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I seldom get political here. But now, I must. Since I cannot guarantee that I will not do so again, I am calling this Part One. If you have no interest in reading a political-related post based mostly on feelings, I’d suggest you go wash your cat or trim your hedges now.

I cannot stomach the hatred and blindness that I am seeing from appointed representatives within the Republican Party. I have been watching the convention. And listening to nothing but hate. I hear nothing constructive, nothing concrete, nothing positive. Just hateful rhetoric. I don’t think Hillary Clinton is the be all and end all of candidates. But the way that spokespeople in the Republican Party have denigrated her, placed all blame on her for actions that are indeed beyond her sole control, have insulted everything about her as a human being, is unacceptable. People do not speak about each other that way. Not people who I want in charge of the future of this country. They tell lies. They make assumptions. Some of the things they say seem insane. Ben Carson just said, in essence, that she holds Lucifer as a role model, based on a dedication in her graduate thesis.

Mr. Trump spent half of his campaign claiming that the system was rigged. I do not hear him making that claim now that he is the nominee. How does he reconcile that? It’s not fair unless I win? Isn’t that what kindergarteners do? Anyone who has spent any time in New York City knows his influence there, knows who his cronies were (and no doubt are), knows about the lawsuits, the bankruptcies. Anyone who has watched any television knows he has based his visibility on trashy, vile reality television – and I feel justified in saying that because I watched it. How can this man be the leader of America when he is being shunned by former Presidents from his own party – and I’m not a Bush supporter either? How can someone who has admitted, in so many words, that he tailors his ethics to suit the business situation, spill such bile about Mrs. Clinton? He stated on an interview earlier this week that Hillary Clinton created ISIS. Seriously.

I am a believer in you don’t have to respect the man, but for our country to be unified, we must respect the office. The Office of the President of the United States. The statements I’ve heard about Mr. Obama since the race has heated up has shown anything but respect for the office. Even the way that the media refers to him reflects this: I was 16 months old when President Kennedy was assassinated, so I’ve been aware of media coverage of nine presidents, and never in my memory have I not heard a reporter refer to a sitting president as “Mr. Something” or “President Something”. With President Obama, I seldom hear the media refer to him as anything but “Obama”. Perhaps this seems like a trivial distinction, but I feel it reinforces the undertone of disrespect for a man who did indeed have true ideals and hopes of unifying the parties, and unfortunately realized that neither side was particularly interested in doing so. Many of his hopes and dreams died when he saw that sad light.

I am sick of it. I will not be one of those people talking about moving to Canada, mostly because it’s too cold there. I will stay here and vote my conscience and see what happens. But I am stating that I am sick of the divisiveness. I am sick of the myth of the liberal media. I am sick of all of it. I cannot discuss it with MKL, because we don’t see eye to eye, and we know we will not change one another’s minds. I know this hatred is effecting me. It is worsening my depression. I should stop watching. But I feel that that is just turning away because I can’t change it. I want to understand what’s going on. I want to know the truth. WHERE IS THE TRUTH? I don’t know where to look for it anymore.

So I will keep watching. I will keep reading. I will listen to the Democratic Convention to see if the rhetoric there is equally as hateful. I hope that in the debates – assuming Mr. Trump chooses to participate – it becomes evident that Mr. Trump has nothing but attack in him, that his political inexperience is highlighted – because to be a political leader, having political experience IS important – and that he does not form sentences that actually have any meaning. If I were a serious drinker, I’d have myself a game of a shot every time he says something along the lines of “they love me”, “believe me”, “I know more than anybody”, or the words “incredible”, “amazing”, or “huge”. Perhaps I’ll make it a water shot game.

But it saddens and ages me to see our tenuous racial, social, and gender unity shattered by people who are watching a bully take charge, and feeling that bullying is now okay because of it. It’s one thing to be politically correct. It’s another thing to speak your mind. And it’s yet another thing to truly believe in equality and justice. Right now,  it seems we are just watching a train wreck, rubbernecking at the devastating accident occurring before our eyes, unable to look away.

We cannot look away. If we do, we let hate win, and it is the end of all of us. I am a little too young to be an old hippie, but I still believe in the messages of that movement.

Peace and love are the only answers. Fear and hatred will lead us only to the end of days all the more rapidly than we would have arrived in the first place.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “”Unless the Virgin Mary appears to me on a piece of toast and asks me to vote for the guy, I’m not going to do it.” — CNN reporter Ana Navarro referring to Mr. Trump (This last part of this quote may not be verbatim – I tried to get it down while I watching it.)

Daily gratitudes:
Head butts, snuggles, and spooning from Mr. Man

 

#republicanconvention #acountryintrouble #notimeforhate

 

I don’t have one of my own photos for this post tonight, because for once, unbelievably, I did not take a camera to a special place. The special place was Peter Gabriel and Sting’s Rock Paper Scissors Tour in Denver last night.

I will insert a gratuitous picture of Sting here:

sting
(Image credit: www.blissfullydomestic.com)

Because I like the way he looks. He reminds me of MKL, if MKL became slightly gaunt, fluffed his hair, and squinted. (I love the way MKL looks.)

I’ve never been much of a concertgoer, even though I like music. The crowds, the expense..it just hasn’t happened. I took Kelsea to her first two concerts until I was comfortable with her going with just her friends, and I have to say that the Foo Fighters put on an amazing show. I’m also glad I no longer accompany her to concerts because I’d probably have a heart attack from her crowdsufing at Riotfest.

Enter Stepson D, who for the past two years, has treated MKL and me to concerts in Denver by musicians who his Dad listened to a lot while he was growing up. Last year, it as Boston and the Doobie Brothers. This year, Peter Gabriel and Sting. D says this is a tradition we can probably keep up for some years to come. Now, I’m not much of a Peter Gabriel fan, but MKL is. His music has gotten my husband through some rough times in his life. He’s not much of a Sting fan, but I am. His music has shaped some wonderful memories for me.

Last night’s show was in the Pepsi Center, a venue used for basketball, hockey, and (in my experience) job fairs and concerts. It was a full house, and the artists set the stage immediately by saying, “We’re going to have fun.” And fun we all had. At 66 and 60 respectively, Peter Gabriel and Sting both have the voices that I remember from 30 years ago, still rich, expressive, melodic, and untouched by technological enhancements. Sting’s guitar was battered and well-loved; if one of the ten wealthiest musicians in Britain is playing something that looks like it came from a pawn shop in Aurora, you know it must be special and dear to his heart. He played “An Englishman in New York”, which is one of my favorites, and quite a few numbers from his days with The Police. The only thing missing for me was “When We Dance”, but I may be in the minority on that one, and I get that. Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” brought me to tear.

Even though Peter Gabriel without hair constantly reminded me of Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies, and their lovely blonde back-up singer looked remarkably like Claire Underwood from Netflix’s House of Cards, which confused me at each first glance on the big screen, these two artists have assembled an amazing set of musicians to join them on their journey.

All the way through the closing encore “Sledgehammer”, they shared their music, each chiming in with vocals, instrumentals, or dance steps to the others’ songs. Brothers from other mothers. They touched on recent American tragedies and British political madness, all the while emphasizing, through the songs they selected, that we are a powerful people and love en masse is a powerful instrument of change and peace in the world.

As an empath in large crowds, I get A LOT of feels. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I tend to avoid concerts, fairs, and other events where a crush of humanity will be present. But last night, all I picked up was gorgeous positivity. It felt like we were in a giant living room, all 18,000 of us, just hanging out listening to our friends play music, and chiming in when we could. There was singing. There was dancing. We were a crowd of a certain age, mostly, with women in flowy outfits and gentleman in standard classy aloha shirt attire. The lighting artists – for they truly were artists – made it feel at times as if the late afternoon sun was streaming in, warm beams flooding the crowd from unseen windows. One of the last songs made me feel as if I was sitting in the center of a rainbow, that magical spot always sought but never attained.

I loved watching MKL, as he watched with genuine joy in his eyes. He is the most genuine man I have ever known, and I need that in my life – such a stark contrast to my past partners. His joy enhanced mine expontentially.

So thank you Stepson D, for this wonderful experience. Thank you, Peter Gabriel and Sting, for giving us a night to remember. A special thank you to Sting, for continuing to look as amazing as you did 20 years ago. Thank you to my fellow concertgoers for your delight, enthusiasm, and camaraderie. Thank you to the spirits, non-corporeal ticketholders that I could feel up the high seats. And thank you to the universe for channeling magic in the form of music through very special people.

Quote of the Day: “If I ever lose my faith in you, there’ll be nothing left for me to do.” — Sting

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
A surprise Kelsea tonight
Belated and beautiful birthday presents
The man talking to his dog as they walked down Public Road
Cheese Danish from the coffee shop at the Littleton Downtown RTD station

(I’m trying to somehow spread the word on my blog, so I’m hastagging things. Bear with me. I have no real idea what I’m doing.)

#rockpaperscissorstour  #petergabriel #sting

 

 

I have somehow unconsciously decided to pay tribute to those lost in the insanity and hatred that lies behind terrorism by commemorating this kind of tragic day with an orchid. Here is today’s offering. As the parent of gay children, I recognize that it can be a challenge to accept at first. But my children are powerful, beautiful individuals who will make positive differences in this world. And that is what matters. Hatred, whether it takes the form of vile words, religious justification, or acts of violence…. I was going to say doesn’t matter, but it does. It matters deeply. The actions of one man last night effected the lives of countless others. Who really gives a damn who or how a human being loves, as long as they DO love, and spread that message of love and caring as far and wide as the world itself? My heart hurts for Orlando, for the victims, their friends and families whose lives will never be the same. But do not stop being who you are, and do not stop voicing your love and support. Otherwise, we will be doomed to repeat our mistakes ad infinitum. Rest well, loved ones, and know that we who still draw breath on this earth and have love on our side, will not stop fighting the fight for you. And we will fight it with love and understanding, not violence.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours.” — Karen Armstrong

Daily gratitudes:
Birds
A few days at Cottonwood
A heightened awareness of what is wrong
MKL
Cleaning up for Kelsea
That Cheryl and Pete are ensconced on Anegada

It’s not a bad thing, but that’s the closest phrase I can find to describe it.

My daughter is in North Carolina. In my hometown. And I’m not there. I guess that shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s actually very cool, and I’m so happy she’s there. She was texting me today from Duke, from the library where my Mother used to work. She stopped by to see one of my parents’ dearest friends. She went to the Chapel, and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. While she had been to Durham several times before my parents died, she was very small then. She and I spent two nights there when we were on the EAR, and I took her everywhere I could think of and told her as many of my memories as I could. Today, she made some of her own memories. She said it felt weird that I wasn’t there. But then, that’s growing up.

She is such a part of me in every way. I told her the first time she travelled without me and just with her Dad, that there is a very thin silver thread that connects our two hearts, and that no matter how far apart we are, that thin silver thread will always be there. It stretches to infinity, and yes, perhaps, beyond. We both remember this always. I felt it so strongly today. Having her, one who is literally a piece of me, in a place that holds and that shaped so much of my spirit, made me feel as if somehow I was there. It certainly made me feel as if I weren’t all here, in my body, in Colorado. It was such a queer feeling. It has yet to entirely subside. But as I say, it’s not a bad thing. Just very curious.

This is a window in my Father’s library – actually, the Divinity School Library, which will always be my Father’s no matter who the librarian may be. This window itself, the glass, the latch, the tree outside – it’s all the same as when I was a little girl. I can remember how much I liked opening and closing these latches. They felt old. And I felt powerful. It seemed like an appropriate image for today, the dusty glass opening onto a bright new world.

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Durham, North Carolina

Quote of the day: “Even when we’re apart, we’ll be looking at the same sky!” — L.J. Smith

Daily gratitudes:
Small clouds that float lower than storm clouds
MKL
When the people in the office across the way wave hello
Peonies
A newly graded alley (I think)

Sealongings

Waves are formless and endless,
Their gentle rush and lion’s roar
A sound that fills ears, shells, and spirits.

I think that people who complain
That the sea is too loud,
That it disturbs their slumber,
Must be missing a small piece of their soul.
Perhaps the sea has swallowed it and
has yet to give it back.

It holds mine in its fathoms.
It lets me breathe unencumbered beneath the surface.
It rolls in a rhythm that matches my heartbeat.
It serves as a grateful vessel for my tears.
It cools and feeds my passions.

Far away, I hear that gentle rush
In conch shells on the shelves of coffee shops
And in dreams.
Always in dreams.

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Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the Day: “The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.” — Kate Chopin

Daily gratitudes:
Birds in the trees
Mr. Man’s paw on my knee
Kelsea’s writing and her sense of justice
New tickets leading to new adventures
Not having to shovel my sidewalk

 

 

Mugs
Some days I want to drink my coffee
From a mug that reminds me of my mother.
It’s one on permanent loan from
The work kitchen of a now-defunct employer.

It’s gentle curves are like a mug my mother gave me,
A fine sheen, ivory and green, embossed with seashell art.
I lost that in the divorce, along with many things,
And drawers and cabinets full of pain and dead dreams.

My mother doesn’t know anything about that.
She died before it happened.
I often wonder
What she would think of me,
My life,
My choices,
Now.

But this curved mug
Is brown and green and embossed with trees
Like the ones my mother loved so much.

One of my favorite images is of her
Hugging a pine tree
In Rocky Mountain National Park.

So when I fill
The mug that reminds me of my mother,
With Folger’s crystals like my father used to drink,
It is as if I am having a small cup of coffee with my parents
Each morning.

That is a very fine way to start the day.

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Denver, Colorado. (This is my alternative mug, purchased for
me by MKL. I love it.)

Quote of the day: “I am the way a life unfolds and bloom and seasons come and go and I am the way the spring always finds a way to turn even the coldest winter into a field of green and flowers and new life.” – Charlotte Eriksson

Daily gratitudes:
The flat fall of Snowmaggdon
Favorite movies on a snow day
A super snuggly cat
Experimental eggs
Having a warm spot on a cold day

 

What Makes A Poem?

The question is the title.
Is it the sentiment?
The words?
The lay of lines?
The rhyme? Now unrequired?

I can say
That
This is the longest I have ever gone
Without seeing my daughter
Since the day she was born.

That knowledge hit my heart
This morning
Like the sharp quill of a feather
And became a poem.

I could
Have written
Those same words
– All these words –
In a sentence or two.

You
Would have read them
But somehow, it would not
have been the same.

Those words,
that feeling,
deserved
a poem.

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Ventanas al Mar, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the Day: “If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. Stories about food show a strong connection. Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business. The more a daughter knows about the details of her mother’s life – without flinching or whining – the stronger the daughter.” — Anita Diamant

Daily gratitudes:
Blooming trees
The mountains today
New travels
Lighthouses
Egg Salad Diabolo with MKL
When Mr. Man is happy to see me

Springs
No matter how broken
Winter leaves me
I find that
Like a bough
Thought killed by the chill,
I recover
Under the warmth
Of the spring sun.

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Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Quote of the day: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson

Daily gratitudes:
Working to make things work
That my bout of illness has passed
Faith
Harris Tweed
MKL

40 Years At Sarah P. Duke

Come spring, the siren calls of memories,
Whispers in the wind saying, “Come home,
Come home, the daffodils are rebellious in bloom,
And the pansies of the long gravel walk
Yearn for your gentle touch on each velvet petal.”
Those short stone walls clamber for the feel
Of my shoes balance-walking down them.
The wisteria palace is approaching bloom, vines
Enveloping the gazebo in fragrant violet magic
Promising blosson clusters and later, velvet seapods.
I stand at the edge of the steps, waiting for the view to
Empty of souls, so I can survey my own
Private kingdom.
A descent to the fountains, tricking cherubs
Where my father used to scoop coins from the shoulder-deep pools
Of wishing wells for us on hot summer days.
He is gone now, but the fountains still sparkle.
Criss-crossing rows of bark mulch paths
Through beds of tulips and butterly bushes
Into shade beds of hostas and lilies of the valley.
Still descending, still cross-crissing
To the koi pond teeming with water lilies and dragonflies,
Then up the slate stones, slightly slippery, as they pass
The trickle-down waterfall
To the big sitting rock – the peasant’s view of the garden kingdom.
Down across another little waterfall, through the dark shade
Of climbing magnolias
Into the big meadow beyond
Where Sarah and I drank little bottles of pink champagne
And lay among the dandelions discussing philosophy and world affairs
And boys
While basking in the sun and avoiding the bees.

This haven, with its empty grass hills, where I snuck in
With high school boyfriends for moonlit make out sessions,
With sky-high pine trees where I gathered greenery
For the mantel at Christmas, filling paper grocery bags
And leaving with cold, resin-stained fingers,
With its Japanese garden and arching bridge
Redolant with peace and solitude.

The gardens call to me, with memories of roses and sweat,
Sweetness and spring.

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Durham, North Carolina.

Quote of the Day: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling some better
A talk with Charlotte
My voice when it sounds like Lauren Bacall
Spring coming
Soft blankets

 

 

 

It is National Poetry Writing Month (for any of you who wish to learn more about it go here), and as few of you know, I have been writing poetry my whole life. I go in phases, sometimes publishing here, sometimes elsewhere. Since the muse has been distracted for some time, I have written little of late. NaPoWriMo, which, along the lines of NaNoWriMo, encourages writers to create one poem a day for the month of April, is a good time for me to reacquaint myself with the craft and all of its nuances. I’m a few days late starting, so I’ll try to catch up over the course of the month. Here, I give you today’s offering:

Twins
Ripped from his roots and tossed in the street,
She felt the remains of his limbs at her feet.
His leftover lifelong intertwinedness
Curling around the tender tendrils of her toes,
The nature of the stone in his leftover soul,
Slowly slowly
Stealing away her green, her light, her life.
She died,
Inch by bitter inch,
And yet she did not die.
She stood, her own life crumbling around her,
Her madness and grief on display for all to see
In her wild hair and shattered serenity,
And her untended children.
She caught and cradled herself in her own brittle arms
As she fell, piece by broken piece,
And her heart become dry and hard,
Hard and cold until the day she could no longer
Stand to stand,
The weight of the world too much to bear.
She gave up,
Throwing herself from her steadfast post,
Cathy on the crag ever seeking her lost Heathcliff ,
And pitched in a fit of wind-driven pique,
Collapsed with a hush, wrapped in frozen blankets,
Her descent carefully guided by watchful angels,
Finally to join him.
And yet, some small part of her still fights,
That raging, tangled madwoman, turning on her saviors,
Cutting them to ribbons as they tried to help her move
On towards a transformed life.
Accepting death
Is never easy,
And death itself is seldom
Terribly gracious.

__________________________________________

But, never fear, gentle reader, I shall not deprive you of your daily image, quote, and gratitudes. Enjoy the month.

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Elk and Pines in Snowfall, Estes Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”  — Leonardo DaVinci

Daily gratitudes:
A beautiful day
The velvet of pansy petals
Fighting off a cold (and losing, but still fighting)
Trying to help
Warm milk at bedtime

 

 

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