The word, disaster, comes from combining a latin word for stars (astrum) with a prefix (dis) which means a “lack of” or “distance from.”  Disasters, then, indicate our distance from our stars, sources, heat, primary orbit.

Blue bathing suit

My wife and daughter swim every day. People who swim every day have several bathing suits. Many bathing suits, even expensive ones, fall apart like kleenex if you swim in them all of the time. If you wash your bathing suits, they fall apart even faster. And if you dry them in a machine you don’t do yourself any favors. So if your wife and daughter swim every day, the entryway to your house might have a lot of bathing suits dangling from chairs or tossed over UPS boxes. And you might be familiar with special routines like welcoming your family home, carrying in the school backpacks, putting away the new groceries, and then deconstructing the swimming bag.  Bathing suits don’t easily reveal their defects. You don’t know that the blue Lands End bathing suit is falling apart until you are in the pool’s locker room. Barefoot on the tile floor. Looking over the sink into those big mirrors reflecting the gray walls, the yellow lockers, your wet hair, your pale skin. And then you notice some fabric bunching, some elastic stretching, some small obscenity that you worry may be noticed. But by whom? You pad out to the pool deck on the balls of your feet. Your community is here. A husband is connected to his wife by long earbud wires. They conclude their workout dancing to swing music in the shallow end. The daily inspirational quote on the whiteboard has three misspelled words. Who is counting? Who is clapping? A coach encourages the seasnakes into the water. Some of the five year olds are already submerged with kicking splashes.  My wife swims slow laps. My daughter is submerging and surfacing. They kick across the university pool. The sun fires the surface. The winds are pounding at the windows. Wet clumps of snow slide down the sunroof. The lifeguard has blown the whistle and called everyone out of the water because of the threat of a thunderstorm that is miles away. Miles from the thirty-odd swimmers called out of the blue that they know like no one else.

Praise: Nobel Prize for Literature

Now there’s a wall between us, somethin’ there’s been lost
I took too much for granted, I got my signals crossed
Just to think that it all began on an uneventful morn
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
But nothing really matters much, it’s doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm


Dogs and debates

No matter how much I trust them, sometimes I stand at the door worrying that the dogs have roamed too far, maybe fallen in a hole, maybe stirred up a wild thing. And then they come home, shimmying a little because the wind excited them and they know I’m at the door. And for some reason, those were my emotions during the third presidential debate last night. #hehastinybutdangerousclaws

Origins of Life


A young child is curious about the origins of life. She asks her mom and learns about Adam and Eve. She asks her dad and learns about evolution. Confused, she returns to her mother and says: “Dad said that we are evolved from monkeys. That’s not what you said.”

Her mother replies: “I was talking about my side of the family.”

Dear Abby

Learning a lot of history now that I’m situated in the bread basket of the Civil War. Found this yesterday in a May 7, 1776 letter from Abigail Adams to her hubby.

He had shown her a draft copy of The Declaration of Independence and her response throws some shade:

“I can not say that I think you very generous to the Ladies, for whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to Men, Emancipating all Nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over Wives. But you must remember that Arbitary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken — and notwithstanding all your wise Laws and Maxims we have it in our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our Masters, and without violence throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet.”