I had the opportunity this weekend to participate in a rescue mission. That’s not as dramatic as it sounds. My daughter, Karina, has quite the extended family given the divorces, the friends, the steps, and all the variations on “you are family to me.”
One of these family members has been in a difficult intimate relationship for some time. There is a history of isolation, abuse, and attempts to leave the relationship. After a conversation with Karina where she heard, “I want to come home” she went into action.
She arranged for transportation (costs covered), housing, a potential job opportunity and alerted the built-in support system of family and friends. There will be a bus card, people willing to help with transportation in town, bedding and toiletries and probably anything else as it comes up. When another call came, “I need to leave NOW”, Karina went into high gear and hopped in the car.
I went along, not only because it’s a long drive but also because she wanted back-up for anything she might find when she arrived. I have family in the area where we were headed. I called ahead. Without knowing ANY of the actual players, they stepped in as well.
My family members met us at the home of the person we picked up. We were taken out for dinner. We were offered any additional support we might need along the way. I got the bonus of being able to see family I haven’t been in contact with (outside of Facebook) for years.
Karina’s family member will be fine. They are overwhelmed, not only by making such a dramatic change but also by the outpouring of support. We also talked on the way home about how much of a difference THIS family member could be in supporting other of Karina’s extended family members who are struggling. We made it clear that even when you may be needy, you can also be needed.
Very few of us expect to have real support when we are desperate. Asking for one small thing is hard. Asking for planning, organization, execution and a lifeline is humbling at best.
I think we all have moments in our lives when this is exactly the kind of help we need. I know I have. I have been fortunate, awed, and overwhelmed on the occasions when my friends and family have swept in and just taken care of business.
When I had cancer last year my women’s group stepped up and made sure that I had the post surgery support I needed. They came by to check up on me, made sure I had food in the house, ran errands, and washed dishes. One of them brought me home from the hospital. Another took me out when I was going stir crazy. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I had no idea what I was going to do, but they clearly did.
The last time I had work done on my house, to increase accessibility for Orion, we needed to move out for 6 weeks. Cleaning and packing was beyond me. Again, I had friends come in and just do it. There was no judgement, no need for instruction or supervision, just support. I could focus on what I needed to take with me to the hotel, they took care of everything else. I knew I needed help, but never expected that level of support.
I am grateful that I have been able to count on my friends when I truly need help. I am grateful that I have learned to accept help when it is given. I’m grateful for compassion that has no judgement, simply does what needs to be done. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back a small bit of what I have been given.
I don’t know what to say. Baton Rouge, Texas, Falcon Heights – that one is too close to home. There is outrage and it is justified.
I got really angry when after Philandro Castile’s death the police I know started circulating “another look” – a video with him and his girlfriend smoking pot and being silly. It’s racist, it’s about “justifying police brutality”, it’s a desperate attempt to “spin” the narrative. It’s not relevant.
Who hasn’t ever done stupid stuff? Gotten drunk, or stoned, or just been silly and stupid? Why people film that and then post it is beyond me, but my Facebook feed is full of this kind of nonsense.
I remember protests in the 60’s. I remember being pretty sure our phone was tapped as the FBI was looking for organizers. I remember stories of FBI infiltrators who were often the instigators of the worst of the violence. The shooting in Dallas, there was a lot of finger-pointing. The message of the protest was diminished. Both police and protesters were affected. Who actually benefited?
We learned a long time ago to follow the money. The money, the status quo, the old guard that is afraid to lose their unchecked power and privilege are the only ones coming out on top.
The world is changing. The world needs to change. What do we want it to change into?
The energy for change comes from moving against. The actually change comes from being able to envision the future. It’s not Utopic. It’s messy. Any plan is going to change in implementation. But let’s look at a plan. Let’s keep looking, and revising, and building towards something positive.
Let’s have a world where news and education aren’t judged based on entertainment value.
Let’s have a world where people helping each other out gets raves and support and bad behavior is not a spotlight for attention.
Let’s have a world where people aren’t afraid of the police, and where the police aren’t afraid of the general population they are meant to protect and serve.
Let’s have a world where we recognize that people generally are trying to do the best they can with what they’ve got. If they’re not doing well then they need help, resources, education, housing, support.
Let’s find a way to have dialog rather than duels, and have productive outcomes.
Let’s find a way.
With the long days and hot nights I’m not sleeping well. I feel like I’m spending my time trying to catch-up with myself. On the days when I’m busy I’m exhausted. On the days when I do nothing I find myself dozing in my chair.
It may seem counter intuitive given my state of being, but I’ve been looking for a part-time job. The latest news on the construction front is that the bank is worried about my income to debt ratio. That’s a good thing I suppose, to keep me from drowning in debt. On the other hand the work really needs to be done and I don’t have the money to do it. I figure at the glacial rate this project is moving along I may be a couple of months into a new job – enough for it to count – before everything else (my outstanding debt for instance) is settled to the banks satisfaction.
It was Friends and Family weekend at Gilda’s club. Orion and I went for our 3rd year in a row. This year Orion has acquired a new drum and he was determined to bring it and play it. We did cardio drumming. That was kind of fun. Drumming along to popular music on exercise balls in buckets. Moving arms and legs. Kind of like Taiko drumming for middle-aged women.
We also did the family drumming. That’s a slightly more traditional drum jam. Making connections to rhythms and a group apparently makes a difference in health and healing. Who knew drumming could be so therapeutic? Orion loved it.
We got to visit with friends, old and new. We had a visit from a fairy (it was a hot day and she was taking a break from the fairy garden). We had a lovely walk there and back. And when we got home I was (again) exhausted.
Maybe I need to drink more water.
The summer solstice is called midsummer. I’ve always wondered why. To me this feels like the beginning of summer. Here it’s come in like a rushing train. I’ve barely turned off the heat (nights in the 50’s at the beginning of the month). Now it’s in the 90’s with humidity.
This is the season of weeding. My weeds are all out of control. There are several beds I just didn’t get to and more I’ve not kept up with. Seems my other “projects” are conspiring against me. Or maybe the weather, it’s been rainy, hasn’t suited when I’ve had time. Or maybe I’ve got the midsummer all I want to do is sit in a hammock and read blues.
The change in light (the summer solstice is the longest day of the year) and the changing temperatures have totally disrupted my sleep schedule. Left to my own devices this time of year I’d be sleeping through the heat of the day and up all night. Unfortunately I don’t live in that world.
This is the pause after the haying, after the planting, before the big harvests come in. As I said earlier, weed season. It’s also summer salad season. I’ve made baked beans. I’ve made potato salad. I’ve got greens growing in a planter. I’m anticipating tomatoes that taste like something. I didn’t know if I’d be able to garden this year, but I’ve got a lot of pots around the house. I just have to be diligent about watering.
Orion and I went with friends to see Shakespeare in the Park. A Midsummer Night’s Dream seemed a fitting way to celebrate the season. Perhaps it is the season to dream the dreams, summer love, vacation. Or perhaps it is time to waken and make those dreams come true.
I went out this weekend. Not to a dance club, but I did go out. Karina and I were celebrating her birthday. We had a lovely dinner. We had a lot to drink.
Two women out alone. We were aware of our surrounding. We were sensitive to our impact on the other diners. We got home at a reasonable hour.
We were not afraid. Not really. Not any more than any other night out. It was a nice night for a walk. At 8pm when we got there walking from the car would have been fine. When we left? We chose valet parking, because we had the choice.
But there are no “good choices” that protect people from haters, predators, terrorists, rapists, abusers, gunmen. That kind of protection needs to come from the culture.
People who live their lives in love, acceptance and celebration of who they are are not “sick”. It is the people who go out of their way to make someone else suffer who are troubled. It is the people wanting to impose their sense of right and privilege, by force if necessary, who need help and healing.
The people killed in Orlando were no less innocent than the children of Sandy Hook. They weren’t causing trouble, or making “bad choices”. They were out, celebrating. They were living their lives in love and acceptance.
Apparently that’s not enough. The culture needs to change.
I often have a lot of drama in my life. I’m not really a drama queen. I don’t go out of my way to look for dramatic things to happen. I tend to underplay rather than overplay the things that are going on in my life. Even when I sound dramatic “My kitchen cupboards are literally falling off the walls!” I’m not dramatizing. I do know what the word literally means and am using it appropriately.
I noticed this week that the drama in my life right now isn’t actually mine. It’s rather refreshing. There’s plenty going on. My parents are exhausting themselves with their political activities. My daughter is working herself into the ground. I have friends in the hospital, going through divorce, fighting cancer, dealing with family change (dying parents, kids graduating). I’m surrounded, but it’s not mine.
It’s not that it doesn’t impact me. Last Friday was National Donut Day.
My daughter bakes donuts. Guess who got Minnie? I helped my parents out where I could with accessibility issues. I take late night phone calls from my friends. I can do that, because right now it’s not my drama.
Orion spent the weekend with his Reach for Resources gang, so I was on my own schedule rather than his. I went out to eat Friday (with a friend who needed an ear), Saturday (with my parents who needed a ride), and Sunday (to celebrate a birthday). I got a couple long leisurely baths, a late morning sleep-in, and the opportunity to putter without feeling the need to accomplish anything in particular.
I’m finding compassion much easier when I’m not also overwhelmed. “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” gives me the opportunity to listen, be a resource, and also set my own boundaries. I can be available without being “caught up” in the drama. I am grateful!
Happy Memorial Day. Enjoy the weather, the family, the picnic – whatever you have planned. I’ll be gardening and taking a long leisurely bath.
Remember those who served with their lives. Remember that many have sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy. Remember the families of those who have served. And in remembering, think about all of those whose service was dismissed, or uncredited. There have always been women serving alongside the men, but because they were not “official” were not counted. There have been blacks and Native Americans in service for this country whose “special units” were often placed in the most dangerous situations. Japanese American families lost loved ones in the internment camps in the US during WWII. There are many kinds of service, many kinds of sacrifice. Let’s honor that in gratitude for what we do have. Let’s remember.
The solution to the problem in the kitchen is clearly to do a remodel.
2 [ no obj. ] decide firmly on a course of action: [ with infinitive ] : she resolved to call Dana as soon as she got home.
That means calling contractors and getting bids to take to the bank to get a loan.
3 chiefly Chemistry separate or cause to be separated into components.
Components: Contractor, Banker, Clear the deed, Subordinate city loan, housing for Orion and I while the work goes on.
So far, so good.
• [ no obj. ] (of something seen at a distance) turn into a different form when seen more clearly: the orange glow resolved itself into four lanterns.
Contractors don’t want to waste their time writing up a bid on work that I 1. May not be able to afford or 2. May hire someone else for
The season is upon us and contractors already have work (with a GO) lined up.
There is probably more to do than I can afford and I have to prioritize.
This isn’t going to happen quickly.
The contractors who could do the work faster have larger teams/businesses and also larger prices.
Resolve: noun firm determination to do something: she received information that strengthened her resolve | she intended to stick to her initial resolve.
The only way this is going to happen is if I just keep plugging away at it.
Actually my whole life seems a little like this right now. I put the gardening on hold, not knowing what will be torn up. I can’t take it so I spent the weekend planting. I’ve mostly got things in containers, so they could be moved. But if this isn’t going to start until August I want tomatoes and basil!
The lawn has been mowed. That required having the tractor overhauled. The blades needed sharpening and there was a nut that disappeared.
The hose has a huge hole in it. It actually has for sometime. I bought a new hose long enough ago I can’t remember. I dug it out of the garage and hooked it up. It actually reaches everything! (Bonus, it doesn’t leak.)
Bills still need to be paid, and credit cards paid off – going back to the issues with the bank. I need to find time to write, time to garden, time to tend to Orion, time out for myself.
It all comes down to resolve.
When the sun is shining and the breeze is keeping the bugs away I have to remember not to play hookey from my life. I also have to remember to take a minute and appreciate the day.
I resolve to do both!
Definitions from the New Oxford American Dictionary
This isn’t the post I was going to write today. I was going to write about being outside. I was going to write about enjoying a campfire. I was going to write about going sailing.
Then I spilled a full mug of hot tea into my lap.
Besides worrying about getting burned and changing clothes and what a mess I made I also worried about what was in my lap. My laptop.
I threw rice at it (because that’s what you do) but I didn’t have much in the house. I’m not really eating rice since the bariatric surgery. I went on my way and enjoyed the day on the water without thinking too much about it.
Monday morning, the time of reckoning.
It turns on, which is a good sign. It seems like there’s a key stuck. There’s all sorts of things being entered even when I’m not touching the keyboard. When I try to type in something there are all kinds of extra characters. I can’t log in.
I have my fingers crossed that there’s a piece of rice stuck under a key rather than the keyboard shorting out. I’m afraid I’m not very hopeful about that. So I have to think about what’s next.
My website designer is reading this shaking her head. She pretty much tells me to back up every time we talk. It didn’t come up yesterday, so this is the first time she’s hearing this story.
I recognize the importance of backing up. I’ve done it now and again. I don’t have an automatic set-up. I don’t have a “system” where I back up every Friday (or whatever). In fact, despite the regular reminders from my tech support I’m not really sure when I did my last back-up.
Not only am I unsure of when, I’m also not entirely sure of where. There’s got to be a thumb drive somewhere in the house with my files and photos (at least from maybe 6 months ago?) I’ve got a few thoughts about where it might be, but they’re tenuous at best.
Even if I find them I know I’m missing most of my latest book, photos that I’ve deleted from the phone and not shared on the web, and several recipes. I couldn’t say for sure what else, because my computer is the brains of this operation.
The stuff on the internet is redeemable, but it’s not in one place. There’s no guarantee I can find it all or get it all back. There’s a photo I’m particularly grateful I put on my phone under my parents’ number. There’s another of Karina and my recent haircuts that if I didn’t share it on a blog may be lost forever.
So if I go to the genius bar today (you know they require you make appointments on line. That’s a challenge when your computer is broken!) wish me luck. And BACK-UP YOUR COMPUTER!