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Travel Season

Work travel comes in waves. I’m in Pasadena now, which is a welcome climate shift from the iceberg that is Staten Island. I’ve been walking a lot here, as much as I possibly can. Thanks to the Super Bowl, The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” has wormed its way into my brain and refuses to leave, so I play it while I walk (among other things). A quick trip to Whole Foods ensured that I have food that agrees with me. Say what you want about global commodification – and I hate it – it does offer the comfort of knowing you can get what suits you no matter where you are, so it’s one less thing to worry about.

In another week, I go to Seattle. And then again two weeks after that. And then to London. And again to London two weeks after that. And then to Arlington. And then to San Francisco. Which takes us till June. I’m basically experiencing winter on a part-time basis.

This is okay with me.

My goal is to find yoga studios wherever I am and to make the time to go to sessions. This can be difficult, because there’s the expectation that you’ll socialize – heading for drinks right after work, etc. And I’m okay with that – I love my colleagues, and now that I’m working from home, I want to spend time with them when I can – but it’s tough to find a yoga class during a time of day when I’m free…never really knowing when exactly that will be. It might vary from day to day!

But at least there’s the walking and thinking. And I’ve been feeling much better. And the projects I’m working on are thrilling and challenging, and really give my brain a workout.

On y va

As Ta-Nehisi Coates says…

I’ve been feeling a bit reflective lately. I suppose drastic lifestyle change will do that to a person – it’s no more business as usual, but you have to think about why you’re doing what you’re doing, and value the positive actions. It’s interesting to go through a radical re-engineering of health while simultaneously, outside in the world, there are ongoing protests and incredulity and the sense that Things Are About To Change – in essence, some radicalism on the outside and on the inside. I’m feeling rather plugged in, empathetic with the protesters because I’m waging my own health protest from within.

Maybe I’m thinking too much.

Anyway, I’m coming to grips with the fact that my best resource for the things I need is Whole Foods. I hate that. But my membership at the Park Slope Food Coop has come to an end – I just cannot do the required shift work from Staten Island and New Jersey. We do not have a Wegman’s, and our natural foods store on Staten Island is small (and singular). Definitely the better solution is for there to be a Food Coop on Staten Island, but this is not a population that is open to those sorts of organizations. A Whole Foods will come here first, and that’ll be the end of it.

So on we go. Muddling through as best we can. I really like the sort of acceptance of one’s own limits that Roxane Gay offers, for example, or Russell Brand. The way our capitalist system is constructed, hewing to your ideals while holding down a full-time job and raising kids and learning and loving and growing – you can’t. You just can’t, in reality, execute all of that unless you are in a certain income bracket.

So Whole Foods it is until I find a better option.

Ten days into this new regime, I have made meals of lean pork, chicken breast, turkey breast, fish. I have eaten my weight in skyr, it feels like. I have eaten tofu, seitan, kimchi, so much kale. I have consumed much ginger in all forms. And whole grains. Nothing but whole grains.

I was heartened for a bit because I wasn’t losing weight. I’m happy with my body and the weight I already lost. But this morning I got on the scale and I was down another 2.4 pounds. So it begins. My body seems to want 10 days into a new regime to begin shedding or gaining weight.

Next steps are purchasing a stationary bike for the basement (walking doesn’t allow much for interval training), and going on YouTube to gather up safe yoga videos for muscle development. My time is highly constrained (thanks, capitalism!), so I cannot make any of the yoga classes when they’re scheduled at my gym, and the only gym equipment I can use safely these days is the bike anyway – at least until my hip heals these two torn tendons (tendons take A Long Time). It means the social aspect of things gets cut out, but given that I am not getting it now, I can view it as a step forward.

On y va.


Oh, Dad

My father really loved Bill Cosby. We had a couple of his albums, along with Beyond the Fringe and other records. But Cosby…

My dad fought in the Newark riots. The Cosby Show was sort of mandatory viewing in our house.  Not even mandatory – we looked forward to it.

My heart hurts. Because, as my friend MiAngelo says, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And I hate it. Because my father expected better. He thought he had better. He fought for more than this.

I’m sort of glad that my dad is beyond where he can care.

But I’m not.

Gina’s a Witch!


My Favorite Lucybun pic


RIP, Lucy




Go Home, Amazon. You’re Drunk.

I received, along with every KDP author, Amazon’s email this morning and my immediate response was, “What the everloving f***?”

I’d seen that sort of word salad before – after breaking up with someone. The sort of message that is filled with hurt feelings, false equivalencies, misattributions, and not much else.

It’s an uncharacteristic move by Amazon, who previously seemed to act as if they didn’t care what anyone thought about anything. They’ve never had to explain themselves before. They’ve certainly never pleaded with their customers and suppliers before. Bullied their suppliers, yes. Pleaded with them, not so much.

My second response was, “Why on EARTH would Michael Pietsch care AT ALL about what KDP authors think? The entire point of tradition publishers is NOT to care about what independent authors think.” Then I saw that Amazon had extended its message to readers. That made marginally more sense.

So yes, Amazon has blinked. And I think the reason is that they’ve received a little bit of a reality check. They apparently CAN’T bully all their suppliers. Now Hachette doesn’t represent a ton of Amazon’s (weakening) profits. But Amazon still needs Hachette. They need Hachette not to be an example. Because if one publisher does it, another one will too. And if the Big 5 all do it, the littler ones will too. And if book publishers do it, other suppliers will too.

And Wall Street is watching. Bezos’s leash is a little shorter than it has been.

Why Amazon wrote this note, instead of doing the usual clamming up, will probably always be a mystery. But I kind of prefer Simon Collinson’s theory.

Of course, there’s always more

In 1967, I was 2 years old. 

My parents lived in Verona, New Jersey – just a couple of miles away from Montclair, where we moved a bit later, and where my youngest daughter spends most of her week at her dad’s house. (Oh, irony. Less than a mile from the house where I spent formative years.)

My father was a Presbyterian minister at Central Presbyterian in Montclair. In 1967, the riots in Newark were going on.

My dad was (and my sister and brother and I are) part Seminole and Blackfoot. His dad and mom grew up passing for pure white. (But also with a weird pride when it became fashionable again.) And Dad’s gut was yanked into the instability in Newark. He wanted to help. Knowing my dad, it wouldn’t surprise me if he felt he had no choice. A hardscrabble, mixed-race kid from Oklahoma City who made it to Harvard Divinity School (where he met my mom), the situation must have been howling at him.

So he went to the traditionally black churches in Newark. And one night he was jacked up against the wall and threatened. Basically, “white people are the problem, why are you here” sort of thing.

Somehow he talked everyone down. Most likely by relating to them – “I grew up hard – my grandmother’s family hated my dad because he was Indian and born in a sod house and of uncertain parentage”. He got out of the church intact. And he blamed no one for the rage. He understood it.

And he kept working. We moved to Southern Delaware, which in the 1970s was plenty racist, I can assure you. I was taught Civil War history by a Byrd from Virginia who insisted on the “states’ rights” line of thinking among a bunch of 10-year-olds – and that was the only Civil War history we received. Everything else I’ve had to learn on my own. But the fact that he dealt corporal punishment exclusively to African American kids was not lost on me. 

Dad had plenty to do there. And he did. He counseled other ministers who had crosses burning on their lawns (oh yes, the Klan was alive and well then). He embraced gay rights long before anyone else ever did – counseling families who were breaking up because the father couldn’t live the lie anymore; counseling women who were lonely because they could not confess their relationships or even desires. He was incensed at prejudice, at bigotry, whenever it reared up.

I miss him a lot, because there’s so much to talk about now


Oh, Hootsuite, you are so much better th

Oh, Hootsuite, you are so much better than the new Tweetdeck.

Resolution Rundown

Every month or so, I want to check in on my resolutions.

The Work: Well, I’ve missed a total of three days of blog posts. So…not great.

The Soul: We have been attending church regularly and I have done absolutely nothing about music. So…halfway. Or half-assed.

The Home: I am all over it. Sweeping up, on top of the laundry, getting stroppy about having magazines lying around. I think I’m doing all right here.

The City: Nope. Haven’t touched this one yet.

The Body: This has been working. It’s amazing how productive just logging things – consumption, exercise – can be.


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