I Can Rationalize Anything

[UPDATED three days later in the POST SCRIPT below, after my 50th Rockford High School reunion, the reason I had to get to Michigan that very day!]

 

I had a boyfriend (first love of my life, actually) who said he had realized, “I can rationalize anything.”  I never ever knew how I felt about that, until this past year, when I realized that one of the big problems, if not the biggest problem, of the human species is that “we can rationalize anything.” Meaning we can take whatever the reality is, and make it sound like something else, that fits inside our world views, our small brains. Big brains, supposedly, for animals.

(It’s always funny to me how people say, “The animal part of us” or “Humans are like this and animals are like that.” What part of us is NOT animal? The part that’s a rock, a plant? We are totally animals, and yet we take all of our animal experiences and turn them into rational thoughts. We make stuff up all the time.)

Today I have a huge thing to rationalize. I am flying from Oakland to Detroit (I am finally able to laugh about it, just now, as I write) and it’s costing me $1000 more than I thought it would cost yesterday! My flimsy excuse is that …   (see OUTTAKES for the stream of consciousness that I excised from here!)

… Back to my flimsy excuse. Excuses are a frequent mode of rationalization, eh? (I like the Canadian “eh?” just like the Southern “y’all” for you plural.) I made reservations using Southwest Airlines flying out of San Francisco, and then Southwest changed it to bad flights and I called them up. We went back and forth between SFO and OAK and somehow I didn’t get that BOTH departure and arrival flights were Oakland (I live in Oakland), so this morning I went to SFO. Yikes. (see OUTTAKES for extraneous details.)

I used to rationalize extra costs by saying, “Will I even remember this when I’m 65?” Now that I’m 67 (the summer of love), what should I say, “Will I even remember this (or anything) when I’m 100?” Now my fall back rationalizations are that I live in a community house — which is wonderful in so many ways — and I don’t own a car and so I save $1000 every month or two over what it would cost if I lived in more “normal” ways. Also, I rationalize by remembering people, especially rather poor-but-proud people who say, “Yes, that was an extra expense. But thank goodness we did have the money!” Hearing that always reminded me of how lucky I have been in my life, when I really look at it. Maybe some other day I’ll blog about the real wealth, which is … health. Knock on wood.

I’ll post this blog now, with outtakes at the bottom.  I’m at Phoenix airport and we’re boarding right now for Detroit!

POST SCRIPT on Monday
I WOULDN’T HAVE MISSED THIS REUNION FOR A THOUSAND BUCKS!!!  I got to Detroit about 2 hours later than intended and my such-a-good-soul college friend Lenore was there to pick me up. I made it to all reunion events and had a great time. I love the fact that people DO grow up, and growing up is a good thing.

OUTTAKES – TMI (Too Much Information) on my airport mess-ups!
At SFO airport on Friday, I looked at the board for departures and didn’t find my flight to Las Vegas. Was I confused and should I be looking at arriving flights? No. Hmmm. I even asked the seemingly also confused man standing nearby if he was going to Las Vegas, thinking maybe there was an error on the departure board. Then I looked at the boarding pass I had printed out and saw for the first time that it said … OAK. I still didn’t immediately understand! But when I did I ran for the nearest taxi; 110 dollars later I was at Oakland airport; and then at 10:32 I was at the gate watching my 10:35 flight pull out.

Carolyn at Southwest was really helpful but we realized there was NO WAY Southwest could get me to Michigan, at all, in time for my 50th high school reunion activities the next day. So I check Orbitz and they teased me with a $504 flight departing in an hour from OAK that would arrive in Detroit only 2 hours later than my original plans. But the listing said I had to call the airlines to reserve. A very helpful woman tried very hard to reserve that flight that had 3 seats left, but she couldn’t actually reserve it, because it was such a short time away, but I should go to the US Airways folks in the airport, and there it turned into $870 and by this time I just put my credit card on the counter and said OK.

THIS SHOULDN’T even make the “OUTTAKES” pile!

(BTW, will I get a meal on this trip, or not, since I’m flying first class? I’ve already gotten two glasses of red wine on the Oakland/Phoenix flight, wondering why they serve Merlot only, and not Cabernet Sauvignon. Nope, no meal this flight, but I should get dinner on the Phoenix to Detroit trip, right?)

P.S.  I’m not even going to preview this.  Times are changing. Perfectionism is out.

Curious about Cuba? (Reference Sheet)

I’m so happy whenever I get a chance to talk about Cuba, especially when I’ve given presentations or led discussions. I hope to post — if it gets edited! — a video based on a recent presentation with pictures at a “Green Sunday” (hosted by the Green Party of Alameda County, and video-taped by Jonathan Nack).

If you are Curious about Cuba, you’re in good company. It’s fascinating in so many ways. This blog has references to help you satisfy some of your curiosity!

BOOKS
Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana, by Marc Frank
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17347808-cuban-revelations

Cuba: A Revolution in Motion, by Isaac Saney
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/553057.Cuba

RESOURCES WEBPAGE of Eco-Cuba Network, sponsor of the April 20-29, 2015 tour.
http://www.ecocubanetwork.net/resources/
Contents (partial list):
—6 videos available online
—Salud! a film on Cuba’s health care system, directed by Connie Field
——(available at Oakland and Berkeley Public Libraries)
—Maestra, a 30-minute film on Cuba’s 1961 literacy campaign, directed by Catherine Murphy
——(available at Berkeley Public Library)
—Slideshows, relatively short: Cuba Naturally, and The Birds of Cuba

OTHER
Task Force on the Americas/MITF, co-sponsor of April tour, and many others in Latin America, (415) 924-3227, mitf@igc.org, http://taskforceamericas.org/

venezuelanalysis.com, news about Latin American regional integration and specifically Venezuela

http://laurawells.org/, blog about Cuba, CA, politics, life. Contact: laurawells510 (at) gmail.com

HAVE FUN!

Questions about Normalization, Religion, Birds, Dance…

My blog on April 20, 2015 was written on the first day of my Eco-Cuba Network tour and listed questions others and I had about Cuba. This blog post will provide some answers and refer to prior blogs as well. Answers to other questions will appear in future blogs.

NOTE: You know that I am not an expert on Cuba (nobody is, really!) and that Cuba is not perfect, right? I’ll state my bias straight away: when discussing countries or other entities that I see as trying to improve conditions for people and the planet, I tend to be less of a critic and more of a “cheerleader” (and no, I was not a cheerleader in high school). I am interested in seeing and spreading the word about strengths, hope, and power at “la base” — which is how they say “grassroots” in Spanish — and in the leadership too.

(1)
Q.    What are hopes and fears of the Cuban people related to normalization of relations between the US and Cuba? And how do they differ according to age group?
A.    Improved trade and development are the main hopes. The main fear — and it seems to be more a fear of mine and others in the U.S. — is that Cuba could be overrun by the U.S. and by capitalism in general.

Cuba has strengths and strategies for avoiding being overrun. See the list of Cuba’s strengths in my 5/11/2015 blog, especially #2 about the Foreign Investment Law. HERE

A big hope is that opportunities for trade will improve, and that their trade deficit will be reduced or eliminated. Currently other countries across the globe trade with Cuba, but the U.S. has imposed undesirable consequences on those countries, banks and other businesses. So, sometimes they’ve decided to raise prices for Cuba to compensate for the risk, or to not do business with Cuba at all.

Cubans hope for an improved ability to obtain embargoed products that have some U.S. components, such as medicines and medical equipment, building materials, and technology. They hope for an improved ability to sell Cuban products to the U.S. market. The blockade hurts people in both directions. For example, Cuba has developed a medicine for diabetes that U.S. doctors are asking, “Why can’t we obtain that for our patients?”

As to development, they want to build day care centers (for children and their growing population of seniors), housing, infrastructure for agriculture, etc. Many of those projects were stalled at the beginning of the “special period” in the 1990s after the Soviet Union collapsed.

The Foreign Investment Law excludes foreign investment in education and healthcare and I say “Hip Hip Hurray!” to that.

(2)
Q.    Religion and spirituality. Is it valued? respected? embraced?
A.    I was surprised that people are free to practice their religions. (There’s a lot I didn’t know about Cuba.) The country has become more and more open to religions: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Santería, and others. Recently the Communist Party’s prohibition against accepting believers as members ended. Although the most common religion is Roman Catholic, there hasn’t been as much catholic-based “liberation theology” as in many other Latin American countries. People are pretty secular, however, they may have their children baptized, but they don’t often attend or get married in the church. Popes have been welcomed for visits, and BTW, they have been objecting to the U.S. embargo.

(3)
Q.    Is the dual currency system getting better or worse for the Cuban people?
A.    I don’t know! All I can say is that the Cuban people and government are making economic changes, as individuals and as the government. Related to these changes, I was startled to learn that Raul Castro, who became interim head of state in 2006 and official head in 2008, said, “We have to wipe out forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where you can live without working.”

(4)
Q.    Will I be able to see some of the wonderful birds that are in Cuba and nowhere else in the world? Like the Bee Hummingbird (zunzuncita).
A.    Yes. I saw the Tocororo (Cuban Trogon), and the Cuban Green Woodpecker among many others. The Tocororo is the Cuban national bird and is a striking blue, red, and white, the colors of the Cuban flag. (Do the colors sound familiar?)

However, the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird, will have to wait for the hope-for next time I go to Cuba. Then I’ll go to the Zapata National Park, near the Bay of Pigs. I found more information about it HERE.

(5)
Q.    Will I get to dance, salsa, bachata, cumbia, cha cha, rumba, bolero, whatever?
A.    Yes, 3 times, with primary grade children, down syndrome young people, and at a meeting of a local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. (I’m guessing the dancing started in the night clubs after I went to bed!) We politicos in the group thought the CDR would be a chance to see neighborhood politics in action. Nope — they had a party for us! One Cuban said that if all Cubans would strive as hard for excellence in the economy as they do in music, Cuba would solve all its economic problems. Hmmm.

Leaders, PART II: Memorial Day Thoughts on the Military

“Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Wars never solve anything, and the people who send you there, don’t go there.” Harry Wells, my dad.

“Yes, before 9/11 happened, I counseled high school graduates in Detroit to join the military. You should have seen how changed they were when they came back. They were more organized, disciplined, and confident.” Lenore, my college friend.

“I joined a different army. I joined the one with the condos and the private rooms.” Goldie Hawn, playing the lead in the film Private Benjamin.

* * *

Today is Memorial Day, the perfect day to post the blog I started a few days ago.

In my recent blog about leaders (HERE), I mentioned my own shaky relationship with hierarchy, and talked about two well-known leaders in the world, Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. It’s impossible for me to think of their huge achievements (see “Notes” section below for details), and not acknowledge that they came from the military — one of the most hierarchical institutions in existence.

I find myself wishing — in social movements, political campaigns, the Green Party, the community house in which I live, as well as the world and myself — that we had more discipline, organization, dedication and commitment. I wish we could count on ourselves and each other to do what needs to be done. I wish we allowed ourselves fewer excuses. I wish we had more confidence to move forward, and less resistance that causes us to hold back. I wish we would follow rules when those rules would get us what we really want.

In other words, I wish we who love peace would learn to organize as effectively as those who love war. I wish we would learn the good things people learn in the military.

The military I mean is a different military from the one that sends people like my dad to wars that “never solve anything.” Dad was in the Air Force because he loved flying. Then he was in World War II and the Korean War. It was late 2001 after the U.S. military went to Afghanistan that my daughter asked him what he thought about the war. I started backing out of the room because I always thought he was gung-ho whatever the military did. I was shocked — and relieved — to hear his answer.

Also in late 2001, I was shocked in an opposite way to learn that my peaceful friend Lenore had counseled kids to go to the military. But it was a different military, and she was counseling people with few options. They lacked the money and/or educational background needed to go to college, and Detroit lacked job opportunities even then.

It was a different military during the years before 9/11. TV recruitment ads showed benefits like traveling, learning new skills, and higher education after your military stint. It has been documented that after 9/11 recruitment ads began to show combat, not before. The kids my friend counseled returned from the military not having been in combat. They returned not with the post-traumatic stress disorder of many of today’s vets. They returned more organized, disciplined, and confident.

They had been trained to follow orders, yes, but they also were trained to know how strong they could be. We can’t forget how important the soldiers themselves were in ending the fiasco in Vietnam, as seen in the documentary Sir! No Sir! They had the same mission as those of us demonstrating against war. We were all serving our country.

As to leaders, I wish all of ours had the dedication and commitment shown by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez. We could use leaders who persevere in the face of enormous hostility, and do whatever they can do, while fostering people’s participation, to create a better life for people and the earth.

That’s what I wish on this Memorial Day. That’s what I would celebrate as worthy gifts from the military, a different military, one with a mission to train people to truly protect life on earth.

* * *

NOTES on the achievements of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez

Fidel Castro — working with many other soldiers and with the crucial support of civilians — led a successful revolution against Fulgencio Batista’s military dictatorship, a dictatorship in which 10,000 to 20,000 people were killed from 1952 to 1959. Fidel followed up that feat by continuing the revolution for more than 55 years, with improved healthcare and education, despite the active hostility of Cuba’s neighbor, the United States of America, the greatest military and economic super-power the world has ever known.

Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998, breaking through a 40-year fixed two-party system. The Chávez government created a new bottom-up constitution, improved healthcare and education, increased participation in the government, and reduced inequality of wealth. He also led the way in strengthening regional cooperation in South America and beyond. Fifteen years ago, I never thought I would feel great support for a place where a government combined forces with the oil industry, the church, and . . . the military.

Leaders: Do we need them? Thinking about Fidel and Hugo

All my life I have had a problem with leaders. I think the main reason I line up with the movement, whatever you call it (more in a minute, in the next paragraph), is my deep distrust and antipathy toward hierarchies, and toward most of the leaders that top those hierarchies. That antipathy, plus a love for things working well — the solid, practical things of our lives and the less tangible things of our spirits — keep me active.

To describe the “movement” that I feel aligned with: it is a movement toward a world where decisions and choices are made by people at the closest level to themselves as possible. And I don’t mean rugged individualism. The “people” I’m talking about include individuals as well as families, communities, and regions. People power vs. concentrated power. Real democracy vs. de facto oligarchy.

I wonder, however, whether leaders just might be necessary, or at least very useful. I am reading a book about Cuba that was recommended to me, and I highly recommend it to you. One evening our Eco Cuba Network tour of 16 people met with the author at the Hotel Presidente (and he managed to ruffle the feathers of many of us!). The book is Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana (hardcover published in 2013; paperback in 2015 with a brief update about normalization of relations with the U.S.). The author is Marc Frank, a U.S.-born journalist who has lived in Cuba more than 20 years. I’m loving his book.

My favorite part so far is the two-page section entitled “Hugo Chávez” on page 24 and 25 of the paperback version. Hugo Chávez was a breath of fresh air not only for me and others who were inspired by the 2003 documentary film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, but also for Fidel Castro almost 10 years earlier.

It was 1994, and Cuba was struggling during the “special period” after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Hugo Chávez had just been released from prison after a failed coup attempt two years earlier. (To learn more about Hugo Chávez, see my blog from two years ago when, so sadly, he passed. For a very quick read, just read the 10 headers. HERE.)

Marc Frank wrote, “According to my sources, the two men talked day and night on that first visit by Chávez to Havana . . . When the two men appeared in public, it was to heap praise upon one another, and scorn on the Americas Summit and the U.S.-proposed trade agreement. I had never seen him so happy and content. The Cuban leader acted like a giddy child in Chávez’s company as they inaugurated a statue of Simón Bolívar on Presidente Boulevard in Vedado, and then went on to Havana University. There Chávez delivered a televised speech, endlessly praising Castro in Cuba, trashing U.S. trade plans, and predicting that the two countries would join ‘as one river flowing toward better future for the region.’ ”

Two strong leaders, visionaries, revolutionaries.

When people say that leaders are always power-mad, and that there are no good politicians, I say no, there are some who are the “real deal.” Not sold out. To believe there are no good people in the world of politics is to discount people power, i.e. the power of people who want to serve in the world, who want to make a difference, contribute to the public good, do what they can. When I think about my own life, I know that at times I have shown courage, but so many times I have backed away, into what? Comfort, going along to get along? Don’t worry, I’m not blaming myself (not too much!). I’m just sayin’ what’s true about so many of us. Good people, sure, but held back.

There’s a wonderful interview of Hugo Chávez by Larry King in which Hugo says that personally he’d rather have been a baseball player, and play in Yankee Stadium! The whole interview is amazing, and remarkable how Larry King could not actually hear what Chávez was saying, even about undisputed facts. The link is HERE. The baseball bit is near the end, at minute 22:30.

Fidel and Hugo are definitely not perfect — and who is? Nevertheless, it seems to me they were born to take the positions they took in the world. They did what they were led to do. Followed their hearts; committed themselves to a better world. They would not stop.

* * *

This blog about leaders will be continued in the future; there’s a lot more to say. Your comments are welcome.

What will happen to Cuba after normalization with the United States?

The question of the hour is, “What will happen to Cuba after normalization with the United States?”

For me, the real answer is, “who knows?” From what I understand of the “experts” on Cuba, they have the same answer. Cuba is not like other countries,  I do, however, want to list some strengths that I became more aware of since I went to Cuba in April.

But first, it’s ironic, isn’t it, that so many Americans want to “visit Cuba now before a whole bunch of Americans go there and spoil it.” What’s really funny to me is that while I poke fun at that idea, here I am myself, just returned from my first visit to Cuba! (Many of my colleagues couldn’t believe I’d never been to Cuba since they know I’ve been on several political delegations to Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Honduras. The first three countries recently created new constitutions that empower people and even nature. In the fourth country, Honduras, the president was removed after he started taking preliminary steps toward creating a new constitution.)

I used the term “American” above, but I want to switch to a term for people from the USA that differentiates us from the rest of the people living in this hemisphere: estadounidense. That’s the Spanish word, based on Estados Unidos. I’ve often wondered if we should adopt the English-language word, “USers” for US people, since we have about 5% of the world’s people and use about 20% of the world’s resources. (Yes, if you’re wondering, I do love my country — the land and the people. I really do. As a matter of fact, many if not most of the people of other countries such as Cuba and Venezuela like estadounidenses; it’s the U.S. government they have problems with.)

It’s sort of amusing that among the people who are the most afraid that “Americans will spoil Cuba” are … Canadians. They’ve been enjoying Cuba for years and many Canadians are not too keen on the prospect of loads of estadounidenses descending on the island.

That leads me to the first item on my list of some strengths that are likely to help Cuba remain “Cuba,” and not be overrun by the United States of America.

1. TOURISM IS NOT NEW. Cuba has had tourism for a long time, including Canadians, Europeans, Latin Americans. They’ve got resorts, great beaches, and even golf courses, not to mention those cars from the 1950s. Cuba has learned from successes and mistakes in its tourism development.

2. NEW FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAWS. In 2014 Cuba passed a new foreign investment law that gives tax breaks and more investment security to foreign-owned companies engaged in joint ventures with the Cuban state and between foreign and Cuban companies. The fact that the law does not permit investment in health care and education sounds like a valuable protection for Cubans.

3. THEY’VE SURVIVED. Cuba and Cubans have a long history of successfully surviving economic and military hostility aimed toward them by the greatest economic and military power the world has ever known — the U.S.A. — 90 miles away from their shores.

4. LATIN AMERICA IS STRONGER NOW — certainly stronger than in 1959, and even stronger than it was 20 years ago before Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela. The region is now so strong that both Bush and Obama went down to obtain the FTAA, a free trade agreement for all countries in the Americas, and both Bush and Obama came back empty handed. (Meanwhile, we’re trying to “Flush the TPP” — a truly bad free trade agreement.) Cuba is well integrated into the rest of the Americas, and it is not isolated in the world.

5. JOSÉ MARTÍ. I can’t wait to read his book The Golden Age, by which he means childhood. It seems that all Cuban children are familiar with this Cuban hero’s life, poetry, and writings, and I want to understand better how it has helped with the formation of character. What writings do all children in the United States have in common? The Gettysburg address? The Bible? There’s more about Martí in my blog post entitled “Cuba — The Most Surprising Thing.”

6. STRONG FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ORIENTATION. It’s tangible, and it is what helped them survive during the “special period” after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, and during all the obstacles they’ve encountered in the 50+ years of the U.S. embargo.

7. CUBAN PRIDE. Our tour guide pointed out that Cubans are very proud of being Cuban, and they aren’t eager to be changed into something else.

* * *

These are my quick reactions to the question of “What will happen next?” After my 9-day visit to Cuba, I am no expert, but I have a lot of thoughts and ideas. I actually think it’s hard for anyone to be an expert on Cuba. More than usual, my questions led to more mysteries and complications and contradictions. That’s one reason that it’s easy to want to go back.

In that way, I can understand the Miami-Cubans more than I could before.

CUBA – The Most Surprising Thing?

When people first greet me after my return from Cuba and they ask “What was the most surprising or exciting thing?” I have been sort of dumbstruck.

I found myself struggling with wanting to say something profoundly important, while finding that the following responses came to mind:

  • I saw the Tocororo national bird! (like the Cuban flag, it’s “azul, rojo y blanco”)
  • Havana was so much more comfortable to visit than I thought it would be.
  • The temperature was 95 to 100 degrees every day. (April 2015 was the hottest month in recorded history in Cuba.)
  • I was surprised by the variety of alcohol I found myself drinking!

OK, you know, these things actually are significant in many ways, and especially useful when you’re having a 2-minute “small talk” conversation. Upon reflection, however, I realize that I do have a profoundly important answer to the question of “most surprising or exciting thing.”

José Martí.

The surprising thing is that although I had heard his name, I did not realize that José Martí is the national hero of Cuba. Martí played a key role when Cuba’s struggle for independence began in 1868, and our tour guide pointed out that many people clock the Cuban Revolution as beginning in 1868 and ending in 1959. Most if not all town centers in Cuba have a statue of him. In Havana the famed Plaza de la Revolución has a statue and huge monument in his honor, right across from the enormous drawings of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos on buildings facing the plaza. Also, the airport is named José Martí-La Habana.

The most exciting thing relates to the question of the hour in so many of our minds: What will happen next in Cuba after normalization of relations with the United States?

José Martí, in addition to being a revolutionary who lost his life in battle, was also a poet, journalist, political theorist, professor, and the author of a book that apparently every Cuban child is familiar with, La Edad de Oro, which translates to The Golden Age, meaning childhood.

My most treasured mementos (treasured even more than the Cuban cigars purchased from a farmer in his tobacco drying barn) are those two books, one in Spanish and the other in English. Since the book was intended for youth, he wrote it “en español simple y puro.” With my getting-more-fluent Spanish, I can read almost every word! Plus I have the English translation to help with words I don’t know.

What excites me, and it’s related to these foundational writings, is that Cuba is not … hmmm.

I can’t quite figure out how to put everything I want to say! I can’t wait until I can:

  • read more writings by José Martí
  • read a book published in 2015 called Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana, by journalist Marc Frank, who has lived in Cuba for 20 years
  • learn more about the concept of “formation” that I keep hearing related to Latin American educational systems
  • understand more about the complex foundations of the resurgence in Latin America related to education, healthcare, and participatory democracy
  • understand more about how in the world can we bring it home to California and to the United States? By “it” I mean a revolution in the way we make decisions and choices about how to create a better life for ourselves, our parents, and our children.

Meanwhile I will say that Cuba is not empty and waiting for the United States to fill it up. Cuba has been developing in its own way, and the people have a strong sense of being Cuban. Cuba is not at all an undeveloped country waiting for the United States to develop it. There are benefits to be had from normalizing relations with the United States, and dangers. Thank goodness Cuba has strategies and strengths and a history of surviving against great odds. Also, Latin America as a whole is much stronger today than it was 20 years ago, let alone 50+ years ago at the time of the Cuban revolution. After all, in recent years Latin America twice turned down the FTAA, a free trade agreement for all of the Americas. In the U.S. we’re struggling to stop Obama and Washington from fast-tracking the TPP, described as “NAFTA on steroids.”

As I said in my “Introduction” to this renewed blog (posted on April 19 just before my Cuba trip), I’m going to WRITE it, shape it up adequately, and POST it. It is not perfect, and for sure this topic is TO BE CONTINUED.

Comments are welcome! You may be able to help me in my understanding and my phrasing. I think it would be easier for me to get the comments via the blog at laurawells.org rather than via facebook or twitter. Thank you!

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