Friday, May 31, 2013

Not so Guilty Pleasure

I love soap operas ... all kinds. I am not in any way ashamed to admit it. LOVE SOAP OPERAS -- in the daytime, at night, in other languages, etc.

On the one hand, they say "family," to me.  At my house, we called them The Stories, and we were all intimately involved in the lives of those on the shows. 

On the other hand, they can be super entertaining and help you get your mind off your own troubles.

In my grief, first from my brother's loss, and now from my sister's loss,  I have sought refuge in the familiar of these stories.  You can go there and be outraged at the ridiculousness, the same old tired story that the people on the stories fall for ... and you can be comforted with what you know will be true in the twists and turns of their lives. 

Their suffering and their heartaches are predictable but no less consequential.  Sometimes these pretend and reliable emotions are the only ones I can handle right now.

How did I get to this story ... well, Jeanne Cooper died on May 8th.  That was my brother's birthday, and my nephew's birthday, and I had my parents here... and somehow I missed it.  I read at least the headlines of about five newspapers daily, and I missed it.  Y & R is not my favorite, but it is almost all we have left of CBS daytime, and Jeanne Cooper and her character were not my favorites; yet, I have kept up with her health quite well for the past few years... somehow knowing when she was too ill to be in the storyline even though I wasn't even watching the show.

About a week after she died, I caught something on the internet about her death, and I actually felt guilty for having missed the immediate notices of her passing.  I know it's silly ... but I did.  Then I read that Y & R and CBS were going to do a show for her.

This is the proper way to say goodbye to a person who has been with viewers for over 40 years.  I am so pleased that the producers saw fit to honor Jeanne Cooper in this way.  She deserves it, but so do the fans that have supported the show for years.  As one of the remaining daytime soaps, I am sure it is hard to gauge how audiences and advertisers will react to a break in the story line.  But this was a winner.

Even if you don't like soap operas, have never watched Y & R or any other soap opera, don't know Ms. Cooper's story, her character's storyline (etc.), you should take a look at the tribute they did for her.

I know a little too much about the desire to honor someone's life and the difficulty of putting something together quickly while in the tumult of the emotions.  They really did a beautiful job.

May she rest in peace and have a tequila party with my sister and brother.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I have been contemplating how to come back to the blog ... of course, I have been stashing things in the drafts folder.  But without a good sense for what is appropriate to share anymore.  This is still the place where difficult feelings come for revelation, but I still don't want to have a grief blog.  So, what to do?

If I am not completely off (and that is entirely possible after the long afternoon/evening of travel and late arrival and then working at 6:30a this morning) then this is Thursday.  So, it seems appropriate enough to return with a quote.

"After the dead are buried, after the physical pain of grief has become a permanent wound in the soul, then comes the transcendent and common bond of human suffering, and with that comes forgiveness, and with forgiveness comes love." ~ Andre Dubus  

I have been reading a daily affirmation email that I signed up for at the mortuary site... yes, that is where I live right now.

And this was the piece I found when I went looking for some courage to leave my house this afternoon ... work, work and more work. I imagine it will help, but it hasn't really kept the monsters from peeking from beneath the bed today.

I am not at forgiveness; I am no where near transcendence.  But I am learning a little too much about human suffering -- it is deeper and more layered than I could have ever imagined when I was fifteen and desperately sad.  I have been spending a little too much time with my inner teenager, but she offers such stalwart protection, it is hard to ask her to leave or to walk away from her.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

NRU Perspective Edition & note on absence

This piece on dairy farmers and their travails with the immigration police offers a perspective on enforcement that right-wing diatribes never seem to get to addressing:  who will work the agricultural jobs when we block the undocumented from getting those jobs?  This piece, like many others that have addressed the fake argument that the unemployed will take these jobs, makes the point that not only are the jobs difficult to fill but that this is an industry that is producing other jobs that will also be jeopardized.  That is, blocking the hiring of some undocumented to the work on the farms, jeopardizes the yogurt manufacturing jobs and so on ... the it's the economy, stupid.  That we are having this enforcement discussion in the first place is so ridiculous...but there you have it.

Hoping to catch this documentary on Wonder Woman on PBS's POV.  I have to admit I would go to see a blockbuster with a woman as the main character even though I haven't had any interest in the comic book male movies. I am a fan of the Wonder Woman series, I am sure I watched every one of them. I remember looking forward to it each week -- but I have always been sad about Lynda Carter not wanting to own her heritage.

This a lovely tribute to a very funny man who like all humans had his troubles.  RIP Jonathon Winters, thank you for sharing the bright spots and the dark ones, too.

I started this collection a while ago ... and couldn't really bring myself add to it.  But I just read this piece (open on my computer for a while) and realized that it needs to be included here. In the collecting and piecing together the photos for the funerals, I have felt the incompleteness of not including the stories ... but we are too close to these stories right now.

There have been many other stories that I have heard and read when I have thought ... oh, I should share that.  But my brain has not been able to hold that thought long enough to actually share anything.

I am off for a little recharge, perhaps in the resting and reviving my brain will remember how to hold one thought long enough to follow through.  I will be back by the end of May.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

lessons and a hard place

Never try to learn more from an
experience than there is in it.
There are some vivid and painful
experiences that have little to teach us.
-D. Sutter

I am stuck between the notion that there should be something to learn from tragedy, and the idea that living through each part of life is the lesson in itself.

It's not comfortable.

I am trying to be hopeful, but mostly I am just trying to upright.

Perhaps I will figure out how to fall down and still feel strong.

You gain strength, courage and confidence
by every experience in which you really 
stop to look fear in the face.
You are able to say to yourself,
"I lived through this horror.
I can take the next thing that comes along."
You must do the thing 
you think you cannot do.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ugh, education edition

I am struggling in deciding if I describe this article as "Michelle Rhee & Wal-Mart: Perfect Together" or "Another Reason to Boycott Wal-Mart." Truthfully, there is nothing that would get me into a Wal-Mart.  Nothing.  And there is something poetically right about the association of these two entities.  And, UGH.

Friday, May 10, 2013

one day at a time...

I have been trying to write ... even to think about what to write about how I feel.  Turns out I am not able to put words to it, yet.

I woke to this story on StoryCorps.  It breaks my heart, but it is one of the issues that makes me so sad for my nieces and nephews.  Of course, we are all here for them ... and will happily and lovingly fill this role in their lives.  But it just seems so unfair that my brother and sister will not know their grandchildren, will not talk their children through happy and challenging times, will not be able to hold their children close in times of trouble.

That's as close as I get to how I feel right now.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Poetry Thursday, hope

Everything in the universe 
is within you.
Ask all from yourself.

Arno, May 2012, courtesy A. R. C.

Monday, May 06, 2013

NRU, mostly education, not necessarily snarky

I enjoyed this piece on playing music for little ones during lunch hour in the cafeteria... but the radio title was a little more than confusing since music at lunch hardly seems like silent lunch.  Glad they decided to use a different title for the online version.

Looking forward to see what Isiah Thomas will do with his Masters in Ed.   I am particularly interested in his views on the exploitation of young Black men in college sports. It is an issue that needs a champion.

I am collecting some articles for my dissertation, so bear with me as I post them here. I am not necessarily endorsing the piece, just need to be able to access it in future.

This one is about low performance in schools and how that makes some students *not college ready* as if we knew what that means.  Personally, I think there are definitely skills lacking in many college students; however, if they can't get up to speed in college, then where will they? Where might they get college ready?

Pretty sure I have already saved this one in a NRU, but just in case: The El Paso *cheating* scandal that sent a supt to jail.

A *review* of the core curriculum, again... still no one says anything really of use, but there you have it.  In a tangentially connected piece, we see the nostalgia (real or imagined) that proposed change engenders.  I think the comments to these stories tell the real story about how we *remember* our education/schooling and what we deem important about it now.

Thirty years after A Nation at Risk, where are we?

Friday, May 03, 2013


So, what how do you answer the question: How are you? when you are facing down these circumstances:
-I lost my brother seven months ago
-I lost my sister a week ago
-There are wildfires threatening two uncles who refuse to evacuate
-Several cousins are "helping" the uncles who won't evacuate effectively putting themselves also in danger

I am not even going to count the rest of the stress form the end of the semester as it seems negligible, even preferable, at this moment.

I'm fine.

I could say that.

I was even acting like I was fine for the past three days.

Never mind that the tears are only a thought away.

Never mind that getting out of bed is a chore.

Yeah... I'm fine alright.

This morning I missed my flight because in my fineness I thought my plane left at 7:15a instead of arriving at 7:15am.

Yeah, very fine, alright.

Thank goodness for Southwest and the many, many flights.

Currently in Las Vegas, waiting for the flight to Los Angeles.

Slight detour, but not arriving much later than I thought I was supposed to arrive.

I'm fine.

At least I will be someday.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Trying to find perspective

Moon over Santa Cruz, 2007

Perhaps the wisdom lies 
in engaging the life 
you have been given
as fully and courageously
as possible and
not letting go
until you find 
the unknown blessing
that is is
-R. N. Remen

When we lost my brother seven months ago, my sister insisted on including in the slide show this random squirrel as well as few other random pictures.  These are the random photos I am including in her slide show.   May she rest in peace.
Random Squirrel
Random Iceberg, Alaska, 2008
Random dolphins

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Lemons/Lemonade and Sour Grapes

I love stories that show folks making lemonade out of lemons.

Perhaps I have such an affinity for them because I feel largely incapable of doing that.

I won't claim to be looking at this situation and thinking *clearly* or *objectively* about it.

All I see is devastation.  I can't imagine tomorrow or the next day.  It all feels the same -- I want to throw up.  I want to crawl in a closet and never come out. 

I wish it made me want to be healthier, or nicer, or more optimistic.

I wish I could say I am thinking about making each moment count, living like each day were your last.


I am just trying to make it through the hours.

I am praying that when it's time to sleep I will be able to close my eyes and rest.

So far, it is not happening much.

Life looks grim even when the sun is shining.

Perhaps there is a better day coming, but not if I have to wish it into being.