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Content about Spiritual Smart Aleck

August 30, 2017

It is a pleasant sunny day in San Francisco in 1964 or ’65. My mother and I are walking westward on Market Street. Walking in front of us is a young family – mom, dad, boy of about eleven or twelve, slightly younger girl.

It is a pleasant sunny day in San Francisco in 1964 or ’65. My mother and I are walking westward on Market Street. Walking in front of us is a young family – mom, dad, boy of about eleven or twelve, slightly younger girl.

My mother pronounces the family communists.

I ask how she knows.

The boy, she says, is wearing a striped t-shirt. That means the parents are Democrats. Democrats are Socialists, and Socialists are Communists.

August 16, 2017

It is blackberry season. I walk thirty yards from my front door carrying an old plastic yogurt container and start picking.
There is no need to bend over, no need to reach through or wrestle with canes to get to fruit that is hidden.

It is blackberry season. I walk thirty yards from my front door carrying an old plastic yogurt container and start picking.

August 2, 2017

A worker in a refugee camp in Syria writes: “When we got back to our base camp a couple of hours ago this little fellow, A---, was waiting for us. He said he needed to talk to us.

A worker in a refugee camp in Syria writes: “When we got back to our base camp a couple of hours ago this little fellow, A---, was waiting for us. He said he needed to talk to us.

July 19, 2017

Went and got a haircut last week.
When I went in I figured, who knows when I’ll be able to afford a haircut again? And, it’s summer. And, I’m tired of messing with my long bushy hair.

Went and got a haircut last week.

When I went in I figured, who knows when I’ll be able to afford a haircut again? And, it’s summer. And, I’m tired of messing with my long bushy hair.

“Cut it short,” I said to Jan. “Cut it all off.”

And she did. Gave me a splendid, short haircut. I like it. It is as low maintenance as a haircut gets.

July 5, 2017

June 29th was the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul in the western Christian church calendar. Some of you are slapping your foreheads and saying, “Oh no, I forgot.” If you are part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, in which case you are on the Julian calendar, you will observe this feast day next week, so you’re good.

June 29th was the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul in the western Christian church calendar. Some of you are slapping your foreheads and saying, “Oh no, I forgot.” If you are part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, in which case you are on the Julian calendar, you will observe this feast day next week, so you’re good.

June 29, 2017

As you drive, or bike, or walk, on the roads of the island, you will come across furniture, flower pots, appliances, remodeling leftovers, and other miscellany left at the side of the road, usually with a sign that says, “Free.”

As you drive, or bike, or walk, on the roads of the island, you will come across furniture, flower pots, appliances, remodeling leftovers, and other miscellany left at the side of the road, usually with a sign that says, “Free.”
As I noted a couple of these offerings along the Westside Highway this morning I thought, gee, we didn’t used to have all these free things set out beside the road. I wonder why we do now.

Then I remembered.

June 21, 2017

The new property tax assessments for 2018 arrived in the mail. You could hear the howls of pain and rage all over the island. Some of those howls were mine.

The new property tax assessments for 2018 arrived in the mail. You could hear the howls of pain and rage all over the island. Some of those howls were mine.

The assessed value for my house is going up to what I had speculated would be a reasonable asking price should I decide to sell. I wanted to call the county and ask, “Are you sure you were looking at my house when you set this value?” Which is more polite than screaming, “Are you people out of your #$&!%&@ $&^ @%^$ minds?”

June 7, 2017

About twenty years ago our good friends, the Blakemores, moved to Australia, where they settled in a little beach town.
One year, there was a fire in the forest uphill from their neighborhood. Naturally they were worried.

About twenty years ago our good friends, the Blakemores, moved to Australia, where they settled in a little beach town.

One year, there was a fire in the forest uphill from their neighborhood. Naturally they were worried. They and their neighbors brought their yard chairs out into the street and sat there watching the progress of the fire.

I imagined them sitting in the street, watching the fire as if it was a soccer match, wondering if they were going to lose everything.

They were fortunate. Their homes were not burned.

May 10, 2017

Consider our indigenous people.
We believe that they came across a land bridge from Siberia and from there spread south through the Americas. There is some evidence that aboriginal people from Australia sailed in and settled in South America and Baja California, as well.

Consider our indigenous people.

We believe that they came across a land bridge from Siberia and from there spread south through the Americas. There is some evidence that aboriginal people from Australia sailed in and settled in South America and Baja California, as well.

Tools and arrowheads found near Clovis, New Mexico, are thought to be 12,500 years old, and were considered the oldest evidence of native people here until more tools, scrapers, and points were found near Austin, Texas, that date to 15,500 years ago.

April 26, 2017

Nothing like a couple of days of food poisoning to purge your body and clear your mind. Not that I recommend or condone it. The first and worst day I went through wondering if I was going to die, old and weak as I am, with so many regrets, so many things undone.

Nothing like a couple of days of food poisoning to purge your body and clear your mind. Not that I recommend or condone it.

The first and worst day I went through wondering if I was going to die, old and weak as I am, with so many regrets, so many things undone. After a while I wasn’t sure if dying wouldn’t be so bad. Hey, you’ve been there.

April 12, 2017

It was a genuinely crappy week. I could tell I was stressed, because I cursed a lot. I even amazed my 14-year-old grandson, and I figure he hears it all in middle school.

It was a genuinely crappy week. I could tell I was stressed, because I cursed a lot. I even amazed my 14-year-old grandson, and I figure he hears it all in middle school.

First came the gas attacks in Syria, and the videos showing the victims, either dead, or gasping and convulsing with foam coming out of their mouths. There was a picture of a pile of dead children.

March 29, 2017

In 1998, my late husband, Rick, a Vietnam vet, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was 52, which I thought was young to have prostate cancer.
In Vietnam there were troops who were on the ground. There were also “brown water sailors,” who manned the river boats. Then there were the blue water sailors, on ships.

In 1998, my late husband, Rick, a Vietnam vet, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was 52, which I thought was young to have prostate cancer.

In Vietnam there were troops who were on the ground. There were also “brown water sailors,” who manned the river boats. Then there were the blue water sailors, on ships. The blue water sailors were Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine personnel.

March 15, 2017

A couple of months into the so-called Trump presidency, there is talk of Trump being mentally ill. I don’t know for sure if he is, but he sure seems to be a carrier.

A couple of months into the so-called Trump presidency, there is talk of Trump being mentally ill. I don’t know for sure if he is, but he sure seems to be a carrier.

March 13, 2017

So. I asked the cashier at Taco Time to throw away my old Taco Time cup from the last time I was in Seattle, and that’s where the trouble started.

So. I asked the cashier at Taco Time to throw away my old Taco Time cup from the last time I was in Seattle, and that’s where the trouble started.

Her face registered deep disgust. She turned around, grabbed a plastic glove to protect herself from my contagion (fair enough, I had a cold), took the cup and tossed it away, took off the sanitary glove, took my payment, then handed us the bag with our order.

And off we went to catch the ferry.

February 15, 2017

So, dear hearts, how long was the electricity off at your house last week? In my neighborhood, it was out for almost exactly 53 hours. Give or take an hour. I woke up around 4 a.m. Monday when the power went out. That was the first day.

So, dear hearts, how long was the electricity off at your house last week? In my neighborhood, it was out for almost exactly 53 hours. Give or take an hour. I woke up around 4 a.m. Monday when the power went out. That was the first day.

Fifty-three hours is a long time to go without my accustomed critter comforts. Yeah, I know, those of you who went longer are saying, “Poor baby.” Remember the Hannukah Eve storm when the whole island was out? We went five days without electricity that time. It  was tedious.

February 1, 2017

The alders, the maples, the horse chestnut, and the apple tree have all lost their leaves. This is the time of year I can see some of the sky, though the evergreens still block some of the view.

The alders, the maples, the horse chestnut, and the apple tree have all lost their leaves. This is the time of year I can see some of the sky, though the evergreens still block some of the view.

The cedars and the firs stand tall and green on three sides of the house. There is a straight line of five cedars standing on the edge of my neighbors’ property. They were there when I arrived here almost forty years ago, and at that time there was a parallel row of five firs that marched along next to them on our side of the line.

January 26, 2017

We went to court a few weeks ago to have my grandson’s name legally changed from what he was named at birth, when we all thought he was a girl, to the name he has been using the last two years.

We went to court a few weeks ago to have my grandson’s name legally changed from what he was named at birth, when we all thought he was a girl, to the name he has been using the last two years.

The name change is part of the gender transition process, and an affirmation of who my grandson feels he really is. Each step toward making his external self more congruent with his internal self is a step toward peace for him.

January 18, 2017

Today, as I write, December 29, 2016, at 2:20 pm PST, my husband Rick will be gone exactly three years.

Today, as I write, December 29, 2016, at 2:20 pm PST, my husband Rick will be gone exactly three years.

Each anniversary is different. The first year I was steeped in my grief. The second year surprised me by unexpectedly not being so sad. This year I am called to solemn contemplation of Rick’s death and the life I am building without him.

January 4, 2017

Dear hearts and gentle people, it is coming on Christmas (if you are like me, you will now have a Joni Mitchell song running through your head), and I have been clobbered by a virus. I’m spending lots of time asleep, which seems to be the best thing.

Dear hearts and gentle people, it is coming on Christmas (if you are like me, you will now have a Joni Mitchell song running through your head), and I have been clobbered by a virus. I’m spending lots of time asleep, which seems to be the best thing.

So I was trying to think of what to write this week, and realized that writing is not easy when you’re not awake most of the time and feeling lousy when you are awake.

November 22, 2016

When I was young, I used to wonder why the people of Germany didn’t up and leave during the 1930s, when they saw how things were going in their country. Many of them did leave, but I understand now why many stayed. It was their home. They and their families had lived there for generations.

When I was young, I used to wonder why the people of Germany didn’t up and leave during the 1930s, when they saw how things were going in their country. Many of them did leave, but I understand now why many stayed. It was their home. They and their families had lived there for generations. They could not imagine how bad it would get. They assumed that somehow the country would right itself.

There were some who lacked the resources to leave.

November 20, 2016

When this is published, the election of 2016 will be history, or at least I hope it will be history. I can’t help but remember the 2000 election when we didn’t have a result for weeks after the election. Then we ended up with George W. Bush.

When this is published, the election of 2016 will be history, or at least I hope it will be history. I can’t help but remember the 2000 election when we didn’t have a result for weeks after the election. Then we ended up with George W. Bush.

Al Gore later said, “America! Where any child can grow up to win the popular vote and still not be president!”
He had a right to be bitter.

November 9, 2016

The end is near, and never have so many people, believers and atheists alike, said, “Thank God.”
I have a couple of “whys” I want answered, though.

The end is near, and never have so many people, believers and atheists alike, said, “Thank God.”
I have a couple of “whys” I want answered, though.

The first why is, “Why do people demonize Hillary?” I was startled by the vitriol directed at her when her husband was president. Why this blood in the eye, veins in the teeth, violent irrational behavior when it comes to Hillary? It is one thing to dislike and disagree with someone. It is something else again to completely lose your mind and your grip on reality.

October 12, 2016

I was carrying a big sloppy bowl of compost out to the heap in the back yard this morning when I noticed that now that we eat a mostly vegetarian menu, the compost looks a lot like the food. It was one of those sobering moments when I paused to consider that what I throw out as waste here would in some places be considered a meal.

I was carrying a big sloppy bowl of compost out to the heap in the back yard this morning when I noticed that now that we eat a mostly vegetarian menu, the compost looks a lot like the food. It was one of those sobering moments when I paused to consider that what I throw out as waste here would in some places be considered a meal.

I have heard of people in other parts of the world who eat only every other day so they can pay for their schooling, or simply because they can only afford to eat every other day.

September 28, 2016

We have become aware of how easy it is for a black person, especially a male black person, to be killed for no reason at all.
Along with that awareness comes the realization that the killing has been going on ever since there were white people on this continent, and black people whom white people thought they could kill with impunity.

We have become aware of how easy it is for a black person, especially a male black person, to be killed for no reason at all.

Along with that awareness comes the realization that the killing has been going on ever since there were white people on this continent, and black people whom white people thought they could kill with impunity.