Archive for April, 2016

Yellow ribbons for life

Something was wrong with me when I came home from Japan.

The wrongness sat with me for months, unidentified and unidentifiable until I sat waiting to turn at a T-intersection and saw a big rig barrelling down the street toward me.

I imagined taking my foot off the brake, and the subsequent peace of no longer having to struggle.

Thanks to that brief vision, I was finally able to identify what was wrong: depression.

I couldn’t name it–or work to ease it–until I could really see it.

Someone I love has been struggling extra hard recently.

This friend told me today that last weekend they were closer to suicide than ever before.

My heart caught, hearing that. “Please call me,” I entreated. “Please call.”

As I drove away from my friend, I thought about what I’d said.

I thought about my very first webpage, and a program I’d once featured as inspirational. Lights for Life distributed–and continues to distribute–cards with yellow ribbons on them. These cards are an alternative to having to try to explain. They give youth who are considering suicide a way to reach out for help without needing to focus on finding words.

Sometimes, there are no words adequate to express what someone is feeling. Sometimes, they can’t be found. Sometimes, the act of reaching out itself can seem so monumental the thought of adding words on top feels impossible.

Sometimes, words are not the answer.

Today I will send my friend this picture, and say it’s OK to text me this image if words won’t work.

I don’t need words to listen. I don’t need words to hear.

For all the words I pour out endlessly, I know well words’ weaknesses,

and hope that my friends know they can
always, always, send a yellow ribbon,
and that I will understand
and lend heart and hands
without judgment and


Please see for more


Mechanics & medicine

A few days ago, I found a receipt showing it had been three years since a momentous change in my life health.

Oooooh, those are exciting words, right? They don’t seem very exciting in retrospect. They’re matter of fact. All that changed was my finding a book. One little book.

I’d spent six months trying to find a doctor who could help me understand what was suddenly wrong with me, and how to fix it. My search was fruitless. And then, then I found a book talking about how changing my diet could change everything. I was only eating eight foods at that point, so that the book’s direction to remove one of those–rice–didn’t seem like it could do much, but it changed everything for me.

Grains were a problem. Meat was not. Fat was not. Most vegetables were not.

I didn’t have a diagnosis, but I had (mostly) my health … and didn’t care much

about a diagnosis, as long as I had that.

About a year ago, I realized I was having a problem with certain sets of foods. They didn’t seem at all related, until I googled them and found a commonality. Read more…

Beyond where stars twinkle

I held
my sister’s hand
on her sofa in Portland
(and also Metropolis)
as we finished watching
The Man of Steel

I thought how
wondrous it is how
we humans create
such marvelous
fictional problems,
and (often)

Where filmmakers
and authors fail,
others offer
and even thousands

How hopeful!

We humans
are good at
creating problems
but we are also
about resolving them,
politics usually excluded Read more…

Skirt suit and sneakers

A woman
with close-cropped
silver hair
runs in
the shade
of trees
lining one side
of my company’s

Her running attire
makes me grin:
A skirt suit and
a pair of

As she finishes
this part of her run,
waiting to cross the street
back to her office complex,
she catches me watching her
and turns her head away
quickly before
booking it
across the street

I hope she saw in my smile
not “How weird!”
but “Heck, yeah!”

If I see her running again,
I’ll thank her for
inspiring me
to know more deeply:
It’s not what you wear
or how you might look
to random passersby
while doing the thing
that matters,
but the motion itself!

Better to run
in what you have
with the time you have
than to wait for
just the right
which can indeed be
an extremely rare
alignment of

simply … pausing

“Let me wash the dishes,” my husband said over my shoulder yesterday morning.

“Naw,” I replied, continuing to scrub. “This is zen washing.”

“You need a sign,” he told me as he left the kitchen.

I contemplated that as I kept scrubbing. Do I really need a sign? I wondered. I feel like the distinction between my two types of washing is pretty obvious.

There’s the zen kind that’s pretty sweet. I could zen wash dishes for hours.



Read more…


A few days ago, my friend Ra wrote “you choose your choices.”

It’s the kind of thing I read and realize I have too many words no words only one word for: thud.

When I first read about how Ra and her husband used the word, I thought something like, “I appreciate the loving use of this word-like object, but it is not a real word and it will never escape my lips or fingertips!”

(Really, though, it wasn’t too silly and small. It was too big and too raw, this single syllable capable of saying so much. Also, I ended up using it no more than four minutes later. Some resolve!)

I do think we choose our choices. I also think that we can’t understand all consequences of our choices when we make them, and that sometimes the choices we have are so spectacularly crappy they only barely constitute choices at all.

And I think of Ra, But I trust you! You’re one of a handful of people with whom I’d entrust those two little tornadoes most precious to me!  

auntie ra

Auntie Ra & Tykenado Numero Uno

And I think, The whole world is inside of you and ahead of you! With your loving strength you will shape it.

And I think, The whole point of “thud” is that these little thoughts and scant comforts
are extraordinarily small compared to the love and dreams and aches
encompassed by that misleadingly small word.

If you don’t yet know “thud,” I suggest you acquaint yourself via the link above.*

For all I vowed–for a matter of seconds–that I’d never use it, I expect to use it liberally henceforth.

(Besides, it’s a much better word, all around, than “henceforth.”)

* I also recommend you acquaint yourself with this lovely post,
featuring sweet words for kids as well as bits from my tiny tornadoes.

Categories: Friends, Love, Reflections Tags: , , , ,

Sweet Deborah

Sweet seven-year-old Deborah,

You never deserved
to be beaten, or
to hear your
siblings’ cries
as they were beaten.

You should never
have had to memorize
catalogues of warning cues:
dangerously heavy footfalls,
the angry set of a mouth,
the escalating tension
in the voice of a
parent about
to snap.

You shouldn’t have had
to walk on eggshells,
wheedle, or cajole
when you saw
(and heard)
the warning signs.

You should never
have had to

I have noticed Read more…

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