Monday, July 4, 2022

Letter to the Supreme Court Justices

Honored Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett,

Well done.  You did it at last.  You finally had the opportunity to overturn Roe v  Wade, and you did it, with all the courage of your convictions.

You were bravely undeterred by the fact that the majority of Americans support a woman's right to decide if she wants to bear a child or not.  Undeterred by 50 years of precedent.  Undeterred by the fact that many women will not be able to travel to a state in which abortion is legal and so will either have to perform abortions on themselves or give birth to children they do not want and most likely can't afford.  Undeterred by the fact that, in some states, a victim of rape or incest will be forced to bear the child of her assailant.  Undeterred by the fact that outlawing abortions does not eliminate abortions but only turns women into criminals or unwilling mothers or corpses.  Undeterred by having revealed for all to see that any liberal cause stands no chance in the high court.  Undeterred by the fact that this country's standing in the view of the civilized world has once again been diminished.

Knowing now that you have sided with the rights of gametes over women, I am very curious to see how you take on gun rights and limitations, should such a case come before you, as it most surely will.  Are you going to side with gun owners, or with the rising number of people killed by guns in this country every year?  

And Justice Thomas, a special note just to you.  You have already signaled your eagerness to reconsider other rights that have previously been granted by the court, specifically citing contraception, gay sex, and gay marriage.  I'm wondering if you are going to include interracial marriage in that package of issues, and if so,  how does your white wife feel about that?

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Let's think about that

I acknowledge that a lot of what's in this post comes from the wisdom of others.

Someone says "The illegals are coming into the country and taking our jobs."

Let's think about that.  Someone can't really just take a job.  They have to apply, usually be interviewed, sign paperwork.  Were you standing in line for the busboy job and just as you were about to be hired, a Honduran stepped in front of you and grabbed the hire slip?  The premise is bogus.

Someone says "Late term abortions are horrible, murder, criminal."

Let's think about that.  If a woman is in the last trimester of her pregnancy, she has probably already chosen a name for her child, bought clothes and a basinet, painted the nursery.  Late term abortions are not done casually.  They are tragic.  They are based on there being a serious threat to the health of the mother or a serious defect in the fetus.

Someone says "The Jan. 6 rioters weren't Trump supporters, they were Antifa or Black Lives Matter or Democrats pretending to be Trump supporters."

Let's think about that.  Do you think it's possible that Antifa or BLM adherents or Democrats wanted to disrupt the election certification and keep Donald Trump as President?  That's completely backward.

Someone says "There's evidence for massive voter fraud, even if no one has presented it."

Let's think about that.  If you were accused of a crime, would you want the prosecuting attorneys to say "We have evidence of this person's guilt.  We'll present it a few years down the road.  But we really do have it.  We promise."  Wouldn't you want there to be clear, concrete evidence, undeniable proof of your wrongdoing before you could be convicted?

Someone says "Homosexuality is disgusting, it should be illegal."

Let's think about that.  I happen to find your attitude disgusting.  Does that mean I get to make your attitude illegal?

Too often it's easy to get caught up in a strongly voiced or cunningly phrased assertion, but almost always, all it takes is going one question further to start to unravel that assertion.  Perhaps that is a key to having conversations that actually have substance.  There are too many meme-driven opinions strangling critical thought these days.  Time to look deeper. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Sad, but not all sad

Yesterday morning a vet came to our house to assess our sweet boy cat Flow, who has been slowly declining.  We had prepared ourselves for the possibility of euthanasia, but were also hoping she might be able to suggest some way to give him more time.  She listened to our descriptions of how he has behaved, the changes in his habits, and looked him over very gently.  She never urged us in any one direction, but she did agree with our inevitable conclusion that to wait any longer would be to let him get to a point where he would be suffering. 

She gave him a mild sedative, so artfully delivered that he seemed not even to notice it.  Then she slipped away to allow us a few moments to love on him, whisper sweet nothings to him, reassure him that he is loved and has been one of the best parts of our life.  Finally she very respectfully and almost invisibly gave him another sedative, and then that last fatal dose.  It was all done quietly and kindly.  She took our boy away, and now the house seems much emptier.

Good-bye, Flow.  Thanks for all the purring and playfulness and for waking us up at 4:30 in the morning but being so darned cute that we couldn't mind it.  Thank you for making us a family and our house a home.  Thank you for all the lap time and bag love time and for the way you used to patrol the perimeter to keep us safe.  Good kitty.

So it was a sad day for us, but not all sad.  It was the first sunny day in quite a while, a squeaky clean sky, crisply blue, sunny but not hot, fresh fresh fresh.  Sweet Hubby and I took a walk in a nearby wooded park, so peaceful and cool, bird songs, people out with dogs, glimpses of hummingbirds.  I made us some wonderful muffins, baked with a dab of jam in the middle and a cinnamon-sugar topping.  We ran errands together, and held hands all day.

The nicest part of the day was getting an email from a theater company in Florida which had chosen my play Want for development and production.  They wanted the rights to a world premiere production, but those rights belong to the company currently rehearsing the play for an opening here in Seattle, so I had to turn down the Florida theater.  The Artistic Director wrote back, of my rejection, that he was "pierced through the heart!"  (The exclamation point was his.)  It was very reassuring to see another theater excited about this play.  It is gritty and provocative enough that I have been concerned about whether anyone would embrace it.

So all in all, a good day, a full day, with a portion of deep sorrow in it to balance, but not cancel, the goodness.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Professor and the Artist

I think Sweet Hubby and I should be a sitcom.  We're practically one already.  It would be called "Gus and Trudy" or maybe "Augie and Gin".  They are an older (not old!) couple dealing with family, politics, money, and their sometimes colliding world views.

He's a professorial type, sort of grizzled, very, very smart, retired from a job at NASA.  (Sweet Hubby used to work at NASA.  When I first learned this, while we were still courting long distance by phone, I said "Wait wait wait, let me just take that in.  My boyfriend is a rocket scientist!")  He's grounded, practical, skilled at almost anything he tries his hand at, loves doing project around the house.  To stimulate his great big brain, he often will spontaneously take a class in some subject he knows nothing about.  Although he sometimes seems gruff or anti-social, he's got a fluffy soft spot for cats and a wicked sense of humor.

She's an artsy type, a writer, or so she thinks of herself.  Her career path has been more checkered, a wildly curving road to his straight line.  She is highly social, loves books and parties and dancing and travel.  While not actually bipolar, she does experience high high and low lows, but for the most part her moods are happy and energetic.  She has written a moderately successful series of romance novels, and has been working for several years on a literary novel, which she despairs of ever finishing.

In one episode, their beloved cat has died.  He wants to get another cat, but she wants a dog so that she will have a companion when she goes on her long walks.  It turns into a fight until they realize that they can have both.  In another episode, she has invited a houseful of people to come for a weekend visit but forgot to tell him (or did she just pretend to have forgotten because she was afraid he'd say no?).  In another, she sets up a threatening situation, without telling him it's a set-up, because she wants to see how it plays out so that she can put it into one of her books.

As in most sitcoms, it's not the situations that cause the comedy and poignancy, but the characters, the people who come into our houses week after week until we feel that we know them as friends.  I think people would like Gus/Augie and Trudy/Gin.  I know I already do.  

I probably won't ever write this myself, of course.  TV writing requires a stringency, a discipline I'm not sure I have.  But it's a fun idea to play with, one of the many hundreds which plague my waking dreams.  This is another case of what I call Writer's Deluge, the opposite of Writer's Block.  It's a mixed blessing, or a mixed curse, one I relish and am grateful for but which can be exhausting at times.  After my death, if someone bothers to look in my "Incomplete writing" folder, oh what treasures they will find.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022


 I have the right to own a dog, but must keep it on a leash.

I have the right to freedom of speech, but may not use it to slander someone, or tell a lie under oath, or yell “Fire!” in a theater.

I have the right to own and drive a car, but not to drive it on a sidewalk, or 100 mph on a residential street, or against the flow of traffic.

Every right comes with restrictions and limitations, all of them agreed upon for the sake of public safety.  Shouldn’t this be true for gun ownership as well?

Shouldn’t every gun owner be trained and licensed and found to be fit to manage a lethal weapon?  Own a gun for personal protection or a rifle for hunting, fine.  But who besides a mass murderer needs an assault rifle?

What has happened to this country that our supposed leaders would quite seriously promote the idea that school buildings with only one door is the solution to school massacres?  What has happened to this country that our supposed leaders continue to be held in the sway of the NRA when well over half the country, even gun owners, believe there should be more restrictions on who can have a firearm and what kind of firearms should be available for purchase?

Madness, madness.  So very discouraging, and frightening.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Travel travails and the mysterious leg

I recently had an opportunity to get out of town and get together with friends.  I was so looking forward to this gathering, but it turned out the travel itself was not without a few trouble spots.

I was working in Tacoma as a faux patient in a nurses' training program the morning I was to leave, and there wasn't time to go home after that, so just drove directly to the Seattle airport.  Sweet Hubby took the train and met me to say good-bye and drive the car home.   I had 3 hours at SeaTac, then a short hop to San Francisco, 5 hours in SFO, then an overnight flight to Baltimore, and 3 hours at the Baltimore airport waiting for the shuttle that would take me into Delaware to meet up with my friends.

It made for a very, very long day/night/day, and I didn't get any sleep on the overnight plane, but I knew what my itinerary was and so had plenty to read and also used the time also to walk and walk and walk and occasionally eat.  SFO, by the way, gets my vote for best airport.  It is roomy, as lots of comfortable places to sit, terrific art installations, and even has yoga rooms, one of which I used to stretch my limbs and rest my mind.

So it all worked out.  I got together with my friends in a big rental home on Fenwick Island, a sweet, touristy town on the DE coast.  I was tired, but feeling fine when I went to bed that night.  However--

The next morning I woke up virtually crippled in one leg.  The back of my left knee, upper calf, and lower thigh were so tight and sore, I could barely straighten that leg, nor put much weight on it.  Besides the pain, which was considerable, I was also plagued by the question of what the heck had happened????  There were no incidents nor accidents during the night.  The couple of times I got up to pee, I was normal, feeling just fine.  What on earth had caused this tightness and soreness?  There was no swelling, no bruising, no wound.  It was the weirdest thing, and the weirdness of it, the mystery, continues to nag me to this day.  

The pain itself began very gradually waning on the second day, and I was able to enjoy being with my friends.  The weather was blustery, so we mostly stayed indoors, laughing, snacking, playing games, talking.  It was an almost perfect four days - except for this stupid leg.

On the trip home, more travel travails.  I was driven back to the Baltimore airport for a short hop to Detroit, there to learn that the plane from Detroit to Seattle was postponed - until the next day.  The airline (which shall be unnamed, since whatever caused the long delay probably wasn't anyone's fault but was due to mechanical issues, or short crew staffing, something like that) did put me and whole lot of other people up in a nice enough hotel for the night, and the plane did get me safely home the next day, so it all turned out all right.  No lost luggage, no COVID, and thank goodness I didn't have to be back for a job interview or wedding or anything.  Now it's all just a fun story.

Now, almost a month later, the pain in my leg is basically a whisper, there but not a problem unless I fold my leg up to kneel or whatever.  I may never know what caused this; don't see the point in going to my doctor because I doubt there's anything he could actually see or find.  But still - what the heck happened?  I guess my body is feeling it's age, but my spirit, ah, my spirit is still young and energetic and still wants to do cartwheels, which makes having to limp around like an old granny quite annoying.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Cool things someone said

It takes a mighty good husband to be better than none. - Amish saying

It's not how old you are, but how you are old. - Anon.

How do we consume in a way that does justice to the lives we take? - Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass

Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars. - Gustave Flaubert in Madame Bovary

As one grows older it is more and more necessary to reach out your hand for the sturdy old vines you knew when you were young and let them lead you back to the roots of things that matter. - Lillian Hellman in The Autumn Garden

Are we being good ancestors? - Jennifer Peedom and Robert Macfarlane in the documentary film River

They tried to bury me.  They didn't know that I was a seed. - Sinead O'Connor

The day I stop collecting recipes is the day I'll know that I have finally accepted that I'm not going to live forever. - Granny Owl

Sometimes in life you get eaten by the boa constrictor – in a dark place being squeezed on all sides.  Remember: 1)  It’s not your fault.  2)  All you have to do is hang on, because the snake will eventually shit you out into the light.  - Cynthia Whitcomb

The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and the power to serve others. - Joseph Campbell

Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him. -   E.M. Forster in Howard's End

Awareness itself is the primary currency of the human condition, and as such it deserves to be spent carefully. - Andrew Olendzki in Busy Signal

I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and close from fear of further pain. - Oriah Mountain Dreamer in The Invitation