Monday, August 21, 2017

Traveling Companions

I know who I am; remember still the passing.
But who are these the souls I love
and why do they surround me?

Such profound and lasting lashings flex among us, bend to wind,
dance to every circumstance,
hold each other dear.

Chance wins knowledge, new lives sprout and wind throughout our mortal coils,
Who are these the souls I love?
Ripples in still water.

Tit for tat and favors granted, travelers through space and time,
this life of mine and all of theirs
committed to the hope

that every lifetime meets a need to learn and change and grow
to solid soul immense and whole
magnificently with joy.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Two Four Six Eight - I Must Learn to Delegate

The thing about VLPs (Very Large Projects), is that they prioritize things for you. To a person like me, whose list of I'd Like To Dos gets longer every day, that focus is invaluable. But the cost of VLPs gets higher with every passing year, and while I would like to have found that new wisdoms will balance those costs, for me they did not. Frustrations with learning curves, late-night tasking, time management issues, loneliness - Nevermore; I have foresworn.

And that leaves me with SPs - Small Projects. Lot and lots of them. I dream them, some float through my thoughts, conversations spark them, and I am inundated after traveling somewhere new. I want to paint; I want to make a photography book; I want to travel with my family; I want to sew up a pattern I have in my head. . . these SP visions begin to swirl through my mind until I am dizzy. If I pick one to work on I am easily distracted. If I start something new I am easily frustrated. I find it easiest to rant at whatever comes my way and just be reactive rather than proactive. This is not the way I want to live!

Take electronics, without which I cannot continue publishing. I bought a new phone and suddenly my music is gone and I have Silver Fox's instead. Ummm. My camera takes these cute little series of pics on each shot that makes action for a second before it stops. Those transfer to IPhoto as a whole load of photos taking up who knows how much space that you can't just grab and move, or choose only one, or anything easy, as apparently you have to click on the whole set to even delete. How do I make my camera stop doing that??? Now I have a new SP learning all about my new phone from the internet, a lengthy proposition for my slow old brain.

The world is going crazy, and the last time things were so bad I was right in the middle of it. I want to help, but I can no longer be the foot soldier I was then. And regardless of how we third-stagers puff ourselves up about wisdom and experience, no one will listen. I should read and write more; I should send money; I should sign petitions; I should write congresspeople; I should be part of the answer.

My physical regimen for the summer has been almost exclusively landscaping and gardening. What the hell am I going to do now???

Around and around they go, blowing up large for a moment and then receding while the next blows up, like those folder and desktop application functions that wax and wane as you run your mouse under them. I hate those. The views are too small and they move to fast, just like my imagination.

Becoming the belledame has, however, had unforeseen impacts. Having crossed that bridge when I came to it, I find myself now transitioned, bedamed if you like; and one thing I seem to have less of is tolerance for foolishness, in myself and in others. I can fix this and be dizzy no more. Today I have a plan. I make a list of all the SPs I currently know about and decide what to do about each, then get help. I will sign up for Apple phone training. I will send money and shut up about injustice (well, maybe a rant here now and then). I will get a yoga teacher. I will delegate, and, following another of my newly crystallized dame precepts, I ain't gonna do anything I don't want to. If an SP requires me to do something I don't want to, it is out of the band. The new-agers say this is a year to clear:)

And when the dust settles, I will too.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Step Right Up. . .

I have done something today that I have never done before, and that is to sign up to help a political campaign. Damn! Things are that bad. I can hear the organ grinder and see the hootchie cootchie girls already. . .

Here in Minnesota, where we have been hiding behind the skirts of the fabulous Mark Dayton for the last eight years, change could come on big fat elephant feet - and I am going to do my best to stop that stampede. It is bad enough that the legislature is republicon, and it is a tribute to Mark that he has both held back the tide and reversed the damages of the previous Pawlenty piracy. But it will just happen again if we are not careful. Therefore, I am doing something else I have never done before today - I am endorsing candidates. If you read this and like it, pass it on please. I probably won't do it again. Okay, I promise I won't do it again.

The Minneapolis race for Mayor is just as important for those of us who live here. This one has me seething, for I have watched thirty years of white privilege skirt issues, ignore injustices, misdirect good intentions, and in general pretend that the economic and judicial disparities between whites and people of color in this town are nonexistent, not to worry our pretty heads about. Pisses me off so much. The recent increasing intensity between the Blue Union and its charges, however, have pushed issues to the front of the podium, now (but not for much longer) occupied by Vapid Betsy, champion of bicycle commuters and the black hole into which any reason (or perhaps funding, we don't know) around the now-three-year reconstruction of downtown Nicollet Mall flowed. She doesn't stand a chance.

And now I have been called on my cell phone number, which I don't ever give to organizations or websites, by the candidate who appears to be the DFL's pick for Mayor, a perfectly nice married gay man whose best qualification seem to be that he loves loves loves it here. I am so sick of this. . .

So forward into the breach, or ditch, or whatever kind of mudslinging convention politics draws up in difficult times. We have very good choices for each of these positions, candidates with experience and the right stuff to deal with matters at hand. I am not going to cite their qualifications - use the links.

 For Governor, Former Speaker of the House Paul Thissen,

For Mayor, Rev. Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds,

Go to it, Babies - pass these names around.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Nailed a Retread to my Feet – Again

It’s a little harder to get excited when it is the umpteenth time around, but the bones are there. The intention is there, and the insights will come. I know how to do this and it should be simply elegant.

Because the alternative is not an option.

I have been recovering from an expensive failure since Christmas. Not for the first time, hardly, but for the first time as a senior. I must now be more careful with my physical resources, get enough sleep, keep exercised, energy I can no longer take for granted. Just as important, Silver Fox and my other friends are mostly retired, and the pace around me has slackened. Relax. Take your time. And so, without complaint and with some relief, I have subsided from forward-looking focus into the busy-ness of the familiar. Floated my thoughts on plans for the garden, sorted anxieties with the contents of my closets, and opted for lubricated conversation at every opportunity.  Porch-sitting has become a specialty.

For my entire life, “learning lessons” has been all about discovering what I DON’T want. It has been a process of elimination, and now that I am in my third stage, I no longer have the time or the temperament to waste on experiments.

But as those thoughts float away into the distance, uncoordinated and unremarked, I can feel my temperature rising with them. I really don’t like not having a plan, and boredom pisses me off.

So I pray for better weather and embark again on a plan for my future. Focus forward, I am still standing. This time I am basing all my choices on personal satisfactions so that there will be nothing to fail at, nothing to ever get over again. This time I am going to just have fun.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Are You Experienced?

I saw this article recently and tried to make some sense of it. For me, that is not always possible with science and technology, but sometimes a correlation with my reality does appear and I can construct an image of what the discovery means, or at least what it means to me.

Blue Brain team discovers a multi-dimensional universe in brain networks

Even if I don't know exactly what they are measuring as a "dimension," I can see that using the term to describe my brain allows me to infer a multi-dimensional existence, and that is something that I CAN understand. What this article has done for me is to re-characterize my own musings from the metaphorical to the physical. That physically the molecules of my body can stand in one place together and still, under differing circumstances, be many different things is not a new concept, but it becomes a more solid image, more real, when I consider that it is not only my imagination constructing reality; that my imagination constructs reality in dimensions because my physical brain runs things that way. I am very tempted to talk about manifestation. . .

But for now, I can continue to parse out areas of myself to explore as I have in fact done so many times, a methodology of conscious living. The change is that I have previously thought about these divisions as facets, PART of the whole me; but if I think of them now as dimensions, I see they all occupy the same space, and in fact cannot be separated. Perhaps they should be called "frequencies" instead of "facets." Family, work, personal growth, physical maintenance-these are all overlapping divisions of my life, each defined and updated on a regular bases.  

If I cast my attention on one of these areas and step into those thoughts (tune to this frequency?), I have a different take on the whole in light of the priorities of the dimension I inhabit. To perceive the whole from the singularity changes the decisions I will make for my future. This is not exactly a new way to look at myself, but calling it out by the same name as a structure in my brain makes me see how natural and how elegant the mechanism is-this is how minds operate! 

Far out:)

Monday, June 19, 2017

If I Knew the Way

Amazon Prime just released a six-part documentary on the Grateful Dead. What deadhead could pass that up? Directed by Justin Kreutzman, of drummer pedigree, this film does the group justice, so Thank You, Justin, for a Real Good Time.

The first five parts were full of music and pics that reignited memories and split my face with smile. The freewheeling drug-saturated early days, the years they gleefully flipped off Warner Brothers, their gradual acclimation to studio work and the resulting touring promotions that knocked them out with fun. And always the music, the music that was at the core of the experience for us all.

In fact, I never thought much about the band members – they were just the guys who played the music. I didn’t know if they were married, had kids, or how old they were. The Dead were far more a unit than individuals. When they worked, they were magic, magic that saturated thousands of us with the beauty of their separate geniuses, the whole more than the sum of the parts. They were a multiplicity.

The songs that still make me cry are Garcia/Hunter collaborations.  Impossible to separate the music from the lyric. I will always be thankful for those shows, as I am still thankful for the metaphors that appear, so many years later, in the flow of my life. I’ve never been able to decide if it is the poetry, the philosophy, or the tune that takes my attention, but this music has formed the backbone of my own approach to living and I rotate through albums and taped shows depending on my own needs at the moment. The Dead have been my prophets.

But Part six was all about Garcia, an apologia for his passing and an attempt to rationalize our loss. All about how gargantuan the phenomenon of the Grateful Dead had become, and all about how well he didn’t take responsibility. How awful, I thought, would be such sprawling influence and craven celebrity? But, I also thought, if you are up there putting yourself forward for comment, then you had better be able suck up the response, whatever that is. Or perhaps not.

Dead shows, once their faces were plastered on popular magazine covers, went completely out of control, over the top, and in a couple of cases, right through the fence. What must it have been like for the band to watch this happen, to realize that there were more people partying outside than inside the venue? That the scene had turned not only drugged but drunk and more than disorderly? Volatile, rude, dangerous; the exact opposite of the music. How would you like to be responsible for that? They stole his face right off of his head. . .

And so, was it overdose or suicide? Probably both. But in my opinion, there was never ever a person with more right to end at will than Jerry Garcia. My loss is not his, and if enough is enough, then it is none of my business. I can only assume his soul needed rocking, and more power to him. 

There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night.
And if you go, no one may follow - that path is for your steps alone.

Monday, May 29, 2017

America Today

Guest writer Kirk Hill 
This morning I found under my bed a Russian. I ran to the kitchen and found my best fork. Upon returning, the Russian was gone. No one will believe me. How do you know it was a Russian, they will ask.  But, of course, they all look alike. This has been proven many times by official research.  
This whole episode was very unsettling.  I decided to keep it a secret. I have seen Russians. Some deploy disguises, but they are nonetheless unmistakable. Once a Russian, always a Russian, so it is said. 
I now double -lock my doors. One morning I found a window unlocked.  I ran to my bed and sure enough, underneath, there was a Russian. I had left my fork bedside, just in case. Plunging it into the Russian left me covered with blood.  
I ran to the bathroom to clean up. The blood stains had ruined my clothes so I threw them away. They say Russian blood is different, not Type O or Ab, none of that, rather Type Russian, known as Type R. This has been kept very quiet for a very long time. Doctors very much frown on Type R transfusions, or so I am told. 
Returning to my bed with my largest plastic bag I stooped over and nothing! The Russian was gone. Not even a bloodstain.   
I awoke the next morning refreshed. Nothing was under the bed, a relief, yet somehow a disappointment. On my way home from the grocery store I picked up a newspaper.  And there it was, an article, beneath the fold but still on the front page, about a local outbreak of Russians found in area homes under beds. Citizens were asked to report any such incidents. I of course had no intention of making any such a report.  
This has been a carefree land, free of Russians. No more. How does one deal with them? I looked in the newspaper for tips.  Nothing. I received a phone call. I was asked to serve on a television panel to discuss Russians. Word had gotten out that I am an expert on Russians. 
Just before going on the air I revealed that I am not a Russian expert. The program moderator—he had a badge---asked, Wasn’t I an American? I said yes. He said, “Good enough.”  As the show started. I ran out. At home I collapsed. I locked the doors and windows. 
The Russians are dangerous, I know. I do my best to remain vigilant. Now my fork is always with me.  
I have tweeted my friends, such as they are.  
Kirk Hill lives in the Chippewa Forest, near Remer, Minnesota 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Another Change of Face

Always in my past when the way I interface with the world has changed, I have had something happen to my face. 

No really, physically. 

When my kids left home, I suddenly and for the first time had dental problems and I lost two teeth as well as two people I love. It made my cheekbones sharper:) When I lost a job to which I had been totally committed, I started a little growth on my cheek that years later needed to be removed. When my current job description changed from a much busier venue into the job ideal, a lymph node in my neck swelled up and created a cyst so that not just me but everyone saw a different me for a few days.

Now my Eustachian tubes are blocked - for almost two weeks, as if I don’t want to hear. As if I have closed off my ears so I don’t have to address inevitable change; ie. retirement options, my opportunity for the biggest change in perhaps fifty years. I will be opting out of the full frontal engagement landscapes that have been my context since I was eighteen and into the self-motivated isolation of the pasture I will be put out to.  I am not sure if I can take it!

On the other hand, the reason this has come up physically at all is because for the first time ever I have allowed the reality of retirement from the workplace to sink in. And the idea is swimming nicely, thank you. I do love to travel, and it would be wonderful to paint again, and my grandkids won’t be around for me forever. . .

It means moving off the River to the Lake. I can think of it as moving home, to the neighborhood and context I chose thirty years ago. It proved perfect for raising a family then, and I think it is turning out to be just as nurturing for a senior such as myself now.

But the River has been my core metaphor for as long as I can remember, musically when I lived at home, then physically at university and bankside locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis.  This move makes me feel panicky. Can I acclimate to the Lake Country? Can I be happy with the still verses the rolling? Can I live where the perimeter is round and not unbounded? Can I thrive on the quiet?

I don’t know the answers to these questions yet, but the journey to find them has begun as I reluctantly recognize and start to consider to where I am stepping at the end of the work staircase. Maybe it will clear out my ears.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Camelot Remembered

Twice now I have heard it, the music of the spheres.
To my astonishment, it was my own soul being called
from deepest sleep to consciousness, a bird’s wing asked to fly.

Lifting feathers boldly singing, reassuring raptures ringing,
ruby bellows waking and inflating aubergine
and green with brilliant sound, round and ripe with indigo,
glowing oval swelling sounding out and in and through,
a jemstone ringing truth with the knowing still unfolding
long past reason and my emerging sighs.  

Again a major miracle, a bridge into the vast
and unfuckingly unimaginable once and future past.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hello Lampost

Once an adrenaline junkie, always an adrenaline junkie.

I was walking along the Mississippi River this morning, just taking in the sharp air and liquid sun, thinking that I have turned another corner, or perhaps just come around another bend. This time, my landscape is larger. It surrounds and dwarfs me in a way I have not known since I was young, and I love it. This must be what it is like to be free of VLPs. I am boggled!

VLPs, or Very Large Projects, have been how I met my adrenaline needs for most of my adult life. I just assumed it is the only mode I know, but I see now that is not true. That I LEARNED to need VLPs in order to keep myself focused, because I needed to be focused to get myself out of trouble. 

I can tell you that I remember now how fricking distractable I am at my core. I flung myself full-tilt boogie at whatever the wind blew into my way from the minute I left the tower of my childhood. I fell in love at the drop of a hat, read the great books cover to cover with no sleep, wrote anguished but hopeful trash poetry, and hitch-hiked to wherever my feet wanted to go. I poked, toked, and folked my way through the first half of my twenties, a sponge soaking up exotic sights, sounds, and smells, saving any thought about it all till some later occasion. I was a child of the universe. 

By the time I'd not got to Woodstock, however, I was embroiled in my first VLP, extracting myself from the absolutely lethal situation I had barreled naively right into. Took the whole rest of that decade to make it all better, and I have yet to do a harder thing or had to focus more. By the time I could focus on building family, I was already in the mode, so I did that hell bent for leather as well. When my nest emptied, I smooth-moved directly into a master's degree, followed by my first job out in the world for years, moving 3.5 million natural history collections into a new home across town. Now THAT kept me busy:)

And ever since I have dedicated my focus to one VLP after another, most recently my five-year, full-tilt foray into publishing. I took a big long breath after that; I have refused to think about the future for months now. 

And to my delight, I emerged from my cocoon into the river landscape this morning feeling a lot like I did when I was young, before I started down the VLP path, like I can look at whatever shiny distraction I want to now, like I don't need another VLP at all, ever. Like there is more wonder and beauty in my life than I can possibly soak up in the time I have left. More than enough to meet all my adrenaline needs.

Silver Fox will be shocked:) 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

No Simple Highway

I haven’t done any research. I am just shooting off my mouth as if I were smoking cigarettes over my third glass of wine in a late-night cafe. But I was reading a summary of the Progressive Period in US politics last night and I began to wonder at McKinley’s assassination.  The histories say the anarchist Leon Czolgosz killed him as a symbol of oppression. Those anarchists were certainly convenient when the swell of change started bumping ruling class ceilings.

Mostly I was impressed by the many years, in the face of the top 1 percent, it took to get from Hog Butcher of the World to actual political reform: building from the late 1880s through 1901, when McKinley, who didn’t put up much resistance to the moneyed interests, was replaced with his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt.

Now HERE was a voice for the left!

Reform legislation began that, even with the vagaries of history, continued pretty much unabated until someone finally shot Our President to kill the dream; to close the jagged road toward mercy and justice for all. After Kennedy, our “progress” began to regress until the population was so uneducated it elected a movie star as President. Think about that! How stupid did we have to become to let them put in the fix? Why, Jerry Springer stupid, in fact, and our children see this kind of behavior as normal. Sigh.

But how do Trump & Co. in fact stack up beside the bosses of 1900? Are they any worse than the Robber Barons? In fact they want the same things, but in a nuclear, global world, the consequences seem monumental.  Our outrage is stronger because we have seen the better life, and we don’t want to lose it.

What does seem different is the speed at which this team expects to dismantle a century of progress, and that makes us feel desperate – desperate, afraid, and angry.

We must learn from the earlier Progressives that those emotions should be put in place as the generator of a long-term campaign to recapture the momentum. We must learn patience. It is hard for an angry person to be rational, but it is necessary for the long haul. Get people elected from the bottom up, file every lawsuit known to the free world, pester every personal appearance with protests and signs. Be public and participate.

What I read last night reassured me that the turn can be made, and that I should trust the energy of a new generation of righteous dissatisfaction to make this the last grasping stand of a dying class of greedy bastards. It is the beginning of their end.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Maggie's Farm

I’ve been thinking about International Women’s Day and the call this year for a general strike.  I saw a lot of posts from women who went to work that day instead, apologizing or explaining, seemingly a little guilty for not heeding the call. I don’t know which organization(s) came up with the idea of a general strike in the first place, but I think it was a big mistake.  Yes, resistance is very very important, but this is a huge country with a massive population and even if every concerned American woman left her workday and congregated in the street, it would not be enough. Besides, we already did that at the Woman’s March, thank you very much everyone. And, the diversity of the women that day should have tipped off the strike organizers that most women just cannot afford to jeopardize their jobs.

I am 100% in favor of labor strikes where they can be effective, but they invariably need to include ALL of the labor force for whatever the issue.  Single day strikes even when everyone walks off don't get anyone's attention in this country (unlike in unionized Europe), so most strikes go on for an extended time. Here management hires scabs to go over and around the picketers until it all actually hits their pocketbooks and they concede that they NEED their workforce. Having been a UMW family, I know what it looks like when a union has an upper hand, and even then those hands were often holding guns to get their point across. 

Getting treated fairly by the bosses is at best a grim undertaking and strikes should not be invoked by people who do not understand the losses required. Ask the nurses. Or does anyone remember P9 and Hormel? I still won’t buy their stuff.

That said, targeted strike days for unionized labor could be useful in our near future. Of course, hardly anyone is unionized any more, are they? The strength of numbers argument just got a lot weaker. Perhaps some of the women so eager to get us out from behind our desks and dustmops last week could spend that energy finding forces that could actually count. Bus drivers? Garbage workers? Airline pilots? Public school teachers might be pissed off enough by now to stand as a unit, at least in a single city, but truthfully most parents will just find alternatives and be done with it – surely emergency vouchers from the local Repugnicans would soon be available. 

The long road to domination that began at least with Ronald Reagan is lined with the carcasses of public protections that took centuries to put in place. I am afraid that all we have left is too little, too late.

I will leave you with a little history to sharpen your focus.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Back to Bricks and Mortar

One more time I have the task,
the opportunity
to build me from the ground.

Sound and sight, flex and shake,
muscles move and shape themselves
to the dance of deep intention.

Seeing only in the moment,
wrapped in the illusion
and the fabric that is time,

molecules intended roll
like quantum bricks to what I see,
what I hear around me.

All without my knowing.
All as if I’m dreaming
every part of my existence.

If I step back and focus wide
can I watch me how I build,
conscious of creation?

Gather up the elements,
harvest bricks of knowledge,
and, knowing, build again?

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Long Black Veil

I wore all black today, Presidents’ Day, to keep me minded of Resistance.

Wearing mourning is something we all know about our culture (in fact many cultures) without really thinking about it. Less practiced today than in our recent pasts, it is still understood as a sobering demeanor, a visible lack of interest in the colors of the world.

Dressing for ritual is not new to me; I have enjoyed costuming to a purpose for many years.  Usually these are happy occasions when I bring out the symbolic jewelry and tie dye. But the principle is the same: to support a particular mood or emotional state. To send a message to those around us of what we are all about.

And about now, I am furious and fearful, outraged and obsessed with doing everything I can to alter reality for the better – MY definition of “better!” And so the clothes.

And in fact, because they are not my usual statement, I am more conscious of them as the role I play, and I have learned a few things:

Because the comfort of my trainers has been sacrificed to the boot god of color, I walk in this role differently than every other day.  My changed posture in fact straightens my spine a little, and that is good because I need it.

Because all I can see is black, I have contemplated that black is the absence of color, and what a tragic thing that is.  I yearn for a splash of orange or some expanse of purple, and now I can see why, and that mourning is defined by giving up something important.

Because I am not as comfortable in this skin, I know that I need practice so that I can step up to the plate here and use those boots to kick some ass.  I need to wear the intention, if not the actual clothes, more often, and I will just have to get used to it. 

So in spite of feeling a little silly for dressing up this morning, I have learned once again that attention to my own details helps me explain, understand, and support my self; a little of the oh-so-important perspective that we all need to keep ourselves sane.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reform until You Believe It

I went to my first local town meeting last weekend. Very big turnout, lots of newbies like me. In my lucky case, my neighbors are as progressive as our state legislators, so a good time was had by all. Very good explanations of several bills of great interest, like prohibiting states and cities from making labor regulations and charging protesters for the cost of police actions – bills that make my skin crawl.

But mostly I came away with a new feeling of momentum. I resonate with the reports of packed town meetings everywhere, with the upward political force of our interest, sniffing an awful interruption in our personal freedoms, forced to our attention by arrogant outrageousness.

I want to see so much pressure from the bottom that the top will explode; burst apart and scatter in pieces, for us, with a changed heart, to pick up and build into a new shape. A civilized shape. A shape we recognize from our Sunday School lessons, where we do good unto others as we would have them to do unto us.  

We could see this happen.  We could be the generation of change. We could evolve.

Fissures and cracks in a system that has kept local pressure under control for decades make it clear that there is chaos at the top, that this center is not holding. For christ’s sake, some state is messing with the police and fireman’s union. What are they thinking??? This Trump-supporting union organizes the brotherhood of police in every city in the country!  Who do they think is going to enforce their increasingly legislated crowd control directives? Someone up there is making a big, big mistake. Now this morning they have thrown their military minion Flynn under the bus. Sorry Dude. 

A good sign for us, a visible reassurance that our unrelenting and constantly increasing pressure will travel right up those cracks to explode a new vision of governance into our futures.  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Listnin' for the New Told Lies

I got a note from an old friend yesterday asking me if I am okay. Seems that my volume input on Facebook has gone up enough to make her wonder. Oh yeah, watching for news like a hawk, reposting anything I feel is important and true. I didn’t realize there was so much of it.

The danger, as she and I know, is of obsession. We have not seen political theater to match this in forty years, and in fact it may now be even more anarchistic, a dividing line in time between BTD (before The Donald) and ATD. People are filling up their pantries with provisions and buying water filters – no one knows what is to come.

She is right about stepping back, away from the edge. I am no longer young enough to watch without fear. Back then, I was just as outraged at midnight political firings and secret bombings as I am with today's incredible coup, but we were fearless then with youthful expectations. The danger in my current outrage is that it is surrounded with fear – fear learned from a lifetime of watching things get worse. Fear that my family will suffer. Fear that there will be blood in the streets. It cramps my face and clamps my soul, rigid and SO missing the point. 

To the fearless, resistance is the secret of joy. To the fearful, resistance is terrifying.

I appreciated her reminder, but I had in fact already remembered that I know how to back off;  that creative activity carries me away from the rant and so, relieves my anxieties.  I designed a new mandala last weekend (see the above), and, much to my delight, I have learned again what I already knew, that coloring is just plain good for me.

The new mandala is meant to stimulate thoughts of harmony; each of the petals can be seen as individuals making up a whole, such as skin colors or ethnic groups (perhaps a rainbow palette?), all the plants and animals of the earth working together (greens, blues, and browns?), or even all the pieces of your own soul coming together to be you (only you know the color of your own pieces). You can just fill in color, overlay patterns, or draw inside the petals. Whatever you do, it will take your mind to a positive place where you can consider harmony while producing something beautiful. It will calm you down. 

If you would like to color the Harmony Mandala, click here to go to a downloadable PDF that you can print to color or open in a graphics program should you be into electronic art.  Use a heavier paper to print for wet media, a rougher paper to print for colored pencils. In fact, if you send me a scan of your finished piece with a little explication, I will publish it here.  Certainly I will publish my own after I choose my own tools of personal construction. Time to get out my colors and play:)

And I took my friend’s advice . Instead of reading news (and fake news), I listened to music on my ride to work. Masters of War today, Let the Sun Shine In tomorrow:)

Politial junkie that I am, I still must find out what is happening, just not so often, and not so desperately. Looks like we will have time enough to choose wisely where we can get involved. They have locked up the White House and thrown away the key. It will be up to us to find a duplicate. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Very Little Cultural History

Admittedly it feels much more like a funeral than an inauguration today; I wore a black armband at Dubya's coronation, but maybe I had more energy then. . .

As I pore through my customized Facebook news today because I can't keep my damn hands off, I can't believe from how many directions I am offended.  Not from Trump supporters, because I don't have any of those kind of friends, but from clueless children, the amnesiac press, and the self-serving Democrat asses. Four times today already I have been solicited for money by "the Party," those selfsame greedy bastards who lost the country to Trump in the first place. Kicking Bernie Sanders to the curb was not so smart after all; it certainly came back to bite them, didn't it?

(Numbers show, as well as common sense, that with Bernie it would have been no contest. And still the Clinton-blindered buggers say they don't think there needs to be a change.  In my own no-longer-radical opinion, if Keith Ellison does not get the DNC chair so that at least a start can be made down that Progressive road, the Democratic Party is toast.)

But that's just an aside. What really pisses me off is that there is no sense of history about any of this. A few journalists have tried to compare previous inauguration and cabinets to point out current crappiness, but no one calls out what you and I have seen happen in our lives. We are the testament, and we need to not forget.

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A PRESIDENT AS LOVED AS OBAMA. Um, I remember the sadness when Ike left office,  the affection the whole country had for Mamie and her bangs; not to mention that my own President, John Kennedy, was shot down like a dog for daring to be young and innovative, for trying to accommodate me and my generation, and there is not a one of us who does not remember the moment they heard about Dallas. I still hate Texas.

BETSY DEVOS DOESN'T BELIEVE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. No, she doesn't. Nor does she have any experience with education. Just exactly the sort of person who will speed up the already steep decline of a once-sincere effort in the US to create an informed and critical population toward the betterment of all. The problem here is that the idealistic 1950s were the historical anomaly and we just didn't know it. We believed in justice for all because our parents, who survived the massively disruptive and violent second world war, wanted just that - to make a better world.

But there were other factors in play, like newly unoccupied government spook organizations and greedy capitalist bottom feeders and suddenly the generation they wanted to send to such a profitable war in southeast Asia stood and fought, refused publicly and with intent.  It became clear that the drive to excellence that was our educational goal in 1970 needed to be reversed, and we have watched it systematically and ruthlessly dismembered and disabled by people like Ms. DeVos ever since. Of course she is here to finish it off. Get real!

THIS IS THE MOST RELIGIOUS CABINET EVER SEATED.  Who remembers the master stroke of franchising the fledgling religious right for Ronald Reagan? Fundamentalism, which in the fifties and sixties had been relegated to Sunday morning TV, suddenly was everywhere spouting creationism and fear. We have some smart Republican campaign people to thank for that.

And then there was Jerry Springer, who made it okay to whack your cheating partner, in public and even if it was with your brother. What good is education when such least common denominators are so darn entertaining?

At the same time, the eighties saw a swing public education toward vouchers and private charter schools while in higher education, liberal arts were out and business and technology were in. The money moved, culture changed, and in my mind the past fifty years prove indeed the old saw that the last thing a politician wants is an educated populace.

As elders, we are what remains of perhaps the best-educated generation the US ever produced. Use it. Speak up about the past; tell these disaffected young people what has happened. None of them remember when fundamentalism was NOT the wolf at the door; few of them know that the Republican plan for economic and cultural domination has a long and treacherous past. If we don't do another single thing toward Resistance, we need to tell our grandchildren, speak when asked, marshal our critical skills, and convince who we can that none of this is random; that the People have once again gotten the government they deserve. It will be up to the current generation to take it back.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Would that all my passed revelations had been written down before consigned to the deepest of my archives!

Took the Bridge bus to work this morning, vacillating, not a thought for the Bridges but only for the moment and the extra time this route takes. But the familiar soothe of the wheels brought out the headphones, and Built to Last informed me, and I remembered the Bridges, and positioned myself to view them as we rolled across the river.

The smooth transition of shapes enabled as I pass this view has now distorted, tripped so that each of thousands jumped at me for attention, sharp-edged and pulsing, like the moment I wrote about years now ago when I saw between the pulses of reality – a hesitation as between movie frames. I was shocked, amazed that I have gotten so far out of sync with my personal landscape, jolted into thinking what it means. 

The result of the intense holidays for sure, but at a deeper and more important level I realized that my latest big mis-adventure has literally shaken up my core. Being the repressive that I am, I thought I was just not thinking about it much and that I had accepted lack of success as the outcome of five years' effort. That I had moved into an Oh Well kind of space and was ready to move on.

Of course not, and here was my proof, my message to myself read in the moving parts of passing bridges. So I learn that my symbology is good for something besides self-analysis and inspiration; it is good for tracking my wandering mind. 

I will do what I can to smooth out my edges until once again the universe is turning in greased grooves. One thing already - a new Last Stage theme: Look for Something Built to Last. Once more the wheel turns and now I am on the hunt for legacy. Nothing stays the same.