Getting started. Never finished.

The 50 bucket list

One of the things about having a birthday late in the year is that my brain tells me, “Oh, it’s 2019, you’re turning 48 this year.” By the time November rolls around, my brain has me convinced I have already been 48, so I must be turning 49.

So it doesn’t feel too early to start planning a by-the-end-of-my-50th-year bucket list. (I will think of a less morbid term.)

Play cello well. I have started. I had a realization that I had always wanted to do this, that I had picked up several instruments and still wanted to do this, and that there was no reason not to be doing this. I wrote “cello by 50” on my office whiteboard and rented a 3/4 cello. I still need a small scale, just like when I was 8 and we couldn’t locate one. I bought an electric soon after. I have great days when I can tackle some Shostakovich, and I have days when I wonder if I should have stuck with the Suzuki book. I have had a few lessons; neither my teacher nor I have great availability, and I have a perilous lack of music theory knowledge. I’ve just written to contact another teacher, in hopes of having a more regular schedule.

Take a class at Pilchuck.

Be in England for Guy Fawke’s Day in 2021… which happens to be my birthday.


On New Years Eve I was contacted by someone I had quite deliberately stepped away from. We had an intense friendship, and in one flash, I realized that it was intense because I was putting so much work into it, and it would always carry this dynamic, and it would never carry me.

In that flash, I lost every bit of intuition and hyper empathy I had. I felt it slink out of my cells, into the ground. I felt my eyes open. I can’t say that in that moment I learned to be kind to myself, but at least I had the first inkling of a self-protective boundary.

The contact came with enough vagueness that even while I strongly wanted to ignore it, that librarian urge to complete a question ran me over. Somehow my following up meant I was “such a little spark plug.”

No. If I know one thing, it’s that I am not here to fix you. My energy is not for you. I need it. I have a lot to repair. I listed it for you in a flat tone. I don’t think you listened. That’s okay. I’m not repeating this.

Simplest meditation

Breathe out: let me be generous

Breathe in: let me receive

Deep delightful surprises (XOXO)

Two of them, so far today:

I recalled and skimmed through my old blog! I had forgotten how often I posted. Not surprisingly, posting just about ceased when I joined social media ten years ago. (And the baby pics! Wow!)

And I realized, internalized, finally really felt that one of my gut-level assume-it’s-true social fears is total, utter bunk. I have always believed and expected that people I talk to will forget me . If I walk out of this weekend with nothing else: it’s not true.

Opening night, XOXO

Last night was the opening of XOXO. It’s my fourth time at the festival, and my second as a civilian who gets to see All The Things.* I usually struggle with explaining what XOXO is, except that is a gathering of people who do creative things within the realm of the internet and want it to be a place for good. It’s also a gathering of 2200 people (wow, the expansion!) who simultaneously are in deep appreciation of the community we have and in deep imposter syndrome of “how did I get to be in community with all these amazing people?”.

I left work early to go register and talk with people. The moment I left my house, I realized I suddenly had no mobile data, which set off a lot of back-and-forth with my mobile carrier and trying to cling onto wifi and a feeling of mild panic about not being able to use the transit apps to get home. (This is unnecessary mild panic, since it’s possible to use and chipped card to buy tickets on the fly, although I am not sure how TriMet can see you have done that?) It left some of my pavilion conversations a bit distracted.

I watched the opening talks and kept my mild-panic-inducing phone in my bag, thus no pictures. I am looking through attendees’ photos now and even though mine would have looked just about the same, I am kicking myself slightly for not capturing one.

The Andys. A presentation on the community that used to thrive where the Memorial Coliseum is now, and a vision of making it into a community again (it is an oddly dead zone for residents, and very much an event-and-leave space). A talk about making your good thing better and visible through making your one ask.

Today is Social, with many meetups organized by the community. I’m headed to see robots and then to two meetups I helped organize: the not-surprising knitters and sewists, and the music makers. Music makers happened because a community member was struggling to find a space and ran out of time. I grabbed the baton and made my asks and found us a space. I discovered two things: there are spaces easily accessible to me, and despite what I have been telling myself, I do want to make music with people. And I get to do that today!

(This is being posted one day late. XOXO brings the best overwhelm.)

Fiber Map for XOXO

A link to a G’Map of yarn and fiber stores in PDX,

Legend: blue tag – fabric, red tag – yarn, green tag – other store, orange tag – reference point.

Green tags: The Whole Nine Yards (E Burnside) specializes in upholstery fabrics. SCRAP PDX is all kinds of crafty goodness. Collage (2 locations) carries craft and art supplies; not much fiber. Little Otsu carries pens, pencils and planners/calendars/journals.

Some have closed since XOXO 2016: Happy Knits, Knit/Purl. Backstory came and went before I could investigate.

Fiber Rhythm, on SE Division at 11th in the Ford Building, is on vacation until Sept 13 (and thus not tagged in the map). They specialize in yarns for machine knitting and weaving, and do carry hand knitting yarn as well.



The college tour

In the past ten days we took our son across the country to see six colleges. The list comprised of two renowned schools in his field and four Ivies.

Some observations:

The saying “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” is real, and even realer when it’s both. I grew up in New England, lived in the mid-Atlantic for several years, and heck, multiple trips to southern India were more comfortable. Next time, I will bring SCUBA gear.

I was the only mom with visible tattoos at any of the tours. This earned me some side-eye, particularly from dads. Since you were wondering, male strangers, I absolutely have tattoos that you can not and will not see. I nearly fistbumped the one mom with purple hair at Yale.

Other parents behave as if the other families present for tours are competition and cannot be acknowledged or spoken to. That said, when I found out the other “who’s here from the west coast” family was from Seattle, the obvious soccer chant went off in my head. Clap clap, clap clap clap.

Did you know it is possible to ask a family of non-white ethnicity where they traveled from for the tour without sounding like an asshole? It’s amazing but true! I should give seminars in this stuff.

My son rocked a vintage beaded purse at his last two tours. It was a gift from a friend, and my kid swiped it to carry his wallet. My kid claims not to have confidence but he demonstrated a lot of poise with understated swagger.

I’m already self-censoring a bit, because nothing like these tours to make one feel that it’s all such a delicate process and one small misstep tips the admittance scales out of your kid’s favor. Sigh.


Today is my twentieth wedding anniversary.

If you had asked me a year ago, two years ago, three years ago if I was celebrating (which you wouldn’t ask, because of course why wouldn’t you just assume so), I probably would have said yes.

Unless I knew you well, and then I would have said through gritted teeth, “dreading.”

In the past year I’ve been working on this. Well, maybe working on me. Therapy finally let me see the work I hadn’t been doing. I inherited a lot of don’t-say-what-your-needs-are, have the patience for don’t-make-me-say-it-twice. I spent a lot of time feeling invisible. I’m good at directing my energy anywhere else to get the happy. I’m extremely good at seething.

I still blow up sometimes. I still get tired of repeating myself and giving directives. But I am getting better. I feel hopeful, if not fully happy. That’s been missing for a long time and is more crucial.

Cheap dreams

Found this at my library’s book sale and couldn’t resist it.

I haven’t cracked the box open yet, but I have had stress dreams about money for the past few nights. I don’t think it’s literal, even if it does prompt me to check my account balances when I wake up. I suspect it’s about energy and having enough personal reserves.

Into the woo

I recently started reading Christiane Northrop’s new book, Dodging Energy Vampires: an empath’s guide to evading relationships that drain you and restoring your health and power.

I’m a little bit younger than the generation of women who found Dr. Northrup to be the relevatory Mother Supreme Of Menopause. As a selector of adult non-fiction, I knew her new titles would be well-received. And having finally maybe, just maybe, learned the life-changing magic of declaring some boundaries, I thought this book would provide some insight on a pattern of overextending my energy that I am more consciously trying to curtail.

I am a woman who carries a tarot deck in my purse, and a set of essential oils for emotional remedies. And this book almost makes sense, until she waltzes straight into the woo.

I can’t reconcile her statement that empaths (hi, yes) see people as intrinsically good while some are in fact quite predatory, particularly on empaths. No, they’re needy and damaged, I think. She’d argue that I just don’t see it yet. And then she’ll give examples of empaths who get symptoms of serious illnesses that their family members are just about to be diagnosed with – and their ailments vanish the moment the diagnosis is given. She recounts tales from her own past lives. I can’t take it seriously, and it’s detracting from the impact of the book’s central message: empaths are drawn to heal, and often at their own expense.

I can’t say I am getting nothing from this book, except it gives me imposter syndrome about being an empath (who knew that was a competitive sport?!) and I am having to read it with more than a little side-eye. Mercifully short, so hopefully no retinal damage ensues.