Still thinking

It’s almost eight o’clock on the Fourth of July and I just put down the novel I am reading to go to the kitchen for ice cream.  A Capitol Fourth is on the television and every few minutes the crackle of firecrackers erupts somewhere in the neighborhood.  This is how I celebrate these days.  Just a few blocks away at the park there is free watermelon and a band playing.  Later there will be fireworks and lots of people on blankets and in golf carts, soaked in bug spray, sipping soda or maybe beer, will ooh and ahh at the fireworks behind city hall.  I am glad they are having a good time.  I used to join in, but now I like my air conditioner, my recliner and the far away entertainment on television.

The last few days have had highs and lows, as is often the case.  But sometimes they come too close together to allow me to transition from glad to sad and back again as fast as events warrant.  Friday, after taking the mother-in-law for her cardiac rehab and some quick shopping I met a friend for lunch at my favorite restaurant.  I always enjoy getting together with someone who is not family to catch up on their world instead of keeping up with my own.  There was a gathering at my old high school that night that would have been a lot of fun, but after being out all day I just didn’t have the motivation for the forty minute drive, so I settled in at home and made a simple dinner for the husband instead.

Saturday I was looking forward to the alumni celebration for my high school and spent the day with my hair in curlers working on projects around the house until time to get ready.  That’s when I got the sad news that my brother’s father-in-law passed away after a difficult illness.  My little brother and his wife are very special people to me, so when they hurt I hurt too.  There is really nothing useful to say or do at these times.  Just send condolences and wish for them to find comfort.

Then, as I was filling my flask to put in my purse I got a call from my dearest friend from high school to tell me she would not make the dinner because her husband had fallen and may need to get to the hospital.  One more time, nothing useful to do or say so I express regrets and my hope that things turn out alright.

I checked my make up and decided it would have to do.  I look seventy years old, but then I am seventy years old, so there’s that.  Kiss the husband good bye and into the minivan I go with a golden oldies cd playing for the drive into town.  The alumni meeting was a success.  It was so good to see old friends that I do not keep up with at other times and to learn about their lives since we last met.  I relived some favorite memories with friends from all the way back to childhood, remembered too many school mates no longer with us and caught up on gossip that seemed very much like the same stories from the last time I was there.  The flask came in handy to liven up the tea served with dinner, but only one splash because I had to drive myself home.

Sunday morning I got a text from the granddaughter wanting to get out on the lake with our boat.  The husband was having one of those days when he could not decide what he wanted, so first I said yes to the kids, but then had to tell them there was a change of plans, then change plans again and finally he said he wanted just he and I to take the boat out.  So, pack the cooler and picnic basket, grab a bathing suit and towels and to the marina we go.  As we were idling out of the marina we noticed the southern sky getting an ominous grey and turned around to put the boat back in the slip, just in time for the sky to open up and poor buckets.  It was actually nice to listen to the rain on the roof and enjoy a cold beer.  Much later the sun came out long enough for a short boat ride before heading back home.

Monday the number one grandson had to have dental surgery and part of the evening was spent helping him deal with that.  One more of those situations where when he hurts I hurt.

Now here I am settled down at the end of Independence Day after only minor issues today.  The house has been cleaned, dinner done and yard work caught up.  There is nothing on my list to accomplish tomorrow, but somehow I feel something will come up as it always does.

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Still thinking

Watching and Waiting

Once I lived across the street from a single mom with a son about seven or eight years old.  He was a quiet boy, polite and shy.  Occasionally his mom would call to ask if he could stay at my house if she had to work late.  He liked graham crackers and milk and playing with the dog.  Sometimes I would see him sitting on his front steps with a small suitcase.  He was waiting for his dad to come and take him for the weekend.  More than once I saw him there as I left to run some errand and saw him there again when I returned.  He would wait there, watching the street, looking toward the corner where his dad’s car would appear.  When too much time had passed he would pick up the suitcase and go back inside.  Once I asked him as I was passing how he was doing.  He must have thought I said what instead of how because he answered “Just watching and waiting”.  It broke my heart.

We’ve all done that; watching and waiting.  Maybe a teenager out later than expected.  Sitting by the window hoping for car lights to turn into the drive way instead of passing by, hoping they are just late, not hurt or in trouble.  Or maybe a better kind of watching and waiting like at the airport where your grandchildren will be arriving for a visit or watching for the mailman to deliver a college acceptance letter.

Even minor watching and waiting can get on one’s nerves, like watching the hands of a clock ever so slowly inch toward the time for an event, or just for the end of a work day.  I let myself get irritated when dinner in the oven is not getting done fast enough.  There I am pacing about the kitchen and peeking through the glass oven door to see if the meat thermometer has reached a point that will save us from food poisoning.  The most aggravating for me is waiting for what seems to be an unreasonable amount of time for an appointment with a doctor.  I guess that’s why they call that collection of uncomfortable chairs with a television tuned to something mundane a waiting room.

Right now I am watching the end of a rerun on television waiting for the late news so I can see the weather forecast to plan my day tomorrow.  I am about to give up and just adjust to whatever comes with the morning.  Feeling sleepy.

 

 

Watching and Waiting

I think . . .

I try not to hate.  It’s unhealthy.  Not that I am all that forgiving; just self preserving enough that I don’t want to allow anyone to take up space in my head.  BUT, while I don’t hate the current  president I deeply resent what has happened to my peace of mind since the November election.  What happened is I have no peace of mind because every day brings yet another even more troubling exhibition by, by, oh hell what do I call him?  Everything that comes to mind is obscene or at best tacky.  He shall henceforth be referred to by me as 45.  That’s as kind as I find myself able to be.

Before 45 I was interested in politics.  Even involved.  But the focus of my days was my family, home, friends, some projects and hobbies — just living.  I used to walk the dog and stop to visit my neighbors, talking about the weather or their health or news of mutual acquaintances.  I used to enjoy morning coffee with the newspaper and television news before beginning my day.  I used to feel comfortable making casual conversation with strangers out shopping or waiting in line or for an appointment.

Now, it’s risky letting any political issue into a conversation.  45 supporters that I have come in contact with have been vicious toward anyone who has no respect for him.  That leaves me either being silent to keep the peace or wasting my breath trying to insert a few facts into the discussion.  More and more I choose silence.

What I am most angry about is that I feel fearful.  What I want from government is that it functions well enough not to distract me from my daily living.  Instead now I wonder everyday whether tomorrow is when 45 finally does something so foolish that it ends the world.  Seriously, making plans has begun to feel useless.  Even if we somehow survive the toddler who is supposed to be leading us how damn poor will we be? Many of us are just one illness or accident away from bankruptcy or even homelessness and all the safety nets are going away.

What I am even more mad about is that this is not me!  I am a positive person, or I was and want to be.  I like people, well most of them.  I have always looked at problems as challenges, difficulties could be made into an adventure, even tragedy can be endured and grief tempered in time.  I have more to be grateful for than to complain about.  Life is good and I should be allowed to appreciate that, and I do.

Here’s the but.  Even though my personal world is good I can’t be self-absorbed enough not to care what is happening to the country and to the world.  We now have this person in the White House who is totally unqualified and so mentally deficient that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and can’t be told because he must be adored by those who could help him or out they go.  I hope the damage he will do can be limited, but I fear it cannot and I hate that.  I hate being made afraid.  I am indeed mad as hell about it.

I won’t be made to hate 45.  It’s not healthy.  Now that I think about it, that silent thing I have been trying to do may not be good for me either.  Maybe it would be healthier for me to speak my mind and let the other guys blood pressure rise.  Maybe make them to sick to vote.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  I’m baaack.

 

I think . . .

Musings

It seems that the world is a mess.  No, really, a worse mess than we thought.  I can’t even make up my mind which of all the horrors of the past week is the worst. In the days BT (before trump) it was sad that so much of the world is at war, that the other side of the world has no clean water and their children are dying in war.  It was disturbing that here in this country we are not cleaning up our act to stop poisoning our own water and air.  It seemed that we were sliding backward from the advances we had made in civil rights.  But now, AT (after trump) it seems there is a new catastrophe every day and we keep going about our daily chores as if this insanity is just a bump in the road. This is no bump.  This is a thousand mile sink hole that has opened up in front of us and the brakes are bad.

What are we doing about it?  For the most part nothing.  There are rants on social media and neighbors have stopped talking to each other due to being on opposite political sides.  Most folks though are going to work, doing the laundry and shopping, getting by. Several women I know are writing and calling their representatives every day.  I do a lot of that myself.  So far I see no indication that our voices have made a difference.

I hate conspiracy theories.  People who are always convinced someone is out to get them make me nuts.  I am the one always saying get over yourself.   Nobody is monitoring your facebook or hacking your phone; you are not that interesting.  But now, what if I say publicly that I think there could be a second amendment solution to the problem.  Will I suddenly disappear?

It seems to me that the conspiracy is right in front of our faces, hiding in plain sight.  The powerful who are hell bent on staying powerful know that if citizens stand together their hold over us cannot stand.  So, divide and conquer.  Make sure the black people hate the white people and the white people are afraid of the black people.  Convince women that any woman who has or would consider an abortion is a monster and convince those women who want control over their own lives that the other women are religious nuts.  Workers who belong to unions must believe workers who don’t are useless scabs.  Management must hate labor, Christians must despise Muslims, young people should have no respect for the elderly and old folks should have no tolerance for those kids.

It’s working.  While all of us little people squabble among ourselves the powerful make new rules to increase their wealth and keep us in our place.  It is possible to stand up and throw out those in government who do not serve us but that is a task that requires that we recognize the danger we face and attack it together.  We cannot change our world if we refuse to stand next to each other.

 

Musings

Just stuff

Today was a pretty good day.  Slept late, walked the dog, caught up the laundry and changed all the beds then made a quick supper before heading out to the high school for some basketball.  Of course before leaving the house I set the tv to record President Obama’s speech .  Back at the high school the girls team won by some ridiculous number, so much so that I was cheering for the opposing team to make a goal, please.  The boys game was better with the home team winning by three or four points (I always forget details when the game is over).

Returning home about nine or so the dog and I went around the block for the last stroll of the day.  He took care of business, barked at some of neighbors for having the audacity to be getting out of their cars after dark and peed on a few mail boxes.  The usual.  Then I got into my jammies and sat down to watch Barrack Obama give his last speech.  I am so thankful to have had this man in office during so challenging a time and I will miss the class his family brought to us.  I so appreciate that he encourages us to be responsible citizens and to never give up.

Even with encouraging words I fear very difficult times ahead for working people like me and my family.  I hope that we can enjoy the everyday things like local sports, fish fries at the lodge, parades on holidays, all the pleasures a free society allows.  But will we?  Will we be able to afford these small pleasures?  Will we be able to get help when we are sick? Will our children have a decent education?  Can our seniors afford decent housing and food?  Will we be war torn and weary?  Will we even be at all?  I don’t know, and you don’t either.

I hope we will survive, overcome even, but I am fearful.

Just stuff

New Year

Usually the approaching new year would hold hope for better times. Maybe some self improvement or an adventure to plan.  Now?  Well now I am afraid.  Afraid that humankind will self-destruct.  Afraid that the future holds hard times and that no heroes are coming to rescue us.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Well I am trying but it seems cruelty is more contagious than kindness and power more enticing even than lust.

We are our own worst enemy in so many ways.  To begin with there are too many of us. The earth’s resources are finite, yet we breed like rabbits and crowd ever more of us into tiny spaces and lament the lack of basic needs.  Of course we continue to thin the herd in atrocious manners.  War.  War takes lives everyday and with so many people murdering each other you would think that these lost lives would leave more resources for the survivors.  It doesn’t work.  Famine and disease do their part as does natural disaster.  Then there are those deaths from violence on our streets, in our schools and churches by deranged individuals trying to eliminate “the others”.  But the earth remains over populated and is becoming so polluted that it cannot sustain its occupants.

It seems to me that the world is a very dangerous place and some time only a few, if any, humans will be left after we have destroyed each other fighting for who gets the water and who gets the food.  With ever more lethal weapons with which to wage war it will become, has become, possible to eradicate whole nations of people, to make cities into flat deserts, to poison rivers and change forests into blackened stumps.

A few people subscribe to the survival of the fittest theory.  That the strong and resilient will remain to inhabit the earth.  Maybe.  But these may not be the best of us.  The poets, the dreamers, the kind and loving souls are not suited to bloody conflict.  I fear a new world of victorious warriors.  Triumphant men for whom the end always justifies the means and for whom the preservation of self is everything.

This new world, if it comes, will not be new at all.  It will be akin to the dark ages, except with better technology.  Who ever has achieved a position of power will allow no ideas to flourish except to advance their own agenda.  Personal freedom will not exist and should there be any hint of rebellion those who dare will be summarily vanquished. There will be no recorded history available to inspire change.  Education will be limited to only that which is needed to maintain the rulers in their position. It will be a dark and hopeless place.  I won’t see this new world, if it comes, but I fear for those who will.

With these dark and desperate thoughts on my mind I find that the daily mundane end-of-year assessments and new year plans take too much energy.  Like everyone else that I know I do each day what the day requires.  I put my positive attitude on with my mascara in the morning and tend to my various obligations. I will shop and make dinner, clean house and walk the dog, laugh with my husband, counsel the grandchildren, check on the mother-in-law, visit the neighbors and maybe write about it on here.  I will live.  What else, really, can one do?

Actually, I will also continue to complain to all my elected representatives and to attend protests and confront bullies and make my opinions available. We must do what we can where we are and hope for better days.

New Year

Memory

I am sitting here in my recliner looking at my Christmas tree.  It’s the same artificial  tree I have used for the last few years.  There was one much the same before this one but one string of lights stopped working and I gave it away and bought the current tree.  Trying to fix a string of lights used to piss me off big time so I don’t do that any more.  Same with live trees; too much aggravation so we switched to the plastic stuff.

We accumulated the ornaments for this tree during fifty years of marriage.  Early on we decorated with a lot of tinsel and strung pop corn.  Now the tree is trimmed with a collection of ornaments, no two alike and each with a memory attached.  There are ceramics made by my mom and sister, Hallmarks to mark particular years, gifts from the grand parents, trinkets from trips we made and special hand-me-downs. Prominently displayed near the top is a red glass globe with stripes of blue, yellow pink, green and white.  It is the only one I have that belonged to my maternal grandmother.

Bammy died very young when I was about four years old so my memories of her are those from early childhood that live in the mind as moments and images rather than events.  I can taste a butterscotch sundae and transport my self back to the window booth at the corner drugstore just a block away from my house.  The house belonged to Bammy and Popaw. My parents, my brother and I lived with them at that time to help take care of Bammy who was very ill.  Even so, she felt well enough at some point in time for she and I to walk to the drugstore and have a butterscotch sundae prepared by either Gracie or Ethyl who worked the soda fountain.  It was a special treat to walk down the street holding her hand and greeting neighbors on their porches.  She knew everybody and everybody seemed happy to see her.

My grandmother spent most of the last part of her life in a bed that had been moved into the living room where she could see out the window.  Friends often walked up on the front porch and visited with her through the open window for just a few minutes since she did not feel up to going out.  I remember sitting by her on the bed to read story books.

I don’t remember her dying but going to see her at the funeral home is still clear in my mind.  My dad walked with me and picked me up to see her lying there, so very still.  Her brown hair was done up in waves on top, she was dressed in a dark dress, either navy or black, with a white lace collar.  Only the top half of the casket was open and I could not see her feet.  We sat down on a pew and several people I knew stopped and either patted my head or kissed my cheek.  I remember that I wore white gloves.

 

 

Memory