Scene: Isla Vista Food Coop, near Santa Barbara, CA, 1993 or so.

My sister and I used to shop at the Food Coop, digging through bins for vegetarian chili mix and browsing the latest Utne readers. There was a guy who worked there who embodied inner peace. He always asked us questions like “What did you learn today?” with a look of sincere interest. Rare. One day he spied a bug and he delicately scooped it up and  carried it outside to be free.

His whole face shone when you talked to him. We nicknamed him the Peaceful Guy.


What is your most beautiful moment?
Someone asked me, “What is your most beautiful moment?”.
When do we slow down enough to consider our most beautiful moments?
They can be the smallest, most ordinary event or moment.
I capture a few of mine below.
Maybe you can relate to some of them or think about your own.


Reading and writing are beautiful moments. I love fine literature: classical stuff like Victorian Novels, Russian Lit, and modern European, American writers. I also love poetry: usually with structure and humor that is slightly feminist like Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath. Lately I’ve been reading Herman Hesse and seeking insight on how to live a better life.


I’m a twin. It’s always hard to find someone who “knows” you exactly like your twin does, e.g., shared memories and experiences, insights and mutual understandings, and that “Wondertwin” psychic connection over time and space. [Amy and I used to watch Superheroes on Saturday morning cartoons on our small black and white tube–the kind of TV you had to turn on with pliers.] We loved that!

This is us, in Alaska, holding enormous glasses of iced tea.

I was a very spunky little girl, and a feisty, somewhat defiant, vocal adolescent, a bit on the pouty side. I like to do little things that are entertaining–and it doesn’t take a whole lot to entertain me. I just like some little exciting things. Yes, easily amused. I have another picture of myself when I was about five. I am peeking around the corner of the refrigerator with an impish look on my face–happy, delighted by life, but a little shy and mischievous looking at the same time, with a twinkle in my eye. I’m always waiting for what’s just around the corner, what’s next and unexpected. I have to keep moving, living life in the fast lane, even if I’m the only one in it.


The ocean brings me great peace and inner stillness. This is La Jolla in San Diego. I love the ocean, but I also like remote, barren empty places that nobody inhabits like Death Valley, CA where my dad lived. I used to dream of tidal waves in California, but those dreams have been replaced by ones where I live in an expansive house with large windows and gentle waves lapping against the house.


This is me finishing my doctoral degree at U.T. Austin. Someone wise once told me, “Max out your brain.”

Finishing the semester (or a Ph.D.) is like taking a plane in for a landing–it’s the most important part of a flight (besides the take-off). There’s a lot to do- check controls, put wheels down, keep it steady, look for runway in sight, stay level and stable, stay calm and in control, come in gently, avoid turbulence, and it’s all smooth and good.

I often had a recurring dream in graduate school. I’m taking the public bus and am trying to figure out the fastest way to get downtown, but I always wind up asking the driver, “Where exactly is this bus going and how fast will it get there?” Being finished is good, but it’s also all about the journey along the way.

When I was ten years old, I told my family to call me Joe. Not Jo, the feminized version, but Joe, like a boy. I wrote Joe on the back of my t-shirts, wore a baseball-style red hat, and carried a purse full of pens and papers to take notes about life. Maybe in the Reagan-Thatcher cold war era in Anchorage, Alaska in 1983 there were not that many style icons worthy of emulation in my opinion. It was who I was–Joe. Well, for several months, my parents said, I wouldn’t respond unless they called me Joe, so they did. When we moved from Anchorage to San Diego in 1984, somehow Joe got left behind in Alaska. I can’t say my teen years were exactly glamorous either. As a child, during those bad-mullet years, I really didn’t care what I looked like because I always had a book in hand or a writing notebook to think about. It’s not that beauty and brains are mutually exclusive, it’s just not part of the “culture” of growing up in Alaska. Alaska is all about function and survival.

During my teen years, My best friend Danielle and I would sometimes experiment with various shades of hair dye (mostly red, with some black and purple), makeup (the darkest of eyeliners lit first with a match or lighter for effect), and clothing, mostly of the punk rock, early goth, new wave, and mod variety.

I have never really learned how to be stylish and have always embraced a certain amount of androgyny in what I wear and how I “do” my hair. I have had phases of feminity, but only for brief instances. At one point, as a 20-something in Austin I did the solar nails, eyebrow waxed, blonde-ish highlights, and fancy hair thing at Bella on West 6th street on a regular basis. Beauty is hard work. That phase has passed, and now, in my late 30’s in the Dallas Metroplex, I’m back to a sort of neutral androgyny combined with a casual feminine side that emerges on occasion. It is my dream to finally learn how to put on makeup, get a stylish (but gender neutral wardrobe), for instance, all Theory brand. If I had to have a look it would be a mix of Edie Sedgwick, some kind of intelligent intellectual professorial female, and formal dark clothing like a semi-feminine suits. I still love the tomboy look.

I haven’t read a novel in a super long time, except for children’s books and young adult novels. I was really into reading in high school when I basically never went out. I read about every classic novel, Russian novel, and postmodern novel from the 19th and 20th century from aged 15-18.

I read some thick literary tomes in college, of course, but not as much as those golden years of reading” in my life. I often would read books based on seeing someone else reading it or the classics i got for 25 cents at our local Tierrasanta library used book sale. Like, I got into Margeurite Duras around 1990 because I saw this cool-looking girl reading it in a French class I took at Mesa College while I was in high school in San Diego. Majoring in philosophy in college, it was all confusing stuff on mind, language, and metaphysics, but no novels, really, except for a class on Hesse and a few poetry classes.

I get inspired by other’s reading lives and other people’s lives in general. Someone recommended the author Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club; I got “Haunted”. It’s supposed to be a little weird and creepy and focuses on the lives of people literally writing for their lives. Right now, I want to read some contemporary fiction or inspiring poetry.

A goal right now is to read more. I will do this. More ethereal goals: stay hopeful and positive, stay ambitious but not stressed, work on “voice”, work on writing more to stay happy and expressive, stay balanced, have more confidence, and work on inner peace!

My own academic research focuses on the dailiness and stories people’s literate lives and the literate lives of their children.

Feel free to post on what you’re reading!

*I used to listen to this non-stop right before I left Austin (2008) and moved to Arlington

What you should know about me 

1. I’m a twin. It’s always hard to find someone who “knows” you exactly like your twin does, e.g., shared memories and experiences, insights and mutual understandings, and that “wondertwin” connection over time and space.

2. Although I studied philosophy and consider myself to be hyper-rational and logical, I can also obsess over the dumbest things.

3. I am proud of my educational accomplishments. Higher ed is what you make of it, and I think I’ve gotten a lot out of my studies. I really want to apply my knowledge to the “real world”.

 4. I want to eat healthier.

5. I don’t know where my life is heading, but it feels bright and hopeful.

 6. I was a very spunky little girl, and a feisty, somewhat defiant, vocal adolescent, a bit on the pouty side, but always thinking and saying what I thought, no matter what.  

 7. I’m tougher than I seem, but I make mistakes and let myself be too vulnerable.

8. I want to meet some more friends, or rekindle old friendships with people who love language, appreciate words, and spend time writing. That’s a definite goal.

 9. I think the following men are extremely beautiful: Gary Numan in the 80’s, Peter Murphy in 80’s, Richard Gere in American Gigolo, Jared Leto, Paul Walker, Armin van Buuren, Balthazaar Getty….

 10. Self-talk–I engage in it quite a bit. I give myself high marks on being metacognitive.

11. I like simple things like spacious laundromats.

The Arlington Wash and Dry was a pretty cool place when it was open. What I appreciated most were the ultra large floor-to-ceiling windows that let in ample sunlight and warmth.  I even loved all the noise and even the smells. There was a little four year old girl helping fold clothes with her parents and it was so peaceful.

I memorized all the Spanish signs and read a research book while sitting in an old linoleum chair.

Yeah, I don’t get out much, but you have to find moments of sanctuary when you can.

12. Names and nicknames include: Peggy, Peg, Tink, Dr. Peggy (school cafeteria), Dr. Semingson (work), among others.

13. My favorite color is purple.

14. I like Denton, TX. This is outside Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio, a really cool club in town I like to go to when they play new wave/no wave, etc.

15. I LOVE trance music. I first heard the Chemical Brothers in 1997 and have been listening to electronic music ever since.

Solarscape – Alive (Ronski Speed with Stoneface & Terminal Vocal Mix)

What does your culture and heritage bring to what makes you you?

I possess the culture of three varied states: Alaska (mainly), California (Southern, coastal), and Texas (my roots, where I’ve planted myself now).

It’s an interesting mix of place: wide open spaces, the pioneer spirit, concrete jungles, down-to-earth-ness, shallow materialism and go-get-it-ness, and some of everything and  a bit-of-me all thrown in together, plus elements of fate, hope, and curiosity at what life will bring me next.

My sister, Amy-left. Me, right. I’m holding iced-tea–so very Texas, while we are in our front yard in North Pole, AK around 1976.

Trance Song for the day:

What keeps you going, happy, and satisfied?

For me, it’s several things:

  • beautiful moments and aesthetics: art, music, fashion, nature
  • reaching goals that are just out of my reach….I like a challenge
  • inspiring words
  • I’m sensitive to body language…I know when someone is faking affinity..or really is genuine. I appreciate the genunine.
  • very open spaces: lofts, warehouses, deserts, dreams….

One of my biggest goals, which is out-of-reach at the moment, is to have a spacious condo. I want sunlight streaming in and open space to listen to loud electronic music. It’s all so simple. I have a loft-style condo in Austin but it’s just rental property now and a “business”. I will one day have a similar home here.

DREAMS–their surrealness defies explanation, but dreams are often highly symbolic and a vision to what we are really thinking. I like writing down my dreams because they help me remember beautiful moments that would otherwise be lost.

DREAM #1: Psychedelic Mary Janes

I was in Santa Barbara, alone, shopping along State Street. I went into what was a used bookstore, but it had been transformed into a minimalist store selling pop culture items, most of which were glitzy and glamorous looking, very Vegas and all. I said , “This used to be a bookstore.” On the way out, somehow I had found a pair of patent leather Mary Jane shoes.  Then, I began this long journey home and I made it home and I lived in this sad little house where my bed was a mattress on the floor and the carpet was coming apart, but, I had those shoes. Must have been from watching The Wizard of Oz last weekend, or something!  The shoes looked a little like this:

latest favorite trance song: