The Fallacy of the New Project

New projects are like kittens, cute and adorable, unlike their older, grumpier cat counterparts.

This is not my cat, but I feel as if I am channeling its spirit.

Dr. Katherine Gunny, an accounting professor at UC-Denver, made an offhand comment about the fallacy of the new project. It appears all shiny and worry-free compared to papers that have been through a round or two of the review process and have the inevitable endogenaity concerns.

New projects haven’t been taken for a test drive, presented at a conference, or had editors point out the obvious, which usually can be fixed with expensive datasets or labor-intensive hand-collection of data.

It’s exactly the same when writing fiction. I sent my manuscript Crete to an editor in 2015 and have been plugging away at the edits over the last few years. Until I got to the hard rewrites.

I just didn’t have the brainpower to fix my plot and shore up the structure while I was also getting a PhD.

It was also more fun to work on poems, songs, and short stories because they gave me closure.

Now that I’ve adjusted to being a LA ex-pat in CA (followed by the covid re-adjustment), I’m ready to spend an hour a day writing. And I have a bunch of shiny, new stories begging to be written.

I need to finish the series I started, because to do otherwise is to succumb to the fallacy of the new project.

And at my age, in this age, I can’t afford to waste time spinning in circles.

Posted in Authors, California, Goal setting, Graduation, Louisiana, Monterey, Statistics, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Do They Do It?

Dave Berry, Scott Adams, SNL, etc…. How are they consistently funny on such a regular basis?

I’m halfway to Houston and haven’t thought of anything funny to write about.

Maybe 2020 sucked all the marrow out of my funny bone?

Maybe gammalammadingdong rays were embedded in TicTok videos and I’m turning into a zombie?

According to my kids, I’m not half as funny as I think I am, so maybe the half-life on my humor expired and I’ve turned into a real accountant?

It’s a mystery. One I’ll spend the rest of my life (which may not be very much longer given the way Mark is barrelling through road construction in Trinity) solving.

May the road rise up to meet you (but not your face). May the wind (not knives) be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your (sunscreen slathered) face and the rains fall soft on your fields (after harvest).

Happy New Year!

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Eucalyptus in the Rain

For a long time I thought the smell of bread baking in the oven was my favorite smell. Less than 2 years in California, and it’s the clean, fresh fragrance of wet eucalyptus.

Source: The Snata Barbara Ondependent

With these first rains, the moisture-seeking ants that have invaded my sink, dishwasher, and bathtub will leave their risky indoor environs for the somewhat safer outdoors. Until it rains too much and they return, seeking shelter.

I have a lot of compassion for these ants. They’re just trying to survive.

Ants in the kitchen are like a troll on the restroom. Pretty damn obvious.

Compared to Louisiana fire ants (is it any wonder that a place as hot as hell has “fire” ants?), these ants are fairly tame, if unwelcome guests.

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From the 318 to the 831

318. 831. The same, but different. Sort of like diet Mountain Dew and kombucha are both beverages.

California hasn’t completely corrupted me. Still hopped up on Mtn Dew.

I’m very warm-natured aka hot all the time. When I moved to Monterey, I literally had 2 pairs of pants, 2 sweaters, and nothing else but dresses, skirts, skorts, shorts and tank tops in my closet.

Last year I spent most of my money on jeans, leggings, scarves, vests, hats, and shirts with sleeves. This week I got so cold that I ordered cable-knit sweater tights and some cashmere sheets.

Wool Cashmere Aran Cable Leggings - Pink Mist
These are cashmere sweater tights. I didn’t order these because I just got my sparkplugs replaced and I’m over budget. But maybe next year….

I love the chill in the Monterey air, the ability to walk outside and not start sweating within seconds. I enjoy being able to invite people over for s’mores and not having to worry if it’s gonna be 80 degrees tomorrow (or ever).

There are so many trails to enjoy— beach boardwalks, bicycle paths, woodland hikes, mountain climbs. It’s hard to find more accessible and picturesque scenery than the Del Monte Forest and the beaches along 17-mile drive in Pebble Beach.

17-mile drive, Pebble Beach, CA

But, I miss the crickets. The stillness of the bayou at sundown. The lush, green fields of winter wheat. Old homeplaces with huge clumps of happy daffodils in the spring and spider lilies in the fall.

Stolen from fernbox2000 Pintrest page .

One must bloom where she’s planted, it’s just taking a season or two for this Louisiana swamp iris to adapt.

Posted in California, Louisiana, Monterey, parks & recreation, weather, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Plug ‘n Play

Plug ‘n Play.

where n is an infinite number of unknown steps S to get device D1 to synchronize with another device, D2

I’m skeptical of any claim of easy installation, especially for multi-function products.

My current level of technological sophistication is microwave popcorn, but back in my heyday, I configured the 3-in-1 printer/fax/scanner to print wirelessly from my phone.

I’d like to say that I prefer serenity to a challenge, but, as we know, Serenity IS the challenge!

Serenity NOW!!!

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Tyr’s Day

I ran out of calories at noon today.

There’s a slight, miniscule chance it was because I put hot cocoa powder and heavy whipping cream in my morning coffee.


This is not my photo, My plants aren’t that nice and my beverage is twice as big.

I knew there’d be consequences, but thought after 48 hours of serious dieting that my stomach had probably shrunk to the size of a peanut walnut apple.

It hadn’t.

Much like the wolf who will gnaw off it’s own paw to escape a trap, my hope is that my body will gnaw off convert its stored fat for energy. This analogy is especially appropriate today, Tuesday, Tyr’s Day.

According to Mythopedia, Tyr (for whom Tuesday is named) is the Norse god of war who lost his arm to Loki’s offspring, the giant wolf Fenrir.

This is what HANGRY looks like.

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Pressure Points

Foam rollers. They hurt so good. In the age of social distancing and no personal services like massages, they’re a critical piece of firmware in my house.

It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

Lyle’s flight to France leaves pretty early this morning, so we spent the night in a Marriott hotel next to the SF airport in order to reduce my stress of driving in heavy traffic in heavy fog in the dark. And we wanted to get a good night’s sleep.

The beds were as hard as rocks. I’ve lain on gym floors that were more comfortable (6th grade PE campout that got rained out.)

I tossed. I turned. I literally slept on all the pillows.

Now I know for sure which Princess I am. No more Facebook quizzes needed.

But, here’s the thing— when I woke up this morning, the bed was softer.

Or was it?

Maybe it was me. Maybe I was so tense, so rigid, that it made resting hard.

Maybe my circumstances, my outlook, gave me the wrong impression about the reality surrounding me.

And that’s something to think about.

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The Glamourous Life

MONTEREY, CA. October 2, 2020. It’s 8 p.m. on a Friday night. I’m home alone, dressed in my mama pajamas, deleting over 5,000 emails from my web-based server. I think there’s a setting that will automatically delete them from the server as I delete them from my phone, but that’s a headache project for another day.

The hinge on my mail slot squeaks, and I startle at the unmistakable sounds of mail being pushed through, hitting the pine floor, and fanning out behind the front door.

At least I’m not the only person still working this week.

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It’s Never JUST the Dishwasher

A friend brought a pressure washer over to my house to eradicate the moss and mold from the brick patio in my rented backyard.

No good deed goes unpunished is my de facto motto, and we soon discovered that not only were the aluminum waterhose connectors stuck to the spigots, but the aluminum fittings on the hoseheads were also stuck, making it mostly impossible to use the pressure washer.

Unless you’re making pre-Pinterest pipe-cleaner caterpillars, There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Simple Project (TANSTAASP), and even then you’ll still need glue and googly eyes.


I should have learned this lesson last millennium when we replaced the dishwasher in the house on Letitia Street. If we made 1 trip to the hardware store in 1994, we made a dozen.

The only easy part was removing the broken dishwasher. Everything after that was akin to an Act of Congress.

Have you ever tried to get rid of an old appliance in a city? It’s not like you can just throw it in the woods behind the house or take it to an empty dumpster down an old dirt road.

This is a representative photo and not an actual photo of my yard or the yard of anyone that I know.

The moral of this story, if there is one, is a cautionary tale: it’s never JUST the dishwasher.

There are hidden costs to every action.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And for goodness sake, NEVER use aluminum fittings on brass faucets.

Posted in Continuouse Improvement, DIY Project, family, Louisiana, Saving Money, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fortune’s Favors

Fortune favors the bold, the brave, and the prepared. That’s what I’ve heard, anyways.

What does it mean to be lucky?

I was thinking about athletes today, Olympians, in particular, because they got cancelled. They were born with the right combination of favorable genetics, the drive to train to be the best, and the opportunity to discover their talents, i.e. they were born lucky.

Or, were they? What do they do when they’re past their prime? When they’re no longer the premier athlete? Who are they?

When an athlete retires, a soldier loses a limb, or a parent loses a child, how do they recover from that? How do they reach through the despair and find the will to live, to overcome? To offer life their other cheek?

How do people in Cameron, LA, rebuild for the 3rd time in 15 years? How did Jews survive Auschwitz? How?

Were they lucky?

Do they count their blessings?

I think they do. I think GRATITUDE is they answer– to almost every, single question.

Is it easy to practice gratitude? No, not at all.

Gratitude is like fiber, it is necessary. Necessary and sufficient.–article–if-x-then-y–sufficiency-and-necessity

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