The Inspiration Garden

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From Acquaintance to Best Friend in 200 Hours

200 Hours Did you know that it takes approximately 200 hours of quality time spent with a new acquaintance to transform that connection into a close, committed friendship?   This is why it often seems like it was easier to make close friends in childhood than it is now, but it isn’t; it’s simply that those 200 hours pass by […]

Putting it down on paper

What comes to mind when you think of journaling?    Is it something like this?     Perhaps you imagine a woman, deep in thought, pouring her soul onto the page. And journaling certainly can be that, but it doesn’t always have to be.   Or perhaps when you think of a journal, you conjure the prototype of a diary, […]

Are You Happy Now?

I’ve given up on happiness.   No, this isn’t some dark manifesto on the virtue of cynicism in the modern world.    Choosing to no longer pursue happiness has been a gift, a blessing!   Many of us have erroneously been brought up to believe that the end goal is happiness.  “I just want you to be happy.”   Haven’t […]

Signs Along the journey

Do you believe in signs?   When was the last time you were aware of a sign?   Do you wonder if maybe there are signs you are missing in your life?   Over the past several months, I’ve done some emotional and mental cleansing: dusting and sweeping the cobwebs from my mind and heart in an effort to clear […]

hygge is Hibernation, human-Style

Two winters ago, I met my friend and colleague, Fran, for lunch. After we left the restaurant in our local village, we walked past some shops and chatted.    “I’m thinking of having a Hygge party,” she said. “Wanna come?”   “A hookah party?” My mouth dropped open at the thought of my retirement-age friend lounging around on gold-fringed velvet […]

A hybrid life

This year, I am teaching students on a hybrid schedule. They are divided into two groups and attend school in person on alternating days. On the other days, they log into my virtual class from home via Google Meet.    Because this way of teaching and learning is new to everyone, students and teachers alike are struggling to adjust.    […]

Released From the catacombs of my soul

“Es la verdad. Y la verdad es bella.”   Near the end of her talk as a visitor to my Hispanic and Latin American Literature course at Stony Brook University, Irene Vilar quoted these words. She explained that these are the words her father said to her after reading her first memoir, A Message from God in the Atomic Age […]

Mrs. Shaw and Long Division

Have you ever felt completely out of your comfort zone?   The way I see it, when we feel this way, we have two choices: 1) we can stay in our discomfort and let the situation grow us, or 2) we can high tail it back to our comfort zone!   My earliest memory of this was in September 1980. […]