Cost-Benefit Analysis

This is a post about hair. My hair, specifically.

I love this movie.

My hair’s long– not Crystal Gayle long, but messy bun on top of my head long, and I like it like that. Or, I did, until the virus shut down all the beauty salons, and I discovered the truth.

My hair is gray. Not Emmy Lou Harris gray, but more Kathy Bates in “Misery meets American Horror Story.”

Kathy Bates in American Horror Story: Roanake

The time and money I spent on my hair, I deemed worthy, pre-robot vacumn.

I love Scooter. He eradicates all the dust bunnies under the beds and does a phenomenal job eliminating the beach sand. HOWEVER… I spend several minutes a day cleaning the hair off his roller brush, which significantly reduces his efficiency.

This isn’t my hair, but when Leah and I lived in that Baton Rouge apartment, the vacumn roller looked just like this, but with blonde hair.

My frustration with this whole situation makes me just want to shave it off a la Britney Spears, but since my hair all fell out in 2015, I know this isn’t the answer.

What is the answer? I don’t know for sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion the answer is my least favorite… Patience.

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The 800th of March

In less than an hour, it will be August 1st, or as Lyle calls it, the 800th of March.

Family Vacation, rated R-style.

It’s not a secret, divine or otherwise, that CV-19 can cause a girl to drop her basket.

These accents will sho’ nuff make you want to hurl.

Just about the time I think I’ve wrangled this octopus, some kind of geriatric complication arises (numbness in leg, then foot, then hand), and I’m in time-out for two weeks.

Geriatric is perhaps an exaggeration. Reality is that right now is likely the mid-point of my life. I can’t imagine another 50 years with these same knees, which is weird, because I can imagine a lot.

When I think about the technological changes over the last 25 years, it boggles my mind. I started college with an electric typewriter, and reluctantly progressed to WordStar, Excel, and pivot tables. In graduate school, I wrote SAS programs on punch cards and sent email over 2400 baud modems; now I can wireless video-chat from anywhere in the world.

Where might we be in 2050? The moon? Mars? Arcturus?

Will we be capable of regenerating our own tissues and repairing aging telomeres? Can I live as long as Methusaleh? Transplant my brain or download my consciousness to my 20 year old body?

Would it be a blessing or a curse to have a 70 year old mind into my lab-grown 20-year-old body?

It’s kinda like the lottery jackpot– maybe it’s good, maybe it isn’t; but, I’d sure like the option of deciding my ownself.

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Embrace the Suck

Some Green Berets park their bicycles outside my campus office, and I’ve stood in the lunch line with some Navy Seals. These close encounters clearly make me an expert on Special Forces, especially the lingo.

110417-A-5937M-004 U.S. Army Pvt. Charles Shidler crawls through mud searching for the next covered fighting position during training for individual movement techniques at the Camp Ravenna Joint Maneuver Training Center in Ravenna, Ohio, on April 17, 2011. The technique is one of more than 200 common tasks that Shidler and about 3,600 other soldiers assigned to the 37th brigade must complete before they deploy to Afghanistan this fall to support Operation Enduring Freedom. DoD photo by Sgt. Sean Mathis, U.S. Army. (Released)

Granted, I’m not physically crawling through mud while people are shooting at me, but the extended work at home and associated closures (beaches, parks, gyms) has been difficult for me.

I know how fortunate I am, and it has still been hard.

What seems to have been a critical turning point for me was accepting that things aren’t going back to normal anytime soon, if ever. Also, planning for the future (football games, vacations) is out the window.

I’m being hit over the head repeatedly with the idea that TODAY is the only day I have.

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If Only

If I were Hemingway and wrote whole stories in six word increments, I’d be done already.

There’s a magnolia (Louisiana state flower) tree blooming outside my window.

Yesterday, I saw some brown pelicans (La. state bird) diving in the dark blue waters of the bay. Cypress trees (bald cypress is the LA state tree) line the golf course I pass on my weekly walks.

If it were 98 degrees outside instead of 58, I’d think I was back in Louisiana.

But, in either place, I’m still me.

California Laura drinks coffee, eats tomatoes, & wears long pants, which is out of character for Louisiana Laura.

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Novelty: the quality of being new, original, or unusual.

I’ve self-diagnosed myself with novelty fatigue. The last year has been an onslaught of newness and I’m exhausted– probably because change is hard.

A person’s support system (emotional, physical, financial) is so important during times of upheaval. We need touchstones to orient ourselves and to provide assurance that some things are constant.

When the whole world is in chaos, our illusions of control are shattered.

So, I’ll do what I always do when times are tough. I’ll go for a walk, talk to my family, and Listen to the Radio.

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The Ides of May

In accounting, 15 May means we can round up to June, which means we’re just hours away from being halfway through 2020.

indiana jones

Half. Way. Thru. 2020.


Just wow! Where did the time go? Seriously– I’ve spent three decades at home during these 60ish days of sheltering-in-place and have the gray hair to prove it.

It’s like having toddlers all over again.


The toddler era is defined by days that last for eleventy-billion hours, and years pass by in 48 minutes or less. There’s no more than half a day between kindergarten and college graduation.

Contrary to the Ides of March (see Shakespeare’s Julius Cesaer), and in comparison to 04/20 (my birthday, Columbine, DeepWater Horizon), May 15th has very little associated with it, if one discounts the women’s suffrage movement.

People born on this day, have Taurus as their astrological sign. Salt of the earth. Rock solid. Steady. Stubborn. Capable of demolishing a china shop.

Which makes this years’ mid-May interesting. With COVID-19, every day is precious and unique, while simultaneously being as monotonous as an accounting textbook.

How we manage our time during this crises has downstream effects. Will we be relaxing in green pastures with a crown of daisies like Ferdinand the Bull, or will we be crashing into the structures that surround us, breaking everything in sight?

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The Blues in Monterey

Green—forest green, hunter green, emerald green— green has always been my favorite color. Maybe growing up in an ever-green pine forest had something to do with that.

Since moving to Monterey, I’ve fallen in love with blue.

Watercolor pencil mandala.

Robin’s egg and turquoise skies turn moody, swathed in silver mists of fog.

Cobalt waves become mermaids’ tears as they crash into the rocky shores and foam onto sandy beaches.

Stunning views have inspired generations of artists, writers, poets. The urge to capture such beauty with words or images is an irresistable siren’s call.

I am so grateful that I get to live in such a place. I know there are people who will never have a chance to climb a mountain or stand, breathless, rocked by the beauty of the Bay.

My heart goes out to them. To everyone who’s got the blues.

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Last Minute

Watching darkness fall over Monterey Bay, listening to Otis sing about the Dock of the Bay. He wrote that song while in Sausalito, CA, a town just north of San Francisco, which is a little bit northier of here.


It’s 2 hours to San Francisco, and then 15 minutes to Sausalito. Must be a long bridge.

I was thinking about all of the artists that I’d like to see in concert, and remembered that I bought tickets to see Keb’ Mo’. In November, he announced a summer show here at the Golden State Theatre, andI bought tickets within minutes of reading the news. about 8 months in advance.

That concert has been cancelled, but this is not the point of this post. It may be the kernel that explodes into a piece of delicious, salty popcorn aka a fabulous idea!

When we get out of this this miserable shutdown, and WE WILL GET OUT of this miserable shutdown, there is going to be a healthy aversion to risk. Which means an aversion to making plans in the distant future, because longer time horizons are risky.

I predict that apps that search & find last minute deals will take off.

Johnny Carson GIFs | Tenor

Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent.

That is all. No complicated calculus about marginal costs and break-even revenues. No machine learning simulation of your neural networks. No scientific basis to this conjecture. Just a hunch.

Go forth and do with this information as you will.


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Soledad, the Solitude of the BVM on Holy Saturday in Spanish tradition.


Our Lady of Solitude. Photo credit: RVISSM – Arquivo RVISSM, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Lyle spent the last six weeks with me in Monterey.

It’s Freezing! was the top comment of his visit, and we engaged daily in the ages-old battle of the thermostat, but in the reverse: he kept turning the heat up.


I bought him some fur-lined slippers, but they were uncomfortable, so he didn’t wear them. Or socks. Or pants. Just his redneck uniform: shorts, bare feet, and tank tops. Clearly, he doesn’t have to pay the California light bill.

Lyle has been my stalwart companion during my most dramatic moments in California– moving here and the plague. I could not have made it without him. That said, he gets one more visit, but if there’s an earthquake, tsunami, wildfire, or other disaster, then as harbinger, he is exiled from CA.

Uncertainty is uncomfortable, and our world has undergone a huge shift in a short time. I’m grateful to those who make me laugh, who call and text and check up on me, who love me.

I love you right back.

And in some cases (Leah), I love you MORE!

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Toes in the Water

Yesterday I walked my bare feet into the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. It took me 336 days of living in California to do it.


If I’m ever Dictator of the Free World, a plaque memorializing my first encounter with the Pacific Ocean (on 4/24/2020) can be placed here. Granted, it won’t be the same water or sand or sky, but until we can freeze time (in or out of a bottle), this is all we’ve got.

I’m not sure why it took me so long. Because beaches are synonymous with vacation, maybe I thought that if I got in the water, then I’d soon have to leave.


It also feels a little like I’m cheating on Galveston, Grand Isle, and Flora-Bama, the beaches of my childhood, and my children’s vacations. Somehow enjoying California seems like a betrayal of who I am, what I’m made of. (I know this is dichotomous, either-or thinking, and have scheduled some growth mindset exercises for first thing in the morning.)

But, a third thought is that I avoided taking the plunge because the water’s cold and the sand’s gritty. Most people here swim in wetsuits, the exception being the guys who are probably Navy Seals. Who else has washboard abs and jumps right in wearing only board shorts?

This is my 11th month in Monterey, and it’s slowly sinking in that this dreamy California adventure is turning into home.

run away



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