Writing Postcards


Howdy_From_Chicago_Postcard_FOn a warm morning in Chicago, I’m walking around Logan Square—north of the city—looking for a blue postal box.

I have a handful of postcards to send to friends.

It’s getting harder to find postcards, perhaps because there’s less demand in the era of email and texting.

Still, you can manage to find a revolving postcard rack at tourist shops in Chicago, New York, London and Paris, but outside the cities, pickings are slim.

My grandmother kept all the postcards my mother wrote from trips to Moscow, Brussels, Abu Dhabi, Rome, Cairo, Kuwait, Tokyo and Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Whether she just landed in Miami to buy a Volkswagen bus and camp across the United States, or she nipped over to Bruges to make crayon and paper-rubbings of ancient brass plaques, my mother sent her mama a postcard. Continue reading

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The Music Man, The Library & The Osage

What happens when you visit New Jersey


I can’t get The Music Man songs out of my head.

Posters for a community performance of the 1957 musical hang in store windows throughout the little berg where we’re vacationing.

We walk to town a few times a day from our hotel on the beach: it takes about 7 minutes.

First stop is breakfast, where I order a coffee with a shot of espresso and Honey grabs a cappuccino.

New Jersey knows muffins, and we split a fresh, hot banana-nut muffin when the café opens at 8 a.m.

We’re starving by then because we wake early and take a stroll on the boardwalk.

Other early-risers are biking on one-speed cruisers or jogging past us.

Most denizens are browned from the sun and look retirement-aged.

After breakfast Honey heads off to visit his father and I wait outside the Library on the steps until it opens at 10 a.m.

And the songs begin anew in my noggin. Continue reading

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Keeping Secrets

gourd vine

I have a quote worth sharing.

The writer pits scientists against journalists, and says, without apology:

The people who run the media are humanities graduates with little understanding of science, who wear their ignorance as a badge of honor.

The writer, Dr. Ben Goldacre, of the blog, Bad Science, goes on:

Secretly, deep down, perhaps they resent the fact that they have denied themselves access to the most significant developments in the history of Western thought from the past two hundred years. There is an attack implicit in all media coverage of science–in their choice of stories, and the way they cover them. The media create a parody of science.

Goldacre’s provocative perspective—that journalists have a preference for “stupid stories”–suggests a polarization of science and journalism.

His view is shared by many.

Problem is, scientists may withhold information, fearing misquotes or mistakes.

And some scientists in our country have been threatened that they’ll lose their jobs if they share facts and data about climate change.

Withholding information has had a long tradition in Indian Country, built on a load of mistrust. Continue reading

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Gossip: Who’s Heaving the Rocks?

dante image

When gossip spreads like wildfire, who is responsible?

I’ve been thinking about gossip at an individual level and at a grander, social level, encouraged by our Zen teacher to consider how gossip might harm.

Last night we took the light rail home from an outdoor concert and I marveled at the tattoos on the woman next to us: a heart-shaped tattoo on the flesh of her left scapula, mirrored by another crimson image on the right.

I bit my tongue, trying to resist a snarky comment.

The woman sat diagonally across the seat from her adult daughter, each bowing their heads to tap on their cell-phones.

Their heads bobbed in unison as the train lurched.

Then the tattooed woman propped up one foot on the seat opposite, revealing another host of leg art.

And then she placed her other foot on the seat. Continue reading

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This little piggy


Roast beef toe is having a hellish week.

I inherited my mother’s flat feet.

And I can’t blame my Indian ancestors.

My Rez relatives have the most beautiful, most slim feet you have ever seen.

It is as if Samuel Morton’s pronouncements of race spark a cinder of vérité. In 1839 he wrote:

Notwithstanding the general custom of going barefoot, the American Indians possess remarkably small feet, and their hands have the same delicate conformation.

But Morton misunderstood: not all Indians are alike.

First daughter (Wak-o-apa) and I have sad, sore pancake feet.

We’d win the Daisy Duck-foot look-a-like contest in a heartbeat.

I blame my French and English forebears.

Doctors tried to change my gait by prescribing old-lady shoes and giving me foot exercises when I was a lass. Continue reading

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raccoon-drawingThe Little Thief

There’s a raccoon roaming our neighborhood wearing a brassiere like ear muffs.

That’s the story I tell myself.

My bra’s gone missing.

I washed my bra and hung it outside to dry.

It was tethered to a tall metal post—an artwork—on our back deck.

When I went to retrieve it this morning it wasn’t there.

Did I take it down last night?

I checked all the usual places: drawers, closets and hooks.

No bra.

And this one is new, with fresh elastic that raises, tightens and heightens in all the right places.

I hope that raccoon enjoys his new headgear.


20 July 2017

Image from How to Draw a Raccoon at http://www.yedraw.com/how-to-draw-a-raccoon.html#.WXCvcoTysY0



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Tempting Eve

venus-mars-closeup_customUnplugged and Critical

We spent the weekend unplugged at a mindfulness workshop.

That meant no cell phones and no computers at the Zen Monastery that’s tucked in the Oregon woods.

No movies, no TV, no Netflix, no New York Times, no Facebook, no blog, no email and no hanky-panky.

Turns out the staff placed us in a room with a single bed, so I moved into the women’s dorm and my sweetheart took the single.

Just meditation, talking, walking, sleeping and reading.

And we ate: wholesome grains and greens, and we observed silent times throughout the day.

Purpose of the retreat was to examine our inner critic. Continue reading

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