Somebody reset my router, and now I can’t access the internet

And, yes, I’m speaking metaphorically.

I am sure that I am not alone in the world for finding that city life gets to me. I love the food and the biking in the streets and the best *everything* within 15 minutes walk. But it’s also loud, and dirty, and hurried, and that also often leaves me feeling stressed, and tired, and like I never have enough time (to do it all–which is silly in the first place, because you CAN’T do it all, but that’s not my point today).

So sometimes I’m smart enough to identify that I need time in the great outdoors–I need to get out and breathe in the woods, the fresh air, the quiet. But how often do I listen to myself? Not often. Not often enough.

So the stress compounds and I do my best to struggle through with limited energy and limited (or no) feeling of renewal. Sometimes things are great, and friends and family are a good distraction, but ultimately I need a break from the hustle and bustle in order to recharge my batteries. I need time alone to unplug.

It’s funny, because with my router down and the inability to access the internet, I suddenly seem to have a lot more energy to put into the good things. I’m thinking about creative dinners *and* cooking them up instead of sitting on my butt and playing games or surfing the web (literally, this time). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still checking in with the online life (hello, I’m here), but with that one big hole in my regular day and the unrequited and forced need to focus on just one big problem, I suddenly have no room to worry about the internet (again, literally). I’ve suddenly looked up and addressed life and said “hello, world!” It’s nice to see you again.

And, it is time to get out into the woods…

On the road again

I don’t have to wait to get on the road again. It’s happening today. Right now. For the second year in a row, I’m packed up and loaded into a 15′ box truck, driving with my boyfriend, Gabriel, and this year caravaning with the rest of our camp, heading to Burning Man. My boyfriend’s mom is driving behind us in his 1990 Toyota Previa, with one of his siblings and her husband, and a couple of family friends. They’re all Christian Scientists (not Scientologists–don’t worry it’s one of their top FAQ’s), but besides being a bunch of lovely kooks they’re pretty much like anyone else you’re going to meet on the Playa.

A couple years ago Gabriel got involved helping plan a group camp that was doing the Christiany thing out there, and my religious upbringing and outdoor recreation experience and training were a major contributor in making sure they got their. And had water and a way to get home.
I wrote up a little blurb about my experience last year, but right now I just want to revel in the bliss that is being back on the road again. My hair is purple. The sunrise is beautiful. The truck is creaky. Our internet radio station is thumping: Burn, Burn, Burn. It’s happily calling us home.


Guest writing

My friend Nancy was writing a series of stories about our Burning Man experience last year. There was a lot that happened, and it’s affects good or bad were still reaching me when I asked and procrastinated to “guest write” in her series. I was looking back at the email I sent her with the below article and felt like it wouldn’t be complete without sharing my note to her:

Hey Nancy-pants. I’ve been thinking about it for a while but have been feeling a little over/under-whelmed by a bunch of different stuff. Currently working on freeing myself of the feelings of burden (and the “burdens” themselves), which in turn is freeing me up for expressing the good parts. So here goes:

Last year was my first year at Burning Man, and, yes, I had my expectations of what most of ‘those people’ were out there for and what ‘that thing’ was all about–drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll. I also thought I knew what it was going to be like from the side of a harsh environment. After all, I had gone to school to be an Outdoor Recreation professional. I was going to be prepared.

So there we are, 2 days ahead of general admission, doing camp build-out. I still felt the expectations of city life and social norms weighing on me, and everyone telling me “welcome home” felt false and fake. This wasn’t my home, or theirs either. I judged both the statement and the people as having pretense or lack of self awareness in the ‘real’ world. But we had felt an instant bond with the Harrisons, who we had just met, so I was struggling with my inability to earnestly embrace the rest of the community that was quite literally being built up around us.

As the week progressed, I also noticed people saying “the playa provides” anytime any act of randomness seemed to fit a need or desire someone was expressing. As if the ‘playa’–the prehistoric, dried up, lake bed where we were camping–had personality, and coincidental matches of needs and provisions was some sort of magic. Someone’s bike gets a flat tire and there was instantly someone else nearby who happened to have a spare. (“The playa provides!”) “I could really use some shade / water / or just want fresh socks” you say to yourself–something basic and for which you should have been prepared–and there out of the sand pops up low benches with coverings / a long-time, older, Burner couple with a red wagon filled with ice-cold water / a carnival style game with sunscreen, lip balm, or socks as a prize. (“The playa provides!”)

“Kismet,” I finally say. “God and a divine plan,” say others. “The playa provides,” say ‘those people’. Then my analytical brain kicks in, because I expect that logic and critical thinking can explain anything, including the increasing number and level of randomness. “Well,” I say, “if everyone comes out here prepared for the environment and expecting to take care of themselves plus a willingness to gift (two of the Burning Man Principles), it only makes sense that we would collectively be prepared for anything.”

And that’s when it hits me. Home and community are what we make of it. Literally. My expectations for myself and others was the only limitation holding me back from the true possibilities of what we could accomplish together. The reason why people feel at home at Burning Man is because WE make that place HOME. The reason we call ourselves a temporary COMMUNITY of 70,000 people is because WE build our community up from nothingness to magical wonderland. The reason why the Playa provides is because we ARE the Playa. Our collective selves become the structure and care that nourishes and provides for our community. No matter what your religion (or ‘lack’ thereof), that’s a strong lesson in reaping what you sow.

So, home really is where your heart…and soul and elbow grease…is. Community really is simply those you choose to care about and accept into your life…just as they are and however they come. And the Playa really does provide…exactly what you need. Including a shift in thinking.


(These pictures are of a postcard we recently received. From us. From Burning Man. The shade structure we happened upon way out in deep playa, somewhere between 12 and 1 o’clock–just when I needed out of the sun, and where the couple with the wagon full of water were nearby who happened to be down to their last two bottles when we were nearly dry–also had a stand with postcards and instructions on how to write Haikus. They promised to send the postcard in 1-11 months.)

Too busy?

Alright, so I’ve been really bad at keeping my thoughts updated and organized (and published here).  I, like probably many people, am going to make the excuse that I have been too busy.  And while that does hold some weight because life does get busy, and we often take on too much to be able to actually get it all done, we all choose the things that are most important to us to spend our “free” time doing.  And while I have been taking on some quite important tasks, I feel like this here is something that I need to find the time to do.

This chronicling, while not for fame or fashion, is a wonderful way to do exactly what I first stated I was neglecting–getting my thoughts organized, focused, current, and concentrating on what is important.  It’s also a great way to keep myself accountable.  Though I haven’t done a great job of keeping up with all my personal homework assignments, I am going to lay them out again.  For me and anyone else to see:

  1. Get fit – for sailing, for self, for skinny jeans…
  2. Run, bike, hike, camp, SAIL
  3. Therapy – of all sorts

Someone told me once you should write down your top to-do items.  Never keep more than 3-5 items on the top list, and don’t worry about the rest of the things to do.  You only lose focus on the whole list if you don’t stay focused on the top items.  And, really, when do you not have real top 3 items that you HAVE to get done.  It’s like laundry–there’s always some you could be doing, but when you’re down to your last pair of skivvies that task shoots straight to the top of the list, now doesn’t it?

So there’s my top list overall in life.  My daily list is always different, but those are my top 3 things to get done this year.  I have specifically taken steps to make sure I stay on this path.  We have the California State Golden Poppy Day Pass, running shoe shopping is constantly at the top of the daily list (until it gets done), and vacation is already requested for some camping dates and sailing dates.  2014 here I come!  (Starting out sort of organized.)

Of superheroes and promises

There’s a point in everyone’s life when they realize their hero is just a wo/man.  A moment when reality catches up and overtakes fantasy.  When cognition switches from concrete to abstract.  There also seems to be a moment when ultimate mortality becomes a real and pressing problem.  Not just when we understand what it means, but when we really have to face it square in the eye.

I think most children when very young believe their parents can do anything.  They are Superman, Wonder Woman, maybe even the Hulk.  Parents have supernatural powers that heal wounds, and save us from peril, that protect and shield us from corruption and harm.  They’re like Macgyver and Santa Claus all rolled into one.  We get older, though, and start to question, some even rebel against the idea and the person they used to idolize.  We see failures and short-comings, and begin to understand that our parents are only human.

When I was about nine I’d had enough of the realities of life.  I had already experienced too much loss, sorrow, and suffering, and I knew I was on the verge of having to experience so much more.  I broke down for days sobbing and railing against time.  I could not be consoled with logic or bribed with sweets.  So, finally, in desperation, my mother promised me that I would never have to pass that year up–that I would never have to grow up–that I would always get to be 9.  I knew it wasn’t true even then, but for some reason it was very comforting.  And it made the future less scary.

I prayed every night for about two years straight that my parents wouldn’t die while I was asleep.  That my family would still be there in the morning.  I feared additional loss.  But physical presence does not a relationship make, and over time we all grow up and move apart.  We suffer more loss, but we also find joy.  We learn and grow and get older.  Like all humans I could not escape time, no matter what my superhero said.  But some parts of me must still be stuck back at 9.  Still trying to delay the inevitable, still railing against time……and loss.

A Knitter’s Tip

Don’t get too attached.

It’s probably a very common warning among creative types, but it’s something that I find very important in continuing to love my hobby. Many people when they start a project—any project—really just want to see it complete. Personally, I love knitting for the process. (Otherwise I would have gotten bored of scarfs and hats years ago.) But many people, once they’ve started something, and especially when it’s almost done, can’t bear to “lose” that progress. Some folks might even just finish for the sake of finishing, even if the end result is virtually unusable.

Don’t be afraid to rip it out!

A lot of projects you end up doing twice. If at first you don’t succeed, and that awesome orange hat you’ve made for your big-headed boyfriend is too small and pinches his head, rip out the stitches and start anew. It’s never a waste do something right, even if it takes a couple of times doing to get it there.

Love what you do.

As I said before, I love the process. I love yarn shops. I love yarn. I like the simplicity of knits and purls. It’s a quick easy meditation. It keeps my hands busy and my mind at ease. It’s beautiful, simple, and a wonderful thing to share. And if you love it, it’s not going to matter how many times you knit it.

And, yes, I have to knit that hat again. All told it was a few rows too short.


I just re-read my last post. Boy do I feel like a schlub. My intentions were a little greater than my body could handle. I did go sailing though, so I’ll let you decide if the tradeoff was worth it. (Hint: I think it was!)

I ended up re-injuring myself a little. Not to anywhere near the same scale as the suffering from last year, but enough that I was incapacitated for several weeks and in the chiropractors office about 4 times during one week.

It all comes back to sailing. I went out for a Friday night Beer Can race. I can’t recall the last time I was on a boat before that night…..I was trimming jib and it was a good, breezy night. We tacked and jibed for a good starting position, and I was getting a good workout. I had been complaining for about an hour before we got to the dock, but that old familiar feeling of working those muscles removed all whiny-ness. Two hours of sailing bliss, back to the club for a beer, then home, tired and sore.

Fast forward three days and it feels like my rib is trying to rip out away from my spine. Which it was. Chiropractor confirmed I’d pulled a rib in the back. Who knew you could do that?!? It was horrible. I couldn’t sleep on that side—any weight was extremely painful. I couldn’t ride my bike or carry a backpack, do yoga or any other physical exercise that included weight or stretching. It hurt to use my computer. Seriously. Using my mouse off to the right of my keyboard irritated the whole region where that rib was, and it made work a realllllllly looooooooong day.

So I made the brave decision to just give it up. Rest. Relax. Recuperate. It’s hard to do nothing. I mean for a day or two, that’s easy. But I’ve been doing nothing far too long, and after having made some progress, it was hard to put it all on hold.

Well, it took a few weeks, but I finally felt that rib popped back into place. I rested up a couple of more weeks so the soreness, stiffness, tenderness would go away. But now it’s time. First day back on the bike tomorrow!

Oh, but can’t eat now. Got braces. Ah…life.

Making change happen today

We all have it. The mile-long to-do list that keeps are lives perpetually moving toward getting something done, changing a situation, improving ourselves in some way. And for many people, including myself, it’s a to-do list that keeps growing and rarely shrinks except for forgetfulness. But here’s the rub: in order to actually create change—to make something happen—you have to change, you have to do something different.

Now, this may seem obvious, but really think about. How many times do you step back from a situation and actually try to do something differently? How many times do you simply write it down again on that everlasting to-do list of things you need to change? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the fuzzy, feel good, self-improvement cheerleader type. I’m far too pragmatic for that.

This is how I’m making change happen today.

  • 1. I’m doing the things I mean to do. Instead of wondering how others find the time to do yoga every day, I’m doing yoga. Instead of talking about when I’m going to start a daily routine of it, I just did it.
  • 2. I’m holding myself accountable. I’m making my intentions public so that I have someone besides myself to answer for when I look at that morning donut or think about skipping just one ______ session. There’s no better motivation than public humiliation. Might as well set myself up to show off excellent results.
  • 3. I’m not apologizing anymore. I hate sounding like a broken record. Apologies seem less sincere, less meaningful, when repeated time and again. Instead of apologizing for something for the umpteenth time, I’m going to balance the situation with action. Accept my mistake, change the behavior, move forward.

Street art

I was driving home a couple of months ago, passing several little corner shops—you know the ones, that mostly carry soda, cigarettes, and beer—when a stop sign gave me a second to pause and look around at my surroundings.  What I found was life, art, creativity, a vibrant excerpt of a unique urban experience.

Everyone has their own idea about what constitutes art.  My mom always complained about a guy who peed in a jar and put a crucifix in with it.  I agree, not art.  Kind of disgusting really.  But I’ve seen some…interesting examples of art in the numerous galleries and coffee shops and studios around town.  I’ve also seen some pretty amazing graffiti.  What I found I think measures somewhere in between.


115 days?!?!?

Could it really have been a 1/3 of a year since I last logged a weblog entry?  How is it that almost 4 months have passed without me writing down a jot?

Oh yeah, working full time really does suck up days.

I had gotten so used to the “more casual work schedule” shall we say?  I had forgotten what it was like to work every weekday, each week, for months.  I hadn’t even noticed so much time had passed since I had last visited my thoughts.  The public ones.  Here.  I have had thoughts……

Anywho, it did occur to me that it’s been quite some time since I had spent any REAL time worrying about getting these particular juices flowing, and I have to say, I’m really glad I’m taking the time now.  Working the 9 to 5 (again) you forget sometimes to take a step back, breath in, re-evaluate, breath out, and move on, move forward.  It’s not a bad thing to be busy, but it’s nice to make time for other things besides life maintenance items and lists, the commute, and the constant chatter in your brain that is left-over stress from the daily grind.  (Note to self: that’d be a GREAT coffee shop name!)  Honestly, it’s also nice to have the holidays over.  They’re always……a mixed bag.

Now that it’s March, it is, of course, easier for me to think.  The winter hazy is fading away.  The spring sneezes have moved in a little, though.  I’ve gone to working somewhere between part time and full time, and I like it.  I’ve been crafting, hot tubbing, traveling, crafting, but no sailing yet.  I rode my bike to work almost every day in February.  Life has kept moving along, even if I wasn’t paying attention to the time that was passing.  Friends got married, others fell in love, I gained and lost 5 pounds in a week, 1 year olds became 2 year olds and 3 year olds became 4 years olds, I found new family and re-visited old memories, and still time doesn’t care if I notice it at all.  It just keeps ticking by, little by little, second by second, minute to hour, days, nights……but not for another 115 days till I meet you again.


I know I already said this

But I LOVE road trips. Of all the things that could be troublesome in relationships, road tripping is not one of those for me and G. I am grateful for long car rides, hoppin’ tunes, tethering, and SoCal beaches.


A “free” democracy

Today I am grateful for the right to vote, and while not all choices are easy, or even good, it’s still nice to have that choice.


Road trips and pizza places

So G and I have adventure days. We purposefully plan nothing for an entire day. Well, we put a whole day of nothing on the calendar since we’re usually so damn busy on the weekends, but what we actually end up doing those days is taking ourselves to look for a new adventure!

We all get so busy in life with the every day worries of maintaining life that sometimes we forget why we’re living it. So G and I remind ourselves. At least once a month. This month led us to pizza at Prospector in Twain Harte. I’m not going to say that simply driving 3 hours to get pizza is necessarily adventurous per se, but it does get more interesting when you’ve reached your destination in the middle of nowhere and the restaurant you’ve driven to is closed. For the next 2 days.


I am grateful for pizza, road trips, and especially ADVENTURE!

Friends with…..announcements

So this is my gratitude for November 4: two, I repeat TWO, of my friends got engaged today! How exciting to have so much love in the world. Congratulations to Korin & Joseph and Guillaume & Clare!!!


What a beautiful day!

In the ongoing month of being and expressing gratefulness I just want to say what a joy it is to live in the SF Bay area. It was a beautiful day today! And I am grateful, specifically, for nice weather. Not to brag, but . . .

. . . It’s supposed to be 81 degrees on Monday AND Tuesday!

I have a pretty hard time dealing with the winter months. For the last 10+ years November through February has been really difficult. I’ve struggled with these hard months of blah weather and the hibernation they encourage and the memories that make the combination during that time period so difficult. But I think this year is going to be different, and I think the weather is giving me a reassuring sign to that effect. I am grateful for the beautiful weather.

Without friends . . .

I would not have such wonderful times and weird adventures as I do. How great it is to have good people in my life. I am grateful for all my friends, especially the ones who know me now (or have ever had to live with me!).

I am especially grateful for Gabriel.

It’s gratitude month!

So G tells me November is Gratitude Month. And a great month it’s starting out to be. I got a quick one minute fly-by from the boss saying they have full time work for me through the end of the year!

I am grateful for bigger paychecks!!!

Jammed — only one man would dare give me the raspberry

Well, actually, it was my man’s mom, but let’s not split hairs.

So I’ve always been led to believe that canning was an extremely difficult task. Growing up I heard stories from classmates’ moms describing days and days of preparation, hard labor and the final push to preserve hundreds of jars of fruits, vegetables, jams, jellies, and……whatever. Well, if you’re going to do it all in one fell swoop and save all that work for just one time, I suppose it would be a giant pain in the ass to do canning.

But I know better now.

The key is to do small batches of canning. Take a few things that you would like to do today, and set aside three hours for working on this task. Yes, it is helpful that California has a year-round growing cycle, so it makes it easier to pick and choose the items and the timing for the canning process, but still—the idea of planning out your time wisely, not a bad one.

So this is what we did in our 3 hours of processing last night:

Step one. Unpack and wash the jars, lids, and screwtops. Sterilize by boiling in water separately. Keeping the jars warm after sterilizing also helps prevent temperature shock when you place the hot fruit in the jars.

Step two. Pick your pleasure. We were make jams last night. Peaches, nectarines and ripe raspberries! Wash and chop into small bits.

Step three. Read the damn recipe. Pectin is generally naturally derived from citrus fruits, and each little container you buy tells you exactly how to prepare the fruit and how much product to use for good gelling.

Step four. Fill the jars. Top with lid. Fasten screwtop. Process (i.e. boil) for 10 minutes.

Voila! DONE. Let set and enjoy.

Raspberry Chocolate Almond Spread


It’s time to get crafty!

So trying to sail again proved to be detrimental to the healing process. Apartment is FINALLY, mostly put away. Code school is in process, but everyone needs a break from school now and then, right? What to do . . . . . . . . .


I have to say, I’m a kind of loving the crafts I’ve been making the last few days. I haven’t had the opportunity (for whatever reasons) to really pull out the scissors and glue, knitting needles and fancy yarn, for quite some time. One, it feels nice to have them in my hands. I love the process of creating. I love working with my hands. I like being busy in this way. Two, it’s really nice to have the time for this little escape, a little break from whatever was keeping me to busy to get busy. Crafting.

I’m happy with the results, though concerned with issues of consistency. Possibly need to re-measure, re-make my template. But results are looking pretty!

The magic of the mini (skirt)

Last night my boyfriend called me a boy.  Because I passed him a garment of clothing, made puppy-dog eyes at him, and asked if he would sew on a replacement for a missing button.  So, yes, I realize that makes me kind of a boy.  But then I bribed him (like all women do–come on, admit it).  This is the deal I made:

You fix it, I’ll wear it.

He also harassed me about hiding so many shoe/boxes all over the apartment, taking up space where other things might be stored.  So I made this point:

I keep them, I’ll wear them.

Done deal, did it.  So off we went with me in a mini-skirt and pink high heels—even though I’m working with a twisted ankle.  And the secret to the magic of the mini skirt is this:  it makes your legs look longer.  Add to that cute pink heels, also lengthening your leg, and no hot-blooded man could resist.

I wonder what else I can argue my way into hiding in the apartment……

The Princess

Growing up I was always a tom-boy.  I idolized my big brother, collected baseball cards, rode BMX bikes (or tried to), climbed trees, and generally just ran around and played in the dirt.  My mom never tried to make me into a girly-girl, either.  I suppose that’s one very big thank you I can say to her.  Thank you, Mom, for not making me try to be other than my dirt-playing, tree-climbing self.

So in my 20’s when boys became a little more important, and I realized that being “one of the guys” usually meant I wasn’t going to be dating any, it became more important to me to try and find a feminine side.  It was difficult for me because I didn’t feel like I necessarily had much in common with most women who weren’t also “one of the guys,” who played in the dirt with me and climbed rocks with me.  That’s what I knew to do and how to relate to people.

But as my 20’s rolled on and it became increasingly more important to me to find my more feminine side, I worked on the concept of The Princess.

Around that same time, though, my bff Dick (no, really, his name IS Dick—short for Richard) and I used to have loooooooong and involved conversations about the nature of men and women.  Why we are the way we are, how we think, why it’s impossible for us to really relate to each other, and why we constantly also want to be together (assuming you’re of the hetero persuasion).  We would talk on the phone for hours, also relating our latest dating foibles and frustrations.

One idea that he presented to me was, Men like the damsel in distress—you need to be the Princess that he needs to rescue.  WHAT?!?!!?  Did you say to me?  I need to be a what?!  I’m sorry, but Princesses don’t get their shoes dirty.  Heck, they don’t even have the hiking boots / climbing shoes / ski boots to get dirty.

Take 2.  Don’t think of it as the weak, needing-to-be-rescued type.  But that’s what you just *said*.  Think of it as the one he vies to win.  We’re not getting any better here, Dude.  I am not a “trophy”, nor a “prize”.  I am not property.

Again, stubbornly.  It’s not about you!  It’s about the guy!  Ooooooohhhhhhhhh.  Yeah……I think I get that.  It’s like Shrek, not Rapunzel?  I can be a big, green, kicks-ass, takes-names kind of Ogre Princess.  First saved from the dragon, but then saves the hero from thieves.  I think……I’m cool with that?

Sort of.  Be the Princess that’s worth rescuing, worth a man proving himself worthy of you.  “Be all that and a bag of chips?”  Oooo, now you’re just appealing to my man-sized ego.

But as my 20’s rolled on and it became increasingly more important to me to find my more feminine side, I worked on the concept of The Princess.  I started to understand what Dick meant.  I could work not only on becoming a better climber/sailor/cyclist, but also a more gentle person when I wasn’t on hard rock, more softer-spoken when not shouting over rough seas, and more still in a conversation when I wasn’t riding 30 miles an hour down a hill.  His concept of The Princess became the way I viewed the other half of life.  The woman who liked to get dressed up in foul weather gear for sailing was the same woman who liked to get dressed up in red patent leather heels for a dinner date.  The Princess was simply one way to express the femininity that already existed inside me—mine was simply a mean, green fighting machine as well.

Summer session programming program

I’ve applied to the Academy!  I am really excited and nervous about my application.  I have been obsessively checking my phone every time I hear it *ding* at me that there is new mail.  I have been biting my nails—literally—and tapping my foot and pretty much employing any little nervous habit that we as Padawans have available to us before we know we are accepted as apprentices.

This is something that I don’t know if I would have necessarily pursued had it been only of my own volition, nor do I believe I would have even ever known about the opportunity.  But life and fortune and love being what they are, the news has come to me, and I have jumped at it like fleas to a mangy dog.

"Kick! Kick! Kick!"

I’ve not only gone both feet into the pool, I’ve climbed up the high dive to take a look from the top. Now, me not really being a swimmer has seemed not to deter my desire to jump.  So now I’m wondering……will my floaties be enough to keep my head above water and let me breathe?


I almost feel like a real person again…

After weeks and weeks of bullshit, I’m starting to feel like I’m almost to the surface and can grab a fresh breath of air.  Not that I’m not still buried and need to dig myself out.  Just…..fresh air will be nice.

The accident injuries have been slowly healing.  Somehow, the stress and strain of packing, lifting, moving, boxing, moving, unpacking, repacking, moving, lifting, boxing has helped realign my body into understanding what my expectations are for it.  While I will in no way take credit for the majority of what got done, considering Gabriel was, at times, the only one moving/lifting/reassembling furniture, I will say the effort I put in helped move things along much more quickly—I think…..I hope—than they would have done with him alone.  And I was glad for the exercise.  I know, it doesn’t seem like much of exercise, but when you’ve been as sedentary as I have been due to injury, anything that makes you use your muscles feels like work.  And it feels gooooooood!!

So now that I have a little more time on my hands, and a lot more stuff in my house than necessary, it’s time to even out the two—slowly—until I find a balance of time, energy, fitness, finances and maybe some affection, too.



I’m a big baby. I don’t mean to be. But I have been crying and whining about my damn injury status all week, culminating in a shitty weekend of complaining. So I’m going to stop. That’s it. I’m stopping. This will NOT rule me any more.

The price to pay

Recently I made the decision to be happy. Part of that decision will include a huge life change precipitated by the need to reduce costs. The need to reduce my expenses is circularly required because I chose happiness. All that aside, there is definitely a price to pay for happiness.

Instead of accepting a full time salaried position at a company that promotes fitness, I chose a part time position in a call center. Between work that may have been challenging and appealing as analytic and one that does not have obvious paths of growth, I chose the one that may not help me grow—except for this: it will give me the opportunity to pursue the person I want to be during the next 10 years. Although, for the duration of my full time training before I actually begin working part time, I’m going to be bored to tears.

I am fledgling Padawan?

Two months ago, almost to the day, I said I hated blogs.  I didn’t want to blog.  I have my own domain, why should I install WordPress?  Ah, WordPress.  You are quickly becoming one of my most used tools.  ————————————>

Today I took another big leap forward on my way through the Playground.  I opened my Freshbooks account, created my first invoice, and worked 4 hours for my first (and only, for now) client.  Mostly, I’m updating WordPress sites. 🙂

Some of the items are fairly normal, everyday, if-you-can-use-a-computer-at-all-well-you-can-do-this type of things, but other items are more challenging to my knowledge base and create learning experiences for me while I work.  Of course, I have in recent years also admitted that my scale for knowledge and expertise is perhaps skewed toward the high end of the spectrum.  What I mean by that is this:  my interpretation of what Intermediate means equals what most would consider Advanced or Expert level skills.  So, me saying, “if you can use a computer at all well, you can do this” probably makes other folks go, “holy shit, how do you do that?!?!”

So, maybe I’ve upgraded from my newb status.  But, seeing an email from my client to UNDO an hour and a half of work and redo it specifically copy-and-paste makes me wonder.

Good thing I consider my new life a complete learning experience and my new Playground.

I am my own new playground

Taste of North Berkeley

Last night was such an adventure!  We only saw the flyer a few days beforehand, but Gabriel was keen on taking on the task:  27 stops, 3 hours, 6 blocks, and dumping bucketsof rain.  We first stopped at Vine Street at the North Berkeley Associations pop-up tent to get our ticket books.  These books not only had our golden tickets for each of our 27 stops, but also a map to tell us where every participant and tasty treat was located.  Number 27 was not participating due to a family emergency—best wishes, dear friends.  So, then, let us pick our route.

So many tasty treats, it's hard to know where to start

The first stop was kind of a default.  It was this cute little shop across the street from where we parked.  We had passed this shop a number of times on the way to dinner or gelato, but we had not yet been by this shop during its regular business hours.  They’re open?!?  I’m going in before they close; I only missed them by 2 minutes last time!  Oh, and you’re also participating in the ToNB?  Excellent!  A Priori is the epitome of beautiful and/or interesting upcycled and recycled goods, with a definite flare for chichi items.  Truly a delight.  Each of us armed with a Vignette soda sample and some very tasty chocolate-almond clusters, we set out to make our wish lists for the store.  Bamboo, portable 1/8″ input speaker?!?  Yes, Please!  Soda pop top clutches and jewelry……maybe.

Excitement (and perhaps a little alcohol) guided and chased us through the first few stops, so I can’t really be sure what happened next.  I do remember deciding we’d save our Peet’s sample for last; a small coffee to warm us up and give us a little top-off at the end of the evening.  Since we were already at the end of the “route”, we decided to work our way backward to number 1.  The Epicurious Garden is always one of my favorite places to go, so I was extremely happy that most everyone there was participating.  Soop never disappoints, Lush Gelato is phenomenal, but the big surprise was Picoso Taqueria—amazing, let me repeat that, AMAZING little tasty food bombs.  Half a belly-full later, plus one burned roof-of-mouth, and off we walked back into the deluge.  Down to number 15.

A few odd stops, some good thai samplers, a butcher (no baker—not yet), a burger place, then off to the first round of coffee!  Me a little woozy from the whirlwind, worldwide, food sampling was extremely happy for the warm, dry, spacious, loungy Philz Coffee.  To make a long story short(er), we will be frequenting this establishment again.  A little relaxation at hand and some warmth in our bellies (and hands, and feet, but slightly still damp selves) with plenty of time in our schedule to hit every location, off we set again in search of adventure!

Only a few stops more to go.  We looked more carefully through the book at these last few stops and what they had to offer us.  Did we really want every sampler?  That was our goal in the beginning.  But, full stomachs and sleepy limbs were starting to protest (though politely).  We were still having fun, so why not try to get to all of them?  Some quick strategizing and next we were off for a chili-lime chicken wing at Poulet.  The French Chicken behind us, it was a little more southeast Asian food, a skip over the bakery for now, and on to press our luck at finding the boundaries of our bellies with the last entree style foods.  Let me just say, everyone should try Bistro Liaison.  Chef is a funny guy, and  definitely a smart one when it comes to hungry droves wandering the streets of Berkeley in the rain on a quest for food.  A little mushroom velouté with black truffle and cognac?  Mmmmmm.  I could have fallen asleep then and there.  But there was still dessert and coffee!

Back we went for the art house—who gave us very large “tastes” of wine—the hippy deli for a bag of tea to go, an intentional skip on a sushi place with no patrons, a wonderful last bite of tiramisu, and a quick haul back to Peet’s……and they were CLOSED!  Those bastards.  Well, our bellies probably couldn’t have taken it anyway.

The source of inspiration

Last week, I was on a roll.  I was coding, I was writing, I was crafting–I was getting shit done!  Now……not so much.  Today I’m finding it difficult to really get motivated.  I’ve combed over some of the information that I needed to get through.  (I.e. I pared down my bookmarked list of possible jobs from ~150 to ~30.)  I took a nice long walk.  (To do: Exercise. Check!)  But what happened to that fire?!  That passion?!  That drive to get those other things on my list DONE?!

inspiration | inspəˈrāSHən | noun | 1 – the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative

Lists vs Flow

Again, I’m going to blame it on my left-brain-ness.  That “something creative” part is the hard part for my brain to recognize.  I have my checklists and my boxes and arrows drawing out the Visio map for today; I just don’t see the creativeness in it—I don’t find it inspiring.

My accomplishments and productiveness today are nothing to sniff at, but I need to find something that motivates my crafty side.  Where does a left-brain find inspiration?  Where do you find inspiration?

Happy Birthday to me!

On this the eve of celebrating my completion of 31 years of life, I would like to reflect.  What the hell happened last year?!?!?!



Why video games are good (besides the obvious)

I recently had a discussion with a friend on why video games are good for me.  That’s right, “Good for me.”  I’ll even go so far as to say they are healthy and a good form of relaxation.  However, just like EVERYTHING in life, only when consumed in moderation.


Unfortunately for me, my brain works way faster than it needs to sometimes.  It also tries to process a lot of different ideas at once.  The result is a kind of buzzing in my head that sometimes turns into good and productive things, amazing craft projects, or 10 chapters of a “learn to code” book out of the way in one afternoon.  But sometimes it turns into migraines, or crankiness, or poor communication because I’m 5 steps ahead on an answer for a question someone just asked me.

No, I’m not telling you no.  Yes, I am listening to what you are saying, and I get it.  Really…..I get it.

You can see how this could become a problem.  Especially with a boss.  Or a boyfriend.  Or whomever.  Anywho.

...shooting out of there like...

So during this conversation with my friend, I was trying to figure out a way to explain what it feels like in there and what video games do for me.

Think of it like this:  Pretend you have 100 radios in your head.  (Yes, radios.  No, not satellite.)  They are all different shapes and sizes and colors.  Now look at the dials on each.  Are they all tuned to the same station?  How many of them are on?  Are they all plugged in?  Is your power source sufficient enough to power all of them at once?

My head is a 100 different radios, all plugged in, all hooked up to the same power source, all turned on, and all tuned to a different station.  Some of them are even on AM!  It would be great if I could pay attention to all those stations all at once, but what usually ends up happening is that I need to hear just one station over all the others.  So I turn up the volume on that radio.  But then something else catches my attention over on that shelf on the other side of the room, so I turn up the second one to hear it over the first.  And so on and so forth, until the inside of my head is a cacophony of noise that just sounds like a great and mighty din.  It’s no better than static.

All the dials of the rainbow

Ah, so the point being.  Sometimes it’s nice to just do nothing.  I can plug a video game in, turn it on, and tune OUT.  The longer I play that game, the more the little elves in my head go running around pulling the power cords on those radios.  Of course, the danger there is, if I play too long they unplug all of the radios, and that’s bad.

So let’s review my original statement:  Video games are good for me, when consumed in moderation.

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