Bleep Alert

Stop the silence to stop the violence.

Our country supports a culture of venerating guns and gun ownership.  Our politicians support a culture of get re-elected at any cost.

It’s too soon to talk about once again.  Offer your thoughts and prayers.  BULLSH*T!

I applaud the Florida students who want to march on Washington.  I support them in heart, mind, body and pocketbook.  And I will support them with my vote.

Politicians, take note:

You may think a student body protest doesn’t matter.  After all, they cannot vote.  Well, you better wake up and realize that concerned parents and concerned grandparents and concerned people of conscience do vote.

There is a way to stop this senseless shooting.  Get your heads out of your a$$e$ and do the right thing for the greater good of this country and its future . . . before that future is too bleak to contemplate.

Advertisements

Neatness

I read about the KonMari method for keeping clutter under control when the book (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) first came out.  So did a lot of people.  I know that it had the effect of nudging some of my friends to get more organized.  For others it was a dismissive “OCD much?”

For me, it was “Damn! I should have written that book.”  I was neatly rolling my underwear and keeping my clothes like file folders since before Marie Kondo was even born.

Sigh.  So many parts of my life I was just not smart enough to capitalize on and make a fortune.

I recently read an article about what one’s particular area of clutter says about one and the possible areas of “stuckness” on the path to meeting goals.  It was interesting.  Clutter collected in the entryway indicates reluctance to let people into your life, for instance.  Kind of makes sense.  So clutter in closets and drawers is supposed to indicate a problem with expressing emotions.

My tee shirts in a drawer:

IMG_20180213_073852110

My closet:

IMG_20180213_094027287

So do you think I have trouble expressing my emotions or perhaps express them way too much?

Emotional Support Animals and Tongue in Cheek

I saw an article about emotional support animals on BBC online.

A female traveller was recently banned from taking a large “emotional-support peacock” on board a United Airlines flight, it has emerged.

A woman was trying to fly, with her peacock, from Newark, N.J. to Los Angeles.  She was willing to buy the bird a ticket but the airline insisted it did not meet size and weight restriction.

Can you imagine sharing the aisle?

Airlines have allowed some passengers with emotional or psychiatric problems to take therapy animals on board with them.

But the number of emotional support animals has been rising in recent years, sparking suggestions that people are abusing the system.

In 2014, a woman was escorted off a US Airways flight when her pig, named Hobie, defecated and squealed before the plane took off.

I had noticed on the flight to Florida this last time that dogs wearing support animal bibs were everywhere — a huge increase from anything I had seen before.  There are dogs at restaurants everywhere now and shopping in all the stores.

I fully endorse service dogs.  Emotional support animals?  I will have to think about that. I know that I, personally, would find it more stressful to have to worry about a pet while traveling and that is the main reason why I don’t have one.

Pigs, and peacocks and squirrels ?  Well sometimes the animal chooses, not the other way around.  However, I do think that is an awful lot of tolerance to expect of fellow travelers — even beyond the ban on peanuts because of food allergies but never mind someone’s allergy to pet dander or dread fear of rodents or snakes argument.

So if the apparent increase in emotional support animals is indicative of people’s emotional and psychiatric problems, it seems we are in a mental health crisis.  I wonder if it means we have to pour more effort and money into awareness and services?

Or is it more likely to be shown that the wisdom of animals is more effective than therapy?

 

One Year Down

It’s been a year (and there is more than one way to interpret that).  Some how it seems a lot, lot longer.

 

RSC2254-BLACK-WT

 

I am spending my volunteer efforts this winter in working with the small but mighty group of girls in the religious education program at the UU church I attend while in Florida.  This coming Sunday they will finish up a unit on Immigration — with Justice and Compassion.

I was doing research in order to complete preparations for the last lesson in this curriculum since I will be teaching it.  These are not part of what I will present to the kids, but I found them immensely interesting.

I

In more recent news about immigration, I read about the RAISE Act.  Wikipedia has this summary:

The RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) Act is a bill introduced in the United States Senate in 2017. Co-sponsored by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the bill seeks to reduce levels of legal immigration to the United States by 50% by halving the number of green cards issued. The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery. The bill received the support of President Donald Trump, who promoted a revised version of the bill in August 2017, and was opposed by Democrats, immigrant rights groups, and some Republicans.

You can find a chart of the point system that is included in this bill.  It’s really worth a look.  Time magazine has a simplified version of the point system so you can see if you would qualify for immigration to the United States.  Any applicant needs 30 points.

Granted, immigration is a complex subject with issues that go far beyond the number of points on this simplified quiz.  I got 18 points.  WHAT??

I’m sure my Ukrainian grandfather would not have scored very well, although he was well educated, unlike my Ukrainian grandmother who would have scored nothing.  Yet, together the built a business, a neighborhood grocery and butcher shop, and raised six children.  Their sons fought in WWII and all went on to be educated and productive citizens of this country.

II

And there is this quote from a German immigrant who became quite famous:

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil. but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

Albert Einstein

 

Southern Cooking

I found a cookbook (pamphlet size, really) at a local church rummage sale a couple of years ago, a Southern cookbook of fine old recipes published in 1939.

IMG_20180123_091250269

1939.  From the illustrations and the little quotes accompanying these, you’d really think it’s a pre-civil war publication.  I won’t share any of the pages and the “cute” little ditties because they literally leave me a little breathless with shock.

The introduction claims that the carefully guarded secrets of Southern cuisine will be revealed.  Apparently the secret is to have a Black cook in the kitchen.  This quote is relatively mild is its careless stereotyping:

The very name “Southern Cookery” seems to conjure up the vision of an old mammy, head ties in a red bandanna, a jovial, stoutish, wholesome personage . . . a wizard in the art of creating savory, appetizing dishes from plain everyday ingredients.

Hence, the cover illustration.  Believe me, it goes down hill from there with the stereotypes and labels/ethnic slurs. 1939, a different era–at least one hopes so.

IMG_20180123_091907742

Some of the recipes:

  • Kentucky burgoo (makes 1200 gallons)
  • Sweetbreads and mushrooms
  • Pigeon pie
  • Chitterlings
  • Pendennis Turtle Soup (the soup that made Kentucky famous)
  • Florida guspachy salad
  • Tallahassee hush puppies
  • Batter bread, Mulatto Style
  • Sweet potato pone
  • Picaninny doughnuts
  • Chocolate Indians
  • Goober brittle
  • Cheese appetizer for the Master’s cocktail
  • Mint julep and planter’s punch

There are recipes for okra and grits and biscuits, but not one fried chicken.  I assume some secrets are just plain sacred.

Some of the recipes look interesting.  This is a piece of out country’s history although I find it more barb to the soul than proud.

 

MLK Day

A day of service or a day off to play golf?

We all have our priorities.

I attended the Venice Interfaith Community Association winter program series — a sermon on “the Dreamer Keeping the Dream Alive” delivered by the Rev. John Wesley Walker of the Christian Methodist Episcopal church in Sarasota.

But let justice roll down like waters,
    and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.                                                                           (Amos 5:24English Standard Version)

 

Second Chakra, Blocked

Chakras are a metaphor or, perhaps, a model of  human energy.  Science is now telling us that our bodies, every component, are vibrating.  All matter is essentially vibratory energy.  Isn’t it interesting the Eastern practices described that maybe 25, 000 years ago?

Chakras describe varying levels of awareness, activity, and energy.  These range from basic survival mechanisms to an advanced state of spiritual awareness.  Since they are thought to be interdependent, the trick in life is to keep them all spinning and open to available energy.

Problems arise when a chakra is blocked.  Things go wrong.  Life gets hard.

38329981 - vector watercolor illustration of swadhisthana chakra.

The second chakra is described as a balance of giving and receiving, appreciating what you have without being greedy.  It has to do with trust and grace in dealing with others.

These signs that the second chakra is blocked, maybe even shut down, come from Deborah King’s book, Heal Yourself, Heal the World:

  • generally pessimistic
  • unable to both give and receive pleasure
  • ignore ethics in exchange for  money, power, or sex
  • care too much about how others think of you
  • unable to let go of things from the past
  • plot revenge
  • need to dismiss authority

Well, now, who do we know like that? (Coincidence that the associated color is orange?)

May he be made well so that our country may be made well.  We don’t need great, we desperately need whole.

Be It Resolved

I admit there is something about anything implying a “new” year triggers the desire to make a resolution, by which I mean a promise to myself to do better, be better.

New Year’s Day, my birthday, the start of a new school year — okay, this time I will do better, be better.

I often, well almost always, fail.  I am myself no matter what I try to imagine otherwise.

If you are into your Myers-Briggs personality type, you can find an interesting analysis of such failures here.  Apparently, I am not alone in my failure to keep resolutions.

With an estimated 92% failure rate, I wonder why the idea is so deeply ingrained.  According to that wondrous source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, the ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods to return borrowed items and pay off all debts.  Ancient Romans also made promises and it seems Western religions have adapted the practice in various ways.

A more recent phenomenon is Word of the Year.  Merriam-Webster picked “feminism” while The Oxford Dictionary picked “youthquake.” This is a work I never once heard until it was announced as the WOTY (2017) but I live under a rock a lot of the time.

I have gotten the idea that bloggers (and maybe normal people as well) are taking the idea of a word of the year with a twist.  Pick a word that will guide you through the coming year.  I like that idea!


 

More Time

Dalai Lama’s New Year Message for World“All of us are travelers through the journey of time, including myself. We travel through time, months, weeks, day and so on. Today is 2018. The important thing is when you look back at beginning of 2019 to 2018, how would you think about the year that you have spent? Would you have a sense of contentment saying that I have lived that year well, I have served the purpose of that year or would you be looking back with a sense of regret for all the troubles that you have caused. So this is why it is important that when we begin the new year and look forward, we should project our intentions ahead so that we make this year a meaningful one. So that when we turn back to look at it, we can live our life with sense of happiness and joy.

In fact if an individual were to make conscious intention to live his or her life with sense of purpose, live it in a good way, the ripple effect of that really spreads. First from individual to family, then to community, to friends and neighbors and so on. This is how society gets changed and affected. Otherwise, when we talk about transformation of society, the transformation really has to start from individual, from inside to outward. Otherwise we would be expecting some kind of transformation coming from outside, from above. That is unrealistic.”

Time Passes

Tempus fugit.  I have put up a new calendar, 2018.  I have turned the page on 2017.

I have, of late, had conversations with a few people my age who express some sense of urgency because “time is running out.” I have also been part of a conversation about “what exactly is time anyway?”

We spend time and say that time is money.  I suppose if time is money we can run out of it.  On the other hand:                                                                                                                    “Top 15 Things Money Can’t Buy — Time. Happiness. Inner Peace. Integrity. Love. Character. Manners. Health. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Common sense. Dignity.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Time must be precious since we are often urged not to waste it.  Charles Darwin once said, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

We have heard that time heals all wounds.  Although Rose Kennedy amended that:  “It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

Goodreads has 7343 quotes relating to time.  I haven’t read all of them, but I somehow doubt that if I do I still won’t be able to say what time is.

Ancient Greeks and some Native American civilizations viewed time as circular, the wheel of time turning, having no beginning and no end.  Judeo-Christian thought views time in a linear manner. moving in a straight line from creation to the end of time.  Sir Isaac Newton discussed time as dimension in which events can be placed in sequential order.

The philosopher Emmanuel Kant felt time is not an actual dimension but a human concept that allows us the sequence and compare events.  Buddhists, Kabbalists, new-agey mystics view time as an illusion or a paradox.  And Albert Einstein said, “Time is an illusion.”

Of course, I don’t have philosophical understanding,  spiritual development,  and certainly not the tremendous brain power of Albert Einstein so I won’t speculate on the nature of time.  I can see time as a wheel, or as a line.  I can see it as a concept and I can vaguely grasp the relativity of time as a notion.  Why wouldn’t time be an illusion?

I do believe everything changes so whatever time is, it must change too. The change of year is kind of an artificial construct, but if 2018 brings a sea change, I am all for it.