Archive for Life

Zimmerman’s acquital of Trayvon Martin’s murder represents only the latest, most egregious betrayal of every Black American

It’s not surprising Zimmerman was acquitted of the Trayvon Martin killing. It’s simply the latest in a long erosion of civil rights. The Klan couldn’t be more pleased. It’s an ingenious strategy, though not new: try the victim, not the defendant.

“It’s an injustice” is empty and inadequate. If only the nation, with one clear voice, would shout out that this is a betrayal of every Black person in America and will not stand. But it won’t. We won’t. We are just comfortable enough, just scared enough, just cowardly enough to think, in our secret hearts, “Thank God it wasn’t my son.”

If you say that, then you are one of the betrayers. The betrayal of the last, small hope that this country could work toward the principles its founders, imperfect in themselves, framed. Some of us have decided, or accepted, that it’s too uncomfortable to be faced with our own failings in comparison to our ideals, too hard to change those aspects of ourselves that keep us from reaching up, too easy to pretend everything is just fine. Others of us have decided there is no hope, never was any hope, and, anyway, every hope is betrayed in the end.

Congratulations Floridians, those who support “stand your ground” and twist it to mean “it’s okay to shoot a young black man down in the street.” You must be pleased. Lynching WAS terribly awkward. It must be much easier to use a pistol. Anytime, anywhere. It’s open season.



Leave a Comment

Response to Stephen Fry suicide interview shows attitudes are slowly changing

Leave a Comment

“No” means no.

Blaming a woman for being raped is like blaming a man for being mugged.

  • Why were you out at night by yourself? Where was your spouse or parent?
  • You were asking for it, dressed like that, carrying your wallet in your back pocket.
  • You weren’t injured. You must not have fought very hard, so you must have wanted to be mugged.
  • You were drinking?! Well, no wonder.
  • You were too drunk to recall the details? Well, then, how do you know you didn’t +give+ the mugger your wallet?

Rape is assault. Rape is a crime. Anyone can be raped, just as anyone can be mugged.

Comments (2)

When does uncluttering become sterilization?

The point is different for each of us where uncluttering becomes a end in itself. My goal is to unclutter my life so that I may better experience what is meaningful. It isn’t to remove all complications, messes, untidiness, or frustration. Most days I enjoy the Unclutterer blog because it points out changes I can make as I strive toward my goal. However, there are days when it turns me contrary and makes me want to save old newspapers and string, pile unread books on the living room floor, strew clothes around the house, and leave dirty dishes on the counter. Yesterday was one such day.

A reader wrote to complain about the newspaper clippings her mother sends her via mail. The reader feels the clippings are clutter and would like her mother to send links via email. She also worries about the environmental impact of the mailings. Balderdash. An envelope with clippings is no worse than a letter. Perhaps we should do away with physical mail altogether, but electronic media also has an environmental cost. The clippings are clutter only in the way the daughter deals with them, and that is in her control.

I don’t know either the reader or her mother. Perhaps her mother sends clippings about getting a breast enhancement surgery or the dangers of obesity, but I think that is not the case. Nor is there any hint the mother is a compulsive hoarder. Barring any psychological problems, and assuming the daughter doesn’t want to tell her mother outright to stop sending clippings, this seems a case where changing one’s outlook is the best solution.

My mom was once a big letter writer. She was the glue that held friendships together by making sure communication happened. She still has close friends from her childhood, high school, and college. Now, at 83, she is less able to write letters for a number of reasons. Now, instead, she clips articles (and my horoscope!) and sends them in the mail. It is her way of staying in touch, letting me know she’s thinking of me. The horoscopes say she hopes for success and happiness for me (she doesn’t send bad or boring ones). I don’t always read every one, nor do I save them. (Except the horoscopes. For some reason I find it charming and have a perfect place to save them where they’re out of the way.)

Aside from the emotional connection to family, it is still a grace and pleasure to receive mail that has tangibly traveled from here to there. So, keep sending the articles, Mom. I love you, too.

Comments (5)

Essay on the unappealing nature of plumbing

Plumbing is unlovely. It is unlovely in all aspects except, perhaps for the appearance of external feature such as an elegant turn of a faucet or bend of nozzle. “Nozzle.” Even the words of plumbing are ugly.

Plumbing is just ugly

Parts are surprising non-standard and change over time. Basic parts. Like the bits that go inside the wall. But how many choices do we need to turn water on and off and keep it from leaking? And plumbing parts are ugly. Clunky, badly textured, and awkward to manipulate. As are the tools.

Well, there goes that turkey baster

Not only do most plumbing jobs require nearly every basic tool, but they often need a kitchen utensil or two. Like a turkey baster or skewer.

Also awkward are the spaces the plumbing is in. Once one is wedged into the cabinet or next to the toilet to reach a nut, it may be impossible to gain enough leverage to actually turn the damned thing. Once wedged, it’s nearly guaranteed something vital will be out of reach: a tool, a locking nut that has to be held, one’s sanity.

After several hours, an unplanned wet and messy eruption or two, and at least two trips to the hardware store, one doesn’t even really have the satisfaction of a finished job, because if everything was done correctly? It will look exactly the same as before.


Yep. New filler valve and flapper. Oh, joy.

Comments (3)

Did Mrs. Gutenberg ever say “you just don’t understand?”

I wrote a bit more about communicating here. On a more personal note, whenever I think of this subject, I think of You Just Don’t Understand: Men and Women in Conversation by Deborah Tannen. I read this book toward the end of my marriage, and I found it insightful. Tannen doesn’t judge communication styles. She discusses how they are different and how differences lead to misunderstanding. Sadly, my husband refused to read it when I asked him, although I doubt it would have changed the outcome. Some time after we’d divorced he did borrow the book from a friend who’d borrowed it from me. He commented to her that, yes, indeed, it was very interesting and noted that the author wasn’t judgmental.

I offer this not to gloat but because just my asking him to read it and his refusing was itself a conversation straight out of the book. I won’t try to duplicate Tannen’s thesis, but, briefly, I was asking a favor, and my husband heard a command. Communication goes haywire when one person assumes the another understands meaning in one way and fails to credit that they may not.  People fail to understand for all sorts of reasons. They can be bored, hungry, or just a jerk. Or they may have a different set of assumptions about communication rules. Or they can understand but not agree. (And doesn’t that sting!)

Anyway, communication was frustrating there at the end of my marriage. For both of us. I didn’t know how frustrated I was until one day driving in rush hour traffic. When a car suddenly changed into my lane, I screamed at the top of my lungs “All you had to do was ASK! Would it have killed you to COMMUNICATE?” It probably wouldn’t really help if humans came with turn signals, would it?

Comments (1)

My bud

B. and Lady, Oct. 2008

B. and Lady, Oct. 2008

I’ve been getting acquainted with an elderly neighbor over the past 18 months or so. Two neighbors, L. and J., in particular, were attentive to him and his wife for many years. He had sold property to L. 10 years ago, and L. eventually became like a daughter to them. Both neighbors are incredibly competent and generous women.

I got to know B. when, after his wife G. died, B. needed more attention. I enjoyed taking supper to him on Wednesday evenings and chatting with him. Having lived in the neighborhood for 60+ years, he knew a lot about how the neighborhood developed. We gossiped about the townhouses being built on the block and the tenants or lack of tenants in the duplex next door to B.

B. lived through the Depression, served in WWII, worked for a lumber yard, and the City of Seattle, and as a cross-country trucker. He and his wife traveled all over the world after he retired, so he had lots of stories. He usually had a pithy take on any work or personal issue I talked to him about.

Often times J., L., and I would meet at B.’s in the evening after work. Although B. couldn’t get about very well, he could get along well enough to stay at home which was important to him.

Tho’ he had several hard surgeries, through L. and J.’s efforts, B. stayed in his home, and had contact with people. It seems so many people who live to be nearly 100 have left so many people behind that they end up alone and institutionalized.

When G. died B. had lost the last thing that really held him in the world, but he is not a man who ever gave up on anything, so despite his being ready to pass on for a long time, he hung in.

Until yesterday afternoon when, on the first day of spring, he died. He was home, as he wanted to be, in a bed that looked out at his magnificent red rhododendron.

J. saw him the night before, and had written an email Friday morning saying that B. was animated, talkative, and even took a shot of whiskey with her.

Goodbye, B. I never intended to like you as much as I do. I miss you.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »
%d bloggers like this: