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.

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.


30 in 31: day 29: best intentions

First, here are the remaining items on the list I composed at the beginning of the month to use for this project. But actually, I was fairly busy most days, and most of these things would require more effort than I felt I could give them at this time.

    1.    compilations
    2.    fake movie titles
√ 3.    movies I enjoyed this year TV/theater
    4.    important things I learned this year
    5.    best garnishes
    6.    beauty products
    7.    best garden photos
    8.    best G+ posts this year
    9.    favorite YouTube videos currently
    10.  nicest news stories I saw this year
    11.   actors the internet has at various times paired me with
 √12.   favorite screenshots this year
    13.   agent coulson
    14.   things I plan to learn next year
    15.   movies I plan to watch next year
    16.    books I plan to read next year
 √17.    nice places I visited this year 

Next, I think it was a good move to restart this blog in an adjacent space to the old one. But I'm dissatisfied with the style and layout. I ended up with it because the ones I prefer didn't allow me to show plusses and likes as I think they should be. I might look again, though, for a better view. I plan to do more writing because I plan to have more about which to write. It's still always going to be seasonal or cyclical; sometimes more focused on gardening, sometimes more on music or cooking or dead guys in suits. This list thing was an experiment that only partially succeeded. I can establish a regimen. But if it's too rigid, it won't be dynamic or interesting all of the time.


These posts are always honest, always really me, but as ever, not always as open as they could be, not as much me as they might be. This is partially because of the mild need to play to an audience. And partially because, while it's still in style to champion "weird" on the internet, actual eccentricity tends to make people pull down the shades.

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Finally (for the moment,) I have noticed that when I share a link to a post here, it will have some number of page views from a pleasant to pleasing number, but few people come back to it later, or look around, or click on more than one thing. This is mostly, I am aware, related to how people use the web these days. A miscellaneous personal blog is very passé. It's the reason there are rarely comments anymore, although no sign-in is required. There's an "other" nature to it, when at a social media site which is continually interactive, everyone is part of everything. A blog like this is no one's daily destination unless it is a consistent daily source of inspiration or amusement, and even then, only if it isn't a bother to get to. (Cue the "I miss Vox" music.)

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It is still a journal, though; an archive of me through my share of the 21st century, and as such, will have some kind of value, even if ultimately ephemeral, for whomever wants to come along later and rediscover Mother or Grandmother, or The Woman Whose Eyebrows Never Quite Matched. I'd say "girl in school whose," however, nearly twenty years of being almost anonymous on the web has put paid to my being rediscovered as someone who turned out to be interesting or at least not so very off-putting after all.

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Now to go back and insert images to keep the eye moving down the page.

Royals are doing it for themselves, ie: my abstractly prophetic dream

My dream last night indicates the Royals will win. I mean, clearly they are on a trajectory to do so anyway, but dreaming of my first boyfriend in a positive forward-moving light assures me this is so.

I suppose I must stop here and point out I’m not actually into dream analysis, psychic predictions, or whatever else this might lead someone to think. I don’t cope well with a strictly linear mind, never sure when one will be launched at me, feel defensive as a result.

Anyway. I had this boyfriend when I was 15. Also 16, 17, and half of 18. Then I broke up with him in a truly awkward and possibly unforgiveable way, though I don’t think he did unforgive me, because we spoke some years later, and he was as giddy and arrogant and positive-sounding as ever; someone, I think, whose skin was hard to get under. But it was all sad when it ended, and bad timing, and I shouldn’t have done it. Yet. I should have done it a few months later.

This brings me to an aside. We had an odd relationship, and looking back, I have no idea how much of it to trust, but at the time, I had no experience to tell me I shouldn’t trust it as completely as anything else. We talked on the phone for hours nearly every night, and he wrote me many letters, in purple ink, scented, and filled with flowery prose. But we saw each other only every so many weeks, because we lived an entire hour from each other. What did he do the rest of the time? Who knows? Everything, maybe. I’ve never been able to grasp the idea that I’m so fascinating other people have a great need or desire for my company.

An aside to the aside. I enjoy my own company an awful lot. I always have, to be honest. But I don’t know why anyone else would, and I don’t trust their motivations when they say they do.

I am capable of feeling huge emotions, but often appear not to, because I find it overwhelming and exhausting to go around feeling things, and I’m pretty sure this translates to, “perhaps I don’t care for you as deeply as you care for me,” when what it really is is, “perhaps you don’t care for me as deeply I do for you, so I will protect myself from the pain of that,” and or also, “I really can’t cope with your overt emotional outpourings, as they drain energy from my soul,” and when it’s the and rather than the or, life wanders confusedly around in circles. Now you know a fairly sad or unattractive thing about me.

So when I was counseled by Lady Russell to take advantage of a changed situation in looking for better or broader prospects, I dutifully broke it off with my own Captain Wentworth, and I will not describe the painful setting of that, but it did seem quite like I broke at least some part of that cute young heart.

If I were a superstitious person, I might believe that my breaking a promise to that kid resulted in a lifetime of broken promises to me, even though I never broke one like that again. But I’m not superstitious. People bite off more than they can chew, is the main thing I think, while I’m doggedly carrying the thing to its conclusion, disappointed but not surprised to find myself alone at the finish line. That, too, superstition would dictate is the result of us both having made a series of spectacularly bad decisions after we broke up, but I like to think we’d have both done that anyway, whenever we moved on from each other. There was never going to be a reunion at the Musgroves nine years later of two reasonably successful and mature individuals.

Back to the dream. I don’t remember it, of course, but I do remember he was his young positive not-handsome-but-cute-and-bouncy andextremelyfit self, and oh, gosh, never Google someone you knew a long time ago unless you’re fully prepared for any reality…and we hadn’t met for quite some period, yet got along just as well as ever, and even though I am a Gold Star Winner at repressing memories, I could now recall tangibly the moments we spent alone together, and it was pleasant rather than painful or embarrassing, and that’s how I know the Royals will win.

Perhaps I should mention this all went on in Kansas City, where we grew up at opposite ends of the region, during the Royals’ great reign over the AL West. And so there you go.

But now I’m left with these resurfaced but unsettled memories from over 30 years ago, mentally walking through a sort of graveyard of youth and longing and uncertainty and shallow idealism. What was real about it all back then? Likely I’ll never know.

All The Things You Are

I love my car. I took possession of it on March 30, 2007, with 31 miles on it. I'd never had a new car before; all the ones I bought previously were a year old. I fell in love with it first because of a TV ad, which is funny or silly, I think. But before we brought it home, I drove a Saturn Behemoth, and a Toyota WayOverpriced, and something else, then I drove the new CX-9 and it was just what I wanted and knew it would be.

That was in New Jersey, and it's taken half a dozen long road trips, but still has only 88,000 miles on it because of how I don't go anywhere otherwise. At least, not since moving to Ohio in 2011. I enjoyed driving more on the east coast. Sometimes I'd find an excuse just to drive around because I liked driving it so much. Mazda

I still do, actually, though it would like some detailing, and shows its age just a bit in a few ways. The view here is just significantly less interesting.

It's at the shop right now, though, because of a recall. Interestingly, the service person told me they hadn't seen any part failures there yet in the tests they'd done so far, that it mainly happened in the "salt belt," farther north. I pointed out I lived in New Jersey during Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, etc. He was still all, "pshaw." But that was a lot of snow, man, several times in several years.  We drove in it for weeks at a time.Feb2010

The man came with me in case I needed to leave it, and we went to Starbucks and when we came back to see about things, it was all, "Whoops, yours is the first one that failed here." I wasn't at all surprised. I had one of those feelings people get, for whatever reason, that told me it would. They gave me the keys to a Chevy Equinox and said the part would probably be in on Friday. I read a couple articles which said the parts available have mainly been sent to dealerships up north where they expected to be using them.

The Equinox is a more appropriate size, now that the kids are all mostly grown up, and it is, merely by virtue of being much newer, rather fancier. But man, I love driving my CX-9. I think if I were in the position to buy a new car, I'd test the rather smaller CX-5, however, I am not. Nevertheless, despite this recall, I feel somewhat devoted to Mazda, though I don't know if it's just that they hit where I live so perfectly with the CX-9, or whether that also translates to the rest of their line. And so although I'll enjoy driving a new car around for a couple days, I'll be awfully glad to get my old one back. Meandmycar

(If only I could also get size 4 and perfect eyesight and a large measure of collagen back, as well...)