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Articles in "Spiritual Smart Aleck "

Lately there has been a foofaraw about where transgender people go to the bathroom. Some people have this idea that if transgender people are allowed to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, male pedophiles will put on dresses so they can go into women’s restrooms and abuse little girls. At least I think that’s the argument.

A while back it occurred to me that my days needed some organization.
I sat down with pen and paper, ruler and colored pencils, and drew my week. I listed when I get up, and when I go to bed, and then I listed everything in between through each day of the week. I blocked out the hours and colored in the blocks.

I have been pondering lately how little control I have in my life. Sometimes it occurs to me that not being in control is not a personal fault of mine. It is simply the way things are.

I was writing a letter this morning. Yes, a letter, with a pen, on paper.
Yes, children, before computers and cell phones we had to write letters, and mail them, then wait days or weeks for an answer.

I keep saying that I want to get things out of my house, not bring things in, but you know I hit Granny’s Attic at least once a week. There are certain people I see almost exclusively at Granny’s. It’s a social thing, and a time of relaxation and fun, browsing the second hand selection.

Lent is upon us. It is a Christian season of the year, forty days and nights, not counting Sundays, marked by prayer, fasting, and self-examination, with the intended purpose of repentance and improving oneself, one’s behavior, and the practice of one’s faith.

This past weekend a folk singing retreat called Rainy Camp was held in the foothills of the Cascades, out beyond Maple Valley. The attendees were mostly people of a certain age – my age, or thereabouts, although there were some younger adults in attendance.

My husband died two years ago today, as I write. That sad ending was a new beginning, although I certainly did not think of it that way at the time.

The dog really likes the new bed. The new bed has a full-sized mattress. This mattress came to me as gift because I was griping about my wonky back and my old mattress that was causing the wonkiness.

About twenty-four years ago I was enrolled in an Episcopal course given by the Diocese of Olympia called Formation for Ministry. It was meant to equip lay people to live out their call.

As I write it is the week before Thanksgiving, and I am thinking about things for which I am thankful, and how hard it is to feel thankful when the brokenness of the world seems to be anything but a gift. I turn my attention from woes to gratitude.

The gigantic head of a Star Wars storm trooper was approaching me in the oncoming lane. I knew that couldn’t be right. Turned out it was a white Kia Soul. For a few seconds, though, I was definitely in a galaxy far away.

It’s a good thing to work on improving yourself, in my opinion. If you are of the, “I want to be a better person” persuasion – and I like to believe most of us do think and feel that way – life will knock you around in ways from which you learn how to be and do better.

From Smith River, a few miles south of the Oregon border, I headed through the redwoods on Highway 101. I traveled a little way on the Avenue of Giants, a dark, curving two-lane road under the trees which was still the main highway when my family traveled there back in the 1950s.

The trip was interesting. I didn’t want to leave home, but had to in order to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, my fifty year high school reunion. I made arrangements, and I went, in a mixed mood with lots of doubts. Driving down the Willamette Valley I was thinking, I hate driving. I don’t want to do this.

As I am sure I mentioned before, when Rick died I figured I would be out of my mind for at least two years. Having that idea intellectually is quite different from the actual experience. I didn’t know that my interior life would be burned to the ground when he died, or how long it would take to recover from the stunning reality of his passing.

Went out into the yard to put in the cone flower I bought on an impulse yesterday. Cone flowers are perennials, and I am in favor of plants that have the sense to come back on their own. So I found a spot, added soil from a new bag of potting soil, and put the cone flower in. It looked great, but only time will tell if it does great where I planted it.

When your spouse shuffles off this mortal coil you have to take care of a lot of business. As time goes on and the angst recedes a little, the less pressing issues begin to arise, one of which is, should I keep wearing my wedding ring?

We’re coasting into late summer. I figure that after the Strawberry Festival, there are a few weeks left of wearing shorts and tank tops and going to the beach, but you might as well acknowledge that fall is coming.

Folks, it pains me to rerun an old column, but your smart aleck has been ill this week, and my brain has put up a “closed” sign. While out watering my nasturtiums and hollyhocks today I felt a bug on my arm, and it was an earwig. It reminded me of this column. So, from 2013, I bring you:

Everyone understands the importance of cleaning out the refrigerator on a regular basis. Granted, sometimes the motivation is a certain something in the air that turns out to be leftovers from three weeks ago.

One of the feelings which is part and parcel of grief but seldom is mentioned is relief.
The relative silence on the subject is perhaps due to the guilt a person might feel admitting that he or she feels relief that someone has died.

All right, class, we have discussed the non-linear properties of grief. Non-linear means that the stages of grief which Elizabeth Kubler-Ross described for us do not happen in order. You don’t work your way through them like lessons from a textbook. More like they work their way through you, at unexpected times.

Jury duty was, as I expected, heck.
The slickest part was taking the bus. You get a bus ticket with your jury summons, so the fare is covered. I parked at my church parking lot, which the county uses as a park and ride, and went out to the side of the highway to wait.