Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Musings

Weird.  Some things never change.

I had a friend, back in the Dark Ages, when we were 19 & 20 years old.  I thought she was cool, fun, funny and smart.  I had a girl crush on her.  We really had a moment where it felt as though we were falling in love.  We didn't speak about it, of course, until it was all over and too late.

Then she moved in with my ex-boyfriend.  I was jealous.  I said some very rude and cruel things to her.  They were experiencing their love (not to last long, of course, as he moved from best friend to best friend) and he shared some of our 'greatest hits' in the pain department with her.  She decided I was a terrible person and she told me so.  My behavior contributed to this. The friendship was over.  It broke my heart, truly.  I could care less about him at this point, but I wanted my friendship with her.  I wanted our friendship long after she broke it off in a cruel and blunt way.

We had and continue to have a few mutual friends.  They love her to death.  I can understand. 

I've had some interactions with her in the intervening decades, and each time I felt dismissed.  Utterly small.  I can't talk with her candidly about it because I know she'd shoot me down and call me names, perhaps, "Snowflake."  I have to accept that, for whatever reasons, she just really does not like me.  At all.  That's a bitter pill.  I wish I didn't feel so drawn to her.  I have no reason to feel drawn to her -- we have not been compatriots for four bloody decades!!  What is this thing I'm feeling?

I so wish that, way back then, I could have handled the whole thing much differently.  If I could take back my bad behavior, and all that.  I was a seriously insecure person, and did not take rejection (real or perceived) at all well.  Each romantic break-up caused me to behave badly and to debase myself shamelessly.  I hurt people and caused them pain and confusion.  If only I could have risen above it all and been self-contained and mature.  But I did not have it in me at that tender age.  I regret that.

I have recently experienced, again, a small little dismissal by her majesty, and I'm really pissed off that I'm pissed off.  Enough already.  I donated to a project of hers last year, a kind of peace offering on my part.  And because I believed in her project.  Still, she rejects me.

Okay. Okay!  I get it!  I have it in me, now, to be above it all (at least publicly).  I'm going to disengage and remind myself that this is nothing new, but I can move past it and don't have to react like I did 40 years ago.  I've moved along.  I've grown up.

So why does it still bite?




Friday, July 27, 2018

TGIF

Earlier today I watched a video by Lisa Nichols, author and motivational speaker, about not letting anyone 'dim your light.' It was brilliant. Empowering and exciting. Then, this afternoon, by chance, I found this TEDx talk by Connie Schultz, who has a very interesting story to tell, if you have the time. It was worth the time for me. I have been pondering of late what my life in the next 20 or 30 years might look like. Sparked, perhaps, by Jane Condon's quote on Facebook from a poem by Mary Oliver:
My response on Facebook was more than lazy, and I still feel that way. I'm not feeling terribly motivated or inspired these days. Not about my life, or the life of, yes, I'm going to say it, our country. I am sitting in the deep bowl of the doldrums. So these videos today have lit a tiny flame inside of me. Not that the essential question has been answered, but still, a tiny flame. I'll leave you with Connie and another video by a trans woman, Paula, that just may inspire you as well. Thank you, sisters, for the little push. I need it.

Friday, July 20, 2018

TGIF

Maybe I'm a little depressed.  Or just moody.  Or melancholy.  Jaded.  Apathetic.  Exhausted.  How about you?


"A Little Bit Of Everything"
by Dawes


With his back against the San Francisco traffic
On the bridge's side that faces towards the jail
Setting out to join a demographic
He hoists his first leg up over the rail

A phone call's made, police cars show up quickly
The sergeant slams his passenger door
He says, "Hey son why don't you talk through this with me?
Just tell me what you're doing it for."

"Oh, it's a little bit of everything
It's the mountains, it's the fog
It's the news at six o'clock
It's the death of my first dog."

"It's the angels up above me
It's the song that they don't sing
It's a little bit of everything."

There's an older man who stands in a buffet line,
He is smiling and he's holding out his plate,
And the further he looks back into his timeline
That hard road always led him to today,

Making up for when his bright future had left him
Making up for the fact his only son is gone,
And letting everything out once, his server asks him
"Have you figured out yet, what it is you want?"

I want a little bit of everything
The biscuits and the beans
Whatever helps me to forget about
The things that brought me to my knees

So pile on those mashed potatoes
And an extra chicken wing
I'm having a little bit of everything

Somewhere a pretty girl is writing invitations
To a wedding she has scheduled for the fall
Her man says, "Baby, can I make an observation?
You don't seem to be having any fun at all."

She said, "You just worry about your groomsmen and your shirt-size
And rest assured that this is making me feel good."
I think that love is so much easier than you realize
If you can give yourself to someone, then you should

'Cause it's a little bit of everything
The way you joke, the way you ache,
It is getting up before you,
So I could watch you as you wake.

So on that day in late September,
It's not some stupid little ring,
I'm getting a little bit of everything.

Oh, it's a little bit of everything
It's the matador and the bull
It's the suggested daily dosage
It's the red moon when it's full.

All these psychics and these doctors
They're alright and they're all wrong,
It's like trying to make out every word
When they should simply hum along

It's not some message written in the dark
Or some truth that no one's seen
It's a little bit of everything

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Musings: Guest Post by Author Sunny Alexander

Bob

Bob is not a bad guy.

A few years ago, I moved into an over 55 retirement community. It’s in a great location, the temperature is moderate, and we are blessed daily with ocean breezes.

There are written and unwritten rules in this type of community. The written ones are printed in black and white; they are hard to miss, and there are procedures for making changes; not, unlike our legal system.
 

The unwritten rules are subtle and are generally learned through observation and trial and error.
People should say good morning on morning walks, stop to admire resident’s dogs—often dressed in the outfits of the day— and avoid talking about politics or religion unless you're in a discussion group.


The other day, I was in the community garden harvesting my corn. I was hoping to share my crop with my garden neighbor, Bob. We often exchange vegetables with one another, and he's always ready to offer help in and out of the garden.

After all, Bob is not a bad guy.

Bob and I began to chat, and we reminisced about our childhood in the 1940s. Bob paused, became thoughtful and said, “Times have changed, but we need to all get along and not fight amongst ourselves.” I smiled in agreement. Bob continued, “I voted for Trump because we needed change. Maybe you voted for Hillary, but she would have sat on her hands."

I remained silent.

After all, Bob is not a bad guy.

Bob became thoughtful, and I was taken by his sincerity. "Well, Trump's made some mistakes, but at least he's changed things.”

I replied, "He certainly has."

I knew there was nothing I could say that would penetrate Bob's beliefs. I handed Bob a bag of corn. He said he would share it with our neighbors.

After all, Bob is not a bad guy.

I have had many thoughts about our conversation. Bob wants people to get along, and he wants to see change. We agree on that.

However, like many before him and throughout the history of this world, Bob is willing to allow for “mistakes,” as long as they don't affect him on a personal level. That is why I believe we have more to fear in our upcoming elections from the Bobs than we do from organized fringe groups. Organized fringe groups are like the written rules: they are there in black and white. We can see them, we can analyze them, and we can take some legal action.

The Bobs are like the unwritten rules; far more subtle and easy to overlook. They are the voters in large numbers that will continue to support Trump and forgive him for the "mistakes' he makes. Yes, they will continue to wish people would get along, and hope for change while forgiving mistakes.

After all, Bob is not a bad guy.

Sunny Alexander was born and raised in Los Angeles during a time when women followed rigid social roles. Married at an early age, she became inspired by the social revolution of the 1960s and '70s and returned to school seeking a new direction. Her psychology classes were life-altering and after receiving a Ph.D. in psychoanalysis, she opened a private psychotherapy practice.
During the time of the Iraq War, she began to see an influx of patients with PTSD. Trying to make sense of an out of balance world and plagued by sleepless nights, Sunny found an outlet by returning to her childhood love of writing fiction.
Her belief in the power of the human spirit to heal trauma is reflected throughout her inspirational novels. Weaving tales of romance, secrets, and drama, her novels retain the foundations of humanity: love, compassion, and forgiveness.   Her books may be found on Amazon.
Sunny spends her free time with family, flying kites, and walking along the nearby California beaches.
Sunny can be contacted by email at sunny@sunnyalexander.com.   Thank you, Sunny, for allowing me to post this on My 86,000 Seconds.

Friday, July 13, 2018

TGIF

Another Friday, dear reader.  I can report that, from a retiree's perspective, it was a week full of doldrums, physical and mental exhaustion, fidgeting and sharp self-talk (a selfie kick in the pants).  Another week of watching crazy ass things happening because of our extremely vain and idiotic POSPOTUS (and meetings with Putin haven't even happened yet!  Yippee!).

Extreme heat is keeping me inside a lot, but as you can see from Wednesday's post, I did manage to get out with the dawn (and with the hubs) for making pictures in fields of sunflowers.  That was an effort, the getting up part, but what a delight when we were out there.  We finished up with a hearty breakfast at a place I cannot mention without going red in the face:  Denny's.  We were home by 9 a.m., and we even managed to do a little grocery shopping.  Boy, when you get up early, it's amazing what can be accomplished before noon. 

I was happy with 2 or 3 images, which statistically is pretty good.  Especially since it was my first outing to shoot photos in a few months.  I go through cycles with photography, and sometimes I become visually burnt out and stop altogether for awhile.  I'm keeping my eye on autumn, when our community has its annual photographic exhibit. Of course I'd like to see several of my images in there.  We'll see.  I think it's just a matter of piping up, and of available wall space.  I know we have many talented photographers here, so competition for the limited wall space may be fierce.

Yesterday Steve and I (mostly Steve) assembled this adjustable height desk for my workspace.  I've been working on a small glass computer table about half the size of this new one.  Adequate, but very limiting.  The new one has a lovely bamboo work surface and fits nicely into the alcove in the guest bedroom/Tara's office.  I stood on the cushy pad and working standing up for awhile until my back screamed to sit.
The project took us 3 or 4 hours, as we carefully viewed the instructions, written and video, then went through the assembly step by step.  There were errors that had to be corrected.  There were holes for screws that required a lot of effort and bad language.  There was a lot of necessary kneeling on the floor which then required getting up from the floor.  There was bending over while holding heavy metal pieces.  My back was hurting. At the end we were so exhausted we were laughing uncontrollably!  I mean, trippin' on LSD laughing.  Gut wrenching.  Fun.  Whew.  That's over.   I am extremely happy with the results.  If you're interested, it's by a company called UpLift.  These types of desks are being made by many outfits, including Scandinavia Design.

We managed to get our aching bodies upstairs for dinner, and brought a bottle of French Rose with us.  One of the most clean, crisp and subtle roses I've ever had.  Courtesy of our wine club buyer.  She's a genius.  Perfect with vegetable risotto and summer squash medley (roasted to perfection).

After dinner we attended a concert in our very own auditorium of the Sacramento Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Summer workshop students.  What a thrill: they began with Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, moved into Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Mozart.  Then some exquisite Romanian folk music.  Their final piece was West Side Story's "A Time for Us," played in tribute to a former regular at their summer program.  Dreylan Mason was a 17 year old extremely gifted musician who lived in Austin, TX.  He was killed by a package bomb left on his mother's doorstep last March.  I was a mess during the song, which is so bittersweet anyway, but with this knowledge of Drey's senseless death, my tears stared rolling in the first 3 notes.  So. Yeah. Fuck.  People are brilliant and people are evil.  I made a donation to the scholarship fund in his name.  It'll ensure that more brilliant kids from Austin can come to Sacramento each summer for this excellent educational opportunity.  And it honors this shining light of a young man.

These young musicians have been studying their instrument(s) for the majority of their lives.  They excel, and their dedication and love of music is paying big dividends.  I hope they understand how lucky they are to be involved in music -- no doubt they do.  In my own limited experience I got bored easily with learning piano and soon gave it up.  I did better, years later, with guitar, but still, never became masterful.  I think it was sheer laziness.  I wasn't on fire.  I hope these kids are.  They sure seem like it.

Monday, with permission, I'll post an excellent piece written by an author that I know through Facebook.  Stay tuned.

Find some peace and love this weekend, will you?  We've got to stay sane and strong for the work ahead.

Post Script:  When I attempted to raise the desk this morning (Saturday), the power would not work.  I checked all connections, plus my own electrical wall source.  Everything seems to be connected.  It should work.  It doesn't.  I've written to the company.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday Musings

Time wasters: they are everywhere.  I have a couple of "to do" projects that I am avoiding.  I've volunteered to write an article on a presentation by Prof. Emeritus Alan Brownstein on the Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cake shop V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  An impossibly difficult case which I now must report on for our in-house newspaper.  Oy.  The other "to do" is to make some photographic greeting cards for our little in-house convenience store to sell.  This requires getting up super early in the morning when the light is good and the heat is not yet upon us.

Instead, I am sleeping in and mentally bemoaning that at some point I must get out of bed.  With Herculean effort, I rise and make my  cuppa and go to the computer to browse email and Face book. There it is: the time wasters!  This morning was particularly wasteful: looking at profiles of people who are friends of Face book friends, people I don't even know, and looking through their photographs, their links to on-line businesses, links to news articles that are just the same blather about how loathsome our current government is.  Sometimes I even waste time by shopping for shoes on line. I don't need any more shoes.  That goes without saying. 

When I realized how far down the rabbit hole I had gone, well, I left the computer and went down the hall to make some copies of the professor's presentation.

What a rut.

Of course, here I am, back again at the computer.  Because you, dear reader, really need this post, right? 

I watched an rather insipid video made by a young woman who ended every sentence as if it were a question.  She was giving tips on methods she has found to get herself out of a rut.  Helpful for those in her age group, but she was so annoying in her speech patterns that I could bear to watch.   

I had a therapist once who told me the greatest thing (many times):  "Let's not pathologize this."    The statement immediately freed me from spinning out on an issue.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  So I'm in a rut?  Who isn't?  So I waste time when avoiding tasks?  Doesn't just about everyone who ever lived?

I can lighten up on myself, that's for damn sure.   The bulk of my day turned out to be productive and fairly fun.  Talked with an old pal, talked with my daughter, and laughed with my husband.  Now we're going up to dinner and I'm going to dine on blackened salmon, friends.

Another victory.  Another day of pulling myself out of the negative mind set.  It's an on going project.

What do you do when you find yourself in a rut?  I'm compiling a list.

Friday, July 6, 2018

TGIF

No rest for the weary over here at the latest (and last?) abode.  We moved on June 29, and the unpacking continues.  Every time I think we've made significant headway, I turn around to face a seemingly brand new stack of boxes.  And the books, oy, the books.  We do have an extraordinary collection of photography books -- those large "coffee table" type, I must say.  But hauling them from place to place is a chore deluxe.  We had hoped to donate many of them to the library in our community, but they really don't have the room either, and the books don't seem to be terribly popular in their experience. 

My husband has collected exquisite books by his favorite photographers:  Bresson, Doisneau, Kertesz, Atget, Erwitt, Salgado, Turnley, Adams and Avedon to name a view.  And then there are the collections from Magnum, Leica and Life.  If you don't know the names, look them up on Google and be amazed.  I especially encourage taking a look at Salgado: his work monumental and his life even more exemplary. 

It the midst of all this chaos, the hubs made a lovely omelette for breakfast this morning.  We have not cooked many meals in the past three months and this was a rare treat.  He makes the best omelettes: simple, cheesy, crusty on the outside.

I wonder if I'll regret the cheese in a couple of hours....

Sometimes I throw caution to the wind.

So, after breakfast, it's back to the unpacking.  I wonder, can we finish it today?  It's a tantalizing prospect and will no doubt take all day to do.  But wouldn't it be great to be done?

We'll reward ourselves with dinner tonight at the Grill with friends.  A worthy reward.

Note, dear readers, I have avoided the shit storm that rages outside.  Purposefully. 

I prefer the shit storm that exists within my own walls.

Have a good weekend, and please do something just for fun.  Just for  yourself.  Because.







What Lies Beyond

"Grief Sucks.  Life moves on."  I recently read this.  And, yes, indeed, grief does suck, and life does move on.  Eventually, even...