Reality Check

Using, of course, my version or reality, which may or may not agree with yours. This morning while I was in the shower, words were buzzing around in my head, frantically searching for an outlet – showering does not require a lot of concentration, you know. Now I am out of the shower, I am dressed – as dressed as I get on these stay-at-home days without going out into public – sweat pants, sweatshirt, socks, slippers. Comfort is primary.

Back to those buzzing in my head thoughts. These thoughts were prompted, I’m sure, by the news articles that found their way into my email this morning – with the president’s comments about his “war with the media, those least honest of all people” (not necessarily a word-for-word quote, but the context is there) – as to the “least honest” part of that statement, I think they have rivals. I will not go so far as to say they are always the most honest, and their job is to report the news as it happens – but – their publisher’s job is to make money, to sell papers, to gain views on the web. What results is, I feel quite sure, a lot of the hyping and sensationalism that we see. I could do with less of that, but I think I can also understand the “for profit” viewpoint. And the publisher’s job is to represent either his viewpoint or the viewpoint of the owner of the paper – hence, they are not always terribly objective. As consumers of any goods, it is our responsibility to investigate, to research, to find for ourselves the best purchase for our needs. It is no different with the consumption of news. It is up to us to investigate, research, look for the least sensationalist version of the news, the most objective. And yes, we will all lean towards the source that appeals to our beliefs. We are, after all, human. So there is that – the president puts himself, always, in the public eye – this president perhaps more than many. And he has done so for a very long time – doing so will garner criticism. That’s life. Get over it.

As to comments regarding his youngest son – we need to get over that. It’s happened with every president who has young children, and it probably always will, but it’s not fair. It’s not right. If you are a parent, you would not like to have your child on the receiving end. Keep the kids out of it. Deal with your children as you see fit, but leave those who are not yours alone.

Then there are the comments about the women’s march. Until I read a couple of articles this morning, I had no idea what their pink hats represented – and I’m not entirely convinced yet. I did think they were weird hats. Whatever that may be, I think it’s amazing that so many people from all over the world showed up, to speak out and be counted. I think it’s admirable. I do not agree that they should not because they already “have more rights than a lot of women in a lot of other countries”. How do you think they got those rights, anyway? By other women, in other times, who dared to risk everything in their lives and their lives themselves, to show up and speak out – to fight what was the norm, to demand equality. By women, in our times, who demand to be heard and who continue to demand equality. I think they are also due credit for the fact that all of these people, crowded together in all of these places, were peaceful and there was no violence, no arrests (at least so far as I have heard). That is the way to demonstrate. That is the way to show up and speak out. I did not hear a demeaning of men – other than the men who demean women. What goes around, comes around – push my buttons and I’ll probably push back. I am human. I am imperfect. As to choosing now to march – well, we now have a president and a vice-president that have both made statements regarding many of those hard-fought-for rights, and taking away those rights. The vice-president’s political history backs that up. The time to show up and speak out is before those rights are gone. Waiting till the threat is reality won’t work. Agree with this or not – that’s your choice. But give credit for the peaceful courage that was demonstrated.

And so there you have it – my soapbox for today. I am working to be respectful, I am working to avoid “bashing”. But for those of you who resent my comments – let me remind you I was/am a supporter of Obama, and those of us who were/are endured eight years of complete disrespect shown him, by citizens of this country, by members of our Congress. What goes around, comes around. I think I’m being fair enough.

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The People Wanted Change

Change – sometimes needed, usually hard to accomplish, sometimes comes unbidden. This time – this time, the people wanted change. I wanted change. The change I fear we’re going to see, however, is not the change I wanted. The change I wanted was having our Congress recognize they are where they are because they were elected by the people, to work for the people – the people, not just their party. The change I wanted was for the Congress to work without partisanship, for the good of the country and it’s people. The change I wanted was unity.

After eight years of our president being treated with little respect by far too many – with too much name calling, too much – just too much. I have always said that you don’t have to respect the person, but you do have to respect the position. I believe that. I do, and I have respected the position of many over the years. Men I worked for that had some power because of their position – but who had an inflated view of themselves – I may not have liked the men, but I respected their position and did my job. This time – this election – I’m having a real problem with that. While I do respect our country, our system of governing, the Constitution, the offices to which we elect people (to paraphrase a comment made to Dawn’s post this morning)– I’m finding it difficult to respect the people filling many of those positions.

I will not call names. I will not. But I will say what I feel, what I believe. I will say that people need to earn the respect they feel they should have. I will say that you do not earn respect by calling into play the most base of human emotions, you do not earn respect by denigrating or putting down those who do not agree with you. You do not earn respect by disrespecting women, the LGBT movement, ethnic or religious groups other than your own. You do not earn respect by denying reality – like climate change. When one of your first moves is:
“The Trump White House on Friday also froze all pending regulations; announced the new administration’s plan to develop a missile defense system to protect the U.S. against Iran and North Korea; and indicated its intent to eliminate the Climate Action Plan as well as a Housing and Urban Development program to reduce certain mortgage fees.” (from The Week magazine)

And:
“As the Trump team took over the White House website and social media pages on Friday, the new administration promptly took down Obama-era issue pages on the White House website covering civil rights, climate change, LGBT rights, and health care. New pages tout issues like “An America First Energy Plan” and “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community,” but so far there is no page devoted to immigration, a central topic of Trump’s campaign. On social media, Trump took over the @POTUS Twitter handle, while all of President Obama’s tweets and followers were shifted to @POTUS44. As of Saturday morning, Trump’s personal Twitter account remains in use.” (from The Week magazine)

What are we to think? I know, I know. We will each think whatever our particular position on this dictates. We make up our minds, and changing our minds is hard to do. To me, it looks like we’re about to take steps backwards, about to trod upon beliefs and lives that have only just been given legitimacy. It looks to me like the division in our country will only grow deeper because, while the president says the “people are in control”, I fear what he really means is the “wealthy people are in control”, and those who believed and believe he is for the little guy – I am sorry. I hope you are right, I hope I am wrong – I do not want him to fail, and I do not want you to feel betrayed. I want us all to come out of this better. But. My hope is dim.

I pray for enough for all.

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Share Your World – January 16, 2017

It’s another frosty, cold, white morning out there – it’s beautiful, really it is, but I confess to having grown weary of the sameness of that frosty, cold, white landscape. It’s only January, and already I have been complaining about winter. So this morning, in an attempt to divert myself, I’m going to join Cee in Sharing.

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? That depends on whether I actually took the few seconds it takes to pull the closet door shut. Husband used to have a thing about that – closet doors had to be shut when we went to bed, but I’m a door swinger rather than a door closer, so usually my closet door will be open at least a few inches.

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel? Sometimes, because they’re nice to have for traveling times, in case you are somewhere that doesn’t provide such amenities. I’m really more likely to grab the little bottles of lotion, because they’re a good size for in my purse.

What is your usual bedtime? When my eyes refuse to stay open any longer. Sometimes. But generally somewhere around 11:00 p.m. I head to bed. For a long while a few years ago, I was in bed by 9:30, but now I nap more often in the afternoons and can stay up a little later. I will have the TV on in the evenings, watching or kind of watching programs, but usually turn it off around 10:00 and read for awhile.

Do you like to use post-it notes? How did we ever survive without post-it notes?

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? A personal letter? A very long time ago, I’m sure. Most often a letter written (more specifically, typed on the computer, then printed) is directed towards some business entity with whom I am disagreeing.

Any phobias? Phobias? Me? How can you ask that, don’t you know I am woman, I am strong? I see doubt in your eyes. I’m not sure if this classifies specifically as a phobia, but I have a major anxiety toward edges – like trying to look down into the Grand Canyon takes a lot of work and that “bravery” is generally very short-lived. Getting up on the roof to remove pine needles is the same, and last fall I decided I was not going to do that any more.

How tall are you? I used to be 5’11”. I am no longer 5’11”. Gravity has taken it’s toll. My height has sunk into my stomach and my feet.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful for having a warm home and furry girls with whom to share that home. I am grateful for friends to share a cup of coffee or tea with when cabin fever pushes me out my door. I am grateful that winter does not last forever, although it seems like it does. I am looking forward to warmer temperatures, even if they do not go above 40 degrees. If spring chose to arrive next week, I would welcome it with open arms.

A couple of photos of how my world looks now – the cold white stuff Shasta loves to roll in because she has a much greater tolerance for it than I do, and the first moon that had shown its face for several nights.

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Share Your World – January 9, 2017

I’m a little late this week, because I have been busy spouting off about other things, but now it is time to share the happier side of my world with Cee and those of you who choose to read.

If you lost a bet and had to dye your hair a color of the rainbow for a week, what color would it be? My first reaction would be to say blue or purple – but then, thinking about it, elderly ladies used to always have blue or purple hair – those old tints to “keep the gray from yellowing” you know, and good heavens! I don’t want to be thought of as old (the truth does not always have to play a part in life, you know). So, no, not just blue or just purple. Yellow would look horrid on me. Pink? Nah, don’t think so. I finally concluded that I would go for hair like the picture on Cee’s post – rainbow hair. A little of each color. Although, admittedly, I have far less hair that the woman in the photo.

If you could choose one word to focus on for 2017, what would it be? I know a lot of people are choosing a word for the year these days, but I have trouble deciding what that would be for me. Maybe hope? But hope is something we need every single year, some more than others. I think it would be Strength. Strength to overcome the negatives, strength to fight against the negatives, strength to be who I am without apology. Yes, strength.

What was one thing you learned last year that you added to your life? What did I learn last year? Probably many things. I would say simplification, but I really think that started at least a year before last. I would like to say patience, but I fear I have not yet really learned that, although I am getting a little better. Maybe it’s setting priorities – finally accepting that time for me to do those things that make me feel good, that make me happy, that make me more fulfilled, is more important than dusting or vacuuming or being Suzy Homemaker. Because life is short and each year grows shorter.

If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’… which fruit other than a cherry would you be..? Oh! Not a grape, because “grape” makes me think “sour”. I don’t think I’m sour. Orange – it’s a little tart. Apply is a little crispy. Do I want to be tart or crispy? Banana – it’s really rather smooth and innocuous – is that what I would want to be? How about pomegranate – that fruit that has so many little parts, parts that look alike, but might hold surprises? Yeah – I think I’ll go for pomegranate.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful for the opportunity to express myself, whether it be by written or spoken word, or by artistic endeavors. I am grateful for the freedom to complain, frequently and loudly, about the weather without being struck by lightning or locked up in a ward of deviants. I am grateful that the gray days are broken up by days with sunshine, that I have friends who keep my driveway plowed, that I have a car that allows me to plow through some of the snow if I feel a need to, I am grateful that I have friends who are willing to share a cup of coffee or tea and their time. I am looking forward to living another week with whatever that week might bring.

And now, a few thoughts that have been stirring my brain and pestering me to spew them out.

I posted an ink painting on Facebook the other day with the comment that the painting seemed to reflect my feelings about the state of our country right now. The painting was titled “Into the Chasm”:
into-the-chasmwww

The posting prompted a couple of comments from women that they were quite happy with the direction our country was going, and I responded to the first of them by saying I was happy they were happy, and that I hoped that happiness would continue for them. She came back, quite unexpectedly, asking why I wasn’t happy. So I told her, as briefly as possible, how I felt about our political climate. Which prompted a lengthy reply from her, explaining why she was happy and – essentially – how she hoped I would see the light and feel better. This conversation prompted more comments about my apparent lack of emotional health, and I’m sitting here going “whoa!” I made what I thought was a casual comment describing my painting, and suddenly it blew up in my face. I thought how good it was these people had not seen my last post!

But what all of this has shown me is that we’ve made up our minds. We have opted to hear those things we choose to hear, to believe those things we choose to believe, and changing our minds is not going to happen easily. I am including myself in this. We are a country, perhaps a world, I believe, of selective hearing. Later, I saw a comment on Facebook – not the first in this vein – that a person did not believe most of what they read anyway. I thought, there is that, it certainly is a concern – how very very sad that we cannot believe much of what we read anymore. How very sad that truth has become so elusive. How ever did we get here, anyway? And where are we headed?

So that’s my soapbox for today – I do become dejected, concerned, worried – but it is not consuming me, people. I am taking a break from too much news for awhile, I am not reading many of the posts on Facebook (primarily from a news source that I happen to like – see, I chose my side) regarding things political, because I need a break. I will do what I can to make my voice heard, but I refuse to become overwhelmed by it all. And sometimes I need to speak out, weep in public, paint dreary pictures, because those are outlets. Healthy ones, in my mind.

Wishing everyone enough. Because enough is all that we need.

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Tonight I Weep

Tonight – tonight. I weep. I did not watch President Obama’s farewell address, but what I saw in video playback later where he thanked Michelle, his children, where he stated his greatest pleasure in life was being their father – I saw grace, honor, intelligence, family values. I saw all of what I respect in humankind. I saw what I see very little of these days. I saw those things that have given me hope over the past eight years, despite a deliberately non-cooperative congress. I saw what I fear we will not see in the future – for far too far into the future. I saw, perhaps, the last vestiges of hope for mankind.

You say I am being overly dramatic – perhaps I am. Perhaps I am. But I feel a fear I have never felt before in this lifetime – a fear that the time I have left to afford living in this country is short. Financially or emotionally. A fear that the honor this country deserves is going to be short-lived. Tonight, a man on Facebook responded to a comment I had made by telling me Michelle Obama is a transvestite. Really? Really? Are we so eager, so willing, to believe these kinds of things that we will repeat them at will, without any fact-checking? Are we so shallow? So really shallow? Can we no longer grasp the concept of honor, intelligence, grace? No matter how you feel about ObamaCare or policies of the current administration, can you not respect and honor their honor?

Can we honor the Republican Congress, who, eight years ago, demanding a thorough ethics check on nominees for the cabinet, are now say we are being crybabies for expecting the same? Really, can we? Can we honor any Congress whose first action is an attempt to abolish the oversight committee, the ones that are supposed to keep the Congress on the straight and narrow? Yes, they buckled to public pressure, but should they be honored for that? I think not. I think they should be feared for their apparent mindset.

Face book is alive with “will Melania Trump bring class to the White House?” Wait a minute. Class has been in the White House now for 8 years. No scandals, reason, intellect, family values – My question is, will Melania even be in the White House? Melania – the third wife of our president-elect, who needs lesson in presidential behavior to my way of thinking – who has said she will stay in New York with their son. Melania – the immigrant and wife to a man who promises to ban immigrants. Of his three wives, only one was not an immigrant, I believe. Irony? Perhaps she is a woman of class, we shall see. Maybe. But do not take away from the class that has been in the White House for 8 years. I anticipate the “First Lady” of the new administration to be Ivanka Trump, daughter of the president-elect and his first wife, an immigrant.

I fear this whole thing is going to cause damage to my relationship with people who are important to me. People who may or may not support Trump, but who appear to not share my fears, my concerns. I wish that not to happen, but I cannot keep quiet because of that fear. What will be, will be. If we are meant to be friends, they will recognize that, while I respect them as humans, while I respect their right to believe as they do, I cannot keep quiet. I cannot. I have always said you must respect the position of the person holding it – I did not agree with or respect my father, but I respected his position as my father. Yet, I now find myself having problems with that theory. Or not. I do respect the office of the president. I do not respect the person who is president-elect. I believe respect is something that must be earned. It is not a gift, it is not bestowed upon anyone because of their existence. It is earned.

I ramble. I am emotional. I do not apologize for those emotions. They are mine, they are real.

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Sincerely, Me

I have some letters I need to write – there are just a few things I need to get off my chest. I apologize if this post seems like a downer, I don’t mean it to be, but that could happen.

Dear weather controllers: I know when I lived in California I said I missed having four distinct seasons, and I did. But could you lighten up a little with this winter thing? I mean, really, do we need to get over 18″ of snow in 24 hours? Do we need that snow to be followed by temperatures of -14 (yes, minus fourteen)? Do we need more snow to be followed by rain, as the weather people on TV said would be coming this weekend? Could you be just a wee bit more temperate, perhaps? Maybe even make winter last only for a couple of months, like December and January? Maybe make spring and fall a little longer? Could you be a little more gentle, please?

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Dear Congress: I’m not encouraged by your beginning of the year moves. It’s disheartening to me that you would consider getting rid of the system of checks and balances that are so badly needed – like the oversight office that is geared to keeping you guys on the straight and narrow, something that seems to be badly needed. Even if you did back off, it was something you felt you wanted and needed to do, but I have problems with the why part of that. Then, making moves to ditch the ACA without a good plan for replacement seems to me rather hasty. No, it’s not perfect, but you’re spending a lot of money to get rid of it without any idea what comes next. You do remember that, although we are not so influential or beneficial to you, we are part of this country, we that do not fit into that 1%, don’t you? Could you, like, do something that gives us some hope for the future?

Dear Social Security – well, actually, I guess this should be directed to Congress again: I think it’s really nice that you decided to give me .3% increase this year, but I think it was rather rude that you also increased my Medicare premiums by that amount. I mean, I’m pretty sure that groceries and my electric bills have gone up more than .3% in the past – what? – 3 years since our last increase? Or was it 2 years? Whatever, you get the idea, I’m sure. Now, shall we talk about your salaries and your pensions? And, maybe, your health coverage? I also would like to discuss the fact that my Medicare pays less of my medical bills now than it did a year or so ago. I seem to remember paying into these things all of my many working years. I seem to remember that you borrowed lots of my money, and have not paid it back.

Dear Mr. Trump: Because you are still Mr., and not President, yet. Okay, so I’ll show respect due your position – dear President-Elect Trump: Perhaps you could use that money you want for a wall between us and Mexico for Social Security, Medicare, and education instead? I know, I know – you say that money will be paid back, but I kind of think you’re whistling Dixie there. And while we’re at it, could you tone down your rhetoric just a bit, maybe act a bit more presidential, a bit more circumspect? Maybe even practice diplomacy? Maybe try to get along with members of your transition team that try to bring some facts into the discussions? Maybe face a little bit of reality, and expect your Russian friends to act with some respect towards out systems? I don’t think that’s asking too much, really I don’t.

Dear winter critters: I appreciate your visits. I do what I can to make life a little easier for you, tossing out birdseed in the mornings for you ground feeders, providing sunflower seeds in a feeder for those of you who prefer your meals above the ground. I wonder where all the squirrels I had last year have gone, but was happy to see a little bunny come by yesterday morning.

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Dear readers: I appreciate your visits, and it warms my heart to think you actually choose to follow my blog. I know I don’t always tell you how I feel, and for that I apologize. You all are part of the enough that makes up my world.

enough

Sincerely, Me

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Share Your World – January 2, 2017

It’s a new year, one I’m viewing with trepidation but yet hopeful. It will be an inside day for me – not unusual this time of year, but more definitely so today because it’s snowing and there are winter storm warnings out through tomorrow morning. That might make getting Gep and Kat to the airport tomorrow more challenging. In the meantime, Cee has issued her first challenge of the year.

Would you prefer to receive a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle or motorcycle? Definitely not a unicycle, as I’m certain the end result of that would be something broken, most likely one of my body parts. A bicycle would be good exercise, if I got out and rode it. I think I’d go for the bicycle.

What is one thing you’d like to accomplish this year? I’d like to keep hope this year. I’d like to believe things will all work out well. I’d like the world to get back to being “indivisible” – which it does not seem to be at all right now. Oh – but you’re talking about what I’d like to accomplish – sorry, I’ll get back on track. I’d like to continue with my alcohol ink adventures, honing my talents, my skills, actually making some sales once I get some sort of site or page set up to offer items for sale.

What was one of the highlights of 2016 for you? There were a couple. The visits from Gep and Kat, of course – that’s a highlight anytime. Our Girl’s Week in Depoe Bay was another highlight. Discovering the alcohol inks. Enjoying sunshine and quiet times, with friends and alone. I never can just stick to one thing, can I?

Would you prefer to fly a kite or fly in a hot air balloon? Hot air balloon. I like to watch people fly kites, but I have no desire to do that myself. I have wanted to go up in a hot air balloon for years, and although I don’t like edges, a balloon would be okay because you’re in a basket with sides. Barring actually going up in one, it would be fun to attend a festival of hot air balloons.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful for time with my kids. I am grateful for having a home where I am warm, dry, and comfortable. I am grateful for my furry girls. My kids are heading back to their lives tomorrow, so I really can’t say I’m looking forward to the next week, other than I do want to wake up each day of the week.

Today, I’ll share an ink painting that my Facebook friends have already seen, but perhaps there are some who will read this post who have not seen it.

mountain-lake

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