What was Beautiful:

Birdsong in the morning, all the birds hopping around my garden. Cherry blossoms.

What made me Laugh: 

Dogs trying to play on me while I’m exercising.

What I’ve been up to: 

Spring cleaning, putting the garden in.

What I’m reading:

Leaving the B+ Life and Choosing the Right Challenges

The Spirit of Words – on drinking and writing. And then on recovery and writing.

About Seattle’s Gypsy schools; Tacoma, Bagley, Pierce County

The Most Important Thing in a Relationship

Why Play is so Important  and how your childhood hobby can make you more productive AND a London office with a giant ball pit!

Also why wage transparency is so important.

The United States of Workaholics.

and the Psychology of Side Projects – “From a psychological perspective, it would be better if people engaged in activities in which they sought challenges and tried to match them with their skills. Evidently, his also applies to work: Optimal experiences correlate positively with mental health. However, in our society leisure is used as an “escape” from work. “Escapism” in this respect means that people do not seek meaningful leisure activities for their own growth and development, but instead resort to passive activities to escape from everyday strains and problems. Such behavior is frequently associated with a passive lifestyle and boredom, which in turn might feed into apathy and depression.”

How to Fail when You’re Used to Winning and How to give feedback to your boss.  but not if they seem brash and easily offended [at times].

You’re OK. And you’re not doing it wrong.

I envy you, a story of Saudi princesses

And finally, How Darwin Became the Father of Evolution.


What was Beautiful:


An amazing flamenco benefit show, full of power and love but also preceded by a gorgeous purple twilight with swirling starlings…a magical evening all around.

Plus several beautiful winter mornings, walking the dogs and taking in the sunlight against the mountains.

What made me Laugh: 

Dog doofuses, always.

What I’ve been up to: 

Dog training, spring dinner for the women at Jubilee Women’s Center, trying to be more of a contribution than a cog.

What I’m reading:

Reality For Hopeless Romantics

The Women who Saved Me, a beautiful essay / love letter.

No Place for Pity, No Room for Fear, a brilliant essay on the importance of Artists in troubling times, and  Brilliant Retellings of Classic Myths by Female Writers  is a genre I’ve always liked, combining a couple of my favourite things. And then there are Female Motorcyclists – another one.

Not Everyone Deserves Your Love. A good reminder. Also, An Apology Doesn’t Mean You’re Forgiven.

And even more boundary setting – Leave me alone, but don’t leave me.

How to Win People and How to Live Your Dreams (most people don’t, probably because You Don’t Know What You Want,  but “both success and mediocrity take the same amount of energy and time”).

(How to) Spend More Time in a Good State of Mind and How to Get Unstuck and Live the Life You Love.

You’re Angrier than You Think


What was Beautiful:

The Tavares Strachan exhibit at the Frye Gallery, The Shape of Water movie, surrounding mountains in the crisp morning sunshine.

What made me Laugh: 

Not quite Narwhal

also this picture of Riley that her dog walker took:

What I’ve been up to: 

Coming into spring…planting seeds, planning out my garden…but I did also pull out some knitting last night just to sit and think.

What I’m reading:

So much! My library books are overdue but I have come across a ton of interesting tidbits:

Choosing the right relationship  vs. What if it Wasn’t Love? 

and from Why Anyone Would Want to be a Wife to the Breakdown of the American Marriage.

I didn’t say it was light reading! but finally, the Mercy of Moving On and the Importance of a BFF. We just all want someone to talk to (although apparently,Americans have Fewer than ever Close Confidantes)

And something to believe in.   I’ve been reading a lot about secular Buddhism and art shrines after Religion for Atheists.

Moving from Empathy to Compassion as an act of Self Care. 

and Everyone is Miserable, here’s what we can do about it.

Are you good at job hunting? I don’t think I need to take that test.  But I do need help Getting un-stuck.  And I know some people who need to read The Difference Between Feedback and Criticism.

The evolution of housing is something I think about a lot. We have so much space and spend so much time in the same small parts of it – usually staring at a screen. And possibly related, What does a Future with no Jobs Look Like?

And How to Know if you’ve levelled up as a Person.

Levelling up as a diver would definitely (for me) be diving in a flooded underwater prison. Or an opal mine.

Levelling up as a reader undoubtedly means reading everything Yrsa Daley-Ward puts out there. One More time with Energy.

A bit on Fernweh (“far-sickness), a “nice” woman-owned tattoo parlour and some beautiful illustrations of mythical beasts.

More on the #metoo movement – whose name I am starting to hate. let’s call it what it is – the systematic sanctioned abuse of women. And certainly related, Masculinity in the Age of Trump.

5 Things You Should Do Every Sunday Morning (just in time for the switch back to standard time tomorrow)

And perhaps most importantly, How not to Cheat Yourself out of Life’s Joys


What was Beautiful:

All this wintry sunshine. It’s my favourite weather and I wish I had more time to just soak it all up.

Dinner at Anna Lena in Vancouver. Amazing spread and seriously good service.

What made me Laugh: 

Going through my grandmother’s brooch collection with my sister.

What I’ve been up to: 

Art class – and actually making some art at home too!, running up and down I-5 to go diving / dining / visiting / snowbaording, etc., and trying to get the yard to look like less of a disaster before the tulips come up. Also what feels like a lot of Work.

What I’m reading:

Portraits of Retired Sex Workers: The Gaze Turned the Other Way – an utterly amazing photo essay at Medium

Another, also involving the elderly – You & Me on a Sunny Day

The secret lives of Narwhals, because duh. Who doesn’t want to know what the unicorns of the sea are up to?

New Poetry by Indigenous Women. I’ve been on a super poetry bent lately and was grateful to come across this.

A request for “fun facts” about me prompted a Google search for Canadians and “Degan” and returned these gems:

36 Delightful facts about Canada, Weird Facts about Canada that prove it’s the Most Interesting Country Ever  (did you know we eat 55% more Kraft Dinner than Americans do? That must be in the prairies. Or all those communities that are too far away from grocery stores),  Urban Dictionary entries for Degan that suggest my name means, “to put hos before bros; to ditch friends to be with a girlfriend” or “A fucking idiot who copies people’s words and drives an accord”. Ouch! At least I am from the most interesting country ever and I know that Accord should be capitalized.

Icicle Creek, a poem by EJ Koh (along with many other poems a friend sent me in response to a request for new poetry recommendations).

The Gift & Power of Emotional Courage, at TEDx. I’m always going to click that link and this is a good one.

Rebecca Solnit on the #MeToo Backlash. I deeply respect her thinking and writing and this is a subject that I can’t let go of yet either.

What Cross-country Skiing Reveals About the Human Condition…timely because of the Olympics but relevant to me because poetic. Via Nicole Gulatta, a poet, and it is indeed poetic, “Every winter sport is — in addition to being an inspiring triumph of elegant majesty — also a total hassle. It is not easy to convert your soft, frail, squishy, warm human body into something that can survive in the hard world of frozen water. It requires all kinds of logistics: fitting, strapping, buckling, bundling, clomping, shivering. But the effort is worth it, because the frozen water unlocks superpowers we would never otherwise have. It allows us to glide, slide, soar, whoosh and hurtle. Skiers go flying over moguls at 75 m.p.h. Speedskaters shoot over the ice, leaning and pumping, weaving through competitors. The payoff for the ridiculous logistical nightmare is the gift of fluid speed.”

Does Marriage Even Make Sense Anymore? at Medium. “People marry to show their family and friends how well their lives are going, even if deep down they are unsure whether their partnership will last a lifetime.” “This (often illusionary) feeling of security is enhanced by the legal binding of one to another. It makes it more difficult to leave, and thereby relates to possessing. In short, we want to marry so we can hold onto another.”

Comfort is a Silent Killer, linked from the article above.

8 Things Everyone Should Do Before 8 AM. I hate titles that tell me what to do but this does make sense. Wake up, get in the zone, get moving, put the right food in your body, get ready, get inspired, get perspective, do something to move you foreward.

Are we post lifestyle? at Medium. “The alpha and omega of modern advertising is that we want to be the person with the thing pictured more than we want the thing.”


I have been seeing various pins around and I love them so much! But at the risk of looking like a TGIFriday’s waitress, I thought I would post 9 that describe me to a T (above) plus a tenth that is spot-on and which I do already own:

I am so very Canadian. Or Cascadian. An adventurous, dog-loving, sensitive vegetarian Feminist Cascadian, who can nerd out deeply on books but who will take a quiet stance and not back down.


What was Beautiful:

My brand new baby niece.

What made me Laugh: 

Dogs in the snow, Maceo with her fishies.

What I’ve been up to:  Workity, work, work, work, which means inventorying, and assessing the data from inventory and trying to help out as much as I can, having come into the project mid-way. Then running up to the interior and seeing all the family super fast, learning more about the school to prison pipeline at SVP, seeing an absinthe-themed burlesque show (with absinthe service for our table of course), seeing a seminar on cave diving and exploration and then dipping into Howe Sound for a bit of (non-cave) dive exploration with friends, catching a flamenco show at the Kino Cafe on my way home. Then more late nights and long hours in war rooms, topped off by a trip to Whistler to play in the snow with the dogs. I am tired! But it’s all been a slice and I get to take a break from both I-5 and conference room food / chairs for a while, so I’m grateful for both of those things.

What I’m reading this week:

The 50 Best 1-Star Amazon Reviews of Ulysses. Even the headline made me laugh in anticipation but there is some good stuff in there.

1-866-MRTR by Ann Carson, at Brick Mag.

Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels …unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.

This anthropology research assistant job posting at UW. Just for kicks.


What I’ve been up to: The day after we got home (Christmas), I went back to work at my new job, and then we immediately started doing inventory. So it’s been (SO) busy, but all in a good way. This weekend we go to visit our brand new baby niece!

What I’m reading this week:

Mapbreaking, at Medium, talks about the various ways we represent the physical landscape. I would have been a cartographer in a previous life so I devoured all of this but in particular, I love the genius behind the Polynesian Stick Maps.

The anger of women and how our collective categorization seems to fall into either sad or angry. “The sad woman often looks beautiful in her suffering: ennobled, transfigured, elegant. Angry women are messier. Their pain threatens to cause more collateral damage.”

The conundrum of happiness increasing as we age. “Gerontologists call this the paradox of old age: that as people’s minds and bodies decline, instead of feeling worse about their lives, they feel better. In memory tests, they recall positive images better than negative; under functional magnetic resonance imaging, their brains respond more mildly to stressful images than the brains of younger people.”

The Codex Quetzalecatzin has been published online. I geek out almost as hard about ancient manuscripts as I do about maps.

The Tribe that Would Not Die – an older article about the Duwamish that came up after I read through what felt like hundreds of articles about various indigenous communities trying to keep their culture in a quickly changing world.

Amazon Awakening – about Ayahuasca tourism, part of which lead to the deep rabbit holes of reading mentioned above.

Women are reclaiming the Adventure Story. Hooray! And then – 10 of the most Inspiring Female Adventurers. So inspired! And so Jealous!

How Yoga Won the West – and how much it has changed. “Yoga to the man who most famously delivered its message to America meant just one thing: “realizing God.” He abhorred channeling, séances and past-life hunts as diversionary. Worse, the great seer savored a good smoke, and on occasion chowed down on meat.”

Understanding the Patriarchy, at Darling. A good primer… and a reminder to rise up.

Regretful Mothers at MacLean. I don’t understand why this it is surprising news that some parents regret having children but the backlash about even having the conversation seems to indicate it hits close to home. I am fascinated by these new(ish) discussions – not only because it validates my choices not to have children but because population growth seems to be slowing up FAST and I can’t help but feel the two are related.

Seattle’s living wage experiment has been a success. Hooray! Now we just need to make it possible to live here.

A new way of telling women’s stories. Fairy tales have ruined us.

Where will 2018 take the #metoo movement? I’m curious too.

How to do everything better. Basically always on my task list.


I love the yearly recap so much, and I love how hard it is to choose only as many adventures as will fit in a 3×3 grid! Last year was tough in a lot of ways but mind-blowingly amazing more often than not and I accomplished a lot of life list items that I will spend this year – going to be a quiet one – mulling over. Before all of the excitement happened, things were just a little bit shitty. My office closed down and most of my team was laid off, but I was kept on and had the privilege of working from home all winter / heading to LA every 6 weeks or so.

That was fun until my dog, Tyler, had to go through two ACL surgeries on his back legs, complete with PTO exercises and weekly water treadmills. And then I crashed my motorcycle, and while I escaped with only a busted finger and damaged knee, it meant that I was sitting out of most of my winter sports and activities.

But! Then I quit my job and went to India, by way of Vancouver (to visit my mom and sister and to check out some new cocktail bars), Montreal (to visit my friends), Ottawa (to do some business at the embassy), Toronto (to visit more friends), and finally London (to wander the British Museum and leave my computer at my UK office).

India is a place I have been wanting to visit for a long time but have listened as so many people tried (and succeeded!) to dissuade me. This time even I wasn’t sure I was going because I had my bag packed but I still didn’t have the India portion booked (and was still working remotely) when I was 3 weeks into being on the road.

India did not disappoint. Random people approached me daily to tell me that I have a good heart and that I’m a lucky one – don’t I know it! I was able to spend the day with an elephant and fed her banana sandwiches to her heart’s content, rode a camel who tried to still a kiss while I got a selfie, showed videos of my dog playing in the snow to young boys in the desert while we drank chai and listened to the sand blow around outside, wandered down to the “back” end of the Taj Mahal where I hung out with security guards / ate free dinner at a temple and was ultimately coaxed out into the boat that takes women home from the temple, so I could see the Taj Mahal at sunset from the water (stunning but even better were my new friends who chatted with me as if we spoke the same language and hugged and kissed me like we were old friends after a crossing that maybe took 8 minutes). And then in Varanasi I met a friend who, after the mother Ganges festival, took me on a tour of the “hidden” places – an ashram of gurus, a secret temple to Durga and finally a “ruined” temple in the abandoned palace that looks over the Ganges which one will find (after crawling through the broken door and through corridors I wouldn’t have attempted on my own) is still very much in use and has regular visitors. Plus so many other amazing bits that will stay with me always.

For the rest of the summer, I spent as many days in the garden or outside with the dogs as I could before I headed out again for about 5 weeks, riding my motorcycle through Washington, Oregon and BC (Cascadia, yo!) and then Arkansas (!!!), visiting friends and family. And only then did I tuck in and start looking for a job, landing at Nordstrom just before it was time to back up again and head to Ecuador (a trip booked a loooooong time ago) where I rode a motocycle through the Andes, dove with marine iguanas, hammerhead sharks, and Mola mola, then camped out in the Amazon for almost a week with monkeys and giant river otters and an insane amount of tropical birds.

Wishing you all the best and lots of love to you and yours for the next roll around the arbitrary calendar! 😘 Happy New Year!


Missed a few due to being on an incredible adventure in Ecuador, so in turn, this is going to be a bit of a massive update (and at the same time just the tip of the iceberg).

What was Beautiful:

Just before we left, my Flamenco teacher organized a studio show to showcase her students. I was grateful to be part of it but the advanced students blew my mind with their grace and skill.

Then we flew to Quito and drank in the colonial architecture – including a Gothic cathedral with Ecuadorian armadillos, marine iguanas, crocodiles, pumas and monkeys in place of gargoyles and a Jesuit church basically covered in gold – sat in the square, surrounded on all sides by mountains – drinking mochaccinos and people-watching. In a way, it doesn’t feel new because I’ve been to quite a few Latin capitals at this point but it really gives you the opportunity to dig into the details and difference and I love that.

Our hotel was an old school hacienda with a well (!!!) in the courtyard outside our room and beautiful wooden beams throughout, local handicrafts put in use / displayed everywhere.

From there we rented bikes and I found out upon arrival that I had been upgraded to a Husquavarna 701 – truly a beautiful machine. I wasn’t all that worried about not being able to touch the ground until much later when I ended up stalled in a steep uphill curve (in sneakers, in the rain 🙄) but the combination of grace and power in that motorcycle is something I personally aspire to.

The Galapagos islands were as amazing as promised and I delighted in my first sightings of Mola Mola sunfish and playing with marine iguanas in the surf, as well as spending more time with hammerheads and various other sharks.

And finally, we headed down river to Napo Wildlife Center in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This was an add-on leg and neither of us expected it to be the highlight but we loved the Kichwa Anangu community, the incredible diversity of the plants / animals / insects, etc. , a chance to practice different camera techniques and learning about all the various species in the area.

We brought the audio recorder to Ecuador so even when it wasn’t in use I was on the lookout for new sounds and that made me experience the boat, the rainforest and even the airport hotel in a new way.

The full list of wildlife sightings is:

  • Frigatebird Various Finches
  • Blue-footed Boobies
  • Red-footed boobies
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Flightless Cormorant
  • Agamie Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Black Vulture
  • Snail Kite
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Hoatzin – beautiful, but very common where we were
  • Greater Ani
  • Short-Tailed Swift
  • Neotropical Palm Swift
  • Ringed Kingfisher
  • White-throated Toucan
  • Grey Antbird
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Crested Oropendola – beautiful song and neat nests
  • Yellow-Rumped Cacique
  • Blue-grey Taninger
  • Brown-Black Grosbeak
  • Common Squirrel Monkey – had a neat interaction with this one
  • White-fronted Capuchin
  • Black Cayman
  • Sea lions
  • Mola mola (!!!!!)
  • Scalloped Hammerheads (!!!!!)
  • Galapagos Shark
  • Silky Shark
  • Galapagos Bullhead Shark – found only in the Galapagos
  • Torpedo Ray – rare, and found only in the Galapagos
  • Eagle Ray
  • Stingray
  • Marine Iguanas (!!!!!) – found only on one side of one island in the Galapagos
  • Yellow puffer
  • Box puffer
  • Mexican hogfish
  • Harlequin Wrasse
  • Parrotfish
  • Barberfish
  • Sea turtle
  • Common Dolphin
  • Red-lipped batfish
  • Octopus
  • Spotted Moray Eel
  • Shrimp
  • Nudibranch
  • Crabs
  • Line-spotted fish
  • Damselfish

What I’m Grateful for:
My amazing flamenco teacher, Ana Montes, who has suffered through trying to teach me how to clap and walk, amongst other basic things that have suddenly become important.

Being on this Trip of a Lifetime to explore Quito, Otavalo, volcanoes, the Galapagos and a bit of the Amazon.

My new job, that has paid me for all of this vacationing, even though I’ve only just started.

What made me Laugh:
Pictures of (my) dogs, children in the market, children at the flamenco afternoon, river otters, monkeys, my own dog and cat monkeys being super excited to have us home.

What I’ve been up to:
Dancing, travelling through Ecuador, crossing the equator!, trying to remember my Spanish, holding space.

What I’m reading this week:

Radio Handbook Manifesto, to try and learn a bit about podcasting.

Celebrate your accomplishments. Remember to look back as well as forward.

How American Women Helped Win World War II in the Wake of Pearl Harbor

Using star maps to identify whale sharks.

Patagonia and REI have posted about Trump’s decision to reduce the size of the public land allocation in Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante parks. Tragic stuff but it feels like just another drip in the ocean during this administration.

And speaking of lost land, Ecuador is drilling for oil on edge of the pristine rainforest in Yasuni. At the Guardian. 😩

And speaking of the Amazon, I fell into several rabbit holes learning about the people;  Uncontacted tribes of the AmazonAmazon AwakeningInto the Amazon (a photo essay) and what felt like all of Wade Davis‘ writings and half of Wikipedia. 400 indigenous groups live here.

Why Birds Matter also proved more interesting to me after looking at birds for a week.

Plus two actual books that were incredible; Yiddish for Pirates and the Orenda, and a LOT of poetry.

and Watching:

Islands of Change Galapagos. My dive master is featured in this episode as he is one of the local success stories of a fisherman converted to ecotourism and guiding.

and Listening to

What “namaste” really means. At the Allusionist podcast.



What was Beautiful:

The scallop eyes, above, from the Atlantic. “Look at a full, living scallop, and you’ll see a very different animal. And that animal will be looking right back at you, using dozens of eyes that line the fleshy mantle on the inner edges of its shell. Some species have up to 200 eyes. Others have electric-blue ones.” The sea never ceases to amaze me.

Also the urban stand of birch trees close to my office:

What I’m Grateful for:

Time with my sister, dogs, balance, visits to the sea, Rainier Ravens, real conversations, friends reaching out, PTO, adventure.

What made me Laugh:

Flamenco hijinks, impromptu dinner with a friend, chatting with a new friend about books in a bar, and every day the dogs.

What I’ve been up to:

Along with packing for the expedition to Ecuador’s jungles / volcanoes / oceans / old towns, ramping up at my new job, prepping for a 5k holiday run and a Flamenco studio open house show, my Raven’s holiday party and a Death Cafe, I’ve barely had time to think.

What I’m reading this week:

Have we always been depressed? Yes. The answer is pretty much yes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve radical happiness. at Literary Hub.

Using elephants to demolish homes which forest officials claimed were illegally built in the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary in Guwahati, India…and thereby co-opting elephant habitat. at the Atlantic. I’m really (still) not sure how I feel about this.

How Wolves Shape the Natural World, at Literary Hub again. Reminds me of this TEDx video.

Fertility rates are declining super fast. I’m surprised and yet I shouldn’t be this paragraph amalgamates almost everyone I know (and doesn’t include the many who, like us, have forgone children altogether); “In 2017, things have changed. Emma ended up breaking up with the guy she thought she might marry because he turned out to be kind of a deadbeat, so she didn’t have that kid she hoped to have in her 20s. Olivia got a great job… which has really long hours, and she really loves the job and she loves how comfortable it has made her and her husband’s life, but there’s no way she and Bob can care for a kid right now: life is just too busy. And Harper? Well, Harper and her husband were enticed to take a few extra vacations by generous credit card rewards programs and super-low mistake fares online, so they used up their vacation time and their disposable income, and so a third kid just isn’t in the cards anymore.”

About Real Rent, a type of reparation project for the Duwamish tribe. This is an amazing idea and I’m so glad it exists.

“Savoring is a mindset that doesn’t wait for life to get perfect to enjoy it. It believes that life is worth it, no matter what the state” at Darling Magazine.

My friend Eagranie writes about connecting to Syrian refugees through food at Saveur.

About Lagertha, the Viking Shieldmaiden. Someone told me last night that I looked like the portrayal of her in Vikings.

The Enduring Power of Aunties is a great read, even more now that I’m going to be one.

The effect today of blasting the Bikini Atoll coral reefs. It’s not what you think. At Medium.