Chocolate and Me

chocolate 

  • : a food that is made from cacao beans and that is eaten as candy or used as a flavoring ingredient in other sweets

Let me just say, milk chocolate is for wimps, but there are many kinds of fine dark chocolate. Chocolate has thrilled our taste buds since the Mayans concocted a drink from the cacao bean about 2000 B.C. We’ve had many years to get it right and I’m willing to keep testing until we attain perfection. My own history with chocolate is fraught with many ups and downs. As a child I could consume my body weight in chocolate, but soon my body weight became the reason I decided to deny myself chocolate. Too much chocolate could lead to bigger hips and zits . Chocolate became a “bad” food and I wanted to be good. Today I am a big fan of dark chocolate and have some almost everyday. I enjoy it and don’t need much of it to satisfy me. As I’ve aged I’ve chosen the  path of self-satisfaction over self-denial.

Chocolate isn’t the only thing I no longer deny myself. I don’t function well on the all or nothing, or never and always teeter-totter. The only thing that is not on any sort of continuum is death. There is no such thing as less or more dead. Today I think it distills down to my wants, what motivates me, and what fosters self-love. Simply, chocolate is “good”and I’m “good”. I may not run everyday, but 5 days a week is great. I don’t write for 5 hours a day but 2 hours a day is  pretty good. I’m much more gentle with myself and I’ve put the mental whip away. The cliche “Everything in moderation” doesn’t piss me off as much as it once did. Maybe I’m too tired to be outraged at myself. I’m not the lowliest, ugliest creature on this planet if I eat that chocolate cookie or buy myself something I don’t need just because I want it. The whole world and my personal world does not come to a grinding halt if littl’ ole’ me ate 2 pieces of chocolate yesterday.

Feeling awful about indulging in behaviors I considered negative actually set me up to indulge even more. In my eating disorder days I could go for months sticking to my strict eating plan, but if I slipped up and ate one morsel more than I thought I should, it was off to the races and a major binge. And then feeling even worse…. The highs and the lows took a toll on my well-being. What I hated the most was feeling out of control. I was O.K. If I felt in control. I got better when I learned and practiced self-love, and decided I was imperfect,but enough. Allowing myself to be a flawed human being,and occasionally  indulging myself myself with a special pleasure,is a much gentler way to live.

So I think we should talk some more about chocolate. Dark chocolate has an excellent nutrition profile, it’s a rich source of antioxidants. Couverture refers to the highest quality of chocolate, and I don’t think Iv’e ever tasted it so that’s on my chocolate bucket list. Both the texture and flavor of couverture chocolate is supreme. Really  good chocolate is a little bit of heaven on earth.

The Duck Test 1/6/2020

Ah, the duck test form of reasoning. This is its usual expression: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Yup, that’s a duck.You can argue that something is not what it appears to be; i.e., the animal  barking, peeing on the fire hydrant and licking my face is a duck, but I think we can all agree this assertion is absurd. In 1950, the United States ambassador to Guatemala said it this way, when he accused Guatemala’s leader of being a communist:

Suppose you see a bird walking around in a farm yard. This bird has no label that says ‘duck’. But the bird certainly looks like a duck. Also, he goes to the pond and you notice that he swims like a duck. Then he opens his beak and quacks like a duck. Well, by this time you have probably reached the conclusion that the bird is a duck, whether he’s wearing a label or not.

I rather like ducks, but of course I’m not really talking about ducks. In Cowboy and Indian movies, we could safely assume “We come in peace.”  was a lie when bullets and arrows  started flying. We’ve all seen hours of footage of the insurrection at the Capitol last year on Jan. 6.  We saw police officers being assaulted with flagpoles, fire extinguishers, bear spray and whatever else could be used as a weapon. Entry was gained by smashing windows, breaking down doors and pushing through barricades and ropes. We saw rioters carrying confederate flags,and breaking into congressional offices. We heard chants like“Hang Mike Pence” and “Where is Nancy?  and were told “Trump sent us.” We could all see the hanging noose on the scaffolding and the zip ties. Congress and Senators feared for their lives and were rushed out of their chambers.  During the siege, rioters defecated and smeared feces. Property in the Capitol was damaged or destroyed. 140 Capitol and metro police officers were injured. These are the facts. How do we know?  We saw it with our own eyes and heard it with our own ears. It was on live T.V. for God’s sake!

The night of January 6 and the day after, there was no disagreement on what had happened . Both sides of the aisle condemned the violence they had seen, heard and felt. And then, very soon, a la Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” theory, something sinister began to happen. What we all saw was not what really happened!  The rioters were actually AntiFa  dressed as MAGA supporters. Or it was a peaceful protest. Or the rioters were patriots trying to stop the certification of votes in a fraudulent election. The most blatant and sick confabulation of January 6 was by Congressman Andrew Clyde:

Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall, showed people in an orderly fashion in between the stanchion and ropes taking pictures. If you didn’t know the footage was from January 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Clyde said.  

Was he watching the same live T.V show or was he even on the same planet as the rest of us? I know—I bet he thought it was a duck!

As we get further from January 6, 2020, the unpalatable facts are being spiced up, and new ingredients are being added so the soup is more palatable. Maybe it wasn’t that bad? Our Democracy depends on our consensus of what Democracy looks like and what Authoritarianism looks like. We desperately need to apply the duck test. 

The Big C

No, I don’t mean cancer, I mean curiosity.

curious: \ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs\. :having a desire to learn, investigate or know more about something or someone; :strange, unusual, or unexpected.

I am insanely curious. My life is lit by a large neon question mark. It’s safe to say I am a lifelong learner, even though I haven’t set foot in a traditional classroom for many years. What’s great is that I don’t have to motivate myself to study whatever interests me. I don’t need that course in Statistics to get my degree any longer, so I get to set my own learning plan. I go where my questions lead me.

There are 2 kinds of learning: intellectual learning and emotional learning, and I have the most difficulty with emotional learning. The psychologist, Eric Erickson, believed humans have 8 life stages, and each stage of life involves learning tasks that help set up readiness for the next life stage. Having failed to learn what I needed to learn, I grew older but was still emotionally stuck in prior life stages.  In this sense, there is a learning plan and emotional lessons for a fulfilling and successful life. It was my curiosity, my questions about why I consistently made poor choices—and my desperation, that led me to therapy’s door. At first I resisted looking at the “Why?” of my behaviors and preferred blaming others for my problems. Following my curiosity to self-awareness was a bumpy ride, and satisfying my curiosity was often painful. I was the ostrich with my head in the sand and not the least bit curious, because my fear was paralyzing. I am so grateful to those who gently helped me explore how I got stuck and helped me learn new behaviors. 

We all know that “Curiosity killed the cat.” Most often we take this to mean that curiosity is prying and intrusive and leads to bad outcomes. BUT did you know the complete saying is “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.”? The edit cutting the second half of this quote changes it’s true meaning.  The real meaning actually encourages people to be  curious instead of killing their curiosity, and especially when they can learn about something  new which is “satisfying”. Consider these quotes: “Curiosity killed the cat, but when humans are concerned, the only thing a healthy curiosity can kill is ignorance.” by Harry Lorayne; or “Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it sure saved my ass.” by Michael J. Fox. Can we be “too” curious when our intention is to use the information for gossip or to harm someone? Certainly people have a right to privacy and we all know how devastating damaged reputations can be. I want my private life to remain private. Does privacy trump, pun intended, incriminating and dangerous information risking the public good and safety? What  do we have a right to know? The Freedom of Information Act includes what information?

All world and life changing discoveries began with a question, a curiosity about what we didn’t know. The polio vaccine and penicillin were created by curious scientists asking questions and testing and more testing. What if they had said we don’t know and there is no way to know? When there is a cure for Cancer and Alzheimer’s no one will say “I wish we had stopped looking for a cure, we shouldn’t have been so curious.” The little boy and girl staring up at the night sky and wondering about the moon grew up and helped put a man on the moon. Justice depends on investigation and needing to know who is guilty. Justice is blind but forensics can not afford to limit investigation when there are still questions. Just think about how many people have been exonerated by DNA testing which was not available when they were convicted.

I live and learn, and my life is enriched by what I have and will learn. Of course, I accept that what I know is  infinitesimal to what is knowable, but I won’t stop learning.  I’ve learned things by reading, doing, and feeling and using all my senses. I don’t want to stop being curious even when what I am most curious about is “What happens when I die?” Now I have to go look up the Freedom of Information Act because I’m curious about it.

Eat More Cookies

Last week my sisters and I ended our weekly zoom call with the chant “Eat More Cookies!” Christmas cookies of course. We had talked about cookie parties with masterful decorating by imaginative young minds and hands. It was a feel good topic and we had struggled with some news and topics that were definitely not feel good. We talked about “kids these days” and how sad it was that two local young men had died in a tragic single car accident. There were 5 passengers in the car.  Lives ended and lives forever altered. And of course there was discussion about the pandemic and the dangerous political and cultural divide. And you know…. Sometimes I’m afraid to take a deep breath for fear I might inhale too much of the toxic “air” in the U.S. and start coughing violently, not to mention getting infected with Covid. There is no use waiting for the canary to return from inside the coal mine, she’s not coming back. 

So how do I catch the “Christmas” Spirit? I think I take it from the macro level down to the micro level. I stop the broad focus on the state of this country and focus instead on my micro world of family, friends and food and shelter. My house is decorated for Christmas and I have more than enough food and expendable income to afford to make Christmas cookies. And I get to make cookies with my son!  A lot of the photos I take are of flowers and I love to edit them and zoom in on the center of the flower. There is beauty in only seeing the magnification of the flowers center and not the flower as a whole. Sometimes it’s hard to even recognize the photo as part of a flower. This is a way for me to think about how I can choose what to focus on. I simply can’t deny that there is a lot of “bad” in the world, but I don’t have to focus on the whole when there are parts of my world to focus on that are beautiful and joyful. The bad won’t disappear if I don’t focus on it, and it may even get worse, and I can always pull back and focus on the macro world if I choose to.

It could be that the world will simply go to hell if I’m not paying attention. Of course, this is quite egocentric, but some days I lose perspective and forget I don’t have control over anything but my attitude and my actions. I can eat that cookie if I want to, it’s my choice.  If Putin decides to invade Ukraine my level of influence is zero. This powerlessness drives me crazy sometimes! I spin my wheels and chant “Why doesn’t somebody do something? Four years of watching Trump get away with everything really showed me how there there may be no “somebody”  to “do something”. In turn this realization may make me eat more cookies to feed that frustration monster. The problem is that even I can get sick of cookies after a decade or so and then what?

I may run away and hide if I actually had the power to effect major world changes. Making mistakes on that level are not the same as choosing the wrong movie or restaurant. Now,at least I can sleep at night. My micro world is just fine, thanks for asking. I do have more and better coping skills than eating more cookies, but Christmas cookies are once a year treats so 

I’ll have that cookie, one of those, and the one with frosting on it. Please.

Everything Old is New Again

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again—Stephen King

Lately, I can’t seem to wrap my head around this “time” and “getting older” thing. Calling myself a time traveler is an overstatement, but it’s the best construct I can find. I’m at my coffee shop office and next thing I know I’m feeling emotions that are tied to an event when I was 5. I’m a little girl, with bangs cut straight across my forehead and big blue eyes, and I’m staring at the black board waiting for my brain to click on putting letters into words into sentences. And yesterday becomes today and I’m still struggling to put letters into words into sentences. My eyes are still blue, but today my hair is gray and I need glasses to read that black board. Am I 5 or 69? What if “years” is only one way to measure time? Einstein could help me  if I could just understand the space time continuum he theorized, but I’m limited to what my small mind can understand. Even if I could understand, I’d still have to live my life in whatever order it comes in.

Last night I was listening to music in bed, and if you read my previous post on Rod Stewart you’d know I was listening to his music. Of course I had to get up and go to the bathroom and as I navigated in the dark I had a flash of insight. I’m listening to Rod Stewart today and I started listening to him in my twenties. I have the same ears and brain I had in my twenties, but I know I hear and feel his music differently at 69 than I did at 20. That flash of insight I experienced? Rod Stewart looks like my “bad boy” from my twenties! I actually chuckled and said out loud ”Well it’s about time you figured that out!” It certainly is. The old me is new again. I should tell Rod about my insight….

I time travel the most in my relationship with my son. Being older myself, and of course knowing Tyler is older, doesn’t stop me from going back and forth to earlier times. Tyler is the sum total of all of his years and so am I. Sometimes I experience mothering a Tyler who is 5 or being a mother who is 40. I can be brought up short by words that come out of my mouth that seem out of time, from emotions that originate from years before. And I don’t have dementia. Time may be more of a spiral than a straight line and the spirals overlap. I’d like to think that my emotions are as mature as I am, but in a “debate” with Tyler I can get very immature. I’m a grown up, but you may catch me feeling and acting like a child in spite of my calendar birthday.  I know our bodies are older than our minds. Our outsides, our bodies, and our insides like our brain, heart and soul don’t usually match. This is why we often say “I don’t feel that old.” or “Who is that old person in the mirror?” Sometimes I even think that Tyler may be older than me in some ways. One thing I know for sure is that Tyler and I renew our relationship each time we interact.

new: recently born, built, or created; being other than the former or old; having been in a relationship or condition but a short time; made or become fresh. 

When we talk about fashion we often think that a lot of what is old becomes new again. The clothes we wore in the 70’s and 80’s have come back into fashion again. Bell bottoms are a good example of fashion being recycled. So if the clothes I wore as a young adult are new again can’t I be recycled into something new. We talk about being born again or re-born and that is surely “new”. When we create things we are bringing into existence something that has not existed before, a new thing or idea. Whichever definition of new we use, if we are constantly creating and building our lives, then we are not truly “old”. I intend to renew my life daily.

Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses is the name of a hard rock band from L.A, which was formed in 1985.  Their name seemed the only appropriate title for this post. I remember these guns firing:  President Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, feeling sick watching the news about Columbine, and I remember being unable to grasp that 20 first graders were shot dead in school, and John Lennon had been shot and killed, leaving my generation to grieve his loss and…. The list is so long I can’t even remember all the mass shootings which have occurred in my lifetime, or even this year. They have increased exponentially over my lifetime. I did not have active shooter drills in elementary or high school. We did practice for nuclear attacks by hiding under our desks, but at least the enemy was unseen and we didn’t have to watch our classmates bleed to death. It is now realistic for children to be afraid of being shot to death in school and to be taught how to “protect” themselves from another child or young person with a gun. Now I even need to worry about how safe my son is because he teaches high school. 

Trying to explain the increase in mass shootings without talking about how many guns are sold in this country, a 40% increase from last year, and how rabid the support for the second amendment is, is ignoring reality.   A  U.S. Congressman’s 2021 Christmas card photo is the members of his family all smiling and holding guns, several were automatic rifles like AR-15. To top it off they were asking Santa for ammo. This came a few days after a 15 year old shot and killed four of his classmates with the gun his parents said was his Christmas gift. Some gun owners have crossed the line into the twisted, absurd world of gun worship. I  thought the Christmas card was a SNL skit, but unfortunately not. Soon, I’m sure there will be wedding photos and baby announcements featuring guns. Maybe bridal registries will list ammunition for an AR-15. Bullets for Brides has a nice ring to it!

My father and my brothers were not hunters. In high school I came home from the Oscar-winning movie, “The Deer Hunter”,  profoundly moved.  I believed  the “deer” was spared because it stood for the good in humankind. I truly do not understand the fascination with guns. Guns, and flagrantly displaying your guns may be legal, but am I missing something? Is it he who has the most guns wins?  How much “protection” do we need? I am very frightened by the gun toting people I see in public and feel like the real purpose is to instill fear in those who  are witnesses. When a gun is introduced into any interaction, immediately it becomes the arbiter of inequality. I have the gun so your “ideas” don’t matter, and as we all know you can’t argue with a gun. 

How is it the rest of the world does not suffer from the mass shootings that happen in America? Canadians hunt and get mad at each other, but they are not shooting each other in schools and on the streets. Canadians own about 30 million guns while the US has over 310 million. Canada has much stricter gun control laws than the US. These two factors: the huge number of guns in this country and very lax gun control laws obviously contribute to the high number of mass shootings in the U.S. My theory is the fundamental difference is the gun culture that exists in the U.S., and not in Canada or the rest of the developed world. If it is cool for Mommy and Daddy and Billy and Susie to smile and showcase the guns they are holding on their Christmas cards, what are we communicating? Americans seem to have a set of assumptions and demands about gun rights, but pay little attention to the responsibilities of gun ownership.

Scissors, paper, or rock. Or guns, scissors, paper, or rock?  Or guns, guns, or guns? Sadly, school shootings and gun deaths are rampant. I don’t want to see any more roses thrown on the caskets of our children as they are lowered into the ground.

Justice for All

Lately the  most watched shows on T.V.  have been very controversial jury trials. By virtue of television cameras in the courtroom we were able to watch most of the Derek Chauvin trial, the Rittenhouse trial and the Ahmad Arbery murder trial. We were able to see and hear the lawyers, the judges and the defendants. Whether you agree or disagree with the verdicts, the trials have been a close up look at our justice system. The “truth” is presented to the jury, by the lawyers for both sides, and hopefully the end result is accountability and justice for all. 

In our daily lives, outside of a courtroom, how is justice rendered? It isn’t!  People get by with horrible behaviors all the time and escape any consequences for their behaviors. It’s a difficult truth to accept: life is not fair. Good guys don’t always win, and the truth isn’t always heard. Many rapes are never reported. Money can buy a lot of influence. Reputations can be ruined by  gossip that is untrue. In order for justice to exist, people must be just. So I’m going to start with a definition -just: treating people in a way that is considered morally right. Oh sh*t, we’re all in trouble aren’t we? How do we figure out what is morally right, who gets to make the final decision, does “might” make right? What if you don’t get caught? I desperately want the world to be just, but I have come to accept that justice is not common, and certainly beyond my ability to make happen.

We search for a way to believe that though justice may not be evident or swift, it still happens. We say things like “You reap what you sow.” or “What goes around, comes around.”. We talk about karma:  “the force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person.” I think of good karma as being earned by a person’s moral behaviors, such as doing the right thing, even if doing wrong or getting even is much more appealing. Similarly bad karma is earned by a person’s bad behaviors, even if they are not held accountable or suffer immediate consequences. In my own case, the concept of karma is motivation for me to do the right thing, and a warning to me about the long term consequences of my immoral behaviors. I may not get to bang the gavel or tip the scales for  justice, or even see justice in my lifetime, but if karma is real I can believe justice exists across time and place.  What pisses me off is that justice is not my job, but being “just” is.In spite of my desire to mete out justice to those who have harmed me or others, I am not being “just” if I respond out of the space of getting even or revenge. “

“An eye for an eye…”is not justice, but what is “Turn the other cheek”? I’m just not sure what to do with my feelings of “It’s just not fair.” or “How can they get away with that?” Several years ago I found some behaviors by members on the board of my HOA as being particularly egregious. I tried and tried to stop the behaviors, and I admit not always in a just manner. I was sick about my helplessness, and had tried bringing in as many other agencies to help as I thought of. I didn’t know what to do with my rage. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right and I was sick about it. And then, by chance, I encountered a Fort Collins City Council member who I asked for help. The next day the City acted and the HOA board was forced to rectify the horrible situation. I doubt the board members felt like they were brought to justice. They had no idea how much I had suffered and I don’t think they would have cared. An unjust situation was righted and I set the process in motion. I felt good about that. Today, several years later, just thinking about this time puts knots in my stomach. The rage can still leak out. I’m ashamed to admit that I still want the individuals to suffer, to pay for what they did. Bad Karma for them and for me.

Smarty-pants

“Why is he not answering my text? I sent it a few hours ago. He doesn’t pay attention to me.” I double check my message threads and discover I never sent the message! Silly me. Notice how quickly I jump to negative assumptions? Where is Roscoe? I call for him and eventually start panicking when he doesn’t appear. Did I forget to let him in? He’s not outside. And then I remember I got something out of my second bedroom, and I check and open the door and he trots out like”What took you so long?”  I don’t know, I think why didn’t I notice he came in the room? Simple innocuous explanations for situations that gave me the run around, with frustration and anxiety as the result. I make mistakes and over react. I’m not superior. I’m solidly a member of the masses of people who make mistakes. I’m right in the trenches with the rest of humanity. I think its time for me to get humble.

I really don’t like to admit that I don’t know the answer, or to be embarrassed by my “duh” behaviors. After all I am a smarty-pants and know everything“. Perhaps I’m even infallible! Well, obviously not infallible! I’ve never had a stellar positive body image, but believe me, you can call me fat and I certainly won’t be happy, but call me stupid and I will be enraged. What’s the big deal? To tell the truth I’m not entirely sure, but I have some ideas. In my early school years I was fearful and quiet,  but I did get positive attention from my teachers for reading quickly and “knowing the answer”. My hand would fly up and I would be thinking “Pick me , pick me!” I knew the answer 99% of the time and my self esteem was soon tied to having correct answers and understanding. I never wanted to feel like I didn’t know what to do. I was lost in a sea of siblings, with parents too busy to always pay attention to me. I felt like it was up to me to take care of myself, and that meant I needed lots of brain power. Today, I feel sad for that little girl who grabbed at whatever could help her feel more secure.

My experiences in childhood prepared me to value “readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic”. Being a good student was not a bad outcome, but unfortunately “book learnin’” was not the only kind of smarts I needed to be a successful adult. I found out that I couldn’t think my way out of many situations. My emotional intelligence report card was dotted with “F’s”. I actually thought that “dumbing” myself down was a viable way to get whatever outcome I wanted,  even if I knew that what I wanted was harmful to me. Many times I knew better, but my warped emotions and emotional reasoning created enough denial to over-rule myself. I allowed myself to feel some superiority because like Yogi, I knew I was “smarter than the average bear.” A lot of good that did me…

So here I am, an older woman, and I’m no longer trying to use my intelligence as currency. My intelligence is a gift, nurtured by my diligence for lifelong learning. I’m more emotionally intelligent now and I know there is heart smart and brain smart. Finally, I have learned that humility is the best antidote to any arrogance I feel intellectually and emotionally. 

Play Nice With The Other Kids

For years, when I headed out the door to go to work, Roger would call down the stairs “Play nice with the other kids.” Depending on my mood I chuckled or grumbled.  Of course, adults have learned to play well with others. Right? Wrong! The level of the “playing” field in Congress is very much the opposite of nice. It is an arena where cruelty, and threatening behavior is common place. The message is “Be afraid, be very afraid.”  Security for Democratic Congressmen has increased exponentially, and threats against them, election officials , health care professionals, and even school board members have also increased exponentially.  Playground bullies got nothin’ on Congress. Washing their months out with soap is a risky proposition when some members of Congress can barely part with their guns on the floor of Congress.   “Who me? Can’t you take a joke?”—joking or hiding behind the silent wall of your buddies, even if they are Congressman, does not negate how the threat landed.

Paul Gosar, a Republican congressman, posted an anime video of him killing Democratic congressman, Alexandra Occasio Cortez, and attacking President Biden. He was censured by the House, but right after the censure Gosar reposted the video. I guess he got away with a slap on the wrist and thumbed his nose at the censure. Unfortunately, I am sure there will be more physical violence and people will die.  In high school, his nickname was The Weasel. Paul Gosar’s brothers and sister recently wrote an opinion piece warning  how “ridiculously unfit” their brother is to be a U.S. Congressman. It would be a good bet that he did not get their vote. They write that Gosar is a bigot, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and associates himself with White Nationalists, none are endearing qualities.  They believe Gosar was also instrumental in inciting the violence on January 6. It appears the Weasel is still living up to his nickname. Perhaps his siblings should have been listened to before he was elected.

Consider this, if your group of friends all swear like a drunken sailor, eventually swearing will seem very normal. We all get desensitized to what we see day after day. With frequent exposure to other’s  behaviors we develop a new normal that fits our new reality. We get used to it. We may think that our families do things the right way, after all it’s what we’ve seen and experienced for years. I’m afraid we will get used to violent rhetoric and threatening behaviors; i.e.that’s how Congress always behaves.  How low can we go before the brakes are applied?  Is it all harmless? Is it true that “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” What if the “sticks and stones” are assault rifles? There is no debating with a gun. Social media speeds up the spreading of lies and personal attacks, and words do hurt ourselves and others. How many times can we see the dysfunction and violence in Congress before we get numb to it? I don’t want to find out.

Pandemic Proofs

A drumroll please! I put my sweatshirt on this morning and reached back to pull my hair out of my collar and it hit me like a lightning bolt—my hair is long enough, to do that thing that women with long hair do, to get their hair unstuck from their collars!  So what?  You may be wondering if I’m a “Hair” fan or have a Samson complex, but no and no. I’m just a Covid survivor who decided to let my hair grow during the pandemic time out. I’ve had one haircut in almost two years, and my compulsion to try a million different styles and haircuts has been stymied. My hair is longer than it’s ever been and I like it, even if it took me 69 years to grow it out. So what’s the takeaway? It’s my realization that “Better late than never.” is really true.  I’ll take my truisms however and wherever  they come.

A drumroll please! I’m never going to get that “bad boy” tamed and to fall in love with me. AND I’m never going to completely give up that fantasy. Yes Bobby is now 70, with those same bedroom eyes, and looking like he’s still 25, and he’s given up all of his bad habits, like doing drugs, and professes deep love for me. It’s never going to happen! I can entertain my fantasy and still know when it’s time to shelve the fantasy. Yes, I know I’m older now,  but I spent a lot of time during Covid watching movies about young love that ended well. The girl and the guy got together. They are forever stuck in time, but I got older and experIenced the good and the bad of “mature” love. Now I am online and hoping for one more love relationship for myself,  and trying to stay away from the “bad(old) boys”. “ Can’t you hear Roy Orbison crooning “Only the Covid Lonely”?

A drumroll please!  Amazon not withstanding, I’ve finally figured out that almost all my “needs” are really just “wants”. Ordering groceries, toiletries and cleaning supplies on-line eliminated strolling through the grocery store, seeing things that I needed to have that were not on my list. Out of sight, out of mind. During Covid, it was such a complicated process to grocery shop on line that I got into the habit of repeating my previous order and adding just a few things that were different for that week. It didn’t matter that I narrowed my choices.  I still found what I needed and didn’t miss what I didn’t see. I had many clothes that were not worn for over a year. I walked a lot, so sweats and running shoes were my wardrobe staples, and I still had way more of those than I needed. It was freeing not to be led around by my nose seeking all those things I just had to have. I became a Covid consumer and I want to remain a Covid consumer after, hopefully, Covid is gone.

A drumroll please!  Navigating social distancing, masking rules and living in fear from an invisible and potentially deadly enemy is incredibly isolating.  After well over a year of living with Covid, I’m convinced it’s true, “No man is an island.” Relationships with family and friends are essential to my well-being and I need physical contact. “We are Family.” and “I Get by With a Little help from My Friends.” are my new theme songs. Loneliness was the other pandemic during Covid, potentially as deadly as the virus. I am sure we need each other to help us remember what it means to be human and to be humane. We don’t need more things, we need love. Those of us who are lucky enough to have indoor pets have been able to feel and pet warm bodies, and I prefer my  doggies to some humans I know. So hats off to our 4 legged pandemic pets.

If we have learned what our values are, and renewed our commitment to live a more loving and kind existence, we can honor what will be close to 1 million fellow Americans who have lost their lives during this horrible and humbling pandemic.