Today's Tidbits

I snatched away a garish purple balloon flower about to be discarded by a mom and passed it on a little ways down the road to a blond little, lanky, timid boy - little pleasures that bring on big smiles.

Checking out at the fruit and vegetable store, a guy entered and asked for eight, yep 8 carry out plastic bags. I mentioned the exhibit at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich that featured humongous amounts of plastic trash recovered from the ocean. He told me to get a life. I should have told him to get an environmental conscience.

I am for calling each other out on unacceptable behavior as long as it is done with civility. I myself was about to walk out with the plastic bag of groceries, despite the two bags I had brought, but caught myself and repackaged.

My last tidbit of the day, I got once again a security guy at our park to help me move those heavy metal benches back in to their proper places. Visual peace of mind is nothing to sneer at, the act contributed greatly to my well being for that moment, alas those moments never last.

Grant Me The Serenity

 Grant me the serenity

 to live juicy
to take my time to smell the roses

to notice the writing on the walls
the poems in the skies

to feel my feelings
be they blue or pink.



Living Juicy

"I always thought you were pretty" out of a mouth with missing front teeth. The guy had climbed a tree for me two years ago to shake and throw down those remaining apples left up  high. Sumo, my little dog, running alongside my bike,  barked ferociously at him, while I smiled and waved in passing.

One Mexican painter with bike, from out of town,  a stranger to us, barely able to communicate in English, expressed a desire to paint me in my shocking pink scarf, colorful dress, white hair and camera slung over my shoulder. He said not in his more normal surrealistic style, but "realistic" (rolling the r which pleased my Swiss ears) and proceeded to inquire about my work.

Onward to hug a charming lady with a glorious big smile who recognized me from when I had passed her earlier on bike with Sumo. Recognizing her Texan twang, I challenged her on their hideous, most certainly uncivilized death penalty law. Turned out the lady had served on death row and was in full support of it! We parted with a hug, big smiles and a casual promise to engage in civil discourse given another opportunity.

International Day Of Peace

Taken with my new/old Olympus C-8080

With such beauty all around us
why do we have to indulge in war?

May we reflect and act upon darkness and light
and act today, no matter how small or big,
for peace
love and 

Happy Equinox
May Peace Fill Our Hearts 

9/15 - Part 5

Mid-September marked another milestone that offered more opportunities for reflections. September 16th is when I first set foot on US ground at Kennedy airport, 24 years old, a cultural refugee from the banking capital of Europe, in search of my soul, my creative expression, my deeper, or as I like to call it Lower, rather then Higher Self.

Four years of living in Manhattan had made my prior dream of living in San Francisco, another big city, unappealing. My coat to coast trip across the US that started out in a Hippie Magic Bus had given me a taste for the immensity and awe inspiring beauty of this land. It had gotten me to wonder about a small American town, pleasing and diverse enough to be worth living in.

28 years ago we arrived in the City Different in his red Toyota pick up. At the Coop bulletin board we found a note for a rental of a studio on Cerro Gordo, a rather picturesque part of town as it turned out. Next day he had a job and I was stuck up on the hill. 30 years old I had not yet learned how to drive a car, although I had taken every opportunity to practice behind the wheels of his truck earlier that year. (Curvy highway 1 got on his nerves though and he would dampen my enthusiasm by taking the steering wheel back in to his own experienced hands.)

Anemic and suffering a staph infection I had a rather hard time adjusting to what must have been the altitude. I woke during the nights struggling to catch my breath while during the days I felt tired and limited not only by my energy, but also my budget, I was broke. It took me nine months to find a position in a spa in my profession as a massage therapist. The spa business was then not yet booming as it would be in only a few more years. It took less then two weeks to realize that I was not for all practical purposes in Mexico, even though we are only a six hours drive from the border. Was I surprised when the rooster woke me to a magical, white landscape. It had snowed in late September! These were the times before computers and learning anything and everything on the internet. Following my inner guides and promptings it had never occurred to me to consult outer guides such as maps much less tourist manuals. So our 7,000 feet and then some altitude was a big surprise to me. Having grown up with measurements of meters and centimeters, I still have trouble comprehending the meaning of anything measured in feet, my Germanic mind just can not grasp such an imprecise measurement.

I did learn to drive eventually. I still feel thankful that parallel parking was not part of my test. Downtown parking and traffic congestion had not yet become a  problem, there still were plenty of open spaces downtown and wherever the eye would wander off to, especially for one who had lived in one of the most densely populated cities of Europe, in Amsterdam.

So here I am having lived in the City Different now for 28 years. Some friends thought I had it made, that I was living the American Dream once I owned my own home and drove a brand new car. Of course living the American Dream was not, has never been and will never be my dream. Living a life of consumerism and materialism is not what brought me to the US. These days I wonder if in an attempt to escape the suffocating materialism of my place of origin, Zurich, Switzerland I fell from what we would say 'Regen in die Traufe'?


While Occupy lost significance since it's sudden explosion on to the world scene, locally I can report that a handful of activists have been meeting regularly three, then two times a week until recently. One young man told me only yesterday that it is because of  Occupy and his involvement that he stopped drinking and that he is now a committed activist involved with several local progressive groups. Occupy brought concerned citizens together, we now recognize each other and know we are not alone in our discontent. While the movement failed to thrive and bring meaningful results, the nerve that it hit is still raw, still hurting and is still in need of real change.

I Too Want To Cry

This past week has been tough. I blame Michelle Obama for my having succumbed not to one, but two chocolate croissants within 15 hours (one in the evening and one the next morning.) This after not having touched croissants ever since Trader Joe's had stopped offering them, maybe a year ago. 2 for $2, made locally, seemed like a deal and we all know that cheap or free calories do not count. But my binge did not stop with those croissants. Despite having abstained from bringing home bread and dairy products for the last 3 months, my need for consolation made me devour not one, but two, then three tubs of Tapioca pudding, topped with my own spicy apple sauce and garnished with a medley of fresh fruit that featured figs and strawberries. This kind of fare can make me dismiss any notions of  fresh vegetables, not to mention meat and abandon any notion of a reasonably balanced, healthy diet. 

So back to our First Lady, surely an image of grace, poise and intelligence. A First Lady we could be proud of and with a 65% approval rating many are kindly disposed of. Certainly my facebook contacts  (no friends there) were gushing and sharing in their joy and pride, including the head of our local Upayah Buddhist Monastery.

What boggled my mind and created a storm in my heart and mind is especially the following of Michelle Obama's speech given at the Democratic Convention:
... "when it comes to his character and his convictions and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man ... being president does not change who you are. No, it reveals the who you are."

Long  befuddled silence.

Guantanamo is still open, men are still imprisoned without due process despite Obama's promise to close the facility four years ago.  Admittedly the practice of water boarding and torture has supposedly ended, but Obama, a constitutional lawyer, is the same today as he was four years ago, really?

Despite winning the 2009 Nobel Peace price our president made Afghanistan his cause and shattered our hopes for real change. How can we justify President Obama's kill list?
Drone Attacks (according to US government)
Total US strikes since 2004: 337
Total Obama strikes: 285
Total reported killed: 2,524-3,247
Civilians reported killed: 482-852
Children reported killed: 175
Total reported injured: 1,204-1,330

President Obama, a constitutional lawyer, endorsed the hunting down and the killing and then unceremonious disposal of Osama Bin Laden, rather then demand proper due process, even deserving of the worst of criminals. In this way our President, the man I voted for in dire hopes for real change, continued to carry out the Bush policies, in deed not just in rhetoric.

When President Obama, the former tireless community worker, appointed Geitner he chose to support a corporate bail-out, really a give-away to the banks on cost of the people.

Michelle's husband just signed on Shell for the further exploitation of our earth - arctic drilling for oil. This the same man we rooted and hoped for four years ago - really? This is not the change we had seen coming, we had longed for, hoped for, wished for.

Our First Lady must cherish her own organic garden, but she endorses the appointment of a former Monsanto vice-president to the FDA. Due to her now public support of her husband and asking for four more years our pretty First Lady is complicit.
 Yes, we have a very photogenic, very charismatic First Lady with great oratory skills, but let us not lose sight of some very important facts while swooning over our attractive First Lady who must be smart enough to know truth from fiction. Vote for the Obamas, but not with rose colored glasses and not with eyes clouded by the mist of sentimentality and sweet nonsense. Vote for the Obamas because the alternative is just too grim to contemplate. Vote for the Obamas and work towards alternatives for the near future, for third, fourth and fifth party nominations. For this year's election we have no better choice then the Obama's and not voting should not be an option. Voting is our civic responsibility. Let's not gloss over the differences of red and blue, they exist. Let's not get stuck in wishful thinking, in wanting a world other then the one we live in. Michelle Obama's audience shed tears during her speech and I too wanted to cry - from my sense of betrayal by the Obamas. Such a charismatic, likable family, seemingly so genuine, easy on the eyes, bright and articulate. I will vote, likely with tears of bitter disappointment, but I will vote for the Obamas although I will take no pride,  while I really would wish that I could.