I am silent. Though I speak with family and friends, and am even loquacious, I am silent.

Academia silenced me. Finding a new voice is a journey. Contemporary pilgrimage is a global phenomenon, and not merely an academic topic. But after being trained to think sociologically, and to engage in academic discourse, I seldom discover a space in which I share my ideas and feelings.

How will I create space for my voice? I garden. Potatoes, the most quiet and sullen of all earth’s plants are yielded up to my probing fingers.


Women’s voices are often silent until a space, a safe or sacred space, or merely a congenial space frees us to speak. Where are the spaces that we who are neither journalists, nor tenured academics, can speak, and speak profoundly? Who is our audience? Is our speech, as we stand outside of the institutional boundaries, freed of constraint? Or simply unheard.

I spent many years in graduate school: in coursework, at conferences, and writing papers and a dissertation, finally earning a PhD. Preparing for a future, perhaps a career, that does not occur, is a challenge to spirit and ego.

I have been silent, embarked on an inner pilgrimage. These words in this forum are one step to becoming less mute than the earthy spud. Digging in the dirt is satisfying and healing. Even the earthy potato eventually comes to the surface.


Finding my voice again is both an unearthing and a transformation. My transformation from a fat and satisfied caterpillar, munching on parsley and fennel is at hand. The emergent butterfly will surely be more beautiful and unbounded, yet perhaps equally unheard.


No, no. I’m not, really. But I do fear becoming so.

Am I crab walking, sidling up to my next “purpose”? Currently, I eschew leaps & bounds. Leaps, bounds, & orthopedists go together.

ACL Brace-Wearing Mermaid in Sports Bra

Confidentially, I still do some “stupid things” as my physical therapist says. In mid-July, I struggled down the steep steps to Bash Bish Falls. (My ACL brace is submerged in this photo.)

Urged by an impatient spouse and a few wild things, I later struggled down a steep hillside, and waded in muck into Lake Taghkanic. Bubbles ascending from the reedy muck alerted me to the presence of snapping turtles. But I plunged onward, breast-stroking through the reeds into the clear warm lake.

The offspring sprang, recklessly plunging in, and swimming across the lake and back. Only six weeks out from a complex back procedure, cautionary words from a suddenly sensible spouse stopped me midway. I lolled about on my neon green swim noodle, soothed by the serene waters of a warm, quiet lake.

I had an active day for a sedentary person.


“I’m not talking about that now!”

The art of conversation….

This response always hurts my feelings, and makes me feel belittled. You may not be talking about “that,” but I was attempting to.

The above seems like an appropriate response to a difficult conversation, or to a tragic or revolting topic. Today I was musing about where my son might shop for clothing. He has asked for clothing for Christmas. He was working on his bike in the family room, and I was working in the kitchen. Had he said, “I’m really busy, can we discuss that later,” or even “I’m too busy right now,” then I wouldn’t feel summarily dismissed.

Can anyone help me with my issue about feeling shut down when I hear this phrase?

Our son has briefly moved home after living many years in another state, so I did not object to a bike shop in the family room.

We also had an issue about having a fire last night. He was warm, and I was cold, so I suggested he move the repair operation away from the fireplace. When the fire was built, and I wanted the main door shut to keep the warmth in, I was told I cannot compromise. Dad did not speak up on my behalf. So I went upstairs to my space heater and my book. Not being especially neat myself, I have said nothing about tools and clothes all around.

He helped me bake an apple pie today, per tradition. He dropped me and picked me up from yoga on Monday. He has barely arrived, and he worked hard yesterday, so I have been doing his dishes. Lately, I have been too busy for my own lunch dishes, but I have taken the holiday off.

Indeed, I work from home, and I am used to having things my way at home. But I want him to feel at home, too. And maybe we could both work on being thankful.

I think I am being tolerant, helpful, verging-on-doormat Mom, and instead am being met with some hostility, and called out over minor things.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! There is no one in the world I would rather see!

So I am asking for advice. It would be easier if I needed help deciding on a side dish, or whether to wear the black or purple patterned dress, or just jeans or cords. Since the only person I can change is me, I would appreciate thoughtful advice about what to do.

He slammed the door, and tore off to visit his older brother as planned (minus the door-slamming.)

We have been watching The British Baking Show. It is cheery, clever, silly, and calming. Now for more of the American baking show and pecan pies.

I expected issues, just not so many, so quickly. It can’t be easy to move home, even for a day.

Keep calm and carry on?


#family #Thanksgiving #compromise


It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? Plants that grow and thrive without tender care are weeds. Plants that require constant tender care, and additives from Big Ag, and glyphosate to kill off the competition, are flowers.

My husband refers to me as “Buttercup,” but I am cultivating my inner dandelion!

In a Mid-Atlantic state, here’s what happens when yard tenders refuse to coddle turf grasses. Gather your vetches and fescues while ye may!


Basic Knowledge 101

A Brief Quiz:

Do you know what a ratchet is?

Have you ever used a ratchet?

If so, when, and for what purpose?

Somehow, I missed Basic Knowledge 101. Sure, I can turn on a stove, and cook dinner, but if my stove or oven were to break, I would simply use the grill or the camp stove. That is, unless the camp stove is stashed somewhere inacessible in the rafters. The problem is, I don’t know how to repair or maintain household objects, or appliances, or even my own bicycle.

I am always prepared for vehicular emergencies, but I have never changed a tire. On that note, I think I will order a headlamp-style flashlight to keep in my car, and at least watch a YouTube video on changing a tire.

In the last two weeks I have threaded a bobbin on an expletive-inducing, unnecesarily complex, sewing machine. I also figured out how to start and use the electric lawnmower.

Yesterday, I learned what a ratchet is for, and how to use one. My newfound knowledge of ratchets is courtesy of my husband, who was confidently employing one and let me try. I had no idea why he was doing something noisy to the inside of the garage doors. He was tightening nuts. Or was he tightening bolts?

A kind, if amused, friend helped with verbal and visual explanations. He even forwarded two gifs. They made sense, since I had already had a kinesthetic learning experience.

To learn, I must do it myself. Observation alone is insufficient.

A bit of background: I am not unable to create  things with my hands, but words are the tools I employ regularly. I can knit, crochet, sew, embroider, cook, and grow a plant from seed. Yes, I am a woman. My education included home economics, but not shop or carpentry. My parents, apparently, did not consider learning how to build or fix anything mechanical part of my basic education. Or else I resisted learning. I was busy reading, playing dress-ups, climbing trees, journaling, and helping with housework and retail sales in a family-owned shop. Enough about the past!

What tool should I use next? For what basic task?

I await your suggestions. I also hope to figure out how to enable pingbacks. I will try to include a pingback in my next post. This one has languished unpublished for several months.

Perhaps my first goal should be to overcome my new fear of publishing and writers block: Time to ratchet up my writing!


Men at Work

Men at work. The beautiful. amazing, and dare I say, unusual thing about these scenes are that the men are working quietly, and getting exercise and fresh air, not to mention gaining a sense of accomplishment. Who doesn’t love clean gutters?! Um, well, I don’t think about them very often, so I guess love is going overboard. I’m not even sure what terrible things might occur if water and leaves were to coexist in our gutters. Of course I realize that the gutters would become clogged, and water would run down the side of the house, and not neatly through the downspouts. It’s just not the sort of thing this blogger thinks about often. I also did my small part today: I planned my morning so that I had those extra ten minutes to walk to the gym instead of driving. Not only did I get fresh air there and back, but because I was on foot, had a chance to have a 1.5 minute conversation with a friend I rarely see while she was stuck at the red light. (This pleasant impromptu meeting does confirm my fear that it is best not to walk when feeling antisocial. There is no sensible route that doesn’t involve crossing one of the main roads in town, while standing out in the open for several minutes. Yes, I can be a real hermit at times.)

It helps not to be a perfectionist if you are going to have DIY leaf removal with the assistance of two guys in their teens.

Gutter Guy by Circespeaks

Gutter Guy by Circespeaks

Thanks to one of our volunteers, another few piles of leaves were raked up and stuffed into compostable bags. At some point they will be removed by the town crews. What a big fuss over leaves on lawns! Since I have my noise issues–which I now know is a condition called misophonia that I share with many others–I do need to check the calendar and be sure to be elsewhere when the leaf collection vehicles come scraping and beeping by sometime soon again. It was, I promise, more than my imagination: they really were here off and on from 7am to almost 4pm last time. Had I only known, I would have planned to be elsewhere.

Young Man Wielding Ancient Implement by Circespeaks

Young Man Wielding Ancient Implement by Circespeaks

And now that the leaves are gutter free, two guys at work have begun, and almost completed, another seasonal ritual: putting up the Christmas lights. When we moved here from North County, San Diego, and kept up the tradition of festooning the house–not just the tree–with lights, I was sure that this would be looked upon as terribly déclassé. Much to my surprise, neighborhood friends and acquaintances often remark upon how much they enjoy our Christmas lights. And those who find them cheap and tacky are probably kind enough to keep such thoughts to themselves 🙂 These days a peace symbol joins the lights. Though Dr. Bronner–whose philosophy I must research one day–doesn’t live here, and we don’t proselytize “All One God Faith,” the peace symbol includes one and all. Didn’t someone called Tiny Tim once say something similar at the end of a book by Charles Dickens? Am I already getting into the holiday mood?