How I decide where to focus my energy


Melissa’s in China, which means I have to wake up at four in the morning to talk, which means we have no phone calls, and her emails are unsatisfyingly delayed.

I miss her. She is with Steven, who I think is buying her a ring.

How I decide where to focus my energy

Going to China with Steven was a good idea because men love being in a foreign country with a woman who can speak the language. It’s similar to how men enjoy when a girl wears a wig or even a new necklace to have sex—they can pretend they are with someone new.  (I read this in Cosmo, which is great for women with Asperger’s because it’s a rule book for dealing with men.)

So Melissa is going to get a ring soon, which is good because it’s a lot of work to find a guy to marry. When she’s not in China, I talk to Melissa on the phone five times a day, which is good for helping her find the right guy, because if you have a really good friend then you put less pressure on the other parts of your life to be completely fulfilling – like a mate or a job.

In fact, I think this is the problem with most peoples’ jobs. Do you know what post I link to more than any other post? The post about how your job cannot make a fulfilling life. This one.

I know I am the last person in America to see Season One of Weeds, but that’s what I’m watching right now. And actually maybe this post will be really useful to everyone because I tried to Google reviews of Season One that do not spoil the rest of the seasons, and it was pretty hard.

Wait. Sidetrack for a moment. I am going to say this because so often someone writes in the comments section that the post is not organized. But I want you to know that this post is like a messy desk—it looks messy to you, but I know exactly where everything is when I need it.

And I’m telling you I’m not disorganized but you are not believing me, probably, which is the true problem with a messy desk. You have to believe it when research tells you how other people perceive you. This goes for women wearing makeup to work, too. Just do it. Men take you more seriously if you wear makeup. The research doesn’t lie.

So back to the Google searching. Melissa is always telling me that I don’t need to have another startup idea. She is always telling me that I’m sitting on a startup and I’m not focusing on it. My blog. My blog is a publishing startup. I could be publishing books. I could be publishing other peoples’ books. In fact it’s insane that this paragraph is not full of a million links to stuff I’m selling you. I should write a book about Weeds, since I am now going to rank high in search results for season one reviews of Weeds.

When it turned out that my goat cheese business idea had terrible profit margins and a questionable ability to reach hockey-stick growth, I got upset. I have been researching and scheming about goat cheese, and then online food, and then online shopping models, for three years. But the idea isn’t going to work. Not for me. It might work for you, maybe. (Email me if you want help doing that business. You can have the idea.)

So I was moping and I was sending Melissa insane emails, like when I told her that I am infatuated with relational art and I need someone to talk to about it. I told her that I feel like Kurt Perschke’s red ball.

And I told her that I want to put myself in the weird places and disrupt peoples’ thinking the way art can.

I told her maybe I need to buy a new, great camera. Did you know her camera is as big as her head? I mean, she’s small. But still. Maybe my blog would be better if I had a camera as big as my head.

But Melissa said no to the camera. She said I have to think of my blog as a startup and I already have great photos with my iPhone and I should not distract myself with thinking I need better photos.

That’s what people do when they have a startup idea. Ben Casnocha‘s book My Startup Life has a chapter about how if you’re not working on stuff that really makes a difference, then you are not doing anything. Most people with a new startup do stuff like decide they need a new camera for the business, then distract themselves saving for the camera and researching it, then learning how to use it, and they avoid getting the startup done.

Ben, by the way, doesn’t want me to write about his old book. He wants me to write about his new book. The Start-up of You, which I like as well, (and not just because his publishing career documents the AP Style Guide’s treatment of the word startup). The book shows that entrepreneurship is really about taking control of your life, and you don’t need a big startup to be an entrepreneur — you need personal responsibility and intellectual exploration. It’s a great book to take the pressure off everyone who thinks they should do a startup but never will.

It’s hard for me to admit that I’m taking advice from a twenty-five-year-old who talks to me mostly about sex. (Ben’s latest question to me was “What do you think of monogamy?” which I mention only because it relates back to the part of this post about putting on a new necklace, and now you will think I’m juggling lots of topics in this post with amazing control instead of being buried in lots of topics.)

But Ben’s advice about starting a company is good: Stay focused on what you have that is going well and execute on that, every single day.

Which is why I’m not buying the new camera. You cannot have a solid career if you can’t take advice that you don’t want to hear. The advice you hate is probably the most valuable.

So I launched a new design for the blog. There’s a new homepage that matches the new sections: the blog, homeschooling, coaching, and mailbag. I hope you find new stuff to read that you haven’t read before. I hope you enjoy it so much that it’s like I got into bed wearing a new necklace.

And I’m taking pictures with just my iPhone. I think I’ll put one right here. To reaffirm that the photos are fine and you will like them.

But still, take a look at the photos at the top, from Melissa’s billion-dollar camera. There is definitely a difference.

Now back to Weeds. See, I didn’t forget. Just moving the piles around in the desk that is my brain.

The main character in Weeds is a mom whose husband died unexpectedly and left no money to support their upper-middle-class lifestyle, so she starts selling pot. And then she gets really good. She is actually, by the end of season one, building a really good business. And, of course, it’s so much easier for her to focus on that than on the problems of raising two teenage boys who just lost their dad.

I love this woman. When she opens a bakery to launder her drug money, I get excited for her that she has another business, and I find myself thinking that I should open a bakery. It would be great in the little town near our farm because people here still think it’s fine to gorge on carbs.

My point is that it’s so much easier for me to think of business ideas and distract myself with what could be next than to deal with what I have right here. If I would just focus, I could be writing on this blog three times a week. I’ve done it before, if you can believe it.

So I miss Melissa. Because I want to talk to her about how I am going to focus. I think she’s right that my business should be my blog. I think she’s right that I shouldn’t buy a new camera. When you have a friend who is right that often, you want her around to hear everything you think.

You don’t need a huge grand startup to make your life fun and interesting. You just need to have a challenging goal that you are trying to reach, each day. You need to be able to make money doing it: that is what a good job is.

A good life is something else. It’s the stuff that isn’t your job. Like, me helping Melissa to make sure she gets a ring before she goes on any more trips that look too much like a honeymoon. Or the woman in Weeds turning off her cell phone and dealing with her kids before her life crashes, no matter how good her business is. Your job doesn’t love you. Your friends do.


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  1. J.D.
    J.D. says:

    As far as the camera debate goes, I find that composition is much more important than the camera (assuming the camera is at least decent). And I always enjoy the photos on your blog.

  2. KJ
    KJ says:

    You don’t tell a really great chef that his food must taste good because he has top-of-the-line pans, right?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Well, that’s an interesting analogy, because i do know a bit about this topic. I spent a year learning to cook meat — as in, whole cows in my freezer in the basement. I cooked one or two things every day, teaching myself.

      I got pretty good at beef.

      Then I started reading the Williams Sonoma catalogue and I realized that there are all kinds of special tools to make certain dishes easier. For example, beef blintzes are better with a special tool for making blintzes. It’s really hard to get the blintz right without the tool. Sure, a blintz specialist could do it, but most people are really good at a few things, and then require good tools to be good at the rest.

      I noticed the same thing about cameras. There are some pictures that simply cannot be taken with an iPhone. Most pictures can be taken. Like most beef dishes can be made with an iron skillet and tin foil. But everything is harder without good tools.

      That said, I’m not buying the camera, but I have been investing in good kitchen tools.


      • Tin Roof Press
        Tin Roof Press says:

        I think that is true to a degree, but it depends on where your Michelin star quality blintz are going to be served surely?

        A very expensive camera with a massive lens is only useful if you plan on printing your work very large or shooting professionally.

        For your blog all you need is a camera with maybe some focus range because your display resolution will ultimately only be whatever the screen display resolution is. (iphone has enough pixels for that)

        So it doesn’t matter how massively expensive the camera is or if it shoots images that can be printed the size of a wall. All you need is the image to fill the width of the blog and perhaps display on an ipad 3

        Plus that image from the expensive camera looks fairly ordinary (to me at least, also why cant she stop eating that sandwich for one second while the photo is being taken?) since the screen resolution levels it with your iphone one.

    • David @ Tunnel1
      David @ Tunnel1 says:

      I was just talking about this and it does does strike a cord with people. I was in a meeting with a wedding photographer and his biggest complaint was people can buy really nice cameras and undercut the market for wedding photography when they shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Same as the NRA’s slogan… “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” They sure do help though. No one died the last time I pointed and yelled “BANG!”

  3. 10e
    10e says:

    Hey Penelope,

    Ive read your blog for sometime now, and love the new layout and find it highly resourceful. And for the record, great ideas come out looking like a messy desk, clearly your awesome at taking an idea and letting it blossom into something amazing, so good work to that as well.

  4. Amy
    Amy says:

    I do like the picture, but wow is that bathroom clean looking …

    (Not to say that you don’t seem the kind to have a clean bathroom, but holy cow the clean.)

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      That’s a hotel bathroom. It makes me want to pay someone to clean so my bathroom looks like that!

  5. karelys
    karelys says:

    P, the mags are not a good rule book for almost anything.

    Unless of course you are like most of the girls and the Farmer like the 2D guys that fill their pages.

    But a good start I guess?

    Never had Aspergers. So that might be the reason why I think like this.

    Anyway, I did the necklace and hair color thing and my husband said it didn’t matter. He was just excited to have sex and get to know each other because people have so many different sides.

    It’s true. Though I feel like he’s only got like three sides. *Sigh*


    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I’m really happy to hear you guys like the design. It was hard work figuring out how I wanted things on my site to be. The site is sort of a map of my life right now. And what goes on top, what feels important right now — these were all hard decisions. So it’s a relief to me that you think the design makes sense.


      • Greg
        Greg says:

        Love the new design as well… though I’d never see it if you didn’t mention it in a post. Ahh RSS feeds, how they make you forget about web design.

        A couple of notes about the design:
        1. Please remove from around comments by you. Sarif font is hard to read when it’s in italics. Your response is already important. Italics aren’t needed to make it any more important.

        2. Comment “gravatars” (pictures) should maybe be float left? When replies to replies get narrow, the images float strangely…

        3. The active menu link style is really cool, but for the bigger link names, it makes the menu wrap down to the third line. (Not sure if you care about that.)

        4. You might also include a link to your Twitter. I had to Google it to follow you.

  6. Jen
    Jen says:

    Thank you for this post; I loved it.

    And you won’t believe me, but the shot of your son with the cello is so much better — technically AND artistically — than the two shots from China that it’s not even funny.

  7. Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    Well if it’s in Cosmo, it must be true!

    For what it’s worth I don’t read your blog for the photos, and I definitely don’t read your blog for the photo quality. Melissa’s right.

  8. Jen
    Jen says:

    I definitely don’t read your blog for the photo quality.

    I don’t either, but that misses the point that her eye is what matters. And her eye is excellent.

    [BTW, not sure what iPhone you have, but the camera on the new one (4s) is astounding.]

  9. Mairzy
    Mairzy says:

    Hey Penelope,

    Nancy Botwin is proof that there’s at least one woman who’s made stupendously bad choices in her life and is still going strong. She’s inspirational to me, especially at times like now when I feel really trapped and think, “What would Nancy do?”. And I agree with Roberta on the jumping the shark.

  10. Thrift Store Mama
    Thrift Store Mama says:

    I’ve often wondered about the make-up thing. I trust you and will start wearing make-up regularly to work.

    I also have an idea for a start-up consulting practice. Must read more from you about this.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      I think the makeup thing may be along the lines of noticing that a person is coming ready to work and look professional. Don’t laugh but, kinda like war paint :)

      My replacement came into the office yesterday all suited up to train. He looks great. He’s really tall but even if he was that tall with crappy clothes he’d look like a dweeb. Not someone you want to do business with. I don’t know how good or ethical he is but the presence he possesses due to the way he dresses is impactful.

      There’s a lot to be said for first impressions.

  11. me
    me says:

    Agreed: interesting photo composition (your kid playing cello in the john!) totally trumps technology (the china pix). Just stick to smart writing like this & your photos will be just fine.

    P.S. Can you help me find a cool/smart/funny guy to give me a ring?? Melissa’s 20-something & doesnt need help finding guys: I, on the other hand, NEED YOUR HELP. NOW!

  12. Jude
    Jude says:

    Excellent advice on all things….and great that you can take other’s advice.Your camera is fine and the new blog design really works. Well done. More people should understand what you write about…especially about keeping a job in its place – never at the top.

  13. Dana
    Dana says:

    I completely relate to your addiction to coming up with new business ideas. I’ve been trying to come up with a company that churns out business ideas one after another so I can keep myself in that high all the time and make money being there.

    I really enjoyed this post and of course would love it if you’d post more often.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      I went through a horrible batch of depression and I am recently coming out of it. Some days are still hard because I think that I’m done but it’s not fully done. But I know that I am getting better because some mornings I wake up brimming with new business ideas or more energy to continue plowing with what’s on the works now.

      Maybe when I’m rich I’ll make a team of people that put my ideas to work so I won’t have to mess with the little details :)

  14. Cyndie
    Cyndie says:

    Since you’re reading magazines for tips about how to deal with men, allow me to recommend reading Esquire. I have been subscribing to and reading it for years and I’ve come to understand quite a lot about men as a result. It’s like reading the opposing team’s playbook.

  15. Rebekah
    Rebekah says:

    Interviewing to copywrite for a start-up this week, which I want to do because I’m leaving grad school, in part thanks to my long-standing readership of this blog. I also just started a blog. Only sixteen views today. So depressing. But I’m building content. And I’m vastly more excited about launching a career in copywriting than getting a master’s in agricultural economics. Actually, more excited than I’ve been about anything in years (and I’m only 27).

    P.S. I never have trouble following your logic. Your blog posts make perfect sense.

    • John
      John says:

      Cosmo is not a rule book for dealing with men. Cosmo is rule book for SERVING men. Burn it.

      Nothing could be further from the truth. Absolutely nothing in Cosmo has anything to do with men. Cosmo exists to terrify women with their deepest fears about their inability to be what these imaginary “men” want, and to sell women products that will cover up their supposed inadequacy.

      The point
      1) Remind prospect of how they’re not enough

      2) Agitate their fear

      3) Present the solution: perfume, clothes, diet, makeup, lingerie

      4) Profit!

      That’s all — nothing to do with men at all. (And certainly not to do with serving them! Ha!)

      And men’s magazines are likewise about male terror of their own inadequacy.

      It’s said that there is only one core fear: we are afraid of dying alone.

      Men fear they’ll die alone because they’re not successful/powerful enough.

      And I suspect that women fear they’ll die alone because they’re not beautiful/sexy enough.

      Those fears can sell a whole lot of shit to a whole lot of folks!

  16. Dannielle Blumenthal
    Dannielle Blumenthal says:

    1. Melissa’s advice is right on:
    “Melissa is always telling me that I don’t need to have another startup idea. She is always telling me that I’m sitting on a startup and I’m not focusing on it. My blog. My blog is a publishing startup. I could be publishing books. I could be publishing other peoples’ books. In fact it’s insane that this paragraph is not full of a million links to stuff I’m selling you. I should write a book about Weeds, since I am now going to rank high in search results for season one reviews of Weeds.”

    2. I liked the old design (the second design, the block-y orange and black) better

    3. This post was really all over the place

    4. The photo of your son playing the violin is stunning and better than the first one of Melissa and her fiancee

    5. I almost didn’t read the blog because I am busy, but I decided to because reading your posts always makes my day. Though you jumped around a lot in this one, I still enjoyed it. Thanks Penelope and good luck – keep on writing, please!

    – Dannielle Blumenthal

  17. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    I think I need a Melissa. I mean, everyday I feel like a failure, which is not healthy, I know. My main, day-to-day goal–since I was 16– is to lose 10 pounds, but of course it feels impossible, and even if it is maybe good for my career it is not good for my mental health. I feel like a failure because I can’t even do it while training for a marathon (which I’ve done now, thank god, and in under four hours). I desperately want to be successful and do something important but I don’t know what that is, and the possibility that I might never find it is terrifying (and in the meantime while I’m looking I am sure I am not having as much fun as all my friends on Facebook). I live with a guy that wants to marry me, but we’re sort of househunting right now and he gets upset because I am doing it mostly on my own since I can’t imagine that far into the future being with anyone except by myself which maybe makes me crazy? I don’t think I am doing things right. And I wish I had someone to tell me that so I could be certain, one way or the other.

  18. Jen
    Jen says:

    I think Melissa is right about a lot of her advice, but there’s a balance. It sounds like Melissa is for you what Chase, my boyfriend, is for me. He just constantly re-centering me and reminding me what I have – to just sit down and focus – to take the time to paint the walls and enjoy our life together. Without him I’d be driving myself straight up the walls (probably on adderall – an amazing drug, way too amazing – after the most productive year of my life I had to walk away from it)…

    Anyways, I think in a lot of ways Melissa is right, just as a lot of the time Chase is right. But there’s something to, in your own crazy way (I’m projecting here, it’s usually my crazy way) that the new projects spark new energies and are what make it all work.

    I could probably have a better site if I didn’t focus on three instead of one, but I wouldn’t be able to do it if it was just the one. I would oversaturate it. My ADD is fueling. My new projects are fueling.

    To answer Ben’s question, I still believe in monogamy (although this same question just turned into a mess on my blog) but I only think monogamy works in my relationships because there’s zero monogamy in my business. When I’m working, I’m an idea whore. And when the ideas stop, the business goes stale. It’s all a balance :)

    Thanks for another wonderful post!

  19. meistergedanken
    meistergedanken says:

    Harriet May wrote:
    “I desperately want to be successful and do something important but I don’t know what that is, and the possibility that I might never find it is terrifying (and in the meantime while I’m looking I am sure I am not having as much fun as all my friends on Facebook).”

    This is symptomatic of a raging narcissist. If you are over 27 and still thinking things like this, you need serious counseling. At some point you need to grow up and recognize that part of adulthood is recognizing diminished potential – your options are limited. I feel bad for the guy you are with – he is really going to get screwed over in the next 6-18 months. It’s all about you, you, YOU. [Wah -i’m not haaappy!!]

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      What an awful thing to say.

      You make your story as you go. Sometimes you want to do something great but don’t see what it is because there are other things getting in the way of your vision.

    • MM
      MM says:

      Strongly worded but yes, that is immature thinking. And everyone, forget your FB friends – they’re posting PR, THAT’S why it looks like they are having so much fun.

      • Jane
        Jane says:

        Exactly. My golden rule: Never compare your insides with someone else’s outsides.

        You have no idea what their lives are actually like. It’s impossible to tell how scared/depressed/stagnating a person is from a smiling profile picture.

  20. Rocío
    Rocío says:

    Hi! I love the new look on your blog and may I also say that I always like the pictures you post. I agree with one of the first comments in here about how composition is more important than the camera itself for I’ve seen people do extraordinary work with little equipment and others do a crappy job while having everything at their disposal (I interact with photographers where I work and am also very fond of taking pictures myself). Anyway, keep writing, I am always looking forward to your posts :)

  21. Southern Man
    Southern Man says:

    Enough folks have already chimed in on this already, but I’ll add my .02: pretty much all relationship advice written by women for women is…well, pretty poor advice.

  22. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    “If I would just focus, I could be writing on this blog three times a week.”

    Is this really a focus issue?
    At first, I was thinking self-hatred because you’ve written a few times on the subject. Then I thought about your workaholic tendencies. Neither of them are desirable.
    Here’s another way to look at this blog posting frequency issue. You write more than three posts a week total when you include your homeschooling blog, mailbag, and other web sites. It’s easy to navigate to your homeschooling and mailbag posts. However there’s no record on this site of the numerous other places on the web where you’ve published. You may want to create a place somewhere on this blog for that purpose. It would also be nice to have a small area set aside as a notification for these new articles posted off your site. You wear me out by just thinking about all the stuff you do.

  23. Alesya
    Alesya says:

    I love how the general consensus here is “Melissa is Right” and “We Love the New Design”. Agree 1000% on both points!

  24. Shawn
    Shawn says:

    I’m glad you wrote a quick follow up to your goat cheese venture. I was wondering how that was going for you. Did you find that your profit margins were getting eaten by the delivery costs? I found this to be the problem with my product Chocolate Party Hats. It made it too expensive because it was easily perishable, especially in the summer. Let this be a lesson to all those of you considering selling food items over the Internet.

    The cost of expedited shipping and handling materials with the added weight of insulation and a cold pack was just as much as the product itself…which was such a bummer and affected sales quite a bit. I had no problem marketing it since the product so whimsical it actually went viral for about 6 months in 2008. Honestly, what could be better than sex, chocolate and fun? :-)

    It was somewhat simple and relatively cheap to produce more fun styles, so having something new to offer all the time wasn’t a problem. It was actually made of high end chocolate, so the quality was amazing…but finding a manufacturer was quite a task; due to the intricate shapes, it wasn’t as easy as making chocolate Easter bunnies.

    In the end I am a dyed in the wool ENTP, so after two years I was ready to move on to some other idea. Like you Penelope, I too am distracted with more and more ideas all the time. You and I need to think of a way to just sell people new business ideas, but it has to be scalable…that is the problem with consulting, it’s not scalable.

    I pretty much let the business die about a year ago. It still gets traffic to the Facebook page since I re-routed the main url. If anyone wants to run with it let me know. I’ll show you all that I’ve learned from it and what to avoid. All you need to do is take it to some sex toy conventions and get it into some retail outlets. This would cut down on the delivery cost problem. I never wanted to go that route because it would have really cut in the profit margins and I wanted the business to be more like Tim Ferris’ muse businesses. It just didn’t fit that mold, but could be a decent business for someone like a sex toy party consultant, a chocolatier, or a baker who makes bachelorette party cakes.

    BTW P, I’m sure our desks look very similar. It may be a mess, but I know exactly where everything is at a minute’s notice.

    P.S. Don’t take advice about guys from Cosmo.

  25. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    “You just need to have a challenging goal that you are trying to reach, each day. You need to be able to make money doing it”

    Yes, but the people who are good at reaching non-sales goals (like making stuff) aren’t often good at the making money part. And unfortunately, great stuff won’t sell itself, now matter how you wish it would.

  26. Karen
    Karen says:

    Today was a day I was supposed to get a lot of things done…but I’ve spent most of it reading this blog. Just when I think I’ve mined the last nugget of good information I’ll find, I find another one! There is so much here that is good for me I feel as though I’ve wandered into an intellectual equivalent of a whole foods market.

    For what it is worth, I quite enjoy the “messy desk” type idea strewing. Not enough people embrace the stream of consciousness flow of ideas and I find people who do it well to be refreshing. Thank you Penelope.

  27. Dave
    Dave says:

    The most awesome thing about Weeds is the opening…”little boxes” It’s such a natural fit with your writing…none of us wants to be made of ticky-tacky and all look just the same…

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      So true! I love that song. Love how jarring it is the first time you hear it and then it grows on you.

      In fact, I was sad as I began the second season, to see that there would be a different singer every episode. I miss the whiny, annoying voice of season one. It grew on me.


  28. JTD
    JTD says:

    My second start up began in 1982 and became a 12 year over night success. By the time we became the #1 UPS shipper in the state I had formulated a little phrase (one of many), “Sooner or later you are in the trucking business.”

    Everything comes on a truck. Everything leaves on a truck. Even if it goes on a plane it gets to the plane on a truck and leaves the plane on a truck. Planes and trains and boats and busses are just trucks too. You are always waiting for the truck, calling to see where the truck is, worrying that the weather isn’t good for the trucks, you hope the truck is late because your load is not ready to ship, you wish the truck would get here sooner because the shipping and receiving area is full. One time the truck transporting our new trucks broke down on the way to the truck dealer and had to be towed by a really big tow truck. Early on our truck ran into the snow plow truck it was following. When prospective new distributors called to inquire, the first thing we asked them was,” how many trucks do you have?” Funniest thing I heard this past month was when a long ago classmate called and said he was thinking of getting into the same business I had started in 1982. I asked him,” what have you been doing up to now?” He said, “I’ve been a truck driver, but I’m tired of the trucking business…”

    My 1998 start up had a simple requirement. The product must be able to be delivered on a phone line. That worked out too. But not as well as the product that relied on trucks.

    • Mark W.
      Mark W. says:

      I like your truck stories.
      I recently read this account from Rachel Maddow ( ) which you might like –
      “They asked me to come in and just rip and read some AP news wire stuff, and I did it and I remember the host said to me, ‘What have you been doing as your job?’ And I said, ‘Unloading trucks.’ And he said, ‘From what?’ And I said, ‘Bigger trucks.’ And they said, ‘You’re hired,’ ” she says. “I got the joke, and I could read. So I got the job and I started the next day, and that was my first job in radio.”

  29. Joe
    Joe says:

    Is that Tiger Leaping Gorge in China? I think I sat exactly where that first picture was taken. I thought the gorge had been closed to tourists recently.

  30. a game
    a game says:

    Me gusta la foto, pero ¡es que el baño estaba limpio buscando …
    (No quiere decir que usted no parece el tipo que tiene un baño limpio, pero la vaca sagrada de la limpieza.)

  31. Jennie
    Jennie says:

    I like the messy desk of thoughts and actually for a messy desk of ideas – your new layout is nice and clean – I love it!

    I also love this advice:
    “You don’t need a huge grand startup to make your life fun and interesting. You just need to have a challenging goal that you are trying to reach, each day. You need to be able to make money doing it: that is what a good job is.”

    Couldn’t have hit me at a better time. Thanks Penelope!

  32. Ed Marin
    Ed Marin says:

    P, the “best camera in the world” is the one you have on you when the photograph presents itself. I’m shooter once a pro and now amateur and as I deconstructed the avocation, I pared my need for equipment down to a zen-like simplicity. If the iPhone is you: is is the best camera in the world.

  33. jenx67
    jenx67 says:

    I don’t think you should always listen to Melissa. First of all, your photo of your son in the bathroom with the violin is better than the two Melissa sent you. What the first guy said is true. It’s all composition. I know nothing about photography – seriously – practically nothing about my $800 in camera equipment. But, I know composition, and more importantly I know a picture that tells a story before I take it. I love the photos on your site and I think you should post more of them not less!!!! I look so forward to them. It makes your blog richer and more filled with emotion. Don’t stop posting pictures and buy a good camera. iPhones are fine, but you have a lot of great content on that farm.

  34. harris497
    harris497 says:

    The most important reason for Melissa to get married is shown in an oft-quoted Wake Forest University study that finds that marriage does more to promote life satisfaction than money, sex, or even children.
    Anyone else heard of that study or have a link to it?

    • harris497
      harris497 says:

      I found the source, on marriage doing more to promote life satisfaction than money, sex.
      The 7 Stages of Marriage: Laughter, Intimacy, and Passion.
      by Sari Harrar and Rita DeMaria.

  35. Mel
    Mel says:

    You sound like Bill Gross from IdeaLabs. He said he thought he had “entrepreneurial ADD” so he found a way to dabble in many good ideas while the startups he funded had laser sharp focus. Maybe you should start your own incubator. Though, I guess money would be helpful!

  36. Judy
    Judy says:

    I think I like your blog, a lot!! From what I’ve read, you are so real. Much more real than I dare to be. Thanks!!!!!!!!

  37. danny
    danny says:

    great article with some revelations. 1. your most linked too post is awesome. 2. Are you saying Breaking bad just ripped off weeds for their story line? 3. Cool site update.

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