Category Archives: AutoBio

Rowan Reilly Mitchell

newborn baby boy

We had another baby.

Rowan Reilly Mitchell was born on February 2, 2016 at 12:23 pm. Like the day of his sister’s birth, this Tuesday was a minor “holiday”, unseasonably warm and a day before the due date. Unlike that experience, this one was relatively calm and quick, with labor only lasting about 15 hours altogether.

According to legend, the Celts organized their year according to trees. The period of late January to mid-February centers on the Rowan tree, and the strong wood and red berries figure into several other ancient mythologies. Just as does the name Iris (which has meanings within botany, Greek mythology and explanations of human evolution), Rowan comes with a colorful richness of which we didn’t even know when we simply liked the sound of the name.

Our new wee one carries it well, especially as his ruddy complexion heightens during his little fits of rage (having one’s diaper changed is apparently a maddening experience).

So, once again, I go on official hiatus. Enjoy the rest of your winter, and sail easily into Spring!

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Filed under AutoBio, Of Family and Children

I Sang with Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney seated pink piano

I did! Me and 19,999 other concert goers.

This was a huge thing to cross off my bucket list. I’ve been a fan for decades, and credit much of my life’s soundtrack to the Beatles and their various offshoots. For years, I’ve been bound and determined to see at least one former Beatle while he or he is still making appearances.

Several weeks and a chunk of cash after I heard Paul McCartney was going to be in Detroit, the husband and I sat in our side view seats, sharing pizza and waiting for the show to begin. We weren’t sure what to expect from the 73 year old musician, and I’m happy to say we were delighted. For three hours straight, Paul played and sang and moved non-stop. Then he did two encores. He gave the crowd what they wanted, talked about his new wife and creative endeavors, and owned his success. Perfection.

It’s like he’s been doing this for a few years or something… And I’m not the only one who was impressed.

Sometimes, it’s worth it to spend a little more than you should, and do something that would make your younger self ecstatic and proud. You’ll never regret it.

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Anniversary X

man woman weddingWell, there went July.

And there went 10 years… In the best of ways, of course.

Today marks 10 years since I married the boy, and I feel as though it was the right move. We’ve always had a lot of good going for us, even in the face of internal and external challenges, and have produced great things: Conversations, dinners and the child Iris, for example.

Looking back, it’s possible that we’ve aged since ages 26 and 24. The world has too.

To those of you who were there, thank you so much for being a part of our day. To those we’ve known before and since, thank you for helping us be who we are as individuals, a couple and parents. It all takes a village.


wedding program text

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TV Show Like a Drug

vampire diaries promo

Whatever. Don’t judge me. I’m doing enough of that myself…

I have a confession to make.

I just finished watching the first six seasons of ‘The Vampire Diaries’. And I loved it.

Like, I loooooooved it.

Please know that it’s taken me months to share this with anyone outside of a small, sacred circle of trust. Out of respect for all of us, I kept this guilty pleasure pretty much to myself. Now that the show, and my relationship with it, is at a crossroads, I have to come clean.

I was raised on Anne Rice. Vampires are meant to be badass and kind of awful. I read the first Twilight book and saw the first movie only so I could talk smack appropriately and with supporting evidence. For the record, those vampires suck (or, at least, were not done the justice of decent context). True Blood? Better, but the whole human-girl-torn-between-supernatural-hotties just seemed a bit played out. Of course, I hadn’t met the Mikaelsons and Salvatores…

Following an October trip to New Orleans last fall, one of my traveling companions (who knows me better than just about anyone) mentioned a show called ‘The Originals’ that takes place in NOLA and features lots of great settings in the city. Centered on the Mikaelson siblings, it tells the story of the world’s first vampires. It was on Netflix, and I figured a little vampire-based guilty pleasure wouldn’t hurt. In fact, I needed the distraction. It was just about New Orleans, right? If only I’d have known…

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An Exercise in Human Disarray

old comic disarray

Humans be messy, yo.

My natural inclination is to welcome any guest into a clean and nice smelling house, preferably with warm lighting and occasion-appropriate music.

This isn’t because my guests (bless them) demand perfection, or because I believe in some outdated standard of domestic presentation. It’s because A) My house is small and always a work-in-progress, and tidy sanitation at least subdues the… let’s say character, B) I function and relax better in a mostly ordered atmosphere, and C) Guests are great motivation for those necessary (but too rarely done) tasks like cleaning the sink/toilet and sweeping the floors.

Switching gears. Over the past several years, I’ve made efforts toward being comfortable with myself. This means everything from diet and exercise for health to reading things that inspire me to joining groups and classes on my own. Wow – I sound like a 30-something…

Part of this is allowing my human “flaws” to show. Think, leaving the house without makeup, and not just to run to the store, but to a casual restaurant. Or, letting someone through the front door even though a dining room chair is falling apart and the kitchen smells like bad shrimp.

Over the weekend, we had lunch with some out-of-town friends who also have a two year-old. As their daughter would be spending the afternoon in her car seat, we realized the best thing was for us to hang out at the house. If said friends are reading this, it was lovely as always, and we are so SO glad we got to see you. Also, thank you for staying, despite the cobwebs and unfinished bathroom walls.

Now, again, I realize no one (at least, not the awesome, real people we call friends) expects our house to look magazine shoot ready. Still, like I said, it’s just easier for me to relax when I know the bottom of the porcelain sink is white (not scum and tea-stained brown) and yesterday’s oatmeal is wiped from Iris’ play stove.

Like the house, I am also a perpetual work-in-progress.

I am learning to draw a line when it comes to preparing for house guests. I am learning that, sometimes, seeing me in my natural(ish) habitat might actually put visitors more at ease than would a sparkling, new counter and perfectly fluffed bathroom rug. Nourish the body, mind and connection, and feel the aesthetics fade into the background.

Disarray is part of being human. The fun is finding the calm at the heart of this wild existence. It’s where the good stuff happens.

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Not a Resolution

‘Winter Blue’ by SheepoftheShepherd

I’m not one for labels or resolutions. Something about the absolutist attitude just makes me uncomfortable.

However, one year ago, I was resolute. I intended to waste less time on Facebook, and have been somewhat successful. I also had a sense of reconnecting with an earlier self, which I’ve done in other ways throughout the year.

Today, I’m trying to clean a somewhat smudgy slate. In addition to holiday indulgence, and a shameful lack of exercise, I’ve dealt with the erratic undercurrent of my personal anxieties. It’s possible that the aforementioned behavior contributed to the latter. It’s also possible that my almost-three-year-old is in a “mummy’s-girl” phase, and would prefer for me to play the fire engine or mama cat in her ongoing sagas, rather than squeeze in 20 minutes of yoga.

Work, I’m happy to say, is still going quite well. Better, I’ve settled some things in the creative department that allow me to at least feel like I sometimes write for myself.

I did not manage a 5K.

I eat too much sugar.

I look at screens more than I ought.

I have a punch card for a yoga class.

I learned to bake a pie from scratch.

I kept up with my paper magazines.

I didn’t dance enough with my child.

I fell victim to vodka’s siren call.

I celebrated the Winter Solstice beautifully.

I taught my daughter the names of several vegetables.

Significantly, I reached the age my mother was when she gave birth to me.

Pickle soup.

Four year olds.

Pained wrists.

New Orleans…

It’s a balance, and an ongoing evolution into ourselves. I try not to keep score against myself, and instead see this whole ordeal as a movement toward a mindset that suits me, and puts good out into the world.

From a headspace that is half nestled in blue winter, and half running through the French Quarter, I greet 2015. No resolutions, but resolute to move forward.

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Filed under AutoBio, Health


arm muscles drawing

When arms are tired and achy


lifting to love the growing babe,

typing to make the money,

stirring and rolling to make the food,

pushing to hold the yoga pose and

tensing to hold the stress,

be glad you have them because some women don’t.

Be glad the only arms that concern you (at home, today) are your own

of flesh, blood and tissue,

and not those that kill children of all ages and races.

At approximately six percent of your body weight each,

your arms make life lighter.

If only we could hug them both at once.

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Backwards Time Birthday

spacetime birthday cakeIt’s my birthday, and I’m now months short of the age my mother was at my birth in 1980.

This has been a year in which I’ve reconnected with earlier versions of myself, and I dig it.

Also to be dug is this article on the Backwards Time Mirror Universe. It’s about a “parallel” universe where we’d perceive time to run backward. It’s a little over my head, but so awesome, and fitting, considering the statement of the last paragraph.

Oh, and I’m going to my first real hair appointment in four years (to the day). This is very exciting. If the snow keeps holding off and the sun peeks out for even a few minutes, it’ll be another great December 10.

Happy Wednesday!

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Shift and Disrupt

woman walking dress sand sky

I have a disruption at my core, a gnawing sense that a shift is coming soon. I see a daily news feed full of civilian protest and police retaliation, while genuinely feeling the loss of a man I never met. I know now that my innocence was always fleeting, when a world of cartoon bats and grown-up Peter Pans is replaced by an inability to ignore rampant sexism, violence against black youth and the horrific invasion of fast food and obesity.

Some days I look over the ocean with an ignorant romanticism that says the Mother Land is better. Galway, Amsterdam and Malta whisper, then sing a siren’s song of ancient unity and forward-thinking innovation. They promise eternal life with unquestioned access to health care, better food and breathable air. I return to the task at hand, and remind myself that the antique couch and 10 year-old cat would never make the trip. My defiance against a time-sucking social network and all the drivel upon it is overshadowed by the desire to know what my friends are doing, and I wonder if I could ever really leave them for good.

My generation saw many careers nipped in the bud; parental retirements and travel plans obliterated in the face of a market that doesn’t cut it and doesn’t care. All the while the subsidized meat, sugar and cheese take their toll on the fading youthful vigor. Then we’re told to love these unhealthy bodies by a gimmicky “rebel” media that cares even less about the poor, sick and aged.

Salads and chocolate… a constant balancing game. I have to do something worthwhile with all of this “being alive” business.

We who feel plagued by information and platforms might also feel responsible. Responsible because, what would we have done in the shoes of another? I could have been that greedy Wall Street banker, that scared cop with a sweaty finger too hot on the trigger, that 1970s mom feeding her kids bologna every day… if only I’d been born other than myself. Responsible to speak out because I am not the banker, the cop or the 1970s mom, and really, truly do care. But no one wants to hear it, no one wants to feel like they’re being judged or their politics challenged. Can I blame them? Would I want that from the vantage point of their shoes?

There are days when I’m convinced we’re on the cusp of revolution, and days when I relax into the way things have “always been and always will be.” Then I remember that it really doesn’t matter either way, as my existence – and ours as a species – is a blip on the cosmic calendar. I’ve found a certain comfort in the fact that I’m a living collection of star stuff, and that my atoms will someday contribute to yet unfathomable lifeforms and structures.

The shift is already happening, and I know I’ve caused some disruption. I could go on and on about what disrupts me, and the shift for which I so constantly long. But you have your own business of being alive… look for shoes further walked than mine.

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Beck & GOASTT Blow My Mind

The GOASTT Midnight Sun CD

Yeah, I bought a CD. Whatever.

First things first – it’s my husband’s 35th birthday today. I am so honored to have spent 15 years with this man, and look forward to many more. Happy Birthday, my love!

So, I’ve been hyping his gift for weeks now. I bought the tickets on May 9, but tried to forget about them until this past week. We’re both Beck fans, though he might have the edge over me a bit. Either way, I started getting periodic anticipatory mind spasms around Thursday, and was positively giddy by Saturday morning.

Little did I know I was also in for a surprise. A big one. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned my devotion to all things Beatle on this blog. I got hooked when the anthology came out in 1995 and never looked back. That fandom led me to explore artists connected to the Beatles, including wives and children. Of all of them, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon have certainly made the most impact. I requested Sean’s album Into the Sun for Christmas 1998, became mildly obsessed with Friendly Fire a decade later and am just discovering how much I love his collaboration with girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, The Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger (GOASTT).

Just after 8pm on Saturday, we were settled into our orchestra seats with our beers and our excitement. Figures took the stage, and I noticed one wore a distinctive wide brimmed hat. The lights came up, and I died, because the face and voice beneath the hat were unmistakable. Lennon announced The GOASTT, and the band went right into a psychedelic soundscape that defied any warm blooded individual to sit still.

I was exhausted by the end of the set, still in disbelief that I’d just seen an artist I’ve always found to be not only highly talented, but able to take on new forms and styles with astounding, surreal ease. I admit that I was also swooning over the fact that I’d seen my favorite Beatle’s son. I really can’t begin to describe the experience with any accuracy.

Beck, of course, was like a second wave of disbelief and mindgasm. The 13 year-old me seeing Loser for the first time on MTV would never have believed I’d be seeing him live 20 years later. He looks exactly the same.

It’s rare for us to get to a show, let alone a performance on this scale. If there was any shred of guilt over what I spent on the tickets, it’s long, long gone.

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