Random Ruminations: Invisible Illnesses, U.S. Elections, and Dead Mothers

Sorry about the long hiatus – again.* My accustomed afflictions raised their unlovely heads — again. You’d think they’d get bored with this game, but no; they are constant companions, committed to keeping me off kilter.

What energy I have had has gone into writing more Get Out The Vote letters, this time for the Georgia Senate run-off races. (Just when we thought is was safe to go back in the water….) For now, I am writing letters for Vote Forward:

These letters have to go out ON the seventh of December. Apparently that’s a magic date. I’ve managed to write one hundred so far, and will plug away as best I can until the seventh. If anyone wants to join in, I believe it’s not too late to sign up and download letters of your own. (If you’re a fountain-pen user, invest in some sugarcane copy paper. It’s much more welcoming to fountain-pen ink than run-of-the-mill copy paper.)

After that, I’ll be writing postcards:

 

 

 

These are for Postcards to Swing States — pretty, right?

 

 

 

 

And then there will be some for Moms Rising:

 

Also very eye-catching.

 

 

I have no idea whether there’s a chance that the Democrats might take those Georgia seats; in fact, I rather doubt it. But if they don’t, I have no idea whether our new president will be able to effect any meaningful change or get any useful legislation passed. So I’m writing.

And in the midst of the pandemic and the politics and the personal perturbations, there was Thanksgiving week. When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was a simple holiday, purportedly celebrating the amity between Indians and the settlers in the “New” World. Now the day is rightly complicated by the realization that the stories we were told as children were heavily skewed to support the colonial hegemony about to displace, enslave, and murder the indigenous populations, to justify the actions of the white people who would corral in reservations the Native Americans who survived, while attempting to eradicate cultures, languages, and identities of the civilizations that were here for millennia before any Europeans stumbled upon these shores. And yet my family celebrates the day because it is a family occasion — except not this year. And that was hard. Zoom just doesn’t replace prescence.

Moreover, this week, for us, held the anniversary of the death of my husband’s mother, the wedding anniversary of my parents, and the birthday of my mother, so it was a week of remembrance.

Sarah Collingwood as Juliet

And here I must segue into a mention of an app that provides me with a Shakespeare quotation for each day. Why do I have such an app? Well, aside from the fact that everyone should have such an app, my mother was a Shakespearean actress at the Pasadena Playhouse in her youth and she passed on her love of Shakespeare to me. I majored in English lit, emphasis in Renaissance drama, and so, between my mother and my major, I must have this app. It often serves up eerily appropriate passages, like fortune cookies that seem to have an uncanny awareness of what is happening in the lives of those who area about to consume them.

 

And so, into this poignant week, on the very birthday of my mom, the daily Shakespeare quotation was

which pretty much sums up the last eighteen months for my family.

Oy.

_____________
*A perpetual question is whether to apologize for something that isn’t my fault. I certainly didn’t choose to have depression or M.E., and a number of my fellow-sufferers say we should not apologize because doing so makes it seem that we are choosing not to do whatever it was we were supposed to have been doing. Nevertheless, these conditions affect other people, too. So, in case there’s anyone out there who might have been kind enough to hope that I would have posted something new sooner: apologies.

Inktober 2020: Day One — Fish

It’s Inktober again. I rather hate to start with this, but I am aware of the controversy swirling around Jake Parker right now.¹ Mostly I agree with the Well-Appointed Desk’s take on the matter (see below).

I had hoped to have more time to devote to this year’s Inktober, to write Bridget’s side of the correspondence from last year’s story, but I need a less consuming project. So I’m going to take each day’s prompt and use it in a line of a poem (no, I’m not really poet, but I thought I’d give writing a poem a try), and “illuminate” the page in the margins as I go along. Here’s the first day’s line and mini-illustration:

Stay tuned to see if I can pull this off. I’ve already messed up by leaving out a word in the first word. I had to glue a strip of paper over the first line to write the proper version. Maybe I can blot tomorrow’s line or spill water on the page!

 

  1. See Teoh Yi Chie at Parka Blogs; The Well-Appointed Desk

Thirty reasons to Vote: #17

Explanatory Prologue

from https://www.freeimages.com/search/broken-camera

Due to technical difficulties, I have fallen behind in my postings. And by “technical difficulties,” I mean that my daughter, who tries to make sure I take care of my assorted devices, told me that there was an iOS update and that I should download and install it. So I did that, and I saw that my iTunes button had turned red and that there was now a magnifier button on my screen, and I’m hoping to get Meredith to explain the new Privacy settings to me, but everything else seemed pretty much the same. That is, until (dramatic music here, maybe from a tragic opera or a truly frightening horror movie) I tried to upload my recent photos for my next blog post, and WordPress told me, and I quote, “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” I figured that I had just not given the photo enough time to latch onto the WordPress media library and tried again. And WordPress said, “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons,” though it sounded snarkier and more smug this time.

I thought maybe there was something wrong with the photo itself, so I took a new picture of the page, re-edited it, and tried to upload it to my media library. And what did WordPress say? “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” This time I think it was gloating. It may have stuck its tongue out at me, but it happened too quickly for me to be sure.

Obviously, I needed help. So I tried the WordPress fora. I immediately found an old thread started by someone who had had exactly the same problem with which I was struggling. I was sure that I was on my way to resolving my difficulty, but alas! All the thread had to offer was that, at the time the question had been asked, WordPress itself was being glitchy and the WP Fairies were working their magic to smooth out the bump. I couldn’t find anything more recent (and I was getting frustrated), so I sent my daughter a message, a cry for help, a plea for a light in the darkness of my blogging.

Now, Meredith is rather busy these days. She’s working full-time, going to school half-time, and volunteering with her local CASA organization. It is, therefore, not unreasonable that it took her a couple days to respond to me. But here I encountered a wrinkle I had NOT seen coming: Meredith didn’t know the answer. All of you who rely on your children to help navigate the often stormy seas of modern technology will understand how flummoxed I felt.

In desperation, I opened a browser window and typed in “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” One of the links I followed offered a list of file types that WordPress deems sufficiently innocuous to allow to cross its borders. “Huh,” I thought, “maybe I should make sure my photos are still JPEGs.” So after sifting through menus and sub-menus and randomly clicking on obscure options, I finally got my computer to confess that my new photos were NOT, in fact, JPEGs any longer. They were now something called HEIC. Apparently this new format saves space or something like that. I didn’t really care. I just wanted my JPEGgy photos back.

The next logical step, it seemed to me, was to find out how to change my HEIC photos back into nice, tractable JPEGs. So back to my browser I went to ask it how to effect such a transformation. My research revealed that it was possible to do this in fifteen simple steps that I would be able to understand as soon as I got a degree in computer programming. This sort of “solution” is why I like my pens and copy machine.

Even if I could have figured out how to take my poor image through these multiple stations, I don’t have the time to go through that process for every photo I want to upload to my blog. I was not happy. So I went to bed.

The next day I looked again for ways to re-dress HEIC photos in JPEG clothing, and after poking around on the ‘Net for years — well, maybe months, possibly days —OK: a couple hours, I FINALLY stumbled on a link that told me I COULD GO TO THE SETTINGS OF MY PHONE AND TURN OFF THE HEIC OPTION AND GO BACK TO TAKING JPEGS. And here, my friends, I realized that I had once again fallen prey to one of the persistent problems with my brain: not knowing what question to ask. (I once spend two weeks trying to order a new power cord for my computer and could NOT find one anywhere. Eventually I found out that what I wanted was a power cable, but I didn’t know to ask for one of those.)

In conclusion, I switched off the HEIC and restored the JPEG setting, re-took and re-edited the photos, and will now resume my “30 Inks in 30 Days” listing of a month of reasons to vote (really, if anyone is considering not voting, whether you agree with my views or not, please  re-consider and vote. We all need to know what we, as a country, as a society, see as the direction in which we should take ourselves).

Thank you for reading. Stay well and safe and healthy.

  1. Southern Poverty Law Center, “Family separation policy continues two years after Trump administration claims it ended.” June 18, 2020.
  2. David A. Graham. The Atlantic, “Are Children Being Kept in ‘Cages”at the Border?” June 18, 2018.
  3. Jacob Soboroff on the Rachel Maddow Show. July 6, 2020.

And for those who want say, “Well, President Obama did it first,” please read
Betania Palma. Snopes.com, “Did Obama Admin Build Cages That House Immigrant Children at U.S.-Mexico Border?“. 2 July, 2019.
I’m not saying it was right to do it at all, but Obama did not use these “cages” in the same way nor for the length of time that the Trump administration has been using them. 

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #10

 

The Rest of Rivka’s Story

 Well, I’ve had a difficult two months, with my M.E. surging. Hot weather, whether I’m out in it or not, often makes it worse. We seem to be cooling off a bit now, despite the fires here in Colorado. I did finish up Rivka’s story; Meredith is thinking about rounding out Emma’s portion with a story of her own. So for anyone who is wondering how this tale concludes (spoiler: no one dies), read on:

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 30 June, 2020

For the last day of this round of 30 Inks in 30 Days I’m using Sailor Shikiori Yodaki. September will be the next round, immediately followed, of course, by INKTOBER!

I had hoped to finish this story today, but it seems to have taken on a life of its own. I think it’s close to finished, though. But maybe I ought to apply to write for a soap opera…

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 29 June, 2020

Lamy Amazonite

  

 

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 27 June, 2020

Diamine Cult Pens Iridescink Robert

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 26 June, 2020

 

Krishna Jungle Volcano

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 25 June, 2020

 iroshizuku momiji