Monday, December 20, 2021

A Secular Lessons & Carols

Lesson 1 

Song of Alvin 1:3  -  And there was in those days Hula Hoop-craving, Loop-the-Loop Plane-desiring chipmunks try to alter their usual bratty, destructive behavior in anticipation of the gift-giving season. ~ The Chipmunk Song

Lesson 2 

Impossibilities 4:9   -  And, lo, a child demands a large, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal and ungulate native to sub-Saharan Africa for Christmas instead of dolls or Tinkertoys. ~ "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Lesson 3

Second Incisor 8:15  -  In want of missing teeth, a young child eschews the usual list of goodies for the ability to say "Sister Susie sitting on a thistle." ~ All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

Lesson 4 

Repercussions 31:45  -  Bewailing the possibility of an empty stocking, one frog-in-bed-hiding, ink-spilling, bug-eating-forcer tries to lay blame for his bad behavior on a tattletale. ~ I'm Gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas

Lesson 5: 

First Warnings 6:5  -  Behold, Santa is making a list, checking it twice, and - like your cell phone and Alexa - spying on every little thing you do. So be good for goodness' sake. Until Christmas. ~ Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Lesson 6 

Improprieties 17:12  -  Childhood trauma ensues when mommy is caught tickling and kissing the gift-bearing North Pole resident underneath the mistletoe. Or maybe it was all a big misunderstanding. ~ I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Lesson 7 

Felonians 23:10  -  And it came to pass that a beloved blue-haired matriarch went too far with eggnog-imbibing and met with a fatal "accident" while making her way home after a party. We are left with the question: Was it an accident? ~ Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

Lesson 8 

Rug-Cutting 16:25  -  In spite of misbehavior and empty-stocking fear, merriment is encouraged through dancing around a festooned fir tree in this time of caroling and pumpkin pie. ~ Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Lesson 9

Ohbygolly 12:22   -  All's well that ends well, as humanity is encouraged to drink a cup of cheer (but not the laundry detergent) and greet everyone they meet for the holliest, jolliest, memory-making Christmas ever. ~ Have a Holly Jolly Christmas


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Song for Autumn

In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies?  And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.  ~ Mary Oliver

Monday, November 22, 2021

On Looking at Millais' Autumn Leaves

Live life fully before the autumn
Make sure you blossom and flower
Let life be full of fruitfulness
Don't be afraid! Be a little bolder!
You'll colour autumn when it comes
Rich or poor is not the measure
More important, to live in delight.
Let life itself be your treasure
Scatter the leaves! Enjoy the sight!

~ David Adam

Monday, September 06, 2021

Happy New Year!

To me, the new year has always started in September. I've never been a fan of the one in January. I mean it's not the start of anything new except the month of January, and who needs to celebrate that? 

No, my Jewish sisters and brothers have always been correct on this point. I, too, recognize Rosh Hashanah as a chance to begin anew. The seasons are changing (January is smack in the middle of winter - what's that about?), it's back to school time, and all sorts of other things are getting cranked up again. 

There's a feeling of new possibilities in the air.

I remember a sermon from years ago by my favorite priest about this very thing. How he, too, felt that September was the start of a brand new year, new energy and excitement, so much so that he always found himself singing:  

Here I go again
I hear those trumpets blow again
All aglow again
Taking a chance on love

Well, OK, I'm not planning to take a chance on love, but I do think about this sermon, from maybe 35 years ago, and that song when September rolls around. And there is something about this September New Year that's energizing. The anticipation of interesting beginnings and cool autumn weather, even with masks and vaccinations, give me hope heading into my favorite season.

L’Shanah tovah, y'all! Wishing you a good and sweet year ahead.  

Here I go again . . .

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Labor Day Salute to the Real Workers


If we've learned anything over these past 18 months, it's who the actual boots-on-the-ground workers are in this country. It's the folks who keep things running as safely and smoothly as possible, often at danger to themselves and their families. 

Despite fatigue, uncertainty, and the sheer selfish, despicable behavior of a small but loud chunk of our population, these American heroes show up and perform their duties with the utmost professionalism. 

To the teachers, healthcare workers, domestic and sanitation workers, transportation professionals, wait staffs, construction/landscape/infrastructure workers: Thank you to the moon and back. I see you. I honor you this Labor Day, even though I'm sure you're hard at work, not lounging by a pool. You deserve our respect and a whole lot more pay and benefits. 

To the company big-wigs, fat-cats, and billionaires who refuse to honor those who actually do the work of this country by paying a living wage and providing full benefits: a big, fat raspberry!

Happy Labor Day, honorable workers!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

COVIDiary: My Pandemic Rage

I've had it with y'all. We could've saved a lot of lives last year. But no. Granted, there wasn't a vaccine yet, but if everyone had followed the very simple rules of wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance from others, and washing hands, the spread of this thing could've been mitigated. 

Sure, you weren't too concerned because last year's version seemed to strike just old folks or people with health concerns. Disposables, right? 

But this delta variant is hitting children and young people particularly hard. More and more children are testing positive for covid, more are being hospitalized, more are dying. Children!

So what do y'all do? You protest mask-wearing in schools. You protest vaccination requirements for schools and businesses. You send covid-positive kids to school. You're not only bat-shit crazy, you're putting everyone - kids included - in jeopardy. All because you don't want you or your kids to wear masks? Seriously? 

I don't want to hear anything about "freedom" or "God's protection" or any pseudo-science you got off the internet about masks harming childhood development. That's big-time bullshit, by the way. Please check reliable sources. Face it. You failed. You failed every time you - an adult - bitched and moaned about wearing a mask. So of course your little special darlin' feels free to whine about it, too. 

What you're teaching your children by not modeling the importance of the basic pandemic rules is the most dangerous kind of selfish behavior. You're modeling lack of concern for your family and your community. You're teaching them "to hell with everyone else, it's all about me." Great. More of that is just what we need in the public square nowadays.

So, thanks. You've landed us where we are right now. Hospitals full. Children on ventilators. School closures. Immature, life-threatening behavior toward school boards, medical professionals, and educators. 

Yes, I'm in a rage. Hot white anger. 

Wear a mask - certainly in all public indoor spaces. (Yes, that includes schools.) Make sure everyone in your family who's old enough is vaccinated. Stop being the problem. 

All this rage is wearing me out.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

COVIDiary: Back to School 2021 vs 2020



Welp. What a difference a year makes. Sorta', kinda'. 

Though grandson doesn't start middle school until next week, granddaughter starts 3rd grade tomorrow. She told me she is glad to get back to school. Her main teacher from 2nd grade has moved up with the class to provide a smoother transition from last year's virtual school to this year's back-to-campus. 

Most of the COVID protocols are still in place: masks, distance between students indoors, etc., but the kids are so used to it by now that continuing to protect themselves and others doesn't bother them. And this new variant is scary, especially for young children, so I'm grateful those rules are still in place.

I've been putting together a photo book about our 2020-21 coronavirus year. While most of the photos and experiences included - holidays, the lockdown, projects - didn't dredge up too much horribleness, I have to admit the pages about virtual school caused a little trauma. It was hard. Looking back on it was hard. Remembering the internet disruptions, the app-confusions, the tears - oy! It's a wonder we're not all in therapy, especially the brave, wonderful teachers (and they may be - I'm sure they need it). 

But looking over what our children learned last year - yes, even while remote from their classrooms - I'm really impressed. It was most certainly not a lost year, and I know that everyone learned all sorts of skills and adaptability that they'll carry with them from here on out. 

As painful as looking back on 2020's start of school is, my main takeaway is that WE MADE IT! We all survived. Now we're ready to face a still-not-back-to-normal school year, knowing that as long as we keep each other safe through this weird virus- vaccinations, masks, distancing - we can keep going, progressing, growing. 

Compare/contrast, you say? Here you go:

Back to School 2020                                                   Back to School 2021

Set up distance learning areas at home                       Lay out school clothes for school

Ensure all internet access and apps work                    Ensure backpack is filled will school supplies

Practice patience because something will go wrong     Practice patience because something will go wrong

Have plentiful snacks/water on hand                           Bring water bottle (no snacking in school, y'all!)

Pray all distributed instructions have been followed    Pray all distributed instructions have been followed

Get to know your teachers via Zoom or Teams             Get to know your teachers wearing masks

Get to know your classmates via Zoom or Teams          Get to know your classmates wearing masks

Crazed parent as virtual school monitor                       Professional educators teaching, monitoring, caring

Saturday, May 15, 2021

COVIDiary: To (Continue) Mask, or Not To (Continue) Mask

A couple of days ago, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) here in Atlanta lifted the COVID-19 mask requirements for folks who've been vaccinated. 

It was sort of a good news/bad news situation. 

Good news: I've been fully vaccinated since mid-February. Summer's coming and while I loved wearing my mask in the cold weather, mask-wearing in Atlanta's heat is brutal. And at some point we do have to get beyond this thing. 

Bad news: How can I (or stores or museums or churches or restaurants, etc.) tell who has been fully vaccinated and who hasn't? We didn't get tattoos on our foreheads when we got our shots. Yes, we were given a card with the vax info on it (which I keep with me all the time), but news of fake vax cards are everywhere. And if I've learned anything during this pandemic (shoot, let's be serious, since the 2016 election), many of my fellow country-citizens are selfish and stupid, so I've lost all trust in Americans to do the honest and moral thing. 

My workplace, the Atlanta History Center, is following the CDC guidelines and dropping mask requirements for staff and guests. Fortunately, we staff members have been told that we will not be responsible for asking for proof of vaccination, as it might provoke unwanted confrontations and compromise our safety. 

Well, OK. I'm vaccinated. While working inside, I'm behind plexiglass in a huge atrium with proper ventilation. My other assignments are outdoors. I welcome never having to remind people to keep mask over mouth AND nose. 

Yesterday, I went shopping at real stores for the first time in a year, and mask requirements were still in place. I was surprised that everyone was abiding by mask rules, staff and shoppers. It was good to know that people are still being cautious.

I'll miss you, mask collection. I'll miss having my smirks covers. I'll miss not having to wear make-up and lipstick. I'll miss having something that hides sleep-face creases. On the up-side, it'll be good to let my face hang out again, I reckon. 

I suspect masks will be around beyond this point, especially during cold and flu season. And I have so many cute ones, I'm prepared for whatever viruses hit us in the future. 

Or maybe I'll just frame the whole mask collection as a reminder of this weird, historic year.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Still Crazy After All These Years


On this day I start my seventh decade. Let's see what the rest of this life has to offer.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

COVIDiary: Oh, the Places I Want to Go!

Having been completely vaccinated since mid-February, I've found myself travel-dreaming of late. Flying is out of the question for the foreseeable future because there are so many stupid assholes who refuse to get their jabs (and you can just bet that they're the ones flying around). 

Still, this is travel-dreaming, so in the best of all possible immunized world, here's where I'd pack off to first:

  • New York, New York. These vagabond shoes are longing to stray right through the very heart of it. I want Central Park. I want the Brooklyn Bridge. The Met, the Cloisters, the Morgan. I want crowded sidewalks, slippery subway steps, street vendors, and my NY lottery scratch-offs. I want to fill my belly at Sarita's Mac & Cheese, Fraunces Tavern, Sardi's, Chez Josephine, any good bagel shop, and whatever food truck around Union Square that suits my fancy. And I want to settle into a comfy orchestra seat at the St. James or the Shubert or the Lyric or whatever - just get me back to live theater, please! It's up to you, New York, New York!  
  • Hawaii. Pick an island, any island. I've been to Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii (the Big Island) and love them all. Willing to give Lanai a try, too. The Grand Wailea on Maui, the Napali Coast and beaches of Kauai, a little peek at Oahu's Diamond Head, and the wild volcanic action on the Big Island - yes, to all. Mahalo, y'all!

  • England and Wales. Just because. I want to spend time with friends. I need to stock up on tea at Twinings and Whittard's in London. I have a real need to journey back to Walton-on-Thames and pass familiar places, though I know it's much-changed since I was last there. Same goes for Oxford. I want to get to Wales and meet Liz in person, not just online. I crave a full English breakfast and drinking gin and tonics at a riverside pub. The sceptred isle is another of my "homes," and I need to be there. 

Sure, Maine and Greece and a return to South Africa, Germany, and Italy are on the list, but they'll have to line up behind the top three. I've missed travel so much since I left my big-girl job. I'm ready to roll!

Of course, I'm broke as hell, but a girl can dream, can't she?