Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Messy Business this Democracy Stuff

  1. re: the whole Chick-fil-A controversy. I was raised by a lawyer who really knew the Constitution. He taught me that my freedom of speech came with a proviso ~ consequences. The government could not jail me or kill me for what I said ~ And, I had to be prepared for others to speak the opposite, or refuse to meet with me or be my friend anymore or come to eat at my restaurant. Every side in this controversy has a right to say what they have said. They have a right to have their opinion no matter how distorted or wrong the other side thinks it is. And they have to understand there are consequences to free speech. So if you are still eating at Chick-fil-A, fine. If you are boycotting them, fine ~ and why don’t you go out and buy a Muppet movie or a Kermit puppet for your grandchild. We do “vote with our dollars” as they say. As much as I disagree with Chick-fil-A’s attitude and public stance, I have to defend their right to have it because that is what freedom of speech is all about. Democracy is hard, isn’t it?
2) I don’t like being blackmailed! Every so often along comes a FB post or email that is Always in a good cause that ends with something like “I know 90% of you won’t post this but blessings to the 1% that do.” I very rarely repost anything, humor, good cause, cute pet picture or whatever. I care about a lot of things ~ almost any horrific disease you can name; the state of the world; the blessings of Jesus; God; cute pets; kidnapped children; and on and on. And I do Not like someone telling me I don’t care if I don’t post the latest clever saying about any  of the above. *sigh* Mustn’t take this personally ~ democracy is hard, isn’t it?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Missing The Point

Often I will read an article or blog and then continue reading through the comments. It is stunning how often people use another’s writing to go off on their own political rant completely and totally missing the point of the original writing. Cases in point:
Two articles relating to the shooting in Aurora. The first was a factual news article relating the story as it was known then. The main point: twelve people had been killed and many more wounded. Very few of the comments dealt with sympathy, compassion or even the horror of it all. Suddenly there was this very divided rant about the availability of guns ~ from both far sides of the issue. The grieving families and friends were lost in the avalanche of gun control rage. 
The second was an op-ed piece by William Bennett in which he commended the three young men, very different types if you judged by their pictures, who put their bodies between their girl friends and gunfire. All three lost their lives with this very natural and protective gesture. The Very First comment condemned Bennett for singling out the three men and not saying anything about the women who had done the same, several for their children. And off we went into feminist/anti-feminist rhetoric of the worst kind completely ignoring the point of the article, the heroism of these three young men. Now I am an old middle- of-the-road feminist. Never burned a bra but certainly wrote, spoke out, moved and changed things where I could. And I just didn’t understand. I knew there had been heroic women in Aurora. I had read about them. Bennett chose to write about three young men. So? If he was going to write at all, he needed to choose his topic with care and brevity. Why all the anger that seemed to miss the point that three young men had died performing a noble and honorable act. 
My third article within the same week was a business article by a man who wrote very clearly that grammar matters and that he gives all prospective employees a written grammar test and if they don’t pass, they don’t get hired. His business is one where writing is at the forefront of what they do and he needs employees who write well and are meticulous about grammar as well as other things. Good for him. It’s his business and if he wants to take a hard grammatical line when hiring, it is his choice. Oh My Goodness! You would have thought he was the devil incarnate in the comments. Employers make hiring judgments all the time based on all sorts of criteria. This man just happened to put his criteria out there for us all to see. And most of the comments missed the point that grammar just might be important and took on the writer as though he had personally ruined their lives. 
I have no quarrel with a discussion of Aurora including a discussion of gun control or even of the general heroism of all people. I have no quarrel with a discussion of hiring practices including the judging of criteria that employers use and whether or not they are fair hiring practices. What I do wonder about is the Anger that seems to permeate our society right now. Anger that was turned not against the Aurora killer but against other commenters with a different view. Anger turned first against the employer but also in great part against other commenters with a different view. Are we no longer able to have civil discourse in this country? Are we so angry about everything that we have to use every opportunity to vent that anger even to the point of missing the point, sometimes the very important point, of what is being said? If that is so, I am very sorry for the state of our country. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reflections on the Morning Hike

  1. Next time wear a visor. The early morning slant of the sun is too much even with sunglasses.
  2. It may be the wet ground or it may be the forest four-leggers, but whichever, Oso went rather slowly this morning with his nose to the ground. 
  3. When he does run, however, he doesn’t just leap over things. Sometimes he just leaps. Fun to watch. 
  4. Came down a hill and he turned on the trail. Suddenly there was a huge crash sounding like a tree falling ~ on its own probably because there was no machinery sounds. Oso races back to us ~ whether to protect or for protection I may never know. 
  5. The wet forest smells Wonderful. All damp and green and heavy with oxygen. 
  6. The Loop remains a place a peace and wonder. It is “peopled” by fourth and fifth dimensional beings whose presence is as palatable as the aroma. And it is Silent. I wish there were a way I could help you “hear” the silence of this part of the forest. There is No Sound except for the gentle touch of our footsteps on the trail. If we stop, there is nothing. No birds. No human noises. No rustle of leaves. And Oso of course makes no noise as he moves like a shadow down the trail in front of us. A blessed way to start the day. 
  7. A creek on the trail back home gives Oso a chance to drink deeply and with the widening trail, he takes off running ~ and leaping. 
  8. I continue to Love my “new” hiking boots. I walk with ease and strength over rocks and limbs as well as reasonably flat trails. 
  9. It was really nice to take this walk again ~ just the family. I am truly blessed. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lovely morning

Rain. That aromatic yet rare phenomenon in our mountains. Strange flashing lights in the sky around 1 am. A closer look identified lightning in the west over the mountains. Sky above us still clear and cluttered with stars. Four am someone turn on the faucet hard for about a minute and a half. About 5 it came on again for about the same amount of time. That’s when the aroma changed and the air freshened. By 6 there was thunder rolling gently around and about. Nothing was falling. Morning is cool and wet and all the plants look green and bright and the tables on the deck are washed clean of the last remnants of pine pollen. It is a lovely, lovely morning. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Morning Light


The rising sun gives a quality of softness and misty patina to the light that eases its way through the pine trees. The sky is not yet a stark strong blue. The shadows are muted. There is a blur about it all as though through a soft focus camera lens. And then, and you must watch closely to catch it, the focus is distinct, the shadows strong, the sky a clear white. (The blue comes first overhead leaving the rounded edges of the sky to catch up as the sun rises higher.) The forest light climbs the trees until the tops of the pines at hand are lit as clearly as the forest in the distance. A wafting breeze catches a long strand of cobweb and blows it into the sun so that it appears as a sparkling bit of filament for one brief glance before disappearing again into the shadows. To see the Chief on horseback or Titania, the fairy queen, come gliding through such light would feel normal and correct. The modern day setting of the deck and the distant hum of traffic are peripheral to the immediate aura of presence engendered by something as simple as sunlight through the pines. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

What do I do?

I feel a blog coming on. When did “journal” become a verb? When I started writing one and in one about 36 years ago, I wrote in a journal. I did not “journal”. When I am writing, I am writing, not “journaling”. I wrote a journal for years it seems before it became the thing to do and suddenly everyone was doing it or advocating it. And the one day there it was ~ someone talking about the benefits of journaling. I guess I shouldn’t complain. I know language changes and grows and develops. If it didn’t we would still be speaking Anglo-Saxon English. I should be pleased that the world now believes in and advocates a habit I developed all on my own at an early age. May the world forgive me though if I continue to write in my journal rather than journal. Or maybe I could just slip into the common vernacular and continue to journal away. The important thing after all is to get the words and thoughts out of my head and into the computer or onto the paper so that they help me organize and bring meaning to my life and ideas. And that’s what I wrote in my journal this morning. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pasta, Pasta Everywhere

Dean, the king of yard sale finds, brought home a pasta maker. With the family together we decided to give it a try. The following is a pictorial story of a delightful, fun, delicious family time. 

Coming up with ideas: that went on a lot as the evening progressed. 

Choosing basil ~ no ordinary pasta for us. 

Onions for the sauce. 

My job was the tomato/avocado salad with basil bleu cheese vinaigrette. 

Everybody gets into the act and enjoyment of making pasta. 

Making sure the instructions were understood. 

Marc not only took pictures, he also gave really good advice about
the whole process.

Choosing basil for the vinaigrette. 

The mixing begins: ~ the pasta,

the vinaigrette,

more ingredients into the pasta,

and the sauce (white wine sauce with onions and tomatoes). 

Watching the pasta extrude. The shape chosen was "small cookie".

Dean, meanwhile, is on the deck overseeing the grilling
of snapper and ahi. 

Marc shows off the pasta while the process starts over with plain pasta. 
The picture that we didn't take was of us sitting on the deck eating this 
amazing meal and thoroughly enjoying our endeavors. We are all ready to
give it another try! In the words of another chef: Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Three Observations of the Odd

  1. One of those questions: Akira, Trinity and I were talking the other day and I said something like, “Your daddy . . . .” and Akira asked, “Who is your daddy?” Well, of course they don’t know. Maybe I have shown them old family pictures before but it never really connected and suddenly he wanted to know. Glad I had a picture or two to show him. At one point when he was very little someone had said they could see my daddy in his face. He needs to know a little about the man anyway.
  2. I lost a month: not just a day or an hour or two ~ a whole month. MIchelle had emailed to tell me about something happening on the 19th and 20th. I emailed my plans to Dean and said, “June 19, 20”. Yesterday Dianne told me when her family was coming, July 19,20 and I said, oh good, I can help you then if you need me to. I can’t help in June though because I am going to busy with Michelle. Not until later when I said something to Dean about another date in June, he said, Honey, it’s July now. Oh yeah. July 4th, 1776 and all that jazz. Oops. 
  3. How big do you have to be to move a tree? We hiked to the point on July 4th to watch the fireworks. Dean took up chairs in the bobcat. Lots of us hiked on the trail. This morning we did that hike again and a very large tree trunk that has been lying by the trail for years was split in half and half of it was in the middle of the trail. My theory: a rather large bear was trying to reach little bugs and things living in the rotting tree and pushed it apart and half of it rolled into the trail. Only explanation I can think of ~ except of course if it had happened with, by and to humans, they wouldn’t have been able to lift it out of the trail. One of those little mysteries of the forest. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"I'm Reviewing the Situation"

When you work in theatre and on a show together, you can develop close personal friendships of the very best kinds. No matter age nor anything else, when you all work toward the same goal ~ a good opening night and a good run ~ you create a bond. 

When I became director of drama at job Fredonia (NY) High School back in the 70s, I had an amazing 5 year run with a group of Very Talented students. I often told them that we may be just high school theatre but we are damn good high school theatre. About a year ago I got a message on FB - are you the Susan Mix who taught drama at Fredonia High in the 70s? I am. They came out of the woodwork. Daily for several weeks I received friend requests. They all had delightful stories to relate. And many of them are still in theatre if only by helping out with their own children's high school productions. I grinned for a month.

My first production was Sound of Music, followed the next year by Oliver. Doug Arnold was one of the Von Trapp children in the first and The Artful Dodger in the second. July 5th, he had a major heart attack and died. 51 years old. Father and husband who was So Proud of his performing daughter and his wife who had had an amazing interview and gotten a job that would increase the family finances even though they would have to move. And now he is gone ~ and I am taking it hard. It is rather like one of my children dying first -- this is not the way the world is supposed to work. 
Although too close to their age to be a parent, these were my children. My own children looked up to these older high school students with awe. We were family. We grew together. They were so good that I stretched to find work they could do. I became better with each show I directed. Oh, I remember too well the one really major flop ~ and that's life and we all recovered and went on to more success. And then I left ~ they graduated ~ moved on ~ college, married, children ~ and I knew nothing of all of it until FB brought us together again and involved me in a rather peripheral way in their lives once more. 

The memories their comments and photos bring back are delightful and poignant now. I want all of you to know how very special you were and are again to me. ~ with many blessings as you continue your journey

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 4th

Written last July 4th - and I couldn't say it any better this year so here it is again:

July 4th. The day on which in 1776 King George III wrote in his diary something like, “Nothing much happened today.” And yet today there will be fireworks, parades, picnics, and parties. Why? Because today - also in 1776 - a group of good, caring, deeply committed men finally committed to paper an incredible act of both treason and independence and declared themselves and their fledgling country separate and free from the mother country. This bold step came after long philosophical struggles among them followed by very harsh consequences in their personal lives as some died in the war while others lost homes and property and even families to the war.
And yet that day, the Declaration they signed became a beacon to all the world of hope and freedom from oppression. Several years later, other men voted into being a Constitution, declaring how free persons should govern themselves and the rights and privileges of such a government.
My family is planning a delightful party on the deck tonight. Some 20 people will come and party and celebrate. We will hike to a point above the house and watch the fireworks over the lake. And in the midst of all this frivolity and fun, I will ask us to raise a glass to Thomas, Ben and John (Jefferson, Franklin and Adams) and their cohorts who braved the storms of tradition and declared the United States to be a free and independent nation. Please, join us in a salute to the country we were meant to be. Have a fun and safe fourth. ~ blessings