Saturday, February 28, 2015

High fives and thumb wars

It's campy, we know. But the first bump was taken.

You know, I have this list of married couples that I idolize. Not because I think they're perfect, but because these kids love each other and it stays. I got to tell the wife of one of these couples as much today. Now I'm telling you.

Divorce is crappy, but probably not to me the way it is to a lot of people. There's something about settling because you really don't think anything better is coming along, and then having the thing you settle for go wrong.

Maybe I should apologize for ever settling in the first place. I'm sorry, guys. 

Ex No. One, we have great kids and you do a good job supporting them. But yes, you weren't cut out for marriage anymore than a steel girder is made to serve as a buoy. 

Ex No. Two, thanks for turning my rotters and for the chlamydia. I think the fact that I read books, collected art, and listened to classical music, and that you aspired to build cars for demolition derbies, wore a handle bar mustache, and fancied yourself a cowboy gangsta speaks volumes. Mania. Who knew?

Ex No. Three, well, at least there's sealing cancelations. Good luck with all that vitriol and those gorgeous grandkids who will hopefully never know what a monster you are capable of being. Can I just say how glad I am your first ex left you before she found out about the breast cancer? She's a beautiful, strong woman and a great mother. You didn't deserve her. You didn't deserve me.

I'm crazy mad in love with this philosopher boy, and he's crazy mad in love with me. I can't imagine getting tired of us. I can't imagine not racing to see who does the laundry first, or wandering around the Liberal Arts building of the Pie Tin trying to find each other during the fifteen minute breaks we have between classes, or meeting up for kid's meal lunches at our favorite burger joint, or staying up till 2 a.m. because closing our eyes means we won't see each other again until we wake up at 7 a.m., or joking around and sharing philosophical views aisle by aisle at Walmart at least once a week, or making the other a bowl of cereal for breakfast in bed, or endlessly checking each other out when the kids aren't looking, or driving around together listening to the Ramones, or sharing spiritual insights in Sunday School, or sharing irreligious insights in Sunday School, or sharing late-night Jarlsberg swiss or Tillamook pepperjack, or watching 30 Rock episodes again because the third time means he can share the joke with his wife, or watching MST3K because the sweetest intimacy is trying not to pee our pants while we're laughing our guts out, or sitting through open mics where the slam poetry is only so-so because we're doing it together, or meeting up on the campus of LDS University of Choice for really good poetry and walking arm-in-arm through the library giddier than the young Mormon newlywed couples around us, or high-fiving in the checkout line at the grocery store, or having thumb wars next to the pregnancy tests at Dollar Tree.

First bumps were taken. 

Yeah, it's a good marriage. As we come up on two months from one year of us I keep catching myself feeling sad that we didn't bump into each other so many years sooner. I also catch myself hoping that we'll live long, long lives.

Friday, February 27, 2015


I dropped two classes, because I don't have time to go to therapy.

Sans one directed readings course and one pointlessly unhelpful Institute class, I think I might make it through the semester relatively emotionally whole. And then, in the Fall, my husband has requested that I take three classes, and only three. Since I'm also supposed to be co-founding a professional poetry collective, parenting, and pulling decent grades so that grad school is possible, I think this is a fair thing to ask.

My edits and bio are in to Dialogue. The CNF research piece is just about wrapped up, I guess. There's one more monstrous piece left to write for the course. I've got a mountain of Brit Lit to catch up reading for Wednesday's midterm, and Greek translations every day. No wonder I felt like I was drowning. No wonder the anxiety was eating me alive. Duh.

Someday I'll stop trying to take on more to fill up the emotional holes when I feel stressed. It's a really bad coping mechanism. It may not actually work.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Competition is a strange phenomenon.

I see it
in my husband,
my daughter,
my friends,

It swallows any sweetness that is not my own,
defines the longest stretch from where I am
to a destination I assume I should reach before anyone else.
It offers the fastest route to contempt for anything I lack.

It does the same for you.

Looking for volunteer readers

If we were friends circa 2002-2005, and you've got half an hour, I need readers for this latest 20-page CNF piece. The end is really shaky, and I need opinion on how well I handled content. Message me via my yahoo address if you're willing. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Broken on a Wednesday

Today I am proofing my poetry "Broken Vessels" as it will appear in Dialogue's Spring issue, and I am finishing revisions of my latest CNF essay, Broken Folk.  I don't know if I'll ever be brave enough to push this piece for publication, but that is the goal of this advance CNF class. I'm going to have to publish anonymously if I do. And truthfully, I believe I have a responsibility to tell this story. Especially right now. 

Also, I am an anxious, quaking ball of nerves and tension. 
My mantra is: I can live through emotional triggers.

And I can.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gospel of Mr. PNU

Okay, I'm not meaning to be sacrilegious, but good things are happening around here and they all have to do with having an incredible husband.

1) I had two pieces of art accepted by the Pie Tin's journal of art and literature. This paired with the five pieces of lit that are being published feels a little decadent. Mr. PNU agrees it's time to give the other students of the Pie Tin a break and start pushing into the national market, because this shouldn't be Gudri's Journal, and this semester it sort of feels like it is.

2) PhDs are a lot of money, and my husband is in debt a house. He's filled out paperwork repeatedly since our engagement to get his loan payments adjusted, because adjuncts will never make enough to live, let alone pay back the government for their education. Today we received word that his agency has accepted our paperwork and for the coming year our payment is $0 with $0 accruing in interest. 

3) Tax returns arrived. My husband was behind two years, and after the feds subtracted what he owed we still received almost $6K. We're finally out of debt that way AND we have some extra to tuck away for the summer when adjunct work is scant. We also have enough in savings that if we should be so lucky as to ever have a sticky embryo, we can pay for delivery of a full-term baby. 

4) I am getting free of my mother's cell phone plan; the last thread of control that she's used as leverage against me. I paid the buy-out fee today and I'll be on my own plan by the end of the week. Mr. PNU said last night that he thinks our best approach to my mother and step-dad should be politeness when necessary, but maintaining arm's length distance and relative silence about our lives. This feels both kind and just.

5) I finished my Greek midterm with relative ease, even if it took several hours of the past weekend. The grade I receive there will count for last semester's final grade, so with the thorough parsing I completed and at least mediocre renderings I think at the very least I have a B+. I'm starting to truly understand this language and that feels incredible. I've purchased a collection of Greek poetry written in Greek, and plan to start my own translations soon as part of my directed readings course in poetry.

6) I went to the dentist today to get a chipped crown checked out. I still have no cavities. I haven't changed my dental hygiene. I still sometimes eat a banana right after I right after I brush on Sundays. The chip was a quick repair. My poor, adjunct husband was more than willing to pay the $124 for the appointment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New tangent

We grow up and learn concepts, which we are told are true. Truth is beauty, said Keats. Beauty, truth. 

I am looking for the soul of the urn amongst a few fragments in Greek. 

The early Christians referred to it as Sacred Breath, Holy Spirit, Breath of Life. Wind. πνεῦμα. Any way you look at it, the Holy Ghost is gender neutral. The idea that is it male is derived from various translations of John 14:26 which refer to the Holy Spirit as the "advocate"—Παράκλητος.

All Greek words are gendered; masculine, and/or feminine, and/or neuter. The word for "slave," for example, is δοῦλος. The ος ending indicates in this case that the subject noun slave is masculine. We might think that the same for Παράκλητος, except that for this particular word masculine and feminine endings are the same. In other words, a female advocate and a male advocate are both possibilities for the translation. While πνεῦμα appears after Παράκλητος, clarifying that the advocate and the spirit are synonymous, only the article, ὁ, that precedes Παράκλητος gives any indication that Jesus spoke of a male advocate or helper. The problem with the article is that it must match the noun it denotes in gender, case, and number. I realize this is flimsy evidence of my skepticism of a male Holy Spirit, but there is not a dually masculine and feminine article. The options for the nominative second declension noun articles are ὁ, ἡ, and τὁ. The author chose the masculine article, but in some translations Παράκλητος is recognized as an adjective of the neuter πνεῦμα, indicating that the Spirit is “called to one’s aid” rather than instancing gender of the advocate.

In a phallocentric world, with phallocentric language it is easy to see why reference to the Holy Ghost would favor masculinity. But I find it compelling that the many instances where the Holy Spirit is directly linked with wisdom, or σοφία, a feminine noun, that gender was cast off as inconsequential. 

In short, I don't think I agree with the modern concept of a gendered Holy Ghost. At least, I don't think there is good textual evidence, although claims ὁ is enough for them.

I chose to keep searching. What is this breath of life? Empedocles may have been on to something with his αιθέρ, or his fine matter unorganized—quintessence. And so I will pursue that in art, in poetry, in concept.

Further light. And little more σοφία to all of us.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A week in the life of middle-age

With two books of poetry, six chapbooks, and eleven Pushcart nominations—Conner came to read in Happy Town. He did a reading for me at Speak for Yourself, and also at LDS University of Choice, which is the reason he was back in town anyway. They flew him out from the Iowa Writer's Workshop. He's that good. He signed my copy of his latest book The Unpainted Shore:


I am lucky to know you and call you my friend. Send me more poems please and often! THANK YOU!

C Dylan B

No, Conner. I am the lucky one.

The poster for the Pie Tin's gender studies production of "The Vagina Monologues" was rejected by Campus Connection for appearing too much like labia. The new poster features lips rotated 45 degrees, but the philosophy department secretary gave me rejects for each of my girls. 

The sky dressed up for Valentine's Day.

We dressed down, went to a museum exhibit of Japanese art, ate Indian at the best restaurant in downtown, and after dinner we walked out to find a ragtime quartet playing on the street. They said they weren't taking money—playing Center Street was the best way to spend the holiday evening when their significant others were all working. So they offered to follow us for a few blocks playing "It Had to Be You" while we walked arm-in-arm.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Blogging from Walgreen's on my phone because L-- is having a massive allergic reaction to one of her migraine medications for the second time tonight. We're waiting on a flustered pharmacist to fill a prescription of Pepcid to team up with the Benydryl I've already given her. It's looking to be an hour wait. I've had about a 1/2 hour's worth of sleep since my last post. I left Mr. PNU to sleep in our bed. L-- is spotting lessions all over her body. Again. We're keeping close tabs on her ability to swallow. She's sitting with a hand clamped over her mouth and nose to block the scent of the alcohol coming fro the motorcyclist next to her. We've shared an entire bag of Twizzlers, which were almost spot on what I need to keep me awake till this prescription is filled. I can feel my skin crawl, psychosomatic-like, because my daughter itches, and itching is catchy.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Flunking out on Valentine's Eve

I am so so so tired. And I think I hurt my husband's feelings because I want to isolate rather than talk. Talking takes so much effort. I also don't want to carry on philosophic banter tonight. My brain is wiped out. So happy Friday the 13th. I'm going to bed before 10 p.m.

This is the Valentine Mr. PNU sent me this morning. It's perfect, even though I am not.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Parables of Jesus = CES proof-texting

Day one proved a big disappointment. 

We studied Matt 13:33: Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

The instructor, Bro. S—, explained that Joseph Smith said that the leaven was the Three Witnesses; David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdry, and Martin Harris. That the fact a woman is mentioned meant that he could be referencing a future Relief Society president, and that, although elsewhere in scripture leaven is symbolic of evil, because so many reviled against the witness of these men, the testimony of the three witnesses established the kingdom of heaven. He further asserted that the gospel has, indeed, been taken to all the regions of the earth, and, I'm assuming from Tuesday's lesson, most of the earth will be heathen rather than Mormon at the second coming. In his words, "More Catholics and Muslims." He further supported these claims with the written testimony of one of the three describing the shared vision of the plates of gold, brass, the sword of Laban, the Liahona, and the Urim and Thummim. Somehow Bro. S— also worked in that Brigham Young had experienced a vision of the cavern purportedly within the hill Cumorah filled with plates of written record.

So basically, the first parable I studied in CES was expounded as proving that the LDS Church is true, Joseph Smith did what he said he did, and that, wow, we have living prophets. It was extremely convoluted.

My problem is that Jesus Christ's parables should stand by themselves. I want to study Christ, not Joseph Smith. I know too much about Joseph Smith.

I contrasted the KJV with the original Greek. The leaven isn't what's split in three; the flour is. The meal spoken of, is measured in σατα which is equal to about 20 pounds. This may be more accurately translated from three σατα to 60 pounds of flour. Three measures of σατα being the best way to write the idea of 60 pounds; not that there are three portions of anything. Next, women made bread. It was part of their daily tasks. Of course Jesus said a woman was the one to leaven the flour. Third, I've found an interesting concept floating throughout Greek literature in the few hundred years surrounding the New Testament—breath. The Holy Ghost is sacred breath, or breath of life. Nowhere is it referred to as deity. Evil spirits, on the other hand are bad gods. No one understood what leaven was, exactly. They just knew it breathed life into bread. That's why leaven is often a reference to evil everywhere else in scripture. I'd go into how geologists can find no reason to believe that the hill Cumorah is not solid gravel all the way through, and that if Book of Mormon scholars are correct, then the Nephites were located in the Mayan ruins of Central America. So if there are wagon loads of untranslated plates inside the hill Cumorah, it's because Moroni, only surviving Nephite, spent the last years of his life smuggling them, one or two at a time (these things are heavy metals) a little over 2000 miles one way.

All in all, I learned some new Greek. I'm going back on Tuesday, but I'm completely uncertain where this is supposed to be taking me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I've just arrived at the Pie Tin's distance ed building. Mr. PNU walked up here with the keys to our car, and left me in the Philosophy department workroom trying to copy down the four-line Greek sentences chosen from the textbook exercises for a parsing and rendering midterm. I've got great Greek handwriting, but I thought I'd try typing them. It was proving futile. So I closed up shop and started the mile-long trek across campus to get the keys from my husband, who is now lecturing in the next room where we first met. My problem, or perhaps the answer to my problem, was that I got sidetracked on my way here by the LDS Institute building. 

I can't lie; I'm better than yesterday, but still a bit caustic today. My husband is pressing through. He doesn't engage in the passionate banter I share with likeminded friends, but we're both trying to make sense of where we belong in relation to what we believe, what we don't believe, and the canal that flows between. We prayed together last night before he fell asleep. We pray together every night. Mr. PNU is rank and file except that he struggles to hold fast to faith in the shadow of reason. He's been studying Church history devotedly since before I met him. He finished volume two a couple of months ago and is half way through volume three. We need correlation, he assures me. The united front the quorum of the twelve personify keeps the Church welded together in ways the early saints were not. He wants to follow the Brethren, and I'm with him, most of the time. So we prayed long and hard for peace and rest and direction, and my husband fell asleep. I continued to skim the web for another two hours, and before I fell asleep I found an article that made a sincere impact on me.

Just Keep Pedaling. Okay, I can do this.

So I'm not giving in, because I'm a rebel. But fighting what I do have faith in doesn't help my cause. During the initial seven week separation period from Ex. No. Nightmare, I received a blessing from my home teacher, then a member of the bishopric, and now the MTC couples leader. I received a lot of blessings during that time, some of them filled with light and inspiration, and others words of control and shortsighted misguidance. This particular blessing was simple—see to my children and continuing my education. There was no guidance toward returning to my husband, in fact, it was pretty clear that I was embarking on an uncertain solo period in my life. But most notably, my home teacher told me to enroll in Institute and to enrich my knowledge of my Savior.

I sadly confess, today was the first day I've set foot in the Institute building on campus. But, I did. I walked in defiantly, if not a little angrily, and found my way to registration because the signs outside said, "It's never too late to register!" I was assertive, possibly a little confrontational when the secretary told me the classes were meant for the youth of the Church, so I'd have to be matriculated by paper and only because I was a Pie Tin student. I asked her why. She didn't like that, but she left me to fill out paperwork and chose a class from a registration list. So I'm staring at the list, thinking, What on earth is going to help my doubting soul? And the class Parables of Jesus leapt at me from off the page. It was a fleeting moment, but in that instance I knew, although I didn't know why.

On finishing the walk to the distance education building I pondered the move. I'm crazy busy, but my Tuesdays and Thursdays are open. This class is at 11 a.m., not too early; just right, in fact. And it gives me a chance to really dig into Jesus Christ as poetic storyteller. It's all metaphor and light. That's kind of what I need. It's how I learn best.

I'm not going to say it was personal revelation. I could be crazy. But I registered, and tomorrow I'm going to walk into that class, likely in sticky defiance, and I'm going to see what Christ can do to help me with my unbelief.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Attempting pregnancy at 40

Conception waves at the windows. 
Moons adrift in a honey-flavored ebb and flow, 
comb the bed with sticky fingers. 

This is the new night canopy, 
a darkly sweet sting rippling beyond the panes. 
I can hear the clock's flickering tongue,

smell the late season flowers blossoming.
See the veins rivulet the body like tiny blue eggs?
I have a peregrine's eyes.

I am listening to the skin aching for the stretch.  
Last night I dreamed a ruby-throated bird drank 
the whisper of promise from my ears.

We leave the imprint of heavenly bodies in the sand

You batter me up with late moonlight 
and kookaburra song, slather the griddle

three inches high all cadmium blue and starstuck,
howling like a dingo under an outback sky.

These eggs a-boiling, smell like electric turquoise 
on the grill, and I am a-banging 

your pots and pans, longing for pancakes 
that whistle like comets. You orbit Jupiter 

and leave me ruminating how the light slants 
early in the yard. Kangaroos catch 

every calcium rotation of that pearl skyball
laughing above us in the old gumtree.

Why this action is such a big deal to me

John Dehlin's excommunication isn't personal for me the way it is for other listeners of Mormon Stories podcast. I've tuned in a few times on issues I've been sketchy on like Adam-God Theory, women in the priesthood, the Book of Abraham, Mormon purity culture, etc., but I am not a regular listener.

I visited the Dehlin home briefly in 2003, when a young man I'd dated, a nephew of Dehlin, moved abruptly from the North Country where we were attending LDS University of Choice-North Campus, to the Seattle area with his uncle and his family. I met Margi and her children, briefly. And then I spent a weekend traveling the Northwest coast with this young man, going to concerts of a musical artist we both loved. It was a road trip that cost me my membership in the LDS church for four years. For the young man involved, he embarked on an LDS mission less than a year later.

Dehlin's family, this young man, and I all have one thing in common: we are what a lot of people in our faith would pejoratively refer to as "intellectuals," meaning we read, we think, we reason. And for each of us we've had to make decisions about what to do with the information that is now available to all LDS members via the internet. I can't speak for Dehlin's nephew, but he holds a place on the web as an LDS musician, blogger, and psychological scientist. Dehlin speaks for himself. For me, I still struggle. There are many doubts that I share with Dehlin. I am hardly part of the orthodoxy. But I'm here, and I'm here because I chose to stay. What I worry about is the isolation and marginalization of myself and many of my friends in academia who are debating what to do about our own Mormon Stories.

Mr. PNU and I hold fast to our place in the community, and our personal relationships with Christ. But we are grappling with reason, because reason doesn't support the historicity of the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Abraham, or many aspects of the mythology of our faith. We hold that these things may still be tools in conveying truth, but what is 'truth', really? 

I will probably be extracting my ward member's from my Facebook, I admit, out of fear.

Today is a hard, hard day.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

About a boy

E— is seventeen. He is insightful, bright, deliberate, and hardworking as long as the subject interests him. His longterm goals include working in film, creating music, art, yoga, vegetarianism, animal activism, and travel. I've done what I could to accommodate his curiosity and impatience with strict classroom curriculum. The first half of the year he was enrolled in a liberal arts high school. The initial term I believed this was the answer to his struggle with K-12 rigor. The second term, however, I realized the change wasn't going to stick. His attendance has suffered to the point that the school called out of concern. I explained and they told me to keep them posted, since children over 14 don't have to deal with the same truancy laws as the younger academic population. This past week he failed to attend at all, and Mr. PNU and I made the decision that he needs to make a solid choice about the future of his formal education. Tonight, E— chose to withdraw and seek his GED. I don't feel it right to force him to do otherwise. He knows that dropping out means he'll have to find and maintain employment, pay rent to stay part of our household, and that we expect him to make progress toward life goals other than living at home. He's said he is interested in enrolling at the Pie Tin. The open enrollment aspect of the university makes this a possibility, and then perhaps he can try out a class or two of his liking. Work prospects are slim, especially since he dislikes the food industry. Real life may be just what he wants it to be, or it may be a rude awakening. I'm trying to stay supportive, but for kids like E—, independence is the best way to figure out motivators and what is necessary to get what they want out of life. Parenthood is quite the ride. I'm still hopeful for him, still anxious to see what he will make of himself and how he will use his skills in the world. But one thing is certain; like his mother, E— doesn't believe in avoiding the road less traveled. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

πνεῦμα ζωῆς

My friend, Tracie, is about to give birth to a daughter, Lyra.
I am tempted to make a statement of her ritualized Mother's Blessing,
but I don't wish to trivialize the beauty of this celebration of matriarchy 
and the empowerment I believe all the women in attendance found there.

A Mother's Blessing

Oh! This 
blossoming woman,
all a-belly

rounded cradle brimming
with fruit and flowers,
vase filled to the throat
with nectar,

she sways like cattails
in the late winter wind.

basket of joy
bulges at the skin,

bearing the outline 
of next year’s coos and cries.

And we of the womb rejoice, 
long for, remember

the motions of babes
riding the waves of the great

goddess ocean.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Art shows my daughter won't be in

I'm crestfallen that her SMA entries didn't make it in the high school show. A friend working at the gallery said the accepted works were edgier, darker, representative of teenage angst. So the cheerful, pan-ethnic holiday series M— painted didn't make the cut. Still, she has to become accustomed to rejection. That's part of an artist's life. I know that. Still, I think she's unbelievably skilled. Still, I wonder if she feels worse than the shoulder shrug she offered.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"It's like my mom is colorblind, and I keep asking her to appreciate a rainbow."

I frequently hear, "But she's a therapist."—but, it's a thing.

The cell phone plan I have through my mother ends in April. It's the one detail that requires I maintain a relationship with her. Although at my first request that we stop talking she suggested I find a new plan at the end of this contract, she's now telling me how great I've been at paying my bill and that she'd like me to continue.  Mr. PNU and I frequently discuss what is best for me and our family, and as I approach another attempt at cutting off contact entirely, my husband is completely supportive. She's begun extending her emotional harm to my kids, and I can't allow that. M— and E— are both feeling it. L— too, to some extent. My mother is extremely manipulative with my youngest daughter, and L—'s sweet nature falls prey easily. Nor do I believe I should allow her to continue emotionally abusing me. I know, it's a little odd that it took me so long to figure all of this out. But that seems to be the pattern in relationships with narcissistic parents.

I told my husband tonight that I'm tired of the bristling resentment I feel. I'm ready to forgive, but I need her behavior to end. Closing the door permanently is hard, but I think it may be the kindest choice possible whether she sees it that way or not. I'm tired of being the scapegoat.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Publications and narcissists

Five more pieces, two short essays and three poems, are being published in this semester's Lit Journal at the Pie Tin.

I really need to stop leaning on the student journal and submit more nationally. 

I'm also having a difficult time narrowing in on what I want to flesh out for the second narrative in Creative Non-fiction. I was supposed to do more with Joseph Smith Jr. research, more on the diagnosis of sarcoma. My professor in that class wants more on my excommunication, and so I think about rounding out a piece on husbands and fiancees and boyfriends, and what options a female kid from Hicksville, Jell-O was given to make of herself. Wife. Mother. Don't dream of selling real estate, what with ERA and all. 

My mother is ramping up the narcissism lately. During our interview a few weeks ago I'd asserted that blossoming sexuality is normal for the average 17-year-old. Common, she said. Not normal. 

See, I know enough bishops, stake presidents, behavioral science professors, and everyday people to know that most kids experiment with sex. But my mother, whom it is impossible to get away with contradicting is on the rampage, posting all sorts of passive aggressive Mormon propaganda lately on Facebook. The latest is a study comparing religiosity and pre-marital sexuality. If you're Mormon, you've likely seen it floating around the internet, because it mentions that Mormons report that only 14% of active members engage in sex prior to marriage. And even though the study makes room for the error of falsified self-reporting for the sake of public religiosity, that 14% is about 50% less than all the other reporting Christian religions. Which, if you're my mother, prove the point that early sexuality may be common, but it is certainly not normal. 

She's also started calling my kids. Why this is weird: She's not been one to keep in touch with them at all before. So she has four grandkids, whom she rarely visited while they lived 5 miles from her, whom she has little to do with even now. But since I'm less inclined to pick up the phone and deal with her self-adulation, and since I have her on my restricted list on Facebook and she sees next to nothing I post, she's begun trying to wage control through them. My teens are at a loss. All of a sudden their grandma wants to call and get the scoop on their lives. And like E—, my 17-year-old told me, she doesn't seem genuinely interested in their lives; she's just snooping for the sake of finding a new avenue of control.

Mr. PNU held me this morning as I battled emotionally with the latest sideways Facebook attack. I tell him I just can't do it anymore. All my life I've fed into her pathological insistence that she is always right, and that at the heart of me there is something deeply defected. I do so well without her ugly, abusive commentary.

"Don't listen to the little voice in your head telling you she may be right," my husband said. "She's not. She's wrong. You ARE good."

And sure, I've had a couple of days where I freak because my affect wobbles, but the majority of the time I'm doing fabulously without medication. I live an active LDS lifestyle (granted, I found the decaf coffee loophole and I'm riding it for the sake of my love of coffee.) I'm raising four beautiful kids, integrating well in both my academic community and the local art scene, being supportive of friends in need, extending myself all ways imaginable in the robust atmosphere of life. Yeah, I sometimes qualify as an emotional basket case, but why must she criticize and find fault and cut me down every time I give her more than 30 seconds on the phone? 

Because that's what narcissists do.

Don't get sucked in. Everything she lets you see is a lie.

I Arrive at the Bathroom Sink with My Adolescent Son

I could not have sculpted such an image 
with my hands

but my womb
she has molded your reflection as clay

standing beside me, before the water
bic in your hand

bic in my hand
and I show you how to lather the down 

of your man’s face.
I take the first swath 

remembering the razor of your birth, 
the waves of creation

I rode, speaking your name, 
breathing life into your lungs 

as I lay upon the great feathered back 
of a seabird violently come to shore.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nice shaped heads

All day long it's been, "Thanks for pushing me out, mom." She's still a bit shaky from her birthday two years ago. Trauma is sticky.

So Mr. PNU and I played chaperone for a party of four girls, 13 and 14-years-old. On the way to the theatre L— asked me to please not swear around her friends. As if. We saw The Maze Runner, which L— and friends loved, and husband and I liked up until the last 20 minutes. We then went to Two Jack's Pizza for pizza, go figure. It was our first time back since I slid my phone number across the table at the end of the TA's post-Ethics party and told Mr. PNU to call me, if he wanted to "hang out." We snuck a couple of kisses over pepperoni. 

The girls dared each other to take Tabasco shots. 

I love this girlie. We're alike and not. She's a gem.

These are post shave pics from last month. We're both grateful hair grows quickly in this family.