Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Nouns: We're All Essential!

My favorite Sunday mug.
In your lifetime, have you ever felt that you were destined to "do" something? Something special, something great, something meaningful? I used to think that, whatever I did or would do, it'd have something to do with music, for it has always been a part of my life. I thought, at one point in my young life, I was destined to be a concert pianist or vocalist. I practiced hard, performed, competed. I've been a music director/conductor, composed/arranged, did the Nashville scene, etc. Music has always been a part of my being, and always will be.

I also have a passion for [freelance] writing. When I was a kid, my parents couldn't keep enough pens and paper around. I wrote on literally everything (including my desk, walls and outside the window sills, LOL) I've been a columnist and reporter for a few newspapers, had a news blog in Amador County, CA...even started this blog, a platform where I can freely share my thoughts du jour.

I've had several jobs along my journey that had absolutely nothing to do with music or writing. An aerospace company, an electronics firm, a few law firms, an architect firm, a hospital, hospice, a window/glass company, modeling...was a temp as an administrative/office assistant for many companies, did a lot of data analysis/entry. Very fast learner with several computer programs. Wherever I went, whatever I did, I hit the ground running.

I also developed many hobbies and interests. There was a time where I was a recreational runner, eventually trained and ran the Chase Manhattan in San Francisco. I've scuba dived (PADI) in Monterey, Cancun, Lake Tahoe...abalone diving at Fort Point...went tuna fishing off the CA coast...was an avid trail hiker, explorer, nature buff. Loved taking my kids to Santa Cruz!

Some hobbies and interests stuck with me throughout my whole life. I love traveling, road trips...stopping at historical markers, museums, tourist traps, greasy spoons. I used to go rock and fossil hunting with my grandparents, aunts and uncles. My mother and grandmothers instilled a love for cooking and baking. Our family always had a huge garden, every year...and when I moved back home to stay, many of the loves and passions inside of me were awakened and embraced. I still love cooking. I love gardening. I love road-tripping. I'm no pro at photography, but I do love to take photos for what is meaningful and purposeful to me in the moment...and very much appreciate those professionals who have a passion for and make a living in capturing subjects and images as an artform.

I've been married, been in relationships. I've raised children; I have a grand-daughter. I have experienced and survived many dramas and traumas, some that would probably make your skin crawl. I've been in the hospital many times, had many surgeries. I've learned the easy ways and the hard ways. But I know that (and I've said this before)...if I died today, if there were no tomorrow for me, even at the ripe ol' age of 54...I can rightfully say I've already lived a very full and meaningful life.

This weekend, as I pondered my past and present, I've come to realize that the common thread(s) through all of the experiences that have made my life meaningful are the people I've met, and the friends I've made. Some have remained true for life. Some have served merely as a warning to myself and others. Still others I may have only met once, but made a lasting impact, in one way or another. 

In some ways, moving back here to my hometown of Riverton, Wyoming has proven that my life has come full circle. Yet, in so many other ways, being "born again" into my Third Life has created so many more adventures and challenges. I often ask myself what it is I'm doing that might be "great", might be meaningful, might be special...

When I worked in hospice, it was mainly about comfort. It was about families and loved ones making difficult, but necessary decisions. These days, I find myself on the other end of the spectrum; those I work with are those who are emergently saving lives. They see humanity at their worst, on their very worst days (and varying levels in between)...and they do it on very little sleep, little respect and little pay. What you read in the newspapers and the media about Emergency Medical Services (EMS), it doesn't even scrape the tip of the iceberg of what these Providers are doing and have to deal with, on or behind the scenes. Sometimes I count myself fortunate that my own job doesn't require me to experience what they do, first-hand...but that's not to say what they go through does not impact or affect me. As they come into my office to spill their guts on any given subject or scenario, I try to do what I do best: Listen. Sometimes they just need me to be there to laugh, to cry, to vent, to hang out...be sarcastic, be funny, be real...be a bitch, be an asshole...and they know that I will not judge. I've learned so very much as I live vicariously through them, that at the end of the day, my only hope and wish has always been for their own safety and the safety of their patients. I feel this very deeply.

I am involved in several projects and sit on several committees in my community. I do these things because throughout my life, I've discovered that something "special" or something "great" has to do with people. As so many political decisions are made over our heads (so many of which are out of our control), my heart has always been for those on the front lines. Our local providers, our local small businesses, our farmers and ranchers, our artists and musicians, our restaurants and cooks, our oil workers, our mechanics, our stores and boutiques, our doctors, our nurses, our school teachers and coaches, our mail and delivery services, our indigenous neighbors/tribes...those who are the very backbones and heartbeats of our hometown economies. For any entity or power to define or decide who or what is essential, or who or what is not (as my Dad would say) "really tans my hide". No one should ever minimize what an individual brings to their tribe, the pack, their community. Who or what we do, who or what we are, what we bring? It's all important. We're all essential!

The fate of our ambulance services in Fremont County lies in the hands of those we voted for and in whom we've placed our trust. No RFP or contract will be "perfect"; there are always compromises to be made; always that good ol' give and take. My jobs/experience with attorneys (as well as my own in representing myself) ring loud and true in situations where someone needs to come to the defense of those who cannot defend themselves. Back then, in my case, it was my children. In this case, it is those who are on the front lines...doing what they do best. Doing what is great, meaningful and special.

"Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."
- Mark Twain

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog piece are my own and not necessarily those of my employer and their associates.




Sunday, January 17, 2021

History Lessons: A Day With Dad

Yesterday I spent the day driving to Buffalo with my Dad to see the newest members of the family: Aspen, Everleigh and Everett. It was a long day of driving through Wyoming landscapes, canyons and mountain ranges (oh, darn! LOL), simmering with excitement to see the absolute darling, healthy triplets who had been through so very, very much since their births in November. Visiting family is a high priority on my 2021 “To Do” list, and though there were a few ice patches as we travelled through the Big Horns, it was a beautiful day to get that list off to a great start.
 
On the way there, Dad and I had quite a few great discussions generated from articles we've read online and in the newspapers on the “state of the union”. Sometimes we would trail off into conversations about Mom, childhood memories, work projects, our struggles and triumphs...some serious, some humorous. What made me laugh until my stomach hurt was...just as we were on the other side of the mountain approaching Buffalo, Dad randomly belted out “Sioux City Sue” and “Timberjack”. Laughter tears are the absolute best! The very best medicine. What really got me was when he sang: "...eyes of red, hair of blue..." (I held it in, but what I really wanted to say was: 'Okay, Dad, you're killin' me...pull over, I gotta pee.')
 
The visit was absolutely wonderful, but what I really enjoyed was the journey home as we started on the US Constitution--from the very beginning with the Preamble and quite well into Article I. I would read each section aloud, and then we’d discuss. By the time we reached home, we almost got to Article II. With our brains going 100 miles an hour (without getting stopped by the thought police, LOL...that’s an inside joke with sort of a double-meaning), I was taken back in time to where our whole family went through the US Constitutional study courses. I was surprised at how much I comprehended then versus now, and how my own story and history lessons have ultimately culminated into a true sense of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. I had to hold back the tears as Dad said that is all he ever wanted for his posterity. That was the ultimate takeaway from that day trip, and it will forever live in my heart, mind and soul.
 
For me, nothing is more satisfying than having conversations with family and friends about Life. On our trip, Dad would tell me stories about when he and Mom Thelma lived in Thermopolis back in ‘55 (something I didn’t know!) and was a crew worker on the highway through the canyon...how they’d pack the explosives, move the big boulders, clear the railroad tracks, etc. We talked about how amazing it was that those rocks in the canyon were billions of years old, and it triggered a thought about how our own lives on this planet are just micro-blips on the Universal screen. I thought about how it took just one asteroid to destroy Life, and so many millions of years to evolve...which led to the thought about how many thousands of years of wars, genocide and misery that destroys Life, and as many thousands of years it takes to rebuild.
 
The casualties and sacrifices made for Liberty number an unnervingly countless. I did a search and found List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll(Wikipedia). I thought I wouldn’t be surprised, but my jaw literally dropped...so, of course, I also had to do a search on riots, massacres and murders. Wars are waged for two things: Power and control over "something". But after the war, how are the masses controlled? Through lawmaking and by force. So when the laws are unjust, the taxes unreasonable, slavery becomes unbearable (social, cultural, financial or otherwise), society corrupted and immoral...Liberty, or “the quality or state of being free”...can no longer exist. Criminals get off on a technicality. Victims are imprisoned (and not all prisons have bars). We both agreed that, in court, the only ones who win are the attorneys:
 
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)
 
As parents, we want to see our children go out and do well in the world...to “live long and prosper” (had to put that in, LOL...sorry, it’s the Trekkie in me). All the Founding Fathers (parents) of the US Constitution wanted for theirs and our posterity was the very same. If they were alive today, the words “disappointment” and “shame” would be putting it very lightly, but most of all, I would be willing to bet that our Founding Fathers would feel as if they had failed. The truth is, We the People are the ones who have failed them...we have failed our children and we failed our own selves. We failed with our extremism, our systematic beliefs, our programmable algorithms.
 
We have fed...and continue to feed...the wrong Wolves.
https://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TwoWolves-Cherokee.html
 
I know, I don’t speak for everyone. Everyone has a story, and believe me, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and bad judgment calls along my own timeline. Nobody’s perfect, right? But those who have been raised without the love and care of just basic human decency and respect become casualties of an invisible war led by hurt people who hurt people. There is no freedom to be found in that. There is no justice, there is no mercy, there is no moral compass. There are no “rights”. No Liberty.
 
But there’s always that Pursuit of something good, because let’s face it, all anyone really wants is to be happy. To dream, create and thrive. To be loved, understood and accepted, even praised for what one brings to the world, to their community, to their neighborhoods, to their jobs, to their homes and to their families. Happiness is not achieved by selfishness and our own gratification(s), but I can tell you right now, the Pursuit...the Journey...to happiness leads to true peace. Doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Oh, HELLZ no! But it does make for a very interesting journey!
 
On so many levels, there will always be unrest. I look at my own DNA and see Native American, Hispanic and Welsh...my Three Wolves. Sure, I may have three, but none of them define me. No one Wolf rules my life. I decide who I truly am and want to be. No political party defines me. No religion defines me. No tribe defines me. No propaganda defines me. I am a human being first. Is it a struggle? YES! These Wolves are constantly bickering! But who is in control? Me. I may not have control of all of the collective, "sheeplistic" mindsets that are out there, but I don't have to control them: I need to control me. What I do know is that if I want peace on Earth, it begins with me.
 
“Hi, honey. How are you doing? How are you holding up? What are you doing these days? Need any help? What can I do?” Questions that Mom Marilyn would always ask me, listen to my answers with a gentle heart, and respond with such profound wisdom. How I miss her. How I wish I could have just one more day with her. What I wouldn’t give.
 
A Day with Dad was enough for me to get back on track and find my place with We the People of the United States...in order to form a more perfect Union...

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Nouns: Time Is All We Have

This Thanksgiving, I road-tripped it out to my CA home in Amador County. With everything that’s happened this past month (well, quite frankly…YEAR!), I wasn’t going to go. I had a difficult time leaving responsibilities behind, unresolved issues, etc…but with so many friends and family convincing me that I had to go, I needed to go…I did, and I’m so very, very glad.

I love road-trippin’! Coffee…the open road…coffee…making stops along the way to visit friends…coffee…making new friends along the way…coffee…standing in line, six feet apart in a line of truckers at the Flying J and cracking jokes…coffee…eating greasy junk food and getting sick, LOL…coffee…stopping to soak in an amazing view, a sunrise, a sunset, a mountain, a valley, a star-filled sky…and coffee…

But what really convinced me to go was my very own Soul. Time really IS all we have!! If I had known that the very last time I’d see my Mom was the night before she was whisked away in an ambulance to the hospital, I would have broken every single freakin’ one of the “COVID rules”…ran up behind her, hugged her in the biggest bear hug ever and told her I loved her so very, very much. But the Time slipped away, like it does. We think “See you tomorrow” or “See you next time”…but there may not be a tomorrow. There may not be a “next time”. That changes you..it grieves you, riddles you with tons of regret.

So I spent Thanksgiving in California with my BFF-Sister, Tory, and her family and my son, Kevin…went to the Tree Lighting in Jackson, CA…shopped until I dropped in Sutter Creek…scheduled out an entire two days in order to try my very best to see as many friends as I could…just to spend some Time catching up with them. Just looking at them; catching that "mind-photo". Laughing and crying with them. Would it be the last time I see them? Who knows! But at least I wouldn’t have the regret of not running up to them, hugging them from behind in a great big bear hug, and telling them I love them so very, very much.

Road trips give me a whole lot of time to think about the Nouns in my life. People, Places and Things. I know there are so many People who hurt, in some way or another, and I want to be there to listen, maybe help in some way. There are Places to go, Things to fill the senses. There’s nothing like cranking my music/playlists, singing at the top of my lungs to so many tunes that trigger memories, good and bad. Good for obvious reasons…bad because of lessons learned.

Now the Christmas holidays are upon us. 2020 has been the year from Hell. Masks. Distancing. Isolation. Quarantine. After a year of so much toil, struggle and strife, I pause to reflect upon what is most important…

TIME!

Spend some Time with those you love! Spend some Time with your local small businesses who are and have been struggling to keep their doors open! Spend some Time in a soup kitchen, a food bank, a homeless shelter. Spend some Time with your family, loved ones, neighbors, friends…even if you have to mask up, even if you have to stand outside their window, 6 feet away, in the freezing Wyoming cold. DO it!

And when I say spend some “Time”, I mean giving it some thought. Maybe you just can’t spend Time at a homeless shelter, but...spend a few minutes giving a donation, no matter how large or small. Maybe you just can’t spend Time with your family and friends, but spend a few minutes sending a card, video chat, message or text that will show that you are thinking about them, that you love them, that you have taken Time, just for them. Maybe you can’t stand outside in the freezing cold for long to chat with a loved one in an assisted living facility, but you know what?

If that was going to be the very last Time you saw them…

No matter where you are on this planet called Earth...time is what we have. So make it about Love rather than hate. Good than bad. Strength than weakness.

I love you all...and I do mean, ALL!

"I'll be gone...in a day or twoooooo!"

Carol

NOTE: The reason I post this YouTube...is because it has a story behind it. At one of the lowest points of my [First] Life, I told myself that if I ever got to a point to where I had a convertible/sunroof in my car, sunglasses and a scarf blowing in the wind on the open road...I would open it all up and crank this song. I dedicate this to my BFF-Sister Tory. I love you!



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Coffee With A View: Failing By Default

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default.”

-JK Rowling

I just watched "The Social Dilemma" [ironically, only on Netflix] finally, in its entirety...without falling asleep, LOL. None of it contained anything I didn't already know...yes, we're all just numbers made up of algorithms for advertisers, investors, etc. Yes, we are all traded as "human futures"....and "They" all need "a lot of data" about us.

Whatever.  Blah, blah, blah. For those intelligent enough to understand that we are all being used, it's really not such a big deal. But for those who are ignorant to it, I can see how it can be an "OMG! The sky is falling!" Chicken Little eye-opener.

But hey, Big Brother...can Your idiots grow a fantastic garden? A beautiful beefsteak tomato? A crop of sweet, delicious corn? A ripe cantaloupe, ready for breakfast?

Can "You" knit or crochet a beautiful, homemade afghan?

Can "You" write/co-write a song in a songwriters' circle and play an instrument that delivers that song?

Can "You" make beautiful jewelry? Have "You" spent countless hours doing intricate beadwork, with your own hands

Are "You" an Artist? Creating art that is meaningful and timeless?

Can "You" make an awesome batch of venison jerky? An award-winning pot of chili? LOL 😉

Can “You” do my hair the way I want? Massage my neck, shoulders, back, arms/legs the way I really need and want?

Can "You" really escape to the lakes, the mountains, the tropics, Alaska...without WiFi/cell service?

Can "You" help a person on the side of the road with a flat? Help someone that needs their lawn cut, their snow shoveled? Someone who is in trouble and may just needs a listening ear from someone who is a live body, not some auto-bot "customer service"?

Can "You" really find me a true companion...a best friend...that is compatible for me, NOT just based on a dating profile or app? Swipe left or right?? (Lame.)

Can "You" even hear, taste, smell or touch?

Can "You" ignore all of the political propaganda...the party hype...the fake news, conspiracy theories, etc...without any thought of compensation, in any form...monetary or trade...and bask in something that is called, um…HUMANITY?

I CAN!

I primarily use Facebook because, quite frankly...most folks do...to connect with friends and family, to share our lives...share our glories and triumphs, our mistakes and failures...our thoughts and beliefs...reaching out for help, answering the calls...

However, I pretty much ignore the advertising and propaganda a whole HELLUVA LOT! Especially the Left and Right party bullshit. (Sorry to say, you're all morons.)

I'm no fool. I know we're on the brink of a Civil War. I’ve known it for quite a while now. But it’s not about left or right politics, or about racism…it’s not about Trump or Biden, or who is in the seat of President or power. It is not about who has the loudest voice, clanging in our ears or burning our eyeballs out of their sockets, every f***ing day.

No, this has come down to a fight of good versus evil…and the "truth" that lies somewhere in the middle, lost in the chaos. If you adhere to a religion that helps you sleep at night, I can't blame you one bit. But for me, it's going to take a lot more than any belief system to fight on the front lines against what is right and good on this planet we call Earth.

I'm the Mom of two US Marines. They have both fought on horrible battle fronts that no one will ever know about. They won't talk about it, and I know why. I also work for our local EMS services. While everyone is decorating assholes above their heads, most of the ground troops "know" what it's all about: 

Image.

While most folks think I'm a "fence-dweller" as a Moderate, I tend to think: "Good! Go ahead and think that." But...don't think for one second that a "Boston Tea Party" could never, ever happen again.  Where will I be when that happens? Who knows. Most of all, what would it really mean, in the grand scheme of things?

We just finished up the Fall Harvest Festival in Riverton, Wyoming. We all came together as a community of families, friends, neighbors, tribes, politicians and businesses. We came together, despite our politics, beliefs, differences...and had a great time!

Proving, once again, that Life is more than the addictions we’re being fed by “Them”.

Shame on those who don’t think past the politics…corporate or governmental.

Shame on those who are simply jealous of those who want and succeed at living their lives in peace and prosperity...way past "high school" socialism.

Shame on those who think they “know” better than everyone else, just because they skim the “news” every day and share their biases…because quite frankly, they really don’t “know” anything at all.

They've already failed. Epic fail. They just don’t know it.

I am a human being. Not an algorithm.

And there is the Civil War.



Thursday, September 17, 2020

Coffee With A View: America the Hateful? Seeing the Elephant

I recently ran across an interesting post by my ex (David Harper) that caught my eye. For those who knew us when we were "us"...David and I were pretty much your atypical "American Family" (at least for a while). Both of us had pasts riddled with drama, divorce, financial difficulties, joblessness, homelessness, etc....several circumstances that went out of control at several points...but through it all, I am glad to say that we have remained friends. Enough of that (LOL)...

So here was David's post:

I don't know who wrote this but it sounds on the money to me.

“Why do people continue supporting Trump no matter what he does?"

A lady named Bev answered it this way:

“You all don't get it. I live in Trump country, in the Ozarks in southern Missouri, one of the last places where the KKK still has a relatively strong established presence. They don't give a shit what he does. He's just something to rally around and hate liberals, that's it, period. He absolutely realizes that and plays it up. They love it. He knows they love it. The fact that people act like it's anything other than that proves to them that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.

If you keep getting caught up in "why do they not realize this problem" and "how can they still back Trump after this scandal," then you do not understand what the underlying motivating factor of his support is. It's fuck liberals, that's pretty much it.

Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable, and they'll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense? Because they're not even keeping track of any coherent narrative, it's irrelevant. Fuck liberals is the only relevant thing. Trust me; I know firsthand what I'm talking about.

That's why they just laugh at it all because you all don't even realize they truly don't give a fuck about whatever the conversation is about. It's just a side mission story that doesn't matter anyway. That's all just trivial details - the economy, health care, whatever. Fuck liberals.

Look at the issue with not wearing the masks. I can tell you what that's about. It's about exposing fear. They're playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.

You've got to understand the one core value that they hold above all others is hatred for what they consider weakness because that's what they believe strength is, hatred of weakness. And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred. And I'm not exaggerating. Believe me. Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that's what proves they're strong, their passionate hatred for weakness. Sometimes they will lump vulnerability in with weakness. They do that because people tend to start humbling themselves when they're in some compromising or overwhelming circumstance, and to them, that's an obvious sign of weakness.

Kindness = weakness. Honesty = weakness. Compromise = weakness.

They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn't hate weakness as much as they do. They consider liberals to be weak people that are inferior, almost a different species, and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it's that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority.

Go ahead and try to have a logical, rational conversation with them. Just keep in mind what I said here and be forewarned.”

Here was my comment:

I moved back home to Wyoming, after being gone for about 35 years, most of that time (as you know) was spent in CA. As I agree with most of this, I personally have had to take a look at where I was in my Past, and now in my own Present and the people who are in it. I was born and raised in a conservative state; spent 25 years in a liberal state. I've learned a lot about people and their circumstances along the way, and how we all deal with our issues/problems. Politics and socio-economics aside...it all comes down to how we TREAT each other: With respect, or disrespect? I've known hateful people on BOTH sides, conservative AND liberal. But when shit happens…like a wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, stock/housing market crashes, etc. I have seen the goodness in people. People who will give the shirts off their back, but not only that…pull out an ox in the mire on a Sunday. So for every hateful person, thank the Universe that there are more loving ones who step forward in times of trouble. It doesn’t matter who the President is, really. It’s about how WE are in the communities WE live in that will make the difference. The fight between good and evil is real…and I’m not talking about anarchy, but I am talking about America as we envision it to be. Be good. Be nice. Be strong.

---

I think that perhaps many of us who call ourselves "Moderates" struggle (at least, to some extent or another) this 2020 Election Year. Besides the fact that we're called "fence-dwellers" and have been mercilessly ridiculed as such...the truth is that no one really knows anything except for...

How we were raised.

There are those who have been raised in wealth or poverty...or perhaps somewhere in the middle. There are those who have been raised in strict religious and cultural traditions. There are those who are "working class" and "high class" or "no class". There are those who are raised to be pridefully racist..and those who are raised to be respectful, tolerant and accepting. There are those who are Native Americans, and those whose ancestral heritages are United States Revolutionary...those who absolutely despised tyranny and initiated that "Shot Heard Around The World". For those who mock marches and protests by so-called "liberals", consider those Revolutionary roots.

I don't know what cloud has been put over peoples' eyes to blind them from the harsh realities of the human condition, but being "conservative" or "liberal"...a "Republican" or a "Democrat" is quite minute and laughable in the grand scheme of things. I muse at the social media postings, left and right battles and babbles. So many chefs in the kitchen...so many bad dishes being created and presented for human consumption to glug down.

Do we not all breathe the air? Drink the water? Eat the food? Work the fields, hunt the forests...mind our stores and shops, whether online or storefront? Give of ourselves, work ourselves to the bone? Wonder at the sun, moon and stars above us? How soon we forget where we came from...not only how we've been raised, but how we've faced the trials and troubles along the way.

And yet, do we not ALL have time, talents and treasures that we uniquely give to our families, friends, neighborhoods and communities, because "that's just the kind of people we are", regardless of race, color, gender, religion and creed?

For those who don't know...I was out for about a week from my day job because I had a couple of what was considered "COVID symptoms". Congestion, respiratory problems. I was eventually tested negative (shocker, LOL!)...and could finally return to work. Yes, I lost a few days of work. Yes, I was a bit frustrated with my employer at one point,, however...because I can see many sides of the proverbial "Elephant" (which, I must say, has been both a blessing and a curse throughout my life), I can, once again, move forward and contribute to the ups and downs and craziness of this thing we call Life...and know that it will all work out, as long as I am consistent in being good, being nice, and being strong.

This (to the left) is my very favorite coffee mug. I have 50+ coffee mugs that I've collected over the years, but this one has always been my daily tried and true. Would I be sad if it ever broke? Oh, yes. But Life would go on.

It's a plain and simple mug. Nothing special about it, really...except that I love it. We all have treasures we cherish, for whatever reason(s). But...could we let them all go, at any moment, at any time? Better still...could we accept what is broken and find the love and strength within our own selves move forward and make things better?

Change is inevitable. Maybe we could see the Elephant in a way that will bring us together, rather than tear us all apart. Being better, not bitter.

In the mean time...my biggest worry these days is what to do with all of these potatoes. This garden has been out of control! 😉

Be good. Be nice. Be strong.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Nouns: The School Closet (Anyone Want Zucchini?)

So if you've been following me on Facebook, you know I have a huge garden that, if not contained by a [deer] fence, could probably take over Riverton, Wyoming's entire North Main. I'm convinced that the zucchini and cucumbers alone could do it. In expectation of a hot weekend, I'm watering in the morning and the evening...the coolest times of the day. Mornings are best, because in the evening, the bugs come out and I never know which one of them are hungry for human flesh. Haven't seen a murder hornet yet, but...at this point, I'm sure that if it bit me, I'd know!

I've learned a lot more about gardening this year, thanks to not only my avid gardening gurus and friends, but...my own father. I've learned so much from him, that much about gardening and farming is about the wisdom derived from, not just trial and error, but...patience.

Patience. What a virtue! Where many are running around with their hands in the air, convinced that the "sky is falling"...there are still many who have seen worse times, worse diseases/viruses, worse economic instability, worse injustices.

I now live in my Grandparents' home. Albert and Doris Lund. Survivors of the Depression Era, they weathered many of the storms and trials (literal and figurative) of their time. There were no laptops, no cell phones, no Internet. Cars were a luxury for many. So was a television set. No Netflix, no YouTube, no XBox.

 In our home, we had what my Mom called the "School Closet". A closet filled to the very top shelf with toys, books, puzzles, games, cards, blocks, tiles, musical instruments, tools, matchbox cars, crafts, crayons, paints, paper, etc. This Closet became my escape on so many occasions. Even when my brother and I were in trouble and/or grounded (which was a LOT of the time, LOL!)...the School Closet was never off limits. It was the one place we could go to satisfy our imaginations...calm our fears...play without boundaries. Might think that being "grounded" in our home was not so bad! LOL

Now in my Third Life, I can most certainly get caught up in a lot of drama and issues, at work and in the community. I get on Facebook and can laugh, shed a tear, roll my eyes, get my dander up on politics, social issues, etc. But I also think about what is now in my own "School Closet" and very much try to fill my mind with The Nouns that resonate within me. Not persuaded or influenced by outside forces, but a true refuge that shuts out all of the noise.

I know. This might all sound a bit naive and fairytale-ish. But if you knew the kind of life I had to live to get here, now...you might think twice. Because I've seen, felt and have experienced a lot of ugly, and who wouldn't want to escape and create a School Closet? A place where you and your mind and imagination rules. A place where you're not judged by the color of your skin, race, gender, spirituality or class. A place where you're "grounded". A place where you can be you.

I hate Election Years. It's a time where political parties are trying to persuade and tell you how to think and move. I know that the word "hate" is a very strong word to use, but...I do use it (pretty much) every four years. Everyone has a bandwagon and an agenda. Everyone has a PR/Marketing plan to bait and lure. Everyone has their own "thing" where they try to influence and solidify their own "base" and masses.

Me? I'm not a "sheeple". Lately, I pretty much configure myself to the "Island of Misfit Toys" when it comes to Election Day. Both parties - the Left and the Right - have become absolutely and fundamentally ridiculous. Those who cannot see this, I feel sorry for. For those of us in the Middle (Moderates), we bear (and have had to accept) the burden of "Balance". It's really not fair, but...what, in the grand scheme of life...ever is?!

The "Dog and Pony Show" aside...I think of my Grandparents. Out here, in the rural towns of Wyoming, no one really thought - on a daily basis - how things might pan out. They were just workin' to make a livin'. Trial and error. The powers-that-be  "above heads" may be in control, but...we all have our own "School Closets" to escape to. To read and ponder. To think and discuss. To shed the present "musts" and "have to''s...and dream of the "might be".

Lately, I've been binge-watching "Star Trek, The Next Generation". I had followed and watched it religiously in its time, but...I'm watching every episode again. What a brilliant series...where money/currency has no worth...where race, color, gender or religion has no power/control...where a mixed crew goes into the galaxies of the Universe "where no one has gone before". After I watch each episode, I wonder: Why does it take a science-fictional TV series for us to finally understand?

You might believe in Jesus; you might believe in Allah. You might believe in the Great Spirit...in the gods/goddesses...or any other Entity, and I completely respect that. But so many terrible things have been done and said in the name of Jesus and Allah. So many "gods" and Nouns throughout history have plundered and destroyed. So much hate, so many beliefs in lies and half-truths have been programmed into the human heart and mind, that it takes a Power greater than religion or tradition to overcome them...and that Power is: Love.

Love can cause a rise and fall. It can both build and crumble empires. It can heal. It is patient...and it is kind. For those who try it out, it can change their lives. For those who choose otherwise, the chaos and destruction continues. It's crazy that a tiny virus created such a chaotic paradigm shift in attitudes and behaviors. I wish that Love could have done that long ago.

My own "School Closet" is filled with a lot of Love. But I admit, my patience is running a bit low these days. So when I start feeling that overwhelming anxiety because of all the negativity and noise, I find a calming refuge in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset...a blue sky filled with clouds of all shapes and sizes...the smell of rain in the air...a garden filled with vegetables...a pot filled with flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors. The sound of birds in the morning. It all brings me back to "me" again. Grounds me...heals me.

What do you fill your "School Closet" with?

(That said...anyone want zucchini?) 🤣

Sunday, July 19, 2020

History Lessons: Reunions

Well, it's been a few weeks since writing...a lot has happened and has been going on in good ol' Fremont County, WY this month, despite the "'Rona". Dubois Friday Night Rodeos are still goin' on. Fourth of July happened with a "pirate parade" in downtown Lander (what pirates have to do with Independence Day, I have no idea, but yo, ho, ho and a bottle 'o rum and I suppose it's legit...I don't know, I was in Casper for a BBQ and fireworks). If Johnny Depp had shown up in full Captain Jack, I probably would've cancelled everything and made it Destination Lander. 😉

July 11 was Riverton Happy Days. This event was planned, prepped and executed within a month's time, and I am so very glad to have been a part of that committee, as I've met some very awesome, beautiful key people here in Riverton. I'm still so very bad with names, but I'm happy to say that quite a few have helped me get up to speed on the community's "dynamics". As with most small towns, there is always a certain level of political, business and social issues that might create a few bottlenecks, but for the most part, I have been very impressed by the strength and community spirit that really hasn't budged since I left over 35 years ago. Back in action, I am proud to call Riverton my home. It has and always will be home.

This weekend was the 2020 Riverton High School All Class Reunion. as well as my own Class of 1985 reunion BBQ. Busy weekend, and I'm so sorry to those I couldn't stay to chat with and reminisce, but I figured that my role was to step back and take photos for the sake of memories. So I was doing the "back and forth" thing...buying food...taking photos...prepping food...taking photos...close my eyes for a second's nap...taking photos...etc. I've now ended up with probably 500+ photos to sift through.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I don't do well in crowds. I have a certain level of anxiety that kicks in. Only I know when it does and it sets off the "red flag" alarm. Remember, I have Three Wolves...the Extrovert inside of me wants to get out and be social...the Introvert longs to be in her pajamas, comfy on the back deck watching the sun set/rise with a nice cup of coffee...and the Wolf in the middle must be a cat! LOL

I do think a lot depends on the people who presently surround me. I have several Circles of friends I thoroughly enjoy because I have a past AND present connection with them. However...there are those I didn't connect with in my Past, and they are still not in my Present. Yes, we often share our lives online...on Facebook or other social media...but it's not the same as being face to face, and "dealing". Being in my Third Life, the "ghosts" of my First and Second Lives seem quite foreign to me now...and I learned this weekend that some have really never left high school. For those I encountered, all of my Wolves just felt this strange and utter feeling of pity...and I suddenly realized why most of my classmates don't attend reunions.

So I leave, and go where I'm wanted and needed, and that's okay. Sure, I might be rustled from time to time, and then for some reason (I don't know, maybe it's just how deal with that kind of shit these days)...I'm actually quite good, because I know that those who have stuck with me through my First, Second and Third Lives will always have my back, no matter where we are in the World...and that's a great feeling to have! You know who you are...and I love you.

It's my brother's birthday today. It's also his daughter's birthday (my niece)..and it's also the birthday of my grand-daughter, Alivia. My Facebook's cover page reads a Mark Twain quote: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why."

Those of you who have found out why have my greatest respect.