The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...

Category: Budddhism

The Specter of Sacrifice

I forgot Ash Wednesday. No big surprise; I forgot last year too. I probably could have swung into the church I only haphazardly attend. I dropped my daughter off at school for 7 am so I could have stopped in… but I didn’t. So begins a stretch of 40 days and nights where my family […]

Peeing on the Buddha

We have this stone buddha in our yard. We bought him when we got our first house in Providence. That house was built in the early-1900s by some rich old Italian who owned a sausage shop. In the back yard, surrounded by roses bushes was an empty pedestal. The old Italian likely had a whitewashed statue […]

A Winter of Listening

Right now the thermometer says the outside temperature is 50 degrees and rising. It is warm, too warm for January, and almost unnatural for Winter. Last week a storm threatened us here in New England with temps in the teens and 4-8 inches of snow. The computer models were off a little, by Sunday we ended up with […]

An Epic Fail??

November 30 was the final day of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) and I have failed. For anyone who doesn’t know, NaNoWriMo has been around since 1999 and the challenge involves completing a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days, an average of around 1700 words a day. I’m about 25k short of the […]

A Small Good Thing in Times Like These

Recently I began baking bread and I can’t really explain why. I have always wanted to bake bread and it seemed something very primal, simple and pure. So I started baking bread, focaccia to be precise. After that, I decided I could tackle making loaves of white bread for toasting and sandwiches. How hard could […]

Fairy Tales of the Mind

Sometimes I wonder what (or who) lives deep inside the mind. More importantly I wonder when they moved in and claimed their space. Worse still, like recently graduated millennials, once these notions move in they tend to reside rent free. Who can we blame for these fairy tale notions that distract us from living our lives? […]

The Pain of Shortcuts

For months we’ve been taking yoga classes on Sunday mornings with a specific instructor. Recently she left the studio to pursue a cross country odyssey with her husband to downward-dog it across the country to California. I had grown to enjoy her classes and the way she opened me up to the principles of yoga, […]

Having fun yet?

I sit on the couch looking out the open windows onto the front porch. My daughter is supposedly out there studying, but mostly she seems to be fiddling with my Macbook trying to get Youtube to offer her a better John Mayer playlist and complaining about bugs assaulting her. In between busting her chops about […]

Growing Season

My front yard now inspires me. This had not been the case prior to last Friday. For years the front of our house has been a mess. On one side of the front porch the pine tree that started out small was crowding out the Pee Gee hydrangea, as well as encroaching on the corner […]

Prisoners of the Mind

The emails start almost immediately. It makes sense; I threw my students a curve by combining the last two essays into one that will receive a double grade. The topics shared a connection anyway — captivity — so I figured it’s really no big deal. Still, it got them panicked. After a number of class conversations, and responding […]


When looking at glass, see sand. When looking at diamonds, see coal. In a flourishing flower garden see the pile of loam. That stone wall right there was once a chaotic pile of rocks. Before the bridge there was an un-passable chasm. Weeds plaguing the front lawn are as green as grass. In the forest dense […]

Kindly loving kindness

Kindly love in the ways love itself yearns to breathe. Kindly speak unspoken words to open a heart yet unopened. We arrive where two roads meet, cross and intertwine. Failing to appreciate that fact I find myself here where the letter “K” resides. Starved for a theme, I ask my wife. Without missing a beat […]

Goals Tended, Intended and Upended

Ambition is something that I lack. This quality seems to be absent in my genome.  A lack of drive I suppose. Several posts ago I wrote about being perceived as aloof as a result of being shy. Something similar applies to this notable absence of ambitiousness which is often viewed in terms of laziness. I could […]


  The self fights and the “I” struggles. Especially when threatened. Those threats take various forms: the disappointment of loved ones, career setbacks, identity challenges, economic strain and uncertainty, a questioning of talents or abilities. In these moments what sometimes rises are emotional reactions of anger and fear bourn of insecurity, the fragility of ego. […]


  Midway up the hill, I meet the voice of another runner: end-of-season me. End-of-season me had some sharp words for my negative rantings expressed while trudging up the gravel road adjacent to the river. I pushed his voice back, trying to ignore it so I could focus on potholes and fissures cutting through the packed […]


This morning I dropped my daughter off at school. In and of itself this is not unusual but the reason for taking her in this morning is — she may have a broken tibial bone in her ankle. I know, sucks right. When I returned home my wife and I had a discussion about how […]

Hidden Among the Leaves

The three of us sit at Easter brunch in a sun filled dining room overlooking the river and joke about skipping mass while waiting for French press coffee, juice and tea. We joke about pacing ourselves and getting our $40 (per person) worth. So much has changed over the past year and a half. Easter symbolizes a rebirth, […]

Walking the Mobius Highway

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time from The Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot   For the past six months or so I have struggled. Because a family is a system, if one person struggles […]

A Broader View

A year ago I contributed a piece  on the theme of compassion for the group 1000 Voices Speak. Today they celebrate their one year anniversary. Their overall prompt for an anniversary post was, generally speaking, a sort of “update” on our thoughts one year later. I’d like to say the news is good. I like […]

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