“We ain’t goin’ nowhere…”

For the last two weeks an empty carton waits on the floor by my office closet, ready for me to fill it with stuff I no longer need. But closet cleaning isn’t high on my agenda these days.

During these strange days of social isolation, as we attempt to flatten the coronavirus’s exponential growth, I need to talk with family and friends. I need to see their faces. Zooming and Facetime are essential to my well-being. Yesterday an online “visit” with my grown children, their spouses, and my two grandbabies took place in three time zones.

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My granddaughter is six months old today!

The Internet is my friend. I’ve participated in yoga and Pilates classes with teachers from my closed Tucson gym. Today I watched a lovely performance of “Stand By Me” on the rocks surrounding Lake Powell (I’ve never been and now want to go). Walking through our neighborhood is essential, checking out the latest wildflowers popping up daily.

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A cactus in bloom is magic. Every time.

I haven’t felt much like writing lately. Reading sparks the highlight of each day: “Sapiens. A Brief History of Humankind” enlivens my thinking in the late afternoon, along with a snack of Trader Joe’s olive oil popcorn; the novels “Disappearing Earth” and “Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk” transport me to the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula and New York City, respectively, in the evening.

We’ve stored plenty of food but a big diversion from our own cooking will be to order from Tito & Pep’s one night this week. Last night, we discovered a gem on Netflix: “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories.”  A tiny diner tucked into the gigantic city is open from midnight to 7 a.m. An array of fascinating, quirky, believable characters show up.

I miss experiencing life with my grandchildren, also anticipating travel. We planned a trip to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in late May. Most likely not going to happen.

Every day it becomes more obvious that we’re all in this nasty pandemic together, and that we each have a responsibility to ourselves and to others to stay healthy. Let’s do it.

“Hearts open. Hands washed. Love on.” — Brene Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bopping Around Tucson, Family Matters, Fight wimpiness, Old friends, Out West, The Rest of the World, Visual Entertainment | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I want a nice president!

Last week I was heartbroken that Elizabeth Warren, our supreme presidential candidate, dropped out of the presidential race. Electability felt like a dirty word. Would I see a woman president in my lifetime?

We walked to Starbucks to meet friends for coffee, as we do every Tuesday and Thursday morning. A young woman in a t-shirt walked in. She changed everything for me. I asked to take her photo. I wished I had asked her name.

Her message lit up my brain. I’m sick of the daily onslaught of lies from the narcissistic thug in the White House. I’m sick of a bone-deep fear of losing any democracy we’ve traditionally claimed. I’m sick of a make-believe president who cares about the stock market more than the health of millions.

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An influential voter

I’m feeling relieved. Joe Biden isn’t a sociopath. I like his talk about restoring our values, caring about other people, and connecting with the rest of the world.

Standing with black voters who have had it, too, I understand why many are so supportive of Biden. They watched him stand behind Barack Obama for eight years. At what other time in our history has a white man so sincerely sang the praises of a black man? It’s primal for African Americans, not a political tool like when Biden tossed in Barack’s name during the debates.

So what happens next? Bernie gets one more opportunity to test Biden at the Phoenix debate this Sunday. I hope Biden preps sufficiently. I hope Bernie influences Biden on health care, a wealth tax, and equal rights for all.

Biden correctly calls himself a bridge. I’m betting he’ll choose Sen. Amy Klobuchar as his vice-presidential candidate. I’d support Minnesota’s Democratic governor appointing former Sen. Al Franken to her seat. Hasn’t he been punished enough for having been an obnoxious comedian in his previous life? A fifth-generation Minneapolis woman told me Franken was the best senator Minnesota ever had. Bring him back.

Bring on Minnesota nice. I’m all for it.

 

 

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YES SHE CAN!

Six months prior to the 2008 or 2016 presidential elections who was convinced that  Obama or Trump would win? Media pundits are crowning Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee too early in the primary/caucus process. It’s annoying. But that’s their job.

Our job as alert, caring citizens is to vote for the best Democratic presidential candidate, someone who can beat the thug in the White House, someone who will provide leadership and smarts to work with a Democratic Senate — we hope! — someone who will focus on ending massive U.S. inequity — especially among women and minorities.

Elizabeth Warren is that candidate. Her two-cent tax on the richest Americans is the way to go. Medicare For All won’t happen overnight, regardless of who wins the nomination.

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Bernie expounds against inequity but who has consistently fought financial industry fraud during her career? Dropping millions on advertising has initiated former NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s rise among many Democrats looking for a middle-of-the-road alternative to Bernie. Bloomberg could do more good investing millions in climate change and gun control solutions. President, nope.

Even smart people believe what they hear in the media. Yesterday I wore a “I Voted Early” to my writing group gathering.

“Who should I vote for in the [Arizona] primary?” a young immigration attorney and two retired international educators asked.

“Vote for the best candidate,” I said. Read the Paul Krugman piece, “Warren, Bloomberg, and What Really Matters.” Share it with your friends and neighbors.

Why do we finally need a woman president? Who else is talking about paid parental leave, compensating caretakers with decent wages, and refinancing Planned Parenthood? Who else truly cares about women’s issues?

Yes, I’d vote for a dog against Trump. But it’s way past time for a dynamic, smart, empathic woman president. EW_PledgeToVote_background_va01

 

 

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Say what you wanna say…do what you wanna do

Waiting for my stretch class to begin at the Tucson JCC I lift a few weights. I glance over to see if my waiting classmates are sitting by the Mind & Body classroom door. Yup. I keep lifting weights, not wanting to waste any time.

Then I see movement and stroll over, looking inside the glass door. Participants are clapping — what we do at the end of class — and are standing up.

I’m a bit OCDish. Coveting my space in the front right corner of the classroom before anyone else grabs it, I open the door.

“You’re not allowed to go in until the people in the class come out,” a woman sitting on the bench tells me.

“Who says so?” I blurt.

Her dark eyes bulge out at me. “Well, it would be the polite thing to do.”

“I’m going to the back of the room. I know what I’m doing,” I say, recognizing that I won’t be in anyone’s way. And WTF, I’m polite!

This woman probably has been designating herself as boss for decades. Why would you ever listen to her? Ever. Are you a sheep? Don’t be a sheep.

Do what you wanna do. Can’t we each take responsibility for our own selves?

A few people close to me know that I detest being told what to do. I’m working on not letting my anger spew out, like unwanted dark oil from a tanker.

Jump ahead to Ani Difranco singing one of my favorite songs at the Fox Tucson Theatre the other night: “I’m not angry anymore.”

Years ago when I saw Ani perform, she wore a Che Guevara bandanna around her head covering her long dreadlocks. She pounded on her guitar, yelling. She’s a bisexual feminist. The young lesbian crowd danced and screamed their approval back then and now.

The seeming difference these days is that DiFranco, now 49, has been married to a man for 12 years and is the mother of two children. Her dark eyes sparkle under her dark bouncy hair. She laughs and bounces warm jokes off the audience.

I’m not saying it’s because she’s married and a mother that she’s turned mellow. What do I know? I know that I’m less angry as I’ve aged. I wish I were less angry when my kids were young.

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I like having my shadow in a photo. Some people probably don’t. What little things bug you??

I’m making headway but that bossy woman sitting by the door to my stretch class still annoyed me.

 

 

 

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When I woke up this morning…

It was an ordinary Tuesday. Nothing unusual happened walking to Starbucks for coffee with friends. We discussed the day’s big event, a scheduled oil change for my aging Toyota, to be followed by breakfast at Baja Cafe.

Back home after Tuesday coffee, I drove to my car’s service spot and waited for Dan to pick me up for a snickerdoodle pancake or Wyatt Earp benedict.

Perhaps I overheard a conversation about a 2006 Prius for sale.

“I’ve always wanted a Prius,” I said to anyone listening. “But it’s not to be. I’ll go through life with my good old car.”

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My political heart rode with me everywhere. 

“The Prius is behind that big bush over there. Go take a look at it,” said the service manager with the Boston accent who’s taken care of my car for nearly twenty years. I trusted him. I strolled over to my dream car.

It was the same Cape Cod blue as the former OZmobile, my Honda Civic I drove for years in Maine, amassing 179,000 miles through ice and snow, hauling books to conferences I was speaking at, running off the road into a snowbank when I was pregnant with Ethan in 1980.

The Prius color matches the Tucson sky. “It was meant for me,” I mused.

Over breakfast at the Baja Cafe, Dan researched my dream car. “It’s a good deal,” he said. “I’ve listened to you talk about wanting a Prius for years. Get it.”

So I did.

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Happy me!

How often I’ve joked that being a grownup meant owning a car with a beeping key, never imagining it would happen. Finally, I’m a grownup on this ordinary Tuesday that magically transformed into a surprising, thrilling, very good day.

*Know a leftie progressive who will buy a 1999 Toyota Corolla?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Baby Boomers, Bopping Around Tucson, Fight wimpiness, Mount Desert Island/Maine, Out West, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Wounded Beast Starts War

“Trump is like a wounded beast careering around in his cage. Starting a war to shift attention away from his disgrace and disgraceful behavior,” my Maine writer friend emailed me this morning. She’s worried. I am, too.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, promised retaliation against those who killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, our know-nothing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces that this political assassination will “save American lives.”

After stating that he ordered the killing of Suleimani to “avoid war,” Trump tweeted “It won’t be a very long war.” Tough guy bullshit.

The United States is sending 3,500 troops to the Middle East. Escalation is not the answer. More minority and poor white soldiers will die for an egomaniac’s roll of the dice.

Trump and his Puppet Pompeo have decimated the U.S. State Department. They’re both unschooled in diplomacy. Neither possesses expert knowledge of the region. Our demagogue president only listens to his not-so “stable brain.”

I didn’t like President Barack Obama’s use of drone assassinations. I didn’t think it won the hearts and minds of our “enemies.” Obama ordered 1,878 drone strikes during his eight-year presidency. Trump has ordered 2,243 since 2016, according to BBC News.

In March, Trump revoked by Executive Order Obama’s rule of reporting civilian drone strikes outside of war zones to our intelligence agencies.

Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama rejected a drone killing of Suleimani, fearing it would lead to war between Iran and the United States.

How long have we been “winning” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Relaxing in the steam room at the gym this morning, a madder-than-hell man came in and sat next to his friend. “If you haven’t been there you don’t know what it’s like to be at war, pushing your way through the jungles of Vietnam. I did it, I thought for my family. It was wrong. This war is wrong.”

It was only a matter of time before Trump, the wounded beast, would try war to wrongly make him look strong.

 

 

 

 

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Save the Blue Dot

Welcome to this new decade! What will Earth be like when my darling grandchildren (now 3 and 3 months old) turn 80? Will the next century arrive safely?

Gazing at Earth from space must be a surreal and magnificent experience. How excited I become glimpsing the Atlantic from a plane descending over Boston Harbor, seeing other-worldly glaciers in Anchorage, or flying above the snow-covered Caucasus Mountains.

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Flying east over Russia in 2016

I worry about the next decade, the one after that, and the one after that. On NPR recently I listened to an interview with Carl Sagan, the renowned American astronomer who told us more than twenty years ago:

“In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us.” — Carl Sagan

More than twenty years ago I asked my Maine high school students, “Do you know how lucky we are to have been born on this patch of land we call the United States?” I don’t recall anyone responding.

We’ve been taking our clean water, our familiar weather patterns, our beautiful planet for granted for a very long time. Our one and only Big Blue Marble.

BLUE EARTHimages (1) May 2020 inaugurate a decade when we reinstate science, fight off climate change, and upgrade civility among the planet’s humans.

For all our children and grandchildren. For the Earth itself.

Our one and only Big Blue Marble. I hope it survives.

 

Posted in Family Matters, Fight wimpiness, Politics, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments