Monday, August 12, 2019

What I've Learned So Far On My Summer Vacation

Well, I was thinking I'd take up the pen again tonight, but maybe not. I wanted to write (so I thought) about Red Flag Laws, but the deeper I dug, the less I wanted to write about them. The states that already have them in place show a decline in gun suicides but not much in other forms of gun violence. The Washington Post ran a good analysis of what Red Flag laws can and cannot do: The gun-control legislation Washington might actually consider: Red-flag laws.

Something to keep in mind from the article:
One reason Republicans like this proposal is because it doesn’t create a federal law restricting gun access. It creates grants to help states set up these laws, and each state can adjust the restrictions to what it believes is best. Congress hasn’t passed a law limiting people’s access to guns in more than two decades, since it created a national federal background check system in 1993.
To be blunt, I have absolutely no expectation that Congress is gonna pass anything now or ever. Red Flag laws are little more than Red Herrings.  They probably do, however, appeal to Moscow Mitch and The Great White Dope. They are, after all, Red. 

Honestly, it's depressing. 

One thing I did notice is that none of the news outlets are letting the lies pass without calling them out as lies. It's pretty clear his nose is growing at an alarming rate and at least the news media is noticing. Whether it's the number of jobs he has created or the number of migrants attempting to enter the US, it's all lies. There's not a lick of truth in anything he says or tweets. 

But that's okay with his base. Well, that says a lot about his base. 

What does it say about the rest of us?

©2017-Steven G. Artley - Artley Toons Online

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Wake up and smell the covefefe.
If you can't smell it, you need your nose fixed. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Grow Up and Grow Some

Nine years ago, on July 19th, 2010, 472 episodes ago, I started this blog. 

I've been pretty good about not missing a week, even when I was on holiday. I felt a responsibility to my readers...and a fear that if I missed so much as one week without some kind of notice, all my readers would disappear while saying, "Just another blogger who couldn't stick it out."

So I went back to see what's changed in the 9 years. A lot has changed. Some of the stuff I thought was egregious isn't so bad anymore, but some is unfathomably worse. Lack of sensible guns law remains a total mystery after so many mass shootings I've lost count. And makes me wonder why we cannot pass sensible laws. There are mysteries I've yet to solve. 

But they ain't nothing in comparison with the mystery we have sitting in the oval office.

I have no words to describe my disgust at what he has done to reduce the status of the office of President of the United States to rubble. 

Ask yourself this question: if your kid (or grandkid) came home from school and said the things this man has said or tweeted, how would you respond to your child?

If you're okay with what he says, congratulations: you would've made a fine Nazi collaborator. 

I may not like Ilhan Omar, but she is a  citizen of this country, as are the other three members of the Squad. Frankly, I don't like any of them, but folks, they are all citizens, they were elected to Congress,  and they're not going "back" anywhere. 

The only person who hates American and Americans is the one sitting in the Oval Office. I don't have to list all the ways he demonstrates his hatred; he does a fine job doing it himself on Twitter. Stupid he's not; he's doing precisely what he has set out to do: distract all of us from the real issues. If you think he will stop the dismantling of The Constitution of the United States and the wholesale environmental destruction of the planet, guess again. All this because he hated a black POTUS.

Minor thing, I know. Hardly worth noting. 


Did anyone hear the occupant tell the Prime MInister of Pakistan he would win the Afghan war in a week? Really? And he's the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico? Is this guy on drugs????????????????????????????????????

Frankly, the guy should just stop compensating for his teeny-tiny tootsie roll and man up. I think his obsession with golf has more to do with hitting balls with a stick than sinking them in a cup. There is something weirdly phallic about his golf game, as if it is some sadomasochistic ritual to compensate for his lack of genuine masculinity coming from his own balls. It sure as hell isn't his athletic ability. 

Ladies, you know exactly what I mean.

As for the Senate? Grow some spine. ALL OF YOU. Work at being adult. Remember what made you run for office and then try remembering the oath you swore on that Bible. Surprise us. Do something for the common good. 

I need to get past the rage I feel while watching the country I love embrace racism and hate. And on that note, I'm taking some time off.  See you all in a bit.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Plant a tree. We're gonna need all the trees we can get. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Where Have All The Morals Gone?

I have to wonder what all those Eastern European refugees and asylum seekers we fought so hard to bring to this country during the last half of the 20th century must be thinking right about now.  
Am I next? Is the White  House going to come after me? I had a broken tail light once and ignored the ticket...does that make me eligible for deportation?
These are not joke questions. They are real. And they are terrifying. 

What the man who claims to be our president said over the weekend was so heinous, so egregious that its horror can only be bested by the deafening silence of GOP lawmakers who have maintained an unacceptable blackout in response to his weekend racist screed. These raging religious right people, the ones who talk Bible and Jesus and the rest of that stuff...where is their moral compass? Whatever happened to WWJD? How do they keep their lips locked when blatant racism pours over the podium on the White House lawn?

Now, I'm not fan of Speaker Pelosi; in fact, I think she has mishandled The Squad from start to finish. There were any number of approaches that coulda/shoulda/woulda prevented The Squad from running amok. But she didn't.  Now, we need a minor miracle to clean up the mess. 

However, Speaker Pelosi was right when she  tweeted:

For the record, I'm definitely no fan of The Squad, either. Their lowest common denominator is antisemitism because all four figured out early on you have to blame someone, and since they refuse to take responsibility for what comes out of their collective mouths, blaming Israel for everything is as a good a PR move as any other. That said, Rep. Cortez has some terrific moments and I wish I could like her as much as I like some of her responses. But I don't. This one, however, was spot on. 

The extreme asininity of this past weekend's Twitter fest was solely about throwing more sabots into the Democratic machine, and you're an idiot if you missed that part. The cabal hanging around the oval office knows this caliber of hate-speech will release an overwrought Kraken to further fracture the DNC. This isn't about the The Squad, it's about reducing the opposition's ability to mount a viable political assault against that thing sitting in the oval office. The GOP operatives may be despicable, but they are not stupid. They know immigration is a hot-button issue and they are there to exploit it.

And while we're at it, let's make one thing really, really clear. 


with the exception of 
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-OK, Cherokee 
  • Rep Sharice Davids, D-KS, Ho-Chunk
  • Rep Deb Halaand, D-NM, Laguna Pueblo

These three are the only members of Congress who, if you follow the administration's logic, should be in there. They are our First Nation Congresspeople and regardless of party affiliation, they are the true original citizens of this continent. The rest of the congressclowns should just board their ships and go back to whatever shit hole country they came from because clearly they are not happy with America. They tell us that every day. According to Feckless Leader, that would solve the immigration problem. And if you actually can believe something the sociopath in the oval office said, his father immigrated from Germany, so guess what, Angela? Your kleiner Lügner Kumpel is all yours.  (For the record, Feckless lied about that, too: Fred was born here...but he is still an immigrant according to his spawn's definition.)

And in case you still want to support this administration because you think the economy is stronger than it's ever been, let me leave you with this graph I found showing the market's performance on a day-by-day comparison between the Obama administration and the current one. 
The y-axis shows the total percentage increase or decrease in the S&P 500 index and the x-axis shows the number of trading days since inauguration day. The performance for President Obama is shown as well for comparison purposes.

The reality is the current administration languishes on the heels of the previous one. It's not simply the occupant in the oval office, it's the fed, the futures, the outlook, and about a zillion other factors that make the market rise and fall. This is not subjective charting; these are just the raw numbers.

Wake up, America, and smell the bullshit. It's getting deeper, higher, and more toxic. Just like our air and water quality. But hey! Who's looking?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
36 Months sounds like a long time,
 but it isn't. Really.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Great Betsy Ross Sneaker Debacle

In the historical scheme of things, my big brother has, on occasion, attempted to bend me to his will. He has gone as far as to serenade me with songs from that long-lost musical, "Christopher Columbus", just to see if he can get me to budge. I'm a stubborn sort, so he hasn't had much luck, but yesterday was one of those rare moments of budging. He suggested I write about the Great Betsy Ross Sneaker Debacle. So, BBB, here ya go.

I like Colin Kaepernick. I don't always agree with him, but he puts himself out there for causes in which he believes. Ardently believes. That's admirable on many levels, but it doesn't mean I'm gonna take the knee for everything he supports. And Betsy Ross Sneakers ain't one of them.

There are a number of reasons I can't back Colin on this one. Here's the list:

  1. Betsy Ross was a devout Quaker, which meant she was  most likely an abolitionist because that was a tenet of her religion.
  2. Betsy Ross was born in 1752 and died in 1836. I don't think women of that period were out there demonstrating for civil rights or anything else for that matter. You can't hold her responsible for something that did not exist.
  3. Betsy Ross was apparently hired to do this job, or at least part of this job, because she was a professional. She had some instructions from George Washington, and she did what she was asked to do.
  4. The thirteen stars on the flag represented the 13 colonies breaking away from England. You could put a swastika in the middle of that blue field and the overwhelming majority of Americans would take great offense at that misuse of our first flag.  Same applies to putting III in the middle: it doesn't belong there.
  5. According to the Anti-Defamation League, people who associate the Betsy Ross Flag with white supremacy or anti-government militias are marginal in numbers.
  6. Besides, Nike sneakers aren't even American. Yeah, Nike is ostensibly an American company, but they don't manufacture so much as a shoelace in this country. Their sneakers are made in China, Vietnam, and/or Indonesia. The only thing Nike makes in The United States of America is profit.
You cannot re-write history and make the Revolutionary War about slavery. It wasn't. You cannot downplay its importance because it wasn't about civil rights; that is absurd.

Yes, both Washington and Jefferson were slave holders, and yes, in our thinking and in the thinking of many people of that time, slavery was evil. But it was also the socially acceptable norm. No, that didn't make it right. Yes, it had to change. Yes, there had to be abolition. And yes, there had to be a civil war. 

The Constitution, imperfect as it is, was really the first tentative step recognizing there was a different reality to be had. Like any other sociopolitical change, the road to equality started at the beginning and kept building until there were enough citizens demanding change. Announcing we should have done something earlier is not constructive; it's blame and that is useless. It doesn't change what happened...or didn't happen. It deflects from the real issues, and the real issues remain inequality and economic disparity in this country. It negates the continued efforts to change our own reality.

As for the flag itself, it's made of cloth. It is not sacred. You can burn it in protest. You can hang it upside down in distress. You can argue with its position on the pole.  You can say it needs a 51st star for Puerto Rico. You can say it needs another star so New York can finally split. But you can't change the part where George Washington hired Betsy Ross and told her to put thirteen stars on a field of blue with thirteen red and white stripes. It is what it is. You get to have an opinion about how it's made, how it looks, how it flies.  But you don't get to have an opinion about what the stars represent. It's just that simple.

In protesting the existence of the sneakers which, for the record, I think are tasteless and an inappropriate place for any American flag, Mr. Kaepernick just gave additional voice and credence to the trash that misuses that flag as its own twisted symbol. The people who put III in the middle are so marginal that no one recognizes it's even a thing, but this nonsense gave them visibility and credibility. I'm not advocating ignoring who and what they are, but let's not do them any favors, either.  I do not want that wonderful image of 13 stars on a field of blue to go the way of the irredeemable swastika

Emanuel Leutze - 1851 - Metropolitan Museum
Every country has it folktales, folk heroes, and fables, and while we will never fully know the story of how Betsy Ross got the commission (she was a business woman and well-qualified) the reality is she probably had something to do with the first flag. I like that she ran her own upholstery business. I like that she was a woman who survived on her own strength and gumption. Instead of tearing down that image, why not point out the real Betsy Ross, consider her a folk hero, and praise that as we hoist the ancient flag up the pole to celebrate how We, the People started? That's not apologia...that's telling the assholes who want to twist and co-opt OUR symbol to knock it off now, that we won't tolerate their perversion.

As much as Mr. Kaepernick would like to make everything about slavery, he can't. Nor should he. There are a few people ahead on the injustice line. Maybe he should be busy protesting the Cleveland INDIANS or the Atlanta BRAVES while seeking restitution of tribal lands stolen from the First Nations of this continent. Where is his outrage for the repeated attempts at genocide directed at the original inhabitants of this manifest destiny? You know, Mr. Kaepernick, they were free when everyone else got here....their enslavement, removal, abuse, and denial of rights continued long after the slaves were freed...right into the 20th century...right past the Civil Rights Movement.  There was never a civil war or a civil rights movement for them.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Through FIL, whose family first came in the late 17th century, 
my kids and grandkiddies are direct descendants of 
an American Revolutionary War soldier from Pennsylvania.  
I am certain he fought bravely at the Battle of EWR

Monday, July 1, 2019

We, The People, On July 4th, 2019

Although I rarely say such terrible things, right now I am glad neither my dad nor FIL are alive at this moment. 

I wouldn't want my Battle of the Bulge fighting US Army Republican Dad or my Normandy invading and Italy fighting US Naval officer Democrat father-in-law to see the president of the United States aligning himself with dictators who rival the old Axis enemies for crimes against humanity. Everything these guys went to war to fight against, Feckless Leader has embraced. 

In this past month alone, he has promised advanced weapon construction technology to a country that murdered a journalist who happened to be an American citizen. He brought America to the brink of war with Iran with braggadocio posturing, only to suddenly have an Aaron Sorkin-esque epiphany about how many people might die in an attack when at home in an excess of 45,000 Americans die annually from lack of affordable healthcare he and his party refuse to authorize. And, just for shits and giggles, he held hands with a man who executes his own family members and starves his people while he lives in luxury.

I am so relieved Ziggy, who believed with his entire being in the Constitution of the United States and the system of checks and balances upon which our government is built, isn't here to have his heart broken by the lies, hate, and rhetoric of evil that pours from the executive branch every day without end. He would be decimated by the images of the president and Putin making light of Russian interference in our elections.

I get it that some people are Republican just like some people are Democrats. I get that there are philosophical differences between liberals and conservatives. And I get that these differences are rooted in deeply held beliefs. What I don't get is the name calling, the vituperative commentary, the out-and-out outrageous lies, and the hate. This is not who We, the People are supposed to be. We, the People are supposed to stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. I'm not always sure what that means, especially not these days, but I don't think it means cozying up to murderous dictators or caging kids.

And while we're on the subject of dictators and caging kids, let me say this about that: "detention centers" are concentration camps. 

Now, there is a difference between death camps and concentration camps, and we cannot lose sight of that difference. But herding people into those centers, housing them like cattle, refusing to provide for basic human needs qualifies them as concentration camps. Just like Manzanar and the other Japanese internment sites in this country were concentration camps. Face it; they were. 

Too many really cold nights I stood in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza shouting a whole lotta slogans, most of which were directed at the Soviets at that time, but usually included the phrase NEVER AGAIN. Even then, I knew this was not just about us.

No one and I mean NO ONE should ever do to ANYONE what was done to us in Europe. Not just in Germany by Germans; they had help from Poles in Poland, Austrians in Austria, the French in France, Italians in Italy, Greeks in Greece, and the Russians in Russia just to name a few. NEVER AGAIN includes the pogroms that came before that. NEVER AGAIN includes the Spanish Inquisition. NEVER again includes Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur, and the Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere. 


If you are entertaining the idea that there are no similarities between that list and what's happening at the southern border, think again. ICE and other agencies of the United States of America are rounding people up, putting them in camps, and voiding their human rights. 

Children are dying. Children have been forcibly taken from their parents. Some have subsequently been lost in the foster care system. Not just teenagers....TODDLERS, people. Two year olds. Little kids with no voices of their own.

Where is their Independence Day?

How can I look Little Miss and Young Sir in the eye and say I did nothing to help stop other children from being destroyed by this inhumane machine? 

I cannot. I will not. I will not be silent. And neither should you. 

July Fourth is about independence from tyranny; it's not about perceived military might or hardware. It's not about parading metal macho substitutes through the streets of our capital city. In fact, it's just the opposite.

Fourth of July is a day to rededicate ourselves the idea that once upon a time, We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, did ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That's my Constitution and I'm sticking with it.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

This is what July Fourth is not about.
Victory Day Parade 2019  in Red Square.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Virtue of a Proportionate Response

I am a huge Aaron Sorkin fan. I have been for a long time. He writes script like no one else, and he has a patter than sends my little playwright's heart into palpitations.  Nothing gets me going faster than good dialogue. Those patterns are the heart and soul of a character, the thing that makes  a play better than good. If you can't write superb dialogue, then don't write plays. It's just that simple. 

People quote Sorkin even when they don't realize they are quoting Sorkin. His language has become part of the lexicon over the last 30+ years. From the moment A FEW GOOD MEN opened on November 15th, 1989,  we have been quoting Sorkin. Unless YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! 

Whether it's A FEW GOOD MEN, THE WEST WING or STEVE JOBS, I love the way the guy turns a phrase. There are lines that stick with me, that I can quote at will...and have done so any number of times in this blog. THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, however, is the script that I can almost recite verbatim. Lord knows, I've watched the movie often enough. The podium speech about the ACLU is nothing short of brilliant. 

So, knowing his proclivity for liberal politics, I have to admit I was shocked when I heard Feckless Leader's interview with Chuckles the Toad on Sunday morning's MEET THE PRESS. Was my beloved Aaron speech-writing for POTUS? Was it possible? I anxiously awaited a transcript of the interview:
CHUCK TODD: Let me start right in, what happened last night?
Well, you had a situation that was very bad because the night before, they shot down an unmanned drone. And the unmanned is a very big factor. The fact that there was not a person on it, a U.S. person on it, or anybody. And that had an impact on me. I said, "Well, you know, we got a little problem." And I think they did that on purpose because they understand that they will be hit very hard if that were a plane with a person in it. And I think they knew that there was nobody there. So we had a very, you know, modest but pretty, pretty heavy attack schedule.
CHUCK TODD: And this is a pre-plan that you had, something that if they did something, you had something --
Yeah, we had it --
CHUCK TODD:-- these were sort of ready-made plans --
Sure, we have many of them --
CHUCK TODD: -- to use if necessary, right?
Oh, I have so many targets you wouldn't believe.
We have targets all over.
CHUCK TODD: So did you green light something? Or had you said --
Nothing’s --
CHUCK TODD: "If we do it, I'll do this." What was, what was the order you gave?
Nothing is green lighted until the very end because --
-- things change, right?
CHUCK TODD: So you never gave a final order?
No, no, no, no. But we had something ready to go, subject to my approval. And they came in. And they came in about a half an hour before, they said, "So we're about ready to go." I said, "I want a better definition --"
CHUCK TODD: Planes in the air? Were planes in the air?
No, no. "We're about ready to go." No, but they would have been pretty soon. And things would have happened to a point where you wouldn't turn back or couldn't turn back. So they came and they said, "Sir, we're ready to go. We'd like a decision." I said, "I want to know something before you go. How many people will be killed, in this case Iranians?" I said, "How many people are going to be killed?" "Sir, I'd like get back to you on that," great people these generals. They said, came back, said, "Sir, approximately 150." And I thought about it for a second and I said, "You know what? They shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it. And here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead." And I didn't like it. I didn't think it was, I didn’t think it was proportionate. Now that doesn't mean --
I am so afraid to imagine what went on behind the scene to get them to script him like this. Take a look at the Aaron Sorkin version from THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT:

...The F-18's are fired up on the
Kimitz and the Kitty Hawk. They're
just waiting for your attack order,
Mr. President.

And we're gonna hit Libyan
Intelligence Headquarters?

The N.S.A. confirmed they're the ones
who planned the bombing.

What's the estimate?

We'll level the building.

Libyan I.H.Q's in the middle of
downtown Tripoli -- are we gonna hit
anything else?

Only if we miss.

Are we gonna miss?

No, sir.

How many people work in that building?

We've been all through--

How many people work in the damn

I've got those number here. There
are three shifts, so it--

The fewest. What shift puts the
fewest people in the building? The
night shift, right?

By far. Mostly custodial staff and
a few--

What time does the night crew go on?

They're on now, sir.


It's immediate, it's decisive, it's
low risk, and it's a proportional

Someday somebody's going to have to
explain to me the virtue of a
proportional response.

There's a SILENCE. SHEPHERD gets up and starts to head out
the door.

Mr. President?


Maybe it was on The West Wing:

Then I ask again, what is the virtue of a proportional response?

It is not all there is.
It isn’t virtuous Mr. President. It’s all there is sir.


Excuse me Leo, but pardon me Mr. President, just what else is there?

Sir, Admiral Fitzwallace...

 A disproportional response. Let the word ring forth from this time and this place, 
you kill an American, any American, we don't come back with a proportional response, 
we come back (bangs fist on table) with total disaster!

Are you suggesting we carpet-bomb Damascus?

 General, I am suggesting that you and Admiral Fitzwallace and Secretary Hutchinson and the rest of the national security team take the next sixty minutes and put together a U.S. response scenario that doesn't make me think we are just docking somebody's 

damn allowance!

Nah, I don't really think Sorkin is writing for the Gang-That-Can't-Get-Their-Facts-Straight....those guys are just doing what they do best, plagiarizing. They are trying to make a guy who does not have the mental capacity to even memorize the right words sound like he made some sort of earth-saving decision. There is a difference between the two words. As The Grammarist explains:
"Proportionate means in due proportion. The distinction is subtle, but proportionate describes something that is made that way by an active agent, and it often describes quantities that are difficult to measure. Proportional doesn’t necessarily involve an active agent, and it is the preferred term where actual measurements are concerned."
And then today's rationale?  Wanna talk about all those fine Iranians he knows who are great people in New York? The man has no ability to self-edit, much less make sense,  and neither does anyone else associated with him.

Here's the thing: it's pretty common knowledge that Feckless Leader loves drama, and when there isn't any real drama, he creates a crisis he can solve. Do We, the People, possibly look that stupid?

These are all diversions. Whether it's initiating, then canceling the deportation of thousands, levying more sanctions against Iran, or even the half-baked health transparency executive order, this is a smoke-screen. Each one of those items is poised to present an image of a caring POTUS when, in fact, they all demonstrate the highest levels of dysfunction in the west wing. The speech-writers prop him up with a script that's supposed to take the focus off the real issues using bogus crises he has supposedly resolved. Yeah. Right.

It's kinda like buying a really snazzy sports car when you're a total wuss who can't drive a stick. You think you'll look really cool, girls will like you, and  the other boys will be jealous that you have suck a slick street penis. Yeah, this is dick-compensation behavior. That's when your proportional isn't, but you think you can fool everyone into believing it is... least not where children are sleeping on concrete floors,  conditions that that rival third world refugee camps that we claim to deplore. All the flash and boom is supposed to take our attention away from the reality that our air is rapidly becoming un-breathable once again. The amplified MAGA cheers are supposed to assure us he has followers...when in fact they were leaving the stadium during his speech. Smoke and mirrors, mirrors and smoke. Nothing they say is real is real. It's all a sham meant to delude.                          

Start paying better attention to the man behind the curtain, folks. Honestly, we don't know who is running this country, but when they begin using movie scripts as their model, we are in for a dishonest ride. The Manchurian Candidate is a possibility. Or maybe All The King's Men? I can't wait to see what they try out next. You cannot fall for the ruse. If you do and you don't like the outcome, you only have yourself to blame.

Ol' Abe Lincoln understood the dilemma quite well:
If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.
People, our butts are already smoldering. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week 

           People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.  
                                                                                      Otto von Bismarck

Monday, June 17, 2019

Master of My Fate, Captain Of My Soul

Tuesday at sundown begins Sivan 16, 5779. That date probably doesn't mean much to many of my readers. Nor does the date Sivan 16, 5769.  But it means something to me.

That date marks a decade of life on my own.

A decade.  That's a long time.

That's roughly one-third of the time I was married, and that sounds impossible.

That’s so long ago that sometimes I don't remember what's it's like to make a "group" decision.

That's such a long time that I have to think about whether or not it's a movie we saw together. . . or something I saw after.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. . .

I still wake up in the middle of the night and automatically fling my arm out to see if Ziggy is there...or if he fell asleep on the couch downstairs watching TV even though he's never been in this house and there isn't a TV in the living room where the couch is.

I still stand in front of the array of herbs at the grocery store and automatically think twice about buying dill because Ziggy was mildly allergic.

I still wear a wedding ring. I don't know why, but I feel naked without it.

What I have learned over these last ten years:

Time is a telescope: you can zoom in and out at will but you never change where you are standing. There are days it all happened yesterday and days when I can't remember what it was like to even be married. All at the same time.

Nobody is interested in helping you make decisions: You're supposed to be a grownup and you're supposed to be capable of making your own decisions even when you know nothing about what you're supposed to be deciding.

You are a third or a fifth or a seventh or a ninth wheel: your condition upsets the balance of congeniality. Without your partner, there are places you no longer fit. It's just the way it is.

Nobody wants to feel your keppie: Yeah, I know that was last week's rant, but I just re-read it and it's still true. (But I am feeling much better, thank you.)

Dating is not a requirement: If you want another partner, go for it. Do what is right for you. Look, if some handsome guy sits down next to me on a plane and sparks fly, I might be amenable. But the truth is, I'm okay with me as a whole; I don't have a burning need to be someone else's other half.

In the low  moments, and there are some, I think about what the Senior Son keeps telling me:  
Look at everything you've done since Dad died. You haven't exactly been sitting around.

A couple of days before he died, Ziggy asked me for my dad's anthology of English lit. When I gave it to him, he quickly found what he was looking for and read this to me:

Out of the night that covers me,  
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,  
I thank whatever gods may be  
  For my unconquerable soul.  

In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.  
Under the bludgeonings of chance  
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.  

Beyond this place of wrath and tears  
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years  
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.  

It matters not how strait the gate,  
  How charged with punishments the scroll,  
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

 INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley ~ 1875   

"That wasn't for me," he told me, handing back the open book. "That was for you."

I try to remember I am, indeed, the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. Some days, it's easier than others. Tuesday night won't begin one of them.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

YOU are the master of your own fate and the captain of your own soul.