A Country Moving Forward: More Gratitude, Less Attitude

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 

When sorrows like sea billows roll; 

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 

It is well, it is well with my soul.

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Yesterday was a rainy, cold Monday.  I spent the day inside, not doing much of anything.

Lost in contemplation.

Humming the hymn that I’d heard on Friday while watching the funeral in Charleston for Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

Remembering my Southern church lady aunt who used to hum that particular hymn while tidying up around her home.

Which, really, is what I should have been doing.

My plan for the day had been to use the time to weed the garden.  Our vacation travels followed by a busy week of getting back into daily routines had given the weeds a chance to take over.

Not pretty.

But instead of jumping into any activity at all, I found myself thinking about how proud I am of this country for moving forward in a peaceful way on social issues that impact everyone.

Somehow.

I realize that people are whining and opining all over the place on FB and cable news outlets, but when you get down to it, this country in pretty damned amazing.

The change process worked, both on a national judicial level and on a state executive level.

Homophobia and racism, spotlighted last week like they were, are now officially acknowledged as behaviors that do not help make our country strong.

Hate never does.

It really is that simple.  We’ve moved forward.  Hallelujah!

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Do not be afraid of the hate surfacing. Backlash is an inevitable side effect of progress. Cruelty is simply fear’s death knell. Carry on.

~ Glennon Doyle Melton

My Unhappy Story Of Flying Trapped Inside A MRI With Wings

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Seating chart for MRI with wings.

While on vacation last weekend, I spent one leg of my travels on a flight from hell, trapped inside a MRI with wings.  This would be a plane that is known to aviators as a Bombardier CRJ 200.

This airplane, while not the smallest one I’ve ever flown on, was the worst flying MRI I’ve experienced because– and I hope that I’m not going to get too technical here— THERE WAS NO AIR CONDITIONING AS WE WAITED AT THE GATE AND THEN ON THE TARMAC FOR TAKEOFF… ON A HOT SUMMER DAY… AT MIDDAY.

I’d love to tell you what airline I was on, but I’m not sure.  It was some pokey little airline, doing business under some obscure name, for some larger, formerly independent, airline recently acquired by some huge US airline.

In other words, the usual inane flying experience that I’ve come to know, pay exorbitant amounts of money for and loathe.

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As fate would have it two things occurred simultaneously while I was on this flight from hell trapped inside a MRI with wings.

First of all, I had a hot flash.

To be clear, that would be my body spontaneously increasing its core temperature while I was sitting in the middle of the airplane, Seat 7C, where the ambient room temperature was close to 100ºF.

Trapped, I was.

And so far beyond toasty that I could barely keep conscious.  I could see my vision begin to tunnel– and I knew that I would faint, unless I thought of something fast.

So I shut my eyes, let my head droop and begin to remember how cold and bleak it was on our screened-in porch in February, when I’d step out there for a bit of fresh air, mid-afternoon, with my mug of hot tea.

Oddly enough this mental distraction kept me from passing out and it gave me an opportunity to decide that, if I lived to tell the story, I’d call out the airline on this unconscionable, unhealthy, inhumane, ridiculous, shameful, cheap-ass behavior.

Didn’t their mothers teach these airline PTB to not treat other human beings as chattel?  Hmmm?

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Actual MRI, similar to Bombardier CJR 200.

This would be the end of the story if it weren’t for the man next to me on the flying MRI with wings from hell who was an employee of one of the airlines that was part of the afore-mentioned cluster.

And he was taking notes.  Lots of them.

For real.

And he was telling me EVERYTHING that this flight crew was doing that was wrong, that was illegal according to FAA standards, and that was just plain stupid.

So despite being the most physically and emotionally uncomfortable I’ve been on an airplane in decades, I had the pleasure of knowing that this flight crew, a bunch of yahoos who really should be ashamed of themselves, were going to get in trouble.

AS IN FAILING TO PASS INSPECTION.  JOBS ON THE LINE.  HELLO REVIEW BOARD [I CAN ONLY HOPE].

It is because of this note-taking man that I can look back on this flight as a learning experience for the crew as well as for me.  To wit, I will never, ever in a hundred years set foot inside a Bombardier CRJ 200 again.

And if you know what’s good for you, you won’t either.

We Went To Nashville, Y’all

Like just about every post that I write about our travels…

Zen-Den was in [fill in the blank] for work and I decided to join him.

In this case he was in Nashville, TN, aka Music City USA.  So I flew down there for a goof-off weekend in a city that is cheerful and easy to navigate.

Nashville is fun, y’all.  Here are the highlights of our Weekend.

::  We went to the Parthenon.

Built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this building has INCREDIBLE detail, a small art museum in the basement featuring regional American landscape art, and is located in a large, somewhat uncared for, city park.

I learned how little I know about Greek mythology while here, y’all.

::  We went to a fancy part of town called Green Hills.

There we wandered around a mall, and adjacent lifestyle center, that had many of the same stores that we have here, BUT they were twice as large with FRIENDLY sales help.  As much as I don’t usually enjoy shopping, this I liked.

I bought a Coach purse, y’all.

::  We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

This museum was amazing.  FASCINATING.  Curated to tell, entertain and engage everyone with music, videos, instruments, album covers, photographs, costumes, interactive displays and tasteful decor, we enjoyed this museum more than we thought that we would.

I saw Elvis’s gold Cadillac, y’all.

::  We ate at Ted’s Montana Grill.

This is a chain restaurant, owned by Ted Turner, that features beef and buffalo, along with salads and fish and milkshakes.  The restaurant was beautifully decorated in a 1970s steak-house style with lots of dark wood and shiny brass.  The food was DELICIOUS and the service was attentive.

I ate a bison burger– and I washed my hands with Boraxo powdered soap, y’all.

::  And finally, the answer to the question that everyone asks when you go to Nashville: Yes, we went to the Grand Ole Opry.

It was GREAT. We saw lots of older performers who we’d never heard of [Connie Smith?], but eventually, as the evening progressed, we saw performers who we knew, like Vince Gill and Pure Prairie League.  Then, in true Opry fashion, two superstars stopped by the Opry on a whim– and the crowd went crazy.

I saw Tricia Yearwood AND her husband, Garth Brooks, perform together, y’all.

My Weekend At Home With A Snotty Hacker

Last week Zen-Den got a cold.  This is unusual.

He was traveling for work and somewhere along the way, on a plane or at a hotel perhaps, he picked up a nasty head cold that over the weekend morphed into wheezing and chest congestion.

This condition, as you can imagine, lead to lots of nose blowing and loud coughing.  I dubbed him a snotty hacker, which I thought was clever.

He didn’t seem to appreciate my sly sense of humor, clearly showing you that he didn’t feel good.

Snotty hacker.  That’s funny.  Healthy people would laugh.

Whatever.

So this past weekend, when I wasn’t fetching hot tea or a blanket or a box of Kleenex, I goofed off in my own low-key, dear-lord-it’s-hot-and-humid-outside, kind of way.

The following are my three big takeaways from my time spent, more or less, alone.

#1

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 7.53.38 AMI finished watching Grace and Frankie which is a wonderful new, not violent or crude, TV show available on Netflix.

The show, which stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as two straight women whose husbands have left the women for each other, is smart + authentic + funny.

Just a little bittersweet.

And has the most amazing house porn, the sort of which that is usually reserved for movies.

Go watch it now.  I give it 5 stars.

#2

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 7.32.31 AMEver since I heard the whole “Call Me Caitlyn” thing, it has bugged me.  Not the idea that a human being has the right to do whatever he or she wants to do within and/or to his or her body.

No, that I get.

What has bothered me, I finally figured out, is that a woman born in 1949 would not be named Caitlyn, a name that showed up in the the 1970s.  She’d be called Linda, the 1st most popular girl name that year.  Or Mary, the 2nd most popular.

And if by chance her name was “Caitlyn” it wouldn’t be spelled all modern-like.  It would be spelled Kate Lynn.  Shortened for the 9th most popular girl name, Kathleen + basic middle name, Lynn.

Kathleen Lynn.  A perfectly acceptable 1940s name.

Right?

#3

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 7.49.45 AMI finished reading A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Sophie Hudson.

Sophie is a blogger who took her personal stories to the next level by writing this funny, charming memoir.  The book, published in 2013, has been on my list of books to read for years, so I’m not exactly talking about it on a timely basis.

No surprise there.  My reading is rarely current.

However, be that as it may, I thought that I’d tell you, my gentle readers, that if I could pick a family to join, I want to be part of Sophie’s family.  I know that I could fit right in immediately.

I like bacon.  And I adore kindness.

Both of which are in abundance in this delightful memoir.  Highly recommended.

Friends Of The Family, Groovy Fauna Edition

At the risk of sounding hippy dippy I’ll share with you that morning & evening I like to go outside into the garden with a beverage and commune with nature.

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I enjoy the aloneness of it. Tossing my thoughts aside. Being in the moment. Enjoying the colors of the flora.  Trippy.

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 But this Spring I’ve come to realize that often when I’m outside doing my Earth Mother thing, I am not alone.  There be more than flora, there be fauna, too.

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And this fauna doesn’t seem to give a flying fig through a donut hole that I’m out there too.  You’d think that they would care, wouldn’t ‘ya?

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But they don’t seem to groove on the idea that this is my garden– and not theirs.  They just keep on keeping on like they belong out there.  Far out man.  ;-)

No More Retrograding Here

People who know about astrology like to talk about it, especially during Mercury in retrograde. Have you noticed this? Lately?

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{ This is Mercury. Image Source }

They tell me that tomorrow Mercury ends its time in retrograde, meaning that my “what to do? what to do?” lament from last week will be over.

As I understand it, when Mercury is in retrograde, personal communication, well-reasoned-decisions and safe travels are, well– not so smooth here on Earth.

It is only after Mercury, the little bugger, exits this phase of its celestial movement that things return to their normal patterns out there among the stars.

While I’m not into astrology that doesn’t matter, does it?

Putting together the pieces of information that I’ve been told about this retrograde, I sense that Mercury does what Mercury wants to do.  Mercury don’t care that I’m indifferent to the astrological explanation of its imperfect orbit’s impact upon the peoples of Earth.

Mercury is the honey badger of planets.

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{ This is a honey badger. Image Source }

I’m sure that there’s a lesson here for me about learning to politely shrug when discussions turn to things that may not seem sensible to me.

I say this because throughout these last few weeks while Mercury has been in retrograde, I’ve come to understand in this life, no matter what happens in the skies or on the earth, there will always be someone with an alternate interpretation of the event.

And that earnest someone will find me, tell me about it and assure me that all will be well in my life once that bothersome Mercury gets on with things.

The Old Ball Game: Peanuts, Cracker Jacks & Katie Casey

•  I’VE BEEN TO THREE BASEBALL GAMES so far this year.

Two of the games were MLB & one was Single-A.  I’ve sat a few rows up from the field and I’ve sat a few rows down from the top.  Plus I’ve sat in box seats.

None of the games have been scoreless, but they haven’t been memorable either.  No grand slams.  No amazing fast balls.  No outrageous home runs hit out of the park.

Just pleasant somethings to do.

•  I ONLY MENTION THEM TODAY BECAUSE, oddly enough, I have no real flapdoodle or twaddle to tell you, my gentle readers.

I usually have something to say here, whether it be a topic or an observation or an absurdity.  So in place of the usual, I thought that I’d leave you with ALL the lyrics for “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.”

Not everyone understands that if it weren’t for Katie Casey, none of us would be singing this particular song during the 7th inning stretch.

That girl had it going on!

• • •

• • •
Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Katie Casey was baseball mad
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou, Katie blew;
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do.”

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along, good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”

• • •