The bride, Kristina, is my yoga teacher. The groom is Andrew. It was a day from heaven here at one of the beach parks in Hilo. The ceremony was eclectic and very sweet and not too long. Everyone brought food and flowers.
2,000 degrees F! The lava is moving right along. The alternate route out of Puna, an unpaved road, will be opened tomorrow. Pahoa will be on the national news again soon, and then we will know it's happening. Not real unless it's on the teevee. We're going out there again this evening, and maybe I can get a photo of the glow, but it is elusive, even when you are close to it, because it's burning through wet vegetation and producing a lot of smoke. I see the smoke and emissions often from my deck, but there is seldom enough contrast to take good photos. When it hits the asphalt and starts burning up the buildings, the photo ops should be great! It will be out of my line of sight when it reaches the water, which could take weeks or months, but I might be able to see the pillar of emissions and steam.
Our Nation discussion group took a strange turn today. I mentioned that I was watching In Treatment, an HBO series about psychoanalysis. Well, everyone jumped in with their negative input about psychoanalysis, how the analysts always attribute people's troubles to their childhood, "blame" the parents, etc. etc. when it's chemicals, etc etc. It struck me as out and out denial of the amount of neurotic suffering so many endure without any insights being offered beyond, "Suck it up. And if you can't handle it, take a pill." The fact is that there are not enough psychoanalysts to go around anyway.
One of the group said that no one should go into analysis without setting goals and a time frame. I disagree, and this series explains why that is not the right attitude. It's a bid for control, a desire to be "fixed," which is characteristic of rigid neurotic thinking. (Not that I'm saying she's neurotic. I don't know her well and she could just be repeating a commonly held opinion.) And yes, many times analysis is a long drawn out process but that could be preferable to suffering one's entire life with a neurosis.
In Treatment is like an excellent work of fiction, which is why Joyce Carol Oates recommends it, I guess. I am on her Twitter feed and always am happy to learn about what she is reading or watching on TV. She is a very good Tweeter.
I was impressed while watching this program at the patients the analyst accepts whom I would not have thought of as good candidates for analysis. But he is a very good analyst, which is why he can help these people. This does not mean he makes no mistakes, and he finds himself unable to handle his own feelings, has family problems, too, which even send him back to his own analyst.
It became clear to me as I watched this why often people will accept years of neurotic pain rather than come to terms with the truth of their lives. In this country we complicate things by compelling people to always look on the bright side, to not trouble others with our problems, to "function,"to stop being such children. But the child is always there anyway, no matter how old you get. And the urge to silence and punish the child within is strong.
So what we do is drink and take drugs instead.
I am attempting to revise my approach to my own family. It's just so easy to cut people off and it seems to solve a problem. I did that with my father, pretty much, and I think now that was a mistake. There were many things we could have talked about. It was no longer the case that I was the child and he was the adult; we were both adults of reasonable good will and intelligence, and we could have managed better with each other. Well, now he's gone, and it's too late.
Night scene over Hilo in the direction of the lava flow. You can see what a modest place Hilo is. Also, because of possible light pollution affecting the viewing from the telescopes, all the street lights have to be sodium vapor ones, which keeps it pleasantly dark at night and allows for stargazing in our neighborhood on the rare nights when there are few or no clouds.
This is in the direction of the lava flow, not visible in this picture. It's going to hit the shopping center very soon. There is a telephone pole I've been using as a reference to measure how far the flow has moved, and I was appalled to see this a.m. that the emissions had visibly moved quite a distance just since yesterday at this time. Quite a distance, since some of the movement is to the north, ie in our direction, and I only see the eastward movement. It's going north-northeast. Cousin wants to go down for a last meal at Paulos, the Italian restaurant in Pahoa Town, but I wonder if this will be possible by Friday. I'm very concerned, because I think by this point Paulo has probably lost it. I know I would, in his situation.
BTW: What I am seeing this a.m. directly contradicts reports that the lava flow is slowing. But it's possible that I'm seeing more lateral movement from my perspective and that it's not going north so fast.
Raul: ¡Caramba! We must immediately normalize relations with the U.S!
Well, our timing suggests certain things. We were in Hong Kong and Macau just before the handover to China. We were in Berlin on the day it officially became the Capital of re-united Germany. These places are now completely changed from when we were there. Accelerated change will probably be the fate of Cuba, as well. So we're glad we will have the privilege of seeing it soon.
Speaking of change, looking out at the eruption this a.m. I see an indistinct smudge of what looks like smoke and clouds. The lava is very close to the Pahoa Marketplace and will reach it in several days. The footage on this report is beautiful and creepy. The flow has broadened out and accelerated.
Our son in law broke his arm and sprained his wrists in a biking accident. What a bummer, just before their visit. Rats! Always something. We put up a small tree last night and have another tree to take over to the place in Kona we're renting. Small kids insist on traditions. There must be a tree in both locations. It's OK for adults to play fast and loose with Christmas, but kids are conservatives. So it's trees and cookies and presents and treats of all sorts. I think Christmas is for kids, anyway. Adults have to outgrow waiting for Santa Claus. Become your own Santa Claus!
A military helicopter just went right over our house and buzzed the surfing beach. Must be looking for someone. I hope they find whoever they are looking for. It went back to town, and now I hear sirens on the highway.
I'm happy to say that our auto accident rate is down, which could be the result of more stringent patrolling and enforcement of anti drunk driving laws.
Well, got to go do some Christmas stuff. I hope everyone is having a good holiday season. I'm laying off the news for a while, myself. Too many tragedies I can do nothing about, and anything involving children is enraging. We can at least protect our own. [Terry says this tree looks enormous in the pic, but it's actually quite small.]
More: Jessie Lawson cat expresses great joy at the news about Cuba. Suitable for coloring. Enlarge and print. I notice that the daughter of a Cuban family that left after the revolution is having to move her optometry practice out of the Pahoa Market Place. Maybe she can move back now. I'm wondering if people will return and try to reclaim property there. That is what happened in East Germany, as East Germans who fled to West Germany returned to the old family haunts and tried to claim them back. I really don't know how all that turned out for them.
My classmate in ceramics, Merle, did this. It's about 10" tall. She is an artist. Like all the potters in my class, she undercharges for her work, and I pick up these nice pieces from my fellow students at bargain prices. I'm not selling any pieces yet and maybe never will. I'll just see how my work develops. We learn a lot from each other. Do enlarge for the interesting details.
The 50's was, for most, a time of optimism. Even if things were tough for me then, a young person without many prospects, I knew things would get better, although I worried about annihilation in what then looked very likely: a nuclear war. So here is Mitzi Gaynor with a message for today from 1958. The incredibly handsome older guy is Ezio Pinza. Rossano Brazzi. Pinza was the male lead in the original Broadway production. Sure, it's all kind of laughable, like so much from that era, but the high spirits were real.
It is strange how my temperament tends to optimism but always with a certain wariness about the future, which is unknown by definition. I probably have about ten years or so left on this mortal coil and intend to make them as happy and fulfilled as possible. Mitzi Gaynor is still around and still performing at the age of 83. Thanks, Mitzi!
Alain de Botton has posted this reminder to all to take note of clouds, trees and streams, something I do every day. Not to mention sunrises, birds, the ocean, little kids, chickens, dogs, cats...
It's dark, cool and rainy today, and I have a touch of something that could be the flu. Flu always affects my mood negatively. It does not seem to be advancing into full-blown illness, so I'm dragging myself around, making sure to get at least one important task a day done.
This is the sunrise, most likely all the sun we will be seeing today. It's 65 degrees F but will warm up later.
It seems as if these are fraught times, but it's actually been a period of stability compared to the Bush years. Obama has done what he could, but he was hopelessly compromised right from the start by his need to cater to big money and the military. The current demonstrations mean nothing. [I've changed my mind about their importance, just in the last few days, because they are deflating rapidly.] They are happening everywhere, and the juggernaut just rolls over the masses anyway.
Now, with a Congress of majority Republicans and a Supreme Court poised to destroy Obamacare, I do believe we may be doomed. Elizabeth Warren is a Trojan Horse. Her job is to convince white working class and middle class resentnicks to vote Democratic by making energetic defenses of their honesty and all-around wholesome American values. We want to believe. Move On is backing her, as they did Obama. I was angry when Move On took the considerable amount of money I had given them and gave it to the Obama campaign without consulting me, so I don't trust them any more.
I don't identify with Warren anyway, which helps me to be clear-headed about her. Wendy Davis, soundly defeated by that creep, Rick Perry, for the governorship of Texas, is more my speed. She's open, honest, fallible, whereas Warren, like Obama, comes across as perfect. I don't like perfect. So you see how far people with my attitudes get in politics. [I did like Warren initially but have become suspicious of her and feel as if she's putting on an act.]
I've stopped worrying about our Nation Magazine sponsored trip to Cuba. My sister says that her local senior center's Red Hat group is taking a tour to Cuba! I'm a cautious person, but we are hardly getting out of line if any group as mainstream as the Red Hats is heading there too. We have been warned by a naysayer, something of a sourpuss, that we will only be allowed to go to certain places and view certain things. Gee. So different from travel elsewhere! We will be obligated to do everything on the agenda, which looks fascinating, and will stay alert to what's around us. Now is the time to do this, before the forces of reaction shift into high gear and start putting the pressure on Cuba again.
So back to whatever I can manage today in preparation for the family visit. This will be a welcome break for all of us, and I can hardly wait to see everybody. Oh, wait! Here comes the sun, and I say it's all right. Hope it lasts long enough to provide us with some hot water.
More: What worries me is that Warren will co-opt the energy and idealism of young people, as Obama did. It's a long struggle, and I would say at this point maybe not a winnable one. Look at the way Europe has turned right. The issue, there as here, is using economic troubles to fuel white resentment and nativism in order to take political power.
Here on the ground, researching the world of low-end retail, I can report the following incidents:
We went to WalMart very early (I know, I know) to buy a few items that are way more expensive elsewhere, and cheap little Christmas items. I almost bought sprinkles for the Christmas cookies but passed, because they were made in China. I'll have to get healthy organic ones at the health food store.
There was no one at the counter where we went to get a key made for our new car. From the back of the store we heard yelling and clapping. I said to Terry, "Sounds like a game, but at this time of the day?" A few minutes later four employees appeared and got busy working to help the several people waiting for service. They told us it was the a.m. pep talk that delayed them. Another exciting day of employment in big box retail. Rejoice!
As I waited for the keys, Bing Crosby played on the ambient low-fi music system, and I thought, " At least after I die I will never again have to hear Der Bingle groaning out White Christmas." Of all the things not to perish in my lifetime it has to be that number that I have hated ever since I was old enough to hate. I always hated Bing Crosby and his damn golf and stupid hat and pipe and his phony values. A Californian, I thought all those people should go back where they came from if they thought snow was so great.
Two nice looking young men passed by, one of them playing a ukelele, and there was a bizarre musical mash-up moment as White Christmas and a Hawaiian tune merged. I thought, "How nice." Then they gave me a cheap little religious thought-for-the- day handout. Good for you, I reflected, you are young and cute. Just you wait. You may decide some day that plunking on a ukelele and handing out religious doggerel poems in the early a.m. at WalMart is maybe not the best way to have spent your youth! As we left, we passed several Salvation Army bell ringers singing the twelve days of Christmas in a most unchristmasy way, with much bawling and giggling. I did not give them any money. Yes, I am getting grumpy and old. I didn't think they were a bit cute.
So I went next door to get my hair cut at Supercuts. I'm such a woman of the people, right? It's a step up from cutting it myself. Anyway, they pay their employees a decent wage and provide benefits, and they always do a good job for my unproblematic hair. So a young woman took my name and asked for my last name and telephone number. I said, "Why do you need that information?" She said they needed it for their records. ???? It does not appear that they have punch cards any more to fill in for a free haircut, so why this need for data? I gave her my phone number, though, since it doesn't really matter, I guess. She said it would only be a few minutes. Then she and two of the hairdressers left and came back 20 minutes later with coffee and settled in for a good chinwag in the back. I was stuck with a People Magazine full of ads featuring emaciated models with huge white teeth. I was about to leave but talked to the young lady and she said five minutes and that was OK. The young lady who eventually got around to cutting my hair told me I didn't look my age, but mostly I do, especially lately, I think. Or maybe not always, but I sure feel my age on days like this!
Then, in the WalMart parking lot, Terry accidentally tripped the car alarm and it went off for a few seconds. A guy walked by and surreptitously took a photo of us standing by the car, probably picking up the license plate number. I called out a profanity after him, shocking myself, but I thought, "Jeez, this is life in Hell." Was he a plain-clothes parking lot dick? Or just a free-lance busybody?
Last stop was Home Depot. We were looking for linoleum for the guest room downstairs and all they had was patterns and colors too ugly to please us, and we are not fussy about that sort of thing. There were many many employees around, mostly young people, but no one was doing much. They behaved as if they were waiting for instructions and in the meantime were going to chat and hang out smoking in front of the store. Did they overhire for the holidays, or is it just that we were early? I hear that retail sales are down.
Can't we call out cheap and lousy for what it is, even during the Christmas season? But these goods and services are not cheap for most of the people who buy things in these stores. I've always liked Wal-Mart employees who manage to be helpful and kind in spite of their low salaries and bad working conditions. They deserve better quality, too, better jobs and more respect. This all reminds me very much of the slippage that took place in the late 60's and 70's, where things that had seemed OK started seeming not OK. Is everything really awesome?
So anyway we are venturing into darkest Puna tomorrow for dinner with friends. Will report back. And there is a wedding next week at one of the Bayfront parks. My yoga teacher is getting married! I guess by Monday my grumpiness will be gone. I hope.