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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jill Stein and Sam Patch

The main thing I've done today is read about Sam Patch.  If you didn’t grow up in NY, you might not know who he is.   I think my entire public school  history curriculum focused on Sam Patch and the Erie Canal.  Is that normal?)

Anyway, Sam Patch was famous for jumping off Niagara Falls (and living!).  And then jumping off the High Falls in the Genessee River.  Before he jumped, he tossed a pet bear cub over the falls.  (Who does that?  Any of it?  Pet bear cub?  Jumping off 99-foot tall waterfalls?)  He eventually died jumping, which is how it goes for people who do risky things.  Drug addicts die from overdoses, mountain climbers die in a crevasse, waterfall jumpers die on the jagged rocks below.

But back to this life, where, as a friend said yesterday, the coming election makes it feel like
we’re in a boat heading slowly and inevitably toward death by waterfall.  

I feel queasy to consider that one angry, narcissistic arrogant man is a hair (a weird orange comb-over hair) away from driving this great country off the cliff.  I can’t think of a damn thing I can do to stop it.  If we were bobbing toward an actual waterfall, I would at least row.  I would row and hope that someone else could get the engine started.  But I don’t know what rowing looks like in this instance.  

I’ll vote, of course, but I live in a solidly blue state, and my vote won’t change anything. 

I read about Trump:  that he tells more lies than any other politician; that one of his closest advisors resigned after numerous allegations of sexual harassment,  that he’s the defendant in a child rape case, that his ex-wife accused him of rape (but later recanted), that he refuses to release his tax returns, that he's gone bankrupt and not made good on debts.  He spews hatred toward women, people of color, people of Islam, people of different abilities, people from Mexico.  But that doesn’t matter to his mostly white (82% of his supporters), college degree-less (57%), mostly women (!!!! 34% white women, compared to 28% white men) fans.  The facts don’t seem to concern his supporters  – they believe the “lying Hillary” trope, contrary to evidence.  They blame her for covering up her pneumonia, but seem unconcerned about allegations regarding Trump University or his lies about his charitable giving.  For years he demanded Obama’s birth certificate, and now he blames Hillary for starting the whole thing.  Evidence of his lies is well documented, but he continues to surge ahead in the polls.  

Trump supporters don’t appear to be motivated by intelligence, reason, or integrity.  I assume there are darker reasons that they’d like to take America back that involve clinging to white heterosexual privilege at the expense of others.   

So I’ll leave them out of it, and direct my feeble efforts at rowing away from the abyss toward a tiny group of voters who matter, the Jill Stein contingent.  I know intelligent people of conscience who are planning to vote for Jill, and I, for the life of me, don't understand it.  Given that there is absolutely no way she will win (she currently has less than 5 percent of the vote), I can’t understand why someone would risk turning the country over to Donald Trump.  Unless they’re secretly Trump supporters, hoping he’ll win, but not wanting to own that?  That’s the only reason that makes sense to me.  

Voting for Jill is the equivalent of taking your marbles and going home because you’re too good for the two party system, a stance that’s only available to those who are (or at least believe themselves to be) insulated from the angry volatile world that will occur under the creepy "Take America Back" plan.  Maybe you aren’t in the direct line of fire because you’re some combination of wealthy, white, straight, and physically fit.  The stakes feel low to you, because you have an inheritance, a stable (for now) career, or family money.  Guess what?  That’s not integrity.  

Integrity is showing up in the real, imperfect world and selecting the best choice from the viable options at hand.  Throwing away your vote because you’re pissed that Bernie didn’t get nominated is the ultimate tantrum, but you’re playing not just with your own marbles; you're risking a lot of other lives as well.  It's saying that the game is too tainted for you to play.  But guess what?  The game goes on without you, and it matters.  The POTUS is one of  the most powerful people on the planet, and people actually died so that we have the right to vote. 

Welcome to grownup hood, people.  The game is tainted.  Hillary isn't perfect.  Neither was Bernie, by the way.  In the real, flawed world, all we can do is wake up each day and give it our best shot.  That's what integrity is.  It's choosing between one real thing and another.  We don't get to be ethically pure in this world.  Yes, you might have to steal the medicine.  It may be distasteful; you wish the world were different.  You wish you could vote for a candidate that is perfectly aligned with your values.  But guess what?  That's never going to happen.  That person doesn't exist, just like perfect love or a perfect job.  

Even still, there is a real choice.  Let me lay it out:

Gun Control:  Clinton supports gun control, Melania’s husband does not.  

On the Orlando Night Club shooting"If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here, right to their waist or right to their ankle," Trump said, patting his hip, "and this son of a b---- comes out and starts shooting and one of the people in that room happened to have (a gun) and goes 'boom, boom.' You know what, that would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks."

Immigration:  Clinton:  Supports creating paths to legalization.  
Trump:  I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” 

AbortionClinton:  supports freedom of choice; 
Trump:  unclear.

Same sex marriage:
Clinton:  supports;
Trumpdoes not support. 

On climate change:  Ok, wake up, people.  This is real, and it's happening now, and it's the greatest threat to a bright future for our children and all the other species.  We are leaving the planet in dire straights.  I still wonder where we'd be on climate change if Nader hadn't siphoned votes from Al Gore.  Perhaps there would be more snow on Kilamjaro, perhaps thousands of people wouldn't have died in a war founded on false information about weapons of mass destruction. 

If you care about nothing else, care about climate change.
Trump:  Isn’t sure that climate change is a thing; itneeds some investigating.”.  

In short, Hillary is an experienced attorney who has worked hard to be qualified for the POTUS and works within the system.  Trump is a TV personality with a volatile temper who could care less about playing well with others.  

If you don't care if Trump wins, go ahead and vote for Jill.  But please don't judge the rest of us for trying our damnedest to live in the real world, making real choices that will affect the future of the planet.  You don't get to call it integrity to check out of the game.

Ok, this is me rowing.  If you can think of anything else to do, let me know. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Goodbye Joe

I saw his obituary on the door of the post office yesterday, where we notify one another of passings.
Joey, age 54, died unexpectedly last weekend.

He had a challenging life, and I hope he is at peace, whatever that looks like.




Monday, August 8, 2016

Your Horoscope and the International Space Station

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  Several years ago, I was invited to a "women's circle," so I went.  A handful of women were there (I suppose you guessed that, tho...), talking about manifesting good things.  I don't really believe in the whole "manifest" strategy, but what do I know.  Maybe it's self-fulfilling, which in a weird way, proves that it works.  But anyway, back to the circle.  One woman said she was trying to strengthen her manifesting skills, so she set out to manifest a penny.  She walked all over town, looking and looking.  She got to the end of her normal walk and nothing.  She wasn't sure what that meant, so she went on an even longer walk, and eventually found a quarter.  She was overjoyed at her 25 X manifestation, and I couldn't help but be happy for her.  But I remain foggy on the difference between looking for something, trying, working until you get it, and manifesting it.  Either way, Pisces, make something good of your week, even if you have to wrestle it out of nothingness.

May it be so.
Aries (3/21 - 4/19):   Speaking of coins, I heard a story on the radio about a man who picked up every coin he found, taped it to an index card, jotted a few notes down about it, and put it in a bag.  Each time his daughter visited, he would hand her the bag full of coins and thoughts.  The accompanying notes were mundane for the first few years ("Found on the floor of a hotel lobby.") Eventually, the notes became poetic ("Found these two, heads up, arguing with each other, but I put them in separate pockets and that stopped 'em.")  What a cool idea, I thought.  Maybe I could use coins I find as a writing prompt.  (Don't think too hard about that.  I know.  If the only thing I have to write about is the nickel I found at the gas station.... It makes me think that lady I saw on my way into the memoir class I took was right.)  But I digress.  The point is, Cancer, that there aren't many coins to be found.  Remember when people paid with cash, and pennies and nickels were dropping all over the place from leaky pockets?  Yeah, look around.  The streets used to be lined with copper, but not so much anymore.  Finding pennies may be on the list of endangered things, like that sound of a fax machine connecting.  Aries, see if you can notice those things that are disappearing, like summer and the breath that you took a second ago, and relish without clutching.  

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  Taurus, between the time I wrote the Pisces horoscope and this moment, which was about 2 hours, I said to one of my loved ones how much I like to sneeze.  I guess because it's something that happens that you really have no control over, It shakes things up and is kind of exciting, and I've come to look forward to it. (Don't think too hard about that either.)  And 20 minutes after I said that, guess what?  I sneezed three times, totally out of the blue.  There wasn't a cold or dust in sight, so I'm left to consider the possibility that I totally manifested that sneeze.   I'm going to try for a new car next.  Give it a shot, Taurus!

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21): A few weeks ago, I was standing outside with a lovely group of friends, and we were looking up at the very dark starry sky, when someone pointed and said, "there's the international space station."  Everyone ooh-ed and ahh-ed, except for me, because I'm so skeptical.  How could someone look up at all the stuff orbiting out there and know it's the space station?  There are 2,200 satellites circling the earth -- how does one guy know it's the space station?  So I was quiet while everyone cheered and waved.  But the next day, I looked it up on the internet, and sure enough, it was the ISS.  There's a website that tells you when you'll be able to see it going over, and suddenly, I've gotten obsessed.  Just like that.  See what you can come up with to be fascinated by, Gemini.

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21): Why do I care about the ISS?  Here's why.  Besides the sheer terror of imagining leaving this planet, there's this:  six people out in space, circling around, over and over, every 92 minutes. A cross between terrifying (because you're out in space), and boring (because you're out in space), hurtling along at 17,000 mph, with nothing to do in your free time but look out the window.  Stuck with the same people for a year.  I'm fascinated with that kind of social experiment, like the guy who spent all that time in a cave, Biosphere II, or solitary confinement.  Once I start thinking about this stuff, I can't really stop, which adds to the fascination.  If I can get stuck thinking about one thing, even with all of this external stimulation going on, imagine the brain in isolation.  Oy.  Don't do it, Cancer.  If you get invited to the ISS, JUST SAY NO!

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  I've been trying to research the international space station, which sounds easy, because duh, the world wide web and all.  But what I'm curious about is the humans -- how they manage, how they struggle, what changes.  I found a bunch of podcasts, but they were all about the science, like the SMiLE (Spun Microgravity Liquid Experiment) mission.  I wanted to hear something other than the standard, "From space, our planet looks so beautiful and vulnerable."  I found one that promised a live interview with an astronaut who had been on three space missions.  Jackpot, I thought.  But guess what, Leo?  In one of those earworm solutions, where you get one song out of your head by exposing yourself to an equally catchy song, replacing the original, I've moved a bit off the space station and onto this guy.  Because the lens he views the world through is the rolex watch.  He interviews this guy who's spent a bunch of time in space, and the interview is all questions about his watch.  OMG.  

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  I was sitting at the river with one of my loved ones yesterday, talking about life, and in that weird moment when life imitates your own existential crisis, we watched a dog swim out for a stick, over and over.  It took us about a million times of watching the same routine for us to notice that the dog was acting out our conversation. The scenario: the dog is consumed with longing.  All he can think about is getting his human to throw the stick.  The man throws the stick, and Fido, in a fleeting moment of joy, swims out for it.  Life is perfect.  The river, the stick, swimming strongly towards it.  Then, he grabs the stick and swims back, but by now, the void has returned.  All he can think about is getting his human to throw the stick.  The other thing that happened sometimes is that the river carried the stick downstream, the way rivers do, and while Stick was bobbing merrily towards Everett, Fido swam in tiny circles, looking anxiously in the same spot for what was not to be found there, confused.  Our phylum, Leo.  Sigh.

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  Most days, I sit in a coffee shop and work for a while.  There's a group of regulars, mostly grouchy old men who drink coffee, tease each other, and generally shoot the shit.  I don't talk much to anyone, but I like being around people. Even from the outer edge, I feel like I'm part of something beside my own solo life. When I was growing up, my dad went to a drugstore with a soda fountain every morning before work.  It was way before cell phones, and he had his calls forwarded to the drugstore for that half hour or so when he sat and joked around with other men before work started. My six year old self thought that was the coolest thing ever. Starting the day by laughing with other people.  See what you can come up with, Libra.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  I was in the grocery store the other day, on my way home from a long wisdom-teeth odyssey, buying soft food for the patient.  I'm in there most days, and I don't think I'm very predictable, but the clerk commented that I was off my routine. Anyway, I explained about the wisdom teeth, and without missing a beat, she said, "Wisdom teeth, yeah.  I don't think my husband had any.  But his brother, he had five or six."  The humans, Scorpio, are endlessly fascinating.

In one of my favorite
cemetaries
Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21): And just like that, poof, my favorite son and Sag moved to another timezone, another phase of life, a red state where the water drains to the Atlantic.  I will miss him like an arm, but I'm unbearably proud of the fine person he's become.  Namaste, R.

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):   I read an article the other day that said friendship is only mutual 53% of the time.  Meaning that roughly half of the people any of us call good friends wouldn't say the same about us.  I mentioned this to someone, and she said, "yeah, that happens to me all the time.  Everyone thinks I'm their friend, but it's not mutual." Which was a hilarious and ironic display of both the phenomenon and a big ego.  It was the opposite way that I went with it (I often think I'm good friends with someone, but turns out to be woefully one-sided.)  But the point is that no one is on always on one side of this equation. I liked what the guy, Dr. Banks, said about friendship:
In the presence of a true friend, Dr. Banks said, the smart or modulating aspect of the vagus nerve is what makes us feel at ease rather than on guard as when we are with a stranger or someone judgmental. It’s what enables us to feel O.K. about exposing the soft underbelly of our psyche and helps us stay engaged and present in times of conflict. Lacking authentic friendships, the smart vagus nerve is not exercised. It loses tone and one’s anxiety remains high, making abiding, deep connections difficult.
 Exercise the vagus nerve this week, Cap.  May your wishes come true.

Aquarius (1/20-2/18):  One of my buddies takes a walk every day with someone who had
My soon to be retired field vest.
Thank you for your service, little
vest.
to cancel one day recently due to a spider bite.  He reported this to me, saying he would be watching her to see if super powers develop.  As we talked, though, I started to wonder if denial is a super power.  Maybe it's not the worst thing.  Maybe thinking your friends are your friends, whether its mutual or not, thinking good things are about to happen, your loved ones love you too, the diagnosis won't be so bad, you'll be able to breathe and laugh through whatever comes.  Even if it might not be objectively true, is it such a bad way to live?  


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump. Is it really what's for dinner?


Riley has modified the “This is dinner” speech that I used to give into a plea to vote for Hilary.  The speech, which I didn't write, went something like, “THIS is dinner.  Someone who loves you very much has prepared this meal with your nourishment in mind.  It may not be your first choice, but this is what we’re having tonight.  If you don’t like it, you may politely excuse yourself and make a sandwich.  But please don’t sit here and complain or whine, because that is unproductive, and THIS IS DINNER."  For a while, maybe a decade, I think I said it every night.  (Well, I said it for the first few years, and then I assigned someone else.  "Hey, kids, who wants to recite This Is Dinner tonight?")

His much-improved version goes something like this:

"THIS is dinner.  The options are lima beans, or raw goat's heart soaked in castor oil.  You can choose the lima beans, or you can be force fed the goats heart soaked in castor oil.  Not voting or voting for a third-party candidate is the same as being force fed the goats hearts soaked in castor oil.  If that appeals to you more than lima beans, by all means, don’t vote, or vote for Jill Stein.  But these are your choices, because THIS IS DINNER."

I’m grateful that he’s repurposed a family speech, which has been languishing for years.  Which brings us to our new game!


What’s your most used parenting speech? Share it here, and we’ll see what we can do with it.  Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Six ordinary things, one creepy

Portrait of my living room window, by Adelaide C. Johnson
1.  I wish I pronounced it "nye-thur".  But I don't, I say nee-ther.

2.  I need a plot.  Plot is lacking.  In my writing, in my life.  The plot is actually thinning.

3.  I have a customer who said that I come highly recommended, with three caveats:

  • I'm a hippy flower child
  • I've seen the light
  • I worked for King County
I completely disagree with him on the first two.  I'm not even sure there is a light; it seems pretty dark out to me.  Really dark.  I mean, Donald Trump, a racist, misogynist, lying bully has just been nominated for president.  It doesn't get much darker than that.  (Side note:  The only thing I comfort myself with about the whole Trump thing is that my father isn't alive to see this.  He would be so very disheartened.)
And jeez, hippy flower child?   I wear shoes, fer goddsakes.  I don't own any flow-y skirts or daisy headgear.  After I said that, though, I noticed him looking skeptically at the back seat of my car, noting the massage table, yoga mat, and beekeeping equipment.  It's not what it looks like, I wanted to say.  But he didn't ask.

4.  I think there's a whole lot of throwing the baby out with the bathwater in this world, and it's making me super irritated.  Bleh.  With luck and a bit of focus, I'll write more about that.

5.  I found the first chanterelles of the season this week.  Yikes!  It's weird to be gathering chanterelles and swimming in the lake in the same week.  Those two don't usually overlap.  Which may be why I wake up every morning, completely disoriented:  What season is this? Am I supposed to be anywhere today?  Is anyone expecting me?  What am I doing on the planet?  and so on.  Usually, I have no answers and can roll over and go back to sleep.

T and the Squirrel
6.  I visited the creepiest field site ever the other day, mostly due to the presence of what appeared to be a prisoner shack: a tiny, remote cabin in the woods with bars on the windows and a deadbolt on the outside.  And a panel van to match!  Which caused me to be thankful all over again for my delightful field partner  because she's fun, knows the scientific names for most of the mosses, will rescue a squirrel at the drop of the hat, and most especially because we didn't end up being prisoners.  One of the more disturbing things about the day was that, while T and I crawled around in the bushes for three hours looking for wetlands, the guy kept his lawnmower on, supposedly mowing his lawn.  When we got back to the car, his tiny lawn remained unmowed.  Adding to our feelings that we were being watched all day.

7.  I have a minor athletic injury from playing Sudoku online.  I won't be able to compete in the Olympics this time.  I'm kind of glad about that, though, because Rio doesn't sound very fun.  In fact, I'm trying to quit.  All those boxes begging to be filled with one to nine.  Who cares?  My thumb is sore from all of it.  I'm doing the sudoku version of methadone, which is, embarrassingly enough, manual sudoku, with an actual pencil.  It's so tedious.  The only time you should do that is if you're stuck in an airplane.  That's an actual rule.


Ok, I made it to seven this time.  And you did too!  Thanks for sticking it out.

Six ordinary things, one creepy

1.  I wish I pronounced it "nye-thur".  But I don't, I say nee-ther.

2.  I need a plot.  Plot is lacking.  In my writing, in my life.  The plot is actually thinning.

3.  I have a customer who said that I come highly recommended, with three caveats:

  • I'm a hippy flower child
  • I've seen the light
  • I worked for King County
I completely disagree with him on the first two.  I'm not even sure there is a light; it seems pretty dark out to me.  Really dark.  I mean, Donald Trump, a racist, misogynist, lying bully has just been nominated for president.  It doesn't get much darker than that.  (Side note:  The only thing I comfort myself with about the whole Trump thing is that my father isn't alive to see this.  He would be so very disheartened.)
A beautiful heavy rock that my son
carried home for me from a
backpacking trip
And jeez, hippy flower child?   I wear shoes, fer goddsakes.  I don't own any flow-y skirts or daisy headgear.  After I said that, though, I noticed him looking skeptically at the back seat of my car, noting the massage table, yoga mat, and beekeeping equipment.  It's not what it looks like, I wanted to say.  But he didn't ask.

4.  I think there's a whole lot of throwing the baby out with the bathwater in this world, and it's making me super irritated.  Bleh.  With luck and a bit of focus, I'll write more about that.

5.  I found the first chanterelles of the season this week.  Yikes!  It's weird to be gathering chanterelles and swimming in the lake in the same week.  Those two don't usually overlap.  Which may be why I wake up every morning, completely disoriented:  What season is this? Am I supposed to be anywhere today?  Is anyone expecting me?  What am I doing on the planet?  and so on.  Usually, I have no answers and can roll over and go back to sleep.

T and the Squirrel
6.  I visited the creepiest field site ever the other day, mostly due to the presence of what appeared to be a prisoner shack: a tiny, remote cabin in the woods with bars on the windows and a deadbolt on the outside.  And a panel van to match!  Which caused me to be thankful all over again for my delightful field partner  because she's fun, knows the scientific names for most of the mosses, will rescue a squirrel at the drop of the hat, and most especially because we didn't end up being prisoners.  One of the more disturbing things about the day was that, while T and I crawled around in the bushes for three hours looking for wetlands, the guy kept his lawnmower on, supposedly mowing his lawn.  When we got back to the car, his tiny lawn remained unmowed.  Adding to our feelings that we were being watched all day.

7.  I have a minor athletic injury from playing Sudoku online.  I won't be able to compete in the Olympics this time.  I'm kind of glad about that, though, because Rio doesn't sound very fun.  In fact, I'm trying to quit.  All those boxes begging to be filled with one to nine.  Who cares?  My thumb is sore from all of it.  I'm doing the sudoku version of methadone, which is, embarrassingly enough, manual sudoku, with an actual pencil.  It's so tedious.  The only time you should do that is if you're stuck in an airplane.  That's an actual rule.


Ok, I made it to seven this time.  And you did too!  Thanks for sticking it out.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ten things

I've been in a bit of a writing slump, so I'll try to take my own advice and just write a list.  Ten things, day 1:


1.  I have friends who communicate almost exclusively through emoticons.  I don't know what they mean usually, so I feel like that old person.  The "get off my lawn!  And don't tag me in snap chat!"  Sort of on the edge of knowing stuff.  Which reminds me of a FB friend I used to have who, rather than searching for someone he was thinking about, he posted their name as a status.  Like that.

2.  I like giving massages.  There's a bit of magic that's more than manipulating the muscles.  I don't like that a prostitution sting operation involves a fake "massage" parlor.  Grr.

3.  I've been cleaning my house more than usual.  And making less art.  Hmm.  Something always has to give.

5.  I'm trying to make a mosaic patio table, which is one of the worst ideas I've ever had, for the following reasons:

  • mosaic involves gluing tiny bits of glass onto a surface in a super fussy way.  I had very high hopes for this project until I remembered, partway into it, that I'm not a fussy person.  I like doodling and cooking and gardening -- things that forgive you the instant you leave the ground.  This, not so much.  
  • Oh, and there's fussy sticky glue, and you're trying to squeeze tiny bits of glass into just the right spot.  And your fingers get sticky, and it's just not fun.  
  • And, you either have to cut the glass up with the violent glass cutter, or use squares.  Violence, or squares?  Right?  Is that our choice?
  • I recall this thing we had during the summer when I was a kid, before parenting was a verb, called "Playground."  My friend and I walked ourselves to the school a half a mile away, where there was stuff going on: arts and crafts, a movie (which was a big deal then!), and games like tag.  I always picked arts and crafts, and made a series of mosaic ash trays for my non-smoking parents.  They always had that "my unsupervised kid made this without knowing what the hell she was doing" look about them, because the thing that makes mosaic good is being fussy.  Like having equal distances between the tile.  And having a plan, and tiles that are  the right colors and shapes, not just all the broken plates you've saved (not hoarded!), for years.  None of that, just so you know, is happening here.  
6.  The arc of history trends toward justice, because each generation is better than the last. The young people pull us and push us into being more open, more generous, and more just, than we are.  They feel contempt that we've settled.  Settled for jobs, relationships, lifestyles, that aren't as good as they could be. And most of all, for allowing injustice to persist, and for letting the problems in the world go unaddressed.

I know this because I heard my neighbors in a shouting match yesterday.  The young adult son declared he'll leave the country if Trump is elected, while the dad defended Trump, saying that muslims in Germany oppose Oktoberfest, due to the alcohol, and if we don't ban them from this country, who knows what's next?  (I could hear this discussion from 500 feet away!)  I didn't realize that Oktoberfest in Germany is one of the big issues for this election, but I've been out of the loop.   I'm way out of the loop, in fact.

7.  Even still, there's a different thing that we bring to the world as we age.  Yes, we're tired, and cynical, and we've settled, and sometimes choose to look the other way because yeesh, what do we look at?  The giant island of plastic?  Racism?  That local issue, whatever it is?  Climate change?  Unfairly incarcerated people?  Endangered species?  Cruelty to chickens?  Gun laws?  Economic disparity?  Sexual violence?  Carpal tunnel syndrome?  That weird noise my car makes?  (oh, wait. That doesn't belong here.) I could go on and on.  But what I've come to believe is that showing up and doing the best I can is an actual thing, and it's the only thing I've got.  At the most elemental level:  trying to practice kindness and generosity, trying to create goodness in my days by listening and trying.  Honoring my loved ones in the ways I think matter.  Letting go of friends who need distance gracefully and with love, not grasping.  Trying to be present to the suffering I encounter, even if it's not the worst suffering in the land.  No, my loved ones aren't about to become lamps made of skin, but still, their pain matters.  Voting.  Working to build institutions that will persist to do good work.  It's not enough, I know.

8.  Jeez, why did I say I'd write ten things?  Ten is almost 12, which is a full horoscope.  So, 8.