A Fly’s Life

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This little fly helped teach my sons the value of life. After having fallen into my old coffee, he rested safely on my hand and tried his best to clean up and dry off. He eventually felt well enough to move up to my shoulder, as pictured here.

I brought my hand down for my sons to see the recovering creature. I talked to them about wings and the nature of flight. We talked about God’s creation and that we love God, love his creation, and respect life – even the life of a little housefly.

The Reflection of Myself in My Grandmother

My grandma has always been a feisty character, full of piss and vinegar (though she would NEVER use that vulgar term, I’m sure). Although she is as gentle and comforting as an early summer breeze, she would also play hard, work harder, and is extremely resilient.

Now in her 92nd year, she has become old and fragile and everyone wants her to just sit down and let them take care of her. But she’s just as stubborn as always – even though her body doesn’t realistically allow for that stubbornness. The other day, she fell on the basement floor (a place she isn’t supposed to be) while washing the basement steps (a task she isn’t supposed to do). My father (among others) is understandably frustrated by it. She just keeps doing these things that she isn’t supposed to do, and now it’s cost her a broken rib.

That begs the question: what IS she supposed to do? I imagine myself in her position and wonder how I would feel. I can see a version of myself being frustrated with the invisible chains of my body and my family’s will, conspiring together to shackle me to my recliner. I see myself with two options: I  could give in to them, allowing them to care for me while I sit there as a museum piece to be viewed by my family, sitting there just waiting to die, or I could stubbornly fight it and do all that I can to live while I’m alive, and washing the basement steps just to feel normal. I’d do all I could to just live normally, even if it kills me.

Then again, that’s based on an earlier version of myself. There’s another version of myself in that same circumstance that’s based on this most recent version of me* – one that has experienced enough physical hardship to be broken of the pride that turns down help and has thus earned a greater emotional adaptability. This newly imagined version of me enjoys the memories of the past, but doesn’t clutch at its elusive wisps. I imagine accepting help, sitting there the way my family wants me to, but not idly – I’ll try to think of ways to redefine myself and continue to be useful. Perhaps I’ll learn to crochet and start sending too many sweaters and blankets to my grandchildren. I’ll surely stuff the mailboxes of my Congressmen – assuming we still have Congressmen. Maybe I won’t have the dexterity for that. Then I would stuff my Congressmen’s voicemails. I’ll want my children and grandchildren to simply spend time with me, which means I’ll have to call them and explicitly invite them over – I hope I have the willpower for that. Quizá voy a aprenderé un otro idioma y practicar con mi familia. Si puedo perfeccionar esté. Or maybe I’ll have my children read the entertainment section of the Erie Times News and ask them to take me to all of the interesting events.

Although I deeply long for eternity and the perfection of the universe, I truly hope I live long enough to find out which of these imagined ladies I’ll be. I’ve been talking about my father’s mother, and my mother’s mother is 93, so I think I’ve got a good shot at making it that far.

I really do wish my grandma could be like that second woman and find a way to keep everybody – including herself – happy, but she’s still too proud. She wants so badly to be someone she isn’t. While I understand it, I do wish things were different. As for myself, I do believe I’ll be the second one, but if I happen find myself breaking ribs washing steps, I hope no one tries to stop me.

*based on real life experience as outlined in this post here: https://wordpress.com/stats/day/linnealien.wordpress.com

I’m Voting Gary Johnson

I’m wasting my vote! Actually, this may be one of the few years in which that isn’t true. Not that voting for who you really believe in is ever a waste (despite what some may try to tell you), but that this year, it may actually help bring a change. I was going to vote for Bernie Sanders as a write in, but then I learned about the Libertarian Party and “the five percent threshold.” I highly recommend looking it up and learning about it yourself, but the essential information is this: if any party gains a mere five percent of the popular vote, then next season they are given all the political privileges of a major party, including media coverage and the right to debate. That’s a big deal, except that nobody’s been able to get more than four percent since 1996 (and that didn’t really take off much beyond that). But this year, Gary Johnson is staring double digits in the face – %15 in the Midwest – and may earn a spot for the Libertarian Party next season, thereby opening the door for breaking the two party system. More and more people are refusing to buy the “lesser of two evils” lie and realizing that they can be heard by voting third party. This is particularly eye opening when you realize that most people are independent voters (31% D, 29% R, 38% I,). So why is it that people keep telling you that “a vote for Third Party Guy is a vote for opposing candidate x!”? Or I suppose a better question may be, “Why should I believe them?” Personally, I refuse to be scared into voting for one person simply for the sake of voting against the other.

Every election also rakes in quite a few “protest votes,” with Mickey Mouse being a rather popular candidate. Now here’s an opportunity to cast a protest vote that will possibly change things, and will certainly be heard. I say let’s break the system together! (Voting Jill Stein may also be a good option for that. Don’t dig Gary Johnson? Then I recommend checking Jill Stein out. Truly desire to vote major party? That’s cool too. Because I want everyone to vote for whomever they truly believe to be right!)

But why the Libertarian Party? Aren’t Gary Johnson and Bernie Sanders about as opposite as they come?! Not really. For one thing, most of Bernie Sanders’ policies were significantly more middle than the media made them out to be. For an example of that, I recommend checking out his ideas on gun control (hint: he was not planning on taking anyone’s guns from them. At all.). But the biggest link between them for me is how they approach the American War Machine. I’m tired of war. I believed Mr. Sanders to have been the only major candidate who would have potentially avoided war and(/or at least) saved face in front of the other countries. The libertarians’ attitude of keeping our noses out of everyone’s business is therefore rather appealing to me. And since I no longer have Mr. Sanders’ diplomacy to vote for, I prefer the Libertarian hands off approach in general. They take it a bit farther than I prefer, but if we’re going to go too far in any direction, then I think I prefer vigilante justice over a police state. Don’t quote me on that; it’s a shaky belief.

But what about the electoral college? They’re just going to vote in whomever they want anyway. That’s true. But I say we should at least give them something to think about! Let them know that we’re not OK with status quo.

But what about the fact that ALL presidents are owned by the same people and are just puppets, thereby negating any point in voting at all? Well, that may very well be true. All I have to combat that is my shared sentiment of Gwen DiMarco of Galaxy Quest, “I have ONE job on this ship, and it’s STUPID, but I’m gonna do it!”