Lots of Stupid

There is no shortage of stupidity. No back orders. No out of stock. There is plenty for everyone. It does seem that some people have way too much stupidity, and others have so little. Stupid can dress up pretty and fool a lot of people. If someone is not paying attention, stupidity can slip in and wreak havoc. Stupidity argues with reality, and it never wins.

So what is stupidly? Why do some people, and some nations, keep repeating the same mistakes and expect that this time it will turn out differently? Experience is the best teacher, but unable and unwilling students are goofing off, or day dreaming and miss the lesson. We will never have the “war to end all wars” because the problem: war, can’t be stopped by more war. The solution for a problem usually comes only when we step out of the stupidity fog and look at the problem with new eyes and fresh perspective. We have to know that we don’t know, and this humbles us enough to get curious. I will borrow another’s words, because I am not stupid and recognize and admit Gordon Livingston M.D.says things much better than I.

The most lethal combination of character traits, for men and nations, turns out to be arrogance allied to ignorance. Knowledge helps us manage fear. Stupidity thrives in the absence of curiosity and is frequently disguised by ambition and a relentless perseverance… .
From: the thing you think you cannot do
thirty truths about fear and courage

In other words, a stupid person is likely to be believed if he sounds certain, has charisma, and his supporters possess a good dose of stupid themselves. The current campaign for the highest office in the land needs fact checkers to evaluate and correct the “facts”asserted by candidates. “Don’t  confuse me with the facts” please, and we all know it was curiosity that killed the cat after nine lives.

Why think for yourself when you have an entire belief system that your church supplies? Science is the devil, and evolution and global warming are lies. There is faith, and there is stupid. I have faith, and I try not to cross that line to stupidity. I have a brain and a heart, and I intend to consult with both until I am gone. So be curious, ask questions and think for yourself.
Don’t be stupid!

Work hard, Play hard

In the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to witness several people doing their jobs, ….or not. I am always amazed that not everyone agrees on the importance of an “honest days’ work”. For me, doing shoddy work or not meeting deadlines, gives me a severe case of the “guilties”. Unfortunately, some workers are immune to the “guilties” and really don’t much care if the job is done right, or even completed. They were not raised by my Mama!

Recently, my neighbor hired workmen to do some landscaping for her. Her needs and her time line were communicated very clearly to the workmen, who promptly ignored her and set their own time line and work orders. They decided to change the brick pattern that she had so carefully laid out for them, in favor of what they thought would work. It didn’t. Apparently uneven and poorly laid brick was not a problem for them, but my neighbor saw things differently and she had to fire them. Because she is a woman and not “powerful” without a man to back her up, I suspect some workmen don’t take her seriously.

This week, my personal experiences with getting hired work done were very positive. I had a garage door opener installed by a conscientious and pleasant young man who showed up on time. Imagine that! He treated me with respect and made sure I knew what I needed to know before he left. Many years ago, my husband Roger built a dividing wall in the garage to create his jewelry repair shop, and the wall needed to be demolished so I could fit my car. This was emotional for me because I am grieving his death last November. I hired someone to do this for me, and once again the work was done quickly and well. Josh had remodeled my condo a couple of years ago and I knew he consistently did superior work. How wonderful to trust him to do a job well.

I grew up with 12 siblings, yes really! Daily, we had to take turns doing the dishes and sweeping and mopping floors. We also had other chores to do, and outside farm work was mostly done by my brothers. It would have been chaotic if we hadn’t done our jobs. Even with some loud discussions about whose turn it was, the house ran smoothly most days. Sloppy work had to be done over. We each had our part to do in caring for the family. Knowing that I had to do my part was a valuable lesson. We never got away with blaming our siblings for our own laziness or lack of motivation. There were too many pairs of eyes watching you. I see you, get to work!

Anti-Social Social Media

Listen up! I have decided to get on Facebook. I have been anti-social on social media, but making my writing more accessible is so important to me, I am taking the leap. I have the perfect family to brag about, my doggies, Roscoe and Mia. Because of their royal blood, they prefer to be addressed as Sir Roscoe and Madam Mia. Humor them. Playing, eating, pooping and peeing are their superlative, superlative, and superlative activities. Follow them. You don’t want to miss out do you?

I do have my limits, so for now I will be tweet-less on Twitter. Mr. Trump is safe for now, but my erratic sleep patterns would allow me to tweet in the middle of the night. I’m just saying I could if I wanted to. Instagram just sounds too busy for me. I want to keep it simple, and I am lazy. I don’t need more distractions; I need more focus. It is too easy for me to compare other people’s outsides with my insides. Comparisons take me down dead end streets in my thoughts.

We can learn so much about each other by telling and listening to each other’s stories. As Rogers’ dementia progressed, he lost his stories. He needed coaxing to carry on a conversation and this was a stark contrast to his pre-dementia “Mr.Social” self. Early on, he carried his phone and knew how to check his messages and make a phone call. Eventually he seemed to forget what to do with a phone and didn’t even notice when I took his phone away. This was so sad to me; another reminder that he was losing his social connections.

At its core, social media are simply ways we humans communicate and strengthen our bonds with each other. It’s unfortunate that when we “Reach out and touch someone” we touch our phones and computers, and not each other. Coding is the heart of social media, but the human heart speaks a different language and is so much more. Can you hear me now?

How Much is that Doggie?

I have been invited to a retirement party for a very special dog, a beautiful Golden Retriever with soft,reddish fur,and watchful eyes full of love. For her eight years of service, Henna has faithfully cared for her owner Dee, who has MS. Henna has helped Dee keep her balance and brace her on uneven ground and stairs. She has done her job very well, and never goes off duty until Dee tells her she can play. Unfortunately, Henna is getting older and slower, and will get to retire as soon as Dee gets her new dog. Henna will live with Dee and her husband Steve, and spend her remaining dog years being cared for, and just being a dog. Roger and I met Dee and Henna in a chair yoga class. Of course, Henna had the Downward Facing Dog pose nailed! Roger liked to pet Henna, because her fur was so soft and she stood still.

So now, Dee needs to raise funds so she can get that service doggie in the window. They cost a lot because they are carefully raised and trained to do their specialized job. I am thrilled that I have some money given to me in memory of Roger, and I have no doubt that Roger would want the money to go towards a new service dog for Dee. I can see him petting Henna and the smile on his face. He loved all of our dogs with his heart wide open.

Will you please help Dee get her new service dog? Join me in donating any amount you wish so Dee can get the help she needs. I admire Dee for her positive outlook, and she is very funny and makes me laugh. She has amazing courage and resolve to face MS, and not let MS define her.

If you mail any contributions, I will make sure Dee gets them. Payable to: Dee Sullivan
Thank you.

Nice is not for me.

When I headed out the door to go to work, Roger would often call down the stairs, “Play nice with the other kids.” The older I get, the less I want to be nice. Nice is not for me. My Mother always said “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything.” Unfortunately, my quiet “nice” can fan embers of smoldering resentments into a raging forest fire. The kind of forest fire with zero containment, and threatening homes.

“Girlie” girls are nice, but very boring. I get a lot done when I’m pissed off. I can get the urge to clean house or worse! Nice is usually hiding something, like authenticity. I know please and thank you help social transactions flow pleasantly and smoothly. We coach our kids on please and thank you even when please sounds like “peas”, and thank you sounds like “Hank you”. If Aunt Edith gives them a shirt they would not be caught dead in, “thank you” is really a lie and so it begins…lying to protect other people’s feelings.  Slippery. I am done going down that road.

Nice never seems to grow up, but I grew up and life got more complicated. Whenever I go on a “nice” binge, I find myself committed to cleaning cat litter boxes, or making 50 phone calls to let people know a meeting has been moved. I don’t jump out of bed in the morning, excited for all the opportunities to be “not” nice. Yesterday I brought a blueberry scone back to the barista and politely told her that it was dry and stale. What I really wanted to say was “This scone is like a rock , almost broke my tooth , and the blueberries are the work of dung beetles.” I don’t cut in front of people in a line, but I do point out when someone cuts in front of me. I don’t run over old ladies, and I often hold the door open for them. See? I am not a meanie.

Kindness is important to me, and I can be “not” nice and still be kind. I have boundaries and rights like everyone, and I don’t want to be submissive or passive. I hope that “Be kind” can
replace “Be nice”. Think about it.

The Right Size

For much of my life, I played small, and even sat hunched over, legs crossed, taking up as little space as I could. I thought I was protecting myself from pain, and would become target practice if I lived in plain view, open and exposed. What would other people think of me if I released myself, and dared to create and express myself? I had questions and ideas at work, but I didn’t want to be “too much” outside the lines of my job description. I lived with my brakes on, and created deep ruts while I tried to move forward, and held myself back at the same time.

Silly me, in my fifties, life found me in my hiding place, dragged me out, and beat me up again and again. My son made decisions that, for me, felt like slaps in the face. How could he disagree with me and choose his own way in life? My healthy and fit husband got dementia in his fifties. I became his caregiver, and the job was 24/7 with lots of pain and heartbreak, and no pay. He disappeared before my eyes, and died of Lewy Body Dementia November first last year. This was not part of my plan. Reality choked me, and when the dust cleared I was left out in the open with no where to hide. Strangely, I wasn’t afraid.

I am 63 years old, and today, playing small doesn’t fit me; it’s the wrong size and is not my style. My job as a caregiver had required that I step up, be large and loud, and fight for the best care for Roger. I can’t go back and I don’t want to. I see that my son’s choices are what is so special and unique about him, and they are not about me. I am so proud of the man he has become. I am learning new things, and stretching myself out of my comfort zone. I play my banjo loudly and poorly, but still make music. My hero and teacher is Banjo John. He says I have to sing to learn how the banjo fits the music and vice versa, so I sing! I write this blog weekly, and somehow my thoughts get onto the screen and published. I risk having my writing criticized and rated, but I keep writing because I am a writer with things to say. I read and study extensivly about current affairs. I am the top student in my class of one. My need to express myself is so much bigger than any fears I have about being judged. My spirit and courage continue to be forged into steel by the fire that is life.