December 31, 2008

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If these two guy cats can get along, we all can do it.
Until there is peace, find peace within yourself

If cats can, We can

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From the Ain't this the truth column

Ain't this the truth today:

  • The Queen of Wands card suggests that my power today lies in liberation.
  • I radiate or communicate personal power, passion, and allure and am not dragged down by trends.
  • I have a bold magical flair and a spirit of innovation and pride. I am secure in my identity or performance and thrive on creating, designing or fostering new or equal opportunities for aesthetic or personal growth, expression or awareness.
  • I am empowered with gratitude, attention and reputation to go beyond the call and I transform through exploring or initiating change.

And here I was wondering why I suddenly found an advertisement for a job that just fits my skills in Northern Virginia. Oh, well, not so close. It is actually down in Harrisonburg with lots of commuting to the Northern Virginia office but ... not a bad thing at all.

Let's just see what happens.

Be Well and at Peace

A modest wish of mine is for all people to 'just get along.' This is the tap root of who I am and always have been. So my wish for 2009 is Buddhist in nature....that all of us find peace in ourselves and reach out to make peace with each other.

May All Beings Know Peace
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December 30, 2008

New Year's Wish

  • I got an email from a friend of mine at a law firm downtown. It is one of those awful chain emails and promises luck to the sender who then afflicts all of their friends by sending it on to them. And as my friend said in her initial paragraph, 2008 was not a good year for her and she hoped that 2009 would be better. In writing back to her, I had to agree and then discovered I needed to write more on the subject.

  • I agree 100% with you. 2008 was a year when things fell apart for a lot of us. I am so glad you found a place at a downtown firm and I hope things will start to pick up after Obama gets sworn in. I truly do. We need more than luck. We need stable strong thoughtful calm leadership. We need to be able to trust again. We really need a miracle and I hope the Obama and his team can do pull this country out of the swamp of corruption and greed that Bush led us into. I have been alive (oh, good grief, I sound ancient but...) through Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and now Bush II. The shrub (aka Bush II) was just awful.
  • Bush claims he will be recalled as a good president. And just maybe he will be remembered in 2,000 years as someone who had to make tough choices. However, he has burdened the United States with a reputation we will spend years getting back, he has run us into so much debt we will not be able to pay it down in my lifetime, his legacy in every single part of his administration has been marked by a reckless abandonment of regulators keeping an eye on things.
  • From slaughter houses in California and Kansas, to illegal immigration, to civil liberties being taken away, to the financial meltdown, to drugs from China killing us, to toys being filled with lead, to environmental regulators being told they could not bring up issues that needed to be addressed. He has a lot to answer for and I don't think he will be prosecuted after he leaves office.
  • I don't even think Cheney will be prosecuted for making sure we got into Iraq. It is really a monumental screw up of historic proportions. Breathtaking.
  • In 2009, we all will get a new start with Obama, new congress, and fresh ideas. I just hope we don't expect too much. There is so much to fix and he is just one guy. But I figure that if FDR could create the New Deal, Civilian Conservation Corp and all the other programs that eventually edged us out of the Great Depression from a wheelchair, then perhaps we can have hope.
  • After all, hope was all that was left in Pandora's Box after she opened it the first time. You remember Pandora? According to Bullfinch's Mythology, the gods on Mt. Olympus created her and sent her down to earth. She came with a wedding present -- a box she was not supposed to open. The box supposedly held blessings from all of the gods. Curiosity overwhelmed her and she opened the box letting all the ills which afflict the world out -- except the one that was left behind when she hastily closed the box up again. I can only imagine how horrible that must have been for her. But the myth says that the one blessing left in the box was hope.
  • My memory plays tricks on me sometimes but I remember this legend differently at this point. I recall learning that Pandora opened the box again when another of the gods came down to tell her that there was one gift left in the box which would help with all the terrible plagues on mankind. He (perhaps the god was Mercury who was the messenger to all the gods) assured her that hope was in the box and needed to be released. She opened the box again and that is why even with such terrible times as we are having now, we can reach deep inside ourselves and find hope ...

    Until peace, may we all know peace and have hope in new beginnings.

December 26, 2008

Draining Experiences (shameless crib)

December 26, 2008
Helpful, Useful, Supportive
  1. Cancer Daily Horoscope
    You may be feeling helpful today, which could find you offering assistance to your workmates or making yourself useful in the kitchen. The underlying motive behind your desire to help is really the desire to support others.
  2. An act of support is a gift that is easy and inexpensive to give. It shows caring and the willingness to stand beside those we care about, regardless of the circumstances.
  3. Sometimes it is an act of connection between ourselves and another human being. By lending our energy physically to a situation, we also lend our emotional and spiritual energy to make the circumstance something new.
  4. Like adding a new ingredient to a recipe, it becomes something different than it would have been otherwise. By adding the uniqueness of yourself to any situation today, you make an impact while offering your support.
  5. You may be drawn to be helpful in a situation because you are open and receptive to the need for assistance. Maybe you have the perfect energy to balance a situation or can make it the best it can be.
  6. Or you could be drawn to a situation because there is something in it for you. You may not realize it but you could be about to meet someone who could change your life, or you could learn a skill that will come in handy in the future.
  7. By following your instincts today, you allow yourself to share your unique qualities while also enriching your own life.
Delayed GratificationCancer Daily Horoscope
Your sense of duty may have you putting your work ahead of your personal life today, leaving you feeling reliable and conscientious.
  1. Delayed gratification helps us create order in our lives since we do what needs to be done first so that we may enjoy rewards later. It is the discipline that guided us as children to do our homework before we went outside to play. Applied to our adult lives, it allows us to tend to our responsibilities before we seek out fun activities.
  2. But as adults, putting work ahead of our personal lives may mean we ignore the responsibilities of our homes and families for the purpose of making money, and that can create an imbalance in our lives.
  3. Today you can make a point of being conscientious toward your highest priorities in order to live a full and balanced life. We can take a moment to make sure that we have our priorities in order of true importance.
  4. Though society tends to stress the importance of work, our jobs are certainly not more important than our families. By seeking balance between work and play, rest and recreation, we can make sure that we keep our responsibilities to ourselves and to our loved ones as well as do work that supports them all.
  5. When you know what your goals are, you know the direction you need to take and can make changes accordingly to ensure that we live our lives to the fullest, today and every day.

December 24, 2008

A Sidewise Greeting to the World

Solutions to difficult situations come from looking at them in new ways.  Sometimes we need to see the world from a different perspective.  The quickest way to do this is to look through the corner of your eye.  Or tip known objects sidewise and look at them.  Never throw away any creative idea you created in the past.  You never know when it will become a launch pad for another phase of your life.

Until then may all beings know peace and reindeer.  Especially the reindeer.

More to ponder from ... shameless copying

  1. The Knave of Swords card suggests that my power today lies in promise.
  2. I am bright, edgy, curious and articulate and am developing respect and competence through preparation and practice.
  3. I am anxious to be tested or challenged -- but I am not afraid to question authority or participate in the latest craze.
  4. I am a perpetual student of learning and try to think before I speak or act.
  5. I am empowered by confrontation or opportunity and my virtue is self-restraint.

December 23, 2008

My Cats and Fish and life in general

  1. My cats love to look at my fish. Sadly, the fish aren't happy being watched. Over the past month, though, Freckles started to fish for the fish and drink the water in the tank. I tried everything I could think of. I finally covered the tank with a dark cloth to keep him out but I didn't think about the water being wicked up into the clothe and leaking everywhere. Worse, I didn't realize the dark clothe was not going to leak its dark dye into the water.
  2. So last night I changed the fish tank, swapped the fish out of the tank into smaller containers and put them up onto the bookcase with a lamp turned on to keep warm while I heated the water in the cleaned out tank to the right temperature for them again.
  3. Success this morning. The fish survived the night, the water warmed to the correct temperature and I threw out the lid which came with the tank because it was unable to keep out the cats. I have now covered the tank with two plastic chopping sheets and moved all the smaller furniture to keep the cats above the fish should they be able to jump up.

I think life is a lot like my cats and fish. I just have to keep working on the details on the job hunt to find something. Refining is not admitting defeat. It is, as am I, a work in progress.

Just for the Record...More Cribbing

From the Shameless Cribbing Network that is me these days....Here is the daily om horoscope.....
The original is in numbered blocks and my riff on them follows with regular formatting....

  1. Conditioned ResponseReactions To Life Events. Our experiences color everything. The events of the past can have a profound effect on how we see our lives now and what we choose to believe about our world.
  2. Our past experiences can also influence our emotional reactions and responses to present events. Each of us reacts to stimulus based on what we have learned in life. There is no right or wrong to it; it is simply the result of past experience.
  3. Later, when our strong feelings have passed, we may be surprised at our reactions. Yet when we face a similar situation, again our reactions may be the same. When we understand those experiences, we can come that much closer to understanding our reactions and consciously change them.
  4. Between stimulus and reaction exists a fleeting moment of thought. Often, that thought is based on something that has happened to you in the past. When presented with a similar situation later on, your natural impulse is to unconsciously regard it in a similar light. For example, if you survived a traumatic automobile accident as a youngster, the first thing you might feel upon witnessing even a minor collision between vehicles may be intense panic. If you harbor unpleasant associations with death from a past experience, you may find yourself unable to think about death as a gentle release or the next step toward a new kind of existence.
  5. You can, however, minimize the intensity of your reactions by identifying the momentary thought that inspires your reaction. Then, next time, replace that thought with a more positive one.

It is funny how one little article I wrote in the high school national writers competition predicted my life in recovery -- first, from my family and second, from alcoholism. The story concerned hitting the snags of life (aka Habits). Snags are the habits that catch us when we aren't looking. Imagine driving down the road and hitting a 35 pound pig. Disasterous for the pig, bad for the car and terribly upsetting to the folks in the car. Habits are as simple and as profound as that immediate reaction we have to something we like or dislike. They keep us stuck. Buddhism teaches me to hit the pause button -- hopefully before I hit the pig -- before I repeat habitual behavior. It stops me from cutting, drinking, throwing up, giving up and giving in. That pause is a powerful button.

December 22, 2008

Cribbing again for Inspiration (AKA ain't it the truth)

Oh good grief, my Cancer Daily Horoscope from Daily OM: What Holds You BackCancer Daily Horoscope might have been written just exactly for me. That void that appears after something is done...leaves me breathless. Not a good thing for my asthma and so not a good thing for my fear factor...... Here is what the horoscope says....maybe it is like you too.

  1. You might notice a lack of incentive to get things done today, which could cause you to procrastinate. Perhaps you want to consider the reason why you are dragging your heels and putting things off for later; it may be a sign that you are avoiding facing some aspect of yourself that you are not entirely comfortable with.
  2. Taking a few minutes to journal about your indolence today can give you some insight into what you do not wish to acknowledge. It might be that you are uncertain what you will do once your tasks are complete, or you may like the feeling of something holding you back in order to escape changes happening in your life.
  3. Understanding the reasons behind your procrastination could motivate you to get everything done and might also bring you to greater realizations about the ways in which you live and perceive your life as a whole.
  4. When we avoid our obligations it is usually because we are also circumventing something that is uncomfortable in our lives. Acting as if everything is okay or refusing to see what needs to get done is a way for our minds to lull us into a sense of temporary and momentary security.
  5. Thoroughly examining your inner self today, however, will give you an inside view into why you need this sense of certainty in the first place and will ultimately lead you away from your fear and instead to insights about how to live more efficiently and with greater courage and awareness.

December 20, 2008


This is Freckles....Really looks like the cat least to me

Picture of Turkish Angora

Just when I figured I would never know what kind of cat Freckles is, I watched a Cats 101 show on Animal Planet. Who knew? I sure didn't. So Turkish Angora cats are considered the 'dogs' of the cat world because of their gregarious nature and habit of greeting visitors. Well, finally something explains why Freckles cuddles up to every shoe left on the floor. If he was any bigger, I believe he would be running off with the shoes or gnawing them to death.
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December 19, 2008

Great Game for Working out Anger

Cribbing -- not just homes on MTV

Another really useful source of inspiration is today's OM:

  1. You could feel a sense of lack in your life today.
  2. You might also feel inadequate and want to purchase or display something of value to feel better about yourself.
  3. Your feelings might indicate a need to feel more empowered about your life and develop a deeper appreciation for your own value as a human being. A good way to do this is to help others. You might look into charitable organizations in your area and see if any of them require assistance today. You could donate money or simply share your expertise and talents by performing odd jobs or working on a special project. You might also make an effort to mentally affirm your value as a human being and strengthen your sense of interconnectedness with all living beings.
  4. Devoting our time and energy to serving others can strengthen our connection with humanity and help us affirm our own worth. While we might be tempted to quiet feelings of lack by acquiring material objects, this effect is fleeting at best. We would be better served by channeling our energy into helping others.
  5. As we devote our time and attention to service, we begin to understand that we are connected to others in profound ways. We also recognize that each of us has value, regardless of our material status. If you channel your feelings of lack into service to others today, you will benefit from a lasting sense of connection while affirming your innate worth.

All these are terrific reasons to think before spending. How we spend our money reflects not only on our bank accounts but on our own energy. What we spend that energy on can be the latest gizmo or the newest kitten at the cattery we are trying to medicate while it tries to bite our fingers. I know which one I will pick...bitten fingers every single time. Those bites remind me I have faced my fears of inadequacy by helping someone (and, yes, animals are someones) other than myself to the feast of life.

Until peace, know peace inside through volunteering

Art of Traction

The Two of Wands card suggests that my power today lies in attraction. I have a vested interest or am committed to sharing my vision, ideals, or game plan in order to make a connection. I am willing to step up because it takes two and I can't win if I don't play. Anything is possible. I am empowered by the passion of my own potential and I transform through self-discipline.

December 16, 2008

Hammett & Writing (Or how Old is New again)

I really need to brush up on my history reading... Really do. I am brushing up on my regular reading (the books I have meant to try but stayed away from just because they were the classics forced into the modern English courses I took in college). You know the ones, FitzGerald, Steinbeck and of course, Dashiell Hammett. Sorry to say, I still haven't read Steinbeck's classic but as this recession/depression deepens I will give it a whirl. Nothing like current events to validate the gloom of his Dust Bowl classics. FitzGerald and the Great Gatsby is still beyond me. I have read him but don't like his style of writing, no matter how much the teachers point out the way things in the novel reflect various things in the times. That's the problem with the teaching of the classics...the teaching to the philosophy of the times. I don't know what motivates writers to write the way they do. I do know that writing comes out of the back brain and down into the fingers to produce words. Is there conscious thought? Sure. Is there a plan of how the author wants the book to go? Absolutely! But!!! Is there a syllabus that tells the author -- dirt needs to be read as the way the stock market falls and this goes here because of the Great Depression, and that goes there because of the stock market? No. I don't buy it. Which is why I never majored in English. I couldn't spout the gospel according to whatever critic was forming the opinion of the teacher. That's why I went into Humanities and learned to take cultural things evoked in books and spoken of in histories at their face value and not 'read' my modern culture into them. I digress, however. Back to the main point of this note: Nothing could prepare me, however, for Hammett. I picked his work up after exhausting the library of my favorites. And fell in love. Lean prose, punchy dialogue and extremely close watch on what characters did and looked like. Really good background in the history as well. In the Maltese Falcon, for example, I always thought the 'bird' was just a story. Not something that happened in fact. I was wrong. Here is a link to the Knights of Malta (aka Knights of Rhodes, not to be confused with the Knights Templar). Thank god for google. I would never have had the patience to locate that information in the library. Fascinating history. And his prose on why he has to turn over the woman who killed his partner Miles is evocative of someone who had been through WWI and seen death close up:
"...When a man's partner is killed he'd supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it." (pp. 213-4) Maltese Falcon, First Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Edition, August 1992. First published 1929, 1930 Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Hammett served in WWI and it shows in that quote. The quote goes further than that. It shows me that the human urge is to do something when someone is killed. Death affects us all. And when death comes for a partner, it is avenged. Warts and all. Likable or not.

So I will start a collection of Hammett books of my own to come back to for thoughtful inspiration. Thin Man, Continental Op and The Glass Key are the books listed in the back of this edition. I am fascinated that at least two I know of have been turned into movies...Thin Man and The Maltese Falcon. But then I am a movie geek. Until peace, know peace

December 8, 2008

The concept of Enough

I used to think that enough was a word that described physical objects, as in, "George didn't have enough money for lunch," or "Phyllis has enough carrots to share with George." It was until I read a Hillerman novel that I realized the concept of 'enough' could be used as a philosophical standing. "Enough" vs. "never full." Given everything I've been through in the past 4 years, you'd think that concept would be blindingly obvious to me. But as with many things...fear keeps me from looking too closely. Fear...closing down...never enough. Knowing fear generally means an acceptance of fearful states. Keeping from shutting down is the trick to it.

Self Abnegation

Need to look up this word. Really do.

December 5, 2008

Law Firms -- OCPD

Now my career in law firms makes sense.

A mnemonic that can be used to remember the criteria for OCPD is LAW FIRMS.
L – Loses point of activity (due to preoccupation with detail)
A – Inability to complete tasks (compromised by perfectionism)
W – Worthless objects (unable to discard)
F – Friendships (and leisure activities) excluded (due to a preoccupation with work)
I – Inflexible, overconscientious (on ethics, values, or morality, not accounted for by religion or culture)
R – Reluctant to delegate (unless others submit to exact guidelines)
M – Miserly (toward self and others)
S – Stubbornness (and rigidity)

And another good reading...

Again, shamelessly copying from This time their Daily Horoscope feature which nails my day completely. Really amazing how putting positive energy out brings positive energy back and how old habits keep us old rabbits in a rut. I recently pledged and cleaned old items from an older chest of mine and as I cleaned I deliberately said "I sweep away things holding me back that I have held onto, consciously or unconsciously." Or words like that. And things, interviews, new ways of applying for jobs, new contacts with people started to rise up to the surface....

Philosophical PonderingCancer Daily Horoscope

  1. A philosophical mood may lead you to ponder all the different cultural and religious beliefs in the world today. You may be feeling liberal-minded as you explore the similarities and differences. By doing this, you could reach a greater understanding of the world you inhabit as well as gain the ability to share a different point of view with those around you.
  2. When we begin to share new and different ideas within our communities, we open others’ minds to the new possibilities and understanding. Today you can follow your philosophical explorations to lead you to a wealth of knowledge and understanding you can share.
  3. New ideas can be difficult for people to accept. Not everyone is willing to expand their awareness to include different ways of thinking about the world.
  4. But if an idea is presented many times from different sources, it begins to take root. As more and more people are willing to accept these ideas, soon it may seem as though the entire society is in agreement. This is how we can share what we learn from different cultures and religions.
  5. While others may not have the drive to explore such arenas, we can bring back the gems of our experience to help them broaden their horizons. When we can connect with others in understanding, we have a greater chance to create peace.
  6. It is when we see others as completely alien that we have difficulty bridging the gap. Today you can be a bridge-maker, sharing your liberal philosophies with those who are willing to reach a greater understanding.

Today brought to you by strikes again with my 12-5-08 reading:

The Ace of Wands card suggests that my power today lies in initiation.
I am a winner by virtue of my desire, belief, vision, and intention.
I bring fresh inspiration into the world and am "master of my domain."
My solution is found in creative transformation and I am empowered by my spark of life.
I love this one because I am inspired to try things I have not felt confident enough to do for many years...interview. And I was delighted that my interviewer today was so kind and said I was very personable. This is always good news. Always positive. Really a relief to know I can well as long term. Really good news and a good day no matter how this ultimately works out.

December 4, 2008

Haggis Hunting or is that Hunting Haggis?

The Hunt ...mht (6.5 KB)

So Does Staying in the Present Mean ...?

Chinese Horoscope for us Bunnies and Cats today:

Here is your horoscope for Thursday, December 4:
Keep focused on what's in front of you rather than planning ahead on projects that you haven't even started. It may be easy to lose track of what's presently going on, so take extra time to stay in the present. Future things will come when they should.
And does this mean paying bills or applying to jobs. I need to do both. I desperately need to get a job that pays enough for me to live on. But I desperately need to pay my bills. Decisions, decisions. Staying in the present is difficult. But breaking it down into one day and one thing at a time? Easy

Today's Note is brought to you by

I am a shameless copier of cool things. God knows, if I were in school there would be plagerism to pay. But for the says:

The Ace of Chalices card suggests that my power today lies in capturing the essence. My emotions are valid. I am beautiful and I deserve to pursue, share, and express unconditional love, pleasure, and happiness. I bring new love into the world. I am empowered by love and my gift is beauty in truth.

December 3, 2008

More Meds....Maybe

We give the cats at FOHA pills to build up immunity. L-lysine and echinacea. Both are staples for cats under stress. Wait -- I am under stress too. So I started taking both this week. Here is a link for echinacea. Here is a link for that: Nov 17, 2008 ... Basic information on echinacea, including common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources to learn - 15k Sadly, the L-lysine links are all about selling and not about results but I will post once I find one that is put out by NIH or some other well respected group. Until peace,


And now another tip from astrology/feng shui style

Shopping list...almond oil, sea salt, sandalwood oil. All of which sounds really good to sandpapery me.

Here is your Daily Feng Shui Tip for Wednesday, December 3
As this is considered 'National Roof Over Your Head Day' you might think that I would be inclined to offer some seasonal advice regards how to capture any of those magical energies that will soon be, well, up on the rooftop. But, instead, I'll talk about the energetic rooftop sitting directly and right above the crown of your skull. Long considered a holistic 'energy' cleanse, during these days of hustle and bustle a nice long shower that cleans all negativity from your field is just what the angels ordered. Add a little almond oil to a handful of sea salt and make a thick paste with these ingredients. Add two drops of sandalwood oil and standing in a warm shower, rub the mix all over your body. While you shower, be assured that you are washing away any malaise that has accumulated during the day. But -- and here's the key -- while you are showering the salt mix off, you must make sure the water runs down from the top of your head. Now memories of sugarplums will be dancing to make tomorrow very, very merry and bright.

Say it with me, Folks...OUCH

My soul number when I dissect

sheldon elizabeth young kaufman

eo: 5+6 = 11/eae: 5+1+5 = 11/ou: 6+3 = 9/aua: 1+3+1 = 5/Adds up to 36...//3+6=9
Soul Urge #9The highest expression of your soul's urge is to connect in a mystical way with others. Although your aspirations are lofty, you are also a humanitarian who is often gifted with a sharp intuition and keen analytical skills. Your faith in yourself, God and the future is so strong that you live by your convictions. Your challenge in life is to be understood as more than a fanatic or flake by others who may not understand your idealism.

OUCH. This is so me!!!! And it is definitely my daily challenge to be taken seriously.

Gut Feeling

Brought to me and now to you by the Daily OM:

December 3, 2008Gut ResponseIn Touch With True Emotions
So often, emotions that we long to express get stored in our bodies instead. The space where this most often happens is in our bellies. Rather than telling people, our even ourselves, the way we truly feel, we may stuff our true feelings deep inside of us, where they take up space until we are ready to let them go. Stuffing our feelings in our bellies may feel like the "safe" response, since we then don’t really have to deal with our emotions. Yet, doing so can actually be detrimental to our emotional well-being and physical health. One way to connect with and release your emotions is to do a focused exercise with your stomach area. Take a moment to center yourself with some deep breathing and quiet meditation, relaxing your body fully and turning off the chatter in your brain. With your right hand on your stomach, tell yourself three times: "Please reveal to me my true emotions." Listen for the answers. Repeat the exercise as many times as you would like, allowing yourself to drop deeper into your body each time. Notice any physical response in the stomach area, whether you have a warm, relaxed feeling in the middle of your body or if you feel tight knots in response to any emotions that do come up. You may even want to write down any answers that come to you. Remember that the body doesn’t lie. Releasing our pent up feelings from our bellies can prevent disease and allow us to live more authentic and expressive lives. Sometimes, if too much emotional energy builds up inside of us, a blowout can result that can cause discomfort. You can help to alleviate this compression by doing the same exercise and adding sound to your emotional release. The more guttural the sounds released through your mouth, the more emotions you are likely letting go. Releasing your emotions from your belly doesn’t have to be painful and hard; rather, it can be organic and effortless. It’s important not to judge whatever comes up for you. We tend to stuff our feelings in our bellies when we are ashamed of them or not ready to express them. There is nothing wrong with having feelings, whatever they may be. You can’t help your feelings; if anything, you can help yourself by acknowledging the truth of your emotions so you can set yourself free

November 19, 2008


Niacin or Vitamin B3 is being studied currently as a means to slow or prevent altzheimers disease. Sadly, my grandmother had altzheimers but none of us realized it until the autopsy results. We just thought she was weird from forever. A funny old bird. She died back in 1983 but my fear of altzheimers' lingers. I started taking niacin after hearing about this study on genetically altered rats who come down with memory loss. Starting to take niacin now, I feel badly for those rats because the niacin is making me queasy, shaky and really exhausted. On top of myofascial syndrome, this is not a good thing. So I am stopping the niacin to see if the nausea goes away. If it does, then I will feel (a) much better but (b) keep worrying about how to prevent the memory loss. Perhaps I will take a lower dose and see how that works out.

November 17, 2008

What to do for Health Insurance National Association of Heath Underwriters might be a useful link to use when we are trying to wean off the COBRA and/or if SNR tanks....

November 13, 2008


The Sun Will Also Rise
This painting includes this simple phrase: "Though the sun is setting today, it will also rise tomorrow".
The deeper meaning:Maybe today is over as the man rides alone into the sunset.Maybe today was not a perfect day.But don't give up, tomorrow is another day with new possibilities and opportunities.
The Chinese characters on the left is the title phrase that I translated into English above along with the artist's signature.
The story and information above was inspired by a long conversation I had with the artist about this piece.


I hate phonics because it truly messes up my spelling of foreign words. The juseige is the prayer of the three treasures in buddhism. I find it helps me a lot to take a step back in my second-to-second reality which can freak me out if I look at it too closely. I don't speak or read Japanese which is what the ju se ge is written in but even saying it aloud is a comfort to me. I sets me up to step back when events fly into my face and words swirl around my head so I can stay calm.
Here is a link to use when I am used up...and tense...and feel lost

Until there is peace, may be peace be


Today's card from Astrology is this ace of pentacles card which "... suggests that my power today lies in assets or seeds. I have everything I need to co-create my own reality. I have value and I matter. I am empowered to nurture and tend to my own garden of purpose. I bring new life into the world." So my question today to myself is what exactly are my assets, are my seeds to plant for the future? Counting blessings instead of a tough assignment for me at the best of times but here goes. (1) Animals, (2) writing, (3) artwork, (4) organization, (5) empathy, (6) working at the cattery with troubled animals and helping them trust again. I suspect step 6 is one I need to do with myself. Working to 'trust' myself and my gifts -- not automatically thinking I am less than but equal to -- my challenges, my friends, my situations.

November 12, 2008

Anger and the Middle Way

I muddled my way through yesterday mired in fear. I am muddling my way today angry as anything. Why? Because of the cats, the job, the lack of progress on my job search. Grrrrrrrr

November 11, 2008


As a generalized anxiety disorder person, fear shadows my every day activities. Sometimes it is so bad, my throat closes down. Sometimes it is not present at all and I can breathe. For years I attributed my throat closing with GAD, only to find out it also included asthma. Who knew? I sure didn't. But I digress. The only times I don't feel this is when I am with my cats. So what's a cast-off legal secretary to do. The only job I am experienced in is legal. But legal jobs are high stress, especially in these economic times. Retool with the hope of getting into a lower stress job? Are there any lower stress jobs? Are there jobs I like? My laundry list is: library jobs and animal care jobs. Writing is high stress even though it is a solitary activity if only because what I write gets read by people I do not know. Bad? Good? I don't know. I just know I don't like to be challenged about things I have done because even when I check as I did this morning, endlessly about the spelling of a name, I continued to misspell it over 3 times. That is a concerning feature with the way gad and fear affects me. My ability to see clearly goes down the higher my stress goes up. It is a good thing I am not in the line for president.

November 7, 2008

Something to Think about

Claiming what is already Mine. Valuable Cosmic Advice hit my email today in the form of my Daily Feng Shui Tip for Friday, November 7 which I am shamelessly pasting in here to remind me that I have things that I don't even realize. -- "Today is National Magazine Day and since I write a monthly column for my favorite one in the whole world, I want to share how else, besides just reading the great content and getting great advice, we can use the pages of these periodicals. Making a treasure map will help you mine all the booty you that believe belongs to you. Take a few magazines that speak to your particular proclivities and sensitivities and cut a collage of representative pictures from its pages. Paste or tape those pictures to a piece of poster board, making your own personal vision map or basic life blueprint. Make sure to symbolize every little special something that you would like to see come to you, and then place this map where you see it upon awakening in the morning and before you fall asleep at night. This is yet another great way to make all your dreams come true!
Warm Regards,Ellen Whitehurst"

November 6, 2008

Possession or Possessions

Being owned, being possessed worries me. Your Daily Tarot
Today's Card
Image - copyright 1998
Lo Scarabeo S.r.l.
The Four of Pentacles card suggests that my power today lies in possession. I choose not to be bound, identified, or paralyzed by ownership, possessions or means in order that I may always have a free hand and room to grow. I am practical, responsible, and determined about protecting my purpose or advocating for my resources. I am empowered by the status quo and my asset is value.
Being popular, being 'in demand,' is a worrying concept for me. I don't really allow myself to be liked or needed. It tends to make me feel -- well -- weird. I know, I know. If I didn't like to be liked, then why do I volunteer at the cattery or help listen to my girls or listen to folks at work. Why? Do I want to be liked? Do I want to be accepted? Sure. I want to be liked. Sure. I want to be someone who is looked for as a necessary ingredient in the mix of people at an office. Sure. I want to be needed at the cattery. But being needed has the automatic responsibility of how to say 'no' to folks who need too much and makes me worry about how to balance my priorities with people who need me. My weekends essentially are gone at this point because I spend so much of my time at the cattery and return exhausted and needing long naps to recuperate. My mid-mornings to early afternoons each weekday are gone now with my part time job. Note, I am not complaining about these two obligations. It is just that time trickles away. I am not sure whether I can handle a third job. I just don't know whether I can go right after my 2 pm quitting time directly into another job that will run until 6 pm in the northern part of the county. My commute will increase, my time with my cats will decrease. My bank account will have potentially 10 more hours of fees that the clients will pay. But at the trade off of helping a long time client who has a prior claim on my loyalty although not on my bank account. Balance. Balance. What to do? I need the quiet of my cats to consult with on this issue before broaching it with my client. Self possession or possessed by possessions. Tough to decide somedays around here.

Until peace, may all beings know peace.

November 5, 2008

Mental Attitude and the Election

The little engine that could....'I think I can, I think I can, I think I can' could easily be used to define this amazing run for the presidency that came to a successful vote yesterday. I gave up watching the news last night because of the constant flux in the voting results for Virginia. And woke up twice last night. First to a phone call from my youngest daughter about Obama's win. Second to a text message from my older daughter again about Obama's win. I got up this morning at 5 am because I couldn't contain my happiness at the outcome. I don't know when I have been so 'invested' in an outcome. As a Buddhist, I know that's not a good thing -- investing in outcomes. Staying in the moment is better. But as a long-time resident of Red State Virginia, I knew this would be a tough fight for Obama and the democrats. And especially for Obama because Virginia was the headquarters of the Confederacy and we still have folks who celebrate the Confederacy (with a capital 'C') as well as have rebel flags flying in the state. In fact, our major roads (outside of the Fairfax County area) are renamed for confederate generals and raiders. "Mosby Woods", John Mosby Highway, Lee Highway are just a few that come to mind immediately. It is very confusing to those who haven't lived 'in-state' long. So this election was all about the mental attitude of those who organized it, ran hundreds of volunteer phone and organizing groups, and get out the vote volunteers. "I think I can" which became Obama's chant of "Yes, We Can" is now "Yes, We Did". And I am happy from the bottom of my heart.

October 31, 2008

Another Oreo Picture

One very smart cat. Oreo came into the Shelter on her own paws from our feral population. She was not doing very well due to a herpes infection that totally messed up her nasal passage. She is doing much better now but still sneezing so she is still in the isolation unit to give her a chance to get over that issue. But she is very loving and whenever I pick her up, she snuggles into my arms like she never wants to let go. One of the big pluses about helping with these cats is the amazing amount of love that is stored in such tiny animals. Big hearts, bitty critters.

Happy Halloween everyone!

October 29, 2008

Under the Rug Cat

First time on this page! Tada!! My under the rug cat. Just turn your computer sideways to get a perfect picture:)

October 28, 2008

Oh, Good Grief

This falls under my general "Oh, good grief" category....

My daily grind card from is one I am seeing over and over this year. Death comes to my attention often in readings -- whether Tarot or other ways. I am challenged by it. Forced against my nature to confront endings and accept them.

Here, for instance, is today's reading below (which I have copied in full from the iVillage email). And I note, that while Death is a tough card, the reading is good and scarily accurate.

The Personal Accountability Card position:

Suggests inner strengths, challenges, traits, or personal goals that may affect perception or results of current stage or level of mastery. The Death in this position suggests that you may be feeling helpless in the face of major change, perhaps in your position or career. Everything you thought you knew or understood may have come crumbling down at your feet, and you must now find a way to accept and release your attachment so that you can move forward. You may feel fear, anguish, or great loss at this time, but the sun will rise again, and so shall you.

In general, the Death is quite powerful, but it almost never refers to actual physical death. At its most basic level, Death is the letting go of the old to make way for the new. This is not always a pleasant experience, as you may be forced to accept the conclusion of one state in order to move on, or transition to another. It is time to get back to basics and become ready to re-emerge as the Phoenix. To do so will enable you to become more fully who you are meant to be, either as an individual, as part of a whole nation under one flag, or even through a whole new world view. Death suggests that you accept certain changes as inevitable. Mourn if you feel so moved, but believe that new Life comes on the heels of Death. It is nothing personal, it just is.

Current Developments:

The Current Developments position offers insight into present agenda, major themes or milestones, or other important circumstances, as well as suggestions for anticipated results.
The Three of Cups (reversed) in this position suggests that you may be experiencing the initial "fruits of your harvest." Perhaps working together as a team you have been able to accomplish a milestone on the road to success, and you are now celebrating, rejoicing, or sharing your happiness with others. There may be a party, reception, or other festivity, or social gathering in the making. In addition, you may be feeling a sense of camaraderie, patriotism, or some such team spirit that facilitates encouragement, support, and sharing. You are definitely not alone, but standing together with a common goal. For some, this could also mean initiation or acceptance into a sorority, fraternity, company, or other like-minded organization, group, or society. You are being reminded, however, to lighten up a bit, and trust in the good things in life.

In general, the Three of Cups represents Abundance or Resolution, and it can generally be taken as a "Yes" to your question. This card can also represent profit, cancellation, hedonism, an emotional or impractical agreement, a reunion, a ceremony, spiritual awakening, or the price to pay for too much of a good thing. The Three of Cups can also be seen or experienced in the more contemporary expression of exuberance otherwise known as a spontaneous group hug, or "high five."

October 27, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid! (Rant 2)

When most of the jobs advertised are with (a) the police, (b) the military, (c) Homeland Security, (d) military contractors, (e) the prison system, and (f) mental health facilities, I know opportunities for English/Humanities majors have all dried up. What's a writer to do? Write for newspapers? Write for blogs? Write for Huffington Press? Arrggh! Or go into politics? It must be near Halloween 'cause all the choices above are scarey......


October 23, 2008


Wow, just when I thought folks were truly hoodwinked by Bernanke, I ran across this post from 2007 that I linked to above. Sigh, if only others were as observant. If only I knew Bernanke stuttered when he was under pressure. Now, folks, I know stuttering because I do it too when I am beyond my limits. How nice those in high positions are vulnerable to something I do too. Low or High we all are fundamentally the same. No matter what ... no matter how many houses ... no matter how much money ... no matter how poor ... no matter how harmed. No matter

Until Peace Matters
Know Peace Inside

October 21, 2008

Monoculture Monopolies

Monoculture agriculture is a dangerous thing to do. The plants are specifically selected to survive but are unable to protect themselves against various plant fungus, diseases or plagues. Look at the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s. Pretending that a monoculture agriculture is a good thing is disingenuous. Pretending that monopolies are a good thing is disingenuous. All you have to do is look at Wall Street and all the mergers, buyouts, extreme financial toolkits. We need to be wary of fancy names for things and ask questions. From ARMS to mark-to market and the list goes on. Traunchs, 401Ks, retirement plans. If the country chooses Bernanke to continue, we are skunked. He presided over scaring the hell out of Wall Street and contributing to this crash. His only credential pre-chairman status was to preside over Goldman Sachs, one of the big winners in the 700B bailout. And how odd it is that Lehman Brothers was not bailed out. How very odd. If we choose Bernanke as chairman going forward, doesn't that reward him for Lehman Brothers being forced into its' own particular economy disaster. Wall Street, economic titans and financial monocultures need to be changed and changed now.

Retooling for the Future

There are a lot of phrases I have run into (smack) a lot as I go forward on my quest for the elusive job here in Northern Virginia. "Re-tool" "redefine" "product packaging" "the product called 'me'" are just some of the phrases I have heard. And ultimately it comes down to knowing who I am and what I want. Want...need. Because I am who I am, I question what is a want -- ice cream -- versue need -- a place to live, food to feed the cats and me and the kids. I have cut back on the 'ice creams' in my life. And thought hard about any other expense I have. What I haven't cut back on are my automatic donations for homeless shelters for abused women and pets (AHIMSA House in Atlanta, Georgia and animal shelters post-Katrina -- AlleyCats and others). Those are a small chunk of change each month that adds up. But honestly if no one continues to give then these organizations will go under. So finding a full time job that pays something close to a living wage becomes critical. And there is nothing out here. Yet. I am still looking. I am still voting for Obama. I am still worried about Wall Street eating all my 401K money and savings. I am still worried that unless we invest in ourselves instead of Enron, Wall Street, K Street Lobbyists, we will sink under our own debts and become those of the dispossessed who are homeless, in shelters, needing a place of safety for themselves and their animals, swamped by this paperless tsunami that sucks our money away.

What would Boost the Economy?

Stimulus packages....viagra economics. Disgusting concept for someone like me. The $400 pittance was not stimulus. Made the national debt go higher. What would make the economy better is what worked in the Great Depression...only updated. If we decide to help the homeless, work in veteran hospitals, retool to work in schools, on infra-structure green projects, the government would be well advised to invest in us. Not tax us. Make loans available for those of us out of work who need to retool. Invest in companies that keep the jobs in the U.S. Refuse to bail out the rich. Redefine the middle class. Those of us making $30-50 are middle class. Those who make more than $150,000 and $200,000 are likely better off that we are.

What Am I Afraid Of

This election....lots of fears. I was recently let go from my job of 15 years. So I am working part time at 2 jobs and making the equivalent of one of my former paychecks. Watching the election proceed at the stately pace of a train wreck. Knowing the lessons of 2001. Knowing the way things have been stolen from Americans and stolen from me personally. Watching us go to war in Iraq with no one to listen to those of us in the "omg" group saying that it was a wag the dog scenario. Watching Wall Street crash with Bernanke and Polson (aka B&P) helping the crash with their own wag the dog talk. I have a bumper sticker on my car that says (in latin of course) 'never say bite me to a vampire' that could be written again as 'never say crash to Wall Street'. After B&P blew the whistle on the final play, it was inevitable that not only Wall Street would crash, but also the other world economies who tried to make a 'fast buck' here in this country by buying up those mortgages with shaky or no vetting by the banks who were ladling out the money would be pulled into the whirlpool. Truly, I am afraid of money. It buys things ... elections, wars, bank crashes. And those wars, crashs and failing economies are blamed on those of us who never had the money to gain by going to war, getting elections bought, making banks crash to get 700B in bailouts. So yes, fear is really present for me. And I am one of the lucky ones who has a voice and a vote and the intelligence to worry about this. I am reacting intellectually rather than emotionally. I come from a long term stock holding family, house holding family. I never regarded investments as anything more than those classic legacies to be passed down to our children...not debts. But what the hell, I am just an old time WASP standing around watching a train wreck in slow, what do I know?

Getting Out The Vote

Getting out the vote in the United States used to be good, clean, pre-halloween work. Tiny groups of 'encouragers' would wander from house to house asking for support on election day. Those groups are still out there and cuter than ever in all their election gear. Trick-or-Treat for grownups (?) and voters. I question the grownups though when I see the stories about voter fraud supposedly committed by ACORN set up by Pres. Jimmy Carter and now vilified by republicans as a terrorist/corrupt/dishonest -- name the adjective -- organization. I question the grownups when I see online ads for voting early on my mapquestion where a McCain/Palin link leads voters to register online. Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander. If McCain/Palin can link to sites like that, surely the Democratic party is doing the same thing. And the 'get-out-the-vote' groups going house to house are doing the same thing. And ACORN was doing the same thing having volunteers go to places we (as white bread Americans) don't think about -- homeless shelters, nursing homes, other gathering places of the under-appreciated in America that I can't remember right now because I am a white bread American and have no experience with them. But ACORN does because of its commitment to support those of us who have no voice, no standing and who are as invisible as the ghosts of Halloween or Christmas past. Those are the ones who really have a Stake in this Election.

Until peace is here
Peace Now

September 26, 2008


Bush never had an original idea. Don Imus, an infamous shock jock, back in 2000 was actually looking forward to have Bush just because it would be easy to make jokes about him. Imus is long gone off the air because of racsist remarks to a college womans' basketball team. 3 pages for a bailout of Wall Street is an insult to the intelligence of the electorate and the house representatives and senators on Capitol Hill. It makes me shake my head.

McBush and the White House Screw Up

You cannot run the country on an empty ATM machine. You cannot run a country when not only the ATM's are empty, but the parties who represent the voters are running on empty as well. This latest debacle is disgusting, scary and wholly unnecessary. McBush is a danger to the country. Obama is the only one in the public who has a clue. Obama is working for everyone to "win" whatever they can from this situation. But just watch who gets the blame when someone has to bear the weight of the financial fall. It will be the democrats.

McBush, sorry McCain, needs to take a break, debate Obama, have his VP girl debate Biden, and work on getting the folks in the hinterlands to believe in him as he is now. Not as a war hero. But as someone who can negotiate. My view from this end of the screen is that McCain can't, won't and is the ultimate blame game player. After all, it was the Republicans who suggested the Mississippi debate site, no doubt hoping to throw Obama off his game. Hoping Obama would find it threatening to be in Oxford, Mississippi at the University of Mississipi, being on the campus that was one of the first to integrate the college with some really tough situation in a really tough time. Talk about an attempt at intimidation.

McCain and the Republicans must get to work to regain my trust. Over taken by the Dixiecrats, they are as defunct as the dodo in my book and finally others are seeing the same things I am. I ask, "Why 4 more years?" My opinion is that 4 more years of the same is going to put us into a many year long depression. Not recession. Depression.

Until peace, Know Peace

It's the Economy, Stupid

Yesterday's intrusion by John McCain into the financial crisis was disgusting. Playing politics in a situation this severe is nothing but political grandstanding. McCain did this when Hurricane Gus hit New Orleans, cancelling the first day of the convention on the specious excuse that he is for America first instead of politics first. He needs to attend to his party. He needs to get the Republicans to step up to their first responsibility of representing the people instead of trying to derail the process. He can't have it both ways -- either run for president or represent the people who elected him. The economy is under enough stress.

September 15, 2008

Hurrying towards Happiness

As a society, though, we are all in too much of a hurry to let happiness happen with animals who can't talk. A shelter worker at one of the best shelters I know once told me that the cats who can't adapt to being in a shelter situation with the noise and people get put down first. Put down before they have a chance to learn to trust. Put down before they have any chance at all.

And that is exactly what happens in politics and real world economics. We want what we want when we want it without going through the steps in between. If the law firm isn't bringing in enough money, we don't think about making an unpopular decision and telling the partners that they will not make as much money as they did in years' past. We just fire the people in the law firm who can't bring the partners to judgment. We fire the secretaries, the IT professionals, the Office Services people. We fire those without a voice.....just like the cats getting put down. We don't give a chance to those who don't have a chance otherwise.

We hurry towards the bottom line of happiness and then wonder why we aren't happy.


In August, a semi-feral cat named Oreo came into the shelter to stay overnight. She was coughing and generally not feeling well. Oreo is a tiny tuxedo cat who has taught me a lot about feline time. When she first decided to come in, I was one who picked up her up from the outdoors and survived without a single scratch because she felt so bad. As soon as she felt better though she would hiss and growl at anyone who cleaned her cage. This lasted for a month. Then last Saturday she let me scratch her head while I was cleaning out the cages, so I made a note to go back after all my chores to see if she would like to be held in an old quilt. And she did. She settled right in and all you could see were her two eyes over the patchwork. She was happy, content and warm.

Bliss is a happy cat.

Feline Time

This is the first week I can remember not getting scratched by the cats out at the cattery. I don't mind getting scratched. It is part of what being a cattery person is all about. Rehabilitation, hugs, nail trimming, brushing, putting contrary kitties into carriers to go to shows... Cats don't always agree with our sense of time, though. And that's why I get scratched. I hurry too fast getting cats to do what needs to be done. But over time they have taught me that a hurried cat is an unhappy cat. And sometimes, if I stop and watch and wait, they will do what I want them to without scratching or getting upset. All it takes is setting my own internal 'hurry up' watch to "feline time." And not having scratches that itch makes working on feline time worth the effort.

Until peace, know peace

September 8, 2008

Take overs or Take out

Today saw the government takeover of the two premier financial institutions in the U.S., Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Those institutions were perhaps the first to be privatized and, as with other privatized organization, they were systematically looted. My question is whether taking over the banks was such a good idea. I mean as a country we are busy printing money to back loans and institutions when we don't have the money to back up what is in circulation. When private people pass fake money, they go into jail. Hmmmm, I wonder what happens when a country prints bad money...does it go to jail? We need to take out the folks in charge and elect people who are not neo-conservatives who believe that they can control everything if they just find the right spin-meister. Until peace, know peace

Hurricane Mondays

Hurricane Hanna is least for this area. But if hurricanes generate tidal surges, I believe they also generate emotional surges. I have never seen so many angry people on the road, in the stores and other areas of my life. It is weird. I really should see if anyone else has noticed this phenomena.

September 7, 2008


Experts will tell you that 3 male cats cannot live together without marking and making a mess of the house and of each other. I don't think the experts have met my three male cats. Mine lie near each other, play together, swipe each others toys and food almost with impunity. And yes, like all cats they have some accidents. But to impute the accidents to the living together is unwise. It is much more likely that cats have medical issues that need to be dealt with when this happens, especially if it happens a lot over time. I am not a fan of experts because I don't know what their credentials are. Just becauase they put themselves forward as an expert, doesn't make it so. And that brings me to the talking heads on the news and on the radio. I grew up with the likes of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite who not only wrote and talked news, they went out and found it. In today's world of conglomerates, there are few who do it. Amy Goodman, Christiana Amanpur and others. But these 'in-country' talking heads? I'd rather watch Amy and Christiana talk than listen to self proclaimed experts. After all, anyone can say they are an expert. I am a novice in cats but ... I do know what I know from first hand experience and can only advise on that knowledge.

Cat Purrs and Living with An Open Heart

All I have learned in the past (almost five years) is from my cats. Contemplate the ups and downs of life whilst cleaning litter pans and putting out food and walking through clusters of hungry cats is my way to serenity. I have tried 'sitting' meditation. But the walking through cats practice helps much more. Clearing the debris of the present clears the clutter of the past ...


September 6, 2008


Listening to others is a lost least for me. I have talked incessantly about myself for years. "I" is a whole universe of words in my lexicon. Lately, however, I've been turning the "I" off and letting others be their own "I". And it is a fascinating development for me. I am learning that others out there are a lot like me. They go through harrowing experiences with jobs, health, loss and they survive. Well done. So if the posts here are a little sparse these days, it is because my "I"-ing is taking a step back and letting life be ... well, what life is....

A bumpy road. With crickets chirping if you listen hard enough.


September 5, 2008

Bill Moyers Journal 9-5-08

Hurricane Hanna brings up vivid memories of Hurricane Katrina for me and I am sure for many others. Certainly, Hanna's predecessor Gustav, was a timely reminder for all of us of the failure of the Bush administration to deal with disasters. And I will be charitable. Bush had a lot of help. However, one of the things he could have helped was to keep the National Guard at home and not send them over to Iraq to fight in a war they were never trained to fight. The National Guard was trained to deal with civil disturbance and natural disasters and certainly Katrina posed challenges in both of those areas. But because Bush and Cheney wanted to look like they knew what they were doing, they sent a minimum number of regular troops to do a job that needed a lot more feet on the ground. They backed the troops up with National Guard (who may not have been counted in the regular Pentagon budget because National Guard and Pentagon don't calculate souls and soles the same way). And then they employed Blackwater and other firms who were not calculated at all in that hard math of war. Companies we have learned about like Blackwater and Cheney's old firm, who don't have to answer to military law at all because they are not bound to use the military rules of engagement. Bill Moyers' Journal tonight discusses the New Jersey National Guard deployment. Fully one half of the entire NJ unit is being sent to Iraq in the next week. If New Jersey takes a direct hit from Hanna tearing up the coast will there be enough National Guard to take care of the devastation? I hope so. I really do but at what cost to the Guard members and to the people who need saving? Worse, the last I heard on C-Span is that the Guard is not being treated equally in their health care and after battle demobilization. In fact, they are not being treated well at all. Guard members and their families are an uncounted cost of this conflict. As a nation, we need to come back to basics, take care of our own people who have taken care of us. We really do.

Peace Now, Shalom Aschav
Publish Post

Keeping it simple

I rearranged my furniture tonight to get more space for my cats and to clean the carpet before the electricity goes out with this storm coming through. The weather channel says that Hanna is going to be very windy. I hope not so very windy that it damages the cattery or my place but I don't deal well with waiting so I rearranged my furniture to pass the time. And I discovered all over again that my main room which is a square of about 20 x 30 and is broken into a living, office, kitchen and dining area is about the size of one of the rooms of where I used to live. Downsizing with a vengeance. So, yeah, I am pretty down about that but I console myself that if it were larger, I'd have more to lose in the storm. Keeping it small truly is all about keeping it simple.

Stay safe

August 24, 2008


Toothsome, I always thought, meant sweets or something desirable. I was right. Here is the link to Merriam-Webster. But I must say that after this weekend, I have discovered that I am toothsome to the cats at the shelter. I prefer thinking of it as toothsome rather than as a chew toy but in looking at the ferocious battle scars from clipping toenails, I must admit chew toy fits the bill better. From twin claw marks on my face (I'll be wearing goggles the next time I hold a cat for toe clipping) to bite marks on my forearm, I feel like I have been in a duel. Only the cat and I can say which of us won, however. I am sure from the cat's point of view, he won because I decided that maybe his toe nails could just be left for another time. And certainly from my point of view, I won because I still have my eye that he clawed towards when he was trying to get away from trimming. Thank goodness I wear glasses is all I have to say. So, all in all, an education. I won't so blithely say that I can't get hurt. It is obvious I can. But I do feel really good about the fact that I faced several cats before that one who let me trim their nails and that in facing that one I have faced down a fear I kept denying I where I can and will be hurt by an animal I am trying to help. Now if only I can find serious leather gloves made to fit my hands. The only ones we had there were made for someone with a seriously large hand. My mini-mitts just don't work on those.


Happy-ness isn't about being happy, I've discovered. It is about being. Just being and being and being. And sometimes, like tonight, I get surprised by the affect my being has on people around me. Tonight I got happy-ness given to me as an award for just being me. Who knew? Not me, obviously. But a very good sweet day...

August 17, 2008

The Notebook

Wonderful film. Being an old softie, I am really fonder of the parts of Jim Garner playing the husband stubbornly reminding his forgetful wife who she is and who he is. It is a truly an amazing film. Poignant ...

July 30, 2008

defalcation - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

defalcation - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary


Look to the words people use before  believing them.  If a caller to C-Span uses words this obscure and believe me folks, I am a master of the obscure word, then what is it they are trying to make us believe.  Are they making themselves out to be better and more believable than the rest of us by using mind-crunching words.  Defalcation is a word I have never heard in my 20+ years as a legal secretary and with my BA in Humanities/English.  This word specifically refers to the Bankruptcy Code.  It dates from the 15th century.  I would rather look to the archaic meaning of making a deduction to conclude fact but the current meaning is failure to meet a promise or expectation or embezzling.  When this term is applied to Senator Ted Stevens we need to find out why the caller felt qualified to judge.  And in judging, who knows whether he is correct or not.  All I can tell you, is that using words like this without simple English is misleading and wrong.

June 28, 2008

On Pain of Health Care

I understand all about pain. All over pain and specific. Last year, I gave up and went to an Apple computer to see if the smaller keyboard would help. What a waste of time that is.... I love the Apple because it is so portable and small but it does not help with the pain. I know I don't have arthritis because of the many visits to the rheumatology doctors. But good grief....the less I type, the more it hurts. This time off with no regular typing is making me far more sensitive to the pain I feel in my right palm. And that's new. The good news is that I am getting the rest I have needed for such a very long time. I am debating with myself on whether I need to go back to work full time or if a part time job would be good enough to handle the expenses and health concerns. I really should have a sign made up...Will Work for Health Care. What will happen, I wonder, if we get universal health coverage? Will employment figures go up? Or will they decline as people realize they don't have to make themselves sick with employers who don't believe that a worker could possibily be in such pain that working is a daily challenge? Personally, I think universal health care would free us up to be more involved in what we want to do -- rather than what we need to do. But that's probably an idealistic view because no matter what health care, we all need the money for essentials. Food for woman and beasties gets more expensive with the cost of transportation, gas gets more expensive due to government malfeasance and incompetence in following through on Energy Independence started by the Department of Energy back in the late 70's and early 80's. And with energy continually rising, everything else becomes more expensive. Back yard mower companies I use have a surcharge on their services to pay for the gas they need to work. And I cannot begrudge that at all. Meanwhile, employers are cutting back on the people they have on staff because they want to cut back on high health costs. Which is what I believe ultimately put a lot of us old timers at my former firm out of a job. Downsizing due to economic reasons....bah, humbug. It was simply a really good excuse to get rid of secretaries over 40 who used health care and who were dedicated to the firm. The two most untalked about issues in the current election are these ... health care and energy. Lots of lip service but no real gut understanding that the decisions made by law makers insulated by their own health care will never understand. And energy decisions cut off at the beginning of implementation by Presidents from Ronald Reagan to the present who make deals but are blinded by the soothsayers in Wall Street and the Fed who say limiting the possibility of energy cartels and companies to make a profit will cause a downturn for investors. If the government is for the people...just who are those people? Investors or voters? It is just a puzzlement to me.

June 13, 2008

On Matters of ...

Faith is expensive here in Northern Virginia. Building Funds, prayer book fees, temple security fees, not to mention religious school fees. Nothing to sneeze at. Indeed, don't get sick. You might be charged for a visit from the members on the Sick Committee. I mention this because for the first time in 20 years, we as a family are free to wander away from our first temple. Our children are out of religious school and their friends scattered to the four winds. So we decided to look around and check out options nearer to home. Gas is at such a high price that it just makes sense to worship closer to home. But at the prices I am seeing? It is a hummer. I just don't know whether it makes fiscal sense. The price of gas will not be going up enough to balance the cost of an 800.00 building fee for new members. There are no special discounts in membership for single parents or for singles who are over 29 at all. I will keeping looking but as I said earlier, faith (at least organized) is expensive here in Northern Virginia.

June 8, 2008


Those of you who read these pages -- you know who you are -- understand that I live for rescue. I drive 30 to 60 miles each weekend getting to and from the Friends of Homeless Animals Shelter and the cattery I love. Each time I drive out, I think about things. Life, work, not work, cats and death. I can't help thinking about death because the side roads are littered with dead deer, racoons, skunk, squirrel, crows and turtles that get hit. The untold toll of hit-and-run accidents with wildlife is huge. And this weekend, in particular, I thought to myself about the trade offs of life. The fact I can get around so much is due in no small part to inventors like Henry Ford. But there are trade offs to being mobil. The dead animals are one part. The soldiers who died for the gas in my tank is another part. The environment is a third part. The cost of being mobil is not cheap. Gas in my area is over $4.05 for regular. Daunting. The prices have cut into the number of people who come out to the shelter to see the cats or who come out to volunteer. Trade-Offs. Eastern philosophy calls it ying and yang. Male and female energy. Medieval philosophers likened it to the wheel. You are up and you are down. Personally, I prefer the Buddhist analogy which is short, sweet and easy to understand..."life is a bumpy road." To which I would add, the view of the world from the top of the bump as you gasp for breathe is worth the sore behind. But that's just my view and if I could, I would figure out a way to save all the animals who didn't ask to be bumped by progress, environmental pressures, and cars. May all beings be blessed....

June 4, 2008

Ah, Mrs. Malaprop

I finally had to break down and ask my go-to word person if there is a word to describe what happens when I use a word that sounds like the word I meant to say but means something radically different. Relief is spelled malaprop.

Fiddler on the Roof -- or in my case -- Floor

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free;Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.-Chuang Tsu
Monk in the City
This is today's reading from Buddhist Wisdom. Completely on point for me with signing my severance papers and looking at the empty spaces in my life at home. The experts say to always have a hobby to prepare for retirement. I have several but no money to fund my life, my cats, my rental unit, my gas, etc. It is a challenge but reading the quote above reminds me that like a fiddler on the roof it is all in the balance at the still point.

May 29, 2008

Charm City Cakes - Cake Disaster Recovery Show

There was a segment on Ace of Cakes tonight that absolutely restores my faith that I can continue to deal with life on life's terms.  One of the guys dropped a cake and totally destroyed it.  He told the customer he'd be back in 5 1/2 hours with a new cake.  And he did.  This is just like so much life my life right now.  The 'come back' kid.  Just pull myself together, no more feeling stuck in the old job and the new anger at the situation.  The old ways don't work.  So now to find ways that do work.  Life takes action, beauty, passion.  The glue for the heartbreak?  The scissors for cutting the cord?  The picture below says it all.  Keep on fishing.zengonefishingforlife

Brandenberg Concerto and Syncopation

Syncopation...the upbeats of music.  The hand of the conductor rises as he/she signs to the orchestra.  Loss is a lot like syncopation, I think.  It makes me stop, watch the conductor and breathe before attacking the next phrase of music or the next phase of life.  Be blessedpraycat

Good there such a thing?

I say yes, grief is good in some instances. Grieving (really good grieving) involves letting go of prior assumptions, prior jobs, prior relationships, prior life experiences that become habits. Like me having coffee before I go to sleep. Habits. Letting go of midnight coffee? Unthinkable. Impossible. I would be so sad to have to do that. It would be tough. And yet that is such a small thing for me to get used to considering that my friends and I have been laid off from the law firm I worked at for 15 years. 15 years. The grief is hitting me on many levels. The habit of going into work. The habit of having friends at work I won't be seeing anymore. The habit of having cash handy for things like cat food and rent and gas for my car. Letting go of the assumption that if I work hard and stay focused, management will value me. Letting go of the fallacy that having longevity would protect me from being let go. But it is 'just business.' Nothing personal. To someone reviewing the law firm financial sheets, I am just red ink on a ledger. Not worth the heath insurance, not worth the salary, the overtime, the carrying cost of paying for vacation that I hardly ever take. A few years ago, this assessment by strangers who didn't have my interest at heart would have devastated me. Today? It is a bump in my road because I know I am so much more than a blot of red ink on a page. I am worth so much more. To myself, to my family, to my cats, to the cattery, to my dreams. So I redraft myself into what and who I am. A dreamer, an artist, a writer, a creative soul. Stay strong, stay in the game of life, continue to be .... the bee. Buzz.


How To Become a Holistic Veterinarian |

How To Become a Holistic Veterinarian | 


May 22, 2008

Creativity or Standing Out to Stand Up

You wouldn't know it, perhaps, from the fact I keep a blog online to rant and rave in and lament and giggle at the events of the day. But, basically, I am a shy person. Not given to accepting the notice of others easily. Staying under the "radar" is tough though. I have a small gift of putting together words and images that I create. When I step out of the way and let a drawing or a phrase come those are the ones I find the easiest to stay true to. To do quickly to completion. A thought, a line on a page, a breathe, and done. So far, so good. When I show my creations to others, though, that's another story. Creativity sets each of us apart. Some people are creative in how they walk, talk, live, think. Creativity isn't about art, poetry, sculpture ... Creativity is about being. And that's a gift all of us have. No one teaches us that in school so we don't value it in ourselves. So when people "oooh" and "ahhh" at cards I make or sayings I coin and say I am creative, I cringe. I am not any different than they are....they have just been trained to think they are ordinary. We are all menches. We are all wanderlings in our own world -- as separate as the moon from the earth and as needed to maintain balance as we spin through life. A zen buddhist page I go to often has a listing on this aspect of ourselves.

As I go through life, I find each person more and more unique. Sure, some like Ted Kennedy and Bill Buckley are way up in the stratosphere. Theodore Rilke and the psalmists are beyond the beyond. But ordinary folks are not ordinary and should never be counted out. So when critics say that no one stands up anymore for the good in a community or no one gives as much as "they" do, or no one is as smart or as "whatever" it is they are, they do us all a dis-service. We all stand up. In our own ways, in our own lives, in our own selves. We reach, we totter (sometimes when we stand) but we get there. In our own time, in our own way, we all get there.
Be at peace today....

May 20, 2008

I love my auditory process

My hearing is wacky. I hear 5 by 5. However, what I hear is often not what is said. Case in point was a story from c-span yesterday. I heard "slaw" but the reporter was talking about the flaws in the political system today. It costs enormous amounts of money to get elected and once elected, each representative or senator is caught up in a web of needing money and not having time to dedicate to the job of representing the voters -- aka the rest of us. Oh, the reporter didn't say that directly but my mind heard the word "slaw" and "flaw" simultaneously and my impression comes from the comparison of those two words. Actually given the politics of this election, "slaw" is probably the right way to describe what is going on. After 18 months of electioneering, I feel like I have been through a coleslaw chopper. I have a fall back candidate I will vote for no matter what. But it is not a fun campaign anymore. It is just as grim as the clouds in the sky over Myamar (also known as Burma) or the after shocks plaguing China. This was a classic mishearing on my part. I have had them many times. For me, mishearing is a way to enlightenment. For others...well, each takes information in their own way. Some read newspapers and remain covered with newsprint but uninformed. They spout facts like fountains spout water. And some of those newsprint covered people are awesome. They rise above the facts to see what all those facts are hiding. I muddle along in my own way, gathering facts and hearing dissonances. From slaw to flaw, I leave you with a wish for peace today.

Energy Saver Saying of the Day

When other beings, especially those who hold a grudge against you, abuse and harm you out of envy, you should not abandon them, but hold them as objects of your greatest compassion and take care of them.-
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
From "The Pocket Dalai Lama," edited by Mary Craig, 2002. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, '
Got this in the mail today. If I held onto all the grudges I have had, I would be 3 feet underground just trying to carry them around.
May all beings know peace,

May 12, 2008 Listening

One of the reasons I turned to Judaism is to become pro-active in my spirituality. Not needing rescue. Wrestling with the ways of the angels and G*d. Wrestling with who I am in a world where we are defined by our names, our national identification numbers, what party we vote for, what gender, what size, what age... Mayahanan Buddhism and also with that Zen Buddhism is less wrestling and more listening and perhaps that is why I am gravitating to those views more and more. Less is more. Listening for the Buddha calling back to me as I say the amidah. Listening to the rain patter on my roof. Listening to the semi-feral fox coming onto my porch to eat food I put out for feral cats. Listening.....

May 5, 2008


Why do we still have these protectorates? Guam certainly looks lovely but ... if it is such a strategic prize, why haven't we made it a state?

Senator Obama and Guam--on Guam

Here is a link on Guam.

my particular favorite quote from this link is

(in 1901; pressed by the new American administration to wear clothes, they moved up to Saipan).

I dunno which I find funnier...folks leaving because they were told to wear clothes or the language about being "pressed" to wear clothes. I have an mental image of a person being run through the old fashioned 'mangle' of a washing machine to wear clothes. No wonder those Guam-ians ran. Here is a link to a mangle which contains a picture of what I am talking about.

Quotes for Comfort

Sometimes I find pure poetry on line....

Living for ...

Do not go after the past, Nor lose yourself in the future. For the past no longer exists,
And the future is not yet here. By looking deeply at things just as they are,
In this moment, here and now, The seeker lives calmly and freely.
You should be attentive today, For waiting until tomorrow is too late.
Death can come and take us by surprise--How can we gainsay it?
The one who knows
How to live attentively Night and day
Is the one who knows the best way to be independent.
-Bhaddekaratta Sutra
From "The Pocket Buddha Reader," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2001. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston,

April 30, 2008

Thank God for YouTube

Why is it a good day?

Why? Because I found some old Abbott & Costello gags today. Who's on First? and then learned about a classic I'd never heard before called the Susquehanna Hat Company. Here is the link

It is a good day

I could write about how the US will invade Iran before the 2008 elections. But with luck many others will wake up before then. There is no sense in this nonsense we call the United States anymore. None. But the good news is that it is a lovely spring day outside. Robins are nesting. Cats are catty. And through the miracle of immune supplements, I am finally feeling human -- instead of the scum on top of ponds. It is a good day

April 25, 2008


Sometimes I am the fly, sometimes I am the swatter.

Then again, more from the CBC

Ah, that's right. CBC=Crazy Bitches Club. My score today is 45%. So stress level? Issues? Get your bitch on here.

Clear light

Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind. The natural state of the universe unmanifest.Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it. It is your own true nature, it is home.-Tibetan Book of the Dead//From "Teachings of the Buddha," edited by Jack Kornfield, 1993. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston,

There are echoes of Emerson in this...'simplify, simply.' But unmaking a life...especially these days when everything is a daunting task for me. Releasing an old pattern of behavior that, chamelion-like, lurks in plain view but remains unseen requires special vision. And remaining Still enough to catch the littlest movement so I can realize what it is I am doing. But really very rewarding once I have deciphered the movement and connected it to the behavior. On that score, realizing that my not eating had more to do with not having time to cook and not wanting to stand one second more, finally made me realize that local groceries have just the place for people like me....deli stands which actually serve what I consider food. Pot roast, chicken, potatoes, even waldorf salad. That just goes to show that when the blinders are on my nose, even the (gasp) obvious answers escape me.

namaste for now