from the publisher “We hold these truths…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Between the time I write this and when The Phoenix goes to press, millions of Americans over 18 will have cast their votes in favor of one candidate or another, springing from amalgamations of internal convictions, biases, perhaps even confusion. It’s been a political year festooned with muckraking and dodgy ethics. But it’s what we have done in the midst of this political environment that … Continue reading

From the publisher

Life is circuitous, at least mine has been, and often I find myself scratching my mop, wondering how I got to this particular place in time — and why. While the journey has been filled with twists, hairpin turns, and I’ve stopped millimeters short of a precipice or two, it’s been pretty darn good. Challenging, yes. Filled with moments of awakening should I choose to look at them, yes. And each day I find myself grateful and mostly at peace with the conscious choices I make. Twenty-one years ago I chose to get married, become pregnant, and move to Minneapolis … Continue reading

From the Publisher: Uber Proactive

Julia Edelman

We’ve gotten uber proactive in our culture. Kids learn about sex and drugs at earlier and earlier ages .  This is good, I thought, until my son’s seventh grade sex-ed assignment was to go to Walgreens and buy a condom. This wasn’t so good. We teach them at school, at church, and synagogue about the hazards of tobacco and obesity. We tell them that weed really is addictive and then launch into stories of second-cousins twice removed that 20 years later still mow lawns in the neighborhood. They lost a toe one year due to a combination of illegal substances … Continue reading

From the Publisher: collecting moments

When you live long enough you collect moments —like a waterfall pools at the end of its descent. Or a nebula gathers more dust and gases. You collect awkward moments like your first French kiss. Walking down the hallway at work or school and discovering the 4-foot trail of toilet paper fastened to the underside of your right shoe. Or stopping at a friend’s house in the midst of a dinner party that – oops — you weren’t invited to. You collect serene moments. Like listening really hard on a still dark winter night and hearing the susurration of snowflakes … Continue reading

From the Publisher: to Dolores

Julia Edelman's mother Dolores

This issue of The Phoenix Spirit is about retreats. This is when I usually blather on about retreats being my favorite topic of the year and that there exists a retreat to fit every budget, temperament, and shoe size. But this year is different. While all of the above is true, I’ve ventured, rather involuntarily, into a retreat of a different stripe this past spring. Dolores, my 88-yearold mom, passed away on May 4. Her death was both expected and unexpected. People ask such things, and it’s a good question to ponder. Mom was declining rapidly with her physical health, … Continue reading

From the Publisher

A few years ago a friend smiled wistfully as she listened to me stumble through an beginner’s sonata on our ancient Wurlitzer upright — the same piano I sat at for half-an-ungodly-hour day after day while growing up. “I’m so impressed that you can read music,” my friend lamented and I was shocked. She plays at clubs, weddings, big events and restaurants around town, and my brain couldn’t compute that she could be so talented and yet not read the notes on the page. “It’s like I have some sort of musical dyslexia,” she said, explaining the musical malady that … Continue reading

From the publisher: 2014 was odd…

2014 was odd, I’m just sayin’. It was a year filled with surprises, big and small, tangible and intangible, some deeply felt and other scarcely noticed. My husband was laid off from his job at the beginning of the year, we launched our eldest off to college, and I continued to slog and plod my way through graduate school. My mother-in-law uttered her last emphatic words, “I’m ready to go – now!” and I attended a party to honor the first 365 days of a young girl’s life.