Professor Sharon

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March 2nd, 2015 · Lesson Learned, travel

In 2008, part of our sabbatical trip was a several day visit to Morocco, visiting a few cities, villages and an overnight ride into the dessert.

Lesson learned:  people are people wherever they live, needing shelter and food and love; heights are only as scarey as you let them be; travel opens the mind, the heart and the soul; new food is fun to try; and there’s no place like home.

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Doing and being hope

February 27th, 2015 · Children, Quote of the Week

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic.  It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.  If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.  If we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however a small way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future.  The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”   Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral On a Moving Train

This morning, at the Center School, I was witness to an uncountable number of young people doing and being magnificent, spinning this world on its way in hope.  Therein lies our everyday victories against the cruelty.  Well done!

Cuba

 

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The past, grandparents, and moving onto new adventures!

February 25th, 2015 · Musings, time

My birthday in 1961(?)

My birthday in 1961(?)

My birthday in either 1961 or 1960.  My family always put one more candle than your age on the cake for “good luck.”   Next to me sits one of my younger brothers, Arthur, born in 1958, being a little kid helping me blow out the candles!  Now that I look at him, it’s probably 1961 because he does look older than two, doesn’t he?

Behind me are my father’s sister and mother: Alicia and Mary Donlon

I’m wearing my favorite sweater of all time, given to me by my godparents, Mary and Jim Hildebrandt.  They were so very good to me.  Any new clothes I ever owned were gifts from them, and how I did love this sweater.  And, being the third daughter with only younger brothers, the gift of new clothes were a delight.  I always wore the hand me downs of my two sisters.  It was what was done – then and still – by smart parents with multiple children or friends with children.  It doesn’t mean I liked it any though!

Like me, that brother is grown up now, though I know little about him.  His personal life had some more downs than ups for a while, and we became estranged in 2013 when our mother died.  We had a rocky road over the years, with some wonderful times during his first marriage when he lived a couple of hours away and our children were little. Maybe it will smooth out again, but I’m not holding my breath anymore.

Recently I did the math and realized that I lived for this long with each of my siblings: 11 years, 13 years, 14 years, and 7 years.  Did you ever stop to think about how long you actually have lived with some of the people who seem to have the most effect on your life?  I find the influence we so often allow those years to have on ourselves so fascinating.

I care for the few memories I have of my childhood, and I’ve decided to work on writing more of them.  I do want to make sense of some of them, enjoy others, and look the other way once and for all about some other memories. That’s why I’m not holding my breath anymore, not working hard to repair the road and make it passable, not caring which town on that road we live on in relationship to each other.

Let it go” says the popular song from a recent children’s movie!  Life really does need more  letting it go!  Enjoy the memories you want to…and really, toss the rest away.  Who needs the bad stuff? At 61 years old, more candles than will fit on any cake, I want only the good…so I’m throwing out the junk.  I’m not repairing the road, making it smooth, I’m leaving it behind and choosing some other adventure! The adventure of life and the grandchildren in my own life!

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Beauty, mornings and Spain

February 23rd, 2015 · Lesson Learned, Musings

Lesson learned: Remember to remind yourself to appreciate what you do have…

One day on our recent trip to Portugal and Northern Spain with Odysseys Unlimited, we woke to a magnificent morning in the Spanish Prynees!  Literally – to overuse the word that does seem overused these days.  We’d arrived in night before to the Parador Bielsa.  It was dark, but we could tell from the small winding road the bus had to take at the end, and the smells and sounds of rushing water that the morning would bring a treat!  And, indeed it did!

After a delightful breakfast, we were off to a tour of Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, including a walk over a stone bridge built by man in the 6th century.

Some of our fellow travelers had been a bit ornery in the last day – perhaps they were getting homesick, or ill, or tired of being on the bus.

Whatever the reason, I found myself thinking and writing in my travel journal; “the attitude of privilege seems to be a tall wall with few windows for seeing others this morning.”   Here we were in likely one of the most loveliest places on earth – surely a rare place in terms of vegetation – and some were complaining.  I momentarily thought to agree with someone until I realized that here I was in Northern Spain in an amazing place on a sunny day with my beloved – what on earth was there to complain about?

I was deeply moved by the beauty of my surroundings and reflected on the thoughts and memories of the little girl I once was who dreamed of seeing the world one day.  Books in the library went home with me and transported my spirit.  Now I was in one of those places in body, mind and spirit…..I sighed and remembered to be deeply appreciative.

Beautiful morning...

Beautiful morning…

 

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Book Review: Tomato Rhapsody

February 22nd, 2015 · Books

“Tomato Rhapsody: A Fable of Love, Lust & Forbidden Fruit” Adam Schell

The most hysterical book I’ve read in years — great premise.  I think even telling the plot line of the book could ruin the great idea for the reader!  Who would pair the exiled Jews of Portugal and Spain to the invention of something eaten by so many Americans today?   I thought the last pages repetitious and the ending a bit abrupt, but other than that a great read!  I think if you are a Shakespearean scholar you might even find it funnier…  There’s lot of winter left to read it, or put it on your summer beach list.

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