Between books and life


Library audiobooks were supposed to save me money.

Unfortunately–or is it fortunately, for other reasons?–I happened to check out Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile two weeks ago. I only made it a few chapters in before I realized I’d need my own print copies to highlight, annotate, and reference.

The book was so much more illuminating than anything else I’ve read, I decided to buy the four-book Incerto series it concluded. I listened to two of the three other books, Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan, while waiting for my Incerto box set to arrive.

Well, other audiobooks will save me money, I thought. So there’s that.

box set.png

The last time I was this excited about a box set, it had “Buffy” in the title


Last Monday, I left work sick. I briefly explained my concerns to a friend.

“Don’t be afraid to take medicine!” my friend replied. Read more…


Not Me, Us

I have a Bernie 2020 sticker on my car. The sticker’s not really about Bernie, although I do admire him. The sticker’s about his message of “Not Me, Us.”

My key takeaway from a year of intensive political book-reading is this:

There is no leader who can save us.

This might sound ominous, but I don’t mean it that way at all. The gist of “not me, us” was–is–that we have to work together to save ourselves. We have to stand up and step up for each other. At the very least, we have to rise for our children; no matter what our neighbor does or which candidate he selected in the presidential election, all our children will bear the brunt of all the economic and ecological debts we’re shoveling upon them as we bicker instead of all working for dramatic, aggressive change as if humankind depends on it.

(It does.) Read more…

better than the plan

I arrived early for yoga;
the teacher never showed,
so I:

sat pondside with another student
and did basic exercises
for a few minutes

went for a stroll
along dusty trails,
enjoying the crunching of
fallen leaves under squirrel paws
and the flickers of gray on brown
as lizards ran for cover

wondered what
a palm tree
was doing

settled under webs
of interlocking branches,
read from a book by
a now-favorite

en route back to
my car, reflected how that hour
hadn’t gone at all
as planned, but
how it was
the plan

Categories: Reflections Tags: , , ,

cherishing now (and trees)

My childhood home stood on a corner. In addition to having a small lawn at its front, it had one outside the backyard fence along its left side. My mom once planted several small trees there.

A few years after she planted them, she happened to talk to a man who worked with trees. He said that one of the trees should be cut down, pointing to some kind of dark mark inside a gash and saying the tree was already dead. It looked very much alive to my mom, who argued there must be something she could do to save it.

Nope, he affirmed. It’s already dead. It just looks like it’s still alive because it takes a while to for results of death to be evident to the human eye.

My mom, whose mental illness was itself becoming more evident by the day, thought her neighbors had done it–whatever “it” was. They’d hurt the tree to hurt her.

I simply thought it was interesting.

A few months back, I walked across a courtyard and pondered grim political news I’d just read. I looked up at a tree nearest my destination and thought, This is an illusion. Read more…

Lessons in injustice, lessons in love

My mom and I share(d) a birthday.

This year, for the first time in many years, I didn’t write about it on my blog.

“It feels weird,” I told my husband at the end of the day. “But it’s not about how much I love and miss my mom. It’s about my changing relationship with my blog.”

Anthony ruffled my hair and said he understood.

This morning, as I sit cross-legged in the dark and listen to my boys snore, I am inexpressibly grateful for my mom.

From the time I was very young, my mom taught me about injustice. She pointed it out to me when it appeared in my life, and she explained it to me when I discovered signs of it in the great big world outside.

She showed me how injustice is systemic without ever using the word “systemic.”

She spoke occasionally with despair, but more often with hope: Nothing I saw was forever. Nothing I experienced could not be changed.

When my older son asks me about death, and homelessness, and Ferguson, I answer. I try to answer in ways that won’t overwhelm him or make terrible obstacles seem insurmountable.

As my mom once did for me, I want him to see injustice … and to know it is not inevitable. That his actions can chip away at it in small but meaningful ways.

Some of those I love think I am wounding him by sharing hard truths, but I know better.

By sharing them with love and hope, I also share with Li’l D my mom.

young mom

Mom at Li’l D’s age

Mom’s body died when Li’l D was only five months old, but her spirit lives on in me and my siblings.

It also lives on in our kids, who know–thanks to her–not only that injustice exists, but that it can be diminished by our fierce and loving acts.

This 11/5/16 post transferred from L2SP 9/15/17.

Categories: Love, Parenting Tags: , , , , ,

little boys

As I sat helping my three-year-old, Littler J,  with his breakfast, his seven-year-old brother sneaked up behind him and gave him a wedgie.

“Don’t give your brother wedgies!” I admonished Li’l D, tapering off when I noticed Littler grinning. “Unless he likes it?”

Littler promptly cheered, “I like it! I like it!” and ran off to seek more wedgies.

Okay, then. As long as the wedgie-liking continues, I suppose I’ll just let them be.

Categories: Parenting Tags:

my riches

Last week, I wrote about coming to understand how:

my siblings
and i are rich in ways 
others probably wish
they were, or
would if they
such riches
are even

Our riches aren’t in cash. Poverty started us in a money-pit, so that the three of us will be paying student debt for another couple of decades for the privilege of climbing halfway out of that pit.

No, our riches ran deeper than that. I just couldn’t figure out how, or begin to imagine explaining it.

And then … I found a book.

Near its entrance, my neighborhood library has a little table of books for sale. It’s been there since I started visiting this library, but I never bothered looking at it. I figured it had too few offerings for any to be up my alley. Read more…

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