Friday, February 16, 2018

I Need Another Day

It rained all day and even though we needed it everyone in Tucson was miserable.  After all, it rained yesterday, too.  It's a constant presence.  Combined with the clouds and the temperatures in the 50's and 60's, this more-than-a-drizzle-but-less-than-a-downpour mirrors my insides quite accurately.

I'm frozen.  Trying not to wail, to wallow, to go right back to that cold sidewalk, I'm only partially successful.  Like the steady rain on the outside, there's unwelcome background noise on the inside, too.  It's the guilt I feel for not feeling.

Protecting myself = Ignoring their pain .... that's an equation that eats at me. 

I try not to judge myself.  Most of the time, I succeed.  But typing to you forces me to think, and right now thinking is not where I want to be.  So, if you will indulge me, I'll take the night off.  I'll go on creating a Princess Poppy troll hat for FlapJilly. I'll watch the Olympics.  I'll read some of the fourth C. J. Box mystery.

I'll try not to think.

Today I mourn.  Tomorrow, back to work.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Can't

I just can't.

Writing about it is impossible.
Thinking about it is impossible. 
Holding it in my heart redefines impossible.

So, I'm going to watch Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, both  resplendent in pink.
I'm going to wonder with the Science Channel whether Nikola Tesla invented a death machine.
I'm going to watch women skate furiously and ski fearlessly.

I'm going to try not to cry.

We don't have to live like this.
We don't have to die like this.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day

 Hearts are everywhere, and not only today.
There's the heart Yogi Mary found in nature, the one I sometimes use as my Facebook photo.
 There's the heart the Mesa Mavens drew for me at the first Stroll and Roll.
There's the heart that bereft parents look at and cry.
And there's the one I send to you, denizens, filled with everything wonderful and beautiful.
Happy Happy Valentines Day to the people who make my heart sing and my fingers fly over the keyboard, each and every day.  Thanks.... for being here, for commenting, for reading, for caring.

Without your presence, there would be no Burrow.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Out of the Mouths of Babes

She's 7 years old, now, 18 months or more after her best friend, Jacob Hall, the only boy she'd ever kissed, the one she was going to marry someday, was gunned down in front of her, at recess. They had just started first grade.  Ava Rose Olsen is home-schooled now.
She was on CNN this afternoon, teleconferencing from a large leather chair.  Her mom was there, too, describing in agonizing detail how her happy child was now diagnosed with PTSD.  She has her good days, but she is often angry and sad and frightened for her brother, who is still attending that elementary school.

That Elementary School.  The one where she heard and saw what guns can do to someone she loved.  That Elementary School, where, she wonders in pencil to her President:
Are you going to keep kids safe? How can you keep us safe?”
Good questions, ones that the President, who watches a lot of tv (as the interviewer told the little girl), might be watching.  Did the President answer your questions in his response? NO! was her bold reply, staring straight into the camera.  What else would you ask him?  What will you do? came back as quickly as it was answered.

This could be a feel good story about a young gun safety advocate's efforts to right the wrongs wrought by guns. I could stop right here. Preaching to the choir, I picture you all nodding your heads.  No one should ever have to feel that way, especially not a 2nd grader.

But what I took away from this was her reaction when the interviewer asked her mother a question that included the word shooting.  Ava Rose's eyes widened, she put her colorful stuffed animal over her left ear, she tucked the right side of her body as close into that big leather chair as it could be.  She sat that way until something made her startle.  She listened for a moment, then stuck a finger in each ear and stared off into the distance. 

One word did that to her.  Her mom says she puts stickers over words that frighten her when she's reading; watching her on tv it's easy to believe that.... and more.  As the tears dribbled down my face, I was back on the sidewalk, holding CTG's hand, twisted up inside.... and it's been 7 years.... and I'm 6 decades older and wiser than little Ava Rose.

And it hurts, no matter where or who or when.

Keep on fighting the good fight, little one.  You'll make a difference, even if it is only around the margins.  Your true voice will resonate, loudly, clearly, personally.  You'll know what you did to right the wrongs, even if the President can't hear what you're saying.

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Annual President's Day Rant

I first published this in 2011. 
 It remains one of my favorite rants.
I remember when THIS was the most aggravating thing our government did.
Mary Ball Washington gave birth to a boy child on February 22, 1732. Unlike many of the stories surrounding this man (think cherry trees and coins across the Potomac and standing up in an open boat as it crossed the Delaware) this is an indisputable fact.

Mary was not in labor on the third Monday of February.  She produced her child on a specific day - the 22nd day of February.  His birthday didn't move around with the vagaries of the federal holiday calendar.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln met her second son, Abraham, 209 years ago today.  Like Mrs. Washington before her, she was not in labor on an indeterminate day sometime in the middle of the month.  It occurred on a certain day, a day formerly commemorated by school children and mail carriers alike.

Alas and alack, these fine gentlemen have been conflated into Presidents and their birthdays combined into a generic celebration designed primarily to afford employees the opportunity for a 3-day weekend in the middle of the winter. What was wrong with the old system, I wonder?  As an elementary school kid I looked forward to those random days off in the middle of the month.  One day, breaking up the routine.  One celebration for each president - pennies examined on the 12th, leadership and lying (not) on the 22nd.

There was no time for a weekend away (not that G'ma and Daddooooo could have afforded to take us anyplace anyhow) and there was no competition between students for who went the furthest and had the most fun.  It was an opportunity to go sledding at Bethpage (the Black Course was used for many things in my youth; this was the best of them) or to meet friends at the bowling alley and then walk to Smiles (our precursor to a 5-and-dime) where we cruised the aisles until our parents picked us up.

It was grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon on the side, eaten on paper plates and accompanied by the admonition Don't Tell Daddy since the bacon was not exactly kosher and he cared a lot more than did G'ma.  There were snow forts to be built, snowball fights to be fought, snow men to be built. The entire neighborhood roamed from front yard to front yard, creating and tumbling and finding warmth and drinks and the occasional bathroom in whichever house we happened to be in front of when the need arose.

And now?  Now President's Day is always an event.  It's a long weekend for which plans must be made.  It has no intrinsic meaning, no relationship to George or Abe or any of their colleagues.  Their faces are used to advertise white sales and car sales and furniture sales and The History Channel runs back to back episodes of The Presidents but that's about the size of the historical component.  What began as tributes to great men has devolved into spending opportunities for the masses.

Am I bitter?  You bet.  A day off followed by another one 10 days later.... what better way to combat the winter doldrums than that?  A random day, a day to cuddle under the blankets with your sweetie or to do all that laundry that interfered with your weekend plans and so still sits in the basket, mocking you.  A day to explore the neighborhood and have lunch in that place you've driven by 100 times before..... a day just to be.

Sometimes, when I was a girl really was better.

Friday, February 9, 2018

It's So Hard to Be Three


Mamma, I wanna watch Cinderella videos now, I got all ready she says sweetly, proudly, while gently rubbing her mother's elbow.

Mother rouses herself, looks at the clock, and explains the situation.

FlapJilly, you know that the clock has to say 6 or 7 before you can get out of bed .... it's too early for videos...

She is interrupted,

But I got myself all ready!!!! the kid wails, disconsolately, piteously, loudly, in the dark, certain of the righteousness of her request.

And then Little Cuter notices the damp hair, the neater-than-bed head-curls, the headband.... and as they lie down to snuggle each other to sleep, she rolls over onto to the brush and the spray bottle....  and she realizes that, in fact, FlapJilly had gotten herself all ready... all by herself.

And, tired as she was, she smiled.
If this is too much of a grandma-alone-is-interested-in-this post, I apologize.
Sometimes, she's all that I can think about. 

I refuse to write about spousal abusers in the White House.
I refuse to write about a military parade tearing up the pavement on Pennsylvania Avenue.

I want to revel in the antics of my grandchild, hoping that the world becomes worthy of her.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I'm Out of Sorts

A cloud has been following me around, trying to catch up.  I feel it over my shoulder, around a corner, hiding in the rosemary hedge outside my window.  It's somewhat terrifying, somewhat mystifying, and totally sad.

I haven't had a bad day in quite some time.  This feels like one trying to get in. 

I hid, for a while, in the next C J Box mystery.  But, it's set in Wyoming in December and the description of the snow and the ice and the wind had me shivering in the sunshine.  I put the book down and came to the desk, hoping that I could sort it out through my fingers.

I'm not having much luck with that, as you can see.

I'm fed.  I have fun plans for the evening.  I got a great haircut.  I played tether ball with first graders and put stickers on 4th graders and complimented third graders on their respectful demeanor.  All of that should be enough to put a smile on my face.

Oh.  Wait a minute.  I had a body work session after lunch.  Deep belly work, it's been said, releases emotions in a rush.  This, I think, is the first time it's happened to me.  The sad is deep, penetrating, as if I've been punched in the gut.  And, though with finesse and knowledge and care and love, that's kind of what happened. 

Rubbing and smoothing and plying my center seam with healing balms, helping my scar tissue break up and become absorbed back into the ebb and flow, she  put things back in place.  We stretched my psoas and opened my ribs and if it all sounds a little gruesome, rest assured that, except for this emotional download, it's been efficient and beneficial and, strangely, a lot of fun.

I like knowing what's connected to what inside my skin.  This work brings it into sharp relief; I can feel the blood going through my veins.  Slumping at the keyboard is not an option; it feels much better to sit up and out of my hips.  Last time she used trainer's tape to remind me to keep my back long.  This afternoon, I'm figuring it out for myself.

And, sitting up straight is also, somehow, putting a smile on my face.  Or, perhaps, the smile comes from sharing my woes and finding a solution right in front of an audience. 

Thanks for listening, denizens.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are the cheapest and most effective therapy I've ever had.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ground Control to Major Tom

Intrepid Cat said it best:
Some day watching a launch like that will be a regular boring thing.
Today I am ugly crying because they actually did it, and it worked, the math held, and the boosters landing in parallel was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
I'm obsessed with the video of the take-off and the landing of the 2 booster rockets.
The video starts one minute before blast off; if you want more, SpaceX has an hour's worth of static shots right here.  Watch the cameras mounted on the boosters pick up Earth's outline and see if you're not just a little teary.  Just thinking about the calculations that went into the parallel landings right on the FH logo made my head hurt.  The geeky white boys at the end, cheering themselves and their accomplishment, are a 21st century reincarnation of the geeky white boys showcased in Apollo 11
I love the idea that eternity now contains a mannequin circling the sun in a bright red Tesla,
 David Bowie on an endless loop,
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's mantra on the dashboard display. 

Don't Panic.
That's really sound advice.

As our democracy is assaulted from within,
I'm going to believe that Elon Musk was talking to all of us,
not just the fellow behind the wheel up there. 

Don't Panic.  Instead, put your feet up and watch the live video.  Invest some time in it, because the views shift.  Don't miss the shots of Starman behind the wheel, with Earth over his shoulder.  It will make it easier not to panic, knowing that the world is capable of such wonders.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What's Going On?

Is everyone reading the same memo?

Do you feel that you are living in an alternate universe?

Do you wonder why the President of the United States shrugs and giggles while accusing elected members of Congress of treason?

There are some days it doesn't make sense to read the paper or watch the news.  It will only confuse and confound and upset you, no matter what your political preferences. 

I'm going to watch the next episode of Counterpart.  There, at least, the duality is acknowledged.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Super Bowl - Random Thoughts

I had half a dog in this game.  Nick Foles is a UofA graduate. 

Of course, so is Ron Gronkowski. 

On Friday, my 3D mammogram technician, a Philly native, urged me to care about her Eagles. 

A friend promised retribution if any of her Facebook friends were Patriots fans.
One sentence at a time, that's how I watched the game. There was a lot of offense and not a lot of penalties, so I could be fairly certain that there would be something worth watching when I cruised past the tv.  I couldn't sit still all afternoon.

I spent most of the pre-game and into the first quarter pruning my rose bushes which cannot make up their minds regarding dormancy. 

I grilled steaks outside, listening to the coyotes and Justin Timberlake, as they got ready for halftime.

I laughed at the thought of Minneapolis, where there are no degrees to be reported.
When the Rolling Stones performed at the Super Bowl half time, Little Cuter wondered why and oldies band was an appropriate choice. 

Tonight, I reminded myself that NSYNC was her music.  I wonder how Justin Timberlake played for her now.
The commercials were all about tolerance.  I had none - there would be no talking while they were running.

TBG promised that he would take the phone into another room if he had to speak to his son during the game's interruptions, and it took only one plaintive look for him to take the phone off speaker and remove himself from my presence. 

I missed him, but not for long.  "I want to watch these babies," he told Big Cuter as he cut their connection. 

I knew I was right.
And then the back up beat the superstar and large men in sweaty numbered uniforms, many of them holding babies wearing headphones, leaned in to kiss a shiny silver trophy as it made its way to the podium. 

Game over.  No more football for many months to come.

Life is good.


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