Pure Blather: a birthday countdown post

I’m wearing the eye shade from having my pupils dilated at eye exam, and who knows how this typing will go? I’m inclined to include all mistakes. Shade
Man, there I was, being my brother, and really probably my other brother, and my dad, having this whole long exchange with the various eye people and another customer and the Starbuck’s girl, and by the way, hush, on that point. That was a treat, which I have maybe once a month or every six weeks. I get a double tall breve latte, which is to say, some espresso and half and half. In winter hot, in summer on ice. More on that in a bit.

The front lawn is covered in clover, which is basically awesome, but not in my neighborhood, because you can’t putt theoretical golf balls on a clover-filled lawn, and it “don’t look classy” or whatever these people think taste is. Clover is important; it provides nitrogen to soil and food for bees. And I kinda think it’s pretty. But it has to be mowed, and it won’t be me doing it today, because my pupils are wide open and feel pretty weird. And it will rain yet again tomorrow, so one of these characters who isn’t working today needs to get to it.

Anyway, I thought I would tell you about my day. I meant to do a birthday countdown post each day this week, but was sort of bummed yesterday, and now I know it was probably because I didn’t hang around in the sun for awhile. I require sunlight in order to do life. And so here we are today, in which the minimum level of sunlight has been applied.

Hot flashes! I was being all tao about that, you know, because this thing is dragging on forever, it seems, but while I have said all along I want nature to just take its natural course, I would now like nature to just go on and get it done. I reflect on that perhaps differently than some other women, because my mother was a few months younger than I am now when she entered full menopause, and then she died two years later with breast cancer, eyes clouded by cataracts. Well, my eyes are real healthy, despite no longer being astounding at their assigned roles. I’m carrying less extra weight than her, though a bit more than I’d like. And last time I checked, I didn’t get the cancer. But I don’t want to be in a hurry to pass to the next stage of life; I have no frame of reference for it.

I like to think I won’t get the cancer, but part of it is a kind of crap shoot, they say. I have, at least, fewer risk factors than she did. I’m going to assume cheerfully that I inherited Dad’s family’s tendency toward long life, instead of Mom’s family’s much more uneven record.

Okay, here’s the thing. This is a long blog post already, so if you’re bored, let’s call it done and say these were reflections on soon turning 52 that I thought others might find amusing or thoughtul. It was lovely to see you again. And if you like, you can tune in tomorrow for something undoubtedly different.

Shopping

On the other hand, I am still typing, so if you want to carry on reading what spills from my mind, here you go.

First, have you ever listened to Andy Griffith tell a story? It’s how he made his mark before playing a couple super creepy characters in the movies and then getting to be a hokey version of himself on TV for eight years. Anyway. It’s something quite…unto itself. Watch this bit in which he’s explaining a country feud to Opie.



I always crowd-source new glasses choices if I can. Today two opticians and a customer helped me choose new frames after I had my checkup with the doctor. I picked blue ones. Well, the first blue ones I picked were 200 dollars. That wasn’t happening. We managed to find some for 80. They won't be 80, though. Partly why I go to Target is that they know me there now, and Amy will play mob accountant for half an hour to get me the best I can get for the least I have to spend. I asked her about those mail order glasses things, and about how easy it might be for somebody to measure their own eyeballs at home in the mirror, which sounds absurd to me. We agreed it’s probably all right if you’re just regular near-sighted, or need readers. But add in two different astigmatisms, and middle-aged close-up needs, and then that middle bit which needs a number of its own? Then it starts to seem silly. Glasses
The doctor informed me I’ll never be able to clearly see the bridge on a cello from the gallery again, unless I use opera glasses. Well, she said binoculars, but we meant opera glasses. I told her I would feel okay about it if I had a better understanding of what normal far-off vision is. Apparently it’s pretty much what I have now with the corrective lenses. I am no longer special in this regard, alas. :-)

Let’s pause for hot flash time. My ceiling fan remote and I are growing very intimate.

Okay, well, I went down the hall to Starbucks before leaving and got my iced double tall breve latte, aka espresso with half and half, and I asked about these cold brew options being advertised. One is sweetened and contains coconut milk. The other is just coffee. I said I might try that one sometime (next month) because what I think of as properly sweetened is just waving the notion of the sugar over the cup, and other people seem to like a whole other thing. The girl nodded and told me yesterday someone asked for “14 pumps” of vanilla syrup in her drink. I estimate that to be around 7 oz of syrup. In a 20 oz cup. We shared a sick face at the thought.

The dilation is wearing off much quicker this year. I think they got a new style of drops. I don’t feel normal yet, but can see fine, and the light isn’t bad.

It occurred to me today that I’ve often mentioned how I learned about cultural equality, that is, the need for it, from music I heard as a child, but actually and also, I learned about some important elements of social “justice” from my favorite TV shows, M*A*S*H and Barney Miller, as well as a few others from that era. I’m going to take up that topic sometime soon and talk it out. Maybe tomorrow, maybe some other time. Petunias


My Two Darrins: A Little Ado, A Lot of Nothing

Now and then I start thinking about an old out of date topic, make some idle remark on it, and learn that I have uncovered a passionate opinion that others will not ever let go. Humanity: maddening, yet sometimes adorable.

Darrin Stephens, fictional husband of fictional Samantha, star of Bewitched, is one such topic. Such intensity. And it’s my own fault I remained slightly mired in it.

First, Twitter is forever. Well, kind of. Not if you used Brizzly or Twitpic. But anyway. Nearly two months ago I came out in favor of Darrin number two, because he doesn’t stress me, and oh, what an unpopular opinion that turned out to be. Only I accidentally removed the most fired up tweet from this combined screenshotTweeting

So after the third person hearted the disagreement over a month after I shocked (a super tiny part of) the world with my heavy-handed proclamation, I got to thinking, “That must mean someone is doing a Twitter search for this very topic.” And why? Therefore, I examined Darrin number one further, which I hadn’t done in awhile. I forgot what an imposing physicality he possessed. Maybe that was attractive. Was it? For research purposes I typed into the Google box, “Was Dick York fit” or maybe I typed “did people think Dick York was sexy,” or honestly, I don’t remember. It was three or four days ago. And this was the top result.  Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 8.00.05 PM

I kind of thought that sometimes he looked like an old lady with a rictus grin, but maybe if he’d have taken off his shirt during the show, I’d have forgiven him that and his general daily wailing. He looked good with a beard in Wagon Train. Bearded dick

As an aside, I’ve read that the term beefcake was originally used to describe the unbelievably handsome Guy Madison. I ran across a picture of him in later years the other day, and golly, he really held up.

Anyway, recently, between the first thing and this thing, Antenna TV asked on Facebook, as they do, “which replacement actor did you like better?” and I don’t usually answer, but wasn’t thinking clearly, I guess, and I said, “Aunt Vivian and Darrin Stephens.”

And that whole thing went on for too long.
Facebooking
What on earth possessed me to remain in the conversation and make sure I finished it? But I’m sure no one disagrees with me about Aunt Viv.

It’s not that I found Darrin number two attractive. And he wasn’t very…butch, I guess, is what I mean. Without falling into the trap of discussing who was in a better situation, Jeannie or Samantha, because that’s a fiery hotbed of disagreement, let me tell you, I had to wonder who Samantha, the character we know, would prefer in bed. (I've forgotten how this relates to Astronaut Tony Nelson, to be honest. Maybe another bit of blather sometime.) Whiny Darrin or Exasperated Darrin. I just have to believe Darrin number two knew things that Darrin number one would never have been able to imagine. And I don’t think Dick Sargent was so wealthy he’d have a 37 year-old boyfriend at the time of his death for that reason alone. There’d have to be other perks. Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 8.00.43 PM
But I don’t want to “argue” about any of that ever again, because it’s a super weird thing to do. Also, let it be known, in case those Twitter ladies find me, that I think Dick York was swell, and it probably wasn’t his fault about the overabundance of sclera, or that he was made to look like a useless tool in an oddly fitting suit coat.

For someone funny who agrees with me, sort of, click on the picture.  Read the comments so you don't think I'm making this all up.Two darrins


Domestic Doings, W songs, and a bit of eccentric serendipity

It all started because we were out of cat food, and also Kroger had a huge bakery surplus yesterday, heavily marked down. But I mean, I didn’t know we were out of cat food while at the store. I just got the bread, and some other things.

There was a sliced sourdough loaf and a package of brioche buns. And I got them out to ponder this morning, when the cat started meoling at me. I realized she had no food, so I pulled out leftover roast chicken from a few days ago, and managed to get some dark meat from it. The dark meat has taurine in it, which cats need. And so I decided to make stock from the remainder of the chicken, and put it in the stock pot, but as I was pulling out celery, carrots, and half an unpeeled onion from the refrigerator, it occurred to me I hadn’t cleaned in there since the beginning of the year! It was not a good situation, because that is wrong. You can’t treat a refrigerator like a clothes closet you throw things into when you’re feeling lazy or out of sorts instead of hanging them up. So I put the stock to boil and began emptying the refrigerator. Soupstock
And while I was doing all this, I put the iPod in my little kitchen stereo and started with Anya Marina’s “Waters of March,” which is the best version of that song, though they are all great, because it is the best song. I was really busy cleaning, so it just kept playing through W songs and I thought, well, that’s fine. I will have W song day. Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.26.53 PM
I got to thinking about how, eighteen months ago, my grocery budget was more than I needed, and things are now dwindling fast, but condiments last so long, even if the pantry gets low, I will still have five different kinds of mustard in the refrigerator. Life is odd that way. Refrigerator
Because of a miscommunication, we have more eggs than anybody maybe ought to have, so I thought I’d use some in bread pudding with the brioche buns. Then I remembered I forgot to add a chicken neck to the pot, so I got one from the freezer. My freezer door has a bottle of gin and several chicken necks in it. Life is also like that, if you are me.

Speaking of which. My friend Karen recently ordered a whole bunch of old Playboys for me, from what I figure is their peak period, the mid 60s right before Penthouse started up and changed things. They have come so far in three packages, and today’s had several from 1963. I stopped to flip through one and saw there was a review for the movie Mondo Cane. I decided to set it aside and remember to read that later, because I had to take someone to work. Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.43.10 PM
When I returned, I ate a sandwich while watching The Joey Bishop Show, as one does, and lo and behold, there was Andy Williams singing “More!”



That song is from Mondo Cane. A neat bit of serendipity. And I must say, though I like Darin’s version best, and not so much Sinatra's, Williams did it exactly like I imagine it was written. But then of course, he would, wouldn’t he? Here, if you're interested, from a concert.

The second episode of the show for today featured fun talent show-type performances from several members of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Here's some of that.


Now I have a clean organized refrigerator, and lots of soup stock, and not any bread pudding yet, but that’s all right. If you are working with a strict kitchen limit, it’s important to stay organized and keep track of your inventory. You have more scope for creativity that way, and also it’s depressing and overwhelming to deal with chaos on top of budgetary concerns. No one needs that. You might get home from taking a second someone to work and discover the dog got out without his collar on, and when you get home from finding him, the last thing you want is to have to weed through Ziploc bags and old sour cream containers in order to find your dinner ingredients. Something to bear in mind.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.43.19 PM


Pictures hanging in a hallway and the fragment of a song

“You’ve told that story before.”

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t sure he’d heard it.”

“Well, you bring it up and I think somehow it must still bother you.”

“To be sadly honest, it’s probably just me getting older and forgetting.”

“But there must be something lingering or you wouldn’t think about it.”

“I never do think about it. Something I see like this cartoon will trigger the memory, and since the cartoon is so similar to the joke he told which started the whole thing, it reminded me. That’s all. I’ll remember not to retell it aloud anymore.”


How to tell a person who is much younger and still inclined to heightened emotional perception that quite a lot of what you think about is just triggered by keywords or pictures, linking themselves to the past like a phrase someone says which reminds you of an old song? Because each link is a little different, you don’t always realize before speaking that it is merely the same non-fascinating story to someone else. And that is, I suppose, why some older people bore some younger ones so often. We still make new stories, new memories, but we relive many of the old ones as our brain works to keep everything fully accessible and operational by alerting us to parallel situations. It's strengthening pathways, keeping us on top of things. Cufflink
It’s unlikely I’ll repeat that tiny tale again, but it is a certainty I will repeat others.

I never had the luxury of learning to be patient with my parents as they aged. My mother did not age much past where I am now. And I moved far, far away from my father, so I didn’t see the developing process. I saw the conclusion of it, and regretted the loss of all that space between. The Dad-shaped hole in my life isn’t because of his death, but because of the fifteen previous years we were apart. Pocketwatch
I am not sure my kids will see the aging process in me as something enriching for their own lives. That worries me a little. But everyone forges their own path as they can. I am preparing now to understand impatience I might face, but I also expect to not be treated like a child, or a fool. My thoughts are already a little slower sometimes, but they are also a whole lot deeper. Not deeper like discussing Kant and Heidegger. Deeper like soup that simmered for a good long time and has developed layers of flavor, nuanced richness, satisfying comfort. I hope I get to simmer for many more years, because there’s still a lot to take in and to share. Pocket


It made my evening, anyway

I turned on the TV this evening to keep me company while I made linguini and meatballs, then left it on for the dog, for some silly reason, when I went out to pick up my son from his job. AND THAT WAS AWESOME TO DO. Because if I'd turned it off before leaving, I probably wouldn't have bothered to turn it back on. But Dick Cavett was on the Decades channel, and I'd been meaning to check in with that, so I sat down to have a look. Eartha Kitt was the guest, and she was interesting and pretty and a little bitter, but that's fine, and then Dick started listing the movies his next guest starred in. I wasn't paying any attention at that moment, to be honest, but suddenly I realized they were all William Holden movies. I held my breath. Okay, probably not, but let's say I did.

And there he was, in a nicely fitted dark suit and perfect narrow 1969 tie, in one of his sober periods, I guess, talking about African conservation efforts and being serious and dreamy. I was swimming in a world of magic show. Dick asked pretty good questions, too. Bill told Eartha it was okay about her leopard furs, which I thought was nice. He said when she bought them, leopards weren't endangered, but don't buy anymore. 20170206_202606
As if that wasn't awesome enough
, Dick told us his next guest would be Rex Stout! I never before saw him in a TV interview, so I was super excited, and of course he was good. He was a brilliant man, erudite and charming. For this interview, Dick was kinda awkward, but it rolled along well, anyway. Mr. Stout told us he was working toward better copyright laws for authors and explained about that. I think they've gone too far at this point, but he made a good case for how he wanted it to be in 1969—when he was nearly 83, by the way.

I was so excited I wanted to tell everyone! But honestly, even in my family, there isn't a single person who could understand the thrilling sensation of seeing a talk show featuring both Bill Holden and Rex Stout, and purely by accident. Screenshot_20170206-212834Sometimes this sort of thing makes me feel a little lonely, but not for long. It is what it is, I'm just me, and that's just fine. Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 10.38.15 PMNo one cares, you dweeb.

Interestingly, as I was picking up my other son from his job after the show ended, a local radio station played "Crazy Baldhead" from Bob Marley's Rastaman Vibration, which I was just talking about last week. A nice piece of serendipity to conclude the affair.


analogy wrapped in analogy, the I in me, maybe in you, too

I started writing this for a Google Plus collection and it grew too long and too personal, and I dunno. I excised some of the personal bits and left others and decided to add it here. I'm agitated this season, and also reminiscent. I'd rather get back to the superficial and trivial, and probably will soon. Snake

People thought I was an arrogant kid at times, and maybe I was. It wasn't intentional. People sometimes think that now, but they're just mistaking confidence and self-possession for something outer-directed. I am meek at times, but I can't fake it when I don't feel it. And how I feel about me says nothing about what I think about you.

When I was a little girl, I used to confuse the names of two songs, and found it confusing to hear one when I thought I would be hearing the other. They are “Louie, Louie,” by The Kingsmen, and “Brother Louie” by Stories. It’s possible you know of it primarily as a Hot Chocolate song, but I knew only the US version, which, honestly, has way better vocals. (but the lyrics are slightly changed in this performance, so here they are for the recording.)


My biggest brother had the “Brother Louie” record, with Adam and Eve at the top of the label, and I remember him explaining it to me. This was at the beginning of my interest in what was going on in the world, what with Watergate and all. But I’d already spent my earliest years being conditioned by songs that taught me we’re all the same and should learn to live together and love together, so I was suitably horrified at parents who would reject their children if they loved someone of another color, or as I learned a little later, if they had matching parts. I lived in such a bubble.  Reed
Outside my bubble people were unnecessarily competitive and tediously combative, and they agitated me. But I suppose I also never wanted to believe people were as terrible as they sometimes seemed. Why should they be? It just causes problems.

I used to cry, as they say, at the drop of a hat. This annoyed people. But if they’d looked into things carefully, and they didn’t, bless all their sharp minds, the parents and brothers at my house would have realized that as I was rarely particularly greedy or attention-seeking, I was mainly just upset when things seemed to make no goddam sense, and no one was straightening them out. I have never been able to tolerate, by way of analogy, TV show episodes in which people spoke at cross-purposes and seemed to willfully misunderstand each other, leading to horribly stressful “hijinks” and possibly wrongful accusations. The characters would laugh over the confusion in the end, and I’d feel like punching the wall, and everyone else acted like it was just a piece of silly fiction, which it was, but it also happened in real life, and I knew that. And in real life, the problems didn’t go away after 25-26 minutes. (Currently, TV misunderstandings are resolved in 20-21 minutes.)

I hurt for everyone I knew of, real and occasional fictional, who seemed victimized by the illogical and sometimes ignorant notions of others, to a disproportionate degree if you asked the people around me. I still have those sensibilities, though I don’t cry over it very often anymore. I do what I can for the world, but am better at driving off house sparrows than curing bigotry.

I think it’s okay to be both driven by logic and tender in spirit. Sometimes it’s a little rough on your offspring, but hopefully they look back and understand. Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 10.45.41 AM
Because I tend to seek logic in everything, I appear even now fairly naive and insular to more "worldly" types. I am mostly confused by people who’d rather hate than love, which honestly, sucks up so much energy, doesn’t it? I’m confused by people who think how things are in one place at one time should dictate how things ought to be in another place and another time, with a whole different set of other conditions, as well. I’m confused a whole lot lately in particular by people who assign concrete characteristics to huge groups of people based on a few of the more irritating or senseless types who get attention because they’re loud and obnoxious. Like all the kids who annoyed everyone in their individual 5th grade classes grew up and got louder and suddenly we’re accused of being a party to their incivilities, because we still can’t shut them up. But maybe I’m digressing too far. I've lost sight of my thesis.

The better angel of my nature reminds me that people are all worth more than the sum of their individual parts, and this includes people who don’t think so of others. Ray Stevens says it here, also as part of my inimitably sappy 70s childhood.

 


Five minutes of your time, plus 5:42 more

I want about six minutes of your time to listen to a song, really listen, but first I’m going to witter on about this and that for five minutes because it’s what I do. Pretend I'm telling you all about our vet visit before finally posting the cake recipe you Googled.

I’ve been unwell again this week. The flu we all caught at Christmas passed along, but left me susceptible to every other living thing managing to hang on through the insane temperature shifts, and I haven’t been able to shake them all off very well.

So I’ve spent more than a tasteful amount of time lolling around reading books and watching movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries wondering if Kavan Smith, a chief resident of the Hallmark stud barn, can even tell any of his leading ladies apart anymore, or if they’re all just a vague blur of pert light brown-haired self-sufficiency with a sensitive backstory.  As well, I developed an odd pash for The Joey Bishop Show, which is on Antenna TV every weekday at 1 pm just now. More on that, or not, some other time.

This past weekend I was feeling pretty well, so I took a break from all that, and on Saturday, the man and I planned duel enjoyment of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Symphony, to which I have subscribed for four years.

The museum was packed, because it was the final weekend of their special Van Gogh exhibit, so we inched along the drive toward the parking lot for quite awhile, taking our ease, when off to my right striding swiftly along the sidewalk, I saw a pair of really stellar ochre corduroy trousers. I mean, they were being worn by an entire person doing the striding, but that was secondary at first, until the man, who was driving, said, “Isn’t that Louis Langrée?”

And indeed it was. We thought that was a neat bit of serendipity, since we’d see him later that night conducting the symphony. And I enjoyed his pants very much. But then, you see, I always do. I enjoy tilting my head at his charming aspect as he enthusiastically conducts the music, though I don’t have quite the same level of passion for him as my neighbor across the road, who is about 15 years older than me, definitely the nicest person I know here, and definitely very into Louis. She will gush, if asked. C’est compréhensible. He has true presence, that one, n’est çe pas? Et il porte bien son pantalon.

He left, we parked and went in to enjoy the museum for a couple hours; Novemberlight
Seating
they have a really neat exhibit right now featuring art works by employees, so if you live around here, go check it out. Employed
And then we went to Anchor-OTR for soup and little things, though to be completely honest I would rather have been at Zula across the street, but reasons and such intervened, and the Anchor is nice anyway, and then to the symphony, which is at Taft Theatre this year, and I regret each time we go having chosen floor seats instead of the balcony. We are seated near the back under the overhang of the balcony, so the sound isn’t as nice as it might be, and we have aisle seats, which are very tightly squeezed together. We always have to rise and move into the aisle for latecomers to take their seats farther in. The tech guy near us crackles wrappers the entire time, and on Saturday, a patron nearby enjoyed a bag of mini pretzels and a bottle of Coke. These noises are not absorbed well, and they irritate even when a pre-concert martini has been thoroughly applied. Though that helps. Next year at the newly remodeled Music Hall should be much nicer. I will have a commanding view, better sound, and will not covet so much one of the private boxes along the side of the theatre.

That night, a small ensemble of the orchestra and members of the May Festival chorus performed the Bach Cantata No. 150, and Langrée, now in his customary black tunic and trousers, called joyfully for an encore of the final segment of it. He spoke with enthusiasm about the Van Gogh exhibit. Then we heard Anton Webern's Passacaglia and after the intermission, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, which is such a lovely piece of math. He conducted it at a clip, and we discussed afterwards the French tendency toward this, but I liked it fine. We ended the evening with a glass of wine at 1215 Wine Bar, and it all made for a lovely reprieve from the Endless Eight of sickness, and uncertainty about the financial outlook of 2017. Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 8.05.36 PM
gloria knee socks bass a lot of bass, tongue tied young holt flicker mix midi keyboards mantra boy


Okay, that line is my notes for the second half, but I’m not in the mood to type all that so here. Imagine it’s raining hard, but the rain feels distant inside your comfortable space with the practically new chair from Salvation Army sitting under a window with an overgrown plant next to it. You don’t have to be in a dark room to enjoy the Cure, but it helps to set a physical mood sometimes. It should be silent, the kind of silence you command with thoughts that reside just beneath the surface of your skin. Be still. Curl up and listen to this song as it tiptoes in and builds and gathers and swells and then fades away. Go on. Play it, and if you’ve heard this song before, but not the Mixed Up version, I think you’ll appreciate what they did with it.


These days we crowd our heads with music and it’s in all our backgrounds so much of the time, and we take it for granted. Sometimes it’s good to stop and let it be special for a few minutes, instead. I hate the idea that we need to occasionally reteach ourselves how to just listen, but what I witness every three-four weeks at the symphony tells me it is so. When I think of the time and effort and sweat and earnest hopes and desires that go into the composition, production, and performance of a piece of music and then I hear it over the phone, scratchily keeping me on hold while I wait around for someone to tell me to “turn it off and then back on again,” I figure the least I can do is pay some respect to all that artistic drive and effort by sharing a good piece of music now and then, channeling my dad briefly; “Shhh, listen, here’s the solo.”

You can do this with the Cure or with Brubeck or Brahms. Or somebody newer than all that, as you like.

Wine


The Year I Voted for an R for President

I lived in Johnson County, Kansas, and not only that, for those of you playing the home game, it was Leawood, to boot. Most people in line were voting for the same candidate as me, rightly or wrongly as history may judge and then judge again, and most people there were firmly “fiscal conservative/social liberal.”

Fiscal conservative meant something different just then; it has in every era. Does it even exist currently? I dunno. It wasn’t a “trickle-down” crowd, and it didn’t mean “don’t help anybody at all,” it meant, in part, “stop spending a zillion dollars on a freaking hammer when old people are eating cat food so they can pay for their medicine.” We agreed that a smart government could do more with less. After all, why should people pay more in taxes if the money is going to be mismanaged and spent in ways that seem to benefit no one? I still think that, I just think they won’t do more, with more or less, unless they’re forced to somehow, I don’t know how. But I digress.

I know these things about the people in line with me because we spent more than a couple hours together. The machines broke down. It was getting late, and the line extended to the door. We collected money, ordered pizzas, and had them delivered. Sat down along the wall in line and ate together. And then the lines started moving again, we voted and said goodbye.

Did those people watch in horror as I did two years later when the “Republican Revolution” sent a lot of young evangelicals to Congress to fix America?

What we’re seeing this year is the direct result of that mid-term election 22 years ago. I tried to remain aligned in spirit with some people who thought their religious path could dictate everyone else’s political one, but I didn’t make it to the end of the century, and I think they are a big part of the reason I gave up church altogether, not seeing the Jesus they purported to know in their views on how the country should be run. Nothing stirs my ire like a combination of bad logic and hypocrisy.

But I remember the 1992 election fondly, though our candidate lost. Plenty of people would say it’s a good thing he did, but it’s kind of a mixed bag, really. Hindsight overuses the blur tool, and chain reactions always grow beyond our ability to measure them. We view the cropped image and need to be careful to understand our screen is just too small to view anything in totality, in multiple dimensions, in accurate context. Context is key, but it's also a non-linear concept. I think maybe that frightens people.  

PizzaYou might guess this little resembles the pizza I ate that day in that new sterile carpeted Midwestern building. It's an Italian pizza, that's why. It's how I like to make it at home, too. It's a metaphor, I guess.


WHERE IS YOUR LINE IN THE SAND?

I'm speaking about and to U.S. Christians here, but the rest of you pay attention, too.

Do you remember the campaign slogan "Character Matters?" Remember George W. Bush promising to "restore honor and integrity" to the White House?

It has become apparent that many of the same people who championed that are willing to be convinced that Donald Trump is now the more sound choice for our next president, in part because he "tells it like it is," although data is compiled daily which suggests otherwise.

The "Character Matters" campaign wasn't new. In the 1970 and 80s rose the Moral Majority, staking a claim about what mattered in government, and then came the "Family Values" campaign in 1992, which left a lot of families out, but seemed to appeal to the same people who are now willing to throw their vote to a man who stands for everything they previously wrung their hands over. The same people treated President Obama as evil, but one thing they can't deny about him is that he has had just the kind of family most of them think is the Best Kind all along, opposite of the Trump family web, which makes most of what President Clinton is purported to have done look like mere child's play.

This has been bothering me for awhile. Where is the integrity of people who claim a moral core as a keystone of their faith? Back when I attended churches, there was a song I liked; I liked the logical sort of certainty to it, and didn't realize til later, because I was incredibly naive about how people portray their beliefs, that some or many might use it to be dogmatic...I've added it below.

I still like the song, though I think she and I part sharply in understanding the value of context. But that message was for people who believed they were building their houses on rock, not on sand. Walking in their faith, not just talking of it.

No building on the sands of compromise

I won't be borrowed and I can't be bought

There is a line, I will not cross.

And now they are increasingly showing support for a man who seems entirely made of sand. He's doing all kinds of borrowing and buying, and there is no integrity in this. It is pure compromise.

Personally, I don't view all of life according to the line(s) some other people won't cross. But I'll have honest respect for them if they stick to it, and to a firm foundation on which we can "love our neighbors as ourselves."

 

What now? Are you one of the people who is allowing Donald J. Trump to prey on your fears? For those of you with Biblical faith, do you feel led to subsume that under violent, ugly, divisive words toward your neighbors and fellow citizens? Is your savior Jesus evident in that? Matthew wrote, "His face shone like the sun." (But for our context, let's all read the chapter before that, Matthew 16, and reflect on the matter as it currently applies.) Think about the people in your daily life who exemplify that for you. You have an unattractive choice to make right now between our two presidential candidates. So look beneath the rhetoric, the talking points, the media attacks, and look as far as you can into the hearts and minds of them both before you pull that trigger in November. Look at the big picture, bigger than any individual issue that concerns you right now. Look at how the U.S. is portrayed around the world, and what that might mean for us over the next few years.

I'm just asking you to make a deep-down honest decision, even if you aren't able to speak it aloud. If you believe God is inside you, make sure it's real discernment you're listening for, and not just a panacea for temporal fear. This is tough, and it's not hardly what anybody wanted, and yes, character really does matter. It's our characters that matter, actually; our characters and our consciences. Let's use them as wisely as we can.


I have no ready explanation for this.

I started this yesterday evening. When I have the page filled sufficiently, I’m posting it.

1. This post brought to you through the auspices of Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton PA, my erratic luteal phase, and a fresh loaf of Italian bread, and is dedicated to Rumson, New Jersey, my friend Anna*, and everyone who portrayed Mr Knightley in a movie.

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I went to Kroger for some Italian sausage (thus, also some bread,) and because I needed a few minutes around some people; collective energy and so forth, and listened to my iPod there and back, noticing it has a remarkable understanding of just the sort of mood I’m in. So that’s what this is. Well, plus a few more songs that played while I was cooking sausage.
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Check it out: 20160405_161926That sign has been up at Tuesday Morning for at least a couple months, definitely before the news of Hancock’s new bankruptcy was announced, and waaaay before they announced they were closing ALL stores. Things that make you wonder…

I have On The Beach on while typing this. Wasn’t Tony Perkins just beautiful?

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And in 1959, as skinny as my beautiful sons. People seem to find this wrong now, or maybe they always did, I dunno. I remember being made fun of for it when very young, then later as a teen and young woman, the ugly sneers… But if it’s okay for people to weigh a whole lot, it’s also okay for them to weigh not very much at all. Life, you know. Diverse and all.

Hello. I’d like to talk with you about Gregory Peck’s jawline.

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2. Because of reasons to do with that unfortunate Lois Lane scene, no, not in the completely awesome exciting and thoughtful unless there is something seriously wrong with you new film, but the old outdated Superman movie, I have this Gordon Lightfoot song in my head.


I do like this song, but I always thought of it as some of the “grownup” music when I was a kid.

Speaking of which, Merle Haggard has died, and while I was not a fan, I mean, of course I remember him and he was a part of our youth and etc., and it occurs to me that all our childhood grownups are dying, and pretty soon we’ll be the only grownups who remember them, or something like that. I couldn’t quite hang onto the thread I was following. Our childhood is all ghosts, is maybe what I mean. I have a list of half a dozen people who, when they are gone, will have been the end of it all. Let us not speak their names just now. Not because of superstitions we need not have, but because we will rather continue to think of them as healthy and strong.

I was in a better mood earlier, and also yesterday when I began this exercise. It’s gloomy and raining now, which does a thing to my brain, I guess, though I never mean for it to. And so I am not going to finish this until I am in a better mood again. That’s what it’s meant to be about.

3. I’ve had a look at my “notes for later” document that I keep in my dock, and found some items to share:
    
    a. "Exquisite Timing: Perimenopause and the Bee Gees:" this is an essay I’m working on which I’ll probably post to Medium some time or other. But Medium has already changed a lot since it started. I’m not quite as keen on it as I was in the beginning. I’m that way, just always was, I guess. Nobody steal my title.

    b. My son said this a few weeks ago: Jesus was walking around the desert with chest damage, trying to build an arc reactor, Judas turned his back on him and betrayed him, trying to steal the technology.

    c. I copied this from somewhere, don’t remember who said it. You can Google it if you like. “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.”

4. You know how people used to complain that their old out of touch parents would send them painful inspiring emails, or chain letter emails, or ridiculous urban legends? Here are examples of the things I text to my kids.
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5. I saved this photo to share as well, but do not recall why. Something to do with his speech pattern.
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6. A little while back I made my hair lighter, and it's also shorter than it's been in awhile, but then I saw this brief stuttering video from a few years ago and got to missing it dark, never mind long, a person should be only so fickle.

So what do you think? A little darker than image a like it is now, or a little lighter than image b like it's sort of now meant to be?
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* For Anna, I was going to post a link to a Tumblr site devoted to red-haired men. But they turned out to all be gay porn. So, anyway...here's a song.