Thursday, March 23, 2017

Birds, wild animals and food and reflections on Cities (Planet Earth II)

I have been reflecting on the tendency of nature to get used to getting their food from humans. Specifically, I am thinking about the birds that sit on our balcony railing each morning, waiting for us to enter the kitchen. They ‘sense’ when we get up in the morning (don’t ask me how); I’m not sure when they arrive. I do know that they sit out there and wait, occasionally cocking their heads to see if we have entered the kitchen. They make their presence known—and that they are waiting for their daily sunflower seed handouts. I have fed them throughout the winter months, but now that spring is here, most of the birds have disappeared. I assume that they understand that they can now find food on their own. But there is one pigeon who still shows up each morning—the lone bird waiting for his ration of seeds. I am still feeding him, while wondering at the same time how long he will continue to come to us for food. Because some animals and birds get used to the handouts and perhaps no longer feel the need to find their own food. I don’t know how old this bird is, but perhaps he is older and simply tired of trying to find food on his own each day. If that is the case, I will continue to give him food. Because I know that one day he may not come back, and it could be because he has become sick or has died. I hope it will be because he has decided to not depend on us for food anymore, at least not until next winter. I do know that it would be so easy to train him, to tame him. Perhaps one day I will try to do that—when I have the time to do so and the time to follow up. I have a friend at work, an older man from Eritrea, who has done just that, with many pigeons. He told me recently that he wants to write a book about how to train pigeons, because he wants his children to carry on his work after he is gone.

One of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II episodes, Cities, dealt with the topic of how wild animals and birds have adjusted to city life, because food is plentiful and they don’t have to spend hours scrounging for a meal. There are the hyenas in Ethiopia, who enter the city of Harar each night to receive meat from the butcher shops and city dwellers who are not afraid of them. Those were amazing scenes, but also scary ones to witness. There are the leopards in Mumbai, India who hunt the pigs and small animals on the city outskirts and in the parks by night, where humans walk. There are the monkeys in Singapore that steal fruit and vegetables from the city produce markets. There are the peregrine falcons in New York City who feed on the numerous city pigeons. And so on. Many of these animals and birds are not afraid of humans or the masses of humans in cities, and that is a good thing from the standpoint of their getting more than enough food to eat. It is a bad thing for us if some of the carnivores decide to add humans to their menu. In any case, it is interesting to observe the wild animal and bird world (from the safety of our living room couches) and to marvel at how well they adapt to the growth/expansion of cities and to the loss of their natural habitats. That is not always a good thing. I would prefer that wild creatures remain in the wild, for their sakes and for ours, but mostly theirs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A beautiful song by Moby

Heard this song recently after not having heard it for a while--same effect on me. I love these kinds of songs--moody, reflective--both the music and lyrics. I love songs that make you feel and think about what you are feeling.






And here are the lyrics:

Porcelain
by Richard Melville Hall

In my dreams I'm dying all the time,
Then I wake it's kaleidoscopic mind
I never meant to hurt you,
I never meant to lie
So this is goodbye,
This is goodbye

Tell the truth, You've never wanted me
Tell me

In my dreams I'm jealous all the time,
When I wake I'm going out of my mind
Going out of my mind



Why I loved La La Land

If you haven’t seen La La Land, the movie musical that won and lost the Oscar for best picture in the space of a few minutes (it was mistakenly announced as Best Picture at the Oscar awards), see it. It was nominated in fourteen Oscar categories, and won ten of them (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3783958/awards). The Oscar fiasco is quickly forgotten when you slip into the world that La La Land creates. I am not a real movie musical fan—it’s not my favorite genre—but if more of these kinds of musicals are made in the coming years, I may become one. The songs in this film are lovely, catchy, bittersweet and memorable. There is an air of respect in the movie that is rare these days. It was a refreshing change to experience that level of respect for nearly everything in a film--respect for the genre, for the actors, for the plot, for jazz music, for acting, for individual dreams, for good manners, for courtship and good old-fashioned romance (more important than one often likes to admit), for serious conversations, and overall for the art of movie-making. That art is on display in full force in this movie—stylish lovely sets, historical references to the Hollywood of a bygone era and to a Los Angeles of a bygone era as well. It’s a dreamy, dreamlike film in some respects that has its feet firmly planted on the ground in most respects. Boy meets girl, they don’t get together right away, and then they do. Both are talented individuals who have big dreams, and whose pursuits of those dreams unite them in a common cause. They love each other and they want the other to succeed. And when the other doubts himself or herself, they are there to remind them of the bigger picture, the goal, the big dream. They are there to remind them to never give up. Neither of them do. I loved pretty much everything about this movie. It evoked just the right amount of nostalgia for a (presumably) more innocent time, the longing for a time in one’s life when everything was still new and untested, when love was new, when conversations between people mattered as a way of getting to know them. It illustrated the importance of striving tirelessly to achieve your dreams regardless of the outcome (not always a happy ending), of not compromising or settling for the job that gives you the most money, of believing in yourself even when everything seems to be falling apart around you or when the voice of reason is telling you to give in and settle for less. Along the way, we are treated to acting that tugs at your heartstrings (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were wonderful together and singly) and a story that reminds you of that time in your life when dreams and love were new and your future, largely unknown and somewhat daunting, was ahead of you. There were some really good dance numbers and some memorable songs. I found myself humming one of the songs (the one that Ryan Gosling whistles when he is walking out on the pier) on the way out of the movie theater. The director, Damien Chazelle, makes it clear that the typical Hollywood happy ending as depicted in the fantasy sequence at the end of the film is not always the ending in real life for those who achieve their dreams. Boy and girl don’t always ride off into the sunset together. We need that reminder, even though we are rooting for the couple to be together against all odds. Sometimes we experience a love when we are young that transcends us and our real lives, and we are not ready for it. Or it may simply serve another purpose—to bring out the best in ourselves and to help us achieve our dreams—and that kind of love is to be cherished for a lifetime. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Out of the blue

And so, out of the blue, one day before the sixteenth anniversary of my mother’s death, I received a message request on Facebook from a person I did not know. That person turned out to be my first cousin Robert, the son of my mother’s sister, Mildred, both of whom I had never met as a child. In the space of a few days, I have discovered my mother’s side of the family (a side that we had little to no contact with growing up), thanks to Robert, who has done extensive searching to create a family tree. His tremendous work organizing it has paid off. It is extremely interesting to see how large my mother’s family actually was. Her mother had five children by her first husband (who died), and then five by her second husband. Robert led me to Victoria, another first cousin, who is the daughter of my mother’s brother Joseph. The family spread beyond Brooklyn where they grew up, to New Jersey, Indiana and Maryland. Among the things I have discovered is that heart disease does not just run in my father’s family, but also in my mother’s, as many of her brothers and sisters (and father and mother) passed away due to heart conditions, strokes or kidney disease. It explains why my mother was so focused on eating healthily (little fat, few sugary desserts) and on remaining thin her entire life. It has not escaped me that I got to know that Robert existed one day before the anniversary of my mother’s death. I’d like to think that this was her way of communicating with me, perhaps to let me know that all of the secrecy and untold tales of her family are secret no longer. They are the stories of another era, when society’s constraints and rules were harsh and when there was little tolerance for lives lived outside of those constraints and rules. I understand my mother so much better now for having met Robert, and I am grateful that this opportunity was given to us.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday's photographic treasures

Today was another beautiful mild winter day in Oslo--sunshine, blue skies and a spring feeling in the air. Much of the snow from yesterday's snowstorm is melting. It was good to be outdoors. We took an hour's walk down and back along the Aker River (Akerselva) and stopped into one of the river cafes near Brenneriveien for coffee before heading home. Of course I had to take some photos along the way, and here they are--no particular rhyme or reason for taking them--just that the motifs caught my eye. It can be the play of sunlight on the water, or the shadows of the trees on the snow, or the rawness of street art. I'm also including a few photos from yesterday's snowstorm when I was out walking; then it was the trees and bushes covered in snow that attracted my photographic eye. It's very cool to be out walking right before twilight. Enjoy........


the beautiful Akerselva (Aker river)

Akerselva

Akerselva

Akerselva

unsigned street art, or is BT the artist?

unsigned street art


















Gamle Aker church


Kjærlighetsstien







Friday, February 24, 2017

Two songs by Gilberto Gil

Two just-about-perfect songs by Gilberto Gil--one of my favorite musicians.......I finally got to see him in concert some years ago here in Oslo, and it was such a great concert!

Touche pas à mon pote






Toda menina Bahiana

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A new poem--Photo of you in a Manhattan café

This is a new poem that I wrote on the second anniversary of my brother's death. It is part of a new volume of poems that I am working on, in addition to my book about Tarrytown that I hope to be finished with this year. 
-----------------------------------------------

Photo of you in a Manhattan café  

And on this day, the second anniversary
Of your untimely death
A long-buried photo of you surfaced
Causing me to catch my breath

We had met for lunch in some downtown Manhattan café
That you frequented—eager to share with me your find
Proud that you were working there in that melee
Of New Yorkers milling about with their own kind

The contours of your face, your photogenic smile
Your youth that emanates from a decade ago
Your furtive smile, the one that could beguile
And persuade the most stubborn of us so

Your hidden secrets that remained unearthed
You did not give them willingly away
And those of us who tried to probe and came away
Unenlightened frustrated rather gone astray

If walls could talk, and photos likewise
Perhaps you would still walk upon this earth
And smile your stealthy smile for all to know
That happiness was yours, there was no dearth



copyright 2017 All rights reserved
Paula M. De Angelis 


Sunday, February 19, 2017

An icy river--Akerselva in winter

From last Sunday's walking tour along the beautiful Akerselva (Aker River)--some photos of the ice in the river, nearby where we live.......






Friday, February 17, 2017

Egeberglokka Parsellhage

Those of you who have followed this blog know that we became members of a nearby community garden (an allotment garden) in March of last year. The name of the garden is Egeberglokka Parsellhage and it has a website and a Facebook page. The website has recently been updated with new photos from garden members. The website has many lovely photos of this beautiful garden (some of mine are posted there as well: a butterfly and bee photo, pumpkins photo, hollyhocks photo, and a daisies photo).

Here is the website: https://www.egeberglokka.no/

And here is the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Egebergl%C3%B8kka-parsellhage-632798036735972/

I'm looking forward to a new gardening season--the days are getting longer and the sun is getting stronger (and warmer) for each day that passes........


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Remembering and becoming

When I started out in the work world over thirty-five years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet some very special people who became life-long friends. One of them was Edith, who was already in her mid-50s when I met her. She was the head secretary for the department I worked in at the Public Health Research Institute of the City of New York, and we became friends immediately. She was a friendly and outgoing woman who made everyone she met feel welcome and at home. I would say she was one of the most hospitable people I have ever known. She was a born and bred New Yorker who lived in Manhattan most of her life. She married and raised two children in a spacious apartment in the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village, a large, post-World War II development of residential apartments on the east side of Manhattan. That apartment is where I visited her many times on my annual trips to New York, and it is where she suffered the stroke that eventually took her life at the age of 91. She had many opportunities to leave Manhattan, to move to the suburbs to be with her daughter and her daughter’s husband, but she chose not to. She remained independent until the day she died. I remember my last visit with her a few months before she passed away; she was waiting for me at the door of her apartment as I got off the elevator, and although she was very unsteady on her feet, she insisted on serving coffee and some pastries. And when I left her apartment a few hours later, she held onto my arm as we walked toward the door. Sometimes, before it got too difficult for her to walk, we would leave her apartment and walk to the nearby diner to have lunch--one of her favorite places because it made veggie burgers that were out of this world. And then we would walk slowly home again. It was always a bittersweet moment to say goodbye, much like when I said goodbye to my mother after one of my annual visits, not knowing if I would see them again, but hoping against hope that I would. Edith was a truly generous soul, who helped a lot of newcomers at work, who helped her children and grandchildren, and who took care of her husband who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s until she could no longer manage his care by herself. My memories of her are very pleasant; she and Virginia, another secretary at the institute and one of Edith’s close friends, both taught me how to make an apple-cranberry pie for the first Thanksgiving I ever prepared food for. It was the first such pie I had ever made; we made it at work during our lunch hour one dreary day in November, and I carried it home with me on the subway that evening. Unfortunately, I dropped the pie onto the subway platform and the glass pie plate shattered, and I ended up having to make the pie again when I got home. But at least I had learned how to do it. In return, I taught her how to use the newest word-processing program on her work computer. She was open to most new developments, was interested in the world around her, and very well-read. She loved to go to Shakespeare in the Park and to the opera and ballet. She and Virginia came to the church when I married for the first time (very young); when I later got divorced, she told me that it was no surprise to her, as she had not had a good feeling about my marriage from day one. She was honest that way, and it was good to hear it. If you asked for advice, you got it. I asked for advice when I needed it, because I knew it would be reasonable and smart.

I thought about Edith recently because I realized in one of those moments when certain insights make themselves known, that I have overtaken her role for some of the younger people I know, some of whom are at least twenty-five years younger than I am. The age difference between me and Edith was much larger, over thirty-five years, but it never bothered me. I hardly thought about it. That was the way I was raised. I had older parents and my relationship with the both of them was very good. They were my parents first, and then my friends. I assume that the younger people I know feel the same about me as I did about Edith; the age difference does not matter. Why should it? We are able to discuss books, music, movies and so many other things that interest us. I like a lot of the current music and literature; they like a lot of the music I grew up with, as well they should since it is really amazing music and an amazing era in which to grow up. We need role models to show us how to grow older. I had them, and I hope that I can be one for the younger people with whom I have become friends.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A New Yorker in Oslo was quoted on a Tarrytown NY website

So happy to see that something I wrote about the Tarrytown Lakes on A New Yorker in Oslo was actually used on the My Tarrytown Bike It! website, which by the way is a very interesting website. You can bet that I want to do some of the bike trips listed here! Check it out......

http://www.mytarrytown.com/t-town-lakes-extension/



Monday, February 6, 2017

Cookie man

I made hermit cookies last night (raisin spice cookies) and discovered one cookie on the cooling rack that definitely didn't look like the rest of them! Definitely not planned......but cute.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A favorite photo of my brother

Today is the second anniversary of my brother Ray's death. I was looking through old photos during this past weekend and came across a few of him from November 2005 (he had just turned 45 in August of that year). I had met Ray for lunch in Manhattan; that was something we often did when I came to NY to visit. I would meet him for lunch for a couple of hours as his 'business client', and then we would join the whole family in the evening of the same day or on a separate day. It was always nice to have some alone time with him; we always had some interesting conversations about how he enjoyed being a father to two children, our family, the work world, politics and history. He was an avid history buff and a real font of knowledge when it came to American history. He would have made a good history teacher. This photo is one of my favorites; he was happy and smiling (my mother would have said--look at his dimples) and relaxed. It wasn't often that he had the chance to relax.

On Monday of this week, a woman from our old neighborhood in Tarrytown (Tappan Landing Road), Bridget, passed away from cancer. She was the sweet daughter of the older woman, Philomena, who used to care for my mother in her later years. Just like my brother, Bridget was 54 when she passed away. They died two days and two years apart, but at the same age. I'd like to think that they're both in heaven now, happy and at peace.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What May Sarton said

So many of her reflections resonate with me..............


---------------------------------------------
“Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers.”

"Whatever peace I know rests in the natural world, in feeling myself a part of it, even in a small way.....To go with, not against the elements, an inexhaustible vitality summoned back each day to do the same tasks, to feed the animals, clean out barns and pens, keep that complex world alive."

“The more articulate one is, the more dangerous words become.”

“I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it.”

“There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.”

“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.”

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”

“A house that does not have one worn, comfy chair in it is soulless.”

“The moral dilemma is to make peace with the unacceptable.”

“It is harder for women, perhaps to be 'one-pointed,' much harder for them to clear space around whatever it is they want to do beyond household chores and family life. Their lives are fragmented... the cry not so much for a 'a room of one's own' as time of one's own. Conflict become acute, whatever it may be about, when there is no margin left on any day in which to try at least to resolve it.”

“I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged, damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.”

“Most people have to talk so they won't hear.”


Monday, January 30, 2017

Remembering our cat Tiger

I was looking through old photos the other day, and came across these of our cat Tiger, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 15 after a long struggle with breast cancer. She was a very unusual cat, fairly asocial except when it came to me and my husband and a few other people. You had to get to know her on her terms, which meant learning to deal with her moods. Sometimes she would let you pet her; other times you just knew that you had to keep your distance. Figuring her out was part of her charm and I think she knew that. When she was affectionate, it made up for all the times she wasn't. She loved to play--ice hockey with her catnip drops or with paper balls--and to hunt. I've never seen a cat so good at catching (and eating) insects. She also liked to chase my husband around our apartment, and he would run after her as well--that was their game together. Her tail would get big and puffed-up whenever she wanted him to chase her, and it was usually her that instigated the play-hunt. During the winter, you could find her atop one of the several radiators in our apartment, sprawled across it, soaking up the heat. I have taken videos of her rolling around the kitchen floor with an olive--something she loved to do--we could never really understand why. Did she like the smell or texture of the olive? She would also watch the birds outside our window from her perch on the inner sill. These two photos were good shots of her sitting by the side of a portable radio, in one of her affectionate moods (meaning that she allowed me to take some photos of her). Looking at these photos makes me miss her.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Summer raindrops and winter frost

Both of these photos are 'water' photos--but in two different seasons. I happened to be in my garden during a thunderstorm this past summer, and after the storm, the plants still had drops of rain on them that I was able to photograph before they evaporated. The winter photo is of a plant whose name I don't know, but that was covered in frost one day last week. Frost is defined by the online Merriam-Webster dictionary as 'a covering of tiny ice crystals on a cold surface formed from the water vapor in the air'. You can see the ice crystal patterns--beautiful. Again, I was lucky to take the photo when I did, because the sun came out and the frost disappeared.



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Second anniversary

The second anniversary of my brother’s death is approaching, and I have been aware of its approach for well over a month now. My anxiety levels are heightened; the memory of that day at work when I received the news that he had passed away will live forever in my mind and heart. I have no idea how parents who lose their children feel, just that I know it is probably an indescribable feeling, one that stays with you for the rest of your life. It does not feel right or normal (in the natural way of things) to lose your sibling at the age of fifty-four. Nevertheless, when I look around me and talk to others, I see that it is far more frequent than one would like to admit. I have friends who have lost their siblings to cancer and to other illnesses.

But the anxiety is also connected to my own heightened awareness of time passing. There is no question in my mind now that I will spend the rest of my life writing. Each day, each week, each month is the continual quest to find time, more time, and even more time—to write. And the more I want the time and the more I want to write, the less time is given me. Work duties pile up, there are suddenly more students to guide, a new technician to plan work together with, and a new article to write about a very interesting topic—DNA repair in inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Do I mind? No. But the little voice inside of me is always talking to me, telling me to write and to find the time to write. It doesn’t help that getting older involves getting tired much earlier in the evening than before. I used to guard the three or four hours after dinner and before I went to bed very carefully; I was selfish with my time. Now those hours have been reduced to maybe two good writing hours, because I am more tired. And so it goes.

Do I regret choosing a research career over a literary one? It may seem that way to you, my readers, at times. But no, I don’t. I’ve realized that my creative energy went into something really amazing—the opportunity to hypothesize and to test my hypotheses, and some few times the results led to some really good publications, articles that I’m proud of. Research science in its purest form is a truly creative endeavor. So I am glad that I was able to engage in this type of work activity for so long. But that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to write and from actually writing--poetry, short stories, novels and other types of literature. I’ve been writing since I was fourteen years old. But it is poetry that is closest to my heart, closest to describing the person I really am. I have published four volumes of poetry, and am currently working on a fifth, which will be a volume of poems having to do with death, mortality, and grief. It derives its inspiration from my brother’s death, and some of the poems are about him and about coming to terms with the loss of a man I truly loved, despite what life threw at us over the years. His life was far from easy; I know that now. He shared very little of what really transpired in his life during the last five years of his life. I don’t know why, and that reality will haunt me forever. I think he wanted me to read between the lines, and I just wasn’t on that page together with him. So his death has taught me to be more silent, to listen more, and to try to understand the road that each individual person I know is on. Each person’s journey toward the end of life is a different one, even though we all end at the same place. 

I've also had the unique pleasure of discovering a new young writer, the daughter of a friend here in Norway. My friend had told her daughter that I write poetry and that I have published some books. Her daughter, who is nineteen years old, has just written her first book about her teenage struggle with anorexia, and wondered if I would like to read it and comment on it. I have read it, and it is an impressive first book. While the topic will not appeal to all readers, I can truthfully say that she has written a gripping and realistic book about an illness that is nearly impossible to cure, and has done so using notes and journals that she has kept since she was fifteen. When I talk to her, I remember my own teenage years, some of the influences that started me writing, and the need to write. Unless you have experienced that need, you will not understand it. It is a psychological need that spills over into the physical realm; the need to write is something that rides you, doesn’t leave you alone, causes anxiety, spurs you on, needles you, taunts you when you are lazy, and criticizes you when you let yourself be distracted. It keeps you on target, keeps you focused on the goal. If you don’t pay attention to it, it will lead to sleepless nights, distracted unfocused days, irritability, depression and anxiety. My friend’s daughter understands this already at nineteen years of age. So that is why I cannot say that my current anxiety is coupled only to the second anniversary of my brother’s death. It is coupled to the need to write and to the barriers that stand in the way of doing so. Because my brother’s death, like the need to write, are reminders that time is passing, that life is short, and that time is not be wasted. Time is a gift that is given to us, and we have to use it wisely.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The real deplorables

Someone I know on Facebook recently posted that she, as one of the ‘deplorables’, was glad that Trump was now President. As she stated it, she and her husband were dancing around the house with joy that Hillary Clinton had lost the election. The current fascination with the word deplorable is Hillary Clinton’s doing, when she referred to Trump’s followers as a ‘basket of deplorables’, and in so doing, managed to insult a fairly large group of people, apparently. But it seems to me that the wrong people are characterizing themselves as the deplorables. When I read about them online, this term seems to cover those in dire economic straits—the economically dispossessed in society—those who have lost their jobs, their homes, their medical coverage and so on. In 2017, this boils down to poverty; the deplorables then are the new poor. Politicians should not be poking fun at them, but rather trying to help their situation. If this is one of the reasons Trump won and Hillary lost, then so be it. She should have been smarter than to lay the ‘blame’ for their dire straits on people who are struggling and looking for any break they can find. But it’s not just about finances, because if it was, that would make her a non-empathetic elitist. She and her husband are very rich, as is Donald Trump, so none of them can really understand the plight of the deplorables, if by that word you mean those who are struggling financially. But here’s the rub; this acquaintance and her husband own their own home (and always have for as long as I’ve known them). I don’t want to judge them, but from what I can surmise, they don’t lack for money. She has never had to work full-time from what I can gather. They travel a fair amount within the USA, and eat out quite a bit from what I gather from her posts on Facebook. It takes money to do all these things. So why is she referring to her and her husband as deplorables? Isn’t this rather elitist in and of itself? They are not poor and in dire straits, not by any stretch of the imagination. Why would you label yourself as poor when you are not?

The word deplorable is not a noun, but rather an adjective. It is used to describe lamentable or wretched living conditions, or contemptible behavior. I believe we should return to the use of the word as an adjective or adverb. Drop the noun, and simply refer to people in dire straits as the new poor. That opens up for any number of people in all walks of life who may have lost everything and who are barely hanging on. I know people who struggle now in 2017—to make ends meet, to pay for health insurance, to pay rent, or to try and get a mortgage. I remember what it was like to struggle, to be overwhelmed by credit card debt, to face mounting costs with not a snowball’s chance in hell of tackling them. I had no safety net, no parents who could step in and help me pay off my bills. I remember it all, and remember too growing up in a family with a father whose health was poor and whose employment chances diminished with each heart attack he had. He eventually retired early on disability, but throughout my growing-up years I remember the struggle. We were far from rich. When my father died, my mother lived on his meager pension and tried to get some part-time work at the local library. She ended up volunteering there and loved it, but she really should have been hired by them part-time. But the library too was on a budget and could not afford to hire her. And so it goes. Life doesn’t always work out well for everyone; not everyone makes a good salary and not everyone can own their own home or condo or co-op. Not everyone can afford to send their children to private schools and universities, or travel to exotic places on vacation each year. 

I grew up in the middle class, and the middle class is non-existent at present. Thankfully, I no longer struggle financially as I did when I was younger. But I have never forgotten what it was like to not have much money, and am very careful with money as an adult. Things could change tomorrow, and if you've read my posts on this blog about modern workplaces, you know that I do not trust ANY workplace to treat its employees well. Not a one. They can and will get rid of you tomorrow if they need to, and won't care at all about how you'll manage without a job. You're on your own in this life and your loyalty should be saved for family and friends, not a workplace. But I would never at present label myself as a deplorable for political purposes. Why can't you just say that you're a Trump supporter? If you are not currently struggling financially, I would be very careful about labeling yourself as a deplorable. You are likely to be perceived as a non-empathetic elitist jerk.