Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Eavesdropping Elections

   Why is everyone talking about Donald Trump anyway?

    Because they can't predict the weather anymore. Politics and weather have always been something we predict, and the weather is more unsettled these days; no one can predict it. And if you want to talk about politics, just ask anyone about Donald Trump.

    Why? Because he's a weird, or because he doesn't know much?

They listen to him because they want to believe the myth that America could be great, is great, if it was just different. Or, they believe the myth that our nation was once great, but that myth ignores what we've done to our own people and our history of slavery. No one wants to talk about the fact that every school in our town is Title 1, because more than 50% of kids are near the poverty line, or talk about a nation that took over land from Native Americans, and is still not meeting treaty obligations we signed. Even today, we say America is great.

Why don't we pay them?

    Because the money has to come from somewhere, and theirs is a myth that America is great and people like to believe that myth, and not face what they've done. People like to place their fears in other people instead.

    There was a leader once that became strong and significant because he led people to believe he could make their economy strong again. That was Hitler.

   Other nations pushed Germany into collapse after WW1. People lost their homes, their money, their jobs, and schools were failing. Hitler rose up and said, "I'll make our economy strong," and he gave them someone to blame for their troubles. He said, "We'd be great, things would be great, if we were all like me."

   He was elected into office, and not because he was stupid. His ideas were dangerous, but he wasn't an idiot. If you understand human nature you can manipulate it.

   Don't ever laugh about Donald Trump. He's kind of a funny guy, but never make the mistake of thinking that he's stupid. People like him are likely smarter than us; because their ideas are dangerous, and we buy into them as a nation.

*Overheard this weekend.

Row for the Cure Portland

  We headed to Portland on Sunday for Row for the Cure. A great race, even if a bit chilly. It's time to pack some extra gear for warmth in the back of the car!
   We took our Willamette University Tomadachi (friendship) student with us to Portland, and after the race, we went to Powell's for book buying and selling, and then hit up the PDX food carts for lunch. Brother and me* had fried chicken breast on waffle with maple syrup.
   There was quite a lot of grumping and whining, and we were all exhausted by 4 p.m.. Most napped in the car. We've learned that after a Safe Families hosting to keep things low key, but there wasn't a thing we could do about that this past weekend, as the race was scheduled long before the hosting.

   Sometimes you just have to deal, give it your best, and hope for a better day next time. As J said of his race, "Well, we gave ourselves a time to beat."
   After Portland, we headed west to Beaverton for Uwajimaya for some shopping and ended up leaving a bunch of our groceries there. Did I say we were tired or what! They were great about it, and are giving us a credit upon return. It was Koi Festival weekend and we saw fish, some brilliantly gold, worth $10,000! That was pretty cool.

~ Kim

*See Confessions of a Comma Queen!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Double Rainbows of Grace

    What do you do when the morning greets you with sheer joy? You open wide your arms to embrace the new light coming forth, pink in its wake. You run for the camera. You catch it.  And far too early, you wake children so you can see their smiles open wide with beams of wide stretching hope. And when a 4 year old asks where that rainbow comes from you say, "Water, light and God's heart." It's a sufficient, if simple, answer at an early hour.
    In the midst of a very short Safe Families hosting and feeling blessed. We learn and receive so much by these breathing blessings that come into our lives. 

   Today, I having been pondering the Pope's words with a 4 year old in the back seat. At 4, he knows nothing of the Pope, but he knows he's having a great time, and he has new boots for stomping around after stubborn stray lambs. 

  Sometimes new boots and stubborn little lambs make you feel alive.
You know?
   I've had no great epiphanies today, only rain drops and laughter, cookies and kids. It's been a lovely day. Last night I was pondering children: what to teach them and what to share. These thoughts grabbed me among the bolts of lightening and rolls of thunder in the night.

    I think and I wonder, if the two most powerful things we will ever do for our children will be to teach them about God's love for them, and to get them a library card. Then, maybe, just maybe, one day we will add a third most important thing - having involved our family in helping families in crisis in and around our community.

   Grace guide us on the way. We will soak up every single rainbow You send. We stand astounded at Your double rainbows, and all the hope that falls in rain drops around us. 

~ Kim 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Modern Blood Letting

   "I like my needles small and blunt!" she yells while waving Hercule Poirot in his face.

   Is she going to pound the poor lab technician with the 4 pound tome?

   One never knows. What she will do. Staring down a blood draw.

   She's already informed him, "Don't count it down for heaven's sake! I don't need to know when you are going to put that thing in me, and don't use a butterfly!" 

   "What is a butterfly?" I wonder to myself.
    He ignorantly asks, "Who's the author?"

    "Agatha Christie! Can't you see it right on the front of the book?" she demands.

   The tome does indeed sit about 4 inches from his eye balls, but a 12 year old with a book dagger she's thrusting to and fro, with fists clenched and eyes of fire, can be a bit distracting, if not intimidating.

   These blood draws, I abhor.

   This time around, we put a small dab of lidocaine on her arm. Yet in the chair, her mind is one focused pain processor; you would not have known she was numbed. Sheer panic, a vice-like grip, and eyes that could mash a rose bud to bits, flare from an upturned chin and less than stiff upper lips.

    For a brief moment, okay two, as I re-position my body to the other side of hers, I wonder if she will kick him in the shins. I really don't think she will bite. Would she?

    Ten herculean minutes later, the dreaded task is accomplished, and the poor technician is as flustered as I. Palatable is the blood pressure rise in the roughly 4' x 4' room.

    In rare form, she begins to instruct him on the care and keeping of his lab.

   "You need to keep horse bandages in stock, sparing people sticky tape on their arms." She commands. 

    "Wilco," I say. "At Christmas. It's cheap. Really cheap. Can be used for many things." I only want to move on and move out.

    The curtain is moved aside, and the guy in the blood letting stall next door, stares dumbfounded. Could that tiny bit of darling make all that noise?

   Yes, indeed. That was us, in our local lab tonight.

    After dinner she tells her father, "It went great! Best blood draw yet."

   I silently sip my glass of red wine. 

   But bingo! I realize the lab is open 24 hours. Next time, they can have a father daughter bonding experience.

   As for the bloody battle's results? We expect fabulous results - just not in the lab chair.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Writerly Reminder

    Never, ever, get yourself into a situation where you have nothing to do but write and read. You'll go into a depression. You have to be doing something good for the world, something undeniably useful; you need exercise, too, and people. 

~ Annie Dillard

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Blogging by the Speed of Light

 Exactly how fast can one blog? I'm not at all motivated these days. The blog is blah....

I've decided one must be a bit OCD to do anything well at all. I'm definitely OCD, but about "what" it varies. Some days are more like this. Don't you agree?
 Let's go camping. Stuff me in that stuff sack and  take me with you.

We are in the place where summer collides with fall and there are just not enough hours in a day. It's okay. The darkness comes early saying, "wrap it up." Let go for today. Eat more bananas.
Tonight, the last of summer is headed to the dinner table: Chicken enchiladas with fresh red peppers, tomato & feta salad with olive oil and tiny strips of kale (lest they find it and discover it's not lettuce), and apple cobbler. I suppose the apples are the ushering in of fall - we welcome you.

Students, barely still children, are diligently settling into school routines. They wake early without fuss. Gasp. They pull out dictionaries and do home work, having fun with it. Gasp. Books are read, algebra is conquered, and writing happens with nary a complaint. The saints must be praying and hearing my prayers.
Soccer has arrived with all its chaos, joy, and fun. I love the energy he burns and the team he plays with: good kids and good coaches. So much to be thankful for.  

She embraces hallways with ease. So much to be thankful for.

I'm writing. I'm having writing meetings with writing friends! I'm writing some more, and taking Zyflamend for my writing fingers. 

Thomas Nuttall did not get near enough of my attention this summer, but write I did. I worked on some pieces about Safe Families, entered the Payton James Freeman Essay, and then got back to Thomas. 
But I decided in bed last night that writers need to write down that moment of inspiration. You know the one. When the book "idea" happens, you need to know. Because 30,000 words later you are going to need to remember those inspired moments, or you will instead chuck your character in a closet and shut his own trapdoor upon him. That said, being sick of one character can motivate you to finally pull the other one out of the Australian desert. You know you left him stranded. Maybe he's still alive and even kicking.

It's all good. Did I mention I'm writing? My husband is glad I'm back to cooking :-)

And for kicks and giggles, here's what's on the book stacks:

For moi:

Birders, Tales of a Tribe
The Radical Christian Life, Chittister
Narrative of a Journey, John Kirk Townsend
H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald
Stillmeadow Calender, Taber
Steering the Craft, Le Guin
Between You and Me, Confessions of a Comma Queen, Norris
2016 Writer's Market Guide
Let's Bring Back the Lost Language, Blume
Strunk and White - that one. 

pour les enfants:

The Boy in the Wooden Box
The Watson's Go to Birmingham
The Sign of the Beaver
Outline of History, H.G. Wells
Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck -  (After previewing this a bit more, it's coming off her reading list, until she/they are much older. Say high school! Always a good reminder to pre-read some of their texts. I didn't have to read this in high school, and didn't realize how very serious and scary this story line could be for 7th grade eyes. Glad to have caught it, and leaving this note here so you can too!)
Wonder Dog: the story of Silverton Bobbie
The Second Mrs. Giaconda
Sally Ride, A Real Life Story
10 Rivers that Shaped the World
Dad's Book: Awesome Science Experiments

"Days grow shorter now and migrant birds leave according to their own mysterious schedule. Squirrels fling themselves from tree to tree in a burst of activity... and I have always wanted my own personal deer, not to pen up, but just to know." 

~ Stillmeadow Calender by Gladys Taber