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I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a brown egg. I’m sure I’ve never eaten a green one. I’ll take two, with a slice of ham.

While my darling daughter has chosen to go somewhere other than Portland State University, we loved how the Portland Farmer’s Market was right in the school’s quadrangle.

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Portland, Oregon.

Quote of the day: “Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.” —  M.F.K. Fisher

Daily gratitudes:
Things that make me laugh
That irises are finally blooming
Letting go of the past
Carmen Miranda earrings
Contemplation

Please send some healing energy in the direction of my beloved cat, Mr. Man. He seems to be ailing, and I have not been able to get ahold of the vet yet, but I am worried.

It’s been a very rough couple of days.  Losing a relationship is like giving birth.  It’s painful, inevitable and I have no idea what’s going to come out (there’s no ultrasound for the future).  But it does get a little bit easier day by day, although I can backslide sometimes (and that doesn’t usually happen with labor.)

This morning, I feel a little better.  And I wanted to take a minute to specifically thank a few people who helped me.

AnotherOther1 – thank you for your empathy, emails and concern.  You know more about what is happening with me than almost anyone, and your support across the miles means more to me than words can say.

The Idiot – As I was trying to go to sleep last night, I thought again about your spine-crushing cyberhug.  I really needed that.  And the fact that you always seem to make me laugh.

Slpmartin – your poetry moves me daily, and your poem for me last night helped take me to a quiet and strong place, even if only for a few minutes – but today, it will take me there for a few minutes more, and tomorrow for a few minutes more.

Celeste – you have been a support and kindred spirit for some time now, and I wish we were both spending winter somewhere warm, but I am so glad to have you as my compatriot in our laments against the cold.  You’re inspiring me to try to find the positives in winter.

Jingle – your work to collect marvelous new poetry in one place and to showcase the work of others is special and unselfish and has made my muse bloom. Your positive and sympathetic nature shines through with every word.

Erik – you’ve known me since I was – what – six years old?  And so you know me.  Thanks for still being there, even if it’s in the cyberworld now.

Sagerider – you are the other one who truly knows what I am feeling, and your words often bring peace to me because of our shared spirit.  I hold you gently in my heart always.

Kelsea – my girl, who is the only reason I am still here and whom I love with all my heart and soul.

Charlotte – my sister from another mother, who has always understood me, never judged me, and is, as ever, insightful into my soul.

Thanks so much to all of you.  Whether you’re present in my physical space or in cyberspace, you probably have no idea how much impact your caring has had on me when I have been in trouble, like I have been the past couple of days.  You’ve given me hope and that keeps me going.

I know my pain will come back; I know I will go back to a bad place.  But I know it won’t be as bad as it was, and that’s in part because of your support.

One friend in particular said he prays for me daily.  I too need to remember to thank the universe for the blessings in my life, as I used to when I was writing Daily Blessings.  So I hope to try to end most posts in the future with a short gratitude list.  So aside from all of you, here’s what I am thankful for right now:

That I woke up this morning; the sprinkling of snow falling from the sky; Benadryl, for this weird allergy thing – I think I’m allergic to something in Lemon Drop Martinis; my Santa Hat.

Love to you all.

I learned more about hay today than I ever thought I would.  It was not an unwelcome lesson.  I can now say I’ve had my hayday – oh, wait, that’s heyday.  Whatever.

My landlord found hay for cheap (I personally thought hay was always cheap) on Craigslist, so we took my truck to pick it up today.  I learned that my landlord, who has lived here for 25 years, is seriously directionally impaired.  We finally found the farm at which the hay was located, and started sorting through the huge stack looking for bales that were relatively intact.  Not as easy as it sounds.

Here’s what I learned about hay today:

I now know what baling means when it comes to hay.  It means tying bunches of hay up into like-sized rectangles.  Perhaps that was obvious to most of you, but news to me.

Despite what I am sure is diligent baling by farmers or whatever haymaking equipment they use, hay bales can and do fall apart.

When hay is stacked, even in baled form, you can still sink in it up to the tops of your thighs.

Hay is not easy to pull your legs out of without assistance when you’re in thigh-deep.

Stacked hay has many things in it besides hay.  Like overly friendly bugs.  And spines of dead things with tails still attached.  And probably the thing that ate the dead thing.  But fortunately, we didn’t see that thing.

Hay is HEAVY.  Seriously!  I see why all those farm boys were so strong – if you’re hefting hay all day long, you WILL get a strong back, and strong arms, and strong legs.

Hay is fun to stack in the back of a truck.  It’s like fitting a puzzle together.  And the back of my truck holds 12 bales of hay.  It is, however, challenging to heft it up into the back of the truck – see the above point about having strong legs and a strong back.

Hay infiltrates almost every part of your body, including your socks and your teeth.  (Wait, are socks a body part?)  I was still picking hay out of my teeth an hour after I left.

Hay is itchy.  Really itchy.  So incredibly itchy that you want desperately to take a shower sooner than immediately.  I cannot possibly imagine anyone wanting to take the phrase “a roll in the hay” literally.

Doing anything hay-related on an incredibly windy day makes whatever you’re doing with hay twice as hard as it would be on a non-windy day.

A pug feels like the king of the world when standing on top of a truck loaded with hay bales.

Well, there’s your primer on hay for today.  I feel like I can cross something off my life list now.  And I am ignoring the fact that my landlord says it was straw, not hay.  In my heart, it was hay.

Girls today.  Soooo much more mature at 13 than I was.  Between make-up and physical development, some of the girls in 7th grade look like high school seniors.  This got me thinking today…why?  Is it the hormones in the food we’ve been feeding our kids for the last (at least in my experience) 13 years?  I was never overly concerned with staying organic in terms of Kelsea’s diet – it seemed that you have to go all the way with that attitude or it’s pointless – though I always tried to emphasize healthy eating.  Pat was more the junk-food supplier.

Think about it.  Back in the 12th century, girls were of a marriageable age at 12, which is a year younger than Kelsea.  They were often having kids at 13.  But the average life expectancy was age 30.  And about 50% of children under the age of 5 died.  So it made some evolutionary sense to start procreating early, because you had to work twice as hard to keep your child alive, and you weren’t going to live that long yourself.  Okay, logical.

As we moved into the prim and proper 1800s, life expectancy increased and the acceptable age for marriage and childbearing became more like 15 or 16.  Makes sense – we were living longer, and conditions were somewhat less harsh, so children had a slightly better mortality rate.  People even started naming their children at birth – they didn’t used to do so, since the child had such a low likelihood of surviving.

We then enter the prim and proper Victorian era.  Young women were chaperoned until the day of their marriage – they were expected to be wed and breeding around the age of 21.  With infant mortality rates down to 33%, and average life expectancy up to age 48 by 1901, women could afford to get started having kids later.  But why did their maturation rate slow down – why did sexual maturity start occurring later?  What evolutionary signal was there that said, “Hold up!  We don’t have to do this at age 12.”?

Moving into the kaleidoscope that was the 20th century, we went through different attitudes towards sex, childbirth and the definition of maturity, but we still kept the biological rhythm the same – women developed at about 14 or 15 and up.  

And that’s where we catch up to today.  Life expectancy is as long as it’s ever been – 78.4 years.  The average age for childbirth is 25.  And infant mortality rates are 6.7% in the US.  So why are girls developing so early?  Why are 7-year-old girls dancing suggestively to songs that should be way beyond their understanding?  Why is boy-girl drama starting in 3rd grade?  By 7th grade, it has escalated to who is making out with who in the stairwell (yes, there are 7th grade “players”) and who may be having sex.  I mean, what the heck?

This physical maturity is unfortunately not accompanied by emotional maturity.  You can bet your bippy that at 12-year old bride in the Middle Ages knew how to run a household, even a meager mud-hut household.  A 12-year old girl today can barely run a dustcloth.

What is the point of this evolutionary change?  Particularly since the whole concept of survival of the fittest, which in primitive or animal societies is the natural form of population control, has basically been eradicated due to “civilization”, improvements in medical care, and our system of “justice”?  (And why are all these things that are supposed to be “good” in “quotes”?  Maybe because I don’t think they’re very “good” – or “working very well”).

Perhaps there is something to this whole 2012 apocalypse thing, and we are reproducing and maturing at a rapid rate because survival of the fittest is about to make a comeback.  Or not.  As I said before, I don’t have the answers, I just ask the questions.

No, I’m not talking about smelly babies.  I’m talking about us, our society, how we interact with each other and the world around us. 

Sitting in the coffee shop (Paul’s Coffee Shop this time – I like working in coffee shops), I’m listening to the general buzz of conversation.  Several people are talking about how with the stroke of a key, they access this factoid or that piece of gossip.  Look back 60 years.  60 years isn’t really that long – although at the age of 13, I would have said it was forever.  I guess that perception is another thing that changes with time.  (How many of you remember, at one point in your youth, calculating how old you would be at the unthinkable turn of the millennium and barely being able to imagine it?) 

60 years ago, the world got its’ news from radio and from the newspaper.  TV, while in existence, wasn’t common.  The internet wasn’t even dreamed of.  If you wanted to communicate with someone who lived across the state, you sent a letter.  If it was urgent – and usually bad news – you sent a telegram.  But the point is, you waited.  You kept living your life, and when the news came, you reacted to it.  You didn’t constantly check the news, because there was nothing new to check.  Durham had morning and afternoon newspapers (the Durham Morning Herald and the Durham Afternoon Sun) when I was growing up, so you could at least get that level of timely update.

But now?  We have access to facts that were only previously found in books at the library, theses, or encyclopedias.  In fact, I have to wonder a few things about the unbelievable amount of content on the internet:

  • Where did these facts live BEFORE the Internet?
  • Who found them to put them on the Internet?
  • How could anybody have the time to do the research it took to create the content on the Internet?

I’ve written content as part of my job.  I know how long it takes.  I know how long it takes to write one of my “Slightly Bizarre History” blogs, and those are somewhat tongue-in-cheek.  How did the Internet happen?  Are there bijillions of people out there taking obscure facts from documents and books and translating them to some page somewhere in cyberspace – and getting paid for it?  Really?

I wonder if we were not more content before we knew everything real-time.  While coffee shops per se did not exist 60 years ago (I think Captain Starbuck was still whaling back then), diners did, with white formica counters and dime cups of java served in thick porcelain mugs.  Men (and sometimes women) wearing hats, came in for a blue-plate special.  Sometimes they talked.  When they did, did they talk about themselves?  About the little known news of the world?  About where they came from, where they were going?  I am sure they didn’t discuss the various functionality of their Royal typewriters or the advantage of using a Remington versus an Underwood.

Were people more personal back then, because “personal” was the primary focus of society – not business, not money, not getting ahead?  Or am I just living in a dream world of old movies?  Are we afraid of being personal now?  Or are we just so out of touch with what’s important that we’ve forgotten what being personal means?

This is the first in a short series of posts about our society, its high times, its low standards, and the general romp of life.  Such topics have been at the forefront of my frontal lobe – must be a sign of my own changing times.

February 2019
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