10.9.18

What I’ve been up to: 

TL;DR: I’ve been hella busy. This is a big one.

After mostly being home in July, supervising landscaping and doing my altMBA, August saw me escaping to the Olympic Peninsula with my Rainier Ravens women’s motorcycle group, then over to Victoria to visit a friend and see the Egyptian exhibit at the Royal BC Museum.

Then Matt and I broke out the dirt bikes and did a part of the WABDR – the Washington Back Country Adventure Route. Definitely looking forward to ramping up the dirt adventures next summer.

I threw all my clothes in the wash and swapped my motorcycle boots for Louboutins for Allyson’s bachelorette spa day and dinner, followed by her fairy tale wedding.

In between it all, both dogs have been taking obedience classes and I have been working like a fiend on a work project gone sideways and then upside down.

To celebrate coming out the other side, Matt took us to the beach.

What was beautiful:

All of the Egyptian artifacts at the museum, the many generations of Seattle

and the serene blues of twilight on the banks of the Pacific

 

What made me laugh: 

Can always count on the dogs and my sister!

 

Also this high AF sloth:

What I’m reading and listening to:

ON HAPPINESS –

The Surprising Science of Happiness

The Power of Positive People

How to Know what you Want

Dancing is the Best Way to Get Fit & Live Longer

Presence Over Productivity

ON PERSPECTIVE –

Lab Decoy

You’re Not Lazy

Freedom From Want. You Have Enough

Leap

ON PLACEBOS –

Placebos

ON RELATIONSHIPS –

The True Hard Work

How to Have a Happy Marriage

Why You Should Be Kind to People You Hate

A Wife Less Ordinary

ON SUNK COSTS –

The Wrong Bus

ON VULNERABILITY –

Brene Brown’s Ted Talk. Again and again.

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” —Walt Disney

Scientists give Ecstasy to Octopuses

ON STORIES –

The technology of storytelling

Keep it Moving

ON WORK –

6 Signs it’s Time to Quit Your Job

How to deal with a Job You Hate

100 Ways to Boost Your Creativity

How to Use a Notebook to Reach Your Writing Goals

How to be a Good Writer with a Good Life  Writing, Reading, Ideation, Talking, Exercising, and Regrouping

  • write fiction
  • read fiction
  • make a list of ten ideas
  • talk to someone 
  • exercise
  • review my day and plan for tomorrow

ON GREED –

Why are we still chasing more money?

ON POWER –

Why Women Don’t Get to be Angry

American Democracy in Crisis

ON MONEY –

How Much You Need to Make to Own a Home in Vancouver

ON MAPS –

Finding Your Way with Maps

An excerpt from The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands

Thanksgiving

It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper Thanksgiving but I have just surfaced from several weeks of family and then work stress and the news of Kavanaugh has hit me like a ton of bricks and I feel like I really need to focus on the good things all around me so here is a smattering of the usual suspects I am grateful for: flamenco dancing (in general but I have had this postcard for 20 years and it never fails to make me smile), that sister that makes me smile so hard, all those adventure machines (but especially the new one), that amazing flock of Ravens, those loveable doofuses, that guy that takes such good care of me, the endless serenity of the sea…and all the opportunities I have to travel and explore, that cool cat and my beautiful garden that feeds my body and soul.

There are many more things as well…I never forget how lucky I am to be educated, well-traveled, able to walk around and explore by myself, loved and cared for, healthy, employed, well-paid, Canadian.

07.17.18

What I’ve been up to: 

Trying to get the yard finished up so we can enjoy it but in the process, I fell off the ladder onto my face so I am also practicing putting a fair bit of makeup on my eye as I run from the Anniversary sale at work, flamenco classes and shows, painting the living room, participating on various projects and learning groups for the altMBA, scrambling to keep up in my podcast fellowship and get going on The Travel Cure and 1000 Things to Love, interviews, appointments, and social calls. Phew! But the yard is finally done and I have a brand new motorcycle so in spite of the classes and all of the upcoming trips to Vancouver, summer starts now and I fully intend to kick back and enjoy it.

What was beautiful: 

What made me laugh: 

A different thing every day, as it was part of the Whole Life Challenge lifestyle exercise this week.

What I’m reading and listening to:

ON HEALING –

The New Healers at NY Mag

Is the Introspection of Self-Help and Therapy Hurting our Ability to Empathize?

ON WORK –

How to talk about your Project

When to Quit

07.06.18

What I’ve been up to: 

Summers are always about the same…ride motos, sit in the sunshine, do yoga, go for a hike, cook some delicious things, work on a project (or 3). This one is somewhat different in that the yard work / landscaping project is still continuing but we are getting close to being done (and then I think I will actually be able to sit back and enjoy it!), and I am participating in both Seth Godin’s Podcast Fellowship and the altMBA workshop in place of some of my usual adventures.

What was beautiful:

A butterfly fluttered by and then skidded to a stop on my 17th-floor office window ledge at a moment when I really needed some magic.

I listened to the Just Kids audiobook – the story of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe and it just drips and aches with beauty. I am going to have to listen to it again, and then probably read the paperback version, and then consume all the other formats for their work. Incredibly inspiring and artfully crafted.

What made me laugh: 

What I’m reading and listening to:

ON MOTORCYCLES –
How Motorcycles are a rite of passage

ON HAPPINESS:
Americans are the unhappiest in the world

The New Era of Positive Psychology

06.25.18

What I’ve been up to: 

Gardening, studying, dog-walking, dancing…working on a couple of new outbuildings for my home (a mini book library and a greenhouse) while trying to stay out of the way of our landscapers while they resurface basically the entire yard, working on bettering myself (altMBA, podcast fellowship, blogging, looking into grad school, Coursera courses, PMP) while working at the J.O.B., riding my new motorbike

What was beautiful

My garden (or at least the parts of it that are intact at the moment) but which now also includes the magnolia tree blooming in front of my studio window.

What made me Laugh: 

The dogs are always good for a laugh but even that’s been pretty thin. Need to insert more joy into this summer ASAP.

What I’m reading and listening to:

My reading list for the altMBA has arrived, my PMP exam is booked and my podcast fellowship class started today so have not been clicking on too many links.

On Toxic workplaces –
Mental Health Issues -“the comments about being a  family were red flags”

On ME! –
Personality test results

On Self-love –
Nice people finish last
You are and always have been whole & complete

On Happiness –
Happiness Cheat Sheet + all of the links and courses and questionnaires mentioned therein. I love this stuff.

On Healing –
A Medicine Woman Seminar I am very interested in.

05.27.18

What was Beautiful:

The tropical lushness, turquoise seas, and volcanic activity of Hawaii.

My new Triumph T-120 motorcycle.

My garden bursting with food and flowers.

What I’ve been up to: 

Wrapped up my project at work and headed to Oregon for Flock to the Rock, but then lost my wallet so turned around and headed home. The next week I went to Hawaii for my yoga retreat, except that the retreat part of it was cancelled so I rented a motorcycle and rode around, did yoga at the beach and went diving. It was alright but I need community and connection more than I need a tropical location and so it proved to be an exercise in discipline and letting go more than a holiday. Next was the purchase of a new motorcycle that I had been considering for the past year and the requisite, immediate road trip to break it in. Looking forward to summer.

What made me Laugh: 

Not much lately, honestly. I have small moments of joy but they are easily overshadowed by the larger anxieties. Still, I delight in the dogs playing in the yard, having dinner with friends and making light of occasional absurdities.

What I’m reading and listening to:

On TRAVEL –

Why we travel.

 

On RELATIONSHIPS –

Psychological Tips to Make Your Marriage Happier

 

On WORK –

Why it’s ok to be bored at work. Boredom is trying to tell you something.

How to keep your bad mood from affecting your work.

How to ramp up quickly

How to handle negative situations at work

A hilarious bonus episode of Revisionist History where Malcolm Gladwell debates Adam Grant loosely about organizational psychology

Walt Disney on how to truly love what you do

 

On MOTORCYCLES –

The Happiness of the Motorcycle

 

On BEING BETTER –

The cure for an anxious, sucky life

A depressive’s guide to microdosing

Why Are we Getting More Depressed?

Being Bored is Good

Redefining Work, Love and Play – find people who want to color outside the lines

Happiness is tangible – “The goal with simple joys is not to crowd or rush them, not to chase or exhaust ourselves or make ourselves sick in overindulgence, but to enjoy them gently — to drink them in fully, but then just as gently put them away.”

5 Ways to Have a Good Life – “You have to commit yourself entirely. You can’t love people half way. You can’t leave important business unfinished. You can’t deliberately half-ass your job or your relationship or any other area of your life because you feel more comfortable when you have one foot out the door. You have to decide what you’re in for and then go all the way with it. You have to realize the freedom and possibility that exists within commitment…Be braver than you feel. Achievement doesn’t come with ease or comfort.”

Being Sober for 21 Days Has Improved My Life

How Social Media Impacts Our Reality

On Midlife – “Midlife is not about the fear of death. Midlife is death. Tearing down the walls that we spent our entire life building is death. Like it or not, at some point during midlife, you’re going down, and after that, there are only two choices: staying down or enduring rebirth.”

Fuck where you see yourself in 3 yearsapropos, as I write my 3-year letter

The new prime suspect for Depression – Ketamine could be our best lead in the hunt for depression.

The power of emotional decision making

It’ll work out for you

 

On FEMINISM –

There are no Safe Spaces for Women

 

On AMERICA –

Why America is the World’s Most Uniquely Cruelest Society – “America is the most cruel nation among its peers — even among most poor countries todayIt is something like a new Rome. It has little, if any, functioning healthcare, education, transport, media, no safety nets, no stability, security. The middle class is collapsing, and life expectancy is falling.Young people die for a lack of insulin they cannot crowdfund. Elderly middle-class people live and die in their cars. Kids massacre each other in schools — when they’re not self-medicating the pain of it all away. The combination of these pathologies happens nowhere else — not a single place — in the world. Not even Pakistan, Costa Rica, or Rwanda. Hence, the world is aghast daily at the depths of American cruelty — yet somehow, they seem bottomless.”

The birth of a new American Aristocracy  – “Family, friends, social networks, personal health, culture, education, and even location are all ways of being rich, too. These nonfinancial forms of wealth, as it turns out, aren’t simply perks of membership in our aristocracy. They define us.”

 

On Writing –

How to be successful

05.08.18

What was Beautiful:

Grey foggy morning light while I walk the dogs (super early these days because of work busyness, flamenco music on repeat while I practice, McMenamin’s Kalama lodge.

What I’ve been up to: 

Finishing up my project at work, finishing levelling the yard, riding to Oregon for International Female Ride Day with my Raven wind sisters (and stopping for McMenamin’s passport stamps at the new Kalama lodge on the way), and now I’m off to Hawaii although it looks like the yoga retreat portion/purpose of the trip may be cancelled due to volcanic activity.

What made me Laugh: 

“Peculiar travel plans are dancing lessons from God,” says Vonnegut and don’t I know it after getting in late to Kalama last weekend (not my final destination) and deciding to stay, getting up early and riding to Astoria only to realize I’d lost my wallet and ride home again after tracing my steps. Now lava is literally bubbling up under my Hawaiian yoga retreat so we’ll see what happens there.

What I’m reading:

How to Make Something People Love

How to Appear Smart in Meetings  😉

Memories of my Analog Childhood

Why it’s ok to be bored at work. Boredom is trying to tell you something.

How to keep your bad mood from affecting your work.

Why can’t we read anymore?

What it means when you hold your phone without using it (and who’s doing it)

100,000 Happy Moments

How to Love without Attachment

Create my Life vs. Life Happens to Me – a “life happens to me” mindset. We all know it’s a powerless state. Throws you into victim mode, turning your life into a choiceless maze. It stunts growth and potential and instead of living, you merely exist. You become a walking shell and define life as something that’s tolerated instead of truly lived.

Here’s what happens. Simply put, we discover pain. We fall off our bikes. We learn that our parents are flawed. Our friends hurt us, on purpose. We discover unhealthy love that confuses and crush us. Unexpected tragedies occur constantly. We get evicted. We lose jobs. Get into accidents. Break bones. People disappoint us. Hate us. Lie to us. We disappoint ourselves. We go through breakups. Our kids leave the house and we have to finally look at our marriage and ourselves. People we love get sick. All of this. Over and over again. And we fight. We do our best to stay positive and in the game of life. But after years and years and years of “suffering”, life takes its toll. We start to believe we have no power. Life happens to us. And we decide to stay down.
Instead of wanting more from life, we just want to survive. We learn to bare it. Life is no longer about creating. It’s about surviving. We tolerate instead of live. We get into lukewarm relationships. We numb ourselves with junk food and television. We hide. We become afraid. We don’t trust life anymore. Our walls come up. We create our own prison.”
Passio— suffering. A passion is simply what you are willing to suffer for. It might be family. Art. Literature. Discovery. It doesn’t matter, it matters why — as all things that give us meaning do. If we suffer for it — not by force, but freely, by choice, with a sense of abandon, even celebration, it will mean something to us. Not because it “makes us stronger”, but because it teaches us what human fragility is.”

05.01.18

What was Beautiful:

My lilac tree bloomed overnight! Which was nice because the rest of the yard is still a mud pit while I level it out and re-sod it. Getting ready for garden parties!

What I’ve been up to: 

Working, and working in the garden, then curling up and watching a lot of movies…Ferdinand, Molly’s Game, I, Tonya and Ready Player One will be up soon.

What made me Laugh: 

Riley, trying to grab a cookie that bounced off her nose.

What I’m reading:

How forgiving yourself and others changes your brain

Getting more done by doing less

Love is binary

The subtle art of connecting with anyone. “There is nobody you can’t learn to like once you’ve heard their story.”

How to know what you want

Fuck finding your passion.

Great relationships – 1 in 4 people in a study said they had no one to talk with. Two thirds of Americans say they’ve lost more than 90% of the friends they had 10 years ago. Many Americans can only claim to have 2 close friends — maybe less.

How to deal with annoying coworkers and the job

On manholding and emotional labour

04.14.25

What was Beautiful:

The video for Wild Horses, the canyons around Bend, with condors soaring and nesting nearby, all the tulips coming up in my garden.

What I’ve been up to: 

Travelling to Bend, listening to audiobooks, seeing Rebirth Brass Band live again, levelling the yard, processing a lot of personal paperwork.

What made me Laugh: 

Flamenco class on my birthday, dancing rumbas and laughing about drunken sailors.

What I’m reading:

How to pick a career (that actually fits you) and A Deep Dive Guide for your Dream Job Search

The importance of the Anti-library and having more books than you’ll ever read.

Several posts on the craft of storytelling; here, here and at the Moth.

You don’t have to love your family.

There are only a few types of people

Keys to a legendary love life

Do we even need men?

There are things more interesting than people

Stop saying you’re fine when you’re not

On reading by writing in the margins – Sometimes the best way to read is by marking up the book

Missing from your job description

If you’re working in an office, here are some of the checklist items that might have been omitted:

  • Add energy to every conversation
  • Ask why
  • Find obsolete things on your task list and remove them
  • Treat customers better than they expect
  • Offer to help co-workers before they ask
  • Feed the plants
  • Leave things more organized than you found them
  • Invent a moment of silliness
  • Highlight good work from your peers
  • Find other great employees to join the team
  • Cut costs
  • Help invent a new product or service that people really want
  • Get smarter at your job through training or books
  • Encourage curiosity
  • Surface and highlight difficult decisions
  • Figure out what didn’t work
  • Organize the bookshelf
  • Start a club
  • Tell a joke at no one’s expense
  • Smile a lot

Now that it’s easier than ever to outsource a job to someone cheaper (or a robot) there needs to be a really good reason for someone to be in the office. Here’s to finding several.

On Warriors, Kindred Spirits, Swans – “There it is. Right there. That’s the tribe. The deep thinking, passionate people who see missions to bless others while trying to improve and grow and conquer themselves…that is our tribe. That’s the ‘people like us.’ It is not an easy road, but I love knowing I don’t walk it alone.”

“Warriors of the heart,” Steven Pressfield calls this tribe. An apt name, which he explains in ‘The Warrior Ethos’: “Let us be, then, warriors of the heart, and enlist in our inner cause the virtues acquired through blood and sweat in the sphere of conflict – courage, patience, selflessness, loyalty, fidelity, self-command, respect for elders, love of our comrades (and of the enemy), perseverance, cheerfulness in adversity and a sense of humor, however terse or dark…Courage is inseparable from love and leads to what may arguably be the noblest of all warrior virtues: selflessness.”

How a wealthy scion accumulated the world’s finest feather collection, then lost it all to blackmail.

04.10.18

What was Beautiful:

The Hideaway hotel in Palm Springs – a retro-fabulous boutique modernist hotel with a record player in every room and photo-shoot worth details. But also the desert flora (bougainvillaea everywhere!), delicious modernist architectural details and our ride up Coachella valley on the motorcycle.

What I’ve been up to: 

Sunning myself in Palm Springs, breaking out the bombshell dress (also in Palm Springs), getting ready for motorcycle and gardening seasons back in Seattle.

What made me Laugh: 

My sister. She’s the best.

What I’m reading:

What to do when you don’t care.

Algebra is why Americans are Jerks.

7 Famous Pilgrimages

Stunning Morocco pics

The Ways You Know it Isn’t Love