Monday, November 30, 2015

Post #30 NaBloPoMo: Now What?

30 days of posting every day: that's a lot of writing. It's also hours of time spent on work. The way we view our skills becomes the compass that directs us.

You just wrote for 30 days on your blog, an investment of yourself and sacrificing of time from somewhere else, so where are you pointed toward now? Which path do we work toward and do we continue?

How do we make sure that we don't diminish the work that we do?

We do it by believing that our effort matters, and that our writing counts.

Follow the rest of this post on BlogHer as we close out 30 days of National Blog Posting Month.

" ...  you have to work hard and learn more. You have to read and practice to get good at what you do. Writing is no different from anything else -- you repeat, you study, you learn, you apply [read more]"

And congratulations, on the commitment and the dedication to the work of writing. Happy NaBloPoMo!
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Is It Possible To Be Beyond Great? The Water Bear

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"If the US had an army of water bears, we would always win." - my 13 year old son.

He prevails. He can live ten years without food or water, and that's just the first of many astounding facts about the water bear.

You don't believe me? Look up the facts.

It can live in hot springs.

It can live on top of Mount Everest.

It can live inside of ice.

It can be found inside a rock. But they prefer moisture.

You can find them in a box, you can find them in a car, you can find them here or there, you can find them anywhere. 

But what else is about them, you ask?

The water bear/tardigrade/moss piglet can live in water, rocks, space, ice, space, in the beginning in the past in the future. Wherever he damn well wants.

When he is dormant, his metabolism is .01 percent and he can withstand 304F and -328F. degrees.


And for a few minutes, water bears can survive close to absolute zero (which is not zero degrees HA!)

Water bears can withstand being in a vacuum (not like a Dyson, HUGE difference, google it) As an example, humans can't exist in a vacuum - if we did we would explode. This is why astronauts wear space suits to keep their insides inside.

Water bears can survive 1,200 atmospheres (WHUT) An atmosphere how much pressure we have on earth from our air. They can be broken into a thousand pieces and rehydrate themselves together again better than the patched up tire on your college bike.

Is this refusal to perish enough to love him? Because there's even more facts. Or you can forget about all that and just look at the pictures!

The water bear is 1.5 mm and that's the biggest one. The smallest one is 0.1 mm. This is very very small, like sand.


Oh the water bear with his teeny tiny hands!! and his elephant trunk nozzle out front!

Water hands, chubby legs like a baby, a little Michelin man Sumo wrestler. Just when you think all that will make you lose your mind, you find out that when he gets cold his body gives him a little coat, complete with his own little hood!

*This post just about rings out NaBloPoMo : 30 days of blogging. It's a perfect example of the freedom one has when you know you have 30 days of blogging in a space that is all yours.  

NaBloPoMo is a celebration, really, of how lucky we are to be online and be able to write whatever we freakin' want. I'm a water bear of blogging, baby.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

In The Quiet

If I would have run downstairs and gone to ask her, would she have been able to tell me?

Would there have been an answer to what would she change, if she could? From my son's bedroom window upstairs, I could see my neighbor sitting in her yard. She had her back to me and could never know that I watched her in the August sun, an ivory blanket across her lap.

I wished I could read her mind. I would not physically intrude and break the peace she was part of that day while she sat, her birdfeeders she was so careful to always have filled, surrounding her.

The sky was a bright, clear blue that morning and I saw her look up to the trees. She was so close to me that I could see the light fringe of her soft brown hair being lifted up by a breeze. We think our mornings are all the same, but I could feel the difference in this one. It was another morning for me, the hours flying by inside with me busy with the routine of a home with three children, but outside in her yard, time seemed to have stopped.

My neighbor would be moving soon. Before meeting her, there was no one I had the easy relationship of running back and forth between houses. She initiated an easy love, beginning with a tray of pizzelles she brought to my door. I sent her platter back to her, this time filling the blue ribbon-edged plate with chocolate cake. A few days later, her daughter was back to our door with extra strawberries left from a trip to a farmer's market.

This is how we did it, sharing from the ordinary days in our lives with what we had plenty of. Some nights I would send the blue platter over filled with the chicken and rice I had made for dinner, other times the platter would come our way with a serving she had set aside for me of the hash brown casserole her family liked so much.

In the two summers that I knew her, the blue platter passed between us more than fifty times. I had stopped thinking about how lonely I was and instead of how lucky I was. Lunch had became a surprise knock on my back patio door with an invitation to share half her sandwich and a small soup. She told me knowing me helped her keep her figure trim. While I enjoyed someone preparing food for me for a change, I could keep an eye on my children while they played in the yard.

I remember thinking that this sharing of food and the ordinariness of our days was what I felt missing from my life.

She was a good neighbor. The kind that made a row of houses feel like a neighborhood. The thing about falling for someone's charm is that you don't imagine a day you'll be without it. Neighbors always stay, don't they? At least until they move away.

Earlier that month, she had been told she had melanoma. She told me she wanted to be close to her family before she started treatment. There were a few things she wanted to stay behind and do herself before she left for another state, but she wanted her girls to move on ahead and make friends before starting school. Today, her house was boxed and packed. Her 9 and 11-year-old daughters gone, her husband already working at his new job. That Friday, he was coming back for her and the movers would do their work over the weekend.

I watched her as my fingers gripped the ledge of the window, pushing it down closed back to where it had been. My throat tight with holding back from impulsively calling out her name, the words thank you, I love you, flying out of my mouth like a child who sees his mother after being away. But we had already said our goodbyes earlier in the week, formally giving our hugs.

This morning, with my heart pulling me to her, I stayed back. I wanted her, my eyes stinging with tears from it, but not more than the cost of robbing her of a single sacred moment of being exactly where she wanted to be -- home.
* * *
My neighbor passed away two years ago on December 8. She was ill from August until December, and I have yet to meet a kinder, more loving person in this neighborhood. On her way out of our city that week, she dropped off her blue platter with pizzelles again. I knew that this time the plate would remain with me, and I wouldn't get the chance to return it filled with something from my home to hers.

Rest and peace to you, my dear friend. I miss you.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Lord of The Flies Called: They Want Their Leader Back

Lord of the Flies Island misses its leader, and they want him back. The eternally arrested adolescent boyman who was governing without adult supervision has left.

"He always had bigger dreams," one of the island's inhabitants said of Donald Trump. Giving his chronological age as 56 but with speech and body mannerisms mimicking those of an 11-year-old, "John" continued, "Most people here want him back. I'm glad he's gone but can't say that. We didn't have any time to play! He always wanted us to be building a hut, and then a bigger hut, and then a high rise hut, and then we'd build that and then he wanted bigger. It never ended."

Left in power for the past twenty years of an island where the balding and paunchy appearance of its inhabitants belies their average age of mid-50s, the moral decay and descent into savagery is a startling quick history with plenty who are able to provide first hand accounts. They miss the weekly sessions where they learned things like human nature is what keeps us King of the Hill and that the myth of the common good was just a story so that those too lazy to contribute could have others work to provide for them. Mornings that began with a circle chant of "Loser loser loser loser" haven't been held in four months.

"We knew what we were doing, at first, it felt wrong" another anonymous citizen of the island volunteered. "But every time we started to feel bad about it, we just reminded ourselves we've got to grab what is ours or someone who doesn't have a right to it will get it. That's what Donald told us. You snooze you lose. You can't fall asleep, you got to stay awake with your hand on that metaphorical trigger. Worry about your own and the ones that belong here, you know? No one else will, that's for sure."

Drawn to chaos and frenzy, Donald had the word 'fairness' stricken and outlawed from use. "It was pretty easy to get used to not using it." confessed "Sam". I mean, every once in awhile it slips out, you catch yourself saying "Heeeeeeeeeeeey, that's not fa--, but then Donald reminds us, fair is not what life is about. Fair is the cry of the weak. No real man says "No Fair." Grab it take it make it yours. THAT'S what a man is about." He says we have too many words in the English language anyway.

Rage and fury unleashed, life felt satisfying on the island. When times of low moral arose due to a twinging conscience, along with questions of what they were doing and if it was the right thing, Donald Trump would hold a rally. "He had this sense of how we were slipping into our old foolish ways of caring about those who are impoverished and struggling and soon enough. Donald would gather up the tribal drums and we'd be whipped into a frenzy, chanting, smacking our chests. We were among our own!! It was exhilarating! I'll tell ya, at first you think he's dumb and stupid, but there's something about how he lets you say everything you were told you couldn't as a kid, how you had to think of the feelings of others and you just let your mouth go, none of that having to think about kindness or empathy, just YOU dammit. You just want to pick up a spear or something and fling it. Like the first time you're left home alone and you don't know what bed to jump on first. You lose your mind like that with a guy like that up there!"

The loss of structure and the loss of the purpose of civilization has almost every resident here speak the words "freeing, powerful, dreamlike" when describing life on this island.

"What we really need, is Donald back, though. It's fun to grab all the candy and keep it to yourself, but after awhile, you miss the glow of the human spirit. With Donald gone, some of us are starting to ask if it would be so bad to go back to a system where we share what we have with those who don't. I mean, I had a good winter last year, but this year, my root crop didn't do so good. I might need a little help and for the first time ever, I'm kinda scared I'll have to wear a black square patch on my chest, a symbol Donald came up with to mean empty, useless, taking up space." "Ted" looked down at his feet, "I didn't think I'd ever be one of the ones having to be marked like that."

"Ted" agreed to meet with us at the far end of the island to show us his dry land. "I'm kind of remembering why people in a system behave the way they do. You never know when you're going to need help and you can't always be one of the lucky ones. And what do you do about your heart when you see someone who needs help? I can't call it off without Donald to remind me how winners act."

He summed it up this way, "We need him back. We're slipping. Just last week, a bunch of us helped Ed from the next small island over build up his fence to keep the wild boars out. The poor guy couldn't do it on his own -- yeah, I know he's not from this island and if Donald were here our fence would be up already to keep out those sand-dwellers from across the way wanting to creep in over here for our richer land, but outta nowhere, Ed got arthritis. Never saw it coming, either. I mean, life is like that -- one minute you're up, next minute, you just never know. That's why Donald's gotta return, our hearts are starting to get too loud to ignore."

You Don't Have To Bust Down Any Doors Today And You Can Make Friday Any Color You Want

Due to financial instabilities of the economy within the world of this household, we are not going to Black-Friday anything.

And also because Black Friday makes people lose their ever-lovin' minds.

McDonald's opens at 2:30 a.m., followed by stores opening at 4:00 a.m. with an invitation to bust down their doors.

I'll tell you a true story. When I worked at a large chain store in Wisconsin, I learned a trick they would do for Black Friday: this big store would only stock five or six of the door-bustin' item that they featured in their Thanksgiving flyer to make you unable to resist busting down their door while it was still pitch black outside and after you spend four hours sleeping outside on a wet bacteria-laden sidewalk they know that if the $29.00 microwave you wanted for your college kid is gone you won't just shrug your shoulders and say "okay." Oh no, you will say, "Welllllllllllll... no way I came down here for nothing. And no way I'm going back home empty handed. So gimme what you got. And two of 'em."

I'm getting up early tomorrow morning, but I'm keeping my Friday, I think, I think yellow. I'll get up and walk around in my worn mismatched pajamas, sipping on some fresh coffee while the cinnamon rolls I'm making for my kids are in the oven.

I'll have my hair up in a double knot and I won't be missing out on a dang thing.

Except getting my face pepper sprayed when going for the last coveted door buster Xbox, being trampled while already lined-up customers duck underneath a lifting store gate. I'll be pouring my second cup of coffee instead of being carried away in a sea of humanity over $2 waffle irons. Just as I'm adding my hazelnut creamer someone else in America is climbing across and into vats of sweet potatoes to get a video game.

There's nothing I'm going to miss.

Later today, after my insides are warm from my favorite morning drink and my kids have some energy from a relaxing morning in, we will watch the holiday madness on TV. We will make our public declaration to reject what the mainstream tells us we are fools not to do. We will rebuke the spirit of consumerism and instead, think of ways we can share from the horn of plenty that we are so insanely fortunate to have.

The kids will go upstairs and find their games and toys they no longer use. We will take them to church on Sunday for the gently-used toy drive for domestic abuse shelters.

Thanksgiving and the holiday season is about doing good in the name of love of our fellow man. That's why we share with those that are struggling.

A holiday season without any thought for those without is the true definition of an impoverished holiday -- not doing without another flat screen TV.

1 in 4 children in America goes to bed hungry because of unemployment, neediness, or the mental and physical health of their caretakers. You know how hard it is to fall asleep when you're sad, hungry, scared, cold, lonely? Imagine it as a child.

If you do head out today, let it be to a grocery store. The food pantry donation barrels will be out.  Fill them. When you see the toy collection bins at stores, drop off a game, a doll, a truck, a book, a deluxe set of crayons.

Go crazy with consumerism that way. Lose your mind and buy every single box of ready-made Kraft mac and cheese and give give give. Climb over each other to get to the coloring books by the dozen. Toss them in the donation barrels for those who have n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Believe it or not, they exist.

Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing to see on the news tonight?

People knocking each other over to fill donation receptacles.

Maybe someday we'll get it right.

Peace Out.



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