#21 Responding…

Annis’ blog on finding your own voice as a writer, and Natalia’s blog on being prepared with a plan and go-bag are the subjects of this blog of ours today. They may not seem related, but we will attempt to show how to us–right now– they are inextricably linked–again, to us.

On finding your writing voice, Annis is absolutely point on. When one finds that voice it is YOURS. Just as you recognize the writing voice of an oft-read writer, your voice, too, becomes recognizable to those who read what you pen. Yes, as she noted, you can try a different or new way of writing, but your voice will be heard, sooner or later, as you slide into the realm of integrity in your written words. Ergo–you cannot hide. No anonymity. Your voice comes through. Be warned. Your perceptions, your truths, are “out there.” Personal experience validates this. You will be able to offer sincere comfort, light-hearted humor (in our case usually sarcastic), your anger, frustrations, core values and morals. Some will read your voice/writing and will appreciate it whether they agree or disagree, while others will condemn and reject it. That’s the price/reward for writing in your voice. Let it be said again, Annis’ blog was point on.

Natalia wrote about having a PLAN in these current times with a go-bag at the ready to meet basic needs if you’re suddenly displaced for any reason. Her writing helped us think about what we would NEED, just in case. Are we prepared? Could we survive with a go-bag–or like her, a small wagon with stuff needed for survival? We have no fur-babies any longer, no other humans to plan for, but we do need to plan and prepare for just us. Because of personal health issues that occur unexpectedly for our body, certain things would be necessities. These things can happen whether in a situation such as what goes on currently in our nation, that we as a people face, or when things seem “normal” or routine. One of our go-bag items–even overnight items–is a notebook and pen or pencil. If we should “forget”, we are known to write on receipts and/or paper towels, etc. However, we rarely forget those essentials. It is SMART to read Natalia’s blog and ACT on it. Being forced to suddenly evacuate or strike out for survival is not an extreme or far-fetched idea. Remember the not so long ago “run” on toilet paper when corvid19 was finally acknowledeged as reality with quarantines? This is reality now. So yes, everyone should follow her advice and prepare. We have. It does not create anxiety or paranoia but rather self-confidence and a sense of comfort knowing we have it covered.

So how do these blogs become linked? At least, for us? Simply put: TRUTH +SURVIVAL PREPAREDNESS = REALITY.

If you dare to speak your truth in your voice, you may need to go into survival mode. Grab your go-bag and hide out for speaking/writing the truth. Speaking out against what you see as religious hypocrisy, the “church”, the government–uh-oh. Standing up for LGBTQ rights and dignity, minorities, women, children abused and/or in cages, the homeless–uh-oh. Writing in your voice can necessitate a go-bag. Scientists, morally upright folks, real Christians, heroes that speak out in ALL facets of life are disparaged, bullied, receive death threats. Add an earthquake, flood, hurricane, drought to the mix and…we think you get it.

It takes guts to speak out, pen those words that others don’t want to read/hear or refuse to read/hear. With the turmoil, disinformation, confusion, death that surrounds us all, we have to be ready to flee if we are to survive to write another day in the future. Hence, since many of our blogs tend to offend or cause discomfort–as people degenerate into blaming, name-calling, verbal ridicule and chiding–our go-bag is packed and read to be grabbed as it sits by the door and we head out that door. Why not just be quiet, you may ask? Because we believe every voice counts, even ours.

THAT is our response to two beautifully written blogs that mean so much to us. Good-bye.

#20 To Do List for Tomorrow

Having no idea how many days of quarantine have elapsed, the need to get organized with an actual to-do list should be uppermost—right? (BTW anyone know what day of the week it is?) So here is the to-do list for tomorrow since today is shot–somewhere–somehow…

  1. Get up by 7 (probably)
  2. Make bed (Hmmm, maybe save that for the next day)
  3. Shower (Yeah, clean clothes and bod would be good, probably–pending)
  4. Coffee–definitely Pot after pot after pot
  5. Tall glass of milk to counteract coffee after first pot
  6. Go sit on front porch and see who comes out in neighborhood
  7. IF anyone comes out, yell hi and wave — if not, watch grass grow
  8. Go to side of house to visit lizard friend made–talk, inquire as to his health
  9. Scroll FB, twitter, emails until battery gets dangerously low
  10. Go inside and charge phone
  11. Check date and time on computer
  12. Turn on news with another glass of milk to soothe stomach
  13. Sit on unmade bed, think about turning off news
  14. Go outside when phone up to 50%charge
  15. Check in with people who care–see what they are doing
  16. Check in with friends with pets–check on pets
  17. Run down battery scrolling again
  18. In house to make another pot of coffee and charge battery on phone
  19. Time to eat for third time–actual meal this time
  20. News? No, running low on milk
  21. Read for hour or two with music on
  22. Think about list for next day
  23. Write–add thoughts in journal or wherever
  24. Self introspection on what learned in seven decades (short list there)
  25. Tell jokes to crows outside
  26. Nap time? Nah–go tell crows more jokes
  27. Watch sun and clouds
  28. Predict weather for next five days
  29. More coffee
  30. Play a game on tablet
  31. Walk to edge of yard to see who is essential and went to work because car is gone
  32. Think about tomorrow’s bed-making
  33. Eat again
  34. Check computer again to make sure it is still the same day
  35. Watch the sun go down and say goodnight to the crows
  36. Go binge watch Netflix and fall asleep hopefully
  37. Dream of waking up and making bed

Boy! Tomorrow will be busy! Yay!

#19 Evolution of Words

Words evolve as cultures and societies use them to express their feelings, all of them. This will be a short blog as it only concerns one word that we used to find amusing, that made us smile at its irony, and now has evolved into one of causing us to shake our heads in somber reflection. Our particular take on the word and its evolution in our mind has taken place in a matter of weeks that seem to span a lifetime when in reality, it can be confined to just days. So, as not to offend, know that this word is not “nice” and you can quit reading right here. (our disclaimer)

When we reached the chronological age to apply for Social Security and Medicare, along with the numerous offerings of supplemental health coverage, we started filling out papers, going online, making phone calls. Having had to manipulate our way through the “system” at times in our lives, we hunkered down, determined to do it once again. Yes, it was frustrating and time consuming and no one seemed to have a short, concise answer to any questions we had–or even recommendations as to how we should proceed. And the government handbook on these topics? Oh! Our aching head! Friends, watching and hearing our tale for the day at trying to maneuver the system, would smile, sadly, and offer, “Yeah, I hear ya!” So when we finally were signed up, not entirely confident after all of it, we laughed, hesitantly, and said, “Yep! It was a clusterfuck. ” It brought a smile to our face, a little humor into traversing the incompetency of those we had to communicate with in the system, and in calling “official” offices–the numerous times we were on hold or transferred from one incompetent person to another. BUT WE DID IT! And we still maintain, it was a total clusterfuck! We do hope you didn’t have to go through what we did! And will not in the future. Yes, the word made us smile in wry and ironic humor–then. It was doable. Better to laugh than cry, right?

But now, as we are home-bound to protect others and ourselves from an insidious virus…? We read, we watch professionals that are supposed to know what they are doing and many who do not. We see lying, profiteering, and an attitude of hey–everybody dies from something. Of course, that often comes from those who have access to testing, medical care, etc. We see others who are fearful, anxious and rightly so, pain, and not knowing anything for sure. Governors have stepped up, some of them, and beautiful stories of compassion and love for humankind rise to make all of us feel hope. We see heroic workers, putting their lives on the line to work in grocery stores, to mop hospital floors, intubate the sick and dying, crying at the lack of supplies and equipment, but still carrying on! The List is too long to thank all of our heroes protecting us and helping all of us. And then we worry about those who are following another who says, “Come to church. Pack the places! God will protect you!” and wonder how many will die from being infected. Now that, friends, is a gigantic CLUSTERFUCK! It does NOT make us smile, in any way, shape or form! And if we break the word down into two words, it is even more appropriate now. No one knows what to believe and when it becomes partisan, social class oriented, believers (?) v. non-believers–what do we do?

WE STAY HOME! WE DON’T ADD TO THE CLUSTER OR THE FUCK! We protect our loved ones by not hugging, touching, lest we unknowingly infect them. THIS has been proven to work! It hurts because humans love to touch, hug, comfort physically. But it can kill right now. In short, reader, do not–DO NOT BE PART OF A CLUSTERFUCK! Show love to others and yourselves. That’s the only way we can come out of this. Love you all and missing you, but we believe when this clusterfuck is over, we will be a kinder, more loving world. And maybe we will all be wiser and more appreciative of each other. Peace and Love.

#18 Kindred Spirits

The four children slid off the back of the White Horse. They looked around, noticing the trees, the tall grass, and then looked at each other. “Are we safe now?” Little One asked of Tessie, the one the White Horse protected. Tessie didn’t answer immediately, turning instead to look into the eyes of the White Horse. Returning her gaze, he nodded his large head.

“Yes, we are safe now,” Tessie said with confidence. Little One slumped down to sit in the grass, relieved, Tessie joining her. They leaned toward each other, bumping shoulders, smiling. The other two children, a boy named Nuff, and one called Jeffy, saw the two girls at ease and ran towards the trees. “Bet I can climb higher than you!” Nuff shouted, grabbing a lower limb and starting upward. “Oh no you can’t, you dweeb!” Jeffy yelled back, laughing as he climbed up higher in another tree. The girls, ages 6 and 7, laughed and teased the boys. Nuff, himself seven, scampered higher and higher up in the branches. Jeffy, being nine, had height on Nuff, as well as longer legs and laughed as he looked down at his younger counterpart, now below him. “Give it up,” Jeffy taunted the younger boy. Nuff responded by moving higher in his chosen tree. “Never!” he grunted as his foot slipped off a branch and he had to catch himself to keep from falling. Jeffy laughed again, Nuff got red-faced, and Tessie called out suddenly, “Guys! Something is coming! Come here! Hurry!”

Both boys dropped to the ground, hearing the urgency in Tessie’s voice and saw she and Little One standing by the White Horse, who was now facing the direction they had just come from. No one spoke, but the children moved closer to each other, presenting a unified front. Tessie reached up and placed her hand on the White Horse’s neck. “What is it?” she whispered to the White Horse. He stood still, staring, the muscles in his legs twitching at different times. No one spoke, but all looked where the White Horse looked, straining to see something, anything. Their ears were trying to discern some noise, some clue to what was coming. Then they heard a muffled, soft clip-clop, slowly getting louder and seemingly nearer. All their eyes could faintly see was a cloud of dust that seemed to grow in size. Nuff whispered to Jeffy, “Should we run, ya think?” Jeffy, who considered himself a protector since he was the oldest, shrugged and moved toward the horse’s head and Tessie. “Hey, Tess,” he whispered, “ask White Horse do we need to run, okay?” Tessie didn’t answer, but the horse turned his large head so he could look Jeffy in the eyes. Jeffy didn’t move, but the horse briefly tossed his head, which Tessie interpreted and said, “No. He doesn’t think so. He isn’t running so we shouldn’t either.” All eyes focused forward again.

Shapes began to form in the dust cloud that now covered everything. The White Horse did not move, nor did the children beside him. All stood quietly, ready for whatever. Slowly, the children’s eyes widened. The White Horse tossed his head. It was a massive herd of horses approaching them! Deer, moose, antelopes, wolves, bears, and other animals were mixed into the ever-growing cloud. Little One squealed in delight, pointing to the sky! Crows, falcons, eagles, hawks, so many birds seemed to fly over the herd of animals, escorting them! Nuff and Jeffy jumped up and down in wonder and excitement. Tessie leaned against the White Horse, tears flowing as she smiled and nuzzled her wet face into his shoulder.

“What does it mean?” Jeffy asked with wonder. No one answered him, but Tessie waved her arm over the scene and suddenly they understood. A black stallion pulled up short in front of the White Horse. Much neighing, pawing of hooves on the ground, head tossing was seen between the two. Then the White Horse lowered himself to the ground. Tessie spoke, “Come on. He wants us to get on. I’ll explain later, so hurry up. Get on!”

The children scampered up on the White Horse’s large back and he stood and they were flying towards the tops of the hills. All the animals followed, never wavering, pushing on behind the White Horse who now led them with the Black. They ran and ran, children amazingly not bounced off , but wisely hanging on to each other and the White Horse’s mane. It seemed they were running into the sunset. Then the animals, as well as their leaders, slowed as the dusky skies gathered about them. Just before the darkness settled in, they all slowed to a stop. Some started to graze, others bedded down. The White Horse lowered himself for the children to get off, still wondering, full of questions–full of awesome wonder at what had happened. Tessie and Jeffy started a fire as the night brought a chill. So amazing had their ride been that even Nuff didn’t ask for food or complain. Tessie moved to look into the White Horse’s eyes.

They stared intently at each other, with Tessie sometimes smiling, sometimes nodding. The other children knew she was communicating with the White Horse, finding out what had happened, and hopefully, what was to come. They waited, quietly, knowing soon they would know from her. Finally, Tessie went up to the White Horse’s broad forehead, kissed him, whispered words to him, and came to where the other children sat by the fire. “We are special,” she said softly. “Really special. We are allowed to stay with the animals, to be a part of them. Few humans are allowed–but we are,” and her love and happiness washed over all.

“What did he tell you?” Jeffy asked quietly. Tessie took Little One’s hand as she sat beside her and suddenly, Little One had that same look of love and happiness. “We are good and accepted,” Little One said, almost in a whisper. The two boys sat watching and waiting, not moving at all. “He told me that now that the sickness has come to the people, the animals can thrive once more, mother earth and her oceans can breathe once more. He told me that here, where we are now, this place, is SAFE and we are all safe. But want to know what is most beautiful? He said us and few like us are now kindred spirits!” Nuff let out a muffled, “WOW! ” then, “Like we are one of them and they are one of us?” Tessie nodded, Little One looked like she was in heaven and Jeffy just grinned and grinned, silent for once in his overwhelming joy.

Tessie went on, “They will care for us and we will care for them. The White Horse said this is how it was meant to be in the beginning, but people were killing them off, hurting the land, and…well, now, it is back to how it should be!” The children grinned, smiled, tears of joy ran down their faces. Then Jeffy seemed worried. “What if they come with their guns? Do it again like they have before? How can we stop them? How!” Little One smiled a knowing smile. “They can’t. Not now. Not yet. And by the time the sickness leaves, the earth, the waters, the kindred spirits of the animals and the birds will have grown stronger, braver, and loads smarter. And he said there are others, like us, kindred spirits. So we will be with them and all of us together will make it right! Peace for everyone! Love for all the kindred spirits!”

Nuff ran up to Little One, hugged her. Tessie hugged Nuff and Little One. Jeffy hugged everyone as he kept saying, “Cool! Oh, cool! This is soooo cool!” The White Horse watched them, neighed softly and nuzzled them each , pushing them down gently to rest. One would have thought they were in a fairy-tale, gazing at four children, holding hands as they slept with a white horse and a black horse watching over them, crows and hawks and other birds in the branches above them, watching also. A wolf thanked the heavens for all as he bayed. Dreams of kindred spirits filled the little heads.

The universe replied with stars to light the sky and whispered, “Kindred spirits all.” And the world slept in peace.

#17 Music Sustains

We woke up with a song playing in our head…”Puff, The Magic Dragon,” by Peter, Paul, and Mary. We know all the words, so it just kept playing over and over in our head. Poignant. Bittersweet. The happiness and magic of childhood. We dozed. Contented.

So later, we woke up completely, and we went to YouTube to play those songs and the music we had saved. We have quite a variety–from Celtic folk to Native American, rock, classical. We didn’t even realize we were still in our night clothes as the morning passed. We did go to take a shower, and the songs, the music, kept playing in our head. And we realized, that even though we had always been music lovers, ardent music lovers, never had we so appreciated it like we did now.

From the earliest of humankind, we have made music to express ourselves, calm ourselves, get ourselves ready to act–we have always been people who seek out music and/or make it. Early people used drums, sticks, whatever was available to beat out a rhythm, added words or not, danced and chanted. Historically, people appreciate music. In the not so recent past, a few centuries ago, musicians and composers won favor from royalty by producing operas, musical compositions and thus earned their “keep” and some flourished that we still appreciate today. Bach, Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart, and on and on. Today, we thoroughly enjoy John Williams and all that is needed is a few bars of his music played and many can hum along or recognize the movie he composed music for. Elton John is another giant, as are the Beatles, and so very many others. Pink, and Lady GaGa, Madonna, and then Leonard Cohen. We know them all. Our favorites are from many different genres and be they country, folk, classical, whatever–they make us happy, make us think, allow us to wallow in beautiful and varied sounds and tones and chords. Yes, Music Sustains us. And then we literally laugh until our side aches from listening to Randy Rainbow, as we did with Tom Lehrer years ago. Their humor, their music, is sharp, hilarious and true. If it hadn’t been for Tom Lehrer writing the song we could sing to remember the periodic table, we never would have passed chemistry! 🙂 We owe him!~

Children love music. They learn through music. We teach them the alphabet by singing the ABC song to them, children’s songs from long ago that stay today. With our kids, we were thrilled when their teachers would teach them songs to aid in their learning. And we scrimped and saved to afford renting musical instruments for them to learn to play. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” can sound beautiful as your child beams over squeaking it out on a battered violin. “Chopsticks” is a moment for celebration on the piano! They learned to appreciate the work, the hours, accomplished musicians put in, but more–they loved listening to music!

The worst among us appreciate music also. We watched a movie a while back where women held captive in a Japanese stockade were able to survive because they could sing the notes to classical compositions, thereby endearing themselves to their captors. During the holocaust, those who could sing, play an instrument, could stave off being murdered by entertaining the commandants at the concentration camps with their music. Yes, some were still executed, but many survived thanks to music. We have to wonder if these hard and cold criminals could appreciate music so much, why couldn’t they value the human lives that surrounded them? In that way, MUSIC SUSTAINS!

During Vietnam, our era of revolt back in the 60s and 70s, music was key to keeping people protesting and urging the end of war. Music has led to revolution, to protest, to giving the “common person” a voice, the beauty of expressing their values, feelings, their selves! And now, we search for those that write music, that sing the protest songs, the songs of unity, the songs of mankind uniting. We listen through tears as the people in Italy sing from balconies to each other, united in love–with music. We thrill at flash mobs online–online–playing “Ode to Joy!” Yes! Music speaks to us! Moves us! Unites us! Inspires us! Isolation doesn’t stop music, sharing music, writing music. It is our gift to ourselves and each other as we sing across yards, apartment walls–uniting our voices and our hope.

We write and we recognize the power of words–the written words. We are proud we can write, express ourselves and maybe encourage or help someone else through writing. But a three year old who cannot read yet, the older person whose eyesight prevents them from reading, the one too ill to see clearly–they can sing, hum, be blessed and SUSTAINED with music. Little birds were given the gift of song, a wolf can bay and make its own music. And we can lift our voices, in private or with others, and raise ourselves and others with hope and unity.

Listen to music today, hum or sing a song today, and realize–MUSIC SUSTAINS. As John Lennon sang, “Imagine…” PEACE to you all.

#16 Connecting

We spent the day connecting today. We didn’t watch the news, scroll the internet, listen to news in any way. Yesterday, as shown in our blog, we were filled with anger, pain, despair, and felt overwhelmed. Today, we knew the day before had left us spent, empty, and ever so sad. We made up our mind to connect with what would replenish us, make us feel something good, wholesome. Having to return books to the library spurred us into movement.

We dropped our books into the drive-up bin. The parking lot, usually full, was empty. We pulled into a parking slot, and just sat and looked around, listening to our Simon & Garfunkel cd. As the music washed over us, we took breaths and listened to the words. We started to look at our phone, picked it up, then put it on the seat beside us. We listened to all the words of “The Dangling Conversation,” and picked the phone up to text our dear friend we would be off line for a period of respite. She responded with a smile emoji. On the way home, we continued to listen to the cd, traveling slowly on nearly deserted city streets. Stores advertising insurance, phone service, others–closed with empty parking lots around them. We thought, dystopia is here. Slowly, watching, looking, we made it home.

When we got home and in the house, it was quiet and empty except for ourselves. We pulled out our favorite book of poetry–poets of Britain and America. It fell open to our favorite poem of all time. We will share the first stanza of it here: “The Second Coming” by W.B. Yeats. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.” Pretty heavy and prophetic for something written in 1919, 1921, isn’t it? But oh, so profound!

We read it in its entirety, then read it again as we listened to one of our favorite classical pieces of music. We went outside. To connect. First, we looked at the sky, the clouds, the hills in our line of sight. Then, we waited for a sign that this is where we should be and what we should be doing. Ah! Two crows cawed and swooped, letting us know this was good. Three more joined them and they were so close we could hear the swoosh of their wings as they dipped and dove around the yard we stood in. We began to feel more confident. It had rained last night and the grass was wet, heavy, that we stood in. We reached down and awkwardly removed our socks and shoes around the bulkiness of the jacket we were wearing.

Our feet felt the cold, wet grass. We began to feel grounded. We looked inward as we let our toes search for the earth holding the grass. Soon we could feel it. We dug them into the grass and ground and we could smile again. Here, here was our connection. The crows remained, quiet now, and a breeze came up. It was soft, sweet, like the damp grass and earth we kept our feet on and in. The blue sky was getting gray again, but now, we were connected to the earth, the sky, the creatures that lived in it. We raised our arms, stretched our palms upward to let the breeze play across them. We connected more and more, deeper and deeper. The feeling was so deep, so complete, that we dared close our eyes, discarding vigilance and wariness. Our body felt lighter and lighter and we felt our spirits floating upward, connecting not only with the earth, but with infinite eternity. We let ourselves, our body, just BE. No words, no pain, no anything except being. We filled our entire being with this, all of it. We were connecting with the earth so we could soar with the crows in the sky, into the ether.

The screen door slammed behind us. People were back. At first we were sad, then we pushed it aside. What we had experienced was in us, a part of every cell of the body, every feathered wing of each spirit. It was our connection, unseen by others, felt by each of us. It was ours. Ours alone. We slowly came into the house again, reveling in the ineffable beauty of what we had experienced. Did we really fly? Was what we felt real? Our feet were wet, cold, dirty— and yes, we had flown. Our spirits soared as the body let us connect with the earth. And now, now we had connected. We had regained the ceremony of innocence Yeats spoke of. We did not lack conviction. We were at peace. We would once more hear the falconer. Our centre would hold now.

#15 What to Say

We are all inundated with Corvid-19. It’s on the news, even if you watch Fox. Press briefings are held daily as we watch the numbers tick up for those testing positive, and we and our friends have no idea if we are positive or negative due to lack of available testing. In our case, we have compromising health issues, are old, but not having traveled outside the U.S., not knowing if we have been in contact with anyone with the virus, and not being rich or famous, do not qualify for testing. When we asked if we should be tested, listing our symptoms, the question was, “Can you still breathe?” Well, the first thing that popped into our salty and sarcastic minds was, “Duh! I called you, didn’t I moron?” But we simply answered, “Yes.” We were told to stay in, follow the guidelines and one compassionate soul we talked to said, “Take care and good luck.” One person out of four doctor’s offices calling to cancel appointments actually wished us luck. That made us feel better–sort of. We guess…

We have people we care about that are vulnerable to this virus. Fortunately, they are smart, common sense people who realize the dangers and we hope and pray will avoid it. But they still have to go out to get food, exposing them to those who might have it, and they have families and loved ones they could transfer the virus to if they are infected unknowingly. We care about them. Deeply. Desperately. And they, like us, don’t qualify to be tested. We don’t have a lot of rich or privileged friends. In fact, we have none. Just hard-working, loving and kind people who share what they have with those that have nothing, writers with the same bleeding hearts as ours, people who are an asset to humankind. None of us qualify. Ahhh, as 45 said, “That’s the story of life.” But is it?

Let us diverge here, but we will get to the point–we hope. We watched the documentary on Margaret Atwood, one of our favorite authors before she became everyone’s favorite author, and she said something that struck us as honest and beautiful. To paraphrase, she said she never expected to be a famous writer. She only wanted to be a good writer. Boy! is she ever! And maybe she became a famous writer in her simple quest to be a good writer. She did not write for fame or wealth. She wrote to express herself and speak to hearts and minds. It was the little details of life that intrigued her, that she wrote about, and then later, the more prominent issues the world and its inhabitants were dealing with. That was what we loved about her writing when we first read “Cat’s Eye” back in college many years ago. So why bring up her writing and her life of writing? Why now? Because of her passion to tell stories, write poems that are about human beings and what they deal with and don’t deal with.

Right now, daily, we are subjected to facts and spins. The facts of the rampant surge of this virus cannot be denied, and yet, the spin is to bury it. Mislead and create chaos and ultimately, destruction and death. Hospitals, doctors, medical staff, orderlies, janitors in hospitals are subjected to this virus, pleading for help. Governors of states are begging 45 to enact the emergency act to get them supplies, tests, protection for all. But you see, the numbers would look bad so he deigns to not act. Instead, we hear how he has given up his salary, bemoans his hotels and businesses are being impacted, how he gets booed and how he is never thanked. Our point here? Atwood just wanted to be a good writer. #45 doesn’t care about good–only self-aggrandizing and fame. One wanted to be good. One chose to be famous and profit off his job at all costs. If you see a weird parallel here, it is intentional. We can’t think of anyone to really and honestly compare 45 to since we have never seen such self-centered action from one who is supposed to lead and instead whines nobody likes him. (Bad comparison–we know.)

Maybe we should take a trip down memory lane and that would be better. Remember the jock at high school who mercilessly picked on the shy, introverted younger ones who couldn’t defend themselves? You remember. Name calling, pushing around, taunting, intimidating? Oh wait! That was in junior high. Or wait! On the play ground when you were in second grade. That kid you avoided who would gather his gangs of thugs and threaten to beat you up or make you sorry. Ah, yes! We’ve all seen them in action. Now one sits in the Oval Office. Don’t upset him, you hear. We tried to tell him they said about him being warned of the pandemic way back three plus months ago. And so here we are, with our petulant school ground bully that can’t intimidate a virus, but can sure play with the severity of it by altering the numbers. How, you ask? Don’t test, the numbers aren’t there. Like his asking to keep the unemployment numbers under wraps–they look bad for his booming economy. Well, so far as it goes, Fox news or not placating folks with myths and lies, the simple fact remains that people are sick, getting sicker, dying, and we have no defense and no leader. Thank the heavens above we have some responsible governors but they cannot do it all. We need 45 to quit blaming, name calling, whining, and to be a leader and he won’t do it until he has no choice. And will he even then? Who knows?

If we sound bitter and fed up–we are. We have gone through trying times with other presidents. We didn’t vote for some but we respected the office and expected them to listen to experts, the best in the field, and act presidential. We raised five toddlers who were more easily reasoned with than this person who wants to be the best and whines if he’s booed. But we have one more issue to bring up that is personal with us in the response to the pandemic. We admit we are bleeding hearts. We own it. But the lack of compassion for those who have died, are struggling to beat this virus, scared to death? That, to us, is obscene! We know there is evil in the world. We have been subjected to it. But to us, this total lack of even PITY for those who have lost loved ones, who have died due to his calling this a hoax and denying it while knowing it was there–this is EVIL. And it makes our hearts ache and bleed! Plus, it goes on! It doesn’t end! There is no end until he and his minions are gone!

To insulate ourselves, we try to sit in our bubble of self-protection and observe. We try to help others who are struggling with overwhelming fear and devastation, facing losses unimaginable. We try to ignore the willfully ignorant, the deniers, the hypocrites telling people to support their church as the church does nothing to support their people, the congress looking for more money taken from the starving, the destitute. But they are in our faces, day after day, everywhere we are. We tag the tales of good people being good to others, read them over and over as we find them on the internet. It keeps us smiling through the tears.

We probably should apologize to all readers we offended at this point. But we cannot. We write honestly, even if it offends, because we care and care deeply. Be you of one persuasion or another doesn’t matter. We care that you should be well, without fear, free to disagree with us, free to thrive. We don’t mean to bring you down, but we mean to tell you the truth as we see it and truth is something in short supply in these times. Our final words to you are may you live in peace and health and love. We care about you, about those we know and love, and wish no ill to you.

Now. We feel better for having been honest and forthright. Be safe. PEACE

#14 Honest truth…

We feel things happen for a reason. We believe in payback-not Karma–but payback. And now, now we can stop taking responsibility for all the bad that happened to us and those we love by acknowledging–shit happens.

In the critique group of fellow writers we were in, one member noted we said “we” when we wrote. We have alluded to and sometimes outright disclosed we have DID. It was brought on by a stinking past that we as children could not deal with, nor a life we could not go on with, without other people inside taking it when one of our inside people could not cope or deal anymore. It became our “go-to” to survive. We wrote a book about it. We tried to explain. It was professionally edited to the point that our voices were lost but it helped some in spite of it. Now, we write again, not to explain or put the readers off, but to show you that in this time, it has allowed us to help another–so we deal with our DID and know it happened for a reason. It has been a loooong time coming, this reconciliation with our life/lives, but come it did. Honest truth, we finally understand the why.

Every therapist who cared told us our past, our DID was not our fault. Then a few very special acquaintances who were not professional therapists said likewise. Last week, such a short time ago, it was suddenly brought home to us that we could realize others had not brought harm and abuse to themselves but couldn’t allow that for ourselves. The current political climate, the current state of everything affecting everyone was not our fault, your fault–no blame–shit happens! Honest truth! It happens! Be you good, bad, indifferent–if it is going to happen, it will. We had to realize we can’t right the wrongs, make things better for all those our hearts break for, and it is not our fault we cannot. We didn’t make the bad things happen, nor did you or those suffering now for what is going on. What a literal WEIGHT was lifted! This was brought home to us by a dear friend and mentor. Words we had heard before, but this time–this time they made it into not only our head, but our inner essence. The time was right, the hearts were open, the minds were open, and it finally came through! The weight of being responsible for all was lifted. Our empathy didn’t disappear by any means–we just knew we didn’t make it worse or bad for those we loved. We had not harmed them. We simply understood, felt for them and with them (literally), and knew that all of us–you, us, everyone–makes choices and lives with the consequences of those choices. But above all, to know we all have good in our hearts makes the difference.

Because we can recognize the good in others, we are beginning to accept the good in ourselves. And today, we shared that with one who is in turmoil and totally upended. It is a person everyone would see as efficient, task-oriented, a good person. We had just previously talked with a person much like this, who is facing an illness unknown with her beloved furry companion. Then we communicated with one who has already suffered a devastating loss and asked us if we understood. She was always capable, as we said before, but we had always seen her vulnerable side and now we saw her pain and felt it. She was beginning to feel like she was at loose ends, it was her fault for the loss she suffered, and was desperate emotionally. We texted back and forth and finally, we texted that the only advice we could give her was follow your heart. She said she didn’t know if her heart could be trusted right now. Light bulb! Why we had been led to be open just a week ago! Timing! Awareness!

We told her we had known she had a good heart when we had known each other and been together frequently, and we knew NOW she still had a good heart and should simply follow it. She responded she tried to be good. We texted back that no, this was more. This was innate, her core of good! We told her no matter how much anger, disappointment, insecurity she felt did not change the good heart she carried within her. She seemed unsure, but said maybe… So we added, your good heart is something NO ONE CAN TAKE FROM YOU! It is your anchor! As we typed the words to her, they sank into our acceptance of ourselves–again. No, no one could snatch her good heart, it was hers. Ours likewise. Our empathy. Our love. Our good heart was ours–never to be taken, stolen, corrupted–no matter what. In calming her and loving her, we calmed and loved ourselves. Now that is something entirely novel to us!

She thanked us. Said it gave her chills. We totally understood! Our guide and mentor had elicited that same response from us. To be free to send love, to believe you are good and not worthless, dirty, tainted forever–yes, chills.

The title of this blog? As we sit here writing about this, with tears of happiness for what happened last week for us, for a friend today, we titled this as we did because of our very special, strong, resilient little person inside. When she would learn something, totally love something or someone, hope when all of us had given up hoping, she would say–“But look–we made it again!” And then, to set her words in stone, to emphasize to us we hadn’t lost it all, she would add “Honest truth!” We believed her then, we believe her now. The world is bad, ugly. But the good is still out there. You spread it. We spread it. Our friends and loved ones spread it. Good is something no one can take from us–honest truth. Believe it!

# 13 The Faulty Human Factor

CEO Cor and VP CEO Ku were traveling back from a productive venture to take care of unwanted, unneeded, but cherished items stored and then a subsequent meeting for a meal with those involved, and others. It had been an arduous task, this cleaning out of the storage space, and predictably, all human elements considered, emotionally taxing as well as physically laborious. The ensuing meal before leaving, then, could be considered a celebration of sorts that it had been done, completed, and little was left to be sorted through. Cor and Ku were feeling pretty good about the project and discussing it when it was noted that as they left and traveled South, those going North seemed to be “backed up” and making little, if any progress. Cars and trucks were lined up, creeping forward by slow or unseeable inches. Cor watched and noted that the “backup” of traffic going North extended some approximate ten miles. Trucks could be seen backed up on on ramps trying to join the mass collection, not moving but waiting. Both Cor and Ku, curious as to what caused such a horrendous stoppage, googled highway information for the route and discovered a traffic accident at 3am had occurred, blocking all northbound lanes. Cor made the astute observation that now it was almost eleven hours later and from what the two travelers southbound could observe, only one sign seemed to warn travelers of what was ahead. People were standing outside of cars, looking ahead at more cars as far as the best vision would allow. If ever there were such a thing as “bad vibes” coming from the masses, this was it.

Cor made the comment, “We really need to get our advertising off the ground and get AI/Robotics promoted. Look at that mess! The time delays…the frustrated people…the trucks that can’t reach their destination! It could have been us locked into that yesterday as we traveled north!” Ku agreed, noting, “True! But you know, there is robotic laser surgery offered at the cancer center and comments can be heard such as ‘Give me a faulty human over a robot for MY surgery!’ People just don’t trust robots yet. “

Cor agreed, then added, “And exactly why we need advertising! Where AI and Robotics move in to flawlessly correct human frailties and errors, we have more and more faulty humans entering the shelters that no one wants. We need to advertise strategically, reducing the numbers in our shelters, get these faulty humans into homes, cared for. We have to! We don’t want to join the ranks of euthanizing. We have been able to maintain our No Kill Shelter status so far, but unless we push homes for the faulty humans…” Ku thoughtfully nodded. It was truly a dilemma. Robots were needed, to be sure, but so were humans. AI/Robotics was leaving a mass of humanity anchorless.

The two tried to brainstorm how best to move these faulty, depleted humans into forever homes, and the advertising it would take to get other humans to take them in when a specifically programmed robot could fill the need in the modern home with such accuracy and efficiency. Ku brought up the children in the shelters. With the laws against women choosing the right to control their own bodies, the doctors imprisoned for respecting that right, children separated from parents at the borders and unable to speak the current language or function at chronological age levels due to trauma, they would need thousands of homes! For all ages of children! This wouldn’t be like the old “foster system” where children could hopefully have a better life. No, this had to be a literal forever home and the xenophobia was so strong, racism/color so pronounced…Silence took over as Cor and Ku were lost in their own thoughts.

“Okay!” Cor broke the silence abruptly. “So we need to get these faulty humans out of the shelters and into the homes. THAT is our job! Eons ago, we did it with animals so we should be able to with faulty humans!” Ku, coming back to the reality of the task at hand, agreed wholeheartedly. “How about we appeal to that sense of nostalgia?” Ku offered.

Cor nodded, then added, “We could offer them as intuitive healers–the older ones, at least. They remember how to effectively deal with human dilemmas with practical, common sense advice from years of experience. A lot of people who lack common sense or an ability to explore ideas from the past as lessons would probably want to have an older faulty human around for dealing with ordinary problems that the robot would not understand, given their programming. Yes, we could promote them as experienced problem solvers of historical relevance. Yes, that could work. Most of our current AI/Robot programmers have ignored that human factor that would appeal. Those of a median age could be similar to service animals of the past that could foresee a problem arising and be of value. But the children? How do we get this basically white, evangelical, racist culture to take in children with flaws, handicaps, racial differences?”

Ku and Cor started brainstorming again. “Advertise them as budding geniuses?” “Promote them as objects of affection?” “Offer them as companions to their children, maybe even to their robots?”

Cor, still driving and thinking–Ku riding alongside and thinking, glanced at each other. Their thoughts seemed to conjoin as they both suddenly knew that they had the answer. Cor stated, “We are NOT the only ones who carry compassion in our hearts. We have to help them find that compassion, dig it out, use it to reach out!” Ku grinned hugely. “Exactly! There have got to be others! They will throw off the status quo, the norm as it is, and their emotional sides will break through and their hearts will help them help others!” The perfect balance of AI/Robotics and faulty humans!

The two advertising specialists came up with ideas to touch hearts that could be touched and then again, a thought traveled between them as they smiled. The humans that had created this dilemma, fostered it, nurtured it, were becoming the objects of their own project. Soon they would be removed from places of power, places of influence, victims of their own ideas to be rid of others. They were truly faulty humans and their own AI/Robots would be removing them for their illogical and erratic behavior. Their downfall would be what they expressed conflicting with what they did and while another faulty human could be beguiled, a well-programmed robot could not. Yes! If their advertising was pointed enough, persuasive enough, those with heart would overtake those that would only focus on manipulation and greed.

Cor, now feeling they could accomplish this task with perseverance and determination, observed that the two of them had not gotten caught up in the mess going north by working with the “Magic” of intuition and timing, and declared it could work for all those with open minds and hearts. She laughed aloud and said, “Not only can we find others with heart, we will look forward to literally working ourselves out of our job! One day we will look back not only on how we found ourselves here, but how we found others of like mind and heart and watched humanity rescue itself through being “faulty humans,” not victims of it. That will make it all worth it!” Ku laughed with Cor, agreed, and life seemed an adventure once again instead of a dark foreboding cloud.

Yes–it was all good. Faulty humans and all. Balance with all factors.

#12 Order

Some semblance of order is needed by everyone. “Order” will be thrown into chaos tomorrow with the time change as we all lose an hour’s sleep and we try to tell ourselves it’s only an hour–no big deal–and we will adjust. But it isn’t true for everyone. Try with everything to put it out of the mind, but the body rebels at losing that hour and adjusting to it. Ahhh, the time factor that messes with order. We only bring this up, to segue into the “order” we all establish in our lives.

Having a job brings order to lives. You get up, you follow a prescribed order of activities that need to be accomplished and that you found worked for you as you get ready to go to work at a certain time and certain place. You can plan, even in distraction, for unforeseen “hitches” as traffic ties ups, or maybe power outages at your place of work. You adapt and your sense of order isn’t skewed or abandoned because of these occurrences. But what happens when your job ends through being laid off? Retiring? Even choosing to quit? Well, some people plan for that sort of thing. They are those cool folks who always have plans A, B, C, and sometimes even D. Those dudes are prepared! They have goals, they are determined, they simply shift their focus and keep moving forward–often not looking back, but always forward. Wow! do we admire that!

Then there are people like us. We mistakenly just let happen whatever happens, enjoying the fact that we don’t have to keep to a time schedule or regimen and can be spontaneous. We can do what we want, when we want. If we want to volunteer, travel, just lie in bed and read hours on end, we are free to do so. It is so super cool! Then… a thought creeps in–“now what?” Our friends that are still working, or those that have their goals and plans and focus are not available to keep us company and heighten our sense of adventure and spontaneity. Our order is out the window and we are floundering even as they keep going on and flourishing, dedicated to making things happen. We, on the other end of the spectrum, are beginning to feel useless, defeated, lack purpose, and basically bored. When we had established order with a job or task, we may have been tired, but we at least knew what we were to do or what we were to accomplish. Duh!

Maybe we concentrate on being creative. We paint, we write, we learn to play a musical instrument. Or we look around– with motivation ebbing away day by day. We ruminate and chide ourselves for seeking an escape from the job, and again–“now what?” So a whole new world opens up to us. It can be through the arts, learning a new skill, volunteering, joining groups and such. It is a time of introspection, evaluating, becoming more aware–an entire education in itself. It also can be that this introspection leads us to discover gifts within ourselves that we never realized we had until we actually slowed down enough, got bored enough, to explore and sort of give them a try.

Using gifts discovered, is tricky business. It requires its own particular order. You have to recognize your “potential,” then how to control it, use it, and incorporate it into your conscious life. You become a child again in that you have to learn all you can, experiment, be cautious and at the same time risk using what you have found to be there. It, too, may require plans A, B, C, and maybe D as you experiment and explore deeper and deeper. But you are establishing an order, whether you believe it or not, accept it or not. We think of a phrase a friend uses that says, “you can’t unring the bell.” Just as we know from our lives, “you can’t unsee what you saw.”

Our point? After all this rambling? Thought wandering? One sentence we heard Harrison Ford say to Buck, his dog, as we watched “Call of the Wild” today. They stood together on a plateau of rock, overlooking the gorgeous landscape of Alaska during summer, and he said, “You know, Buck, we all come and go, but this always stays.” So the point is just as he said–we, humans and animal life, come and go. But nature, the earth, the sky, the sun, the clouds stay. Our constant. Order. No matter how many of us come and go, it stays. So find your gifts, your sense of order, to enhance hers since she will be here long after we have come and gone. Too abstract? Probably. But we leave our mark and she remains to absorb it and be there for the next that come and then go. Cool, huh? We think so.