sick of my face

in this world, you can’t be too careful. I had reason to go through my cloud and get rid of sensitive photos. By sensitive, I mean photos of my personal documents and financial information.

I have photos going back to 2012 store in the foggy recesses of the internet. They are safe, right? The thing is, nothing is safe.

So I went through almost 20 thousand photos to get rid of those ones I needed to protect. But most of the photos were of my face.

I am very un interested in my face now.

I was thinking of all the other people I wanted to see. I lieu of the visits I couldn’t make, I took the time to do my christmas letter.

But th christmas letter required a photo of the us. I was sick of all the years of my own face. but I realized I had very few photof of my husband

he doesn’t like picutes to be taken. But it’s not just about his pleasure. I’d like to have a record of him. of us in our lives.

So I grabbed him after he took a shower and took him outside where the light was a little better. He does not do good selfie face. I had to distract him so he didn’t make his face wonky.

I kissed him. My face was not glamorous or makeup on or anything. But my man looked handsome and pleased to be kissing me. So we have a Christmas picture. it coming to a mailbox near you soon.

choosing between branches

The city gave us a tree. Well, the tree came with the house, but it didn’t belong to us. It was planted by our city decades earlier and grew tall and strong.

Until it wasn’t and it was taken down. But it was a city tree, part of the city plan for how they wanted the city to look. They gave us a new tree.

It was a small sapling. Trees start small after all. It takes time to become something impressive. We had a little three-foot leafy stick to take care of. Since things happen in cycles, more than one house on our block had the same. I could see them as we walked the dog around.

It was a tough time to be a tree. A drought was happening.

I watched the other neighborhood sticks go brown, crispy and dead. I was careful to water my slender stick to keep the leaves fresh. The state was giving us water conservation and use reduction rules.

My daughter was still young enough that I was giving her baths every night. I dipped out gallons of water when she was done with her bath and poured it on my tree-to-be. For almost a year I took this offering of sustenance to keep my tree growing.

It didn’t die. But the growing was very, very, very slow

See, it has separated into three main sections. I’d seen trees in my town that had three trunks. But I felt my sapling lacked focus. I was going to have to narrow it down.

I chose the least promising section and cut it off. I figured the remaining two sections could have a race and show which one deserved to stay.

For the next year i watched it closely. Which branch was bigger?

For a year, they appeared to stay exactly the same.

Was this tree every going to grow into it’s potential? I had poured love and attention on this tree. I had hand carried water to this tree.

And it was stubbornly staying the same. No change.

The saw come out with its steel teeth. The time had come. I made a big decision and cut off the branch. The branch I cut and the branch that remained were the same size.

Then the tree began to grow. At last. It grew as tall as me. And then twice as tall. Then even taller.

That little branch I cut is now dwarfed into the large trunk that continues to grow. I cut off that possibility.

Once the tree knew where to put its energy thing really started to happen. It took me years to make the big choice to cut off the possibilities.

That choice made all the difference.

Fear and Curiosity

Supplies are limited! Act now

These are familiar marketing messages. Someone wants me to give them money, or take an action and is using FEAR to motivate me.

Fear of dire consequences

Fear of humiliation

Fear of lost opportunity

I don’t like to be afraid. These advertisers and salespeople know that and use it to manipulate me to their ends.

And boy does it work. Not just on me. Fear is a strong motivator. It’s a basic human survival reflex to react to fear. To scan the horizon for things, notice changes and feel a jolt of adrenaline.


I hate the manipulation of using that to sell soap. It feels slimy. I have to say I have been averse to learning more about the art of selling because I dislike it so much, which probably is why I am not so good at it.

Fear is a reason to move away from one thing and toward something else. If I want to get Science-y about it, the amygdala –the very primitive part of the brain—is activated. Blood goes to the essential places, starving part of the body, and the senses narrow onto


That’s great in a true emergency, but something that really should be saved for a special occasion.

I prefer to foster an environment of curiosity and wonder. Famously, for both cats and Pandora with her fancy box, curiosity is not trouble free.

I still want it. The attraction, the pull.

What’s inside? What is it?

What if…?

Left to myself, I live in curiosity. As a writer I build worlds, or at least rearrange them.

Fear is an interruption on my paradise. It’s the solution once.

Twice—it’s the problem.

I can get curious about the fear the second time. Is running required? Could I survive this threat? Can I try something different this time?

Oh, hi fear. What do I need to know? How about I take a breath and create a plan before I react?

Hey fear-monger—I’m onto you. The choice you offer is not the only one.

When I pause to wonder I can be pulled, not just pushed. What would happen then?

action and opinions

I have a friend who is very anti-Trump. He believes that everything, every single thing Trump does is evil.

I changed the subject and we talked about other things.

But I thought about it some more. IHe is highly charged on the topic, and not open to other perspectives. Which makes conversation very one sided.

It’s a pillar in my life to be open to other perspectives. How would I feel if I had the same perspective on the topic?

If everything Trump did was truly evil.

I thought of Bonhoeffer. He is the pastor in the time of Hitler who came to the conclusion that is was his duty as a christian to assasinate Hitler.

I am a woman of Action.I admire Bonhoeffer a lot.

It’s a serious thing to take a life. Dostoyevsky talks about it in Crime and Punishment.

I hope to life my entire existence without taking a life.

My Action-orientation combines with my perspective seeking gives me a balance.


I sprang out of bed this Sunday morning. The orange glow of the sunrise in my window meant there was only this moment to capture that color.
I’ve been taking a photo of the sunrise every day for a few weeks. I notice the changes in the color of the blue as the edge of the light peeks over the horizon. And the change of the sunlight color as it hits the clouds.
It only takes a second for everything to change. That sunrise reminds me of the day’s beginning like nothing else
Time is only in the experience of it. That’s what I read in Why Time Flies by Alan Burdick. We measure it, but what are we really measuring.
There is now
Which is gone by the time we say it. 
This day 
whether I name it or not is what I have.
Of course I can imagine I have more. I can use my mind to wander back into the past and wish for, long for or regret things.
Or I can look into the future and worry.
Why is it so often worry?
I could plan and fuss over the things that are still to come. Most of the time that is what I am doing with my head.
I’ve heard a lot of mental health people say: Be in the present!
It can be disorienting to pull my head out of the dark unknown experience of the future or the remembrances of the past and look at what’s here. I spend so much time mesmerized by the shifting shimmer of the ghosts of the past and the possibilities. I have to blink me eyes and let them refocus on the perspective of the near and now.
Like the foggy glow of the sunrise on the horizon. Right now! These colors are only right now. There is no other moment to live in.

The Machine

“What surprise!” she said. “I wouldn’t have expected to see a woman working on the equipment.”

I was the technician visiting to do some upgrades in the DC office and the office manager who made that comment didn’t know who I was. I was a little taken aback at her stereotype. “I’m just running cables. It’s not that different from threading a sewing machine.”

In my world, lots of women knew how to use a sewing machine. It was mechanical, but homey. When I learned to thread the machine, I followed the little maze of over-under-through to lead the thread through the needle at the end. The tricky bit was the bobbin which lived in a cave underneath the needle. I’d have to catch that bobbin thread to get everything started.

All that was very physical, and I could see right away that it was right. But it still wasn’t right if the tension was off.

See, the machine won’t work if the thread isn’t coming out at the right speed and the right rate. If it’s too tight, the thread breaks. That’s puts a halt on progress.

On the other hand, it can be too loose. When the machine is pumping but the threads aren’t following along the whole thing tangles. The seams are not tight, all messy and not even connected.

There are a lot of things to consider when adjusting the tension. The circumstances of the material, the sharpness of the needle and even the fitness of the machine, will affect how it has to be adjusted. It’s a very individual thing.

When I was sitting on the floor behind the equipment in that DC office, I was at just about the right settings. I understood the work that I had to do and could get it done.

I’ve been in systems where the tension was too high, the SNAP of the thread breaking ringing through my days. I admit I’d ignored it more often than not. It was me, not the system. The system had no time for me to be anything but exactly what it needed.

Sometimes that transitions into a free fall of no tension. With no constraints to pull my energies I can’t tell sky from land.

I don’t like either extreme. Took me some time to learn those are not the only options.

See, I am not a choiceless thread in a machine. I can change adjust the tension. I can change the circumstances.

It’s something I forget. I can change it. I’ve seen this before. I can make the changes. If I can just remember. I want to remember.