Chaos Math, Implicate Order, and Driving Lessons

Cait is of the age where it’s time for me to teach her how to drive. For as exhilarating as she finds her lessons, that’s how nerve-racking I find them. So when we get in the car for another lesson, I take comfort in the way she falls back into our usual “long drives” routine.

She starts with her customary opening line, “So what should we talk about, Mom?”

As Cait has a tendency to drive a little too close to the shoulder of the road, I say, “We should talk about how you should stop listing to the right and stay in the center of your lane!”

Cait makes the correction and says, “So Mom, me and […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:33-04:00October 23rd, 2011|.Cait and Me, .My Favorites, Life|4 Comments

Painting the Air

This one’s for my dad, who died twelve years ago.

There’s an expression: “You can’t paint the air.”

It means nobody can do the impossible. I think my grandfather might have made it up. I’ve never come across it anywhere else, so I’ll give him credit for it. He was a painter by trade, and was known to say this often to his son, my father. As a first generation immigrant of Irish and English heritage, shaped by the Depression, he’d trot out the line whenever he thought my dad was getting uppity ideas about life. Nope, life was hard, you worked hard, you drank hard, and then you died. At least in my grandfather’s version.

My father would prove his father wrong […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:40-04:00July 25th, 2009|.My Favorites, Life|15 Comments

Running for the Train

Cait, knowing we had a long drive ahead, led with her standard question as soon as we pulled out of the driveway, “So, Mom, what should we talk about?”

Feeling more than a little frazzled and grumpy from a ridiculously hectic morning, I said, “Give me a minute.”

I concentrated on unfurrowing my brow, loosening my grip on the steering wheel, and taking a couple of deep breaths.

“Okay,” I said, looking over at Cait. “Now, what was it you wanted to talk about?”

“I want to know how you’re able to do that,” Cait said.

“Do what?” I said.

“Change your mood that fast? I mean, just a minute ago, you were a […]

By |2020-07-25T14:19:55-04:00November 30th, 2008|.Cait and Me, .My Favorites|13 Comments

On the Cusp

I’m beginning to get whiplash as I watch my daughter speed past on her way into teenage-dom. Before too long, she’ll be thirteen. And she can’t get there fast enough.

I am almost daily reminded of this in one way or another now. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this realization often comes with a twinge of sadness for the little girl I’m losing.

As all teenagers are, she’s become quite concerned with looks and what other people might think. In that regard, having me for a mother isn’t always easy. Witness this morning’s exchange:

“Mom, you’re going to change out of those clothes before we go to the store, right?” Cait said, assessing my attire.

“What? You don’t like my […]

By |2016-10-24T09:56:42-04:00September 28th, 2008|.Cait and Me, .My Favorites, Life|12 Comments

Of Brick Walls and Petty Tyrants

She launched in, “Mom, she’s incoherent when she’s giving directions. Nobody understands her!”

I didn’t even have to ask who she was talking about. Knowing the litany, I joined in on the next refrain, “She won’t even answer questions when you ask for help!” We finished in unison.

Cait did not find me amusing.

“Don’t you care?!” she glared at me.

“Come on, let’s go for a walk and I’ll explain something to you.” Cait grabbed a snack, I grabbed Kiera, and […]

By |2018-09-03T22:18:36-04:00November 7th, 2007|.Cait and Me, .My Favorites|44 Comments

The Happy Box

“Mom I can’t get to sleep,” Cait yells from her bedroom. She’s been in bed for almost an hour.

“What’s the problem?” I yell back from my study.

“I’m having bad thoughts. I’m worried I’m going to have a nightmare.”

Since birth, my daughter has been inordinately sensitive to her environment. She takes things in that others hardly notice. The upside is that she’s very compassionate and caring. The downside is that any images, especially from TV, that are at all uncomfortable, worrisome, or violent, have an outsized impact. To save her from herself, we’ve offered her a list of “safe” shows that she knows she can enjoy.



“I’ve got a confession to make.”

“Let me guess,” I say as I walk into her darkened […]

By |2018-05-15T20:01:34-04:00July 31st, 2007|.Cait and Me, .My Favorites|17 Comments