Khizr and Ghazala Khan at the Democratic National Convention, speaking about their son Captain Humayun Khan

Sad and Mad Again

I simply cannot believe that there are more than a handful of voters on the lunatic fringe who can actually bring themselves to vote for Trump, even after his disgusting, disgraceful attacks on the Khan family, whose appearance at the Democratic National Convention was one of the most powerful, moving presentations I have ever seen on television. I feel so sad for them, while I can also see their justified pride in their lost son.

However, I am well aware that there are many of my fellow Americans who, as one put it, plan to “vote with their middle fingers” in November by voting for the GOP nominee. What they do not acknowledge is that by doubling down on their support for him after his insane attacks on the Khan family, they are also giving the middle finger to a Gold Star family that deserves nothing but all Americans’ sympathy, respect and gratitude.

What evil miasma has taken over so many of my fellow citizens? I didn’t think it could get much worse than the lunatics who have repeatedly claimed that the bereaved parents of little children murdered in Sandy Hook Elementary School are actors promulgating a government fraud, and that no one was killed. This may be even worse.

I have never voted a straight party ticket in all my decades as a voter, but I will do so this fall, for the Democratic Party, to send a message to the GOP that their embrace of this wicked charlatan at the top of their ticket is beyond the pale. I hope others do that too.


So why ARE we so angry?

As anyone who knows me is well aware, I get confused very easily. So the other afternoon when I was using the drive-up ATM near my favorite grocery store, I somehow managed to make a wrong turn, thereby exiting the parking lot through an entrance lane. Before I could drive off, a woman in a […]

via Why Are We So Angry? — Muddling Through My Middle Age


A beautiful expression by another blogger, “Another Old Guy”, of what Mother’s Day can mean to us middle-aged people going through the normal, but challenging, transitions of this stage of life:

A tribute to my Mom, as she deals with the impending death of Dad.

Source: Mom

Disappearing Fathers by Faith Shearin | Friday, January 15, 2016 | The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor

Disappearing Fathers by Faith Shearin

Sometime after I turned forty the fathers from my childhood
began disappearing; they had heart attacks
during business dinners or while digging their shovels
into a late April snow. Some fathers began forgetting things:
their phone numbers, which neighborhoods belonged
to them, which houses. They had a shortness of breath,
the world’s air suddenly too thin, as if it came
from some other altitude. They were gone:
the fathers I had seen dissecting cars
in garages, the fathers with suits
and briefcases, the fathers who slipped down
rivers on fishing boats and the ones
who drank television and beer. Most of my friends
still had mothers but the fathers
were endangered, then extinct.
I was surprised, though I had always known
the ladies lasted longer; the fathers fooled me
with their toughness; I had been duped
by their jogging and heavy lifting, misled
by their strength when they slapped
me on the back or shook my hand. I kept imagining
I would see them again: out walking their dogs
on the roads near my childhood house,
lighting cigars on their porches, waving to me
from their canoes while I waited on shore.

Source: Disappearing Fathers by Faith Shearin | Friday, January 15, 2016 | The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor

What I want you to know about losing your parent as an adult

I have been somewhat AWOL in recent weeks partly because I am in the process of losing my surviving parent. And I am sad. But this is a beautiful piece, so I’m sharing it.

Source: What I want you to know about losing your parent as an adult

I am exhausted… (A somewhat random post.)


Impromptu Promptlings


Or at least I was when I washed and hung shower curtains three weeks ago. How do I know? The bloomin’ things are backwards! The ruffle is on the inside, not the out. Just noticed it this morning. You know the sad thing? Either no one else here noticed, or they just didn’t give a hoot! (Or, and this is Fim whispering in my ear, they just didn’t want to embarrass you… But if THAT’S the case, Fim, why didn’t they fix the cotton pickin’ things? ❓ ) (These are exactly like mine, different color. But now that I see the green… hm…)

Well I didn’t drop what I was doing (folding towels) and fix them right then. So maybe I’m still pooped out enough to not give a hoot either! And I think that must be the case because I followed a reblog on Quantum Hermit this morning and…

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Let me start by saying that I’m not proud of my feelings right now. But they are real and they are mine, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who has felt this way. In fact, according to Hello Grief and its post on “Grieving the Difficult Relationship”, I am not. The same post notes that:

It is human to feel ambivalent. The people that we lose often had very human problems – addictions, incarceration, gambling, infidelity. These problems are real and are prevalent, yet the unwritten rule of grief is “You don’t speak ill of the dead.”

However, if you can’t speak about it, where does it go?  The body remembers everything.

So I will write. A colleague of mine has died suddenly, leaving a spouse and children.  That alone is cause for sadness. They are devastated, understandably so, and I feel so sorry for them. Here is the ambivalence: this was a powerful colleague who spent the last few years openly bullying and undermining me at work. Continue reading

The Weekly Vent: The Rationality of Rage

Well, well, well — it turns out that a certain amount of rage, in specific situations, is strategically useful. Rational, in fact, according to The New York Times: The Rationality of Rage.

We tend to associate anger with the loss of control, but anger has clear applications and obeys distinct rules. It may be blunt, but it has its own particular logic. And used judiciously, it can get us better deals, galvanize coalitions and improve all our lives.

The situations where anger is most useful as a strategy are “balanced”, i.e. they have elements of both cooperation and competition, such as selling a business to a buyer. Makes sense to me but I’m not so sure about this part:

… anger evolved to help us express that we feel undervalued. Showing anger signals to others that if we don’t get our due, we’ll exert harm or withhold benefits. As they anticipated, the researchers found that strong men and attractive women — those who have historically had the most leverage in threatening harm and conferring benefits, respectively — were most prone to anger.

Wow. Strong men and attractive women have the most leverage because they can threaten harm and withhold benefits. Sounds like war, money and sex to me. I guess we really are still primates at heart!

Illustration: Gerard DuBois, in The New York Times.

“Raging As My Sister’s Light Dims”

Sara Lukinson has written an extraordinary piece in today’s New York Times, about her relationship with her terminally ill sister and her role as caregiver while her sister is dying.

“What can I do?” I ask feebly. “Be patient,” she says. And I want to hide my inner impatience with shame. Because for decades, I’ve bristled at her edge-of-fear look, that hesitancy before taking a step. Only now it’s longer and deeper. Watching it seize her makes me feel I’m being sucked out of the sky. Her life had become a full-time managing of her disease, hiding the next turn in the road.

But until death is in the room, it’s easier than you’d think to revert to lifelong habits of instant annoyances, petty bickering.

A turn of her head, a certain faraway look, and I could forget she’s sick and get mad at her. I yelled at her not long ago over some important tax forms, I can’t remember anymore why. Horrible me.

Raging As My Sister’s Light Dims

Ms. Lukinson goes on to write:

Sitting with her I am calm and furious, loving and angry, knowing what a gift it is to have such a sister. Wretched to be forced, again, into the slavery of disease. Of having to serve it, and bow to it. I want to escape and be in the light of life. Then, I feel gutted and guilty for wanting to flee.

But here is how her essay concludes:

Now, as the breath of life ebbs away, I keep close to her side. She has never seemed braver or more beautiful to me. Still herself, still my sister.

Extraordinary. Both sisters.

Image: Jon Han, The New York Times

I’m Furious About You Being Furious About The Thing You’re Furious About

This is hilarious! Everybody’s furious about something. We middle aged ragers truly understand. Good to laugh about it!


Watching social media more or less incessantly as I have been over the last few days – instead of working or feeding my children or acknowledging brief but important everyday moments of physical affection from my partner – I’ve seen, as you surely have, that everyone is furious about a thing.  This thing really has got goats and stuck in craws in every corner of the globe. It’s been trending for days and hardly anyone’s feed is free of comment on the subject.  Politicians and celebrities have weighed in with their opinions, and seventy-four badly-realised parody accounts based on this thing were registered by midnight Pacific Time last night.

But ask yourself this: why? Why are they furious about this thing when there is another thing that I believe they should be much more furious about?  The thing that I believe they should be furious about is so much more…

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