Setting the World on Fire

My middle daughter leaves this weekend to head back to school for her senior year. She’s so ready. She misses her friends, her studies, and her routine. She wants what we all want–for life to return to normal. Of course, normal is very relative these days, and her final year in college will not resemble anything she has come to know as normal. Still, she’s excited to embark on this transitional journey of senior year.

I remember my senior year of college. I was so certain of what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to work at the National Archives, doing research, writing papers, and recording and preserving history. That desire came about gradually over the course of my four years. I had gone to college determined to be the next Peggy Noonan, writing memorable, quotable speeches for future presidents. My love of history won out over my love of politics, and I began seeking graduate programs in historical preservation. When I moved home after graduation, with no money in the bank, I took a job at our local library, hoping to put away enough money to pay for my next degree. I had been accepted into both George Washington and American Universities, and neither was inexpensive. In a move that evidently surprised nobody who knew me, after spending a summer working in our local library, I ended up going to library school instead. Isn’t it funny how a simple summer job can change the course of one’s course?

My story is not unique.

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Tell Me Something Good!

Some days, writing this blog is so hard!

Some days, getting out of bed is hard.

Some days just breathing is hard.

I know I’m not the only person who feels like she’s on a roller coaster that just won’t return to the station or a merry-go-round that keeps spinning and spinning without ever slowing or stopping. When can we get off this ride? When can we leave this hellish nightmare of an amusement park? I’m so tired of being trapped in the fun house where all I’m doing is walking through the spinning barrel and trying not to fall down or making my way across the uneven floors with jets of air spraying up around me or getting lost between the mirrors of distortion. And when I get to the exit, will the slide have an end in sight or will I keep sliding and sliding, faster and faster, twisting and turning, before I tumble out into an unforeseeable future?2020 slide

When and how does all of this madness end?  Will we ever be able to… Read more

A Summer Gained

Summer is a special time for kids. It’s traditionally a time of no curfews, no homework, no commitments, and no worries. Of course, in recent years, those wonderful, lazy days of summer have become nostalgic, a thing of the past that only people older than, say 45 or so, can remember. So many children in recent generations spend their summer being dragged from one sporting event or another, forced to participate in events and activities that will further their athletic or academic prowess, or tied so tightly to apron strings that they can’t enjoy things like flashlight tag or hide and seek in the dark. Perhaps this is one of the things we are meant to learn during this pandemic. Perhaps we are meant to recall and reinstate those lazy days of summer.2020 Morgan Maddie Summer

Perhaps we are meant to… Read more

Let’s Talk…

For weeks now, I’ve listened to all sides of the debate about which lives matter. For months, I’ve tried to have an open mind about COVID-19 and all of the conflicting information. For years, I’ve tried to be empathetic to various groups of people, listen to them, and learn about them. I’ve attempted to engage others in discussion so that we can benefit from what the other has to say. I do belong to a political party, but I listen to all sides, watch various news agencies, and research voraciously to find the truth and assemble the facts. I’m not afraid to call out things that are incorrect, but I’m not too proud to listen, learn, and be told that I’m wrong. 

I say all of this not to toot my own horn but to point out something that is missing in our world today, something so vital that I firmly believe it holds the key to everything, to solving all problems, to helping all people, and to enabling all groups to get along and work together. 2020 locks

For several generations, we’ve all been told something that is wrong, just wrong. Blatantly wrong, egregiously wrong, simply, basically, and morally wrong. We’ve all heard the advice, that has now become a rule, over and over over again, and that advice is the one thing that is at the crux of all the problems we have now. We have created generations of people who have been given the very worst piece of advice to follow in an intelligent, literate, and innovative society.

We have all been told from the earliest age… Read more

A Camping We Will Go

2020 Flag and NYCAnother Memorial Day has come and gone, and with a salute to those who have given all so that we may enjoy the land of the free, we leap from spring into summer. Like many, our summers typically involve some kind of family vacation. In fact, our summers are usually peppered with trips here and there, some quite elaborate while others just short day trips or weekends away. This summer, though, our vacations will be altered quite a bit. With Rebecca’s wedding coming up this fall, we were already planning on traveling less with just one trip abroad or a small trip or two to visit friends. However, the annual class on energy regulation that my husband teaches every summer in Florence, Italy, has been canceled, and the other trips we planned were to states that are, and may continue to be, on lockdown. 

I read an article the other day that said… Read more

Ob la di, ob-la-da, life goes on…

Life goes on, just as the Beatles song tells us. No matter what happens in the world, people continue to live their lives as best they can, and they should.

For the mental and emotional stability of everyone, we need to remain optimistic and live our lives as normally as possible. 

I recently read the delightful book, Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce. The fictional novel, set during WWII told of dances and nights out with friends and girls painting their legs to look like they were wearing stockings. Of course, it also depicted the air raids over London and the devastation of war, but what struck me was the reminder that even during war, life goes on. People fall in love and get married. Babies are born. Lives are lived.

For example, Read more

Reach Out And Touch Someone

I wished my best friend a happy birthday today by phone. Instead of celebrating at Easter with a cake or by going out to dinner one evening this week, as we would typically do, we must wait and celebrate once we can be together. I miss her like crazy and can’t wait to be able to go on one of our dinner dates. And this time, Debbie, I’m treating!2020 Debbie bday

Easter was certainly different this year as my husband, children, and mother-in-law ate dinner with my parents and my brothers and their families via Zoom. We watched Easter Sunday Mass “together” online in the morning and then ate dinner “together” that evening. Instead of baskets full of candy and Dollar Tree trinkets, my girls were greeted that morning with a single chocolate bunny on each of their brunch plates. 

As I think about the celebrations that are being cancelled or postponed this spring, I realize how lucky I am, and I’d like to offer a small piece of advice to everyone. Read more

The Gift of Time

We are now into the second full week of the stay at home, self-containment policy requested by the federal government. It’s been challenging at times, but there has been a lot of good that has come out of it.

I’m reminded on a daily basis that life doesn’t always go according to one’s plan. Things are consistently changed, rearranged, sidelined, or reimagined. Goals are shifted, and priorities are reconsidered. Life is a giant balancing act, sometimes performed on a tightrope, often without a net. How we maintain our balance, meet the challenges, and adjust our way of life and our attitude can and will make all the difference. This time presents us with the beautiful opportunity to see things in a different way. It is, perhaps, the gift that the world so desperately needs.

For example… Read more

Making Lemonade

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”
Deuteronomy 4:9 

This passage, taken from this morning’s daily Mass readings, made me think of what a great opportunity we all have during this strange and ever-evolving containment period we find ourselves in.

Lemon-clipart-martI’m not talking about about being on guard, though that certainly applies, but about passing things down to our children. What a wonderful way to take the sour lemons we’ve been handed and press them into a sweet concoction of lemonade, made with family bonding and the sharing of generational history.

I experienced this sharing of generational history recently, and it was eye-opening! You see… Read more

Be Calm and Carry On?

This morning, I watched my go-to morning news program, shaking my head at what I saw and heard. Tony Dokoupil, a reporter I greatly respect and admire, was visibly angry and shut down his interview with Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary, because Azar refused to answer a question exactly the way Dokoupil wanted it answered. Three times, the Secretary was interrupted with the same question as he was trying to give the answer. Before Azar was able to fully finish, Dokoupil abruptly ended the interview. Azar wasn’t avoiding the question. He wasn’t playing politics. He was clearly giving a well-thought-out, systematic answer, but he wasn’t allowed to finish.

And this is where we are, folks. As Captain said in Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is…a failure to communicate.” Or is there too much communication without really saying anything that matters?

And it’s happening everywhere. 

It’s no wonder everyone is confused about staying in or going out. Nobody knows who to believe or what to think. It’s like we’re all… Read more