What If?

As hard as it may be, pretend for a minute that you were being harassed, verbally abused or threatened by an on-line stalker.  How would you know if he (gender assumption) plans to do you physical harm or is just messing with your head?

You need help, advice, support.  This is not something that you or anyone you know can truly help you with.   Maybe it’s time turn to law-enforcement.

But hold on a second.  It’s not as easy as that.

The Supreme Court is considering giving HIM, your stalker, the right to continue to harass you.  HIS freedom of speech would be protected, under the First Amendment.  But YOU?  Well, you would have no power to stop him unless you can prove he intends physical harm.

When I first read about this, I was sure I had misunderstood.  In fact, I hadn’t.  But the issue is a great deal more complex than I first considered it to be. 

No one should have to live under the shadow of constant threat and harassment. But freedom of speech is a bedrock of our democracy. In my opinion, something’s still wrong here but my opinion doesn’t count. What counts is the Court’s opinion. We’ll hope for a wise and thoughtful decision.

Good Grief!

I really don’t get it.   All I know, for sure, is this:  each and every time the lot of you get together, we end up with problems.    

It doesn’t even have to be a big gathering    Just ten or twelve of you are sufficient to incite misadventure.  When there are more, it becomes epic.

Look, I know, better than most, that you’re not all cut from the same cloth.  That would be boring.  But there’s little to be gained by getting your knickers in a twist or your panties in a wad every time you get together.

I know each of you very well.  We’ve spent a lot of time together.  We’ve traveled together.  Been through thick and thin together.  Seen one another in the worst and best of situations.  We’ve even shared a bed!    

Why, then, are you sooooo determined to tangle up your arms and legs, your tee shirts and undies, your jammies and jeans, into huge tight knots, every time you end up in the washing machine?  Do you know how hard it is to untangle wet, heavy clothes? Trust me. It ain’t easy.

I have no idea if this happens in pre-wash, wash, rinse or spin.   And I don’t know which of you stirs the pot. Gets all the others in a lather.  I have a strong suspicion that it’s my pajamas but I can’t be sure.  I just wish you’d stop.  The whole thing is quite unnecessary, at its best.

And a happy mother’s day to all

Drawing of ensnared serpents, artist unknown

Hail, Hail. The Gang’s All There.

Yep, they’re all right down there at Disney World. Happily, joyfully, doing their thing and bringing smiles to visitors’ faces.

We have the Mouses:. Sweet little Mickey and Minnie. 

Then there’s Donald Duck, Tinker Bell, Eeyore and Ursala. 

There’s Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan, Piglet, and Winnie the Pooh.

Simba, Jiminy Cricket and Tinker Bell, too.

There’s Cinderella, Aladdin and The Cheshire Cat.

Let’s not forget The Little Mermaid, Captain Hook and Cruella de Ville (my personal favorite, of course).

All those Disney “people” have many, many friends and relatives.  And untold numbers of devotees, supporters and ardent followers. Some in high places.

If I were a politician, out there looking for votes, you can bet your bippy I wouldn’t tangle with that crowd. And, yes, I know it’s a “woke” thing but still…….

I Am Such a Wimp.

Every week, twice a week, a young man appears at our house. Unannounced. He opens the door, steps right in, calls out a cheery hello and makes himself at home.  He assumes I’m happy to see him.  Hah!  Little does he know.

Then, and with very little prologue, he starts giving orders!  To me!  In my own house!  Unbelievable. Even more unbelievably, I follow those orders.  And without (usually) a whole lot of complaining.  Such is the power he has over me.

I always tell him he’s free to leave at any moment.  He, in turn, always declines my generous offer and insists on staying until he’s had his way with me.

I ask myself why?  Why do I allow this to continue?  Even wimps should step up to the plate when they’re treated like this.   So, why don’t I exercise my given rights?

Well, perhaps, it’s because I don’t want to.  Ask me how much weight I can lift now.  How many lunges I can do.  How long I can hold a plank.  These are things that were alien to me a year ago. I’ve learned that it’s very empowering to feel stronger.  And it’s all due to the persistence and dedication of that young man, who also happens to be very agreeable and amusing.

The upshot of all that? I’m definitely not a wimp any more.

Profanity.

I’m the first to admit that the F-word lives right on the tip of my tongue.  And while I try to contain it, it has a way of escaping.  I wish it weren’t so but it’s an old habit and they’re so hard to break.

I may, however, have finally reached that “breaking” point.

Our path to the end started last week when we streamed new episodes of “Shrinking” and “Succession.” 

Our primary reason to watch “Shrinking” was Harrison Ford.  A classy and understated actor if ever there were one.

 “Succession” has been a fave since the get-go.  It’s anything but understated but it’s been great fun.  At least to date.

As we watched those shows we were surprised and dismayed at the over-use of the F-word in both.  It was relentless and unnecessary.  Repetition is at best tedious and at worst irritating. 

Don’t the writers understand that too much of anything is not a good thing   That over-use diminishes strength and power?  That “in-your-face,” gratuitious and belabored profanity can quickly become a turn-off.

Which is exactly what we did.  We turned those shows off and we don’t plan to go back.  Which is saying a f*****g lot. Oh, dear. Recovery is soooooo hard and relapse is sooooo easy. I’ll keep trying.

Who Cares?

Well, I cared when I got a phone call that indicated, at least to me, that a recent medical record of mine had been hacked.

It wasn’t anything important, thank goodness.   I’d had a simple X-ray indicating a little arthritis in the lower back.  The doctor specifically required no follow-up, no further testing, no nothing.  Done and dusted.  I was simply advised to never, ever again, pick up a squirming and ticked-off 15 pound cat from the floor.

Two days later, I received a out-of-the-blue and very strange phone call from an unidentified source, offering help for “my arthritic lower back.”   

I think I’ve been hacked, I said to the Mister. 

I cared enough about the apparent hacking to call the doctor’s office and their hospital affiliation. I cared enough to sit through many unwanted prompts and endless messages to share the information and my concern.

In return, not one cared enough to call me back, follow up in anyway, or express any interest….or regret….that a medical record had been hacked.

I believe there was both reason and right to care about the hacking.  But, apparently, no one else did.  And I think I have both reason and right to care about the lack of response from those who should also care.

Faith.

We renew it on Easter. 

We rejoice.  We pray.  We remember. 

Often, we do those things individually and in our own way.  We also do it collectively in places of our choosing, 

Either way, sometimes it’s hard to “keep the faith.”  There’s so much happening these days that puts both us and our faith to the test.

But the good news is that we, in this country, are free to go about renewing our faith however and whenever we choose.  Not everyone’s as lucky as we are.

Faith is a personal thing.  Long may it be thus.

Image: from “To Be Not Alone” by George L. M. Hershey (1984) – please click on image for full drawing

Wow! Now That Was Some Kinda Trip!

It all started when we went to our local gas station and bought a package of Mystic Labs Delta-8 CBD gummies. I slipped one under my tongue, sat back and hoped for some relief.  That was not what I got.

To back up a bit, it has been determined by thoughtful and educated minds that a little “weed” can do wonders for dystonia.  Since I’m a person with dystonia, we said let’s give it a try. Where’s the harm?  

With that in mind, we bought some of the easily obtainable “gummies.”  We chose the mildest of all the gummy options on the shelf.  And there were many. Some up to 8 times the strength of the ones we bought.  Knowing that I’m highly sensitive to drugs, I even cut the gummy in half.  Two hours later, I was somewhere and someone I didn’t want to be.   The “trip” lasted at least six hours.   I hunkered down with a cat and let it ride itself out.  All under the safe guidance of the Mister.  It was not fun.

There would be those who would have said: “Just lie back and enjoy the trip.” “Get with the program.”  “Isn’t this why you bought the gummies in the first place?” 

They might be right about all of that but not at this time of my life.  And not for the reasons I bought the things to begin with.  They were meant to be calming and grounding agents, designed to mildly abate some of the dystonia issues I have.

During those six hours, I was not fit to drive, walk, think or make sense of anything.  It was a strong “hit” and an extended “trip” that I hadn’t planned on but it’s over and done with. 

My concern is no longer about me or my reaction to the stuff.  My concern is that I now know what’s there.  Just down the street.   On the shelves.  Inexpensive and available to all. 

 Aye, there’s the rub. At least in my mind.

Decisions, Decisions

In every marriage, there comes a time when some hard decisions must be made.

Those really tough decisions are easy to put off. To push aside.  To deal with another day.  Another time. 

Further, they’re not things that can be discussed with the children.  They’d just shake their heads and shrug their shoulders.  In the end, we all know that only The Mister and I can make the right choices.

So, we stew about it.  Look the other way.  Pretend it’s not a problem.

But then the dreaded moment arrives.  One of us wakes up with a backache and we know the time has come.  We need to get a new mattress.

And so it begins.   Our preferences are clear.  I like hard and firm; he prefers soft and squishy.  He sleeps on his back; I’m a tummy sleeper.  He kicks off the covers; I find a cat to keep me toasty.  He went to the mattress store; I stayed home. 

The new mattress will be delivered this week.  I’m sure it will be fine.   Just as it always has been for these last 60-some years.

Water, water, everywhere….

And so many drops to drink.

The person who works very hard to help me stay as strong and healthy as possible is also a nag.  He’s obsessed with water.  So many people are these days, it seems. 

“No,” I say when asked if I’m drinking the suggested 10 to 12 glasses of water each day. “Why not?” comes the response.  Because, I say, “I simply don’t want to.” 

I am however, and in spite of myself, finding that water might just be important!  Vital, in fact!  I know I’m late to that party, but better now than never.

I don’t expect to persuade anyone who really hates water as much as I do to drink more.  I’m just saying, that I, for one, may be feeling better as a result.  Sometimes, a nag in your life can be a good thing.  You just have to be selective.

Glug.

Glug.

Glug.

Inviting glass of water thanks to AWomansHealth.com

it.

I take its name in vain several times a day. Others may have more self-control and I greatly admire their restraint.

But, when it won’t let me pay my bills, I get all squirrelly and call it a bad name.

When it deletes something I wrote and forgot to save, I get annoyed and call it an even worse name.

When it tells me the password I’ve entered several times is still wrong and it’s getting ready to cut me off, I call it an unprintable name.

When it shuts down completely, I do the only thing I know to do.  I call The Mister.

Who calls the IT people.  Oh, the irony.

GUILTY!!!!!

The Mister greeted me Thursday evening with the news, the BIG news, that Alex Murdaugh had been found guilty.  And after only three hours of deliberation!  I was shocked.  To the core.  While I hadn’t thought he was innocent, there didn’t seem to me to be enough hard evidence to convict him.  So, I said to myself, let’s read a little more about this. We must have missed something.

In an article the next day, I learned that yet another juror had been dismissed. And just prior to deliberations, of all things. She was dissed for having conversations about the trial outside the courtroom.  A no-no.  But not really “news.”

What was “news” and what brought me to my knees, was this little paragraph:

“After she was removed, the bailiff entered the jury room to remove a dozen eggs the juror had brought with her, which she then took home.” 

That event, at least in my mind,  eclipsed everything that had happened to date and caused me to sit up and take notice.

It was immediately clear that lacking utensils, a frying pan and most importantly, a flame, we could safely assume the juror wasn’t planning to cook the eggs. But the symbolism of the egg must not be lost in the shuffle.

Let’s consider:

Had the egg-toting juror stuck around, was there a chance they she would end up with egg on her face?

Was there a rotten egg somewhere amongst the jurors?

Would the jurors have spent time walking on egg shells during their deliberations?

Was Alex’s father the goose that laid the golden egg?

Was there anything left of Alex’s nest egg or did he put all his eggs in one basket, never to be seen again?

I can only think that the newly dismissed juror was eager to get cracking on deliberations but, sadly, the yolk was on her and she was sent away, wondering, as we all do, about which came first, the chicken or the egg.

I think I need to get a life.

Our National Symbols and Treasures.

All are unique expressions of our freedom, our democracy and our way of life.  They include our National parks, our American flag, our National anthem and, of course, our National bird, the majestic eagle.  They are gifts to us as Americans. 

Apparently, there’s a suggestion from some members of Congress that we add to that list of symbols and treasures.  To wit: the AR-15.  A semi-automatic assault weapon.  It would be, according to the proposers: “The American gun.” Or, as suggested by another congressman: “the National Gun of the United States.”

In what world does a gun, any gun, belong in the same sentence, or on the same list, as our parks, our flag, our anthem or our American eagle?  With those things comes beauty, awe and respect.  So often, with a semi-automatic weapon comes destruction, death, and sadness.

The whole idea boggles the mind.  I can only hope and pray there is no forward-going action taken on the suggestions. 

I Am Not A Birder

That’s not to say that I don’t like birds.  I do.  I like birds very much. Nothing is more majestic than a great blue heron.  Or an American eagle.  Or even a wee hummingbird.  But birds fly into view for nano-seconds and then they’re gone. Poof! Just like that. They don’t give you a chance to form real connections with them.

The little merganser ducks, on the other hand, beg for your interest and attention.  They all but send you an invitation to join their party.

The mergansers tend to arrive in South Carolina just before Thanksgiving and they leave again in early March.  We have a family who faithfully return to a spot just down the Sound from us. 

Mergansers, if you don’t already know, always do everything, and I mean absolutely everything, in pairs.  Where there is one, there will always be another.  Where there are three, there are surely four.  And so on.  

I may spend a little too much time watching those little ducks bob and weave, fish and play, and communicate with each other in ways we can’t understand.   I also may occasionally feel a bit like Christina in Andrew’s Wyeth’s famous painting.

But they always put a smile on my face.  And that’s always worth the time invested.

Mischief, Mayhem, and Murder.

All brought to us by the Murdaugh family of Islandton, South Carolina. 

When we moved here many years ago, we quickly learned that the Murdaughs were going to be constants in our lives.  If only through the grapevine.  It’s just the way it is.

They keep us on our toes with their constant legal problems.  And they most certainly keep our little newspaper in business. 

And, oh, the troubles we’ve seen.  Currently, there are numerous ongoing fraud investigations, the mysterious death of a 19 year old nursing student not far from the Murdaugh estate, an unresolved fatal boat accident involving the family’s boat, and a housekeeper’s death resulting from a fall (push?) down the stairs in the family home.  And now, of course, there’s the double murder of Alex Murdaugh’s wife and son.  For which Alex himself has been accused and is currently on trial.

It’s possible I’ve left out other crimes and misdemeanors.  Please don’t take me to task.  It’s hard to keep up. 

If it weren’t for the enormous amount of damage the Murdaugh clan has left in their wake, the words farce, spoof, and three-ring circus might be appropriate.

But a song from Stephen Sondheim’s  “A Little Night Music” may say it all. And ever so much better. It says simply: “Send in the clowns. Don’t bother, they’re here.”