Gratitude Sunday: Liberty And The Pursuit

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.” Socrates

Sunday Haiku
One cool mid-summer
evening, fragranced by pine trees
and freshly mown hay.

Sunday Musings
I discovered long ago what we all have in common. Every person I’ve ever met and every stranger I haven’t wants to be happy. What exactly is happy? One can ask a hundred people and get a hundred answers.

I’ve given up on happiness. I can’t define it for myself; I’ve found few people who can define it for themselves. It’s rather easier to define contentment, as in comfort, financial security, and nothing on the worry-list. The worry-list is long these days; I’m not the only one struggling.

Maybe there is no such thing as happiness. One cries in moments of joy, when one marries, or births a child, but one also cries in sorrow when a loved one leaves or tragedy happens. Who says we should be happy or even strive for such?

In my brief perusal of some Bible verses, I find references to joy, delight, rejoicing, laughter, pleasure, and comfort, but nothing about what happiness is or why we should try to achieve it. To find joy in others, delight in their faces, rejoice in your god and faith, to share laughter, pleasure in your work, and comfort in your soul while living a righteous life is what I read. Note: I am not a theologian. As usual, this essay is a loosely connected muse.

Then there’s the Constitution of the United States of America, which is getting a ton of press these days with people not wanting to wear a tiny piece of cloth over their noses and mouths in one small effort to stem the raging tide of a viral pandemic. While it says nothing about masks, the Constitution does not entitle or guarantee our “happiness” either. The phrase is “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Do people read right over “the pursuit” part? It does not say life, liberty, and happiness. There is also a subtle but distinct difference between liberty and freedom. Liberty implies responsibility, of doing what one wants without hurting others, while freedom implies indulgence, or doing whatever one wants with disregard to others.

Ah, there it is. Happiness is not a thing we achieve; it is how we respond to the journey. That’s where the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” might be setting us up for failure. Or not. Every life is a journey. The journey is the only thing we get; it involves responsibility as well as pleasure. We get to be born; we get to grow up; if we have caring parents, we get to have a support system and an education; we get to define and strive toward our goals; perhaps we get to fall in love and have children of our own. That is to say in most cases; occasionally a person is born for whom decisions must be made, so limited is their journey. Comparing journeys is where it gets tricky.

At every step along the way, we might have privilege or not. We could be born in a shack on a dirt floor, or we could be born in an exclusive hospital with all the best and newest medical care around us. We might have loving parents who encourage us through our journey, or we might have parents who seem to sabotage us at every turn. We might get to have an excellent and engaging education, or we might be abandoned in the warehousing system we call public school. We might have family who can give us a boost: pay for our educations, our homes, stake us for a start in business, or we might have family who has nothing, no education, no money, no home base, and doesn’t know how to guide one to success. We might get the great job we wanted, or we might not. We might successfully meet our goals, be accepted and well-liked by many, or we might fail to achieve at all, alienate ourselves from others, and be unable to make friends. Nevertheless, we are who we are, and we own only our own journey.

For example, I had the privilege of an excellent education in a private university. I wasn’t traditional college age; I was nearly 40 when the opportunity arrived, and I loved going back to college. The professors and the information were so interesting I wanted to be a student the rest of my life. As much as I loved the profs, they taught me to be confident in finding my own research and how to read it, and they trusted me to move on and share what I’d learned. I am a dyed in the wool life-long learner.

The catch? I was not able to pay for that education. It was paid for through grants (tax dollars), scholarships (in some cases, tax dollars or individual donations), ten years of monthly payments until I finally begged a final waiver from the school (the school is funded through private donations), and an out of the blue annuity from an aunt which Medicare was going to suck up, but three kind and caring women in the Oregon offices of the Department of Human Services decided paying off my student debts was the greatest help my family could have before Medicare got theirs. The annuity could have paid off my mortgage as well (I’m sure this was auntie’s intent) which would have been the greatest help in my opinion, but Medicare had to have their cut to pay for auntie’s care, and when it’s other people’s money sometimes you don’t get to say. Those three women didn’t have to make the decision in my favor, but I took the time to plead my case. Also intriguing to note the federal agency of Medicare and the federal agency who held my student loan debt got theirs first. My privilege and access to a quality education is courtesy of other people’s money, hwell, except for those ten years of monthly payments; I did manage those out of my own pocket, and I was grateful the university never piled on interest or late fees, unlike the federal agency who held my loan and after servicing it for ten years nearly doubled with interest and fees. That’s one of the catch-22s of modern education, it keeps you in debt and takes the rest of your life to pay for it. It that the pursuit of happiness? I do like to pay my bills.

Knowing other people were helping me through college I felt it was my responsibility to do the best I could and made Honor Roll every term. No matter who paid for my education, it can never be taken from me. Was that journey worthless? Did those people who invested in my education get their money’s worth? My journey was/is invaluable. I’ve been able to give back in very small ways, which are significant to me even if they are meaningless to anyone else.

Did my education afford me happiness? It certainly gave me a greater appreciation for the journey and better understanding of the struggles we have whether wealthy or poor. The job I obtained after graduating magna cum laude did not require my degree. I required my degree. When I found out what an opportunity I had I needed to prove to myself what I could do. I applied the education to my job and my life, nobody else did.

My education gave and gives me daily joy and delight; I find pleasure in my work, and I’ve found some comfort in retirement and the time to rejoice in my spiritualty. It’s given me the liberty to learn and think for myself, to laugh with friends and family even when we disagree.

Do we pursue freedom? Freedom is individually defined, as evidenced by the current mask debate. Freedom can’t be taken away from you any more than an education can, but your liberties can. You might want to listen to a concentration camp survivor if you want to discuss freedoms. They didn’t have to wear masks; they were merely starved and experimented upon, their journeys interrupted without their consent or input.

We have a responsibility to protect the liberties provided within the ability to think for oneself. For the happiness of all, the general welfare mentioned in the Constitution, sometimes that means sacrifices like wearing seat belts, not drinking and driving (I love doing that, don’t you just love getting bombed and then not remembering how you made it home and thank god the car doesn’t have a scratch, one of my favorite things to do! Not.), not texting and driving, wearing a life jacket in the water, you know just a few of the things we do to keep each other safe.

The pursuit of happiness does not mean at the expense of others. When one steps on others on one’s way up, one merely demeans oneself. When one improves the journeys for all who are around one, who benefits? Everyone involved. Until and unless greed raises its ugly head. Unfortunately, the self-sufficient individual who says they got ahead on their own turns out to not only be a lie, but I dare say unconstitutional as well. If we pay tax dollars and create roads with those tax dollars and everybody uses those roads, no one person has won the greatest prize; we all benefit from the jobs created by building roads to the money which is spent locally and the improved infrastructure. If one person made a road and charged everyone a fee to use the road, how does that help everyone? It doesn’t, and of course that’s not usually how roads are built and or funded. Some greedy person could think that’s a fabulous idea and move ahead with it. Since we are theorizing, I’m guessing the road might be boycotted. Would that be liberty and how would that make anybody happy? Some people thrive on journeys of strife, discord, and greed.

That road might also be the individual’s pursuit of happiness. He paid for it, he built it, he uses it, his road makes him feel good about owning a road, and as long as it isn’t impeding other people’s progress if other people don’t want to pay the fee to use it, so be it; they don’t need to use it, or complain about it either. There are other roads and many are connected on the pursuit of happiness.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – It’s not easy to get good bird pictures, but here’s a white crane at rest.

Photo by Sherri Mead

A purple pink mallow.

Photo by Dema Blood

This reminds me of trumpet vine though I’m not sure that’s what this is. Love the cream with purple stripes.

Photo by Dema Blood

The shades of green, blue, and gray of water.

Photo by Sherri Mead

Prolific pink lily.

Photo by Dema Blood

Wildflowers at a local waterway.

Photo by Tina Carlson

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} I’ll give a full review of Hamilton (2020, rated PG – 13) at a later date. It is nearly a full essay in itself. Suffice it to say if you get the opportunity to view this, do so. It’s worth it. * Binged through season 10 of Shameless (2011 – present, rated TV – MA). This show is such a guilty pleasure, because I know how hard it is to survive and this TV family has to pull every trick in the book, mostly shady and lots of creativity and resourcefulness. Their ways of pursuing happiness are unique. I’ve been through many of the tricks in that same book to keep from being evicted, to put food on the table. I’m grateful I’ve never had to steal but I’ve been forever grateful for the nineteen dollars in cash floating through the Safeway parking lot that one year just before Christmas that I didn’t attempt to return.

Currently ReadingBlindness (1995, fiction) by José Saramago. This has been a fascinating read not only because of the parallels with the current pandemic, but the author’s writing style is unique, such that the reader must pay attention. For example, he doesn’t use any of the traditional indicators of dialogue like quotation marks or speaker identification, he just records the conversation as it happens with only a capital letter to indicate a new speaker. None of the characters have names but in a world of blindness they are defined by something that can be seen by the reader, such as a squint, or an eye patch, or dark glasses, or by their previous occupation. The conversations can go on for pages with no paragraphs, and the paragraphs of narrative or analysis in some cases go on for pages as well. It didn’t take long for me to become comfortable with his style, and I’m now reading for how he concludes this descent into dystopia where the whole world except for our one sighted doctor’s wife suffers the white blindness. * Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (2019, political satire) by John Lithgow. I’ve always like Lithgow’s film work. This is not a children’s book with fluffy little poems. This is heavy, political satire, expressed in thick wit. It is certainly not the funny kind of humor; it falls more into the tongue in cheek category. Poetically it is finely crafted and witfully rhymed, and the density of the words is punctuated by Lithgow’s own pencil line drawings. Fun to read for the wit of it, but it’s not funny.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Having funds on hand when my 35-year-old microwave died and had to be replaced. I have another 35-year-old microwave, but I was afraid to plug it in.
  • Discovering how much better a new microwave works than the old one.
  • A cool day after a week of heat.
  • Strength to handle all the weird stuff going on around me. This has been a tough week.
  • How nosy/curious I am and learning to ask the right questions.
  • Indulging my nosiness when I hear sirens screaming and quickly turning on the scanner to get the skinny.
  • Investing seven dollars and watching the heck out of Hamilton. Not only is it a great distraction, it has sent me off on another history study.
  • My love of theater.
  • Ending a shower with a fat luxurious towel or three.
  • Hubs liking the pizza his way (“the right way”) so he makes it.
  • Fat juicy peaches.
  • My addiction to fresh Oregon strawberries. I found a different way to clean them.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: History And Conspiracy Theory

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” Frederick Douglass

Sunday Haiku
Summer’s here. Sun’s out.
Too hot to go about, just
sit the summer out.

Sunday Musings
I’ve been enjoying discussions with many young people recently. I’m of the age now “young” means anyone under 50. I’m grateful they take time to talk with me and tell me their opinions and share the sources.

I am struck, however, at how well versed these young people are in conspiracy theory and the sources they call “proof,” yet they sadly have no practical knowledge of American history. The lack of knowledge is not necessarily their fault, and their understanding of conspiracy theory in America is seriously lacking because they don’t have the background of history to understand conspiracy theory comes from reality. It’s way worse than they think, says the voice of doom. I’m praying they are trying to think critically but the sources they cite are so skewed I’m afraid it will be many years before they know the true nefariousness of this nation. Most of them don’t understand America was founded on death, war, theft of land, and disease.

Most of them don’t understand who writes history, what history survives in textbooks, and how to go to primary documents for research. They don’t know there has been a concerted effort to change school curriculum over the last 40 years. Students today are not taught history, civics, or civil discourse. They are barely taught math, English, and forget about cursive handwriting.

Even professors who are well read in many aspects of history deny what happened in history. I had to argue a grade with a [white, male] history professor who wanted us to write a “day in the life of” a person of a certain time period. I wrote about what a woman might experience and her possible influence on politics since women weren’t allowed in the world outside the home and absolutely were not represented in any political forum. Professor thought all of us would choose men to write about, but I’d just come from two year’s study of women’s history and I maintain women are as important to history as men. None of us would be here without our blessed mothers, even if they weren’t great mothers. Who had the ear of every significant man in history? The woman (or man) who shared his bed. Besides, and I admit this freely, I don’t always understand other people, let alone men.

It’s easy to believe conspiracy theories when one does not know history and how the thought of the day back then has evolved. The study of history not only reveals why we are in the place we are currently but how we got here. Unfortunately, there is much to hide or keep hidden, such as how money and class structures work, how people can be manipulated through advertising and consumerism, who originated those thoughts and why, and who then activated those thoughts. A close look at the development of industry and corporations reveals how they demanded government leniency, especially in the gas and oil industry, the steel industry, the railroad industry, so policy was decided to benefit a few people and keep the rest of us in the lower income classes. If you were born into the right family, managed to find the right connections, and have the savvy or charm to get it done your way you could succeed in early America, but much of our history was built on nepotism. All those families and corporations and industries had an effect on government as well. They were perfectly happy to keep all their backroom dealings secret.

America is an experiment in democracy and as such is subject to evolution; if it isn’t working for “we the people” it is our duty to change it, and it can be done within the tenets of the Constitution. So much of the old history is coming back to bite us now. The machinations of the “superclass” (for lack of a better term) in continuing to write history to their advantage is coming to a head. The world of technology is revealing secrets far more reprehensible than any conspiracy theory or skewed information I’ve heard recently.

America was born in racial strife, by theft, and it’s been washed in the grief of blood since its conception. The blood of patriots, dissidents, protestors, visionaries. The blood of women, from the backs of slaves, murdered Natives, abused and abandoned children.

In 1776, no American signed the Declaration of Independence. America didn’t exist yet. Mostly lawyers, merchants, and plantation owners (read: wealth class), eight of the fifty-six signers were not born on American soil but they were willing to participate in the creation of a novel nation. It took another thirteen years to get the Constitution of the United States written and ratified into law in 1789, to create a governing structure, and put an elected president into office.

If we look at it that way, the United States of America didn’t exist until we made ourselves up. Yes, we made it up. We decided what we wanted it to look like and with the way humans are so delightfully different we all wanted it our way; that’s called democracy. Those founders were wealthy white men who owned slaves. It’s not easy to reach consensus when some people have always been at the top and others have always been at the bottom. Controlling public education becomes a part of the mix: when we fail to teach history, or all the history, people at the top usually call the shots. Feeble as the effort may seem now, those founders knew of men’s foibles because they had lived regular men’s lives of business and building and loving and eating and dancing and sorrow, and they tried their best to define a system to prevent greed and a consolidation of power.

So much to learn, so many opinions, some pertinent facts, and lots of propaganda and misinformation are being fed to us. We have so many sources of information available at the touch of a finger, one can’t keep up because news changes with lightning speed these days, part of a chaos created on purpose. This happened, no that happened, no I heard it happened this way. Where is truth and how do we find it?

We keep learning. We find trusted, provable sources. We keep listening. We bother to share our knowledge with civil discourse. We wait, knowing from the propaganda and misinformation feeds it is likely so much worse than anyone has ever suspected, sad to say. We take part in art as truth is often revealed there. We know in the bigger picture of world time we will prevail unless we don’t pay attention and annihilate our earth. We pay attention.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Black hollyhock, treasured by its owner.

Photo by Anya Doll

Tangle of flamboyant orange crocosmia against a rustic barn red fence. Heart of a golden yellow sunflower.

Photo by Tina Carlson

Nearly translucent red gladiola. The bright and soft pastel variety of shades on one glorious hydrangea.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Enjoying the simple plots of Lucifer (2015 – present, rated TV – 14), witty conversations, and the occasional twist to a biblical reference.

Currently ReadingBlindness (1995, fiction) by José Saramago. Attempted social structures are undermined by hoodlums who withhold food from other residents for money and sex. Soldiers are not delivering food as promised. The power goes out all over town. It is revealed to the characters one woman inside the mental hospital housing can see, though the narrator let the reader know she could see from the start. * Our local lending libraries are making tentative attempts at serving the public again and I received a copy of Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (2019, political satire) by John Lithgow. I waited a long time for this. It’s not a large book but it’s hard to read because every page is gut busting, tear jerking, laughter making, dense verse. It takes time to read good humor.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • My nephew who helped his dad with his overgrown yard. Brother had surgery a couple months ago and needed the help.
  • Being able to listen, research, and learn.
  • A guilty pleasure: the bedtime hour of my neighbor and hearing their two littles (ages 4 years and 1 year) scream and cry and laugh getting ready for bed. Mostly them screaming and crying and me laughing that it’s next door and not here.
  • The proverbial mattress schedule and being able to do the flip needed this month by myself.
  • My assortment of handmade masks, my latest fashion accessory. Easy to wash by hand, so I always have a fresh one.
  • A person I’m concerned about has gone home from the hospital.
  • Being back in my counselor’s office: quiet, private, soothing space. We wear masks, we sit eight feet apart, we skip the hugs at the end, and we’re good. I don’t go anywhere, and her practice is limited as far as face to face, many clients have switched to video. Video was ok just not quite as helpful.
  • Having a revolutionary thought while I was in counselor’s office as we were discussing the Bible.
  • Enjoying the cooling down part of summer in the evening.
  • Understanding it’s stupidly hard for me to get certain things done that seem so simple afterward. Over-thinking.
  • A bag of skinny green beans that were just the best, lightly boiled, buttered, salted, yum.
  • A nice cucumber, and a homemade batch of tzatziki.
  • Sweet white donut peaches. Eaten OTS (over the sink) because it’s too juicy to eat any other way.
  • Fresh Oregon Willamina strawberries. First time I’ve had that type. This summer the Hoods, Shuksans, and Albions have all been good.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: She Rested

Gratitude * Sunday

Thank you for reading me. I’m taking the day off. I’ll be back next week. I love you all.

Sassy Kas

Posted in Health | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: Headed South

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“We don’t want to swim against cosmic currents, do we?” Stefan Emunds

Sunday Haiku
Prettiest flower
in my wild overgrown yard
is me, yours truly.

Sunday Musings
More proof I am a slow processor. I don’t mind really, though not being able to think quickly or “on my feet” as my dad called it bothers other people, and I’m getting to the point I don’t care much what other people think. It takes me a long time to think things through, and believe me if I don’t take that time, I can seriously muck up whatever project I’m working on. Sometimes ideas come to me and seem like they will work, and despite my favorite tape measure and imagination things just don’t fit. Other times those ideas have to be massaged and kneaded like rising bread to make it fit the pan in which it will be baked.

Regular readers of this blog might recall I was gifted a new bed last summer, a queen-sized bed for a queen size woman. It took me a good couple of weeks to get it into place tucked into the southwest corner of the room with my head to the west. I haunted Goodwill until I found a set of Egyptian cotton sheets and was gifted a second set at Christmas. Luxury to have two sets so one always can have a fresh set ready if one should want to change one’s sheets on a whim.

Making the bed was problematic having access to only two sides. I had to lie on my stomach on the mattress and lift up the corner high enough to get the mattress pad and sheet in place. Being queen size this was challenging because I’m lying exactly where I need to lift up and my weight on the mattress made the mattress difficult to lift up, as if it wasn’t awkward as it was doing it on my stomach.

This year I had been thinking how to move the bed away from the wall to have better access. I raided all my storage spots thinking certainly somewhere in all my glorious stuff I had a table or shelf narrow enough and square enough to fit in the little spot. I prowled Goodwill and my local thrift stores, even ventured into the higher-end antique shops. I thought creatively as to what I might put there, perhaps a wire rack or a distressed corner shelf. Nothing appeared to remedy my situation.

Out of frustration for lack of a solution, I began looking at feng shui information about the best way to sleep. After a dozen articles and my own book resources, turns out there are “magnetic” positions you can choose to sleep in but with all the flipping and flopping most people do when sleeping it really makes little difference which direction you sleep. Your choice, just be comfortable. The information provided some much needed inspiration.

I got out my trusty tape measure (the best investment I’ve ever made: my own tool box) and started measuring. Without a doubt it was going to be tight. My mind had finally done the “new eyes re-think” I’d been trying to get to. It only took me a year. Like I say. Slow processor.

If I turned my bed so my head faces south, I had room on one side for my night stand, and no need for another table on the other side as there was a chair already there. My nightstand was plenty big enough for all the nighttime things I need: a lamp, clock, lotions, night eye mask, a book. I do not keep my phone in my room with me.

I tried it out in my mind for about a week; I took time to think it through. Waffling really, should I, shouldn’t I. I had to do it when hubs wasn’t around or was otherwise engaged because I did not want to deal with the questions, “What do you wanna do that for?” Sometimes I want to do what I want to do and not be bothered with questions, so I do it myself. I refuse to ask for help.

In the end, I chose a good prime number day and began and finished at a prime number hour (not obsessive, no). Hubs was distracted playing a fishing game and as long as I didn’t cuss out loud, he wouldn’t know. I managed a few inches at a time to move the position of my bed. Proud to say, by taking my time I didn’t scratch the walls, bruise my body, or throw my back out.

I’m so glad I did the bed first. The littler stuff can wait; it will always be there for me to clean up. There is still a ton of cluttery stuff to be moved/discarded/given away to smooth my path, but I have a good two feet of space on three sides now. Two feet is not clear sailing, but I probably shouldn’t be moving that fast these days anyway. I just have to keep the pathways clear from tripping hazards. I am thrilled to make my bed quickly and easily in the morning, and the joy of changing sheets in fifteen minutes instead of thirty is heaven.

At night I don’t like using the overhead light; it hurts my eyes. I had my night lamp arranged so I could reach inside the door and turn it on. The move of the bed necessitated a change of the lamp position; it is no longer beside the door. I installed a remote control on the lamp and a small hook by the door to hang the remote, and the remote travels with me the few feet from door to nightstand. Still trying to remember to turn off the light with the remote and to return the little remote gadget to its hook by the door.

Hubs commented a couple days later, asking if was easier to make my bed. I enthused about how easy it is to make. He’s just glad I’m happy and he didn’t have to help. I put so much on his honey-do list as it is.

Even though I’m not used to it yet, I think I’m going to really like it. Having my bed look nice every day helps me feel I have one thing in control. I don’t seem to be able to control anything else; certainly not dishes, my kitchen and house and yard are always wild and in disarray. If I vacuumed yesterday, it doesn’t look like it today.

The queen’s bed is in place. Head south for maximum magnetic field positioning, dressed with Egyptian cotton and handmade quilts and a little bit of lace. No new table or shelf needed. Who knows? The head south thing might boost my magnetic energy and help make me a more benevolent queen.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – The beautiful Pacific Northwest. Mt Hood viewed from Mt Hood Meadows. White spots are raindrops on the windshield.

Photo by Susan Royce

Friends spotted on hikes this week: a pretty green squiggle plant for lack of the real name, love the color of it.

Photo by Susan Royce

The creamy floofy blossom of bear grass.

Photo by Susan Royce

If this is a four-petal trillium, it is a rare find.

Photo by Susan Royce

Exuberant yellow, glorious Queen Anne’s Lace, lacy purple wildflowers, sheer wild joy.

Photo by Tina Carlson

A recent rainbow eastward from me. Brilliant blue of the blue heron, reflected in the water as well.

Photo by Sherri Mead

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} When I read the blurbs, I tried to avoid the show thinking it might be too dark for me, though it came highly recommended for the humor. Watching my first episode of Lucifer (2015 – present, rated TV – 14) was rewarding in its witty repartee and the premise set-up; it’s a regular detective show with a huge twist. Halfway through season two I had questions about the whole rigmarole and started reading my King James Bible again which I always keep as immediately available reference material. I can’t hardly define my questions, but in yet another read of the Bible I’ve had since I was seven years old, I am once again struck by the unreliable narrator/s. The show is compelling, mesmerizing.

Currently ReadingBlindness (1995, fiction) by José Saramago. The number of blind people is increasing; the site is being quickly running out of space; food and water are limited; the soldiers attending the afflicted are beginning to wonder if it would be easier just to kill the diseased as they begin going blind as well, but they have the privilege of going to the Army hospital. This author’s view in this fiction story is extreme, but there are many correlations that can be taken with the current handling of the COVID pandemic. * The Measure of a Man (2000, autobiography) by Sidney Poitier. Poitier’s voice is soothing, like listening to one’s grandfather tell stories of how he survived, how his youth shaped his faith, a glimpse into how this man’s mind works and still tarries on.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Taking time to watch a squirrel scavenge the back yard.
  • Changing to a summer tablecloth.
  • Having a lovely table and a tablecloth to put on it.
  • Listening to a friend’s piano music live on Zoom.
  • Making my bed under the light from a rainbow. Opened the curtains and window so the rays could fall onto the clean sheets.
  • Mild early summer days and evenings with doors wide open.
  • Living in a place where open doors mean the smell of fresh cut hay or a salty breeze from the coast.
  • Finding some cheap slippers just as I needed them. I wish I could find a regular source for cheap slippers that are made in America.
  • Learning more about using the emergency scanner to listen in on the action out there.
  • Remembering how to cut hair. It is like riding a bike; it should be after being a professional for twenty years.
  • Getting to spend a couple hours with my sister.
  • A box of sweet sugar snap peas for my salads.
  • Early vine-ripened Oregon Star seedless tomatoes for tacos.
  • A box of extremely sweet local Shuksan strawberries. I love knowing the hands that pick and wash my berries.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Homemaking, Nature, Parenting, Photography, Poetry, Psychology, Work and Labor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gratitude Sunday: Head Space

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“There ain’t no answer. There ain’t gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein

Sunday Haiku
Wind blows a cold front
eastwardly over mountains
from the coast, salt air.

Sunday Musings
I need to put my head somewhere else today. Wait, what? You can take your head off?

Yes, here, look.

My head is in the clouds. I dream and my mind goes to places I have not been, or replays places from the past, or creates places that don’t exist.

I see things that didn’t happen. I dream things that become real. Day, weeks, years later real, they become reality.

I close my eyes to find my head through other senses. I listen so hard my ears hurt and I hear beautiful things: sounds of nature, birds singing, tweeting, twittering, cawing, cooing, clucking; I hear man-made things, the sounds of engines that wouldn’t exist except for the amazing brains and hands of people; I hear the voices of neighbors, people all around, children created by the amazing bodies of people.

The trees throw their odors at me filling my nose with their individuality and their blended scent. One of my favorite fragrances is the smell of grass screaming because we’ve cut off their heads.

Eyes open, droopy, heavy. Crepuscular light prisms through droplets of resin dripping from the tips of long green Japanese pine needles. Gnats flit about and wing against your skin if you sit still long enough, then flash away as fast. Perhaps they are frightened by the heat of my skin.

The backyard squirrels chitter; I anthropomorphize them yelling at me for being in their space thinking of them telling each other “Intruder! Intruder!” I listen closely, then open my mouth and throat to imitate the sound quite unsuccessfully. The range of squeak and scream, the pitch and vibrato elude me. I screech back again. They laugh at me.

The breeze blows over my skin, the temperature of the movement just noticeably different enough to make my skin cringe. Arrector pili muscles react standing hairs upright like sentinels against the cool air. The wind ceases, the warmth from the sun once again relaxing the skin against my bones; water comes from inside me to the surface of my skin and my head thinks lazily, if only the heat from the sun could melt the fat off my insides, not just leach out the water.

Sit still long enough and the fledgling you failed to see in the grass will finally have the courage to take wing, and being new at the task will fly straight toward you and dart away at the last minute. You convince yourself you have taught him the skill of mid-air reverse coursing; he’ll never forget you.

Bees are busy in the newly flowered sedums at my feet. I scraped the plants off the driveway where they had made themselves comfortable in the moss on the aggregate and tossed them into an old pot I found with some soil left in it. If all it takes to grow is a bit of moss and aggregate, I reasoned soil might make them happier. The bees appreciate their full bloom.

A monarch and several white moths find golden dandelion faces and blackberry blossoms to suck on. A fat black spider descends from the neighbor’s deciduous tree that hangs over the back fence. I don’t know the name of the tree, too lazy to get the phone with the app for plant identification. So much easier to watch the spider spin her thread, dropping a few millimeters with each spin. Spin, drop, spin, drop.

The thread is long. She begins to swing, the breeze helping her but not consistently. Mostly she’s on her own. She swings until she gains foothold on the grill where she marches around a spike meant for the rotisserie. Round and round she goes like a carousel horse, until she begins her climb up again, making the thread stronger by adding the second layer, secured at the base. She disappears into a shadow as the sun slides down on its daily journey, round and round, day after day, year after year winding us into intricately woven strands of memory.

Darkness fills the yard reaching up toward the last rays of color in the evening sky. Shapes change as my eyes shift to night vision. The breeze is cooler now and my skin shivers and quakes trying to maintain homeostasis. Mosquitos are landing, their tiny feet so heavy, their sucking proboscis so sharp, so penetrating, so violating.

One bite and wait, look, there’s my head. The itch demands I must attend to my skin. Scratch me, scratch me, it says, like all the other thoughts in my head.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Wild America. Monarch in lavender.

Photo by Dot Van Dyke

Sunshine yellow Saint John’s Wort.

Photo by Charlotte Lumae

This lovely unidentified pink bloom. Satiny lemon yellow calla lilies.

Photo by Dot Van Dyke

A cluster of white wide-eyed daisies.

Photo by Charlotte Lumae

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Season two of The Politician (2020, rated TV – MA), and it had been long enough I had to watch season one again to catch back up. Some spoofing on today’s politics with fun plot twists. * Started season one of Marcella (2016, rated TV – MA). Love a good murder mystery with a quirky plot, especially when the detectives are shown as real people with their own twisted lives. There is a bit of graphic violence and gruesomeness, but it’s quick and short, thankfully sometimes so short and fast you don’t have time to turn your head away. * Pain and Glory (original title: Dolor y Gloria) (2019, rated R), about an aging writer and film director, played by Antonio Banderas, who has chronic pain and is experimenting with pain relief. All Spanish with English subtitles available; I enjoyed practicing my Spanish listening.

Currently ReadingBlindness (1995, fiction) by José Saramago. It’s an epidemic, so of course, the people who come down with it are isolated in an old abandoned mental hospital, with all their contacts who aren’t blind isolated in another wing. The government provides them with nothing except food and rules, no medicine, no cleaning products. Serendipitous to choose this out of my library while we are in pandemic. * The Measure of a Man (2000, autobiography) by Sidney Poitier. Poitier shares some of his thoughts about the differences in the treatment between POC and whites, both pertaining to the entertainment industry and to every-day living. His father taught him the measure of a man is how you care and provide for your family. That sounds right to me.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Understanding my strength is not DIY projects, and that I managed to cover the cabinet at all even though it is laughably ugly.
  • Civil discourse and people who understand how to do it.
  • Free history lectures online. At my convenience.
  • Warm days and open doors. Hay scented fresh air.
  • An acquaintance getting some answers for his pain.
  • Friends who let me use their nature photos.
  • Being able to BE in the quiet safe space of my counselor’s office. Duo was fine, just not as private.
  • People who trade out gorgeously fat thick bath towels for whatever reason, and I can buy them cheap at Goodwill.
  • Figuring out how to use the police and fire scanner on my phone. (So nosy! So curious!) The techno-ditz shall prevail.
  • Fresh Oregon strawberries.
  • How golden raspberries are like eating sweet sunshine.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, Entertainment, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: No Strange Fruit Allowed

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“The first resistance to social change is to say it’s not necessary.” Gloria Steinem

Sunday Haiku
Once again, summer
solstice proves nature remains
in total control.

Sunday Musings
I’m pretty sure it’s not just me. I’m so distracted. The news is chaos with a news cycle coming every hour now. Our current national administration shows every indication they do not know their hootie-woos from a hole in the ground, much less how to guide us through a pandemic or provide any sort of leadership during the economic crises. Make no mistake; we are still in the first wave of COVID, now with all manner of assorted ugly events taking place, from police brutality to strange fruit to low-income folks having even fewer opportunities than ever. If you don’t understand my reference to strange fruit listen to the Billie Holiday song of that title.

My schedule has changed. I lost access to two of my favorite things: the swimming pool and the local lending library. I have enough of my own library to last a while (What an adventure! Why did I buy that book?) Loss of the pool is irreplaceable, as it was one of the few places I can move without pain.

For many of you, your schedule has changed. It might have been a convenient time to retire, you might be working from home, unemployed, or suddenly have kids underfoot. Even though we are running around less from sports events to music lessons, from church to day care, we seem just as distracted and busy as ever. You may be attending protests over behavior you never thought you’d see and find yourself immersed in history to understand why this is happening now.

Some of us may feel resentment or even anger, as in why should my job have to change? Why was I let go when the business is still open? How do I find a new job in this climate? When will my unemployment insurance arrive, I’m already three months behind on rent? When will we know the truth?

Unanswered questions mucks up your sleep and causes undue anxiety, especially when it concerns one’s livelihood. We could ignore politics and let the people we elect and pay with tax dollars to govern and run our world; that might eliminate some questions. Until questions come up about how the people who govern are using our money, especially when the people who work for us seem to care about only themselves and not the constituents who pay them. Then everything becomes political from the rent you pay to your mortgage interest, from the price of groceries to the latest levy to run the public library, from the costs of repairing and maintaining roads to changing how roads work and are used. There’s not one thing you touch or buy or do that isn’t affected in some way by politics. Who knew? Most of us hate politics. Why? Because it seems rigged against us. And that is the very point where we are right.

Success in this society is rigged against us. It has been since the last great upheaval during Reconstruction after the Civil War. Reconstruction is just what it means, and they started with reconstructing the government. I’m not a historian, but right now you can find wonderfully pertinent information available in both visual and audio formats on the internet. Inform yourself. Read history. It’s amazing how we seem to try similar things repeatedly and they don’t work in any iteration.

As much as my mantra is “change is the only constant,” change is the only thing that will work; forward motion is what I mean. And that other platitude about the definition of insanity is doing the same things repeatedly and expecting different results applies as well. I’ve been working toward change since grade school, when I saw bullying and discrimination based on race, religion, disabilities, sexuality and gender, civil rights and race riots, an ERA amendment that still has not been passed. I saw so much injustice and so little peace. Sixty years later much has changed but nothing has changed, at least not the change we need to move forward.

My grandmother was born in 1898, you know, a whole different century, the century of the Civil War. Her grandparents would have been alive during the Civil War and I don’t know their stories; perhaps they served on one side or the other. They were poor white people, so their story wasn’t recorded any more than the story of the poor black people. For my lifeline, that’s only four generations ago that my blood relatives faced an unprecedented political upheaval. Given the time, their poverty, and likely their limited ability to read, the absence of newspapers or media, it’s doubtful my relatives had much knowledge of the war going on other than what they heard from neighbors or at church. They didn’t have property or sons they could afford to send to war. They had too much work living day to day to fret much about politics.

Now, I’m 66, but the end of the Civil War was only 155 years ago. According to my trusty percentage calculator I’ve been alive for 42.5 percent of this history! My life spans more than one-third of that history, more than two-fifths, if you do math, and if you are older than me you’ve experience a greater percent, and as math goes (I love math, it’s always the same, both directions) if you are younger than me you’ve experienced a lesser percentage of that history. It’s only five generations for me to look back at the American Civil War, a couple of great-generations too many to have heard their stories.

Imagine that. I’ve been through eleven of the forty-five presidents and my percentage calculator says that’s nearly one-quarter of the presidents we’ve had in the 240 years of our national existence. I was alive when Queen Elizabeth served her first year as monarch, alive during one assassination of an American president and two attempted assassinations. I’ve been through a race riot and a pandemic nearly every decade since I was born, so that makes six or seven now. I’ve seen women’s rights progressively change and then ripped away from us again. I’ve watched the United States of America perform all manner of global and national suppressionist acts in the name of wars that weren’t declared wars. Like the current war on citizens right to vote, but that’s another essay.

I’m blessed with an insatiable curiosity and history is fascinating and it’s filled with whirling chaos. Many times, it’s years after the fact before the truth is revealed. If you can’t report the truth of what you did or what happened, ought you to be ashamed and maybe not to have done whatever in the first place? You know, like the KKK all righteous about what they did to other people in the name of their power agenda, yet they felt the need to hide their faces. That’s the part I didn’t learn in school, that it’s ok to hurt people because they don’t agree with you or think like you. I didn’t learn it because it’s not ok. I learned accountability and, as hard as it is, how to own my own shit.

While we are experiencing these strange times, look for the truth wherever you can. Don’t believe the first headline you see. Dig deeply. Learn outside the book history. And like the Me, Too movement, we have to believe most of the stories. One story I can’t swallow is young black men hanging in trees with no chair or stool underneath labeled as suicides. It’s disgusting if a department meant to protect and serve can concoct a story right on down to the coroner’s office to cover up obvious lynchings. I’m not saying the police did the lynching only that they are complicit in the cover-ups.

I believe, because even though I am not black I’ve had my own personal experiences with police. I was raised by a police officer. I worked beside police officers in my last place of employment. Once they put on that uniform and badge and gun, something happens. I have no idea how to label that change (you know I don’t like labels), but something changes nonetheless. That’s part of their job, though I think the job is going to become much more demanding.

I can’t step in waving a magic wand (though I want to) and say “listen, this fat old white hippie lady (labels) is tired of all y’all messing around and hurting us and each other. Stop behaving like that. Is that how your precious mother and grandmother would want you to behave?” and then fix all the crazy things that are wrong in our society. If I could I’d fill people up with empathy and compassion and the ability to think beyond themselves. Society is a construct; it is how we make it. If we are tired of it, only we can change it. I’d start with an obvious simple one: no strange fruit allowed.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Take a walk with me down the garden path. A rose family blossom in pink, not sure what plant, crabapple tree? Unknown weeds are pretty too, is this wild white phlox? The bloom looks like allium, the leaves look like hazelnut, I may not know its name, but I love the pink-toned red. Here’s another view of dark pink. A creamy white unknown wildflower, looks like Queen Anne’s Lace on steroids. Mysterious strawberry full moon.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Ahhh, the last episode of the last season of Magnum, PI (1980 – 1988, rated TV – PG). Fun to watch the women’s hairstyles change over the course of the last two seasons, and they often chose pretty dresses, conservative but with a flair. Swimsuit (read: bikinis, you rarely see a one piece in this series) fashions change as well, in the form of a higher cut over the thigh, more thong-like.

Currently ReadingBlindness (1995, fiction) by Jose Saramago. A man goes blind while sitting in his car at a traffic light. He sees only whiteness, not darkness. It soon becomes apparent the blindness is highly contagious. And the chaos begins. * The Measure of a Man (2000, autobiography) by Sidney Poitier. His rise to stardom was not easy as he battled the color line.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Covering a crappy old cabinet with some recently “found,” ancient, and barely sticky contact paper hoping to get a few more year’s storage service out of an aging unit.
  • The hubs doing his scorched earth number on a corner of the yard I needed to get cleaned out to start making it ready for some sedums.
  • Getting some text copied out a borrowed book so I can return the book to the owner.
  • My local lending library trying to find ways to get items into our hands.
  • Turning a large indoor plant without breaking any branches.
  • My wild and crazy personal library.
  • People to learn history from, and the personal anecdotes that vary from the history books.
  • Getting to video chat with the son.
  • Increased bird action in my neighborhood, crows are having loud parties. Maybe they like the solstice.
  • Watching one of the baby squirrels from the backyard squirrel family find a place to hide and ride out the rain storm. We have a front yard family as well. Each to their own territory.
  • Last week’s greens that are still edible because I didn’t make it to market.
  • A box of golden raspberries from the store.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Thanks to Sherri Mead for the nature photos.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Work and Labor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: Until We Have Justice For All

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
Frederick Douglass

Sunday Haiku
Confusing weather.
April showers in June won’t
ripen strawberries.

Sunday Musings
***Trigger warning: graphic content about murder***

I struggle with how to feel pertinent this week. Bear with me as I am making up for the brevity of last week. The amazing events happening these last two weeks floor me. I no longer wonder why I have a constant feeling of tears just below the surface. It’s been going on three and a half years now and getting imminently worse. This is only the current iteration of a 400-year long American history of oppression. It’s like déjà vu. Again. And again. I’ve been here before in my lifetime.

George Floyd. A man.

Breonna Taylor. A woman.

Eric Garner. A man.

Sandra Bland. A young woman.

Philando Castile. A man.

So many more.

All black people killed at the hands of the police. Because they were black.

Yes, the police had a reason. They always have a reason. That doesn’t mean they have the right reason. Obviously, as we get to see in videos. How many abuses have not been caught on video?

Then there are the people who aren’t killed by police, but by neighborhood vigilantes who think they have right to patrol their own neighborhoods, take the law into their own hands, and murder people with impunity.

Ahmaud Aubery. A man.

Trayvon Martin. A boy.

Say their names. They were humans. With families.

How much similar violence is unreported for fear of retaliation?

Now. I am not black. I was raised in a low-income suburban neighborhood, but we always had food on the table and losing our home was never a threat. My father used his college degree to work his way from accountant to county deputy sheriff, thereby having the respect of the community. Though he expressed his prejudices and bigotry openly, he was a low-key guy, who would rather pop a beer than a person. Mom was key in the community as well, a class room mother in our elementary classrooms, Camp Fire Girls leader, Boy Scout mom. Her home was refuge to everybody we dragged home. Everybody.

Also. I have no black friends. I barely have friends at all, and I live an isolated lifestyle. I don’t know any black people these days (yes, in the past); though we have a mixed community there are few blacks and mostly they are associated with the academic world of the university in my town. Our community has many Asians and Latinx so I’m still learning Spanish, but both my Mandarin and Hawaiian suck. The superpower I desire is knowing and speaking all languages; the one I have is being invisible. Hwell, invisible and cranky.

You know how it is. They send you to school and church and summer camp and expect you to learn things. I did. I learned about bullying at the hands of people who had more than me. From Sunday School on up, I learned about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which seemed to fit right into the bullying. In middle school I learned about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Holocaust, blankets purposely inoculated with smallpox given to native Americans, slavery in America, and hundreds of other humanitarian violations, bullying in massive scale in the name of what? In the name of WHAT? Power? Religion? Race? Property? Money? Oil? Cotton? Tobacco? Mere greed? A way of life? Control? Just a handful of highlights. War and violence are taking place somewhere every day. I won’t bore you with my own experiences of excessive force used by men, women, and police.

I never understood violence. I understand anger, but I don’t see how hurting somebody else makes whatever one is angry about all better. I barely understand power and what that need is about. I’m not a power-over kind of person, I’m a power-to kind of person. Greed? I’d like to have a little more too but not to the detriment of others.

I’ve always had a rich fantasy life. As a teenager after reading Gone with the Wind (1936, fiction) by Margaret Mitchell (a white woman, by the way), and falling in love with Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Etta James, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Sidney Poitier, in my naivete and youthful stupidity, I wanted to be black. Or Asian, or mixed. Just a person of color. I don’t want to be tone deaf; like I say, a rich fantasy life. I wanted to feel the color of their skin, to know their cultural and genetic heritage, to wear exotic clothing and not look like a white girl wannabe, none of which is a “thing one can know.” My oral family history of Native American blood wasn’t enough; I could not prove my connection, and certainly have a plain white face (not exotic or dark) and straight hair that won’t stay curly even with a perm. I’m also of Irish heritage, who were considered people of color in America until we weren’t. ***Full disclosure, I was also in love with Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Robert Plant, David Cassidy, and all the Beatles, because I couldn’t make up my mind which one was the cutest. I also fantasized about wealth in general, so there’s that. Pretty typical youthful fantasies.***

As I became more aware of the wider world around me, I saw race riots, black people being denied human rights because of their skin, the very skin that made them human, low-income people of all colors being treated as lesser thans. I saw discrimination. It was hard enough being a poor white trash fat girl, and reality was, to take on the burden of a life of color as rich as the heritage was, was just that. Another burden.

I know I have a bleeding heart. In my family as I grew up, I heard each family member express their bigotry and prejudice. Families would visit from other states, Idaho, Oklahoma, California, Nevada, each with their own biases. I questioned their values and their reasons. In those days one respected one’s elders and if they did not respect your question or felt it was beneath them to answer, they didn’t. Regardless of my education in religion I could not understand treating anybody as lesser than myself. I didn’t need a god, neither punishing nor benevolent, to teach me right from wrong. I came hard wired that way.

In my studies of history, and years of thought, I am finally understanding the rigged economics system we live in and it has as much to do with class as it does with color, with different shading, of course, pun on purpose. The 13th Amendment coming as it did on the heels of the Emancipation Proclamation codified the change of the enslaved black man into the criminal black man. In other words, it was put into law that black people were considered guilty by the color of their skin. Innocence never comes into the question.

When this is taught along with militaristic-style policing to persons who carry a badge and a gun, who assume by their very jobs they are better than and thus have the authority to hurt others with impunity, no wonder we are in the world we are in. We must look to massive change. Language can be the key, as words that should be mere descriptors are used detrimentally as labels. From the day of your birth if you are born black you are assumed to be guilty. Of something. Anything. In most cases the most they are guilty of is being born into poverty, which is another part of the rigged system.

One is born tall or short. Our general biases favor tall people. Tall is a descriptor. One is fat or thin. Our current general biases favor thin people, though this wasn’t always the case. Fat is a descriptor, but also a label with a negative connotation in this society (fat people are lazy, not in control, careless). One is born male, female, or one of myriad other combinations. Yes, it’s true, our sexuality is not so cut and dried, not so black and white, if you will, pun on purpose. Our current biases favor men over women, which is a cultural construct, as the only difference is physical genitalia. Everybody has hormones, so don’t give me the “women are more hormonal” argument. One does not control one’s genetics nor the processes of one’s body. Yet descriptors such as short, fat, bald, black, and white label people into little boxes which are hard to break out of.

Here’s the thing. People. We are people. Nobody has the right to place his knee on a person’s neck for nearly ten minutes and smirk at the camera thinking he is going to get away with murder because of his job or his color. A badge and a gun does not give one that authority.

I watched that video knowing the whole thing was over, a done deal upon which I would/could have no effect. I went through a series of emotions. The first time I could not believe my eyes. I kept saying to myself, get off, get off. Then surely he’ll get off now. Now. NOW. And he still didn’t get off. He repositioned himself several times, smirking at the camera, visibly daring bystanders to do anything, and I’m screaming aloud now, “get off, get off him.” I don’t know what I could or would have done had I been there. Police are supposed to be in an authority position. Still he kneeled on his neck. I yelled, “what could he possibly have done? Get off, get off now, you’re killing him.” I had the sound turned low, then turned it up, and he’s trying to say, “I can’t breathe.” I’m holding my breath. I couldn’t breathe. The man kneeling was murdering the man he was kneeling on in public in daylight; I saw it happen on film. He knew what he was doing, and he didn’t care. When I heard the man on the ground call out to his mama I knew he was seconds from death. I was praying she was there holding him in his last seconds. I watched the video again because I could not believe what I saw.

Later, on another video, I saw two other officers from the back kneeling as well. I could not tell from the angle whether the other officers were kneeling on his back and legs or kneeling beside him, but given the previous video I didn’t give them any credit, because they obviously didn’t stop the progress of the ten minute event. One officer stood by, but it looked like his role was keeping witnesses from interfering.

George Floyd was no angel. Not many of us are. Mr Floyd had a police record, had served time for his violations, and had a history of drug abuse as well, but he was somebody’s son, brother, uncle, nephew, husband, father. I’m not perfect, and members of my white family (which includes a few people of color now) aren’t either, but I would sorely grieve the loss of any of them. Despite flaws including criminal behavior, I still love them. Even if Mr Floyd was having a full-blown, violent, drug-induced psychotic break murder should never be in the police toolbox.

I wasn’t at the event; I’ve seen the videos everybody else has seen. There must be an honest and thorough investigation, and these officers must be held accountable as should any who perform acts of excessive force, which needs a whole boatload of re-evaluation. No kind of crime requires murder at the hand of police. Statistically, officers are rarely held to their own standards, and act as if exempt from the crimes they seek to stop. Statistically, under current police standards, what happened to George Floyd could happen to any of us, black, brown, or otherwise; make one wrong move, and you are toast. What police report about their own actions differ from what witnesses see. Once you see, you can’t breathe.

If we are to keep the standard of “protect and serve” I suggest two pre-requisites before becoming a law enforcement officer of any kind. First, at the minimum, a bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology, focusing on community relations and non-violent conflict resolution. Second, would be a proven consecutive history of community service. To continue the idea of community policing I would encourage officers to live within the district they serve, and make their faces known. Everybody knew officers’ houses in our neighborhoods when I was a kid, and we knew they were safe places to ask for help. (Our house was a target too, not just a safe space, when locals would get upset with the police, because they knew Dad was a deputy sheriff, so there’s that dichotomy.)

This over extension of “power” has got to stop. It will not stop any time soon if the president orders police violence against peaceful protest, which citizens are guaranteed the right to in the First Amendment, but that’s exactly what he did. Instead of trying to calm citizens he throws gas on the fire. Most of us have known all along he is part of the problem. While citizens of all ages and colors and creeds are peacefully protesting police brutality, he orders more police brutality, and that does not make sense to me because I was born and raised in America where we are not governed by authoritarians. Until now.

I won’t have it. I resist, even if I have to fight against the president. I’ve been standing for justice for 50 years, all my adult life. I’m not about to quit resisting now. I will continue to learn and stand on the side of justice. For people. While I’m still breathing. While we are still breathing.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Fluffy purple spirea makes me think of cotton candy. A fat orange bee busy with a fat white snowball. Pale yellow wild honeysuckle (?). Yellow bee busting the pollen from a borage flower. Pale pink and cream apple blossoms. Scarlet berries, unripe, but oh! The color.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Magnum PI (1980 – 1988, rated TV – PG). I looked it up. Thirty episodes left. Fun but ready to be done. * Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (2020, rated TV – MA) a documentary. I am trying to understand the need for power, but this man comes with a disgusting perversion, including an ability to cheat and lie his way to the top.

Currently Reading – The one issue with borrowing e-books from the library is they do not waffle on due dates. I’ll have to finish Breasts and Eggs (2019, fiction) by Mieko Kawakami another time. * The Measure of a Man (2000, autobiography) by Sidney Poitier. I am fascinated by his descriptions of some of his “bad boy” behavior and what motivated him to take the journey in life he has.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • My local farmers market opening for the summer.
  • Lovely day for first market.
  • The efforts farmers market organizers and vendors made toward safety.
  • The people who actually read the new safety guidelines pre-market and tried to comply with the new rules at market.
  • Having a few dollars left in my food stamp account to use at this year’s market. Ten dollars spent in food stamps gets you an additional ten dollars to spend on fruits and vegetables. That ten dollars pays for my weekly strawberry addiction.
  • The young, mask-free woman who let me goo-goo at her baby at farmers market. I kept my distance while I admired him. Baby gawked. I must have looked a sight to them with my purple flowery mask and my pink, rhinestoned, Randy Rainbow cat’s eye sunglasses.
  • Getting some words down on paper to organize my feelings, experiences, and memories.
  • A friend who shared her survival (erm, stimulus) check with me, good thing, as I have both a pool membership and a car registration coming due if ever those two institutions should open again.
  • Being current on my mortgage and bills.
  • Farm fresh eggs.
  • Asparagus.
  • Oregon Hoods. Gotta get them while you can. Brief window of ripeness.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Psychology, Work and Labor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: Skin

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“Hatred is the fury of those who do not share our goals, and its object is death and destruction. Anger is a grief of distortions between peers, and its object is change.”
Audre Lorde from her essay The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism

Sunday Haiku
Even Earth is tired
of humans bleeding noxious
waste into her air.

Sunday Musings
Thank you for reading me. This week I cannot put complete sentences together in my horrified response to the violence being perpetrated around the nation. I will be brief.

We are ONE race. The HUMAN race. We all have skin. It’s just SKIN. Pigment is the only difference. The pigment in our skin makes no difference. We ALL have skin. Some of us have very little pigment, some have a lot of pigment, varying shades of the SAME COLOR.

Even the word skin tells of our connections, kin being the word for relations. Skin could be a contraction: “It’s kin,” or when said quickly, “skin.”

It’s skin, people. Kin.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week –The city of Portland’s official flower: rose, this one in pink. White, purple, and gold iris. A field of crimson clover at dusk. Clump of yellow daylilies. A neighbor’s garden path, cobalt blue bird bath, and English style gardens with oriental poppies and delphiniums.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Magnum PI (1980 – 1988, rated TV – PG). When viewing a long series there comes a point no matter how much I am enjoying the series, and I’m at that point now, when I just want it to be over. * Hannah Gadsby’s new comedy special Douglas (2020, rated MA), in which she announces her autism. She is one special performer who takes trauma and views it through a different lens.

Currently ReadingBreasts and Eggs (2019, fiction) by Mieko Kawakami. A young woman’s older sister talks of nothing but breast augmentation, while her twelve year old niece awaits her menarche, all in the heat of Japan. In part two the narrator is eight years older and worrying about having children before it’s too late. * The Measure of a Man (2000, autobiography) by Sidney Poitier. The first movie I saw Poitier in was Lilies of the Field (1963, unrated) and if you’ve never seen this film it is a must see. After all the despicable acts by violent men recently I needed to read something from someone with dignity, grace, and wisdom. Poitier is 93 this year and wrote this book twenty years ago. If the library were open, I would be embarking on a Poitier film fest. Everything he did broke cinematic and racial barriers.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Still being able to get into the positions it takes to wax my legs.
  • Having a home I feel safe in.
  • Having no need or ability to participate in the physical violence.
  • Having another platform to express my heartache and dismay in words.
  • News that our local farmers market opens Wednesday.
  • Having some hair left, it’s thinning like mad.
  • The air warming.
  • The rain that keeps us green.
  • Reading.
  • Skin. So many beautiful colors. So many delightful people.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Photography, Poetry, Psychology, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gratitude Sunday: Masked For Memorial Day

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Oscar Wilde

Sunday Haiku
Warming trend, brief wind,
gray sky, clouds nigh, liquefied,
sprinkle, sprinkle, rain.

Sunday Musings
Memorial Day already! The semi-official kick-off for the summer season. Summer is cancelled this year. No Summer Olympics 2020. No county or state fairs. The way it’s looking Christmas is set up to be compromised as well at this point.

I’ve maintained for many years as we honor the military service people who have given their lives for our American way of life, so we should honor every American citizen, every parent who volunteered, every elder who serves on city council, every average person who has worked and paid taxes to support their country, every stay-at-home parent whose essential daily work has gone unrecognized as work. This year we include those who have lost their lives (in some cases unnecessarily) to the novel Coronavirus.

Our country has gone through disease hardships before with influenza viruses, polio, scarlet fever, small pox, cholera, and many others including the HIV/AIDS virus which was largely ignored and grossly mishandled merely because of the population most affected. Victims of all these diseases still paid their dues as citizens. COVID19 is not a hoax any more than any of the others were.

Citizens sacrificed for all these diseases: they may have been quarantined; they may have died because they could not afford a doctor and treatment, they may carry the mark of the disease until their death. Through each historic disease in our country we have learned new methods for keeping ourselves as safe as possible. Currently the CDC sets guidelines and standards for controlling disease spread as much as we humanly can using what we’ve learned from the past, though their current recommendations seem vague and weak. Viruses seem to have their own ideas, but humans have bigger brains.

Since we do have brains, I find myself wondering about anti-maskers these days, people who refuse to wear a mask. I understand if you have asthma or other COPD issues, but you are the very persons we are trying to protect; perhaps you should not be out at all. I can’t breathe well under a mask either. I have a skin reaction to some hospital masks. I still wear a mask.

A mask is less invasive than a vaccine, which may take a couple years, realistically, to get into place. A mask is not going to keep you from catching the virus if you are exposed and thus inclined, but it might help more than not. This is not about your health or my health (though it is), it’s about public health, what’s good for the community of people with whom you share your home, neighborhood, town, county, and state.

What is your statement when you don’t wear a mask? You’re not afraid of getting sick? You don’t think the virus is real? You’re really wanting a Darwin award and to be eliminated from the gene pool? You don’t give a diddly squat about anybody but you? I’m not judging if you don’t wear a mask: you could have a medical reason, I don’t know your story. But if you choose not to wear one, do not accuse me of being afraid or manipulated or any other such BS. I’m keeping myself as safe as I feel and I’m going with the thought you are doing the same thing for yourself, even if we don’t agree about the method. Our perceptions of the truth may vary, and I’m erring on the side of science and history. Just because a person is in a leadership position doesn’t mean that person has any knowledge of which he speaks, especially when he’s an established liar and an impeached criminal. If you are not wearing a mask I will stay far, far away from you, thank you very much.

I remember seeing how scared my mom was whenever a disease ran through the community. Her younger sister married a man who had survived polio and walked with a brace and a limp the rest of his life. When I was in my early teens Mom lost a cousin, a woman her own age with kids her kids’ ages, to influenza in the middle 1960s before we had influenza vaccines. I’ll never forget watching her weep and sorrow over the loss of that cousin and for her children and family. Mom was not a dramatic woman. I worked with a scout mom whose grandmother had died in the influenza epidemic of 1918; she had stories to tell. We went through the childhood diseases, chicken pox, measles, and colds and flu in the day before vaccines. Mom played her role as Dr Mom to keep us as well as she could, including vaccinations when they were finally available. Mostly wellness was about washing and staying clean, especially washing hands before preparing food or sitting down to a meal.

Before Mom died, I was in the habit of spending a week with her in early July every year. I’d get up early and pick her raspberries to give her a break and then spend the rest of the day jamming, juicing, or freezing raspberries. We got to spend a whole week just yakking our heads off, being intelligent adult women who enjoyed spending time together in civil discourse without interruptions from children or men.

One of the last years I took a copy of the movie Grapes of Wrath, the old 1940 black and white version with Henry Fonda. I’d read the book and it sounded much like what Mom had described to me as her early life. I wanted to watch it with her and have her confirm this was like what she had experienced. She confirmed it was.

I noticed throughout the movie was how little people touched. Of course, this was a movie, and this could have been the way the movie was written character-wise. When I mentioned it to Mom, however, she said that’s the way it was. People rarely touched, hugged, kissed, snuggled, or even shook hands. Even after long or heartbreaking separations they didn’t throw themselves into each other’s arms when reunited. This behavior was a result of the 1918 influenza pandemic as people learned the less one touched and the more one washed, the more one could avoid getting all kinds of illnesses. I don’t remember my grandparents or even my parents as being particularly snuggly people. Families now are often like puppies physically piled all over each other.

Personally, I love snuggling, but I can live without it. Within a family it’s probably safe behavior as usually all the people in one household have sort of the same cooties. I don’t believe encouraging kids to kiss or hug every acquaintance to be necessary social skills; personal space is likely more important than being able to hug or kiss every Tom, Dick, and Harry. With my nieces and nephews and other little children I know I’ve found it’s much better to leave the hugging and kissing alone until the young person wants it. I have one nephew who would not hug me until he became an adult where we could share mutual respect. Now we give each other wonderful hugs, still not so much with kisses.

The son never kissed me on the mouth until he had his own girlfriend. I would kiss him on the cheek, or he would kiss my cheek. By the time he found her, he was so elated to be loved by someone other than his mother, he could only then freely kiss me. We stopped being snuggly about the same time he didn’t want me to read aloud to him anymore, after he started reading the material he enjoyed (our reading interests diverge). Love is forever; I’m not even sure it needs bodies or touching.

We won’t get to touch each other if we insist on exposing each other to the hundreds of other people we’ve been exposed to. Wearing a mask is one simple way to protect each other and our communities so we can continue to hug and snuggle with our loved ones. A simple way to say to each other “I don’t want to grieve your death. I think you are as important as me.” Wear a mask. I’m selfish; I don’t want to sacrifice you or me to Memorial Day or a virus.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I don’t know what these tiny blossoms are, but they look like a bunch of tiny pink fairy faces all snuggled together. Dark purple iris; they smell so grapey. Scotch broom makes many people sneeze, I love the yellow blossoms, and the way the seeds pop when they are ripe, and so grateful I’m not allergic. Delphinium, one of nature’s few true blues, and it comes in other colors too. Totally in love with this pale peachy-pink poppy against the two shades of blue.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Still enjoying time with the hubster and Magnum PI (1980 – 1988, rated TV – PG). Still enjoying the time together, though I’m ready for a different series. We are dedicated dogs though, when we commit to something, we do it all the way through. * High Crimes (2002, rated PG – 13) with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. A woman is fooled, then gaslighted by her husband who learned his skills in the military. High anxiety thriller for those who like intrigue.

Currently ReadingBreasts and Eggs (2019, fiction) by Mieko Kawakami. Reconfirmed I can only read one fiction at a time, so I’m still at the beginning of this novel. I can say it has drawn me right in, though it feels odd to drag around a kindle instead of a real book. I like paper. * Looking for a non-fiction title.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Taking advantage of the changes in opening of clinics and getting appointments this week for things I had been putting off. Setting an appointment six weeks away adds to my anxiety level.
  • Hubs driving me to one of the clinics so I could relax and watch the neighborhoods go by.
  • Options for dealing with upcoming medical issues.
  • Being able to get up by myself after taking a fall trying to get up off the floor.
  • Not being and not having been sick recently.
  • Having my bills budgeted enough to purchase an essential oils bracelet for myself and a fishing magazine subscription for the hubs in celebration of his birthday month. Simple pleasures.
  • Both of us getting used to the habit of filling the little inside compost bucket.
  • Me making the habit of taking the compost bucket out every other day so it doesn’t stink or mold.
  • Getting another tree trimmed and into the green bin.
  • Conquering a small corner of the yard from the blackberries.
  • My imagination and ability to think, which can’t be taken from me.
  • Friends who let me use their nature photos.
  • A fat mango at the lowest price I’ve seen in a year.
  • Some gorgeous fat red strawberries and raspberries.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Homemaking, Medicine, Nature, Parenting, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Psychology, Science, Work and Labor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: What’s In A Name?

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene II

Sunday Haiku
Spring showers too late
for April, dampen our May,
yet still bring flowers.

Sunday Musings
What do you call yourself? Do you use the name your parents gave you? Do you use a legal name and an everyday name? Is your name your own or did it belong to another before you? Do you have a nickname or names of endearment from certain people? Are some people allowed to call you by one name and not another? What is in a name?

To begin with, in the beginning we don’t choose our names, generally our parents choose. Many of us grow up disliking our names; we often are given or choose a nickname we are more or less comfortable with. Imagine the challenges a family whose patriarch is named Charles, who then names all his sons Charles, yet they are called Charlie, Chuck, Chuckie, and Chas. Imagine all of them deciding they like to be called Charles. Sounds like immense fun. Some families give a legal name such as “Burton,” or any other name for that matter, then proceed to call the child Bubba, Bud, or Buddy. Legally one can call oneself anything one wants to as long as one is not attempting to defraud.

For example, my mother named me one thing, and called me a sweet endearment, the “Kas” part of my blog name. She used my given name when she wanted to be firm. When I was in trouble, she included my middle name. I got in trouble for everything my younger siblings did because she’d start at the top of the list and run through every child’s name until she got to the one who was misbehaving.

Parents often give little thought to the meaning of the name they choose. They like the sound of the name or it has meaning to them in some way such as being the name of a treasured family member, trusted friend, or an admired celebrity. We may not know what our names mean historically, we may not care. The meanings may have no effect on our lives whatsoever, though many times we find the meaning of our names speak to the core of our being. How do parents know at a birthing or naming ceremony how the name will affect the life of the child or the adult s/he becomes?

The name my parents gave me means Pure Water Thunder. As an elder now this meaning of my name holds great import for me. My dad had no clue what his last name meant. It was something he came with and he never gave it a thought. My mom also likely had little knowledge of what the name she choose for me means; she liked the sound and she wanted me to have a name that “fit in,” or was popular, to make it easier to get along in this world.

Somehow, the hubster, who does not read my blog (he calls it my “blah, blah, blah,” such respect, ha), found out for the sake of his privacy I do not use his name, instead referring to him as the hubster. I may have mentioned it to him in passing, otherwise I don’t know how he knew. He told me he didn’t like that designation. Thus, henceforth, without asking his permission or preference, he will be further abbreviated and will be referred to as “the hubs.” So there’s that. Careful what you wish for.

All the years we lived together actively pursuing a non-child family state through every kind of birth control method available, we teased each other about having a little one the same name as the hubs, in other words a Junior. It was our way of reminding each other to use the birth control.

When I became pregnant (defying modern birth control methods and with, I have often suspected, maybe a bit of divine intervention), I gave serious thought to how hard naming would be for both of them and for us as a family. My maiden name, though short, was a difficult and uncomfortable name, one easily made fun of by immature, thoughtless bullies. The hubs’ last name is of a similar nature: he hated his last name growing up. I knew we were sticking the son with that last name to start, better be careful about the rest of his name. We came up with the clever idea of using the hubs’ middle name as a first name and first name as a middle name for the baby. That would also give the baby his grandfather’s name and I already had ideas for nicknames.

However, twists and turns fill my life and never does the road run straight. One look at the baby and we knew his name had to be the Junior we’d been teasing each other about for seventeen years. Just like that, hubs lost his name.

He has a name that is easily shortened. Shortly after we got together, he decided he wanted to be called by his full name rather than the diminutive. I understand. When I was in high school, I choose to begin using a different name as my given name was popular at the time and there were always four or five of us in every class. I didn’t like being designated by the first initial of my last name.

When baby arrived, the hubs became “Senior.” As baby grew, he became “Junior,” and I never used the diminutive, I always used his full name. It was what worked for us. Growing up in the large family I did, if one called out “Bob” or “Bill” or “Jim” or “Mike” more than one person responded to help. In my household if I called out their name, they thought I was referring to the other, and neither would respond. I had to call for Sr and Jr to get any response from them.

Now the son has left the family home he has his own name. His friends call him by a shortened version, and only his mother uses his full name.

The hubs is happy to have his name back, but it’s hard for me to remember after 27 years of calling him Senior. Sometimes I forget to use his name and call him Senior, it’s not like that fact will ever change; he will forever be the first of his name. Sometimes I forget and call him “dada” as his son did; I always thought it was so sweet and cute the way baby said it. Hubs tells me he doesn’t mind when I call him dada as he will always be a father.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – The fairy skirt of the flower kingdom: fritillaries. Yellow Oregon grape against the red bricked Masonic Lodge and proof Oregon can have blue sky days. Albino white starflower? No idea what this pretty purple flower is, and I like the silvery-green crinkly leaves. Ahhh, pink peonies.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Still enjoying time with the hubster and Magnum PI (1980 – 1988, rated TV – PG). Like super submersion, trying to rip through the seasons at three episodes a night. Dreaming Magnum theme songs and plots. * Season two of Dead To Me (2020, rated TV – MA). I tried to watch the first episode of season two, then I realized it’s been so long since I watched the last season, I didn’t remember the story line. I had to re-watch all of season one to get back into the story. Season two ends with a cliff hanger; I imagine it will take as long for a new season, and it will be like groundhog’s day all over again.

Currently ReadingThe Kitchen God’s Wife (1991, fiction) by Amy Tan. Loving the way the author tells the story of mid-20th century China to a contemporary audience. I don’t travel except through books, and fiction can reveal cultural mores and differences in a way non-fiction cannot. * Breasts and Eggs (2019, fiction) by Mieko Kawakami. Had to start this new fiction before I’m done with the last as it has arrived via e-book and has a waiting list because the library is closed and cannot circulate the physical copies they have. A multi-generational story about women in Japan, I’m starting slowly so I don’t get it confused with Amy Tan’s novel of Chinese women. It can only be good to read about these neighboring cultures at the same time.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Dishes.
  • Always having something to do, even if it’s dishes.
  • Enjoying the rain we’ve been having.
  • Getting a blood draw I’d been avoiding done.
  • Getting the mythical survival check (erm, “stimulus”), not a minute too late as I have leaking toilets to be fixed.
  • Feeling free to turn up the heater during this little phantom winter we are having. It’s not freezing, just chilly-ish.
  • Having sweaters to choose instead if I wish.
  • Wearing lipstick around the house as it is useless under a mask.
  • Finding a place to organize everyday vases. There are so many, and they come in handy.
  • Laughing at how long it is taking me to find a place for everything. All those years of working full time had a hidden price.
  • The folks who run my pool taking the time to figure out more safety measures. We have had cold and flu viruses run through the facility, and people (lifeguards, instructors, pool users, swim team, coaches) stay away from the pool when they are sick because they have had it posted for all the years I’ve used the pool if one has an infectious disease one should not come to the pool. I’ve left the pool mid-swim because I started not feeling well.
  • The privilege of paying for the privacy of my own home and yard.
  • Forgiving myself the carbon footprint of buying raspberries.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Parenting, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment