Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Woke up in a pit this morning.

Not literally, but strongly metaphorically. It's one I've spent varying amounts of time in throughout much of my life. It's depth depends on what's going on in my life and thankfully, my stints there are becoming fewer and shorter. Nevertheless it's a place I hate but that requires occasional visits. Being an optimist at heart, I tend to subdue and bury negative events and thoughts. Can't let go of them because I'm also a pack-rat of emotions. As one might imagine, these traits pose tricky problems for my psyche. It may sound complicated, but it's really very simple: from time to time, the negatives outweigh the positives and my brain basically shuts down to defrag. This morning I woke up alone; spouse had to go to work very early. The sun flickered around the edges of the drapes, but my body felt like lead. Today held the promise of magnificent weather, but I couldn't raise my head from the pillow. The phone rang several times out in the living room -- spouse checking in with me. When I finally dragged myself out of bed, Caller I.D. listed 9 calls from him. Worried that he might have broken something or was bleeding, I called him. He was fine and I decided it was time for me to get my s--t together and start the day. When I was still working full-time, I forced myself to put on a happy face and went to work. Now that I control my time, I can allow the negativity-purging-process to take as long as it needs. It's far quicker, with longer-lasting results when I listen to my mind/body. The days are getting shorter and Sunday marks the end of daylight savings time. I'll try, again this year, to convince myself that less daylight is OK and actually beneficial for the trees and hibernating critters. Maybe I'll put the tiny lights out on the balcony railing earlier this year and put up our tiny Christmas tree in November rather than waiting til December. It's all about light in winter. The more the merrier -- or less depressing, depending on how long it takes me to get out of bed in the morning.. . .

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Road Map to Happiness

Never HAVE had a sense of direction. Still trying to get there. . .

Friday, October 26, 2007

Blot #80


Imagination vs. Knowledge

Even though I was born to talented parents, my creative genes seem to be dormant. My singing voice is mediocre, and I totally lack the abilities to draw or paint. I'm proud to say that my four siblings have fared far better in the way of inherited skills. I, on the other hand take comfort in something Albert Einstein believed:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Now there's a skill I have in spades! As a child I'd wander through my imagination without restraint -- something that didn't always please my teachers or parents. Nevertheless, my make-believe world was usually uplifting and positive. But then there was the recurring dream in which I became separated from my parents because I was too adventurous and wandered away from them. I outgrew that -- eventually. As a college student and young adult, my imagination took a dangerous turn as it placed blinders on my good sense. I chose the wrong boyfriends and suffered because of my poor choices. In my late twenties, two men who would now be called stalkers piqued my romantic imagination. One cooked food and tried to deliver it to me along with flowers and romantic gestures -- harmless, but annoying. The other was anything but harmless as I soon discovered. He learned my name by listening to my conversations with friends. He phoned me often at work, commenting on what I was wearing, my physique (you get the idea). When he wrote a 17-page letter describing what he wanted to give me and how passionate he felt about me, I freaked. It ended with an ominous sentence referring to Arlington National Cemetery. THAT got my imagination roiling!! I made sure I wasn't alone walking to or from work. So. . . imagination is a good thing as long as it's tempered by knowledge and good sense.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blot #77b*

* This is labeled 77b because the original was bronze paint on a dark blue/green background. Thanks to a few simple tech. tricks, I made it look like this. I rather like this version better than the original.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Salam / Shalom

Thanks to the generosity of a special contractor, a Jewish congregation in Arkansas will finally have a new temple. Since 1981 Temple Shalom members have worshipped where they could, even buying a house to convert into a temple. Those plans were abandoned when residents complained about anticipated traffic problems. When the congregation purchased another property, general contractor Fadil Bayyari, a devout Muslim, born and raised in the West Bank, stepped in to help. He saved the members of Temple Shalom many thousands of dollars by waiving his regular fee and their synagogue is well on it's way to completion.
"Abraham is our forefather. We are cousins.
How we got to hate each other is beyond me."
-- Fadil Bayyari
Mr. Bayyari deserves praise not only because he recognizes the common threads of two, major religions, but also because he lives by the ancient, basic tenets of his faith, not the radicalized interpretation being instilled in the minds of today's young people.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Big News

The White House has just appointed a new director for the Office of Family Planning in the Department of Health and Human Services. The OFP is mandated to provide counseling, contraceptives and preventive screenings and has a budget of $283 million for those programs. But that's not the big news. The big news is that the new director doesn't believe in contraception!! She justifies that belief by stating that "fertility is not a disease". I'll grant her that, but what about the burdens unplanned pregnancies place on the low-income women who must bear them? Will the United States turn into a western version of Romania during Ceausescu's era? Families there were not allowed birth control of any sort. Orphanages became ignominious warehouses for thousands of babies abandoned by desperately poor families that could not afford to feed and clothe them. Appointing someone to head an agency who is known to disagree with the mission of that agency is just deranged if not outright sadistic. If this a matter of payback for Bush/Cheney cronies, shame on them.

Friday, October 12, 2007


You know how it feels. Maybe you receive a glancing blow to the head and you're momentarily disoriented. You're not quite sure what happened but you try to pass it off because you weren't knocked out, you're not bleeding and maybe you're a little embarrassed by the attention. Still, your bell was rung and you're unsettled. News can have the same affect. I received news last evening that was totally unexpected and unbelievable. How? Why? How bad? When? The sadness of it hits first, then the numbing emptiness sets-in. The flood of tears turns into stillness and the mind goes blank as the ultimate outcome becomes clear. Life is finite, but we're never ready for the end. The task now is to keep my wits about me and to try to be helpful and attentive. Having had a brush with death I now value life and love more than I ever did before. No one is guaranteed another day much less another week, month or year. Each moment is a gift, not to be wasted. I love you, Paw.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Earth laughs in flowers."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"The Decider" does it again. . .

"I really appreciate the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce for giving me an opportunity to explain why I have made some of the decisions I have made. My job is a decision-making job. And as a result, I make a lot of decisions. And it's important for me to have an opportunity to speak to you and others who would be listening about the basis on which I have made decisions, to explain the philosophy behind some of the decisions I have made." -- George W. Bush [This man scares me.. . ..]

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Deep Mourning

Our household is in deep mourning over the Cubs' loss last night and their elimination from the play-offs. We're also in shock over the fact that, three times, they had loaded bases yet couldn't score. As Cubs fans all say, "there's always next year." Perhaps they're waiting for the 100th anniversary of their last championship to win a second. . . ?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Think about it. . . .

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. -- John W. Whitehead

Gratuitous Cuteness IV

Rusty was Mom and Dad's dog and fun-loving companion for many years. The moment they spotted her in the shelter, they knew she had to come live with them. During the summer, her coat was clipped to keep her cool and she seemed to revel in shear/sheer delight after her trims. RIP, Rusty.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Power of the Subconscious Mind

For the past several days I've been struggling with a sense of fear and sadness. Until yesterday I couldn't pin it down to anything specific. Then I read a newspaper article that brought it all back. It was five years ago this month that two snipers terrorized the Washington, D.C. area. They randomly killed 10 people; ten men and women they didn't know, who had done nothing to them and whose families and friends were left in shock and unimaginable anguish. The entire region suffered with them and feared for our own lives. Taking advice from law enforcement, we didn't linger outdoors, in parking lots or at gas stations, trying to keep a car between us and an unknown assailant's bullet. We walked a stooped, zig-zag path to get into grocery stores and avoided unnecessary trips away from home. There was a pall of tension that hung over the region until the snipers were finally caught in an almost serendipitous way. My mind tries to disengage from memories like this, but sometimes my subconscious mind thwarts that. As soon as the sniper memories flowed, the faces of several young adults from Sarajevo (in the former Yugoslavia) came to mind. Years ago, I'd arranged a debriefing for an American Red Cross committee I worked with to get first hand insights on the on-going tragedy in that historic, beautiful, old city. The savagery of shellings and sniper attacks on civilians trying to fulfill basic human needs for food and water was incomprehensible. Each one of these young men and one woman had witnessed friends and family killed. One man told of his best friend being hit by a mortar while both took cover in adjacent doorways. It's not a huge leap to imagine the same things happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can't help but wonder how humans have evolved the capacity to carry-out such atrocities against fellow humans. At one time the four Geneva Conventions were honored, thus saving lives, human dignity, history, infrastructures, and so much more. Waging war also is expensive, so putting limits on damages saves money. Is there simply too much money to be made by the industries that feed conflict and aid in the recovery? I don't want to believe it, but . . .

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Honeybees in the Military

I think I now know one reason why there is a shortage of these busy little pollinators -- they've been drafted into the military! The Defense Department put $2 million into the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project. Yup, their keen sense of smell got a bunch of honey bees a gig as explosives sniffers. No joke -- using the Pavlov method, honeybees were fitted with tiny harnesses holding tinier cameras and trained to sniff-out TNT and plastic explosives. They were exposed to different chemicals for a few seconds and rewarded with sugar water when they identified explosives. Now I don't argue with trying to avoid death and mutilation by early detection of explosives, but training honeybees. . . ? I think they're much more effective pollinating plants and should be left to this crucial service.