Friday, November 2, 2018

Longtime News Junkie

From the time I learned to read, I have always followed the news, in the local weekly newspaper and the daily "newspaper Iowa depends upon". (I learned words and read about things my parents probably would have preferred I not know at my tender age - some of which gave me information I did not know how to process.)
When I was ten years old, television came into our home, not replacing the newspapers, but adding another source to feed my inquisitiveness about the world. With the changing times, newspapers have gone by the wayside, even watching the news on TV has taken a back seat. Now, I get up in the morning, sign on to the internet and read all the news I want, world, national, local and via social media.
One change having news at my fingertips engendered in me was an expectation almost every morning, wondering as I signed on, "What new appalling news headline will show up today? Another mass shooting? Or terrorist attack somewhere in the world?"
So, two years ago today, I was not surprised to see the headline: "Two police officers ambushed and killed." "Now, where?" I wondered and was literally shocked to open the story and read it was right here in Iowa.
I tried to write a blog post about my feelings that day - something along the lines of 'not here, not in our Iowa nice, safe, state', but could not get my feelings of horror and sadness expressed the way I wanted to.

Picture credit KCCI TV, Des Moines
So today, on the second anniversary of the senseless slayings of Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony Beminio, a veteran of the department, and Urbandale rookie police Officer Justin Martin, I'm trying and failing again.

There have been too many, so many, mass casualties shootings, attacks, in the past two years it is impossible to even count them. What kind of world are we living in?

Six days later, still feeling the shock and sadness over Iowa's tragedy, I felt the world turn in another looming, more unbelievably direful, direction. Our country had chosen a new president - a misogynistic hate monger whose campaign tactics had already deepened the divide among citizens and opened the doors to even more openly hostile confrontations.

I don't want to say I've become inured to the everyday violences, but I have grown desensitized to them. They seem to be our new norm. Every generation has feared for the futures of its children and grandchildren. I am no different. I don't see how our country can come together for the good of all its people. I don't see how the world can continue much longer without another major war. I hope I'm wrong, just as the generations ahead of me were wrong. Perhaps some UFO's will land and show us the way to another liveable planet. Perhaps the promised messiah will appear to save not just the Jewish nation, but all of us. Perhaps the common man people will rise up and turn our world around in time.

One thing I am fairly certain of is that I won't be here to see what happens. And being the news junkie I am, that is something I'm gonna hate missing.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Old Crone, New Year

This is the image I used a couple years ago on Facebook to wish my friends a "Happy New Year! Samhain Blessings from this old crone." And by 'old crone' I meant me.
The Celtic New Year begins today and today begins my favorite month - birthdays and anniversaries galore. And even though I have been worried about the progress of rehabilitation with my new knee - and feel about as ancient as an old crone - things are progressing apace according to my P-T therapist.

As someone with a November birthday, I've long been aware that I am a Scorpio according to the usual zodiac signs.

It was my niece, Christine, who made me aware of the Irish Celtic Tree Astrology with a tree assigned to each of the 13 lunar months.

Tree lover that I am, I welcome these new, to me, Celtic Zodiac symbols. And while I do not think of a Reed as a tree, I find its explanation interesting.

Reed - The Inquisitor
October 28 - November 24

"Reed signs among the Celtic tree astrology signs are the secret keepers. You dig deep inside to the real meaning of things and discover the truth hidden beneath layers of distraction. When there is a need to get to the heart of the matter, most certainly the Reed sign will find the core. You love a good story and can easily be drawn into gossip, scandals, legend and lore. These tendencies also make you an excellent historian, journalist, detective or archaeologist. You love people because they represent a diversity of meanings for you to interpret. You are adept at coaxing people to talking to you, and sometimes you can be a bit manipulative. However, you have a strong sense of truth and honor so most of your scheming is harmless. Reed people join well with other Reeds, Ash or Oak signs."
Hm-m, might be interesting to compare the Reed explanation with one for Scorpio.

"May you have - Walls for the wind and a roof for the rain and drinks beside the fire. Laughter to cheer you and those you love near you, and all that your heart may desire." (Traditional Celtic Blessing)

Best wishes for a Happy New Year. ♏🌳

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October Book List

Ten books read in October.

The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes I think I put Barnes on my list after reading a review about his book The Only Story. That one wasn't available at the library, but his Man Booker Prize winner was. It took me a couple tries to get into the story - one that makes you contemplate one's own life.

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver  I have come to appreciate Oliver's poetry. This is the only volume our library presently has.

Plum Tree Crazy is the 19th in Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mystery series.

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March is a fun and heart-warming little story about three fans all hoping to meet Colin Firth when he comes to a small seaside town in Maine to film some scenes for a movie. (Hint: It is more about the three womens' lives than his.)

The Jury Master by Robert Dugoni Another new to me author and I don't remember where I saw his name. The story was okay once I got past the author's need to use as many metaphors as possible - 99% of which were bad and unnecessary. I almost gave up reading the book because of them.

Golden Prey and Twisted Prey by John Sandford are #'s 27 and 28 in his Lucas Davenport series. I am now caught up until his next one is published. By the way, Sandford knows how and when to use metaphors.


The last three of the ten read this month are ones I bought at the book sale so I didn't have to worry about getting books back to the library during my knee surgery and recuperation.

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey I got because I really want to read his book Oscar and Lucinda. Failing to find a copy of it, I decided to try the only book of his that I found. It took some getting into - a strange tale.

Sweet Thunder was one of Ivan Doig's final books. Doig has long been a favorite author of mine and while I enjoyed his earlier books more than the later ones, they have all provided some fine reading. Sweet Thunder is set in Butte, Montana in 1920 during the time when the great Anaconda Copper Mining Company ruled the town, the miners and most of the state.

A Shooting Star is one of Wallace Stegner's older novels, but one I hadn't read before. Stegner is another long time favorite author. I could not identify with the main character, a woman who has had everything her whole life, but is dissatisfied because her life has no purpose, no meaning. I kept thinking, "With all your money, influence, looks, etc. etc., you can surely find some way of helping those less fortunate." But her whole thing seemed to be about ruining the life she had and crying, 'poor me'.
Still, Stegner's fine writing and beautiful prose kept me reading even if I did think his protaganist was a self-obsessed neurotic.

An example of one of his passages: "He stood looking, and some tick of time went past - a moment or a thousand years - and he squeezed his tired eyes shut and looked again, and the night hung silent around him, the invisible silver was still falling, the moon was already lower."


Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The One World We All Belong To



Poem of the One World 
by Jane Oliver (From her book,
A Thousand Mornings)

this morning
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to

where everything
sooner or later
is a part of everything else

which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself.

Even though it wasn't 'floating along above the water', I was lucky enough to see and photograph this white heron when it visited briefly two weeks ago.

Would that we all could feel, for a little while, quite beautiful.

Would that in our one world, we all could feel a part of everything else.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Three Weeks Post-Op

No blog posts for three weeks because three weeks ago today, about right now, we were leaving for the hospital surgical center. After two years of procrastinating, it was finally time to just do it - get that new left knee.
Unlike before my shoulder replacement surgery seven and a half years ago, I didn't feel the need to update my will, add all the bequests of personal property, etc. etc. I felt more like, "Well, this will be a new adventure - no way to know what it is going to be like until I go through it." But I did feel positive about the surgery itself, and the outcome.

A little pre-op chat and pose with my surgeon. Love those paper gowns they use now.

First thing I remembered coming out from under after surgery was that I had been 'dreaming' of being on Tahiti. Tahiti?
Second thing was I must have commented about the music in the OR because someone asked me what I would like to hear. I said, "Willie Nelson". She said, "Do we have any Willie Nelson?" Some kind of country western music started playing, but it sure wasn't Willie. I was told all they had was Willie's Roadhouse. What I wanted was Always On My Mind or On The Road Again.
Oh, well, it wasn't much longer before I was in recovery and Dr. Ralston was telling Bud and me how well everything had gone and what to expect the rest of the day. At that point I was feeling pretty good, no pain, cheerful, funny. Bud asked if there was some way to always keep me in that frame of mind and I said I now understood how people could get hooked on drugs.

First week post-op I was cooking meals, doing laundry, taking my showers in Bud's bathroom because it is the kind you just step into, and going to physical therapy twice a week.

Second week, I had my post-op appointment with the doctor on Tuesday. He was less than happy with how stiff my knee was and wanted me to get to 90° on the CPM machine by Friday. I came home and got to 90° that afternoon. By Friday, I could get to 100°.

Which gets me to today, three weeks post-op. I'm up to 105° on the CPM, still using the walker, but also a cane as well as walking through the house without cane or walker. Still taking the pain meds, but only four times a day. Taking my shower in my own bathroom where I have to lift my leg over the tub to get into the tub/shower.
I feel ready to try driving myself to PT and the grocery - maybe some day this week. All-in-all, I feel pretty good, and I was right - it has been an adventure.

Monday, October 8, 2018

If You're Young At Heart

For those former little boys in my life, but especially my sons:

Small Boy

He picked up a pebble
and threw it into the sea.

And another, and another.
He couldn't stop.

He wasn't trying to fill the sea.
He wasn't trying to empty the beach.

He was just throwing away,
nothing else but.

Like a kitten playing,
he was practising for the future

when there'll be so many things
he'll want to throw away

if only his fingers will unclench
and let them go.

(by Norman MacCaig)

(My children are thinking of me this morning as I head off for some elective surgery - and I am thinking of them.)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Announcing Your Place


          Wild Geese
                      By Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the small animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.