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First of all, congratulations, and I’m sorry. Congratulations for raising a human being who cares enough to put their body on the line to defend and protect their and others’ communities. I’m sorry this courage comes with possible costs. As a mother and a protester, I wanted to make sure you have information to calm your anxiety and keep your kiddos safe.

In general, our kiddos know more than we give them credit for and are completely capable of taking care of themselves and their comrades. It’s also true that sometimes our kiddos think they are more capable than they actually are. Whatever the case, do your best to communicate with them well before they hit the streets to make sure they are prepared and know that you have their back.

The following is a brief list of things you might want to mention to them, and things you may want to consider or do yourself at different stages of the protest.

Before the Action:

Is your kiddo attending trainings or meetings in advance of the protest? Often groups will hold “training camps” to convey important safety information and group guidelines. If your youth is attending anything like this, please make sure the group that is conducting the training is well-organized and open to questions, and encourage your young adult to bring a friend or two along, even if those friends aren’t necessarily going to protest with them. You might even consider going yourself! If they aren’t being conducted by a group your kiddo already knows well, these trainings should be all-inclusive and welcoming to the community. Avoid and discourage attending any trainings that are conducted in secrecy by people you and your offspring aren’t already familiar with.

If they are able to go to a pre-protest training, they should find out how to identify medics (typically medics are identifiable by red crosses,) legal observers (typically legal observers wear green hats,) and others who can provide information during the protest. It’s good to form associations with trusted folks who can be asked for help during the course of the protest. Whether there is a training or not, it’s a good idea to ask if there will be any legal aid or jail support available should anyone be arrested. Having that information in advance can give you tremendous peace of mind if your young one is snatched up.

If there is no in-person pre-protest training, there may be information posted online or elsewhere. Encourage your family member to not be shy about asking for information in advance. Most open protests are organized by SOMEONE, usually a group of someones, and those organizers will want you to have access to information that will keep you safe.

Encourage your kiddo to participate with friends. While it is possible to go it alone, it’s not recommended to be out there on your own. If they do not have a buddy, offer to be there for them to check in periodically. Set a check-in time and a plan for what to do and who to call if they do not respond. If you have any friends who will also be attending, see if you can arrange an on-site check-in. This is not helicopter parenting. This is keeping your loved one safe. Hopefully, if your kiddo is woke enough to be out in the streets defending the lives and rights of others, they will understand that you want to defend and protect them. However, if they do not want to check in with you, encourage them to check in with a trusted friend, and try not to take it too personally…as long as they are checking in.

You might suggest the smaller group of protest buddies that your kiddo is involved with share their full legal names and birthdays with you, their family members, and trusted friends who are supporting them offsite. This will help if anyone is arrested, especially if there are any folks involved who do not have the same loving support you are providing. If you want to communicate in a private and secure way, have everyone download end-to-end encrypted messaging apps, such as Signal or Telegram.

Make sure your kiddo knows that they will want to follow the lead and listen to the voices of those who are most directly impacted by the consequences of any action they individually, or the group collectively, takes. Without judging, find a way to discourage any actions that might endanger those among them who are likely to be targeted for disproportionate retaliation. Encourage them to defend and protect those among them who are vulnerable to this targeting. If they’ve made a commitment to be there, they should be ready and willing to support the cause and take care of their comrades. Protesting is a group and community activity. There is no room for “lone wolf” actions. Hopefully all of the good parenting you’ve provided up to this point has instilled an understanding of structural imbalance and oppression. If not, if your kiddo is white or enjoys any structural privilege, you might want to discourage them from attending until they understand how to ensure they are not reproducing oppression in the streets.

The Day of the Action:

Make sure your kiddo has a healthy meal and dresses for success! 

  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Multiple layers & cover skin
  • Goggles or shatter-resistant glasses for front line
  • MASK UP! 
  • A bicycle helmet can be helpful in case of police aggression

Ask if they’ve packed a bag with some or all of the following items:

  • First Aid kit with bandages, antibacterial ointment, aspirin or ibuprofen, gauze, alcohol wipes, disinfectant, and any essential medication in original packaging
  • Dry bandana
  • Baby wipes – water-based – OR – paper towels in solution of baking soda/water
  • Eye drops
  • Pen, paper, markers
  • Snacks and water
  • Backup battery/charger
  • Important numbers
  • Towels & extra clothes in second bag for extra cushion

If you have a phone number for legal aid, it’s a good idea for your kiddo to write it in permanent marker somewhere on their body – preferably hidden, so it doesn’t look like they are asking to get arrested. Advise them to watch their backs, always have an exit route, try not to get separated from their group, and stay centered on their personal limitations and boundaries. The day of the protest is NOT the time to plan some sort of daring, heroic act. Those kinds of actions take a lot of time to plan and are generally carried out by groups of people with emergency exit plans in advance.

During the Action

Try not to worry too much! Almost every protest I’ve been to is a life-affirming experience where people on the ground take good care of each other. Regardless, your little birdy has flown from the nest for now, and no amount of worrying will help. See if you can find some livestreams of action on the ground to keep track of the general tenor of the action. If you have other parent friends whose kids are attending – check in with them to relieve the stress. Breathe. Take a bubble bath. Do those self-care things you do when you are worried. Try not to check in too much. You want your kiddo to be alert and not worried about you worrying about them.

What to Expect if They Get Arrested

Getting arrested in a protest can be a frightening thing for the person being arrested and the loved ones who support them. Generally speaking, though, the jail time is minimal and if a whole group is arrested, there is some degree of solidarity among the protesters that can be helpful in surviving the situation. Usually there are lawyers willing to do pro-bono work to get protesters released and charges dropped, but that doesn’t really help you when you are worrying about your sweet baby, I know. (Sorry for any kiddos reading this, but most parents will ALWAYS consider you their “sweet baby.” They just will. Get over it, man! It’s because we love you!) If you were provided information in advance, go ahead and get in touch with those folks. If not, contact an organizer of the protest to see if there is any organized jail support. Usually jailed protesters are released within 24 hours. Arrest and arraignment records are public, and you should be able to access them on the internet.

Often times, supporters will congregate outside of the jail for a “noise rally” to let the jailed protesters know folks are there for them. Organizers will also typically order food and comfort items to give to jailed protesters after they are released. You should be welcomed and celebrated by organizers doing jail support, and it’s typically a very safe place for you to be if you want to be around other people while you wait for your loved one to be released.

Once the jailed protesters have been released, if charges are not dropped, the appointed lawyer, or the lawyer you hire, will work with you on your case. It is often true that charges do not stick and, barring extremes, most protesters will not even see real jail time. However, it is important to document everything immediately to ensure the best case possible. 


I hope the information contained in this zine has been helpful to you. Please feel free to reach out if there is any information that you feel is unclear or incorrect, or any important information you feel needs to be added. This blog post will be a living document until I’m sure we’ve covered everything we can reasonably cover, and then I will publish it as a zine.

Stay safe, protect your communities, and see you in the streets.


Unruly Mom

Crustacean Zine Library

Oh Shit! What Now?

For more information, please refer to our other zine “Protest 101.”

All Secrets Sleep in Winter Clothes


Today, I mourn my mama on her birthday, and I celebrate what she has inspired in me.


Tomorrow, I go back to work for the first time since my move. I imagine resuming a routine schedule will add an additional layer of “real”ness to this place where I have ended up. This place I now call “home.”

This house feels so new and old to me. I haven’t lived in a multi-story home since I lived with my mom and family, and it’s alarming but somewhat comforting to experience acoustic memories. The echos of doors closing on a different floor. Low rumbling conversations from the kitchen. Footfalls on staircases. Dog barks.


I can barely remember the journey we took to get here. It’s all been a bit of a whirl. The house sold quickly. Much quicker than we expected, but still somehow perfectly timed. And then there was a road trip to Maine, via St. Louis, Chicago, Oberlin, Flemington…and a few other points in between.


We went looking for a house and then we found a house. We lost that house and found another house, which we also lost, so we found another house, and in the midst of deciding about that house, the second house came back and that is the house we chose. The house that chose us. The house that circled back.


We headed back to Texas with fingers crossed, slowly packed the POD with the random crap we couldn’t bring ourselves to part with, including 2 cats and 1 dog (the other dog went, with the car, with the other (adult) child.)


All of the states and places between Austin and this place in central Maine where we currently reside are a jumble in my memory. There was good food, and fun adventures. Wilbur, the Great Pyrenees, learned about elevators and mastered hotel rooms.


We sadly lost one of our cats at the end of the journey. She disappeared inside the new house. We miss her. There is talk of future kitten(s).


And chickens


And the building of chicken coops


And gardens


(most of this talk is coming from me)


But I didn’t want this to be a play-by-play. I just wanted to say…I am home. I am very satisfied. The right house wasn’t at all what I was expecting it to be, but now that we’ve been here a month, I know it is the Right House.


It is the right place. And I am quietly and continually overjoyed.



My greatest accomplishment of the week was cleaning out the fridge

The best part about sporadic (if ever) blogging is that it attracts an audience of sporadic (maybe never) readers. So I can narrate my life without fear of being negatively critiqued by an audience. Narrating in my journal nets a certain type of writing that isn’t necessarily for public consumption – more due to banality than any sort of prurience, though I’m not sure this blog post will be any less banal.

Still, there is something true about my last post. Dated 2 years ago, and promising regular-ish updates for no other reason than to mark changes and time, that post was made after the first in a series of difficult realizations about the health of my family that have been ongoing ever since, and have required a good deal of growth and all of my available resources to adjust to. In the midst of all of this, plans have been made. Attempts to stay connected to life have been made. Little stabs at processing using the written word have been made. Disparate tendrils of my life have been pruned back significantly to focus energy on the tendrils that are…well, tenderest. With gentle plans of a better future warming us like a distant sun.

When I started to reclaim the yard and garden and house, I felt like I was on the precipice of something. I was, but it turned out to be another precipice of something else. And perhaps that is just the nature of life, but this next precipice feels at the same time a great deal more harrowing with the promise of being infinitely more rewarding in the end. I have already been given and have spent my generational wealth. Now is my time to protect and grow what remains to ensure the future of those who remain in my family. These are big choices I am making, but I am thrilled and elated to think where I may be a year from now. Where reclaiming the garden was limited in scope and vision, these changes are a black box in my life in which everything internal and external in my life will transform into something I can’t even conceive of right now. It is a form of anarchy to make big changes like this midway or further in life, and start completely over. And I need that. I desire it.

My approach to it has been measured, and almost frustratingly so. However, the cautious pace I have adopted has already proven to give me advantage. I have a plan in motion, and I anticipate that when everything comes together, we will enact the plan. We’ve already changed mid-stream once or twice, and the changes have been for the better, and the time has allowed me to broaden and expand my vision of what our lives will be like. And yet, I am still ready to be surprised by what actually happens.

It’s like having a perpetual birthday present in front of me with a big sign on it that says “wait until you are ready to open this.” And I know I know I know I’m not ready, but I really want to open that present. So I have bursts of getting ready, and bursts of being ok with taking my time…and that is pretty much my life of late. Bursts of being agonizingly frustrated with where I am now interspersed with bursts of that quiet knowing that I will get there when I am ready. Slow and steady wins the race.

The Light Pours Out Of Me


Hey all of whoever reads this. It’s been awhile. I’ve been thinking about posting, but quite honestly I feel like the stuff I’m going through in life requires a much more secure form of processing. I miss blogging – but it’s the community of bloggers I miss more than anything. I have thankfully usurped most of that community into my daily social media feeds, but do we really share the way we used to? There are so many opportunities for nefarious behavior on the internet, and so little opportunity for sincere connections. I miss those days when one could form an honest and intimate friendship with someone based strictly on the words they wrote. When blogs weren’t about buying and selling products, and the popular blogs weren’t immediately monetized. Yes, that world once existed. Perhaps there’s a subculture in which that aesthetic still does exist, but I haven’t experienced it in blogging for a long time.

Things have been rough here this past month, and it’s difficult to see past the difficulty right now, though I know I will eventually. No one ever told me that these little beings I created would eventually grow up and their feelings about life would complicate my own feelings about life so dramatically, but that’s where we are. I worked so hard to guide them through life and not let harm come to them, only to reach a point where it turns out the harm has been contained within them all along. The call is coming from inside the house, and there is nothing I can do to unplug that phone. All I can do is stand here on the outside with a warm blanket and a place to crash when they finally emerge from the struggle. I’d love to be able to tell you that it’s easy to do that, but everything in my body wants to run into that house and kick the ass of the knife-wielding lunatic that is threatening them, but I’m trapped out here with this damn blanket, trying to hold it together so I can mitigate the damage – and not add to it – when they emerge.

I am thankful that my place of employment values my work as a parent and therefore allows me time off to stand here with this blanket while I wait for them to emerge, and even extra time to make sure they are safe and warm, before I am forced to return to work. I am fortunate that this is the case, although I’m angry that it takes luck for anyone to be able to tend to loved ones when they desperately need tending to. I’ve taken 2 weeks so far, and it looks like I’ll need another 2 weeks to ensure everything stabilizes around here before I go back.

I’m using my time to tend to myself as well. Cooking healthy meals, taking walks, spending lots of time getting dog snuggles, driving grown children around town and to various appointments and social functions. Writing in my journal. Establishing a rhythm of the day/week/month. Little things that fall apart when a 40-hour workweek is my primary focus.

I thought I would have more energy for organizing, but it seems that my brain is rejecting anything that feels like work or that doesn’t immediately fulfill the needs of those in my direct care. Anything else feels like swimming through a sea of honey – tempting at first, but ultimately just a big sticky mess that doesn’t allow for any forward progress. Wishing I could go back to a time when it was easier, but realizing…it’s always been pretty fucking difficult. There have just been times when the work has been more rewarding. And the work will be rewarding again. I know it will. But right now – it’s pretty fucking unrelentingly unrewarding.

One thing about blogging that was helpful and that I miss is the tracking of progress. So, this is where I am right now. I might not write every day, but I will try to write once a week or so. For the purposes of tracking. Let this blog be the rope that anchors me as I plunge into this otherworld of gelatinous goo. I will emerge periodically, scrape the caul from my eyes, and write again.


A little more than a year ago, I set out to reclaim pieces of my life that I had lost. I started by reclaiming my home – paying off the lien that was placed on my house when I was divorced. Because even though I used my retirement money for the down payment, Texas is a “community property” state, which means even if your husband ends the relationship when you are 7 months pregnant and quits his job and refuses to move out and just lives in the master bedroom of your home monitoring your parenting and “babysitting” when you are gone and even though you are working two jobs to try to afford a divorce, it takes you several years to do so while he still refuses to move out and becomes more and more emotionally abusive – he is entitled to half of the equity value of the home at the time of divorce. But, hey – you can just BORROW that money from him and pay him off (with interest) after you are done struggling for years just to hang on to the house, never mind raise the children amidst the chaos in the aftermath of that particular debacle. But damnit – in spite of the fact that it was totally fucking unfair that I HAD to pay that money to reclaim my home, I DID pay that money to reclaim my home – 4 years ahead of schedule, to boot. And damnit did that feel good.

And not only that, but some much-needed renovations, to boot. I got a new fence, and set up some gardens (gardens that now lay coughing and gasping under the hot late-summer sun, but will no doubt be revived in the coming months to produce some yummy winter greens.) I replaced my air conditioning, got a new washer and dryer, repaired some plumbing, and picked up a few new animal companions along the way.

This time last year, I was preparing for a cross-country road trip to deposit my eldest child at college in Vermont. I brought my dog, and enjoyed some serious solitude as I wept and bawled my way through Maine, and back down to Austin by way of the Shenandoah National Park.

It was the 24th of August that I was married. Several years later (so many of my memories of what happened which year have been obliterated due to trauma I don’t think I can say exactly how many years) it was the 24th of August that my ex-husband was finally forced to move out of the house. It was the 24th of August when I packed our rental van for that journey last year, and this year, the 24th of August marks the day through which rent was paid by what I am hoping will be the last housemate I will ever need in this house. So the reclamation continues with me reclaiming the master bedroom of my home that I have rented out of financial necessity (and occasionally out of kindness.)

The original plan was to repurpose that room as a short-term rental using services like Air B’n’B to supplement my income. However, after a year of researching the detrimental practices of Air B’n’B I feel like some of the business practices of short term rental companies are questionable enough that I don’t want to support them even if I feel ethically comfortable with my personal use of those services.


And so begins my next reclamation – I invite you to join me



Golden Beets – April 4, 2016

My workflow for this blog is weird. Basically, I take photos just about every day, and on the weekend I import my favorite photos into the blog with the intention of writing my posts amidst the photos. But I get caught up in the photos and have few words lately. So I go several weeks without words and just pictures, and it just starts to get overwhelming to think about putting words between ALL of those pictures. And I have so much and so little to say. And really hasn’t it already all been said anyway?

I suppose this sounds like angst, but it doesn’t feel like angst. It just feels like mostly I’m not doing anything terribly interesting. At least nothing I can put into words that tell a story that I think would be interesting or amusing to anyone except me.

At the same time, *I* find my life to be deeply interesting and infinitely amusing. And maybe someone else could possibly be entertained by my conversations with myself. If not, I hope at least people enjoy the pretty pictures. I’ll go on having these conversations with myself, regardless.


Strawberries – April 10, 2016

I have some potentially monumental changes in my life coming up, and I’m super looking forward to it, which makes up for the fact that it’s also intimidatingly scary to face this huge of a change. I don’t want to be overly vague, but I also don’t want to disclose too much until the catalyzing event is scheduled and solidified. However, it’s an evolution of a slowly rolling plan that has been modified several times until the current iteration, and it’s a testament to my learned behavior of trying to make something out of something else entirely and doing my best to remain positive in spite of uncertainty. And I don’t feel boastful taking credit for that behavior, as it was hard to learn. And I still struggle with it.


Front yard+Shaunee – April 10, 2016

Looking at the before and after pictures in just the last year of my life, for instance, makes me feel pretty damn capable of taking on just about anything. And I’m kind of proud to say that in spite of my many and varied flaws I do seem to have a strong and innate ability to persevere.

There is no greater marker of progress than a garden, I suppose. And living beings that are thriving. These things comfort me when other facets in my life are less verdant. I am capable of this. And if I am not capable, I can become capable. I can adapt. I am resilient. I rezeal.


The Moon Garden at Night – April 4, 2016

Anyway – so yeah. That is all pending and now is now. Now is things growing and blooming. Tomatoes bearing fruit and flowing squash and leafing peppers and potatoes flowering.

I’ve come a long way, but I’ve still a lot to learn. My beans and cucumbers aren’t doing great where I’ve put them. I suspect it’s too shady for them. They aren’t leafing out as expected, but I’m getting enough green beans to snack on and one of the cuke plants seems like it just might turn into something. This is useful information to gather as I rotate the crops. The more northern section of the fence has less shade. However, perhaps as the summer emerges, and the days get longer and sunnier, the shade will offer necessary relief. I guess I’ll wait and see.

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Blackberries – April 19, 2016

I’ve developed an elaborate system of tracking what I’m growing in a spreadsheet. From seed to harvest – including the ordering of seeds. As well as tracking what is in each bed. Refining as I go. I’m feeling super nerdy about admitting it, but also proud. I will reward myself for taking good care of each bed by building more beds to take care of. And so forth.

Also big news: Coming soon…FLOOFY PUPPINESS. In fact, at this time next week I should be typing with a floofy puppy in my lap. You can bet there will be a zillion pictures. If you are interested in that sort of thing.

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Love in a Mist – April 23, 2016

Things on the mom front have been difficult. It’s been a challenge for The Tao of Bird to be a teenager this year more than any of his preceding years…and it’s been a challenge to be his mother. I don’t want to elaborate out of respect for his privacy, but…yeah. He’s had a rough year. I feel for him. I have the advantage of having been through enough really rough years to not worry overmuch about whether there will ever be a non-rough year, but he doesn’t have that perspective, and it’s impossible to convey that to him. You just have to live it. Damnit if it isn’t almost more difficult watching someone you love living it than it seems like it was to actually live it.

On the other hand, and this is not in comparison like a good son/bad son comparison – just in terms of current circumstances – Buddha the Grouch seems to be doing very well for himself. He finished his first year of school and is staying in Vermont for the summer. Of course I’d love to see him, but I’m damn proud of him and so happy he’s doing things on his own terms and in a place where he can accomplish his goals. To be honest, when he called to let me know he got a job for he summer, I had the same feeling of “My work here is done” satisfaction I had when he learned how to read and when he first wrote an essay that demonstrated an acute ability to bullshit his way through a task. So, pretty much in my eyes everything he accomplishes from this point forward is icing. And though I’ll always be here for him if he needs me, I sense there will be less and less he needs from me moving forward. And if I think about that too hard it might make me squinty-eyed-cry, but I’m going to just float on the edges of that thought and enjoy the placid contentment of having raised a living being from dependent child to self-sufficient man.

And in that space…with that lens…I can comfort myself that Tao of Bird will get there. Eventually. He’s a different kid with different strengths and challenges, and he will get there. I believe in him.

I mean, for crying out loud, this month alone I successfully managed to rehome a dog, and my weird cat managed to lay down next to my hyper gigantic dog and they slept peacefully that way for a good long time until the cat moved too quickly and the dog went into sight hound mode.


Vote Against Prop 1 – May 7, 2016

Also – the voters in Austin made a very good decision by rejecting this monstrosity. So, there’s that.

Also flowers. And fruit. And artichokes.


And my one year anniversary of becoming a crazy chicken lady!


Moon Garden, May 14, 2015

And this.


Moon Garden – May 15, 2016

Shake Dog, Shake

Spring is here. In celebration of my first full year of being a gardener, I have planted things. Many things. Like the cukes and beans above. And the corn below.

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Corn Shoot – March 28, 2016

It’s been a nice few weeks, weather-wise. With rain falling at appropriate increments in acceptable amounts. Not too hot, not too cold. So most things are growing really well…and I am content, not just with the garden, but with this whole series of seemingly unrelated events that comprises my life.

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Moon Garden – March 28, 2016

I feel like I repeat myself from post to post, but I think a lot about this, so in that sense it bears repeating…but my favorite part about learning how to grow things and keeping chickens is that I have an excuse to have short visits with people on my weekend. An excuse and also somewhat of a directive, which is frequently what I need to remind myself that there is a larger world outside of my back yard and own head.

It’s been nice to be able to put the word out among friends “I have these things and would love to give them to you if you need them.” Mostly because I know I have been on the receiving end of things given on more than one occasion and for certain durations. Not that I think a free dozen eggs is saving anyone from starvation or anything, but it’s just something that I can nurture, grow, and give freely…without even the burden of feeling as thought I’m owed something in return. And mostly that, because for quite awhile now…at least the past year…I have felt so content. I am content. More content than I think I ever have been before.


I don’t know what this is, but it’s in the Moon Garden and it’s pretty – March 29, 2016

I’m searching through my emails for the exact date, because it just struck me that this is about the first anniversary of the day this house became officially mine, without encumbrances from my ex. Hmmm…so it HAS been about a year of feeling fully content with my independence. With very little consideration of further encumbrances.


New Menu Board – March 30, 2016

I’ve been wanting to find a way to talk about singlehood. My singlehood, and singlehood as a concept. But, to be honest – I don’t really want to waste any of my time even thinking about talking about being single. Which is why I’m not in a relationships. All of that talking about things. It just takes too much damn time. I’m content just being about things. And I’m completely cool with being about things all by myself. Or with anyone who happens to be about things with me at any given time.

Which I think is both a funny thing to say for someone who loves the idea of blogging and sharing…but is perhaps the reason why I feel less and less like actually taking the time to blog and share.


Potatoes that have survived Lulu – March 31, 2016

(Laughing at myself because I’m about to pivot from talking about how happy I am to be single to talking about my pets…)


Hyacinth – March 30, 2016

Lulu is doing a new adorable thing. On our walk last night, she would periodically look up and me and then “hug” me, by leaning her head into my body for awhile – gently so as to not knock me off balance. She did it periodically throughout the walk and I got all mushy about how awesome she is every. time.


Poppy – March 31, 2016

Also – our weird and adorable calico cat Shaunee has now almost completely trained Lulu to not be cat reactive. There are still moments when Lulu decides to chase, but she listens to me when I tell her to stop. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to train it all the way out of her, but she’s come a long way since her first encounter with cats, at which point it wasn’t entirely clear if she wanted to play with them or eat them all up. Now, I’m PRETTY sure she just wants to play, but she would probably hurt them a lot if she pounced on them as she seems to want to do.

At any rate, I woke up this morning and Lulu and Shaunee were both patiently waiting outside of my bedroom for me. Well, Lulu was waiting patiently. I had been ignoring Shaunee’s racket for a couple of hours. But they were sitting there – side by side – as if they hadn’t spent the last almost-two-years re-enacting every dog/cat chase scene ever dramatized in a warner bros or hanna barbera cartoon. Dorks.


Squash Shoots – April 1, 2016

I’m really proud of Buddha the Grouch lately as he wins at life every time he turns around. He got the summer job he wanted and will be able to stay at school over the summer. This means I won’t get to see him here in Austin, but I’m already scheming a possible leafer road trip up the northeast coast…I mean, to visit.

Because Lulu hasn’t ever seen fall colors.

Are you weary of the lengthening days?
Do you secretly wish for November’s rain?
And the harvest moon top reign in the sky (now that it’s)
There is nothing in this world more bitter than Spring
Now I wrote you this letter
Because the clothes were hung on the line
And the crows flew out of the field
And up into the sky
I’m lying here in the station
Stretching out on the tracks
For all the possible places that I might arrive
There is nothing in this world more bitter than love
In all those long days of
Bring me the long, brown grass now that it’s dry
There is nothing in this world more bitter than Spring

(Song by Camper Van Beethoven, off of Key Lime Pie)


Bluebonnets – March 6, 2016

My heart is full and wandering. It is once again spring. Every year as soon after the first of spring as I can remember, I reach for Key Lime Pie. I want to type numerous superlatives in support of this album, but instead I will simply say it is absolutely essential springtime listening. From beginning to end. Every year it reminds me that it’s a good idea to stop and listen to albums from beginning to end.


Fava Bean Harvest – March 12, 2016

And every spring I renew my efforts to listen to more albums from beginning to end, but I’m always random-shuffling it by mid year. Still, at least I always have my Key Lime Pie. Since 1989, it’s been my jam. And now that I’m listening to it once again, I think it will be the opening essay to my zine which I very definitely am FOR SURE going to finish this month.


Cucumber and pole bean beds – 3/15/2016

Things have been moving along in the garden. I haven’t been taking a whole lot of pictures, but every day it seems something new is blooming or sprouting or producing some sort of yummy treat. This morning, for instance, I saw the very first been sprouts starting to emerge from the soil of the bed pictured above. Soon the cucumbers will sprout, and I’ll alternate 2 rows of mulch on either side of another row of soil, in which I will plant bush beans and squash…and random other veggies.


Strawberry Blossom – 3/15/2016

There are days when I feel like I’m being far too lazy. That taking 3 hours to listen to an album in the garden and draw pictures is maybe too much time away from the Essential Business of Keeping A Tidy House.


And then there are days like today when I need every last microgram of strength gathered in those wiling hours.


Tomato and Barley soup with Dill and Greens – March 18, 2016

Being a parent is fucking hard, man. But being a teenage boy seems to be much more difficult. I feel completely unequipped to respond to the feeling Tao of Bird seems to be describing as being completely unequipped to handle life.


Three Sisters Garden (Corn Planted) – March 19, 2016

It’s trickier now that he is in a situation where he’s expected to perform a certain way or there are consequences. My instinct as their parent was to allow them space to perform the way they needed to perform. To allow them the time to focus and concentrate on what they were interested and happy with. But that was a path that was closed to us, and now everyone seems to agree closing it was the right thing, because – look – now here are the consequences of allowing that choice.

And I want to move forward, but maybe instead these are the consequences of denying that choice. We’ll never really know, so I keep as quiet as I can about the path that has been chosen for him, and do my best to help him.


Big, Gorgeous Artichoke ❤ – March 21, 2016

It’s just that it seems like everything is so dire all of the damn time, and I hate that. I’m so fucking sick and tired of it. If I’m honest – what I wanted most for my children was for them to be as carefree as possible, because as someone who cared WAY too fucking much, I saw what that did to me. Now that I care less, I am so much happier.

I want them to care enough to have the full range of choices in life, but not so much that they waste their youth worrying. Or that’s what I wanted, anyway. But it just seems like they are always being pressured to worry.

I just wish there was a way to take away the worry.


Ladybugs on Artichoke Leaves – January 31, 2016

Lately I’ve been reading gardening books. It’s funny, because my relationship with gardening books is sort of like my relationship with parenting books. When I was a new parent, all of the information seemed really intimidating and I just wanted to make sure I got everything right. Desperate for some sort of instruction guide to the intimidating endeavor of nurturing a tiny human being through various developmental stages, I attempted to uncover some sort of set methodology to apply in any given situation.

With gardening, as with parenting, I quickly discovered that my preferred way of doing things tends to drift towards benign neglect. This makes reading gardening books especially amusing. All of those overly-specific instructions about planning and executing the perfect vegetable garden actually deterred me for years from even attempting. And it’s only now – a year since I began gardening in earnest – that I can glean what I want from those books without feeling inadequate about my haphazard, crooked garden beds lined with cardboard boxes and sometimes surrounded and infiltrated by weeds.


Dustbathing in the Garlic Bed – January 31, 2016

And I know not everyone has the means to experiment, especially when expensive soil is in play as the cost of experimentation. My investment in my haphazardness has been chalked up in my budget as an education expense. Also entertainment. And fitness. And I’m thankful I have room in my budget to afford it.

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SEVEN eggs – February 2, 2016

Even still, I wonder how many people just let their entire yard go to waste because they never realize that they don’t have to stake and string and double-dig and properly fertilize and balance and amend and take the temperature of your soil to get started with a garden. Like, you can LITERALLY just dig a hole in your yard, throw some seeds in there, cover them with dirt and tend to the emerging seedling and VOILA – you are a gardener.


Ladies who dustbathe, and their feline admirers – February 2, 2016


I am ahead of myself on beds, and behind on planning. I have tomato seedlings and some pepper seedlings. I learned the hard way that the markers I used to mark the seedlings weren’t permanent and therefore I have like a FLAT of ?? seedlings. I’m pretty sure I can tell the difference between the tomatoes and the peppers, but I don’t have any idea of what variety of each they are. SURPRISE!


Cauliflower – February 6, 2016

I have my little grow-lamp situation set up in the window of Buddha the Grouch’s room, since he’s away at college. It glows at night, and I keep waiting for the cops to bust down my door and raid my tomato plants.


The above are the remnants of summer’s tomatoes and peppers, which never really produced anything, finally coming to fruit in early February.


Texas Two-Bean Soup – February 8, 2016

Today I cleared a space for a cucumber bed when it’s time to plant cucumbers. I might put cukes, tomatoes, peppers, and beans alternating all along the fence…and then just continue to fill up beds as they are emptied of their current bounty. Gradually – here and there. Piece by piece. Bit by bit, it all fits together and becomes an accidental plan.


Dragonfly Lights in the Moon Garden – February 12, 2016

As a parent of young children, I was always searching for a rhythm. It shifted regularly, but on occasion I would find it, and things would be harmonious for a time before a new developmental phase would hit and I would have to pivot and shift. This still happens as the kids get older, but not as frequently. This is what I’m learning about my garden, and perhaps myself. I like rhythm, but I also like chaos and freeform. And, while I understand the reason efficiency is stressed in these gardening books I’m reading…and tools that need to be oiled, maintained, sharpened…bought…today I took my old spade and re-loosened the soil that my friend tilled up for me last autumn. I loosely lifted a 5×3 bed. First, with spade – then, sitting & running my bare hands through the soil, breaking up clumps and removing as many weeds as possible before covering with cardboard and bags of soil/fertilizer that I will add when I’m ready to start planting the bed.

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Princess Leia (1.5 days old) – February 12, 2016

Today when I brought my little seedlings out to transplant them, water them, rearrange them…I felt very much like I had delicate, precious cargo. I was worried I might forget them outside and kill them all. My precious babies who had come up under grow lights, with gentle eat from mats beneath. It was my first ever real “starting from seed” attempt that actually resulted in what might actually be viable seedlings. And it’s looking like I’ll have about a 50% success rate that time. Room for improvement, for sure. I’ve learned some things. But in the end I should still have plenty of seedlings, and probably plenty to spare.

With the rise of Donald Trump and the desire for a significant percentage of our population to elect an authoritarian into the presidency, I feel like I’ve already accomplished the most radical and revolutionary act possible by raising anti-authoritarian children.


Moon Garden Salvia – February 15, 2016

I’m proud of my children. They have thus far managed to carve a “them”-shaped space among their friends without compromise or cruelty, and even though we don’t always agree, they are thoughtful and usually considerate of opposing points of view, as well as being prudently skeptical of their own opinions.

It’s not always fun to be the constantly-questioned leader of your own household, but I do my best. And I almost always learn more about myself when I overcome a knee-jerk reaction to over-rule by listening to those I am tempted to rule over than I do by strictly enforcing my authority.


Mustards, lettuces, dill, collards, fava beans, and calendula – February 15, 2016

This is another thing about gardening/parenting that I’ve learned about parenting/gardening. In spite of their unrulyness, they listen to me in direct proportion to the degree to which I listen to them.


Four Nerve Daisy – February 15, 2016

Me – talking to my tomato plants: OK little ones…grow grow grow

George (the dog) – sits in front of me, cocking his head from side to side while I’m talking.

Me – to George: What? I can talk to plants! I talk to YOU!


Cabbage bed – February 21, 2016

I have such fond memories of this time of year – back when SXSW interactive was actually cool and not just a way to market your brand and monetize your ideas. Every year I would look forward to attending the Interactive conferences and seeing all of my original nerdsters. Talking about social justice in the blogosphere and diversity in the twiitersphere. Hell, I remember when Twitter broke during SXSW and we all stared, transfixed, in front of the map of tweets coming from around the world. Back when my Twitter feed was small enough to witness the arrival and departure of my out of town friends by their increasingly, then decreasingly frenzied reports of their comings and goings in short 140-character bursts. (or, before then, when check-ins on 4-square…or even before THEN – that other app that preceded 4-square that I forgot the name of.)


The last time I went to SXSW interactive, I just wasn’t feeling it. Most of the panels were thinly-veiled 30-minute advertisements for products that pissed me off, and everything still looked way too white and way too male to me – and no one really seemed to care about that anymore. I got thrown out of the conference that year for mic checking Stratfor’s George Freidman with other members of Occupy Austin, and headed down to a free show sponsored by Occupy…


Arugula blooms – February 21, 2016

The following year, I was laid off from my job right before SXSW. I went to a few events out of nostalgia, thinking I would try to stay in the non-profit realm, but I was too jaded by having been ousted unexpectedly from a job where I had been told for many years I was a member of a “family.” (I wish employers wouldn’t say that shit. A job is not a family. It never will be.)

Since then, I’ve laid low. I did a solo road trip to Colorado a couple of years ago. I was planning a vacation this year, but canceled plans because Buddha the Grouch is coming home during the break for the first time since he went away to school (and possibly the last time for awhile, as he might stay in Vermont over the summer.)


The best carrot I’ve ever grown! – February 21, 2016

This year, I intend to stick close to home. I have time off, and I plan to spend that time in the garden. I’ve also promised PROMISED myself I will finish the Chicago issue or Oyster Lexicon while on vacation and have it printed up by the end of the month at the latest. I actually hope to get it printed and everything while I’m off work, but I really only have 3 days off, so…that’s a bit ambitious. All of the pieces are there, I just need to put them together, and that might take time.

It has taken me FOREVER to get this post done, so I’m trying to wrap it up here. So much for my plan to start posting weekly! Ugh! I hate it when I don’t live up to my goals. But I’ll keep trying.


What my carrots usually look like because THINNING IS MURDER! 🙂 – February 21, 2016

I have tons of photos of the garden that I need to take once it stops raining. My fava beans are beaning up, and I’m getting more and more actual real straight carrots, which is super encouraging. It’s nice when you fail at something and then succeed. It’s true that success breeds success…mostly because so often failure means quitting. I’m glad I haven’t quit yet. I have so much more to learn.


Get a room, ladybugs! – February 24, 2016

But first, I have some serious weed-eating to do. Everything uncultivated is going completely insane with this rain.

My plans for the spring/summer garden are to plant my tomato and pepper seedlings in two of the raised beds. I think I can intersperse the tomatoes with the garlic and put the peppers in the bed that currently holds a gigantic borage plant covered in pretty blue flowers. The other three beds will hold squash, Melons, and random herbs and edible flowers. I’ll throw carrots and radishes in between other plants and plant a bunch of cucumbers and beans along the fenceline – one row of vining plants in the back, and a row of bush plants in front.


Tofu and bartered pea stirfry – February 27, 2016

I’m also going to dig up a new bed next to the house for a small three-sisters garden. Corn with squash and beans. I wasn’t planning to grow corn this year or make ANOTHER new bed, but I ended up with a packet of corn seeds after what appears to have been a drunken shopping frenzy at various seed sites (the funny thing is, I can’t remember the last time I was drunk…but I’m just gonna go ahead and use that as an excuse anyway.) So, why the hell not. The worst thing that will happen is I will loosen up some dirt so I can plant more stuff next season. My intention is to add at least 2 garden plots a year, while maintaining and building the plots I have. Starting in ground and gradually raising everything up. I really need to pick up my soil-making game so I don’t go broke doing this…dirt’s EXPENSIVE.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a customer, and he asked how I was doing. I told him “I can’t complain” and I meant it and he knew I meant it. He told me that was a really nice thing to hear – people seem to complain all of the time these days. Granted – I have my days, but in reality…I have very little to complain about, and many fond memories of any one of several eras of Salad Days to reflect upon when things get rough. ❤


Violas – December 22, 2015

It’s been a minute since my last post. No reason, really. Just life. Lots of overtime, but even when I took my vacation time in January, I wasn’t moved to post. I was sick for part of the vacation, and for the other part, I was just detoxing from overtime. You know how that goes. I’m fortunate for the work and fortunate for the pay and fortunate to be able to take time off from work for downtime. And although in a perfect world, none of that should be anything I should have to feel grateful for – we don’t live in a perfect world, do we? Regardless, I am grateful.


Red Radishes – December 22, 2015

In between radish harvests, chicken tending, and copious amounts of work hours interspersed with hot eucalyptus baths to relieve my congestion, I spent a good deal of time passively consuming media (aka watching television shows and movies.) I watched all 10 Decalogue stories and enjoyed them immensely. I have a movie list that I keep with notable movies from various lists and sources, and in order to foil my confirmation bias (and eliminate time spent on trying to figure out what to watch next) I randomly choose things from that list. There are well over a thousand movies on that list, and I try not to read too much about what I’m about to watch, so I’m never sure what to expect. With the Decalogue, I was expecting to be preached at. In fact, it took me a couple of weeks to get around to watching after checking the DVD set out of the library because I figured I’d need to be sure I was wide awake when watching because surely this would be a sandy re-enactment of the bible filled with voluminous language and expansive metaphors. Also, subtitles. And while I was correct about the metaphors, I was incorrect about the settings and deeply wrong about the boredom factor. Each of the ten 1-hour segments had me riveted. The setting of the Polish housing community tied everything together in a way that caused my interest to increase over the course of the episodes as characters from previous (and perhaps future) episodes interact with one another briefly and tangentially as they each unfolded before me slowly in all of their humanity, joy, and tragedy.

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Big Mama – December 22, 2015

Watching a series of short films loosely based on biblical morality without the fire and brimstone provided a good frame for my usual end of year/beginning of year/change of seasons recalibration – especially as it was coupled with the isolation of not having any children at home AND being a contagious kind of sick that wasn’t debilitating but which slowed me down enough to consider my smallest actions and intentions. To balance things out, I watched Night of the Living Dead and all four seasons of Luther.

Of course, I did a lot of talking to the chickens and the dogs and the plants while I was off. Sometimes they even talked back.

Also, this happened.


Eggs – December 29, 2015

The old Ameraucana hens have started laying again. I’m getting between 3-4 eggs from my flock of 9. I imagine this will steadily increase to about 6 or 7. I’ve been busy giving eggs away to neighbors and friends. And boiling them when I hit overflow mode. And eating a lot of egg salad, which is thankfully something the Tao of Bird also enjoys.

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Under the Big Oak – January 1, 2016

The second writing prompt over at the League of Unsponsored Blogs is about Kindness. Or about acts thereof. I think a lot about kindness. When I was younger and starting to form ideas about myself and who I wanted to be, I didn’t bother with the concept of career goals. Instead, I always told myself (and sometimes other people) that I just wanted to be nice. And by “nice” – I believe I meant “kind.” The difference is subtle, but to me nice implies acting and kindness is an action. I am often nice. I am not as often kind, though I strive to be. However, I am kind enough to forgive myself when I am not.


New Year’s Day – January 1, 2016

I am fortunate enough to have been the recipient of kindness many times in my life. Particularly as a young mother going through divorce amidst a sea of happily married people. From the care I received before, during, and after the birth of TOB on through the dissolution and gradual ending my my marriage I was blessed with good friends who inspired, assisted, and risked to provide me and my children with a modicum of security and safety. The collective and individual acts of SO MANY PEOPLE at that point in my life is enough to make me tear up even as I type this. I only hope that at some point in my life I have, or am, or will provide others with that kind of support.


Bottle Border – January 4, 2016

But there are kindnesses that are smaller than that. More ambiguous. Kindnesses that you have to squint to see. These are much more difficult to recognize, like the neighbor who shares a plant with you, or a friend who leaves you a note to remind you you are loved, or just someone who simply says “I appreciate your honesty/talent/bravery/existence.” I would like to initiate more kindnesses like these in the coming year.


Lettuce, Cilantro, Carrots, Cabbage, and Swiss Chard – January 4, 2016

And, for crying out loud, I have enough stuff to give away now that all of my lettuces and greens are in full swing. Not to mention eggs.


Birthday Breakfast – January 5, 2016

My birthday this year was mellow and uneventful. There was breakfast by myself.


Birthday Key Lime Pie – January 5, 2016

And, of course, key lime pie. ❤


Birthday Cake – January 5, 2016

Oh, and also cake. Because.


Under the Big Oak – January 7, 2016

And lots of sitting directly under this specific sky in particular, with that specific ray of sunshine illuminating.

Since we’re talking about reflecting – I want to spelunk into old journals to see what I was doing on this day throughout the years…I’m still missing my early early spiral-bound journals (ugh! I’m hoping they are tucked away in a box somewhere and not LOST, but UGH!) – So here are relatively recent-ish excerpts from this time period in my life…It’s fun to cut these random quotes free from the moorings of time and just let them be anonymous passages from my life.

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The Chicken Bong – January 8, 2016

I need to refocus and re-energize & I can’t do that while I’m focusing so much of my energy on one person. Which is not to say that I can’t have late-night hangouts, but that I need to confine the time I spend on him to the time I spend WITH him.

Pistachios in bed and Cherry Doctor Pepper. My hands are covered w/eggplant paint. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with my toilet. And it’s a New Year. I hope it’s a good one.


Imbalance in perpetuity

Taken out

Behind this

Shed your skin, your ties your bind



Staggering apex.

Numb. To. Find.

Forced to gentle. Resound.


There is a stillness

In the in-between.

An effervescence, unheard,

but not unseen

That silent air

like bubbles.


To the top

of a pot

of boiling



Dill, Collards, Mustard, Chard, Lettuce, Fava Beans – January 13, 2016

Who freaking knows? Too many shelves, not enough space for them.


Chard, Lettuces, Broccoli, Spinach – January 13, 2016

How long should I be expected to live with the corpse of our love? How long should you be expected to do so? It’s stagnating and it’s festering and I can’t bear it any longer.

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Lettuces – January 13, 2016

Thirty minutes before I begin my 12-hour day after xmas funstravaganza work shift. Joy to the motherfucking world.

So, anyway. That is my life. Secretive, forbidden sex…and cancer. I keep having sympathy boob pain.

When Monk came out of me, the doctors said he smelled funny – like there was an infection – and he grunted like a piglet, instead of crying. These things they took to mean he was a sick little boy. He had a fever of 102 degrees, as well. Since then, he no longer smells funny, nor does he have a fever, but he does still grunt. All the time. And that is why we call him piglet.


Totally Disco – January 16, 2016

No apparent reason but still frustration. I don’t understand. I guess – or do I? Trying so hard to do the right thing but it seems to leave me wide open. So vulnerable.

Tonight Collapsing on my bed I found you there. Caved in and twitching pained and alone panged with twinges of lonely tonight collapsed inward into me. Freedom is a one way street and you just can’t throw it in reverse.

Seldom have you seen me this way (collapsed) without throwing it in kicking it in until gone dead gone to you youth to tomorrow.

You say you need me – what does your need give to me? It’s a hollow promise – a hallowed threat – a shallow grave to lay all my eggs in.


Lulu – January 16, 2016



The painting is starting to get old. I’m trying to focus on the process as practice. And I’m trying not to think of all of the things I am NOT doing because I am painting, and instead focus on what I am doing as a function of painting. I am getting exercise. I am balancing and stretching. I am cleaning things that need to be cleaned and decluttering as I go. I am being creative and working with my hands. I am focusing. I am learning. I am improving my surroundings. I am going to really surprise the kids. I am having ideas and working through scenarios.

To Do:

  • ✓Brochure Copy/Emmett
  • ✓Call Mary (find out when Protest happns)
  • *Budget
  • ✓Randomwalks
  • *Edgy
  • ?? Note about A.G.
  • E-mail
  • © post
  • Bill Moyer (


January 18, 2016 – Brussels Sprouts

Oh, by the way, I found my journal. Which is what this is.


George is available for adoption! – January 21, 2016

But some things I do not want to forget. His cry squeal that he emits when he’s on the verge of a crying jag. His little pouty face he gets just before he explodes and how red it gets. Mostly, though, the way he seems to almost pat my back when he’s resting on my chest with his arms over my shoulder. And his wake-up ritual – how long it takes him to wake up out of sound sleep. He is an angel. Absolutely.


I love how fake these flowers look – January 24, 2016

Went outside this afternoon to check on chickens. Hawk the chicken jumped up in my lap and then on my shoulder to preen me. I wonder if I could market chickens as lice remedy. Motherclucking Nitpickers.


Dustbathing Buddies – January 24, 2016


Regret is a seed, unfertilized

A stone surviving cold soil

Side by side with circumstance

And loneliness

Yet takes root

In light of love.