I love my couch. I upgraded my original couch two years ago, with the plan in mind to have a couch that the whole family could lounge on.

Comfy couches bring families together.

When I’m on the couch, it’s really important to me to have a little blanket. It is less important in the summer, but non-negotiable in the winter

It’s winter.

I recently bought a knitted blanket. We’d had a number of fuzzy blankets over the years, but when I saw this blanket, I figured it was worth adding to the couch blanket wardrobe.

“This blanket was made by someone’s hands,” I said to Chris. “But by the time we bought it, those hands were probably gone.”

If someone was selling it, it’s likely that the person who sold this blanket did not even know the hands that knitted this cozy blanket.

Yet I can feel how someone made this blanket, with care.

“The garage is made by a person’s hands too. There are a ton of places in this whole house that were made by hands.”

Back in the 1950s, that was how things were done. Almost 70 years ago, strong careful hands built this house.

And we don’t know whose hands they were.

I can romanticize the woman who knit my new (old) blanket. Maybe it wasn’t even a woman!

I can see how the pattern came together. I wonder if she was making for someone. I wonder if she was learning how to knit, and this blanket was her first big project.

Maybe she hated making this blanket. Maybe there is a spot–if I only knew how to see it!–that she realized she’d gotten it wrong and had to pull out 3 hours of stitches.

That’s the sort of thing a real human does.

I have some pants I picked up at the thrift store. They are factory made, and I call them my left-handed pants. The zipper enclosure is facing the wrong way. If I were left-handed it would be perfect.

But they ended up as factory rejects, and came into a thrift store, and because they were the right size and caught my eye, I now have left handed pants.

They are comfortable enough, but a little awkward to zip.

This hand-made blanket though, I am pretty sure had some errors that were corrected. And even if THIS blanket were error free in the making, the master craftsperson that made it had made some errors in projects of the past. Those errors factored into this blanket

All the mistakes that led to the perfection.

Imagining the hands feels good to me. Those hands cared about what they were doing. Somehow that care, which was put into the blanket, makes it feel extra cozy.


I remember when I was half-way–or nearly halfway–through writing the Russian American School fo Tomorrow.

I quite my job, in part because the hours were so long they didn’t let me work on the book. I figured I would quit, live off savings and unemployment for a while, finish the book in 3 months or so, and be done.

10 years later I still wasn’t done.

Things don’t happen on schedule like that.

Creative outlets gestate on their own time.

Black friday with the animals

Chris gave in and bought the Sonos subwoofer. He said he wouldn’t.

But then Amazon said that he could return it all the way away in January if he wanted.

Because black friday, And Christmas.

This Saturday I was clearing up the late breakfast, when I hear the cat HISS and

THUMP jump down to stare at the door.

What?! the cat does not hiss unprovoked.

And he certainly does not go to the door. He does not like people.

I look out the kitchen window, and a parcel delivery person is coming up the walk.

I open to door, assuming I might need to sign for something, and also to investigate why my cat is acting so out of chracter.

It was the subwoofer. The delivery person laughed with me when I told her my cat hissed at her.

But now Chris is setting up the subwoofer.

Out Sonos is in my boudoir, and there aren’t a lot of places for it to sit. It’s under my desk and rattling the drawers right now.

“I wonder if the dog is barkign at the bass.” he said.

“No, there is a squirrel.”

He wishes the dog were barking at the bass. The bass is much improved, but I don’t think enough to affect the dog.



artist way

Thanksgiving,I was wanting to watch something not very challenging on TV

Honestly, i thought the weather channel would be perfect. But I couldn’t remember it’s number from the hundreds of channels we have on our cable service. yes, I still have cable.

So I was looking at the guide, and I saw one channel had a simpsons marathon. I tuned to the simpsons.

THe Simpsons is in it’s 30th season. This episode was not from the 30th season. It also was not from the first ten seasons.

It was not funny. It was like a parody of itself.

I looked at CHris in shock. “What is happening?”

It turns out that the simpsons’ downfall is a well-known and well documented phenomenon. Chris  brought up a documentary from Youtube about what had happened and when. It also got into the special sauce that made the Simpsons so delightful when it WAS good.

when it was good, it was very very good.

it is not good anymore.

Which made me wonder, what is funny anymore? Has culture lost it’s sense of humor?

It maybe has. There is a meme going around that this is the era of “That’s not funny.”

But so many things are funny! There is lots of funny!

Isnt’ there?

Hmm. What shows on TV make me laugh? I used to watch Big Bang Theory. I still watch a little bit of Mom.

Neither of those were as good as the Simpsons used to be.

The Daily Show is supposed to be funny, but i find it unwatchable because it seems so smug and judgemental. There is no room for transformation.

That’s what humor is supposed to be: Transformative.

It holds up a mirror of what is, and lets us see ourselves. Like how we might want to smooth out this or that irregularity

Local Tradition

Thanksgiving is coming.

That means all kinds of traditions, a lot of them very very local and intimate to one’s own family.

My family has a tradition of grated carrots in green Jell-O. Another family I know has a tradition of special potato salad. It’s part of how we’ve learned to celebrate.

My town has a unique thanksgiving festival. A retirement community founded by the church which traces it’s beginning to the Pilgrims –called Pilgrim Place–had a big festival every year.

It’s become our tradition to go, and locally it is a very big event. It’s the sort of big event that no one else knows about, except the people who go.

The pilgrims of Claremont–retired missionaries, pastors, and professors–they prepare a party for the whole community based on their traditions. Their memories and culture are passed on. The pilgrims are definitely influenced by the sixties, and pass on the hippie culture to us all.

For the kids, they have a thing called the “glue-in”. Like a sit-in or a love-in from those days of flowers in your hair, these pilgrim grandparenty people set aside all kinds of bottles and lids and random debris. They wash it, and keep it for this special day.

They cut cardboard rectangles and put out small pots of glue. The children are invited to sit at tables outside and make something–whatever they like! –with the glue and objects.

My husband remembers making these as a child. I have taken Veronica to do this every year of her life.

One day she will not want to do it anymore. I know this.

But this year, that was all she talked about as we drove to the pilgrims.

“Do you want to make a glue-in, Mommy?”

I’d never made one. I’d always assisted. Veronica’s glue-ins were always trying to be as tall as she could make them, and there were some laws of construction that she didn’t really have down.

But who knows? This might be the last glue in.

“Yes, I will make one with you!”

I got my pot, and the pilgrim was happy for me to make one too. We flipped through the piles of building material for our work of art. There were a lot of clear empty prescription bottles.

We set about seeing what could be done with these objects. She was very serious, and I was curious about what I might be able to do with these.

She had come to a pause, trying to decide how to realize her vision. I had just about realized mine.

“What do you think of mine?”

She looked up, squinted her eyes at my structure.

She’s a tough critic. I didn’t know what she would have to say. She was the one with all the experience after all.

Her unpronounced judgment hung in the air.

“I really like it.” she declared.

I did not expect to be so pleased. It felt really really good that she approved.

I hope that is how she feels when I say the same to her.

These are our traditions, for however long they last.

IMG_0299 IMG_0298


We went to see a girls basketball game at the high school.

I wanted Veronica to see what a sports game is like. I’d heard that girls and boys do a lot better when they play sports.

But boys play more sports than girls.

So we went to see.

Claremont Lady Woflpack (WHY DO THEY CALL IT LADY WOLFPACK?!?!) is doing well this season. We won 51 to 24

The girls ran and dribbled and shot and passed.

They missed and they fouled and they did some amazing moves

One girl made an amazing save of the ball to get it back from out of bounds, passing it back in to the court.

But then it was caught by someone from the other team.

My jobby job had quite a few similar moments this week. I would make amazing efforts of attention and executiv decisions, to have it all go awry by forces out of my control.


That is exactly what sports are supposed to teach you.

That you can always be better, but there is a lot of things you can’t control.

And that girl SHOULD be proud of that save, even thought it went to the wrong team.

And the other team played hard too, even though they were very outmatched. THey were much shorter, and the wolfpack outscored them embarrassingly.

But they played hard,

And that is worth emulating. And going to remind ourselves to give our best in life.


Lately I’ve been enjoying reading business books, especially ones that focus on women. I found The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. They’ve been telling me about how women can gain more confidence.

All of these books bring up the sad fact that there are woefully few women in the executive leadership positions of business. What is going on with that? Why is that the case?

And they said, “The past is prologue.”

That stuck home.

Prologue tells you what is going to happen. Prologue sets the stage for the story you are about to experience.

There is very little that is new. We have seen these stories before and we know what part we are to play in it.

They were talking about how the past forms our expectations of what we see in the present, and what we can expect in the future.

So if there is nobody like me in that place, then I will assume that there will continue to be nobody like me–certainly not ME myself–in those corner offices.

So I won’t even try. I’ll look elsewhere.

What has happened in the past sets our expectations.

My expectations won’t even need to be adjusted; because they never thought anything more was possible.

But it is possible the past in a different way. A way that would allow us to see the present and future in a different way.

As the investors like to say “Past performance is not an indicator of future results.”

One thing that is constant is change, so it is possible, even likely that the way things have been could change to something different.

That phrase was actually a phrase Shakespeare put it into the Tempest.
“what’s past is prologue, what to come
In yours and my discharge.”

Which fits. The past is the story that came before, but what’s to come is in our control. We get to discharge it.

Our pasts are the events that came before, but we can make whatever we want out of the future.

Mortal Mastery

He went. I couldn’t bear to go.

It was all about almost dying. And the end of that story seems to always end without the almost that last time.

Dying does come for us all.

Chris wanted to see the movie Free Solo, about Alex Honnold who is set on climbing Yosemite’s El Capitan without a rope. No safety equipment and all alone.

He was compelled to do this thing, this thing that if he made a single mistake would cost him his life.

This life, this only life we’ve got–he decided to gamble it for the goal is conquering this cliff of rock.

Homer’s Iliad tells us of Achilles, the son of the immortal Thetis and Peleus, the very mortal king.

Achilles’ fate was mortal. He was a giant among heroes, with fantastic strength and skill at fighting, and he knew he would die.

The story of the Iliad is his struggle with his mortality. He was unsure how to spend his one life.

He calls his immortal mother to ask her what can be done. She cant’ help him; it’s his fate.

But the immortals of Greek mythology are not so very admirable. They are known for causing mischief and holding grudges for a ridiculously long time. There is nothing noble for them in their eternity.

But for Achilles? This is what Homer writes:
“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

So if this moment is the lovliest thing we have, what shall we do with it? Alex Honnold threw his whole self into mastering the sheer rock.

I’m not willing to do that.

But I understand his compulsion. If this is our life, we must make redeem the gift by stretching ourselves against some challenge.

Homer says it again: Let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing

That’s part of why Free Solo is so unbearably compelling. We all feel that. The drive to see what we are capable of. He’s the hero we’d all like to be.