Archive for the ‘family’ Category


Emerging Beauty: Find beauty in your world. It’s there. Post 8: Darwin and Claire

March 26, 2020
black graphing paper

Photo by Bich Tran on

My “adopted” niece came up with a catalog of things to do while quarantined during her PhD program in Toronto. It’s an ambitious list, as bold goals can be.

Claire’s List:

Writing an opinion piece on “why capitalism threatens the integrity of the scientific endeavor”

Walking and listening to a book on tape (going with Proust for now…)

Secret meetings with friends in park

Making my way through some revolutionary symphonies


Scouting out parks through the city and upon arriving, lie in the grass and think

Write poetry

Care for more plants

Phone calls

online meetings, etc.

Listing things I’m thankful for




At first, without a daily structure, Claire struggled to implement her list. She’s a type-A personality and on the go 100% of the time. Stuck in quarantine has been a challenge. However, in true Claire form, she researched various methods and found a daily schedule used by Charles Darwin.

For those of you struggling to find a structure for your day, try the Claire-Charles Darwin method. Darwin published 19 books and changed the course of science, so his schedule worked well for him. I particularly like the time for naps.

Darwin’s Schedule

Morning walk


8-9:30: work

9:30-10:30: break to read and write

10:30- 12:00: work

noon- lunch and a walk

afternoon- more letter writing


4-5:30 work

dinner with family

We may be quarantined for some time, and while it’s great to laze around in pajamas, eat ice-cream from the container, and snuggle with your pets; it’s also great to have a ‘goals’ list. I’m guessing we all know the truth of goals- they sometimes get left behind and half-finished. An outline for success just might be your missing link. Whether it’s a Darwin schedule or one of your own, developing structure to your daily life can help.

Stay well. Find emerging beauty.



Road Trip Stories in the South

April 8, 2019


Last week, I had a most excellent adventure. First, I met my oldest and closest friends in New Orleans and then road-tripped with my 88-year-old mom through the South. Both pieces were extraordinary.

My friends never disappoint. Sure, we’ve grown older; our legs more tired and our wrinkles much deeper. We’ve raised kids and dogs and worked and suffered. We’ve become strong, independent women who know a thing or two, and yet, have plenty to learn. We’re a complicated crew. Because of my gals, I’ve learned that relationships take effort. I’ve also learned, the best ones are worth the investment.

As lives change, friendships shift; but once together, my friends and I remember. We remember big hair, Bon Jovi, shoulder pads, banana bike seats, pool parties, and Schaeffer Light. Now, we roll eyes, remembering the jocks and the burn-outs, the teachers and the coaches. We remember laughing. We remember predators. We remember love. Mostly, we remember our stories. Together; eating and drinking and dancing like fools, we make more moments to remember. Stories.

After my friends, dispersed, Mom arrived. Because her grandma was a suffragist and taught her to demand social justice, Mom taught me the same. We headed for Montgomery where much of our nation’s horrific history is recorded. We sat with ghosts. We studied at the Legacy Center, listening to stories of incarceration, injustice, lynching, and death. As white women raised in America, like it or not, we’ve benefited from slavery’s dark legacy and the Jim Crow laws that followed. After many museums, we sat with ourselves; sorry and ashamed. Mom and I had long talks about racism, social injustice, and the history that got us here. We committed ourselves to listen better. Act more. And to speak about what we learned; sharing both the stories that were told and the stories that disappeared.

By the end of my adventure, I realized, not for the first time, how quickly life moves; how tragic and joyful it can be. In the time we are given, relationships and stories transform life, making it either better or worse.


For me, I hope to create a life where I live a good story, I write a good story, and I listen to all the stories I can.