git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 557 upgrade bugfixes

Fixed several bugs involving upgrade to v7 when the git repository already v7 contained unlocked files. The worst of those involved direct mode and caused the whole file content to get checked into git. While that's a fairly unusual case, it's an ugly enough bug that I rushed out a release to fix it.

Also, LWN has posted a comparison of git-annex and git LFS.

Today's work was sponsored by Trenton Cronholm on Patreon.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 556 snow day

Snowed in and without internet until now, I've been working on the backlog. This included adding git annex find --branch and adding support for combining options like --include, --largerthan etc with --branch.

Today's work was sponsored by Jake Vosloo on Patreon.

rstidyman (Richard)
Response Ability

I’ve been thinking about this since my first cup of coffee.

What does “responsible” mean? Some people might be using the word “responsible” for past mistakes. The word itself is loaded with multiple and misleading meanings. Not surprising as we often here as children, “Can’t you be more responsible? (aka mindful)” .  “Who is responsible for this mess (guilty)?” “You will be responsible for making sure this gets done in time. (in charge)”

If I messed up, then I use the word blame,  guilty, or mistake. If in charge of something, then I’m in charge.  If I didn’t plan well, then I wasn’t mindful or forward thinking.

I now use the term responsible like two words response + able.  I am able to respond to events in my life. It is how I respond to things that are out of my control that matters.  A football player may be tackled, but he can respond by diving forward to get an extra yard.

Shit happens that I didn’t cause.  Car wreck comes to mind. Irate students and parents. Other people’s feelings and experiences.  But I am only in charge of my feelings, my thoughts and my response. I choose my actions. Others choose theirs.

So with past mistakes, and I’ve made many, my response now is “What is my take away? What did I learn?  And do I have to apologize to anyone for it? And do I have a mess to clean up, debts to pay, or something else?”


When shit happens that I didn’t see coming, I don’t waste time blaming or getting pissy.  I think “How can I respond in a way that is useful, helpful and effective? What lesson is there to be learned here?” Everything that happens, and has happened is to teach a lesson.  

I don’t dwell on the past.  What is done is done. My focus is what is now and where am I going.  What makes me happy and what doesn’t? And what do I need to respond to to insure that I’m more happy than not?


I choose not to hang with people that are negative.  I choose to surround myself with people who seek the better way of living (men’s groups). I choose to do things that are good for me, and learning to avoid things that aren’t. (Sugar, carbs)

I read and listen to inspirational stuff daily, retraining my thoughts, learning to look on the positive side of every event.  And not assuming control of things that are none of my business. My business is my mind, my thoughts, my beliefs and my actions and reactions. Other people’s stuff? Not my business.  Out of my control, out of my circle of influence.

I can’t control what others think or do.  I try to be supportive. Mostly though, I’m learning to be the best me I can be.  And hope that others do the same.


In alanon, they say “the best gift you can give your family is your own recovery”.  The happier I am, and the longer I can maintain that level of happiness, makes it easier for loved ones that might on occasion worry about me.


Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Hispanic fruit
Hispanic produce

Mark and I are enjoying our blogging vacation...and yet, I couldn't resist sharing some intriguing, store-bought fruits with you!

Cactus fruits

We got to explore a Hispanic grocery store on Black Friday, and I of course gravitated directly toward the produce department. I didn't try any of the cactus leaves that were available in several different forms, but I did sample one of three kinds of cactus fruits.

After some research at home, I'm pretty sure all three of the fruits pictured above are from prickly pear cacti, which grow wild in Mexico but also in plantations. There are hundreds of varieties out there, so even though I wasn't a big fan of the one I tasted (the red one in the middle), I clearly need to try this fruit again. The seeds are large and I spat them out, not knowing they were edible. The taste of the one I ate (perhaps a cordana?) was very similar to that of an unripe banana.


Much tastier, in my opinion, were the papayas. I was spoiled on papayas by eating them for four months in Costa Rica, and I've turned up my nose at grocery-store papayas ever since. But the ones in the Hispanic grocery were big and delicious (although my fellow taste testers were less impressed, suggesting papaya may be an acquired taste).

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Black Friday as inspiring as ours!

Maggie also
No One Claims to Be Racist, but Racism Exists

Reading White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo, wakes me up to the fact that white people are racist if: we refuse to recognize our white advantage, we deny that racial structures exist, and we pretend we do not see race. It is not racist to acknowledge race. Black people are black because they live in a world of different experiences. Denying the blackness of another person is a way of speaking for them, saying our intentions are perfect, and imagining white advantage is natural. Most white people, by refusing to talk about race, by refusing to see race, by refusing that we get ahead in the world because of our whiteness, are being racist by those actions.

What is the answer then for a white person? How can we respond in a good way to racism which exists?

White Humility is the admission that racial structures exist, that we white people are getting ahead because of our whiteness. White Humility is making an active effort to learn, while admitting we white people will never catch up and learn everything about racism.

Robin DiAngelo leads seminars on addressing racism largely to white people. By leading white people in learning and admitting their race, she seems to be adopting white humility, and setting a good example for most of us.

Personally, I have been guilty of living in white skin and claiming that race doesn't matter to me. Even while reading this book, I note that over 80% of teachers are white, that many people don't have a black teacher until college, and I am somehow proud of myself because my first teacher was black, because my fourth grade teacher was black, and because many of my neighbors are black.

I know white people who fought fought for civil rights in the civil rights movement, and I am very glad for these people. But racial injustice has not ended. And self congratulation does nothing to improve the terrible dynamic of racism.

A week or so ago, a group of meditators and I went on a walk under a tree where a man was lynched that my city has dubbed "the resting tree". From appearance, the group consisted of seven white people, one Asian American woman, and zero black people. One of the white people and the Asian woman told about the significance of the oak tree, which is a very pretty tree. I think they recognized that a man was "hung" under the tree, but also it was emphasized that many slaves "rested" under the tree. We were walking in the "black forest" and I have no idea of the root of that name. Later, I went to visit my Mom's best friend, the African griot, who lives nearby, Wilhelminia Banks, and I asked her about the history of the tree. She spoke starkly of the history of the lynchings which occurred under the tree.

I recommend the book White Fragility, especially because it expresses that no white person is exempt of existing in racial structures, and therefore we all must adopt a philosophy of White Humility.

Maggie also
Writing about Writing

I have been reading a lengthy memoir by Michelle Obama called Becoming that I think is good writing and also sizable for an author who didn’t do much exploratory writing prior to about age 26. Even then, she just wrote a few reflections in a diary about something she was trying to work out with her then boyfriend, Barack Obama and a lists of aspirations. I read Becoming thinking maybe this book just poured out of her, maybe somehow when Michelle Obama moved with her husband out of the White House, after the end of his term, this is what was left inside of her that needed to be told. Becoming is Michelle’s story, her life story, told in chronological order, an autobiographical works. Her book is already a huge success, and it makes sense for what it is as a literary works, but also as a story that everyone has been dying to hear for a long time. She waited through the presidency of her beloved husband to emerge with her own personal story in the public sphere, and her choice to do that makes perfect planned sense, as does the public’s eagerness to know about her upbringing in the southside of Chicago, her father with MS, and the way that she met and got to know Barack. Her relationship with Barack seems to me so real that sometimes, when I listened to my audio book, I would grow teary eyed to think of her true love for him. The love is so real I can feel it and it is Michelle who is narrating the book, so it is even more visceral to hear it from her tongue. I probably was wrong to vote Green due to pacifism against drone strikes and disagreement with “clean coal” but I was not really aware of this until I heard Michelle’s story.

I mean I knew I was wrong to vote Green on the last election the instant Trump got elected, but in terms of the Obama election, and thinking of him in general, I honestly was misguided. I wasn’t looking at the whole picture enough to see that he probably is the best president I have known since being born in 1982, and actually a huge part of that was Barack Obama’s existence as an African American (with an African American wife from the southside) acting as role models so that minority children and youth could have true hope for better lives. I know “policy decisions” are a huge part of the office of presidency, but I also think Obama did a lot of good for our country in terms of policy. When I was a student at Berea College, the first college to integrate in the South, several students told me about their love of Barack Obama and of course, also Michelle, for the main reason being that he was the first African American president and therefore an example for them and their possibility of achievement. At the time I dismissed their words a little, though I did take it to heart a little too, I just wasn’t ready to hear it fully that it really matters for black and African American young people to have role models like the Obama family.

That last paragraph was a little bit of a straying from the intention of this essay, however. I am really approaching this essay with the hope to write some about the writing process, especially concerning Autobiography and Memoir writing. In college, I took a whole class on Autobiography reading and writing, and since then I have been drawing together snippets of memoirs as they come and thereafter, letting them out into the world in self published books and blog posts. But in doing that, and in the way that I write a lot, and in college I wrote a ton more than anyone I knew and even more than I do now. So I started being a little concerned when I read Michelle Obama’s great masterpiece and outpouring of her life story that my own life goal, my main goal in life, to write something incredible, might be stunted by the very process of writing. In the process of writing, the putting words on paper is just one section of the experience. Pre-writing involving experiencing life, involving living and needing to think, involving thinking about what you intend to say, and pausing in the middle of thought, even the process of forgetting sections of what you intend to say, and then letting go and waiting to see what happens next, even when a chapter is ready, can be a part of the writing experience. Writers experiment with different techniques and I am considering following in the footsteps of Michelle and not writing for a long spell, just to see if it brings an outpouring.

Maggie also
Root Cause Analysis

I spent so much of my time in the rainforest clouds

examining the roots covered with blossom shrouds.

When I came back my mind was in the leaves

and it felt a good deal better to let go that scrutiny.

Maggie also
Personalized Metta Mediation

Some of the past year has built a foundation of strength and wellness. Of course these are much needed things, but I would also like for a few things I have not been focusing on. I am going to list out the most important ones before any special wording.

To be hopeful.
To be peaceful.
To listen and be seen.

To be kind.
To assert (my) needs.

I write these words knowing the object and subject needing to be hopeful, to be peaceful, to listen and be seen, to be kind, and to assert my needs, to whom and for whom, is me. I need to be hopeful for me. I need to be peaceful to me. I need to listen and see myself and my potentials. I need to be kind to myself. I need to assert my own needs.

To let go of suffering and to let go of the reason for my suffering.

Maggie also
Being Freed of Suffering and the Source of Our Suffering

I have been using a hands on approach to study the metta meditation. (See a link to my video of me singing this mediation with a singing bowl. )

So ever since Heather introduced the idea of metta mediation to me the first time, at our mediation group, about a year ago, I have been rolling the words over my tongue, thinking the thoughts over and over again in my mind's eye, letting it do the good it does.

May I be well.

(Thus begins the mediation. There are various ways of saying the mediation, or thinking it, and I dare say, as long as you are breathing and present, it doesn't matter a huge amount the exact words you think or use. According to metta institute "Metta is first practiced toward oneself, since we often have difficulty loving others without first loving ourselves." Again, it might be worded differently. In fact one common mediation goes as follows: "May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease." The second line to the one I am used to is as follows:)

May I be healthy and strong.

(Heather points out that she likes this version because of the balanced pairing of the words. I agree, though I think we both would gladly be open to learning other variations.)

May I be happy and safe.

(Sharon Salzberg says "Metta involves a tremendous opening and purifying of our fields of intention, which can then infuse our vipassana practice as well as our entire life." Salzberg is a founding teacher of the Insight Mediation Society in Massachusetts.)

May I be free of suffering and the cause of my suffering.

(When I learned this mediation for the first couple weeks or even the whole first month, I stumbled over the way this one is worded, about suffering. I think there was a reason for that. Oddly, I think I have been sort of attached to my suffering, since I view it as a source of resilience and growth. But after a year of mediating, I think I would be better off without the suffering. So free of suffering sounds good.)

May I be filled with compassion.

(After all of these sentences are said, and you might think you can go home, that actually is just the beginning of the mediation. It is repeated again for a close loved one as the focal point, then someone who makes your life more difficult, then for a person you don't know too well but can imagine who they are, then the whole Earth as if you are floating in space looking down, then again to yourself.)

May Kai be well. May Kai be healthy and strong. May Kai be happy and safe. May Kai be free of suffering and the cause of his suffering. May he be filled with compassion.

(According to the Emotional Intelligence Institute: "Emotional intelligence involves being able to manage your own emotions. Part of being able to do this includes the ability to develop positive emotions in yourself. A meditation called loving-kindness meditation has been scientifically proven to help with this.")

May my enemy be well. May my enemy be healthy and strong. May they be happy and safe. May they be free of suffering and the cause of their suffering. May they be filled with compassion.

(You can follow this link for your own personal guided mediation by Tara Brach: )

May a special catalpa tree I know be well. May it be healthy and strong. May it be happy and safe. May it be free of suffering and the cause of its suffering. May it be filled with compassion.

( say "Hatred cannot coexist with loving-kindness, and dissipates if supplanted with thoughts based on loving-kindness.")

May the whole Earth be well. May the Earth be healthy and strong. May she be happy and safe. May she be free of suffering and the cause of her suffering. May she be filled with compassion.

( says "May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain. Just as I wish to, may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you live with ease and happiness. May your life be filled with happiness, health, and well-being." They say much more than that and it is probably worth reading their words.)

May I be well.
May I be healthy and strong. May I be happy and safe. May I be free of suffering and the cause of my suffering. May I be filled with compassion.

(Jack Kornfield's version goes: May I be filled with lovingkindness. May I be safe from inner and outer dangers. May I be well in body and mind. May I be at ease and happy.")

With all of the variations in mind, I still think I would like to write my own mediation. I would want it to be balanced and succinct as these are, and assembled in the order best suited for my peace. I am challenging myself to do this in my following entry! We'll see if it happens or is any different from these.

Maggie also

Things are turning up in terms of my depression. I've been feeling very level, without having so far to alter medicines. So that is worth being happy about on top of being happy.

Maggie also
Love your self

Got a photo idea from Hiddeninhisstrength on Instagram.

Maggie also
Cross Referencing Instagram

I opened an Instagram account I have been actually using, for 2 days. We'll see where this goes!

I find it different from facebook, perhaps because my starting point with Instagram involved following the likes of Toko pa Turner, Brene Brown, Michelle Obama, Kelly McGonigal and MountainJewel. Only then did I look up select old friends.

When I started facebook, I was at a different place in my life, less aware of who it makes me happy to look at. I went to facebook sometimes for the wrong reasons. It is good to have a place for a fresh start.

So my user name is crackednutpress which is the name of my independent, rouge, self publishing company.

mark (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Blog re-evaluation
Mark and Anna sitting in a Kubota x900.

Anna and I talked about the future of the Walden Effect blog this weekend and have decided to take a blogging vacation to to decide if we have enough homesteading activities going on to keep the blog alive.

If you want to be alerted to any random posts we may write in the interim, please scroll down the bottom of the sidebar and sign up for email alerts. Thanks for reading along!

Maggie also
Counting the Long Train

Now available on audio:
Bios & Memoirs Personal Memoirs Counting the Long Train audiobook cover art

Counting the Long Train
By: Maggie Hess
Narrated by: Bradford S Beadle Sr.
Length: 14 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 11-19-18
Language: English
Publisher: Maggie Hess

Regular price: $3.95 OR Free with promo code (contact Maggie Hess for one) Publisher's Summary

I live pretty near the train station, its tracks, and the yard. As a driver or a pedestrian, I have been known to wait, counting the cars that squeal on by. There is a Zen to counting the long train that slows the heart rate just a bit as different vandalized cars of steel pass along. It feels something like counting laps in the pool, at least to me, since it takes such a long time and you just end up with some number. One time, I counted up to 99, and there were a few more cars, but I lost track then. Were there three or four, totaling 102 or 103? I'd never know.

Counting train cars is akin to counting a herd of slow moving elephants or giraffes, some creature of wildlife in the African safari certainly. But for me, there are other dimensions now that I am working for the people who drive the conductors. ©2018 Maggie Hess (P)2018 Maggie Hess

Maggie also
Blooming Inside

Every blossom counts as a blessing, but do we number all the blooms? Inside, nature is still as pretty.

Poems composed from ink and ribbons.

Pot pies, their carrots left crunchy.

Maggie also
How I Meditate lately...

I have approached meditation in various ways, and probably began misinformed, thinking Quaker worship qualified as meditation. That means, I have only in the past year really meditated in a universally accepted way. Heather has been leading meditation on various Sundays, at the yoga parlor. Each Sunday she has brought for participants a new lesson with a different meditation technique, from walking meditation, to writing about the consciousness of trees, to the Meta meditation, to chanting "ahem prema" one hundred and eight times, to sitting silently, and of course guided meditations.

When I get home, I have been taking my learnings to my dreamy spot on the front porch, where I sit still, quieting my mind, concentrating on breath, and being still. A couple of days ago, it was too cold to spend much time on the front porch, and my therapist suggested I "bring my beloved front porch meditation space inside myself in my daily activities." From time to time, I have been closing my eyes and actually imagining myself on a sunny porch, and it has warmed me and calmed me, as meditation can.

Maggie also
Successful People Mental Illness

Dear Friends,

It is vitally important, for people with a given mental illness diagnosis to have successful role models, people who have come before, who did well despite barriers, so that we can build in our minds a model for accomplishing the most with our diagnosis. As you may know, I have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which we earlier thought was bipolar disorder, most of my adult life. I would like to suggest that schizoaffective role models could include many more people than are generally listed. It isn’t a correct assessment to assume that mentally ill people will not be successful, and with stigma surrounding all of these illnesses, there is a growing need for hope. My goal is to write about the most successful achievements of people with mental ill diagnoses, or with previous diagnoses they might have ignored.

If you can respond with any of the following answers, I would be delighted. If you chose to have your name not published, I assure you I will keep your identity entirely confidential.

What is/was your diagnosis? What are some of your greatest accomplishments? Can you name any role models you look to with your same diagnosis? (Feel free to pass this on.)

Sincerely, Maggie Hess

Maggie also
Successful People Schizoaffective Disorder

It is vitally important, for people with a given mental illness diagnosis to have successful role models, people who have come before, who did well despite barriers, so that we can build in our minds a model for accomplishing the most with our diagnosis. Schizoaffective disorder, characterized both by symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, may need an expanded list of role models. Wikipedia lists around 50 prominent success cases of people with schizophrenia, hundreds with bipolar disorder, but doesn’t seem to have a list of people with schizoaffective disorder. Other websites list 5 to 10 “famous” people with schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective has a better prognosis than schizophrenia and a worse prognosis than bipolar disorder, so for me, the lack of role models seems to be off. It doesn’t seem to be a correct assessment to assume that schizoaffective people will not be successful, and with stigma surrounding all of these illnesses, there is a growing need for hope. I will use myself as an example. I have schizoaffective disorder type bipolar, but I have achieved many goals in my lifetime, so far. I graduated from a good college, held research assistant and teaching assistant jobs, held internships with hospitality centers and retreat centers, published 37 poems, won awards for poetry and essays, and held many volunteer positions. I would like to suggest that schizoaffective role models could include many more people than are generally listed. A return to the role model list should be reviewed by professionals, but since no one stepped up to do that, I would like to give my own limited list as best as I can.

Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch visual artist/painter with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Since he was diagnosed with both conditions, I don’t think it is too great of a stretch to imagine he might have actually had schizoaffective disorder.

Wild Man Fischer was American musician, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Again, he could have been schizoaffective.

Frances Farmer was an American Hollywood actress, varyingly diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar psychosis, split personality, and depression. Ditto.

Aby Warburg was German art historian and cultural theorist, diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, who also seems to me to have schizoaffective disorder.

Michael Hawkins is a American actor; diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who very well could be schizoaffective.

I also found the following list on schizoaffective disorder itself.

John Nash, the renowned mathematician and Professor – He was born on June 13, 1928 in Bluefield, West Virginia, USA. His father was John Forbes Nash and mother was Margaret Virginia Martin. He had one sister named Martha. His story of suffering with Schizoaffective Disorder was described in the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’.

Tom Harrell, the highly acclaimed Jazz Musician – He suffered Paranoid Schizophrenia since 18 years of age. But, he successfully overcame this disease by medication.

Brian Wilson, a famous Beach Boy – He was born on June 20, 1942. He was an American pop musician, best known as a founding member, the main producer, composer, and arranger for ‘The Beach Boys’. Even after having this disease, he continued his career by doing recording and performing.

Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of late President Abraham Lincoln – She was born on December 13, 1818 in Lexington, Kentucky. She suffered from Bipolar Disorder (a type of Schizoaffective Disorder). She had frequent headaches, presumably migraines. She suffered severe depression, anxiety and paranoia. She died on July 16, 1882.

Eduard Einstein, Albert Einstein’s son – He was born on July 28, 1910 in Zurich. He was a good student and had musical talent. He started to study medicine to become a psychiatrist, but by the age of twenty he was afflicted with schizophrenia. He died on October 25, 1965 due to stroke.

Meera Popkin, Broadway star – She was the star of Cats and Miss Saigon on Broadway and in London’s West End. At the pellicle of her career, she suffered with Schizophrenia and she soon recovered from this disease.

Andy Goram, Scottish soccer player – He was born on April 13, 1964 in Bury. He started his career with Oldham Athletic and Hibernian.

Lionel Aldridge, world-renowned Super Bowl winning football player – He was born on February 14, 1941 in Evergreen, LA. He worked as Sports Analyst in Milwaukee and for Packers radio till he developed Paranoid Schizophrenia. He died on February 12, 1998.

Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd – He was born on January 6, 1946 in Cambridge, England. He was an English singer, songwriter, guitarist, painter, and also a founding member of the Pink Floyd band. He died on July 7, 2006.

Alexander Spence of Moby Grape – He was born on April 18, 1946 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.  He was a musician, singer and songwriter. He was best known for his work with Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape as a solo artist. His career came to an end due to Schizophrenia. He died on April 16, 1999.

Bob Mosley of Moby Grape – He was born on December 4, 1942 in Paradise Valley, California. He was a well known bass player and one of the songwriters and vocalists for the band Moby Grape. His career was challenged due to Schizophrenia disorder but he still continued to write songs and record music.

If this list could be grown with more research, more people with schizoaffective disorder would feel hopeful about their chances for getting better and doing something worthwhile with their lives. I think many of those listed on the biopolar and schizophrenic wikipedia pages actually could have been schizoaffective.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
What not to recycle
Recyclables conveyor belt

In addition to being wowed by the combination mechanical and human-operated sorting system, the biggest takeaway from our tour of the local recycling facility was what was best not tossed in the recycling bin.

Our tour guide prefaced his warnings with the statement that every recycling facility is different. And single-stream facilities like theirs (where you deposit all of the recyclables in a single container) are more particular than ones where the consumer sorts their own trash.


With those caveats out of the way, here's what I shouldn't have been recycling:

Don't bag your recyclables because the line workers will have to tear the bag apart before the machines can start sorting. And, whatever you do, don't put your recyclables in a black bag --- they workers will assume it's trash and throw it out for safety reasons.

Hand separation of recyclables

Anything smaller than a business card tends to get lost in the shuffle. That means shredded paper is a no-no. Plastic bottles should be crushed then the cap should be screwed back on.

Similarly, heavy scrap metal just doesn't work on the assembly line. Our guide told us about the metal from a ratchet strap that got caught in the line and messed up a $40,000 motor. Yikes!


Tanglers are also trouble. That's anything like string, cords, or rope that will wind around various materials (and parts of the assembly line), clogging up the works.

Finally, don't stuff different types of recyclables inside each other (like filling up cardboard boxes with plastic bottles). The materials won't get separated properly and will result in contamination in the finished product.

Disassembly line

All of that said, a non-profit like our local recycling and trash pickup facility manages to salvage 91% of the materials that go on the assembly line, finding buyers despite the fact China no longer wants our waste. Great work, Athens-Hocking Recycling!

(And one final piece of fun trivia --- did you know Mark wanted to be a garbageman when he was a kid?)

Maggie also
Gratitide 2

When I gave her a mid day walk just now, out in the blue chill, Brazen at first thought she was just getting a quick poop and pee stop, and looked resigned to going back early. I fell in mud on the King College grounds, starting to take a path down to the live oak tree, but changed course when my hat and glasses hit the ground behind my head. Picking up "hide" I decided to try through a different patch of mud, and found my way around the pond, with Brazen at first at my heels. But I told her to run and have fun, and moments later, she took off chasing the breeze and skipping her paws, so merry. We circled the pond all the way, which I have actually never done before, and I felt a sense of gratitude from my pup for the length of walk, which always seems to be more of a human decision. Back home my blood is still pumping and my cheeks are cool. Glad the fall was so easy, almost something that I would have chosen, entirely pain free, the only issue, mud on clean clothes.

Maggie also

I don't

always realize

what a wonderful life

I have

until I really look down

at my own two feet.

Maggie also
Larger Problem

This morning I read on page 2A in the Bristol Herald Courier that a LGBTQ support group meets ever Thursday at 5:30PM in the Crisis Center on the Virginia side. So I made a mental note to attend. As the day progressed, I decided this group has the capacity to serve me as a place to go and make allies, friends, and connections which is the huge gap that exists for me and has lead to my depressive spell.

What a wonderful, hopeful thing. I thought to myself, driving downtown early and browsing shops. This could be all that I need. It could be a place for me to meet in community with other people, no matter who they are, no matter their sexuality. This could be magical, because it could be a place for me to go and make friends. I am not seeking a coming out party today, or a coming of age experience. But my looking for allies seemed not a too big ask.

When I parked the car, fifteen minutes early, I noticed all the lights seemed to be out, and the building looked to be under construction. I am not the type of person to give up easily, though, so I called and texted the Office number for the Crisis Center. No response. As darkness fell, I waited for 5:30, asked a man walking by. Nothing. I then went to the library to look quickly at a newspaper. Maybe I misread it, I thought. But I found it in the newspaper.

I didn't want to come in late but I then knocked on the back door. Discouraged, I started to leave for home, when a truck pulled up. A man said he was on the board and forgot they were meeting somewhere else tonight. He informed me that was the only meeting scheduled. So I went home.

It would have been nice if there was a support group. I really could use one, and I would like to hold others in support who might feel vulnerable in these times with a Trump presidency and however that is affecting their right to love and be open about their orientation.

I do not blame anyone for the misprinting in the newspaper. I wrote the Crisis Center to see what's up, and have not heard back yet. It clearly was a mistake. I just feel a big loss in terms of my hopes for community. A lot of people are feeling isolated in these days. May they be well. May they be healthy and strong. May they be happy and safe. May they be relieved of their suffering and the reason for their suffering. May they be filled with compassion.

Maggie Hess

Maggie also

the leaf blushed
the other leaves reddened

the leaf fell
the other leaves swooped down

Maggie also
talking in an empowered way

'Empowerment, good for everyone.' Maybe it should be an advertisement on a billboard? But I have been thinking about how often my personal depression can be off-putting for some people who say it is dis-empowering. It didn't happen recently that someone said that, but I guess this is evidence that I ruminate a lot. When people have set backs, disadvantages, and limitations we often want for someone to talk about it with. That person might be a therapist, but if we sometimes want to share the burden with a friend of family member too. I recently talked about my depression with both parents, as example. Once I knew someone who told me his wife did something horrible to him, but many people do not believe his side of the story. I felt he could have defended himself more, and I think that is how some of my friends used to think I talked, as someone who self deprecated instead of speaking with pride. I believe empowerment is the ultimate goal, and defense of self becomes an inevitable part of that. I believe white privilege exists all over, and some people have traits that they cannot mask or do anything about, that much of the world treats them differently because of and that others like me and other white people need to recognize white privilege. Poverty can be dis-empowering too, like we who experience the lack of money between paychecks (most people) don't want to always have to explain why we do things the way we do. And of course, women are disadvantaged in so many ways. And LGBTQ folk especially in these times. There are a lot of people groups that I am neglecting here. I don't mean for this to be a perfect essay. Anyway, I have heard people say things on facebook statuses, back when I had an account, that sounded like "if you just let people walk all over you, you deserve to be mistreated. You have to stand up for yourself." And when I hear this expressed, it bugs me bad. Nobody ever self empowered as response to a jerk ass facebook status. Nobody ever became cool or rich or loved or popular in a flash when they read it on facebook. When I was a senior at Berea, I experienced so many people picking up from limited means and making something of it, and that felt to me like such a wonderful form of empowerment. I love empowerment, but it is not right or cool or good to blame somebody because they don't have their stuff figured out just yet.

So don't listen to the jerks. Give yourself a hug. Love yourself. How others think of you will either fall into place or it won't. Let you be the boss of you and in the process the world will be happier and healthier and more beautiful.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Old Man's Cave (almost)
Selfie with tree roots

Jenn and I celebrated our one-year friendiversary with a visit to Old Man's Cave.

Mosses and liverworts

Well, okay, I'll be honest. I meandered so much peering at mosses and liverworts, rocks and roots and rushing water that we didn't make it to the cave in question. But we saw just about everything I supposed that oversight is just an excuse to go back!

Worn down stairs

Despite temperatures hovering around freezing, the park was crowded with sightseeers. To me, this staircase says it all --- so many people have trod here that the standstone steps have worn away. (The flat ones have been replaced with concrete.)

Rock cliff

There was still plenty of beauty despite the crowds though. This shot almost captures the grandeur of the rock formations...but not quite.

Maggie also

Skimming through audio books this morning.

I lose track of where the line originates:

"We wake sleepy,

spend the day trying to remember

what we are doing,

grow bored in the evening,

and stay up late worrying,

only to wake sleepy."

Is it ethical to steal this quote

to use in a poem

after it nags at me all day

growing more and more evident.

Is it just me,

or maybe it really is the human condition?

Maggie also
Thanks, but

Somebody has been ordering Cosmopolitan Magazine for me for over a year now. Not that I have kept track, but it really feels like it's been a long time, and every magazine ends up in the trash without being glanced at or even hardly smelled. It is a peculiar gift. I never new how to interpret it. I just know I don't want the magazine. Maybe save some money this year and cancel my subscription?

Maggie also
Something Other than the Sun

I noticed that it has been 6 days since I reported or posted a poem on this blog. I probably should have kept at it a little more, and I am sorry to my readers. Tobin's passing was a very sad thing, and of course I cried. I really do believe he is better off in the Happy Hunting ground. I am willing to say that, even if it makes some eyes role.

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, though I think we are staying put this year, instead of going to the big family or friends gatherings we were invited to.

Mom always said Tobin was the sun, the center of her galaxy. We are lucky to still have Brazen, perhaps a little moon orbiting. And Mazel Tov the cat thinks she is the actual center of the universe, whatever that is called. I'm pretty sure no one has found an actual center of the universe, scientifically speaking. But good luck convincing a cat.

I feel I am in the clunky place of trying to explain the past six days, or writing about anything, with so much time having past.

I finished the current available episodes of Shameless, while the skies were pretty dark most of the time. I had told my new therapist something about how swimming is the best thing I can do for my mental health and watching TV is the activity that makes me more inclined towards depression. I find myself with more TV going on on cloudy days. On cloudy days, swimming also is less appealing.

This morning before I opened my eyes, I told myself I should think about swimming anyway, as a way to nip the depression in the bud prior to it even being an issue. I currently feel fine. I know swimming always improves me. So I am trying to work my way to the pool, and the morning thought will hopefully get me there.

I always have liked Thanksgiving the most of all the holidays, so it will be good to be in a good temperament for it.

In my next post I am considering writing a how to guide to a stand out resume. I apparently am really good at that, even though I am paused in terms of working because of disability.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Winter is coming 2018
Hard freeze

Fall flirted with us for three glorious weeks. Then the barely-almost frosts disappeared with multiple nights in the 20s --- our first hard freeze.

The last green peppers escaped me but I picked broccoli side shoots frozen solid and cooked them before they thawed. Now we're down to lettuce, kale, and (possibly) brussels sprouts harvests out of the garden for the rest of the winter. But that's alright --- I'm looking forward to snow!

rstidyman (Richard)
Laugh ’til you cry.

Do you like football? Especially high school and college football?   A home run by the underdog team? If so, then you have the type of personality that would love to be sitting in the Rose Center to watch a hysterical David and Goliath, sweet love story, complete with mystery, and happy ending and lots to talk about on the drive home otherwise known as “Adam’s Eve.”

What’s so special about live community theater? Besides a wonderful story, you see your neighbors and friends, or names you’ve seen before but didn’t yet befriend, risk being criticized, or even failure.  Just so you can enjoy a couple of hours and forget the day’s problems. And much like college football, you are not watching professionals. You are watching amateurs, digging deep in themselves to transform and present a character, knowing there exists the possibility of criticism, and maybe even failure.  


Actors know that living a full life, both on a personal and professional level involves risk.  It involves winning and losing. It means being on a team, with a higher purpose other than one’s own personal happiness.  It means contributing to the happiness of every person in the audience and every person involved in the show that is depending on each actor giving it all they got.

If you want entertainment, then come see the show.  You will love it. And if you want to see your neighbors giving their all,  then come see these brave people, who demonstrate courage, hard work and talent.  For whatever reason, please go see Adam’s Eve, starting this weekend at the Rose Center.

Read more about the play here.


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