Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: california

I Have a NEW Drive Time Mantra!

That’s right! My impromptu adventures led a new drive time mantra right to my brain. Like lightning…just struck my head.

So…I had this wild idea yesterday.

“I’ll just run down to In-And-Out and have lunch with a friend!”

Doesn’t seem that wild, right? But there are extenuating circumstances. The first of which is that there isn’t such a burger joint in my town. The second being that my friend lives in the next county.

Yeah, those are my kind of people! People that text, “What are you doing?” and when I answer, “Nothing really.”

“Want to go to lunch and visit?”

“Hell, yes!”

I found a place roughly halfway between us and hit the road only to be stopped dead in my tracks when I reached the freeway, thirty minutes into my one-hour drive.

Now, I knew it was President’s Day and that the great return migration of desert campers and off-roaders to Los Angeles and Orange County would be shifted from Sunday to Monday, and I believed I had taken that into account when I checked the map and drive time. But someone miles away had to mess it up and have a bit of an accident after I started my drive and the traffic backed up considerably behind them.

Technology to the rescue!

Every time someone complains about technology, especially smart phones, ruining society, I want to smack them upside the head.

My map app alerted me to the delay. I do wish it would say WHICH lane was closed, but it was better than nothing. I also could see from the screen where the traffic let up. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. With a press of a button, I was able to call and let my friend know approximately how late I was going to be. Stress, relieved.

But there I sat, solidly, waiting for the third cycle of the traffic signal before I could start inching my way onto the freeway. The wind blowing through the pass rocked my car so hard, I was slightly concerned that I might end up a red metal and plastic tumbleweed. I said a quick prayer to the travel gods for the VW bus I passed a few minutes earlier. I have driven this road in the wind in my own VW bus. It was not pleasant.

I’m at the front of the intersection when the light turns green, but there is nowhere for me to go. There are still cars backed up in their own attempt to merge. I wait for a moment to be sure I won’t block the intersection when I hear honking from behind me.

Ok…now I could understand this behavior if I were in a big truck and the car behind me couldn’t see over or around me. Maybe they think I fell asleep or that I was busy on my phone. This time, no. I’m in my mother-in-law’s car, low to the ground and the truck behind me has a clear view of the situation in front of us.

I ignore him and wait another moment. When the traffic ahead moves, I move with it. The angry man behind me, whips around me into the right lane, passes me and promptly stops in that lane two cars ahead. I smile. “Surprise!”

A few minutes later, he and several other people are trying to merge back into the left lane with us, the lane that goes west, the direction all these other poor people are trying to go in. I let a car in ahead of me and keep inching along.

The scene in front of me is familiar. I drive this stretch often. The wind turbines, San Jacinto Mountains, the sand blowing in the high winds of the winter storm that is coming east are all so beautiful. Because I’m stopped here, slowing making my way onto the freeway instead of gaining speed and merging through the slower trucks heading uphill and into the wind like I usually am, I can take a breath and really look at it all.

That’s when I noticed the clouds spilling over the mountain top and gasp. Holy…wow…

I see this happen often. Those mountains are so tall that they block storms coming off the ocean most of the year. That’s part of why our side is a desert. But it’s not every day I can just sit and watch it happen. The clouds tumbled and spilled over the crest and dissipated in the high winds whipping through the rocky passes.

I grabbed my camera and took a picture. Thanks again, technology!

The rest of the drive was typical. People not letting cars merge in, people not understanding that they had to merge, drivers honking at each other. You can feel the tension. One RV pulling a trailer of quads and dirt bikes wouldn’t let me on to the freeway. I shook my head a smiled.

“Man…that’s some bad karma you’re putting out there, dude.”

I waited till he inched past and the got behind him, in front of a nice trucker that probably understands that you let people in so that you get let in. It’s the way of the road. Don’t be a dick.

That’s when my new mantra dawned on me.

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“We’re all going to get there eventually.
Let’s not make the journey suck!”

I want it on a bumper sticker or stenciled across the back of my truck.

It’s not only a great slogan for California traffic and long vacation drives. It works for life in general. Guess where we’re all going? Death. We’ll get there, each and every one of us, in our own time. Traffic might slow us down. There may be accidents, gas stations, and roadside attractions, but we’ll ALL get there.

Why should we make the getting there suck with impatience, anger, and greed? Why not sit back, look around, and take it all in?

That’s exactly what I did yesterday. I was frustrated that my one-hour drive would now take two. Other driver’s impatience bugged me. Inconsiderate people…ugg. Typically, I use being secluded in the safety of my car as an excuse to yell back at them, shake my fist…or worse, maybe assert my own dominance on the road.

This time was different. I took deep breaths, wished those poor drivers well, hoped they didn’t have little kids bouncing off the walls inside, and took a closer look at the beauty of the landscape around me. And when I arrived at my destination, I was relaxed and ready to enjoy my visit.

Today, I’m searching the internet for a way to make bumper stickers. I’ll be rich!

Want to read more drive time thoughts? Click over to True Nature, Driving, and New Podcasts! Man, I spend a lot of time on the road.

Rivers, Narrative and Racism: A Podcast Round-Up

I had to keep an eye on this one as I walked by. He tried to follow but I needed him to stay with rocks. They need him.

What do rivers, narrative and racism have in common? “Hush, and Clopin will tell you!” Yeah…too many Disney songs lately.

“She’s back and better than ever!” Or maybe, “Back by popular demand!” Neither are factually accurate, but they are what I like to tell myself. What can I say? I love listening to podcasts and feel COMPELLED to share what I find. Come to think of it, it’s the same reason I share what I read here.

Yesterday, I took a long walk at The Santa Margarita River Trail and found magic. Water was flowing all by itself with no pumps at one end and no tracks beneath the surface to guide boatloads of tourists. Yes, the whole thing reminded me of the Rivers of America, right down to the rocks along the sides and a beaver dam. I didn’t even know Southern California still had wild beavers!

This one had flowers in his hair and tried to speak to me in front of mortals.

Anywho…podcasts were listened to on the way there and back home again and THAT is what I’m here to tell you about today.

Practicing Human: Small Moments of Deep Mindfulness

I love Cory Muscara’s short reminders. This one was about how much worth there is in just a few minutes of focused meditation. We don’t HAVE TO set aside hours of our day. And if we can take “just a couple minutes” to scroll social media, it can do a world of good to swap that time out for some focus instead.

Cato Daily Podcast: The Busybody Coalition Against Short-Term Rentals

Ahh, the AirBnB battle rages strong in my neighborhood and I’ve grown weary hearing it. It seems like just another reason for people to get up in arms against each other. In my area, people use ALL the complaints that this interview discusses. Personally, I’ve been just as irritated with some of my permanent neighbors as those just spending a few wild days and nights here. The bottom line is property rights. Do YOU want the government to tell YOU what you can do with your property? Or is that rule only going to be for other people?

Imagine my surprise when a man with a camera was there when I returned through this portal!

EconTalk: Frank Rose on Internet Narratives

Book: The Sea We Swim In by Frank Rose

Human memory is story based, that’s why we’ve been telling them since we started communicating. How we tell stories changes, but not why. I can’t wait to read this book! PS I couldn’t listen to all of this episode because someone kept nose breathing into the microphone and it drove me crazy.

People I Mostly Admire: Jared Diamond on the Downfall of Civilizations – and His Optimism for Ours

Hmm…this one wasn’t my favorite, but he had great points. I’m far more optimistic than he is. All civilizations fall, but we don’t see it when it’s happening, just like we don’t see evolution. Sure, there are starts and stops, events that change things significantly, but in the grand scheme of things we just keep plugging along. I’m not going to cry myself to sleep that America isn’t what it was. I’ll wonder what it could be in the future.

Cato Daily Podcast: Partisanship, Polarization, and Political Hatred

Yeah, you know, this is why I have gotten so upset with people the past several years, especially when the Covid BS started. It’s terrifying to watch people launch into mob-mode. His delivery and attitude shut me down a bit, but he’s right about a lot. Give government, or one position in government, that much power and you’re bound to have fights to the death. Can we please not?

Conversations with Coleman: Woke Racism with John McWhorter

Book: Woke Racism by John McWhorter

The title tells you enough, I believe. I’m adding it to my wish list for sure, but I can’t buy it now because I promised a “no buy” January. I beg you to give it a listen. Hearing these two men talk gave me hope for the world. Reasonable people, speaking reasonably, proposing reasonable solutions.

The biggest takeaway from my podcast time this week was when Jared Diamond said, “Our best years are still ahead.” The man is 84 years old and has a million things he wants to learn more about and do. When asked what his favorite decade of life has been, he said it was probably his sixties and seventies, but he has so much more to live.

How’s that for inspiring? When we stop being curious and exploring the world around us, the people, the places, the books, the movies, the food…that’s when we start dying. Our best years are ahead of us. Let’s go see what’s out there!

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Go find a sunny rock to lay by the river on!

The Usual Suspects: Podcast Roundup #6

The usual suspects were heard on by drive this week. Due to some…just…lovely…construction on the highway, another hour was added to my drivetime once again. No problem for me! It just means another podcast episode. Yay!

Just in case anyone from CalTrans might be reading, though: There has got to be a better way to repair the one highway in and out of a small town. Like, what if we just used one side while you repaired the other, instead of one lane stopping and crawling while you move equipment in and out of the lane?

I get it. It does need repair, desperately, and I’m grateful it’s being done. But there are a lot of people in this town that work down the hill every day and for the next month or so, the construction is adding an hour to their one-hour commute. The tension is building. I seriously sat there trying to project peace into these poor people the whole time I sat there inching along. And then there’s the poor construction guys in the hot sun with all the angry around. Man, what a mess. All the technology in the world and we can’t find a better way to do this? I think figuring this out would be a better use of time and energy than space travel.

One more thing before I dive into the “Roundup.”

My trail cam photos are so much fun. I’m posting some of them on my page Desert Photos: Enjoy the view, but I had to share this one here because it was so funny.

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THREE jack rabbits at the water bowl!

That one watching in the background looks like he’s smirking. Like he did something to the water and is just about to tell them and they’ll spit it out. “What the hell, Joe?! What’s wrong with you!?” And he’ll be rolling on his back laughing at them.

If anyone knows an EASY way to make a video of a couple hundred photos (like a fast slideshow), I’d love to hear about it. Sometimes the progression of the pictures is the best part, and I can only post photos right now.

Let’s get on with the show!

Secular Buddhism – #107 Learning to be Silent

Can you guess why I picked this one? Silence is not my strong suit. I have a lot to say, people! But the takeaway for me today was when he said, “Have you ever judged a person by what you see or experience in one instance?” Made me think, “Yes, I have.”

That guy that cut me off. That mother in the store. That fast food worker. I could go on and on. People are not horrible in general. Let’s give each other a break.

Philosophy Bites – Kathleen Stock on What is a Woman?

Made me think on issues I didn’t even realize were there. What is the dividing line that makes one “woman”? And maybe we’re going about this gender thing the wrong way?

Interesting article, “Ignoring Differences Between Men and Women Is the Wrong Way to Address Gender Dysphoria” on Quillette, if you’d rather read her work instead of listen to an interview about it.

BBC Radio: Books and Authors – Making it new? Literature of the Twenties Special

We’ve been talking about the similarities between the 1910’s and the 2010’s for a while now. Will the 20’s continue in the same vein? I’m all for “roaring” but maybe we can avoid “depression” and “war.”             I already have “Ulysses” by James Joyce sitting on by TBR shelf. I’m inspired to conquer it once again.

CATO Daily Podcast – Will Onerous Regulations Stay Gone After COVID?

Takeaway: If you can suspend a regulation because of an emergency, did you need the regulation in the first place? Or were you using government to protect the status quo?

BBC Radio: In Our Time, Philosophy – Marcus Aurelius

I liked this but didn’t listen to the whole thing. The interviewer kept trying to get them to read quotes from “Meditations,” but they kept going back to explaining him and arguing whether or not his work was philosophy or self-help. And what’s the difference? Something I’ll be looking at in a future post.

BBC Radio: Bookclub – Lissa Evans – Old Baggage

Suffragettes and old women friends! Yes, please! This one is a comedy, too. Bonus. What do you do when you’ve accomplished your goals and now you must move on? My ears perked up when I heard the author say, “The character had been treading water since they got the vote for women and was still trying to find her new thing.” Hey! That’s a bit like me!

Book Added to the TBR List: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

Conversations with Coleman – Critical Race Theory with Christopher Rufo

This links to YouTube but you can listen on any podcast platform. The more I hear about this, the more I don’t like it. It seems to be building walls between people instead of bringing people together. I like what Christopher Rufo says about building up on commonalities instead of separating by differences.

And there you go!

Yeah, it is the usual suspects. I have the same six shows I listen to the most, but they lead me in such interesting directions. I know there’s more conversation to listen to out there. Do you have a favorite podcast? Let me know in the comments. Hearing yours will help me expand my influential input!

Losing Touch With Our Symbols

I have a new skill. I can hear the difference between a male and female Great Horned Owl in the dark, and not have to hear them right next to each other. Listening to a female call to her mate in the dark this morning, I wondered about the symbols of Fall. Why do we put owls in our Halloween decorations along with ravens and crows, harvest symbols like corn stalks and pumpkins, and cool nights and big orange moons low on the horizon?

I grew up in the city, only going into rural areas on special occasions; camping weekends with my family or hiking with friends. We slept with our windows closed-up tight, the doors locked, and the air conditioning on. I woke up to an alarm clock inside a curtained room, rushed to get breakfast and my things to get to school and then work on time. I spent very few quiet days and nights.

Moving to the rural high desert of Southern California changed my life immediately in many ways, the first of which was an immediate slowing and quieting down. My city nerves, always twanging, never resting, continued to fire off even in the quiet desert atmosphere. Like…when you leave a concert or a bar after a long evening of dancing and drinking, you lay in bed, ears still ringing from the clamor of music and laughing. Or like when you finally get the cast taken off a broken limb and your skin, grown used to the constant touch and rubbing of the material, crawls for days with the cool air against it. Those neurons in my head were so used to hearing noise, seeing light, and reacting to stimulation, it took a long time for them to relax and quiet into my new surroundings.

A couple years into living here, I began to notice the changes in seasons. The feel of the air from one season to the next, the plants that changed, the animals that came and went. People say that Southern California has no seasons, but they’re wrong. They may not be garish and obvious, but they’re here. You simply have to be quiet and look closely.

In a house with large windows filling up almost every wall, you notice the light day and night. The sun coming up a little more and more to the north or south, and then back again. The moon changing each and every evening, sometimes you think a neighbor has a new unshaded porch light, so bright that you have to close your curtains to sleep. The stars change with the seasons! I didn’t know that until I lived here.

But the owls are what I love most. Summer gets hot here, as you probably know. By August, the swamp cooler runs all night and into the morning. The big fan sits on the roof pulling air from outside, through wet pads and into the house to cool us as we sleep comfortably. It feels marvelous but it is loud and monotonous. I know Fall is coming because the swamp cooler has been able to cool the house enough to shut off in the night, leaving the house quiet and still when I get up in the morning.

Fall has officially arrived when I can turn the swamp cooler off when I go to bed and open all the windows to let the cool, dry night air flow through the house as we go to sleep. Lying in bed, it’s quiet, so quiet that I can hear animals walking by outside my window, coyotes on the hunt. It’s an amazing feeling, but not half as amazing as what I hear in the morning.

I usually get up around 4am. Walking through my office, I pick up my journal, my book, my glasses (stupid aging eyes), and my phone. I stop by the kitchen for a glass of water and a cup of coffee and then on to my livingroom couch to settle in and read until the sun starts to lighten the sky.

Surrounded by my open windows, without the fans running, I can hear all the little things in the dark, including the owls. They seem to be most active at this time of day. Maybe they are just like us, it’s the end of their day, the kids are fed, Dad is home from work, Mom wants to talk about what went on and how she’s dealing with the neighborhood. The sun will be up soon, so they’re gathering the family together and settling down?

All I know is the noise that occasionally goes well into daylight hours and finally settles down as the sun begins to peek over the horizon. I hear the higher pitched female calls first and wonder what she’s saying. Then I hear the male return her call with his low WHO WHO from across the yard. As Fall moves on, I’ll hear strange screeching noises and more who-ing…it’s mating season and they’re calling each other to bed.

I could talk about owls all day, but I’ll leave you with this…what I originally was thinking when I started writing to you about owls. Why are owls a symbol of Fall? Because when we didn’t live in cities, when we were out on our farms and ranches, making our way in the world, when we sat in the dark making up stories about what was happening around us instead of watching them on Netflix, we heard the owls being sexy out there as Fall approached and associated them with the cooler nights and the shortened days. The spooky mating calls of a large night predator became a symbol of the coming winter and we incorporated them into our own stories and lives.

My culture perpetuated the symbol, but I had lost the meaning. Moving to the desert brought that richness back into my life. Nature, human and otherwise, remains constant. We may cover some parts up and lose track of the meanings for a while, but it’s still running underneath the surface, waiting to come up and reveal itself from time to time. We just need to keep our eyes open and look for it.

A Grocery Clerk Can Change Your Outlook

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Photo by Arren Mills on Unsplash

“You have an interesting accent. Where are you from?” A conversation begins, enthusiastic exchanges, small family history tidbits, a flash of red hair and she’s gone.

Jogging up to an elderly man in a mobility cart, “Can I help you out with that, sir?” He looks at her abruptly, as if he needs the help, but softens, and smiles, “Sure, honey.” “You drive out and I’ll drive her back!” she chirps as she follows him out to the parking lot.

By the time it’s my turn at the register, she has returned. Grabbing groceries and putting them into reusable bags, she comments “Oh, I love these! So good!” I smile and laugh.

Does this woman have anything negative to say, ever? With all that energy, all those smiles, you’d think she were nineteen years old, the world before her, but she’s not. She looks to be about thirty, young but not a baby anymore, old enough to be worn down a bit like many of my neighbors. I wonder if she goes home from her shift at the grocery store happy and humming along, or does she collapse onto her couch in exhaustion. Is this her natural state, or is she putting on a show? All I know is that it is impossible to be sad or grumpy around her. I’ve seen a few people try and fail.

As she finishes up and runs to the next check stand to bag more groceries, I make a comment completely outside my own comfort zone. I feel compelled by her enthusiasm to speak up. “I just can’t help but smile and leave here in a better mood than the one I came in with when she’s here.”

The checker agrees, “Who? Joi? She’s amazing. We can’t help but be happy around her either. Feels like we’ll let her down if we do. You should tell our manager that! Oh, wait. He’s right here.” We stand and chat for a few seconds. It seems everyone that meets her, loves her. It must be nice.

As I’m heading out the door, she comes walking back in the store. I hear, “Hot out there?” It’s over 100 degrees in the desert parking lot. “It is!” she smiles, “but the wind is blowing nicely so it isn’t bad at all!”

I smile thinking about her as I start putting my groceries in the truck. And there she is again, chatting with an older woman, pushing her cart to her car.

Groceries loaded carefully in the back seat so that they don’t go sliding off the minute I turn a corner, I hope, cart returned to the corral, I climb in the front seat and start the truck. As it idles and the air-conditioning starts to cool off the interior, I take a deep breath and relax for just a moment, thinking about Joi and the joy she apparently carries.

It’s been a difficult day, not for any reason other than a bad mood, a dark cloud I just can’t seem to get out from under. It isn’t like anything is wrong, no crisis looms, it’s just…sadness. Watching her interact with the people around her, I feel chastised. Why can’t I be more like her? In a lot of ways, I am. I don’t usually tend toward the negative. I am generally good natured. But there is one thing very different, she’s not afraid to talk to people.

Several times, on this grocery trip and others, I’ve seen her notice and compliment people. She compliments the things people are wearing, shares her love of the things they buy, or asks where people are from. I notice those things, but I rarely engage people. Why? Because I’m afraid. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they don’t want to talk to me? I smile politely and nod to people, keeping even my positive comments and compliments, my joy, to myself.

Remembering the checker and the store manager’s reaction to Joi’s enthusiasm and openness, I straighten up in the front seat and resolve to be more like her from this moment on. Her honest love of people is infectious.

Shifting into gear, I remember…crud…I have a package to pick up at the post office. Should I get the groceries home before the milk spoils and then come back into town for the mail? Nah, I’m sure it will only add a minute to the drive home and I’ll save the gas of the extra drive.

I pull into the post office parking lot and run inside. Perfect. Next in line. While I wait a woman walks in behind me. The first thing I notice is the beautiful scarf over her head and around her neck. It reminds me of an Arabian princess, a flowing silk thing to keep the sun off her head. Now’s my chance to say something kind. On second glance, she is small and frail, her head is shaved close, and I hesitate. What if she doesn’t want that kind of attention? What if she thinks I’m weird for making such a comment about a stranger? I stay silent, get my package and leave.

 

Book Run Adventures!

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Books are one of my very favorite things in this world. I’m obsessed with having them, reading them, making notes in them, and writing about them. I wish I did more of the writing about them, but I’m working on that. You can’t just wish for something to happen; you have to make it happen! So here I am, writing about…something.

Since I’m still reading “Revenge of Analog” and he was talking about book stores, I got a bug about going to Barnes & Noble yesterday. That is no small feat since it’s 60 miles away and in the direction of the city. For those that don’t know Southern California, that means traffic. But…books!!

Our small town has three, good sized used book stores. They are nice to browse through from time to time, but they are old and crowded and not very organized. I wish we had a new book store that was closer, but alas, that’s another cost of living rurally.

The truth is, there is just nothing better for finding new fiction than browsing the aisles of a real bookstore! Amazon is great for finding a specific book I go looking for, like when I see one recommended by an article or a friend, but not much good for browsing. So, got in the truck and headed down the highway.

First obstacle. It usually takes me about an hour and half to get there, but as soon as I hit the main freeway the traffic stopped dead. Wondering what in the world could be going on, it dawned on me that I saw a sign the day before to expect delays due to Coachella Fest weekend. Oh man…this could take forever!

I sat there wondering for a moment if I should abandon the mission, but then traffic started to move again. Maybe it was over? It stopped again. It moved again. It wasn’t permanently stopped and, besides, I’d change freeways in a couple miles. It wouldn’t be so bad after that. I kept driving.

Getting closer to the change in freeways, I see another sign. “Road construction. One lane only.” Are you kidding me? I consider aborting the mission again. Nah, it’ll be fine after that. It’s only a couple more miles.

Nearly three hours later, I arrive at the bookstore. I’m stubborn and I had my heart set on book shopping. If I turned around, all the time would have been wasted!

After a breather and a bathroom break, I consider whether I should get a cup of the sweet-smelling coffee they are selling at the front of the store or not. A cup of coffee will need a sweet snack to go with it.

No! Must not deviate from healthy diet! I’ve already spent most of the day sitting on my butt. I can’t add several hundred calories to that. I head to the fiction aisles.

Going through the books on the shelf, I try to focus and start to read. No one is waiting for me. I have all the time in the world, but I don’t have that much money. I’m going to have to narrow down my choices. I can’t just throw books into the pile all willy nilly!

So many great books. How can one possibly choose? By cover, of course! One had praise from Stephen King on it. That’s good enough for me! One said “student” and “history” on the cover. Nice. One was called “Tell me no lies.” Romance. Like that!

I picked up “Wicked” and walked around with it for a while. My mom read it and loved it, so have a lot of my friends, but I know the story too well and although I’m sure I’d love it, I can’t buy them all so I decided to put it back.

I got “Bird Box” because the TV show looks awesome, but my family isn’t a fan of scary TV shows. I’ll read it and give myself nightmares. I passed by a table and saw “Rebecca.” Like the movie my husband loves so much? Yes please! And then, just as I was about to walk away, I saw “bookstore” and “Paris.” I picked it up and read the back.

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“literary apothecary”

“prescribes novels for the hardships of life”

“mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal is himself”

I’ve always dreamed about opening a bookstore of my own. One of those, if I were rich, kind of dreams. I imagine a warm meeting place where people can hang out and talk books and music, meet people, drink coffee. Maybe some used books could be shared. Children come there to find new magic. It’s a beautiful image. This book was for me. I think he must have come right out of the book and handed it to me. If this were a movie, it might have fallen off the shelf at my feet all by itself, so I’d be sure to find it.

Six books. As I made my way to the front of the store to buy them, a woman asked if I needed a basket. “No thanks! When the arms are full, it’s time to go!” She laughed. Book people know the struggle. Man, I wish I could WORK at a bookstore.

At the front of the store, I found a line about six people deep with one cashier. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to stand here and read this little darling while I wait, like eating the chips while you wait at the checkout because you didn’t eat lunch before you left for the grocery store.

I read twenty pages while I waited. I fell in love instantly. It’s just that beautiful.

Leaving the store, I realized I was hungry for more than words and that I was right across the street from one of my favorite places, Panera. I put my books in the back seat and drove over.

Ok…Southern California…it took me ten minutes to drive across the street. Really. What are all these people doing here? Whenever this happens, I’m reminded why we moved to the desert. Yes, I may not have a bookstore to hang out in, but at least it doesn’t take me ten minutes to drive less than a mile.

Once I parked and got my lunch, I went back to the truck, moved the seat back, got myself all situated with the new love of my life and started to read. It was a beautiful hour. I can’t wait to read the rest of it, but I’ll have to wait a little. I’m about 200 pages from the end of The Brothers Karamazov and about three quarters into “Revenge of Analog.”

Before I headed home, I checked to see if there was a good podcast to listen to. Tim Ferriss interviewing Neil Gaiman! Can this day get any better?

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