The Almost Daily Thread

musings from the blue chair

Prompt #6 The Perfect View

Certainly Paris from atop the Eiffel tower or from rock wall fortification in Montmarte.

Madrid’s night sky from the 23rd floor.

The Mediterranean from the hill road going into Monaco or from the sandy beach at Cannes.

The Atlantic from San Sebastian or Barritz.

The red roofs surrounding Caracassone.

The chickens outside my bedroom window at the Pension Eirexe.

From the cafe in O Pino the cows marching to be milked.

Or the eucalyptus trees from the room at the Headlands Center for the Arts where I could wander up the hill to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

Or the real genius of Wendell Berry’s Window Poems, written from the inside the multipaned window in his studio.

As I look through all the pictures on my phone and am once again startled at the beauty and glory of nature and the creations of humankind, I believe the view I love best is from the futon on my back porch.  Looking into the yard I have, dug, raked, hoed, planted, harvested and maneuvered.  We have hauled dirt and compost to create six raised beds.  I’ve moved a rock walkway to create a 3-circuit labyrinth on  the left side of the yard and then hauled it to the right side so the grow beds and compost bin could be installed.  Now I’ve stacked them for a wall to line the walkway to the greenhouse.

Everchanging.

I have flowers along the garage with old metal window grates as trellising.  Red roses, pink white and purple zennias, orange Gerber daisys, purple phlox and a hearty tomato plant hovering over the thyme ground cover right next to the rain barrel.

It’s my little urban farm from and in which I love to work and play and plan.  And when the grass is cut and the weeding done, the raspberries trimmed back to manageable, the cucumber and squash contained, I sit and admire the plants that feed us food and joy.  And I nap and read and star,e surrounded by the quiet plot that holds the answer to many of my dreams.

Now for the aquaponics inside a bigger greenhouse….

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Prompt #5 Before and After

Sticking to the guidelines today. After all, the prompts are merely suggestions not rules. My issues of authority surfacing again!

Many items come to mind. I could go historical and do the automobile, refrigerator, dish washer, gas stove. I could describe my yard before and after the raised beds or the aquaponic system I am learning to operate.  I could describe the canner and go into my attempts to remove myself from the corporate food chain and chemicals in my own small way.  Yet I’ve written about these previously.

I am lead to the wood stove!  I love heating with wood.  I’m not totally sure it lowers the heating costs if we don’t manage to obtain free wood which we have had a lot of! We’ve cut, shopped and split several driveways full of wood.  Rest in peace downed ash, maple, oak, walnut and Osage.  We burned the Bradford Pear that didn’t survive the four tornado day a couple of years ago.  But the money to rent the splitter and gasoline and transportation…Am I saving resources?  The process of me or anyone getting the wood to the point of use and the smokey by-product wafting into the air has to factor in.  There is an environmental cost for everything.  I feel like the burning of the deceased trees is a part of speeded up recycling!

I feel strong when operating the splitter.  It’s fun!  And hard work.  I feel strong lifting and stacking wood.  I feel strong carrying wood even though I carry only 3-4 logs at a time.  Carrying wood forces me to get outside in the cold, damp, snow, fog, ice.  so I am still connected with the outside when the windows are shut and the daylight is in short supply.  And I am moving.  I am stretching and using my body.

I cook soups and veggies atop the stove.  Cast iron.  I dry our clothes on racks in front of the stove.  I sit and stare, my feet resting on the brick foundation and browse seed catalogues and read.

The whirr and hum of the furnace is replaced by wood crackling and popping as the fire dances life.  The heart light glowing from the center of my house.

 

 

 

 

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Writing Prompt #4. Who is driving?

Again, I diverge from the given topic! They say a quote from a movie. I am choosing a quote from Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, (HarperPerennial 1991). Maybe this book is my favorite of hers, but really everyone I read or reread is then my current favorite.

My friend Deborah and I did a writing prompt around this today.

Quote from pg 224 in a letter from Hallie to Codi: “What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you are on, and the fact that you know how to drive.”

The “I know how to drive” is what strikes me in this quote. So much of my life I have not felt like the driver but the passenger, not reacting primarily to my own thoughts, needs, desires or reactions but to someone else. Me, the peacekeeper, the one in service.  Let me fix this for you.  Let me do this for you.  Co-dependent.

Seeing the many roads and at this stage in my life, knowing and really believing at an independent level that I can make my own choices – I drive. Certainly with concern and compassion for any others involved but now including myself as equally relevant.

I drive sometimes with the top down and my hair blowing in the wind feeling the sun and the shade of the passing clouds.  Smelling the trees and skunks and road kill and cooking.

Sometimes I drive with the windows up and the music so loud I can’t hear my thoughts.

Sometimes I drive too fast, wanting everyone else to get out of my way, my mission being way more important than theirs.  Especially if I have caused myself time constraints.

Sometimes I go slower, wanting to look around (often at the bane of the me from the last paragraph in the cars behind me.)

Sometimes I leave the house without knowing directions to where I am going.  My second ex-husband claims Garamin was created for me.  I am now saved by Google maps and Siri and, conspiracitorally speaking, tracked by the same.  My new big brother, Google.

So I have been the driver, as well as a willing and unwilling passenger and I know absolutely the destination can certainly be colored by the journey.  Changing the “fine destination” to stressed, angry, happy or excited destination.  So how can I completely color or visualize the destination without leaving some areas for shading to accommodate the human emotions/experiences on the road to getting there?  Some fine destinations turn out to be so changed or rearranged by the time I get there!  Can I accurately color the future?  So what about intention?  Do I set them?  What about vision boards and dreams?  Do I even consider vision or envision?  How do I paint where I want to land, my destination?

The road I am on can be laced with, intersected by so many other interesting other roads.  Other options like curiosity and ADD and boredom can cause many a change in my direction.  And because I am directionally challenged I’m often turning left instead of right and vise versa.  Your side, my side works much better for me!  Lost is often its own unique journey.

I don’t read the last chapter of a book without reading the character’s journey through the middle.  Because here is lies the richness.  Here is where the ingredients, all mixed together, cook up into the serving/the destination as it is right now.  And then we are off to yet another …

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The Camino

I walked 5 days of the Santiago de Compostela, commonly known as the Camino.  It’s been a dream of mine for 10 ? –  12 years.   Since maybe my 10th Artist’s Way class when dreams are floating in the air to be recognized, when I want to are being identified.  I was having dinner with a neighbor from my teenage years who just returned from her second Camino walk,  this time with her granddaughter.

I was captivated.  I read books.  I watched, The Way. I included it in my wish list every subsequent time I hosted the Artist’s Way.

The Camino door opened a crack when I signed up to go with my granddaughter and daughter on the school trip to France.  I was so close to the Camino.  Already across the Atlantic.  The countries right next door.  I pushed that door open.  I figured it out.  I arranged plane transportation.   I got my cousins to sign on to walk with me.  I made it happen.

I walked my Camino. Five days. 50 miles.  Planes, trains, buses, taxis and feet! And a great deal of determination.

From the plane flying from Nice to Madrid, above the clouds the terrain looked like I could be anywhere.  Irregular forests, angular fields.  Roads.  Rivers.  Hills and prairies.  No language barriers.  Few differences.  From above all looks equal, similar and peaceful and I stare out the little window wonder why we humans can’t figure out how to get along with each other.  And I was so stressed about going to a foreign country alone (meeting my cousins later that day at a prearranged hotel for the night).  And I found them.  And I overcame all the waterfall of fears the scenery did not reflect!

I met my companions and we had dinner in old Madrid surrounded by a huge Gay Pride celebration.  Rainbow flags and clothing and fountains.  A solid initiation.

The next morning we took a taxi and a 5 hour bus and another taxi to Portomarin where we joined the peregrinos/pilgrims the next morning.

First Camino lesson I learned was that backpacking is way more advanced than walking.  I am a walker, an occasional hiker NOT a backpacker.

I learned that an experienced backpacker can carry extra items for the unprepared.  Brenda and Kevin helped carry my load.  I had worked and worked to get small in my baggage ans still, my backpack not one for a hiker was not doable.

We began our walk across a bridge and up a hill.  And the hills never stopped!  And neither did the scenery.  We walked an incredible path, often feeling I had been transported back centuries to a much simpler time when one was much closer to the earth.

Be in the present moment. Love the present moment. Carry your burdens courageously. Keep walking. Discard what you can. Be in the moment. Listen.

I learned to keep searching for what you want and if the hills get too tough – rest.  Include rest in the journey.
Several times the music called me in. The owls. the journey song. The bagpipes.
Bless the trees for providing shade,
the farmers for providing food,
the cooks for sumptuously preparing it,
the housekeepers for clean rooms,
the baristas for cafe con leche,
the centuries of peregrinos for paving the way.

For those who walked before me and those to follow, dedicated to the Spirit of the human condition.

I heard no news, no political discord, no my side or your side.  Only the focus of the walk.  Where are we right now?  Santiago the goal.

Buen Camino to those resting, to those pacing ahead, to those in service to peregrinos.  The kinship of the shared journey, breaking barriers of language, age, gender, race.  it’s all bout the journey.

We shared the wide path with those who were driven and fast paced.  We shared the wide path with those who were meandering; with those  who were limping and those peddling, cruising or pumping.

Each vista was new, waiting to be unfurled upon searching eyes.  Each hill presented and conquered.  Each downhill achieved.  The straight stretches – a gift.  Remembering to look out and up, not just down.  Finding a comfortable pace.  Passing and being passed.  One foot in front of the other.  Buen Camino to each pilgrim on their own walk.

Groups of every size and individuals.  Irish.  South African.  German.  French.  Asian.  Spanish.  Oh, the strong legs.  Each focused on the goal, Santiago.

Sticks and hats.  Back pack packs and water bottles. Clicking, pacing across path worn footsteps from centuries of seekers.

I witnessed a culture that is strongly attached to food.  Every homestead in the villages and hamlets and many in the cities grew gardens.  Not just flowers but food gardens.  Beautiful gardens.  All through the villages and hamlets were chickens, lots of chickens, cows – the smell so natural there was no offense.  There were goats and sheep.  Cats and dogs.  Seldom did we share a path with motorized vehicles.

Evidenced by the structures, people lived close to the land and used what nature provided.  Stone roofs.  Tree branches for fence posts.  What I loved were bed springs for trellising!  Laundry was dried outside in the sun in the country and in the cities.

No matter how rustic or empty of human habitation our basic needs were absolutely provided for.  Crystal clear spring water ran from  fountains all along the way.  Cold and refreshing and clearly delicious. Rooms were sparse and clean.  Cafes offered plentiful and fabulously fresh and full of life food and cafe con leche.  Ham and cheese.  Eggs and veggies.  Bread.

We saw stone houses with the barns attached.  Bridges made of huge rocks.  Roman bridges.  Crosses and religious symbolism  stood to mark “the way” like sentries, guides or guardians.  The little churches offering shade, beautiful art work and holy water in dabbed on my heart and head – yes, and on my knees!

Many of the columnar directional markers with the shell and arrow were adorned with rocks, pieces of memorabilia, worn out shoes, notes and encouraging graffiti.  One section bore the words, line by line, of John Lennon’s Imagine.

Through the rain, the sun, the exhaustion there was no place to quit.  No choice but to continue on.  Forward towards the goal.  And that goal was sometimes the next cafe!  Quit, however, not an option.

Yes, there were moments of WTF Camino? and not Buen Camino.  Is my lesson here that around each corner life brings another big hill, another difficult section to struggle across?  Pounding heart?  Tired legs?  Why did I want to do this?  Who am I fooling?  I’m definitely too old to do this.  I can’t.  Rest and look around and reassess.  Water from the fountain down my neck.

One foot ahead of the other.  Being the present moment.    I am in the present moment.  All I have is the present moment.

Yes, I can.

Yes, I can.

Yes, I can.

And while I walked “only” 5 days/50 miles, I can not compare my journey with those walking 100 miles in 8 days, or walking 500 miles for the third time.  Or finishing the walk after doing sections every summer for the last 10 years.  My Camino is mine.  Just like theirs is theirs!

We taxied to the city limits of Santiago from Arua because we wanted to make the noon mass celebrated each day for all walkers.  I am not Catholic and it was awesome to share space and sing with a thousand other people from all over the world in an ancient structure with it’s ancient ritual.  Sacred in a community way, unlike the sacredness of the small, quiet places of worship and community we had passed through

Even the camaraderie of the Camino didn’t last far into Santiago, past the noon mass.  Few Buen Camino’s.

As we mingle with tourists and locals the focus is blurred, the goals now to varied except to share a common space, entranced by a common marvel of ancient engineering, worship and geography.  We are here and the so are the tour groups.  Some  dazed looking walkers still hefting backpacks, sticks and blisters.  Many tired pilgrims refreshed and bathed, now shopping and eating and celebrating. Resting in the city.    The bikers mingle with police who carry automatic weapons  The beggars and the souvenir sellers. The tourist and those who live by the tourist’s visit.  Movement but peaceful still, a hushed chatter not a still quiet, as sacred as in the forest but hushed sounds of sacred space interspersed with street musicians, laughter and traffic.  Delivery trucks.  Commuters.  Street cafe’s and relaxed eating, rest and proceed to the next stop.

Home? or onward to Finesterre?

I am home.  And grateful.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camino_de_Santiago

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Why I March

I will march with women as long as my feet will carry me. In my 67 years I have worked my way through many a gender equality issue.
I married young because I believed it “the thing to do”.

After 10 years, I became a single mother and discovered that in spite of having complete control of the finances, I was without any credit rating. After my second divorce, and while, indisputably, not the primary bread winner in either marriage, yet being again in charge of the finances, I was AGAIN without any individual credit rating.  Yes, even with the 7 years of living single between marriages. Credit ratings were attached only to the male and because my single days were previous to the 2nd  marriage they disappeared.

I worked as a banquet waitress (my second job) carrying heavy trays wearing high heels because it was the dress! Why haven’t males been expected to wear high heels to be sexy?

I lost a job once because my commissions paid me more than the boss made for a quarter of that year.

I was any number of times sexually harassed in my job. I was in sales and I certainly encountered sex for business offers. One, in particular, from a  man who was a friend of my father’s, albeit, my father was deceased.

I’ve bought make up, had my nails polished -many women color their hair (I don’t. My hair is still red!) -to step correctly, ie young and perfect, into the cultural acceptance of beauty. Has a man?

So, we, across the board, earn less and we spend on looking culturally acceptable.. (I LOVE YOU, PAULA ANN, my dear friend who does nails and throws in the loving counseling because that is the kind generous soul she is). And, I really do like to have my toenails polished in the summer!

And whose is benefiting from the sale of all that make up and cream and beauty enhancer that we are force fed by our culture? A marketing plan that tells us to be who we are and shine through our God given faces?

Why isn’t there a male word with the same connotation as  misogyny?
mi·sog·y·ny — (dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
“she felt she was struggling against thinly disguised misogyny”)

Why is hysterical and hysterectomy from the same root word?

Why is is history and not her-story? Because I think they would write differently.

How many years has it been since women were chattel? Not so many.

Why isn’t there male genital mutilation?

Why is there still a sex trade using young girls as bartering tools?

Why were the girl children killed in China?

Why was there foot binding?

Need I go on?

Yes, I sill go on and I will march for the freedom/equality path I have and will continue to pave for my daughters and my granddaughters and your daughters and your granddaughters.

Take nothing for granted. The freedoms we have now, someone has protested to provide.

Why is this permitted?

Did you know that in 2015, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent? While the number has gone up one percentage point from 2014, the change isn’t statistically significant — because the increase is so small, mere tenths of a percent, it doesn’t amount to perceptible change. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the earnings ratio hasn’t had significant annual change since 2007. The gap has narrowed since the 1970s, due largely to women’s progress in education and workforce participation and to men’s wages rising at a slower rate. Still, the pay gap does not appear likely to go away on its own. At the rate of change between 1960 and 2015, women are expected to reach pay equity with men in 2059. But even that slow progress has stalled in recent years. If change continues at the slower rate seen since 2001, women will not reach pay equity with men until 2152.

http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

 

 

Thank you Donald Trump for bringing our issues to the open and letting us examine our values in front of the world, our neighbors, ourselves.  I am certainly more and more convinced of my beliefs – the truths I hold to be self-evident.

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A female response to “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd

I just finished Sue Monk Kidd’s latest book “The Invention of Wings.”
AMAZING book. AMAZING.

http://www.amazon.com/Invention-Wings-Notes-Oprahs-Book-ebook/dp/B00H58VGIA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434981799&sr=1-1&keywords=the+invention+of+wings+sue+monk+kidd

The slavery issue is a deplorable time in our culture. And so is the continued effects of racism and equality. Kidd’s tale describes this time period in conjunction with the gender aspect to weave the two issues that created upheaval and much needed social change in America. The book is amazing. I think I already said that! The power of the book is the cord of inequality it strikes within me.

My issue: Why wasn’t I introduced to Sarah and Angelina Grimke’ in my history classes? Why was the history of women only slightly dealt with and so obviously left out? Why weren’t these women as important as Betsy Ross?  She did her part. She created a flag we continue to honor and respect.  Yet, the brave women Kidd brings to us are, in large part, responsible for bringing about change that gives African Americans and Women the right to vote and to have status as human beings. (Can you imagine that is even an issue?) Are their stories brushed over because of the shame in a race and the gender that brings with creation/birth/continuation of the species being designated as chattel? Or because we accept the narrow minded belief system which continues to control the history writers?

We can’t change the past. What we can do is learn from it.  Honor it and decide if we want to continue that behavior or change it. We learn. We change.

The Grimke’ women fought through a system that offered them NO protection, few options and NO voice. The women were slaves to their own aristocratic culture. Yet these brave sisters stood their convictions and created freedoms through which we all (no matter is black or white or male or female) define and live our interests and truths.

http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/slavery-and-anti-slavery/essays/angelina-and-sarah-grimke-abolitionist-sisters

Is there equality in pay and opportunity? Is there equality in freedom?

Only a hundred or so years later do we women take our hard fought recognition and freedom for granted?While no longer legally property or chattel the female remains a blatant sex symbol all over advertising and music…Is this the progress we want or is this continued slavery? Do you, young woman, want to grow up to be a sportscaster and have the bare minimum clothing on while your male counterpart sits beside you covered to the neck in layers of clothing? Or have a basketball player looks down your exposed chest when doing an interview.

Are we not aware of how powerful a gender we are and what we can achieve for social change together? Demand equality. Stand in your equality. Insist on what is right for you. Be who YOU are and if you don’t know – keep searching. It’s your right. You don’t have to march and protest and go to jail. Just be equal in your home and your job and your church and your schools.

Another book I learned a lot from is “Cane River” by Lalita Tademy. A fascinating story about individual rights combining women and racial rights.

Our rights were not easily attained by our ancestors. Salute our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters for the hard fought road they paved for us by honoring and growing yourself from any cultural slavery into FREEDOM

http://www.amazon.com/Cane-River-Oprahs-Book-Club/dp/0446615889

Sing it to me, Aretha!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FOUqQt3Kg0 RESPECT!!

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Who are you?

Lidia Laughs at Life's Tragedy's

 

 

Today you are you, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is youer than you.
— Dr. Seuss

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.
— My good friend, Janet

A friend of mine just published a book: Alchemy 365 by Brenda Lightfeather Marroy.       (https://brendamarroyauthor.wordpress.com/about-me/)

Her marriage to Paul was the first wedding ceremony I ever preformed! I was not the scheduled minister and yet ended up perfectly suited to the situation by faith on both sides of the decision. We connected.
I am prompted to promote her book here because I am proud of her tenacity and determination to publish this self-awareness daybook.
May 11, today’s quote from Dr. Seuss directs me back to many Julia Cameron Artist’s Way exercises and prompts me to write this post.

Who are you?
Where are you from?
Where are you now?
Where do you want to go?
What have you done?
What do you want to do?
What makes you you?

List your special qualities.
List your quirks.
List your favorite things.
List your passions and your passionate dislikes.

All of these lists paint the picture of the you that is YOU.
I challenge you to make the lists. Laugh at yourself. Cry with yourself. And as you open the gift to discover YOU more fully, I challenge you to say I Love You every time you see yourself in the mirror as a way of honoring and accepting the you that is YOU.
All the best in your journey to self-discovery. Mine sure has been a rocky and gratifying road.  Sometimes more rocky.  Sometimes more gratifying.

And I just have to include this:

Warning – bad word.  Or what used to be considered a bad word – not is as common as dirt!

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