Sorry Our Kids Left Their Beer Bong on the Porch

Last night was Halloween, and it was weird for us. For the first time in 22 years, we took no children trick-or-treating. The combination of COVID days and mental health and older kids who don’t feel the need to trick-or-treat made it an easy decision. A non-decision, really. We discussed it for less than a minute, and then we moved on.

Now, listen. If you have younger kids—or really kids of ANY age—who DID care about trick-or-treating and you were out and about walking the streets, you’ll get no judgement from me. I saw all the masks and candy chutes and drive-by trick-or-treating. All y’all were creative in finding safe ways to celebrate, and I’m here for it. Good for you! ...  read more

The Most Impossible Task: Saying I’m Not OK

If you struggle with depression like I do, and if you haven’t yet read M. Molly Backes’ viral twitter string about the Impossible Task, I highly recommend it as something to help put words to a common symptom of this insidious disease. 

Depression commercials always talk about sadness but they never mention that sneaky symptom that everyone with depression knows all too well: the Impossible Task. (Other sneaky symptoms they don’t mention are numbness, anxiety, and inexplicable rage—just FYI for folks trying to figure this crap out. Depression comes in disguise, folks. It rarely announces itself via sadness.¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )  ...  read more

On Doing Way Too Much and Not Nearly Enough: What October 2020 Feels Like

I drive four mornings each week up the winding roads of Parrett Mountain, past alpaca farms and vineyards and into the Douglas Fir forests as I climb. It’s a slow drive by necessity; there are steep drop-offs and no guard rails or shoulders to offer forgiveness if you stray.

It always feels peaceful to me, that drive: the forced slowing of my typical pace, the tiered ruffles of the fir branches like a designer got carried away layering petticoats, the falcons that circle overhead, and the deer that dive down the canyons.  ...  read more

15 Realistic Recipes to Feed Your Family in an Apocalypse

The pandemic continues, Oregon is on fire along with the rest of the West, and even though the fire a couple miles from our house is now 75% contained (THANK YOU, FIREFIGHTERS!), my brain is broken. Just totally kaput. Zero percent battery, and I forgot where I put my brain charger. 

I was feeling badly about this, as though my inability to get anything done is proof that I’m a lazy sack who doesn’t deserve the air I breathe, even though that air is currently full of smoke and so dense we could chew it. But then several friends reminded me that our brains and our bodies are reacting exactly as they were built to do. There are fires in our forests. Visibility is shot due to opaque air. We’ve been at a heightened state of emergency for six months. OF COURSE WE’RE EXPERIENCING MENTAL SHUT DOWN. Our bodies are priming us to fight or flee. Our brains don’t need to form complete sentences right now. They don’t need to do anything other than basic survival.  ...  read more

And Now Oregon Is on Fire: The COVID Diaries

Dear Diary,

When I started my COVID Diaries, I thought it would be for a while. A season. An interesting few weeks, maybe? I thought our national response would be different. I thought, even if we didn’t eradicate it within our borders, we’d control it.

I did not think I’d be sitting here, almost exactly 6 months later, writing about wildfires sweeping the West, including the fire that’s about 3 miles from our own little house in Oregon while the pandemic rages on, as well. ...  read more

All of 2020: A Story about Dog Poo

This is Abby (the human) and Lulu (the dog).

That pic is from 3 months ago, which means Lulu is now 45x bigger.

He is not a labradoodle, after all.

He is either a small, black bear, or a moose, or a husky, feral, adorable kindergarten boy named something that ends with -y. Like Kenny. Or Jeffy. Or Tommy. 

You know the one. He’s the kid who has NO IDEA how long his limbs are. He’s Bambi on the ice, made from 73% sweetness and 27% flailing. He takes corners too fast and runs into walls. He eats with pure joy and creates a colossal mess. Never did he ever finish a meal without spaghetti sauce or jelly to his eyebrows and wiping his face on his shirt.  ...  read more

Bearing Witness

Before we begin, please imagine me face down on the couch, head smooshed into the grubby cushions, cereal shrapnel and muddy dog prints decorating my periphery. That is where I metaphorically am. I am not sitting upright at my desk typing. I am using telepathy from my frazzled, stuttering brain. Nothing is happening in a linear fashion around here. No thing. It’s all illusion and mirrors. I am stuck on the couch now, and here I shall remain for all eternity because getting up would require energy and I don’t know what that is anymore. ...  read more