Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Let this radicalize you

 Since my last post:

Countless people have been slaughtered by guns.

Roe was overturned.

On a personal note, 3 out of 4 of my household came down with COVID. All are well today, but every day it feels like the walls are closing in.

I spend a considerable amount of spare online time crowdfunding for Abortion funds, I feel like it's the most I have to give right now. When my kids are older I'll likely train to be an abortion fund warm-line volunteer. 

I have a full-time job that demands so much, a toddler and a teenager who need so much, while I hurtle closer to menopause each day. I also joined the Board of my tiny little welcoming congregation, we're in a transition period where we're trying to figure out how to stay afloat. 

I don't think I have the bandwidth to describe what it feels like to watch your kids learn to navigate a world that is so cruel. That wants to steal their safety at every turn. 

My day to day life is one of comfort that's unimaginable to so many people. I have stable income, a comfortable house. A leafy green back yard to breathe in. Yet. I don't think I've felt so much anxiety since Celine. Maybe it's ptsd. Maybe it's living in a historical moment where you actively disassociate from your feelings because your trauma is no longer some hypothetical political exercise. You're watching the slowest largest wave of disaster unfold, as it swallows person after person.

One of the wisest organizers I have ever encountered has said something along the lines of the following: Hope is a discipline. 

It is not a natural impulse to feel hope right now, to connect to optimism. I have to work my ass off each day to find a shred of it. But my commitment to my loved ones is that I will actively seek it. 

Friday, May 13, 2022


 We're all scrambling now, aren't we.

For those of my readers out there who are as concerned about the specter of long-COVID as I am, it's been a rough one.  No, I do not believe anyone in my family is at risk of death or hospitalization from COVID. But, yes, my family masks indoors because I'm 100% convinced that COVID is something we don't want to fuck with. I have too many friends right now experiencing chronic conditions after their "mild COVID colds" and I'm just sitting here numb.

I haven't talked about it a ton, but my forties have opened up a strange new world of autoimmune shit that I am navigating. IBS is the main one, restricting dairy and onions and garlic and cruciferous vegetables is helping.  Massive allergies are also in the mix. I go to bed with giant welts on my back, hives, inflammation and sinus infections are a regular part of my routine now. Would I like to add on some more intriguing symptoms to my daily routine, like brain fog and fatigue and joint pain? No thank you, I've got enough going on. I'll keep my mask on.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out where I fit in supporting the front-line community members who are working overtime to expand abortion services. Right now I'm raising my voice on the crowdfunding we need. My state, Maryland, currently has one of the only clinics in the country that provides care for people who need abortions later in pregnancy. We're also expecting to see an influx of need as states pass their own versions of Texas SB8.

In response, a local OB/GWN and a Nurse Midwife are launching their own clinic, Partners in Abortion Care. Please spread the word and support them if you can!

This weekend, I'll be volunteering at a rally demanding that our governor release millions of dollars in funding that was earmarked to expand services. When S is older, I will probably step up and volunteer for our local abortion fund's warmline. 

None of it is enough. We can't mutual aid ourselves out of this hole we're in.

Monday, April 18, 2022


Ever grieve people who are still alive?  They are here in body and spirit and they love you and you talk to them and mourn what was, what they once were? Or at least, what you grew up imagining them to be?

My parents are unrecognizable from the people who raised me. They are down a rabbit hole of disinformation and hatred and it's a fucking horror story. Every now and then there's a glimmer of the people I recognize, but it fades into ether too quickly to grasp onto.

I brought my daughters home to NYC to spend four days with them - we had the option for five, but honestly, I knew we wouldn't make it that long. My oldest daughter had enough after the night where their racism was in such full throttle that she had to walk away from them mid-sentence. I've never seen her so shook. I was able to make a graceful exit without acrimony because Sammi's terrible sleep habits in NYC gave me the excuse. Oh now, we have to leave really. Oh no, we don't need Dad to drive us home we'll take the train, because she's the worst on road trips.  All true. Just leaving out the "Oh no, we can't spend 4 hours in a car with you, or another night, because every other sentence out of your mouth is more unhinged and venomous."

I explained to Niblet that my grandfather was a racist who constantly used the Yiddish version of the n-word, and refused to stop even when as a teenager I asked him to stop. He generally said terrible things and I came to accept he would never change. I hold on to all memories of him. They guy who I liked to watch TV with in Montreal and listen to old jazz records was the same guy who was would say insulting things to my obese grandmother about her weight. 

I like to say the algorithm got my parents. But they're not so unusual. Look, there are maybe 70 million people in the US who view the world as they do. A world where economic equity is a grievance and fuck, the word equity is actually a Communist plot. What's difference about my parents is that until 2016, they viewed the world through an entirely different lens. They're not evangelical Christians. They've always supported abortion rights. But they're blinded into a hateful distortion of reality and they were captured by the algorithm as a result of deeply held racism that perhaps I was too eager to ignore or wish away.   

The Viking has tried to make me feel better by noting that his own father could very easily have gone down the same path - had he been a few years younger and more inclined to go into youtube spaces where mendacious podcasters propagandize and the algorithm bounces you further into a deep sea of disinformation.

So, no, my parents are not so different from tens of millions of Americans.  But, the betrayal I feel at their willingness to support the sacrifice the lives of the most vulnerable people in the country - such as the millions women who don't have their abortions covered by health insurance - it's just acute. It's the same betrayal that one of my trans friends feels when he visits his parents and they feed him and then say "we love you" and then vote for people who are trying to eliminate him off the face of the earth.

Did you know how many subreddits and online support groups there are for kids like me? Google "parents and fox news" oh, you'll learn. It's a comfort, I suppose, finding your people. My sister-in-law is one of them too. I recently told her I want her to come over here if she can ever get a day off, we'll relax on the back porch and stare at the trees and mourn our parents together.

I've got to admit, I hesitated to even draft this blog entry.  More than one of you readers has noted that this is a journal of sorts, a diary of love to my children. It feels wrong to write these words in this space. But after the awakening my 13 year old has been forced to grapple with, well, if I hold the expectation that they may one day learn about some of the horrors I had to experience, surely they can absorb this.

Monday, January 24, 2022

New year new circus

 I'm finally inspired to write again, as we near the close of January. what a month.

This is the month that I am truly grappling with the high and lows of aging.  

On the one hand, the wisdom, man, the wisdom. I am realizing that I am excelling in my professional life because I actually have a lot to offer. I'm up for a promotion, and I just received an appointment to a position on a City Commission because I earned it (no for real, someone addressed me the other day as "Commissioner"). Sure, I still have a lot to learn (don't we always?), but a decade at my current workplace has led me to a place where I can call myself an expert in my field. It's a heavy word, expertise, but I've fucking earned it. I don't relate much to feelings about imposter syndrome that some people I know describe. I know what I'm doing (at least, I know enough to ask the right questions when I don't know the answer), and I'm much more willing to hold myself out into the universe as an "expert."  No false modesty here. I cram all kinds of information into my brain on a daily basis to help healthcare workers assert their rights, and you bet your ass I'm going to do everything I can to elevate them while they're being eaten alive in a country that treats them as disposable. If being the expert gets me in the room to make any kind of positive change, that's how I'm gonna get in the room.

On the other hand, I feel physically more adrift than ever. My back is out again because I am not diligent about my PT exercises. My perimenopausal brain is foggy in all things not work (to the point where I freak out regularly that it will bleed into work). I've needed to lose the same 8 pounds for over a year. I don't drink enough water. I'm finally accepting that I'm lactose intolerant and possibly have some other food reactions that suck. With all of this I snap too easily.

How much of this is the pandemic, how much is it being on the darker side of my forties? Unclear. 

I don't think humans were ever built for the kind of information consumption required of us right now. Excuse me if I can't respond to your email right away, I've had to become an armchair epidemiologist to keep my family alive.

In the midst of all of this, tonight we took a trip to a PETCO to look at kittens that we learned were up for adoption. They were fuzzy and soft and playful and we fell in love and submitted an application. On the one hand, this means more creatures to keep alive. On the other, my love for Princess still leaves open spaces I need filled BY KITTENS.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Yes the sky is falling

 Last week I attended a rally at the Supreme Court of the United States in DC to stand up for abortion. 

Look, I'm in my 40s now, I have been attending these things since I was a teenager in the 90s. I need everyone who still reads my words to understand that this one was different.

Yes, we have a conservative majority in the Supreme Court that will likely overturn the viability standard of Casey vs Planned Parenthood and the rights afforded by Roe v Wade. But what I am here to report on is the crowd.

For decades, you could reliably count on pro-choice women to outnumber religious zealots at a protest like this, like 2:1. 

Not so last Wednesday. The crowd was "evenly" divided between sides, allowing for the media to present dumb-ass narratives about how "divided" we are as a country. Bullshit. Voters in the US overwhelmingly support the right to an abortion. But you wouldn't know it from the optics of this event and that's bad. I know too many people - lawyers even - who had no idea that the SCOTUS was even hearing oral arguments on an abortion rights case.

Furthermore, the opposing side was truly, insanely mask off. I had a guy yell at me with my little handwritten "Abortion is Healthcare" sign, about how I was a devil whore. There wasn't a whole lot of rhetoric around protecting women from this crowd, it was full-throated religious zealotry. 


Don't get me started on the 6 foot signs with photoshopped pictures of fetuses that were held by these creepers - I call them creepers because they would creep behind you when you were just chatting with someone, then get in your space, demanding, "why do you think it's ok to murder babies?"

I know people who showed up who felt so uncomfortable, like, physically uncomfortable. Well, now imagine yourself as a scared person who needs to enter a clinic. You're uncomfortable with crazed people shouting at you, invading your space, with the explicit goal of making you turn around to get away from them, in a public space surrounded by law enforcement? Well, put yourselves in the shoes of someone seeking an abortion in the deep south or midwest.

Things are bad. Worse than I could have ever imagined, and I am someone who actually follows organizations who track dwindling abortion access in states. The fire is burning right now.

We have to be honest about what we are facing: These motherfuckers in attendance absolutely included the kinds of terrorists who murder doctors and bomb clinics. This crowd was hateful, and let me repeat, filled with zealots.

I don't have any answers.  My union - we represent healthcare workers - were out to show our support, and I think it was appreciated. I saw too many grandmas, fuck, they were great-grandmas, tiny little nanas who had been fucking marching for too damn long. 

What do I ask of you? The only coherent plan I have, is to donate as much as I am able to abortion funds. These funds help women who can't afford to cross state lines, who need to book hotels and planes and busses. These funds pay for visits to the clinic, or god forbid, the hospital if they need an abortion that is farther alone.

Monday, October 11, 2021


Last week I had a colonoscopy and aside from the fasting and prepping of my colon, it was the most relaxation I've had in months. A bag of fluids and then sedation? Sign me up for more, please.

This month shit is heavy. October. Celine. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Debt.

That last one is hitting me hard. I no longer have the expense of a nanny, we are in a much more affordable stage of nursery school. But:

I am now trying to pull myself out of a double-digit hole of credit card debt (employing a nanny with benefits and paying for everything else by credit card has caught up to me). It's slow-going, if my car breaks down again I'm completely fucked. 

Just breathe. We will be ok.

What feels unsustainable on the other hand, is the new sleep method I've had to employ on S these past few months. Singing to her until she goes down, lying on the floor waiting to hear her heavy breathing... it's a long night.  Niblet really was one of those babies that we perfected the "leave the room and shut the door when they're drowsy but not completely asleep" advice of sleep trainers.  

I'm so fucking tired. I'm so unhinged by the precipitous drop in estrogen surging through my body. I get irrationally angry and cry with little provocation.

Mothering a tween and a toddler while perimenopausal is not for the faint of heart.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Mothering In the Menopause

One day I’m gonna emerge from the pit I’m in to tell the tale of mothering a toddler and pubescent tween while in the midst of perimenopausal depressive episodes. 

Today is not that day. I’m on five hours of sleep, just wept for 45 minutes and have to erase my Google searches because I know my kid will find them and freak the fuck out, as one might when the encounter the word suicide. 

(I am not suicidal. I have had fleeting thoughts of imploding off the earth which my Google search validated as pretty normal in my current hormonal state)  

Golly, do I miss Princess. She would have totally understood.

All of this is to say that I need to take a melatonin and melt into sleep.