Monday, November 22, 2010

That was then, this is now

Our thirty year class reunion was last August. It seems like every since I have been taking many strolls down memory lane regarding my childhood I have been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about my past. It is amazing, to me, how much of my happiness has been in the past 10 years. True, contented, happiness.

I have heard some people say they had idyllic childhoods or that they peaked in high school. When I think back to those years I know I can look forward because the best is yet to come.

I have great childhood memories, some good grade school memories, and ok Jr. High School memories, not so fond of High School memories. It seems so weird that my hubby plays either no role or a negative role in those memories. The man who is now such a pivotal part of my life wasn't in those years, and yet, now, my best times have been with him.

Conversely, my worst times have also been with this man. The bad memories I have from school appear to have something to do with him. And, in the twenty plus years we have been together we have been through some real, real bad times. But, as everyone knows, bad times do make good times all that much better.

Hubby and my memories of school helped us to come to the decision to homeschool. It had very little to do with the kids and everything to do with the teachers. When a certain middle school principle condescendingly told hubby and I to harken back to when we were in school. He actually told us he was the same man that was our principle (he was the vice principle) and we should have just as much confidence in him now as we did then. We both realized we did and we yanked our kids.

It dawned us both that those teachers would have our children 40 hours a week. Those teachers who threw chalk and erasers at kids out of frustration, anger, teaching apathetically or even those who taught passionately but just from their point of view and then tested kids based on their slanted viewpoint of life.

One of the cool things of marrying someone from school who was in the same grade but in a completely different circle of friends, as well as a different religion, is that we have been able to compare stories. I learned that all those times that hubby and friends skipped school were not spent drinking and partying. They had an elaborate forest treefort, actually more like a tree village, that they had all built and which they spent many long days defending in bb gun wars. This continued on up into high school. Many battle scars are from bb gun bullets shot at too close of range or if someone had pumped more than they should  have, making the shot more powerful.

I learned that the spit wads in my hair in ninth grade English were my hubby's doing. No, nothing so romantic as love, or like, in the least. I was the weirdo Bahai with "stuck up" friends. Ninth grade English was miserable for me. None of my friends were in it and I was plagued by hateful boys sitting in the backrow. Hubby is shame faced about it now. More so because he sees it not only as my spouse, but as a Baha'i himself.

For me, that was the hardest. Baha'i camps and retreats were these totally awesome places. You didn't have to fake being anything, you could just be you. No one ever called someone a "fag" people didn't stare at black people and call them names behind their backs, two girls could actually hold one another's hands, even in eighth grade, without hearing snickers. And there were no wall flowers at the dances. No one ever said "no" if you asked them to dance, and you never said "no". The older kids always looked out for the younger ones. It was so "cool" to have a college boy ask you to dance, which made all the other guys want to dance. Our dances weren't divided up into ages. So you had everyone out there dancing.

The camps were family camps, mostly, and so there wasn't the "oddness" of jamming this group of people, all the same age, together to try to figure out life using all the same half assembled tools and coming to the same, untried, sophomoric, answers. You were with a diverse group of people of all ages and races and they were electric! Then you would come back home to plain, old, boring "vanilla."

After hubby went to his first camp after becoming a Baha'i he exclaimed, "THATS what you got to do on school breaks?" He was flabbergasted at how I could come home from something like that and turn around and go to school on Monday. While it often was reinvigorating, around the second or third day back I would hit a wall, and it would be depressing for a day or two. It wasn't just the kids. It was the teachers. We were living in pretty hopeless times, then. It was the '70s. We had been lied to by Nixon, we knew that the Russians had "the bomb" but we also knew that crouching beneath our desks wasn't going to save our butts from anything! Our school had a bomb shelter (the locker rooms) city hall had a bomb shelter, and I can't think where else but I do remember learning in our health class how to look for the upside down dotted triangle signifying a shelter was nearby.

While our Faith taught us we were at the beginning of a new 500,000 year dispensation our schools told us to prepare for the end of the world. Our graduating class, if I remember correctly, was called one of the most apathetic that our high school principle had ever encountered. In our health class our teacher, Ms. Brown, taught us that if we were abducted, to submissively follow the captors orders as our chances of being released alive increased for submissive people, while fighters died. How weird, I thought, to teach a classroom of sophomores to be submissive.

Being the naive person that I was, and thinking teachers liked input even when it countered what they said, I piped up, "My mom told me to never, ever go with anyone who tried to grab me. I am supposed to fight, scream, and do anything to draw attention to us." Ms. Brown fixed a glare on me, "Even if he has a gun?" she sneered. "Especially if he has a gun. My mom says if he is showing a gun and his face he's probably going to shoot me anyways and I have a better chance of getting help if I am shot downtown Astoria than out of one of the logging roads." I didn't think then was the time to add what else my mom had said, "And if you do go with the man and we find your body shot and mutilated I will scrape it up off the logging road and beat it." Somehow, it made her sound a little crazy and took away all the logic of the first part of her advice. 

I remember that the teacher was not thrilled with my answer and commented dryly that while we needed to follow the advice of our parents and our own safety plan for the sake of the test HER answer was the "correct" one. Another reason we homeschooled our kids. Deduction and reasoning not allowed, one correct answer for the masses and only one. 

Then I remember being frightened so often. What would friends think if I said this, wore that, did the other? What if I don't know the answer? What if I do know the answer? Can't be too smart, can't be too dumb. So much of my life seemed to be controlled by what others thought about me. What is funny is I can't remember when I stopped caring what others thought. Not the "in your face" not caring, but the true, not even realizing it, not caring. 

I know that now there are times when I care, but it is times I consciously choose. There are times when feed back from others is something I would like, but somehow it has morphed. Then it was friends, teachers, co-workers and bosses. Now it is husband, parents, children, grandchildren. Wow, I have grandchildren! Yeah, it is great when a story I have been working on for weeks, or sometimes months, gets noticed and complimented, but I wouldn't stop writing if I didn't get it. If I didn't KNOW that my husband had my back? It is something I cannot even conceive of. If I didn't KNOW I had my children's love? Chilling thought. 

Then and now. I like now. Even with the gray hair, sagging skin, wrinkles and pains. I choose now, and I look forward to tomorrow.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ghosts of mistakes past

As I write here I am conscious of the fact that other people's lives and their stories are their own. Even when they are "my" children and grandchildren their story does not belong to me. When mine were growing up they confronted me one time and told me that as much as they enjoyed hearing about stories from their childhood they were very uncomfortable hearing their lives played out to people they hardly knew. What I thought of as "funny" or "cute" they thought of as embarrassing and humiliating. And even some events I expressed with pride often made them uncomfortable because how I saw it come about or maybe the motivating force for them wasn't what they saw as their reality.

For the year following it was hard to join in family or friendly dialogs about children. What is their "private" life and what "belongs" to us, as a family? I thought about how I would feel to overhear their comments on me. I cringed. As a result I have tried to let their stories be there's and when I tell stories here not to use their names so it is my story, my perception, my reality and not necessarily what "is" or "was". How one sees oneself is very important in how one projects and protects.

That being said the following story is not a happy one. It is about ghosts. While they can't always be seen, and the only power they have is what you give them, they are there, always. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. It often gives one the impetus to preform great works, or to remain steadfast, or dedicated, focused. On the other hand, they can drive some to obsessions, depression, or revenge. I strive for balance when dealing with my ghosts. I thank God for my husband, who helps with perspective. He still isn't sure whether I was his reward or punishment for his own past!

People have asked me where I get my "focus" and "drive". Others have accused me of being "obsessed". It is the way I deal with one of my ghosts. One thing I have learned from my ghosts is that in this world, in this country, in this state and especially in this county there is no such thing as "justice". There is a semblance of justice in the secular world but for those who do not have a religious or philosophical conviction, that not only explains why we have such injustice in this world,  I do not understand why they bother to continue to care. They do amaze me, especially the ones that still think the best of people.

More and more I find that the RUHI curriculum holds the answers and promises for a better tomorrow. For the first time in the history of humankind there is a curriculum that puts into practical practice the "theory" of democracy, the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges and teaches true consultation and the basics. Through RUHI the king learns to consult with the ditch-digger, with a true appreciation and respect for the ditch-digger's opinion. The ditch-digger learns his innate worth is equal to a king's and thereby his opinion is. They both learn that oppressing one from expression or ignoring the other through rebellion hurts not just themselves but the whole. The experience is incredible. At first blush the curriculum looks entirely too simple. It is only through exposure, through the doing, that one begins to learn the potential of this incredible, incredible tool. It is exciting, and without it I would not be a happy and (fairly) balanced person.

The injustice I see would be devastating to me, and sadly I know we see very little of what so many in this county, state, country and world are exposed to on a daily if not hourly basis. I am weak. My ghosts often seem too heavy for me to bear to look at. In the bright sunlight they fade almost to nothing, but in the night hour they appear all too clearly. 

In this county there is more than one family with a "heritage" of pedophilia. We, as a society, look the other way as our children's innocence is literally ripped away from them. We tell ourselves they are so young they won't remember. A truth or something we desperately need to believe? When they blow their heads off at the age of 19, 20 or 21 we tell ourselves it was the booze, the drugs, their age, whatever it takes to not allow the thought that we failed them, we allowed something to hurt them when we should have been watching over them. Amazingly, some think that since they lived through it, so can their child. Few stop to think, "Is this really living?" And those that do, what do they do if they think it isn't really living? Turn to drink, drugs, death?

I failed as a mother. Not a day goes by that I am not conscious of that fact. This isn't a plea for anyone's sympathy. It is an acknowledgment of what is. I knew of an evil in our community and because I joined the masses and turned my head one of mine was deeply wounded. The scar is permanent. Scars can be a mar on something that was perfect, or they can be badges of honor. Either way, that is for the owner of the scar to figure out. For the one who allowed the scar? Different than the one who caused the scar. The perpetrator and the victim have their own lives to live. What of those who merely "allowed"?

We cannot remove the scar, nor can we tell the person how to live with it. We cannot mete out justice for the one who caused the scar. I believe, wholeheartedly, that fathers are more rational than mothers when it comes to defending their young. As a mother I have no pity for the perpetrator nor the pedophile family. I try to calm myself by looking at what has become of my sister and how would it feel for others to hold us accountable for her? But a part of me agrees with that assessment. And in this secular world I see no opportunity for justice to prevail.

Reading online I see that the ghost has reared its ugly head once again and in my mind's eye I vomit. This time no one I know was the victim. Do I duck my head, again, and look away? Part of me prays it is not one of the known pedophile families and this new incident has nothing to do with my own cowardice so many years ago. Another part of me is terrified it isn't one of the knowns and a new or unknown family has materialized in our midst.

And what does this county do to help the situation? To help those who turn to drugs or alcohol to forget? Bandaids and punishment, that's what the local law thinks is the solution to all societies ills. The county lost its transition center. It is also looking for new administrators for its drug and alcohol programs. The sheriff and the district attorney are wailing for a new jail and more jail space, wailing for DUIIs to be punished more harshly in DA controlled courts, and everyone is wailing because of the high substance abuse in the county.  Band-aids are wanted everywhere. Is no one asking WHY are people self-medicating? WHY do they want to forget? WHAT do they want to forget?

I am left with what to do to deal with my ghosts. I look for the balance and wonder how to protect when I know "the system" is incapable. The very best I know is education, but not of the mind, of the heart. If you have ever wondered what is it that makes me who I am, as a Baha'i or as an advocate, or just as a reporter, you can find a piece of the puzzle in the ghosts.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quarking An Article

I drafted this post in 2008 and, for some reason, never published it. At three years of age Eldest grandson, and his mother, was still living with us 

Ever have so much work your brain is frozen? That's how I feel right now. I have so much work, almost too much work and it freezes my brain. The weird thing about aging, for me, is that I am getting dyslexic with it! Numbers get jumbled as well as my typing. I have to be very deliberate about my thought process, very focused. And when you have six or seven different story lines traveling in your mind, staying focused is hard. Add to this one of my lovable, adorable, cuddling, grandsons.

My phone rings and someone is, literally, begging me to do a story because they feel it hasn't been given a just representation in the local press, or courts, or one of the local city or county councils/commissions. In between city council meetings, school board meetings, commissioner meetings, committee meetings, regattas, parades, fairs and holidays I investigate, call people, and in the interim follow up on four OTHER story lines where people have called to say that their stories aren't be covered by local media.

While I am typing up notes, which so far isn't going the direction that one of the callers wanted or thought it would/could/should go in, eldest grandson wiggles his way up into my lap. "Can I help you type this 'Bika?" he asks. "No, Kaden," I reply, trying to peer around his head at the screen, so I can concentrate on what I just had written. "I'm not Kaden," he replies, "I am Quark." I pause in my typing. "You are Quark?" Where does he get this stuff? Sometimes he watches Star Trek with Papa, but not for some time now. Man I wish I had his memory!

"Yes, I am Quark!" he declares, climbing down from my lap. "Ok, where's Kaden, then?" Quark launches into a story that left me worried, amused and amazed. Man, this kid is either headed for the stage, a literary agent or a psychiatric couch.

"Kaden lost his skin," and "Quark" pulled on his skin in demonstration in case I wasn't familiar with the word, "and his muscles," Quark flexed his arm muscle and showed his calf muscle, "and his organs," Quark looked very sad at this one and pointed to his heart and stomach, "and just has a skeleton so his soul went to heaven." At this "Quark" put up his arms and shrugged his shoulders in the universal, "oh well" sign.

I stared at "Quark", my article forgotten. "I'm not entirely comfortable with Kaden's soul going to heaven just yet," I told him. "Oh, its okay, 'Bika. Heaven is a good place, where God can take care of you if you need Him to. Kaden can keep growing there." I said, "You are really freaking me out! Who told you this?" He pointed off to his side, "Little David here," no one was standing there, however his cousin's name is David, "and his mom, Auntie Alwex," he lisped out the last word, showing signs of babyhood, still, thank goodness!

"Yes," I confirmed, "Heaven is a good place, however, I would rather Kaden's soul was down here with the rest of him right now." "Would you like me to put him back together?" offered "Quark". Right about that time the cell rang and hubby was there, calling from Tillamook where he is working nights on a road job. I quickly brought him up to speed and he asked to speak to his "monkey head".

After that interruption it took me about an hour to find my place and get my head back into my article. "Amaze, amaze, amaze," as little Kimberly Jo used to say.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Meandering Maudlin Memory Lane

When I was 25 years old I found a lump on my neck. I was on state aid for health insurance after leaving my first husband. I had never been on state aid before, nor since, but thank goodness I was on it then. I went to the one doctor that was still taking state aid (aka "welfare"), the Astoria infamous Dr. Patrick. 

Dr. Patrick diagnosed it as a "cyst" and said that if he found it on his wife he wouldn't even bother biopsying it, however, since I was a patient with a history of cysts he should do a biopsy and the date for the minor operation was set for the week before Thanksgiving, 1985. Because of the location of the cyst, just below my collar bone, a needle biopsy wasn't feasible. The surgery had to take place at the Long Beach Hospital because Patrick had lost his Columbia Memorial Hospital privileges.

After the surgery Patrick told us that the cyst had been wrapped around my collarbone and was a bit bigger mass than he had anticipated but did not appear to be cancerous. He did remove the whole cyst and sent off a piece of it to the Seattle lab to be tested. I spent Thanksgiving with my neck swathed in bandages, grimacing about the three or so stitches in my neck. Little did I know what I would be dealing with by Christmas time.

On December 6th I went in to Dr. Patrick to find out the results of the biopsy on the cyst. The nurse was very kind when I went in. I remember she patted my arm and asked if I had come alone. I laughed and said told her bringing my two and four year olds along would not have been conducive to being able to listen to the Doctor's report. She said, "Oh dear, you have children?" I thought that was an odd reply. 

Dr. Patrick came into the room and got right down to business. He asked me if I had been tired lately and if I had been losing weight. I told him I was the mother of a toddler and pre-school child and was on a (perpetual) diet so yes, and yes. He then said, "The biopsy on your tumor came back, it is malignant." I remember there being total silence at that point. It was one of those moments that your mind says, "This does not compute." 

"But I didn't have a tumor, I had a cyst. This is some other patient's chart you are reading," I argued to Patrick. "Remember, I had the CYST in the NECK," I said, emphasizing the words and pointing to my neck.

Dr. Patrick shook his head. "It was a tumor, and it was malignant. We are going to have to do a series of tests to find out how far it has spread. First off we will have to ....." his words trailed away to my hearing. I remember nodding my head. He asked if I was okay, I said yes. His nurse asked if she should call someone, I said no. He asked if I understood, I said yes. Then he said good-bye and left the room. I put on my coat and walked out to the lobby where the receptionist handed me a list of appointments in Portland for the following week. 

I drove in a daze to City Transfer & Storage, which my parents owned at that time. My dad was on the roof, no recollection why now, and he hollered down to me, "Everything ok?" making a thumbs up signal. I signaled, thumbs down, "Very bad news" I hollered back up. We did not see him again for hours.

My mother looked up from the phone and saw that something was badly wrong. She said I looked completely dumbfounded. "What's the matter? What's the matter?" I finally answered, "He says I have cancer." I love her answer. To this day it is a quote our family uses, "By whose authority did he tell you that?" Even at that time it brought a chuckle to my lips. That is my mother. By whose authority did a doctor tell me that I had cancer? Certainly not by Her authority!

"Give me THAT man's phone number!" my mother demanded. I gave it to her and within moments she was on the phone to him. Forget HEPA, albeit it was long before those privacy laws. I heard her say she wanted a second opinion and then heard her say, "Oh." 

All of December was spent running from one appointment to the next. At one place veins in the top of my feet were accessed and dye was pumped in from there for a lymphangiogram. I still have the scars as Dr. Patrick forgot that had been done and had to tear some skin to get to the stitches to take them out. I had a bone marrow tap to see if the cancer was inside my bones. I vividly remember the hammering on my hips. Sometimes I ache there. My grandmother would say it was my sciatica acting up.   

A week before Christmas I entered Long Beach Hospital once again. This time was for the big operation, a staging laparotomy, to take biopsies of all my major organs, to take a "look see" and ensure that the cancer was not hiding anywhere else. At this time Patrick was supposed to have moved my ovaries over so they would be out of the way of the radiation treatments that were to come. By now Dr. Holladay was my oncologist and he was supposedly telling Dr. Patrick how to proceed, as the surgeon. Later I found out that Holladay and Patrick were fighting (surprise, surprise) and that Patrick did not see a need for radiation to be done on the lower mantle while Holladay was plotting a course of full mantle radiation. Because Patrick did not think a full mantle was needed he did not move my ovaries over, according to him. I often have thought that Patrick neglected to move my ovaries over and subsequently developed the theory that a full mantle was not needed.

The full biopsy was done, my spleen was removed as was my appendix since both were supposedly areas which cancer can hide. I was ripped from my breast bone to my pelvic bone and stapled closed. I looked like a xylophone. I had to hold a pillow over my stomach to cough or laugh. When I came to after the operation I remember my mother sitting there and looking over at her and asking, "Did he say anything?" She shook her head. My mother wanted me home for Christmas, she NEEDED me home for Christmas. 

The doctor came in later that evening and my mother asked if I would be home in time for Christmas. Patrick replied that he was waiting for the reports to come back from the labs. If any more cancer were found he was going in immediately to remove it, therefore, it was unknown if I would be home in time for Christmas. "At this point we need to take it day by day." 

We already knew that the cancer had spread to the upper part of my right lung. Where it was at and how much further had it gone would determine the type and stage it was at and the course of therapy I would take to combat it. The long days ticked by. I began to hate that hospital. One month earlier I had been oblivious to the "fact" that I was ill with the big "C" word. I was playing with my two babies, bitching about my ex, anxious about making rent. I longed for those days, gone forever.

Before Cancer (BC) I hated shots, loathed needles. When I was young it literally took four nurses to hold me down, one for each limb, and a fifth to administer the shot. Even as I grew older I avoided shots for as long as possible. As a sophomore in high school I was suspended from school until I received some sort of shot that was required. Between December 6th and the 22nd I had been stuck so many times I no longer even flinched when the needle came out. During the following months of blood withdraws the only time I protested was when I was asked if I minded if a student nurse practiced on me. Oh, hell yeah, I minded. By that time my veins had shrunk down to almost nothing and finding one to prick was process of trial and elimination. One time a student nurse stuck me five times and as he was going for his sixth I told him if he touched me again I would have to punch him. 

So, Christmas crept up on us and the hospital halls filled with holiday cheer, which stopped just outside of my door. Everyday a man dressed as Santa Claus would poke his head inside my door and say, "Hohoho!" and I would roll over in my bed, and squeeze out some tears. Each day my mother would ask Dr. Patrick if he thought I could go home and each day he would reply, "Not today." My mother would say that we need to make plans and finally Dr. Patrick told her she just shouldn't. "Just enjoy today," he told us, frankly and with one of those half smiles that said, "take it on the chin" and "keep your head up!" My mother and I quit planning my future on that day. We didn't start planning it again until I got married over six years later.

On the fourth day of my interment at the hospital the jolly red man stuck his head in the door and said his usual, "Ho-ho-ho!" and this time for variety added, "Do you know who I am?" I was thinking that he wanted me to guess who he was in real life, under the fake beard, false nose and red cap so I replied, "No, I am not from around here," and this red idiot replied, "Why, I'm Santa Claus!" I tried to get out of bed so I could strangle him. As she held me down my mother told him, "Go, go, go!" and his head quickly disappeared out of the doorway. She collapsed onto the bed laughing while I finally wrestled one of the pillows loose and flung it at the door, stretching and pulling at my zippered stomach and launching me into a bout of pain. 

Later that day I was rewarded for my petty meanness to the poor volunteer. I was finally taken off of the IV bottle and allowed my first "real food" in the form of a liquid diet. I was to have soup for lunch with jello, and, at long last, coffee. In anticipation I took the lid off of my soup and greeting me was the stench of cream of broccoli soup! I literally started retching, which caused my stomach to convulse, which of course racked me with pain! Through tears I called my mother, "Cream of Broccoli," was all I could wail into the phone. "What," my mother asked over and over again. "Cream of broccoli, that's what they are trying to feed me! Who does that to someone who hasn't eaten for four days?" I sobbed into the phone. I imagined my mother was silently crying with me. Much later I found out she was laughing so hard she had dropped the phone! A lot of sympathy this woman has. 

The day before Christmas Dr. Patrick came in to tell us the news. All the biopsy's had come back. I had Hodgkins' Lymphoma. In late 1985 the survival rate prognosis was good, for the first five years. After that, chances of the Hodgkins coming back increased. Because of this after the course of treatment was taken, and if I joined the approximately 85% of those who responded well to the treatment, I would go into what was considered "remission". After 15 years of being in "remission" I could be considered "cured" and I would have just as much a chance of getting HD as anyone else. Supposedly. According to statistics. 

Thank God, literally, 22 years later and no cancer. This time of year, while it is a time of family togetherness and enjoying all of the holidays of so many religions, for me is also a time of remembrance. A time when so much was thought lost, when each day was a bonus. Not often enough, I remember that time again. Each day is the only day that I know I have to make a difference. Tomorrow may never happen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fun With Parkinsons

Before I begin I would like to remind everyone that I have written many a passionate piece on Parkinsons. On NCO we even have a whole section devoted to Parkinsons. But, there are times when you just have to laugh and roll with the punches. This is about one of those times.

Over this past week my dad has been getting used to a new medication. His doctor loves to tweak meds so that Dad will "operate at his optimum." In this doctor's mind everyone has something that they are dealing with and everyone should be able to operate at their optimum for as long as possible. Dad agrees with this philosophy and they get along great. That being said, there are still the times when getting used to a new med and finding the right dose can knock him for a loop. A dose of laughter is much better during these times than a dose of tears.

Dad came out of his room looking rough for the wear one morning in the not-so-distant past. Hair disheveled and no teeth in, he looked about 20 years older than his current age. After we exchanged morning pleasantries I asked him what was going on and he said that he had had a sleepless night. He had to speak very slow and deliberate because, along with the Parkinson soft speech, without his teeth his words were slurred and sort of slushy. 

He told me that to keep himself entertained he had watched infomercials and he was a little ticked off at the lack of courtesy that many of the phone operators had. He had first watched an infomercial on the  "miracle" Heat Surge Roll-n-Glow Electric Fireplace touted as an "Amish" heater. After listening to half the program Dad was convinced he had to have it. 

First, he tried to memorize the phone number that kept flashing on screen but each time he went to dial it he would forget some part or another. He finally hunted up pen and paper and quickly jotted the number down. He went to dial and found that the problem wasn't just with remembering the number it was with seeing the keypad digits. While he had written the number down nice and large he couldn't read the numbers on his cell phone. Try as he might he couldn't find his glasses. Finally, he decided to "fake it" and dial by the numbers as he "remembered them" on the key pad.

After a couple of wrong numbers (where he is pretty sure he didn't order anything) he finally got through to "those heater people". According to Dad, the person answering the phone asked what they could do to help him. He said that he told them he had some questions about the heater but since it had taken so long to get a hold of them he had to think for a moment. The heater person didn't want to wait a moment. She wanted Dad to order, so she told Dad he should just order now and if he didn't like the product he could return it for a money back guarantee. Of course minus shipping, handling, and a restocking fee. 
My Dad remembered his question and asked if someone with Parkinsons could pull the heater room to room. The lady asked him if he could walk. That ticked him off. Of course he could walk, it wouldn't do much good to ask if he could pull something if he couldn't walk. The lady said if he could pull it, the heater would follow. Dad asked if it ran on batteries if the power went out. No, no batteries if the power went out. Would it run off the generator? It runs on 110, if the generator puts out 110 then the heater can run on it. Now, does he want to order or not? He thinks he does. So she asks him his credit card number. Uh-huh, no way is my dad giving his credit card number over the phone to a total stranger, he's seen all the warnings about giving out private info over the phone and he won't be giving her his address or phone number, either.

At this point the woman started getting frustrated. How did Dad think he was going to pay for it if he wasn't going to give out billing information and where were they going to send the heater if he wasn't going to give out that info? My Dad then informed her he didn't even need one of the damn heaters because we had a wood stove and plenty of wood, so there. And then he asked her to quit calling him!

 I was laughing so hard by the time he finished this story. He told it so perfectly w/o his teeth in and animated with indignation that the infomercial operator had tried to get personal information from him. In the light of day he was laughing, too. He had no idea how that heater was supposed to make it to our house if he didn't give out any information to get it here. He had no idea why he thought he needed one since we had a wood stove. He thinks he was just in love with the idea of having one.

His night wasn't over. He flipped the channels until he came across a money maker. I am not quite sure which one this one is. I am sort of thinking he either watched two infomercials one right after the other and didn't notice when one ended and the other began or maybe flipping between the two got them confused. Either way he said,"its the infomercial where the guy says the government doesn't want anyone to know his secrets but he's going to share them anyways, for free, for the first [mumble] people that called." Dad wasn't sure what number the guy had "mumbled".

  The infomercial went on to state that for just 20 minutes of work a day anyone could make a minimum of $1,000 dollars a week, just by following a few simple steps, establishing your own network of leads and working right from your own home. Dad wasn't sure what that meant exactly but even on his worst Parkinson days he knew he was up to 20 minutes a day of work. He thought the leads might mean some detective work, which appealed to him. I told him I thought it had more to do with real estate and calling people, which might be why the person that answered the phone when Dad called them was less then encouraging.

Dad was telling me the story, basically, in the same state that he did the phone call. Mainly, talking with a hushed voice and very slushy, w/o his teeth. After another few misdials Dad get's through to the infomercial operators and tells the person he is interested in taking advantage of the financial offer. "What?" the operator asks. Dad repeats himself. The operator says he has no idea what Dad is saying. Did Dad want to purchase the program. No, Dad says. He wants the financial offer which was totally free. "What?" the operator asks again. Dad is getting a little ticked off now. Very slowly he says he wants the FREE program being offered to the first callers. He speaks so slowly the operator asks him if he is drunk. 

"I am not drunk I have Parkinsons" my father attempted to yell into the phone. The person told him to calm down and was he sure he could go through with the program? Dad affirmed that he could and the person again asked him for his credit card. My father refused and said he wanted the FREE program. "What?" the operator asked, again. Then, according to my father, the operator told him he was impossible to understand and he thought he was drunk and should go sleep it off and hung up on him! 

Dad was laughing by then at how ridiculous it was that he wanted the program so bad he was thinking of putting his teeth in and calling back with his credit card number. First one place he refuses to give out his credit card and then the next place he is begging them to take his credit card number, and he doesn't even know what they need it for at that place, but, apparently, playing hard to get with my dad was the way to lure him to give up that credit card number. 

I think the next time one of those annoying telemarketers call I am putting Dad on to handle it He can have fun, we can have entertainment and they really deserve it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I want new neighbors (aka Is it blogging if you are talking about an FB game?)

Okay, so what gives? I plow my fields, plant my crops and gift ALL of my neighbors and only, like, three of them bother to reciprocate.  I don't even expect gifts every day because I don't visit every day. I don't. Days and days can go by without me checking ... my withering crops... but  I digress. I haven't seen half of my neighbors in almost a month! I go to visit their farm to see if their crops are wilting,  some indication that they haven't been tending their plots, and is there? Nooooo, nothing's wilting, no weeds growing. Their crops are in, animals fed, and ... and ... they-are-all building ANOTHER shop.

Sure, I wish I could build another shop, but I can't. Wanna know why I can't? I can't because no one will gift me any lousy dang items I NEED to complete the stupid, stupid, shop. Fine, I will just work on my Frontierville layout, because, after all, this is my ZEN time.

Peace, breathe in, breathe out.

Put that path there, that cabin there. Get cobblestone sidewalk, lay it there through the muddy field and to the  half-built lodge and half-built dress shop so none of my "generous" neighbors gets their clod hopping feet all muddy.

NO, you friggin, pop-up, old geezer, I don't want to invite all my "friends" from Farmville over to Frontierville. Why do you think I left Farmville and all those friends be-hind? Because they quit gifting me, they just took, took, took! And the missions got longer, stupider and more complicated and when I went and visited my so-called neighbors, all of them had all these buildings that the ONLY way they could have got was if they bought them. I will never pay a real cent for these games. They want $8 for 75 golden horseshoes. I know last week they were offering 75 horseshoes for $6. Like I would be so dumb to grab it up at $8? Who spends money on these stupid games? This is my ZEN time.

Peace, breathe in, breathe out. Delete the old geezer -I wonder if I can block him on my privacy setting?

What? Do I want to WHAT? Do I want to send all of my neighbors a gift of energy? GOOD GRIEF! No, I don't want to send those bunch of greedy son-of-beepers a gift of energy. They'll send me a cheap gift of energy back and I don't want a cheap gift of energy (which I can buy myself). I want pegs for my lodge, or hangers for my dress shop, or bricks for my shop upgrade. I want someone to plant a gosh-bleeping sunflower and let it wither so I can finally finish this mission that has been on my screen for the last four weeksand I can go on to the next one!

What do you mean, 'what am I doing yelling at the damn computer,' Hun-ney? What does it LOOK-LIKE-I-AM-DOING? I AM RELAXING THIS IS MY ZEN TIME.

Peace. breathe in, breathe out.

You know, if I -just this once- actually purchase some golden horseshoes, I can buy all the materials that I need and I won't have to be at the mercy of my neighbors for their "gifts." If I just do it this once: I won't expand my land any further; I won't build any more shops; I will just enjoy rearranging the property that I have and then I can really enjoy my ZEN time with this game. Just this once. Know one will know.


Peace. Breathe in, breathe out.

For the life of me I can't figure out why Tom Freel un-neighbored me. Oh, well .... Ohmmmmm, Ohhhhhhmm, OoooZyyyyngggga. Zyyyyynnngggggaaaaa.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blogging Needs To Make A Come Back

Yes, it NEEDS to. I think few people realize how the recent history of Clatsop County may have been different if someone had not quit blogging. I was following a blogger about sixish years ago and enjoying her outlook on life quite a bit. While I didn't always agree with her I found her to be reasonably intelligent and very encouraging to another young blogger who was starting out on his own venture with a opinion and commentary blog.

I found that I looked forward to her posts and news of her spouse. Then, one day, either a picture appeared or someone made a comment on one of her posts and I realized who she was and who her husband was. I was stunned. Totally, completely, stunned. I had to admit to myself that I liked these people. And so, I continued to read.

As the months went by I began to see the person that I had glimpsed in the past. The person who doesn't get her/his way, the wrath and temper tantrums thrown. The revenge lust. A part of me still admired her for being "brave" enough to let others see her at her "worst". Little did I know then.

Suddenly, she quit writing. No more stories showing a compassionate side to this duo. No more glimpses into the lives of people who, allegedly, wanted to do good in this community that they had adopted. Those of us readers not blessed with an invitation into the inner circle were left out in the cold to wonder if the blog had merely been a ploy, one more tool in the bag of deceit?

I do wonder what we would have done if she had kept writing, if we had still been reading that blog, seeing a few main players in a different light?

A Rusty Blogger ponders whether or not Facebook took the bloggers away. He may be right. Facebook is a safer place to play. If one doesn't feel like writing one knows that each person reading has 200-1000 other friends that will fill the void. Very rarely is a truly serious thought pondered, much less discussed. I go there to relax, for the most part. I very lazily check in on family and their photos and make a comment. No need to call that person for at least a month, I just LOL'd the cute picture of their dog dressed up as Tinkerbell.

Facebook is candy for my mind. I go there to get the latest update on the Baha'is in Iran, click on link to protest this, endorse that, like, dislike, ROTFLMAO and to online chat with a brother in Japan, a friend in Haifa, family in DR. Its my Zen garden.

Facebook has its place. But just as blogging cannot take the place of a personal journal, FB cannot take the place of a blog. When is the last time anyone scrolled back to see what Ricky said last week? Never. When have I scrolled back to see what my Rusty guy or *G* said a month or a year ago? More often than never!

Blogging takes courage, especially when you don't delete archives and right there in front of everyone you have to eat crow. You allow people watch your thoughts change over the passage of time. You share as you become passionate about something, how it waxes and wanes until it suddenly is no longer a part of your life. You try to be ever so careful of not impinging on the lives of loved ones, all the while they are the fodder for the grist mill. Your fingers itching to scratch the words just spoken out on the smooth, empty, blog blotter. How many movies and sitcoms, at the end of a marital spat, have used the line, "Don't put this in your blog!" ala Julie & Julia?

The blog has had too short a run, it is not time to see it go. A come back is needed. At the very least, a long curtain call.

Now, post this to your Facebook wall. Most Facebook members won't have the courage to post this to their wall but a few Facebook members will have the courage and those that do will be remembered and those that don't, Santa Clause IS watching, ROTFLMAO!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Will A Religious Center Consecrate or Desecrate America?

What makes a country great, what makes our country great, and one of the greatest on earth, is not that our laws allow us to do but what we will fight to allow others to do, even if it is something we, ourselves, do not necessarily believe or support. 

What many of my "liberal" friends never got, when I began writing on the LNG issue, is that regardless of what I myself believed, everyone deserved to hear the truth and deserved to hear both sides of the issue. Everyone deserved to hear what the real issues were and from there determine whether or not they wished to pay the consequences for higher or lower energy bills. 

I went from being labeled a far left liberal, homeschooling my children brainwashing them so they'd never fit into mainstream  business, to being labeled a far right conservative. A sell out to the big corporations and in the back pocket of this, that or the other person or corporation, etc., ad nauseum.

The fact of the matter is that what makes what you believe so great is the fact that you have the freedom to believe it. If what you believe influences people around you, changes others lives, has a bearing on how others earn a living, pay for education, feel about themselves, hopefully you have given careful thought and consideration to what you believe. Hopefully, you have studied the pros and cons of what you believe. Hopefully, each of us has enough integrity to change our beliefs if  we discover what we believe was based on "misinformation" or simply, the more we find out the more our beliefs change. Sometimes the base of what we believe stays the same and we just become more knowledgeable about it, other times our belief changes, completely.

Regardless of whether or not we change a belief, what makes us great as individuals is when we fight, when we defend, the rights of someone we do not agree with to speak out, to actions, to freedoms, we ourselves do not necessarily agree with. It is this that makes us, collectively, a great nation. This is the reason so many wept, around the world, when our towers were hit September 11th. More than dreaming of our material riches they dream of the day when they can speak, can live, openly and with no fear of retaliation with a collective nation of people who, unabashedly, will come to their defense if the need should arise even if they do not have the same belief because beyond the individual beliefs is the unifying conviction that humans should be free to find their belief, not have it forced on them.

We have limped here. In many places around our country we are here in the name of some laws, only. Our justice system lags far behind even those. It is only when we, individually, and collectively, open our mouths, stand firm with our feet, and say, "I do not believe as you do, but I will defend to my death your right to believe it" that our country has a hope of becoming that which we yearn in our hearts for it to be. For that which, world wide, others already know it to be. 

I know Keith Olbermann is considered by many a liberal, maybe even far left, who has evolved from a sports commentator to a political pundit in an ongoing feud with Fox's Bill O'Reilly.  I trust, by now, you know I don't pick people by what their politics are, I chose to listen if the idea they are conveying is sound and their research is solid. On the issue of the supposed Muslim Mosque allegedly to be built at "ground zero" I find Mr. Olbermann's remarks well worth listening to.  

We cannot expect to call ourselves free and great and think we will not be tested. How just or fair would that be? Our belief in the Torah, the Bible, the Quran, the Kitab-i-Aqdas, or an Atheist manifesto means nothing if it is the only book we are allowed to believe in, the only book our country protects.  We are better than that our beliefs and convictions run deeper.

From Lincoln's Gettysburg address:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. (From the Nicolay copy of the Gettysburg Address, on permanent display as part of the American Treasures exhibition of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.)

Interestingly, public reaction to the speech was divided along partisan lines. The next day the Democratic-leaning newspaper, the Chicago Times, commented, "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States." In contrast, the Republican-oriented New York Times was complimentary.The newspaper printed the entire speech, calling it "a perfect gem" that was "deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma." The Republican predicted that Lincoln's brief remarks would "repay further study as the model speech."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wait for It!

I spent most of my teen years either on the ball field or in the gym. Yeah, I know, to look at me now you would hardly know it, but would it help if you knew I spent most of my time as a coach? I coached my first team when I was 13 years old. The Parks & Recreation director back then was Fred Lindstrom and his assistant was Kent Rice. After him was Nancy and I am very ashamed that her name has flown right out of my head as Nancy let me use her apartment on numerous occasions for slumber parties and there's not much more that teen girls could ask for than a woman in her mid-twenties with an apartment she's willing to loan out for slumber parties!

As a coach of a ball team you spend 90% of your time doing drills, repetitively hitting balls to the kids. Infield flies, outfield flies, grounders, hoppers, chest thumpers, line drives, flubbers, pop ups, dribblers, and so forth.  You learn real quick that the kids start getting antsy, and bad things happen when kids are antsy, if you don't hit around the field quickly, peppering each location with three or four balls for those kids to chase while you move on to the next area, all the while keeping your eye on a dozen and a half 40" kids, swarming about, making sure one of your line drives don't nail them in the noggin.

One year Cindy Marincovich was pitching and she could throw hard! Man, that girl had an arm on her but the problem was she didn't have much control until her arm got tired. At practices I would have her pitch to me, instead of doing my usual toss up and swing, just to get her arm worn out a bit before she pitched to the girls. I was looking out at the field, determining where I was going to place my hit, when Cindy wound up and sent a zinger, wildly, straight at me. I tried dunking but it got me right in the chest and knocked me on my butt. I saw stars and literally was gasping for air. Cindy was yelling, "I'm sorry, sorry, sorry," so loud my dad came running down from where we lived on Pleasant Ave to the Gray School field to see what Cindy was so sorry about. I had the stitches outline from the softball on my chest for two or three days, I kid you not. Cindy still apologizes for it!
At the age of thirteen the hardest part of coaching was learning how to throw the ball up and hit it out to the kids. It takes a lot of eye hand coordination. Packman had barely come out on the market so it wasn't like there was a lot of opportunity for eye-hand coordination training in those days. It took a lot of time, patience and continual practicing. Over and over again against the garage door with a tennis ball until I had it down pretty darn good and could hit the ball 3 out of 5 times, then 7 out of 10 times and finally 19 out of 20 times, consistently. 

Next, I worked on placing the hit exactly where I wanted the ball to go.  It got to the point that I could, finally, take my eye off the ball and be looking out at the field, the opposite field, of where I intended to hit the ball. I should say it appeared that I took my eye off the ball, I was always aware of where the ball was at. I wanted the kids to look at body, to read the language of my hips, of my front leg, the tell-tale signals a batter gives indicating where they are going to hit, most of them not even realizing they are giving those signals. I didn't just want my infield reading those signals, I needed my outfield to be just as alert. Every time the ball was hit my whole team moved. The only time there was a reprieve was when our pitcher struck someone out. Even on a walk I wanted everyone to be ready for a steal. I hated using deep right as a hidey-hole for the least talented. In my book the right fielder needed to back-up first base, not be out deep playing with butterflies.

I coached softball, baseball, and basketball for a total of 27 seasons from the time I was 13 until I was 25, coaching up to the time I found out I had Hodgkins Disease. During that time I also refereed and umpired. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching and thoroughly despised officiating. Parents are very nasty when you call Suzy out for running the bases out of sequence or when there is only one ump for a game (you) and no, you aren't going to "get off your lazy ass and hustle out to second base and then back to home plate" in order to be on top of BOTH of those calls for a game for FOURTH GRADERS!

I expelled from the field some very, very notable locals who felt that it was appropriate to scream profanities regarding the possibilities that my birth was not legally recognized or that I may not be human but perhaps a female canine and I do believe that the first time I heard THE "EF" WORD aimed directly at me was at the age of 14, at Gray Field and by a prominent member of society. I immediately stopped the game, told the team that the woman either left the field or they forfeited. It was the second to the last game of the season and the team was on their way to the championships. The parents yelled at the woman to LEAVE and, she was the team's coach! After hearing what happened the next day Fred suggested to the woman that she resign as coach and the woman agreed. 

I miss Fred Lindstrom, terribly. One of the nicest, kindest, best kind of guys to have working for a community  and an honor to have as your friend. The park on Niagara is named in memory of him. I really wish they would pick another one cause everyone calls it Peter Pan Park.

I learned a lot coaching. Much more than this short post can contain. Most of it I have used throughout life. Place hitting I could have used in high school softball when, finally, in my junior year, we got a girls softball team. The only problem there was I twisted my ankle and pulled a tendon playing flag football with the family (thanks Dad, now I'll never be a pro-softball player, drama) and was on crutches for almost three months that spring. I finally got to use those skills in the adult league slow-pitch.

In slow pitch the most important thing is patience. You have to learn to wait for it, because if you wait for it it will come. THE PITCH, it is inevitable, that is what slow pitch is designed to do, give the batter a hitting chance and players a catching chance. I was a cocky player, but then again, we all were. I played for Chartroom Chuggers. Kind of cracks me up who was on the team. Two of the players are now on the "Keep Astoria Totally Quiet After 8 pm" neighborhood watch that shows up at Astoria City Council meetings to complain about loud trucks playing loud music driving up and down 16th street, "so fast that someone's going to get killed one of these days!" That really blew my mind.  If I blink twice I would swear just day before yesterday it was her and I driving Terry's black pick-up down 16th St, flying over the hump on Irving with The Car's Candy-o baring out the windows. And how many people did we kill back then? Will, I guess I don't know about her but me? NADA!

 Anyhow, slow pitch, one fun thing to do was to point out where you were going to hit. You had to watch doing that. A good pitcher could mess you up pretty bad if you were too cocky about it, I learned that fast, much to my chagrin. I learned that, much like many other games, it was better if the opponent wasn't aware of your talent, if you didn't telegraph it to them, much less flaunt it. 

Sometimes, however, it didn't hurt to let particular someones know that you do have a certain amount of advantage or a certain ability. 

A year after I had treatments for cancer and was declared "in remission" was a rough time for me. I was not with my current husband (although he will tell you now that he was keeping an anxious eye on me). I was dating someone else -who I later found out had been arrested for domestic violence- after a melodramatic break-up with someone I had dated off and on for 7 years (before and after first husband). I was playing for a co-ed softball team going by the name of "Mayhem". It was the final game of the tournament and we were fighting it out with the melodrama ex's team. I was out for blood. 

I remember my current husband being in the stands, and I remember him, at one point, talking to someone on our bench. He tells me now that I had a huge strawberry on my thigh that was bleeding and he was very afraid I was doing a lot of damage to myself I was playing so intensely. He wanted someone on the team to pull me out of the game. They all laughed at him and told him if he didn't value his life why didn't he give it a try. Back then, mind you, I had been radiated right across my thyroid and was operating on no, nada, nyett, hormone replacement. I was having wild cycles of emotions, and, at the very young age of 26, going through menopause. I self-medicated with hops. During this game, I felt no pain.

We were home team, down by one run, going into the bottom half of the last inning. We got one out right away. The next batter got a double and then I was up. There are a few times in life that everything lines up very nicely and although I had told myself not to do it when I got up to bat my ex hollered, "Come on guys, pull it in" and motioned for the outfield to move in, indicating I wasn't able to hit it any further. A few of them hesitated. He insisted they move in. He was playing rover (the 10th position in slow-pitch softball, between left field and center field) and he had moved all the way up to grass line of the infield and looked at me with a mocking grin. I looked at him and, of course, pointed my bat at him. He stepped into the infield. I took two pitches and I honestly have no idea if they were strikes or balls. The third pitch was the one I wanted, the one the pitcher had been throwing all evening on the third  (or fourth) pitch, the one I was waiting for. I was standing as deep in the box as I could, I let my shoulder drop and I stepped into it just so, just so it would go, riiight abooout there.  You usually don't want a fly ball to the outfield on a coed team if you are a girl because most of us can't hit it far enough to give runners a chance to advance before one of the guys catch it and throw the runner out. Even though the outfield is supposed to be gal-guy-gal-guy (or whatever, as long as it is every other) once the ball is in play guys can run around and be ball hogs and during championship games, yeah, that's what they are going to be.

But this time all I had was open field. I really could have hit it to any of the fields but I knew the others were leery of the ex's decision to move in. I knew the ex was cocky sure I was too full of myself (and Schlitz) to hit it past him, especially when I pointed it straight at him. And I knew, if I waited for it, the pitch would come. It did. I hit it. It sailed, and sailed, and sailed ... right over the ex's pompous head. And he ran, and ran, and so did our runner on second and our runner on second made it home before the ex made it to the ball and I made it to first and didn't go any further because I didn't have to. And We Won (and I did to touch the bag, Martin Bue)!

So, to all who have been wondering what the hell has been going on lately, all I can tell you for now is, wait for it.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Aroound the World, Freedom Comes At A High Price

A path chosen. Freedom, to believe what you wish to believe, to worship how you wish to worship, and to speak about it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Big Fat Greek Wedding Hawaiian Style

What a fantastic wedding! We live streamed it via Ustream, a live podcast. I posted it to facebook so all of our family and friends would know, but was in a hurry and didn't check to make sure that my post went through, wouldn't you know, facebook totally failed us! When we got back from the wedding there was a message from FB stating that it wanted to make sure I wasn't a robot and I needed to type in a bunch of letters to verify I was a human. And dang, it was a GREAT wedding! Trina came in on an outboard rigger! AND IT SANK, with her in it, and she kept on smiling! Hair not even disturbed a wisp, makeup perfect! You all would have loved it.

You can see the video here. Please, enjoy. We will see you at the reception in July. Loves, hugs and kisses!

From all of us to all of you, Aloha!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Know I've Never Been Here Before

I am intrigued with what we don't know about our own bodies. People talk about "old souls" and having lived "past lives". As a Baha'i, I have been taught that our soul came into being at the moment of conception. We are taught to "ponder" what that means. Baha'is have many different thoughts as to what it means, and it is a personal choice as to how to believe it. None of us can force our belief on the other.

What it means to me is that our souls have never experienced human life before and will never do so again. There are many, many "worlds" of God (Most Great Being, whatever one chooses to call "The Divine It"), and to confine all of the mysteries of "being" to one place is incomprehensible to me. However, one cannot discount the "experiences" that people relate. How does one reconcile "science" when so many claim to have been Cleopatra? We have so many kings, queens and royalty, where are all of the soldiers and peasants?

Jean Auel's Earth's Children series explored the idea that human beings had an instinctual/group memory that they have since repressed. Cellular memory is a theory that has been given a limited and cursory appraisal.  I think that there is much more to it than the anecdotal stories of transplants donor parts imparting information of former owners feelings and memories.

In the Baha'i Faith Baha'u'llah states that fire changes the chemical composition of things and is a great destroyer. What was is lost, gone, destroyed. An arsonist is punished equally with a murder in Baha'u'llah's Book of Laws (Katab-i-Aqdas). I ponder this. Instead of our bodies naturally decaying, going "back" to the earth, fire quickly changes the body chemical completely, leaving nothing behind as it was. Nothing to remember?  

One more clue, for me in this quest I have put to myself, a quote from 'Abdul-Baha, "All blessings are divine in origin but none can be compared with this power of intellectual investigation and research which is an eternal gift producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting possession."

A theory is shaping in my mind and if there is a name for this I would appreciate someone giving me a heads up. I am sure I am not the originator of this thought, I may have "picked it up" as reading one of kamillion books I have read or one of the kajillion stories I have edited. Either way, I am not claiming to be the originator of this theory. 

What if these "memories" that many are sure they are accessing are not coming from a previous life of the soul but a previous life of the body? Especially given that often, used for proof, is an imprint or physical marking of some sort on the body. What if each of us could access the "memory" of where each part of our body came from, however, because of the immaturity of our progress, at this stage in our development, very few of us know how to do that? I think there is another name for it than cellular theory. 

Another thing that seems to me to be connected is that those who "eat right for their blood type" or for the region that their ancestry heralds from appear to be the healthiest (if they come from a healthy culture/heritage).  To me this ties in with the Baha'i law that one is to be buried within one hour's travel time of where one dies. Most of us are born and die within one hour traveling time of one another. 

Ghosts, hauntings, spooky houses? How about people who just plain give us the creeps or others, who for no reason, we find ourselves drawn to? Some how or another, I am convinced, that what we eat, drink, breath, absorb, we retain a memory/trace of and at some time we (royal "we" as in humankind) will be able to access that memory, at will.We are, comparatively and relatively speaking, a very young species.

If I had the time, or rather the discipline and will power, I would write a fantasy series based on the precept of a group of people who access this collective, cellular memory. They use it to solve mysteries. Everything from fables of the supernatural to [their] present day crimes, such as murder. I am thinking more along the lines of Dune rather than Homer Simpson's Tree House of Horror 9. Although, now that I think about it I wonder if insanity has something to do with that (no, not this theory, but why some people are insane)? Is there a group of people, a place on earth that has the least amount of crime or is it that the social laws there are not as constrictive? Is there a place on earth where the whole community of people are not greedily acquiring and such behavior is seen as an aberration? 

Until then I ponder and research. Anyone who knows what I am looking for, feel free to give me a holler. You have a "memory" of something from a past that you know you didn't actually live but seem to have an acute (or dim) memory of participating in? If you don't mind seeing a form of it possibly appearing published, offer it up here (or send it to me in an email). 

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Case of the Druthers

I've come down with a case of the druthers. 
I'd druther be ripping all of the weeds out of the hillside garden, than writing. 
I'd druther be placing large, beautiful, slabs of rock in pretty patterns, surrounded by small pea gravel, in my side yard, than writing.
I'd druther be building a wooden fence, to surround the rock patio, keeping out all of the bad and keeping in all of the good, than writing.
I'd druther be mortaring bricks together for a barbeque, to sit on the far end of the patio, overlooking the river, with a huge oval window next to it surrounded by lattice and ivy  to block the sound of the noisy bridge,  than writing.
I'd druther be planting herbs and flowers and trees in ceramic and ornate planters, and placing them all around the patio, even near the brick barbeque, than writing. 
I'd druther be bringing the hot tub down from storage, to sit on the pretty new patio, at the other end away from the brick barbeque, surrounded, too, by lattice and ivy, to keep out the noise, but open overhead to see the stars, to feel the rain, to catch snow flakes on the tongue next winter with grandchildren splashing in the water, than writing.
I'd druther unpack the patio furniture from their winter garb, to sit on the nice new patio, between the hot tub, and the brick barbeque, amidst the flowers, tress and herbs, possibly with a fake waterfall tinkling melodiously to mask the loud obnoxious sounds of cars running over the damn, tinny, steel bridge, than writing.
I'd druther be sitting in the hot tub, under the moon, listening to jazz, sipping perrier, with you, than writing.
I'd druther.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Afternoon Delight ~ A New Beginning!

Monday Hubby and I spent most of the late morning and early afternoon ... 


... watching these two magnificent creatures enter into an intricate and beautiful mating ritual. They soared too swiftly for me to capture them in the air and whenever I put the camera into video mode there was too many human noises to capture their mating calls, which were lovely and beguiling.

They would dance in the sky towards and away from one another and then, listening to some inner song throbbing through the blood of those belonging to the clan of the eagle, they meet and, as one, they turn and soar, twisting and rolling then suddenly plummeting only to swoop upwards once again. Swaying to and fro  first in a waltz the next minute their antics could only be termed midflight break dancing  when just as suddenly as it had started they would part and slowly circle away from one another. The whole while they call out to each other, speaking their own language of love, the cooing and whistles growing softer and softer.

The sunlight was so brilliant it was hard to look at the sky for too long and yet each time we dragged our eyes away, to give them a moment of reprieve from the glare, the eagles would once again begin their dance and our eyes would once again be pulled skyward.

Today, from far away, I heard the eagles calling to one another and I wonder if they are in their tree or hunting, or stealing some other predators kill. Eagles aren't known to greatly enjoy hunting for themselves, supposedly they would much rather take the kill of others. But we do not have bears, cougar nor wolves nearby for them to follow and pick up tidbits from. We have nutri, beaver, raccoon,  skunk, coyote, chickens and other such farm critters. Our river is not known for its abundant fish but we are only a hop, skip from the Youngs Bay and the eagle nest may overlook it.

It is funny at the same "expert" site it will say that the eagle is a scavenger bird and then will also note that salmon is a staple for the bird. After the fish has been caught by something else? When you watch salmon after they have spawned they are quite mushy, slow, dying. Quite easy to catch.

And yet, I have seen these birds pluck salmon out of the river and snap branches off a tree. I think the eagle is not so much a scavenger but an opportunist, one that has the tools and resources if it has to use them but chooses to clean up after everyone else instead. You don't see turkey buzzards plunging into the Columbia River, you see them at the side of the road looking for the opossum you hit last night because it has no choice. The regal eagle chooses to pick up the mess left behind. 

Its all about perspective. 

Today a third eagle flew above the two as they cooed at one another in their mating tree. After the storm of '07 we didn't know if the eagles would have a home to return to. It is nice to see that they have returned, year after year, and appear to bring children and grandchildren with them. According to many of the eagle "authority" sites eagles protect approximately one to two square air miles around their nests. Do eagles recognize their parents? Do they drive away their own? Who was the third eagle and why did none  of the three seem alarmed? Did their mating distract two of them? Was the single eagle offspring come back to check on mom and dad? Or maybe it was a granddad come to check on the newlyweds? All we could tell was that all three were bald eagles meaning all were at least four or five years old (according to the "authorities").