Karma, Smudging, and the Wisdom of Lincoln

This is a little long…stick with me.


I’m seeing many comments about the “bad karma” that currently exists in The People’s House. I would remind you that four years are a drop in the bucket compared to the number of years that house has been occupied by good, worthy people. Smudge away, for sure…but Abraham Lincoln was right when he said,


“The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and … [h]is duty is to administer the present Government as it came to his hands and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor.


“Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side…or on yours… that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.


“By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.”


This last paragraph, especially, has stuck with me since i first read it. One year, as i read this address to my Social Studies classes, i heard a student mutter, “He never met George Bush. [Jr].” But i focus on the the very last sentence:


“While the people RETAIN THEIR VIRTUE AND VIGILANCE, no administration by any extreme of WICKEDNESS OR FOLLY can seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.”
We have retained our virtue and vigilance through much wickedness and folly, and the short space of four years will soon draw to a close.


May we retain our virtue and vigilance, for there is still much wickedness abroad and much work to do, and may our incoming administration lean on the legacy of the many, many good men who have led our country up until now. All were flawed, but most were far more good than evil. THEY are the legacy we all need to focus on.


Blessings on President Biden and Vice President Harris, and may they be led by the better angels of their natures.

Farewell, 2020 – don’t let the door hit ya…

As we leave 2020 behind, it is oh-so-tempting to kick it to the curb and forget it ever happened.  It was a year filled with pain and suffering, anger and angst, many questions but few answers.  It was a year of fear, and of unpleasant surprises, and of unexpected plot twists seemingly every day.  It really was a year to forget.

But it was also a year full of lessons that we would do well to remember.  We can learn from the scorched-earth devastation that was 2020, and if we do, we can all help make a better tomorrow.  We did not all learn the same lessons, but there are common threads throughout that will resonate with many.

Some lessons from 2020:

Kindness always matters, and it wears different faces.  It might be dropping off a meal to someone in need or thanking people who make our very lives possible – whether they be healthcare workers or grocery workers. Sometimes it’s as simple as a smile.  It certainly includes wearing a mask in public during a pandemic and adhering to basic safety protocols.

This includes being kind to yourself. I hope this has become easier and more natural for you this year; it is of critical importance.

We really are all in this together.  This is more closely related to practicing kindness then might be apparent at first glance.  Without the large and small contributions of many, the rest of us suffer.  And this means ALL others, for we all have made contributions that make life better for someone.

Every single vote matters.  We must do everything in our power to eliminate voter suppression in all its forms.

Leadership requires compassion.  Whatever or whomever you are leading, make sure you lead compassionately.

Our batteries need recharging more often during challenging times.  While it might have felt like we were doing less than we have in the past, we have all been worrying more and stressing harder.  We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others.

Family is our most important possession.  Whether we lost someone, were able to appreciate ours more deeply due to the forced confinement we shared, or deeply missed the dear ones we usually spend our holidays with, love of family and increased understanding of their importance crystalized for many of us this year.

We need hugs.  Period. 

We can do hard things.  Teachers, students, and parents all found themselves in new educational roles this year, and the degree to which academic success was achieved was a direct result of all parties being willing to try new methods and embrace the changes we were forced into, rather than focusing on the unfairness of it all.

Science matters.  Scientists aren’t always right, but they are always searching for the right answer.  When new information presents itself, making old information obsolete, scientists embrace the new and move on from there.   We would do well to follow their example.

Reading is fun!  So is crafting!  I knew this, but the interest was reawakened in 2020 as we all sat home, unable to partake in our usual social activities.

We can cook! Whether it was bread, or meals, or new cocktail inventions, our creativity in the kitchen grew by leaps and bounds.

2020 sucked, to be sure. But whether we realize it or not, we have all taken some pieces of wisdom from the dumpster fire to carry us forward to bigger and better things. Not all have been articulated here; there are always many lessons to be learned from any situation. Let’s focus on those positives, then. Focus on where we’ll be a year from now having learned, or re-learned, these lessons, and have a safe, happy, and healthy 2021!

Oh – and 2020? Don’t let the door hit ya in the ass on your way out.

New Glasses

I had my yearly visit to the eye doctor a few weeks ago. I knew my eyes had changed a little bit, and sure enough, she changed my contact prescription. As it had been at least 10 years since i’d gotten a new prescription for glasses, i decided to update that prescription, too, and get some new ones. I picked them up today.

Now, i know from my hearing aids that the brain needs to adjust to new sensory input. These new glasses will take a little getting used to. I only really wear them at home, and so i took the [old] contacts out earlier than usual tonight and put the new glasses on.

Aside from the scratches and pleh that impeded my sight with the old ones, this new prescription is sharp! I don’t need readers with the glasses to work on the computer – and i keep trying to look over them to see the TV, thinking i have readers on, too, which has been my geeky norm for a number of years. I can just look up and see the TV!

So much more clear – so much more sharp! I am seeing things with my new glasses that i’ve never seen before!

Holy crap. I have some cobwebs to deal with.

And it’s funny – I’m happy to have the spiders, because they eat the bugs [it’s a free-for-all around here, frankly] – but they leave such a mess!!!

protest song 10-5-18

Two FB posts that i thought were better published here.  The FB posts became one, and it was far more moderate.  No song, and just a gentle request.  But this is what i’m really feeling and thinking.  My ability to put it into workable lyric form isn’t solid…but the thought it.
****************************************
Bullshit – this is all bullshit
And too many lawmakers suck
Too many people are all done with it,
too many don’t no longer give a fuck.
———————————————————————-
There are too many haters
there are too many entitled fucks
there are too many who keep themselves ignorant
there are too many down on their luck
————————————————————————
And we don’t seem to give a shit,
we don’t seem to care.
We just stay in our bubbles
and breathe the our own same air
————————————————————————
And it’s making us sick
and it’s weakening our power
And if we don’t make our voices heard, share our hearts,
it might be the last hour
————————————————————————————-
And so now i call bullshit
I call your damned lies
I call on my brothers and sisters
raise our voice to the skies
————————————————————————————-
Tell the people who struggle, and the ones who do well,
tell the ones who’re forgotten
tell the members of Congress
We all need to be better
[this needs work]
—————————————————————————————–
**************************************
Give me your best contemporary protest song. Tell the name of the artist and the name of the song.
————
Because i feel rage right now. I feel angry and ignored. I feel like i don’t matter. And that is not a good feeling.
—————-
So help me channel this into something positive. I share my friend Lara’s song a little while ago. What’ve YOU got?
******************************************
what i posted:
Give me your best contemporary protest song. Tell the name of the artist and the name of the song. I shared my friend Lara’s song a little while ago. What’ve YOU got?
—————————-
7:25  10-5-18  Edits possible.

4-11-18 It’s Just a Test

Here are things to consider if you want to pass any test,  assuming you’ve done your studying.

The more words you know, the better you understand any test question.

What do the words really mean?

Examine everything about every question.  Know what the question is asking – unpack it phrase by phrase, word by word if you have to.  Take your time; you’re allowed.

Using all the words you know, and all the variations of the definitions that you now, think about other ways to say the same thing.  This will help you to infer, and that is a key skill you will need.

Relax.  If it’s an emergency test, we’ll let you know.

Here’s the kicker: If you can do this for a test, you can do this in your life:

* Be mindful of everything you see, read, and hear.

*Engage all the words.

THIS is the life skill.

Even better, it can become an interesting and on-going personal challenge – and a lot of fun!

What do the words really mean?

A-Z: Blogging Through April – D

Depleted – how I feel after getting rear-ended last night.  My car might be totaled, my neck and back hurt, and i’m just beat.  But D is also for Damned Good Family – who drove me around and helped in other ways today – and Friends, who have offered all sorts of advice and comfort and help.  And it is for Dropping Into Bed as soon as it becomes clear that the UConn women are on their way to another championship.

A-Z: Blogging Through April – C

C is for cell phones, those ubiquitous extensions to our upper appendages.  They are useful, helpful, important tools, but too often they become barriers to what is really important.  This is a letter I have been writing in my head since September, when I first started to notice the behavior it addresses.  I’m still wondering how to get it to the addressee; if you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments.

Dear Woman With the Cell Phone,

I see you two, maybe three mornings every week, getting breakfast for yourself and your middle school son at the local deli that makes such wonderful breakfast sandwiches.  No judgement there – they make my breakfast every work day.  There is no shame in not making a hot breakfast for yourself and your son, when such a yummy one can be had so easily elsewhere.

I see you sit at the table across from your young son – a seventh grader, I think, to judge by his size – with your face buried in your cell phone that sits on the table in front of you.  Your son would love to have some conversation with you, or at least some companionable silence as you both look around, watch people, wake up together.  But you don’t see him.  You’re in Facebook, or a text message, or some other alternate reality,  and it is clear to onlookers, and certainly to your son, that social media is more important to you in that moment than he is.  I am sad for both of you, because these years pass so quickly, and before long, he will be off to college, leaving you wondering where the time went, and why the years seem like such a blur.  The boy’s father could tell you, if you asked him.

I see him in the morning with your son every couple of weeks, and there’s no cell phone in sight.  There is conversation – sometimes animated, sometimes casual.  There is companionable silence as each looks around, watches people…wakes up in the comforting company of the other.  There is a closeness between father and son that is, to all appearances, missing in the mother-son relationship.

Lady, put your cell phone away.  Your son will only be this age for today, and he needs you to be present in his life – not just physically, but emotionally, too.  When I see you together, I get a sense of cold, of distance, of detachment.  I foresee a day in the future when you wonder why your son never calls, never visits, doesn’t seem to care, and if I am around for you to ask me, I will point your memory to the days, the months, when your cell phone came first.

It’s easy to blame the cell phone, but I don’t.

Sincerely,

A Caring Stranger.

A-Z: Blogging Through April – B

B is for Baseball, which returns tomorrow night!  We Mets fans were left just short of the holy grail at the end of last season, and as the season begins anew we look forward to getting back to the World Series and giving it another, more experienced, shot.  All of our pitchers are healthy and will throw without pitch counts; Yoennis Cespédes, against all the odds, returns to New York; and skipper Terry Collins gets the best chance in his life to get it done.  Last year, the World Series was a pipe dream that became reality.  This year, it’s an expectation.

That brings pressure, of course.  Daniel Murphy, who has been a mainstay all over the infield for the last several years, has moved on to division arch-nemisis Washington. David Wright’s spinal stenosis hasn’t gone away.  There are questions on the infield and in the pen.  But this is a core of guys who have now tasted it, and who want it – badly.  Their quest begins tomorrow night.

Let’s Go Mets!

A-Z: Blogging Through April – A

April.  Blogging April A-Z.  Nobody challenged me to do it, but a couple of friends are having a go, so I thought I would, too.  It’s always good to make myself write.  I tried to do the November blogging thing a couple of years ago, and while I got a few things written, without a focus I just didn’t have the wherewithal to see it through.  I am hoping that this time, the simple prompt of a letter a day will be enough to keep me going.  So with that in mind, and without further ado, I am pleased to present you with the following start to the month.

Abecedarian.  A remarkably cool word, and the perfect one with which to begin this April adventure.  I first encountered it about 20 years ago or so when I was doing a lot of counted cross stitching, and was designing some pieces to give as gifts.  I was looking for different alphabets to use, and came across a book that was full of them.  It was an Abecedary.  Said so right there on the cover.  I thought that was really cool – an abecedary.  A collection of alphabets, of course.  Looked it up and discovered that its broader meaning was anything that is of or for a beginner, and that the adjective form is abecedarian.  I don’t say the word out loud much in either form – I think there is a part of me that is loath to share it – but I do think it often in my inner conversation, and now I am writing it here for you.

You’re welcome. 😉

Friday Night the Way i Like It

Friday night, snowstorm coming, hockey team in action. Sleeping in tomorrow, enjoying a nice IPA tonight, and actively taking the relaxation that is sometimes elusive during the school year. What does that look like?

Tonight, it looks like me geeking out on the weather, in a weather nerd forum, with far geekier weather nerds than i…and me also geeking out in a Facebook thread about the hockey game, with fans from my side and theirs.

Knitting a row here and there on a new project, one that actually is for a real purpose that just makes greater the relaxation that knitting brings: a baby blanket for some soon-to-be-first-time-parent friends of mine. Knitting baby yarn on size sixes at home, and chunky #6 yarn on size nines at school. The baby work seems even more delicate in comparison.

And a very nice IPA.

I don’t say this often, because i so hate to brag…but tonight, i’m livin’ the dream.