Following Jamie's bravery, I am posting the education requirements for my blog.

home again

I stole this image from Evan and made it my own.

We look a stink-load alike in this picture. You would think we're related.

I didn't get any pics of the dinner or Mark's family. We were too busy eating and hanging out.

I also realized that I really don't like knitting with a pattern. It is just too much like auditing a spreadsheet - keeping your columns lined up, making sure the right thing goes in the right cell, and all the numbers meet... it's work. I want either creative OR mindless - and knitting with a pattern is neither.



We drove out to Arizona for dinner on Thursday.

Although short, it was one of the best trips I've had lately. (Not saying much, since most of my trips this year have been funerals or business.)

But, it really made me remember how it feels to be surrounded by people who care. To be hugged incessantly. For the first time I realized... Arizona is as much my home as Utah or California. And Mark's family is as much my family as the one I was born into. I'm a McCowen. Don't panic, biological family, I haven't revoked my charter-membership to your particular brand of crazy. I'm just expanding my definition to include some very normal mid-Western folks with great genes. (My kids will be tall, leggy blondes.)

A major highlight was getting to spend a few hours holiday shopping, eating turkey leftovers and wrapping presents with Evan. In particular, I find it hard not to live close to the LB.



I recently took an inventory of what I wish the world was like. No one will argue that it seems like society has taken a turn of some kind. Bad? We are haunted by romantic histories of quintessentially genteel, slower ane more human pasts. And now we rush about ignoring each other to the point of isolation under artificial lights and get our sense of community at a shopping mall.

I expected my inventory to be about family... since I have always been clear on knowing at least that much about what's important. And maybe in a way, it did. The common theme that I noticed was that I believe in human goodness. Not necessarily at an individual level, but as a group, on the broader scale. This surprised me a lot, because I deeply care for particularly few individuals.

I just read this BBC Article about 6 month old babies preferring puppets who are socially kind. I think this might punctuate my point. We prefer to be helpful, loving, and kind. We may not be good at it, but that's what we prefer. And that's how we see ourselves, generally: as "nice."

I'm usually pretty annoyed by the government, so I was also surprised at how much credit I give to the government as an institution that has lost it's way. I still think there is hope... but much to change in order to keep that hope.

Most of all, I really care about social equality and social responsibility. I think in our "American Dream," we get caught up in serving ourselves We forget that in terms of making a better world, getting ahead of each other may not be as easy or advantageous as creating a just and equitable world for everyone. The masses have much more power to facilitate massive economic reform than one person with a home-business... and creater wealth and stability for everyone is better than 2% of the U.S. population owning over 50% of the world's wealth. Interestingly, Bill Gates owns more than twice what Saudi Arabia does.

I guess believing in people, freedom, and equality makes me a radical. Dude.



On Friday night, we saw the play, "The Chicago Conspiracy."

Almost all of the actors in the play have been in tv and movies. The performance was really amazing.

I scrapped to recharge my batteries, but that backfires when I scrap until 5 a.m. I still need new batteries, but my heart is scrapalicious.

I am now reading "Good in Bed" by Jennifer Weiner, a story about a Larger Woman coming to terms with her size. I read while I work out and enjoy the irony.

I am really starting to live for my weekends. For the first time in my mature adult life, (as recent blog posts attest) we are doing stuff on the weekend. Going places, events, fine eateries. It suits us to stay home, but as long as we're here in this Entertainment City, it seems necessary to "take advantage of it while we can." Because unless the housing market falls 300%, we will never be able to buy a home here... and will eventually leave.

Note: you know you are growing passive when a $200,000 studio condo sounds like a bargain you might consider.



I am trying to go to the gym six days a week to make up for exam slack. I'm on day five. If I do it often enough, I actually get addicted... and I have to remind myself to go home and do other things. (I never would have guessed this about myself in former lifetimes.)

I am just finished reading "The Birth House" by Ami McKay and am still reading "Profit Over People" by Noam Chomsky. Both great.

And thinking a lot about the way society has changed.



I just took my exam yesterday. Ahh - the sweet feeling of nothing hanging over my head. So, here's how it goes. I have to wait two months to find out by what margin I did not pass, so that I know how hard I have to study for the next attempt (and let me just go on and guess ahead of time - a boat load.) Everyone I talked to (who thought they were prepared) agreed that this particular form was a beast - and no one thinks they will move up to the next topic. (In a way, this is good news, because it means a lower pass curve... but even though that's what they are for, I'm not getting my hopes all wiggly.)

My work gave me half-days for the prior six weeks and a week off leading up to exam day to prepare. It felt wierd to stay until quitting time today... my first full day of work in a long time.

I have some big plans... the much missed free time kind - like cooking real meals, with (gasp) ingredients other than a drive through... and going to the gym to cycle off the synthetic polymer ones I've been eating lately.

And Crafts-mas is coming, so I'm going to get my glitter on... I'm going to make paper lanterns shaped like stars to put over my Christmas lights on my tree, so Martha of me.

Oh, and reading... books, with actual plots.

Oh, and movies - in one sitting... without feeling guilty. Maybe a guitar lesson or two.

I'm like a kid in a candy store. Oh, good Idea! I can make holiday candies. Mmmm.



I know I should get over myself, someday. But every time I look in the mirror since I cut my fringe, I don't recognize me. And that's like not seeing your own reflection and being sure you're a vampire.

I think someone transplanted my thinker into this (old) lady's body with the costume wig.

As as aside, I love mail order catalogs, crafts, coffee and christmas. Who doesn't?