Young Directionless

You're not lost if you are on your way

Sometimes You Need to Relax

I’m tired.  Not just didn’t-go-to-bed-on-time tired, but  soul tired.  I’m tired or pushing myself, of overachieving, and constantly being on.

ornate door

I want to do a whole bunch of nothing.  Even baking a cake and video games seem like too much work.  I can’t organize my thoughts to write, and I don’t really care.  Instead I want to curl up in my down comforter, shield myself from the world, and have my husband read me a story.

And make and eat crepes.

In fact, I’m going to go do all those things and nothing else.


75, 343 words to go on my novel!

I Wish I had Journaled

I suck at journalling. That old fashioned diary writing where you record what happened and who said what and participant observer type stuff. Yeah I suck at that. I’m really only interested in stories.  And those don’t require that you write them down every day.

A good story might not even hit you until weeks or months later, when you suddenly realize how funny or poignant an experience was.  Sometimes I realize years later how amazing a certain experience was, and while I can recall it enough to recognize its impact, I wish I had taken notes.

sit down lets talk

I don’t tend to do things systematically.  I beat the words down onto the page when I feel like it, don’t want to get up at the same time every day, and don’t even have a morning routine.  So it is no wonder I can’t keep consistent habits, or a regular journal.

Instead, I’m going to trust myself not to change. I’m going to keep writing, but not on the same things, or at the same time, but I will try to do it in one place.  And we’ll see where it takes me.

As they say: get the words on the page.


76,678 words to go on my novel!

Nostalgia for Places Past

In my dreams I return. To the coffee shop in Sienna Italy just off the Piazzo del Campo with the Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee and the amazing cherry strudel puff pastry filled with ricotta. To the backarei down the street from my house in Goettingen, or to the Apthotheke that sold the chewy, beeswax gummi bears. I wander cobblestone streets on my way to places I haunted long ago. In my dreams I get lost and waylaid–never quite make it to my destination. The dream moves on, my goal forgotten.


The dreams are real–a reflection of the fact that all these places are memories now.  Even prowling through google street view, or returning for a visit doesn’t capture the moment as time has moved on. Places have closed, things and people have changed.  But sometimes, I remember those moments of time when I lived in those transitory places, and I am back in my window looking out over the Basilica, even if only in my mind.

Everyone is a Little Bit Interesting

I’ve only met one or two people my entire life who were absolutely not interesting or interested in anything.  I just don’t buy that people aren’t worth engaging. In fact, sometimes I think the people other people think aren’t interesting are fascinating. I remember kids from school that everyone overlooked who just seemed so damn captivating to me. We weren’t friends, we didn’t hang out after school, but we would talk in the quad, and I always thought they had something interesting to say.



One was born with two thumbs and had a gnarly scar.  Another had an idea as a high school student for a chemical coating on pills that would prevent suicides by inducing a vomit reflex.   One quietly made it through high school, and then left for Stanford where the valedictorian didn’t get accepted.

They’ve all gone on to do big interesting things, and not just in their own quiet ways.  I don’t think any of them will be back for the high school reunion.  Everyone is a little bit interesting, but sometimes the ones no one is paying attention to are the ones to watch.


I’m grateful for being myself.

Do You Have a Voice?

I was at a conference talking with a student about politics, and why this year when term limit reforms took effect was the best time for organizations to educate new members since the newly elected would be there for 12 years now instead of the six they were previously allowed.

“Do you write, too? he asked. “Is there some place I can go to read you where you write down all of your ideas?”

It felt like the room had suddenly stopped. “No,” I said reflectively, ” I don’t have a place I write it down.” That was when I realized I didn’t have a voice.


How much of our lives is ephemeral? What has any lasting power? Ideas matter, but documenting them and writing them down is not something I’ve ever been good at being consistent at.

How often have I flipped through old note books, pads of paper or even scraps tucked away in the bins I periodically try to tackle and sort. Reading my own words is like coming across someone else’s writing. It feels real and polished and I wonder that they wrote it only to realize it was me.

Your ideas have life.  But if you don’t write them down, they don’t exist.  So I’m trying my hardest. I’m trying real hard.

Summer is on its Way

Summer is on its way to an end. I can taste it in the peaches.  They’re on their last week, not holding their texture or as sweet as they used to be.  I ate a slice or two, then cut and bagged the rest for the freezer so I can pull a pop of summer out when the months finally turn cool.

farmers market

Cooler temperatures can’t come soon enough. I’m burned out on the summer heat, but I’m still short on lazy days relaxing, outdoor dinners with friends, stargazing, and a few more trips to the beach.

But I’m ready for fall. I’m ready to cook squash, and quiche, and make use of my oven to heat the house.  I can’t wait for roasted root vegetables, and pumpkin patches, and the cool crisp autumn mornings.

Did you see the harvest moon? The largest moon of summer?  I was back in my old town walking to dinner with friends when it came out from behind the buildings and trees, hanging low in the night sky like a big fat yolk as big as a dinner plate.  It was one more sign for me that summer is on its way out.


I’m thankful for cooking my way through the seasons (with this great Intimate Gatherings cookbook!).



The Art of Complaining

If you are going to complain, go big and find a good audience.  Be sure to make it as entertaining as possible.

The worst travel nightmare I ever experienced was when I went to Italy.   Out of nostalgia and perhaps a sado masachistic streak  I decided to fly Lufthansa to Italy through Germany.  In order to get in early and avoid delays, I stopped over in London for a week, and left bright and early on a 9 am flight to Florence via Frankfurt the Sunday before classes started at my Italian language school.  I was excited about practicing my German again, which I got to do when landed and went through customs.  They eyed my former student visa suspiciously and grilled me regarding whether I had any plans to drop baby in their socialist state.  No, I replied, I really am just going to language school in Italy.

on top

Then it was on to my puddle jumper, which I nervously realized was remarkably small.  The flight was supposed to be 45 minutes.  We ended up circling and trying to land twice.  Every time we got close to the ground a huge gust of wind would bounce the plane like a small hard rubber ball perilously close to the ground.  As we clung to the arm rests and the remaining gummi baerchen left in our ridiculously small mid-flight snack the pilot announced we were being diverted to Bologna, and would be bused several hours to Florence.

It took hours to deplane, board the buses, and make it across the Italian countryside.  We arrived late evening, hungry and bleary eyed.  But the last train was leaving for Sienna  so I raced to the station and jumped on board. This was the slow train, and it quickly filled with some rather creepy guys. I suddenly realized how alone I was.  I asked a single guy traveling alone if I could sit with him in my baby Italian. He said yes, and people just assumed we were traveling together.  The loud boisterous travelers left me alone.  When we made it into Sienna we all ran for the single bus.  I had no idea if it was the right one, but ultimately it would take us into the town since we were on the outskirts.

I was disgorged in the town square of Sienna in the middle of the night.  I went to the pay phone to call Mauro and realized that they all only took phone cards. There was no place to buy a phone card so I begged some guy sitting on his vespa to use his phone.  The town was dead, and this seemed to be the most exciting thing happening on a late Sunday night that was already bleeding into Monday, so he let me use it, and after I talked briefly with my host I began wandering for another two hours dragging my suitcase around the campo looking to find my apartment.

Most of this story would be a bunch of super boring, bitch ass whining.  But I got to tell it in Italian, to the first female rider in the Palio while sitting in the underground meeting room of one of the Conrtradas with horses that won,  and she who looked bemused as I went through my fortunata, sfortunata tale.  So if you are going to complain, go big or go home.


The Secret of Life is Learning to Commit

Your twenties are a time for exploration, fun, and quitting when you don’t like the job, relationship, or city that you are in.  It can be intoxicating to float from  thing to thing, not tied down, reveling in your freedom.  But there is also a price to not committing–it’s hard to make progress when you never stay, and keep starting over.


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Sometimes We Forget to Pencil in the Important Things


Tomorrow I need to be in two places at once.  This is not unusual for American women who are constantly torn between work, personal needs, relationships with spouses, family expectations, and that thing called life.  With yet another crazy crisis project at work, having agreed to drive to LA to pick up my husband (who I have not seem for almost two weeks) from the airport suddenly seems foolish and impractical.  It’s two hours down and two hours back that I don’t have, on top of a deadline that I once again somehow have to make on a project that has been massively delayed already and is due the next morning.

Yet the skeptical look in my boss’ eye when I explained I was thinking of taking half the day off led me to crazy thinking: what if I left at 3 pm to drive down, picked up my husband, then dropped him off at home and went back to office to work from 9:30 to midnight?  My husband even offered to take a cab to a local restaurant and hang out for a few hours until I could come get him.

Then I realized that this is insane. There is always going to be another work project, and another deadline (frequently brought on by someone else’s lack of planning or choosing to put their family first, too).   So I worked on my report tonight, and I will just have to shut my office door tomorrow so I can get my work done by 2 pm, and hand it off as best as I can.  Because sometimes we forget we also need to pencil in the important things.

Your Life is Not Facebook

Sometimes we forget how much work goes into those all those carefully stage managed facebook posts, instagrams, and twitter updates.  Your friend’s life looks fabulous because he spends a lot of time cultivating that impression.  Few people post the negative things that are happening. And no one likes to brag about how boring and blase their life is.

feather leather bookmark

Reading 1.0


This weekend I am unplugging and stepping away from all that. Instead of working too many hours, stressing over life, and tsking myself for all the things I am not doing, I will be swimming, reading books, hanging out with family, and cleaning my house to get my life back in order.  Ok, that last one may be a lie.  But what I am not going to be doing is obsessively sitting on my phone, checking email, and obsessing over the internet.  Which is good since I will be at a house without internet reception!  Happy 4th of July!


I’m grateful for some time off!

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