April 30, 2013

My Gas Cooktop

When we remodeled the kitchen, I went looking for a gas range top that sat high above the counter. The higher cook tops give you more room underneath the counter so that you can have drawers instead of wasted space.

So we designed the cabinets with two drawers directly under the cook top; one for cooking utensils (spatulas, spoons, tongs) and one drawer for hot pads and mittens.  Everything right where you need it.

I loved my range top but somewhere along the way I think my little Kenmore has decided to blow me up or at the very least, give me a heart attack.

One day, after cleaning it and running the knobs through the dishwasher, a loud snap came from the kitchen. When I went to investigate there was smoke coming from the back burner.  I was home with two of my granddaughters, my husband was at a professional photographers meeting. The girls and I could smell gas and smoke and heard a couple of little snap, crackle, pops!

I instructed the girls to go to the back of the house, furthest away from the kitchen. I called the fire department and explained what was happening and they said they would come check it out.

When my husband drove up to the house there was a fire truck at the street with red lights flashing. Poor guy! He is an ex-RFD fireman so he came in and "the guys" stood in the kitchen talking while the girls and I huddled under pillows and quilts in the bedroom. They had unplugged the stove 15 minutes earlier and were just shooting the breeze while I'm in the back muttering "Our Fathers" and "Hail Marys"!

Last July, while cleaning the cook top, the electronic ignition started clicking, some snap, crackle and pop; a little plume of smoke and I went running.  I peeked from around the corner in the hall and carefully sniffed the air. No gas, no hissing, no more Rice-Krispies s-c-p's, just the continuous sound of the ignition...click, click, click.

Three months later, my I-can-fix-it-myself-cheaper husband (love you, baby) and several parts exchanged because they were the same part # but didn't fit, I finally called Sears to come out and it cost $70 to fix. In the meantime, we probably spent $500 eating fast food because it was summer in Redding and it is absolutely absurd to use your oven in the extreme heat.

Today, while cleaning my beautiful, frickin' stove, click, click, click.  I threw open the cabinets under the drawers, I couldn't find the plug, it was behind the drawers. I started to pull out the drawers to get to plug. Side note: the thought of being blown up really gets the bladder feeling at maximum capacity.

Drawers down (the cabinet's, not mine), I pulled the plug and the clicking stopped. My dilemma?
Do I just call Sears and not tell Frank until the stove is repaired? Do I call the RPD and tell them I am being threatened by my gas range? Do I call my therapist and see if she will up my meds?

One thing for sure, I am so done cleaning my stove...I think it likes Frank more than me anyway!

April 28, 2013

Last Sunday In April

summer winter scene by melameena
Pool almost ready for swimming. Fruit growing on the trees. The lawn has some crunch to it here and there due to heat and north wind. Time to set the automatic sprinklers again.

Daffodils, lilacs, hyacinths, tulips and crocus already faded. Lavender is in full bloom.  The gardener in me is aching to plant some colorful annuals and play in the dirt.

It's time to hang the shade cloth over the pergola and drape the sheers along the perimeter of said pergola.

Time for sunscreen and hats, washing tons of towels every day and actually washing my car instead of letting the rain clean it.

Sleeping with windows open, I hear frogs and crickets all night long. Of course, we also hear parties in the park, drummers circle on Sunday evenings and jazz on Saturday afternoons.

Bye Winter! Hello Summer!  Nice visiting with you for a day or two Spring, I look forward to your 8 hours of glory next year.

April 27, 2013


Clutter sucks!

I can't remember the year, but maybe close to 14 years ago, our home was in the pathway of a fire storm. One of our labs was sleeping in our bedroom and was whining at the door. I woke up and smelled smoke. It was about 6 a.m.  We ran outside and the yard was hazy with smoke.  Embers were flying through the air so my husband jumped on our shake roof and started wetting it down.

We called two friends who were in the volunteer fire department in the little town we lived in for info. They said they were just heading out and to prepare to evacuate as the fire had just jumped the highway north of us.

Our house had about 3300 square feet of floor space and we had lived there about 15 years.  We also had a 3 car carport out back with an attached pool room/storage room.  We had lots of stuff. Lots!
We packed up pets (4 labs and 5 cats), musical instruments (except piano) and family photos, camera equipment and some of my favorite books.  Ready to go, we wandered around the house looking at all the STUFF left that I was not willing to pack, ready to let it be destroyed in the blaze headed our way.

The fire came to our little road from three different directions. All the men had stayed and as the fire came they helped each other save our homes.

After the fire, my husband and I had a long discussion about our collection of things-we-like-but-wouldn't-save-in-case-of-evacuation! I wondered why I dust so much crap I am unwilling to rescue.  We soon sold the house, down-sized to 1970 sq feet and rid ourselves of lots and lots of stuff.

We have lived here for about 10 years.  Though the house looks clean and neat (mostly) it is still out of order due to circumstances this last month.  I decided to dedicate this weekend to putting things back in order and cleaning house.  As I was sipping my Dutch Bros Kicker, I scanned the surroundings to make a little To Do list in my head.

Holy Crap! We've done it again!  We have collected a ton of stuff, again, lots of it is not where it belongs because there is no place for it to belong! Today's cleaning will be accompanied by a box (garage sale items) and garbage bag.  

My attitude: Would I pack you to save you from a fire?  Would someone else pack you to save you from a fire?  Depending on answer, I will find a place for it to "belong' or the item will go to box or bag.

P.S. My darling husband, I know you can't stand a counter, ledge or table that is clear and clutter free!  Come with me to see my therapist so we can work this out. I know for a fact that seeing the top of a table or ledge is not fatal!

April 24, 2013


If I was in the Favorite's alliance I would have told Reynolds, Malcolm and Whats-his-name that I would flip if they swore not to vote me out until all the Favorites were gone.

I would beg them just so I wouldn't have to go hang out with Phillip!

No food, sleep with rats and smell like the boys locker room OR share lodging with The Specialist?
Hands down: the starving, varmint infested stench wins.

Stealth-R-Us is probably Judgement-R-Us back at the jury quarters and that gives me the heebie-jeebies!

Malcolm should have kept on digging...silly boy.

I'd like to see Cochran, Brenda and NOT Dawn make it to the end but Cochran takes the prize.

April 23, 2013

Chewing Through The Leash

Dear Readers,
The posts on my blog read like a bona fide roller coaster, up, down, really up, really down, up...well, you get it.

I assure you my therapist and physician have assured me, I am not bipolar nor do I have Borderline Personality Disorder. So, I guess I am just your typical post-menopausal woman!

Good Tuesday

It has been a good day, all-in-all.

Woke up, as usual, about 4 a.m. Said some prayers, did some meditation and got on the computer to write a little. Back in bed by 6 for a little snooze.

An hour with my therapist. She reassured me that I am very grounded and doing "the work"!

Upon return to home I received an email referring me to a site discussing natural cycles.  It states that it is unnatural for human beings to sleep a block of 8 hours. Our more natural pattern is to sleep for 4 hours, wake up in the middle of night and read, converse with partner, take a walk or commune with nature. Then we return to sleep for 3 or 4 hours. The article advises that the post-lunch slump we often feel is another part of the natural human cycle, which  Mediterranean Europeans and South American countries honor with the closing of businesses and a siesta.
The Siesta -Van Gogh

It is nice to know that I am not an insomniac but a natural type of gal.  I wanted to join with Carol King and Aretha to sing to the article, "You make me feel, you make me feel, you make me feel like a natural woman...a natural woman."

Visited with Mom and Dad for a couple of hours. I took Rex and he was so excited to see them both.  He shared lots of love! The conversation was excellent. Mom is doing really well. Cognitive abilities and comprehension back 100% as far as I can tell.  My mom slayed that stroke!

Saw a house for sale around the corner from them that I fell in love with, would be nice to be closer to them and it had river frontage.

Got home and Cole had cleaned house for me. Puppies jumped up excited to see me.

Nice breeze flowing through the house on this beautiful spring day.

Can you say, "Over the hump!"

April 22, 2013

"Be Soft"

Be Soft.
Do not let

the world
make you

"Do not let
the pain
make you

Do not let
steal your

Take pride
that even
the rest of
the world
may disagree,
still believe
it to be a

Kurt Vonnegut

I'm trying, I swear, but Monday mornings really don't help.

April 21, 2013


The past week got away from me. I forgot to remind myself about the things I am thankful for, so I let my "warrior" pull the sword out and give it a couple of good solid swings on my last post. Remind me that the next time someone asks me what my biggest pet peeve is, not to answer "people who tailgate" or "people who honor ego more than people." My biggest vexation is my lack of self-control when I witness either of the two previously mentioned  annoyances.

Staying grounded and balanced is my goal; to honor you (third person plural) and me in my actions and emotions.


The meaning that I vibrate to is "The divine in me recognizes and honors the divine in you." Some people use Namaste to say "greetings to you" and some use it say "I bow to you."

I will make every effort to recognize and honor the divine in my fellow citizens of Earth! (and any of you not of Earth, 'cuz' I know you are out there).

Gratitude Journal, April 21, 2013

I am thankful for the big blue marble on this Earth Day, Namaste, Dear Planet!
I am thankful for having a husband who can communicate....eventually.
I am thankful for Rex, our Border Collie, who is my buddy.
I am thankful for Pizza, Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia and Apple Pie flavored Moonshine.
I am thankful for words and yummy sentences that when put together make delectable, calorie-free reading.
I am thankful for my sister who is contemplating giving up her treasured ocean to come be close to Mom and Dad.

April 20, 2013

Don't Know Why

My hands and arms are shaking. I can't seem to stop them. I want to cry and I want to scream. I want to get in my car and drive somewhere far, far away and I want to crawl into bed and never get out.

Why are ego's more important to some people than honoring another person's dignity and self-worth?

What is the EGO and why is it so powerful that one lets it control them. They swing it like a whetted blade, slicing the legs out from under their target.  Use that blade and tell me your intentions were good and I don't buy it. Stop lying to yourself. Good intentions are kinder, respectful, do not destroy dignity!

Dr. Wayne Dyer says that ego is "edging god out".  Eckhart Tolle proposes that the bigger or more "present the ego is in person" the more psychologically unstable (insane) a person is, inferring, I suppose that those individuals with huge egos are pathologically self-centered.

In "That Which Is Always Already The Case" Adi Da Samraj states that the "ego is an activity not an entity. The ego is the activity of avoidance, the avoidance of relationship."  In spite of the fact that Samraj self-defined his own teachings as "crazy wisdom" I believe his statement sounds pretty accurate to me. Ego is a noun/verb that keeps one from having meaningful and honest relationships.

Dictionary.com defines it as a noun with several uses. "The "I" or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others. I passionately disagree.  My ego is not the "I" in me. Ego is the wounded, pouting, selfish part of me (or you) that judges, whines and knocks people down so I/we can climb on their backs and feel bigger. Ego is the part of me, if I let it, wants to be "one up" or first,  The "I" in me is stronger than the ego, so in my reality I will strike out Dictionary.com's first definition of ego. It doesn't ring true.

Second definition pertains to psychoanalysis. "...the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.  Mmm, the "psychic apparatus"!  Sounds like a thick wall the "psychic apparatus" builds up to keep us separate from "all there is", to keep us from being a part of the whole, just peeking out the hole in the wall so the "social and physical environment" can't touch us.

Third and fourth definitions (3) conceit, self-importance and (4) self-esteem or self-image.  Now, between the third definition and the fourth is a tremendous spectrum and we can place ourselves somewhere on that spectrum from conceit with a capital C to a healthy self-esteem.  The closer we are to the Conceit end of the spectrum, the more arrogant, controlling and abusive our behaviors will be! My personal opinion is the closer to the conceited, self-important end of the spectrum the more fearful, wounded and unstable you are. It may be that your "psychic apparatus" experienced some pretty awful demands in your social and physical environment. As you approach the Healthy-Self-Esteem end of the spectrum you are probably more conscious of your choices, connections and, if you have suffered the awful demands referred to earlier, you have learned to accept them as events to learn from not events that define WHO you are.

The fifth definition is a philosophical aspect of Ego; it states "the enduring and conscious element that knows experience. Ah, now we have a definition that rings a little closer to the truth, my truth, I should say.  I agree that the ego is "the enduring.....element that knows experience" but the ego is not the conscious element that knows the experience. If the "conscious" element is aware of the experience, it  digests the experience, learns and grows from it. The ego, after enduring the experience, without examining it, starts to define itself by the event or experience. The ego isn't aware that it is not its experiences, it is not other people's experiences and it definitely isn't what other people define you as.  The ego is your preschooler who doesn't want to take a nap when its tired!

Dictionary.com tells us that the word ego is Germanic in origin, coming from "ich" which means "I". In 1714 it became a term used in metaphysics. In or around 1891 people started using it to mean conceit.  Psychologists or psychiatrists started using the idea of an ego in 1910 and it took 58 years more before the Ego-Train came in to take us on Ego-trips! Lots of us are still on that train. Quite frankly, I'm not sure why because the view isn't very pretty and most of the ride is in tunnels of darkness.

When we don't think about what we are saying; instant flash from brain to mouth, we hurt, we injure, we humiliate, we wound.

What does Dictionary.com tell us about Dignity?  Dignity, a noun, skipping 2, 3 and 4 of the definition; not relevant to this commentary. Thus, #1. bearing, conduct, speech indicative of self-respect.... #2. a sign or token of respect. We see it comes from Latin meaning "worthiness". WORTHINESS!

When you speak to someone from the ego, without the filter, without thinking, what do you think happens to their worthiness?

When you speak to someone from the ego, without filter, without thinking and without respecting the fact that there are other people in the room witnessing the lack of respect, what do you think happens to their dignity and feelings about their own WORTHINESS?

April 19, 2013

Post Trauma Recovery Protocol

This has been copied and pasted into my blog today. For anyone to read but really for my friend, his wife and daughters.

I believe that extreme trauma can be excruciating for young people who are very intelligent. People who have very logic-driven minds. MIT campus is filled with young people who are witnessing this  past week in Boston and cannot wrap their brains around it because it is not logical, it doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to any of us but we can live with things that don't make sense. We non-engineer types haven't defined the world in logic, science and black and white.

Those of us with average intelligence, who are more likely to think in shades of grey can still, of course, be traumatized by this event so you can imagine what those young "engineer",  black-or- white minded students in lock down are going through today and many tomorrows.

The author, Clarissa Pinkola-Estes,includes "those who "have a loved one in the path of danger in the "inner circle" of trauma victims   You can be 3000 miles away and still be in the inner circle.

Maybe this will help. Sorry for the cut and paste of it, but substance beats out packaging in this post.

The Post Trauma Recovery Protocol

Recovery & Normal Reactions to Sudden Shock, Emergency, Loss, Injury, and Catastrophe

Each person, depending on their innate physical and emotional constitution, their time of life, their day to day challenges of life, their prior traumas and luchas [struggles], is affected differently by sudden shocks, frightful and catastrophic events.

Symptoms arising from shock may differ from person to person also. Yet all will make progress in healing and rowing toward wholeness again... often with new hard-won wisdom, and with scar tissue yes, and also often with a heart broken open... a focused desire to help the needful world in ongoing or in new ways.

Thus, over a period of time, if you of ‘the inner circle,’ that is, if you are an eye-witness, a helper, a first responder, a victim, a survivor, a person who lost a loved one, or lost cherished creatures, or had a loved one in the path of danger, or seriously injured … if you have been suddenly hit hard by tragedy or by fear and shock and heartache for the world as you once knew it… if you are military, a fire fighter, health worker, helping-professional, in law enforcement, a rescue worker, citizen rescuer, news gatherer, photographer, or connect to the tragedy in other close-in relationships such as helping in distributions of essentials, friend-to-friend, neighbor, relative, pastor, spiritual advisor... you may find yourself having one or more of the following reactions.

(These are normal reactions to sudden shock relating to life and death events, to sudden twists of fate. When one has been involved in a critical incident, one’s body, one’s consciousness and heart (and many believe, too, the spirit and the soul) are shocked as well. This is because it is shocking to see in full consciousness, in a split second, how close death always is to us, and how suddenly it erupted into our world visibly, palpably, and how fast, how loudly, but sometimes so quietly... This witness to the nearness of death and destruction is arresting to any human being with a great heart and spirit.)


Physical Reactions:

● Sleep disturbances including inability to sleep
● Lethargy may come from sleeping too much, eating allergenic foods
● Exhaustion, fatigue, nagging sense of dread once the crises are past
● Changes in appetite, digestive disturbances
● Feeling numb
● Crying, sometimes without necessarily knowing why
● Desire to comfort and be comforted physically
● Nightmares, night terrors
● Loss of memory
● Trembling, inner and/or outer
● Nausea
● Heart arrhythmia
● Pain in heart, not an organic disorder, but caused by
● Aching bones, not an organic disorder but rather,
caused by sorrow
● Headache, pre-migraine syndrome; migraine
● Possible augmenting of symptoms of diabetes, prior stress conditions, sciatica, asthma
●Regression in children to a previously mastered stage of development

Behavioral Reactions:

● Hyperactivity
● Poor concentration
● Refusing to talk
● Wanting to go away, or hide
● Talking ‘out of one’s mind’
● Startle reactions while awake or asleep
● Isolating, wanting to be alone.
● Wanting to just sit, or just stare
● Trying to help in any way one can, to the point of
● Not wanting to leave the scene for aid or safety
● Hyper-vigilance, watching, listening, being unable to
be at rest

Psychological Reactions:

● Loss of sense of time
● Feeling distraught and helpless
● Feeling that things are not real, as though in a dream
● Inability to recall sequences or retrace all of one’s steps precisely
● Feeling the future has been lost forever
● Desire to comfort and be comforted psychologically
● Feeling one should not cry
● Wanting to scream, or screaming-weeping
● Inability to attach importance to anything but this event
● Flashbacks
● Nightmares

● Intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety
● Over-reactions to mild to moderate irritations
● Recurrent dreams
● Horrified Anger
● Broken Heart

● Insecurity about the future
● Feelings of fear, warranted and unwarranted
● Feelings of guilt
● Feeling one cannot stop crying
● Unusual reserve, acting as though nothing much really occurred
● Blaming others, individuals, groups: there may be passionate outbursts
● Marked frustration with how long everything takes
● Marked frustration with rescue workers, the bureaucracy, anyone who tries to help

● Marked frustration with any who break promises to help, or who are perceived to not be telling all the truth, or who are perceived to be withholding critical information, or giving misinformation or not telling all they know, or who are giving out platitudes or being condescending

● Ongoing violent fantasies
● Rolling episodes of anxiety
● Mild to profound depression
● Amnesia
● Thinking no one can ever understand, no one can ever help.
● Keeping secrets about what one might have known beforehand
● Blaming oneself.
● Deep dread about hearing any more terrible news.
● Aversion to films, movies, radio, television, anything that depicts catastrophe.
● Irritability that others go on with life while one is still suffering
● Negative judgments about others’ activities or interests that seem disrespectful

Spiritual Reactions:

● Desire to comfort and be comforted spiritually
● Questioning one’s beliefs
● Not wanting to hear any spiritual counsel
● Wanting very much to hear spiritual counsel
● On/off/on/ off process
● Feeling the celestial beings/ greater Power/Creator/God, the true self have abandoned everyone
● Feeling the celestial beings/ greater Power/Creator/God, the true self are ever near
● Praying non-stop, for self, for others, for everyone

The Descent into, and The Ascent out of Trauma:

These are normal reactions, though they can be painful. Thankfully, no one has all of them, and some, such as ‘more prayer than usual’ can be helpful to many. Going through these shock symptoms, trying to pinpoint each or some, and finding one’s own ways of easing these, putting first things first – health, safety, attitude – these are all part of the direct healing process.

No one can instantly cleanse these thoughts and feelings away, though I wish we could, for I know they can tear at heart, consciousness, and spirit and can make people feel half-dead or in continual dread.

But as time passes, many of these will pass too. Especially if we hold to right understanding, right action, right thought about the best of what we are made of. The most important is to know what to do for oneself to help the natural process of mending up after twists of fate that affect us so deeply.

Many years ago our first born grandson died suddenly. We made the slow painful walk back from the land of the dead. It took much time. A succinct truth about coming back after such trauma, came from my dear daughter: 'We never overcome profound loss: We learn to live with it.' And this will assuredly be so for you also. You will find your way to live fully again with this time in background, not foreground. The day will come. And you will see, month by month, this will occur.

For some persons, after tragedy, they know immediately what they think and feel. For others who are be-numbed, they may not know where and how they stand with the events and with themselves and with others for quite some time afterward. This is alright. New life will come. Being thoughtful and watchful of one’s own processes daily is a good endeavor.

If you can’t recall the qualities, paths and sanctities most useful, ask trusted others to help you take daily steps to help yourself as needed. Just like a new garden, take one thoughtful step after the other. Assess, spade, seed, water, light, weed, tenderly, thoughtfully tend to... then one day comes the flowering and the fruits.

For those close in to the disaster, the tragedy, the numbness you feel comes from parts of your self protecting you, softening for a time, the profound overwhelm of all that has occurred, allowing you to at least go through many of the mundane motions of day to day life. For the first days after such enormous shocks, it may almost feel as though time has stopped. That all is surreal. The efforts to comb hair, shave, organize may be dulled.

You may feel as though you are no longer here. As though maybe you are dead or deadened. This is because abject fear, horror, and/or tragedy throw us into a process and locks us in for a time – yet, our balancing pathways through difficulties did not die. We can find them and follow them again.

For most who have been suddenly beset by deep fear, and/or suddenly lost a beloved person, an animal companion, or a homeplace, a solid sense of security, or all these… ‘descent’ is not too strong a word for the process afterward. To many, it feels like a big iron gate has closed behind them and that life will never be the same again.

And yet, please also be assured there is an indirect healing process taking place inside you at the same time... time passing is one indirect healing partner. As time goes on, there is also blessing news... and that is, that fear and horror and grief are wheels that turn, having a beginning, a middle and not exactly an end, but a release from that trapped place behind ‘the iron gate’ where you may have felt burdened off and on, or relentlessly.

Eventually the sense of helplessness, fatigue, guardedness, hyper-vigilance, sorrow, blaming oneself and/or ‘not knowing’ dwindles and eases. You will daily live and laugh and love life again, more and more … it will happen. Not right this moment. But it will come.

• As time goes on, less and less will you be dragged backward in time to very briefly, but deeply, feel fearful or grieve anew. Those times will occur with longer and longer spans of time in between. Each episode of ‘sudden remembering’ will be intense, but last for shorter and shorter periods of time.

Again, for most of us, we do not ‘get over’ life and death heart-wrenching events. We learn to live with them. We learn to live with the aftermath of memories of bad shocks and irretrievable losses. We learn to live with changes and losses that feel they took meaning of our lives away from us for a time, or that took our spirits from us and our desire to live life as well.

But, for all souls, like the force of energy at the base of a plant that continues to shine underground even during drought, something in us also is ever sending out strong impulses for us to live again... and well. No matter how weak we feel in the moment, this rhizome of the true self will help us see meaning-- and new calling in life sometimes too-- as we gradually climb back up to our own vital and vibrant lives in every way. It will come. Like the garden after winter, life comes back again.


“New seed
is faithful.
It roots deepest
in the places
that are
most empty”

Excerpted from the book, The Faithful Gardener, A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die,
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, HarperCollins, ©1995

Please take up all, or any of the following ways to add to those ways you already know, in order to help yourself. Choose what fits for you. Please know too, that many many strangers, as well as those close to you, are focusing in this very moment in order to support you over the miles, saying strong and ongoing fresh prayers for your hearts and spirits and true self to find their ways and to be made whole again. I am but one of those multitudes who prays strong prayers for you.

Exercise and relax to release accumulated stresses ...► Within the first days or as soon as one can, and continuing, do strenuous exercise alternating with relaxation. Continue to move daily thereafter. This will alleviate some of the physical reactions, and give your body a way to discharge additional physical and emotional reactions as they accumulate in the coming days. This is a generosity to your body.

Keep moving, order will return ...► Keep busy, do not sit and do nothing. Feeling displaced, angry, sad, orphaned, and bewildered are normal reactions. Do not tell yourself that you have lost your mind. You haven’t. But it is as though a huge wind has blown through upsetting all previous order. Order will return. A new order. An order for your life that you decide as you decide it, in your own best determinations.

Talk to people rather than toughing it out ...► Talk to people — talk is one of the most healing things you can do. Tell your story as you see it. Although some have learned to keep their most precious thoughts and feelings to themselves, they may not realize that by talking some, or a good deal now, they also give others permission to talk out their thoughts and feelings too... and thus to go that much farther inhaling. To talk, encourages others to talk. Though each has their own ways of dealing with trauma, and no one ought be forced to speak until or unless they wish to, we find that expression of one’s thoughts and feelings about trauma often go farther to release its after-effects, than trying to tough it out. Any kind of talk now has, as its aim, equanimity.

Paint, tell, journal, draw your story into the real world ...► This may be the first time some persons will receive encouragement to speak. Some will be brief, that’s alright. It doesn’t matter whether one’s talk is broken or cohesive... telling one’s own story insofar as one wishes, is what matters. People who have been deeply hurt, may tell their stories over and over again, many times before they lose their massive charge of pain. They may tell it in voice, or in poetry, in drawing, songs, music, theatre, painting, and other expressive means and then sharing these with trusted others. Making art is a form of virtue.

Ways to listen and hold others ...► Don’t push yourself, but if you can, listen to others’ stories; if you can, reach out for those who are poor in resource, poor in spirit, poor in security, for sometimes giving comfort, words of encouragement, is away to help healing of both teller and listener as well. There are many ways to listen, including being silent together, including a hand on an arm, an arm around a shoulder, sharing around cups of tea, an embrace while the other person just leans in quietly, or weeps. This is the quality of loving kindness.

Soft eyes, knowing nods ...► There are too, those inimitable words that the soul understands perfectly, which are not said with voice, but with nods of the head and with the eyes; gentle understanding eyes. Sometimes soft looks and soft voice are the greatest qualities of wisdom.

The spirit is a sacred temple, protect it ...► Don’t allow anyone to push you or others by insisting, “It’s over now, we must move on.” You will move on. But in your own timing. In grief and great change, one’s consciousness has entered a sacred place, one of deep learning and transformative process. The news media cycle is not your healing cycle. It’s best to protect the traumatized psyche from any intrusive media whether in person or on radio/tv which may accidentally overwhelm your spiritual needs for privacy in groups and as individuals, because of media’s need to ‘feed the maw of the news cycle.’

Rely on compassionate and patient counsel ...► Neither is your drummer anyone who is not well developed psychologically or spiritually themselves, nor those who become understandably fatigued with the, for now, ongoing cycle of anxiety and/or grief in others. Rely instead on compassionate and patient counsel. Forbearance and remaining private regarding those who seem intrusive, is one of the best attitudes.

Wounded yet living, and healing ...► Also, listen to yourself and to wise others who have come through ‘a great something’ themselves, and are mostly recovered or are making definitive progress. It is a paradox and an issue of compassion for self and others: To tend to what is wounded til healed ‘well-enough’, while going on with new life as well. Yes, ‘life goes on,’ as some will say, but the emphasis should be on Life! not on hurrying or repressing the need for the wound to be cleansed. A wound to the spirit is like a wound to the body. It takes time to heal from the bottom layers upward.

You are not alone, seek ‘those who know’ ...► Feelings of loneliness and deep feelings of worry, or longing toward loved ones injured, or now gone, or a way of life gone for now, can be partially mediated by being with those who understand from the ground up, that is, other people who have walked the path similar to the one you are walking now. Though it can seem like this never happened to anyone else and you and those with you are alone, there are others in the world, in your village, on the internet, within certain groups who know exactly what you are experiencing, and they can be of great comfort. Seek them and take what they offer in goodness. It is there for you. In this way, we allow others the honor of loving kindness.

Symbolic acts, ritual, memorializing, blessings ...► Each time you tell your story partly, or fully, each time you create a symbolic act, a ritual, note the best of what once was, memorialized now, each thoughtful new barrier set to help prevent ever again what twist of fate or tragedy occurred in your world insofar as you can, each time you think back to the disaster in order to analyze and learn something valuable, each time you receive someone’s caring, each time you reach to comfort others, to bless and be blessed by others, you will be healing yourself. And others. This is the quality of mindful effort.

Life lessons from a tragedy ...► Try not to cover up your feelings by withdrawing or by using alcohol or drugs. Talk your feelings out. As many times as you need to. There is no shame or selfishness in this. You have been through alot. Sometimes after a sudden shock or tragedy, some are inclined to try to self-medicate with whatever is close at hand. But this is not a time of negating feeling. One’s striving for consciousness is stronger than most realize. This time, despite the horror that began it, will be a time that will bring much to you, much that will be useful for the rest of your life. For many, it will be a time of complete maturing in unforeseen and good ways. We cannot make tragic or profane events go away, but I tell you, we can make our actions regarding them, holy.

Reach out with care and kindness ...► Reach out to others for help. They really do care. Be good to yourself and let others be good to you too. Often, the most healing comes from just allowing others to bless your life anew, and you theirs. I tell the people I meet with-- who have suffered great tragedies, but who often ask what they can do to help others. I tell them, ‘be kind.’ People who suffer greatly will most often forget all the “expert” words or techniques that anyone ever said during these first days and weeks, but what will remain forever engraved in memory, are the kindnesses others offered during those first few days and weeks and afterward. Kindness somehow seems recorded by the body internally and externally, by the consciousness, the heart, and the spirit, the soul, in ‘sense memory’: Every part of the human being registers kindness.

Solitude, reflection, and socializing ...► Spend time with others. These may be times of reflection and solitude. But, do not isolate yourself. You may also find yourself laughing sometimes, even as you grieve. That is not the potter’s wheel screeching; this is the potter’s wheel being glad to be alive and useful again. It is alright. True mirth is a healing virtue.

Reach out to others, too ...► Ask other people how they are doing. Remember they may be shy to tell a stranger, or even a friend or relative, of their burden unless they are asked, and often. Respect boundaries, but also a soul may need to be asked more than once in order to gain more of an answer than just ‘Fine,’ when in fact, they are somewhat — to a lot— less than fine. My rule, as with raising children, is ask three times, and likely each answer will be more in depth... and then pressures can be released to the good.

Rest and take care of ...► People can become fatigued from this business of remembering and grieving. Grieving is hard work, and as numbness wears off and the mind delivers back images and impressions of the original traumatic event, it can burn up much energy. Rest, meditate, prayer, do your ceremonies you know to be helpful, take good care of your body. Feed it as decent food as you can. Soothe and energize your body in ways you have always known work for you in ways that add to your life rather than take from your life.

Give yourself “time off” from trauma ...► It’s alright to take time out. It is not negligent to not want to listen anymore. It is alright not to read newspapers or watch the news. It’s alright to never again go to a film that is about shock or loss, in order not to stir up what is now healing or healed. It is fine to protect the wound, even when ‘well enough’ healed, for now, for a while, or forever. Everyone reaches capacity in the grieving process, in recovering from great shocks. Pay attention to what your body and consciousness, heart, soul, and spirit need, and secure it for them.

Healing from shock is not a straight line ...► Healing from shock is not a straight line, it is a zig-zag line, sometimes two steps back and three steps forward. Stay with it. There is no one right way nor perfect progress. There is your way. There is your striving to progress. Trust these. You have old knowings that work. Others may offer ideas too. Consider, take what you need, and leave the rest.

Take time choosing legal help ...► Take time to think things through carefully if you are approached by persons offering legal help for what you have suffered in disaster. For persons who are badly injured or survivors of a family member who died, or those who have lost much, legal support may be considered. But, also be aware that in some instances, involvement in years’ long legal pursuits can thieve freedom to live life again as you please... instead one’s highs and lows dictated by how the legal case is progressing each day. Consider carefully. If you need a lawyer, it is best to seek your own referrals from trusted friends rather than respond to lawyers who contact you.

The inner circle: survivor support groups ...► It is true that some of your friends and relatives may never understand what you, the on-the-scene person, experienced ...unless they were there too. Sometimes the ones we want to turn to for support, cannot grasp all that occurred. That’s alright. That’s why there are often survivor groups formed. The people in ‘the inner circle’ most often understand one another innately.

If you feel stuck in deepening or chronic high distress ...► If you find at any time that you feel stuck in endless anger, or want to isolate yourself without cease, or have unabated high anxiety, or continue to be hyper vigilant, have intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, thoughts of hurting yourself or others, nightmares or other sleep distresses, over-reactions to run of the mill events, begin to destroy your most cherished relationships... don’t put it off ... seek help with those you trust, those known to help others to heal. It is often only one tiny thing that needs to be tightened or loosened in consciousness or heart or mind or body; not a total reconfiguration of the entire psyche. Seeking aid when needed, dokusan, going alone to the teacher, exercises the quality of compassionate effort... in your own behalf.

Post-trauma recovery therapy ...► It is not a character flaw nor a failure of the person to seek psychological, physical or spiritual wisdom. Please understand that severe, sudden shocks to the body and consciousness can throw off chemicological balances in the body. Sometimes the body needs medicine, holistic, western, bodily care to help recover the chemical equilibrium that influences sense of self, evens out mood, and sense of ease with the world. Listening to the teachings of a helper, healer, therapist trained in resetting one on the path again, or in post-trauma recovery is useful to untangle thought processes that often become jammed by prior pressure to respond to too many sudden and strong stimuli all at once. The remedy is concentration and striving to release true self again.

Consider traditional and/or alternative therapies ...► Sitting with a trusted person is also a place to speak the thoughts you would prefer not to speak more publicly or to friends or family. It also is a place of learning to create new life as you now wish it to be, with insight and vision. Some might choose EMDR, a eye-movement therapy that reduces the anxiety of trauma for many; some choose talking; some analyze dreams, looking for symbols which free them when understood, some also take specially compounded medicines and herbs, create ceremony, cleansing rituals, dance, art, song, writing, journeying, painting, as well as practice meditation, sit satsung, keep journals, do yoga, meet in small communities, bless one another, pray together, laugh together, go fishing more often, take up new skills that relax ...,that is create calmness... or go back to those that once did … and many use expressive arts to come to terms. Use any and all, as you see fit.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your children adult-to-adult ...► If you are a parent, help your children by listening, listening. Just because your young children, or your young adult children are silent, or just because they laugh or go out with friends or say everything is fine, does not mean they are without need of your special regard. Consciousness often splits in two during eye-witness and/or sudden trauma. This is a healthy and temporary adaptation. One side goes on functionally, seemingly unaware of the travails (but psyche records all) while the other side maybe, for a time, drowning in bewilderment, helplessness, a sense of the surreal, and sorrow. The two ways of seeing and thinking will come back together again more and more, and with a united vision eventually... be there for that and throughout that. “Being with” undistractedly, heals the duality and helps to put one back in new sense of the world, one that one can hold sacred. Don’t be afraid to talk to your children adult to adult. Do not hesitate to consult the steady and wise for good advice, and to gain spiritual, body work, psychological therapy, both for yourself and your child if you think it useful and/ or needed to learn... and to process what one is learning. Children are observant and wise too. You may learn much from speaking to children after a collective trauma.

With children, do your loving best ...► Healing from trauma is, at its best, educative, teaches about how one's consciousness and behavior and spirit actually work together, or don’t, but can... with a few adjustments and conscious good will. Children look to and often follow the mindful tones their parents take about such matters. If you made an error of under or over reacting, just back up, say so to your child, say you know how to do it better now. The children learn so quickly, they will most often back up and follow your new and better mindful lead. Perfection in grieving, perfections in coming back to life, is not the point. There is no such thing. What counts the most is that you just do your loving best. This is a stable attitude: “doing best,” – but not without also ‘doing love’ even more so. You know your child best, and know the ways to love and tend to --that children can easily understand.

Decide to live fully ...► In the ensuing days, find things to do that feel rewarding, meaningful or refreshing. These need not be big things, but events or endeavors to offer some small balances to the tragedy and overwhelm you have been through. It is alright to live fully, even though precious others have been suddenly injured, harmed, or died. In fact, many of us hold that it is exactly right to decide to live fully in honor of those who currently cannot or could not. There is to be no guilt for moments of happiness or celebrations. Moments of happiness are, again, the force of the living plant blossoming again. Your life blossoms again. And this is just right.

There are times ... that are worthy of speaking about ...► When you feel bad, find a person to talk to, and to cry with, to tell of your anger and other helpless feelings. Don’t keep it inside. If you think you’re ‘bothering people,’ or being’ weak’, remember people who love you will wind up spending much energy being even more worried about you if you go mute. It’s alright to talk, even if it’s not usual for you. There are times of life of great consequence that are worthy of speaking about. This is one of those times. We are what we are, it is true, but also now there are new ways for fine-tuning true selflessness, which includes helping oneself so that one can guide others in wisdom, by saying, ‘Yes, me too, I have suffered also and that is why I know a bit to alot about the way forward, and so here’s my suggestion, with caring, to you’... It is true that those who appear to be most in need often cause the enlightenment of others. These are times that are worthy of speaking truthfully and openly about your own highest knowings.

Take care not to overindulge nor self-medicate ...► You are vulnerable in some new ways when you’re recovering from shock; take care to not over-indulge or self-medicate with substances, or other consciousness-numbing addictions, or trying to lose oneself in unprotected sex, or ongoing bitterness, or know-it-allness, as defenses against feeling vulnerable. Regarding effective anger: Anger is energy to use in controlled and reasoned ways to get things done. It is a fire with a hearth, ought not be an unbanked fire without guardian stones around it.

Seek people of spirit who love the soul, the true self ...► Your spiritual beliefs will definitely help you through. Cleave to them in full. For those who have been dispirited by some inhumane ‘religious’ person long ago, do not hold yourself away from this kind of healing for your spirit now. Instead, consider seeking people of spirit who love the attitude of generosity; there are many of them in the world, some in organized religions and spirituality communities, and some who wander freelance in this wide world. Ally with them. They will have special balm for you.

Making sense of it all: “God’s Business,” “Creator’s Business,” “Source without source”...► I would offer this to you too, a personal philosophy I carry... Some may be helped by knowing it is good to develop a category in one’s consciousness called something like “Creator’s Business,” “God’s Business,” “the business of Source without source”-- for some things will never make sense, some things one cannot ever control or ever understand. Accidents are incomprehensible. Twists of fate often have little ‘rational fact’ to them. Evil things are, by definition, insensible. And some things, some events, some outcomes, will forever only be “God’s Business,” Creator’s Business,” The business of Source without source…” understood and sealed in mercy by One Greater. One of all qualities, all pathways mastered... calling us to follow.

The dignity you deserve ...► We all wish to be brave and strong in the face of sudden upheaval and disaster. We all wish to be looked up to for our endurance and our efforts to help others. If you truly care for humanity, then too, be sure to include yourself in their numbers, by giving your own inner feelings and thoughts the voice and the dignity they and you so deeply deserve.

Please remember, worldwide there are strangers who are industrial-strength praying men and women. We have you on our radar and have already called forth all Good and Great, asking that you be watched over and guided into fullest life again. We’re asking that you and all your loved ones be kept safe, that you see miracles during this time, that you ever know that angels are near you, touching you gently, and guiding you to meaningful and full life again.

Please lean on our prayers for you,
and with love,
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Excerpted from the book, The Faithful Gardener, A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die,
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, HarperCollins, ©1995

April 16, 2013

Remember The Good Guys

Remember These Good Guys, not the bad guys.
Yesterday was a beautiful day in America. At the oldest annual marathon in the U.S. there were 23,000 registered runners. Three quarters of them actually ran, that is somewhere around 17,000 people running 26.2 miles.

Someone ugly and soulless planted a couple of bombs that killed 3 people and physically injured more than 100 people. We will never know how many have suffered emotional wounds. The media (God help their souls) are showing us pictures over and over again and making statements such as "...while America tries to cope with these images...".  The inhuman person/s who planted those bombs are getting his/their ego stroked by the heavy and constant coverage. There is a good chance that the 2013 Boston Marathon will be remembered because of how ugly it ended.

Let me tell you how beautiful it was and why we need to see the goodness in this day. The day did not end with the violence of the day but will continue on, making a difference in our world.

A dear friend of mine let us know his daughter was okay. She attends MIT and was participating in a Fund Raiser at the event. She was standing within feet of the explosions up to half an hour before they went off. She was only one of thousands of people, good human beings, trying to make the world a better place.

The Boston Marathon participants were not just the 17,000+ runners but there were thousands more. THOUSANDS of people there trying to make a difference.

Ever heard of Camp Kesem?  They provide a supportive, life long community to children of cancer victims. They also build leaders for tomorrow by empowering college students to "make a difference and build invaluable leadership skills."  College students, People! College students who were not out partying and whooping it up (as the media would usually have you believe). College students raising funds to help children! Can you turn off your television and not let Diane Sawyer or NBC  or the inhumanity of the soulless bombers destroy the beauty of humanity in the actions and intentions of these dedicated students?

Do you know Beverly City Council President Paul Guanci or Ryan Cronin?  Paul exchanged his suit and tie for running shorts and jersey to join Ryan (college student) to fund raise for the Dana-Farber Cancer  Institute.

Crowdwise and John Hancock raised over 6 million dollars yesterday for non-profits across our nation.

Heard of Cops for Kids With Cancer, Playworks, Running For Cover? What about Dream Big, a wonderful organization that empowers girls through athletics and physical activity?

The Boston Marathon 2013 should be remembered for the humanity of it, not the inhumanity. Celebrate the thousands of people of all ages who were out there running, assisting, guarding, serving.

I pray for all the people touched by this act of terrorism, but terrorism is about creating fear, trying to instill us with fear.  We are wounded today but don't let the wounds stay raw tomorrow. Don't let the Bad Guys win.

Let the Good Guys who were out there making a difference be what you remember about April 15, 2013 in Boston.

April 14, 2013

Sprung My Mom Because God Told Me To!

I believe in God. Sincerely believe in God. Though I am not sure that my definition of God is the same definition as most people who are deeply rooted in Churchianity.  I have my definition and I have a personal relationship with my God.

We have conversations. Sometimes I talk, Sometimes I listen. God talks to all of us but speaks many languages so listening to God means being in a state of awareness and vigilance.  When you ask God a question, listen for the answer. When you get the answer there will always be validation.
Sophia of Wisdom by Dr. Mary Plaster

This morning at Mass the Gospel was from John 21 1-19. A couple of lines touched my heart with that synchronicity through which life and God always speaks to me. 

 "Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."

My mom has been in a Skilled Nursing Facility Rehab for a week for cognitive therapy from a stroke 11 days ago.  She was miserable and in the week she was there she had not received any of the therapy she needed, only physical therapy, which she really didn't need as much as cognitive. The constant noise and chaos was totally agitating her, which frustrated her and confused her. She wanted out really bad. 

In our conversations this week, I have confided in God that I just didn't know what to do. Is she better off at a Rehab or should be go home?  

After Mass Dad, Frank and I went to the Rehab and checked Mom out for 4 hours. We brought her to my house which is only a minute away from the facility. The first thing she wanted was to take a shower, a private shower where there isn't some nursing assistant watching her. She took her clothes and shampoo and lotions into my bathroom. She was completely independent. She did not "stretch out (her) hands" and someone else didn't "dress her"! Obviously, she should not be led "where (she) did not want to go."

Then she came out, hair pretty, dressed nice, she looked good. 

We sat and watched the Giants baseball game. Frank and I left for an hour to give Mom and Dad some peace and quiet. We brought back Burger King because Mom loves Whoppers and she hated the food at the Rehab. 

By the time we had to return her to the facility she was a completely different person. Relaxed, calm, less confused.She really didn't want to go back. Dad didn't want her to go back. 

While Dad, Mom and Frank returned to Mom's room, I went to the nurses station to sign Mom back in.  Who do you think is sitting at the station, on a Sunday afternoon, catching up on his patients progress? Yup, my mother's Doc.

Answer, Validation, Sprung! Just that easy.

Gratitude Journal for not only April 14, 2013 but for my life.
I am thankful for God.
I am thankful to God.
I am thankful for my Dad.
I am thankful for my Mom.
I am thankful for my partner in crime and "prison breaks", my husband Frank.

April 13, 2013

My Dad

Worried about my dad.

My mom had a stroke about 10 days ago. Dad has been with her almost constantly. Comes to my house to sleep but has trouble sleeping because he worries about her.

I have been trying to convince him to take a little time. Maybe go to his house and spend the night or just go for some peace and respite.

He didn't sleep at all last night. He went to see Mom about 8 this morning for about 2 hours then came back to my house to tell me he was going to drive down to his house, water the lawns, do some hand watering of some of the pots here and there and then try to get some rest.

He called a couple of hours later (45 minute drive to his house) to say lawns were done. He asked about Mom. I told him she was okay, I was with her. So he said he was going to lay down and see if he could catch some sleep in his own bed.

He laid down, tossed once or twice and just as he nodded off the phone rang. He jumped up to make sure it wasn't about mom. It wasn't.

I was at Rehab when he walked in from his drive back. He looks like a zombie, but at least a freshly showered zombie!!!

I've gotta get Mom home or we're gonna lose both of them.

Junk In The Trunk

Now this is what a trunk is supposed to be!
I was commenting in an earlier post how behind I am in pop culture.

Being uninformed can cause one many problems! Many of you who know me personally know my humiliating "Junk In The Trunk" story. To sum up the story, I was surfing the tv channels and saw the title "Junk In The Trunk." Being an HGTV fan I immediately assumed that it was about recycling old items. The old adage about "assume" was very accurate in this case.

Junk In The Trunk was an XXX adult movie, and on large screen, was a huge surprise, if you know what I mean. Frank and I were both startled and begin kind of yelling at each other and my shock caused my fingers to stop following the directions my mind was sending it. I couldn't operate the remote to change the channel or turn the tv off. Frank took the remote from me, changed the channel and immediately applied a code to restrict adult programming.

Today I had a similar experience.

I often go through my Blogger stats and look to see who the referring sites are and what "search terms  are used to get here.

One of you is in Big Trouble!!!! I'm telling your mama!  I clicked on one of the referring URL's! Whew, Porn City.

All I can say is I hope you washed your hands before you came to my blog!

Now, I am going to go wash my hands!

April 12, 2013

Duck Dynasty

My grandson, bless his heart, is living with us. When he moved in he was of the opinion that us oldsters were culturally deprived. He wanted to catch us up to the new world.

He introduced us to American Pickers, nice show, learn a little history, some trivia and see some cool things.

He introduced me to Rob & Big. When I was laid up after knee surgery, I have to tell you I enjoyed laughing many afternoons away with Cole, as we watched Big get his nails worked on and his faux feet, watched Rob's attempt at Bull Riding in Mississippi and many other hilarious exhibitions of young men with too much money, too much time and way, way too much testosterone.

He introduced me to Apple Pie Moonshine! He taught me that some people polish their tires! I think the people who polish their tires were drinking Apple Pie Moonshine when the idea of shiny tires occurred to them.

Yesterday, he introduced us to a new show.  Duck Dynasty!

It was like time-traveling to the late '70's and finding myself sitting around the living room with my ex and his BUDdies. (wink wink nudge nudge)

The smartest thing I heard from any of these guys came from Uncle Si, he's the one just above the C in DUCK. He said, "If you are going to buy something, you should always take it out for a test drive, like a car, a boat or a tree!"  I'm not sure about these guys but their film editor is one talented dude!

Yup, our grandson is bringing us up to date on American Culture in the new century.

Gratitude Journal for April 12, 2013
I am thankful for Apple Pie Moonshine (keep it in the freezer).)
I am thankful that Rob and Big live in L.A.
I am thankful for the scenery in American Pickers
I am thankful that I have some Apple Pie Moonshine in the freezer when Duck Dynasty comes on.
I am thankful I was born in the last century and that I am on the down side of the hill!

April 11, 2013

Screw Gratitude

Several months ago Dr. Ng,( remember the doc that I liked because she asked if I would like her to pray with me? ) took over my medical care from a doc who was transferring out of state. I saw her, nice enough lady and somewhat thorough in her questions and then she prayed with me....nice.

Since then, several  months, I have called my old pharmacy and asked for refills every month. Every month they say they will call doc. Four or Five days later I call pharmacy, still haven't heard from Doc.  Then I call Doc's office, they say they never got request, call pharmacy they say they sent request but will send it again, two day later pharmacy says they didn't receive authorization from doc, call doc's office and they say they sent it in, pharmacy calls dr's office liars, dr's office calls pharmacy liars and eventually I make a total ass of myself and I get my meds.

Last month, same thing. So I called a new pharmacy and asked them to get my list of meds transferred from old pharmacy. Called Dr. office to tell them to call my scripts in to new pharmacy, everything be nicey, nicey.

Yesterday I get a call from new pharmacy, nice recording on my cell "This is ______ Pharmacy, you're prescriptions are ready to be picked up!" Cool! I didn't even call them in, they automatically refilled them.....

Scene this afternoon, I walk into new pharmacy, give them name and birth date, say in my nicest voice without being condescending, "I'm here to pick up my prescriptions!"

"How many?" they ask (already with a little bit of "tude" because I am the customer and this is Redding and Customer Service in Redding basically means, "But I didn't use the f-word so what's their problem!"

"Three" I said still smiling because I really want this to go smooth.

They have one. Never got one from doc's office and the other one didn't have a refill and no one bothered to call it in....

Can I confide in you my most inner feelings about health care professionals in Redding?

You see, we have (county wide) about 150,000 people and about 4 doctors who are taking new patients.  You can't make an appointment with the ones taking new patients because they want to read all your records before they decide whether to take you on or not (huge waiting list of people who need doctor and medical care ).  Now, why are those 4 doctors taking new patients when the other 222 aren't?  Take a guess.

Pharmacies are overwhelmed because most doctors don't want to fix what ails you they just want to give you some pill that will mask the symptoms, but be careful because the pill may cause problems breathing, asthma, profuse bleeding, stroke or cardiac arrest....call your physician if any of these symptoms should arise....except for the cardiac arrest one...you  may want someone else to call after you call 911.

Choosing a doctor in Redding is a little like a game we play here in the North State. It's called Cow Pie Bingo. We take a large lot, maybe an acre or so.  A chalk-line checkerboard is then  drawn out so that from a helicopter it looks a little like a football pool sheet, each square about 3' x 3'.  Each participant pays $5, more or less, to buy a square. Winning square gets the money. When all the squares are sold, the farmer lets a cow into the field. the cow wanders around nibbling a little grass or weeds while we all stand around the perimeter of the field watching with bated breath. The Cow can wander quite awhile before she lifts that tail and shits on a square.

And that my friends is like choosing a doctor in Redding, except, that the square shits on you!

Gratitude Journal

I am thankful there was a counter between me and the pharmacy tech and pharmacist at Pharmacy A.
I am thankful there was a counter between me and the pharmacist at Pharmacy B
I am thankful that I have a xanax to take before I see my present Dr. tomorrow.

Good news,
Two of my nephews and their families came to see me today, and my mom and dad. It was so good to see them.
I am truly thankful for them and their safe travel.

John ~ Strange Guy In Park

My cell vibrated today. Looked down at number....local area code but I don't recognize number and neither does my cell.

No message left so I called it back....thinking maybe somebody calling about my mom (who is in Rehab)


"Hi, I just got a call from this number!"

"Oh yeah, you must be that chicks aunt, just a minute."  I hear him yell, "Hey, lady! hey, hey you, Lady! HEEEEEEYYYYYY, LAADEEEEEEE!"

"Sorry," he tells me. "She's too far away, she must have already left. She asked if she could use the phone because she wanted to go see her Auntie!"

I asked if this was Second Home (NVCSS) or the Mission?

"No, I'm John, I'm just in the park. She just asked me to use the phone, so she is on her way to your house."

Reminded me of the baseball song,

"One, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game...."

I hate baseball.

My grandson (I love him so much) walks in shaking his head. His girlfriend (uh, not sure its proper to say "girlfriend" because they've only been dating a very short time). Anyway, he's nodding his head and tells me his girlfriend is getting tossed out of the house she just moved into. Someone stole her laptop on day one, so she locked her bedroom door while she was at work. Head guy says no locked doors during the day because he has Direct TV and ......what?........So, I tell my sweetie pie grandson she is not moving in here but my Dad is sitting on couch and he has had a pretty stressed week. I tell my grandson we will discuss it later.

I leave room to go take deep breath and count to 753. I come back in room and Dad has gone back to Rehab to be with mom. Grandson is sitting on his bed, hands in head....Rescuer at heart, he doesn't know what to do. How do you tell a Rescuer that it is not his problem to solve and again, NO, she can't move in here.

I am sitting here with my dog under my feet, thinking I have to get up and make us some pork chops and mashed potatoes for dinner, a veggie and a salad.

Also making another list in my head.

1. Family problem, doing what we can.
2. Not my problem
3. Not my problem
4. Not my problem
5. My problem but can put off for another day or so
6. Not my problem
7  My probelm, but will think about it tomorrow.
8. Survivor on tonight....and I think of Scarlett O'hara, "I won't think about it tonight!"

Tomorrow might be sucky but that will be tomorrow!!!

April 03, 2013

Nerd Willpower!

I can sooOOOoOOooooOOOOo relate to this.

It's another thing I have gratitude for: Nerdness!


Bye "Friends"! Been nice...

Started off the year with almost 400 "friends" on Facebook.  Also started off the year in a pretty major depression. Some of the depression stemmed from surgery, post-surgical care, personal history and the offensive-finger-pointing-name-calling state of our nation prior to the national vote.

Through the years I have had dear friends from all walks of life.  In "real" life, as well as on Facebook, my friends include liberals, conservatives, moderates, Christians, Muslims, Hindu and Sufi; Pagans, Wiccans, Atheists and Agnostics.I have friends who are heterosexual and homosexual and bisexual. Some of my friends are working mothers and others, stay-at-home dads and even a couple of stay-at-home moms. I have friends who are single parents, step-parents; friends who choose not to have kids at all. I have had friends who don't have pets and who love, love, love their pets. I have friends who are founders and CEO's of multi-million dollar companies and friends who are homeless. Some of my friends are White, Latino, Black, Asian, Native American and, at times, when we have imbibed excessively, I have even had green friends.  I have a couple of friends who don't even think they are from earth and quite frankly, I have no problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is when some of my "friends" post or make super negative or derogatory statements that hurt people.  When a conservative or Republican posts comments suggesting that liberals are idiots instead of discussing the issues, or when a Christian friend belittles someone who doesn't fit in their personal going-to-heaven-box it annoys me.  Correction: it disgusts me. After two or three such comments or as one of my more conservative friends stated this morning, "harmless little jokes", I am repulsed. At least on Facebook, I am only repulsed long enough to click two or three times to find the "Unfriend" prompt.  I have slowly (slowly being purely relative) been deleting people who were on my Friends list. I have noticed that when I hit the Unfriend prompt, that a couple of loyal people to the  recently-Unfriended-friend then search out the "Unfriend" prompt on my Facebook page and click on it. I'm okay with that.  Loyalty is a good thing, you know that flocking "birds-of-a-feather expression.

A few months ago, I might have felt a little guilt for such an action on my part. With some remorse, I would have felt that maybe I was not being "open" and trying to understand the other side. I have realized that Ugly is Ugly. I don't want people who are ugly in my life. I don't want people who make jokes at other people's expense in my life because that is ugly. I don't want people who attack other people because they don't fit into their preordained box.

The year 2013 is going to go down in my own personal history book as the year I really cleaned-house. It may also be the year in which many of the people, who know me, ask each other, "What the hell is up with Toni?"  There may be many more who don't even remember they once knew a woman by the name of Toni and to those people I have to say you probably really didn't know Toni.  Hell, I didn't even know, really know Toni, until this year. It wouldn't surprise me if a large number of "Friends" will delete me because they detect the changes in me. I'm okay with that too.

What I have discovered is that I am much more tolerant of some behaviors and much less tolerant of others. I have discovered that I have less friends, but those that I have are closer, more loving, and more loyal and have an innate respect for others, including those less fortunate than themselves. I have discovered that having boundaries and respecting them is perfectly okay. If some people don't get it, that's okay too, because these boundaries are my boundaries and my responsibility to maintain them.

This year I have "lost" friends who were self-described Christians, Atheists, Republicans, Democrats, Academics and Conservatives, White-collar and Blue-collar. Some will be missed, others, not so much. But "lost" is maybe not the correct term. Lost is when you drop some change into the pocket of your old jeans, and as you walk, the coins make a little trail along the path as they liberate themselves from the hole you forgot to repair. Lost is what happens to "the other" sock in the washer or dryer. Lost is having forgotten the way or gone astray.

If, by the end of the year, I have only a dozen friends left, on Facebook or life, I know, with all my heart, who they would be. I also know that we don't agree on all things.  When we have a difference of opinion we will listen to each other, treat each other with respect and honor and a little humor. We will not worry about one-upping each other, unless it is to have a funnier joke, but they all know that I am the funniest so they needn't try too hard! (wink)  We will make fun of each other but not at the expense of each others' self-worth.

I will always love them, even though one of them wrinkles her nose when I wear "leather" shoes, one of them wants to hit me in the head with his bible when I stand up for equal rights in marriage, one of my friends grumbles about flash mobs and I love them. The list goes on about stuff we might disagree on but we share the same values when it comes to honoring other people and each other.

I look forward to the day that all people can discuss issues with compassion and a full-hearted attempt to hear the other person's side.

Oops, forgot Gratitude Journal, April 3, 2013

I am thankful for Michael McD, his humor, his humanity and for kick-starting my labor---twice!
I am thankful for Kaitlyn's excellent time on her Run last weekend! Go Katie!
I am thankful for compassionate people.
I am thankful for flannel sheets and down pillows.
I am thankful for boundaries without barbed wire.

April 02, 2013


Headed to the movies with a couple of my granddaughters today but in the meantime, I am babysitting my grandson's puppy.

This baby has big blue eyes, blue nose, blue fur! I didn't know that was possible. He likes to sit on my feet, for warmth and comfort, I suppose. Rex, our border collie typically lays at my feet so I'm not too sure how that is being accepted. Rex is across the room now staring at me. I think he may want me to throw the puppy so Rex can retrieve it like he does his toys.

My grandson is 21, he wears a lot of black clothes, usually Metal Mulisha, so lots of skulls. He has some tattoos, wears a baseball cap almost always, black with white Metal Mulisha logo for casual, black with neon green logo for "going out!"  Now he has a pit bull. A cute itsy bitsy pit bull. If there is a physical stereo-type for 21 year olds in 2013, I am sure he fits it.  The only way I can tell him apart from his friends is that he is usually the tallest and his big blue eyes.

One of these days, he is going to be walking down the river trail with his pit bull dog on a leash and a woman my age is going to see him and be scared to death that she is in mortal danger. She couldn't be further from the truth and she couldn't be more safe than having him around her on the river trail.

He is gentle, nurturing, compassionate, a very loving man. He would never let anyone hurt another person. I have seen him jump to protect several times, never himself but always those smaller, younger, weaker.  There were some thugs at the skate park one afternoon bullying a guy for being a  little heavy. My grandson didn't even know the guy but walked over to the group of bullies and told them to take it somewhere else or deal with him. They took it somewhere else. There are many other examples of his spirit. Surprising too, since he was raised by a mom who is text-book Borderline Personality Disorder.

So, I sit here at my computer, recollecting the times that I walked the River Trail or park and came across a young man, with tats and skulls and black and a pit at the end of his leash and judged him from his look, from the gangsta stereo-type. Sorry all you honorable men who I wrongly judged.

The look still scares me, not on Cole or his friends, but on strangers it does.  Happily, when I walk, I usually have Rex and he is a pretty good judge of character. He has only challenged two men on the River Trail while I have been walking with him and both men were dressed like they just stepped out of a Penny's catalog...

Gratitude Journal, April 2, 2013
I am thankful that Thor is so cute.
I am thankful that I can take my granddaughters to the movies and sit in the dark theater and laugh!
I am thankful for the other grandparents and parents or aunts that were taking other kids to the movies today.
I am thankful for bench warrants....long story.....another time!