The I dreamed last night that I was eating cake with friends at work I think.

The cake was somehow magical and held memories. There were funny and poignant pieces that we wanted to eat and remember.

I think I should make some cake to share at work. That would be nice.


I like that this Monday has started calmly.

I think Mondays should be simple.

How much of that is under my control, I wonder? A lot of life is cooperative, and other people can come up with emergencies. Well, even non-people have emergencies. Weather, sickness, and other incidents can occur out of nowhere

But surely, there is a lot of individual choice at play.

One is not required to be a Tasmanian devil.


With Chris flying out for a work trip Thursday, I had to stay organized to keep the family routines running. We are a small family–me, the first grader, and the dog.

First grader got to school, I got to work, then back to get the first grader after work and walk the dog and do the homework and go to bed and get up to do it again on Friday.

Friday was harder because there was an event in the evening. Why did it have to be 100 degrees? The dog walk was super-fast and dinner was picked up to eat at the event. Then home and FaceTime with daddy and go to bed exhausted for everyone.

But the dog. She whined in the middle of the night. Stumble up, let her out. She’s getting old and needs to be let out in the middle of the night as a usual thing now. Stumble back to bed and try to sleep again.

But the dog whines again. WHAT?! Stumble up, let her out AGAIN and back to bed.

Still whining. UP AGAIN and this time muttering at her, “What is WRONG? You have been let out, what do you WANT? You have food, you have water…”

Oh. The water dish was completely dry. Ooops.

I filled it up. glug glug glug. Now my whiny dog would hear the water being poured into her dish and should leap up to drink.

She did not. I had to drag her over and SHOW her the water before she realized it was there. She drank and drank. Stopped, her tail still down. Then I led her to drink some more.

I was not happy about being awake. Can’t this dog go drink out of the toilet if she’s so thirsty she has to whine all night? Doesn’t she KNOW there is water right there if she’s so desperate?

And I realize, she’s only a dog. She has one place in this house for water. That water had run out. She didn’t troubleshoot this solution. She’s just a dog.

I remember another story. How the Mayflower landed and the Pilgrims set out to make a new life for themselves in a new world. And they starved to death. Like, half of them.

They were surrounded by food. But just like my dog, it wasn’t what they expected it to look like and where they thought it would be. It took some Native Americans’ pity and help to keep the last half of them alive.

It’s not just dogs. People are the same way. We only look for things where we expect them.

Our comfort zone can turn into a prison.

A friend of mine has created a whole curriculum out of this idea. It’s human nature. Even more than human. It’s almost universal to get stuck in our habit and narrow understandings. It’s a useful thing to eliminate all the places we will NOT look for what we are looking for.

Most of the time.

Then there are the times when, like my dog, we are stuck in an uncomfortable and even dangerous spot that requires expanding our horizons.

My friend’s theory is that we should stay in our comfort zones. We can pull and stretch our comfort zone slightly, a bit at a time, not asking ourselves to go into the red zone of terror. Right now, the red zone of terror is where the desired outcome is.  It may be where we eventually want to be. She says we can take little steps, and grow into the desired outcome.

My dog wouldn’t think to get water on her own, but we can. People can look to find what we need in unexpected places. The start is to have in our minds that it is possible. To believe that what we seek can be found. That hope can grow into a new expectation.

We can always keep growing.


I started a diet this week. I’ve been on a diet since I was a young teenager, but last year I thought I had found The Secret.

I did this cleanse a year and a half ago. I figured out dairy was a problem for me. So I stopped eating dairy and I felt fantastic! I recommend the cleanse, you can check it out here.

A lot happened in that year and a half. I stopped eating dairy, and huge changes whirled around me. The sort of changed that I knew would normally have tipped the scale. Yet I wasn’t ‘dieting’ and I was still staying the same.

I was SURE I had found The Secret.

Only where did these ten pounds come from? Damn. Back to the diets.

Yesterday I was reading this woman’s essay about addiction. She was determined for the first time in her adult life to give up pot. She wrote this piece early in the process–day 5? day 8?–and she was raw. Raw and powerful.

Here’s what she said:

The only way to quit is to never quit quitting.

There is it.

You and I might find The Secret to some thing we’ve been struggling with. Maybe it’s a new way of looking at it. Maybe it’s in a book, or a flash of inspiration on the road to Damascus.

Only after a while, the Secret wears off and it’s back to what it’s always been.

The only way to do it is to always be doing the thing you are trying to do.

The only way to quit is to never quit quitting.

There will be times when it’s easier. There there will be the rest of the times.

That’s no secret.



Monday Music

Happy monday people.


I had a kind of horrigying dream about spiders last night.

Have you ever read Gaiman’s Anansi’s Boys?

The spider is supposed to be a clever storyteller. Perhaps this is a sign that I shoudl start telling stories.

I can at least make a blog post. Start small, you know?

This last month I have started to listen to popular music again. the BILLBOARD HOT 100!!



Well. They are not actually that great of songs. Some of them are catchier than others. But they are new and they make me feel energized and young.

We went to a four-year-old’s birthday party this weekend. I brought my bluetooth speaker and the microphone that goes with it.

Little 4 year ole (Okay, he’s precocious) knew all the songs from the hot 100. So did his older sister and Veronica…

It kind of freaks me out to be enough on the grid that other people know the words to the songs I’m listenign to.


I’ve been so indie for so long that I wouldn’t expect to have any overlap.

But one of the benefits of accumulating experience (My term for getting older) means that I have a reservoir. If I know enough songs, some of them will evnetually overlap with the songs that other people know


How about that?


As we do every year, we brought Veronica to the fair. Her favorite, every year, is feeding the goats.


The Los Angeles County fair has a big pen full of goats of varying sizes, most of whom are interested in the little cups of feed they sell for $3. The goats and sheep, with the occasional alpaca, will bump up to demand their share of the feed pellets.


Yes, they smell like animals. The barn smells worse. I take her around to see the funny chickens, rabbits, pigs, and what-have-you on display.


I remember my times at the fair. The Alaska state fair, where I spent my early teen years taking care of different animals.


We were part of 4-H. It started with rabbits, and then moved on to pigs and calves. The apex of 4-H life was the fair. When we were exhibiting, and we exhibited every year, we had to go to the fair every day for a week to take care of our animals. Feed and water them, sure, but also wash and groom so that they showed well. They were judged.


Some of the 4-H kids would enter other things in the fair. Baking or sewing was easier; you didn’t have to stick around to take care of those. There were arts and crafts too.


Not just for kids. Grownups joined in the contests too.


The county fair was sparse this year. From what I can tell, 4-H doesn’t really do animals and crafts like they used to. It’s moved on to “lifelong learning.”


The supporting institution, the Extension Service, isn’t even a thing anymore. It’s combined and repurposed into something else altogether.


4-H started out as a way of empowering kids to learn something even their parents didn’t know. How to grow plants and livestock even better. And the county fairs were about letting regular people have a chance to show off, to work for and achieve recognition.


Communities have set aside these places, fairgrounds and competitions. We have formally valued them as our traditions, like Christmas or 4th of July.


It’s eroding. I’m sad to see how the fair has shrunk from year to year, even as the prices have gone up.


I wonder whether our daughter will have the tradition to share with her children. No doubt it will be very different then.

Labor Day

Daddy explained to Veronica why this is a holiday. “It’s to honor people who work.”

Veronica rightly deduced that the person in our house who works is me.

She has made an extra point of honoring me. She helped me change my bedsheets, and gave me a spa day including painting my fingernails.

“I guess they don’t have capitalists’ day,” Chris said.

Mad Love

This week, I had a conversation with a new friend in the business of making things. “I can’t stand stupidity. I will let people know and I am not nice. I have made people cry.”

A time portal opened and I remembered. The first time I cried at work. Really.

This is what happened:

After 6 months of taking care of the video communications for the merger, I knew how to get operations on track. It was clear to me what needed to be done.

I’d gone to the director to present my plan.

“…that’s what it’s going to take to resolve the troubles we’ve been having. I know we can get this department to world class standards.”

I’d jumped several rungs of the organization chart to meet with him. I was still pumped with the adrenaline of saying my piece in the face of this risk when he answered.

“What makes you think we would want a world-class department?”

My body responded before my mind did. My mind flashed on the long hours of work against impossible odds. Discovering what was hidden, getting the pieces in order, all the responsibility, all the blame, with the best news being silence.

If we got silence we had done well.

I’d asked this middle manager for help to resolve our recurring problems, not much at all. Probably able to be handled by petty cash.

But this director said that all my hard work meant nothing. The hours I’d spent struggling, fighting and winning when it was impossible didn’t matter.

My body responded faster than my mind. My body was crying.


He gave me a Kleenex. “Please. Don’t be embarrassed. I think it is wonderful that you have so much passion.”

I didn’t know him well. Men of a certain age have a way of turning into driftwood. Leached of color and vibrancy, all the distinct edges smoothed off. So many of the mid-level offices held these softened specimens of manhood.

Maybe it wasn’t age. Probably it was a life of constant compromise.

He said some more things. I had nothing left to say to him, not really. He essentially patted my head and said I could make another presentation to him that had some more information : “…a pro forma.”

My new friend makes things he wants to make, and he is madly in love with those things. If someone gets between him and his product, his art, they are hurting what he loves. So he fights back.

I remembered Mr. Softened Manager, and how he had made me cry. I wondered if I would inspire an anti-stupidity tirade. I’m not perfect, but I doubt it.

Even if I did get an earful for making a mistake, it wouldn’t make me cry.

It doesn’t break my heart to hear someone tell me to do better. It breaks my heart to hear I cannot.