What was Beautiful:

Grey sky stretching out to grey waves crashing against grey sand beaches… it’s weather that only a Pacific Nor’wester family could love but we do. So much.

What I’m Grateful for:

This is a big one since it was Thanksgiving weekend in the United States but for me not a tough one. I am grateful every day for these dogs that get me up in the morning, get me walking even on rainy days, get a laugh out of me even when I feel like I could clobber them….but also my sister who is the most amazing person I know, and our proximity to the sea, our ability to come down here once or twice a year and re-connect to our souls (human program) and / or to our joy (dog program).

Additionally this year I am grateful that I have started a new job at Nordstrom, and in spite of now working in the retail industry, they were gracious enough to gift me this time off as well as for our upcoming trip to Ecuador.  And I am especially grateful that when Tyler decided to bolt down the beach, some combination of my being able to keep up with him in Wellies and he stopping to smell the dead sea creatures meant that he didn’t run all the way to California.

What made me Laugh:

Fawlty Towers is the easy one, as my sister and I watched almost the whole season last night and found ourselves holding our guts pretty frequently, but also dogs running on the beach for all they’re worth.

What I’m creating and doing:

Before we left for the weekend, I started a new job at Nordstrom, made a coffee scrub and a couple of face spritzers, bathed the dogs, ordered a bunch of stuff for various parts of our upcoming expedition and then got us all to a place of resting and not thinking so much.

What I’m reading this week:

I picked up 2 volumes of “Whiskey Words & a Shovel” poetry by r.h.Sin as well as Felicity by Mary Oliver and while I didn’t get through all of them it was the perfect pile to leaf through while curled up on the couch at the cabin, raindrops pelting the windows and the sea crashing, continuously,  just a little ways off.


When I was small, my mother used to ask us before bed, what was something you learned? something that made you laugh? and probably a few other questions in there as well. I’ve read since then that this asking for details results in a better memory but I find the act of taking note helpful in and of itself, and so I’ve continued the tradition for years, recording bits of gratitude and spots of beauty in my task list application – which means it gets archived at the end of the day and I never go back to look at it. I haven’t blogged here in such a long time but I’ve been reading and doing some interesting things and want to put them somewhere more accessible. So:

What was Beautiful:

Hummingbirds buzzing around the feeder, fire in the hearth – with dogs luxuriating around it, rainy days, the maple tree shedding its leaves like flames, the phenomenal Casa Patas flamenco show, luminescent anemones covering underwater structures.

What I’m Grateful for:

Yoga, dog snuggles, cats in boxes, my Rainier Ravens, this crisp fall weather, legwarmers & wellies, Matt’s help sorting out my dive camera and gear, new fences.

What made me Laugh:

Buying dog coats. Picture this: wrestling one huge into trying on coat after coat while he was trying to kiss everyone in the shop, play with the dogs and steal some of the bulk treats while I wasn’t looking then swapping him out for the even bigger dog who is terrified of everyone and trying to back into me and rack while staff were trying to give her treats. By the end of it, I had broken a sweat and my gut hurt from laughing so much but we are now all outfitted for the rain.

What I’m creating and doing:

A new blog – https://www.asgoodasarest.com (still very much in progress)

A lot of dancing of various sorts, diving with my camera and dog training. Next week I start a new job, try out Capoeira and head to the Oregon Coast for the holiday.

What I’m reading this week:

Rebecca Solnit: if I were a man at the Guardian. If I were I man it’s not the direction I’d go in but I still found this snippet appalling, “But success was available to them, and that was an advantage – and still is. We still have wild disproportions on those fronts; the New York Times reported in 2015 that ‘Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John’.”

Rebecca Solnit: The Loneliness of Donald Trump at the Literary Hub.

And re-reading her old but always good “Men Explain Things to Me

This all came about because I have been struggling to get through The Mother of All Questions before it needs to go back to the library because in spite of being amazing it is also a paper book and I just don’t have as much time for sitting and reading as I would like.

Various posts about the #metoo movement – here and here and here. I’m glad this has not gone completely quiet. I have been thinking about it quite a lot still and probably need to do some writing there myself.

Dangerous Life,” an arresting poem by Lucia Perillo.

Why People Can’t Stop Touching Museum Exhibits. I suppose it’s helpful to know why, but I just wish they’d stop.

The Story of Self at the Guardian, which talks about how memories are constructed by the brain, the unreliability of memory and how that plays into our sense of self. I am fascinated by the overlapping and editing that happens here. For instance, this is my earliest memory but I am also sure that my memory is largely (if not entirely) informed by that photograph. “And yet these untrustworthy memories are among the most cherished we have. Memories of childhood are often made out to have a particular kind of authenticity; we think they must be pure because we were cognitively so simple back then. We don’t associate the slipperiness of memory with the guilelessness of youth. When you read descriptions of people’s very early memories, you see that they often function as myths of creation. Your first memory is special because it represents the point when you started being who you are.”

4 Unconscious Questions that we are all asking ourselves.

Other bits of inspiration:

Looking Past Limits by Caroline Casey via Mel Robbins‘ newsletter

100 Books I Love


David Bowie (RIP) 100 favourite books are making the round of the internet and when I read it my first thought (after admiration for a fellow voracious reader with excellent taste) was that I wasn’t sure I could name 100 of my favourites, at least not without help. I adore books and reading and completely agree with Bowie when he says that his library “is his one treasured possession he would take to a deserted island” but ‘favourite’ is tricky. Favourite right now? Or favourite when I read it? Does it include excellent, important books that I’m glad exist and that I enjoyed reading for their quality of prose and thinking or just books I love? Does it include my favourite reference books? My most loved cookbooks?

Anyways, this is what I came up with:

1. The Passion, Jeanette Winterson
2. Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
3. Like, Ali Smith
4. On the Road, Keroac
5. Euphoria, Lily King
6. The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
7. Ulysses, Joyce
8. The Waves, Woolf
9. Missed Connections, Sophie Blackall
10. Orlando, Woolf
11. Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
12. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
13. The Lacuna, Kingsolver
14. The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver
15. The Waste Land, T.S.Eliot
18. Fall on your Knees, Anne Marie MacDonald
19. Hotel World, Ali Smith
20. Alligator, Lisa Moore
21. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
22. Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy
23. Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut
24. The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
25. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
I didn’t spend a ton of time thinking but that was as far as I got before consulting Goodreads.
28. Poetry of Blake
29. Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
30. The Way the Crow Flies, Anne Marie MacDonald
31. Picasso, Stein
33. Atlas of Remote Islands, Judith Schalansky
35. The Odyssey, Homer
36. Island, Huxley (yes, I liked it better than Brave New World)
38. The Hours, Michael Cunningham
39. The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
41. Poetry of Neruda
42. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
43. Written on the Body, Jeanette Winterson
44. Gut Symmetries, Jeannette Winterson
45. The Accidental, Ali Smith (this is my dream book – the one I wish I had written)
46. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
47. Waiting for the Man, Arjun Basu
49. Little Women, Louisa May Alcot
50. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
51. The Sandman Series, Neil Gaiman
52. Howl, Ginsberg
53. Rubaiyat, Omar Khayyam
54. Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
55. Three Views of Crystal Water, Katherine Govier
56. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
57. Catch 22, Joseph Heller
58. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullogh (this was one of the first ‘adult’ books I read)
59. Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen
61. Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
62. Othello, Shakespeare
64. Wild, Cheryl Strayed
65. The Apothecary, Maile Malloy
66. The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
67. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein
68. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
69. A Softer World, Joey Comeau
70. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
71. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
72. Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
73. The World According to Garp, John Irving
74. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
75. My Favorite Things, Maira Kalman
76. Dream of a Common Language, Adrienne Rich
77. Poetry of Maya Angelou
78. The Sound of the Waves, Yukio Mishima
80. The Tempest, Shakespeare
81. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbary
84. Original Bliss, A.L. Kennedy
85. Clouded Leopard, Wade Davis
86. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
87. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Johnathan Safran Foer
Now it’s getting hard…
88. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
89. Poetry of Basho
90. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
91. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
92. Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
93. The Man who Planted Trees, Jean Giono
94. Paradise, A.L. Kennedy
95. The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
96. The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare
97. Love in the Time of the Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
98. The House of Spirits, Isabelle Allende
99. Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
100. A Moveable Feast, Hemmingway


In a lot of ways the list is skewed because I love some authors so much that everything they’ve written I like better than most books but I didn’t want the list to be comprised only of Vonnegut, Meg Wolitzer, Ali Smith, Neil Gaiman, Ann Patchett, Virginia Woolf and Barbara Kingsolver so there you go.


Books I haven’t read yet that I think will probably make it:
Books I would have added at other points in my life:
And a few that I just can’t stand:
  • Moby Dick
  • Heart of Darkness
  • DaVinci Code
  • Blindness
  • Infinite Jest
  • A Confederacy of Dunces
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius