Playing with a flower

I found a perfect magnolia blossom on the ground in front of my neighbor’s house, and decided to play with it like a child might play with a toy. First I drew all over on petal with colored pens, then I pried it open to reveal its fascinating center. I took pictures along the way.

 

Perfect blossom

Pen changes color the longer it has been on the flower

Adding color

Smearing, scribbling

What’s inside?

Ooo

Nifty center

Pretty flower

 

 

 

 

 

We are only as strong as the weakest among us

Imagine a family needs to walk across a river in order to get to the other side, and there is no bridge. Among the family members is five year old child. The water is up to her chin and her swimming skills are poor. What would happen in this scenario? Probably the mom, dad or a strong older sibling would pick her up and carry her, so that the whole family could make it to the other side together, alive.

Now extrapolate this story to the entire human race. We are all trying to survive in this world, but among us are some people who are struggling to make it across that virtual river of life. They may have been born poor and disadvantaged, or have suffered a debilitating injury or illness. Whatever the reason, who’s responsible for making sure we all make it as best we can, this human family of ours?

There seem to be different philosophies about this.

1. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”

This is the attitude which says, “I cannot recognize drowning when I see it, or I do not care.”

2. “Only help your own family and friends”

These folks seem to be saying, “I will only help people who I personally know, like and care about.”

3. “Help everyone”

This is the philosophy of those who see that we are all connected, who understand that if the left hand is bleeding, the right hand should put a bandage on it, or the whole body will suffer the consequences.

Have you considered where you stand and why?

Email Fail and Ramble

It’s obnoxious I guess, but when someone doesn’t reply to an email, sometimes I just find the email they ignored and forward it back to them, copying and pasting the exact same thing I sent before. I especially do this with party invites, because it seems that most people don’t understand what RSVP means.

Sometimes I am horrified at how many of my peers just can’t respond to emails. Especially when I’m doing them a favor. Some days my default thought is, “Will you help me so that I can help you?”

Now I get that people are busy. Many of my peers have full time jobs, small children, aging parents and household responsibilities. This is why I want to help them out, make their lives easier, if I can. But I can’t get blood from a turnip. If I need information in order to help you with the thing you want help with, then, I need information. From you. How will you get it to me? Via telepathy?

Yeah email sucks. Not everyone has gmail, which helpfully filters out Spam to make the task of checking it less overwhelming. Not everyone has a working computer. But even my parents can respond to my emails. What’s up with some of the 30- and 40- somethings?

Then there’s Facebook. I have lost count of the number of times I wish I could log off Facebook and never go there again. Unfortunately, there is information there that I need, and people there who I cannot communicate with any other way. Facebook is also a huge struggle for some people. They don’t have Messenger, because they think you have to let it bully you into accepting notifications, which you don’t have to do. So I send messages to people and never hear back, and I have no way of knowing why. I miss the college dining halls, when anyone I wanted to see was there, everyday, for lunch, dinner and sometimes breakfast.

I grew up in the 1970s and 80s. To communicate, we either saw each other in person, made a phone call, or wrote a letter. This was pretty limiting, so I welcomed these new communication technologies into my life and embraced them as best I could. Email, Texting, Usenet (oh I’m showing my age). What’s going on with the rest of Gen X? Are they just distracted by the array of television and movie options now, which are far and above much better quality than we had growing up?

I guessing most of my peers didn’t have a big advantage I had: In the early nineties, I bought a PC which apparently had a hardware conflict. Trying to figure out what was wrong with my computer consumed me for years. I was fascinated by the process, which led me deep into the CMOS, the DOS Command-Prompt, to the Jumper Pins inside the box. Eventually I realized that the 486 Dx-50 processor wasn’t playing nice with the video card. A few years later I was studying for my MSCE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) certificate and doing Technical Support for Adobe and Microsoft products. Computer problems give me life. I tend to forget this is not true for the vast majority of humans.

So anyway, if you are full of email fail, just know that I’m here for you. I can help. Will you let me?

Evangelicals Advocate Irresponsibility

In the wake of POTUS 45’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, I have been seeing some stories about how conservative evangelical Christians agree with this decision, due to some notion that “God will take care of it.”

As a Buddhist, I’ve been told that the goal of realizing the enlightened mind is up to us. There is no savior, just Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to inspire us with their example, and Teachers, who can point the way.

I have never professed Christianity as my religion, but from what I can see,  Christians are also supposed to take some responsibility for their own salvation. Some Christians have a notion of being a steward of the Earth. Most Christians I know, as far as I can tell, do not abdicate their responsibilities toward the earth and its living beings. They don’t assume that just because Jesus died for their sins, now they can just sin as much as they want and they will be forgiven.

The attitude of the evangelical branch strikes me as dangerously lazy. I have heard that many of them believe that what happens on earth doesn’t matter because they will be raptured off to heaven, and even that they should try to hasten the End Times.

I think it is important to note that in the USA, one-third of registered voters are evangelicals. That leaves the rest of us to do the work of ensuring the survival of the human race and the planet we inhabit, since millions of Americans have indicated that they have no interest in bothering with that task.

It’s ironic that the folks who tend to decry the government as a “nanny state” are the ones most likely to expect some one else to take care of cleaning up their messes for them. It’s also ironic that the folks who complain about wanting more jobs in the USA reject the huge job potential of the alternative energy industry. But that’s another post, for sure.

Getting the Family to Help around the house

Drawing of me doing dishes, by Ryan Henry Ward

 

I’m a stay at home mom, so the vast majority of house cleaning tasks fall to me. And that’s fine, but I do occasionally grumble about doing the dishes, since it’s a task that requires my attention for a good five to ten minutes, two to three times a day. It’s onerous enough that when I had the opportunity in 2013 to have Ryan Henry Ward do a quick sketch for me in exchange for $10 or so, I asked him to draw me doing the dishes.

Now my husband and daughter are both very competitive and my daughter loves prizes. So my husband got the idea to have a contest between the two of them to see who could put away the most dirty dishes. First it was about picking up any dish, including and especially your own dishes, and getting them into the dishwasher. Tally marks on the white board would indicate by the end of the week who had done the most dishes, and the winner would get to see a movie of their choice.

Then once the two of them had mastered getting their own dishes into the dishwasher, they switched so that only “someone else’s” dishes count. By and large, this means my dishes. So since I’m used to just letting the dishes pile up by the sink for a third of the day, for the most part, the two of them are doing my dishes now. This morning, right before my husband left for work, he was furiously loading the dishwasher and adding more tick marks to his column of the white board, and when my daughter got home from school, the very first thing she did after putting down her stuff was wash dishes. I didn’t even have to say a word.

Freakin’ Chaos in the Kitchen

I know some people like to keep their cabinets neat, their dishes and foods sorted and stacked neatly. I would do that too except that I don’t have enough room, and have learned to enjoy the chaos not knowing whether things will fall out on floor me when I open a door. I think it’s good to be prepared for the unexpected in life: messy cabinets are good training for that.