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Content about Spiritual Smart Aleck

January 2, 2018

Well, friends, comes now the end of another year, and with it come Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the Solstice which will mean longer days and more light for us up here in the Northern Hemisphere. Hanukkah has passed. The sixth of January will bring Epiphany for western Christianity,

Well, friends, comes now the end of another year, and with it come Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the Solstice which will mean longer days and more light for us up here in the Northern Hemisphere. Hanukkah has passed. The sixth of January will bring Epiphany for western Christianity, and around the same time Christmas will come for Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and in February we’ll be hearing about the Chinese New Year and saying, “Gong hey fat choy,” or “Gong xi fa cai,” depending on whether we’re going with Cantonese or Mandarin.

December 20, 2017

Men are hound dogs, and suddenly it is news.
Not all men, I hasten to add. Most men are good, decent people, despite the hand life deals them, and that is admirable.

Men are hound dogs, and suddenly it is news.

Not all men, I hasten to add. Most men are good, decent people, despite the hand life deals them, and that is admirable.
Men in positions of power, authority, or fame, though, tend to be hound dogs. Turns out it is true that power corrupts. Right now, the heat is on famous guys. Powerful guys. Guys who in the past were too big to fall. Guys who probably thought you should feel honored to be sexually assaulted by them.

November 21, 2017

When I moved in with Rick in 1977, this building was the most run-down place I’d ever lived. The walls had holes in them. The roof leaked. Rats had free run of the place.

When I moved in with Rick in 1977, this building was the most run-down place I’d ever lived. The walls had holes in them. The roof leaked. Rats had free run of the place.

Rick was a patient man. He could sit in the kitchen with a .22 propped on a chair and aimed at a hole until a rat’s head appeared. Ping! One less rat. It wasn’t the most efficient extermination method, but Rick enjoyed the challenge.

November 19, 2017

According to all the calendars I have, winter begins with the solstice, on the twenty-first of December or thereabouts. I say that’s broccoli, and I say the hell with it.

According to all the calendars I have, winter begins with the solstice, on the twenty-first of December or thereabouts. I say that’s broccoli, and I say the hell with it.

Okay, perhaps you are not as big a fan of New Yorker cartoons as I am, and that reference is lost on you, but what I mean is, if this isn’t winter, it’s a mighty cold autumn. Yesterday it snow-rained for hours. Nothing stuck of course, but icy particles were falling out of the air. For hours. This morning it is 38 degrees Fahrenheit on my kitchen porch.

November 8, 2017

My husband Rick has been gone for almost four years now, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw him walk out of the men’s room on the sixth floor of the James Tower one afternoon a few weeks ago. That’s the cardiology floor at the Cherry Hill campus of Swedish Hospital.

My husband Rick has been gone for almost four years now, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw him walk out of the men’s room on the sixth floor of the James Tower one afternoon a few weeks ago. That’s the cardiology floor at the Cherry Hill campus of Swedish Hospital.

You know how it is. Someone you love dies, and you’re out in public somewhere, and you see someone, and for a gasp of a moment you think you’re seeing the departed person. Then you realize, no.

October 11, 2017

This has been a rough week in America. It started last Sunday night with a man using semi-automatic weapons to mow down over five hundred people at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Fifty-eight people died. Fifty-nine, counting the shooter, who took himself out before he could be caught.

This has been a rough week in America. It started last Sunday night with a man using semi-automatic weapons to mow down over five hundred people at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Fifty-eight people died. Fifty-nine, counting the shooter, who took himself out before he could be caught.

It is difficult to recover from a shock like that, even if you weren’t in the crowd, or related to or acquainted with any of the people who were there or who were shot.

October 10, 2017

I’ve been watching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 10-part film about Vietnam on PBS. It is unsatisfying, and not only because the experience as we lived it fifty years ago was a nightmare.

I’ve been watching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 10-part film about Vietnam on PBS. It is unsatisfying, and not only because the experience as we lived it fifty years ago was a nightmare.

Perhaps it is because so many things in our country, including this documentary, are paid for by people like the Koch brothers and the Bank of America, and that has influenced the telling of the story.

What is the old saying? The winners write history?

September 13, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, Dona Bradley, Michael Shapiro, and I went over to Gig Harbor on a Tuesday night to play at an open mike that is run by Thea Wescott at a place called the Markee.

A couple of weeks ago, Dona Bradley, Michael Shapiro, and I went over to Gig Harbor on a Tuesday night to play at an open mike that is run by Thea Wescott at a place called the Markee.

Dona, Thea, and I got to know each other back in the seventies.

Dona was singing in bands with David Conant and later Fred Schactler. Thea and Steve Fearey were working as the duet Bodacious when I met them. Rick Tuel, Chris Howie, and I worked together as Kanout Manufacturing in the early seventies.

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.