Does your brain really start to go in your sixties? Or, in your seventies? I have been binge-watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix and I am loving it. An 80-year-old friend of told me a few years’ back to watch it and I was finally able to do so, now that I have time…. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are friends and in their 70s. Their husbands divorced them after being married for 40 years and then the husbands married each other! How these women cope with life, and each other, makes you ponder what it is like for women who have nothing left after their husbands divorce them or die. In Grace’s case (Jane Fonda), she had a career so I identify with her character more than with Frankie (Lily Tomlin) who is an old “hippie” extraordinaire! Grace retired and gave the company over to her daughter so that is another interesting dynamic. I am not at the last season yet, but I am now at the place where their kids start interfering with their lives, wanting “what’s best for them.” I told my family that I don’t want to be put in a “home,” especially in light of this pandemic and so many of those folks dying! Even if I need help, I’ve saved enough money to have someone come in and clean and cook for us and I still have the capability of driving! When I decide to give up driving, I can take the Flex Ride or Via bus. You call them and pay a little for a pass and they pick you up in your neighborhood and take you to the places you need to go, such as grocery shopping, the senior center, doctors, or even the recreation center! We have some good things for our seniors out here! Besides, just because our body starts to fail us, our minds can still be sharp, if we continue to learn, exercise and eat healthy.
One of the things that is certain this year is that locals in their neighborhoods have pulled together to help each other out when needed. They are embracing the attitude of “It’s the right thing to do.” Government can help by learning the lessons from all of the mistakes of the past, and fixing all the big infrastructure and financial issues while we as neighbors fix the daily issues. Nobody ever asks for help, we just have to be willing to step up and notice when people really and truly need help.
Learn from the past and hope for a better future each day. Be kind to one another and ignore the crazies!
I have been listening to the local news a lot more now that the crazy is slowing down a little. All I have to say is “Wow!” Where is the irreverent David Sedaris when you need him? He puts everything in perspective when it comes to the most ridiculously obvious news broadcasts, and especially when it comes to the adults’ lack of knowledge regarding how to take care of themselves.
In 2012, I wrote and published a book called “Discover the Life You Want to Live” (still for sale on Amazon, by the way). I felt that the knowledge that helped me have a successful life might help those lost people that I see on the news.
Up until now, the 2000s were an age of discovery for people, and looking for that special “mentor” that would answer all of their questions was part of that discovery process. I proposed that you could become your own mentor, and thus help others. Of course, you have to do the “mental” work and then listen to the answers you give yourself.
As I re-visit my past, I would like to reiterate some of the most important things anyone can do to make their lives easier:
1. Get your house in order.
In 2020, the world shutdown so we became shut-ins. In order to keep the crazy conversations in our head from happening, we completed a great many projects in the physical “category” (mechanical and construction projects, for example) that were needed on our houses.
We became adept at cleaning, and caulking and remodeling, as well as cooking and spelling and writing and juggling meetings with homework. However, our mental “category” or the work suffered. We mindlessly read posts, created weird TikTok videos and listened to the crazies on the news. We forgot to take time and create something that challenged us. We forgot how to think for ourselves. At least most kids are way ahead of us in this category. They are reading more, writing, creating and making things happen! They use examples from their past in better ways than we adults can fathom.
Lately, I have taken the time to relearn some of the most important lessons about mental health. I have taken a long road to get to the place I am today. I’ve had many highs and lows over the year. Instead of spiraling down the negative hole and letting the small stuff overwhelm me, I revisit the one day at a time attitude and go back to my Rory’s (Gilmore Girls) list. I make a list, prioritize this list from highest to lowest importance, and then check each completed job off as I get through the jobs. This allows me to see my acomplishments. I have about three lists going right now:
a. Grocery and Dinner prep list
b. Indoor Project list – includes physical projects and mental projects (for example, clean and mop the kitchen or pay bills and balance your checkbook)
c. Outdoor Project list (for example, rake the sticks out of the garden and prep beds for planting in the spring!
Recently on the news there was a bit about the IRS giving notice of taxes owed. They were so far behind on their deposits and many checks weren’t cashed until last week. One man told reporters that he had gotten the notice and he had already sent the check to them. He then found out that the IRS had tried to cash it last week and ‘Lo and Behold’ the check bounced. As a result, he told reports he has to come up with over $3,900.00 plus penalties. My question to him: “Why wouldn’t you have accounted for that check already and NOT SPENT THE MONEY?” Better yet, “Why didn’t you use the online application so it went directly to the IRS?” Finally, “Why would you think the money would magically reappear in your bank account?” My point being is that you would know having prepared for this by balancing your checkbook.
Are you feeling cramped at home because everyone is on top of you? One solution is to get rid of the clutter so you can create more space! We had started a remodel of the entire basement in 2019 and were able to finish up while we in quarantine last year. I was able to put together work and office spaces in three different rooms, one for each of us, so we weren’t all on top of each other. When we started, we carried out everything to the garage, sorted and gave or threw away a ton of items we didn’t need anymore. It freed up so much space and I was amazed at how big the house really was. With the virus in mind, we were also able to keep everything clean and tidy, and A.R.C. benefitted from all of our good items we gave away. In addition, now we can park both cars in the garage!
3. Follow the COVID-19 Rules.
I know, I know, this is probably the hardest job we’ve ever had to do in our lifetime – staying at home is boring! We have to go beyond ourselves and think of the community and the harm we do. It is important to get through this without any more people dying!
Recently, the news reported a massive amount of people attended an event at the Grizzly Rose Bar. The owner stated he was out of town when he got a call from his workers asking what they should do with the two large lines of mostly maskless people who were waiting for them to open. The owner told them to let the people enter the building. In retrospect, he told reports that he “…May have made the wrong call” when he allowed a crowd into the bar. The bar was packed. There was no social distancing and very few had masks on. The owner told reporters that he decided to voluntarily shut down the bar after the incident and then the Health Department shut him down until further notice. My comment on this craziness is this: When you do stupid stuff because you are worrying about offending customers or not getting those customers back, you are only thinking about yourself. Ultimately, we have to change the way we do business and respect the fact that we are in the middle, NOT the end, of the pandemic. We have to brave the storm before we can all get back together safely. Moreover, to you people that packed the bar, all I can say is “Shame on you!” Sometimes you have to think of the greater good, not just yourselves.
I also learned that some friends of mine are already traveling since they got their shots. While I don’t think this is a great idea to travel yet, they said they had to get out of their house. While it might be safe to travel in the airplane, people don’t properly mask and you are in line with them and touching all of the surfaces that they are touching. And, the shots are about 95% effective, so that means that you can still get it and/or pass it onto your loved ones. The recommendation by the scientists and advisors is to stay at home if it is a non-essential trip. We just have to be patient! Something that I know is hard for all you travel junkies.
4. Learn from History.
What happened to a sense of honor and integrity in leadership? With recent events at the Capitol building, I believe some of these Congressmen (and women) should be sent back to school for learning ethical leadership practices. In addition, they should apologize for their misbehavior. There is no room for me-centric behavior in government.
People must be held accountable for their actions. There is a code of conduct for each person who takes office and leaders should live by it. The only way to create change in a political environment that has been dysfunctional for the past 40 years is to create an ethical work culture. This means you have to respect others’ values. Each leader must engage in the appropriate conduct through respect for the rights and dignity of others. The five key principles of ethical leadership are:
To sum it up:
Be the example. Place the health of the organization above your personal needs. Finally, “Ethical leadership is a form of leadership in which individuals demonstrate conduct for the common good that is acceptable and appropriate in every area of their life.” Source: article titled “What is Ethical Leadership?” 2/18/20; website:
In my book, I note that we become dissatisfied with our lives because of Fear, Anger and Prejudice. Let’s not let these attitudes rule our lives. We can overcome these by embracing an ethical lifestyle and do more for others than we do for ourselves.
As a final note, all adults can learn from the younger generation. The pandemic brought back a quest for knowledge. Reading and learning using physical books became a thing once again (Good for us because I have lots of them). Records and record players are now back in our household. And, writing letters are popular once again. I enjoy my conversations with my older friends and waiting for a reply that could take weeks instead of minutes. I savor the letters even though it isn’t logical to some people.
To quote Spock from Start Trek:
“You may find that having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. This is not logical, but it is often true.”—Star Trek: The Original Series, “Amok Time”
“Spock’s statement about desire profoundly reminds us that many people can’t accept what they have and be happy. Instead, they seek out more; more money, more fame, and/or more power. We need to learn to be happy with our circumstances and not to want more simply for the sake of wanting more without any discernible improvement in the quality of our lives.” —from Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, 3/10/15.
Having gotten that off my chest, I only have one more thing to say about the last post: “Without followers, evil cannot spread.”– SPOCK, from Star Trek: The Original Series, “And the Children Shall Lead.”
This is what I have been pondering of late. I am completing research into what the future holds for my third book in the Caitlin Ferguson Mysteries, which starts out in the year 2031. (When I started this series, that was a long way away, but now it is only ten years away!)
What would readily available if civilization crashes as we know it? Would it be like what we see in the movies, lots of looting, lots of crazy shootings, roving gang-like packs, and many people running amok? Recently, RTD stated it doesn’t have enough money to expand the train lines up through Boulder, Longmont and Louisville. We voted and have been paying for this with our tax dollars since 2004! The fund has accumulated to about $243 million so where is that money? Boulder officials have asked of RTD about this and the responses have been vague. RTD officials are now saying it might be 2050 before we get this line. The Governor says he is looking into it. In addition, is that money still available for us, or have they been dipping into it for other projects? Working recently with my son who is learning to drive, and wondering if he will ever get through it to get his license, he may have to depend on buses and trains in the future to get to the University. This system is not as viable as they say it is and I would like to see changes before 2023 when he graduates.
So what are the transportation options in 2031? Still limping along like now? That is only ten years from now. When I started my book series, this seemed like a long way out, but now the reality is here. The pandemic reduced commuter traffic enormously because people weren’t going to jobs. They hunkered down. Moreover, pollution went away! Couldn’t the railroad system be a better option than crazy, crazy traffic and pollution?
In the book, my assumption is that the trains are still available, and my characters had a means to flee into the foothills and mountains using rail or bus transportation, as well as any vehicles that they had or could get their hands on. Gas would still be available, but with no new supplies coming in it would be a matter of time before the characters would have to use other means of transportation. Would individuals still commute to Denver on the highways? Would the highways still be viable? With the collapse of the HWY 36 Bridge in 2019, how can we know that this won’t happen again? What would be alternative roads that we would use and how quickly would they deteriorate in my book time frame?
The pandemic death toll is now at 442,000 (2/2/21) in the USA, 2.2 million worldwide. We have begun to slow down the number for the first iteration of COVID-19, but the variants keep coming and the vaccines are slow in coming. In the book, I factor in a tear or rift opening up in the sky, and beings pouring through, thus decimating more of the population. So, unless we can get a handle on the virus, how can we get a handle some future threat? There will continue to be fewer people at fewer jobs unless we make sacrifices and dramatic and creative changes in how we do business with people and the planet. Civilization will continue to change during present day, and will deteriorate to become something so foreign in the future, if we don’t pay attention. How we embrace those changes and make something better will make a difference for our children and grandchildren in the future. New leadership will make a difference, but we have to put aside petty grievances for the greater good.
Taking all of this into account for the new book, realistically how many people are left in the area where my characters live? I have been guessing about one-half of the population, but it may be more depending on the direction I go with outside events factored in with the pandemic (which I have!) and how is this sparse population dealing with new illness and deaths?
FOOD and FOOD DISTRIBUTION
When the pandemic struck, the food and household items’ distribution system broke down. And, boy oh boy did we react! How crazy was that to have so many people looking for essentials, especially in the big cities? Too many places closed, and too many people lost jobs. It took months of shut down before anyone starting seeing relief. Toilet paper became the new Holy Grail quest. Grocery stores were stripped bare. Online shopping sites couldn’t keep up with demand, and workers got sick in mass numbers. Restaurants had to change their way of thinking, having more takeout than ever before. Ghost kitchens showed up and food delivery systems such as Uber got on board to deliver food. So many businesses closed because of their narrow margins.
Schools and individuals created a massive campaign to distribute care packages, organize food drives and simply handing out large cash amounts for those in need. The people came together in a commitment to help others. Throughout all the denials and no government intervention, (until the new administration stepped in!) we did something as a People. Without government support, the nation’s citizens helped each other in ways we hadn’t thought of in years. We had more connections with the world thanks to technology, thus we pulled together as communities with a can do spirit similar to the Great War and WWII days, and made it possible for others to make it through the first of the pandemic.
In the future people will suffer, and shortages in supplies will be a reality, unless we make more changes today. Society could deteriorate and there will be more and more food deserts. One of the best things I saw on TV recently was a school getting money for hydroponic gardens to grow fresh vegetables in the food desert community. I found a site that gives information on grants for projects to help schools (and other agencies) build gardens and greenhouses to grow their own fresh vegetables:
And, this is only a start. If we don’t continue this effort to make changes, in the future, people will have to go back to hunter/gatherer societies, moving around and growing what they can. Cities will have to evolve and many will slowly deteriorate. Smaller village-type communities might thrive if they can get the bare essentials, but it will take more work to get those resources.
In 2020, schools shut down because people started getting sick. The world as we know it as parents drastically changed. We had to learn how to learn and teach subjects we hadn’t visited in years. We had to rely on the internet and computers. So many people had nothing to prepare them for this type of learning. Teachers had to create pod-type learning units and they had to learn to teach surly middle school and high school teenagers, as well as keep the attention of elementary school students. Staying at home sometimes felt like being in prison. We didn’t know what to do with each other at first. We had never been this close all the time. On the other hand, it did not kill us. We learned all kinds of new things, even though we weren’t teachers, and most of us worked out how we communicate with each other.
In reality, we don’t like to think about it but changes are happening and more changes will have to occur from the ground up. Parents have to participate and teachers have to accept that participation. Teachers have to learn a new way of teaching, a hybrid style that is different from anything we’ve ever seen. Teachers have to reach the kids in the middle, those who aren’t the top of the class, and those who aren’t the lowest in the class. We must create an atmosphere of value for teachers and compensate them in real world and realistic amounts. Changes must be made in schools, both for the teachers as well as to the buildings to make it a safe environment to learn. These are hard changes and federal and state governments will need to intervene. Of course, every change comes with a price. Yes, we will be taxed in increasing amounts, as we always have been through our property taxes. However, school boards will have to vote to loosen the money strings and let the districts use that tax money in ways that are more creative. Funds will have to be reduced for superintendents’ salaries and massive athletic programs in order to give more to the teachers and to the crumbling buildings.
STEM programs will have to evolve and be pushed into all schools within each district. Districts will need to push for apprenticeship-based learning for all schools. Moreover, apprenticeships should be expanded into a broader career base such as finance, environment, tech, and health care fields, not just for construction and manufacturing trades. Unions need to expand to help those areas create a similar model. Public and business misconceptions need to be cleared up about what an apprenticeship is, and the learning environment has to change for young people in all schools. In an article (dated 1/27/21) titled “Apprenticeships are an overlooked solution for creating more access to quality jobs,” authors Annelies Goger and Chenoah Sinclair out of the Brookings Institute, outline excellent ideas on how to reform apprenticeships. The article goes on to state that the 1937 National Apprenticeship Act needs to be updated and misconceptions need to be cleared up on regarding the benefits of this type of learning. It also stated that “In 2017, Harvard researchers estimated that apprenticeships could be expanded from 27 to 74 occupations and that we could fill more than eight times the number of job openings…up to roughly 3.2 million jobs.” To further this idea of “earn and learn” Brookings is publishing a series of briefs on policy issues. Check out: “Brookings’s Blueprints for American Renewal & Prosperity.”
In my book scenario, most public school systems have broken down. Survival has taken precedence. The children learn about how to survive on the land. Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic occurs only in the little communities that still hold their value and have been populated by people who continue to read and learn. Tech is still surviving, because of funding for the space program, but as for all of the other areas of study, only those parents who created a literary base (with real books!) know enough to teach the next generation.
In 2020, we had to learn how to work in a new environment – from home – if we still had jobs. Small businesses and jobs went away in mere months. However, jobs such as in the medical field thrived because people were being hospitalized or dying. Other job areas such as in the tech industry thrived because they could embrace the new hybrid-working environment. Most of the employees in tech already had computers and internet connections, so they could transition and embrace this job change easier than those who had nothing at home. Zoom meetings abounded and even became tedious. We realized how many unproductive meetings we had and learned to streamline what was really necessary in our conversations.
Manufacturing has suffered over the past 20 years and especially in the last 4 years. In an article by ITIF (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation), experts stated that only 11.39% is the total manufacturing output in the economy in the U.S. Manufacturing employs only 8.51% of the workforce. Outsourcing for products is the new norm, and has been so since the recession in 2008, and manufacturing has grown only 1.6% since 2010. Outsourcing and tax relief for the owners given to move manufacturing overseas has been even more prevalent in the past four years. During COVID, Companies shut down as workers who worked in unsafe conditions got sick and had to go home, with no benefits or compensation relief. Many died during the pandemic so manufacturing slowed down or shut down completely. Many companies suffered during the pandemic because their sources for these supplies come from overseas, sources that were hit the hardest. When you cannot get the supplies to manufacture goods in the US, demand was high and shortages occurred.
Many studies and policy suggestions in 2020 were submitted to the new administration, suggesting ways to improve and increase education and job placement. It will take years to sort out what we can do as a nation after COVID goes away. In a NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) paper dated 12/16/20, author Mark Schmit notes that manufacturing has to prepare for success in the long-term. Risk was what the panel discussed. Weak links in supply chains have made the industry realize the benefit of physically close relationships with suppliers and customers. Innovation is the key to keep manufacturing and unfortunately this means more automation and less people, except workers with advanced degrees. People will suffer unless they have more education in these fields.
In the book future, most outsourcing has become obsolete. In the area where my characters live, travel and imports have been decimated. Everything is locally produced, and the shift has been to aerospace technologies. There are fewer people and even fewer jobs in anything but tech and aerospace. The children who survived the invasion got their education via STEM programs and apprenticeships. In the future, these children are the parents. They provide survival skills and basic needs are mostly met. The America they knew changed dramatically in the late 2000s and is still changing. The remaining population hopes for rescue to the colonies but limited space is available. Climate change becomes more prevalent and forces the population to move to the middle of the states and Colorado has become a haven for the last of civilization.
This is the last topic I want to touch on, a rather touchy subject for all to contemplate. Currently, law enforcement is our first line of defense. Conservatives have a different view on how the populace should protect itself. Images of gun-totin’ men and women appear on media more frequently than those of people who want more peaceful resolutions. They usually just wind up looking ridiculous, but they are out there and the implication is this image is what is right, no matter the consequences.
Reform is necessary at all levels. Instead of funding for more deadly weapons, we need to fund better programs that train our officers, create and fund more police social worker positions, and pair them up with patrol officers on all shifts. Policy must be created and adopted by local agencies with a strong premise that all officers hold life precious and will make every effort to protect themselves in non-violent ways, but also protect the citizens they encounter, including suspects and arrestees. There needs to be a resolution and policy for all agencies that includes language stating there will be no more bloodshed of people who express their differences and that consequences must be given to those who disobey these policies. Everyone is allowed to protect themselves, but not at the expense of innocents. Police, especially, have to be held accountable and decision-making skills should be honed. Gun education needs to be funded both for law enforcement and for the public, and it should be mandatory for all gun purchases. Funding for education should be a priority in every budget and community resource.
If a civilization breaks down as I propose in my new book, police and government has deteriorated. Weapons are necessary for survival and for defense of humankind. People will hoard weapons to fight the things that are killing them. The logistics of what will be available and how to protect each other in the future will be vastly different that today. Weapons production will die out and people will have what they can scrounge.
All this is the tip of the iceberg I know, but we have to start somewhere in changing our way of thinking. “Change is the essential process of all existence.” – SPOCK, from Star Trek: The Original Series, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”
In 2020, there was a lot of blaming, and name-calling, with no one looking at what is true. There was blatant prejudice rearing its ugly head. Many horrifying incidents occurred, and people were killed for no reason except for the color of their skin. Fear drove this. Reactions boiled over and many people woke up. In addition, the last administration let it all happen, inciting the worst in the people who supported them.
While I would like to think that we as a nation will always pull together and help alleviate future incidents and threats, I have no illusions about the majority of the people going back to their old and selfish ways if we don’t continue to have new and strong leadership. It is my hope that a larger percentage of the younger generation is as involved as they are now and will continue to learn, as well as support their neighbors and friends.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” —John F. Kennedy
Dear Representative G. (you know who you are!),
As a public employee (retired) for over 30 years, I am appalled at your behavior. You are a disgrace to women who have fought so hard to have their voice in government and who worked hard to commit to the greater good – those who have created a work environment where they can contribute great ideas for the greater good. You do not express the views and values of all women and you have taken to heart values that are not true and are damaging to everyone. Who generated these values, these conspiracy theories? You supported the people who applied psychological manipulative language to their website. The result was a creation of a hate-generating thought process, an experiment that went awry and created behavior that turned into a cult.
My roots are in Georgia, but I have been gone a long time. I cannot believe that all native Georgians are bad people. I know there is still a lot of hate and prejudice out there, BUT there are also really good people and fantastic minds that you should pay attention to. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” SPOCK said in The Wrath of Khan. “Or the one,” Kirk answered. Your constituency is more than the hate mongers in your District. They are the few to the great many who live in the rest of the USA. The rest of the world asks you to take a long look at yourself and ask pointed questions on why you are this way. You have the power to make positive changes in the world. Make use of that power in a good way. Enough said.
Remember when we thought we had a “crew”? When we believed we were important enough to have others follow us? Remember when we felt like we were part of the crowd that would make a difference? Make changes in the world?
When the recent ignorance reared its ugly head, and attacked our sacred place, our democracy, it was a wake up call. It was a warning to each person to complete a soul search of what we really believe, what is right and just, who our “crew” really are. We cannot instantly go to the belief that we are always right and that we are the product of what we inherited. We cannot continue to believe that we are the product of our parents and embrace all of their beliefs. We have to think for ourselves and make the changes that are needed. We have to think what is right and just every day in our dealings with others.
Am I my mother’s child? For a long time, I didn’t think so. I kept telling everyone I am different, that I was born into the wrong family. I believed that some higher being was playing a practical joke on me. I told myself that I was making the right choices, albeit very different from my family, and telling others all about how I led my life. I was so righteous inside my head. There was always that “Yeah, but,” echo in my head, so now I am giving myself a wake up call.
Have you found perspective later in life and found your voice to express it? We struggle each day to find the right words. We struggle to be the person who understands our words and learn how to portray the meaning of those words correctly.
Each day is a challenge – trying to find a groove that makes sense. Now we have the choice to blend old beautiful traditions with new and innovative ideas. We can move forward to understand what others have suffered and begin reparations. This momentous day is the time to move onto greater thoughts and actions. With beautiful traditions in play, with a new commander in chief, we can choose to make a difference.
Turn negative thinking to the positive and move forward from this day on. Make your life better by letting go. Think locally and how it will affect global decisions. Ask your local government to start moving on change, working together and not constantly argue about silliness just to be obstreperous. In my day, we always had a saying to “Check your ego at the door.” Ask local officials to do the same, to work on big picture items that will make change. Train people and have expectations of them to complete those expectations. Commit to a “no whining” policy from every worker and supervisor. Train people and work together. Do the job you were hired to do. Police need to work with all agencies to look for peaceful solutions. Policy has to be changed. Make a policy for survival of the streets. Make an effort to find the agitators who usurp peaceful negotiations. Help create peaceful solutions and assuage violence and frustration reactions. Cast off old ways of thinking. Get out there and create something such as programs that focus on education and mental health. Help all those in need. If you are retired, volunteer so you appreciate young people and create an environment where they appreciate you. Make a difference ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Find a friend who makes you laugh. Shut out the world, have a great meal, and laugh at all the stupid people. Forget and forgive all the past hurts, for at least an hour a day. Because your friends think you are the toughest person they know, be that person – you don’t need validation from the ones you love. Organize everything inside and outside your head and heart. Even if you want to give up to all the negative things that are still happening, say to yourself: “Today is not the day to give up. Today is not the day to die.” Shout to the Ravens: “You won’t be able to pluck out my eyeballs today!” This is a new era. We can only hope for peace and love, knowing that we have a long road ahead of us.
It seemed to have started so well. We are getting the vaccine – yes people, you are not confused, you just have to be patient – so media stop searching for people that say they are confused. We are not confused!
Then, there was this crazy day yesterday. What happened to sanity? Why is this crazy man being such a [insert expletive here] and encouraging chaos and treason? What is wrong with him? Moreover, you people that violated the sanctity of our democracy, I am ashamed of you. For crying out loud, stop being a bunch of babies and go away! What did you accomplish other than making white people stand out as nuts once again? (Is your mantra still ‘We want what we want and we want it now regardless of who is harmed’?) Your party didn’t win, so stop reading these crazy Twitter posts and go home!
Every sane person sees you as a bunch of bullies. Where is Captain America when you need him to solve these injustices? Your cult-like behavior will not work anymore. We as a nation must move on. So, get a sense of perspective and make the best of your lives. Do something good for once in your life. Think beyond yourselves.
I am embarrassed that these people, these anarchists, were smiling on camera, sitting at desks where they do not belong with their feet up and being so proud that they were there! I feel for the government officials that had to endure this. The bullies of my childhood reared their ugly heads once again. I hope they will prosecute those who broke into the capitol and damaged property. Thank you, Senators and Representatives who went back to work after it was all over, doing their jobs diligently and ignoring the crazies! You are the real heroes out of all this.
Some people I have talked to chalk the mob behavior as racism. Yes, that is part of it, but I think it is so much deeper than that. I think it boils down to fear that their way of thinking has been wrong and that they have to change. Things are changing, selfishness has to go away, and ignorance cannot prevail. These folks have gotten their way a long time. Now it’s time to go beyond the individual and come together as a nation. We have to do what is right, not what gives you a sense of righteousness and your 15 minutes of fame.
This year will only get better if we pull together as a nation. We must think beyond our individual selves and create an act of kindness each day. Get to know your neighbors. Talk to them and help them see a wider perspective. We may never all agree on everything, but the one thing we have to agree on is that things HAVE TO CHANGE. Let’s work together and make that happen!
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives forever. We were faced with something almost none of our generation has ever faced: Illness and Isolation – and yet, not isolation. We were bombarded with so many facts and fiction through the media, our phones and then we had to sort out how we were going to interpret those facts and live with them. We saw the horrors of bodies being stacked up – not in wars such as Viet Nam, or Iraq, but in New York! Workers and clients alike were getting sick and dying, abandoning loved ones in dark rooms, family not being allowed in nor being able to take the bodies anywhere. People all over the world were dying in numbers a single human could not fathom.
At first so many people denied it, including our illustrious leader. Then, there was grudging acceptance by half the population, because lots and lots of people started dying in the US. But so many so-called “Normal” people still denied it and demanded they have their rights, even at the risk of others, and went out into the world, rather than quarantine, and then more people got sick and died as these people spread the virus some more.
Half the people hunkered down and became more and more isolated. The media said we’re in this together and to help others, but yet everyone has to stay inside and keep safe. How could we have it both ways? You Tube channels became popular and some of the isolation dissipated as we found someone to talk to who was like us in the same situation.
We tried to pretend that life was normal, spent more time with our families, and yet there was this cloud over our heads. The fact that everyone was home and on top of each other was overwhelming for so many people.
Relief was a long time in coming. Some people were able to work from home. But, so many other people were laid off. Some were finally able to collect unemployment, but so many lost everything. Businesses shut down and some changed reluctantly to try and adapt to the new model given to them. Takeout was popular and outdoor seating became a thing once again. GoFundMe programs soared to help those in need. “Social Distancing” became a generic phrase in our new lives. Masks became the normal trend and we got used to them.
Grocery stores were packed. No cleaning supplies or paper supplies were on the shelves. People learned how to cook with what they had, and use what they had to clean everything. Everyone gained weight because we had no reason to go outside and we were trying all kinds of new carbo-loaded recipes!
So many of us cleaned and remodeled our houses as we kept to the stay-at-home orders. Home Depot and Amazon soared in the pandemic. We walked the dogs more than we ever had before. They had never had this much attention and became exhausted. We set up rooms for working at home and in-home classes, but children and spouses remained underfoot.
And then, the fires started. No rain, 100+ degree temperatures all summer and smoke from the fires isolated us even more. The heat got to us Coloradans. We weren’t used to it. And, the air was thick, so thick that we didn’t see the sun for days. We didn’t expect so much devastation. But, we still didn’t have anywhere to go unless we wanted to chance going in our cars. So many people lost their homes this year. We went a little crazier.
We recognized injustices and surged out to protest them, but cases soared again. People needed a reason to get outside, but everything escalated and protesting felt like the only way to change things. It was reasonable to do this in “Normal” times, but these are unprecedented times, and people of color were dying for no reason.
Restrictions began to lift and the cases surged forward once again. Everyone wanted to just “get it over with” and get back to normal even though things weren’t normal at all. No one wanted to believe that his or her lives had been changed forever and irrevocably.
Schools were starting to recognize that their model of teaching was going to change, and yet they continued to cling to the fact that everyone would eventually come back. Students became guinea pigs for the new learning process. Teachers have had the toughest time, not quite sure of themselves, and sometimes there were epic failures. Most persevered and tried to present the material in a better way, but some were just not getting it, so the kids suffered. Parents freely admitted they weren’t teachers and this year was slowly getting “written off” that most kids would have to do summer school or something else to catch up.
And, then it hit again, a third and really bad wave. We got pulled back home and life went back to the “New Normal.”
We are slowly changing our lives to fit in this new model. There are good things and bad about spending so much time with your family. Isolation is hard. There continues to be people who cannot cope with change and are trying to run backwards and it’s not working. Cities have to change and grow just as people have to change and grow.
I had to decide if I could put up with another year like this one—working from home and not making much of a dent in the things that needed to get done. I thought long and hard and decided it was time to retire. I knew I would never be happy trying to do all the things I wanted to do, in the current environment (having been in this environment for nearly 14 years). So right before Thanksgiving, I gave it up. I was old enough for Social Security, and I felt that I had accomplished all that I could. I was ready for the “Social Security Crowd” (at a distance and maybe only a selected few of them, and only in short bursts, and socially distanced of course)!
For the first two weeks into retirement, I slept longer, and cleaned the house a lot. I made it through that initial stage and now I am moving on. Once we are at a point where we can go back to “Normal” activities, I will take the time to go out and learn something new and help people where I can with what I know. I am ready.
With the elections over and having a new leader, we can only hope for a better future. I don’t listen to the news much because there is just too much speculation. I am reading a lot of history, nonfiction, as well as fun and poignant fiction novels that help me put things in perspective. Check out Graham Greene’s “Travels with My Aunt” for example. It is weird and funny. Currently I am reading “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” by Emmanuel Acho and it is definitely a revelation. It is a book that you have to read a chapter at a time and digest it. It is a little bit of work, so keep reading! I agree with him that we are privileged (yes I know we don’t like that, word, but hey, I am an old white lady, so I can say that). I had a hard time with all of the issues being a woman in a male work force growing up, but I don’t think it was anywhere near as hard as any person of color has had in their entire life. Yes, it is uncomfortable to think about it but we have to. We have to start and get along and accept our past, and change our future for the better for EVERYONE.
So, maybe I am finding my own, very opinionated voice by reading others who have strong, opinionated voices. Maybe I’ll make a small difference in someone’s life each day that I live and breathe. I challenge everyone who reads this to make a difference in his or her community, no matter how small. Right now I am knitting scarves for everyone in my City that has to work outside! Shh… it’s a surprise! Learn that you can do things in isolation by just being there for those you love, even if they drive you crazy! Take some time to listen to whoever is talking to you, even if you don’t agree with them. That is the only way to make change happen, one person at a time. Happy Holidays everyone!
Last year, there was a televised “loft” party in Brooklyn after the first woman Dr. Who and the new season was introduced to the world. These people weren’t the most “beautiful people” and they weren’t even knowledgeable of who Dr. Who really was and how important is was to my generation. I was mad, but then didn’t really begin to understand why I was so mad that the younger generation co-opted my Dr. Who until now. I grew up with all of the Doctor versions and each one was very important to me. Most of the people that the media interviewed didn’t know anything about the past ones, only the new re-booted season of Doctors. They didn’t have the sense of wonder that the older generation has had for each new doctor. They didn’t care about what they represented, the possibilities in our generation to travel in time and space and how we would be a significant part of it. They were only in that present moment, enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame. It is still in my mind and it is weird how that makes me feel.
And, why am I anxious and disturbed when I see something that I don’t like? For example: Rituals of the dead e.g., Indonesia – body prep; handling loved ones’ ashes, eating and drinking them after the body is cremated; or the show about the idea of purging people periodically? Is the purpose of these shows to be so graphic that they continue to be etched into our brains long after they are aired? Media needs to relax and let individuals analyze the content and make their own conclusions, and choose to make those type of shows go away. Details do not need to be so explicit. A show becomes better because it allows us to understand the wonder without over-explaining every detail. But, perhaps it’s not what the general populace thinks, or what the shows’ executives think.
Is there a pattern in our universe that determines how we view things? Is there a plan in place that is taking us in the direction we are currently going? Are we evolving or are we degenerating – knowledge slipping away as people choose a lifestyle of ignorance? Or, are we as a species tapped out and just going crazy? What will our society be in twenty years? What would our grandparents have thought of the way we have become? Have our daily lives become so self-centric that we no longer know how to communicate? In the past, no one appreciated the younger generation. Distrust ensued for the older generation so now the younger people don’t think the older generation knows anything. Tech companies will not even hire people over 40! I am sad to see that happen. All generations should be able to work together to solve a problem, taking and using the best of both worlds and solving global issues and continue creating new inventions together. We all know something and can help each other out every day. We should not dismiss each other so easily.
Do we distrust our elders so much nowadays? Take a look at the new shows. Many of these shows are re-boots of old ones. Is it because the executives are made up of the new generation who believe they are independent thinkers, yet are afraid to try something new? Did the past shows have a better track record? Why are they playing it safe? What is the risk? Is it because the older generation came up with such incredible innovative ideas and were willing to take more risks? Or, is it because the younger generation is afraid to create new ideas? That they just want to go with the flow? Or have their parents made them into non-decision makers? Perhaps sometimes we all are just over-thinking everything and can’t make a decision. Hate and distrust ensues and keeps getting in our way until we just give up. Some things to think about.
Having said all that, as always I try to leave with a positive note. Life has always had its ups and downs in my family. And yet, this year, we still have jobs, we still have food on the table and a roof over our heads. We donated as much cash and goods as we could afford to our favorite charities. We were even able to live through a basement remodel so our son has a great place to continue to grow and thrive (6’1” and still growing!), and hopefully, moves out of his new cocoon, and onto college in 3 ½ years.
Life will always be crazy in our household, since I am overly ambitious with all the things I want to do. But, we are trying to move beyond the media, and the hate, and simply love each other, and love the way we interact with the world.
What a great day for a winter release book!! I am proud to announce the release of my new book FRANKIE & JAMIE, the second in the SILVER RANGERS MINI-SERIES, available on Amazon.com. Visit my author page to see all of the books and ebooks available in this series as well as the CAITLIN FERGUSON MYSTERY SERIES.
2018 is ending and as I look around my desk, I notice all of the things that I’ve collected over the years. Each item inspires me but also tells me a story of my life:
-An eggplant pottery jar-stem and leaves for a lid that my friend and neighbor went to Japan one year to see their grandson and brought it back to me. I reflected on the good times we had and the sadness that ensued when they moved.
-A dragon watching over me – it sat on my first computer monitor.
-4 mugs of colorful pens and pencils – each mug telling its own story – the wizard’s apprentice; the No Guts, No Glory one with the small armored warrior attacking a dragon; Far Side’s aardvarks in love with their red tennis shoes; and the $100 flowered mug from Hawaii (go to the ABC store a million times and once you spend $100 you get a mug!)
-A beeswax candle from my in-laws from a Christmas past (not unwrapped because it is potent!)
-Various business cards, both mine from books past as well as others I’ve collected over the years
-Hundreds of pages of notes and article printouts from the various books I am working on
And all of the knickknacks my son made for me over the years:
-The colorful sand filled jars – how careful he was to layer each colored sand – a masterpiece!
-A bird on a stick made out of Styrofoam
-hearts made of “melty” beads
-An erupting volcano made out of clay
-A beautiful crystal art masterpiece – blue crystals erupting out of a gray rock – fired clay
But the best item on the desk is the “I Can” soup can decorated by my son when he was in preschool. In the can we cut up strips of paper and he wrote these little sayings of things that he could do:
-count to 100
-do mazes and puzzles
-say my ABCs
-make a worm house (I don’t remember what that was….)
-help mommy clean up the dishes
-pick out greeting cards and write thank you notes for people
-write my name
-help mommy measure, eat the ingredients and bake
-ride my scooter
-bike all the way to the park
-clap and dance
-put on stickers
-play board games
-eat by myself
-buckle my seat belt
-brush my teeth
-run around outside and bark like a dog (all kids do that!!)
-help mommy grocery shop
-clean up my room
Each year we add a few more accomplishments to the can – our accomplishments, our hopes and dreams, simple reflections on our lives.
Lately, he wrote:
-buy my own stuff
-build a home computer for work and to play games on it
And for my latest thoughts I added:
It’s a simple exercise but it makes a world of difference looking at the accomplishments over the years, remembering the good times and the bad and moving on to the next task at hand. I am grateful for my life, for my family and friends. I am looking forward to 2019! Happy New Year everyone!