Monday, November 26, 2012

Wherever We Are Going, the Trip Is Interesting

Years ago, I interviewed a gerontologist researching demographics of the aging population. He found less and less "herd mentality" as we aged. We became more and more individual, he said.

He said his research still held true about 10 years ago. I am sure persons of certain ethnicities, incomes, professional backgrounds, have some common threads. Apparently we also digress.

I see some of this in younger folks as well. A growing number don't watch television, not even streaming online. Conversely, I know a surprising number of persons in their 30s, 40s or 50s who don't use computers. Many, not all, do watch television.

Millions watch sports. Significantly fewer millions don't watch at all.

Almost everyone has a cell phone. The quick texting makes communications shorter and more succinct. Language is changing because of texting. Even I sometimes get lazy and skip an apostrophe here and there in texting. Not in writing. There's a difference.

I wonder how we are evolving, and where we are going. I wonder if the decade of the 1950s was some anamoly of everyone watching television and seeming to share more attitudes or values. I wonder how alike we have always been, and how different.

I see different manners. Clothing. Behavior. Less value on education, which stuns me. I worry that my grandchildren are being taught to the test, mostly. They aren't being taught how to reason and ruminate. They are given little time to do either. Mine and some others are being taught by their parents, grandparents, teachers here and there, significant adults in their lives.

What I am saying is that the society I see--and I am a longtime, enthusiastic people watcher--is really different. Not worse, not better. I can't judge that. Definitely different.

I still see such a consistency in a desire to help, to be kind. To need to love and be loved. I see a growing tendency towards rudeness and meanness. I can't pinpoint any age or group. I just see it.

I see a tremendously positive response, often, to honesty. I see an amazing tendency to want that honesty so much, people buy into the most incongruous stories.

I shrug. I go on and live my life in the way that gives me a sense of joy, connectedness and self-worth. I do this when I can, as often as I can. I continue to watch the rest of you anytime I find myself in a busy place with time to watch.

You all are vastly fascinating, endlessly entertaining. More often than you would think, you simply touch my heart.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I am a senior citizen. I know a lot of us. Most of the ones I talk to miss their parents. I don't. They were wonderful, but I don't.

I miss some of the times we had. I can't convert it. I was 19 when my dad died, and I have had 50 years to assimilate it. I believe I have. I miss him at Christmas, because he loved it and worked hard at it. Since he died, there has been just me.

Mother. She had Alzheimers so early. Died so soon. Old school friends with their memories of her vivid, loving, passionate teacher self have restored her to me a great deal. Facebook does bring some joys.

She sent me to Europe for 10 weeks. I can never thank her enough for that.

I don't believe in heaven. I believe God will be with me at my death as my Creator is with me daily. I don't have Great Expectations. So I don't expect to see Mom and Dad in the afterlife. Many do, and please click off. I would never tell this to someone I actually have face time with. No, very few friends know about my blog.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

If troubles mean you are alive, be thankful.

"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

An alien idea for many in this day and time. An alien idea in his own.
I believe it, unutterably.

So many things that have hurt, changed me, grown me, left me helpless, have led to today. So I give thanks to all things.

A hurricane isn't evil, or a nor'Easter, nor a drought.That can hurt majorly. What I think is, it calls into our reserves to be better, to help one another. I believe in evil but not the devil. Evil is simply caring nothing for other lives. And more.

I give thanks that many of us do care. I give thanks for families that care, and am fortunate to be among them. All year long, good things happen to and for me. I don't make them happen, they just come. All I have to do is accept them. So it is nice to have a day to be thankful. If it isn't happening to you? Sorry. You aren't looking. Or listening. I am sorry.

I whine and bitch a lot. Did over this Thanksgiving, then decided what I wanted to do for this Thanksgiving,and Bingo! There's that thankful feeling.

If you have a comfortable and loving place to be, bless you.

If you are looking for your "Bingo", don't worry. All you have to do is recognize it.
If you are lucky Bingo will be wearing a red rose in its teeth.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Texans aren't big on education or constitutional law. Some, however, master Surly when they can't spell it and don't know what it means

I am pretty sure Mississippi rates lowest in state support of education. I haven't looked recently but Texas hovers around 48 or 49. We have been there a long time. Texans didn't even protest much when the state really slashed state support of schools, colleges and universities two years ago. Stellar education programs getting national attention are gone. No money. As I say: No one got particularly upset.

Not in Texas.

Now some have to go and prove how dumb we are.

I'm referring to the petition to secede. Some people signing the darned thing actually believe Texas can. Some are just mad. I don't think this is for fun. I don't think humor is involved.

It is embarrassing, is what it is.

I bet I know some of the people who signed it. Believe me, I don't want to know.

I don't expect I have so many years left, and I expect to see the red state turn purple before I die. Once blue (conservative, but blue), a long time red, now blue is creeping up again. Is it Horrors! or Hooray?

Actually, Texas CAN secede if the other states vote to let us go. I hope they won't. We do, after all, have oil, gas and Shiner Boch.

Maybe folks think if we rapidly became a third world country, which we would, we could benefit from foreign aid from the remaining United States.I would like to think that some are actually crafty enough to work this angle.

I seriously suspect they are not smart enough.

I hear some aren't even from Texas. See?

Dumb idea.

Mean, though.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Plans for a minimalist holiday

It's the holidays. The grocery hasn't put the turkeys on sale yet, but the Christmas music was pouring through the loudspeakers.

I am a lousy shopper. I keep hoping to improve. Another grocery had turkeys for 59 cents a pound, so I did buy one for the food bank, because they begin distribution on Monday. For me, I'm waiting. I've never gotten one of those $3 turkeys others buy with such regularity, and I want one.

We'll see. I have no plans for it other than to eat it sometime. Turkeys are non-existent or hellishly expensive the rest of the year. Weird. This is the right time to buy hams, too. I remember wanting one for Independence Day a few years back. I couldn't find one. I ended up using re-heated deli ham, which worked well for four of us.

Gracie and Brodie are great joys as companions. But. I bought a new blanket. Gracie has eaten a huge hole Right In The Middle of it. I buy socks. If I put them in the clothes basket, she eats the toes.

I look at my home, and realize the new rug has three corners chewed on. The recliner needs to be put out. Brody's untrimmed nails did the damage there. I know where to buy a good chair to replace it....when I'm sure I'll get Brody's nails trimmed regularly enough to avoid the damage.

This year is an experiment. I don't want to see the lights. I don't want to hear the music. I want to buy minimally. I don't want to do what the rest of you do this holiday. I want to care, to love, to read, to sit outside, to laugh with friends,
I will put up my artificial tree with lights included. I bought a live wreath. I sing. I bought a poinsettia. My handcarved creche will be displayed.I have been invited elsewhere with family for Christmas.I'll stay home. I want to do simple. Be home. Sit quietly.

I have the joy in my neighborhood to be able to sit quietly. I am lucky.

I love family. It is not my reason for Christmas. We will see and love and laugh together. Christmas will be quiet.

Peace. Maybe I will sleep at times. But it will be heavenly peace.

I hope. At Christmas, don't we all?

(Apologies to Thanksgiving.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Better? Maybe next year.

I'm writing here, because I want a record. and although I took dummy lessons, I still cannot creat a journal file. I really want one.

Maybe next year.

Candidates always promise a lot of stuff beforehand because they don't know, exactly, how hard it will be. Obama learned this. If Romney wins, he will too.

I never wanted my son to be a football player. Neither was. I never wanted a family member to aspire to President. None have,for the present.

It's been ugly this year. I was half-serious when I asked on Facebook if I could safely smile in my Texas home, or even dance a bit, if OBAMA won. I live in a red state. Few of my friends have voted Democrat (sic) other than Republican.

You know, if executives and Congresersons agreed to act as Americans, I wouldn't feel so sick. And I am. I have voted for the least disliked before, but never with the expectation of gridlock I have now. Or greed, if the gridlock is broken.

What's that song? "I'll cry for you, Argentina"? I feel like crying now.

Whatever the vote, we're in for a rough ride.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Taking care of our own by volunteering

When I worked for the state of Texas, I had goals and deadlines I had to meet. Oh, yes, and impossibly high caseloads, and more paperwork every month. Always more paperwwork, less time with the people.

So when I could retire, I did.

Now I have the chance to help again, in a volunteer situation.

It isn't for everyone. A lot of it is process. You feed and sustain, you encourage. Sometimes someone is ready to move right along and get back on their feet. Last week I heard a man tell a volunteer he is getting an apartment again for the first time in 11 years. He's been homeless all that time. Now he's climbing out. College students at the end of their grant money for the semester come in for a nourishing meal to make their fes remaining dollars for the semester. Some never climb out. The goal is sustaining, and seeing where that can go.

I am starting volunteering at a big area soup kitchen at a local church. They coordinate with other churches, social services, area businesses. I think this kind of benevolence keeps us human. And yes, there are grants available. Some may be federal, some are foundations.

I hope I can continue for a long while. Payment is a wonderful meal. I can't afford to eat out much, so this is good.

The rest of the payment is the people I meet, including other volunteers, and the sense of doing something for the community that really counts.

I care about the pets, too. But abandoned animals find homes more often than abandoned humans. The energy is good here. Friendly, caring. Client for client. clients and staff. There's a sense of well-being, and respect. I really like that.

I am excited about this.

More to come.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ifitwereme,what would I have done differently?
Fifty million people. You live there.
Ifitwereme? Would I have stayed after mandatory evacuations? Would I then be pissed when aid didn't come soon enough? Am I justified?