General Musings Grief

it’s not me, it’s you

I want to write about something I’ve been wrestling with lately. This is definitely somewhat related to my looking back post, but a somewhat different take on it. Namely, the relationships I do still have but which I question the overall desirability of keeping.

My heart keeps coming back to this place of tension due the fact that I am someone who generally values relationships, probably because I don’t build them easily, but there are several relationships in my life which no longer feel healthy for me to be in. Some of these relationships are with people and some are with institutions, but the common denominator seems to be that I have changed quite a bit over the past five years especially and can no longer relate in the same ways. 

My natural inclination has been to see if there is some way the relationships themselves can be adapted. If I have changed and they haven’t, is there some way in which the way we interact can also change so that all parties can move forward, albeit with different expectations?    

This feels like the right way forward… except I am not sure it is a way forward at all, when you get right down to it. By their nature, relationships rely on at least two parties, so if there is only one party attempting to make adjustments and the other party doesn’t seem to even register a need for such an effort, can the fundamental nature of any change be mutually beneficial?  

In the places in my life where I have noticed this tension, it has begun to feel more and more as though the onus to adapt to the new paradigm is only on me. This does not strike me as fair. 

An example, since this feels abstract: I have several long-term relationships with various people of the friends and family varieties While we’ve probably been drifting further and further apart ideologically for some time, the advent of the pandemic has really thrown a lot of the changes into stark relief and in a way where it’s not always possible to just accept we don’t agree and avoid the topic. I no longer feel comfortable being physically around these people, because they not only won’t wear masks if they don’t have to, they won’t get vaccinated and they associate with a whole lot of other like-minded individuals. 

I cannot ignore this. So the nature of the relationship has changed such that I will not put myself or my equally cautious loved ones at risk for the sake of spending time in person with this segment of my relationships. 

This is all bad enough, in my opinion, but what makes the whole equation feel even more unbalanced to me is that I don’t even feel like I can have an honest exchange of ideas with any of these people. 

Shortly after I got vaccinated, I was on the phone with a friend and mentioned I had gotten the Moderna and – honestly just assuming she would be getting the vaccine – asked if she had gotten hers or was planning on it soon. It didn’t even enter my mind that she wouldn’t. 

You know what they say about making assumptions. 

In one conversation that quickly turned very uncomfortable, I learned that not only would she and her family not be getting vaccinated, she is generally against vaccines and a whole bunch of other things I am not going to get into here because I don’t think it’s right for me to get into that level of detail about someone else’s beliefs. 

I will say that it wasn’t a productive conversation from there. Anything I had to say was met with a barrage of anecdotal evidence or statements that it appears I was meant to take as factual even though they lacked supporting evidence. My opinions on anything to do with regard to COVID-19 were – it became clear to me – uninformed, misguided and just wrong. (And, you know, I will absolutely admit I am not a scientist or a doctor and I am by no means an expert, but I do make the effort to have my opinion informed by those who are doctors – including my family doctor – and scientists and experts, not by random people on social media or pundits on the news. So there’s that.) 

After getting off the phone, I talked to Casey, and caught him up on the overall gist of the conversation. The only conclusion we could draw was that there doesn’t seem to be any chance of our getting together with this friend or her family any time in the near future, if ever. 

Then there’s my family. They mocked me to my face at my father’s deathbed for wearing a mask while they did not. Every time I insisted I would not eat at all or would eat outside in the Minnesota winter, I was met scorn and derision. “What is it about you that makes you so afraid of this?” my mom asked me at one point.

What is it about me?

There are layers of emotional response I am having in the wake of these encounters.

I’m annoyed that I have to be the one to set boundaries with friends and family because somehow being asked to wear a mask in public is the most horrific infringement of human rights that has apparently ever happened.   

I’m really hurt and saddened by the fact that my health – whether it is physical or mental – doesn’t matter one iota to people who have told me to my face they love me. 

I’m frustrated that there doesn’t appear to be any attempt on their part to demonstrate an attempt to understand or show empathy for me or my point of view when I feel I have tried to extend that courtesy to them. 

 I’m livid that all these people talk about God and their not-at-all-Christlike Christianity and think they have all the answers but honestly don’t seem to understand the really basic idea of love your neighbor. Even the one who you disagree with. (More on this in a future post.) 

Tension. It’s very present in my relationships right now, and I think the worst part is that somehow I am expected by all these various parties and entities to be the one who has to navigate it all with some modicum of grace. Doubtless this is because I am the one who changed. 

I reject that. Emphatically. 

At the start of this post, I said I wasn’t sure that the relationships are worth trying to salvage. I still don’t know that there is a way forward. I don’t think it’s worth my time or energy to try to accommodate the incurious, the close-minded, the people who think they have found The Truth. There is literally no reasoning with such people. 

It’s not me. It’s them.

General Musings

you can never go home again

I’ve been spending some time lately in looking back. This isn’t odd for me in any way – to the contrary, it is exceedingly typical. I suppose I do it, in part, as some sort of proof-to-self of growth. It helps me to realize that I am not, in fact, the same person I was a decade ago. Or five years before that. I have changed over time. Matured in ways.

But the parts of me that always feel a bit stuck are there as well. I realize now that some of these things are just fundamentally who I am. As a person who likes personality typing (thought not, I hope as someone who lives and dies by it), I can see that I have essentially always been an Enneagram One… who totally goes to Four in stress and Seven in growth. It’s a pattern I follow naturally and apparently always have.

 I wish I’d known about the Enneagram the whole time I was writing over at KMA. Might’ve saved myself some trouble had I realized how often I was writing from a Four place. 

Anyhow, the looking back has been instructive in the usual ways. There’s the part of me that wants to go back and shake Past Me until she got some sense and the part of me that wants to tell her it’ll be okay and she won’t have shitty jobs where she’s undervalued forever. I might also tell her to pay attention to blockchain when she first hears of it, because it turns out that could be a game-changer and it would be good to be ahead of the curve for once. 

It was also bittersweet, the looking back. There are so many people who used to be a daily or weekly part of my life and somewhere along the way I let it all slip through my fingers. While my days are populated with new people who thankfully have no notion of some what I was like ten to fifteen years ago, I can’t help but want to restore some of what I feel I have lost over time and through inaction. At the same time, I was often objectionable, so perhaps some of them wouldn’t want me back. 

Not much point to this overall and I am not going to extend it in an effort to find more purpose to it all. Just trying (as ever) to get back to some semblance of writing more. Otherwise, how will look back a year or two or three from now and know whether I’ve changed?   

General Musings


Several weeks ago, Casey and I were on the couch in the living room, winding down for the evening as we so often do with a drink and a selection of short clips on YouTube. While we mainly stick to clips from various late night shows and commentators on the news, we do occasionally find something else that looks interesting or funny enough to watch. 

 On the evening in question, a video about the different sounds cats make popped up and while I honestly don’t remember what prompted us to watch it, we did. 

Heimdall (these days his name has been warped into Memers) was on the couch with us and as the video went on, I noticed him move. He did so gradually, rising from where he had been settled with Casey, and slowly, slowly made his way across Casey’s lap, headed towards the edge of the couch closest to the stairs. As he moved, his gaze was locked onto the wall-mounted television. 

Then the video ended and in a blur of motion with the sound of scrabbling claws on the floor as he tried and largely failed to gain purchase on the hardwood flooring, he was gone, puffy-tailed and obviously freaked out. 

We laughed. Of course we did. Both because of the suddenness of it and because Memers is still pretty small and because our interpretation of events was that he had just seen some kind of giant monster-cat who was somehow perched above the whole room and who had recently been saying something that was perhaps in some way menacing or untoward. 

Immediately after laughing, I felt a little bad, but figured that he would soon be over it since nothing ever seems to keep his adventurous spirit down for long. 

It being late, we turned off the television and began to go through the stages of our bedtime routine. It was then that I noticed Talisker on the landing of the stairs, crouched low and half hidden around the bend of the stairs. He had caught Memers’ terror and I immediately felt far worse for him than I had for Memers, since Tal is nothing if not perpetually jumpy. We often wonder what happened to him in his early life to make him so wary and the caution that we noticed in him so early on has not left him in the 18 months we’ve had him. I don’t think it ever will. 

I’ve learned, over time, that Tal does not find it soothing to have human contact on any terms that are not his own, so I simply sat on the other couch, where I could watch him as he crouched on the stairs, obviously torn between his fear of whatever had just taken place downstairs and his desire to come down and take advantage of the fact that part of the bedtime routine is feeding the cats and Casey was even then refiling their bowls. 

For his part, Memes was hiding behind the other couch, between it and the wall, giving me a clue just how spooked he was. Memers is nothing if not a little pigger come feeding time.

Because I somehow ended up being the one to completely fall in love with these two cats, I delayed going to bed for a while, even as Casey concluded filling their bowls and headed upstairs to brush his teeth. Talisker disappeared for a while, running away when Casey started up the stairs, clearly convinced that he was the motivation of a human heading in his general direction. 

I called him, pointlessly, because he never comes when called unless he can see you have a special treat for him. 

Memes continued to hide behind the couch, only his face barely visible, his entire posture somehow expressive of his readiness to retreat further, should any giant demon cats emerge from nowhere. 

Eventually, Tal had gotten so brave as to make it down to the penultimate step before hitting the main floor. He paused for a long while, grandly ignoring me as I made small coaxing noises. With aching slowness, one paw touched the ground and then another, both back paws remaining on the step while he ascertained what he could of the room. 

And then? Then my sweet little Tal Tal, who so often seems afraid of his own shadow, crept into the living room. He circled to the left, still ignoring me, but craning to get a good look at the rest of the couch I was sitting on. No demon cats there. 

Staying low, he continued past me, scoping out the various new angles of the room as they came to him. Nothing under the coffee table. Nothing on the coffee table. There was a long hesitation as he tried to see the top of a tall cabinet that sits underneath the television, but he kept going until he had circled around the coffee table and back to where I was. 

I understood as he made this circuit that he was simply gathering information for himself. Was the room safe? Was he safe? 

He seemed a bit more relaxed as he came back to where I was sitting, and didn’t bolt when I moved to scoop him up. From my arms, I showed him the top of the tall cabinet and then took him past the stairs and into the kitchen, where we circled the island and then I put him back down. 

No demon cats here, buddy. It’s safe. You’re safe. 

I sat back down on the couch, watching as Tal went to where Memes was still hiding behind the couch. They sniffed at each other cautiously, they way they sometimes do, when there’s apparently some need to verify on an olfactory level that their eyes don’t deceive them and that other cat is who it appears to be. 

I told Casey all about it and I am telling the story here, because I was so moved by it. Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, as I do, I have often said that if I were a cat, I would be Tal – or that if he were a person, he would be me. He gets scared and runs to hide whenever he hears someone coming down the stairs (even though it’s always just me or Casey) in the same nonsensical way I get scared of trying a new food (even though I have never shown signs of having any allergies to anything other than pollen in my entire life). 

To see him confront the danger of the unknown in such a practical way was another kind of parallel. I often badger Casey to Google things on my behalf (hypochondriacs shouldn’t look up medical information on the internet, I’ve found), and it’s for exactly the same reason. I need to understand the lay of the land and have information so I can have some assurances I am safe. I need to clear my mind of my own demon cat fears. 

And I think there was good lesson in there for Casey, as well. It doubtless seems ridiculous to him that I am, in Talisker terms, afraid of him coming down the stairs, even though every time I run and hide it’s always for no reason at all. 

“I can’t control this,” I told him. “But I can be brave, like Tal was brave, and I can seek out information until I feel like I know enough to feel safe.” 

Just because something doesn’t appear to be brave doesn’t mean that it isn’t.

Just because someone doesn’t appear to be brave, doesn’t mean that they aren’t. You never know when something that may seem ridiculous to you is, in fact, something that requires great courage on the part of the person – or cat – doing it. 


pride and joy

Tomorrow, it will be two months since my dad passed away. 

Writing it still doesn’t feel right or true, and yet the spring of grief within me wells up at the same time. I suppose it’s denial, which makes sense. I seem to live in either denial or anger these days. 

I have lost other people, of course. Most of my grandparents have long since passed and there have been others: acquaintances and people from my husband’s family. My miscarriage was the worst loss until now – until cancer took my father long before it should have been his time. 

My relationship with my dad was not always easy. He was not an easy man. I have always thought that I understood him in many ways, because I am very much his daughter in the sense that we seemed to see and process the world around us in similar ways. I often wondered how much of that was nature and how much was nurture. 

He was often angry. As a child, my few friends were terrified of him because he was always vocal in his anger. As a person who cherished order and solitude, he was perpetually frustrated. Seven children and a disorganized wife will cause chaos to abound and I have some sympathy, looking back, because I know all too well the irritation that builds and builds with each new random thing out of place and the utter futility of anyone else in the world ever understanding that need, that requirement, that itch to have all things have their place and to be in it for more than a minute at a time for fuck’s sake.  

I was rarely a target of his anger growing up. I was an introverted kid (who grew into an introverted adult) and spent the majority of my time in my bedroom with the door shut and my head in a book. I wasn’t the child to make my mother’s life any harder either – to the contrary, I cannot recall a time when I wasn’t her primary source of assistance for anything from keeping the house clean, helping to cook meals or taking one or more of the younger children aside whether to simply mind them or to help them with their school. 

As I grew older, I took a job at the same place my dad worked, and then I was a young adult sharing a commute and water cooler chats with my own father. My mother seems to think Dad and I shared some strong bond as a result of those years, and maybe we did, but as is so often the case, things changed. I changed.

The last few years were particularly strained. I had spent a lot of that time – I don’t know to put this exactly – consciously rejecting a lot of what I was raised to believe. Mostly screwed up religious stuff, of the white Evangelical Christian bent with all the culture steeped in the patriarchy and racism. My parents likely believed these changes were because I was hanging out with the wrong crowd but it was actually that I honestly couldn’t reconcile the version of God I was raised on with the same one who came to preach love and acceptance. So I started disagreeing with my parents out loud when they would opine that women shouldn’t preach and all lives matter and that the 45th President was in any way, shape or form a man of God.

“When did you become such a damn libber?” my dad asked, summing up and dismissing whatever point it was I was trying to make. We didn’t talk for a year, which I know because it was my birthday when he said that to me and I didn’t call until his birthday, which falls two days before mine on the calendar. I don’t know if he noticed.

Fast-forward a few years and my dad was diagnosed with AML Leukemia in May 2020. Because he was stubborn, he decided early on not to seek treatment. Nine months later, he was gone. His final decline was sudden and swift. 

We still weren’t talking very much or very often. It was still a painful exercise for me, not knowing when it was worth an argument with him when he said something offensive and when I should just let it go because I knew his time was limited. 

The Sunday before he passed, I felt a sense of urgency to call. Because I never want to actually put myself through a conversation with either parent, I asked my husband to talk me out of it. He considered for a moment and then said, “I think you have to. Whatever it is that’s prompting you is something out of the ordinary. Call it God, the universe or philotic connection. You should call.” 

So I did. And we had the most normal conversation we’d had in years. I got an update about his health – he was tired, he’d had a nose bleed for several days – and we talked about things so mundane I can’t even recall. The only time we came close to a touchy subject, I remarked that we already knew we weren’t going to agree so perhaps it was better to save our time and energy. 

The next day, I got a text from my mom saying he was going on short-term disability. 

The day after that, my youngest brother called to say that Dad had collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Later text updates were that he had regained consciousness, was lucid and the doctor was working on getting hospice care set up. 

The day after that, I left my home for virtually the first time since March of the previous year (when COVID hit hard enough for my job to send everyone home) and flew for several hours to make it to my parents’ home. 

He never woke up, not really, and when he did he was so drugged that he clearly had no idea what was going on. 

And then he was gone. 

I am grateful for the last dialogue we had, because it was so normal and because we didn’t argue and I didn’t walk away from it hurting all over again over things that I can name but can’t and couldn’t solve. And yet, I lack closure, because we didn’t have a real conversation and talk about anything meaningful or true or deep. 

As always, Brandi Carlile expresses it best:

Where are you now?

Do you let me down?

Do you make me grieve for you?

Do I make you proud?

Do you get me now?

Am I your pride and joy?

General Musings Home Improvement

stuff i did when i wasn’t here

  • Watched a stupid amount of stuff on Netflix and Prime. Like, so much stuff. I still haven’t watched all of the first season of Stranger Things, however; nor Game of Thrones. I have no plans to change that state of affairs any time soon. #poser
  • Graduated with a BS in Business Management. It took me just over 11 months to complete the 79 credit hours I needed. #braggart
  • Thought about starting an MS program. Subsequently failed to start a MS program. I think I may still be burnt out, although I seem to be making a recovery in recent weeks and wanting to go out and learn stuff on purpose. #tired
  • Got promoted. Twice. Which means I finally successfully tricked people into thinking I would be good at people leading. It’s been more than a year that I have been leading my teams, and they haven’t fired me, so I guess I have that going for me. #braggart #again
  • Went back to Scotland for two weeks. Visited Edinburgh, Glasgow, Islay (where we waved to Jura, but didn’t make the ferry across due to poor planning), Oban, Skye and then a few areas around Inverness before heading back to Edinburgh, the airport and home. Visited more distilleries on this trip than I can properly remember, enjoyed another gorgeous and meaningful day at my spiritual center of Neist Point, went to church in Inverness and met some amazing people both there and at Oban who spoke life to me. I still want to move there. We’re still working on it. #wistfulAF
  • Helped to build a deck. Not just a regular deck mind you. Someone recently referred to it in my hearing as the “Titanic of decks, except it won’t sink.” (only partly because we live in a desert) I got to play with a flame thrower and get a jump on my 2020 goal of doing scary things, like climbing shaky ladders and operating power tools on said shaky ladders[1. Probably, they were not really all that shaky, but I have never loved man-made heights. Or power tools.]. I will get to keep helping with this in 2020, since we still have so much to do but at least got the roof on before the snows started falling. #JustProudIGuess
  • Got a new kitten following the sad loss of Loki earlier in the year. He’s the sweetest and the cutest kitten I’ve ever met and we named him Heimdall. Thor is not a fan. Yet. #HeartEyes
  • Also went back a week later and got Heimdall’s brother. He is wary and watchful and a beautiful smokey grey. So we broke with our Marvel-themed naming tradition and called him Talisker. #MoarHeartEyes

  • Had countless lunches and dinners with friends and people I thought I might like to get to know better over table. I was not wrong. #Communion
  • Speaking of Communion, got to practice public speaking at my church a time or two. Monopolized the time to assert my deep belief that everyone is welcome at Jesus’ table because #LoveWins and #legalismsucks
  • Got to visit one of my friends after she moved to Southern California to get a job with Disney Animation and to tour her workplace! She is so smart and so damn gifted and I am pleased as all hell to get to cheer when I see her name go by on the credits in films (most recently, Frozen 2). #WomenInSTEM
  • Read several books. Would like to claim a lot, but I really did take a break from life for an extended period of time there, and am just working on getting back into it. I am doing my level-best to make up for lost time though. #literarynerd

Probably a lot of other minutia as well, but I think that is the highlight reel. What have you done recently that makes you excite or passionate?

General Musings

oneword365, 2020 edition

I would in no way be me if I didn’t kick off my questionable return to writing random shit on the internet that no one cares about if I didn’t take a moment to talk about my OneWord. Like, look back a post or two and then skip further back to the turning of the year before that you will see that this is indeed a thing. Probably the very thing that makes me think blogging is a good idea, like it’s still 2005 and no one has moved past this particular form of expression.

So my word for 2019 has been largely shrouded in mystery up to this point[1. I say, like there were hordes of people desperate to know.], but now I feel just peachy about admitting it was “mother” and that I totally spent most of 2019 thinking I was going to adopt a child until I realized in September that my mental health state still really sucks balls and bringing a child into that kind of situation seemed like a shitty thing to do to both me and the theoretical kid, even if it wasn’t the absolute worst fate I could imagine a kid having to deal with.

So much for 2019 and OneWord. Onward and upward to 2020. I wanted a word that was about doing things and being engaged but not giving fucks where they don’t need to be given and basically trying to live without letting fear drag me down because the whole story of my whole life for the past several years has been all about fear and how I can’t possibly experience new things from foods I have never tried before to breathing the air in a different city because, my god, that’ll probably kill me somehow.

So I picked the word ‘badass’ for 2020.

Not because I think I am one, kicky new asymmetrical haircut notwithstanding. Not even because I think I can be one, really, what with my pushing 40 and having an exceedingly proper job where I have to act my age and not swear freely and it’s part of my actual job responsibilities to tell other people how to set their career goals for the year like that makes any sense in any universe. At the end of the day and the week and the month and the year, I will probably still mostly be who I am now, but I’d like it to be a better version. A braver version. A kinder version even, because I still think loving people is a pretty hardcore thing to do and one I am still not very good at.

Assuming I can keep this thing going at all, I’ll report back on any badassery that may occur.

General Musings

obligatory ‘welcome back, self’ post

Please. Hold your applause. This is so embarrassing. Stop clapping.

I know I’ve been MIA since March of 2018 (no I didn’t, I had to go look). Some stuff has happened since then. I’ll get to the details later. Maybe. We’ll see.

For now, I’m backish. 2019 did not escape (in my timezone) without my saying something and thereby doubtlessly justifying whatever it is I pay to do the thing where I own this website or whatever. 2020 is upon us and I have a goal to write between 500-100 words a week.

Not a resolution, mind you. A goal. That I wrote down and failed to share with my friends and random semi-acquaintances when I was telling them shit like that I am learning Gàidhlig[1. Like some ridiculous poser or perhaps a deranged Outlander fan] and trying to say yes to things when my default answer is no. I also noted that I stopped really living my life after I graduated, but now that I am thinking (and writing) about it, I am pretty sure I really stopped living somewhere around the time I started going to school.

Genuinely. Other than a few things that have happened here and there, it’s really been all work work work and school school school and then more work work work for so long it’s a miracle that there are still people in this actual world who will still speak to me.

Anyway, I have a goal to write more. And as all the evidence would suggest, I am not the sort of person to take the trouble to write a thing down if no one else will ever see it. (Reference: prior blogs, Facebook, Twitter, this blog, and the whole work website I put together in the guise of trying to provide helpful information to a target audience but which is really a secret way for me to publicly and semi-professionally let some 3000 people know that I think they are largely inadequate at their jobs and it would sure be nice if they could benefit from all my vaunted wisdom).[2. Wow, I sound like a total dick.] Hence, my dubious return. I mean, let’s not get carried away. If the last few years have proven anything, it’s that my enthusiasm for this sort of endeavor flags easily and in direct proportion to my perennial realization that I really don’t have that many interesting things to say.

What I do have is some trauma to work through with regard to my family and how I am in denial that I could possibly be related to any of them. I also have a shit ton of rage for various personages at my workplace that might hearken back to those good old days when I waxed eloquent about wanting to beat my guildies with sticks sometimes because damn. I am also learning Gàidhlig, which might be exciting for exactly none of you and which I may have mentioned previously.

Stay tuned. Or don’t. I’ll write more later. Or won’t. But in the meantime, I hope everyone has a glorious start to 2020.

General Musings

so, so close

You guys! You. Guys.

There is a tunnel.

There is a light.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

That is all.

General Musings

bydand and other things


I wanted to say, “Hello!” all Hannah Hart style but, uh, it’s been a while. A long while. A long while made longer by the fact that I am constantly starting posts and never publishing them.

So here we are. March something or other and a few months down the road from what is usually my annual post about #OneWord365 and I am just as scattered and incoherent as ever I was back in those good, old KMA days.

I bring up KMA, because I miss that time so desperately as of late. I miss the person I was and the freedom that I had to talk about anything I wanted and in pretty much any manner I desired. I miss Alas and find this Lesley person to be a grave disappointment in many ways.

So even though it’s March and I’ve been AWOL for quite some time, I wanted to spend some time talking about my #OneWord2018 and I also just want to spend more time here in general. I am not sure that will happen, seeing as how I am stretched oh so thin these days what with school and work and a social life and MOAR school, but the desire is most definitely there.

Unlike last year when I agonized over my #OneWord and then ended up settling on three words, this year came easily and dropped outta nowhere. (Not quite nowhere. My husband has some Gordon heritage.)

As you are supposed to do, I have been spending a fair amount of time contemplating my #OneWord and it’s been a very different kind of experience for me, this year. I’m not 100% sure why that is, but I do have some thoughts.

I think part of it is that my #OneWord is kind of a big word, with a lot of different directions that I am able to associate with it. I chose – or it chose me – bydand, which is a Scots word and the motto of the Gordon clan. It means ‘steadfast’or ‘abiding’ or even ‘stand and fight.’

I’ve been thinking about how I don’t fight enough these days. I have been more inclined to shrug and think that people can have their opinions, which is true. But I am also entitled to my own opinions and even to sharing them with people who I know won’t necessarily agree.

On the flip side, a quote from Bosch (the TV show, not the books) got me thinking about the corollary.  To paraphrase wildly, Bosch said he had gotten some “squid” tattoos on his knuckles: “Hold Fast.” His partner asked a question about “Hold fast to what?” to which Bosch replied, “To everything good, to anything that matters.” (Still paraphrasing. Wildly.)

YES. All the yes.

I have done a poor job of this in many ways. There are relationships I let lapse and I bitterly regret that. There are aspects of myself I have buried in what is commonly acceptable and this is just as bitter to me, because giving up who you are is always a tragedy (unless who you are is a raging asshole. I hope this is not true of me, but… y’know… let me know!).

Likewise, there are things that are not worth keeping around. So, yeah, hold fast to the good things that matter, but if you have toxic shit in your life? Throw it out as fast as you can. Like, yesterday.

Hold fast and let go.

Two sides of the same coin.

I think more about holding fast, mostly because these days I am holding fast to only one or two things when I would like to be retaining a dozen. I also think about it the context of my mental illness and the fact that I am so insanely good at believing terrible things but instantly scoff at the idea of anything good happening in my life.

This, despite all the arguably amazing and wonderful things in my life.

It makes no sense, but when have I ever?



Stand and fight.

I am not sure where bydand is taking me in this year. I do know I have already been challenged in many ways and that the outcomes are going to be mainly positive for me (or at least, I hope so), if only I can step outside of mental illness and discomfort and into some kind of positivity and hope.

I want to talk about it more, and I hope I can find the time and space to do so here. Y’all know I’ve always processed through writing.  Whether or not anyone ever reads this is somewhat immaterial because I need to bleed my thoughts in order to analyze them.

If you’re here, if you care or don’t care, thank you for reading. I appreciate it.

General Musings

life on purpose, with purpose

Casey and I are talking about moving to Scotland in the next five years or so.

We’ve been telling people this bit by bit ever since we realized that this is a genuine life goal, and seem to get one of two reactions. There’s the negative “I think this is a bad idea!” reaction, which I don’t think we’ve even had thrown at us in actual earnest up to this point [1. But then again, neither have we mentioned this plan to the people most likely to be vociferous in their disdain for it, so there’s that.] And then there’s the positive, “Awesome! I want to come visit!” reaction, which we’ve gotten a lot more of, and which has certainly been genuine.

The decision feels almost frivolous to me, probably because I don’t really believe it myself. I am trying to put some faith in it, but there’s also a level of resistance in me since I am quite attached to my current life and cannot really fathom leaving behind Salt Lake City and my community.


I just got that back, for the love.

At the same time, it is Scotland, and if other posts of mine haven’t been enough to shed some light on how I feel about about it, I freaking love the place. I have since long before I went there and I think I always will, because it’s a part of my soul in some way I can’t quite define. It’s a home I have never really lived in, only visited, and too briefly.

Perhaps my DNA is wrapped up in Scotland, although genealogy charts don’t dictate that there is high percentage of ancestral blood to be found there. Perhaps it is just a quirk of myself, to feel so connected – long before setting foot on those melancholy moors – to that culture and those people.

The idea of living in Scotland at once fills me with joy and with concern.

On the one hand, I believe down to my core that I could feel very much at home there – or anywhere else in the UK – despite the many differences I noticed just in a three weeks’ visit. On the other hand, I am too an American, and I like owning guns for no other reason than self-defense. Also, Costco. And sinks with a single tap. And a clothes dryer that isn’t some sticks and string in the open air. I had enough of that growing up, thank you very much.

But none of those things are necessities for me.

We’ve been looking into the requirements, At and I, and I’m glad we’re committed to at least finishing out our educational plans first. He is getting an MBA and I am getting my BS in Accounting Business Management, with plans to obtain my Master of Science Management and Leadership after.  While I doubt Scotland is crying out in need for business people, we may be able to manage a work visa on At’s IT skills and higher education combined. And once there, I won’t be unemployable, since Business Management is a fairly generic field to get into and a Masters in Leadership can’t hurt.

But so much of all this post has been written with an eye to the future.

For the here and now, this plan to move to another country has radically changed our lives. Gone are the days of talking about the improvements we could make to our house. We intend to finish out the basement, but that’s our only actual plan for the foreseeable future. Literally everything else we’ve ever talked about falls under the category of “Why bother? We’re moving in the next five years or so.”

As a goblin in disguise, I love this. I have been crunching numbers of how much we can save once we pay off the few existing debts we have outside our mortgage (mostly the car and a few small furniture purchases),  and the numbers are frankly gorgeous. Even if we don’t move anywhere, we’ll finally have a really lovely savings account and I won’t have had to fight At every step of the way for it. [1.What? He’s a frikkin’ spendthrift and he knows it. If I could rein in his incidentals, we’d be in truly outstanding financial shape.]

Balanced against that, again, is the very idea of no longer being here in the life and the community we’ve carved out for ourselves in the good old US of A. With Casey’s family mainly being in Europe and Africa, he finds the idea of adjusting to be very easy. Whereas if any of my family were within a few hour’s flight should we live in Scotland, they would be in a war zone. And I don’t want that ever.

Nothing is settled. Nothing is certain. But we keep talking as though it is and that? That exhilarates and terrifies me all at once, for so many reasons. We’ll be in Europe this fall and I can’t help but feel that this upcoming trip will be so much more important and so much more indicative of our probable future path. I’ll journey with an eye towards being an ex-pat and the realities both obvious and less-so that such a status would bring me.

In the end, all I can hope for is to be guided by God’s good hand.