They’re Here

Mercilessly they came,
Gnashing their teeth,
War whoops televised over broadcast news.

Slyly they came,
With a wink and a nod,
Manipulating words and ideas through the airwaves.

Smugly they came,
Tweeting their way into power,
Lambasting the good and worthy throughout the internet.

Slowly they rose,
Climbing on the willing backs
Of those already bent from daily pressures none of them would ever face.

And a chant rang out,
“Lock her up” and “Build that wall,”
Inoculations activating a hard shell of resistance…

To ideas…

To community…

To differences.

Joyfully they came,
Looting and pillaging their aim,
As the shining city on the hill sat vacuously waiting.


In response to The Daily Post’s prompt: Pillage

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Share Your World – #52

It’s time for another installment of Cee’s Share Your World. Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

While I don’t eat ice cream very often, I have a lot of favorite flavors. Here goes:
– Moose Tracks
– Coffee (and any variation thereof)
– Peppermint
– Ben and Jerry’s Americone Dream
– Also B&J’s Cherry Garcia
– Red Bean Mochi Ice Cream

If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to?

I would make reservations to the 8 course New Year’s Eve dinner at our local bistro. I’ve always wanted to go, though I don’t know if I could justify the $75 per person dinner. I find it hard to finish a regular meal.

 Have you ever been drunk?

Tipsy once. I didn’t like the feeling, so I’ve been careful ever since. I also drove my college roommate home from a bar after she’d overindulged in tequila shooters. After stopping a few times, helping her stagger to the room, and watching her spend the night on the bathroom floor I decided I never wanted to get drunk. I prefer the feeling of self control.

Complete this sentence: My favorite supposedly guilty pleasure is… 

Food. I’ve eaten way too much of it this past week. I feel like I’m busting at the seams.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am very grateful to have had my whole little family together, if only for a few days. I’m also grateful that it has expanded to include  my new daughter-in-law along with her mom and brother.

In the upcoming week I look forward to not having to plan any trips or buy any presents. I need some rest.


Thanks again, Cee, for the great questions.

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Wishing you all peaceful end to 2016!

Ovation Coffee

Sunshine and I made the drive up to the airport yesterday. Another visit had passed much too quickly. Between a road trip, a wedding, and Christmas, the time flew by. Now that Christmas was over, everyone but me had gone back to work. Sunshine had taken more time off than she was allotted in her new job, but we’d managed to pack a lot into our short time together. We had walked downtown Flagstaff and the red canyons of Sedona. We had shopped our local stores and hit our favorite coffee spot. We had spent a week laughing and talking and singing to Christmas songs in the car (tormenting the boys in the process). We had cooked and cleaned and wrapped. It was all over with much too soon.

We had time for one last cup of coffee before she caught her flight. Sunshine directed me down to the Pearl to a place that she assured me got rave reviews on Yelp, Ovation Coffee and Tea.

This is not your ordinary coffee shop. Though some variation of lattes and Americanos are on the menu, everything had a Moroccan twist. I asked about the Moroccan spices and the barista listed cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, pepper among others. Now was not the time for that same old cup of Joe. My daughter, who I recently found out considered our coffee dates to be our version of the Gilmore Girls, had led me to a delicious coffee heaven where her show could be played out complete with the requisite coffee bowls in place of mugs. When our steaming, beautiful bowls of coffee were placed between us, I looked up at this woman who used to be my little girl and felt an overwhelming sense of pride and love. Though the miles may separate us and the days between our visits seem long, we will always manage to pack laughter and love and coffee into our time together.

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This tasted like coffee and a really good, not too sweet cookie. Delicious!

Inspired by real events…

and the Daily Post’s prompt: Ovation

Happy Holidays

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s the Christmas season. It could be the insanity of the past few weeks of planning, preparing, and packing, the 1,250 mile road trip, a graduation, a wedding, and/or anxiety over what I view as a disastrous election result that have stripped me of my usual Christmas cheer. Whatever the reason, I am caught off guard when someone wishes me best wishes of the season.

I’m oblivious to the lights lining the street, winding up trees and framing unfamiliar shop windows. I don’t see the happy shoppers bustling through stores on their mission to find the perfect gifts. I look back at the pictures of my son’s wedding and suddenly realize there’s a Christmas tree there.

Christmas. The season of cheer. Of generosity.

On my Facebook feed amid the sweet personal stories of grandchildren and funny memes reminding us of the bigger things in life, there was a comment related to Governor Kate Brown calling for a French revolution and bringing back the guillotine. This was yesterday. Happy Holidays. Twitter is full of vicious reminders that their guy won, that I should just get over it. Merry Christmas. Exit polls tell us that 80% of Evangelicals voted for a man thrice married, a man who has demeaned women, who has defrauded people of their hard-earned money, who lies constantly, a man who is stirring the pot of world instability before he even takes office. Have a blessed holiday season.

Don’t get me wrong. I am happy. Thrilled. Proud. My eldest graduated with honors… in science! He now holds a degree in physics and astronomy. I also have a new lovely and intelligent daughter-in-law who loves that son. At this moment my close little family surrounds me, and I am grateful for their warmth.

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But outside my little bubble the world has ominous clouds building on the horizon.

And I have to keep reminding myself that it is Christmas.

 

 

Share Your World #50

It’s time for another installment of Cee’s Share Your World. If you would like to play along, click here. Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

What is your favorite smell?

Coffee! I love walking into the house after I’ve made espresso and the smell is still lingering in the air.

I also love the crisp smell of juniper in dry Central Oregon air.

What memory does it remind you of?

Coffee doesn’t evoke a memory, but the juniper reminds me of my glory days as a young adult with no real responsibilities and loads of free time. It makes me think of carefree days and being outside.

What type of pet do you have or want to have?

I’m a dog person. I have four dogs now, all mutts. Technically, one of them is Maverick’s, but he’s a neglectful puppy parent, and the puppy has chosen me as his person.

 

Are you usually late, early, or right on time? 

I’m usually just a little bit late, though I value punctuality. It’s a time thing. I have decided that I really don’t have a good concept of time. Things take longer than I think and I end up scrambling.

For recharging, would you rather meditate, swim, walk, to music, write, read, yoga, qigong other?

Lately (as in during this election season) I’ve seriously thought about adding meditation to my schedule. I will do it; it’s just a matter of when. I find walks are good for recharging, as are trips to the gym. The problem with either is that when I need them the most, I have the hardest time getting started.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week I was grateful for the opportunity to do a good deed for a friend. I needed the time to pack for my trip, but she needed my help, so I stepped up. It felt even better to give when I had to sacrifice something in the process.

I look forward to my son’s graduation from college and wedding the very next day! (Crazy young people!)


Thanks to Cee for another fun writing challenge. This keeps me going when I am mired in worry about our collective future.

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Share Your World #49

It’s time for the latest installment of Cee’s Share Your World. Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

What do you value most in a friendship?

That’s a hard question to answer. A friend is someone who can be honest with you with all the love in her heart in a way that tells you they are not going anywhere. A friend is someone who will laugh and cry with you, someone who speaks and listens. She is someone who can be entrusted with your secrets. Is that trait filed under the heading dependability? Loyalty? Trustworthiness?

Do you prefer eating the frosting of the cake or the cupcake first?  Do you prefer a specific flavor?

My younger sister and I used to have a deal. Whenever we were served cake, the scraping would begin. Globs of gooey, lardy frosting would end up on her plate and light and luscious, airy cake would end up on mine, a trade deal that made us both very happy. (But, oh, her poor arteries!)

Now my cupcake M.O. is to split the cupcake in half horizontally and put the bottom over the frosting, making a cupcake sandwich. I’m not a huge cupcake fan, though. I usually pass on them (and I see a lot of cupcakes as a teacher), but if you set one in front of me, good chocolate with ganache or carrot with cream cheese, I’d probably eat at least a couple of bites this way.

Have you ever been in a submarine?  If you haven’t, would you want to?

My life is a submarine. Out of sight, out of mind, slightly claustrophobic, and always peering through a narrow viewfinder. Haha. (slight exaggeration)

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

I think I lead a pretty average life that’s somewhere near the upper middle of the bell curve. A few people I know have very happy, interactive families. The inability to reach that high hanging fruit is what keeps me from feeling truly satisfied in life. Otherwise, I can’t complain. I’ve been through a lot more than some and not as much as others. Life is a gift that I try to appreciate every day.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful for work. The expense/income ratio has been tipped to the former at a time when I’ve had a lot of unpaid time off for one reason or another. Time to start tipping it back the right way.

I look forward to heading to my son’s graduation and wedding. Two big milestones compacted into one weekend. 🙂


Thanks again to Cee for hosting this wonderful writing challenge.

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Build-Up Economics

I’ve been a news junkie lately. I can’t help it. It’s the election, and the subsequent insecurity about what changes will take place in my beloved country. I live on the edge of fear and a feeling of being activated, and I have oh, so many questions.

Today, for example, I was watching a segment of Morning Joe in which they were discussing the future of manufacturing in America. They were talking about the loss of jobs to cheaper labor in Mexico and China, about how $35/hr wages were being replaced with $15/hr wages here in my country, and that was compared to $5/hr in Mexico and $2.5/hr in China. If you listen to the pundits, the vast midwest was a deciding force in our election, and it’s full of people who lost good-paying jobs due to trade deals. So what’s the solution?

On this segment of the program, they discussed the realities of these jobs returning. The prospect was bleak. Automation is geared to replace workers, despite a return of manufacturing. My husband is the warehouse manager of a seed production warehouse. Even here they have automated, increasing production and making a backbreaking job much easier. Fifty pound bags of seed travel by conveyor belt instead of being hoisted from seed filler to pallet, as was the case when he started working there. Still, when he comes home complaining about the attitudes of the guys who work for him, their complaints about the hard work and long hours, I hear in his voice the frustration of dealing with actual human beings. On occasion he’s expressed the desire to fully automate. So where does that leave the American worker?

The issues are real. I can’t imagine right now stressing about my family’s future, but I’ve been in that position. I understand the desire to change, to find something else, something that might work, anything that might work. I can even kind of understand the nostalgia of going back to a time of production and employment that benefitted everyone.

Then my scientific mind kicks into gear and I think of osmosis. For those of you who are not scientifically inclined, osmosis is the process in which a solution is striving for equilibrium. If you put water that has salt water next to fresh water, separated by a semi-permeable membrane that only lets water molecules through, the water will migrate to the salt water space seeking equilibrium. I’ve often thought of this with regard to Mexico and illegal immigration. I used to wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to help Mexico improve its economy and standard of living for its own people. After all, who wants to uproot his or her life, travel to a country where you don’t speak the language, live in crowded conditions, and save as much as possible to send home? It’s a cost/benefit scenario. Osmosis. People who have little in the way of resources migrate to a place of greater resources because the resources can’t get through the membrane in the opposite direction. Societies, like solutions, striving for equilibrium.

Now we have an imbalance in economy. Wages in the U.S. are high, though still not a living wage for many. It’s still cheaper to ship supplies across the Pacific, assemble them, and ship them back than to make them locally.

I live in a small, conservative area that was hit hard by a decline in logging. People are budget minded, I get it. Still, the people of my town who probably voted for Donald Trump are the ones who support the king of low-cost shopping, Wal-Mart. They eat at Taco Bell and were excited when the new, expanded McDonald’s opened up. I know this because I watch it unfold on a daily basis over social media.

So here’s my question: Why do we look toward one person for solutions to this issue when there’s really a lot we can do for ourselves?

Personally, I choose not to shop at Wal-Mart if I can avoid it.If I do end up at Wal-Mart, I will stand in line and avoid the self-checker at all costs. I don’t want to see jobs replaced with automation. I don’t mind spending a little extra for human contact and the knowledge that people in my town have a chance to bring home a paycheck, however small it may be. I will buy the same products from employee-owned Bi-Mart, often for the same price or slightly cheaper. But those products are still mass produced overseas. Some things I have little control over. I’m hoping that my daily decisions have an impact, however small. I’ve heard that within a few years, most products will be distributed using self-driving trucks, putting many, many people out of work.

It’s all about choice. Do we want cheap and mass produced, or do we want a sense of community and national pride at being able to say we produced it ourselves? We live in the time of kickstarters, where a good idea and some people who believe enough in the idea to provide a little backing can transform the lives of whoever is associated with that supply chain. I’ve always thought that my little town could easily set up a small production of a specialized product, a quality apparel item, a craft food product, or sporting good. Small and specialized might be the way of the future. Of course you have to be in a good financial spot to even consider this, and that’s what many people in my country are struggling for right now.

We need to make some tough decisions. I realize that I’m at a good place in my life right now to be able to say I’d take quality over quantity or economy. It took time to get here. It took a vision of a scaled back life, where a smaller home and years of used cars allowed for freedom of financial choices. I think this is something to aspire to. We used to eat in all of the time. Now I’d rather pay a couple dollars more to eat at a local restaurant than to funnel my money up through a chain restaurant to an executive at the top. I’d rather buy my kids bottled soda on rare occasions than boxes of Coke that are on sale at the local Safeway. Even produce can be procured at local farmer’s markets, beautiful, sometimes unique foods that are fresh and support local people. (Though I noticed that local markets often buy local produce.) Those of us who can, should support this local economy.

Committing ourselves to each other needs to be a part of the national discussion. Billionaires are stingy folk. That’s how they got and kept their money. Trickle down economics don’t work. We need to take care of each other.


Photo credit: Tom Simpson via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Share Your World – #48

It’s time for another installment of Cee’s Share Your World. If you’d like to play along, click here. I’m a bit late getting it out this week, but here are my answers:

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts?  

I love nuts. I grew up eating peanut butter on just about everything. Though I’ve given that up, I still get nuts almost daily. A good trail mix is my go-to snack. Trader Joe’s sell some delicious ones. Oatmeal is better sprinkled with pecans or almonds, and there are usually nuts in my homemade biscotti. Pad Thai and pipian verde are a couple of favorite nutty main dishes. And who could forget pine nut laden pesto? Yum!

If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?

At this point, it might be a Shakespearean tragedy.

 Who talks real sense to you?

I have a friend from college who has always been my grounding force. We don’t talk too often anymore, unfortunately, but I know she will kindly and firmly question my more insane decision making processes. 🙂

Do you have a favorite board game?

Settlers of Catan. If you haven’t played it, you should. We played 3 consecutive games on Thanksgiving and each time beat the reigning champion strategist, my younger brother, much to our delight.

 

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am immensely grateful for a peaceful Thanksgiving devoid of political talk.

I don’t know if I look forward to decorating and baking right now, but I do look forward to seeing a decorated house and smelling fresh-baked cookies.



Thanks again to Cee for a fun writing challenge. Wishing you all a wonderful week!

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