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

 

04.06.18

What was Beautiful:

Tulips coming up in my garden, raindrops on budding trees.

What I’ve been up to: 

Making windchimes and light-catchers for the garden, cultivating moss, making kombucha and today heading out to Palm Springs to get some sunshine and joy.

What made me Laugh: 

Dogs mostly.

What I’m reading:

Earliest known footprints in North America found on an island in BC

Plant-based diets are the best

What our emotions mean

Digital Age Anxiety

Using Light to Boost Creativity

The Danger in Fake Spirituality and Bypassing 

Lots of Tara Mohr and Anna Holden; the Magical Unicorn Handbook (for sensitive people), 5 Ways Sensitivity Makes Us Stronger and So You’re Highly Sensitive, What does that Mean?

This video on how l language shapes our actions. “In English, we have different tenses to talk about the past, present, and future. You say, I ate yesterday, I eat today, or I will eat tomorrow. In a language like Chinese, you use the same tense when talking about the past, present, or future, so the same sentence in Chinese translates to I eat yesterday, I eat today, or I eat tomorrow. Chen found that countries with “futureless” languages saved 25% more than countries with “futured” languages. You can watch the video to see all the stats that back it up, but let’s think about what this means and why this can be a game changer.”

Cost of living surging in US cities, not surprisingly including Seattle.

On Nat Geo’s apology of how it has portrayed race and a discussion about how we should do it.

How to Identify a Toxic Job and How to Positively Reshape Your Core Belief System

You Deserve Someone Who’s Sure About You and the Ways You Know It Isn’t Love.

Mastering Intuitive Thinking

Most Psychology Research is BS

 

03.26.19

What was Beautiful:

I’ve been getting up early and really appreciating the birdsong in the morning, as well as the Cascade and Olympic mountains crisply outlined in the wintry sunshine.

What I’ve been up to: 

Learning Sevillanas in flamenco for the Feria

Spreading 3 truckloads of dirt around the yard in an attempt to make it level (and ready for summer).

….and a lot of stretching as a result of both of those.

What made me Laugh: 

Dogs jumping around the dirt pile in the backyard and underneath my flamenco skirts.

What I’m reading:

Science Proves that Having a Sister Makes You a Better Person

Sit and be still for a second

“What if instead, we learned to be happy with ourselves? What would happen?… Think of how this might simplify your life. Think of how many self-improvement books you read, or listen to in the car. Think of how many products you buy to make yourself better. Think of how many things you read online, in the hopes of being better. Think of how many things you do because you feel inadequate. Think of how much time this would free up, how much mental energy.”

Stop being a self-help junkie

The difference between laziness and fear

The only 3 things I need in a partner and the 1 question to ask yourself

Why You Should Never Retire

03.20.18

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.

03.16.18

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

03.10.18

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

02.22.18

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.”