Sitcom life, The Tiniest Capen, working mother

episode 1

Today in my sitcom life, I spend the day walking around parking lots in 90 degree heat because I can’t remember what my mom’s car looks like, carrying what has become a total mom-purse, while looking for the perfect diapers in every store in town and failing to find them.

misc, working mother

Sunday list

Things I want to do today:

  • Work on a consulting project
  • Take a shower
  • Enjoy my kiddo
  • Make breakfast burritos for the freezer
  • Knit
  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Do 3-5 loads of laundry
  • Untangle my jewelry
  • Design a new leather bag
  • Or two
  • Spend some time with Justin

I’m confident I’ll get to the first three… All bets are off as to how far past that we go. 

gratitudejournal, insert emoticon here, working mother

Do not check your email.

Last night I listened as my daughter counted to 10, independently, by picking up 10 strawberries and naming the number as she put them down. Justin and I stared at each other in joyful amazement. What an awesome thing the human brain is. Of course, shortly after that she decided to run to the kitchen naked while getting her diaper changed for bedtime, and she finished her snack of strawberries and pears in the nude… and then peed all over the toddler tower. When it became annoying to her that there was a puddle, she put her feet out at the very edges of the platform and stood around it.  So we’ll get to potty training when she’s damn well good and ready, I think. Because right now she does not give a single fuck, and I have no extra energy to give to things she just does. not. care. about.

On that same theme, I had a fury breakdown at work last week. So mad I got up and left a meeting. Never done that before. But then I came back, and continued the dialogue, and we found common ground, and we agreed to a path forward, and our followup emails agree we did find common ground… it’s a good thing. I stood up and left, and walked the perimeter of my library, breathing and thinking, because I needed to let go of the emotion — release the thing I just do not care about — and find the core of strength that is my determination and confidence to accomplish the things I do care about. There’s a whole lot of negative energy flying around campus these days (the end of the semester is chaos time), and I need to release it from my head.

As part of that release, I went away from the real world this weekend — it was the May Kingdoms of Novitas event — and left my kid with her “brother” and extra parents. KoN is my home away from home. Those people are my family away from my family. That world is my world away from this one. I disconnected, I didn’t check my email, I trusted Gwyn’s happiness to Sam and Suzy, and I just played. I trusted that I can do this. That I am allowed to disconnect. That it’s okay if I don’t work — on housework, at my office, solving all the problems that were ever problems — every day, all day. And I played. LARPing is creative play for adults — and we always say children need play. I say adults need to play, too. And playing doesn’t have to involve drinking or sports with teams and rules… sometimes it can involve improv acting, storytelling, hiking, and hitting other adults with sticks. With rules. And teams. Some of them sort of mafia-like. But I digress.

I played. I hiked 5 miles. I told stories. I practiced my improv skills. I problem solved in a scenario where all problems had resolutions.  I ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs. I sat in the sun and laughed. I spent 36 hours with one of my families. I did not check my email. I did not think about whether my daughter talks enough, or when she’ll pee on the potty.

Worth it.


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Today in a staff meeting the saying “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” came up. I smiled. I heard it.

This week has sucked. Suuuuuucked. I texted Justin this morning and simply said “I hate everything.” Another series of annoying things happened and I was coming to this text box to write on this blog about how much everything sucks and list the litany of sucky things that have happened to me this week. But, really, I don’t actually want to live that way. Be that way. And I don’t want any advice or assistance, so … why put it out there?

Just know this: One more stupid/bad/frustrating thing happens to me today and I might just lie down where I stand and pull my scarf over my face and go to sleep. Sleeping in the face of adversity seems like an epic success of coping mechanisms.


Today’s adapted recipe is for no-bake energy bites. All measurements approximate!


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

Mix the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. 

Combine the last three ingredients in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for a minute or so to melt, and stir to combine them. Add the softened ingredients to the  dry ingredients and stir until all ingredients are well blended.

Press the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper, cover, and refrigerate to set. 

After they’ve set, cut into cubes and store in the refrigerator until you’ve eaten them all… Which won’t take long. 


Note: I cut them up into 30 pieces. MyFitnessPal says they’re 125 calories each. 

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In the interests of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses, here’s what’s up with me: super anxious. Not coping well with my anxiety. Struggling to make all the ends meet, and as my friend Julie described it, feeling like I’m at the end of my rope but someone replaced my rope with a bungee cord so the end just keeps going. I’m feeling intense desperation that I’m not *enough* to deal with all the things that should, could, might need doing. 

I have huge projects at work and if I could work 60 hour weeks I *might* be able to feel like they were under control. The house is a disaster and I can’t even begin to figure out where to start to un-fuck it. My kid is 2 and that says all that needs saying. My husband has $1000 in leather commissions he’s super excited to do, but he’s down with a migraine. I just sorted our mail and found important things we’ve let slide: safety recalls on both cars, a speeding ticket I got, rabies shots for Jack, Malcolm’s registration, medical bills. I’m sitting on the floor in the kitchen because though it is relatively disgusting, there’s sunlight in here in the late afternoon and that feels like a benediction. 

And I hate Easter. My dad died at Easter time and I am so sad he doesn’t know Gwyneth. 

But I’m going to clean this kitchen. I’m going to play with G. I’m going to fill some eggs and do an egg hunt tomorrow. I’m going to go to work on Monday and finish two staffing plans and an initial draft of my grant. 

Because I persevere. It’s what I do. And the sun is shining, I have a good life, a loving family, and amazing friends, one of whom is bringing me dinner tonight. And sometime soon I will be able to see that those things, and I, are enough. I know I will. Just not tonight. 

It’s all gonna be okay. Eventually. 

gratitudejournal, insert emoticon here

“you do 75% of the cooking, at least 50% of the laundry, and you make the money that keeps our family safe, comfortable, and healthy. You’re not disappointing anyone. Take a nap.”

–my husband, when I mumbled something into my pillow about being afraid to disappoint him if I didn’t do… something…. other than nap.


Cheesy post title brought to you by the audiobook of The Force Awakens. 

This morning at Beast we did straight leg deadlifts. Brendan and I talked about my low back discomfort from the last few weeks, and he made sure I had good form so I didn’t make it worse. And he was right – when you do it right, it doesn’t hurt. Imagine. 

And then when we finished our 15 minute ladder of thrusters, box jumps, and toes-to-bar, he had me lie on a lacrosse ball with my feet on the wall. Holy wow, yo. 

That hurt. 

And it also worked. I came home and spent 20 minutes maneuvering our lacrosse ball around my low back and glutes. 

I feel so much better. Better than I have in weeks. 

And you know what? I didn’t resent my alarm at 5 am. 

#mightyifitkillsme, insert emoticon here

Got up at 5. Found workout clothes. Stole a timberland hoodie from Justin. Put my parka and uggs on. Shoved wallet, inhaler, keys, and phone into the pockets of my parka. Looked at the temp. – 10F. Add gloves. Started for the car, remembered I need water. Went back in, got a water bottle. Got to the driveway, remembered I need shoes. Search for shoes. Search car – I had them Wednesday – search shoe rack, search other shoe rack, search other car. Search garage. Give up, assume I left them at the gym on Wednesday. Start Honda. Try again to start Honda. Honda starts. Put it in reverse, start to move, Honda says “fuck no” and stalls in the driveway. Try again. And again. Manage to re-park it, and get in Toyota. Toyota has an iced windshield. Start the car, second try, confirm ten below on instrument panel, and get out to scrape the windshield. Finally leave house. Arrive gym 5:37, find shoes! Hurrah!

Skip most of the warmup but do the jump rope to get my body warm and moving, and do my 12 minute ass-kicking workout, plus push press set. (55lbs, 5 sets of 3) Still hate burpees, now also hate reverse bear crawls.

6:02, head home, looking forward to reading for an hour before I shower and get ready for work.

Wait, where’s my phone?

Search Toyota. No phone. Find two pairs of glasses, that’s cool. No phone. Check Honda; no phone. Garage, kitchen…

Get iPad. Use Find My iPhone. Says its in the driveway. Back to the cars. Still -3F. Hate everything. Search for phone. No phone. Try to play the sound, app says iPhone is not connected to the Internet. Hear the distinctive hiss-pop of a soda can opening as I sit in the below-zero Honda, and toss a super frozen ginger ale out of the car into the driveway.

Wait. The driveway. Literally the driveway. I changed cars and scraped windows… Ok, so I start searching the snow in predawn light. No phone. It’s in a red case, it should be easy to spot.

But I moved both cars. I can see under the Honda, easy – lots of ground clearance. No phone. But I refuse to lie in the snow to look under the Toyota. It’s negative fucking 3.

I go inside, get keys, start the Toyota (second try) and move it to a different parking spot.

And there, in the tread of my tire, where I had pulled in and backed out, so four tires bearing the weight of a Corolla had driven over it, is my phone.

It doesn’t turn on when I push the button, but it’s -3F, so wtf. I take it inside.

Lifeproof case? Undamaged.

Pulled the phone from the case, no visible damage. Push the button.  Dead battery.

Plugged it in and ….

It lives. Unharmed. Run over by a car twice. Frozen solid. Perfectly fine.

Persevere. You are stronger than you know.