Some of my favorite Anyaisms

(Sorry if you got this by email last month..scheduling snafu.) I am participating in CampNaNoWriMo this month, because I feel really good about the book I’m working on and want to make some serious headway. That means less blogging time, though, so I’ve put together some filler Wednesday posts.

So yes, this post is kind of cheating. But these are also too good not to share.


Anya: When I grow up, I want to be a lifeguard, an art teacher, and an English teacher.
Me: I thought you liked math better. Why not be a math teacher?
A: I want people to like me.

Anya: I sorry I got sick on your birthday.
Me: Oh, baby, that’s not your fault.
A: You can still bake your cake. I promise I won’t eat any!
M: But I want to wait until you can have some, too.
A: Can I still sing happy birthday to you?

This kid is the best present ever.

Anya: You got your phone. Look on the Google!

Anya (pointing to a flyer from her school): What’s that?
Me: It’s information about a summer camp. You take care of a sheep for a week.
Anya: Um…that is REALLY not my thing.
Me (fistbumps her): I knew my genes were in there somewhere.

Anya: Do you want to be a grandmother?
Me: Yep!
A: Do you want 3 grandbabies or 4?
M: As many as you want.
A: 100?
M: I think you might get tired after 5, but sure.
A: That is a lot. How about 10?

Anya: Did I eat enough apple?
Me: For what?
A: To get gummies.
M: No gummies for breakfast.
A: But I ate an apple!
M: Good! You ate food! You won’t die!
A (stomping off): I WILL die!

Today is Anya’s snack day, which means she has to bring 22 snacks and juice boxes to school.

M: You got all that?
A: Don’t worry. I’ll ask for help.
M (flabbergasted): You could do that. I never think to ask for help.
A: Why?
M: I dunno. Character flaw?
A: Well, you should.

Anya: My shirt has no pockets!
Me: Does it need one?
A: Yes!
M: Your pants have pockets.
A: Tiny ones. They only fit my fingers.
M: Do you need more room than that?
A: YES! I need room for 100 things!

Anya: Wow…what happened to all the cookies? You have a bad day?

I have no secrets from this child.

Anya: One day you want to grow wheat so we can make our own bread?

I have yet to successfully grow a serving of green beans. I love her faith in me.

Anya: Okay, Google, why is my dad so denoying? (She later asked Google why her brother is so denoying. If I’m denoying, she has at least had the good taste to ask Google when I’m out of earshot.)

Anya this morning: Why I gotta go to school every day? Why is everything so early? I only like recess and lunch; why I gotta stay all day? Why the sun so bright at me?

The Mondays have nothing on this kid’s Thursday.

Kai: (starts the Tinker Bell musical snow globe for the 50th time in 12 hours)
Anya: (turns it off) I love you to death, but no more.
The circle of life.

Anya: I have three eggs in my tummy, so I will have three babies. They will be Julianna, Milly-of-the-Valley, and Ben Connor.
Me: You have way more than three eggs.
A: But three kids is all I can handle.

Made Mom marble pound cake for her birthday. Anya took a bite and made a face. “That not cake! Cake have frosting! That bread!”

Anya: I tell you a secret.

A: *whispers* Monday is stupid.

A: What that show you saw as a kid? He had that hair, and walked around in him underwear?
M: …He-Man?
A: Yeah!

Kesha: Brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack…
Anya: What?! That isn’t healthy!

Anya: You my favorite mommy.
Me: I am your only mommy.
A: Every time I see you, I never want to let you go.
M: šŸ˜šŸ˜­šŸ˜




My mini Maui

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the 1980s. From my earliest memories, musicians had long hair and wore clothes that left extremely little to the imagination — some opting for neon spandex that showed every bodily curve, while others (I’m looking at you, Diamond Dave) chose clothes that left huge tracts of skin exposed. Many of them also wore makeup, from Dee Snider’s warpaint to the pretty looks of guys like Bret Michaels and Bobby Dall. But these men were, of course, the extreme; everyday men didn’t dress like that. They did, however, perm and blow-dry their hair, use styling products, tan, and dress in crisp, preppy pastels. They wore loafers with no socks, and huaraches. They showed cleavage. They danced in a manner that did not risk bloodying the noses of anyone within arms reach — it required skill and grace. (Skill and grace, I admit, that I never had.)

What I’m saying is that it was normal during my formative years for men to look and act and be softer, more feminine. Not that it wasn’t a novelty. Screwball comedies were written about it: Mr. Mom. Three Men and a Baby. Still, nobody was stoning these guys. Nobody revoked their man cards. Don Johnson wore as much pink and white as my teenaged self did without being accused of being gay. Patrick Swayze played a bouncer who kills a man with his bare hands while sporting a fluffier hairdo than I’ve ever had, and nobody batted an eye.

My high school boyfriend had longer hair than I did, and a penchant for painting the fingernails on his left hand black. My husband also has long hair, and has been just as hands-on with the kids as I am. Looking back across the list of my former partners, there haven’t been many he-man testosterone junkies. That’s not how I define masculinity. And it’s not a quality I find attractive in any man. Am I a product of my time? Perhaps.

And perhaps that’s why I don’t get all bent out of shape when my son wants to wear makeup or nail polish, when he asks for dolls, when he wants to dress up in pink frilly costumes and wear his sister’s tiaras. What harm?

I know when he gets older, he will likely be mocked. Or worse. I do worry about him feeling the need to indulge these interests in secret. Feeling ashamed for them. I rage against these as-yet unrealized threats, seething at the cesspool of toxic masculinity they represent. What the hell do you care what color his toenails are? I fume.

I watched him watch his sister’s dance class and saw how left out he felt. I saw the joy on his face when they invited him to dance with him. How carefully he pirouetted. How he proudly sported the “twinkle dust” the teacher brushed on his collar bone and hands after class. And then I looked at the wall of dancer headshots — almost every single one of them female. It’s okay for him to dance now, but in two years? Ten years? Will he be brave enough to openly love dance still? Because they’ll mock him then. That’s why so few boys are on that headshot wall; not many boys are brave enough to say “to hell with you; I love this, and I’m doing it.” Without the mocking, what would the plot of Billy Elliot have been? What would the punchline be of characters like Phil Dunphy and Greg House being cheerleaders in college?Ā And Anya’s dance class is very girly. Pink and purple and glittery, with princess-themed dances and curtsies. Dance is for girls. Everyone knows that.

But in Moana — the theme of the next camp — the men dance too. Everyone dances. “Not a guy/girl thing,” as Maui says. So after checking with the teacher (who assured me he’d love it), I signed him up for a dance camp of his own. He hasn’t stopped talking about it since. “Kai dance like Maui!” he says. He is so excited to learn how to dance. And I’m excited for him.

I consider it part of my job as his mother to give him and his sister both the tools to deal with this sort of negativity, so when it comes up they’ll be able to constructively deal with it and move on, rather than feeling guilt and shame and going underground — or worse, giving up what they love. Because there is nothing to be ashamed of in loving pink glittery things, in wanting to feel pretty, in practicing being a nurturing father, in dancing, any more than there is in my daughter adoring all things Gothic or digging science or doing math for fun. I will tell my son what I tell my daughter: that I love him for who he is, and that I want him to feel safe enough to express himself and his interests no matter what they are. That I am proud of him, just as he is. That the only thing that would cause me to be disappointed in him is if he turned his back on who he really is to emulate the bullies, if he became a bully himself. So long as he stays true to himself, and treats others with love and respect, I don’t care if he paints his toenails. I’ll supply the polish.

Heck, at the rate I’m going, the day’s going to come when I can’t paint my own toenails. Maybe he’ll be nice enough to help me out in that area.

Adventures great and small

My kids are at that super-picky stage. They don’t want to taste new foods, go new places…heck, sometimes I have a hard time getting Kai to wear new clothes. (Or maybe that’s just clothes in general. He is 3.)

If I am to be completely honest, I’m not crazy about trying new things myself. I do like the sense of adventure it gives me, true. But I’m too much of a control freak to truly enjoy the sensation of doing something completely novel. Even trying a new restaurant can be nerve-wracking to me.

But as I get older, my tally of bad new experiences and good new experiences has swung more heavily to the good side. So I’m trying to incorporate some novelty into our lives. Big and small. Here are some of our latest adventures.

  1. My daughter, the lifelong vegetarian, would never try my veggie burgers. Even though I told her how tasty they were. Finally, she consented to let me get her one at Freddy’s — to split with her brother. She ended up eating the whole thing. And dragging my parents back there a few days later for another. Now everywhere she goes, she wants a veggie burger.
    Final score: YUMMY
  2. We haven’t had so much luck with the store-bought veggie burgers, though. I’ve made two brands for her, and she hated both. (I thought they were tasty.) I believe she is just afraid she might be eating something gross, so much so that she’s not even actually tasting the food before she declares it horrid. Anyway, I’m not giving up yet. There are dozens of brands of veggie burgers available locally, and tons more recipes out there for homemade ones. I will sell her on these things yet.
    Final score: TOO SOON TO TELL
  3. We bought a small pineapple at the grocery store. It claimed to be extra sweet, which is an automatic win in Anya’s book. None of us care for canned pineapple, but I’ve learned that just because I don’t like a food in one form doesn’t mean I won’t like it in any form. For instance, I thought I hated cauliflower, because the only way my mom ever served it was raw. Turns out I just hate raw cauliflower; cooked cauliflower is my jam. (And my mom hates it cooked. Go figure.) So I spent the better part of a half hour cutting the pineapple into rings (and discovering along the way that pineapple juice is quite acidic…ow) only to learn that none of us like fresh pineapple either. So we gave the pineapple to my mom, who adores it.
    Final score: NO, THANK YOU
  4. Anya’s been in this mindset that to make friends outside of school, she has to play sports. But she didn’t really seem to enjoy softball at all, so I’m signing her up for a variety of other activities. She attended a nature camp at a local preserve and came home each day brimming over with stories and begging to go to more camps there. She also took dance lessons, which she also loved, though I don’t think they were quite as fun as the nature camp.
    Final score: AMAZING
  5. Kai begged to go to t-ball like his sister, but became overwhelmed by the crowd at the ball field and retreated to the car in tears. A few days later, he decided to give it another shot. He seems to like the game, but not the heat. And he’s not the only kid who finds playing with a bunch of strangers intimidating; one little boy spent the whole game in his mother’s arms. So…we’ll see how the coming weeks go.
    Final score: SCARY
  6. At the same time we bought the pineapple, we bought a coconut. The next day, I stumbled across this video of 50 people trying to crack a coconut. And stuck around to watch 50 people trying to cut various other foods. It sounds lame, but I found it highly amusing — and educational. And the lessons learned taught me how to get into my own coconut with only one small flesh wound. I made an absolutely scrumptious coconut pie and coconut bread from the meat (even the kids ate some!), and am ready to buy another. Fresh coconut rules.
    Final score: DELICIOUS
  7. Anya has been chomping at the bit to try a dragon fruit ever since she saw a YouTube video about them. We just so happened to stumble across one at the store the other day, so we picked it up. After Google taught us how to get into it, we cut it up and tasted it. It was…not sweet. Further Googling informed us that there are actually several kinds of dragon fruit. The YouTubers ate a sweet one. We bought the other kind. Next up: Trying to figure out how to know what kind you’re buying before you cut it open.
    Final score: SOUR
  8. Anya’s been begging for swimming lessons for years now. The original plan was to have her father, who has had lifeguard training, teach her; however, his work schedule barely allows for days off, let alone family trips to the pool. And the kids are starting to be invited to pool parties, so I really want them to learn to swim. (I can keep myself from drowning, but that’s the extent of my aquatic abilities.) So I’ve signed the kids up for swimming lessons — Anya in June and Kai in July. Anya was excited until she learned that a) I would not be allowed to attend and b) she can’t wear her floaties. Then she was just nervous. But she did amazing — the teacher complimented her on how quickly she took to the water, and the day she completed her first class she begged to attend another. The day after her class ended, she attended a pool party; while she did wear a floaty (I was on my own with both kids, and I needed to feel safe turning my back on her), she swam and floated and splashed and showed just how much she’d learned in that one week.
    Final score: SWIMMY

So it’s been hit and miss, these adventures. But mostly hits. I’m currently plotting the next round of novel experiences.

Social anxiety by proxy: The introverted mother

As long as she has been able to string two words together, my daughter has had a gift for small talk.

“I Anya,” my three-year-old would say to some random stranger in Target. “My Mimi. My mommy,” she’d continue, pointing to my mother and me. “My baby,” she’d say, pointing to my pregnant belly. She would then ask the other person’s name, and the names of their children, and go on to discuss their clothes, accessories, kids, and the contents of both our carts until her new friend excused him/herself.

All the while, I wished desperately for the floor to swallow me up.Ā I suck at small talk. And talking to strangers. Talking in general is not my strong suit. I prefer to type.

Anya was never very social in her play, but she did crave child companionship from a young age — that’s part of the reason why she has a baby brother in the first place. She’d love for me to have another baby; she and her brother may butt heads, but they’re also very close. And she loves to talk with kids of all ages, whenever, wherever.

“I’m Anya,” she’ll say to some kid at the park, in the toy section of a store, attending whatever kid function we’re at that day. “Want to be my friend?”

She has a harder time pulling off the small talk with kids, who have been indoctrinated with stranger-danger from the time they were in diapers. Some are open and friendly; most, put off by her gregarious nature and her lingering speech issues, are more reticent, and a handful are even cruel. I was relieved to find that her classmates warmed to her; every encounter with a school mate has the two children hugging like they’ve not seen each other in years, even if they’ve only been parted for 30 minutes or so. She also bonded easily and naturally with the girls in her Girl Scout troop, and those on her softball team.

She lets the rebuffs roll off her back; she knows she is loved and has friends. I’m the one who lies awake at night ruminating over them. “She was just trying to be nice to you,” I think. “Why do you have to be so mean to someone so sweet?”

Her baby brother is now three, and is starting to make more overt attempts at socialization. He is constantly handing me this toy or that and inviting me into collaborative play. (Anya never did this, so it’s a new experience for both Kai and I.) And the other day at softball, I watched him approach a group of older girls (older than Anya, even; probably around 8) and try to strike up a conversation.

“I’m sorry,” one of them said to me, a cute little red-haired girl who appeared to be Kai’s favorite. “I don’t speak baby.”

Kai was wounded, I could tell — he’s a big boy, not a baby — but he kept trying. To no avail; not many 8-year-olds are interested in 3-year-olds. But he continued to try to join their conversation until we left.

My children seem so brazen to me. Did I ever have this confidence? The me I remember would have crumpled at the first insult, intended or actual, and slunk away. But perhaps I was more dogged at 3, at 6. Before the rebuffs and insults piled up.

At the mention of a park (preferably not deserted, which is how I remember preferring them — and continue to prefer them), a party, some other kid-friendly activity, they light up. It’s not the location or the activity that excites them — it’s the kids. They love nothing more than to play with other kids. And every time, my heart freezes. Will they be treated kindly? Accepted? Or ridiculed and excluded? How do I guard my heart against the latter, when I still bear the wounds inflicted by my own childhood?

Then again, the other night Kai and I left without even approaching the baseball field where he was to play t-ball, and I think part of it was because he was terrified of all the people there. I saw myself in those tear-filled eyes — at 3, at 23, at 43. And no matter how much I begged him to just try it, reminded him of how much he’d been looking forward to t-ball, and assured him that I would be right there with him the whole time, he would not budge.

Does this ever get easier? For any of us?


When does the hair positivity get here?

I have naturally curly hair. Some days it looks good…


Other days…not.


I live in the Memphis area, so I have a lot of not days. Especially in the summer, which lasts roughly 9 months around here.

I didn’t grow up curly. My hair was curly as a toddler, but it changed to silky straight around preschool. Then somewhere towards puberty, it started waving and frizzing while simultaneously becoming thick and coarse:

Yep. That’s a goat.

I wore it in a ponytail for a few years because I didn’t know what else to do with it. Finally I cut it off. That was a bad idea. Grew it back out, and discovered hot rollers, which at least helped me control the poof. Then I dialed the frizz up to 11 by bleaching the crap out of it for a few years, because it was the 80s and everyone else was doing it:

I do miss the red, but the price is too high.

When I stopped doing that and let it do its own thing, I was stunned to find that it was curly. I don’t mean a little wavy, beachy, whatever. I mean seriously curly. I grew it out, thinking the weight of it would turn the curl to waves. Um, no:

Pulled straight, my hair was down to my tailbone here.

So…it’s curly curly.Ā Over the years I’ve constructed a hair routine that isn’t exactly in line with what’s recommended to curly girls, but works for me: I wash it at night, put some mousse on it, and try not to crush it too bad when I sleep (on satin pillowcases, because tangles). In the morning, I wet any fuzzy sections, then straighten my bangs with a curling iron.


I still have bad hair days, but that’s what buns are for.

I used to straighten my hair (or have my hairdresser straighten it, because she’s better at it) for any and all photographable moments, but in recent years I’ve come to discover that I prefer my hair curly. When it’s straight, I just don’t look like me. So you can keep your flat irons and your blowouts; I might straighten my hair on a whim, but most days I go twirly.

Then today I saw two things that made me sad and horrified. Horrified because…well, just go look at that. Here I thought it was bad when I applied bleach to my head every 4 weeks to be pretty, but jayzus. Sad because I grew up watching people — guys and girls — apply all sorts of chemicals and products to their hair to look good, wondering what they thought was wrong with it in the first place. Then I spent 20 years hating my own hair, at times frying it with various implements up to and including a clothes iron, because I fell victim to the fashion bandwagon. Now the pendulum’s swinging back the other way, and I feel sorry once more for the girls who will douse their head in chemicals to try to look like someone else.

I see a lot of body positivity these days, but we’re still screwing with our hair. Can we stop that, please?

Look. I’ve had straight hair, curly hair, short hair, long hair, red hair, dark brown hair, and salt-and-pepper hair. It all had its good days and bad days. But overall, my hair looks best when I don’t mess with it too much. My mother taught me that; she’s worn her hair the same way since I was 6 months old. It works for her. I think most people are that way — we tend to look best with what we were born with.

You do you, I tell my kids. Nobody can be you as well as you can. That goes for your hair, too.

Talking with my daughter about boys

A couple of years ago, I ran into a high school friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years. Let’s call him Guy. We weren’t really close back in the day — he was my best friend’s boyfriend — and after he went to college we lost touch. We had a nice chat, considering we were at a funeral, and he asked for my cell number so we could keep in touch.

A few months and several conversations later, I was remembering why we’d lost touch: conversations with him always made me uneasy. I was also unnerved by the fact that, though we did end up connecting on Facebook. he would respond to my FB posts in texts. Who does that?Ā People who don’t want a public record of what they’re saying, that’s who.

Still, nothing he said was overtly offensive, so I wondered if I wasn’t misreading his intentions. (Once you’ve been in a relationship with a gaslighter, you forever question your perceptions. But that’s a story for another day.) So while I noped out of there, letting more and more time elapse between texts, I felt bad. Several months later, I felt sufficiently guilty to agree to meet him for lunch while I was out running errands with Anya.

It was a good lunch. We had a great conversation, catching up on the past 20 years, and even took Anya to the park after we ate so we could chat some more. (It takes a while to catch up on two decades, and Panera’s portions are small.) He was going through a divorce, so we commiserated about that. I enjoyed talking to someone my age, someone who knew me when I was young. Anya especially enjoyed interacting with someone who isn’t a relative; she almost never gets to do that.

Shortly after that lunch, Guy accepted a job in another state. We had a goodbye lunch before he left. And this is when I discovered that Guy had created this whole fiction surrounding our high school experience. One in which he and I, had circumstances been just slightly different, might have dated.

I never even thought about dating Guy. Not that he didn’t flirt with me, before, during, and after his relationship with my best friend.Ā That I could deal with, but of course it didn’t stop there. He would do things like start “tickle fights.” Only it didn’t really tickle because he was grabbing and poking at me — hard — and trying to brush up against my boobs. I was too busy defending myself to tickle back, which made the fights pretty damned one-sided. These sessions would always end in him “accidentally” grabbing my crotch. (Yes, he literally grabbed me by the pussy. That’s really a thing.) The worst part was that I felt like I had to laugh, because he was playing. And because he was a nice guy. My friend.

So…yeah, I can’t say I ever entertained the notion of dating him.

His tactics matured a bit in the intervening years, but his end game never changed. At our last lunch, he regaled me with richly detailed stories of events that never happened. I will admit that I don’t rememberĀ everythingĀ from high school, but these stories contradict things I know for certain transpired, and have me doing things that I know damned good and well I never did. Any time I tried to disagree with his narrative, he’d interrupt me with “I’m sorry, but your memory isn’t as good as mine” or something similar. And then, a few statements later, he would try to smooth things over by saying something like “we both know you’re smarter than me.”Ā Which is probably true, but not the point.Ā The point is that I finally caught the pattern as it was happening. This is what my wasband used to do to me.

So I wasn’t exactly sad that Guy was about to move away. I had already agreed to invite him the wedding, but I figured one day, a day in which I would be surrounded by family and friends and thus a bit too busy to deal with him one on one, would be okay. After that, I could go back to radio silence, and hopefully he’d just fade back into the oblivion from whence he came.

A few months later, he sent me a text that set all my alarm bells off:Ā I have a question.

No follow-up. Felt awfully flirty, so I just ignored it for a day or so. Finally, I got tired of it hanging over my head, so I replied:Ā What’s that?

Do you think we would be happy married?

This is what I get for giving people the benefit of the doubt.

It took me a week to formulate an answer, but I did. I told him firmly, and not exactly gently, that the question was inappropriate, that I had never and will never have those sorts of feelings for him, and that under the circumstances, I was no longer comfortable with him attending my wedding. He apologized, but I blocked him anyway. He unfriended me on Facebook.

It took me three more days to screw up the courage to tell R about the whole thing. Even though I’d done nothing wrong. It felt like I’d done something wrong, somehow. And that’s when I knew I was right to uninvite Guy and cut all ties.

That’s the kind of guy who rapes people, R said.

And that was it. I married the good guy. Life went on.

Except Anya didn’t know all of that. All she knew was that she’d had a really good time at the park with Guy, he said he’d come to the wedding, and then he didn’t come to the wedding and she never heard from him again. She asked after him periodically, and I would give her evasive answers — he was busy with his new job, that sort of thing.Ā The other night, she asked about him again, and I just…snapped. Told her the whole story, crotch grabs and all.

That’s mean, she said. But I could tell that, finally, she understood why Guy is no longer in our lives.

I hadn’t meant to tell her all this so soon. But how soon is too soon? I was her age the first time I was molested. I’m starting to think that perpetuating this myth about the idyllic innocence of childhood does more harm than good. So I kept going.

I told her that in a few years, boys might start treating her the way Guy treated me, and that it is not okay, ever. I told her that people tend to pass this sort of obnoxious behavior in males off as normal — admirable, even, a sign of affection. I begged her to tell me if a boy did something that made her feel bad, or sad, or sick. Because not all guys are like that. Her daddy isn’t like that. Her daddy would never, ever treat someone that way.

A week later, in passing, Anya mentioned that W, the little boy she called her boyfriend all through kindergarten, is no longer her boyfriend. D is her boyfriend now. Because W doesn’t care about her, and D does. I’ve seen her with D, and they are adorable. He absolutely cares about her, even letting her hold his arm as they go down stairs.

Was the breakup with W because of our conversation? I’m not sure. But I’m encouraged to see that, at 6, she has a handle on how to tell if a boy cares about her, and the good sense to kick anyone who doesn’t to the curb.

And I will definitely be having this same conversation with her brother in a few years.

I need a vacation from my vacation

We had a busy weekend.

I had a cake birthday. I cleaned the house and decorated the kitchen and made a chocolate cake that was truly something special. My mother said it was the best chocolate cake she’s ever eaten, and asked for some to take home. My mom’s on a basketful of medications for her MAC infection, RA, and heart troubles, and the combination of them all has put her off food. So that is high praise, indeed.

Anya played softball. She didn’t get rained out. She kinda hoped she would, I think. She says she likes softball, but her attitude on the field and in the dugout say otherwise.

We went to the Children’s Museum. We skipped the water park part of it, but did everything else. Including riding the new/old carousel. Kai got to play on some of the big-kid toys, and I let him ride a carousel horse for the first time. Not one that goes up and down, though. He was miffed about that.

I discovered that my claustrophobia, fear of heights, and vertigo are way, way worse than even I suspected. I should pretty much never go to Disney World. Or anywhere else with rides. I still love the fair, and still think back fondly on riding rides, but I’m a wimp now.

We went to the zoo. We saw animals and ate funnel cake and had Icees and played in the fountain. And walked and walked and walked in the hot sun. I was ready for bed when we got home at 6 p.m., and we’d slept in that morning.

Starting the week out on Tuesday messed me up, as it always does. Even more so because I am physically and emotionally worn out from all the activity (okay, and the heat and the pollen). The fact that it’s a busy work week hasn’t helped much. But the week is now already half over, so I only have to put my head down, dig my fingernails in, and hang on.