Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Late to the table

“Doesn’t anyone cook anymore?” I asked my husband as we stood in a long restaurant line after 7 p.m. on a Monday evening. We were, actually, there because I didn’t want to cook. Apparently not a unique position.

“But you usually cook,” he replied and I felt better somehow.

Now I wonder if cooking could have more than just health benefits. If you stretch your imagination a bit, think outside the box, maybe cooking could help fix what ails our country.

From the garden.

Don’t discount me immediately. That’s one of the problems we all have right now; we make instant decision about what’s right and what’s wrong before we hear a person out.

I have lots of time to think as I’m chopping and dicing, stirring and folding, preparing food for dinner. Today I’m making the marinara sauce for tomorrow’s eggplant parmesan.

And I’m thinking as I’m chopping onion and garlic that the problems facing our country, and the world, are so huge, so unsolvable, so much bigger than me. That I really have nothing to say that could change anything.

And yet.

I’ reading the articles and listening to interviews that point out people who stay silent are in fact condoning the hate and violence we all witnessed via twenty-four hour news this past weekend. Incidents that we’ve seen on other days too, prior to this weekend, and what we will likely witness in the days ahead.

I know I’m late to the table, but I don’t condone those hateful, racist, violent actions. I’m quiet because I don’t know what I, an individual, someone who hates politics on a good day, can do? What difference can my voice make?

It’s clear to me that the talking heads on television and on the radio aren’t going to fix the problem. The panels of people they bring in to ‘discuss’ the issues are entrenched in their own opinions, are spewing out the party line, give nonsensical answers to hard questions. Nothing is going to get resolved by watching their arguments.

And no one watching is going to change the minds they have already made up.

As I continue to chop and stir I contemplate the hateful events of the weekend, the political responses. The lack of response from me. And I realize that the only thing to change a person’s mind is talking, really talking, to another person.

And what better place to talk than over the slow preparation of a healthy meal?

One person listening to another person without forming judgement. And then having a chance to quietly, with logic and care express an opposing opinion. And continuing that discussion over the meal thoughtfully put together.

Getting to know someone who is different than yourself takes time and work and sometimes the overcoming of fear. But that’s the only way to make change in the world; getting to know people who are different than we are.

Chopping and thinking.

Oh I know the hate filled members of many white supremacist groups aren’t likely to have a calm discussion with anyone. They’re looking to escalate the hate. But there are plenty of people sitting on a fence about many of these issues, people that maybe voted in a different way than you or I might have. People who might feel strongly but may also feel a little doubt creeping in.

There are people from different religions with different ideas, people from different cultures, or just different upbringings who have ideas that deserve to be shared. Everyone has a story, and each story adds to the strength and value of all of us if we only listen.

There is actually much a quiet person like me can do.

So as I put the eggplant dish together I think I’ll push myself outside my comfort zone. I’ll try to stand up for that person getting bullied, voice another opinion when I think it needs to be heard, invite someone I don’t know to engage in thoughtful debate. I’ll stop reacting to Facebook politics, for either side, because that’s too easy, too anonymous and only reinforces opinions deeply held on polar opposite sides of any issue.

Lots of different flavors all stirred together in one pot.

And while I’m trying to understand the other side of some argument, maybe I can put together a simple meal and sit down and talk about it . Without rancor, without despair, without judgement.

Maybe a discussion held over a healthy meal won’t change anyone’s mind. But maybe it will. And at worst I’ll get a good meal, one I don’t have to stand in line for on a hot summer Monday night.

Maybe what our world needs is a food revolution of a different kind.

Summer hope.

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I’m baaaaaaack!

Katie here! HEY! I’ve been gone a hundred million gazillion years people! And I’ve got stuff to say even though mama has been telling me to be quiet for four days! She must be delusional!

Me and my garden.

Anyway.

Mama took me to my park about a trillion weeks ago because she said she felt guilty. I didn’t know why she felt that way, I just noticed she was busy taking pictures of the clouds rolling in. They were making me a little nervous.

Maybe we better get home mama! Those clouds look dangerous!

Well, the very next day after our park walk mama took me on a ride and I figured it was to another park but I ended up at camp! She didn’t warn me or anything so to make her extra sad I pranced right in and tugged my way into the office and walked away with the nice lady there without looking back at her even once.

So there mama!

But then I realized maybe I shouldn’t have been so mean cause it was days and days and days until she came to spring me from the joint. I mean, it’s nice there, but nothing beats sleeping with my mama on her big soft bed!

Still, I needed to make her pay.

So every day since I got home I bug her until she takes me to a park. Every. Single. Day. Sunday she took me over to my park again.

It’s finally spring mama!

The dandelions were blooming! Mama was worried we’d missed our opportunity to take our annual photos with the pretty yellow flowers because the park people have mowed once already, but we got lucky and found some!

Mama says we got lots of rain here while she and dad were out of town. She was worried that she’d have to carry me through the puddles at the back of the park. Silly mama. I was so happy to be back at my park that I didn’t let a little puddle stop me!

I missed my park so much mama!

In fact mama had a hard time keeping up with me. I had to wait on her a whole bunch. She was so busy taking pictures. As usual. You’d think she’d have enough pictures of my park. But no, mama says it’s different every time we visit.

Come ON mama!

I guess she’s right. After all, I know that it smells different every time I visit, and mama lets me take all the time I want to read all the pee-mail that’s been left for me. So I guess I should be more patient with her and her stupid camera.

Still, it’s hard to hang around waiting on her when I just want to run run run!

Better get those treats ready mama!

We had a beautiful walk at my park. Just look at the crab trees! They were stunning, though not as stunning as me. Of course not.

Pink is one of my favorite colors.

I had so much fun that I was a very good girl when we got home and settled down for a nap. And then you know what mama did? She took me back to the park for another walk at the end of the day! Two walks in one day!!! And this time I got to show my friend Deuce and his mom all the pretty places.

Deuce and me hanging out at my park.

I even let him read my pee-mail, cause he’s a good guy and I’m nice like that.

Now that I’ve experienced the “two walks in one day” phenominon I’m demanding extra walks every day. Mama says I’m over the top and I need to settle down. I don’t think she understands that I’m the princess and she is just mama.

I’m not worried, I know I can wear her down.

Tomorrow I’m going to start at about 3 a.m. I find she’s most malleable at that time of the day. She’ll do just about anything to get me to stop bugging her. I think a walk in the park would be perfect.

What do you think?

Hey mama!


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Spring redux

Spring. It happens in waves across the country. When Katie and I were in the South we saw spring in all it’s glory. We reveled in the sun and warmth. We forgot that it wasn’t spring everywhere.

One reason to be in the South in the winter.

And then we drove home, north into the gray skies, leafless trees, muddy trails. Cold. It snowed this week.

Why is it snowing??

It was a shock, but all is not lost. As Katie and I explored the yard this past weekend we found traces of spring. Daffodils are popping up from the wet cold ground. So are some of the perennials. The bleeding heart is reaching for the sky.

Purple pink sprouts pushing up through last garden debris.

It will be in bloom sooner than you think. And the monkshood is peeking out too….

Monkshood, excited to see the sun.

..it will bloom next fall — which will also be sooner than we think.

Katie and I went for a walk in her park this weekend. The sun was out, the water was blue. It felt like spring had arrived.

Mama! Is it spring now??

We weren’t fooled. We know, here in Michigan, that winter will take at least one more swipe at us before April ends. But don’t tell that to the goldfinches, they’re already changing into their summer gold.

Hey lady! This feeder needs to be filled!!

Katie and I are very lucky this year. We get to watch spring arrive twice! The daffodils are all done down South. But here they will be arriving any day now.

That’s a very good thing.

You’re going to make me pose with our Michigan daffodils next week aren’t you mama!