Going home

13 Dec

I grew up in Paris, Texas. It’s a town in northeast Texas. About twenty-five thousand people. Not as small as you would think it would be…but definitely a small town. My parents have died and I have no brothers and sisters. I do have some extended family and lots of friends still there. I try to get back a few times a year. It’s strange going back, but important for me to reconnect with where I came from. One of the things that my mother left me with is the twice annual decoration of the family graves at the Knights of Honor Cemetery. Twenty-one of them! Christmas and Easter. Some of these people I never even knew. Still, I promised that I would do it, so I do. I hit the Michael’s store and the Dollar General on my drive home and stock up on artificial flowers. This is not easy. It’s done though for this year. I’m seriously considering not doing this anymore. Sorry Mom. I’ve said this before. This time I’m serious about it. Maybe. Probably not.

Can’t look at it anymore

7 Oct

Last Sunday, I wrote how I couldn’t look away from the Kavanaugh hearings. Now, it’s done. I can’t look anymore. It’s not that I’m upset about the result…upset just doesn’t matter. It’s done. We live with it. Now, the fallout. My favorite thing to do on Sunday morning is love on my dogs, drink coffee, read the papers and watch the Sunday news shows. Today, I can’t do the last two. I just don’t want to see it today. I’ve been doing the news for almost forty years. It’s been my life and my career. I love the profession. I still believe it’s necessary. Today, I’m tired. I have a few more hours before I will be reading it out loud on TV again. I just don’t want to do it tomorrow. Why? Everyone is so damn mad. Forty years at this and I have never seen people so mad. “Fake news,” the guy yelled at me at the gym. He was a big guy, so I just walked away. I wanted to say the news isn’t fake… you just don’t like what you are hearing. My business has done this to itself. We have helped divide the country. Those in the middle are left out. I hope we can find a way to bring them in and fix this mess. Maybe that’s what I need to focus on now. Helping getting us back to some common ground. I’m rambling a bit today. Sorry about that. The house is quiet. The dogs are sleeping on my lap. I think I’ll just stay here now and watch some non-news TV.

Can’t Look Away

30 Sep

I took a few days off from work. Had a little basal cell carcinoma removed from my head. My doc gave me a “get out of school note”, so why not take it?

All is well. Just a little divot in my scalp.

I’m gonna wear a lot of hats from here on out, though. Anyway, as luck would have it, this work absence coincided with the Brent Kavanaugh scandal in the Senate. I promised myself I was not going to watch this. I was taking a break from the news. Well, that didn’t happen. I couldn’t look away from it. I mean, who could?! I was having Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill flashbacks. Again, I didn’t know who to believe. Then, I saw that raw, upsetting elevator scene with Jeff Flake and the two women. I wanted to look away. I couldn’t. I didn’t know who to feel sorry for. The women or Flake? Both? By the time it was all over with, they gave themselves, and all the rest of us, a break. A week to let the FBI look into all this. We may never get all the answers we need here, but we may get some. Maybe then, a chance to make a better decision. At least one they can live with. It was an ugly thing to watch on TV. It made me mad. It made me sad. It’s where we are, though. I fear it only gets worse from here.

“The Maverick”

26 Aug

Over these next few days, we will be talking about the great John McCain.  By now, you know the Senator from Arizona died as a result of brain cancer.  He was 81.  By all measure, a full life and then some.  Prisoner of war.  War hero.  Politician.  Presidential candidate.  Maverick.  Patriot.  I think he had a great sense of humor too.   I came across a quote he made after losing the Presidential election to Barack Obama.  “After I lost, I slept like a baby.  Sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours, wake up and cry.”  John McCain was not a fan of Donald Trump.  President Trump was not a fan of his.  That’s pretty obvious.  It does make me wish for the old days in politics.  If you are “of an age,” you remember when politicians got along.  Even those from opposing parties got along.  It’s okay to disagree with ideology and philosophy, but don’t insult a man’s character.  John McCain came from that world of politics.  That world that I hope we can someday return to.  John McCain is one of the last of his kind.  Maybe, the last.  I interviewed him along the way.  He was a gentleman.  Gentleman.  I don’t say that about too many people in public life anymore.  Gentleman.  I’m sad to say that I think that word has fallen out of fashion.  As I remember John McCain, the maverick, the politician, the war hero… I think I will think about the gentleman too.  I aspire to be that.  A gentleman.

Back to my down dog

12 Aug

I can probably count on my fingers and toes the number of times I have taken a yoga class. That said, every time I have done one, I feel better. Love how it makes my body and mind feel. So, I decided it was time to go back. I signed up for a Saturday morning beginner class. It’s the one I have always attended. What follows could easily be a Seinfeld or Larry David script…if I was funnier. I’m not that funny. I arrived ready at yoga class ready to go. It’s been a year. My almost sixty-year-old body is stiff. I need it. The place was busy. A lot of people a whole lot younger than me. There was a guy close to my age. Still, younger, though. I also noticed a lot of pregnant women too. A lot. Once my waiver formed was signed, I mean, I’m ripe for injury, I was told my classroom. I settled in with my mat. (Yes, I have one in the back of my Jeep. I usually use it to keep the landscape rocks from Home Depot from dripping onto my interior.) So, as I waited, I saw all those pregnant women line up on the front row. What’s going on here??!! The instructor closed the door and told us, in a very lovely yoga instructor kind of way, that the beginner and prenatal classes would be combined. She also said, in a not-so-lovely-yoga-instructor-kind-of-way, “I swore I would never teach a class like this again.” Okay, here we go. I noticed right away that we stayed in our backs a lot. We never got off our backs. Every few minutes, a pregnant lady got up to go pee. I get it. They’re pregnant. They have to go. A lot. An hour and a half later, we are still on our backs. I’m thinking, “When do we stand?” We never did. I left there feeling very maternal. I left there thinking how tough it must be to carry around that little life inside you and still try to do your own life. I left there wishing someone would have told me when I signed up for that beginner class that it was being combined with a prenatal one. I left there laughing too. I couldn’t wait to tell you this story! Namaste, mama.

An Orca Named Tahlequah or J35

5 Aug

The last few weeks around here, we have been focussed on the algae bloom called red tide.  This one has stuck around Southwest Florida longer than usual and it’s killing fish and wildlife.  It’s deadly.  It stinks.  It’s destroying tourism.  It’s bad.  Really bad.  What hasn’t received as much attention is something that is going on across the country off Puget Sound, Washington. The mother orca, named Tahlequa, or J35, and her refusal to let go of her dead calf.  The baby girl was born on July 24, and lived just thirty minutes.  Orcas usually grieve for a day and let go.  Tahlequah has been at it for more than ten days.  She has carried that baby with her for days now.  There is a fascinating piece in the Sunday Review section of The New York Times by Susan Casey  Read it if you can.  I posted a link below.  First of all, it breaks your heart.  This 20-year-old female orca that will not let her dead female calf go.  It’s being called a “tour of grief.”  Then, you start learning about these amazing creatures.  They are smart.  Really smart.  Certainly smarter than I am. Big brained.   Their sense of family is far greater than mine too.  They live in families.  They stay together.  They pass on knowledge to their young.  Then, there is the part of the story that really gets to you.  Our big brains have so screwed up their environment that orcas are struggling to survive.  They have not had a successful birth in three years.  Susan Casey writes about our sadness for this grieving mom.  She also writes about how we should turn our empathy into action to try and save them.  When we think or orcas, we think of killer whales.  I’ll admit, I was once thrilled to see a killer whale jump out of the water and do tricks.  I’m way beyond that now.  Today,  I do have some guilt that I helped that along.  I need to turn that guilt into something productive.

White Noise

28 Jul

I watch a lot of news. I read a lot of news. Hell, it’s how I make my living…reading the news on TV. Lately though, I’ve noticed something. Much of the news these days has become white noise. You know, that meaningless, constant background noise. At least, that’s how I’m hearing it. It’s like one of those machines you use to help you sleep. Static. Here’s why. Donald Trump. FOX, CNN, MSNBC and others just talk about the latest Trump scandal. He did this in Helsinki. He did that to pay off a former Playboy model. I’m just not listening anymore. It goes in my head and comes straight out the other side. I’m sure some of this is important. A lot of it just doesn’t matter. It is what it is. Enough people voted for him to get him elected. So be it. Does it help to beat it in the ground day in, day out? Look, I know they gotta fill time. We fill six hours every morning. It’s hard. The News Beast just wants more. That said, it’s starting to feel like the boy that cried wolf. You just stop listening or caring. Someday, something will happen that needs our attention. Where will we be? I fear we will have stopped listening.