Today I am Both of Us

Us, 9.5.16
Us, 9.5.16

Just after noon on Sunday I heard a knock on our front door.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw Dave and his friend standing outside. I thought to myself, “Doesn’t’ he have a key?” I heard a knock again as I made my way. I opened the door and saw their terrified faces.  Dave’s friend was bracing Dave.  Dave was scraped, bloodied, and completely covered in dirt. I only wish I had had the wherewithal to take a picture.  Instead I believe I did the right then and desperately asked,

“What happened?”

“Dave crashed. He needs a CT scan.” His friend said.

“What?” I said followed by a few expletives as I firmly placed my worried hand on Dave’s wavering shoulder. Now I was terrified.

Dave, Day 1
Dave, Day 1

It could have been much worse. I know that a million times over.  Dave and his friend were near the end of their ride. Dave’s friend was riding behind Dave and watched as Dave went over his handlebars, and landed on his helmeted head, right eye and cheek.  Dave was immediately knocked unconscious. In the words of his friend:

“Then his body went limp. His arms hung straight at his side – lifeless.”

Like a rag doll, Dave continued to slide face-first down the path. He was unconscious for approximately 2 minutes.  His friend, who happens to be a doctor, also told me it took effort to wake Dave:

“I had to shake him and really work to wake him.”

Once Dave was alert, it took another 10 minutes or so for Dave to know who he was or where he was.

We knew that the next 24 – 48 hours should let us know if Dave’s big brain is ok. And yes, that is what they said when they reviewed his CT scan:

“He has a big brain.”  

Those of you who know Dave, and know his insatiable curiosity and need to learn, are probably not shocked to hear that yes, Dave’s actual brain is large.  What we also learned is that Dave has two facial fractures, a ligament thumb injury, a large mystery bruise/pain on his side (probably a bruised hip bone), a big blood blister on his pinky finger (listed here for levity), road rash everywhere and a high-grade concussion (because he was knocked unconscious – and for more than a few seconds). Of course, only time will tell if there will be any long-term effects.

Blood Blister on Dave's pinky finger
Blood Blister on Dave’s pinky finger

It is 2:51 PM.

Dave is still in bed. He does not want to eat. I can barely get him to drink water.  His right eye, cheek and chin are more swollen.  He looks like he was punched in the face. His road rash looks worse, but I have also seen worse.

I, on the other hand, feel anxious, lonely, lost, and very lucky. When something goes wrong or is just not right, Dave is my constant.  He really is my best friend. He gets me. He laughs at my crazy humor. He knows I worry. He knows I over analyze. He knows I feel more than any person probably should.  I can talk to him – always. Even during those times when I literally want to throw him head first off of say his mountain bike, Dave does not run. He engages said moment and fights back.  Sure, while we fight, Dave will most likely be looking at his iPhone. That is what makes Dave, Dave.

Dave today
Dave,  today, 9.6.16

Earlier, but after 2:51 PM (it is now 7:52 PM), Kyle and I helped Dave get out of bed. He can hardly move. It takes two of us to finagle him up. While we were moving him, I touched his very painful and swollen thumb. He shrieked,

“Beth, YOU KEEP TOUCHING IT! How many times do I have to tell you not to touch my sore thumb?”

Kyle and I looked at each other and smiled.  We knew Dave was wrong. I wanted to fight back and say,

“Dave, I have not touched your stupid thumb. Seriously, this is the first time.”

Dave, Today, 9.6.16
Dave, today, 9.6.16

And then I remembered the persistent medical advice we have been given:

“He will seem to make so much sense, but actually makes no sense. Concussions are hard on the concussed and hard on the family. Be patient with him and yourselves. Cut him a lot of slack…”

Somehow in that moment, I was able to I take a deep breath, shut my defensive mouth, and help Dave. I promise I won’t always be this patient. In truth it only took an hour for me to lose my cool.   Dave needed to send an email. He is supposed to be off screens right now. He was stubborn, so was I.

“Dude, just let me write the email.” He insisted.

I backed down. We compromised. He wrote the email and promised to rest stay of screens. I edited it. Thank God. In those few sentences, I could no longer deny the fact that Dave’s head is bonked. Then I felt afraid. I wanted to run to my best friend (Dave) and say,

“Dude, what are we going to do with Dave? Is he even going to be ok? Can you believe how strange he is acting? Did you read that email? Some of it was so well written and then… It is really freaking me out!”  

But today, Dave lies injured in a dark room.

I know concussions are a mystery. I know their results are often unpredictable. Kyle had a friend, who was very seriously concussed. His friend seemed just fine and then wasn’t. It was awful and profound.

Our family is also no stranger mystery and mystery illness. Ate age seven Kyle was bitten by a Copperhead snake. Immediately we were told he would lose his right arm.  Together, standing in Maryland’s Suburban Hospital, Dave and I looked at each other as tears streamed down our faces. Kyle overheard the news. He was elated and exclaimed:

“Mom, Dad, this means I will have a bionic arm!”

“So not cool.” Dave and I said to each other.  And together we told Kyle, “dude, I promise your real arm will always be better.” Thank god the doctors were wrong.

Road Rash
Road Rash
More Road Rash
More Road Rash

A few minutes ago Kyle and I returned from a walk.  We left Eli home with Dave. At some point Kyle stressed,

“Mom, I need to get home. I need to finish my homework.”

I shot back and said,

“Fine.  Let’s go.”

I turned in the direction of home and quickly began walking. I was frustrated and wanted to talk to Kyle like I talk I can talk Dave. I wanted him to comprehend how overwhelmed and scared I feel. Kyle does get it. Kyle is my son and it is not fair for me to impose that kind of worry on him. I am the parent.  As I calmed my insides, my pace evened out. I knew I needed to apologize for being a boob. I did. Then Kyle apologized for being impatient.  This is hard on all of us.

Just two days ago Dave and I were walking, talking and connecting. Dave said,

“Hey Beth. You know what? Our life is really good. It is funny because it is definitely not easy. And it never turns out exactly how we hope it will. But in the end, our life is good.”  

Dave is right. Our life is good. Yes, it is very unpredictable, but whose isn’t? Right now I am grateful. Dave is alive. Dave is not in a coma. Sure, I wish I could have my best friend here to hold my hand, tell me that everything will be ok, and walk me through this tough moment.

But today, I need to be both of us.

Dave, yesterday, 9.5.16
Dave, yesterday, 9.5.16

Learn From Me: Go Easy on Yourself

Me and Big Daddy, Kellie Castle, Scotland, United Kingdom, July, 2016
Me and Big Daddy, Kellie Castle, Scotland, United Kingdom, July, 2016

My first and probably most important words do not come from me. See, recently I watched the documentary, “Amy,” about the life of Amy Winehouse.  I loved it. It was sad and of course I loved how the filmmaker captured her vulnerability. It was fascinating to see video of her before hair extensions, stylists and insane paparazzi. She was flawed (like many of us are).  And even with extravagant vacations, fancy eyebrow tweezing and tons of money Amy remained broken. Like the rest of us, she was trying to get along in this crazy world. The world knows about her insane relationship with alcohol and drugs. Come on, she was filmed smoking crack and filmed incoherent while trying to perform. I am sure she struggled with depression (obviously and I, again, like so many, do too). She died very young and honestly, there is a part of me that wonders if her death is what she needed to find relief.

Near the end of the documentary Amy Winehouse had an opportunity to sing with Tony Bennett. Mr. Bennett had handpicked artists to sing with him for his “Duets” album.  Amy was one of them. I loved how they sang together. I love how beautiful she sounded and how transparent her nerves were. I loved what Mr. Bennett said: “The very best artists always get the most nervous.” It kind of makes sense.

After Amy Winehouse died, Tony Bennett was interviewed about her death.  Picture this. Tony Bennett was walking down the street wearing his smoky-tinted-glasses. In his slightly incoherent-jazzy-voice way he said the following:

“Life is about learning to live.”

Kyle and Eli, Sugarhouse Park, August, 2006
Kyle and Eli, Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, August, 2006
Eli Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, August, 2016
Eli Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, August, 2016. Running the Highland Cross Country Invitational.
Kyle and Eli, Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, August, 2006
Kyle and Eli, Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, August, 2006
Kyle, Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, August, 2016. Running the highland Cross Country Invitational.
Kyle, Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, August, 2016. Running the Highland Cross Country Invitational.


As Dave and I walked down a new street the other night, I told him what Tony Bennett said.

“It is profound. It is true.” I added, “And it is about learning to forgive ourselves and those around us.”

People. Life really does go by in the blink of an eye. Opportunities will pass if you are not in the space to grab them. Do not beat yourself up. Move forward and find something else. Mostly, do not be afraid to stand in what you want or what you believe. Remember, you cannot control every aspect of your environment. It is simply not possible. I promise when you mean it least you will upset people most. It is just how the universe operates. PLEASE do not let the possibility that you may hurt someone’s feelings keep you from doing what is best for you. Get your shit together, let go and forgive. The end.

Kyle, Eli, and I, Park City, Utah, July, 2006
Kyle, Eli, and I, Park City, Utah, July, 2006

…Ok. So maybe there is a little more.

Exactly ten years ago I was a semi-well known blogger. Upon reflection, blogging (writing for an audience) is one of my great joys. At the time I struggled owning this. Can I blame the fact that I never have felt deserving of my space? Sure. Can I adjust a childhood memory to validate my doubt? Of course I can. Did I step aside so my brother and sister could have the special art classes and be in the high school musicals (without me invading their space)? Yes. I did that too. When I was asked to step aside, my child brain said,

“Beth, you are not worthy.”

As a result, when push comes to shove, when say a college art professor challenges me about “my gift,” I will always freak out. And I will most definitely step aside. Why? It is simple. I cannot believe someone is actually telling me I am good enough. I could never see that people believed in me. I never let the words penetrate, “Beth, you are talented.” Talent was for my brother and my sister. I am certain my parents did not mean for me view life this way. It is just how kids see things. It is how I saw things. I get it. I have also made the same missteps with my own boys.

When it came to my blog,, I was also filled with self-doubt and freaked out. I could not comprehend that I deserved a space. I know. It sounds silly. Silly or not. I told you that I was good at self-sabotage. I am an expert at aligning myself with doubters, dieters and critical people. I rationalize warning signs and ignore red flags. So when I had a readership of 20,0000  – 30,000 unique visitors a day, I could not comprehend how awesome my web traffic was. In that early stage of blogging, I had no idea how well I was doing. In fairness, I do not think most of us did. Nevertheless, became my thing. It was not a job. It was my passion. It was my therapy, my touchstone and my way to connect. I wrote every day and my words came from my mouth. I did not lie. I did not adjust my stories. My words were my reality. And because I did not know how to believe in myself, I really had no idea about the possibility staring me in the face.

As the words posted each day, I gained notice. I was recognized as Beth from CrazyUs all over the place. It was totally weird and also very cool. I was stopped at airports, the grocery store and church. I was sought out for what I had to say and it felt really nice. Soon I was branching out. I wrote a piece for a magazine and was considering other writing opportunities and sponsorships. When it was suggested I write a book, I actually considered the possibility.

Bottom line is this: I could not see what was in front of me. In spite of all of the opportunity and notice, I had no idea how completely special this moment was. Instead, I doubted and chose to listen to other voices.

Ultimately, instead of cutting myself slack for not being the perfect human, I let my life spin out. I freaked out. I shut my blog down. I ignored a very special and gifted opportunity.  I ignored my voice. I ran away from the healing I was offering through my own experience. Then I moved away.

Since August 2006, blogs blew up. Meryl Streep was in a movie that paralleled the life of a food blogger. Female bloggers were traveling to Africa and kicking it with Michelle Obama. Every blogger found ways to make money, to get free stuff and to give that free stuff away. The closest I came to reengaging was a job offer I received in 2009. I was asked to participate with the development of a now very successful blog conference. I declined.

In the end, I quit blogging for various reasons. I quit as an attempt to spare my mom her continually hurt feelings. I also told myself I was quitting in an attempt to save friendships. Ten years is a great training ground. Because my mom is my mom, and we are tied by our love and DNA, we healed, let go and forgave. (I hope) my mom sees I need to do what I need to do. I see that it is completely unfair to expect her no-strings blessings. The friends I broke up with over blogging, well, that was a fascinating experience. It took me a very long time to process that if it was not blogging, something else would have unsettled these people.  It also took me slightly less time to see that I do not have the power to fix a friendship or fix a person.  Yes. I am human. I still struggle with concept that some relationships will never reconcile. I still hope that my dad and I will high five each other one day. Dreams are fulfilled in Lifetime movies. My dreams are being filled by living my life. As such, I honestly believe we can find a way to healing. [Again] Yes, I will always struggle with the concept that we each see the world through our own lens. Meaning, people will see me the way they choose and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change their perspective.

Interestingly enough in ten years, the pendulum also balanced itself. There are still blogs, but not the crazy explosion. Instead there are the Influencers.  What I chose was healing over fame and success. I do not think I am noble. And because I was afraid, I missed my own comet. I have had to forgive myself several times over. Nevertheless, since I stepped away from blogging in August, 2006, my life as a blogger has never ever been the same.

I only wish that ten year ago that I had a supportive voices in my head like the ones I have now.  I wish I had a Tony-Bennett voice (yes, all jazzy-voiced and all) on repeat saying:

“Hey Beth.  Go easy on yourself. Life, well, life is about learning to live.”  

Us, Park City, Utah, August, 2006
Words imbedded into the foundation of our house, Park City, Utah, August, 2006

Will Black Lives Matter Next Week?

Me and Big Daddy, Salt Lake City, Utah
Me and Big Daddy, Salt Lake City, Utah

Recently it was #humantrafficking in response to sexual violence and literal human trafficking. Then it was it was #Orlando and everyone became #LGBT strong. Of course then everyone had a gay friend! Now, after the horrific and unjust deaths of two black men, and some crazy dude going on an anti-cop rampage, it is about black people because #blacklivesmatter. What I realize is that in my safe (white) neighborhood (including my Facebook community), it is easy to say #blacklivesmatter. It is easy to jump into a cause. See, sex-traffickers, gay people, and black people are not directly interfering with our very white world. And in our very white world, how will black lives actually always matter instead of becoming this week’s convenient and self-glorifying upper-middle-class-white-person #CauseOfTheWeek?

Sure, among the better-intentioned of my peers, black lives, really all lives, are not a cause. To my well-intentioned peers all lives sincerely matter today, tomorrow and forever. For the rest of us, I think we need to face our own reality. What about when no one is looking, will black lives matter then? Will a black life matter when, say, a loud and out-of-control homeless man, a man who happens to be black, approaches your very white child?

Here it is. I am no expert on humanity. I have no degrees in psychology, sociology, or even biology. I am not paid clergy. I am not gay. I am not Muslim. I am not a person of color.

Makeda, Eli, Kyle & Dima, Mound, Minnesota, November, 2006
Makeda, Eli, Kyle & Dima, Mound, Minnesota, November, 2006

I am white.

In fact, I am a woman who lives around a lot of other LuluLemon-wearing, upper middle class white people. The demographic of my neighborhood consists almost entirely of well-educated white folk: lawyers, MBA graduates, high-tech VP’s, dentists, doctors and University of Utah professors. Here in the Country Club neighborhood (yes, that is literally the name of my neighborhood), we do not often see people who look different than us. Because I also live in a high-density white, Mormon, upper middle class area, different and shocking around here is akin to seeing the occasional inactive (fallen), and also white, Mormon out in public, holding a Starbucks cup filled with actual coffee. If we are really lucky, we may see a tattoo or a tasteful nose piercing. As such, I am certain platforms like my Facebook feed, my local retailers, and my sons’ school community are all reflections of my white, upper middle class world.

The best I can offer is my very limited perspective. My family and I travel often and throughout the world. We make a point to walk and learn a community. We seek out neighborhood grocery stores and love to talk to the locals. We love to see a world different than our own. I also grew up lower middle class, often on the brink of teetering out of the middle class. I knew what it was like to have no food in the fridge, to have the electricity shut off, have my father out of work, and to not have enough money to buy the clothes I needed to fit in socially. I began working when I was eleven, babysitting full time during the summers. I needed to babysit so I could afford the “right” clothes and have spending money. I continued working all throughout high school.

Now I am a wife and a mother. I do not work. Moments ago my two sons left to hang out with their friends. Eli is going longboarding. He and his friends will be looking for Pokemon. Kyle is going to a birthday party. He will spend the afternoon hanging out and swimming. Kyle and Eli do not have summer jobs. In fact, they do not need summer jobs. We want them to focus their efforts on getting good grades and participating in extracurricular activities. Next year Kyle will have a summer internship, followed by Eli two years later. Of course these internships are so they can bolster their college applications. Kyle leaves later this week for a Student Body Officer camp. After that, he will go to an ACT Prep Camp and a Peer Court Camp.

Marianne and her kids, Shady Oak Lake, Minnetonka, MN
Marianne and her kids, Shady Oak Lake, Minnetonka, MN
Eli and Dima, Shady Oak Lake, Minnetonka, MN
Eli and Dima, Shady Oak Lake, Minnetonka, MN

All of this to say that I am deeply concerned that hashtag black lives matter does not really touch my world. Instead, among people in my demographic, at best #blacklivesmatter really is the self-congratulatory cause of the week. At worst, it’s something to be annoyed or even outraged by. Further, I am worried that the following and very serious issue will be completely missed: we live in a world where people are separate and NOT EQUAL.

Somewhere we have been taught to fear those who are different than we are. And because we have been taught to fear difference, I think we struggle to see anyone different equally? It is a fact. Black people look different than white people. Orthodox Muslims dress differently than we do and homeless people often look shabby enough that we cannot recognize them at a distance. How can we see black people equally when we simply cannot? How can we have compassion when one black man decides to kill five police officers? How can we see people equally when we assume the veiled and robed lady is a terrorist — or at least knows one? How can we all matter when one of our presidential contenders is all about the divide, suggesting we ban all the Muslims and have the Mexicans build a wall *(directly from his website, by the way) between them and us? Ok. Let me simplify and bring it closer to my own neighborhood. How can black lives matter when even the sight of a white homeless person makes you fear for your child’s life?

Complicating the matter, I wonder, how can #blacklivesmatter, or even any life matter, when we live in a country that was founded on the basis of separating itself from another? Consequently, we separate to differentiate, feel safe and feel comfortable. We surround ourselves with sameness — even black people do that. Nevertheless, when it comes to the fundamental American concept of equality, there is mostly lip service. People of color consistently get the extremely short end of the stick – no question. Beyond hashtag, how can we live in and maintain a world where we we are treated equally?

Marianne and I, Shady Oak Lake, Minnetonka, MN
Marianne and I, Shady Oak Lake, Minnetonka, MN

I was born and raised in Minnesota right outside of Minneapolis. As a result, I must admit that the Philando Castile murder caught my attention more than Alton Sterling’s did two days prior. Falcon Heights, Minnesota, the place of Philando Castile’s murder, is also a predominantly white (*73.3%), middle class urban neighborhood situated next to the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. I imagine it is similar to where I live now. A few days ago my best friend Marianne called me. She currently lives in Minnesota. She has four children. Three are biracial (dad from Africa and white Marianne). She recently gained custody of her fourth, a gorgeous African-American teenage girl. Marianne called as she was driving through Falcon Heights. She called just to tell me how “eerie” and “white” Falcon Heights is.

“I cannot believe what happened here.” She said and then paused. “It’s so quiet.”

Then right before I went to sleep last night Dave shared what he had just been reading:

“Beth.” He said and continued, “Did you know that Philando Castile had been pulled over fifty-two times for minor infractions before he was shot on the fifty-third?”

“Are you serious?” I asked and then kept asking.

My eyes widened and I contemplated how it would be to be pulled over by the police fifty-three times. I thought of the already-prepared statement I would have in my head. As I imagined the police officer approaching, I would want to get it all out there,

“Look officer. I am a good person. I am with my family. Now I am going to reach for my license and registration….”

I imagined Philando saying those same things. I felt physically ill. That is when I lost it. I kept saying.

“How can we change? Can we change?”

The other day I walked into my local Walmart. Right behind me was a well-dressed, clean cut, suburban-looking, middle-aged African American woman. She was wearing a purse-styled backpack. Walking next to her was her adorable tween daughter. The adorable tween gave me a sweet smile, and held the door for me, as we walked in. Right behind us was a Walmart security guard. I did not notice him until I saw him frantically running up to the woman. I assumed he was going to say something helpful such as,

“Ma’am I noticed you left your car door open.”

Nope. Here is what he said,

“Ma’am you cannot take that in here.”

I was completely confused.

“What in here?” I thought.

I come to find that the security guard would not allow her to take her not-large backpack purse into the store. I wanted to say something, but feared I would make it worse for her. I watched the security guard walk her over to a little area all-the-while explaining how “here at Walmart it’s against the rules to wear a backpack into the store.” She was filled with grace and pleasantly placed her backpack into a locker.

Ok. The Walmart security guard was not telling the whole truth. If I had a dollar for every time I have been wearing my very backpack-y-looking and not all all purse-like backpack and walked right past that very same security guard into that very same Walmart, I could buy you lunch. I have never been asked to place my bright green nylon backpack in a locker — ever. (ok. once Dave was after I wrote this post.)

Eli, Makeda, Kyle, Minnetonka, MN, July, 2009
Eli, Makeda, Kyle, Minnetonka, MN, July, 2009

I have driven my Volvo SUV in cities and suburbs all over this country, in nice neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, Potomac, Palo Alto, and oue Country Club neighborhood , and also South Central LA, Oakland, Southeast DC, and west Salt Lake. Never once have I been pulled over for a broken tail light (though I’ve had one) or an expired registration (though I’ve had one — now once) or any other trivial infraction. I asked Dave and he said he’s been pulled over for a registration, but was let off with a warning.

In America, white soccer moms in Volvos don’t get pulled over by cops in Beverly Hills, and they don’t get pulled over in South Central. Black men like Philando Castile get pulled over 53 times for driving in nice white neighborhoods. According to from article in NPR, Black folks in not-so-nice neighborhoods like Ferguson Missouri have it just as bad or worse: the 21,135 people who live there were issued 32,975 arrest warrants for nonviolent offenses, mostly driving violations, in a single year.

Us, Moab, Utah
Us, Moab, Utah (yes, in our Volvo)

Yes, I realize that I’m such a Volvo-driving soccer mom that I just cited an NPR story. Case closed.


–This piece was written by David and Beth Adams

Please Fix Me

Originally posted on July 7, 2006 at 9:57 PM.

Me and my boys Hawaii 2007

Wednesday, July 5, 2006, there we were. It was beautiful, sunny and warm.

Dave took the day off and we were driving East on I-80. I turned on our CD player and instead of listening to Kyle’s Magic Treehouse CD, I randomly switched to something else. Immediately I recognized that it was one of the CDs that has been in the car for at least six months. You see, between NPR and children’s CD books, it is hard to fit in the occasional Mommy-Mixed-CD. And out of the speakers I heard Coldplay’s Chris Martin sing,

“When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
could it be worse?”

I could not stop them. Through heaving sobs, I shook my fist in the air and yelled,

Damn You, Chris Martin! Damn you Coldplay!

Just the night before, I mean, just hours before, Dave and I were talking about how much we enjoy sex when I am pregnant. Dave joked about how much better the love-making would be as my belly grew. We felt close and I was finally letting myself be excited about this little baby. As Dave touched the tiny beginnings of my pregnant belly, we decided that we were probably having a boy . . .

I sat in the passenger seat choking. I could not breathe. Snot covered my face.

“Lights will guide you home
and ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.”

I thought my head was going to explode. For the past two days I have remained the strong mother and stoic MidWesterner that I am supposed to be.  Then the blindside:  a silly, love song’s profound words completely knock me off center.

Right now it is happening now. I am sniffing away the wet, tear drips that cover my face. I know I cannot hide anymore. (I have been hiding since Wednesday.)

Zeke's Pink Gerber Daisy, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006
Zeke’s Pink Gerber Daisy, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006

Another blindside happened earlier.  I saw something sitting on our back doorstep. It was a bouquet of flowers.  My friend left them after she received Dave’s phone message. She knew that I could not speak, so she left the flowers in a safe place for me to find. When I found them, my tears found me. I needed those flowers. And I needed (still need) the phone calls. I needed the chocolate wheat-free, dairy-free cookies. I needed the tea. I needed those beautiful pink nutmeg-smelling irises. I needed the gentle phone call warning me that they were coming and that I didn’t have to come to the door if I didn’t want to. I needed the card hidden in our secret mailbox. I needed my sister’s email and my other sisters’ caring words. I needed little Zeke’s pink Gerber Daisy. I needed the hugs. I needed my friend Marianne, who was visiting from Minneapolis to grab me and say,

“I know you can’t talk right now, but Beth, I love you.”

I needed my kind doctor to choke up and lower his head as he, Dave, and I viewed my ultrasound. I needed Dave to quietly hold my hand. I am sure I will continue to need while I struggle through this. But honestly, I don’t know how to say,

“I need you.” I usually don’t need.

I was about to take Marianne and her two beautiful children, Makeda and Dima to the airport as I stood at the back of our car fighting with her double stroller. In a flash, all the angry pain I was holding in came crashing out. And then I really began to fight with that stupid, gigantic, awkward, idiotic, four-wheeled, piece of shit (a child’s stroller).

Marianne physically grabbed a hold of me, encouraged me to stop long enough so she could say,

“Beth, I am here to help. I know you want to do it all by yourself, but you can’t. I understand. I do the same thing.”

I needed to hear that. I needed her to stop me.

Easy E, The Gateway, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 2006
Easy E, The Gateway, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 2006

I know you know where this is going. I have to say it anyway. See, Wednesday I was headed for my ultrasound. Before leaving for my appointment, all the calm I had felt this past month was washed away when Eli completely freaked out while I attempted to get him into his car seat.


“What? You can’t be serious? Eli, those Popsicles are precisely measured by a machine. They are ALL the same size. Now stop it and get in the car!”

Of course I was nervous about being late. I needed to drop the boys off at the park first where My mom was waiting to watch them.

[crying] “Mom, I can’t buckle my seat belt.”

“Eli, just do it! Please. We are going to be late.”

Immediately I felt bad for yelling. I felt bad for letting my nerves take over.

“Eli, I am sorry. I love you.”

“Mommy, I love you too.”

I think Eli knew. I think he knew something was wrong.

Now at the appointment things seemed weird. Instead of waiting the usual forty-five minutes, my doctor was on time. He, not a nurse, whisked us back. I stepped away to empty my bladder, undressed from the waist down and hopped on the table. Quickly he inserted the ultra-sound device. It didn’t take seconds, or even a breath. Immediately I knew. So did my doctor. Desperately  he fiddled with the device trying to see if somehow he had done something wrong. He hadn’t. We both saw it: There was no baby, just an empty egg sac. In the last few days my body had absorbed the baby. Sick! And why the hell did I ever have to see an embryo and a heartbeat? Seriously, why?

Instantly I was positive and pragmatic. I sat up on the hospital bed and  assured both Dave and the doctor that everything would be ok. Then I reassured. My doctor lowered his head. I watched him intently.  He was so quiet and still. He was honoring our moment. He knew our journey well. He knew that this wasn’t just a miscarriage. He knew about our years of trying, years of doctors, treatments, x-rays, blood tests, I.U.I, laparoscopies, hysteroscopys, and huge disappointments. Then I stopped reassuring. I breathed in his wise silence.  Kindly, he raised his head and said.

Beth, if you don’t let yourself grieve, you will not heal.

Those simple words broke through and the tears began sneaking out. I tried to hold them back. I urgently tried to force them back in. I needed to be alone. I felt humiliated.

Dave and I spent the next few hours alone while my wonderful mom entertained my boys, Marianne, and her children.

“What will I tell people? Just yesterday I was telling people how safe I thought I was because I had made it to my twelfth week. I can’t . . .”

See, my body still thought there was a little baby growing inside. It did not want to let go either. And there I was dealing with my miscarriage at home.  I do not handle anesthesia very well so my doctor opted to give me pills to start the process. Though the embryo was gone, all of the tissue that supports the embryo’s growth remained. My body did not want to let go.

It was time. We put the kids to bed. Next we went over our back-up plan of what we should do in case there were complications and I needed to be rushed to the hospital. Then Dave helped me with the little pills. I had to insert six of them vaginally. It was supposed to happen fast. We started watching the movie, Must Love Dogs, because that was what was on. As the movie ended, I felt the cramping and we decided we would try to sleep.

As I lay there, I felt just like I did when I went into labor with Kyle. This time, instead of having a big belly, I was small and completely alone — no doctors, no nurses, no excited well-wishers, just stillness. In our dark room, I was tense. My fists were clenched and I felt the contractions. They hurt so much more than I had anticipated. They progressed, as any labor should. The process went on for hours. That is when I realized  there was a problem. Because I was so tense, nothing was happening. I knew that nothing was happening because I was not letting go. Dave was now sleeping. Alone, I talked myself through what needed to happen. I unclenched my hands. I let my body relax and finally let myself feel this sad, sad heartache. I said good-bye to this new little part of me, and then I lay there until I could not handle the pain any longer. I ran to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet, I felt a huge gush of blood. I felt the passing of a large mass. Then I heard a loud thud as the mass dropped into the already very bloody toilet bowl. I  stood up and turned toward the toilet bowl. I saw enough without turning on the light. I knew if the room was any brighter that I would have to face my reality. I had faced enough. I repeated the process of running to the bathroom for hours until I could not bear the intense contractions any longer. Then I literally passed out.

Today at the doctor’s office I had another ultrasound. He wanted to make sure all pieces were gone, and they were. We talked about my options. We decided that I would continue seeing him and that I would also see a miscarriage specialist. We even made an appointment with the other specialist, who will be squeezing me into his schedule. I was actually feeling hopeful. And then Dave and I went to dinner. As I watched the parents with their babies and thought about what I lost, I realized that this is just not going to be that easy to get over. I am still barely letting myself touch the devastation. I mean, come on, I have not even been able to tell most of my friends and family about this. Dave and my mom have been speaking for me. And if you are finding out now, it is not a slight. I just don’t know how to say it in person. What do you say?

Kyle, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006
Kyle, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006

I feel  all of it. I like shit.I feel lucky and grateful. I feel blessed to be alive. I am also devastated.I know many women cannot have children of their own. I am very aware that I have two beautiful boys.  I am grateful for friends, friends who keep calling me, even when I cannot talk. I am grateful because as alone as I feel, I know I am not. I am grateful for those who have approached me even when I am not approachable. While simultaneously being filled with love, it also sucks. When people actually reach me with their kind words, I am reminded of what I have lost. When I actually feel their love, I cannot escape the pain. And right now, the pain is almost too much.

I want to run away, but really, where would I go?

The boys, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006
The boys, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006
Tagged : /

Alone, Lost and Really, Super Tired


Me and Easy E, Acadia National Park, June, 2009
Me and Easy E, Acadia National Park, June, 2009

I am certain if I had time to take a nap, the alone and lost feelings would go away.

Consequently, when I am super duper tired, every emotion seems super duper intense. Do you ever feel this way? Crazed because you have not had enough sleep? It is awful. My thoughts are weak. My self-control is hard to access.

It does not have to be this way. I had a plan and the plan fell apart. I am too tired to put the pieces back together.

I know that if I do not have our family packed and ready to go, Dave will blow a gasket. I am talking about a real gasket, and it will explode right out of his head. Ew!

We are going on a backpacking trip. I am exhausted. I am terrified. Dave is asleep. I need a nap.

Easy E Shelbourne Museum, Vermont, 2009
Easy E. Shelburne Museum, Vermont, 2009

It was approximately 8:22 AM — two minutes later than usual. Eli’s school starts at 8:50 AM and he likes to be early. I had just sent Dave an angry email, followed by a “PS” email. My bedhead was screaming from the headrest as my oversized, grey and yellow-striped pajama bottoms Eli gave me for Christmas a few years back touched the car floor. There we sat, angry and frustrated. I saw his big middle school through the window. I insisted he stay.

“I need you to change your tone before you go.” I said.

I knew he was annoyed. I watched as he watched all of his friends pass by. He took a medium-sized breath and said he was sorry. Then he opened the door. I grabbed his hand for our usual hand squeeze, which we call a hand hug. Instead, he flopped his lifeless hand into mine.

“Really?” I said and followed with, “I need a hand hug.”

His hand clamped approximately 3 millimeters more. He said he was sorry again. As I looked into his angry eyes, I knew he was sorry. I grabbed his hand, squeezed it hard, and said,

“I love you, Eli.”

He opened the door and was gone.

I thought, “Oh Eli, I am sorry I was such a bitch this morning. I could be better, even when you are not. It is my job to model. I am the parent. I failed. I hope that somewhere in there was a lesson (for both of us). I know you get it. I know you get me. Thank you for that. Eli, you are awesome. Your heart is big. I love you!”

We leave this afternoon. Because I was working so hard yesterday to get us out the door on time today, my mother-in-law was convinced we were leaving today — at 4AM. What?

“Why would you think that?” I thought. “I need to be prepared.” I kept thinking. Then I did say,

“Do you know your son? He will lose it if we are not ready to go.”

She gave me a knowing glance and then I literally (yes, for real) thought,

“I wonder if she is thinking what I am thinking?”

I was thinking about Darryl, Dave’s Dad. I was thinking about the time he decided to take a shower while the rest of us waited in the car. It was June on a hot Maryland day. Dave and I were about to get married. Dave’s dad took a shower and decided he needed a snack.

Truth is, I do believe Dave’s family struggles with the space-time-continuum. Plans, letting others now there are changes in plans, being on time, and mostly, getting out of the house before most us are coming home, are all struggles. As such, Darryl’s shower on was as normal as the setting sun.

Dave fights this behavior in himself constantly. I am always impressed with his ability to get out the door on time. He is really good at it. I see him struggle to keep plans in order, and watch while he tries new ways to manage his time. Nevertheless, Dave’s scars run deep. I have paid the price for his displaced frustration. It is my job. I love my husband. He helps me heal. I want to do the same.

As such, when we travel, Dave loses it when we are not ready to go. I feel Dave’s anxiety profoundly (and probably irrationally). I literally lose my mind (and a lot of sleep) trying to manage (help him trust that I will not let him down). And folks, that is why I was busting my ass yesterday when all I wanted was a nap.

Last night I seriously considered packing a few things and checking myself into a hotel. I didn’t. Instead I grabbed two pillows, walked downstairs and turned on the television. I tried to lull myself to sleep with the sounds of a season finale. All I could hear were the very loud voices of my husband and his mom. Not a problem. She is visiting. They were laughing. I heard “frogs” and “Kyle.” And before Dave could finish his sentence, I knew what he was talking about the time we stayed with my friend, Alana, and her family in Hardwick, Vermont. Kyle and Eli didn’t want to leave. It was 2009. We traveled to Maine’s Acadia National Park. We traveled all over the North East. The friends we visited at Lake George in upstate New York are now divorced. In Burlington, Vermont Dave threatened to fly home — alone. I can still see him now. He was standing in front of that Courtyard by Marriott hotel declaring his frustration. I told him to get over it.

“We are in this together.” I exclaimed.

He stayed, and later that night it was my mom who told me that Michael Jackson was dead. I loved that trip. I love fighting for us.

I am tired.

Dave is asleep.

So is his mom.

“We are in this together.”

Those are the words I am thinking of today.

Thank God I can write. Thank God it took writing to remind me how good things really are. Eli and Kyle are awesome and Dave is now awake and downstairs getting things packed.  Thank God I chose to write today. When I write, I re-set.  I cannot forget this space. It is mine. And if I don’t take my space, I will lose myself. I will stop fighting. And if I stop fighting, I stop.

Hardwick, Vermont
Hardwick, Vermont


Hardwick, Vermont


Hardwick, Vermont


Kyle Lake George, NY
Kyle. Lake George, NY


Easy E Lake George, NY, 2009
Easy E. Lake George, NY, 2009


Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Burlington, Vermont
Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Burlington, Vermont


Me, Dave and Easy E, The Staten Island Ferry, New York, New York, 2009
Me, Dave and Easy E, The Staten Island Ferry, New York, New York, 2009 (we made it past Burlington, Vermont — woot)!

As You Go, Write it Down: Chronicling Greece Part Two, Including a Little San Francisco

I cannot say this enough: When you are on the road, and for that matter, anytime you feel inspired, and even if you photograph said moment, you should still find a way to jot the moment down.

A most special moment indeed.
A most special moment indeed.

We are all busy. We all take pictures. As many pictures as we take, and as much as we try to remember, we often forget. I know I do.  I am far from a perfect chronicler. If I had a dollar for every yummy Thai restaurant I find, then forget its name and location, I could use that money to go on the best yellow curry tour our world has to offer. There is magic in visually capturing a moment. I would argue that there is also magic in note taking. Writing moments down and capturing the tiny details allows us to remember the nuance of our journey.  Great lodging, crazy places, odd encounters, and yummy restaurants (if I remember to write them down) are accurately recounted.  My notes remind me why something is so trashy, or why a restaurant is so good in a very personal, “best yellow curry ever” sort of way.

Sure, the pictures of the San Francisco Airport Centurion Lounge show, tucked away in the San Francisco airport, a hip, contemporary-designed foodie paradise. Notes, on the other hand, can convey the dirt, such as what really happened while we waited. In the lounge Dave and I sat on each side of this very peculiar lady. She was sitting in the quiet area on one of three chaise lounges. She would not move and I needed to rest. While I rested, she filed her toenails. And yes, her use of her cellphone’s speakerphone pushed me over the edge.  At once I knew that I needed to up my airport-lounge-game. Next time I will be more creative about getting a good seat.  Odd folks or not, I keep going back because Dave has a membership. I also know the Centurion Lounge has really good food and serves alcohol — both served the weird lady well. See, once the weird lady took a break, ate some food and drank a glass of wine, she became delightful and conversant. I remember these little details because I wrote them down.

Sutro Baths, San Francisco, California
Sutro Baths, San Francisco, California
Me and Big Daddy at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California -- I finally walked all the way across! Woot!
Me and Big Daddy at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California — I finally walked all the way across! Woot!

Last weekend we ate at a San Francisco-based Burmese/Thai restaurant. I did not write the name down so I had to search. Thankfully, I found it.  We were about one-third of the way on our coast hike from the Sutro Baths to the Golden Gate Bridge. I was hungry and needed to pee. We left the path, crossed the street, and walked along a golf course.  We walked up and over a hill, I think, and into Lincoln Park, which of course reminded me of the OPI nail polish color, “Lincoln Park After Dark.”

Then I said it out loud: “Lincoln Park After Dark.”

It was early afternoon and as we walked closer, Pagen Restaurant appeared closed. We read the sign: Open Fridays from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

“Isn’t it Friday?” I asked.
“Yes it is.” The boys answered.

California Coastal Trail, San Francisco, California. In this photos, I believe Dave is searching for a bathroom.
California Coastal Trail, San Francisco, California. In this photos, I believe Dave is searching for a place to get a snack.


My last “Notes on My iPhone” post was on our third day, (March 14).  Since then I have been distracted  writing about such things as beautiful and historic Greece, Greece’s crumbling economy, and all of my various existential crises. Now home, it is time to share these notes with you. Between loads of laundry and refilling my cup of Clipper Brand Organic White Tea with Vanilla (yes, I wrote the brand and flavor down when I found this tea at the Kensington, London Whole Foods — and now have it shipped right here to Salt Lake City, Utah),

Clipper Brand Organic White Tea Vanilla. (And no, I am not being paid to post this he he.)
Clipper Brand Organic White Tea with Vanilla. (And no, I am not being paid to post this.)


I present to you, The Adams Family Takes on Greece Par Deux (of course with some editorializing along the way)!

Never fear.  I do not have time to edit and post all of the notes here (and I don’t want to overload you in one offering).  I promise  that over the next bit that I will iPhone-note you through our entire “San Francisco to Greece and Back” journey. Enjoy.

The Arrivals area of the Santorini, Greece, Airport
The Arrivals Area of the Santorini, Greece, Airport
The Arrivals Area, including the Rental Car Area of the Santorini, Greece Airport
The Arrivals Area, including the Rental Car Area of the Santorini, Greece Airport -To orient the two pictures note Kyle’s foot is on the lower right.

Leaving Santorini (Morning, Day 5)

[I love Dave. I love Dave’s reactions to things. The following took place at the Santorini Airport.  The airport car rentals are located in a very small part of the arrivals area. The boys were sitting on the floor. I had asked a man to move over so I could sit on the bench. He hesitated, picked his bag down, and let me sit. I watched the following.]

Dave is talking to the Hertz agent. The Hertz agent leaves and comes back. They talk. I can see that Dave is annoyed. He  just stormed out of the airport, mumbling something about the half full tank. He has been gone, I mean, disappeared for the past 15 minutes, apparently long enough to put enough gas in the car.  Dave is back. The Hertz guy just went to check our tank again. I’m waiting for him to return and tell Dave that there is still not enough gas. In the meantime, I recommend that Dave tell us where he is going next time.

He agrees. Dave tells me that Hertz would charge something like 43 euro to put in another two gallons. That’s lame. I am with Dave. [Additionally], that same Hertz  dude argued with me when we rented our smashed up Hertz car.

“What’s the problem?” He asked.
“It’s smashed on the outside, not the inside.”  I responded.
“It doesn’t change how the car runs, does it?” He snapped.

[Another crazy thing is the lack or inconsistent security at the Greece airports. Santorini is no different. My favorite, and really a non-security, item is the following]:

Small Sterilite containers, like you might buy at Wal-Mart, to place items in to go through security.

The roads of Greece are covered in variations on this style of roadside memorial.
The roads of Greece are covered in variations on this style of roadside memorial. Different parts of Greece have distinctive architecture for their churches, and the roadside mini-churches mirror this.

Back on Mainland Greece

The Athens Airport is very nice and very modern. My very favorite part was the pharmacy located in the arrivals area. I think I mentioned that I had a crazy allergic reaction somewhere between Boston and Frankfurt. I nearly itched all of the skin off of my very swollen ankles and calves. The Athens airport pharmacist was competent, spoke really good English, and gave me what my at-home doctor recommended. The rental car was a different story. Here is what I wrote. By the way, that car grew on me. 

Avis Athens, [on the other hand], was not as awesome. Avis, thank you for renting us a car that smells like a freaking ashtray. We are Avis preferred. Your Mazda 3 is smashed up and has nearly 57,000 km on it. Bad job.

Lobby of the Elefsina Hotel, Elefsina, Greece
Lobby of the Elefsina Hotel, Elefsina, Greece

Elefsina, Greece (25  miles West of Athens)

[It is now March 18.  We are at our first mainland Greece hotel, the Elefsina Hotel in none other than Elefsina, Greece. It is a very nice, business-style hotel in an area where there are no other hotels. It was late when we checked in and the Americans in the room next to ours were partying like rock stars. Ok. They were not partying like rockstars. They were very loud. I commend the hotel for dealing with the noise. And I applaud those American girls for quieting down when asked. Your mothers would be proud. The breakfast was not special, but good. The best part was the music — at breakfast, that is. There is nothing better than being in a place where no one speaks English and hearing one of your favorite songs.]

The Head in the Heart’s, “Winter Song” is playing right now at the hotel breakfast. It feels like home.

We left the hotel and began our five day four night Greece road trip. What an eye opener.

Roadtripping in Greece
Roadtripping in Greece



  • When planning Greece lodging, I think it is important to mention that we found the hotels, VRBOs, and Airbnbs are located in the same general areas with few hotels in between.