Wednesday, March 6, 2024

A women's world

Last night I saw a photo of a cityscape at night, full of tall, tall buildings with spires reaching into the sky.  It reminded me of a story I'd read about someone, either the architect or the owner, adding an antenna to the top of a new building so that this would be the tallest in the world by a couple of inches.  And I thought "I don't think female architects would be so bent on a building having to be the tallest" - for the obvious reason.

That got me thinking about what else would be different if women were in charge of the world.  I don't think there would be wars, for one thing.  Women are the mothers of the sons (and now daughters) who fight the battles in a war, and I just don't think women would be so cavalier about sending their children out to face tanks and bazookas and bombs and such.  I know all of this is a generalization, but it's founded in experience and science.  Women simply aren't as aggressive as men because we're not run by testosterone.  Women are more cooperative.

Sure we have our murderers and bitches.  But so often the women who can be pointed to as making it in a man's world are women who act more like men, have adopted men's language, posture, and shows of strength.   So it's still male energy running everything.

All of this is moot, of course, because women will never be running everything for the very reason I'm talking about; we just aren't subject to that kind of aggression.  Maybe don't even want to run the world.  Long ago when my grandfather asked me what I would do first if I were made Queen of the Universe, I replied immediately "Abdicate".

When I look at a war scene, at the tanks and cannons and drones and uniforms and rifles and dead bodies, I get terribly sad.  It all seems so unnecessary.  We all know already that we share this fragile, magnificent, miraculous planet and that we are made of exactly the same organs and blood and brains, despite the differences in language, history, skin color, customs. Why on this good green Earth can't we get along?  But I guess if one country acts like a bully, other countries have to act like bigger bullies in order to win, which makes the bully act like a bigger bully which makes......

I once saw Jordan Klepper interview a MAGA follower at a Trump rally.  When he asked if she would vote for a woman for President, she was quite firm that No no no, a woman might be emotional, might be on her period and start a war.  So he asked "Haven't all wars so far been started by men?"  It actually gave her pause, but of course I have no idea if that moment actually got her to think a little more deeply about the rhetoric she parrots.

I could be way off base in my assumptions about how much more peaceful the world will be if it were run by women, but since it will never happen, I guess I'll never know.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Double jackpot

One night recently Sweet Hubby and I saw red lights flashing on the street outside our house.  We looked out the window to see the wife of the couple across the street being carried into an ambulance.  (She's home again and doing all right, in case you're concerned, although she has a bad case of long COVID.)

Something like that always brings to mind the fact that one day SH and I will have to deal with one of us being carried away for good.  Those thoughts make my heart clench up and my stomach drop in anticipation of how awful, how unbearable, how ghastly it's going to be to say good-bye to SH.  I don't know how I could ever recover from the loss if I were the one left behind.

But for some reason, this night another thought came close on the heels of the "Oh no, oh no!"  I remembered that I have, astoundingly, been loved every day of my entire life.  First it was my mom, whose affection, support, and warmth could always, and I mean always be counted on.  No matter how neglectful or dismissive or absent or cranky I was, she loved me unwaveringly and I knew it.

Since SH and I joined our lives almost 18 years ago, I have also been loved by him, every day, without fail, no matter what mood I'm in, whether my insecurities are rampant or I'm pouting about something or we've just had an argument.  He loves me and he tells me so many times a day and shows it in a hundred ways. 

I do realize that it is the loss of all that constant, faithful, dependable love that is going to be part of the heartache if SH dies before me.  It certainly was true that when my sweet Mom died, it left a gaping hole in my world, but by then I had SH to lean on and be comforted by, so love was uninterrupted.  If he dies first, I can only imagine with a shudder how bereft I will be.  I hope I will still have my darling siblings, of course.  We three love each other dearly.  But they and I are busy with out own lives, and are a bit more judge-y in our shared love.  It's wonderful, but it's just not the same.

So what I hope is that if (I say 'if' rather than 'when' because SH has promised I get to die first) that terrible day arrives that I lose my SH, I hope I remember to be grateful grateful grateful to have been loved so well, and will allow that remembrance to be a balm, to add some gratitude and sweetness to the bitter sorrow.  Maybe remembering and cherishing those lifelong gifts of love will be what allows me to recover and continue to live my life.  That's what I hope.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

My youngold body

I'm pretty crabby these days.  I've got shingles on my back.  Shingles!  And it's darned uncomfortable and painful.  I'm usually a minimalist about medications, but I've been slugging down Tylenols as often as the directions allow.  I've had the most recent vaccination so it's probably not as bad as it might have been otherwise; just a small patch about the size of a 50¢ piece, pink and red and blistery.  But it has made my whole lower back ache and the skin around it feels tender and bruised.  (Plus it doesn't help that I also seem to have injured my right shoulder, unrelated but also painful.)  

What the hell???  Shingles?  That's an old person's problem, and you have to understand, I'm only 37, lithe and strong and flexible and healthy, full of energy, a force of Nature.

I know that I'm 72, or at least my body is.  I don't deny it, never lie about it, am not embarrassed by it, don't even mind it.  I just don't feel it.

I wonder if everyone in the world is like me, being one age by the calendar and a different age in spirit.  When something like this happens, something like shingles shows up to slow me down and slump my shoulders, there is a dissonance between how I think I ought to feel at the young, healthy age of my spirit and how I actually feel at my calendar age.  It makes this old folks' condition seen like a mistake, an outrage, something I might have to deal with decades down the road, but not now, not yet.  

Yet here I am, more aware than ever that I must expect health difficulties to show up now and then, and perhaps less then and increasingly now.  Oh well, another day above ground, which offers the possibility of experiencing more of life.  Including goddamn shingles.  

Monday, January 22, 2024

Going to hell and other miscellanea

"The country is going to hell," say Trump and his followers.  "This administration is a disaster.  The Democrats are ruining the country."  They're right that the country is going to hell, but it's because of the ignorance and malice of the very people who are saying it is.  If there are problems - and there certainly are - I'm not hearing any offer of any solution by the people who are complaining, angrily, threateningly, mindlessly, gleefully complaining

To anyone in the future who tells me she (or he) can't cook, I plan to reply, "Can you read?"  Because that's all cooking is: following a recipe.  Of course as one gains confidence and interest, a lot more is possible in the realm of cooking: baking! for instance.  But even without confidence and interest, one can turn out a decent homecooked meal just by following a recipe.  

Sweet Hubby and I had mac and cheese out of a box this afternoon (it had been part of a holiday gift box and I didn't want it to sit around forever).  It was just awful.  I guess it's possible to become used to that kind of food; lots of people no doubt have and are.  But homecooked mac and cheese is like first class flight: once you've experienced it, it's hard to go back.  I think the people who say, "I can't cook" really just don't want to.  It is a lot of trouble, after all.  Thinking of what to make, seeing if the ingredients are at hand; grocery shopping if they are not; putting the groceries away; the prep, usually comprised of chopping, mincing, boiling, saute-ing, stirring, etc; then the actual cooking itself, trying throughout the process to time the dishes so they are ready at somewhat the same moment.  I'm almost talking myself into a box - of mac and cheese. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Easy to be stupid

 I was ordering lunch at a counter recently.  I like to thank service folks by name, and when I looked at the name tag of the young woman helping me, wasn't sure how to pronounce Anahi.  So I asked.

"Is it pronounced Anna-hee or Onna-hee?"

She replied, "Onna-ee, no h sound."

I rolled my eyes self-deprecatingly and said, "Americans", as in "We American are so hopeless around things that are foreign to us."  But then I realized that just because she had an unusual name, olive skin, and a slight accent didn't mean she isn't American.  So I sort of fumbled my way through an apology/explanation and slipped away.

In that moment, I realized how very easy it is to do or say something stupid, with no ill intent whatsoever.  And lately, it feels as though it is easier than it has ever been to hurt someone's feelings, or to sound anti-this or phobic-that.  Imagine the pressure on celebrities and politicians, whose every word and gesture are recorded and widely shared, to try to navigate the world of other people's feelings.  (I'm not speaking, of course, about those politicians who are actually making a career out of insulting and debasing others.)

It also got me thinking: "For how long should someone be held accountable and punished for past mistakes?"

There's no one answer to that question, of course, because there are so many variables.  How egregious was the mistake?  Was it intended to be hurtful or was it just careless and stupid?  Has the person matured beyond that behavior, even to the point of being chagrined about it?

When Brett Kavanaugh was grilled prior to being awarded his seat on the Supreme Court (I still haven't quite gotten over that he's one of the Supremes), it was clear he hadn't matured beyond his college bad boy behavior.  He was flustered and defensive and acted victimized by the questions.  So in my mind, he is still accountable for his past transgressions.  He has not earned the pass of forgiveness.

The best examples I can think of of someone taking full responsibility for causing harm are, sadly, fictional, although I'm sure many real life examples abound.  I'm thinking of an early episode of "The West Wing" in which Jed Bartlet, who is running for office, not yet President, is holding a town hall meeting with some disgruntled farmers.  One of them calls him out for a decision he made which affected the farmer poorly.  Bartlet takes a short moment to consider, then acknowledges "Yes, I hosed you with that one."  In that moment, he immediately rises in the estimation of another character, Josh Lyman, who goes on to be his Deputy Chief of Staff.

And I guess that's the point.  We so often act as though we are covering our asses when we refuse to admit mistakes, or try to defend them, when in truth we are so much more admirable to the world when we acknowledge them and especially when we do our best to atone in whatever way might be possible.  I hope I remember that the next time I do something I need to apologize for.  Which will probably be later today, because it's so gosh darned easy to be stupid.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Reflections on the year that was and the year that will be

The beginning of a new year, I always like to take some time to reflect on the past and visualize the future.  I ask myself and pretty much anyone I converse with:

What was hardest about 2023?  What was best?  What did you accomplish?  What did you overcome?  And what are your hopes/vision for 2024?

For me 2023 had a lot of wonderful moments and not too many difficulties.  Some of the hardest parts of the year were about our kitties Bandy and Angel.  When we first adopted them at the end of 2022, they were 5 months old, so full of play and affection, climbing all over us with freedom and trust.  Both of them would visit me for a cuddle at all hours of the night and early morning, which was heaven, despite the loss of sleep.

But as they matured, their dynamics changed.  Bandy became the alpha, and Angel began to shrink away, always hyper-aware of where Bandy was.  Angel stopped getting in our laps and stopped visiting me at night or getting onto the bed at all, while Bandy still gets in my lap almost every evening and still comes to sit on my chest almost every early morning.  Angel became sensitive, timid, while Bandy is absolutely unabashable and confident.  I was so sad to feel a widening gap between us and Angel.

Happily, Angel has started to become more available for affection again.  Several times recently she has crept onto the bed and curled up on my pillow for a purr fest, and has even gotten into my lap once or twice while Sweet Hubby and I watched a movie.  I need to remind myself that there is more to come, and not to take any one moment as representative of all moments.

The worst crisis of the year has ended up being almost all silver lining.  The downstairs level of our house was flooded in November, which felt disastrous for a few days.  But that disaster has led to SH starting at last to clear away a lifetime's accumulation of stuff stuff stuff.  Since we had to clear out his downstairs office in order to take out the carpet, he has decided that besides putting in a new floor, he's going to put in new insulation and wiring and paint the room, so although the house is topsy turvy right now, in the long run, it and we are going to be much better off.  I'm thinking this flood was one of the best things that ever happened to us.

Most of the best of last year consisted of travels: to Alaska for a wedding (where I got my first case of COVID); a cruise to Hawaii with a great friend (where I got my second case); to Idaho to visit best girlfriends; to upstate NY to visit SH's dad and family; to CA for a big family gathering.

It wasn't a great year for me as a playwright.  There were 13 productions of my plays around the world, plus one short play published in a literary magazine.  I did write a couple of new short plays and made some progress on a full length.  As an actress, I had a great time shooting a new series of commercials with my faux 'family' for an Idaho credit union.  I always seem to have just enough artistic accomplishments to feel hopeful, never quite enough to feel successful.

My vision for the new year is to travel more and to finish at least one of my full length plays-in-progress.  And that's a bit of a rundown for me.  I'd love to hear what the kind of year it has been for you.  

Friday, December 22, 2023

Kitty woes

 When Sweet Hubby and I adopted darling 22 month old sister kittens Bandy and Angel, we figured that if we fed them right, made sure they got plenty of stimulation and exercise, and gave them regular check-ups, we wouldn't have to deal with their health for maybe 10 years.

But alas, no.

We took them for their one-year check up and rabies shots yesterday.  Both Bandy and Angel have conjunctivitis in their eyes and gingivitis in their gums, the latter of which might necessitate the removal of some or all of their teeth, which are already starting to loosen.

I feel really bad for them.  I don't know if they're in pain.  They don't seem to be.  But they might be later, and we're going to have to start doing stuff to them that they may not like, such as brushing their teeth every day.  If they hate something we do to them every day, I'm afraid it might damage their sense of trust in us.  They trust us completely right now.  I don't want to lose that.

I also feel bad for SH and myself.  We're both sort of depressed with the news right now, because we are, indeed, going to have to do things to them that they're not going to like, and take them to the vet more frequently.  I really hate that thought.  And we're going to have to figure out how to feed them, since we'll be adding medicine to their food that they may not like.  From now on we're going to be concerned about them, instead of enjoying the carefree delight we take in them now.

We'll figure it out.  Those are always the magic words.  But still, I wish we and the kitties didn't all have to deal with this.  I wish I could explain to them what's happening and why.  I wish I could hide my head in the sand and pretend not to know what's wrong.

But alas, no.