Saturday, January 13, 2018

moving out

I bit the bullet (not literally --it's an expression, but you never know who knows it & I am in the U.S., so you can be excused for thinking I meant literally, if you did).

I got a website.

I plunked down a little bit of cash after a trial period and I got a website. Which has a blog on it. Which means ...

This one will likely be sadly neglected shortly.

I feel a bit bad because it's been a friend. It listened to me when I couldn't talk to anyone else (not that no one would have listened, but I just couldn't). I know the new blog will do the same thing, but ...I don't know. Deep inside somewhere, I'm a very nostalgic person in strange ways.

Could I stick with this one? Yes. Realistically, will I? 


So I have linked my first blog post from the website (now called but which will be called in about two months because of an error on my part) to here, so I can come back and visit. Similarly, you can use this link to find me over there, if you happen to want to.

Thank you for reading. 

Friday, January 12, 2018


A remembering:

Katy Perry's song "Roar" came out when? 2013? Five years ago now, I guess. It's one of those songs you know was likely written to be anthemic and a hit and so on. You know --a pop song. I'm predisposed to be cynical and want to hate it because it seems purpose written to push certain buttons.

However ...

I cannot, to this day, listen to that song without bawling my eyes out. It came on the radio the other day while I was driving, and it was a bit hard to see the road, if you know what I mean. I want to hate it, but I don't.

Why not?


Every year at my school, we have an end-of-the-year assembly. Every child in the school (nearly 600 of them, ages 6-11) fills into the multi-purpose room --also known as the cafeteria and the gym with the dividing wall opened up --and spends the majority of the last day of school with the rest of the school. They sit down on the floor and watch teachers being silly and their peers play musical instruments. And there's always a photo montage.

One of the fourth grade teachers puts it together with photos taken throughout the school year of kids doing what they do: playing, learning, having fun. Every child makes it into the photo montage. People manage to get photos of the shy kids somehow. They manage to capture still moments of kids who never keep still. She edits it  and uses songs that are currently popular (incidentally, this is how I learn songs that are currently popular --I wait until June every year and get them all at once).

So flashback to what must have been 2013.

Picture nearly 600 kids singing every damned word of that song. They all knew it. They all loved it. You should have seen their faces, belting their little hearts out, watching their memories on the big screen. Every single kid --and when I say every single kid, I am including kids that may not always have that chance at joy and kids who have trouble fitting in sometimes. And not one of them was doing it because anyone else was doing it; they were singing because they felt it.

And I blame Katy Perry for making a school full of kids feel like champions, at least for a little while. And I blame her for every time I think of that song and start crying.

Damn Katy Perry.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Once upon a time, in a far-off land called the 20th Century, I studied Logic.

Yes, it was a course. No, really.

I studied Logic with the same man who taught me Sanskrit. People study strange things in college --at least they do in the U.S. because we want our university students to be well rounded. In the U.S., we have math and science requirements in college (university) even if you want to study basket weaving, and we have humanities requirements even if you want to be an engineer. There is a certain logic behind this (it suits me because I like everything), and yet, at the same time, it flies in the face of logic because, by age 18, presumably you know what you're good at and what you like and what area you never want to take a test in again.

I took Logic to fulfill a math requirement. I was never going to use higher-level math other than statistics, which I also studied, and Logic seemed to me both useful (for figuring out what makes logical sense in what the world presented me with) and useful (my school did not have a prescribed course for what I wanted to major in, and I could justify Logic as part of the coursework to the powers that be).

One interesting thing I learned while taking Logic: I don't think in a straight line. Ever. And yet, somehow, in my Logic class, I always ended up with the right answer. I circumnavigated the straight line every single time. For me, logic is a process of elimination that meanders. Other people can do it in a straight line, and I envy them in a way as it simplifies things. Other people have trouble with the thought process (but, as with many other things that are taught, I believe it can be learned to some extent).

Regardless of whether or not I did it 'right', I still see the study of logic as a very useful thing. I wish we taught it more in school, in balance with a social-emotional curriculum. Sure, there are some things in life that defy logic, but there are other things where logic is greatly needed. Take, for example, all of the recent political talk --regardless of your political affiliation, an ability to spot false equivalence and other logical fallacies is helpful.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

art is not a handicraft

"Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced." -Leo Tolstoy

I tried something new recently: I am applying to have an art exhibition. My CV is sadly lacking in what art exhibition folks look for --things like training and prior experience. I have had training --lots of it --but I never went to art school for reasons I've explored prior to now. My prior experience is called life and fiddling around with whatever I could in the spare moments not filled with all of the other things I was expected to do.

There was a period of time that I won't go into where I didn't get out much --an understatement, but I don't like to think about it and  people prefer uplifting redemption stories to stories about why the redemption was needed. The point is, I didn't get out much and my personal world was limited to the left side of a couch, occasionally venturing into the kitchen or going for walks.

During that time, I found things I could do in very small spaces. One of those things was papier-mâché because it cost nothing and I could use things around the house. I made my son's mask for his Halloween costume. Another thing I did was papercutting. Part of an old egg carton could be turned easily into a bird puppet.

And one more thing I did was sew.

I discovered tivaevae, beautiful quilts from the Cook Islands that women grow up learning to make, and tried to emulate it (poorly) by myself. I made a giant floor pillow out of an old curtain, sewn by hand (my fingers still hurt thinking about pushing that needle through that thick canvas). And I made the letters up above for a project inspired by my work at school with literacy and those old magnet letters that people use on refrigerators.

With all apologies to Tolstoy, sometimes art is a handicraft and handicraft is art. Traditionally, that has been the avenue left open to women to express themselves. And there's plenty of feeling there. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

club membership

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member." -Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx meant that humorously, but as with all great humor, it captures a truth.

We aspire. That's what people do. But we aspire by trying not to be ourselves.

Here's the thing: why would you want to belong to a group that doesn't want you? I understand wanting to belong --we're social creatures. But why would you want to belong where you're not appreciated or wanted? Why would you not want to be accepted?

So for 2018, when you come across clubs that won't accept you as a member (and they're out there), remember that Groucho Marx was a comedian and this was meant to poke fun at how we are as people. We're silly grasping things. 

When you come across clubs that won't accept you, stop grasping. Start your own club.

And have a great day.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

nanowrimo, day 63

Happy 63rd of November!

I know, I know. You thought we left 2017 in the dust recently. We did. 

Sort of. 

You see, there was some unfinished business I have from 2017, and by 'unfinished', I mean not finished (because un- means 'not' ...).

Way back in October, I said I would write a novel. Actually, I said I would finish a novel. "I'll finish that novel I started in 2016 by the end of November!" I said. 

Did I? That depends on your definition of November ...

I'm still working on it. Many people who participated in NaNoWriMo have now moved on to editing their complete manuscript. I have not. But you know what?

I haven't finished it yet. 

If you look at it from the point of view of the goal, that's a very bad thing. You said you would finish it, but you haven't. You're not going to, are you? Cue eye rolling and sighs of disappointment.

If you look at it from the point of view of the process, however, it's not as dire as it may seem. I haven't finished it yet, emphasis on 'yet'. Unless I'm like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense or Nicole Kidman in The Others and I'm just blissfully unaware with a shocker of an ending to come, I'm not dead. There is still time, and I haven't given up in the least. I'm still working on it. I'll get it done when I get it done, and no one gets to make me feel bad about that except for me when I'm having hard days --and even then, I tell myself to shut up.

So here's to all the late bloomers, people who try and try again, and stubborn folk. I am happy to be counted amongst your numbers.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

happy new year blogpost

Maneki-neko: good luck cat (origin Japanese)

The new year is coming. For some of you, it may already be here (as I write this, it is 31 December 2017, 10:07 AM PST, so not yet in this part of the world), and I hope it is treating you well. I hope it will treat all of us well.

Today, I would like to share this photo I carry around with me inside my phone. We have a local store (local to this part of the world) called Uwajimaya, and it is wonderful place, full of color --makes me happy anyway. I regularly take out my phone to take photos when I am there because it is so colorful and so happy. I also pick up groceries, but that's a bit of a tangent ...

This is/was a display they have there: maneki-neko. These cats are seen to be good luck for the owners. The raised left paw is meant to bring good fortune. The lovely thing about technology (such as phones and digital photos and blogs) is that I don't have to keep these cats all to myself --I can share them with you. You may be anywhere in the world, but through the magic that still exists, I can share them with you. There are more than enough to share.

The origin of the symbol is interesting and timely. In the original story, a shopkeeper with nothing used what little he had to feed a cat that came by looking for food one day. The cat --being clever as all cats are --came back, and continued coming back, and the shopkeeper did his best to keep the cat fed, sometimes going without food himself; this was the nature of his hospitality and generosity of spirit. Then a funny thing happened: the cat stayed, and customers followed. The customers enjoyed seeing the cat and they sensed that this was a kind and thoughtful man, and the shop began flourish.

That is the way the world should work. If you see kindness in the world, encourage it; if you have a chance to be kind, do it. I'm not going to spend too much time on bad things going on in the world because that's what the news is for. I'm not going to spend too much time on other people's choices, good or bad. Make your own choices in the new year. Make choices that leave the world in better shape than it was in yesterday when and where you can.

And may 2018 be a year that is kind to us all. Happy New Year.