Monday, September 26, 2016

Table Rules



Dad taught me to play poker. And the rule book was Hoyle. We were a game playing family and we wore out several rule books. And with board games we constantly referred to the official rules which came with the game. They were generally printed on the inside of the top of the box.

I learned quickly when playing any game at a friend's house to find out the house or table rules before agreeing to play because not everyone played according to Hoyle. And if the "dealer" (usually the house we played at or the owner of the game) was not willing to state the table rules and stick to them I didn't play. I have always been a stickler about the rules.

As a citizen of the United States I consider the rules to be the Constitution with its amendments. Political parties should follow the rules. But they haven't this year. They haven't for a while.

Watergate was a wake up call for me. Nixon calling out the National Guard to quell peaceful peace marches in Washington, DC, had shaken my faith so I left the Republican party. And ultimately I left the groups trying to make a difference in the United States. I always stayed interested and informed, I always voted regardless of where I lived. But I saw more and more evidence of the disease of the system. This year the primaries made me leave the Democratic Party.

I truly believe neither party has the good of the people or our nation as a driving force. It is all about the Party. Sort of why I left organized religion. But I digress. There is no place in the rule book (the Constitution) which mandates a two party system. Actually our current primary system isn't in there either. The Republicans have their house rules and the Democrats have a separate set of house rules. But this year neither party followed even their own rules. Even those they made up as they went. So I choose to not play.

I will vote my conscious, but it will not be for either of the two major parties. I do not vote for cheaters. I fully believe if the Democrats and Republicans had the good of the United States and its citizens as its core value they would not have chosen the two candidates they picked by hook and crook. And if either of those two candidates had the good of the United States and its citizens as their core objective they would step down from being the banner carrier for their party.

And if congress had the good of the citizens and the United States as their prime directive they would step down or at the very least postpone this election. But they would also have long ago listened to their constituents about money in politics and term limits and compromise as well as infrastructure and job bills and making women full and equal citizens under the law and approving another Justice of the Supreme Court.

NOBODY in government or politics is playing by the rules. Nor are they considering us when they make up new table rules even in the middle of the game. Time for all of us to stand up and leave the table.

Did you get that Fox, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, BBC, etc.? You are not following the rules either. It is Freedom Speech not news per the highest bidder.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

If Given a Choice



If given a choice
on how
we see things
choose beauty
over evil
light 
over dark.

If given a choice
on what
we hear
chose kindness
over rudeness
whispers
over screams.

If given a choice
Speak of beauty
Sing in tune
Focus on
the positive
and give all
the same choice.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2016




Saturday, September 10, 2016

We Have Choices



Down
the rabbit hole
or
Up
the sucker hole
Or neither.

Pills
to make you large
Ones 
to make you small
happy
or high.

Books
to bring you low
quotes
to take you up
drinks
so you can ignore it all.

News 
to make you angry
sermons
to make you right
politicians
to insure you are wrong.

Choices
Left or right
red or blue
right or wrong
None
of the above.

Like
this
share that
Amen
or not
Say Goodnight, Gracie.

Jacqui Binford-Bell
September 2016





Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thinking Upon Fall



I wrote a poem this morning on Creative Journey about fall creeping into the valley. It seems early but I only have to look at my photo files and garden journal to know it is about time. The grass is not as gold as in the photo above but that may be because of the extended monsoon season. But there and there is a branch on an aspen which is already gold or a Virginia Creeper vine turning red.

There are just so many images you can put in a poem unless it is the Iliad. But as one is writing it so many images spring to mind. And I found myself thinking long about the signs of fall.

The hummingbird feeders are down to two which I fill only every other day. That is down from three filled three times a day.

There are now more seed pods than bulbs on the holly hocks. I shall miss them.

Under house heat does not go on until the end of October but I plugged in the heated door mat on the deck outside the studio. It was gift. I would never have bought myself one. But when it fails I will purchase another. Nothing is quite like standing on a hot mat with bare feet taking a photograph of the dawn.

And dawn is later. I notice that more than sunset being earlier.

I have had one fire in the wood stove on a cloudy and damp day. Always end the firewood season with enough logs to toss in on those rare cold early fall days.

Time to order firewood. And schedule the chimney sweep.

I bought apples and made an apple crisp. I seldom do that except in fall.

The number of hawks in the skies around my house seems to have tripled. I can only assume some migrants are passing through and celebrating with the locals.

There is a who list of todos beyond the firewood and chimney sweep but there is still time. For now it is just great to sit on the deck and breathe. Fall smells so good.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Revealed Truth Standing On My Deck

The Binford-Bell Studio Deck

When I first bought my home in Black Lake it was in many ways a compromise. It didn't have a deck or even a porch for sipping morning coffee. But then neither did the house I was moving from. The house my husband of the time refused to entertain any changes to.

And my plans and dreams of the changes I would make to my new home were put on hold by the changes which had to be made because of the lies the seller and his agent made. First there was the new well, and then the new lift station for the septic system. Costly things. I contented myself with cosmetic changes to my living space. And necessary upgrades to the attached rental unit. I tried modifications to the back porches on both sides but they are on the north side. Coffee in a rocking chair I bought specifically for the purpose was a chancy and very seasonal thing. It suited only dashing out in coat and snow boots to capture a fleeting dawn; quickly, very quickly.




I began to plan and scheme to have a sunporch with attached deck on the alee side of the house. By 2006 the small sunporch was a green house and then a studio with passive solar. Construction began in the spring of 2007 and by that fall I had fired my contractor and began work on finishing the project myself. Fall 2009 the dreamed of studio was done except for the deck. There was only temporary steps.

"Temporary" steps
They were really not that temporary. Or even big enough for a chair. Still I would sit on the steps and enjoy a warm weather lunch with my fur kids. Decks were expensive and the contractor had put a lien on my house because I had kicked him off. I was not about to do further improvements on a place he might win from me with a judicial decision however unjust. Five years later that was decided in my favor and I was fighting of the stagnation of not moving forward.



Then a friend gave me wood and the deck project became a dream again. A dream which had to become a reality before the snow fell. And because I did not trust contractors I wanted to do it all myself. But realistically I cannot hold both ends of a board at the same time. I got the opportunity to confront all my trust issues instead.

Isaac Martinez and crew

And the good news is they finished it in one day and one morning. I had to live with the temporary steps to new deck for only a few hours.

New deck with its own set of temporary steps

Besides there was a lot I can do to personalize this dream a long time coming. First was picking a stain color and staining it. Thicke immediately approved of his new hunting platform over looking the vole fields.




There is much more to do to make it totally mine. And several things which will have to be done quickly before winter snows. I am reminded some of the longest journeys are just outside the door. The door which once only had temporary steps, and now has a 8 x 12 foot deck with five and a half foot wide steps toward the gate.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Mardi Gras We Miss You

Mardi Gras Adieu 

Mardi Gras never thought of herself as a dog let alone a poodle. When she first came into my life 16 almost 17 years ago I had Mariah, an alpha German Shepherd. She immediately appointed herself boss. And after my head injury, even my boss. She raised Magique, the labradoodle, and trained her to my unspoken specifications. After all, Mariah had trained her before her departure.

Together Mardi and Magique became my photography dogs. The hopped joyfully in jeeps or trucks. They knew not to chase and to stand quietly when I stopped on a walk and raised my camera. They ran through the woods but always returned when called.



Four years ago Mardi seemed to lose it. Episodes of not coming when called or seemingly getting lost on walks signaled a liver dysfunction. Our vet prescribed vitamin 3 and milk thistle. She immediately responded and for the remaining years of her long life because the dog she had been. But still there were occasional bouts of disorientation. Magique appointed herself leader of the pack and caretaker of her older friend. I could ask Magique to find Mardi if she went astray on a walk and she would; leading her back to me.

A couple years ago walking closer to home Mardi vanished. When I asked Magique to find Mardi she ran back down the block and pointed down to the ground. I thought both my loyal companions had lost it. But Magique was right. Mardi had fallen into a crumbling abandoned septic tank. It took the local fire department volunteers to get her out.She danced with joy and gratitude. And thanked her rescuers after first thanking Magique. 




I knew her days were numbered when she no longer wanted to go on the morning walk with Magique and I. She had been my dancing dog and she no longer could dance. But she had taken such good care of me for years and I could not easily let her go. For the last couple of days before I took Mardi on her last journey Magique, appointed caretaker of her friend, would talk to me in the mornings. She can be quite a talker with a wide vocal range. They were protracted tales of woe, but I was slow to get her meaning.

Magique and I now take our walks alone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Who Will Kneel


Wars depend
upon the 
monuments.

The dead remembered
by the survivors
with cemeteries.

Grave stones
and statues
to continue the myths.

Plaques
which declare
victory real or false

The survivors
must label it
a noble cause.

The few
who remain
bury the dead.

Declare
the dead
have not died in vain.

What if
there was no one
left?

Who then 
would kneel
before the monuments?

Jacqui Binford-Bell
August 2016