Thursday, December 27, 2001

So, here are my New Year's resolutions:
1. Stop bugging b!X about finding paid work.
2. Get out of the apartment every day, even if it's just for a walk around the building.
3. Start doing a personal "Thursday's at Borders" so that I can start to build a new routine for myself. (And I can pick up Metroland and see what's going on around town and actually sit down a read for an hour or so.)
4. Finish editing cwyln's Moya and Michael's novel.

While there are lots of other things that I also should do (like give away all the "work" clothes that I no longer wear), if I can do those four things I probably could change my life for the better.

This is not what I always envisioned my retirement would be. LIving across the hall from my 85-year-old mother so that I can take care of her might be a noble thing to do, but it doesn't allow for my life as I would like it to be. And, given that I don't believe in reincarnation or heaven, this is the only life that I'll ever have. If I choose to play caregiver and do something good for someone else, I need to figure out how to also generate the kind of excitement and stimulation in my life that I always managed to generate before. I need input so that I can again have some creative output.

OK. Emily Dickenson managed to be creative within the confines of some very narrow personal space. Nope, that's not me. I need to engage with a larger world. I hope that there will be still time for me to do that.

Here's hoping for new life in my New Year.

Sunday, December 23, 2001

Heart Home Hope
These are the only three words on the inside of a holiday card offered by the Habitat for Humanity. If I were sending out cards, that's the one I would send.

With b!X on the West Coast and pregnant cwyln and her husband on the East Coast, it's just me, my brother, and my mother this year. I miss my offspring mightily this Xmas.

Last night, my mother and I both dreamed about my father, who died on December 26, 1984 from pancreatic cancer, with the three of us by his side. I haven't had a Xmas tree since the one I left undecorated that year in my empty apartment. Whenever my mother and I dream about him, he never talks.

The Winter Solstice is the time to celebrate the Great Mother and her Golden Child, the coming of light to dispel the darkness.

Heart. Home. Hope.

Saturday, December 22, 2001

You Can Tell I'm Getting Older
I'm finding that Andy Rooney's column is the first one that I read on the Op Ed page. He holds up an honest mirror to our society in the language of "everyman." Here are some of his comments from today's Albany Times Union:"

Four hundred Taliban soldiers were taken prisoner and stuffed into a container and transported several hours to a prison camp. Many died of suffocation. (Now, why hadn't I read that anywhere else?)

I look at pictures of captured soldiers who were members of the evil Taliban. Do I study them and mutter, 'Kill the bastards!' No, I do not. I say 'Poor bastards they don't look like bad guys. I like their hats. They don't look any different from the guys who captured them. I'll be they're not any different.'

The trouble with me and a lot of Americans is our opinions are fomed by information we get from people trying to form our opinions. We make up our minds based on propaganda, advertising, prejudice, failure to pay attention, and stupidity.

It seems to me that there are a lot of Americans who feel the same way. But we can't be heard over our government's propaganda and advertising.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Big Picture, Little Picture
So, there are some discussions going these days on about the purpose and value of weblogs. Oddly enough, the other night at my bi-monthly group meeting, I mentioned that I had begun a weblog, and I was asked to explain what that was and why I was doing it, and why I just wasn't keeping a journal. As I've said, I've unsuccessfully tried keeping journals before and I write so much slower than I think that I got frustrated and quit. I can type almost as fast as I think (I got used to doing that at the job from which I retired last year, which involved mostly whipping out quick documents for others to share and claim as their own.) So, it's easier to do it on the computer. And why don't I just keep a journal on disk, I was asked. The truth is, I admitted, is that I'm used to writing for an audience. And I like having an audience. Even my poems are usually written with an audience (sometimes of one) in mind. It's why I ballroom dance. I'm a performer at heart. I need ways to say to the world: this is who I am. Look at me. Pay attention. It seems to me that that's at the heart of why everyone else who keeps a blog does so. In a world where we all have to live up to expectations and assume roles for survival purposes (our own and others) -- caregiver, mother, employee, citizen -- it's so satisfying to have a place where one can BE who one is. Or in some cases, where one can BE who one wants to BE. It really doesn't matter. We can create who we want to be or be creative with who we are. Either way, one has an identity, a voice. In a way, it's kind of a new art form -- or at least it can evolve in some cases into such. How cool is that!

Still Trying
I'm still trying to figure out how to do include all of the things on this site that I want to include, in particular a Navigation list to other blogs. I just haven't figured out yet how to do it on this template.

Since bix linked to me from his site, I noticed that at least one other person picked up up and how links to me from her site. So, now I feel compelled to to do the hard work and figure this out. How the hell do I put in a link to contact me???

Twenty years ago -- even ten years ago -- this all would have been a piece of cake, both to find the time to and to figure out how to do it. But, as my long-dead grandmother used to say in Polish" "Staroszcz nie radoszcz." (Getting old ain't no fun.)

I am finding this whole blogging thing curiously engaging, since I've never been able to write fast enough to keep a journal. But I type really fast, so this might well wind up being my legacy to the world at large (like it cares!). But I do care. About a lot of things. And this is one place that I can record what's on my mind, in my heart, and stuck in my craw. So, look out, cyberworld, here I come.

Friday, November 30, 2001

I'm in a group of 6 that meets twice a month -- all aging activists from the 70s and all, except me, MDs or therapists. Mostly we talk about what's going on -- the war -- and our personal responses to it and its archetypically apocalyptic nature. Last time we struggled with the fact that, while the press prints our letters to the editor as a perfunctory nod to including dissenting opinion, in truth, they are committed to furthering the party line. We know nothing about how many people really have died in Afghanistan because, unlike the Vietnam War, we have none of our troops own coming back in body bag and after body bag. We speculated on why there are not the kinds of protests that there were during Vietnan -- think perhaps because those protesters (now in their 40s and 50s and 60s) either have been co-opted by the system, or are struggling to raise families and just survive, or are just worn out from standing up for civil liberties all of these years. And maybe the younger folks have other priorities as well or don't care. And maybe it's more because we have no body bags of our own to really bring the horror of it home on a national scale. (Although there actually have been protests, but the press doesn't cover those. Amy Goodman was here speaking at RPI in Troy recently, and there were more than a thousand people there; but the artsy Metroland was the only paper that even mentioned that.)

We also talked about the courses in "civics" that we (older folks) had as school kids. We learned about the ideals of democracy, we learned how a democratic government IS SUPPOSED to work. Whatever patriotism we felt was based on the ideals that we believed we could achieve as American. We speculated that maybe that helped fuel the protesters back in the 70s. They saw those ideals being totally disregarded. Kids today are not taught "civics," not given an opportunity to really explore -- philosophically and practically -- the kind of democratic system to which Americans used to aspire and strive toward. Now the driving force behind government is not the higher ideals of democracy but rather the base pleasures of consumerism.

We feel helpless and hopeless and totally disempowered -- unlike the way we felt thirty something years ago, when we thought that our voices would be heard, that we could change the world. It often seems that the younger people of today are willing to work very hard for "better lives" for themselves but are totally oblivious to -- or rather not be bothered with -- working hard to change the world for the better. Someone referred to an recent article in some national magazine about the "best and brightest students" in the top universities having that attitude. And these are the people who will be our government and business leaders in the next generation.

We wished in a way that there could be a revolution in this country, but we don't think it will happen. Some of us think that this is really the beginning of the end of the hopes and dreams of democracy. We all send emails and sign petitions etc. etc. etc. But it doesn't matter. We have no power.

Thursday, November 29, 2001

oops. Haven't figured this blogging thing out yet. But I think bold is better.
We are all shadow and light. Death Mother. Lilymaide. I leap into the abyss of cyberspace. The children lead us.

On and off, I read through the weblogs linked from my son bix's blog. I might as well live on another planet.

My mother lives across the hall from me -- a situation I swore would never happen. But life happens, and death beckons, and sometimes the better parts of us win out after all. But she still drives me crazy.