9 February, 2016  |   Comment

Today I researched my passion


This community college adult education food class was marvelous. They all are.
(Pro-tip for your next wine country trip, pop in a cooking class at our community college.)

Secrets of Archetype class

We learned all about some of Archetype restaurant’s best dishes. I learned about making chicken and gnocchi, tandoori cauliflower and brussels sprouts with chinese mustard sauce and now I feel I can win your reality show.

7 February, 2016  |   Comment

Mustard Season

In wine country, this time of year brings the runny noses, the deep coughs and the irritable allergy response from the pollen in the air.

And it’s glorious.

This weekend, we celebrated the Superb Owl by taking our yearly photos in the mustard flowers. This weekend, I watched my friend Kristen targeted by internet commenters about the way she shares her family online.


The words we currently have for that kind of targeting, of relentless negative commentary sound like physical threats. When someone’s being targeted online, the words we have to describe it removes focus from what’s really happening.

Yes, it’s unlikely that that threat isn’t real, but my brain can’t yet distinguish between these internet threats and real life ones. 


If I have 100 acquaintances, and 3 don’t like me, that’s normal. I can deal with that.

If I have a public internet presence with 100,000 visitors and 3,000 don’t like me and they tell me all about it every day, that’s not normal. I cannot deal with that. Even thought the math makes sense, my brain cannot handle the load of having 3,000 people not like me. My brain’s reaction to a perceived threat doesn’t scale like that.


What do I deserve to get by putting up these photos of my children? What form of punishment is enough for me? When does the internet majority decide to turn on me? When will I get what I deserve?


The network has outpaced my ability to process it.


Maybe my kids will have an advantage. The advantage of a structure, of new neural networks, of language to describe it.

Maybe they’ll be less unkind online.

1 February, 2016  |   1 Comment

February’s project

When I turned four, they gave me a typewriter

I guess I understand boomers now.

When I was in college, and those 40 somethings waxed on
about how music just isn’t the same anymore, man.
The spirit of music is just so hollow, man.
The zeitgeist doesn’t make sense anymore, man.

I couldn’t understand them, those Baby Boomers.

My response was always, like duh, things change.
Things curve towards my cute 20 year old body,
so get with the program, boomers.

And yet, here I am, paralyzed by the same thing on my internet.

I’m now a 40 something, waxing on,
about how the internet just isn’t the same, bruh.
We used to write truthful, charming updates about our lives, dude.
It was hella small and hella sweet, yo.

(BRB, taking a word shower.)

Here I am, saying, like duh, HJ, things change.
Things curve toward their cute 20 year old bodies,
so get with the program, culturally irrelevant lady.

And like I’ve found freedom in embracing my lumpy forty year old cultural irrelevancy, (LADIES, did you know it’s absolutely the best thing ever not to be catcalled anymore?) I find freedom in my internet old ladying.

So join me this month while I post my old-fashioned internet thoughts every day.
I’ll forget to post the share buttons and I’ll fail to properly promote my posts.
I’ll fumble the Snapchat and my images will be too big.
I’ll forget to apply all the best practices I use for my work to myself.

(And it’ll be a blast.)

5 January, 2016  |   10 Comments

2015 Recap, 2016 Resolvations

Goodbye 2015! You are done now!
It was a put your head down and push against the boulder year for me.
Was it like that for you?

Work trips and counter wipedowns.
Procrastination and avoidance.
Some really terrible phone interviews.

St. Helena's amazing pool

In 2015, I started exercising for real. Between my Tuesday and Thursday workout group and my three times a week barre class, I found strength I didn’t know I had. The first months of 2015 were filled with embarrassment as I willed this lumpy meatsack forward in the pool, in the barre class and on the track. Here’s to spending more of 2016 up in my body, taking advantage of this biological miracle.


Our bocce team Joanie Loves Bocce turns ten (!) this year and I can’t wait to see how we evolve. We ran yet another successful chili competition and I am so proud of all the lady winners.

This week, we're bringing the fixins with our meal plan

Meal planning continues. I shared our plans nearly every week last year, moving mostly to Instagram. We only stuck to the plan about 70% of the time, but that’s 70% better than the alternative. I look forward to sticking to the plan next year.

We made a pizza cake.

Professionally, I took my foot off the gas. It has been difficult to remind myself that my kids are a really fun age and I want to be around them more.

I did that, and I’ve loved the memories we’ve shared. But it’s been at the expense of a massive amount of professional confidence. I can’t wait to get some of that drive and satisfaction back in 2016.


But I get to spend time with these amazing kids. Watching them light up as they find their interests has been one of my favorite things about this year.

Cream pie fight!

It’s been capital F Fun with the kids. Tons of adventures, from parades to face painting, to cooking classes to homemade art camps. This Memorial Day, we even hosted a cream pie fight for the neighborhood kids.



We threw two fun kids’ parties, too, one 7 year old hosted a Jungle Breakfast and our new six year old had a hoot at Chuck E. Cheese!

My class of internet friends had big birthdays. I got to surprise Pamie for her party, and had a blast. Making new friends is something I haven’t done in WAY too long, and her people are some of the best.


Then I turned 40 and threw an Adventureparty for the record books. We celebrated all over town, dressed like campers and counselors, doing crafts and eating hot dogs. It was in the top 5 memories of the year.

No one cares about my body or opinion or looks anymore! I’m forty! I’m on my way to the promised land!





We had a fun Halloween before we hopped a plane so I could speak at Blog Her Food (what a great event!). I even won a cocktail competition. Then we visited my family in Wisconsin for the week, which was good and hard and complicated like so much of this life.


I am still madly in love with my amazing husband. He is my favorite person in the whole world and he keeps getting favoriter.


Speaking of resolutions, I had another list, a secret list of 100 goals for 2015. And I crossed off about 80% of it.
Well done, me.

Some of my list included:
No diet soda for the year (DONE!)
Run a 5K (I ran three!)
Make butterscotch pudding from scratch (DONE!)
And so on, for 97 more numbers.

Since I crossed so much off that secret 100 goal list, I made a new one for 2016.
Normally I’d share it, but my relationship with the Internet has evolved drastically over the past 3 years.
I’ll keep that list close to my heart.

I just looked at last year’s resolution post, and had resolved to right some inequalities, I haven’t done anything on that end.
I’m sorry. I’ll do better in 2016.

Can I blame the lice?
(No, Helen Jane, you cannot blame the lice.)

Because holy hell, 2015 was the year I became intimate with the human scalp. More than the dog’s emergency teeth cleaning, more than two months of broken washing machine, more than the daily indignities of my life as a working mother in these United States, lice was a big part of my 2015. From under-the-breath conversations with parents in town, unless they’re hermetically sealed, pretty much every child in Northern California gets it, has it or manages it.

It’s everywhere.

I bought all the sprays, the chemicals, the lice patrol visits. We now comb out the kids’ hair for bugs 3 or 4 times a week. Lice is just a thing we just manage now. Go 2015. Go evolution.


I can see you, sitting there, more disgusted with me than you used to be, I get it. I used to be disgusted by lice too. But since lice management stole so much of my 2015, disclosure is in the interest of transparency, really.

I pushed the lice boulder all year long.
Right out here on my rarely updated Mommyblog.
Take that, confident professionalism.


As I read through this post, I’m surprised about how, well, bummed, I sound about the year. Don’t get me wrong, I had some really lovely moments.

But I’m counting on the fact that 2016 is going to be wonderful. In this first month of January alone, I get to attend a wine conference, speak at Alt Summit, I get to visit some great friends and enjoy the heck out of my clean post-holiday home.

That said, my exuberance about the internet has been tampered by its evolution. I’ve finally developed a healthy sense of shame. I’m busy with kids and home and community, right here.

So for 2016, my public resolvations are to make more friends from different backgrounds, visit New York City more than once and make more art. Those feel right for the place I’m at.

Let me know if you want to be a part of any secret listmaking for 2016, I’ll help cheer you on.

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