Angels in Shipwrecks - Kaitlin Murphy-Knudsen
Angels in Shipwrecks: Place, Politic and Spirit in Modern Life

Blog Update

The blog is on hiatus for a while as I work on other projects. Thank you for reading!

How to Stretch Gratitude Past Thanksgiving - Find Your Shrinky Dinks

SunsetMorgan and Sugar When Irish-Puerto Rican Eyes are Smiling (a few shrinky dinks in author's life)A tree that survived the snowMorgan and author's brother

A few weeks ago I visited a friend whose husband had just lost his father. They have a five year-old boy and a girl of seven months. While I was packing for the trip, my friend sent me a text sharing her son’s effort to brighten her husband’s day.

“Daddy,” he said, “I have two surprises for you!”

“Really? What?”

“I got Shrinky Dinks, and Kaitlin is coming!”

My heart warmed to be included with the esteemedShrinky DinksI remembered from childhood, even more so when I pulled onto their street to see her son standing in the driveway waiting for me.

Ways to Fall in Love - We Don't Fall in Love With Just Anyone. Why Would it be Different With Pets?

Georgie (left) and Timmy (right)Timmy, Georgie and BoysGeorgie in Later Years, Summer 2009

For Timmy, Georgie, Karen, Scott, B & B

I don’t fall in love with other people’s pets easily. I need to see what they’re made of before they’ll be enjoying my undying affection, and I want to feel connected to another soul before it will cuddle on my lap.

If people gravitate toward pets that are similar to themselves, I was surprised to fall hard for two pitbulls who were not even mine. When a close girlfriend got married ten years ago, dogs Timmy and Georgie came with the husband.

I did not like pitbulls.

Architects Among Us – What are you building?

Church in Brooklyn Heights, NYChicago BuildingsGrace Building, NYCChicago Tribune BuildingSpider Web with Dew Drops,
Wave Building, ChicagoTrump Tower, Chicago
For two months a spider has been trying to steal my car. Every night it builds, and with a few days of absence from me, it constructs whole cities of webs along the outside: from antenna to side mirror, side mirror to door. I walk into its spun doorways, tricked again by the thin webs and forced to part the strands like beaded string entryways of new-age shops.

What the spider builds by night, I destroy by day. My weapons are stacks of Tim Hortons napkins, which I swipe through the air broadly until I can open all four doors without eating the webs or the bugs caught inside.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace (For Margaret, II)

Margaret P (d Aug 9, 2011)South Buffalo Pizza & Wings With NanHappy Birthday NanOur first "light" month, with 'homebound' rules lifted from insurance company, and end to regular physical therapy, occupational therapy and social worker visits

Hail Mary Full of Grace
For Margaret, II

The week before last, I held my grandmother’s hand while she died in a quiet room at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo, New York. Her son and his wife, my uncle and aunt, stood on her other side.

She had seen her mother, she'd said.

“It’s ok to go with her, Mom,” my uncle said. “You did a good job. We love you. We’ll see you again.”

We repeated how much we loved her.

Windmills, Truckstops and Transitions - Living in the In-Between (For Margaret, I)

Windmills in Western New York, Route 20AWindmills in Western New York, Route 20A, SunsetTruckstop for Ice-Cream

Soon after I drafted this, I made the 911 call that would bring my grandmother, Margaret, to the hospital on the last day of her life. I had been living with her since June, sharing primary caregiving for a brief time with my uncle and nearby family members, while she healed from the severe leg injury resulting from congestive heart failure she’d suffered from for decades.

While my gut had been telling me she would go before enduring another Buffalo winter, to protect her privacy I was reluctant to post what I’d written while she lived.

A Piece of Vacation for Your Day - San Francisco, Redwoods, and Winds that Rally Silence

Sailboat in SF Bay : Sailboat in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz BackgroundSailboat and Golden Gate : Sailing in San Francisco Bay, Golden GateMuir Woods : Redwood in Muir Woods Nutella Crepe at The Crepe House, Polk Street, San Francisco : Nutella Crepe at The Crepe House, Polk Street, San FranciscoRedwoods in Muir Woods : Redwood in Muir Woods
Inside a Redwood in Muir Woods : Redwood in Muir WoodsSan Francisco Bay : San Francisco BayGhirardelli Square from SF Bay : Ghirardelli Square from San Francisco Bay


Guest Post for

I have been offline for the past week due to a family emergency and will be posting a new blog soon. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this guest blog I recently wrote for, thanking the public school teachers I was blessed to have growing up in Barrington, RI. I will always be grateful for the energy and passion they brought to their students every day!

The Dalai Lama Reveals the Secret to Enlightenment: Laugh at Your Own Jokes?

Peace Mural @NewarkPeace : Panelists onstage at the Newark Peace Education Conference, May 2011His Holiness the Dalai Lama : His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Moderator Robert Thurman, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Newark's Earl "The Street Doctor" @NewarkPeace, May 2011His Holiness the Dalai Lama : His Holiness the Dalai Lama @Newark Peace, May 2011His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Moderator Robert Thurman : His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Moderator Robert Thurman, @NewarkPeace May 2011

Expectations were high. This was the Dalai Lama after all. Was it too much to expect the most profound insights we'd ever heard, solutions to the problems of the world at large and our smaller worlds within it?

This past weekend theTibet House, theDrew Katz Foundation, Columbia professor and Buddhist scholarRobert Thurmanand Newark MayorCory Bookerhosted His Holiness theDalai Lamaat theNewark Peace Education Summitin New Jersey. With the heightened security, bows of deference and the craning of thousands of ears toward his every word, it was hard for me to imagine what it would be like to face such out-sized expectations when traveling--feeling their weight in the very air between you and everyone you meet, people who want something important from you that they cannot quite name but expect nonetheless.

Patriots or Peacemakers - Do we have to Pick One? Why reactions to Osama bin Laden's death may be promising

VJ Day, NY, Aug 14, 1945 National Archives White House, May 1, 2011, Manuel Balce Caneta for APHitler Dead, May 1, 1945, AP

This Friday I will attend thePeace in Education Summitin Newark, New Jersey, and as one local journalist described it, now is“a curious time to talk about peace.”

Nonetheless,His Holiness the Dalai Lamaand like-minded Nobel laureates will join poets, educators, other peacemakers in their fields, a few thousand attendees and most importantly, 1,000 of Newark’s students to discuss what it will take to get to peace and, I hope, to get started in making it happen.

That sounds like a nice and fluffy way to spend time.
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Recent Posts

Blog Update
How to Stretch Gratitude Past Thanksgiving - Find Your Shrinky Dinks
Ways to Fall in Love - We Don't Fall in Love With Just Anyone. Why Would it be Different With Pets?
Architects Among Us – What are you building?
Hail Mary, Full of Grace (For Margaret, II)


April 2011
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