Sunday, May 14, 2017

Time Away

Yes, earlier this month I returned from a week in Seattle visiting Jan, a longtime friend from Saudi days.  It was great to see Jan again and Seattle is such a beautiful city to visit.  The day after I arrived,  we went on at tour of Dunn Gardens, where Jan volunteers.  So, she took Mary Ellen, Katie and me on a private tour.  I had no idea so many things would be in bloom and I'm sorry I can't do justice to the names of all I saw.  All I can say is that the grounds were beautiful.  It is the 7.5 acre estate of Arthur G. Dunn, Sr., who made his fortune in the fish cannery business.  The topography and flora as so different from the east coast and I love experiencing the contrast.  The garden was absolutely beautiful and we finished with a nice lunch.

 The second day we went to Roozengaarde Tulip Fields, which were spectacular.  While the day was a bit overcast, we were lucky the whole week in that it never rained when we were out and about.  The tulip fields were about an hours drive outside the city and well worth the drive.  The colors were almost overwhelming, more than the eye could take in. 

 From there we went to La Conner, a very scenic, little town, for lunch overlooking the river.  We strolled around a bit before heading to Edison, "the center of the world" in the middle of nowhere.  Edward R. Murrow grew up there and it is now a funky little town with an art museum, a great bakery, and several other shops.  It seems it is the town all the techies flock to on weekends for food and fun.
I was surprised to find this quote, which seems to sum up our current political situation, emblazoned on a wall in Edison. Needless to say, Edison is in liberal territory!
Oops! A little snafu!  I get this far in updating the blog and my computer flipped off, goes completely black.  I turn it on again to resume, and it flipped off two more times.  So, I took it to a computer guy, who kept it overnight, did some magic, and it appears to be working better and faster.  He saved all of my documents, photos etc. but he basically wiped it clean and started over, giving me the most current operating system, Microsoft Office program, etc.  So, while it is working much faster and not cutting off, I am having to learn how to retrieve what I want and include it in the new OS. 
Anyway, back to vacation....we also had a day at the Space Needle and surround areas.  As many times as I've visited Jan, I'd never been to the Needle.  We had planned to go last year, but it was under renovation.  This year, we finally made it.  The interesting thing is that the Chihully Garden and Glass Exhibit and the Gates Foundation are all right there, so we went to the Chihully exhibit before lunch and the Gates Foundation.  For some reason, I took no photos at the Gates Foundation, but, needless to say, it was very informative and interactive. The day was also clear, sunny day, which provide a splendid view of Seattle and the restaurant rotated.  A very nice day!

You can tell that we covered a lot of territory in the time I was there, including checking our some of the nicer neighborhoods, browsing two Asian markets, a day of wine tasting in Woodinville, and having dinner with several of Jan's friends. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but it really was a nice break from my overly-political life. Now that I'm back, I hope I can maintain a little more balance!!  Thanks, Jan, for a wonderful, relaxing visit.

I came back to a much busier week than I had anticipated.  It was the following weekend before I could even get my laundry done!  One of my concerns about being away was what to do with Rosie and Mama Mia.  I was lucky to find a wonderful lady who stayed in my house and looked after them.  While she did work, she was able to come home at lunchtime and let Rosie outside for a bit.  She also maintained her morning and evening walks, as well as sending daily updates.  Rosie was very happy to see me, wiggling around and yelping when she saw me, and she seemed to have done well. I'm pleased to have found Janice, as it will free me up a bit to travel.  

Other than that, I've caught up with the Drinking Liberally and canasta groups, had a delightful evening out with friends, and read The Underground Railroad.  

I'm going to have to stop here as my computer has flipped off twice in the process of finishing my update.  So, obviously, it is not repaired.  So, I'll deal with that tomorrow.  In the meantime, I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying each day.......and Happy Mother's day to all you moms out there.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Resistance Report

Sanford Town Hall. Can you spot me?  With friends Rhonda, Melodee & Pilar.
It appears that I missed the whole month of March!  I remember when I posted several times a month, and now I'm struggling.  Not that there isn't a lot going on and even time to post about it, if anything there is too much!  Since this election and the havoc it has created, it is difficult to know which fire to (try) to put out.  Each day has another shoe dropping, so we're fighting issues most important to us, and adding, adding, adding others as they come along.  You can see how quickly it becomes overwhelming.  Since last posting, my schedule has looked something like this:
  • Two Sanford Town Hall Meetings, one in Beaufort and another in Hilton Head.
  • An immigration demonstration (our sheriff wants to voluntarily agree to devote 5 officers to work with ICE in rounding up undocumented immigrants.  Our area depends heavily on immigrant workers and this only causes fear and chaos in their community.  I wonder if they even imagine what our life would be like without them.)
  • Lowcountry Indivisible meeting and responding to frequent Calls to Action
  • Maintianing ties with Lowcountry Suffragettes, Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry, Drinking Liberally and our more casual, monthly Progressive's Lunch - all of which bring different information and outlooks to the table.
  • Almost daily responses to those issues most important to me - by phone or fax
Drinking Liberally Motley Crew

Some interesting resources have sprung up in this tech age:
  • Resistbot is a phone service.  You can text "Resist" to 50409 and they will turn your tests into a fax and send to your Congress people.  
  • Daily Action is another phone service.  Text "Daily" to 228466 and each morning you will receive a political action to perform, along with phone numbers to reach appropriate people
  • 5 Calls is an app at which does the research for each issue, determining which representatives are the most influential for each topic.  They provide phone numbers for those offices, as well as scripts.
  • Countable is a very informative app.  It lets you know what is coming up for a vote in the House and Senate,  It gives pros and cons for each issue and lets you express your opinion.  You  may call or email your representatives directly from the app.
  • My preference is to fax...a real fax.  I can't help but feel that emails and texts can be too easily ignored.  Snail mail is too slow and often phone lines are tied up, but a fax is immediate and they have something in hand, which one hopes is less able to be ignored.  If I develop a good letter, all I have to do is change the name and send to as many people as required.  I've also found an online service that allows you to send two free faxes a day directly from your computer -  I've signed up to be able to send 100 pages for $9.95.  That should hold me for a while!
Anyway, you can see that "the Resistance" is serious and we know it is for the long haul.  It is encouraging to see so many people involved and more politically informed. We felt we played a major part in preventing them from repealing Obamacare and that was encouraging - and, Lord knows, we needed it!

Believe it or not, it hasn't been all politics all the time (though it DOES consume a lot of time). I have tried to have some normalcy in my life.  Ana and I still do our zentangle, though sometimes I don't touch it from one gathering to the next!  I'm (half-heartedly) trying to get back into walking, especially since our weather has been so good.  This has been such a lovely, mild winter that I almost hate to see it begin to warm.  We are now firmly in the 80s, with cool mornings and warm afternoons.  We're enjoying it while we can.  Last summer was the hottest since I've been here and we wonder what lies ahead.
  • My political activities have crossed paths with friends I haven't see in a long time.  I shared lunches with both Pam G. and Debby R, both within the same week.  It was great to catch up and I hope it won't be so long next time.
  • Chris and I went to see Kedi, a delightful movie about the street cats of Istanbul, the lives they lead and the lives they touch.  It was very sweet - and always nice to see Istanbul.
  • Twice Rosie and I have joined my friend, Tippy, for a walk on Dolphin Head Beach, which is more private and less crowded than public beaches.  I was able to let Rosie off the leash, and she loved it!!  She ran and ran and ran.  She was truly happy and free -  so good to see!   The following photo says it all - she was like a baby that just keels over when really tired.  She slept on the way home and was done for the day.  It was also relaxing to me and a nice break from the chaos of life at the moment.
One tired puppy!
Tuesday of last week, my cousin Bill and his wife Betty stopped by on their way home from visiting their son in Florida.  It was great to see them as it had been a while.  Betty had some health issues that kept them sidelined for a while and it's good to see them able to travel again.  That was a good excuse to make a Lemon Blueberry Cake!  Rosie loved the new, unsuspecting targets of affection, and they loved her!  It was a nice visit.

I'm still feeding feral cats and making hospice visits.  I'm getting better at the hospice thing, which takes a little time - to get to know the patient and develop ways of communicating with them.  Unfortunately, two of my original three have passed away, but this week I'll be picking up three new people.  Every visit is different and I just have to go with the flow.  Something as small as a chocolate Easter egg or taking them outside to sit in the sun for a few minutes can make a difference.  I'm still learning and hope to improve.

Well, that catches you up of my crazy life.  I hope all is well with you and that Spring is in the air (except for upside down friends, who may be having fall!!).  Let me hear from you and keep me posted on your doings.  Love to all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Greetings from Trumplandia!

Thanks one and all for the birthday cards and good wishes.  Yes, it was the big 7-0, which is difficult to believe (until I look in the mirror!).  It definitely forces one to stop and think about the time remaining!  

I celebrated the day, which happened to also be Inauguration Day, by NOT watching the event.  Later that night I, along with several bus loads of people, departed for the Women's March in DC.  While there were more people coming from SC than one would expect - 22 buses total - there were many people who couldn't go and wanted to support the event.  Cheryl C. and a friend of hers provided 3 pussy hats and a survival kit, and a local lady contributed two hats. Chris and Cheryl Mc provided brownies and other chocolates (which were shared on the way home). Friends from various liberal groups showed up at the departure site and provided snacks, water, and a great send-off.  It was very festive and was even covered by the local newspaper.

Once on the road, we had an 8 hour ride, with several rest stops along the way.  We arrived at the end of a metro line at about 7:30 AM and made our way to city center.  As one would expect, the metros were jam packed, and that pretty much describes the rest of the event.  I have never seen so many people in one place and it's difficult to describe the atmosphere.  It's wonderful to see such diversity with one uniting theme.  It was totally peaceful and everyone was very laid-back.  People enjoyed talking with those from other places and took photos of interesting signs, always a fun part of these things. I had one lady take a photo of our signs because she had a friend in Belgium who vacations in SC and she had wondered if anyone from our state would be there.  She was delighted to learn there were 22 buses coming from SC and wanted to pass on the information.  It really does restore your faith in mankind to participate in an event like that and I came away feeling so glad that I'd done it.....and that I still had the stamina to do it, though I have to admit that my legs we so wobble and me feet so numb by the end of it that I'm sure I was weaving!

Early on, we were in the thick of the crowd.  We couldn't get close to the stage, but we were close to a jumbo-tron, though at a very acute angle.  We held out as long as we could but eventually moved to the periphery of the crowd.  Once we did that, we missed most of the speeches, so if you were watching on TV, you saw more than we did!  Even so, that gave us time to chat with people, enjoy the signs, grab some food, and just generally soak up the atmosphere.  I didn't take my camera (mistake) and my cell phone is crap, so I didn't get many good photos.  My friend Tippy was more successful, but when they went from her phone to my computer, to the slideshow, they appear very grainy.  Anyway, this is what we were left with...

Other outstanding moments:

  • The roar of the crowd!  Generally, the crowd was quiet, especially when you think of how many people were there, but every once in a while a cheer would emanate from the stage and just roll on down the length of the crowd, like an audible wave.  It was fantastic!
  • This experience is a good example of the difference between liberals and conservatives - bathrooms became an issue as there were obviously more people than expected.  We got word that there were bathrooms in a mall nearby, so we headed in that direction.  As soon as we got into the building, we joined a bathroom line.  It was only when we got close to the door that we realized the women had taken over a men's bathroom.  Well, the men needed to use the facilities also, so they were just waved to the front of the line!  There were three urinals on the far wall (providing some privacy), so they went in, did their thing and everything proceeded calmly.  
  • We headed back to our metro station at around 4PM, hoping to avoid the rush - not a chance.  When we got there, we had about 2 hours to grab a bite to eat in a mall.  While Tippy was in the restroom, I was hanging around outside a specialty tea shop.  One of the clerks, whom I took to be gay, noticed my signs and motioned me to over.  As we were chatting, he took my hand and said, "Thank you"!!  He then hugged me!  Another lady came over with her sign and he thanked and hugged her!  It was very touching....and a reminder of how vulnerable some groups must feel under this rule.  
  • Then, after another 8 hour ride home, I went to pick up Rosie, who was staying with the local dog trainer, from whom we'd taken several classes.  Her first words were "Well I hope you didn't get caught up in any of the violence!"  I explained that I saw no violence, nor did I even see or hear the police responding to violence.  "Well, there was.  They were breaking windows and that just tainted it for me!"  Welcome back to South Carolina, land of alternative facts!!  
It was a great experience and I think it served to encourage others to stand up and get engaged.  Look at how quickly people showed up at airports to protest the immigration ban.  It's going to be a long 4 years for many of us and I, for one, and feeling the stress of non-stop stupidity and hatefulness.  We are in it for the long haul and need to pace ourselves accordingly.  The Women's March served as a great motivational experience.

At about the same time, Chris and I somehow found ourselves among the 14 founding members of our local Indivisible group.  We've attended an immigration protest at Congressman Sanford's office and plan to attend his town hall meeting in early March.....while still writing, calling and doing whatever else seems pertinent at the moment.  You can see how it becomes exhausting.  Thank goodness for Drinking Liberally (which had about 40 people last meeting) and our monthly Progressive group where we can just get together and "be liberal"!!

What have I been doing aside from politics?  
  • I've shopped for and purchased new sofas, which will be delivered Thursday.  I hope I like them once they're here!
  • I've volunteered with Tidewater Hospice and will be visiting three of their patients one day a week beginning tomorrow.  I certainly saw the need when my mother was under their care in a facility and I hope I can be helpful.
  • I've also maintain the usual social connections and events - lunches, plays, movies, etc.
Just to end of a positive note, I can't describe how mild our winter has been and how much I've enjoyed it.  Most of our days have been in the mid-70s.  This week we will hit 80 on two days.  It may then drop down to the 60s for 2-3 days, and then back into the 70s.  It's been great!

I hope this finds you doing well.....and not having to be so consumed with politics.  Count your blessings!

You might want to turn your volume DOWN, but it's worth watching to the end.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Where Does the Time Go?

This is a quick and dirty update.  I couldn't even remember the last time I posted, but wanted to get a note to you before the Women's March in DC on the 21st.  Originally, my plan was to reclaim my life after Hillary won the election and divert my focus to something other than politics.  Well, we all know how that went!  And, if anything, my political activities have even increased, which means that my time and thoughts are even more scattered....and my house looks like a bomb hit it. So, I'll try to make some sense of all that is happening.

It appears that Twitler has lit a fire under a lot of women.  Today I attended an organizational meeting of our local Indivisible group, named Lowcountry Indivisible.  A lady from Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry took it upon herself to get the ball rolling after hearing about the Indivisible Guide - A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.  The women in attendance today are ready to do what is called for to begin making changes - or preventing changes - as they related to our agenda.  It's really great to see so many people energized and involved.

About three months ago, Lowcountry Suffragettes (Continuing the Work!) was formed here in Bluffton.  This women's group is more diverse in age, ethnicity, etc. - which is one reason I like it.  Their first action will be to participate in the local  MLK March on Monday and having a table to distribute information, introducing the group to the community.  It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Of course, the big event is the March on the 21st in DC.  We learned today that there are 22 buses going from South Carolina and 4 from the Beaufort County area.  Unless you live in a conservative area like this, you probably don't understand the significance of that.  I thought we'd be hard pressed to fill one bus, so four is just amazing.  Even so, within the last two days I've had two women contact me to ask if there were any seats left on the bus!  Others who could not go to DC plan to join marches in Charleston, Savannah or Columbia.  There are also those who are supporting the marchers by giving us a send-off on the night of the 20th as we depart for DC. Others are knitting pink, Pussy hats (2 from Cheryl in FL, 1 from Nancy in NC and 2 from Wendy of Bluffton).  So many people are involved and eager to do what they can to resist the horror that is Trump.....including political actions like making phone calls, writing letters to representatives, researching issues, and so forth.  It is my hope that Trump has awakened a sleeping giant, that women will band together and claim their power and move our country forward in a positive way for all.  I'm sure I'm overly idealistic, but I've long thought that women needed to be more involved in political policy than we have been.  My hope is that this is the beginning of that.

In any case, the march has required constant attention over the last few days. There have been the usual snafus one would expect trying to organize an event of this size.  First they were going to take us to city center, then we would be delivered to a metro station.  At that point, Kelly Tours was going to provide each of us with a metro card then, at the last minute, they couldn't procure that many and we had only two days to order them on line with enough time to receive them through the mail.  Needless to say, the metro site crashed!  Originally, we could have a backpack, then a clear backpack, and finally NO backpack - so who knows what's happening with that!  They can't expect women to march without a tote or backpack, so I just ordered a clear one, which I hope will be okay.  So, every day there's been something and I hope things will settle this week. It would be nice to have a restful week before tackling the grueling bus ride.

In an effort to have some kind of life apart from politics, I have managed to work in a few other activities.

  • I was so eager to get Christmas packed away that the week after Christmas I cleaned the garage.  I wanted to weed through my ornaments and streamline the "decorating" process as much as possible.  So, I broke out the glue gun and made an ornament storage box.  It actually worked well and reduced the number of containers needed for them. It was very hard to get into the Christmas spirit and I'm very glad it's over.
  • Before Christmas I had Rhonda and David over as an excuse for experimenting with making cheesecake in the Instant Pot.  I couldn't believe you could actually do that, but you can!  I just started with a plain cheesecake but, since then, I've also done an Oreo Cheesecake in individual serving dishes - all of which is amazing to  me!
  • I had Christmas Eve with  my neighbors and some of their friends, which was very nice.  
  • David and I went to see La La Land and Hidden Figures, both of which were very good.  On TV (Netflix and Amazon Prime) I've also gotten hooked on The Crown and The Man in the High Tower
  • Just this week I've just gotten my application in to volunteer with Tidewater Hospice, which is the service that cared for my mother.  I'm not sure what it involves, but I certainly understand the need. I'll have a better idea once I'm approved and have orientation.
  • This past week I attended "Creating the Beloved Community", a dialogue about racism.
    Just Rosie modeling her new scarf.
     It was very well done by the League of Women Voters and gave a better understand of what is happening locally
  • As if there aren't enough irons in the fire, I've also been sofa shopping.  The love-seats in the den came with me from Saudi and have been recovered, etc.  They have finally gotten so uncomfortable that I'm forced to do something.  I am NOT a shopper, so I'm surprised that it's gone as well as it has.  I've narrowed it down to several favorites, which I will want to see again before making a decision, but I can't see that happening until after the DC March.
We are back to having great weather.  So far is has been a very mild winter, with the exception of three days when it dropped down to the 40s (20s at night!).  Yikes....that was cold!  This week has been sunny and in the 70s, so we can't complain about that.  While I've bought a warm coat and gloves for the march, word has it that it may be in the 60s, which is unusually mild for winter in DC.  Keep your fingers crossed.  

Here's hoping you all got the New Year off to a good start.  I'm sending lots of love and good wishes for 2017!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Season's Greetings

My first thought for titling this post was "The Year Grinds On" but, in an effort to be more positive, I reconsidered!  That, alone, should tell you the level of Christmas spirit I have!  We had a day and a half of rain, and I did manage to throw up a few decorations, with the understanding that when the rain stopped, so did the decorating!  It seemed a lot of time and effort for someone who wasn't even in the mood!  Anyway, it's done....and I've even managed to go through the decorations that were left in the garage, taking one load to the dump and another to the thrift shop.

Yes, I'm slowly but surely coming out of the fog of the election, but it isn't easy.  Like most liberals, I kept hoping and looking for positive signs, but things seem to be going from bad to worse.  Trump is just uninformed, uninterested, and doing business as usual, rather than governing.  Most of his appointments thus far have been people who actively want to dismantled the agency to which they've been appointed.  It would be laughable were it not so frightening.  Needless to say, I've been doing my usual calling and writing, as well as joining ANOTHER local grassroots group.  That doesn't help my anxiety level, but we can't just do nothing.  I'm also planning to attend the Women's March on Washington on January 21.  That will tell me whether I still have the stamina for that type of thing, because I think there are going to be many opportunities for protest over the next four years.

We are  also still recovering from Hurricane Matthew.  Things have progressed much more quickly for Bluffton as we suffered much less damage than Hilton Head.  It has totally changed the landscape in some areas, exposing some vistas that previously had been completely hidden.  Now that most of the debris has been removed from the roadside, you can also see the trees that were affected within the forest.  That will probably never be cleared.  There are also lots of FEMA (black, double tractor-trailor trucks) Disaster Relief trucks (something I never expected to see) around.  They spend the day transporting large debris to locations where it can be chipped, forming huge mountains of chips, which more trucks take someplace.  I've seen at least 3 of the processing areas, and there are probably more.  Just last week I saw alerts that there would be road/lane closures on the island due to dangerous tree maintenance.  So, their work is still ongoing and will probably be for a while.  From time to time, I've posted clips about the island on FB, so some of you have an idea of what's been happening.  This slide show is around the neighborhood, which fared much better. Even so, the golf course was closed for a few weeks and the final debris has just been removed from street-side.

Speaking of Rosie, she and I have started a new routine, in an effort to get out from under the 24 hour news cycle.  While the weather was still nice, we started taking our walks away from home.  Several days I took her to old town Bluffton.  She's great with people and very confident in the community (among her loyal fans), but easily frightened by strange noises, etc. I figure it's something we should do more often to get her more accustomed to things that are unfamiliar to her.  Our best outing was a morning at the beach....on a day when it was about 80 degrees.  She liked it, but as soon as we arrived, two men with a large (friendly) dog arrived and let him off leash.  He was very playful and wanted Rosie to run with him, but she was afraid.  I'm convinced it would have gone better had she not been intimidated by the larger dog, even though he was playful.  In any case, it was a lovely day on an almost deserted beach and we both enjoyed it.

What else has been happening?

  • I continue to experiment with my magic pot. This time I made yogurt from soy milk.  It turned out nice and creamy, and not too tart.  Had I wanted a Greek-type yogurt, I could have strained it.  It made twice as much as is shown in the picture and I will definitely make it again.  My next experiment is with cheesecake, though I'm afraid that might become addictive.  I've used the Instant Pot all summer and am very pleased with it....a vast improvement over the pressure cookers of old.
  • Had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner with friends with whom I've shared the holiday over the last few years.  The location was moved to their daughter's house due to hurricane damage to their own, but we were all thankful to be able to share the occasion together and in good health.  The day was so mild that we sat around the outside fire pit after dinner.
  • Went to a play, "Christmas Belles", with Elaine.  This was the fourth one we've been to by the theater company from Ridgeland.  They have all been humorous and something a little different from the norm.
  • Lunches with friends - Chris, Sharon, Melyssa's Progressive Group and Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry.- all the people that keep me sane!
  • Treated myself to a new TV for the bedroom so I can stream in there - another ploy to get away from 24 hour news!!  Little did I know that you can't give away old tube TVs.  I just thought I'd call a thrift shop and they would pick it up as it works perfectly and has a great picture. Nope, they won't take them.  So, I offered it on about 4 sites for free.  One lady came over and took measurements, but it was too large for her space.  Finally, I implored the guys who do my yard to put it in the back of my car so I could take it to the recycle center.  I paid them, but they went above and beyond and installed my new TV, which was nice. Who knew one little thing like buying a TV would lead to that much hassle?!  In any case, for the last week I've been surfing Netflix and Amazon Prime, to find some enjoyable series - Goliath (Billy Bob Thornton, whom I didn't think I liked!), Bosch, and Marvel's Jessica Jones.  I'm sure I've only scratched the surface! 
  • We've also been having some wintry days, which is not unusual for this time of year but, since the election I've coined a new descriptive term for those days - "cold as the heart of middle America"!  Feel free to use it when appropriate!! 
That catches you up with my doings.  I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying the holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  
I'll be thinking of you and sending love and good wishes for 2017!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Emotional Times

Well, November has already been a month long (or longer!) and we're only 13 days into it!  Most of that time has been very emotional and soul destroying.  

It began on November 5th when Tidewater Hospice held their yearly Service of Remembrance for families of patients who had passed away the previous year.  I was honored to be asked to light the first candle, the candle Memory.  I confess to not really wanting to go and just wanting to get through it, not realizing it would open a wellspring of emotion.  Tears just came.  It wasn't the "ugly cry" or uncontrollable sobbing.  It was just endless tears rolling down my cheeks.  I was in good company as there were sniffles throughout the service and after.  It was emotional for all of us.  In my case, I think I had just wanted to get through my mother's service in North Carolina and get home, without really taking time to process the whole thing.  This service brought it all to the surface, which, I guess, is a good thing.  The service was beautifully done and very touching.  It was good to see families of those I knew from Bloom and have a chance to catch up.  A light lunch was served, which gave us an opportunity to chat a bit and catch up with Tidewater staff, who are some of the kindest, most caring people I know.  The whole thing was very touching and more emotional that I expected. The complete service can be seen HERE.  

I remained weepy and easily touched by the slightest thing for the next few days; but, I was a poll watcher for the Democratic Party on election day, so I had to get myself together for that.  I have never seen so many (mostly white) people voting (though about 40-something percent of the population didn't vote at all.)!!  There were 9 voting machines and people were waiting 10 deep to vote, with lines outside the door waiting to get in.  I kept saying, "It's South Carolina.  It isn't representative of the rest of the country. Stay calm!"  As we all know, it only got worse from there.  I tried to stay awake for the results as I also like to follow down ticket races, but I fell asleep with the TV still on.  I awakened a little after 3AM with Trump giving his acceptance speech....a nightmare come true!  I was disappointed early on, but fully expected things to improve once returns started coming in from other parts of the country. As we know, that didn't happen.

This is where the rant begins:
I am still in disbelief and mourning.  The first thing that struck me was the misogyny.  I have to confess to being mostly unaware of it, being a white woman, but this firm slap-down was too much to ignore.  Part if it had to be a backlash to President Obama, which the Republican party has blatantly exhibited......but to follow that with a woman!  Never!!  The fact that a shallow, empty, vile man was preferable to the most capable, able woman in the country is downright unbelievable and frightening.  She was demanded to be perfect, which nothing, not even civility, was expected of him.  It makes me angry even now to think of it!

It surprised me how saddened I was that we are not likely to have a woman president in my lifetime, certainly not one as eminently qualified as Hillary.  Elizabeth Warren is a great possibility, but even she doesn't have the depth and scope of knowledge of Hillary. Even so, it isn't likely to happen in my lifetime.  Factor in everything that will be undone over the next 4-8 years and who knows how long it will take us to get back to the dismal place we are now. 

Then there is the bone-chilling sadness that our country is as racist, sexist, xenophobic and all the other -ics and -isms you can think of.  I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking so much of that was behind us, when really it was just lurking below the surface.  It began showing it's ugly head with the Bush administration, but when President Obama became President, it became full blown....championed by the Republican party.  Even the smallest modicum of respect I might have mustered for the GOP is gone!  None!

And, that all of the hate-filled, negative, destructive thoughts and actions can be swaddled in religion is beyond belief. I call it "moral/ethical gymnastics" when you can skew your religious beliefs to conform to your personal negative, hateful beliefs.  I've been a lapsed Presbyterian for many years, but it makes me wonder what churches are teaching these days.  It seems very different from what I was taught as a child.  If you want to be really freaked out, read THIS, which was posted by a "friend" on FB the day after the election!  That, posted by a former teacher and "Christian". will give you an idea of what we have here!  Needless to say, my view of religion has changed in the last few days, too!

All of this negativity and hatefulness causes me to view people differently.  In an area where most people voted Trump, I look at friends and family differently and wonder how much of a friend they can be and how much we really have in common if they hold the views that Trump represents.....and knowing they probably view me as a liberal heathen!  At the moment, until I can get my own head straight, I've kept to myself.  My election plan was to celebrate with Drinking Liberally friends the day after, but I couldn't even manage that.  I knew their support was there, but I was still too emotional to manage it.  Several of us are getting together on Wednesday for "underground grieving" over lunch.  I should be able to surface by then!

All of this has been played out of social media with stories of hatred and bigotry already becoming more blatant.  That is something we can choose to view or not, but locally the new Black Chamber of Commerce in Beaufort was burned down the night after the election.  Details have yet to be determined, but this is the South!  That threw me back to my childhood when my elementary school was burn to the ground rather than be integrated!  I guess that is another reason all of this has hit me so hard......after all these years, we have advanced so little!  it really does break my heart on so many levels.

If all of that isn't enough....
  • Leonard Cohen died and "Hallelujah" is everywhere!
  • It's a dark, drizzly day
  • I had to almost remortgage the house to have my front yard re-sodded
  • The community has already put up Christmas decorations....and I don't even want to think about Thanksgiving, to say nothing of Christmas!!
  • And my water heater died yesterday
Even so, it's not all bad......I'm sure it's not all bad!  I do think this has awaken us quiet, polite Democrats to a call of action.  It has helped us realize that we can no longer be quiet to friends and family.  We need to be true to our values and become more comfortable expressing them. Several women's groups have sprung up online which can serve as a great base for future mobilization. It is also my hope that women will recognize their power and be the next major political force for positive change.

Well, thanks for listening....and a special thanks to those who have been in touch...Ann, Eileen, Cheryl, Chris, Jacqui, Jan, Jean, Jenny, Paula and Victoria (forgive me if I've forgotten anyone).  It means more than you know and I'm not ignoring you.....I will surface soon. Change is constant and this too shall pass.....and I'll be feeling better, as will you!  Things will get better so lets hang in there.

To end on a light note.....this is Rosie at her naughtiness!  She sometimes does this if a toy is accidentally left under the covers.  For all of her naughtiness, she's the only thing that got me out of bed on the 9th!! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

From Hermine to Matthew!

Well, I'm happy to be home and able to report that there was very little damage from the storm.  One piece of metal trim was blown off the house in back, and this tree was precariously leaning over the driveway. The guy who does my yard was schedule to come the day after we returned, which he did.  He cleaned the debris, which was a lot, and removed the tree; so that problem was quickly resolved.

As you can imagine, evacuating is quite an experience.  To be honest, I was busy doing voter registration and had given the storm very little thought, until Camille passed by as we were registering voters and mentioned her concern for her husband being evacuated from the Brookdale facility, as well as getting herself, two days and a bird ready!  It was only then that I began thinking about it.  David called and asked my plans and I said I'd probably go to NC near my relatives.  He had already booked a room in Augusta.  I checked for rooms online and they were already filling up.  I then touched bases with my friend Rhonda, whose brother had already evacuated.  I invited her to join me, and the next day we left around noon.....with two cats and Rosie. Things went smoothly until we got to Wadesboro, where the motel would not accept animals!!  Undaunted, we headed toward Charlotte, feeling sure we would get a room.  One place after another was already fully booked, and those that weren't would not take pets.  I was amazed that no concession was made, knowing that we were evacuation a major storm and would not leave our pets behind.  As it is getting dark, Rhonda suggests she call her friends near Asheville.  They graciously invited us up.  So we proceed from Charlotte to Candler, NC, arriving around 10:30PM!

Dee and Rob have an idyllic little farm, which Rosie and I thoroughly enjoyed.  There were so many new smells for Rosie and she was like a little sniffing machine. I took her out often, not wanting her to have an accident inside, and we both enjoyed the scenery and the other animals.  Rosie was perfect, with one slight exception......the one and only time I let her out off leash, she went straight for the chickens!  I would be bad enough if there had been a flock of chickens, but Dee has only two chickens - Georgia and Carolina, that Dixie Chicks!!  I've never seen Rosie run so fast, and Rhonda, Dee and I were trying to round her up, with no success at all.  The episode was over when the chicken escaped and Rosie couldn't find her.  Rhonda rounded up Georgia and I got Rosie, who was from there on referred to as "the chicken chaser"!  I was mortified!

With the exception of one day, the weather there was nice, though much cooler than here. Since we did not expect to wind up in the mountains, I had thrown in only one pair of long pants.  So one day, both Rhonda and I had to go shopping for warmer clothes!  I also picked up lots of vegetarian grub so as no to be a burden at mealtimes. As you saw in the video, we had a nice day in Asheville, which I totally enjoyed. We had a pizza night AND a karaoke night which, surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed.  Rob is into music and films and he had a treasure chest of karaoke music on his computer.  I insisted on being a backup singer, but it was lots of fun!  

On Monday, a neighbor posted on our neighborhood site that she would be happy to check on anyone's house.  So, I texted her and within 20 minutes, I know that my house was undamaged and a tree was almost down.  What a relief!!  Compared to the island, Bluffton was very fortunate.  As we drive back up Hwy 278 on Tuesday, I was surprised at how little damage we were seeing, after seeing terrible images of the damage on the island.  Sea Pines and Hilton Head Plantation seemed to take most of the damage. Two friends have tree damage to their homes and are not able to stay there at the moment.  Parts of the island are still without water, can't flush toilets, etc.  So, with everything involved, I am counting my blessings.  Things have gotten back to normal pretty quickly for me, but I know that isn't the case for many of my friends.

Feral cat update:  All 22 cats in three colonies are present and accounted for.  Kathy had just gotten all of their condos cleaned and replaced before all this happened.  Several weeks ago, after feeding Georgie he went back and laid down in front of the condo.  I couldn't resist taking this photo and sending it to the other caregivers.....thought it looked like he was sitting on his front steps!  The addition to this years condo is that they are elevated, which was a great improvement considering all that has happened.  With everyone surviving the storm, they have proven their worth!
This morning I awakened to the sound of a light rain tapping on the piece of metal trim that had blown off the house during the storm.  Those from the south can equate that to the sound of rain on a tin roof!  It took me no time to decide that today was going to be an "at home" day!  I do not plan to leave the house except to put Rosie outside when needed!  I did get out of my PJs but I'm into a more comfortable house dress!  Just what I needed!

Most other things pale in comparison to the storm and evacuation, but I was pretty busy before that took center stage.  I did three days of voter registration, which was very interesting, like people watching on steroids. One man with a thick Germanic accent said that he was registered to vote but didn't know where he was to vote.  He had his registration card in his wallet and I showed him his precinct number, with which he could go online and determine his poll location.  I felt very useful.  One day as I was in front of Petco, a lady got out of her car and sat a beautiful flower arrangement on the curb of the parking lot.  As she approached the store, I asked if she was registered to vote, and she said she was.  Then, to have something pleasant to say, I said, "You're going to make someone's day with those beautiful flowers!".. She then explained that they'd been given to her but had turned over in her car and spilled all the water.  She continued into Petco and did her shopping.  She then went to her car and brought the flowers to me, saying, "You seem like a nice lady and I'd like you to have these."  I was flabbergasted!  She then thanked me for helping with voter registration.  She really did make someone's day!!    

Chris, Sue and I also went into Savannah on September 18th for the closing ceremony of the Tibetan Monks' Mandala making.  I went in on the Thursday before just to see them working on it, which is amazing that they can create something like that in sand......and even more impressive that they destroy it!  The destruction (closing ceremony) represents the impermanence of life, which is a heavy thought!  The procession down to the river is very symbolic and I appreciate it more this time than last.  Basic Buddhist philosophy has so much to offer and having this ritual every couple of years is very comforting. I'm also happy to have like-minded friends....Chris, Sue....and this time we ran into David and Cheryl.

Then on September 24th I went up to NC for a family reunion. It was good to see everyone, though we did have a few political skirmishes, so I'm sure there was a lot discussed among themselves afterwards. I was expecting that as there were riots in Charlotte due to the police shooting of another black man.  Anyway, all seemed to go well.

And, if all of that isn't enough to wear one down, there is always politics!!  All I can say is that I hope level heads will prevail....but it seems that there are fewer and fewer of those around!! It's crazy out there!!  I will share one of my favorite tweets following the first debate where Hillary looked great in that red suit.  Some clever person tweeted, "I see Hillary is dressed in the blood of every man who has ever underestimated her!"  I love that!

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but this is enough for you to know why I'm having a day at home!!  My hope is that things will settle down for a while.  I am okay and I hope this finds you doing well.  Take care and keep in touch!

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