day 149: cover letter

Dallas and Melissa,

You changed my life three years ago. Melissa, I wrote to you, desperate for a life-long solution to an eating disorder that ravaged me for two years then haunted me for twelve more. With your encouragement, I embarked upon my first Whole30 and became the person I always faked I was; I’m becoming the person I always hoped to be.

Who was I then? I was the star student, the bookworm, the captain of the water polo team, the MVP of the paddling team. I taught myself how to surf. I taught myself Python. I wrote on unlined paper in 10 point font with a 0.5 mechanical pencil and never turned in a problem set with a mistake, a strike-out, or an eraser mark. I earned a scholarship and made my way through college. I was the darling of the physics department, their brightest student. I won a philosophy award for a thesis on quantum mechanics, unprecedented. I traveled to Osaka and Key West and Alaska, measuring nuclear states and wave impacts and sonar, finding results of significant consequence. I was a blown Easter egg: beautiful, delightful, yet so very empty. I could calculate the first excited energy state of the helium atom by hand but I could not bring food to my mouth without also naming myself disgusting, slovenly, a heifer. I could charm Oxford tutors and hockey players alike but my heart lacked a smile. I could not keep my demons at bay; I could only try to keep one step ahead: physically running miles on end until exhaustion, hiding myself in tricky passages of Rachmaninoff through hours of piano practice and burning the midnight oil to lose myself in doctorate-level problems chasing a moment’s respite in that single-minded immersion called “flow.”

Who am I now? I am all of the above, without the “couldn’t”s. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am a person who can take a bite and thank the animal whose life sustains mine, the people with whom I’m sharing my meal, the sun and the plants and the soil and the water and God for being part of that great big circle they sing about in The Lion King. I enjoy running, I enjoy the piano, I enjoy solving problems, but I don’t kill myself to do them and I won’t die if I don’t. I love my body. I am blessed in its health, in its strength, in its motion, and I nurture and tend to these gifts. My soul loves more often than it hates. I sing more often than I am scared. I create; I make.

Why would you like me on your team? During my dark ages, I accumulated a great amount of skill, the most valuable being skill-acquisition itself. Now I do the same but with far more joy. I learn quickly and I learn well. I am meticulous. I blog on WordPress at I’m social in a purposeful way: time-wasting, no; connecting, yes. My Instagram is @snatchingzion, and I pin at Microsoft Office is a piece of cake. I am a voting, concerned, but always proud citizen of the United States of America.

As for “cheese,” soggy pulverized cashews fall under the dairy chapter of the Karma Sutra of Sex With Your Pants On. No, such “cheese” is not Whole-30 compliant. Instead, try cashews, chopped but not destroyed, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkling of sea salt over a big bowl of fresh greens and flank steak. Most things are better when you’re not pretending they’re something else. And the best cheese is stinky.

Very respectfully,



day 148: up late

A “dream job” came up and I applied.

But first, I worked on a workout with A. It was an alley kind of day because seminars were ongoing, so wall balls were the chosen implements of debauchery. We had fun making up the rep scheme and making up the punishments and, because we did 75 thrusters for time today, we made it into one of those workouts that is not as hard as it seems.

day 146: maddy came over

red rover red rover send maddy right over.
it was so nice to be with my sistwer. we made chocolate chip cookies. we sat on the floor. and then last night she nursed me through a lot of tears and a lot of anxiety and a lot of pain, and now I feel okay again.

bean and I went on a trip. our very first trip by ourselves. our very very first without screaming from departure to arrival and then back again.

days 132 – 145: what I remember

Hankster finished his eagle-scout project! (In one day!) We’ve been talking about it since he was 8.

I always give bean the spoons while I’m unloading the dishwasher. He takes them out of the utensil cage and puts them back in, takes them out and puts them back in, takes them out and throws them on the floor. Finished with the dishes, I pulled out some blueberries from the fridge and placed them in a small bowl for him. He looked at the bowl, looked around, looked at the bowl again, looked up at me for a while, the finally, gingerly, picked up a large spoon that was still on the floor and began to the painstaking process of trying to spoon the blueberries one by one. He usually eats blueberries with his fingers, but this was the first time he had a bowl of blueberries (I usually give them to him one by one) and the bowl must have signaled the necessity of a spoon. Not being provided one (he has a very special spoon) he did what he could with what he had available to him. With him, smiles are so easy.

On our anniversary, I was reading in bed next to A and right before he drifted off, (in truth I thought he was already gone,) he kissed me on my elbow.

For the first time in his life, bean let me put him down in the middle of his nap. I stayed with him, but I did things I normally can’t do when I’ve wrapped him or he’s sleeping on me: reading and taking notes, knitting, not sweating…

Bean has a new tooth coming in.

On Memorial Day, A and I did Murph: 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups (ring rows for me), 200 push ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run. We did it an hour apart, but we both finished in 40 minutes and change. Two best parts: first, remembering the soldiers, the sailors, the marines, the coast guard, and the airmen who died for us, for our freedom, for lives which are worth living. Second, remembering the first time I attempted this workout with A, doing it completely wrong (100 of each movement vice the rep scheme shown above,) taking over an hour to do so, and thinking there was no way I’d ever be able to do anything even close. That was three years ago. A came up to me afterward and told me what a great job I did and we smiled at how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. I’ve never felt connected to A at the gym; he’s so personable and so friendly and so outgoing, plus a coach, we always go our separate ways. That moment we had, where he came up to me and smiled at me and spoke with me, I finally felt like I was wanted. I finally felt like I belonged.

We saw a butterfly. bean was on my back and boom was being stubborn and a butterfly flew up from the flowers and all around us before she went on her merry way. bean tracked her flight while she was in sight, a smile of wonder on his sweet face.

day 128: squash

e wanted to play with the baby acorn squash sitting on the counter so I put him on the ground and let him have at it while I loaded the dishwasher. I ended up doing a load of laundry and swifing as well and realized, suddenly, that all was quiet on the western front. I march to the kitchen and there’s boomer, eating the raw acorn squash, breaking the tough skin with her needle-like teeth, and e cozying up next to her taking little bites of his own whenever boom rolled it away. 

day 124: moms’ club

bean, boom and I were on a stroll through the woods when lo and behold we came upon a forest clearing filled with strollers, and babies, and mommas, and bagels and coffee and shrieks and laughter and loud athorotative no-nonsense mom voices.

We sat by the playground and observed, I very openly eavesdropping and bean very joyfully throwing all of the woodchips out of the swing area into the green green grass, sometimes pausing to munch on the mulch by sweetness. Boomer was in a protective mood and howled at three little kids who approached to closely before I could grab her muzzle and embarrassingly shush her.

It occurs to me that I ought to join such a group. Bean seems to find other little ones quite fascinating. I’ll be sure to leave the boom at home.

day 123: radford high

A returned home from coaching and we gathered in the kitchen: windows open, toaster toasting sweet potatoes, and eggs in the frying pan. Suddenly, a hullabaloo! And I realize it’s coming from A’s mouth; he’s yelling out he window with great enthusiasm! 

It seems we have a friend in the neighborhood after all. The chief of the police station lives right down the row; A coaches her and her comrades every Wednesday afternoon.

A few minutes later I find myself on the shared balcony overlooking the pool, declining a beer while attempting to hide behind my sweet and explainably shy little boy (sadly, I don’t think I can give myself the excuse of stranger danger.) My own social anxiety is overwhelming.  It’s been over a year since I’ve hung out in casual company. 

I stumble through conversation and light upon the fact that  the chief attended my high school! Good old Radford. We didn’t bond over it too much (it was so changed between the years we each attended) but it certainly brought me back to those idyllic days of beaches and surfing and sand on my shoes and salt in my hair and sun on my skin. And I know someone else close by “gets” it. It’s a comfort to my lonely soul.