10 February, 2016  |   Comment

Lenticular – This year, we’re celebrating a secular Lent

Baby Nora Lea, Valentine's Breakfast

Nora Lea and I loved doing Lent together last year. That is for sure a sentence I never thought I’d say. But, there we are.

This year for Secular Lent (Lenticular?), we decided we wanted to do two things with our Lent.

  1. Give up – stop the worst behavior coming between me and my best me.
  2. Make new – create a thing that is between me and my ideal, future me

So I’m giving up stuff — 40 bags of it. I’m better since meeting James, but I have clutter-y tendencies, especially with vintage stuff. I have old, broken down chairs, boxes, tables and knick knacks far beyond our space’s capacity for storage. I’ll end a weekend feeling like for the entirety of Sunday, I moved stuff from one place to another. And I’m ready to stop feeling that way.

White House Black Shutters has this marvelous 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge that I’m just going to join right in and that’s just fine with me.

[One of the worst habits that our 90’s popular culture instilled in me is a suspicion of joining groups — and it’s actively harming my professional development. UGH. JUST JOIN IN AND GROW ALREADY HJ! This year, I’m joining all kinds of groups just to spite my “I’m too good for groups” gut reaction. Any I should know about?]

And along with Nora Lea, I’ll be writing a poem every day. At the end, we’re excited to have a book of 80 poems! We’ll be posting some of our favorites as we go on.

She says she’s giving up Super Mario Bros — and we support her 100%.

The older I get, the more I see that there’s a time for things — and when you try to force it, you end up wasting effort. Just like there’s a right time for resting, for gathering, for celebrating, there’s the right time for us to give up what doesn’t work for us. For our family, this is that time.

When does it feel right to give things up?

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  |   1 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.