Friday chickenBecause it’s Friday AGAIN. And because traditions are important. In which I cover the good stuff and the hard stuff in my week, trying for the non-preachy, non-annoying side of self-reflection.

And you get to join in if you feel like it.

Okay, this week was kind of intense. I’m still processing. I don’t even know if I’m ready to check in on it, to be honest. But what I can totally check in on is the long weekend at the kinda-inlaws.

They’re not officially my inlaws. It’s just too much of a mouthful to say “the parents and sisters and nephews of my gentleman friend”.

Though I like saying that because it sounds like I’m German. Anyway, it was an interesting weekend.

The good stuff made the hard stuff a lot easier to take, but it still took a lot out of me.

The hard stuff

Noise level: the thing that most directly impacts my stress level.

Dogs! Cats! Five rambunctious nephews! A piano! Kids playing it! Christmas music! Geese! The volume was steady, constant and intense.

So yes, my gentleman friend and I both emerged from the weekend relatively unscathed but with splitting headaches.

And I, highly sensitive person* that I am, spent the rest of the week in hiding/recovery mode, refusing to engage in contact with pretty much anyone other than my gentleman friend and Selma.

*Sorry for the kind of sucky link. I couldn’t find a page that had a great explanation of the characteristics of Highly Sensitive People.


The family of my gentleman friend are of the opinion that he and I are headed there, and as such they harbor all sorts of fears for our everlasting souls.

This results in all sorts of uncomfortableness.

For one thing, it is hard for me to reconcile these sweet lovely people, each one of whom I genuinely care for, with the notion that they really, truly want my gentleman friend to turn into someone else.

In fact, they want him to become someone I wouldn’t get along with at all.

Add to that the pain and sadness I feel each time I think about what it’s like for a child to grow up with that level of fear and dread. The trauma.

And then there is my sincere wish they would just let it go already. But they love him, and are genuinely worried — so this is not a likely scenario.

And the truth is, that even if they did let it go, being a huge Jew in a room full of evangelical Christians? It’s just awkward in so many ways.

Stuff I absolutely can’t say.

The sister of my gentleman friend homeschools her kids. Which is not a big deal. I am very pro-homeschooling and always have been.

It’s just that I also have a degree in History from Tel Aviv University.

So the “historical timeline” on their wall tracing “history” from Creation to The Fall to The Flood to Babel to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Ancient China …

Drives. Me. Batty.

Sure, I’m willing to accept that there are many possible interpretations of available textual data. Or to allow that there aren’t really any firm “facts” in history because of the twisted nature of historiography and our relationship to it.

In fact, I can come up with various post-modernist arguments that excuse all sorts of things. But not this.

Since it would be the height of rudeness for me to publicly react to this, I end up having this muttering dialogue taking place inside my head.

And that’s before I get around to contemplating the awful, awful set-in-stone gender roles.

Seriously, I could write a week of blog posts on my feelings about the Focus on the Family Raising a Modern Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood” audiotapes, complete with cover image of a father brandishing a sparkly, manly sword, presumably handing it over to his precious and impressionable son.

Luckily for you, I won’t.

Loss of identity. Or perceived identity. Or perceived loss of identity.

This one is messy, I know.

It’s just that — well, you spend your days having certain perceptions or ideas about yourself. Like, I’m a successful businesswoman. I’m a blogger. I live my life in the most conscious, intentional way I can with yoga and meditation and self-reflection.

Blah blah blippity blah.

And then you remember what ridiculous and irrelevant constructs these are when you’re spending three days with people who think of you as “the ladyfriend of our son/brother/uncle”.

Or, if you’re Jesse (who’s three), you think of me as “that smiley lady whose nose I like to touch and then yell BOP! and then collapse in giggles because clearly this is the best game in the entire world.” (which it is.)

But it’s weird. It’s disconcerting. It’s like, all of a sudden your entire life as you know it doesn’t exist.

No one to tell stuff to.

For example, over the weekend Selma and I got fanmail from a super famous person I’ve been admiring from afar for years.

Ooh, and I got interviewed by a journalist for a piece that’s going to be in the New York freaking Times.

But neither of these pieces of information are interesting or impressive to any of the twelve people I was sharing space with. And my phone was dead so I couldn’t even call someone who would care to say OMG OMG OMG.

Torture. Yes, I missed you guys. I know you’re all excited for me. Thank you. Which leads me … finally … to the good stuff.

The good stuff

Tea with Jane.

The mother of my gentleman friend really is the sweetest ever and I love her.

Seeing her is my favorite part of the visit. By a lot.

In fact, if I could just spend the whole weekend having tea with her, petting the (non-goose) animals and playing the nose-BOP game with Jesse, that would be pretty great.

Rolling around around the floor.

The good parts of any visit always involve much schnuggling and playing with the various dogs (Phoebe, Penny & Samson) and cats (Olive & Hobbes).

I adore them all.

And three year old Jesse who also made a shocking Declaration of Love to me and then turned bright pink. So so cute.


Mmmm, yes. I had not realized how much I missed that particular aspect of living in California until we arrived in Sacramento and my friend Michelle came to meet me with oranges from the tree in her yard.


Also the other sister of my gentleman friend has a baby orchard* and let us pick lemons and grapefruit. Pure happiness.

*I don’t mean to imply that she grows babies there, only that the orchard is very small, yes?


We flew into Sacramento before driving way out into the wilderness to where the kinda-inlaws live.

In my mind, Sacramento is just that place we stayed for a while when we left San Francisco and were still on our way to Portland. But going back there made me remember that there were actually all sorts of things I loved about it.

We had lunch downtown at our absolute favorite sandwich place in the world. Dad’s Deli. I’d link to them but they’re doing that “we don’t get how the world works” thing that small businesses do. They have a website, but I can’t find it. Argh.

But anyway, we visited old stomping grounds and it was great. Everything was familiar and comfortable. It was oddly nostalgia-inducing.

Plus I got to spend a couple of hours with Michelle who is my love.

Most important thing?

We won’t be doing any of this again until next December.

Excuse me now, while I dive back under the covers return to my recovery-mode rituals for the weekend.

Oh, and an announcement:

Jennifer Hofmann! That woman! Oh, how I obsess over her.

There’s still a spot or two left in her Make Sweet Love To Your Office So That You Can Actually Feel Supported and Motivated When You’re Working thing.

Okay, that’s not what she calls it at all. That’s what I call it. Because I happen to know that the two-hour version of this class is heaven on earth.

This one is five hours of awesome. And I’m going to be there teaching some destuckification tricks with my duck. And Jen’s throwing in her Wish Kit package too.

Basically, even if you can’t make it at all, you should still try and snag the “get an hour of her time” option because you still get an hour of her time (I’ve hired Jen before and wow) and the Kit for just under a hundred dollars. Which is ridiculous.

It’s TOMORROW. I hope I’ll see you there.

That’s it for me ….

And yes yes yes, of course you can join in my Friday ritual right here in the comments bit if you feel like it.

Yeah? Anything hard and/or good happen in your week?

And, as always, have a glorrrrrrrrrrrrious weekend. And a happy week to come.

The Fluent Self