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(or listen here)

Etymology is fascinating. Clarification: Etymology is fascinating to me. Way back in the university attending days, I would spend hours reading from a volume of the Oxford English Dictionary. Pulling volumes off of the low thick dark solid wood shelves, I’d carry them over to the giant reading tables to browse. The history of how our language, any language, came to be, is amazing. We pinched the prefix, “trans,” from Latin (Roman Conquerors left more than rape and pillage DNA!) and added onto words (sometimes also from Latin, sometimes not) to indicate “the other side of,” “across,” or “beyond.” Transatlantic. Transgender. Transmute. Transfer. Transsexual. Translate. Transition. Transcendental. You know, words words words.

This summer has been quickslow (etymology none, neologism hopeful). Transitioning things expected having now left our Montessori school home for grades 1 through 8, moving towards a large high school experience. With the additions of continuing COVID, legislative discrimination of all potentially pregnant human people, plus a substantial dose of lack of accountability for openly criminal acts against non-white humans as well as our entire governing structure.

SonHerisme: Momma, you have been very very angry for weeks now. Are you going to be okay?
Me: Really? I am so sorry buddy. I'll try to be more mindful of my moods.

Then I begin to wonder
    am I starting menopause?
    am I in menopause?
    do I have a disease running rampant through my body?
   am I losing my mind?
   am I really truly feeling the angers about something?

Turns out – I AM ANGRY I am fucking pissed with all of the angers. And also sad. And ashamed that I have not been feeling this angry before it was blatantly directed at me.

It happens as predicted. Until they come for you, you feel all of the self congratulatory feelings of being a part-time activist ally who can take off that hat at any time, and rest your head so gently until you feel called again. When they come for you, there is no one left to help you because you stood by as others were persecuted.

This has been a summer of transition.

SonHerisme is now 14 and has so much more control over contact with MrexH. Words cannot express the deep transcendental soul relief I felt on his birthday this year. SonHerisme is 6’2″ and full of all of the teenagernesses which make him appear to be 17/18 years old. Inside, he is my sweet little hawkie-bat superhero wild turkey puffin bear. Outside, he is relishing the powerful body he has been given by sportsing it up all over the place. He still feels supported by the helpers around him (thank goodness). He held his “Bans off our Bodies,” “Abortion is Health Care,” signs as high as he could, chanting as loudly as he could, outside of our courthouse. He has his “Black Lives Matter,” “LGBTQ,” and, “People of Quality Do Not Fear Equality,” posters, shirts, and he displays them, wears them etc. He is very aware that his buddies are treated differently – and sometimes he is as well. He identifies with his Hispanic heritage from MrexH (which I found out this summer through one of our deep conversations). He has been able to maintain friendships with girls, boys – a few non-binary, and one transitioning.

These kids know that all humans deserve humane consideration. When a black boy is murdered by police, these kids know it is one of them, and they might be next. When a mass shooting happens, these kids know it has affected someone like them, and they might be next. When a kid is targeted or mocked by an adult for being gay, black, Hispanic, a girl in shorts, they know it is one of them being targeted or mocked, and they group together to protect their peers.

Many times I have sat down to complete my thoughts over this summer and failed. I feel myself transitioning. No – transitioning is too much pressure. I am much more able to feel realities of transience through time.

Today is SonHerisme’s first day of High School. It will be interesting to see his take on how transformative this experience will be for his curiosity, life goal planning, and adventures. He’s already been thrown a loop by not making it onto the soccer team. He worked so hard for it, but the coach painfully cut him in the final 2 spots. He is considering playing for a club outside of school that he played for before. He is considering continuing with tennis outside of school. He is considering filling a vacant position with the High School Marching Band. He is considering trying rugby with a club outside of school. Maybe we should become transient-scholars. Traveling the world, online school… on whose dime though? *sigh* Be still little imaginations and let the checklists rule for just a bit longer please and thank you.

The world is open to SonHerisme’s transformation pivots while he practices more and more on becoming the adult he wishes to be. I am the groupie guide teenagering/adulting translation support navigation system he will require less on some days and more on others. I have failed him in many areas, and come through for him in many areas. This is a heavy transition for both if us – gently gently with our bittersweet bruised-into-determination souls.

It is time to embrace the quickslow. The quickslow will happen embraced or not, natch.

I need to move forward into the habits/person/parent/momma that my teenagering High School newborn baby giant puffin muffin baby bear needs. As well as the habits and attention I need for my own self once he truly launches out into the world.

I am… always myself, which rarely translates into anything that I predict. So there’s that. Here’s hoping for the best then! For all of us to allow the space for transformation in this transitiony time of year 🙂

Be kind to school staff, walkers, bikers, school bussers, and fellow car-line peoples (as well as the oddly knee-socked lady wandering the downtown park… she is me and I am fully aware of how ridiculous I look but needs must).

AAAAAAaaaaaand, we’re off! Transients through existence if nothing else.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps I also observe that while we have culturally decided that COVID is not a thing anymore, people continue to be infected, re-infected, become very ill, and suffer long-term issues. It looks like we are a-okay with that overall. Science and statistics say, “WARNING DANGER!” CDC and we say, “meh, whatevs.” Good luck with that as well. Transridiculousious…

High School side note: I went to the open house evening at the High School. It was free-form glee for these kiddos. The doors opened and everyone moved into the cafeteria, located their counselor (by last name) to receive their schedules and disperse on the adventure of walking their schedule or visiting club stations in the cafeteria. Staff were in the hallways to help kids find their classrooms, answer questions, and give navigation advice. Teachers were waiting at their classroom doors or inside their rooms to greet students/parents, answer questions, and provide supply expectations. I wanted to hug and thank every staff member there. It was all very sweet, vulnerable, and open. My goodness how times have changed from my long ago days of being a High School student. Good luck, staff! Good luck, students! Good luck, sweet tiny giant SonHerisme! Happy back-to-schooling y’all! Bittersweet brokenhealing quickslow transient times.

Mother of Roots

(Photo by Gary Spears on
(or listen here)
Mother of roots, you have not seeded
The tall ashes of loneliness
For me. Therefore,
Now I go.

The beginning of the poem, “Goodbye to the Poetry of Calcium,” by James Wright. I’ll post the entire poem at the end of the post, if you’d like to read it as intended. In the meantime, I am using the phrase, “Mother of Roots!” as my new swear. You are most welcome to join me.

Holiday times – getting all of the things done all of the time for all of the people to feel all of the seasonal happy merry joy joy. I’m in full on donkey kong mode.

  • Tree up – check
  • Ornaments on – check
  • Nutcrackers on window patrol – check
  • Fairy lights up – check
  • Wreaths out – check
  • Gingerbread house finished – check
  • Stocking stuffers lined up – check
  • Gifts for the people – check
  • Gifts for SonHerisme – check
  • Seasonal shows watched (except the mistake) – partial check
  • Cookies – looming (ingredients on hand)
  • Teacher gifts – looming (supplies on hand)
  • Note to Family about fancy Christmas Eve dinner plans – looming (lowering expectations)
  • Outfits at the ready – gah! not even close

Since before SonHerisme I have tended to Christmas up the place, European Christmas Market style. Perhaps trying to capture my magical moments of childhood having spent 4 Christmases in Germany – THE most magical place to be at Christmas for a kid. Chocolates, gingerbread, hot spicy beverages, sloshity snow, and best of all, freedom of movement in and out of the places. I lived in Germany from ages 11-15 years old. I had my own transport pass and lived in the suburbs of a small town near a large city – all connected by public transportation. For a girl from the suburbs of a US midwestern city, this change in freedom of movement was truly life altering. In the US the only places I could reasonably travel to on my own were down the street to a friend’s house, the neighborhood school two blocks away, and the neighborhood swimming pool. Even the library was too far away on major roads for me to bike on my own. At that time, the area was considered desirable for it’s distance away from the things of living life. Anything outside of neighbor-school-pool, required a car (public transportation was an absolute abomination to even be thought about). Just as I hit middle school, when my independence was screaming to be let out, we moved to Germany. It was glorious for my adventuring spirit!

Our house in Germany was about one mile from a large river’s local ferry port. For a tiny bit of pocket change, I could ride my bike down to the river, ferry across, bike/walk up the hill on the other side, get an ice cream cone, and make the return trip in about an hour. This adventure usually had my little brother in tow – but he was a lot of fun so I did not mind at all. We could only afford the ferry and ice cream (or warm pastry in the winter!) if we hadn’t already spent all of our money at the candy shop in our town. As soon as my mother gave us money each week, my brother and I would plan out what sweets to spend it on. Our older sister, not so much as she was very responsible and a grown-up teenager type person who could not be bothered with the sillinesses of the childrens.

The candy shop in our town had walls of candy you could select and put into a paper bag. We always chose the chocolates with liqueur or toys inside. The only restrictions set by the shop were by our wallet limits. Occasionally the candy shop person would throw in an extra “children’s chocolate” for us because it was “healthy.”

During the Christmas Season, we ran rampant through the local markets, pockets burning with our money itching to be spent on some glorious treat. Inevitably an oversized warm ginger fragrant almond dressed baked good, a few crusty shelled hot chestnuts, and sugared nuts, would make it into our possession (and happy tummies). Small doses of spiced wine would make it in there as well. A zillion wooden toy things, straw ornaments with red ribbons, fairy lights, and street musicians were dazzling everywhere. I caught the Christmas ambience bug there and have yet to let it go.

As I was trimming the tree, MotherHerisme and I had the following exchange:

MotherHerisme: You really enjoy putting on the ornaments and all of the Christmas stuff, don't you?
Me: I suppose I do. I really enjoy packing it all up and putting it all away at the end most of all.
MotherHerisme: That is very sad and Christmas is supposed to be happy.
Me: Okay.
MotherHerisme: So, you're saying that if SonHerisme and I weren't here, you just wouldn't take out any of this stuff and decorate?
Me: No, I would not.
MotherHerisme: If it was just me here, would you decorate?
Me: I am not sure.
MotherHerisme: So you're saying that you do all of this just for SonHerisme?
Me: Of course.
MotherHerisme: Well, I guess you better really enjoy the next four years then.
Me: Is something happening to SonHerisme in four years?
MotherHerisme: I'm just saying you better enjoy it now because it's over in four years.
Me: Do you think that SonHerisme will be dead in four years? What are you talking about?
MotherHerisme: You have four years left for Christmas, that's all I'm saying.
Me: Okay.

Pretty, pretty Christmas on the outside. Inside is a different story.

SonHerisme loves all of the things and the doing of the things. I am trying, and have always been trying, to give him unconditional love, connection, warmth, comfort and delicious memories to carry on for himself or switch up if he has his own partner and children.

On today’s docket: SonHerisme is home with a fever and stuffy nose (not COVID), so cornstarch ornaments and gluten free gingerbread are listed (along with laundry, cooking regular nourishment, and cleaning bc of the stuffy nose tummy troubles).

Life, it is a happenin’

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps Our local Board of Education voted to remove COVID vaccine proof or testing requirements for student participation in athletics. Locally, our hospitals are full and our infection spread is above 9%. While I understand some logic behind removing the discrepancy of who should be tested, I disagree with removing the procedures entirely.

EVERYONE should be submitting proof of vaccination to participate in collective or group activities. EVERYONE should be tested regularly to participate in collective or group activities. EVERYONE (except the tiniest humans) should be masking in collective, group or indoor settings. It is the only way to determine where and how the virus is mutating, spreading, and impacting our communities. We have plentiful resources on this Earth. We are continuing to choose the path of unpredictable long-term illness repercussions/mutations and global impact – again.

The quickest way to identify community issues is to look in the schools. Testing everyone every week. It is not a perfect solution, but it is a better step in identifying trends and hotspots, not to mention avoiding singling out and potentially shaming kids who have zero say in the decision to vaccinate. Mondays: Staff, K and younger. Tuesdays: Grades 1,2,3. Wednesdays: Grades 4,5,6. Thursdays: Grades 7,8,9. Fridays: Grades 10,11, 12. Task Universities with a similar schedule for their populations. We know that asymptomatic spread is an issue. We know that vaccinated spread is an issue. We know that the health repercussions for the unvaccinated are significantly worse than vaccinated. We also know that we have a certain percentage of people who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons. Aren’t we worth it? Aren’t our kids worth it? Aren’t our communities worth it? What in the sam hill mother of roots are we doing to our kids?

It just makes sense. To me. To this truly sideliner non-medical, non-public health professional. Test everyone on the regular. Secure healthcare(which includes food/water/clothing). Secure housing. Secure equitable education. I have spoken. This is the way. Also, yes, I have written to the BOE.

Do you know why I chose a Cicero quote for the post image? Known as calm, intelligent, wise, and a great orator, Cicero also held multiple government positions steadfastly holding on to the idea that level heads would prevail, as the republic fell around him. *sigh* MOTHER OF ROOTS or perhaps the swear should be, “Dark Cypresses!”

Goodbye to The Poetry of Calcium (by James Wright)
      Dark cypresses -
      The world is uneasily happy:
      It will all be forgotten. - Theodor Storm

Mother of roots, you have not seeded
The tall ashes of lonliness
For me. Therefore,
Now I go.
If I knew the name,
Your name, all trellises of vineyard and old fire
Would quicken to shake terribly my
Earth, mother of spiraling searches, terrible
Fable of calcium, girl. I crept this afternoon
In weeds once more,
Casual, daydreaming you might not strike
Me down. Mother of window sills and journeys,
Hallower of scratching hands,
The sight of my blind man makes me want to weep.
Tiller of waves or whatever, woman or man,
Mother of roots or father of diamonds,
Look: I am nothing.
I do not even have ashes to rub into my eyes.

Rainy Day

(Photo by Dominic Vince Benedictos on
(or listen here)

Welcome to my rainy day.

So far there’s been: a 1:30am thunderstorm with a yet-to-be-identified tree fall, a 3am panic attack from weirdo schmeardo nightmare, an overly optimistic 6am alarm, and a more realistic 7am alarm followed by a 10 minute snooze button, hand-holding school drop off, slight leaky-eyed tears driving home from drop-off… big emotions swirling for what turned out to be an adventurous day.

In other news, MotherHerisme wore lipstick! W H A T WHAT the what what?!!? Like fuh reals? YES. She had on a pinkish orangey melon colored lipstick like back in the day. In my growing up times, and until maybe the past decade, MotherHerisme was always lipsticked, usually foundationed, and occasionally mascara-ed with tidy hair, outrageous sparkle shirts, cozy pants and shiny shoes. While she still sucks up the energy in the room, it used to be she sucked it all up to blow back out in enthusiastic boisterous gregarious loudnesses. In the past decade she just broke down into massive seriously full-on narcissistic, fist banging, leg kicking, throwing things, screaming, crying, temper-tantrum mode. It has been difficult times. I think she just broke from years of trying to force the universe to bend to her will through gregarious extrovertednesses. She has trauma, for sure, which I think until recently she truly had no idea she was acting out and passing down. Recently she told me that for the first time in her whole life she has felt like she could just be herself now. She claims to have never considered her own mortality until now either. It has been a very hard road for her to recognize that she is a uniquely privileged piece of the universe, in a never-before-in-human-history and never-again-in-human-history, specialized race/socioeconomic/cultural specific generation. I am not certain that she can fully embrace that knowledge now either, but I do think that very occasionally she has the ability to see outside of herself, which is a step to empathy. Just this morning, she commented that she’s never felt so relaxed in her whole life as she has these past two years specifically.

I cannot remember what I have shared previously about MotherHerisme. To sum up, she has been living in my house since Christmas of 2016. Today her version of how this came to be is that she has had a series of medical issues and has established physician relationships here which prevent her from moving back to her own home (3 states to the west, where my father, her husband, still resides across the street from my sister and her family). This topic is for a different day’s writing.

ANYWHO, the day I began this writing turned into a massive shitstorm – as in Ida held firm in her own resolve to deposit her hurricane remnants hither and thither around my area of the world. We are all okay. My heart aches for places which are not okay. This is a tiny picture of my lucky story.

School dismissal was a bit bumpy. My road was washed out, as were all roads leading to mine. They’re currently being repaired (huzzah to seeing taxes work for the people!). We can enter and exit back up the hill and through another little town which has a raised highway entrance. The water is clearing itself out after cresting yesterday evening. Mother Nature – we see you and raise you a Texridiculas women’s oppression body control shitstorm! TAKE THAT bwahahahahaha (not in Richard E Grant’s voice this time as his wife has sadly passed away and I am sending him oodles of comfort, peace, space and grace for grief).

No school buses are available for our school, so I drive SonHerisme everyday. Pre-COVID, I walked him inside in the morning, and walked inside to pick him up in the afternoons. COVID times make us an exclusive carline school. positives: SonHerisme likes carline now that he is an 8th grader and can sneak hand holding and a sweet momma kiss before he disembarks to school. negatives: we are not a neighborhood school so we miss out on the milling about the front of the school community connections, plus, sitting in the car for an hour is HARD for this sweet momma (crying the tears of the privileged).

As I drove to pick up SonHerisme through aggressive Ida remnants, the thought occurred to me about warnings for driving through washed out roads (mine was, many were between home and school), as well as how the flippity rain deluge did I think I was getting us home if it was still pouring and I’m pretty sure our road was washing away as I skidded over it. Spoiler alert – segments of our road (and many others) did wash away. By the time I had gathered SonHerisme (THANK YOU to the edges of reality and back to ALL school staff – bc you guys ROCK the job-damned living hell out of what you do!!!!), my road and roads leading to my road, were indeed closed.

But, what ho, thought I… the rain had subsided somewhat and I had made it out on my road, surely I could make it back in! Bravado! Entitlement! Calculated risk trust exercise! Alas, there was a police car right behind me escorting county maintenance vehicles assessing and closing off roads. Did I care? No! YES! A weakened maybe perhaps as I pulled my SUV (yup, I’m that momma and SonHerisme plays soccer) into an empty parking lot with a water run-off embankment located just before my road (post multiple re-routes to get this close to home). As soon as the police car was out of sight, I u-turned my car, drove down the middle of the road (as the lanes were completely under water, but the center was slightly raised and not under water), and bypassed the “road closed” sign for my road, as if I lived in the little neighborhood just past the sign. I told SonHerisme that I might have to backup or pull into the church parking lot on a little hill, if our road was fully washed out or if the water was too deep to see the pavement. C’mon I’m not CRAZY crazy.

I was able to navigate our road by staying in the middle. The sides of the road had fallen off in spots, especially by deeper gully areas. Most of my road is going uphill, so after we drove about 3/4 mile without issue, I felt like we were just fine. EXCEPT for the two 40ft uprooted giant oak trees that had fallen across our road just before our driveway. County vehicles were already on the the scene, along with a firetruck (as first responders from the top of our hill). By now SonHerisme had to go to the bathroom since he’d been in the car with after school snack/water for over an hour at this point – we live about 4-5 miles from his school.

SonHerisme had a few choices: get out and pee off the side of the road, stay in the car and wet his pants, or ask road maintenance if he could shimmy over/under the giant fallen trees to run up our driveway to the house. He chose running up the driveway to the house since, as he described his situation, “I have to go to the BATHROOM bathroom, not just pee, MOM!” He’s totally teening.

Since my sweet teeny tiny squishy newborn baby looks 19/20 at 13 years-old, except for his super cute school backpack, the road crew and firemen agreed he could go underneath the fallen giant oaks. Once they supervised him through, they asked him how old he is and one of the crew on my side of the trees jogged back to me. “Don’t worry ma’am, he did just fine and said he will call you as soon as he is inside. You can wait right here for about 15-20 minutes and we will have the road cleared for you to get home.”

So I waited.

Meanwhile, at least one school bus with 10 students had to be water rescued having been pushed off the road by fast moving water, so all school buses had been ordered back to their schools. Parents all over the county had to pick up their children whenever they could, however they could. It was a proper emergency. School staff organized and kept kids secure and safe until they could be picked up.

We have two little elementary girls down the hill and across the road who got stuck in their school bus for about 2 hours because their bus couldn’t get back to their school or to their house due to closed and impassable roads. About ten minutes after the giant oaks were cleared from our road, the girl’s bus came down the road from the top of the hill and dropped them off safely at home. That is a hero school bus driver for sure.

What a day. Not one local person lost their life. We are lucky.

The next day school was canceled due to too many impassable roads. Water levels peaked in the early evening, and began to recede in time for enough road work to allow schools to reopen on Friday. Of course, the city rec tennis coach got her assistants and brooms out about 30 minutes before SonHerisme’s Thursday evening tennis, and they cleared all but one of the courts which had been submerged in water and were full of debris and silt. Life 🙂

On a sad note, I’m sure we’ll see an uptick in COVID because of the necessary last minute carpools/crowding together for immediate safety. I’m sure we’ll see this present even worse in much harder hit areas.

Note to self: we are freakishly lucky and I am committed to sharing the luck as I can where I can. Meal delivery is one thing I can do to share. Donate $5 to local flood support groups and for women’s support local to Afghanistan.

Please take good care of yourself and your communities. So much hurt is bubbling to the extremely visible surface. I wish moments of peace and joy to you!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. I know better than to drive through water covered roads. The hubris of me is occasionally unbearable and difficult to acknowledge in an emergency moment where hyper vigilant assessment and instinct kicks in. In those moments it feels like everything I see, think, feel, is positioned on the very tip of a pin in tiny droplet of water I can quickly scan from all different panoramic angles, noting multiple outcomes of various decisions, like in chess but perhaps 3D live chess. Based on that tiny pinprick moment, I make a pathway decision and go. One day it won’t work out for me, just like it doesn’t for lots of other people. For now, I experience the weather changes and my extremely good luck. It’s all about positioning (by choice or circumstance) to be better advantaged to possibly hit on mysterious luck. NOT mysterious lick, which is what I accidentally tippity typed before correction and leaning into gross. No mysterious lick. No sir. No ma’am.

and also, I am cycling through struggles. I send solidarity via {{{hugs}}} to all of us struggling with the things, and will seek some comfort in tea. Today finds me tea-ing up with black tea chai, no milk, no sugar. woot woot!

Forge Forager

(Photo by Pixabay on
(or listen here)

Hello out there.

I am now a mother of a teenager type young man.

A single mother of a teen.

I never-have-I-ever-would-I-ever-have imagined this life for myself (or a child of mine), but here we are.

Happy Birthday to me

Today we are house secure, water secure, food secure, sundries secure, education secure, health secure (as we can be), electricity secure, internet access secure, freedom secure (as it can be), peace secure (as it can be), and grateful to be all of those things. Also holding praying and comfort space for all of the humans who are not this secure or are this secure (or more) and are unable to embrace it.

People have accused me of being Pollyanna when I mention these types of things, or when I refocus on the basics of humanity’s shared emotional experiences. Perhaps I can be at times. I think of it more as a momentary refocus anchor to keep me even the tiniest bit grounded during those most difficult untethering moments. It can also be a reinforcement of the Four Agreements, specifically: not taking things personally. I suppose these are my versions of gratitude, and occasionally my only version of gratitude that I am able to harness. If you know the darknesses, you know what I mean. If you do not, then I am truly immensely grateful for you because I would not wish any of it on anyone. Not even on the people who have harmed me or those I purposefully disconnect from.

It seems as if the darkness cycle spins a little more gently when I am reminded about other humans having human experiences too. No, that’s not true. That is sometimes. When I am able to go outside of my experience and forage around to hit on an exact point of compassion for another person, that is when my cycle spins more gently. It isn’t that I no longer feel the darknesses, but more that I embrace what I see in another person and I am able to treat that in a softer way. This is a zillion quadrillion easier than foraging around inside my own self and extending compassion there, somehow making everything a bit softer, thereby quieting my own disastrous internal tapes.

Between the time that I began this post, became distracted by life (tennis, soccer, swimming, laundry, cooking, cleaning, wound care, relatives visiting, food shopping, ironing the linens – why? It’s a thang, back-to-school appointments, supplies/clothes shopping, puppy grooming/emergency vet visits, COVID avoidance, loving my sweet baby, Monopoly, Ted Lasso, painting, Tinker Crates, violin, piano, drums, reading, all of the things etc) my teeny tiny newborn giant became a teen, I had a birthday myself, and something switched in my brain.

It may be a bad fuse switch, though bc it keeps popping off and I have to dig all the way inside of myself to get it flipped back again. The switch is letting myself be. If I see myself as a hawt mess, or ugly, or a bitch, or gross, or lazy, or self centered, or whatever shameful thing – I let it be. Kind of like an observer to my own shame. It dawned on me that truly, who the f cares? Who cares if I am a hawt mess? I still have to make breakfast, take the puppies outside, wash the clothes, do the grocery shop etc. If I want to sink into the hawt mess zone, then whatever, I’m a hawt mess – nothing changes except how I feel as I am living the life stuff. I know I cannot force my brain into unicorn fairy rose thoughts on those deep dark occasions. Platitudes and well-intentioned posts from people who appear to have their shit together, or at least appear to have healthy support and luck on their side to keep their shit together, are not helpful to me. My switch has helped me by my knowing that it is always there. A permanent rendering of the knowledge of impermanence of the dark shameful tropes. The trick is in locating the switch.

Lucky (?) for me, alcohol and drugs are not options – or, at least not unhealthy level options. What seems to help me locate my switch is being outside, outside activity, music, listening to a podcast: finding an artistic expression to absorb my brain enough that I am forced to be present with myself. When I can get my brain still enough that I can be alert to essence, then my sense of who I am clicks for long enough that the shame can still itself and just be shame too, until it no longer dominates how I am.

Does this make sense?

Maybe it’s because I am entering crone phase – no more babies coming from my body, more shiny silver sparkles popping up in my hair, my own squishy baby is entering his final growth into man phase… or maybe I have truly lost my mind. I doubt the maybe’s matter – they just will be whatever they will be, regardless of my participation. Like time is what it is no matter how it is allocated, used, or passed.

I awakened with a panic attack at 2:30am recently. This is not unusual for me. These kind of panic attacks come in waves and then disappear for a few weeks. Occasionally they are part of a nightmare, but not always. Sometimes I’ll focus on my breath until I can calm down, sometimes my body bursts into tears for a bit from the stress of it all. This one was after a nightmare where someone/something took a giant sharp chisel to the crown of my head and hit it directly in the center with an oversized Thor*-like hammer. My entire self shattered into a million fractured pieces. I quickly figured out that I was not shattered, and immediately panicked that I was having the oft predicted mental breakdown. This then of course led to me mentally calculating the logistics of how to handle me having a mental breakdown. Do I phone 911? If I do, then who will take SonHerisme to school? How will he be able to cope with a more shattered me? Did I get enough groceries in the house for SonHerisme to figure out a few meals on his own? What should (or do) I have prepared in the freezer(often on my mind anyway in case I get the COVID)? How much puppy food do I have on hand? Is there toilet paper? Did I already schedule the monthly bills? Who can be on-call to change MotherHerisme’s bandages? Is my phone charged? Did I remember to change the broken brake light? Is there cash anywhere for SonHerisme to use until I can get him a credit card? Is his soccer costume/outfit/kit clean and ready? Did I already cook the spinach and mushrooms or are they slowly rotting in the refrigerator? Will my brain stay functional enough to work any of this stuff out? And on and on and on… until I recognized that it doesn’t matter. I am not literally actually physically shattered, and mentally shattered I already know how to do. Pro forma performance for me b!tches (awww nahs, now I’ve got the awks sillies the agains)

Is this acceptance? Perhaps it is a form of that.

I don’t have the energy to fight anything anymore anyway anywhere anyhow.

I will just keep on being me as best as I can on days that I am able to do so. I hope the same for you!

In the meantime, please keep yourself healthy and safe.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

SonHerisme has requested that we build a home forge so that he can make some cool stuff and learn about melting metals. I will engage his dream by taking him to visit a private forge and then… I’m not saying, “no,” yet. If you know of this magic, or of the dreams of boys new to teenager-ing, advice and guidance is welcome 🙂

*I know that Thor’s hammer has a special and important-to-some name, which was carefully chosen due to it being full of the meanings and legends and such, and has been passed down through mythology over countless generations, and I also love some good Marvel movie-time up in here – however, despite taking the time to type this excuse, I find I have no time to look up the name of the hammer and include it in my ramblings see: nightmare w chisel. akobc (air kiss on both cheeks)

Below SHOULD BE A SEPARATE POST, but is not. Although, it does have a separate audio file! Huzzah!

(listen here)

***ALERT topical COVID*** COVID is hitting some of my circles hard right now. Shoving kids into overcrowded schools at another upswing of the pandemic without any educational back-up plan despite over half of the kids not vaccinated, is insanity blowing up a shitstorm imho.

I am in a progressive-ish state with masks required in schools – but when kids are crammed into buildings, sat shoulder-to-shoulder for meals, and no masking at recess etc, I am not really sure what we expect. Kids are germ magnets and superspreaders in ALL cases.

Why we every pretended they weren’t is CrAzY cAtS to the max. And we did pretend to boost our own bravado and push an unhealthy unproductive narrative to park kids somewhere culturally convenient and get our moneymakers back where we can watch them and overwork/underpay them to siphon cash to our few investors so that they can buy gold toilets and host “conferences” and “meetings” in Cancun (ooops, it is the angers and outrages).

We never EVER looked at contact tracing of asymptomatic kids spreading the virus DESPITE schools opening = higher hospitalizations/higher rates of infection in the community at large. Teachers and school staff, I am sorry. Kids, I am … sorry doesn’t cut it. Kids, I am horrified at our behaviors. Please know that many of us are working hard to do the right thing with masking, handwashing, vaccinations, etc. 3 days into the school year, we had 41 positive cases in the schools. 1 week into the school year, we have 7 schools declared “outbreak” sites, over 600 kids in quarantine, and an additional 62 positive cases in the schools. After 18 months, many of us are doing many things right but this is not one of them. damnit damnit all to frickin’ hell

Locally our infection rate has dropped again to 5.22%, probably because every student or school staff person with any symptoms, or potentially exposed, can only return to school with a negative test. This means that more people are being tested (which is a GOOD thing, but also makes the infection rate incomparable to previous weeks where primarily people with active symptoms were the only ones getting tested). Our local hospital beds (ICU and regular) are comparable to what we were seeing in late November, February and April. These were all upticks towards peaks about a month later.

WWID? Well, if I was the benevolent dictator who was somehow unable to give into the seduction of power (insert Richard E Grant early 90’s evil laugh here)(yes, I am this evil laugh specific) and screw everything up, requiring a bloody revolution to correct the wrongs of my sycophants and myself… then, I would suggest that we regroup a think-tank of teachers who would take one full working month to develop a plan of hybrid indoor/outdoor options with a shit-ton of large motor activities preK-12, utilizing local parks/parking lots/businesses unused space/whatever space is available, where only half of the kids are inside at any given time. MEANWHILE administrators plan how to reconfigure building use for next year to cut class sizes in half and end the traditional academic day at lunchtime, followed by recess and PE/Art/Music and other specialized interest groups (forensic science, soccer, orchestra, swimming, chess club, Minecraft, writing, academic support, riding, school garden, outdoor skills, cooking, life skills etc) until school closes. Kids leave as early as mid afternoon or option to stay until dinner-time (with a staff change of course). Kids participate in meal and snack preparation, as well as clean-up. All programs begin with grace and courtesy. Counselors, social workers, intervention support specialists are in plentiful supply to support growth, development, learning, and connection with community resources. Make space for illness, sadness, big heavy emotions, as these are to be expected and need supported as well. Might as well dream big, it doesn’t cost anymore than the small dreams (quoted from DS, celebrated author, former co-worker, and all around great person). Oh yes, and take the vaccine as you are able to do so.

Bang Bang (Chicken)

Uh-oh.  Now she’s going to preach about: gun control, teachers need guns, mental health, universal health care, libtards, evil conservatives, sexual assault, feminism, sexism, patriotism, nationalism, racism…




trigger, trigger, trigger!






Those of us living in the United States of America, are living in a fear reactive based culture in general.  On top of that, we maintain this bizarre “code of silence” about truths and realities of our culture/town/neighbors/school/family/self which permits us to disengage and disconnect from responsibility to ourselves and to each other.  These things prevent us from having productive dialogue, discourse, and disagreements, which could lead to healthy compromise and solutions.


For example:  I am confident that there are next to zero parents who want to their child to feel unsafe at school, or to be shot at school.  This is the beginning of a dialogue.

Some of us might feel that schools need security/police/armed teachers or staff for our child to feel safe and not be shot at school.

Some of us might feel that we need better gun control/mental health support over all for our child to feel safe and not be shot at school.

(psst… these are not mutually exclusive ideas, just different ideas)


When the dialogue becomes about the extremes, which we are brilliant at, the discourse breaks down and stagnates until the side with the most power and control gets their way.  This leaves the rest of us scratching our heads, “what just happened?!!” Or loosing complete interest and tuning into some reality television show/youtuber/drink/exercise/food/work/sex/whatever to tune out our reality.


The power and control duo do not equal good leadership.


Having power and control is not a good indicator of good decision making.  (hello, world history and anyone who has been in an abusive relationship)


One of the things that makes our country so great, is that we emerged from a group of people who were unified in their belief that there was a better system for collective living. Rather than relying on those who wielded only power and control, they developed a system of collective input and feedback (not equitable, and with other issues, yes, yes, yes I am simplifying.  I said “ONE of the things,” anywho…).


We have the laws we have because we voted for them.


We have the people in office that we have because we voted for them.


Gun laws or lack of?  We vote for those.  BANG! BANG!

Education system?  We vote for that.  BANG! BANG!


I am not under any Pollyannaish spell where the magical world of magical peace will be attained through everyone believing in my truth.


I am suggesting that, as a collective, we do not accept our own culpability or responsibility in our collective missteps, disappointments, inactivity/activities. Shame and blame game, baby.  Power and control for the win!


WORTHINESS is critical.  Believing that one is worthy and others are worthy.


All it takes is for me to look inside my own home, inside of my own family, inside of my own community, to see this playing out.


My Home/Family:

There are so many scenarios to demonstrate in this dynamic.  The two men in my son’s life who are the closest to him struggle to maintain civility, courtesy and respect with SonHerisme.  It is awful.  I draw my boundaries as I am able to do so, and I am getting stronger and more able everyday.  In the meantime, I wonder what these men are doing to help SonHerisme feel worthy as a person.  Worthy enough that he can see worthiness in others.  Worthy enough that he does not get to the end of his rope as an at-risk teen and go into a high school or workplace or concert, and decide that not only is he unworthy, but so is everyone else.  What are they doing to show him how to be a functioning healthy adult man?


I could have this conversation with them.  It would not be received.


After the latest High School shooting, my father wondered what the differences could be between that shooter and himself.  My father tragically lost his father when he was very young.  His mother became ill and died when he was a teenager.  He was poor.  He was bullied.  My father is completely at a loss in understanding why this young man in Florida, and other white men, are shooting kids at schools, when he did not do that.

Unlike these kids, my father had a support system of people who believed he was worthy, and showed him that others had worth too.  He had a consistent sense of reciprocal responsibility in his community from the time he was born.

He did not have access to the kinds of firearms people do today.




My School/Community:

In our school community, parents are not included in the school-day community at all.  It is considered a sacred place for children only (and the staff).  Our after-school community consists of primarily female-centric activities run by parents (girl scouts, brownies, garden club, writing club, mother-daughter book club… yes, gardening and writing are not just for girls, but they are female centric and female run).  There is a co-ed robot club too, limited and selective, and an athletic club that meets seasonally at a local park (also run by women).


I have reached out multiple times to try and establish interest and leadership in more male-centric activities (scouts, maker-space, running club etc) with little to no response, and ultimately no action.  Inevitably someone comments, “where are the dads?,” “c’mon dads, grandfathers, uncles, step up!,” on my social media posts on the school page.  As if publicly shaming the men, we will make them want to be involved.


I offered my intention to walk near the school on the planned walk-out days, specifically noting that I would not disrupt the school day.  I was told, through an intermediary, that I was going to frighten kindergartners (oddly no mention of the preschoolers, so I guess they are a-okay with my goings on). After much circular dialogue, I finally received confirmation that the principal specifically wanted this person to tell me not to walk near the school.  We are so ridiculous in our silence and assumptions.  No one thought to have the courtesy to ask me what my vision and intentions were beyond my post. No one thought of how to promote supportive community (as in the entire school community, not just the carved out piece of children and staff) in this charged time.  By the way, I was going to walk and talk about peace and safety with my son, on the public sidewalk near the school.  Which, it being a public sidewalk and all, no one can prevent me from walking on.  Ironically, no one else indicated they were joining us.  It was most likely going to be the two of us on a bonding stroll, reinforcing to my son that I was, in some small way, a member of his school community and supportive of the community.


Where in our community are we offering support for our boys to feel that sense of worthiness?  That sense that others are worthy?  That sense of reciprocal responsibility?  We can’t even do it in our own school.  How can we expect it to happen in our broader community?




I am struggling in my own home with this.


bang bang bang Bang BANG


I am so proud to be a citizen of this country, despite our gross flaws, because each of us can potentially make a difference by using our voice and vote to steer our collective community and nation.  I am finding it amazing that more and more people seem to be engaged and interested in our country’s direction.


I agree that there isn’t a single answer for this recurring gun violence in schools issue, and also that we need to start somewhere.

Changing gun laws seems to be a no-brainer beginning, but it does not address our serious endemic issues (which are often institutionally endorsed).

I believe that we have been teetering on a tipping point for some time in our country. I hope I’m contributing to us tipping in the direction of peace and humanity.  I am trying in my little corner, to support my SonHerisme to feel his own worthiness and the worthiness of others.


Maybe I should do more.  Maybe I should do differently.  For now:


Please let me stay healthy and alive until SonHerisme reaches well into adulthood, to give him the best footing to not become a tragic statistic.

Please let us pause and collect ourselves nationally to support school safety.

Please check on your neighbor.

Please help our fatherless boys (and those with harmful fathers).

Love, Ms. Herisme xo


Bang Bang (Chicken)

Mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey and hot sauce – mix ‘em up = bang bang sauce

Fry up some stuff, dip fried stuff into sauce

I hate mayonnaise.  Oh, wait.  I mean, I like to eat it occasionally when it is called for, but I hate it.  I hate the way it looks.  I hate reading the word.  I hate saying the word.  Blech

Do you know what I hate more than mayonnaise?  Hypocrisy, “code of silence,” lying, compromised health and safety, kids getting shot at school.  You know, the everyday.

b aaa nnnnn ggggggg

Disposable Emotions

original (775)

Parent/Teacher conferences happened last week at SonHerisme’s school.

This is one of the very, very extremely, limited times parents are permitted to see inside their children’s classroom, or the inside of the school environment at all.

Our school has very exacting leadership.  A militant Montessori, some might say.

The school is the domain of children and teachers, where families and parents are not permitted or included.

The conferences are strictly scheduled in 15 minute increments, twice per school year.  During two scheduled weeks during the school year, 20 minute opportunities to observe your child’s classroom are offered, but only to one parent at a time, and only if you secure the time slot before the other 100 or so parents.  There is also a 15 minute opportunity to join in your child’s classroom for their Walk-Around-the-Sun (Montessori birthday celebration).

Why are we still there? 

The teachers and parent community are unusually wonderful at this school.  I helped to build the school, as a founder.  While I am not on the same page with the leadership of the school, I am not currently in a position to help facilitate change, and the broader community of the school has been indispensable to us.

Also, despite having a horrific introduction into formal schooling (we were homeschooling prior to attending school), I was not in a position to even move SonHerisme into a different classroom.  My every move and breath was being questioned and picked apart by my attorney, SonHerisme’s attorney, and MrexH’s seemingly never-ending series of attorneys (each of whom firmly believed they were going to catch me doing or being something awful, so that they could vie for MrexH’s position with the court system – because that makes TOTAL SENSE when you are looking at a mentally ill person threatening to kill his family, with a history of abuse…yup, totally).

Anywho, the school leadership blatantly told me that, if asked by an attorney, therapist or social worker, they would not support my request to remove my child from the destructive abusive classroom situation he was in, or to change his school environment.  The school leadership’s position was that I would be harming SonHerisme’s education if I chose to school him differently. The school leadership is considered an expert on the subject of my child’s education, not me.  This felt like a threat to our safety.

The school leadership described me to SonHerisme’s attorney as an “over-protective” “hypervigilant” mother…  UM, YES because MrexH wants to KILL us, perhaps…?

This communication between SonHerisme’s attorney and the school leadership cost me countless sleepless nights, loss of trust in the leadership, and probably close to $1000 in attorney’s fees to explain myself – never mind the hours of my time in communications with those attorneys, our therapists etc, that most assuredly took my time AWAY from a confused and hurting SonHerisme who just desperately needed my presence and assurances.

The school environment we entered had an entirely unprepared incompetent teacher and was rampant with extremely poor  aggressive violent behaviors and bullying.  Most of the 30 children that were in that classroom 2014-2015, are still trying to normalize and catch up to their peers – even the half of the class that removed their children due to this horrific school situation.

While that particular teacher was not permitted to return to the school the following school year, the damage was done.  And I remained confined by the threats of attorneys and the attitude of the school leadership, to keep my child in that environment.

Those of you reading this and thinking, “This would never happen to my child!  Unacceptable!  I would pull my child out of there in a heartbeat and give them a piece of my mind!”

Be my guest. 

Walk my path.

(but holy bejeezus, I hope NOT) 

Have multiple attorneys threaten you with the safety and well-being of your child.

One threat: to send some stranger, in a van, to your home to physically remove your ptsd anxiety ridden child, and force your child to spend time with his abusive clinically psychotic father (who wants to murder SonHerisme and Herisme), if you make any questionable decisions or moves.  You know, because it turns out that, according to attorneys and potentially the court, it’s probably ME that had the problem – you know because of my anxiety about MrexH, and I am too overprotective and hypervigilant.  Yeah, that was the REAL problem here…

Anyone want to revisit the misogynistic bullying culture of outrage discussion?

Good times.

And so, you move those feelings to somewhere else (dissociation much?), and wake up in the morning to take your screaming crying frightened child into, what you KNOW, is an abusive school situation, and you leave him there because you’re fairly certain no one is going to murder him in a public Montessori school with a tough-as-nails, protective school secretary, watching the front door.

The unknown social worker in the van transporting your child to his psychotic abusive father is what you are avoiding.

Once that teacher was not invited back to the school for the 2015-2016 school year, new teachers arrived, and a new school secretary (the previous secretary made an extra effort to introduce SonHerisme to the new secretary and let him know that the new secretary knew how to keep him safe too.  I truly appreciated that!).  The school leadership divided that classroom of children into smaller groups, so that they could have a chance to normalize into the environment.

So far, so good, in terms of the classroom dynamics shifting and allowing education and positive learning to take place.  Of course, this is only as far as I can tell from observing my child outside of school, as no parent is permitted inside, except on the occasions listed above.

However, the recovery is taking extra time for us because not only did we have to move through the tragedies of our home environment, but also the severe tragedy of an abusive school environment 2014-2015, as well.

Which brings me back to the school conference, now that there is context for what comes next.

The consistent and patient teacher SonHerisme is in his second year with (multiage Montessori classrooms, he has not been held back), shared with me that SonHerisme confided he was worried sometimes at night because his dad wants to kill him.

Holy Fduck (D-)

At a follow-up meeting about extra educational support for SonHerisme, his teacher shared that SonHerisme told his peers in a classroom discussion about sad things in everyone’s lives, that his dad wants to, and tried to, kill him.

Holy Fduck (D-)

When the class discussion moved on to how to deal with the saddnesses, SonHerisme’s response was, “you just forget about it.”

Disposable emotions


Or, SonHerisme is growing, changing, and starting to forget somethings and remember other things in a different, maturing way.

I hope that my lessons to SonHerisme are not that the primary processing of emotions includes dismissing them, disposing them.

I want him to be able to acknowledge emotions,

process them,

move successfully and healthily through the strongest of them,

to live his long, healthy, full, fulfilling and safe life.

Maybe I am too good at dissociation and disposing of my own emotions to know how to guide him through this.

Thank G-d, and the generosity of SonHerisme’s therapist,

his therapy continues weekly.

Obvs I need to be in therapy – which takes private insurance – which takes money – which takes an income – which requires employment.

In time.  I feel that I will get there.

In the meantime, thank you all for your patience.

If you know me irl and know our school, please be kind in your judgements of them and of me.  Challenging extremely unpleasant circumstances tend to bring out the worst in everybody.

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

ps. yes, it continues to be difficult for me as an adult to process what has occurred.  I cannot imagine how these situations have formulated SonHerisme’s young little being. *spirals into worry*