Sunday, October 30, 2016

Down to the wire

 So, here we are just about a week away from Election Day... 
and no amount of worrying, posting, cajoling or exhorting our friends, 
let alone complete strangers,
will change whatever the outcome will be.
The reality is that, 
with rare exception,
when the sun comes up on Nov 9th,
most of us will get up, get dressed 
and go about living our lives.

If the candidate(s) we voted for wins, 
the day will be tinged differently than if they had lost.

What's clear, however, is that someone will lose.

And our country will have to regroup and go on.

I recently found an article by an author I respect (here).
I wanted to share it for the final days of the election season - 
and beyond -
more to remind myself than to instruct anyone else;
in this, as in so many things, we 'teach what we need to learn'.

How to help our country heal after this tragic presidential election:

1.    Know that while you can influence others, 
the only person you can control is yourself. 
             And, for God’s sake, stop arguing with people.
You’re not going to change anyone’s mind    
          by arguing or by calling them out; 
both of these actions are just going to raise your blood pressure instead.

2.        Know what you believe, state it calmly 
and let go of your need to convince other people you are right. 
If you get triggered, 
simply say “I don’t see the truth in that”,
          “Help me understand your perspective” 
or "You have been heard” 
and then walk away. 

3.    Put your energy into people who will actually listen to you 
and engage in dialogue with you, 
not debate, shame or try to discount you.
You don’t need those people in your life 
and you don’t need to fight every battle to which you’re invited.
You don’t always have to show people you’re right.

4.     Remember: the most powerful person in a tug of war 
is the person who doesn’t pick up their end of the rope. 
Let the rope go. 

5.    Ask yourself: What would happen if I gave up my need to be right? 
If you feel you must defend your position, ask yourself why you feel that way. 
Is it because you need to be seen as smart? 
Is it because you truly believe the other person will finally see the light? 
They likely won’t. 
Learn how real change takes place – 
hint: not by screaming at people.

6.    Pick your battles. 
Let most of them go.
 You can make more of an impact by how you live daily
than you ever can by showing how smart you are in an argument.

7.    Look for ways to build bridges and show support for everyone demeaned during this election – that would be women, people of color and people with disabilities, as a start.

8.    Invest in your own learning. 
You’re smart, but you’ve got more to learn too. 
Everybody has a perspective. 
Learn to acknowledge perspectives that are not your own with a little more grace 
and a lot less hostility.

9.    Be curious, not dogmatic.

10. Ask questions instead of making pronouncements.

11. Be solid in your own truth and let the truths of others show up however they will.

12. Don’t take the bait. Keep calm

13. Know that evolution is messy. 
Always remember We can do better that this. 
We must do better than this.

Can I just be the first person to say that all of the above will be MUCH easier 
if the people I want to win actually win!
If they don't,
 it will be really hard!
Whoever said democracy would be easy?

I'll try, dammit, I'll try!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A whole lot of shakin' goin' on over here!
It will come as a surprise to NO ONE that the computer I owned was an antique.
Not that it started out that way;
but I frankly see no reason to upgrade 
every time a new fade comes along.
But apparently 7 years in a computers life 
is even longer than dog years
and I was informed earlier this week, 
rather dismissively I might add,
that no upgrade was even possible on my computer anymore
 and the only remedy was to purchase a new one. 
So, for what I usually pay for a used car,
I bought myself a new laptop,
had the data transferred
and then waited for it to drive itself to my house 
and plug itself in.
After an hour on the phone with AT&T last night
and meeting a repair guy at the house today,
I might actually be in business;
IF I can figure out all the bells and whistles.
I might get the hang of it in about 6 years!

But wait, that's not the only excitement ...
black mold was discovered in my basement
so contractors in hazmat suits have been coming and going too.
Funny how I zip up and down the stairs doing laundry 
with nary a hint of protection or problems
but be that as it may ...
it has to be done, so might as well bite the bullet now.
I've needed to concentrate on beauty -
and there's an abundance of that
even when the bloom is off the rose
and the fall colors have barely gotten started.
But the best part?
(What, the black mold wasn't the highlight?)
Enjoying the anticipation and excitement as
the count down gets real ...
Maybe it's just me - 
but NO WAY do I think this baby is staying put for another 2 weeks!
That's OK ...
whenever he gets here,
there's plenty of love waiting for him!
And here we thought this was such a cheesy pose - 
and it might be, 
but it's also kind of awesome!

Saturday, October 22, 2016


 It used to be that my birthday week was the peak of fall color;
a glimpse into exactly how egocentric I was 
(past tense questionable)
but I thought God was painting the world in such brilliant colors 
as a special gift to me;
a celebration and a reminder 
not to squander the precious time we have allotted on this earth.
 I look at images I took years ago
and I don't need any other evidence of global warming.

It hit a new high of 91 degrees earlier this week.
Leaves are turning brown and dropping off - 
because they're dying of thirst.

Even though it's cooler this morning,
we haven't had a hard frost and there's barely a hint of color.
 I'm trying not to let impatience turn to disappointment
but I'm not going to lie,
it's a challenge.
 I certainly hope my created forests aren't the only pop of color that appear this fall!
Color me waiting ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A decided voter

The candidate I will be voting for in this presidential election 
will come as no surprise to any reader of this blog. 
I’ve made no secret of the fact that my political leanings 
are to the left of Bernie Sanders.

Simply put, 
there are NO circumstances under which I’d vote for the Republican candidate.

Several months ago, my first born and I were having a heated argument about politics. 
It was nothing momentous or personal; it’s simply what we do.  
He’s one of the “on the cusp of everything, 
at the tail end of Gen X but not really Gen Y,
 undecided voters”; 
truth be told,
he’s a political atheist
who’s happy to live off both the political and economic grid. 

He asked me to stop saying all I despised about one candidate 
and make a case FOR the other one,
despite the deep reservations I have.

My response to his challenge that night stuck with me – 
and I thought about it again 
as even more ‘revelations’ and 'leaked' emails became public earlier this week.

Hillary and I are the same generation of American women.
She was born 2 years ahead of me, 
in a different part of the country
and raised with more money and privilege than I was,
but we were impacted and shaped by the same cultural influences and historical events.
The Civil Rights movement, the War on Poverty, the assassinations of political figures and elected officials, ‘Camelot’, Watergate, the ERA, the struggle for women’s equality, the Vietnam War, massive student protests, Kent State, the threat of nuclear annihilation, the Cuban Missile crisis, the Cold War, “bomb practices’ at school, tucked under desks with coats over our heads, Rock ‘n Roll, the heyday of Hollywood movies and Broadway musicals, the Beatles, American Bandstand,
Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown …

 I understand her references;
I speak the same language.

Her passion and ‘calling’ in her professional life has mirrored mine – 
albeit hers has been on a grander scale.

Right out of law school,
she began working as a staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund
and helped prepare a landmark report “Out of School in America” – 
which became a catalyst
for the enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 
now the Disabilities Education Act.

Healthcare, improving governmental responsiveness
and access to services for the disenfranchised, 
working to make this country,
and the world,
a safer place for women and children 
has been her career path for decades;
in all the roles she’s undertaken – 
Governor’s wife, First Lady, Secretary of State, Senator and now candidate.

And she’s received push back every step of the way … 
because she’s a woman, a ‘libber’, 
because she doesn’t know her place 
(and doesn’t accept that it’s in the kitchen baking cookies), 
because the male dominated hierarchy can’t easily pigeon hole and control her…

She’s been investigated more times than any other public figure in history – 
and all those witch hunts have yielded nothing.

Nothing that was criminal – 
except in the florid minds of people who see conspiracies everywhere 
and who have raised rejecting evidence (and scientific fact)
to a whole new level of crazy.

Has she made mistakes? Of course. 
Has she learned how to work the system? I sure hope so. 
Are the systems in which she’s functioned broken? You bet.

But how is that any different from any of us
with long term careers?

I’ve worked for almost 40 years in the same healthcare system, 
interacting on practically a daily basis
with law enforcement and the juvenile court system.
All of them huge monolithic systems that seek
to serve, apply resources, healthcare and justice equally 
but systems that fail as often as they succeed.

And, like Hillary,
I keep getting up every morning, going to work
and, despite all the obstacles and barriers the systems 
(and individuals inside the systems) 
try to put up, 
I keep working whatever advantages I’ve got at the time 
(longevity, humor, coercion, knowledge of how the game is played,
threats, ignoring rules and pleading ignorance if caught) 
all to make ‘the system’ work better 
for the child I’ve got in front of me
on any particular day.

I keep advancing the ball down the field one small step at a time 
because that’s what women of our generation do.
You don’t whine and cry “It’s not fair”; 
you don’t pack up your marbles 
thinking there’s a more level playing field in some other system 
(there isn’t).
You keep your head down, 
let others have the glory if there’s success, 
take responsibility for failures, 
apologize for mistakes if there’s disaster – 
and you keep on keeping on.

And the outcry
because she might actually have one set of opinions in public
and another in private?
Hello, … it’s called having a damn filter!
As hard as it is for some people to believe, 
you don’t say everything you think or feel in public. 
You weigh your words. 
You see who your audience is and you frame what you share accordingly. 
It’s part of being a grown up.

It’s amazing to me that figuring out how to work the system
 is called “The Art of the Deal” 
if you’re a man
and corruption
if you’re a woman.

Then there’s her marriage – 
and her having to experience the most intimate form of betrayal
in the most public way imaginable – 
over and over again.

She didn’t go all psycho country-western bitch on the 'other women',
key their cars, break out their windows or burn down their trailers. 
So she trash talked them
and didn’t invite them over for the White House BBQ, 
so what?

I’ve been there – 
and you don’t have to have your husband’s affair
 broadcast on every news channel in the country 
to feel that the whole world knows
you were played for a fool.

And, as if you weren’t feeling bad enough already, 
society will then proceed to lay marital failure on your doorstep.
HIS conduct won’t be nearly as much of an issue for the gossipers 
as YOUR failure to ‘keep him satisfied at home’.

Would I have stayed with a serial cheater? 
I don’t know.

I’m willing to take her word that she genuinely loves him, 
accepts his weaknesses 
and was totally serious when she said,
before God and family,
that they made a covenant 
for better or worse 
until death do them part.

While I might have hastened the death part of that vow 
after the second time he pulled his sh*t, 
she opted for a different path.
She kept her head up, created her own life 
and, if he wants, he can follow along in her wake;
it’s his choice.
(For folks getting their panties in a twist about the Clinton's marriage, 
how in the hell is a misogynistic, serial cheater, marital rapist 
better than someone who honors her vows?)

I understand there's a 'taint' about Hillary -
some lingering scent of "where's there's smoke, there's fire".

There's been so much mud thrown
from so many scandals
that some of it is bound to have 'stuck'.

I appreciate the reservations -
but I've have decided to discount them.

I think for someone our age
to have acquired enough
personal life experience,
work credentials
and the political backing of a major political party
to be considered a viable candidate,
there's no way to have gotten through life or the process unscathed.

I know that for every client who thinks I'm terrific and is glad our lives intersected,
there's probably an equal number who think I'm a hateful bitch.
You can't do your job for decades and please everyone.

As Donald Trump apparently hasn't found out yet,
"telling it like it is" is really only telling YOUR perspective of the truth,
not THE universal truth;
NO ONE has cornered the market on universal truth!

The racial barrier in the presidential line was broken 8 years ago -
with serious unanticipated consequences.

There's every reason to believe that breaking the gender barrier
will bring more of the same.

There's a dark underbelly of our populace that has been exposed;
the contortions and vitriol that's characterized this election
and consumed so much of our national oxygen
are hopefully nothing more
than the death rattles of a scared, dying minority.

The future won't be pretty.
The ugliness and divisiveness won't go away.

Be that as it may, for better or for worse,

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


 the wisdom and beauty of imperfection.
 Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic 
by acknowledging three simple realities: 
 nothing lasts,
 nothing is finished, 
and nothing is perfect.
I've just discovered that I've been an advocate 
of an ancient Buddhist way of viewing the world
my entire life.
How delightful.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A reminder:

small and extravagant...
a testimony to the ways God is still at work in the world.

We just need eyes that see.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday treat

I thought we all might like to see 
a picture of a big, empty headed orange man - 
who isn't Donald Trump!
You're welcome.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I know. But I do not approve.

On a day when communal grief runs deeper than my words can reach,
I need to rely on another
to give voice to what's in my heart.

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.
 Edna St Vincent Millay 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I lied

Hell, if candidates for President can, 
it’s fair game for the rest of us, right?

I watched the debate.

My curiosity got the better of me.
I figured I’d rather hear the debacle first hand 
than count on someone else's version
of what was said and by whom.

While my blood pressure probably was stroke level, at some point, 
I lived to tell the tale.

There are just SO many ways to go about dissecting what happened:
*analyzing Trumps behavior and body language 
as a sexual predator,
or *as an English linguist -
was he even speaking in a recognized language?

 But it was as I was summing up the debate for a friend 
that a truth of what I had witnessed hit home.

I said it was like watching a 14yr old coke head argue with his mother about his misdeeds. 

My subconscious seems to have identified a reality I hadn’t let myself say out loud before…

I’d noticed that Donald Trump has all the markers 
of being a domestic abuser and stalker
 but I’m now convinced 
that he is also a substance abuser. 
I suspect he’s self-medicating a bi-polar disorder
but I'm convinced if someone convinced him to do a drug drop, 
we wouldn't be surprised by the results.

Therapy types have, for months, been attributing his erratic, volatile behavior 
to all sorts of emotional maladies, 
(here , here and here for starters)
so this is hardly groundbreaking territory.

But, as I was reviewing the symptoms list, 
it became crystal clear.

Signs of Cocaine Use:
Dilated pupils and eyes overly sensitive to light
poor impulse control
Abnormal sleep pattern
Runny nose (snorting)
 Unusual excitement
Poor judgment

Sound like anyone you’ve seen recently in a national debate?

Can this thing be over soon, PLEASE?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

I'm tired of trying to understand

 I can't speak for anyone else,
but I'm done with this election cycle.
It's officially lasted about 2 years too long.

 How in the name of all that's holy can the Republican candidate 
still be supported by
millions of people?

How do they explain that decision to their daughters?

Not only has Trump captured the votes of the Klu Klux Klan,
now he's gone after the sexual predator contingent -
at least those who haven't yet been convicted of a felony and can still vote.

Nice work, Republican party.
Those are just the folks I'd want to represent ...
hope you're proud of yourself.

And all the Republicans running for the exits?

Don't even ...
you knew he was a psychopath months ago 
and you chose him anyway.
I, for one, won't be watching the debate tonight.
I'll catch highlights later,
if there IS any such thing as a 'highlight'.

Frankly, it feels like one 'low' after another.
This chick is done!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Different days

She wasn't my BFF.
She wasn't the first person I would have called in the face of a personal tragedy.

But she was a colleague at the hospital;
someone I worked with for over 30 years,
the last decade or so in the trenches of the ER 
where bonds and loyalties are tight;
forged from working side by side 
caring for children and their families 
in the worst situations imaginable.

I came to depend on her quiet good judgment, 
her seasonal cooking and baking skills 
(which she shared freely with her 'ER Family'), 
her sense of humor 
and her ability to see goodness in everyone
even when evidence to the contrary 
was staring us right in the face.

Decades ago, 
we were pregnant with our second children at the same time. 
We both had sons.

Over the years, 
we exchanged frequent updates on their progress 
as they grew into men we were proud of.

We experienced 'empty nest' together,
laughed when she became a grandmother so far ahead of me.
and she consoled me when I thought that was one experience 
which might never be mine.

She responded recently after a post in Facebook about the baby shower,
saying how much I was going to LOVE being a grandma.
and how much she was looking forward to hearing all about it.
Her children and her grandchildren were her world.

This morning,
I went to work 
knowing my son and his wife were headed to the doctor for an ultrasound;
thrilled that, by late afternoon,
they would have more images of the face
and perhaps a smile,
of the son they are so eager to welcome.

She was getting ready for work 
when she was notified that her son,
a local police officer,
was shot and killed
while responding to a domestic disturbance.
 He was at the end of a shift.
It was a 'safe' neighborhood.
 There was every reason to believe he'd be going home 
to his wife and their 2yr old son
when work was over.
But he didn't.

And the reality of it breaks my heart -
and infuriates me 
all at the same time.

Instead of blathering on about walls, 
and marital peccadilloes,
why are we not demanding that the candidates for President
address issues of 
gun control,
mental illness,
domestic violence,
substance abuse,
a broken judicial system,
for-profit prisons  ...

the list of problems facing us is overwhelming -
and instead,
we're given soundbites and snarky one liners.

I'm disgusted, angry
and sad beyond words.

After so many days
shared in 'ordinary', unremarkable  moments,
our lives couldn't be more different.

They'll never be the same again
and that makes my heart ache.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Taking a break

I just can't read, contemplate or listen to anymore political sh*t - 
at least not tonight.

It's too much.

Nothing I hear 
or don't hear 
is going to change my mind 
about who to vote for;
as far as I'm concerned,
there truly isn't a choice 
since I'm quite certain I don't want to live 
in a fascist country 
with a megalomaniac, 
misogynistic and racist dictator.

Deep cleansing breaths ...
 I'll worry about being 'in touch with the issues'
some other day.