Monday, June 26, 2017

How Walking Benefits the Brain

Until recently, the blood supply to the brain (cerebral blood flow or CBF) was thought to be involuntarily regulated by the body and relatively unaffected by changes in the blood pressure caused by exercise or exertion. The NMHU research team and others previously found that the foot’s impact during running (4–5 G-forces) caused significant impact-related retrograde (backward-flowing) waves through the arteries that sync with the heart rate and stride rate to dynamically regulate blood circulation to the brain.

In the current study, the research team used non-invasive ultrasound to measure internal carotid artery blood velocity waves and arterial diameters to calculate hemispheric CBF to both sides of the brain of 12 healthy young adults during standing upright rest and steady walking (1 meter/second). The researchers found that though there is lighter foot impact associated with walking compared with running, walking still produces larger pressure waves in the body that significantly increase blood flow to the brain. While the effects of walking on CBF were less dramatic than those caused by running, they were greater than the effects seen during cycling, which involves no foot impact at all.

“New data now strongly suggest that brain blood flow is very dynamic and depends directly on cyclic aortic pressures that interact with retrograde pressure pulses from foot impacts,” the researchers wrote. “There is a continuum of hemodynamic effects on human brain blood flow within pedaling, walking and running. Speculatively, these activities may optimize brain perfusion, function, and overall sense of wellbeing during exercise.”


Patrick Kennedy Interview

What’s your biggest mood challenge?
Managing stress. Stress triggers initially the mania of wanting to do everything and not being happy unless I get all these tasks completed. That then triggers the depression, which makes me feel as if I should just give up doing anything.

What’s your best coping strategy?
Working my 12-step program. Peer support, mindfulness, spirituality, and the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. Exercise is also a key component to my maintaining balance. I alternate between running and swimming. I’m an addict, so I like to go the full distance—I’ll run 5 miles a day every other day, or I’ll swim a mile, mile and a half.

What’s up with One Mind, your initiative to promote research into brain-based disorders?

We’re working to develop standard protocols and processes so we can maximize the science being done across a multitude of academic and health centers. We’re also developing a process whereby research accrues to the benefit of many brain illnesses. For example, what we are learning about post-traumatic stress disorder will be beneficial to people with anxiety disorders, with other mood disorders, because the mechanisms that guide PTSD symptoms are common to a whole host of diagnoses. We all share the same brain.

When are you happiest?
When I’m with my family—reading to my toddler son, Owen, or holding baby Nora, or playing with my daughter Harper. It’s a joy to watch all the little idiosyncrasies of our children and to laugh about it with my amazing wife, Amy. I love mental health advocacy for similar reasons. I lose myself in it, I’m moved by it, and I feel like I have something to give back.


Mood-Cycle Brain

What if you become numb?
Sometimes I have so many feelings that I become numb and immobilized.
My escape from this predicament is free expression in music. No tunes, no chords. Just notes, and lines.


For me writing, and walking are paths through confusion. They are fundamentally linear, one word, one step after another. Sometimes my head is so noisy that I need to run or swim before I can write. I require the physical element to navigate my mood-cycle brain. Writing also helps me develop my consciousness.

Long notes on the horn are a bit like lap swimming. Making sounds and breathing seem to make a direct line to the brain. It's healing even if the mood remains sorrow. When I am blue it lasts for three months. I call it 'my other house'. I have to move in and get comfortable. Swimming is a godsend because it lifts me a 16th of an inch and that is a life saver. It also grounds me and disperses anxiety and stress which I often don't realize I am carrying until it's gone. That might be part of what lifts me a sixteenth of an inch, unloading my stress in the pool.

When I am flying it also lasts 3 months. I need to move in and get comfortable. I need to swim or run to focus and ground myself but this time it's from the other side of the spectrum. I need to make an effort to SLOW DOWN so I can keep up with myself and find clarity and focus.

It is lonely because it is a fascinating journey that I can only describe. But maybe that is true for everyone. Maybe this is what makes us want to communicate.

I pray that I can remain a physically healthy person to remain mentally healthy.

The creative mood-cycle brain types have a lot to teach each other.

Become an expert at understanding your mood cycle. It will help you and those around you as well as folks just starting their journey of understanding.

Pearl S. Buck

To take each day as a separate page, to be read carefully, savoring all of the details, this is best for me, I think.
― Pearl S. Buck, The Eternal Wonder

Pearl S. Buck

I will spend the rest of my life assembling my own mind and my own soul. I will take care of my body carefully, not that it may any more please a man, but because it houses me and therefore I am dependent upon it.
― Pearl S. Buck, Pavilion of Women

Find the Center

You must set forth and find the center of your interest. You are a creator, but you must find your interest and then dedicate yourself to that interest—not to the act of creativity. Merely to want to create will make it impossible for you to do so. You must find an interest greater than yourself—a love, perhaps—and then the power to create will set you on fire.
― Pearl S. Buck, The Eternal Wonder

Pearl S. Buck

Nothing in life is as good as the marriage of true minds between man and woman. As good? It is life itself.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

If you start to revise before you've reached the end, you're likely to begin dawdling with the revisions and putting off the difficult task of writing.
― Pearl S. Buck

Of Men and Women

A man is educated and turned out to work. But a woman is educated — and turned out to grass.
― Pearl S. Buck, Of Men and Women

We Learn

We learn as much from sorrow as from joy, as much from illness as from health, from handicap as from advantage—and indeed perhaps more.
― Pearl S. Buck, The Child Who Never Grew: A Memoir

This Life

I have enough for this life. If there is no other life, then this one has been enough to make it worth being born, myself a human being.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

We can't stop time, but it will sometimes stand still for love.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

He saw on the paper a picture of a man, white-skinned, who hung upon a crosspiece of wood. The man was without clothes except for a bit about his loins, and to all appearances he was dead, since his head drooped upon his shoulder and his eyes were closed above his bearded lips. Wang Lung looked at the pictured man in horror and with increasing interest.
― Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth

Pearl S. Buck

It is the highest reward when a writer hears when a book written in doubt and solitude, has reached a human heart with a deeper meaning than even the writer had been aware of, as she wrote. It is something extra, the unexpected return.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

Self-expression must pass into communication for its fulfillment.
― Pearl S. Buck


“Wandering is never waste, dear boy,' he said. 'While you wander you will find much to wonder about, and wonder is the first step to creation.”
― Pearl S. Buck, The Eternal Wonder

Pearl S. Buck

Somehow I had learned from Thoreau, who doubtless learned it from Confucius, that if a man comes to do his own good for you, then must you flee that man and save yourself.
― Pearl S. Buck, Fighting Angel

Joy in Work

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word- excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
― Pearl S. Buck

One Word

There is one word that can be the guide for your life- it is the word reciprocity.
― Pearl S. Buck, Peony

To Read

To know how to read is to light a lamp in the mind, to release the soul from prison, to open a gate to the universe. from Pavilion of Women
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

Nothing is menial where there is love.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

“You are free when you gain back yourself,” Madame Wu said. “You can be as free within these walls as you could be in the whole world. And how could you be free if, however far you wander, you still carry inside yourself the constant thought of him? See where you belong in the stream of life. Let it flow through you, cool and strong. Do not dam it with your two hands, lest he break the dam and so escape you. Let him go free, and you will be free.”
― Pearl S. Buck, Pavilion of Women: A Novel of Life in the Women's Quarters

Pearl S. Buck

“You are right,” he had said. “Love is not the word. No one can love his neighbor. Say, rather, ‘Know thy neighbor as thyself.” That is, comprehend his hardships and understand his position, deal with his faults as gently as with your own. Do not judge him where you do not judge yourself. Madame, this is the meaning of the word love."
― Pearl S. Buck, Pavilion of Women: A Novel of Life in the Women's Quarters

The Shadow

Race prejudice is not only a shadow over the colored — it is a shadow over all of us, and the shadow is darkest over those who feel it least and allow its evil effects to go on.
― Pearl S. Buck, What America Means To Me

America's Medieval Women

An intelligent, energetic, educated woman cannot be kept in four walls — even satin-lined, diamond-studded walls — without discovering sooner or later that they are still a prison cell.

(America's Medieval Women, Harper's Magazine, August 1938)”
― Pearl S. Buck


If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.
― Pearl S. Buck

Every Mistake

Every mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.
― Pearl S. Buck

Within Reach

I am always glad when any of my books can be put into an inexpensive edition, because I like to think that any people who might wish to read them can do so. Surely books ought to be within reach of everybody.
― Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth

Pearl S. Buck

One faces the future with one's past.
― Pearl S. Buck


All things are possible until they are proved impossible and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible -- and achieve it, generation after generation.”
― Pearl S. Buck

Woman, Man

Let woman out of the home, let man into it, should be the aim of education. The home needs man, and the world outside needs woman.
― Pearl S. Buck

The Rich

The rich are always afraid.
― Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth

Sorrow Accepted

“Sorrow fully accepted brings its own gifts. For there is alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmitted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.”
― Pearl S. Buck, The Child Who Never Grew


The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is dull without it.
― Pearl S. Buck

Vigilance and Struggle

When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.
― Pearl S. Buck, To My Daughters, With Love

A Human Creature

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that
without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.
― Pearl S. Buck


Love cannot be forced, love cannot be coaxed and teased. It comes out of heaven, unasked and unsought.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.
― Pearl S. Buck

To Serve

To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream -- whatever that dream might be.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck: Faith

I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in the kindness of human beings. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up.
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

“The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.”
― Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.
― Pearl S. Buck

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.
― Pearl S. Buck

Small Joys

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.”
― Pearl S. Buck

Sunday, June 25, 2017

FREE Public Pools in New York City

For years, Parks has offered free swim instruction to city children. Commissioner Moses launched a free swim program in 1938 as a public safety initiative, in response to the reported 400 drownings each year in New York City.

The "Learn to Swim" instruction also was considered a healthy alternative to "the polluted waters which bound the City." The Parks Department estimated that thousands of people learned how to swim as a result of the lessons. Today, the Learn to Swim Program teaches about 7,000 children each summer.

Swimming and Breathing

I opened the double glass doors and swam laps breathing in the fresh air and watching the clouds. I wish I could give this experience to everyone. To me, swimming is as important as breathing and it has given me strong lungs and it helps me with my moods.

Food and Love

Last night when I stepped out into the back yard our Brazilian neighbors next door had inflated a plastic pool and set up a BBQ. They offered us a taste of the amazing Brazilian meats they buy in Milford. They invited us over to join them and we accepted.

We ran the extension hose through their chain link fence so they could fill the pool with water. The young boys were visiting their mom and having so much fun dunking each other and bouncing on the rim of the pool. The water was ice cold but they got used to it and warmed up.

I pointed to the window and Allesandra said, "That's my parrot." I looked in and he was in a huge white cage next to her white washing machine. "I speak to him and he says Eu te amo and I love you."
"He's bilingual," I said, laughing. "You have a bilingual parrot! In your laundry room!"

Victoria was visiting with her niece who wants to be a veterinarian and is studying at Norfolk Aggie agricultural school. Allesandra's older son Edlyn moved here from Saugus two days ago. They are a sweet family. Allesandra gave me a tour of her apartment. She asked us if we wanted to hear her sing. We said yes and she played a YouTube video of herself singing Neil Diamond's "I Am I Cry," in Portuguese. We loved it.

Then Allesandra received a call and was speaking to relatives in Brazil. She showed me the real time image of her young niece's face on the phone.

We had a few laughs trying to tell stories in English while Victoria's niece used Google translate for the Portuguese. Food and love are the universal language.

The Minimum Wage Should be Much Higher

A federal minimum wage law guaranteeing workers 25 cents an hour was established on this day in 1938. Passed as the Fair Labor Standards Act, it also capped regular weekly working hours to 40, banned child labor, and instituted time-and-a-half pay for overtime.

President Franklin Roosevelt had been campaigning for reelection when a young girl trying to pass him a note was held back by police. When he had someone retrieve the letter, it read, “I wish you could do something to help us girls.” She described her pay in a sewing factory as just $4 per week. Roosevelt decided then that he needed to act on child labor and minimum wage laws.

The first minimum wage law had been enacted in New Zealand in 1894. Several other countries adopted the practice before the United States. Since its inception in 1938, the federal U.S. wage has been adjusted 22 times by 12 different presidents — most recently by President Obama, who raised it to $7.25/hour in 2009. Minimum wage does not increase automatically with inflation over time, but rather must be adjusted intentionally by a sitting president and the administration.

Most states have their own minimum wage laws, with the exception of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina. Several states have wage rates lower than the federal rates. The highest minimum wage is $9.32 in Washington State.

- Writer's Almanac

The minimum wage in the United States is a network of federal, state, and local laws. Employers generally must pay workers the highest minimum wage prescribed by federal, state, or local law. As of July 2016, the federal government mandates a nationwide minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Minimum wage in the United States - Wikipedia

George Orwell

“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.”
- George Orwell, "1984" - Quote

This one is another quote from the book that I liked because it has a very deep meaning inside the book and its context and story, but when you think about it and its meaning in real life, it makes you think and you can say and discuss a lot about it.

Without seizing from the original context and society of the book, where culture was severely oppressed and where History was constantly changed in order to satisfy the Party's needs and desires in order to oppress the people and for them not to make them start a Revolution, we could say that this quote is an aim from the character in order to make us understand that what really could help the people was to know their own history. To be told what they already know and to give it another thought or to really know what happened with details and anecdotes.

When we think about this sentence in the real world and when we try to apply it to our actual circumstances and society, we could say that books that tell us what we know already are a very important reality because they make us think about something twice, or make us wiser. Also, to be told something you already know from another perspective makes you think or talk about it from another point of view, and makes you a more open-minded person.

-Sergio Perez Gil

George Orwell

“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
― George Orwell, 1984

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
― George Orwell, 1984

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
― George Orwell

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
― George Orwell, 1984

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
― George Orwell, 1984

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
― George Orwell

“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
― George Orwell

That Little Voice

I had no training in writing, other than police reports, but that little voice in the back of my head — the one that kept me safe all these years — was now nagging at me to tell my stories.
- Steve Osborne, The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop


I dreamed a boy named Amos introduced my husband and I. When I woke up I asked my husband "isn't Amos a biblical name?"
Amos (/ˈeɪməs/; Hebrew: עָמוֹס , Modern Amos, Tiberian ʻāmōs) was one of the Twelve Minor Prophets. An older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah, Amos was active c. 760-755[1] BC during the reign of Jeroboam II, (786–746 BC). He was from the southern Kingdom of Judah but preached in the northern Kingdom of Israel. Amos wrote at a time of relative peace and prosperity but also of neglect of Yaweh's laws. He spoke against an increased disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor. His major themes of social justice, God's omnipotence, and divine judgment became staples of prophecy. The Book of Amos is attributed to him.

Amos is the first of the prophets to write down the messages he has received. He has always been admired for the purity of his language, his beauty of diction, and his poetic art. In all these respects he is Isaiah's spiritual progenitor.[3] What we know of Amos derives solely from the book that he himself authored.[7] This makes it hard to know who the historical Amos truly was.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


I was procrastinating for three months about moving two boxes of emotionally charged childhood photographs and trinkets and artwork out of my back room. I finally did it today and it was as if a lead weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Why wasn't I able to do this three months ago? Well, never mind. It's done and to celebrate I practiced my song, which became many songs. One song, one lap, one achievable goal makes it approachable. The larger goals are always there but they must not be presented up front or they will chase me away.

Mood Cycle

I realized today that I am a square within a wheel! I have four equidistant points on my mood cycle wheel.

CCRI Aquatics


Ventilation in Pools


A Philanthropic Dream

If I was a philanthropist I would build an Olympic-sized city pool so all the children of Woonsocket could learn to swim and have swim lessons for free. This would be important water safety training for the rest of their lives. The pool would be centrally located near the community garden and the public library. Families and kids could build a life of swimming reading at the library and going to the park downtown. In the summer it would be like a build it yourself urban summer camp.

There would be a special library course over the summer so kids could learn to write cursive and tell time from an analog clock.

Self Sustainable Aquatics Funding

One Brick

No one “builds a house.” They lay one brick again and again and again and the end result is a house. Procrastinators are great visionaries—they love to fantasize about the beautiful mansion they will one day have built—but what they need to be are gritty construction workers, who methodically lay one brick after the other, day after day, without giving up, until a house is built.

Nearly every big undertaking can be boiled down to a core unit of progress—its brick. A 45-minute gym visit is the brick of getting in great shape. A 30-minute practice session is the brick of becoming a great guitarist.



It's pouring rain. I am tempted to go to the beach because nobody will be there.

Stay Cool

A great way to stay cool and healthy in the summer is to drink a smoothie. I make mine with 8 ice cubes and 1-2 ripe bananas and orange juice and a tablespoon of plain nonfat yogurt. I buzz it all in a blender and drink it. I put the bananas in first so the ice does not jam the blender.

Kahlil Gibran

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

-Kahlil Gibran

Khalil Gibran

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance
from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind.
I should not be ungrateful to these teachers.

They say: 'If one knew oneself, one would know all mankind.'
I say: 'If one loved mankind, one would know something of oneself.'

- Kahlil Gibran

Steve Osborne

I'm not quite sure how it happened, or even why, but a few months after retiring from the New York City police department, I picked up a pad and pen and started writing. Like most cops, I had stories to tell, and for some reason I can't explain, I felt the need to put them on paper. I had no training in writing, other than police reports, but that little voice in the back of my head — the one that kept me safe all these years — was now nagging at me to tell my stories.
- Steve Osborne, The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop

Sometimes I would share some of the funny stuff about the job, but the blood and gore, and especially the danger, I needed to keep to myself. When my wife would call me at work and ask how things were going, I would always tell her I was having a nice quiet night. Even if I was sitting on some dark street, armed with two guns strapped to my hip, waiting for some perp wanted on a homicide to show up so we could jump him. My answer was always the same. I'm having a nice quiet night.
- Steve Osborne, The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop

When I entered the police academy an old-time instructor told me, "Kid, you just bought yourself a front row seat to the greatest show on earth." What he was telling me wasn't anything new. I think every old cop has used that line on every new cop in every city and every small town in every corner of the country. And the reason it's used so much is, because it's true — every word of it. I don't care if you work in Manhattan or in some tiny village out in the middle of nowhere with just one lawman in it, we all have stories. I wish all of them would put them on paper, because there's nothing funnier or more terrifying than a good cop story.
- Steve Osborne, The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop

Auto Motives

She noticed a black Buick sedan pull up and open garage three. He's a guy connected to the garage who had not been here in a bunch of days. She was curious so she watched from the window. He opened the hood of the dark blue Honda parked in front of his garage and take a photo of the underside of the hood using his cell phone. Then he opened the hood of the red Chrysler with Georgia plates and looked at the engine and then closed it. He briefly disappeared into the garage and then closed the garage door and drove off.

Denise Duhamel Poem


The barista at the coffee shop is covered in tattoos. She says there
are only two ways they hold her back. 1. She can’t work at
Starbucks. 2. She can’t wear a corsage, since she’d just be way too
busy, and this makes me laugh. She says no to gifts from prom
dates—the wrist corsage, the pinned corsage; no to bridal
bouquets, the get-well-soon carnations. One day soon her mother
will insist on sympathy wreaths around her coffin, which is closed,
lest she be confused with the flowers.

-Denise Duhamel

Nick Flynn Poem

Cartoon Physics, part 1

Children under, say, ten, shouldn't know
that the universe is ever-expanding,
inexorably pushing into the vacuum, galaxies

swallowed by galaxies, whole

solar systems collapsing, all of it
acted out in silence. At ten we are still learning

the rules of cartoon animation,

that if a man draws a door on a rock
only he can pass through it.
Anyone else who tries

will crash into the rock. Ten-year-olds
should stick with burning houses, car wrecks,
ships going down -- earthbound, tangible

disasters, arenas

where they can be heroes. You can run
back into a burning house, sinking ships

have lifeboats, the trucks will come
with their ladders, if you jump

you will be saved. A child

places her hand on the roof of a schoolbus,
& drives across a city of sand. She knows

the exact spot it will skid, at which point
the bridge will give, who will swim to safety
& who will be pulled under by sharks. She will learn

that if a man runs off the edge of a cliff
he will not fall

until he notices his mistake.

—Nick Flynn

Love Poem With Toast by Miller Williams

Love Poem With Toast

Some of what we do, we do
to make things happen,
the alarm to wake us up, the coffee to perc,
the car to start.

The rest of what we do, we do
trying to keep something from doing something,
the skin from aging, the hoe from rusting,
the truth from getting out.

With yes and no like the poles of a battery
powering our passage through the days,
we move, as we call it, forward,
wanting to be wanted,
wanting not to lose the rain forest,
wanting the water to boil,
wanting not to have cancer,
wanting to be home by dark,
wanting not to run out of gas,

as each of us wants the other
watching at the end,
as both want not to leave the other alone,
as wanting to love beyond this meat and bone,
we gaze across breakfast and pretend.

—Miller Williams

The Teacher

The teacher who swims at our pool so her students won't see her in a bathing suit.

Dog Weather

Anyone out without the excuse of a dog
should be handcuffed
and searched for loneliness.

My hair is thinning.
I feel like tossing the wind a stick.

― Stephen Dunn, from 'Dog Weather' Different Hours

Where are we going?

Where are we going?
It’s not an issue of here or there.
And if you ever feel you can’t
take another step, imagine
how you might feel to arrive,
if not wiser, a little more aware
how to inhabit the middle ground
between misery and joy.
Trudge on. In the higher regions,
where the footing is unsure,
to trudge is to survive.
― Stephen Dunn, Lines of Defense: Poems

When I Stop Becoming

I make myself up from everything I am, or could be. For many years I was more desire than fact. When I stop becoming, that’s when I worry.
― Stephen Dunn, Walking Light: Memoirs and Essays on Poetry

Although I know it's unfair, I reveal myself one mask at a time.
― Stephen Dunn

There are always the simple events of your life that you might try to convert into legend.
― Stephen Dunn

Stephen Dunn

I've tried

to become someone else for a while,
only to discover that he, too, was me.
― Stephen Dunn

I knew I was in danger
of being terribly understood.
― Stephen Dunn

I’ll always deny that I kissed her.
I was just whispering into her mouth.
― Stephen Dunn, Loosestrife

Now and again I feel the astonishment of being alive like this, in this body.
― Stephen Dunn, New and Selected Poems, 1974-1994

“When I stop becoming, that's when I worry.”
― Stephen Dunn

“I think one of my early motivations for writing was that other people’s versions of experience didn’t gel with my own. It was a gesture toward sanity to try to get the world right for myself. I’ve since learned that if you get it right for yourself, it often has resonance for others.”

“You must be a little driven, and what you’re doing must be crucial to you in order not to be defeated by the likely neglect that awaits you, the lack of rewards, and the fact that, by and large, your culture doesn’t take you seriously.”

Friday, June 23, 2017


He was clutching the groin of his gray sweatpants as he crossed the street. He climbed into the passenger seat of a silver jeep and there was an exchange. He counted a wad of bills. Then he got out of the jeep and the driver drove off. The sweatpants had no pockets - he tucked the roll of bills into his groin and went back to his apartment.

May Sarton

"The more articulate one is, the more dangerous words become."
— May Sarton

May Sarton

"Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers."
— May Sarton

"I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it."
— May Sarton

May Sarton Journal

"For any writer who wants to keep a journal, be alive to everything, not just to what you're feeling, but also to your pets, to flowers, to what you're reading."
— May Sarton

"At some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth."
— May Sarton

May Sarton

In the middle of the night, things well up from the past that are not always cause for rejoicing--the unsolved, the painful encounters, the mistakes, the reasons for shame or woe. But all, good or bad, give me food for thought, food to grow on.
— May Sarton (At Seventy: A Journal)

John Barth

“... a man's most useful friend and fearsome foe is the poet.”
― John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor

Terrible Person

When I woke in the night to pee I could hear the committee of sleep discussing what a terrible person I am. This is what happens when I drink tea in the afternoon when I'm in receive-mode.


“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“What you seek is seeking you.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi, The Illuminated Rumi

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi, The Essential Rumi

“When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.
Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Knock, And He'll open the door
Vanish, And He'll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He'll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi


“My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi


“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi, Masnavi i Man'avi, the spiritual couplets of Maula


silence is the language of god,
all else is poor translation.
― Jalaluddin Rumi

Anna Akhmatova

“You do not know just what you've been forgiven.”
― Anna Akhmatova


“As the future ripens in the past,
so the past rots in the future --
a terrible festival of dead leaves.”
― Anna Akhmatova, Poems of Akhmatova

The Friend

“My shadow serves as the friend I crave.”
― Anna Akhmatova


“Each of our lives is a Shakespearean drama raised to the thousandth degree.”
― Anna Akhmatova


“Rising from the past, my shadow
Is running in silence to meet me.”
― Anna Akhmatova

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Connection is Why We're Here

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“What we know matters but who we are matters more.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Even to me the issue of "stay small, sweet, quiet, and modest" sounds like an outdated problem, but the truth is that women still run into those demands whenever we find and use our voices.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

Inner Amplification

This morning I have been thinking about inner amplification versus outer amplification.

Meryl Streep

It's amazing what you can get if you quietly, clearly and authoritatively demand it.
- Meryl Streep

The Work Itself is the Reward

We need art as much as we need good works. You need it like food. You need it for inspiration, to keep going on the days that you're low. We need each other in that way.
- Meryl Streep

The work itself is the reward, and if I choose challenging work, it'll pay me back with interest. At least I'll be interested, even if nobody else is.
- Meryl Streep

I'm in show business. I believe in illusion and delusions and in holding aloft the bubble of a dream of some sort because, really, there are lots of reasons to look at the chasm. But art and music, these ineffables, they're just - they're the consolations of what human beings can create and make, and delight is accessible, you know, should you care to find it.
- Meryl Streep

The Lesson

You just have to keep on doing what you do. It's the lesson I get from my husband; he just says, Keep going. Start by starting.
- Meryl Streep

Bring Light

I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world.
- Meryl Streep

A Gift

You have to embrace getting older. Life is precious, and when you've lost a lot of people, you realize that each day is a gift.
- Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

That is the simple secret. Always take your heart to work.
- Meryl Streep

Being a celebrity has taught me to hide, but being an actor has opened my soul.
- Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

The formula of happiness and success is just, being actually yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can.
- Meryl Streep

What makes you different or weird, that's your strength.
- Meryl Streep

I think that you find your own way. You have your own rules. You have your own understanding of yourself, and that's what you're going to count on. In the end, it's what feels right to you. Not what your mother told you. Not what some actress told you. Not what anybody else told you but the still, small voice.
- Meryl Streep

An Audience

“An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles together in the dark — that is critical genius.”
- Billy Wilder

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


“If it’s possible to have a reading hangover, I have one.”
― Erika Swyler, The Book of Speculation


“I need to get into the water, to clear my head.”
― Erika Swyler, The Book of Speculation

“People spend their entire lives moving back and forth over the same water, moving but staying.”
― Erika Swyler, The Book of Speculation

Cesar Nikko Caharian

“Swimming is simply moving meditation.”
― Cesar Nikko Caharian

Erika Swyler

She'd started swimming early in the morning, when the kids were asleep, when she thought he was asleep. She didn't know her absence woke him, that the shift in the bed was an earthquake. When she climbed back in, she smelled like salt and seaweed. Sometimes her hair would still be knotted on top of her head. She tried to keep it dry. She didn't want him to know. The problem with marrying the mermaid girl from the carnival was knowing that one day she'd swim away.
― Erika Swyler

Swimmer's Knots Between the Shoulder Blades

Use a hollow rubber ball lean against a wall and roll the ball over the knot. You can also lie on the ball for a few minutes on the floor. Then allow time to let your body heal.

The Quiet Room by Lori Schiller

“When I was up she taught me to recognize the feeling and savor it. “Remember how good you feel now,” she said. “There will be times later on when everything will seem bleak. I don’t want to minimize the grim and harsh times. I know how bad you feel then. But they won’t last forever. Capture the good moments,” she said.”
― Lori Schiller, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

“A long time ago I realized that, as psychiatrists, we had to have a healthy respect for our own humanness, and our own smallness in the face of what we were dealing with. If a person got better, we could appreciate that we had done a good job, but we also needed to realize that God – or luck – was on our side. If the person got worse and had to go to a state hospital, we had to keep ourselves from feeling that we hadn’t done enough. For the truth is, we were powerless in so many of these situations. We did what we could, but sometimes the illness was just bigger than we were.”
― Lori Schiller, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

“If you decide you have to kill yourself,” he said, “in the last second before you act, picture my face. Listen to me giving you one last plea not to do it. And know that someone really cares.”
― Lori Schiller, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

“Even though the Voices were far more intense in the hospital than before, in some ways they were less frightening. When I was in high school and college, they had sneaked up on me, blasting out of the airwaves almost without warning. By now, they had become almost familiar. I hated them. I suffered from them. But they seemed almost a normal part of living. I knew them. I understood them and they understood me.”
― Lori Schiller, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

a fingernail clipping in the sky

The moon is a fingernail clipping in the sky. The longest day. I am always relieved when the days speed up again contracting or expanding versus the flat still days.

Le Diable et le Bon Dieu

“When the rich wage war it's the poor who die.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, The Devil and the Good Lord (French: Le Diable et le Bon Dieu)


“So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wives' tales! There's no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is—other people!”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

Jean-Paul Sartre

“This is what I thought: for the most banal even to become an adventure, you must (and this is enough) begin to recount it. This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his own life as if he were telling a story.
But you have to choose: live or tell.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea


“A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it.”
― Ian McEwan, Atonement

“Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?”
― Ian McEwan, Atonement

Think the Same

“I am alone in the midst of these happy, reasonable voices. All these creatures spend their time explaining, realizing happily that they agree with each other. In Heaven's name, why is it so important to think the same things all together. ”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

An Undertaking

It's quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don't do it.
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

Three O'clock

“Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre

“Life begins on the other side of despair.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

“You are -- your life, and nothing else.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

“Everything has been figured out, except how to live.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

“Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

“My thought is me: that's why I can't stop. I exist because I think… and I can't stop myself from thinking. At this very moment - it's frightful - if I exist, it is because I am horrified at existing. I am the one who pulls myself from the nothingness to which I aspire.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

“Life has no meaning a priori… It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre


“In love, one and one are one.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

Being and Nothingness

“It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness


“Like all dreamers I confuse disenchantment with truth.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre


“Words are loaded pistols.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Amor Towles

“Whatever setbacks he had faced in his life, he said, however daunting or dispiriting the unfolding of events, he always knew that he would make it through, as long as when he woke in the morning he was looking forward to his first cup of coffee. Only decades later would I realize that he had been giving me a piece of advice.”
― Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

“I've come to realize that however blue my circumstances, if after finishing a chapter of a Dickens novel I feel a miss-my-stop-on-the-train sort of compulsion to read on, then everything is probably going to be just fine.”
― Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

“Right from the first, I could see a calmness in you - that sort of inner tranquility that they write about in books, but that almost no one seems to possess. I was wondering to myself: How does she do that? And I figured it could only come from having no regrets - from having made choices with .... such poise and purpose.”
― Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

Sore Muscles

Stretching Before Swimming

If you don't stretch your muscles before swimming, your muscles can tear more easily as the muscle tries to move through its range of motion. So when you swim freestyle, your arm muscles -- specifically, your biceps, triceps and shoulders -- will feel that burn. Stretching before you get in the water can help prevent muscle tearing. As you stretch, your muscles will loosen up so you're already relaxed and ready to go before you start swimming.

Swimming Warmups and Cooldowns

If it's your first or second time swimming laps, then you should start getting in the habit of warming up and cooling down before and after your workout. A slow warmup will prevent you from swimming "cold," as “cold” muscles that suddenly have to work hard are more likely to become damaged. Warmups also gradually increase your heart and breathing rates while increasing the flow of oxygen to your muscles. Likewise, cooling down after a workout helps lower your heart and breathing rates back to resting levels. DOMS is caused by sudden increases in intensity or duration, so without warmups and cooldowns, your muscles can become unnecessarily tired.


Rebecca Solnit

When you don’t hear others, you don’t imagine them, they become unreal, and you are left in the wasteland of a world with only yourself in it, and that surely makes you starving, though you know not for what, if you have ceased to imagine others exist in any true deep way that matters.
- Rebecca Solnit

...there was an old woman in Occupy Wall Street I always go back to who said, “We’re fighting for a society in which everyone is important.”
- Rebecca Solnit

Source: Solnit's fabulous essay

Garage Mystery

"The activity at garage four is always puzzling to us. They do strange things like remove a wheel, take off door panels and open the hood but not do any obvious engine work. There is no electricity in these garages. It doesn't seem like they are really trying to sell cars or do real car repair. We have often had the sense something else was up, possibly drug-related. The people involved act shifty and paranoid. All the guys who've had this garage were up to nonsense," he said.

"After being relatively quiet for a while, the garages have been quite active nearly daily. There are five dead cars of theirs getting moved around and they sometimes have no license plates and then they have plates again. Some disappear and then reappear. We wonder if these cars are being used for drug distribution around the city. And if the "car repair" is basic hiding of drugs in wheel wells and door panels and engine compartments. Just a thought. It's what the last guy was up to we're pretty sure."

Lenora Thompson

“I think,” said I looking Michael straight in the eye, “that you’re full of shit.” Then I waited. Waited for the explosion that never came. Because he’s normal. I’d never have dared say that to a narcissist!

More than anything else, try to find a normal person. Just an ordinary kind of guy or gal. Someone who’s been told they’re “too nice.” A gentle person. A calm person. A kind person. A balanced person. A person with a sense of proportion. A person with a good sense of humor who can laugh at you and themselves equally, without getting their stinger bent out of joint. A person with quiet strength.

A person who can be wrong…and still be okay. A person who can acknowledge and take pride in the ways you’re better than them…and not resent you. A person who doesn’t criticize you. A person who doesn’t try to change you. A person who pays you compliments. A person who doesn’t demand to know where you are and what you’re doing at every moment of every day. A person who doesn’t accuse you of anything, including infidelity. A person who isn’t bossy and demanding. A person who gives you carte blanche on hairstyle, clothes, etc. A person who winks at your OCD and is blind to your scars. A person who is firm in their beliefs, without cramming them down anyone else’s throat, including your throat. A person who doesn’t control the money with an iron fist and encourages you to treat yourself. A person who hugs and kisses you frequently and freely.

A person who can be told “you’re full of shit” and respond with a chuckle and a twinkle…but still stick to their beliefs without being dogmatic. A person who tells you they love you so frequently that when you ask, “How are you?” they absent-mindedly respond, “I love you too.” (True story!)

That’s the kind of spouse you can be happy with for five, twenty-five or fifty years while the weeks, months and years fly by much too swiftly!


Cyclothymia is Neurochemical

cyclothymia is a neurochemical disorder – not the person’s fault –

Routine is key for stabilizing moods, and people with bipolar disorders are especially sensitive to change. Any changes made to their eating, sleeping or exercise routines can interfere with their circadian rhythms and trigger an episode, Preston said.

That’s why it’s so important that all three are done on a regular basis. For instance, experts suggest going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. While this might seem tough and tedious, Preston said that it can help tremendously with regulating mood.


The Day the Voices Stopped

by Ken Steele, Claire Berman
For thirty-two years Ken Steele lived with the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia, tortured by inner voices commanding him to kill himself, ravaged by the delusions of paranoia, barely surviving on the ragged edges of society. In this inspiring story, Steele tells the story of his hard-won recovery from schizophrenia and how activism and advocacy helped him regain his sanity and go on to give hope and support to so many others like him.

Josephine Winslow Johnson

“What is sanity, after all, except the control of madness?”
― Josephine Winslow Johnson, Now in November

“Lord make me satisfied with small things. Make me content to live on the outside of life. God make me love the rind!”
― Josephine Winslow Johnson, Now in November

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

From Publishers Weekly

Can cities make us better people? Is the suburban American Dream really a nightmare? In this lively and accessible book, journalist Montgomery (The Shark God) marshals decades of interdisciplinary research into an effective argument against what he calls the dispersed city—the modern city/suburb designed around the automobile. The result is a succession of arguments meant to debunk individualism and show how citizens thrive on contact with others. In Montgomery's hands, urban design proves not only exciting, but integral to our future. He persuasively demonstrates that designing cities with social beings in mind can make them more pleasant places to live, and shows why suburbs are experiencing higher crime, as well as a significant happiness deficit. Furthermore, this passionate jeremiad argues that urban design often reinforces inequality, and Montgomery includes useful prescriptions for creating what he calls the fair city, as well as addressing issues like gentrification. For Montgomery, the city is a happiness project that exists in part to corral our conviviality and channel it productively. Though Montgomery's argument may seem strange at first, the book will likely make you a believer. 68 b&w illus. Agent: Rebecca Gradinger, Fletcher & Co. (Nov.)

From Booklist

What is considered the happiest city on earth? Improbably, it just might be Bogotá, Colombia, where drug lords ruled, bicycles now roll, and pedestrians stroll in a city with a mayor committed to transforming his town’s image and its people’s lives. What’s the secret to his success? Not surprisingly, restricting traffic plays a huge part in Bogotá’s livability, but banning cars isn’t the be-all and end-all to urban bliss. As Montgomery illustrates through vibrant discussions of the physics, physiology, and psychology of urban, suburban, and exurban dwellers, multiple factors must coalesce before a city, large or small, can achieve perfection. All of which may become terribly muddled as climate change and resource depletion stress urban centers to an untenable tipping point. Touting extensive research tempered by anecdotal examples, Montgomery enumerates the mistakes made not only by the people who plan and govern cities but also by the people who live in them, and he offers cautious reassurance that it’s not too late to turn things around for all cities. --Carol Haggas


Worth watching

James Baldwin

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”
― James Baldwin, Collected Essays

James Baldwin

“For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness.”
― James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues

James Baldwin

“If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Thank You, James Baldwin

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
― James Baldwin

“People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.”
― James Baldwin

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time