Just a drink of cool,clear water

Taking things for granted is not something I did.  I  know how much of the world does without the most basic things like clean drinking water. Then in the course of 2 days I was put to the test .

They are doing work on my street , long, long overdue work. But this messed with the waterlines so boil order was issued. I was so grateful to get the notice as in TX they don’t give notice, the pressure just drops by half, or dirt comes through the lines and I boiled big pots while calling water company and hearing their surprised voices at the issue.

This reminded me how grateful  I am not to have arsenic contaminated water as in TX, lead as in Flint, MI, or whatever was in Grand Island NY.  I thought about all the people drawing spring, river water who don’t boil it , living and dying with waterborne illnesses. I thought about the rivers that are in danger of pollution from flooding in Michigan, coal ash seepage down the road, fracking in Oklahoma, field runoff all over, and I wanted to fight harder for clean water. Then I told myself, I am so lucky.

The next day, while drawing a big pot to boil,having the jug yet to fill for hand washing, the water stopped suddenly and completely. I went outside and asked the water company guy on site when I would have water back. I was met with a puzzled look as he said I had water. No was my reply. He pointed to the valve he’d shut and said that was all he had done. And it turned off my water was my reply. In minutes I had water back to fill all the vessels, get clothes started in the washer and it was off again.

I thought about the Indian Reservations where generations have lived without running water even to this day. I understood previously what inconvenience that must be but this day I felt the pressure of the inability to wash clothes or dishes, insecurity about how to make the water I had last since there was no place to go to get more. I thought about the Rohinga refugees living in tents, all about their lives uncertain including this basic thing. How is this possible in this world? And I was getting very tired physically and emotionally.

A few hours later I turned on the tap to see… brown water coming out and it wasn’t clearing. Put some in a jug and went out to the water guy noting the water was the exact same color as the dirt around the valve. He grimaced and said he could flush the main when the guys down the street got out of the way. OK.

I came back in remembering how people in Puerto Rico were collecting ground water after the hurricane, the bottled water sitting unused for a year on a tarmac. How in the midst of this pandemic many people all over the world are fighting illness, poverty, natural disasters and this brown water would be completely acceptable to them.

A few hours later, the truck had moved so I checked the water. It hissed, sprayed, thumped with the air in the pipes to every faucet and turned brown to beige to clear with steady pressure. The next day I got a text message saying boil order was now lifted and sighed while giving thanks.

Each day put some number of us closer to death, homelessness, food insecurity, lack of water, crushing depression, financial insolvency. The pressure of all these things makes a simple boil order feel so much more than it would have been a year ago.

It feels hopeless

Conflict and insult at every turn at every level is really wearing on me. I assume it is the same for everyone but don’t talk to people. Any conversation risks debate on my perceived white privilege, tRump, the reality of Covid-19, pushing through fatigue or some other thing that wears me out.

People on the autistic spectrum feel things though they seldom express it at the time. The more frustrated they become, the more they stuff the feelings they don’t know how to process. It can result in explosion or implosions and sometimes one right after the other. This time is a minefield for them.

As the mom of someone struggling with all the above while dealing with a muscle disease and stupid people across the alley, I feel overwhelmed.

Wholeness, integrity feels so foreign in every area of life, living is just a slog through  the impossible thorny thicket of time.

Living under this administration is like typing with a cat on your lap

IMG_20200730_123229643The cat on my lap is shoving her head into my left hand and intermittently whacking the keyboard with her paw. The result is not what I intend and she has made things happen I don’t know how to do, let alone undo. She is resolute my lap is where she will be and her claws are no match for this dress. I have the scabs to prove it.

All this also applies to 45 whom I having an increasingly hard time to think about without strong , explicit language.

In the last week 45 has said things that rival what a cat paw does on my keyboard: nonsense. He has stuck his ugly orange head where the experts should be howling like this 12 yo confused cat. 45 and his obnoxious sharpie  are interfering with testing, peaceful protests, data gathering in a pandemic and clear decision making for schools. His demands for attention and pettage have a time and place but this is not it.

Fortunately, the old cat is sensible enough to know when she should go curl up on the bed. Sadly, 45 does not have that sense, so we will struggle on with the wounds of jobs,health insurance loss, illness, death, uncertainty of weather encumbered by a yowling old orange thing who thinks everyone should love him.

45 has chosen his own adjectives, “sad” “disgrace”.

Say what?

The only difference is I am white and you are black. You yell that I don’t know anything about being black before you even know my name. You yell that I have always known privilege. You yell I have done nothing for the black community. You yell alot, even before the recent spates of deaths, but you don’t ask or more importantly listen.

In 4th grade Frank Campbell joined our school, he had such political sense at such a young age because of his father in NAACP. I know it wasn’t easy in that school at that time but he taught much. In 7th grade my teacher was Mr Walker, soft spoken,well read and I hung on his every word. My classmates were not kind and other teachers not supportive beyond Miss Dantone from Puerto Rico. The sixties were a time of World Book sorely out of date and only a main library downtown at the same time so much was moving ahead so fast.

In highschool, Billie came to school  on bus,wearing baggy overalls that quickly grew tight and she was increasingly tired, depressed. When I asked her if she wanted a boy or girl, she responded ” a puppy. She never came back to school and I never saw her again. Esther was thrown out of her family when she got pregnant. My mother refused to help. I saw her again sitting in the hospital lobby cradling  her crusty,dirty toddler as she told me her life was over at 16 married to the father in deep poverty. I had my father drive me around the red brick public housing complex surrounded by tired bare dirt and suspicious eyes.

In nursing school one student was not wanted as roommate but she seemed happy to be alone as she spent most time with her boyfriend.I was so busy dealing with hunger and bad roommates while trying to read. Turns out most students only read the required list, I read the whole list so had no time for bars and boyfriends. This is when I found Sociology and found more information that filled in gaps all these people left.

My first years of nursing I was drawn into a rut of incredible sameness of thoughts, plans, life experience. The only novelties were the Mormon couple who moved in downstairs, the neighbor across the street who was abandoned by her husband. She struggled in parenting, working and poverty. I am ashamed I didn’t do more to help her.

My first house was in a historic district in Milwaukee, solid, old, home. My neighbors were all homeowners having been there many years. Many retired or stay at home moms and kids fascinated I had no husband and got sun burned. We lived in harmony on porches complaining about bosses, weeds or snowplow sealing the drive  exactly as backing out  the freshly shoveled drives.  Marie told me about the huge magnolia that she brought from TX, how Juneteenth was a thing but told me not to miss the exhibits in the museum of black business in Milwaukee. She made sure I had a plate every holiday I had to work whether she cooked or went. I felt a part of all. Lisa and her family lived a few blocks over and worked with me and was a great nurse, mom but relied on her husband for good food. We had so many things to talk and laugh about. Flora was from Jamaica and she had such a belly laugh and stink eye that transcended her thick accent.

My patients in Milwaukee taught me about homelessness, shelters, domestic violence, drug use, prostitution and despair. I saw women who everyone gave up on, so eager for even one person to see their soul and affirm them saddled with kids they had no resources for. I saw southeast Asians prejudiced against  by all groups. I interacted with, cared for every shade of humans, advocated every way I could.  I loved when I saw patients months or years later and the progress they made and worried about the moms I sent home on city bus to go to homeless shelters.

Then alderman Michael Mc Gee starting saying he was going to purge the city of white people and drive by shoots increased. White friends shunned my house claiming I was in the ghetto. Plumbers, electricians called it the jungle and refused to work in our neighborhood. Suddenly it wasn’t safe for me to bike with my white baby in the trailer behind me or walk the dog at dusk. My neighbors were the same, my house was the same but Mc Gee was the commander of Black Panthers surrounded by armed men and no one had the courage to stand up  to him. He and his son didn’t want to hear, see or listen to  anyone who wasn’t exactly like him. I left Milwaukee.

Eventually I landed in TX. I got used to hearing Spanish and having things stolen. I never got used to black on black prejudice or the belief that I had no idea about anything because of my skin. I met incredible cowboys riding gorgeous pinto horses, ag students passionate about goats who actually saw my mind and heart. I saw the difference in caring, concern from one hospital to another. Coworkers who were great, some were real stinkers but wave upon wave of sick, depressed, poor, people living on the edge in front of us. Sociology wasn’t a thing there, people didn’t matter, just money and divides.

I refused to forget what I had in Milwaukee. I adopted a newborn from Chicago where even strangers saw me as only mom. Doors were opened, chairs offered, smiles given. When I got back to TX the verbal assaults started and continued. The anger I felt amplified when my 8 yo son was stepping in front of me and staring down black faces saying horrid things. I moved to the country, changed churches three times, finally changing religions. I argued down racist doctors, found ones that truly cared for my child and paid cash for care. We went to the beach, carribean festivals, rodeos, parks, libraries where many people were great.  The systemic corruption, racism I saw, experienced, endured,could and did fill a book

So now what was it you were saying?

It is getting too much to bear

While in Chicago for  an eye appointment, everyone was wearing masks everywhere. Of course they had a high death rate of Covid 19 and are fighting to get it down. At Meijer’s in Danville most people don’t even pretend to wear a mask, in fact giving dirty looks to me in my mask. I want to scream at them, to get them to take it seriously but I am tired.

Another black man was killed by police and it was recorded by a teen at the scene with steady hand until he stopped breathing. I wanted to jump through the screen and push the cop over as no one intervened other than another officer asking a timid question. I worry about the child who recorded, that must have had an impact yet also shows great potential as journalist.

Speaking of journalists, they have been injured while covering the protests for the killings. While on live feed, with credentials, yelling for the police to stop they are beaten, pepper sprayed, shot with rubber bullets, shoved to the ground. One even lost vision in her left eye from being shot. These are the eyes and voices of those who need to know but can’t be there, the free press giving us freedom of speech and they are suffering for all of us at the hands of us.

It is not just card carrying journalists but 62yo  white woman sitting on ground praying while wearing a black tee shirt saying ” I can’t breathe” being hauled off for being in front of Trump’s failed rally in Tulsa. She didn’t fight as she was hauled off for trespass.

Inside the Tulsa rally mask wearing was rare in the 6,000 attendees and as he has always done, Trump spewed and yelled his own praise for “all the lives I saved” never talking about Juneteenth which suddenly gained traction and unearthed a black massacre in Tulsa in 1920’s. He didn’t pick the scab, he chainsawed the wound of simmering injustice while claiming he wasn’t involved in firing the prosecutor in NY dealing with his cases, he just did what Barr said to do.

I don’t even want to think of all the money wasted on the wall that is being sawed down, the Space force that is being paid for by a fresh printing of money. Commerce is nowhere near normal so it is just paper. Paper that is more widely dividing the rich from the poor and when it all comes crashing down all will suffer, the poor most of all.

News crews from around the world report with sympathy the death throes of the US which because of the bungled response to infection has us isolated from the world. The postal service is faltering and Trump vows to shut it down so there will not be voting by mail.

Still, the winds blow from Africa carrying a huge dust plume after 3 named storms while heat, fires and drought hopscotch across the country killing and rendering sick, tired people homeless. Going outside is no respite from staying in. Missing people but not wanting to argue about politics, race, illness, economy mutes so many.

It is too much to bear.

Stupid is getting old

One hundred nine thousand people have now died from Covid 19.

People in several areas don’t think it is real so they are not going to mask, social distance. I have heard theories that it only happens in the humidity or low humidity or cities or elderly, and they don’t know anyone personally that has it, but is no worse than a little flu anyway.  Or, the hospital has contagious disease unit so I don’t need to deal with it at all and I can’t take time off for a fever.  I have heard that going to work is more important than stopping the spread because people will commit suicide if they can’t work. Sadly some of this crap is spread by 45 who is suppressing the medical leaders and has alienated the WHO while being copied by Brazil’s leader also ignoring mass graves. People I know saying these things, I no longer talk to.

I am lonely and frustrated. Is this what Noah felt like?

Yet another black man was killed by a white cop and captured on video. All there were afraid to intervene, 2 other cops were just rookies confused and scared. That didn’t stop the fact a man died with a knee on his neck for 8 minutes 46 seconds.  This all has sparked worldwide protests, demonstrations against police abuse of force and racism.

So of course the old ,stupid 45 had to make it worse by calling in militia in unmarked uniforms and wanting to flood DC with active military as well now that he has added another layer of fence around the White House. Yet doesn’t know who ordered peaceful protestor before curfew to be tear gassed and beaten so he could do a photo op in front of a church. He has gone to Puritan a nasal swab factory where they had to destroy the swabs because he didn’t wear hair covering or mask. But he cowers in the bunker and calls it an inspection. Since he doesn’t believe he can get sick he wants to have” big beautiful crowds at the RNC conference and for some reason North Carolina won’t let him so he is looking elsewhere. And one thousand people die each day from Covid 19.

Many TV shows are letting black leaders “educate” white people about racism and black pride is strong. I agree the pride is needed and all southerners are so ignorant but will never listen. What is bothering me is the stupidity of assuming because I am white I know nothing about the black experience, how could I? What is bothering me is the clinging to black way of doing things even when it is clearly not working.

I have lived in black communities, am doing so now. I know the endemic problems of living in a poor community. I don’t agree with whooping kids and making girls submit to painful hair styles that prevent them playing, swimming. If a kid has to bite on a washcloth and be held down, that is abuse not culture. Calling a little boy  “Man” when he has no clear idea of the responsibilities that holds and putting him in position of power over girls who are called girl no matter how old,powerful and responsible they are  is not making level playing field for all members. Discrimination against mixed race, white raised or foreign born blacks  is still racism just coming from a black mouth. Shouting about slavery while beating other blacks for not being black enough is just another slavery.

Stupid is truly getting old.

Apparently Clorox can remove integrity completely from this administration

So here we are in May.

The whole world knew of a novel virus infection in early January. Instead of resurrecting the pandemic task force they foolishly disbanded 2 years ago, this fool played golf, traveled widely, tweeted nonsense until it got serious. Now that 70,000 people have died and millions more sickened the crazy talk has amped up daily from blaming people around the world and years in the past to ridiculous cures and irresponsible behavior on an hourly basis.

The whole economy was based on consumers spending constantly. Now that unemployment is rampant, he wants people to go back to work and risk being part of the 3,000 per day that could die. We have learned there are many jobs that were invisible, bus drivers, meat packers, truck drivers, field workers,grocery clerks which are integral to life as we knew it. Suddenly they are deemed essential and pressured to show up, work longer, doesn’t matter if you are sick or still weak.

Suddenly parents are learning they can teach their kids, not like the teachers but finding their own way. Suddenly that degree in nonsense hasn’t prepared you to make your own bread, cut your hair, understand epidemiology, care for someone sick, grow your own food and millions have sucked it up and actually learned things. Suddenly the air is cleaner, work is getting done remotely and everyone is learning there was a lot of wasteful spending in their lives and what infection control looks like. Suddenly businesses are learning to be more nimble to meet current needs whether that is food distribution, packaging or retooling. Suddenly it looks like we really don’t need this administration at all.

So, now we can look up through our tears and try to imagine what next year will look like. Will we go back to rampant spending? Give the power to the feds? Pollute the environment? Race through our lives but still actually do nothing? Will we remember the values we found in lockdown?

Perspective

 

This time in human history is brief but the lockdown feels interminable. The joy of knowing my kids are safe is counterbalanced by the huge death toll. Knowledge of nursing and disasters shows me a clear course though illness and lack of status takes action away. Improvement in the air, water quality and global awareness of what truly matters is great, the greed driven economy machine threatens doom if not fed immediately. Blame is  loudly flung by the most irresponsible clueless persons for disregarding quiet clear warning.

Processing this disparity and seeking my path through this time to make a positive mark has been exhaustingly frustrating. I have spun alpaca fleece by the mile, made face masks, cooked balanced meals all while thinking.

Last night taking the dog out I looked up at the moon, of course he pulled and I looked again.  It struck me that nature will prevail as the budding tree and the cycle of the moon and all this depends on our perspective.

Has yours changed?

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And the beat goes on…la de da

Rich and talented are dying, every day they are listed on the paper. This virus is exacting a horrid toll. Many more are never mentioned, just a number that grows every 24 hrs. No matter what the weather does, the cadence of death continues drowning out the economic woes.

Nothing persists but the cadence of a viral infection and the current president insisting he has it all under control,it is no big deal. Nothing can change the behavior of the fool, no one but him is valuable in his empty head.

Somehow people are getting married, surviving heart attacks, giving birth inspite of the refrain that will not stop pounding into the brain. The rest of us pretend. We pretend that taking a shower, doing the laundry, walking the dog, fixing a meal will make this a normal day.

Life is more than a cosmically twisted game of musical chairs… where we race the music to sit in a chair not knowing how many remain. If we make it to the chair we will have food, home and health or not, we have no assurance on anything beside the music will play until it stops again.

the modern passover

Word has been spread by wise scientists that death is near.

Unlike the biblical passover it isn’t just one night and no one knows what night is the night of faith and judgement.  The similarity of  house quarantine, and needing to have faith in the word you have been given is scary.  The fear for those who will not listen is the same. The uncertainty of what tomorrow brings is the same.

The biblical passover claimed only the first born of every family, a heavy toll in that time. This passover seems to target the elders, the overcomers, the selfless. Basically the people who make our society good and inspiring are at most risk.

This passover would clearly show, if proper testing had been done, how ignorance and self centered travel have facilitated this event. All that remains now is to stay inside,cherish those with us, and wait for the invisible wave to wash over us and hope  a new crop of wise, overcoming and selfless people emerge at the end just as they did in biblical times.