Category Archives: Personal

Deadlines and Commitments

Sticking with things is good, except when it isn’t. A soul-killing job, the wrong marriage or relationship, a toxic friendship, etc. I enjoy blogging, but I have a full life with a lot of other responsibilities, and other creative projects (thanks for the reminder, Alexa Padgett). Posting every day for the first week of the year was […]

The Joy of Pivot Tables

Ah, January. When I have all the previous year’s personal finance data and can spend untold hours allowing my OCD nature to run wild through endless spreadsheets, pivot tables, pie charts and other instruments of analytical torture. For someone with an income as modest as mine, and as many children as I have, I’m actually […]

Snow Day

The concept of the snow day was foreign to me for the first four decades of my life. Snow was, as a coworker from the Philippines said yesterday at the office, something on Christmas cards. I moved from Los Angeles to Santa Fe in 2006, after years of mild New Mexico winters. The winter of 2006-07 […]

Timehop

When I heard people talk about Timehop, I thought they meant when Facebook greets you with these “x years ago today” memories. Apparently that’s just called Facebook Memories, and Timehop is an app — which I don’t need, since I have Facebook, right? This “7 years ago today” picture was in my Facebook feed the […]

The January Project

Since I stopped blogging regularly five or six years ago, I’ve written a few posts, but it’s been in fits and starts. Every time I think about starting again, I think, why? Do I have anything of significance to say? I no longer have any interest in writing about politics (though once in a while a […]

Can you ever go home again?

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said you could never step into the same river twice, since the river ever flowed, and was never the same at any moment as it was at any other. Cities are like that. They grow and decay, decline and gentrify. Their character changes subtly or dramatically as an ever-changing river of […]

Road Trip: Part Deux

You’d think the Grand Canyon would be hard to top, but it turned out to be third on Tessie’s list of awesome things on the northern Arizona leg of our road trip. When we got back to Williams, home base for the Grand Canyon expedition, I got off the freeway one exit too soon, which […]

Road Trip

My 10-year-old daughter and I spent the day at the Grand Canyon, her first trip there and my first time since I was her age. I was a little disappointed when I went as a child, because I expected it to look like it did in all the professional photographs I’d seen, the colors more […]

Slacker Mom’s assault on moral decency and good nutrition

The other night I took my two eldest daughters, 14 and almost 12, to their first concert. Fall Out Boy seemed a safe enough choice. I actually like some of their songs. People my age without kids apparently have never heard of them, though, because a couple of friends who asked who was playing responded […]

Reflections on New York

I was in New York last week for the BlogHer conference, the first time I’d been to New York in 20 years. It was exactly 20 years ago, July 1995. I remember because I went with my best friend and we flew there on her birthday. Enraptured by the Greek and Roman collections at the […]

Welcome to my midlife crisis

What I now recognize as my midlife crisis began about five years ago. I was a stay at home mom, married, a practicing Catholic. I was putting the finishing touches on a book that a publisher had expressed interest in after seeing a chapter and outline. Life was good, or so it seemed. I never […]

What am I afraid of?

I must have read What Was I Scared Of? a thousand times over the years as one after another of my children passed in and then out of that stage when they wanted to hear the same book again and again. When it was Dr. Seuss, I didn’t mind so much, in part because of […]

Why I Hate Valentine’s Day

Don’t happy people in love have enough days to celebrate? Their anniversary, the day they met, his birthday, her birthday, random romantic vacations… So many days to post pictures of the roses he sent, or the ocean view from the balcony of the hotel room they can’t tear themselves away from, even with the beach […]

When life and comedy and scripture collide

The last couple of weeks have felt kind of like a test. So many things have gone awry, so many little and medium-sized challenges and annoyances and unexpected expenses and repairs and things not working as they should.  I have taken some of them in stride, and others, not so much. By coincidence, the movie […]

Happy New Year

Two years ago, on New Year’s Day 2012, I wrote this post.  The photo on the post was of a woman’s hand holding a champagne glass.  It wasn’t my hand, just some random picture I had found on the internet.  The woman’s hands were lovely, as hand models’ hands are, and her long nails were […]

Back when I used to be a blogger

Back when I used to be a blogger — a real blogger, who posted at least 3 or 4 times a week, sometimes more — there is no way on earth I would have not heard of a blog that had 395,975 likes on Facebook, a blog that was turned into a book that, only […]

The Test of Time

You never know how long things will last.  These four daisies, for instance.  They were part of an arrangement I got more than a month ago, and as I picked the others out one by one as they withered and died, these somehow kept their youthful vigor – if youthful vigor is the appropriate term […]

Maskbook

The other day, I was talking on the phone with a friend I hadn’t spoken to for a while and she said, you are always so positive on Facebook. She meant it as a compliment, because she was telling me about another of her friends is  negative on Facebook and she finds it demoralizing. I […]

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: A Comedy in Three Acts

Setting:  The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, in the City of the Holy Faith. Act I Portia, Cordelia and Tess and Mom wait for mass to begin.  Tess sits with arms crossed in stone-faced silence as her ploy to skip mass by faking sick has failed.  Elizabeth is in the ladies room to […]

New Years Resolutions

I’ve always been ambivalent about New Year’s resolutions.  Some years I’ve made them, some years not.  Rarely do people keep them.  In tongue in cheek recognition of this, my friend Bob Cornelius wrote on Facebook last night: 1st Resolution: Go to the gym every day. 2nd: Feel guilty for not going. 3rd: Pie & ice […]

News New Mexico

I was on News New Mexico with Jim Spence and Dr. Michael Swickard on KSNM 570 this morning, and am going to be a weekly contributor to the show.  Once we pick a regular time, I’ll post it. The show airs from Las Cruces, NM, but they have a very user-friendly podcast. There is also […]

My new jobs

This is my new office.  Yes, it’s the Roundhouse, home of the New Mexico State Legislature.  No, they didn’t do a recount and discover I’d won the election after all.  I’m working as a bill analyst, poring over every piece of proposed education legislation proposed in the House and producing analyses for the Republican members. […]

I miss my blog

Several people have told me over the last few months that they miss my blog. I miss it, too. I knew it had been a long time since I’d written, but when I looked today and saw that my last post was in May, I was stunned. I hadn’t realized it had been that long. […]

Why I don’t blog much these days (part 3)

This is Cordelia at the ice rink, where the three big girls and I have been spending quite a bit of our time lately. Skating is great exercise, and great fun, but it eats into my writing time. As if I didn’t have time management problems enough, my husband and I are going to take […]

Why I don’t blog much these days (part 2)

At the moment, I can be thin or I can be interesting, but I cannot possibly be both.

Why I don’t blog much these days (part 1)

This is Portia’s new hobby. It’s only fun if she has on her clothes and, ideally, her shoes as well. Therefore, anytime I fill or drain the bathtub, I need to stay in the room, or post a guard. Regrettably, the guards (the older girls) are the sort that would get themselves and their fellow […]

Why I am so clever

The post title is pinched from a chapter title in one of Friedrich Nietzsche’s books.  I cannot remember which one, because I had time either to look it up or pinch and upload a picture of philosophy’s bad boy, but not both, so I chose the latter. And yes, that means that I can now […]

So you think I’m too young to use a knife?

Go ahead and try to take it…out of my cold, dead hands. Obviously, I figured out how to get a new photo onto the blog, since Portia was a little bitty baby when my technical difficulties began.  I still can’t upload pictures to the blog, but I can upload them to Flickr or Picasa and […]

Am I blue

You’ve seen this picture before.  You’re not seeing a new one because I have been unable to upload new images to my blog for many, many months now, and it’s really got me, well, blue. It used to be so easy.  I’d press the “insert an image” icon, and then click the “Choose files to […]

How the other half lives

Not the rich other half, or the poor other half, but the other half that has two children.  What’s the average for American couples now?  2.1 children?  1.9?  Something like that.  This week, I have 2.0 because 2.0 of my 4.0 are in California with my husband.  The house is quieter.  The laundry doesn’t pile […]

A post, finally, amid snow flurries, typing lessons and sneaky back-door tax increase elections

Just a quick note to let my readers know I haven’t taken leave of the land of the living.  It’s been a very busy couple of weeks.  I’ve done some reassessment of priorities, and have really focused on getting our schooing routine in order and, to a lesser extent, getting my exercise regimen going again.  […]

What’s new

My posts have been few and far between lately, compared to my output a few months ago, say.  This business of educating one’s own children is a responsibility that’s been weighing heavily upon me of late.  When you homeschool, and your kids turn out to be ignorami, there’s nobody else to blame.  That’s some pressure, […]

The personal and the political

The personal — On the bright side, no one in my house has swine flu yet.  On the not quite so bright side, my washing machine died with a load full of sopping wet, not-yet-clean clothes inside. The political — I’d say Chris Christie is going to win a big, fat gubernatorial victory, wouldn’t you? […]

Look who’s shaving her head

My friend Tanya Van Dyke, that’s who.  She’s doing it through St. Baldrick’s, an organization that raises money for childhood cancer research.  It works like this:  someone, like Tanya, agrees to shave her head in order to get her friends and family to donate money to St. Baldrick’s for cancer research. Personally, you couldn’t pay […]

Absentee blogger

That’s me this week, still trying to get our school routine back on track after the vacation.  There just isn’t a lot of creative energy left over for writing.  Oh, and you didn’t miss the NMI link; I took this week off, the first time I’ve done so since I began writing the column. I’m […]

The end of the vacation and the Nobel Peace Prize

Today I woke up in my own bed again after ten nights in various hotel beds, couches and air mattresses on the floor.  My back will take a few days to recover, both from that and from far too many hours in the car.  I’d give just about anything to spend the morning at home, […]

My mom went to Nordstrom and all I got was this lousy blog post

In the information age, having too few computers with online connections is an even greater hardship than having too few bathrooms.  Here, belatedly, is the link to my column at NMI this week.  It’s about Obama and the Olympics (and old story by now) and my take on it may surprise you. There were so many […]

Because bloggers are supposed to post every day

Or at least every weekday.  That’s what they say.  They.  You know they, right?  I’m not sure exactly who they are, but they probably have fewer children than I do.  Or they might have more, but they are guys, and have wives to go along with all those kids. This week, my four children and I […]

Throw enough money at Johnny and surely he’ll read

This is the title of my NMI column that ran yesterday.  Normally it runs on Tuesdays, but they ran it early.  I wanted to leave the Allen Weh interview as the top story on Monday, so I did not link to the column until today. Coincidentally, a commenter on the Weh interview linked to his […]

Man’s inhumanity to man

I wrote this long, grim post several days ago, but as often happens, had to leave the computer before doing a final proofread and hitting “publish” and then was too busy to get back to it.  The news stories discussed are a few days old, but the sentiments are timeless. It’s hard not to be […]

Thoroughly modern me

The other day I mentioned we’d been to Old Salem to see how the Moravians lived, but that day we would be hanging out at the pool.  Well, we’ve done a lot of hanging out at the pool since then.  Normally, I like to do a lot of culturally enriching type sightseeing when I travel, […]

The kids, the pool and the Moravians

No post yesterday because I was at Old Salem seeing how the Moravians lived in the olden days.  My daughter Elizabeth is having a wondeful time with her friend Jane, enjoying being one of a pair of big girls instead of the eldest of four little ones.  I am still getting over the fact that […]

All quiet on the blogging front

I haven’t lost interest in my blog; I’ve just been busy.  On Tuesday my eldest daughter and I leave to visit Cathleen and Patrick O’Hannigan in North Carolina, and I set Monday as the deadline for getting my book proposal in the mail to a publisher. Which book?  Why, the book I had practically finished […]

Facebook is killing my blog

Seriously. I have wasted more time on Facebook the past few days than I can believe. Maybe wasted isn’t the right word, because certainly it’s nice being able to keep up with what your friends and family are doing, but still, I really did blog a lot more before I started spending so much time […]

Belated blog anniversary

I missed it! I can’t believe I actually missed my own blog anniversary. My first post was May 19, 2008. I remember four days later, during a busy week when I had houseguests, and started writing this post, but never finished it. I haven’t been finishing much lately. Only the necessary things. And the blog […]

Better by the dozen

What’s kept me from the computer lately is that one of my friends and her children are visiting from out of town this week. This means we now have six children in the house, but the other night we had two other friends over, who also have six children between them, for a total of […]

Bores and bullies need not apply

I’ve always had a completely open – you might even say liberal – comments policy. I wanted a free exchange of ideas on this blog. Unfortunately, my forum has turned into a bully pulpit, where a small number of left-wing radicals who despise everything I stand for mock my political and religious beliefs, bully others […]

Nothing else matters

Remember that Metallica song, “Nothing Else Matters“? It came out in 1991, when I was young (well, younger anyway), newly married, without the marks of time that Estee Lauder and I have done our level best to undo, and above all, without children. That song has been running through my head because I spent Tuesday […]

Childless in Albuquerque

Yesterday I drove down to Albuquerque for the Christian Association of Parent Educators (CAPE) annual convention. Last night some of the other Santa Fe homeschooling moms and I went to dinner, and when the hostess asked, “Do you need any children’s menus?” I can’t tell you the euphoria I felt saying, “No!” Isn’t that awful? […]

Fiscal flotsam and jetsam

I’ve been trying to get a new blog post out for days, but it’s the wrong time of year for getting anything done — anything but taxes, that is. Every time I have a spare moment to sit down and write, my husband calls with another request for financial information. We go through this every […]