This article just came across my transom, courtesy of Lissa Boles.

It’s Mike Rowe from “Dirty Jobs”, talking about what I call Micro-Rules and finding your *perfect* (whatever):

A Fan Asks Mike Rowe For Career Advice…He Didn’t Expect This Response, But It’s Brilliant. 

Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs is an awesome guy. He can build or fix anything, he’s very entertaining, and has a great sense of humor. Mike also tells it like it is and gives great advice to others. A fan wrote him and asked him for some career advice:

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

– Parker Hall

And here’s the reply…

Hi Parker

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”

“Not my type.”

“Really? How do you know?”

“I just know.”

“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”

“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”

“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck,


PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.

PPS. Think I should forward this to Claire?

That’s one more reason to like Mike Rowe. He’s too cool! If you enjoyed Mike’s advice, share it with others.

Source: The Real Mike Rowe

(found again at  April 7, 2016)

The most important line is in the last paragraph: “…most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

All I can add right now is “The grass is always greener where you water it!” – Listen for your own Micro-Rules that keep what you truly want far away from you. Make changes in how you talk to yourself, and to the Universe. Your world will change right along with you.

Blessings, all…



“I want a(nother) cigarette… “

I hear that in my head on a regular basis, sometimes within 3 minutes of finishing one.

This morning, I asked myself: “What part of “I” wants what part of that cigarette?”   Mouth? hands? lungs? brain chemistry? blood chemistry? brain habit? (which one(s)?) body habit?

Is it the smoke? the smell? the broncho-dilator effect? the blood vessel dilation? the muscle relaxant effect? the muscle-movements of inhaling? the tiny little division of attention needed to type AND hold a cigarette between my fingers? a ‘cool factor’ (This is what a writer, writing looks like – from really old movies, don’chya know)?

Am I really hungry? thirsty? resisting some Authority?  …my own Authority? Am I bored? scared? confused? excited? (forgot one: horny?) (also: really, really relaxed ~wink~)


One thing I’m certain of, is that it’s not – as the sound-bites would have us believe – “all about the nicotine” — there’s a ton of other things (emotional, logical and physical) going on, too.

And a “smoke break” has a different effect than a cigarette *at the same time*. ~ Sometimes the best thing to do is to get up and get away from the project. ~ Sometimes, what’s really called for is that boost in the *right-here-right-now*.  When I want to stretch and widen my focus, give my attention room to wander,  “Must go outside” is useful.  When I need more focus on the project at hand, the last thing that would help me is to put it all down and go somewhere else and risk losing track of what I was doing.


I’ve been more-or-less successful in keeping to 1 pack per day or longer (20 smokes in 24 hours) but some days are far, far from that goal.

I do smoke much less when I only buy one or two packs at a time, not by the carton.  (There’s no longer a price differential, so using the “scarcity” trick does come in handy!)  Another “trick” I’ve just thought of while writing this is “What else could today’s $8 be used for?”

I can’t give a general answer to any of those questions because they’re all situational: “It depends…” is the only accurate generalization that applies! Maybe simply digging up the questions will help find more deeper answers, though…?

Bright Monday Blessings to you, my friends ~


PS: This article definitely shouldn’t stay buried deep in the comments:

Bridget Pilloud just announced the ground rules for her annual “Color of The Year” readings ~

It’s easy:

1) Find your color (there’s a guided meditation, if you’d like, at her place)

2) Make a donation – anywhere you want

3) Let her know all about it, on her December 31st post

4) Let other folks know about it, too, wherever you hang out in the www-world…

The first 50 commenters will get a color reading posted in the early weeks of January.

I resent the costs (time, energy and/or money) of living within both my values and my limitations – a lot.

Of course, I also yearn to Avoid Overwhelm, but the over-thinking that I do – in order to ACHIEVE that – leads to its own special kind of Overwhelm.

And then, I resent how easily distracted I am. Talk about yer non-productive roundy-rounds


The list of things that I’d choose to do or not, if given the choice (which means I have to decide every time!) is huge. I’m trying to systematize my decision-making {link to Joel’s post} more of these, but so many come under “It depends…”. And my ADD-ish brain keeps coming up with more conflicts that add to the ‘it depends’ list.


Intellectually, I *know* all the tips and hints and platitudes folks talk about do work. But I need to be able to see the minute, step-by-step, check-off-able “what do I do next?” bits, and trying to figger ’em out for myself often leads to reinventing the wheel. (Then I catch myself doing that, and go through a session of ‘beating myself up’ for not skipping it in the first place, and then ‘accepting that I’ve done it again’, and, and … now it’s 5 hours later, already!) Do ya see what I did there?


I’m easily distracted by: feeling cold. being hungry. being thirsty. feeling inefficient (causing duplication of effort – mine or others’). needing sleep.  being confused. not understanding the why, the how, or the priority of a project.  too many “high priority” parts. not enough time. no “extra” money. not enough money to begin with. clutter (visual). clutter (energy). the “stingies”. other people’s issues. “I wanna do (something else)”. “I don’wanna do (this)”. technical difficulties. wandering thoughts. dirty dishes. too many decisions to make before I can even get started. forgetting where I was, before I got distracted.


… This post is a direct result of wrestling with somebody else’s spreadsheet-as-delivery-route, with DIY maps. That I only deal with quarterly. AND that isn’t accurately updated (by them) in between. So, I have to re-create/re-do most of it, every damn time! (Boy-howdy, do I resent the hell out of that!

I’ll probably edit the heck out of this later, but I want/need to feel like I got *something* done today, even if it isn’t what I really *need* to get done, so here it comes…

I’m trying (still!) to pack for a week’s vacation
It’s Saturday morning, and I was planning to ‘be there’ already by now.
The car has all the ‘stuff’ already in it. Now it’s (well past) time to make decisions on what garb (clothes) to take along.
Trying to balance my guesses about ‘How hot is it going to be?” and “How cold is it going to be?” “What parts of my (new) self do I want to show off?” (or do I, really?) “How many defaults am I willing to keep, this year?”

Acckkk! So many decisions – so little time. Time to Trust myself and stop third-guessing.


I’ll be back in a week or so – I’ll check back…


I did recognize one huge fear-slash-uncertainty this morning, that I had to deal with in my heart, and I made a decision-for-now about it, and that seems to have helped hugely.

Also recognizing that “packing the car” has overtones of “must fill up all this space!!” going on…


Okay – on the road within 15 minutes, Girl!

I’ve just realized that Nancy Drew was my hero in grade school!    (Psycho-archaeology report 6-23-2012)

~ I was just ‘watching’ (using for audio wallpaper is more like it) Geoffrey Baer touring the Chain o’ Lakes (intriguing former playground of the rich, famous, “connected” and corrupt, NW of Chicago) in this mahogany runabout:

My first bubble-up memory was “Ooh yeah! I always wanted one of those, ’cause Nancy Drew looked so spiff on her book covers when I was  a kid!” ~ and that reminded me of how much I wanted to be her, because:

  • she had good, close friends (who would help her (un-)bury the bodies)
  • … and scads of good acquaintances (“weak connections” – I read  a really good comments-conversation recently  re: choosing a church community primarily for the social benefit of the kids… can’t find it now, though)
  • she (and her family) had plenty of cash / ready funding for any adventure (though money was never discussed, it was also never an issue)
  • she always dressed impeccably fashionably – impeccably, too, come to think of it
  • she clearly lived several-many rungs higher on the socio-economic (read: class) ladder than I did. (Most of the folks I knew even vaguely, and all of Daddy’s relatives, certainly did. And after-the-inheritances, I’ve found that my Mom’s siblings had the money, too, although it didn’t “show” the same way…)

((How did B and I miss getting that? Not the money per se, but the money-know-how. I don’t even know if B really missed it, or if I was the only one who was “somewhere else” when they gave that lecture — that education on how to marshal one’s resources and accumulate ‘wealth’ so as not to be desperately living from paycheck to paycheck? ))

  • her sleuthy thinking surely informed my “find the obscure connections – look for the work-arounds” inclinations. I wonder which is ‘chicken’ and which is ‘egg’??
  • she had easy access to nifty toys: that mahogany speedboat, her baby blue roadster, the vacation cottage, the horses…
  • she always ‘won’… she was ultimately ‘right’ – ’cause they always nailed the bad guys, yaknow! (Since she’s a Fictional Heroine, “Of course!” and even “Duh!!” would be an appropriate reaction, here. )

This is all based on my memories, mind you – I haven’t read  (or read about)  Nancy Drew books since 8th grade.

I’m pretty satisfied with what I believe I learned from ND ~ not so sure about some of the expectations I built about myself and how my life *should* be ~

Clearly, more psycho-archaeology is called for…


Who were your role-models when you were growing up?  Are you still happy with the things you learned from them? Do you recognize where your self-expectations came from?

Art Project – or What?

This is only a small part of my “collection of boxes” (too good to throw away, or even recycle without re-using at least once, and they *might come in handy*, too, don’chya know). There’s at least one equivalent pile in the garage (but the lighting’s not as good 😉  and a smaller one in Small Room #2, upstairs).

Plus bags and tissue paper and packing materials of all sorts, in bags and boxes and piles… … … Not to mention the spaces behind the piles, where all kinds of ‘stuff’ had been living for lo, these many years.

I think I’m currently collecting Emptiness – feeling into the Space, but still being afraid reluctant to make it permanent by discarding the place-holders. (Also, I do have a sh*t-ton of artifacts to sell – and I WILL need boxes of various sizes for that!) How much of this is fear and how much is legitimate? I dunno ~ but Baby Steps Are Good, and Progress IS Being Made! <grin>


(sorry, @sarahemily, that this isn’t the one about Micro-Rules, but this leaped fully formed from my head while I was ‘first-drafting’ that one. )


From the Burnaby (BC) Teachers’ Association blog, via Caitlyn James at ImaginingBetter, originally published  in the local’s newsletter, The Whistle:

On Waitressing… and Teaching

The following article, by ex-waitress J. Boulanger, appeared first in the June 1993 issue of The Whistle .

We don’t seem to be getting through to you.  Teachers in this province are concerned for our students.  We need smaller class sizes and extra help when kids with special needs are integrated among the other 30 students in our class.

Hey, but you probably haven’t been a student in our classrooms for a while now.  Allow me to make a more relevant picture for you.

There’s a new restaurant in the neighborhood, and you decide to try it out for dinner.  The waitress is slow in getting to you, but she seems pleasant enough, and explains that due to lack of funds, the manager has given each server a larger amount of tables to service than is optimal.  You order your dinner and observe other customers while you are waiting.

The gentleman next to you seems a little confused.  When the waitress arrives, he tells her in halting English that he cannot read the menu.  She patiently reads it out to him, explaining each entry, makes some recommendations and then takes his order.  The woman across from you calls the waitress over and explains that she is a diabetic and her companion has anaphylactic reactions to foods containing nuts.  She asks for advice on what to order.  The waitress needs to check with the cook about this, and lets the woman know that it may take a little while, as the cook has no kitchen help, due to lack of funds, and is very busy.  You notice that at another table, a mentally handicapped customer is having some difficulties and has dropped all of his utensils several times.  Each time, the waitress patiently arrives with some new cutlery to replace the soiled ones.

Suddenly, a woman in the far corner, who has been drinking quite heavily, begins shouting loudly, making threatening gestures to surrounding customers.  The waitress quickly walks over to assist the waiter in that section to calm the customer.  On the way, she must explain to a disgruntled customer, waiting for service in her own section, that due to lack of funds a bouncer has not been hired, so it is necessary for the staff to assist each other whenever violent situations arise.

Your meal finally arrives.  It is of satisfactory quality, and to your amazement, the waitress has managed to get your meal to you still steaming hot.  You are perturbed that you had to wait such a long time, but can empathize with your waitress’ situation.  Throughout her hectic shift, she has maintained a calm, patient, caring and understanding exterior.  You tip her well, but know that you will never return to this eating establishment again.

Now let’s bring this back to the classroom.  You represent an “average” student.  The diabetic and the anaphylactic customers represent “special needs” students, perhaps severely learning disabled or physically disabled.  The mentally handicapped customer represents an “educable mentally handicapped student”.  The belligerent, potentially violent customer represents a “severe behavior disorder” student who is a potentially violent customer.  The man with halting English represents one of many “English as a Second Language” students (ESL).

The servers in this restaurant are teachers, and the cook’s helpers, bouncers, bussers and hosts/hostesses are the support personnel for those teachers (counselors, tutors, Learning Assistance teachers, ESL teachers, etc.).  You are lucky.  You can choose not to return to this restaurant.  Think about the kids.  They have no choice.  Think about the teachers.  Please try to understand.  We are not complaining without just cause.  We just want a better learning/teaching environment for our students, and yes, for ourselves.

The teachers who are not settling their contracts feel strongly that money needs to be directed towards their concerns, and that the money should not come out of their own salaries.  Think about it.  If you work really hard to make your customers happy, and more customers arrive, should your manager expect you to contribute your tips/wages to hire more staff?

If we aren’t happy with the “service” in our schools, how can we expect that cutting wages and reducing staff will make anything any better?

“Floggings will continue until morale improves” – You know that’s supposed to be a joke, not the way we really expect the world to work, right?

This isn’t a really new insight – but it’s a new image to tie it to, and a new explanation and answer-to-WHY??? .

via Flickr

{an even better image would be from the Buster Keaton film, “The General”, but you’ll have to find that one yourself  ;)}

…the mash-up of this post from Ariana Benefit, and this one, and part of my Soul Map reading by Lissa Boles (especially about identifying my “wound”), and a piece of convo from an old post at Caitlyn’s… (read the comments, too!). Come to think of it, Shanna talks about this stuff a lot, too (pick a post, any post… they’re all in my ‘tool kit’ and hard to separate out, now):

I WAS / AM that kid who’d be labelled ADHD, and ADD, and Gifted, and Socially-Retarded (maybe even Aspergers!), and Shy, and “too creative for my own good”, but unwilling to apply myself, and dreadfully “not living up to my potential”! (This majorly pissed off my kid sister, and helped drive a wedge between us that still causes problems…) if I was 12 now instead of fifty-something…

In grade school, I was also, in no particular order:  tall; heavy (“Chubby” according to the oh-so-sensitive marketers at Sears); smart; lived far away from everybody else; didn’t own a bike, but my folks had a Cadillac and a 20-year-old Buick (both weird cars, for the time and place); had parents easily 20 years older than the other kids’; and enjoyed talking to the teachers more than to most of the kids.


I’m not sure there’s a “Point” to this post – mostly it’s about recognizing the connections and relevances and relatednesses and influences that I have to work with,  and – and – and – yes, feeding my “Post Something, Dammit!” Monster… ~ also curing today’s “write it down and it’ll stop distracting you” …

Happy Friday ~ it’s snowing – gotta go – Yay!

Bridget Pilloud gifted me with this reading on my “Color of the Year”:

(It’s near the center of the list – but all these colors pertain, because of my mix.)

Ocean rising.  Green moving to teal  to blue, to purple to violet and back. Flowing.

This is a suggestion that while you experience many different moods and ideas, you see what stays the same throughout your experience.

For though the colors change, they’re made up of the same thing, water and light.

There is less pressure near the top of the ocean, where the colors are the brightest.

Expect a year of light, teeming with life, and all of the good and difficult that comes with it. Pay attention to what stays constant.

Constant in my life? After a year (or three!) of huge changes ~ ??

One thing I’ve realized/recognized/admitted(!) just this morning, is that I’ve been soul-deep and cosmically UNhappy with choices I’ve made over the years. And *that* hurt so much that I buried it so deep that I couldn’t feel it. They frequently felt like the only option available at the time, but still …

Sometimes, I picked the easy way, or the 4-year-old’s  “I wanna…” way.  Sometimes, it was simply the “oblivious to others” way. Once in a while, I picked what I KNEW was right, even though I also knew it wouldn’t be easy to live up to (more often recently than when I was younger – imagine that!).

Those oblivious choices have caused deep hurt to other people, too. Especially family. Now, I’m searching for ways to ‘make amends’ ~ that won’t cause more harm ~ (Is that taking on too much responsibility for other people’s emotions?)

What else is staying constant? I’m still chewing on that ~ reports as I realize them!