Book by Book

My brilliant daughter

Adulthood is Terriffying

I know that I’m good at writing, but I also know that being good at writing doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve always got something worth writing about. But Anne Lamott says writing is like playing tennis, meaning that sometimes you just go to it and don’t worry about doing it well but still do it because it feels good and also you’re Anne Lamott and grew up in Marin, CA surrounded by insanely liberal, insanely wealthy, insanely creative insane people in the sixties.

Because who else plays tennis and enjoys it?

(For the record, I really respect Anne Lamott and enjoy her work. But she’s kind of a self-righteous asshole.)

Speaking of assholes, Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Slaughterhouse-Five that “what we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time,” and I’ve gone searching for those moments to marvel at countless times throughout my…

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Saving Olsen Farm: a call for help

Please consider supporting my daughter and her husband in keeping the family farm!

Olsen Farm

In January we lost our father unexpectedly after a short illness. He grew up helping his grand parents take care of the chickens, cows and pigs at Olsen Farm. Those were his fondest memories from childhood, and he always loved to reminisce about what an incredible experience it had been to grow up on this farm. He then built his own home on the family farm lands, where he raised his children with a love for the outdoors- creating his fondest memories from his adult life.

His recent passing is part of what inspired us to make Olsen Farm opened to the public as it once was when he was a child growing up here.

We now live in the house he built back in the 1980’s and recently received scary financial news. Because of debts and outstanding bills against the estate we are in jeopardy of losing our home…

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Spring Means Chicks: Remembering our First Hatch

New from Olsen Farms

Olsen Farm

Our obsession with poultry started last April when we incubated our first five eggs in my classroom, and amazingly all five hatched! Three turned out to be roosters, they all turned out to be exactly what we were missing in our lives. Chickens are truly incredible animals with such unique personalities and an ability to both create and be food. They help control pests and enrich the soil simply by going about their daily business. Chickens are the perfect bird, and the perfect friend.

Chicken eggs need to incubate for 21 days, being turned at least twice a day to allow chicks to evenly develop and prevent them from getting stuck to the inside of their shells. During incubation eggs need to stay at about 100 degrees and have 60% humidity. We have incubated using electronic incubators, seen above, so we can watch the eggs crack and hatch, this year we…

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Home: Like, No Place.

Adulthood is Terriffying

I’m an Atheist, a pacifist, and a public educator. I believe every human being has a worth and a purpose. I’m white, but not the WASP-y kind. The local NPR station is my primary source of news. I like taking walks and eating sushi. I hate asparagus and exercise (except yoga) (and taking walks).

I prefer cats over dogs and I like beer more than wine. My favorite color to look at is purple; my favorite color to wear is blue, or green I guess. I prefer to wear my hair long but I don’t like wearing long sleeves.

I believe that capitalism is ultimately evil and that socialism is the ideal, although perhaps an unattainable one. I identify as a heterosexual female.

I’m also an American, because I was born in America. But I’m not sure I can actually call myself “American.” Not anymore, at least.

Yesterday marked the 100th…

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Jaded Empathy and Other Things that Make Mild Sense 

My brilliant daughter

Adulthood is Terriffying

The community where I did most of my growing up was a typically atypical, moderate-to-severelywealthy, predominately English-speaking, Caucasian town in New England. Anyone whose ever been to New England knows that I’ve basically just described the whole damn region: small, wealthy towns who love left-leaning politics and probably contain or are at least near a tiny liberal arts college.

So the affluent New England town where I grew up, like most affluent New England towns, was heftily packed with progressive liberals.
And this affluent New England town, also like most affluent New England towns, was minuscule. In elementary school, there were perhaps 75 students in my year. In middle and high school, that number increased to a handfulover 100. I think the graduating class might have been 95 or 105 students; I wouldn’t know, I was among those to check out beforePomp and Circumstance had even been rehearsed by…

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Be Mindful of the Harvest

Adulthood is Terriffying

Ideas, opinions, emotions: they’re like fruit. They grow – some more tediously and fussily than others – and, if harvested too soon, they’re bitter, sour, or hard; conversely, if left too long on the branch they turn mushy, mealy, or brown.

Some go from unripe to rotten without peaking; many get left behind, return to the soil, and regenerate as energy for roots to consume and feed future plants. Sometimes, every cherry, pear, or almond is delectably perfect; sometimes, the whole field yields nothing, for no discernible reason.

A bad harvest doesn’t mean your trees are bad; it means your farmer is.

(In the context of this metaphor, at least.)

Dan Gilbert, who went to Harvard to study the human brain and has a lot to say about it, did a TED Talk a couple of years ago where he succinctly described his research on humans’ perceptions of themselves…

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Sleeping with My Brain

Thoughts from a very tired brain

Adulthood is Terriffying

Sleep is a trickier task than it has any right to be. I’ve been really bad at it my entire life – a fact that no one (doctor, parent, or friend) has ever treated with what I would consider an appropriate level of urgency.

Like, how is calling someone with insomnia a “fussy sleeper” not intended to be condescending? People with asthma aren’t called “fussy breathers.” If a doctor misdiagnoses my insomnia I don’t call her a “fussy diagnoser.” I call her an asshole.

I guess that’s what I am, then: a sleep asshole.

I blame my inefficient sleeping practices on my brain, because everything that’s wrong with me can technically be traced back to my brain and also because that fool never stops talking. I never really do, either, but again it’s my brain’s fault so if you’re going to be annoyed with anyone be annoyed with her. I’m just the innocent…

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