Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Man's Inhumanity

Unless you are under a rock, you have to be aware of the situation in Gaza.  It is deplorable, cruel, inhumane.  I am saddened and disappointed in people who say "let them kill each other" or "we should just bomb them off the map".  Do you not hear how insane and inhuman and hypocritical you sound when you say such things?   How can you hold such a belief yet be angered by 9/11 or Oklahoma City?  Yes, what Hamas is doing us wrong.  Does that make it acceptable then, for Israel to deliberately target children on a beach, on a playground?  To blow CHILDREN into pieces?  To target hospitals, even those that are for invalids?  Two wrongs DO NOT make a right. 
Could you look into the eyes of grieving parents who have lost all of their children and still say such things?  Could you say them to the couple who begged to be let out of Palestine for an emergency surgery to separate newborn conjoined twins in a desperate effort to save at least one child, only to be refused exit by the Israelis, only the have both babies die?  
Could you say them to cancer sufferers who cannot get chemo because of the blockade?   Could you look in the mirror and watch yourself say those hate filled words?  Because if you can, there is something fundamentally wrong with your humanity.  
Hate is at the root of all conflicts.  It doesn't matter whether you are American, Palestinian, Israeli, Christian, Jewish or Muslim or of any other nationality or faith. Hate divides, hate destroys, and it most certainly diminishes your humanity.  
It is just as callous to turn a blind eye to it, ignoring it.  To say nothing, to do nothing, that makes you in complicit agreement with it.  As Desmond Tutu said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."  
As a parent, if you do not teach your children about them and do not stand up against the injustices if the world, you are teaching your children not to care.  You are doing them a great disservice, because how can you say you are trying to make the world a better place for them when your actions speak louder?  If we raise our children with these divisive and negative beliefs, theirs won't be a better world, and in all likelihood, it will be worse.   The cycle will just keep repeating.  
I'm sick to death of hearing people whine about how hard they have it, or how no one likes them, or they don't have this or that latest and greatest thing.  When innocent men, women and children are dying, not just in Gaza, but around the globe , to whine about your tiny little First World problems is, at best, selfish and immature.  Life is about more, much more, than just you.  
Those being killed....they're someone's mother or father or sister or brother...someone's daughter or son, someone's wife, husband, lover, grandparents, FAMILY.  Look at your family and ask yourself, could I stand seeing them go through that?   Or is it easier, somehow, just to not see the Palestinians' humanity because they aren't white Americans?   Ask yourself that, too.  

Monday, April 14, 2014


Another Sunday night spent tossing and turning.  Wide awake.  Anxious. Listening to snoring/mumbling.  Or the hot water heater.  Or the air compressor with the slow leak in the garage kick on.  Or the car(s) turning around in the driveway.  Or any number of things.  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sisters Can Think For Themselves

I wonder why men often feel intimidated/frightened by/uncomfortable around/threatened by women of strong opinions and convictions, the very qualities you admire in a man.  Would you prefer she be wishy-washy and gullible?  Step away from the cave, knuckle-dragging cave dwellers, a woman is not your property.  She is not there to be controlled by you, nor are her thoughts to be as yours, she can think quite well for herself.  She is an individual in her own right, not an extension of you. 
If you have a woman who is strong-minded, yes, she may be difficult to live with at times, but you should thank your lucky stars.  Would you really prefer someone who had no opinions, who couldn't think for themselves, form their own opinions, have convictions and the strength and courage to stand by them?  No, you would not. You would most likely consider her to be a stupid female and treat her as such.   
It's time to let go of biblical fairytale notions that women are subjugate to men.  For hundreds of years, women have been treated as property, commodities to be used and then disposed of, blamed for our own rape, and beaten or stoned to death because of it.  This still goes on in parts of the world.  
This is not to say that all women have meekly accepted being "less than", simply by virtue of their gender.  Oh no, not at all.  Consider Queen Zenobia, Queen Cleopatra,and Queen Elizabeth I.  Strong, capable women, who defied the odds, and became powerful leaders in times when a woman could be killed for daring to be different, vocal and powerful.  
Zenobia became Queen of Palmyra in 267 upon the death of her husband, Odaenathus.  Within two years, she expanded the Palmyrene empire when she conquered Egypt and dispelled the Roman prefect there, who subsequently tried to retake Egypt, only to be beheaded.  She was a descendant of Cleopatra VII through her mother.   She was often called The Warrior Queen.  
Cleopatra VII was a very powerful and intelligent woman.  She was 18 when her father, Ptolemy VII, died in March of 51 BC, and she was made co-regent with her 10 year old brother, Ptolemy XIII. She quickly let it be known she would not share power with him, and by August of that same year, dropped him from official documents and coinage.  This went against Ptolemaic tradition of women rulers being subordinate to their male co-regent.
Queen Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  She was two and a half when her father declared Anne to be a witch, annulled the marriage, and had Anne beheaded.  Elizabeth was declared illegitimate, and no longer in line for the throne. Her brother ruled until his death in 1553, and he bequeathed the throne to his cousin, Lady Jane Grey.  Nine days later, his will was set aside and she was beheaded.  Mary, Henry's daughter from his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon.  Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London during Mary's reign.  When Mary died, she proclaimed Elizabeth her heir, and she ascended the throne of England.  She never married, and is considered to be one of the greatest European monarchs.
These are strong, independent women.  Smart and capable in a time when women were pawns in the games of power.  I admire them greatly.  No small wonder then, that I see nothing wrong in a woman having strong opinions and convictions.  If that offends or intimidates a man, or causes him to feel insecure in his manhood, then he probably isn't as secure in it to begin with.  Put on your big boy Fruit of the Looms and get over yourselves.    

Monday, March 24, 2014

Anxiety Again

Another Sunday night spent desperately trying to go to sleep and, once there, stay asleep.  This is followed by an anxious and shaky Monday morning, in which I manage to get my eyeliner on after twenty minutes, while feeling panicky.  Once the decision to stay home is made, I begin to feel the panic drain away, and by the time I call in PTO hours, I feel nearly 100% better.  There's still some residual anxiety, mainly in the form of upper back muscle spasms that wrap around my chest as well, but at least I'm no longer in tears and near to an anxiety attack.  
By 5:30 a.m., my back goes into sharp spasms.  I hastily eat a few saltines and take a muscle relaxer.  I sleep till about 10:00 a.m.  By noon, I'm hurting again, another pill, and rest on the couch.  In between, I've managed to get some laundry washed and folded and, when resting, some crochet.  
By this time, I feel foolish for my anxiety, but at the time, I was feeling sick and panicky.  Mondays are hard for me, some worse than others.  Sometimes, it's difficult for me to even leave to go to a friends house, or the grocery store.  
I don't want to takes meds.  Been there, hated it.  I cared about NOTHING.  they made me feel dead inside, spacey, disconnected.   
Nothing for it but to soldier on.  
Apparently, this hermit-like behavior runs in the family.  I'll be like my mother and her twin, refusing to leave my house when I'm older.  Sigh.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What The World Needs Is A Little More Kindness

I really wish people would treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect.  Life should have lots of fun in it, but not at someone else's expense.  Honesty is key, equally so communication.  You don't realize how your words, ( or lack of them), can affect others.  Failure to communicate honestly is the main cause of problems for us stupid humans. Why is that?  Why are we so afraid to talk and be honest with one another?  What holds us back?

I've seen the consequences of thoughtless, careless remarks as well as deliberate remarks that are meant to hurt, humiliate and bully.  How can we hope for a better Life, a better community, a better world when we are either careless or cruel with our words?

We don't need god or the bible to be good humans. We need empathy, because when you can feel another's pain, and identify with that pain, you begin to become aware of how you have been causing pain to others, even when you thought you weren't.  

When you have empathy for others, you begin to have empathy for community, and the world.  Imagine how wonderful if everyone, everywhere, all around the world, were to suddenly be overwhelmed with the realization that all these wars and feuds and hatreds and contempts and anger is just foolishly wasted time.  Instead of saying,  "I'm only one person, I can't do anything", say, "I want to live my Life causing as little pain to others as I can."  Be mindful of your words and actions, encourage others to do so, and be an example of how it brings peace and contentment to your soul and how it lights a fire in your belly to be a good human being. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

On THIS Particular Sunday...(A Brief Synopsis)

It's about 9:30 a.m.  The house is quiet, and my husband and I are enjoying coffee and watching the birds that come to our backyard feeder.  The coffee is nothing fancy, no flavors, froths, whips or caramel drizzle, just reliable old Eight o'clock brand whole bean Dark Italian Roast and Great Value non-dairy creamer.  Coffee snobs, we are not.

The feeder, like the coffee, is nothing fancy either.  Rickety, weathered grey, with suet holders on each end of it, this cedar feeder was old and decrepit when I acquired it, and I've had it about 11 years.  The birds don't care.  As long as it has food, they really don't give a shit about what it looks like.

Over the last two days, we have been graced with our normal visitors that we see nearly year round.  Cute Tufted Titmice, (what a name!), vibrant Cardinals, Blue Jays, with their striking blue, white and black feathers, Slate-colored Junco, Black Capped Chickadees, Nuthatches, Mourning Doves, a sparrow of some sort, as well as Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.

We were excited yesterday when a huge Piliated Woodpecker landed in some Shumate (?) trees in our back yard.  These trees have some sort of seed cluster into winter, and judging by the ones already stripped bare, I'm guessing that they are a source for this bird.  I got a few somewhat fuzzy shots with my iPhone, but they were clear enough to see that it was a female, Hopefully, this Spring, she'll nest.  We saw her twice, so it's a pretty good indication that she stays in this area.

Piliated's are shy birds, about crow-sized, maybe 17 inches tall.  They have a wide range, most of the Continental U.S., actually, but are seldom seen as they prefer deep woods.

12:47 p.m.

The sun keeps making brief appearances, ducking back behind clouds like a shy child.  I'm trying to enjoy the view from my little office, but it's hard when it's overcast and the ground is snow covered.  Sigh.  

Finally got around to fixing some breakfast, while he tinkered around on the guitar.  Sausage patties, eggs, toast, milk for him, coffee for me.  More bird watching.  Cleaned up the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and started it.  Load of whites in the wash.  Cut up for stir fry, a big sirloin steak.  It's currently marinating in Teriyaki sauce in the fridge.   I have some Asian veggies to mix with it and then serve it over fragrant Jasmine rice.  Be good in my lunch tomorrow, too.

He's snoring to NASCAR on the TV.  I'm pensively, sporadically, trying to write, just feeling distracted.  I know there's a big package of loin chops that needs divied up and frozen, as well as a small pork loin roast.  There's more laundry to be done.  There's books to gather up to take back to the library tomorrow, things to get ready to take to work in the morning.  Again, SIGH...

4:23 p.m.

Didn't divvy up the chops and roast.  Half the laundry is done, but did get books bagged up.  Have to start dinner soon...

5:18 p.m.

Adding music to a USB drive for my truck.  Seriously have to start dinner as soon as I'm done with this.  

7:43 p.m.

Dinner was delicious.  Will definitely have to fix again.  Laundry is just about done.  My goal of doing only basic chores today, not getting dressed, and fixing a good dinner were accomplished.  Life is good, is sweet, right here in this moment.  And this moment.  And this....you get the picture.

All that's left is to get a shower in and relax for a few before heading to bed.   

Monday, January 13, 2014

Anxiety Abounds

Really not having a good day today. Anxiety abounds.  I've been off work for 10 days, if you count the weekends.  I slept poorly last night, waking roughly every hour.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thoughts on Motherhood

A very lovely friend of mine recently posted an article about motherhood.  ("Why Being a Mother is Enough', found on finding joy.net).  I have to say, this article made me feel claustrophobic, restricted, trapped.  I get that the little things are great, and yes, I really enjoyed doing things with my kids, (like my poor husband, who came home one day to all three of us covered in mud from having a mud fight in the yard after a heavy rain), but overall, the whole concept, I just don't understand how motherhood is the be-all and end-all of everything.  I'm not knocking it, by no means, and my hats are off to women who feel motherhood is their calling, but personally, for me I just don't get it.  I couldn't wait till I could get them both in school and be able to breathe, to have some freedom, to go to work and have a least some semblance of independence.  I was very much a fish out of water.
I'm too much of a free spirit I guess.  Motherhood to me was rewarding but also something to be endured.  I suppose it's also due to the fact that I was an only child, and that I grew up a tomboy on a farm, spending my time out of school doing farm chores, riding or roaming the woods.  Of course, I didn't just stay on our 76 acres.  I roamed about 200 (it was a very rural area in the 70's). My dad was an O-T-R trucker, my mom took care of the house, I did what I felt like doing after chores.  Fish, hike, wander the creeks catching minnows and finding cool rocks and fossils, ride my horse, pick berries, hunt mushrooms, or just lay in a pasture and watch the clouds by day or the moon and stars by night...
It was very, very hard for me to lose that freedom and become a stuck in the house, tied down mother.  I didn't have to work back then, so I had the time to take them to museums and parks and such.  Nothing even remotely close to the same freedom I had, but better than being cooped up in a house all the time, like a bird in a cage, yearning to be free and fly, which is what I felt like most of the time.  I'm still the same way.  I hate being responsible for anyone but myself, and I've never had a problem being alone, solitude is a wonderful thing, a creative Muse, my inner twin, my dark moon side. 
Looking at old family papers and photos,  I see that I come from a long line of strong minded, independent, forward thinking women on my mother's side of the family.  (I know nothing of my bio-dad's family and history).  My great-great-great-great grandparents immigrated to Nova Scotia in Canada and then in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island in America throughout the 1700's and 1800's, They all lived in rugged places, grew their own food, sewed their own clothes.  And they passed down that independence and love of Nature.
And yes, they raised children, too. Back in the 1800's and early 1900's, what else could a woman do but marry and have children?  But still, you can see and feel that rebel soul shine through society's shackles.  I have a picture of my grandmother in pants, airman's bomber jacket, jack boots, and a wool cap, posing for a pic with students from the college before a hike. Most pics are of her in very proper dresses, low heels, gloves, typical 1930's women's clothes, so to see her real soul makes this one of my favorite pics of her.  So, I come by my rebellious free spirit honestly, and I love that. I wouldn't change that for anything.  How could you change your soul, anyway?

My grandmother, front row on the right.

As the only child, I didn't have time for girlie things.  I had chores.  There were cattle, horses, chickens, ducks, pigeons, geese, dogs and cats to be fed. Eggs to be gathered, fence lines to be checked.  I raised and broke to ride my own horse.  I helped put up cross fencing, helped my dad cut, split and stack wood, helped in the garden and the orchard.  I learned and did things that made me strong, physically and mentally, and I learned to value those things.  Mom did the housework, I took care of the farm chores when dad was on the road, which was most of the time, from the time I was about 8 until they divorced when I was 16.  It's no wonder then, that I simply cannot understand how being a mom is somehow "enough".  Why I don't get how wonderful and fulfilling it is.  It just feels so damn restrictive and unsatisfying to me, who had absolute freedom growing up.
I don't think I'm abnormal, or selfish.  It's who I am.  Something that cannot be changed.  I'm not saying I don't like kids.  Babies are OK in my book, I just don't get all mushy and goofy over them.  (Puppies?  That'll get me every time, especially puppy breath.  Babies?  I don't smell what everyone else does.  Again, just don't get it).  Older toddlers are fun to be around, especially outdoors, because they really start to have an imagination and a desire to learn about the world around them.  I like to show kids how things work and to point out things they don't notice and tell them about them.  Like ants working together to carry something.  Or a hawk swooping down to catch dinner.  Or how fish will hide up under tree roots along the bank.  Or animal tracks.   Outdoor stuff.  Seeing them look at something in a new and interested way, get excited about a fossil or awesome rock gives me hope that perhaps they will see how interconnected all creatures are, and maybe, just maybe, carry that with them and pass that on to the next generation. 

These fields, these forests, these oceans and mountains and rivers and quiet woodland streams, the hawk on the wing, the deer silently, gracefully, slipping back into the shadows of the trees...all this and more is Beauty and Love and Truth to me.  It is more than enough.


Morning breaking through the trees.

Sunset on a Winter Creek

Sunset at my childhood farm.
Summer Fields for roaming.

And I still see shapes in the clouds, like this Phoenix Rising.

Some women look at babies and feel such love, see such beauty. For me, seeing the sweep of a sun drenched green field towards the impossible blue of and uncluttered sky is Beauty and Love. Green corn fields, golden hay fields, fog-shrouded fields and forests, sun dappled wooded hillsides, the songs of birds, a music of the wind in pine trees or it's roar on stormy days, the gentle whisper of midnight snow...these things move me to awe, to see Beauty beyond words, and to feel such a swell of love and oneness with all. I can't explain it, won't ever apologize for it.

It is simply who I am, and that is how I am supposed to be.