what use is wonder

It’s the end of the year, and even more than planning what I would like to do next year I really enjoy taking stock of what my last year has held.

Can I be honest? There are a few landmark moments in my life when I think I took a hard angle out from what was expected. Since COVID it almost feels like my life jumped the tracks and I landed in an alternate universe. Am I supposed to be looking for the onramp back to what should be happening?

It seems like this is the alternate universe me and everyone I know has landed in, so maybe it’s for real after all.

Each year I take a look at the books I’ve read. This year I read significantly less than usual, only 95 when the last year was 140 and the year before 160. I think I read so much because of the lockdown and my vague impression that the world was not real. Books seems more trustworthy.

I slowed down a bit last year because I wanted to take the time to savor the books. I’ve meant to read the hard ones.

There are people who love to watch movies. A lot of people. They watch the movies again and again. They will say favorite lines along with the actors.

I feel that way about the books that have left the imprint on my life. And most of them have left an imprint on my life. It’s not so easy to find someone who will read these glorious books with me. I’m so grateful for those who will.


I cannot deprive myself of these books because I have to read them alone. The thing is, I want to slow down so I can savor them.

The first book I finished in 2022 was one of the hardest books I have ever read: Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. I’m not gonna tell anybody they should read that book. It’s a harrowing book that blew open my mind, but I know only a few people can deal with it.

What I am going to say is, I took the time to do a book review on YouTube of this grotesquely magnificent novel. I read the book, which almost killed me. Then I had a discussion with my friend and we discussed all the aspects of the book. The next day I took the time to make this review.  It took almost the whole day to take the time to prepare and record the book review for YouTube.

Taking the time to really present a good review made the book more meaningful to ME. I did it for myself. And then it turned out that it’s my most popular video, more than a thousand people have watched it. Quite a few have taken the to comment and talk to me about it.  

Taking the time to savor and enjoy this thing that I thought no one else was interested in turned out to bring a lot of people into my life.

That’s what I hope to do more of this year. Not to leapfrog so fast over the things that delight me. That’s a very bad habit of mine. This WonderBlog is about wonder, and I want to make room in my life for it. The space, the time, I am wretchedly poor at providing myself with those for wonder. I will work towards it.

Maybe it’s a way of creating new tracks for where my life can travel in. Not an alternative universe but a new one that I create out of the things I like best.

As I say that I feel a shudder of possibility as well as a serious thud of responsibility on my shoulders.

If I’m the one that loves it, I’m the one that has to make it. I’m the only one that knows how.

the time for christmas

“What do YOU want for Christmas?”

That’s Santa’s line. As young as possible, we are supposed to teach to children to have a dream. What thrills your heart? Think of what it might be. Consider the alternatives, which is best? We tell kids they are supposed to come up with a cherished wish. They have the permission and the expectation that they should come up with it.

That’s a sweet pressure that we put on the kids. It’s something we want to instill. What do you want? Let it out…the people need to know. People are standing by to help make the wish come true.

I’m not a kid. Maybe I’m permanently part of the wish-fulfillment committee now. I’ve got some resources and skills now that I didn’t’ have when I was 10. I can make these wishes come true, and it’s a joy to help the kids in my life have their cherished fulfilled.

That’s part of the magic of Christmas.

And still….

Wishes aren’t just for kids. I have a family of people who want to know my hopes as well.

But like I said, I have skills and resources. I can help 10 year-olds with their wishes, but I can handle my own wishes, thank you very much.  I don’t need any help.

That’s the problem with being a serious grown up. I don’t need any help. I fulfill my own wishes almost as soon as I have them. I am a serious grown person. I know that I have to be serious about the things I wish for. I don’t need to bother other people.

The magic of Christmas is a lot of bother. To land that special moment of being there for each other, it takes planning and preparation.

We train our kids for it. And then I, like Ebeneezer Scrooge, don’t participate in the season by making that effort to dream of what I might want. My family wants to join in with me. That means I have to join too.

It’s hard! I have stuff to do. I have responsibilities and priorities. I don’t have time to think about what I like and what I want.

Every night, my cat has a routine. More than just the basics of food and water, which we have locked down, he will stand by to pursue his delight. He will quietly and expectantly stalk my husband to have their time.

When my husband puts his feet up on the couch, reading stories from his iPad, kitty jumps in. This is his moment—their moment. There are blankets, there is a special cubby between his legs and the back of the couch.

Into the cubby, kitty settles himself. He fits in there with the blanket and my husband’s leg. He stretches his legs and kneads the blanket with his claws in the ancient way of cats. My husband knows that this is kitty’s wish, and he makes a place for kitty.

The claws do hurt a bit, but my husband will tolerate it for the pleasure it brings our cat. They have a near-nightly tradition of this special time.

I confess, I am jealous of the cat. Why does he get to have special cuddle time with my husband?

And instantly I know the answer:

Kitty makes the time. Kitty asks for this and my husband is happy to give it to him.

I am the one rushing around from this to that and half the time am barking answers to my family about this or that activity.

If I want what kitty’s got, I have to do what kitty is doing.

I have to make the space in my heart, mind and schedule to recognize what my wishes are and to let people give them to me.


it’s been a tough patch. At least a week, and I am really struggling to return to the mean. I want to get back to a positive frame of mind.

There is more under my control than I’ve been exercising. I did start to put it out there that I need some people to cheer me up

and some people are coming though…I am seeign again that I can find what I need, I can ask for it.


here are words I am putting together. I want to make room to write sentences

I am so close to completing my next non-fiction book. One more chapter, then the front and the end chapters

so close. Why is it taking me so long?

I heard someone say that a writer can struggle with just a few sentences a day. That seems like an affectation for high-culture writers, not for a non-fiction how to book

and still. That is where I am at. Ok. I worked on a few sentences yesterday

I will try to do a few more sentences today.

Not new

I know the Twitter files are coming out for twitter

journalists matt taibbi and Bari weoss arr Tell me a story based on documents that Elon Musk provided What happened when Twitter was censoring during the Trump presidency and during the election that elect Joe Biden

Talking about how these executives at Twitter came up with the rules that were on the fly in arbitrary to protect their ideological cherish edviewpoints

some people who share their cherished ideological viewpoints think it’s silly oh who cares this is nothing this is not important some people who do not share the ideological viewpoints and were feeling the censorship you’re vindicated finally we are hearing the truth

This is not new

Traditions even when I dont’ see them

Veronica complained that her elementary school teachers wanted her to write about Christmas traditions. “I don’t know what a tradition is, because I’ve only seen what we do. I don’t know what other people do.”

Is it a tradition if we don’t make a big deal of it being a tradition? It’s rather subtle if we just do one particular thing one day a year. It’s only over time that it becomes a pattern.

What she seemed to be thinking of was traditions that are carried on by many families. Maybe like Christmas carols. The traditional songs played every year on the radio are a shared experience. Even so, there are songs that get to be the favorites for our particular family.

There are hymn-style carols. And then there are the American carols…even up to as recent as the rock’n’roll Christmas songs. But Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ around the Christmas tree’ is 64 years old. The new ones aren’t that new.

It’s not just the songs though. Christmas traditions are about being together. Yes, the meal and maybe some background music. But the games are required. There are several games that we play, that only we play—two generations back card games no one else has ever heard of.

And then there is the one, like the Christmas songs on the radio, that everyone plays. My daughter has never known a holiday that didn’t have Uno.

It’s a special card deck that is so simple, the littlest kids can play. And it doesn’t take much concentration. There is just enough trick moves that I can complain that the one is hiding or plotting against the other.

It’s a game that was started by an Ohio family in ’71. I imagine they enjoyed it a lot. They took crazy eights and added a few tweaks. They believed in it so much that they printed out five thousand decks. Loaded them in the vehicle and drove across the country selling it. They were as popular as he hoped, which led to even better marketing. At last, in 1992 the huge toy company Mattel bought it and it showed up everywhere—particularly in the after-dinner pre-dessert part of the holiday meals.

People have their own holiday traditions. One of the warmest traditions for me is the togetherness. The games make it playful. That time when someone snuck in a draw four on the guy who just called out “uno!” The other time when Grandma won three times in a row. This is the way the traditions settle in.

Veronica’s going to be in high school next, so I don’t think she’ll get asked to write about traditions anymore. She’ll just have them.


I was listening to a Jordan Peterson lecture on personality and he was referencing he 5 pillars of personality. I’ve taken that test, and the personality tests.

I come up on the extremes in a lot of tests. I am EXTREMELY extroverted…which is weird, because I don’t always want to be around people…I like my alone time

and yet

I think I need to give myself room for being around people. Like performance. performance or some such that is in the space time and space. This long distance stuff is not the same.

It’s close.



I probably need to eat breakfast. Things feel kinda wrong. I’m not confident I can find my way back to excitment

It’s almost assuredly a lack of breakfast