Simplest of Things, Lost and Found

Last night, I made dinner!
One might think, what with a pandemic on and all, that I'd be doing this a lot.  One would be wrong.  In the beginning of this...oh, words escape me...let's go with DEBACLE...I did alright with the whole planning meals and shopping for them and cooking them steps.  All that has fallen off dramatically.
This is not to say we are not eating. In fact, in a stroke of genius brought on by laziness (perhaps the true mother of invention), I roped my daughters into each cooking once a week, and they are mostly doing it, and doing it incredibly well. So we are at least eating good meals two to three times a week, plus our usual once a week take out.  Add in some leftovers, and we're easily covered for about five nights a week.  Cereal, toast, and grazing take us the rest of the way, so what do they even need me for, right?
Well, after several weeks of shirking all cooking duties, I must admit, I was feeling a little...shirky.  So, I waded back into the rotat…

Three Minutes

My friend Janelle texted me the other day: "Do you have three minutes?" I did not, at that precise moment, because I was driving.
When I got to my destination – a soccer field, of course, where Little T was experiencing the joy of "pod" training (thank you COVID) – I texted Janelle to let her know that I now had three minutes.  Next, she asked if I was in a quiet place.  Yes, I told her, for once, I was in a quiet place, not surrounded by my boisterous, busy family.
I was in for a treat. She sent me a link to this video and told me to listen:

Three minutes of sheer beauty and joy! Such a treat, so welcomed in this time of chaos and anxiety.
I have listened to it several times since and shared it with friends and family.  But in addition to bringing me real joy, this brief three-minute video has also taught me some uncomfortable truths about myself that are not at all joyful.  
The first time I listened to it, I couldn't focus on it. I immediately loved it, to be sur…


In my work, we talk a lot about the importance of listening. I write about it in grant proposals; we talk about it in team meetings; we hold it up as a core organizational value. We know that the act of listening is essential to the processes of teaching and learning: transformative education isn't possible without it.  
As a parent, I know the importance of listening. Easily 80% of all family arguments are, at their crux, essentially about someone not listening to someone else. Mom gets mad because a kid didn't listen to her instructions and therefore didn't do a chore right for the fifth or fiftieth time in a row (hypothetically speaking); siblings fight with each other because one of them ignores the other's wishes or rights.  The wise observer can see that if these people would stop and truly listen to each other, the tension would ease, hurt feelings would heal, love and kindness would have space to grow.
Right now in our country, listening is more important than ev…

Sign of the Times

Sometimes, simply walking out the front door can be overwhelming.

Say, like, on day #66 of Shelter in Place which also happens to be day #TooMany of a godforsaken migraine that has had me hiding in a darkened room like a gothy troll.

As in: today.  I haven't been outside in two days because sunlight has been so hard to take.  But the love of my life has been pouring himself into our garden these days and I wanted to support him, so I ventured out cautiously to see his handiwork.  I was not prepared for the many ways in which the world would bombard me.

First, it was just too bright out there, and all that glorious light hurt my head and eyes. While I expected the pain, I did not expect the anger -- which I definitely felt, sharp and sudden.  I was instantly furious because I love the outdoors and do not like it causing me pain and discomfort.  So there I was, walking down my front path with a little bit of rage.

Second, Rick has done so much work! Seeing our beautiful garden emerge…

Music Love

Music is a fascinating teacher.

The more I play this fiddle, and the more music I listen to, the more fascinated I become.  Today, as I was listening to music while riding my exercise bike, I felt like I was falling into a little musical portal. I was so captivated by sound, it felt like catching a glimpse of what improvisation or composing might be like, what understanding the language of music must be like.

It amazes me that a musician knows exactly what sound she will hear if she plays a specific note.  And not as in, that right there is B flat, so I will hear a B flat.  As in, she knows the sound, can hear it in her head, before she plays it.  Maybe I'll get there someday.

Also on my mind lately?  The fact that scales are miraculous. A scale is like an autopilot coach for my fingers: do enough of them, and my fingers seem to start doing them perfectly on their own.  I am in love with music.  Playing it, listening to it, thinking about it, having it in the world.

For most of t…

We Left Resentment At the Lake

Yesterday, Tallulah and I went for a walk around Lake Merritt. We left at 8am, which apparently is excruciatingly early for a 13-year old person. The day before, she asked me if we could go for a hike. This being remarkable on many levels – not least of which the fact that she can barely tolerate my presence these days – I decided it had to happen. Then, by the time it did, she was just not that into me anymore. Ah, the difference a few short hours can make in the mother-daughter relationship.

I had to coax her with avocado toast and throw in a stop for hot chocolate just to get her out of bed. And before she would peel back the covers, she wanted to know where we were going. I guess she had to weigh the destination against her comfy pillow and warm blankets.  I had been researching places we could go that I wasn't already tired of and that were still open during SIP -- most of the places I thought of were closed.  Then I thought of Lake Merritt, which I've loved on my walks …

Blowing Stuff Up, Blowing Stuff Open

Driving with my daughter the other day, she said: "I really don't want to become a grown-up."

And in my mind, I answered her: Ahhh, daughter.  I hear you. This pandemic. The tragedy everywhere around us. Trump at his Trumpiest. The appalling behavior of other grown-ups and especially those in power. The shooting in Nova Scotia. The stories you hear on the news and in your parents' discussions about the state of the world.  It's all just too much, isn't it?

My heart clenched when she said those words, as my mind unspooled in a stream of second-guessing.  Maybe we shouldn't watch Rachel every night and bring that daily dose of downer and despair into our home.  And we definitely need to be checking in with the kids more and seeing how they are processing the news about the coronavirus and everything else going wrong around the world.  What kind of support does this child need? What do they all need?  What have I missed, what have I not noticed, while I'…