27. Maine thoughts

The Maine coast is beautiful, in a serene, expansive way. I walked the Marginal Way path yesterday, from beginning to end, where I found a seaside bar with seats facing the water. I ordered a blueberry lemonade, and the four people who sat next to me ordered the same, but with vodka. I also had a small pot of lobster bisque.

A sign on the path showed a stack of rocks encircled in red and crossed out, with an admonition to keep nature wild. I liked this, and it stood in strong contrast to the west coast. I reasoned this coastline looks better without the whimsy of hippie impulses.

Another decidedly east coast thing is asking women with long hair to wear swim bonnets. I’ve only seen this in Europe and New England. A few years back I tried to think of a swim bonnet that would actually fit my head and hair. I’m actually a terrible inventor. My mind rarely strays from the known when I’m trying to invent something new, and I don’t get far.

Well it turns out that black women have a similar problem, and they’ve already invented very cute swim bonnets that fit lots of hair. So I’ll have to purchase one since the east coast will certainly be my home for at least 1.5 more years of waived homeowner capital gains, and I’m likely to go swimming again in that time!

The first and only weekend I’ve left my child for multiple days is when she “decided” she didn’t need her G-Tube anymore. More accurately, the balloon burst in her stomach and popped out when dad went to do the daily cleaning of the site. We opted to leave it out, as it would have even removed by a nurse in a couple weeks anyway. But she has a history of popping her sacs and coming out early! I offered to come home early but dad says they’re okay.

So I’m enjoying blueberry pancakes across the street from the Ogunquit drag club. I find myself wondering if they have a Sunday drag brunch, if it will still be held, and, had I known, I would have showed up in solidarity. Instead I share memes of the defaced Focus on the Family sign, and admonish my family members again for judging and not embracing LGBTQ+ folks—little good an admonishment does, except make people uncomfortable and defensive.


I went back into the house about 4 times to grab things I had missed. On one trip in, daddy had the baby on his lap, and along with grandma they were watching a YouTube video of a couple guys with leaf blowers blowing leaves.

I apologized to the baby and told her I’d make it up to her when I got back.

My first stop was for a chai latte for the drive. My second stop was in Maine, at a homey-looking roadside thrift store. They were having a half-off sale, presumably for Black Friday. A platter of small powdered donuts and apple cider greeted patrons in the entryway. I picked up several items: a couple large necklaces, an infinity scarf, a vertical landscape painting of birch, fir trees, and a distant mountain, a banana holder for the kitchen, corn holders, a poinsettia table runner, an old woven basket for the guest room, and a couple washable bus and car toys for the baby. I helped myself to a donut on the way out.

This visit has me thinking we should do a lower-carbon Christmas by gifting mostly second-hand items. I’ll propose it and see if the family will go along!

There are so many cute shops and businesses along the way to my destination—antique stores, restaurants, flower shops, gift shops, chocolate and ice cream stores. It’s definitely very “Christina,” which is a good omen for this Christina weekend getaway.

I may add to this post later. Settling in to my AirBnb and doing my first vacation breast pump, as the sun is starting to set going on 4:00 p.m.

24. Me time

I scheduled some time away

So French of me

Just me, my breast pump, and my swimming suits

Near the beach in Maine

Me a few weeks ago

Thought I could use a recovery period this year

To sleep, swim, read, and relax

Me yesterday was sad at the thought of leaving my baby girl for 4 days

Sometimes after 4 hours with the nanny downstairs

I regret it and miss her

And wonder what I’ve missed, and what she’s missed

Rarely thinking of what she’s gained

And what I’ve gained

Me today, straining to relax my upper back

Fighting back weary tears

After cooking all afternoon

A thanksgiving feast

And carrying around a fussy baby

Thinks maybe me a few weeks ago was wise

22. Grow or Bust

After the 4th or 5th month is when you’ll know if your marriage will survive, the electrician said,

Once he learned we were new parents

It’s that hard…we agreed.

A news team was asking for proudest family moments this year

How could I say

Our prized achievement was weaning our daughter off her G-Tube

Long before anyone expected it to happen

Completely on our own

Against the direction of the best pediatric hospital in the country


If you fail at this endeavor,

Your doctors can have your child removed from your home

It seems our litigious system has made medicine too conservative

–Abusive even–

And instinctual parenting risky

“We don’t often see success”

They told us, when she succeeded.


I woke up with a cotton mouth

She must have too

I had a bloody nose today

23% relative humidity

I retrieved the humidifier from the attic, but haven’t filled it yet

It needs a new filter

So I stopped my pumping and raced back into the room, bottles of milk still suctioned to me

And I held her high and tried to kiss her discomfort away through her big soft cheeks

When that didn’t work, I used one hand to remove my milks and pour her a small bottle

20. More Earthling than Ever

If having a child was supposed to convince me of the uniqueness of humanity

it has not

Rather I feel more Earthling than ever,

as much human as feline, the first animal i observed birthing and mothering, in her cardboard box

As much human as the robins who would nest in our bushes

Beautiful blue eggs; featherless, frail dependents

As much human as every other creature who brings new life through their bodies, feeds, protects, and teaches their young

Except we build these sterile structures, and choose when to birth and with whom

I remember going off birth control

hoping I would smell a good mate


16. Keep Writing

Aren’t we lucky?

She screams in the backseat for an hour although I’ve done all I can

When they fantasized:

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!”

Were they thinking of raising children? Could they even have imagined it? Because nothing has already left me so thoroughly used up.

Today I was brought back to an old relationship that often left me wondering why I stayed through the suffering of it. I kept looking for the teachings in it. Surely it was forging me into a better person, I believed.

I wish to experience this life fully. It’s guided my risks always. I err on the side of used up. I asked for this experience.

I did hatha yoga this morning. I barely got through 3 long sun salutations. My thoracic screaming in the backseat, so much holding of a new weight.

A painful child’s pose, forward bend, even mountain pose. I breathed and softened, restoring enough balance to do it all over again today.

The next challenge: Single mom for a few days.

Aren’t we lucky? Aren’t we lucky? Aren’t we lucky?

15. Evangelist

Do you go into the unfriendly places?

Do you go out of your way to show others the path that worked for you?

Have you changed?

Who helped you?

Do you go where nobody knows your name?

What would those spaces be like if you did?

“Remember that God was there before you arrived”

Are you propelled by fear or by love?

How much of your love is cooked in fear?

Does the world need to change?

What is your vision?

14. Not all the things

I didn’t get a chance to exercise today. I guess I thought I’d do it in the evening, but I’m going to bed earlier now, which doesn’t leave room between dinner and bed. I’ve got to get better at the logistics of a fully scheduled life. I need to lose 60-80 pounds, so I can’t afford to have more days where I haven’t found the time/energy.

Veterans Day just passed. I want to tell parents “thank you for your service.” I’ve had barely 15.5 months of parenthood, and I’m worn out. Some days aren’t like this. Some days feel good and not so draining. It’s more the mix of obligations that gets me down, I think. I’m not sure.

11. Shifting Perspective

I’ve missed a few days of blogging in this month that I’ve committed to posting daily, but I’ve already had more posts this month than each of the years since 2019, so this is actually a big win.

Sometimes winning doesn’t look like textbook winning.

I always knew I wanted a family of my own, but I never could imagine it in detail. And perhaps it’s best I didn’t. My life was too chaotic for me to conjure up a realistic image of my future. The “what do you want in 5 years” question always stung for me. Most of my life, I wasn’t even in one geographical location for 5 years, much less doing the same thing or even a successional thing.

Most of my life, I wasn’t partnered in such a way that I could easily see a family life.

So now I’m finally doing the thing I vaguely wanted, and it looks nothing like the family life I’ve known in the past, so it’s unsettling. I guess the familiar part is starting a family where we do not have other blood relatives. Not having a ton of cousins her age to play with on holidays is unfamiliar. Also unfamiliar is having invited my mother-in-law to move in for the first year of N’s life. Also unfamiliar is being a working mother (my mother never worked). Also unfamiliar is having a part time nanny. Pumping my milk rather than breastfeeding. Having a nice home in a nice neighborhood. Some of these unfamiliar things are great!

It’s enough unknown to feel brave, hard, and adventurous, which I suppose is the ultimate an Aries can ask for in a life.