Veteran’s Day 11/11/18

I try to write a Thank You letter to the Veterans in my life, every year on this day…also on Memorial Day.

I also have to admit when I started writing these yearly notes, I did so from a place of “universal guilt”… a cousin to that instant feeling I have when I spot a traffic cop following me, even when I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

“something happening here…”

But I realized a few years back that though many of my generations’ brothers and sisters treated each other poorly…well, horrifically…during the conflict over the Vietnam War and its Veterans, I personally never threw pig’s blood at a returning soldier.

Like many of my peers at the time, I didn’t really understand who exactly to be mad at- the military vets, or those who drafted them.

“what it is ain’t exactly clear”

So I focused my energy on Peace instead.

I was that girl with a wreath of flowers in my hair, who shoved daisy’s into barrels of the guns of local law enforcement, clad in riot gear. Young men about my same age, I have to add, who were just doing their own confusing jobs.

“there’s a man with a gun over there”

In the 1990’s I tried to open my mind to a new generation of returning veterans, so badly wanting them to have a different experience than those brave men and women, drafted or not, returning from Vietnam.

And then 9/11 happened and did a permanent number on my heart and soul. It was the birth for me of a new level of awareness. People the world over were responding to “attack” event with such dark black or white hot absolutism.

That all coincided with my father’s death so his lessons to me as a kid naturally came rushing back with a warm, loving vengeance. I considered, for the first time really, what he had been trying to say.

There is always more than one way to look at something.

“nobody’s right and everybody’s wrong”

So now, if I say thank you to a stranger in a military uniform, or when I send out my gratitude, in a note or blog post, I feel no guilt. I still don’t like or understand war, but I have room in my head and heart now for many, many more ways to fight for peace.

And I am grateful, and deeply respectful for those who choose the military (and law enforcement) as their vehicle to accomplish that.

This year, my sweet James wrote the letter below to his family. He and his siblings have had a wonderful, daily tradition, thanks to their 96 year old mother’s deathbed request. She insisted that they all stay in touch, even though they have lived across the country from each other. The emails to each other, all these years later, is one of my favorite all- time uses of the internet.

James says I can share today’s note with you too. (I have altered it only to remove other people’s personal stuff.)

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Good Morning

Today, we remember those of us who have served and died in service to freedom of expression, religion and political choice. I must admit that I am distressed by the present political situation in this country and the direction we are taking. Having said that, I honor all men and women who have participated in protecting us and giving us the right to chose our lives in a turbulent world where such freedom is becoming less and less available. I have heard from the men I served with in Nam and am reminded of the quality of men I was lucky enough to have shared that experience with. 
I had a fun trip to the islands. He picked me up at the ferry landing. We did a couple of errands in town, then joined a group of men for
The Stand Up Men Against Domestic Violence
on the courthouse lawn to remind citizens that violence against domestic partners is not acceptable as a solution to personal problems. These men have been doing this every Friday for the past four years. They organized after a couple of domestic violence deaths on the island reminded them how prevalent this problem is in our society. Two deaths were recorded there in the past twelve months so it continues to be an important issue for those who suffer at the hands of their partners. 
You can read about this amazing group here:    http://safesj.org/sum/
These guys are truly Veterans of their own local “war” against domestic violence. And they deserve to be honored, celebrated!!
Afterward, we went home where we a nice lunch and we relaxed the rest of the afternoon. About five pm, started a fire in the fire pit and we sat around with an adult beverage until men began to show up for the poker game. By seven, there were eighteen men there. We adjourned to the poker tables and played poker ’til around ten thirty, then back to the fire pit for another round of chat before everyone trickled away for home. We cleaned up the poker mess before retiring sometime between twelve thirty and one am.
(I included the description of their gathering after because it demonstrates for me that there are many really wonderful men in the world, a message not so clear in the media these days. Their “Poker Game” has been a monthly tradition in this smaller community for around 20 years. They rotate the home where it takes place. They have what they call a “Party Bag” (different from a Gift Bag) where each person throws in some of the money they win (they play with quarters) and the money is used for things like replacing the worn out felt on their vintage poker table, or, get this, a nice night on the town with the wives! These guys also golf together, and once a year, they take the Poker Game to a beautiful mountain town many miles away, for a retreat weekend of golf and poker.
I love the men in this small town. I have witnessed several times over the years, how one guy can put out a call for help (or not put it out) and the rest just show up, barn-raising style. It’s just the way they live.
James ends his letter with:
We plan on accepting Applebee’s free dinner for Veteran’s this afternoon. My worker, John is a Navy vet so he’ll get a free meal too. 
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Am I lucky or what??
Again, thank you to all who served, men and women, who made the choice, regardless of their reason. It was a precious, brave and probably unbeknownst to you at the time, a healing decision to make for all of us.
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
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SongLyricSunday…on Friday, 9/7/18

I have had a grief-filled week and came across this song. (Thank you Carol.)

Nothing to do with cars, and I could save it until this theme comes around someday, but today is when I needed it, and there it was. It might not be new to others but a wonderful surprise for me.

The music is lovely and haunting, and the video is beautiful.

Full screen and volume up for this one.

I am resilient I trust the movement I negate the chaos Uplift the negative I’ll show up at the table Again and again and again I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen These times are poignant The winds have shifted It’s all we can do To stay uplifted Pipelines through backyards Wolves howling out front Yeah I got my crew but truth is what I want Realigned and on point Power to the peaceful, prayers to the waters Women at the center All vessels open to give and receive Let’s see this system brought down to its knees I’m made of thunder, I’m made of lightning I’m made of dirt, yeah Made of the fine things My father taught me That I’m a speck of dust and this world was made for me so let’s go and try our luck I’ve got my roots down down down deep So what are we doing here What has been done What are you going to do about it When the world comes undone My voice feels tiny And I’m sure so does yours Put us all together we’ll make a mighty roar I am resilient I trust the movement I negate the chaos Uplift the negative I’ll show up at the table again and again and again I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen…

 

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Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 9/2/18

KOB (Kammie’s Oddball Challenge) 9/7/18

https://nuthousecentral.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/kammies-oddball-challenge/comment-page-1/#comment-1206

WordPress used to give us Bloggers a weekly photo challenge and I was dismayed when they stopped. But I now really appreciate how many other challenges there are to respond to.

I love sharing my photographs. I am far from being a pro but I have a camera with me at all times. I enjoy looking at the world, big and small, to see what catches my eye.

Apparently, it is slightly different than what others see.

Maybe it’s all that practice at “choosing my perspective”.

I have a whole category in my photo files called “accidental photography”. Sometimes, an accident turns out to be a favorite of mine.

Here’s my latest oddball/accidental shot.

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Miss Lucy, keeping me company, since we lost Zorro this week…

SongLyricSunday

Song reminds me of my Dad but his car was, in fact, a 1960 pale yellow, Buick convertible. Man he loved that car. When he could get enough time off work, he would pile my sisters and me in the car, and take us on what he called our Road Trips (never more than a few hours away).

My favorite was in the dead of winter when he would drive until we found snow…hard to do in San Diego.

He’d bundle us up in blankets, lower the top, crank up the heater full blast and drive the freezing mountain roads….

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 9/2/18

Silver Thunderbird
Watched it coming up Winslow
Down South Park Boulevard
Yeah it was looking good from tail to hood
Great big fins and painted steel
Man it looked just like the Batmobile
With my old man behind the wheel
Well you could hardly even see him
In all of that chrome
The man with the plan and the pocket comb
But every night it carried him home
And I could hear him sayin’…
Don’t gimme no Buick
Son you must take my word
If there’s a God in heaven
He’s got a Silver Thunderbird
You can keep your Eldorados
And the foreign car’s absurd
Me I want to go down
In a Silver Thunderbird
He got up every morning
While i was still asleep
But I remember the sound of him shuffling around
Then right before the crack of dawn
I heard him turn the motor on
But when I got up they were gone
Down the road in the rain and snow
The man and his machine would go
Oh the secrets that old car would know
Sometimes I hear him sayin’…
Songwriters: Marc Cohn
Silver Thunderbird lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

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Blue Angels Time again!

My family has such a wonderful history with the Blue Angels. Just last summer I got to take my family on an Epic Roots Road Trip, which had to include the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, HOME of the Blue Angels. They have been a part of my life since I was 5 or 6 years old…before they became really famous.

My Dad took me to see them practice at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego (well, the Marines will claim it now). There was no crowd out on that field on top of that giant mesa just east of UCSD in La Jolla. Just my Dad and me, up on his shoulders.

I’ve written about this before and I put the links at the bottom.

But I have a favorite Blue Angels story. Since it was just my Dad’s birthday, I will once again share that tale in his honor. Here it is:

Agnostic Angels

This is a love letter to my Dad, and a Thank You to the amazing, brave pilots who make up the Blue Angels.

It’s Seafair in Seattle and the Blue Angels are here!!!

When I was growing up, Angels were a surprising but recurring theme with my fairly agnostic father. He was one of the leastreligious and more unconsciously spiritual people I have ever known. Angels seemed to be everywhere in the things he did, where he took us and in what he showed us.

From San Diego, where we grew up, we went on many trips north to Los Angeles, the “City of Angels”, to ride the “Angels Flight”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_Flight

He told us many stories of the “Guardian Angels” he had as a kid who helped him survive his completely unsupervised childhood.

Apparently he had several bizarre accidents and adventures…like tumbling off a mountain and landing halfway down on the only possible 11 inch ledge that could break his death-fall.

Another was a bicycle accident when the bare handle bar (the uncovered metal pipe) went through his upper chest off to the side, just missing basically everything!

Even as an adult, on a solo dirt bike trip out into the Borrego desert, he crashed and broke his collar bone, but managed to walk his bike into a small town for help.

In one of his last visits to me, he took a long walk in the dead of an unusually snowy Northwest winter, slipped and broke his ankle. He walked half a mile back to my house and, tough guy that he was, did not tell me until the next day what had happened. He finally had to because he could not remove his cowboy boot (which, it turns out, is exactly what stabilized his ankle for that 24 hours).

 

He claimed help from Angels for each of these events.

When he died, it was really no surprise that we received gracious assistance from the Hell’s Angels on the day of his Memorial.

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We bungee-corded my Dad’s ashes to the back of his lifelong Dream-Harley. (He didn’t get it until he was in his eighties.) Our caravan of family cars followed my best friend, Lee, on the bike out into the mountains East of San Diego to my Dad’s favorite little town called Julian.

We celebrated his life at his favorite restaurant and when we got ready to leave, I spotted a couple of real Harley riders, mounting up. I was wearing my Dad’s favorite Harley shirt so I walked right up to them and told them my Dad’s story. I pointed out the box of ashes on the back of my Dad’s bright red, flame-painted Sportster (with matching helmet).

I asked these two guys if they would consider riding along with my Dad (on his beloved bike) as we drove out of town.

They said “Sure, but we are not alone.”

Much to my delight (and the horror of my very religious relatives) we were escorted down the mountain by the two guys I talked to AND their friends. FIFTY Hell’s Angels followed us back down that mountain, in a practiced procession for any fallen brother of theirs; lights on, in two perfect parallel lines, peeling off one pair at a time when they were done.

So see? Lots of ANGELS in my life.

The Blue Angels entered when I was very young!

My favorite of the Angel Activities as a kid was this. My little sisters were too young, so Dad would take just me to Miramar Naval Air Base early on Sunday mornings, to watch the Blue Angels practice their soon to become famous stunts. He was very proud of being able to get on the Base and to show off what he claimed to be the planes that “he had built”. (My Dad was an aeronautical engineer who moved from Kansas to San Diego to work in his industry.)

I would ride on his shoulders for the “air show” and he would duck down when they flew over, as if they were actually flying low enough to be dangerous to this lone man with a squealing little girl on his shoulders. What an absolute thrill it was and my memories to this day are so clear, they are physical!

Though I struggled sometimes with the dichotomy of a Hippie Peacenik Flower-child being in love with fighter pilot jets, I have watched The Blue Angels through so many stages of my life.

In my 20’s and 30’s, before the trees grew up around us, the huge deck off my house was the favorite viewing place of all the single Mom’s in the neighborhood. We’d put on our bikini’s and pose on the deck, debating the safety of doing that…as if the pilots were actually going to look down at us each time they flew over!

Then, there were the years I worked as a waitress in a fancy restaurant in the tallest building in Bellevue…sharing the panoramic viewing experience with my wealthy customers.

One of my favorite memories was when my small son and I watched them while we were zipping around Lake Washington on a friend’s Jet Ski right under them. What a high that was!!

Famous Move

And for almost 40 of these years, we kept the Blue Angels alive in our conversations during the rest of year. My best friend’s father, Colonel Louis Ford, was like a second Dad to me. He was a fighter pilot in 3 wars. And though he was respectful of the “Angels”, he clearly had a bias for the Thunderbirds! That made for some lively discussions, Air Force vs Navy pilots, between my two Dads!

Colonel Ford taught me about the concepts of Hangar Flying (the time spent in the hangar, processing mistakes and accidents) as well as “The Hole in the Sky” (an opening in the clouds) that a pilot sometimes had to find in order to survive. Talk about Guardian Angels….

Boys getting me autographs on my Blue Angel’s birthday t-shirt!

Now, I have 2 Grandsons, 9 and 11, and their Mom and my son have taken them to see the Blue Angels every year of their lives. This has been a great setting to share stories of my Dad, the wonderful Great Grandfather they never got to meet, a man who had a life filled with “Angels” and he passed them all onto us….

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For many years I went by myself to a tiny (and progressively less secret) park on Mercer Island shore, the Thursday and Friday prior to the big Seafair Air Show. On Thursday, from this little park on the water, you can watch the scouting the Blue Angels do each year to get the lay of the land. And on Fridays, you can watch a full rehearsal of the big show they will perform on Saturday and Sunday. You can’t be at this little park for the actual show as it becomes an emergency Aid Station on those days.

My ritual was always to go there early, get settled and then call my Dad….so I could be on the cell phone with him as the Angels arrived. That first fly over is an indescribable thrill! In that park, they fly in low and from behind you. Their approach is muted by the hillside and thick trees, almost silent until suddenly, they thunder over your head. It is kind of like walking up the path next to the massive, rolling Niagara Falls; totally quiet until you get past a certain point and then instantly it becomes a deafening roar of falling water.

Anyway, I would hold the phone up in the air and scream at the top of my lungs as my Dad’s Angels buzzed our shared location.

Blue Angels2

No matter when or where I see them, I am instantly five years old again, sitting way up high on my Daddy’s shoulders when those beautiful Blue Angels scream by.

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I really believe my Dad witnessed that generous and spontaneous Hell’s Angel Memorial procession, and that he sees us watching the Blue Angels every year, from somewhere up there, through the “hole in the sky”.

Heaven Bound

original post written here: https://chosenperspectives.com/2016/08/07/agnostic-angels/

 

 

Yesterday, in typical Seattle weather, the Angels arrived for “scouting” day, flying in directly over our house.

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Though the weather this year may be disappointing for local SeaFair fans, it is great for Blue Angels fans who get to see the “low program”…thrilling, to say the least!

 

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(this last was apparently 2 cents worth from Lucy, the cat, who stopped by the keyboard when I left the room for a bit.)

 

https://chosenperspectives.com/2018/01/19/silence-for-wpc-1-17-18/

https://chosenperspectives.com/2017/10/11/wordlesswednesday-10-11-17/

SYW (Share Your World) for 1/22/18

The questions posed by Cee Neuner in this innovative challenge:

List 2 things you have to be happy about?

Have you ever owned a rock, pet rock, or gem that is not jewelry?

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

 

My Answers:

List 2 things you have to be happy about? 

  1. I am so happy that James is home. He’s been in this 2 weeks here and 2 weeks gone cycle. It is a little hard on us because we both do really well being alone so there is a big adjustment on both ends of his travel: when he leaves, remembering the comfort of solitude, and when he returns, adjusting again to the joys of sharing the everyday life again.

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2. I am relieved and blissed out (oh, it is too a word!!) that my 17 year old “Heart-Cat” is still alive since I was told back in October he might only have days to live. He definitely has kidney disease and has lost a ton of weight, but he is still here and as ornery as ever.

Well, maybe not. This is a cat who, for 17 years, has let no one pet him but me. And even that never included him being on my lap…but these days, he accepts pets from everyone and will sit on my lap for a whole hour if I let him.

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Have you ever owned a rock, pet rock, or gem that is not jewelry?

I have been a “rock hound” since I was a small child. My Dad, in his quiet genius, got us a rock polisher. We would find rocks on the beaches and from the mountains and everywhere in between. Then we would wait…literally for months. Opening that polisher was a miracle every time. I learned so much from that experience, especially about delayed gratification and memory and anchoring experiences. I could write a book about all the lessons from this amazing, covert teacher. (Oh wait, I AM writing that book. My Dad is who taught me about choosing perspectives.)

Early in my therapy practice, I learned that some clients really needed concrete reminders of the things they were leaning, so, being my father’s daughter, I gave them Quartz, Lapis, Hematite or Amethyst hearts….and over the years, hundreds of polished rocks.

And, I have a basket of what’s left of a really old collection of pieces of polished petrified wood, from long before it was illegal. Not exactly rocks, but in my mind they qualify as “gems”.  (There is a great story there, too long for today’s post but this has reminded me to write about it.)

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Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

Oh I am definitely a hugger. You might even say I have hugged for a living for more than 40 years.

I’ll just let that sit there and see if you have any questions.

 

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?

David Letterman’s new Netflix show, called My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. His first interview was with President Barack Obama. I laughed and I cried, and I longed for more of the intelligence, humor, depth and light these two men bring.

What a waste……..

 

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