Month: October 2012


The day had a plan. Most of my days do. It began with getting Kiki up early so that she could don her elf ears and make up. Fortunately I only had to poke her awake and then I went back to bed for another hour. The result was quite lovely.

In so many ways Kiki is coming into her own this year. Most of the costumes she’s had in the past few years have fit her awkwardly, identities which did not quite suit. She would come home from school eager to shed the costume and be normal again. This elf costume is different. She kept it on and volunteered to shepherd the younger kids for trick or treating. It suits her. She loved wearing it and plans to pull it out again for conventions and other costumish events in the future. I dropped her off at school that morning happy, and she still was happy at the end of the day.

The other three kids had more mixed experiences with their Halloween celebrations. Patch was Steve from Minecraft, who I’m assured is a very cool thing to be. I watched lots of Patch’s peers recognize him and praise Patch for the costume.

The trouble for Patch arrived during PE when the class was playing dodge ball. He got hit in the face with a ball, more specifically he took a direct hit to his left eye, at short range, and it happened so fast that the eye was unable to blink in time. The first I knew of the problem was when he called me from school. I went to the school and played 20 diagnostic questions with Patch, trying to figure out whether this was a case for taking it home or taking it to the doctor. There were enough concerning answers (but thankfully no alarming ones) that I decided a doctor was called for. Fortunately we snagged an appointment with the regular doctor rather than needing to go to the emergency room. I must say I was not impressed with the substitute teacher who seemed to think that Patch should just tough it out.

The diagnosis was a scratched cornea. The scratches were quite obvious once the doctor dripped florescent dye on the eye and shone a black light over it. I could see half a dozen little scrape marks. The florescent dye itself was interesting. I told Patch we were giving him a zombie eye for Halloween, which he thought sounded exciting. Of course he needed a picture.

So we have a creepy glowing eye of Patch for Halloween. Sadly, in normal light, it just looked as if we spilled something yellow on his eye. The photo is just blurry enough to obscure the scratches. We have ointment and reassurance that the scratches will heal up in a week or so.

Medical adventures with Patch chewed up the afternoon I was supposed to use helping Howard prep for convention departure tomorrow. Link and Gleek both came home from school grouchy. Gleek discovered that platform heels have some significant disadvantages when worn all day. She also spilled on her costume dress and was afraid it was ruined forever. We laundered it before trick or treating and all was well again. It became even better when Gleek realized that if she ditched the shoes, she could make the dress flow behind her as she ran. Link’s grouchiness settled out, but returned after a Halloween party which was part fun and part socially complicated. Sorting out the social complications required sitting down and talking for a bit.

There was pizza for dinner, purchased on the same run when I picked up Patch’s eye ointment. The kids vanished out to trick or treating and parties leaving me to answer the door. We had a reasonable number of visitors, but I definitely over stocked on the candy. It is probable that many kids skipped our house because the porch light is broken and we never got around to carving pumpkins. We never even got around to buying pumpkins. Deep inside me there is a small wistfulness at the lack of pumpkins, but mostly I am grateful that the kids never seemed to notice this lack or care about it. One less thing to do is a good today. In between answering the door I packed up artwork and ran loads of laundry.

Children arrived home with piles of candy. The run through the neighborhood made Gleek, Patch, and Kiki all happy. I was happy that Kiki went out with them, that she had a chance to be out trick or treating, because next year she is unlikely to be at home for Halloween. Also, I was glad to not trail after kids when I had so many things waiting to be done. Link came home from his party mostly happy, but needing to talk. Then the more that he talked, the more the difficult parts of the day emerged. Until I had to distract him with a video and warmed up pizza.

What with one thing and another it became 10 pm and half the kids were in bed. I finally had time to sit and think thoughts about the day. I like Halloween. This one felt a bit more chaotic than usual because it coincided with convention preparations. But it is always fun to see so many people taking time to put together and wear costumes. This expression of play is very good for communities. I like that the whole school day bends around the Halloween celebrations. I love seeing all the cleverness. Like the mother dressed as the Cat in the Hat with her pair of twins dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2.

I like seeing familiar characters and much newer ones. I particularly liked this friendly little robot.

It is good to see the classics still being loved.

It was a chaotic day. One that was constantly rearranged. It had moments of frustration like the mason jar candle that is impossible to light without an extra long match. Moments of joy as when I photographed Gleek mid-run and Kiki the elf near a tree. Moments of amusement observing Kiki’s text conversation with a friend. It was a day where I spent eight hours on my feet running from one thing to the next. Yet it was a good one. And now, sleep.

Stories of Today

There have been many impressive photographs today, scenes from Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey. I’ve never been to any of these places, so I view the photos abstractly, without any personal grief attached. Before the storm I never walked that crumpled boardwalk, I never shopped in the below ground shops that now resemble a salty swimming pool. I see the subway and can ponder the feat of engineering it will take to pump that much water back into the ocean, without also having to wonder how I will manage to get to work sans functioning mass transit. Yet I look at the pictures and my brain tells me those stories. Part of me wants to capture in a story, not a description of the storm surge, but the emotion of one. This huge force beyond human control sweeps in and rearranges the lives of millions. I, three quarters of a continent away, can ponder these things because I have light, heat, health, a place to sleep, and normal work in the morning. As do many of the east coast residents, even in Manhattan. That last is a miracle of modern meteorology. We knew the storm was coming and so the people prepared.

Along with the disaster stories, today has other ones. The guy on twitter who deliberately spread misinformation during a natural disaster and then discovered that the internet had the power to unmask him. Criminal charges are likely to follow. Nerds and Geeks everywhere reacted to the news that Disney bought Lucasfilm and there will be another Star Wars movie. Thus Princess Leia becomes the newest Disney princess. The publishing houses of Random House and Penguin are merging, causing yet another round of laments (or rejoicing) that this is sign that publishing as we know it is changing forever. Some news cycles are busier than others. Stories that would normally dominate all the conversational space for days or weeks are only getting a passing glance. Ordinary stories pass untold because people were too busy focusing on the extraordinary.

My story of today had a bright blue sky and sunshine. I followed my task list, accomplished goals, and was able to appreciate how my kids are continually growing into amazing and responsible people. Today contained pieces of larger stories, some of which don’t get told on the internet because my children do not deserve the experience of having their friends read all the embarrassing things their mother wrote about them. I’m just grateful that there were no storms for me or the kids today. Instead we talked costumes and Halloween. I baked cookies.

I have cookies and three quarters of a continent away there are people who had houses yesterday but don’t anymore. Life is not fair. But I hold the memory of other stories. This is not the first hurricane, nor the first storm surged city. Years from now this will be another survival story in a city which has weathered much deadlier disasters. During next few days smaller stories will emerge from the massive damage. We will get to hear of heroes and courage. We will see people work hard overtime hours trying to put everything back together. Some small scale tragedies will emerge and somehow because the size of them is comprehensible, these small tragedies will drive home how big this storm was. There will be laughter, ride sharing, and people gathering in the street next to electrical outlets so that they can charge their cell phones. These things have already begun. This storm is done. It has left behind story fodder, whether we assemble stories of hope or despair is up to us.

Halloween Costume Negotiations

Gleek, having declared the costume she wore to the church carnival as “boring,” was in dire need of a dress appropriate to the goddess Artemis. I took her to the thrift store, expecting a repeat of what I experienced several years ago when Gleek suffered choice paralysis. Choosing one costume meant giving up all the others and that was very hard. This year she barely glanced at anything that didn’t meet her ideas of Artemis clothing. Most of my suggestions were wrong. We argued over a little faux fur dress “foxy lady“costume, not because it couldn’t be altered to be age appropriate, but because it cost $40. I could see why it appealed to her as a huntress dress, but $40 was a bit steep. In the end we found a goldish flowy dress (for $6) which makes Gleek feel like Artemis. We also brought home some high heeled wedge shoes trimmed with fur, because any huntress who chases after deer through a forest needs to do so while clomping and tottering on four inch heels. Obviously. The shoes came home with us on the understanding that they are only for play, not for church, school, or pretty much anywhere else, until she has gotten a bit older. I suspect they’ll lose their appeal before she’s old enough. Which is fine. Right now she’s toying with being more grown up, as many eleven year olds do. I can hear her clomping around upstairs feeling very grown up and ready to take on the world. And thus our costuming is complete. I hope.

Exercise and Mental Health

Several years ago I met an acquaintance as I was headed out of the grocery store and she was headed in. She was obviously on her way home from exercising at the gym. We chatted for a minute about her regular trips to they gym and about physical fitness in general. “a gym membership is cheaper than depression meds.” she quipped. I laughed and we parted to go our separate ways.

I’ve thought about that conversation quite a bit lately, particularly on the days when I’m pounding my feet on a treadmill. Over the past several months it has become clear that I have two choices to regulate my emotional state. I can either exercise three to five days per week, or I can find a doctor and get anti anxiety/depression medication. When I try to avoid those choices my emotional state vacillates wildly. My capabilities change. I hate it. I don’t think it is fair. I know that declaring life as unfair makes me sound five years old and I’m mad about that too. I remember the days when I was an extremely stable person emotionally, but things are different now. So I get mad about it and I use that anger to get me to the gym where I’m allowed to be angry at every running footstep I need to take.

I choose exercise, it has better side effects. When I’m not being angry that life is not fair, I am able to be very grateful that exercise does work. Not everyone is so fortunate. I know people who struggle with brain imbalances much worse than mine. I also know that my choices may change in the future. Physiology and psychology are in constant flux. There may come a day when instead of either/or I’m faced with and. In the meantime, I’m once again being mindful and getting my exercise, because taking two weeks off landed me in a place where I wondered if I was going crazy.

I finally understand the quip my acquaintance made. She was not joking at all. She masked it as a joke, passing it off lightly because we didn’t know each other well and parking lots are not good for deep conversation. Now I understand her, because on the way home from the gym I stop at the store and run into acquaintances.
“Oh you’re so good. I should get to the gym more.” They say.
I smile and sometimes I make a light comment, because I don’t want them to feel bad about their choices. My exercise is not about being good and doing the things I’m supposed to do. It is definitely not about being better than anyone else. If I could choose to stay home and stay emotionally stable, I would do that. It would be so much easier. Instead I run because running is better than feeling like I might be going crazy. Running is better than crying.

It feels wrong to be praised for this thing I feel forced to do and which I often do resentfully. I also know how recently I’ve become regular about exercise and how easy it is for me to fall back out of the pattern. Exercise is a new habit and it wears on me in unfamiliar ways. Howard thinks that the resentment will wear away and exercise can be something I just enjoy. Maybe he is right. I know that used to be true. Perhaps it will be true again. A few times I’ve felt the edges of enjoyment, I definitely feel satisfaction some days. Mostly I just get moving because whether or not I enjoy it does not matter as much as the fact that I need it. Perhaps these other emotions will emerge when exercise is a familiar part of my routines, like a comfortable pair of shoes. Right now I need to be grouchy about exercise, because the anger gets me out the door, and when I come home I am more able to do everything else.

Thoughts on Community and Withdrawal

In years past I’ve written glowing descriptions of our church Halloween carnival. I described how the community of congregation members creates this event for each other and how the creation draws the members of the community together. I’ve loved that aspect of it, just as I’ve loved how trailing a trick or treating child lets me feel part of a larger community of parents. I love these things about Halloween, so the arrival of the carnival last night should have been happy. It was, in a distant sort of way. I felt like it was a generally happy thing, without being made happier because of it. I was at the event, but did not truly engage with it. Certainly not in the way that my kids did. They were decked out in costumes and helping run the games. I did not have a costume, not really. Throwing on Howard’s old lab coat does not qualify as a costume in the same way that Kiki’s autumn elf with pointy ears and leafy skirt did. Kiki spent hours on her costume. I decided ten minutes before departure that I did not want to be completely boring.

The challenge is that I’m currently in a social withdrawal phase. I recognize this as part of my regular emotional cycles. Sometimes I’m reaching out, ready to give energy to the world. Other times I draw inward trying to conserve that energy to myself. Lately I’m pulling in. At some point in the future I’ll reach out and connect again. Paying attention to these cycles is important, because knowing why I’m withdrawing can make a huge difference in making my withdrawal into an effective and temporary retreat rather than into a prolonged period of self-imposed social isolation. Noticing that I’m withdrawing is an important indicator.

My current withdrawal cycle has, in part, been driven by shifts in my extended family. My grandmother’s health has been up and down in the past six months. I’ve often felt worried about her and about my parents who are acting as her primary care givers. All is currently well, Grandma is getting around the house with a walker, which she mostly needs for balance. Yet I worry about them. Several of my siblings have gone through periods of unemployment and financial stress. I’ve spent time sending them prayers, trying to think how I could help, and hosting people in my house as they pass through while on trips or relocating. Mostly there isn’t much I can do to help. I just wish I could, and the wishing takes emotional energy.

The withdrawal is also driven by internal shifts. This past year has taught me much about myself. I’ve found deeply hidden lies which were driving my behavior. I’ve rooted out sources of anxiety. I’ve made lots of progress on building new patterns of thought. Some of that involved figuring out which sorts of events feed my demons of self doubt and which fill my soul. I’m also trying to re-organize my life around writing. This requires that I have empty spaces in my mind and heart for the stories to grow. To create those spaces I need less input, fewer new things to think about.

This school year is being good for my kids, but I can also see how it is a preparatory year. Three of them are shifting and preparing to leap into new things next year. The changes have already begun and I want to savor this space before those changes are complete.

So the withdrawal makes sense. It is logical. I have good reasons for it. And yet…

Today at church during the Relief Society lesson I felt strongly that I should engage, participate in the lesson. I’ve mostly been drifting through church without doing that. In fact there have been weeks when I’ve spent time in the hallways because the meetings felt claustrophobic. It is all part of the withdrawal, I drifted through the Sunday meetings, just as I drifted through the Halloween carnival. But today I raised my hand and said something not particularly brilliant, but it supported the point the teacher was making. Discussion on the topic continued to bounce around the room, and I thought of another thing to say. I raised my hand again. For the first time in months I was not merely a passive member of the congregation, sieving inspiration from the lessons as they washed past me. Instead I was in the middle, speaking, sharing thoughts, helping to shape the lesson. It was powerful. I’d walked into that room idly noting all the familiar women who were there with me–even feeling a little frustrated that I ended up surrounded instead of off to the side where it is easier for me to observe. When I left the meeting, I loved the women, or rather I remembered that I’ve loved all of them for years. Somehow I had lost that connection and I got it back. I felt connected again because I reached out, not because someone reached to me.

Communities work only as their members make them work. You get out of it what you put into it. Often, through some incomprehensible divine formula, you get out more than what you put in. Which leads me to wonder whether withdrawing to recharge is a wise strategy at all. It is certainly the one my instincts would have me choose. When my resources are slim, I should conserve them carefully. Except I then feel like I’m continually having ever lessening amounts which I can conserve. Sometimes a withdrawal fills me up and I’m ready to engage again. Other times pulling inward is itself draining and what I need is to trust that I can continue to feed everyone with what feels like a mere handful of meal and a few drops of oil. I’m afraid to give more. I have so many things to tend already, but I think I need to connect with my communities. I need to be willing to give, particularly when I’m afraid that I’ll run out.

Withdrawing is good. Reaching out is good. Giving is good. Conserving is good. It feels like a test where all the answers are based upon context and interpretation. The best I can do is to muddle my way through trying out the different options as they seem called for.

Bringing Home the Writer’s Retreat

A month ago today I was in Chattanooga having a wonderful difficult time. I was glad I went, I was even more glad to get home. When I got home I knew it would take awhile for all the things I shook up in my brain to settle down enough for me to see what the retreat accomplished. Now I’ve got a completed draft of my picture book and my novel is accumulating words daily. Mostly what I need is to spend some time each day focused on writing. To aid in that I’ve found a way to bring a piece of the retreat home with me. You see, among the foods that Mary offered was a sea salt and caramel gelato by a company called Talenti. I loved it because it was marvelous and the flavors invited me to savor a small dish rather than snarf down a large dish as I tend to do with ice cream. I thought that the only place I was likely to find this gelato would be a store an hour from my house, but yesterday I discovered a source much closer to me. This discovery resulted in a jar that is now in my freezer. However I don’t get to just eat it whenever. It is a reward that I can have after I hit 1000 words for the day. I did yesterday and the spoonfuls took me all the way back to the retreat. Flavor can be a powerful thing. I have discovered what being a writer tastes like to me and it tastes delicious.

Dropped Leaves

The morning after the first solid freeze is when trees dump all their leaves at once.

Yesterday all these leaves were still attached to branches. The tree didn’t even bother to change them to pretty colors first. Green or not, they got dumped. It’s as if the tree just decided to give up on leaves.

I can feel sympathy for that today. Sometimes the effort just seems like too much and I just want to let it all go while I hibernate for awhile.

All I Can Do

…for we know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do.
2 Nephi 25:23

I always trip over that “after all we can do” part of the verse. I believe it too thoroughly, trying to make the job of giving grace and blessings easy for God, as if He is more likely to grant them that way. In fact, I try my very hardest to put God out of work by doing all the work myself.

Then I hit a place like this week, where the things I want most are out of my control. Howard is in the midst of plotting the climax of the current Schlock storyline. He’s gathering all the threads of story to pull them together into a satisfying conclusion and there are threads everywhere. I know he can do this, he is brilliant with this, but the only help I can provide is to listen when he needs to talk plot and to read the occasional script.

Howard is also working hard on a yet-to-be-announced prose project. I’m excited that he gets to do this project. I love that he is getting to write a story for which he does not have to draw pictures. It lets Howard grow in new ways and that is good. But growth is not easy and I can’t write the words for him.

Then there is the calendar project. We need the calendar to launch our holiday season and pay for Christmas. It will get done in plenty of time. Howard is already half done with the line art and a third done with the coloring. Again, there is nothing I can do except support Howard’s efforts.
And pray.
Because when I run out of things to do, I have to acknowledge how much of my life is beyond my control. I turn to deity and pray for Howard’s good health, that the hand pain will stay away, that he’ll be inspired with the story bits he needs, that he’ll have a run of good work days, that he won’t feel too stressed or depressed or frustrated.

I read the scripture again and it feels very odd that all I can do is support and pray. I want something else, something active. I want my writing to be part of the solution, right now it adds an additional time burden without providing anything measurable in terms of payment. I want to be filling store orders, shipping merchandise to excited customers, but the orders ebb and flow. We’re currently in a lull before the holiday rush. Our next big merchandise push will be for the calendar, which is not yet ready.

I’ve done all I can do, now I need to exercise faith. Faith in Howard, who has always come through. Faith in God, who has already–repeatedly–informed me that everything is going to be fine. I know it is going to be fine, I just want to get to the part where it already is. I want to have things to do again, work which obviously helps to support our family financially. I wish I could carry more of the financial burden; Howard has been over burdened with work for years. Instead I must wait patiently in this one area of my life and focus my doing on the parenting, household, writing, and gardening parts of my life. It is not as though I lack for things to do, I’m just antsy like a child who has many things but wants something else. I must learn to wait and trust. That is all I can do.

Things I’ve Been Thinking About Which Are Not Long Enough for a Full Blog Post

These photos of people being scared. At first they were just funny, but then as I clicked through I became fascinated by the sameness of the facial expressions. It got to the point where I was staring at the photos trying to determine if they are real or people posing in caricatures of fear. I came to the conclusion that they are real.


I’ve been thinking about Charles Darwin ever since Howard tweeted this quotation from one of Darwin’s letters: “I am very poorly today and very stupid and hate everything and everybody.” I find comforting that I’m not the only one who has stupid days. However I’ve been thinking even more about a statement made later in the article about Darwin

“He was not quick, witty, or social. He spent decades working out his ideas, slowly, mostly by himself, writing letters and tending to a weak heart and a constantly upset stomach. He was a Slow Processor, who soaked in the data, thought, stared, tried to make sense of what he was seeing, hoping for a breakthrough. All around were snappier brains, busy being dazzling, but not Darwin’s, which just plodded on until it finally saw something special, hiding in plain view.”

Darwin changed the world, but he didn’t do it with a flash of brilliance or by leaping insight. It makes me think of the tortoise and the hare. Also of my son Link, who is amazing, but not in a flashy, leap-of-insight way. He lives in a family of hares, I’m one of them, and I’ve learned a lot about how to commit to small daily effort just from watching him.


At the end of a school project–a child’s science fair project display, for a not so random example–there is an urge to just get the thing done. I want to be able to stop thinking about it. I want Get Child to Do Science Fair Project off of my to do list. This is how parents end up doing the work for their kids. It was very hard to restrict myself to cutting and taping while letting Patch do all the thinking and organizing. I could to it so much faster and neater, but then I’ve already learned the things that this project has to teach. Patch needs to struggle with them so that he can too. The result is a display that he is proud of and a project he can describe in detail because he knows how it works. Also: Mythbusters is a great way to expose kids to the scientific method. I know that there is a lot of theater and pseudo science in the show, but Patch instantly understood hypothesis, test with variables and controls, and conclusion. They were made familiar by Mythbusters.


I find it interesting how I can succeed at things all day long, but a small failure late in the day can alter my perception of the entire day. Out of all the things I could have gotten wrong yesterday, cookies are the least important. I guess it just threw me for a loop because cookies are easy. I have the recipe memorized, I can make them half asleep and they turn out great. But they didn’t last night, and it sent me back to thinking about the Darwin quote, the “I am stupid” part of it.


In Polish the idiomatic expression which means “Not my problem” translates to “Not my circus, not my monkey.” This makes everyone at Chez Tayler very happy and has now entered our family lexicon. Thanks to Dan Wells for tweeting it.


Watched an episode of Nanny 911 and spent the whole thing thinking about the power of a film editor. I half want to go through and track what people are wearing to deconstruct how misleading the episode was. All the tantrum footage was in the first part and all of the happy footage in the second, giving the impression that the nanny had made everything better. I’ll grant that she really did teach some important skills that the family needed to learn, but she also spent lots of time looking disapproving for the benefit of the camera. That sort of family therapy is best managed without the audience. I won’t be watching any more, though if I could find a similar show with a different editorial approach or tone, I might sample that. The psychology on display is interesting.


This is week five of Dancing with the Stars. I love that show and have been keeping my enthusiasm under wraps because I could bore everyone to tears talking about the relationships between the dance teams, the emotional arcs of the people involved, the editorial choices made about the clips, the execution of various dances, who I hope stays to the end, who I’d like to see go home, how this season compares to prior seasons, and the difficulties the show is going to have going back to a regular season after having this all star cast. Besides, blogging all of that isn’t nearly as much fun as finding someone else who loves the show as much as I do and sitting down in person to chatter.


The Iron Man 3 trailer hits all the right emotional notes for me. I hope the movie I get to see is the one in that trailer. I like emotional depth in my heroes and thus far Iron Man has amused me, but I don’t re-watch because I’ve already seen what there is to see.


I can not express how much I admire Robison Wells. He writes about his experience of mental illness and thus gives words to a problem that is usually kept out of sight.


I was recently at a laser tag place where I watched one teen hand something to another teen and say “Here you go. I feel like such a mom.” Later that same evening I heard a different teen say “Yeah. Moms are just like that.” I think I’ve figured out why I’m reluctant to self identify as a mom. Obviously I am one. I spend a large portion of my days nurturing my children and just about anyone else who gets near me. Yet when I start writing a list of who I am, mom ends up on the list at the tail end when I’m trying to come up with more things. Yet in the majority of advertising and entertainment, as well as in the minds of all teenagers everywhere, to be mom is to be unfashionable, over-responsible, rules-driven, boring, and ender-of-all-fun. Why would I want to identify with that?


Catherine Schaffer wrote a great post about why apocalypse stories are so popular. She has many good thoughts, but right at the end she wrote:

In our increasingly globalized world, even the most hawkish among us must admit, on some level, that our worst enemies are still human. So while some may argue that it’s justifiable to kill the enemy, there is no acceptable pleasure in it. Zombies, meanwhile, can be killed with gleeful abandon.

And I thought: of course. The rise of zombie fiction makes sense now. I find it very interesting that we are also seeing sympathetic zombie fiction, such as My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland. Even when we pick the ultimate enemy, some of us are still going to try to empathize. Which is hopeful for the human race I think.


My head is full of similar random thoughts all the time. Every thing I see or hear triggers new thoughts. This is why it is so important for me to step away and deliberately select activities that allow me to sort thoughts rather than giving me new ones.

Today in List Form

One thing after another happened all day long. None of them were unexpected things, they were just all thinky, important, and urgent. So I did not get many spaces. Instead I:

Managed school departures and arrivals for four kids.

Put together and ordered our annual Schlock thank you postcard.

Began work on the 2013 Schlock calendar, because this year we want to customize the calendar pages rather than just dropping in some pre-made calendar pages.

Did the accounting.

Met with Kiki’s art teacher to talk about Kiki and what she can do to get some scholarships.

Helped Patch assemble a display for his science fair project.

Listened to Gleek’s newly-learned, short, repetitive song about manatees about a bajillion times.

Gave Kiki the tools and materials to matte her art for an art show.

Made dinner, while simultaneously running homework time and cooking a double batch of cookies all on a deadline because we needed to get out the door for cub scout pack meeting.

Attended pack meeting.

Came home to finish cooking the cookies and realized that all the cookies are ruined because in the chaos I did not add baking soda or salt. Threw away all the cookies.

Now I am tired and feel discouraged because I made that lovely list only two days ago about how I was going to make good use of my time, but right now all I want to do is shut off my brain and stop thinking about today.