Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanks-Giving

Best wishes from Angel, Tara Grace and Me

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: Bragging and Giving Thanks

It's Ruby Tuesday (hosted by Mary the Teach at Work of the Poet) and I'm cheating. I didn't take all of these photos, but I've wanted to brag about my nephew Matthew, for a while and I thought Ruby Tuesday might be a good day to do it.

I'm still struggling to get back to the rhythm and spirit of blogging and haven't quite managed to do so, but what better way to get into the holiday and the blogging spirit than some Ruby Tuesday visits?

There are so many things to be grateful for in life. My sisters children are among the greatest blessings life has offered me. Today I wanted to share about my nephew Matt, who, besides being a brilliant computer genius and wonderful person is a great chef. Food is kind of Thanksgivingy, isn't it? Anyway, Matt decided to change the course of his life some years back and attended and graduated from the world-famous Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, New York. Matt has since married and moved to Canada so this post is particularly directed to those of you who live in or may visit Toronto. Matt has a catering business called The Little Kitchen and he's running a contest right now with monthly winners.

Distance and circumstance mean that I haven't been lucky enough to taste his cuisine (though I have a promise of one day soon). I've heard about it, though, from his sisters, both of whom rave about it. Diana, who is the vegan, told me that she still dreams about the meal he made for her. Cindy says his food is awesome. But lest you think that's just family loyalty, here's a review - with photos - from Rockr & Junkii who got to enjoy one of these free meals... and here are some photos.... Doesn't he cook pretty?

Shrimp with Charmoula Sauce
grapefruit and red beet salad with tarragon and gribiche
Tarragon Ice Cream beet gelee, Grapefruit candy

As long as I'm doing commercials, anyone who loves rocks, aromatherapy, and all things esoteric should check out my friends' website - Beyond the Rainbow. There's a half price sale on lots of good things. I met Connie and Joyce when I lived in New York. They had a small store on Greenwich Avenue where my love of the beauty of rocks and crystals was re-awakened. I also had my first aura photo taken in their shop and they became my reiki teachers. They have had a huge impact on my life. They're good people and their website is worth checking out if you have the time and are looking for some unusual and special holiday gifts.

This was taken after a healing workshop
I participated in years ago.

Below are some of the rocks in my collection. If you look really hard most of the photos have a tiny spot of red somewhere, but not all, for which I apologize. But I love the stones so I put there pictures in anyway in hopes that nobody would mind.

This isn't a very Thanksgivingish post, but it does have food in it so...

I try to be grateful every day. There is so much to be grateful for in even the worst of times. For today, I'm grateful for my sister's children and that I think they are all very happy. I'm grateful for friends - live and cyber. I'm grateful for beauty, whether it be clouds in a blue sky, trees (in winter or summer dress), or my beautiful rocks. I'm grateful for my sweet kitties and for life itself.

For those in the US, I wish you a joyful Thanksgiving this Thursday, rich in love and good food. For those elsewhere. May every day for all of us around the globe be rich in small thanks givings. and may it too be rich in love and joy and peace.

Happy Ruby Tuesday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 90

This is week 90 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works.

Just a reminder that there will be no Wordzzle next week. We'll return on December 4th with words which have been graciously supplied by Argent. The Dragons will be pleased, I'm sure, that they are all single words. None of my nasty multi-word phrases. Thanks Argent. After another struggle with today's words, I'm starting to think maybe there should be a rule that I'm not allowed to come up with the words any more.... Looking forward to seeing what other's have done with them.

This week's words were: love is a many splendored thing, trucks, inspector, symbols, rising, organic, liberation, costly, smug, naughty And for the mini: the nature of the beast, identical, charcoal, braggart, vacation

My mega:

Inspector Amberson Trucks couldn't help himself. Curiosity was the in the nature of the beast as they say and even on vacation the police detective in him was on the alert. And there was something about the smug, loud-mouthed braggart at the table next to him in the costly suit opining loudly on topics ranging from organic food to animal liberation that had his suspicions rising by the minute. As their escort gabbed on about charcoal broiled steak being a symbol of the decadence of the human species, the women with him, who looked like identical twins, fidgeted uncomfortably in their seats. They seemed uncomfortable in their fancy clothes - like naughty children who had broken into their mother's closet. Madeleine Trucks, meanwhile, sat watching her husband. She knew the signs, knew that if she didn't find a way to divert him, the next days would be spent investigating ordinary people he perceived to be felons. Frustrating as it was, she couldn't help loving his imagination and his passion. She had once told him that he should write mysteries but he had been unamused. Eventually they had come up with a code to try and pull him back and she could see it was time now to act. "Amberson, my love," she whispered, tapping him on the shoulder, "Love is a many splendored thing, but it has its limits. You owe me $100 for every minute you spend inventing work while we're on vacation." "Melly, my love," he replied, "I married a wise woman. Consider me duly chastised. You know I can't afford that price."

The mini:

The vacationing Braggart Brothers were identical twins whose band, Charcoal and Gray, had recently released their first album. Must to their amazement the album - The Nature of the Beast - had gone platinum almost over night. They were trilled of course, but had not anticipated the nature of fame. Reduced to dining in their room and sneaking out at night, they were now hoping to come up with disguises which would conceal both their identities and the fact that they were twins. "Fame," they both muttered in unision, "is not what it's cracked up to be."

The 10-word:
love is a many splendored thing,

Nancy Naughty as the other truckers called her - her real name was Nancy Nawton - could feel her temper rising as the smug inspector (humming "Love is a Many Splendored Thing) as began the process of slowly, slowly, slowly torturing her with continued delays. Ever since she had turned down his request for a date six months earlier, he had harrassed her at every turn. Each time she reached his check point, he inspected every inch of her truck six times and in between refrains of that stupid song, peppered her her with absurd quibbles, even questioning the symbols on the crates of organic produce she regularly hauled to market. Every time he stopped her truck, he gave her a hard time. He had even gone so far as to red flag her with the other inspectors causing her untold embarrassment and time. The delays were costly not just to her but to the farmers who trusted her to get their food to the market as fresh as possible. Today she had arrived with a pre-set plan. On arrival she had begun transmitting video of the inspection process to the chief inspector's office. Fifteen minutes into the process, when the station phone rang, she knew she had won. No longer smug, the inspector barked curtly, "your free to go." Liberation at last! "Love may be a many splendored thing," she laughed, climbing happily back into her truck, but so are friend in high places."


Thank you again to Argent for coming up with the words for December 4th... after our US Thanksgiving break next week. I love a break from coming up with words/phrases.

Words for next week's 10-word challenge are: edge, haven, sunglasses, sprightly, telling, frazzled, juicy, quartet, tied, necklace

And for the mini: bees, crackling, wooden, staple, earful

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


The Clinton Foundation

These are a few of the programs that the Clinton Foundation is working on. There are dozens more of these little video statements, each very impressive, I thought. I'm awed by the range of programs and issues this Foundation has taken on. If you're interested in seeing more of what they are doing, you can go here and watch the other videos.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World Toilet Day

I'm still not back in my blogging groove and apologize to everyone because my posts of late have been rather random and lazy and worse than that my visits to others have been even more random and far between. I am grateful that anyone still visits.

And speaking of gratitude and things we take for granted, it turns out that there really is a day for everything. Today is World Toilet Day which is part of a campaign to help raise awareness of how very many people in this world (2.5 BILLION!!!!) live without something most of us in the developed world take for granted. That said, even in the US, much to my horror, there are those who live without adequate indoor plumbing. In the year 2009, that's pretty shocking. Anyway, you can send a card to help raise awareness if you'd like by going to You might want to check out Water for People too, since they are the sponsors of World Toilet Day. Here's the one I sent out to people who I knew (hope) will still love me even if I send them cards about toilets.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Psalm 109 - Distorting Faith and Love of Country

There is apparently a "movement," (a something) afoot using Psalm 109 as a subtle death-threat against our President. So-called Christians sport bumper stickers saying "Pray for Obama: Psalm 109.8. Psalm 109, verse 8 reads as follows:

"May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership."

The verse which follows says:

"May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."

This is Christianity? This is love of country? I wonder how people who carry such signs or put bumper stickers on their cars or wear t-shirts like this manage to rationalize it with Christian teaching. I wonder how they distinguish themselves from groups like the Taliban who use similar language, simply against different targets. Hate is hate and wishing death on anyone is about as anti-God as you can get in my understanding of all the great faiths. I think God - by whatever name one calls Him or Her - must weep at such things. I believe it hurts the souls of those who espouse it and I believe it wounds the soul of the Universal consciousness, in other words, all of us. I believe that it wounds God. I know it wounds me.

I loathed the previous administration. I wanted to see them out of office and I would have no trouble seeing them put in jail for actions which I believe to be criminal, but never ever ever ever did it occur to me to advocate for their murder... or even to wish it. If I'm going to be totally honest (and I do try to), I will confess that I had moments when I wished a house would fall on the previous administration, but I always stopped myself and asked for forgiveness and said a prayer for them when such ugliness seeped into my thinking. I tried very hard to distinguish my disgust for their political actions from them as human beings. At my worst, the idea of calling for their deaths is simply inconceivable to me. I don't wish terrorists put to death either. Just locked up. Vengeance turns us into what we hate. Vengeance is poisonous as hate is poisonous. Or that's what I believe.

In any case, I find this new "cute" coded hatred very troubling. It's not cute. There are too many crazy people out there having their fears and paranoia and racism fed by people like Glenn Beck, Sara Palin, Michele Bachmann and too many others to list. As the history of Nazi Germany and groups like Al Quaeda and the Taliban prove, a small number of people bent on hate can do profound damage in this world. It is often asked - where are the moderate Muslims when terrorist spew hate. I would ask, where are the voices of Christianity as some of their fellows are preaching hate in the guise of prayer?

To try to put your own hatred into the mouth of God seems particularly obscene to me, particularly hypocritical and un-Christian. I can't imagine but God's heart must break when people justify hate in his name. Too often those who shout their love of God the loudest use it to justify the ugliest aspects of human emotions, whether it is saying that God hate's gays or asking us to pray for the death of our President.

My prayer is for peace in our hearts and in the world. That we can disagree without being disagreeable. My prayer is that we listen to the voices of our better angels and that we pray for peace in the hearts of those who are lost in hate... whatever their faith may be.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Wisdom of a Child

There's something wonderful about children's purity of spirit when they are passionate about something. This is an interview with a 10-year old boy in Arkansas who has decided that he won't say the Pledge of Allegiance until we live up to the words - particularly in allowing equality for gay people. He's very articulate. Too bad more of us don't have the courage to stand up (or in his case sit down) for what we think is right. He's not gay, by the way, he just thinks it's wrong that everyone doesn't have equal rights.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 89

This is week 89 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. Not too happy with anything I've done here today. Had a hard time and lots of inner resistance, so I'm pretty much grateful that I got anything done at all. Not going to proof or re-read because I'll just get all nutty and want to redo them so... Hope you all had a better time with these than I did.

Just to help myself remember and to give everyone an early heads-up, I think maybe we will take a Thanksgiving break the week after next since I'm sure people - in the States, at least - will be busy cooking and eating and shopping and not really want to add wordzzles to their list.... and I think I need a mini break for myself too.

Words for this week's challenge were:
officer, candid, drowning, turtles, sugar-coated, prospecting, shame on you, recliner, luggage, brains And for the mini: paragon of virtue, cats-in-the-cradle, swamp, sprinkles, garbage

My mega:

Lost in a world of drowning turtles
Shame on you seems not enough to say
Swamps of sugar-coated garbage
Oozes from the lips of fake paragons of virtue
Playing cats-in-the-cradle with everyone's future
Greed trumping all
Politicians lie and obfuscate
Their luggage filled with cash and campaign slogans
Prospecting for votes they say anything
Their words so candidly self-serving
Even the most feeble minds,
Sprawled in their recliners
Sprinkles of sawdust falling from their brains
Must know they lie
What are we to do when our leaders
The officers who make the law
Care only about the political game
And when those who are supposed to hunt for truth
Hunt for ratings instead
I must admit to some despair
When hypocrites rule the stage
And keep us all so polarized that
We forsake our highest good
To someone else's greed
My beloved nation dies a thousand slow deaths
And turtles drown

My mini:

My cat Sprinkles is no paragon of virtue, that's for sure, but he somehow manages to be lovable no matter what he's done. When I came home last week, tired and already out of sorts from a long day at the office to find a tipped over garbage can and a swamp of debris on my kitchen floor, I was ready to scream but then hubs, who had walked in behind me carrying the baby Sam, called out "bring your camera, that stupid cat's in the cradle" - and there he was, sleeping as sweet as an angel. Since baby has outgrown it, he has taken to curling up in there after his naughty rampages. His way of reminding me, I guess, that he was my baby first before the fur-less interloper arrived. So I took his picture and tip-toed out to the kitchen to clean up the mess and make dinner for all three of my boys.

And the 10-word:
, candid, drowning, sugar-coated, shame on you,

Officer Fred Turtles shook his head sadly as he looked at his father sprawled out on the recliner, where he had obviously crashed the night before dead drunk. He walked quietly into his father's bedroom and packed enough luggage for a month at the rehab clinic. Making some breakfast and a pot of coffee, he began desperately prospecting his brain for the right memory or the right words with which to confront his troubled parent. He didn't want to approach him with some kind of shame-on-you lecture, but he knew the message couldn't be sugar-coated either. As he struggled with these thoughts his father walked into the kitchen groggily said, "Morning, Freddie, guess I must have fallen asleep in my chair." "Yeah, Dad. Looks like. I made you some coffee and breakfast." "Right thoughtful, Fred," the old man said, "I can use it." Candid, Fred finally decided. Just have to bite the bullet and tell it like it is. "Dad," he stammered, "I love you and I think you're drowning and I want you to get help. You're an alcoholic, Dad. I've booked a room for you at the rehab clinic. I know you miss Mom, but I don't think she'd want this for you. I..." His father raised his hand to silence him and his heart skipped a beat. "It's ok, son. You don't have to persuade me. I know you're right and I'm grateful. And you're right about your Mom. She spoke to me in my sleep last night.... told me you were coming and that I needed to listen to you. I never knew her to be wrong when she was alive, so I guess I'd sure better listen to her now. I'm a lucky man. What's this place you're asking me to go to?" Letting out a big sigh of relief, Fred let a tear trickle down his cheek and whispered a silent thank you to his mother. "OakHaven," he replied to his father's question. I did a lot of research and it seems to be the best place around.


Words for next week's 10-word challenge are: love is a many splendored thing, trucks, inspector, symbols, rising, organic, liberation, costly, smug, naughty

And for the mini: the nature of the beast, identical, charcoal, braggart, vacation

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day: Swords Into Ploughshares

I hate guns. I hate war. I hate violence, whether physical or emotional. I protested the War in Vietnam. I have been enraged by our unjustified invasion of Iraq. I have been troubled by our actions in Afghanistan.

Dianne at Forks off the Moment has posted eloquent words from war vets and a segment of one of my favorite ever poems, Dulce et Decorum, which was written during World War One by Wilfred Owens, who later died in that same war. The final line translates to "It is sweet and right to die for one's country." The poem, which references the poison gas used in WWI, reads as follows:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped5 Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

8 October 1917 - March, 1918

When I was young - unlike most young people - I tended to see things in shades of gray, probably because I was raised - and because it was my nature - to always try to put myself in the other person's shoes. In recent years I have grown more black and white, more polarized in my way of thinking and yet now I seem to be receding to shades of gray again. Second childhood? I don't know.

I know that I still hate war. I think it seldom does good. It just leaves dead and wounded in its wake. Seems to me that as with our children, our politicians and we ourselves give lots of lip service to how much we care but much less practical action. We care so much about our children but we underpay teachers and underfund education. We care so much about our soldiers but we send them into unrighteous wars, we send them under equipped and in recent days we send them for inhuman tours of duty that even the most grounded and stable human would have trouble enduring emotionally (forget physically) undamaged. We talk about supporting our troops, but we let them go without adequate psychological and physical care. We let them end up homeless and living on our streets. But we have a "day" for them and we say nice things about how swell they are and go on with our lives. We don't think much about h0w they are underpaid for what they do (I think this even though I am kind of anti military at my core) . We don't think about their wives/husbands and children who struggle to buy groceries and struggle with having their families broken by distance. Although my parents remained married for over 50 years, I don't think their relationship ever completely recovered from his absence during WWII.

We haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg yet of the Post Traumatic ravages of our current wars, wounds that aren't always visible but that devastate a life as badly or worse than the loss of a limb. Whatever I think of war, the soldiers who put themselves in harm's way, have a kind of courage I would never have and they have been forced to endure a kind of suffering in our name that nobody should ever endure. The wars they have engaged in in our name also ravage the lives and spirits of citizens in the countries we have invaded. They too must cope with the emotional trauma of living wrapped in violence. We may not be to blame for all of it, but we are to blame for some of it. It belongs to the collective guilt of all humankind.

That said, I am confused about Afghanistan. I confess to some confusion about how to deal with political entities like the Taliban and Al Quaeda who seem to have made hate, violence and the abuse of women into a religion. Do we give over a society to them? If our "military" goal is to defensively create a stable economy, is that really war in the terms I think of it. The dead bodies returning home would imply that it is. But we have entered into these countries and created havoc. Don't we bear some responsibility for leaving carefully? If I walk into your house and break a bunch of things, don't I have a duty to help you clean up my mess?

In the end, I just want all the killing to stop. In Afghanistan, in Israel, in the Sudan, in countries too numerous to list. I wish we would beat our swords into plow shares and use the money we spend on bombs to feed the hungry and cure the sick, to educate the illiterate, to care for the physical and emotional wounds of those young souls we have sent into battle. I want all the hate to stop. It's so easy to justify hate, to make excuses for killing. Israel blames the Palestinians and they blame Israel. We say we'll stop when the Taliban stops. Everyone claims God is on their side. My bet is that God isn't happy about any of us. I'm pretty sure "thou shalt not kill" was one of the very first ever rules the God of every faith laid down before his/her people. Yet off we march, society after society, faith after faith, claiming that massacring other human beings is noble. It never is. Not that individual soldiers don't act from nobility of heart and with greatness of spirit. Many do. But in the end, violence is never noble, it's just ugly. In the end, it just feeds off itself and becomes self-justifying.

Still, I don't know the best answers for how to back out of violence once we have got ourselves into the pit of war. I don't know. I just want peace. And I think we could do it if we tried. We could stop killing each other. How to get from where we are to where we should be is the tricky part.

So, I'm just digging myself deeper and deeper into confusion.

On this day, I hope we don't just wave flags and say how brave our Vets are. I hope we make sure that they get physical and psychological treatment. I hope we make sure that they don't end up living on the streets. I hope we make sure that their families get enough to eat and get psychological care to help them deal with the prolonged absenses of mothers and fathers, uncles and brothers and sisters. I hope we move from words to deeds.

I should go back and reread what I have drizzled out from my fingertips, but if I do, I'll never get this posted. My apologies for any typos and more-so for any incoherence.

I guess I'll close this confused hodge-podge ramble of words with the thoughts of some veterans of our current wars:

Peace Be Unto All of Us.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Happy Aunt

Well, my company has come and gone. I wish they could have stayed longer, but it was wonderful to have them take time out from their busy lives and spend hours and hours flying to come spend a few days here in Hancock.

John - who I hadn't met before - lived up to his reputation for wonderfulness and Diana is... Diana. She is awesome and just makes me happy and proud always. (Her siblings do too... can't play favorites here.)

Angel had a great time being carried around and playing and exploring (and doing - at least we think it was her - one unspeakbly naughty thing). Tara Grace did not quite so much enjoy the efforts to break her of her fear of being held and kept a relatively low profile. But anyway. I had a great time and hope they did too.

On Friday evening we watched the movie DOUBT. Must watch movie. Brilliantly done. Much food for thought. More than lived up to all the rave reviews.

We had a nice mellow morning on Saturday and in the afternoon Kim (Ramblings of a 40-Something Empty-Nester) came to spend some time with the visiting royalty and later Dan and Sue joined us. Kim brought us awesome home-made bread and a vegan chicken salad which were/are wonderful. (I'm actually having some left-over for breakfast as I type this). I got to share my whistling vessels at last and really hope I get to do more of that. For some reason I kind of forgot to take pictures the whole time but Diana reminded me at the end that I wanted a good shot of the two of them so I took the one above.

Angel, who developed quite a bond with John in particular, is a bit bereft this morning (see photo below). She is stuck with only me again. She was a superlative and entertaining hostess.

(I want to remember to acknowledge Nate and Dan and Mary for helping me prepare my home for my visitors. It looked/looks so nice and it was so good of you to give so much time helping me get ready. Thanks.)

But now as I write this, my beloved niece and newly beloved nephew-in-law-ish are in mid air, heading home. They left here at 4 am and will arrive at their final destination at about 11: pm. I'm so grateful for their visit, so thrilled that Diana is so happy. Life is good. (Late addition. Duh me... they have arrived home safely at 11:00 AM... AM... I wondered - obviously without thinking very hard - how it could take so long to get from here to NC... Sigh. Anyway, I'm glad they are home safe.)

Now I'm off to catch up on reading wordzzles.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 88

This is week 88 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. I had meant to cancel this week's challenge since my niece will be visiting, but I forgot so I'm preparing it early and setting it to post at the usual time but I probably won't be around to visit until Sunday or Monday. Diana's here! (well she will be when you read this.)

The words for this week's challenge were: Cute, come with me to the Casba, bloodhound, respiration, Facebook, Canada Geese, modern, gravity, spider webs, sea shells And for the mini: curiosity killed the cat, charming Victorian, railroad tracks, tower, salt and pepper

The maxi:

Although Lucinda lived right near the railroad tracks and the most interesting part of her view was a water tower, she still loved her home. The house itself was a charming Victorian and she had decorated it with knick knacks and furniture from that period so that entering it was like stepping back in time. Her most favorite treasures were a framed embroidery that said "curiosity killed the cat" that had supposedly been made by her great great grandmother and her collection of salt and pepper shakers. She had almost lost it all to a cute (he had more charm than good looks, really) guy she had met on that modern wonder, Facebook. He had pursued her on line for months, like a bloodhound on the scent. Sometimes his words were so poetic that gravity seemed to lift and her respiration became erratic. "Come with me to the Casba," he had written, "We'll walk on the beach and collect sea shells. We'll explore the world and follow the Canada Geese on their journey." It had all seemed so romantic. Lucky for her, her cousin Charlie had caught wind of it and had checked the guy out. Turned out he was a grifter know as Arachnid because he lured lonely women into virtual spider webs spun of promises and lies and then stole not only their hearts but all of their earthly possessions as well. It all had a really happy ending too, because Charlie talked her into going to the police and the officer who helped her set up the sting turned out to be the love of her life. He was kind, gentle, truly handsome ... and best of all, he loved antiques and had his own collection of salt and pepper shakers. Arachnid went to jail and Lucinda got married and lived happily ever after

The mini:

You would do well to remember that
Curiosity killed the cat, Amanda Tower whispered to the small salt and pepper colored ball of fur curled up next to her on the once charming Victorian sofa which the aforementioned ball of fur had put significant effort into redecorating, leaving veritable railroad tracks of scratches across almost every inch of it. One of these days you will not come away from your escapades with just a few scratches and bruises and a $200 vet bill for me. Honestly, I don't always know why I love you. Just a soft heart, I guess, she said as the ball of fur - looking for all the world like the most innocent of beings - crawled into her lap and started purring loudly. And you do give good hugs, you little monkey.

The 10-word:

Grace Gravity loved life and tried to live it to the fullest. Her best friend - of the furry kind, at least - was a bloodhound whom she named Facebook, ("his face may not be cute but it has so much expression it reads like a book," she would laugh when people commented on the name). As bloodhounds go, Facebook wasn't much of a detective, though he had a peculiar gift for sniffing out spiders and spider webs and sea shells. His favorite sports were beach combing, swimming and chasing cats and Canada Geese. But Facebook was more than a pet, a very special modern dog because his true and most profound gift was an instinct for even the most subtle changes in Grace's respiration and other signs that portended the onset of an epileptic seizure. Last year at the Humane Society's Come with Me to the Casba Ball and Fund Raiser he had not only saved her from the humiliation of a full blown public seizure, he had introduced her to the handsome Dr. Daniel Drake. They liked to tell people that they had met her fiance through Facebook. It was was a great conversation starter and a way of honoring the dog they both loved so very much.


Words for next week's 10-word challenge are: officer, candid, drowning, turtles, sugar-coated, prospecting, shame on you, recliner, luggage, brains

And for the mini: paragon of virtue, cats-in-the-cradle, swamp, sprinkles, garbage

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dona Nobis Pacem

It's that time again. The annual Blog Blast for Peace when bloggers from around the globe take time to send a wave of prayers for and thoughts of and about peace out into the Universe. This event is the heart child of Mimi at Mimi Writes.

What to say about peace in a world that seems so hell-bent on its alternative... I'm find it hard to find words for the jumble of thoughts that are churning around in my head.

As anyone knows who visited my blog during the elections last year (and any time since), my otherwise mild mannered self is rabidly political. I find it hard to maintain my sense of peace and live-and-let-live in the face of people whose views seem so counter moral to me (as I'm sure my views seem to them). I don't understand levels of greed that allow people to leave others homeless so that they can have more money than any one human being needs. I don't understand people who think that if they have health insurance, that's all that matters, that the inconvenience of having to wait a day for coverage trumps waiting a life time. I don't understand people who feel that they have a right to legislate someone else's morality. I don't understand people who claim to be Christians yet ignore things like "even as ye have done it unto the least of these... and do unto others... and judge not lest ye be judged and... my list goes on and on." And I find myself becoming the thing I hate, feeling judgmental and cranky and anything but peaceful. When I listen to the Glenn Beck's and Limbaugh's, to the Ann Coulter's and Sara Palin's I have a hard time living my own ethic. I know that these are wounded souls on some level, but they speak hate and live to spread fear and discord. They prey on ignorance and the ugliest aspects of the American Spirit and thought I try to send love, I find myself often drawn into the vortex. Peace will come, I hope, when people like me don't get drawn into that vortex but rise above it, when we stop giving it power and put our energy into being for equal rights and healing rather than against petty dark souls who really aren't worthy of all the attention that they get. I still struggle with finding that capacity for peace in my own small life.

It's much the same, it seems to me on the grander international scale. I have often bemoaned the fact that the leaders of Israel and Palestine leap at any excuse to fight. One crazed lunatic blows himself up and peace treaties are thrown away for over-the-top retaliations that breed more crazy lunatics. It makes my head spin and it makes me sad. But aren't I the same here in my tiny kingdom? I let the hate mongers make me foam at the mouth.

I'm still carrying a lot of anger about what was done to my country over the past years, dragged into a war that should not have been, dragged into the moral perversity of torturing other human beings and imprisoning them without trial in conditions that are less than decent. I'm carrying a lot of anger that those who supported this horror are still fomenting fear, obstructing putting these mere mortals into American prisons (like we couldn't handle them... what are they? Sorcerers? If they were that powerful they would have escaped already...).

I don't like wars but I have less certainty than I once did about what's right and wrong. Is it peaceful to give over the people of a nation to those who kill people for disagreeing with them, who abuse women as a matter of "faith," who have perverted a peaceful religion into an instrument of mass murder and suicide? I have always believed (and still do) that violence begets violence. And yet I don't know an answer to hate as a faith. I don't know the answer to it on the world scene or on the local scene where there are those who think my friends shouldn't be able to love each other because they are both men.

I am grateful for our new president. He hasn't proven to be Superman. Hasn't leaped the Republican Party in a single bound, fixed the broken economy with a snap of his fingers, or gotten jobs for every citizen in 10 months. He has taken steps, though, at home and abroad. He has opened doors to talk with others about the issues that divide us. That alone has shifted the energy of the whole planet. Yes, I want all the guns beaten into plow shares and I want everyone to have a home of their own and a high paying job and more than enough to eat. And I want it yesterday. But change takes time. People who visit me regularly, know that I have had a major miracle in my life. A year ago in July, I wrote to an organization that helps people like me and asked if they could help me get a ramp to make my home easier and safer to get in and out of. For months I didn't hear anything and I figured that I hadn't made the cut, but then about 6 months after I applied, I got a call saying that they wanted to make a house inspection. Turned out that not only would they give me my ramp but a new bathroom with a walk-in shower and a more user friendly kitchen. I couldn't believe it. I was excited but then it seemed like nothing was happening... 5 months passed as paper work and applications and drawings were made. And then suddenly tons of things happened. For two months my home was in chaos with people hammering and pounding and painting and working... and "suddenly," my home is a new paradise of sorts with an entry I can use without panic. I can take a shower without wondering if I'm going to live through climbing in and out of the bath tub, and my kitchen... what can I say about having storage and counters and a sink I can reach? What can I say about having my washing machine where I can get to it? Thank you, for one thing. But my point (yes, I do have one) is that change and miracles don't always rise up in an instant. Like most things, they grow and evolve and then suddenly - like a flowers blossoming on a tree - they are miraculously there.

I practice gratitude religiously. Years ago I learned a Hawaiian adage: energy flows where attention goes. What we pay attention to, we bring to ourselves. I start and end my day giving thanks for all my blessings, by name. I give thanks for water when I drink or when I shower. I give thanks for the life force of the food I eat. I give thanks for my friends and my cats and for money to pay my bills (even when I don't quite have it). I think I want to remember to give thanks for world peace in the days to come (even though we don't quite have it yet).

This is long and rambly and I'm not sure where I'm going, having dragged anyone patient enough to read through all these words. I guess where I'm winding up is the belief that peace starts within. I don't think we can sit around hoping it will come to us. I think we need to generate it. I think we need to radiate it from our hearts and make the effort to generate love even to those we find despicable. (Limbaugh? Bin Lauden? Ugh.... I didn't say it was easy, but...)

And maybe first and foremost we need to generate it towards ourselves. I know I'm not going to always succeed. It's too much fun being pissed off sometimes and enjoying the wit of people like Jon Stewart to give up on crankiness completely. But still, I commit myself here and now with this post, to add my thanks for societal and world peace, to be grateful for every word spoken in peace, every step taken to stem violence and rape and murder, to give thanks for the Mimi's of this world and all of us who have participated in this blast for peace.

Peace be with you. Peace be with us all.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Blog Blast Reminder

I have been so self-absorbed and so just disconnected and I still am a bit. Hopefully after the royal visit from my niece on Thursday I can get myself regrounded and blog with more purpose again. Nate and Dan and Mary have been wonderful and helped me do a great clean-up so that the house is looking wonderful. Yesterday Dan set up the back bedroom so my guests will feel welcome and hopefully reasonably comfortable. I want to go to the kitchen and take some final photos as it is now almost ready to be declared my own. It's so beautiful and so much easier to manage than what I had before. I'm still in a daze of disbelief and joy mixed.

BUT my main purpose this morning is to remind myself and anyone else who might pop by that Thursday is the annual Blog Blast for Peace hosted by Mimi at Mimi Writes. The Blog Blast is an international mass prayer for peace. If you want to join in, go to Mimi's and pick up a "globe" thingy, make it your own and then on Thursday sign in and explore all the peace prayers from around the world. I finally made my globe this morning. If you click on it, it will take you to Globe Central where you can pick up your own and register to join the circle of peace.