Three things — 3.15.18

Things I’m loving this week

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Washington Post academic rate. Did you know that if you are a student, teacher, or staff member at a school and have an .edu email address, you can get WaPo digital access for just $5 a month?  Sometimes I just don’t have the strength to read it, but… at least it’s there if I want to learn about 45’s latest antics/temper tantrums, and I can feel good about supporting journalism.


RUNNING!!! I ran this week…I ran this week…I ran this week. No, my leg/back is not totally healed, but…it feels good to do even a couple slow miles.

My living room.It’s really coming together now. We just need to finish the baseboard trim and find an area rug. We’re also kicking around the idea of hanging to TV and building some built-ins.

Things I’m not loving this week

This ridiculous military parade….for a draft dodger. What a complete waste of money.

Betsy Devos. Do they make them any dumber than this woman? And, she’s in charge of education in our country. God help us all. I wish she’d just stay home and throw ridiculous dinner parties and fundraisers like all the other rich, white old women.

Rug shopping. In general, I hate shopping, but area rug shopping has been particularly annoying as none of the local stores sell area rugs larger than 8×10. On a brighter note, I found lots of perfect throw pillows at At Home.

Worth Reading — 3.14.18

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Marc and Angel Hack Life: One Insanely Popular Reason So Many of Us Are Unhappy

“So, instead of dreaming about what you want right now, first ask yourself: ‘What am I willing to give up to get it?'”

Discover Magazine: Scientists Link Arctic Heat and Northeast Blizzards

Reader’s Digest: Stories that Prove How Meaningful Thank You Notes Can Be (I’m annoyed by thank yous for gifts…because I think they are just obligatory and unnecessary if you already said thank you in person, but…I’m a fan of thank-yous for others things. In fact, I’m writing a bunch of them today to all the people I went on the ASB trip with.)

Ms. Magazine: How Billionaires Are Hijacking our Democracy and How we Can fight Them

“(They) are deeply ideological figures who truly believe that their ideas are better for the rest of us than what we would choose for ourselves. And they just have a deep disdain for the broader public and for people’s use of collective power. They have an archly entrepreneurial vision of society and of the good life. They celebrate people who are corporate leaders or technology innovators, and scorn people who do not do the kind of work that is recognized and highly valued in the market. They look down on low wage workers of all kinds, and also fail to recognize the care work that women have done historically, that hasn’t been accorded a market value but that is absolutely essential to our society and our collective well-being and the reproduction of our families and our civilization. They just take that work for granted.”

Some things I wrote this month:

Just Write 157 ~ The 9/11 Terrorists Succeeded in Dividing Us

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I’m sitting outside of the Blasco library on Lake Erie’s bayfront waiting to pick up the girls from their teen book club meeting. I had planned on going in, but a March Nor’easter is blowing in and it is nasty as hell outside—blowing wind and wet snow—and the parking lot is awfully far from the building and I only have a hoodie on because when I left the house and hour ago it was raining.

Welcome to Erie. Don’t like the weather? Wait an hour, it will change.

So I sit in my car in the parking lot, listening to a podcast, facing the 9/11 Memorial in front of the library. The memorial includes part of a steel beam from one of the World Trade Centers. It’s lit up and next to it is a large American flag that whips violently in the wind.

I think about that morning. I was home on maternity leave, caring for a newborn Kelly.  I remember thinking “My God, what kind of a world did I just bring a child into?”

I think about how life changed after 9/11. I think about the flight I’m taking that Saturday and how I need to make sure all liquids in my carry-on are less than 3 oz., how I’ll have to remove my boots and put them on the security conveyor belt with my laptop, my camera, my phone, the contents of my pockets, my purse, my jacket before I step into a full-body scanner.

It’s inconvenient and annoying and they’ve made flying a positively miserable experience (especially if you’re leaving the country), but it was born of a tragedy. The loss of 2,997 people.

Meanwhile, there have been nearly 150 school shootings in the U.S. since 2013, according to Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and nothing has been done to stop or prevent the slaughters (primarily by angry young white men) from continuing.

I wonder where the next one will be.  I hope it won’t be in Erie.

Our country is deeply divided on the gun issue, but then, it’s deeply divided in general these days.

Staring at that 9/11 Memorial it occurs to me that those terrorists got exactly what they wanted: To destroy the United States of America. To scare us. To divide us. To make us afraid. To test our democracy.

9/11 gave rise to Fox News…and the angry white man….and the wave of teenagers using a semiautomatic rifle to blow away children to….to…what? Make a point? Make others hurt, too? Take a bunch of people with you? Payback for perceived slights? Make it on the front page? Bring violent video games to life? Give them a reason to really hate you?

I don’t know…I just don’t know.

Sixteen years after 9/11, I’m still wondering what kind of a world I brought my daughters into.


About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. You just start writing.

“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”

Three things — 3.8.18

Three things I’m loving this week

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The weather in Texas. I’m in Texas as an adviser on the Behrend Alternative Spring Break trip to help with hurricane damage in the greater Houston area. Yesterday was cold, but sure better than Erie, which I hear is expecting 8-10 inches today. Oi vey. Going to be awful hard to go back there.

BBQ. You can’t beat authentic Texas BBQ brisket…..well, unless you to go Nashville’s Hog Heaven — that’s literally the best BBQ I’ve ever had in my life.  Anyway….above is my dinner from last night — brisket, coleslaw and cajun-seasoned veggies.

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Science Olympiad. I was sorry to miss this at Behrend while I was away, but Lauren and her partner, Brynn, placed in two events — Rocks and Minerals and the Mousetrap Vehicle (which is nothing short of a miracle she even finished) and their high school team placed third overall, earning them a spot in the state championship at Juanita College in a month.

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Writing at 5 a.m. On this ASB trip, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have not had more than 45 minutes to myself the entire week so far. There is no free time (there is, but…I have meetings I have to attend or kids that need to go to Walmart, etc.). I learned on the first day that if I was going to blog while I was on the trip, I was going to have to get up early to do it. 6 a.m. wasn’t even cutting it because other advisors would wake up and start talking to me while I was trying to write. So, 5 a.m. it was. It was a lovely silent, and mostly solo two hours that reminded me how much I love and prefer to write in the early morning hours.

Things I’m not loving

I have no time for negativity right now!

Worth Reading — 3.7.18

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

No Sidebar: Why Time in Nature Leads to a Happier, Healthier Lifestyle (This is why I run/walk outdoors in any weather. I honestly crave nature.)

Outside Magazine: I Own 8 Guns and I Still Hate the NRA

“After taking millions of dollars from oil and gas industry donors, the NRA lobbied heavily for the Wilderness and Roadless Recreation Act, between 2010 and 2012. The bill would have opened up public lands wilderness areas to road construction, and oil and gas extraction, threatening wildlife populations, and the habitats they rely on. It was universally opposed by hunting and conservation groups, yet the NRA called the hunters opposing its passage “extremist groups. “

Mark’s Daily Apple: 14 Ways to Hack an Ice Cube Tray

Washington Post: The Trump Administration is in an Unethical League of it’s Own. (I would LOVE to hear all you GOP-lovers defend this shit.)

Follow me to the Lone Star State


Try breathing hot, humid Texas air through one of these puppies, with sweat collecting inside. Ugh!

I’m in Houston, Texas, this week as an adviser on the Alternative Spring Break trip with 24 students from Penn State Behrend who are spending their week off helping with hurricane cleanup in Texas (Yes, the cleanup continues, especially in less affluent areas!).

Read more about my adventures here:

Future days will be posted at the Behrend Blog.