Here’s a phone call I had with the Farmer, last summer, when I was at a cello institute with my son:

Me: We have bites everywhere. We are never going blackberry picking again.

Farmer: I don’t have bites. I don’t think it’s blackberries.

Me: They are itching. They are mosquito bites.

Farmer: I think they’re bed bugs.

Me: Country people always think bed bugs! It’s a country thing to think bed bugs are everywhere. I’d know them if I saw them.

Farmer: Well mosquito bites don’t show up two days later.

Two days later, I was up late, reading because I was too itchy to sleep, and a bed bug crawled across my son.
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Do you like that headline? I stole it from CBS. When I saw the headline there, I clicked immediately. I didn’t like the post, but it got me thinking.

Why does anyone want focus? People probably click the headline because we associate focus with success. Of course, I come from a family full of people with Aspergers, so we associate focus with letting the bathtub overflow. But I know that focus is not just the result of obsession and absent-mindedness. It’s also the result of expertise. I have written posts on expertise 10,000 times, but in case you forgot, here’s a link about how everyone should specialize. And if you are sick of me talking about this topic of expertise, here is a new angle. It was fresh to even me, so I bet it will be fresh to you.

But we are not talking about expertise. We’re talking about focus. And after I clicked on the link to 4 secrets and was disappointed by all four, I started noticing that I read about peoples’ secrets for focus all the time. Read more

This is a guest post from Cassie Boorn. She is 25 years old, and she is a social media specialist at a large public relations firm. She is also a single mom to a six-year-old son, and they live in a town in Illionois with a population of 2000.

I read Penelope’s blog posts about abuse and bulimia and failure and oral sex and I wondered if I could ever be that brave. I built my career by becoming friends with big bloggers, and I decided I wanted to make Penelope my friend.

So I hired her for a career coaching session because I knew if we talked on the phone she would remember me. After that I just kept emailing her links to stuff I thought she would like and pitching her for projects I was working on.

She hated all of the projects I pitched her. Read more

Forbes just published a survey that shows that 84% of working women want to stay home with kids . The new job that everyone wants is stay-at-home mom. This makes sense to me. It’s clear that women don’t want to bust through the glass ceiling, or they’d have done it by now. And it’s clear that men are not pulled by kids in nearly the same way women are, because women’s careers tank when they have kids and mens’ careers don’t.

So now that we are acknowledging that women aspire to stay home with kids, the question remains, “What should women do in their twenties to get to that life they want in their thirties?” Read more

I was at the World Trade Center when it fell. Every year I say to myself that this will be the last post I write about 9/11. And then every year I write another post. So, now I have a whole archive of posts about my story:  I was so close to death, from suffocation, that I went through the acceptance process. Then I lived. Now I write about it.

For a while I thought the most remarkable part of my story is not that I lived, but that I walked toward the building. I had time to get away, but I wanted to see people jumping. I couldn’t believe it. So I stood, right there at the bottom, looking up to see what was going on. I talked to people next to me. I did many things that I could have regretted. Read more