Cultural Exchange on the Silk Road

One of the ways we work toward peace is by getting to know and understand other peoples’ cultures.  The more we can understand why people act the way they do, what they believe and value, the more we can empathize and develop compassion for them.

I recently saw the “Traveling the Silk Road” exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and read the 250-page companion book by the same title.  Here was a massive cultural exchange program that went on for centuries!  Fabulous luxury goods like spices and exotic foods, exquisite porcelain and glassware, intricately-woven fabrics, scented oils, paper and books, were not all that was traded: travelers exchanged languages, stories and belief systems, music and dance, manufacturing technologies, and state-of-the-art scientific discoveries, among many other aspects of their lives. Continue reading “Cultural Exchange on the Silk Road”


Indelible: Denver’s Lasting Impressions of the Library.  Denver Public Library.  Tattered Cover Press, 2014.

The Denver Public Library, to celebrate its 125th anniversary this year, asked the community to submit short essays to be considered for inclusion in a commemorative book. The topic to write about was what you love about the library. I submitted an essay about the many ways my life has been enriched by DPL, from my finding there the book that first put me on the path of vegan activism, which led to my meeting and marrying my husband of 25 years, to my being hired as a DPL librarian where I worked until retirement, to saving me thousands of dollars over the years on books and movies. My essay was among those selected and is included in the book. I have good company between these covers: well-known authors and scholars, people looking for a better life and using library resources to achieve it, children and teens whose awareness of the world expands beyond what they’d previously thought possible. Many of the stories people share bring a lump to the throat, and remind readers of the vital importance and lasting influence of our public libraries.

Caregiving 101

I was involuntarily enrolled in an ongoing personal Caregiving 101 course last December 5 when my husband Keith Akers suffered a mild stroke.  I, as well as everyone else who knows him, was shocked that a fit, trim, long-term vegan with ideal blood pressure numbers would find himself in this situation.  Doctors confirmed he had no aneurysm, no torn artery, no clots, no atherosclerosis; apparently a small capillary or vein burst.  After nine days in the hospital–the first five in Critical Care–he came home, temporarily unable to walk unaided or dress himself.

We are extremely fortunate that he has no permanent damage or loss of function.  However, any bleeding in the brain is life-threatening and the healing process can be lengthy.  Now eight weeks later, he is mostly back to normal except he still has headaches and tires easily.  He has not yet resumed socializing, as he finds that to be the most tiring activity of all. Continue reading “Caregiving 101”