Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sept. 21. 2020: DON'T PANIC! ALRIGHT. PANIC.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020


C'mon, folks! Get over yourselves! Things aren't so bad. It's not like the sun doesn't rise every day, like you suddenly wake up one morning to a dark orange world.

Never mind.

It's not like if you're depressed you can't go for a walk in the beautiful forest or along the beautiful coast! It's not like the whole planet is being destroyed by fire or flame or both!

Never mind.

It's not like we live in a dictatorship where people are not equal under the law! Where powerful people can violate laws with impunity! We live in a democracy, the oldest one in the world! Our founders had the wisdom to give us three branches, to balance each other, so the country could never go totally astray. Three branches: The President, the Congress with the Senate being supreme, AND the Supreme Court! They can't all get screwy at once, right? The most stable democracy that ever was! A democracy, do you hear me?!?

Never mind.

Let's not even talk about the pandemic and the tottering economy. Alright. We're all entitled to a little bit of panic.

But we cannot stay panicked. That isn't good for us, for those we love, for the world. We must, when we can, move on to...


And Radical Acceptance asks the question:

This being the case, how do I proceed?

This does not mean that we never feel panic again. It doesn't mean we don't grieve. I was watching a very short ad for Biden that consisted of a man holding his small son, talking about the fact that the little boy was born with a serious malady -- the very definition of a pre-existing condition -- and without Obamacare, he would have no medical coverage. I just burst out sobbing, for all the pointless pointless suffering the Republicans have caused and will cause if they're not roundly thrashed in the election.

It was very cathartic, my sobbing. And when I stopped crying, I asked myself:

This being the case, how do I proceed?

I think this is what we need to attend to before anything else:

First, stanch the bleeding.

Our democracy is bleeding out right now. I think we all know that. We have to do everything we can do influence this election. Unfortunately we're hamstrung by the pandemic. Otherwise thousands of us could spend time canvassing, going door-to-door, in swing states. That's what people did the first time Obama ran in 2008. I myself was planning to spend October in Pennsylvania.

But we still can phone bank and write letters with Vote Forward, which is a recent and exciting innovation. And remember, those Democrats who we get to the polls will also probably vote for the Democratic candidate for Senate. So by working on the election, we're trying, both to elect Biden President, AND to elect a majority-Democratic Senate. HERE IS A LINK TO MY LAST BAUMBLOG. Scroll down toward the bottom and find lots of links to work you can do. I have not done the Google doc yet with all the links.

And remember:

No matter how bad things are.......

They can get worse!

I know, I know. Things can get better too. We used to say things WILL get better. "They can get worse" might sound totally depressing but it's not! It means many things, one of which is: Enjoy what you have to enjoy NOW! Don't stay sunk is misery.

Do what needs to be done, and enjoy what is there to enjoy!

Because who knows what the future holds? Good or bad, we just don't know at this point. And that's okay. Because obviously we never DID know! We just THOUGHT we knew!

Enough, Bloggelinis. I'm going to the bookstore to pick up my copy of RADICAL ACCEPTANCE. I took a class in it several years ago. It really helped me. I think I lent the book to someone, I can't remember who. Bloggelinis, I enjoy this blog and your letters to me. Thank you for keeping me going. Terry


Monday, September 21, 2020



September 17, 2020

The Most Important Thing/
Mea Culpa #2/A Mistake/Funny Link


The Most Important Thing: We've got so much to keep track of, to watch, to be outraged by. It's easy to lose track of THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, which is defeating Trump.

I am NOT talking about just voting for Biden. I certainly hope you are planning to vote for Biden. If you're not, you should skip this section. I'm talking about WORKING for Biden, doing all you can to urge others to vote for Biden so that we can get as many Democratic votes as possible, especially in the swing states. Even if a majority of voters support Biden, there are so many obstacles to victory -- election day chaos, the pandemic, US Post Office subversion, Russian interference on social media, voter suppression, the Electoral College... What else? Because of this, those of us with a fervent belief in the necessity of getting rid of Trump must do EVERYTHING we can to increase voter turnout of Democrats.

Above is a letter I wrote for the VOTE FORWARD project, which sends personalized letters to registered Democrats in swing states who are not regular voters. These letters do not mention a candidate because research shows it's more effective to just urge Democrats to vote. You need to print out the letters and write in your OWN personal message about why you vote. I've written 30 letters so far. I write on all my VF letters:
"Making laws and spending tax money is REAL power.
I want to have a say in who has that power."

Other people write more personal statements about how voting makes them feel, or their parents' commitment to voting. Then you put the letters in envelopes, stamp and address them and wait to hear from Vote Forward for instructions on when to mail them. According to research, this tactic increases voter turnout by 2-3%.

I went to a Buddhist "election retreat," as they called it, on Zoom, where we wrote letters, meditated and heard a dharma talk. They encouraged us to decorate the envelopes in any way we wanted, to induce people to open them. I was thrilled, because I have so many stamps and stickers.

For all local Bloggelinis, I offer to print out a packet of 20 letters, and also supply stamped envelopes. You can pick them up at my place, which is located at 547 Douglass St., the precise center of San Francisco. Then I will contact you when it's time to drop them in the mailbox. Email me if you'd like me to supply you. I'll tell you when you can come pick up your supplies. I'll also give you instructions on the most efficient way to fill them out.

Vote Forward is just one option. There is also phonebanking. Here is a list:

You've got to plan ahead for this one. They meet every other Sunday, 10am-2pm. They send you EVERYTHING in advance, including a large prepaid envelope for you to send them all your finished letters. They ask for a $25 donation for the postage. This is organized by Berkeley Zen Center, and they have very well-known Buddhist teachers giving the 25-minute talk. I thought it was great.
Indivisiblesf has many phone banks to choose from, some focused on Senate races and other elections. I worked on one for Amy McGrath, who is running for the Senate against Mitch McConnell.
Manny's is a very innovative community space with exciting programs all the time. During the primary campaign, almost all the Democratic candidates came to Manny's to speak. Manny is now organizing phone banking which you can do remotely from anywhere. IF YOU'RE LOCAL, you can go and work in their Victory Booths at the corner of Valencia and 16th Streets. Yes, while everyone else built space for people to eat outside, Manny's built space for people to WORK ON THE ELECTION outside! Thanks, Manny! You need to reserve time in the Victory Booths:

Also, Stephen Colbert of THE LATE SHOW, has a website where you can watch a video on what you need to vote in every state in the union. Fifty different videos. Pretty impressive. So please spread that news around.

I think that's enough, at least to start off with. Please please consider working on the Biden campaign -- and if you don't want to do that, then choose another campaign. Certainly getting rid of McConnell from the Senate is a noble endeavor. There are MANY noble endeavors out there. Your joy will be intensified if we win. And you'll feel less terrible if we lose.

If you know of any other resources, please tell me. I'll make a Google Doc with all the info, so you can access it easily.

MEA CULPA #2: Two Bloggelinis wrote me with outrage at my casual contempt for the fate of the Snowy Plovers of Ocean Beach. One of them is a friend, passionate birder Laurie Graham, and we had a very enlightening email exchange about it. Thank you, Laurie, for taking the time to share with me information on the very shaky future of these little birds (which were not, by the way, the birds in my photo -- but that's irrelevant.) I will treat them with deference in the future.

You wouldn't know that was a really big couch just by looking at that picture, would you? Allowing Nikki on the couch has really gone to his head. Now he's trying to commandeer my BED. That is out of the question because if he gets on, then Loulou will demand to sleep there too. Then where will I sleep? I guess if they're on the bed, that would free up the couch for me.

FUNNY LINK: I have watched this excerpt of The Daily Show four times now. It starts at 8:44, at the end of Trevor Noah's discussion of the uproar over the Academy Awards' new rules requiring diversity in the movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. One of the ways to satisfy the requirement is to have a person of color in a major role. Roy Wood Jr., part of The Daily Show team, is one of those people who is just naturally funny. I'm going to watch it again right now. It makes me laugh just to think about it.

Bloggelinis, that's it for now! I will try to blog more frequently. Somehow my days have gotten a little blurry and I end up at night having done.... what? Often I can't figure it out. An eternal problem, but I think magnified by the pandemic, the fires, the political insanity..... Anyhow, the letters I get from you keep me going. Thank you so much for responding, even when -- especially when -- I've outraged you. Terry

Monday, September 14, 2020



SEPTEMBER 12, 2020

& Update


Update First: Today there is a fine white ash visible over many surfaces. Carolyn's family and friends in Oregon are all on Level One evacuation alert, which means they should be ready. She says the air in Portland, Oregon is the worst in the world -- over 750 AQI. 350 is "Extremely Unhealthy." Can anyone say "Global Warming"? And then I heard on the radio that Turkey and Greece are on the verge of going to war over newly discovered oil deposits in the Mediterranean Sea! Are they kidding?!? PLEASE LEAVE THAT OIL WHERE IT BELONGS, under water!

Last Wednesday was the only day of apocalyptic darkness. In retrospect, I wish we HAD gone for a walk on the beach on that frightening day, because the air has been much worse since then. I realize now it would have been totally cool, not to mention great photos. But at the time I was too freaked out.

The two other years when we had terrible fires, I would walk masked against the smoke to a cafe and sit inside, get high on caffeine, read and write. With the pandemic this year, I would find a cafe with seats outside and do my thing. But now with the pandemic AND the fires ---- cafe hanging-out option go bye-bye.

Went to a Buddhist dharma talk this morning. I often do three a week. So easy with Zoom. I do not know what I would do without Buddhism. The teacher said, "Buddhism teaches us impermanence, but I really did expect the sun to rise every morning!"

SUNSET RAMBLE 2: Elizabeth and I had walked south the first day and then north the second day. We saw many snowy plovers.

Then they flew.
I resent these snowy plovers. For nine months of the year, I can't take my pups off the leash because they're nesting. NINE MONTHS! In my opinion, a city is for children first, adults second, and dogs third, with snowy plovers way down the list, after hummingbirds and butterflies. Let the snowy plovers nest somewhere else! California has thousands of miles of deserted coastline! And don't get me started about the coyotes in San Francisco...

Then we walked on the path a bit above the beach, where we could see the houses on the Great Highway. This was the most special house of the day.
Thank you, creators of this great gift to the street!

Wonderful sculptures in this window, many of which I couldn't capture because of the reflections. The cat is certainly store-bought, but the others are original. I must say, to be able to create an image in three dimensions is very impressive to me. I feel the presence of the artist's hands shaping it. This is one of my many little sculptures:
I mean, a cow playing the trumpet, who could resist? It's from San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.

Color color color. I love deep bright colors. Wish I had the nerve to paint my house this bright a color. But my neighborhood is not funky enough. Good relations with one's neighbors are important.

Perhaps the most exciting paint job in San Francisco

Moving on to the Wilhelmina windmill and the Tulip Garden, which is without tulips at the moment.
There are two windmills in Golden Gate Park. This one is a present from the late Queen of the Netherlands. The other one is from a man who was not a monarch, but a windmill-giver nonetheless. The windmills both functioned to pump water for the park, before there was electricity.

Then on to Park Chalet, where we sat outside and ate delicious food -- after the hostess took our temperature. That was my first time for that.
We saw this group come in and sit down. Elizabeth pointed out the older woman sitting apart. She notices details like that. Undoubtedly this woman was more concerned about her health than the young ones. So she was part of the group, but not part. Needless to say, sitting in a group close and unmasked is not legal. Unless they're a pod. Very doubtful. But Elizabeth and I could sit near each other unmasked LEGALLY! Yay for Podhood!
This is the interior of Park Chalet, which opens out into the park. This belongs to the city. Sometimes San Francisco gets things right.

Park Chalet, which faces Golden Gate Park, is back-to-back with Beach Chalet which faces (you guessed it) the beach. There are fabulous WPA murals from the '30s in Beach Chalet. But it was closed, and I was SO disappointed, because Elizabeth had never seen them. BUT it turned out you had to walk near them to get to the bathroom. They were cordoned off, so I couldn't get close to take photos. The theme of the murals is Recreation in San Francisco.
The stairway up to Beach Chalet restaurant, which is now closed. The banister is made of octopuses carved in marble. When I first moved to San Francisco in 1977, Beach Chalet was a seedy bar. We always took visitors there for a drink. We thought it was the coolest thing in the world to have great public art in a seedy bar. One day I was there with my girlfriend Alice, and I tried to kiss her. She pushed me away, saying "This is not the place for that." Me: "Aw, come on!" Alice: "Listen, I'm the one who would get beat up!"

I realized she was right. She was very butch.
Here's a view of the windmill and Beach Chalet from the beach.

We found a new improvement right next to the beach. Another win for the City of San Francisco:
The Public Convenience Station!

Not only was it convenient, it was clean and had no smell.
And this was the man who kept it looking and smelling so good:

He told us he checked both bathrooms every 30 minutes! Isn't that all amazing and old-fashioned and strange? Just charming!

Yes, life is better when there are attractively built, well-maintained public conveniences on the beach. Thank you, sir, for checking and cleaning every 30 minutes!

Then we headed back to our motel. On the way we saw...
And finally, we were home in our cosy motel room, where Loulou gazed out the window, wondering what adventures she would have the next morning.
None, as it turned out, since the sun decided not to put in an appearance and we thought the world was actually coming to an end. But at least we two dykes with our three dogs had two glorious days at Ocean Beach.

Well, that was a helluva lot of photos, wasn't it? But some things are so special that they deserve to be documented in detail. When Blogmistress goes on vacay, she must share the pleasure with her dear Bloggelinis. Terry