Love One Another

This time of year, I see  church billboards mentioning Maundy Thursday. I had never heard of that growing up, nor had my husband, so I did what I had to do. I researched.

In a nutshell, it refers to foot washing and the Last Supper, the Thursday before Easter. The etymology of of the word “maundy” is believed to be be from a Latin word for commandment. The important commandment referenced is “Love one another.”

And really, I can’t top that. Have a great day, and love one another.

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Olympic Events

I love watching the Olympics. Some sports more, some less, but the whole idea of people from all over the world coming together for peaceful competition, showing the best of humanity – I love that.

That said, I am looking forward to the end, because they do last so long, and to watch them, well, it takes time. Lots of time.

While we watch them, my husband and I try to come up with new combinations, alternative events, and so on.

Many of the winter sports have their analogues in the summer games. So we have combined some things that don’t typically go together. Like skiing and gymnastics. I want to see those uneven bars and vault jumps with skis!

Sometimes we combine two winter events. If shooting a gun at a small target far off after skiing hard is exciting, and ski aerials are exciting, think how much more exciting it would be shooting at the target while doing flips in the air!

Then there are events that aren’t terribly athletic seeming, but the little kid in me still would like to see them. How about the snowman building contest? Or snow sculpting? Tallest, most creative, I can think of many possible ways to do that.

Those are just some of our thoughts. (I wish I had been writing them down as we think of them.)

What oddball sports would you like to see?

High School Yearbooks

I am not exactly a spring chicken. Not two feet in the grave old, but not young. That awkward stage of “my body lets me know I’m older, but my spirit sure feels pretty darned young.”

I remember when I was in high school, every year, the year book had a page set aside for those who had died before we graduated. The two causes of death typically were cars (number one) or drugs (number two). Occasionally, someone had a fatal illness, but that was very unusual.

These days, a lot of high school year books will be remembering more kids who passed. Who passed of something that was pretty much unheard of back in my day. They were shot to death.

I know this is unlikely to make anyone act. This is unlikely to be a vector for change in legislation, in culture that worships guns, in culture that worships violence as a solution, in access for mental health care, in a caring culture. But sometimes, things have to be said. And if even one person reads this and thinks, “Hey, yeah, this didn’t used to happen” and works toward change, maybe it will be worth it.

But think about the legacy we are now giving the next generation. A legacy where we value the freedom to purchase something that is solely designed to kill at a higher cost than the value of the freedom to live. To attend school, church, go to the mall, to your job.

We value all those things far less than we value, as a society, access to guns.

Gun ownership has risen, repeatedly, with each mass shooting.

Gun ownership is associated with a higher likelihood of someone dying by the gun.

More food for fodder. Let’s regulate this “well-regulated Militia” – we need those regulations. We needed them years ago, but we  need them more now.  Go in peace. Not pieces.

Great Ideas Free Association

I often have ideas for clever posts. “Oh, I need to write that.”

Then I fall asleep. And – the idea is gone. Poof!

I have yet to figure out why so many great ideas seem to come when I drift off to sleep. I know I’m not alone in this. Other people have said similar happen to them.

Sometimes, I actually do get up and write down whatever pearls fall into my half-asleep brain. Sometimes, they even remain pearls in the morning. Other times, not so much. I think the half-asleep brain doesn’t really know how to discern wheat from chaff.

Perhaps that is the benefit of it, though. Perhaps that accepting state lets all the ideas fall through and be examined uncritically. Perhaps we truly are our own worst enemies, finding fault in all things.

Or, it could be just that we need to turn off the inner critic to let one idea lead to another, not analyze the first one and decide if it is quality or not. They say the best way to get better at something is do it, a lot, and let yourself create crap. The crappy bits become less and less rotten, and the good bits get a bit more polished.

Focused practice. Or, in the drifting off state, unfocused freeform ideas.

It really is a shame I actually need the sleep. Otherwise, I would always get up and jot things down.

Of course, sometimes, jotting it down lets me sleep. Brain dumping empties concern that I will forget things. It might just be making a list, so I know I won’t forget x, y, and z. It can be writing a scene that keeps playing in my head, over and over.

And other times, the brain says, “Oh, surely I will remember that” and conks out. I suspect when that happens, I am beyond tired.

My brain is usually wrong when it says that, though. I rarely remember “that.” Just that I had a “that” to remember.

Brains. What can we do with them?

Why People Move

It doesn’t seem that complicated. But, apparently, our president can’t understand it. So let me explain.

Imagine you live in a country where the crime rate is low. Where you can easily earn enough to live a good life. Where, even if you lose your job, you have health coverage. Where education is valued, teachers are respected, well-paid, and well-trained.

Would you want to move to a country where the crime rate is high, where gun violence increases, where the infrastructure is not adequately funded, where the education system is not doing as good as your country, where educators are not respected (though occasionally given lip-service, but never salary), where if you lose your job, one bad health problem could wipe you out, and even with a job and insurance, one bad health problem could wipe you out or cause you to declare bancrupcy?
This is why people from Norway aren’t flocking to our country.

My mother’s side of the family moved here to get away from the coal mines in Wales. My great-grandmother said that only over her dead body would her boys go in the mines. They came here at the start of the Great Depression (before it hit the US, it had arrived in Europe), and while her husband toiled in the mines, her boys did not.

People move to make a better life for themselves, whatever that means to them. Sometimes, it means a different climate, if the climate where you are doesn’t agree with you. Often, it means better pay. Or steering clear of difficult, hazardous jobs. And, in the case of some immigrants, it means getting away from death, either from violence or disease.

When things are good where you are, when you are happy in your life and location, you tend to stay put.

Understand now?

No Word

Last year I wrote about resolutions – I am not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, and remain in the anti-resolution camp. Your mileage may vary.

This year, I have noticed a lot of people posting a word to be more or less a guiding influence for the year. And as far as that goes, it sounds good. As long as the word isn’t perfect, of course, because that is setting you up for failure. (See my diatribe against resolutions from last year.)

But I think I prefer to steer away from even that much of an expectation. Life happens, and things change, and what worked yesterday may not fit tomorrow very well. By not boxing myself in, perhaps I can move with the current better.

And I really don’t know what the days and months ahead will bring. Oh, I know the general thing – it will be cold, then warm, then cooler again. Undoubtedly, we will have some inversions with the nasty air settling in the valley at various points in the year.

I hope to walk a bunch, expect my doctor appointments to go as planned, and hope that PT will help eradicate the post-op pain that remains.

Beyond that, though? Who knows. It seems like whenever I plan, things change. When I have expectations, life throws huge curves at me, often things I couldn’t have foreseen, and knocks my socks off. Think of Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound. That’s me, time and again.

So my plan is to plan loosely at best. Just see what happens.

Wishing you and yours a 2018 filled with more good than bad, and maybe a happy surprise or two, as well.

Thank you, Alabama

Last night, I was watching the returns, like so many Americans were. The bar was low – would the voters reject a pedophile (based on numerous credible reports, including the fact that he had been banned from the mall) or vote him into the Senate. It seems like a bar an ant could casually step over.

But the fact is, many of us watching were uncertain of how that election would go. And it was close.

But thank goodness, and I do mean goodness, Jones won the race.

I don’t know what percentage of voters voted in each demographic. But the details we know so far, by a large, huge margin, it was black voters that carried the day. Maybe there were some white voters who stayed home, feeling they couldn’t vote for Moore due to his past, but are politically divided enough to not be willing to vote for a Democrat. If so, thank you for abstaining.

But the true thanks need to go to those who did vote, and did vote the morally correct choice.  And the large numbers of black voters have shown us a number of things.

One, yes, your vote matters.

It really matters.

And two, you are the hope of the future.

Yes, I know, there were white voters who voted for Jones, who worked for his win, too. But far too many voted for Moore. We were on a moral precipice.

Thank you, Alabama, for showing us hope.