All Quiet on the Midwestern Front

I can’t help thinking of the Standing Rock standoff, remnants of the original Americans still fending off white terrorists to this day, a day commemorating the beginning of their demise.  It’s all the more poignant after an election that brought white supremacist fascists back into power.

But enough about that.  I’m thankful that we are still relatively secure for the time being, being left alone to celebrate our own humble but homey turkey day.  We’re thankful we have a warm place, food to eat, and each other.

So, food’s a-roasting, bluegrass is a-playing, and for anyone out there at loose ends, the turkey day V-bar is open for the duration.  All are welcome.  Let the drinking continue, er, begin!  Cheers!

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No Words…Well OK, a Few

I keep trying to write, but words don’t come.  Me, without words?!  I just feel speechless and overcome by dread, but I’m trying like hell, like all of us, to just keep moving forward, to find small rays of hope, to believe our country can’t just turn into a fascist dictatorship overnight.  Anyway, enough of that; it’s already being said much more effectively by many others.

This being thanksgiving week, commemorating the beginning of the end for the original Americans at the hands of savage religious terrorists (and the rest is history), I thought it would be more appropriate to say a few words of thanks.  These may be the final days of taking for granted basic freedoms and necessities, so what better time than now to be thankful for them.

I am thankful for the current edition of my [extended] family.  I am so fortunate to have people in my inner circle who, having survived extreme dysfunction and abuse from their birth families and society, have created their own nonconventional “safe houses” of refuge, where it’s safe to be oneself, be different, think for oneself, and live their values of tolerance and inclusiveness.  I’m thankful for the way they’ve “adopted” my friend E, whose whole family abandoned her, into theirs.

Many Americans dread this time of year, gritting their teeth among narrow-minded, judgmental relatives who want to return to the dark ages and drag us all down with them.  Some don’t even have a family anymore.  I’m thankful for mine.  We know we still have vestigial issues to work on, but we are all in a process of leaving behind toxicity and promoting a more reasonable, healthy world for our children.

Thanks to my friend E, I have not only a roof over my head, but a warm, secure situation, and a workable game plan for whatever future we have left, much more than I had before.  We don’t know how bad things will get in the next four years, but we know we’re not alone, and will get through this, as through anything tough, and E is the expert on “challenging” obstacles.  She’s weathered quite a few.  I’m thankful for being mutual allies, and our unique opportunity to be so for our extended family.

I’m thankful that, in the midst of a reddening country, there is a widening community of reasonable people from all backgrounds coming together in solidarity and vision, working together to fend off the growing darkness of bigotry and fear.  We were so afraid of moving to an even redder state at such a bad time, but are encouraged to see a growing movement of progressive folks standing with vulnerable communities.  Many complete strangers have personally reached out to welcome us and offer help navigating our move.  For this we are very thankful.

Most of all, I’m thankful for my son.  He’s struggling so hard to make a decent life for his family, against many odds, but somehow he maintains his vision and sense of humor, and inspires many of us to do likewise.

Well, I guess I found some words after all!  Imagine that.  Thanks for humoring me.  I feel so helpless and ineffective right now, but I love to write, however amateurly (I know, not a word), so if I can encourage anyone else through the written word, I will have accomplished something at least.  If anyone thinks of any other constructive uses for my humble writing skills (I’m pretty good at proofreading and editing), please feel free to make suggestions.  (No, not a boring memoir!)

Just for the hell of it, here are homemade noodles that E is making.  I’m thankful for them, too.  And a pie by E that we already ate.  We really do like pie ©™.









Fending Off a Heavy Heart

I think political shock is giving way to deep depression, so what better place to fend it off than–the Fen!  It’s finally looking more seasonably stark, except for bright splashes of fall color.  It was encouraging to see that our beaver friends, rather than all being killed by hunters, are alive and building dams.  I’ve included photos of a large, perfect dam which is causing the whole wetlands to become wetter.  Some parts of the boardwalk are actually under water.

It’s easy to feel overloaded with despair and loss right now, but I see glimmers of hope here and there.  Private citizen groups are forming online, behind the scenes, to encourage each other and pledge safe spaces for vulnerable communities in red areas.  We just want to stay under the radar in a safe, secure, private place in our future TN home, along with many others.  We’re encouraged by the warm gestures of welcome and support people of all backgrounds are expressing to us and others.

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Carillon Brewery Dayton

Yesterday, after helping a friend of ours in Dayton with some electrical installation, Rex took us out to Carillon Brewing Company.  Here they brew craft beers and bake breads from scratch, just as they did in the 1850s.  A guy was actually roasting barley grains to just the right brown color over an open fire.  He told me all about the process, and gave me a taste of their latest sour porter straight from the barrel.  We ate samplers of German foods and drank flights of their current seasonal brews.  You can see the carillon bells outside.  What a great place!

We are thankful for the few real friends we’ve been able to make lately, to fill some of the void while we “transition”.   (Note his two cats smushed together in a box in the kitchen.)

Today E baked a yummy apple-nut cobbler from scratch.  I’m still harvesting lots of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and flowers.  And trying to banish all the alien demons dampening our spirits this week.  Happy erev.  Life must go on.

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Looking Up

As in, literally looking up at magnificent ancient trees towering over a resplendent autumn forest and rushing river, at Indian Mound.  It was another unseasonably warm day.  Sometimes one gets so used to looking down, one forgets to look up.  Especially when the footing gets tricky and challenging.  OK, now I’m being all metaphorical.  But one day things will be looking up.  After we survive this election, one hopes.

After our pleasant hike, we adjourned to Peifer Orchard to buy a variety of winter squash and apples.  Then on into Yellow Springs proper for some good fair trade Peruvian coffee at the Emporium, to the tune of some old local musicians playing bluegrass and hippie anthems.  (“…This old world keeps spinning round, it’s a wonder tall trees ain’t laying down, there comes a time…”)

Then home to a good craft beer and a homemade curry of homegrown eggplant and peppers, fresh from the garden.  Just po’ folks making the most of what we have, and dreaming of a peaceful, simple life away from here.

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Like Spring in November

It was almost 60, sunny, and I was out in T-shirt and flip-flops, watering flowers and harvesting piles of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant!  In November.  In Ohio.  Insane.

Meanwhile, I had middle eastern/N. African chicken and rutabagas, and spaghetti squash, roasting in the oven.  I made a middle eastern-style fresh veggie/herb (all from the garden) salad.  And for dessert, I delegated it to E, which turned out to be some really yummy jam-filled sugar cookies.  (I know, because we “tested” them.)

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Officially Oldster

I spent almost a whole day at the cardiologist getting my stress test, echo, other cardio stuff, and a monitor.  I’m about to go on Medicare next year.  I feel like I’m my own parents.  Been there, done that.  So weird.  But I had fun with the staff, joking around, and watching my heart pumping away.  Not quite as fun as watching a fetus.

In between tests, we were allowed to go grab lunch (and the caffeine I had had to forgo), so we tried out Jeet India.  Yum!  They had everything!  There was even gulab jamun, one of many sweets on their menu, and good old Kingfisher Beer!  After getting stuffed, we checked out their little grocery shop in the back.  They even had little glass bottles of Thums Up, the Indian cola.  So nostalgic.  It somewhat made up for the sinking feeling I get following in my parents’ medical footsteps.

Now I’m walking around with electrodes and jumper cables, like some kind of car battery.  But at least I’m not as decrepit as some of the derelicts who shambled in and out of that office.  I plan to die way before I get there.  😉