THE BETTER WAY?

I spend lots of time trying to figure out a better way to keep doing what I am doing. I want  time off. Play a few video games. Hang loose. Part of the problem is the intensity of these past few months of politics. The nightmare of finding myself living in a world that goes against everything I imagined my world could be. But also, I’m tired. Mentally and physically. It’s not just my brain that needs time off. My body wants one, too.

I love writing and photography. I don’t have this site because someone shoved a gun in my back. Writing for me is more than fun. It’s how I express myself to a wider world. It’s healthier for me to write than brood and obsess. Healthier for me, healthier for the people around me.

Pictures — a whole other story — are wonderful — and they eat time. Taking the pictures, then spending hours editing graphics is all visual. Mental yoga. Colors. Textures. Not unlike a video game, it’s mind-fully mindless — and there’s a lot of it. Garry and I together often shoot three or four hundred pictures in a couple of hours on a sunny afternoon. Following a shoot, there are many hours of processing to come. It takes time.

How I can fit all this stuff into my life? I don’t want to give up anything, but I’m getting pounded by time. There are only so many hours in a day. Last night, for the first time in years, I had a “work anxiety” dream. I was supposed to be covering a story in (I think) Ireland. I had the address and a car. I remember saying “No problem, I’ve got this covered.”

Except I never got to the story. I found myself driving on the wrong side of the road with traffic coming towards me. I couldn’t see an exit and wasn’t sure how I got there. Ah, the perils of wrong-side-of-the-road driving for an American! Later, with the help of a friendly stranger, I made my way back to the hotel where I was staying, but couldn’t find stairs. Finally, I did, but everyone was furious with me with not covering the story — and apparently, failing to call home. Which, if I had a cell phone, I might have done. The dream omitted cell phones.

I have always said the fate of nations would be greatly changed if, in the past, everyone had a cell phone.

I woke up realizing I had to find a better way to do my life. What I really want is more time. At least 28 hours per day. That would fix everything. Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to slow time. If I did, I would also have a machine to save the world and make me a billionaire. Lacking the “Time-Slow-Craftmatic” device, I will have to stop trying to read everyone else’s posts daily.

This is the latest version of an old problem — trying to do everything. This always involves people YELLING AT ME to slow down. I get it. I do. I’m solid with the idea. It’s the implementation that is so baffling.

Meanwhile, If I’m not at your site everyday, forgive me. I’m not forgetting you, just trying to find my way to retirement. Because retirement is beginning to feel too much like work — without a check.

If you are building that machine? I’d like to Beta test it for you.

POND IN NORTHBRIDGE – SWANS IN MAY

It was just seven in the morning and there was a roaring in my backyard. I looked out to see the turf people spraying for ants and crawlies — and hopefully not damaging anything else. It’s pretty hard to spray for one pest without harming another, but with the influx of Gypsy Moth caterpillars, we don’t have a choice. If we don’t take care of them, they will definitely, without question, take care of us.

If you look carefully, you can see the nested swan on the opposite shore

Today is a dark gray day with torrential rains predicted for later in the day … as much as five inches (or more) rain this afternoon and tomorrow. The floods that hit the rest of the country have arrived. I hope our drains, sump, and pump can handle the water.

Thursday was beautiful. Sunny and bright. The trees were blooming and buds were bursting or just about ready to do so. We grabbed cameras and went out. I had wanted to go to Manchaug, but I have temporarily forgotten how to get there. Instead, we wound up by the pond in Northbridge. There were swans. Two big ones, a mated pair.

I could see the nest. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera with a super long lens, so I could only shoot it from a distance. Garry got a ton of pictures too and I’ll put them up in a separate post.

I always forget to bring food for the swans. They must get fed by people. With a bit of food I think they would happily come home with us. You can never call a swan “friendly.” They aren’t really friendly beasts, but they can get pretty chummy if they think there’s a snack available. Not surprisingly, this behavior is familiar to us. We know begging when we see it, whether doggy or orange beak.

There was a lot of trash along the shoreline. Shame on you! Haven’t we got enough problems without trashing our own homes? All you tossers of beer bottles and junk food boxes and cups, CLEAN UP YOUR ACT. No one needs your trash. It makes me sick looking at it.

TRUMP SHOULD BE IN SPECIAL ED – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My son spent middle school and high school in Special Ed classes. He suffered from ADD, hyperactivity, learning disabilities and psychological issues. He needed all the help he could get.

So does Donald Trump. Trump’s behavior reminds me of many of my son’s symptoms. He, like my son, could benefit from some of the strategies taught in Special Ed.

People with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) have trouble organizing their things and their thoughts. My son could actually put full sentences together, so, at 12, he was way ahead of our President at aged 70. Trump would have needed extra remedial help, even in Special Ed. But, my son did have trouble staying on topic, in speaking and in writing. His writing was jumbled, random thoughts strung together. He couldn’t organize logical paragraphs. Sound familiar?

Trump’s tweets and speech are really word salads attempting to form sentences and meandering, disjointed words masquerading as coherent thought. Trump would fall at the high-end of the disability spectrum for his thought processes and his ability (or lack) to express himself. And we’re talking middle to high school levels.

In terms of behavior, my son was hyperactive. He couldn’t sit still or pay attention for more than a few minutes at a time. His teachers had to help him reduce his class material down to a couple of pages of bullet points so he could study and pass tests. In the school system, this is considered a disability.

Who’d have thought that our President would require his staff, just like the Special Ed staff, to reduce all presentations to him down to one page, even security briefings! And for Trump, that one page has to be double spaced, in big letters, with lots of graphs and maps.

Another symptom of ADD and hyperactivity, is restlessness and jumping from activity to activity, topic to topic. Trump is known for this. He frequently gets bored and turns on Cable TV News. He goes off topic all the time, with world leaders, in speeches and in interviews, as well as in tweets. It’s hard to figure out what he really thinks about anything because he doesn’t stay on topic long enough to get an intelligent position across. Of course, he may not have one on most issues, so this point may be moot.

My son had other behavioral issues that are associated with ADD and hyperactivity. He didn’t always understand how people would react to what he said or did. He had terrible impulse control and had trouble reading social cues, so he would blurt things out in class, out of turn — all the time — then not understand why other kids made fun of him. He would say inappropriate things and be surprised when he got a negative reaction.

I don’t need to point out all the times that Donald Trump has exhibited these traits. I do need to point out that these are considered issues severe enough to warrant removing a child from mainstream classrooms and giving them remedial help in Special Ed.

My son also had emotional issues. He had trouble dealing with failure and setbacks. He was also very sensitive to criticism and slights. He had to be praised a lot and needed to have frequent, even small, successes to build his confidence. He would often have meltdowns. But. At his worst, he never, ever was as mean or vindictive as Trump is during his twitter rants against people who disagree with him.

If my son had exhibited behavior half as nasty and over-the-top as Trump’s behavior regularly is, the school psychologist would have been called in for a consultation. My husband and I would have been read the riot act by the psychologist and told we needed to teach our son self-control and acceptable social limits.

My son has worked hard over the years and, as an adult, has mastered most of his childhood issues. He’s trained himself to write clearly and well. He writes for work all the time. He has harnessed his energy and focus and can now concentrate on and absorb long papers for his job. It might take him longer to read and write than other people, but he gets through it. He has also matured. Now he can now handle disappointment and opposition and his social skills are well above average.

With effort and special help, a kid with a lot of issues managed to conquer them and become a compassionate, thoughtful, sensitive, responsible adult. So, for the sake of the country and the world, can we PLEASE set up a Special Ed Department in the Oval Office?

ESS AND TEE IN BLACK & WHITE — THE NEXT LETTERS

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Letters S or T


Superstition mountains
Truck
Telephone pole
Television camera
Sandals