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Archive for the ‘Op-Ed’ Category

“I’m hoping the AG isn’t just trying to pass this off without taking it seriously,” he said. “If this doesn’t work, I’ll take it down to the federal courthouse and see what the hell they’re going to do. We can’t have any lunatic handing out guns to get votes. I’m not anti-gun, but this is just crazy.”

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/06/17/3024511/clint-didier-campaign-having-gun.html#storylink=cpy

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In the current upheaval about privacy following the revelation that Verizon and Google and a lot of other media

snip of google image search for Susan G Holland  plus  Holland Art Studio  June 10 2013

giants are spying on American citizens at the behest of the NSA, I have wondered what a benign person like me might have “out there” that I was unaware of.

Just for fun, this morning I Googled my name and my art business name and searched “images”.  I was surprised to see three whole rows of my stuff!  The fourth and fifty item in the bottom row of his image are NOT mine…but all the rest is!   My goodness!   I am glad I am not a purveyor of seamy art!

There are “about me” photos and some outtakes from my 3 Americas! exhibit in NYC.  Early Farmer’s Market work, and some recent process documentation of a favorite painted wood bowl. Yes, my current logo!   Even my daughter’s birthday gift puzzle!  And the signature I sometimes put at the bottom of my blogs.

I wonder how many rants of mine have made the cut?  Likely I would not be so much on top of the pile.  There are several high profile people with my name who are really well known in their professions, and somehow Susan Komen comes up in a search for me.  Well, that’s ok.

I do get angry at you government people, in case you are reading this entry.  Very angry.  I think you are manipulating things much as the Mafia has been guilty of doing.  The power of money and might has eclipsed the honor and humility that marked our earlier American way of doing national business.  I am ashamed.  But I still think that freedom and democratic practices are better than the other choices (as if we had a choice…most of us don’t.)

So, if I am to shamed in the public square for my protests and letters to editors and other media people I know the names of, I hope you pick one of the nicer photos to publicize the shaming.

It’s not so far away from the way some nations capture those who speak against a hallowed leader and imprison them like rabid dogs.  Or shoot them.

We all have some traps in the path of our journeys.  I see, with sadness, the traps multiplying…booby traps, even, for the folks who love truth and transparency.

When did we become so corrupt?  It is not the “image” of the nation’s government that is the concern.  It’s the reality of what emerges when that image is scratched off,  like the gold circle on a give-away ticket advertising a prize of ten cents to a hundred dollars.   Not much there.  And the numbers are not the only thing that are temporarily hidden!

Old Swimmer

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The day audibly begins at seven am, nearly every day. I hear a greeting, or a bump on the floor above my downstairs apartment, and know that one or both of the dear people upstairs are ready for the routine that puts them above and beyond any married people I have ever known personally.

The sounds morph into a stair creaks, and two sets of footsteps that stop for the next half hour. I know where they stop. It is at the double recliner love-seat that is well named. My daughter and her husband are sitting there in bathrobes with their bare feet up and the morning paper out. If the TV is on, I don’t hear it.

What I do hear is two voices. TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER! Often there is just a comfortable burble of sound, intermittent, and reciprocal. Sometimes, like this morning, there is an outburst– I don’t hear the words. It sounds heartfelt, but I can’t really tell the nature of the passion… excitement, assertiveness, or consternation? Can’t tell.

What I do know is that these people spend the first half hour of each morning at a regular meeting with coffee, newspaper, and each other. They share the news. They offer their opinions. They don’t always agree. But they always talk.

My daughter and her husband have been married for 33 years. They are dynamic, opinionated people with an inbuilt portion of “feist” that is not boring, and is sometimes volatile. They have powered through serious differences of opinion, and some big weather-changes. My own marriage did not survive such stresses, but theirs has.

These two are evidence that love is an action verb.

Living with relatives is a dicey matter sometimes. And I am mindful of the stresses to my own marriage caused by the in-house residency of my own mother in years past. No doubt my former husband suffered somewhat silently. We didn’t talk to each other every day at seven. Sometimes we didn’t talk to each other at all…other than in passing. We lasted 20 rather passive-aggressive years.

Neither of us found success in remarriage. We never learned how to “love”, v. trans. Not at least the talking back and forth kind of love.

Today there was an outburst…just about fifteen minutes ago. Footsteps went rather loudly up the stairs at 7:30 am…to the shower. As usual.

Outbursts are not terminal here, with them. They are fearless about communication of nearly any sort. They work the muscles of this marriage. Sometimes they get sore.

But they talk to each other. And answer. Every day.

I am in awe. And not walking on eggshells here. Seems as if their stability will withstand the presence of a mother-in-law. If not, they will say so. I count on it by now.

Old Swimmer

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Catching drones

I am so fascinated by the uproar about those snoopy drones that are reportedly going to be released to spy on us.  I am a bit nervous that some drone hackers will follow me into the bathroom and watch, but if that’s what gets them satisfaction, well… no photos of me “washing up” will net them much.

What I am seeing is another electronic wonder that can be used by “the bad guys” as well as the good guys.  Not surprising, this eventuality. The gamesters who were nurtured in a digital age are full of games-view, and why shouldn’t they visualize Drone Wars as the next fun place to “play war.”  Except, as we can see, the little games grow into big power wars and then people actually get killed, and sometimes there is the real possibility of mass annihilation!   What would Assad do with a fleet of drones, I ask you?

So the child in me is wondering what to do when little things come zooming around with their cute little propellers fanning the local air in my yard and my house.  First thought:  CATCH ONE to get a better look.   How does one catch a little drone?

I am imagining that they are pretty smart, and assuming they have some remote data going out that will pit my abilities against the operator of this drone, whether the operator is a real human or a robot-type-entity, located at headquarters, or maybe in the cloud. (so appropriate..the cloud.)

What a great new sport, I am thinking, wondering what kind of butterfly net would work best, and how to design a stealth butterfly net to get under the drone’s radar.

What would I do after I tinkered with the little captive?  Would it self destruct in my hand, and maybe actually carry a bomb or something to detonate and make me go poof?
I visualize a little collection of these things in an electronically neutralizing safe, and hash marks on the outside telling me how many of “their guys” I have collected.  Like chess.

I don’t ever expect to set up an arsenal of my own, of course.  I don’t really have time for that.  But I wonder whether there will be “time” for drone poachers?  And a jail sentence?
Just think of the budgetary implications of that!

And how will the drone-related prisoners get along, all incarcerated together… the makers who sold drones to the bad guys and the drone catchers who were just playing?

Well, it’s good for a new computer game I guess,  but I don’t have time for that either.

So…just a blog.   But it’s not as aery-faerie as all that, is it?

Old Swimmer

 

Here’s a cute one

cute drone

 

 

 

 

 

 

another cute one
police drone

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BACK HOME TO HESTIA

Seniors have plateaus just as growing children do, only in reverse. They grow smaller, blinder, deafer, more forgetful and then they begin walking not so well.

They have been depending on the Social Security system to keep them through the downward spiral and tuck them in at the end in some sort of respectable way— not a mass grave or dumpster.

That’s pretty blunt, isn’t it?

Well, blunt is the blow, I am telling you from my current viewpoint, being at the flat part of a new lower ledge of the series of plateaus.

When beautiful winter makes you stiff and exhausted and unable to keep your own fire stoked, it IS a blow. Instead of inviting folks to come by and warm themselves, you find yourself hunkering as close as you can to a frail little lightbulb, and if you are lucky, your grown children recognize that you need a REAL fire, since you have nearly totally lost your own.

Senior Solution; Hermes heading home to Hestia

My travels (the other side of the story–did you click the link in the title?) have taken me on journeys rewarding and then other journeys that were clearly designed to be instructional, often with a large discomfort factor.

“Well, it’s how I am,” I explain to the kids. “I just TRY things.”

The counterpart to Hestia , the stay-by- the-fire goddess, was Hermes the traveler-adventurer god, strikingly different from Hestia, but a very close friend and neighbor to her.they were a duo who were the best of friends who did not marry and likely would  never have been compatible mates, so different were they.

I think I’ve got some humanoid  (sub-godly) traits of each of these opposites and I am now traveling from Hermes-mode back into Hestia-mode for the preservation of body and soul.

I am not alone. The economy, you know has yanked the rug out from under many hard-working retirees. And the cruel winter just past, and the inability of this 74 year old body to spring back in the expected way it always has — it’s a rude surprise that happened in one winter’s time.

Mortality is a subject that comes into stunning focus maybe once or twice during most folks’ lives, especially when a “close call” happens or when a dear one dies. Most of the time we let the matter of death simmer quietly on the back burner to be dealt with “later.” It’s not number one on our list of favorite things to plan for.  Once we have the matter of soul settled, we relax.

A winter like the once we just had in 2011-2012 brings the motality matter into sharp focus. When one has no way out of the cabin but to stumble down the moutainside a quarter mile in ice covered snow up to the knee caps, and one has a trick knee that will not operate properly on the downhill slope. It’s cllimbing down a steep slope so you can get to your car parked in a plowed area below. Then you dig out your car, and go to the store and get supplies. Then you park your car where it was before and get to carry the packages of supplies back up the mountain, and you have to stop every five steps to catch your breath.

This is not ordinary outdoor fun, it’s a real test of your physical plant, and my body did not pass it well at all. I really did feel as if I might die. I actually imagined that the local mountain lion might be considering me likely prey (wounded small mammal), and be planning his attack. I tried to make myself look big while bending over to catch my breath. I dragged my groceries rather than carry them, and I said loud things in all kinds of voices, mostly gruff.  I tried to sound as big as God.

“Mom, we have to get you OUTTA there,” the kids said. And they were right.

So my primeval wonderland is standing out there looking in my big windows, looking at me with sad leaves and the birds are gone because I have weaned them away from regular feedings. The intimacy I have enjoyed with the forest spirits– plants and animals– is being stressed now with the reality that I am having to pack up my belongings and journey away from them.

I do remember that comforting hearth, and the groaning board, and the laughter and pranks of my dear ones around the room. And now my young are strong and seem to have endless energy to fix, and do, and make. Yes, I will, as they suggest, come there and stay a while.

The love has changed hands so often between me and my children, and has been so thoroughly tested by fire and has come through stronger because of it, that I am secure in the bond, and content to lay aside my traveling cases and rest at their hearth and learn their new foods and teach their new generation the old stories.

They can afford me, they say, and I can come and rest there until my strength returns so that I can at least do the things I do well. They will do the things that are too much for me now. And it is with honor that they receive me at their table.

“Mom, you did the same for us for such a long time. You taught us how.”

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I don’t know where I first came  upon a favorite phrase of mine…someone’s parent used it, I think, when asked at a meal if they wanted more of something. They said,
“I’ve had an ample sufficiency;  more would be a superfluous abundance.”

Empty, full, overflowing

Don’t you love it?  I memorized that phrase on the spot and have found it fun and useful so often in my life.  It always gets a smile.

It occurs to me now that the OTHER extreme to “superfluous abundance” is something else again:  a “DIRE LACK” seems strong enough to balance the other end of the spectrum.

I ran into an article today which I found extremely interesting.  It was a talk by an atheist explaining how to ask non-athiests to accept some of the preferences of atheists! In particular was asking people not to pray for them!  It was particularly interesting to me because I am NOT an atheist, and I am sure that I have put atheists into the position of wanting to say how they prefer to be spoken to about such things as prayer, and blessings, and faith.

I was admonished a year or so ago for saying “God Bless You!” to a child’s sneeze!  I was sort of astonished, since it’s such a common sort of response to sneezes,  but the fact that the person who asked me not to say it was the father of the child.  They preferred their child not be exposed to “God Talk”, and so were censoring the kinds of things said in their house.

(So I semi-rebelliously said Gesundheit instead, and that was, somehow, okay, since no one speaks German in that house. But my reaction was knee-jerk, and not all that pure-hearted.  It was not a response of respect, at least, which is what the person may have expected of me.)

What I am puzzled about is how much we can tailor other people’s behavior in regards to their way of expressing themselves?  How okay is it to request, for instance, that someone NOT pray for you?   I say to people, quite honestly, that I will pray for them when I honestly do mean to do just that.  But when I say it, it’s not to convert them, or remind them, but it is simply a statement of how I will be putting my concerns into actionable form.  Of course, if they don’t believe in prayer, it will seem sentimental, old-fashioned, passe, and superfluous, and even obnoxious to people who severely disapprove of prayer and everyone who believes it to be effective.

But do I say to them that they are not to use atheistic terms and concepts in their conversation in my house?  No, really not.  People would pick fights all the time if that were true,  just as if someone were forbidden to speak any language but Urdu in a Palestinian home.  How divisive that would be! Of course they can speak of their belief in my house, even if it’s quite different from mine.  I would like to ask questions of that person and learn all I can about their beliefs.

If a person comes with a good-will gift, and that gift happens to be something repugnant to me, I will accept it with gratitude.  What seems good to some may seem awful to others, but a gift is a gift, and it’s the sincere gesture that counts, and the reception should be sincere as well.

Kindness makes for active tolerance of discomfort. Divisions happen when the “give and take” are refused.

But how much is too much?  And how about the opposite…too much restriction?

We used to be told in church to “witness” to others– actively and consistently.  This was one of the acts that Christians were to do.  Of course other religions have their ways of spreading what they believe.  And if they are earnestly innocent of ulterior motives (fishing for proselytes) they are simply doing what they truly believe is right.

There is a moving barrier in conversations across philosophies.  In this age of “coming out” when you are “different” in a way that is not always accepted, like gay, or Republican, or anti-gun rights,  you have realized by now that saying so will often cause a ripple of dissension and maybe even drive people away from you.   You learn to do it discreetly, and hopefully when others have learned that you are not a stupid person, or a fanatic, or a public enemy, but someone who has other “features” that makes you worth knowing even if you ARE something “odd.”

How about the ones who are coming up against the established accepted practices?

How much do we who have strong opinions about, say,  war, or God, or evolution, or global warming, ask of others to make room for our preferences?  When I go to a talk about athiesm, am I suppoosed to stand up and chant something to express my difference of opinion?  Only if I am on a campaign and am willing to take the issue to court, or to war, or to the press.  If I went  to this talk simply to understand others’ point of view, I have no business making a scene.

What if they come to my home and start telling me that I must stop believing in God and that I am ruining my family by not being an atheist?  Well, they will not be particularly cheered on, I will assure you.  If they persist, I may not invite them again– but it will be because they have delivered a superfluous abundance of their creed in my space, where my own creed is as precious as theirs, and it is offending me.  It’s just not polite.

So, how does one handle, say, a babysitter who is of the “other” persuasion, whatever that is?  Does one tell them what words are not acceptable?   I’m not sure how long the children will believe that everyone is like their parents,  but I can tell you that my kids learned an encyclopedia of words never allowed in our house on their first ride on a public school bus!  What a shattering experience!

I let my children play with the neighborhood group even though their creed was very different from mine.  There were words exchanged casually long before school days that caused them to realize that different families had some rather major differences in “okay-ness.”  It was still a shock to learn all the really “dirty” words on that schoolbus, but they were also aware that the world will be hugely different in a lot of ways from us.

AND, counter to what I wanted, they had a great time adopting all these forbidden words!!

  What one resists, persists…and parents should be aware of that.

Live and let live!  As we bump around and run into people who put their hands together and say “Shalom”, and into other people who sock us in the arm and say “What’s up, buddy?”, that both of those people are giving us respect as they are inclined to do, and all are worthy of our acceptance of their greeting.  It’s just polite!

I think no one ever did damage by allowing another his own creed, unless that other is trying to force his creed on others.  I will not adopt anything that is crammed down my throat.  But  will be thankful for people sharing their personal views honestly with me, and I will continue to pray for them, even if they don’t want me to.  It is not an act of aggression, after all,  and if they don’t believe in it anyway, why should it bother them?

Might as well tell people not to smile at you, as not to pray for you.

My atheist friends just say “I will send good thoughts”, and that’s okay with me!  I can use all the good thoughts I can get!

It’s all a journey.  And it’s good to have language with fellow travelers that crosses divides.

Old Swimmer


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Lately I have found myself growling about a lot of things– could be that being down ill has given me more time to read the news, which is nearly always news because it is about something nasty that is going on, or has happened.

Well I am going to write about one of several things that Word Press has been sticking in my email in-box lately, and  it is something GOOD!

Today, for instance, I got a little blurb from some students at Stanford University who has done research on what is bringing the most readers to Word Press Blogs.   I am not getting many readers, and so it seemed a good idea (since I have been well rewarded when reading what Word Press has to say)  to click and read!

Blog often and regularly, they said, and make your “follow” widget easy to see and find.  And get the comments going, and keep them going.

I’m headed over to my dashboard right away to check out my “follow” widget to see if it’s anywhere to be found!  I haven’t actually noticed it lately.  Hm.

Often and regularly written?  Yes, I do blog often and regularly, but I have SO many blogs no one would know it.  I am spread all over the place.  Maybe it’s time to gather together the best of the best and put them into the same blog.  Or not.

Probably not, since my blogs address different slants on things…some are for sharing my wares, and some are for giving the world a piece of my mind. Some are memory keepers, like a family scrapbook that has cyber pages rather than pretty scrapbook pages that eventually get worn down by being read over many years.

The other things that I love are the new Themes that come out often.  I almost always go look,  and sometimes I try them on for size.  I have kept some of my trials, and rearranged the content of blogs to best use the fresh new idea.

Did anyone else try to get on “Freshly Pressed” last time they wrote about the ways to get on it?  I did try.  I don’t think it worked.  Do they tell you when you get on that?  I always look when I have something I really care about that I have blogged about.

And I wonder if there are ways one can be avidly followed without being a presence on the “social network?”   I have eschewed as much of that as possible as the concerns about privacy grow and the advertisements proliferate.  I don”t like commerciality, I’m afraid, although I know it makes our world go ’round, and enables “freebies” to be offered.

Anyway, I just would like to thank Word Press for its fresh and decent and helpful service to its users.

THANK YOU!

old swimmer

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