Be like a tree…

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Image: Lars van de Goor

Be like a tree, and let the dead leaves drop.

~ Rumi

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Safety that counts…

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being seen and heard

gifts to those we meet in life

gifts of wings and joy

JSmith 11/19/2016

 

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The Art of Humaning

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Like the world outside our doors the place I call home is endlessly quirky. Our daily lives are first off influenced and impacted by the commercial entities under us and the wheels of commerce send a hum upward through the girders that assures us the world is on track, a nap would be good. Above the hum, on floors three through five, independent thought rules. We’re a collection of young to old, friendly to cold, liberal to conservative, social butterfly to I-vant-to-be-alone, moneyed to who knows/cares – the quintessential microcosm in so many directions. A neighbor-sighting is rare for me, possibly because I vant to be alone.

Consensus is often hard to come by in the governance of the building, inside and out, concerning the simplest of matters. Many tears can be spilled over a paint color while the landscaping dies clean away. We are know-it-alls and trust-me-I-know-nothings. A lawsuit is for some the quickest route to satisfaction, while for others patient thoughtful communication is the only way to go. Some are quick to take offense, some know how to deflect it, and some truly do not give a shit.

We’re a civil bunch – in the hallways, the mailroom, on the street, we’re nice AF, voluntarily forgetting what he said about…what she told her…where they stand on… Life requires it because humaning in close quarters is deadly after all the civility leaks out.

Wherever two or three are gathered, there will be the basic building blocks of personality among us and those elements have to continuously mesh in order to prevent societal meltdown, whether on a grand or intimate scale. A spinning globe scabbed over with layers of bloodied inhabitants has no alternative but to stop being stupidly selfish and help each other. It really is that simple.

Nothing about our particular living experience is new, different, or unique to the world – this is who humans are and we will never align perfectly with each other. But forget perfect, we have to collectively make the whole thing work or let it all go down the sewer – we’re out of options. Will we figure it out? Will we keep ourselves from erasing all life from the earth? Or will we hold out for what we want, damn the consequences forever?

 

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Hope is the thing with feathers …

Stream of consciousness in the rain …

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That’s cause for hope, chirrun, cause for hope.

And as Harvey Milk said, “Hope will never be silent.”

My heart agrees with Storm Jameson … “Hope is a talent like any other.”  So it can be nurtured, grown, exercised, and utilized.  That’s good to know.

 Anne Frank, not shockingly, is my spirit animal … “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.” We PollyAnnes always believe things are somehow going to work out … and somehow they nearly always do.  You know … one way or another.

So on sneaky cold days when the cloud cover never breaks, hope is the thing you want — it’s a gracious friend and will save you from your own miserable, overthought, overwrought, miniscule world if you let it.  And why not?

Hope is good. 

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That’s a definite.

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Thank you, Ben Franklin.

Marriage between humans is heavy-duty stuff.  We jump into it thinking we might know things, only to learn early on that we were ignorant beyond belief — and then the OTJ training either makes or breaks us.

This isn’t my maiden voyage — I was married for thirty-four years the first time, at least half of them happy.  Steepest learning curve was WHAT NOT TO DO and it did almost break us.  So second time feels a lot like this:

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It’s about the really important things.

Which is why I tried to take Benjamin Franklin’s advice from day one:  “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterward.”

And why it took me eleven years to catch on that Kimmers is OCD, not just “picky about certain things.”  I thought it was his upbringing and his white-glove education in the Navy showing up.  Or as our friend Seth says, he was potty-trained at gunpoint.

Seems instead to be the real thing and he got the memo the same day I did, not that I helped him out with hints and/or pantomime.  Fortunately, his version of the disorder presents not as repetitive behaviors like hand-washing and obsessive counting, but as vigilance against dust and … um … disorder.  We live in a loft with 14ft. ceilings, exposed ductwork, concrete, steel, glass, wood and tile.  It’s cozy, but there’s always something needing attention.  Enter Mr. Clean, who works his magic on at least one area every day, never letting it get ahead of him.  It’s excellent that we downsized to half the space we used to have.

He also, as you may know, handles all the grocery shopping, cooking and clean-up, and keeps his kitchen in shiny order.  So when he grabs a glass I just set down and rinses it in the sink even though I’d planned to refill it; or stashes something in a place I’d never think to look for it; or gets a little frantic about having a dirty windshield — it’s a no-brainer that I CAN’T LET IT MATTER, although I confess we were reaching Exasperation Level before the light came on.

My husband’s attention to detail and willingness to speak up has saved me countless times, and he’s helped other people who’ll never know that, because he did it by planning ahead, anticipating, juggling, understanding in advance where things were going.  If you’ve been on the receiving end of his thorough help and wanted to smack him before it was over, you can be sure it was because of how much he cares about you, loves you even.  It matters to him what our immediate environment feels like, and I matter to him most of all (he’s told me) and there’s a lot I need a surrogate for, so this “disorder” thing turns out to be fabulous for me.

If you’re curious about what it is *I* do here, that would be the laundry, bills and banking, a little writing, social media, and Maddie … also, I color pretty pictures in my free time, which is defined according to mood.  And I do what I can to help Kim preserve a semblance of order along with a large helping of peace and quiet.  Works for me, too — so sometimes it’s fine to be selfish.

I agree with the divine Babs …

“Why does a woman work ten years to change a man’s habits and then complain that he’s not the man she married?”

-Barbra Streisand 

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Peace

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We laughed until we cried …

I lost a valuable friendship this week and have been blocked for good measure, so finding out what happened might not … happen.  And that’s regrettable because I could have learned something important from the experience.

So, then, here’s how this works (after we slide into our big-ass panties):

“Cry it out if you must

Bleed a little if you must

But once you’re done, suck it

all up and move on and

never, ever look back.”

–Ali B. Moe

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Tuesdays are so weird …

As I was falling asleep last night I said to no one in particular, since I’m pretty sure Kim was down for the count, “This is going to turn around tomorrow — it will stop hurting so I can stop whimpering.”

Oh, I do adore being right!  I can haz gud day!!

Yesterday, though, I didn’t get back here with a recipe, did I.  You knew that would happen.  Screw it, let’s do something different.

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THERE’s a thought that will carry me through an entire day!  Plus the sun is shining, and Maddie’s keeping marauding dogs away from our 4th-floor windows, and Kim’s finishing his gorgeous painting project in the next room.  Apparently I’m still too young to die, so I’m gonna get on with living today.  Make it an amazing Tuesday in your world, and come talk to me about coping mechanisms.

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We survived another week!

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President Barack Obama was here in Lawrence, Kansas, on Thursday, a few short blocks away on Mt. Oread.  The University of Kansas hosted him and I would have stood in line for hours to get a free ticket, and then for hours more to see and hear him, if my face didn’t look like a jigsaw puzzle and feel like rubbish.

As you know, there was no throwing it back on Thursday because the pitching arm was sleeping it off.  No Friday Funnies, because twern’t funny, McGee.  Which brings us to SaturYAY and a guest editorial, graciously loaned by my dear friend, playwright Philip Grecian.  Thank you, UncaPhil, for sharing your unadulterated thoughts with us.

(By the way, Kim and I love Lawrence because it isn’t just for Smurfs — everybody gets a say here, and plenty took advantage of that opportunity in reference to the president’s visit.)

And here’s Philip …

Been lookin’ over fboo today and see that an awful lot of ignorant people said an awful lot of stupid things while the president was in the area.

I understand if you’re a racist (and some of you are and think I don’t know it), and I understand if you’re a moron (Most of you aren’t. A few of you are, and demonstrate it regularly. I try to deal with you charitably).

Some of you are just blindly Republican (The thoughtful Republicans don’t spew hateful, stupid things. Some of you would be surprised how many thoughtful Republicans are actually reading this. I pray they’ll wrest some power away from the others. It could happen).

When George Bush was president I admit that I didn’t much care for him in the office and said so. Usually I waited till he’d done something that seemed…odd…or clueless…or thoughtlessly mean-spirited, and I’d comment. Usually making a little fun because, well, let’s be honest, he was easy to make fun of.

But, you know, my comments about George Bush…and comments made by others who didn’t like him much…were never as bone-deep mean and hateful and angry as what I’ve read here about Barack Obama. Some of you folks take my breath away with your hate.

And when I ask you why you feel that way…you give me some boilerplate FoxTrot talking point…one that’s usually made up out of whole cloth by some Foxy Barbie or Ken or dissolute Jabba the Huckabee. And if you’re called on it…if it’s pointed out that somebody just made up that “fact,” you’re quiet, retreat, and bring it up elsewhere on somebody else’s wall…like some extremist whack-a-mole.

Whaddya got? “Obamacare?” Wanna bitch about that? Hey, idiot, IT’S WORKING. Wanna talk about how we need to “Take Back America?” Yeah? From whom? He handily won office by vote of the majority. Twice. He reminded you of that, didn’t he?

Wanna talk about how he’s “ruining the country” and how you “can’t wait till he’s gone so we can put America back together?” Yeah? Really? Show me how he’s doing that. Jobs are up, economy’s up, we avoided a Great Depression–The Sequel. We’re better off than we’ve been in a long time.

So why all this palpable…hate?

Racism is all I can come up with…racism spiced up with a little party loyalty on steroids…a lot of “poor me” victimology…and a lot of foolish belief in the Murdochtrine of Fox News.

If George Bush had accomplished what Barack Obama has accomplished, you’d be building statues to the guy. And, except for a very few days when President Obama first took office (No, not two years…not 365 X 2. Do the math to see when Congress was in session during those 24 months), he did it with Congresspeople whose main raison d’être was to keep him–and by extension, the American people–from having any success at all.

And look what he accomplished in SPITE of that.
And just think what he MIGHT have accomplished beyond THAT, if the House, especially, had been working for the country…instead of for their exclusive club…and instead of for the Koch Brothers.

Just think.

For once.

If you are this clueless after all this time, you will always be this clueless. The world isn’t just passing you by, it’s passing over your head.

And you just sit there…engorging yourself with Fox News lies and Koch Brothers treachery.

I pity you.

So very much.

~ Philip Grecian

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon in January …

So tell me you’ve been finding every opportunity to dance since last week — it’s such a good habit to get into!  By dance I mean sparks of any sort inside the person that is you.  You give your heart permission to feel not just okay, but fabulous, even if it’s only a hit-and-run, and should it leak out your fingers and toes, by all means … make rhythm out of it.

It’s a bits & pieces Tuesday.  Here’s a glorious bit that Mary Oliver wrote about her partner of forty years, Molly Malone Cook, that makes my heart dance.  “The dance” is often The Blues …

“She was style, and she was an old loneliness that nothing could quite wipe away; she was vastly knowledgeable about people, about books, about the mind’s emotions and the heart’s. She lived sometimes in a black box of memories and unanswerable questions, and then would come out and frolic — be feisty, and bold.” 

I love that so much.

And these two pieces made my brain boogie today …

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Is it just me or is there a connection in all these jangly bits?    Seriously, anything’s possible when your brain dances with your heart.

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I don’t remember dancing …

Did we dance on Tuesday?  I don’t think we danced on Tuesday …

It isn’t an insignificant omission, is the thing.  Because life really IS a dance and if we let the silliness fall off our cracker even once, we could be setting ourselves up for a lifetime of resting bitch face.  Yeah, see, we meant to have fun but we forgot.  And then our faces got bored with smiling and now we feel powerless to, you know, like, fix any of that.

Seriously.  Okay, the rules have changed then — we’ll just dance ANY old day and preferably EVERY day, and even if we happen to forget once in a while, RBF won’t have time to set in!  It’s important, and I’m thinking this could be a breakthrough.  Register your opinion in comments!

 

beautiful story

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A self-rant …

2015 looks fine so far, relatively speaking, but there is much to do as the year rolls by.  Each of the eight points delineated by Neil is a rant aimed specifically at me — a kick in the shorts toward a more focused writing experience.  So on January 5, 2016, remember to ask me how I feel!

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Good Writing Practices:

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Still thinking about the year ahead …

Journeys

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A story for the new year …

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Μaybe old people were never children, like we claim with Mrs. Bentley, but, big or little, some of them were standing around at Appomattox the summer of 1865. They got Indian vision and can sight back further than you and me will ever sight ahead.”

“That sounds swell, Doug; what does it mean?”

Douglas went on writing. “It means you and me ain’t got half the chance to be far-travelers they have. If we’re lucky we’ll hit forty, forty-five, fifty. That’s just a jog around the block to them. It’s when you hit ninety, ninety-five, a hundred, that you’re far-traveling like heck.”

The flashlight went out.

They lay there in the moonlight.

“Tom,” whispered Douglas, “I got to travel all those ways. See what I can see. But most of all I got to visit Colonel Freeghleigh once, twice, three times a week. He’s better than all the other machines. He talks, you listen. And the more he talks he gets you to peering around and noticing things. He tells you you’re riding on a very special train, by gosh, and sure enough it’s true. He’s been down the track, and knows. And now here we come, you and me, along the same track, but further on, and so much looking and snuffling and handling things to do, you need old Colonel Freeleigh to shove and say look alive so you remember every second! Every darn thing there is to remember! So when kids come around when you’re real old, you can do for them what the colonel once did for you. That’s the way it is, Tom, I got to spend a lot of time visiting him and listening so I can go far-traveling with him as often as he can.”

Tom was silent a moment. Then he looked over at Douglas there in the dark.
“Far-traveling, you make that up?”

“Maybe yes and maybe no.”

“Far-traveling,” whispered Tom.

“Only one thing I’m sure of,” said Douglas, closing his eyes, “it sure sounds lonely.”

(Ray Bradbury, “Dandelion Wine”, 1946)

… grateful to my friend Angela Petraline for sharing

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Sweet winter peace to all …

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