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Anarchist Chess

Anarchist Chess

It's Paul Bunyan Days here in Fort Bragg. After a little grocery shopping for tomorrow's family brunch, we walked down town. The Classic Car Show was small but the little man enjoyed it, preferring the red Corvette to my favorite, the shiny blue Mustang. We hit the Gem & Mineral Show after that. Growing up, I always looked forward to the $1.00 Grab Bag they sell there. Usually it is 95% big clunky rocks and 5% polished beautiful ones. The little man enjoyed it for the "mystery" of the thing but was irritated when I said no to the $10 Rose Quarts animal figurine. I know, I am such a bad Mamam.

We visited out friend at North Star Garden Shop on Laurel Street then headed to the Headlands Coffeehouse for some refreshments. The little man had hot cocoa and we had coffee. Then, we played Chess. However, the bin at Headlands containing Chess pieces is a bit of an assortment to say the least. We agreed on the rules of play and proceeded. This rendition involved having to remove not only the piece that is the object of attack, but also the piece that attacked. I will stop there with explanations because after that, explaining how the dominoes moved, well. What's important is it was fun. Thus, Anarchist Chess was born.

We went home for some recoup time before heading over to the CV Starr Center. We arrived at Ugly Dog Show thirty. The little man wanted to hit the Bouncy House first. He bounced and bounced. Then we watched the dressed up doggies stand in line. Then, we strolled through the Arts & Crafts fair. At the end of the row, we saw it. A climbing wall.

Buckling Up
Such Great Heights

It was awesome. The little man did great. I tried to peak his interest in rock climbing last summer while we were in Yosemite but this is more fun for kids, I think. The retracting belay, the brightly colored hand-holds. It was definitely the highlight of my day. He seemed to like it, too.

Really, though- just being able to spend time with the little man today has been great. Sharing custody is what it is, but after a week like this, I was glad to be able to hold him close today.

It's been a helluva week. I have tried and been unable to respond to the news until now. The media portrayals of what's been going on in Fort Bragg have been interesting to read, however inaccurate. The LA Times took the cake in that department. What a simplistic and inane view of our community.

Seems obvious to most of us. Untreated mental illness. Of course there is a pot-farming culture here. Is that news? The weed industry isn't related to these murders at all. Not that it's not a big deal around here. It is, it just wasn't something that played into this situation. It's so sad. The whole thing. I never met either of the victims, but it is a terrible situation. Pain all around.

Not just untreated mental illness itself but the criminal justice system, the healthcare "industry", the budget crisis, what am I forgetting? It is a bit overwhelming because there are so many parts and pieces all running at a terribly dangerous speed and towards what? I don't have answers but I have a lot of questions. So many questions. Meanwhile, I am going to keep playing Anarchist Chess with my kid.

PS. I am registered to vote and I can be moved to tears by Constitution of the United States of America whenever I read it.


  1. elizabeth wilson September 3, 2011

    you, and your little man, are awesome…

    • Jessica Ehlers Post author | September 4, 2011

      thanks, elizabeth.

  2. susan mom-grandma September 4, 2011

    Anarchist chess may be the answer. We all must create something different that has more heart and soul. thanks always for your words and love

    • Jessica Ehlers Post author | September 4, 2011

      thanks, grandma.

  3. Meg September 4, 2011

    Fort Bragg and Mendocino have had their share of violence, crime and drugs. Its ludicrous to pretend this is all new and unusual. Its just unusual to have two murders within a shorter time frame,but it appears they are related. As for the LA times they may have overstated the story, but as a former LA resident I was appalled at the misconceptions that many mendo county residents have about life anywhere else in the universe including LA.
    Mendo is not perfect and has its share of mentally disturbed people too. I do agree that to blame pot growing is a gross oversimplication of a more complex reality. Maybe its wakeup time for Mendo Coast residents. Your isolation has breed a sometimes naive sense that we live in another universe kind of fantasy world

    • Jessica Ehlers Post author | September 4, 2011

      thank you for your comment. i hope the latest news becomes an opportunity for forward movement as well. i would hate to have it become another series of nails in the coffin of collective apathy.

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