Friday, October 31, 2014


Vexed Voter

(By Little Cuter, with a special appearance by FlapJilly)


Ordinarily, I’d love to spend a chilly Thursday afternoon strolling around our three-story mall, smiling at the kids in costume on parade and window shopping and perchance happening upon a mid-season sale at Baby GAP. However, this afternoon I was incensed, and in the midst of my healthy rage I called the one person I knew who would commiserate:

“Hi Mama! Oh boy do I have a blog post for YOU!” 

You see, it was all planned perfectly. I had done my research on the dates and times early voting was available,(taken directly from this website:)
Macintosh HD:Users:jhileman:Desktop:Screen shot 2014-10-30 at 2.19.25 PM.png
 
and timed our departure perfectly to coincide with the end of FlapJilly’s morning nap so that we could arrive right when the polls opened at 10am. Heck, I’d even picked out a specially crocheted hat from G’mu for her to wear for the occasion.


With my little bean strapped to me in a wrap, we made our way to the Aurora Public Library, taking the earlier website’s word for it that ANY DuPage County Early Voting Site would be able to take my vote. I had voted here twice before - once for a local election and once for the Presidential election. Both times the line had been short to non-existent, the helpers friendly and clean, and the process as delightful as it was when my own mom took me to vote each year growing up.
 

However, after standing in line for 10 minutes at the library, I heard a helper telling the man 5 voters in front of me that residents of DuPage County could not vote at this location... the location that is located smack dab in the middle of DuPage County...  with a line of DuPage County citizens snaking out the door. He told us that this was stated on the website.

Am I mistaken with my information in any of these screenshots?
 
 
If we wanted to vote, we would have to go to the location in the Fox Valley Mall.

Determined to set a good example for my daughter (yes, she is only three months old, but it’s never too early for a lesson in civics! Plus, the buttons on the voting machines are fun to push), I strapped her back in to her car seat and we headed to the mall.
 
The “helper” at the Library told us to park near Sears and that the polling place would be between Sears and Carson’s. Never mind that the two stores are not next to one another in the mall.
 
FlapJilly and I parked, had a quick diaper change, strapped her up in the wrap and headed in to the Mall. There was nary a sign to be found.
 
I walked in to Sears; no one knew where to send me. I walked across the mall in to Carson’s, no one knew that you could even vote early (don’t get me started….) and finally, after fifteen minutes of walking the mall (fifteen minutes with an infant, mind you, is almost an eternity), I found a security guard who pointed me to the polling place - if anyone in DuPage County is reading this, it’s on the UPPER LEVEL of the mall, past Sears, near entrance 3.

I walked right up, breathed a sigh of relief, and signed myself in- a full HOUR after I had arrived at the Library.
 
The men in charge of the check-in table spent the time I was filling out my form telling me that they had posted signs all around the mall directing people, and the city came by and TOOK THEM ALL DOWN.
 
When I walked in to the voting room, the only other people there were the friends I had made earlier in the Library, who were just as determined and flustered as I was. When we finished casting our votes, rather than enjoying the rush of receiving our “I VOTED” stickers, the dog walker who was ahead of me in line at the Library and I asked simultaneously, “Where do we complain about this and get it fixed before Election Day?”

Now imagine that you are a first time voter. Heck, imagine you are a veteran voter and have waited until Election Day to cast your ballot. Imagine you have taken time off work to participate in our great democracy and this had happened to you. Would you have taken the extra time to go to a second location? Would you have been able to cast your vote before polling closed? I am lucky;  I am on Maternity Leave and had the entire day (well, until naptime at least) to find my polling place. What type of message is our government sending to its constituents by not even allowing signs directing people to participate in the government we all support and fight for?

The 2013 census found that only 64% of the population had voted in the presidential election, and the numbers were even smaller for local elections, where individual votes are arguably even more important and affect the day to day lives of residents in a much more relatable way.

I’ve always encouraged my friends and family members to cast their votes. Like my mom taught me, “If you don’t vote, you haven’t earned the right to complain”. However, if I were on the fence, or a first time voter, and this situation presented itself, I would have given up.
 
And I don’t blame anyone else who would either.... and where would that leave us?

Thankfully, our story has a happy ending, and a happy little bean who got her first lesson in civics today: BE PERSISTENT!




Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Anniversary Reaction

Hospice sent me a flyer last week, suggesting that I examine my heart for An Anniversary Reaction as the day G'ma died draws near. I had no idea that this was on the agenda. I'm not feeling particularly nostalgic for the last months and weeks of my mother's life. I miss her all day every day, but I'm trying to put the end of her life out of my mind as I concentrate on the long ago memories, the ones which are less painful, which are more Mommy to me.

Hospice has no such agenda. Apparently,their involvement with G'ma's demise did not stop when she did. I have been invited to groups, to seminars, to conversations, to individual sessions, in all too numerous to remember. I've attended none of them.
 
I don't think I'm denying my sorrow. I don't think I am avoiding the issue. I don't think I need help managing my feelings. All of that might have been useful while G'ma was still alive and demanding my attention. The ambivalence I felt tugging my heart strings might have benefited from a public airing, seasoned with the experiences of others going through the same thing at the same time. Those programs were offered, too. I took no advantage of those opportunities, preferring to bottle up my feelings and putting them in internal storage. I went about visiting and loving and saying goodbye to my mother without much analysis.

That worked for me, and I don't think it did G'ma a disservice. I knew that she was working on the end of her time on earth, and that her needs were no longer the same as when she was a full participant in the world around her. Dementia combined with a wearing away of her physical abilities, and it no longer seemed necessary to drag her out and about in the wide world, shuffling behind her walker, spending more energy on getting places than was left to enjoy them once we arrived.

That was my excuse for the ever shrinking world I allowed to become her own. When she first arrived, we did everything I did. She came with me to The Happy Ladies Club luncheons and the flat walks and a monthly cocktail party or two. We weren't big drinkers, but it was nice to be out and about on a Friday night, wearing clothes that were one step up from our usual elastic waists. Over time, as she fell and recovered, each time just a little bit less than we'd expected, as her memory faded, as her desire to move vanished, I came to accept the fact that she was as happy in her recliner as she was at a concert.
 

The fact that she didn't remember those concerts the next day had something to do with it, too. I was always anxious on our excursions. Would the parking be safe and close to the entrance? Would she need to go to the restroom during the performance, and would we get there in time? Would I be able to manage whatever care she required? Would she let me help her... and what would be the result if she refused? All that worry seemed of a greater magnitude than the joy she'd experience on the adventure... and she wouldn't remember the adventure once it was over... and after I got shot it became a ridiculous dance to get both of our walkers into the car.
 
It was easier to go with her flow, to allow her to set the pace, to accept her limitations and live within them. She was there before I was, more willing to go along with the diminution of her world, content in a way I'd never seen her before. I learned from her, perhaps more at this time in her life than in anything previous to those last few years. I learned acceptance and patience and to take joy in the simple things. I learned to let go of who she had been and learned to love who she was, even if my heart broke just a little bit each day, watching My Mommy vanish, replaced by a gentle, funny, still sarcastic but much less hostile, woman.
 
I had plenty of time to get to know this new woman, and it was she who spent the last few years with me here in Tucson. The woman who yelled and screamed at us as children was long gone. There was no energy left for that much vitriol. Without Daddooooo's presence, she was not aggravated on an hourly basis. She'd forgotten that which had troubled her, and reveled in the unexpected joy of remembering a person or a place or an event.... when prompted.
 
For the most part, she was happy to watch reruns of Law and Order. The rigid structure of the programs were subtle cues to her viewing. If the clock said 20 minutes to the hour, she knew that the trial was coming and the bad guy was going to get his just deserts. If it was 20 minutes past the hour, his identity was still up for grabs. The plot details were less important than the regularity of the music and the rhythms and the pace. Even if she couldn't remember the story line, she never wanted to leave before the final credits rolled.
 
 
Some things never changed.


And so, I'm not sure what kind of anniversary reaction Hospice expects me to have. I know I did the best that I could. I know that she was grateful for my care. She lived a long, full, life, and though her physical being never met FlapJilly, Little Cuter and SIR and I know that her spirit was hovering over them for the nine months her great-granddaughter spent in my little girl's womb. They got her parking karma and her love, and I got to spend those months imagining my mom doing what I could not – guarding the baby.
 
 
I'll be on the lookout for the symptoms and signs of an adverse reaction as December 5th draws nigh, but I'm not expecting much. I have no reason to revisit any sadness. G'ma wouldn't want it that way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

They've Always Wanted Control

They.... you know who they are... they are the ones who disagree with you.  Doesn't matter what that topic is, they are on the other side.  You try to get along with them, but it's hard because they are so obviously, fundamentally, incontrovertibly wrong.  For this post, they are men who want to control women's bodies. 

I'm reading Classic Tragi-Comedies for my Humanities Seminar this semester.  We started with Plautus's Amphytrion.  Jupiter impersonates the husband, impregnates the unknowing, already-pregnant-by-her-husband wife, convinces the returned-from-the-war husband that it is a great honor to have his offspring share the womb with the child of a god, and the fact that he didn't trust his wife when she swore she had been true is never dealt with to my satisfaction.

The husband's honor was restored.  The god had the sex he desired.  The woman, carrying her rapist's child, is merely a foil to the men's wants and desires.  She is less human than chattel.

We moved on to All's Well That Ends Well, with Shakespeare's mix of mismatched suitors and wanton desires and pure maidens and scheming of all kinds. Bertram's right to attempt the seduction of the Widow's Daughter goes unchallenged by his friends, his servants, and even the maiden herself.  It is understood that his need to conquer her is part of being a manly man. She must protect her chastity so that she will be worthy in the eyes of the world; he must rob her of her most precious possession ... because he can?... because he must?.... because he really really wants to?

It seemed to me that the answer was All of the Above.

Fuenteovejuna was written in Spain by Lope de Vega, a contemporary of Shakespeare.  Once again, a woman's virtue is the nexus of the plot.  How, the potential victim rails, can her father and her uncle and her town stand by as she is dragged off to be violated?  She, with cunning similar to Bertram's Helena, engineers her own salvation. Still, at the end we are left to wonder why, exactly, her menfolk were reluctant to deny the Commandant his right to their women's bodies? 

I began to wonder if they didn't really care about the women as humans to be cherished, but saw them only as collateral damage, like higher taxes and torture.

It all came to a head for me in Moliere's Tartuffe.  Dad decides that his daughter should marry the hateful charlatan instead of her beloved.  The girl sighs.  She whines. Her maid speaks with a 21st century voice, whittling away at her Master and her Mistress with all the reasons you or I would summon if we were confronted with the situation today. 

She's a comic character.

I was thinking these deep thoughts as I drove home this morning.  I was thinking about reproductive freedoms and how little has changed since early Rome.  Women still bear the stigma for rape and the burden of unwanted pregnancy.  Men are still lauded for their sexual prowess and women face slut shaming for similar behaviors.  Only the annoying feminist, the one who speaks up and demands a reality check, only she raises her voice, it seems. 

And she's played for laughs.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting Cleaned Up

It's one of those posts, again, denizens.  One of those whiny, why-can't-I-do-better, my life is a mess posts.  Blame it on Ernie.  I am. 

My desk is, once again, an untenable place for creative thought.  My mind, barely linear in the best of times, is distracted by coupons for 17 bonus prints per month and a half finished Merle Reagle Thursday crossword and the notice of Meg Wolitzer's appearance at the Literary & Prologue Society of the Southwest which reminds me that I have to pick up the book which reminds me that it is one of the very few novels I put down and never picked up again and there I am at the end of a languid conversation with myself but nowhere near where I wanted to be, post-wise.

Every time I clean it p I vow that it will never be this messy again.  I am at an inflection point right now; I can still see the desktop peeking through the detritus.  A quick glance reveals paper itineraries for trips already take, paper bills which have already been paid, and various pages I thought were important but which turn out to have no relevance for today.  It will be a simple matter to dispose of them. 

I'll be right back. 

I updated the sidebar (Movies) and tossed the paper reminding me of Harlow's adventures among the upper crust.  I filed paper bills and had the conversation about saving them or shredding them since they are on-line anyway and I've already seen them and reviewed them, which is easier in hard copy though the bill shows up in the bank's Bill Pay program which helps me pay them in a timely manner.  Those red BILL DUE icons are real attention grabbers..... and do you see what's happening here?  I go about the business of organizing and I end up in an existential conversation about the reality of bills on the interwebs.  Silly, but true.

I stacked the photos I've printed close to hand; I need to compare them to the ones still in digital storage  Some things need to be handled without a screen; I'm finding that FlapJilly pictures fall into that category.... define that category ..... are everywhere.  I have the Neiman Marcus 2014 Christmas Book on the giant expanse of desktop before me.  It is next to but not on top of a project for my granddaughter, that crossword puzzle, and the sample ballot for next week's trip to the voting booth. 

With that done, I should be able to turn my attention to the floor surrounding my desk.  I've created a moat of unusual dimensions, whose constituent pieces include Lenore the Lenovo Laptop's recyclable cardboard box and the giant reusable grocery bag from Staples which held my brand new keyboard until I looked into its depths as I started this post.  I installed the tiny USB plug into the tower and, after figuring out how to minimize the maximization of the images on the screen, I have been reaping the benefits of putting things away as I've been typing this post. 

I wish I could remember this feeling.  It might help me maintain the current state of orderliness. 

Or not.

I bought much too much yarn for an afghan I decided not to make after all and now it is sitting in a big white plastic bag, continuing the mess moat around the side of the desk to the larger of two recycle bins.  There's an even larger reusable Century 21 bag containing four ancient skeins of yarn from G'ma's stash.  I saved the brightest colors; I'm making a lap rug for Meditation; the room is too cold for clothes which are appropriate for Tucson's outdoors.  I wish I had another drawer for yarn... but I don't.... and if I ever wished for an attic or a basement it's at times like these.

Used to be, TBG and I would pull up stakes and move to a new house when things got this messy.  Sadly, that is no longer an option.  I am going to have to get used to the fact that messes will accumulate and demand attention.  If only I could get Ernie and his yard guys to work their magic inside as well as out. 

In les than three hours this morning, four men pruned and cut and sawed and climbed and raked and blew and carried and now the outside of my house is pristine.  There is nothing to move.  All I have to do is look and enjoy it.

Kind of like my desk... for the moment.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Who Wants to Speak Against the Children's Museum?

I received the invitation verbally, 18 hours before the hearing.  Would I write an email in support of the January 8th Memorial Foundation's request for a bond to support the project?  Would I ask my Tucson-email-list to do the same... as long as they could do it before 8am the next day?  Would I be free tomorrow to attend the hearing, lending my physical as well as written presence to the process? 

Sure, sure and sure... as long as I could leave in time for Pilates at 10. I typed an email from my account and one from TBG's account and thanked Amster for the work she'd done in a similar vein for The Fire Chief, and herself.  I encouraged Elizibeth to write one, too; it's her history as much as it is mine or her parents'.  My email list was polled early Friday morning; some were actually awake and able to send a sentence or two themselves. 

I put on my Fall-in-the-desert-go-to-meeting dress (cotton, sleeveless, dark brown in deference to the season), my long strand of white Pop-It beads, and I was good to go. The Schnozz and I cruised down the highway to a mid-century-modern-set-on-the-frontage-road hotel.  I was two minutes late when I pulled into the parking lot.  By the time I filled out my "don't want to speak/do want to make a comment" card and entered the ballroom, the meeting was well underway.

Ballrooms are ballrooms, whether they are surrounded by the Ritz Carlton or a local, convenient-to-downtown, hotel.  The carpet pattern is busy enough to compete with stains, the ceiling is just a little bit lower than feels comfortable, the buffet is on long tables on the far side of the room, the chandeliers are oddly placed for most every use.  This one was no exception.  Rows of folding chairs arranged with a center aisle ending in a podium facing the open end of the U of the committee's seats.

Typical. Unimaginative. Functional. There was nothing to distract my attention from the business at hand.  That turned out to be both a blessing and a curse.

I walked in on the County Administrator's explanatory remarks.  He had numbers and facts and I had a sense that he was competent and comfortable as I hugged fellow survivors and found a seat in the front row and heard the chair of the committee ask the title question:
Who wants to speak against the Children's Museum?
There was laughter which lasted well into the calling of the question and the vote.  Obviously, some projects are protected. 

Every bond measure on the ballot must go through the Bond Advisory Committee of Pima County. The BAC polls the community by mail, social media, newspapers, radio, as they seek to discover which projects have the most community support.  No one likes a bond measure which fails; part of the BAC analysis is the ability of a project's sponsors to generate public support, which will translate into votes on Election Day. 

Once I thought it all through, I supposed it would be fairly churlish to speak against the Children's Museum.  A committee member did object to the bond funding an upgrade to the Africa Exhibit at the Reid Park. He said that Africa was AIDS and starving children and violence and an absent infrastructure and seeing animals penned up was a bad lesson for everyone and after he was finished and the audience was finished shaking its collective head, someone mentioned the new baby elephant who graces the news and newspaper almost every day and then the chair asked
Who else wants to speak against the zoo?
and there was laughter and a vote and then there were a few more proposals whose budgets were examined and compared to previous iterations and some were approved and one or two were not and the discussion was thoughtful and mission-specific.  Questions were given precise answers.  The items which were moved forward were done so after due consideration.

Item H, the Old Courthouse/Western Art Museum/Jan 8 Memorial bond, came before the Committee at 9am; the vote was held at 9:30.  In between there were one minute presentations by a collector who wants to give his stuff to Tucson and wants the community to pay for a space to house it; by former Mayor Walkup, who smiled and agreed that Tucson is a great place and needs to get this done; by a survivor who spoke of the response and the outpouring of love and the items which are archived but need a permanent home.... and then there were questions.

Is it more cost effective to do all three projects at once?  Yes, oh most certainly yes.

Can the open courtyard and surrounding balcony continue to be used as a party space? Yes, every evening if we can.

When did the Western Art Museum come to include Native American art, too? This one stumped the panel and the audience.  The query sat in the air for a moment, and then the chair moved the discussion on.

Will there be one admission fee for both spaces?  This is all in the conceptual stage.  We have not gotten that far. We have just received funding for the artists' Request for Proposals.

That's about when it hit me.  Item H was a request for $35,000,000 ... which is a lot of zeroes for a project yet to be designed.  Given the quality of the previous inquiries, I expected the panelists to probe further into the dollar amounts ... but that admission fee was as far as anyone got.

Apparently, the Memorial is a topic about which no one is willing to speak against.  That convoluted sentence is as twisted up on itself much as I was while watching the process.  I was glad that my confusion was swallowed up in talk about open corridors broken into make-shift offices, of structural upgrades, of the beauty of the site itself. 

Behind it all, lurked January 8th.  The bond was approved, we supporters left en masse, I shared FlapJilly photos and drove on to Pilates.  Bonds and plans and fellow survivors-of-the-aftermath filled the first part of my day; my own rehab would fill the rest. 

The community may need a physical structure to help it remember.  I'm carrying my own memorial in my limp and in the hole in my heart. I think that's why I can't be more involved in the planning, why I'm happy to be a prop to be toted out when my presence will add something to the equation, why I am ambivalent about the whole thing.

After all, no one wants to speak against January 8th.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Snippet


A group of women, sitting seaside, dining on shellfish and salads.

Shared experiences long ago have brought them together, with another, visiting for the weekend.

Out of a comfortable silence, one asks of all of them and none of them and of herself as well:
Is anyone else friends with SoAndSo on Facebook?
 The silence was suddenly less amiable. 

Eyes were raised, shoulders shrugged, heads nodded.

Then, she asked the question that stumped us all.
Does anyone know who she is?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Living in a Battleground State

Granted, it's not like Pennsylvania in 1865.  There is only a war of words, not bullets and bayonets. No one is dying, except, perhaps, a small piece of myself... the piece that believes in the process.  Right now, the process stinks.

Martha McSally, the Republican, Tea Party supported candidate for the seat once held by Gabby Giffords, is using our former congresswoman's name and image in her ads.  There is a little old lady saying that "Gabby was independent ... and so is Martha ... and that's where my vote will be cast."  There are three sheriffs who appeared in an ad for Gabby's last run, who are now voting for McSally because the incumbent, Gabby's former director of community relations and her hand picked candidate in 2012, "is no Gabby Giffords."  A third ad reminds me that "Gabby Giffords supported border security measures," before it goes off on a rampage against our current Congressman.

I scream every time one of those ads appears on the television.  How dare they use her name?  How dare they show her photo?  How dare they use her record to bolster the campaign of a woman whose views are diametrically opposed to everything for which Gabby stood?  Reproductive freedoms.... sensible background checks for gun ownership... a benevolent attitude toward Dreamers and other undocumented denizens of our state... backing the Affordable Care Act..... McSally is on the other... the wrong... side of each one of them.

Gabby, too, was furious.  She created her own ad, starting the thirty seconds with an acknowledgment that "it is hard for me to speak," and going on to tear into the ads which used her image to support a woman with whom she has nothing in common.  It broke my heart to think abut the creation of that ad.  Taking time from therapy, learning a script, staying calm in the face of abuse of her persona, her reputation, her self.

With all she's been through in these past four years, I'm saddened that she has to defend herself in this way.  Even worse, the ads are clever enough to confuse a voter who might not be conversant with the issues and the personalities involved.  A cursory glance at the tv can easily lead to the conclusion that Martha McSally is closer to the positions held by Gabrielle Giffords than Ron Barber could ever hope to be. 

I scream.  I grit my teeth.  I throw (soft) things across the living room.  I am offended on Gabby's behalf.

The DCCC and the RNC and an assortment of PAC's are funding louder ads.  These screech about ObamaCare and privatizing social security and saving the A-10s at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.  My favorite one has about 200 words; 150 of them are Ron Barber/Nancy Pelosi.  I doubt that many listeners can accurately place Ms Pelosi in the governmental hierarchy; she's a lightning rod for "I hate Liberals" I suppose.  Still, the fact that Mr. Barber accepted financial support from a leader of his party seems to be enough to inflame Ms McSally's base.

I'd love to be able to vote for her.  She has had a stellar military career. She's been an educator in the military war colleges.  She's strong willed and intelligent.  Unfortunately, I disagree with her on everything.  Everything.  No exceptions.  And, perhaps, that's why I'm so offended by her advertising. 

Would I be more willing to accept her use of Gabby's fame  if I agreed with her positions?  I like to think not.

And so, in the long commercial breaks in the World Series (GO GIANTS!) and Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football, TBG sit on Douglas and grit our teeth. There is no attempt to teach.  There are no useful facts presented.  There is only divisiveness and distrust.

I know it's been this way since the beginning of time. I've read Cato.  I've seen the editorial cartoons from the Lincoln/Douglas race.  I know I'm na├»ve to wish for a more intelligent exchange of ideas.  Still, you can't blame a girl for hoping.... can you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Futility

I'm trying.  I really am trying.  I'm just not having very much success.

I took many lovely pictures of my weekend in Santa Monica.  I walked the depth of the beach, from the boardwalk
 to the ocean.
 
I saw the original Hotel California
and Muscle Beach and the Boardwalk. 
I'd love to share more of the photographs, but technology is getting in my way.
 
Lenore the Lenovo Laptop served me admirably on my trip.  She was perfect for blogging in a comfy chair along the staircase at my hotel.
Now that I am home and trying to do more than email, now I am having issues.
 
 The salesman in Best Buy told me that Lenovo was IBM in the way that Acer swallowed up what was the remains of Gateway.  I took a moment while he was ringing up my purchase to mourn the demise of those cow boxes, and then moved on.  There was some minor instruction about shifting the screens and revealing other screens but he assured me that I would find it intuitive.
 
I stared.  I thought of my children, giggling at the thought of this new device, intuitive, and their mother all in the same sentence.  I was shown the on/off switch.  I was surprised that my inability to locate the most important button on the equipment didn't alert him to the possibility that I would find other features inaccessible. 
 
He offered me insurance, which I bought, and promised to replace Lenore if Best Buy couldn't fix what I'd broken.  It's an equal, one for one, guarantee.  I don't know how they make money on it, but I'm sure they do.  I would pay to have someone sit with me and explain the things I cannot fathom, but that option was not presented.
 
So, today, home from a wedding and my grandbaby, exhausted from the change in altitude and breathing airplane air, and readjusting to the time zone, I thought I would treat myself to editing the photos on my new toy.  Lenore was fully charged and ready to go.  My belly was full and my ice tea was at hand. 
 
I was stumped. 
 
The photos exist in a variety of places.  They originated on my phone.  I uploaded them to Dropbox, not realizing that Dropbox had automatically uploaded them, too.  Somehow, they were visible on Google+, which must be an automatic upload as well.  I think that they are in the Verizon Cloud, but I have no idea where that portal lies. 
 
There are times when I yearn for pen and paper and waiting at the 1-hour photo shop.
 
I want to move the pictures from one of those locations to a photo editing program on Lenore.  The Start screen has an intriguingly named CameraMan icon, and another icon announcing that it is the Camera Roll.   CameraMan will take my picture, but that is of no use to me right now. Camera Roll tells me that there are no photos in the file. 
 
I know.  I know.  I know.  I'm trying to get them there.
 
Lenore came with a newer version of Windows than that which I am used to on my old, desktop.  I know how to find My Pictures when I'm working here, at the desk, on the old unit.  I can't find it anywhere on Lenore.  I can open Dropbox and Google+ and see the photos there, but I have no idea how to select them and move them to a file on Lenore's hard drive.
 
Pencils and paper.... I'm yearning.......
 
I've played with swiping and adding apps and reading Help and none of it is useful.  I am frustrated and flummoxed and quite annoyed.  The only place with which my photos work seamlessly is Blogger, the platform I use to write to you.  They've added a way to upload photos directly from my phone, without going through another app.  I can't edit them, but I can upload ones which require no help.
 
I will work on it.  I will conquer it.  I might need some outside assistance, but I will get it done.  When?  That's another story entirely.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mission Garden

As I began to tell you last week, The Happy Ladies Garden Club went to The Birthplace of Tucson.
This is the view from Sentinel Peak, a high spot over the location of the Presidio the white settlers established. 
Now it is the home of the University of Arizona's giant A, and a hiking and sightseeing destination
I followed the Happy Ladies around the garden's surrounding adobe brick wall and through this gate.
The produce the garden creates was on a table to our left, but we were not allowed to look.
Our guide led us into the recreation of what used to be. 
The Santa Cruz River ran year 'round up until the 1600's.
Greenery was everywhere.
If you can grow a bigger sunflower in your backyard, post us a picture in the comments.
Personally, I'm going with "this is the biggest thing I've ever seen."
The goose neck squash we saw were the second blossoms of the season.
They were in the Three Sisters Garden.
Corn, beans, and squash fed the community all year long.
The tall corn stalks shaded the lower growing vegetation during the heat of the summer.
When they died back, the others took turns as staples.
It wasn't only veggies.
Fruit limes flourished as well.
Benches span the irrigation canals and the bermed beds

Grapevines for wine were tried, both trellised and left low.
It's an experimental garden, too. 
The volunteers built a ramada, using native branches.
The open weave let a gentle breeze through while sheltering us from the Arizona sun.
And finally, lest you think that I am living in a mythical Garden of Eden,
here is a blue agave, growing in the rocks and the dirt.
When it's grown, the juice will be distilled and tequila will be made.
 
Life in the desert is good.








Monday, October 20, 2014

More Love

The conservative Attorney General of the State of Arizona has given up the fight.  No longer willing to tilt against the prevailing tide of judicial and public opinion, he agreed that the Circuit Court's ruling on laws similar to Arizona's left him with no choice - same sex marriage will now be legal in my state.

That's a statement which brings a smile to my face, given how I spent the beginning of my vacation.

There were simple centerpieces 
and there was carrot cake 
because the blonde bride loves carrot cake.
Little Cuter told me that.
They've been friends since they were 8. 
Their friendship spanned six or seven soccer teams.
It included tennis camps and camping trips and family ski vacations.
There are inside jokes - Little Cuter telling us to SHUT UP I'M SLEEPING when her snoring was the reason the rest of us in the tent were awake - and fond memories of pumpkin patching on the first Saturday in October for years and years and years.
 
Her mom and I depended upon one another like sisters, since  neither of us had family in California.  She balanced my checkbook every month and I never felt demeaned that I couldn't accomplish in four hours what she could finish in fifteen minutes.  I was never embarrassed that she knew just how much I'd spent on my VISA card.  We were in each others lives, non-invasive but totally connected.
 
And now her little girl is as happy as mine.
In her fabulous wedding gown, she was glowing from the inside out. 
I've never seen her so happy.... and I've known her for 21 years.
She was relaxed, comfortable in her own skin, delighting in her status and her love and her surroundings.  It filled my heart with joy.
 
When the evening news is filled with stories from Ferguson and Syria and Hong Kong, it's warming the very cockles of my heart that Arizona has provided a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dismal autumn.
 
With hate oozing out of every corner of the planet, why would anyone deny these two the opportunity to love ... in public ... with recognition and acceptance and pride?


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