by Lisa Lillibridge to treat or consider (a person or a group of people) as alien to oneself Merriam Webster I want to blame I need to blame someone else something else anywhere else for my inner tornado alienate vilify repeat easy breezy automatic, unconscious our world’s challenges far too complex and exhausting to metabolize entirely on my own quell my fears confirm my programming please just tell me who, what, and where I should other today my team’s constant drumbeat deliberate, unyeielding laboring 24/7 to justify their clouding of my inner knowing click, forward, like, share, and tweet fair and balanced the daily diary of the American dream all the news that’s fit to print immutable and distracting like a howling airplane baby poor mum damn baby damn mum poor baby othering seductive like an ice cold beer hot, salty french fries or another slice of chocolate cake how did I other today? those people are not my people that problem is not my problem that place is not my place alienate vilify repeat conformity is obedient and compliant far easier than looking in the mirror and down into my own heart I know I should not utter a word until I’ve walked at least ten steps in someone else’s work-boots sneakers high heels wing tips flip flops or bare feet but I do we all do and it’s destroying us
I’ve started writing my thoughts about the pandemic, sheltering in place, and the emotional & economic damage the virus is causing around the world, but I lately I’m very distracted.
Is that a cardinal? What day is it? Who was in that movie? Do we have chocolate chips?
Like my adored grandfather, Louis (and my big sister, Laurie) quotes have always provided a lot of inspiration when I feel a little stuck. Sometimes they work, other times, not so much.
Today, they proved rather effective. Ask me in 15 minutes though, and I might tell you otherwise…or barely remember crafting this blog post altogether. They were unattributed.
Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
Life is often a struggle, with little bouts of ease. I think we do a disservice, especially to our children, to teach them otherwise. We can learn from every life experience if we can wrap our heads around thinking this way.
- New neighborhood signs appeared
- Easter Sunday—showered, dressed up, food, champagne, and gin rummy
- Picking the banjo, walking with Jeff, trivia with friends, a porch visit with Ellis
- Walking with friends, Lillian’s Zoom birthday party, making bagels, oh,the greys…& the blues too
My great-nephew arrived in South Dakota. Welcome to the world buddy.
I’ve been thinking about how we will collectively remember this time in history. I decided to look back—photos, emails, texts, notes and more. Here’s a snapshot of my discoveries.
Now, these images show the mostly good memories of sheltering in place. I unfortunately, didn’t document my hissy fits, pity party days on the couch watching TV, dumping the remainder of the potato chip bag in my mouth over the sink, or the times I just drove away because my family was bugging the crap out of me.
I suspect many of you can both imagine and empathize.
- A snow day.
- My rehearsal dinner dress—circa spring of 1992.
- Jen Wool appropriately social distancing.
- A multi-day March headache.
- Beer and trivial pursuit with the girls and Jeff.
- Willa visiting Joanne and Bob.
- Ellis stopping by for a front stoop chat.
- Coffee time with Karen and Jeff.
- Making coffee time a little fancier with my Grandmother’s china and a vintage wrap.
- Lucy, Willa, and Jacob at Lake Winnipesaukee.
- A Govoni family cookout circa summer 1998.
- Things I wanted to do circa 1989…I either got distracted or thought leaving 20 blank was clever.
- A note from my Dad sometime in the mid-90s after I had moved to Vermont.
- Photos of a gorgeous house Jeff and I used to house sit when we were dating.
- The wallet of my great uncle, that I was able to return to his family.
- Below, notes on my phone I found funny and insightful.
“People live in each other’s shelter.” —Irish Proverb
my great-grandmother or my grandmother for that matter on my maternal side. Nora died in 1938 before my mother was born and my grandmother, Mildred died before I was born.
However, in this chapter of my tender, and profoundly inquisitive, middle-age life, I want to know more about the women I share DNA with. They’re a part of me, my mannerisms, my choices and so much more that I’m completely unaware of. I need to know more.
Who was Nora? Mildred? What did they love? What did they fear? What made them laugh?
Unraveling the mystery of who they were simply will not leave me alone right now.
My father died just over a year ago and I so wish we had videotaped him telling some of his favorite stories. When families start losing a generation, the stories often disappear too.
This Thanksgiving folks, ask the elders at the table to share their stories. Let the kids ask questions and record their responses. You will be so happy to have the assurance that these treasured stories won’t disappear and can be shared for generations.
Enjoy your time together asking about the good ole’ days.
PS To any Kyte or Millette relatives who might read this, please contact me. I would love to learn more about Nora and Mildred. I would be so grateful for anything you’re willing to share.
when the world feels like a batshit crazy place is pretty challenging. I don’t know the best way to access a more grounded version of myself, but I do know the quickest. When I’m acting childish and feeling like I deserve more (or less) of whatever—a little gratitude for all of the good things in my life seems to ground me the most.
Gratitude not attitude seems to do the trick.
grounded—mentally and emotionally stable: admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious (Merriam Webster)
I’m not entirely sure about “admirably sensible” or “unpretentious“. However, feeling grounded, well, that’s worth a little exploration.
I shot these images somewhere northwest of Burke, South Dakota last Saturday. I really want to learn more about the history of this house. If anyone sees this and has more details, please let me know. The starkness and that big South Dakota sky just made me swoon.
I can just imagine the stories of the families that lived there. Work & Rest. Health & Illness. Joy & Heartache. Births & Deaths. Bounty & Scarcity. Warmth and Bone-Chilling Cold.
I don’t know how this song wasn’t on my radar until yesterday.
I came of age in rural South Dakota in the 70s and 80s. There were a lot of mixed messages around gender roles, religious beliefs regarding women’s place in home and society and male privilege.
Thank goodness for Title IV.
On June 23, 1972, the President signed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. into law. Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.
Without middle & high school athletics, I don’t know exactly where my resilience would’ve come from. I was a creative, slightly above average student—I just didn’t (and still don’t) get any juice from good grades.
I remember how patiently my late father fostered my young girl inner athlete. My Dad used the intelligence most readily available to him to teach what he highly valued; practice to improve, leadership, resilience and team work.
In the 70s and 80s in rural South Dakota, that pretty much makes Dad a feminist. He would find that funny, but I doubt would disagree.
Definition of FEMINISM noun
1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
Thank you Little Big Town!