Do not fear to go to the end of your thoughts…

*

Have you ever wondered how the heck people spend their hours when they don’t get up and go to a job every day? Probably not, you’re too busy working your ass off! In this particular household, to reduce it to its essence, one of us stays as active as humanly possible and the other lives in her head a lot. It works out.

The athletically-inclined partner walks before sun-up, plays at least three hours of PickleBall, rides his bike a couple of times on purposeful jaunts, and finds any excuse to move his molecules. Every day. The more introspective half of the equation flies under the radar most of the time, entrenched in an activity known as “puttering.” It’s complicated. Despite a lifetime as a farm girl, she wakes up slowly. Coffee and silence are all she cares about for the first hour, which starts at 6am, while her drowsy molecules debate what will actually be done today, if anything.

Then the caffeine hits, and she’s making the rounds.

  1. Delete most emails since last night. ✔️
  2. Catch the online news headlines. ✔️
  3. Look at Facebook notifications and post Pollyanna stuff more than bitching and moaning. Trying hard here, I mean it. ✔️
  4. Switch to Twitter and flaunt the freaky-flag for a soul-cleansing while. As a Midwestern child, I was raised to be nice in all circumstances. (That’ll be in the book, too.) So in these years of “Start winding it down a little, baby,” Twitter is the therapist I need – no judgement for being real, and I’m selective with my following/followers. Feels almost safe there, bwahahaha!! ✔️
  5. Slip into the Tevas, grab my phone, ID, and walking pole, and hit the streets for at least a half-hour while the town wakes up. ✔️
  6. Come home, pour another cup, and enjoy the rest of the morning guilt-free. The things that keep us operational will get done today… everything else is gravy. It’s all still loading, so no checkmark yet…

So yeah, life at this stage can be pretty boring, terribly lonely, a little baffling… or we can use our human powers to make it better than that, by a lot. We’re basically ants with awareness, therefore feelings, so every 24hr cycle is a balancing act between our lack of control over our environment and our knowledge that we’re real, we’re here, and there are things we can do to make it better for everybody… after we finally learn to love ourselves.

***

This poignant letting go that we call “fall” is prime time for introspection, even for those who don’t ordinarily lean that way. It’s so stark, that fall from grace when the luscious leaves turn brown and crunchy underfoot… it scares us a little and makes us too conscious of our tentative ant-like status here, just as we’re heading into the cold and dark again. We can’t handle the universe, it’s on its own, so our assignment is to deal with what touches us on a personal level or threatens the existence of other humans. That’s enough for any lifetime…

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Thinking in print…

If writing is one of your best emotional outlets, you know it doesn’t take much to plant the seed of a thought. I was out for my walk just now, in the early morning cool, and in that relatively brief span of time my senses were stirred in more ways than one.

I’m still opting for flat sidewalks ’til the spine says move on again, so that keeps me within the general downtown area, where early mornings are quiet, with mostly dog walkers and food delivery trucks for company. The route I picked out of the hat this time took me past the Salvation Army building, whose yard is currently hosting a tatty old recliner that must be holding onto several gallons of ammonia. Somebody haul that thing off, ‘k? My senses were definitely awake from that point on.

Once normal breathing returned, I started picking up the breakfast aromas along Mass Street and was ready to make the return loop toward home. Just outside our building I met a neighbor out walking a very beautiful, gentle dog with eyes that looked almost human. My neighbor introduced her as Rosie and said that she’s just recently rescued her from a puppy mill where Rosie was a breeder bitch. After successful pregnancies, Rosie exhibited a false one and was kicked out of the facility. No babies, no eat. No shelter, no care, no love, no survive. Beautiful sweet Rosie is clearly one of the lucky ones… she got out. And she’s sleek and healthy and not broken down… because she got out. But Rosie’s lonely. She misses her babies and her sisters. So my neighbor is on the list to get a puppy from one of Rosie’s sisters, who is due to deliver any day. And I hope Rosie’s sadness will turn to healing. I know, still breeders, but we fix one thing and then work on the rest. My heightened senses (thx, pee-soaked chair) are still rolling it around between heart and brain… and that spot inside that says “You see more than you understand.”

A sweet scenario would have been for a good girl like Rosie to meet a nice baby-daddy and settle in with him to raise however many litters of puppies they were blessed with… to be well cared-for… and to die at a peaceful old dog age without ever having been forced into any of it. That’s what my eyes see… my heart will work on the understanding. And already it’s saying “Every girl’s a good girl ’til life happens. And then she’s still a good girl, it’s just public perception that changes.”

Thanks, heart, I can always count on you.

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Personhood…

Ironically, Mr. Salinger was one of them.

Tomorrow will be the coolest day this week at 89º, then mid to upper 90s after that for the foreseeable. Mornings are prime and on this one I managed to kick myself out the door after doing less than nothing all day yesterday. I love wandering around East Lawrence… there are no two houses alike, and I see something new every morning. There’s art everywhere… on the porches and in yards… not for sale, but because artists on this end of town are crawling out of the woodwork and then carving it into fantastical shapes. I’ve been staying on good sidewalks for a little while… just a stage in the process… but I’m about ready for all-out hiking with Rita again when it isn’t dangerously stifling outside.

***

The fallout from the Supremes’ ill-advised meltdown continues, and it affects every one of us who values herself as a person, especially since it takes some of us a lifetime to get there after being “groomed” to believe we’re weak, ineffective, wrong, and less-than. I was close to 60 before I started really getting to know and appreciate myself, and this official smackdown feels personal despite the fact that I turned in my baby-making equipment decades ago. It was never about babies anyway… it’s always been about power and control. For all the reasons, I have a problem with that approach, and I know I’m not the only one. Millions of women are still consistently voting against their own safety and well-being, but millions more know we’ve been had from the beginning, and I doubt your run-of-the-mill man-on-the-street has a clue how deep that current runs. We can’t please everyone, nor is that our reason for existing.

Why would I care… I’m old, right? Why do I even harbor an opinion? What if half my fellow Americans want me to fade out and shut up about all of it? Sorry, not that old yet. I go on Twitter in the mornings and wave my freak flag around for a while, happily giving a heart to everything I agree with, mouthing off, venting, picking up a few laughs… then wander away to Facebook with my adult face on (sometimes). I’m harmless, if annoying, and people should be grateful I don’t have the piss & vinegar to be an actual problem, which is true of most “old” people I know. Word of advice: Don’t turn your back on us.

I say we purposely go about changing the perception that we’re accessories who are better seen but not heard in public…

***

General male wisdom** holds that feelings and emotions interfere with real life, but Mansi and I say…

**My personal husband Kim Smith is exempt from all such aspersions.

***

Apropos of nothing, and reflecting only a mood of fond reminiscence…

I’m fine, it’s fine, everything’s fine, hope you’re fine…

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The widening gulf…

***

What’s left to say… after days spent digesting the Supremes’ breathtaking display of misogyny, gun mania, white supremacy, and transparent fascist yearnings, the anger only grows, deepens, and takes on a life of its own, all of which is patently unhealthy. It isn’t that we didn’t know… we’ve been well aware on some level since we realized we were the opposite sex that we’re also, by default, the inferior sex. Oh, but never mind… ask any incel, sex is sex, and women are what’s here for the taking. We’ve been shown once again that as females in our society we have no standing or input regarding our own selves, and especially as regards reproduction… you know, like livestock. Our thoughts, wants, needs, health, or well-being have no meaning to the males in charge – we exist simply as seed-bearers, the bringers of continued life on the planet, with our own humanity disregarded. Nor do they actually give a rat’s ass about the fetuses involved.

***

In two months I’ll be 75 years old, so clearly the discussion doesn’t concern me. Except that it does because it’s a moral issue of the highest order. We’re not allowed to so much as harvest organs after someone dies unless they personally signed off on it pre-exit, so women officially have less control over our body parts than a corpse. Both my mom and g’ma would be dismayed to see this day… pretty sure they thought the struggle for equal humanity would have been resolved by now. We’re a family of optimists.

***

***

***

I get angry… injustice is my lifelong nemesis. I vent on social media, posting a flurry of righteously indignant comments and memes until the poison starts to leach out of my system. And then I go to ground again, much to the relief of my long-suffering friends and contacts. Meanwhile, nothing has changed except that the atmosphere has grown a little more toxic everywhere.

***

I wish I were less helpless to kindle positive change. I’ve felt pretty comfortable in this country for most of my life, which in itself is a clear acknowledgement of privilege, but the U.S. isn’t everything we were taught to believe it was as school children… sad but no longer shocking. We’re not all that… some days we’re not any of it. Are we even still TRYING to get it right? Honest answers only.

***

***

A message for the power-driven …

***

Reality being what it is, certain attitude adjustments are required from time to time, so I’m making a big note of this today and getting on with it.

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Laissez le bon temp rouler…

Just as there are weeks that are a challenge from beginning to end, there occasionally comes a string of days outstanding enough to keep us in the game a while longer. Our week started on Saturday… Beatles’ Night at the winery from 4 to 9pm… nineteen acts, 3 songs each… hotter’n’ little blue blazes all day, but shady under the trees, with a wandering cool breeze for rescue. We packed the little rolling Coleman with cheese & crackers, watermelon, seltzer, sweat rags, and ice, and were undoubtedly among the happiest campers there. I mean, we do know most of the lyrics… and the updated renditions were really nice. I met a new friend, sitting back of us a little, who entertained herself and her husband by commenting on everything we did and tracking our wine consumption over the five hours we were there. Everyone brings us happiness… some when they show up, some when they leave. This morning I would define a good date as one where you can be outside, listen to nonstop music, buy and enjoy homegrown wine, eat parmesan French fries from the food truck plus the healthy stuff in the cooler, and step back into your teens for a few hours with the California musician who has no plans for growing up. By those standards, Saturday was the best date in memory, except that little sister was missing. Come to think of it though, I never DID take her on my dates with me, so…

We’re off to a great start, which will save my bacon, I can already see the writing on the wall. It’s on a card, to be honest, and it’s a date that never got entered into my phone. It’s my haircut appointment and my brain checked in with me just in time not to miss it, which is not only deeply disappointing when it happens, but a cardinal sin against my wonderful hairdresser. It’s never happened with this one. May it never happen.

So that’s two things. And Kim had a good Father’s Day, which included a terrific phone convo with his son Henry and a loving text from John… and he realized he’s within days of learning the outcome of his cancer diagnosis and treatment. We expect the numbers to be stellar. There simply are times like this, and we never know when they’re going to hit or how long they’ll last, so we hoard them a little… ammunition for later.

Since we’re on a roll, today was my 6-month post-op checkup with Dr. Carlson, during which I got straight A’s and so did he. The X-ray showed the metal cage is firmly ensconced in my back and nothing has shifted, I’m right where I’m supposed to be in the recovery process, and my next visit with him in six months will be my last unless something goes wrong further up my spine. I miss him already. He’s a bundle of gifts, talent, knowledge, and experience wrapped around a big heart and killer personality… and he’s returned my life to me. Since he’s a KU grad and comes here for all the B-ball games, he wants to meet us at one of the local breweries sometime, which will feel like Old Home Week if it happens.

People I love seem to be getting over various hurdles, recovering from illness, dealing well with endings and beginnings, so make a note: The middle of June 2022 was worth writing home about for the Smiths and the smith-adjacent. Betcha’ wish you could rub shoulders with us this week. You can. Bring tequila.

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June showers bring…

Thursday it didn’t rain, so Rita and I spent a couple of hours walking where mud isn’t much of a factor… stopping by pretty little lakes… watching goose couples cruise with their fuzzy tan goslings in tow… catching up after her recent trip to the MiniApple. Friday it didn’t rain, so I walked a circuit of several city blocks while Kim played at SPL. Saturday it started raining midmorning and kept it up until evening so I stayed in and observed. Sunday it rained… chalk up a lazy weekend for this girl. It’s Monday… new week… and the day started with rain. Guess what, chicky, it’s spring and spring gonna rain, just get out there. So I walked to the river and watched it roar, which set my clock for the day, and now the plan is to trek between showers for the rest of the week. You’re allowed to keep me accountable…

The Mighty KAW

A few pearls from the past week…

And on that note… stop by Comments and say hello. 😊

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Sunrise… sunset…

There’s everything to be said for second chances. We don’t all get one in every situation. In fact, the greater the need for a second shot, the less likely we’ll be afforded one. They’re handed out like candy when we’re little, so someone should warn us early on that life doesn’t continue in that vein and that we should think, first of all, and then wait to act on an idea until we’re pretty sure it’s a good one.

When I came to a semi-conscious conclusion a few years ago that life as I’d known it was ending, in terms of physical capabilities, I failed to consider the major ramifications of shutting down. Not that I had a real choice… when pain rules, you do what it says, and it took me to some dark places before Dr. Carlson put a stop to it for me. But going to ground and closing the door in your third trimester of life is a serious undertaking which requires equally serious effort to reverse.

Change is underway. This morning, like an actual person, I drove across town again on a valid license to check on a friend, stopped at Einstein’s for a bagel, paid for it with my updated credit card whose pin number I know, parked Kim’s truck back in its spot without destroying anything anywhere, and I feel slightly reborn. It’s like someone raised a curtain and there was the world, big as life and twice as natural. It’s ridiculous… at almost 75 it feels in lots of ways like I’m just getting started.

I hope the central message floats to the top of all the I/me/we, and lights up in neon: DON’T QUIT!! Whatever’s stopping you from living your life… physically, mentally, spiritually… don’t give in to it unless that’s the only choice available, which was coming true for me until six months ago. If there’s any chance to maintain a vital life of your own… do it. It takes great energy to come back, and the time consumed is staggering. But step by step… slowly we turn… and life goes on.

There are Memorial Day observances around town today, and something big going on in South Park for kids, but things were pretty quiet this morning after Busker weekend. One block of 8th street is still closed, with booths in place, so it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Feels like a Sunday…

No typos detected.

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Taste and see…

[Missed posting this yesterday… ]

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in #lfk, with sunshine and light breezes, as opposed to the urban guerrilla winds of the past couple of days. Northeast Kansas is far less windy than the southwest corner where I grew up, but I haven’t forgotten, and my heart is with the prairie pioneer women who eventually slit their wrists rather than deal with the endless gritty howl. My, that turned dark fast, didn’t it.

Okay, we were discussing sunshine and gentle breezes… this afternoon’s plan is to enjoy an outdoor wine festival and live music with sister Señorita Margarita Rita, who makes life better just by being there. Wine, lawn chairs, music, nice weather, people we know… what’s not to like? It’ll start the week on a high note.

Heads up, new subject:

Change, a fact of life under any circumstance, is always on my mind. I tell myself I don’t mind change, in fact welcome it, but as with all things, it depends. What KIND of change? Whose idea was it? Do I get to think about this? Do I have a choice in what happens? Bottom line, will it eventually be good for ME? A few months ago we were under the delusion that life was heading back to “normal,” only to discover that nothing has changed except the names. And in that light, the question I keep coming back to is how much of what we’ve lost was real to start with?

And this:

I see scattered comments to the effect that most social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, should be shut down in the name of information management, sanity, control, pick your cause… but I do hope people keep a thought for society’s mice, who are pretty quiet but always here. When it’s physically, psychically, logistically difficult to maintain relationships with other humans, we mice somehow find each other and make the kinds of connections that get us through life. We aren’t subversives or even rebels, as such, we simply function better on a less frenetic, less peopled basis. Phenomena like Facebook and Twitter, when we manage them right, fit the bill perfectly, so we (I) need them to not go away.

On the days when the big dark hound sits on my chest and refuses to break eye contact while assailing me with an endless litany of my failures as a human, I need my social media friends saying “I know. I’ve been there. It gets better.” I was never part of a group, and too solitary to really be a best friend to anyone, so the internet is perfect… it allows for space while providing community and I’d be lost without it. When even one person thinks you can survive, you can. Leonard Cohen put it perfectly…

******

The weather stayed beautiful into the evening, a good time was had by all, and I was too lazy to post this before bed…

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Unsolved mysteries…

Another holiday weekend has passed for three senior heathens sharing a gray chilly Ishtar, complete with Spanish mimosas and good food. Seems entirely apropos and it was indeed perfect. Rita did all the cooking… a small spiral-cut ham, au gratin potatoes, asparagus that she roasted just before we sat down, and jalapeño deviled eggs. Kimmers poured Cava & Pomegranate mimosas until the well ran dry, and a mellow time was enjoyed by all. For dessert, I whipped up a lemon cream meringue pie just like Mama used to make, the complete scratch version, a feat I couldn’t have attempted a short three months ago, and it came out right, go me. Sometime late afternoon Rita went home to nap with Jade, my chair tripped me and held me fast for the next couple of hours, and Kim watched the National Canine Agility Show. When you’re not sure what to celebrate, you can’t go wrong with dogs.

Easter strikes me as one of the weirder Christian holidays, what with its origins in ancient pagan rituals, rites of spring, fertility goddesses, bunny-rabbits and all. Hard to gather up all the pieces and make them fit somewhere… so dogs it is, then!

So many pieces/parts left over every time.

******

In my third trimester of living, I have no answers and know only a handful of things for sure:

  • Life is a gift and we’re here to live it
  • If not for the catalysts of profit, greed, and control, humans could find ways to get along
  • If we don’t make life about truth and love we’ve wasted our time here
  • Human communication is a difficult climb, and that’s entirely because of humans
  • 99.9% of us end up being too soon old, too late smart
  • Karma is a bitch only if we are

******

I believe Finneas gets it right, so I’m sharing his exquisite gift of music with you again…

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It’s Monday, but it’ll be okay…

We have sunshine this morning, and promises of 60s and 70s coming up this week. Spring loves to tease, and we always forgive her because she’s pretty and she smells good.

Quick bit o’ bi’ness… a reminder that tomorrow my peripheral Facebook page, which theoretically hosts this blog, is going away because it’s outlived its usefulness in the current scheme of things – neither the blog nor I seem to have achieved Meta status, so… anyway, if you haven’t already, click the Follow button on the right and insure that I’ll be able to annoy you to infinity and BEYONNND. Thx.

Every morning I read the news… the headlines… the bylines. I look at the stills, taken at great personal risk by global photographers, one of whom we lost just the other day, an American this time. A tiny angry tyrant is stomping on all the sand castles and making a slaughterhouse of Ukraine, trying to erase the population of a sovereign nation. Much of the world seems to be standing back, out of the fray, hoping the unleashed psycho behind the curtain soon runs out of steam. Meanwhile, pregnant women and their unborn babies are fair game for him.

Hard to witness, harder to be there. Mother and baby both died.

It hurts to watch it all, without the power to change the course of history. We long to fix it but can’t… so it always comes back to kindness, caring, and love. Let your heart keep on loving.

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New week, who dis?

It’s Monday, boys and girls, in a week when anything could happen. That’s true of all of them, but life isn’t always this packed to the gills with angst and trouble. Wotta world, and the ride goes on and on. I squirreled away a few things over the past few days to share with you, to mark our place at this juncture in time. Little road signs…

Let’s start with the obvious, because it needs saying:

However, having stated the obvious…

Think carefully, I’m not for everyone.

With winter dipping in every few days and layering us in white, and the pandemic just now in enough of a lull to relax protocols, it isn’t easy to fill our time, so we’re always grateful for sportsing on TV that engages our attention and sometimes emotions. Sports involve real people doing real things, and spectating is next-best to participating. Maybe some of this is on the schedule…

******

Because life isn’t static and things happen, staying a little loosey-goosey about the state of the planet only adds to the Zen total. Everything has to be evaluated in terms of forever… what matters now and for how long.

******

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The days of wine and roses…

Seventeen designated “I LOVE YOU THE MOST” holidays with my husband and counting… and it’s all still real. Since his kitchen is the best restaurant in town, we’ll share something with the love cooked in, toast to happy days ahead, and feel grateful.

The romance is still there, and it’s everything:

Happiness is overrated and likely sinful.

Despite the gaiety and lightheartedness of our forebears, Valentine’s Day, like other “human interest” observances, is hard for people with heavy hearts. Being alone, when every conversation is about being with another person, takes a toll. I see you… do today on your terms.

******

To Kim, who has saved my life from the beginning, countless times over… you’re The Guy.

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Success on a Monday…

Gotta love it when a plan comes together – it was over 50º and sunny before noon, so Rita and I walked the south side of the river from the boathouse parking lot to the bench at the other end and back, probably a half-mile total. It was amazing to be out in the air, which felt pretty crispy around the ears, striding out, hiking pole in hand and sister by my side. The city has a huge clean-up project underway next to the Kaw, clearing acres of dead trees and underbrush back away from the sidewalks, opening up small tributaries and other vistas we hadn’t known were there. Lots of tiny encampments have been dismantled and hauled away, but we could still spot a few tents and hooches through the leafless winter trees. “Sleeping rough” wouldn’t describe it, and I wish every human could count on warm shelter no matter what.

Along with welcome moments of consciousness-raising, today’s walk was a needed affirmation that all is well in the recovery process. The success of previous spinal procedures has hinged on my doing the work post-op to make it happen… somehow… without the actual source of the pain having been addressed… so I carried the guilt every time for the lack of positive returns. This time around, we were in the right place when the technology arrived, stellar young people REPAIRED the problem, I walked out of the hospital without nerve pain, and today’s effortless half-mile folded me up when I tried to tell Kim about it. Gratitude… so full of it these days.

It’s cool when your body agrees.

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There’s nothing more freeing than truth…

The past week held a little of everything, which I’m still processing. Forward progress happened… news of the world disappointed and sickened us again… the daily goodness we depend on was all there… and we learned more things about the people in our lives.

I’m still abstaining from TV news and benefitting from that new habit. Reading the headlines for myself is a different animal from hearing them pounded to a pulp by the various talking heads, and it worms its way into my psyche far less. It’s all still happening, still every bit as appalling and life-altering… but when I walk away from the written word, my brain knows there’s far more hope in the world than we’re being led to believe.

The past couple of weeks have been a watershed… a time for facing truth. The bent of the nation and the world is a totally real thing… corporate fascism is bursting with energy and drive in the civilized world, and the peculiar ethic, the tenets, the morés that fuel it have by now filtered down to the man on the street. A 3-minute conversation is all it takes to turn a buzz-word into a breakup. Who we are is out in the open, and it isn’t who everybody THOUGHT we all were.

A long-lost relative drew me into a political discussion recently, which stayed civil until I asked him how he could align himself with one of the most heinous human beings on the planet. His answer, “You make it about him, an undignified coarse-talking buffoon of a personality. I voted for principles. I learned a long time ago to live day to day on PRINCIPLES ….NOT…. Personalities. So….Judy, if we can’t compromise in our relationship, then we have to do the next best thing. Cut ourselves loose from one another.” For the second time in 20 years, you mean, after a 3-minute conversation. I have yet to find a 2021 Republican who will talk with me… just talk, and listen, and talk some more, with thoughtful silences and an indicated willingness to consider any and all facts. Apparently it’s a guiding PRINCIPLE not to do that.

The same relative told me, “I loved Robert and Judy Latta. This Judy Smith person I can’t deal with.” THE FACTS: Robert Latta died a violent death and didn’t come back, and Judy Latta, in many necessary ways, went with him. Judy Smith is who I am. You never knew me.

The division we knew was there, that we can feel building month by month, is too real for words. Until now we’ve been able to cover parts of it up and pretend it’s really nothing and it’ll smooth over. But people are finally saying outright “I don’t like you, please go away,” so I think it’s here to deal with for the foreseeable.

People don’t appear to want to talk, discuss, consider, think, instead preferring the lines to be drawn in indelible ink and never trespassed against. If the U.S. falls apart, it will be due in large part to the fact that most of the population can’t understand, and is not interested in, the differences between fascism, communism, democratic socialism, and democracy. The words themselves become the meaning and the power, and the human capacity for discernment and comprehension takes a hike – it’s all too threatening and complex to deal with.

The fact that truth is hard to come by in this era makes it a supreme challenge to keep the meaning in our relationships. What, we’re now asking ourselves, are those connections really all about? What makes them different from anything else out there? Why do we cling to myths and fairytales? Maybe I don’t want to know the answer to that one…

Despite my relative’s disavowal of The Former Guy, he’s still the de facto head of the GOP, still shaping its posture, still tainting whatever its values were. And as my chosen life coach John Pavlovitz wrote in September of this year…

“In this iteration of our nation, the elemental decency that should define human beings is no longer a universal requirement. The base-level expectations of those we live in community alongside simply do not exist anymore. There is no standard anymore.

For so many people here, it is no longer just about a sharing a difference of opinion on an issue or about voicing opposing political ideologies or even about the expression of personal or religious freedom—it is about inflicting as much pain as I can to people who I know nothing about and who have done me no direct wrong.

I’m not sure where we go from here, but I know that this version of America isn’t worthy of our or anyone’s children inheriting.

We’re going to need more good people becoming louder about what is and isn’t within the bounds of civilized society.

We’re going to need to name what is unacceptable and to demand decency and safety for all of us.

We’re going to need to collectively hold on to our souls or there will be nothing beautiful left to leave after we’re gone.

We have to do better.

We need to reverse the Trump Effect on America.”

And then made a golden idol of it.

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A confession…

Boys and girls, in light of our ongoing relationship over the years, I’m obligated to inform you that I am armed, dangerous, and a threat to polite society, as evidenced by a whiplash experience over the weekend. Be forewarned is all I’m saying. It was one of those caught-off-guard, konked on the head surprises that we’re never waiting for and all we can do is absorb them.

It’s well-documented that I’m a liberal-thinker, it can’t be disguised or hidden, nor have I ever tried. It’s a part of me I appreciate most, no apologies. Over the years, as the lines have been drawn with an ever-finer marker and the ways we think about life have utterly diverged, about half my extended family has broken off communications, for which I don’t blame them – when you don’t share an inviolable worldview, what do you talk about finally?

A test of mettle arose this past week when I received health news about a relative who had cut me loose for my wanton liberal ways… or so I assume because he closed all avenues of communication and I didn’t hear from, or about, him for long years. After seeing the message I did the adult thing, scrounged around for a contact address, and wrote him and his wife a genuine note of love and concern, which… son-of-a-gun, opened that door right back up. He was ever so grateful and kind, going so far as to send me a Facebook request, which I validated… and that’s when the fight started, except that I don’t fight. He saw my posts, realized I was still that awful commie liberal witchy-woman he kicked to the curb all those years ago, and we had a conversation… calm and measured on my part, increasingly hostile on his, including a totally incomprehensible shaming for remarrying after my first husband was killed. This from someone with multiple marriages under his belt. And then he swiftly bailed and blocked me from any further contact. That’s twice, buddy, jeez.

Kids, I tell you this to let you know there’s no road through to the other side right now and may never be again. We speak two different languages, hold differing moral codes, and our outlook on humanity is terminally split. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to hold thoughtful exchanges with family and friends who abhor my take on life, and I can testify that it’s an impossibility at this point. As soon as a real conversation threatens to break out, they’re outta there every time.

So watch your backs… I’ve been officially declared toxic to the health of a family member; therefore, who knows what further mayhem I might get up to. I’m a small 74-year-old woman who has very limited contact with the world outside my door, and who will never show up on the doorstep of people who hate my voice, even if invited… the trip alone, at this point, would attempt to kill me. So what are people worried will happen? That I’ll expose a feeling they didn’t know they had and can’t acknowledge? That I’ll “force” them to talk with me like two adults? That I’ll ask a question they don’t know how to answer? That I’ll try to drag them into some mystical woo-woo place of real communication?

I have plenty of experience, but few answers… much heavy sadness, but few regrets. I’ve been transparent and dealt in truth as I know it. And life goes on, even as it’s perpetually ending…

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