September 24, 2011


Recently discovering Kate Tempest has re-inspired my love of words. I'm a lazy reader and a lazy writer but hearing the flow and seeing the show of spoken word ignites my mind and my heart creating a fire inside. My imagination runs wild and the words can't keep up the phrases loop and turn and make connections my stomach churns but maybe that's just the milk I drank or dinner digesting.

Continue reading "Icarus" »

December 11, 2006


While in Tennessee, my niece got me hooked on Sudoku - that annoying crossword of numbers everyone seems to be raving about. Previously I could never imagine myself enthralled by a box of numbers. "Where is the meaning?" I kept asking. Even after I became hooked on them, I still couldn't figure out why my mind kept reaching back to that damn box.

However, while putting the last brush strokes on this report that has consumed my mind completely, I suddenly understand the connection. Part of polishing up this collection of words is checking my cross references. Does my conclusion match the body perfectly without being too repetitious? Does the analysis of the study lead up to the recommendations with out spilling into them? I have to constantly pay attention not just to the content but to actual word usage. How many times to I use description words? It should be often enough that they lodge firmly in people's heads but not so often that they feel like an annoying jingle.

In Sudoku all the numbers must weave together to create balanced quadrangle of figures. In this report all the key words and phrases are being woven together to create a fabulous fabric that is hopefully as balanced and beautiful as a sudoku box.

December 08, 2006


Lately I have been in report-land. Mostly it is heaven, sometimes it seems like hell but regardless it is all reports all the times. Some of these are one I read as a member of the board at the co-op. However, most of the land is made up of a single (but oh so beautiful) report I have been writing for work for way too long now.

Recently during my journey through report land I had an epiphany. Suddenly the world is not just the world but can be divided into two areas: process and content.

You can tell how much I am enjoying this adventure by how much that revelation awed me. Yes, we have already established that I am majorly geeky.

Yet despite this geekiness I have never divided the world this way and suddenly every thing seems so clear! In my report some bits are about the process - how we arrived at the data I am reporting on and other parts are content - the data itself. By clarifying the process before the content I am putting the content in context. Do you see what a marvelous tool this knowledge is?

It gets even better. By understanding the process of the entire report (why we gathered the data in the first place, where it is going, who is going to read it, what they are going to do with this information, why the company wants me to write it, etc) I have a much better idea what that content of the report actually needs to be! By understanding that larger view - getting that big picture from my manager - the report I am writing is put into context so I am easily able to discern what needs to be included and how it should be presented.

By understanding how process and content are intertwined and related I feel like I have a map to help me on my journey (which for a control freak like me makes the whole thing much more enjoyable). And to think I believed my traveling days were over...

March 30, 2006


I am in the third week of a writing class via The Loft - Minneapolis's literary society. I wanted to take a course titled "How does Terry Pratchett do that?" but it was canceled do to low enrollment. So after browsing through the catalog, determined to sign up for something, I chose a course on inspirational writing. It isn't as sappy as I thought. The teacher has a lot of great suggestions for framing a work, moving the reader through it and relaying ideas, revelations, and realizations to them. Today she kept hammering the importance of starting at the beginning - before the transforming experience - as well as including the actual experience and the result. If the reader doesn't know where you are coming from, he or she won't be able to relate to the piece. Of course we also talk about engaging the senses, using alliteration, pace and poignancy. I think my favorite challenge is to universalize more of my personal essays. That is what I'll work on this week. Last week I took an old blog entry and tweaked it a bit, giving it more body and structure:

Continue reading "writing" »

July 24, 2004

How to have an enjoyable India excursion

Sorry, I am still not done talking about India (and there are no guarentees that I ever will be). Many friends and acquaintances have complained about the sub-continent and swear it is awful. I have heard that being there is like having a hundred monkeys pounding on the inside of your skull, one person described it as "organized chaos" (which I consider a compliment), other people comment on the massive amounts of injustice that goes on constantly towards women, poor people, white people, powerless people, children, and all other people who can possibly be taken advantage of in some way. I won't deny that this stuff happens or go on at length about how it happens everywhere; we are just used to ignoring it in our own countries. Instead I simply want to help other people understand or ignore these things in India, therefore helping them have as marvelous a time as I did. John and Paul, fellow Friends World bloggers wrote their ten and eleven highlights of the country, but here is a list helping fellow travelors create their own top ten (or more more) list

Continue reading "How to have an enjoyable India excursion" »

October 08, 2001


8 October 2001
Friends World Program
Long Island Univeristy
Costa Rica


The Beginning

Bright and early we met at school. There were only five of us when the bus picked us up. But there were already people on the bus and we picked up some more after; our final total was nineteen. The five already in the bus were some students from a language school, and the last nine we picked up were attending Universidad Nacional. All told we were mostly from the U.S. One woman was from Scotland, one from France, our guide was Costa Rican and he brought along a Colombian girlfriend.

The bus ride was long and annoying. Our guide told us the plan though. We would stop to take a small walk in Braulio Carrillo, a large nature preserve north and east of San Jose, and then head on down through the banana plantations where we would get on a boat, which would take us to Tortuguero.

"If I don't know the answers to your questions," he assured us, "I will make something up." This statement was confirmed when he told us that, "it rains like hell here, like 30 hours a day."

Continue reading "Tortuguero" »