by James Agee

Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

Yesterday, my thirty-five year old daughter entered our front door and headed to my arms. We were fully vaccinated and hadn’t touched each other for over a year. That touching her, her arms and back, her face and head, all mashed up against me, took me back to James Agee’s A Death in the Family. We were the lucky ones, celebrating that there had not been a death in the family. But that special touch — the one that breaks your heart — only Agee captures.

Don’t you fret, Jay, don’t you fret. And before his time, before even he…

By Yegveny Yevtushenko

Photo by Jayson Hinrichsen on Unsplash

I memorized this poem as soon as I read it. I captures for me the vitality that a new love brings to one’s life even as it speaks to one’s vulnerability and the possibility of loss and decline. While colours do “vanish” over time, for me, their diminishment remains and comes to life with each new face — whether it be the literal face of a person or, more metaphorically, the “face” of an idea or work of art. The poem also reminds me to seek out new faces and not to let my fear overtake the coloured light.


Diane Gillespie, January 30, 2021

In wintry Western Washington
Standing in rain-soaked soil,
Wearied by grey-drenched skies,
I gaze up at the tree in my backyard

And am heartened
By those yellow spindled flowers on its branches,
Becoming radiant whenever the sun
Sneaks out from dreary skies.

I long for the first pink blossoms
Of plum trees that will follow next.
Multitudinous, their tiny pink tongues reaching toward the sun
As if desperate for light.

Then primroses, too, and pansies will bloom in glory,
Row after row, in containers set out in front of stores —
Yellow, purple, red and white,
Sentinels of a new life singing out their songs.

I snip two twisted twigs, bringing the golden flowers inside
To remind me that the time will come when my tables
Will be adorned with branches, laden with pink blossoms
And my porches with primroses and pansies in a riot of colors.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

My Facebook Message to a Still-Trump-Supporting “Friend”

If you need a reason to unfriend me.” So began the flyer my friend re-posted: “I am pro Trump, pro military, pro law enforcement, pro gun, pro life, a Christian, and there is [sic] only two genders. P.S. All Lives Matter.”

No distance from Trump, even given January 6th: just a reposting of the flyer. I had to respond:

I have this picture of us from 2000, at our 40th high school reunion. We are laughing and swinging hula hoops on our 50-year old hips in a contest. The hoops are not labeled Republican and Democratic but are reminders of…

from Wallpaper

A Cognitive Behavior Strategy

@DrJohnRose poetic tribute to Monet’s water lilies spurred me to consider how entering one of Monet’s paintings could lead one to sleep.

As a sleep struggler, I have been experimenting with sleep-inducing stories and images

Getting absorbed in a painting presented possibilities for me.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends Cognitive Behavior Therapy-Insomnia (CBT-I) as the first line of treatment for any sleep problems.

During CBT-I treatment, a person struggling with sleep is encouraged to become aware of their sleep hygiene, to reflect on what’s happening around them, internally and externally. …

“This is probably the only workshop you will attend where falling asleep will be a great honor to the presenter.”

I have been teaching about Cognitive Behavior Therapy-Insomnia (CBT-I) for several years. When I say that falling asleep will honor the presenter, everyone laughs and, at least as far as I can tell, no one falls asleep.

Enter Covid-19: I started presenting to seniors via Zoom. At the last one in October, after going through various CBT-I strategies, I read a sleep story [] and started a discussion about how to use it. …

This grandmother creates interactive adventures that turn sedate video chats into all-out romps—and tells you how to do it yourself.

Little boy looking at laptop and smiling
Little boy looking at laptop and smiling
Image credit: SbytovaMN

After seven months of being isolated and having these fleeting and fairly routine Zoom interactions with my three-year-old and five-year-old grandsons, I despaired. With COVID-19 numbers rising in the USA and in Italy, where they live, the reality of the pandemic set in. Would I ever see them again? Did I have to settle for these stilted moments on Zoom and FaceTime where the interactions felt incomplete?

They paraded dutifully in front of my son’s Zoom to say, “Hi, Grammie.” Then they took off, only to emerge several minutes later to make silly faces and disappear again. My husband and…

Diane Gillespie

PhD, Educational psychologist. Author and sleep advocate interested in learning as social/cultural process (Website:

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