A little white squirrel
comes to visit quite often.
He’s white as snow
and seems to almost glow.
But he looks so lonely,
he’s always alone.

If I could be his friend
I’d tell him that
God made him different
for a very special reason,
which we may never know.

But wait until spring
when there is no snow
at winter’s end,
and the other squirrels
will find you
and be proud to be your friend.

Lillian Skordahl
December, 2011

My grandparents died within three weeks of one another - my grandma, Lillian, passed away today. She began writing these poems several years ago and would e-mail them to my grandpa to print out from his computer and then she’d mail them to me. I’ve kept them close at hand since then - they are providing great comfort to me now, and I hope they will do the same when I have the chance to share them with her friends and family soon.

Presented without comment (excerpt from the Daily Mail):

The stars who enjoyed pizza at the Oscars and those who didn’t

Brad Pitt: Took a slice and revealed he likes pepperoni

Angelina Jolie: Did not take a slice

Julia Roberts: Took a slice after asking for cheese

Meryl Streep: Took a slice of cheese for herself and a slice for her husband

Jared Leto: Took a slice for his mother

Kerry Washington
: Got passed over, but enjoyed a gluten-free slice backstage

Kevin Spacey: Grabbed a box and took a slice after sharing

Chiwetel Ejiofor: Grabbed a box and took a slice after sharing

Jennifer Lawrence: Grabbed a slice quickly

Harrison Ford: Stood up and took a slice

Martin Scorsese
: Took a slice

Dax Shepard: Took a slice

Jamie Foxx and daughter Corinne: Took a slice

Channing Tatum and wife Jennna: Took a slice

Leonardo di Caprio: Did not take a slice

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Hi! Things are hard, sometimes. I already posted this quote elsewhere, but I keep coming back to it. Y’know, sometimes I think such quotes are a little too positive, giving everybody too much space and an easy explanation, but the thing I leave with is the comfort that somebody (Alice Walker, in this case) has been in this spot before and people will continue to be in this spot forever and ever amen.

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

- Alice Walker, from Living by the Word

In Review

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This year I found parts of my soul that have been scattered around the world and under my bed and deep within my heart - things I could not unlock or find until now.

I found part of it in quitting my job. It was a stirring - a question I had to answer with only one possible outcome. I followed it to Utah, where I had never felt so full with so little. 

(Song: “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake)

I found the part that loved people, that wanted to look everybody in the eye and ask them for a story. It took me across the country to make new friends and embark on adventures with people I didn’t always know so well. I learned that we will all adapt. We can all communicate. I learned that seeing people you haven’t talked to in five years can get a little getting used to, but only for a few minutes. Talking is talking. We once knew each other so well. Nothing has changed.

(Movie: Frances Ha)

I found the road, and the way that I feel when I’m on the road, alone. The Interstate Highway System has my back. My Honda Civic has my back. I found that I like to teach and talk to high schoolers. At one point, my greatest fear would have been to stand in front of a room or even a small group and deliver instructions and advice and any sort of authority. The authority has yet to arrive, I think, but I can do the former.

Friends. And him. And my family. Part of my soul was stretched across hospitals and doctor’s offices. 

(Writers: Wallace Stegner/Nicholson Baker)

What was unlocked was an unflinching familiarity with myself and those close to me. It is harder to tell tall tales about myself with the more information I gather. The game is up; the excuses are no longer acceptable. 

I lost a lot, too. I am lonely on so many days. The house is empty. I wonder if I am slowly going crazy. But I have ways to combat that. I have places to escape; I’ve got love all around me.

"Finding Is Losing Something Else"

Finding is losing something else.
I think about, perhaps even mourn,
     what I lost to find this. 

- Richard Brautigan