It’s been a minute. I do find that sometimes, when journaling, there is simply nothing to report. The neighborhood is peaceful, the house is quiet, and the slope seems too gentle for that mad acceleration into a new piece of fiction or a poem or a post. At other times the opposite is true. So much is happening with the family and in the wider world that I find it hard to get a toehold, to pause long enough to reflect and form an opinion, let alone sit for a few moments and write it all out.

This is where I am. The new puppy has sucked up most of my attention of late, due in part to the amount of care and training a little one requires, but also because with a creature so ridiculously adorable, it’s hard to look away. She’s a joy machine, truly. A worry-killer with velvety ears and a palm-sized post-lunch potbelly. I probably don’t need to explain further. We’ve all seen a puppy, yes?

I did tear myself away last weekend and drove down to Portland to trade in my old car for an electric Hyundai Kona. This was not a necessary purchase; the Mazda was ticking along just fine. The sensible thing would have been to wait until it conked out before trading it in. But my god, seeing the rate of global warming, the trajectory of climate change and its effect on some of the world’s poorest countries, on the wild lands, on the seas and polar regions, on the motherfucking state of California, which now seems to burn to the ground every summer… Well, it’s not good, is it? I’ve been vegan for a dozen years or so at this point, and I believe that this is the best thing I could be doing for the planet, but it’s not enough. Clearly, not enough. And as I started investigating electric vehicles, I discovered that the government and car manufacturers are doing their level best to encourage us e-ward. There are rebates and tax incentives, low-end commuters and electric Porsches and giant trucks to tow a load, with charging stations going up left, right, and center. There are YouTubers demonstrating how to take your EV on a road trip. Techie discussions about how to maximize your rate of charge and your driving efficiency, how to plan a route, how to use the apps and find a charging station, how to choose “the right car for you.” A culture has grown around the ownership and evolution of EVs, and I want to be part of their increasing demand for infrastructure and renewable energy. I don’t want to wait years to make this change. I’m ready to get started on another path, right now.

I know this change is a small thing, an imperfect solution as most solutions are. But it’s something I can do, beyond hand-wringing and doom-scrolling the skinny polar bears. And to be clear, it’s no hardship. The car is lovely, comfortable, full of bells and whistles, cheap to operate and fun to drive. I parked it at a Walmart charging station and read my Agatha Christie for an hour while it did its thing, and now I’m good for a couple of weeks. I didn’t even pay for the juice, as Hyundai is footing that bill for the next two years.

Look, there are other things going on in the world, big things, and they often seem insurmountable and far beyond our scope of influence. But every big issue comes about through a series of small, individual decisions, and these are within our control. We really can just decide to make a change. Our opinions can evolve. We don’t have to wait for permission or perfect timing, and maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should do what we can, while we can.

Maybe we should jump.


Things are happening. Lots of things, and most of them are good. Last weekend we had a party for all the March and April birthdays in our family. It was a special celebration for both of my boys, as one is turning thirty and the other twenty-one. My oldest is finishing up his first year as a high school teacher, and he’s a newlywed as well, so this is a period of change and growth for him as much as for his little brother. We’ve had many conversations about his experiences with the teenagers in his classroom, how they behave and don’t behave, how they challenge his patience, nerve, and creativity. It’s a lot to deal with. Much more than I could manage. I have thoughts about some of these feral behaviors, the insolence and entitlement (god, do I feel old when spouting the “kids these days” mentality), but I’ll save those for another time.

My youngest, twenty-one tomorrow, is leaving for Air Force boot camp in a couple of weeks. This is huge for him, a leap into the unknown, but hopefully a positive one. The COVID lockdown caught him at an unfortunate time, the tail end of his senior year of high school, and since then he’s been struggling to figure out what he wants to do with his life. He’s been stuck, and the past few years have been, let’s say, unfruitful. So this forward movement is a good thing, and I think the military option is a solid choice for him. He needs that structure and some intensive training to point him in the right direction. Of course the mother in me worries for him—what if he’s unhappy, what if he gets hurt, what if he loves it and he’s gone for years and years and never comes home to visit (the most likely scenario, to be honest). What will my life be like without him?

It’s hard not to imagine how big this house will soon become. All these empty rooms. Not having my son here at night while his dad’s at work, not to have his company and his help around the house. This is a big change for both of us.

But it’s okay. It’s time.

I think my husband is feeling some of this, too, especially since we just lost Henry. Last Friday he brought home a ten-week-old puppy, a little ruby Cavalier who roams the house like a bumblebee and whose expression has all the comical sternness of an Ewok. We named her Rosie. She’s a lovebug, but she’s also a puppy who needs a lot of training and attention, so she’ll be a good distraction for those times when the nest feels especially empty. She’ll give me a good reason to get out of the house, too, because I want to take her to work once she’s housetrained and get her socialized in different situations. Today we’re having lunch at my mom’s, and maybe a walk or two on the leash for the first time.

So with baby steps and big steps, this family’s on the move. And it looks like everyone is ready to go.