SPRING AND SUCH

Yesterday there was a road runner in the front garden. It looked like a juvenile and scared. She flew up onto the fence and looked a bit bedraggled. The last time I saw such a bird was in the back garden maybe 20 years ago. He was tall as the 3 foot fence and had a lizard in his beak. I always think of road runners as desert creatures, but actually So. California is desert. Irrigation fools people.

Why is it so thrilling to see a wild thing in the garden. With all the building going on we are getting more congested, more traffic, more pushy people and less water. There is still a canyon nearby and the bay. Do people realize the wonder contained in these places? I would love to see the quail come up from the canyon and visit the garden. Now and then we see a bobcat sauntering across the patio. We keep our little dog inside for that reason, but it’s the bobcat’s territory and as far as I’m concerned I yield to him. We used to hear the coyotes at night, now they must slink into neighborhoods to find food. We took their hills and arroyos and built too damn many houses with no gardens or space between.

I wonder if we as a species will ever learn what is important. Will we ever learn to share this beautiful earth? I hope the road runner hangs around awhile..Beep beep.

Blessings, Bubbles

THE HARDEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO-GROW OLD

The Hardest thing you’ll ever do…When she was 75 years old my Aunt Alma, a real Auntie Mame type, told me that the most difficult thing I would ever do is grow old gracefully.  I instantly recognized that this was true. I wasn’t young gracefully, so to be gracefully old would be really heroic.

A young man who had just completed his PHD in counseling was working with incarcerated felons.  When questioned about how could he relate to his patients, particularly the violent ones.  He replied that it is  kind of fun to work with people who think you are an asshole.  I told him I understood completely because I raised five children. Not real graceful there either, but we all survived.

In another country, Ireland, in the same era, 1950’s, I would have been in Magdalene House, a reform type school for girls that MIGHT get into trouble. I wasn’t delinquent, my teachers, the nuns, but especially, the priests, didn’t like my attitude…what they objected to mostly  was the look on my face and my levity.  The trouble with the look on my face was and is, my utter failure of  being able to separate the expression on my face and my opinion of the person to whom I am listening. I always laughed. Not good.

I always felt like the kid at the Emperor’s New Clothes Parade. I wanted to believe people. I thought that people were good, but often body language gives them away. I had/have a hard time with the way many women erase themselves for others. I visualize them laying down like Sir Walter’s cape in the mud to show their self sacrificing value. But these women have been trained from birth to take a slap and take another, for their kids, their parents, their jobs.

And the women that put up with the Hollywood boys, Darlin’,there are other jobs where you don’t have to look at Harvey nude or watch a weirdo ruin a plant. This is not an image I want to sustain in my mind. I wish these imbeciles would have run into my late friend, Carol. We were walking in downtown Los Angeles, when a man exposed himself to us. I was speechless, but Carol looked, and without a beat, said, “Looks like a penis. Only smaller.”

Men who do and say these things, look like men. Only they are very very small.

Whew! Blessings, Bubbles

 

The California Pear Flag

It began on the morning of 14 June 1846 when thirty-three  heavily-armed  American-born settlers — led by Captain Jebediah Bartlett and his two lieutenants, Albert Bosc and Emmanuel d’Anjou — approached the home of General Mariano G. Vallejo, the Mexican comandante-general of California, they  demanded he surrender the Sonoma Plaza fortress to them. Even though he was a Mexican citizen, Vallejo, an advocate of the American annexation of California , told the intruders he was sympathetic to their cause. They arrested him and sent him off to incarceration at Sutter’s Fort.

They proclaimed the Republic of California and decided that they needed a flag to fly over Sonoma. They gave the new flag a red stripe and a star like the new Republic of Texas. Bartlett wanted the flag to be an emblem of the agricultural aspect of California. He was the largest pear grower in the state. Since he was a forceful man he decided  a pear would be just the thing.

They drew the new flag on a piece of brown fabric and sent it to a flag maker. The flag maker happened to be the nephew of Abe Lincoln’s wife. Which is just a note and aside. At any rate, when the fabric arrived with the desired design, either the handwriting was poor or the ink had run. Pear looked like bear or perhaps he didn’t like pears or Bartlett. So we have our California Bear, which is a good thing for Cal and UCLA. Instead of the Bears and the Bruins they could be the Anjous and the Bosc or perhaps the Bartletts, hard to make into a fight song.

1st flag of the California Republic
California Pear Flag

Blessings, Bubbles

Whose Idea Was This?

Little girls are trained to be nice. Don’t talk back, be a “lady,” whatever the heck that means.

We read about women who allow their personal boundaries to be cut to the ground. Why? Are they so unsure of their talents and worth? Do they need to demean themselves for fame or to keep a job? I am sure that the lower income single moms are more vulnerable but the fear belongs to many women.

No is a complete sentence. I will not, is just a bit longer.  Little girls are sassy. Little boys stand up for their rights.  A female athlete is seldom seen photographed in her sport. More often she is posed, like a cosmetic or clothes model. Nearly every society has moral rules for the girls and “boys will be boys” for the men. Dignity is everyone’s right. To be treated with contempt is wrong but to accept it is unconscionable.

Why do women acquiesce  to rude and vulgar treatment? In my view and my book “Woman-Be Quiet” it is because we are sent to the boot camp of self-deprecation very young. Many women accept that attitude and the self-effacing manner that comes with it.

When I was raising my children I tried to have the same standards for the girls and the boys. Yes, raising them was different, but each child is different.

My mother and grandmothers worked the fields, did the cooking and canning, made the clothes and birthed and tended the children. My mother told me she worked harder than any man. It was not a lack of respect for the hardworking farmers. It was an awareness of their own strength and what they did and could do. They were true partners.

Girls need to learn that they are worthy of respect. Perhaps then, they will not need to demand it.

Blessings, Bubbles

DAVID

 

Well, they don’t make men like David anymore, beautiful, every aspect perfect, from his curly hair to his marble toes, always young, frozen in time with a sensual mouth, ivory ear and unseeing eye. A person to admire, two and a half times as tall as an average man.

This copy lies broken on the meeting table.

Maybe there are men like David, too many really, fragmented, chopped in pieces each part admirable but separate. A lack of integration the psychologists would label him.

What has happened to the men of the world as the women fight for equality? Have women chopped their complementary yang into pieces? Are our lovers and sons, the good men, fragmented like the pieces of David on this table? Are they now objects to deride?

The shops now have tee shirts for young girls that read “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them.”  When my daughter, who has two girls of her own, objected the store owner said, “Well, we’ve sold out.” That seems to always be the most important thing.

Discernment is an unknown word. Ridicule is the basis for TV shows. If women want equality and respect, they must give it. We need to pick up the pieces of David and use our nurturing power to make him whole again.

Blessings, Bubbles

Peace On Earth, etc.

I’ve not written for a few days, but how can anyone ignore the circus going on in our government. In the Christmas readings, the King James Bible says “Peace on earth goodwill to men.” The Catholic version, the oldest, and for all you literal Bible people, there are versions. It says, “Peace on earth to men of goodwill. They are very different messages. I go with the latter.

Perhaps the so-called, “lawmakers,” in our government should read them both and try a little goodwill. Perhaps they should try to Be of goodwill. We have a president who is vulgar and without character. His supporters will say look at the economy. That’s a great idea. For the wealthy things are good. I believe they would be good no matter who is in office. It’s similar when Clinton came in, things were on the upswing and he profited. Everything else under this president has declined. Our National Parks are being defiled, the EPA is moving backwards, the poor are getting poorer and our streets look like India.

For those doing well, it may be time to think of the effects of the policies that are being put into action. There is the idea of generativity. What are you leaving for the next generation? Oh yea, Money. What about clean air? What about Yellowstone, Yosemite, the rivers, the oceans?

The President’s language is like a demented bullying middle-school kid. His tweets are pitiful and we have become the laughing target of the world. He makes deals with other countries to influence our elections. Proven, but ignored. The really sad thing is, other people who have the same attitudes think he’s funny, sticking it to the ones who aren’t PLU,(people like us) and join him. He’s the leader of bullies, racists, dishonest people and the ignorant. He hides his taxes and business dealings. He has paid a large fine for stealing from a Veterans charity that he set up. This is from court records. He has never given to the charity. He used the funds to buy a portrait of himself and other personal goods. Stealing from Veterans from a charity? That alone is disgusting and somehow ignored. None of this is “fake” news. He so cleverly uses that phrase to give his followers have an answer for his corruption.

This is not a political issue, it’s a moral issue. Pray for our congress or send them good thoughts if that’s your schtick. Pray for the Christmas miracle of backbone implants for the lot of them. It’s clear from their actions that this group can only bend one way. They cannot stand up straight for principles or the good of the entire American people. Be the person of goodwill this Christmas and stand for integrity.

Christmas and such

The stress, the stress everyone running around, spending too much money on things that will be forgotten. This afternoon we are joining 15 4th graders to make gingerbread houses. Our super creative daughter-in-law, Annie, does this every year. No gifts given, just fun for her daughter and friends.

Annie doesn’t mind the mess the kids make even though the couch is new and the tables are set to work in the living room. Perhaps time spent with those we love and those we want to make smile, is the best gift. Give the gift of your time, it is the most precious.

Big D and I decided early on to limit the gifts and try to give memories to our “grandies.” Their first Christmas they received an ornament box with a poem I wrote and an ornament. Every year thereafter, they each get an ornament for the box. When the eldest got her own apartment, she had 25 ornaments for her own tree. I hope each one contains a memory which includes lots of love from her grandparents, Big D and Bubbles.

Blessings, Bubbles

Editing Opinions

I thought I was almost finished. It’s a bit short but I said what I had to say. I called it “Virgin-Martyr.” It’s my memoir. An editor said the title was too collegiate. OK, I got it, so I changed the name to “Woman-Be Quiet.” This is what I was told from the moment of birth. No, I don’t remember it, but my mother told me that the nurse handled me roughly and said, “Be quiet, be quiet, right now.” I wasn’t and haven’t been since.

There seems to be a pattern of people telling me to be quiet. So many women of my age and after learned to stifle their voices (Archie Bunker) and after awhile closed their minds. As I grew older men would take offence if I spoke up, oddly, so would women. When I had a 10:00 appointment to buy our children’s uniforms and was still waiting at 11:30, I would complain about the lack of respect for a woman’s time. I was sure if Dad was there to purchase something that was mandatory and couldn’t be purchased anywhere else, things would move along. The other women would gaze at me with no comprehension, the “why don’t you be quiet” look. I always have trouble with injustice and let’s pretend. I have trouble with uninformed opinions. Tell me what your belief is based on and we can talk. Tell me how you formed this opinion and I will respect it and perhaps agree. Just don’t tell me to be quiet.

Blessings, Bubbles

Churchill and us

I wrote about Churchill and his use of language before. I think his wisdom and stability came from getting away, giving him time to regroup and ponder.

Winston Churchill contributed his success in life to conservation of energy.

“Never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.”

Old Winnie must have been very good at conservation. He lived long, was an accomplished painter and great statesman. He had a good marriage, which they worked at, with his “darling” Clementine and was an astute judge of character.

His ups and downs in public life went from the depths to near canonization. During the “Battle of Britain,” he was able to move himself to a quiet place, conserve his energy, and come back refreshed.

The most endearing trait or talent that he exhibited, to me, was his marvelous and unique command of the English language. I was too young to hear him first hand, but when I watch old films and hear him say, “We will fight on the streets…we will never surrender.” I know one of the main reasons the English people found such resolve. Where did he find this strength?

I see so many friends caught up in the battle of daily life. The frenetic pace of what could be a peaceful life, ramped up by their own addiction to adrenalin, every minute scheduled, rushing from place to place, unable to say no, unable to schedule their own time. They are can’t to spend time alone, to reflect, to access just where it is they are rushing to, or is it running from.

Churchill’s conservation of energy gave him time to reflect, to ponder, to consider his own weaknesses and strengths and take that conserved energy and lead his people through war to peace.

We need to conserve our own energy and lead ourselves to peace.

Blessings, Bubbles

I miss Winston Churchill

We watched “The Darkest Hour,” the other evening. What a breath of fresh air compared to all the f word movies.  In England the Germans were threatening invasion. Most of the parliament was against another war, many wanted peace talks. Churchill was nearly alone in wanting to stand and fight. The last line in the film is wonderful. Lord Halifax, after listening to Churchill”s speech says. “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”  It was so moving to hear the speeches Churchill gave. Even his daily speech was eloquent.

Churchill was intelligent and well educated. He could quote Homer, Augustine and the newer poets. He didn’t need to repeat the same words over and over.He knew the power of words, their beauty and meaning.  He had his faults, drank too much, was difficult. He suffered from depression, which he called the “black dog” when it hit him.  He also knew the power of good example and led the British with optimism  and class. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill said and he was an optimist. Even in the darkest hours and days, he knew the wisdom of keeping the nation united. He was humble, often doubting himself. He died in 1965 before the present leaders could watch and listen to a person who knew what words to use. Would that we had someone like him now.

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/winston_churchill

Blessings, Bubbles

 

Why Is the Child Crying?

Years ago I read a book that asked this question. The character in the book said that if you ask this question, you will find out what is wrong with the village, the State, The Country. Our children are crying because they are afraid and lonely.

They do not feel safe at school, or walking on the streets. Too many are not safe in their own homes. Parents are too busy to listen, our President shows how to bully, curse, and name call.  Kindness is seen as weak and differences are settled on TV and in the movies and too often in life by violence.

When I was in 8th grade we had a teacher who mobilized the so called “leaders” of the class. She had us read portions of the Bible, (this was a Catholic School) we were to read, observe how Christ acted, and discuss how we could put this into action in our small lives. One action was to sit and eat with a child that seemed alone. The result was magic. The quiet, sometimes bullied child turned out to be fun and interesting. The class became close and those of us “doing a good thing” received much more in return. We came to understand that it rewarded us ten fold to get to know someone we would have ignored.

Twenty years ago, a group in this area began “Project Self-Esteem.” I was one of the teachers. Self-Esteem class didn’t teach the kids that they were better than others and could do no wrong. The idea is that every one is different and that’s O.K.  It taught the kids to respect each other and talk about differences, to actually enjoy those differences. The teachers could see the effect on the kids behavior. They were kinder to each other and there wasn’t so much dissension on the playground.

Some parents thought we were brain washing the kids. Some complained that we took time from academics. The program was scuttled. Now people see what happens when differences isolate children, when they don’t learn that we are all different in some way and that may be a good thing.

The young people who kill may be academically genius’, they are different and isolated, and often bullied. They are crying. We do not ask why. Perhaps it’s time.

Blessings, Bubbles

On Language and Society

When we write, or paint we need to think sometimes of all creative people; young people, people of color, people of different gender preferences, even pale older women like me. We need to come to the point where there is no “other,” no “them” or “they.” For you know we are all really the same soul. The creative soul.

We bequeath our culture to the world, handing down family traditions, or creating our own celebrations and rituals. In TS Eliot’s “Notes Towards the Definition of Culture,” he saw the prospect of “centuries of barbarism,” related to the coming dominance of technology. A degraded society.

Eliot sees the core of the problem in the corruption of language, the basis of thought, which is in turn the basis of integrity. His target was those who use words for base purposes, for their emotional effect upon themselves, or on an audience which suffers passions, but does not think. Therefore, our own ability, not merely to express, but even to feel any but the crudest emotions will soon degenerate.

Eliot said that the poet and writer is the bastion against this abuse. Without the preservation and renovation of the language, civilization will decline. I believe this is true and that it is happening.

I am not asking for censorship, or to limit us in how to tell our story. AN EXAMPLE: I was told by a publisher not to use the word malevolent in a poem because it is too hard to pronounce. Well, I like to roll that one around, Mal ev o lent. If you read Virginia Woolf, it pays to keep a dictionary close by. Isn’t it great to find a new word tha will express exactly the thing you want to say?

As I view film and read novels, poems, etc., it seems language is being reduced to the level of recess in the 3rd grade. One syllable, four letters. Who are these writers? Where is the creativity? So when we are tempted to speak or write like they do in prisons, films, politics, or 150 Shades of Puce, I challenge all of us to remember that when language in schools, business and the home degrades, so do we all.

But, I’m told, that is real life. MAYBE. As film critic, Rex Reed said, So is diarrhea, but who wants to watch it for 3 hours?

Now we hear language from the President and other presidential candidates used to crowds of people. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they are speaking to children, mothers or convicts. What is wrong with these men? Why do they think this is okay? Is this the extent of their vocabulary? The extent of their brain power? A well placed curse word is sometimes needed, but the lack of creativity shown is appalling.

Be careful with your words, they are powerful. Keep in mind the vision of an embracing, creative world, step up, reach out you hand to me and invite me in. I will do the same for another person, and she for another.

Together we can use language to be a truly, creative force.

By the way speaking of language and creativity, if you are looking for a really creative Christmas gift check out

http://one-per-week.com    

You will find creative yet practical things for young and old.

Blessings, Bubbles