mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: Obama

“democracy” . . .

stone wall

stone wall

The Republican Party protects the 1-2% of the most wealthy in this country and refuses for them to pay more taxes. They’re against the use of government funds to help those who can’t afford health care or who receive other government help like Social Security and Medicare. They are happy when they’ve “shut down the government,” (Michelle Bachman) and they have no understanding of what their ignorance, arrogance and foolhardiness make us look like to the rest of the world. Never mind the costs their actions cause to millions of working Americans that they could care less about.

Covert racism seems to be at the root of intense bullying Obama has received since he was elected (twice!). David Koch funds and plots against the President’s policies almost like a game to that billionaire, using attention-getting idiots like Ted Cruz, a junior senator from Texas. Cruz can’t even come up with his own ideas to get attention and instead copy-cats Wendy Davis, a fellow Texan who successfully filibustered for eleven hours against tightening abortion laws in Texas. That has catapulted Davis into the limelight to run for Governor of Texas which has alarmed Republicans so greatly that they are already airing nasty videos against her. Other Republicans like Rand Paul and Paul Ryan are using the current crisis-after-crisis to fine-tune their candidate platforms to run for the Presidency in 2017. All of these theatrics are being played out while the country teeters on the edge of toppling somewhere no one has ever been before. If I get it, why don’t they?  They don’t care, that’s why.

Worst of all, there are enough people who think alike in these narrow prisms, elect Tea Party ideologues and who don’t care about the country more than their own self-serving agendas. That they wield this much power is appalling. Yet, there seems to be no end in sight to this Herculean problem we have in the country in which we live and work. We must stop being apathetic, hoping it will blow over. We have to vote them all out of office and deal with the gerrymandering of districts that allows them to exist.

In my opinion, what we are living through today is an example of the ugliest and most sordid side of human nature that democracy has to offer.

rebirth et al. . .

IMG_6027You know how they’re always talking about rebirth at Easter time a few weeks ago? Coincidentally this year, the world also saw the convocation of a new Pope for those who are Catholic. Obama, at his visit to Israel, intentionally spoke with a phrase in Hebrew at each place that he visited. He also gave at least the younger generation of Israelis some hope that “peace is possible!” That’s a rebirth of an idea in that tense region.

In reflection over these last few weeks, the most profound thing that happened to me is that my cherished relative, Pei-Fen, whom I visited in the beginning of March, died soon after at the age of 92. She seemed to be hazy and floating in and out in consciousness after having had a recent stroke. But when I saw her, and when I asked if we could take a photo together, she straightened up and looked directly into the camera. Then, she made such an effort to tell me to: “Take care of your family. Take care of yourself. . . and BE HAPPY!”

I think she wanted to tell me this because she knew, even if we hadn’t been in touch that much, that I had not been very happy for much of my life.

           Pei-fen

Pei-fen

What I have done since I heard of her passing, was to remember that she had given me an old Victorian amber pendant when I was about college age so many years ago. I myself had later given it to a young relative in hopes that it would carry some meaning, and so, at this point in time, I didn’t have it any longer.

So, I turned to eBay to see if I could find a piece of amber that “looked like Pei-Fen”and would be something I liked so much that I would wear it all the time so that it would remind me to be happy each time I touched it. Sure enough, I found one that was not round and not oval, but more like a fat ellipse, an old golden brown piece of amber with the rough side of the petrified resin visible on the underside. The crude surface of the natural amber was part of the worn out look of things, the patina of life, that duly attracted each of us in our lives.
pei fen amber frontpei fen amber back
I like things whose beauty has been softened by age: hence “as is” is a familiar description for things that I have picked up for a song in my antiquing days long ago. That means there are usually hairline cracks, chips, repairs to things that don’t look pristine but whose beauty glows nevertheless.

Come to think of it, it’s sort of like people we know who age well (like Pei fen!) hold themselves with good posture and have grace in their faces that shows they have learned many of the things that bother us when we were young no longer matter at all. Most things don’t, I have found. And what a relief that is, come to find out!

So, here we are in mid-April, a time for rebirth as Spring begins to unfurl the crocus, daffodils, narcissus, hellebores. The roses also begin to wake up a little as the old thorny stalks are pruned away. Even my money tree inside, which has had a blight which has caused it to lose almost all of its leaves, is beginning to recover. I favored soapy eco-friendly pesticides for awhile but they didn’t work. So last Wednesday, I went to Home Depot and looked for the strongest pyrethrin spray I could lay my hands on. It seems to have done the job.

            at last!

at last!

What I have also been learning is that even though it’s great to look forward to what happens with your children, and then with your grandchildren, the truth of the matter is that no matter what one’s age is, and no matter how much time we think we might have left, the most important thing, I believe, is to live for oneself and not for others. To see each day as an opportunity to nurture one’s self with enough rest, modest meals, to do the washing up in the kitchen, do the laundry, to clean up the garden beds and to hang out our clothing on the clothesline in the cool Spring air because it means that one is taking care of oneself and the things that matter to us.

So, given Pei-Fen’s final exhortation to “be happy,” I think I’ve learned from it and am now happier, wearing an old piece of amber I know she would have loved. I remember to be happy each day, for my own sake, according to my own taste in all the little bits of happiness, cracked, chipped and worn but still beautiful.

That’s a lot of rebirths, don’t you think?

“make my day” . . .


I don’t know if you watched the Super Bowl last weekend but we did. And because of the notoriety of the Super Bowl Ads, we didn’t even mute them out. It was bad enough to watch the Patriots stumble through the game with Tom Brady’s error on the first play casting an ominous tone over his teammates and the rest us for the remainder of the game. Gronkowski wasn’t there even though he went through the motions, it seemed.

Halfway through the agony, the animated animal cartoon ads and the dumb beer ads rolled on. Then, the 2 minute spot by Chrysler with a familiar raspy voice narrating, “It’s halftime, America,” caught our attention. Wow! an ad not for THINGS for people to buy. It wasn’t really even about buying cars. The message was about VALUES, for pete’s sake. And it created a hullabaloo afterwards too.

I thought they got the perfect guy to make this perfect pitch: Clint Eastwood. He’s almost eighty-two and still going strong, doing his thing, his way. His politics are Republican and fiscally conservative AND he Read the rest of this entry »

currency. . .


If you watch TV, movies or listen to the news, you might get a sense that what makes the world go ’round is making money. Or having money. Or having enough money. There are the big Wall Street financial bandits like Madoff, Enron, etc. who have made off in the last few years with not only a lot of money, but also with the trust and goodwill of the public about our financial institutions. Even the politicians seem to have been had (Obama.) Where is this going, you may ask? Not this post–but the economic world we live in?

I think about currency too. What kind of energy we expend in the name of making money or even saving it. How much of our waking hours are taken up with these efforts? What about the currency of time? Or the amount of currency that we trade for boredom, for example? It’s easy to go “shopping for sales” when Read the rest of this entry »