Author Archives: LP

My karate kid


Zener is now in Karate!  He started taking it a few weeks ago, and I think it is really helping him discover his strengths.  He seems to be gaining confidence in himself and his own abilities, and the knowledge that perseverance pays off.   His instructors seem like excellent mentors and role models for him.  They teach with sensitivity, warmth, humor, and discipline.

Not to mention learning awesome moves!

This also means we get to watch kung-fu and karate movies, and he absolutely loved Karate Kid (yes, the 1984 original).  He was inspired to write his own martial arts student pledge (based loosely on the one they recite at his dojo) and create his own practice routine.

I am so excited to watch Z on this journey!

Karate Kid Daniel-san and Mr Miyagi

Karate Kid Daniel-san and Mr Miyagi

pic from here:


Serene Sunday


An enjoyable garden day was had yesterday, which was much needed. I found my new favorite rose:  the Ellen Willmott hybrid tea.  The flowers are very subtly colored, and the stems are a gorgeous dark reddish brown.  Looks very antique and “Victorian”.  And the bees loved it!


We went to church this morning as well.  We were a bit late, unfortunately, so we missed doing the whole palm procession thing, but otherwise it was a very enjoyable experience.  Now here’s the thing:  I’ve been debating with myself over going to church for a good long while now.  I used to take my son to a church way back when he was 3 or 4, and he had to go to the kid’s spiritual education while I went to the sanctuary.  It was nice, we both enjoyed it.  But in the last few years, the few remaining vestiges of my theistic beliefs have mainly fallen away.  I consider myself a secular humanist now, in fact.  Probably 98% of the way to atheist from agnostic. 

So why church?

And why a very traditional one, with full liturgy and all that?

The simple answer is:  I’m lonely.  I need community. 

I miss home.  My mom is a nice Lutheran lady, very Midwestern. 

I miss her terribly, as I haven’t been able to visit in a good long while.

So why church?  I spent so much of my teen years rebelling against that staid, musty old-school protestant stuff.  Decided that Christianity just didn’t fit me at all, couldn’t speak to my needs and concerns, and was just so darned uncool.

But now, I need community.  I need to feel like I’m a part of this world. I need to feel a connection to my past.

So I guess I’m a “cultural Lutheran” in the way that some of my friends are “cultural Jews”?

Yes, I think that’s apt.

I used to feel like such a hypocrite going to church with mom on holidays.  But the more secular I’ve become, the more I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to feel that way.  In fact, I need to jettison those feelings.  I have needs as a human being that can be met by the human institution of a church.  I can feel joy and sadness when listening to the sermon or to the readings.  These are human things, human reactions to human stories and human community.  

So I will go to church to honor my ancestors and my community.  I can find strength and solace there to replenish and increase the strength and solace I find in my own mind and heart when I meditate. 

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Unique is what he is.


We went to a birthday party today which included a performance by a magician.  Z was able to sit and enjoy it with the rest of the kids for about 15 minutes before he started laying on the floor, and then he came over to me and started climbing on me, then he took to trying to take a “nap” on the couch.

This is the same kid who willingly sits through 2 hour symphony orchestra performances.  With almost no fidgeting.

He is a unique kid, that’s for sure.

I’m never entirely confident I can predict his reactions in any given situation.  What’s going to engage him, what’s going to overwhelm him and make him clingy and needing to “nap” in a crowd of people.  Is it mainly a noise issue?  He’s always been overly sensitive to sound.  Maybe all the random noise of a crowd of kids in a small space just makes him need to check out.  And the orchestral music is loud, but not random, so he can be engaged with it instead of overwhelmed by it.

At least that’s my theory for the moment.


ooops, eek, argh… some housekeeping.


Sorry if I caught anyone out in my attempt to try to revive an old blog and post about it here – I had accidentally posted “Serene Sunday” to this blog instead of Salix’s Quick Fic, which is where I meant to post it originally, but I was confused by wordpress’s posting options, and it ended up here, and then I tried to fix it, and that went all wonky about 800 times… so sorry if my housekeeping got confusing for anyone 🙂

So here’s a picture of my son, with a poppy.

Zener with California Poppy

Zener with California Poppy


I have a “magpie” blog…


Z is for Zener is a blog primarily about parenting, but I’m more than just a parent.  I’ve had another blog for about as long, neglected and sitting in a server somewhere collecting dust.  (what does internet dust look like, I wonder?)  Well, it unexpectedly got some attention yesterday, and it seems like the perfect time to revive it.  So here’s my revival post from over there, reblogged here for those of you who might find it interesting.

Salix's Shiny Things


pic credit:

Hello again, world!  I’ve been inspired to blog more in the last few weeks over at zisforzener and then, out of the blue, this blog got some attention.  I’d been ignoring this one because it’s a bit more painful.  It was a useful way at the time to write about things to help me get through the emotional and mental abuse I was experiencing with my partner, but it also reminded me too much of that dark time in my life.  But it has been a year exactly since I left her, and I have been wanting to write more about my journey towards self acceptance and lovingkindness, and this is the perfect way to do so.  I want zisforzener  to remain primarily about parenting, of course, and so this blog will be my everything-else blog, my “magpie” blog.  Expect ramblings about buddhism, mindfulness, recovery from…

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Pipevine swallowtails


We saw dozens of these butterflies in the arboretum last week.  They were all over the lavender blossoms, and whatever these red flowers are. 


Apparently, they are like monarchs in that they require a specific kind of plant to lay their eggs on, and which is the only food source for their caterpillars.  In this case, it’s pipevine (big surprise there, I know!)  But what is pipevine?  I had no idea, so I looked it up:


pic credit:

Pipevine, also known as Dutchman’s Pipe, helps the caterpillars out by making them unpalatable to predators, like milkweed does to monarchs.  Plus, what an awesome looking plant!  I will definitely be growing these when we can.