Wow. People just go around shooting each other and doing collateral damage. Our community lost a police officer after someone shot their wife and then shot at the officers who came after him. I’m not going into details. It’s too sad. I just feel terrible for my law enforcement friends and their families. I’m sure family members of the shooter will never be the same either. Our violent culture creeps in and makes us all feel less and less safe every day.
Kindness seems so futile against so much anger. Keep trying to listen, understand, and support even those who differ in their perspective. That’s how we can work to heal in these hard times.
This is the daily blogging prompt. When I saw it, I immediately knew the answer. It’s really hard on me when people ask:
How is your son?
Every time I’m asked, I’m reminded that it’s been years since I heard from him directly. One day he said he needed some time before he’d talk to me again, and that was that. So, I really don’t know how he is, other than indirectly.
Maybe someday I’ll know what caused the rift. Maybe not. As I’m repeatedly reminded, it’s the estranged person’s right to do what they need to do, and that should be respected.
It’s not at all helpful to speculate about possible reasons for the situation, because I have no way to know. His father won’t talk to me about it, nor will anyone in his household. I’m glad they respect his wishes, and if the situation were reversed, I would be grateful.
Still, I’m human and a mother who loves her children unconditionally. So, it hurts to be asked how my son is doing. I wish him peace and love, and respect his wishes.
I was really looking forward to yesterday. Family members who don’t hate me were going to come stay with me for a few days. We were going to visit people, go out to eat, wander around to parts of the island I can’t go to (this place is crawling with gated communities), and talk about our respective difficult elderly family members.
I can’t believe I did this, but I allowed myself to get all excited about the fun we’d have. I tidied up the condo (not that it was untidy – I love to keep things clean and beautiful when I’m by myself), told everyone at work I was taking some time off, made sure I could get them a parking permit, and was all ready to welcome them.
I was disappointed to learn that one of my guests hurt herself getting ready to load the car, so they weren’t coming after all. I know she’s had back issues, so I felt sad for her. It certainly wasn’t her fault at all! Wow, did I experience a letdown, though. As high as I’d felt anticipating a visit and not having to be all by myself, I felt equally low realizing I was going to spend the rest of my time in Hilton Head alone. (I LIKE being alone, but I have had enough to fill my tank now).
After a while, I was kicking myself (mentally) for allowing myself to get all hepped up before something actually happened. I put out a whiny post on Facebook and got some varied responses.
Many people empathized with how I felt. I’m not alone in letting myself get excited then feeling really down. Others had helpful advice that I appreciated, such as a reminder that Brene Brown would say this means I’m living wholeheartedly. Something else I found helpful was advice from a friend’s therapist: “Focus on what you CAN do not on what you Can’t when disappointed.” Yet another commenter talked about “post-event letdown,” which I remember experiencing when I was younger, but have gotten better about and now just wallow in memories.
And people ask why I still do Facebook…the community I’ve built is so supportive!
I’ve been pondering whether I’m doing the right thing in trying to squish down my anticipation. I have been doing it for the past few years when I was letting myself look forward to trips, the return of people to the ranch, projects to work on, and people to do things with me. For example, when the first two people I asked to join me this week decided not to come, I wasn’t upset at all, because I was prepared for things not to work out. I let this third one get by me. My squishing down has gotten quite good in the post-COVID era, where just about everything fun got canceled, but it’s not perfect.
But hey, isn’t anticipation fun? Doesn’t it make good vibes (or hormones or something) flow through you? Should I be trying another tactic besides not allowing myself to get happy about something until it actually happens? Maybe I should let myself dream about the fun I may have when I get to pick up my new car next week, rather than trying not to think about it in case something goes wrong?
I think I’m going to let myself feel my feelings a bit more but work on not getting so sad about what I can’t do. Like the friend said, I can concentrate on what I CAN do. I tried that out last night, so rather than mourn the fact that the promised dinner and drinks weren’t going to happen, I got myself a ridiculously expensive old fashioned and drank it while listening to the excellent guitar player entertaining at the resort cafe and ordered myself an impressive plate of sushi and edamame.
I ended up in the resort lobby waiting for the food having a fun conversation about football with the women at the reception area. One woman ended up showing me the football-themed tote bags and pajama sets she’d made for friends, then some of the outfits she designed for herself. How would I ever have realized that these women were so interesting and talented if I hadn’t rewarded myself and done what I could do after a disappointment? I win!
I enjoyed that sushi while watching King Richard, the movie about Venus and Serena Williams’s controversial father. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of the sisters in this movie. They were so authentically happy, smart, and normal young girls. They weren’t overly made up or with fancy hair and clothing. They looked like the girls I knew at the time and played and bickered and loved each other so genuinely. What a great portrayal of a black family that looked real. (I also thoroughly enjoyed all the 1970s cars.)
In summary, I’m going to let myself anticipate fun things in the future, but if they don’t come to pass, I’ll remind myself of the options for fun that I still have. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? LOVE to all of you reading this, and healing vibes to my family member!
PS: the beach is so fun to watch. An osprey just flew right by my balcony with something in its talons! And I spent at least a half hour just before sunset watching large pods of dolphins very close to the shore here. There must have been a dozen! The photo shows how close they were (and some of those weird rectangles that are container ships). People enjoyed watching them.
Today I’ve been feeling sick. I’m not a gun lover in the first place, and now I feel like we are all just waiting for our turns to be someone’s target. The cynic in me feels that the people who run the US care only about themselves, their families, babies (up to the moment of birth, at which point they are worthless), and guns.
[Some of you may want to stop reading now and go enjoy some Fox News.]
What has sucked the wind out of my sails the most is how I’ve seen regular folks reacting to the endless shootings of people who just happened to be living their lives in the wrong places.
It’s not just the sincerely uttered “thoughts and prayers,” because I know that’s what people in a certain social group say when they just don’t have anything else to say. No, it’s people who say the ONLY thing you can do to help dead children, teachers, grocery shoppers, and such is to pray.
“My tradition teaches that prayer without action is just noise.”
Rabbi Jack Moline
As my friend Lynn pointed out to me, you don’t hear many ministers saying that. You hear them calling for change. At least the ministers I’ve heard. Rabbi Moline is one of them. Another quote from him:
There is no tradition that, at its core, would justify the massacre of children at school, grandparents at the grocery store, or congregants in a house of worship. And there should be no faith leader that sits idly by while the people we have dedicated our lives to ministering to are slaughtered. Prayer works only when it softens the hardened heart and opens it to the message of healing and justice that flows through every tradition’s scripture. Prayer works only if it leads to confession, contrition and repentance. Prayer works only if it is not an excuse for inaction.
NOTHING PREVENTS THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN A BULLET
Worse than this, I’ve seen people post that it’s not so bad all these people are dying, because that way they get to go meet Jesus and hang out with their deceased relatives sooner rather than later. I’m sorry, but WTF. It’s hard for me to imagine their pacifist god-figure wanting people do die early in a massacre just to hang out with him. Um, I hope they draw comfort from that.
I got so upset that I ran to my trusted sources for words of comfort, words to help me remember who I am, and words to steer ME via my beliefs. My Christian spiritual leader, Jim Rigby reminded me of these words by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
And then Jim talked about having the courage to be gentle and find hope as I respond to the hurt I am feeling right now. He is right, of course:
Greek culture had a word for “gentleness” (praus) that actually could meant “power under control.” It was sometimes used for a powerful animal that had been tamed. Today “gentleness” might refer to finding the courage not to use violence to solve all of our problems. Before we can tackle the problem of gun violence we must first ask ourselves an important question: Does our nation have the courage to be gentle?
Guns are no replacement for the civic virtue of courage. This nation cannot be saved by military grade weapons in the hands of cowardly spirits. Human decency requires the bravery to steer by our hopes not our fears.
Jim Rigby, Facebook
While all that helped me spiritually, I still am faced with even more blatant 1984-style language and proclamations by civic leaders that my head literally hurts. Why are guns more important than children, I keep wondering? Why is “freedom” more important than protecting the mentally ill and dangerous from themselves and others? I’m not alone. From Richard Stone of Taylor, Texas:
I got in a row on one of the local community pages about arming teachers. Saw this over on Twitter a few minutes ago and now I can’t wrap my head around the cognitive dissonance.
Richard Stone, Facebook
He then quoted someone else who finally put into words what has been causing my hurt:
“I heard this point yesterday and can’t get it out of my mind – TX politicians don’t trust teachers to choose books, but they think arming teachers is a good idea.”
I have a child who is a teacher. He just celebrated five years at Austin ISD and I am proud of him. He was raised in a gun-free household, as was I, and as I have been until things changed around here. I do not want to see him having to protect his students from killers. I want him to teach history and even hide some facts in among the state-mandated stuff. I want him free to care about his students, but also feel free to criticize or discipline appropriately, when necessary, without worrying that kid will come back and shoot him the moment they turn 18. Holy crap that is just plain dystopian. I’m nauseated.
Anyway, I’m not a crazed snowflake who wants to snatch people’s possessions out of their hands. I’m a mother, a spouse, an aunt, a nature lover, and just a regular human who wants to feel free to have opinions, live in safety, and feel free to spread love, kindness, and even lovingkindness, around the land.
But to also speak up. So many folks I know have been afraid to say we need to do something about the gun worship culture here. Why? Because of gun worshippers. Not hunters, not safety officers. People who literally LOVE the things and don’t give a shit how many people have to die because of it.
As so many people I know have been asking, how did we get here? Can we make things better. I want to help.
I’m not ashamed that I’ve dealt with anxiety most of my life. I’m just wired that way. For the past few years I’ve done a lot of work to manage the stress levels in my life. I’ve:
Cut out volunteer work where people didn’t respect me or weren’t truthful.
Minimized contact with people who put me down or try to manipulate me.
Changed my internal self talk to be more positive.
Made good progress on liking myself even when I can see my unlikeable traits.
Stopped trying to fix things I can’t control, including wars, divisive politics, other people’s beliefs, and other people’s actions.
Spent more time in nature.
Got more exercise. Especially with horses.
Nonetheless, BOOM, anxiety attacked me today. My chest has hurt all day. Badly. My neck has tingled. My mouth feels numb. All the fun stuff.
I think it’s because my boss said yesterday that I interrupt too much. He’s totally right. It’s why I hate talking on the phone or in groups. I have a weird inability to take turns in conversation. That’s got to be annoying to others, since I’m often embarrassed when it happens.
Everyone has issues. But sensitive people like me can take a small comment and leap to conclusions, like that they won’t renew my contract because of it. I know I’m a good writer, though, which helps counter my conversational impairment. I can edit writing. No wonder most of my jobs have been online!
The thing is, I know I shouldn’t beat myself up for things I know are an issue but am working hard on. I’m paying attention and trying once again to be quieter in meetings. Usually my issues rear up when I relax and stop self censoring. I guess the real me is just an over-talking, sarcastic, judgmental bitch. But a lovable one, right?
At this point in my life, it’s going to be easier to just accept myself and enjoy being with people who accept me, warts and all. I’ll certainly return the favor and grant them the grace to be their flawed selves. I should add that to the end of my bullet points above.
Sigh. I was going to destress by riding Apache, but I realized the horses are now all together, which I hadn’t realized was imminent. They all ran far away. Mmm. Grass. I think two horses are going to the Farm this weekend, which will be easier on Drew.
Instead, I really-did my horse playground, since it was taken apart to mow, and a new fence is going to cut some of it off. That was enough exercise!
See, I’m flexible and going with the flow and adapting to change. Gooooooo Suna.
When you live in a small town, things affect the whole community. We lost a friend yesterday. I’ll skip the gory details and just say it was a real shock to lose Christi.
I have Christi to thank for Fiona. If she hadn’t remembered I wanted a little donkey, Fiona might not have gotten rescued from the sale barn. Thanks to this kindness, I’ve had five years of donkey love.
We had many horse adventures and shared an interest in essential oils. In fact, it’s thanks to Christi and oils the I became a Master Naturalist. I went to a class she held at our beloved Dutch Towne Deli. Dorothy (not normal dot in the comments) was there and told me about the next class. Thank goodness for that bit of fortune!
Sigh. Our political differences split up our friendship, and I really miss lunches with her and her mom. But I still cared about Christi. She had a kind heart. She did not deserve to be taken from her friends and family this way.
I’m sending much sympathy to her grieving family, friends, and community. It’s hard to believe.
I’m not able to write much, due to not only work and figuring out all this moving stuff, but also because I’m sad. A good friend from my volunteer past, Terry Stafford, died a few days ago from a stomach cancer that came on fast and hard. That’s the one that seems to hit people I particularly love.
Sadness is to be expected, but I’m actually pretty overcome with fear. You see, some of her children stopped speaking to her years ago, saying some things about her that she didn’t understand, and didn’t want to try to work things out. It broke her heart and caused so much pain, but nothing she tried helped. She died unable to reconcile with them.
What a sad thing. I don’t know the whole story, so I’m not blaming any party, just sad that they couldn’t work it out. And I’m now coming to realize that could happen to me. After 2.5 years, will my older son every decide to let me know what his issue is? I sure hope so. When they said parenthood is hard, I thought they meant the early part. This grief is always there, even as I learn to live with it.
Meanwhile, I learned today that one of my favorite speakers in our Master Naturalist program, Dr. Alston Thoms, passed away in June. He was supposed to be our speaker last month, and that explains why we hadn’t heard from him. Read his obituary to learn about a life well led and a person who truly loved all of humanity, all living things, and the land.
Well, hope your day is going well. Hug people you love.
On January 15, 1991, the Gulf War was all that was on the news. I was, however, preoccupied with other things, since the previous day, I’d taken a very bumpy and snowy drive to the local hospital in Urbana, Illinois, where I’d spent the least-pleasant day and night in my life. No one wants the gory details, but in the end, the day dawned with a new human being in the world, my son, Kynan. The name means high and mighty in Welsh, or something like that.
I have to say that this baby brought so much joy to his parents, grandparents, and friends that it was totally worth the interventions and ickiness of his birth. We had so much fun with this bright, funny, and entertaining little soul.
He started talking at nine months. We went into the back yard to look at the stars, and he pointed up and declared, “Moon!” He’s never done things the standard way. My dad said K. was revenge for how I was as a baby and toddler. I apparently talked constantly, too. Lucky for me, I was in my element gabbing away and reading to my little buddy.
He was also an annoyingly early walker, but again, that was fine. He got his dad’s athletic build and skill, that’s for sure.
Raising this young man was one of the great joys of my life. I always enjoyed his friends and was impressed with his loyalty to them. If a friend crossed some line, though, they were out. His sense of right and wrong has always been very strong. His intellect is bright and very sharp; he’s fun to debate with (he was good at it in school!). He’s a gifted musician, and I always loved listening to him play his mandolin.
The other greatest joy I had was proofreading his college papers. It was awesome to see how his writing became better and better during college. By the time he as finished, he wrote as well as me and didn’t need my help (and I couldn’t really understand the philosophy stuff, as he’d passed me long ago).
I’m very proud of his work as a high-school teacher, and have worried about him a lot during the COVID-19 period. That has had to be so challenging for someone who cares so much for his students.
Anyway, it’s a sad day for me on January 15, 2021. Like many people I know, I have a child who will not communicate with me. The last time I heard from him normally was two years ago today. It’s been a hard time for both of us, I think, as there have been many challenges in both our lives. I hope though, that he is happy with his family and household, and thinks of me in positive ways, at least occasionally. I know when he’s ready, he’ll get in touch again and I’ll find out what caused him to ghost me two years ago.
If you have a close relationship with your children, tell them you love them often! And if you’re estranged, hold hope and love in your heart. That’s about all I can do. I’m not looking for advice, just sharing how things are right now. My sadness today is perfectly normal, and I’ll be fine and keep coping.
Change is always possible, and is inevitable. I’ll be here for my son whenever he wants me to be.
Ya know, because of the pandemic and all, Lee and I don’t go anywhere very often. But, today we really had to go to Austin, since my car has a tire with a big ole bubble in it that needed to be fixed, and we hadn’t given my son and his partner anything for Christmas yet (we knew what they needed/wanted).
Naturally, today is the day it finally rained some real rain, rather than in dribs and drabs and hundredths of inches. It’s the big storm that’s going to mess up New Year’s for the “important” parts of the US, i.e., the east coast. We always need rain, so yay for the weather.
Except we had to drive, and Lee doesn’t like driving in the rain, even in his new vehicle with the spooky features like adaptive cruise control. Nonetheless, I’m the one in the family who does what they say they will do when they say they will do it, so off we went.
Yep, it rained a lot. But, there were fun clouds to look at (especially if you were in the passenger seat, I grant that). We managed to find the Costco store in south Austin, and got somewhat wet going in there. Still, the trip was a success, because though the store looked crowded, people were distancing themselves like old pros, AND we found a darned large television for a good bit less than $300. In my mind those cost three or four times that much, so that was a deal (and the picture quality was great!). Plus, the rain let up while we loaded the car.
We easily found the apartment complex of the young folks (Lee had never been there, since he doesn’t go to Austin unless he HAS to), and handed over the television in the parking lot, avoiding any meetings in confined quarters. They appeared to be pretty thrilled.
Then, they gave me a VERY thoughtful gift that they’d looked hard for on Ebay. Sniff. That was so sweet. And, off Lee and I went again. No dilly dallying.
The new car told us in no uncertain terms that we needed to get gas, so we planned to stop halfway home. The horses and chickens needed food, and I needed a calendar to mark horse feedings on (because SmartPack, the supplement supplier, didn’t send us a calendar for the first time in many years!).
Well, our luck with the rain ended there. A real downpour began, and there was no way to avoid a real soaking. My boots, pants, sweater, and most of all my hair…all soaked through. I looked like a young man of some sort who just swam across a lake, and no amount of SnapChat filtering would fix it. I did laugh a lot at myself, which confused Lee, poor guy.
To be honest, I’m blathering a bit, because I am sad. I’m happy I got to write about Carlton. And I’m so glad I got to see the kids today, because this week has just been chock full of bad news that really isn’t blog material. And no, it’s not all people from our business, though our staff and clients have gotten some raw deals from the hands of fate, that’s for sure.
The worst. Today I found out a young man I’d always liked passed away in a house fire, and that was just the last straw. My heart just aches for his parents and sister, who have always been incredibly kind to me.
Please tell people you care about that you’re there for them. I’m gonna even tell the son who won’t speak to me. Because I do still care.
It’s really weird to have not been at the ranch the entire month of November, especially since that’s usually a great month to be there (good weather, frisky pets, lots of time for walking). It didn’t help at all that I spent a good bit of time wandering around the area on Google Maps trying to figure out where those two people drowned. I think I got it located a bit further away from our property than I’d feared, but still adjacent. It makes me so sad.
I listened to a news report that said the victims had fallen out of their boat and got caught up in pond weeds. That’s exactly what I had feared. Even if you can swim, that stuff can get you. One guy had a young family and one was just 22, so young. They’re having a football game to raise money for their families. Traion Smith was just an amazing athlete in high school, and a nice young man. The news report showed the former Cameron coach breaking into tears at the thought of losing him. Life sure has its twists and turns.
Anyway, I ended up looking at what great quality the Google Maps images of our property are. I really liked how you could see each cow and all the cattle paths in the bottom pasture next to our house.
I was disappointed that I could not see Apache or Fiona, nor the chickens. I guess the photo was taken just before we got the chicken house. So, you’re spared those images.
While I do miss the ranch (and its occupants, including my poor lonely quarantined husband!), I’m enjoying some time in Austin. We got to take a walk with our neighbor, Ruth, who regaled us with tales of trying to buy groceries at the H-E-B (we went a bit later ’cause I had to fill my prescription, and it wasn’t so bad). She went to the Randall’s store full of “old people” and it wasn’t crowded. That store is always full of old people! And, if you don’t live in Texas, we realize H-E-B is a weird name, but since it’s named after Mr. Butts, you can understand the choice.
And since I’m in Austin, we can have my son’s little family unit to eat out on the deck, to minimize germs and all, like we keep being told to do. It will be very small, but good.
We will get through these challenging times. Sometimes it’s easier than other times, but I feel like all this practice of empathy, compassion, and forgiveness that’s come out of the pandemic, the election, and the personal issues of those around me will benefit me the rest of my life.
I hope you enjoy the photos of the flowers I got at the store and our sunset. I saw no sunsets in Utah, because the mountains were to the west. That’s okay, mountains are pretty, too. Share what’s keeping you happy and in the moment, if you want to!