Sometimes I Just Bake Cookies…

MUSING BUT NOT AMUSING?

I have been imagining all the things that I could do now that I am no longer responsible for anyone else.

I still have my crossing guard job and within the three hours a day I am occasionally responsible for getting people (I wish more children walked to school) safely across the street.

Some adults think it is hilarious that I am crossing them. “I feel like a kid again!”  Some think it’s annoying.  I scold them when they are too impatient for the light to change and head out ahead of me on the red. I don’t tell them I have years of looking after people who were either looking forward to being independent, or looking back on the loss of it and so no stink eye of the type one might expect from a teenage is going to thwart me…

I didn’t look after kids or my mother for the approval I would gain.  That was good too because being a caregiver is really hard and often criticized by those who have never been one but know a lot about it from watching television. Although it was nice when  appreciation was expressed, it came, less often than it would in a television sitcom but more often than I probably remember.  (And I am sorry for this, truly.)

I just like knowing what needs to be done and then doing it.  It feels good. There, I said it.  I am not a self sacrificing saint or anything like it. I am just a person lacking in imagination.  Maybe. Maybe that is it.

So while I would like to sell everything and go and stand on the front lines of some injustice, other than getting hurt I don’t think I can contribute much; Or finish the two books I started to write when I was younger and smarter and able to drink more than one cup of coffee a day without a gastro-disaster; or finally finish that enormous painting I started (what was I thinking?) that is facing the wall as if the painting was ashamed and not me, it kills my back to stand and paint; Or try to learn to speak French, something that I found easier when I was still drinking wine, *sigh*.   None of these things will likely happen.

The anniversary of my mother’s death is rapidly approaching and I promised myself I would give myself a year before making any major decisions.

I am no longer responsible for anyone else. I come home exhausted and eat one of the frozen meals I made on the weekend and then do some hand sewing while some really violent Netflix show plays. It is the only way I can watch some of these programs.  If I actually look at the screen too often,  OMG, PTSD.

So I bake cookies when I am unsure, maybe I’ll manage a trip to see my Old Teacher over the holidays, bounce my grandson on my knee. And follow my favourite blogs, those that make the world still seem a place full hope and beauty and adventure, and good will for all.

 

We can make a habit of compassion

Things are so weird right now but maybe it’s good that it’s all out in the open so we can see how ugly racism, sexism and entitled criminality are, but that said, violence in television is over the top and I don’t see people cringing, rather they are getting desensitized to it. Will we become desensitized to the sort of ignorant thuggism that is taking over all our public forums? I hope not. I am 60 this year and tired. I feel like “wake me up when they come for me, or not“, which is bad, really bad. I keep reminding myself, Hitler ran for office more than once before he got in power. Persistant thuggism can overwhelm considered intellect and endeavoured compassion, as history has shown us over and over. We must confront it. We must shake off our reasonable desire for comfort and confront it and we must confront it over and over with the same persistance as ignorance.
How we confront it is part of waking up to our own lives. If we find we are hating the person who perhaps took the parking space we wanted or the seat on the subway or the last donut or whatever, we need to see hate for what it is, it is thuggism, maybe in its infancy but it contains the potential that we see rampant in the world. Instead, if we recognize our annoyance for what it is, arising entirely within our expectations and probably, the person we might choose to direct this annoyance at (please try not to call it hate) is completely unaware of any of this, or at best thinking themselves lucky, if we see how this reaction arises in ourselves we can make choices about our response.  Is this the circumstance that requires us to speak up?  Probably not.
But when we have a reaction to someone doing harm, speaking of harm being done, promoting hate, we can see our fear, fear that it might be directed at us, but we can make a choice. Thuggism is a lack of choice.  Being awake is constant choice.  Are we ready to respond not with anger with knowledge and understanding? 
We are essentially fragile, all of us, and dependant on each other and anger is familiar to us though how some are expressing it and what they believe are their reasons for their anger are not acceptable to us.
This is what it is.  It is uncomfortable.  Whereas hate can feel good.  It is a paradox huh, that something that can feel good can be the cause of so much bad in the world?
The alarm clock has rung and we are awake. Now what?  Me? I think I will have breakfast.
“This meal arises from the labour of all beings,
may I be grateful.”

I am Seriously NOT Clowning Around!

 

What a great costume

  What a great costume

I really do not have a funny bone any more.  I am going back into hibernation.  Wake me when the weather improves.

but I’m giving you something I took off the internets…sometimes fashion and Sci-fi do a smash up, What? 

 

You can read all about it here.

Art and Horror: Vermeer’s Woman with a Balance and The Walking Dead’s “Still”

Wikipedia:
In the painting, Vermeer has depicted a young woman holding an empty balance before a table on which stands an open jewelry box, the pearls and gold within spilling over… "interpreted as a vanitas painting, as a representation of divine truth or justice, as a religious meditative aid, and as an incitement to lead a balanced, thoughtful life."[3] Some viewers have imagined the woman is weighing her valuables, while others compare her actions to Christ's, reading parable into the pearls.[1] Some art critics, including John Michael Montias who describes her as "symbolically weighing unborn souls", have seen the woman as a figure of Mary.[4][5] To some critics who perceive her as measuring her valuables, the juxtaposition with the final judgment suggests that the woman should be focusing on the treasures of Heaven rather than those of Earth.[6] In this perspective, the mirror on the wall may reinforce the vanity of her pursuits.[7]

I know I am making a stretch here trying to connect the painting to the episode, but when Beth is in the bar of the country club, after moving through a sort of hell where a class war went on, there is this stillness. (Daryl, who, while possessing legendary survival skills has little else left after losing his adopted family to a rival group is not in the frame.) In the scene the light is falling across the bar. The light is catching the edges of the bottles and the reflective surfaces, the edges of Beth's arms,  the side of her face that is away from us, gives her a glow. Something about it made me think of Vermeer's "Woman Testing a Balance" (which it is also known by), so much that I had to find the painting and look at it again.

I wasn't disappointed. Vermeer's painting is compositionally beautiful but the interpretation of his painting is so dead on for what this episode was about.

Beth had made the search for her first drink of alcohol a type of quest but in the face of the obvious carnage that went on, the wealth and riches that were now meaningless, and bloody rage that Daryl let loose on the heads of the zombie walkers, she realizes that it has been a fools errand. All her actions were in vain. She starts to cry.

It is precisely when Daryl is moved to help her. The rest of the episode is about him coming back to her and both of them coming to terms with what they have and what they can now let go of, a return of the only type of balance they can know in the Walking Dead: trust in each other.

The episode was directed by Julius Ramsay and written by Angela Kang. Brilliant!