Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lay Down Your Arms

Optimism is a political act.
Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think nothing is going to get any better.
In fact, these days, cynicism is obedience.
- Alex Steffen, The Bright Green City
I have experienced a politically divided nation for as far back as I can recollect. My introduction to politics was seeing the president of the U.S. assassinated by gunfire with media in full view. I was so young that I was unaware that I was witnessing a volatile political act. Shock was what I felt but I knew nothing of it. No wonder I see the world as being full of danger! Violence has only exacerbated since that time and often I've wondered how bad it will get. How many children's minds will be tainted with unnecessary fear?
     Optimism is essential to living bravely. We make a bold statement when we step out firmly with an optimistic outlook and approach to living. This would be despite the prevailing circumstances. In the song Grand Old Flag, Americans are described as the free and the brave. These two attributes have walked hand in hand on our land since the war of 1812, through the bloody Civil War and on into the Civil Rights Movement.
     We will always have to fight for freedom bravely and with optimism. It is our tradition as U.S. citizens and will prevail as long as we are willing to die for other people's freedom as much as our own. It is how we fight that makes the difference. However, fighting back with weapons is mutually fatal and futile. In the 70s a popular quote was repeated often that  'fighting for peace was like making love for virginity.'
     Bravely facing down aggressors is where peace begins. Laying down our arms is how peace will prevail. I've never heard anyone say that they regretted not shooting someone.
Lay down your arms for peace.
The new and improved...

Conflictos empazar en el corazon. - Evelyn Wallace

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer Struggle 2016

Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-
a desire, a dream, a vision.
- Muhammad Ali
This is going to read a bit odd but getting through this summer has been one of my most difficult struggles ever and on a particular level I never would've expected. The reason why you haven't seen much on this blog until now hasn't been lack of subjects, boredom or writer's block or even writer's cramp. I've written more by handwriting this summer than I ever have in my life and my hands are fine except for sheer exhaustion. There. I said it. I'm exhausted from all the hard, physical labor I've been doing and it's been tripled and quadrupled this summer with extra work needing to be done around the house, more yard work, reorganization of just about everything in my house including moving furniture and equipment from downstairs to upstairs and vice versa all by myself. What I need is a house person. You know, like a house boy only politically correct. Here's the kicker: In the past I've been completely physically exhausted and then sat down to write and been just fine to think, edit and rewrite to my heart's content and completely in my element. 
     Now when I finally find time to sit down and write, I find that exhaustion is affecting my thinking. That's new and unwelcome. I've never known anything like this and I don't want to know it, either. This isn't happening because I don't like hard work or can't do it. I can do it and I don't mind hard work or at least I never have in the past. I'm digging in my heels because I don't want to be so exhausted that I can't think to write. That's where I draw the line. Here's the additional problem: quitting the heavy labor isn't an option.
     Not one to give up, I'm certain there's a solution and it would be something like this: Make a million dollars on my first castles book then hire someone to cook three square meals everyday and clean up after. Then, I would hire someone to make my yard look like a showcase home. I would have someone come every day to clean my house from top to bottom and do my laundry, fold it and/or hang it up and put it away. Having someone do all my shopping would be a bonus that would finally liberate me to sit down and just write for eight or more hours a day. Of course, I wouldn't give up my exercise in the morning which consists of yoga stretches followed by a swift walk up to the park, slam dunking 20 out of 30 basketball shots at the court and then coming home to write some more. That only takes about 45 minutes- tops.
     If there is any extra time after writing I could then take the time to rebuild a manicure/pedicure/nail clientele that doesn't exist for me anymore. Believe it or not, I really have enjoyed the profession I worked for three decades of my life before I watched my clientele dwindle away before my eyes. Either people don't care about the way their hands look, in the present day, or they don't have the money. No amount of discounting seems to work for these Asian discount salons. Most of them are empty, except for rows and rows of empty desks and two or three techs sitting around and watching TV. While I worked at storefront salons, including my own storefront, I don't think my client chair was ever empty. I worked ten hour days when I owned my storefront salon and never even thought about the amount of time I put in because I loved making women beautiful and helping them feel good about themselves. I guess that's out of vogue, too, but not for me. I can't go more than a week for manicuring my nails and I'd never give up the pedicures I do on myself at least once a month. If women have given this up even after years and years of being faithful clients then I can only think that they do not prioritize for themselves any longer and don't care what kind of details are in the look. Some hairstyles I've seen appear to have that philosophy!
     I will forge ahead with my dream of one day gallivanting the planet, doing site inspections any where castles can be found and writing about them and possibly showing them off on my own TV show. After that, putting them up on my web site will be done by my faithful and trusty web master who will turn my web site into a dream come true for myself and all my internet fans. You might even need an app to be able to buy my books at my web site! Bliss ! Another Cinderella dream achieved. Even though we both might be laughing now it will be followed with a sense of awe.
     I've always achieved everything that I've truly wanted to- believe it! I know I can achieve it. I've done that before. 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Some coincidences are not really coincidences...

" Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time."
     Has summer seemed too long to you? With high digit temperatures reigning throughout the land I'd understand if someone said they wished summer was over. I had a wonderful fan bite the dust last night and groaned because I knew it only meant one thing. Replacement. Interestingly, however, I've coped better with the heat today than usual and credit my willingness to do my high activity of the day when the temperature digits were still pretty low. I had practically forgotten what an early summer's day feels like and I think I'm going to like this business of going back to dealing with summer the way it is- not that I have a choice but at least I won't have to retreat to the basement as usual. Not yet, anyway.
     There's something about summer that is God's (and nature's) way of telling you to slow down. Have a glass of lemonade on the porch without the aim of fixing something or cleaning up, perhaps. If stopping and getting lost in thought is some kind of crime then life is going to get mighty miserable. I say, let's all take a break and stop expecting to keep up a pace that the world around us expects but no longer wants to continue themselves. Summer exists for a good reason and when I figure out what it all is I'll be certain to let you know. This morning's musical fare consisted of listening to Brian Wilson sing, "In My Room", which always made me think of what it is like to just sit somewhere, unobtrusive- and watch the world go by while trying to solve the energy crisis in my head. It's always for something. Try it sometime. I think you'll like it.

Last wee at the beginning John Lubbock

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Once only imagined, now true...

What is now true was once only imagined.  - William Blake
Whatever may be said of dreamers and builders of the future we cannot refute that if those of the past had been discouraged from their obsessions and fervent or adamant quests this would be a truly impoverished world to live in at this point. We have never in history had such knowledge and expertise in technology readily available to us in common usage form as we do at the present time. We are truly blessed and those of us who are thankful or mindful of gratitude for these tools and devices are doubly so. However, technology is almost overwhelming for a certain demographic known as those who will not embrace the change or who stubbornly refuse to at least try to understand these advances. Ask anybody over the age of 80 who still say, "Huh?" when you ask them for their e-mail address. I have a certain amount of sympathy for them because I don't really embrace change readily- especially when I perceive that everything is fine as it is- and as long as it is working.
     It is wrong, however, not to recognize achievement and the desire of those who wish to improve this world in anyway they can. Indeed, such trailblazers as these should be commended, not discouraged or disparaged as though they meant to do harm. People will always pan those things they do not understand  or comprehend and so they must be encouraged toward understanding and not chided as if they just flubbed saying their ABCs. Nobody gets to the age of, say, 75 without having a few more bits of knowledge than the under 40 crowd who currently calculate their infallibility as quite high.
Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have faith in  people, that they're basically good and smart and if you give them tools they'll do wonderful things with them.
- Steve Jobs
     I believe my own fascination with technology started early but I haven't been one to charge ahead without reservations. For one, I remember my Computer Science major for a brother once telling me to wait to buy anything techno because in a few months nearly everything on it would be obsolete and I'd have to go through the trouble of trying to update something that would need to be replaced completely in the end. That type of advice sticks with you and besides I found him to be absolutely correct- so far!
     What's the answer then ? How do we reach the unreachable elders ?  I can't begin to answer that except with what William Blake said years ago. (See above.) If those who can use their imagination to bring us the world at our fingertips could find a way to urge humanity to forge ahead with this knowledge, then we will be on our way. I've always been a possibility thinker, however. I know that nothing is impossible to God but man needs a whole lot more encouragement than Tally ho ! Techno needs to get back into the realm of high touch so that those who drag their heels- for a good reason mind you!- can reach out and enjoy the miracle we're all experiencing. Maybe they'll stop saying, "Heck, no!" to techno.
Stay connected,
The Castle Lady