Sunday, January 29, 2017

Recovering From Week 1

As I commented on Facebook yesterday, the new administration has been in office for only one week, and what a mess it has been. How much more chaos are we in for in the next four years?

As a followup to my activism in the Women's March last weekend, I have made phone calls and sent emails to Senators and Representatives in Congress, and even wrote to the President at the White House. I have posted my actions on Facebook to encourage others to also take action.

Keeping up with the political news is almost a full time job, so I try to pace myself. I finished several sewing projects and sent them off to two nieces in Massachusetts and another that I am sending to my sister who lives about an hour and a half away. 

We saw two more nominated movies this week, Lion and Arrival.  Lion is a dramatization of a real life story of a little boy who gets lost in Calcutta and eventually is adopted by an Australian couple. Later in life, this boy, now a man, has his memory triggered, and begins an all consuming struggle to locate the remote village he came from and find his family. It is a good movie. If you see it, take tissues. It will make you cry, but they will be happy tears.

After seeing Arrival last night I had to go on line for an explanation of the plot. It was that confusing. Some kind of aliens arrive in twelve locations around the planet Earth. The struggle is to find out why they are here and what they want. Louise, a famous linguist, is selected by the military and the CIA to try to communicate with the aliens that landed in the US.  But the time sequence is all over the place. What we thought were flashbacks might have been Louise actually foreseeing the future. What we thought had happened in her life might not have happened yet. It was baffling. If you have seen it, let me know what you think.

Saturday morning we changed pace a bit. We attended our garden club planning meeting, setting up topics and trips for the year. It was a very pleasant two hours. Then Tom and I grabbed a quick lunch at a Subway shop near the home where we were meeting and then connected up with the north end of the Soos Creek Trail for a destination walk. 

 Much of the trail is through wetlands. Power lines run overhead.
 Other sections are at a bit higher elevation, in the wooded areas along the wetlands.
 There is actually a creek meandering here and there between pools and marshes. 
 We walked for two miles and then stopped to turn around. A meeting of mallards emerged from the marsh to measure us up. Meh! I guess they are used to human intruders. 

 Then we retraced our steps back the two miles to the parking area. 
It was a pleasant change of pace on a mild, almost sunny afternoon. And we didn't talk politics. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Throughout the year, we don't go to many movies in the theater, and don't even watch many on cable TV or the Internet.

But now the Oscar nominations are out. It's movie time! 

There are nine films nominated for Best Picture. Of those we have seen only two, Hidden Figures and La la Land. 

We saw La La Land right after Christmas, and enjoyed it. I thought it was pleasant entertainment, but not a great movie. Considering the number of nominations it has received, I guess many others disagree.

Hidden Figures, on the other hand, was a wonderful movie. I really encourage all of my readers to see it if you haven't already. We went to see it in the evening last Saturday, the same day we participated in the Women's March in Seattle. What a great way to end a day celebrating strong women. The movie is about three brilliant African American women who work at NASA as "computers" during the early 1960's, when segregation was still common. What they accomplished will leave you cheering out loud. 

Arrival is a science fiction movie, but more, according to the reviews. Fences is a movie version of a stage play, one I saw years ago when it opened in Seattle before going to Broadway. I hear it still feels like a play but the acting is very good.

Hell or High Water I know nothing about. It is a  modern western. Hacksaw Ridge is a WWII movie about a pacifist who served as a combat medic. 

The final three are Lion, about a boy in India who gets separated from his family, Manchester By The Sea, a family tragedy drama set in a place I visited last June, and Moonlight, centered on a young African American man living in Miami. 

Now I will have to do some research and find out which ones are still playing in theaters, and where. Some might be hard to find. We'll see as many as we find time for. 

Which ones have you seen?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why I Marched

I marched not in protest, but in support.

I marched to support those that are vulnerable to the whims and orchestrations of the new administration in Washington DC.

I marched to support women's health and the agencies that provide essential care to those who are most at risk of losing that care. 

I marched to support the Affordable Care Act.

I marched to support the freedom to be who you are, especially as it pertains to the LGBT community. 

I marched to support the needs of women and children, families who require our help to make it through hard times.

I marched to support those who came to our country as immigrants.

I marched to support freedom to live as equals no matter your race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. 

I marched to support educators who are constantly under a barrage of blame by a society that wants a quick fix, when it is that very society that needs fixing. 

I marched in defense of our Earth, clean air and water, renewable resources,  and environmental protections.

I marched in support of strong women everywhere, and one in particular, one who for 50 years has worked for the causes of women and children, one so strong that she scared men of power shitless, so that they felt the need to bring her down by character assassination and lies. 

I did march in protest of those who chose to believe those lies, and I marched in the hope that I could begin to forgive those close to me who promoted those lies. 

I marched because I need to have truth respected, facts verified and acknowledged. 

I marched to support science. 

I marched because I needed to be in the company of other like minded people.

I marched because I was angry, and I needed to let that go. I needed to feel the joy of being surrounded by smiling, laughing, supportive people who all want to be heard and will not be silenced. 

I marched for me.

And I marched for Hillary.

And now I want to show you the experience we had participating in the Womxn's March in Seattle. But when you are finished enjoying (or not) the photos, come back to why I was there. 

We left home for the Link light rail station before 9:00 to ensure that we would get parking at the station. We got off the Link near Pioneer Square, because we knew that the March would come west on Jackson Street, from the gathering place in Judkin's Park about a mile east of there. We spent an hour at the Starbucks on Jackson, reading our phones and the newspaper, while having coffee and sweets and waiting to join the march in progress. 

After walking around a bit, we walked over the the intersection of Jackson and 4th Ave, where the March would swing north. 
 Many others had the same plan.
 We blended into the waiting crowd until the police escort cleared the path for the approaching marchers. 

 We stood there for nearly an hour, watching the participants slowly walk by, and enjoying all the signs. 

 It takes a very secure man to wear a "pussy hat" and carry a sign like this, "Men of quality support gender equality". 
 Old and young, men and women and families all shared in the experience.

 Not all signs were polite. There were anti-Trump signs, of course. We don't like him and we don't respect him, because he has shown that he doesn't respect us. 

 We connected early on with Pat, a retired physician from Whidbey Island. We stayed together for the rest of the day's activities. 

 Finally, as the marchers thinned a bit, we blended in and began to proceed, very slowly through the city. At this point there were marchers along the whole 3.6 miles of the route. The estimated size of the crowd was 130,000!

 We cheered the window washer high up as he saluted us. Talk about going high when they go low!

 And finally, about 2:30, we reached the Seattle Center Grounds. 
People were milling about everywhere, but we were tired, and after perching on the edge of a pond to rest a bit, we found a rest room, and then waited in line for the monorail to get back downtown and back on to the Link to come home. 

Did I find what I was seeking in participating in the Womxn's March? Yes. The smiles and the laughter around me were joyous. People were happy and celebrating their freedom. I heard no anger, no profanity, no mocking from the sidelines, nothing negative. We were blessed by the weather gods with blue sky overhead and sun to warm us. 

Tom and I are so glad that we were there. It was a  healing experience, an experience that we needed in order to move on. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Changing Plans

I watched some of the inaugural proceedings this morning with the volume turned down as I breakfasted with friends this morning.  Only one of us seven around the table had voted for Trump, and we are working on forgiving her. We know she was misled. 

When Tom and I arrived back home, we watched just the Trump speech portion of the programming that was being recorded. We wanted our own take on things before we heard the commentary. 

It was a harsh speech, and very nationalistic. Nationalism is not a particularly healthy philosophy or world view. Trump was Trump. It must have been hard for the Clintons and the Bushes and the Carters to sit through. 

Then we went for a good, brisk walk. 

Tom and I have been talking. We feel the need to participate in something meaningful. We have researched the light rail links that might get us close to the WOMXN'S March in Seattle tomorrow. Then this afternoon we discovered that the march route had been published finally, and we saw that we could join the march in progress right by the light rail station we use to go to the stadium.  

We will need to go early to get parking at the Link station near us, but after we get downtown we will hang out at a coffee house until the the March comes to us. We will fall in behind the other thousands of women, and a few good men, to proceed through the city and onto the Seattle Center grounds. My husband, a very good man, will be at my side. 

At least that's the plan for now. We'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What to Do

I make no secret of my politics. I am a liberal, a progressive, a Democrat. I voted for Hillary Clinton and was devastated when she lost. And I was angry that Donald Trump won.

As the day of Trump's inauguration approached, I felt more and more restless. I felt like I should be doing something, fighting somehow, resisting. 

I have read many editorials on line from The New York Times, The Washington Post, the New Yorker, hearing many voices that I respect. They warn of not "normalizing" Trump.  I have followed the news through mainstream media, debated on Facebook, and even kept up with some of the "tweets". I have been informed by his close adviser, Kellyanne Conway, that we "should not take Donald Trump at face value". We should wait to see what he will do. 

Now we are just a day away from turning over the presidency to a man I cannot  trust or respect. 

I thought about joining a protest march. I looked into the logistics of the Womxns March in Seattle, but lack of access to public transportation would result in a nightmare of traffic and parking problems. I decided to leave marching to others.

When Trump was first elected, I joined others in wearing a safety pin on my jacket, a message of "you are safe with me". Then I read on Facebook that I was a "crybaby wearing a diaper pin", a sore loser, a snowflake needing a safe place, that I should "just get over it, you lost."  Those were the nicer labels. 

Some say I am not supposed to be angry. I should have hope. Others say I need to give the new president a chance. But nothing I have seen so far gives me hope or stills my anger or leads me to expect that Trump will suddenly be something he is not. And yet, I can't hope he fails, because that means our country fails. 

Many people I know and respect are going to boycott the inauguration ceremonies. "Don't watch him, don't listen to him,  don't give him the audience he thrives on. "

Friday morning I will be with like minded friends at our usual Friday morning breakfast. There is a TV right by our table. I can watch if I want to.  Most likely I will watch some of the proceedings, because I like to have first hand information. I want to form my own impressions and not rely on analysts and pundits. I am also recording it at home, in case I want to listen to Trump's speech. 

Others I am with will not want to watch and will turn away and talk over the TV. That's all OK. Maybe being with friends is the right way to lighten up a morning I have been dreading. 

I still don't know what I should do. Maybe I'll find out by just living my life. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Walking On Sunshine

This may be the last day for awhile. Weather change is coming. 

After spending some time with Jake this morning, catching up over breakfast at the Pancake Chef, a local landmark for many years now, Tom and I drove over to North SeaTac Park for a walk in the sunshine. 

The runoff pond is frozen over and our shadows are long even at mid day. 
 But cold as it is, spring is always trying to erupt here in the coastal Pacific Northwest. The hazel nut catkins are elongating. 
 In the shady parts the path is still frozen. 
 But in the sun, we are walking on sunshine under a clear blue sky.

Click on the link for a little sing along! You can walk on sunshine too!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bumps in the Road

"Project Me" has been slowed a bit this week by an extreme case of "the vapors".  

Some nasty little intestinal bug that Tom shared with me has had me trying to carry on while experiencing intense abdominal pain and pressure. Of course that kind of gas build up must exit, and the resulting belching and flatulence are not something to share in company. 

We have managed to get in a walk most days, which helps, and I can just let it fly since Tom is my companion and he was doing the same thing a week ago. When we walk in the neighborhood park, like we did today, we have very little company, so we can be indiscreet. 
I did manage to attend my first two tai chi classes this week without embarrassing myself. I haven't decided what I think of the practice of tai chi yet, since I have not really got the hang of it yet. I am used to much more vigorous exercise, but I can see how it will be giving my hips and my balance a good work out. That's a good thing, since arthritis is setting into my hip and my balance is not very good. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. 

The weather is cold and dry again. We had one day of rain and 40 degree temps and now we are back to just above freezing day time temps, so while the ice is gone and walking is safe again, there are still remnants of the snow we had January 1st. 

There's a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I've forgotten --
If I ever read it. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Isaac's 14th Birthday

As some of you know, when Jill and her kids are involved, birthdays have a theme, and a color scheme. 
 This year Isaac chose green, and SNAKES! And he chose to have it at my house. 

I don't like snakes, but I thought I could come up with something snakey that I could live with. 
The centerpiece needs explanation. 
This is "Snakey". He is a piece of driftwood Isaac found on the beach at Rockaway at least five years ago. He had to come home with us and he lives in our garden, in a small patch of ivy at the base of a big cedar tree. Snakey got to come to the party. 

Aunt Jan joined us for the festivities.
 So did John, Jill's new guy in her life. We dined on mac and cheese and broccoli, Isaac's choices, and fruit salad. 
Then there were gifts. 
The singing cupcakes card was a hit. 

 The Seahawks were represented. 
 These two are quite the hams in front of a camera these days. 
 There was a bunch of Pokemon stuff, which most of us adults don't understand. 

 But John actually knew who this is! I still don't. 
And there was cake. 
 Snake cake! Another great Jill creation.
 I have been blogging since April of 2008. This was the first photo I posted of Isaac. He was five. Many of you have watched him grow up following my blog. 
Now Isaac is 14!
 Happy Birthday, Isaac. Have another wonder filled year.