The Random

The Day I Knew He Wouldn’t Leave

One from my Random Thoughts blog. I still feel this way.

I *knew* when the church doors opened and the music started to play I was in the right place at the right time with the right person. The last 16 years hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been worth every minute.

The Day I Knew He Wouldn’t Leave.

My Grandma died in 1997. I had been dating Capt. for less than a year.

At that point, we were still kind of tiptoeing around each other. Neither one of us were the “fall fast fall hard” types, and I wasn’t sure if I could REALLY honestly believe that he would be there when I needed him. I’d been disappointed so often before with others bailing out or making an excuse when I was having a hard time, I had trouble even contemplating he might be different. So, I kept asking him, “Are you coming with me?” And he would say, “Yes.”

Then he got sick. Like, barely lift his head off the pillow sick. The fear I was going to have to go through this incredibly emotional experience without him was growing. All I knew was I really wanted him there. We had only recently said, “I love you,” and I was hoping against hope he was the last man I would say it to.

I struggled with myself in the days leading up to the funeral. He had been passing all my little tests thus far. Tests like, “how will he do when he meets my parents?” And, “how will he do during my family Thanksgiving?” With flying colors.

So here we were. One of my most beloved grandparents was gone. I missed her terribly, and really wanted him to be there. I knew I felt stronger with him near me.

The morning of the funeral came, and he showed up at my apartment, wearing a suit, eyes watering, stuffy nose, miserable, and there for me.

It was a turning point for me. After that I really let my guard down with him and allowed myself to fully trust his word. He was there for me. He didn’t try to run when things got hard. No excuses why he couldn’t be there. He’s been there ever since, and I’m so thankful.

Everything is Toxic!

toxicI’ve had this post in draft for a few months now. It’s time to put it out in the world.


A few years ago I started down a journey of learning about and getting attached to where our food actually comes from. I called it “The Year Of Food,” and wrote a series of blog posts on Random Thoughts about the things I learned along the way. We have some work to do along these lines, as a country.

I became loosely attached to the “New Food Movement” a few years ago and advocated for GMO labeling. I haven’t changed my mind on a label. I believe in disclosure and truth in labeling. What I have changed my mind on is the “New Food Movement.”

I can’t sit by and watch while meme after meme shows up in my newsfeed about how toxic everything is. What I’ve found is some of the people who represent this movement believe that Western (i.e., evidence-based) medicine is trying to kill us. I am the daughter of a Western-based medical practitioner. I have been taught in scientific method, logical fallacies and the psychology of bias. I can’t abide what I’m seeing and associate myself with it any more. Reason has to prevail at some point.

For example:

Girl Scout cookies are poisonous. Wheat is toxic. Seed oils. BEER. School lunches, breakfast cereal, cream soups, milk, your perfume, sunscreen….you get the idea. Don’t get started on vaccines.

My kids go to a school where ~30% of the children are on free or reduced lunch. The meals those children get at school are sometimes the only ones they get for the day. The school community holds a food drive every year for the families who are food insecure in our area. I will sometimes bring in easy, quick breakfasts for the school counselor to have on-hand in case a child is late to school and the cafeteria is already closed. These families don’t have the option to choose the “non-toxic” cream soup. They’re hungry, and they’re trying to survive. They don’t ask “is this ORGANIC?” They say thank you.

If you like Thin Mints, then help a Girl Scout out and buy a box. If you don’t have Celiac, eat bread if you want. If you like Coors Light, DRINK IT. (I won’t, but you carry on with your bad self.) You are lucky to have the choice. Many among us don’t. Screaming at them that their food is poison doesn’t help them, it creates shame. No one should be ashamed for doing the best they can with what they have.

There is an emerging eating disorder called “orthorexia.” It is defined as an obsession with the purity and quality of food. A sure sign we’ve gone too far.

The never-ending stream of fear memes around food has finally worn me down. As I said, I’ve been an advocate in the past for GMO labeling, and I still am. A label offers choice. However, extremism with avoiding any food or medicine that *might* have science in it is a serious problem that hinders health for all.

Asking questions of the industries producing our food is appropriate. I’m not advocating a head-in-the-sand approach to food. I am all for looking at the way we do things and questioning – is this good for humans? Is it good for the earth? Is there an alternative? What are the unintended consequences of these decisions when it comes to food production? Questioning science in an effort to further dialogue is good, and good scientists question themselves. That’s how discoveries are made, and how we move forward. However, it’s important to keep in mind that questions like these and the ensuing arguments are immaterial to a person who needs something to eat.

We have a long way to go in this country when it comes to food equality, education and quality, but fear mongering won’t help. I’m taking a stand. A two-tiered food system – those who can eat “well” and those who can’t – is wrong.

Read Watch Listen Download

read watch listen download

Volume Two! I decided to take the high road and not advise you on what to ignore. I trust you’re able to figure it out on your own (*ahem*Kardashian*AHEM*)

So, without further ado:

Read Watch Listen Download No. 2


Praise Won’t Make Your Kid A Narcissist, But THIS Will – Several articles have been published lately discussing the results of a study investigating the development of narcissism in children. Having studied psychology in college, I remember quite clearly the course I took on personality theory. While there are many theories as to what circumstances create a narcissist, one thing should be made clear: praise alone doesn’t. Overly favorable comparison does. “You’re smarter than everyone in the whole school. The rest of the kids are just average.” <– Ta da! Narcissist. (This is what I geek out to. Humans. They’re really interesting.)

Essential Oils Don’t Cure Ebola – Seriously friends, stop it. Essential oils have a definite place in wellness and healing. I’ve used them for twenty-plus years. However, this article talks about the gigantic overstatements being made by multi-level marketing essential oils companies and their representatives. Beyond the daily leveraging of personal relationships on social media to increase sales these companies seem to encourage among the reps, (read: spammy, a turn-off) recommending an essential oil combination as a personal lubricant,(yes, really) a cure for pink eye, or for use as a laxative is dangerous. A government agency of some kind will come along to stop this, and I’ll be happy when they do. And now…bring on the spam.

Executions, Beatings, and Forced Marriage: Life As a Boko Haram Captive – These people are insane. Who is giving them weapons? Women and girls are the keys to lifting the world out of poverty and war and ruin. This group, along with ISIS, are dragging the world down with them. This is a two-part series. The second in the series: How I Escaped Marrying A Boko Haram Fighter. Wow.


Outlander – Yeah yeah yeah, I know. However…one thing I find myself really noticing about this series is the equality of story with respect to the male and female lead characters. It’s a rare thing to find movies and television shows where the sexuality of the male lead is every bit as front and center as the female’s; his thoughts and feelings are evident, and his development doesn’t rely on old tropes. The character of Claire isn’t simply a plot device for the man’s pleasure. Together, the characters of Claire and Jamie are the plot, and she is the narrator, so the story is told from her perspective. Strong acting, too. Having read the first book in the series, I’m actually enjoying the show more. It’s unusual when show trumps book.


My Type, by Saint Motel – Channeling my inner 80’s child. Take a listen:



Dark Sky – Yet another weather app, I know. What’s cool about this one, though, is the hyper-local features. It will tell you with decent accuracy how soon rain is coming, where the nearest rain/weather is in relation to your present location, etc. I live in rain-ville. It’s nice to know. Plus it’s pretty. I’m a sucker for a pretty app.

There you are, friends. Helping you ignore the stupid crap on the internet since 2015. You’re welcome.

Read Watch Listen Ignore: No. 1

read watch listen

I think humans are bombarded with images and information all day every day. So much so, it’s really tough to filter what’s worth reading, and what you can safely ignore without any negative repercussions. I’m here to help.

Read Watch Listen Ignore: No. 1


Would You Call 911 On Another Parent? – This whole “kids can never ever be alone and OMG think of the children yadda yadda yadda”…..overboard. Gone too far. Chill out.

I Was Arrested For Harassment, and That Was the Good Part – One day, one word can alter your trajectory forever, whether you are the harasser or being harassed. This post is particularly timely in light of the recent Curt Schilling story.

Girls Who Steal – Most of us have been around these women. It’s not just your favorite lipstick that suddenly disappears. It’s the backhanded compliment intended to steal your joy, your accomplishments, and your sense of self. “Jellyfishing.”


Netflix is streaming this great four-part series called “The Men Who Built America” about Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan and Ford. We’ve actually watched it as a family and it’s garnered some really great discussions about capitalism, economy, innovation, greed, unions, and how industrialization changed life in America. We’re a little nerdy like that. The kids are in 2nd and 7th grade, and there have been very few scenes that needed explaining for either of them.

The brains behind Crash Course have launched Crash Course Kids on YouTube. It debuted with “Gotta Eat!” Quick, easily digested (yes, pun totally and completely intended) science lessons. I believe the scope will eventually include other topics as well. A long way from Minecraft pop music parodies. Thank God.


Banks, Beggin’ For Thread:


Kim Kardashian’s blonde hair. Don’t give a shit. Neither should you. And because her image has likely clogged the crap out of your feeds for the last 24 hours, I won’t link to it.

You’re welcome.

Grilled Cheese And Tomato Soup

grilled cheeseTwenty-five years ago this month, I was getting ready to pack up my parent’s car with all of my belongings and start college. I was bursting with the desire to leave what I had always known and find the yet to find.

That was when all of my belongings fit in the back of a 80’s model station wagon.

They don’t anymore, in case you were wondering.

I thought I was completely ready to leave my suburban nest and handle it all on my own. I couldn’t wait to make decisions for myself, like I had always wanted. I had a voice, thoughts in my head, words on the tip of my pen, expectations high, and independence was within my grasp.

I was a fool.

My first three years of college were filled with loneliness, homesickness, bad boyfriends, confusion, dumb decisions and a dawning realization that maybe I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was. I got to 21 and was already tired. I was unsure of who I had been, who I had become, and if all the missteps along the way had damaged me permanently.

Half way through my junior year I moved into my first apartment by myself, with the help of my parents. It was a complete dump, like most first apartments are. I remember standing in my dingy little kitchen, with the plugs on the opposite side of where you actually needed them, wondering what I should do next. My parents had left. My soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend was in graduate school in Chicago and I knew that our relationship was in serious trouble. I was alone. It was completely quiet.

The only thing I could think of to do at that moment was to make myself lunch. I walked up to the corner grocery store and bought myself food for my first meal in my first big-girl apartment. Just me, no roommates, no one to navigate around except myself. I made grilled cheese and tomato soup.

It was far and away the best meal I had ever had. This was what real independence felt like. It felt like standing up in the face of an unsteady future and putting one foot in front of the other. It felt like straightening the road in front of me and choosing the direction instead of letting the direction choose me. It felt like growing up.

It tasted like grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Five Freedoms My Kids Enjoy That People Think Are Fading Away

I always read about helicopter parenting, and the extremes that some parents will go to make sure their kids never experience anything negative. I can’t relate. A few years ago, I read a guest post on Free Range Kids that was one mother’s lament that her daughter would not enjoy the same freedoms that she had as a child.

Then, this morning, I read this post on Free Range Kids, and I remembered this post I wrote in 2011. I’ve edited it and am sharing it again.

I stand by my original freedoms. I see more risk in trying to cloister and protect than letting go a little and allowing your children get a taste of independence.

Five Freedoms We Make Certain Our Kids Have:

1. Recess – During school, the kids get two or three recesses per day. If I can get them to school on time, they can have a short one before school begins, so that makes FOUR. Rain or shine, the children are outside; running, climbing, swinging, making up wild games like “Lava Monster” and playing.

2. Getting Hurt – Girl Child got a blister on her hand from all her monkey bar climbing, and it popped and bled at school. She told the duty teacher, went to the office, got a bandaid, and went right back out for the remainder of her recess. No forms, no injury reports, no inquisition, no phone call home….dealt with, done. Boy Child bonked his nose on the handle bars of his bike, bled all over the place, and we somehow managed to NOT sue the bike manufacturer. Kids fall down. They get hurt. 99.9999999999% of the time they come out of it with a good story. I’ve told Girl Child: scars are stories. So are small owies.

3. Playing outside – Playing inside – When the kids gets home from school, they are allowed to get a snack and rest their brains, and then allowed to go outside and play. They ride their bikes, run around, play with our neighbor’s children, and I stay inside making dinner or folding laundry or taking a deep breath. I don’t hover. They know their neighborhood boundaries. When they are at school, they are doing hands-on activities with computers, going on Urban Walking Tours; they are raising salmon eggs and watching them hatch, they go on trail walks in the pouring down rain….no one is having a hissy fit about this. No one.

4. Activities – The SubKids have lots of things they wants to try. We are incredibly fortunate that we are able to give them the luxury of test-driving several activities. That said, the kid’s activities this last school year were Mondays, Thursdays and Saturday mornings. They are not all afternoon/evening, every day. I’m perfectly fine with my kids NOT being Olympians before they’re 15, or a musical/dance/sports/blah blah blah protegé before they’re in high school. Somewhere along the line we’ve all bought into the myth that unless we keep them “busy” they will get in trouble. I wasn’t busy constantly. SubHub wasn’t. No one else that I knew was, and yet here we are, fully functioning human beings who learned as we grew. Not an Olympian in the bunch. My ego isn’t driving my children’s activities.

5. Long summer days with hours spent outside – There are days in the summer where I hardly see either one of my kids. They’re outside, playing with the neighbor’s kids, having water fights, riding their bikes, occasionally coming in to ask for snacks, something to drink, a towel, etc. The door is open, the neighbor’s windows are open so we can all hear what’s going on, and good times are being had, memories are being made, freedom is being tasted.


Bumper Car Joy

Things aren’t as horrific EVERYWHERE as the media would have you believe. A reality check is in order. Walking out the door isn’t an invitation for your children to be harmed. We harm them more when we try to account for every possible danger and keep them from experiencing life.

Note: no heads or necks were harmed in the making of the bumper car ride shown above.

Running For My Life, In A Green Tutu

I have been saved by exercise over and over again. Depression knocks at my door, and one of the ways I’ve learned to keep it outside is exercise. Particularly running. I get into my own head with good music and all the awful stays away, at least for a little while.

I’ve had ups and downs with it over the years, injuries, bronchitis-induced asthma, and chronic foot aches and pains.

The foot pain has been hanging on for a few years now, making running difficult sometimes.

I’m doing it anyway.

I am running, icing, stretching, cross-training and resting. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If I can do this, so can you. I will run until I can’t. And when I can’t, I’ll figure out another way to get moving. Being able to play with my kids without getting winded means that much to me. I’m running for my life. I’m running to keep the bad at bay. I’m running to refill my glass.

I’m running for them. They deserve a wife and mother who feels strong and able. That’s what running gives me. I ran in my first 5k in several years yesterday, and it felt fantastic. I can’t wait for the next one.

Most of the time I’m not actually dressed in a green tutu. I break that out for special occasions.


I run for them.