The Long and the Short of It: Part II

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May 11, 2021- I was able to locate the Windows service for deleting temporary Internet files, so let’s see if that helps with the configuration issues that have been irksome, over the past few days.

The Elantra is ready for its first cross country jaunt, since 2019. It was found that the small brake light bulb, that kept burning out , is simply not well-made, with small filaments that don’t handle the bumps and lumps of our rougher roads-and those are the ones that are paved. It’s a nuisance, but also a First World problem.

The lack of regard for the safety of children is not just an American issue: Eleven people, many of them children, were shot to death yesterday, in Kazan, Russia. I can’t say it enough- It is not the God-given right of mentally ill people to bear arms. This does not mean those who have been successfully treated for mental illness can’t own firearms, but those still certifiably afflicted are a public safety menace, when given access to guns and ammunition.

It’s time to end the “audits” and voter restriction bills that seek to undo the results of LAST year’s election and/or prevent American citizens from voting, based on any number of anticipated, but unlikely, “potential frauds”. If anything, voter protection needs to be expanded. If that means there are laws passed that I may not like, then let the courts determine whether these are/are not constitutional. It is not up to state legislatures to circumvent the right of the people to vote as they please.

It’s starting to get warm here again, and I see that just as I am preparing to head out of town, the fires are kicking in. This time, I am taking care of family matters first, and pray for the safety of those in the back country, who might be affected by the present wildfire. My journey does not mean I don’t care about our County.

Onward and outward, it is.

The Long and the Short of It

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May 10, 2021- As get ready for a road trip, there are always good things that happen and challenges that interfere with what I need to do, day to day. The dental check-up I had this morning shows that regular care has stemmed the decline that had plagued my poor mouth, up until ten years ago. Tomorrow, I will get my car serviced and expect that all will be well, given the regular care the Grey Galloper has had, these past five years.

That leaves the device on which I am writing this piece. There are some issues with Windows 10, specifically the recent tendency for the screen to jump about and show a menu, starting with emojis. I will need the laptop for Zoom calls and for this blog, during the journey, so a long delayed servicing will wait until I get back. In the meantime, patience and a light touch will get us through.

My overall health is good, and I anticipate fine results from a physical exam, on the first of June. Exercise and good wellness practices have gone a long way to keeping this aging frame relatively robust.

With that, in two days’ time, I will be away from this salubrious Home Base and headed towards the home of my childhood. It will be time for a fond farewell to the house where so many memories of my youth were created.

What Is Always Known

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May 9, 2021- One thing about the mothers, and mother-figures, whom we honour today, is that there is nothing that escapes them, at least at the deepest level. My mother knows, even a continent away, that I am essentially doing better than I have in a long time. She knows that there are a few challenges I face and a few people, some far away, who want to take from me, without giving back. She knows that my siblings are also, essentially, in safe places. Most importantly, she knows that her decision to adjust her lifestyle is the right one.

Baha’u’llah teaches us to be fair to self and others. Mom was teaching us that same thing, when I was the eldest of five. We were never deprived and when, in her humanness, she did not do the right thing by one of us, she made amends ten-fold. The lesson Mother taught, of compassion, has been one of two abiding truths that I have incorporated into my being. The other is to temper that with not being the foil of con artists and those who take full advantage of others,.

So have I balanced my life, and will, as I told another group of people earlier this evening, focus on building group cooperation. It was our family working as a team that got us through downturns and the challenges of caring for those members of our family who suffered from disease. It is our family working as a team that will bring us to say farewell to our family home of sixty-six years and guarantee that the woman we’ve always known has our back will know that we always have hers.

Further Changes

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May 8, 2021- I received a supportive message from the principal of the school to which I referred yesterday. There will be some discomfort, for some people, but the children will be safe.
In a few short days, my mother’s life will become more secure. I will be on the road, towards my childhood home, and will help with whatever needs to be done, for at least a week. This was not expected-at least not this month, but life does not compromise with want-only with need.

I received word, this evening, that her next door neighbour of 66 years is dying. He is in hospice- a man’s man, reduced to lying in a single bed. I can only hope that his extended family, his cousins and closest friends, can be with him. If he is still with us, when I get to Massachusetts, I will pay a visit and thank him for being a faithful friend of our family, like his parents were.

The next few days will see preparatory activities- a Mother’s Day call, a dental check-up, a car servicing, laundry and packing. There will be time, tomorrow, for a visit to a magical place: Montezuma Well. My Home Base will be secure, while I’m gone, and there will much to be done, when I get back .

School, though, will wait until Fall, or maybe Winter, as I honour marching orders, sent from a place unseen.

Vape

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May 7, 2021- A young girl told me of the wide-ranging use of e-cigarettes, after a classmate accused her of using the substance, this afternoon, in what was likely my final assignment of this academic year. She said she had not used the substance, as her parents were always on her about the dangers to children and adolescents. I underscored that danger, stating what I know to be the risks for people under the age of 18, let alone the overall risk of e-cigarette use, or vaping, to anyone.

A short time later, someone in whom I am beginning to see the face of evil castigated me, in front of the children- very likely in the hope of discrediting my authority with them. It didn’t work, but did confuse some of the boys in the class. There is something very wrong going on, in the school where I worked today. There is little evidence that people at school are providing the students with e-cigarettes, or any other substances, yet adults, who have no obvious reason to make me uncomfortable working there, have made it clear that my talking with the students is interrupting their own flow of communication-and that it’s a good thing I’m gone for the rest of the semester.

I have learned over the years, in other venues, that where there is smoke, there’s fire-no pun intended. Through channels, justice will be done in this case, as well, whether the person I suspect is involved, or the threat to the students is coming from elsewhere.

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html

Cinco de Mayo

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May 5, 2021- On May 5, 1862, a force of Mexican soldiers and patriots drove a larger force of French troops from the garrison at Puebla, southeast of Ciudad de Mexico. This day is observed in the present time, as a minor holiday in Mexico and as a folk holiday in parts of the United States. Indeed, the United states Army and Marine Corps provided some assistance to Mexican President Benito Juarez, later in the conflict, as the French had established a puppet regime in the Mexican capital, calling it the Second Empire of Mexico. The combined North American forces drove the French out, a short time later.

Of course, I stopped in at a downtown restaurant, the Palace, and had a lunch of street tacos, small flour tortillas, three tiers thick and stuffed with shredded pork, grilled onions and pico de gallo. The celebratory aspect of the day brings out deals on alcohol, but having long ago given up that part of my life, I found my iced tea was on the house.

Although I do enjoy a good party, it is much more meaningful to ponder the strength of common people banding together to defend their territory against a force that is seeking to dominate them, against their will. It is also crucial to consider that citizens banding together is necessary to defend against dominance by an unelected elite. Even when that elite appeals to the popular will, by presenting itself as the sole protector of national cultural values, it is still an unelected elite.

On this Cinco de Mayo, I remain ever watchful of those who present themselves as guardians of the flock, so to speak.

Real Deals

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May 4, 2021- I spent the day with a group of people who ask nothing of me, other than that I help them learn, in as clear a manner as I can muster. They only want respect. They don’t pester me for money. They don’t demand political fealty. They don’t seek to blame others for their personal blunders. When wrongly accused, they speak up-honestly and, again, respectfully. They are a group of fourth-graders, with whom I have spent a fair amount of time, this academic year. When I arrived, a minute late, due to the luck of the draw with red lights, I was greeted with cheers, and a productive day with sentence building, graphing and the seven continents, ensued. These are not quiet, complacent people. They learn in small groups, embrace knowledge with relish and hold the teacher accountable for anything that is not presented clearly at first blush. Again, they do so in an atmosphere of mutual respect. They are not children of privilege-most families live rather simply and the children know Medicaid, recycled clothing and free/reduced-fee school meals, all too well. I have two other groups of people, who ask nothing of me except respect and learning assistance, with whom to meet, before heading back to the family among whom I grew up and learned what matters most in life. No begging hands, no loud political rants, no whining about being cheated- just showing respect and being respected.

Elbow Bumps

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May 1, 2021- May Day has traditionally been a day when I have looked back on my year of work, with a view towards successfully summing up what has been achieved and what remains ahead. This year will more or less conclude on May 7, the end of my series of special projects that has followed retirement. There could be other, unanticipated calls between now and May 27, or at different points next Autumn, and beyond. My major focus, though, will by and large be more a more fluid effort at community service.

Today was spent running a duffel bag filled with “Days for Girls” washable and reusable feminine products to a couple who met us in Flagstaff. The woman receiving the items was less than thrilled that I was the one who had driven them up there. Perhaps she was just embarrassed, though we have had a few issues in the past. We got the mission done, and a friend retrieved her truck, which had been used for water delivery on the Navajo Nation. I helped several girls and a long-time friend, which is what matter most. Connecting two equestrian friends was also accomplished, and I got to visit a bit with two wonderful horses.

I still found myself greeting my Dineh friend, in Flagstaff, with an elbow bump. We wore masks, for the benefit of those who remain immuno-compromised. Even if that benefit is merely psychological, it is worth their peace of mind. The residual effects of the virus will be with us for a short while longer in the U.S.-and longer still in countries, like India and Brazil, where it is still raging. While one can look beyond the present status of the pandemic in this and other countries, where it is under control, we must not lose concern for the well-being of the planet as a whole.

Elbow bumps will be a thing, for some time yet to come. We will, however, prevail as a species.

Among the Indigo

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April 30, 2021- The small girl spoke with a voice that was quiet, but full of thunder: “Don’t!”. Few people in my life, up to now, have shown the quiet determination to stand their ground and speak truth to power, at such a young age. She was not only speaking to me, but to several of her classmates, making it clear that the revelation she had just made about herself was the outcome of measured, long-considered self-evaluation.

For my part, everything within me said: “Abide this”. I had responded to her sharing with a standard concern, one that she had obviously heard several times before. The same concern came out of the mouths of her classmates. The notion of prolonged innocence is pretty well-embedded in our psyches.

Times, though, are bringing about a different, much earlier maturity-one that actually hearkens back to a pre-industrial past, while at the same time pointing to the evolving future of the human race. There is emerging a period of time, in early adolescence, when a person is examining feelings as to who attracts them, what it might mean for the short term, whilst recognizing that those feelings may very well change, over time. The person is definite about one thing: This is their life, and the number of people who get to weigh in on it is very much limited. Everyone else will be told, in terms that are, at least initially, respectful, but no less forceful.

I was in the presence of an indigo, someone fairly born with a sense of mission, a clarity of purpose. She is no less mirthful, spunky and mischievous than others her age, but in the quiet times when she ponders life, there is little confusion. All an indigo person needs from others is a respectfully listening ear and acknowledgement of the better angels of their nature. In turn, each of us gets to summon the better angels of our own nature. The appreciation of a child as an evolving, complete human being has never been more critical. We remain in good hands.

Unwanted Feedback

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April 29, 2021- Certainly, the title does not refer to input from friends and family, even if it is critical. Rather, I am thinking of the voice echo that occurs when one is speaking to someone who has Bluetooth on, in an enclosed space, such as a car. There is nothing more irritating than the sound of my own voice coming back at me, when all I wish to do is speak to the loved one on the other end.

This reminds me that so often, my ill-considered comments have bounced back and impaired my friendships with others. Sticking with a conversation topic, long after the flow of dialogue had moved on, was once one of my “specialties”. Then, there were the facts and figures that I felt everyone “should” know. It didn’t matter that the audience was not especially concerned with the information, or that it had little to do with circumstances.

Thankfully, all that is behind me now and topics of conversation are more germane to matters of common interest. Conversely, I do find myself being more patient with those who perseverate, or are “broken records”. Helping them get back on track is far more satisfying than mounting a high horse and acting as if their behaviours are a mere nuisance. The end result, of another person being able to take a welcome place in society, is magnificent.