Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Embrace the Red-Eye Day

The area under my eye is red and puffy from a soap allergy flare-up. It looks like I ran into a door.

I almost didn't go to my morning hair appointment today. Realizing just how much my hair needed a trim up, I went anyway. It needed to be done, ugly eye or no.

After I informed my hair stylist what the red puffiness was, that it didn't hurt, and could she please take care to keep sprays and soaps away, she was very chill. No big deal. We went on to talk about our yard projects, the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, and how cute her little boy looked when stuffing fresh-picked blackberries into his greedy two-year old mouth under the summer sun.

My stylist, along with other staff and customers in the salon, were interested in interacting with me, not my eye. So encouraged was I by this friendliness that I decided to tackle the grocery shopping which I had felt shy to do because of my shiner.

Again, no one cared. Same smiles. Same courtesy. No staring. No one even seemed to notice.

How silly of me! How great that I fought my vanity and in turn discovered anew that this world is full of great people. We are human beings, after all, with bodies that do what they want when they want. This is understood.

Today's most welcomed reminder lifts my spirits. I hope the sharing lifts your as well.

There is much good in this old world, if we just have the eyes to see it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Liberty Applies to the Commander in Chief, Too

John McCain was a war hero, a brave and loyal soldier.

He was a devoted senator, too.

America is a compassionate country that honors its heroes and hard-working politicians upon their deaths. This is good and proper.

The outpouring of affection and gratitude showed to Senator McCain comes voluntarily and from the heart. Also, from the heart, is the silence of those who found McCain less than stellar in his conduct toward them and others. Respectfulness is to keep silent rather than respond negatively. Our parents taught that if we don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all.

I wonder if that is what our President had going through his mind in the first days after the news of McCain's passing?

You see, McCain was not kind to President Trump. Even in his final words, which were read after his passing, he takes potshots at the President's policies, policies applauded by half the country.

I heard Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of President and Mrs. George W. Bush, say she thinks it's fitting that the Maverick got the last word.

Did he? In a sense I suppose he did. He cannot hear responses anymore. His words, after spoken, linger for a moment and then are gone. No chance for rebuttal, not that anyone would want to.

But were his last words healing words, respectful of all the citizens of this country and its President? Interspersed with very moving and beautiful sentiments were snipes meant to demean the President, to throw egg on his face at a time when Trump couldn't tweet back because his belief in respecting the dead wouldn't allow it. Who is the better person here, the bully or the one who kept his mouth shut for a few days rather than blurt unkind - albeit probably accurate - sentiments? Well, let's not go there.

What is Trump supposed to say in light of the fact that McCain 'got the last word' with him? Seriously?

I think it took a lot of self-control for President Trump to keep his lips together and not say anything rude, which we all know he is quite capable of doing. Instead, he waited a bit, kept his cool. He chose the time he would say the presidential words the office demanded. What does it matter that they came a few days later? Who has the right to demand what he says, when he says it, how he says it?

It's called liberty. Liberty applies to the Commander in Chief, too.

For all those who vilify President Trump - for every single time he doesn't do or say exactly what they demand he do and say - I say grow up. He's free to pick and choose his own words and the timing of them, whether you like it or not.

That being said, I do wish the Senator's family comfort in the days, months, and years ahead. I pray that they'll have the strength the next days require, and that they'll feel the love the country has for them and for their father/dad, who was after all, a human being and a loved one first and foremost.

R.I.P. Senator McCain. You will long be remembered for your service.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Why Hate on Jordan Peterson?

Food for thought:
"There are plenty of reasons for individual readers to dislike Jordan Peterson. . . . There are many legitimate reasons to disagree with him on a number of subjects, and many people of good will do. But there is no coherent reason for the left's obliterating and irrational hatred of Jordan Peterson. What, then, accounts for it? 
It is because the left, while it currently seems ascendant in our houses of culture and art, has in fact entered its decadent late phase, and it is deeply vulnerable. The left is afraid not of Peterson, but of the ideas he promotes, which are completely inconsistent with identity politics of any kind."

~~ as quoted in the WSJ, Caitlin Flanagan writing at the Atlantic's website, Aug. 9, 2018

Definition of the Liberal Paradigm

An agreeing 'Yes!' burst from my lungs as I read the following excerpt. It's from a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled If America Is Divided, So Is Europe. In it the author, Tunku Varadarajan, recounts his interview with Mr. Ryszard Legutko, a professor of ancient philosophy who also represents Poland's conservative governing party at the European Parliament.

 "The EU's elites, Mr. Legutko says, are unbending in their belief that 'one has to be liberal in order to be respectable, that whoever is not a liberal is either stupid or dangerous, or both.' Seconds later,  he corrects himself: 'I mean the elites of the West, including those of the United States. Being liberal is the litmus test of political decency. This is today's orthodoxy. If you criticize it, or you're against it, you're disqualified.' The world has 'shrunk,' Mr. Legutko laments, 'and the liberal paradigm seems to be omnipresent.'

"What is that paradigm? 'A liberal is somebody who will come up to you and tell you, 'I will organize your life for you. I will tell you what kind of liberty you will have. And then you can do whatever you like.' His response - and Poland's as a sovereign entity - is unequivocal: 'Don't organize my liberty for me. Do not try to create a blueprint according to which an entire society must function.' That's why, he says, Poland is a 'a dissident member of the EU, and the primary reason why it has been attacked so much. Not because we did something outrageous, but because of who we refuse to be.'"

If you doubt that this is a prevailing paradigm here in the U.S., think about the recent remarks made by Santa Barbara Councilman Jason Dominguez.

“Unfortunately, common sense is just not common. We have to regulate every aspect of people’s lives.”
Oh dear.

No, Councilman Dominguez's is not an isolated point of view, it is a rampant, deep-seated, liberal one.

I concur with Mr. Legutko's response: "Do not organize my liberty for me. Do not try to create a blueprint according to which an entire society must function."

I sometimes wonder if Patrick Henry were to speak his sentiments today, what would be the outcome? Liberty?
"What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
I encourage you to click on the link above (the word 'sentiments'). Read Henry's entire speech. It's not long. You may see similarities between 18th century British and 21st century liberals.


*July 7-8, 2018, Weekend Edition Wall Street Journal

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Summer Heart

Since my husband and I moved away from where my parents lived, the season we spent the most time with them was summer.

Warmly welcoming each of us to the vast playground that was their country estate - The Hill - Mom and Dad hand cranked homemade ice cream, Dad barbecued tasty meats on his ancient barbecue, he cut juicy watermelons into drippy wedges - the rinds of which were gleefully thrown off the deck for cattle and deer - and Mom kept the pool crystal clear and clean, her bathing cap always close at hand.

Family gathered from far and wide to spend an invigorating and relaxing weekend together goofing off, enjoying scrumptious food, and telling stories.

The kids rode motorcycles, gathered chicken eggs from the henhouse, fed Dad's wild turkeys, played pool, shot guns, swam, played with cousins, and picked fat, deep purple blackberries.

I can still hear the unrestrained laughter, the croaking of frogs, and chirping of crickets. I smell roses and irises, taste potluck offerings delivered to the kitchen with cheer by each family, see bats swooping in the twilight sky.

I feel the thrill of sliding or diving or jumping into the huge pool, recollect the energy in my kids' little bodies as I teach them to swim and to see and to listen to life in the country.

The summer air smelled of crispy dry pasture grasses and hot evergreen trees, freshly watered verdant lawn, and sometimes the promise of a storm. Electrical storms, with their sticky humidity, frequent in the hot days of July and August, brought with them excitement in noise and flashes, contentment in the delicious warm rain which relaxed already smiling faces.

Underfoot crunchy pine needles offered up friendly seasonal scents, while hot sidewalks caused barefeet to quickly hop, skip, and jump onto damp lawn.

Summer on The Hill was a sensory feast! Memories linger, I hope as long as I live, comforting and encouraging me.

What a lovely thing to recall the goodness of time spent with my parents.

I ache for them, but more than that I am grateful that they were, indeed, mine.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Vanquish the Darkness

It takes more courage to dig deep into the abyss of one's own soul than it takes for a soldier to fight on the battlefield. ~~ William Butler Yeats

How many people really understand what Yeats is saying here, I wonder. Do I fully understand his meaning? I think so.

There is dark stuff in the abyss of every soul on Earth. Dark, nasty stuff. To face it head-on is frightening.

A wise person will face the abyss, though, piece by piece, horror by horror. If light isn't shed on the darkness, the evil unchecked alters us, holds us in its grip. We cannot progress into the Goodness that we desire until we address the darkness in battle and vanquish as much as we can.

God reveals our darkness to us through life situations. We react in ways that seem horrible to us, surprising ourselves with our ugliness. A proper response is to thank God for the hard moments. Then, evaluate evaluate evaluate.

Bravery is so necessary.

On the other side of each victory is the strength and bravery to go in again, win a bit more territory for Goodness, snatch it away from darkness.

Only an evaluated life is worth living.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Swimming with Mom

Treasured memories, pulled up and pondered, furrow my melancholy brow and wet my face with salty, sunny-morning tears. Priest Lake, Idaho, Grandma, Grandpa, summer days on the sand, sliding through the water, Mom swimming the cool lake's clearness in her rubbery white bathing cap an iridescent blue dragon-fly hitch-hiking on her head as she grins, reaching her tanned, toned arms forward in perfect free-style strokes, while I swim confidently right beside her.

Memories of ten-year old me at the lake with my dear mother ache my heart today.

I miss her most in the summer, particularly when I am swimming.

Yet, my heart shines in joy - through the ache - at my ebullient memories.

I hope there is swimming in Heaven. I want to swim beside my mom again.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Long Live the Printed Page!

"Recent scientific studies have shown that holding a book and reading it creates a richer experience for the brain than reading something that is online. So, in addition to reading, we should read printed, physical books. For in addition to writing being the greatest invention in human history, the book may be the greatest device ever invented."      ~~~Byron Tully
A certain satisfaction puffed this bibliophile's mind when I learned that the sales of e-books are declining while the sales of physical books are increasing.

Trinity College in Dublin - a magical place 
At last, science is proving what those of us who know the value of holding a real book in one's hand have known all along: devices do not come close to the experience of reading a paper book. The smell of the ink and pages and their feel under our fingers, the subconscious measuring of how much we've read and how much of the book remains simply by measuring the thickness of pages under left and right hands, the scraping, swooshing sound of the pages turning and the covers of a hardback thumping closed are pleasant, interactive sensations. The sight of our books on our shelves comforts us with the assurance that our old and new friends are always near, ready to help us escape or learn, to inspire or remind. These things matter, they make life better.

Aside from my obvious sentimentality, I have pragmatic reasons for preferring a printed book over an e-book. Science is proclaiming that it can be hard to absorb an e-book. The chronology of a story can be less fixed in the reader's mind, especially younger readers.  More is remembered about a text's timeline if it is read in print as opposed to on a device.

Studying is more efficient with the printed book as bookmarking, highlighting, and flipping forward and backward are easier, thus saving time and helping the reader's mind stay focused on content.

Also, e-books tire one's eyes and brain as they require a higher cognitive workload due to the dual-task of reading while using a computer.

And finally, most of us have either experienced or read about the fact that looking at a computer screen before bed contributes not only to disrupted sleep patterns but to increased tiredness the following day.

Granted, there is room in this world for both types of books. However, let's make it perfectly clear, the e-book has not dethroned the printed book.

Long live the printed book!