Jan 2 2017

How Springsteen got my groove back for 2017

One of the best things I read in December was Bruce Springsteen’s book Born to Run.

I’m only the occasional Bruce fan* so I didn’t get a lot out of the detail surrounding his musical journey. But I do have complicated relationships with my family, friends, faith and country and his exploration of these themes gave me a lot to grab and hold tight. I was especially riveted by the following:

We honor our parents by carrying their best forward and laying the rest down

Which I plan to apply to painful remnants of my relationship with my late dad, (as well as painful remnants of my relationship with 2016, my evangelical upbringing, messy friendships, and Madonna…she’s practically all that’s still standing from my beloved 80’s childhood**, so I need to come to terms…right?)

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m gonna hold “Borderline” tight and let go of “Bitch, I’m Madonna”

– Jen

*Born to Run, Jesus was an Only Son, Dancing in the Dark, The Rising, My City’s in Ruins are particular favorites.

**obviously Duran Duran, Hall & Oates, Benatar, Bryan Adams and so many others who had space on my record player are still bringing it 30 nights a year (in stadiums or casinos)…but the recent loss of Carrie Fisher and George Michael feel so painful as to take up most of the space in my heart.



Oct 26 2016

It’s raining…grab a book

I have a bookshelf on the way to the guest room. You only get a spot if you’re a book I want to re-read and re-read and you’re a book I want everyone else to read.

The other day I caught someone taking a picture of it so they could have all the titles immediately available on their phone.


I’m always on the lookout, but lately a book I truly love has been hard to find.

Homegoing tells the story of two sisters and their lineages through 300 years of African and American history. It’s really good, but the very device of moving from generation to generation (which is so brilliant and well done) ultimately kept me from fully investing in any one character.

The Nightingale is yet another novel about the french resistance, but way better than most. It’s a really exciting and compelling, a little romantic, and also an easy read, perfect for a wintry day.

The Nest is about inheritances…or rather the inherent danger in waiting on inheritances. It’s a very smart read that entertain, pays off, and makes you think…

All good reads, but only one book this Fall earned a spot on the shelf:

You may have guessed, but I loved The Cursed Child. I can’t talk about it without crying, I was so moved. This review in the NYTimes says everything that’s in my heart, but so much better…Here’s to the boy who lived to middle age and to the writer who so vividly brought him to life!



Dec 3 2015

But I missed you

As most of you know I moved home to Washington State in August of 2014 and my dog Mr. Knightly passed away upon our return. It was a lot of change all at once and much of the next few months were blurry with grief, finding work, finding somewhere to live and trying to be, as we all aspire, “Strong Britney” (the one with the snake, not the bald one)

Here at the end of 2015, I still feel like I’m trying to catch my breath most of the time.

After many attempts to adopt a new dog, we finally found our Boo Bear

Boo Bear

I never thought I’d have a little dog, but he needed me and of course it didn’t take long for him to be mine. I also work full time with Jason now. We opened up a little architecture office in a small town without a stoplight where Jason does the design work and I do the project management work. We play good music, offer our favorite wine and coffee, and generally try to make building a house a good time.

Andrews & Andrews Architects

square cupola

And I’m still out here writing and opining and trying to cure global loneliness when I can. Hopefully you’ll find me on your radio again someday soon. Until then, please know that I’ve missed you.

– Jen


Oct 24 2014

This book is so good

I’m about half way through The Silkworm and I’m liking it even more than its predecessor, The Cuckoo’s Calling.

Robert Galbraith (or J.K. Rowling) has created such a likeable leading man in Private Detective Cormoran Strike, that I love spending time with him regardless of the mystery he’s working on (but the mystery is pretty great too!)


– Jen



Oct 23 2014

My cheering feels lackluster (Project Runway)

Usually on finale night, I have picked my favorite, I’ve placed my bet, I’ve cooked an appropriate meal. I like CEREMONY.

But this season on Project Runway, I just can’t commit.

Yes, Kini is fast and seems like a good guy. But I see no spark of genius there (and his preview collection was the worst…I’ll never get over that coat.)

I really like Sean and I loved the white outfits he made the last couple challenges, but I have to agree with Nina. The fringe is too much.

Char is a a breath of fresh air with her gratitude and humility, but I’m not blown away by her talent. She has had it pretty rough this year though. (May the condescension, arrogance and cruelty shown her by Korina follow Korina all the days of her life!)


However, Tim has been way too emotionally involved and invested in Char’s success on the show (He practically forced her to buy that fabric in Rome!)

I guess that leaves Amanda. She’s been the most consistent and she seems to have learned her reality show lessons about how to not be a dick. As a repeat contestant, she’s been gracious and used her time well (as well as the Aldo accessories wall thoughtfully!) Go Amanda? (please read with up-speak.)

– Jen

Oct 23 2014

Good news via Twitter

Screen shot 2014-10-23 at 3.19.56 PM

Silicon Valley was my favorite TV show last year and I couldn’t be happier the gang’s back together!

If you’ve never seen it, it’s a half hour comedy, there were only like 8 episodes and it builds in hilarity until you are peeing yourself watching the last show.

If you loved it like I did, all I need to say is Optimal Tip-to-tip Effeciency!

– Jen


Oct 23 2014

What is the point, John Oliver?

Every Sunday night I settle in to watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It’s funny and it’s smart and the amount of time and research his staff devotes to these topics is really impressive.


However, I’m not sure what to do with my feelings at the end.

*He explains that the Miss America pageant isn’t really giving away all that scholarship money they claim. (Annoying, but not unexpected.)

*He explains that our drone policies in the middle east will come back to bite us in the future. (Scary, but I’ll probably be dead by then.)

*He explains that a little known law, Civil Forfeiture, allows local police officers to confiscate cash from law-abiding citizens who’ve broken no laws (Infuriating.)

*And this week he explained how many of the translators in Iraq and Afghanistan who risked their lives (as well as the lives of their families) to help our troops and are in imminent danger, are not being allowed to move to America. Even though we promised. (Now my head is about to explode.)

The problem is, he just lays out the facts with great righteous indignation and then says goodnight. I can’t sleep, I’m disturbed for days, but most of all, I’m helpless to do anything.

Am I missing something here? Is it just an exercise in futility? Is he just trying to ruin my week? Is anyone in power watching? I’m not sure I can do this if there’s no possibility of righting these wrongs.

– Jen


Oct 21 2014

Let’s play a game of “what did we expect”

WHAT DID SHE DO TO HER FACE!!  – Shout the internet headlines


Renee Zellweger looks a little different. The first thing I thought was, “Yeah, she looks different, but not bad different.”

Then I thought how unfortunate for her that people used to make fun of her unusual appearance and now that she looks more conventional, they’ll make fun of her for plastic surgery.

NYMag‘s Dave Holmes tweeted it like this:

hey that lady whose face everyone made fun of went and changed her face let’s all wonder why all day


So, here at the end of 2014, we still make fun of people for the face they were born with and then we express shock that they try and “fix” it.

I feel a little like sh*t. We probably all should.

– Jen


Oct 21 2014

Careful there…

Brittany Maynard is a 29 year old woman with terminal brain cancer who has moved to Oregon in order to receive a doctor’s prescription for life-ending drugs. I choose to respect her decision. This is not a post about her, but about her verbiage.

My concern is the use of the term “dignity”

Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 1.01.19 PM

There’s an implication here that irks me. You do not lack dignity if you live out your days being cared for by others. That someone else helps you bathe and dress and God-forbid change your diapers…this has nothing to do with:

Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 1.14.39 PM


We all want to go out on our own terms, but life sucks sometimes and there’s no dishonor in vulnerability.

Love and peace to Brittnay Maynard and all who suffer.



UPDATE: A lovely reader, Marcy, sent me an email with a different interpretation, which I think is valid and good to remember:

My interpretation is that it’s trying to show contrast between the state-sanctioned pills and the likely traumatic ways that terminal people attempt to end their lives early when they are not given a more peaceful option.

I honestly hadn’t thought of that, and was simply reacting to the idea I often hear from people equating a loss of dignity with long term care. I’m also glad to see another side.

Aug 15 2014

No cynicism here

One of the best things I’ve ever read on grief is the book Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield. (It is his story of losing his wife suddenly to an embolism.) This passage has always stuck with me:

“I was helpless in trying to return people’s kindness, but also helpless to resist it. Kindness is a scarier force than cruelty, that’s for sure…when you experience this type of kindness…You lose your right to be a jaded cynic.”

I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for your tweets and notes and emails and thoughts of kindness toward me and Jason. In the face of death and mayhem and injustice all over the world, I’ve received a portion of goodwill that overwhelms me and reminds me that most people are kind in an unkind world.

It leaves us determined to be more patient with one another, and give people the kind of break we’ve had to ask for as we stumble through grief.  And we’re doing better today.

– Jen