The wheels of time

I am sure if I had a few extra seconds in my day I could go back through the archives of “Excerpts from the Diary of a MadRanchWife” and find words written at about this time each year, describing the melancholia that seems to descend upon my countenance.

We had a long discussion this morning about the conundrum we encounter each year at this time.  My daughter is living up to her mini-me status in yet another way.  She senses the passage of time as acutely as I do.  She is as melancholy as I when she steps outside and feels the need to add a sweater due to the autumnal chill.  She must also intuit the changing sunlight, the different arc the orb traces through the sky each day, the loss of the brightness as it travels overhead.

I told her how truly conflicted I am at this time each year…saddened at the waning days of summer (we have such a truly, short summer here), the loss of our beloved flower garden, the exit of our zinging hummingbird friends as they head south for warmer climes.  The regret at lists not completed, projects not even started, hikes not taken, books not read.

We talked about feeling despondent and powerless over time marching on, despite our very best efforts at attempting to lasso it and hold it still, long enough to eke out just one more day of summer, one more night of backyard camping, one more s’more, one more day sitting on the front porch smelling the flowers and watching the hummers dip and dive and fly crazily about.

And then we began the slow turn to musing about the myriad of wonders that fall brings, in all of its splendor.  We spy the beginnings of the leaf changes, first the ground cover, followed by the willows beginning their dance of rust and red, then the wild rose bushes, with their bright red rose hip berries and yellow-gold leaves.  Finally the aspens start, at the very tippy-top, with a few leaves sporting new colors, usually varying shades of gold.  I anticipate a lovely fall, bursting at the seams with varying hues, a result of the many rainy days in August.

We talk about the smell of fall–fallen leaves, musty earth.  We talk about the tastes of fall–the biggest, crispest, sweetest apples of the year.

And we both come to the inevitable conclusion that though we are loathe to leave summer, we welcome the autumn with open arms, with all of the awe it has to offer.

We make a pact to enjoy what each day has to offer, to try not to live with regrets for things not done.  We decide to be grateful for what we have before us, to not be saddened that the wheels of time continue turning, despite our best efforts to hold them still.

This is the blessing of my life–to be able to share with my daughter the bittersweet lessons of letting go and learning how to live in the moment.  I don’t always get it right, but knowing I have a kindred spirit to share my path helps to soothe my soul.  Knowing that her life has been entrusted to me, by the Universe, to guide and teach and shelter along the way helps me to look forward to trying to be a better person, a better mother.

Blessings be.


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These are the times that try men’s souls.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. ….

The above are the beginning lines from an essay titled “The Crisis” by Thomas Paine, written on December 23, 1776 and read to the troops at Valley Forge.  Paine writes in the essay about various battles, commanders, revolutionaries and their common struggles, in an attempt, I think, to “rally the troops.”  Now, some 240 years later, it would seem the words ring just as true.

I have excerpted several passages, the ones that seem to speak so directly to events of today.  It had been my thought to comment on each paragraph, drawing similarities to what we currently face as a nation.


I think, instead of inserting my own thoughts after some of Paine’s words, I’ll simply put the entirety of my excerpted passages so that you can read uninterrupted.  Paine’s words flow eloquently and one can imagine the troops massed at Valley Forge that cold December day, hearing these words meant to spur them on in the battle for the soul of the new nation.

Without further ado:

‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. …

Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. …

…that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire…..

…I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands;…

…It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death…

Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.…

…I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. …

By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils – a ravaged country – a depopulated city – habitations without safety, and slavery without hope – our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

Powerful, gut-wrenching words that unbelievably seem so appropriate for today, some 240 years later.  How can that be?  How can Thomas Paine’s words be applicable to today?   The American Revolution was fought and won and birthed our great nation.  The centuries turned, the country expanded, the times- they changed.  So much has happened since December 23, 1776 yet so much remains the same.

We are now massing in numbers to fight the tyranny of a leader, a government that seems hell-bent on putting their heel down on our backs.  We are forming groups who are banding together under the slogan of #TheResistance, empowering each and every one of us to dig deep, to find our voice, to rebel against those that seek to oppress us.

A most trite and hackneyed phrase–history repeats itself–has never seemed more evident than now.  As Paine writes above, it is frightening to see how rapidly a panic will move through the countryside.  Panic are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy.  Whew, that’s a loaded sentence that pains one to cogitate, ruminate a moment as to what exactly Paine is attempting to say.  Hypocrisy is exposed to the light of those who are sincerely panicking? Hmmm. An interesting way to suppose I have an inkling of an idea as to what he meant.

I would have to say I believe we are currently in a state of panic.  We are exposing much to the daylight and grappling with what the light has revealed.

How will we do?  Will we choose the perseverance and fortitude put forth by Paine above?  Or the cowardice and submission, giving in and giving up, throwing up our hands and saying “it’s too hard to fight all the time, I’m tired, we’ll never win anyway, my voice doesn’t matter.”

“Tis the business of little minds to shrink…”

He’s not mincing words there.  And we must not shrink from this fight either, 241 years later.  We must soldier on, we must find the courage to persevere.  We must not give in to the hate, to the divisiveness, to the tyranny that threatens to tear asunder the very fabric this country was stitched together with.

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot must learn how to be all-weather!  This is not the time to stand idly by and think the work will be completed by others, to languish on the sidelines, not sure if there is anything to contribute.  This country was forged inch by inch by the blood, sweat and tears of those who have gone before us.  Those who felt a stirring deep inside their bones of the absolute belief in the power of the people.  The power of principles.  A rag-tag bunch of colonists banded together to fight for what they believed in.  If ever there was a story of the little guy against the giant, the American Revolution was certainly it.  Our Revolution birthed a nation, birthed heroes for that nation, and birthed the people to populate that nation.

I’m conflicted as to whether or not it’s a good thing that it is becoming increasingly obvious we need to muster ourselves for another round.  It seems to me our nation is under attack, and not just from a foreign enemy.  If we want the blood of our forefathers, the founding fathers, and every patriot who battled for every inch of this country to mean something, then it becomes imperative that we take a stand today.  If we believe that great harm is being done to this country and the ideals for which so many gave their lives so many years ago, then it is upon our shoulders the mantle lies.  We must take this responsibility and, as Paine writes, “lay our shoulders to the wheel…come forth and meet and repulse it.”

I am reminded of another’s famous words, told to his children frequently as they were growing up:

“To those who have been given much, much is expected in return.”   ~Joseph Kennedy

We, the people of this hallowed country, the United States of America, have been given much.  It was handed to us by those who fought with everything they had to create it.  We have many struggles here; the battles against us are many.  But, truth be told, many of these are  “first world problems,” a meme mocked around the world.  None of us gets a free ride and none of us should be allowed to take without giving in return.  We are blessed to be alive in this country, albeit with its many imperfections.  But again, #firstworldproblems.  To those of us who are able, those of us who have been given much, it is time to give in return.  My ancestors fought alongside General Washington.  I have a great(x many)-uncle who fought in the Civil War and died, wounded, as a POW in a Georgia prison.  At the age of 22.  My ancestors bled for this country.  I have been given much–the freedom they fought for.  Much is now expected from me in return.

The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.

This is not a time for shrinking.  This is a time for us to gather together and grow stronger so that our children and our children’s children and their children will be able to look back upon this time period in the history of this nation, and state, unequivocally, that we answered the call.  We summer soldiers and sunshine patriots smiled through the troubles and became braver and bolder and more courageous for it.  That we did justice to the sacrifices made by those who walked before us, that we honored the government they so carefully crafted, the documents they so diligently debated.   That is the story our children’s children’s children should tell.  That we stood up and did our duty as American patriots.

For these are the times that try men’s souls and we must succeed, as history has its eyes on us.

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Comey Day Cometh – Here’s What to Expect

Again, must read this and keep an open mind.

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Rabbit holes and conundrums ***UPDATE***

Usually about this time of the year I’m waxing philosophical about the creatures who come to dig holes in my yard. I pen great works about the ravages they have manifest, my struggles with attempts to convince them the grass is truly greener over yonder, and finally my complete and utter resignation to their complete and utter dominance of my landscape and, some days it seems, my serenity.

To date, these pesky, little varmints are here.  And they’re doing their darnedest to pepper my lawn with subterranean passages joined by large holes on the surface.

And once again, I am faced with a conundrum.  I do not want these creatures in my yard.  I have tried everything possible to discourage them from coming in, yet also offer ample reasons for them to return.  Thus, the conundrum.  There are a plethora of birds that visit here, either staying for the season or dropping in while they journey north and south.  I personally think we must get good reviews on Yelp as to the accommodations and amenities provided.  Said amenities include copious amounts of various and sundry birdie treats.  Black sunflower seed, peanut butter suet, thistle seed, orange marmalade for the orioles and oodles and oodles of yummy sugar water.  The pesky varmints aren’t after the orange marmalade or the sugar water, but the birdseed that has fallen out of the feeders above and been scattered on the ground below must surely seem like the Holy Grail.  At any given time of day, one can see a bat-guano crazy woman run out into the yard, yelling at the insouciant critters to “get out of MY YARD!!!!!!!!!!”  Said creatures scurry a couple of feet away, stand up on their hind legs and peer intently at the wild-haired, towel-waving lunatic.  Said lunatic stomps her foot a couple of times, utters a few profanities and then retreats back into her lair.  The creatures return to the previous business of scavenging.

The conundrum: the most obvious solution would be to stop providing reasons for the creatures to enter the yard.  Meaning, stop feeding the birds.  But we love the birds.  The birds love us.  Ok, that’s a bit of anthropomorphizing to be sure.  I have no earthly idea if the birds love us or not.  Or like us for that matter.  Or even acknowledge that we exist.  For all I know, the birds think the birdseed is like manna from heaven.  It just appears magically in the feeders whenever they are hungry.  Who knows.  I’m not a bird psychologist, nor a bird behaviorist.  Though I’m sure these type of professions do exist.

And now I’ve digressed.  The point was that I don’t know how to solve this problem.  We like having birds in the yard.  To do that, we must offer a smorgasbord of a menu to attract them.  In so doing, there will be the inevitable hangers-on, just like the groupies who follow bands around the country.  I must learn to take the bad (creatures who dig massive holes in my yard and create tunnels underneath that threaten to undermine every green tree left) with the good (many, many different species of birds alighting in the trees each day).

So I’d gotten to that point actually and only half-heartedly yelled at the damn gophers to “get out of my yard” the last few days.  Granted, it’s been snowing for a week now. !!!!!!!!!!!  And it’s very cold and very wet and who wants to be outside when it’s snowing in May?  Right. And don’t remind me of every other post I’ve written in which I’ve waxed poetic about snow and rain and precipitation and how necessary it is because we don’t want to experience a forest fire……………HA.  So that happened.  And per several of the firefighters, I’ll not need to worry about a fire for another 25 years.  So it can stop snowing now!!!!!!!!!!

I digress.  Yet again.

Basically, I’d let the damn gophers alone, because we were getting some beautiful birds showing up and I’m a sucker for pretty things.  I’m sort of preening myself when I think of the beauties that have been here this past week.  (As if I had something to do with their flight patterns or their desire to settle here or stop here on their way through.)

A Bullock’s oriole (male) who insists on attempting to drink out of the hummingbird feeders despite me hanging a custom-made oriole feeder right there, smack-dab in the middle of the yard.  If it was a snake, it would have bitten him.  Two hours I spent the other morning, in the snow, chasing that damn bird around, from the front to the back and  back to the front.  Just trying to entice him to the oriole feeder so he could take a drink.  Aaghhhh.  That was a cold, wet morning.  He’s eating the orange marmalade now, but still won’t touch the orange, or drink the sugar water.  What can you do? Horse, water, not so much.

The evening grosbeaks are really quite amazing with their black and bright yellow and white colorings.  They like the little bird feeder designed by Grace.  Maybe the colors of it? Maybe the black sunflower seeds inside?  Since I lack a degree in bird psychology, I’ll never know.

And then something unexpected happened.  Though, to be sure, nothing around here should be unexpected anymore.  A solid week of snow in late May, 65 degree days in March, hummingbirds arriving 10 days early…a lot of weird juju basically.

Two days ago, Buck started barking in the back yard.  It sounded like his “I’m lonely out here and I want a treat” bark, so I pitched Aengus out to keep him company.  A few seconds later I happened to look out the front window and to what should my wondering eyes appear, but…

Silly old bear.  Birdseed is for birds.

Followed by one of our resident foxes this afternoon.

What next, eh?

Conundrums.  To feed or not to feed the birds.  After much soul searching (something that goes on quite a lot here), I’ve come down on the side of “to feed.”  We’re studying infinitives and infinitive phrases in grammar right now, so this seemed apropos.

The fire on our mountain last summer consumed A LOT of habitat.  There are some areas in which green grass can be seen to be sprouting, but that’s from my vantage point of down here, looking far up there.  I cannot be certain what exactly is growing and whether or not it’s what the resident bird population used to feast on.  The mountain itself in other places is, for lack of a better word that doesn’t necessarily seem accurate, denuded.  Dark, burned, charred sticks are all that is left of the beautiful pine forest.  Granted, many of those trees were dead or dying from beetle kill, but it still provided necessary habitat.  The chickadees never returned.  I waited patiently all winter for my little mountain chickadees, but sadly, nary a one.  The pine siskins and rosy-headed finches have not arrived either.  A flock of red-winged blackbirds has taken up residence and their sweet songs each morning and evening are a harbinger of spring and summer.  The steady family of Stellar jays were around all winter, numbering roughly a dozen, but have moved on and only a few are alighting here these days.  We have a new addition to our community and these are a delight to watch: Audubon’s warblers.  Gorgeous, bright yellow chin and wing patches with streaks of white on tail feathers.  They weave and bob amongst the aspen leaves just budding out, searching for little things that fly.  (I had a picture, but it was too blurry & I deleted it.  Sorry.)

Well that was a wee bit of rambling.  I was headed into an explanation of my decision “to feed.”  The fire destroyed not only homes for the birds, but also food for the birds.  Birds are essential to our ecosystem.  We all fit in at certain points and places around the web of life.  No, my birdseed is not their natural diet.  But it is close and if it provides a little sustenance until the mountain can grow back enough to support them, then I’m going to err on the side of feeding.  (Note: see previous post about “Inappropriate Relationships.”)

The hummingbirds are back!!  In greater numbers than I thought I’d see.  The first couple showed up about a week and a half early, so I scrambled to get the feeders up.  Their zinging and chirping is music to my ears.  I lose great gobs of time each day watching in awe at their antics.  I’ve not taken any current pictures as it’s been snowing or raining every day for the last ten days and feeding time is usually cold and dreary.  I’m worried the cold will be too much for them, but as of last night, I’d have to estimate at least a hundred or more on the feeders at the same time, so maybe they’ll be just fine.

Now, for the rabbit holes.  I’ve spent the better part of the last couple of weeks down a few of them.  This post is long and math lessons are waiting, so now I cannot wax poetic about where I’ve been or what I’ve learned.  Suffice it to say I am faced with a conundrum as to what to believe.  Do I listen to the naysayers and those disparaging the work of others?  Do I jump down the rabbit hole and listen to my instincts as to who and what I think are competent, credible sources?  I’m not one to blindly give credence to conspiracy theories.  I have enough education behind me, most of it scientific, to understand the importance of not taking something only at face value, but instead reading, researching and learning as much as I can

(Sorry, lost my train of thought because I needed to yell at the radio because Trey Gowdy is being a smug a** about damn leaks.  aaaghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

Ok.  I’ll try to pick up my thought.

As I was writing, I think I have enough education behind me to be able to suss out what I believe to be facts versus just garbage.

I’ve been down some rabbit holes lately that I think might lead to something.  I reblogged a post here from Louise Mensch. *****Go to her site on your own as I’ve been warned the link I had previously leads to some rather disgusting garbage. (Thank you Mr. Seahorn.)

She has been pilloried in the mainstream media (and elsewhere) as a wing nut, wacko, crazy person peddling some ridiculous theories.

I, for one, don’t think she’s wacky and I don’t think the theories are ridiculous.  I think we would be wise to pay attention.  I reblogged one of her posts here because I think its important.  There is more afoot than what is reported on the nightly news by “trusted” news sources.  I stand by my beliefs.  Read her as you please.

And now I must delve into verbal phrases, fractions, decimals and Spanish.

Vaya con dios mis amigos y amigas.

Blessings be.




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“Trump’s Presidency Ended May 9th” – Hatch Getting Security Briefings

I have been silent on my blog about these issues, but find I can no longer be quiet.
I am reblogging this latest post from @LouiseMensch of so that you can start to read what I’ve been reading.
Louise Mensch has received enough blowback labeling her as an “unhinged British witch” for one thing and others mocking her for lauding conspiracy theories.
I believe she has the information necessary to write what she does, so I am reposting this here.
I would highly encourage anyone who reads this post to go to her site and read the other posts.
The information will 1)make you sick to your stomach, 2)blow your mind and finally, hopefully, 3)give you hope.
I know I’ve found a glimmer of that hope.
May the Universe bless this great country and help us to right the egregious wrongs that have been committed.

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Patient zero (0)

For those of you who know me (and the mini-me who inhabits this sanctuary of peace with me) know that since November 8, 2016, I (and she too actually) have been wandering.  Wandering in the wastelands of “What Ifs” and “What Might Have Been” and “How Could This Possibly Be Happening?”  These are barren, drought-stricken, depressing, soul-sucking, mind-numbing places to be.  They are not happy.  They are not conducive to healthy living, nor are they beneficial to the mind, body or spirit.

I read about the five stages of grief (see Kubler-Ross).  I sailed through them all a few times, bouncing back and forth, landing on denial one day, anger the next, back to denial, even hanging out on bargaining for a long time.  But I never seemed to get very far in accepting what had happened that night.  Nor accepting the fact that Hillary would not be Madame President.  Nor acknowledging that the pins and the buttons and the patches and the bumper stickers and the magnets and the paper dolls would need to be relegated to either the trash (sacrilege!!) or the keepsake box (why? why preserve the hurt?).

I turned off the news.  We listened to Christmas music four weeks earlier than our normal. We usually wait until after Thanksgiving Day to bring it all out and crank it all up and dream of white Christmases and peppermint hot chocolate and bulging stockings and pretty white lights.  This year we started early.  We needed to dull the pain.

I stopped perusing my news feeds.  As we don’t have television here (a blessing now that I think about it), I rely on the internet and the radio for my daily dose of world happenings.  Some who know me might say I’m addicted to the news.  I would have to reply, “fair point well made.”

When it became necessary to pack up the Christmas music (which in all truth ends up being more “holiday” music here…heavy on Ol’ Blue Eyes, Dean Martin and jazzy renditions of Rudolph) as the damn store-bought trees were long dead (which is a story for another day…due to a teensy, weensy fire on the mountain preventing us from trekking out back to cut down our tree), I found I still couldn’t quite stomach the news.  We switched to jazz and immersed ourselves in Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Dave Brubeck.  With a healthy dose of Frank and Dean sprinkled in as well.

I tentatively waded back onto the wide world of ethernet “news” and found I could barely keep it down either.  I limited myself to one site that has a rather comforting daily column, heavy on the snark, full of like-minded readers, gathering from all walks of life to share our  daily travails.  But that was all I could manage.

The inauguration loomed.  It seemed surreal.  We (the mini-me and I) talked about it and decided no way in hell-o would we be caught watching it (on the computer) or listening to it (on the radio).  Total blackout.  Denial.  Pretend it wasn’t happening.  Go on about our business as if the world hadn’t turned upside down. (One million to anyone who can quote that song from our favorite musical.)  Instead, we listened to jazz that day.

I had to work the weekend.  I work at a county hospital in a red city in a red state.  A very western, very red state.  Usually when I walk into a patient’s room, I inwardly cringe as Faux News is blaring on the television.  And the people are always enraptured.  Enthralled.  First thing I do is dive for the remote to hit the “mute” button so we can have a proper conversation.  I very often get the stink eye over this, but they don’t call us “Physical Terrorists” for nothing.  I prefer physical therapist, but whatevs.

That Saturday was difficult.  I was still in sort of a fog that Friday had actually happened.  We actually inaugurated that man.  I couldn’t see a way forward.  I couldn’t square this circle.  And I was having a difficult time finding compassion for my Faux News-loving patients.  I walked through the morning in a blur, putting my best face on and one foot in front of the other.  My heart was hurting though, and my spirits were definitely low.

Until I met Patient Zero.

Patient Zero, because he is the one who ignited my spark of hope.  He is the one who allowed my soul to breathe, to see the possibilities ahead of us, to acknowledge that though the battles before us may be great, we can overcome.

He was propped up in his hospital bed, the head of the bed elevated so he could see the television up on the wall, with a multitude of pillows surrounding him.  Pillows behind his head and neck, pillows under each arm–almost as if he was floating on a cloud.

He was wearing huge, gold-rimmed 80’s style eyeglasses with a floppy, khaki-colored fishing hat.  He seemed to be entranced by the television and I thought to myself “Self, I cannot handle another second of Faux News.  Somehow you must find the strength to carry on.”

I steeled myself, walked in and commented on his hat.  He turned to me with a 100o-watt smile and told me “I like to make a lasting impression.”   He turned back to the television, smiling all the while, almost enigmatically.  I was curious as to what was captivating his attention.  Because, truth be told, he didn’t appear to be the average Faux News viewer.  He was not an older, white male.  He was very distinctly black.  As in not white. African-American.  He was older, I’ll give him that, but not white.

Curious, I turned my head to look at the television screen and saw “MSNBC” scrawled at the bottom.  I turned back to him; he nodded at me and then gestured with his chin at the tv.  I looked again and realized it was live coverage of the Women’s March on Washington. And Chicago.  And Los Angeles.  And Denver.  And New York City.

I again turned back to Patient Zero, who bedazzled me with that mega-watt smile that seemed to light up his eyes, as if to say “see that? That’s for you and for me and for all of us here despairing of anything being right in this world again.”

It was a few minutes, truly, before I could find my voice.  I stood there entranced as well.  I finally shook my head and mumbled something about not knowing, not realizing, not having any idea…my words seemed so pathetic, so not enough.

He just smiled and nodded his head.  I mentioned that all of the other rooms had Faux News playing and what a relief it was to walk in and see this.  He reached down, moved the covers aside, patted the bed and said “Sit down awhile. Watch with me.”

We watched in silence and awe.  He never stopped smiling.  Quietly smiling and nodding his head.  He seemed to be reveling in the moment.  It would be foolish of me to begin to think I knew what was in his mind, his thoughts.  I didn’t ask.  He didn’t say.  We both seemed to just need the silence and the awareness that a fellow traveler was finding some comfort in the images on the screen.

I reluctantly tore myself away from him.  That’s what it felt like.  I’d found a kindred spirit, a soul who shared a moment with me, and I didn’t want to leave.  I didn’t want to walk out the door into the other reality.  I wanted to stay and be the recipient of that beatific smile.  I wanted to revel in his quiet strength and calming presence.

As soon as I left his room, I called home to make sure the mini-me could see the images that I had just seen.  I wanted her to be able to grab some of the hope that I just did, to see there were others like us out there.  I wanted her to be calmed by the realization that we are not alone in this.

I have not seen my Patient Zero again.  He was very sick then.  I do not know if he is still walking the good red road.  I know with every fiber of my being, on that day, he was a beacon of hope for me.  He was the spark that ignited in me the possibilities of meeting this challenge head on.  He was very sick, he was very old, he was a person of color…three strikes right there.  Yet he found a reason to smile.  And to include me in his quiet strength and equanimity.  He exuded peace and calm, and hope and courage and bravery.  All with a knowing smile on his face.  As if to say to me “Don’t you worry about a thing now.  It’s good.  It’s real good.”

That night I joined the ACLU.  I am now a card-carrying member!  We have been to an ACLU People Power meeting.  We have written postcards to the White House inhabitant.  We are no longer hiding from the daily news.  We have our #ScienceNotSilence t-shirts and have made plans to attend a Science March in a close by community.  We will lend our voices to the resistance.

And finally, finally, I was able to listen to Hillary’s song.

Not without crying mind you.  And I’m not ashamed to admit that the tears are falling now, as I watch and listen, yet one more time.

At what might have been.  At what could have been.  America…what did you do?

I will admit, I haven’t been able to handle the Pantsuit Power video/song that I wrote about several months ago.  That one is simply too much sunshine and light.  I’m not there yet.  Maybe someday.  But not now.  I’m in a fighting mood.  So I need a Fight Song.  A take back my life song.  An I’m alright song.

The above was on my Twitter feed  {from @AltUSFWS} the night of DJT’s address to the Joint Session.  Words from the Fight Song.  Words that I will now live by.

I will walk boldly into the night, the darkness, remembering the serene countenance of Patient Zero.  His blissful, quiet smile as he lay there absorbing the events on the screen.  The battles against him were many that day, and may be still–I do not know.  He met them with grace and equanimity, more interested in making sure my soul was at peace than wanting me to make it better for him.

I dedicate my spark to him, to Patient Zero.  I will raise my voice in protest; I will stand up for what I believe in.  I will teach my mini-me to walk the good red road, to stay true to her beliefs, to advocate for those without a voice.  We will not go quietly.

And finally, because this can not be repeated often enough:

“…the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”     ~Edward M Kennedy

Blessings be.


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Inappropriate relationships

I’ve entered into an inappropriate relationship.  And I don’t quite know what to do about it.  I know it’s inappropriate because with the deepest fibers of my being I know I shouldn’t be doing this.  It’s wrong and I know this.  But I can’t seem to stop.  The consequences will likely not be good, for either party involved.  I really don’t see a good ending, for either one of us.  It may be mutually beneficial at the moment, but I just don’t see this ending well.  One or both of us will likely be hurt.  And the fallout, or collateral damage, could be significant.

I just read that paragraph and it’s quite disjointed, I will admit.  But that’s sort of how I’m feeling at the moment.  Disjointed and jumbled up inside.  Knowing what I need to do, but not wanting to do it.  Knowing I need to be “the adult in the room” but truly railing against the dictates of maturity and rationality.

Why must I be the reasonable party?  Why must I step up and call it quits?

What am I getting from this inappropriate relationship?  How is it beneficial to my life?  Is it worth it?  Will the guilt that I will inevitably feel overshadow the pleasure I get now?  Or will the good outweigh the bad?

On a side note (and simply to detract from my current rumination and hesitation on doing what is right) do you think Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions might be wondering about his inappropriate relationships of late?  Do you think he might be worried about the collateral damage that his clandestine carrying-ons might be causing to him, to his loved ones, to his so-called boss, to his country?  Or do you think he might be trying to figure out which lie he told to whom about what regarding his inappropriate relationships?

Oh the tangled web we weave, when at first we try to deceive…

(…or something like that.  Shakespeare, no?)

Perhaps Mike Flynn, of recent National Security Council brouhaha fame, might be feeling a bit of angst or regret regarding his inappropriate relationships.

Maybe even the media (I could spend all night listing out specific members of the media who have rankled me to no end in this department…here’s looking at you most specifically @mitchellreports and @VanJones 68) might be finally, FINALLY, reconsidering their inappropriate relationships with our most esteemed Twitler-in-Chief.

But then again, maybe not.  This is the fawning, supposedly-librul-elite-but-all-of-us-liberals-know-better media.  They have done and seem likely to always do the craziest things when it comes to the Dear Leader.

Back to what has been troubling me of late–inappropriate relationships.  When one enters into one, hypothetically speaking of course, one must realize from the outset that it is, for lack of a better word, wrong.  Inappropriate if you will.  This adds an element of derring-do maybe.  The thought that one is doing something on the sly, not mainstream, not sanctioned by rational, ethical, moral adults, seems to up the ante.  Makes the stakes higher.  Makes the risks riskier.  Of being found out.  Of being called out.  Of being ridiculed or shamed.  For doing what one knows, deep down inside, is not the right thing to do and hoping to get a pass.

Feeling these feelings of unease, having the niggling nigglings of self-doubt and hesitation draw attention to the seriousness of the transgression(s).  These uncertainties reflect a conscience I believe.  A conscience being  the ability to delineate right from wrong, to take bold steps to ensure that one walks the straight path, true as an arrow, to speak truth to power.  I cannot figure out that last phrase.  I have been hearing it daily, for a while now, as if it is in the running to be considered the new lexicon of 2017.  Regardless, I’m not quite sure if it is…appropriate…for the above sentence.  But, until I’m told otherwise, it will stay. And as the editor is very tired of late, things are slipping by that just never used to in the good old days of yore.  You know, back in the days of life with the white picket fences and June Cleaver dresses and pearls; and coal jobs abundant, as far as the eye could see.  Not to mention steel factories and textile mills so thick it was like a pea soup of manufacturing.  Ahhh…back when America was America, the land of the free white men and the home of the brave white men.  The days of the shining city on the hill, albeit one that was rarely seen through the black smog from the coal mines and steel factories.

Whew.  That was a wild meandering; a serious digression.  I have no earthly idea, nor one from any other planet either, how that happened.  Or why.  Please ignore and let’s now get back to our regularly scheduled programming:  Inappropriate Relationships.  With a capital “I.”

And Consciences.  With a capital “C.”

If one has a conscience, then theoretically, one shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t have an inappropriate relationship.  One would know better.  One would realize the implications of the clandestine affair, the collateral damages if you will.  One might then realize that acting on impulses to engage in the inappropriate relationship(s) will only bring downfall and ruin.  That may be a bit melodramatic.  I should instead write: engaging in inappropriate relationships might could bring angst, discord, disharmony, confusion and despair.  (Which, in reality, sound a lot like “downfall and ruin.”  But again, lack of an editor and all.)

Being of sound mind and body and conscience, one would then simply not act and not engage in the inappropriate relationship(s).  If one had a conscience that is.

By the Transitive Property of Equality (my absolute fave mathematical equality), one could assume that women (and men) entering into and sustaining inappropriate relationships would not possess an adequate conscience.  A conscience being defined as that little figure sitting on one’s shoulder (doesn’t matter which side) whispering either quietly in encouragement for good deeds or yelling very loudly in opposition to troublesome actions.

Still with me?

In lieu of this evening’s troublesome, tormented, tribulations regarding possible collusion with the big bad mean country across the pond (see above referencing white picket fences and June Cleaver dresses and steel manufacturing and coal, oh glorious coal–back when it was fashionable to be afraid of this boogey man), one has to ask oneself: is there anyone in our government with a conscience?

Because they sure as heck don’t seem to be having any trouble carrying on with a whole host of inappropriate relationships.

It’s late, my editor is on what seems to be a permanent vacation, I’m meeting with the accountant in the morning and I still have not unburdened myself of my own personal angst.

Because you see, I do have a conscience.  And the damn thing niggles at me, all damn day.  Sometimes the noise is incessantly loud and obnoxious, usually when I need to pay attention to something of utmost importance.  At other times, the noise is a dull roar that can sometimes be relegated to the background.  But always, always, it is there.  And I am aware of the damn thing.  All damn day.  And night too for that matter.

I have entered into my own inappropriate relationship.  From the time I initially started writing this treatise, that has now blossomed to multiple inappropriate relationships.  (Life got in the way and this writing was shelved for a day or two or three.)

I have a conscience and thus know it is inappropriate.  And know I must eventually end this, before it is too late.  Before there is too much collateral damage.

The first step is admittance.  Not to make light of addiction, nor the incredibly helpful programs to address this life-shattering problem.  Once that step is taken, one can hopefully move on.

Here is my admittance then, if you will.


You see, this is a fox.  And actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, just one of the three foxes that are now frequenting the area.  And he is (yes, this is a he as it was anatomically certified) looking in through the front window, presumably wondering where his meal is.  Because, and oh, please don’t be judging on me right now, I have–man, you don’t know how difficult this is for me to write–OK, I’m just going to spit it out–I. Have. Been. Feeding. The. Foxes.

(HUGELY big sigh of relief right there.)  See?  The hardest part is admitting.  Now that it’s finally out there, floating around the ethos, I’m feeling a bit freer.  My conscience is still screaming at me at decibel levels that are headache-inducing, but I think my steps will be a little bit lighter when I finally stand up from this computer.

I have developed an insanely inappropriate relationship with a “trio of trespassers.”  (Grand prize of 1 million besos if you can name that movie.)

It started so innocently.  It was late one evening in early January, in the first of the many snowy nights.  A blinding, blizzarding, snowy night.  The little female was out front, covered with a thick layer of snow, scratching at the snow beneath her feet, valiantly looking for birdseed that had fallen out of the feeders above.  I watched her for the better part of an hour as she got whiter and whiter, intent only on finding random bits of birdseed, seemingly oblivious to the wind and snow.  I couldn’t help but be impressed by her persistence, but felt angst at her possibly hungered state.  She came again the next night, determined as ever to find the last remnants left by the birds.  I dithered and dickered with myself and finally, on the third night, snuck out and left a small portion of dry dog kibble under one of the trees.

I. Know.

Need I remind you of one of my professions?  I know one is not supposed to feed the wildlife.  I get that.  I also know that we had a rather large fire on the mountain this summer.  The wildlife that didn’t perish left the country.  Since January we’ve had a total of approximately 5 feet or more of snow, here at the house.  There are slim pickings out there and my tendency to try to take care of the world beat out the conscience sitting on my shoulder (who at this point was screaming at me) pointing out all of the bad things that could occur as a result of this inappropriate relationship.  These are all excuses, mind you. Justifications.  Rationalizations.  The first steps to becoming fully entrenched in the inappropriate relationship.

The little female took to hanging out up on the hill, right outside our bedroom window, where she had a straight shot down to the front yard.



Then, she brought who we assume to be her two brothers, littermates we think.  That first night when all three were out front was hilarious to watch…foxes jumping and chasing each other and running each other away from the birdseed.  Too dark for pictures and the action was too mesmerizing to leave.

Since then, I wrestle with my conscience each night.  Should I leave food out there?  Shouldn’t I leave food out there?  What are the downsides to this inappropriate relationship?  Who will be hurt by it?  What kind of consequences will my selfish actions have?  Selfish because I’m thinking of assuaging my guilt and angst at this trio of trespassers maybe not having enough to eat this winter.  Selfish because I am enjoying the antics each night.  Selfish because I feel as if I’m helping out the world a little bit, but in reality, my inappropriate relationship may just be harming another inhabitant of this planet Earth.  Which is truly not my intent.  I seek to do no harm.  I took an oath, many years ago now, and stated those words…”do no harm.”

Am I harming this family of foxes?  I know not the consequences of my actions.  I know only that it feels inappropriate and I must find it in me to step away from this inappropriate relationship.  As I would hope the leaders of our country who are now embroiled in their own inappropriate relationships might first find and then listen to a conscience, telling them to “do no harm.”


Curled up tight for the night.

Good night.  And good luck.


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