Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2008

A few irises~

I complimented a fellow teacher, a young, slim beautiful girl, on her blouse.

She gave me one of those "oh this old thing" comments and said she'd worn it because all her other tops were . . . and here she made some hand gestures around her belly.

I didn't understand at first. I thought maybe she was pregnant, or else feeling nauseous. But no.

She told me she was getting so fat. Told me! Not that I'm FAT fat, but compared to her I'm a mature tree and she's a sapling. I've got some rings on my trunk.

She left and Dave, another colleague, walked by. "She thinks she's fat!" I said shaking my head, although many of my friends felt that way when we were her age. We see pictures of our younger selves and ask, "Why did I think I was fat then? I looked good."

Dave and I got talking about our perceptions of ourselves and how much energy we waste obsessing over minor issues, energy that could be better spent in more productive ways.

"We s…

When will they ever learn?

Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States, is observed on the last Monday in May. It commemorates U.S. men and women who died in military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War and known as Decoration Day, after World War I it was expanded to include casualties of any war or military action.

My words get caught in my throat. There is nothing I can say that will return the dead, and sadly, nothing that will prevent more from dying. If I could give comfort to mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters who've lost someone to war, I would, but is that possible? I would not be comforted. Or would I take heart in knowing that my loved one would be remembered? That would not be enough for me, I know. My loved ones have been spared, but I feel the collective sorrow. When will it ever end?

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve …


When women run out of conversation before their husbands do, and the men wipe tears from the corners of their eyes, something powerful is happening.

Bruce and I attended the reunion of former Marines who graduated from The Basic School at Quantico in 1967 before shipping off to the steamy jungles of Viet Nam. It provided a catharsis for long buried feelings.

It had been forty-one years since the newly commissioned officers were sent to face the stench, the sights, and sounds that the best of training couldn't fully prepare them for. Stateside fear was only a shadow compared to the terror of what lay camouflaged ready to spring.

But they'd been trained well, these Marines. Fear would get them killed, so they ignored it, stuffed it deep inside where it hardened like a concrete plug keeping so many other feelings trapped inside as well. Survival trumped emotion. Decisions were made by the mind, not the heart.

It had been forty-one years since most of these men had seen one another. H…


Quantico Marine Corps Base is home of the Officer Candidate School my husband attended back when the Viet Nam War still raged.

With an eight-hour drive ahead of us, if all goes perfectly, we'll be in Virginia at 1500 today.

On Thursday, my husband will join hundreds of former Marines for the 41st reunion of those who graduated from Officer Candidate School at Quantico Marine Corp Base. Most haven't communicated, let alone seen each other, since 1967.
Email has been flying for nearly a year as the committee worked to make the reunion possible. And now with the event schedule in hand, we're off.

Only it's not called a schedule. It's a sit rep. Actually, Sit Rep it says on the top sheet.

"A what?"

"A situation report," Bruce says.

The three-day agenda is printed in military time. That's as bad as the metric system. So I draw myself a normal clock, and jot the military hours beside the numbers on the normal person's clock. I will need…

The scent of a mother~

I woke up early this Mother's Day filled with snips of memories involving my mother. She'd filled my last sleeping moments like a fragrance . . . Emeraude was hers.

She lives some distance away in an assisted living home. Her memory is slippery, but her essential essence remains.

Memories are elusive, I've discovered, even when not subject to the ravages of time. Mine, it seems, remembers fragments, and delivers only snapshots for my scrapbook of the past.

My mother is lying on the couch when I arrive home from school. The boxy black and white television set is on, "rabbit ears" spread eagled on top. She's watching "Afternoon Playhouse."

"Change out of your school clothes," she tells me after I lean down and she's kissed me.

My mother pinions me on my back. She rests a knee on the couch and leans closer. I see a lace-edged hankie in her hand and she tells me to open wider.

"I just want to see how loose it is," she says.

But I know s…

Share a pint~ ABC Wednesday: P is for pint~

Sharing a pint at lunchtime is common in some circles, but not something I typically do during my school lunch period. But today I did.

Massachusetts General Hospital's mobile blood van pulled into the school parking lot 8 a.m. and stayed until to 2 p.m.

Four phlebotomists worked steadily, drawing a pint from each of us who mounted the steps to enter the air-conditioned vehicle. We gave blood straight from the heart, both literally and figuratively.

Giving blood isn't a big deal. Really.

It's painless after the initial prick in the crook of your arm. The needle is taped in place and connected to plastic tubing that ends in a plastic pouch. When the pouch is full-- a pint equals a pound-- you're disconnected.

After the intake screening, it takes no longer than fifteen minutes to lose a pound. Then you get a drink and cookies.

That's it.

Still, a pint is no small amount. Take a look at 16 ounces of water. Two cups. It looks like a lot. While healthy adults can lose that vol…

The heart of an athlete~

Sports. Competition, blood, sweat, and tears, hopes and dreams make up a college athlete's daily life. Athletes want to win. They train hard. They want the best record. It's a matter of pride. A game is for winning.

But sometimes the heart supercedes the ego as in the case of the softball game played at Western Oregon College where senior Sara Tucholsky hit a homerun-- her first ever.

She bolted down the baseline and rounded first and saw the ball sail over the fence. She slowed to jog the bases to home plate, collect her high fives and bask in some glory.

But Sara knew she had missed first base and when she turned to touch the bag , she wrenched her knee and fell to the ground curled in pain.

Rules. They can seem heartless.

The rules that define college softball say there is no home run until home plate is reached. Sara would be called out if her teammates touch her. A pinch runner could go in, but the hit would become a single.

Sara remained on the ground. Two teammates remained o…