• Learning

    “Thanks an awful lot.”

    There have already been previews and reviews, a deep-dive segment on Studio 1A, and a bump in book sales, but there’s a lot more than nostalgic value for me in the movie “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Based…

  • Learning

    Marching Forth

    Our granddaughter is staying with R. and me this weekend as her parents attend a wedding away, and the three of us have been excited about our bonus time together since we first planned it back in the early fall.…

  • Learning

    The Heart of the Matter

    I recognize that my general befuddlement over football’s appeal and ignorance at its rules—borne of my abhorrence with its frequent damage to bodies and brains and its personal violence—makes me an outlier of an American and an especially weird Texan.…

  • Learning

    Witness

    Outrage in response to horror—to brutal, fatal abuses of power—is a justifiable, even a useful response if it results in a full measure of attempted personal justice and systemic change. But I don’t think having a nation of folks running…

  • Learning

    Finding Our Words and Voices

    The earliest library I have a clear memory of was the school library in Wrangell, Alaska, where I first learned to read while my classmates were out screaming and running around on the (cold and rainy) playground or in the…

  • Learning

    Exercises of the Heart

    I’ve been deeply aware lately of the flexing required of my mother/sister/daughter heart. As my life continues to accumulate annual holidays, it arranges them in comparison and contrast to each other, one November and December layering onto the others, the…

  • Learning

    Spanning the Divides

    Two people’s stories have inspired me this week because of their persisting against the odds; their expanding the possibilities for all of us; their receiving recognition for their efforts and the quality of their productivity. Their work and their attitudes…

  • Learning

    Civics

    I’ve wrestled with writing this since I started yesterday, which was after the Supreme Court’s (insert any number of superlative and negative adjectives here _________) decision. Among other suggestions for access to inspiration and the construction of content, the writing…

  • Learning

    10,000 Hours

    R. and I have lived on this cul de sac, in the house we’re in now, since November of 2015, the longest we’ve lived in one home since we married in July of 1990. One of the South Asian families…

  • Learning

    Art as Teacher

    My mind today is almost entirely on tomorrow’s solidarity walk. (Please join us at noon, if you’d like—the details are in the post/email on March 5.) I first learned about the transformative power of art—both in the making and sharing…

  • Learning

    Black History Month MasterClass

    February is Black History Month here in the U.S., and R. and I have been further learning from a 10-hour, 47-minute course divided into 54 lessons, “Black History, Black Freedom, and Black Love: Lessons from Influential Black Voices,” which MasterClass…

  • Learning

    Learning through the Cracks

    The thunder that woke me this morning sounded more like earth being dynamited—a deep rumble, followed by a throaty explosion, then the smack of catapulted rock hitting hard ground—than it did like sky being electrified. Even as I write this,…

  • Learning

    Emergent Patterns

    Nature offered up a rich supply of wonders during a walk earlier this week, among which was this enormous spider, its web spun downwind of a seeding bush—the seeds themselves the shape of spiders, designed to loft through the air,…

  • Learning

    Elemental

    From my perspective and experience, our lives are enmeshed and entwined with others’ lives, from those we love the most and live with the most closely, to those in widening circles of connectivity, finally to all of us residents on…

  • Learning

    Where We Were

    You know that tomorrow is that day, 20 years since the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Pennsylvanian attacks, and we’ve been reminded of them everywhere, all this week: the Story Corps voices resonating, attaching to our hearts; the endless images…

  • Learning

    Her Country; Her Words

    An entry in the United Nation’s Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)’s Poetry for Peace Contest in the fall of 2011, from Sajia Alaha Ahrar, a young female Afghan poet and activist studying then in the U.S.—the longing in her voice…

  • Learning

    Witness Walking

    Although I’m glad that I opened a bit of space in my writing calendar last month, I’m happy to be returning to this Friday rhythm of welcoming you to the weekend! Thank you for giving me the time, and for…

  • Learning

    Stages

    Two women this week—one friend already beloved and the other someone I’m just getting to know—spoke to me in entirely different and unrelated settings of major disruptions in their lives and families of origin when they were nine years old…

  • Learning

    Growth Mindset

    I remember feeling an enormous degree of embarrassment and shame over the marks on one particular report card when I was a kid. I was in kindergarten, and even though most of the checked boxes were in the column of…

  • Learning

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

    It seems absurd, really, when you’ve grown up in Alaska and lived in Chicago—among other northern and wind-chilled places—to feel that ten days of a hard freeze seem interminable and that they’re shutting down normal life, even “normal” pandemic quarantine…

  • Learning

    Temperature Scales

    My husband and I were in Brisbane, Australia, for a few months near the end of 2017. Although he worked in a downtown office full-time Monday through Friday, we used the weekends to explore as much of the east coast…

  • Learning

    “Somehow we do it”

    It wasn’t the only time I was the target of bullying by that particular group of boys, and it wasn’t the worst incident over the years, but that summer day (was I 10 years old? 11?), as I rode my…

  • Learning

    A New Year!

    Blessings for 2021! I love all the new beginnings: the calendar New Year, my birthday (conveniently located—for the pacing it allows—in May), the start of an academic year (August/September, here in the U.S.), including new books and unmarked notepaper, maybe…

  • Learning

    Marsupial Mammals

    In addition to being (clearly) a placental mammal, I may have a latent marsupial gene—if not in actual fact, then certainly in sensibility. I carried all three of my children well after their overdue gestations; we strained the weight limit…

  • Learning

    What a Sledgehammer Taught Me

    Immediately after I graduated from college, I joined my general contractor dad and one of my sisters on a construction site in Atlanta. My dad and his team of us two young women renovated a space at the edge of…

  • Learning

    “When someone shows you who they are . . .

    In the words of Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Today, Friday, October 30, is the last day for early voting in Texas; Tuesday, November 3, is election day. It’s not complicated:…

  • Learning

    Gen Hope

    In the past few years, there has been an anti-bullying effort in schools. When I was a substitute teacher—often assigned to stand in for the instructional aides who work one-on-one with special education students when they’re integrated into a classroom—I…

  • Learning

    Our People

    There’s a lot I don’t understand about what it means to live someone else’s life—especially when differences include a divergence of hundreds of years of social history—but I’m committed to continue listening and learning.  One small thing I do know…

  • Learning

    Counting to 100

    Sometimes I feel as though I’m still coloring with the big crayons.  Big crayons, that come just five to a box, that give you the most limited spectrum—nothing like magenta or cerulean blue or chartreuse, the names of which I…