More Effect Than Cause?

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.“ — John Muir

Dear Family,

I spent this weekend on a project: setting up a small-time Prepper Stash. You might say that we transferred some of our savings account into Food Assets, specifically 160 pounds of rice, 50 pounds of rolled oats, 75 pounds of steel cut oats, 25 pounds each of chickpeas, black turtle and pinto beans, 50 pounds of red beans, and 25 pounds of brown rice flour.

Got Conspiracy?

Dear Family,

I really appreciate YOU. I woke up this morning and found that all sorts of humor and wisdom had landed in my inbox, and it is much easier to laugh at Crazy when others do, too!

Some Ways to Go On

Dear Family,

Lately I am doing very good/bad. I continue to live a privileged life, with a wonderful husband and five sweet, growing children who gradually increase in health and cuteness and skills every day. We have good food to eat, a gorgeous house to live in. It’s hard to complain! Especially because it’s so much worse for so many people - my gripes with the insanity in the world should be kept to myself, shouldn’t they?



With All Due Respect, These Are Crazy Ways to Manage a Pandemic

Since I’m a homeschooling parent, many people have helpfully “checked in” over the years with advice: I must not to be overprotective, and should ensure that my children have many experiences out in the world! It’s a terrible idea to plug my kids into video games or devices in an effort to keep them indoors and “safe” - kids must interact with others, especially peers! They need physical activity! They must learn to take risks in order to fly! They need to learn from many teachers! Hovering over my children, I have been told, can lead to psychological harm and all sorts of other maladies.

Making Covid Choices: Can Our Thinking Evolve?

Dear Family,

The lockdowns began with clear intentions: “flatten the curve” for six weeks or so, reduce stress on medical facilities while they ramp up facilities and staff, and learn more about the virus.

The Story of Kai: Chapter One

Dear Family,

“Our planet is poorly equipped for delight. One must snatch gladness from the days that are.”
- Vladimir Mayakovsky (from the poem "To Sergei Esenin”)


A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?” 

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!”

Welcome To The World, Baby Boy!

Dear Family,

Late in the evening on his Uncle Jake’s birthday (October 7), Kai Terran Amaral joined his family in a celebratory and slightly riotous homebirth that his Mama is profoundly grateful is Over.

Black Lives Matter, The Failure of Feminism, and Dinner as Usual

“In all things purely social we can be as separate as the five fingers, and yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.”
—W. E. B. Du Bois

Dear Family,

Mom noted today that I’m not doing anyone any favors by spewing anger concerning the COVID lockdowns. She said it more nicely than that, but I kinda got her drift. Love is better than hate and Little Pitchers Have Big Ears and all that.

Please Forgive the Insanity! Maybe?

“Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life.”

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