insert emoticon here, The animals, Uncategorized

King Jack

I’ve spent 15 years with Jack by my side. I nursed him from the dying kitten I found at PetSmart into the asshole young cat who stole pizza off my plate to the cranky middle aged cat who sat on Miles and tried to eat his face off to the old cat who wheezed like a freight train and yowled like a maniac but always purred when he slept on my pillow. All along I fed him clavamox every 6 months or so, knowing that someday it would be an upper respiratory infection that killed him. An upper respiratory infection (with extra bonus renal failure) is killing him. I’ve been waiting for this day since the vet told me my 2 pound kitten had lost nearly a pound and was going to die and reluctantly told me I could try to save him but I would end up sad. I saved him. I syringe fed him warm ham and beef baby food for days until he perked up and decided to live. When he got sick again three months later, then three months after that, then six months after that, well, I knew what life with this cat was gonna be like. 

And I didn’t care. 

My ex husband hated Jack. I should have known. 

Justin loves Jack, and Jack loves him back. They sleep together, many nights, with Jack against Justin’s side, head folded into Justin’s hand. When it’s a bad migraine day, Jack stays by his side, a silent sentinel. Justin has been syringe feeding him, and running his IV fluids. 

But this is it. He’s not getting better, despite those measures. The heartbreak is here. 

It was a good 15 years. Thanks for sharing them with me, buddy. 

The Tiniest Capen, Uncategorized, working mother

9000 eternities

Time asleep before I was awoken: 4 hours? Maybe 5?

Time spent calmly talking about how it is nighttime and it is time for sleeping to a balls-to-the-wall hysterically screaming toddler who wanted daddy, a show, to sleep on the couch, Maggie, Daddy, and also another show: 45 minutes? An hour? An eternity? 57 eternities?

Time spent observing same toddler as she eats a bag of popcorn while staring off into space like a zombie: half an eternity. 

Time spent adjusting the zombie toddler’s sleeping arrangements to her satisfaction: 2 eternities. 

Time spent trying to remain calm and comfortable at the toddler’s bedside while she busily tries to stay awake in the face of zombie-level exhaustion: 7 eternities. 

Time at which I finally was horizontal on a soft surface in a silent house: 4 am. 

Two nights running. I can do hard things. I do hard things every day. So let’s do this hard thing. Thursday, watch the fuck out. I have eternities of practice patiently waiting out crazy. 


“It’s not easy to believe.”

“I,” she told him, “can believe anything. You have no idea what I can believe.”


“I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen — I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what’s going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” She stopped, out of breath.

Shadow almost took his hands off the wheel to applaud. Instead he said, “Okay. So if I tell you what I’ve learned you won’t think that I’m a nut.”

“Maybe,” she said. “Try me.”

  • Sam and Shadow (as Mike Ainsel). American Gods, Neil Gaiman.

A few weeks before his birthday, I asked Justin what he wanted. He didn’t know. Later, we were talking about Halloween and he said he knew what he wanted. He wanted a night at a hotel on Halloween, an overnight babysitter, and to go out with his wife in costume.
Totally doable. And OH SO WORTH IT. 
So we took Gwyneth to trick or treat at the dorms on campus in the afternoon with Suzy and Liam, and then we came home and painted me blue. As you do. Watch the Agincourt website for a more detailed post on that. Justin put in his vampire teeth and a button up shirt and pulled his hair down over a masquerade mask, and I had a sexy vampire husband. I put on a black Renn dress, purple bodice from a former character’s gear, a bunch of accessories that we bought at the Halloween store and from my jewelry hoard – and my black wig. I have the best black wig. And we were off. 

Gwyneth stayed with Kyle, and so far they appear not to have killed each other. So that’s good. 🙂

Justin and I went and met Michael and Amy at McDuff’s and had a great dinner and beers, then walked down to Maxfields. When we were happy and felt done, we went back to our hotel. De-blueing only took about 10 minutes, and then I slept. All night. Into the morning. Past dawn. With my husband. And not my toddler. 

I did 20 laps in the hotel pool. I took a shower. I ate a donut. Now we’re going to go get lunch, and some groceries, and then go home to the family. I’m making steaks for dinner as a thank you to Kyle. 

Because this was an awesome recharge, and I needed it. 


I answered an UNKNOWN call just now, knowing it was a political ask from some Democrat, just so they’d stop calling for a while.

“This is Jenica.”

“blah blah blah Hillary Clinton blah blah blah blahtiddy blah blah. Would you be comfortable giving at that $250 level today, Ms. Rogers?”

“Not today, no. I’ll be voting for Bernie Sanders in the primary, because his platform is more in line with my beliefs. But if he loses to Hillary, I’ll vote for her in the general election. So why don’t you get back to me then?”

“blah blah blah you know how important early  money is to a campaign–”

“Which is why I’m giving my early money to Bernie Sanders.”

“blah blah blah and it doesn’t appear he’s likely to win, ma’am.”

“So why don’t you call me back if it turns out you’re right?”

“*sigh* Okay.”


I wonder how long before they call back again?


I didn’t do any dishes before bed last night because I did yoga first, and determined that my low back was not going to tolerate standing at the sink for half an hour, so I went to bed, all pleased to snuggle in and get some sleep.

But then around 11 Gwyneth started screaming, trapped in night terrors. That took an hour to resolve, is totally harder on me than it is on her, and I finally calmed down and fell asleep around 12:30.

So I woke up at 6 with a headache this morning. But that happens, and G woke up happy, so I showered and we got ready for work and daycare respectively. She’s wearing a pink onesie and green cargo pants, so I put on my red riding hood tshirt and cargo pants for my no-meetings day in the office. We match! It made me smile.

Then at 8:02 as I walked her to the car, I fell in the driveway and ripped both knees out of my (new) (favorite) (expensive) EMS cargo pants. I also took a good chunk out of my right knee, which has since bled through the denim on the jeans I put on to replace them.

In my office, there’s a conflict brewing in my email and I don’t even want to read any of the messages because I have shit to do but I value these people and these projects and so I will do what I can.

And Justin had an MRI today for his injured hand, and the MRI triggered a migraine, and he came home to find that Malcolm had pooped in his cage and then he laid down in it.

Since Justin’s hand is injured and he’s recuperating in a dark room and even if I could fully abandon my day I can’t bathe a 100 lb dog who fights the process, I called the groomer who loves Malcolm, but they can’t take him til 2, so poor Mal is hanging in the garage covered in poop for four hours.

And as I stand here in my office I see that again, AGAIN, I forgot to mail Marty’s already-a-week-late birthday card.

And now it’s 10:15 and I don’t even know where my morning went.

Look, Tuesday, I’m done. Enough. Uncle. I’m going to be here, in my office, working. I’m going to write this proposal. I’m going to get through at least half of today’s to-do list. And you are going to hold off on bringing down any more damage. I will handle my shit, and you will do your part to hold the wolves at bay. Okay? Can we agree to that?





Last night, on Facebook, I wrote this:

So, I was supposed to be on vacation most of this week. I had a list of things I wanted to do — house projects, cleaning projects. Napping. I have to work Thursday, and had some prep to do for that, but it was only a few hours. No big deal.

Instead, I’ve had the flu, done childcare, handled a bunch of medical crap, gone to the vet’s office twice, and taken care of my sick husband, while picking away at the household chores as I was able. No projects. Very little fun stuff. No visible progress on the things I wanted to do.

I’ve managed to sneak in a few good things here and there, but this is not the week I wanted. It’s also not the week I needed. I still need that week, but I can’t really afford to be out of the office any more than I already have, not with everything I’m in the middle of right now.

I just want to cry. I don’t even know where to start.

and then this:

And then that night happens where the kid gets two baths and two dinners and somebody has to clean puke off the high chair because she coughed and then gagged and then it was all over and somehow you find yourself eating dry granola out of the bag while standing next to her high chair while she sings to her banana because you realize that in all of that you didn’t get any food and it’s after 8 and this kid is never going to go to sleep after all this disruption of routine and you wonder how granola tastes with rum?

And this morning, this:

So, I’m on campus today for several meetings, and I feel like crap. It’s like this virus has some sort of second stealth stage where it just makes you exhausted. Oooooor it could be that waking up every two hours all night isn’t actually good for my wellbeing. Something like that.

In short, Mama needs a vacation. A real one. (For the record, so does Daddy.)

How soon can we put G on an airplane by herself? Because I know these nice people in Illinois who would take her (and keep her!) in a heartbeat. All we need is a week…


I turn 39 today.


I didn’t really expect this to be how I spent my birthday evening, any year in my 30s, at least, not until I hit 35 or so. Then I knew what I wanted, and hoped. Til then, tho? My expectations included a stuff drink and some cake.

Now I’m getting snuggles from a curly-headed imp with her daddy’s blue eyes and really, I couldn’t be happier.

Well. I’ll be happier when Justin comes home with cake. But still. The cake is inevitable. Contentment is a choice.



11:08 pm

Oh, my darling girl, my pookest of Pooks, imp of my heart, my sweetest bunny, my favorite Gwyneth. You were exhausted today, all day, because you didn’t sleep last night. You were snuggly and fussy (I told you “you lack emotional resilience today”), and you napped extra naps. But then bedtime. You fell asleep easily, and woke just as quickly when Malcolm made that noise he makes where his nails scratch the wall while he dreams. And you were wide. awake.

And so here we are, you and I, lying in bed at 11:08. We’ve been doing this since 8ish, and you’ve just now dropped into sleep after a Mama Gives Up baby party in the living room at 10, a final attempt to burn through your late night energy, with hopes of avoiding another snuggle-induced flailing angry throat punch from your tiny yet terribly effective fist.

And what sleep it is. When you finally let go, your little hands go limp, and your mouth falls open and your breathing just settles into the loveliest soft rhythm and I could just watch you for hours. (And I have!) But oh how you fight it. You suck your fingers and you stare at the ceiling fan and you talk to the cats and you stroke Blue Dog’s ears and you fight to roll over and stand up and YA YA YA YA YA until the sleepy takes over and you bury your sleep-sweaty little head in my shoulder and your eyes get soft … and you jerk them open and slap me in the collarbone and shove up to your hands and knees and start all over again.

I promise you, little one, the world will all be here tomorrow, to be licked and drooled upon and smacked with shapes from your sorter toy. Your toys will still be strewn across the living room floor, waiting to be talked into like toy phones (because everything is a toy phone, even the stuffed raccoon). The dog will be here tomorrow, patiently enduring the fur-pulling and joyous shrieks of “MAAAAAM!” when you see him. Your daddy and I will be here when you wake, in the morning and in the night, right here when you fling out a hand and reach for our warmth.

So sleep, little one. Let it take you. Drop into the velvety softness of your dreams and just let go. I promise you it’s worth it. And I promise you I will be here, watching you breathe.



I shared my favorite meal of the year with my daughter. Baby’s first pork tortellini in chicken broth, spinach tortellaci in white sauce, and beef tenderloin.

The little boy I nannied for is 6’8″ and still just as much fun as he was 14 years ago. His sister is a beautiful and kind young woman and I can’t believe I changed her diapers.

My uncle videoed Christmas Eve and day and made me DVDs, since it was Baby G’s first.

Marty and Deb gave me a Nespresso machine.

We got to see April, who is so happy.

My aunts are immovable objects and unstoppable forces and I love them to pieces.

Justin is the best person I’ve ever known, and I’m the one he wants to kiss on Christmas.

The Pook did not fall asleep until 10 tonight, but I still think she’s the best thing ever to walk the planet.

I sang so many lullabies today that my voice has given out.

Gwyn learned to clap, give kisses, do zerberts, and combine multiple consonants while we were in Illinois.

We took family portraits and meeting the photographer and hearing some of his stories was worth the entire experience – and I’m betting the photos are amazing.

I feel proud that I brought my baby to my family, and sad that she won’t have them every day like I did.

I love my life.