Tag Archives: Daily Post Discover Challenge

Words are all I have…

The world is filled right now with folks speaking out. It was almost a relief that today’s newspaper hasn’t come (or maybe it is in the bushes or under the porch). Yesterday’s had me in emotional distress all day.

This got me thinking a very unorthodox thought: Perhaps the most effective way to Speak Out in today’s world is for us to start reading newspapers again, and turn off the boob tube.

Show the media that they have to start reporting fact, not opinion, “alternate facts”, or just plain old fiction, by hitting them in their ratings. Everything is being turned into a made for TV drama. Wise up folks: The way to stop toddlers from having tantrums is not to give them attention for having them. Even in print reporting should be strictly about issues, with names not listed in the headlines, so people don’t get ego boosts from seeing their faces and names on TV 24-7.

If there wasn’t the instant ego gratification of “news” coverage, the incentive to do dumb stuff in rapid fire would go away. We need to cultivate a society that values thinking things through over having temper tantrums on stage. Everyone, on both sides, feels like they have to speak out quickly. This results in a barrage of opinions getting the headlines and facts showing up so late that no one hears them because we have moved on to the next sensation.

I live in a nation which has a constitutional right to free speech. This is a good thing. It is, of course, a two edged sword: people who don’t agree with your point of view get to speak freely as well. That doesn’t bother me so much.

My concern these days is that people are coming out with opinion, “alternative facts” (aka, what they wish was true) and even false news and presenting it as truth. They have the right to do this. Even legitimate news programs have taken to reporting opinion as if it were news. I don’t have a TV so don’t know when this started, but one night over at Dad’s the local news channel presented tweets and Facebook entries! Excuse me??? Apparently this is a regular feature.

One problem is that there are way too many “news” shows for the amount of actual news that American audiences are willing to watch.

There is a good deal more going on in the world than what we hear on the 5 o’clock news. If we were less parochial perhaps presidential candidates would know where Aleppo is..although maybe was is more accurate in this case. Heaven forfend that the media tell us about things elsewhere in the world, those long drawn out battles and hardships in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia are so tedious, not the way to boost ratings.  They are complicated and can’t be explained in 140 characters, so off with their heads. You can watch for 15 minutes and have a handle on everything they are going to bother to report in the next two hours, but most people numbly sit there for an hour or even two, and with every repeat they become hypnotized into thinking they know what is going on in the world. Of course actually knowing about and trying to understand those issues might make us stop and think about the consequences of our actions, that’s not much fun.

Okay, off the soap box. The sun is shining on the day before the groundhog pops up: what will tomorrow bring? Hopefully not another executive order…it’s getting tedious.

It used to be my town…

The sculpture in the picture above is called “Welcome”. It is located on the waterfront in Seattle, and it is new.

My husband and I went downtown today. I can’t really say when we last did that. I used to be familiar with downtown. Seattle used to be my town, I felt at home in it…I even drove in it. I knew which streets were one way and where to park.

Today we went to Metsker’s Maps. It is an old Seattle institution, an all around cool place, if you like maps and globes and stuff, which we do. It used to be in Pioneer Square but moved up by the Pike Place Market some years ago. This is only the second time we have been to the “new” location. We were searching for maps of southern South America for an upcoming trip.

Metskers was Metskers, and we were emboldened by that to see if, by some twist of fate, a store that specialized in Middle Eastern food preparation supplies was still there. No such luck, and seeking it through the crowds of what may be the last nice Sunday this fall soon had us regretting the impulse. We decided to walk along the water front to one of our old favorite places: The Owl and Thistle Pub, which is pretty close to both the water taxi and the last bus stop before the viaduct to get back to West Seattle.

ksm20161106-my_town-01Construction thwarted us. We stood and discussed and someone with a British accent stopped to give us some advice. In my town I didn’t know which way to go!

When I was a child my father worked for the Port of Seattle and, especially after the divorce, we spent hours exploring that very area on foot to kill time while Dad was working before we needed to catch the bus or train back to Corvallis, where we lived with our mother. (Now-a-days that would perhaps be considered neglect.) You wouldn’t know it for the same place if the Market weren’t there. The skyline has changed completely and is still doing so.

ksm20161106-my_town-03Following the advice of the “newcomer” we got down to the waterfront and walked along. Happily The Owl and Thistle was still there and they still have the same lovely happy hour menu.

As we waited for the bus, at a temporary stop because of construction. I noticed some tourists taking pictures. Inspired by the Discovery prompt from a couple of weeks back: Flâneur, I went up and took the same pictures, obviously if I want this to still be my town I am going to have to spend some time getting reacquainted. Trying to see the city through a stranger’s eyes seemed like a way to start.

Here and Now…and then

One can reasonable argue that I live too much in the Here and Now. I have a basket of un-folded laundry, piles of un-filed papers, boxes of un-albumed photos, un-sorted kitchen items after the remodel…unwritten blog posts. Like it says in the Brandi Carlyle song: “the path of least resistance is catching up with me”. Although perhaps “burying me” would be more accurate.

I used to work with a very wise man, a retired colonel from the army, he would say that while it is important to fight the alligators, it is just as important to put some of your time and resources into draining the swamp. In today’s eco-friendly culture that sounds bad, but his point is relevant: if you never take the time to clear out your closet you will always be wading through the avalanche of things you just shove in to be properly dealt with “someday”. After a summer o f”here and now” I need a serious “swamp draining” program!

This summer I started out, as always, with good intentions. I was going to get photos organized when the weather got hot and I even took an on-line course in Adobe Lightroom to prepare for the task.  I thought the timing was perfect because it ended right around the time the kitchen remodel finished. And we usually have a hot spell where I am stuck at home in the basement trying to keep cool.

The remodel took a bit longer than expected and…My husbands sister and her husband arrived for a visit the day after they finished putting the last cupboard door on! Instead of lovely home cooked meals I had envisioned when we learned they were coming, we snacked and ate out the whole time, because not enough was put back yet. Two months along and the kitchen is functional, but still not all put together.

Summers in Seattle come late and it is “back-to-school” sale time before it really gets started, this year our hottest weather was around the time Halloween stuff started showing up in some stores.

I had a great summer! The cool suits me well. The depression I got last year from hiding in the dark trying to stay cool was not with me this year. I was able to work out all summer which I think helps with that (no weight loss but I feel strong and, for me, energetic).

When the in-laws were here we went to Olympic National Park (I did get one post made about that, I had planned a couple because it was such a beautiful day in a beautiful place.

In early August we spent almost a week at Mount Rainier, near the peak of the wildflowers at Paradise, and they were stunning. I planned to share several pictures in Cee’s flower of the day, think I got one done.

In early September we spent a few days at Glacier National Park, as a belated anniversary trip (you’ve probably gathered that “belated” is how I live!).

Between these trip were a bunch of little trips over to dad’s with my “pups and peops”, and two to the Yakima Valley with my grandma.

She is one big reason for my “here and now” attitude. At 93,  with better health than she has had for a few years I am wanting both to enjoy her company and help her to enjoy life to the fullest.

Right now I am packing for my semi-annual visit to my fledgling, who lives in China. So the massive number of un-sorted and un-finished things will remain so for a little while.. Maybe when I get home I will be full of pent of get-er-done energy, or maybe not. It is hard to give up a pleasant here and now to work through a big old pile of then.

 

Adventure

Adventure. This topic made me think of some favorite passages from The Hobbit

“Very pretty!” said Gandalf. “But I have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning. I am looking for someone to share an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”

“I should think so–in these parts! We are plain quiet folks and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!…”

One can travel without adventure, but there usually isn’t much to say:

Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.

An adventure  shapes you, you come back changed in some way.

I have taken trips that fall into both categories. In 2013 my husband and I took a very pleasant trip to Ireland, well planned, we stayed in lovely places, did lovely things it was beautiful in the lush green Irish way.

KSM-20130812-Adventure-02KSM-20130812-Adventure-03No real adventure though. The closest we came was that the web site for the first B&B we stayed at had reversed the directions (they had posted the ones for coming from the south under coming from the north and vice versa). It took a bit to figure that out and resulted in needing to get the car out of a narrow, steep dead end street. That resulted in changing drivers (I could have done it, but he wanted to do it his way).

Adventure is less about where you go.

KSM-20160525-Adventure-07On the trip to Palm Springs last week, a tame, familiar location, the adventure was in messed up arrangements, and stress about how Grandma could manage (see my post Was it all a dream? for the gory details).

For her getting into the tall bed each night was a potentially disastrous challenge. She was never tall, she maxed at 5’2″ and has gone down since then. The bed was high for me at 5’6″. She can’t bounce or jump at all, so she would half-stand half-sit against the edge of the bed (which was higher than her bottom and roll herself on then scootch to get away from the edge so that when she rolled over again she wouldn’t fall off. There were plenty of palpitating moments.

Reflecting on that trip inspired me to start a new blog: Goin’ with Grandma, I am hoping to find other people who have traveled with people who are elderly or mobility challenged, whether across town or across an ocean, to share stories, lessons learned, and tips. My hope is to be able to travel with a little less “adventure”, or at least fewer palpitations. The new blog itself is an adventure, as I am doing it with WordPress.org. I know some folks have had real challenges changing over. It is just a tiny site now but come on by.