Tag Archives: random thoughts

Firing Up the Old Blog

And then there was the time when I locked myself out of my blog and ignored the problem for a long time. However there is nothing like a quiet Black Friday morning for doing things like poking around old documents and rediscovering WordPress.

A few months into the pandemic Jerry bought me a beautiful new computer. With the change I had to let go of using Microsoft Word which turned out to not be as traumatic as I anticipated. Google Docs suits me just fine. The only thing I missed was the Word blog editor, but it turns out that the Word Press editor has undergone some great improvements over the years and it should suit me just fine.

This is my attempt to insert a picture. I love that I can use captions now!

Our fermentation projects: Jerry’s sourdough and my kombucha. Yes, we are a pandemic cliche.

It feels good to pull the old blog out of storage and start up some Lady Jessop musing.

One More Lesson From Jim Willis

Last month a significant figure from my life passed away. His name was Jim Willis. Jim was an English teacher at Granada High School in Livermore California, and for a short stint, 1981 to 1985, he and his wife Claudia were youth ministers at St. Charles Catholic Church. I was one of Jim’s many students at Granada and was also one of the lucky few that benefitted from his spiritual teachings at St. Charles Youth Ministry.

As my English teacher Jim fostered my love of the written word and as my youth minister Jim paved my spiritual path. He was so good at these things that I left the Church many years ago. Even now I can see him rolling his eyes at my bad joke but using the writing and critical thinking skills he taught me, maybe I can explain why I believe this is a good thing.

My reasons for leaving the Catholic Church were many but not overly dramatic. The bottom line is that I never really understood why believing in Christ, the Resurrection and the Eucharist made me a better person. I spent the next several years exploring other aspects of spirituality. I stopped traditional Christian prayer and adopted a meditation practice. I learned the importance of gratitude and staying mindful. I started to see that these were the things that Jesus was all about and the traditional Christian way of presenting them simply didn’t work for me. I got to this place thanks to the very freedom of thought promoted by Jim Willis himself.

The Jim’s Celebration Liturgy was my first time back in a Catholic church in years. Over the years I had attended the occasional Catholic wedding or funeral but never fully participated. This time, because it was for Jim, I made a conscious decision to embrace every aspect of the service. I listened to every word said by Father Mark. One of the things he said was that Jim Willis had one more thing to teach us all that day. In my case, Jim Willis helped me let go.

Sitting in the church I grew up in, surrounded by old friends and so many familiar faces from the past, the lingering guilt I carried around for years, that I no longer believed in the traditional Christian doctrine, seemed to vanish once and for all. I felt so at home sitting in St. Charles yet at the same time I was happy I had left and if I never return I would be fine with that too. I stayed present for the entire mass and for the first time ever in my life, gave it my full attention. I recited the prayers meaningfully, I sang joyfully and I received communion sincerely. Only by leaving the church and finding my own brand of spirituality would I be able to return to mass and have such an experience.

Does this mean I will be returning to Church? God no! I don’t need to go back. I felt like I had the experience that God intended for that moment. It’s something I will always remember and the impact will stay with me.

As I left I thanked Father Mark. Usually the priest is untouchable after mass, surrounded by people who want to talk to him. But for this brief moment he was not. He looked right at me as I walked past so I took his hand and told him I grew up in the church and hadn’t been back for years. He said, “Welcome home.” I smiled, feeling like the prodigal son and as they say at the end of every Catholic mass, I walked out in peace in love to serve the Lord…in my own way.

Alternate Reality

What if the tables were turned? What if, instead of the Republican ticket, Trump somehow ended up running as a Democrat? He still could have appealed to the populist vote by promising to make things better with jobs and improving inner cities. Instead of a giant border wall and repealing Obamacare he could have promised free healthcare and free education, like Bernie Sanders only with no plan to back it up.

In my alternate reality Trump is running against Mitt Romney. The Russians are still interfering in the election but instead it’s registered Democrats getting fake news about Mitt Romney in their Facebook feed from ultra-liberal new sites.

In this alternate reality would you have been duped into voting for Trump? I’d like to say I wouldn’t. I’d like to say I’d still be able to see that Trump is a lying con-man. However would I have been able to plug my nose and cast a vote for Mitt Romney instead? It’s an interesting question. When I look at it from this perspective it helps me understand what may have been going through people’s minds last year.

What do you think?


I’ve been waiting for Donald Trump to go away for a long time. He used to be like an annoying gnat. I would see his picture on the front page of The Enquirer or on television and I could easily brush him away by not reading the paper and turning the TV off. I would hear him on Howard Stern and listen with mild interest for a few minutes and then turn the radio off. I remember watching a few episodes of The Apprentice during the first season but eventually I stopped. After a long stressful day at work, why would I want to spend more time watching people stab each other in the back and stress about deadlines?

Years ago, when Donald Trump started running for president but never made it past the primaries, I’d roll my eyes and figure it was all a publicity stunt. When he started in on Barrack Obama producing his birth certificate I decided that Donald Trump had finally gone off the deep end. Why would anyone take him seriously?

When he won the Republican nomination last summer I was actually kind of relieved. At last we would finally be rid of Donald Trump. He would be running against the political powerhouse that is Hillary Clinton, there’s no way he would win. I watched the drama of the 2016 election with a level of interest I had never had before. Donald Trump was so obviously a corrupted liar and his campaign promises were absurd. (A giant wall? Seriously?) If I could see this, surely the rest of America would. By November 9th we would be done with him forever. Unfortunately we all know what happened next.

Fast forward to April 2017 and I am still waiting for Donald Trump to go away. It will happen eventually. The question is when. As we see the Russian voting hack investigations heating up in the Senate, Congress and most importantly the FBI, he may go away sooner rather than later. If not, our next chance may be sometime after the 2018 election. If many of the “party before country” Republicans are voted out we may get a congress who is motivated to do the right thing and impeach. If not, we have to wait even longer and vote him out in the 2020 presidential election.

The thing I keep telling myself is he will go away. I just have to wait. Unfortunately it’s the waiting and uncertainty that is killing me.

Every day I obsessively check Twitter. I fall down the rabbit hole of writers like Louise Mensch and John Schindler who have been blogging about the “Trump Russia” scandal for months and Claude Taylor, a former White House staffer with inside sources. Every few days they’ll Tweet out some prediction and assure us we will see justice “soon.” The comments on these threads echo the same anticipation I feel. A lot of people say things like “I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas” which got me thinking.

I remember the anticipation of waiting for Christmas when I was a kid. Sometimes the wait for Christmas was joyful. Other times…not so much. By the time I hit age 8 or 9 I came to the realization that I didn’t always get what I wanted, so the wait was always filled with uncertainty. Christmas Eve was not a peaceful night for me. Instead I would instead lie awake the entire night feeling stressed and helpless.

Eventually I learned to plan ahead. Knowing I would be up all night anyway, I decided to make it productive. I armed myself with a flashlight, my favorite books, and a deck of cards so I could stay up all night reading and playing solitaire. Eventually my brothers, who were also lying awake in uncertainty, would join me and we would spend hours playing Old Maid, Go Fish and a few rounds of Shoots and Ladders.

Now that we are adults, my brothers often bring up those nights as one of their fondest Christmas memories. We rarely remember the gifts we got, but we do remember how we made waiting fun. In many ways, the waiting was better than Christmas morning itself.

Now I’m in an adult version of stressful waiting. I’m waiting for Donald Trump to go away and it’s a time of big uncertainty. I don’t know when it will happen and I don’t know what he will do to the country in the meantime. Things like this, things I cannot control stress me out. While this isn’t exactly the same as waiting for Christmas morning I can still do the same thing I did when I was 9. I can give myself things to do during the wait.

Instead of obsessively checking Twitter and blogs and news sites waiting for the next shoe to drop on the Russia investigation I should be concentrating on my work as a paralegal. As a legal professional, my job is all about holding people accountable. Since lack of accountability at the highest levels of our government and businesses is the core of what has us all pulling our hair out now, I’m happy to do what I can to promote accountability in my own world. It only takes a spark to start forest fire and it makes what I do during the wait, more important than what I’m waiting for.

Instead of wringing my hands about our dysfunctional congress, I can instead write letters telling them how I feel. Writing gets my fears out of my head and puts them on the page, it’s what I do to make the crazy go away. Sending those fears to someone who can actually do something about them makes what I do during the wait more important than what I’m waiting for.

Instead of stressing day in and day out about the potential destruction of our country, I can instead spend 20 minutes doing mindfulness meditation to help me stay in the moment. Staying in the moment helps me with so many things, not the least of which is being less stressed which makes me and others around me much happier. Staying calm and happy around other people makes what I do during the wait more important than what I’m waiting for.

I really, REALLY want Donald Trump to go away. I know it will happen eventually, I just don’t know when or how so all I can do is wait. What I do during the wait is way more important.