Dear Democrats: about the vitriol

Not long ago I put up a post questioning Republicans.  Although I always vote Democratic since my favored party — Social Democratic — isn’t viable yet, I have no problem turning my critical eye on democrats.  I feel like the party has by and large lost touch with people and they need a big shift to get back on track.

I’m not trying to outline a complete plan here nor to address all the major issues.  But as I participate in some of the resistance groups that have sprung up, like Sister District, Act Blue, etc.  and try to help a bit with some of the “swing” campaigns, I’m noticing a lot of stuff I don’t like.

I’ve given money several times to Jon Ossoff‘s campaign, which has put me on their radar.  I have nothing against him, I hope he wins, so this is not meant to be an attack on him.  But those who are coordinating his campaign are driving me nuts and I’m using this as an example because this crap has become far too common:

  1. I get something like six — sometimes more — e-mails a day, bugging me for money.  Enough already.  Ask me once then leave me alone at least until the next day — preferably for a week…
  2. The headlines of most of these e-mails are things like “frantic”, “disaster”, “failure”, etc.  Not only is the melodrama annoying and a big turn-off, but on the rare occasions when I take a look at the actual e-mail it’s like a click-bait ad or one of those fake news stories — nothing in the e-mail explains the dire tone of the subject line.  What doesn’t fail is the request for more money.  I don’t want to feel like the people I’m voting for are engaging in the same objectionable tactics as the GOP I despise.
  3. The frantic requests for money are always linked to heinous GOP ads against him and tell me they need the money to respond.  I don’t want them to respond.  I especially don’t want them to respond in kind.  I’m sick of the hateful campaign ads.  Everyone I know is sick of hateful campaign ads.  I don’t want to help pay for more despicable ads.  Grass roots stuff is more effective and doesn’t cost a pile.  Ask for more volunteers.  If you are going to put up ads, made them about the candidate and what she or he stands for and/or intends to do and make sure I know that’s your plan for the ad campaign.
  4. One day when their e-mails informed me he was getting beaten I looked at the polls and found he was 7 points ahead in the latest one.  I can’t begin to tell you how pissed off I felt about being lied to.

Democrats here in Kentucky for some years now have stuck so thoroughly to the attack ads and hateful responses theme that I’ve often been confused as to who the democratic candidate was.  Those ads have turned me off for ages.  I’ve often said it’s a good thing they leave it unclear who the democrat is and that I just vote a straight democrat ticket (i.e. I don’t have to know the names) because if I went to the ballot box with awareness of who the perpetrators of hate were, I wouldn’t vote for anybody…

Chime in if you think I’m wrong, but I think most Americans are sick of the vitriol,  Just because that’s become common doesn’t mean you have to succumb to it.  I want to see candidates who rise above that muck and I don’t think I’m alone.

I’m tired of hyperbole, melodrama and so very tired of all the battle talk.  I don’t want us to be constantly at war or in a struggle or fighting against — I want us to be FOR positive outcomes, social welfare, etc.  I want us to be working on Germany’s great idea for tech schools specializing in many needed job skills to help people whose jobs have become obsolete find new employment.  I want to work FOR solar and wind power instead of yelling about fossil fuels.  I want us to be FOR universal health insurance and developing the best plan to make that happen.

So, okay Democrats.  Quit turning me off.  As the lesser of the evils, so far I’m still voting for you but that could change… This stuff, I feel, is why so many of us are choosing not to vote at all.


WPC: Evanescent

A little late again… When I was last participating in the Weekly Photo Challenge regularly the new challenges went up on Friday and I don’t seem to be able to get on the new pattern 🙂

When I gazed at this beautiful sky I almost delayed stepping out to take a shot or two, then realized it would be gone.  What could better exemplify evanescence?

WPC: Heritage

I’m WAY late for last week’s challenge, Heritage, but I knew what I wanted to do as soon as I saw it.  Bad weather and a fall that left me home bound for several days got in the way but I still wanted to do it.

Most who are familiar with U.S. history know of Henry Clay, but his home, Ashland, is a special place here in Lexington.  And I have a couple of tenuous links in the Henry Clay story that mean it always feels special to me.

When I was about 10 my aunt Mary Jane decided it was time for me to see Ashland and that I had to read a bio of Henry Clay first.  Her being her (bitchy, not hot for education), she got a huge, adult biography from the library and insisted that I read the whole thing first.  The good news was I was already a reader and by then I was reading far ahead of my age level so it wan’t quite as onerous as it might have been, but MAN to 10-year-old me, that was one long SLOG.  But I did it and it was such a triumph to finally get to do the tour of the house!

I’ve had many more visits. It’s not far from where I live and the grounds are open and free to wander, so I go walk around occasionally and I love to check in on the walled garden.  At Christmas they decorate appropriately for the vintage and have special evenings with carols and staff dressed in costume, etc., something I like to do occasionally.

More recently, I’ve been off and doing research on both sides of my family.  The Gaitskills have been in Kentucky since the 1790s and, as far as I can tell, it was one big family that came over here from Virginia at that time, so all the Kentucky Gaitskills are related.  In one of the other branches of the family one of the Gaitskill clan married one of the Clay clan so I’m some level of cousin to some of the Clays.  Obviously I’m not hopped up enough about that to have actually written down the info when I ran into it nor to pursue knowing any more 🙂  But kind of fun never-the-less.

Share Your World 5/15/17

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

How many languages do you you speak?

Depends on how fluent I have to be to be considered as “speaking” a language.  If real fluency and the ability to converse about multiple topics is the criteria, then one, English.

In French I can manage fairly simplistic conversations (best off talking to 5-year-olds 🙂 ) and I can understand rather more than I can speak, so I can follow along up to a point beyond my ability to participate (they speak many more words per minute than Americans so I have trouble keeping up when they go full speed) .

In Italian I can order in restaurants, ask directions, check in at a hotel, etc. and get through the basic hello, how are you stuff, but I’m out after that…

Somewhere along the way I figured out there are some major similarities among French, Italian and Spanish so I can work my way through some amount of Spanish text and sometimes pick out enough based on Italian and French root words to get the gist.  Can’t understand a bit if spoken to and, though in the past I learned just enough basic lingo to get through a Puerto Vallarta visit, I instantly forgot everything I memorized and now would have to dig to think up how to say hello.

I also memorized a smattering of words and phrases in Indonesian when I went to Bali and I didn’t even do too well with them then — remember zero now…

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

I’m reading Kate Carlisle’s Crowned and Moldering, the third of her Fixer Upper mysteries.   I’m also a fan (probably more so) of her Bibliophile mystery series.

I just finished watching the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix and was blown away by it.  Deeply thoughtful, well written (you know, for TV) and for once they got a cast of young folks who can actually act so they bring it to life in a heart-touching way.

Right this minute I’m listening to a “Daily Mix” list from Spotify in which they picked up on my long playlists of 70’s music — mostly what I’d call fusion (stuff like folk-rock, jazz-rock, etc.)– and have created lists that combine some of my stuff with similar items and other songs by people on my lists, etc.  Love it.  They also put together one based on my jazz lists that’s really good.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?


The photo of my yoga sandals that I took for last week’s Share Your World.  Of course after I wrote this part I decided to take photos of Mom’s flowers for the section below, so already this isn’t the last photo I took.

What is your favorite time of day?

During Daylight Savings Time I like the last couple of hours of sun.  It’s my favorite time to take a walk, in part because of the light and in part because in the summer that’s when it has cooled down enough to tolerate walking….  I also like to run errands after things have quieted down and I prefer to drive in daylight, so another reason to love DST.

In the winter I don’t know that I have a favorite time — I mostly just wait for Daylight Savings Time and longer days to return.  Since the last couple of hours of winter daylight are in the afternoon I can’t always take as much advantage of them as I do the early evening hours later in the cycle.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful Mom enjoyed both kinds of flowers and the chocolates I got her for Mother’s Day and we both enjoyed sitting out on the sun porch to have the dinner I made  — in peace; we’ve both reached the point where we shudder at the idea of one of those crowded holiday brunches where the noise level means Mom can’t hear anything and I get a migraine.  This weekend I’m signed up for a Patricia Cote-Robles event and will be attending with several friends I’ve not seen in ages — can’t decide if I’m more excited about the workshop or getting to see my pals!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting

I’ve been absent from these challenges for quite some time, starting from breaking my camera and moving onto bad weather, ill health, etc.  And now I’m going to come back with an old photo instead of taking a new one.

This picture I took while house sitting at my old home in Corte Madera, CA is, I think, my favorite picture of a reflection I’ve ever taken.  I’ve posted it numerous times on this and my main blog, but it’s the one that springs to mind:


The deck with the hot tub…

Share Your World 5/8/17

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

When you’re alone at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

Leigh Gaitskill Copyright 2017

Depends on time of year.  In cold weather I wear LL Bean thermal socks; I tend to have cold feet so I need WARM.  I prefer the socks to slippers because I like the greater freedom of movement.  In warmer weather I alternate between barefoot and yoga sandals.  My feet are pretty tender, so often the sandals for moving around and barefoot for sitting.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

Peanut butter.  I had a spell at one point when I was 6 or 7 where I ate nothing but bread with peanut butter on it.

Are you a listener or talker?

Varies with circumstances.  One on one, I’m a talker and, since I spend too much time alone, I’m afraid I often talk too much.  In groups I tend to sit and listen without participating much.  I’ve been working on my right listening skills for years, but I’m far from the excellent listener I’d like to be (it’s not helped by the fact that I don’t take in or process oral information very well).

Favorite thing to (pick one):  Photograph?  Write? Or Cook?


Copyright Leigh Gaitskill 2017

Lately my favorite thing to cook is granola.  It’s easy to put together.  The house smells fabulous for hours.  I’ve never bought a granola of any sort anywhere that was as good.  Plus it uses only maple syrup so no white sugar is involved and it’s not as sickeningly sweet as many store-bought granolas.  See my recipe.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Had a cold last week but got rid of it quickly thanks to Chinese herbal gan mao ling, so I’m grateful for quick healing — and the herbs :-).  This week I’m looking forward to finishing a writing project and getting it off my to-do list.

Spiced Granola

I put off trying to make granola for a long time.  I wanted to do it but kept finding recipes that didn’t feel right.  Plus…  lazy ….  Finally I landed on this recipe, which felt like the proportions suited my taste; I also really like it because it gives a basic formula and then you can play around with different versions from there:

  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • 1-1/2 cups raw seeds/nuts – I use 1 cup nuts, 1/2 cup seeds
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup oil-preferably coconut, but as you wish
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit

I wanted something more spiced than the recipe she provided, so I’ve kept fiddling until I got it to a level of spices I like.

Spiced Granola

  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup raw cashews (or other nut of choice)
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (or other seed of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries (or other fruit of choice)


Preheat oven to 350.

Mix dried ingredients, oats through cloves, together in large bowl.  Make sure you toss the spices through it pretty well.

Separately mix together wet ingredients, oil through vanilla.  If your house is cool enough that coconut oil has solidified, melt in microwave first (takes about 30 seconds to a minute on low-ish heat).

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients.  Mix well — it takes a while and a lot of stirring to get everything well coated and to avoid winding up with a bunch of liquid left on the bottom.

Spread parchment paper over a large cookie sheet and spread the mixture on the sheet.  Bake for 11-12 minutes.  Take out, stir and, if you wish for clumps, flatten with a wooden spoon or a spatula.  Return to oven for 11-12 more minutes.

Remove and cool.  When cooled, toss in the dried fruit.

I keep it in an airtight plastic storage container and it lasts quite well for the month or so it takes me to use this much granola.

Share Your World 5/1/17

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold?

Sausalito St near “home”

Neither.  My favorite climate — having lived mainly in northern climes — was Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area.  We were outside the fog zone and a huge portion of the year was in the 70’s, dry and sunny.  Even the cooler rainy season was usually punctuated with warm sunny days.

I did kind of miss fall, as we really didn’t get the kind of Technicolor display with which I grew up, but otherwise, sandals-and-open window-weather for 9-10 months suited me fine!

I grew up in Michigan and spent many years in two different rounds of living in the Chicago area.  I LOVE Chicago, but they can keep the weather…

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?

Hm.  Tough one.  I’ve had both.  If I had the right shaped head and face for super short, I might go that way.  But I don’t.  I think I’ve got the next best thing, which is that I keep it long-ish and wear up in a clip in an easy style that doesn’t require much more work than short hair but lets me shape it to be more flattering.

What is your favorite month of the year?

Weeping Cherries, Lexington Cemetary

Depends on where I live.  Coin toss between April and October here in Kentucky, where I like the generally mild temperatures and lower humidity.  April here is full of flowers — more at once than most places I’ve lived — and October offers a beautiful landscape of changing leaves.  Two of my favorite sights.

What is the easiest way for your to learn something new?  By reading, by seeing and doing, in a classroom?

Depends on the subject matter.  I take things in by reading very well in general.  I DON’T take in oral information at all well so classes based on lectures were never easy for me.

In yoga I was able to take in the instructions because there was something about combining movement and suggestions that really sank in for me  When I did my student teaching for my yoga teaching certificate many of the teachers got a huge kick out of how thoroughly my teaching echoed my regular yoga teacher’s classes (they all knew him) because as I moved his words just flowed through me with the movements.  I that was almost 30 years ago and I find myself echoing him when I teach to this day.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for the lovely birthday party I attended last week and the joy of reuniting with friends in another town whom I’ve not seen for TOO long.  I’m looking forward to a fairly quiet week after a flurry of activity.  And the Derby.  I am after all the descendant of “horse people” here in the Blue Grass.  Not my life and not an arena in which I have much expertise — especially considering my heritage — but I do watch all three of the Triple Crown events.

What if the answer is not what our knee jerk says???

I’ve been participating in all the protesting and efforts to keep protections for social welfare  It’s my knee jerk position.  But I keep reading studies about the #45 base — the folks who believe him and the Republicans, think we’re lying and somehow imagine that the benefits they receive came from the GOP.

All those who study them say they absolutely do not change their minds — dialog is pointless– UNLESS something directly affects them.  So the big question that keeps running through my mind is this:  should we really be fighting to save welfare, hot lunches, after-school, etc.  Or do we need to get it that they have to actually lose stuff before they will believe a different reality?

If we want to change the tide are we really serving the greater good by blocking the GOP’s efforts?  Or would we serve better by letting them make stuff bad for a while and gaining a stampede to the left that will keep them out of power for a couple of generations?

Everyone talks like a change of the law will be permanent.  Seems to me, just as they can pass laws that take stuff away, when social democracy rules we can create new laws and programs that perhaps would serve people better. What if we need to think outside the box of social justice we’ve been in?

Cee’s Share Your World 4/24/17

English: A strawberry falling into a glass of ...

English: A strawberry falling into a glass of water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

I keep a tumbler of water with a slice each of lemon and lime with me most of the time.  Nothing better for thirst than water.

Complete this sentence:  Never In My Life Have I…. 

liked camping.

If you could be given any gift what would it be?

I”m torn between the gift of being a great listener and the gift of being totally compassionate…

What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep, toss and turn, or get up and try to do something productive?

Depends on how long it goes on and how tired I am.  If I’m not feeling too exhausted and I toss for a while I usually turn the light back on and read for a while.  If I’m super tired I just close my eyes and try to get as much rest as I can from being still.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

We had a bunch of lovely sunny days just warm enough to open windows and enjoy the fresh air last week — always grateful for that.  This week I’m looking forward to driving down to Danville for a birthday party — I have a bunch of friends down there and I haven’t seen them in eons so, since we all know the birthday girl, I’m hoping I get to see lots of them!