Dear President Biden,
Before I launch on the two topics of the day, I just want to circle back to let you know that the raspberries I picked this morning were quite tasty.
Hopefully this time the lesson will stick, but I’m not super confident that it will since it hasn’t the handful of times I’ve discovered “anew” that the exceedingly ugly little black and orange bugs that infest our hops in May/June are ladybug larvae. Maybe if I go ahead and purchase the Insect Lore pack of plastic figurines depicting the four stages of the ladybug life cycle for a mere $7.99, I’ll be able to hold on to this nugget. Better yet, actually writing to you about it should help me lay it down in my neural net, making the purchase (and shipping) of yet more plastic unnecessary.
I resisted the urge to knock the larvae off the leaves or to just kill them and now I’m super glad since they are poised to become the cute little, much loved ladybugs that eat aphids and are generally super duper environment buddies. Honestly, it isn’t really all that hard for me to avoid doing bugs harm, but the fact that I even think of doing either thing is evidence of the revulsion those little larvae evoke for me.
Have you ever seen ladybug larvae? And what about when they are in that in-between, pupa, stage where they are still oddly elongated and have faded to an unappealing light orange color? If you go to check out the ladybug lifecycle online, be careful because some of them have it going from egg to pupa to larvae to ladybug AND THAT IS NOT CORRECT. For example, the Gardening Zone blog has it messed up. Most do, however, have it right and if you get the White House gardeners to plant some hops, you can watch this whole process for yourself really easily.
The other thing of great import is a thank you to you and Secretary Dennis McDonough for the VA’s decision to start providing gender confirmation surgery to trans veterans. This is huge. And as the news report I read about it notes, it will save lives. I don’t know if the paper I helped with a few years ago about how suicidality is reduced among trans veterans who’ve undergone gender confirmation surgery helped move the needle at all, but I’d like to think so. Either way, I am over the moon happy that you all are making this change to VA policy and landing on the side of truly taking care of veterans.
May we all be safe to make the transitions we need to make.
May we all be willing to help each other make those transitions or to have the grace to stay out of the way.
May we all get our ego strength to the point where we are cool with what those around us need to do for themselves.
May we accept that change (and transition) is inevitable.