Your Weekly Diversion, Week 44

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Recent sunset we savored here in Naples, my iPhone photo

It’s Week 44, and another week gone where too much weirdness is happening, and it’s not worth the effort to even allude to much here. Let’s just hope that we and our kids, grandkids and elders don’t lose essential, potentially lifesaving medical coverage. And may the powers that be refrain from giving our hard earned money and benefits to those so wealthy they won’t notice it, yet alone need it. And then there are the women who’ve been abused by public figures, now courageously speaking up, something many of us never had the guts to do, only to be trashed by the so-called godly. I have no words.

We have all earned our diversions this week, for reals. So let’s get to it!

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A fun image I made with Recolor last year for Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving and it’s been a challenge finding what I needed for our feast. First we checked out restaurants here in Naples. The local paper did a great job listing all who’ll be open with links to their websites. The best places were charging a lot, especially when I only eat their sides, and the ones offering affordable meals weren’t appealing to us. So I decided to cook. Actually I do enjoy cooking. The main obstacle in the last 7 years or so has been the fact that I’m a vegetarian (and I was vegan for 5 years) and my husband is not. I wanted a vegetarian main dish, such as a Gardein, Field Roast or Tofurky roast. I visited each of their websites and couldn’t find any of these roasts being offered at the stores in Naples. The health food store near here closed. Not even Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, at least as far as I could tell on their websites, appeared to have what I was searching for.

 

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Photo courtesy of Restaurant Guru

We were having a good day. An authentic bagel store, Brooklyn Dough with a Hole, opened up recently and we made it over there for the first time that day. They were totally legit! Just how they looked in the case told me that. Fat and shiny, the holes very small. It was around 1pm so pickings were slim, but we bought 4 of them. They were wonderful, by the way! After that we were heading to the big Publix market near us, and they are great stores. I’d given up on a veggie feast and planned on sides and maybe a package of Gardein faux-turkey cutlets. But my husband suggested we go to Lucky’s, a wonderful combo of gourmet and natural foods, much smaller than Publix and easier to navigate when tired.  A local friend calls it “the poor man’s Whole Foods.” It’s all that and more!

I decided on making salad, rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and mushrooms, gravy and a rotisserie chicken for my guy plus whatever I could find for me. I have the lastest issue of VegNews and their recipe for seitan turkey Wellington looked great but labor intensive.

We started filling our basket in the produce section, and then I headed down the frozen foods aisle toward Meat Alternatives, hopeful for one of the cutlet packages. And then, lo and behold, cue the celestial choir, I saw it: a Tofurky Holiday Feast!

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“Lucky” we are indeed (or at least I am)! My cousin is joining us the day after Thanksgiving and we’ll have plenty of everything to have a second feast while she’s here.

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As far as other diversions, do you need a new iPhone case? Here are some fun ones, especially some very cute cat designs.

And to bring us all into the gratitude of the season, here is a hymn I learned as a grade school girl and love even today. This hymn comes to us from the clear and touching voices of the a capella group Glad. It’s worth hearing with the speakers up!

 

Namasté, and

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours,  

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 41: Magnolias in Memorium

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Graphic from astronlogica.com

Now we arrive at Week 41, a week of fluctuating weather down here in our tropical clime, necessitating warmer clothing, including hoodies and long pants in the land of flip flops and shorts for a day or two. Then the warm weather returned, drawing us into the sun to bask. There’s news aplenty available to us all, should we wish to partake, but I will leave that to others today.

Our western wall of windows overlooks a lake and beyond to a row of trees lining the avenue beyond. Our view: clusters of stately sabal palmetto palms, sturdy in their shaggy trunks, unlike the taller palms with slender trunks elsewhere nearby, many that suffered from the winds of Irma who blew through here at a fearful 143 mph; lush magnolias every few feet between the clusters of palms; littoral plantings of tall grasses around the water’s edge inviting great egrets, wood storks, anhingas, moorhens, ibis, and more.

Sadly, most of our magnolias were felled by the hurricane last month and only their brown, upturned stumps remain. Here is how one of them looked in the spring:

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Their blossoms were large as dinner plates, creamy white and faintly sweet to sniff.

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And now, all that remains of their beauty are the stumps where once they stood.

As sad as this loss may be, it is but a reminder of the impermanence of life, for the storms, they come and go, and so do we.

And happily, we see a row of younger trees spared by the fickle winds, that will in just a few short years be just as big and beautiful as those we lost this year. Change being what it is in all things, whether we are here to behold them remains to be seen. The older we become, the more we appreciate that change will always come.

This is a very early performance from 1964 of Bob Dylan performing his masterpiece, The Times They Are A-Changin’, a meaningful part of the soundtrack of my adolescence.

Namasté

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 6

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Oops, first published this as Week 5 but that was last week!

Another week of blistering ridiculousness and falsehoods prated as fact. A groundswell of people is rising up and confronting their elected officials, if they are lucky enough that the official shows up, to demand their healthcare coverage not be legislated away.

Breathe, detach with love, put your feet where your heart is. And then you realize, as powerless as you feel, that maybe it IS your circus after all.

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Lucy. I love Lucy, and always have. As a therapist I’ve often prescribed watching “I Love Lucy” reruns for depression and anxiety. And this cute graphic reminds us that as crazy as the carnival called Washington has become, those lawmakers are our monkeys. So if you have the opportunity to attend a town hall and advocate for what matters to you, please do. [And thus ends our lesson for today.]

So, how about some diversion? These 3-D sculptures are amazing and only bloom through the magic of strobing.

And there are some totally amazing people out there. Here’s a feature about a girl named Taylor Richardson who became inspired to become an astronaut by watching the movie “Hidden Figures” and set up a GoFundMe account so other girls could see it too. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is crucial for our collective survival, and yes, girls belong in STEM!

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View story at Medium.com

Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast (attributed to William Congreve). And while I love a good rollicking beat, this song is more solemn, which seems to be what we need this week, and it is exquisitely rendered a capella by Pentatonix.

And today this is my practice

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 2

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Howdy, ya’ll. Well, we’ve made it through another week of  crazy news and stressful circumstances, so here’s what I’ve been noting down this week for you to enjoy or learn from.

First you might be interested in the latest from Martin & Company. Back in the 70s I knew a guy who worked there, and he told me employees got to make their own guitar.

Now, did you know that President Barack Obama published three (3) scholarly articles in esteemed journals this month alone? Me neither, and I’ve scanned them, and they’re pretty impressive. No other sitting president has done this, I believe. Boy, do I miss him!

It looks like any official efforts by the United States to stem climate change aren’t going to happen in the next four years, but as I posted last week, Forbes Magazine published this great article telling us what each of us can do, so let’s do our part. By the way, check out how many scientists have decided to run for office since January 20, 2017. Cool, right?

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Photo by Troy Dillard, courtesy of Lion’s Roar

As a Buddhist, I am very grateful that my people turned out in women’s marches all over the world last Saturday. Check this out. That’s the very cool abbot Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara of the Village Zendo in the pussy hat, which you’ll see when you scroll through the article.

And I want to leave you with your feet tapping and your heart soaring so let’s hear it for the indomitable Carole King who re-released this for the Women’s March she attended in the Northern Tier. She offers this song, “One Small Voice” to us all free to stream and download.

 

Namasté

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Day 1077: By Degrees

This insightful blog post, by the talented and prolific writer Ann Koplow, will touch your heart, especially if you watch the video with its amazing song, “By Degrees,” written and performed by Mark Erelli. His Dylanesque voice, folk style and poignant poetry are amazing and I hope we hear much more from him going forward.

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Yesterday, I heard a song that was new to me: “By Degrees.”

By degrees, what might you guess that song would be about?

  • Temperature (which was unseasonable warm in Boston yesterday)?
  • Certificates of college education (which my 17-year-old son will probably start receiving in less than five years)?
  • Small increments of measurement?

Here’s “By Degrees,”  performed by its composer, Mark Erelli of Reading, Massachusetts, USA.

Aaron, my son — who is, by degrees, getting very close to 18 years old — asked me yesterday, “Do you think you’ll lose any of your readers because of your blog post tomorrow?”  I said, “I don’t think so.”

Maybe I will win some and lose some, by degrees.

Here are all the pictures I took yesterday, in weather that was unseasonably warm by more than 20 degrees.

By degrees, you might be able to see that I took photos of yesterday’s march in…

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V-Day: Stopping the Violence

Valentine’s Day may be behind us now, but everywhere women struggle with the abusive treatment they’ve experienced, including the verbal terrorizing that leaves no visible scars. This woman’s voice speaks to all of us. If not you, your sister, your daughter, your friend, your neighbor, your coworker.

Stories From the Belly

In my twenties one day, I found myself seated in a room of other women seeking support from each other. Looking around, I felt like a pretender.

As I listened to them share their stories… a husband smashing a dinner plate over the head of a wife, a brother high on heroine stabbing his sister with a knife, a mother with ribs broken apart by her son… I sank further down in my chair wondering if these women might be offended that I’d even bothered to show up.

Open hand raised, Stop Violence sign painted, multi purpose conc

I didn’t really want to be at this domestic violence support group. Unlike these women, who had the scars to show what they’d been through, I didn’t have a bump on my head or a broken arm. I never spent several days in a hospital because of any injuries. My bruises were the invisible kind—the ones that leave your insides black and…

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