Thursday, January 14, 2021

How to Contact Your Representatives, Step by Step

 When I first began to actually pay attention to politics beyond "who am I going to vote for," I frequently ran into exhortations to "Contact your representatives about such and such." But my government class in high school was several years ago, and it had bored me then, so I didn't really have a firm grasp of who I was supposed to be contacting, how to reach them, or even what to say!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

2021: Now What?

 Happy 2021, everyone!

It's a new year for my blog, and I just realized that I officially began The Traveling Mandolin in January of 2011. So, Happy Ten Years! I didn't really get into it until April of the same year, so maybe around then I'll post an exciting ten-year celebration thing. But in the meantime, time flies and all that jazz.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Eve

 Time flies like

an arrow

but I like

it when there's not a global pandemic

but I guess I should be grateful

because people still shop at Walmart

which means we get Covid bonuses so we can pay off 

our car.

The status quo has served us well, it's true.

We sit in luxury's lap while others drown

and we drop coins in their mouth, like koi fish

and coo at how pretty they are,

how noble.

It's too cold to dive in there

and it might be uncomfortable

and we just paid off 

our car

so can't we just brush off the crumbs

into that cold cold water

and hope it turns out for the best?

Maybe I will draw something because

art is good and

I like to make art and

if I make art maybe I will feel less like a loser and

maybe I will bring something worth bringing to the world.

But oops I forgot to check Instagram and 

there are more things to learn and

I am learning and listening and

art can wait because it's hard and

I just want to read about autistic representation in the media and do nothing about it,


Today I made three pieces of toast.

I put butter and peanut butter on them and ate them.

I cried for no reason.

There were no tears.

The time flies are buzzing around in my brain

and I can't get them out and it's almost a new year

but it's more of the same and someone please help lol 

jk I'm doing fine and all's good and the revolution is too hard but I ache for it

but maybe I will sweep the floor

and scrub it with Murphy's oil soap

and for a moment,

for a fragile, shining moment,

the house will smell like citronella.

I put a stamp on an envelope.

That is a task.

I feed my sourdough 100 grams of water and 125 grams of flour.

That is a task.

I put the cloth napkins in the hamper.

That is a task.

I reward myself with a butter-and-honey tortilla wrap.

That is a coping mechanism.

The note taped next to my laptop says:

I eat for pleasure and nourishment, not addiction.

I spend my time with things that bring me life, not addiction.

These are lies.

I will live until they are true.

Jupiter and Saturn are drifting apart

but the moon is so bright I don't mind

because Orion is rising to the east, like Juliet,

on his back, trying to decide whether to wake up and go hunting

and I think, lol, same. 

I don't know if I want to cry or scream.

I want to cry.

I just decided.

My tear ducts do not consent.

Screaming is too tiring.

So maybe I will write a poem instead, and work on my freelance project,

and perhaps have a glass of cider and a single mixed drink, half-strength,

to bring in the New Year and

that will be okay.

It will all be okay.

It may crash and burn but somehow, we usually find ways to make things okay.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


It was going to be a year at home anyway, so at least the timing was good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Easiest Vegetable Garden Ever, Part One: Dirt

Finished compost for top-dressing the bed in our front yard

(Reposted from 2019)

Did you know that autumn in the Midwest is the perfect time to start a vegetable garden? If you've ever wanted to try growing your own tomatoes, turnips, or taco toppings, now is the best time to start!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Keeping Up with the Joneses, Lisa-Style

 When I was a kid, I felt like I needed an invisible friend. I didn’t actually want an invisible friend— my sister Mary was around all the time, and my brothers were usually up for some sort of game— but it seemed like all the kids in books and movies had invisible friends, and I’d met other kids who had invisible friends, so having an invisible friend just felt like some sort of societal obligation at that point.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

What I've Been Reading: Five Favorite Books of 2020

From "The Blue House" by Phoebe Wahl

2020 isn't quite over, but I figured this was as good a time as any to briefly call out five books that shook me up, made me think, and brought beauty to my life this year. I highly recommend every single one of these! (And I've included links in case anyone on your Christmas list needs one of them!

Friday, November 13, 2020

In Memory of Fiddler

My mom and Fiddler

More than fifteen years ago, teenaged me returned on a December day to see a fluffy gray bird huddled against the chimney on our house. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October Thoughts

"October Tree," for sale in my Zazzle shop

Yesterday I saw my first junco of the year. It flew up from my neighbors yard, a small gray songbird with a flick of white in its tail. They've migrated down from Canada for the winter— this is the "south" they fly to, gracing the honeysuckle bushes and maple trees with their fluffy bodies, dark-backed and white-breasted. 

Winter is coming.