Are you sure?

My co-worker just broke up with his girlfriend. He was devastated, even though they both realized it was time. They were going to get married next year! He’d been saving his money for it and everything.

He is 20.

I had known of his plans before they were shattered. I didn’t say much. And I was thinking, No. You don’t know who you are yet. You both still live with your parents!

Things change. We change. All the things we know and take for granted when we are young will be converted and rearranged.

One way or another. As they were for my young co-worker friend.

What can we be sure of, really?

A few things. And what those things are become apparent. How? By passing the test of time.

My young friend didn’t have time. Not much of it.

I have more time than he. And I am wondering about that question.

What am I sure of?

What am I doing because it just follows from other things I did earlier?

I’ve been paying attention to internet advice givers: What is you? What have you wanted to do all your life?

Elizabeth Gilbert gave a talk for Oprah about how she learned that this sort of question doesn’t work for everyone.

It certainly doesn’t work for me. I wrote not long ago about facing forward. I liked a lot of things when I was 10. And then when I was 20. If I didn’t have something new to learn and be excited about I start to wilt.

Is that the thing? Is that my thing?

It’s part of my thing.

These pieces that I write every week have no kind of theme. You beautiful people, you readers of mine, you know that. You know when you click on this email you don’t know what you are going to find.

Except you kind of do.

It’d going to feel a certain way. IT’s going to be thoughtful and interesting. It’s going to be enthusiastic and compassionate. When it’s written by murphy, it’s going to be a true story and it’s going to be accessible. I’m not ever going to try to pull one over you. This is me, writing for you to understand and have a new way of seeing.

There are those who are experts on one thing. God Bless them! I would love to learn from them and know all about their thing.

And I do not want to be one of them. I want to move on to as many new things as I want to.

I found my super elusive thing, which I’ve been doing for a long time before I could put a name to it. And I’m so grateful to you all for coming along for the ride.

I would like to know, what do you think? What would you say is the essence of the Weekly Wonder? Did I miss something? What do you see?

Please hit reply and let me know. I’d be so interested.

New Life

So the kitchen is now an empty room. A crew of people are helping us put it back together.

And we also had our windows restored.

We’ve got a 65 year old house. 65 years ago, they made kitchens and windows differently.

I find the 65 year old kitchen needs to be fully redone. But it would be a tragedy to get rid of the pinewood double hung windows.

This is the sort of thing that is interesting only to people who are interested in this sort of thing. I remember I had a friend who came over to my house all the time, and from time to time I would point out some little renovation I had done to the house. She was happy I was happy, but it mostly was not important to her.

Then she became a home owner and suddenly every nail and blade of grass was fascinating. Questions like “How do you…?” started being asked.

It mattered now.

I’m not the kind who hires someone and then thanks them when they are done. I put on my work clothes and do the work too. THe parts that make sense for me to do.

I’ve restored three very large pieces of furniture in my life. And one very small house.

I like the way it feels to take off the ugly and non functional surface covering–paint, fabrice, finish–and get down to the form and texture of the original piece. What potential is here? What beauty does this piece have? What does it remember? Where did all it’s parts come from and what did they see and know?

Yes, it is anthropomorphizing. And it makes me happy, to see the seams and the nails and the design that someone put in place. That I get to really know what the wood in the floor and the plaster in the walls are made of.

It’s makes me feel really good to get into the crannies to clean and repair and fix.

It’s restorative.


This morning was no better than the last four. I couldn’t stop yawning in my last meeting. I left 5 minutes early, so I’d have enough time before my next meeting to pour a cup of coffee.

The coffee machine was being repaired.

The small comfort, the little bit of something I’d told myself would get me past the unpleasantness–denied!

I do love my comforts.

This makes me think about the British Empire and their obsession with civilizing the environments they travelled to. Perhaps in the story they told themselves about how their day–their life– would go, they required that all the people around them wear a certain type of pants.

I was pretty sure that I needed that cup of coffee. I was pretty sure I deserved that cup of coffee after all I’d been through.

I was entitled. These last four days I’d spent emptying the kitchen in my house. I had signed up and paid a lot of money for the privilege of having my kitchen destroyed. Then rebuilt. Of course.

Given time.

The space between the dis- and the comfort holds an abyss.

It’s the little things, right? Particularly the absence of them.

Food is pretty basic. I’d spent four days boxing up all the things that I had collected, the things I used every day to make sure I had what I needed to take care of myself.

Boxing and storing all my comforts for later.

It sounds overdramatic as I say it. But at the time, it was nothing less. I feel a glimmer of sympathy for those starchy British expatriates.

It’s going to be weeks of discomfort now in my house.

At least the coffee machine at work is running again.

Sick Day

“How are you feeling?”

Chris had to stay in bed, because he was sick. I had to do the things he would do. I took Veronica to school and picked her up from school. We had dinner and did homework and walked the dog.

What we didn’t do was disturb daddy.

But I did have to check in.

He looked blurry. “I stayed in bed all day. I found episodes of NOVA to watch. I had to be careful to find ones that wouldn’ t upset my stomach.”

“That shouldnt’ be hard.”

“You’d be surprised. It turns out that during WW1, plastics and fabrics hadn’t advanced as much as now. Do you know, they had to fill Zeppelins with smaller bags of hydrogen, and them put that inside the big hull? The best thing they found was cow intestines.”


“It took 250,000 cows to fill one. They took all the cows, and it was even illegal to eat sausage in germany at that time. All the cow intestines went to the war effort.”

“I hope you’re feeling better.”

“I’m still pretty tired.”


My life had come to a point: If I didn’t leave my husband I would be abandoning myself.  The pain of trying to abandon myself for the sake of this marriage had left me a whimpering empty vessel. My whole upbringing told me that I did not have this choice.

Upon close examination, I did have the choice. But the choice was to step away not only from my husband, but from everyone.

When I chose that, the whimpering vessel shattering into a million pieces of pain and loneliness.

That was all a long time ago. This is not a story about my divorce.

This is a story about looking at the future.

After my divorce, I didn’t know how to look at the future. I had never conceived of a future in which it was possible to make my own decisions. I lived out of books, and I had a superstitious impression that I was doomed. Like Madame Bovary and every other “bad girl” I figured there was a cost—probably death—for choosing myself above my obligations.

The Future was so inconceivable I had trouble making plans for the weekend.

Except in other ways, I was starving for what I wanted. I’d been postponing it long enough.

I enrolled in college classes. Would I really have a chance to get a bachelor’s degree? I didn’t know if I would make it that far, but as long as I drew breath I knew what I’d be doing for the next few months.

I would be doing the homework. One step at a time to get a little closer to my big goal.

A small signpost in the impenetrable fog of my future.

“This way.”

Ok. I will move that way.

Big dreams are like that. Full of small actions with an eye past the horizon.

I heard an inspirational speaker telling me this week to look toward the future.  She said “You can’t change the world from the rear view mirror.”

After my divorce, the present was drowning me. The future was barely better, but I was pulling towards it. I stumbled and found it.

And it found me.

Facing forward is where it happens.

I am reminded of this when my inner critic tells me how I’m doing it all wrong because I haven’t properly finished all the things I’ve started.

That I have some work to do before I can do the things I really *want* to do.

It’s a big job to change the world. I don’t know if I’m up for it.

And yet…

I want to change *my* world.

Some of the tired old projects can wait.

Or maybe they can face the future too and help me understand how to move it forward.

I am done with the past. There is so much more that is ready to happen.

It’s your Turn

17 years of my life I spent as a videoconference professional. Back when I started it was a bigger deal than now. Now, decent quality video conferencing is available on your phone.

Among us professionals, it was a widely acknowledged truth: the most important part of a videoconference is the audio.

The image of the person is all fine and good. A smile or a frown tells you something. But if the video is great and the audio is choppy, it is unbearable. I might see a frozen image of your face, but if your voice is clear, we can have a conversation.

It’s not something the salespeople tell the CEOs. But we all knew it. Things aren’t always what you expect.

I’m not a video conferencing professional right now. In my new job, a whole lot of my co-workers are into video games.

I have not spent much time becoming good at video games. This Christmas we bought our daughter a Nintendo, and I spent some time revisiting how bad at video games. I regret my lack of expertise.

I talked about it with co-worker Steve, who hosts his own streaming channel devoted to video games. I asked “Since you’ve been playing these games so long, don’t you want to get involved in making them?”

He said no. But since I asked, he told me the three considerations for judging a game. It has to have a good story–naturally the part that fascinated me. It has to have good graphics. I argued that point, for a bit. Wouldn’t a good story override the quality of the graphics?

Then he dropped a Z-axis into my roadmap:

There has to be good gamesmanship.

What is THAT?

This is a whole new way of looking at the world.

Coincidentally, this weekend was spent reading The Hunger Games trilogy. These books are not great works of prose. And yet I could not put them down.

Because of the game. I know exactly what the author was doing. She told the game, and like all the audience in the fictional story, I was riveted. I had to find out what would happen next.

Unlike Steve, I found myself wondering if could concoct a game story like Collins. I want to get behind and make the thing I love–stories.

The ancient Greeks–no strangers to the excitement of games! –had two kinds of drama stories. They divided it up into Comedy and Tragedy.

Tragedy ended in death and Comedy ended in a marriage. Those were the rules.

Every game has rules.

I wonder. Maybe all the stories are telling how the game was played. All the little puzzles, the obstacles that must be overcome and resolved, this is gamesmanship.

So perhaps all the world’s a game. And we are merely players.


I woke up around 240 am. I got up to pee and thought how greAt it is that I will be able to fall back asleep without too much trouble.

For many recent years, that was not the case.

But I got back into my warm cozy bed. I heard murmurs from Veronica’s room. I thought she was being cute. But then I heard her talking. I had to go check. It was 300

Her night light was out. We hadn’t charged it. I found the cable and plugged it in. She was full of solutions for how to avoid this problem in the future.

Was it scary in the dark?

Well mommy it kind of is!

And then she had a headache. Which escalated. And she had to throw up her dinner

Not good.

I think she’s asleep now. after ginger ale, an episode of teen titans go and some green eggs and ham

I can tell I’m cold and it will be hard to get back to sleep

And still. I am grateful that I can set my alarm for later and work will boss will totally understand.

Things are better than they have been for a long time