Seeping In

Oh, man. I wrote this a week after Trump was elected. It’s been a long 4 years. But, looking back, there are no surprises. Not one. And his followers haven’t changed one bit.

Views From Around the Corner

We’ve had a week to percolate
A thousand words to navigate,
It’s up to us to find the truth
That’s hidden in the voting booth;
Cryptic meetings, cracking code
May lead us down a dark, dark road
A small machine that stands alone
While Sally goes to get the phone,
A small adjustment, just a smidge
Is all it takes to burn that bridge.
Now exit polls don’t match results,
But we can take this; we’re adults.
Concessions speech that asks for peace,
And hope, and for a wide release.
We split, and while a segment cheers
Others must confront their fears,
Voices raised in deep despair,
Asking, how can this be fair?
How can a campaign run on blame
By a man who gained his fame
Through TV shows and business fails
Be asked to hoist the country’s sails?
A man who counsels with our foe.
Who knows…

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It’s Been a Dark Day

I was just finishing up my blog post this morning when I saw the news. Trump supporters were massing in front of the Capitol Building. Oh, great, I thought. Here we go. I don’t like to see Trump protesters massing. They are openly angry. They yell. They carry guns. They drive big trucks waving big flags. Overcompensating? Sure. Meant to intimidate? You bet. I worried, because I follow politics. I know how incendiary Trump and his sycophants have been lately.

But we all have the right to protest.

Suddenly the news shifted. The “protesters” (can they be called that now?) had broken into the Capitol Building. I watched in horror, tears in my eyes, as Lisa Desjardins of PBS reported from her hunkered down position behind a barricade while Capitol Police tried to clear the area. I messaged my kids. Are you watching the news in DC? Text messages started popping off like fireflies. My kids, my friends, everyone was horrified.

I continued to watch Lisa Desjardins, who was reporting again as she was evacuated into the basement hallways with senators and representatives. Relief flooded through me when I realized they were safe. But how could this happen? How, in our nation’s capitol, were our public officials not more protected?

Back to the news. The questions began. “Will you still vote to oppose certification?” A senator or representative started blaming the Democrats, if they hadn’t opposed this president… if they hadn’t resisted… we wouldn’t be where we are today. Lots of whataboutism. Yes-buts. Yada-yada. Garnering irritated eyerolls on my part.) All the while, Judy Woodruff kept her calm demeanor, reiterating that the issue had already gone to court. That the states had already certified, There was no widespread voter fraud.

Over the course of the day the whataboutism died down. Trump’s responsibility in all of this ramped up. Someone somewhere in the basement must have found a backbone. As of 5 PST, they seemed nearly ready to throw him to the sharks. Well, it took long enough.

In all this, I have to say that I’m grateful to the Republicans who never stood by this terrible person, the Never Trumpers. I’m grateful to the people of the Lincoln Project. I’m grateful to any and all Republicans who saw Trump for who he was, who walked away, and who didn’t stay silent. I’m grateful to Mitt Romney, with whom I disagree with on just about everything it seems except the importance of honoring your integrity and your faith. I cringe to think what might have happened with any pushback.

Some things I heard and saw throughout the day are things I never thought I’d see in my country.

  • People storming the Capitol, rushing the Capitol Police inside the building
  • People in MAGA hats who had just broken in wandering blithely through the Capitol like they were tourists on a tour
  • That “protesters” managed to get in the Capitol
  • An American flag coming down and a Trump flag being raised in its place
  • A traitorous confederate flag being waved in the halls of Congress
  • Senators lying on the floor and hiding behind barricades because there were guns in the building

I hope this is a wake up call for people who have supported this madman. I hope that somehow they can extract him from the People’s House ASAP. I don’t think we’ll make it another 2 weeks.

Today has been a dark day. May tomorrow bring a new dawn.


(Bright spot – If we do make it to the 20th, Democrats control the Senate! Bye-bye Mitch! Thank you, Georgia voters!!!)

Headwinds and Tailwinds

Photo by Joshua Abner on Pexels.com

In my previous post, I was hoping to discuss something I heard about on NPR this past weekend. I was listening to an interview with Maria Konnikova, psychologist and poker player, and as she discussed learning the game of poker, the idea of headwind/tailwind asymmetry was introduced.

Headwinds/tailwinds asymmetry is the work of Thomas Gilovich, psychology chair at Cornell University. The premise of the argument is that in our daily lives we struggle against headwinds and are boosted by tailwinds. Our outlook, motivation, and tendency toward resentment are all affected by these forces. Gilovich makes the point that, like runners and cyclists, we are very aware of the headwinds that are relentlessly buffeting us. He says that when we get a good tailwind, we are initially grateful, but quickly stop paying attention to the boost it’s giving us.

He links this to the ideas of gratitude and resentment. We all understand the headwinds. We’ve all felt them. It’s the lack of acknowledgement of the tailwinds that tends to cause problems. Maybe that’s a human brain problem. The brain is a lazy organ. It likes to go on autopilot. If it’s not dealing with a situation that’s impacting “survival,” the operating system puts the process in the background. Resentment comes from thinking you have it harder than the other guy. The way I understand it applying to the headwinds/tailwinds asymmetry is that we stop paying attention to our own tailwinds and notice only the headwinds, we experience life as being hard. But that’s not all. We notice others’ tailwinds, but not headwinds. They must have it easier. This leads to resentment and a lack of gratitude.

What would happen if we chose to focus in on our own tailwinds instead of those of others? We experience gratitude. With gratitude comes happiness.

Going back to the interview with Maria Konnikova, she relates this all to the idea of internal vs external locus of control. Who is responsible for what happens to you? When something bad happens, is it your fault or the fault of someone or something apart from you? This gets to the idea of responsibility and accountability. It’s uncomfortable to acknowledge our role in our failings. It’s easier to push them off onto an external factor. Most people do this. But if you could get over the ego hurdle, there is growth to be found in self-reflection. Unfortunately, some of us make self-reflection an art form, putting an undue burden on ourselves for our failings. Our inner critic is strong.

Conversely, when something good happens to you, is it due to your actions, or is it due to luck or good fortune? The tendency for many is to have an internal locus of control for the good things and an external locus for the bad. For some of us, there is a reluctance to attribute our successes to our own hard work and perseverance. We may instead give all of the credit to something outside ourselves, such as luck. Most of the time, however, the path toward success has been built piece by piece, reflecting hard work and planning.

We have a lot to say about where we go in life and the attitude we exhibit along the way. Resentment leads to self-handicapping and excuse making. In contrast, gratitude leads to happiness and a feeling of self-efficacy.

How do you usually reflect on the successes and failures in your own life? Would a change in perspective set you on a better path? Do you practice daily gratitude? Feel free to comment below.

Looking Forward

I know I am not alone in my eagerness to bid farewell to 2020. I go into the new year a bit reluctantly, however. I was really looking forward to 2020. It seemed so symmetrical, such a nice number. It was an election year, which brought hope for a better future. Then the shit hit the fan. Once bitten, twice shy, as they say.

But 2020 hasn’t been without its merits. I’ve thrown myself into my art. I’ve spent a lot of time at the co-op gallery that I belong to. I’ve watched our small town rally around local businesses. I have invested myself in its social media presence and tried to learn all I could about driving business our way. While I haven’t been out taking pictures far and wide, I’ve made forays to day trip locations and have focused on improving my craft. I’ve also taken on Illustrator and tried my hand at digital design. That all came from my stress-relieving mandala drawing obsession. One thing leads to another. You know how it goes.

My newest venture is creating a website for my photography to highlight the images I have both at the gallery and on print on demand sites like Fine Art America. I’ve actually purchased greeting cards and notebooks with my images on them from a couple of the sites and thought they turned out really nice. My hope is that the pandemic has created a new breed of consumer who is more willing to support independent artists and local businesses. At the gallery when people purchase greeting cards it helps the artists pay for their space. Not everyone is looking to fill a spot on the wall, but anyone can share art in the mail for a small investment. Win-win. If you have the time and inclination, check out my FAA (Pixels) site. You can buy my photography on all sorts of items. Even if you don’t buy, it helps me if you look. (One of my favorites photos is the ocean wave. If I didn’t already have way too many mugs, I’d have one of those.)

I wish you all continued health into the new year and a budding, welcome happiness with the freedom to roam and interact that comes with the vaccine. Until then, may we all continue to practice patience. This too shall pass.

PTSD

So, who watched the debate?

My son told me they talked about it at a work meeting this morning, where it was described, aptly, as a sh*#show. I told him I felt that by watching I had volunteered to be flogged. He didn’t watch. He’s better about self-care than I am.

I’m curious how anyone can support Donald Trump. Each time a scandal comes to light, each time he gets up on stage and spews his hateful, divisive rhetoric, I think that will be the end of his support. I wake up to hearing the same excuses, rationalizations, and justifications for his abhorrent behavior. My neighbors on three sides have Trump flags flying. At this point if you are still a Trump-supporter, I’m questioning your humanity.

“Nice people made the best Nazis. My mom grew up next to them. They got along, refused to make waves, looked the other way when things got ugly and focused on happier things than “politics.” They were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away. You know who weren’t nice people? Resisters.”

― Naomi Shulman

It was torture watching our bully president rage over both moderator Chris Wallace and former VP Biden. His whole demeanor was aggressive and mean. He repeatedly name-called and dehumanized democrats by calling us crazy, left-wing liberals. This democrat (me) is a human, with a view that you should help others and be a good steward of both money and natural resources. Come over for coffee sometime. I’ll show you my garden, such as it is. You can meet my dogs. They are sweet. I’ll tell you about the peaceful protests I’ve attended, what they’re really like and what prompted me to go. What name-calling and depersonalization do is to make someone the other, to make him/her less than you. It’s the first step toward being able to commit atrocities. Don’t think I haven’t wondered who’s coming for me.

During the debate, Trump got personal. It was awful hearing him steamroll Joe Biden and dismiss his son Beau in order to smear Hunter. I thought Biden had a classy parent comeback. He acknowledged that Hunter had dealt with his drug issue and that he was proud of him. What a great dad! Those boys had to be dealing with a lifetime of trauma after losing their mom and sister. Their dad did everything he could to alleviate their suffering, but nothing can make up for that. Some of us are more resilient than others.

If you want to see the fruit of the tree, turn the spotlight on the Trump kids, none of whom were wearing masks during the debate, in direct violation of the rules set by the venue, showing at the very least a contemptuous lack of respect.

Joe Biden is not a perfect candidate, but he has what it takes to lead this country. He’s not going to be a cult figure. We don’t need any more of those. He does have experience. He knows people, and knows people who know people. He has experience on the world stage. He knows how to form coalitions, and he understands that shows of force and belligerent attitudes don’t push our country forward. He will hire experts and defer and delegate. This, my friends, is leadership. Getting on stage and yelling the loudest is not.

Please vote blue. We desperately need a reset.

Side note: In looking something up, I found that there’s a whole Wikipedia page devoted to Trump nicknames. This grieves me. This man should not be leading our great country.

What Will You Do, Democrats?

I’m exhausted. I know I’m not alone. There’s been a constant barrage of norm-breaking, lies, and corruption from this administration. It’s easy to feel outraged. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Every day it seems there’s a new story. More chaos. It’s so easy to feel powerless. But we’re only powerless when we give up our power.

So do something small.

Wajahat Ali posed the question on Twitter, what will you do, Democrats? The responses ran the gamut. Hold them to account. Take to the streets. March on Washington. I agree with all of those things, but realistically, I won’t be doing most of them. I will count on my own elected officials to hold them to account. I won’t be flying to Washington. I may hit the streets, masked up and with my sanitizer in my pocket. But one thing I can do is help my local democratic group. Starting Friday, I will be filling out cards and mailing them. Old school, as my kids like to say.

Ponder the inspiring words of Kamala Harris in her VP acceptance speech at the DNC.

So, let’s fight with conviction. Let’s fight with hope. Let’s fight with confidence in ourselves, and a commitment to each other. To the America we know is possible. The America we love.

Years from now, this moment will have passed. And our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and ask us: Where were you when the stakes were so high?

They will ask us, what was it like?

And we will tell them. We will tell them, not just how we felt.

We will tell them what we did.

Kamala Harris

What will you do?


P.S. In 28 hours after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, Democrats raised over $90 million. This was thrilling news.

Speak with your feet in the street and shout with your credit card out.

Share Your World – 8/27/18

It’s time for another installment of Cee’s Share Your World. Here are my answers to the latest questions:

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts?

Lately, I’ve been nutty. I used to avoid anything with nuts, I’ve come to love them in and on all kinds of baked goods.

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

I sleep with them in whatever state I left them in. I’m honestly oblivious to the condition of my environment, at least until we have visitors, in which case every out-of-place object becomes glaringly obvious.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?

I’m usually a little early or right on time. I get stressed out if I’m late, and even more so if someone else makes me late. My husband is more of a slightly late person, so you can picture how that goes.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

Spending the day at the fair with the kids was a lot of fun. We watched the X Treme Air Dogs at the Oregon State Fair on Saturday. What a fun time! Those dogs were amazing athletes! They are competing again this weekend. If you’re at the fair, check it out!


As always, thanks to Cee for the chance to share our worlds. Have a great week!

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