Some Thoughts on Mother’s Day

Mother and daughter, it’s a special bond that spans the years. Through laughter, worry, smiles, and tears. A sense of trust that can’t be broken, a depth of love sometimes unspoken, a lifelong friendship built on sharing, hugs and kisses, warmth and caring, mother and daughter their hearts as one. A link that can never be undone.– unknown

Mother’s Day seems as good a time as any to ruminate on mothers and the relationships they’ve established with their daughters. Over the years, various labels have been used to describe parenting styles, and Continue reading “Some Thoughts on Mother’s Day”

Sow or Soar

…and so it happened that one with roots as deep as the wild fig, pulled free and soared up and on towards the seven seas. Others in the grove held tight, whispering farewell in fading light. – Unknown

As I was walking this morning, I came across patch of weeds that, against all odds, took root in a dry and barren soil. I once read that weeds were simply flowers growing where they were not wanted. Looking at the brilliant blue of the flower thrown by the chicory plants along the river walk, its absence from Continue reading “Sow or Soar”

Some Thoughts On Personal Best

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” Confucius

“Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.” Remember that phrase? If you attended a Catholic secondary school or are familiar with the writings of St Ignatius, the translation, “All for the glory of God,” was immediately pulled from your temporal lobes. While the poetry of his enjoinder is beautiful, I come from a marginally religious family and despite my education and exposure, my father’s often operatic demand for personal best, trumped St. Ignatius every time. The message, however, coming as it did from two directions, was internalized and the quest for personal best became part of who I am. I rarely dwell on it these days, but a recent chance encounter set me to thinking about it again. Continue reading “Some Thoughts On Personal Best”

…hopping down the bunny trail

This past Sunday was Palm Sunday. While out walking I passed a group of six or seven year olds having a sword fight with the fronds they had received at church that morning. I smiled as I watched the musketeers battle, but later, when ruminating on my day the incident actually made me laugh because I  started thinking  how my grandmother would have reacted  to the duel.

I had a very Irish grandmother.  Maude, like many widows her age,  was devout and had strict standards of propriety.  She believed in Continue reading “…hopping down the bunny trail”

Figuratively Speaking

“A creative writing teacher at San Jose State used to say about clichés: Avoid them like the plague. Then he’d laugh at his own joke.” – Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)

The English language can be difficult to master. Those learning to speak it as a second language find its vagaries more like a mine field than a walk in the park. Effective communication requires a mastery of grammar and pronunciation as well as the acquisition of a large vocabulary. The sheer number of words in the English language can boggle the mind. Add to that the need to know verb variations and tense as well as mastery of slang and colloquialisms, and you’ll have yourself a real kettle of fish. But the straw that breaks the camel’s back Continue reading “Figuratively Speaking”

But Is It Politically Correct?

“The notion of political correctness declares certain topics, certain expressions, even certain gestures, off-limits. What began as a crusade for civility has soured into a cause of conflict and even censorship.” – George Bush

My ruminations meander today because their scope is so broad. My thoughts regarding political correctness began simply enough. I was working on an assignment that explored the origins of Indian pudding. As I read through my notes, I stopped when I came to the expression Indian summer. Back in the day, we were taught that Indian summer referred to a warm spell that followed the first frost of autumn. I never for a moment considered it might be offensive to Native Americans, and thought it was a lovely way to describe the final flush Continue reading “But Is It Politically Correct?”

No Room in the Inn

“Homelessness is not a choice, but rather a journey that many find themselves in.”
Asa Don Brown

One consequence of growing old in America is having time to reexamine beliefs that may not hold up to the challenges of science or scholarship. Christian scholars, including the Pope, himself a biblical scholar, have concluded there are problems with the Gospel accounts of the nativity. There was no stable and Jesus was probably born in a home belonging to a member of Joseph’s family. The discrepancies can be attributed to poor translations and and the desire of early Christians to emphasize the humble origins of the holy family. I loved the story and committed it to memory as a child. The phrase, “no room in the inn,” comes to mind Continue reading “No Room in the Inn”

Do You Hear What I Hear?

“I think that the press has a duty and an obligation to report on local government, state government, federal government – to be aggressive, to do its job. And its job is to report on whatever it’s covering.” – Mark McKinnon

Remember the shepherd boy who said to the mighty king, “Do you know what I know?” That refrain came to mind when the Attorney General released his three and a half page interpretation of the Mueller report. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t yet know what is in the report, but that triggered another thought raised in the same carol. “Did you see what I saw?”

Having watched and heard the president, in his own words, defend actions he has taken against the Justice department, I, like the Continue reading “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

What’s In A Name?

“Besides, what’s in a name? Actually, a lot. Whether taken from a parent or grandparent, some saint, or even the late great Elvis, your name insists another person’s dream of what you should have been. The portrait of some ancestral ideal lingers through heirloom names. Gender specific names imply all sorts of expectations. More than just a signifier used to summon, instruct, address, accuse, sometimes praise us, our names define and thereby limit us. They put us in a cage.” ― Brien Piechos

I was to have been named Audrey Lynde in honor of my childless and miserly great aunt. Audrey had the distinction of having one blue and one brown eye, and if family lore is ever to be believed, her penurious habits enabled her to squirrel away a mighty impressive rainy day fund. While I don’t question my parent’s motives, hindsight leads me to Continue reading “What’s In A Name?”

Crumbs and Cages

We have been reduced to a nation of crumbs and cages. The cages protect us from children at the border, the crumbs are what’s left to feed the children of our poor. There is a certain irony here. The cages are a component of Trump’s pesky border wall and his administration is trying to siphon the funds needed to build it from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP program.

In December, the administration was handed a resounding defeat when Congress rejected the President’s effort to strip millions of people of food stamp or SNAP benefits through the federal Farm Bill. Undeterred by the failure of the Farm Bill, the administration’s budget for 2019 proposed to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by more than $213 billion over the next ten years — or by nearly Continue reading “Crumbs and Cages”

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