Thursday, September 28, 2017


  Sure feels like that, anyway. Every time I think things can't get any more surreal, they step it up. The weather events have devastated territories of this country and they are on the bottom of the list of getting taken care of.  In Owensboro, KY they rounded up some kids from a school in the gym and told them they had no parents to go home to because they  were being deported and then proceeded to call DFS to come take the kids. CHILDREN. Who were born here.  The POTUS publicly called football players "Sons of Bitches"  because they are peacefully protesting racism. The government is purposefully sabotaging the websites and phone lines for the affordable care act enrollment to try to cause the whole system to break down to prove their point.  They are now dismantling the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and god only knows what else they can get their grimy little hands on.   And I am ashamed and embarrassed and afraid.  And I don't know how to deal with any of it.  Some of it is like watching "Animal Farm" right before my eyes...people that I would never have guessed to be so heartless and cruel and  discompassionate...people that I thought I knew.  

  It feels like a time of transition. People are coming  into and going out of my life with a scary regularity. Feelings of disconnect and separation are looming large.  

In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in the real world. That a person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance: either by changing parts of the cognition, to justify the stressful behavior; or by adding new parts to the cognition that causes the psychological dissonance; and by actively avoiding social situations and contradictory information that are likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.[1]

  The word dissonance keeps niggling around in the back of my brain. I am off balance, confused and easily annoyed. I can't bear the thought of what is happening in this country.  People that I love are being affected by the roll backs on civil rights, the climate of fear and the extreme racism that's going on.   I am ready to cry at the drop of a hat. I want to live somewhere else. But I can't.  And it's frustrating and it hurts my heart and I probably shouldn't be writing when I feel like this, but there ya go-- and here I am.  I want to scream.

Like many, all I can do is what I can do...

 This is in the flower pot at the end of my driveway facing the road.  I'm surprised no one has defaced it or destroyed it or taken it.  I can speak up. I can make calls to DC and I can encourage others who are as afraid as I am.  I can attend rallies and vote and do whatever small things I can.  And it isn't enough and I know it. But giving in to hopelessness is not the answer either.  Hating people who hate people isn't it either.  Acknowledging that fear is our number one problem is part of the solution.  And speaking out against those who spew hate and stir up  all this emotionally charged fear based behavior that's going on across this country... my heart is breaking..and I don't know what else to say.

  I went to the doctor Monday for a shoulder/neck issue I am having that won't be resolved no matter what I do  and so I am getting an MRI tomorrow.  Could be a possible labrum tear.  She told me I have a "quiet" heart murmur. That's news.  Either she's wrong, or my heart really is breaking....(it occurs to me that maybe I should stop using those words).  My guts are in an uproar a lot.  I am having headaches. Things that I rarely have to deal with, and I am chalking it up to the stress in the world that I am experiencing. I guess I need to pray more and meditate more and spend more time in the quiet. Cycles of spiritual attention seem to be the best recourse for me when I get to feeling like this. Feeling the need to drop out and recharge isn't always convenient--there's a lot going on  with the people in my life these days and I feel a responsibility to be available for them too. All about balance. All about not letting the fear of what might happen get bigger than my trust that everything is happening exactly the way it is supposed to.  I see people pulling together. People taking a stand who normally would never rock the boat.  People looking to love as the answer.  The Course in Miracles tells me that a miracle is just a shift in perception. Can I shift my perception enough to expect a miracle in the midst of all this hate and fear ?  That book talks a lot about fear as well.  I would do well to get my book out and start studying it again. 

  And in the meantime, I cook and I can and I garden and I try to do the next right thing. What's in front of me ?   What am I grateful for ? (A little AA practice of writing a gratitude list every morning, to keep gratitude in the front of my brain and not letting fear crowd out the good stuff.)  Of loving the people I love, and loving even more the ones that I don't.  Of trying to see everyone through God's eyes,  of remembering that humans are fallible and afraid, no matter which side of the line they stand on.  And taking it all just one day at a time. I got through today and maybe I can get through tomorrow too.  

  And remembering the words of my dear friend Mary Arnold 

  "Life comes at us like a sledgehammer sometimes. 
     No time to duck."


Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Simple Truth

What is the truth, anyway ?  It seems like it always falls somewhere between what you believe and what I believe, between my perception of the facts and yours.  In the public and political arena these days,  there has been an insidious re-branding of truth and lies. You never know what to believe. It's a form of gaslighting.  As a result of this, we are befuddled and dizzy.  And as a result of this, we are exhausted. And we are forced to turn away from it all, and hide in the dark to protect our fragile psyches. Or--is it just me ?  William Faulkner once wrote  "Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”   I remember reading this eons ago and the sharp impact  it had on me.  I thought , we can change things. We can prove that right and love wins. And every now and then I actually see it happen, but more and more I am sadly disappointed and tired. 

I was having a conversation about the night of the last election with someone the other day, and she said, I don't think ANYBODY really believed that this could happen here. Well, it has.  And in the midst of natural disasters, one on the heels of the other,  we are teetering on the brink of yet another war. And not a boots on the ground war, but a nuclear war.   I just read an article in The New Yorker about Kim Jong Un (today he threatened to blow some Japanese islands into the sea) and I already have first hand experience about Donald Trump (he tweeted that North Korea  will be  “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before”  .  Two inmates running the asylums (asylums that are filled with nuclear weapons).  An ex CIA guy just publicly called the POTUS a "circus clown".   Never in the history of this country has there been so little respect for the man in that office. But then, no time in history has there been someone like him IN that office.  It is embarrassing and frightening at the same time. 

So--fear.  And simple truths.  The simple truth is that all I have control over is my own life.  I cannot change anyone else, only me. So how I deal with  fears and events and people and things is what I can manage.  Be where my feet are. One day at a time, trying to not peer into the future (that scary scary future of possibilities and things that MIGHT happen) and not be paralyzed by the present or shackled by the past.   Keep my eye on the things I can control- like my attitude, my emotions, my actions and my words.  (That's not easy) lol   Stay busy doing practical things that make a difference in my life, taking care of things for my family.    I am trying to stock my pantries (an ongoing thing, but might be more important than ever, as I suspect North Korean missiles are probably aimed at all the Krogers and Piggly Wiggly's and  the insane weathers we are experiencing can only result in worse blizzards and tornadoes and floods here where I live).  I am  stockpiling books and  if you can guess, that's a lie I tell to avoid admitting I'm a book hoarder.  LOL   At any rate, when the apocalypse comes  I won't be hungry or bored. 

I am moving slowly into this day. It's beautiful and sunny out there and purportedly getting up to about 85 today. Temps have been strange and in the low 70's for a few weeks now, pleasant enough, but not August and September typical temps for here. But I guess nothing is typical much anymore is it ? 

On a brighter note, today I am going to make and can 2 things I have never done before. That's exciting, isn't it ? lol  One is a French Vanilla coffee creamer, made with no chemical crap in it that will be shelf stable and be there when I need it every now and then (sometimes for comfort, sometimes for company). The other is something called Monkey Butter, which is a kind of banana, pineapple and coconut jam.  Neither are exactly subsistence items, but sometimes life needs a little indulgence.  I canned a dozen plus jars of a beautiful plum jam the other day and I am looking in my pantry and thinking--where am I going to put it ?  The local grocer has  a beef roast on sale too, and I am out of jars of that and was going to maybe do that as well.  Then I started inventorying the other meats in there: chicken breast, corned beef (won't be getting more of that until  March when it goes on sale after St Paddy's), pork loin and whole chicken quarters (bone and all). I haven't quite figured out what to do with those yet.  I would like to try my hand at canning some fish this year, if I can convince the boys to start fishing like it's their job. lol  I need to get in the other (spare) room and get that cleaned up and out-- it has turned into a junk catch-all and I cannot even get into the  closet back there.  The "junk" of course, is stuff like: canning jars, dehydrators, crockpots, water bath canners, small appliances, etc.  I could have a freaking estate sale in that room alone. lol  Stuff finds it's way there because I don't have that much room anywhere else.  My niece offered to come "clear out" things for me and I just looked at her.  There's not much that can really GO, it's all stuff I use. Mostly.  lol   I do feel an "Uncluttering" coming on though....

  So, the Simple Truth is never simple. Clutter is a way of life for me.  World events are frightening.  People can be cruel and hurtful.  People can be kind and good and loving.  I can be hurtful to those I love sometimes without even seeing what I am doing, but I also get to make things right if I so choose.  And that picture at the top ? That is my road.  I get to live here, in about 1500 square ft of space that I try to make comfortable,  keep clean (not so much), utilize efficiently and  be grateful to own.  I have just enough space for gardens and chickens and fruit trees.

And Just For Today, I shall try to make the world better instead of adding to the pain and turmoil.  If I can manage that, I'll be happy. If I can't...I'll still be happy. And try again tomorrow.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Is it the end of the world as we know it ?

   Not to be all gloom and doom here , but... how about this ??  

Aye, and the world's a scary place lately. 

Safe and secure here in the middle of the country, until the tornadoes start spinning off from the hurricanes, I guess.  The media frenzy is hellacious.  The highways heading north OUT of Florida are jammed with freaked out people running for their lives.  I have friends in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who are battening down their hatches, boarding up their windows an praying that they can survive this.  Texans are still wet and whimpering, but I read that their Republican lawmakers have said they will not accept any aid from Canada (?).  Hurricane Irma (on the heels of Hurricane Harvey) is heading up to the East Coast.  Wildfires across the upper west are threatening lives and homes and animals.  Not to mention the respiratory problems that go with all that ash in the air. Allergen counts are at an all time high. The Mayor of Chicago has declared his city a Trump-Free Zone and publicly stated that Dreamers and DACA are welcome there. (Gotta love Rahm Emanuel.)  Instead of hating us the way they used to, much of the world feels so sorry for America in light of the Donald and his presidency. Everything is  surreal in this world today. 

  And still life goes on. Birthdays, funerals, moving days, weddings.

I have been busy canning the past 2 weeks. 2 bushel of green beans. Some okra and other assorted and sundry vegetables have made their way into my pantry and freezer. I have some jalapenos that need to be canned into Cowboy Candy before they get yucky. Some more out there on the vine, but whether they will ripen or not is anybody';s guess. It's been unseasonably cool. Time to dig up and have a look at the potatoes out there, but we haven't yet. The plants are all died off though.  I have some secretary business to take care of and have been dragging my feet, so now I am under the gun. And I have absolutely NO motivation to get busy and do anything.  I just want to go take a nap. lol

A friend gave me some kind of a weird butternut type squash the other day. It weighed 10.5 pounds. It was light skinned and in a horseshoe shape. I made a lovely soup with about half of it yesterday evening. The flesh is not a beautiful orange like the butternut, but more of a yellowish color.  I wish I had thought to take a photo of the squash itself before I cut it all up, but I didn't.  Here's the soup itself though (I had some for breakfast too). lol

 With banana bread from the weekend. 

Not sure what's for supper tonight, guess I'll peruse the pantry and freezer and come up with something. Last night was a salad with grilled chicken and squash soup. So...something a little more hearty for himself I guess might be on the docket.  Ribs maybe. 

We upped my blood pressure meds a little and it makes me tired--more than usual and generally right after I take them. So I lay down and take a nap. Because I can.  Don't see myself getting anything done when I feel like this, so here I go...a good hour nap or so should fix me right up. Then I'll be rarin' to go.  Right ?