Archive for Personal/Family – Page 4

Under House Arrest…

No ankle bracelets. No vertical bars. No knuckle dragging guards. No orange jumpsuits, but still… it feels like house arrest.

It might just be cabin fever, but for the past week M and I have been cloistered a scant five miles from Kirkland’s Life Care Center – epicenter of the American coronavirus scare – just over there, dead center, across the lake.

We’re making the best of it, but it’s already getting old. Experts predict it will get worse before it gets better and that means we could be prisoners for the long haul. The best information is that we are one step down from the most vulnerable population – older, but “in good health with no underlying conditions such as cardiopulmonary disease, obesity, or diabetes.” read more

Lord of the Flies Redux…

I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the spring and summer of 2012. M and I were living and working in Saigon, far away from the bickering and embarrassment of the Sarah Palin/Tina Fey show. Obama looked like a shoo-in, though it was likely his second term would be handcuffed by Mitch McConnell and a Republican Senate. The campaign was in full swing, but we were on the sidelines an ocean away. If we wanted to know what was happening, we bought the International Edition of the New York Times. But even that was rare.  read more

Weather and Creativity…

This is the bus I take from home to my downtown “office” on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marilynn comes with me every Thursday. She hates the bus but loves me, so she bites the bullet and rides along. I love both her and the bus… in that order.

Over the years I’ve made a number of friends on my bus commute – all women. I got to know two of them well enough to have an occasional lunch with them. One, Mary Lou, lost her husband Bob unexpectedly and her confusion and grief were palpable. Not long after Bob’s death she moved away and we no longer share the bus ride. I often wonder how she’s doing? The younger one, Linda, has two children in Middle School. She’s married to Mark, a former airline pilot. He flew for Aloha and commuted to Honolulu. It was the job he’d always dreamed of but after two furloughs he gave it up. Now he drives a bus for King County Metro just like the one I ride to work. It pays well and he has a stable life with Linda and their kids. No more white scarf and leather flight jacket glamor but a healthy family life. read more

The Way of the Dodo?

Here’s what’s happening in the world – natural and unnatural. 

  • Planet earth is losing flora and fauna species at an alarming rate. Extinction is a phenomenon that occurs naturally, but the main cause of the current extinctions is the destruction of natural habitats by human activities, such as cutting down forests and converting land into fields for farming.
  • Scientists estimate we are currently losing species 1,000-10,000 times faster than normal attrition, which means that literally tens of species are vanishing from the face of the Earth every day. (worldanimalfoundation.com)
  • Across Africa, the U.N. estimates that 23.6 million people are facing food shortages due to the worst locust infestation in 70 years followed by torrential rains. (WSJ, Jan 31, 2020)
  • Australia is, after a month of wildfires that burned 12.35 million acres and killed as many as one billion animals, experiencing unprecedented rains and floods – 15.4” in 4 days. (AP)
  • Worldwide, 65.6 million individuals have been forcibly displaced because of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations, per the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR 2017).
  • Arctic and Antarctic ice caps are melting at an astonishing rate. On June 13, 2019 Greenland lost more than two billion tons of ice in one day. (nationalgeographic.com)
  • In Brazil, between 15 and 17 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been lost, and if the amount of cleared forest land reaches 25 percent, there won’t be enough trees cycling moisture through the rainforest. (vox.com)

Why? Well, it’s complicated…but at its root it’s because we, as humans, haven’t been good stewards of each other’s welfare or the planet’s. It’s clear now; we have hard evidence that if we are to survive – if the planet is to survive – we need to make an urgent course correction. Instead, America has gone tribal, ignoring the evidence and doubling down on fossil fuels, extractive industries, unsustainable agribusiness, military industrial power, and isolationism. read more

Our Existential Moment…

As a college undergraduate I was enamored of Existentialism, that most romantic and nihilistic of French philosophies. I wore black turtleneck sweaters, smoked Lucky Strikes, and channeled Albert Camus, but my senior thesis, a derivative sophomoric critique of Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus, drew a disappointing response from Louise Gould, my tiny, intense, chain-smoking, comparative literature advisor.

Professor Gould was absolutely right, and I still blush when I think of it. She was simply pointing out that quoting established critics is not the same as rigorous analysis based on personal research. My thesis did not reflect the critical thinking skills required and expected of a college senior. read more