of three, and there is ten years between my brother and me.  Communication wasn’t king, as I barely knew him, but still, as the years marched on, a desire grew in me to at least have my kids and their uncle and first cousin meet.  Even if just once.

My brother is a ’60s hippie turned born again Christian.  His wife was a Jews-for-Jesus convert, although her heritage as a Hebrew was murky.  His daughter is…a force, strong-willed, determined (that’s the positive spin).

They weren’t my X’s cup of tea, and he had a nice, tidy, established grip on our family.  Especially our children.  And, although he is pretty hard to please as someone deemed worthy enough to hang around with (unless you are on his side of the family, then you have to suffer them just like he does), they aren’t really my cup of tea, either.

My brother and I weren’t very close for lots of reasons, but when our dad passed away, we got to spend time together and know each other a little as adults.

I found out that liked him — at least his 60-year-old self.  I respected him.  I wanted my children to meet him.

This is getting long…what was my point, again?

Oh yeah, I’m thinking of all of this because there’s a convergence at my mother’s for Thanksgiving — by brother, his daughter, my aunt, her grandchildren (I’ve never met).

I think it will be great.  Fun.  Past-due.  A goal met.

But, here’s the thing — what if it’s not?

What if they dislike each other and fight?  All generations — my mom and her sister, me and my siblings, my kids and their cousins?

Or worse?  What if they shout at each other about politics and religion, and sibling slights, and who got the family house, and money and, and, and…

Some would say, then it will be a lot like other people’s Thankgivings, right?

I can’t wait.  They ought to be able to say from experience if they like each other or not, if they plan to see each other again, or not.  And with a week or so at my mom’s, my kids will not have to negotiate a Thanksgiving on my X’s side with the old cast of family characters and the new step-mom, etc.  Ick.

I think they call this a win-win.  At least for me.