Sunday, August 20, 2017

An intense August

 “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” 
― Epicurus
 “Remember that an act of hatred belittles the one who acts it 
out - but not the one it is done against unless that person allows it 
to. Each person who reaches out in love grows a bit himself even 
when the love appears to be refused.” 
― Dixie Dawn Miller GoodeDuffy Barkley Is Not a Dog: Tales of Uhrlin Book One
 “she thought of the mix of kids in her class and in Melissa’s and she knew that the future could be bright. No one had tried to say she didn’t have a right to be in that school, or acted interested in who her ancestors were, but they had been interested in who she was and where she had moved from. They wanted to know what she did and wore and liked.” 
― Dixie Dawn Miller GoodeDouble Time: On The Oregon Trail
learning to bowl with grandpa's band camp kids

the peace filled harbor

the fires around Oregon and northern California are painting our skies and dimming the sun

 August isn't more than 2/3 of the way through but it is already a confusing mix of hateful news and smoke-full skies, so that as the eclipse approaches I am left wondering if anyone can see clearly. That is when I look at the children and realize they CAN. We see the social media and the fear and the world wide upheaval. My granddaughter sees the blackberries ripening and the sun looking red and the flowers blooming and that her normally cool-busy family suddenly has lots of time for snuggles. I used to be more aware of the good people. Sometimes I don't hear enough voices reminding us that we share a beautiful world. So today, that is the voice I want to speak with.
baked pancake and free berries from the yard

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Have you been loving summertime?

 Many of my past posts have dealt with how sick my brother, Lance Miller has been for the last two years as he battled an abdominal infection that started in his bladder and pretty much dominated his life ever since.  I didn't get to see him during that time, as we live on opposite sides, opposite coasts the continental USA.
 This summer, I got to go back to visit him, just as he was getting strong enough to have the feeding tube removed and be able to get out and play a bit. My husband came with me, and we also saw my Mom, and my other Brother and his wife and some of his kids.  A family re-union, in a place my husband had never been, as we also met up with one of my best friends from high school, and toured some of the Washington DC area sights.

 I had to touch the Washington Memorial, up close and personal.

 Then when it was time to fly back to the Pacific Coast, summer was far from over and my husband's sister was bringing her family to explore our redwood coast.
 We went hiking in Fern Canyon, where Jurassic Park's Lost World was filmed

 and to visit Paul Bunyan and Babe at Trees of Mystery. See my granddaughter clinging to his boot like a lump of chewed gum?

 we went swimming in the Smith river, and petted sharks at Ocean World

 And the granddaughter made a new friend in Belle at the local library
 We tore out the old carpet and put in new, and a new bed as both were twenty years or more
 and took the killing to play outdoors and indoors every chance we got.

 The only thing I haven't done much of is writing. Writing and teaching, the stuff of the school year, and it's coming right around the corner, and going to arrive soon
but for now, I still get to play.

Friday, January 27, 2017

International Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is an important day for the chance to learn and remember the lessons of the past, in order not to be doomed to repeat them. Surely one would think that the horror of the attempted genocide of Jewish people, accompanied by the death of so many others deemed undesirable, others like my brother with Down's syndrome, my special ed. students, my friends who are wonderful people but have a myriad of sexual identities and racial backgrounds; was so unusual and so horrific as to be unforgettable and unrepeatable. Sadly, one would be wrong.

When I was a child, I couldn't have asked for a safer, more loving world, and assumed that the rest of the children also were loved and cared for by loving parents, and grandparents. So my first hints of the holocaust rocked my world, but were of something "a long, long time ago, on the other side of the world, and it isn't ever going to happen again."

But of course it had happened before, and where I lived, and would continue to happen again and again.  It had happened to my great-grandmother, that same tiny woman who snuggled me on her lap and fed me pickles and soups and sang me songs. What was I to know of the family history she never spoke of, or why her Father had disowned her for marrying a white man soon after the battle of the Little Bighorn and the massacre at Wounded Knee. I wouldn't know until her funeral when my Sioux relatives arrived en masse.

It happened here in my adopted home of Crescent City, CA when a town with 700 Chinese one night, only had one the following night. It happened here when hundreds of natives were slaughtered during a celebration that was mistaken for a war party by the fearful townspeople.

And it happened in eugenics experiments in the good ol US of A when people with too many relatives in prison or mental hospitals were forcibly sterilized. Sadly, Hitler learned some of what he did from our country after all.

I'm sad that a day of rememberance is necessary and grateful that there is also the remembrance of those who fought and resisted and won against fear and hatred. Even though the lesson has to keep being learned, we have many heroes (yes, male and female and other) who have given examples to light the darkness and chase out hate. Remembering that we are not all to be feared just because we are not all the same. Remembering that your difference may provide the very strength I would have perished without. Remembering that when the haters scream from the podium, the resistance is already whispering encouragement and love in your ear.

On this cold January when the world is still frightening, remember to look for the light, and when you can't find it, you can be it.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking forward to 2017

I have ever been one to cherish the idea of a new year, a new season, a fresh chance to evaluate and change my life. That doesn't seem odd to me, even though my life is usually one I am thankful for. Even being mostly content, I have always seen the things I do wrong, and wanted to do better. I like the clean slate, the fresh journal. I buy blank books to write diary entries in, or begin a novel, or fill with poems. Nine out of ten times I fill no more than five pages, and then the book loses its freshness and sits, abandoned.  I don't just do this for January First, either. I will hold the same hopes and dream of new beginnings each Fall as well, because after 47 school years, the start of the year for me, really is when school begins.

I've heard a lot about how bad 2016 has been, and it hasn't been an easy year for sure, but it has had moments of pure joy. It has had laughter and hugs and growth. It has had the birth of my grandbaby boy. I published my 7th book, and my husband and granddaughter both like it so far. I earned enough money that we have less bills now than this time last year. I hate that hate has dominated so much of the global news this year, but refuse to let it change who I am.

What are my goals for 2017?
Do I want to write a long list of small things I've been tolerating and then go through and start fixing them?
Do I want to choose a focus word and leave it at that? Maybe simply, "Love" because the world needs it still, and yes, my mind did break into song.
Do I want to challenge myself to a poem or a photo or a page of writing every day?
Do I want to work on health or finances or . . . .?

I haven't quite decided yet which direction to go. Finding the answer is not always the goal, sometimes just thinking through the process is enough to make me realize I love my life. I've connected with some family but lost touch with three people who really are important to me and somehow I need to reach out to them, for my own sake even if they don't need me to too.  I'm excited and curious and a bit fearful of 2017, but I'm buckling in for the ride.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas 2016 and May A Happy and Healthy 2017 Be Heading Your Way.

This was a year that made me wonder if I could bear to write a Christmas letter.  I told Greg that if I only talked about the good news I would end up sending a blank letter except for the news that May 9 gave us a great gift in Gavin Patrick Goode-Pitt.  Austin and Trisha had a baby boy. He was born big and beautiful and strong and not exactly eager to leave the comfort of his mother’s womb.  He has been growing quickly and every time we get to hold him he is more curious and alert and wanting to interact with people. Once again, I have fallen in love. Austin and Trisha are wonderful parents and that is so obvious when you see how happy their baby boy is.
Lance and Mom sound like they are doing as well as they have in over a year.  Lance is excited and happy to be going to Virginia college and to be taking Choir, computer, and woodshop, and to work there and have homework.  Brett’s step-daughter, Caitlin,  takes him to many places like the Library and Dairy Queen and to the lake.  He also frequently visits our mom. He hasn’t recovered completely and still can’t eat solid foods, living on ensure, and ice cream and cheese and I’m not sure if that will ever change. Mom doesn’t really talk on the phone very often anymore although I have talked to her a couple times this year when she was clear on who I am although foggy on some details. Lance has a cell phone (540)-359-1413 and you can send cards and pictures and letters to them at the same address

  Lance Miller /PO box 865/ Middleburg, VA 20118

 Brett sent me this picture

 Emerson and Daisy moved back in with Greg and I in March and it has been a good thing in many ways. It has been sad because Daisy’s mom hasn’t been able to be a part of her life since then, but Daisy at 2 ½ is growing strong and is always singing and exploring and so happy that she makes everyone around her happy too. Emerson works hard and always has more people wanting him to work for them than there are hours in his day.  He works with Autistic children and is as gentle and playful and firm with them as he is with his own daughter.

Greg has been working 11 years now up in Brookings at that school district and is having a wonderful year with really good kids, but he is also starting to want a change again, especially when thinking about the income he gets there. He applied to teach at the prison here, and has passed all their requirements, so if a job opens up, that could happen. Meanwhile he has been working on setting up a trip to Disneyland with his High School Students, and on turning his community Children’s choir into a higher level, audition only performing group.
Since Greg and I have been together since 1982, by now his family and my family all just feel like one family. His parents and siblings have always been a big part of our life and His Mom, Mimi Goode, died on November 9th in Rapid City, South Dakota. She has been in poor health for so long now that my sons barely remember when she was strong and healthy and taking part in leading so many efforts to improve lives in Newcastle, WY. They do remember driving around with her to feed stray cats and to check the live traps for ones for her spay and neuter and re-release of the older cats, and for adoption of the kittens.
We went back to Newcastle and had her memorial service with family on November 22, and then a family Thanksgiving dinner at Harvey’s home (my Father-in-law) on the 24th before driving back to Crescent City for three more hectic weeks of school before Christmas break.  It was wonderful weather all the way, although we came around the edge of some storms.  The funeral was sweet and well attended and the burial was just as a gorgeous sunset broke over the hillside there among the bare cottonwood trees.  The service felt like a celebration of her life and the only real sadness there was that Mimi’s brother suffered a stroke just after arriving in Wyoming and was in surgery during the funeral, but made it through well and was released from the hospital Thanksgiving Day.

I took a 60% job teaching in the High school’s Severely Handicapped/and Emotionally Disturbed class. I only teach Wednesday, Thursday and Friday most of the time, unless I get sub jobs the other two days of the week.  Lately my partner was on a two week long trial as a juror so I had full time starting the day we got home from driving 3,000 miles in ten days, and in that class, that is exhausting! I have 17 students, but so many Instructional assistants that I also supervise 15 adults, and have Emerson working with me pretty frequently.  It has been high drama and yet very rewarding.
I also managed to publish my 3rd picture book for children, so with my 4 novels, this makes 7 books I have available in Libraries and on Amazon. This one is called “The Redwood Tree” and is photographs and non fiction text.
No, I’m not mentioning the political news this year. Other than to say that most people’s first comment after learning that Mimi died the day after the election, was to say that she heard who won, and decided it was time for her to exit. She was one of Wyoming’s few, and fervent Democrats.
Miss Daisy has become a book lover, and a singer and a storyteller. She loves Peppa Pig, and our cat Rocky, and playing outside.
I love Christmas and the gift of going through my family and friends list each year and remembering why you are so special and important to me. I hope that this finds you weathering the changes and remembering the blessings.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dixie and Greg