The Mind Wanders

Today I’m going to just share the words that make up the thoughts that come into my mind, wherever it might wander. Mixed in with those words will be photos taken at Meow Wolf, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This attraction is “The House of Eternal Return”, where you wander through the rooms in awe, and somehow you are back where you started but with more adventures in your memories. For more information, you can talk to Google – or the search engine of your choice.

I’ve been watching this season of Dancing With the Stars – but I waited to start it until every episode but the finale was available, because I’ve learned to love the ability to binge watch when I stream shows. I dislike remembering to watch a show on a certain day and time. That’s my greedy feature – I want it all at once! Anyway, as we approach the end of the season, the same thing that happens with other competition shows that attract teenyboppers (is that still a thing?) is happening here – there is the one contestant who really has no musical ability or sense of rhythm (like me), but is teenybopper cute, so he continues in the competition when others with more talent are sent away. Almost always, fan magnet is male. Do girls mindlessly fall in love with someone without seeing reality more than guys?

As I’m sure many of you are, we’re preparing for Thanksgiving here. Today is the day to do the final shopping – kind of an intimidating idea, because I’m sure the store will be crowded, and that means there will not be enough cashiers so waiting in line will be a thing. Why are there never enough cashiers anymore? Are people just not wanting to work in that profession, or are employers not willing to hire? Anyway, the division of labor this year sounds good to me – I’ll make the pumpkin pie, the cranberry sauce because I like homemade better than canned, and a corn casserole. Kat will do the turkey and stuffing, potatoes, and brussel sprouts. Most of my assignment can be done tomorrow, which will free up the kitchen for Kat on Thursday.

I am so glad the election is over! I so wish the campaigning for the next one wouldn’t start until, say, September of 2024. Truly we do not need to be bombarded with those ads for months and months before we have to make our choices. This past election went better than most of us anticipated, so I felt relief and some hope – but that is a tenuous hope. This country has long been divided, but it seems each election year brings more vitriol, unkindness, lack of charity, and just plain meanness. That along with less and less qualified candidates – I do not like it, Sam I am.

ghostly dancers

It is winter here. We have had no snow yet, thankfully, but our days have been in the 30s. Today is the beginning of a heat wave, 45 today and 51 tomorrow. Tomorrow I will work on getting the patio in order for the snows, which will hit us one day we know. “Getting in order” means putting some daffodil and tulip bulbs in pots to be enjoyed in the spring and emptying miscellaneous garden tools and whatnot out of the cart so it can be stored in the shed for the winter along with potting soil and bark mulch. Maybe even cut back the peony plants that are in pots out there. Oh yes, there’s the sweeping up of grape leaves, because they are almost all off the vines. Those go into the chickens’ side yard, where the feathered girls magically turn them into dust as they search among them for treats.

Before we know it, Christmas will be here! Thanksgiving this week, then it will be time to set up the Christmas tree and any other decorations. We’ve been trying to come up with Christmas wish lists – it’s hard when all of us are able to get what we want when we want it, for the most part. Fortunately. Within reason, of course. I think I’ve got most of my shopping done – online. What is left will be done within a mile or so of home and will be easy. Kat and I are working together for some gifts, a couple of which will be handmade items – she has one project, I have another. Mine is about half done, and will not be hard to complete with time to spare.

The Nong Saow, our little Thai girl, has just taken over my lap, which is her way of telling me I should stop typing and pay attention.

So I will say so long for awhile, with a few more Meow Wolf photos.

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Road Tripping Part 2

Today we’re going to visit the earth houses, which I find to be a very interesting concept. As we drove into the community, this is what we could see:


We went into the sales office/tour space to gather with our guide who led us off to show us some houses in progress. This project was started by Michael Reynolds – to learn more, just ask Google and she will offer lots of options for information.

All of the earth houses have a greenhouse front with double panel glass windows, and the water filtering system running beneath the soil – the plant roots act as a cleaning agent for the gray water, which can then be reused for irrigation and such. The foundation and some of the walls are old tires filled with dirt – a very practical method of using what would normally become landfill trash and material that provides excellent insulation. They also collect aluminum cans and bottles to set into concrete and, in the case of the bottles, provide some light.

They build a water collection system on the roof of the houses to collect rain water, with cisterns built into one wall for water storage. The construction of these houses make them readily sustainable, perfect for off-the-grid living. The idea is great, but I’m not sure I could live in one – I need more natural light than is generally available in all parts of the house.

After our tour, we drove back to Taos for lunch.

Delicious, in a charming little restaurant. Fully satiated, we toured a bit of Taos and then headed back home to relax for the rest of the day.

On another day, we visited Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, which is described as a mind-bending, explorable art experience for people of all ages in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Featuring over 70 rooms of immersive artHouse of Eternal Return takes participants on a macrocosmic adventure of seemingly endless possibilities.

I think that’s a visit to be shared on another day.

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Road Tripping

Gosh, it’s been a really long time since I visited here and said hello to all of you. No real reason – summer is busy, my muse wasn’t spending time composing posts, laziness – any and all and more excuses could be offered, some with at least a portion of truth. This morning I was looking at photos – actually waiting for the photos I just took of my newest additions to my Etsy shop to load on the laptop – and had the urge to share some of them with you.

In July, Gep and Kat and I went on a road trip. Kat and I drove to Gep’s house in southern California, and the three of us went to Orange County to celebrate the 4th (on the 3rd – don’t ask) with Kat’s best friend and her large family. I’m sorry to say I didn’t get any photos of that day, and I’m not sure why. The following day, we headed out to Santa Fe, New Mexico to visit a very close friend. I’m going to share some images of that trip with you now.

Gep’s back yard
at night

The first day out, we had lunch somewhere in Arizona

The view from our hotel room in Flagstaff

And dinner in their restaurant

Delicious and relaxing.

The next morning we moved on and arrived at our friend’s home, spending the first afternoon and evening relaxing and enjoying her lovely yard and home. I’ve visited her before – in March of 2015 and again in October 2019, but this was the first time Gep and Kat had joined me. You can see more of Santa Fe in my archives for those months.

We visited the Georgia O’Keefe museum. I’ll share a couple of the photos I took of some of her work – photos are permitted only of certain paintings.

After touring the museum, we sat outside on the patio and had a nice cold bottle of water – it was a warm day, and the cold water tasted so good. It seems in Santa Fe, everywhere you look there’s a beautiful image.

Afterwards we headed to the La Fonda Hotel built in 1922 on the site of the first inn on the Santa Fe Trail 400 years ago. In 1925, the building was bought by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad and leased to Fred Harvey, renowned for his “Harvey House” hotel chain, noted for high standards and the “Harvey Girls”, who were very well trained waitresses. It features the influence of architects Mary Colter and John Gaw Meem, and still has many of the first elements including hand carved beams, stained glass skylights, and a 25 foot cathedral ceiling as well as many other design features. For more about this amazing place, I posted here after my first trip to Santa Fe – https://cjvl.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/santa-fe-the-la-fonda-hotel/

The main restaurant was closed, so we ate in the La Fiesta restaurant.

The following day, on our way to visit some earthhouses constructed by Michael Reynolds in La Prada, New Mexico, northwest of Taos, we stopped at the San Francisco de Asis Church

Unfortunately it seems I got my phone set to video and cannot figure out how to convert them into image files, so these are the only photos I can share from this stop.

I think it’s time now for me to move on, so we’ll continue on to the earthships another day. In the meantime, I’m wishing you enough.

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The Warpath has Become my Path – Again

Although I recognize that through the years of Trump’s presidencies, I lost friends or diminished those “friendships”, real or Facebook, I cannot sit silent with what is happening these days. The battleground is real. The fight for our freedoms is real.

I have expressed my anger, my indignity, at recent SCOTUS rulings, and at the failure of our government to take action – and at their failure to put the people before party. But the anger renews, does not abate, and life does not get easier.

I recognize that the overthrow of Roe vs Wade is definitely more an infringement on the rights of women that on the rights of men. I recognize the argument that contraceptive devices are available – at least so far, but don’t hold your breath because those are also on the table for being banned, Clarence Thomas says – but I also recognize that those devices are not free, require some forethought, and there are too many situations where there is no time for forethought, no ability to obtain the contraceptives, or the lack of information and knowledge to utilize those devices.

If a woman is forced to have sex, whatever manner of force applied, she may not be prepared to prevent a potential pregnancy. And who pays the price? The woman, far more often than the man. Far too often, the man gets off scot-free, one way or another. If a man doesn’t want to risk the cost of fatherhood, then he also has the option of using a contraceptive device. The responsibility should not fall just to the woman. But the pregnancy does fall only to the woman. The responsibility for that child does fall to the woman.

Don’t punish all women because there are those who are drug-addled or make no effort to prevent unwanted pregnancies – don’t enforce your beliefs on those who disagree. Yes, abortion should have reasonable limits (and six weeks is not reasonable), but it should be available under those reasonable limits. Defining when an egg and sperm become a viable human life can be arbitrary, but a reasonable determination can be made and applied.

And dammit, if you don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one. Or step up to provide for those children that are not wanted, who stand a good chance of being neglected, abused, abandoned. Yes, there is adoption, but our country needs to work on that – the fact that so many people go outside the country to adopt should tell us something.

You’re tramping on my rights, but then you’ve been doing that for a very long time – you remember that amendment to ensure equality that never got ratified, don’t you? I’m talking to you superior white men who have control, who need to retain that control, whatever the cost. Beware the time women are in control.

Yes, I’m angry.

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Endings

We cannot be silent. We cannot be gentle in our opposition.

that little voice

Endings.

They can be joyful, as in giving birth to a child after 9 months of pregnancy.

They can be fearful, as in changing careers.

They can be sad, as in losing a loved one.

They can be uncertain, as in retirement.

They can be frustrating, as in ending a relationship.

No matter the ending, reactions boil to the surface attempting to find an outlet without crippling you emotionally, physically or mentally. Maybe you want to scream with delight or bellow with disgust.

So that is where we are today in our world. Be you in Ukraine where unprovoked war erupts, or in the United States where inaction by government leaders, rulings against the majority’s desires, evidence of misconduct by trusted leaders, and unfair inequities and inconsistencies are overlooked, we find ourselves battered by unforeseen endings.

We seem unprepared to find solutions, to know how to move forward, and what…

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saddle up

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Just When I Think There’s Hope

Something happens that erases all bits of that hope. Just when our government seems to be ready to actually pass a bipartisan bill that is the beginning of smart gun controls, it turns around and does something else that knocks me off my feet.

Why was Roe vs Wade constitutional 50 years ago and now it is not? Why are we concerned enough about mass shootings to actually do something to try to cut down that number of deaths, and then SCOTUS strikes down a New York law trying to manage guns in the public to some degree.

Add to that Clarence Thomas thinking SCOTUS should re-examine same sex marriage. Yes, Clarence Thomas whose wife Ginny is a promoter of false information, who supports Trump’s erroneous claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Why is that man even on the Supreme Court? He who was charged with sexual advances on Anita Hill – as Kavanaugh was, but still got approval to be a Supreme Court Justice.

Riddle From the Middle voiced my thoughts very well – it seems women’s freedoms are under attack, and men are free to do anything they wish. We talk about equality – we talk about being a “great nation” – we talk the talk, but we do not walk the walk. I am angry, incensed, frustrated, sad, not so proud of this country as I used to be some years ago.

Where is the fairness? Where is the equality? Where is common sense?

Can we get a do-over, please?

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I’ve Just Gotta Say It

Since the most recent mass shootings, words have been churning in my head, but I’ve been working at controlling them because they have been, to say the least, highly emotional and dreadfully disorganized. I’m not sure they’re in order now either, but some of my friends have been posting anti-gun control messages on Facebook – “it’s not the guns, it’s the people” theme, and I simply cannot restrain my words any longer.

Yes, it is the people. Yes, we have become a very angry, divided society. Yes, there needs to be a whole lot more focus on mental health. But tell me what would be wrong with banning assault weapons? What would be wrong with universal background checks and a universal registration system for guns? What would be wrong with restriction of sales of guns to those under 21, and requiring a waiting period between purchase and possession? We need to focus on both restricting access to the weapons that allow mass killing and mental health.

I’ve heard the argument – “we need to have our weapons in case our government turns on us”. That tells me maybe we should think a little harder about who we elect. We need to have our vehicles in order to escape from dangers too – and the freedom to operate our vehicles is regulated. Explain the difference to me, please?

Yes, we have a constitutional amendment that gives us the right to own guns – but that amendment was written in the times when we did not have an organized militia, and we relied on everyday citizens to bring their weapons when there were conflicts and wars. That is no longer true. And we no longer rely on our guns to bring home meat for our families. I have read comments from some of those people who hunt that assault rifles are perfect for that – huh? Doesn’t that really take the sport away from hunting? And you’ve all managed to hunt for many years without assault weapons, haven’t you?

I am also willing to bet that most of those who are most vociferous about abortion – those who yell the loudest in their desire to control a woman’s body – are also the most vehement about not having gun controls. Does life no longer matter after birth? Don’t kill a fetus that cannot live on its own, let the babies grow to school age and then kill them? Where is the logic?

The responsibility for controlling the violence lies in part with the government, yes – but our government is no longer able to govern effectively and is unwilling to oppose those who contribute the most to them, those who give them the most power. We all have responsibility – we have the responsibility to bring our children up to become responsible adults. To require that they take responsibility for their actions, for contributing to the family (I’m not referring to monetary contributions here, but sharing the responsibilities that come with a family), to require that they respect authority and abide by the rules. That is not to say they should not speak up when things are obviously wrong, or unfair, but they need to also learn to reason and to use logic – those brains they are born with need to be channeled in a responsible direction. We have the responsibility to seek out truth – not alternate truth, but real truth. We need to relearn to be objective, to reason and think, and to be less defensive and more cooperative and tolerant. We need to report incidents like the social media posts the Uvalde shooter apparently posted, threatening violence. And the authorities to whom we report these incidents need to investigate them seriously. Maybe we need to invest more in having properly trained and adequate pay for those authorities – the social workers, the police. We, the people, are the ones that need to teach our children to speak up when they read those posts, and to insist our governments on all levels finance the training and proper pay for the authorities.

Responsible. It is my hope that we become that society. It is my fear I will not see that happen during my lifetime.

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She Said it For Me

This morning, Breezes at Dawn wrote “A Story” – a story about the government’s interference in our personal lives, a story about laws passed by people who are so far out of the loop of real life that there can be no understanding of what the life of “common folk” is actually like. The story about those with power using that power to dictate to some of us, filling the wishes of those who speak more loudly, who wish to force their beliefs on all of us – beliefs, words, but no real support.

The story is about the current Supreme Court decision to come – the one that was leaked, that apparently will strike down the ruling that gave women control over their body and reinstitute laws that take away the freedoms of us to control what happens to our bodies.

I am so very weary of being told that, as a woman, I don’t count – unless, of course, I happen to agree with a specific choice. I am not, as Dawn said, pro-abortion, but I am pro-choice, and, also as Dawn said, I believe this opens too many doors to too many other restrictions.

It feels like we are moving into dictatorship, autocracy.

Robyn said it so much better than I can – please visit https://breezesatdawn.wordpress.com/2022/05/04/a-story/.

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Ping Pong

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been here. Every once in awhile, a few words that might become a post pop into my head, but those visits are short, and the thoughts quietly drift off into the netherlands. I’ve wanted to do some posts that are lighthearted, but it seems the words form more often when I have grown frustrated with the way things are.

I am a woman. I feel like a ping pong ball. Yet another state passed laws loved by the far right (as much as I hate labels, sometimes they are appropriate), further infringing on woman’s right to control her body. Yes, yes, I know some of you disagree vehemently with me, but whether or not a fetus is a living human is a matter of opinion, as so many things are. We are fortunate that there is room for differing opinions, as long as neither of us infringes on the other’s rights. I agree with term limits, but I fervently believe a woman should have a right to determine what is right for her, that she should have that choice. I have a serious problem with my control of my body being determined by groups that are predominately white male, predominately past the age of becoming new fathers, predominately much wealthier than most of us. Predominately secure in their earnings. Predominately completely unfamiliar with life as most of us know it – the struggling, the juggling, the striving, the almost-thriving, but just not quite able to attain that sense of security that allows us to relax.

Then there is our political climate – more ping pong. We have a House and a Senate controlled by one party for two years – then the other party takes over, and the ball bounces to the other side of the table. It seems every four years the party that has just come into “power”, spends its time undoing what the previous party did. No part of our Congress can work together, laws cannot be passed, Presidents end up governing by issuing Executive Orders, which are only temporary and will be reversed by the next in line. Party A is in power – time is spent undoing, time is spent blocking forward progress, time is spent in ways that are not productive, not cohesive, certainly not cooperative. Party B is in power, repeat. Our government has become a stage for those who want to spend their time being recognized, being idealized and sometimes demonized, but certainly not working for the betterment of our country and its people. I am disgusted. I hate ping pong in this form.

Otherwise, my life is peaceful, my life is quiet, by life pleases me. My furry friends are part of that pleasure, and I am often blessed with their company (although admittedly, sometimes I question the “blessed” part). There is Nong, who sleeps in my bed with Shasta and me. Nong was born on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, and was the last Asian addition to Kat’s family.

There is Goguma, who was born on the streets of Sacheon, South Korea – he became Kat’s roommate before Nong. He is the gentle one.

There are others, some of whom you’ve met, but they’ll have their 15 minutes of glory in another post on another day. My Shasta puppy, who is no longer a puppy but an old lady, continues on, her movements much slower than they used to be, and more time spent sleeping. But she still has bright eyes, perky ears, and every once in awhile does her little bounce thing that makes my heart happy.

I have added joy to my daily life welcoming spring and creating a little container garden on the part of the patio I see through my door as I sit on my couch.

We will have another, larger garden in the backyard, starring more flowers and vegetables. I have bought two tomato plants, which will live close to the house for another week or so, until we are past the normal last frost date. Of course, the way the weather is anymore, who knows how reliable that is. I have planted some Basil, some Swiss Chard, one Dill plant so far. The tomatoes, sweet peppers, carrots, and cucumbers with various flowering plants will follow. Maybe some mint. First, however, I must work on the drip system. Any day now.

Some of my spare time is spent weaving – I finished a set of new kitchen towels recently. They will be available on my Etsy shop soon – I just have to sit down and get them added.

I have also done some wraps and some scarves. My current project is to learn double-width weaving, and after a day of frustration because my brain wasn’t absorbing some of the instructions, I found new instructions that seem to make more sense to me. We’ll see how it goes from here. This might be one of the “one and done” things, who knows?

Wishing for each and every one of you, enough in your lives. Hoping for an end to despots that create destruction and death, hoping for peace for all mankind. Hoping for the time ping pong exists only in recreational spaces.

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