Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Plan B

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," safe and sanitary through a long school year! My name is Anne Johnson, and I did not get the stomach virus during the school year that just concluded. I consider that an accomplishment!

Now I would like to keep the streak going.

Customarily, this is the weekend where I go to Four Quarters Farm, which is a quasi-Pagan campground near my dear old family property that no longer belongs to my family. For the past five years I've gone to 4QF for a nice long mountain retreat.

This year, 4QF has played host to festivals on many, many weekends since Beltane. The two festivals that were held most recently were bedeviled by a virulent strain of something ... there is no news yet about what it was, but quite a number of people fell ill, and some needed to be hospitalized.

The festival I attend annually is all about drumming. Except this year, with the unidentified something still perhaps clinging to a leaf here or a fly leg there, many of the drum instructors bailed. As with them, so with me. I'm not going.

I still have to go to the mountains, however. My uncle's magnificent piece of land was purchased by a new owner last year -- someone who is interested in the history of the property. So I am going to meet this gentleman. I'm going to wear my Girl Scout smile and a stylish shirt and hope to make a good impression. One never knows if this could turn into a friendship that might lead to the sale (to me) of a nondescript acre at the very edge of the tract. Whether or not that happens, I would like to have the owner's leave to stroll the grounds.

I was fortunate to find a room in a cheery b&b in Hancock, Maryland. There I will base my stay as I undertake Plan B.


This is Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. For my money, this is the most beautiful spot on the Potomac River and one of the best in all of Appalachia. One blessed summer I worked in Harper's Ferry, and I adore the place. I haven't been there for a serious hike in years. Day One, serious hike around Harper's Ferry. See that cliff? If I get there early enough, I'm going to hike it -- there are always buzzards biffing about up there.


Got to do the ancestor work. No one else gonna do it for me.


This unassuming establishment is Snider's Road Kill Cafe in Artemas, PA. Don't let the exterior fool you. Within those walls lies exceptional country cooking and home made pies. I promised Anansi we would go there on this trip. Of course, we always go to the Road Kill Cafe when we visit home. Thursday is ribs night.


My number one reason for going to Four Quarters Farm is the plethora of swimming holes on that land. The exhibit above, however, is not a 4QF swimming hole. It's in another watershed. I'm going to give it a try and report back to you. Local swimming holes can get dicey when you're alone with New Jersey license plates. But I aim to swim. If not here, then somewhere. There are lots and lots of creeks in the mountains.

So, wish me bon voyage! I'll be off the grid and all by myself. Not exactly what I anticipated, but a woman just doesn't go through a whole school year without stomach flu, only to get it on vacation. You feel me?

Monday, June 26, 2017

My Grandfather, the Diarist

This is my grandfather, Daniel Webster Johnson, Sr.

This photograph doesn't do him justice. He was a very handsome man. He looked a little bit like Henry Fonda, only with softer features.

Granddad had many interests. He was a pioneer in the synthetic fabric industry, creating and designing microscopic drills. He repaired watches and clocks. He loved insects, flowers, and gardening. He liked to hunt squirrels.

How do I know all of this? Well, I know all of the above except the squirrel thing from talking to my grandfather, watching him work, and seeing the fruits of his labor.

The squirrel thing I got from his diaries.

Yes! My grandfather Johnson kept a daily diary from 1936 until 1948! That's a long time! Think of it: Granddad kept a diary right through the Great Depression and the Second World War. Talk about a primary source!

It gets better. I, Anne Johnson, own all of those diaries.

I've perused these diaries many times, but only in a cursory manner. Today I sat down with them to take a closer look. I was particularly in search of information about my grandfather's older brother. I also wanted to know more about the house Granddad built on the family farmland, round about 1939.

My grandfather was a dependable diarist. He wrote down something almost every day. And that something ... that something ... was an observation of the weather.

Sometimes he notes when he visits someone, or someone visits him. But only after he has noted the weather.

"Fair and warm today, got cool at night."

Multiply that by 300 and you get the spring portion of Granddad's diaries.

Another thing my grandfather noted punctually was his church attendance. He abbreviated Sunday School "Sunday S." On Wednesday nights, he attended the Knights of Malta lodge (abbreviated KofM). This is always noted after the weather.

He did note the birth of his youngest son, who was born in 1937 (weather report was first). He did not note the high school graduation of his two older sons, in 1942 and 1944 respectively, although every day in June of those years have entries. Only once, at the 15-year mark, does he note his wedding anniversary. After the weather. Grandma's birthday? Once or twice ... after the weather.

He does hunt squirrels, though. I found about 40 entries mentioning squirrel hunting. Seems his best day was eight. Sometimes he got one, sometimes none at all. After the weather.

He mentions the construction of the house. "Worked on cabin." Then "spent first night in cabin." Then "spent the day at camp." Then "spent the weekend out at camp." Then "painted the house." Occasionally he notes what he was planting in the garden "at camp." Every entry that includes this begins with a weather report.

On December 7, 1941, Granddad noted that the weather was cloudy and cold. Then he added, "The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor." That is literally the only piece of world news I have found in his diaries from any year.

If he was alive today, I would tease him about this. I would say, "For the love of fruit flies, Granddad, why did you always write down the weather?" And he would say, "Well, Anne Janette, you see ... it's a small notebook, with only a few lines for each day. The only thing that will fit is the weather. And I was busy living my life -- I didn't have time to go into more detail."

Well, bless his sweet heart, my grandfather kept diaries. They reveal nearly nothing of his personality, his relationship with his family and siblings, his challenges at work, or his creation of an iconic, hand-made homestead in the Appalachian Mountains.

The moral of this sermon is that I must have inherited something from my mother's family. Don't you agree?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Free Advice about that Farm in the Mountains

One thing you learn, growing up in Appalachia: The land and weather aren't as sacred as they are savage. There just aren't enough bored gods and busy gods in the universe to make everything run smoothly when you call the mountains home.

Ask anyone who tries to farm this land. If you can't find that person (which wouldn't surprise me), visit the graveyards and look at the ages of the deceased. Also round up the folks like me, who, although they love the mountains with the white hot passion of 10,000 suns, can't live there because people gotta eat.

And yet you'll find a passel of starry-eyed optimists who seize upon a plot of mountain farmland, give it a pretty name, and commence to building a utopian community on it. This one will do "sustainable agriculture." This one will have bee hives and make mead. This one will grow artisan apples. Oh my, there's nothing more inspiring than a quiet evening in the country, when nobody's around and the whippoorwills are serenading one another from ridge to hollow! A modest living for a few people can surely be had, right?

This is where the utopian vision comes in. The optimist invites his friends to a gathering, often on a Pagan festival day, and the next year the friends bring their friends, because the property with the pretty name is so gorgeous. Within a decade, as the bees die and the apple blossoms take a frost and the groundhogs eat the peppers, the optimist has luckily happened upon a way to self-sustain: the paid festival. Okay, the land gets a little crowded, hectic, and trampled. But it's worth it. The money pours in, and the rest of the year things are so quiet and beautiful for the optimist and his small nucleus of companions.

All might be well in these cases, but it's really hard for the optimist not to become a capitalist. After all, isn't it nice to be able to make a genteel living in such a benign way? What's a festival? It's a chance for people who don't live in the mountains to come to a property, link elbows with like-minded naturists, and have a heart-warming and safe time. Word of mouth brings more and more folks each year, keeping the entrance fee quite affordable. So the optimist invests in sound equipment and heavy duty lawn mowers. He contracts port-a-potties and lines up hay bales in case it's rainy. And then he has festivals.

Here's where it goes one of two ways. In the first way, the optimist has one festival a year, upon which he stakes his whole budget. It's only held once a year, and that makes it very special, and -- again word of mouth -- numbers of attendees just keep climbing. In the other way, the optimist devises many festivals of different sorts and different sizes, flings them out across summer weekends, and waits for the customers to find the event that suits their tastes.

I personally know two such optimists who are finding out now that the land isn't sacred, it's savage. It will punish your ass no matter how lofty your intentions happen to be.

Case number one features the nicest optimist you would ever want to meet. His big once-yearly festival was hit by torrential rain. Cars skidded out of control on the parking hill, and people couldn't stand on their feet in the slippery muck. At a devastating financial loss, he had to close down a day early. There's just no way he can recoup that day of receipts at another event. This was his event. Chances are, next year, the sun will shine and the people will return. In the meantime, it's gonna be one bloody lean year.

The other case features the optimist with multiple festivals. This dreamer has invested more: bigger parcels of land, permanent bathroom facilities, even a dining hall. But as he increased the number and size of events, health problems surfaced. On two recent weekends, hundreds of festival attendees became violently ill with an aggressive and highly contagious stomach flu. And of course the Internet is blowing up over it, which has led at least one person I know to cancel her plans to attend a festival there next weekend. Nor does this person I know expect to get a refund, because you know that bottom line is going to be threatened.

The multiple-festival optimist will also recover and persist, but he's going to take a financial beating for years, and perhaps forever. Word of mouth works both ways. When people have fun, they bring their friends. When they get sick on your land, they tell all their friends who weren't there. It's a hole that's hard to climb out of, and in the meantime the optimist still has to eat and pay the notes on the parcel of land he bought for bigger festivals.

The one unifying factor between these two optimists? They both grew up in the city and lived in the city for a long time before taking up residence in the lovely rural spaces.

So here is Annie's free advice for anyone and everyone who wants to live la dolce vita on some bucolic rural farm: The land is untamed. It is untranslatable. It does not love you back. And the harder you work it, the worse it will treat you.

It's too late to ask my great-grandfathers if I am right about this, because they are all long gone. You'll just have to trust me. Would I lead you wrong? Of course not, I'm straight-up.

The economy has improved, so this free advice is really free. Heed it, though, and you'll always eat.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Stepping into Darkness

June 21 marks the greatest amount of sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. Depending upon your mindset, the day is either the beginning of summer or the beginning of darkness.

There are so many good things about summertime: fresh produce, long twilight, fireflies, beach days, porch sitting. Gotta say, though, the only part of that I fully endorse is the long twilight. Otherwise give me a brisk morning and a forecast that includes snow.

I'm still a little bit shaken about the Anansi story below. It might have come off my fingers, but it was Anansi all the way. Scary to be divinely inspired, honestly. It's an outcome of the magickal work I've been doing ... but wow. Still unexpected.

Ah well, may the joys of Solstice be with you and yours. Here comes the heat. Let's get out of the kitchen!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Interview with a Bored God: Anansi

My goodness, as I live and breathe, one of my favorite bored gods of all time is Anansi! He's all puffed up with pride these days, because through one medium or another, Neil Gaiman has made Him a star again.

Anansi is a flirt and a trickster, the kind of critter that with a mere wink can persuade you to part with your last piece of pecan pie. He pilfers the pretzels and leaves the lettuce. He snickers when you stub your toe, principally because He's the one who pushed the ottoman just so and made you do it.

Anansi preys upon people's weaknesses and leads them to downfall. He enjoys doing it ... sort of a matter of just desserts.

And speaking of desserts, that must be why He's here. I'm going to make a strawberry pie. How did He know?

Anne: Anansi, my friend, while I'm making this pie, will You tell me a story?

Anansi: With pleasure, Anne. Better make two pies. You might get company...

Anansi and the Jackal
by Anansi

Once upon a time, there was a jackal who was dissatisfied with his life. He had plenty to eat, and he was popular and well-liked in his circle, but he craved more attention and admiration.

Jackal went to Anansi and asked the Spider to make him more famous ... all-powerful over the rest of the animals on the savanna, in fact.

"I will do this,"Anansi said, "If you first give up one of your possessions. Think about it and get back to me."

Jackal thought about it. He was pretty good-looking, in a paunchy, overripe way. He didn't want to give that up. It was already getting harder to attract lady jackals! He was really good at manipulating other animals (particularly those who weren't as smart as they ought to be). Jackal couldn't imagine being powerful without being able to manipulate, so he didn't want to give that up, either. That left him with two possessions: the ability to lie, and a perfect memory. It seemed pretty clear that a good memory wasn't really important if you had lots of power, so Jackal returned to Anansi.

"You can have my memory," he said.

"Done!" Anansi said.

And Jackal was happy, because he felt just the same.

And the animals heaped him with praise and set him in the best seat and gave him the ability to make decisions that would affect the whole savanna.

In his most manipulative and lying way, Jackal promised all the animals that he would make everything great for them. He promised every kind of animal exactly what they wanted. The lions would get more meat. The wildebeests would get more forage and eat it in perfect safety. The zebras would get to cross the rivers safely. And since nobody liked the hyenas, they would be rounded up and sent away.

Needless to say, the hyenas weren't happy. They went to Anansi and complained.

"Wait it out," Anansi said. So they did.

Not long after Jackal assumed power, the lions got hungry. The wildebeests were fat from eating so much forage, so the lions hunted and killed a few.

The other wildebeests went to find Jackal. "The lions hunted us! You said we would be safe!"

"Did I say that?" Jackal replied. "I don't remember."

"You said it," Elephant answered. "I remember everything."

Next thing you know, the zebras went to cross the river. The lions were waiting.

It wasn't pretty.

The other zebras went to Jackal and complained. Jackal said he couldn't recall the exact details of his deal with the zebras.

But once again, Elephant chimed in: "You promised the zebras they would be safe crossing the river."

Jackal was furious. "I'm tired of these elephants!" he shouted. "As of this minute, all elephants are fired!" He sent the elephants away, one and all.

As time passed, Jackal continued to rule, but all of the animals were sullen, if not outright contemptuous. This didn't sit well with Jackal, since he'd gone into the scheme for approval. So after a few months, he went back to Anansi.

"You didn't tell me the job of ruling the savanna would be so hard!" he told Anansi.

"You didn't ask me," the wily Spider replied.

"I didn't know I couldn't make both the lions and the wildebeest happy," Jackal whined.

"Jackal," Anansi said, "you have lived on the savanna all your life. Have you ever seen a time when lions and wildebeest got along, or when zebras could always cross the river safely?"

"I can't remember," Jackal said, feeling exceedingly sorry for himself.

"It's too bad your memory is so poor," Anansi said, clicking His legs together. "The elephants could have helped you with that, but you sent them away."

"All I wanted was universal admiration!" Jackal wailed. Then he got an idea. "Say, Anansi, could you just put things back the way they were ... as I recall, if I'm right ... so I at least have a little band of followers? The rest of them, lions, zebras, one and all, can go rot."

"I can do that for you," Anansi said. "But you'll have to give me another possession."

Jackal couldn't remember his possessions at all. So he said, "Go ahead and just take one. Whichever one you want."

Next thing he knew, Jackal found himself on the savanna with the other jackals he used to hang out with. They all burst into gales of laughter. "Look at you!" they howled. "You are one old, butt-ugly Jackal!"

Jackal ran to the watering hole and looked into the water. At that moment, Anansi gave him his memory back.

It wasn't pretty.

In the end, the elephants and the hyenas returned to the savanna, and everything fell into its old, natural routine. Except for poor old, ugly, Jackal, who could not buy a best friend no matter how much he lied, manipulated, or remembered the past.

Anne: Wow, Anansi, you are amazing! Here, have both pies! And that dusty corner of my attic? It's all yours, whenever you want a bunk.

Anansi: Thanks, Anne, but I'm due back on set in a week. I'm a big star now.

Anne: Justly deserved, Anansi. Justly deserved.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bucket List Cross-Out

I just love the Chesapeake Bay! It's beautiful and nearby.


The only part of the Chesapeake Bay I haven't visited at length is the very bottom of it (geographically), where it spreads out and flows into the briny Atlantic. There are two islands, Smith and Tangier, that I always wanted to see. Lately I've changed my mind about that. I've crossed these two intriguing communities off my bucket list, thank you very much.


Turns out that Tangier Island has two problems. First, it's disappearing at the rate of 15 feet a year. Second, it's voters went for Donald Trump by 87 percent. Apparently none of the residents of Tangier Island believe in climate change. What's happening to their island is simply erosion, and they're looking to our current commander-in-chief to build them a Wall (yes, that again) around their whole island.

After being on CNN and saying that he loved Donald Trump like family, the mayor of Tangier Island got a call from the president. Does this surprise you? El presidente loves him some filial devotion!

You might think I am making this up, but honestly DT called the mayor of Tangier Island (who was out crabbing) and said to him, "Don't worry about your island. It's been around for hundreds of years, and it will be around for hundreds of years to come."

Of course that's as much truth as our fearless leader usually offers, so what's new?

My friends, delightful Tangier Island is in the damn bull's eye. With erosion (yes, it happens) and sea level rise, this is a place where you soon won't need a boat to catch crabs, they'll be skittering across your front porch. One Cat 5 hurricane will destroy it completely. A wall might slow the whole thing down, but forget about it. Done deal.

Might have been a nice place to go for a long weekend before the deluge, but I'll pass. Anyone who can live on a small island and not pay attention to science is just too blithe for me.

PS - Our president is a moron.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Shoulda Been Done Long Ago

Today it was 95 degrees (35 C) outside. Which meant it was 95 degrees (35 C) in my classroom. The fans just move the air around, like a convection oven.

One of my best and sweetest little girls found a bed bug crawling along the edge of the cabinet, right where she was sitting. This occasioned a lot of angst on the part of my students and myself.

My co-teacher positively identified the vermin by Googling a photograph of one. Neither of us had ever seen one before.

As a class we are about to begin A Raisin in the Sun. Half of my students said they already read it in middle school (!) and had seen the movie. They pronounced it stupid and boring and darkly hinted that they wouldn't do it.

At the last faculty meeting, the principal said we would have a "dress and grooming code" in the fall for all teachers. We will be expected to attire ourselves in "industry standard" clothing.

The refrigerator in the faculty dining room broke. My salad dressing got thrown out.

The water fountain across from my classroom is broken. It has been broken all year. School rules prohibit bottled water in classrooms.

Some classrooms are air conditioned. Some aren't. This means that we never get early dismissal on hot days, because all of the students have at least one class in air conditioning. The exercise room and the locker rooms are air conditioned. All administrative offices are air conditioned.

All this is my way of saying that school should be out for the summer. Last Friday should have been our last day. But we soldier on, right to Solstice. This is public school, and this is what we do.

If you have any idea what "industry standard" attire is for a public school teacher, please post your findings.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Don't Say the Word -- It's That Simple

I don't know about you, but most Friday nights by 10:00 I am drifting off to dreamland in my chair. It just happened that the past two Friday nights I was lucid enough to watch Bill Maher on HBO.

I don't like the guy, even though his politics are similar to my own. I find him pompous, never more so than when he has a Republican guest for an interview. If I treated bored deities the way he treats Republican guests, I'd be smote into oblivion.

So it was that, during an interview with a Republican senator, Maher dropped the "n" word. Hours later, he was issuing apologies and mea culpas. And this Friday, he had three guests of color on the show, probably to prove that he's a cool white dude who loves African Americans and feels their pain.

His Black guests basically took him to the woodshed.

It was typical Maher hubris to invite Ice Cube on the show in the first place. Here's a rapper who has made a lavish living mining his people's pain and injustice, and he wasn't going to give Maher a pass. You go, Mr. Cube. His best remark was, "That's our word. It belongs to us." And it does.

The "n" word should never escape the lips of a white person. Never. Pagan readers, don't you hate it when the word "witch" is used in a pejorative, or even joking, way? Now multiply that by 1,000.

As a teacher in a school that is 99 percent minority, I hear that word all day long. Students call each other "n," in an affectionate way. It's their word. If I'm teaching a passage of literature that has the word in it, I don't utter the word out loud.

Bill Maher had a million excuses for letting the "n" word slip. He blamed the Republican interviewee, for one thing (bad form). He blamed the nature of live comedy (flimsy). He said he shouldn't be judged by one offhand tasteless remark (slightly less flimsy but still flimsy). You know what he didn't do? He didn't say, "I won't use that word again. Ever."

It's tough work being a comedian, especially in live situations. Improv comedy requires a mental acuity that's daunting to say the least. But it's not that hard to expunge your vocabulary of an offensive word and -- this is overlooked -- the racist way it was dropped in reference to a type of slavery. I've never heard Bill Maher call anyone a "cunt." If he can bypass that word, he can remove the "n" word from his oral vocabulary.

I'm sure he will from this day forward, so would it have hurt to promise? Humble people work to change their ways.

Sitting at the top of a mountain of righteousness today I am,

Your most humble and obedient servant,

Anne Johnson

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Memory Lane

Funny what will come into your head sometimes.

I'm remembering a field trip my class took to Washington, DC in 1974. Of course, some details are fuzzy. I can't remember if it was a history trip or a French language trip, or something else. I don't remember the name of the classmate who sneaked off with me. All I can remember is that we descended from the school bus, and someone wasn't looking or counting. My friend and I went AWOL in Washington, DC.

Jesus, I was cheeky! Now that I'm a school teacher myself, I have a whole new appreciation of kids who don't follow the rules on field trips.

But that is an aside.

I was on a field trip to Washington, DC in 1974. I got off the bus, and there was the Watergate Building. I said to my classmate (whose name I forget), "Hey! Look over there! It's the Watergate Building! Let's go!"

And we did. Like two swells, we strolled down to the Watergate Building and went in the lobby, and we stood there looking around. Then we went back to the bus with plenty of time to assure that we weren't missed.

I have no idea what I should have been doing while I instead went to the Watergate Building. What I do know is that I don't remember much about high school, but I remember sneaking off to the Watergate Building during a field trip in 1974.

Why do you suppose I'm thinking of that tonight?

Monday, June 05, 2017

In Which I Take on ISIS

Last thing I want to do is tangle with a terrorist. They really give us no choice, though ... unless you think "join or die" is a choice.

I have a student who I'll call Sweetie Pie. A year ago, Sweetie Pie started a blog on weebly, after she was bullied and harassed in middle school.

Sweetie Pie is very proud of her blog. Last Friday she told me, "I get comments on my entries. I'm kind of surprised, because I have readers in the Middle East."

Indeed. Red flag, anyone?

Okay, so Teacher Annie goes home Friday night and calls up Sweetie Pie's blog. It's a nice little site, and commendable in these days of Instagram when kids have no attention span. But I noticed right away that the comments on Sweetie Pie's blog went to her email and not in the comments section.

Oh, by all the bored gods, do you know what these terrorists do? They contact young American girls and groom them for membership!

Today, when Sweetie Pie came into class, I took her downstairs to the school psychologist. We sat with her and asked about her Middle Eastern reader. She said he was from Dubai, and just her age.

The psychologist asked her if that wasn't a bit suspicious? She blushed and said she wondered how his English could be so good. Apparently they have been corresponding via email for quite some time.

Sweetie Pie's mother is very, very protective ... to the point where Sweetie Pie can't bring her phone to school. So the counselor and I couldn't call up any of her correspondence to analyze it. We can't even look at her blog in school -- it's blocked by the firewall.

The psychologist and I warned Sweetie Pie in no uncertain terms that her correspondent was probably not some nice young teenage fellow from Dubai. She said she would block him.

Now what do I do? I could use your free advice. I don't want to alarm Sweetie Pie's mom (who apparently is easily alarmed). But Sweetie Pie is a frail young lady. She would certainly be a candidate for an online courtship of dubious and possibly dangerous origins.

What should I do? Tell Mom, talk to Sweetie Pie further, or trust Sweetie Pie to block her Dubai gentleman?

It's a sick world we live in. Sick!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Climate Change Resistance

It's been very heartening to see the immediate and widespread blow-back against our toxic president and his vindictive, stroke-the-base decisions. The foam wasn't dry on Fearless Leader's mouth before a group of "climate mayors" formed to uphold the Paris Agreement. So far, the governors of ten states -- California and New York most prominently -- have promised to work toward the goals set by the Paris Agreement.

The state of New Jersey, and the borough of Snobville, are not on that list. Our current governor here in New Jersey is the repulsive, abrasive, Trump-butt-kisser Chris Christie. His days are numbered, though ... and when he goes I'm pretty sure lots of Republicans will go with him. In the meantime, I have to ask myself: What can I do personally, in my house and on my property, to resist global warming?

My biggest contribution is expensive, but I'm proud of it. I have no business living in a high-rent district like Snobville. But I've decided to stay, and pay the outrageous property taxes, because my house is 4.5 miles from my workplace. It takes me 12 minutes to drive to work. Even better, Mr. J has a home office, so he doesn't go anywhere. We try to burn as little gas as possible, day to day.

But this is not what I do to resist. I have another thumb-my-nose that hits me right in the feels. You can do it too! Here's some free advice.

People in Snobville are very picky about their properties. They're always weeding, and fertilizing, and mowing, and leaf-blowing, and edging, and planting annuals, and grooming shrubbery. It's annoying. Snobville has many mature hardwood trees, which is a virtue, but the lawns are as snobby as you can imagine.

Behold my very own climate change-resister property! You, too, can give it a try.


This is a maple seedling in my back yard. It's pretty, and look at those wide leaves, just sucking up that CO2! I've got four this size and a bunch even smaller. Used to be I would cut these down (a job I hated). For the nonce I'm going to let them grow.


This undisciplined stretch of ground used to be my vegetable garden. Then one day I just said "fuck it," and I planted native stuff. There's plenty of milkweed, just sitting there waiting for the monarch butterflies -- who haven't come yet -- and I do see honeybees on the flowers. Eyesore? Maybe. Something I have to tend? Nope. And again, sucking in that CO2, spitting out that oxygen, requiring no chemicals or watering. If it was up to me, my entire small lawn would look like this, instead of just part of it.


This oak was a seedling when I moved to Snobville -- in 1987. Maybe I've thwarted its ambition to tower, but it's alive and doing fine. Look at those wide leaves! You can almost see the oxygen wafting from them. I've got three of these basically bonsais along my driveway and two more in the back yard.

The moral of this sermon is, if you can't deed your whole property over to trees, you can let a few of them grow a little bit, here and there, just to capture a little CO2. This project of mine is the stupidest thing you ever saw, but it's a molecule in the drop in the bucket. It's all I can do with what I've got.

A final note: There's been a lot of talk about witches putting hexes on Donald Trump and otherwise wishing him ill. That's not how I roll. I wish no physical ill on the man, but I'm only too happy to engage in mystical work that seeks to undermine his agenda and protect our nation from his bad deals. Therefore I have joined an online effort called The Magical Battle for America. This is esoteric work on the astral plane, but you need not step onto the astral to be a part of it. Your meditation on the work will add to its power. Every Saturday, the leader posts a new set of instructions. You can join any time, or just drop in to give your quiet support. See you on the plane, or on the ground.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

In Which I Resign from the Daughters of the American Revolution

Bad timing. Very bad timing.

This afternoon when I got home from work I found in the mailbox my yearly dues notice from the Daughters of the American Revolution. I have been a member in good standing of the D.A.R. for exactly 28 years, as of June 2.

National, state, and chapter dues total $68.50, plus $2.00 suggested for the State Regent's project.

To put it bluntly, there are more pressing needs for my $70.

Here is the text of my letter to our local Regent:

Dear [Name Omitted],

After exactly 28 years in the D.A.R., I will not be renewing my membership. My decision to leave N.S.D.A.R. and Snobville Chapter has nothing to do with the fine members of our Chapter or with the mission of the D.A.R.

I have lost my patriotism. I am no longer proud to be an American, which, I think, is a cornerstone value of the D.A.R.

Please remove me from the rolls.

[My so-called Married Name, because they never bought that feminist stuff]

My ancestors hid behind rocks, muskets clutched in shaking hands, to establish this nation. I've always been proud of that. But who can be proud, who can hold her hand over her heart, when her country joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only other nation outside the Paris Climate Agreement?

America has been undermined by racism, espionage, the corporate agenda, and the massive power of the very wealthy. It is not a nation I can stand behind.

I never came to this place during the presidency of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. I would welcome either of them into the Oval Office on this or any other day, if it rid us of the scourge of Donald Trump and Republicans who support him to advance their own anti-woman, pro-rich, polluting agenda.

To arms, Warrior Women! The time to drink tea and pledge the flag is over.