Tuesday, June 19, 2018

What Would Jesus Do? WARNING: Political Rant

As most of you know, I no longer consider myself a Christian. But, that's not to say I haven't studied the Bible, and don't still study it, and about it. And that I don't find much good in it; I do. So, we're going to have a bit of a Bible Study today, because the religion of the dominant culture in this country is Christianity. At least for a while.

Matthew 18:1-10
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become
as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones;for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.)

Luke 18:16-17
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

Emphasis above is mine.

What is happening at our southern border is beyond atrocious. It is inhumane, it is cruel, it is abuse, and it is what this country voted for. I have been to Dachau, I have been through a concentration camp, my mother worked part-time in the Tule Lake concentration camp during WWII. I spent time in the military to do my part to end this kind of behavior. Never, in a bazillion years did I think I would live to see another concentration camp within the borders of my country. I believed 45 when he was campaigning, and I did not vote for him.

Unlike 45, I read, and I comprehend what I read, and I remember a great deal of what I have read and still read. Perhaps not as much as I once did. I remember reading, when I was in high school, about German King Frederick's experiment back in the 1200s. http://www.digma.com/digma-images/video-scripts/fredericks_experiment.pdfIt's a short piece, two pages. Read it. 

If you don't have time, or inclination, basically it says that babies raised without human touch, wither and die. Humans NEED touch, and now we are stuffing babies and children into concentration camps at our southern border WHERE TOUCH IS FORBIDDEN! They cry and can, at best, be comforted with words only, and possibly not even in their language! These babies, if they live, will have these scars all their lives.

Frederick was a Christian. 45, 45.5, and AG all claim to be Christian; they quote the Holy Bible to their twisted ends, but they do not practice the greatest commandment therein: To Love One Another.

Perhaps it is time to send Lady Liberty back home, to France. We no longer want the poor, the weary, the afflicted, the afraid, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We no longer honor the Good Samaritan. We no longer want what makes us strong. What makes us great. We no longer want what makes us American!

Lenora

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Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
--Emma Lazarus



Monday, June 11, 2018

Let's talk about a serious subject: Suicide

It's a topic that needs to be talked about, and today seems as good a time as any, mayhaps better than most since we have lost two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, to suicide this past week—and thousands of non-celebrities.

The suicide rate in the United States is going up. There are many reasons as to the why and even more speculations, but the US has seen a 25% increase since 1999. Some states' rates are higher; some are lower. My state ranks #4. Not an honor, trust me.

It's always sad, at least to me, when someone takes his or her own life. I've lost some good friends that way, and though I understood their reasons (and they had good ones), it was still hard for those of us left behind. There are always signs. We need to learn to see them.

When I was preparing to move here, my daughter screwed her courage into a tight spring, and finally asked if I was giving my stuff away (one of the signs) and moving down here to commit suicide or die. It isn't an easy question to ask, especially of a parent. And I appreciated her concern. With that question, she became my hero. 

There is conjecture out there, among our learned ones, that one reason the US suicide rate is increasing is the cost of mental health care. Not just the financial cost, but the self-esteem cost, the job cost, the family costs—real and perceived.

Many teens dream of death, especially in their senior year of high school. But instead of talking about it, they think they're supposed to die. They don't understand their emotion and sadness is fear of the unknown, fear that the social/educational life they've known most of their lives is about to end—to die--when they graduate, not them. The caterpillar dies to become a butterfly. High school students "die"—euphemistically--to become college students or enter the workforce.

With luck and good friends and adults to counsel them, they will come to understand this new phase in their lives is not death, but transformation, and can be a very good thing indeed.

If for any reason you, or anyone you know, are contemplating suicide, for any reason, please know there are meds out there that can stop the desire for death within 30 minutes. So get yourself to an ER and tell the triage nurse why you're there. Call someone. Call 9-1-1. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

It is, truly, a matter of life or death.

Buzzfeed recently published an excellent article explaining exactly what happens when you call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It most assuredly is worth the read. The URL is: https://www.buzzfeed.com/carolinekee/what-happens-when-you-call-suicide-hotline?utm_term=.hwDdN3JnbQ#.jh2VGq1dBm

And by all means, talk to your doctor. S/he can help you find the right services in your area. 
If you can't afford to see a psychiatrist, there are many free, or sliding scale, counseling services available, take advantage of them

You are not alone. People care. 

care.

Lenora

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"We need to change the culture of this topic and make it OK to speak about mental health and suicide." --Luke Richardson

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

It's Official! I'm a New Mexican!!

Humble apologies for being a couple days late (and, yes a couple dollars short), but it is for a very good reason, or at least I think so.

As all of you know, when you move there are a lot of things that have to be taken care of right away – utilities, driver's license, car registration, etc. I managed to get in just under the wire (a day to spare) for the really big Etc. – I registered to vote and was allowed to vote in the primary.

Now, NM does things a tad different than WA – you go to your polling place to vote. But, being the progressive state they are, you don't have to go to just one particular polling place, you can go to any in the county! I was kind of curious how that worked as I read somewhere that there were something like 100 different ballots in the county, and I'm thinking, omigosh! that's gonna be a helluva ballot to wade through. I went online, downloaded my sample ballot, and set to work doing a bit of research, marked it up, and yesterday went to the school next door to cast my vote.

There was no line, for which I was grateful and typical of all the New Mexicans I've met (except the 3 ladies at one store that shall remain unnamed) the people working there were most helpful. I signed in, showed them my photo ID (I registered by mail, so had to show it), told the lady I'd just moved here from Washington State and would like to know a bit about how to work the machines or whatever. She allowed as how she'd lived in Seattle for 10 years and said our system here was pretty simple. She said my ballot would be printed in a minute, take it to a booth, use the pen, fill in the circles, put the ballot in the folder and take it to those people over there (she pointed). Ah-ha. All their ballots are hiding in a computer, and she just prints out the required ballot. So THAT is how they work the system. Admittedly, I like the mail-in ballots Oregon and Washington have, but this wasn't bad.

The other reason I'm late is Sammy. Sammy is a Chihuahua mix. Mixed with what? We aren't sure, but there's a good chance of a little Pug in there—he has the double coat Pugs have. He is about 5 years old, and the most afraid dog ever. Sammy Brave Dog, as I've named him, was found in a meth house along with a bunch of other small dogs. He's been abused but is not aggressive at all. He was put into the Lap Dog Rescue system, and eventually adopted out to an older couple. They said they had him for a month before he'd come to them, and come out of hiding. Then she had a stroke, and Sammy came back to Lap Dog Rescue where he was fostered by a different person, Stephanie.

Stephanie worked with him, took him on walks, socialized him (as much as possible) and then I found him on their website. He's the shyest little dog, and all he wants is some old lady to sit on the sofa all day so he can snuggle. It took a few days, but he's the world's biggest snuggler. And he thinks he's really special that he gets to sleep in the people bed instead of his little bed!

I left him alone for a bit yesterday while I ran a couple errands and voted, and he seemed to do just fine. I've even received a couple of PUPKISSes!! So, there you have it. My excuses for being late. They all revolve around an 11-pound puppy. 

I debated for a long time (I actually started the hunt for hound while still in Kennewick) whether to go to the pound or rescue. Since I'm not overly literate in Dog Speak and or training, I opted for the rescue. I've dealt with other rescues before, and the dogs have lived with humans and come with their shots current, etc., have been socialized, or as much as possible, and a list of known problems. Like, Sammy doesn't like going through doors or gates but will do so if I go first and hold the door for him. Wonder what that's about? Anyhow, if you're interested in a dog, but have not grown up with them, check out your local rescue groups. They're pretty good. And very supportive.

Sammy Brave Dog and his human
--photo by Stephanie Foster Mom

 Lenora

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My dog is half pit-bull, half poodle. Not much of a watchdog, but a vicious gossip.”– Craig Shoemaker (comedian)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Auntie Lenora's Tips on Staying Hydrated

Since Auntie Lenora has moved to the High Desert of New Mexico, she has become very aware she needs to stay hydrated. For those of you who, like Auntie Lenora, are coffee lovers, coffee is a diuretic, which means you pee more than you drink. You cannot get/stay hydrated by drinking coffee. As good as iced coffee is, it isn't.

But drinking water can hydrate you. Oh, how booooring! However, Auntie Lenora has found a trick to drinking more water during the day. Good for your kidneys, good for your skin, good for your well-being. Truly, water is life. Everything needs water to live.

Buy a 2-quart pitcher, or a 1-gallon 'dispenser' to keep in your refrigerator. Fill it with water, slice up a cucumber, add a couple slices of lemon and or lime, and some basil sprigs (dried works, too). Now, there are lots of things you can add to the water, but Auntie Lenora has found the cucumbers give the water a nice flavor, are good for two days, and somehow makes her thirst for more, which as a certain doyenne of cooking shows would say, "is a good thing." Now, Auntie Lenora does have one of those new-fangled appliances which dispense both ice and water, but she drinks more if her water has cucumber &c in it than if it just comes out of the spigot.

She drinks at least 4 pints of water per day, and if she's active she drinks more. (What? Auntie Lenora, the true, blue, sofa spud, active??? Bwahahahaha...) 

Now Auntie Lenora has a 2-quart glass pitcher with a strainer lid. If she uses it for juice or teas, the strainer in the lid keeps seeds and leaves where they belong, not in her glass. It's marvelous for keeping slices of whatevers, and sprigs of similar, where they belong, and not in her glass. Here is the tiny URL to what she has, in case you're curious and want your own, http://tinyurl.com/y8jor73b.Auntie Lenora is not suggesting you buy this product from this place, she is merely showing you what she has. 

She also has a 1-gallon drink dispenser she sometimes uses, especially when she has company, and she had a 2-gallon one when she lived in Kennewick. If you decide to look into buying something like that, Auntie Lenora suggests you add to your usual shopping sites, Restaurant Supply businesses. They often have the best deals in town or over the www. If you're a kitchen gadget person, they are Santa's Workshop for the cook! If you don't have one of those new-fangled appliances, Auntie Lenora strongly recommends getting a 1- or 2-gallon dispenser to fill and keep in your current refrigerator! She prefers the glass ones to the plastic ones, but they do weigh more. 

At any rate, put slices of your favorite fruits, veggies, and or sprigs of your favorite herbs in your water. Mix them. Try things out. Experiment. Do what ya gotta do to drink your two quarts of water over and above your three gallons of coffee every day. Stay hydrated. Stay healthy.

Oh, and a funny thing, when you drink your water during the day, you'll likely find yourself not waking and getting up to visit the tinkletorium as often during the night. Weird, huh?

Lenora

Boycott Football*
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"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them." Mitch Hedberg

*If you really MUST support football, at least have the courtesy to take a knee during the national anthem. And know why you're doing it!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pockets of Love

I started a quilt for my Sis who lives in Belen, NM (about 35 miles south of me) before I moved down here. Had it "done" and had the sandwich made (for you nonquilters, that's when the top, batt, and backing are pinned together for quilting) and decided I didn't like it. So it went into a box, one of several, that went into my car and came down during my first trip when I found and bought my home.  And there it stayed. In the box. Even after it came from her home to mine.

This is a special quilt, it's a memory quilt. Jim, her husband, died a few months ago, and I asked her to send me one of his shirts, one of her favorites, for a quilt. She sent me a striped shirt. And I started work on the quilt shortly thereafter. And then didn't like it.

OK, now to this past week. I had company for the first part of the week and wasn't thinking of quilts, or anything other than my company, then he traveled on, and I began to think of the quilt. One of my neighbors (I have very nice neighbors!) has a large van, and graciously took me to Lowe's where I bought two 8'x4'x1" pieces of solid insulation and brought them and me back home. After years of drooling and dreaming, I had a design wall for my quilting.

I put the quilt on the wall and stared at it. And stared. And then, after staring a while longer, I "saw" the quilt. Jim loved life with a passion, and he loved cats, dogs, and Kitty, but not necessarily in that order ;-).

I got busy, ripped the right half of the quilt apart (the long vertical stripe is part of the original) added the shorter stripes, and the two cats. Then I re-pinned the quilt, and quilted it, added the edging, and finished sewing it, and the label on the back, last night. The only thing it's missing is the pocket button on the large striped cat. (By the way, Jim was something like 6'7" tall--
a big boy, Kitty is shorter than I am). So, today, I shall go button shopping while I'm out buying groceries, getting ready for another house guest who is arriving tonight.

The name of the quilt is Pockets of Love. It's big enough to take a nap under when the weather cools down. The back is flannel so it will be cozy and snuggly. The quilting is simple vertical stitching, which is what gives it the chevron wrinkly shadows if you can see them. All of it is quilted except the two pockets. One in the large vertical stripe, and one on the Jim Cat. 


Lenora

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"There is no death. Only a change of worlds." –Seattle (Sealth) 1786-1866, Suquamish chief)

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Photo Tour of the New Digs

As you by now know, I live in the House of Frog and Dragon, and one of the first to welcome me was my very own Garden Dragon, Honey. He lives in the honeysuckle plant outside my living room window.


When I first shopped for a new home and found this condo, one of the fun things I spotted, while touring the 'park' out my back window was this pond, and the accompanying sign.

 You can see how deep this pond is. At the deepest, when full, it might be 3 feet. I guess that's why the sign tickled my funny bone. Fish????

If you're reading this on something small, and can't read the words, it says, PLEASE STAY OUT of the pond. NO wading, swimming or fishing. (Fishing????)

I would love to put one of those motorized shark fins in it to wander around, but someone would steal it.
 I would love to put one of those motorized shark fins in it to wander around, but someone would steal it.

Can  you tell which door is mine? Yes, the one on the left with the frog on the screen door, and the frogs on the welcome mat.

Finally, we're inside. i'm in front of the love seat, shooting across the living room to the dining room. Yes, those are frogs climbing over the far, dining room wall, and that is My Frog Prince Quilt hanging on the wall.


This shot is looking into my living room Doesn't it look nice and cozy?
The green guy on the love seat is holding a quilt dog I made for my son when he was a wee one.
Though dark, the living room looks pretty good, eh? Just behind the long sofa (on the right) is my "sewing room." What doesn't fit on the shelves is in the garage. That's fabric in the bins, and books of patterns, equipment, etc. on the shelves.

Here is my kitchen, looking from the garage entrance out the sliding glass doors to my patio. No, that is not a checkered rug on the floor. I have a 3' square bistro table I want to put in the kitchen, and the checkered oil cloth is folded to 3' square to see if it will fit. It will fit, but I need help to get the table moved. I think I figured out how to get it from the garage to the kitchen without taking it apart and putting it back together. To the right of where I'm standing is the "hall" that runs by the stairwell upstairs. It was pretty boring, so I didn't shoot it.


Upstairs to the left in the front is the guest bedroom. The bookself has a tv (you may have to connect it when you come) and all my fiction.



Next door to the right is my office. It still needs some attention, can you tell?


Down the hall is the Master Suite. When you open the French Doors, you look out the three bi-folds and a balcony onto the dining room, living room, and sliding doors. Turn right to the bedroom. And the walk-in closet. The closet is almost big enough for another bedroom! On the right, where you can't see, are shelves about 4' long. 




Standing in front of the closet, here is my bed and sitting area. As you can tell, it's still a work in progress. As is the whole house.

Turning to the left, is the hall to the master bath. The books in this case are poetry, essays, and memoir. If you look to the right, you'll see the bi-fold doors open to the balcony, and if you've got really good eyes, you can see me in the mirror at the far end taking this picture.


The stairs going down (they also go up, if you're curious). That wall above the stairs begs for a big art quilt, doesn't it? The paintings at the bottom, which you can barely see, are pastels by my Mom.

And, finally, my patio, and just outside my patio gate, the park. (The pond is off a ways, so it can't be seen from here. However, I can see the bridge through my upstairs bedroom window.)



And there  you have it, Gentle Readers. My new home. Complete with a living Garden Dragon! Once settled, I hope to add a fur person or two. Not sure yet if I want a dog or a cat, or perhaps one each? But I need/want to get settled first.



Monday, May 7, 2018

Are You Adoptable?

I read an article the other day that got me to thinking a tad bit about old age, growing older, and all the related implications.

The article, "He was one of millions of Chinese seniors growing old alone. So he put himself up for adoption." is by Emily Rauhala at The Washington Post. It is here, please consider reading it.

It is about an 85-year-old Chinese man, a widower, with children who had long since moved away and had lives of their own. The old ways are dying, if not dead. Modernity has come to China, and with it, the fact that children are not always in a position to care for aging parents as once was the norm. Han Zicheng, tired of being alone, of having no sons to care for him (he claimed he had two, one of them said there were three), posted a note in a public place asking for someone to adopt him so he would not die uncared for, alone.

Loneliness is a terrible thing, and we, as a species, seem to feel it more when we are surrounded by people, strangers. I wrote a blog about it December 28, 2015, Are You Lonesome Tonight? There's even had a link to Elvis singing his popular song. Feel free to check it out.

My memory of the article about Mr. Han is he was "needy"—he complained about his plight, he didn't want to do for himself but expected others to do for him. He refused to go to a nursing home. There were people who maintained contact with him, sporadic at best, but not his family. 

I'm sure we all know people like Mr. Han, I certainly do. They are very needy, and though surrounded by people, no one pays them much attention because they are always complaining. Most of them are also excellent manipulators, and often one doesn't realize what is happening until they've been sucked in. Needy people are exhausting people. They don't want to help themselves; they want someone to "fix" it for them, whatever "it" is. There is a reason I never became a counselor. 

Someone sent me a quote a few days ago, "Nobody cares if you're miserable, so you might as well be happy." It's by Cynthia Nelms, and it's good advice. Truly, nobody cares. Oh, that's not to say, when the now and again calamity hits they don't care, but it gets jaded hearing nothing but complaints from people, even when couched in such a manner they think they're being cute and people won't notice. Complaining is a habit, and like any habit, it can be broken with a little work. OK, a lot of work. Still, it's a habit that can be broken. Or continually reinforced. Pay attention to what you think, speak, and write. Is it positive, or is there a hint of whine? Cheese not included. 

At some point in my life it came to me that I'm probably going to be alone far more than I'm going to be coupled, and if that's the case, I'd darned well better learn to like myself, because I'm going to be the best, and possibly only, company I'm going to have as I age, grow old, and die.

By the way, this idea of being afraid to die alone is rather odd, if you think about it. Two things we always do alone are being birthed and dying. There may be friends and or family present, but when push comes to shove (pun intended) we're gonna do it alone. If it frightens you, I suggest you do some searching as to why it frightens you, and then act and change so it doesn't. Educate yourself. If the face of the god you worship is a vengeful, wrathful, frightening one that you're afraid to meet, consider finding a more forgiving, humorous, and loving face of your god to worship. As Reverend Mother Odrade, BG, said, "Face your fears or they will climb over your back."

Are you lonesome? Want someone to adopt you? Are you adoptable? Which baby do you gravitate to—the happy, bubbly baby, who loves to burble and smile? —or the grumpy one who would rather cry and whimper and scream? Which would you adopt?


Lenora

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"Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive." --Elbert Hubbard