mother daughter team

Veronica and I were working on a craft. It was a bit too hard for her, which meant I had to do it while she watched
This was irritating. But I didn’t want her to watch more tv. I asked her to tell me a story. She did and it quickly became her singing me a song she invented.
She has recently been suggesting careers for me since I was laid off. I had a flash of brilliance “Veronica, did you know that songwriting is something you can do for a job. People will pay you for it.”
She and I became a songwriting duo, as I explained that you need a verse and a chorus. We listened to a sample of the Beatles. We got a couple really good ideas fleshed out, including a song about “all I need is me” which talked about the parts of the body. A second one “I love animals and plants” with the first verse being animals and the second about plants. I put a showboat-y finale on the second verse and she tole me that was too popular, mommy.
We are ready to be a songwriting duo.
Naturally, I concluded by telling Veronica that Amanda and Craig write songs for movies, and played here this. 
She was deeply moved and excited by this song.

sharing a bottle

For the first time in my life I drank an entire bottle of wine with a friend. We talked till 1230 at night. We made homemade pizza walk the dog and talked about everything we had lost track of the last anymore


I haven’t flown anywhere for quite a while. It’s been even longer since I’ve taken a flight with a movie. I heard a comedian interview in which, as comedians do, they were talking about airline travel. One of them said the in-flight movies always made him cry.

 The other guy said “Me, too!”

 Oh my god!

 Me Three!

 The most banal movies will leave me with dripping cheeks. What is it about stories while I’m traveling?

 Something about being carried by a machine going somewhere I had already decided to go, knowing that I have no decisions to make–it lets me be totally open. I can let the feels happen.

 Even in ordinary life I think I am a rather sensitive person. I think I’ve got my feet on the ground and I can handle what life throws at me. Then my friend surprised me by calling me high-strung.

 Sometimes I am. Maybe more than I realized.

Recently I have been pegging the needle on the sensitivity meter. Some stuff was going on and I was really struggling.

 Someone said to me, “You need to get a thicker skin.”

 I was embarrassed that this person thought something was wrong with me, and grateful for her advice. At that moment I would have given anything to not feel so stressed out.

 Somehow, I needed to let the stuff that was getting to me not get to me.

 I appreciate my sensitivity. I feel things deeply. The rocks thrown in my pool go down a long way before they hit bottom.

 I am not shallow.

 And yet this depth wasn’t working for me. The stuff thrown at me hurt all the way down. How could I get out of my misery?

 Of course, my first step is to ask the Internet. “How do I grow thicker skin?”

 My first click was to this helpful article: “a thin-skinned person may reject any suggestions or sensible interpretations that are inconsistent with his self-defeating and inaccurate view of the situation.”

 I don’t want to be that. I like myself best when I can laugh and see many sides to the story. My stress and fear was zooming in on the worst possible interpretation and clinging to it.

 There are other ways to see it. One possibility is also just to stop thinking about the scary thing at all and find something else that is pleasant to ponder.

 I started to change the story and get my feet underneath me. And I also tried to give myself a break. After all, who wins if I defeat myself?

Veronica homework

Got home from work and ate dinner. Veronica was watching TV but I had her stop to work on some homework. I wanted her to do math. She can’t forget all of her education over the summer!She started to do it but then really struggled. She even started to cry. I decided to stop and she buried her face in my side.

I suggested she watches short TV show and she tearfully agreed.

When the show is over she jumped up and did the rest of the math

Somehow this time it wasn’t upsetting and she did very well. I didn’t have to ask her to do the math she did it on her own. I told her I was very proud of her for not giving up.

Third Guess

I’m working on earning my second million dollars. The first one was too hard.

It’s an old joke, but it’s still funny to me. You can’t make your second million dollars without making for first. And making your second million is only easier because of all the things you learn while making the first.

This week I found myself in a situation where someone was second-guessing me. I hate being second-guessed. If I say that something needs to happen, someone comes up and tells me I’m wrong and it shall not happen, then I am slammed. I am rooted do the highway.

We are on the road. Things need to progress! Why this refusal?

But wait. Maybe the second guess was not a full stop. Why does one person’s opinion stop traffic?

I realized there is a third guess.
First is my best guess about what needs to be done next
Second guess is another person’s guess that the first guess is wrong
Third guess is my guess that my first guess is probably wrong, because someone said so.

I do it all the time.
“Here it is!”
“No, you are wrong.”
And the brain spins. I am wrong. I don’t think I’m wrong. But that person said I was wrong. I must now look for all the ways that I am wrong,

I’m good at thinking. That’s why I was so happy with my first guess.
Then the second guess is taken as an evil challenge to find all the ways to make the second guess true.

If I open my mind to all the possibilities in the world–most especially the possibility that there is something I don’t know–then there is a big chance that my first guess was wrong and has flaws.

Oh that third guess.

Quicksand. Wheels spinning. Rut-forming crazy making third guess.

I put so much more effort into that third guess, staying up during nights when I should have been sleeping. Boring my friends and family with the crisis of all the ways that I am wrong.

And then 3rd guess 2.0. That’s the part where the guess itself is not the issue, but the person who made that first guess is the problem.

I am a failure. What right do I have to make a guess at all?
I am stupid and incapable. I should never try again.

No wonder most people sit on their guesses. That first guess is very dangerous. Some people never recover.

I’m going to keep trying though. That 3rd guess 2.0 program that wants to eat my soul? I need to that one to stop. That loop is a downward spiral.

Gentle voice with myself. Kindness and courage. Stop working on the 3rd guess. It’s too hard. Go back to that first guess. All the reasons I made it in the first place. What is right with it?

Of course in a world of infinite possibilities, there is something wrong with it. Everything wrong with it.

But in this here and now, what is right with it?

Go back and defend and explain. That is the only way to keep traffic going.

That first guess contains all the hope for every possibility for things being right. Stick with it until you recognize a better guess.

Don’t stick with no.

Guess to the yes and make it so.



I picked a book on CD to listen to with Veronica on our trip to Solvang. I thought it would keep her occupied and entertained on the long ride.

As it happened, she slept and threw up, and slept the rest of the way. She told me she thought the book was too long.

I’d found a recording of Glenn Close reading the Newberry award winner Sarah, Plain and Tall. The set had the sequels Skylark and Caleb’s Story as well.

The award winner was pretty good. But when Caleb started with his story it broke down. The author Patricia MacLachlan stretched it too far. See, it is a kids’ story and I can see that she was pandering to her audience. Spoiler alert: Caleb’s grandfather shows up at their farm after having high tailed it out of there when Caleb’s daddy was little. Daddy can’t welcome grandpa, and keeps saying, “You never even wrote!”


In a heroic move, Caleb discovers that his grandfather is illiterate and secretly teaches him to read. That way he can FINALLY write his grown son the letter he’d been waiting for.


How very convenient. That answer is too pat, and I don’t think it really addresses the complexity of the situation.


But this is a kid’s book, and a fantasy fulfillment for a kid.


I’m a little too old to believe it.


A friend and I were talking about work this weekend. She was talking about her terrible boss, who asks her to do things, then when she presents her work tells her she’s done it wrong.


“And when I have an idea of what needs to be done, and I share it, it will be immediately put down as a terrible idea. I have a one-year rule, wait a year and then suggest again. It will often be taken then.”


“How do you handle this? How can you let it go at the end of the day, when this boss is telling you that you did it all wrong?”


She said, among other things, she knew better than to believe her.


I wish I were old enough to consistently disbelieve the negative things people say to me.

Worth A Try

I want to do something I don’t know how to do

It is not comfortable; to do something I am not good at. There are plenty of things I know how to do that are asking me to do them.

But I don’t want to do them. They are boring.

I hate repetition. I would probably be a better piano player if I weren’t so embarrassed to play the same song over and over. I tend to improvise over a chord progression.

And still. I have managed to get good at some things over time. I could keep doing those things, and maintain a veneer of expertise.

But like the piano, I am bored of the same song. Ennui.

I want to try something I haven’t done before. I want to carve out a new path.

I can watch my daughter with her new explorations. Things never done before are the specialty of the young. For her, there is a cheering squad for every small bit of progress.

For me, it seems there is a lot of confusion. “What is it you are doing again?”

Maybe because at this point the new things I might do are new to almost everyone. They require some explaining. And they very well might not be interesting to most people.

But if they are interesting to me, that is enough. I used to worry a lot about what other people would think about my choices. I am worrying less about that.

So I’m willing to try the things that I would have avoided before. Things that might be a waste of time. I’ve got a little bit of time, and maybe I can waste it.

Or I might just build something phenomenal. It’s worth a try