Share Your World – September 18, 2017

I’m a day late – but that’s less late than I was the past couple (few?) weeks, so I think it’s good. It’s a perfect day to play on the computer, do some inking, maybe bake cookies – cloudy, chilly, rain in the forecast. Yesterday was much the same, so I made soup and baked bread. So much productivity – I’m going to need a week off! Now it’s time to Share with Cee and y’all.

Complete this sentence: I want to learn more about … Lots of things. Whatever grabs my attention at the moment. What makes the world go around for you and me. What my furry girls are really thinking. Ah – maybe not that.

On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep? A comfortable something to sleep on and protection from bugs or any outdoor critters. Warmth, but not too warm. Safety from storms, floods, fires.

What is your greatest extravagance? Amazon. I think probably clothes when I get it into my head that I need to change my wardrobe. I always think I need just “one more”. Reality is, I really don’t. Besides that, technology. I love electronic gadgets. Treats for my furry girls. Sometimes I think I spend more on them than I do myself when it comes to eating. So now I have dog food/treats delivered – my grocery cart is much less full.

What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. I think the cooler fallish weather. I actually picked up some (but not all) of the pine cones, the ones in the lower end of the driveway at least. There are more. Then I cut back some new tree starts – I have a poplar that thinks it needs to reproduce in the most inconvenient places. I baked bread (you already knew that), made soup (you knew that too), did some inking. A couple things I’m not unhappy with. One is below, “O’Keeffe Country”.

Wishing you a week of enough.

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Words and Their Uses

I love words. I love playing with words. I respect words, and what they can do to uplift or bring down. Build or destroy. Comfort or agitate. Words should be treated with caution, I believe, because words are forever. Though invisible when spoken, they cling, worm their way into your subconscious. When written, they do the same, but they are more obvious, more readily reviewed in total, without variation.

Stating the obvious, I am now putting words on “paper” (digital though it may be), and those words will become part of me, part of my life, part of my identity. Because they are “out there”, for any who wish to read. To quote. To misquote. Which leads me to the purpose of this blog, my realization that words taken out of context, words distorted to represent what I want them to rather than the whole truth, pushes my buttons faster than anything else I can think of. I have found my pet peeve. I have found what wakens my passion, my indignation.

The other day, a friend showed me a petition she’d gotten at her church. In perfect innocence, without any idea a volcano was about to erupt. The petition itself was harmless, really, but the letter that accompanied it to explain its purpose, was, in my view, completely the opposite. Not innocent, not harmless.

The petition was protesting a recent bill passed by the state of Oregon – a bill explaining funding for the Oregon version of Planned Parenthood. The bill funds another bill that would “reimburse costs of services, drugs, devices, products and procedures related to reproductive health provided to individuals who can become pregnant and who would be eligible for medical assistance if not for certain federal requirements”. The bill also requires that insurers provide coverage for abortions for all women, regardless of “citizenship or gender identity”. There is allowance for exemptions for religious organizations.

To my way of thinking, we may or may not agree with the concept of abortion, but we are fortunate to have the freedom to make up our own minds. I believe that we should have the same freedom to choose whether to have an abortion. I may vehemently disagree with you about the morality of that decision, but it is not up to my beliefs to dictate your actions. Your actions are not harming me, they will have no effect whatsoever on my life, or the lives of those around me. I equate it to making choices about how I eat – I prefer vegetarianism, you like your red meat. Fine. It’s a matter of personal choice.

So back to the letter that came with the petition. The letter stated that this bill would enable people to have abortions to make gender choice – that is, they were told the fetus was a boy, but they wanted a girl = abortion. NO! That’s not what the health plan says – it says the patient should be allowed to have an abortion regardless of the patient’s “gender identity”. The letter emphasized, in a negative way, that our tax dollars would pay for non-citizens to have an abortion. That part is true – but the bill covers so much more. I resent the distortion of the words used in the description of the coverages the plan affords, I resent the obvious emphasis on the negative. I resent that they didn’t also explain the undeniably good parts of what it covers. The prenatal care, the postnatal care, the mammograms, regular checkups, all of those good things. Factually, in 2015, Oregon had a population of 4.025 million. Out of that number, there were 8,610 abortions performed. That’s .002%, which means a very very small portion of my tax dollars would have gone towards the cost.

Another irritant in all of this is that it took me quite a lot of digging to find out what those tax dollars for that funding would actually be covering. The petition and the letter referred to Oregon House Bill 2391, which is the number of the bill for funding, but does not explain coverages, the very thing the letter was emphasizing. Those coverages actually come under Oregon Chapter 414, where I found House Bill 3391 – finally! A description of the coverages.

My whole point here is that we need to arm ourselves with the facts before we make our decisions, but the groups supporting/not supporting certain positions do not make it easy to do that. Which brings me back to that thing that most quickly raises my ire – my pet peeve. The use of words to distort, to disfigure, to lead astray, to misinform. Yes, I know – that’s the job of those who are paid to write the speeches, write the text for convincing the public to buy their product or support their position. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. So – what I would ask is that you question, always question. Accepting things on face value is a luxury not often afforded these days. My friend asked me what she’s supposed to do – dig and read the text that was not meant for the average person’s consumption? My answer: Yes! Search. Google is a wonderful thing – there is much to be learned. Yes, you may spend some time, but that would probably be time wisely invested, right?

That’s it, that’s my rant for today. Represented by my ink below – it’s a black cloud that blows innuendo and misrepresentation.

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Share Your World – September 11, 2017

Is it possible we are already into the middle week of September? No? Not quite? But rapidly approaching. Cee has reminded me that a new week is here, and it’s time to share a little more.

Would you want $200,000 right now or $250,000 in a year? It’s safe to assume all money is tax free. If I were younger, I would probably wait the year, but I think I’ll take the $200,000 right now because that money would take me to Tuscany for Christmas, France for spring break, a sandy ocean beach for the summer – and so much more.

Is it more important to love or be loved? I think it’s more important to love – people, your life, where you are – because you get what you give, so giving love certainly assures getting love, right? Besides, I think real contentment comes from the good feeling that comes with loving.

List things that represent abundance to you. Freedom. Forests, oceans, sandy beaches, friends, family, the birds that sing, loving and being loved by my furry girls, music, art, sunshine. Life.

What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. A petition I was shown this week – the petition was not what inspired the passion that followed, but the wording of the letter accompanying it. But that’s another post. The inspiration was not of the kind that lifts you up and makes you feel good, but it did make me realize one of the main things that gets me aroused.

This week I want to share one of the (few) inks I’ve done recently, this one a peaceful, pastoral view.

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When the Mind Opens . . .

You never know what might pour out. There are a lot of daily duties in life that don’t require much thought, or any thought, or any thought that matters at least. It’s at those times I sometimes think my mind works the hardest – at going nowhere with any semblance of coherence, certainly, but go it does. At odd times like those, I think things like this:

Looking at the wardrobe I am accruing for fall/winter/spring – because I have grown weary of the costume for casual wear of jeans/t-shirts/sweatshirts that I have worn for oh so manner years – and because as I grow older, what becomes the most important thing is comfort of what I’m wearing. There are certain items of clothing we females have been taught we must wear that will never ever be truly comfortable, and we deal with those – but why not seek out as much comfort as possible where we can? So. Oh yes. The wardrobe I am accruing . . . my daughter this year introduced me to a brand of leggings that she is very fond of, and I discovered why. These are not the leggings I have tried wearing in past with no success, because I’ve felt as if I was being strangled, held hostage by elastic and spandex, both fabrics meant to choke the life out of me, I’m certain. These leggings are – comfortable! Non-restrictive! Life is a new adventure! So, I have opted for these leggings, and only these leggings for my comfort wear. However, there is a glitch. My body is no longer svelte and trim (if ever it was really svelte and trim), and leggings without something concealing the mid-section of my body is most unattractive. I mean, in these leggings I look pregnant – so I have opted for long tunics to wear with them. Last night I suddenly realized I have gone back to dressing like I did 40 to 50 years ago, when I was pregnant – but if I were to wear leggings with regular t-shirts or tanks, I would be wearing what is maternity clothing today. Funny how things change, isn’t it?

This morning, idly staring at a map my daughter (again) got me – a scratch-it map that you scratch off the states/countries you’ve been to, I was wondering if it counts if you have only a short stop at an airport in a country on the way to where you’re going. Could I scratch that country off? I mean, if I were to stop in Iceland, say, on my way to Italy, say, could I say I’d been in Iceland? I mean, I was in Iceland. Only for a few minutes, yes, but. . . would it count? This is an earthshaking matter, you know.

As are so many things when household duties rear their ugly heads. Earthshaking. Like, who decided floors need to be cleaned? Why wasn’t packed earth good enough? Why don’t my reusable grocery bags know how to find their way to the car? Or, why doesn’t my brain notice those bags sitting right by my back door, which I go through when I go to my car? Why did I end up at the stores yesterday, without my bags? Yes, those bags sitting safely inside my back door. The one I walked through to go to the garage. Does my brain have a pause button that going through a door triggers? It must, because too many times when I walk through a doorway heading to another room, I suddenly have no idea why I’m in that room. Well, I do know why – I was on my way to get. Something. I have no idea what. That door triggered the pause button in my brain. It’s a fact. They did a study about that.

These thoughts do accomplish one thing, however. They draw my attention away from the state of matters in life these days. They draw my mind away from the thought that our country is splitting in so many directions. It’s as if the western part is going to turn into one big torch and burn away. The southern part is going to be washed away, out into the ocean, leaving only a shell of the land that was there. What remains of the country is being split into bits and pieces by our political situation, and the dysfunction of our political bodies. Part of Mexico has been reduced to rubble by an earthquake. Which led to something I did this morning, in response to those feelings, after my mind came back from it’s little trip. I won’t call it a painting, but rather an introspection in ink. And I will share it, because why not? It’s this – The Tracks of my Tears.

Now that I’ve pulled you into these depths, please know that my heart is with all of those suffering the calamities Mother Nature is raining on us, and send hugs and hopes for the very best to everyone.

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Share Your World – September 4, 2017

Yes, today is not the 4th anymore, but is the 7th. Nevertheless, it’s okay to title this post as I did, because it is the questions of the 4th that I’m answering. After all, Cee generously gives us a week to get with it, which is obviously time needed for me these days.

What color do you feel most comfortable wearing? Blue. Purple. Red. Green. Color. Any color, pretty much. I like color.

What is your favorite type of dog? (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie) My favorite kind of dog is a medium to large dog, generally. I have a white lab and a black lab/border collie mix, and they are both wonderful dogs – Bailey (the black lab/border collie) is much more reserved and independent than Shasta, who is all lab. Constantly shedding. Constantly wanting reassurance that she’s loved. I have friends who have perfectly wonderful dogs of other breeds too. My least favorite dog would be Cujo.

List at least five favorite flowers or plants. Can I just kind of answer this question like I have the other ones this morning? Green ones. Plants that flower. With flowers of lots of colors. Oh, you want more specifics? Okay, I’ll try. My very favorites are peonies, hydrangea, daffodils, things that grow without a whole lot of attention from me – whoops! Off track again.

What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. Sigh. There hasn’t been a lot of inspiration of late. This country is in such a mess lately, for many many reasons, it’s hard not to focus on hurricanes, floods, wildfires, smoke from those fires, the chaos – on the flip side, it is inspiring to watch people come to the aid of those in real need, those whose lives are being torn apart by the hysterics of Mother Nature.

Imagine that what follows this post are photos of beautiful flowers, colorful birds, funny little chipmunks and squirrels, and people laughing out loud, having a good time. Because I haven’t taken any photos or painted any pictures recently. Sigh.

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Share Your World – August 28, 2017

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date – and I really have no excuse at all. Sorry, that’s just how it is. Anyway, I’m here now, all ready to share a little more of my world with Cee’s questions.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you? Well – a day spent walking on the beach with my kids, friends, my furry girls. Any day spent with my kids.

Complete this sentence: My favorite place in the whole world….. Repeat above answer. My favorite place in the world is with people, furry and not, that I love.

Who was your best friend in elementary school (prior to age 12)? Well, now, this is one I really can’t answer. It’s hard to have a “best” friend when you attend between four and eight schools in a year. I had a couple of them whose dads did the same work mine did, which meant sometimes they worked on the same jobs and we had time together – but I don’t know that they were there before I was 12. Sometimes I regret that, but other times I do not – I think traveling as much as we did, living in so many different places, broadened my horizons.

What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. Gotta confess to not having a lot of inspiration this past week. We have been dealing with heavy smoke from wildfires that are all over the western side of the country, much more than we normally get for a much longer period than was normal. The south is flooding, disrupting the lives of thousands, lives which may never return to what they were, never be the same again. We have a political climate that must certainly have our forefathers, those immigrants that formed this country, sighing in dismay. It’s hard to be inspired. So I’ve been reading travel guides, thinking that since life as I know it may not be the same sooner than I’d like, maybe it’s time to blow the budget and go experience some fantasy for awhile. We shall see.

In the meantime, I hope your days are filled with enough!

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Random Questions, Random Answers

Today, Lorna of Gin & Lemonade answered some random questions, then asked some random questions of her own. She suggested responses be made in the comments, or for those of us who tend to be a little wordy, in a blog post of our own, linking to hers. So I’m doing that now, because a diversion from the world of wildfires consuming the western U.S., flooding consuming the southern U.S., and the political climate consuming everything else, is quite necessary.

1. What are you reading right now? Travel guides, because everyone needs to dream. And blogs, and some of the news that comes to me online – although I read less and less of that as time goes on.

2. How did you meet your best friends? Through my husband, through friends, all rather accidental and fortunate.

3. What makes you laugh? Watching the little critters outside, the frenetic chipmunks and squirrels, my friends, my furry girls, but mostly what makes me laugh are my Gep and my Kat. Those grown up kids of mine are such good friends.

4. What’s your favourite city? I’m not a real city person, but I think if I HAD to choose one of the cities I’m familiar with to live in, I would choose Portland, OR, because it seems to be a people-friendly city, and not as frantic as many cities are.

5. Who do you miss right now? My Gep and my Kat. I always miss them when they’re not here, or I’m not there.

6. What’s your coffee order? At home, my coffee order is straight black, because the waitress in this house doesn’t take orders very well, and believes in simplicity. At a coffee house? Well, that depends – my newest favorite is Starbucks’ Flat White, which I think is only available at Christmas. Otherwise, it would be a blended mocha in the summer, and maybe a Cafe Latte in winter, unless I was in the mood for something with more flavoring, maybe chocolate/cinnamony.

7. What’s your favourite alcohol/cocktail? Wine, red preferred, but a dry white is good sometimes too. Not much for hard alcohol – although an Irish Coffee or a Creme de Menthe drink is good occasionally.

8. Do you think social media is still social? Sometimes, but very often anymore it gets unkind. Too much protection in the anonymity the internet provides, I think, where few people are required to accept responsibility for their words. It seems to be something we’re losing, that acceptance of responsibility, kindness, compassion, caring, tolerance. Sigh.

9. What do you do on the weekend? Well, since I’m retired, I do pretty much on the weekend what I do during the weekdays – whatever it is I feel I absolutely must do or wish to do. Assuming, of course, it simply can’t be put off any longer, because if it can, it will be, so I won’t be doing it. Today anyway.

10. What’s your favourite quote? From Winnie the Pooh via A.A. Milne:
“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

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