A Much Needed Reminder

My althea shrubs are free of leaves, trees dormant, the sky gray, chilly wind gusts, and showers fall creating small pools of cold acid water. A soy vanilla candle, a Christmas gift received perhaps last year or the year before, is lit and flickering in my dark home. Ane Brun, a newly discovered singer, is quietly playing on our new tall black speakers. My youngest kitty is sitting with me, on constant alert, snuggled on our gray warm fuzzy blanket. I’m anxiously waiting for the sound of the horn by UPS, and a small box with my husband’s gift. And with a clunk at my door, cat diving for cover, the gift is here! Rad! It’s a good one too! 7 days until the reveal!

My joints are hot and swollen and I have skin sensitivity near my right elbow, left shoulder, and right knee. It’s a strange and painful sensation, like my skin is burnt, raw, or I have no skin. And ohhhh I am tired. I’ll take some vegan cheese with that please. I’m wearing a horsey sweatshirt, my mother bought for me years ago, designed by Laurel Burch. If you don’t know of her she was and still is incredibly inspiring person/artist. She had osteoporosis from birth had suffered over a hundred bone fractures before her early death at 61. Despite the pain she endured, she always painted with bright colors and whimsical animals. This beautiful sweatshirt serves as a reminder to stay strong and positive. Laurel did not paint her sadness and fear as to not focus on it.

I have been a bit of a hermit these days. I find resolve and peace in the quiet of my days spent mostly alone. However, I had a wonderful visit with two of the kindest friends I have ever had yesterday afternoon/evening. One friend was recently fired, after years of abuse, from the same job where my husband and I were also fired, together, at the same time, and on the same day. She’s the 9th person to be terminated this school year, which just began in August. She is an amazing person and teacher. Though it’s awful to be unemployed in this climate, she has been abused in ways you could not imagine and I am so relieved she is free.

It’s easy to get caught up with thinking of the terrible people in this world. As I have said, my prior employer was my first face-to-face encounter with true evil. I have allocated too much thought on such negativity. However, with my friends escaping and time I know my thoughts will scale back and cease.

I generally avoid television news however, the tragedy in Connecticut has consumed me with incredible sorrow. As a teacher, I feel it touched me on a deeper level than other acts of violence. I also have time, for the first time in my adult life to sit and ponder the awfulness of the world. It turns out this is a terrible and unproductive way to spend time. Laurel Burch would have never done that.

I am now making effort to stop focusing on the sad. In my isolated world, I desperately try to avoid contributing to anything insensitive, selfish, and negative in the world. Being around my family and friends remind me of the kindness that exists. Also, there is an awful lot of kindness that I have yet to learn but, I do know it is there.

On this gloomy and stormy day, I have attempted to re-shift my focus onto what is good. The rain is good for the earth, animals, plants, and us. I have a beautiful roof over my head, with healthy and safe animals, and this nifty device to reach out to you. Thank you Laurel, family, and friends for the much needed reminder.



  1. Laurel would be so happy to read your blog. I am so glad she can inspire you! She has touched our lives and I will forever be grateful to her beautiful soul. You are also an inspiration too many and I am so thankful for your kind and beautiful spirit! Tomorrow the sun will shine and the rain will have washed some of the sadness away. Love you! Your are in my heart and soul!

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