Saturday, January 28, 2017


no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well34
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.14
no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land55
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough
go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home6
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here
-Warsan Shire
Peace and love and a safe place to call home, buttercups. xx

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My answer

Six days in, and my head is spinning. The schism amongst Americans grows wider, as each “side” digs their heels in deeper, oblivious to the fact that they are sinking into the pit. While we know the side that I tend to lean to, I think of it as less a side than a set of beliefs. I believe that a society is ultimately judged by how well she takes care of all of her citizens. I believe we are a nation of immigrants, and that should not be ignored-unless you are of 100% indigenous ancestry, your people were, at some point, part of the tired and huddled masses looking for a new life. I believe that facts are facts, proven in trials and peer-reviewed studies, not inflammatory videos that show no faces or references. I believe that our healthcare system is broken. It was broken ten years ago, and it is broken now- but we shouldn’t set fire to it and leave an ashy pile of debris with no other option in sight. I believe in equal rights- those rights were and are hard fought for. Any woman who thinks those rights just floated in on a cloud of fairy dust and faith needs to study on how women rising up and protesting actually brought about any rights at all. If not for suffragists willing to be jailed and tortured, women would still be considered chattel. Rights can be fought for, given, and taken, so complacency is not always an option for everyone.
Now, I have had spirited discussions, privately and publicly, with men who think that the marches were unnecessary and unpatriotic. I have been asked a lot of questions about why we marched and about Trump’s actions. Why do we think he is against women? Why do we think he is dangerous? What is wrong with his stance about the environment? Why do we think he is dangerous in regards to freedom of speech and freedom of religion?
I started to answer these questions. I compiled a list of his quotes, his tweets, and screenshots from his website- all verifiable facts that come from the man himself. And then, the epiphany. Why do I have to explain Trump’s policies, words, and actions to anyone? If you voted for him, you should know what all of those are. You should know that in 2012, he decried the Electoral College as a sham. You should know that he is systematically dismantling protections for the environment- it is all laid out in his speeches and on his websites. You should know all of this and more. You might agree with it, all of it, and that is your right. And if you do not know all of his actions, you should start paying attention. Again, you voted for him- if I have to answer these questions for you, you really do need to catch up on your reading of both our constitution and of our most recent executive orders.
So, no, I am not going to answer all of the questions. I can, but you should know the answers on your own. Look at the facts. Read the briefings, the legal wording of each presidential order- don’t trust the grainy video or the catchy meme. And remember that one of the highest acts of patriotism is to question. As Roosevelt said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
Pretty sure that Roosevelt did not reference blind allegiance to one man or to alternative facts. As for me, I cannot speak for anyone other than myself. So, I am going to keep paying attention, keep questioning, and keep living my life. I hope you do the same.

Peace, facts, and humanity, buttercups. xx

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


2016 has been a year, hasn’t it?
What kind of year, I am not certain, but it has been a year. One that I am happy to put in the books. If you have read my blog in the past, you know that I avoid resolutions like I avoid people in the grocery store. I loathe resolutions, because they are just taunting you, willing you to shatter them on the sidewalk.

But 2017 might be different. 2016 feels like the filthy black snow piled up on roadsides at the end of winter, and 2017 feels hopeful and shimmery, fresh-fallen snow glittering in the morning sun. I do believe I am going to mix it up and make some resolutions this time around. The other way, avoiding them, did not seem to work out so well, so I am going to try something new.

Now for the resolving. The resolutions.

I resolve to get off of Facebook. Not in a melodramatic “Message me if you don’t want me to unfriend you” way, but I am going to take it off of my phone and tuck it away on a regular basis.

I resolve to move my arse more often. This isn’t a resolution to lose twenty pounds or be bikini-ready. The last year was an awful one, physically, and I recognize what a gift being able to be physically active is. Whether I snowshoe or run, hike the Incline or walk my thyroid-challenged Pug, I am going to move as much as I can. Plus, more movement means more guilt-free tacos, and that is a wonderful thing, my friends.

I resolve to seek out joy. I intend to spend more time with the people I adore, to seek out like-minded people, and surround myself with sunshine. More rain on my face so I can glimpse the rainbows. More nights under the stars to remind me of miracles. More time with my kids, whether it is in a loud arcade or getting pedicures. More cream in my coffee, and more moments that fill my heart.

I resolve to let go of the things. You know, the things. Worrying about that which I have zero control over. Sucking my stomach in to fit in those ridiculous jeans from too long ago. The people who are not good for me. Anger over past transgressions, and sadness over losses. The stacks of paperback books that I might maybe possibly read again someday. The underwear that lost its elastic an embarrassingly long time ago. Money owed to me that will never be paid. I am realising that letting go is different than stuffing down or abandoning, and I am going to make it a priority so that I can get to more of the joy resolution above.

I resolve to be present. In our world of connectedness, I feel so disconnected from my people. Even though I knew what you ate for lunch or where you checked in for a movie, I have not picked up a phone and called you or invited you over for a glass of wine. This was a huge mistake in 2016, and I am going to be present moving forward. No checking my Twitter, looking at my email, tracking my steps, or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I am going to spend that time connecting- so if I call you, pick up the phone. If we meet for coffee, or you come over for dinner, the phone is going to be put away so I can be present with you- because you are amazing and many times better than any Buzzfeed listicle.

There. Resolving. Making resolutions. I think I got this. January 1st, I am starting off with spiked hot chocolate topped with full-fat whipped cream, and following it up with a well-placed curse word and some carbs because life is too short and too precious for those silly sorts of resolutions.

Peace and love and extra whipped cream, buttercups. xx

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Leftover Halloween Candy

First. There was that Christmas Eve that started out with Grace puking as we exited towards the church where the candlelight service was taking place. This was followed by 36 hours of the three of us puking so much that we just had literal buckets in the living room floor where we were lying on pallets. This was also when Nate discovered I was Santa Claus- I remembered to shove some broken cookies on the mantel in between vomiting spells, and Nate woke up and looked up at me with knowing eyes before he threw up and fell asleep again.

Next. Two Christmases ago. After going in to the urgent care for severe pain, fever, and a weird rash in my eye, the doctor told me I had not only shingles, but also influenza. The REAL influenza, not just a cold or stomach bug. And blisters in my eye- you have not known pain until you have had shingles all over your scalp and in your eye. Nate was also blessed with the bonafide flu, so we retreated to our beds instead of doing Christmas-y things. Our holiday turned into Grace wrapping most of her own presents, and the epic planned fondue feast was replaced with a messed up Domino's order.

Then, July Fourth. That is a separate blog post for another day, but let's just say it involved my monkey eating peanuts, going into anaphylaxis, nine hawt firemen and paramedics in my house, a truly mortified and sick teenage girl, and later, a ninety pound dog puking copious amounts of chicken manure all over my entire house. As Nate said, after we both cried a little over the dog vomit, "This was the worstest crappiest holiday ever. But at least Grace didn't die, so we got that."

And last night. Last night involved neither a near death experience nor chicken manure vomit, but... I left with Brian to take his monkey trick-or-treating, because we live in the best trick-or-treating town ever. Nate was supposed to hand out candy for a half hour, but the door inexplicably jammed shut. It used to glide effortlessly open and shut, thanks to the handyman who installed what I could not, but this door was JAMMED. So poor Nate had to turn trick-or-treaters away in shame. When I came back, the light was off and the door was shut, so I assumed he had let kids double dip and ran out of 300 plus candy bars.

Nope. Door was not fixable, so Nate and I had to stay in a shamefully dark house with our bowls and bowls of candy and allergy-free toys, listening to the hordes of kids walk by our house. We were THAT house in a sea of decorated houses- lights off, no candy, and scrooge-y bad attitude wafting from our closed door.

I think our holidays are cursed. That being said, this Christmas is gonna rock. I am hitting this head-on- Pinterest ideas, a shitload of lights, and more good cheer than you can even understand. As I told Naters, "You are gonna have fun, whether you like it or not."

Peace and love and more chocolate candy than one household should have. And if you know of a good handyman for jammed doors, hit me up. Will trade candy. XOXO.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

You got this.

Oh baby girl. College snuck up on us, didn’t it?

You made it, you went to your dorm, we promised that college was a new start, that you would get a fresh clean slate to start things, and that the whole world was your oyster. We actually said those things, didn’t we?

And yet, I think you went to bed last night feeling like nothing had changed and that you were stuck in the same old world. And you might wake up, feeling like you are still that same fourteen-year-old getting bullied, or the scared eighteen-year-old who was tired of high school drama.

Here’s the thing, cupcake. We lied to you.

We didn’t do it to be cruel. We didn’t do it on purpose. And yet, we lied to you.
Because you changed a place, but you are still YOU. You are still a messy McMess. You are still surrounded by messy imperfect people, and all of you are still works in progress.

But the light at the end of the tunnel is that you have the chance and the hope of a new start to be a better you. A clean slate, where you get to redefine who you are and who you want to be. You can stay the exact same or you can decide that you want to be different. You can decide you want to become a Republican vegan or a Green Party ultra-marathoner or a purple-haired volunteer at the local food pantry. You get to decide exactly who you want to be, and that is where college is a sorta new start, versus the same ol'school where kids have known you since you were nine.

Don’t like the kids you have been hanging out with and going to parties with? Well then. Wake up, stretch your arms, say “I’VE GOT THIS,” even if your voice shakes, and walk your yoga pants butt over to the Adventure Center and sign up for a kayaking trip.

I could give you a million different scenarios like this, in my irritating Pollyanna way, but they would just make you roll your eyes and sigh. I won’t do that to you, unless you want me to. My point is, college is not truly a shiny new slate. What college is, is the possibility and hope for you to choose new and do new for yourself.  You aren’t stuck with the same kids that you have known for ten years, and you are not trapped by the small town whispers and preconceptions.

Take this day, dust yourself off, do something that is good for you and that possibly feels a little scary, and make this day YOURS.

You got this, cupcake.

Peace and love and bravery and a messy, hopeful you. xx

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Graciest Grace

"Though she be but little, she is fierce."

The morning that we took Grace home from that hospital, she was barely six pounds. Her car seat threatened to swallow her whole, and she was so tiny that I was panicked over how the hospital could possibly let us take her home.
Didn't they know that neither of us knew anything about babies? We had no idea how to bathe a baby or breastfeed or bottle feed or deal with that scary belly button? We didn't know how to hold a baby or change diapers or swaddle or any of the stuff that you were obviously supposed to know- we knew puppies and kittens and how to tie our shoelaces, but not much more. I remember feeling like a nurse would surely notice that our friends had wheeled me out in a wheelchair with this precious cargo and come to snatch Grace out of our amateur hands.

They didn't. And she survived. Maybe even thrived, although we are too close to tell yet- that is one for the history books.

And here we are, eighteen years later. My Grace is still little, and she is indeed fierce. She is a little blonde whirlwind; she is my heart walking about freely in the world. Even as I still know every freckle and every scar down to the little one under her eyebrow, I realize that she is creating her own world, full of scars and freckles that I will not know.

We have raised, through all of our mistakes and inexperience, an amazing human being. She is wild and messy and flits from one experience to the next. But in her meanderings, she will search out the kid who needs a hug or kind word, stand up for the underdog, fight for what she needs to fight for, and keep trying to be the light. If a friend is broken and hurting, she will invite him into her world to remind him that he is loved. My Grace will talk someone out of driving drunk and pick them up, knowing full well that they will be sick but safe in her car. She will share her lunch with the kid who doesn't have lunch, and feel it is her mission to save every puppy/kitten/cat/dog in the world.

She will make many mistakes along the way, but that is what happens when you are a kid. You learn, and move on.

For you, Miss Grace, I wish the sun and the moon and the stars. I wish that you continue to be a fighter, and get back up every time you fall. I wish that you keep your fierceness always, because you are stronger than anyone I know. I wish that you keep your heart and arms open, so that you can experience all sorts of wonders on your path. I wish happiness and wisdom and as many puppies and kittens as you can hold.  I wish that you keep learning from every experience. I wish that you continue to be the Graciest Grace you can be.

Happy Birthday, cupcake. Peace and love and bonfires and chocolate, XOXO.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Reality of "Should" and "Are."

Every person on Facebook, Twitter, and any other corner of the internet has something to say about the Stanford rapist. Which is what he is- not "swimmer accused of sexual assault" or "star athlete." He is now a convicted rapist, albeit one who gets off with a sentence slightly longer than a semester at college.

As the mother of both a teenage daughter and a teenage son, I have a jumble of emotions about this verdict and how it has played out in our media.

I am so sad for the woman who has to learn to live with and heal from a trauma that she saw splashed across headlines.

I am mad that a judge thought that six months was an adequate punishment for rape. RAPE. Homeless people get longer sentences than that for lying on sidewalks in certain cities in California.

I am relieved that there are good men, brave men, who see an assault occurring behind a dumpster, and know that they have the power to help an unconscious woman and to catch a rapist.

And I am fearful for my kiddos, even as I trust that I am raising good and brave people. I want to tell them that yes, YES, you should feel safe to make stupid decisions like drinking one glass too many of hard punch at a college party and be safe. You should be safe wearing whatever dress or skirt you want to wear, without fear that someone will see that as an invitation.

You should be safe, and you should be able to trust those around you to help you, and not hurt you. "Should" is the operative word here, because "should" and "are" are very different things. You will not always be safe, because there are bad people waiting to catch you at a weak or vulnerable moment. Bad people don't always look like the bogeyman on TV; they often look like the cute swimmer or that guy in your class. Bad people can be charming- they might be more than happy to refill your glass or get you another drink.

I wish safety and security for you as you do silly teenage things and find your way. But I also wish for you the ability to be wise and try to avoid situations that can be unsafe for you, so that you never wake up to the horrors of pine needles in your hair and a rape kit on your mind. And even more than that, I wish and want you to be the helpers, the brave ones, who help take care of others. If you see something wrong, stop it. Use your voice, dial 911, kick and scream, do whatever you need to do, so that you are the light and the helpers that we need in the world.

My favourite blogger, Glennon Melton Doyle, talks about rape culture, and what we need to teach our kiddos. She talks about getting consent every time you want to hug or kiss- "we ask people's permission to pet their dogs every time, so why wouldn't we ask permission to pet each other?!"

Mind blown.

Ask permission. Get permission. Respect if someone says no. Respect if they say yes. Respect if they say yes, but then change their mind.  If you don't want to give permission, don't. Even if you said yes yesterday. Remember that your body is yours. Respect yours and respect others.

Hard but important talks need to be had. I know I will have them with my monkeys, even if I would rather talk about our dogs or summer vacation. I want them to think about staying safe and strong, and helping others to do the same.

Peace and love and respect and light, buttercups. XOXO