Equal Opportunity and Justice for All

In a recent post Ann started with,

I hesitate to write posts like this because voicing ones opinion can so easily cause drama these days.

I agree with her about that, and…

I hate racism, but I tend to be prejudiced in favor of blacks. I had some black friends in high school, and some members of my family were prejudiced and were upset about my friendships. I think there is still a lot of discrimination against them (and other minorities) and would vote to have that changed. I also have the same worries that The Economist has,

Our cover this week argues that a set of illiberal ideas about how to tackle American racism will only hinder progress. Leaders like Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King used vigorous protest and relentless argument to push society towards their vision of equality of opportunity and equality before the law. Most Americans still hew to that classical liberal ideal, as do many of those who marched with justified anger over the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in Minneapolis. But a dangerous rival approach has emerged from American universities. It rejects the liberal notion of progress. It defines everyone by their race, and every action as racist or anti-racist. It is not yet dominant, but it is dynamic and it is spreading out of the academy into newsrooms and boardrooms. If it supplants liberal values, then intimidation will chill open debate and sow division to the disadvantage of all, black and white.

I agree. If the liberal idea of equal opportunity and justice for everyone loses, we all do. Fingers crossed.

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Dumpster Diving

When Andy was emptying the garbage this morning his glasses somehow fell into the dumpster. So he came back to the apartment, got the step ladder and a stick to hold the lid of the dumpster up, and started to look for the glasses. A young woman came by and insisted that she do it for him…she was afraid he was going to fall in. He now has his glasses back and has to admit, maybe the mirror isn’t telling such big lies after all.

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No Junkyard Puppies

I just read Mary Oliver’s poem, Luke’s Junkyard Song. It’s “by” a puppy stuck in miserable conditions who focuses on the beauty of the one star he can see between the twists of metal above him.

I was taken by the last line,

…whatever you see and love — that’s where you are.

It partially reminds me of what I’ve been practicing lately,

The quality of our lives depends on how we focus our energy and our attention.

It’s not poetic, but it is a good reminder that we can make ourselves miserable and stuck when we focus on the things that we don’t like and have no control over. We’re not junkyard puppies, we’re not helpless. We have choices.

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A Good Weekend

A news release from the Forest Service said,

The Fourth of July weekend on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) was unexceptional in the best definition of the word – no fire starts, no reports of illegal fireworks and no abandoned and/or illegal campfires on three of the five districts.

Patrols did find 21 illegal and/or abandoned campfires on the Jemez Ranger District, and another three on the Coyote Ranger District. But none of those campfires escaped and became a larger problem for firefighters to contend with.

“We want to thank all the visitors who spent their Fourth of July on the national forest recreating responsibly and taking good care of their public lands,” Acting Forest Supervisor Debbie Cress said. “Most of our campgrounds were full, and the Jemez District had by far the largest number of visitors. But for the most part, we saw good compliance with Stage 2 fire restrictions across the forest.”

Any weekend that doesn’t burn down the forest is a great one.

June is often a bad month for fires, but this year we’ve had enough moisture to keep the vegetation green. It’s supposed to dry out some, so Andy is still cutting down bushes in the defensible space. Joe’s crew completely cleared this area last fall. You can see in this picture how the bushes have grown back, some of what Andy has done, and what he still has to do.

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I came across this quote today:

Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.

I also came across this video:

Just another day relaxing in the pool.

Of course, it’s also possible to be relaxed while doing things, and that’s sometimes a skill worth developing.

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Repeat Post

This past January I wrote a post entitled Fighting Back With Joy. I’m repeating it here because it’s even more appropriate now:

I have learned to read the papers calmly and not to hate the fools I read about.
—Edmund Wilson

This quote tickles me, probably because when I was teaching stress management years ago, I would read the papers in the morning to test how well I was doing. It’s still good practice.

I’ve always been interested in history, so I don’t want to hide and miss seeing it in action, but I agree with Mary Oliver:

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world….

Since my teen years I’ve thought of happiness and joy as a way of being defiant, fighting back against all the soul-sucking parts of life. It beats feeling helpless and angry or depressed.

Amen to that!

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Indomitable Spirit?

Image by Shauna Fletcher from Pixabay

Ginny had a neat quote yesterday,

We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.

Tom Brown Jr

A lot has been going on here, and to top it off yesterday I found we had a small bedbug infestation. It’s not as bad as the one we had in November 2017, a month or so after we took the train to see Kaitlin and Torben. We managed to get rid of the bugs without chemicals then, and this one should be easier because we caught it a lot earlier, but it will take time. Never a dull moment.

The interesting thing is it’s been nine months since we took the train to see Kaitlin and Torben again. We were careful to keep our suitcases in plastic bags on the train and took the recommended precautions in our motel, so we thought we had escaped the bugs this time. Maybe the precautions slowed them down, or maybe they came in some other way… at any rate, they are here now and eventually they will be gone.

Patience and good humor, or like the chickadee, indomitable spirit? Yes, we could use that right now. 🙂

Thanks, Ginny!

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Still Working on It

Remember that high altitude jet we want for Andy’s brush cutter?

Click on picture for higher resolution.

As I said, Friday I phoned the distributor in Dallas to find out how to get it. I talked to Torrie, and she said she would contact the factory and try to find the part number. She would phone me back, but probably not until Monday or Tuesday.

I didn’t hear from her, so I phoned again yesterday. She apologized, which was sweet, I thought, and I told her I appreciated her working on it. She said she would email them again and that I should phone back if I didn’t hear from her by noon today. She gave me her extension.

This morning before noon I received this email:

Good Morning,
I had a email from the factory but he is having issues finding the jet as well. We are working on it.

I hope the fellow can find the jet, but even if it doesn’t happen I’m grateful for Torrie working on this. Things are crazy right now, and human touches like this mean a lot.

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Social Distancing

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

Woman gored after approaching bison in Yellowstone National Park; Always stay more than 25 yards away from bison

It’s not as if the Park Service doesn’t warn people:

Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild.

When an animal is near a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay more than 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals – bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity.

But some people don’t listen because they are so intent on getting pictures. In this case the woman kept getting closer than ten feet from the bison.

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You’re Looking Great!

A couple of weeks ago the fellow who owns a plot of land next to us was up there visiting it. When he was chatting with Andy he said Andy was looking good for someone his age.

When Andy told me about it we both laughed. At least the fellow was honest. People used to come up to us and say, “You’re looking great!” It was warm and friendly, but Andy and I figured they were thinking, “OMG, they’ve gotten so old!”

Is it possible our mirrors aren’t lying to us after all?

It reminds me of us shopping in Santa Fe about 25 years ago. The cashier clearly mistook us for another couple. Apparently old people (over 40?) all look alike. She was genuinely happy to see us/them and said,

Oh, you’re out and about today! How nice.

And about 35 years ago we were at a tourist spot in the Canadian Rockies. Andy joked as he carefully walked off a glacier,

I have to be careful so I don’t break a hip.

A sweet young woman said,

I know! I was going to offer you help, but you seemed to be doing all right.

So people have thought of us as old for years and years now, and that’s just fine. My favorite quote on the subject is still Andy Rooney’s,

I didn’t get old on purpose, it just happened. If you’re lucky, it could happen to you.
—Andy Rooney

Fingers crossed for us all. 😀

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