Author Archives: Rae

Yawn

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Decided to check out my own blogs today.  Maybe someone has posted something interesting.  Huh?  Maybe I said something interesting perhaps, and forgot about it, so I could check that out …

What I learned is that a lot of time has passed and I haven’t had anything to say in that time, or at least I haven’t bothered sharing it.

I have a flight tomorrow from Columbus to Calgary, will see what I can come up with.

 

 

 

 

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Disappearing Acts

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Have done this all my life. Not sure what it means, but it’s me. I am here, I disappear for awhile, I’m back.

A family problem interrupted the adventure I had in mind two years ago. And changed my course, in part by making the original plan impossible to pursue, but also by compelling me to do something else.

So here I am, not teaching English as a second language in Europe, spending my evenings in local cafes, but working in Calgary, Alberta. Full-time. For Alberta Health Services, on health care. On the medical records challenges that make medical mistakes inevitable.

I know that in the long run it doesn’t matter. As a vivid dream informed me last night, we are past the tipping point on climate change. I’m one of those “face the truth” people, but am still fighting that one. It seems incomprehensible, the idea that we have really set in motion the destruction of the ecosystem that enables us to survive. The mind is an interesting thing. I “forget” this truth. I go days without being aware of it. I get excited about Bill McKibben’s tour, and grasp desperately at signs that there is hope, that it will be hard, but we’ll survive, that technology will save the day. Hollywood stuff. The end is near because we’ve caused it, and nobody is coming to save us. How do we deal with that?

In the meantime I’ll work on solving a problem that won’t matter a whit in a few decades when people are starving, climate refugees are moving across North America, and cities are underwater.

So what do we do?

I know a lovely young woman with cancer. Read her blog: Young Lady Old Cancer  She has inspired me.

I want to find a way to live a life of meaning from beginning to end, not just my end (something I didn’t believe in when I was 20, but now realize is inevitable), but the end of all of us.   Let’s see whether we can still have lovely, positive lives. Let’s see whether we can continue to fight the good fight, care for each other, share what we have, and dance all the way there.

Until we disappear.

Mood Blog

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OK, I loved the grunge look (I’m the only one who saw it — the blog has been private for awhile).  Today I feel like something a little more in your face, and dare I say it?  Chipper.  The background — ok, it’s kind of funky 70s, and I’ll probably fix that, but for now I’m loving it.  Aren’t the little scribbles around the “tabs” and dates fabulous, though?

Poof!

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While I wasn’t paying attention, a year went by.   It was always like that with my diaries, too.  Well, I’m back.  New look.  You may notice it’s not a chipper as the old one.  I’m trying to appeal to Millennials.  Who, of course, don’t read blogs.  They tweet or Facebook, but read?  Ha!  And did you hear — texting is out, too.  I think they know what they’re doing.

OK, truth.   I was gone because a year of my life, at a time when I don’t have that many good ones left and I need it desperately, was stolen.  And the chipper look is gone because I’m not feeling particularly chipper right now.

 

Concentric Circles

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I drove to Columbus again today, having spent a couple of days in Charlevoix attempting to take care of stuff (ha!).  For some reason I have adopted the habit of stopping in Dundee (exit 11) to gas up at the Shell station.  I used the bathroom, which is oddly decorated — hand-painted pictures of frames with little girls in fancy hats — very kitsch.  I groan whenever I walk in, and forget about it between visits because it’s so awful.

This time I used the handicap stall because the others were full.  More cute little girls in hats.  But on one wall there is a hand-painted copy of one of Wassily Kandinsky’s “Squares with Concentric Circles.”

Huh?  I stopped at the cash register on my way out and asked who decorated the bathroom.  “Owner’s wife.”  I tried to ask about the Kandinsky, but didn’t get much response.  Then I bought a bottle of water, and asked whether there was a place to put pennies.  “No.  Owner’s wife thinks they’re too dirty to have on the counter.”

How frustrated she must be, owning a gas station, painting bathrooms.  I’d like to see her just take the bathroom over and make it all about her art.  Forget the cute stuff and go for it.  On the way back to Charlevoix, I intend to stop again and take pictures, which I’ll add to this post.

The Age of Ennui

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OK, I admit that the reason I decided to read the article at all is that it used the word “ennui.”  Can’t help myself.  Is there a 12-step program for logophiles?

It was published today on CommonDreams.org by David Michael Green.

I got through the first two paragraphs, each less than two full lines long, and quit reading.  Too boring, and besides, who cares?  And there you have it.

Full life on next to nothing

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One of my new year aspirations was to buy clothing only at resale shops, except for bathing suits, shoes, and underwear.  So far so good, except for one “slip,” a well-reasoned one.  I bought a shirt, a sort of hippie thing that looks like it time-traveled from the 60s and is ready for BlissFest, for $5.

I’ve been talking up the “get rid of stuff” thing pretty well evidently, because my cousin Scott, who really does manage to live a good life on next to nothing, dropped off a book called Possum Living, published in 1978 by Dolly Freed.  She was an 18-year-old 7th-grade dropout living with her dad north of Philadelphia on next to nothing.  The book’s subtitle is How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money.  This she did for five years, after which she got her GED, went to college, and became a NASA engineer.  Then she decided she’d chosen a life she didn’t really find rewarding, so she became an environmental educator.

Now the book is very 70s, back-to-the-land, and has some crazy ideas Dolly has since repudiated.  It also has some wonderful ideas, and philosophical underpinnings that seem so familiar to me that I wonder whether maybe I read the book back then.  Probably not — that was the year Jason was born, and I believe I had to give up reading for a few years.  Don’t think I read it in law school, either.

So here’s what I’m wondering:  could I live a great “retired” life on next to nothing?  How much would I really need?  Dolly was and is a homebody, grows or catches much of her own food, doesn’t really need a car because she doesn’t go anywhere she couldn’t get by bicycle or on foot.   Her husband and children live a very frugal life, but it isn’t my life.

So that’s going to be my challenge.  Figure out what exactly I need to be able to do to enjoy myself, and then figure out the very cheapest way to do it.  What do you think, Boomers?