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.


gigi-hawaii said...

Good, I am glad that you vote no matter what. Sadly, sometimes all of the candidates are bad and go against my moral values. It's hard to vote for the lesser of 2 evils, because they are both evil.

Arkansas Patti said...

I saw on the news about that atmospheric river heading towards you. Hope it isn't bad and you get some needed water.
My ballot is sitting on my desk ready to be filled out and dropped off Monday. Like you I always vote, well I did miss one run off for the election supervisor one year. I had the flu and we were in a downpour.
We have a pretty full slate this year with several amendments. Love the mail in for it gives one a chance to research some issues. Sure won't miss the commercials.
Stay dry.

ApacheDug said...

DJan, as God is my witness I was watching a couple youtube videos (before it occurred to me today's Sunday and to check out your blog) and my last thought was "I need to give these videos up until the elections are over." I simply can't take anymore of these constant political ads. (Fortunately I recently switched to ad-free Hulu and omigosh it's so worth the $14.99 per month cost.) Anyway, I enjoyed that book review about the Depression and move of giraffes, all I've been reading the couple years are Stephen King & political books and am desperate for something different--and I couldn't agree more about the plea for people to vote. I did the mail-in ballot too (I just started that a couple years ago) and I took a couple pics for an upcoming partisan blog. :^) Okay I ramble on too much--enjoyed this week's column and I hope your week ahead is an interesting one.

Marie Smith said...

We have a lot of autumn to enjoy though it is getting colder here too. I took out the duvet recently and we get out in the countryside as much as possible or at least have a walk on the boardwalk. Winter will keep us inside soon enough.

Our municipal election is coming up and we will vote in the advance polls this week. We always vote too. It is important to participate in democracy.

I understand your reluctance to travel since Covid. We feel the same. We have limited ourselves to the island for now though that may change in the new year. You can do it too, Jan!

Rian said...

DH and I voted by mail also. Here in Texas, you can only vote by mail if you're old and/or voting absentee. I wish everyone could do so as it is so much easier. We also take our voting mail to the Post Office and don't put it in the mailbox outside.

As for the commercials on TV, I pay no attention to them. They tend to twist things the way they want you to see them, so you can't really believe what they say. IMO they are a waste of their money and my time.

I'm reading several books right now also, keeping busy with baking, and writing... and am almost ready to start a fire in the fireplace! It's sometimes in the high 30's in the morning, but usually gets to the 70's or 80's by afternoon. Thank goodness our Aga is back!!

Enjoy your Sunday, DJan! And keep looking forward to your Florida visit!

Debbie V. said...

I enjoyed your post. I will be voting in person on Tuesday. I, too, enjoy the feel of community when I go. Everyone is very civil and friendly here in southern Indiana.
I am still finding my way between reading books on paper or electronically (I only have my phone so far, although I am investigating electronic readers). I just started "Out of Africa". I love her tone.
I am very selective about what I view as well - on TV and on the internet. This morning I watched a couple of short videos of Walt Disney World that resurrected my memories of visiting there with my daughter in 2016. I am hoping she and I can go at least one more time together. The price is ridiculous.

John's Island said...

I like your reference to an “inevitable journey towards elderhood.” It took a few more clicks to determine what defines someone as elderly. According to Google, it’s 65. So, I think you and I are already there. 😊 Yes, life is good.

Elephant's Child said...

I am so glad that you vote. It is compulsory here, and I am happy to do so.
Thank you for the nod to a book I do not know - and for featuring my happy daisies.
Huge hugs - from another who avoids television (particularly the news) because it does my head in. Does my head in further.

Gigi said...

Oh, I will definitely be voting. I had planned to mail in my ballot but I neglected to order it earlier; so I will be heading to the early voting location in my town tomorrow.

I hear you on the worries about traveling. But you are vaxxed/boosted and, I imagine, will wear a mask when you deem it necessary. Odds are good that will keep you safe.

Thanks for the book recommendation - off to see if our library has a copy.

Far Side of Fifty said...

We will head to the Polls and wait outside if there are lots of folks. Both parties have scoundrels for Governor...so my vote goes to the Weed party...one or the other:)

Linda Reeder said...

We just got back from our family cider bee, the 25ft annual in the 2nd generation. The "atmospheric river" didn't have much flow, and even though we had cover, we were able to stand around outside most of the time without rain. We all had a great time. There will be pictures on my blog in a day or too. On the way home we listened to the end of the Seahawks game and their victory over the highly rated NY Giants. A good day for Seattle fans.
Our ballots are sitting on the desk, ready for us to sit down, read and study, then mark and deliver to a drop box near our house. We will do that in a couple of days. I am so sick of the political commercials!
I'll "see" you soon, probably on Tuesday when you post on your other blog.

Red said...

Let me tell you, "eighty ain't bad" The worst about your 80's is that time flies by. I'm surprised at the number of ways you can cast your ballots. I also cannot understand the system were all kinds of things are voted for.

Anvilcloud said...

Complete mail-in voting. I think I like it. The excuses for not voting are getting more difficult

Rita said...

I am much more comfortable voting by mail because I can google the different candidates and take my time. It's physically hard for me to stand in line these days so I am grateful to add a stamp and send off my vote.

I hope you have a wonderful, safe, heart-lifting trip! :)

Kim S. said...

Will be heading to the polls - we're pretty rural so lines aren't very long. Voting has never been a hassle or issue wherever we've lived - Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania - over the past 30+ years. Never did mail in and prefer not to so far. I think the trusted, committed, older ladies working the polls do their job well and deserve a thank you in person for their service. That helps keep me going. Kim in PA