I Really Want Some.

But apparently, I’m not gonna get any. At least any time soon.  It’s illegal in most states, and most certainly in South Carolina. 

It’s an old product.  It’s been around since the Nixon era when he, Nixon, decided to ban all research into psychedelics. 

What I want, in old hippie terms, is, some “shrooms.”  Or, psilocybin, to be scientifically correct about it.

It’s a drug that’s being used, increasingly, for dystonia (“The Foot’s” condition and nemesis) and similar afflictions.  With great success and very few risks.

Eminent medical researchers are carrying out clinical trials.  Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Emory, to cite just three.  It appears to be highly effective in microdoses, which equate to less than one/tenth of a “dose.”  Just enough to toggle the brain but never enough to cause a bad “trip.”

The Mister has done exhaustive research.  He’s spoken to and corresponded with experts all across the country.  And outside the country.  All on my behalf.  He gets it.  He knows it’s the right approach but it’s also a dead-end street. The mushrooms from which psilocybin is derived have been used effectively and safely by numerous societies for eons but still we put up barriers to its acceptance.

And so I ponder: Since there’s a refined product that’s been around for decades and is proving to be safe, effective and non-addictive, why can’t I, and others like me, have access to it?

I Really Want Some (Redux).

But apparently, I’m not gonna get any. At least any time soon.  It’s illegal in most states, and most certainly in South Carolina. 

It’s an old product.  It’s been around since the Nixon era when he, Nixon, decided to ban all research into psychedelics. 

What I want, in old hippie terms, is, some “shrooms.”  Or, psilocybin, to be scientifically correct about it.

It’s a drug that’s being used, increasingly, for dystonia (“The Foot’s” condition and nemesis) and similar afflictions.  With great success and very few risks.

Eminent medical researchers are carrying out clinical trials.  Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Emory, to cite just three.  It appears to be highly effective in microdoses, which equate to less than one/tenth of a “dose.”  Just enough to toggle the brain but never enough to cause a bad “trip.”

The Mister has done exhaustive research.  He’s spoken to and corresponded with experts all across the country.  And outside the country.  All on my behalf.  He gets it.  He knows it’s the right approach but it’s also a dead-end street. The mushrooms from which psilocybin is derived have been used effectively and safely by numerous societies for eons but still we put up barriers to its acceptance.

And so I ponder: Since there’s a refined product that’s been around for decades and is proving to be safe, effective and non-addictive, why can’t I, and others like me, have access to it?

Finding Laughter in the Oddest Places.

As I was filling out yet another “foot” doctor form, I was asked if I had ever been arrested. I answered “yes” because I aim to be truthful on those things.

Many years ago, I was arrested when I made a left-hand turn at a no-left-hand turn intersection.

When I handed over my driver’s license to the policeman, it was found to be well past its expiration date.  It was also out-of-state.  Neither of those things is good.

I was issued a citation and a notice for a court date.

But I was not alone in the car.  There were five of us, dressed-up and fully made-up as clowns.  We were on our way to do a Children’s Theater program in an area we didn’t know well.

When I burst into tears during the unpleasant encounter, my travelling companions followed suit.

Whiteface paint dripped.  Rouged cheeks bled.  Mascara smeared.  Bulbous red noses fell off.  Our pink polka-dotted costumes were all that remained of our clown-ness.

The arrest itself wasn’t funny. 

The lawyer’s fee and court fees weren’t funny.

The hike in my insurance wasn’t funny.

 The points on my newly issued license weren’t funny. 

But it sure is funny now when I look back on it.  And I’m ever so grateful for that memory. But I still think the cop could have shown a little leniency to the five highly distressed women who were well intentioned but totally lost.   Perhaps In more ways than one.

We’re On the Thorns of a Dilemma.

We’re running low on bank checks.

For those under a certain age, “checks” are those antiquated bits of paper which allow for the transfer of money from one person to another.  We don’t use as many as we used to use but we still need a few around.

The dilemma is this:  How many checks should we order? 

We can get 300 for $30.00.  But, if we get 600, the price is only $10.00 more.

Once upon a time, this would be a no-brainer.  But, now in our older years, it starts to feel a bit like the issue of bananas.  We don’t buy the green ones anymore.  For obvious reasons.  Same thinking applies to the checks.  

I voted for the 300 for $30.00. Seems like plenty of checks to me and I don’t like clutter.

On the other hand, the Mister wants to go whole hog.  Let it rip!  Go for the 600 for $40.00. We’re saving money in the long run, he says. 

The key words are “in the long run’” and, we surely don’t how long that run will be.  But we’re feeling optimistic today so 600 it is.  And as they say, or used to say: “The check is in the mail.”

Checks shot thanks to 123RF

“Baggage Reunification”

“Reunification” is defined as the act of unifying people or things into a coherent whole after a period of separation.   It’s almost always an epic event..

“Baggage” is, well, just baggage.  Unless, of course, it’s yours.  And it gets lost.  It may not qualify as an epic event but it’s certainly a major disruption for those affected.

“Baggage Reunification,” a newly coined term, describes the intent to somehow, someway, someday return lost luggage to its rightful owners.

It’s for sure that many bags and many people were separated from each other during the Southwest Airline debacle of Christmas, 2022.  Those people, quite rightly, would like to be reunited with their baggage.

At least I assume most would like that to be the case.  There could be others who would rather not deal with the aftermath.  Let’s unpack that just a bit.

Will there be joy in baggage reunification if there were perishables in those bags?  Perhaps a smoked turkey breast or an exotic cheese assortment? Will there be bliss if some of the stuff in those bags needed a good washing, even before the separation?  Will hugs and kisses still abound when all that tired old red and green wrapping paper reappears and the time limit on “gift returns” has come and gone?

The cynic in me says not.  But then again maybe I should just stay home so I don’t find myself in situations like that.  But wait!  Deep breaths! That’s exactly what we did! All is well.

An Apolitical Political Observation.

Not too long ago, a high muckety-muck in one of our two political parties wondered, aloud, why another high muckety-muck in the same political party would even consider consulting with and/or working with a high muckety-muck in the other political party.   It doesn’t matter which party the remark came from. It’s the attitude that matters.

Now I, in my ripe old age, remember when Senators and members of Congress had residences in or near Washington, D.C.    They actually lived there!  They didn’t fly the coop every weekend to go back home to do whatever.  I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true.

Because they lived there, they ran into each other.  Frequently.  On purpose or accidentally.  All of which made it easy to have lunch together, dine together, even share a beer or two together.   And, since they were in the same line of work, so to speak, we can only assume that they shared thoughts and ideas about said business.    Maybe they even discussed compromises, as inconceivable as that seems in today’s world.  

They did this not because they were besties or ever planned to be.  They did this not because their politics were closely aligned or ever would be.  They did this for the common good of the country.

And that’s why I‘m saddened, if not particularly surprised, by the whole thing.  My mother would have said: “Dear Father!!!  What has it all come to?”  I might put it differently but she got it right so we’ll just leave it at that.

The Christmas Spirit

(This is either a same/old same/old or a tradition, depending on your point of view. Either way, our family wishes the best for you and yours this Christmas and in the New Year.)

The year was 1961.  I was working in Boston at the New England Conservatory of Music as a receptionist. It was, in all respects, a wonderful year.  I was in love (still am) and was surrounded by talented, generous and joyful people.

But Christmas was always hard for me.  What to give to my parents?  My father never wore anything but a suit, had enough ties to last several life times, bought his own socks and had no hobbies.  My mother was choosy about the things she wore and the things she had in the house.  I always had great angst about what to give them. That year I found a little Japanese porcelain dish which I hoped they would like, but it cost more than my small salary could comfortably bear. Still, I bought it.  There wasn’t any joy in the purchase, however.  I was worried and poorer…not a good combination.

The Conservatory was, back then, in a less than desirable part of town.  It was surrounded by poverty level housing and people.  There was a drug store right across the street that I visited on my lunch hour to pick up necessary items.

One day, near Christmas, I was at the drug store, mindlessly purchasing some stuff, not giving it any thought as I stood in line to pay for my items. An older woman was in front of me.  She wasn’t dressed warmly enough for the cold Boston December day.  It did strike me that she most likely didn’t have a warmer coat, but the thought was fleeting.

And then something happened that I will never forget.  As my arms were carelessly full of stuff, I realized she was buying a single box of tissues.  And I heard her say to the clerk:  “This is for my friend for Christmas. She’ll really like it.”

I find myself as speechless now as I did then. And still a little close to tears.  It was a hard reality.  She was delighted with her choice of a gift for her friend, confident that it would be given, received and used with love and affection.

And I was worried about an expensive porcelain dish for my parents who needed nothing and would most likely put the dish in a drawer anyway?  Not a Christmas goes by that I don’t think about that moment. 

Sometimes, I wish our family could just exchange boxes of tissues, carefully choosing one that might appeal…they come in such jazzy colors and designs these days. Wouldn’t that be fun?  We could wrap them up fancifully with pretty paper and ribbons, confident they would be used and appreciated. 

Now, I know we can’t….and would never want to…deny our families the joy of Christmas morning and presents under the tree.  Santa Claus does exist.

But, for me, perhaps, a box of tissues has become a symbol of friendship and love, of a longed-for simple Christmas season, of joy, of an opportunity to share with others less fortunate, and, of course, in its own way, the true meaning of Christmas.

December 25, 2022 (originally, December 14, 2014)

What’s YOUR Style?

Do you prefer traditional, eclectic, or modern?  Are you a Minimalist, a Hollywood Glam/Fan or a Coastal Interior kind of person? How about Bohemian, Art Deco or French Country?  All good options. Choose one you like, consult Pinterest, hire a good decorator or just wing it. 

I’ve never given our own “style” much thought.  It’s always just been a little bit of this, a little bit of that. But now, it seems we’ve created a new, if not particularly trendy, style. I think it’s safe to say we left “Shabby Chic” in our wake a long time ago.

We call this one: “Ripped, Tattered, Torn and Frayed.”

I see the looks on people’s faces when they enter our house for the first time.  It’s not a good look.  They wonder if we’re aware of the shoddiness. And further, if we are aware, (and really, how could we not be?) how can we continue to live like that? 

For the record, yes, we know.  We see it every day.  And we live with it because we know that if we repair the damage, which would be quite costly, we’d be right back where we started in a matter of days.  New upholstery tops his wish list. Those claws are not for nothing.

We tell him “No.”  Emphatically and frequently.  But, he’s a cat.  And we promised the Humane Society we would not remove his claws.  Commitments were made when we lovingly adopted him and we respect and live happily with the consequences. 

So, enter our house with fear, trepidation and full awareness of who rules the roost. And then just look the other way. It’s what we do. It makes life easier. For everyone. Especially him.

The Perp

“The Home” quote design concept thanks to decorblueprint.com

Hail, Hail! The Gang’s All Here! 

It’s been over a year since we’ve gathered. So we’re ready for some fun!  Some adventure!  Some intrigue! 

We’ll cackle and laugh.  We’ll dine on wonderful, hearty, food.  Drink some good wine.

We’ll gossip, of course.  What’s the point of a gathering without gossip? 

And, quite naturally, there will be a murder.  We know that from the get-go.  We don’t know who, why, how or when but murder is just part and parcel of the whole thing.  We also know, most assuredly, that our resident detective will figure it out before we turn the last page.

Happily, I don’t need to pack a bag, drive a car or catch a plane to be with my old friends. I don’t even need to get out of bed.  I just click on my Kindle.

Louise Penney’s new book, A World of Curiosities, is just out. So I’m off to Three Pines, the little town central to her books. I’ll totally immerse myself with the residents I’ve come to know and love through the years.  I’ll only be gone a couple of days. I’m a fast reader.

I believe escapism is good for the soul.   I’ll come back refreshed and energized, as always.   Maybe you’ll join me in Three Pines.  I can introduce you to the townsfolk. You’ll like them. I can promise you that.

Tattoos.

I have quite a few tattoos.  They’re invisible, of course. But they’re there, nevertheless. I can easily conjure them up at a moment’s notice. They represent friends I’ve known and loved for years and years. 

Sadly, but quite naturally, many of those people have died and others will surely follow.  But, those invisible, etherial tattoos, those unseeable imprints, remind me of our friendships, our relationships, our times together.  And they’re never more apparent than when a friend has died

The wise folk tell us to move on from our past and get on with the present.  Make new friends. Find new work. Create new experiences. And they’re right. We can do that.

But my “tattoos” have a slightly different take on the whole thing.  They remind me to honor my past.  To remember.  To reflect.  To smile, laugh and cry.  And those tattoos aren’t going anywhere any time soon. That “invisible ink” is here to stay.

Today, the tattoo I’m remembering, with much love and affection, is Julia Reichert.  Friend, filmmaker, change-maker. And brave. Such a brave, brave woman.  Gone, but never forgotten.  “Tatooed” forever in my heart.

There Were Fourteen of Us.

We represented three generations at our Thanksgiving dinner.  The oldest was in her early eighties; the youngest in her early twenties.  We all get along quite well.  Always have.   No disagreements were anticipated and none arose.  We’re lucky that way.

But, since I write this blog and since I’m always looking for “material,” I decided to take advantage of the broad age span.   At dinner, I asked the following non-invasive, non political, non-threatening, very simple questions.

Who is John Grisham?

Who is Steven King?

Who is James Patterson

Who is Colleen Hoover?

Just as I thought might be the case, the older generation knew the first three authors but most had no idea about the fourth.  On the flip side, the younger generation knew the fourth but were iffy about the other three.

Just in case you don’t know who she is, Colleen Hoover is a prolific teen and young adult fiction author. She typically has four or five books on the New York Times Bestseller list every week. I, for one, wasn’t planning to read anything she’s written.

But, during our little Q and A, one of those in the older generation took my breath away by saying that she not only knows who Colleen Hoover is, she’s read nearly all her books!  This from a discerning and highly intelligent friend!  She simply knocked my socks off.

Why, I asked.  Simple, she said.  My granddaughters adore Colleen Hoover and I want to relate to them, to share ideas with them and read the same books they do. I found that to be a compelling statement.

I downloaded several of Colleen’s books this morning and look forward to digging in. Thank you, my friend, for opening my mind to a fresh way of looking at something I had too quickly dismissed.

Hanging By a Thread

We had no idea that something as delicate and nearly invisible as a thread could rule our house.

We found out the hard way.

The Mister was doing some painting and moved a bit of stuff in the process.  Included in all that was some wiring.  He’s always very careful so it was a surprise when we discovered, post-paint job, that we had no computer.  No television.  No telephone.  We were “off the grid.”  And not by choice.

The culprit was a fiber optic cord.  Pulled out of its “source” by mistake.  As thin as a bit of thread, you can’t even see a “fiber optic cord” unless you look.  Really, really,  hard.

As a result, we were without computers, internet, television and telephones for a couple of days.    Ah, the peace, we said.  The quiet.  The zen-like atmosphere.  There were no bings, rings, or clicks.  No incoming.  No outgoing.  How sweet it was.

But after less than an hour, we realized we didn’t like it this way.  Not even one little bit.

We hate to admit it, but we’ve come to rely, quite seriously, on all that stuff.  We felt strange and isolated without it.  We welcomed the repairman with open arms and went quickly back to our devices. 

The whole thing was all a bit revealing, if not discouraging.  First, to learn that something that small, that unseeable, had that much power.  And second, to realize how out-of-sorts we felt without our usual “fixes.” “Off the grid” may be for some but, apparently, it’s not for us.

Times…..they are a’changin’.

Or maybe not.

It’s impossible for us, the Mister and me, to go through an election cycle without thinking about the Gallup Poll and its founder, George Gallup.  Dr. Gallup was both mentor and friend to the Mister.  I got to tag along and enjoy the benefits.

Dr. Gallup founded his polling company based on a very simple mission:  If democracy is about the will of the people, somebody should go out and find out what that will is.  He added: “If leaders are wrong about the will of the people, the more they lead, the worse they make it.

In a lecture at the University of Kansas, Dr. Gallup once said:

We see very little change on those issues which are usually cited as ones on which liberals and conservatives diverge. These issues would include abortion, death penalty, the equal rights amendment, gun control, and a balanced federal budget.

…over the last half-century one party has been pretty much in control of our government, both in terms of the Senate, the House and the White House in many years, of course and also at the state level, too.”

He continued, almost as an aside: “One of the real threats to America’s future place in the world is a citizenry which elects to be entertained and not informed.”

Timely observations indeed.   Especially given the fact that Dr. Gallup’s words were spoken over forty years ago.

“We were completely glued to the TV.”

We’ve all said those words.  Many times.  We don’t mean it literally, of course.  How silly would that be?

But there are those who are, literally, glueing themselves to Picassos, VanGoghs and DaVincis.  And they are taking themselves and their reasons to do so very seriously.

Their purpose is to make bold statements about climate change, fossil fuels and wealthy museum patrons. Accordingly, they are targeting art which depicts the world as it once was.  Green, verdant and undisturbed by corporate or government intrusion. 

The museums are naturally upset by the all the fuss.   They’re concerned for their institutions’ well-being and the safety of their treasures.  And they’ve voiced their concerns.

Now, the protesters are voicing their own concerns. 

It seems that when they, the protesters, are “glued” to the art, they can’t get to the rest rooms and the museums are refusing their requests for “buckets.”  To make matters worse, their cell phones have been put away for safe keeping and they have no way to order “take-out.”  Further it’s taking longer and causing more pain than they’d counted on to unglue their various super-glued body parts from the art.

The museums and the protesters have much in common: 

Without a ton of development from those earlier idyllic days, there would be no indoor plumbing, no cell phones, no “take-out” and super-glue wouldn’t have been invented. 

And without that same development from those same earlier, idyllic days, our climate would not be threatened, fossil fuel wouldn’t be an issue and super-wealthy patrons might not have gotten quite so super-wealthy.

Neither side is eager to recognize or honor the other’s concerns. To any degree.  They’re both entrenched, super-glued if you will, to their own side of the same coin.

Alas, and sadly, that seems to be the order of the day. And I’m not just talking museums here.

Forbidden Fruit

Tell us we can’t have it and we want it. Badly. That’s human nature.

We’ll stand in long lines to get our hands on it, whatever it is.  We want it whether or not we need it. We want to know what the fuss is all about and we certainly don’t want our wishes dictated by others.

I’m talking about books here.  Specifically, library books which have been banned from Beaufort County’s school libraries.  We live in Beaufort County so this matters to me.  And it should matter to all those who live here. 

This morning’s newspaper reported that over 100 books have been “pulled” from their rightful places on the libraries’ shelves.  Some may be re-shelved after their “review” but we don’t know if that will be the case or not.

I looked through the list.  Many are unfamiliar titles so I can’t comment on them.  Other than to say that I don’t think that banning any book is a good thing.

But, there among the unknowns, were books I’ve read.  Some more than once. Many shared in book clubs.

They include:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Foer

Water for Elephants by Sara Green

The Art of Racing in the Wind by Garth Stein

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks

The Kite Runner by Khalel Hesslein

I was nearly speechless when I saw those titles.   The quasi-good news is most of them have been adapted for film or television.  But watching doesn’t take the place of reading.  I know that.  You know that.

But here’s the even-better news. Those books are now forbidden fruit. And we all know what happens when something’s declared to be “forbidden fruit.”