August 28, 2007

Pass the Ice Floes

America today is like the polar bears swimming in the ocean looking for ever shrinking ice floes. We think we are the biggest bear in the world but we don’t have the infrastructure to support us anymore. Bridges collapse, mine owners refuse to dig out the remains of miners who die, New Orleans is a village of broken houses and shattered dreams, animals are gassed or used in dog/cock/animal fights and killed when they don’t perform, the Michael Vicks of the land just think they can apologize and that gets them off the hook for murdering animals, and humans are shut out of work because they possess obsolete skills the labor force doesn’t need anymore. And through it all, the government is busy pointing fingers at Iran saying we need to fight them next. And telling us that we are winning in Iraq. Please.... The government is busy covering up the way they have broken the laws and the constitution in this country. It is only a matter of time before the citizens of this country realize that they are like that poor polar bear swimming for its life in a dangerous sea. Will it find a place to land? Not likely.

Take a Thing...

Take a thing my mom would say when one of us kids would sniffle. Pain pills and the medical profession. As an owner of a chronic pain syndrome, (pat the nice pain, honey, and don’t worry, it only hisses when it wants attention). Personally, I have been very lucky not to get hooked on pain medication. American's love quick fixes. But quick fixes never last. Fast, faster, fastest only works in stock car races. It is not the way to run a country's health care. And as a chronic pain sufferer, I can tell you from experience that doctors would rather Take insurance companies as a for instance on a subject I have written often about. Chronic Pain. Insurance companies don't want to s. Insurance companies don’t like to pay for extended medical treatments that actually help pain sufferers learn how to live with chronic pain. I believe the insurance providers would rather have the doctors shovel pills at us instead of starting with the basics of good nutrition, good sleep habits, good mental health. Those fixes take time. It is easier to give out pills and have the patient go away. My current theory is that as an individual I am addicted to pain itself. And pills will not break that habit. I don’t know how to behave when I don’t hurt. So I am grateful that what I have seems resistant to regular over the counter and high powered drugs my doctors tried to use on me 4 years ago. Making friends with pain instead of using it as a way of validating myself is new. And I would never have learned it embittered by drugs failing to work driving me to use more and more. Now that, honeys, is addiction.

Quo Vadis?

Questions? As I get older, I ask myself things I never thought about before. For instance, bones….how many bones are discarded every year, every month, every day, every hour, every minute, every second? I am betting that those bones would bury us. Kruschev threatened to bury us as he pounded his shoe on the table at the United Nations. Empty threat. All he needed to do was wait. We'd kill ourselves by second hand smoke, toxic landfills, birth defects from thalidomide, above ground nuclear testing. Hah! But I digress. One way bones are disposed of is by cremation. Another is for them to be processed for use as by-products in dog food, in cat food, in cow chow. Did you know mad cow disease is caused by cows eating cow remains? So what do we humans get in our chow? It is a disgusting question that has had me eating macaroni and cheese for the whole summer and trying desperately to stay away from normal (hah) sources of protein. I am going to do some googling to find out more information. Meanwhile, can you pass me the nuts?

August 22, 2007

Shelf Life and Zen

This morning it hit me. Being a parent has a short shelf life. Being parentally involved is forever. After a certain age, kids surely don't need to be told who to talk to, how to act, what to do, how to get good grades. Those hands' on tasks pretty much are over when the kid turns 7. And they are over and done with by the time a kid becomes a teenager of 15 to 20. Currently, I am onto the next phase of life...caring but not taking over. Adopting/rescuing cats instead of wiping noses and bandaging knees. Now I am being relied upon in some things but not in others. Being a stone in the river of life for them to swim over to for anchorage as needed. At least, that's my view at the moment. The main thing is to work on my own view of the situation and learn to hold close with an open hand. Zen koans help .... Until zen, peace


Rescue works like that. I get all excited when I sign up to help out. I am doing a run with a Mastiff (can we say BIG) on Saturday and then going to my FOHA cats on Sunday. Yippee.

August 21, 2007

Phrases that Should be Banned

Of all the bureaucratic goobledygook, this phrase tops the list.

While attendance is optional, we encourage you to attend.

What exactly does it mean? Red marks will be drawn around necks of those who do not come to the meeting? Or is it just a feeble reminder that RSVPs are dead?

Mikado Wisdom (G&S) and Ginger Joe

I rescued the cat above because neighborhood kids were throwing things at him. Ginger Joe is a real lap cat all of which goes to show that malicious treatment doesn't necessarily make a sweet animal mean. But abusive behavior makes me furious no matter who it is directed towards. Michael Vick? The kids in the neighborhood? All one and the same to me. Mini-Vicks just waiting to grow up to run dog fights. Hurting animals deadens the ethics of small kids to just about everything else. Clearly it did in Vicks' case. So no, I am no fan of bullies. I don't understand what it is about smaller animals or people that tempts bigger people or corporations to bully. As a a small woman in America, I wrestle with bullying, whether institutional or societal, all the time. From the pompous people who cut in front of me at Starbucks to the institutionally ingrained bullying of size-ism, age-ism and whatever else-ism that exists in America today. Life just got much bigger when I started to rescue because then I knew I could make a difference. Make a change. I feel like the Lord High Executioner in Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado...I have a little list of cut down to size.....


Knights in White Satin ... the Moody Blues' classic says it best in the little aside that doesn't get air time these days.....
Cold hearted orb that rules the night Removes the colours from our sight Red is grey and yellow white But we decide which is right .... And which is an illusion
copied from

I write about illusion today. Illusion permeates everything ... job safety, health concerns, national concerns. Illusion runs the political debates nowadays. Rupert Murdock's takeover of the Wall Street Journal and DowJones is disturbing. Who knows what illusions will be foisted on us by Murdocks' minions in the future. Only the informed citizen can discern "which is right and which is an illusion."

Enough for now, peace please.

Testing Never Fixes Structural Problems

The photo above is of the Benedict Chapel. It was built more than 100 years ago. Here is a link to St. Paul's Episcopal Church that is connected to the Benedict Chapel.

Has the chapel ever been tested for structural soundness? I doubt it. After all, this is a private chapel attached to an Episcopalian Church established in 1818. And the church vestry would need to be the one who initiated the request to test for structural soundness. There are no church building engineers until the churchs are sold as new age condos.
But this story about the church illuminates lots of questions for me. When is testing useful? When is testing used by statisticians to stall? Do tests ever fix the problems they test for? Who should do the testing? The local homeowner, the jurisdiction whose population use a defective bridge, the state, the government? Whose ox is going to be gored? Do you fix the problem and pay the price? Or, as is too often today, stall by testing and retesting until the problem goes away or becomes overtaken by events as in Minnesota?
The Minneapolis bridge disaster had plenty of people wringing their hands on the state of the bridge. Plenty of testing. I am really sure they wanted the bridge to be well, to work. Good wishes, good testing and good intentions on a scale of the bridge collapse really don't work. Fixing the problem works.

My bigger question is this: Do we ever willingly do the tough stuff of protecting and caring for others before they die? On a personal the issue of the abandoned cat. I had people coming up to me wringing their hands..."I have cats already," they'd say. "I just don't know what to do," they'd say. "My husband would kill me if I did anything to help." they'd say. Why don't you take care of him? they'd say. So I did because they weren't going to put themselves out of pocket for $300+ in vet bills or in doing a good deed. They say, they say, they say...makes me sick.
Fixing the problems the Bridge had certainly would have been more than $300 in vet bills but it would have saved the victims' lives. And that surely is priceless.

August 20, 2007

The Three B's: Boccaccio, Beruit, Bourdain

I am not a fan of Anthony Bourdain. You know, the chef extraordinaire so full of smug arrogance it is hard to believe he has room in his lungs for breathe. He is currently travelling around the world for the Travel Channel making shows about eatteries in various countries. However, my view of him is changing given his most recent show, Anthony Bourdain in Beirut. This was an amazing show cataloging his stay in a country sliding sidewise into the horrific chaos of a war zone. This show, though, marks a watershed for me in my view of him. I am surprised at his candour and his fury at how slipshod the American rescue attempt was for those stuck in Beruit during the latest war between Israel and Lebanon. No doubt, because of my background in Humanities, he reminded me a lot of Boccaccio's Decameron. For those wishing a refreshing dip into the classics is Fordham University's link. For those just needing a gloss, the Decameron is a story about rich Florentines who fled to their country estates to escape the black death. The parallel for me, was when Bourdain and his filming crew helpers wind up stuck at an extremely beautiful hotel where they cannot flee until their local "fixer" sets things up for them to move to the shore. And that is dependent on the U.S. Marines/Navy finally getting around to picking up refugees at the harbor. Bourdain finds this dicotomy of being safe poolside at a resort hotel while watching other peoples' lives being destroyed upsetting enough to comment on it. It was chilling. No matter what side of the war you supported or believe was justified, this documentary deserves as much play as possible in the U.S. It shows better than words how fragile life is, how easy it is to lose, how reality and comfort can vanish in the space of a breathe, of a sentence, in a heartbeat. Is there safety in the world? Real safety? Not possible. I believe that safety is the illusion of the uninformed. Life is a precarious business made much more so by the expectation that a good life, a comfortable life, will never go away. Maintaining a mindful attitude toward possessions, toward waking the next morning, really is essential for me to maintain my balance in a seriously skewed world which feels the need to attack, counter-attack, endlessly. Jean Dixon, the psychic phenomena of the 60s, said the end of the world would start in the 1990s in the Middle East. Watching Bourdain's show cements that view in my mind. By all means try to find a copy of it to watch. Soon. Until then, peace.

August 16, 2007

Computer Sayings

I have just discovered the truth in a zen saying I know...that this blog stems from actually. Reflect Repent Reboot. Recently got a new gizmo. It makes a spectacular paper weight. Nevermind it is supposed to connect to the internet. It doesn't need to be useful. Just gorgeous. Who knew I'd get such a diva gadget? Sheesh. Until then, peace...

Noted with Joy Just found this website. A remarkable read. Truly

Sharm El Sheikh Swimming with Sharks

Sometimes, I swim out of my depth. I did it while swimming many years ago at Sharm El Sheikh. In 1983 I went on a tour there and was told to go swimming because the view into the chasm off shore is amazing. It was incredibly deep and clear water. It also had a couple of sharks in it that none of us realized were there until I was about 50 feet from shore. Not being a strong swimmer, I suspect I was just lucky the sharks had other things to do so they didn't bother me. But those tour guides on the shore were sure bothered and calling to get me to swim back to shore. I didn't realize until they pointed out the shark profiles just how lucky I was.

Now I swim out of my depth regularly as I write. Only when I sit down to re-read what I have written do I realize I have hit on a universal truth for me. And hopefully a universal truth for others as well. Ah, those invisible sharks of the soul swimming just out of sight. Certainly, I can't always see them. The sharks, I mean.

Anyway--here is the link to where I was swimming with my sharkey buddies.... and here is a link to photos someone took of area sights ...

August 15, 2007

Felix on Toy Recalls

I am so glad I am not a parent of a small child now. Don't get me wrong. This toy recall though is just the living end. I don't recall so many massive recalls on toys when my kids were small and unreasonable in their view that their toy was their toy and not to be taken away. One modest solution, ahem, is for the Build-a-Bear company to advertise making bears from their stores because the consumer creates them on site. Toy car companies might have more of a problem but I may just not have enough imagination on that industry. I don't think it is a perfect solution but it might be cheaper and better for the environment for the toys to be assembled in this country. But considering that we would reduce fuel used carting the cargo across the world, no greenhouse gas added to the atmosphere, fewer polar bears swimming and drowning because their habitat is destroyed, I'd say it was a pretty good idea. If any of those arguments work for you in reasoning with your kids, then blessings and check out a book being published by the folks who make the Kit-Kat Clock shown above. They also publish a book for stuff to do with kids. The best I could do was to try writing my own childrens' stories which worked because I had my kids' suggest the stories they wanted to hear. I say and Felix agrees with me...start small with corncob dolls. Then Build-A-Bear alternatives look attractive. Start small with teaching the kids that homemade entertainment survives electrical outages and are portable skills. And let me know how that works for you. I am betting in this consumer driven land it won't work very well but I'll keep a light in the window for you.... And check this kit-kat website out for more fun.
Until nonsense makes sense, peace.

Sometimes life finds us in strange places.

Politics of Safety Recalls

It is getting so every day some new import is being recalled. Felix says, recall the folks who were supposed to be keeping us safe. FDA, NSA, CIA, Consumer Product Safety, name the organization. We gotta a lot of 'em. The current flap is about kids' toys having lead paint and magnets small enough to swallow. I ask myself, I ask did those of us over 50 live through the dark ages of consumer protection... From mercury filled thermometers to lead paint to no seat belts to no head rests in cars. Surely this flap is good for the health of somebody but I suspect it is better for the health of some doctor's bank account. Sigh.

August 13, 2007

Socializing Cats Doesn't Happen in an Instant

My newest cat, Tigger, is learning how to be a cat. He'd lost touch with that skill. Animals are born knowing how to play. If they are lucky, they have siblings to play with. If no siblings, perhaps mom cats to play with them. It is sad to find animals who are too scared to play. Socializing animals is an integral part of rehoming and rescue. It may be a reason why some animals get returned to shelters and to the pound. No one took the time to connect with them when they were younger, no one takes the time to gently work with them until they are comforted by humans instead of scared of them. And the bottom line in all of those is "time." It is as if we grudge the time it takes to connect with an animal or a kid or a person on the street. It is just too much time to spend to comfort anyone but our selfish selves. When did we as a society lose that ability to comfort others? All too often these days, it is the convenience of life we relish instead of the process of opening a bag of flour and actually creating cookies or bread or gravy. We have instant food instead of the ritual of creating sustenance. Nor does TV help or teach people socialize. We have instant game analysis, instant news, instant entertainment. But life gets gone in an instant as well. Cats teach socialization skills because we instinctively react socially with them. Cats teach the fleeing of instants. So cherish the instants you have. Remember not everyone gets the time they need to feel safe. Keep it in mind. Until peace happens, bring peace to others around you. Namaste.

Locked Cars, Socks and Faith

As I wash my clothes, I come to the realization that "Whoosh, where are my socks?" is just a manifestation of not having faith that my socks are where I put them. After all, the last time I saw my socks was when I put them into the drier. At no point did anyone else take them out of the drier and keep them from me. You have no idea how many times I have found socks in unexpected places -- folded in sets of bed sheets, jumbled in with shirts, thrown into closets on top shelves. Faith is just as elusive as socks some days. Tonight, I locked myself out of my car. I was in a huge hurry when I went to get gas. Instead of clutching my keys close or clipping them to my belt or even leaving the car door unlocked, I threw the keys on the seat next to me, grabbed my money and closed the car. I only realized what I'd done after a few gallons of gas glugged into the tank. You know the feeling. That sinking pit of the stomach feeling when something is totally not right. Taking time to do things right has always been a challenge in my life. Taking time to find faith is equally not easy some days. It is that spin dry cycle of life that messes my faith up the same way it messes with my socks. Frankly I had no faith that the locksmith would get to my car when the insurance company told me. No faith whatsoever. But, in fact, he showed up early. Go figure....So thank goodness for the locksmiths who not only know how to unlock my car but how to restore my faith in timely execution of requests to an car insurance company whose trouble operator was located in Atlanta, Georgia. Now all I need to find is a locksmith to unlock my heart. I suspect that will be an inside job and may take whatever time it takes. But until nonsense like life makes sense...peace.

August 10, 2007


SLURP.....The curious sound of schedules being sucked dry. Parents have no life these days. None. Work to pay the bills, run home to take care of kitties and kiddies and find time to take care of me. Of free time, I have approximately .... none. The projected schedule for this coming year is one of shock and awe to my daytimer. Work full time, get home around 7 pm, sooner if I have to go to a meeting at the local high school, which means work through lunch so I can leave early enough to get to after school meetings or games which start at the suburban hour of 6 pm. Good for suburbanite footballer wifely moms, but bad for the rest of us.

Finding Home

Tigger eyes...under the table where my Big Guy cat is resting. I have been editing and editing and editing a powerpoint slide show about my newest cat, Tigger. He is a great cat. He is an awesome cat. I think 4 cats is just the right amount. Each cat has its own buddy. He is such a great cat. And in creating a home for him, I am finding a way for myself in this world that doesn't care for strays. And hopefully making peace.

August 7, 2007


Mascara is scarey on unexpected folks. Like Green Day singers and now my cat Ginger/Tigger. Very striking. Eyes lined like a rock star. Almost makes me want to find a cat agent for him as the next Morris. Hah.... Talk about backyard champion dreaming.

August 5, 2007

Courage and Being First in Something

Courage. Good to have on the battlefield and in life. Recently, as I hauled yet another yowling cat to the vet, I received a sweet accolade from her about being good hearted. And then it hit me. I told her I wasn't good hearted, I just didn't have enough courage to face myself if I didn't do the right thing by this cat who was being tormented by the neighborhood boys. I just couldn't face myself and lie ... And, I think, that is courage of another sort. Interior courage of standing up for what I believe is the right thing to do, standing up against the societal pressure to fit in and let someone else take up the burden of doing the right thing. There is a fellow who called in to Car Talk yesterday making plans to be the first in something. He plans to hike across Death Valley Desert in the daytime. All of it 193 miles or so. He claimed there were no firsts left in the world. He wants so much to be first he is willing to risk his life and his fellow hikers as well. All I want is to be truly myself and that is a first for me. To do without making waves what is good for an individual cat or animal. Just to do. It is an interior first worthy of my aim. I hope the fellow's Death Valley trek works out ok. My only advice? Don't use online maps.

Until then, peace

Bermuda Triangles and Migraines

I have a thumping good migraine today. A mixture of bad weather, no car air conditioning, not much gas and letting myself believe in online maps. Online maps are like gifts from leprechauns. Never real. Yesterday was no different. I believed I had enough gas to visit a friend's house. I believed the 100 degree weather would be no problem. I believed I knew where I was going. I believed it would take 1/2 hour because I would be taking the back roads. Instead, it took 2+ hours, much sweat, much swearing, much more than I had to give to the project. I got lost and I got a migraine. My only advice is never get lost in a rich neighborhood. No one there cares. Actually, I take that back. Small rich towns like this only want to see the backside of strangers driving around in their town. So the owner of a small cafe who had a vintage Texaco sign in front of his shop was very gracious in telling us exactly how far away a real gas station was. My long term advice for myself is never take back roads unless I have a native of the area in my car. To do otherwise is to risk the doom of the back road Bermuda Triangle Phenomena ("BTP") that exists around here. We lose so many unwary travelers to BTP. And those we don't lose, get migraines. Until the thumping stops, peace