The Long and the Short of It: Part II

4

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.

What Is Always Known

2

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

4

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

6

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

Real Deals

2

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

2

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.

Renewal

2

April 28, 2021- So often, when I think there is not much that might change in my little corner of the world, new experiences offer themselves-as a way of refreshing, renewing. There is also the continuing clean bill of health, from my chiropractor at least-and, I am anticipating, at my dental check-up, in two weeks. Sleeping more soundly is something to which I credit both the Thrive vitamins that are now part of my evening regimen and the letting go of left-over guilt, from not having met some people’s expectations.

The school year is winding down, with testing drawing to a close-and the focus being more on final class projects, at the intermediate and secondary levels. I am helping with intermediate students, working on science projects this week. Encouraging them to see the science behind everything from video games to pond scum is an exhilarating experience.

Next week, going back to primary level classes, will also provide some novel experiences, as the younger students, also, will be wrapping up some small exploratory activities. There is no end to what each of us can discover, as the world slowly opens back up, even as the technology which has sustained us through this pandemic offers new ways to maintain long distance connections.

I hope this last is not lost on many people.

Pressure, Real and Imagined

8

April 25, 2021- As I hau

As I hauled my laundry basket to the car, this afternoon, I spoke a few minutes with landlord, learning that there are a variety of infrastructure issues piling up, on and around the quad. This will most likely mean a rent increase, next year. I will face that issue, at that time. For now, there is no pressure on us tenants, but he will be pressed to come up with a game plan.

Whilst engaged in said laundry, I received another IM from someone whose basic message is that he needs help raising money. There was a time when I felt a welling up of pressure, with a measure of guilt at my relative level of comfort. I have since become more at ease with the situation, and my mantra is that people in a given country/community need to band together and make change happen-rather than keep the refrain that people in developed countries had better kick into the kitty , or at least make a loan to the poor souls. (Personal loans, even in this country, rarely are paid back, even in part. I have paid mine, but that’s a whole other matter.)

There is also pressure, both real and imagined, regarding one’s use of time. I have discussed the matter of proliferating Zoom calls, in an earlier post. Usually, there are at least two Zoom sessions, both of which are ABSOLUTELY URGENT, occurring simultaneously. I have learned to excuse myself, with a smile, from the less urgent of the two-or however many are scheduled at the same time.

It is a blessing to finally know how to distinguish true urgency from the urgency that exists only in the mind of the hearer.

Summits Are Only A Beginning

8

April 23, 2021- I have never been to Ciudad de Mexico. The fifth-largest metropolitan area on the planet, it is also the second-largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere. Ciudad de Mexico may soon become the locus of the worst ecological nightmare that humanity has seen, in several centuries. The Valley of Mexico, indeed, the entire middle swath of the country, is experiencing the worst drought it has seen, in nearly a millennium. Central Mexico, as a whole, may very well be running out of water.

We in the Southwest of the United States (including southern California) have also been experiencing drought. The occasional snow and rain that we have received, since last autumn, have not done much to put a dent in the dryness. Only more judicious use of our water has, and will continue to, keep our communities from literally blowing away in the desert wind.

It is an irony, that the first place to which people in Mesoamerica turn, when faced with economic hardship, or sociopolitical repression, is the American southwest-from San Diego to Houston-and everywhere in between. We have done relatively well here, economically, though the underbelly of homelessness and economic inequality is as much a concern in the Southwest as it is anywhere on the planet. A splinter wedged under my fingernail hurts just as badly as it would under anyone else’s. So we go about being concerned with our own, first and foremost.

All the same, those who express disdain for the current immigration impasse at the border between Mexico and the United States must brace themselves for what will happen, should the water crisis in central Mexico worsen. The six-figure populace massing near, and permeating, that arbitrary line could all too easily morph into millions, or tens of millions, of people.

The Group of Twenty summit, convened virtually, on addressing climate change, is a tad behind schedule, through no fault of those who gathered. That said, it is painfully obvious that every single person on the planet has a role to play in conservation and better use of resources-especially of our planet’s basic elements (water, air, soil/minerals, and fire). It falls as much to local teams, neighbourhoods and families to double down on meeting the challenge of climate change. Everything from taking shorter, though equally intense, showers to intelligently recycling items that won’t decompose (and not just depending on municipal contractors to do the job), is the responsibility of everyone who enjoys running water and non-decomposable packaging. Providing clean water for drinking and bathing, to those who lack this basic resource, is a whole other topic.

These are the thoughts that come to mind, after the G-20’s most recent summit.

Ruling Myself

2

April 20,2021- Today was essentially a good day-for my own self-control, in accepting the reality of a friendship’s nature. It was a good day for widening the scope of justice in our struggling nation. It was a good day for the Baha’i community, as we observed the First Day of Ridvan, the twelve-day period that celebrates Baha’u’llah’s declaration of His mission.

It was also a challenging day, in which someone on the edges of my circle told me, very bluntly, that he regarded himself and his children as my personal responsibility. To some extent, I have my own efforts to help him contact aid agencies to blame. I also recognize that he is an orphan, and as such cannot help but latch onto anyone who shows him kindness-demanding more and more, until the cord ends up being cut. I am playing out my endgame here, with a GoFundMe campaign and a continuing effort to match him with financial entities that are far better equipped to help, than is any lone individual.

I have waited a long time to be the ‘captain of my soul”. My actions will remain rooted in service to humanity-but NOT to anyone who barges into my space and expects fealty. I am involved in a far more global long game. Perhaps this is just another case of my holding someone, who wants to get close to me, at arm’s length-as another such individual told me, just before I blocked and deleted her from my life, nearly three years ago. More likely, I am figuring out how to handle someone who MAY be a grifter (most people who hound others for money ARE grifters). More likely, I am standing up and saying that my primary duty is to the Lord God; that my secondary duty is to my (biological) family and not to any interloper, no matter how many years he/she has been seeking my help.

As I said, today was a mixed bag-and this month, or next, may well end with some very emotional volleys being made.