Days of my Life #28

Have I developed a habit of writing daily? It’s debatable, even though it is about twenty eight days that I started doing this with surprising regularity and that is, more or less the standard for creating a lasting habit. I woke around 2am thinking I might begin this daily expulsion of words from ether to paper, but I futzed around for an hour …obviously avoiding the work then immediately felt the need to go to back to sleep.

Oddly enough, When I awoke at eight I was totally convinced I had indeed written something clever and had even published it. Why? Because my recent habit of writing is now occupying my bloody dreams. Sheesh!

I was absolutely certain I had a subject, had gotten to the root of it, expanded on the gosh darn thing and reached a abfab conclusion…an editor’s dream…but no such luck, it was just my dream. So, now here I am, it’s seven in the evening, and I’ve done next to fuck all today with the exception of feeding the dogs, myself, grandson and daughter, doing a minor repair on the kitchen island, email, an hour of solitaire, talking with my bff who lives in lalaland and keeping my hyper grandson from destroying various animate and inanimate objects. So why in goddesses name am I tired?

I think I’ve got a case of pandemonium and fauxnews fatigue. It is ridiculously tiring thinking about all the stuff to think about. So many variables and sources. How to choose? Does it even matter and why doesn’t Ben and jerry make mocha fudge ice cream anymore? Don’t you often wonder why they, who ever they are, can’t just make electronics that can be repaired using universally available parts? Why can we get the same shoes a year or five later? And…What happened to penny loafers?…they were comfortable, at least to me they were.

It’s blind, mostly inhumane, capitalism, stupid.

Don’t get me wrong, or do, since everything is in the eye of the beholder and a whole lot of people are devoid of 20-20, it’s not just a year. I’m a former fashion whore….really I am…In my youth I even designed clothing for the rich and infamous. I still know how to tweak a design that makes crowds go wild, but at whose expense?

Uh oh, here comes my inner eco warrior, better look out. In recent years as I’ve been creating/transforming refuse/trash into art I have come to realize just what a waste of everything it all is. No, not my art, silly, my art is totally cool….just go to my art site janetbernson.com and you’ll be amazed.

I’m talking about the waste of resources, human life, animal and plant life and nature itself…for what? So a few insecure, nihilistic, feudalistic asshats with so much money and no soul can control the world? I say fuck that. Them too.

The Beatles wrote a little ditty, some of you might remember, “can’t buy me love” was totally true. Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure you can get laid with money, and you can buy fake friends with money and some people may love that you have money …but it ain’t going to buy you love or real friendship or inner peace.

And the “poor” schmucks… And you know who they are, want us all to believe that money or the promise of it is the answer to our woes. Except funnily enough those same perpetrators of the capitalist mystique don’t want you to have enough money to fully pay your bills …housing, food, medical or otherwise. And they could care less if your water is clean enough to drink or if your daughter gets raped or your son (especially if he’s a color other than white) gets offed by an officer of the law. Because there’s a line miles long and around the globe who will take y’all’s place, to keep the money ball rolling.

Do I sound like I want a revolution? Not exactly…certainly not a violent one. And we’re not gonna even go into the people toting around guns because that’s an entirely different bit of writing. I’m kind of thinking that with all of us sitting around baking sourdough bread and planting our gardens, wrangling children and zoom chatting that the revolution won’t need to be televised – it will just be that we’re not gonna go back to the way things were because we’re getting some quality time to develop new habits. I Think the dreaded virus may be affording our world the opportunity to make a mega shift…so that we can actually EVOLVE into caring about each other.

Oh my, I’m sounding like my old hippie self! Whoopee!

Tune in.

Days of my Life #18

The rain was over by the time I awoke this morning but I was too sleepy/lazy/didn’t give a rats ass about getting up to do anything important, much to the chagrin of the dogs who had been sleeping with me, but were now fully awake because grandson was speaking excitedly to his dad, who had come to extricate said kid from house for a few hours, about something or other. The sound resonated loudly throughout our home. I was thinking my sleeping in could be a good habit to adopt.

Surprisingly I was neither perturbed nor amused. Instead I sat up in bed, propped the pillows behind me to determine if I was indeed awake enough to then began my morning ablutions. I collected my assortment of still dreamy thoughts.

Fortunately dear deaf dog, Mocha, did not yell at me as she often does when considering a meal might be forthcoming and this made it oh so Easy for me, once dressed in yesterday’s fashionable exercise garb (when was the last time I actually showered?) to stealthily enter the kitchen.

I quickly fed the dogs then retreated, with my mug of WBDecaf and a bowl of cereal, back into my hideaway to maintain my distance from distractions, I.e. dogs barking, daughter recording music, the metro whistling in front of our house, etc.

I may have said this before, but what the heck (thought I might say hell?-oops, there I did it.) here I go again.

We have passed the 28day mark in breaking old habits, but I think we are still going through heavy duty withdrawal. From what besides the obvious of going to work, school and the gym? You may ask?

Shopping is a big habit. More for some than for others. We have been raised on touchy-feely, peruse the aisles, throw it in the cart, pay at the register consumerism. It’s a stretch for some to be confined to a virtual shopping cart, even if you can comparison shop to your Google’s desire…and even tougher if you’re a kleptomaniac I suppose, though the only time I ever stole anything was when I was fifteen and took a pair of flowered capris only to have them hijacked by my older sister who subsequently ripped them while falling and ripping said pants that still had the tags, stoned on painkillers after dental surgery. I learned then that crime most certainly does not pay, but it’s best to pay wholesale whenever possible.

Live entertainment is habitual..at least it can be, for both performers, and audiences. Personally I am non-plussed by the zoom concerts. Is it because I don’t like staying at home in my pjs to be entertained by stars who are allegedly in the same boat but definitely on a different deck? Yeah, there might be some of that. Or maybe it’s because I might like (which I don’t) the roar of a crowd of stoned strangers, as they bob and weave about me in their tribal tattoos and piercings, gawd knows where, holding up their selfie sticks to prove to FB friends they were “there”. I do miss good live theatre and house concerts and standup. This just doesn’t quite work as well with an audience of one or for the artist…It’s hard to ascertain the temperature of the room when it’s everybody’s living room.

Dining out was a global ritual and opportunity to hang out with friends before the scourge made us watch cooking shows to boost our confidence and abilities in the kitchen. For many now it can mean concocting simple sandwiches and sitting in the back yard, consuming said victuals with a Bud, while intermittently swatting insects; all diners seated six feet apart with hand sanitizer at the ready.

Regular hangouts at the local coffee shop/pub/bowling alley have been replaced by coffee/cocktail zoom chats and walks with masks at ten paces. I miss my regular face to face Thursday postcard group…we now are on zoom but it ain’t quite as fun.

While much of our world has all but stopped, our neuroses (or is it just me?) have exploded at light speed…which makes me wonder just what kind of new habits am I now acquiring? Waking slowly and hanging out in bed seems like one I could get used to, ditto for writing and art and gradually starting my day in semi-silence. I wonder if today was just a one-off event.

Do I want things to go back to “normal”? No. Maybe. Change is inevitable…truly the only thing about which we can be certain. I’m ready to embrace it. But before I do I’m gonna have dinner and watch a RomCom.

Tune in.

Days of my Life #16

Breakfast was filling if nothing else; shredded wheat and oat milk with a touch of dark brown sugar and some “why bother” decaf. I have already begun my day by perusing the news and email. Yuck!

Even the travel ads are having the “How can I get excited by armchair excursions?”challenge. Just the other day I received a tantalizing invite to travel to Spain and Portugal with a group of cutting-edge science/history/comparative religion nerds (that may not seem sexy to you- but those peeps and their suggestive haunts really turn me on), only to be cock-blocked by the first page on their website reminding everyone about possibilities of date change/cancellation due to covid. Cold shower time.

Even though I’m guarding myself for another disappointment, I’ve been preparing to rev up for the election with new insoles for my block-canvassing sneakers, extra sunscreen, all-natural insect repellent, “go-blue” hat and my selection of socially responsible tee shirts. I suppose I’ll have to wear something like pants or shorts, that is if we’re not still in lockdown or the slug who would be king declares martial law and usurps our elections. If need be, I can always do bottomless virtual block walking, but that’s TMI!

It’s time like these I wish I’d paid more attention to the crystal ball gazing class I took back in the eighties. Of course if I could’ve foretold the future then I probably would’ve divorced husband #1 sooner, definitely wouldn’t have married husband #2, would’ve moved to the south of France or Barcelona or at the very least, Portland and might’ve taken controlling interest in Amazon to make it a socially responsible company. Oh well, hindsight, but then it is really 2020.

I, like so many others, am finding so much time to reflect, to imagine and then locate the remote or iPad charger. I’ve made a bunch of masks, calls to friends & politicians, signed online petitions and donated to food banks, yet I’m still wondering with all this time on my hands I might do something more worthwhile, like create a “why didn’t someone think of this yet?” cure for cancer or world hunger or homelessness or war or joblessness or global climate change!

I am reminded of the adage “every cloud has a silver lining”. While we don’t have cures for the above specific woes, we have the possibility/opportunity to look at them with new eyes. Years ago, my dear friend and teacher, Aristhaia Cash, goddess rest her soul, said, “Most homes have a front door and a back door and usually a few windows -yet most of us mainly use one door to enter and exit and a favorite window by which to regard our outside world. But what about the other door/s and windows? What view/s are we missing? Do we need a skylight? How is the foundation?” Her wise words have served as a reminder that I’ve gotta look everywhere for answers because the predictable views don’t always have the total picture. Its not even the point of fake news as it is limited news, just who’s paying for it and what is their agenda?

To be a critical thinker one must exercise their skills of investigative discernment. A sort of treasure hunt for real, unabridged truth, which these days is a full time job, given the internet and people who only read headlines then spout off with their minimal information and apparent lack of deep thought.

Am I being hypercritical or just unrealistic in thinking we’ve gotta be better than this? Perhaps, then again I’m reminded at just who is running our state/country/world into the polluted ground.

Oh dear! Now I wanna escape to the land of oohs and aahs where I can be spoon fed deep dark chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream after having a long and oh so sensuous massage by a geeky, creative, straight hunk who whispers sweet everythings into my ear.

Alas, these sorts of brief fantasies are short lived in these times of virus. I’ve finished the cup of decaf and I’d better go take the dog for a walk.

Tune in.

Days of my Life #11

Good morning campers! It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining and I slept through the night like a normal (whatever that is) person! The dogs are still asleep as is, it appears, everyone else in my house. Birds chirp outside and I imagine a soprano singing falalala like a Disney movie. Today, ladies and gentlemen, anything is possible. Can you feel it?

Oh no. My alter egos are awake. It appears Pessimistic Polly is tapping me on my metaphorical shoulder, reminding me that though I indeed create my reality, other forces are afoot which can do that as well. Shit! That’s a big disappointment. Do I need to now read the news to see what’s going on outside the comfort of my home? What if I don’t want to? Polly’s sister, Responsibility Rita just whispered, “It’s only right. You must see what you can do to help others today.” Alas, I agree. I shall put on my Changemaker costume and contemplate what I will do to fight injustice here, or there.

Oh dear, the pants are kind of tight. Did they shrink in the wash? Nope. Must’ve been the vegan chocolate pudding I ate for last night’s dessert. Gotta watch the intake. “A superhero still must exercise.” Reminds Fit Frida.

Spoilsport! Alas they are correct, but before I do anything else, just let me stretch my tastefully styled tunic over the pants. Uurghhh. There. Now the boots and cape. Where’s my N95 mask? Okay, I’m ready for my zoom call with my fellow activists.

Yesterday I committed to making art, and so I gathered up the gazillion plastic bags which have been accumulating in our house like rabbits on steroids, plugged in the iron, andgrabbed my scissors to commence fusing the unwieldy stuff. It’s truly awful how much of the food we buy is packaged in plastic…and why not use glass or paper or compostable wrapping, I ask, fully understanding the impact of evil corporate oil lobbyists, senators and congresspeople (and the slimeballs for whom they work) and their intent to completely fill our world with the nasty stuff as they fill their pockets with cash. I ask you and anyone wishing to chime in, “where the FUCK are they planning on living?” It’s obvious, they don’t care so I’m not asking if they do.

Anyway, I took out my iron and fused the bags together, all the while grumbling and swearing at the futility of it all. “God dammed The Graduate and every other movie, commercial and ad touting the benefits of plastic in our world.” I yelled aloud, startling even my poor deaf lab, Mocha, though it was probably because she was underfoot and may have caught my clog as I was doing my pissy stomp around.

And now, with resulting Coronavirus- germaphobia which everyone has actually caught, it seems stores are all packing our curbside purchases in additional plastic. Which we must now wipe down as we place said objects in fridges and cupboards. Could we just fog it all? Hmmm. I wonder what is worse. The indiscriminate virus or indiscriminate use of plastic or Lysol infused wipes? Probably a yucky combination. Now don’t get me wrong. I have been washing my hands repeatedly, daily, often back to back, so much so that my skin is looking reptilian. And I am wearing a mask when I walk the dog or if by chance to venture elsewhere in public. I’ve been out a total of three times in four weeks for no more than thirty minutes. So I’m doing my part. Sheesh!

Sure, I am tired of being cooped up much like the rest of a good portion of our World, except maybe the Trump University grads who can neither read nor spell and whose wardrobes include MAGA hats. I know, I know I should be more gracious and accepting of those who drank the koolaid and have yet to succumb, but I’m far too challenged to do so as yet.

I woke up to bird song and am now wondering what the hell is going on in the world. Go figure.

I’ll let you know tomorrow. Tune in.

Necessity: Time to laugh and puppies.

It was pouring rain when I left my home on Saturday.

Errands then to the movies with my girlfriends. We were going to see Long Shot. But as luck would have it we went instead to see POMs. What’s that? I can hear whispers through the ether “that doesn’t sound like a particularly thought provoking endeavor” “you seem to have lower standards when it comes to movies” “tsk. Tsk.” Or is that my inner critics (yes I have many) who pass creative judgement upon me?

The fact is, we all need to laugh, a lot. Unfortunately the movie, like its reviews, was not very amusing.

Face it. The past two + years are quite a truckload serious bullshit for this socially conscious human (would’ve said f-load…but I’m working on my daily dose of expletives). Many of my friends agree we need laughter whenever and as much as is possible.

There is something quite wonderful about having people one can call/text/email and say, how about some laughter?” What’s even better is when they say “Hell yeah!” And so this is exactly what we did…we went to the movies, then out to eat and talk about the issues facing us. I felt somewhat comforted knowing I am not alone in this creepy time of peril.

Now reality is what it is, and as i sit here in my comfortable rental, my puppies asleep by my side, silently awaiting me to put down the iPad and don my shoes and grab leashes, I know that said danger, though not far away is as omnipresent as i choose. This may be the issue of why many people are not taking seriously the threat of evil, which is not a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong (or do, your choice) I am perhaps just as willing to vacate the awful, blood pressure raising feeling of dread at the thought of women being jailed for miscarriage, children ripped from their parent’s arms. rape victims forced to birth the product of assault, mass incarceration at the benefit of greedy scoundrels, people of color being murdered by cops, students being shot in schools, houses of worship bombarded with bullets, medical bankruptcy, gerrymandering, election tampering, species extinction (us included), natural habitats destroyed, and yes, people being told where to poop. Did I forget anything? Probably, and so you may add or put in the order your most importance.

So where to begin? I know I don’t have all the answers, but feel somehow we must work outside of the box – to change the ill tide, to come at this horrific mess o’shit (there goes my expletive limit) with a different, more effective means, because honestly, postcards get pitched into the circular bin, emails get deleted, as do phone calls – if they get answered by a human at all. Marches of millions have momentary impact though they are indeed community empowering. The Handmaids are visually effective.

I cannot or will not forget these many issues facing us and I feel it is my duty to remind others as I remind myself that we must envision and work toward remedying this awfulness! Even with necessary laughter and cute puppy breaks.

Massive, selective boycotting, pulling the plug on advertisers who support faux news etc., may be a more viable answer since it is one thing to walk the talk but to shop your talk is much more powerful. In our consumer/capitalist society businesses don’t like to lose money-the bottom line IS everything. And time IS of the essence here.

I’m spending the rest of my day making art, puppytime and doing research. Will keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you’ve read thus far, put on your (god is this making me sound old) thinking cap, then send me a note of what your ideas might be,

Mother – Nature, knows best.

I’m in recovery from last night’s and this past morning’s wedding celebrations…you may have read a bit about this in my previous missive. I actually drank a half a glass of Ouzo…to help me sleep which worked to make me crave licorice sticks but did nothing to make me snooze. For those of you who know me well, well I don’t, as a rule, drink anything other than tea, chocolate, water or smoothies. Hell, I was determined to sleep. What can I say? Like most times when I try to disturb the natural order of my body’s desire to sleep, the ouzo, did nada.

20130827-051916.jpgMy roomie, Meike and I dragged ourselves out of our respective beds, gulped tea (she) and cocoa (me) and headed via taxi to Molyvos or, as it is also know as Mithymna …where the head of Orpheus is said to have been washed ashore after his dismemberment of the Thracian women. Another mythical citizen of Mithymna was the lyric poet and musician Arion – Word has it he was saved (from what?) by the music-loving dolphin….gotta see one. Anyway, we climbed into Dymitri’s taxi and wound our way over the mountains, past countless olive trees (the island’s known for it) and quite a few empty homes for sale from Kalloni to Molyvos.

Yes, Greece has had a tough time steadying their legs from the seasick economy – where are the dolphins when we need them? I am amazed at the resilience of these wonderful people…it does my heart good to witness their smiles, to be given such authentic hugs, even when I understand they have been through very rough economic seas… And I do hope the tide has changed for the better, since the Greeks are one helluva inspiration for anyone who has experienced the phone call from a collection agency … like swimming with hungry sharks. I’m rich with metaphor today, having been a bit dinghy from the previous nights. O’henry where art thou?

Financial economy aside, In the warmth of my new friends here, the riches abound. Their spirits, as mine sing with the healing sounds of birds and cicadas, morning and night. This morning I looked up into the eaves outside our room to watch tiny birds dive bombing wasps and larvae out of the nests housed above me …And to think I thought of asking the hotel staff to destroy these same nests…the balance of nature is delicate…Why do humans (myself included) want to fuck it up?

And here, again, I am reminded of our messing with the all-encompassing natural order of things. The birth, life and decay of all things living both fascinate and terrify us. Our reactions to the cycle of life range from the sublime – our “oohs and aahs” when a baby is born – to the ridiculous – “Hand me the hair-dye” freak out at aging. Its silly aint it? How we inject drugs to slow down our disease and decay, later to embalm our dead bodies, burying ourselves in airtight coffins, rather than let nature take its course. You may disagree about the drugs. Whatever.

So much of the bizarre occurs within the cycle of life, with we “civilized” humans attempting to continue to control the outcome. Our usual MO is to point the finger when we have messed up, rather than take responsibility and rectify the situation. Here I am sorely reminded of the harm of genetic modification, pesticides, herbicides, predatory lending and even prescription drugs…yes, you read that right, all drugs mess with nature. Food IS our best medicine and yet spray it with shit/chemicals that kills us? That’s messed up.

The distortion of our need to control our personal and collective destiny is far beyond my own hippie, eco-warrior cause of the day; it extends to the great fears that motivate us to listen to and believe our corporate and political dictators blasting contradictory directives over our newly purchased Androids and iPads. These fears can compel us to overdraw our bank accounts, purchasing crap we then must buy storage space to put it in, placing us further in debt, only to sell on Ebay for far less than it was worth when we originally vowed to use it regularly, or worse we can purchase homes we know deep down are completely unaffordable. We, in our attempt to stave our fears by consuming, may be decaying from our own modern day consumption and this ain’t a pretty possibility.

However, Conscious Language master, Bob Stevens says, “our greatest weakness can become our greatest strength.” Perhaps our desire for fulfillment can now be recognized as a means to discover what will truly nourish us. Maybe we have had to lose our “debt filled houses” to discover the importance of building sustainable loving homes. To lose our “dead-end, low pay jobs” to discover our true livelihood. To lose our health insurance, and become well beings.

In the process of all this morass of fear, it is “easy” to point fingers at everyone else- the media, doctors, corporations, politicians…but is that truly helpful? Heck, it ain’t even productive. And waiting for dolphins (or anyone else) to rescue us may take longer than we may hope.

The state of the Greek people and economy is a wonderful time for us to look carefully, taking steady and deep breaths, into our own lives and habits. We are all (smiling and unsmiling Greeks included) being given a sort of golden opportunity to look inward at what truly motivates us, to embrace change and chart our own course. As my sweet Max Middleton said and hopefully with his permission, I shall paraphrase, “Change is inevitable. Embrace it as a sacred and natural act.” One has only to look at the tiny birds with the wasp nest in the eaves above to see, nature does indeed know best.