Love and Understanding

I’m going to ramble a bit now…

I’m sitting here in the office this morning listening to Karen work and I have that feeling, but I’ll get to that later.  Earlier I was perusing Facebook… reading news, seeing what my peeps are up to, checking in.  I know a lot of people are sort of Anti-Facebook now, but not me.  I could care less about the ads, I don’t generally even look at them, the commercialism, because of course it is, it’s a business, or the fact that they have my info, everyone has my info nowadays.  I use credit cards, I buy things, I sign into and out of websites all the time.  It’s the modern digital age and as much as I care about my privacy, or at least not letting people have access to my credit card info, the feeling of needing to be so private lessened a lot when I was in the hospital for those long long days and everyone saw everything I had.  Perspective.  Facebook to me, especially since the move, is a way to know, by looking in one place, what our friends and family are up to near and far.  It’s a way to stay in touch.  It’s not perfect, but it works for me.  It’s like being in a big digital ongoing conversation.  A community of sorts. I like that.

I respect my family and friends who are so passionate about world affairs, causes they hold dear, politics, etc.  I respect them immensely.  I have issues I also care about, though I think not with the kind of passion they exhibit.  I admire the chutzpah in them.  Sometimes I even wish I had more of it.  Some days, like today, I wonder why I don’t.  I have things I believe in, and will talk about if I’m in that kind of conversation, but most of the time I keep things to myself.  And most of the time I’m more concerned with things like beauty, joy, art, telling stories, music, and love.  It’s true.  These things consume my day, my mind, more than anything else.  Except for maybe my honey and our pups, but then that’s all about love, which is one of the things I care most about.  I have always been this way, and yet… not.

I fell into a degree in Psychology because I was good at it.  I have always been, for friends and family alike, a sort of pseudo counselor.  Additionally I was fascinated by the mind.  How it worked, both physically and emotionally, and why.  I was interested in motivation, understanding, function.  I was also, and continue to be, an incredibly emotional person.  I cry at the drop of the hat, feel things more deeply than I sometimes want to, and have a sense about the emotions of others that at times overwhelms me.  All of this, plus a passion for at risk kids and their issues, led me into work with those kids.  I did that for a long time, cared deeply about what I was doing, and felt like I was making a difference every day.  I was.  I know that with certainty.  But living every day caring very much about what you are doing, wanting to help to facilitate change in both the kids and their circumstances, feeling and battling an overwhelming sense of hopelessness in those same kids, their parents, other agencies, and the circuitous nature of generations of people living difficult lives took its toll on me.  I cared very much and that sense of caring was what finally guided my decision to leave that profession.  Circumstances helped me do it more quickly than I had anticipated, but the writing had been on the wall.  I needed to not live in that world any more.  To not take it home with me.  To be in a more positive environment.  I needed to leave.

Two years ago when the bomb dropped on our lives, and I say our because it didn’t only affect me, we were living our lives.  Loving our lives.  Traveling, working, spending time with friends and family, having as many adventures and new experiences as we could.  Dinners with friends, traveling to new places, walks with the pups, etc.  Our life was amazing.  Then the thing happened.  The big C.  Suddenly, without warning, swooping in to change our lives completely.  Days with friends and family and pups replaced by meds, and IVs, and poisonous life saving drugs, and sickness, and baldness, and…  love.  So much love pouring in to us, to me, that I was overwhelmed by it.  So much.  It was like a tidal wave of well wishes and good feelings and sweet remembrances and karmic hugging.  I was stunned by it.  Knowing you have a good foundation of people in your life is one thing, seeing them, seeing that in action, is another.  I was humbled, shaken, amazed.

We made it through those times, which I can’t even describe…. so much happened, so much.  And I came out of it, away from it, am still in the end of it, with a sense of wonder.  A sense of what is truly important, for me anyway.  And here’s what I think… people need to spend more time thinking about love.  Not love as in romantic love, but love as in love of your fellow-man, love of this planet we call home, love of people we don’t understand, but should at least try to.  There’s too much push and pull, too much righteous indignation, too much of this whole idea that “I” know best and “you” should listen.  Too much arrogance.  Too much of people being afraid of things they don’t understand when really if we just live our lives the best we know how, treating people in our lives with the respect they deserve, and by that I mean all people, we would be so much better off.  Even those we know are struggling or living their lives in ways we don’t think are right or correct or healthy.  If we respect each other as human beings, knowing there are faults in all of us, knowing we are none of us perfect, and then move through life with the knowledge that, for the most part each of us is doing the best we know how, things would improve.  If we focused on beauty, and love, and how similar we are instead of how different we make ourselves, things would improve.

I know there are people who say this is me living with my head in the clouds, but seriously.  We are all the same.  Living our lives, loving our families, wanting what’s best for them.  We may have different ideas about what that is, or what that means, but that’s OK.  Just the simple acknowledgement that we are the same would mean then that we would never be able to judge someone for how they lived, for what they thought.  We would come at the conversation from a place of trying to understand instead of trying to conquer.  We would be more able to work together.  From a place like that no one would be denied basic rights, their humanity, their ability to live a happy life, whatever that is for them.  Judgement would vanish.  And with it fear would go.  Fear that always comes from a place of us vs. them, from not understanding, from living our lives looking at “them” over there as our enemy instead of as our possible friend.  More than that, because we aren’t going to be friends with everyone, we could agree that we won’t always agree.  And that’s OK.  It’s OK for us to do as we please.  And yes, of course I don’t mean those that hurt others.  There are still rules.  Rule one, don’t hurt anyone intentionally or even unintentionally by the actions you take.

So, this is all Pollyanna to many people I’m sure.  But I’m tired of the fighting, the push and pull, the politics of it all.  I’m tired of all the ways we try to stand out, live separately.  We live together, whether we like it or not.  We depend on each other, whether we like it or not, and we can choose to be afraid of each other, of all the things we don’t understand, or we can hold out our hands to those we disagree with, have a real conversation, and move forward.  Actually take steps that lead us toward something wonderful, instead of taking steps backward to places we’ve already been.

I don’t have the answers, I don’t even pretend to know all the questions.  I know me, my honey, my life.  I know that the way the wind sounds in the trees right now is gorgeous and that sound is the same all around the world.  I know I love to laugh, and so does everyone else I’ve ever met.  I know a lot of people are angry about this or that, and they have a right to be.  I’m not discounting that.  I’m just saying… love a little more.  Hug a little more.  Put yourself in the other guys shoes a lot more.  Be kind.  Be patient.  Be better.  We could all be a bit better.  Which, I guess, is the feeling I was talking about earlier.  That feeling of wanting to be better.  Look past myself.  See into things more clearly, with more depth.  To be understanding. To love with all I am, and be thankful.

Spectacle

I watched the Oscars on speed dial the other day. We DVR‘d and I was able to fast forward through most of the stuff I didn’t want to see. Yay. I remember watching the Oscars as a kid. Big spectacle. I loved it. I have always loved movies. The Oscars, every year, are a part of that for me. A night all about movies and performance and such. Fascinating.

In recent years I’ve become much less interested in the Oscars themselves. I want to know who’s nominated and I want to know who wins, but I don’t really care about watching the show. Depending on who hosts there have been way too many production numbers and way too few quiet moments of actors talking about film.

This year I decided to DVR. I was interested, really, in one category. Best Actress. My pick didn’t win, which was sad. Viola Davis was so robbed. No disrespect to Meryl, and honestly I haven’t seen The Iron Lady yet, but seriously. Viola Davis is one classy lady and should’ve won best actress for her role in The Help. Just sayin’. That being said, I did like a recurring segment this year. The thing I liked most, besides the whole Cirque Du Soleil thing, and when don’t we like a Cirque production, was the simple little film inserts of actors talking about acting. Actors talking about movies they loved and why. Actors talking about what they love about movies.

Actors talking about acting and film is much more interesting to me, the human part of it, what they feel about it, than the whole spectacle of it all. It’s the personal side of movies and movie making. I’ll take that every time over spectacle.

Spectacle aside, congrats Meryl and all the other winners… And congrats to Viola Davis… You won in my mind and heart.

Brotherly Love

I secure.  I ground.  I provide a safe place to land.  These are some of my attributes.  They have been all my life.

When I was a girl we lived on a piece of property.  It wasn’t major acreage or anything, just a big lot in town.  Small town.  We had a huge garden, a small orchard, a couple of big grass fields, and a fort built for us by our parents that looked like something from the old west frontier.  It was a good place to be a kid.  Lots of room to roam not too far from home.

My brother had a cool bedroom closet.  It had a window in it that led out onto the roof.  Plus the closet itself was enormous.  Big enough to use as an indoor fort.  We did.  We also, occasionally, climbed out onto the roof, made our way down to the carport, walked carefully across the carport, and jumped down into the garden.  From there we could wander around, having snuck out, all over the place.  We never left the property.  We were, for the most part, “good” kids.  Boringly so.  There were times, however, that my brother, who was going through a tumultuous time then, would sneak out and run away.  He did this a few times.  Packed up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or at least some bread, put it in a knapsack, and ventured out into the fields on his own.  When this happened I usually knew it not too long after he’d gone.  And, being the big sister, I always went after him.  I always found him.  I always brought him back home.

Kev and I have a special bond.  We’ve been through a lot together he and I.  No one else has our experience except, of course, us.  We two went through divorce, re-marriages, visitations with our dad and his new family in far off Montana, getting to know our little half brothers and sisters, spending time with our older step brother and sisters, Mom’s ordeal with and defeat of breast cancer, the death of our step-dad followed not too distantly by the death of our father who, on his deathbed, apologized to us for the dad he wasn’t and wished he’d been.  Kev and I have always been comrades in arms.  Peas in a pod.  Best buds as well as brother and sister.  We get each other.

I have felt, through the years, like an anchor to him, as he has been, without probably knowing it, to me.  When things have gone wrong or been hard, I want to see Kev.  He wants to see me.  We have clung to each other in times that have sometimes taken the wind from us.  Holding on tight, facing the storm.  Life has been a big adventure for us to this point.  Each of us has had our struggles, our triumphs, our journey.  And each of us has always had the other to lean on, be supported by, to hug.

I can’t imagine this life without my big little brother.  If there’s something I’ve learned, and keep learning, the big lesson I guess, this is it… let the people you love know you love them.  Don’t wait.  Don’t hesitate.  Don’t.  If you think of them, or see them, or miss them, tell them so.  So Kev…  I thought of you today.  You mean more to me than I am able to articulate.  You are one of the best men I know… strong, caring, sweet, honest, true, loyal, gentle, smart, creative, funny, sincere.  You are a fantastic human being.  And as much as I have been secure, and grounding, and safe for you, know you have been all those things for me.  I love you and I miss your mug.

Someday Soon…

Everyone knows how much I love Karen.  At least they should given the fact I plaster it all over Facebook and nearly all of my many blogs.  I do.  I love her.  She is life and breath and hope and happiness and joy and light and peace.  And those things, my friends, do not even begin to encompass what she is to me.  Suffice it to say she is big love.  We have big love.  Still.

Today I read that Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional.  This is a lovely thing.  Wonderful.  And hopefully it is just the beginning of what will be a wave of equal rights and civil liberties running rampant across this country and throughout the world.  This is my hope.

I know there are some people who believe with everything they are that gay marriage is evil.  But seriously people, what’s it to you?  If you believe in God, and this is the reason for your objection, read scripture and you will find passages saying things like judge lest ye be judged and do unto others and love your fellow man as yourself.  If you believe God won’t approve, then let God decide.  That’s how it’s supposed to work.  You aren’t God.  Just sayin’.

I don’t believe I’m going to be judged.  I believe in love.  I believe in hope and happiness.  I believe my love is no less important than yours.  I believe that if Karen and I were allowed to marry legally this would not undermine what you consider to be traditional marriage. I don’t care who you marry, as long as it doesn’t hurt either party involved, and I expect that I should have the same rights as you.

I’ve found the someone I will spend the rest of my life with.  I’m lucky.  And someday soon I will be able to legally marry her in any and every state in this country.  I believe this to be true.  Today’s ruling gets us back on the right road.  We’re going to get there.  Slowly, maybe, but we will get there.  And when we do Karen and I will stand up in front of friends and family and say I do.  Just like we did privately 8 years ago on that beach in Hawaii.  Someday soon…

Tam:

Margaret and Helen have it all figured out…

Originally posted on Margaret and Helen:


HELEN:

Margaret, do you remember how angry we were the day we finally realized that women’s legs are not harder to shave than men’s faces, but rather razors made for women can’t hold a candle to those made for men? And the women’s razors are more expensive to boot. I’d like to meet the asshats at Gillette and give them a piece of my mind. Did they really think we wouldn’t mind just because they made the razors pink?

And speaking of pink, this whole mess with Komen should be a wake-up call to women everywhere. Komen knew damn well that this had nothing to do with mammograms and everything to do with politics. They just thought we wouldn’t notice because the ribbons were pink. They knew what they were getting when they hired Karen Handel. She ran for office in Georgia with a campaign promise to close down Planned…

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Walt Speaks

This is what you shall do:  Love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body…

Creatures of Habit

A noise outside wakes me up.  It wakes Weston as well.  He moves slightly, growls toward the window, and then stands up.  I know I’m in trouble.  Outside the wind tosses the branches against each other.  It’s a nice sound.  I can’t go back to sleep, but want to.  Thinking I’ll have a better chance I get up and head to the bathroom, Weston decides he needs to get up as well.  Padding in toward the dog door I open it so he can go out.  We both do our business and it’s time to head back to bed.  He won’t get in unless I let him go first, so he jumps up and then I get in behind him.  It’s time to spoon.  Yes, yes, I know.

Weston loves to cuddle.  He is one of the most affectionate dogs I’ve ever seen.  I don’t know what it is, but he’s always been like this.  Maybe it’s because he came into our lives when he was younger than he should have been.  Maybe he has always been, since that first day, treated like our child.  Maybe it’s just that he’s so emotional.  Whatever the reason, he loves a good cuddle.  His two favorite cuddling positions are one, laying on his back while I cradle him and pet his belly as we sit in a recliner.  And two… morning snuggle time.  He loves to spoon.  This is hilarious, but true.

Weston is, after all, a little creature of habit, just like his sister.  He’s also a smart one.  A pain in the ass to be sure, but that’s a post for another time.  I’m usually on my side with my arm out.  He lays right up against me, over my arm, puts his head on the pillow, and then wants me to put my other hand on his back.  He also likes it if he’s so close that my head sort of lays on him and the pillow at the same time.  It’s so funny.  And yes, I sometimes cuddle him.  He gets a couple of minutes of this and sometimes longer if I actually fall asleep in this position.  It cracks me up.  He would like this to happen every day, which it doesn’t, but he’d very much like it if it did.

His little sister has her thing too…

We get ready for bed and all get in.  Each dog in their little dog beds on our bed.  We all sort of relax and just when it gets quiet and mellow, Riley decides she needs to get back up.  She stands up, one of us says to her, OK… go get a drink.  She jumps down, goes to the water bowl, drinks really loudly for a tiny 10 pound dog, jumps back up, and lays back down.  Every night, same routine.

Bedtime.  9:30 rolls around and they both get surly and disgusted if we don’t go to bed.  If we are in the media room Riley is in a dog bed on a chair and Weston is usually asleep on the couch or laying on me.  One of us gets up to get a drink or something and they both sit up, on alert, waiting for us to say the magic words… time for bed.  They will even jump down, start to head upstairs in the hope that it’s time.  We have to say to them… not yet.  Not quite yet.  Being the little creatures of habit that they are it’s tough for them to alter their course.

Ah well… the wind is still blowing out there now.  The sun is up and so are we.  I’m sitting on the couch in the living room typing away around Riley, who is laying on my lap.  Yes, it’s hard to type with a dog in ones lap.  Weston is laying next to me, pressed up against my leg.  It’s time for breakast though and they are starting to let me know.  Riley has just jumped up and gotten in my face.  Weston keeps nudging me.  OK, OK… I get the message.  Loud and clear.  Don’t want to mess with the routine…