The Roses

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Early Friday morning, the office is satisfyingly empty, aside from the constant hum of the air conditioner and occasional ring of my coworker’s phone. There is no chatter or gossip, no questions about the weekend or last night or comments about the weather.  For the first time in months, it seems, I am alone with my thoughts and my computer and thereby the internet, which is far from quiet.

I have started reading the news in the past few months with a morbid curiosity that borders on obsession regarding the offensive movements of the President and his cronies as they work to dismantle the foundation of the country and the protections of its people. Every time I pull up CNN or the Washington Post, there is a new story of bullying and cruelty from the top down.  The new standard of conduct is one rooted in selfishness, fear and ignorance that sets a disturbing example for those watching.

In spite of the destructive actions between big business and workers, rich and the poor, black, brown and white, there is still beauty in the small things and kindness in the everyday interactions that get missed when one is focused only on the big picture. For example, when a massive cockroach broke into the office last week and backed me into a corner,my co-worker snapped into action and smashed the monster with her shoe thus becoming my new hero.  Her courage saved the day and potentially my life.  It was a small thing for her that meant the world to me.

I am intentionally trying to recognize kindness and pay it forward, as well as to ground myself with the sounds of the morning, the smell of freshly cut grass and the intense blue of a cloudless sky. Recently, I took a break from the swamp to follow the amazing international effort to rescue the Thai soccer team and now a further break to watch the World cup.  Go Croatia!

While I am trying to permanently break away from the news and its negativity, it is tempting to slip back into the stories of “fake news” and Russian indictments, and the never ending tiffs between the Donald and the rest of our world leaders, the good ones, the ones who celebrate diversity and human rights, who live by a personal and professional moral code that is stronger than the lure of money and connections. Again, I digress with so many distractions.

By the time I come back to finish this piece, my mind and body are worn out like a cheap t-shirt. I feel threadbare; it is finally the end of the day.  The normal workplace drama has transpired and somehow almost everything got done except for one thing.

I have yet to stop and smell the roses.

So I make a new to-do list, reprioritize and try again tomorrow.

Christmas Lights in June

A thousand tiny orange lights twinkle in the dark as I peer out the window, startling me into an arrhythmia.  The possibility of falling into a time warp and getting spit back out into the Christmas season is terrifying.  I haven’t even started to shop or to consider how I will deal with ice as an off-balanced, pregnant woman.  

With so many other bizarre-o things happening in the world, somehow the thought of time travel doesn’t seem so impossible.  The snowcaps are melting, kids are shooting each other, our leader is insane and the world seems to be following in suit.  Honestly, of all of the unbelievable things, the possibility of time travel is the most appealing. 

There is actually a separate reality based on alternative facts where honest observation will do a person no good.  Right is wrong, black is white, and up is down there.  It’s a hell on Earth and not a place that I want to spend any amount of time.  Yet, that is where important decisions are being made, in a place where information is mutilated, destroyed and refabricated as the truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God.  

So help you God is right.  If there is a higher power, it seems that now is the time on call on Him or Her for clarity of vision, the strength to resist and the wisdom to separate fact from fiction during these confusing times.  

I have to find out if once again my senses have deceived me and walk to the window for a closer inspection.  The lights are fading out and with them the illusion of Christmas, leaving behind only a few beams of orange light from the setting sun to break through the leaves of a shadowed magnolia tree.

Relief takes the place of anxiety and returns my heart to a normal pattern.  All is well with the world, or at least the world contained within the tiny plot of land surrounding my tiny house.  My eyes have regained their credibility and with them their sister senses of hearing, tasting, touching and feeling.  We have to trust the senses to recognize beauty for what it is with the same certainty as knowing evil for exactly what it is and is not.  

For tonight, I will not doubt.

Real News

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Once again, I am looking out my window and see a news reporter in front of a camera man. Their truck is parked innocently enough on the side of the street. The reporter is sitting on a chair in the middle of the road as easy and natural as he might sit at a kitchen table. It’s a very strange sight but then again I don’t get out much. Perhaps street sitting is the new thing to do?

The pair appears to be covering the ongoing saga of our city’s road construction, or lack thereof. The city workers, bless their hearts, started on our road, got distracted and moved on with their hard hats and heavy-duty equipment. However, they did not flit away until after they chopped up the street outside of our house and left orange safety cones and blocks in their wake.

Directly in front of our house, they left a particularly attractive pile of sewer tubing and broken pallets. Yes, life must be good for those silly distracted workers who never have to finish a project. This reminds me of my mom’s loser ex-boyfriend who was infamous for the same thing. Once, he pulled the inner panel off of her car door to fix the automatic window which wasn’t broken. Like the construction workers, he found something more interesting and never returned, leaving the wires and inner workings of the door exposed. The thought of the beloved station wagon of my childhood, left used and abused, makes my blood boil at a much higher temperature than the stripped road.

I am holding myself back from going out to the reporter to offer the following real news stories. If broken-up roads and unfocused construction workers are news, get ready to be blown away by my ideas to truly inform and entertain the masses.

First story, I have poison ivy on my hands and arms. He could report what the vile poison ivy vines and leaves look like, in addition to exposing its nasty cousins, poison sumac and oak. He could give natural treatments for outbreaks and creative ways to stop it from spreading (insert series of pictures of people with poison ivy wearing socks on their hands to from scratching).

Second story, how about these mosquitos from the heavy rains earlier this summer? They are practically big enough to carry off small dogs and children. Someone should look into just how they got so big and hungry and full of the West Nile virus.  Could this be related to Monsanto?

Last story, to leave the people with a warm and fuzzy feeling, a close up of the couple who used to always walk their poodle with its bad knees and hips. They continue to walk their poodle, but now the dog rides in what appears to be a custom made wagon, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine for just a little longer.

How is that for real news?