Rainy Day Writing

Writing, Reading, Inspirations and Aspirations

Red Wine Fueled Musings of an Embarrassingly Average Senior Lady

I feel so grown up. You see, I’m drinking a glass of wine!

All by myself! In front of my laptop!

I feel downright Sylvia Plath-ish.

I can’t remember the last time I did this. Mainly because I’m two sips in and already feeling it in my head. What a lightweight!

Furthermore, this wine is red. 14 Hands Hot to Trot Smooth Red Blend. I like it, actually. Which is a little surprising.

You see, I am not a huge red wine fan. I prefer something light, a little fruity but dry, not sweet but not overly acidic. Like Pinot Grigio, some Chardonnays, or even a bubbly Prosecco. None of which go to my head after two sips.

Speaking of going to my head, I need a feckin haircut so bad my mirror won’t even look at me anymore.

I am relieved that winter is coming so I can hide my shame beneath a fun knitted hat.

You see, I love my hairdresser like a sister, but I also detect that she is an anti-vaxxer. Last time I was there she shared that she would not be getting the vaccine because she has an immune system issue. Then went on to tell me that she believed her husband had gotten the virus early in the pandemic so she possibly had covid anti-bodies. Then finished by telling me she thinks she has a good immune system and would likely be okay if she got sick.

It all seemed vaguely contradictory to me, but I hope to God she is right. Because I do love her a lot.

So for the time being, I am trimming my own hair while waiting, with mounting frustration and disappointment, for the virus to stop killing us.

And yes, I look like shit.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, Red Wine!

The reason I’m sipping red wine in spite of it’s curiously inebriating effects on me is that my doctor gave me the “You have six months to get it together or you will need to go on medication for your pre-diabetes, high cholesterol issues” lecture.

Ugh! So the reality of my situation is that I am not a special 63 year old highly fit and probably gonna live to 95 years old American woman, despite my past life as an aerobics instructor. I’m so ordinary and average it disgusts me.

You mean all that kicking and scratching (as the old man loved to refer to it back in the day) did not provide me with residual immunity to these diseases of lifestyle so exasperatingly common to the typical aging American? WTH?

Of course the old man and I discussed this because we basically take all our meals together. And sleep together. And tag around with one another, (and Cosmo), pretty much 24/7. Which takes a toll sometimes.

But that is a different post of a more delicate nature and we won’t get into that here.

So after a little discussion about how we need to change our diets to keep me from dying, he suggested I should start drinking a glass of red wine a day. Which was crafty, because he doesn’t drink. But he does eat a lot. So this one dietary change he suggested I should try to get my lipid levels down will have zero effect on his culinary life. See. Crafty.

But what the hell. I’m game. Far be it from me to change the status quo around here just because I might die at any moment from embarrassingly run of the mill causes if I don’t get my shit together soon.

So here I am, drinking my glass of wine, wobbly in the head, losing my train of thought, battling a red wine headache.

And this is just day one.

Something tells me it’s going to be a long six months.

I hope you are faring well peeps.

An Antidote for Environmental Despair — Hakai Magazine

Reposted from Hakai Magazine.

As the environmental problems facing our world compound, despair may feel like a rational response. In her new book, Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis, environmental scholar Elin Kelsey makes an evidence-based argument for choosing hope over despair. Kelsey holds up examples of how ecosystems—including along…

An Antidote for Environmental Despair — Hakai Magazine

Ponderous Questions to Ponder

I didn’t write much in 2020. I never felt like I had enough wisdom to write insightfully about anything important and I lacked the proper frame of mind to write light and witty.

I wish I had the gift of someone like Dave Chappelle who can cut to the quick and make you laugh simultaneously. I don’t.

I’m not sure I feel any wiser or funnier at the moment, but it’s a new year so it can’t hurt to make a new effort.

Last year was hard. Devastating, actually.

This year felt more hopeful, but the hope was fragile, at best, and was swiftly and seriously damaged by the events that took place in D.C. on Wednesday.

As always, I find myself responding to tragic events by questioning everything in hopes of gaining some understanding. This is the bane of my psyche. The need to understand things.

Looking for answers starts with questions, so I want to share some that have been on my mind, not in an attempt to explain them or provide answers, but just to get them out of my head and onto the page. Give them some light.

These are some of the questions that the events of the past year have brought to mind:

  • When did condemning violence become a political exercise instead of a moral obligation?
  • At what point did we choose to not just edit truth but to abandon it to fit our purposes? Or has it always been so?
  • Why do we fear paying higher taxes for universal healthcare more than we fear losing everything in the event of a debilitating accident or serious illness?
  • What do we gain by perpetuating national myths about American exceptionalism in the face of massive fails that threaten to rend the fabric of our society and threaten our democracy?
  • Why did the folks who thought they were going to save American democracy this week dress and act like characters from:
  • A. The Beverly Hillbillies
  • B. Call of Duty
  • C. A Midsomer Night’s Dream
  • When was Dumb and Dumber elevated from adolescent dumbass comedy into inspirational historical fiction?
  • Is South Park inspired by Satan or is it legitimate social commentary?
  • Can you serve God and Money or is it God or Money? Ditto the NRA.
  • What is more authoritarian, condemnation and punishment of the press, political opponents and dissenters, or collecting taxes to fund a more fair and equitable system of government for everyone?
  • What isn’t Fascist about politicians, voters and media personalities requiring police protection due to threats of violence and even death at the hands of militant militia members?
  • Can we even discuss or debate politics anymore without devolving into demonizing one another, or is it just too much fun the way it is?
  • Are you tired of all the drama and chaos yet?
  • Are you ready for a change?

Yeah, me too.

Happy New year. Here’s to new efforts to serve, protect and humor each other.

Copyright: 2021 by Ilona Elliott

Enfold Yourself in Small Comforts — Live & Learn

A NY Times editorial by Margaret Renkyl.

Reblogged from the always inspiring Live & Learn blog by David Kanigan.

The scent of sun-dried sheets fresh off the clothesline can completely change my state of mind. Like the sense of well-being that comes over me when a song from my youth is playing on the radio, the smell of line-dried sheets takes me home to Alabama, back to a time when all my beloved elders […]

Enfold Yourself in Small Comforts — Live & Learn

A World Without Men, Amen

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Photo: Ilona Elliott

The trees and the clouds are just as beautiful as ever.

The mountains just as substantial.

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Tatoosh view by Ilona Elliott

The oceans as steady.

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Photo by Ilona Elliott

The stars are as bright

low angle photograph of stars

Photo by Jeff Nissen on Pexels.com

…as ever.

 

The birds, bunnies and bees carry on in the garden with blissful disregard for upheavals in the world of men.

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Photo by Ilona Elliott

 

This sense of self that man seems to possess with such abundance feels like it will be our undoing.

I love God’s world with unwavering passion but the moral constructs of the world of men are a frustration and a misery.

©2020 by Ilona Elliott

 

 

Pandemics, Proselytizers, Politics and Pollsters

Maybe, as he’s getting closer to death, he is hedging his bets…

Continue reading

Sheltering in Place: The Natural Order of Things

This got me thinking about how mothers respond to crisis. In most species, they quickly gather their brood under their wings, or in the center of the herd, or back into the den, and they wait out the threat, choosing fight over flight only when it is absolutely necessary.

Continue reading

If This is Not the Worst Day of Your Life Then Please Shut Up and Go Home

There are no milestones to mark the days.

No deadlines to meet. No appointments to keep.

Fridays = Shields and Brooks on the Newshour, as always. Fifteen minutes of news commentary that lulls me into believing that the United States is still a tolerant place.

Costco opens it’s doors now from 8-9 am for senior shoppers. Half of me wants to jump up and down about it, the other half hopes they turn me away for being way too young…(I’m not and they didn’t.)

Videos from Yosemite and Yellowstone record that in the absence of humans, Bison, Bear, Wolves and Coyote now roam freely through the streets of our National Parks. Oh to be a fly on the canyon walls right now.

Here in the hood, the grass is Gatorade green. The orchard will likely be in full bloom tomorrow. There is a beautifully constructed but oddly empty new bird’s nest in the rhododendron.

On our daily walks we can’t help but comment on the clarity of the sky and the quality of the light behind the silhouettes of tall trees. Everything seems to have suddenly switched to high-def.

But the exhilaration that normally accompanies Spring is subdued. Everything feels tamped down by bad news, even as the northern hemisphere slowly tilts toward the sun  and the natural world enjoys some much needed down time.

We decided not to shop in our local community stores, where we do small scale grocery and hardware runs on a regular basis. There are no social distancing measures being practiced in the downtown businesses. Employees don’t wear masks. Checkout lines are not delineated at safe intervals.  Even the lone local police man wanders around in public without a mask.

This is a pretty conservative area and I can sense that some of the natives are getting restless.

My state was one of the first to get hit with the virus and one of the first to institute safety guidelines and then business and school closures in an attempt to contain public spread of the disease.

As a result, our death toll was never what models said it would be before the Governor made those difficult decisions. Because it is working.

But a minority of residents are making a lot of noise about these restrictions. They gather at public rallies designed to flaunt their fearlessness in the face of a dangerous pandemic. In so doing, they are endangering themselves, their families, and their communities.

Some comment on social media that they would rather die than have their liberties taken from them. This is pure ignorance. They have no clue how this virus kills people.

It’s called oxygen starvation.

I’m certain that none of these “patriots” has ever sat at the bedside of a loved one dying from oxygen starvation.

I have. It’s no way to die.

It’s traumatic and terrifying and unholy. Bearing witness to it is a PTSD inducing experience. The sights and the sounds of it will wake you up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night for years.

It’s probably the single most difficult thing about this pandemic for me:

Knowing that people are dying like this, and most often, dying alone.

No loved one can stroke their forehead. No loved one can hold their hand.

And knowing that our doctors and nurses are bearing witness to these lonely, difficult deaths, sometimes after caring for patients for weeks. It’s devastating.

The toll that this pandemic is taking on our healthcare workers cannot be quantified.

We all owe them a huge debt. They are soldiers on the front lines of a horrible battle.

The toll that this pandemic will take on our economy will likely be huge.

I understand that this is all challenging peoples patience, their bank accounts and finances, their careers. Everyone is having bad hair days. Everyone wants a beer and a burger.

But people are dying.

And people are fighting valiantly to save lives–working grueling schedules then sleeping in motels or sending their children to relatives to protect them from what they know is a horrible disease.

Some of them will die themselves. Some will infect their families.

Some will spend the rest of their lives wondering if they did the right thing…If they did enough.

What I’m saying is this:

People are making huge sacrifices for this country right now.

This is not the time to agitate.

This is the time to cooperate.

Take this advice with a grain of salt:

If this is not the worst day of your life, then please, shut up and go home.

Then you will have earned the right to call yourself a patriot.

©2020 by Ilona Elliott

 

 

What I Miss Right Now…

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Walks on the Beach.

Playgrounds full of red cheeked children.

The freedom to hug and be hugged.

The anticipation of summer concert people dancing on the grass.

A normal day at the grocery store.

A face that doesn’t itch like poison ivy every time I’m in public.

Ditto for the urge to sneeze.

The assumption that my sore throat and headache are nothing serious.

The skin on the backs of my hands.

Gatherings of friends.

The camaraderie and creative buzz of art workshops.

Uninhibited travel.

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Mt. Rainier National Park

Unrestrained laughter.

My sister.

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Goofing around with sis.

The certainty that we all value the lives of our neighbors more than we value their ability to contribute to our economy.

Leaders who lead with patience, humility and respect for our institutions.

Barack and Michelle Obama.

The idea that America’s legacy transcends our economics and the empire building of oligarchs.

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Photos by the author

 

And, ugh, I never thought I would miss this…

Silly, pointless news stories.

Yeah, even that.

Remain safe, be well, stay healthy.

And tell me what you miss.

Me and Cosmo

The Author (on the right)

©2020 by Ilona Elliott

 

 

 

 

The Spirit of Italy is Alive and Well

The people in Italy are serenading one another from open windows and balconies. I hope the dying can hear them.

Dio Benedica L’Italia.

 

 

 

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