In the 1870s, Julia Ward Howe attempted to start a Mother’s Day for Peace. Anna Jarvis started Mother’s Day as a memorial for her mother, and did not appreciate its commercialization. My grandmother, a “right on woman,” completely agreed, but ate the candy anyway. Here is my grandmother, Anna Zuckerman, accepting an award for her service to the Susan B. Anthony branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.     We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth aRead More →

Fifty years, twenty five sober, my birthday is near, and here I am, all full of reflection. Continuing the theme of influential books, and these books are all about power… The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is like the Bible; I have internalized its principles, incorporating them into my breath. When I say “like the Bible,” I mean that I haven’t read the Big Book the way most Christians haven’t read the Bible: not often enough, not fully enough, and without as much mindfulness. The book is too historically specific and cumbersome to make it all the way through, so I cherry pick. Nonetheless, itRead More →

Ten things that made me happy today: 1. My niece (I broke the people law wherein gratitudes cannot include people, but this is actually a happiness list) 2. A nice dinner at Bistro Byronz for a good cause – “Dining Out for Life”; 3. I got away with an excellent joke on my boss’s boss’s boss; 4.My boss’s boss’s boss didn’t fire me for said excellent joke; 5. My house is clean; 6. Celestial Seasonings’ Gingerbread Spice Tea is out of production and off season, but I still have some left over; 7. I took a minute last week to re-string my twenty+ year oldRead More →

At work we must turn in our portfolios for annual review once again. Portfolios can be used for authentic reflection and self-growth, rather than for the devolved purpose of bean counting. We are all aware of its dysfunction at my job, and yet we still plod through the ritual while we tinker with repairing it. Around the time we submitted portfolios, I found a picture of a quirky chia pet. Chia pets are about wild and quirky growth, after all. This hearty beast makes me laugh. I want to be this fellow, covered in clover, perplexed and amused at the same time, aslant but stillRead More →

If you look up practice in the dictionary, you get lots of definitions. You will see there that the word derives from the Greek and Latin sense of “practical work.” Gratitude as a practice is indeed practical work. It takes work. It takes practice. As such, it connotes the many meanings of practice found in the dictionary. Think about gratitude as you read these definitions, because it might change the way you understand gratitude. It did for me, or at least it reminded me of some old lessons. Gratitude is a proficiency that must be practiced. It is a habit, a custom, a customary performance,Read More →

Forgetting to post gratitudes makes me forget to be grateful. 1. The BRCC community for fortitude in the face of uncertainty. 2. The Boomerangs of Baton Rouge for planting the seeds of cosmopolitan life in this city. 3. The LGBT activists for persistence and vision. 4. Dialogue on Race Louisiana for forging ahead. 5. The LSU Performance Studies folks for unwavering spirit and creativity. 6. BRPN for progressing in spite of it all. 7. The Unitarian Church for providing an early haven, however brief. 8. The women I worked with at the LSU Women’s Center. You built something wonderful and sustainable, and I am honoredRead More →

It is news to no one that our homes, like our bodies, can be metaphors for our psyches. My deep need to keep and remodel my home after my divorce came from having been dis-lodged so many times  in my life. I counted my moves and I have averaged once per 16 months until I moved into my current residence, where I dwell. The Occupy Movement coincided with my divorce. At the time, I began to ponder the concept of ontological homelessness and how our country’s housing crisis has caused a literal and figurative state of homelessness which has deep implications for our cultural psyche.Read More →

Today, I had the joy of witnessing BRCC’s commencement ceremony. I had more fun at today’s ceremony than at most any other I’ve attended. There have been some momentous ones, where I’ve hooded advisees, watched favorite cohorts graduate, or even graduated myself, but this one was particularly joyous. Today, I got to sit on the stage and watch the students as they shook hands with the Chancellor, pose for the photographer, and clutch their diploma folder. The ceremonies at USF were impersonal, even with students I taught. Today the sheer aura of success radiated off the students’ faces. You can see that aura from theRead More →

(In no particular order) 1. Droid I bought my Droid in November 2009 and it has changed how I interact with people, sometime for the worse, but usually for the better. On the one hand, even though I’m a technophile, I really don’t like the 24/7 culture of new communication technology. I used my first cell phone only to call out and for emergencies. On the other, the convenience and entertainment value of a smart phone make me wonder why I went so long without one. I still have a bad habit of leaving my ringer off, missing calls, and forgetting all about the phone’sRead More →