Scheme of Things

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is right with the world today. Some of us know this, deep inside of ourselves, we know. Some of us guess it; something just doesn’t feel right. Some of us continue to believe everything will be alright, all we have to do is ignore the truth and believe in the fantasy, and the world will right itself without intervention. Those in the third group, they scare the hell out of me. They are conspiracy theorists, end-of-days evangelists, science deniers and other fringe hanger on’rs who will argue with the truth no matter how many facts are before them.

The world is tilted on its axis. White is Black with no shades of gray. Facts are Lies and not those little white lies we all tell sometimes, but boldfaced and easily fact-checked. Science is a conspiracy to lead fools astray, despite science once made this nation the greatest and most inspiring in the world. Nothing, not a single thing makes sense to those of us seeking something, anything to hang onto in a world seemingly out of control.

Our world is changing; it will affect how we exist going forward. None of us know what the change is only that it is coming. As we sit, isolated in our homes alone or with our family, we realize it will impact us, and it is at every single tier of our society. Most of us recognize finally that we have no control. We are all trying hard to wrap our arms and heads around what it all means, to our futures, our children’s future, and finally, our nation. If we are in the first two groups mentioned above, we know something is changing; nothing will be the same, we just don’t know what it means.

Oddly, we all keep asking when things will return to ‘normal’; I think the relevant question should be, what will our new normal be? Possibly even more importantly, who will determine what the new normal will be? Maybe we should also ask, what normal is it everyone is so eager to return to because I can think of several things right off the top of my head that was not so great. Then really, we should be asking, when the doors are finally flung open, and we return to whatever ‘normal’ is, will most of us actively participate or simply be shoved aside to survive as best we are able.

With millions of jobs lost, millions out of work, incomes lost and the potential of homes lost, savings and retirement lost, we are facing a depression far worse than the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The difference, this time the wealthy will keep their wealth and everyone else will fall further behind. This time the middle-class will entirely disappear and poverty will become a sliding scale of have not. This time, it will be bad, worse and terrifying. This time, instead of a nation coming together, standing together and trying together, we will be a nation split apart by distrust, partisan politics and pure unadulterated hate in some cases. Do not get me wrong, we certainly had some of that in the first Great Depression, but we also had pride and a common foe; we didn’t have the “wholehearted” look across the table at one another and see the enemy as we do today.

What will we do when the nation returns to ‘normal’?

Will we return to work as if nothing has happened to change the landscape of our nation? Will the thousands of small businesses shuttered through this pandemic suddenly reopen, rehire and begin working as if there was no break in their business operations? Will the restaurants and neighborhood bars, the lifeblood of many communities suddenly find the working capital to start up again? The barbershop or beauty shop on the corner unlock their doors to welcome their shaggy and disheveled customers back after weeks, if not months of self-service. We pay lip service, but do we truly understand all these business models and their operations? The truth is, most do not have deep pockets, most cannot wait it out and most will not reopen. The business landscape and that of our neighborhoods will be very different when finally we can go outside again. Our cities and small towns will look more like Detroit after the fall of the Auto Industry with shuttered windows and locked doors.

What will we do? With most families teetering on the edge of destitution, one paycheck away from complete forfeiture rather than the six months recommended with no real remedy on the horizon. In the near term, some people will receive help in the form of $1,200 from the government maybe a bit more if they had dependents on their taxes last year but there are loopholes. If you are furloughed you have access to unemployment, but as with the last recession, it will never be enough to keep you and your family afloat. In very real terms best case you live in a state that pays unemployment on a sliding scale that considers dependents, the most you can expect is:

  • Alaska – $442 w/dependents
  • Connecticut – $724 w/dependents
  • Illinois – $667 w/dependents
  • Iowa – $591 w/dependents
  • Maine – $667 w/dependents
  • Massachusetts – $1,234 w/dependents
  • Michigan – $362 w/dependents
  • Ohio – $647 w/dependents
  • Pennsylvania – $580 w/dependents
  • Rhode Island – $867 w/dependents

If you are furloughed, you have no access to vacation pay. You cannot cash out your diminished 401K, but you have those paltry unemployment funds to look forward to and foreclosure-1-1your employer can honestly say you are still an employee. You, on the other hand, will have to choose between food on the table, the roof over your head and maybe something else of equal importance. Maybe you can bargain with your bank, your creditors might make a deal with you, but you will have a steep hill to climb when you finally go back to work. Ruined credit, high-interest rates and big first payments to catch up.

What will we look like as a nation when this is over and we fling the doors wide and step outside? Will our nation be kinder? Will we be gentler as a people? I wishfully keep thinking maybe, but all indications say it is only going to get worse, crueler, more hyper-partisan.

The era of expertise is finally dying under the weight of Coronavirus. The age of intelligent and thoughtful debate has seen its last breath. Though long dead as a legal rule, the Fairness Doctrine is now finally and fully taken its last gasp as a philosophical standard in reporting, no longer can we trust any source of coverage.

I have only this when a man or woman tells you who they are; believe them. Believe what comes out of their mouth as the truth. No need for clean up or analysis. We are suffering the truth of who we have elected to every office across this land. It is not just the Presidency; it is every office Federal, State and Local. If this is the nation we want, we got it. Our incompetence, disinterest and failure to participate got us to this point. We own all of it. If we want something better than this, we the people of this nation best rise up and take part in the recovery.

Normal? What the hell is normal? Do any of us genuinely want to return to where we were? In the grand scheme of things, we don’t have much time to fix what we all had a part in breaking.

Introvert Paradise

I shouldn’t tell you this, you might get the wrong idea and suddenly rush out to hug all the introverts you know, just don’t do that. We are a prickly bunch at the best of the time. grouphugBut I will tell you a well-kept secret; even Introverts need human contact. Yes, there I said it, now don’t go running out and telling everyone you know to bother their introverted friends and family randomly.

Most introverts, unless they are at the far end of the spectrum, have learned to live in a society that expects their involvement. Some of us have even worked in careers where our participation is required and rewarded. Some of us have learned to engage; we have become Omniverts to survive a world that does not prize our nature and would ultimately savage us. From experience, I can tell you some of use learned so well we fooled even those closest to us into believing we were something we were not.

So now to this forced isolation, this pandemic of global proportions. Fear and loathing of strangers and friends thrust us into our homes and our small private worlds. They said, shelter in place, stay where we are, do not venture outside except for essentials. Initially, this was an Introvert’s Paradise! No more crowded spaces, no more strangers talking to us in lines, no more requests from friends for group hugs out to restaurants and bars; Paradise! No more excuses for why it was impossible. No more making nice with strangers. No more sitting in silence and sometimes tears pulling all the pieces of me back in place after to big of a crowd pulled me apart.

Have you guessed I am talking about myself?

LVal_2010Of course, I am. Don’t misunderstand me; I love my friends and my family. I love seeing them in small doses. The problem is I don’t make friends easily; I don’t trust easily; thus, I have a very small circle I call a friend. Most of my friends do not live anywhere near me, maybe this intentional I have never really considered this possibility. I think I am the only truly single one among us, the only one that lives entirely alone. Yes, this is my choice. I suppose if I made different choices in romantic partners along the way, I could by now have someone in my home, in my bed and my life; I did not do that. So I sit this morning four weeks into self-isolation and wonder if this is Paradise.

I am most fortunate. I am still working; nothing is changed for now as I have worked remotely for two years. During the workday, I must put on my virtual work clothes and take meetings, direct activities and perform tasks. This creates normalcy in the day though I have noticed for those who are not use to being remote; they call more and schedule more meetings just to have someone to talk too, I think. For me though, this is not human interaction; instead, it is just my work life and does not fill holes in my spirit.

Yes, the quiet is soothing.  I understand everyone is dealing with isolation differently. I read troubling accounts of domestic violence rising across the nation, against partners womaninjarand children as people are thrown together with their families and cannot find a peaceful coexistence. Yet I think to myself when I was young, we did it on family vacations locked in cars for days or in my case on 27 ft boats. Was it always peaceful? No, hell, we sometimes fought like mortal enemies, but we didn’t kill each other. It was on these holidays I learned to escape into my mind for peace.

So what is wrong with me? What is it I am missing in my Introvert’s Paradise?

I am missing contact, human interaction with people I love and trust. I am missing presence filling space. I am missing feeling and knowing I matter to someone else in the world, that I am of value and my existence matters. I am missing laughter, touch, conversation and the simple acts of kindness and generosity we each do without thinking when we engage in relationships with each other. I am missing humanity at its best which is what friendships are, even when we don’t recognize them or realize we do them or receive them. Our relationships are fragile, and yet we hold them tightly; this is true whether they are friends or lovers. Introverts always struggle with boundaries, how to create them without pushing those we care for too far away. I am guilty of building walls too high and too impenetrable, I know it but don’t know how to stop.

Paradise has a dark side. For those of us who greeted this terrible time as the chance to wrap ourselves in silence and aloneness, maybe we are learning some good things come with a price. I know this will not change my nature, but it will perhaps help me open up more with my friends. As I look down the road to another month, maybe two months of isolation I wonder if my spirit will survive just how alone I am.

There is a Portuguese expression that so spoke to my spirit I tattoed it under my heart:

Saudade

Presence of Absence

Empty Rooms

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Yesterday I dreamed of you, I wept

In the middle of the day, in an empty room

A chair you left untended, rattan shredded

The pillow you use to rest yourself against

All the small things, insignificant on the surface

These are what made me weep in the daylight

Last night, I lay awake my sheets cool

I reached over to your side, seeking warmth

Instead, I found your pillow, untouched

Never do I cross to the side where you sleep

Leaving room for you, for nights you lay down

The morning broke through my shades

I had slept restlessly, still hanging onto hope

Knowing though it was reckless of my heart

My spirit sank with the daylight chasing dreams

Grace fled even as I reached for mercy

In the silence of isolation, I begged for a single voice

Seeking a balm to heal my battered spirit

Instead, I wept in the middle of the day, in stillness

Perhaps this is mercy

Signature

30-March-2020

Partisan Pandemic

Ladies and gentlemen, what we have is a partisan pandemic. Yes, indeed we have sunk Soapbox Logoso low, so far we are no longer Americans, rising together to defeat the enemy that is this terrible virus. Instead, we remain firmly in our corners, pointing fingers, blaming the other side, and even laughing as our fellow Americans sicken and die so long as it is not us but them. Our Commander in Chief feeds this partisanship, demanding the Governors’ play nice’ or he won’t assist in this time of great need, downplaying the crisis despite what we hear from those who see it first-hand.

Just the top of the list as of Friday, 27 March 2020:

tophotspots

Many of our medical professionals tell us the numbers of confirmed would be far higher if testing were readily available, but as of today, it is not. What does that say about the greatest nation in the world?

How afraid should we be?  Very afraid, in my opinion. We have a Commander in Chief who is incapable of command, unqualified to lead under the best of circumstances. In these circumstances, his ego, his narcissism, and his myopic view of the world have led us to the point we are today.  This man, who demands personal loyalty ahead of the nation, who requires praise before the truth would see tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands die to gain re-election to an office he has proven time and again he is unfit to fill. Worse, the sycophants surrounding him continue to promote his lies and feed the unwitting and willing public to believe all is well in La-La Land, even while their family and friends die around them.

Make America Great Again, sure, let’s do that. My question, by whose measurement and exactly when are we looking in history for that “Again”? I am not saying we have ever been ‘Great’ for all of our citizens; admittedly, we have not been. But every single decade detroit-segregation-1942saw us make improvements. Some were huge and established a standard for generations to strive toward. Others were small, barely felt by most, and yet they moved us forward incrementally. Of course, we also had enormous missteps, terrible acts of brutality against entire people, against classes of people; humans can sink low when fear and greed rise and take over. Even worse, when either of these base emotions was stoked by religious or national outrage, we acted in concert to exact retribution or maintain our unearned preeminence.

So now we come with our ringmaster, our television game show host whose claim to fame is the infamous words, “You’re Fired.” He stands at the podium every day claiming knowledge he doesn’t have, attacking Governors who disagree, misstating facts and giving himself high marks for his handling of a pandemic; meanwhile, Americans die, and our health systems are overburdened. Medical providers being forced to make plans for who will receive treatment and who will receive end of life comfort.

This is Trump’s Great Again America.

Meanwhile, with his ego flying high, he continues to give himself the benefit of the doubt while he publically shreds Governors who dare to question his performance. He has denied aid; he has questioned their veracity; he has ordered his VP to not speak to those who do not praise him. In his own words:

trumppodium

“I think they should be appreciative. Because you know what? When they’re not appreciative to me, they’re not appreciative to the Army Corps [of Engineers], they’re not appreciative to FEMA. It’s not right.”

President Donald J. Trump, 27 March 2020 Press Briefing

On the President’s Hit List recently? Jay Inslee of Washington and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, both Democrats and both facing crises in their states. Cuomo of New York goes on and off the list depending on the day, sometimes thanking the President for his assistance and other times offending his sense of majesty and expectation of admiration. This President is quick to lash out at those who do not bend the knee. This President demands obeisance before he will do his job, not more than his job, not above and beyond the call of duty, none of that; just his damn job as President of the United States of America, Red and Blue and all the colors in between.

We are in crisis. Every single day our numbers rise, of sick and dying citizens of this land. Every single day rather than bringing us together the President tears us further dividednationapart. With only one exception, never has this nation been so divided by politics during a crisis. With only one exception, the Civil War has this nation faced a disaster of this magnitude without coming together, solving problems together and seeing each other as kindred spirits and fellow citizens. Today, we are further apart than ever with the tearing of the fabric spearheaded by the man at the top. Witness his actions of Friday when signing the most recent bi-partisan Bill to support America, not one Democrat was invited to that signing, though without them that Bill would not have been on the Resolute Desk for his signature.

The Partisan Pandemic hit the United States with force and is shredding this nation so that we will be unrecognizable if we do not stand up and stop the madness. If we, as a people don’t see ourselves for who we are and begin to take back our nation from the madman and his sycophants, we will lose ourselves forever. His ruthless pursuit of power at any cost will be the end of America, forever. When this Pandemic ends and it will, we will be something entirely different and he will be in charge without even the light reins that have held him back till now.

Is this the America you want?

 

New Day Greeting

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I swung the door wide open on the new morning

The sun breaking over skies blushing with dawn

Scents of  peony and lavender wafted in

Along the pathway, hope and strange silence

This is the new day and new world greeting

 

Each home darkened, streets quite

Early despair as fear grips neighborhoods

Blustering demands come I am invincible

Turn into save me, I am afraid and forsworn

This is the new day and new world greeting

 

Riverways and oceans are clearing without help

Dolphins dance once more in Venice

The skies clear over all the nations, birds sing

Flowers bloom in gardens, bees and butterflies come

This is the new day and new world greeting

 

Perhaps it is simply a moment, a pause

This distancing we must enact to heal ourselves

Isolated from all that comforted and defined

Stopped from all that we thought made us

Finally shown our humanity as one

This is the new day and new world greeting

 

This will end, not quickly I think but end

We will all swing our doors wide on a new day

Some will be changed, found compassion and joy

Others will simply demand recompense

We will all have lost someone dear by the end

As a world we will grieve together in our pain

This will be a new day and new world greeting

 

What we do when we swing those doors open

How we reach across the street, the world

How we greet our neighbors, stranger or friend

This will define us, will we survive this new world

Will this new world survive us and our new day

I have hope, even today I have hope

Signature

25-Mar-2020

Love in a Pandemic

caution-symbol-safety-sign-500x500A friend asked me the other day what they should do now that everything was locked down, there was no gathering places, no places to meet in public, no ‘date’ night specials. How were they going to proceed to meet new potential mates and get to know their options.

With caution?

Yes, that was my first response. Yes, it was a teensy, tiny bit snarky. Honestly, though, I didn’t understand the issue. We have a pandemic going on in the world and it is here, right here in these United States and you are worried about whether or not you can keep your social life going? Is this a bit shallow?

Then I thought about it from my friend’s perspective. She, like me, feels the weight of years though not quite as many years, she feels them just as I feel them. She like me has been divorced for more than five years and like me, she has formed a few what felt like to her committed relationships, they did not go the distance or as planned. She like me is looking down what feels like a short road and wondering if she is going to be alone for the rest of the journey.

Pandemic be damned then full speed ahead, her prince may be out there and he might frogprincebe just as lonely in his isolation as she is.

We are similar in so many ways yet different in one very important personality quirk, one key that will allow us to weather this storm with our sanity intact. She and I are polar opposites in our need for regular human interaction. Don’t mistake me, I enjoy my friends and family simply in smaller and more controlled doses. I also enjoy a dinner out now and then, I just simply don’t need it. My friend, on the other hand, she still loves nightspots, dancing, concerts and anything else that gets her out and about. Me? I love the theater and willingly take myself on dates, I have zero need for company. My friend? She would not be caught dead anywhere alone and feels downgraded if I invite her to come with me.

Needless to say, we are very different creatures.

I spend days, sometimes even weeks without ever talking to a single soul unless it is work-related. My friend can’t go more than a few hours without social interaction, she feels unloved, unappreciated and unfulfilled. She needs human touch, human validation, human voices to know she exists in the world. She is an extrovert, I love her dearly but she makes me a bit crazy at times. I realized during this conversation, her extroversion goes beyond her comfort in crowds and her extreme touchy-feely-huggy with everyone she meets. Her extroversion is her spirit and soul, it is how she feeds her joyfulness every single day and she is joyful. This compulsory isolation is removing from her a necessary part of her life, her ability to reach out and touch, emotionally and physically other human beings.

She wasn’t just asking about how to continue her dating life, how to continue her search for her prince charming. She was asking how to live.

So I had to get serious with my friend, I don’t want to lose her to depression. I also don’t want to lose her because she does something stupid, desperation can cause any of us to make stupid choices. There are no simple choices right now, yes our prince may well be out there but if we haven’t found them yet there is no simple answer to dating during a pandemic, social distancing is the only answer we have and maybe it is a blessing we weren’t looking for but a blessing nonetheless. Time to get back to some good old fashioned courtship routines; talking, no touching, sitting far apart, walks in the park. I know, it all sounds so sterile and it is, but why risk dying if you don’t have to.

Old LettersTalk on the phone, after you have established some level of feel-good and trust. Write long emails to each other, learn to use your words. There was a time when letter writing was a valued transaction between courting pairs when letters were saved as proof of intentions. My grandmother had letters from my grandfather from before and during their marriage, how she was able to read them is beyond me but she was and she married him. Use Chat and Video Chat, again learn to use your words. The point is get to know your potential date mate as a human being before your very first date, figure out if this is a person you actually want to spend time with, find out if you can have a conversation.

Love in a pandemic, where fear rules us and isolation is the decree of the day will be hard. When you are not naturally inclined toward seclusion this will be even more difficult. My friend is already feeling the pressure of being alone, without the validation of social interaction to lift her spirit she is afraid. I understand her anxiety. I have a different level of distress, even though my natural tendency to isolate and this allows me to get through days without interaction I am afraid too and I will talk about that at some other time.

How will we get through this?

I can only think this isn’t forever and we will come out the other side differently. We will learn different skills and different ways to build relationships and interact with each other. Our expectations will be different and perhaps we will set a new standard for those prince’s who wish to join us on our journey. Women of a certain age want to partner, we don’t want to live our lives alone. In this, my friend and I are very much alike. Now we look down this tunnel of how do we find that elusive man who will see us for all we are, all we have to offer and begin to build a very different portrait, one that is more honest more true to life, of them and ourselves. Possibly that portrait will be more true to life.

At least that is my hope.

Corona & Lymme

Self-Isolation.

What does that really mean? For you and I, what does self-isolation mean for those of us who actually have to manage our lives from day-to-day, what should we know.

There are a variety of different resources, so use them. The one thing we should all know is clearing the shelves of your local Walmart or Target is selfish and unnecessary. Come on people, you do not need an entire years’ worth of toilet paper, hand sanitizer or anything else for that matter. What are you going to do when the panic is over?

Did you just spend your rent / mortgage payment on your panic hoarding? You did, didn’t you? Do you feel stupid now?

I am not going to say this isn’t frightening, it is of course. More so because the information we are getting from what should be trusted resources can’t be trusted. But let’s get real with each other and ourselves. We are hurting others, we are hurting our neighbors and our community when we rush to our local big box store and clear the shelves of all perishable goods in our selfish need to hoard. Yes, I heard some idiot passed around a guideline of having a supply of food and other goods to last eight (8) weeks, but if this is true I surely cannot find it anywhere. Let me help you on this one, FEMA guidelines for disaster relief says you should have two (2) weeks of goods for your family. So, unless you plan on trekking to the woods and remaining there, you do not need every roll of toilet paper, every bottle of hand sanitizer and every package of meat available. Really, I promise you even if you are ordered to shelter in place the grocery stores will continue to deliver.

So let’s talk about something else, let’s talk about why we the ‘greatest’ nation in the world are even in this position. Why we, the United States of America are struggling. Shall we start with the infants running the nation? The refusal to accept the testing kits way back in January, for no other reason than hubris and a refusal to engage honestly and openly with international organizations, e.g. NATO, WHO, United Nations and the list goes on.

We are in this position because we elected an infantile idiot who surrounded himself with bootlickers and sycophants who will not say no to him, ever. They will tell him the truth if it runs counter to his world view. They will deliver bad news if it doesn’t align to the version of the fantastical he wants to spin for his loyal 35%.

That is what we have behind the Resolute Desk today. A man child who throws temper tantrums and has daddy issues which he turns on the nation for his personal self-gratification.

What else do we have? Greed. Self-serving and narrow in its focus. Vainglorious and arrogant in their belief of their superiority and right to exist and succeed. Yes, in this case I am talking about all of the Trump’s and their minions. While the nation falters, these high-handed pretentious know nothings continue to make deals on the lives and deaths of Americans and others. While tens of thousands lose their livelihoods, as businesses shutter, schools close and entire cities become ghost towns this Criminal Enterprise finds themselves in the position to control the supply chain for medical necessary testing and supplies; who would have thought, except we all should have known. Why else would we not have accepted help from WHO in the form of test kits, except someone was going to make money somewhere along the way.

Now, our nation is failing. We are not just experiencing a small blip in our economy but a fast rush to Depression. People are losing their savings and will lose more in the coming weeks if they can’t work. Homes will be lost. Bankruptcy will sky rocket in the private sector as both individuals and small business cannot meet their obligations. Our health coronavirus-stock-crash-560x416systems are rapidly becoming overwhelmed, hospitals cannot keep up with demand and do not have what they need to serve patients.

Why? Because despite knowing since December this was coming our government did nothing. This administration was told, they ignored the warnings. In fact when information became public, this President lied, he did what he always does he spun out fantasies and played the blame game. When it became apparent it was going to get worse, what did he do? He set up his Vice President to take the fall, not that I don’t think this is a great idea, couldn’t happen to a better toady than Pence. In the meantime, he set up his favorite all around know nothing Jared behind the scenes to run Black Ops, entirely undermining the Pence led program.

Maybe we should all look at this as an opportunity. Many of our Governors are stepping up and taking necessary actions to keep the people of their states safe. Many Mayors are stepping in and making difficult decisions to keep their cities safe. The executive decisions at the State and Local level are filling the gaps left by the complete lack of maturity at the federal level. Add to this, with only a few glaring exceptions, Congress and the Senate worked in a bipartisan manner to pass the first of the Coronavirus Relief Bills which the President actually signed.

So this gets me back to our behavior, yes that is us the citizens of this nation. We have to stop. Stop being driven by fear, by greed, by me first. We are better than this, at least we have been better than this before. So ask yourself before you grab all ten of those forty packs of double ply toilet paper, do you really need them all? What the hell for? Ask yourself, do you really need every single one of those packs of chicken wings in your neighborhood grocery? Who in Hades are you feeding, the entire neighborhood? Come on people, stop being so damned scared, so damned greedy the world is not ending, the zombie apocalypse is not here.

Maybe things will change a little, but you will not be stuck in your house forever, I promise. Maybe instead of thinking only of your own ass you could think of others and do something good with the time you have. Or maybe you could just take some time and clean up the space in your head, figure out why you are acting so damned bad, what is driving you and your neighbors and start working toward the change you keep talking about, the change you want.

Claimed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance with me, when the music plays softly

The melody wraps around us, palpitating    

Then pulling us into a dream state  

Maybe fantasy instead, they are similar

But ours are different in their nature

Mine gentle, gossamer and wrapped in whispers

Lifted and twined, hips teasing and loose

Heals keeping the gentle teasing rhythm   

Yours like the steel of your arms at my back

They are harsher, hard and demanding

Pulling close to the dark whispers of possession

Iron bands of familiarity and title

Opposite in our needs and desires

We come together like bees to honey

Or is there something more to our dance

Is it only the possession you have claimed

The familiarity of your arms at my back

 I am stung, my honey depleted time and again

Yet, with a whisper of Dance with Me I return

To wrap you in gossamer and twist my hips

With songs playing only the two of us hear

As my heals beat staccato to your desire

23-February-2020

Home Alone

Linda1What do you do at the age I am when faced with big choices, huge life altering decisions? There are forks in the road at any age, but I think as we get older either we get less brave or they get more daunting, perhaps it is a bit of both. You would think it would be easier, these choices as there are less people and things to consider yet oddly it is not.

Let me give you some background. The strangeness of it all and my thinking on the subject of big decisions at this stage of life.

After a terrible run, I ended up in a job that suits me in many ways doing work that fits my skills and background. Like any position there is always good and bad. With this one the scale is fairly equally balanced. Odd to say that, but when I really look at it with clear eyes it is quite true. The issue? I don’t know that it is stable, not my position so much as the organization itself. This frightens me to death. At my age finding work is hard, I found that out after looking for six months, running through my entire savings and nearly losing everything. It was terrifying.

Dating at 62 is petrifying, looking for work is even more so.

Every now and then something comes along though, something that causes you to stop and think, stop and question. One of those questions is always, “what if?”

What if I take this risk? What will it cost me vs. what do I have to gain.

A few weeks ago a headhunter presented me with one of those conundrums, at least on paper. Usually I read these with a jaundiced eye. This one though, for some reason it caught me. This one seemed at least on paper to have been written for me. So, with a bit Opportunity-Signof ‘what the hell’ I responded to the request for me resume, my current status and my standard hourly rate. The next day I got a call back, would I be willing to negotiate my rate by $5, it was after all a long-term contract and it came with great benefits for the right candidate. Well, sure that did make a difference.

Then nothing. For a couple of weeks. I didn’t think much of the nothing, that is how things go. Then, well they really want a local candidate so that is what they are interviewing, well that really does make sense given the type of contract. Then, would you be willing to move for the contract duration, they won’t pay travel, but they might negotiate some of the cost of the move.

Hmmmm, that is a big ask for a contract. Give me a day to think about it. With one exception I have never been asked to physically move for job and that was under very different circumstances. My answer? Let’s get through the first round of interviews, see if we even like each other and if there really is a fit then we can talk about the rest.

Businesswoman and business planWell, we did that. Now we are trying to set a schedule for the next round and I am at that proverbial crossroad, though I see it as more of a branch. What is my answer? How much risk am I willing to take? I am 62 years old, I should be thinking about retirement not galivanting off on my next damned adventure. Instead here I am considering:

Do I shut my house down, rent it or sell it.

Do I have another great purge, move some or all of my things. I could always put what I love in storage. Hell some of my stuff is still in boxes from my move to this house three years ago.

Then there are really some personal questions that have to be answered, maybe asked and answered is a better way to think about these:

For four years I have been in and out of a relationship that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Recently it truly doesn’t and it has caused a great deal of hurt. I am using this as an opportunity to escape?

Will a move to a completely new city, new state cause me to act any differently than I do today? Will I suddenly become more extroverted, get out more?

Will going to an office everyday rather than working from home force me to form more human bonds?

Finally there are the financial questions, both short term and long term that loom at my age that have to be considered carefully. We all face these at any age, but I think as we get older they become more obvious and perhaps in some cases are more perilous.

My six months of unemployment wiped out my savings and damaged my debt. I have summer-job-hunting-0812worked on debt but have not rebuilt savings. This opportunity would allow me to finish wiping out debt and rebuild a great deal of what I lost in savings, if I sold my current house and banked the equity for the two years of the contract. Yes, I have run the numbers. Debt free, I would have far more choices than I have today about many things, including:

Where I live

The types of jobs I can accept

The salary I need to live

Two years out of my life doesn’t seem huge in the face of the choice it would give me for risk2a different future. A future with less struggle and less drama. A future less tied to the past. Perhaps the choice should be easy, I wish it were so. Yet, as with every big choice there remains that looming risk of ‘what if?’

Contracts go south every single day. Projects get put on hold or contractors get let go with no warning and no cushion to bounce on. There I would be 62, strange city, strange state, no family or friends and no home to go home to. Thus my challenge. How will I answer if the position is offered? What will I do? There are so many reasons to say yes, is fear the only reason to say no?

leaping2

Political Purity Tests

Soapbox LogoWill there ever be a perfect candidate? Is it possible we will have some glowing Deity float down from the heavens on a fluffy white cloud surrounded by angels flinging gold coins and smelling of roses and whispering ‘FREE’. Someone we could all get behind, someone with no history, someone with no skeletons, someone with DNA to match this diverse nation who did not offend any of our sensibilities.

The Perfect Candidate, who we can fall all over ourselves in our rush to the polls. The Perfect Candidate who would pass all of our Purity tests. The Candidate with the most beautiful wife, two and half children, a dog and zero sins to their name.

The Perfect Candidate does not exist. There is not a human being alive today, nor will there ever be one who hasn’t collected some bumps and bruises and an imperfect track record. There will never be a candidate, especially one seeking the Presidency that will pass the unreasonable Purity Tests of the Democrats who align to their individual candidates to the detriment of all others. Let us consider the real issues and real outcomes for 2020. What do we really want?

  • Beat current occupant of White House, Donald J. Trump
  • Take back Senate2020_Election_1
  • Retain House

As an Independent Centrist who usually votes Democrat I am committed to voting a Blue ticket this year. Not just on a federal level but at the state and local level as well. I want to see the nation brought back together. I want to see us working together again as a single people, it has been too long that we have been divided. I want to see our government work. I want to see Justice began to work. I want to see our courts work. I want to see real work done for and by the people. Do I think this will happen overnight? No, of course not. What I believe is if we elect the right president and a Senate and House to back that President we can begin to make the nation whole by passing legislation and undoing a dysfunctional federal Courts filled with under qualified and unqualified judges.

I do not do Purity Tests. What I do is listen, I look at history but not just soundbites the full history. I look at everything, what a person has done and hasn’t done. What they have said and haven’t said. When they said it, what context they said it in. What have they written? Many candidates today have a written history, many have books and an on-line presence they cannot escape from either. Some of the candidates today have had decades of public presence, not just one or two, but three to five or even more. It is impossible not to build a portfolio of missteps and misjudgments during the course of a nakedkinglong life and those who wish to serve behind the Resolute Desk must be prepared to walk naked before the citizens of this land, we have no remorse and no shame in exposing our would be Presidents.

It wasn’t always this way, the Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton seems to have opened the door and now we have no shame in peering through the window of Presidents private lives, judging their personal predilections. We, as a nation seem to think it is our calling to judge whether a President is ‘Pure’ enough for us even while we ourselves would never meet this very same test. Just to bring this full circle, the party of family values and moral righteousness elected a President who is an anathema to all they stood for and yet claim he is God’s chosen.

So we stand at the abyss and stare down into the darkness and still instead of listening with open minds, we apply Purity Tests. We allow members of this broken party and non-members who have the audacity to run under the banner to tear down others in the name of their own desire to WIN. We watch idolaters and ideologues tear at others in base terms disallowing any view but their own from being heard, any question being asked, any challenge being made.

Does anyone remember 2016? I do.

Does anyone know how Donald J. Trump got elected? I do.

Don’t answer those questions with baseless bullshit about White Woman, Electoral College, Hillary won the popular vote or other nonsense. Let me give you the real answer.

Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States of America because Bernie Sanders was allowed to run on the Democratic Ticket and many of those who idolized him, followed him did one of three things:

  1. Stayed home
  2. Voted third party
  3. Voted for Trump

Why did they do this? Because they were convinced they were cheated, because Trump was the most like Bernie in his rhetoric and demeanor and because they were revengeful snots.

Purity Tests. Why they don’t work and how to overcome them.

First and foremost, participate. This means vote in the Primaries in your state and vote for the candidate that you believe best represents your interests and the interests in the nation. Vote for the candidate that you believe will put the nation back together. Vote for govote3the candidate that will best influence the down ticket. Vote for the candidate that will put our alliances back together. Vote for the candidate that will represent the largest majority of the people in America, not just a small minority but all of us, keeping in mind there is not a single candidate standing before you without something to explain, without history, without skeletons.

My question to each of the candidates isn’t ever going to be are you Pure, it is going to be how are you going to remedy the sickness in this nation. What will you do to fix what is broken. Do you acknowledge that you might have contributed, what did you learn and what are you doing today based on what you learned?

People learn, people are not the same today they were yesterday, five years ago or a decade ago. Unless a person is a complete and utter moron with the emotional and intellectual capacity of a snake, they grow. I want to know how a person has grown in knowledge, compassion and emotional empathy. I will not hold yesterday against you if today your actions show you have made true changes. If the words you say and the actions you take are in accord, I am going to take you at your word and listen with the openness you deserve from me as a citizen.

snakeTrumpPurity Tests are abhorrent and we need to stop, today. If we do not we can look forward to another four years of Donald J. Trump in the White House and this is something the nation will not survive.

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