Life, Love and Kindness

Small Comfort

I posted this on my old blog on July 9, 2011 after we said good-bye to our sweet Daisy. I’m re-posting this for Stephanie Miller, who is going through the same grief today for her beloved Max.

We know you’ve been hurting for a long time. And you were getting so tired.

You spent the day in the sunshine, wandering the yard and nosing in the sage for lizards. Then you came inside to take a nap at my feet. I brushed you one last time, and then you and I and Dad went for a ride. One of your favorite things to do. Sissy met us there. And then we said good-bye as you fell asleep in our arms. It was as peaceful as we could have hoped for.

Thank you for being our big brown doggie.

Daisy, July 8, 2011

I don’t believe in heaven
And I know that there’s no hell,
I don’t think you’ve gone anywhere,
And I guess that’s just as well

‘Cause I want to remember
the last look in your eyes
It was the best and worst thing
to get to say goodbye
to you~

They say we’re not s’posed to comprehend,
But I wanna know more
Being there with you at the end
was a pain I had hoped for

Did you know where you were going?
Did you like the time you’d spent?
I wish that you’d stayed longer,
But that’s not how it went

Now I know there’s no forever,
but of all the hearts I’ve met,
I think the place we ended up
was as close as one could get,
did you~?

They say we’re not s’posed to understand
That doesn’t help me
Watching you leave by my own hand
Were the cards that were dealt me

Some would blame the dealer,
some would blame the deal,
some would make up stories
that never could be real

I hope when you left,
You were glad to be back home,
I think that you knew
You would never be alone

I’ve no need for heaven,
Or some eternal bluff,
I prefer what’s real
And what we had here was enough

I’m glad I get to miss you
but that you can never miss me
Thinking you’ll wake up and see us
is your eternity…
small comfort
I miss you
I miss you
I lo~
——————
Small Comfort” ~ George Hrab, Trebuchet

Hillary Clinton, Kick-Ass Women, Politics

Two years ago today

I posted this on Facebook two years ago on April 2, 2016.  I had been asked to speak on Hillary Clinton’s behalf at our County Convention. I wouldn’t change a word of this.

So… some people asked me if they could see what I intended to say today at the Washoe County Democratic Convention, before I was booed and heckled and lost enough of my five minutes that I was asked to cut it short. Below are my full remarks:

When I was asked speak to you, I was at once happy and nervous. After all, I knew I’d be talking to a ‘mixed crowd.’ But I know that I have friends on both sides of the arena today.

Mostly I wanted to honor Hillary Rodham Clinton and her life’s work, and why I believe she should be the next President of the United States. And five minutes just isn’t enough time to do her justice.

I have a confession to make. I have not always been Hillary Clinton’s biggest fan.

It wasn’t until I actually began to push through the media narrative to examine her history, her life-long commitment to issues near and dear to my heart, her ability to work across the aisle to make things better for people, and the loyalty and friendships she’s made and kept over the years, that I began to look at her in a new light, and how, eventually, she moved from last place to first in my personal Presidential Preference Poll. I’ve been on board ever since.

And I’m not the only one she has won over. As Jon Favreau, President Obama’s speech writer (and 2007 Hillary Clinton nemesis) wrote recently:

“This same story has repeated itself throughout Clinton’s career: those who initially view her as distrustful and divisive from afar find her genuine and cooperative in person. It was the case with voters in New York, Republicans in the Senate, Obama people in the White House, and heads of state all over the world. There’s a reason being America’s chief diplomat was the specific job Obama asked Hillary to do—she has the perfect personality for it.”

There is no candidate running to be the President of the United States who is better prepared to take on the responsibilities of the job who has the depth of knowledge and breadth of experience to deal with the many challenges facing our country that Hillary Clinton has. No one.

I know that when she is in the White House I won’t have to worry about national and world affairs. I know that she has the ability and the intelligence to handle whatever comes her way.

For me, it all comes down to this: She cares. And she always has. But, honestly? The caring part is easy. The solutions part, the fighting to make it right part? That’s hard. That takes a plan. And let me tell you, the woman has a plan. She has lots of them. She has plans for the big challenges and the small ones.

She is a problem solver. She doesn’t wring her hands and point fingers. She gathers the best minds she can, and works to find common ground and solutions that will benefit as many people as possible. This has been her way for decades. As she said at the conclusion of her 1995 speech in Beijing:

“We must move beyond rhetoric. We must move beyond recognition of problems to working together… to have the common efforts to build that common ground we hope to see.”

I trust her to fight for us in the things that matter most for us. The kind of things that, indeed, keep us up at night.

I trust her to fight for women and children, because she always has, from her earliest days with the Children’s Defense Fund, through her years as First Lady of Arkansas, as First Lady of the United States, as United States Senator and finally, as Secretary of State. The advancement of women and children has always been her focus.

I trust her to fight for the right of women to make their own reproductive choices. As Senator, Hillary Clinton introduced 8 pieces of legislation with the clear purpose of expanding and protecting women’s access to reproductive health care — more than any other presidential candidate.

I trust her to fight for equal pay for equal work.

I trust her to fight to make college affordable for all.

I trust her to stand up to Wall Street.

I trust her to fight for universal health care and to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix where it falls short. Health care has been her fight for decades and she’s not stopping now.

I trust her to take on substance abuse and to work end the stigma of mental illness.

I trust her to fight for veterans.

I trust her to fight for the Dreamers.

I trust her to fight to reform our criminal justice system.

I trust her to fight to end gun violence.

I trust her to fight inequality in all its forms.

I trust her because she understands that the problems we face are multi-faceted and complex. That more often than not there is not a one-size fits all solution to a problem. That intersectionality requires working on numerous fronts to address what looks to be a singular problem.

I trust her to fight for us, not because she says she will, but because she’s been doing it for decades.

I trust her to fight for us, because she IS a fighter. No matter how much is thrown at her, no matter how many times she’s knocked down, she stands back up and gets to work.

Which brings me to my final point. At her 2009 Senate confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said:

“Too often, we see the ills that plague us more clearly than the possibilities in front of us, but it is the real possibility of progress, of that better life free from fear and want and discord, that offers our most compelling message to the rest of the world.”

At the end of the day, Hillary gives me hope. She has a spirit of deep optimism that I often struggle to find. Not a blind faith Panglossian “everthing’s great” optimism, but a deep abiding faith in the American people and in the future of our country and the world.

I don’t know where she gets it. It is something deep in her core. She has a resilience and strength that gives me hope just enough ledge to keep my toes on.

And that’s why I’m With Her.

Thank you.

Life, Self

It’s gotta go

My uterus, I mean.

Complex Hyperplasia with Atypia

Many women who have symptoms of endometrial cancer (vaginal bleeding after menopause or abnormal menstrual bleeding) may have a biopsy that shows precancerous changes of the endometrium, called complex hyperplasia with atypia. Risk is high that 25 to 50 percent of these women will go on to develop endometrial cancer.

To reduce the risk, doctors usually advise women with this condition to have a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus) if they are past childbearing years or do not intend to become pregnant. Many gynecologists refer these women to a gynecologic oncologist for their surgery because of the chance of finding true cancer at the time of the hysterectomy.

Hopefully this will be done before the end of the year and that the final pathology report doesn’t indicate cancer. My biopsy report left that window open, and I don’t think it can be ruled out until they can take a good look at everything.

Life, Self

On Hold

Something’s wrong. What, exactly, is not yet known. We’re supposed to find out tomorrow. Or sometime this week. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s something. If it’s something, it may be bad. If it’s bad, just how bad?

Self

This post has been sitting in my drafts for ten months. Not much has changed.

I’ve been told that when you go through trauma, you should not make any life decisions. You should hold off on getting married, or quitting your job, or starting something that’s completely new.  Don’t make any important life decisions when you’ve experienced a traumatic event. Give yourself time to heal, we are told.

And the only experience I ever had with actual trauma was when we went through the Reno Air Races crash in 2011 and we availed ourselves of grief counseling where we were told we should be careful. We should be careful… not to drink too much, for instance, and to not make any important life decisions at that time.

It made sense. When someone is traumatized, they feel helpless and will grasp at anything that will help them feel some sense of control again.

So, it’s been a little over a month since the election and I kept thinking that, at some point, the trauma would ease. That the panic and grief I felt that night would would abate. And although I don’t cry every single day any more, it still happens on a regular enough basis that I know I am not past this.  And I don’t think that I ever will be.

So where does that leave me? What do I do in my life?

I have a very good job. I am paid well. I am surrounded by good people and my supervisors respect and trust me. But I am so very, very restless right now and feel like I don’t offer enough to the world in that position, and that I should be doing something so much more meaningful than making travel arrangements, filing expense reports, scheduling meetings and the like.

I can’t find any satisfaction in it right now. And I used to. I used to find satisfaction in the job that I did well and allowed me enough money to pay my bills, be helpful to my family, pay for my toys, and support causes I believed in. Because all was pretty nice, pretty good in my world, but now I just find myself stuck.

And I don’t know when that’s going to change.

Critical Thinking, Feminism, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Science

What does Carl Sagan have to do with Hillary Clinton?

Re-upping this 2010 post from my now shuttered blog, Blue Lyon. The only edit I would make is to add this to the third paragraph: “See also the treatment of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and its aftermath.” 

A Sunday Morning Reading: Carl Sagan, Science and Witchcraft

In The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (Ballantine Books, 1996), Carl Sagan stressed over and over again the need for science literacy, critical thinking and skepticism. We need not understand the finer points of each scientific discipline, but we need to understand the scientific method and how to apply it in our daily lives, as well as in our national and international policy-making.witch-torture

Sagan also argued that ignorance of what-came-before can set us up to commit the same errors in the here-and-now. Understanding the past is key to living in the present and planning for the future. To not know our history and our human propensity for unskeptical thinking  is to doom us to continually make the same mistakes, to never move forward, or worse, finish ourselves off as a species.

In Chapter 24, Science and Witchcraft, Sagan revisits the witch hunts of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries that consumed Europe and America.  The parallels in the following passage to today’s political environment are striking: Guantanamo, indefinite detention, military commissions-vs-civilian courts, National Day of Prayer, torture, the run up to the Iraq war, the prosecution of whistle-blowers, even the 2008 Democratic primaries.

Sagan appears prescient. He wasn’t. He was just aware of history.

If we do not  know what we’re capable of, we cannot appreciate measures taken to protect us from ourselves. I discussed the European witch mania in the alien abduction context; I hope the reader will forgive me for returning to it in its political context. It is an aperture to human self-knowledge. If we focus on what was considered acceptable evidence and a fair trial by the religious and secular authorities in the fifteenth-to-seventeenth century witch hunts, many of the novel and peculiar features of the eighteenth-century U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights become clear: including trial by jury, prohibitions against self-incrimination and against cruel and unusual punishment, freedom of speech and the press, due process, the balance of powers and the separation of church and state.Friedrich von Spee (pronounced “Shpay”) was a Jesuit priest who had the misfortune to hear the confessions of those accused of witchcraft in the German City of Würzburg (see Chapter 7). In 1631, he published Cautio Criminalis (Precautions for Prosecutors), which exposed the essence of the Church/State terrorism against the innocent. Before he was punished he died of the plague – as a parish priest serving the afflicted. Here is an except from his whistle-blowing book: Continue reading “What does Carl Sagan have to do with Hillary Clinton?”