Goodbye 2018

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 7:48 am on Sunday, December 30, 2018

Even though I didn’t get everything I wanted, 2018 was a successful year of career achievements, travel, and adventure. Highlights:

* Kyle completed his first year as CSO at Purism, a company that makes privacy-oriented laptops and is working on a cell phone. He signed a book deal to write about computer-y things and spoke at several conferences, including the Freenode in Bristol (link is to his talk). I love his integrity, work ethic, and pretty much everything else about him.

* In addition to polishing up the two books I wrote (email me if you want to know more), I published a lot this year. I’m most proud of breaking into The New York Times with my article on Eugene O’Neill, as well as The Washington Post with an essay on Writing and Motherhood. Some other publications I’m proud of:

Bohemian Tragedy: The rise, fall, and afterlife of George Sterling’s California arts colony in Poetry Foundation.

Ghost Writer: The Story of Patience Worth, The Posthumous Author in Longreads.

My Year of Smoke: Finding Echoes of Frankenstein in the California Fires in LitHub.

Student Debt and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for Ploughshares.

Sleep Disturbance in The Forge Literary Magazine.

second place

* Gideon turned six and went into first grade. We worked on swimming, Spanish, reading, math, and piano. He won second-place at the coloring contest at the fair. He beat his dad at checkers and joined chess club at school. He’s always making something cool out of cardboard tubes.

* We bought a camper van. We went to Bryce Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, Dinosaur National Monument, Las Vegas, the Oregon coast (twice), Yosemite, Mendocino, Humboldt, my parent’s house, Big Sur, Half Moon Bay, and Fort Brag.

* We also went to Greece!

* And we checked out Disneyland for the first time.


* Beyond that, I saw Othello in Oregon; hiked; fled from the California wildfire smoke; baked (including the above star-shaped bread); read more Shakespeare; painted about a dozen paintings in an attempt to improve my art skillllz; saw Neko Case, the Punch Brothers, and En Vougue perform at different points; threw a fondue party; saw a parade; went wine tasting; ate a Dickens-themed dinner; grew a giant garden; and generally lived life. Much of this is up on Instagram and Twitter.

So, pretty good year. Goodnight 2018.

Greece Trip 2018

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 3:47 pm on Thursday, October 25, 2018

This October, we went to Greece! It was a sensational trip. (Good word, sensational.)

Here are pictures. If you want more, Follow Me On Instagram.

We visited the Acropolis in Athens:

acropolis jk


And saw where the Oracle of Delphi used to sit:


And ate tons of food:


Especially olives:


And visited ruins of theaters where important Greek plays were first performed:


And wondered at the strange reality of Greek mythology:


And swam in the Mediterranean:


And ran a race in the original Olympic stadium:


And found Greek mythology relevant in light of the Kavanaugh hearings:


And stayed on a Greek island full of cats and donkeys:


And stayed in a medieval castle built upon a giant rock:


And saw Mycenae, the world’s first literary site:


And really, Greek mythology is so interesting:


Sensational, I tell you.

Everywhere We Went In Our Camper Van

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 2:28 pm on Saturday, October 20, 2018

Oh hello. It has been awhile. Well, we’ve been busy. For one thing, we’ve been driving around the country in our camper van. Here are the places we went:



Bryce Canyon



Dinosaur National Monument in Utah


The Rocky Mountains

rocky mountain

The Oregon Coast

oregon coast

If you want more pictures, you can Follow Me On Instagram.

What have you been up to?

We Bought A Camper Van

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 9:01 am on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Kyle’s dream has come true. We bought a camper van.


It’s a 1996 Roadtrek Popular 170. Here’s the inside:



Cabin In Mt Tamalpais

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 7:56 am on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A couple of weeks, friends invited us to spend the night in a cabin in Mt Tamalpais. Can you believe the view off the balcony?


We had a great time: lots of hiking, board games, listening to people playing music, and seriously, check out this view.



And at night:


And in the morning:



Disneyland, Othello, and Hikes

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 8:11 am on Monday, March 19, 2018

Here are some things we’ve been doing lately:



Even though I’ve lived in California all my life, I’ve never been to Disneyland. So we took Gideon down there, and had a great time.


They do what they do well.



This is my favorite time of year to be outdoors in California. Everything is green and cool, the birds are super active, and there are yellow flowers everywhere. So I’ve been going on a lot of hikes.

I was excited to discover a new hike near my home that I didn’t know about. It was eight miles uphill, but I hardly noticed because it had gorgeous views of vineyards and forests the whole way. And then we were on top of a mountain!


Othello In Ashland

As I mentioned before on here, I’m making my way through all of Shakespeare. So for Valentine’s Day, Kyle and I went to Ashland and saw Othello at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.


It was a good production.

2017 Was A Dumb Year, Hello 2018!

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 10:05 am on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

While everyone was moaning about 2016, personally it was a great year for me. But 2017 was pretty dumb. Just before Christmas, Kyle’s grandmother Ruth passed away. We just came back from her funeral in Kentucky. For much of the fall, most of California was on fire, including my own beloved Sonoma County. It looked like the fire might come into Petaluma, where I live, but luckily that didn’t happen. Still, lots of people lost their homes or were otherwise affected by the fires. And other dumb stuff happened too. My dad was sick with various illnesses, many things I tried to do failed, and Kyle had work strife that, while eventually resolved, was stressful. Finally, my friend’s cat Peja died, which doesn’t sound like much, but she was a special cat.


Lots of good things happened too. For one thing, I signed with a literary agency.


And I wrote a number of articles that I’m proud of. Some of these include:

Tight Wires Between Us: On “Difficulties of a Bridegroom” by Ted Hughes in LA Review of Books.

Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Audio? in The Atlantic.

Hollywood Loved Sammy Davis Jr Until He Dated a White Movie Star in The Smithsonian.

How Beatrix Potter Invented Character Merchandising in The Smithsonian.

Bountiful Beach Buffet: Fresh Seaweed Is Making Waves Among Foragers for NPR.

Murmur, a short story in Every Day Fiction.

I was also interviewed by CNN and on XRAY In The Morning in Portland, Oregon. This week there’s a Q&A with me on The Navi Review.

Gideon turned five this year and started kindergarten. Kyle, as I said, switched jobs and is now CSO at Purism. He also published a book, Linux Hardening in Hostile Networks: Server Security from TLS to Tor.


For travel, I went to the snow in Tahoe, which was lovely.


And Sequoia National Park, which was astounding.


And Germany and Austria, which was one of the best trips I’ve taken. I blogged about it.

Part 1: Germany
Part 2: Castles
Part 3: Salzburg
Part 4: Hallstatt

Lots of other things happened. I went wine tasting and saw Laura Marling and Martha Wainwright perform at different points and sailed a blow-up boat in the river and went out to fancy dinners and generally had a nice life. I grew a big garden.



Check out this bread I made. It looks just like bread.


I’m looking forward to 2018 being better. I’m being optimistic. I’m going to read a lot of Shakespeare and paint insects and probably go to Greece. I’ll try to write my best work yet. Our country will … not suck so much … ? Well anyway, we’re going to Disneyland on Thursday, so that’s not a bad way to start the year.

Happy New Year!

Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 4: Hallstatt

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 3:36 pm on Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hallstatt is a tiny town in Austria. It sits by a lake and is surrounded by mountains. I’m not kidding when I say it may be the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. Here’s a picture of the town from Wikipedia.


To get to Hallstatt, you take a two-hour train ride from Salzburg and then a ferry across a gorgeous lake. While there, we walked around the town, saw a Catholic ceremony, and went to a 7,000-year-old salt mine. Salt has been mined in Hallstatt since the Iron Age. We took a tour of the mine, slid down mining slides, learned about its ancient history, and bought a ton of salt in the gift shop. I don’t have pictures because it was underground, but the salt mine was one of the highlights of the trip. Maybe the highlight.

Pictures of Hallstatt:


Boat on the pristine water.

view from above

Hiking in the Alps, looking down at the lake.

The town:





There were lots of tourists, some annoying, some adorable:


Another boat on the pristine water:


The salt mine in the Alps.


This was the Catholic ceremony, which was in German, so I didn’t understand what it was about. This little girl looks exactly like a Christmas ornament I had a child:


Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 3: Salzburg

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 8:25 am on Thursday, October 5, 2017

I liked Germany, but I loved Austria. We spent several days in Salzburg, where they filmed The Sound of Music and where Mozart lived. I liked everything about the place.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

Like this view.


The people there are so stylish. Is that Audrey Hepburn? No, she’s dead. It’s just a lady walking around.


This is the glorious church where Mozart was the organist. Can you imagine?

mozart Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

You can visit Mozart’s birth house. Here’s the clavichord where he composed Requiem and The Magic Feather.


We also saw a marionette show of The Sound of Music. I wasn’t expecting much, but it was quite powerful and impressive. This is a shot from the scene where the Nazis take over and Von Trapp sings Edelweiss.

edelweiss sound of music marionette Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

Real edelweiss is an odd, muppety flower.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

Salzburg is a town of steeples.

cake Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

And amazing cakes.

unicorn Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

And random unicorn statues.

meadow Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

There’s a delightful meadow growing beside the river.

band Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

The street musicians are trained classical performers.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

There are several castles you can visit.

Mirabell palace Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

This is the garden of Mirabell Palace. We saw a Mozart concert here.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

Sometimes children perform folk dances in the castle gardens.

Joy Lanzendorfer Salzburg Trip

I love castles.

Stay tuned for one last vacation post. It’s about Hallstatt, one of the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.

Germany and Austria Trip 2017 Part 2: Castles

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 7:14 am on Sunday, September 17, 2017

While in Fussen, Germany, we visited Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles, which were the homes of Mad King Ludwig. The history is fascinating. It’s well worth the side trip to see these castles, which were built in the 1870s. Personally, I liked Hohenschwangau better. You learn more about Ludwig’s family and it’s more leisurely and interesting. They kind of rush you through Neuschwanstein.

Here’s a tip for visiting the castles: You will have to take a 40-minute walk up a mountain to get to Neuschwanstein Castle. It’s quite a hike, although my 5-year-old was able to do it. There are horse-drawn carriages that go up the hill, which may be a better option, especially if you have trouble walking. Either way, you have to factor going up the hill and back down into your visiting time, so make sure you think about that when planning your trip.

(Also, reserve tickets online or get there first thing in the morning. The tours sell out fast.)

castle in hill

Hey, it’s Neuschwanstein on a hill!


And there’s Hohenschwangau. Let’s go there first.


Hohenschwangau is fantastic.

view hog

Look at the views!


And this lion statue.

Too bad they wouldn’t let us take pictures inside. Oh well time for a break.


Let’s eat a schneeball, a snowball, which is really a donut ball.


Aw, those horses are kissing.
view new2

Now for a walk up the Alps.


That was hard, but here we are. Up close, Neuschwanstein is less fairytale, more scary fortress.

Too bad we couldn’t take pictures inside. Oh well.

view hog2

Here’s another view with Hohenschwangau in the distance.

view new

And the countryside. Time to hurry down the mountain so we can catch our bus. Thanks, castles.

Next up, Salzburg.

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