Friday, November 27, 2009

It's Not About The Stuffing?

So Jeff, who is a serious history geek, was explaining to me yesterday that the Pilgrims and Indians sitting down for dinner together on the first Thanksgiving was really all about the fact that the one Indian tribe was about to be overrun by another tribe and the first tribe pretended to want to be friends with the Pilgrims because the Pilgrims had guns.

I promised not to be cynical about Thanksgiving yesterday, but seriously, how can we celebrate something like that? With pie and stuffing?

Still, it made me think about interdependence and how much I like it.

I have a friend at school who is from Indonesia and isn't very good at English, but a whiz with math, so we've built what I hope will be a lifelong friendship based on him getting me through graduate-level microeconomics class, and me telling him when his grammar is wrong. And we just learned that last year after the ice storm in the Berkshires, when we bailed and went to the Cape to wait a week for the power to come on, a neighbor with a front-loader (which is some kind of big construction vehicle) moved a great big tree from the middle of our driveway for us. And if the cats catch mice in our cellar, I have Jeff who will remove the mouse remains for me, since I can't bring myself to deal with it. In return, I show him love and gratitude.

So I think the Indians might have just gone ahead and told the Pilgrims that they needed to borrow a cup of gunpowder, and maybe the Pilgrims didn't need to steal the Indian's corn - and I'm really sorry about the smallpox in the blankets. Let's just acknowledge that we need one another and do our best to be trustworthy about it, o.k.? That's something worth giving thanks for.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Susan just wrote a post on her blog that is kinda un-Susan-like, but also very Susan-like in that it was honest and a little raw and tender. It gave me permission to let myself be... whatever I am right now.

Things are a bit itchy these days. It's nice to be not working and making a giant leap towards my Master's degree, but scary because I'm not working and not ready for this giant leap. If I commit to trying to graduate in May, I've got a ton of work to do - research and stuff - that I wasn't ready for just yet. And I don't like not working. Not just because I'm not making money (although I like money) but I have for so long wrapped up my identity in what I do for a living, that I'm a bit lost.

This has all made things a bit strained in the household...

When other people express their opinion of my situation, I'm uncomfortable, whatever the opinion is. School friends have been incredibly supportive and tell me how wonderful this all is - a gift I've been given to just be able to be a student for a while. Others tell me how sorry they are that this horrible thing has happened and ask if I'm o.k. Either way, I don't want to hear it. Should I be grieving or celebrating? I just can't make the suit fit.

I find myself just reaching for the wisdom that comes from living the life I've lived (actually we've lived, Jeff and I) - that things we didn't plan for happen, sometimes the result of mistakes or just circumstance - but every time we've had to work through something hard, we've come out better on the other side. I'm learning to trust that now.

It all really works out the way it's supposed to. I'm choosing to make peace with it. At least for now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Arrived home in the Berkshires yesterday after a beautifully warm weekend on the Cape. When you get those in November, you have to pay full attention, right?

Our life has been a bit tumultuous of late and, I was feeling all "the world should have bigger things to do than mess with me" when we went for a walk on Coast Guard beach on Sunday. There was a part of the shore that got our particular attention - this inlet (nope - not up on my shore words or anything...) close to Nauset Marsh where the waves come in from two different directions and sometimes the ones on the left take over the ones on the right, sometimes the other way around. But I caught sight of a few that seemed to join together in the middle and created one peaceful, harmonious wave that rode into the land as one. In my particular frame of mind, I thought how powerful it could be if people could figure out a way to do that. No one has to overpower the other, no one needs to win - just blend the energy and resources to make one special thing. Pretty profound, huh?

Then on the way out of town Monday morning, I made our ritual stop at Dunkin' Donuts in Harwich for a coffee for the road. When I got inside, there were three people behind the counter all admiring a baby (maybe a year old, just a little less) sitting on the counter and who the counter people presented with a chocolate munchkin. All of us - those working, standing in line, mother, celebrated with the baby and her joy over this munchkin - we clapped and smiled and cheered her good fortune. I love what a small town the Cape is in November, and chance to see just a moment of simple happiness was a bright spot in the day.

Back to the leaf-covered back yard and didn't mind a bit raking and appreciating the gift of a near-70 degree weather to put the yard to bed for the winter.