Deborah Bryan's Blog

November 19, 2017

I met my now-husband, Anthony, shortly before I graduated law school and moved to Japan in 2004. We hit it off, and kept in touch for the four years I didn’t live in Los Angeles County.

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When I decided to move back to Los Angeles County in 2008, I ended up in Long Beach. This wasn’t because I was especially drawn to Long Beach. I landed here because there were more apartments friendly to larger dogs, like my buddy Sai.

Anthony was thrilled to discover I’d moved to Long Beach. He’d gone to...

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Published on November 19, 2017 05:32

November 18, 2017

Yesterday, I had a short but inspiring conversation with my colleague and good friend, C. At the end of our call, I told him that (1) I no longer consider “perspective” a noun, but a verb, (2) I so appreciate his skill at perspectiving, and (3) my life and perspectiving skills are both greatly improved because of how he models perspectiving.

I have the feeling our conversation shaped a dream I had last night.

In my dream, I awakened. I was in a world much like this one, but I couldn’t find my...

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Published on November 18, 2017 08:32

November 17, 2017

Last weekend, my husband and I had a conversation about choice.

I told him I’m choosing to continue eating autoimmune protocol through the holidays. He replied that I didn’t really have a choice.

I disagreed. “I do have a choice, though. I can eat all the stuff that makes me feel shitty and then feel shitty myself, or I can choose to eat well and feel good.”

He challenged the idea that this represents a genuine choice*, so I elaborated. “It is a choice, and it’s important for me to acknowledg...

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Published on November 17, 2017 05:17

November 16, 2017

In my last post, I mentioned a few parenting-related matters I don’t enjoy. There’s another one, unlisted, that ranks right up there with those: helping my kids “fall back” for Daylight Savings Time.

(Even typing those words makes me grumpy.)

Usually, my husband and I endure two or three days of early rising each year. This year, however, both our kids had colds. We were thus awakened multiple times each night, and then greeted cheerfully at. three. in. the. morning: “It’s get-up time, right?...

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Published on November 16, 2017 05:19

November 14, 2017

As I parent, I have to deal with lots of stuff I don’t enjoy: poop, vomit, pee on the toilet seat, regurgitated food hidden in odd corners by my toddler, and … tax news.

Thanks to my rocky childhood, I understood “forced teaming” long before I knew there were words to describe it.

Forced teaming is one tactic predators use to soften their targets’ defenses. Wrote Gavin de Becker in The Gift of Fear:

Kelly asks me what signals her attacker displayed, and I start with the one I call “forced t...

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Published on November 14, 2017 16:59

November 13, 2017

I remember learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. in middle school, when one of my teachers played a recording of his “I Have a Dream” speech.


Virtually all my knowledge of King was derived from my single watching of that video.

Over time, I’d boiled King’s years of fearlessly advocating for change down to a gentle message of hope and peace.

Everything I told my son in early 2014 was everything I could have told my son. It was all I knew.

A few years ago, protests beginning in Ferguson op...

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Published on November 13, 2017 05:17

November 8, 2017

While prepping dinner yesterday evening, I heard my three-year-old mumble something to himself. I heard only the words “Mr. Finger” and “bum.”

I called from the kitchen, “Please tell me Mr. Finger and Mr. Bum aren’t visiting each other!”

He burst into laughter. “Silly Mommy,” he scolded, running to join me in the kitchen. “It’s not ‘Mr. Bum.’ It’s just ‘bum.'”

“Oh, okay,” I said, chuckling as he ran off again.

When I relayed the story to my husband later, he laughed, too. “Please tell me you’...

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Published on November 08, 2017 05:21 • 1 view

November 7, 2017

when i was in law school,
my brother-in-law
would sometimes

when we’d go to
the grocery store,
i’d pay and then,
four times out of five,
the cashier (female
or male) would
reach to hand him
the change

“um, that’s hers,”
he’d say, routing
the change
back to me

more than a decade later,
i continue to get
the change consistently
when there’s no man around,
but often have to work for it
when there is

so, yesterday,
when i made a kind of payment
and the change was directed to
a male friend i...

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Published on November 07, 2017 03:45

November 5, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I sent my husband a celebratory text message:

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“Gratz Deb!!!” he replied. Almost anyone else I texted with such a message would likely have replied with a “???” but Anthony knew what was up.

Me of five years ago sure wouldn’t have gotten it.

I first started eating clean when sustained exposure to specific toxins made me scarily ill in late 2012. After months of struggling to find effective answers or assistance, I finally discovered that I was experiencing chronic infla...

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Published on November 05, 2017 06:35

November 4, 2017

I have academic crushes on two scholars: Neil Postman (deceased, but “conversing” with me well after his death) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb. From my readings so far, these two men are unparalleled in the crystal clarity with which they understand human faults as seen through a lens of love. Even when cranky, they’re insightful, articulate, and compassionate in their embrace of all of what it means to be human.

Also, they make me laugh.

So: academic crush.

I love it when someone says or writes s...

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Published on November 04, 2017 06:34