The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Real Tweets



Horseback fun in Alpine Meadows


I’ve been missing reading your blogs in Alpine Meadows, but it’s good to be forced to unplug every now and then. Although there is no Wi-Fi in our cabin, I brought along my MacBook and Avonlea figured out how to use the Mac’s iMovie app. I didn’t even know I had iMovie or what it is, so it’s very cool to have my ten-year-old show it to me. (And here I am, a former American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women intern!) Anyway, Avi and her sister had a blast making a bunch of trailers; see below for one wacky example.

I’ve been low-tech for the most part, taking long hikes with Lucy. We’ve been exploring trails overlooking the appropriately named Red Dog Ridge. I love hiking – I used to do it all the time in L.A. Hiking reminds me of the happiest times in my life in which the word “bipolar” wasn’t part of my lexicon. 

Watching Lucy sniff wildflowers and tree stumps, her tongue lolling out to the side in ecstasy, is one of the best parts of this trip. We haven’t run into any bears yet, but I’m on the lookout, and I know what to do if we have an ursine encounter. (Mom, do NOT worry!) Lucy’s ear-splitting barking will help frighten them away, and I’m to make very loud noises, and/or sing loudly. Craig said that if I belt out my beloved Crowded House catalogue, my shrill voice is guaranteed to drive away any bear.

In the evenings we’ve been watching a BBC series called From Lark Rise to Candleford. For you Downton Abbey addicts it has the fantastic actor Brendon Coyle, a.k.a. Downton Abbey’s John Bates.

I haven’t been writing as much as I hoped I would, but I’ll be honest with you – I’d rather hike than write! Plus I’ll be doing some heavy-duty writing soon enough. Want to join me? There’s still room in my Catamaran Writing Conference Nonfiction workshop with Frances Lefkowitz. Lefkowitz is the author of an incredible memoir  * entitled To Have Not and the founder of the Community Memoir Project. She has taught memoir courses alongside luminaries including the high holy Cheryl Strayed. The registration deadline has been extended to August 1. Visit for details.

I look forward to catching up with your lives next week when I plug back in to my daily dose of reading devouring your blogs.

Have a great weekend!


 * That’s for you, L.E. Henderson, author of the five-star A Trail of Crumbs to Creative Freedom: One Author’s Journey Through Writer’s Block and Beyond.

This prolific writer lives with bipolar and has been a tremendous inspiration. I do declare…“titled” is so pedestrian!


Daily Unplugging – It Is Possible!


Over the past week I’ve traded roughly the same amount of daily online time to be out of the house instead.  I’ve roamed the county with my children, Lucy the puppy, and a couple friends.  The mornings are gloomy and foggy up here in the mountains, and they’ve put me into a funk despite using my Sunbox bright light and drinking my beloved java.  I am thankful that these grim, drizzly mornings turn into beautiful afternoons complete with sunshine and clouds wafting across blue skies.  Good weather makes a huge difference in my ability to haul myself and the girls out the door.    

I’m excited to share with you that I attended my first puppy training class with my two daughters last night.  Although our Petsmart instructor is probably half my age, she’s a bona fide puppy whisperer – she’s simply awesome!  “B.” was skilled at explaining concepts clearly and while she was nice, she was stern, and I liked that about her.  At the start of class, B. asked us what other mammal is similar to dogs in terms of training techniques.  Somehow I knew the answer.  My arm shot up and I called out excitedly, “Dolphins!”  At one point during college I seriously considered studying dolphins.  B. informed us that she has actually worked with dolphins at my alma mater University of California at Santa Cruz.  I was thrilled when she told us that dolphins and dogs share training techniques in common, and it was fun to be in a class with puppies as my classmates.  


As far as my unplugging goes, it has only been for three days to be exact, but it feels like a lot longer than that!  I still check out Facebook, email and Twitter each morning while drinking coffee.  In the evenings I love reading other blogs on my Kindle while I work out on my elliptical – I make cryptic comments using my index finger on the tiny screen.  But during the  day it has felt healthier for me to lessen the amount of time I’ve been glued to my MacBook Pro and Kindle.  I don’t have a smart phone, which for me is a very good thing.  I can’t check the internet once I leave the house unless I bring my Kindle to a friendly unlocked WiFi zone.  

I was further inspired by my blogging friend extraordinaire Kitt’s blog  (a.k.a. Kitt O’Malley – Living with Bipolar Disorder. Loved by God.)

Her post “Doctor’s Orders” was published this week, and its primary topic seemed like a great omen.   If you too find yourself challenged with spending an excessive amount of time online, you must read this post:

As much as I despise labels, I know I’ve been obsessive-compulsive in checking emails, surfing Facebook, doing wacky Google searches and the like.   If I keep up this excessive behavior, I could see myself becoming burned out soon.  Then I would most likely cut myself off from the online communities and blogosphere that I’ve come to treasure.  I don’t want that to happen!  So if it takes a few days longer for me to reply to comments, to read blogs and contribute comments than I ideally would like, I realize it’s no big deal.  If I skip writing a blog post, no one is going to perish!  What matters is the total amount of time I spend each day wrapped up in the internet.  

I know the following statement is utterly obvious, but I haven’t internalized it until now:

The more I develop my life outside my laptop, the more I can bring back to share in my blog and other online outlets.

It won’t be easy to get out regularly, as my social anxiety continues to loom large, but I’m going to do it anyway.  Having children and a feisty, energetic puppy forces me to plan excursions.  We live near a ton of beautiful parks, and there’s locally owned Coffee 9 where the baristas are friendly, and Lucy can sit outside on the patio, loving the inevitable compliments from passerby.

What do you do for fun when you leave the house?  I’d love to know!  

Have a great weekend!!! 


I took this photo of Lucy yesterday at the park.  Earlier that day I brought the girls to Petsmart where they begged me to buy Lucy this “dog dress” for $2.99.  I’ve always felt dogs shouldn’t wear clothes, but I caved this one time.  Mark my words, never again!!!