it was bound to happen

I figured it was only a matter of time before I hit something with my new car. The time was yesterday.
I felt so virtuous, taking bags and bags of my already-read books to the local library. As I was leaving my parking space in the library lot, I misjudged my distance from a big boulder as I pulled forward after backing up. Arrggh. There goes my bumper.
I figure that the first accident is like the first kiss. Once you get it out of the way, you can relax and enjoy the ride.

thank you for being my friends.

You know who you are. And this poem (from Jim Culleny’s daily poetry emails) knows how it goes.

A Thank You Note
Wistawa Szymborska
There is much I owe
to those I do not love.
The relief in accepting
they are closer to another.
Joy that I am not
the wolf to their sheep.
My peace be with them
for with them I am free,
and this, love can neither give,
nor know how to take.
I don’t wait for them
from window to door.
Almost as patient
as a sun dial,
I understand
what love does not understand.
I forgive
what love would never have forgiven.
Between rendezvous and letter
no eternity passes,
only a few days or weeks.
My trips with them always turn out well.
Concerts are heard.
Cathedrals are toured.
Landscapes are distinct.
And when seven rivers and mountains
come between us,
they are rivers and mountains
well known from any map.

saved by the Hallmark

Aside from getting up and walking around (with help), aside from sleeping, eating and (uh, well, you know), aside from carrying on usually incoherent conversations because she refuses to admit she can’t hear, aside from slipping into dementia at the least hint of stress, there is not much my mother can do but watch television.
Except anything with violence or anything the least bit sexual sends her off into one of her “episodes,” which involve wailing about “where can I go,” and/or “don’t leave me,” and/or just holding her head and crying and asking for her mother.
And so, luckily, we found the Hallmark Channel, where stories about little kids and dogs and old people abound. Little House on the Prairie is one of her favorites.
The Hallmark Channel also seems to be the place where second stringers and old timers wind up when the major networks have moved them out. I even saw Rory Calhoun (whose handsome face adorned my teenage walls) in one of the Hallmark movies made in the 90s.
All day and well into the evening, I can usually find something on the Hallmark Channel that my mother will sit and watch. And if it happens to be time for “Murder She Wrote,” we just switch to ABC Family. That’s usually good for a kid or two.
And, while I’m reluctant to admit it, I’m kind of hooked on Kyle XY.
If all else fails, we always have TVLand, where Andy Griffith and the Beaver never fail to hold her attention. (But not Lucy, who mom thinks is too crazy.)
Although we also sometimes watch the musicals on Turner Classic Movies, the awful truth is I’m getting to enjoy the Hallmark Channel too. Something about watching movies and programs depicting life as it never is/was but rather as the child in us wishes it would be.

gone to extreme extremes

We are living in a world in which extremes are becoming commonplace. Television, starving for the substance provided by the striking writers, tries to entice us with a range of extreme papcrap — extreme sports, extreme makeovers, even a new drama called “Extreme.”
This week’s Harper’s Weekly shares some extreme newsbits, the links to which can be found in this version. The following are excerpts:

Visiting the Middle East, President George W. Bush urged Gulf state leaders to join him in confronting Iran, “before it’s too late.” Bush, guarded by ten thousand policemen in Jerusalem, told Condoleezza Rice that the United States should have bombed Auschwitz, and was flown by helicopter to Bethlehem so that he could pass through a tiny Door of Humility and pray at the traditionally venerated birthplace of Jesus Christ.

For the first time since the 1800s the average Briton was earning more than the average American, even though the pound was at an all-time low against the euro.

Pat Robertson predicted that China will convert to Christianity. “God’s going to give us China,” he said. “China will be the largest Christian nation on earth.” The Chinese government expelled more than five hundred people from the Communist Party for violating the country’s one-child policy,

The Australian government refused to provide compensation to Aborigines (who until 1967 were governed under flora and fauna laws) who were stolen from their parents as children.

A victim of Hurricane Katrina was suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for $3,000,000,000,000,000 after the
Corps admitted that it had done a poor job designing the broken New Orleans levees.

The Museum of Bogota in Colombia opened an exhibit dedicated to laziness, and scientists in Houston discovered a vaccine that makes cocaine no fun.

It was revealed that a single trader seeking bragging rights caused oil to reach a record high of $100 a barrel.

it was revealed that Blackwater dropped riot-control gas on U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2005. “This,” said Army Captain Kincy Clark, “was decidedly uncool.”

Forty-seven U.S. senators were fighting for the return of guns to national parks and wildlife refuges.

Finally, and maybe the most relevant of all:

Scientists from the American Astronomical Society attended their annual meeting and agreed that the universe is bizarre and violent. “This is the glory of the universe,” said the association’s president. “What is odd and what is normal is changing.”

It certainly does seem so, doesn’t it?

those weepy women

No, this is not about Hillary getting a little tiredly teary eyed. That’s getting plenty of attention, both negative and positive.
This is about the current research comparing how male vs. female brains save emotional memories. The reports on this research began today on NBC’s Nightly News.

When it comes to storing emotionally-rich memories women’s brain place the memory in a part where emotions and details remain intertwined. For men the emotions get separated so the recall often becomes “just the facts”. This makes for some amusing scenarios like the couple we show with differing memories of their wedding day. But it could also have medical applications. Women suffer almost twice as much depression as men. This difference in brain function could account for that and someday suggest better treatments.

Actually, maybe this all does have something to do with Hillary’s tears, because the question arises whether it might be a good thing for a president to remember facts in the context of emotions/feelings, for a president’s approach to the handling of difficult situations to be more deeply nuanced than has been the case. Experience, after all, is never “just the facts.” And the ability to distill experience into a problem-solving context is essential to effective and humane leadership. Of course, that’s not the only essential quality, but that’s not what what this post is about.
We know from decades of research that, in general, boys and girls tend to learn differently. It’s as though there’s a continuum, with more boys on one end, more girls on the other, and an increased overlapping as they get to the middle of the spectrum.
NBC’s Nightly News announced that a future broadcast will look at whether single sex education works better for both boys and girls. As a former teacher, my position is that it might for some boys and some girls.
But, I believe that most kids benefit most from integrated classrooms with teachers who honor and provide for individual differences in learning styles. It seems like that’s asking a lot of teachers, but, after all, that’s what they had to do when there were one-room schoolhouses.
It seems that women are more likely to get teary than men because their brains are wired to keep emotions easily accessible, to perceive and react to a synthesis of facts and feelings. Our male dominated culture has programmed us to believe that a “female” approach to problem solving is not as good as “male” (which tends to focus on “just the facts”).
I read on Ronni Bennett’s Time Goes By that surveys and pundits are telling us that older women are voting for Senator Clinton in droves because she is a woman.
Ronni goes on to post this quote from the November 27 issue of The New York Times:

“’I told her that my grandmother was the first person in town to vote, and my mother was the second,’ said Mrs. Smith, who was born three months before the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920. ‘And I told her I was born before women could vote, and I want to live long enough to see a woman in the White House.’”

jWell, I would like to live long enough to see a woman in the White House too. And I don’t hold it against Hillary that she allowed herself to show some emotion.
There are other things I hold against her and her politics.

no old gray mare

Even though I’m not what I used to be, I’m not ready to be put out to pasture yet. But I think I am ready to stop coloring my hair.
If my natural hair color at this point were all gray, I wouldn’t hesitate. What it is, however, is gray in the front and sides and that dull mousy brown (with a few gray strands here and there} in the rest.
Googling around o see what my options are to liven up my dull old mare hair should I opt to grow it out, I wound up at a brand new blog called “Going Gray.”
I will keep checking in there, looking for inspiration and motivation to actually go gray. But with style, of course, Always with style.

I’m Clinton Conflicted

A woman friend emailed me and asked me what my problem is with Hillary Clinton.
I spent almost 20 years trying to be a change agent in a government agency. What I learned was that, unless you learn the game, you can’t win. And once you learn the game, it’s hard not to get sucked into playing it the way it’s set up, the way the big money players set it up. Not your way. Their way.
Hillary Clinton knows how the politics game is played, and she has learned when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em in order to get some wins. There’s an advantage in that experience. And I would love to have a woman president of this country.
There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton can manage the machinations that underlie how this country is run. I believe that she can do a fine job as president. She knows how to work hard and make things work.
I also think that what this country needs is an inspirational leader. Barack Obama is a much better inspirational leader than Clinton. But I believe that he has not yet had enough experience with the Washington game, with knowing how and where to work hard to make things work.
That’s why I support John Edwards. I think that he is capable of inspirationally leading this country, and he is he has the experience to effectively manage the tough duties of the presidency.
Nevertheless, Gloria Steinem’s piece in the New York Times prompts me to think a little more about Clinton’s candidacy. Steinem says:

…So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? The reasons are as pervasive as the air we breathe: because sexism is still confused with nature as racism once was; because anything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects “only” the female half of the human race; because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them); and because there is still no “right” way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.

I’m not advocating a competition for who has it toughest. The caste systems of sex and race are interdependent and can only be uprooted together. That’s why Senators Clinton and Obama have to be careful not to let a healthy debate turn into the kind of hostility that the news media love. Both will need a coalition of outsiders to win a general election. The abolition and suffrage movements progressed when united and were damaged by division; we should remember that.

I’m supporting Senator Clinton because like Senator Obama she has community organizing experience, but she also has more years in the Senate, an unprecedented eight years of on-the-job training in the White House, no masculinity to prove, the potential to tap a huge reservoir of this country’s talent by her example, and now even the courage to break the no-tears rule. I’m not opposing Mr. Obama; if he’s the nominee, I’ll volunteer. Indeed, if you look at votes during their two-year overlap in the Senate, they were the same more than 90 percent of the time. Besides, to clean up the mess left by President Bush, we may need two terms of President Clinton and two of President Obama.

But what worries me is that he is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex.

What worries me is that she is accused of “playing the gender card” when citing the old boys’ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations.

It would be great to have a woman president. It would be great to have an African American president.
But I still think that John Edwards would make a greater president than either of the other two.

things I’m glad about

1. My daughter finally launched her own weblog. Her brother, b!X is one of the very early bloggers, and I was close behind him. Now we are three. Hmm. “The family that blogs together….” (slogs together?)
2. My mom will be getting some oversight by a nurse and some physical therapy from a home care agency that takes Medicare. What I’ve discovered is that such agencies are authorized by Medicare to only give short-term care to deal with the results of specific illness or conditions. To get the whole home care support system for the long haul, one has to be on Medicaid, not Medicare. I’m not glad about that part.
3. David Letterman took the first leap of faith and had his production company enter into a contract that the members of the Writers Guild of America consider to be fair. Tom Cruise and his reconstituted United Artists are follow ing his lead. I would love to see all of those megamogul producers left out in left field.
4. It will be 60 degrees here today. At least that’s what the weather report is saying.
5. I didn’t lose the tooth that the crown fell off of. The dentist just cemented it back on, old root canal post and all.


The following post is by MYRLN, a non-blogger who is Kalilily Time’s guest writer every Monday.
This won’t be long since it basically consists of a question which has no apparent answer: Did Iowa win a lottery or something making it the most important state in the Union?
It needs to be asked since all media have been focusing our combined attentions on Iowa for what seems like forever, doing polls, interviews, debates — all because of the Iowa caucuses. Now, finally, the caucuses have been held and winners announced (sort of since 2nd and 3rd place finishers are like winners, too), and then…everybody went to New Hampshire. The caucuses amount to nothing more than a sort of public head count, but nothing is really decided. Nobody really knows who the voters of Iowa support since only those who could or bothered to attend a caucus at a specific, limited time and period of the day were counted (approximately a quarter of a million people). Anyone else had no input. And yet, everyone acts as if the State of Iowa decided something important. So again: Did Iowa win some kind of lobby making it the designated determiner of the presidential candidate leaders? Or is Iowa (along with the rest of us) drugged every 4 years into believing its caucuses actually decide something?
So maybe a more important question is this: why does everybody make a big deal out of Iowa, especially since there are another 49 states to go? In a way, it’s a lot like believing in say…well, Santa Claus?
*** ***
The only thing less interesting or informative than an alleged debate among potential Presidential candidates is a press conference with incumBENT Prezidon’t Dumbya.