I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Voting is easy here

Bellingham Bay on Saturday

Yesterday, I walked by myself from the Farmers' Market to Fairhaven and back, in blustery but dry conditions. Melanie is on another quick trip to California, this time to attend a memorial for a dear friend. I texted with her while she awaited the arrival of her flight. As you can see in that picture, yesterday's weather was mostly cloudy, but we are expecting the arrival of an atmospheric river today, with around two inches of rain expected to fall here before it leaves on Monday. I'm glad we had a little rain ahead of it, making it easier for the ground to absorb so much moisture. I liked seeing the sailboats on the horizon in that picture, tiny but mighty.

I do hope you don't forget to vote during the upcoming midterm election. I am so incredibly tired of seeing all the political ads on TV, and I have basically been unable to tolerate too much TV because of them. That, and the news cycle seems to be stuck on terrifying me with dire news from around the world. That does me no good, so I pretty much choose what I want to see and hear on my laptop. I slap on my headphones and enter another world. No commercials, either!

Here in Washington State, we vote by mail. We got our ballots last Friday, and we sat down and figured out how we wanted to fill them in. We didn't have much to figure out, two advisory votes and two propositions, with the rest federal and local government races. I remember times past when it wasn't all that easy to figure out what the advisories and propositions were about, but this time it was easy. So we got our ballots all filled out and SG mailed them in the drop box outside the County Municipal Building.

When we lived in Colorado, we voted in our local precinct and always got there before they opened, so we could be done quickly before the crowds showed up. I was working then, and I didn't even have to take any time off. These days, however, Colorado has moved to all mail-in voting, too, just like Washington. I kind of miss walking to our precinct spot and chatting with other early birds. I usually needed a "cheat sheet" with a sample ballot filled out in my pocket, so I could be done quickly. It's not the time to ponder your vote while standing in the booth.

On our local Nextdoor app, I see that some criminals had stolen mail from some neighbors and dumped the unwanted mail, including their ballots, into the mud. Someone picked up all the mail and asked online if anybody was missing their ballots. He said he would give them to anyone who claimed them. Of course, they are invalid for anybody except those who they are addressed to, and if you don't receive yours for whatever reason, you can go to the courthouse and vote in person. They must also be signed on the outside with the voter's signature or they are invalid. 

In any event, it is a civic duty to vote, and I am grateful that I don't live in one of those places where armed militia are watching and filming me as I come to mail my ballot. Our system of government has always strived to be free and fair, although there are some people who have been intimidated over the decades, and that has not changed in many places in the South. But I'll take what we have here over what I would have to face in many other countries.
As I have done in every election since I started voting so many years ago, I always like to take my time and examine the two candidates, see not only the two candidates but the policies they will bring in, the people they will bring in, who they might appoint to the Supreme Court, and look at the whole range of issues before making a decision. —Colin Powell
I do hope that whatever impediments you might face in this upcoming election, that you will be able to overcome them and vote. It's a sacred duty, to my mind, and having never missed so much as a local election, I feel good that I do still have a way to make my voice heard, even if it's just a little squeak in the maelstrom. It's all I have available, so I'll continue to try to make a change. 

What else has been going on in my little corner of the world? Well, I am only three weeks away from my excursion to Florida to visit my entire family, and I'm getting anxious. It seemed very far into the future when I first made my reservations, but now I spend some time every day thinking about the trip and what I need to take, what clothes to bring, and the actual travel from one corner of the US to the other. Before the pandemic, I made a trip every year and thought little of it. But that was then. Now I have become a homebody who doesn't travel far from her home. I'll be fine, and I'll have plenty to blog about as I make my way through the next few weeks.

I just finished a wonderful book that was recommended in a comment on one of my posts. I downloaded it to my Kindle and continue to think of the story, which is set in the 1930s during the Dust Bowl and Depression days, but is written from the point of view of a young teen who escaped it, even though he suffered mightily. It's a fairly new book from Lynda Rutledge, who has written a few other books, but this one is not to be missed. It's called West With Giraffes, and I highly recommend it. It's not an easy book, but well worth it. Based on an actual event, the author also has some information at the end of the book about some of characters.

For one thing, I didn't know that giraffes occasionally "hum" or make a vibrating noise, for no reason that scientists can figure out. I also didn't know how one might be able to travel with them in a crate from one part of the country to the other. They survived a capsized boat in a hurricane and were driven all the way to the San Diego Zoo on the other coast, and the author wrote a truly memorable book about the event. It is historical fiction, and I'll reread it at some point in the future, so I can enjoy it again. I'll also look for some other books about that period of time in our history.

I've started doing that more often: rereading stories I enjoyed once, and I've found it rather amazing that a second reading brings me much more information about the story than I thought possible. Of course, it's also because in reading, I tend to take in the essential story but not the nuances, until a second read. Plus it's nice to have a Kindle that makes it easy for my old and tired eyes to make the text bold and large, giving me a chance to read far longer than otherwise. And all the books I've downloaded are still available at my fingertips. 

We are almost finished with our wonderful Indian Summer weather, and the next week will bring us our first freeze of the season. That means it's time for me to take the covers off the bed and put my trusty down comforter in place of the several layers that I've accumulated as the weather changed from warm to just right but not cold. Now it's gonna be cold. I really like snuggling up under my comforter, with my dear sweet partner next to me. 

Life is good. And I am busy trying to appreciate every little bit of it as I make my inevitable journey towards elderhood. I guess there's no way to call my age anything else, because in a few weeks I'll leave the decade of my seventies behind and begin my eighties. That seems almost impossible when I think of it, but I've managed to appreciate every moment I've been given here on this beautiful planet that still has such incredible creatures on it as giraffes.

My tea is gone, it's getting to be time to continue with the rest of my day, and I'll leave you with a wonderful picture from one of my blogging friends, who lives in Australia and is beginning her summer period. Isn't that amazing? We are on the same planet, but she's got flowers and kangaroos!

Thanks to Elephant's Child for this

And with that, I finish my Sunday morning meditation and begin the rest of my day. John will be here to take me to breakfast, and I'll be thinking of you and your lives, wishing you the very best week ahead, and hoping that you will join me here again next week. Until then, I wish you all good things.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Breathing deeply once more

Taken Thursday at Lake Whatcom

 See all those clouds on the horizon? That is haze caused from wildfires that have been burning in our beautiful state for months. They might still be smoldering a little, but basically the air quality around our state is once again GOOD. This area has had one of the driest summers on record, and with no rain to scour out the air, plus we were under a persistent heat dome that has now moved on, giving us much higher fall temperatures than we are used to. We couldn't take deep breaths without endangering our health. I read somewhere that parts of Seattle in the past few days experienced the worst air quality in the world. That is terrifying.

But then it all changed. Our temperature dropped by about 20 degrees overnight, and here in Bellingham we've received about a half-inch of rain since Friday night. That might not sound like much, but we have been way drier than usual. I never thought I would miss the rain, but I sure did when I realized we couldn't go on our usual Thursday hike because of very unhealthy air quality. Happily, we are back to normal!

All of our apartment windows were closed up, but during the night we slept with an open window in our bedroom, with the door closed, figuring we are doing little activity while we sleep. I didn't realize how much the poor air quality was affecting me, until it improved and we returned to our usual good air. I woke early in the morning, realizing that my throat no longer felt scratchy and I could breathe much easier. I wonder how people who have real breathing issues fared during the event. You cannot get away from the air and still be alive. I don't know how people who live in Beijing or New Delhi, where this is normal air, manage to cope. I guess they don't realize how bad it is, having gradually grown accustomed to it.

In any event, we are now in a much more normal environment, with the downright chilly outside temperature making it very nice to be warm and cozy indoors. Last night as I waited for sleep to come, I finished reading a book I started a week ago, about a dog rescued from certain death because of a floppy ear, and the dog became one of the Queen's much-loved corgis. The writer used the book to explain and develop some Buddhist truths that I have been pondering lately. I have now read and re-read several of David Michie's books, since he portrays many of the tenets of Buddhism in a way that I can relate to quite easily. Not to mention that I've found that reading something relating to philosophy of any sort tends to help calm my mind.

And, of course, it's always easy for me to get lost in pondering the meaning of life, and wondering where mind and consciousness fit into my awareness. I am fascinated with the fact that still, today, we have not been able to figure out exactly what mind is. Buddhists believe that mind is separate from consciousness, and that mind continues to exist after the body dies. That some enlightened beings have conscious memories that migrate into new bodies. They call this reincarnation, and I've wondered for years whether there is any possibility it is real.

How do we explain near-death experiences, where people are able to "see" outside their bodies and can recall all sorts of things that are impossible, if we only think of ourselves and finite and limited to our present-day reality? I remember reading a wonderful book years ago, My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor. She describes changes in her attention following a stroke to the left side of her brain. Immediately after the stroke, she found it exhausting to focus on what someone was saying. Once she allowed herself to rest in the experience of her right brain, however, she was only aware of the present moment. She says:

In this altered state of being, my mind was no longer preoccupied with the billions of details that my brain routinely used to define and conduct my life.... As my consciousness slipped into a state of peaceful grace, I felt ethereal.

I have experienced similar altered states of being in my own experience, and sometimes I am amazed to hear my preset alarm sound after what felt like just a few moments in meditation, because it felt like I just sat down and got started. And I am always more peaceful after my sessions. 

I have followed the saga of the James Webb telescope's amazing pictures of the universe as it existed millions of years ago, and looking at incredibly distant galaxies that we can see for the first time is simply awe-inspiring. Every morning I look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day and imagine myself being out there amongst the stars. Or at least my awareness. I am so glad that I have lived long enough to see the telescope's development, giving us a close look at the origins of the universe. Already I feel that I have been enriched by the creation of that wonderful telescope.

It also gives me a vantage point that I would not otherwise have been able to experience, to realize that life is so much more than just the small little bit I know of through my eyes and brain alone. Hey, there is a good sci-fi story percolating in my mind, thinking of somehow becoming a dust mote that can travel to the stars. Oh well, there I go again with my thinking brain going out there on a limb. No matter, it's all fun to contemplate, and it also gets me away from burying myself in the problems that we humans have created here on our beautiful planet.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. —Joseph Campbell

Yes, that's it! I choose to live in joy, which means I will stay away from the news for the next month or so. Or at least limit myself in order to keep myself living in joy, rather than despair. That does nothing to make me feel better about the world, and it only brings me down. I will instead write my posts, read about what my dear virtual family is doing today, and consider it to be enough. 

My tea is gone, my dear friend John will be picking me up soon to transport me in his magic chariot that looks suspiciously like a truck, to a wonderful breakfast in Fairhaven. Then I will come home and spend some time with my dear partner. He's gotten out of bed for a moment to visit the bathroom, but will soon return to snuggle back under the covers and get a bit more sleep. Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Feeling the love

Whatcom Falls yesterday

Yesterday, four of us went for a lovely walk in Whatcom Falls Park to enjoy the colorful scenery, as well as not actually wanting to exert ourselves too much, since the air quality had moved from "moderate" to "unhealthy for sensitive groups." It almost made it up to the next level before it started moving back down the scale. Today is supposed to also be less than perfect air quality.

However, our air quality is relatively good, compared to many other areas nearby, all because of the smoke from some persistent wildfires that just don't want to stop. It's been unbearably dry and the wind, such as it is, comes from the land rather than the sea, meaning there's nothing right now to cleanse the air. That should change by Monday, and we have a good chance of at least a little rain by this time next week.

From AirNow.gov Saturday afternoon

It was so nice to walk outside with my good friends, with the golden light from the haze and smoke making it look like a fairyland, even if it was not really good for our lungs. We are located just about equidistant between Vancouver, BC, and Seattle. You can see that presently we are being spared from the worst of it. The red is "unhealthy" and the spooky dark color is "hazardous." 

But what I really want to talk to you about today is how much I am feeling the love of my friends and family. As I get ready to travel to Florida next month, I have been in the process of communicating with my sister Norma Jean about how it will all work, to have five siblings together, with myriad other family members. My sweetheart will stay here and keep the home safe and sound while I immerse myself in the riotous cacophony of my extended family. It will take me the weeks between now and then to gird my loins (so to speak) for the experience of eight days outside of my comfort zone. Norma Jean told me she was really surprised when I decided to fly down there, dealing with the upheaval as well as the excitement of it all. Me, too.

I am so glad to be able to see them once more, not knowing if it will be possible for us to gather again in the future. I haven't seen my brother Buz or my sister Fia since our beloved sister PJ died in early 2014. And I am also looking forward to seeing and visiting with Norma Jean's two dogs, Charlie and Icarus. I am a pet person, and until I met my sweetheart thirty years ago, I always had a cat. He, however, is not a fan, so I consider that SG has taken their place in my heart, and the tradeoff isn't even close. I love and cherish him just as he is. But I'll get my pet fix next month, for sure.

I love most animals and love to read stories about them. Right now I am reading a good story, The Queen's Corgi, by David Michie, about a sweet corgi who was almost euthanized because of a floppy ear, and ended up being adopted by Queen Elizabeth as one of her royal corgis. It's written from the point of view of the dog, which is probably one reason I am loving it so much. Corgis are rather unusual looking dogs, and you can always tell them from others because of their very short legs and (usually) lack of a tail. Last week when we were returning from our long hike in the mountains, I saw a beautiful corgi in the parking lot, this one with a very long tail! I learned from his owner that there are two very different breeds of corgi. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a bit heavier than the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and it has a tail.
Besides the tail – Cardigans have a long, foxlike tail whereas Pembrokes have their tail docked close to their body. Cardigans are slightly larger with heavier bone, weighing up to 38 pounds, while Pembrokes only weigh up to 30 pounds. (from this website)

I also learned that although the two breeds may look similar, they are truly very different. The Pembroke tail is sometimes missing when the pup is born, but Cardigans have a magnificent tail, just like the one I saw in the parking lot. The owner also told me that docking dogs' tails is going out of fashion, and I for one am glad to hear that. I will be checking out corgis more closely from now on. Pembrokes are descended from the Spitz family of dogs, while the Cardigan descended from the Teckel family of dogs, which also produced the dachshund. Pembrokes were originally bred to be cattle herding dogs. It's funny to me to think of a herding dog with such short little legs!

But in any event, they are purported to be wonderful dogs to own and love. Like every dog I've ever been around, they exude unwavering love and devotion to their owners. To me, the biggest problem with dogs is that they don't live long enough, and if you become attached to one, you will need to let it go long before you are ready. It's worth it, though, as any dog lover will attest.

My sister's dogs are Papillons; Icarus is a purebred, and Charlie is a mutt with mostly Papillon characteristics. They are also small dogs, and that's good because they tend to live longer than larger ones. In fact, Norma Jean reminded me that Icarus is now twelve! How did that happen so quickly? The older I get, the shorter the years seem to be. And I will be turning eighty in a few weeks, and the years will probably pick up speed during my ninth decade, if I am graced with such a long life.

I recently read a story that David Michie wrote about an experience he had while on safari in Africa (not the kind of safari where you kill animals, but one where you bond with them emotionally). He decided he would meditate while surrounded by elephants. Here's what he wrote:

For the second part of the session, I chanted, out loud, the mantra of Green Tara the Buddha of compassion-in-action. Om tare tuttare ture soha is a mantra I usually say in the presence of animals, having found that they can sometimes respond to it very quickly. Back in Australia, for example, when I chant it to the galahs – pink and grey parrots – who visit, they may pause with drowsy eyes and seem to go into a trance-like state occasionally for periods of quite a few seconds.

As soon as I started reciting this mantra with the elephants, Kura was on the move, his majestic, tusked form approaching me, closer and closer, until he was right beside the rock where I was sitting, reaching out to me first with his trunk, then shoving his whole head on the granite boulder.

It was a moment of the most extraordinary connection. There was a very real sense that Kura was responding to Tara, whose presence was the focus of my heartfelt invocation. 

When we say the mantra of a Buddha, it is understood that that Buddha is immediately present. In particular, it is the practice of Green Tara, the mother of all Buddhas and the embodiment of compassion-in-action, to move swiftly to the aid of any being who is suffering, and to relieve whatever pain they may be experiencing.

That day, I had the strongest sense of Kura being powerfully drawn by Tara’s presence, that he came towards me at that time because he wanted to be physically closer, to bathe in the energy, to drink it in. During those timeless moments of connection, the very long lashes of his eyelids were half-closed as I rested my hand on the smooth, grey expanse of his mighty forehead. 

But at the same time too, in the most uplifting and extraordinary way, there was no meditator, no elephant, and no act of meditation. In that boundless spaciousness, there was only the presence of compassion and the wellspring of love from which it flows.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.


I was so moved by this account. And I have begun to realize that during my own meditation sessions every day, I am finding myself feeling more and more a sense of wellbeing and, well, feeling the love. Instead of immersing myself in the distressing news of the world, I want to be surrounded by the immense love of the universe, which is not expressed or covered at all in the daily news. That doesn't mean it isn't there, that it doesn't exist, but it's apparently not newsworthy.

I'd like to change that, and spend my days basking in the presence of love and joy. It doesn't make the negative stuff go away, but there is only one consciousness that I can directly change: my own. It might even be possible for me to spread some positivity through this blog post, but I cannot be responsible for that, for where my good thoughts emanate as they extend beyond my own spiritual center.

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. —Henry Van Dyke

And with that, my dear friends, I will leave you and hope that your day will be filled with love, as I intend mine to be. My tea is gone, my dear partner still sleeps next to me, and I am ready to move into the rest of my day. My friend John will pick me up soon, and we'll head out for breakfast and coffee. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things. Be well.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Maintaining mental acuity

Rose from Cornwall Rose Garden

It turns out that tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. I didn't know this before trying to decide what to write about today, and when I asked SG what's on his mind, we discussed the need to keep ourselves mentally healthy. And a quick search on Google led me to find out that this has been an annually recognized day to bring attention to mental illness since 1992.
This day, each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on people's lives worldwide. In some countries this day is part of an awareness week, such as Mental Health Week in Australia.

There are many websites that discuss how best we can maintain our mental health, which is just as important as physical health in our quest to have a good life. And, of course, as we age, many of us wonder if we will be able to keep our mental faculties all humming along happily until we no longer need them.

 It turns out that there are several places that will give you a list of what types of activities are necessary in order to keep our mental health in tiptop shape. Here's one of my favorites.

Make social connections a priority

After the Covid pandemic and all the ways it's changed my life, I realize that my family connections, especially my dear partner, are more important to me than ever. I've lost my exercise buddies, since the YMCA closed its doors for more than a year and don't offer any my old favorite classes any more. I've continued my daily visit to the coffee shop for more than just coffee. I would truly miss my dear friend John, who I see and interact with every day. And I have my hiking buddy Melanie, who is a lifeline to me in many ways.

Stay active

I am very grateful that I live in a place where I can get outdoors almost every day to enjoy the beautiful trails and parks in my neighborhood. Once a week I get a longer hike (on Thursdays) that I used to spend with the Senior Trailblazers. I might one day join them again, but for now I'm happy to have a friend who makes our time together a priority, and we always get a good workout together. I realized when I had my bloodwork done recently that I've lost some "good" cholesterol, but my numbers are still good. You get those when you exercise, and it also contributes to a lower incidence of heart disease.

Talk to someone

This is where having a spouse comes in really handy. He's available for any heart-to-heart talks that I feel it necessary to have. But if I didn't have him, I would look for someone who might like to hang out with me and spend some time together. Just getting together for coffee is essential social activity for me. The pandemic cost me my good friend Judy, since I don't go out to movies any more, but I might start again one of these days. I don't miss the movies, but I do miss her companionship.

Appeal to your senses

Just like the pretty rose at the beginning of this post, walking outdoors and seeing my surroundings makes me happy. My eyesight is diminished because of AMD, but I still can see everything and know that this is one sense I truly appreciate and hope will last for as long as possible. Smell is also not what it once was, but I could smell the rose and it brought back memories of other flowers I've enjoyed in the past. The sound of birds calling, the distant sound of a train, these are all sounds I hear every day. And of course, a delightful meal brings me joy.

Take up a relaxation practice

Recently I have started a meditation practice every day, and I'm surprised at how much it gives me. Although those few minutes in the morning sitting on my meditation bench and following my breath seems trivial, I feel the effects of it for the entire day. I don't get quite as rattled as I once did when things get weird. Maybe it will keep growing and spreading through my days. I will continue to make leisure and contemplation practices a priority.

Don't skimp on sleep

I usually try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Last night I didn't, but most nights I do, and it makes a huge difference in the quality of my day. It seems important to me that we regenerate and the older I get, the more sleep I seem to need. I remember when I loved to stay up late, but I don't do that anymore and actually look forward to bedtime. For me, mornings are the best time of the day.

Eat a brain-healthy diet to support good mental health

Getting lots of omega-3 foods in your diet are important. These are things like walnuts, beans, leafy greens like kale, spinach, or brussel sprouts. They are way better for you than processed foods, even energy bars and other overprocessed items. They don't help your brain health. The more natural, the better.

Practice gratitude

There are, of course, many activities and other things we can do to help our mental health, but if you are really having a problem, please consider getting professional help. I am grateful that I have good health care and could find a pathway to a good doctor that could help me sort out any difficulties. But there are so many ways to practice gratitude, and I've been trying them all out myself. Feeling grateful for the blessings we have is paramount to a good quality of life.

* * *

And one thing that I have only skirted around the subject of is that of my virtual family. That's become a real benefit in my daily life. I would really miss it if I didn't know how my friends in other parts of the country, and the world, are doing. Some of you I don't even know your real name, or where you live, but it doesn't matter at all. You are still precious and valuable to me. Thank you for being my friend.

And with that, I have finished another Sunday contemplation. My tea is gone, my dear partner still sleeps quietly next to me, and John will be here in a short hour to take me out for our now-essential Sunday morning breakfast. Until we meet again next week, please be well and I wish you all good things.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Florida now and next month

I see this cart on my daily walks

 This lovely little flower cart is something I walk past during my walk home from the coffee shop. The lady who lives in this home has sweet bouquets available for purchase ($5), and I have considered buying one often, but I would have to carry it home, which is another two miles away. So I don't, but when I saw it last week, there was a ray of sunshine that broke through the clouds just long enough to brighten them and give me a good shot.

As many of you already know, my sister Norma Jean and her son Peter live in Zephyrhills, Florida, a few miles away from Tampa. When I saw the predictions of the recent hurricane heading for landfall, projected to make a direct hit at almost my sister's home, I panicked and called to find out what they were considering. It turned out that they had left their home just that day, both cars packed with everything they could fit in, along with both dogs, and headed north to Virginia, where Norma Jean's daughter lives.

Then the hurricane made a turn south, and instead of Tampa being wiped out, it was Fort Myers. I've seen the devastation that Hurricane Ida unleashed on Florida, but it turns out that her home and the area where she lives got off fairly easy, at least in comparison to other places like Fort Myers. The two of them will head back home probably today, Sunday, if the roads between the two places are all clear and passable. I truly feel terrible for all the people who have lost everything, and the many who have died because they didn't evacuate. But I am also guiltily happy that my family and my sister's home were spared. 

And, thanks to many thoughtful comments from my dear virtual family, I have decided to go ahead and swallow my fears and travel to Florida myself to visit them after a long hiatus because of the pandemic. It's been two weeks since I got the third Covid booster and I will get the flu vaccine in mid-month, so I'll be as prepared as possible for airplane travel. I am assuming that by Thanksgiving during the last part of November the state will be experiencing normal travel to Tampa. That's where I will arrive, if all goes according to plan.

It was when I learned that all of my siblings will gather in that part of Florida to celebrate those two big birthdays that are coming up: my "baby" sister Fia's sixtieth, and my eightieth. How could I not be there? So, looking online for available flights, I found two direct flights from Seattle to Tampa, with no changing planes, no stops at all. Unfortunately, the only one I could make will leave at 9:45pm at night and arrive the next morning at 6:00am (that is Florida time; it will be 3:00am to my internal clock). Yikes! Can I do it? Well, I decided that since the flights are already very expensive, I'd go ahead and book a first-class seat on my way there, for a mere $300 more. I figure I can sleep easier that way, although I sure won't be very rested, I can also arrive in Seattle in plenty of time to make use of the First Class lounge.

It was the awful hurricane and all those comments you made about how I should probably just bite the bullet and go ahead and go that made the difference. Of course, until I actually get to Seattle and board the flight, and it actually takes off, I'm skeptical, but I believe this can happen. Just in case, I bought trip insurance. Who knows what will be happening in the world, and especially my little corner of it, by that time?

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. —Lao Tzu

Something weird is going on with Blogger. I cannot cut and paste the way I always have, I must try three or four times to make it work. And fonts and other things are constantly shifting and appearing for no reason I can figure. That quote took me several tries to accomplish, so for now I'm giving up on trying to do anything out of the ordinary. I'll soon be getting a new computer (another MacBook Air), and hopefully the new operating system will have fixed things. It's hard to deal with, but it's only a minor annoyance, given all that is going on in the world. 

I am truly afraid of what will happen in the midterm elections. Hopefully they will proceed normally, but the way everything has been happening lately, I'm afraid of violence and people being unwilling to accept the results if they don't like them. Our country has never been in such a state, at least not that I can remember. And the war in Ukraine and Putin's annexations have also scared me. Are we at the beginning of World War III?

Whatever happens, the only place I can have any effect at all is within my own sphere, so I must try my best to stay centered and part of the solution by spreading love and light in every way I know how. It's been several months now since I started spending part of every day in meditation, and it helps me so much. I haven't missed a day since I started and look forward to those quiet moments where I simply follow my breath. Afterwards, I spend a few moments in silent prayer for all sentient beings. It might not make any actual difference, but the world around me sure seems brighter and happier when I alter my own attitude.

Nice color

I took this picture while on my Saturday walk with Melanie yesterday. It is definitely one of the most beautiful times of the year, and I am enjoying being able to walk more than five miles and seeing what my neighborhood looks like. There are so many things to be grateful for, and if I point myself in that direction, I believe that all will be well. 

With that, dear friends, I will get ready for the rest of my day, with John coming by to take me to Fairhaven for breakfast. My sweet partner still sleeps quietly next to me, and I can feel your presence in my heart. Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things. Be well.

P.S. I accidentally posted this on my other blog, and had to copy and paste (with difficulty) and so I apologize for the mistake.