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Passages: L. G.

Posted by on 12 May 2016 | Tagged as: passages, Uncategorized

I learned today that a dear friend, a phage biologist from Tbilisi, has passed on. Her lifetime’s work saved countless lives — thousands? hundreds of thousands? more?

Some passages have to come, and this did, but it doesn’t make it easier.

Poetry Month Days 21, 22 and 23

Posted by on 23 Apr 2016 | Tagged as: NaPoWriMo, passages, poetry, Poetry Month, Uncategorized

Poem # 21

Thursdays are often difficult to start,
the week drags on
morning dark and skies dreary
by noon the mood lightens
as if to say:
see, the week is nearly gone
and you have only
by night the dark returns

Poem # 22

Tanka: poem to show the links between / this world and the next the moment follows / another and the days grow bright then dim.

Poem #23

Purple loves the center
Blue hovering at the edge
Red suffused throughout
Brightly shines our memory
repeat the refrain:
“nothing compares 2 u”

Author’s note: My entire adult life the music of Prince was part of the background. Though not a “fan” of his often deliberately provocative work, I admired his musicianship and ability to place himself under scrutiny to stand up for what he believed in. His passing on Thursday has me considering my own mortality and my meager contributions to society.

Passages: Joe

Posted by on 27 Sep 2014 | Tagged as: passages, Uncategorized

Joe was the life partner of my mother’s cousin all of my life. He was an intermittent, but important part of my life. We loved him.

My mother’s cousin died several years ago. After our house fire last year, I didn’t have the heart to write to Joe, so he never knew. Joe had been very ill from complications of diabetes for years, and I had been trying to figure out how to restart the conversation but…

And now it is too late.

I hope he is finally comfortable. I hope that his memory will fill others with as much joy and love as I feel for this kind, generous, gentle man.

I hope that my heart will stop feeling like it is going to break — I think I am done with big losses for a while.

Passages: Mentor

Posted by on 29 Jul 2014 | Tagged as: passages, Uncategorized

My friend, Denise, has passed on.

I hadn’t seen her in a couple years, except for once at my school last year and once at a restaurant this summer. She was busy with parenting and teaching, and so was I. She was terribly ill, I was trying to recover from the fire. So many regrets…

She was a kind person, an excellent teacher, and the best mentor for a mid-life new teacher I could ever have had.

This is a hole in my heart, and a crater in the universe.

Passages: Billy Frank, Jr.

Posted by on 05 May 2014 | Tagged as: environment, passages, Uncategorized

It took many decades and incredible strength and determination to restore the treaty rights of native peoples in the Pacific Northwest so they can fish and hunt in their peoples’ “usual and accustomed” locations. Billy Frank, Jr. is one of the many who fought long and hard and took great personal risks to stand up for what is right.

He is not the only person who fought and suffered on behalf of the tribes, but he was a vivid reminder of all those who have come before and inspiration to all those who will come after. It was always less, it seemed to me, about him than it was about the future.

I honor his memory, and hope that my own life will transmit some of the values he taught: courage, honesty, and hope.

His passing marks the end of one era, and the beginning of a new one. I hope all the peoples of the Salish Sea can work together and live together as faithful and passionate stewards for future generations.

The poem I wrote (caution: dark)

Posted by on 02 Aug 2013 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, housefire, loss, passages, poetry, Uncategorized

Shortly after the house fire, I wrote a poem.

I think it’s time to share it.

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Posted by on 20 Mar 2013 | Tagged as: passages, Uncategorized


He was a good boy.


Posted by on 06 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, passages, Uncategorized

flowers for hetty -- couldn't take them physically to Canada, but here they are, bright and cheerful, reminding me of you

I read of your passing
my friend

who wrote elegant, eloquent prose
and simple, evocative verse
my friend

you taught me to believe
I could reach for my dreams
believe I could also achieve
my heart’s desire
my friend

telling your story with grace and humor
sharing a meal
or two
and a laugh
and a sigh
my friend

that last brief smile
one more hug

and you are gone
my friend

you are gone

Passages: Judith Wallerstein

Posted by on 13 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: parenting, passages, Uncategorized

I didn’t hear about Dr. Wallerstein before she died — or, rather, I knew of her and her work, but didn’t know her name.

This article in Slate’s online magazine caught my attention today.

Perhaps it’s because Tom and I are nearing the quarter-century mark in our relationship, or perhaps it’s because I am watching my own two children begin to navigate relationships that I am thinking about what it takes to keep a partnership going past those first romantic months. And what it means when it breaks up.

I broke up with a lot of people before I met Tom, and figured our relationship would turn out the same way. But it didn’t. We had kids, responsibilities, eventually the proverbial mortgage, and we continue to enjoy each other’s company beyond the romantic dinners which were mostly left far behind years ago. We have had times of relative abundance, times of pretty tight wallets when we qualified for additional government help, and we have managed to make it through all of them.

We have different interests, but at heart we both are homebodies, not minding television instead of movies and dinners at home instead of restaurants. I admit to enjoying dinners out, perhaps more than Tom does, but I also enjoy the casual, feet-up meals while watching old television re-runs. Our children have watched us argue, have discussions about what to do, and have watched us negotiate solutions to many issues.

Most of our friends have stayed together, too — which is unusual. But we have friends who have been through divorce, and as a teacher there are students who have been through or are going through divorce in the family. It’s hard on the entire family when parents divorce, and so many times the aftermath of divorce is harder than the initial breakup. For kids in school, it can be harder to concentrate on schoolwork, harder to get along with other kids, and harder just to be in school when they are worried about what is happening at home.

I think Dr. Wallerstein’s work points the way toward how to think about mitigating the effects of divorce on children in a way that needs to be articulated over and over. Stop thinking about yourselves — if you are a parent, put the children’s needs first. Don’t use them as pawns, with the primary custodial parent being a “winner” and the children fuel for further arguments. Let those kids know that, despite your own issues, they are wonderful and deserving of stability. Then give them the stability and support they need.

I think her work was marvelous, and I hope that we will continue to look at the effects of our decisions as parents on our children — not just in the moment, but in the months and years that follow. Sometimes it might be possible to change a different variable, so we don’t have to upend our children’s lives. Sometimes we can’t or shouldn’t do anything differently, and in those cases we need to know the best ways to support our kids. Dr. Wallerstein articulated not just the “bad news” but also the message that parents can help their children make the best of difficult times and grow into strong, capable adults.

Another icon of childhood gone

Posted by on 08 May 2012 | Tagged as: children, education, passages, Uncategorized

Maurice Sendak gave voice to young children’s feelings. Why do kids have tantrums? Because life isn’t fair and they can’t argue with it or control it.

Where the Wild Things Are gave us an outlet for anger.

Little Bear which he illustrated gave us a reflection of love and growing up. I think the stories by Elsa Holmelund Minarik were sweet, but the pictures I examined while the story was read gave it life and helped me make the connections I needed.

Chicken Soup with Rice was not only the title of a fun book that reviewed the months, it became the comfort food of choice when I was little and feeling poorly.

It would be a poor classroom library (at any level) that didn’t have at least one of his books on hand for inspiration.

Here is the BBC article on Mr. Sendak, who passed away in the wee hours this morning.

And a link to’s page on Maurice Sendak, with a short bio and bibliography.

I know from the many stories on the radio and in the news that Mr. Sendak said he was an author and artist, not a “children’s book author and illustrator.” I would say that he was one of the most powerful generators of imagery and meaning for people of my generation (the first to grow up with his work) and for my children. Yes, a true artist, who understood the power of pen and brush.

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