Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Princeton Reunions

My dad told me today that I am invited to join him in May for his Princeton Reunion. This event is by far one of my very favorites. I will spend the day meeting handsome white haired men who have travelled the world, invented technologies, scaled mountains, cured diseases, and started and sold businesses over the span of their many decades. I will be flattered and complemented. I will be told story after story. I will keep pace and challenge them to outwit me, which they probably will. I will be amazed, impressed, jealous, excited, inspired, and energized by the potential for adventure, brilliance, and success in my own life after learning about theirs.

My father's alumni friends are so enjoyable and impressive that the long day, covering breakfast through dinner and a wonderful evening speech by a particularly brilliant genius, will fly by, and I will feel such regret at having to part, come 9 or 9:30 in the evening.

I don't know how to explain the attraction I feel to these brilliant old men. I actually get crushes on them! They have learned so much and experienced so much and they are so generous about sharing it - as much as I can take - in response to my eager questions. I am certain that I am more attracted to minds than to bodies. And those sharp minds are just as vibrant, if not moreso, than the mind of a 45 year old. There is a humility, a graciousness, that comes with true brilliance. Rather than boasting or trumping up the details of their lives, they enjoy pointing out their missteps and foibles along the way. They know how to laugh at themselves, to admire one another, to recognize my enthusiasm as a worthwhile trait, and to even enjoy a story or two from me as if it were just as exciting as their safari, crash landing, or discovery of an island in the South Pacific not on the map in the 1950's.

I hang on every word as they relate their adventures. How did you know to try that? Why did you chose to do it then? Any question that might give me a clue as to their exact process of thought and motivation. Anything I could glean for myself as I face my own future, ripe with potential. They help me not fear. They help me believe risks and leaps and grasping for a dream or an idea are not only o.k., but at least as safe, if not safer, than sitting home watching t.v., where you run the horrifying risk of never accomplishing anything.

I want to climb inside of their minds and watch the movie of their lives, one by one. I want to go home with them and see the photos on their walls and in their albums helping me learn these stories even better so that I can relive them with my white haired friends - the gleam in their eye as they talk about a lost love would be all the more touching as I myself gaze at her photo in a faded newspaper clipping, saved preciously over all of these years.

I know they are not perfect, and I'm sure many of them have done things in their lives that I would not approve of. But I forgive them. I forgive their flaws and misjudgements, their prejudices and narrowmindedness - which I assume could be part of the package. But, to be perfectly honest, I didn't see or hear any traces of these things in my conversations whith them. Plus, my father's friends were not the priviledged and elite Princeton students. He was ROTC, as were his friends - the kids who could not have afforded college without the military. These are the Navy buddies that rode air craft carriers together with my Dad to the Canary Islands, Tahiti, and the Galapagos. Training to be pilots, learning to take off and land over the water. Ditching planes when the next one was coming in too fast. They were regular guys, smart enough to get into Princeton but not rich enough to afford it. But what they did with their education, and the rest of their lives, speaks volumes about who they were all along.

Toward the end of the evening they raise their glass to the members of their class who passed away that year. It's a sad moment, but I so appreciate being witness to it. They remember each other so fondly, even years between meeeting up again at the reunions, and the way they honor one another makes me wonder if I will be able to maintain any of my friendships or even acquaintances as faithfully.

I look forward to growing old one day, having an entire day's worth of stories to tell to some middle aged whipper snapper who yet has a chance to make her mark on the world. But in the meantime, I look forward to the Princeon Reunions this May, and a wonderful long day with my father and his brilliant, sexy, white haired friends.

Holiday Madness

They don't call it Holiday Madness for nothing. I'm sure that many people feel, deep in their bones, that there is an insanity involved with stretching your finances too thin, or going into debt, to appease some force that drives you to meet unrealistic expectations of generosity and abundance. It is as if we all jumped blindly into the pot of cold water with the frogs and as the heat slowly rose, just blinked dumbly until we were cooked.

I can say these things this year. I could not say them last year. Last year I was all in. Spent a grand or more gladly, not knowing that my job would end a few weeks later. Wishing, at the moment I heard I was losing my job, that I could run around and gather my gifts and return them!

This year it's different. No abundance. No generosity. Just yarn and paint and love... and cookies. No tree. No land line. Downgraded cable. And a pile of bills I can't pay. But I'm happy. So happy. Happy to be knitting scarves, mittens, hats. Happy to be drawing and painting... and blogging. Happy to work for a good company that makes a difference in kids' lives. And if I can't afford stuff for Christmas it's fine. We all agreed (all but my oldest, John, who insists on spending money on the rest of us) that we would make and not buy our gifts this year. We're having a ball. We love it!

But there's a secnodary effect I did not expect. As I walk down the street and see the passersby with shopping bags overflowing with stuff and tissue paper, as I go through my mail every day and see the catalogs and the coupons and the special offers, as I overhear the conversations on the subway about the coats and the laptops and the sound systems... I am overwhelmed by a sense that I have been liberated from a terrible mental illness to a bright clarity of thought, freedom from pressure and stress, and it delights me... thrills me... as I realize I do not have to worry about finding the money to meet the high expectations of my family... expectations that I myself created.

As my kids and I talk about what we're making (or keep it a secret!) we are practically giddy with excitement and pride. We know our gifts will be appreciated and celebrated. There is, very unexpectedly, a strong sense that you can't go wrong when you put effort into making something. Maybe because we are all artists and we know it will be worthwhile work. Maybe because you really can't complain about a gift when you know someone offers it with deep, true love in their hearts for you, rather than a sense of obligation. And all of our gifts are being made with love. I can see it and hear it when we discuss our projects (or our thoughts about them). And giving because of love rather than obligation, fear of dissapointment, fear of criticism... what a huge, huge difference.

I look forward to writing about Christmas, and how all of this plays out. But have a strong feeling that it will be as wonderful as I expect. My expectations now are: a lot of love, laughter, and some fun stuff we may or may not need, but will really enjoy receiving.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Vision & Passion & Energy = Success

I am in Philadelphia at the Alexander Inn. My second son, Tim, has bought me a lovely week-end here - I am awaiting his arrival for Scrabble and dinner - tomorrow we'll see galleries - a wonderful 50th birthday gift. I sit at the hotel's complimentary computers because there is no bathtub in my sweet little single room and that had been my original plan while waiting for Tim to get out of work.

Having just returned from an amazing retreat I am still freshly impressed by the history I learned about regarding our president, George Cigale. He was extremely energetic in his youth, and had a passion and a drive you don't really see that much. It carried him from the age of 16 to around 25, like a shot out of a cannon, along a career path to managing a tutoring business. At such a young age he was knocking himself out for the Princeton Review, an SAT prep company. When the president decided was not really worth the energy it would take to launch it - George offered to take it over. The world was not ready for online tutoring yet, but George was so passionate and firm in his vision for it. One day I would like to gather the actual facts of all of this - rather than just what my poor memory is gleaning from a talk on the retreat several days ago. It's good stuff. I'm mentioning all of this because I feel privileged to be working for such a man. When he turned his focus on libraries to distribute the service he aligned his company with Bowker, the last company I worked for, and the founder of that company - Richard Rogers Bowker. Of course there are many differences, but I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the similarities.

When I was asked to leave Bowker it was like being asked to leave my family. I had devoted, not just hours and hours of sincere work, but my very heart to the company. I am just not the sort of person that can go to work calling it "just a job." I am a devoted person to whomever is in my life, including co-workers and the entity they represent. As a result of being this kind of person, I was content to stay with Bowker for the duration of my career and had immersed myself in the history of the company and the founder. Richard Rogers was my inspiration as I set about trying to learn what made librarians tick - what they needed, what motivated them, what was their pain that we could fix with a service or with our website. Losing that position broke my heart. I grieved. I did not feel malice, just hurt - as if someone was telling me my family didn't love me anymore. I certainly realize that this seems very foolish and immature. I maintained many friendships with my Bowker co-workers and seeing them is like good medicine when we get together. But not to be sitting in that office, walking the halls, representing the brands in the marketplace - it just hurt.

So now I find myself in a new company - one of those miraculous situations that I won't go into when it comes to how I got the job - and for the first three months I just put my head down and worked hard. Learning the details of the company's structure, culture, processes, etc. was fun and exciting as I dove into marketing to librarians, which was already just like breathing. But something was missing. I was holding back. I was going along, going to work, working hard, but something was missing. I didn't realize what it was until it came up like an old memory coming up in conversation. The love. I felt my heart coming around. My sense of devotion awakening. At first I resisted it. Just like not wanting to fall in love after your heart has been broken - I did not want to devote my heart to a job that might go away like my last one did. How could I let myself be so vulnerable again? But there it was, knocking on my door, that familiar passion I thought was lost for good - scarred over from getting burned the last time.

I stepped back and looked long and hard at it. Yes, that was it. The passion and devotion I was proud of once before. It carried with it the potential for greatness: awakening at 3am with a brilliant idea, creative juices flowing when I least expect it, a shine in my eye when I talk to a customer that they recognize and respond to... and it carried the potential to hurt me. I trusted my last company - can I trust this one? Can I trust that hard work combined with creative, positive energy and fantastic results like more sales, better exposure, better brand recognition won't result in my position becoming obsolete? Bowker is trying to ride on my years of dedication like a plane coasting on the wind. Eventually it will land. Eventually they'll hire another marketing director to take them off the ground again. I wish them well. I know, however, that they will never find anyone who loves their company and is as dedicated to them as I was. I know that because I know that the crazy combination of events in my life were pretty unique, and I'm not your average smart cookie or go getter. I'm a different breed of passionate which, in most cases, produces another kind of person - an entrepreneur. I would love to have been one - but, back to unique events in my life, I am a single mother of six. Not many options to take huge risks.

Well, I went on the retreat at just about the same time I was considering letting my sails fill with wind and taking off toward full devotion to this new job. Listening to my new president speak about his youth, the devotion and passion he displayed, the events in his life that led to starting and building into the young thriving company it is now, well - that was the push I needed. Young Richard Rogers Bowker was so devoted to books that he really devoted his life to booksellers, publishers, and librarians - and was there for them in many varied leadership capacities. His core belief drove him - that books were the key to unlocking a better life for all Americans - rich and poor alike. That books could teach you anything and access to books could make anyone unstoppable in the pursuit of his dreams. Let me try to remember a quote from him: "the Book is the light that lights the whole world" - I'm sure that's not exact, but it's close! This was what drove his passion and dedication to The Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, the ALA, the Library of Congress, Copyright law, new postal regulations for books, the list is mind blowing of all the ways he impacted our modern world of books and libraries.
Now, here I am in a world where books are ubiquitous. Access to books, and the quantity of books, and the brilliant minds making new books every day, are without end. Richard Rogers should be smiling in his grave. The internet has brought books to every home, and the knowledge that is in books is now virtual, electronic, digital - accessable from cell phones, handhelds - you name it - knowledge is there, information is available.

But education, the system that is failing our country's youth every day with standardization, a barren wasteland when it comes to creative thought and leadership - let alone art supplies - a framework for the least common denominator of teaching and a constant, endless trail of assessments and measurements that choke out any hope of independent activity and thought and creation - education is the frontier where a vision is needed.

We can't change our educational system. It's riddled with cancer - crowd control, poor materials and lackluster educators for the most part, are the daily routine of the average school. Sure, there are shining lights - a teacher, an administrator, that has figured out how to stay strong and inspire originality in students in spite of a system that chokes it. But most kids are not lucky enough to run into more than one or two of those in their school career. I have seen six children come up through American school systems and I spent the entire time trying to help them work with what they were given and squeeze out an open-minded, creative adult at the end. It was hard work.

At we give something more to kids than the classroom experience. We give them a chance to do better in school. A chance to feel good about themselves. A chance to get As instead of Ds when the school system just doesn't have the funds or the lack of red tape to help them the way they really need to be helped. I wish my kids had had this. When the teacher doesn't know how to explain, can't make a way to check that each child understands, that's when a one-to-one tutor after school can save them from frustration and eventual indifference - the worst result of all.
I LOVE reading the comments kids leave at the end of their exit surveys - "I used to hate math, now I love it!" I read stuff like that all the time. The internet, technology, and the passion, vision, and energy of one man have brought this miracle to thousands of kids. I can't imagine that anyone will see him as less than a revolutionary visionary one day, just like Richard Rogers. I know it's a little unfair to insult the educational system when it's full of hard working, devoted teachers. But it's just as full of callous, narrow minded, mean-spirited folks. I wish there were a way to purge the whole system of anyone that didn't truly love kids. That would be something. My kids all suffered such humiliations as being called stupid or an idiot by their teacher. Being punished for picking up a pencil someone dropped. Being openly shamed for not knowing something. These behaviors are inexcusable, but they go on every day. I'm just glad that there is somewhere kids can turn for genuine support. A live person who is paying attention to just them at the moment they need help. No judgement, no criticism - just help.

Well, my son is due over here to the hotel in about 10 minutes to play Scrabble - cool, eh?!! I'm pretty lucky.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on all of this. I needed to share them. It was really just pushing its way onto the screen as I rode the Amtrack, got to the hotel - it just had to come out. I feel pretty relieved now that it has. Ready to dig into my job - give it my heart and everything my smart, creative brain can offer it. What will the result be??? I don't think I can lose whenever I am true to myself.

OH!!! I almost forgot the icing on the cake (sorry!) - 40 Fulton Street - where is headquartered and where I work every day - is the exact location where Richard Rogers Bowker worked as the Vice President of the Edison Electric Illuminating company (the address was Pearl St. at that time). The modern building I work in has a big bronze plaque in the front saying this is the site of the original Edison Electric building. Pretty wild, eh? It makes me think about Richard Rogers every day as I pass the plaque to work on a new vision I'm sure he would fully support himself were he alive in this day and age.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Gifts from the storm.

I took one step, then another, and stopped short. I am at the beach on Ana Maria Island. I had been to Florida many times; something was different. There was an audible snapping of dozens of shells under my feet with every step. I looked down and the beach was a carpet of gems: weathered, worn, laced with the perfect borings of invaders who drill and devour them - and perfect, untouched shells as well. I parted the sand and sat, cleared another small area for my hand and leaned. With my free hand I discovered and captured a hoard of sweet sea bone to weave onto necklaces, windchimes, wall hangings - they lay there quietly all around like a gift that had been waiting for me ever since the hurricaine two days ago.

I thought about children. I don't know why, perhaps because I'm here with my job and our company tutors children who need help with homework. So many children could be stepped on, tossed aside, ignored - but if you stop, make room, make time, you can find the gems in them - the qualities that make them shine.

Nature has its relentless, unblinking objectivity about the world - what boat is tossed to bits, what animal drowned, what tree struck by lightening, it pays no thought - a storm is innocent of guile. The cycle must go on unbroken - yesterday's sea animals are tomorrow's sand - ground from shell and bone to tiny bits by unrelenting waves. Saving a few shells from their fate of becoming sand was a very natural thing to do. Like picking a flower. Like plating a tree. We effect nature constantly. But, just as I can't possibly find every beautiful shell - I also can't save every child from being broken under the crushing storms of man's inhumanity and greed. All I can do is cherish every child my eyes fall on. Every one I have the opportunity to know and possibility to influence. I know exactly how sappy this sounds - but what can I do? I helplessly love every child I see, anywhere I see it. Sometimes it is a storm that tosses a child onto the radar of someone who cares. Someone who can make a difference.

As the waves beat outside my hotel window now... the world turns, the moon rises, and life goes on - injustice and pain as unending as the constant waves. Beauty and joy as plentiful as a billion shells carpeting the beach after a storm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Chapter in "Get Satisfied" from Simple Living America

Why Losing it All Meant Winning Much More
By Galen Warden

Around 1990 my husband succumbed to major depression and just stopped working. I had to support the eight of us—we had six young children. In the months that followed it became apparent that, without either a college degree or full-time work experience, I would not earn enough to support us sufficiently. So... we began to sell our belongings. We received food from a local church soup kitchen, and hand-me-downs for my older kids from neighbors, as I continued to look for work. Plus we began to look for a low-cost rental, awaiting our inevitable eviction. Picture a financial domino effect—complete with jumps, flips, and cascades. But even then I was certain that this period of our lives held its own lessons, and would always be remembered as a very meaningful journey for us.

As we sold our belongings and began to scale down our lives, I felt a sense of liberty I did not expect. We had already spent a fair amount of time without a T.V. because I could not bear to see my children sit longingly in front of toy commercials. Of course they watched it at friends' houses. I told them I didn't hate T.V., but I wanted their time at home to be spent doing, not wishing. We had a big roll of white butcher paper and plenty of crayons, markers, and paint. We had Legos and Lincoln Logs and blocks. We had guitars and tambourines and keyboards. My husband was a musician and I am an artist, so creative equipment was readily available to them. Fast forward—today they are all artists and musicians either for their jobs or as a hobby.

We enjoyed our creativity at home, but getting out of the house was important, too. The problem there, again, was that we could not afford the normal entertainments: movies, local carnivals or amusement parks. Instead, I discovered that one of the coolest things to do when you have no money is "window shop." I'd take my girls to a fancy store, like Bloomingdale’s, and we'd try on fur coats! Window shopping is excellent therapy and recreation, plus it's educational. So much can be learned by not purchasing a thing, or spending a dime, if you do it right.

It’s helpful to remember that shopping in the traditional sense is very different, and much more stressful. You have to select the right thing. Does it go with my other stuff? Is it appropriate for my personal style? Does it fit? Does it match? Can I afford it? Should I go for cheap or splurge? Plus, you have to limit yourself to only visiting stores where items likely to conform to your taste, needs, and budget would be found.

When you window shop all of this stress is eliminated! You can window shop in any store that will allow you in. Money is no object. So why not go to the most expensive stores? The style doesn’t have to suit your taste. Ponder stuff you’d never put in your home. Somebody loves it. When you window shop, you can admire every item, learning to find its own particular merits, even if it is not in your personal taste.

It’s really quite amazing when you consider the millions of items for sale and the millions of different people buying them. Ask yourself what might have been in the mind of the manufacturer. Why did they choose to make this item? They must have imagined the perfect customer for it. You can picture the most sophisticated, or the most vain person, needing to pamper themselves with items of pure luxury—completely unnecessary extravagances whose qualities, details, or ornamentations augment an everyday object, simply to make it appeal to their sense of entitlement. If someone has to have the very most expensive one, then certainly someone will figure out how to make one of those that expensive. Eye each item—whether a tea cup, a coat, or a jewel— and paint an imaginary portrait of the character that would have to have that one! Until you walk into a store with this as your only purpose, you cannot imagine how wonderfully entertaining this can be.

To add a sense of history, and often irony, don't forget antique stores! There you can, not only enjoy imagining who might pay $200 for a fountain pen, you can try to picture its humble origins at 25¢ in the stationary store in 1920. This adds a wonderful twist. Antique items may represent a new technology for their time—the very latest thing—and with the perspective of history your child recognizes that one day their own modern things will be out-dated curiosities also. Vintage clothing may show shades of modern styles, back around again. And vintage photos are the perfect window on families that may have been similar to your own ancestors. Look into their eyes and imagine what that day may have been like, having their photo taken after a long horse and buggy ride into town!

Window shopping is a healthy adventure for well-behaved children 6 - 12 years or a little older. They are still young enough to have their values shaped. To appreciate that everyone doesn’t have the same taste, and to recognize that stuff is just stuff, and that very little is essential stuff. Every item in every store merely has the purpose of providing revenue to those who present it. There is no need for you to buy it. However, many people feel compelled to buy things they really don’t need. It is amazing how items themselves are somehow infused with the spirit of those desperate to possess them. There is a strange satisfaction in conjuring up that weakness in your self, recognizing it for what it is, and then watching it evaporate. Your power to overcome the siren of an item that calls out, "owning me will improve you," is a wonderful skill to teach children, and to hold onto throughout life. You will own your things. They will not own you.

At this moment, having lost everything those many years ago, I can gratefully say that I can afford to give regularly to the charities of my choice, Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army, among others... understanding that it is often someone just like me, because once it was me, that loses everything and needs a hand for a while. I can also happily say that, although I have more stuff than I had at that time, none of it, not a single thing, has the power it once had to hurt me. The threat of losing your things is a painful, even a devastatingly painful, feeling. When fear strikes your heart at the thought of your beautiful things going away, they own you. You do not own them.

My primary goal through those difficult times was to fiercely guard the kids against any negative impact from our situation. I was determined that it would be an opportunity for better priorities and perspective. I could use this experience to instill a sense of self-worth in them that was totally unrelated to status. And to teach them empathy for others they would encounter in their futures. What a gift! We sang, we drew, we played, we window shopped. With the exception of my husband, who took a few years to get better, we worked to remain happy, playful people.

Since those days I've become a successful career woman and own my own home. The value of learning that “stuff is just stuff,” the liberty of having nothing to lose and reveling consciously in that freedom, is the richest reward that one could gain from the painful exorcism of losing it all.

My chapter also includes a poem, which I am posting separately.

From: Get Satisfied: How Twenty People Like You Found the Satisfaction of Enough
October 1, 2007 ISBN 978-0974380681
learn more at:
purchase book at:

Poem: The Sweeetness In You

The Sweetness in You

I know how fragile life is.
Breath preciously taken in and carefully given out again.
You are a living rhythm of earth’s waves, tides, seasons.

Your heart, a delicate flower
Opening and closing its valves within a golden cage of bones.
A miracle each moment. Every time.

I adore your skin, its intricate capillaries peaking through
And blue veins like ribbons
Feeding every inch of you.

I fully acknowledge the mercy of life:
The gifts of cloud and sea and field
To our unworthy eyes and hands.

Water from the well.
Sun on the sand.
Life is good! So good. So good.

And things—the stuff of society:
Jewels and sweaters and heels and purses,
Lamps and radios and rubber tires…
All of it I appreciate more than you could understand.
The hands that made. The minds that planned.
The dreams that originated every wish that became
A thing to use, to want, to have.

From the silver thimble my great grandmother used
To the gleaming granite countertop I polish with joy—
All of the things of life are sweet.

But none is as precious as warm skin with fine hairs and freckles.
…The flower of the heart opening and closing its valves.
…Blue ribbons coursing through you.
…The breath of life taken in... most of it given back.

Be life with me!
Even more fragile than things.
Be precious gift of warm blood and bones.

Be aware with me
That the things we create wither
As easily as life escapes the delicate skin of the dead.

But as long as rosy cheeks flush with hope,
The joy of you is complete without a thing.

Let them take the house.
Let the items I have treasured slip away...
Bring me your splendor caged in bones,
That glorious mind that sparks with light.
The life of you… mine for the giving of mine to.

Nothing extra needed, dear.
No thing, but the sweetness in you
Which decorates the sweetness in me
Better than any thing.

Galen Warden

Begin the Bee Blog

I woke up at 5:25 this morning and decided to blog. My daughter came over last night and told me about a terrible anxiety attack she had yesterday while sitting in class at college. My heart broke for her. We talked. As I spoke I felt the unbearable weight of my words as they left my lips. Are these the right words? Will they guide her? Will she take them the right way? Am I wrong? Am I telling her things that will resonate harmfully later when she looks back on this moment seeking help for a present distress? How the power of being her mother weighed on me, like the weight of the whole world of mothers' words weigh on the whole world of children - infants to adults.

Is not a mother the ultimate healer? comforter? source of security and relief from the world's woes? But mothers are also wounders, harming their sweet pups with words that hurt instead of heal. The power of the mother's ability to wound is so terrifying to me. With every word I felt that weight, and hoped to only heal and comfort and let her know how very, very, very much I love her. With that strain behind every word - the accute need in her eyes - my heart stretched yet again - stretching like your brain stretches when you force yourself to tackle a really difficult spreadsheet for your marketing plan. Just like your I.Q. goes up when you challenge your brain - I think my Heart Quotient went up last night, stretching to hold all of my daughter's pain, straining to say only healing things, to remove my ego, my needs, my pre-conceptions from the equation of her desperate situation.

I won't know how well I did last night. I won't know if something I said helped or hurt. She will wake up today, bruised and weak, and, hopefully, call her dad for the number of the psychiatrist he knows and trusts. But whether my attempts at comfort truly made things better is not a significant fact for her. Or for me. That she finds an answer. That this stops happening to her. That she musters the courage to do whatever it takes to be better. Those are all that matter. My words are only planks of wood thrown in front of her as she navigates this quicksand. If they carry her across this one day to the next, so that she can really get the help she needs, they've done their job and they can sink away into the darkness of amnesia that usually follows such lows in life.

I know that bees can be scary. They have the power to sting. But their venom also has the power to heal - relieving one of humanity's greatest enemies - arthritis. It also protects the hive - wards off predators. Bees work together. They work for the good of the hive. They make liquid gold from flowers! I imagine that bees dream of flowers, of fields of flowers waiting to be harvested. I imagine that bees dream of the hive. Of their brothers working together to build, to clean, to gather pollen, to create a beautiful world they can call their own.

For my daughter I dream of a solution to her anxiety attacks. It might be a doctor who can prescribe something to balance her better - the hard work of arriving at that magic pill may seem daunting, but it may be well worth it. Or they may pass, maybe she'll just start talking to a really good psychologist and overcome some root cause with a lot of hard work. Whatever her answer - I won't rest until she has one. This world, the hive, needs her more than it knows now - her special insight is always striking, and her ability to communicate is rare. She wants to teach, or be an administrator, at the high school level. She has a lot of hard work ahead of her.

There is a lot to say - and the sweet opportunity of life is so short. I decided that one more blog among the thousands was a simple, humble way to begin to say my piece. I'm just another bee buzzing and working away for the good of the hive. I leave you with a dream of bees - a field of echinacea at Gaia Farm in North Carolina.