It's new territory.

I originally meant the whole electronics thing, but really every sunrise is new territory in MotherLand.

My newborn humanoid once looked at me for every clue of information, food, care, love, shelter.

At age three, the electronic music from the ice cream truck played and she said "is that your phone?" it cracked open the concept that we were in a different era.

We thought it was cute when at four years old, while visiting Grandma's house, Girl said, "I just want an E-dot to lay down with me for a little bit." We figured out she meant A-dult and reveled in how the electronic age is part of their life right from the start.

Today, getting ready for school, Miss 15 asked, "what's the weather supposed to be today...OH never mind... I have an APP for that!"

Motherhood... there's an APP for that. APParently I am not essential personnel anymore!



Her raven hair spilled over her bare shoulders. Her lips glistened red. She was undeniably glamorous, luscious. She caught her own eye passing by the hall mirror and struck a pose, marveling at her transformation into an unabashed vixen. Yes, she still possesed "it." Her sleek black velvet gown hugged her Rubinesque volupte with a gripping intensity only her passionate lover had ever wrapped her in. Tonight she would sparkle at the black tie affair in the nation's capital, where she would mingle with who's who of Washington in support of a worthy cause. She would be the envy of every man and woman in the packed ballroom, rendered breathless from her astounding beauty and heaving breasts....until...

"MOM...I think I'm gonna be siiiiiick!"

Snapping out of her self-admiration trance, she quickly turned her focus to the three year old standing in the middle of the kitchen, little lip aquiver.

"Do you feel bad?" she asked.
"I think I'm gonna 'throw uuuup!"

Rivaling Wonderwoman's speed and authority, she snapped into action, grabbing up the time-bomb tot and aiming her, AWAY FROM THE VELVET DRESS, and toward the kitchen sink. Her charmed evening spiraled down the sink drain as well.

Never had the dichotomy of glamour and motherhood been so poignant.

Sitter sent home, velvet dress flung on the bed, her cool evening of looking hot had suddenly and unceremoniously morphed into cool washcloths and hot wash cycles. Rather than 4 hours of scintillating social butterflying it was 4 rounds of changed bedding and 4 hours of head petting and motherly loving.

In her ratty t-shirt and sweats, hair hastily yanked back and smudged mascara, she could think of no more beautiful way to spend an evening than tending to her little one "making it all better." Her most worthy cause to be sure. Motherhood is a come as you are party that can spring up at any time!

(This is a true story although recount of elegance may have been subject to artistic license.)


Husband on travel, daughter at away camp, animals doing their usual 23/7 snoozefest. All I can hear is the whirr of the refrigerator, the occasional muffled clunk of the ice-maker, a 17-year locust outside that is either early or late by 8 years....

AHHH, my chance to live the life of a single gal with nothing but time. I had an imaginary list of how I would spend my day playing, floating on the wind, wherever it wanted to take me. Isn't it what we all fondly reminisce about....

In reality, my big plan was to attack all of the things I can never get to while I am on task when everyone is in my face (and I say that with all the love in the world.)

Tidying a room is not like painting a room that will stay painted for 3 years. It's good for 15 minutes if you are lucky. I was relishing in the concept of cleaning up the house, and then watching it keep acting clean each day until the Category 5 storm returns.

I was going to rip everything out of Madison's closets and reorganize .... I've gotten as far as plunking a laundry basket in front of her closed door. It now feels like there is a drooling, fire-breathing, pointy prickly scaled, bloodshot-eyed gurgling growling monster on the other side of that closed door. I can tell you now, I've already given up.

I was going to wash & fold every stitch of errant dirty laundry in this house. I've gotten as far as making three piles on my bedroom floor. The thought of carrying a load down, finding a holding pen for what's been napping in the dryer for 4 days until I am in FOLD-ALL-IN-FRONT-OF-TV just makes me TIRED.

I was going to clean out my closet, declare things 'graduated' that I know I will never fit back into, and if I did, do I REALLY want to be wearing a yellow leather mini skirt at this stage in my life? I did have the distraction of gabbing with my friend on speaker phone while I tossed and sorted & rehung. I found a total of $23 wadded into various jacket pockets, which was magical. Manicure pennies from heaven, I say.

I was going to clean out the garage, go to Goodwill every day with a new load of things I know I will never use, acknowledge that their Garage-Purgatory days have concluded and be rid of the clutter finally. EUchh...maybe another time. God forbid I ruin the manicure.

I was going to wash & shine the kitchen floor. Full of fresh gusto, I cleared out the table, chairs & stools into the family room, mopped like I was getting paid by the stroke....and... then... while admiring the 'ballroom effect' of a cleared out room and appreciating the vast uncluttered tidiness... I lost my spell of motivation.

So here I sit, on the dog bed that I've tossed into the corner, on a pristine floor that I don't want to cover up, OR shine, OR think about any more...I'd much rather be writing because so much ELSE that needs to be done!

Productive procrastination at its best!


Get your sashes out and "stitch witch" on your Force Feeding badge.

I am Forced to Feed.

The whole "feed the family" thing scares me with the same amount of nerve wrack as "they're going to bite my hand off" in a petting zoo.

It's entirely up to me. The nutrition and health or lack-thereof of my family rests on my itty bitty shoulders. I have to make sure everyone gets their 16 vitamins and minerals and doesn't go hungry whether in home or on the run. I have to nag calcium into Girl's bones and see that her diet is more than a parade of after-school-snacks and that the Baconator I married gets some roughage now and then.

In the delivery room I transformed from my previous "happy eating a bowl of cereal for dinner on the couch in front of the TV" to a skilled and trained nutritionist. But I don't remember going to class for it, so I'm making it up as I go.

My basic raw mothering instincts tell me: "too much sugar is bad, three squares a day, get some greens in there, protein & calcium are musts."

I learned on the battlfield (and I'm not saying this with pride) that:
eating something before leaving the house staves off low sugar tantrums, a pizza in the freezer can save the day, pancakes are a good vehicle for sneaking in nutrients, no one really likes Tuna Supreez, there's no fighting halloween candy, oranges have calcium for someone who turns her nose up at milk, chocolate in the evening brings on the nightmare monster and ramen noodles are an embarrassing 'just keep the kids alive' secret in my pantry.

The non-stop merry-go-round of meals is a ride I am strapped onto with handcuffs. Somedays it's a hit, most days it's just tolerable but everyone is still alive and still asking "what's for dinner" so it can't be all that bad... can it?



This Sunday we leave for our Annual Thanksgiving in Sarasota trip. Family is together, cousins, aunts, uncles. There's a beach there. Ordinarily I love the beach but this year I am terrified. I've been MEANING to lose some of the weight I've been steadily gaining. You get busy shuttling, emergency shopping for something your kids "just forgot!!! I neeed it tomorrrow!" and the likes. All mothers, I don't care who you are, will do what needs to be done and pay less attention to self and one day be trying on clothes in a 3-way mirror and be gripped by the terrifying notion "Mom Butt!!"

Today I am in that classic school nightmare where you realize you have a test that day and you haven't even cracked open the book. I leave in 3 days. It's unlikely I will lose 30 lbs. or even three by Sunday.

Remember I do not glamorize for the morning routine of getting girl to school and dog walked. As my porky, unkept self is driving past the grocery store on my way home, a brain balloon floats up reminding me of 5 things I need. It's 7am on a wednesday. I'll be perfectly invisible.

Evidently I am not and there must've been a recent "love your customer" training session because every chirpy stock dude makes a special point to say "GOOD MORNING MA'AM! FINDING EVERYTHING YOU NEED?" I get haggier & heavier with every greeting.

The best I can do at this point is not GAIN any more weight before sunday, thus flavored zero cal waters might be a useful tool. Do I want vitamins? Minerals? Strawberry? Açai..with anti oxidents? Kiwi Lemonaide with memory fiber? Blueberry with vitamins but not minerals? Wild Cherry with an underwire? 36 C Rasberry that will cross your heart? Front snap with cleavage booster watermelon with aspartame and back fat control? "GOOD MORNING MA'AM! FINDING EVERYTHING YOU NEED?"

Scurrying past the magazine aisle another brain balloon ... airplane reading. I grab a "BE GAUNT IN 4 HOURS!" magazine about motivating to work out and diet. Clearly reading it ON the plane on the way to the beach will not get me thin... but those who can't, read about those who can and did.

My route takes me in the direction of the donut case. I am playing with fire if I get within 2 aisles of it so I make a sharp right so as to avoid the gravitational pull. My hair is reacting with a static electricity-like reach in that direction. I manage to escape one temptation at a time walking past the bread and muffins by using the "Dionne Warwick Method" of diet control ... sing it with me now: "WALK ON BYYYYY." Just when I thought it was safe, I come face to face with Mega Monster Truck Rally 'Family's Visiting!" 46 Croissant Superpower Pack... Two for One. "WALK ON BYYYYY."

As I evaluate my 'obviously you are trying to lose weight' purchases, I opt for the Non-Judgemental Self-Scan because I just don't feel like being sized up by a check out clerk. If I was a check out clerk, without a doubt I would be analyzing the combinations people are buying and trying to piece together what they are about to do. God help the clerk that would comment on today's purchases. I could not be responsible for my actions so I Self-Scan. Plus it's fun to see if you can scan like a professional - and I'm fascinated by the infrared light ray mechanism that can read lines waved in front of it.

Sidenote - leaning to put an item in the farthest bag does not qualify as a workout.

When I'm ready to pay, the infrared magic light ray machine asks "do you qualify for a senior citizen discount?" DOES THE SCANNER READ WRINKLE LINES?? WHY DID IT JUST ASK ME THAT?? I must've yelled that out in a blind panic because the attendant pipes in "it's Thursday. Every Thursday is senior discount day and it automatically asks that." It's a milestone when you stop getting carded and I thought I'd skidded in to the next stop on the road to ruin. Whewh!

I'm already swimming in the surf of self consciousness over my burgeoning "beach ready" body, at least I can still pretend the wrinkles aren't calling the shots yet... it's just thursday!

Morning Bus Stop Beauty Pageant

Today, ladies, it's our MORNING GLORIOUS badge we are earning.

My school day routine is to do a "wake up" sort of behavior and stumble downstairs.

I feed the two sets of whiskers and tails staring me down, do a little glassy-eyed laundry change-out-type motions, pour that cup of life then run through studio stuff to set up my day.

Then I get Girl situated for school and when she leaves for the bus, Dean Martin (Mr. Handsomepants black lab) and I join her for the start of his walk. Notice I did not mention beautify or primp anywhere in that routine.

I am sometimes aware that other humans will be witnessing me, but because it's my neighborhood, I somehow feel it's an extension of my home and I wouldn't even feel bad, really, walking the dog in pajamas. I have.

I can get as fancy as work-out capris and a sweatshirt, and a running hat to hide my Medusa hair. Taking cues from the Big Book of Hollywood Glamour, I don big black sunglasses to hide the big dark circles under my eyes. I am the first to is not pretty. In fact, it's impressively not pretty!

I then shuffle my way up the street to greet the other contestants competing for this semester's crown and sash of
Ms. Morning School Bus Stop
(Names have been changed to protect the guilty.)

First up is Heather, having a particularly aggressive bedhead day, who is forever in flip flops she's had since before she met her husband, chewed up by the dog she had since before she had her flip flops. She gazes confidently at the crowd and judges in her untucked tshirt with stains from the cup of coffee she carries to the bus stop.

Next we have Amy parading up the culdesac runway in baggy tshirt, sweatpants with one sleeve yanked up past her elbow and the other splattered with pancake batter, baby on hip. You won't find rhinestones or a sequins on Amy, but you will see leftover glitter in her hair and a three day old ponytail.

Then there is Sally. (There's always a Sally.) Stopping short of concrete hair, Sally is always prim and proper, gorgeous and stylishly dressed for work, to everyone else's dismay. She makes up for her perfect looks by being always great to chat with, so we forgive her, though she will never win the crown in this pristine condition.

It's our pleasure to introduce Marian in white ankle socks and garden tennies, all-purpose baggy khaki shorts, one leg shaved, and whatever shirt or jacket is closest within reach. Her hair is urgently clipped back, well, most of it, no makeup and a serious amount of energy for the 7am hour. She will surely win the Most Caffeinated title.

Finally we have Rob, stay-at-home dad on the block, who just doesn't count. He's a dude and dudes can look however they want in the morning. It looks the same in the afternoon and evening and they always look good. But because he shows up for the pageant every day, he gets an honorable mention.

We count on each other to keep up the competition for this coveted crown because it's a silent language of liberation for all of us to not have to be ON that early in the morning. Sally is secretly envious.

I am a Dashboard Beauty Queen


My clock system is precicely the same as before I had kids. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour.. 24/7/365..four score and 7 years ago..

Remember the non stressed day of waking up, warm soothing shower, leisurely make-up and hair session. I mean really going at those lashes to lift and separate and add volume, not that you even needed it. You worked, you went to the gym maybe dinner out, you watched a little television trash, little girlfriend gossip hour, you slept a full 8 hours.

Clock is the same. What has changed is the amount of things I must cram in to that same clock. I don't think I even need to detail that, because you've got your own blend of 1,001 things ready to spew.

Doing double & triple time, we combine what we can. We write thank you notes between texting, while waiting at piano practice, we watch TV on the treadmill while marinating steaks, we return mom's call in the hardware store comparing paint swatches and having a key made. We are making a mental grocery list while class. Never are we doing one single task at a time anymore. NEVER.

Smart moms scrounge out more time in the car, which is fraught with idle moments at stop lights and carpool lines. Until they invent mobile trunk washing machines and appliances, the car becomes a mobile office where we sign papers in the carpool line, map out the week in the drive through pharmacy, and jot to-do lists at stoplights, make appointments, check statuses, return calls.

Now, I don't know about you, but it used to be, back before all this motherhood business, when I had nothing but time, and could spend it in the mirror, all I really needed in my glorious youth was lip gloss, a wink and a smile in the mirror before strolling out the door. Now, with minutes at a premium, I have zero time for beauty, unless I wake up earlier, but what about beauty rest?!

Seems when I need glamour regime time the most, my commute from the bathroom mirror to the front door gets longer every day, patching up crows feet, spackling in laugh lines, caulking in frown lines and restoring dark circles to their 'natural' luster.

Thus, I have outfitted my car with a custom

My very own spa on wheels:
1. The glove compartment is a station where I can put on a fresh hair tease and get spritzed.

2. Ashtray holds an assortment of ponytail holders and clips

3. Arm rest holds a lotion and fierce variety of nail polishes. Stoplights are for painting, driving is for drying, at position 10 and 2 on the wheel, with air setting on high wind velocity. (On a nice day, the window and sunroof are ideal...but watch the hair.)

4. My cup holder stores an adorable travel mug stocked with eye liner, mascara, lip liner and plumper.

5. The visor comes complete with lighted mirror for up close work.

6. I can monitor my age in the gray-view mirror.

7. I haven't gone as far as shaving my legs at a stoplight, but I have the razor in the lower compartment of the armrest, along with deodorant and a toothbrush... it's really only a matter of time...or lack thereof.

Have I become a dashing dashboard beauty? I don't know about the beauty part, but the dashing part is spot on.



We are flying overseas very soon...that is if the US Department of State decides to let Girl have her passport.
It's stuck in the process with every mistake and every delay allowed by law...Murphy's Law.

Although I am a fairly even-tempered gal, I am not above the regularly scheduled programming of hormonal flame-throwing when provoked. However, I've been EXPERT at playing nice while I've been on the phone with Passport Agency 2x a day for a week, an hour plus each time. You catch more flies with honey, as they say, and no one flies this weekend without a passport in hand.

Why the passport delay? Hair.

Good hair, I might add.

My genetic makeup does not include gifted and talented hair. Thankfully Girl ended up with a slightly better lot than I did, thanks to her daddy, but it is not without a some wrangling to get it in the fabulous zone.

Keep in mind, Girl is 13. Anyone who has had a 13 year old knows it's all about the The Power and The Pity. Getting her to do anything she is not inclined to do, such as pulling her hair back, or wearing a headband is an act of Congress, bribery and threats.

While getting a new passport photo, I went the extra mile, risking life and limb to cajole her into wearing a headband "because you are going to have to live with this picture for the next five years and if there ever was a time to bother it's NOW! You don't want to be stuck with 'triangle hair' for the next five years!" I'm sure I wasn't that brief or pleasant while crowing on about it.

It looked great. I loved her hair. Girl loved her hair. The lady who took the picture loved her hair. The passport office clerk who accepted her picture loved her hair. The U.S. Department of State did NOT love her hair. The headband. Unless it is for religious reasons, one must not wear any head attire.

Do they not understand that when people of our genetic hair disposition achieve good hair it is a religious experience?!


"Natural childbirth" to me, meant simply going without makeup! I was lining up my epidural as I was signing in, still smiling, at the nurse's station.

Did you go through childbirth? Did you get an epidural? Did you recognize the insanity that anything in the world could possibly make the concept of a horse needle being shoved into your spine appealing?

The smell and taste of Red Bull nausiates me. I liken the taste to the smell of a Greyhound Bus bathroom deodorizer (can't speak for the taste of that!)

However, the thought of 'natural mothering' is more terrifying than Red Bull is nausiating. Much the same way I did the math about the joys of an epidural, I conclude that Red Bull is my friend in helping to minimize the pain of being devastatingly tired so I can deliver a clean(er) house, walked dog, a meal on the table, a properly nagged family, a load or 10 of laundry a day AND do my work as designer and writer.

Someone turned me on to Red Bull while I was training for a marathon, where one is challenged to the limit to find and maintain energy. I reserved it for just the long runs. I would glug it down like a bitter tonic and count on the 'red' or the 'bull' part to carry me through some portion of the distance. After the marathon was complete, I still had one lone can left in the fridge. I knew it was in gave me a friendly hello every time I would open the fridge. I gave it a nod in return, but I had discounted any other use for it.

One especially allergy-bitten, lack-of-sleep foggy headed day, still groggy after a mere 8 cups of coffee, I staggered to the fridge in my habitual "auto-explore" one learns when working from home. Not only did the can say it's usual hello to me, it broke into songs of a chorus of angels. I found my savior.

I freely confess on the days when schedules are overloaded and pollen count is on high, coffee is about as effective as taking an aspirin for labor pains. I keep on special reserve for those days, a stash of little silver cans that I used to love to hate and now hate that I love!

What do you do the make it through on those especially exhausting days?