Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Both Sides Now

I can’t even find the CD. I purchased it in an obscure used bookstore somewhere in Chicago, probably about 20 years ago. 

Recently one of the songs invaded my consciousness, haunting it, searing it. All of a sudden it has become more relevant, more devastating. 

I had to find it. 

I can hear it on YouTube and I copied the lyrics from Google -- so what was lost is not really lost. 

Then I had to figure out why, 20 years later, it surfaced on my cerebral cortex. I reviewed the words – about clouds and love and life. I realized that, while all the verses are still accurate – for Joni Mitchell and for me – I needed another verse, maybe two. 

They would be about my country, my safe, smallish town existence. I think we all shared the illusion that what we are as a nation, as an island of privileged population, would just keep on keeping on, in perpetuity. Sure there would be bumps and detours but overall, we were eternal. 

No. That’s a dangerous illusion. We really don’t know our lives at all. 

Now, awakened, we must stand and be counted. Sign petitions. Write letters. Demonstrate. Object. Support those who support our values. Pray to whatever we pray to. Join with whomever we trust. Sing. Shout. Come alive. 

We must truly see Both Sides Now.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Herbie Sleeps Around

It's a seasonal thing.

When it’s really hot, he prefers the upstairs bathroom sink. 

When it’s mild enough to open the dining room window, he watches squirrels from a little window platform. 

In cool weather he has favorite places in almost every room: dining room, atop the high east-side shelf in the morning sun; guest room, bed pillows; TV room, the back of the couch; living room, either in front of the furnace register or on the blue cushion on the ladder back chair; in the laundry room, the little blanket atop the dryer. Upstairs: the pillows on my bed or on one of the three places in my study that I’ve covered with soft things for him. 

The one place I find inexplicable is the upstairs windowsill where he rests his head on a book. 

It doesn’t look at all comfortable but when the sun shines, he’s there. 

There used to be jokes (which of course I do not remember) about all the East Coast signs proclaiming that “George Washington slept here.” However presidential he may be, I can't to do the same for Herbie.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 11, 2017

Flowers bloom! in my front yard in Loveland, Colorado, USA

Saturday, January 28, 2017

This is what we are about

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Looking at these words etched in the soul of this nation, I see no mention of race, or religion, or gender. The golden door has slammed shut -- replaced by a wall of intolerance and a wall of arrogance.

This has been a week of inexcusable actions, a week that will live in infamy.

This is not what we are. 

This must not be what we will become.

Monday, January 23, 2017

This is Iris Genevieve McClure, the face of the future.

She will be 12 years old on April 1, 2017. She is my grand niece. I held her when she was just a few hours old. I was with her on Nov. 8, 2016 when we (and other family members and friends) watched the U.S. election returns in horror. 

She was as devastated as any of us.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, she and her mother, Kelly Mansfield, joined 150,000 in the Women's March in Denver. And, in some way, the 150,000 in Chicago; the 500,000 in Washington, D.C., the 150,000 Boston, the 130,000 in Seattle, the 55,000 in Toronto, and thousands of others in cities across the United States and the world (including 10,000 in Sydney, Australia.

Look at her face. 
See in that face the joy of being with women
-- all women -- celebrating the power of women. 

No matter what happens. No matter how many times we need to stand and march and protest and petition, we will do it. And as long as we do, there is hope -- for women, for children, for Muslims, for African Americans, for Hispanics, for LGBTQs, for any who are threatened.

Until, someday, all people --whatever their gender, or age, or race, or sexuality, or ability, or religion, or (yes) politics are celebrated.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I will never do it again but recently I was reading two books: “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi and “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. I kept one upstairs and one downstairs, reading each when I had a bit of time. Both are powerful books about aspects of slavery in this country. Both are complex books with variable main characters and sometimes convoluted timelines. 

 I will never be able to pass any form of quiz about these novels, the names of the protagonists, or their chronology. [Unless I read them again. Which I might.] 

However confused I got (and I did get very confused), I don’t believe this foolish practice was without substantial benefit. 

Reading about any aspect of history should (in my opinion) help you better understand that history – at a deep, visceral level that transforms your vision of a time period and its impact on the present. My upstairs/downstairs reading did that exactly that. Never again will I underestimate the horrendous scars our ancestors inflicted on a people and their cultures. These books obliterated any romantic/’Gone With the Wind’ vision of this nation’s history. 

 It is never acceptable to force any persons to abandon their culture and language. It is never acceptable to destroy family units, overwork and over-punish anyone, to subjugate by terror, to deny anyone’s value . . . The list of unacceptable practices – crimes against humanity -- that our nation perpetrated (and perpetuates) is long and bloody. 

 It is good to understand this, to acknowledge it and, acknowledging this, to work in whatever way we can to ensure that we never, never do this again – to any peoples, whatever their race or religion or sexual orientation. 

No one should be confined to the ‘downstairs’ of our country.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Good Will to All Sentient Beings

My Social Security check is late. I don’t want to sound paranoid but could the new administration be having a pre-inaugural affect on my income? 

Well that does sound paranoid. But still. 

I have made an extra effort this year to relay good wishes to relatives, friends and acquaintances. I have a growing sense of dread – a feeling that our personal connections will become more essential -- that our efforts, combined and solitary, may be required if we are to protect all that may need protecting. 

 Like trees, and national parks, and women and immigrants and Muslims and Jews and African Americans and human dignity and …. Ah, the list can extend forever. 

I, like so many others, have been complacent for so long – assuming that if I sign petitions and contribute some money that all those things I value will be fortified and safe. 

Now I am not so sure. 

I do not know what we will be called on to do in the years ahead but I know with a certainty that we will be called upon. I hope that I will have the courage to stand up for what is right and in front of those who need protection. 

I hope we all do. 

🎄This year my prayer is for Peace on Earth and Good Will to All Sentient Beings.🎄 

And a Social Security deposit in my account.