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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


Friday Check-in #36: “tractor trailer” edition

Friday chickenBecause it’s Friday AGAIN. And because traditions are important. In which I cover the good stuff and the hard stuff in my week, trying for the non-preachy, non-annoying side of self-reflection.

And you get to join in if you feel like it.

What a week. It got mostly taken up with Passover and related stuff.

Well, at least the house is clean.

And Ez made what might be the best potato kugel I’ve ever tasted. And since we all know that no one makes better potato kugel than I do, this was a hard thing to admit.

But it was that good.

It’s the little things. Again.

The hard stuff

Oh, Maddie.

For a long time I was addicted to reading Mike Spohr’s blog The Newborn Identity because I was madly in love with his baby girl Maddie.

Keep in mind that I’m not exactly a baby person. It’s not like I spend my time reading daddy blogs for fun. Well, except for BHJ.

But this one I would have read under any circumstances, just to keep seeing pictures of Maddie. Sweet Maddie.

But Maddie died on Tuesday. And this is such a crappy, hard, sad, impossible-to-comprehend thing.

You need to read this post from back in October. It’s one of my favorites. Man, what a genuinely ecstatic smile. Maddie loved being alive. You can just tell.

And, if you like, you can send love to Mike and Heather by donating to the March of Dimes on their The Spohrs are Multiplying blog.

I love you, Maddie. Too bad we never got to meet in person. LOVE.

You can’t write about the “hard” after someone loses their baby.

Loss. You know? Everything pales in comparison by a factor of … of … a factor of a lot.

And since all the hard things in my week were especially superficial this week anyway, I am an ass for even having this section. I mean, to hell with plumbing disasters and stuff like that.

But since my original commitment with the Friday posts was to share the trivial and the mundane as well as the Big Stuff, here I am.

No farfel?!?!

I realize that it is a little thing. A very little thing.

But there is no freaking farfel to be had in all of Portland, Oregon.

And Passover without farfel (unless you happen to be in Israel where farfel does not exist but where it does not matter because there are lots of other good things to eat) is just ridiculous.

Gah. I am farfel-less.

It’s the little things.

The good stuff


Keren, my best friend from Israel, called this week and we spent a couple hours on the phone catching up.

Everything is better when she is around.

And it looks like we’ll both be in Berlin at the same time this fall. Huge sigh of relief.

Also, we talked about my friend who is dead and I didn’t cry. And I realized that I’ve managed a whole week without crying. For the first time since … July. Since I heard.

So this is also something that is changing. Something that deserves a place in the good stuff.

My arms: they are (slowly) getting better.

Guess what? Yesterday I forgot to take my anti-inflammation pills.

You know, the only thing that makes it stop hurting. I forgot.


And I wrote a grocery list! By hand! And did not say “ow” even once.

Improvement. This is fantastic.

Junk food day!

Things have been kind of crazy, as you know, and last weekend I was craving some serious decadence.

And keep in mind, that when you haven’t had caffeine or sugar in nine years and are generally the most healthy person you know, it isn’t easy to be decadent, even when you want to.

Well, you can try, but then you fail miserably and don’t even know it until someone else points it out to you.

So I have to share this conversation I had with my brother in the checkout line at the co-op.

My brother: Whoa. There is a bag of organic blue corn and cayenne tortilla chips in our cart. Someone must have put it there by mistake.
Me: No, I put it there.
My brother: Seriously? Who are you?
Me: I just declared it Junk Food Day!
My brother (jumping for joy): Yay! Junk Food Day!

And then we ate tortilla chips. And Brie. And black olives. It was out of control. My gentleman friend tried to point out to us that there are plenty of people in the world who do not consider any of these things to be junk food.

And I was all, but look, I’m only eating something with no nutritional value only because it tastes good! And then he gave me that look.

Fine. Someone’s crazy. I just don’t see why it has to be me.

Okay. I guess it’s me.

And … STUISMS of the week.

Stu is my paranoid McCarthy-ist voice-to-text software who delights in torturing me misunderstanding me. I can’t stand him.

Some of the gems from this week:

  • “This is completely Admiral” instead of this is completely admirable.
  • “Catholic evocation” instead of Biggification
  • “grew tight people” instead of guru-type people
  • “I think she’s a tractor trailer” instead of I think she’s a terrific writer.
  • “I have Norma’s respect” instead of I have enormous respect.
  • “a non-soldier induced” instead of nostalgia-induced
  • “cleaning up Cecily” instead of cleaning obsessively
  • “the goal is not to get that big egg” instead of the goal is not to get the gig
  • “we make money on R.’s” instead of we make money on ours

And let’s not forget Stu’s revealing Freudian slips. What an acetyl:

  • “I’ve been accused of that” instead of I’ve been okay with that.
  • “which triggered ulcers of other fears” instead of which triggered all sorts of other fears

Oh, and these two bits just from today’s post:

  • “I just declared it to include Bayer!” instead of I just declared it junk food day.
  • “and debris” instead of and brie.

That’s it for me …

And yes yes yes, of course you can join in my Friday ritual right here in the comments bit if you feel like it.

Yeah? Anything hard and/or good happen in your week?

And, as always, have a glorrrrrrrrrrrrious weekend. And a happy week to come.

22 Responses to Friday Check-in #36: “tractor trailer” edition

  1. Melynda
    Twitter: melyndahuskey

    This week–I took a leaf out of your “so crazy it just might work” book and instead of tossing and turning all night long thinking about all the things I haven’t done, I took a deep breath and said (in my head, to avoid disturbing my trying-to-sleep sweetheart) “Hey, Worry. What’s going on?” Worry, to my astonishment, answered, “Umm, I don’t want you to go out like a sucker, and you forget stuff. We’ve got to stay on top of all this, you know.” Fair enough. It’s true. So I said, “How about this? You remember it for me till tomorrow morning, and I promise I’ll ask you for the complete list then, when I have my handy-dandy notebook and I can write it all down. But I really, really want to sleep right now, and I can’t.” “Seriously?” said Worry, a little suspiciously. “Cross my heart,” I promised. And then I went to sleep. Right Then. (In my world, this is truly unprecedented.) In the morning, I sat down, and asked, and Worry produced an excellent list–which was a lot shorter than I remembered. I asked about that. Worry shuffled a little, and then admitted that it’s not that easy to get my attention without dressing up the list a little. Or a lot. So that thing about cleaning out the garage? That could probably wait till it was warm enough to actually do it.

    So–I talked to my Worry, and lived. In fact, lived better. Crazy, man. Crazy.

    Melyndas last blog post..Dirt Cupcakes

  2. Fabeku says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Maddie. I could feel my heart breaking as I read this. I don’t have more words. Just lots of sad and sorry for her family.

    And some thanks to Stu. “Catholic evocation” instead of Biggification made me smile, which was good. Thanks Stu.

  3. Avonelle Lovhaug
    Twitter: avonelleL

    Yesterday I had an experience that made me think of you, Havi.

    Work has been really busy for me lately. Crazy busy.

    And yesterday was one of the worst days.

    And I am a programmer, so it is all stuff on the computer.

    Late in the afternoon, my left hand started hurting. Big time.

    And it still hurts. I can barely type. Yikes!

    Hopefully I won’t have to get my own Stu!

    Avonelle Lovhaugs last blog post..My software doesn’t contain missile launch codes, why does it need security?

  4. Brandon W says:

    Sometimes, the goal IS to get the big egg.

  5. It sounds like it’s been a hard week, but I think it’s great that you look back on it — and that you address both the little AND the big things. They are both important in their own ways, just like it’s important to revist both the good and the bad.

  6. Sherri says:

    I’m sorry to read about Maddie in this week’s edition. Hearing about the end of a much too young life stops me in my tracks every time. Like you said, it makes everything else pale in comparison. For me that means “to hell with the dishwasher that refuses to be fixed after 5 months of breaking.”

    You seem brave to me and I like that. You are willing to acknowledge the big and the small in one fell swoop. It all matters, after all, just on a different scale.

    As for Stu… his confusion provides entertainment for me every week. I suspect you are less amused. Thanks for sharing anyway!

    Sherris last blog post..Photo Friday: Peaceful Garden

  7. chris zydel
    Twitter: wildheartqueen

    Ohhh me too…

    I’m all OVER the Catholic Evocation thing being a recovering, non practicing Catholic who STILL reserves the right to call on the Baby Jesus when things get really, really hard!

    I am just jumping up and down doing major happy dances cause you forgot to take your anti-inflammation pills. That is just the best news EVER!

    My week:

    Hard: Still on the climbing up the hill side of recovery from cataract surgery. Too slow and I am SO tired of having an old body.

    Good: I’ve approached come of my favorite creative people about doing affiliate marketing and they all said YES! And I feel so fancy and internet markety savvy!!

    All thanks to you my darling girl!

    I also just loved your junk food extravaganza story. As a ” I have no choice but to be a health food junkie” type of person I know exactly what you mean. My idea of really going over the line is eating too many Ak Mak crackers!!

    Love you madly ( as always),

    chris zydels last blog post..THE WISDOM OF NO MISTAKES: DRIPS CAN BE FUN ( or at least not total torture)

  8. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    @Melynda – That is the best story in the entire world. I love how you just asked the question. And then you got the information you needed. And you knew what to do with it. It’s so perfect. You managed to circumvent anxiety AND sleeplessness AND subconscious messiness! And so gracefully too.

    And then the list was shorter. Man, I have learned that lesson a thousand times and I’m still learning it. My scary lists are always about a tenth of what I am imagining them to be.

    @Chris Zydel – Yay for your good! and OW for your hard. Hug to you, my dear.

    @Avonelle – Hi! Loved your latest post.

    @Sherri – Exactly. To hell with the dishwasher.

  9. Molly Gordon
    Twitter: shaboom

    Friday may be my favorite day of the week just because of these posts.

    My successes:

    I’m afraid I’m getting good at my current Shiva Nata practice. Time to mess up the mind again.

    I’ve been brazen about promoting my work almost every day.

    Until this morning I have been focused and following my list.

    This morning I am not following my list. (Thank you very much.)

    Haven’t had sugar and wheat for two weeks. Three days without Diet Coke.

    The hard things:

    I asked my sister, who moved in just two weeks ago, to move out. Long story. (Duh!)

    I’ve only done aerobic exercise twice in almost three weeks. Now I feel like I don’t need it. Danger!

    I feel like I should have more hard things to report. (Oh well.)


    Molly Gordons last blog post..Make a Good Plan (It’s not what you think)

  10. Riin
    Twitter: happyfuzzyyarn

    Mm hmm. My last junk food binge was a box of vegan, gluten-free, juice-sweetened apple cookies. Such decadence!

    Riins last blog post..In praise of the Chickpea

  11. Tom McKay says:

    What kind of vox recognition software are you using, Havi? (You can tell me in a private email if you like.) Can you recommend one?

    My hard thing: I recently gave Dragon Naturally Speaking another try. Installed it/uninstalled it four @#&%! times! Even installed to different hard drives, but it crashed every time I started to “train” it. Big bad BSOD. Grrr…

    Now I’m very hesitant to buy the newest version of DNS. What if it won’t install either, and I’m stuck with a useless package (because there are no returns after you open the package)? Sadly, the company’s (Nuance) customer service/support (phone and web) are virtually non-existent. Asking one question costs like $10.

    Gee, my question kind turned into a rant. Sorry about that, Havi!

    Tom “Uninstall/Reinstall/Repair” McKay

    Tom McKays last blog post..Four magic words that will transform your marketing

  12. randomling
    Twitter: lucyviret

    So sorry to hear about Maddie. That’s such sad news. :(

    My good stuff involved conducting interviews for our work newsletter (words to be produced! For work! Eee!) and having fabulous friends.

    Hard stuff – mostly having my Massive Body Issues triggered by trying out a yoga class and not being signed up for the beginner’s class I asked for. I had no clue what was happening half the time, and couldn’t do most of the things I was being asked to. I really needed to start with “here is what yoga is all about, now we are going to begin with something really easy and gentle”. And it took loads of courage and at least three freak-outs to even *try* it, so. That was deeply frustrating.

    But I’m working on the “being kind to myself” thing, even though IT’S HARD. Somehow need to get past the “you are not good enough even to do this simple thing!” complex that the yoga class threw me back to, though?

    randomlings last blog post..Mental images.

  13. westernworld says:

    as far as any food issues go i’ll second your right honorable gentleman friend, i furthermore solemnly swear that it would make for grandiose comedy if you and stu … well what’s the opposite of collaborate on … hmm antagonize … anyway if the two of you would produce some sort of text. the comedy would be inevitable, and could tour the world “havi&stu digital ventriloquism – the next wrong thing” or so.

  14. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak

    I love your junk food day! I’m also happy to read that the pain in your arms and the pain related to your friend’s death are fading a little.
    My week:
    … Hmmm, no, it seems I’m having too much trouble finding words and putting them together coherently, so I won’t force it. I’ll just say that there was some good, some hard, small and bigger, and I’ll leave it at that for today. Overall, I’m doing ok, it’s just that the words, they aren’t co-operating. Stu could be useful in such an instance: as he never seems to be at loss for words, he could invent what he wants to fill in my blanks!

  15. Anna-Liza
    Twitter: Divina712

    Well, I think you’re a tractor trailer, too.

    Anna-Lizas last blog post..Pollyanna Thinks She Just Wants to Have Fun, if That’s Okay with You

  16. Amy Crook
    Twitter: amysnotdeadyet

    I am surrounded by Feline Passive Resistance, and spoiling myself by spoiling the purring things. But it hinders typing.

    The Good: I have a niche for my design work! Apparently, I’ve had one all along, I just didn’t know it. Perspective is everything.

    The Bad: Burned my arm taking bread out of the oven, and it’s taking forever to heal. Addition of Giant Band-aids helped a lot, though.

    Had a bit of panicky worry after the big niche revelation, and beat it down with some passive learning — listening to Ittybiz recordings, and then doing Havi’s awesome free guided meditation thing.

    More Good: Bella, the older cat, helped with the meditation by providing a warm, happy presence. And an arm rest.

    Also, I have homemade beer bread. And I had dinner last night with a friend, and we were both grown-up about money enough to make an arrangement to facilitate that, despite the money distribution being strange and difficult. Which is kind of awesome, given how much static there is in life about money.

    Overall, way more good than bad this week. And Pod (the kitten) declares it time to stop typing and start petting him, anyway.

    Amy Crooks last blog post..How I Learned to Stop Wembling and Found my Niche

  17. Sue says:

    The hard:

    Between needing a new stove (old one burned up) and a new pair of glasses, I just went in the hole another $1200.00.

    The good:
    It’s only money.

    Sorry about your friend Maddie.


    Sues last blog post..Wigging Out And Tieing One On – Drag Queens and Halloween

  18. Sanders says:

    The bad: I still procrastinate as hell, my hip hurts (which means I can’t do yoga), and I’m scared that the Easter egg hunt I’m planning for Sunday is going to be a disaster…

    The good: I started to talk to my stuff (my messy pile, my fears, my throat, the tightness in my chess) and my stuff does talk back! I’m amazed, amazed, amazed, and no, Havi is not crazy (no, take that back: she totally is, but I get it): meeting and talking to your stuff does work better than kicking it.

  19. Char
    Twitter: Charsfirststep

    Havi –

    So happy to hear your hands are doing better this week. That’s huge news!!!

    The hard:

    -Got second degree burn on my right forearm which was really painful. Have to get it debrided every other day and that’s so painful I’ve had two shots of demerol this week.
    -Made a great dinner for Passover, people kept cancelling and today I cancelled the whole thing as my son came home sick from Maryland. Between him and my arm, it wasn’t worth doing anymore.

    The good:
    -Thank God for painkillers. Pain is useless when it comes to injuries like mine so I’m very grateful for Demerol and Vicadin this week.
    -Great medical care by a new clinic that opened up staffed by some ER docs that I know personally.
    -I didn’t burn either my wrist or my elbow – it’s my right forearm. I’m left handed and really appreciate that I can type, bend my elbow, and use my wrist
    -Zach came home and it’s the first time I’ve seen him in 4 months.
    -Both kids are here for the weekend and we’re hanging out together with no company – and that feels so great to me. I can’t tell you.
    -New leash lets me walk both dogs at the same time! That’s huge.
    -Figured out deadlines to get out my eBook and started working with them fully today.

    So sorry to hear about Maddie and sending love to her family.

  20. Sonia Simone says:

    The Maddie thing has been not-processable for me. The worst of the worst, the Big Thing. Thinking a lot about her folks.

    Sonia Simones last blog post..How to Beat a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Mood (in About an Hour)

  21. melissa says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for about two weeks now and just absolutely love your voice. It speaks to me on a cellular level. Thank you.

    melissas last blog post..This Town

  22. Deveena says:

    I’ve seen waves of Maddie’s passing throughout the Internet this week. My prayers go out to her family.

    The junk food I had today included: vanilla ice cream, a chocolate covered marshmallow bunny, mini sirloin burgers from Jack-in-the-Box, french fries, and a Dr.Pepper.
    I think I need an intervention.

    Hard :(
    Second half of the week was emotionally draining. Lots of big meanies entering my life lately.

    Filtering what I say on Twitter. I really need to stop posting so much there. TIP: Don’t Twitter when your tired. You’ll say crazy random things (that only you find hilarious) that you’ll regret later. Or is that just me? :P

    Blogging. I just started to blog April 1st, and it is hard. I feel naked and very vulnerable right now. You probably think I’m being over dramatic. That is probably, because I am.

    The Good :)

    The vanilla ice cream, a chocolate covered marshmallow bunny, mini sirloin burgers from Jack-in-the-Box, french fries, and a Dr.Pepper I had today. LOL, just kiddin’

    Twitter is a lot of fun. I am having a blast “meeting” so many new people. Smart entrepreneurs. Great writers. Funny people. I love it. Yes, I know I complained about Twitter earlier.

    My relationship with Twitter is complicated.

    Deveenas last blog post..A Lovely Interview with Audrey Hepburn

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