West Coast Bicycle Adventure

I passed this young woman riding her bike along the side of Chuckanut. Her bike was loaded with supplies – the coolest thing she had on there was a cheery little sunbonnet. I went to The Sisters for my lavender iced tea, and as I was getting back in my car she rode by on her bike. I asked her if she’d like something cold to drink from the Sisters and she said yes, that would be great. She ordered a strawberry lemonade and we sat down at the picnic table for a quick chat. She was very cool. Her name is Kathleen (she goes by Kasey), and she’s traveling on her bike from Alaska to San Diego. (!) She hails from jolly olde England and has a wonderful accent.

Here’s the URL to her blog: https://uphilldownhillrepeat.wordpress.com/

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Kathleen Pollitt

“Just Farting Around”

Brought Moz and Dad (98) over today to watch The Sound of Music and to give Dad a chance to watercolor on my dining room table. I told him on the drive over that this time it was just for him – he wasn’t going to be painting for anyone else. So I brought in his paints, set out his watercolor paper, and went into the family room to start The Sound of Music for Moz – and by the time I got back to Dad he’d already started painting! I asked him what he was painting, and he said he was “just farting around.” I watched him for a bit, as a mountain emerged on his paper, and I asked him what mountain he was painting there, and he said, “It could be any mountain.”

He didn’t finish today. After he’d laid down the background and a few trees he went in and watched The Sound of Music with Moz. I told him I was going to bring him back sometime soon to work some more on his painting, and he nodded his head and said, “Okay.” I told him I’d keep his paints here because this is a nice quiet place for him to work, and he won’t have a lot of interruptions here, and he said, “Yeah. That’s good.”

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Dad Painting

“Democracy isn’t a spectator sport.”

“Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth, or Love—be it song, sermon, or Science—blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table, feeding the hungry and giving living waters to the thirsty.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Man, I am really going to miss President Obama. I’m sitting here, wiping the tears and snot from my face, having just listened to his speech. We have been so blest to have him at the helm the last eight years. Here are some quotes from his speech that really inspired me (and I really needed to feel some inspiration right now):

“It can be frustrating, this business of democracy. Trust me, I know… when the other side refuses to compromise… (but) I promise you when we keep at it, when we change enough minds… then progress does happen. Democracy works, America. But we gotta want it. Not just during an election year, but during all the years in between. We all need to be as vocal and persistent as Bernie Sanders’s supporters have been this election… Feel the Bern! “
– Pres. Obama

“The American dream is something no wall will ever contain.”
– Pres. Obama

“We can honor police and treat every community fairly – we can do that.”
– Pres. Obama

“Democracy doesn’t work if we constantly demonize each other. For progress to happen we have to listen to each other and see ourselves in each other and… fight to find common ground.”
– Pres. Obama

“Democracy isn’t a spectactor sport. It isn’t about yes, he will. It’s about yes, WE can.”
– Pres. Obama

“America is already great… and I’ll tell you that our greatness does not depend on Donald Trump. He’s betting that if he scares enough people he might just score enough points to win this election… He’s selling the American people short. We’re not a fragile people. We’re not a frightened people… we don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations “WE hold these truths to be self-evident…” It’s not about what one person can do FOR us, but what we can achieve together.”
– Pres. Obama

“We’re not done perfecting our union…and that work involves a big choice this November… this is not your typical election… this is a more fundamental choice about who we are as a people and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self government…what we heard in Cleveland wasn’t particularly Republican, and it certainly wasn’t conservative… (when) we turn away from each other and isolate ourselves from the world… that is not the America i know. The America i know is full of courage and optimism… decent and generous… we are challenged to do better, to be better…(as I’ve traveled around the country) what I have seen more than anything is what is right with America…I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas.. ready to seize what ought to be… I see an America of every party, every background, every faith…. who believe we are stronger together… that’s the America I know.”
– Pres. Obama

In 2012 I was a delegate for Pres. Obama at the 2012 Washington State Democratic Convention. Here I am with Cory Booker. Yeah, I was a little excited. 🙂

Cory Booker and Karen

Blogger Recognition Award

Robert Goldstein nominated me for The Blogger Recognition Award this morning. Isn’t that cool? 🙂 I have witnessed, first-hand, Robert’s generosity and support of other bloggers. Nominating me for this award is an example of his generosity.

The rules of this award are:

  1. Explain how and why you started this blog.
  2. Offer advice to new bloggers.
  3. Nominate other bloggers for the award.

I started this blog five years ago. I was in a transition at the time – exiting from a 20-year career as a public school teacher, and unsure of what I was supposed to do next. Working on the blog gave me something to DO – gave me some structure and a sense of purpose. It also became a journal of sorts – chronicling the changes in my life – my adventures and misadventures and all that I was learning. This blog has given me the opportunity to connect with other writers and photographers, and a world full of people who want to contribute something positive to our world.

My advice to new bloggers? Be like Robert. 🙂 Reach out to other bloggers. Check out their blogs. Take the time to comment on the posts that really touch you. Become a part of the blogging community.

I nominate –
Austin Hodgens @ https://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com/
for the healthy, much-needed laughter he provides the world

Rob Moses @ https://robmosesphotography.com/
for the beauty and heart he brings to the world through his photography

Izrael @ https://mylifeasizrael.wordpress.com/
for his courage and honesty

There are so many other folks I could nominate for this award – all of them worthy of recognition. But three seems like the just right number somehow.

None of these nominees is obligated to accept this award or do anything with it.  🙂

blogger recognition award

 

 

 

Forum Friendships

When the heart speaks, however simple the words, its language is always acceptable to those who have hearts.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Nine years ago, as I was entering a challenging period in my life, I clicked on a button at the bottom of my book’s page on Amazon and found myself in a zany world of Christians, atheists, Buddhists, pagans, and other assorted folks engaged in dialogue about religion. I was fascinated by what I saw there. I laughed out loud. At times my mouth literally fell open in disbelief. I was moved. I was inspired. I was disturbed. I was informed.

I tentatively put my toe in the forum waters and soon found myself sucked into the current and pulled into a rollicking, outrageous, epic verbal adventure. Ohmygosh! It was an amazing trip! As I was thrown here and there by the currents, bouncing around ad hominem boulders, I reached up to a raft going by, and the folks in the raft reached down and pulled me into their daring, laughing midst. Without further ado, they handed me an oar and made me one of their crew. They became my friends.

I was the only Christian Scientist in the crew. My crew mates were atheists, Christians, Buddhists, wiccans – some believed in a god, some did not. But they all had a couple things in common that, for me, were more important than whether they believed in a god or not – they all had the ability to laugh at themselves; and they were all enlisted in battling self-righteous busybody bullying and meanness.

Soon after I got on the forum I got it into my head to start my own religion. I named it Humoristianity. Here are the tenets of my faith:

1) You must be able to laugh at yourself.

2) You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others.

3) You must want nothing but good for everyone, everywhere in the universe.

4) You must have a natural aversion to meetings, committees, and scheduled events (as we will be having none of those).

5) You must enjoy the humor of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Tom Lehrer, and Jerry Seinfeld (if you’re a Jerry Lewis kind of guy, you might want to think about starting your own religion – although we wish you nothing but good).

My friends soon joined me in the Humoristian temple. We gave each other grandiose titles and set forth to conquer the world with humor. The conquering-the-world thing never really came to pass. But we did get a book out of it: The Humoristian Chronicles: A Most Unusual Fellowship.

For me, the most amazing things to come out of that time on the forum were the incredible and lasting friendships that were made there. In some ways these friends knew me better than my off-line friends because we had talked with each other about things that people rarely talk about in normal, polite conversation – we’d talked about our most deeply-held beliefs about God and life and the universe. We’d shared our doubts and our fears and our triumphs with each other. We got to know each other through our thoughts and words before we got to know each other in the person. It was a rare and beautiful opportunity.

During my time on the forum I was also working my way through a terrible depression – something I’d never experienced before. When I clicked into the forum I was allowed to escape, for a time, from the world of depression, and into a world of laughter – into a world where people actually wanted to hear what I had to say, and listened, and responded with kindness. Later, when I was telling a psychologist about my experience on the forum – suggesting to her that I might have actually been addicted to it – she told me, no, it looked like I had instinctively done something really healthy for myself; I had found something that was helpful to me and helped me cope.

Through the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of my forum friends in the person. I have never been disappointed by the people they are in “real” life. They have been a blessing to me.

Yesterday my husband (who has met several of my forum friends with me) and I met my forum friend, Craig, and his wife, for lunch. Craig and his wife are from Jamaica, but they are currently living in Dubai. The last month they’ve been vacationing in the USA – traveling up the west coast – and, happily, I live on their route. Craig and his wife are WONDERFUL people. His wife is smart and beautiful and accomplished – a high school chemistry teacher. And Craig is as kind and funny in the person as he was on the forum.

Afterwards I asked my husband: “Weren’t they great?!” And he said, yes, they were. “Didn’t I meet cool people on the forum?”

Without hesitation, he answered “Yes, you did! Very cool people!”

Humoristian friends

 

Morning Walk with Dad

Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Morning walk and talk with Dad in LaConner –

Karen: Dad, it’s beautiful outside! You want to get up and go for a walk with me?

Dad: (lying in bed) No. I’m comfortable here.

Karen: But it’s gorgeous outside! Come on! Let’s go for a walk.

Dad: Okay.

(Once we’re outside, I follow Dad’s lead. He takes us on to the boardwalk along the Swinomish Channel.)

Dad: (Standing at the end of the boardwalk and sweeping his arm across the Swinomish Channel) This is so beautiful. I could stand here all day.
(Eventually we move to a bench in the sun.)
Dad: (Looking at John Wayne’s boat tied up at the dock) John Wayne is dead. We might have been the same age. I don’t know. He had a lot more active life than me.

Karen: (laughing OUT LOUD) He did NOT have a more active life than you. Did he climb mountains? Did he climb around on K2?

Dad: (smiling) Well, he made more action MOVIES.

Karen: There’s a big difference between movies and real life.

Dad: I could sit here all day. Because you’re here with me. I could sit here all day with you. There are not many moments like this.
Dad: My grandchildren came to see me not too long ago. Recently. I think it was my birthday or something. I’m very proud of them.

Karen: They came on your birthday. They came to see you because they love you.

Dad: (smiling) Of course they do. Because I am a loveable old man.
Dad: I could sit here all day watching the people. (pointing to the sky) Look! There’s only one cloud in the entire sky today!
Dad: (after we’d been out for 40 minutes or so) Okay. Let’s get back to Mom now.
Dad: (as I’m leaving) Thank you for going out on a walk with me today.

Karen: It was fun!

Note: These are not professional quality photos – took these pictures with my cellphone – because, of course, I left my actual cameras AT HOME. But oh well. It was a great morning. 🙂