MOTHER’S DAY WITH GOOFY SONS

Flowers. No. Chocolates. Not this year. Jewelry. Nope. New car. Not exactly. However…even better than all of those useless consumer excesses…I received enchiladas and new socks. And the enchiladas were especially prepared for me without meat. And the socks came from REI. I do have these fine sons who, if they thought for a minute I wanted flowers and chocolates would have showered me with said items. Probably. I mean I think they would have. Possibly. No, I’m sure they would have. I think. Love you guys, and actually you’re quite wonderful human beings. And I only like flowers embroidered on expensive jeans, butterscotch better than chocolate, jewelry…haven’t worn any since 1970…why start up with all those gaudy baubles now, already have a Focus and who could want more. So guys you are covered…though the jeans might be available at Nordstrom’s and Memorial Day is coming up…

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NAME ONE THING BETTER THAN A BOOK… NOT POSSIBLE.

It’s not easy being a blogger. It means one is supposed to post a photo, a comment or two, a story, a pithy observation, more photos…be present. Sometimes work or family or friends or the gym or cleaning or shopping or sleep keeps one otherwise occupied. And sometimes…it is a completely irresistible book.

Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer in this case. What’s so special you may ask? For me it is the history of a time, starting in early days Vietnam and ending with the protagonist’s death a few short years ago. It is Packer’s writing, smart and easy, a story well told about just who we (Americans) are and are not. It is Richard Holbrooke, the brilliant guy, the good guy, the outsize character with outsize flaws; not sure why but I’ve always been interested in him, only as the dashing diplomat, without a whole lot of additional knowledge. It’s all of that.

The first quarter or so of the story concerns Vietnam so it’s not that I’m learning so much new about the big picture (thanks to Ken Burns, Andrew X. Pham, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Tim O’Brien; oh yeah, and living through that time with Dylan as soundtrack) but it is filled with details, vaguely or not at all familiar, that enrage me all over again. Somebody said another of Packer’s books was almost novelistic in the telling and it’s true of Our Man as well; rich in detail and insight and little asides straight from the writer to me, the reader. Packer has written a number of books; I even own another…sadly unread…but now next on the agenda. He’s somebody new to collect from the past and anticipate for the future.

I’m excited to move on in a few minutes into the other adventures and misadventures of American diplomacy in Holbrooke’s lifetime of which I know so much less, especially the Balkans and Afghanistan (I am ashamed to say).

An evening and a whole day lie ahead with only writing and reading projects on the want-to-do list. Living room scrubbed and dusted today, all else put off until next week. There really is nothing as fine as a good book. Yay books, yay weekends, yay life.

 

SUPER FOODS AND ME

I have an easily annoyed stomach who (which?) forces me to eat early, eat lightly, and pretty much live on sweet potatoes. Not yams. Sweet potatoes. Today was a fairly typical food day. Leftover fried rice and yogurt for breakfast, a couple of over-the-hill bananas for lunch, and half of a giant sweet potato with a whole lot of butter, some maple syrup and a handful of raisins and pecans for dinner/supper/afternoon snack. So filling and, according to those ten-best-foods charts, supremely excellent for one’s health. Although, honestly, I’m getting a little tired of them…just a nice baloney sandwich would be so welcome…except for the meat (even worse, processed meat) and gluten part. Here’s to the Super Foods…the ‘super’ part means they’re to be enhanced by very much butter, cream, syrup or other superior embellishments.

MY COLORING BOOK

Jane Sprague’s Color Book

It’s Saturday night and Judy Collins is singing to me…In My Life…Amazing Grace…Send in the Clowns…Both Sides Now, every tune both pleasantly nostalgic and still pertinent. We had a most enjoyable art opening and poetry event at North Fourth last night and some of my best old friends were there. Today I’ve been writing all day, with the occasional dip into a book and food and plant watering. My photos of the people and places ‘in my life’ surround me…I’m very happy.

One of the things that makes me happiest is color and my workplace, the North Fourth Art Center, joyfully reflects that love. While everyone isn’t as enamored of bright, some might say gaudy, hues, fellow staffer Tim is my partner in crime. Together we have re-imagined the Center as a lively background for our artists’ paintings and performances. And simply to pleasure our eyes.

 

THE RETURN OF TODAY

From spring 2013 to spring 2017, this blog served as my almost daily journal. I wasn’t sure I would ever return to it so this spring I turned its four years into a blog book, quickly realizing in the process that Today was an important (to me) record of four years of life as lived by me in Albuquerque, New Mexico with family, friends, work, weather, plants, food and all the rest of that ordinary stuff. Why not continue then? Getting back in the habit of a daily photo and comments/observations/joys/complaints is the hard part. Here goes.

At the North Fourth Art Center where I work, we are all learning to live more responsibly and one way to do that is—composting. Out with my camera (an actual stand-alone camera which doesn’t ring or speak or wake me up) on a walkabout of the parking lot plant life I realized our compost bed was actually quite photogenic.

TODAY on Extended Leave

Here, to launch Today’s sabbatical, are my three extraordinarily smart and talented Albuquerque granddaughters. And the furry one’s quite beautiful as well.

Sara and Patricia...life after Cheerleading is approaching for Sara.

Sara and Patricia…life after Cheerleading is approaching for Sara.

Another sabbatical in my blog family. Today will sleep awhile—maybe until the days dwindle down to a wretched few of Chief Weasel Trump. Then Rip Van Winkle-like Today will rise again because every day will be a bright new adventure in progressive thinking. Yeah, right.

I would delete this blog but then four years of life’s more trivial pursuits would disappear. True they’re of absolutely no interest to anyone, mostly even me (except for those glorious photos of cherry tomatoes sizzling in brown sugar and butter and of Luna, the wonder dog). But a journal’s a journal; a diary’s a diary and that’s what Today has been. I suppose there’s room enough for her to be tucked away in the Cloud or cyberspace or Siberia for awhile until…

If you’re having a really bad day you can scroll back a few months and see beautiful Luna at the dog park and in a mud bath and sitting on the couch eating yogurt with me.

Please check in with Time and Place again soon, also a couple of new things coming along. They’ll all show up on Facebook or on the Time and Place heading. Cheers and Let’s Keep Persisting…

The View From the Hill

I love California. Wish I could have made it work here. Lived here for six years, three in San Francisco, three in San Diego, and of course I’ve visited many times. Finished my MSW here and worked various and sundry jobs. I was just starting too late to fully enter into ‘the good life’ in the Golden State. But I suppose if it had worked I would just be missing New Mexico and my New Mexico family. Such is life with that greener grass always just over there.

Nine days to look forward to now…doing exactly what I want…being pampered…being the family elder isn’t all bad…

THE VIEW. FROM ARRIVAL IN THE RAIN LAST NIGHT TO RIGHT NOW. The poor man’s version of time-lapse photography.

VACA…starting in seven hours

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Not sure I’ll publish this…it sounds like I lead a very decadent life as a surly lush who only loves words and pictures, not people. Not entirely true.

It has been a hectic fall. I’ve abandoned my introverted ways for a big social schedule of friends, movies, concerts, clubs, gatherings (even) and friendly coffees and lunches. Phew…giving that up as of January 1, 2017. Enough extroversion, back to my books and off-work solitude.

Meanwhile let me tell you about this morning. Twelfth day after the election-from-hell (eventually I will be able just to say ‘the last election’, not yet).

I am leaving for San Diego this afternoon where I am pampered by my California family. It is indeed WONDERFUL. Ten days of good company, good food, California THE FREE STATE ambience, and time to blog and think and write a little and enjoy the pleasure of being a grandmother to delightful grandchildren (in December I get to do the same thing in New Mexico—it’s just more regular, therefore ordinary, here where I live, however the grandchildren are no less delightful, and one even has a perfect dog!)

The thing I’m getting around to is that at 10am on a Sunday morning I am drinking a few glasses of my excellent white wine and eating a baked potato. (So okay, I can’t even have a wine when I get to my kid’s house in SD at 7pm—my serious medical/ hypochondriacal issue with drinking or eating after 4 or 5 pm. It makes us do strange things.) I feel positive for the first time since the 8th. It has taken a ban on all news media and three glasses of wine to bring me to this place but, hey, happiness is happiness.

It is so weird. I have nothing scheduled for this time until the airport. I NEVER leave open time. EVER. Of course throwing the Surface in the backpack and showering and dressing are there but that’s a few hours from now. Aaaahhhh. Netflix. I’ll start House of Cards, the final season. Maybe Netflix IS the answer to most questions?

The only thing I miss about my media ban is Fareed Zakaria on Sunday morning. But I can read his columns. It’s just that I’m so used to those images before my face. Is it good that on-line seems to take a bit more thought, focus, intent? Or is that because I’m old? Anyway…Here’s to VACA…

The Sixth Stage of Grief

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It is a sad statement that as I write this I can’t help but wonder if we are not heading  back to a McCarthy-era place where we must fear the personal, familial and professional backlash of  engaging in free speech! … such as this post. ‘Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid’ –to steal a line from an old horror film The Fly (how appropriate after all…)

Ten days have passed between election day and today. American Progressives—among whom I would count anyone who objects to the idea of electing a president who embodies all of the ‘isms plus being a shyster of the first order—have not been sleeping well. Moving on productively is the trick to getting back to some new normal. So…reviewing the seven stages of grief (we have after all lost something quite loved—that last shred of innocence we had about who we are as Americans) let’s see where we are now.

I am in Stage Six.

Just to remind you: it goes like this:

  1. Shock & denial  
  2. Pain & guilt
  3. Anger & bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. The upward turn
  6. Reconstruction & working through
  7. Acceptance & hope

 To Arrive in Stage Six, this is what I’ve done:

  1. My ringtone is We Shall Overcome.
  2. Television is gone (not the thing itself which is after all the source of Netflix and Amazon Prime but the channels of fake news, sports, smutty and/or inane network ‘comedies’ and REALITY shows). I’m sure it will be back some day but for the foreseeable future it is banned—the sight of the smug aging white faces of the shyster and his buddies must be kept to a minimum if sanity is to reign.
  3. The NYT doorstep edition suspended briefly—or longer. I still have access on line but it’s easier to skim over ‘those faces’ on the screen then when opening up the front page to them before one is fully awake…gag me, etc….
  4. HuffPost US banned. I can get all of the regional and reliable world news from HuffPost Canada, UK, Australia and South Africa, Aljazeera and on-line PBS  without seeing what I’m starting the think of as ‘the faces from hell.’
  5. Signed up for the January 21st WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON. Have my plane tickets to NYC, and a friend and I will bus or drive down to DC.
  6. Making small but at least symbolic monthly dollar commitments to Move On, ACLU and Planned Parenthood. There will be other commitments as The Movement develops, and while all small, every dollar is a vote for what I believe in…
  7. Paying close attention to Bernie, Elizabeth, and others like them regarding next steps. One of the first has been to get Keith Ellison to assume leadership of the Democratic Party.
  8. Vowing to work hard (and we all know how much easier vowing is than actual doing—but here’s to a renewed commitment to ‘doing.’) to elect honest progressive Democrats as Mayor of Albuquerque and Governor of New Mexico. Preferably ones who can generate a bit of enthusiasm in addition to being hard-working and honest!

Of course it’s easy to write a Saturday morning post about all of this. I think this time however, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ALL OF OUR RESOLUTIONS ARE KEPT. Just watched Geena Davis (The Fly on youtube) saying with fear, trembling and loathing in her voice “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.” Watch this when your enthusiasm is lagging Marjorie!

 Off to the Free State of California for the holidays.

 

Today is Not a Good Day

I do promise this is my last political rant for a long time to come.

I’m physically at work after a mostly sleepless night but mentally I am SOMEWHERE FAR AWAY.

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I spent last night veering between almost-vomiting and almost-crying as I paced the confines of my tiny living room and periodically tried dozing. Couldn’t turn on the TV once I realized the worst had happened and reading was difficult.

So I simply mourned—for the loss of Presidential intelligence, experience, good citizenship and good manners, adult behavior, the ability to articulate ideas and goals, and possibly a broad interest and knowledge of the whole wide world. Gone.

This is the last time I will write about The Shyster and his adoring public and there’s not much to say that all of us haven’t said over and over in the past few hours.

But one more time I must say this: it is so sad to think half of our voting population is ill-informed and/or terrified of the world and/or racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic and/or just plain mean and dumb. And thanks to them I can’t write a happy little blurb saying “Phew, thank god THAT’S over.” I am happy to say MY states did okay: New Mexico, Minnesota, California. Good job us.

The Shyster IS NOT MY President. Hillary won the popular vote which is what I go by. But he wouldn’t be in any case.

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