On the Eve of the Winter Solstice

Yes, my blog this week is a day late. And there is one very important reason for that.

Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to our old friend Ruby. Ruby was our 14-year-old Irish terrier who spent her life in our house, watched our kids grow into amazing adults, stood by us when we each lost our fathers, welcomed our granddaughter, took our second dog Truffles under her wing, and paced the floor around 5:30 every morning in her old age.

It was a bittersweet day, as any pet owner will know. Ruby told us she was done by refusing to eat and drink over the weekend. She was tired. She had lived long enough.

And so we did what we needed to do: took her to our vet, whom she loved, and helped her leave us.

Ruby the Irish terrier


Even though I had to get a box of Kleenex to keep in my office yesterday, today I am thinking about how Ruby made us better people by forcing us to slow down once in a while. She had a way of backing up to us wherever we were sitting so that we could pause and pet her. She was good at being insistent. Pay attention, she seemed to say.

Dogs are good at that.

As we move on to the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the New Year, taking a moment to pay attention to whatever is there in front of us might be a really nice idea. Turn off the news, put away the screens, and pause.

Happy Holidays, everyone. One Minnesota Writer will return in January 2017.

happy holidays from one minnesota writer


First Five Fragments for Friday – Solstice 2014 Edition

Hope is such a slim thing at times, a gossamer ribbon that disconnects at the slightest disturbance. When the news is filled with violence and illness, random attacks designed for mass intimidation, hope sinks beneath the surface, leaves us bereft and confused. We question how our world could get to this state, wonder what we need to do differently even as we fear saying anything aloud.

What an awful feeling to need hope and not see it reflected anywhere.

But this week right before Christmas is my favorite week of the year because this is when hope has a chance. In my circle of family and friends, this week is full of anticipation for good things. Our holiday expectations have neither been met nor dashed, we look forward to exchanging gifts and sharing meals with those we love. Yes, we’ll still talk about the latest cyber attack, disease outbreak, and bombing, but we’ll do it from a position of community, a bolster formed by the celebration of whatever it is we hold sacred.

That is the way in which hope is welcomed back. Every year, we wish each other peace on earth, good will to all. This week, and beyond, let’s concentrate on just how we make that wish a reality, how we keep hope in front of us.

And then, let’s make it happen.

Five peace-promoting actions:

1. Invite someone you don’t know to share a meal

2. Care for someone else’s child

3. Go ahead and roll down your window to give your spare change to that person standing on the corner with a sign

4. Grow a vegetable garden in your front yard and don’t fence it in

5. Say thank you

Happy Solstice

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Kwanzaa