Sunday Meditation

North Carolina 2013

North Carolina 2013

I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.

~Neil Gaiman
The Sandman, Volume 9

Lake Hope State Park 2008

Lake Hope State Park 2008

The irony is that actual happiness blasts us across our faces, necks and chests all the time – but we’re so busy chasing the elusive notion of what happiness is to us at that moment, we tend to overlook the authentic bliss we create for ourselves and others in the process of simply trying to be happy. And by the time we realize these were, in fact, moments of happiness, it’s too late: those moments are now memories.

Happiness can’t be bottled. It can’t be smoked, swallowed, shot or ejaculated. And there is no end game: you never cross the finish line and are suddenly happy. Even when all your wildest dreams come true, you still pursue happiness.

~Kevin Smith


Glenwood Gardens 2014

Do anything, but let it produce joy.

~Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass


Rural Illinois

The three great American vices seem to be efficiency, punctuality, and the desire for achievement and success. They are the things that make the Americans so unhappy and so nervous.

~Lin Yutang
As printed in The Sun (February 2015)

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On the Anniversary of Your Death

My sister died one year ago today. Her loss hits me all the time, of course, that’s nothing new. Here and there, random times, usually when I’m driving. Then today comes and it’s like all those moments piling up into one long moment, like when you stop getting breaks between contractions and you’re not sure how you’ll ever breathe again. No matter how you try, the memories come flooding in and they don’t let up. But it’s okay because today is for remembering. Today is for grieving.

So I grieve. And I remember.

I remember the call from my older sister, “Erin died.” I remember sobbing in the bathroom while Jt was in the shower. I remember going into avoidance mode and taking the kids to school because what are you supposed to do? What else can you do?

I remember running in to grab a coffee and coming across two friends. I remember saying out loud for the first time, “my sister died this morning” and tears flowing right there in the coffee shop.

I remember panicking then that they would take her body before I got there and I called my little sister, freaking out, and she said, “hurry.” I remember getting there and the sheriff’s car parked out front. I remember sitting in her room with her, alone first, and then with my mom and sisters. I remember the outfit our mom put her in, cozy jammies, exactly as I would have done. I remember how I stroked her cold face, put socks on her cold feet, wondered about her nose beginning to purple before any other part of her.

I remember the funeral home arriving. I remember them wheeling her out of her room in a thick plastic bag. I remember kissing her face for the last time before they zipped the heavy bag closed.

I remember staying with my parents and sisters for several days as we made arrangements. I remember writing her obituary together, choosing her burial plot, and pissing off my dad as we giggled at the weird grave markers throughout the cemetery. I remember staying up most nights, eventually lying down on the couch just before dawn. I remember never quite getting to sleep before hearing the wails of my mother from the back of the house as she woke up only to remember. There is no sound on earth like that one.

I also remember though. I remember rides to church on Sunday morning, Erin between me and another sister, each of us pushing her back up as she would lean heavily against us. I remember the smell of Cheerio and OJ burps. That one is unfortunately seared into my brain forever.
I remember holding her during seizures. Gently so that she wouldn’t hurt herself but on her side so she wouldn’t choke. I remember now how that prepared me for my own child’s seizures.
I remember the time she was staying at my apartment and I thought I’d make her something different for breakfast so I made scrambled eggs with my last two eggs and, being a self-cented 20-something, I thought of it as a tiny sacrifice I was making out of love. When she spit them out I quickly remembered she hated eggs.
I remember another time she was staying at my house. A different house, one I shared with my husband and baby. I remember she was giving me fits. She refused any food or drink and I was getting the feeling she was just being ornery. I remember how Jedd told her to knock it off and she smiled. She was just doing what sisters do.
I remember that she loved my first baby. Whether Elliet was screaming or laughing or sleeping, she brought Erin a rare smile.

Today, I remember and I grieve and it’s supposed to get easier but today it’s not easier.

Erin Marie September 7, 1975 - April 1, 2014

Erin Marie
September 7, 1975 – April 1, 2014

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The Price of Love

“Grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.”  ~Unknown

A surprise crying session in the car this morning left me with this feeling that the sadness will never really go away. I think that’s okay though. Lately, there are more and more days where it lies dormant, allowing fuller engagement with life.
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the death of my Uncle Mike. Two weeks ago I had a dream in which I was upset over something and I went to him and he kissed my head and hugged me. However frequently or infrequently I saw him throughout my life, I felt loved every time.

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Excerpted from an interview with Noam Chomsky conducted by David Barsamian for The Sun – Issue #462, June 2014

Barsamian: So if Israeli policies continue on the current trajectory, what do you see in that country’s future?

Chomsky: Almost uniformly, Israeli, Palestinian, and American commentators pose the issue as if there were only two possible outcomes: either the two-state option that the entire world has been supporting for thirty-five years and that the U.S. has been blocking, or else Israel takes over the whole region — all of the West Bank, all of the former Palestine. If that happens, Israel will have a demographic problem: too many Palestinians within a Jewish state. Then there will be a civil-rights struggle, an anti-apartheid struggle. It’s not even an option.
More important, the U.S. and Israel would never accept a one-state solution because they are currently pursuing a third option: Israel takes over everything within what’s called the “separation wall.” It’s actually an annexation wall that breaks up the West Bank into pieces. Israel is slowly seizing about a third of the West Bank And imprisoning whatever is left between the regions it’s effectively taking over. The Israelis are not taking over the areas where the Palestinian population is concentrated, however, because they don’t want the Palestinians. In fact, one striking difference between Israel and South Africa is that in South Africa the whites needed the black population to serve as their workforce. Israel just wants the Palestinians out, the way the U.S. did the Native Americans. Only these days you can’t just exterminate a whole group, as was done here. So Israel will drive them out. It will annex the territory it wants in the West Bank — the arable land, the water supplies, anything valuable — and leave the Palestinian population to rot outside those areas.
In the 1990s Israeli industrialists advised their government to move from a colonial policy to a “neocolonial policy,” which is what you now see all over the world in port-imperial states. A neocolonial policy maintains the basic structures of imperial domination while giving native elites a gift of some sort to keep them quiet. If you go to the poorest Central African country, there’s at least one place in it where people live in luxury. Or take India, where in the midst of horrible poverty a few live in huge skyscrapers with swimming pools on the fiftieth floor. That’s what Israel is creating in the remnants of Palestine. Ramallah is a modern city: restaurants, stores, theaters. You can go there and think you’re in London. But the rest of the West Bank is disintegrating. Israel is hoping that the Palestinians will just leave. Some peasants might stay on their land and survive somehow, but most will go. The process will continue as long as the U.S. supports it. Once the U.S. doesn’t support it any longer, it will change.

Posted in Peace, Politickery, PSA, Quotes, Social Politics, Some People are FUCKED UP, War | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment


The president made some comments this week. I probably wouldn’t have even heard about them except that I have a number of conservative friends on Facebook and they were alllll wigged out. These were the comments:

“Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

I would not have thought twice about this because it seems obvious that he is saying that this is not a choice we want Americans to have to make. It’s not awesome that there are women who stay home only because it’s cheaper than going to a job because daycare is so expensive and women make less money than men. It’s not okay that mom choosing to stay  home with her children for a while results in lower wages when she returns to work.
But of course conservative twitterverse is all in uproar. Well, this SAHM is not. You know what he meant and claiming otherwise is dishonest.

Posted in Lady Stuff, Politickery | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Simple Smoothie

I don’t use this blog for much anymore so I think I will occasionally share recipes and ideas, things that are working or not working for us in our attempt to create better eating habits and hopefully live the longer, fuller lives we want. It’s an interesting balance. I love tv and spending time online and I love eating. But I also love hiking, dancing, biking trails and other activities. I’d like to be able to work those things in sometimes but we’ve grown used to sitting still and that leaves us missing out on things we like.
We are focused on diet right now, on creating new habits and re-training tastes. I’ve really been enjoying it for the first time and I think it’s having Jt as a partner in the endeavor that makes all the difference. Support is great but working together is so much better!

When I make smoothies I like to use some yogurt for protein but the family doesn’t really like it. I also don’t want to add sweeteners so you have to get the right balance of fruits to make it sweet. The whole family loved this one. Great way to get extra fruit in your diet.

Simple Smoothie

Nutrition Information via My Fitness Pal

Nutrition Information via My Fitness Pal











Posted in Food, Healthy Living, Mmm... | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

People Have Told Us

At home my mother and brother and I move in quiet orbits around one another in the heavy silence that filled the house after the flowers and family were gone. People have told us we need to move on. To get back to work. To go back to school. I’m told I should go to the next soccer game. Behind these words is the well-meaning but useless idea that routine breeds normalcy, that recovery is just around the corner. But this encouragement strikes me as being born of selfishness: these people cannot bear to see how grief has cleaved our lives.

~Rose Whitmore
from The Odds of Injury
published in The Sun (February 2014)

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