Stop Looking Backwards

I read an article this morning that helped me to understand what is happening in the United States today.

Automobile makers have been freed of emissions regulations and as a result have resorted back to producing big, heavy, gas guzzling, pollution spewing trucks and abandoning the production of cars.

It occurred to me then that Americans are pining for the past, the glory days of the 50’s and 60’s, when everything was big from hairdo’s to cars.   Middle class was rising and becoming wealthy.  The space age began.  There were big dreams and the economy was booming.  The world was large.

But that is the highlight reel.

Out of all the white middle class suburbia and glory came gory.

Racism.  Pollution.  Abuse.  To name only a few.

As we became aware of such things, and realized they were not good, we took steps to fix our messes and evolved to today.   I think a lot of stuff in the past was done in ignorance and innocence.  We were children then, but now we are adults.  No longer innocent or ignorant of our footprint on this world or our impact on the global stage.  We pay a huge price for our ways.  There are consequences to every action we take.

Todays world is a global community with no options for being isolationist any more.  We must learn how to get along and work towards common goals.  There is no room for dictators with selfish ambitions, we will all perish under such rulers.  Those days should be long behind us.

If we don’t pay attention to our carbon footprint on the environment we are out of time.  Where can we go if this world dies?

Forget Star Trek fantasies of the 60’s.  The universe is a hostile place and ginormous.  There are no planets with handsome men and bodacious women, breathable air and luxuries abounding.  You think we are going to flee to Mars or live in satellites where every day is a fight to stay alive?  We live on a beautiful planet, our only home.  There is no place else to go.  We can build huge rocket ships, but to go where exactly?  And who gets to go?  It only happens in science fiction novels.  It is not reality.  Forget escaping, we need responsibility.  We need to grow up.

The exception to our current giant steps backward is the MeToo movement, a huge step forward for women.  That is why I pin my hopes on women to save the world.  If we preserve our nurturing, loving nature and combine it with our new found confidence we could end racism, poverty, abuse, pollution and all ills of the world.

It is the bad things in life that make us aware of what we want the world to look like.  I am optimistic (though it wavers) – we usually, eventually, take responsibility to make things right again.  I did read a hopeful article that said the U.S. has survived many bad things and leaders and picked itself up and moved forward, and this gave me hope.  Yes, we can evolve but we have to stop looking backwards.  We can look at the crap and decide we’re not going there again.

Likewise, on a personal note, I too have to stop pining for the past and create a whole new me and life.

I think we all should.

Why “NO”

I made this comment on LinkedIn about the legalization of marijuana use in Canada:

“I am so against the legalization of any recreational drug.  It gives the message that being impaired is okay.  We still have problems with alcohol.”

I received some backlash on this, so I wish to elaborate on where I am coming from and why I say NO.

First of all, this is not my cause.  If it were I would have made an effort to halt this happening instead of making a comment after the fact.  It is just my opinion.  Opinion based on faulty logic, as it is with everyone.  Logic comes from our life experiences and how many years we’ve been at it.  I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s so I know something about the matter, though my experiences may be quite different than others of the same generation.

This legislation was passed on a vote of 52-29.  That’s 81 people.  Hardly representative of an entire nation.  It is also a government decision, and they look at money first.  If you are naive enough to think all that revenue will go to build roads, schools, hospitals and the like, I suggest you ask where all the money from alcohol, cigarettes and gambling is now going.

Where we had one law, we will now have to spend lots of money to implement many more laws to regulate the use of this substance.  When it was illegal, there was one law and one exception – medicinal use.

I am not against the use and legalization of drugs for pain and disease.  I am against legalizing it for pleasure.

Mary Jane is a drug and it is addictive.  Anything that gives you pleasure you can become addicted to, require more of and eventually be unable to be happy without.  This applies for everything from sugar to sex to alcohol and cigarettes and anything else you can think of.  We are a species prone to addiction to pleasure.

It impairs your ability to think clearly and function.  It makes some think they are brilliant, funny and leaders.  Have you ever worked with a stoned person?  Driven with them?  Would you want to?  How about repair your house, operate heavy equipment, doctor you, fix your teeth…?

How is being impaired with marijuana better than alcohol if you kill someone while driving?  How is being impaired while driving better than not?

I know some people my age who have always been pot heads.  Their lives are a mess, but they are not so aware of it.  They make ridiculous (and sometimes costly) decisions and some cannot have sex with their partner without it.  One smoked pot all his life to prevent glaucoma.  Guess what.

Like attracts like.  Do you want to hang around with fellow alcoholics, smokers, tokers?  Or do you want to hang with people doing something constructive with their lives?  Going places?

I am not against recreational use of anything, except I know where it can lead.  We as humans are not terribly good at moderation.  What starts as fun can soon become a necessity.

Making something illegal does not solve problems, but neither does making it legal, because legislation is the wrong approach to begin with.  It does not decrease crime, it merely ‘relocates’ it to something else.

What we need is education – how to have a life, make good choices, help the world, have relationships, handle money, be happy.  We fail our young by not teaching them life skills.

My cause is not making substances illegal.  My concern is with people wasting their lives and everyone elses.

There are better ways to enjoy your life, to relax and to have fun.  Alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and the like are substitutes for genuine joy.

It is not okay.

Make the effort to find real joy in your life.

Water Therapy

Everything is right with the universe once more.

Nothing cures my work day week blues and blahs like being out on the water for an hour.  $15 buys a lot of sanity.

I always was a water baby.  From my first time as a toddler in a wading pool in our back yard (I remember it seemed enormous!) fully immersed up to my knees, to summers slumming in pools, rivers and on beaches, to vacations where every motel had to have a pool (or I just was not staying!) and on to camping, motorboats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats and now paddleboards,  I just had to be near water.  Even if that meant sitting on a rock, feet dangling in the water, minnows nibbling my toes.  I spent one glorious summer doing just that, sitting next to the river on the rocks watching the water go slowly past me.  Oh to do that again!

I’ve held a fascination for water as long as I can remember, the smallest trickle of water will get my attention;  rain, melting snow, water in a ditch, spring runoff over rocks, a puddle on the street, lawn sprinklers (oh the rainbows!).  I waited hours to watch a geyser finally erupt, and can be mesmerized by waterfalls.

I love boats (the quiet type!), where I glide over an underwater world unfolding beneath me; undulating weeds, smooth multicoloured rocks, soft glittering sand, silver flashes of minnow schools and the occasional crayfish.  On the surface there is a dance of water striders and whirligigs.  When I discover a stranded non-water bug, I am happy to scoop him up, let him dry on the end of my paddleboard and return him to land.

Today as I sat on the paddleboard I was greeted by a curious snapping turtle and an elegant black swan.  They checked me out, I said hello and continued on.  A busy muskrat let me know not to come to close to her nest as she swam by, slapping her tail at me as she dove.

I was investigated by dragonflies, mayflies and deer flies.  Swooped over by barn swallows,  Honked at by geese and ignored by ducks.

Trees swept over my head along the shoreline.  I caught glimpses of bright yellow finches in the foliage and drifted uneasily under a dead tree heavy with black cormorants.  A hummingbird made a brief appearance and disappeared into the daisies.

Isn’t this a beautiful place?

I am so lucky.  I am so blessed.

Today did me a lot of good.

Do Your Best Work

I once knew a lady artist who often did cards and the like for fellow employees in our office.  Her work was pretty, but not outstanding, and she used cheap cardboard.  Still, we enjoyed any gift of art we received from her, for any occasion, birthdays, anniversaries, retirement.

One day I went to her home to help her with a computer issue I was familiar with.  She lived in a large condominium that was jammed packed with her art materials.  The dining room table was overflowing with completed art work, mostly cards, in her traditional style, except for one glaring difference.

These cards were beautiful!  They were professionally done, on high quality paper with expensive materials.  They were really good.  They were awesome!

My head could not get around the discrepancy between what I saw at work and what I witnessed here.  In answer to my unspoken bewilderment she said “These are for my paying customers”.

My young naive self was shocked.  As an artist it never occurred to me to do less than my best for any reason.

Does it make sense on any level to do substandard work when it is for free?  I felt kind of insulted that the cards I got were crap.  They didn’t seem so special any more.

It is a lesson that has stuck with me many years.  I am not going to give out crap because it is free.  I am not saving my best for only those who will pay for it.  I create for JOY.  And if someone else gets joy from it, glory!  Yes, I do sell my work, it costs money to create my books, photography and art.  But freebies to my friends and family are of the same quality and effort.

I feel the same way about work.  Whether you volunteer or are paid, give your best effort (although it is sometimes true that volunteers give more than paid workers).

I guess I am just naive.

Do your best work at all times.  Not just for money.

Peppermint Poison

I ran out of my regular green tea, and had an unopened box of peppermint tea, so I decided to give it a try.

Being a tea-aholic, I consumed this new and delicious tea at a rate of 2 to 4 cups (or more!) every single evening for 2 solid weeks.

Fortunately, I was tired of it.

Unfortunately, too late.

Several days after I stopped consuming peppermint tea I began to feel unwell.  Nothing specific, just nausea.

Then I got a terrible yeast infection, and that same evening, FIRE!

My feet burned like hot coals were inside my cells.  Then my hands.   Shooting flames up and down my arms and the inside of my legs!

It spread to my face and my ears.  I was a red hot chili pepper!  I looked like a flaming tomato!

I had all kinds of blood work done, my body was in distress, blood pressure skyrocketed.  It seemed as if I had consumed something toxic.  But what?

I wracked my brains until I remembered the peppermint tea.  Tea??

Sure enough, when I consulted Doctor Google, there it was, peppermint is bad stuff in high doses.  It’s the menthol in it.  Mint is cool.  Pepper, damn hot!

It has now garnered me the nickname of Peppermint Patty.

Could be a lot worse.

I’ll recover.