Tags: extended-family

rain our house

Pouring Rain -- Attending the Clown Dinner

This was a quiet day. I slept into the early afternoon. Of course, I was up all night.

I got very upset and emotional about the state of the world. The reminders of 1968 are not lost on Marilyn nor me. That was a terrible time and we're in the middle of the same.

For the record, I'm not in position where I can discuss the politics of what's been going on. I have many, many friends of color -- and specifically many black friends. I love them dearly. Some of them are a part of my extended family. I also associate with a number of police and have close friends who are police. Marilyn and I are talking about it a great deal. I can't really imagine what it's like to be racially profiled. But I'm part American Indian, so I'm racially mixed. But I don't appear physically to be anything but white. I have had friends treated with violence and disrespect because of their color. Unfairly made to lie in the street -- simply because of the color of their skin. There are police who profile others. There are police who are violent. They use their position of authority to bully others -- especially blacks. But they are not all police. I do not support such treatment of blacks.

Nor do I support violence against police. What happened in Dallas is terrible.

Violence is not the answer to violence. But you can't blame people for wanting everyone to PAY ATTENTION to the unfair treatment. No one should be afraid they might die because of the color of their skin.

And what about Paris? Orlando? Should people die because they're homosexual? What about Istanbul? Americans always focus on terrible events inside our own country, but lives -- and deaths -- everywhere are the concern of all of us. Indians like to say 'walk a mile in our moccasins.' I guess we need to think about that long and hard. It can be easiest to view events from our own perspectives, whatever that might be. It's harder to try and see things as others do -- especially if those others are really different from us. Give peace a chance. We've been saying that since I was a kid -- back when we started wearing peace symbols around our necks and on our clothes. We flashed the peace symbol with our fingers. We said the word 'peace' all the time. We handed people flowers. Some of us put flowers into the barrels of guns. No, it's NOT easy to love others. Even if you're like me and you do have a large circle of people that you love, there's always going to be those people you're reluctant to know, much less try to love. But we need to try. Maybe trying is the most important part, really. Making an effort to get to know others. Especially people who differ from us. Giving peace a chance means learning to at least LIKE others.

I'm going to try harder to be kind to those around me. That's the first step, I think. Small gestures of kindness to others. To everybody we encounter during the day. Not making a nasty crack about some bad driver who cuts us off in traffic. Not being rude to our waiter or waitress. Not being impatient with the checker at the store. Greeting our neighbors and those who walk down the street. Listening to others when they talk to us and giving them a chance to share their thoughts.

I'm sick of the blood, and pain, and violence. I'm tired of the bullying. It was bad enough to bully each other when we were children, but adult bullies are far, far worse. The thing now is that it's very hard to know what to say. If we stand up for one group, are we ignoring the other side? Does somebody have to be left out of our concern and love? Does somebody have to end up hurt and betrayed? This is very political. It's easy to say or do the wrong thing, whether we mean well or not. I'm afraid. I'm afraid for my friends and loved ones who are in danger. I suppose when you come right down to it, we're all in danger. But I refuse to minimize the danger of black men and women, which is very real. Truly, I don't want to be yet another white person who looks the other way. I didn't mean to get this involved. That's exactly the opposite of what I was going to do. Forgive me, please. And I know this is sensitive and you all have strong and probably emotional opinions about what's happening. I value your thoughts, as I do my own. And I'm CONFUSED. I do not have any answers or solutions, believe me. I wish I knew what I should say or do -- I do not.

Marilyn and I had the Clown Corps Dinner tonight, which Angel planned specially so that Marilyn could attend and speak. She made the point that during difficult times the ability to make people happy is very important. People need to join together in community and celebrate humanity in all the ways possible. Events are essential -- as Marilyn has pointed out repeatedly this year.

I was proud of what she had to say. And I'm proud of our clowns who have been making people happy and bringing people together for almost a decade.

Anyway, the dinner was the awards dinner for the clowns, where Angel passes out about a hundred awards (I'm exaggerating a bit). It's at Izzy's, and I must say I really like the food.

It was POURING DOWN RAIN today. We were both out in the rain on the way to the dinner.

Home again and doing nothing. We didn't think soon enough about going to the movie, "The Secret Life of Pets" which opened today. We're looking forward to seeing it...


How Do We Get From Dark to Light?

I was talking to Jillian about the world we live in. Christine, too, (at a totally different time) actually. We all three agreed that most people are good -- in spite of the bad (even evil) people in the world. I talked about how, when I used to teach Sunday school, I would talk about PEACE. Children seem to always speak inherently about peace, if you ask them what they want.

Then I would say something like: If you want peace in the world, you need to be able to get along with your own family, your parents and your brothers and sisters, and your cousins and so on. You need to be able to get along with your neighbors and with your school mates. Because if you can't even get along with the people around you, we can't ever expect to have peace with people who are far away and have totally different lives. And I still believe that today.

But we all know it's often hardest to get along with those who are closest to us. Those we cohabitate with.

When there's an upset inside a family, it can be very difficult to get back to the status quo.

Right now I'm trying to help my sister Sue figure out WHAT she can do to try and bring things back to normal in her home. And there are no easy answers. Obviously it's very hard to 'fix' things if people can't at least try to communicate. And when everybody is upset, it's hard to try to keep emotions out enough to be calm and listen to one another.

Sometimes it's not so much what we say -- it's how we respond to what another person says to us.

I wish I knew what to say to Sue to help her. I just know I LOVE HER VERY MUCH and want to be able to support her. But I just told her we all need to stop the 'blame game' -- I need to do that just as much as she does. If everybody could agree to quit blaming everybody else, maybe we could make some headway with how to resolve the issues that are underlying the emotional outbursts.

Sue is very hurt by things that have been said, and I think rightly so. Still, she needs to work past it. And I need to do that, too! It would be great if nobody was 'taking sides' here, because there shouldn't be sides to begin with. These people are a family and they love each other. And we always hurt our own family -- maybe because we can...

Please don't get the impression that I'm saying ALL family situations can be repaired. I've known many that couldn't -- and that shouldn't. Perhaps most people are good, but not ALL people are good. And I do feel if there's a toxic and unhealthy situation that can't improve, then it is best for family to break up. I told my father many times that I didn't agree with 'blood is thicker than water,' and the concept that family could do no wrong. Just because you're related (or live together in a family unit of non-relatives), that doesn't mean things will always work out. (I have both friends and relatives that were much happier once they let go of negative family relationships. And, for that matter, Marilyn and I did that with some of our relatives years back -- and I couldn't even tell you how to contact them, because we don't know where they are anymore.)

In Sue's case, she and her daughter and granddaughter (my niece and grandniece) have lived together for well over a decade very successfully. They are a close family unit. None of them are perfect (who is?). But they all have worthwhile qualities.

And we're all capable of positive change, I do believe that.

Starting with open communication, maybe they can agree on some changes that would make all of them happier.

If it doesn't work out and they just can't stay together, Marilyn and I have another idea for Sue that might solve things. It's a bit extreme, but it's nice to have options, anyway.

Right now I'm trying to STAY CALM and be here for Sue. Her blood pressure is elevated and she needs less upset now, not more.

She asked me if I thought she should try and talk to Candy (who is currently at work). I don't have an answer. Yes, but not while she's at work. They should talk at home. (I've already broken that 'rule' with Marilyn by talking to HER at work about all this -- and she had a big line of people waiting outside her door. And EIGHT MEETINGS today! Poor Marilyn. She also is dealing with high blood pressure...)

What's the answer? There probably isn't just one answer. And I'm not an expert by any means. And I'm too likely to see Sue's point of view (I'm trying not to say 'her side of things'). But I want to help them all.

I fall back on prayer, because I do believe it can help. Please pray for ME. And for Sue and her family. (Or send good thoughts if you're not a praying person.) I'd really appreciate it.

The holidays are often difficult. In our family Thanksgiving was frequently a very unhappy time, with lots of bickering -- the opposite of what it should be. It's hard to bring it back to the focus on feeling grateful for all we have. And remembering that even when they make us crazy, our family is something we should be thankful for... (sigh)

I also feel strongly about EXTENDED FAMILY: Those people you know who are not related, but have become family to you. Marilyn and I are blessed with many, many people we love dearly and think of as family.

I'm hopeful this 'dark' day will turn around and become a light one.
under the weather

Better Today - Still Under the Weather...

I'm still under the weather, but feel MUCH better today. I had a (tiny) bowl of tapioca early in the day, then about half a cup of beef bouillon in the afternoon. Plus water, which is all I've been drinking.

This evening after Marilyn got home from work, we went to Ron and Jan's house for dinner (in Vancouver). Gladys (Jan's 91-year-old mother) lives with them, as does their 25-year-old son, James. So it was six of us for a home-cooked dinner (Ron is the cook at their house). Kelly (their 35-year-old) daughter is also living at home, currently, but she was out of state today.

This was the first solid food I've had in days, and I was happily able to eat it with nothing more than some gas pains (these have been all through my torso, but mostly my back).

These people come from the background of The Salvation Army. They are very focused on God and Country (much of Ron's life was about his military career).

Yes, Ron and Jan are obviously very special -- caring for Gladys (who has Alzheimer's) and having two grown children living in their home. The house isn't that big, by the way. Jan calls her living room chair set up with her laptop her 'office' (her former office is now Kelly's room). They have a partially finished basement, which includes part that isn't finished, where James has his bedroom (with no door, only some cupboards to block off his corner). But don't get me wrong: They are proud of their home where they've lived 20 years. They let us in almost every room (!!!), which isn't something we've done much when having people in OUR home...

Their TV is an older console (not flat screen). And they have loads of video tapes, rather than DVDs. Being from the Salvation Army, they're used to living a very hard (and relatively poor) life. Their world isn't about things -- it's about people! I can't get over how welcoming and loving they were.

Extended family is important to Marilyn and me, as we haven't much of our own family left. I think extended family can be wonderful, because you find special friends and grow truly close to them.

By the way, I feel that way about many of my LiveJournal Friends! You are part of my extended family -- and probably know me better than a lot of my family has through my life. (smile)

I've just finished up the garbage and recycling. As I'm still a bit punk, that did me in, frankly. But I did get it done without help from Marilyn (who shouldn't have to do it, in my opinion -- that's MY job). She is doing the treadmill as I type this. I admire her so much, considering she was really yawning by the time we left Ron and Jan's just past 9:00...

Marilyn and I had another loss yesterday. Dick is a former Past President of the festival and was well known in the community for his amazing volunteer activities, service on countless boards -- and his tremendous generosity (much of it anonymous). He was only 76 (and seriously, that sounds younger to me all the time...). No, not quite like losing our 55-year-old friend, Mitch, but still a blow. His service is this Saturday. His family has suggested people make contributions to a charity that serves Oregon's children, in lieu of flowers (!!!).

Another friend (Gail) recently lost her brother in a freak accident. He was cutting down a tree and it went out from under him and crushed him. We didn't know her brother, but we're very close to Gail and sorry for her shocking loss...

Life is about losing people. As Marilyn said, what's the alternative? The older we get, the more loved ones will pass on from this world. Because we have faith, we know we'll see them all again one day. But it's still hard and we still grieve. We can't know God's plan and we never know when someone will die. That's hard to accept at any age...

As for my health, I think the details are pretty TMI in nature. (grin) So if you're really interested (remember, you've been warned!), then Collapse )

I did spend much of the day taking it easy -- and a good part in bed. I'll see how I feel in the morning before deciding about tomorrow. I have some work I need to sit up and do, but I think I'll be up to it. Honestly, I do feel a lot better than I did!

Read some of The Acts of the Apostles today, in honor of St. Luke. During morning mass I was impressed with the homily which focusing on the history of Luke and his writings in the Bible. I really enjoyed it, even though it was quite long...

And I saw part of an interesting interview with author Dean Koontz about his Catholic background. (Part of this -- from an entirely different source -- can be read HERE. No, not even starting to be as detailed about him, but it's something, anyway!) The interview I saw was on The World Over, with Raymond Arroyo. Hearing it made me wish I'd seen the entire interview -- and made me want to read some of his books that I've yet to read. I've always been a Dean Koontz fan, but I haven't kept up with all his books. Little wonder, as he's written more than 50!

Well, I could ramble on more, but this is already waaaaay too long! Sorry! Goodnight all!