Hopeful, uplifting songs for today, July 4th, 2019

My favorite patriotic song! Dedicated to Julius and Luca!
I Am a Patriot
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
Someday
I was walking with my brother
and he wondered what’s on my mind
I said, What I believe in my soul
ain’t what I see with my eyes
And we can’t turn our backs this time
I am a patriot and I love my country
Because my country is all I know
I want to be with my family
people who understand me
I’ve got nowhere else to go
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
Someday
And I was talking with my sister
she looked so fine
I said, Baby, what’s on your mind
She said, I want to run like the lion
released from the cages
Released from the rages
burning in my heart tonight, yeah
And I ain’t no Communist and I ain’t no Capitalist
And I ain’t no Socialist and I ain’t no Imperialist
And I ain’t no Democrat so I ain’t no Republican
I only know one party and it is freedom
I am, I am, I am
I am a patriot and I love my country
Because my county is all I know
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
Someday
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
And the river opens for the righteous
I want to run like the lion
Released from the cages
Released from the rages
I said what I believe in my soul
Ain’t what I see with my eyes
Someday
Someday
Someday
Someday
Someday
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Steven Van Zandt
I Am a Patriot lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management
And this one too! New to me
Americans
Hold on, don’t fight your war alone
Halo around you, don’t have to face it on your own
We will win this fight
Let all souls be brave
We’ll find a way to heaven
We’ll find a way
War is old, so is sex
Let’s play God, you go next
Heads go up, men go down
Try my luck, stand my ground
Die in church, live in jail
Say her name, twice in hell
Uncle Sam kissed a man
Jim Crow Jesus rose again
I like my woman in the kitchen
I teach my children superstitions
I keep my two guns on my blue nightstand
A pretty young thang, she can wash my clothes
But she’ll never ever wear my pants
I pledge allegiance to the flag
Learned the words from my mom and dad
Cross my heart and I hope to die
With a big old piece of American pie
Love me baby, love me for who I am
Fallen angels singing, “clap your hands”
Don’t try to take my country, I will defend my land
I’m not crazy, baby, naw
I’m American
I’m American
I’m American
I’m American
Seventy-nine cent to your dollar
All that bullshit from white-collars
You see my color before my vision
Sometimes I wonder if you would fly
Would it help you make a better decision?
I pledge allegiance to the flag
Learned the words from my mom and dad
Cross my heart and I hope to die
With a big old piece of American pie
Just love me baby, love me for who I am
Fallen angels singing, “clap your hands”
Don’t try to take my country, I will defend my land
I’m not crazy, baby, naw
I’m American
I’m American
I’m American
I’m American
Let me help you in here
Until women can get equal pay for equal work
This is not my America
Until same gender loving people can be who they are
This is not my America
Until black people can come home from a police stop
Without being shot in the head
This is not my America
Until poor whites can get a shot at being successful
This is not my America
I can’t hear nobody talkin’ to me
Just love me baby, love me for who I am
Fallen angels singing, “clap your hands”
Don’t try to take my country, I will defend my land
I’m not crazy, baby, naw
I’m American (love me baby)
I’m American (love me for who I am)
Until Latinos and Latinas don’t have to run from walls
This is not my America
But I tell you today that the devil is a liar
Because it’s gon’ be my America before it’s all over
Please sign your name on the dotted line
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Charles D. II Joseph / Janelle Monae Robinson / Jon Webb / Kellis Earl Jr. Parker / Nathaniel III Irvin
Americans lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

HELP!!!😜

I’ve been missing from the Blogosphere for a while…a little distracted by everyday life…and a few relatively minor “first world” problems…well, they will seem minor someday, I’m sure…

A small leak, needing a plumber to fix it…but in my wonderful, century-old house, it was a $30,000 to $40,000 job!!! The exact death knell for my home I’ve been dreading for 45 years.

Luckily, James is a genius and figured out the $5,000 to $7,000 version that buys us some more years here. He has done an amazing job of creative plumbing, as well as a “might as well do it now” kitchenette remodel for the tiny basement apartment we live in here. We shifted down so my son and growing grandsons could live upstairs where the ceilings heights are normal. That way, they don’t end up with banged heads and visits to the chiropractor from all the ducking it required for them down here.

It’s been distracting and stressful.

Why is it that when I go camping, some bottled water, a freshwater stream and maybe the luxury of a porta-potty are more than enough. But no running water in my home for 8 or 9 days is enough to send me over some edge I didn’t know existed. That means no dish washing or shower or laundry or certain kinds of cooking, or the biggie, no TOILET all this time.

I do have to say, James and the guys made sure MY bathroom was up and running first. I claimed it as mine when we first moved downstairs. I decorated it perfectly for my taste, all aqua and frilly, and have called it the “Girl Bathroom” ever since. The guys have two other bathrooms, but in our current crisis, their’s are not restored to a usable state yet…so I’m sharing.

Have I mentioned I live with SIX MEN?

Having NOT grown up, or lived for any length of time in a Third World situation, I am now way too old to haul my own water. This current situation has highlighted, LOUDLY, how amazing it is, and how lucky we are to have fresh, running water…and these days, with the new faucets and such, you can literally just wave your hand, and voila, clean, hot or cold running water, 

I tell you what, I am now Matt Damon’s biggest fan.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/22/matt-damon-on-solving-the-worlds-clean-water-crisis.html

There are the other, expected construction zone inconveniences of course.

I mean, below is my living room.

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These piles will be cleared up eventually, and I can see the beginnings of a real kitchenette, after more than 40 years of makeshift counters, shelves, and a 1930’s enameled, cast-iron sink and drawer unit, grabbed from an old Seattle apartment building destruction. Most of the college students and single Mom’s I’ve rented to over the years thought it was “cool”.

Out with the old…

But in the mean time, I cherish my outside moments each day even more than usual.

And sent just for me to brighten my day, look who I found while watering my Fuchsia.

This Mama Oregon Junco has had her own plumbing problems lately because I have been soaking this plant (and her nest) every day for a couple of weeks now…and yet, here she still is….

My inspiration to hang in there….

Lens Artist Challenge 4/27/19 theme: Less is More

I always liked this photo. I loved the weird light from outside, and the way the moisture had collected itself on my window. But I always thought there was something wrong with the picture, something missing, something I needed to add.

Today’s challenge made me think of it in a whole new way.

Maybe it’s something I have to remove from it….making less more…

Here’s my experiment. Tell me what you think.

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Original
20170224_172902
Cropping some of the dark strip on the left

These two are with the smaller dark strip more centered

 

 

 

 

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Final crop choice

I like the last one. It seems so much more full and alive with detail and color. And I like that it’s a little more difficult to identify.

 

Thanks for this interesting challenge. Now I’ll go out there and apply these lessons to my hectic day!

 

 

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/less-is-more/

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge–4/2/19 Farewells

Ola, the Wonder Dog, left us this week. She hadn’t been herself , activity-wise for a while, but her essence never changed.

“Ola” (the African definition, not “hello” in Spanish), was rescued as a precious puppy, by my sister and her husband more than 10 years ago. Soon after they brought her home, they left on an amazing trip abroad for several weeks. So James and I got to be Ola’s Foster Parents while they were gone.

We seriously bonded with her during that time. I mean, look at this face! Who wouldn’t??

San Juan's 9-09 042
Ola, about 10 weeks old…see the Angel on her chest?

John and Lenore had wanted a young dog while their elderly one, Lily, the Three Legged Miracle, was still able to teach a new dog the lay of the land.

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My Grandson fell in love with Lily

Lily

This family lives on a glorious piece of land on San Juan Island. The property includes lots of acreage, a large pond with a variety of water fowl, a Bamboo Farm, and arguably some of the most beautiful and prolific vegetable and flower gardens in the Northwest.

And they live in what James and I  lovingly call the Hobbit House. Built by John, using lots of found and custom designed materials, it is so fairy tale-like, you are transported to another world.

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Ola, surveying her kingdom…

I write about this place, our second home, often. Here’s one example:

https://chosenperspectives.com/2017/03/28/it-is-easy-being-green-32817/

When they chose Ola as a puppy, they wanted another smallish dog that would not overwhelm Lily, and they predicted Ola was another small, lab mix’ just like Lily. 

Being very familiar with Rottweilers and Pit bulls, I took one look at Ola’s sweet face, and said “Uh oh.”

Not many months later, Ola had grown into a HUGE, beautiful, regal dog, over 100 pounds. But she still seemed guided by that angel on her chest.

IMG_7073

 

Lily immediate adopted young Ola, and trained her to be a “stick right close to your Humans” dog.

No fences in the Hippie Valley part of San Juan Island. Dogs (and deer) are free to roam and except for the occasional “play date” with a neighbor Dog, both Lily and Ola were right there, watching over the homestead, 24/7.

Lily left us not long after Ola joined the family but the two of them had some really good times together before she died. She taught Ola how to play Tug O War with ropes and sticks when Ola was still very young.

San Juan's 9-09 021

 

And she trained Ola to leave the cats alone (probably for her own safety!)

San Juan's 9-09 045

 

Ola became such a big part of our house-sitting experience all these years. For several weeks at a time, she became “our” dog again. No matter how much time passed between our babysitting jobs, she would greet us with 100 pounds of enthusiasm!

San Juan's 6-10 084
Ola having a “play Date” with Brenna

 

She hung out with us where ever we went,

San Juan's 6-10 042

and stayed close to us at home.

Friday Harbor 3-10 020

Zorro and Ola test20180619_191406

Yep, she was our dog…..But only until her real parents came home!

 

 

Ola was always within feet (or calling distance) of John and Lenore during their daily routines.

 

 

20181003_100340
Following Lenore to the Garden
IMG_6570
Waiting patiently

 

Ola was one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs I’ve ever met. I will miss her so much. I can only imagine how long it will take her family to get used to the huge empty space she leaves behind.

IMG_9653

Good Dog, Ola. Good Dog…

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Farewell.

 

 

 

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #42: farewell

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #40 “Things my Father said”

UH oh, uh oh, too big, TOO BIG!!!

My mind reels at the thought of picking one thing my Dad said that influences me! I could write a whole book about his subtle , even covert teachings.

Oh wait. I DID!

I have 52, still to be edited, chapters (short stories really) about something my Dad said or did that is still with me today. For the purpose of this challenge I will start with this.

When I was growing up, and there was conflict with my sisters, we of course would try to get Dad to solve it for us (which really meant “take sides”).

He would quietly listen to tales of woe and blame…and then, as if he had just thought of it and never ever said it before, he would say “Hmmm, Well, that’s one way to look at it…”

Period. That’s all. No solutions. No votes for one side or the other. Nothing. The implacable silence following his casual-seeming comment, I interpreted as lack of love clear into my adulthood.

But now, that sentiment is interwoven throughout my experiences, my calling.

Those words from him have fueled and inspired my stance in life. I am on a mission to teach and model for others, that we each have options about how we view things. And that it’s not just a choice, but a responsibility, to see things, especially in a conflict, from as many perspectives as we can confirm or imagine.

Thus Chosen Perspectives.

Here’s one of the Chapters (stories) I mentioned above. I feel very vulnerable sharing it so would appreciate any comments you are willing to make. You don’t have to like the story. Any kind of feedback is valuable. I would like to know if you read it. I’d so appreciate your “perspective”.

 


(working title)

The “Ruler” and the Torn Screen or One Square foot

“To this garden we were given
And always took for granted
It’s like my Daddy told me, ‘You just bloom where you’re planted’
We long to be delivered from this world of pain and strife.
That’s a sorry substitution for a spiritual life.” Don Henley- “Inside Job”

“Give a child an inch and he’ll think he’s a ruler.” Sam Levenson

When I was newly eleven years old, I decided to sneak out one night to meet my two of my friends. To achieve this daring escape, I had to tear the screen on my bedroom window.

Oh, I had my adventure alright. My fellow delinquents and I caroused a whole square block in quiet little Pacific Beach. We were MIA for a couple of hours, doing the classic deviant things of our generation…for Girl Scouts anyway. We stole pomegranates from a tree whose branches hung way out into the alley making them public property, right? And we creeped into one grouchy neighbor’s back yard to see baby bunnies in a homemade cage. This guy refused to let us see these precious fluff balls during the day time, matters into our own hands and all….

Almost sunrise, I came home triumphant but exhausted and forgot all about repairing the damage to the screen…..not that I could have fixed it anyway.

Of course, I was caught. My mother discovered it that same morning and boy, was she was pissed. I hadn’t thought to close my curtains to hide what she later called my “willful and thoughtless destruction of property”. When she found it, she didn’t say a word but I knew I was busted by how she glared at me. She was a silent seether.

Then, my Mom woke my Dad, only a couple of hours into his post graveyard-shift slumber. She insisted that he deliver my punishment…a spanking…unheard of in our household, and at eleven years old….I thought “Give me a break. Never gonna happen”.

But my extremely shy and pacifist father was apparently more invested in pleasing my mother than I had realized. Her explicit direction to him was to spank me for the torn screen. The sneaking out in the middle of the night part was completely ignored, a fact that bothered me for years.

I will never forget the look on my father’s face as he slowly entered my room and closed my door. He looked chagrined but also resigned. I was shocked that he was actually considering carrying out this task set upon him by his wife….completely out of character for him.

My Dad had never touched me in anger or punishment or, for that matter, even in love. We addressed this last much later. When I was in my forties, my sisters and I finally taught him how to hug us. It was visibly painful at first, but it finally grew on him.

But when I was eleven, he sat down on the very edge of my bed and then mumbled something about bending over his knee, the whole thing so surreal to me that I complied without question or reaction.

His swing was simultaneously swift but also slowed by some imaginary obstacle, like slapping his hand through a two foot thick barrier of Jell-O. From my vulnerable position, the approach of his hand made the expected whoosh through the air, but contact with my waiting butt never happened. He tried twice but could not quite muster the actual blow.

Then he startled me by smacking my bed, twice, and loudly. I was absolutely surprised but definitely not injured.

When I stood up and we were face to face, he didn’t speak a word but in a rare moment of slightly prolonged and very direct eye contact (seriously…my Dad was shy) he conveyed to me ‘Please don’t tell your mother”. I read his look loud and clear…..and played my silently assigned part to the hilt. I cried real (but exaggerated) tears for quite a while, making sure my mother saw and heard me. I was furious with her but I don’t think I had never felt so loved by my Dad.

 

One of my childhood friends was named Mary Lou Reichel. She lived two doors down and sometimes I was invited to go on adventures with her family. They had a big motor boat and I went Marlin fishing with them. They did so many things, even attending church….all together. They were Catholic. Mary Lou and her big brother even went to the parochial school. Mr. Reichel was very strict and the mom very quiet and religious. I loved their family. They were so different from my own and I longed for my parents to assume their proper stereotypical positions like Mr. and Mrs. Reichel.

I remember so clearly a reaction Mary Lou had to my Dad one sunny Sunday afternoon.

We were hanging out in my front yard while Dad worked on the car. I was complaining to him about how bored I was and why couldn’t he take us for ice cream or to the beach or…whine, whine, whine. He just looked at me, a familiar look so I knew what was coming next. But Mary Lou froze and held her breath. It was as if she knew the very words my Dad would say next, and she was exactly right. With a faintly apologetic sigh, he said, “Go get the ruler.”

Mary Lou’s reaction puzzled me. Her eyes widened, panic on my behalf all over her face, and her shoulders went up to her ears. “Go get the ruler” meant something so different to her and I know now she had regularly been on the receiving end of a Ruler Whap…on her knuckles from the nuns at her school and her father had broken several yard sticks over her bare bottom. Later that afternoon, she actually cried and whispered to me, as if her father two doors down might hear, how she wished her Dad was as nice as mine. Grass is always greener, huh?

I had envied her father taking her to church all the time. The sum total of religious teaching I received from mine was this.

“Boredom is a sin.”

So when my Dad, a consummate and camouflaged spiritual teacher, said “Go get the ruler”, here’s what he meant.

Take the ruler and some chalk or a pencil and mark off one square foot of surface…on anything….the car, the wall, the grass, and my personal favorite, the sidewalk in front of our house.

Then, he told me to stare at it until I found something miraculous. That’s it.

Do you have any idea how much life there is in one square foot of Southern California lawn? Weeds, pill bugs, itty bitty daisy-like flowers, rocks, the marble I lost last summer, caterpillars, and always, about one thousand ants. And I was convinced the sidewalk was filled with flecks of pure gold. (I bet this is why I so enjoy Macro Photography!!!

It would occupy my sisters and me for hours. We were inspired to start collections. It gave us stimulating stories to tell and write. We built complete little towns with the gathered natural debris from neighboring square foots….and this was just from the grass. The lathe and plaster walls in our house held scenes filled with animal shapes. Our brown shag carpet was jam-packed with faces. The sidewalk became a canvas for colored chalk. One time I used a square foot of beach towel and a magnifying glass to get a good look at what terry cloth really is. (That was the same time I learn about the fire starting power of a magnifier!)

It took me many years to choose between Mary Lou’s perspective and mine about my father. I had seen my Dad as distant and cold, not really caring that much about me… not that he was mean. I always did the things he suggested; “Close your eyes and count five sounds”, “Name five smells in the air right now”, “Where did all those tadpoles go?” “What happened to the Polliwogs we saw just last week?” And “Why is our favorite pond now filled with tiny frogs?”

And I enjoyed the adventurous outings he would provide. The bustle and commotion in a single square foot of tide pool is truly amazing.

Just five blocks from our house they were excavating deep into a hillside in preparation for a new subdivision of homes. My Dad knew this would be a once in a life time opportunity so he packed up the tool box and took us there on the weekends when all the big machinery was silent. Our tools were our beach buckets, some old paint brushes, the fancy grapefruit spoons (“Don’t tell your mother”), and of course, the ruler. I still have beautiful and amazing fossils from those expeditions.

When I was young, I thought my father was just weird, but now, I see him through Mary Lou’s longing eyes. He was a gentle, loving, unassuming and brilliant Master Parent and Spiritual Guide. Completely out of our awareness, he was training us to be biologists, artists, ecologists, archaeologists, maybe even Buddhists.

As I look back now, I can only imagine what that “spanking” over the torn screen must have cost him.

 

 

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V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #40: Things My Father Said*

SongLyricSunday 3/17/19

 

“You’re watching the official music video for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – “Teach Your Children” written by Graham Nash. Originally released on the 1970 CSNY studio album “Deja Vu”, “Teach Your Children” is featured on a 2018 Graham Nash career retrospective entitled “Over The Years…” Get a copy here https://rh-ino.co/overtheyears The video is a collaboration between Graham Nash and celebrated filmmaker and animator Jeff Scher. The imagery frames the youth-led liberal activism of 2018 against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and Peace demonstrations of the 1960’s, providing a powerful visual aid to Graham Nash’s relevant-as-ever appeal to teach not only our children but also our parents well. “I wrote Teach Your Children because we have much to teach them. Conversely, I believe we as parents have much to learn from them as well. I think that Jeff Scher did a wonderful job of animating my lyrics and positioning the song in a contemporary setting.” – Graham Nash (2018)”

Teach Your Children

Lyrics

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.
And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.
Songwriters: Graham Nash
Teach Your Children lyrics © Spirit Music Group

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/spring-break/