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The Ownership I’m Not Experiencing

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Happy Half Birthday to K

Yes, half-birthdays are a thing (at least in our family).

 

Eli In Leaves 1995

 

 

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Department Of How Do You Say Wistful In Swedish?

MH and I bid a fond, happy-for-them-but-sad-for-us, Bon Voyage to our beloved and longtime “Swenadian” friends this week. The S family was one of the first families we met when we moved to this neighborhood, over 20 years ago. And now they have metaphorically set sail for the mother ship (the husband’s), Sweden.

After taking his company’s retire-or-get-fired [1]  offer this year, the Swedish-Canadian couple began planning to live their dream of returning to academia/research.  [2]  They sold their house in Hillsboro and are on their way to Sweden, and will reside in Gothenburg .

Their three now young adult children, of whom our son K and daughter Belle have so many fond memories, are all US citizens and are all (so far) content to remain in the USA; thus, there is an “anchor” to have our friends return stateside for visits. [3]  We also have their generous invitation to come across the pond and stay with them in Sweden. And so our wishes for them were Bon Voyage and best of luck – we didn’t have to truly bid them goodbye…even as my heart was aching, to lose the physical proximity of such good people.

Their daughter remarked on FB about how admiring and proud she was of her parents for taking on such a life adventure, and she hoped she would be doing something similar when she was 55.  Moiself, too, I thought, when I read her touching tribute. Similar (admittedly selfish) thoughts have added to the tug at my heart – where is my (post, ahem) age 55 adventure?  [4]  I’m sad to see good friends depart, yet happy for them as they pursue their dream…and also slightly envious of their willingness and ability to embark on their new venture.

Skål!

 

 

SegersNYE2005

How we will miss those classy family celebrations; e.g., the Swenadian Year of the Gummy Worm, aka New Year’s Eve 2005 (our son K [the only one sans eyeglasses] and daughter Belle(second row, middle) nd Belle with the S family’s children)

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Department Of It’s So Much More Than That

“We hope you are enjoying your ownership experience with your Outback.”

So began the email I received last Sunday. After expressing their wish for my satisfaction, the good folks at Subaru of America tried to entice me to participate in an Outback ownership survey.  [5]

It didn’t take me long to reach for the delete key.  But I must admit, for a nanosecond or so, the email did get me to consider my life anew.  In the next few days, if y’all notice the twinkle in my eye or the spring in my step or the bug up my ass , it’s because I’ve seen the light.  How can I have been so callow, so unappreciative, for so long?  I don’t merely possess a car; I have an ownership experience.

 

 

subaru

Believe it or not, this wasn’t what sold me on my automobile purchase.

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Department Of Yet Another Win For Science

Although the usage of win implies a contest, and there’s no contest between objective evidence and wishful thinking…although, if you spend a lot of time reading Facebook posts you realize how many people confuse the latter with the former.

To wit: The most recent total solar eclipse. Specifically, the fact that it occurred, as predicted by scientists, years ago. Win win win.

 

 

eclipse

“Let’s hear it for me!”

 

 

 

A momentary digression: Freethinkers, Brights, Humanists, Skeptics, Atheists – whatever we who are religion-free call ourselves, most of us have had the experience of being asked, by a religious believer, if we ‘believe” in science. Uh, nooooo, we reply, some of us successfully stifling the instinctive, WTF!? raising of our eyebrows (or just a fit of giggling), we don’t need to “believe” in science because “science” does not require that.

Science – observing, documenting and trying to understand the natural world – is a methodology, not a belief system.

Scientists cannot “believe” in science – they have to do science. Science requires action. Believing is passive – not only is no action required, seeking objective evidence is discounted and often even criticized by religions (which champion faith over facts because they couldn’t exist without the former and strive to exist despite the latter).  [6]   And of course they do – if you have evidence, you don’t need faith.

Back to the eclipse: we have fresh in our minds (and stunningly gorgeous pictures and videos on our FB and other feeds) yet another example of how to respond to those who would ask us  [7] if we “believe” in science.

Religions have been preaching about and predicting the end of the world for, well, since the beginning of religions. They prophesy the year or the season – often giving exact dates – when the world will end and/or their god(s) will “return.” It doesn’t happen.

Using information they’ve obtained on planetary and celestial body orbits, scientists predict solar eclipses. Scientists predict the exact dates and even times of these astronomical events, and they do this decades in advance.  The eclipses happen, on the dates and times predicted.

This could be the ultimate illustration of understanding the world using science, versus using religion. One is based on objective measurement and study of the natural world to discover and affirm what is true, and one is based on mythology, supernaturalism, and wishful thinking.  [8]

Sub-Department Of Define Your Terms

My use of the term wishful thinking:  when I apply that term to describe a person’s belief, it doesn’t necessarily mean I think said belief is inherently false, or true. It just means that the person believes what they want to be true, without objective evidence of whether it really is true.

Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.
Mark Twain

stars

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Department Of Yet Another Loss For Humanity

“I think I can speak for all Oregonians when I say our hearts are breaking.  The gorge is Oregon’s crown jewel. It’s our playground and we are very, very sad.”
(Multnomah Co. Chair Deborah Kafoury, Eagle Creek Fire Grows, Oregon Live.)

A text from Belle, up at school in Tacoma: “the amount of ash is crazy…there was a layer of ash all over my car this morning and it’s swirling around outside like snow.”

Alert after alert, popping up on my weather app. But I don’t need an app to tell that the air quality sucks – I just need to walk to the mailbox. The smoke-hazy skies, the catch in my breath, the lightly falling ash – ASH! – on the raspberry and azalea bushes, the awful feeling in my lungs, followed by the awful feeling in my head and heart, of hoping it’s due to prevailing winds carrying debris from fires far, far away…and finding out it is much closer than I think.

The awful feelings continue, as I find myself thinking the (almost) unthinkable: what I wish would happen to the juvenile shitstains of an excuse for sentient beings young arsonists who tossed firecrackers – in this weather! In ANY weather! – over a cliff, starting the Eagle Creek fire that is currently decimating the Columbia Gorge

 

 

 

gorge

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May you look forward to reuniting with those whom you’ve bid adieu;
May you not settle for mere possessing when you can have an ownership experience;
May you have memories of visiting or hiking the Columbia Gorge when it was flame-free;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] It was a bit more complicated, and less nasty, than how I have stated it.

[2] Sadly, a big impetus for pursuing that dream was getting out of the Land of the Cheetos Hitler, the Mandarin Mussolini (insert your favorite epithet for #45)….  They found the changing political and cultural landscape of their adopted country to be increasingly odious.

[3] Although, realistically, the kids will go to Sweden to see Mom and Pop more than Mom & Pop will come back here.

[4] Having an ongoing, Life’s Third Act crisis doesn’t count.

[5] They were unsuccessful.

[6] (“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus berating the “Doubting Thomas” in the book of John)

[7] (often in defensive ways that indicate they somehow/deep down inside suspect that their religious beliefs are contradict by reality, and so they want to bring science, skepticism and the study of the natural world down to their level – “Well, you have faith in atheism/religion!” This is also known as the kindergarten-worthy, Oh yeah? Well so’s your old man/nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah! argument.

[8]  (“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1, KJV )

The Stairwells I’m Not Sniffing

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Department Of Reasons To Like Tourism

Dateline: Tuesday. Friend CC and I were walking down the stairwell from the 6th floor of the parking structure near Portland’s Fox Tower Theatres, on our way to see The Big Sick[1]  I was purposefully and vigorously inhaling through my nose – in contrast to employing my usual, defensive, mouth-breathing strategy while navigating a Portland stairwell. After three or so flights of stairs I asked CC if she, too, noticed something strange.

The something strange was a pleasant floral aroma, which we both identified as honeysuckle. Which was soooooooo preferable to the pungent stench of urine (and worse) which usually wafts up and down that stairwell (and other Portland urban area access points).

I speculated that some ammonia-odor removal crew was had been on the scene – and also noted how clean the stairwell looked. Not one cigarette butt or crushed plastic cup nor piss stain outline to be seen. CC, who works in downtown Portland, says that in the past few weeks she’s noticed, as she’s made her 16 block walk to and from her commuter train to her office, a marked improvement in the area, which she attributes to the increase in tourists she’s also noticed. Certain streets, corners, alleys and parkways where sketchy-looking people congregated to panhandle (read: extort) passersby or just stare at them menacingly are now seemingly clear of loiterers, and she’s seen Portland Parks employees, wielding large buckets of mysterious but agreeable-smelling cleaning solutions, sprucing up the downtown.

 

 

toilet

” ‘Morning at the Florists’ or ‘Tweaker Takes a Dump’ – which freshener scent shall I use today?”

 

 

 

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Department Of No To Mainlining Tequila Or Acquiring A Chippendale’s Rent Boy – What Kind Of Midlife Crisis Strategy Is This?

My Friend LU, a proud Denver CO denizen,  is in the midst of a month long vacation, whittling down her goal to hike/climb all 50+ of Colorado’s 14ers [2] She has described this mountainous (sorry) task as “…the Peak-a-Day remedy for my midlife crisis”…

Her description made me a bit puzzled, in that LU, who has yet to summit (no more, I promise) her 50th birthday, is a bit too young for a MidLife Crisis ® . Or so I thought. A bit o’ research later and I realized that, once again, moiself was/is the outlier with regard to the pesky MLC phenomenon.

I was an early reader , yet a late bloomer – the latter term used here to refer to common social and/or cultural conventions. For example, I married at age 31  [3] and had my children, K and Belle, when I was 36 and 39 respectively. [4]   Also, I didn’t experience the emotional/existential questioning of identity and self-confidence – what I refer to as the What-now?-ness of The Third Act, and what is more commonly referred to as a Midlife Crisis  [5] – until I was in my mid-late 50s.

The first time I tossed out the term Midlife Crisis in relation to moiself, MH couldn’t help but weigh in with an observation. This man, the apple of my eye, the nectarine of my nose, the tangerine of my toe, the kumquat of my kidney, the apricot of my ass….

 

 

 

iknowwhatyoumwan

 

 

 

 

Anyway, MH, Mr. Supportive incarnate, offered this:

Mid -life crisis? Do you really think you’re going to live to be 110?

The honeymoon never ends, does it?

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Department of WTF ?: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

We wouldn’t be in this mess – having to send an astoundingly  immature, tweet-posturing mortification of an excuse for POTUS to G-20  and other world summits [6] –  were our presidential voting system not shackled to an archaic slave state appeasement scheme.

The Electoral College : much has been uttered re the need for its abolishment and/or reform, and little done (as I have carped about before in this space[7] ). There are ways to change this system, and there are people working long and hard to do so….and then our elected officials sit on their asses…until the next time they can bemoan how someone can lose the popular vote by millions and yet be “elected” POTUS. 

So. I am pissed off, disenchanted, and yet (perhaps saddest of all), cynically not surprised by the political action – or rather, inaction – on the matter. I refer to that which has happened in my own beloved state, Oregon, where last week the legislature ONCE AGAIN proved they had no balls by dropping the ball re this issue of national importance and international repercussions.

 

 

wethepeople

 

 

 

Which leads to my first guest blog post. To present a more nuanced, less testicle-insulting illumination of the situation, take it away, MH:

Why I am so disappointed with the Oregon State Senate

The Oregon State Senate failed to pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) for the FOURTH time.  Actually, it is more than that, but it’s the fourth time that the House has done its part of the job (2009, 2013, 2015, and 2017), and the Senate has not.  Many of our Senators claim to support it – a majority, even, but it just doesn’t happen.  Eleven other states have had the good sense to pass it.  It is past time for Oregon to do so.

What would the bill do?

It would award Oregon’s electoral votes for the president of the United States to the candidate that receives the most popular votes in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  It would go into effect only when states that account for a majority of the electoral votes (270) have joined the compact. 

The eleven states that have passed the compact represent 165 electoral votes.  Oregon represents 7 electoral votes.

Why is this bill important?

We have a bad system for electing the president of the United States. 

More than three-quarters of the voters in the United States are politically irrelevant when electing the President.

Oregon’s electoral votes (for example) have gone to a Democrat in the last eight elections.  The vote hasn’t been close enough that either candidate had any incentive to care about gaining a few more votes.  If you don’t win the state, you get nothing.  If you win it, you get it all.  The same is true in nearly every state.    Every vote for the Republican Presidential candidate in Oregon has counted for nothing for the last 30 years.  Conversely, every vote for the Democratic candidate in Texas has counted for nothing since 1980.  

If you don’t live in a “swing state,” your vote is of no importance to a presidential candidate. 

That importance (or lack thereof) carries over into the treatment that states receive from sitting Presidents.

You can watch a video expounding on this far more than I’m doing.

This bill, once enacted by enough states, would make every vote count and be valued equally.

But what about….?

There are several reasons oppositionists present as making the NPV a scary or bad thing to do.  None of them hold up to scrutiny.  The nice folks at National Popular Vote Inc have done an admirable job of addressing the concerns with reason and evidence.  Their videos aren’t exciting, but they are clear and convincing.  If you think this is a bad idea because it would favor big cities, disfavor small states, enable extremist candidates, or some other reason, I encourage you to visit their site and see what they have to say about it.

What now?

Let your state legislators know that you are disappointed in them and that you want them to pass the NPVIC at their next opportunity.   You can find your state representatives here.  You can also contact them through the NPV web site, which gives a history of the efforts in Oregon.

Senator Ginny Burdick was particularly crucial to stopping the bill this session by keeping it from escaping the Senate rules committee.  If you happen to be in her district (Portland, southwest to Tigard), it would be especially helpful to let her know.  In the end, she said that she would only support the bill if it was referred to the voters.  While that sounds like a good thing, it is the legislature’s job (constitutionally) to decide on the method of awarding electors.  In addition, a referendum requires an expensive public campaign (with no one to fund it) to counter the myths about the effects of the compact.

 

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Department Of Precious Special Snowflake Of Self-Concern

Content Warning: gender pronoun satire ahead

 

 

content

 

 

MH, for those of you who’ve either (1) figured it out on your own, or (2) checked the about me info on my blog header, is my blog acronym for he who is My Husband.

MH identifies as male; pronouns he/him/his/himself. Or, when dealing with British monarchy (as we are so often called to do), HRH[8]

Moiself  [9]: I identify as Scarlett Johansson; pronouns she so fine/her be wow/hers is the best/herself is the babe of babes.

 

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Department Of What An Odd Dream To Wake Up From
Aka, How You Know That It’s Time Go Back To Sleep

Last week, early one morning (~ 5:30 am), I awoke from a dream in which I was watching a TV commercial for what might genteelly be described as a novelty item or gag gift – you know the category (such classy items as fake glass spill, windup talking dentures, fake vomit, remote control fart machines, fake turd-in-the-toilet….).

 

 

 

novelty items

 

 

The advertisement showed a young boy playing in the hot summer sun, running back and forth through the sprinklers in his back yard, while aren’t-we-having-fun-in-the-sun music plays in the background. After about ten seconds of this seasonal fun the boy slips and falls on the wet grass, landing smack on his behind. The boy rolls over and lies face down on the grass, giggling with embarrassment as the camera closes in on the back of his shorts. It seems his siblings have played  a prank on their brother, dressing him in special shorts that, when wet, reveal a heretofore invisible brown stain, as if he’s soiled himself.  The boy’s siblings chortle with glee (off camera) as the boy sings this ditty:

  ♫  Why did you take my Pooh Pooh pants now?
Why did you take my Pooh Pooh pants now?  ♫

 

facepalm

It must be the truth; there’s no way she could have made up something this inane.

 

 

 

 

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May your early morning dreams be entertaining if inane;
May you do your part to change Electoral inanity;
May the urban stairwells you have to traverse be sweetly fragranced;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Which you must see. 10 thumbs (or whatever digits float your boat) up.

[2] A “14er’ is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14k feet.

[3] Seven years behind the median age of first marriage for females (at that time)…although the timing was just fine by moiself…and also by my parents, who were convinced I would hold to my vow to never marry.

[4] And yep, having kids was also on my list of Things Not To Do.

[5] Once thought to be a mainly male phenomena, midlife crises are now recognized to be gender-inclusive, although tending to hit women earlier – in their mid-30s to late 40s –(or so say People Who Track Such Things.)

[6] Or have to deal with his embarrassing  and inflammatory ignorance at home.

[7] Specifically, then Senator-Elect Clinton’s vow to get rid of the EC after the GWB election debacle.  She – surprise! – and the other senators did nothing, which came back to haunt her oh-so-recently.

[8] Her Royal Husbandness.

[9] in case you’re interested and since I don’t believe I’ve ever specified….