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Friday, February 17, 2006


I ran my hand across a wall today and the light caught my solitaire in blue and purple sparkles. Most of the time I forget my ring. It has become a part of my hand, as familiar to my fingers as their own touch. But every now and then, the light will catch the diamond, and catch my eye.

More and more it's the trend for pre-engaged couples to go shopping for a ring together. The girl gives her input, points to the gold or white gold of choice. She'll finger the various cuts of diamond, and contemplate their many perfections. The couple will hold between them, a chart listing the letters and numbers of diamonds, the different shades between yellow and white. Finally the girl will settle on a caret she can be happy with.

This wasn't the way for me. I never saw my engagement ring, never had a clue what it would look like, until Dwayne pulled it from his pocket. That's not to say I would have turned down the opportunity to shop for a ring but Dwayne did it by himself. He did it the old-fashioned way, and I'm grateful.

After the light hit my ring, I pulled my fingers to my face and wiggled them to make the ring sparkle again. A thought occurred to me, perhaps absurd, but one that I like.

This ring is not about my taste in style or my sense of beauty. It's about Dwayne's. This ring is a gift. He has chosen it from all the other stones lining glass cases. Something about its gold curve and its single diamond made him stop. He thought it was lovelier than the rest. And if he thought it was beautiful, maybe in it I'll discover a piece of what drew him to me.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Every Friday evening, on my way home from work the streets of Beverly Hills are dotted with men walking to Shabbatt. They dress in black or white, with little round caps. Some wear prayer shawls with tassels that jostle by their hips. My favorites are the fathers and sons. Tonight I saw two men, barrel-chested with bristly beards, walking with two small boys. Each boy wore all black, including a little black jacket zipped up to the chin. As they walked, each fit one hand snuggly into their fathers' palms.

They were walking to a synagogue I couldn't see. I knew it must be down the street or around the corner somewhere, but that ceased to be relevant. The suspension of their destination from my sight made their walk all the more sacred, as if the many steps between home and synagogue were the real worship, and the buildings on either end the bookends to their Sabbath.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Grizzly Man

2005 was a successful year for documentaries. Some of the docus were: "My Date With Drew," "March of the Penguins," and "Grizzly Man." I strongly encourage anyone to watch these movies. There is something intrinsically wholesome and uplifting about watching docus. They point us toward the everyday, to real life, and to the world around us. They fix our eyes on what is ordinary, they fix our eyes on one another. And in doing so, the stillness of these real moments becomes vibrant.

Last weekend Dwayne and I watched "Grizzly Man," a documentary about the life and death of amateur grizzly expert and wildlife preservationist, Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell spent 13 summers, unarmed, among grizzlies and ultimately was mauled to death by a bear. I thought, when the story began that it would be about the life work of Treadwell, and about a man who had saved wild grizzlies. Instead, I found a story about a troubled man, who was so conflicted he could only find peace among grizzlies, away from the civilized world. And in a very meaningful twist "Grizzly Man" became about Treadwell's inner journey to find rest, to find purpose, to find Home.

The impact Treadwell made for grizzlies in the greater scheme of things is debatable, but his story touched an inner chord for me. I saw a man who wanted so desperately to live for something greater than himself. He gave himself completely to the grizzlies; he wanted to become one. He acted like them, he "befriended" them, he nosed his way into every part of their lives. And in so doing, broke many federal laws as well as an ancient Alaskan boundary between humans and grizzlies.

One Native Alaskan, a curator and PhD, spoke to the camera frankly about Treadwell while trying to be tactful, "Where I grew up the bears avoided us and we avoided them. They're not habituated to us...If I look at it from my culture, Timothy Treadwell crossed a boundary that we have lived with for 7000 years."

I guess, to sum it up, I thought the documentary would make Treadwell a hero, but instead it made him human. This was a man I understood. This was a story I have felt. Don't we all want to give ourselves away? Treadwell wanted his life to be about more than his drinking problem, and the grizzlies saved him. "Thank you for being my friend," he would say over and over to the bears while touching their noses and cooing to them. "I love you."

"What," I ask myself, "do I want my life to be about? What am I escaping?"

The filmmaker made a startling and profound observation toward the end of the film, which I will not disclose here because I want you to watch it. Let's just say, it smacks of things universal, of things religious, of things deep and quiet.


Watch it and tell me what you think.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Oil Profits Make for a Brighter, Cleaner Future: A Post by Dwayne

“Last summer, I joined Democrats in Washington and in other states and called on oil companies to share in our sacrifice and return some of their record-breaking excess profits.”
---Virginia Governor Tim Kaine's Democratic Response

Okay just a few thoughts/ questions about the economically erroneous statement above.

1) The SOLE purpose of a business is to make money! So oil companies did a good job making money last year. They were rewarded for their efforts. Big DEAL. They haven’t always been this fortunate. Think about how little gas cost 10 years ago. So instead of using their profits to invest in developing other products or hiring new employees, Kaine is saying oil companies need to give it to the government who knows how to spend money more efficiently as seen by the balanced budget and over-all financial health of the federal government.

2) When did the oil company cross over the line that made their profits excessive? Was it over 1 billion, 100 million? Who gets to determine what an excessive profit is? Also Gov. Kaine speaks like the government hasn’t received anything from oil companies, like they didn’t pay taxes last year. He's just saying, Dang we didn’t get enough!

3) If America is going to break the “addiction” to oil then there needs to be a change in values; for example, people need to start valuing money in their pockets rather than in their gas tank. So how will this happen? I suggest that if we sit back and let gas prices go UP, UP, UP then our consumption will go down, down, down. I think that when this happens entrepreneurs will market ways to provide people with means of transportation that is more affordable/efficient that will not involve oil. Also people will start to think twice about living far away from work or buying SUV’s (this is already happening). So for a better world let oil companies keep making the BIG bucks because necessity is the mother of invention!

Maybe I am wrong, what do you think?

P.S Don't read this an endorsement for the GOP or an indictment of the Democrats. It's neither.