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Content about Spiritual Smart Aleck

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.

September 27, 2016

Suddenly it became autumn, but it was not so cold or inhospitable on the kitchen porch this morning that the dog and I could not sit there staring into space and thinking deep thoughts.

Suddenly it became autumn, but it was not so cold or inhospitable on the kitchen porch this morning that the dog and I could not sit there staring into space and thinking deep thoughts.

My deep thoughts started with, there’s nothing like a quick trip to the Emergency Room to remind you of your mortality.

Yep, I had another exciting trip to the hospital. I was first seen here on the island, and was told, no, you may not go home and go to bed. Stop fighting your fate and lie down on the gurney. You’re going on a little trip into town.

August 31, 2016

I was supposed to write a column today. I meant to, I planned to, but then I got a message from Marie, Jim’s sweetheart, that Jim Hutcheson died today, and the news blew me sideways.

I was supposed to write a column today. I meant to, I planned to, but then I got a message from Marie, Jim’s sweetheart, that Jim Hutcheson died today, and the news blew me sideways.

Jim was one of the guys with whom Rick played music when they were in high school in Germany, back in 1962. Rick always called him Hutch. They and another friend, Nandi Devam, played USO clubs all over Germany, covering every Kingston Trio song they could learn. They called themselves “The Balladiers.”

August 17, 2016

After writing so exhaustively about the grief process after my husband died, it hardly seems fair not to write about how it’s going after two and a half years, because things have changed.

After writing so exhaustively about the grief process after my husband died, it hardly seems fair not to write about how it’s going after two and a half years, because things have changed.

There were people who told me at the beginning that I would feel better in time, and while that was cold comfort then, it turns out to be true. Tincture of time, people, can improve many things, including grief.

August 3, 2016

So. I was out in the yard picking up garbage. Not just any garbage, mind you. This garbage consisted of the mangled wrappers of all the food my dog, Marley, has pilfered lately.

So. I was out in the yard picking up garbage. Not just any garbage, mind you. This garbage consisted of the mangled wrappers of all the food my dog, Marley, has pilfered lately.

You might say it serves me right for leaving her in the house all alone, but I am resisting that train of thought.

July 20, 2016

O death
O death
Won’t you spare me over to another year?

O death
O death
Won’t you spare me over to another year?

I remember how terrifying the thought of my own death was when I was young. There were horrible nights lying in bed shaken to my core by fear.

July 6, 2016

In my late thirties I experienced an adult call to faith in Jesus. My adult conversion made me a member of what I’ve heard called “the community of the silly grin.”

In my late thirties I experienced an adult call to faith in Jesus. My adult conversion made me a member of what I’ve heard called “the community of the silly grin.”
 
It was a feel good experience, but you know feelings – they are ephemeral. They always pass. Faith is what sustains you after the initial rush has passed.
 
As I think wistfully of those first giddy days, the parable of the prodigal son comes to mind. It appears in the gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verses 11 to 32. A brief paraphrase:
 

June 22, 2016

I read the other day that when a mother is pregnant with a boy, some of that boy’s DNA is shared. It travels in the blood up into the mother’s brain, and moves in permanently, kind of like the kids do in their twenties.

I read the other day that when a mother is pregnant with a boy, some of that boy’s DNA is shared. It travels in the blood up into the mother’s brain, and moves in permanently, kind of like the kids do in their twenties.

The baby DNA doesn’t simply hang around there after it sets up shop. It helps to shield the mother from Alzheimer’s Disease. That’s what this learned treatise, probably something I saw on Facebook, claimed.

June 8, 2016

It is the duty of the young to confound the old.
Last night my grandson told me that he is now a vegetarian. Apparently I am the last one of his family and friends to know this.

It is the duty of the young to confound the old.

Last night my grandson told me that he is now a vegetarian. Apparently I am the last one of his family and friends to know this. That makes sense in that he is a teenager and he lives with me, so of course I would be the last to hear.

May 25, 2016

he incredibly loud noise in my head woke me at ten to six in the morning. I always have ringing in my ears, but this was ringing cranked up to eleven.

The incredibly loud noise in my head woke me at ten to six in the morning. I always have ringing in my ears, but this was ringing cranked up to eleven.

There was no going back to sleep, so I got up to go to the bathroom, and lurched. Whoa. Staggered down the hallway propping myself against walls so I wouldn’t fall.

I sat down and put my hands on my knees, and that’s when I noticed that my left arm was weak. I tried to stiffen it up, and I couldn’t.