Category Archives: democracy

Taking stock

Back to the morning pages. Must do. (after an inexplicable and lengthy lapse). Sessions on stationary bike are up to 25 minutes. Must keep doing. (my trick some days? Get on the bike and scroll through social media there instead of in bed. Redemptive!)

The sun is out!

Now for a few “of only’s”:

If only I would give up sugar again…. if only we still had a Congress… if only a crime syndicate in cahoots with a foreign adversary wasn’t destroying our society with a head-spinning rapidity… if only the Dyson vac hadn’t crapped out… if only I were the type of person to follow up on a warranty… if only Salem were 25 minutes closer… if only I were more disciplined. Sigh.

I leave you with this incisive and disturbing article by Rebecca Solnit — heroine to many of you, I know. She articulates where we are in America with terrifying clarity.

The Coup Has Already Happened“.

“Not how you want to start your week” you say? I don’t blame you if so. But it’s not as if every corrupt and destructive thing she discusses isn’t, on some consuming level, on your mind anyway.

Morning List and Queries

Waking to sounds of wind and rain was an accidental blessing this morning.

Leaving i-devices downstairs at night should be a regular thing. I mean, if sanity matters.

It’s nice to breathe through two nostrils.

Whoever said, “You have a nervous system for every child” was wise.

I like that better than, “You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.”

Thumb typing sucks.

Time was they’d say, “We’re in for some rain and gusts of wind”.

What’s John Bolton’s deal?

I’m sure I don’t want to know.

After hearing a talk about the relative virtues of handwriting and five-finger keyboard typing last week*, what I’m wondering is: are there any virtues of thumb typing with ducking autocorrect?

Millennials don’t answer their phones. Or mine don’t.

Finishing things makes a place to rest and

anything can become a house.

Unfinished things create points of tension.

Which do you prefer — possibilities or closure?

Sometimes I snarl. Example: “you must have a macro for ‘I’ll do it tomorrow'”.

This ‘bomb cyclone’ is just wind and rain. Hunger is a reliable thing. So are some friends.

You can often predict who among your friends will be afraid of dogs, but the ones that love them might surprise you.

It’s not a race. Life.

The questions (and subject of tomorrow’s post) are: how do your manage your news intake and what sources do you rely on?

* Michelle (MsUncertaintyPrinciples — side bar) posted a talk about writing vs. typing last week on FB. It’s by Clive Thompson and it’s on YouTube if this link doesn’t work.

 

you seem restless


Sometimes being a disorganized word-scribbler has its benefits — like when I’m cleaning up and find some random scrap of paper or flip through a long forgotten half filled notebook and land on treasure. Here are a few: the record of toddler C saying he ‘had to pee like ABCD’ (because he may have heard his mother saying she ‘had to pee like you read about’); the quote of him yelling out to the goats at Drumlin Farm: “Hey you gumdrops!” and toddler D’s announcement as his father walked in the door: “Mom got dead fish today!” (trout was on the menu). Whether these scrawled messages point to a place and time I’d forgotten about or inform anew, there’s usually a sense of delight and discovery, and sometimes, synchronicity.

Last week I found this movie quote: “You seem restless but in a permanent kind of way.” I had to google the movie title (“Take This Waltz“) because I’d forgotten it, but I remembered the characters well enough.

“You seem restless but in a permanent kind of way” keeps echoing. I hear it even as I am relaxing on the shores of Rock Pond in New Hampshire. A pretty spot. Quiet. Lots of reading. Some sun. Tasty food, including the first delectably fresh corn of the summer.

But there’s no getting away from any of it. There just isn’t.

In spite of long walks in the woods with “my guys” and swimming two or three times a day, I feel restless and I wonder: is it in a permanent kind of way?


The other quote came from Representative John Lewis and it was simply: “Pray with your feet.”

Newsweek photo of Boston

In that regard, I am so proud of the friends, peers, and other progressives who showed up at Boston Common to counter-protest a “free speech” rally today. They prayed with their feet. This could have gone another way and not just because a huge percentage of Republicans in Massachusetts voted for Trump, but because hate dwells everywhere and has been energized by the monsters at the helm. More than 40,000 counter protesters of all ages and colors showed up.

I’m also proud of the amazing work that the ACLU does.

Off to make dinner. I’ll be back after the eclipse. I hope you all have proper eye protection!

PS. Finished this novel yesterday. Wow did it turn out to be relevant! About a white nationalist and an African American nurse. He has a baby. Baby dies. Nurse is charged with murder. Nurse’s white lawyer comes to grips with her own racism. It goes from there.

a pile up of questions

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  1. Why does my fridge stink AGAIN?
  2. Why do multiple requests to “Unsubscribe” so frequently fail?
  3. How did I manage to change my browser home page last weekend?
  4. Why does it take X so long to return my calls or texts, when she promptly takes every call and text when we’re together?
  5. And, how not to take personally?
  6. Who am I letting down by not calling or texting back promptly?
  7. Why does Finn greet dogs socially when with his walkers but not with us?
  8. Why are Republicans so determined to screw the American people?
  9. Why don’t I own a pair of shorts?
  10. How is it possible that the obscene and hateful desire to undo a black president’s legacy has turned so many Republicans into immoral toads?
  11. Just how guilty should I feel buying incidentals with Amazon Prime (even with batch shipping)?
  12. How can the GOP dress up any of what they’re doing in conservative ideology?
  13. How can Finn shed so much and still have fur on his body?
  14. How can the GOP NOT CARE about Russia (possible treason) or constitutional violations (provable without an investigation) when it’s now clear they won’t be able to slip through their monstrous agenda under cover of DJT’s chaos?
  15. Did I really give all my shorts away?
  16. Is there a conservative ideology any more?
  17. How did we manage to break three wine glasses this weekend?
  18. Where did my pruning shears go?
  19. Is there a word for ‘bigger and better hypocrisy’  — because ‘hypocrisy’ alone doesn’t get at the epic, malevolent version practiced by Mitch McConnell.
  20. Why doesn’t clicking “Remember me” and “Update Password” work? (i.e. Typepad)?
  21. Why do I click “Remember me” and “Update Password” anyway?
  22. Given the astonishing willingness of the Trump base to believe unsubstantiated propaganda and wild conspiracies, how will we ever move forward?
  23. Now that leaf-blowers are banned, can we outlaw beeping truck alarms?
  24. How can anyone pin their hopes on mid-term elections when no one’s even trying to prevent further Russian interference?
  25. What does Naomi Klein mean: ‘we have to SWERVE’?
  26. What would my father think of my boys?
  27. Why is inverting the truth so popular with the Republicans?
  28. When that ice chunk the size of Delaware melts, what next?
  29. Remember when all we were bracing ourselves for was a kleptocractic moron with mental issues and damning conflicts of interest?
  30. Doesn’t that seem almost quaint now?
  31. Why are the original Klondike bars so tasty and the variations so meh?
  32. Why didn’t I send a comment to the FCC (this was the final week)?
  33. Why are the hollies dying?
  34. How can Jeff Sessions say the words, “war on drugs” with a straight face?
  35. Does Jeff Sessions own stock in private prison corporations?
  36. Do we?
  37. Is vacuuming the garage related to a generalized sense of powerlessness?
  38. Is there a bottom to the contempt and loathing I feel these days?
  39. Is America over?
  40. Why did the Gerber Daisies go crazy this year?
  41. If we were to cash out on this house, where would we go?
  42. What should I do with all the family photos?
  43. Given how much my joints hurt, why am I still eating sugar?
  44. If we don’t cash out on the house soon, will we regret it?
  45. Is America over?
  46. If hope is a radical act, how do I radicalize my outlook?

 

Near and far

Last night my city, Newton, Massachusetts, became the 14th community to pass a local resolution asking the federal House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether there is cause for impeachment based on Trump violating the two Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution (there is).  And, for Obstruction of Justice.

I helped! It was K’s birthday last night so I didn’t attend the second of two hearings, but I dutifully wrote my letters and spoke at the last hearing. I’ll admit that I didn’t think it was going to pass.

The Resolution can be viewed as a formal way of asking the House to do one of its most important jobs: performing oversight of the Executive Branch.

The resolutions have been passed by cities in Massachusetts, California, and Vermont. Hopefully, more and more towns and cities will do the same.

The idea of these resolutions is to create tangible evidence of the citizens’ will to adhere to the Constitution. It is all about applying pressure. It is not to make the argument for impeachment.

As you all know, the delay in impeaching this autocratic, corrupt and destructive president is not a problem of evidence. It’s not a problem of having too many possible judicial interpretations of the Constitution. It is solely a problem of the failure of political will. Party over country, etc.

I’ve said enough about this elsewhere, so I’ll leave it at that.

 

 

 

 

The digital collage was chosen for its juxtaposition of near and far views — the window into a home and the observatory with a view of the heavens — which goes to the relationship between local and federal power. Detractors of the resolution argued that it overreached the correct exercise of local power. Bah, I said to that and will say to that again: Bah!

Accidental beauty

Accidental Beauty

Look at the clipped grasses! The curb with its
divets. Tell me, could the ribbons of tar
shining in the midday sun be
any more gorgeous?

I’m waiting
for the light to turn, for the grey
hulk of hospital to leave the rearview —
waiting for the return of things
or the start of them, or even the
end.

Impatience is a surly thief!

And, shopping, a deficient religion.
I should have known better.
By the time I arrive,
the capris of summer are picked over.

Meanwhile, my sister’s heart flutters
in uncertain alarm and children
dead from cholera in Yemen pile up,
200, 300.
Somehow, I’m alive and shopping for pants.

In the swanky interior, the clack of my sandals
on the polished geometry stirs
sorrow. How it is these days.
“This is it,” my shoes percuss. “This is it.”

Going one place to another, you are never
anywhere but here.

Impatience acts the rude interloper
while uncertainty takes you to your knees.

Later, but not much, I slap my notebook
on the shiny ebon surface of a grand piano
and pull a pen out of my hair. One of
two. There, in the sunlit atrium, a prop of luxury
holds my weight. To one side, the familiar
bronze statue of girl and dog and to the other,
an absence I can’t get used to even though
the beloved fountain’s been gone for years.

(All those pennies tossed and wishes made
two little tow-heads at my side —
where are they now — pennies, wishes, and
boys turned brown-haired men?)

Regret followed far enough
takes you to love.

The Tiffany’s clerk paces
behind jewel-filled cases, not sure
what to make of a woman writing in fury
in the middle of the morning, in the middle of
the atrium and where did
that notebook come from anyway?

the ribbons of tar, the cement divets
polished geometry, regret,
bronze.

Oh tissue first, silver medallion next and finally,
the tasteful grey bag. The clerk chirps
“Have a good day of shopping,” even as
my ribs smolder about to combust, one hour
being thirty minutes too long.

How much time do we have? Ever?

Tick. Tick. Swipe. Delete.

How much time do we have
to be kind, to be kind,
to preserve the republic?

Fairness gone amok in every quarter
makes a girl want to cry —
even a girl who never cries.
No wonder the ordinary sound
of sandals clacking on
polished tile calls out, “Wake up!
This is it!” rattling up a
ferocious grief twinned
with gratitude.

“These are no ordinary times.” Say.
Repeat. Do nothing. The acts
held in reserve depend on gross
miscalculations of risk — as if we
have time and time and more time?

Tick. Tick. Delete. Swipe.

Regret followed far enough
leads to damnation.

Would the clerk in Tiffany’s understand
why a woman wails in the bathroom
corridor given our collective failure
or would she choose not to hear?

You lean your frantic frame against the
silent instrument, hoping to leave
behind more than the echoes of impatience
or a sweaty hand print that the cleaners
will have to buff off later.

Let me be kind. Let me speak up. Let
me pause long enough
to give thanks.

Regret expressed deeply enough always
turns into prayer.

The ribbons of tar, the polished geometry,
vanished pools and children, wishes
gathered and held in regions unknown.




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White and grey catch up



These peonies bloomed for the first time in years. Gifts, I would say. They seem more like repositories of light than flourishes of cellular organic matter. At the Boston MFA’s Matisse show, I was taken with the shadows of one of the artist’s chairs. Later, with the similarities between peonies and chair-shadows. img_4159

On Wednesday, there was a hearing in Newton to consider a House Resolution asking Judiciary Committee to look into impeachment. I spoke. Lots of others did too. It passed.

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img_3801Because one objection has been that impeachment is a matter best left on the federal level, I hunted for precedent and found one in the “History of Newton”, by Samuel Francis Smith. If you read the second sentence, swapping ‘the Trump presidency’ for ’embargo’, it sounds like something Charles M. Blow would say.

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I repeated this quote (“My Name is Mary Sutter”, by Robin Oliveira), quipping that I’d like to tatoo it to Nancy Pelosi’s forehead.

On Thursday, I listened to Comey with friends and was impressed and captivated, to say the least, but started feeling ‘off’ around noon and left early.

Came home to a message that my sister had been hospitalized. This wasn’t a surprise — her doctors have been calling for her admission since late March — but still. Her oxygen levels were very low, but after a few days of high volume oxygen and an IV diuretic/catheter to take down swelling, she is much better. They ruled out pulmonary embolism and pneumonia.

Stories and stories dwell in diagnoses, don’t they? Entire lifetimes, in fact. These stories are better left untold for now, though for some reason on Sunday, I spent hours trying.

And now off for my weekly Local Indivisible Power tele-call. Then to the hospital. Then, GODDAMNIT, to the page! Well? Except at 2:00, there’s the weasel Sessions testifying. I don’t expect to be impressed. More like this: Finn slinking up the stairs while I hurl imprecations at the TV.

So, maybe tomorrow?

P.S. The lab work came back negative for both shingles and herpes and since it spread to my arm and since K. has poison ivy right now and since our dog traipses through a band of the oily stuff to get to the field where we play fetch and because I snuggle and kiss Finn constantly, I am now convinced I have a mild case of poison ivy, which makes more sense than a case of shingles with no other symptoms and negative lab work.