Wednesday, May 21, 2014


A photo of Soph and me on my last day of being 40.  We were waiting for her voice teacher to arrive and we were being goofy and enjoying the beautiful day.

I turned 41 yesterday.  It feels great and one of my goals is to blog more, so may my life abound with pithy observations!

Monday, May 20, 2013


Today I am 40.  It feels really good and as I walked up and down our street tonight I realized part of that good feeling is because I appreciated so much of what I received today, rather than expected.  Buddhism teaches that when we cease expecting we have all things, but it is very hard to function with others and to look at ourselves without expectations.  We expect people to treat us a certain way and we expect ourselves to be at a certain place in our lives at given points.  The obvious outcome is disappointment but the other outcome is that we miss the truly wonderful things that are taking place - in our own lives and through our interactions with others, when we are only looking for the thing we expect.  I am very grateful for all the beauty I experienced today.

I expect 40 is going to be really good.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bring Back the Librarians

Shortly after starting first grade, Sophie came home and declared she wanted to be a school librarian. The librarian at her school in Logan, Utah had made a wonderfully positive influence on our daughter by simply sharing her own love of books. It also helped that the teachers and other staff members of the school were constantly talking about the books they read, were reading and looked forward to reading. Books were obviously valued. For the next 4 years Sophie would visit her school library every week, sometimes more than once, and she would come home with books that ranged in subjects as great as Sophie's interests.

When we moved to Jackson, Michigan in 2006 I was a bit disappointed to realize Sophie's new school did not have an appointed librarian. It was and is a wonderful school and there are parents and staff members who volunteer to keep the library going, so children may still check out books. It takes a village. However, I still think it conveys a message to our children, and not a positive message, when schools do not have a school librarian. For those who need data, there is research to support the claim that students in schools with librarians perform better on tests which measure reading ability.

The reality is that schools have cut school librarian positions due to cuts in funding. This is a very, very sad reality and it is demonstrative of that which we value in our society. Cuts in other areas: school nurses, social workers, paraprofessionals, art teachers, also negatively affect our students. Some schools opt to keep nurses, some have kept librarians; much of the decisions are based on what the community deems important.

SO! Here's the good news... The superintendent of Jackson Public Schools does see the value in school librarians and is looking for ways to fund the return of school librarians, but of course he has just a few other things on his plate. If you are reading this and have any ideas of how to fund the return of librarians in the schools, please, please leave a comment or email me:

Wouldn't it be wonderful to see our libraries thriving again under the direction of persons whose own love of books is so contagious it affects our children?

A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up children without surrounding them with books.... Children learn to read being in the presence of books.
— Horace MANN

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Would Jesus Be Insured?

Someone on Facebook posted a clip from the GOP Tea Party Debate, specifically Ron Paul's response to the question, "Who pays for the uninsured, when faced with health issues, in our country?" The person who posted it was concerned with the cheering that occurred when it was proposed that the congressman was saying the patient should just die. The cheering came from members of the audience, not the congressman himself, but his response did cause me to question something:

Ron Paul spoke of working in San Antonio (a city in which I lived, though only a year), and the fact that nearby churches often helped those in need. This seems like a great thing, but I wonder why it is that so many people who are willing to give money to their churches are unwilling to give money to help everyone in their country.

I understand that by giving to one's church, people feel they have a say in where their money is distributed. I also understand that the money goes toward pastors' salaries, church building upkeep, etc. I know that many churches house wonderful programs to benefit all members of their communities: free meals, shelters, clothing programs, meetings for those with addictions and more. These are great things.

What I don't understand is why the resistance to give to programs that can help all members of our society, regardless of religious affiliation? How can we not want all persons to receive health care? How can we not understand that not every person is born under equal circumstances? Ok, what I really find baffling (so please explain it to me) is having a belief in Jesus Christ as the savior, but feeling only certain people should be allowed access to adequate care. If Jesus lived today, he would probably be uninsured and told to stop being so darn lazy and spend less time philosophizing and more time actually working!

So go ahead and give to your church, choose where some of your money goes, but also give to your society so that all persons may be taken care of, because I'm pretty sure that's what the message of Jesus Christ was all about.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Free to Be??

On our drive to Colorado from Logan, Utah the A-S family listened to one of my favorite albums, (ok, we have the cd, but it will always be an album to me) "Free to Be You and Me." Many references have been made to this production and its influence upon our generation, because it reinforced for us, from an early age, that men and women are equal. Girls and boys could want and have dolls, women and men could drive taxis and Atalanta was no princess of the past, waiting in her tower to be rescued by some man, she was the master of her own destiny.

As we listened and sang along with the cd I thought about what would be added to a modern day version: Mommies Can Marry Mommies and Daddies Can Marry Daddies. Ah, wouldn't that be wonderful! Just as we learned as children that "maybe the problem is in trying to tell just what someone is by what she does well," our children could learn that there is no problem in marrying the person you love based on the person, not just their sex. Afterall, if Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda were right in their touted observations that there really are no differences between boys and girls, then why would a person's sex alone determine who they fall in love with? Wouldn't assuming that men should only marry women and women should only marry men actually negate the message of the soundtrack of our youth?

If there were a land in which we were all free to be you and me, wouldn't that include the freedom to marry the person we choose? Right now there is no freedom in this area, because freedom does not exist at all if only certain people can choose, while others cannot. Why, as a generation who embraced the message of equality between the sexes, are we not forcing the message of equality in marriage?

Next year will mark the 40 year anniversary of "Free to Be You and Me." It seems to be past time Marlo Thomas put out an added poem, to be read by Carol Channing, that tells the little girls and little boys that when they grow up, if they want to be happy, and "have all the days of your lives to seem sunny as summer weather," they should marry the person they love and allow the same for others!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Admit Inferiority
This clip about Finland's education system makes me wonder, again, why our education system in the United States is so lacking. Obviously there is a system that can be duplicated, a system that is doing things right, so why am I not hearing more about school districts in the U.S. following Finland's example?

Ah, yes, the citizens of Finland support the wonderful education system in their country, they are participants, they expect teachers to be professionals and they treat them as such. How are teachers commonly viewed in our own country?

If your child attends a public school in the United States, can you even imagine 3 teachers in their classroom as shown in Finland? A teacher designated to help struggling students? Amazing.

I pulled up this article to research Finland's school system a bit more: and what struck me is the time of day students get out, between 12 pm and 2 pm. They are not spending crazy, long hours at school in a formal learning environment. If you read the article, you will see the attendants are available at the playground after school, since most parents do work full-time. Children are still being children, playing, engaging, enthusiastic about the process of learning.

Is this Utopia? Obviously not, because it is happening, it is real, it can be done. Come on United States, admit you have a system that is severely lacking, throw up your hands, look to Finland and make our education system better for our children right now!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My brain is dead - I have no words to accurately convey my love for the movie Chocolat. I saw it when it first came out in the theaters and I remember leaving feeling completely inspired - and desiring really good chocolates.

Sophie watched it for the first time yesterday and we talked about the role an outsider can play in a community in which certain roles and rules are very clearly established. We didn't intend to be as nomadic as we've been, in fact, Steve didn't want his child to move around as much as he did as a kid, but that's how it goes and fortunately, Sophie has adopted a great attitude about it, saying, "I have friends in Utah and I have friends here!" (Friends in Texas and Ann Arbor, too!)

So here we are, outsiders in a community in which I was told one has to live 25 years before they can say they are "from" it. I've been an outsider before and I realize that, like the main character in Chocolat, I kind of like being the outsider, it gives one a lot of leeway. At this stage in my life though, I am tired of moving and setting up a new home, so I think we'll just have to be outsiders here for 24 years, then maybe we'll move on....