Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Some time back, my nephew, Chris, posted a picture of a toothpaste tube he declared to be empty on Facebook.

He is young. It was a good effort, but he has much left to learn.
So, this past week, after emptying a tube of my own, I thought I should post a picture of it so he could see how a properly emptied tube looks.

The picture sparked the following discussion within my family:

Chris:  Nicely done! And economical too!
      Me:  Thought I'd give you something to aspire to 

Tony: I don't know, I think there's a little left.
     Darla:  I agree, cut that tube open, there's got to be more in there!! 😜

     Tony:  I'm sure if you squeeze the tube, you'd get more toothpaste.
     Darla:  I know there's more in there. Mail it to me, I'll get it out!!

Mary:  Loving this thread--that's how I roll as well:)

You know how, some days, you really need something that makes you laugh?
Today was one of those days, and this was just what the doctor ordered.

I have no idea if it's objectively funny, or not.
Nor, do I care.

(and who knew that OCD-ness was hereditary???)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Orlando Shooting

I told myself I wasn't going to write about Orlando this week. There is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. But my mind keeps circling back and around. To violence, to guns, to hatred begetting hatred.

To the picture of eighteen year-old Akyra Monet Murray - the youngest killed in this latest senseless display of self-centered, narrow-minded temper. Just graduated high school, heading off to college. When I was her age, I managed to talk my way into a bar with borrowed ID. Did she do the same? A gay bar - was she wrestling with questions of sexuality, out to see what another side of life looked like, secure in her attraction to women, looking for a date? The punishment for such misbehavior ought to be a lecture about the effects of alcohol on brain development and the dangers of hooking up with older strangers. She should have gotten kicked out and sent home with her tail between her legs.

She should not have spent the last minutes of her life bleeding out in a bathroom stall because she went to a bar. She's supposed to be practicing basketball right now, not lying still and stiff, killed because. because.

Because there is so much wrong in our messed up and broken world.

Because I, and people like me, who have watched the news with horror and read of shooting after shooting after shooting, have not done what little we can do.

The evil monster who came out from the closet in Orlando this week has many heads, but without the gun, without the ability to spray a room red with a touch of a trigger, its hateful power is diminished. Countries with strict gun-control laws do not have the problems we do with mass shootings. I have heard exactly zero reasons why anyone outside of the military needs to have an assault rifle.

Yes, the NRA is a big and powerful lobby. But small, well-directed donations turned Bernie Sanders from a little-known senator into a viable presidential candidate. This time, instead of just shaking my head and shedding tears for needlessly ruined lives, I will do my research and find a group who is already protesting the ready availability of assault rifles in this country. I will add my voice and my dollars to theirs. I will keep adding until either my time runs out or the sale of the guns is banned.

This time, I will do what little I can, so that next time, and sadly, there will be a next time, I will have the small satisfaction of knowing I have at least tried to make a difference.

In memory of Akyra and the children of Sandy Hook.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Home III

Though I wasn't home much.

One of these years, sooner rather than later, it's going to be time for me to decide I'm too old to take weekend trips to Minnesota. Not yet, but soon.

But it was my niece's graduation, and I don't see my family often, and we needed to get the Mini up to Kate for her to drive for a while, and so off we went after work on Friday.

We being Joe, my brother Ted, myself and Ted's dog Ruby. In a Mini Cooper. Ted and Joe are not small people, so it was a given that they weren't going to get into the back seat - at least this way I didn't have to drive?! It was cramped, but it wasn't the most uncomfortable drive I've ever taken. (That honor is reserved for the time we drove down for the weekend with five people in a car built for four and I sat on the hump between the two backseats for the entire trip. Down and back. sixteen hours. I was MUCH younger then.)

Ted drove us through some horrific rain on the way up. It was late by then, and I was going to wake up and panic, but he had a white-knuckle grip on the wheel and I couldn't help from the back seat anyways, so I decided to worry later and dozed my way through the storm, enjoying the more spectacular lightning strikes.

We made good time, got in around one, stayed with Kate and Alexandra. slumber party!

Saturday, we celebrated with my sister as she launched her youngest into life beyond high school. I had a good time. Five of my seven siblings were there, along with a decent delegation representing the young adults who comprise our next generation.  I love to see them and catch up on how they're adulting. (I have it on good authority that I'm now allowed to verb nouns.) We talked some, ate too much food, laughed a lot. A good day.

Sunday, we headed back home already, this time in a small SUV (the car Kate had been borrowing - it was time for it to return to its home). What we lost in style, I gained in comfort. Monday, I worked, then headed to the airport mid-afternoon to come back out to Seattle.

A lot of road time; I'm still a bit wiped. But worth it? Oh, yeah!

(I did make a LITTLE progress on my project the previous weekend, after getting back from my last trip. I got the kitchen ceiling trim painted. If I don't keep taking baby steps, I easily fall into the deep dark pit of frustration and despair, tearing my hair and wailing that the project will NEVER be finished! It gets a bit ugly there, in the pit inside my head. Better to do some work. It makes it much easier to make the dark voice shut up.)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Seattle III

Seattle skyline
I have to admit. This travel thing was old before it started. Still, I'm finding ways to have fun anyways. This last trip didn't involve a weekend stay, so, no hiking. I missed that part. But I got to meet a new friend. I like meeting new friends.

When I was home a couple of weeks ago, I met up with my friend Tom and his granddaughter to do the AIDS walk. As we were plodding along, we were talking about my recent travels - and he decided I NEEDED to meet his friend Hans in Seattle. They met in the military in Germany in 1960 (there's something about those military friendships - even when there's no war involved...) and have been friends since.

Hans turned out to be a delightful gentleman. We met at his apartment near the Space Needle after work one evening, and went out to enjoy some delicious Thai food.

Hans' health isn't what it used to be; he has MS, and needs a walker to get around. We didn't let that slow us down much - and his handicapped placard bought us a free semi-legal on-street parking spot right around the corner from the restaurant. (they didn't mean for us not to park in that mini construction zone after hours did they? The machine was all tucked in with orange cones for the night, and wasn't going to need the space to move or anything. I didn't get a ticket, so figure the local police agreed...)

Hans' mobility may be limited, but his intellect and sense of humor haven't been touched by his illness. We talked of how he met Tom (of course), of marriage and divorce and camper van trips (I manage to bring that up a lot - I like to go back down the lanes of those memories) and friends and how great it is to get a car with hand controls so he can drive on his own again (he'd been relying on friends for rides for a couple of years, and while the friends seem to have been OK with it, it's hard to not just be able to step out just because you want to.)

It was a nice break from the normal work-eat-sleep routine that's become my daily norm on these trips. I hope to see him again soon - only this time, I figure he can make the trip out to where I'm staying instead of my having to drive downtown. He has the time, is enjoying his new freedom to drive, and that way I won't have to use part of my meager after-work energy supply to negotiate rush hour traffic.

bright moments. to be treasured, always.