Tuesday, May 24, 2016

POLITICAL ILL WILL

Oh, the bashing!   Our Presidential Primary season is way too long.  People have far too much opportunity to build to a state of near hysteria.  I try not to engage in much back and forth on social media -- no one ever convinced anyone with a heated argument full of emotion, half-truths, outright lies, or even facts or figures in that medium.  Mostly people like to post to get the kudos of those already singing their song or to incite an argument, for what reason I have no idea.

I've stuck my head above the firing line a few times to express my support of Hillary.  It's dangerous out there.  I'm mostly lying low and waiting for her nomination to be confirmed and then I'm all in and eager to work for her.  Is this cowardly?  I trouble myself sometimes thinking so.  But with the electorate (read, "my friends") so polarized, I can't make any headway with changing hearts and minds now anyway.  The Bernie contingent will not hear or believe anything other than what he says and I can only hope that when he finally steps aside he will encourage them to vote for her regardless of the hatred he is helping to whip up now.

I was involved in a huge local issue about 30 years ago.  A Navy Base was proposed for our waterfront, displacing local industries and effectively claiming prime development real estate and inhibiting access to this jewel of a natural setting for the public to use.  Oh, and there was also the little problem of parking a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and its nuclear weapons on the edge of our downtown business district and residential neighborhoods.  Some of us didn't think this plan was one we could embrace and saw it as the "pork barrel politics" it was.  We formed a citizen's coalition that showed up at every public meeting to question the Defense Department and local politicians about these issues of grave concern as well as others.   The "other side" whipped up a lot of resistance to our questioning, called us Communists, anti-American, and unpatriotic.  I'd get phone calls from strangers encouraging me to "Move to Russia, where you belong, bitch!"  I was the chairperson of the committee and one of several visible spokespersons interviewed on TV and in the paper, so I guess I should have expected the calls.  Thank god this was before social media!  I just changed my number and was out from under that harassment.  This went on and on and, of course, the base is now here and so far hasn't blown anyone up.

The point is, it seems to be the way of things to vilify the enemy in ways that are antithetical to reasonable, respectful, compassionate regard for someone of a different opinion.  During the height of my dismay about the threats aimed at me, a local pol who was "on our side" counseled me to let it roll off my back.  His retort was, "It's only politics", as in, this is part of the game; don't take it personally.   I guess that's how some people view it.  I found it scary and hurtful; thin-skinned I guess.

Hillary has had it all thrown at her for her whole career.  She can take it.  For now, I just try to walk the middle ground and throw people off by the display of bumper stickers on my car:  Hillary 2016 (evil witch of a woman); Namaste (peacenik Bernie lover); Seattle Seahawks (violent sports fan).  That should cover all the assumptions people make about me as they wait at the stoplight studying my rear window -- wondering what kind of multiple personality disordered person was able to get a driver's license in this town!

At least, that's the view from here...©

Monday, May 23, 2016

KINDLE FAIL

Because I've gotten super cheap when it comes to buying books, the other day I downloaded a book from my local library's E-book collection to my Kindle.  (How does that even work?  I have no idea.)  I started to read it and as is also typical lately, I fell asleep.  Not for long...just a little doze time.  When I woke up, I noticed I was actually about to start a new chapter -- how convenient, I thought, to fall asleep at the end of one chapter before starting the next!  I just kept reading on and off all day when I should have been doing productive things, but wanted to procrastinate even longer, and by last night I was stunned to note that little tracker in the bottom right hand corner of the "page" told me I was like 88% finished with the book!  I was so disappointed!

I was really enjoying the book -- one of my favorite genre combinations of memoir and humor in a collection of essays.  I really wasn't ready for it to end at all but yep, I was almost finished.  I felt rather ripped off and was totally glad I had not spent actual money on this thin volume, although I would have liked to support the author cuz she was hilarious and I like funny.

In bed last night, I quickly finished reading and was surprised to find one of those Reader's Guide Discussion Question things at the end, where you can go to your book club and not have to think of any insightful questions to ask since there they are already thought up and written out for your convenience.  I was curious, though, why this little slip of a book should have a Discussion Guide when really there wasn't that much substance there.  As I read through the questions, I started to wonder if this was all part of the joke.  The first several questions had absolutely nothing to do with the book!  I didn't even know what they were talking about!  HaHa.  So clever and subtle!

But that made no sense at all, really, so I went back to search for the Table of Contents and.....Oops! I had read the Introduction, but then I had skipped ahead (during my nap) and started re-reading the book half-way through!!!  I didn't read the whole first half of the book!  So I missed a whole bunch of really important stuff about her crazy childhood and mental illness.  No wonder she turned out to have such a delightfully twisted sense of humor!

Which makes me realize I really don't know how to operate a Kindle.  I have had this problem before where I touch the screen and I end up in some other part of the book.  I can't get back to where I was, can't find the table of contents, don't know how to "fast forward" or find my way back from an unintentional leap ahead.  I've just tried to use it as a mindfulness practice wherein the only thing that exists is the page in front of me.  There is no previous; there is no future.  Not sure how far back was the beginning, no idea when the end will come.  Very Zen.  But also very frustrating.  I would never get confused and start reading a real book in the middle.  That would be an immediately obvious error, for chrissake.

The saving grace is that now I get to go back and read the beginning of the book and spend a lot more time with a new author I enjoy!  So, win-win, I guess.  But let's face it; a Kindle is not really a book now, is it?  I am not responsible for this technical malfunction.

At least, that's the view from here...©

PS:  The book is "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson, who started as a blogger and has a super popular blog site called "The Bloggess".  I'm inspired to do another blog that is "edgier".  I liked her quirkiness and swearing.   I have a rebel inside me who I try to keep under wraps...maybe she needs to live on the page.  We'll see. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

BASEMENT DWELLER

Aaaarrrggghhh!  I would not do well in a basement apartment or a jail cell.  I like to see a little light, even on cloudy days.   It's starting to get to me, this living in the basement.  (OK. It's a daylight basement with a couple of big windows at ground level; still feels a bit subterranean.)

Plus, I'm a whiner.  Being a creature of comfort, familiarity, and routine, I'm feeling off-kilter and out of sorts in this displacement.

We moved out of most of our living space a week ago to have all the floors refinished on the main level of our house, which meant we also had no access to our upstairs master bedroom.   Hub pulled the truck camper up the driveway and we slept in that for three nights, occasionally accessing our basement level when the fumes from the Swedish floor finish didn't drive us out.  That stuff has got to be toxic as hell and I am now feeling ignorant and guilty for not researching alternative floor treatments more seriously.  We had it done years ago too, and I just went with what we know.  But I guess there are other products that don't pump lung-busting, liver-putrefying fumes into the environment.  Too late now.  The floors are finished and look absolutely amazingly beautiful.  So there's that.

But we are still in the basement for the most part, since we decided that with absolutely every single thing we own that is usually in those rooms now stacked floor to ceiling in two main floor bedrooms, we might as well paint too.  Hub has spent the past two days doing an OCD job of "prepping", meaning "bagging" and taping all the exposed woodwork, cabinets, hardware, fixtures, etc etc before we even pick up a roller or a brush.   (I don't know why painters call this process "bagging", although I guess it does look like you put everything in a plastic bag.  It's basically covering stuff up to prevent paint splatters.  See this photo of the kitchen partially "bagged".  Also note those gorgeous floors!  Yes, we should have painted first, but we couldn't cuz of scheduling, so now there are tarps over every square inch of flooring.  Just to add to the stress.)

Son One gets home from a family vacation tomorrow and Hub is counting on him to pitch in with his 15 years of residential professional painting experience and lightning fast speed with a roller.  Sometimes they have a difference of opinion in approach, but Hub totally respects Son One's skills, so they find a place of peace generally.  Last year they worked on the exterior painting together and lived to tell about it, and are still talking to each other to this day, so I'm optimistic.

While the floors were being done, Hub got several truck loads of topsoil and spread it across our side yard and then seeded it to address the depressions and hardpan bare spots that have plagued the lawn area for years.  I'm still tending my raised veggie beds and trying to find the right combination of plantings for the berms.  I'm starting to realize that never really ends.

All of it sort of gets wearying at times, but we recognize how fortunate we are to have such a beautiful piece of property and this old family home that holds so many memories.  It thrills us to have our family close by to visit here often.  And sharing all this with our grand girls is beyond wonderful.  So, we plug away.

And really, I shouldn't complain so much.   When I say, "basement", it's not exactly dark and dank down here.  I'm sitting in our "game room" which we decorated as Seahawks Headquarters a couple years ago.  It's a little cluttered with temporary food prep tables set up and piles of this and that scattered around, but not really terrible.  See?  I'm a total whiner.

So, when Hub told me he feels pressured to get all the painting done asap to make me happy again, I realized I need to stop complaining and start appreciating his efforts.  He's a conscientious and persistent worker who tackles our home projects with unwavering dedication to helping create a beautiful space for any who live or visit here.   We agreed that the kitchen is the priority since when you are displaced from a kitchen, the heart of the home, it just feels "wrong" and also majorly inconvenient (restaurants and Costco prepared food have been our go-to for a week now).   Get us the kitchen back and I'll sit on lawn chairs in the living room for the rest of the summer, happily.  So that's the plan.  But knowing Hub, we will be ready to move back upstairs in a jiffy.  He lets no project languish in an unfinished state for long.

And when my eyes adjust to the light, I know I will see a thing of beauty.

At least, that's the view from here...©