For the Men

“Eleven states have passed laws restricting a woman’s access to abortion, with some states approving near-total bans of the procedure altogether. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Utah have all passed abortion-related legislation that has been signed by their Republican governors. Lousiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards also signed a bill restricting abortions.

Alabama’s law, signed by Governor Kay Ivey, is likely the strictest in the nation as it makes it a felony for doctors to perform abortions even in cases of rape and incest. Laws passed in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy (before many women are even aware they are pregnant). Less severe laws like those in Indiana and North Dakota ban the use of clamps and forceps during second-trimester abortions.

According to a new FiveThirtyEight analysis, which examined all 50 state of the state speeches given by governors in 2019, the term “reproductive health” was not uttered once by a Republican. Meanwhile, the term appeared in approximately 21.7 percent of Democratic speeches.

https://www.newsweek.com/republican-governors-reproductive-health-abortion-laws-1443902

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, made it clear that states may not ban abortion outright before the fetus is determined to be viable, recognized by the medical community as around 24 weeks’ gestation. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that states may not place an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Like laws that attempt to ban abortion at 20 weeks’ gestation, bills banning abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat are intended as a direct challenge to these U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Let me be razor clear why all these states are even proposing abortion bans right now, even if they don’t get passed or they remain being argued over in session for long periods. They WANT to be taken to the Supreme Court. Their target IS Roe-vs-Wade. They want people to think that their are a lot of people who want to overturn it.

THERE ARE NOT.

Polls being done put Americans in total at about 50% in favor of keeping Roe just where it’s at and another 30% in favor of keeping it but tweaking it just a bit, and the last 20 % being unsure OR for overturning. Even polls among republicans show 1/3 in favor of keeping Roe and another 1/3 in favor of keeping it but tweaking it, with only the last 1/3 being the radical fundamentalists who want it overturned.

Many of these abortion bills are called “heartbeat” bills. How do you detect a heartbeat in an unborn fetus? (I’ll explain later that at the gestational stage these bills cover it is not a fetus, it is still an embryo.) By using a VERY INTRUSIVE and embarrassing measure at 6 weeks:

Ohio required an abortion provider to use an abdominal ultrasound to detect a fetal heartbeat and banned abortion when the pregnancy has progressed to 12 weeks and a fetal heartbeat is detected. North Dakota went even further, passing the most stringent anti-choice legislation in the country—a bill that bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected using “acceptable medical practice,” which is approximately six weeks through the use of a transvaginal ultrasound.

At least sixteen states (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, LouisianaMaryland, MichiganMinnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) have introduced measures to ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

MN, where I live, is what concerns me. I am 50 years old and Peri-menopausal. No I don’t plan on getting pregnant any time soon, but this is where I live and as long as I do it is no one’s business to tell me or any other woman what to do with my/her health, rights, or body. I will fight for my fellow women.

Minnesota Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (HF 271)  , proposed  Jan 22, 2019

Minnesota Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (SF 869) , proposed Feb 7, 2019

Minnesota Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (HF 2101) , proposed March 7 2019

Minnesota Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (SF 2245) , proposed March 11 2019

Some reproductive rights groups argue that the term “heartbeat” bill is a misnomer, since the fetus does not yet have a heart at six weeks’ gestation — the cardiac activity detectable at that time comes from tissue called the fetal pole. Up to the 10th week after fertilization the pregnancy is called an embryo and it still has no brain or spinal cord. Most malformations (birth defects) occur during this period when organs are forming. During this period, the embryo is most vulnerable to the effects of drugs, radiation, and viruses. Not until after 10 weeks is it called a fetus. It is still not viable, it can NOT live outside the uterus.

At about 14 weeks the sex of the fetus can be identified. Between 16 to 20 weeks the mother can finally feel the fetus move. Sometimes for women who don’t have regular periods, are overweight or don’t know why they are gaining weight – this is the first sign that they are pregnant. Not until after 24 weeks does the fetus have a chance of survival outside the uterus. The lungs continue to mature until near the time of delivery. The brain accumulates new cells throughout pregnancy and the first year of life after birth, but the people who want ALL fetuses born no matter what don’t care about their health care after they are born. Even if they need extreme medical care for underdeveloped lung and brain problems.

Nor do they care if the mother has medical issues during pregnancy. Make her suffer through it, no matter what, and deliver that fetus. Even if she KNOWS her body isn’t doing its job to give the fetus the required nutrients or safety/cushioning or whatever. Even if that mother feels like shit knowing her body is harming her child from her own medical issues. It takes two people to GET pregnant, even IF the pregnancy was a “mistake.” However, now what she’s going through is all on her. REMEMBER, THE ACTUAL TERM, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, NEVER GETS MENTIONED!

This issue is all about being educated and informed. It is NOT about being pro or anti birth or children or about killing. Those words are for the fanatics and lunatics and the super-religious. In NO way do politics and religion belong in the same debate for ANY topic. THIS is a medical and personal topic.

When it comes to abortion some people have morals and some people don’t. I have known women who use it as birth control. Got pregnant? Oh, go get an abortion. Got pregnant again? Just go have another abortion. Never feeling any emotion about it. Oh, had too many so that there’s so much scar tissue that you can’t get pregnant any more? Oh well, never wanted kids anyway. I have also known SO many more women that have had abortions that have felt the weight of the world on their shoulders at having had to get an abortion that they thought it would emotionally kill them to do it. The levels of guilt and self-hatred, shame, and disgust and depression left them in despair for years, but they had such heart-wrenching reasons for having to do it: usually being in violently abusive relationships, being molested by family members, being gang-raped, other rape, severe medical issues, or severe poverty or no medical or health care.

People of color, queer, and low-income people are who are disproportionately likely to seek abortion care. Then add in people with cognitive or physical/medical disabilities. And now these new laws could allow women who terminate pregnancies to be charged with murder!

Think about the barely mobile disabled person with cognitive disabilities who says yes to sex, but doesn’t really even know what sex is. That person can in no way raise a child, but will be forced to go through the pregnancy not understanding what is going on with her body, often doing things that put the fetus at risk. If she does, she will be arrested for causing the fetus harm? Many LGTBQ+ are beaten/raped just to “show them what they’re ‘supposed’ to be,” by ignorant assholes. Now they must carry a baby even though they look like a man? I could go on with the horrible stories. The fanatics don’t care who got pregnant or how or what will happen to the child after it is born. All they want to do is toss around scare-words without real facts.

“Late-term” abortions are generally understood to take place during or after the 21st to 24th week of gestation, which is late in the second trimester. That gestational period roughly corresponds to the point of “fetal viability” or when a fetus might be able to survive outside the womb with or without medical assistance. However, there is no precise medical or legal definition of “late-term,” and many doctors and scientists avoid that language, calling it imprecise and misleading. They say “late-term” may imply that these abortions are taking place when a woman has reached or passed a full-term pregnancy, which is defined as starting in the 37th week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.3 percent of abortions were performed at or greater than 21 weeks of gestation in 2015. In contrast, 91.1 percent were performed at or before 13 weeks and 7.6 percent at 14 to 20 weeks.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said in a statement released this week that pregnant women may experience conditions such as “premature rupture of membranes and infection, preeclampsia, placental abruption, and placenta accreta” late in pregnancy that may endanger their lives.

 

“Women in these circumstances may risk extensive blood loss, stroke, and septic shock that could lead to maternal death. Politicians must never require a doctor to wait for a medical condition to worsen and become life-threatening before being able to provide evidence-based care to their patients, including an abortion,” the ACOG said.

In a paper published in 2013 by Foster and Katrina Kimport on women who got abortions for reasons other than a danger to life or health or a fetal anomaly, they cited logistical delays such as difficulty finding a provider, raising funds for the procedure and travel costs.

Foster and Kimport described five “profiles” of women in the study: “They were raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, had trouble deciding and then had access problems, or were young and [experiencing their first pregnancy].”

“one woman was told by her doctors that something in her 20-week scan looked suspicious but it wasn’t until 24 weeks that it was clear the fetus had significant abnormalities.”

(Oops, I forgot to add what the article was that I took the above quotes from. My bad.)

Humiliation, agony, and the risk of sterility or death. Is that what we want to go back to? That’s what women went through before Roe-vs-Wade in the 50’s and 60’s. Back room abortions with dirty medical instruments or at home do-it-yourself by a coat hanger. Just because they want to make it illegal doesn’t mean women will stop doing it. Women will still want to keep their fortune 500 jobs. They can’t do that if they get pregnant. Ah-ha!

There it is. The Ah Ha moment. That’s what this is all about! Men trying to put women in our place. Take away our power. Get us out of the business and other work-places so men can be back in charge. They want to go back to the 50’s when women met them at the front door with their evening drink and dinner on the table.

That will actually be impossible to do. No one in the middle class down can live like that. It’s mandatory for family’s to have both parents working just to pay the bills. Think about having kids? You’d better not have a part time or a low-income job if you have a kid or two. Need to dish out $5,000 for an abortion? Insurance will only pay for it if it’s medically necessary.

I would really like to see someone do a poll/survey on the middle class to upper class to find out how many of them have abortions -vs- the middle to lower class, where most surveys are usually done via social services or Planned Parenthood. They wouldn’t have to scrape and scrimp and save every penny for months just to afford the abortion. They could just think, “oh shit I’m pregnant, oops! Better get an abortion before mommy and daddy find out. Boom. Done.”  Plus, the family doc of rich people isn’t going to rat out some little rich kid. He knows who pays for his “coke.”

OK, sorry, there’s MY “ism,” richism. I know, that’s not a word. There’s racism, sexism, I have richism. I’m rich-ist. I have issues with rich people. Rich people who don’t use their wealth to help society in any way, or only to make themselves “look” good.

Back to the issue at hand: abortion IS an elitist issue. It is one more way for those with to push down those without. You think rich people are going to be going to jail for having illegal abortions? Of course not.

It’s also a sexist issue for sure. Rapists even get rights to the kids they spawn from their rapes these days. You can NOT convince me that’s OK. It is NOT OK to force a woman to have the child from being raped. This is one more thing that a man truly can not in any way possible remotely begin to understand. A man can be raped, but a man can not become pregnant from being raped. Have to live with it growing inside you, like the rapist is again inside you, but not for minutes this time – this time he is inside you for 9 MONTHS! Then, if you don’t give it up for adoption, you live with this child possibly for the rest of your life; remembering. If you are unlucky enough to live in one of THOSE states, you might also be FORCED to have your rapist in your life, have to see him, talk to him, etc, forever, as he is allowed to be the rightful father of your child and receive parental rights and visits. You will never be allowed to forget your pain, humiliation, and how he broke your will and spirit as the state you live in goes on to do so day after day.

Mind you, I am pro-life for myself, but pro-choice for all other women. I would never tell anyone what to do in any situation and no one else has that right either. I have never been faced with that particular scenario, and I have no idea what I’d do. Thankfully, MN would never make me deal with the father of a child from rape.

I did, however, have to make the abortion decision. Being a social worker, I knew that fetal alcohol syndrome gets part of its parts from the man’s sperm, and I became pregnant by an alcoholic. I was a pretty bad social drinker myself at the time. I had also just been in an auto accident and I was in a pretty bad amount of pain. Being born with a rare genetic disease, I also had that to consider. So, given all of that what was I about to pass on to my child? Should I or not take pain medicine? How much had I drank before I learned I was pregnant? How badly did the auto accident damage the embryo? I had several x-rays in the ER, did they do any damage?

Of course as soon as I told my boyfriend, he dumped me and took off. I quote, “I don’t want a kid who’s a freak with your genetic disease.” I was hot enough to date, but…  So, now I was also alone, single again. Guess what? I also lost my job! The accident mixed with my disease had caused 5 problems in my spine and nerve damage in my shoulder. I was super depressed and in a LOT of pain. Things that are not good for developing fetuses. Since I couldn’t pay rent, you’d better believe I was thinking of abortion. I had no idea, but was thinking every minute of what kind of damage my injured body was doing to my child. I wasn’t taking anything for the pain since that would cause more damage. I began spotting and was afraid I might lose the baby. It was then that I knew for sure that I couldn’t have an abortion.

Despite everything that could be wrong with the baby I knew I would love him. It would be against everything I believe in as a nature based pagan who reveres life to abort this thing growing inside me. If my body didn’t naturally abort it for having something wrong with it, then it was meant to be my child. That is MY belief. I don’t expect anyone else to follow my belief or force it on anyone else.

I had a bad pregnancy. Many medical issues. I was in the hospital twice with infections. Due to my disease, my son’s kicks broke 3 of my ribs. I didn’t have enough amniotic fluid. My blood pressure was too high. I was constantly in pain from injuries. I was depressed. There are many reasons a woman thinks of abortion or a doctor suggests it.

He is 20 years old now. It’s been a rough ride from all of his medical needs, but I do love him with all of my soul. I will fight for women everywhere to have their rights though. NO ONE should ever tell another person what they can and can’t do unless it comes to harming life willfully and with evil intent and forethought. AND…yet with that; what defines life? Humans can’t even agree on that!

 

There are over 100 definitions of life have been proposed, with most focusing on a handful of key attributes such as replication and metabolism. Virologists: seven processes that supposedly define life: movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion and nutrition. Chemists: polymers – namely nucleic acids (the building blocks of DNA), proteins and polysaccharides – virtually the entire diversity of life is built. Astrobiologists: microorganisms capable of surviving in extreme environments. 

Technologists: artificial life can involve biologists creating new organisms in labs by stitching together parts of two or more existing life forms. But it can also be a little more abstract. There are even teams that are beginning to explore the creation of robots with life-like traits. Ever since the 1990s, when Thomas Ray’s Tierra computer software appeared to demonstrate the synthesis and evolution of digital “life forms”, researchers have been trying to create computer programs that truly simulate life.

Philosophers: Maybe the things we think are essential are really just peculiar to life on Earth. After all, everything from bacteria to lions is derived from a single common ancestor, meaning that on our chart of life in the Universe, we only really have one data point.

In the words of Sagan: “Man tends to define in terms of the familiar. But the fundamental truths may not be familiar.”

What a tragedy it would be if in the 2020s the new Mars rover trundles straight past a Martian, simply because it does not recognise it as being alive.

“The definition can actually hinder the search for novel life,” says Cleland. “We need to get away from our current concept, so that we are open to discovering life as we don’t know it.”

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170101-there-are-over-100-definitions-for-life-and-all-are-wrong

 

Put A Fork In Me

Um, ya. It’s supposedly the first day of Spring in 10 days. We got 6 more inches of snow up here in the Nort’land in the last 24 hours. Supposed to get more on Wednesday. Yup. This IS Spring for us. Mm hmm. We’ve all had about enough now, though. Really. We give up. This winter of the 2018-2019 season has been a doozy. We. Are. Done.

I live in Minnesota. This is not what you would call the normal winter for us, but it’s close. Yes, we always have snowy winters. Yes, we always have cold winters. However, this winter has been ridiculous. The usual would be some parts of MN getting a lot of snow and some parts getting the usual amounts and some parts less. Over the last 20 years or so, due to Climate Change, the norm has been less snow and MAYBE 5 or so days of minus 40 below zero degrees Fahrenheit temperatures without the wind chill.

Oh, SO not this year. THIS year decided to blow us for a loop. This year decided to remind us just what a MN winter used to be. This year decided to remind us what it means to be a hearty Minnesotan. This year decided we needed to remember why Babe the Blue Ox is Blue and why Paul Bunyan is so friggin tall.

Paul’s tall so he can see over the damned snow banks and Babe’s blue because it’s 55 degrees F BELOW F*CKING ZERO! That’s 75 F below zero with the wind chill for you warm people who never had the balls to step foot in this frozen hell. Yep. It really got that darn cold this winter. More. Than. Once. Consequences? Extreme cold blamed for 17 deaths in the Midwest thanks to the polar vortex. (www.weather.com) That was early on in December. We still had 2 more months of polar temps to go.

Aaaand just how much snow did we get this year, you ask? Well, I’m 5 feet 1 inch tall. The snow piled on the sides of my driveway is over my head. When I have to leave my driveway I inch my way out VERY carefully and very slowly to make sure no one is coming down the road that I can’t see, and who can’t see me hiding behind the snow pile. It’s like a game of hide and peek; to see all the cars doing the same thing coming out of the other driveways. There are places in MN where they got 6 1/2 feet of snow.

Of course we can’t JUST have the snow. We get freezing slushy icy slippery messes that cause wonderful driving conditions. We started the season in October with freezing rainstorms that left slick layers of ice covering everything. I had just paid $100 to ready my snow thrower for the season. I never got to use it. It remains out in the yard, frozen to the spot where I unloaded it the same day and we got hit by an ice storm that night. Heavy snow and slushy conditions were blamed for 3 fatal Midwestern accidents before December had ended. Now that MN body shops are breaking out the bubbly, we finally have warmer temps in sight. We should be celebrating, right?

With 40 degrees Fahrenheit expected within the week you would expect us to be celebrating. Not yet. With trepidation, now we must haul sump pumps down into our basements and lie in wait. It’s coming. Remember I said another storm is coming on Wednesday? It might be snow. It might be rain. Most likely it will be a mix of both, then freeze solid after the sun goes down. The Big Melt is coming. When you have this much snow and ice sitting on the frozen ground where is it going to go? They say 1 to 2 inches of rain is possible in places. Where is all this liquid moisture going to go? Exactly where is the glacier in my yard going to go?

Storm drains in the streets have snow and at LEAST an inch or two of ice covering them. Driveways? Even if you’ve been diligently shoveling or plowing them after each snow or ice storm, driveways are still covered with several inches of frozen tundra. Houses have snow packed up the outside walls several feet high. Except for the places smart people have hopefully dug out around the pipes and things that vent toxic fumes and things out of their houses. I know I can’t open my front door due to the snow comes up about 3 feet high. Ya, my boy was lazy and never shoveled the steps. So, ya, um…all this snow and ice so close to the houses is going to go…where? You guessed it! Right into your basement! Fun, right?

I don’t have a sump pump.

Here’s the latest report I’ve read and why I think I might be screwed: “The snowpack over the entire upper midwest remained in place or increased over the past two weeks. The amount of snow water equivalent in this snowpack is in the upper 10 percent of historical records over a widespread area…leading to high flood potential for many river basins in the area. At least half of our forecast points now indicate at least a 50% probability of reaching major flood stage.”

I don’t personally live ON the lake. I live about 4 to 5 blocks away from Lake Bemidji. I’m very happy that the lake is wayyyyy downhill. However, I have many family and friends who live on or near the 11,842 lakes and 92,000 miles of rivers, streams, and wetlands in MN. I’ve seen the Mighty Mississippi at flood stage. She IS mighty indeed. The town I live in, well the river flows through us. We are called “the first town on the Mississippi.” We are “sister” cities with New Orleans; the last city on the Mississippi. The headwaters of Ole Miss begins 35 1/2 miles from us. So, yes a lot of the snow and ice will go to feed her, along with all the water from 31 other states.

Right now though, I just don’t want all the frozen white stuff to go into my basement. I’m tired of “hide and peek.” I’m tired of sliding around on the ice, on my tires and on my feet. I’m SO very tired of being c’c’c’cold. My checking account is wondering where my money went. (All to heating costs!) Worst of all, though, my poor old body just wants to curl up into the fetal position and yell, “NO MORE, PLEASE?!” I live with a genetic disabling rare disease that causes chronic pain and the cold of this winter has exacerbated all that pain and increased it to monumental proportions. I’ve tried to help with shoveling and it hurts! I’ve fallen on the ice and it hurts! I can’t afford to turn up the heat and it hurts! I’ve been stuck in the snow so many times and have dug and slid and sug and slid and it hurts! Now flooding is coming? Ah, c’mon?!

Put a fork in me, I’m done!

 

Addendum as of 3/14/19: All this liquid has decided it wants to be inside my house via the basement. Spent 5 hours in the middle of the night using the wet/dry vac. I had just taken my folder of warranties/instruction manuals for various items out to look for something last week and just left it on the floor. MY bad. Now all those papers are spread out all over the place left to dry out. 6′ x 5′ area rug ruined. As things dry I’ll see what else is ruined.

NOT a happy camper.

Save Lives Not Guns

Just have to say it, again. For those who don’t get it. I still haven’t heard a politician say they are going to come and take away the guns from law abiding citizens. I HAVE heard that they and over 75% of the law abiding citizens in this country want to ban bump stocks, semi-auto, and automatic weapons from anyone but the police and military, instill background checks for purchasing a gun at ANY time a gun is purchased by ANYONE, make it more difficult if not impossible for people who have been convicted of any violent crime (including domestic violence or rape) to be able to purchase a gun weather or not they SEEM to be a law abiding citizen now, have a person who has HAD a diagnoses of an emotional or behavioral disorder be tested prior to purchasing a gun, but nowhere have I seen or heard that anyone would be coming into anyone’s homes to take away anyone’s guns that they legally have now. THAT would be illegal and unconstitutional and only people who don’t understand jurisprudence think that way.

The police already have voluntary programs where people can come to places, usually police stations, and hand in weapons/guns with no questions asked. This could take place if/when new gun policies ever happen. OFTEN these programs also give money to those who hand in the weapons. Also, many countries that have already done what people in the US want with these new gun policies, is to grandfather in the people who already have those types of weapons, but make sure they are registered to law abiding citizens. They are already supposed to be, right? Now all you have to do is tell the people you register with that you’ve added the bump stock, so IF the weapon is stolen they know it was already altered.

So, no. We don’t want to ban guns for law abiding citizens. Knowing who has altered their gun, who has guns, and knowing only the police and military have the correct heavy-powered weapons to fight the heavily powered bad guys seems OK though, doesn’t it?

The gun nuts keep telling us that they “know how to use their guns.” So why would a legal gun owner need an automatic weapon to protect their home? If they are such a good shot and SO good at using their weapon, if someone broke into their home and they never get nervous and are just as trained as the cops are in such a situation wouldn’t they be able to shoot as well as a cop and handle the situation accordingly the same way with just the same weapon as a street cop and hit their target?

I see no reason for every day Joe’s to own semi or automatic weapons or use bump stocks. No, not for hunting either. What is sporting about hunting with them? Either you can make your shot without them or you are a shitty shot, dude, and have one small penis. Don’t try to come at me with “what do you know about guns, liberal piece of shit.” Last time I shot a 22 caliber was about 5 years ago and I’m still an expert marksman. I’ve got the trophies to prove it. Just don’t own a gun. Don’t want one in my home. I do enjoy shooting though.

If I had one in my home, it wouldn’t do me any good if someone broke in to attack me. They would already have a gun IN their hand. How would I have time to go get mine? Duh, I’d already be dead. Really, IF you store your guns the way you’re supposed to; away from the ammo. The gun is supposed to be either locked in a cabinet or the ammo is, and/or stored up high away from any children. How would you get to it if you are about to be robbed?

If you are storing a loaded gun in your nightstand while you sleep, well THAT’s how the robbers in this country are getting away with suing the people they are trying to rob!!!!!! Because you were breaking the law! That’s also why so many youth have guns available to them for accidents, school shootings, and suicide; loaded guns in desks, closets, and drawers.

Even IF you have a license to carry, that does NOT mean everyone in your family does. When you take that weapon off it is supposed to be LOCKED UP. If it’s not and it’s used by any family member in an accident, school shooting, or suicide then I hope you feel like shit, because you are shit.

We need to fight the people who have guns illegally, not each other. Get it? We need to save lives. Get it?

Now, does anyone else want to send me a meme on Facebook about “They can take my guns out of my cold dead hands?” or “They want to take our guns away!”

Isms, White Privilege, & 1st World Problems

I recognize that I am happy to know that my white privilege keeps me, even in poverty, better off than others. I am so very glad that the bad things that have happened to me in my world have never been as bad as living in the Congo or other places dealing with genocide, female genital mutilation, child soldiers, daily air bombings like Syria, night raids when your family is taken away and women and children raped, or even in the American South where a black person gets gunned down simply for the color of their skin or anywhere in the USA Native American women go missing at high rates and it seems no one gives a damn.

Across the world women are still stoned for having healing skills or when THEY are the victims of rape and it’s said THEY bring shame to their family because of it. No, wait. That still happens right here in the US. So, too, do child marriages, it’s lawful to rape your wife in most states, and the police state in the US is being granted more and more leeway and freedom every day – including the right to beat and rape prisoners. That’s right. In most states it is lawful to rape a prisoner. That is, we know rape is illegal; however there is no law against NOT raping a prisoner.

Why write about it all? Why me? Simply because I AM white. People of color experience atrocities at profoundly high rates. It’s sickeningly ridiculous. What do we do? We continuously keep telling them to “get over it.” “Rwanda is history, slavery is history, the Indian schools is history, it’s all history, blah blah blah…” but it’s not history to their living parents, grandparents, and for some of them – living it now. We are living in times where icky “isms” of the past are coming alive again at raging rates worldwide. When those “old times” are starting to happen all over again how do we tell them to “get over it?”

That purely is white privilege speaking when telling them to get over it. Do these things not happen to white people? Of course they do, but that’s not the point. We know they happen to people of color at proportionately much higher rates. That is the point. They bring up “people conquer other peoples, that’s what history is about. The conquered people assimilate and you get over it.” Tell that to Ireland and Scotland, who are still fighting to be free countries and people who are still learning their old ancient languages. The same goes for Native tribes all over North and South America, Africa, Asia, and well virtually everywhere you find Native Tribes. I don’t think any place ever completely assimilates. The old hangs on.

The thing is, the old, they don’t have a voice. They are our memories. What happens is, many don’t want to let those memories go; memories of place, culture, peoples, and time. Whether or not those memories are good ones or not don’t matter to those who are doing the remembering. Some are remembering bad times and want revenge or justice. Some are remembering their culture and language and want to share. It is the children who grow up hearing the memories who are caught. Caught between hearing what actually was, and what is embellished upon by the rememberers, the children can also grow up with scars from the past.

When any person is asked where they are from they usually say a place. How many people answer, “I came from my loving parents,” or “I came from adoptive parents who took me in because my birth parents were killed in horrible…” due to whatever holy war or government war or war for oil or against slavery, etc, happened. How many people answer that they come from, and then go on to describe their culture instead of either a person or a place?

In the United States we don’t really have one culture to define us, unlike most countries. We have regions of culture. Each town or city may even have different areas or spots of culture. Is that good or bad? I think it is very good, yet now there are many who think the opposite. As a child growing up in the 1970’s I remember learning that the US was a “melting pot” and we were supposed to think of that as a good thing. That was supposed to be the American “culture.” The “American Dream” was supposed to be that everyone was to look forward to each generation living a bit better than the last. Yet another aspect of American culture. However, what that symbolic idealistic culture was hiding was the fact that our dreams were hiding behind white faces on the TV telling us about all this melting pot. The actual melting pot wasn’t actually meant to be seen or heard.

Governments lie, people are treated like shit. We know this. Viet Nam happened, Kennedy was killed, Martin Luther King was Killed, The 60’s tried to rebel and help and we go some new laws and thought the isms would start to die. The 70’s got lax and we celebrated the love we thought the 60’s had won – OK I’ll give ’em credit for protests. We started to go back and forth between Republican and Democrat parties defining themselves in new and profoundly worse ways every presidential election. Everyone in the parties getting farther and farther apart, separating our country. Our political parties have pushed so far apart until they are unrecognizable today and our government doesn’t recognize our people or the rights fought for back in those days.

Atrocities have happened here in the US. Yes We do horrible things to each other every day in the name of our politics, religion, beliefs, etc. We have terrible murderers, mass shootings, rapists, hell we even have ass-hats who think it’s OK to run people over with their cars simply because they are protesting something. Our near-past is full of lynching people for being black or gay, going to your house or place of worship to shoot you because you aren’t the same faith, and priests and rich college boys going free for rape. Our daily newspapers are full of horrendous and unspeakably gory crimes, yet if they are done by white people they get a lesser sentence and if they are done by a person of color – or heaven forbid – a person fleeing through our southern border, they suddenly are taking over our electronic devices and our lives.

Put it all into perspective though, would you? White people, please. Do any of the daily horrible things that you read or hear about actually affect you personally most of the time? Is your brother, sister, son, daughter, etc being  lynched or shot or followed through a store due to the color of their skin? Is your house or car fire-bombed or have a brick thrown through a window because you are gay, black, or called a witch? Yes? Ah, but how often? Now, if you were a person of color, these things would be happening to you multiple times over.

Now Americans as a whole should put it into modern perspective, too. Have we had the number of terrorist bombings here that France or other countries have had? Have we had to live through anything like a Rwandan genocide? I’m talking to white people here, because yes, our Native American brothers and sisters sure as hell have. Yes, the Indian Schools were still functioning in this last century. That’s not history. That’s modern. How about the barbarous actions in Syria? I am begging white Americans to stop whining about the trifles in their first world lives. Yes, even poor white Americans. Especially poor white Americans who keep voting for the Republicans who keep them poor. (Oops, my bad. That’s another post.)

There surely, honestly can’t be any white poor American who thinks they are worse off than a poor black person in Africa? A person living in the Syrian war? Anyone living in a cartel-ridden country in South America? If they do, then shame on them. Even if you live in a shack without running water in the South in America you can still find water to drink MOST of the time and you DO have that shack. Shit, I’m being one harsh bitch, right? I’m not stupid. I KNOW there is real abject poverty here in the USA that could be done away with if the richest 3 families in the US didn’t earn more than the bottom 50% of Americans. However, I also know that those poor families are not being bombed every day. They don’t have militia or cartels coming to their homes any time of day taking their food, or even worse, taking their family members away or raping them and then taking them or just killing them for fun.

I am part of poor America. I live below the poverty line. I am grateful that I am not being bombed, yet. With 45 in office, it’s an iffy subject. I have friends who don’t have running cars and sometimes go without running water or functioning heat. I also went to college and have a degree and a professional license. However, I became disabled and living on Social Security is not a living wage. Medicare is not a functioning health care insurance for my needs. I scrimp and save and go to food shelves.

I am so glad I don’t live in a war-torn country or anywhere else where crimes against humanity happen on a daily basis. Oh, I have to stop and laugh. I forgot who our current leader is for a moment. Sorry. No. Really. I AM happy to live here. We have SO many freedoms. I will fight tooth and nail to keep what so many in our country are trying to take away right now from so many in our beloved melting pot. I know it is my white privilege that allows me to live so freely in the US without fear. Having been a foster parent to several children of color I’ve seen the looks from the white folks. I’ve watched the managers of grocery stores follow my teen foster son for no reason. I’ve dealt with the school leaders giving harsher discipline to mine than others. There are different types and levels of fear.

I thought I knew fear. I know rape. I’ve seen the desire of a man to need to make his fist connect with my flesh, yet I held his eyes with mine in the moment of the dare and won. He may have had my body, but not the rest of my flesh. He had his moment. I wouldn’t give him more. I was able to fight back. That was but a moment in time. No, I don’t trivialize rape.  There is so much pain happening to so many people at any given moment. There are too many of the people willing to “walk on” through their days and do nothing. My white privilege allows me to get therapy and keep walking.  Can you all look into your soul and like what you see looking back? Have you looked at your isms and shaken them enough to know that you have them? Have you faced them? Do all the white people who are whining about their 1st world problems realize they are fearing what they fear in themselves?

Right now I fear I’ve rambled all over the place in this post.

The Good Life

We planted a labyrinth. OK, I didn’t actually do any of the work, no, I was out there one day I think for an hour. Not hard work, mind you, sitting on my ass digging in the dirt with a garden trowel. I’d reach every once in a while for the cardboard flat of medicinal herbs and plop its tender little life into a hole. The other women, who are much more physically healthy than I am, did all the actual diagramming of the round-a-bout lines on the ground with jamming sticks into the soil and winding a thin rope around the sticks to outline where to walk and where not to walk.

We all donated to the cause to purchase the medicinal herbs to plant, and yes, again it was the other ladies who did most of that planting around and around in circles from the outside of the labyrinth to the center. It was large, I believe it was about 100 feet across in diameter. One lady and her husband and son owned the land it was on, way out in the country, next to the Mississippi River. When we were quietly working we could hear the river, but from the labyrinth we couldn’t see it. It was also a bit of a trek to get out to it from their house, at least 10 minutes to the clearing through the forest. To get to their house you also had to drive about 20 minutes from town.

We gathered there on Full Moons, Sabbats, and other celebrations. We ate marvelous food,  shared delightful conversation, and laughed until our sides ached.  Some of us went out to the labyrinth alone at times to meditate, pray, seek guidance, cry, or for another calls or needs. It was for women, though, for women’s synergy, partnership, and unity. It was for bearing each other’s good and bad and putting it back into the soil to turn back into Mother Nature, and all we could take away from it was the good bounty of medicine we’d grown and positivism and nurturance.

I had been out there alone one afternoon. I had come to the bottom of all I could endure and I was facing blackness all around me. I’d been to that pit before and I recognized it. Despair and depression, anger and suffering, and longing and I couldn’t hold it in. I should not have gone alone. I did put it into the ground, but I did not “ground” myself. I forgot to thank and walked away with dragging feet and unanswered tears and shouted cries. That night, lightning struck the rock I’d “placed” my anger within. If you’ve ever seen a rock that’s been struck by lightning, it’s pretty cool. For lightning to strike the exact center of our labyrinth, after I’d been out there-the last person to have been out there-is like what, one in a zillion?

The next day the owner of the land was calling us all to figure out the who and what. So, I the guilty party had to be present as we all gathered to heal the labyrinth. From the time we all arrived, yes, all eyes were on me. I had to be “healed”, too. It’s not as embarrassing as it sounds to have a gathering of supportive women to “cradle” you in a dark hour. I laid it out as best I could about what was going on in my life, all my needs, etc. No, of course they really couldn’t help, it was medical stuff mixed with my messed-up family stuff. Just having it out there and shared and knowing I wasn’t alone really did help. I could still feel that eyes were watching me though, but not from the group of women, this feeling was coming from the forest. It was behind me.

Whoever was watching me wasn’t bad. It didn’t make me feel creepy either. I just knew someone was still watching me. The feeling was moving around, from place to place, like telling me to hurry up. So, the women gave me healing hugs, told me healing stories, we danced “like no one is watching,” and giggled and laughed like cackling idiots. We went back to the house, walking through the wooded path with “someone” still watching me. I mentioned it to the owner of the house and she looked at me and smiled. As the other women were getting all the mouthwatering food ready to eat she took me aside. She gave me an stunning shawl that she had handmade, saying she’d thought healing thoughts for me while making it. She also said that was one of two things she had to give me, but the other had to wait.

Those “eye” still watched me from outside while I ate. Now it felt like someone endearing me to “please share?” I can’t tell you how I knew these thoughts. They just popped into my mind from out of nowhere. How could this “someone” know I was enjoying a sumptuous repast inside the house? What on earth was going on? Finally, it was getting late and I really did need to get home to my child. The ladies gifted me with the lightning stabbed rock to take home and leftover mini-doughnuts: one package of cinnamon flavor and one package of powdered sugar. The owner walked me to the door and to my car, and as I opened the back door to place all my “gifts”; out of the woods a black shadow suddenly charged and jumped into the backseat! The owner of the land said, “we’re all allergic, but she showed up last night after the storm. I figure since she’s been watching you all day she must be yours.”

A black cat imperiously sat on the back seat. Not afraid of us or anything. She came towards me, meowed, and rubbed against my arm and said “hello human.” Since she wasn’t afraid of people I figure she’d been thrown away by someone, just like me. I thanked my host for ALL of the gifts, told the cat she could stay, and got into the front seat and shut the door. She wasn’t very old, a little less than 2 years old, maybe? Skinny. Beautiful golden eyes. A very long cat with long legs and short sleek black fur. My infant would love to pull its tail. I did have one cat at home already. My sister called me one day and asked if I’d take hers before her asshole husband killed it. Of course I did. Tempest was a black & white very fluffy long-hair that slept with my son, sat next to my son always. I think that cat thought my son was hers.

As I drove home, the “eyes” stopped. I figured the cat had fallen asleep. My friend and I were deep in conversation anyway. Suddenly my friend burst out laughing! She told me I didn’t need to think of a name for my cat; it had one. What? She was busy eating the ENTIRE bag of cinnamon doughnuts! So, OK golden eyes, those cinnamon looking golden eyes…you are hereby dubbed: Cinnamon. When I said it she looked up long enough to give us a loud “meow,” so I guess that was an OK.

She was right at home in my adobe. When I brought her into the house she went right for the couch, like she’d been there before, lay down and went to sleep. Well, she did have a very full stomach. She and Tempest got along, too. They played together and they both loved my son. She never cared when getting her tail pulled or an entire handful of fur or an ear. I actually lived in a mobile home. As my son grew, their favorite games were throwing super balls down the hallway and watching Cinnamon chase them bouncing around or rolling Hot Wheels down the hall and watching Cinn try to catch them while on the tracks or off the “jumps” and ramps.

When my son was three we moved across town into a house. The cats didn’t mind the move. Actually, it was Cinnamon who alerted me to wake up when the house was on fire! A guy had been putting insulation in the attic earlier in the day and his light had started it on fire, but he’d thought he’d put it out. 2 AM ,Cinnamon on my feet, I awoke to the nastiest smell I’ve ever smelled. It was difficult to completely wake, though. I then wandered the house trying to figure out the smell. I went outside and saw flames coming out of the side of my house! I ran inside to get my son, but he was difficult to wake, too and the fire was burning inside his closet. I half held, half dragged him outside into the snow. It was Easter Sunday in MN, so yes, snow on the ground. I left him standing in the snow and went back inside to find the phone. I didn’t have a cell phone. I called 911 and went back outside to wait. They came, we both got oxygen for our coughing, and we cried for them to find our cats who had disappeared.

We were homeless for 2 months. The cats were found and housed in a kennel while I at first went from the couch at my sister’s, then to a room at my brother’s then to a hotel for a month, because as I stated earlier my family is screwed up. Getting back into our home and getting back to our beloved cats was a blessing. My son had lost everything in his room, but he had his Tempest. Yes, Tempest had become HIS. Tempest was his world. Cinnamon had become mine. We share a rare bone disease. Every time my son is injured Tempest was there. Tempest was better than ANY medication. Going 2 months without our cats was horrible. Cinnamon had saved our lives.

I believe Cinnamon was our/my body guard or something. At least she thought so. At times she was sort of like having a dog around. A watch cat. She always stayed in the yard when we were outside. If people were walking by she walked the perimeter of the yard, making sure they didn’t come over the threshold. If a dog was walking by with someone, oh boy did that dog get the stink-eye! IF a dog was on its own and came into the yard she actually chased them out of the yard! Yes, dogs were afraid of my cat. She turned into a big cat, too. At her biggest she weighed 18 pounds. She didn’t look round either. She was just big.

I am an animal lover. So is my son. At one time he even thought of becoming a veterinarian. He discovered how long they have to go to school though, and thought better of that. We volunteered at the local humane society taking care of cats and walking dogs. Mostly taking care of the cats. My sister called one day and said there was a couple of strays at her work and could I help. My son and I went to help. We caught them. Now what to do? I found a home for the adult male, but couldn’t say no to my son about the yearling. So now we had three cats. This one is a tortoise shell who was very well camouflaged under the bushes at my sister’s restaurant. Hence her new name: Camouflage, Cami for short. The other two cats didn’t seems to mind, too much.

A short year later a friend’s daughter’s cat had kittens and the mom said no, they couldn’t keep them. I made the mistake of visiting before she gave them all away. Now we added a little black runt of the litter to our house. The first male of the brood, hmmm, how would THIS go over? The first real kitten, too. OMG, yes, holes in the curtains and holes in my legs! Those little claws are hypodermic needles! Cinnamon was having none of it. My son LOVED it! This little guy was quite the acrobat and he played fetch! Right away he, like, did flying jump aerials off the walls! My son is a computer, Xbox playing total nerd. This kitten was named: Ninja! Cinnamon and Tempest and Cami DID get used to having a kitten around, eventually. I think it even perked them up and rejuvenated them a bit.

We had a few years with the four cats running around playing together. Tempest became the matriarch and Cinnamon the bouncer. I tried to teach them all to use a leash. That did NOT work. Older cats will not do it. I though since Ninja was a kitten we could teach him, but nope. He was just too energetic and was not gonna wear something that might “keep him down.” Cami, she dances to a different drum. I made all the cats become indoor cats. They live longer that way, and it’s easier to keep track of them. No way was Cami going to do that. She is some kind of Houdini. She can slip between legs, open door slots the size of a pea, I swear it. I can NOT keep her inside the house. I can’t keep a collar on her either. I’ve tried all sorts of collars. She can get out of them all. She will get out of them, or die trying. She also goes on walkabouts. Yup. She disappears. In the summer she will be gone for 2 months at a time. Just when we’ve given up hope and think she’s been killed by something, she’ll come trotting up the driveway. She’ll be just a little thin, with a Cheshire grin on her face.

Drat. They figured us out. My nephew called and said there was a little cat behind the dumpster at his job. Said she was half frozen and would I rescue her, please Auntie? Oh, hell, of course. Another black one. This one has thumbs. No kidding, she looks like she’s wearing mittens. We soon discover her cuteness is a disguise so she can use these to grab your food while you’re sucked in by her itty bitty little cutey face. Yes, this polydactyle (geeze, I know I’m spelling that wrong,) creature uses this feature to actually stick out her thumb and inch it forward to grab things, like food off your plate. Like the Madagascar Penguins: You See Nothing. When we received her it was obvious that she had just given birth, as all her “plates” were set. We assume they froze to death, poor dears. So we named her “Lil’ Mama in remembrance to her lost litter. She stayed little, sort of. She is a short, stubby legged, little round barrel.

Don’t shake your head at us, yes, we did it again. I have since learned to say no. The elders, Tempest and Cinnamon, took me aside and begged me to say no. A lady called and said a cat showed up. She had large dogs and didn’t want this cat. Would I? Could I find it a home? She was SOOO cute? Totally white! C’mon, we had black cats. We had to keep the white one. It was Feng Shui! It was Yin and Yang! It was Karma! Her moniker became: Blizzard. Perfect for a MN cat. Until she grew up and her coat told us she was Siamese. My son then said, OK so there’s dirt swirling around in the blizzard. Sure, that actually makes sense for a cat that plays tag with herself at 10 PM every  night. Well, I think that’s what she’s doing anyway. Not quite sure why she runs around to every room at that time of night, every cotton-pickin’ night. At midnight she and Mama play tag together. It’s like elephants rumbling around the house.

Don’t let dog-lovers tell you that cats are boring. They like to say that cats don’t play. Phooey! Apparently they have never seen more than one cat at a time. Cats like to play “wrestle” just like rag-tag little boys. It’s a silent pantomime of what the big cats do to their prey in the wild. It’s a lot like watching a pro boxing match, except there’s teeth involved. Cats also like to play tag; a lot. This game is best played when humans are around so you can be underfoot. Also, you have to tag the tail or it isn’t a true tag and you are still “it.” I’ve seen that. The same cat really does have to still go after the other one. Cats will also play hide-and-seek. Hiding under the chair that a human is currently occupying is the BEST hiding place, because waiting on top of the chair until you come out an inch at a time to peek, then the cat who is “it” runs down the human to “find” you is the best way to find you. Tag-team playing with human feet is allowed ONLY if ONE of you gets the sock. Chasing your own tail is only allowed within the confines of the human bathtub.

That last one was Cinnamon’s game. I never could actually catch her on camera playing it. When I’d see her in the bathtub chasing her tail in circles, I’d turn to go get my phone and if she saw me, wham, out of the tub. She was done. I have no proof. I couldn’t get her playing ANYTHING on camera! Like she just wasn’t going to allow me proof that she would ever do anything beneath being stoic. The old bodyguard standing watch over her family. If the herd, the other cats, got out of line and got too close to her, she just squashed them, literally. She’d put out a giant paw and squish their head down to the floor! Floof! As if to say, “stop it.” If they really pissed her off, which I can honestly say I only saw I think twice, she had a killer fast right paw that struck out so fast you could hardly see it, that hit 5 times in a row really really hard. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. I saw her do it to a dog, and it dazed the dog. I got in between her paw and the cat she was going to do it too when she got senile, and my hand went numb. She hit hard. She also had 6 toes, so her paw was large.

We’ve been in this house for 15 years now. A lively house with a family of 6 cats and two humans. We’ve had two other boys come and go, friends of my son who lived with us for a while. They loved the cats, too. A couple of other women lived here, too, friends of mine. It’s a small house, but full of love for our furry members. Tempest made it to 23 years old before we had to let her go. She nursed my son through 80+ broken bones and 10 surgeries. Cinnamon crossed that bridge two weeks ago, she was around 20. We grow ’em old here. Putting her “out of pain” was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

She was the bestest best friend I ever had. My constant companion. My best listener. My secret keeper. My tear dryer. She helped me to keep my courage when things were at the worst, for dignity is what a cat does best. I can see the days past when it was her who chased away strangers on my lawn. It was her who attacked any dogs, up to 4 times her size, that came near us, to protect us. She ruled this roost with an iron paw and kept all the other cats in line. She found me after someone else threw her away. Their loss was my gain. Her first hungry meal in my back seat of that bag of cinnamon doughnuts sealed the deal. Friends to the end. She became an elder and we taught each other a lot. We were together for 18 long years, but she was at least 20 or so (in human years anyway.)

The other cats sniffed around looking for their elder friend and seemed a little confused since she is not in her regular places. There is a palpable empty feeling, a definite knowledge that one is missing. A feeling in the room that is gone. Her essence, or aura, was so “there”, so felt. I think it will take a few days for it to all fade. She’s under the large Lilac with Tempest now. They liked to lie there in the shade in the summer and roll in the catnip. I let her outside her last day. One more time to walk in the sunshine. It was a beautiful day. She taught me a lot about mothering and a lot about chasing my tail with dignity. That’s what’s it’s about, right? Living the Good Life.

The Fire In Me Smolders

They say outside today is a Red Flag Day. It’s 40 to 50 MPH wind gusts and only 20% humidity. Our area hasn’t received enough rain for the season. Put it all together and I guess that adds up to: duh, stupid people should try to remember not to throw their cigarette butts on the ground or burn brush today. I say “stupid people”, because that seems like a no-brainer to me.

So, just because someone “planned” to burn their brush pile today, or “planned” to have friends over for that outside fire with wieners and marshmallows, they’re still gonna do it. Why? Because that’s how they planned to do it, and by golly why should they change their plans just because the wind didn’t cooperate? I say, they’re stupid. It’s very easy to change plans and just do it on another day, but humans don’t like change. They like to make plans and stick to ’em. Why, it’s rude not to, right? Dumb-assess. It might not burn down YOUR house, but gee it could put your neighbor’s house in jeopardy. Or a person, like the fireman that has to be called, because of your stupidity.

When I say stuff like this people look at me like I’M the one who’s rude. Like there’s no possible way one cigarette is going to start a fire. I’m sure all the dead people in California feel that way right now. Try to say that with a straight face to their loved ones.

Just because we live in MN doesn’t mean we don’t have wildfires. In 1894 we had the worst one in Hinckley that killed 418 people and destroyed 12 towns and burned 350,000 acres. That was a drought year like this one and the fire was started by a small brush fire. In 1910 the Baudette fire also burned my small hometown of Roosevelt killing 42 people 300,000 acres and other small towns. It was a drought year and was started by sparks from trains going by. Let’s skip to modern days to the Ham Lake Fire that burned 76,000 acres and was started by a campfire. How about the 2011 Pagami Creek, Ely Fire that burned 93,000 acres that was started by drought/lightning. All of the MN wildfires in drought years have been started from things you would expect: sparks from trains, campfires, small brush fires, lightning and cigarettes.

As I sit here writing this I spun over to google just to check on the stupid humans. Sure enough, there’s a fire on the DNR website that burned 400 acres about 100 miles from my current town, cause: human. I just sit shaking my head. It just takes a “special” someone to go out and (“not” think) and play with fire when the winds are blowin’.

The 2017 western wildfire season has been unprecedented in terms of large, long-duration fires. As of Sept. 15, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reports a total of nearly 49,500 wildfires this summer with almost 8.4 million acres burned. I wonder how much of that was, cause: human. Yes, I realize a lot of it could be started by lightning or sparks from, well, anything. Realistically though, humans just live too close together and don’t have enough space between their homes and their stuff and fire-fuel. In a drought there is “fuel” everywhere. Our homes are just too close together and flames just jump from one roof to another in a chain effect like a cartoon image of an animated flame-thrower just grinning from ear to ear telling his mom, “look ma, no hands,” as the flames are effortlessly jumping from house to house in a giddy little dance.

It just makes me smolder inside as we continue to encroach on more wilderness to build more housing complexes without thinking ahead about fire season. Contractors, construction builders, and city planners should take these things into consideration prior to building. People will just keep moving into these area of housing as long as we keeping building them. It will take education, as always, to make people understand how to keep your home fire safe. A large buffer around your home between your home and your outside stuff and any wilderness “fuel” and the next home is necessary. We can’t just keep on building houses within arms reach of each other. The high loss of life will just keep continuing until we learn our lessons.

Yes, Nature will be nature and continues on through fire and renews itself. Stuff can be replaced. Even homes can be replaced. I just think the 7 billion people on this planet could use what’s between our ears to think more often, educate better, and maybe figure out how to continue our own species without taking out the others on all those acres. I don’t know the answers. I just know, cause: human, makes me smolder.