My hair has a mind of its own. I realize that it’s not an uncommon thing for hair, and mine mimics the brain to which it is attached and the two of them like to rest.

The hair calms and relaxes more with each successive moment until it’s reached its calmest. When it’s completely and totally at its metaphysical peace, I notice. It’s usually while I’m in the middle of an errand run. I notice in the rear-view mirror that my hair is exhausted and I head straight home where I roust it out, and pump it back up by putting it through the rigor of hair calisthenics; conditioning, straighteners and volumnizers.

My hair is usually so relieved to make it through a styling workout that it spends one good hour all puffed up and excited—but by the second hour, stiffness has set in and by the third hour, it’s nodding off again.

The sink and I are allies; we know and understand the enemy. We’ve spent a lot of time together in minor skirmishes, cleaning, scrubbing and rinsing—the children, the clothing, and the dishes—and so the sink is well aware of the proclivities of my hair.

To: thatsritch@take.out
Unfortunately, it was the glance in the rear-view mirror that confirmed that the hair had achieved peak relaxation and if it became any more relaxed, it would fall out, so I am forced to take desperate measures and rile it up again.
Sorry I can’t write, I’m sinking, T.

The time I spend in the sink while attempting hair revitalization gives me a moment to reflect on what is really important: It’s the filthiness of the sink!

Reality Bite: Today my GFD was written in big bold print on the mirror. “RELAX.” Tonight, as I’m typing, I’m eating bonbons. Does that count as relaxation or is it considered dinner?

…take a note

Dear me,
I can almost guarantee a volatile reaction if I infuse my boring life objectives (BLO) with unknown particles (UP). It creates so much instability that I’m always seeking the secret calming ingredient in this chemical equation, Ord2 (Order). Help, T.

In business, when demand exceeds expectation, it means an exciting opportunity. For me, higher demand only means greater expectations... of me, and that means I must become more organized. And that means more lists!

My daily goal is to become new and improved so every day I prioritize. My lists are titled with a Goal for the Day, a GFD, at the top of the list ... whenever I can locate the list.

To: momtwo@space.out
I find notes posted in the strangest of places, grocery lists inside the fridge, to-do’s written in lipstick on the mirror upstairs and a big red NO sign stuck to the treadmill that somehow migrated from the front of the television. I’m duly noting, Terina

I stick to only one GFD, goal for the day, even if it appears deceptively easy. I am aware that small tasks can act like those innocent toys that expand with water, rapidly growing out of control and then they take over my world!

To: yodell@clean.out
I encourage the children to drop the expandable toy in the water the day before the trash man is scheduled, so that when the slime outgrows every bowl in the house and I have to grapple it out the back door to the garbage can, at least the monster hasn’t grown bigger than the bag.
It may still be a source of suspicion to the trash man, but he’s learned that “to open is to unleash.” Whatever works…T.

The concept of aiming toward only one target leaves me open and available to block and deflect the wayward barrage from unforeseen areas. I plan a frontal defense, and as predicted, I’m usually attacked from the flank. Unfortunately, after such a bombardment I often discover that I’ve abandoned my GFD, but I don’t usually remember until midnight when there’s a lull in the action.

To: realmom@time.out
Remember the GFD for today? I didn’t. I remembered as I was re- grouping with my head stuck in the sink. I'm sorry, but I've decided to forgo the hospital and consider the flowers a nice gift to myself. I’ll bring bread to you when you are all home tomorrow. Tomorrow will be much better because if I'm figuring this correctly, today’s G.F.D. will have been done yesterday!

Reality Bite: I’m busy doing it all and accomplishing nothing.


My lists now begin with the Goal for the Day, but if I’m not watchful, the number one priority is buried under the scribbled distractions of the rest of life. I use these added intrusions for a calculated purpose to accomplish one thing … to prevent, to intrude upon and to inhibit my strongest inclination—to sleep!

To: thatsritch@take.out
Why is it that if I’m not moving at a frantic pace, I’m sitting with a faux wide-eyed, albeit blank, expression. My legs and arms are askew and I’m asleep.
I’ve been caught snoring in school pick-up lanes, in the bathtub, at team sporting events, in the flower bed, and today, under the desk in the den. Yawn, T.

I’m reminded again and again of the importance of taking time out for one’s self. When I’m cleaning, I take my time-outs in ten-minute increments, a quick nap now and then between the bed and the wall before anyone discovers and extracts me, or sometimes I slip behind the bath curtain while scrubbing the tub.

To: thatsritch@take.out
My most enjoyable moments are the times I spend communing with the bathroom sink. I got stuck in there again today, just thinking. Hummmm, T.


Regret is a wasted emotion. It’s over! The past is past, and behind me. It makes no sense to beat a dead horse, so I limit the futile, “You should have’s,” “Why didn’t you’s,” and resolve to make better plans for the future.

“What did you learn this time?” has become one of my favorite retrospectives. It minimizes the blame, yet gets the point across. I’ve used it for years to maximize the teaching moments with my children and unfortunately, as they mature, those words are coming back to haunt me.

To piquecritique@spin.out
Today, in the district-wide vocal competition, I snuck in late and sidled up next to the wall with the standing room only crowd. I listened intently as the daughter’s group hit the high note and I slumped against the wall in relief.
I was startled to see the lights go out on the left side of the room. Then I felt my back against the light switch, so acting on auto-reflex, I slid back up the wall, hoping to rectify my mistake. The lights on the other side of the room went out too.
In the dark, the bass and tenor section squeaked in shock, the altos missed their cue and the sopranos hit another high note—the wrong one. One hundred different shades of red, T.

I’ve heard “What did you learn?” so often that I’ve decided to write down what I’ve learned (because I’m sure to forget between episodes). That will teach them—when there are fifty books of remonstrations[1] that the children get to reread when they are old.

To: realmom@time.out
Children who are innocent little mynah birds at two, should not be encouraged, because at thirteen it gets old. My words from their mouths, yuck! T.

The purpose in this driven life is not to stop, but find a way to continue living the adventure with less regret and recrimination. I don’t expect much improvement, but my ultimate goal is less blow ups, flip outs and derailments. When I can’t level out the ride, I’m going to learn to enjoy the swoops and spins. In the spirit of acceptance, I’ll embrace the new calming philosophy of, “Arms and legs in and have a nice ride.”

Reality Bite: This book has no purpose and no redeeming social value! And if there is humor in it—that too is totally accidental!

[1] Forceful arguments… and they all are.


I’m too busy enjoying life's ride to worry about how fast I’m going or how I am going to stop. The world is full of people like me, racing haphazardly past on only half-a-track.

When ride gets hectic and turbulent and the feverish pace begins to wear thin, little pieces of my world begin to chip off and fall down around me and when that happens, everybody ducks. It’s about then that I hit the brakes and skid into a slow, sidelong slide and a tumultuous stop. The end result is rarely good, but in most cases, the near miss has minimal aftershocks and I can take off again in a totally different direction.

I try to limit the incendiary casualties to direct relations and as family, they have learned to roll with the reckless.

Reality Bite:
If we’re all stretched so thin, shouldn’t some weight be dropping off somewhere?

[1] Don’t know who said it, but dang, ain’t it true?


In the pell-mell plunge of priorities, I’ve found that it is important to exercise some restraint—to calmly and rationally select which endeavors I should pursue and in which order.

In the event that I am overwhelmed with choices, I must arrange for someone to act as my restraint—to stand behind me, to wrap both arms around my waist and shoulders in a T-bar grip and to yell in my ear, loud enough to be heard over the clamoring enticements, “Just Say No!”

To: realmom@time.out
It’s been one of those days—I write a talk, make six loaves of bread, and two batches of soup for a party while I deflect calls from school about detention. I commiserate with the neighbor, and clean up breakfast as I fix lunch.

I pack the truck for the next excursion, pick up the neighbor and drive her to her car across town. I email the principal, pick up one child, drop it off at piano lessons and run to the flower shop. I then dash home to arrange them, and pick up the other child to swap out at piano. I encourage the child that was the piano player to switch clothes and mental processes from musical notes to karate chops and then drop him at the sports practice de jour, angling to hit every stop light so I can brush my hair, apply makeup, and search through my purse for the missing house keys.

I want more time, not to relax on the back porch, but more time to be busier, to schedule more things into the space that I don’t have time for now. Gotta run, T.

In the event that no one is willing to act as my personalized handbrake, I must live with the consequences. My reality veers off in a completely new direction—without prior consent.

Reality Bite: Busy (Buried under satan's yoke) is an excuse that makes me neither capable nor culpable.

Zero Gravity

Dear Journal,
How did I end up with my head stuck in the bathroom sink? I have an instant image of the fire department using crampons and pitons to crawl over the pile of yesterday’s laundry to rescue me and then how will the media twist and shout!   T.            ...to be continued.

For a Mom, each day dawns bright, happy and hopeful—filled with innocent potential. I wake giddy, excited and ready to take on whatever zips my way. The excitement overrides the memory of the missteps from yesterday and there is only optimism for the new day.

I live like I’m waiting in line for a thrill ride—patiently in queue with other stout-hearted adventurers, safe and secure in the knowledge that others have shuffled patiently down this same path before me and they have bested the challenges yet to come, so I can too! I’m up for whatever action-packed thrill life has in store.

Reality Bite: Ignorance is bliss.

Tuck and Roll

I’ve never felt the need to experience the masochistic thrill of the newest coaster adventure because I get my daily adrenalin rush from living life.  One day, when I wasn’t looking, my daily ride turned into a roller coaster.

As each exciting day proceeds, tension builds and I feel the stress begin to ratchet up and up and up. There is an ominous awareness that at any moment, the day will reach it’s apex—the highest peak—and from that point on, I will experience one disastrous down surge after another and the trivial upswings will only grant me enough time to grab a breath and to amplify the dread for the encroaching swoop.

I am cautious and smart about thrill rides, so one would think I would be happy being the designated holder of the glasses and phones, content to stand back and watch other riders and merely recall the unpredictable sensations, but I can’t lock myself away at home and avoid living life.

So, when the ride I’m on squeals abruptly to a halt and I collapse with every muscle puddled and sagging, I feel my stomach gurgle from the ecstatic thrill of survival.  I have managed to lose the glasses off my face and the remnants of my half-digested lunch onto other screaming combatants without mechanical means. And I am reminded once again, that there is no fee for this adrenaline rush; it’s a daily freebie!

Dear Journal, The children are blistered and worn out from the park yesterday. They danced in the fountain with their sneakers and then they wore them wet for the rest of the day. Voila! Soggy white blisters as consequences of their bad choices. Yesterday they couldn’t be bothered, so today they pay! 
I explain that there is a reason that amusement parks are not called maximum-thrill, go-for-the-gusto, as-if-the-world-were-ending parks.  Consequences.    Living in after-party pathos, Terina

It is my goal to learn how to savor life’s thrills and spills, and somehow, in spite the erratic ups and downs, maintain a tenuous control amidst the turbulence. I’m going to appreciate and find joy in the adventure because that is what makes life more exciting than any whirling, twisting, twirling, tilt-a-zoomer, ever could.

Reality bite: That’s Life and choosing to love whatever the Lord sends, changes everything!

…as they were

Once upon a time, early in this grim tale, there were days that were all one repetitious round of sameness. Had I know that giving up the world of business to stay at home meant regaling myself to a year-long cycle of bottle, diaper, nap, bottle, diaper, nap, I may have entertained second thoughts and let sleeping babies lie.

Dear journal, whee, wipe out
Life is dull enough that I’ve decided to liven it up with a second child—no, not with another of my own yet! I’ll match my two month old with another two-month-old by becoming a day-care-mother. It’s a service to the community and I can certainly do bottle, diaper, nap, times two. Wish me well, Terina

What I discovered is that adding the second child compounds the excitement exponentially,[1] which makes things considerably more interesting and the excitement of life’s ride ratchets up.
The next season of motherhood changes by only one variable. Bottle, diaper, nap is joined by crawl, which mutates to walk, and as any mom will tell you, mobilization begins the independent surge toward the parent’s roller coaster existence.

Dear Journal
I promise you that I have everything in common with the persons in the handicapped parking place. I park in the open stall next to the shopping cart that some thoughtful stranger has neglected to push to the cart return, then I proceed to disconnect and transfer the children and their bags of life support to the transport that will deliver us to shopping safety.
As I inch past the handicapped zone, I’m reminded that this process is preparation for the onset of oxygen tanks, arthritis and wheelchairs, because no matter how fast I move, the little old lady in the front stall still beats me in the front door dash.
Shuffling along, Terina

Reality Bite: But, next time … next time, watch out!

[1] For those who have not yet suffered through sixth grade math homework, it means the little number situated at the top, right of the big number, and trust me, it never adds up to anything good.