I gotta swim.

I saw a documentary on anxiety in teenagers last night, and experts explained that therapy often involves identifying one’s core fear. I know what my core fear is: The loss of a loved one, a loss which I could have avoided or prevented.

In other words: I fear that I might accidentally kill somebody I love. I fear that all the time. It’s why I want order, it’s why I worry about everything.

I  learned this because today, I took our dog to get a dental cleaning, just like we’ve done in the past. Today, he had a very rare and exceedingly dangerous reaction to anesthesia.

I feel like I might die. I feel like those teenagers in the documentary said they felt.


I asked my husband for forgiveness. I should never have taken him to get his teeth cleaned. It’s my fault. It’s all my fault.

My husband corrected me: “You did what you would normally do, what you’ve done in the past. A weird thing happened. That is all. You did nothing to cause this.”

Nobody blames me, but me.  I’m feeling it all drown me: My fear, my sadness, my rage at myself. I cannot eat. I know I need to sleep.

But then again: Everything might be okay. They caught the problem early and I got him to the emergency veterinary hospital as soon as humanly possible.

It’s 11:15 pm and I’m reading up on our dog’s diagnosis and his treatment and I am praying that I will be able to bring him home this weekend. Today I cried with our kids and did my best to explain what was happening: That it was very serious and that the hospital folks were doing everything they can to help him get better. That the fact that we don’t know what will happen is what scares us.

That we love our dog. That he loves us. We know this. It’s the fact that we need him to know that we know his love, that we need him to know our love — that’s what makes us cry.

We all saw him, resting comfortably and a little drowsy, but he wagged his tail as best he could when he saw us. He tried to lick my fingers and I kissed him and cooed in his ear. He is my best friend and I don’t know what I will do if he doesn’t come home with us.

my heart feels like it’s tied in a tight, immovable knot. I need to figure out a way to float and not drown. I need to figure out how to swim.

best compliment i ever received….

Tonight a person I care very much for said I had given that. The best compliment that person had ever received.

Here’s mine (the best compliment I ever received):

“You’re the coach in the boxer’s corner. He’s beat up and feels like he’ll die, but you’re there, on his side, telling him he can do it.”

Here’s the thing about that boxer, though. He’s the one that got in the ring.

I believe in you.

Do you believe in you? ‘Cuz my belief ain’t worth much without you.

I don’t know why I watched.

But I did. A news outlet posted a two-and-a-half minute video of the moment a mass shooting took place at a baseball field this morning. Five people were shot, as well as the shooter, who died of his injuries. Congressmen, their staff, Capitol Police: shot. While practicing baseball. Baseball.

The shooter has a history of domestic violence. He apparently even kicked a sleeping dog. I imagine, given the state of his life over the past month (living out of a gym bag at a YMCA), that something turned for him in his life, turned for the (even) worse. I imagine he felt there was nothing more to lose. I imagine in him, anger, depression, and suicidal thoughts. He didn’t like our current President. Much will be made of this fact. Already is being made.

But here I sit. Praying that the House Majority Whip, now in critical condition in a hospital, recovers fully and returns to work.


A friend posted an article today, a column written by a teacher, about the folly of relying on positive reinforcement when raising and teaching children.

The columnist writes:

In real life, citizens aren’t rewarded extrinsically for being good citizens. You don’t get a bonus check for paying your taxes on time. Cops don’t pull you over and hand you a $50 gift certificate for going the speed limit. Nobody throws you a pizza party for not firebombing your neighbors.

Nobody thanks you for not resorting to violence when you are angry, sad, and at your wit’s end, when you are beyond reason.


A relative recently told me that he has begun taking blood pressure medication. He places blame for that squarely on the shoulders of our current president.

No. That is not the president’s fault.

Nor is it the president’s fault that I ate too much over the course of the election, and over  the course of the past few months, and now need to lose a few pounds.

It is not the president’s fault that I am angry, that I worry, that I feel dismay and despair.

These are my feelings. I have them because I want them. I do with them what I want.


I do what I know how to do. I read. I share information. I commiserate, but I also find reasons to smile and laugh. I try, harder and harder, to listen and learn.

I try to show my children that the first person to look to when you are sad, when you are mad, is yourself.

I am running again. I am eating more healthfully. I am feeling stronger.

I did that. Nobody else.