Goodbye Luna


We listened to Laurie Anderson singing about heaven.

Mark made tender baked salmon.

Harper came by.

We all had wine.

It was dark when I got home.

We toasted Luna.

This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

Published in: on February 2, 2015 at 9:38 pm  Comments (1)  

It’s Superbowl Sunday, U-Haul and the $19.95 scam.


My daughter Tobi is across the street watching the Seahawks wipe the grass with Patriots. She’s with one of our board members at a dive bar.  Stephen was going to be part of the Superbowl viewing but apparently he went hiking all night and slept in a cave, so he’s tired.  I guess I would be tired too if I slept in a cave.  Tobi and David Mainelli are hopefully having a good time.

Mark is making Mexican food for all of us for dinner. It smells great.

We had our board meeting today also.  So it’s been quite a weekend.

We rented a truck to get the couch in Encinitas.  We’ve had to rent trucks several times.  It’s annoying not to have a truck in the family.  We need to haul dirt? We rent a truck.  Palm fronds all over the yard?  Truck.  We needed to go get this couch?  Truck rental.  On the side of the U Haul trucks is a bit of a sign that says, $19.95/ rental.  There is no such thing.  Under no circumstances can you actually rent a truck for $19.95.  It costs quite a bit more but they get you call excited about the $19.95, but it will be more than $100.  They are scamming you.  Of course, we got a good deal because our friend Elise gave us the couch.  Which was super nice of her. The couch looks adorable.

This week  will be busy and then off I go to Winter Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.

We are putting our dog Luna down tomorrow.  It’s a sad thing for our family.  Tobi, Stephen and I picked Luna out when she was a puppy.  We brought her home and she’s been a really good dog. She’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a big dog with a lovely disposition.  We will all miss Luna.  Luna, we love you.

Published in: on February 1, 2015 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rain by Cynthia Barnett


Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

Buy from Amazon

Last night we went out with Elise Capron who works with the Sandra Dijkstra Agency and has been my friend forever.  We went to East Village in Encinitas and had the yummy monk’s pots with rice and shrimp and chicken.  All of that goes great with sake.

Elise gave me this book Rain by Cynthia Barnett which looks really interesting.  After that, we went out to some dive bar and started doing tequila shots and then I switched to Makers and Mark switched to beer.  The drive was pretty decent but still crowded so at some point we realized we didn’t have time to go get the car so we picked up our board member Dave Mainelli from the Flyaway in the moving truck with the couch in the back.  It was a lovely experience and Dave was nice about it.  Mark made it up to him by taking him down to Amoeba Records and out to Vasquez Rocks where they filmed Captain Kirk and the Gorn. If you are Captain Kirk, it is good to have the energy to sleep with green girls and fight with Gorns.

Mark made us sushi tonight which is always good.Tomorrow is our board meeting and then the Superbowl.  We all need more sleep.  When we wake, there is always more to do.  The clouds are restless.  It has been raining here in So Cal.  I have more writing to do, but there is next week, I am going to Asheville.

Published in: on January 31, 2015 at 8:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Life is like the ferris wheel

We had such a great time with our friends Elise Capron and her husband Jared.

Let the good times roll.

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Published in: on January 30, 2015 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Life is a party

I took this picture on my way down the 101 driving to work

jkl 022It was great to see Teresa at Mussos tonight.  Tomorrow we are going to Houstons with Bart and Kim.  Friday night we are going out with our friend Elise in Encinitas.  Life is a big party, but I like the part when I am relaxing too.  Some of us are brave, bold and beautiful.  Me too, some days but other days, I want to rest.

Mussos was the first restaurant that I went out to when I visited Los Angeles to see if I wanted to move here.  I could see right away that this was my kind of city.  The drama of an unfolding story where some people’s dreams came true and other dreams vanished into thin air.  Los Angeles sizzled with heat and stories.  I decided to move here and be part of the energy.  I moved here to become part of the hum.

Published in: on January 28, 2015 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tolstoy wanted to write a great novel too

New Mexico 011

I had dinner last with my friend Victoria at Cedar Creek Inn in San Juan Capistrano.  We had tuna and then squid and then shrimp, it was quite a bit of seafood happening.  Then Victoria started telling me about how her grandmother in the South used to make coconut cake for her and her brother when she was growing up and how her grandmother shredded the coconut carefully by hand.  Victoria misses her brother.  We had some wine and caught up on our lives.  Then she ordered coconut cake. I thought I was full until I tasted the cake.  It was crazy great.  Victoria has changed her life and is designing clothes, but she still keeps going with her skiing.  I’m glad to see her life moving forward.  She seems to think it’s a bit messy, but messy is a good stage to go through.

I’ve been doing a lot of the cooking this year to give Mark a break. I’m developing some skills. Slowly.

This week is a bit busy.  Tomorrow night I am meeting my friend Teresa at Mussos and Thursday we are going to Houston’s Pasadena with friends and Friday night we are having dinner with an agent friend of ours in Encinitas.  This weekend we have a board meeting.

And on February 7th, I am going to Winter Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.  It’s the American Bookseller Association’s convention for book sellers.

I like having days to work from home.  Going out for a run, then getting some work done while making dinner, cleaning the house and doing the wash.  I like having time to just be a human being.  I like just being able to breathe and not rushing all the time.

Writing, thoughts and big ideas happen when you have time to think.  If you’re always rushing around you don’t have time to be the kind of person who would think.

While you’re thinking, here’s something to think about:


Tried farming but was terrible at it.

Wrote a couple short autobiographical works.

Fought in the Crimean War.

Went to Paris and gambled away his money. Read Les Miserables and decided to write a great book.

Wrote War and Peace which made him a literary star.

Decided to follow it up with a romantic book. Wrote Anna Karenina which was also a success.

Decided to kill himself.

Tried becoming religious but then noticed the church was corrupt. (Really? What a surprise!)

Wrote a few more works that were not popular.

Considered suicide.

Wrote the Death of Ivan Ilyich which received great acclaim. Decided to live after all.

During this time, he had thirteen children who all became counts and countesses.

He decided to give away all his money and not accept royalties.  His wife stepped in and said she would accept the royalties. And she did.

Disappointed with mainstream religion, the Russian Orthodox Church, he started his own religion, Tolstoyism and collected many followers.

He decided to go on a grand pilgrimage with his daughter but admitted to being too tired to leave Russia.

Tolstoy’s non violence was a profound inspiration to Gandhi.

Published in: on January 27, 2015 at 9:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Regrets are often not worth it


When I moved to California in the late Eighties, I didn’t have a bank account.  I carried my money around with me, and believe me, it did not weigh me down much.  I could very easily keep it all wadded up in my pocket without overloading said pocket.  At first, I wasn’t making much money so I carried on with the cash system.

Until I got married a year after arriving in Los Angeles.  My husband had a checking account, so I got one too.  Eventually he added me to his checking account, but he got tired of that after I bounced a couple checks and I don’t blame him.  I went back to working my own bank account but my exes bank which was Home Savings wouldn’t let me have an account there after my failures to keep track of money.  They said I could try back in a few years.  For the next few years, every time I passed the Home Savings on my way to Bank of America, I felt very sad and rejected.  I knew that it was all my fault for not keeping track of what was in the account.  I wanted to be good at the whole banking thing, but in fact, I didn’t spend nearly as much time thinking about money as I should have.  I thought about the kids, and stories I wanted to write, and books I’d read and where I wanted to travel, I thought about lighthouses, and magic, fish and wildlife, everything except money and banking.  I missed the point of finance entirely which is that you have to take a real interest in money and want to watch it pile up.

I spent considerable time wishing that I were better at banking and thinking that when I became a responsible human being, I would finally bank at Home Savings. I kicked myself.

In 1994, my husband and I split up. On Christmas Eve, 1995, in front of a judge who had Ebenezer Scrooge on the judge’s bench as a sort of odd joke, we were declared officially divorced.

In 1998, 3500 Southern Californians lost their jobs when Home Savings was bought out by Washington Mutual for 10.1 billion.

Regrets are usually not worth it.  If you wait a little while, it might not matter any more.

Published in: on January 25, 2015 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

I wonder about Nebraska


In Nebraska, they refer to dinner as supper. They have more corn and beef than in So Cal, and they like pie.  This careful research on Nebraska food choices was done by me at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City.  I’ve also been to Wayne, Nebraska.  We make assumptions based on experience, and we believe that experience cannot be wrong.

But of course, it can. If you marry, three not very bright women in a row, experience will teach you that women are not bright. If you raise three rowdy boys, you will think boys are rowdy.  You could very well be wrong.

Each year I spend three weeks in Nebraska, three weeks in New York, five weeks in Europe, some for work some for writing retreat, and another seven weeks total of being on business in Chicago, San Francisco, and other parts of the U.S. When you travel, you have experiences and then you think you know.

We have been to four dinner parties since we got back from Nebraska in early January.  The first one we had a wonderful conversation about world peace.  Everyone there was working for world peace and we were working on books.  Then there was a sushi/hot tub dinner party with Karen and Mike which is always fun although I maybe overdid it on the sake.  Then we went to a dinner party in Pasadena and talked about books some more with our friends Bob and Lisa and of course, life, the universe and everything.    Last night we went to Malibu for a dinner party with Petra and Helmut and talked about travel and life.  The conversations are what make it all worth it.

However, I wonder, as I dress for dinner parties in So Cal whether my friend Karen in Nebraska can wear jeans to every dinner party she goes to. Are dinner parties more relaxing in Nebraska? Do they serve beer?  I don’t even own any jeans.  Also, in Nebraska, would you be invited to a supper party? Or is it still a dinner party?

This morning I woke up so ill with a migraine that I couldn’t even see straight, and Mark dropped me at the shiatsu place so I could spend an hour going between the cold and hot pools and then got a shiatsu massage and I plan to go back tomorrow.  When I have the crud, as I call it, that’s the only thing that really helps.  So I haven’t really gotten anything done today except like around in a semi haze.  I’m starting to feel like a person again though.

If I ever decide to change careers, which wouldn’t be easy since I am not sure what my current career is, but if I did, I would not be a Los Angeles weather person.   Here’s practice for that job:  Today it’s going to be 72 degrees. Tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and every day for the next month, it’s going to be between 70 and 72 degrees except Thursday when it will get going down to 68 degrees.

Being sick makes everything seem very clear.  Being a weather forecaster is not for me, at least not in Los Angeles.   Writing seems like a good thing.  I think I’ll keep doing that.

Published in: on January 24, 2015 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Step out of your own comfort zone

Are you in or out of your comfort zone?

We all have a different comfort zone.  My son is in his comfort zone when he’s about to land in a foreign city with a backpack, guitar and no money in his pocket.  Fun times. Adventure around the corner.  He loves couch surfing.  I can picture him when he gets married suggesting couch surfing for the honeymoon.  Why not, sweetie? He’d say, we could have a really good time! Meet new people. He loves being surrounded by a large group of fun loving people.

My husband, on the other hand is most in his comfort zone when it’s just the two of us hanging around watching Star Trek.  He’s also in his zone when the family comes home for the holiday.  And when we land in another city, and I’m worried about whether I’ll forget anything on the plane, (I’ve left all kinds of things on airplanes) he is already planning out the subway routes we will take.  Maps are part of his comfort zone.

I’d say that comfort zones come in layers.  Some people are not even comfortable with themselves. That’s rough.  I’m quite comfortable at home in t shirt and leggings or hanging out with the family.

Zone 2 of my comfort zone involves close friends’ houses, libraries, bookstores, plant stores.

Zone 3 would be freeways, book fairs, New York.

It’s easy to think of conversations that are outside your comfort zone.  Why is that so uncomfortable?  For many Americans, there are discussions we would rather not have:  Race, politics, religion, pop culture, celebrities.  Some of that is outside our comfort zone for conversation.

Putting ourselves in uncomfortable positions that are outside our comfort zone is very important to our growth as human beings.  My ex husband does not like to travel, but he flew to visit our son in Nepal.  When I went to the Frankfurt Book Fair for the first time, I was way outside by comfort zone, but now I’ve gotten better. Colombia was outside the zone.

Perhaps every week we should step outside our own zone.  Do something we don’t want to do. I try to question myself all the time. Pilates was outside my comfort zone, but I’m enjoying it. To be really outside your own comfort zone, you have to be willing to challenge your own beliefs.

You don’t live in a narrow box with a narrow set of beliefs, you’re much bigger than that.

Published in: on January 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Are you a loser?


Nobody likes to think of themselves as a loser, and some people might say that none of us really are losers.  Some people might say that we are all winners in some way. You might be a good bowler, a good baker, you might be good at raising green beans.  You might be pretty excellent with the guitar.  You might just be good at drinking beer and hanging out with your friends. It’s good to have something you feel you can achieve.

When my son was in high school, I told him that I wanted him to be high achieving.  I asked what he thought about that.  I was always trying to get him to think of things for himself.  What do you think about being a high achieving person?  I asked him.  I was thinking about his sister who was taking all the AP classes available and achieving some high marks.

I actually am high achieving, he told me.

Really? I said.

High school is about making friends, learning to be social, having a good time, and in all of these things I am high achieving.

He had a point.

By changing what defines success, you change whether you are successful.  By his own measure and rules, he certainly was successful. He had many friends, and he was having a very good time.  He was in fact, having such a good time that he had to change schools.  Apparently, he was actually an over-achiever, having too much fun.

I had a plan of what I was going to do with my life.  I have not achieved that plan, but rather than be a failure, I have gone on to Plan B. Most of the time, I can feel good about myself regardless of the constant flux of planning.

How much have you achieved with your life?  What was plan A?  In Long Day’s Journey into Night, the mother, Mary has a fairly sad life.  Her husband and sons are all deeply alcoholic.  Her husband’s negligence and his unwillingness to spend money have caused her addiction to morphine.  One of her sons has TB and the father is unwilling to pay for a good doctor for him.  You would think this would be quite enough of a reason to be sad, but what she is really upset about is that Plan A was to be a concert pianist.

Many marriages break up because someone changes the plan and the other partner is not going along with the change.  You planned to be a lawyer, now you can’t become a drug dealer or a world traveler, or a transgendered person, or a social worker.  If a marriage is to work, it’s because you are able to go with the changes.

If your plan is not working out, rather than declare yourself a loser, you can always come up with Plan B.  Remember the first person you had a crush on?  Most of us did not marry the first person we fell in love with.  We went on to Plan B, C, D, some of us didn’t stop until we got to XYZ.

Published in: on January 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm  Comments (1)  

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