Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Feel Good Moment -- Voting Early

Yesterday was the opening day of early voting in North Carolina and I was there. It was a chance to do something in the face of the helplessness I've felt as our country teeters ever closer to a complete surrender to fear and greed and racism.

Children in concentration camps (run for profit by Republican allies,) environmental regulations falling right and left, civil liberties endangered, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in the crosshairs as the government looks for ways to offset the huge loss of income due to the tax cut (which mainly benefitted the wealthy,) gerrymandering and questionable purging of voting rolls to favor the party in power, and a president* whose go-to offense is name-calling and lying and who appears to have a thing for strong man dictators -- these are a few of my unfavorite things.

I often express my frustration on Facebook, posting op-ed articles or memes that echo my feelings. Most of my commenters are of like mind but I get the occasional troll type and I have a few remaining FB 'friends' who are of the other persuasion.  

Yesterday I posted a meme that drew comments and rebuttals from both sides and, after posting a rebuttal myself (in the form of a link to a fact-check article,) I commented that I needed to stop engaging with these folks and just say "Bless your heart," that all-purpose comeback with as many meanings as one cares to assign.

And then a little war of Bless your hearts broke out between the two factions. 'No, bless your heart. And I mean it sincerely.' Kinda charming, in a way.

But thoughts and prayers and blessings aren't going to help a thing if folks don't go vote. I usually vote early because of the convenience, but this year, with horror stories abounding of people being purged from the rolls or turned away for lack of the 'correct' ID, I think voting early to make sure you can is a wise idea.

And it just feels good.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Walking Each Other Home

We had friends over for dinner the other night and, after dinner, while the guys removed to the porch to smoke cigars, the ladies remained inside. We talked of quilts and gardens and then the talk turned to aging and related problems. 

 I've been struck at recent gatherings by how much conversation is inextricably tied to one's time of life. Though my friend is almost ten years younger than I, the conversation ranged from our own health and that of our friends to who is moving into smaller/more practical housing, how we see our own futures playing out, our widowed friends and how they are coping, Alzheimer's, cancer . . . and beyond.

It used to be a source of amusement, this predilection of the elderly to turn to the obituaries first, to catalog one's every ache and pain, to obsess, in short, about aging.

But now that I am one -- a senior citizen, a geezer, a golden ager, (yikes, those all sound awful! I don't mind being old but those labels suck) -- I digress -- now that I am of an age where many of my contemporaries are experiencing illness and loss, I realize the truth of Richard Alpert's "We're all just walking each other home."

Just as at any gathering of new parents, the talk will sooner or later turn to babies and their care and feeding, we who are aging have to figure out how to deal with the changes ahead or already present in our lives. We seek, not exactly role models, but some hints on how others are dealing with common problems in aging. We may not yet have experienced these problems, but reason suggests that sooner or later (if that dark fella Death doesn't get there first,) they will be our problems.

So we talk about it, preparing ourselves for the changes to come . . . getting used to the idea of age and loss . . . and walking each other home.  

Saturday, October 13, 2018

My Pet Alien?

I saw it at the grocery store on Tuesday and resisted . . . then I was at the store again on Thursday . . . and it was still there . . . . and resistance was useless.

It's so wonderfully weird, this strange orchid. I suspect it's an alien critter, pretending to be a plant.

Or, to be more exact, a clutch of alien critters . . .