Hope you are going to have a perfect New Year's Eve followed by a better 2018. We are not celebrating with anyone, anywhere and will probably watch the event on TV if we decide to stay up! These birds got me thinking about how to celebrate the incoming of a new year....
So, I went out and bought me some bubbly for the big event.
One of the real problems that I (and most of us) have is understanding each other. It is hard to see the big picture when you know the people involved only somewhat superficially. Just because you work with them and see them maybe monthly at meetings or because you run into others three times a year at one of your daughter's project events, or you chat with someone on a regular shopping trip to a retail outlet, this does not mean you have even a clue about them, about their challenges, beliefs, prejudices, history and/or motivations. This is because the yardstick by which you measure these encounters is YOUR yardstick. The nicks and faded numbers on it are from your experiences and your wins and losses. Our current cultural shift has seemed to drain the swamp of empathy as we are told that most people do not deserve anything they have not earned. So, I try to work harder at this understanding of people and not come into relationships with pre-conceived opinions of where they get their opinions... But I do need some help on this one: I post my photos regularly on Facebook. I post my photos (the ones that I am most pleased with) on a less regular basis on an Australian website that sells digital art. I have sold maybe two dozen items and made enough money on all of them for dinner out for two at a nice restaurant. Clearly, I would have starved as a digital artist. I only mention this to illustrate that I do take this a little seriously. As the year progresses I may have hundreds of photos on Facebook. These go into albums such as family, trips, and my yard, etc. At the end of the year, I begin to clean all this up both for personal privacy reasons and to protect my artistic work and to just be able to keep track of what is posted and what is not. The more artistic photos I will post in lower resolution on the off chance that someone would 'steal' them. My friends ask if they can use them for odd things and I always let them copy and re-use so it is not a hard rule. So, now for your challenge and response. I recently deleted a bunch of photos and posted on FB that I was cleaning up my albums getting ready for 2018. One of my virtual friends (He is very smart, very opinionated, and I do not know him very well. He worked IT and I rarely saw him when we worked at the same company.) went off on a tangent. He was furious that I was deleting photos and he said he was not going to comment in the future on my photos if I deleted them, etc. I commented that I was sorry, but that was the way it was. I went on in my life and last week decided to re-read that conversation as I was still mystified and the thread was gone! He had deleted it. Weird. I do not care about this person. We are never meeting in real life. I am just curious about what would make a person think he had control over anothers' creative work? Why would he care that his comments on my photos (which were short and flattering and mostly just LIKES) would be gone forever? Where is Miss Manners when you need her advice?
Christmas Day and for a day or two after people post all their photos of family gatherings on Facebook. This is fun and always portrays well-dressed people behaving correctly with big smiles facing various cameras. I thought I would post a photoshopped picture of my grands for a little more anonymity. This is one of the earliest photos of the day where the three of them were waiting,... and waiting, ...and waiting for parents to join them so they could open their presents. Patient souls.
Today is my birthday. I do not feel it necessary for others to make a big deal of it. I really had very little to do with it. I am sure I was pretty passive and considering my personality, probably did not want to enter the light of day! I did cross a major decade last year and the big deal made by members of my family (a trip to and a play in NYC) was a lovely gesture and I do not regret that, but I still would have been completely happy to have been the recipient of only good. This time of year is super busy for people and taking the time to honor a birthday seems to be an avoidable excess. This in no way means that I decry the birthday celebrations that others look forward to in late December. Go for it! In my mind, it has always been just a number. Treat me nicely always, call me, email me, make dates for lunches during the year and I will be most ingratiated and not miss a cake or card or gift on the anniversary of my birth.
"A-n-y-w-a-y" as the Valley Girl says: Today we will celebrate my birthday by doing some quick last minute shopping(!) and going to see the newest Star Wars movie (which is the movie my hubby really wants to see). None of these Star Wars movies will grab me the way the first Star Wars movie did---especially the bar scene which seems a great comment on living species. You cannot improve on the original or re-capture that first time.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy New Year...and a happy birthday or any other day you may be celebrating!
(I have published a series of three blog posts on words and their significance in our current culture. This President and his CDC could have made this fourth post waaaay too easy with the newly listed seven banned words that cannot be used in their reports and that they have released recently, and later denied banning them. But this fascism is too easy to denigrate, or make humorous, or present an argument on how an administration that "talks straight to the people" --- and not allowing questions on the talk as there are always those "gotcha questions" --- is dangerously close to destroying the first amendment. I would like the White House to be banned from using the words "everybody" "they" "moron" "amazing" "tremendous" and "terrific.")
BUT this post instead is about what I did today in my garage and mud-room. This is the time of year that I must take care of those bulbs I refuse to throw away by fall: my amaryllis. I once had over 40 of these plants lined along the wall with French doors of my family room in my prior house because I just could not bear to part with them. Eventually, before my move, I took them to a fundraiser and got rid of all of them.
This year I have slowly started that addiction over again at, perhaps, a better and slower pace. Still, I have planted (counting the pups or smaller bulbs) twelve individuals in pots and put them in the sun along with 4 other newly purchased bulbs that I may or may not give away this season. Not everyone wants a plant as a gift.
In the coming months, I will try to remember to post the beautiful blossoms that these amazing, terrific, and tremendous plants that everyone loves will provide.
Since words do matter, far more than we realize, I have decided to do some quick and dirty Internet searching to add to my prior posts on selected words. More words of the year 2017 ---
Oxford: youthquake Dictionary.com: complicit Collins Dictionary: fake news Back in 2016 --- Merriam-Webster: surreal American Dialectic Society: dumpster fire Oxford: post-truth Dictionary.com: xenophobia For the history of how "Word of the Year" or WOTY are selected go here. Do you think you can write a short paragraph or poem using the above??
Merriam-Webster Dictionary's "Word of the Year. "
Do you know what the word is? I will give you a clue. It is not covfefe. That is not a word, just a lazy tweet. Another clue is that it starts with an "F." It is not a swear word.
Before I reveal this important word, I want to discuss a conversation my husband and I had on the recent reveal of all the men in power that have sexually assaulted, molested and/or scare-threatened women while the men were running businesses, making movies, drafting legislation, running cooking shows, managing restaurants, attending military shows, etc. We were talking about why men in power do this? (The real question is why are there more men than women in power, but this post is not about that.) My husband seemed to think it was a deep biological need. There is a biological programming for males to extend their gene pool for survival. I claimed it had to do with a hatred and sometimes fear of women and a need to reassure that oneself was still in power. Now that I have dwelled on it, I think we are both right. Have you ever had the opportunity to watch an elk herd get organized in late fall? I have. The younger females drift over to the better looking younger elk males and give each other the tentative eye. This lasts about 10 minutes and then the major elk, the older one with the big shoulders and rack and bigger, well you know, comes around and paws the ground and demands the females get back in their place with serious threats. He will run off the younger elk and then strut his stuff and herd his harem roughly to the other side of the meadow. There is a deep biological need to continue one's gene line. Male lions rape and kill for sexual reproduction and otters attack females for the same. This is found throughout the animal kingdom. But humans are sentient, living an intelligent and civilized life; and hopefully, we have moved beyond those physical power plays and forcing themselves on others, at least most people have. So those who molest are throwbacks to an earlier time. They have failed to evolve, or they have a deep-seated mental illness. For those males who bemoan today going to the holiday parties worrying about how to behave, I have little sympathy. Treat each woman as if she was your mother or sister or daughter and you will do just fine. If you feel you need to hug someone, ask them first! If you are under the mistletoe, act embarrassed and walk away. If you drink too much call a cab and go home. NEVER tell off-color jokes, ever! Compliment a woman on her dress only if you regularly compliment a guy on his tie. I am not sympathetic to these creeps as I have been a woman always ducking that snake at the holiday party, always looking over my shoulder when alone at night, always dreading the boss who told dirty jokes, feeling belittled when denigrated by gender at a meeting. I managed that for years, so now men can manage the other better type of behavior!
Oh, the word --- feminist.
1. Walking to the gate in the fog I saw two rust brown wrens flittering in the pile of kindling I had made after the last tree fall. Since I was in camo it took a while before they saw me.
2. I drove up to the city for a birthday party for my D.I.L. and upon my return, I noticed that 90% of the leaves had finally fallen in that short period turning the trees into skeletons. Fall is departing.
3. One morning this week I walked in the early mist to the dock to catch a photo or two of the geese gliding on the river. Some broke into noisy flight heading toward the cornfield when they heard me. Then shortly I heard gunfire and felt terribly guilty.
4. Yesterday I woke early and saw that the woods were shrouded in fog, so in a sleepy "fog" myself put on my frumpiest clothes and headed down the street by my neighbor's houses without even taking a brush to my hair looking for photos. It is amazing how many of my neighbors have to drive somewhere that early in the morning...wondering if they recognized me!
5. Lobster tails were on sale the other day and so we bought two jumbo tails (which we may do once every few years or so) and had a lovely pre- New Year's dinner. Side dishes were asparagus sauteed with dill and oyster mushrooms and mac and cheese. It was a mini gourmet dinner.
6. My grandchildren have such a parade of guests coming through their home that they are not surprised to wake in the morning and find I have spent the night!
7. I am working this week on the gift list. One of the hardest parts of this season as I put great effort to get it right and many of those I buy for live in abundance. I do lots of donations which does lift my spirit.
8. Binge-watching House of Cards and wondering how they are going to end it without the lead after so many years. With today's support of an accused pedophile for Senate and a President who admits to infidelity, the series seems rather tame with its prostitution and threesomes.
9. "To face unafraid the plans that we made while walking in a winter wonderland." No longer making those long-range plans as I age, this thought crossed my mind as I listened to my holiday music.
10. This past week I have made persimmon bars, persimmon cookies, persimmon bread and persimmon pie. We gave bags of fresh persimmons away at a recent party.
11. My Christmas card list gets smaller every year. I am of mixed emotions on that.
12. We are well into the first week of December and I still have guara flowers and pineapple sage in bloom! Cold front coming this week.
13. For the last in this list, I realized, almost too late, that this little fellow could have gone into the persimmon jam I was making as he was so color-coordinated! This December has been exceptionally warm.
We lost a "wounded warrior" Blogger yesterday. She had not been able to blog for several years but fought her battle with ALS on Facebook where many of us continued to support her. She recently added a new war against cancer. She was strong, witty, and funny to the very end with the support of her loving husband, Dave. Knowing her made a difference in my life and that of many others. She left a legacy of hope and determination for all of us who fight our daily battles. I will miss her terribly.
Well, my spirits have lifted somewhat (temporarily) and I found a Christmas present in the news today with the indictment of Flynn. The White House says he was an Obama holdover (Obama fired him and Trump re-hired him). Incomplete pass on their part and they need to explain why they ignored the FBI warning telling them to get rid of him and ignored that dear career lady with the intelligence and ethics. I am patiently waiting for the dominoes to fall. Trump, Trump Jr., and Kushner and Ivanka have all had ties to corrupt money launderers and domestic and foreign criminal groups most of their lives, so they know how to accept bribes, hide money outside this country, and have gotten away with it, for now. The National lighting of the Christmas Tree had the smallest crowd ever in front of the White House this year and the weather was beautiful, rows and rows of empty chairs. He keeps getting fewer and fewer supporters in his gatherings even on such simple unpolitical things as holiday activities. Obama had standing room only when he lit the tree each year. I do miss the intellectual transparent honesty of his administration. So, today after the morning news, I binge watched that old TV series "Frazier" which has such snappy dialogue and proceeded to make about 100 persimmon spice cookies while I watched and reminisced. Half of these chewy spice disks are in the freezer and the other half we will eat. The recipe only used about 4-5 of the hard persimmons, so making no dent in the harvest!
Even the folks at the food pantry are too picky to want to take these home for the holidays! The kitchen was full of dirty bowls and utensils and I just finished washing a batch and am now running "pro-scrub" on the dishwasher for the rest. The small artificial tree is up, a few wreaths scattered about. Mage made me feel guilty reconsider and not give in to the challenges my family is now facing and become a ghost (i.e. ghost of Christmas past). We played Christmas music while we decorated and hung a few strings of lights on the deck and took out a few sentimental items. We blog readers lost the activist Hattie from Hawaii this past week. She was tough and took no prisoners and I will miss her intellectual arguments greatly. While this is a tough month I will hang on white-knuckled and fight for everything I want and I hope you do the same.
When one's life is a daily pain, one withdraws into oneself. There is no need to burden others, because they cannot share your weight. and they cannot really understand unless they have also opened a parcel and seen the same daunting burden and carried it in their life. This heavy amorphous sorrow is firmly attached and if torn away you will go screaming into black midnight blinded by tears because you become even more helpless with foolish understanding. What a frightening feeling to realize that no one can help. What a horrible feeling to realize you are not alone and your pain pierces the hearts of those you love. And to protect others you begin a list of secrets ... lies of omission. What a helpless feeling to realize that the pain is caused by someone you love more than life itself and you may use up what little power you have in that relationship before the carrying journey is over in so many tragic ways.
I have always loved stories of mystery, drama and love. I have been willing to fall into the escape of movies and books and sometimes even music. Now, when in the heart of the turn of the story/movie or crescendo of the Opera Seria, there is a sharp blood drawn reminder of some weakness/misery of one character that pulls me back into my reality and as if in a time warp I crash again to earth and I collapse in tears. I become a cloth that has been thrown.
I cannot accept sympathy of others, because my life has been so rich and lucky and unearned. Even now I watch the news and realize my pain is just a splinter among those who flee war, slavery or starvation. But I do now feel a filial relationship in the great migration of humanity looking for answers to "What's It All About?"
(Sorry this is so enigmatic. But it is what it is.)
Return to my house on Sunday, I was greeted by this in my driveway.
It looks like a skinny trunk but that thing was at least 12 inches across at the base. I held my breath and drove on in and parked the car in the garage.
The pine tree had been dead for a year or two as can be seen by the fungus on the trunk. I later was concerned I could be trapped at home if the tree fell overnight in the winds and went out and moved the car to the end of the driveway to pick up hubby from the airport the next day.
Picked up hubby from the airport on that Monday. Busy holiday rush travel had already begun and I hated the traffic.
We were very busy the next day, but the day before Thanksgiving the tree made its demands by falling further.
Hubby got out the chainsaw and wedge and safety gear and I got out the camera.
We were able to get the heavy part tree fall away from the driveway. Then we tied a rope to the base of the remaining snag and pulled and pulled and pulled across the driveway until it was all the way down and mostly unsnagged.
Rewarded with firewood for next year after it ages. While pine is not the best, I do get our chimney cleaned annually for safety.
Nights have not yet been super cold, so only a few fires in the fireplace.
While others were preparing Thanksgiving desserts and side dishes, we were being "woodspersons." Have a good day today whether you celebrate this holiday or not.
Since I have been alone, I have filled my days with errands and goals and now come to the end of the list. The next list is holiday shopping and I have no immediate desire to work on that right away. I will not be entertaining as my daughter has insisted she be the center for that. It is OK as it saves me a lot of work and I figure in years she will have reached my time in life and have a better perspective. Today and yesterday I stumbled across an old Netflix e-mark that I had on that popular series "House of Cards." We had watched the first and second year and then for some reason forgot to continue to watch..actually I thought it had been on another pay-per-view site. I am old, what can I say? Anyway I spend about three hours each evening catching up. At first I felt guilty. I had concerns about watching a show that has a star with a recently exposed despicable background. There is that important question. Can you admire the art of someone who has been revealed to be evil? This post is not about answering that question, although I would really appreciated your opinions on that. The show involves many people who will be paid residuals and who are talented, and therefore, I do not feel guilt. The writers, the directors, the co-actors all deserve admiration of their work. I also have realized with this Congress and this President, the story is not that far fetched. The headlines of today are pretty good in melding with plot points on this series. I got a Skype call just an hour ago, from my husband who is on the other side of the world. You remember that, right? Anyway, they were just evacuated from their hotel due to an earthquake. Do you realize there have been at least two major and many minor earthquakes recently? No? Well, he is safe and he sounded very calm. His good friend, who is in his 80's, is with him on this adventure. See? Life is not over unless you throw in the towel. I hope that I am that interested in adventures in my 80's. Even if you find you do not get to see your 80's due to some crappy quirk of fate, let us hope your warrior side kicks in and you squeeze out the juice of the life you have been given.