Middle Space

Anyone want a hug?

Anyone need a hug?

His hand in mine feels so small and perfect. We’re walking and he’s telling me about the strong evidence that Jar Jar Binks is really a Sith Lord and he’s promising to show me all the YouTube videos that prove it. I’m barely paying attention (huh? that goofy Gungan a Sith Lord?) because all I can think about is how he looks the same as he did when he was a baby, minus the chubby cheeks and Michelin man legs. I can’t remember the last time I hugged this kid. Not cuddle on the couch while I’m distracted by Downton Abbey but totally embraced him and felt his spirit reach my heart. And now he’s looking up at me with his Abercrombie model face arguing Star Wars conspiracy theories. It’s the shot in the arm I need to be present in this exact moment because for a brief second I have the terrifying thought where have I been for the past 7 years? Read More

Ashes to Ashes, Ziggy Stardust

bowie albums

I discovered David Bowie in my dad’s record collection in 1982 when I was 12 years old. I was mesmerized by Ziggy Stardust and listened to that record incessantly. In my daily life I was trying hard to suppress overwhelming feelings but when I heard those songs, I could cry and lament because it wasn’t me – it was the music. It allowed me to express feelings that scared me in a way that felt safe.

David Bowie belonged to me. He was a good secret, not like the big, scary secrets that I was carrying.  I introduced him to friends and was pleased when they didn’t love him as much as I did. Loving David Bowie made me feel special and unique. I felt cool and like I knew something that no one else did.

Then, Let’s Dance came out and he belonged to the whole world. Suddenly everyone loved him but I made sure people knew that I was the original fan. I knew him before.  I loved him before. My David Bowie mania increased because I had so much to prove. It never occurred to me that countless people before me felt the exact same way. After all, I discovered him in my dad’s record collection. Read More

What I’m Reading This Winter


I keep checking in with myself. “Am I ok?” Then I pause and wait for some sign or feeling that I’m not ok and it hasn’t come.  This feeling of stability is wonderful, especially with the craziness that I’ve taken on.

In the last month I’ve tackled Thanksgiving, end-of-year preparations for our business, Christmas shopping, holiday parties, a tax audit, dentist/doctor appointments and oh, guess what? We’re putting our home of 19 years on the market January 1. Decluttering, painting, cleaning, obsessing and a partridge in a pear tree.

It’s a lot but it’s something I’ve said YES to and that makes all the difference. I can start to feel resentful of all that is asked of me when I’m wishy-washy about saying YES. Burdens are born of maybe and if I have to and I guess so.

I’ve even made time to read some books! Here are some of the books (for grownups and kids) that have helped keep me centered, take care of myself and embrace this new adventure: Read More

karen age 3

Me, age 3

When I come across a picture of myself as a child, I fight against what I see. I see her smiling face but most of the time, I don’t remember being her. In my childhood memories, I’m not really a child at all but something other. I’ve been in recovery for awhile now and I still struggle with explaining what that means, what it means to have never really felt like a child. Having children of my own has helped me to see that I was as once as innocent as my kids are now.

Today marks the release of Trigger Points Anthology, a collection of writing by 21 parents who are survivors of childhood abuse. One-third of American children experience childhood abuse, and yet the question is never asked: what happens when those children grow up and have families of their own? Read More

Bumpy Nubs and Poking Threads

grandmagrandpa (1)

Update: This post was Freshly Pressed November 7, 2015.

I’m so excited to be over at Lipstick and Laundry today with a post about family history, with a twist. I deconstructed the classic linear timeline, allowing the hidden connections, common struggles, pivotal moments and everyday choices to shine through. Hop on over and check it out!

While you’re there, check out this post. Michelle is not only talented, beautiful and exuberant, she’s one of the most generous people I know and she has opened up her space to guest writers. This is not a “blogger only” forum. If you have a story to tell, she wants to hear from you!

Comments are closed here but I hope to see you at Michelle’s. ❤

It Begins As A Thought


It begins as a thought. A sarcastic musing when I read an email or a mean spirited brood over a status on Facebook. An uncharitable opinion, a negative view, a snarky jab. This isn’t who I am but this is exactly who I am when I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing.

It’s embarrassing to catch myself having these thoughts. They say that I think you are not good enough, smart enough, worthy enough. You are not enough. And if you follow the rule of ‘you spot it, you got it’, then I am not enough.

I tell myself that these are just thoughts. Harmless thoughts that go through my mind as I see something. But they feed off each other and it doesn’t take long for these thoughts to grow into actions. A snap at my kids when they ask for my time, an eye roll at my husband when he speaks, a curse word at the driver in front of me. Read More

My Canyon

I’m sitting in my yard with my laptop and a bottle of Method All-Purpose spray. I really want to write but I can’t figure out what story needs to be told so I focus on the mosquitos instead. I’ve sprayed my ankles with insect repellent and anything that dares to fly near me gets a shot of the Method. I chuckle at the irony that non-toxic plant-based household cleaner makes those suckers fall right out of the sky.

And that’s when it hits me that I really need to get out more. Read More

Click on photo to go to source.

Click on photo to go to source.


I know what you’re going to say. You didn’t do it. It was someone else. It doesn’t matter that there’s not a shred of evidence that points to anyone but you. You will still deny it.

You’re doing drugs. Again. You’re acting reckless. Again. I welcomed you back into our lives and you hurt someone I love. Again.

But you’re not the only one who has made mistakes. I don’t know what I could’ve been thinking. In the nearly 8 years since you’ve been in my life, you have ripped through our lives like a tornado and every time he took you back, we took you back. Without a good explanation, without so much as an apology. Why would you need to apologize to us? You didn’t hurt us directly, right? That’s what I told myself. If he chose to be with you, respecting him meant respecting that choice. Read More

Big Girls Do Cry

all about me

My daughter watched me burst into tears yesterday.

It started in the morning when I connected my new printer and couldn’t get it to work. It was incredibly frustrating but I didn’t despair. I still had options. After uninstalling and reinstalling the software on my laptop, I was able to print wirelessly. I did a little happy dance and thought about buying a lottery ticket.

That afternoon, I prepped for homework. No, not my homework. My kids’ homework. They’re 5 and 6. I don’t remember even having homework until junior high (now apparently called middle school) and by that time my parents had already forgotten everything they learned in high school and were completely incapable of helping me (or so they claimed). I also don’t remember anyone warning me about this when I was pregnant. You went on and on about the trials of potty training and not forgetting to leave money from the tooth fairy (and to take the tooth – darn it!) but you glossed right over how I’d have to coach them through worksheets, book reports and projects – in kindergarten. Read More

San Diego Sunset

A picture I took of a San Diego sunset.

I’ve spent the last year learning what it means to trust myself in dark places. I don’t mean darkness in the sense of depression or danger. More like learning to feel my way through the dark without automatically reaching over to turn on a light and asking myself what I need to learn in this place before moving on. Part of that has been separating from outside influences so that I could practice thinking for myself. I haven’t abandoned my support network but I’ve definitely taken a different approach to weighing those influences.

As many of you know, I stopped identifying as an alcoholic over a year ago and wrote about it here last August. I don’t want to talk about moderation or even specifically about drinking. All I’ve ever really wanted to talk about is my journey in learning how to take care of myself. Read More