New Rhythms

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Dear Friends,

I have some news. I’ve told all my peeps in real life, and its a huge deal for me, so I guess I should mention it here.

After 13 years of self-employment, I have accepted a position as a Lead Editor for an international consulting firm in their environmental and planning group. The majority of my work will involve California high-speed rail. I’ll be working in downtown Sacramento. It’s a great opportunity to learn lots of new things and get into a stable industry. And high-speed rail is an amazing, important project that will have huge, lasting benefits for our state and our environment in our fight against climate change.

There have been many stellar moments during the last 13 years of self-employment—moments of achievement and pride, moments of deep struggle and learning, and countless beautiful family moments that I’ve been available for thanks to working from home, and therefore able to write about here at Love in the Suburbs. I’m proud of what I did professionally: I started a business and made money on my own out of the power of my brain, my skills, and my charisma.

I’m also proud of the parenting I’ve been able to do thanks to working from home: the presence, the connections, the trust, the rhythms. I’ve learned so much by being here, day in and day out, for all the glory-filled firsts and everyday sniffles, the pretty and the mundane. I have contributed meaningfully to the growth and development of these two not-so-small-anymore beings, and to our family home. We have built something beautiful here.

This would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of my dear husband, Ian, who has been steady and gracious in the face of freelancing ups and downs, and a faithful provider throughout this time. He was the one who said in 2003, when I wanted to leave my job, “Go ahead. We’ll work it out.” I’m so grateful for his faith in me and my abilities, for his patience with my unpredictable work-whenever-there’s-work schedule, for his support and encouragement all these years. I love you, Ian.

I admit to having some mixed feelings about this change. I’ve been my own boss for a long time. I will continue to freelance as I can, and will be keeping several key clients. Change is often painful, and this is pretty much a 180 from my former rhythm. I’m giving myself permission to take it slow, adjust at my own pace, feel all the feelings—even the ones that are selfish or seemingly counterproductive, and put one foot in front of the other. I’m wading into new territory, off-map and befuddled at times. I’m taking my joys where I can, including playing tourist in my own city.


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For all of you who have hired me, cheered me on, listened to me, advised me, encouraged me, pretended to be collections agents, referred clients to me, helped me network, and given me innumerable other kinds of assistance, thank you.

A special thank you to Dakini, who put me in touch with players at my new firm. I love you, girlfriend! And she’s the one who hauls my Country Mouse ass to and from work, making this transition as easy for me as possible. And many thanks to all the people who have stepped up to care for my kids as we establish these new rhythms.

Love and bright blessings, while I turn and face the strange …




I’m not going to get anything done today until I write a bit. I am all pent up and my feelings on all subjects are all over the place. They’re mixed up because I haven’t been writing, which is my process for sorting things out, for determining what matters, what to hang on to and work on, and what to let go of. I’ll try not to make this too complainy because there’s really tons of good stuff.


I am very busy with work; I have three projects going full speed ahead. Well, the truth is two of the three projects are taking up so much time that the third is languishing and I hope to get back to it ASAP. I don’t know when that will happen and it’s worrying me. I hope it goes without saying that I’m very glad to have the work. I am. Really.

Pretty computer. So new, there is no dust!

My computer died last Wednesday. My main, desktop, do-everything-on-it computer. I will spare you the emotional trauma of this and just say that I have a new one now. It’s a great new machine and my old data is fine. “Hard drive is robust like ox,” said my tech support queen. This is a VERY HAPPY thing. I am still tweaking and finding workarounds to this happy thing, however, as the happy thing is far from optimized at this moment and I don’t have time to optimize it … yet. Nevertheless, all of this will be better soon. In the meantime, I’ve struggled to keep those three projects moving forward.

I just fell in love all over again. #violin #waldorf #home #son

The boys are doing great. Lucas is adapting gradually to the greater expectations of fifth grade. (I have a whole post on this topic brewing in my head.) Lucas is really enjoying both soccer skills practice and his twice weekly karate class. Asher is zany and clownish and enjoying the hell out of life, it seems. Both boys are healthy and happy. Managing them is like herding cats, or monkeys, um—good-natured, sometimes-disdainful-or-obstinate, constantly forgetful catmonkeys who are generally too busy singing or shouting or bickering or spilling or bouncing through the house to listen to you. Or me.

I’ve gone over to my sister-in-law Kellie’s house a couple of times to help out a little with baby Jack, her newborn son. He is beautiful in every way—utterly perfect—and is finally seeming to get a handle on this breastfeeding thing. Some babies are stubborn like that. Holding a teeny baby has got to be one of the best joys of life. I only have to hold him a moment before he has cast a dreamy spell on me and I find that everything else fades away. Still, I did that so-familiar thing of holding baby and editing one-handed. It brought back so many memories and feelings from when my babies were small. Anita Martin, the charming and talented photographer who took Matt and Kellie’s wedding photos has taken some gorgeous shots of them with new baby Jack. They are truly spectacular. Our love goes out to Matt, Kellie, and Jack during this difficult and wonderful newborn time.

Harvest Faire  and the Walk Now for Autism Speaks events both happened last weekend. (I’m planning to write more about this.) It was community service weekend, to be sure. Consequently, it felt rather like no weekend at all. Today, Friday of the following week, I am running on fumes. (Return to the first paragraph under “Lately.”)

I’m also supposed to be writing a book. I hope to get back to that ASAP before my coauthor disowns me.

I love the fall. Can’t wait to hit the pumpkin patch and start work on those Halloween costumes.

I miss painting sooooo bad. It’s been too long and I now feel fear when I think about picking up a brush. Isn’t that the way of it? I’ve lost my momentum and with it some confidence. It’s a thing I have to correct at the soonest possibly opportunity. Must buy that fancy light so I can paint in my house at night. Must get back to class. Mustn’t forget what I’ve learned so far.




Seven Years Self-Employed

I’m so busy with work I almost didn’t notice, but sometime this week (August 22nd? 23rd?) marks the seventh anniversary (7th!) of my self-employment.

In August 2003, I left the best job I’ve ever had to stay home with my 1-year-old son, Lucas, because frankly I couldn’t hack leaving him with a nanny every day.

I think I made it all the way to the end of that generous, third “reintegration” month, working three days a week at the office and two days at home. That’s when I realized it’s not normal to cry every day you go to work. (During my morning commute, at my desk, in the bathroom, at lunch, on the way home.) Maybe a little at first—but after three months, it was starting to look less like a “difficult transition” and more like depression.

After a lot of soul searching and a hasty look at my bank account, I threw caution to the wind and quit that great job. It was the right decision for me and my son. It was the right decision for my mental health.

I left to go freelance with no freelance experience. No savings. No contacts. No babysitting. Not one tiny clue how to run a business. And it was seven years ago! Did I mention that part already?

I’ve had some really hard years. I’ve had a few spectacular years. I’ve had many, many late nights working and I’ve lost many weekends to my projects. I’ve had seasonal work with ultra-busy months and dreadfully slow months. I’ve had hundreds of days with my kids that I would not otherwise have had. I say yes to stinky projects sometimes. I am occasionally so busy I have to say no to gems.

I’m the boss. My own boss.

And while I may have a tendency to be nostalgic about those old office days, with old office friends and everything else that went with office life, I’m not sorry.

Because, when you factor in all the various pros and cons, tally all the tick marks, and weight it all up, I now have the best job I’ve ever had.

Food, Flowers, Felt, and Womanism

Cooking with love and intention can be very satisfying. I admit I don’t always achieve this, but when I do it’s blissful. Yesterday I made chicken stock from scratch so that I can make chicken noodle soup later this week, probably tomorrow night. I also cooked a big crockpot of chicken and chicken-apple sausage chili from a recipe I found on the Internet. It turned out to be really yummy (Lucas said “It’s delish”; Asher gobbled all of the meat, but that’s his way). The surprising ingredient, which I don’t believe I’ve ever used before in a recipe, was tomatillo salsa from a jar. It was just the right flavor kick. I added carrots because I like sneaking in extra veggies. I omitted the jalapeno pepper so as not to make it too spicy for my kiddos. I also made cornbread muffins that were too sweet and dry for my taste, but the kids liked them. Still searching for the right recipe for these.

My pink hyacinths are blooming and I adore them. I only wish I’d gotten around to planting bulbs last fall because I look at these flowers and want more, more, more! Want to do more, more, more! (My mother tells me that I don’t have to be more or do more. I am sure she is right but I seem to have a blind spot in this area.)

I’ve been sewing by hand in the evenings. I have a couple of goofy felt projects in the works that I’ll share later on.

Today I’m diving into womanist theology for a while. I’m building a pretty long list of questions for the publisher since it’s been a few years since I freelanced for this company. I’m making love to my Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition.

(Thanks to my father in law for the cartoon! It’s disturbingly realistic.)

Sick and Impatient

This is one of those posts in which I tell the ugly truth.

My children have been sick this week. Lucas came down with a cold when he was sleeping over at Grandma and Papa’s house last Saturday night. He came home on Sunday feeling pretty bad and stayed home from school Monday through Wednesday. Yesterday he was clearly feeling better and really bored with being home; I know this because he kept getting into trouble. He actually swung from the curtain and ripped the rod and fitting right out of the wall. Another time I caught him climbing the wire dresser drawers in his closet and throwing toys stacked on the high closet shelf down to the floor. This makes for a frustrating time for both of us.

Understandably, this morning Lucas begged to be allowed to go back to school, so we packed him off for the day — and good riddance! Alas, by 10 a.m. he was done, feeling sick and tired again, and asking to come home. Later today, though, he told me that he blames me — I am so selfish I won’t let him go back to school. He decided that Ms. Duncan (his teacher) would be his mommy from now on. He doesn’t want me anymore. Honestly, why did I ever teach him to talk?

Asher came down with the same cold on Tuesday, so I figure that’s a whole week of work time shot. He won’t nap today with his brother home and being crazy. Consequently, Asher isn’t exactly in the best of moods for lack of a proper rest and being sick.

I’m just not able to be very productive with my editing when they’re home sick. Be patient, please, my books! I hope to get back to you soon. I may have to escape this weekend and work elsewhere to catch up if Asher is still ill, or if Ian comes down with the cold, too. (We share everything around here, especially germs!)

A few good things have happened this week, though:

*  I was able to finish my donations to the school fundraiser auction yesterday (see yesterday’s post). I’m happy with how they turned out.

* I bought a client gift that I’ve been meaning to buy for several months now. Deciding on the perfect thing was tough, but I think I’ve got it now. I sent her Andy Goldsworthy’s first book of his land art. We’ll see if she likes it.

* I signed Lucas up for some fun morning-long camp days at Effie Yeaw Nature Center during spring break. I’ve also advertised this fact to some of his best buddies’ parents in the hopes that they will sign their kids up, too. One program is about woodpeckers and the other is about worms and bugs. He loves those day camps. Too bad their budget is so limited this year. Last year they had camp every morning for a week; this year it’s only two days.

* I bought some stuff for the next couple of holidays (St. Patrick’s Day and Easter). I’m planning a few projects to do with the kiddos, which will be fun I think. I’m trying to be better about planning ahead this year.

See how I’m counting my blessings? They say that’s the trick.

Geez. Sometimes I just feel like I’m not so good at this parenting job. I’m really struggling today. I wonder why I don’t have as much patience as I want to have, why I can’t be more “here now,” as they say. I wish I could somehow be 100% fulfilled by wiping noses and catering meals. I wish I could shake this desperate feeling. If I could, I think I might be happier.

Never mind.

Work Travel

Yesterday at about 6:30 Pacific time: I’m finally one of those people on the airplane using a laptop. I’m maybe halfway through my flight now. The flight was delayed two hours and I didn’t leave SF airport until 3:45. My day has been fine, but a little long. It seems like more of this time should be productive, but there is a lot of waiting to move and when I tried to get Internet service in the airport, both Mozilla Firefox and IE said they couldn’t find the network connection. I could see the free public network, connect to it, but couldn’t surf. Frustrating. My boss has been worrying about my traveling today. The taxi company that’s supposed to pick me up at the airport knows my flight has been delayed.

I’m already missing my family. Yes, I’m having a small adventure. Yes, I got to see snow-covered Rockies out my window. That’s wonderful and I wish I was better at enjoying my time alone. It is a strange unease, though. Kind of like maybe I forgot to bring along two arms and a leg on this trip. There won’t be much time for fun or sightseeing, though. I’m working almost all the hours I’m in New Jersey.

I packed a tiny sewing project with me this time. A few pieces of felt, about six pins, needle and embroidery floss. And Mom lent me the niftiest little device—a little thread cutter with no visible (forbidden) blade. It’s a small brass pendant hanging around my neck. Pull a thread through any of the slots around the edge of the pendant and it goes in past the blade and cuts, just like magic! I am wishing I had had more time at home to cut out all the pieces of felt I need because I’ve already sewn the bulk of what I did bring and now I’ve run out of project. The whole thing was well conceived except for its duration. I didn’t bring along my knitting.

Today 8:30 pm Eastern time: I’m exhausted! After I’m done with writing this I’m calling home and then going to sleep. I didn’t get to my hotel until 1:45 am today. Got 4.5 hours of sleep and then hit the ground running for 8 hours of meeting today, plus a dinner. It all went well and I think this could be an awesome project. I’m kind of wishing that in this room full of PhDs and EDDs that I had more than a BA under my belt. This is textbook publishing, so that stuff matters—kind of. Anyway, everyone is warm and friendly and very knowledgeable.

Tomorrow we meet from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, then head to the airport. I’ll arrive in Sacramento sometime near midnight—if everything goes perfectly and my two flights aren’t delayed. Rain tomorrow here, but snow in Chicago. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I’ve only seen a teeny-tiny slice of New Jersey, but what I’ve seen is very pretty. Bare, deciduous woods with snow on the ground, punctuated by gorgeous, big homes. No fences, not much yard, just woods.  I’m truly grateful to be here and to be doing this. I just miss my family and my husband’s strong arms around me. Tomorrow I will rock it, and then I will make a long trek home.

Today’s Adventures

The day started with blueberry smoothies

and Lego construction of video game hardware

Like Wii and DS

That’s all he needs, really—little Lego devices on which he can pin his imaginary games

The boys left to play at our friends’ house and indulge in a little real Wii Sports

Then for me, some light reading: a fundamentals of nursing textbook

I was lured outside for some photography

Gotta catch these plum blossoms before they’re gone

See the little star?

An unexpected visit from Mom and a cup of coffee

More nursing reading on topics of theories of caring, cultural sensitivity, and the ADPIE nursing process

I jogged through the sunshiny neighborhood to pick up the kids from their play date—oh boy, am I out of shape!

Walking/running home with one son in fast, new white trainers and the other wearing the jumpiest pair of firefighter galoshes you’ve ever seen

Second lunch of meat for Baby Asher Dragon

Lunch of leftover vegetable soup for me

A little planting of primroses, which will probably do fine where we put them until it gets too warm

Finding a worm

Watering plants lead to spraying children who cavorted with great glee and got soaking wet

In February!

High of 65° F


We met a garden foefriend

Who couldn’t find his way off this plate

Dry clothes for everyone

Then a cuddle and some stories; the children are into playing Monkey and Dragon these days, so we read books with, what else?

Monkeys and dragons

Hug (Thanks, Auntie NoNo and Uncle Mars!)

Sky Castle

and—what the hay—a Japanese fairy tale called “Kuzma and the Fox”

Sweet afternoon slumber for the wee one

Lucas and I headed back outdoors for some Winter Olympic Games

Like speed skating, long track

Figure skating

and ice hockey

On the lawn with bare feet!

More work reading

A few moments of  “DragonFly TV” and “Fetch with Ruff Ruffman” on PBS Kids for Lucas

Asher wandered out, crawled into my lap and slept on

So sweet

Cuddling sleeping boys is just about the best thing in the world (unless you have to pee)

“Wake up, Asher, or you’ll never sleep tonight!”

A shower for me

Pretend video games for Lucas

Daddy’s home!

Lucas reading Jamberry to Asher!

Just a tad of stream-of-consciousness blogging

Sounds of some kind of Dragon and Monkey game with lots of sound effects and shouting

Soon, dinner and bedtime

Then project prep

More work reading, like the Roy Adaptation Model


Sleep tight.

Spring in February

It’s teacher in-service week around here, which means my kids have the week off school and daycare. I’m getting help from grandma and some friends here and there, which is great because I have a big meeting to prepare for. Next week I’m flying to New Jersey for two days of meetings. I’m excited and nervous. It’s my longest trip away from my kids ever—three days!

The weather has turned so exquisitely springlike it’s making me feel a little drunk. Crocuses and daffodils are blooming. The quinces in the neighborhood are bursting out coral blossoms. Today I noticed my flowering plum tree has its first blossoms. Hallelujah! I know more rainy, cold weather is ahead. It’s OK. I’m just glorying in our false spring and enjoying the moment. The sun on my face feels spectacular. Yesterday we enjoyed some late afternoon time at our local schoolyard.

Today, Lucas and I left the house in short-sleeved T-shirts. Out of habit and a belief that Asher still doesn’t regulate his own temperature all that well, I made him wear two long-sleeve shirts. At about 1:30 this afternoon he turned to me and stammered something I couldn’t make out. Then he gathered his thoughts and said, quite clearly, “I’m so sweaty!” Oh! Sorry kid. Let’s take off a shirt.

The boys and I visited Great Grandmother RoRo and Great Grandaunt Nana today. It was good to see them, but also strange. My children don’t relate well to Ro at all, which makes me sad because she was such fun when I was a child. These sweet ladies look pretty well and we sat outside in the sunshine together and watched the boys play.

Later at home I gave the kids haircuts. Asher really hates this procedure. He cries and says I’m hurting him, and freaks out whenever the shorn hairs touch his skin. To get him to stay in the chair so I could do the job, I had to give him a Valentine chocolate cut into four pieces. It took a lot of patience on both our parts, but we ended up with an OK cut.

This is one of Lucas’s shots from yesterday evening. I like the color.

Life is good. We are fine. Hope you are too!

Good Day, Sunshine!

The sun is out! This is kind of electrifying after all the rain we’ve had this month.

I made a new contact at a big company that provides publishing services to many publishers today. He had already found an editor for his project, but I was able to send him my info and résumé and ask him to keep me in mind for future projects. It was a pleasant exchange and I’m fairly optimistic something might come of it. They do a lot of publishing for K-12 and that’s a new area I’d be interested in, and one for which my experience would be well suited, I think.

I’m looking forward to being able to point such potential clients at my new biz website and say, “Hey, check me out.”

I’ve got other irons in the fire now, too, and I’m kind of wondering if any of them will result in work. One possibility is that they all will, all at once. That’s a sobering thought, but also a happy one. I’m enjoying a tiny lull right now and spent part of the day invoicing.

The school fundraiser auction is coming up and I’m wondering what I might want to make and donate. Last year I needle felted some fairy folk and donated them along with a book of stories. One idea might be to sew another birthday bunting that might be included in a bigger “birthday package”-type auction item. But I’ve always wanted to needle-felt some seasonal dolls. Must think on this some more.

Tiptoes Lightly, Pepper Pot, and Pine Cone by moi


I worked a long time with a great author. He is patient and gentle, even when things get hairy. The book just recently shipped to the printer. I got this wonderful message of praise from him after I wrote him to say we are all done:

“You were incredible throughout, from start to finish; the unsung heroine…my heroine! Thank you for being so patient, persistent, creative, and flexible. You made this possible; without you, it would not have been! Congratulations, and thank you, thank you, thank you!”

I’m still flying high from this. Here’s the best part—I’ll get to work with him again!

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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