Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wasting brainpower and money

I got a catalog in the mail from Hammacher Schlemmer.  It makes me mad that people waste brainpower investing these things, and waste money buying these things.  Things like:

$29.95 remote controlled tarantula
$379.95 twenty foot tall inflatable cat
$49.95 shower curtain with built-in speakers and pocket for iPad
$3,000 acoustic immersion pod
$58,000 golf cart hovercraft

We should be spending our brainpower and money on figuring how we can create a world where no one goes hungry, where everyone is treated with respect and kindness, and where we use the earth's resources in a way such that the earth will be able to sustain humans and other life for many millenia.

Why do people think it's a good idea to invent, buy, and sell such things? Is it that people whose emotional and material needs were not met when they were growing up think that this stuff is the way to fill the emptiness?  Is it that people who grew up in privilege can't see how many needs are unfulfilled, so they waste time on junk instead of on stuff that is really needed? How can we raise children with the knowledge, wisdom, and compassion to set better priorities?  Many people do. There is still more to be done.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Five and a half hours after sunset I stepped out on my balcony.  In the backyard below, everything was clearly visible -- the cars in the driveway, the shadow.  On the grass, I could see the shadows of the trees and the house.  Shadows at night? Yes, the moon is so bright tonight it casts shadows.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Books: Julie Berry and Rae Carson

Last night I read The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry.  I think I may  have read it some years ago as well.  I was not impressed.  It seems so un-original.  It's a Cinderella tale.  Sure it has some characters and plot twists which don't exist in the original story, but still, it just seems so formulaic.  When I read a book like that, I think maybe I've just been reading YA fantasy too long, and I'm tired of  the genre.  But last weekend, I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson.  They were so much better than Julie Berry's book.  And now the final book of the trilogy, The Bitter Kingdom,  has arrived from inter-library loan.  The first two books had issues of history and religion lurking in the background.  I expect these issues will be brought to the fore in the final book.  Depending on how it is handled, that could make it the best book in the trilogy.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I used to love frolicking outdoors with friends and family -- rolling down the hill, climbing trees, rolling in a pile of autumn leaves, playing frisbee.  But things have changed.  I live with fatigue.  I've put on weight. My knees hurt.    My clothes don't allow freedom of movement.  My clothes aren't suited for rolling around in the grass.  The kids I played with grew up. The friends I frolicked with have left me. Humans have rejected  me.  The only time I am free to fully express my joyfulness is when no one is watching, dancing around my living room.

Just over two months ago, I was at a picnic.  There were a lot of young men in their 20's.  They swam in the lake, played frisbee, and found assorted other ways to have fun.

There was a smaller group of middle aged ladies.  Like all the other middle aged ladies, I was wearing sandals with pants that ended just below my knees.  Like all the other middle aged ladies, I took off my sandals and waded in the lake, just in the shallow water, that came up to below where my pants ended.
I'm an old lady now.  I had no desire to frolic with the young people. I don't belong with them.

Two weeks ago, my brother, sister, and brother-in-law were tossing a frisbee.  I slipped off my sandals and joined them.  Every time the frisbee was thrown to me, I missed it.  Every time I threw to another person, it did not get close enough to them for them to be able to catch it.

But you know what? That was the case for everyone.  Hardly anyone was catching it.  One person throws it, the second person runs to pick it up off the ground, and the second person throws it to the third.

Not like gym class where no one wants me on their team because I am so bad.

This was just fun.  People enjoying time to be outdoors and be together.

I wish I had more opportunities for such moments.

We're not all good organizers

Most human endeavors require cooperation from others.   Organizing things with other people takes skill.  Not everyone has those skills.  I have some of the skills, but not all.  I can coordinate a project within a well-managed organization, but I cannot create a well-managed organization.

Sometimes there are things we want to do that can only be done with the cooperation of others.  Sometimes we don't have the skill to organize others.  Sometimes, there is no skilled organizer organizing in that area.

At one time, my employer was a well-organized institution.  Now they are no longer well-organized.  Two of the organizations I'm  involved in outside my job lack good leadership.  I do what I can, but it's not enough.  I'm not enough of a good organizer to bring together enough people and get them to perform well enough.

So what do we do if we want to do something, but there's no good leadership for it?  Working with less than perfect leadership is something we all have to deal with.  That too is a skill.

If there's something we want to do, but not enough people with good organization skills who are interested, do we still try to do it? Or do we join a different organization which is better organized?  It all depends on the situation.

Our spirit emerges when we are loved

At the restaurant, I sat across from my sister.  Beside my sister was her soon-to-be husband.  She was here, on vacation, surrounded by people who love her.  She was carefree. Confident.  Goofy. Vivacious.  I saw her, and I thought: that's what men admire.  That's what I'm not.  I'm not comfortable in my skin. I'm an awkward lump.

Men look at her, and they are entranced.  They feel like, "Too bad she is already taken.  Poor me, I don't have any chance to get a good one."  They look at me, and they are like, "Not want I want.  Too reserved.  Too awkward."

Little do they know, if they didn't dismiss me, if they took the time to listen to me and cherish me, they would see my spirit emerge.

They sit there moping about their misfortune, that all the good ones have been taken.  What they don't understand is that those men who have someone, they didn't sit there moping.  They treat other people as persons of value.

I'm  not envious of my sister for having someone.  I enjoy both freedom and companionship.  The only mistake I may have made is in cherishing people who did not cherish me.  And yet, I don't really regret it.  It's not wrong to cherish someone.

Stuck in the real world

Yesterday. Saturday.  No scheduled events.  Time to catch up on resting and chores.

I had company two weeks ago.  Two people staying for five days.  I arranged furniture differently for their visit.  Yesterday, I finally had time to put it bag.  Dragging mattresses and box springs about the house.  Moving things here and there.  Did three loads of laundry: one was my regular laundry, the other two were sheets and towels from my guests. When I do laundry, that means carrying a bag of laundry down stairs to the laundromat, walking back up the stairs to wait at home, then walking downstairs to go back to the laundromat, carrying the bag of wet laundry back up the stairs, and then climbing on a chair to reach the place where I hang to wet laundry.  Or for loads that go in the dryer, there's the additional trip down and up the stairs to put move the clothes from washer to dryer.

My knees have been hurting me for the past two weeks.  Every trip on the stairs hurts them.  Every time I climb up on the chair to hang the laundry hurts them.

Once I got to the laundromat before the clothes were ready.  I did not want to sit down, because lowering myself into the chair would hurt my knees, and getting up from the chair would hurt my knees.  But I was so tired.  I chose to sit.

I had more laundry to do, but I decided three loads was all I could take.  I was feeling light-headed and shaky.  Would eating something help?

One more thing to do before I could go to bed for the rest of the day.  I went out in the car.  Should I be driving when I was feeling so light-headed and shaky? I went to the library and got two books to pass the time while resting.  And I got a sandwich for lunch.

When I got home, it was maybe around 2:30pm, and I felt it was well past time to retire for the day.  I got in bed with my two  library books.  I did get up several times thereafter for food and the bathroom, but I was no longer aspiring to get anything done.

I finished the first book around 9:30pm, an ideal bedtime for me.  But the story continues in the second book, so I kept on reading.

I finish reading about 1:45am.  I turn out the light and try to sleep.  Still awake at 2:45, I get up and go to the computer.  I catch up on Facebook, and return to bed at 3:20am.  Finally I sleep.

The books were The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson.  The story is spread over three books.  My library only has two.  So they have left me hanging, not able to finish the story.

It is a story of empowerment.  In the second book, the main character does what she needs to do in order to be strong, to protect her people.  But in the end of the second book she takes control of her life.  She says, I'm no longer going to do the things I have to do in order to succeed.  I'm going to do the things I know are right instead.  Even if it means losing my power, I'm going to be true to myself.  And in being willing to let go of power, she at last has power, the power to be true to herself.

The way she seizes her own life is what I long to do, but how can I? I can't quit my job, because I know no other way to live.  In reality, there's no one true path that we can courageously choose.  In the real world, I can barely do laundry and feed myself.