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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #126: Welcome home everyone

    Wynwood, Miami, home of political murals. And naked lady murals.

    Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades (aka Coincidences (maybe), aka signs of Forming)

    So this past weekend I went to Miami for the School of Womanly Arts crazy annual international weekend. On arrival I experienced a spontaneous, very much unsolicited downgrade when I tried to check into the hotel and the luxurious room we'd been promised was replaces with a basic room with one bed. (For three women.) Because, well, because they were full. I don't operate a hotel, but it's hard to understand how they can confirm a room that disappears two hours later.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    It took some work before we got semi-upgraded to a room with two beds, but it wasn't spontaneous. It left me sweaty. Next year, the Raleigh, The End.

    Also it was a horribly smelly dump, this place, so I missed the sign posted outside that they were having a free show that night with Bebel Gilberto headlining. Because I had basically curled into a ball of Ohgoddontletthevibeheretouchme.

    And Bebel Gilberto would have been a pretty notable Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrade. So I just report this lest anyone think my life is all free champagne and such.

    But there was our visit to Wynwood, Miami, a semi-industrial, semi-hipster district home to many blocks of murals. The art was even better than I'd heard, most of it of course heavy on the clothed men and the naked ladies, but some of it really exciting, and! Panther Coffee, where we had a perfect breakfast. Panther is a place where they wanted everything to be beautiful, and it is. I don't know how their site, which looks lke an old dry cleaners or possibly a machine shop, managed to retrain the huge shade tree outside, when there was no other vegetation for blocks around. Seeing it was like spotting what you think must be a mirage, but turns out to be the real oasis. Where the cute barista presses free pastry on you, and it turns out to be the best almond croissant you've ever had. 

    Then when Mr Jones picked me up at midnight on Sunday and drove me home, we saw one of those overpass signs that usually say something like Welcome Home Sgt. Smith!!! But this one said Welcome Home Everyone!

    And that is one good thing I can appreciate about Boston: You are just not going to find that kind of sign very many places, and it seemed quite sincere to me. I felt distinctly welcome, which, um, I don't always, in New England. It was sweet.

    Updates on past experiments

    I know three or four things about travel that you might like to consider for yourself. Here there are.

    I.

    When you're on holiday you're in a holiday frame of mind, and that is the best place from which to consider your next holiday.

    Just like it's really hard to reinvent your wardrobe if all you've got is clothes you hate, and you're wearing your feelbad clothes as you stand in front of your closet, wondering what might feel better. Answer: Anything, but also kinda nothing. Better answer: Take off anything that's making you feel bad, and reconsider the question.

    So sure, Aspen sounds good if you're toiling away under the fluorescent lights in Houston. But contemplating the question of what comes after Aspen might be answered best from an Aspen frame of mind.

    II.

    My Zen teacher once said to me "Have the next retreat booked before the current one is over. This avoids the awful circumstance of going years between retreats while you forget what was so important." Excellent advice for any serious practitioner of an awareness tradition. 

    If you're a good little toiler-teacher's-pet-gold-star-whore/mule (<- me), try replacing the word "retreat" with the "holiday." That's 86,000 times better.

    Oh, and "booked" means "booked," not "identified," "hoped-for" or even merely "planned."

    Booked.

    III.

    On not forgetting what was so important, anyway: Take notes. Every time I go on holiday I take notes on a page titled "When Home." Under it go items like

    • add cucumber and mint to the water pitcher
    • make it a nice pitcher instead of a bestickered Google canteen. Since you have some.
    • set a timer for more dance breaks
    • add new songs x, y and z to playlist
    • stay more in touch with Sister Goddess X, Special Agent Y and Classmate Z
    • swap the rug in the living room
    • replace the mattress, dear Heaven!
    • be ready for Christmas and get a bag of sand for luminarias this year
    • take a leaf out Agent C's book, and wear your Cavalli with your shitkickers
    • watch even more serial tv

    If I write them down, some of these things will actually happen. At least for a while.

    IV. 

    It's challenging coming back from travel, but nothing's more challenging than leaving your holiday spot at the last minute so as to extract every last vacationy drop. Life is so much better if there's a buffer day to unpack, set up laundry, do a big shop and sort the mail, instead of plunging straight back into work and doing all the catchup tasks over the next two weeks. 

    V.

    No matter how workaday your destination, no matter how lackluster your mood when packing, no matter how overdue for a holiday you are and thus worn to a nubbin, pack these things for sure:

    • two bathing suits and two coverups
    • matching skivvies, the very best ones
    • sparkly club clothes

    You can always buy another t-shirt at your destination (they make "I'm in Miami bitch!" in quantity), but last-minute hot lingerie is a taller order.

    * * *

    Finally, this might be my first ever Imagine One Week, Form The Next.

    Last week I mentioned my search for a winter sweater of the oversized and drapey variety. I found one in Miami, perfect match, Helmut Lang, on sale, much cheaper than the Alexander Wang version I'd been eyeing. Specificity is so helpful! Writing down your specs, also yes! 

    Reader, I married that sweater. I've been back in New Blighty since Monday, and haven't taken it off yet.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Every night this week since I got back from Miami I have eaten some new thing Mr Jones has cooked out of the Pok Pok book. 

    I don't think I've ever ranted here about the notion of authenticity in cuisine, which I regard as a big fat helping of snobbery. Like, Oh, in the little Oaxacan village where I lived as a teenager, this is how they did it, thus it is the only real way, thus if you like it some other way, well, that's ok, I guess, for an untraveled country mouse like you. Ugh. Like, is anything important other than "tastes good"? Maybe "looks beautiful"?

    That some dish has a pedigree, a lineage, a documented developing-world origin, my god who cares. Skill is what elevates a dish. Skill and love. Not snobbery and slavish replication and going to time-consuming lengths to obtain an ingredient whose chief attribute is unavailability.

    Pok Pok guy Andy Ricker has a not dissimilar view of "authentic" Thai food, and it is something like this: There are thousands of ways to cook anything, and I'm going to teach you some ways that taste good without wringing our hands over shit you can't get in Cedar Rapids.

    Anyway, this is another way in which my life has taken a sudden turn toward Paradise. Delicious Thai food, every night. 

    It kills me to think I didn't even used to like white rice.

    (List compiled 9-nov-2014)

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Bondir
    7. Brine
    8. Bronwyn (scheduled)
    9. Casa Tua (Miami)
    10. Commonwealth
    11. Coppa (for brunch)
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. The Gallows
    14. Giulia
    15. L'Espalier
    16. The Market (closed for the season)
    17. Myers & Chang (scheduled)
    18. Neptune Oyster (why have I never been here? BECAUSE THE ALL-DAY CROWDS)
    19. O-Ya
    20. Ostra
    21. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    22. Rialto 
    23. Ribelle (ugly and harshly lit but the food! the wine! spectacular)
    24. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    25. Scampo
    26. Shojo
    27. Tres Gatos
    28. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Oleana
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Imagining

    After 11 months of discomfort ranging from constant irritation to full-skull agony, I had another oral surgery yesterday to remove my failing implant. Turns out this particular implant fails a lot. Turns out that's why the recent agony. So the next step is to wait two months and start all over again, with an older kind of implant that has a much better track record.

    Why did we not start with that kind? I don't know whyyyyyyyyyy.

    But I am imagining that this much more successful kind is much more successful for me in particular. I will let you know in December of 2015. 

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. I hope you will use it to add your thoughts, report on your own Wayfinding results, or just say Hi. 

    It is also very cool to lurk here. I love receiving your warmth and connection, too.

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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #125: Anonymous Notes and Other Bad Choices


    A much better class of anonymous neighborhood message, outside the Peoples Republik.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    There is someone in my street putting little notes on people's windshields when their parking skills are not up to the anonymous critic's standards. Notes that say things like "86 cars could have parked where you parked your car. Thanks!"

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    I have had a horror of anonymous communication since the day I found one in the first building I lived in Massachusetts. It was a vicious note about the inconvenience suffered when someone in the building enjoyed herself too vocally while having sex. I was stricken at the sight of it, posted by the mailboxes for everyone to read. I pulled it down at once. I'm sure my face was flaming. I wanted to spare that woman - whoever she was, I wasn't sure, not having heard her myself - the worse humiliation of reading the note and knowing it was directed at her.

    Today I kinda wonder about that. For one thing, I suspect the leaver of the note was also the owner of an African grey parrot. Have you ever met one of these birds? It's like the size of a condor. Huge. With a voice to match. This particular one liked to mimic the backing-up beeping sound of the wheelchair cars that were constantly going in and out of the assisted living home on the first floor of this three-story building. At all hours of the day and night. The people who worked at the facility used to hang out and "socialize," let us say, in the parking lot after their shifts. Sometimes - I am not kidding about this - they would drive over on their day off and work on their car there. Because, I don't even know, excellent parking lot?

    It was by far the noisiest place I've ever lived, and I have lived with roosters. I cannot believe someone could discern the sound of someone else having sex over the sound of the constant mechanical and animal backing-up beeps.

    I must also consider now the possibility that someone else might have sincerely laughed it off, unconcerned. I'd like to think that's how I'd handle such a note today. Either that, or high-five myself. Yay, me! I have so much fun with sex it would never occur to me to squish my natural expressions of delight!

    So, anyway, the Anonymous Franklin Street Parking Patrol left me a note yesterday. I didn't see it until I was on the road, and cleaning the windshield. Thus, it was backwards, flapping in the wind, and not attached for long. I could make out "3" and "cars" and "thanks." I expect it said something like "3 cars could fit where you parked," which is false!!!, because I never don't drive straight in. I am incapable of parallel parking. If there was a little extra room, it was obviously a case of a smaller car replacing the one in front of me when I pulled in. Duh, Anonymous! You so dumb.

    Well, this isn't a coincidence. It's a realization. It's karma working out! Once I used to burn with displaced shame over anonymous notes directed at someone else. Now I get an anonymous note and I'm like, What?! You so dumb. Yay!

    Imagining

    As I have complained here before, my wardrobe works great for Miami and Southern California, which would be great except for I live in New England. (Although I am leaving for South Beach tomorrow, and packing has never been easier.)

    Anyway, I need a winter sweater. I would like it to be Aran-esque, cabled, but drapey. It must not hold its shape, and that shape absolutely must not be of the bubble variety. (There is only room for one bubble on this body.)

    I will need to wear this sweater probably every day until April 15. So I'm putting it out there. Maybe Alexander Wang will come through.

    Updates on past experiments

    Sometime after starting this blog I decided that if I wanted to travel more - and I did - I would have to bust travel down to something that feels routine-ish. It was just not working to hold travel as something superspecial and exotic, which other people did, but not me. I had to work to persuade myself that Travel is Normal. Not in a ho-hum kind of way, just... within reach. 

    I learnt this from Miss Martha Beck, who used that technique to get to Africa. She badly wanted to go, it felt completely out of reach, she decided to convince herself that Going to Africa was Normal, and now she goes there kind of all the time. In fact, I got an email from her about going to Africa this morning.

    It's worked for me too. So far in 2015, I look like going to New York, Paris, Berlin and Miami. So far. The Europe trips are on the cheap, too.

    This time two years ago: NOT NORMAL.

    Also, in the serial television department: Jane the Virgin. Omigosh, it's so deft. I think you would like it.

    This week's soundtrack

    • Kid Face, Samantha Crain. I would not like this nearly as much if were listening to it inside my local Anthropologie. Away that milieu, it's really nice.
    • First Aid Kit, Stay Gold. Swedish. Not sure whether they're Wordsworth fans or S.E. Hinton fans. If only there were a way to find out... 

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? As revealed last week, Mr Jones has somehow learnt of the phrase and concept "date night," and so we went to West Bridge on a date, all aboveaboardlike. "West Bridge" the name makes me think of retirement communities first and furniture chains second (like West Elm, I guess) and it is in fact housed in the space formerly occupied by a big furniture shop in an industrial/high tech part of Cambridge. The decor references an earlier manufacturing life, that of "woven hoses" and thingies. The factory references seemed honest, so that's all right, but as a style it's pretty conventional now and this was an uncompelling instance, especially downstairs in the bathroom, with its harsh fluorescent lighting and clangy iron-and-concrete everything.

    This blog is not going to turn into restocrit. I just ... I always want everything to be beautiful. This is so important to me.

    You know: You have a date! You get dressed up. You're a solid middle-agenarian and still you sacrifice your toes to your heels. You say, Oh toes! Don't be such babies! You look at the cocktail menu and every drink seems like it will be glittering and beautiful. Your date, Supergravity Jones™, looks really hot in his fancy Italian shirt. You whisper together. They bring you some little toasts with salmon roe on top, and it's sparkling and glistening and beautiful, and you eat all the little things, and the bill comes so you go to the powder room and UH OH it's like clang-clang-clang the whole way and you push open the door (like, with a push-bar, augh) and then fluorescent lights! WHAT NO. How did this happen? Who forgot how important beauty is?! 

    Beauty is so important.

    Also, fluorescent lighting is never a good choice for a nice restaurant. 

    Anyway, the food: We had a lamb collar that was so delicious I could not remember why, my whole life, I've disliked lamb. Amaze.

    (List compiled 9-nov-2014)

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Bondir
    7. Brine
    8. Bronwyn (scheduled)
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. The Gallows
    13. Giulia
    14. L'Espalier
    15. The Market (closed for the season)
    16. Myers & Chang (scheduled)
    17. Neptune Oyster (why have I never been here? BECAUSE THE ALL-DAY CROWDS)
    18. O-Ya
    19. Ostra
    20. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    21. Rialto 
    22. Ribelle (ugly and harshly lit but the food! the wine! spectacular)
    23. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    24. Scampo
    25. Shojo
    26. Tres Gatos
    27. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Oleana
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. Please use it to add your thoughts, report on your own Wayfinding results, or just say Hi. 

    It is also very cool to lurk here. I love our connection, too.

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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #124: My Own Word For Everything

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, by Rosecrans Baldwin. Recommended. I don't think of it often, but a few bits are indelible. Like the title.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    Speaking of Paris, I was thinking of what Steve Martin said about the French. How they have to have their own word for like, EVERYTHING. I am like this, too, which is why I don't like to list "gratitudes," which feels like a prissy word to me (and somehow underconjugated). I have to have my own word for everything, and my word for that is "upgrade."

    Spontaneous unsolicited upgrades this week include the two-hour yoga workshop at which I was the only participant, so two-hour private yoga lesson! And the teleclass during which I was the only participant for the first quarter-hour, and so got some fabulous coaching.

    Also I joined a gym. I have never done this before. So I checked out the Y because it's two blocks away, and it's about $80 a month, and it smells awful, and is antique and hideous, like a gymnasium of the Napoleonic era.

    I thought Well, I guess this is what cheap gets ya. But then I checked out the second-closest gym, four blocks away, and for $60 a month it looks, smells and feels fabulous. Really modern. So glad I examined that cost assumption. Best of all, it's deserted in the middle of the day, the only time I want to be there, since although I kinda want to throw myself a parade for joining the gym in the first place, I hope to work out entirely unobserved.

    And the other day I needed cash for Zumba, and asked Mr Jones if he had $15 on him, and he gave me $40. And well that's a small thing, I guess, if you always are carrying cash, and you have a husband, and you and he work, and no matter what happens, you Eat Tonight.

    But I like to mark these upgrades because 1. I haven't always had cash, I haven't always had work and I definitely haven't always had a generous and provident husband. Or a boyfriend at all. And 2. appreciation feels so much better than focusing on what is not working, of which this year there has not been a shortage, and which I couldn't possibly ignore but still. As my Zen teacher says, the quality of your experience is determined by the focus of your attention.

    Sometimes I remember to actually do this, to deliberately focus my attention. Especially if I have been hanging around Havi, I might remember to ask for a superpower when starting my day. So the other day I asked for the Superpower of Free Shit, because why not? Things had been going well. I wound up at Whole Foods, where I thoroughly enjoyed some fine aged Dutch cheese. There for the taking.

    Perhaps this does not seem like much in the way of Spontaneous Upgrade to you, but consider:

    1. Appreciating the free stuff that is already there quickly becomes mindblowing. There is SO MUCH. As my Zen teacher also says, 'People are always trying to "manifest abundance," never realizing they already have it.' She spends much of the year doing projects in what is just about the poorest slum in Zambia, and reports there's no lack of food there. It just costs the same as it costs in North America, and that's a problem if the median annual salary is $1.78. No rebuke! Just, you know: You can't MOVE for free cheese around here.

    2. Think about a time before cheese. (Vegans, ignore me.) A time when cheese was some class of sour lumpy milk that happened by accident. Depressing, amirite? Now we have Cowgirl Creamery and Neals Yard Dairy and where I live Formaggion Kitchen and everywhere glorious unlimited free cheese at Whole Foods and I am like WHAT IS LIFE.

    Imagining

    Here's a crazy thing and I can't remember if I've mentioned it before. It is an area where I am sure every single one of you is wayyyyy out ahead of me: Replacing all projects related to self-improvement with the enjoyment of serial television. Time I will never get back again. Zero return on investment except the pleasure of the moment.

    Thus, I require the maximum dose. Stat.

    I finished Orphan Black, and then started watching it again with Mr Jones. (If you have not seen this well you must!) I have just about finished the first season of The Bridge, and found it kind of baggy and disappointing. I hear Longmire is good. I hear Person of Interest and The Good Wife would be up my alley. I should probably watch Breaking Bad because: Albuquerque! Game of Thrones is too full of psychological sadism for me.

    Basically I like suspense and mystery and the supernatural and I hate sexual violence and expedient writing. And I'm looking for other recommendations. What have you got?

    Updates on past experiments

    My tooth! It is still succeeding more than it is failing. Maybe even succeeding a little more than it was.

    My eyelash drugs are also working. Even slower than my tooth is healing.

    Basically, prosthetics (and caffeine and mantles) are holding me together. Yay, science!

    This week's soundtrack

    • Black Cadillac, Rosanne Cash
    • The Way I'm Livin', Lee Ann Womack

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? The current issue of Boston Magazine came out. It includes their top 50 restaurants. Mr Jones had one look and said Let's just go to one of these every week. We can decide at the beginning of the week. You know, like date night! 

    Me, I have never used the phrase "date night" to him, as I had an idea that menfolks, as a class, do not have enough clearance to know about the existence of Date Night. Wrong.

    Anyway, wheeeeee! Super glad he's into it. We're headed to West Bridge this week. I will update this list soon.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. My provider doesn't make things easy for you, but I do love comments.

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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #123: The Turducken of Burritos


    Dahl's Market, home of the chile relleno burrito, the Turducken of Tex-Mex.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    Have I mentioned I've taken up Zumba? (And Zumba Gold, which I think is for Old Ladies Who Are Still Killin' It, and for people who take a long time to learn a new dance move. Like me.) I'm doing it at the Y, because that is the only gym within a five-minute radius of my house, which will be good in the winter.

    Anyway, I haven't joined the Y yet, as I've only been three times. I've been paying the per-class price. Last time I went, they looked at the cash I held out, and said Yeah... just pay next time... if you want... as though paying might be optional the next time I turn up, too. Thank you for the free Zumba, Cambridge Y!

    A coincidence: I was just out in California, driving from LA to San Luis Obispo for a retreat with Meadow DeVor. I left the freeway to have lunch in Ojai, just because I've always wanted to see it. Ojai is home to the splinter group of Tibetan buddhists that left Shambhala, the Boulder-based lineage I used to belong to, when there was a succession struggle. (It's complicated - if you're interested in this not-very-savory little chapter of American buddhism, here you go.)

    Anyway, to get to Ojai, you drive through Casitas Springs, which is tiny, and which I had never heard of, but is notable because they have a big sign commemorating Johnny Cash, who famously lived there. I waved to Johnny. Ring of Fire! Oh, Johnny - I geddit.

    I think I missed Ojai, though, because I started getting nervous about the time, so I stopped to get lunch at maybe the place voted Least Likely to Come Through Judging by Appearances. This, by the way, is what I do when I get freaked out about Taking Too Much Time. I go straight for the worst possible choice. (Whyyyyyy?) That is how I wound up at Dahl's Market in Oak View, just beyond Casitas Springs.

    Dahl's is heavy on the pre-mixed cocktail supplies, light on fresh things. I put together a basket of crackers, cheese and a sad banana and felt … sad. Then I noticed, in front of the butcher's counter, a cold bar with two kinds of salsa and pickles on it. What was that doing in a grocery store… unless…

    Yes! A secret taqueria. Thank God.

    Now anything on this taqueria's menu would've been more exciting than what's offered at a New Blighty taco stand, but I picked the chile relleno burrito, because extra strange. If you are not familiar with this dish, it's basically a large mild green chile, like a poblano, stuffed with mild cheese, and then fried, usually with a carbohydrate coating of some kind. Relleno means "full" or "stuffed," so if you then stuff it inside a burrito, it becomes a doubly stuffed foodstuff. Basically, it's like the Turducken of burritos.

    So this is a pretty baroque burrito already, and I thought that would be it, but when I cut it in half, I found that the guy had added a fried egg to it, too. Off the menu. Until recently, this would have been just about the most horrifying surprise I could find in my meal, except for a poached egg. (It is not a bloggerly conceit to say that I have poached-egg PTSD; it is fact.) But! Another fact is that trendy eaters who like trendy restaurants are going to encounter crazy eggs in all sorts of dishes. I was strangely okay with this egg in my chile relleno burrito lunch. I barely recognized myself. (This is like 2-for-1 Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, come to think of it.)

    Then I got back on the road to San Luis Obispo, did my retreat, and came home to a care package from the lovely Kay. In it was (under the chocolate) a copy of Rosanne Cash's memoir, Composed. It fell right open to the chapter that begins "When I was six years old, we moved to Casitas Springs..." I knew right away I was holding a Friendly Book. (Thank you, Kay!)

    Imagining

    Safety, health, happiness and love for all, but in particular for my children.

    Updates on past experiments

    There was an unwitting stop on the Hot Springs World Tour. While in California, I stayed at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Beach. I don't know why I hadn't realized it was a proper hot springs, but it certainly is. The hotel was built in the late nineteenth century, and my room ("Casual," the room next door was "Bodacious") was among the oldest at the resort. It was ... not fancy. But! It had its own hot tub on the private porch, and the volume of hot stinky sulphurous water! Heaven.

    Not everyone would get excited about Sycamore Springs, but when you grow up in a dry climate, with your Marine Corps dad timing your showers, all-you-can-stand hot water is high on the list of true thrills.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Nothing this week. We have a trip to Chicago planned, though. Alinea is our aim. Please cross your fingers for us.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Join the experiment?

    You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, if you like. Or tell me about your love for Rosanne Cash. Or just say Hi.

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  • Fear of Missing Out

    Hello, friends! I'm just back from a lovely, calm retreat in San Luis Obispo, where if I told you how little we did from an action standpoint, you would not believe I flew across the country to do it. I return to New Blighty with a strong urge to keep doing less. What could possibly get in the way? 

    FOMO leads either to doing too much or paralysis, and that leads to not being present, and that is, by definition, Missing Out.

    Well, we could talk about fear of missing out, or FOMO, because 1. that's what gets in the way and 2. soooo many of my clients have it. It's right up there with Fear of Becoming a Bag Lady (FBBL, let's pronounce that "Fibble," because why does this not have an acronym already? It's a universal fear, even amongst the wealthy, as just about any coach will tell you. Including tennis coaches.).

    But FOMO is much easier dispatched than FBBL (although you can totally overcome the fear of becoming a bag lady and enjoy life about 1,000,000x as much; let me know if that's something you want). Let's do it right now.

    Here's what I've noticed (another near universal). FOMO produces one (or both) of two responses: 

    1. You say Yes to everything, because you don't want to miss anything
    or 
    2. You can't decide between things, because you don't want to miss anything

    In the first case, we sign up for more than we (or anyone) can humanly manage. We oversubscribe, and wind up missing things we've paid for because we're exhausted and can't manage. Or if we drag ourself to yet one more thing tonight, we're too exhausted to be present. Or we're thinking about that other thing we're missing, or that online course we didn't complete, or whatever we just remembered we totally forgot about because we said Yes to so much other stuff. (So we add guilt on top. Yum.)

    In the second case, you don't overcommit, because you dither instead of committing, and events (jobs, boyfriends, other fine offers) pass you by while you're still trying to decide between them. 

    Either way, we're not present. Which is just another way of saying we miss out.

    Thus, put simply, FOMO leads either to doing too much or paralysis, and that leads to not being present, and that is, by definition, Missing Out.

    Here is what I am seeing in my life since before SLO (oh, hey: clue!) but even more during and since: I can go broad, or I can go deep. I'm gonna plant a flag and say it's impossible to do both. 

    Broad or deep: pick one.

    I'll miss out on many things if I choose deep. I'll miss out on other things if I choose broad. 

    But either way, I'll be missing out less than if I try to do both. I'm going to get more by saying No more often.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

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