A Minute to Myself (181)
A Minute to Myself (182)

The Threads of a Life

So many threads to a life. So many threads interweaving with other threads. Some threads continue interweaving, some go in new directions, and sometimes we need to tie a knot in them to see where we are at the moment. That’s where I am right now, at the knot-tying stage, looking at some of the threads in my life.

The husband of my colleague, who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer about six weeks ago, died a little more than a week ago. Still in shock, her refrain, her complaint (if it can be called that) is that “it happened so fast.” Even so, a few days before he died they managed to arrange for their engaged daughter to get married in their backyard for a true blending of the bitter and the sweet into their lives. (May his memory be blessed.)

My wonderful student from last year who was supposed to have brain surgery in July was notified that, no, they cannot wait, and so she has already been operated on. I cannot tell you how hard it is to see a 15-year-old child need a wheelchair to get back to her room from just a few feet away. Sure, I saw her two days after her surgery, but there are some images that you don’t want to reconcile with the picture you have in your head of how a teenager is “supposed” to be, and how this lively, enthusiastic, intelligent, perfectionist always was—is.

I was invited to take part in the teaching of writing class that I interviewed for in March. Last night was the welcome dinner. It is fascinating to hear the ideas that other teachers have to excite, instruct and inspire their students to write. Why the creativity of teachers is not a thing more discussed is a wonder to me. We each need to make a 75-minute presentation; I heard the ideas of about half the teachers who will be taking the class (25 all together) and they were all so interesting and inspiring, for me both as a teacher and a parent. You have to wonder how it is that kids are missing out on the sparks that are coming their ways. What is it that they need? Or is the best that any teacher can expect in a year is to reach a few kids, and with that, to feel “mission accomplished” and not stress too much over those who did not have a spark-detector for her?

The assistant principal “raved” about how well I handled psycho mom in the parent-teacher conference the other day. Apparently the “can get defensive” label that I had been given has been replaced with “handles tough parents well.” I certainly like the sound of that more.

Older daughter is moving to California on Saturday, days before her 18th birthday. “Mixed emotions” could cover it, but what’s the mix if it changes all the time? I am certainly proud of her that she is going where she wants and is facing her future as opposed to acting like someone already worrying about retirement before she is even old enough to drink. There is a heavy feeling of hoping: hoping that I have been as good a mother to her as possible and that she is prepared and comfortable to become herself. She did get a letter from a professor the other day who called her brilliant, so on that side of things she seems to be doing well. She is, as I was, as unprepared for the minutiae of life, you know, cooking, cleaning and organizing, but I hope it will come when it needs to.

I will be moving on June 1st. The settlement on the house is to be mid-June. There are countable numbers of days until the end of this ordeal. There really is a tunnel with two ends, for so long I thought it was a dead-end tunnel. I am imagining myself getting up in the morning from a bed and walking a few steps away to see my younger daughter sleeping comfortably in her room, and then walking over to the little terrace, which will become my outside thinking spot, for a few moments of clarity before heading into the shower. Yes, I can finally imagine a lightness to living, and not just dreading hearing heavy footsteps and a tape recorder and another demand for money or twisted interpretation of reality. Freedom. It’s coming.

I told the mediator that I will not pay the bill he sent me because he let ex-man insult me and he tried to pressure me to agree with him. He wrote back that he will cancel my bill, and he won’t have us back again to mediation. No kidding. It was for a really small amount, but I stood up and kept standing.

Today I will be meeting nasty lady lawyer to ensure that I get the full amount due to me from the sale of the house, and that I will not have to pay for his non-payment of the mortgage in the past few months. Soon, soon this will end.

And there is a 35-year-old man who keeps writing me lovely emails. And there is the lovely, laid-back South American scientist with whom I will eventually have a second date. The back, back burner idea of romance suits me. Pseudo-man contacted me again, ugh, and I told him, in between silent treatments, that I have moved on, and I have. I will not have anything to do with someone who is not good for me, or who I think will not be good for me. I am for me now, so how can I let someone in who is so obviously for himself?

A colleague will be 40 today. She’s feeling the life marker. Me, I’m feeling a different life marker, or marks of my life, and so happy to have a head that can finally look ahead and is not just stuck in the now.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for helping me this past year. My strength has been your strength. You, readers, have no idea how invaluable it has been to me to know that people are reading about my struggles, and passing on to me encouragement and strength, not only through your words, but your presence too (for the non-commentators out there). Your presence has truly lifted me up as a prayer. May life be full of fulfillments for us all.



Laura, I'm so happy for you that things are looking up! Although I do not know you personally I'm so proud about how you handled your own situation. So if your daughter takes even just 10% after you she will be ok in California. The South-American Scientist sounds good. Hope you can have some fun. We should have an online celebration on the 1st june, dont' you think? All the best. Ciao. A.


I am so happy you are getting away from ex-man. I am excited for you and ever so excited to read your future posts about all of the great things that are coming your way. You have certainly proved that we should never ever give up.


Huzzah and kudos to you on telling Mediocre Mediator Man to shove off regarding his bill!

Sounds like things are finally moving forward for you! Yay! Makes me very happy! And the best is yet to come!


And I thank you for sharing your story - it has helped me in so many ways.
As for there being light at the end of tunnels (aka as hope and happiness) - that's a lesson we keep learning over and over.


Are you participating in the Writing Project at a local university? If so, it's awesome, but the opportunities that come after are even BETTER. I am a Fellow of the UCLA Writing Project, and this summer I was invited to be one of 20 teachers to implement a writing program in Korea--all expenses paid plus a sizable stipend. It rocks. Anyway, it sounded like you were describing a Writing Project experience.

Blessings on the move, etc.

I know having your daughter move is hard, but maybe it will mean that you get to visit Southern California A LOT. If you make it out this way, I'll treat you to coffee! ;-)


This really is good news for you and your daughter.

What an amazing job with the angry parent...that can really be a lose/lose situation for everyone. Finding a way out of the room with everything intact is a tough skill to learn. I think you have had a lot of practice doing things like that for the past year.



I didn't see a way to contact you privately... feel free to delete this comment after reading... I just wanted to ask if you might review my blog, as a fellow woman-blogger and perhaps make some comments or suggestions, either on the blog or by email. My blog is at http://blog.handprintsonmyheart.com/

Thank you,



Wow! You have come through so much and as someone that has watched and read your hurts and struggles, it is a pleasure to read of things coming together for you. I so look forward to reading about what the future brings for you once you are out of that house and living free. I am proud of you for so many things...for pressing on towards the goal line and not giving up. Good for you Laura.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Antonella, it seems that we will have to wait till the 18th for the celebration. Nasty lady lawyer, who prefers to be called tenacious, said that I should NOT move out until we all move out. I can be out on the weekends, I can move my stuff, but not to leave younger daughter here with him. And when I just told my daughter that, her response was, "good." But still, I will move the things out on June 1st to have a feeling of movement.

The scientist has the loveliest accent. And he says "ciao," too.

Constance, I so look forward to a different tone and focus of my posts. Ready to move, ready to move on. One friend is tired of waiting for more funny undie posts.

Ms. Darkstar, I won't mock myself about standing up to a 70-year old man, but will focus on standing up. Pop the corks! It's just about countdown time!

Beth, I'm so glad that my insights and experiences have given you a sense of how things can unfold.

MTAE, well, in the past year I have worked more at covering my ears and ignoring voices when at home. But, perhaps knowing how bad things can be if there is no opportunity for communication is what enabled me to meet this mother on a different, more peaceful, level.

She, yes, it's a Writing Project. Korea! Have a great time. I'll have to really do an impressive job on my presentation so I can get a gig like that, too.

Let's hope that inexpensive plane fares stay for a while. I would love to have a cuppa with you. She'll be in Pasadena with her friend, at least for the summer.

Marlene, I'll be right over for a visit.

Lori, thank you. Your words have always resonated within me.


Laura, I love how your new life sounds. You have my prayers, my support and my neverending wishes for all things good and happy.

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