goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Counting My Blessings (May 2017)

I was doing busy work prepping some veggies for the dehydrator and was musing about my visit today to the new farm where some friends just moved. They are starting their new adventure and are excited about what they can achieve. They have a lot of work in front of them and they have the skills to tackle what needs to be done. I am so happy for them.

I also am humbled by my own lack of knowledge and ability to do what they plan to do. It made me realize that I am very fortunate that I have friends with diverse skill sets. Because I am enriched by those friendships.

I am so very glad I have many friends who are farmers or growers or fishers or hunters or gatherers. They know how to bring food home.

I am so glad I have many friends who are chefs and excellent cooks and others who love to build those skills. They know how to make us food to eat.

I am so glad I have many friends who are healers, either nurses or doctors or acupuncturists or chiropractors or therapists or physical therapists or massage therapists or reiki masters. They know how to help us be healthier.

I am so glad I have many friends who are teachers, either with children or adults, or group leaders, or others who share skills and abilities and are willing and able to share them to teach us to learn.

I am so glad I have many friends who have religious training either as ministers or rabbis or lay leaders or spirit sharers or truth seekers. They show there are many pathways to finding the message.

I am so glad I have many friends around the world of various nationalities. They share their pride of heritage and place and expand my world.

I am so glad I have many friends with sexual identities that differ from mine. They show me there are many ways to love.

I am so glad I have many friends.

My world is better than if everyone in my life was a cookie cutter, all from the place where I was born, all with the same education, the same religion, the same health, the same lifestyle. The diversity I see surrounding me reminds me we each are the star of our movie; we each are striving to make our life good. And the more we reach out to include people with differences, the better our own movie becomes.

Thank you for being part of making my life good….and then better.

 


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Better Friends

I’ll be 63 this year and so, my use of the Internet is not as vast and constant as my kids and their peers. I was introduced to the world of computers in my senior year of high school when I convinced my dad to let me skip physics and take the newly offered computer programming class. We learned WatFor, a kind of FORTRAN. Since the school had no computer, the teacher had arranged for us to use the computer lab at Rutgers. That was it, my sole education into computer language but it was enough to demystify the brave new world of cyberspace.

My kids got me to open a Facebook account and I now manage 4 other pages besides my own. They also had me open a Twitter account and I have never used it, believing that 140 characters just is NOT communication.  I recently signed up for Instagram and have received a notice that I have 17 followers but I have not posted anything. I wonder at that.

But let’s go back to Facebook since that is the bulk of my “talking” experience, beyond this and a few other blogs.

I have used Facebook to help market various activities. For example, when I lived in Huntington, West Virginia I was very much involved in the establishment of The Wild Ramp. I wrote a blog for the market and also posted on Facebook whenever I worked in the shop to inform consumers about yummies that were available.  I lot of people responded  to the things I wrote about and for The Wild Ramp. They were farmers, city dwellers, people who appreciated the effort made to grow healthy food and people who strove to improve their eating habits. The people who responded were from all walks of life and all aspects of the political spectrum.

By the time I moved to Oregon I had a lot of Facebook friends. Some in each place where I had lived: New Jersey, Connecticut, Tennessee, West Virginia, Colorado and Oregon. Many in other nations around the world. People with a myriad of educational backgrounds, living styles and financial comfort. We all had SOMETHING in common and celebrated that commonality, happy to have people to discuss things from different viewpoints.internet-friends-worldwide

But something changed when George W. Bush was running for President.  When I made a statement that I knew I could not handle the job and wanted a President who was smarter than me, a woman who had been friends for over 10 years and called me her sister, unfriended me.

It certainly got worse this election cycle. One by one most of my conservative friends chose to block me. They did not unfriend me; I know this because I received no message. I can’t say it was because they wanted to avoid confrontation; our earlier conversations included other friends of theirs who got downright rude. I was careful to post FACTS, not say anything like “you stupid idiots, why can’t you understand this?”. They said stuff like that but I didn’t.

But one woman told me that I often came across as better than them, because when they posted something I often posted something about the subject from a major and reputable news source. She said I was “preaching to them.” I countered I was sharing, just like they were. They preferred not to hear anything other than what fit their agenda, though.

So, I have fewer Facebook friends now….and the argument can be made that they were never friends but I have a problem with that.

Yes, they are not friends like someone I can trust will come help if I need a hand. But the people I have known on the Internet have often helped me through bad times with emotional support.

Yes, they are not friends like someone who has the same background as I do. Few people meet that level of requirement, and even the ones who grew up in New Jersey so we had similar factors in our formative years have different views on life.

I suggest they are different in one main regard. I believe they might not feel as sure about their concepts, their passions, their ability to explain themselves as I do and so they get angry and their word choices are full of that anger.   Perhaps my 8th grade English teacher who made us give a series of speeches did me and my classmates a wonderful service; we learned to explain ourselves to others. Maybe the skill of conversation has been lost (hey! why talk to your neighbor over the backyard fence when you can send 140 characters out into the world) and certainly the ability to present a persuasive argument was never learned by most people.anger-is-fake-power

I believe we ALL need diversity in our lives.  Different races. Different religions. Different nationalities. Different educational levels. Different IQ levels. Different physical ability levels. And yes, different political views.

However, as challenging as it is, it is discussion of those views that makes us better friends. Running away and cutting off difference of opinion results in people NOT knowing their neighbors. NOT understanding there is another way. Understanding there are other ways is not the same as changing your way, just hearing and considering.

Restricting your world to people who agree with you may be more calm, but it is not a world within reality.

Come back.  Don’t be afraid of differences. Sometimes you “score” a point. Sometimes I do. And we move to the middle. A place we all can be better friends.mahatma-gandhi-quote-the-difference-between-what-we-do-and-what-we

 


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You Too?

Trump has a really well put together video out for his last ad spot. One part patriotic, flags waving, smiling faces one and all. Part hateful and bigoted.

No getting around that.

At this point we have 2 days until the polls close. I suppose no one’s mind is going to be changed. That’s not even the point of this effort.

If you know me, if you have read my blogs for a while, you know I have spoken often about the way I think Trump’s hateful speech to people about others different from them has encouraged a lot of emoted passionate hatred. Not quiet and contained by social mores; the disdain for being politically correct was never appreciated or desired. The crudeness gutter talk is entertainment…and titillating. How fun to be naughty…and then if everyone is naughty, is it normal?

NO.  Not in any sense of the word. Psychologically. Politically. Culturally. Socially. Religiously.

Except for bigots. Extreme right wing skin heads, Aryan nation, KKK types. It’s their normal.

The rest of the people who seem to be enamored with Trump are, probably, okay people. I know some and love some. But I sure am confused.

Okay, you don’t like Mexicans. You believe they have stolen good American jobs. Here in Oregon many are professionals: lawyers, doctors, accountants, heads of companies. Others are in commerce with stores and restaurants. Others are in service industries, like landscaping, hairdressing, house cleaning. And the others….legal and illegal, they work in the fields, in the kitchens, on construction sites.  If you feel one has a job that you want, please be realistic about your own experience and expertise.  Don’t generalize about a group without facts that are verified or your own experience.

Okay, you don’t like Muslims. You believe they are all radical terrorists. You have been lead to believe they are perhaps sleeper agents.  Do you personally know any, I mean work with and interact with daily in a responsible work environment or have invited one to your home for a meal?  Does the concept of the white supremacist groups concern you? It should. There is more risk of a terrorist event in the USA by a homegrown group of white people than anyone from the Middle East or Pakistan.

Okay, you’re uncomfortable around handicapped people who are not young and cute. Even if they work and contribute to society. You can’t help it, their physical or mental situation irritates you?  Sounds like time to find out why? Why irritation instead of a sense of compassion or even, more self-centered, a sense of appreciation for your own health?

Okay, you think women really should not be working in jobs like men.  Even if a woman, you might not like carrying the kind of responsibility some of our sisters have gladly grown into and others have been forced to assume.  Are we going to encourage a society that sounds totalitarian to me…one where someone’s future job is determined by their birth-the location of their birth, the income status of the family of birth, the visible genitalia at birth.  When you restrict the learning capabilities of girls, when you limit the income earnings of women, you are  as culpable as the most narrow minded third World male elder making a child marry a man two or three decades older.

Okay, you think newspaper reporters are crooked and the news is twisted. But you believe what you read in headlines and don’t bother to read the article. You don’t search the web for articles about the same subject from across the spectrum to pull out the truth. Yes, we are fed what “they” want us to know. But because of social media with an open internet, we have access to much more. If you agree the journalists need to be constrained, please realize that this Internet permitting you to read this is also protected by the First Amendment. All your arguments about “slippery slope” apply equality to all parts of the Constitution.

Finally, the Jews. You really don’t like them and you have good reason. They are all rich. Not. They are all smart. Not.  They all are…what? You have read this because you like my writing and either enjoy it and agree or at times are aggravated because I bring up topics that nag at you. Like me or hate me but if you say it is because I am Jewish, you are a bigot.

Trump has appealed to the baseness in that he has called to the bottom and they have responded. And then, some of you generally above that have responded too. You’re not in good company, but you are known by your associates.

A warning to you. You’re next on the list. first-they-came

And despite the fact that no one will come to take your guns (another way you have been played), your arsenal will not keep them out when they want in.

So much better for us to nip this in the bud, recognize we have healing to do, and start talking to each other.

One way people who consider themselves a friend of mine is to explain how you can join in the Antisemitism. I am taking that one personally.

And if you do happened to have any Latino, handicapped, female,  LGBTQ or Jewish friends, they also are wondering how you REALLY feel.cropped-tolerance.jpg


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The Pathway We Are On

As I go about my day, happy that we finally have some “free” time that we can pay attention to some delayed house cleaning, I found myself thinking of my friends who are on hard and rocky slopes right now. I want to send healing energy to

  • a man I have never met but I know of his good works. He suffered a devastating blow yesterday..maybe an aneurysm, the info on Facebook is not complete….and his wife and family and close friends are trying to hold him up through his pathway, in the hopes he circles back to them. I wish I could be there to nurture them as they help him.
  • a man I have never met but we connected through a mutual friend on Facebook and have been celebrating our commonalities and exploring our differences with love is also fighting a potentially life ending illness. His attitude is as upbeat as can be expected being in pain. I wish I was close enough to hold his hand, but he is not alone on his pathway, held by a loving wife.
  • a woman not too far away who seems to live under a dark cloud. She has had a number of hard blows in her life and the hits, unfortunately, still keep coming. I wish I had the means to make her dream possible, but I can’t do much to boost her pathway other than what seems to be empty hugs and platitudes.
  • another woman nearby who struggled to make her marriage work and was devastated this week when her husband moved out with no discussion. She knows I will be here as much as possible for her.
  • one of my sisters who after learning her landlord wanted to sell her longterm rental sought housing and lost first one and then seemingly a second house to purchase to unethical behavior of sellers. She finally has made her move and is in the throes of unpacking and finding a place for everything and sounds exhausted.
  • my other sister who also is figuring on moving and has to make considerable arrangements just to handle the packing and storage issue as she works out of town.
  • my children who have their own personal issues of delayed dreams as well as dealing with the turmoil caused by a family member. You always have a haven here.

There are so many people in pain, so many people whose pathways have so many roots and rocks tripping them.

People, realize we have no idea what strangers may be going through. Be kind.


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Family Ties

Following the Christmas holiday I don’t need to tell YOU that your family is……..well, challenged.  I have one myself. I had an aunt that my mother disliked so much she never talked to her brother but, because of family dynamics, I needed to allow her to sing her warble of some song I didn’t even know at my wedding.  I had another aunt who, in the 1950s got a (whisper here) divorce and all we ever heard was “don’t come running home to us if you have problems with your husband.” Not exactly a helpful life lesson.

So, we all have less than perfect families, and if we are true to form, we don’t do such a great job at parenting. We do what we know, so unless you have sought out a parenting class, you will have a tendency to teach your children in the same dysfunctional way you were raised.

In the interest of changing that here are TEN RULES TO BETTER FAMILY LIFE:

  1. Recognize that the reason you love your friends more than your family is because your friends let you do the shit your mom and dad won’t. That doesn’t mean that shit is good. It still is shit. Your parents literally cleaned up your shit as a baby and into your childhood, but  now it is time for you to realize that your actions have consequences and you really need to accept responsibility. When you grow up, your relationships with the long term people who are on your life path AKA your family, will improve.Illustration by Nate Powell.
  2. Let go of anger. We want to be RIGHT! We want others to know they are WRONG! Let it go. It is not a helpful manner of communication. If you really feel strongly that your little sister or your second cousin is on the road to perdition, sit down calmly, maybe with a cup of lavender tea (ha ha) and ask why they feel their pathway is going to bring them the life they want. LISTEN.  They probably will not come around, but at least you’ll understand better and maybe they will turn to you when they recognize they need to change their ways.being kind
  3. Look in the mirror. Recognize your own flaws. Now praise your skills realistically. Understand that each of us is made of the entire ability spectrum. You and your buddies are not the only ones who can do things right. Even your parents get it right some of the time.looking-in-the-mirror
  4. Learn from others. Yup, even that warbling aunt of mine probably had something worthwhile to share with me……hard for me to imagine but I am remembering her with a child’s memory. If you are an adult, you can go where I was unable to perceive.learning
  5. Look at your children. We watched Home Alone again this Christmas and a few things were obvious to an outsider that the family members did not perceive. Be fair when you think over your kids’ strengths and weaknesses. Don’t have them do what YOU wish you could have done as a kid if they are not interested. Help them develop their own interests. Help them learn to read and research. Your-Kids-Look-up-to-You-for-Guidance
  6. Look at your children again. Help them learn life skills like cooking, sewing buttons and hems, how to wash laundry and iron to press a shirt to make a good appearance,  and how to swim.  A man who expects his wife or girlfriend to do all the cooking does not realize the stress that constant task causes. More importantly, he never sees her face light up in pleasure when he prepares her a nourishing meal. A man who can cook is sexy.LifeSkills-750
  7. Look at your children again. Teach your kids to change their oil and their tires. You may not be that proficient yourself. Learn it together. Your daughters too.  Watch your tendency for sexism. Let your sons and daughters learn they can access the entire array of  arts and skills.Nike-Voices-Feature
  8. Tell stories to your kids. Turn off the television and the electronic gadgets. Have one evening a month (or more) when you gather to share the stories of your childhood. Keep it as upbeat as possible. Your baggage with your parents need not be their baggage.  Tell about adventures you had when you were tested and succeeded. Tell about times you thought you could do something but failed and how you responded to that experience. Let them tell stories too. Use a talking stick to pass the right to talk around the circle. talking stick
  9. Explore together. Food is an excellent vehicle for exploration. Move away from what you know. I remember when we visited England for the first time and I asked for bangers and mash at a pub because I had read about it in numerous British stories,. The server paused and then said, “You know that is nursery food?” In other words, for little kids. That was okay, since it was a new experience for me, but it is not okay for you to turn to mac and cheese every few days. Time to learn new tricks. You are an adult now. You have control over your gag reflex and will not barf into your plate. Really. Taste new things. You need not repeat if you honestly do not like it. But your world will open when you explore the amazing variety of flavors from all over the world. 11646-learning-culture-through-food-mexico
  10. Realize, if you change your ways, your birth family members may make some snarky comments. That’s when you get to practice your smile and say, yeah! I’m doing great and I’m proud of my kids! And mean it.keepgoing


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Okay, I’m Different—I Understand That

peach and walnut cutting board

One of Graham’s recent cutting boards.

Today was crafts day….both Graham and I are working hard, preparing for a market next Saturday. He’s working out in the shop (a garage? What’s that?) and I am sewing sewing sewing as rapidly as I can without needing to pull out stitches and resew.

My sister called and asked me if I had time for her to stop by. Of course. She wanted to see if we could talk to a good friend to design some earrings. I called, yes, and so we did. Not a big interruption for me, but what happened during that visit had me thinking…and when I get to thinking, I start composing another blog.

See, I met that artisan a few months ago and based on that initial 2 hour interaction, I invited her into our home for dinner and have been building what I hope will be a precious friendship. We have a lot of differences….her pathway that brought her to this here and now has taken her to places I never have experienced. Some seem pretty exotic to me, so I am eager to hear whatever stories she chooses to share.  And some have been downright painful and all I can do is offer a sympathetic ear and a hand to hold to let her know she has made it safely through.  But we also have some really profound similarities….and one is in the belief that we are here to do good and another is that sad understanding that few people have that goal. acceptance

She said something today that got me thinking. She had no idea who I was and there I was inviting her into our home, accepting her as she was. She said she is waiting for the other shoe to fall; for me to turn on her. That is her experience.

That apparently is also the experience several others I know and hold dearly also have had.  So, all I can tell them is I am me. As unusual as it may be in your life, I am who I appear to be.  I will be a friend to them as long as they don’t hurt me. And when they do, as soon as they do, the first thing I will do is go to them and talk. I will say, “when you did this to me, I felt this way” and hopefully we can clear the air.  If we can’t work it out, then yes, I cut my losses. I will not set myself up to be abused.  Been there, done that.

See, I am pretty disgusted at the number of people in my own life, let alone all I hear about, people who pledged and promised love and honor for life, that turn.  Perhaps, they never really cared.  It was perhaps some kind of game. “As long as you make me happy, I will stay with you and maybe make you happy.” The way I see it, that kind of person is rarely happy. They look for something outside themselves to take care of that.

It will never happen. And so, this is one way I am different. I know how to be happy. To set a goal that will offer enough of a challenge to make it interesting but within the scope of my talents and experience is an example of a fun time for me. I’ve been lucky to be able to get to the point in my life where this is more normal than unusual…and so, I am happy.  And different from most other people.different-3


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There’s Something in the Water

Something is going on.

In the past three weeks five people I know have had babies. In the next two weeks, several more babies are due. The problem is not that there are so many wonderful babies born, the issue is it is all around the country so potentially more difficult to avoid if it is spread in the water. Be careful. Maybe drink beer or wine instead. stork-and-newborn-baby-cartoon

Also in the past couple of weeks several of my friends have been going through difficult times. Loss of jobs, illness, marriage issues, needing to move, you name it.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????So I put a light hearted spin on the babies, but in reality, life throws huge curveballs sometimes.  And there are times in life that it feels that the issues are all there are to deal with with no “normal” time happening.  Lots of issues that will cause a major change.  Babies do that also.

So, why is it that just when you need to face a needed adjustment, all you feel like doing is staying in bed?  At the time you need to think clearly, all your issues are making your head spin.

You need to forget how it will look and reach for help. If you have a reliable partner, share, talk, hug, cry, plan. If you don’t, call a friend. You and I know that when the going gets tough, only true friends walk with you. The others scatter, as if it is contagious. Better off without them. Note their action but do not spend one iota of energy mourning their loss.

But remember to reach. And if no friends surround you, get thee to a professional. Someone who has expertise in the area where you need the help. Don’t put on your game face. Give an honest picture of where your head is, your heart is, your finances are.  Only with honesty, essentially to yourself, can you get on the pathway to healing.

And besides, beer and wine won’t help. You need to take those steps, albeit difficult, to look yourself in the mirror, into your heart, tell yourself you deserve better, and then work for it.

Why? Because you are loved. You are important. I need you in my life.

You hear me?two-people-holding-hands-you-are-not-alone