Unique visitors. Page views. Time spent on page. Pages per visit. Entry and exit pages. Click path. All those cool web metrics that help people decide where their site needs improvement?

I don’t have those. Yet.

But by being creative, and very, very stubborn—I mean determined—I have different metrics. Labels…


I visit cemeteries for the usual reasons — and for some surprisingly personal ones that led to some helpful insights.

“I wonder why they’re here,” I said, nodding at the couple across the cemetery from us. …


Madame Esmeralda reminds me never to lose hope that magic can happen.

The story of Madame Esmeralda begins in earnest in the early 1990’s at the Musee Mechanique in San Francisco, California, although my fascination with these fortune-telling machines began when I was a little kid. …


Tiny toy prosperity rituals remind me to keep getting better and better at giving.

The story of the little horses begins in Fort Collins, Colorado, when I was a little girl.

I had a fascination with horses at the time, as many little girls do. My friend Amy, whose family…


I must balance my perfectionism against freeing up my energy for the things that matter.

The story of “Paint the corners” begins on an online dating site. Members answered multiple-choice questions (some stupid, some thought-provoking) about everything: values, religion, interests, priorities, family, personality traits.

One question was along the lines…


The first ingredient of love is to really see the other. — Anthony de Mello

The story of Bird House begins many years ago in Tucson, Arizona. Somewhere online, I had read a quote by Father Anthony de Mello, along the lines of, “If you are serving someone who you…


Well-made things don’t “just fall apart”; we are accountable.

The story of “It just fell apart” begins at my former neighbors’ house in Tucson, Arizona. The neighbor had had a small wooden table sitting outside the house for months on end, deteriorating in the ever-changing temperature and humidity and looking…


When an American flag becomes a symbol of what’s wrong in America these days.

My next-door neighbor flies an American flag on a tall pole in the front yard and truly believes she’s being patriotic. But there’s a problem. Her flag is in terrible shape. …


The story of the Henry J starts in one direction, and ends in another. Both directions had useful lessons for me.

Illustration by the author

The Henry J story begins decades ago. When I was a young pre-teen or teenager, I went with a friend to someone’s house; I don’t remember who or where…


Plants aren’t that different from people in some respects.

This story begins the April after I bought my house in January. It was the first growing season in my new home in the Pacific Northwest. I had two things working against me: one, I came from Arizona, where plants have…

Michelle Rau

Writer. Editor. Publisher. Gardener. Blogger. Builder. Designer. Kayaker. Cyclist. Artist. Communications professional. Chocoholic.

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