Bruised but not beaten  

Coleman bike 2016

My steed

Truth is, I’m pretty active and coordinated (you may not believe this, after reading my blog).

My honey and I bicycle and walk, lift weights and stretch.

But we get skinned knees, loosened toenails and muscle aches.

My question: are the scrapes and cuts signs we are too active? Should we cut back?

I have a bruise the size of Africa on my right thigh.

I earned the continent-shaped injury when I fell off my bike.

At least the bike was stationary.

My bike was loaded on the right side (where I have a basket) and I was carrying home groceries.

I’ve polished my shopping skills so that I can stuff the basket to the brim and peddle home hands-free.

Problem is, I had to press the Walk Sign button in order to cross the street, and the burdened bike fell to the right, taking me with it.

The hematoma turned purple and blue, then yellow and green, and is now fading to brown.

I figured I could still wear my summer frock to a September wedding (it should cover the bruise), and as I was fussing in the mirror, I saw a bluish mark that colored my lower arm below the elbow. Continue reading

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Little Theories

Who are you?

Who are you? The caterpillar asks Alice.

 Identity Politics

If I could write a book on any topic I’d explore the ways that we invent our own realities.

I will call the book, “Little Theories.”

The reason?  When I look at headlines, talk to friends, or just sit down and watch the world, I see Little Theories at work.

Some writers embrace theories.

For example, journalists have begun to incorporate language developed by scholars, such as “agenda-setting,” “framing” and “gatekeeping.”

All these terms arose from research done by my buddies in journalism scholarship.

But theories are late to bloom in everyday parlance.

I wonder if there’s a sort of “anti-theory” bias by folks who hate to be categorized as a “type.”

Alas: we are subject to foibles that befall all muggles.

For example, I read an article in the New York Times today by a reporter who writes about how we are our worst enemy when it comes to behavioral change.

The writer, Tim Herrera, says our biases prevent us from planning for the future.

The reason is that we fail to see ourselves in the future.

Instead we see Jane Doe or Juanita Diaz: not our true self.

Our Future Self sees “that other person”—a representation of our future self who’s really not …. me.

Herrera says that when researchers have folks see images of themselves (their real selves) acting in the future-tense—saving for retirement or exercising for health—we are more likely to make a behavior change.

In other words, if we see our Today Self in a Future Self activity, we make more realistic judgments.

In an era of selfies, avatars and personal brands, being more realistic about who we really seems a good idea.

But who are you? Continue reading

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Media Literacy in London: A round of thanks

via Media Literacy in London: A round of thanks

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Is it Still Privilege if You Earn it?


community_chest_advance_to_go_card_by_jdwinkerman-d7kx1ltUnpacking the Invisible Knapsack 

I hear about privilege—particularly white privilege—but I confess: I don’t really know what people mean by privilege (spelled priviledge in Britain).

When I was a teenager my mum was strict, and we “lost our privileges” when we misbehaved.

Today a kid might be grounded, but, in my day, we were put on restriction.

And restriction means no privileges.

If this sounds penal, then you won’t be surprised to learn my mum was a deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County who worked in a women’s prison.

She was a strict parent who believed that a privilege wasn’t a right, but something you earned. Continue reading

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Never Stop Learning  


Assiniboine Nakoda woman

It takes guts to examine your failures, but that’s just what we need to do in order to learn and grow.

The take-away in a brief news item in today’s New York Times notes that taking time to consider why something went awry makes us better.

The writer, Oset Babür, draws quotes from researchers armed with evidence that talking helps guide us through analyzing our mistakes and helps us in the next encounter.

Makes sense.

I realized how I find the mantra, “Never Stop Learning,” so fundamental when I shared a meal recently with friends and relatives.

One of the guests at our table complained about figuring out his cell-phone, saying, “I’m glad I don’t need to learn anymore.”


It really does take guts to make yourself vulnerable to failure when you learn something new: especially about yourself.

The payback is huge: you gain confidence to confront your next calamity and you get better with each calorie spent on practice.

A new language? A new hobby? A new book?

When I feel overcome by fear of failure—which happens often—I remember the warrior culture of my ancestors, and think, OK:

Bring it on.


18 August 2018

Image of an Assiniboine warrior woman (link to website)









Posted in allmyrelations, american indian, failure, fear of failure, Indian, native american, native press, Native Science, nativescience | Tagged , | 2 Comments

When Words Harm



Photo from the Dallas Morning News

And Actions Matter

 In my profession (writing and researching words, and thinking about their meanings) we argue: words mean.

Exactly what they mean and how is worthy of conversation, especially because humans create the meanings we attach to words.

From a Buddhist perspective, we can get trapped in what we think words mean.

One story our Buddhist teacher relates is about words, and the lack of words.

And thus I’ve heard (our teacher begins), “A prince gave a priest a handsome sum to build a Buddhist temple.”

As the temple was being built, the prince became more and more vexed because he felt he hadn’t been thanked properly.

The prince finally confronted the priest about his vexation.

The priest explains the reward lies in the giving of the gift, and of the building of the temple: not in the spoken or unspoken words of thanks.

Actions speak loudly.

In this case, the actions resulted in the building of a temple, a symbol of gratitude far greater than words themselves.

That words—or their lack—carry meaning is vexing in itself.

Perhaps the prince thought the priest was disrespectful.

Perhaps the prince wanted something more for his cash.

For the priest, the gift was the moment of giving, rather than in the acknowledgment.

Clearly one’s intentions and desires don’t always square with the receiver.

Here’s a contemporary example.

Continue reading

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Kondo as a Verb

(We discovered a spoon with the Rous insignia)

No one enjoys moving, do they?

I am in awe that my mother moved us—sometimes once a year—when my step-father worked overseas on construction projects with oil companies.

We moved every year we lived in England because my parents had little advance warning when and where the next job would land us.

But the most memorable move was the first one, in the early 1960s, when we moved to Iran from the United States.

Before we departed my mum took all four of us girls to the store, outfitting us with saddle-shoes in a dozen sizes because she was told you couldn’t find decent shoes in Teheran.

She shipped only the essentials—boxes of shoes and her sewing machine—which took six months to arrive in the Middle East.

Before leaving the US, she put furniture and photographs in storage (reclaimed nearly three decades later) and gave away everything else, including toys and clothing.

I am awestruck because we seldom helped.

Continue reading

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