coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A case for volunteering

Tomorrow I go to the NOW (National Organization of Women) conference. I am going with one of the other administrators from the political Facebook group I moderate for. Hopefully, we will learn practical skills we can take back and use for our Florida group. I am looking forward to it, even though I dread going. Does that make sense?

When I first joined the group, I was heartened to discover many like-minded women (and men) who wanted to create political community in a swing state. I had felt so alone in this crazy state. I needed to feel part of something bigger, even if it was virtual. Okay, maybe especially because it was virtual.  I am quite happy to stay at home.

I became a moderator for the group's discussion page in late December, and I was overwhelmed.  Uh, I had a LOT to learn. Some of us didn't spring full grown from the head of Zeus.

I had not done political work before, and I had been retired for 3 years. I was "rusty." I was afraid of conflict and confrontation. I was afraid I would be asked to do things I was not comfortable with. I doubted myself. Most of all, I was reluctant to give up a portion of my retirement time.

Because I am a notorious hot-head, I actually quit once, but went back a few weeks later. I have learned a lot about myself while growing into this role. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn and change. I was afraid those days were over. 

If you are content living a quiet life in retirement, I am happy for you (and a bit jealous). Nothing wrong with that! But if you are floundering and/or depressed you might consider seeking a volunteer gig that interests you. Volunteering can give purpose to your life if you are feeling the lack.

It can be as simple as making one phone call a day, or doing spreadsheet work from home for an organization you believe in. Or you could volunteer to go to an animal shelter one afternoon a week to play with the cats and dogs. Whatever floats your boat. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


I understand cynicism. Really, I do. I just don't happen to like it.  It seems...cowardly.

You know, like when there is a spirited election coming up and the two candidates have radically different approaches to solving public problems.  There is always someone who will smirk and say "All politicians stink, that's why I don't bother to vote."  When someone says that to me, what I actually hear in my head is "I don't know right from wrong, I don't want to think about the issues, so I am just going to act like nothing matters. I hope you think I'm cool"  I don't.

It is easy to be distrustful and negative. Life is simpler if you tune out the noise of the modern world. The hard part is listening to all that noise and trying to make sense of it.
The truth is, life is complicated and requires a certain amount of intellectual rigor to figure out right from wrong. Mainstream American culture encourages citizens not to think. The more passive we are, the more compliant we will be.  Don't fall for it.

This is why we are thrilled by heroes. They seem to have thought long and hard about right and wrong. They are incorruptible and keep going when the going gets tough. They take a stand. They DO things. They give us hope, and inspire us to be our best selves. Doesn't everyone want to be a hero? If not, why?

Here's a sweet little piece from an Emily Dickinson poem to help us all recharge our batteries:

We never know how high we are 

Till we are called to rise; 
And then, if we are true to plan, 
Our statures touch the skies—

Okay, I needed that. Now I am going to go plant some seeds. 

Friday, June 16, 2017


I am feeling a little overwhelmed these days, aware of all the people in my life who need to be loved. Their need is palpable. I give what I can. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pulse of Orlando

Today is the one year anniversary of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting.  Since I live nearby, there is a lot in the media to memorialize all the people who were killed or hurt in that terrible event.  This is my favorite memorial, a photo of Angel Colon, who was shot but survived that day.  I love it when people refuse to hate. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

My sister-in-law, Jane

I just got back from a trip to Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan to see family. The reason for the trip was to attend a memorial event for T's sister, Jane. She died over the winter; however, her husband and sons wanted to wait until the warm weather to have a large barbecue/party in her honor. They live on one of the many small fishing lakes in Michigan. It was the perfect setting. The party was like having a wake without bothering with the funeral or any of the tortured nonsense that death culture usually requires. It was the perfect memorial for her, she would have loved it. Her presence was everywhere. It was lovely, as these things so often are.

Jane and T's maternal grandfather was, among other things, a funeral home director. Their house was the funeral home, and they lived on the top floor. There were usually dead bodies on the main floor in one form of death and preparation for burial. Jane and T's mother, BJ grew up like that. Sounds weird, doesn't it?  In fact, BJ had little fear of death. She passed that on to her children. 

Jane had suffered most of her adult life with Scleroderma, "or systemic sclerosis, ... a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases."

However, she died from lung cancer.  She never smoked. Go figure.