Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It Is NewYears Eve!!

As 2013 closes so do many things I have worried about through the year.  As always most of the things I worried about most never happened.  What does happen is unexpected, unanticipated, and mostly not even considered as a possibility for worrying. 
All year I worried about my sister-in-law, Padma.  I worried about how we would cope with her health when Bramara came here for Priya's wedding. 
Instead Padma is fine and happy in a clinic in Bangalore and Bramara has twice been hospitalized for serious illness, immediately following the wedding.
I worried myself sick about the Government closing and how innocent people would be effected.  Well, the Government closed and then reopened and life went on with no major disasters. 
I worried that the affordable health care act would be repealed as the Republicans were so adamant.  It wasn't, but the health care site crashed instead.  It is finally up and running and over 1 million people have already signed up. 
I worried and prayed so hard for ill people in my church and community.  Well, some got better, some died, and surprisingly people moved on.   
I worried and hoped that assault weapons would be banned and gun sales would include mandatory back ground checks. This didn't happen and the killings go on and on.  My worrying didn't stop a single death.
I worried about the people impacted by fires, tornado's, hurricanes and earthquakes and super typhoons. My worry and concern not only didn't effect any of the situations but it did in effect separate me from several of my friends.  Not everyone gets as upset as I do over massive loss of lives and ensuing hardship and poverty.
I worried about a lot of other things too, like Srini, Angie, my family and my friends. Stuff happened to all of them yet most are still here to celebrate the New Year 2014.

My resolution, I hope most I can keep, is to worry less and enjoy the relationships I have now, more.
Everything passes and memories fade.  All we each have now are each other and we are all better if we can hold to the present and not worry about the future.

Friday, December 27, 2013

It is what it is

It has been too long my friends.  I bet you got tired of waiting for me.  I find I need time for reflection to write and my muse goes on hiatus when I become too stressed.
" It is what it is."  Don't you just love that phrase.  It means nothing more or nothing less, simply what it is.  No artifice, no hidden agendas.  No lies or reconstructions or revisionist history.  Nothing added, nothing taken away.  Simple "is" ness.  Like "I am" or I am what I am.  Nothing added, nothing taken away. 
"Things are seldom what they seem, skim milk masquerades as cream" This line from the H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan, teaches the opposite of  " It is what it is." Everything that is, can be taken literally but also can be multi faceted.  A shattered mirror still reflects reality.
The Great PooBah too, is, the opposite of what she seems.  How can both be true?  She is what she is but she is the opposite of what she seems.  This my friends is known as alternative realities or inside out.  She is what she is but much of what you see and hear is illusory.  One and many, singleness and multiplicity.  We can look at the whole or it's many parts but each part contains some of the reality of the whole.  A segment of an orange, contains part of the identity of the whole orange.  As does the peel when we shred some to flavor frosting or cakes. The identity of the orange or it's orangeness is not lost in separation from the whole. 
In much the same way a human being moves through life sharing parts of it's essence with others but never really giving away it's identity.  We are what we are and it is what it is, but who can identify the truth in multiplicity. 
We can separate parts of our identity and indeed many of us are fragmented into what seems to be different personalities with different people.  You cannot step into the same river twice and no two people see or experience the river the same.  Each individual has so many facets to his or her personality. The more complex the individual the more can remain hidden or unseen.  One cannot be blamed but can surely can be misunderstood, as different people bring out different parts of their identity; depending on whom they are with.  And you thought all the mysteries were in detective novels.  Well, we are each detectives searching for true reality in each of the people we meet.  What appears to be true to us can be a  very different experience to another person.  We are all challenged to peer below the surface of our own illusions and the illusions of others to search out a true picture of reality. 
The lesson is don't be too simplistic.  It isn't always what it is, or who they are.  There are many wonderful and exciting layers to existence and it may be our job to discern these layers and seek out what truly is and is permanent. OR NOT!!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I am back briefly to say I will return soon.

I am sick and tired of saying I will be back soon.  I should keep up my days of Monday and Friday to post.  My computer was out for a while and I have been busy with other issues.  Hopefully I will post again on Friday, the 29th, if I don't lose track of time.  See you soon........

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Finally free to marry

Two of my best friends just got married; to each other.  They have been together 25 years and a more loving and generous couple I have yet to meet.  Yet it has taken 25 years before they have been allowed by their states to be married. 
They have always been very low key.  Not out there or in your face...though I most likely would have been both.  Instead my dear friends kept their love private, between family, a few friends and God.
Finally they are in the same world the rest of us who love our spouses occupy.  They can visit each other in hospitals, sign death certificates and make funeral arrangements for their beloved.  They can inherit each other's financial and personal effects with no legal disputes.  Most of all they can love another freely and legally.
I am so happy for them and proud of them.
They have braved non acceptance from those previously dearest to them, and scorn and derision for too many unnamed and unkind persons they met or who are in their lives.  They have born insults from the right and sometimes the left wings, clergy, the military, and even their governments.  All that is in the past for them now. 
If only those of you who have ears would listen.  Governments, local and foreign, need to change their laws to that of acceptance for the rights and concerns of all of their citizens..

Matthew 5:45

The Message (MSG)
43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

If God causes his sun to shine on all, how can governments do less.
I am so proud and happy for my dearest friends, and for all the others who share in the same benefits, under God and the Law.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November is here, near the end of the year again!

I have worked the Rummage sale for 7 days and loved the fellowship and camaraderie.  The results are not too shabby.  About $2100.  for Phoenix mission work.  If you take the people who worked, times the number of hours each worked and divide up the results you come to about .03 cents an hour, but it is all good.(just kidding, but there wasn't a lot of payback in $s for the hours worked.)

On Saturday one of our best friends, who was on a business trip from India to SFO, took a valuable weeks vacation to visit us.  We could not have had more fun.  Srini and he discussed and played guitar, talked martial arts and practical arts like carpentry and aircraft.  He and I talked books and philosophy.  He taught me and a friend about setting up modem and WiFi, Kindle, and Nook, and got my friend on Facebook and email.  Our friend, Arvindar, cooked for and with me, and would not let me lift a finger in work. When we went shopping he carted around my portable oxygen.   He gave us both a number of useful gadgets. Best of all he and another dear friend Madhu, gave me a pair of red Crocs to skip down the yellow brick road in my red Wizard of OZ t-shirt I had received on a previous visit.  Little Toto(or a female version, Angie), and I will go to the Church today for a blessing of the pets, dressed in our colorful outfits.  Angie too has a red t-shirt. 
All in all it has been a fantastic 2 weeks of fellowship and friendship.  Like all good things it must wind down but the wonderful memories are carried forward for years.
Now the next things are Thanksgiving, Priya's wedding, and Christmas.  Lots to look forward to at the end of the year.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Working Rummage Sale

I have not left you all.  I am working the rummage sale this week, and next week have a house guest so I may not post again until the beginning of November.  I will be back as there is soooo much left unsaid.  I love the camaraderie of the sale.  It is hard work but a lot of fun.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Better to have not lost, but loved

I was remembering an old friend and teacher today.  I let him and his family slip away, as I have done with so many friends over the years.  Rather than discuss a situation with someone I have disagreed with or whom I have let down, I just disappear.  I do not know why I do this.  It is more than simply losing touch over the years.  I have done this also, but I am talking real avoidance here.  I used to think that all my friends left me.  This had been true in one or two situations.  I took those situations and applied them to all the friends I had let loose.  Now that I am allowing the thoughts of these people I have loved and lost, I feel very angry and upset with myself. 
When I look inside very clearly and consciously I find I am very judgmental.  I judge myself to a very high standard and apply the same judgments to others.  When I talk about the high standard I do not mean this proudly, as if my standards are better than those of others.  What I mean by this is that I am unforgiving and uncompromising in my own head.  If you do not feel or think what I feel or think, then you simply must be wrong or evil.  Rather than calmly discussing the differences, I avoid the discussion all together and flee, either mentally or physically, so I do not have to deal with a reality other than mine. The saying goes " some people are absent even while present" applies to me when there is disagreement in the room.
This happened recently to me with a person who was very old.  I could not throttle her, or beat her up, nor could I calmly change her mind.  When I found out from whom she was receiving her opinions( relatives and up to 30 pieces of mail a day), I was blown away.  I could not even begin to challenge her facts, as she was so sure they were true.  It would have been useless anyway as it was so ingrained.
Tell me, who fights with a 91 year old woman?  It would be insanity.  The real tragedy was that I was so angry.  I never wanted to see this person again.  This is what happens to me, and if I am not in a situation where I regularly see the person, I let the disagreement take over, and forget all the really good parts of the relationship.  The truth is there are really, really good things about each of the relationships I have run from or just let die of neglect. 
I must learn from my mistakes and introspection and find a way to be reasonable in the face of difference.  People have so many wonderful qualities and I must learn to hold these above any mistakes or differences in our relationships.  Relationships are ruined because people cannot find common ground to work from and through their problems. 
I am really glad I am old because there was so much I did not see when I was younger.  I was too busy and always moving forward to take much time for hard introspection.  I thought I was so intelligent and wise then but OH! HEAVENS! What I missed or ignored and now find it so difficult to get back.  I cannot even locate some of my old friends to make amends.  I can however become even more self aware and try not to hurt as many people in the future.

Monday, October 14, 2013

UPDATE: Angie's O.K.

Just got back from vet.  Angie might have been bitten by an ant.  She got a shot of Benadryl and already swelling has gone down.  She takes prednisone from 3-5 days but is already feeling better and is narky as usual.  Thank Heaven!

As schedualed-Pets...

I said I'd write on Monday, and it is Monday.  This will be short.  My little dog Angie has one side of her face  swollen. She looks like she has a marshmallow in one cheek.   She seemed fine earlier but now has swelled up.  I am taking her to vet at 2:30PM to see what is wrong.  The poor little thing.  She is so sweet and innocent.  She looks at me with those big brown eyes saying  "what is wrong"?
It breaks my heart to see an animal suffer in any way.   We have lost so many good friends in the animal world in the past, which always makes the current one even more precious. 
This little girl is spoiled rotten.  She refuses to come when she is called and if walking, just continues on her way, ignoring us completely.  She will come if called for food, but only in her own timing.  She has a new fun game of running away when we try to pick her up to go for her walk.  She will run up to us as she loves her walk, but then run away and force us to chase her.  She will then go submissive and tremble as we pick her up but she is wiggling her tail.  We could obedience train her and force her to do our bidding, but why is it so important that the human win?  She is only 7 lbs and everything is a little game to her.  She never does anything wrong except maintain her little alpha girl independence.
Just because a pet lives with us does not mean they need to submit their very being to us.  Some think that because the pet (or even child), is different from us that we have to absolutely rule our lives. Even as our God allows us freedom on choice, we should allow the pets who honor us with their presence, the same.  This doesn't mean they should destroy things or bite; there are some rules we all should follow.  This does not mean we should be tyrannical in the homes we share.  Like Srini says when Angie wants an extra treat, "who will give her if we don't?  She can't get her own snack like we do when we are hungry".  I think this says it all.  We restrict their freedom to hunt and get their own goodies so we should honor their little wants and needs.
That is it.  See you guys Friday.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Going mad with anger and sadness

I do not know anymore how to react with people whom I dearly love and have long term relationships. Precious friends, beloved family members, church members, neighbors, etc.etc.
I just do not know how to handle the fact that people that I love and respect in so many ways can have such hurtful and mean attitudes towards others. 
I remember one of the first lessons I learned at home was not to argue about religion or politics.  My grandfather was a Democrat and my grandmother was a Republican.  They each went to vote and canceled each other's votes.  One year they agreed not to vote, but grandma saw my grandfather slip away from the house.  She followed him to the election hall, and she too cast her vote.  So much for agreements.  Some of my friends seem to just accept their partners divergent views and  seem to go along happily doing their own thing.  Some people just have good will about their differences, laugh about it and accept each other just the way they are.  It is like some people have cats and others have dogs and some have both, but it never leads to contention.  Most of our differences can be accepted with good will continuing to others who feel or like or even love differently.
Then there are the differences which cause sorrow, hurt, pain, conflict, wars and eventually death.  Respect dies, values die, people die, animals die and species become extinct; nature  and even the environment changes.  All over are differences which we just seem unable to resolve.
We have free will, whether one believes in evolution, or a God view, or both.  This free will and our culture, genes, family etc. allow our differences to separate us and make each of us unique. Alone, however, we are just too alone, so we want to bond with others who appear to be most like us, either physically or mentally.  We form gangs, groups, bands of brothers, sororities, fraternities, and communities with others who are like us.  Most groups have a special separation ritual with those who disagree with them, or really are different than them inside,  or with those who break the rules.  There are rituals for excommunication,  shunning, segregation, exportation, and then there is the plain old bullying, cold shouldering, ignoring, etc which leads to ostracizing and other punishments.
There is constant, hideous discrimination against difference and opposition  within each culture, civilization, country, even states and cities, villages and townships.
What to do, what to do?  How can one live, grow, enjoy the moment and even experience contentment within a world filled with such hatred and separation.  It is a lot more then just not talking about religion or politics, although both occupy so much of the American energy today.  It is like trying to surmount immovable objects between individuals and others.  Sexual identity, economic theories, social movements, fashion, music, cultural norms, arts and books, and so many, many other things we live with and through everyday; and differ on our values and beliefs about..  There is a magazine, or publication, or app for every interest or situation, prurient or other.  Anything can be found on the web and beamed one way or the other into our brains and our being.  Instead of just learning from and enjoying our differences we become locked or fixed into just a few and reject anything that differs. 
I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I pray to my creator for forgiveness for not just appreciating each and everything he has likewise created, but for actively resisting and even hating the parts and thoughts of others who differ from me.  I too, get fixed in my own mindset and beliefs and get very angry and push back when challenged in anyway.  I want to run or escape from friends, and society, and civility goes out the window when I feel strongly about something and someone else does not agree.  I visualize becoming a hermit, or a mad woman on a hill screaming about injustices.  Why am I the only person who can see the right action or path?  What is wrong with those on the other side? 
I think of all the martyrs who have stood up and died for their ideas and belief.  From Socrates, to Jesus, to King and to Gandhi and so many more.(how come so few women?) There are many others(now we see the women) who just live for their beliefs: Mother Theresa, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and so forth.
I neither live not die for my beliefs, I just get angry, nasty and sarcastic. 
If I can only realize internally and take to heart all that which I have stated above.  In the midst of confusion, anger, fear and even death I must retain my central core of who I believe I am.  I am gentle, loving and caring and concerned for my fellow beings.  I want to cast out evil and feel only love or concern for my neighbor and my enemy(or those who feel or think differently than I).  To quote Jesus: 
 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Diet and insanity

I have been on a diet from September 9th, 2013 and I am beginning to lose my enthusiasm.  When I was young I could lose 5lbs the first week and 2 lbs a week thereafter.  All I had to do was stay on the diet.  By the way, have you like me tried every diet under the sun?
The first diet I remember was my mom sending me to school with cottage cheese and canned fruit in a little container for my lunch.   I was still in grammar school then.  The next diet I remember was the fat and protein diet.  My mom included my sister and me in her diet and it was butter, bacon, sour cream, whole milk , eggs, meat/meat/meat, and lots of tuna fish.  When you could not have carbs to go with the butter all the fat became old very fast.  I loved tuna fish but I preferred it in a sandwich rather than a can with the oil coating it.  None of us could maintain that diet very long.  Later, after I left home,  mama found the weight watchers diet.  It became her diet of choice for the rest of her life.  She tried to engage me in the diet and I did try several times over the next 50 years but I never got into it.  It was just too much food, and boring.  I wanted quick results like when I first arrived in NYC.
 I stayed at the Webster Hotel for Women, on 34th street and 9th avenue.  I want to tell you all about those days later but for now: breakfast and dinner were included in the weekly rate and I stayed there for 3 months.  In that 3 months I lost 30 lbs.  I was the thinnest I ever remember being.  The food was so bad at the Webster you couldn't pay rats to eat it.  Breakfast would seem easy but......  The toast was always cold and stacked in trays.  They served our good friend Marge, with it(colored oleo). They had a pot of over cooked gluey oatmeal and a pitcher of  milk and a bowl of white sugar next to it.  There was a tray of poached eggs swimming in lukewarm water, and a large bowl of hard boiled eggs.(sometimes they were undercooked and still soft in the middle.  They had pitchers of watered down orange juice, weak coffee, and tea bags with barely hot water.  All I can think was they must have really tried hard to make it as bad as it was.  This was the first I knew of institution food and I was not happy.  I would go to the dining room and grab an apple and a hard boiled egg to take for lunch and run out the door.  There was always a monitor there who made sure you didn't take more than one of each thing.
Dinner was even worse.  I can't remember all the fabulous dishes but they ranged from greasy meatloaf, to poached fish, to heaven only knows what  casseroles, to occasional stringy beef or fatty pork, served with bland and lumpy mashed potatoes and warmed over, tasteless vegetables like string beans, peas, carrots, and wilted salads. 
I was very poor the first 3 months because out of my $63.00 a week I had to pay the agency fee that found me my first job, and pay for my hotel room and board. 
I used to eat practically nothing.  I could not afford to buy extra food, though I could manage to pay for cigarettes and coffee.  Fortunately or not both were cheap at the time.  I walked to work and back and it was about 25 blocks each way.  One day, early in my enforced diet, I will never forget.  I had bought a  salt pretzel from a  vendor and covered it with mustard.  As I was walking and munching a man stopped me and said "what is a fat girl like you doing eating pretzels?"  I was so hurt, even as I was also so hungry, and I bawled all the way back to the hotel.  After that experience I no longer ate anything on the street, but would take it instead to my room. 
The weight came off so easy when I was slowly starving and later I was so happy I seldom had any desire to eat.  Finally, when I got an apartment with my first roommate, I could still not afford much for food.  I would buy elbow noodles and tuna fish and butter and cheap white bread.  I would eat the noodles with butter, salt and pepper for supper and carry tuna sandwiches for lunch.  I also had peanut butter and jelly.  I just had coffee for breakfast.
I was able to maintain my weight loss, except for a few lbs either way until after I married, went to India, and came home to a dead mother.( again, more about that later ). 
I ate to comfort myself and also went up to 3 packs of cigarettes a day.  The six months after mama died were the worst months of my lie.  I loved her so.  I would wake up with nightmares, and crying for a year after her death and poor Srini really didn't know how to handle me.  He was just quietly always there to hold and comfort me and we eventually got through it.
Then the constant rounds of dieting began again in earnest.  Up and down I would go.  the cabbage soup diet, fasting every other day, Weight Watchers, the Woman's Day diet, the Family Circle diet, the Atkins's diet, The low carb diet, the high fat and protein diet, diet pills, lemon juice and water, vinegar and water.  You name it, I have tried it.  It became a little more difficult after 1976 when I became a vegetarian.  I would have to tweak each diet to find non-meat proteins to substitute. 
I have found through my vast experience that a 1000-1200 calorie a day diet works best for my eating habits and restrictions.
So I am at it again.  I get tired of jumping on the scale and seeing it not move.(it must be broken or stuck), but alas, it is not. The older you get, the harder it is to lose weight as everything seeks it's own level and stays there. I have however,  a very firm commitment to lose 20 lbs.  I will still be too heavy but this time I am not doing it for vanity, but to breathe easier.  Since I am at my limit for medications all I can do is try to improve the rest of myself.  Now that autumn is here I can walk more and at least get some exercise.  So wish me well my friends.  It is a long haul and a heavy load to carry, but carry on I must.  We will discuss this again after 13 more lbs.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Father myself

This one is hard.  I have always had a love/hate relationship with my father.  Dad was an outdoors man and used to love to hunt, fish, camp out and chase women.
He built his own canoe, and it was a real beauty.  He and his friends also built a hunting camp out of logs from trees they downed on their hunting property in upstate N.Y. in the foothills of the Adirondacks. They cut down the trees, measured them to length, cut notches in the ends so they would fit together, and then put up the camp.  Women and children gathered moss.  The gaps between the logs were chinked with the moss until there were no openings.  It ended up a large square building with a wood stove just off center, and built in full size bunk beds.  There was also a built in table and benches along one wall and another bed along the side facing the bunk beds.  There was a small kitchen area at the foot of the bunks.  There was a little stove that worked off propane gas which they carried in, in large tanks, each season.  There was no fridge but it was cold enough to keep things fresh outside or wedged in the small pond made from the spring 100' below the camp.  We carried drinking water from the spring and heated water to wash dishes in the small sink.  Of course the bathroom facilities were in a two hole shed at the rear of the camp.  There was a quarter moon cut in the door.
My father was a master carpenter but as I remember it he earned money for the family working at Alcoa, and later at a lumber yard called Putnam and Hawley.  He worked on the St Lawrence Seaway, and had no fear of the awesome heights he was called to work on.  One day he was on a high scaffold when his buddy slipped.  Dad reached out with his left hand and grabbed the guy's hoody as he fell past .Daddy held on and his arm was wrenched out of his shoulder as he caught the guy and swung him back onto the scaffold.  His friend was unhurt but Dad's arm had to be popped back into his shoulder  and he was out of work for weeks with his arm in a sling. 
Dad always seemed to attract accidents.  They were never it seemed, his fault, but he was always laid up with something for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  When he worked at Putnam Hawley we lived right across the road and at the time I was 7, and recovering from Rheumatic Fever.  I had been in bed for a year and was just beginning to ride my tricycle in the front yard.  I heard the terrible sound of breaks squealing loudly from a long distance and then watched in wonder as a car crashed into the plate windows and building showroom across the road.  My dad appeared from nowhere and scooped me up, and ran into the house telling my mother to call for an ambulance. As I watched from the window he fought his way through the collapsed masonry and glass and managed to open the cars door.  In a minute he was puking on the grass outside the building.  The driver was the only one in the car and his head had been severed from his body by the plate glass. The activity continued with firetrucks, ambulances and police cars but in my little heart all I understood was my dad was my hero.
Dad had a series of incidents in my early adolescence involving angina and subsequently 2 or 3 hospitalizations for heart problems.  On the last one he was confined to a hospital bed, rigged up in the dining room of our house.  By this time I was well into my I hate my father phase and having him around all the time was too close for comfort.  Nonetheless, we were now living at the 4 corners of Slab City just west of, and a little up from the bridge which crossed the creek.  Our barn which was at the bottom of our acre was feet from the creek.  One night there was again a terrible screeching of breaks and a loud crash right next, (it seemed), to our house.   Daddy jumped up from his hospital bed and pulled on his trousers.  He ran from the house with mama and me running after him.  Mama was yelling " Kenny, you should stay in bed". 
When we reached the creek we found a small truck had gone over the embankment and was hanging by it's rear wheel, in a very precarious position.   I watched as my dad managed to wedge himself between a tree and the truck, near the door, and he carefully opened the door on the passenger side.  Several other men, including my uncle Jerry had gathered, as well as other women and children.  Dad somehow reached in the truck and pulled a very drunk and scared man out of the truck and handed him up the chain of neighbors to safety on the bridge. He then reached in and dragged out the other man.  As soon as the drunk man was exited from the truck, it plunged into the creek bed, head first.
Everyone stood and slapped daddy on the back and hooted with pleasure.  Uncle Jerry grabbed his arm and he and mama escorted daddy back to his hospital bed.  Again, at least for a night and day, dad was my hero. 
When I was about 14 daddy became a partner with Bill Kobel and they bought/leased a Marina on the St Lawrence river.  Cap't Bill put up the money for the lease and the boats they had in inventory and was the managing partner.  Cap't Ken did most of the work and maintained and leased and sold boats.  He also knew the St Lawrence and was able to guide tenants to good fishing.  Dad found his "duties" kept him later and later at work and it was necessary to carouse and party with the other boat people; both on their boats and in the nearby clubs and bars.  Mama always seemed to believe him and told me he worked so hard and that was why he needed some company and a drink or two at night to relax.  Until I left for college I remember my mom sitting alone or with me, night after night, watching TV and eating maple walnut ice cream.  It used to break my heart to see her and I used to beg her to leave my father and come to me to NYC.  She could get a job there and I could finish school.  She would just chuckle and say" but I can't leave him, I love your father".  During this time dad had two boats that he loved.  The Jet boat and the Baltic.  The Baltic was a lovely  craftman formed small cruiser which had shiny brass fixtures and beautiful wood everywhere.  The Jet boat was the first in the north country and was hell on wheels. Dad ended up crashing the Jet boat one evening at dusk as he piled into some rocks hidden by the twilight.  Said crash again ended with him hospitalized and out of work for some weeks. 
Sometime again and I just can't remember the years, but dad again crashed his car, very close to home.  I think it was into a tree but this time his lungs were collapsed and his color bone broken.  I understand he was under the influence.  This is I think the last time he was hospitalized for an accident and it was before I finished high school.  I do not know if dad had a death wish or not, but there were many times I wished him dead.  This is not to my credit, but there were several times I just wished he would die in the hospital and never come home to harass me and my mother.  I just hated him, and yet I loved him.  This duality continued for years after I was supposedly mature. 
I have learned now, with wisdom and years, and God,  and observation of myself and others, that you can hate the actions and words and yet love the man.  My father had many excellent qualities and I will show them off in future pieces.  He could be loving and kind and caring but he was also a "Man's Man" with all that entails.  He was crude, selfish, driven, genius in many ways, funny, considerate, and lovable.  He held charisma for both men and women and was totally unpredictable. He was brutal and frank and unafraid of consequences
What he was, is deep inside me and I carry almost all of his traits.  Beware those of you who think you know me.  I am indeed my father's daughter and I will not deny who I came from and who I am. I honor my father's essence and try to overcome his existential  defects.
I am also my mother, more about that later.

Monday, September 30, 2013

So What?...you say

I dreamed about high heels last night and how I used to love them.  I used to wear them 3-4 inches high and absolutely loved my shoes.  I wore them on the subway and on the concrete streets of NYC.  I wore them at work and dancing.  I honestly could not understand when the phase of wearing sneakers and walking shoes on the subway and to work began.
My heels were thin and high and in many different colors.  I had a pair of brown stacked leather heels I loved.  I had spectators, open toed, leather, black patent leather, woven, everything but vinyl or plastic.
I did try Earth Shoes when they first came out, but hated their unglamourous looks.  Later, when my feet first started bothering me I lowered the height of my everyday shoes to 2 inches and wore open toes.  I began to see a podiatrist every six weeks in the 80's.  My insurance paid and I was still a happy camper.  When I left my company, moved and could no longer afford the podiatrist I switched to pair after pair of shoes I thought might be comfortable, but none worked.  By this time I had corns on the top of my hammertoes, corns on the bottom of the ball of my foot and bunions on both feet:  also ingrown toenails.  My feet had callouses and were a real mess and hurt all the time.  It was about this time I started on a collection of Birkenstock.  They were much better but I still couldn't get rid of the corns on the ball of my feet.
Finally, I discovered Crocs, and life has never been the same since.  I love these ugly shoes and own them in many colors to go with my outfits.  I have silver, gold, several pairs of black, 2 pair of sandals, as well as brown, green, and dark green crockskin.  My feet are now comfortable and I can walk again without pain.  Friends of mine have said they would never wear such ugly shoes, but do you think I care? 
As I mentioned at the beginning I have ever had a love affair with shoes.  Now it is pocketbooks.  I collect them but have been trying to restrain myself, and have not bought one in over a year.
In my dream last night it was very real, like a dialogue with shoe designers.  I was telling them that while  people always say women's legs look better in heels it isn't necessarily so.  If you got fat ugly ankles or calves, or god forbid crankles, high heels make you look no better.  Wear long pants and do not worry about it.  Design beautiful flat shoes with wider toe boxes and that women should never wear any kind of heels with long pants or jeans.  It is just silly. If you have lovely long legs guys will notice them in flat shoes, and again, heels are not necessary.
I told this to the designers in my dream but it is up to women to smarten up for themselves.  Think about it!  It is just advertising.  Most cultures didn't show the female leg and those that did had them barefoot in short African, Hawaiian or batik dress.  We do not need to ruin our feet like they did when they bound and deformed the foot for an idea of beauty.

Friday, September 27, 2013

BloggertyBlue and India too

Hail to thee blyth spirits!! Join me in a journey about the land which has enchanted me for as long as I remember.  I think I had mentioned how I subscribed as a little girl, to a program which sent me a little soft cover book each month on a country or group of countries (like England/Scotland/Ireland and Wales).  These little books were sent with a page or pages of stamps about 2×2". We were to find the chapter or page which related to the stamps and paste the stamp onto that page.  Similar to the sticker books kids have today.  Anyway, one of the books was on India and I was complete enthralled with the colors of the sari's and outfits worn by the Maharajah's and Maharani's, as well as the ordinary people. I loved the landscapes, temples, scenery and animals in the stories and pictures.  The jewelry too, oh my! what wonderful images.  I loved the elephants and camels and monkeys and big cats of every type.  I loved the crafts and cottage industries shown.  I went again and again to the little book.  I used to have a little black rubber baby doll I had begged my folks for one Christmas.  I loved that little doll more than any other because I could use him in my adventures.  I would pretend he was a Maharajah and I would create clothes for him from my collection of neckerchiefs, and drape necklaces and bracelets around his head.  We would go off on elephants to hunt Tigers in the jungles, etc.
Later, when I went to Camp Alders gate, summer camp, we had a Christian minister who was from India.  He had dark skin and was handsome and he told us stories about India and the development of Christianity there.  I was more interested in him and the stories about India than I was about Christianity but I was spellbound each night at the campfire and he regaled us with tales of India. My next exposure to the culture that I remember was the book "Caravans", by James Michener.  I adored the book when I first read it in High school, and subsequently read it several times more.  I always knew I would someday visit India and explore it for myself.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would marry man from India.
Things came to pass when I had been NYC just over a year that I met and fell in love with my husband Srinivasan.  This is a story which I will tell at another time, but suffice it to say that through him all my dreams were fulfilled,
I remember the first time Srini met my dad after we were secretly married in NYC(I had told just my mom and dad).  We flew upstate for Christmas and Dad was hospitalized at that time with heart problems.  Mom, Srini and I went to the hospital and daddy was very gracious when he met Srini and seemed pleased with my choice.  He did laughingly say  "I always suspected when you were a little girl and always carrying around that little black baby doll, that someday you might have a little black baby of your own".  This prophesy did not come to pass because I never had children of my own.  We did however, always support little dark babies in India and Africa through Christian Children's Fund and now a sponsorship project run by Bibles For The World, Inc.
The following year I first saw India and I knew my heart had come home.  I can't put the feeling into words but while I prefer to call the US my home now; India will always be the home of my heart.
  Go figure, I must have been reincarnated or something, but who cares.  There are some things and feelings I will never understand but I am so happy I have these experiences and adventures in my life.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Horses I have owned and loved

I was thinking a lot about horses.  I love them, have always loved them, will always love them. I cannot remember when my love for them began but it seems like it has been with me forever.
My absolutely best moment as a child was when my father gave me a horse. 
I was a chubby, nine year old, horse loving little girl who at first read only horse stories.  Black Beauty, the Black Stallion, the Stallion series and every other horse book I could find.  I loved western movies because of the horses and knew all of the famous horse's names.  Trigger, Champion, Silver, Buttermilk, and  Fury to name a few.  We didn't have a TV yet so I had to content myself with the movies and horses I saw in the fields around where I grew up.  I remember the farm a few miles away had a pinto pony and I looked for him whenever we went to Potsdam for shopping.  I begged my parents for a pony/horse every time I could.  Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, whatever.  I just wanted a horse; any horse. 
My parents kept telling me all the reasons I did not want a horse.  I would have to take care of the horse completely by myself.  I would have to fetch the bucket of water from the outside pump on the hill near the house to the barn/garage at the foot of our property(we had one acre).  I would have to feed and water the horse daily and bring him out of the barn and tie him to graze on our lawn during the day.  The property was not fenced.  I would have to shovel the manure and the hay bedding out of his stall onto the pile at the rear of the barn. This meant daily I would have to carry shovels full of the stuff about 10 feet from the stall to the small door at the rear of the barn, and fling  it out the door.  I was to curry and groom the horse and, co-incidentally I would have to learn how to ride.
All of this I agreed to and more if I could only, please,  please have a horse.  I was continually told no, especially by my mother.
Then one mystical, magical evening, nearing the end of spring, something wonderful happened.  My dad had gone out and I was working on my homework in the dining room with my mother.  This was always traumatic because I always had trouble and this drove my mom, who was a teacher, nuts.  We heard my dad drive in and heard men's voices outside but I thought it was just my dad and uncle.  A few minutes later, it was just at dusk, I heard my father calling me and my mother and sister to come outside.  There, tethered to the little old apple tree in the front yard was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.  A huge bay horse stood with his head turned toward me.  I yelled and ran to him with tears streaming down my cheeks.  I simply could not believe what I saw.  I threw my arms up high around his neck and hugged him then patted and stroked his neck, all the time blubbering.  My father stood holding the halter to be sure I didn't get hurt.  He told me laughingly, that the horse's name was Pete and he was a gelding who was a retired pacer.(a kind of racehorse).  He was 13 years old and was now MINE.  I absolutely could not believe it.  I stood with the horse for hours, refusing to come in and go to bed.  I will never forget the wonder of that first night with my friend.  My chest swells and I sigh just remembering it.
Later of course reality had to set in.  I had to do by myself all that was mentioned above and additionally I had to do the feeding, watering, and tethering before getting on school bus in the morning.  It was just a few short weeks before summer vacation, but it all began again in the fall.
I developed a reputation for smelling like horse even though I washed and changed clothes before getting on the bus.  I should mention I was the only country kid below 7th grade who went into the town school.  The other country kids went to the country school where everyone smelled the same.  I was still a little ripe for the townies. 
I learned to ride  but I was not allowed to ride alone on the roads.  Pete wanted to race every car that passed,  and he was just too big for an amateur little girl to handle.  Later my dad, without my permission, traded Pete for another brown horse named, Pinocchio, as he was a bit long in the nose.  I didn't care how he looked I loved him anyway.
 He too, had been a race horse(a trotter), but he was a bit older and didn't thrill to the sport like Pete had.  He too, I was not allowed to ride alone, until I was older.  The fall was fine but it was a long cold winter.  Pinocchio was in the barn all winter because it was just too snowy and cold to tether him outside.  It was really hard for a 10 year old girl to prime the pump; pump and then carry the bucket to the barn in the freezing weather.  My father absolutely refused to help me with anything but Mama would feel sorry for me and sometimes help, and the two of us would carry the sloshing bucket through the snowdrifts to the barn. In Daddy's defense he had to get up at 4:30 AM and get his car started in below O degree weather and drive 25 miles to work in Massena each morning.  Mama was not working then because she didn't drive yet but she got up with him to get his breakfast and pack his lunch box.
At the end of the following summer my mom began to work on me before school began.  She reminded me how the kids teased me in school about my smell and called me Clara, the horsey girl.  She reminded me that winter was coming again and how the Farmer's Almanac predicted a worse than usual winter.  (It was always worse in upstate N.Y., but anyway...)  She reminded me about the carrying water and the manure and played on my emotions saying Pinocchio would get lonely by himself again, in the barn all winter, waiting for his little girl to come home from school.
Her coup de gras was, that the farm that had the pinto pony had, several other horses and a teenage girl, who was quite a young horsewoman.  She gradually convinced me that I should give Pinocchio to Maryellen.  My dad had talked to the family and they said I could come and visit and ride my horse anytime I wanted.  I finally bowed to all the pressure and my horse became a lovely memory to me.
To this day I wish I had held out.  Of course everything else would also be different and we can only go back and imagine the what it might have been. I have always felt a yet unfulfilled yearning to have a horse again and board it on one of the horse properties we live near.  Every time I go out I try to take either 43rd or 51st Avenues so I can look at the horses in the pastures.  One of the things I love about living where I do in Phoenix is that within the town limits you have all these wonderful horse properties just a minute away.  You can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the horse out of the girl.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review- Zealot by Reza Aslan

This is going to be just cover a few examples as I do not wish to spend more time than this subject is worth.  I read, I thought, I didn't like.

The author is a very well recognized scholar and as such I was prepared to accept his historical facts.  I think I do accept them.  I have read about zealots in other places as well as the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and Masada, etc. etc.    I doubt very much that the facts are wrong.  I cannot stand however,  his own opinions, which he freely expounds upon, concerning the New Testament.  He takes a piece of text and puts layers and layers of his own theories and ideas over it, and promotes it a historical fact.
He suggests that Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist, and worse that the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness was when Jesus was following John with his other disciples. Whatever the 40 days were or meant, there is NO historical evidence that Jesus first followed John. This is pure, or should I say impure, opinion. There is even no historical evidence that Jesus the man of the New Testament even existed ; so where does this author get off.
He suggests that the Kingdom of God, is a call to arms to overthrow the Romans and that he, Jesus, wanted to be the earthly King of the Jews.
I am sick of it.  I do not wish to expound on the unhistorical opinions the author holds anymore.  He pisses me off.  Read the book if you will but this guy is delusional in his theories and opinions and his hubris.   

Gotta get rhythm

I got to get in a rhythm for posting.  We know with me there is no rhyme or reason, but rhythm is necessary for you all to know when to check blog for something.  So I am making a pact with you all to post on Monday and Friday.  Anything on other days will be a bonus.  I do not know who will think it is a bonus, but as Clay Thompson would say, "there you have it". I just love this guy and hope is back to his usual snarky column soon.
I just want to let you all know that I so much appreciate all of you loyal followers.  It is so good to have my crazy voice being heard.
I am posting entirely too much on Face Book.  Mostly sharing things or thoughts I see and love.  Unfortunately every time I share something to my timeline it gets posted on my homepage also and my friends who have no interest in the things I share are going to get angry at me taking up so much room.  Also things stay posted for such a short time that unless you go to my actual timeline you may miss all the profundities.  Such a quagmire this places me in.  To share or not to share.  This is the question.  I will have to see about posting more on Pinterest,  ISO FB.  So this is a short talk as I think about how I handle everything.  Are you not amazed by the problems I create for myself.  I was told in High School, when I took a test to determine what my interests were and what type of job I should train for; that I was too immature to take the test( don't you just love using semi colons).  I had too many diverse interests.  This is still unfortunately true today.  A single minded focus leads to success in one's field of endeavor.  Diverse interests lead for me to a world full of wonder, imagination, love and diversity.  I guess I do not mind so much not being successful.

Friday, September 6, 2013

What is most important, right now?

Hello again my friends, it is time for a little game.  If you could change just one habit or behavior you have held for more than 5 years, what would it be.  For me it used to be smoking.  I smoked for 50 years before, through God's grace, I was finally able to stop.
I, however, cannot ever leave well enough alone so I have to try and change something else.  Of all my striving towards perfection what key behavior still bothers me most?  It is hard to decide because my faults range from the physical, to the mental, to the spiritual and each category needs a lot of work.
First, the physical or health:      I need to lose at least 20 lbs.
                                                   I need to get more exercise.
These two behaviors are important because with COPD you cannot cure the disease, it is progressive. What  you can do is influence the body's ability to take in and more efficiently utilize oxygen.          

Secondly, mental or discipline:  I tend to put things off and wait until either time or circumstance 
                                                    force me to act.
                                                    I have to organize my paperwork better for my husband and heirs.
                                                    I have to dispose of my excess possessions before they create a 
                                                    problem for the previously mentioned.

Thirdly, Spiritual or Soul:           I want to be kinder to others in my thoughts and erase
                                                     negative feelings I hold; to eliminate hate from my heart.
                                                    I want to better understand and more completely follow
                                                    the teachings of Jesus, as they have come down to us.      

So given all of the above what should I  focus on first. In order of priority I believe the last should be first.  Love and kindness and understanding should always be at the forefront of all our activities.
Love your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself, to paraphrase.
A part of loving one's neighbor is taking care of their interests before one's passing. So I believe I should focus on the second, second.  Lastly, I should focus on number one. In more ways than One.
Ideally I can do all things in God.  With sacred help and guidance I can make progress in several direction as long as I keep my priorities straight, and do not get sucked in to superfluous activities which benefit no one.   

So my fellow players, what life changing activities would you like to focus on.  Life either is or is not a game.  If it is, one needs to move one's pieces in such a way as to win.  If it is not, then it is all the more important to get straight with what is most important and create one's own destiny.  One's character is one's destiny.  Is it not?  "To be or not to be, that is the question......"
I apologize for the previous paragraph.  I could not help myself.  :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Riches come from all directions and in all times.  What made me feel rich in my youth was how many colored neckerchiefs I owned to dress my dolls in, and how many little glass horses and Black Stallion books I had. When Daddy gave me a real horse when I was nine, I felt like the richest girl in the world.  All of my dreams had come true.
In high school I felt rich because I had a BFF for the school year, Christa, and a BFF for the summer, Eileen.  I felt rich because I had a Public Library with what seemed like all the books in the world.  Those books made me feel truly rich because they could carry a poor little girl from Slab City N.Y. to all the places on earth, through whatever historical time I choose.  Some of my favorite books in that day were Pearl S. Buck novels. I think I read them all. China, that far off land, fascinated me.  I did however, also read Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Payton Place. I had a vociferous appetite to read and learn about everything
I was very slow in beginning to read.  Mr. Gant in fourth grade was the one who taught me to read.  My first real book was "Polly Kent Rides West".  I remember the title because it was such a momentous achievement for me and my family.  It was finally decided that, other evidence to the contrary, I wasn't a total dingbat and was in fact teachable. I guess that was a richness of another kind. 
I felt really rich when I graduated from high school and Daddy gave me a car. Granted it was a 1950 Chevy in 1961 and cost only $50.00, but I was in Hog heaven.  I drove it all summer, but of course it reverted back to Dad when I went to college in the fall of 1961.  In the beginning, the first two weeks, at Geneseo, I felt awesome.  I was living away from home, I loved the campus and my new roommate, and I felt the world was wide open. Unfortunately that didn't last.  I had carried myself along to college with me, and I had a very poor self image.  I felt poor, ugly and dumb and my grades and social activities reflected that. I pledged for 4 sororities but was chosen by none.  I didn't have the clothes or spending money the others had so I worked in the cafeteria on the breakfast shift.  I started skipping classes and drinking at the kegs.  My grades were lousy but I hung on the first semester.   I had only chosen my major, speech therapy, because it wasn't offered in any of the Potsdam area colleges.  So I found I hated the beginning speech classes, and the teachers who taught them.  I was crazy, boy crazy by this time, but no nice boys were interested.  I did hold to my standards, however, so was mainly dateless my first semester.  I had one interesting episode of potential date rape with a beefy young lad from the next town over.  When I told him my father was a Deputy Sheriff in Potsdam, and if anything happened to me my Dad would hunt him down and kill him; he promptly backed off.  I got out of the car and started to walk back to the dormitories, a distance of about 6 miles, but my date pulled up beside me and reluctantly said he would drive me back.  All the way back he sang a take off on the song "Your the Reason I don't sleep at night"  but substituted the word screw. Some things you never forget!
The second semester I discover a romantic interest in the drama club, a young man named Berry.  He looked a little ape like, long arms and very hairy, but he had a certain charisma and was one of the most popular upper class men at Geneseo.  I fell for him hard but he barely knew of my existence.  I volunteered for everything surrounding the theater group.  Stage painting, makeup, costumes, lighting, you name it.  All to just be around my hero.  My grades fell like an avalanche and I was flunked out my second semester.  I went home to tears and desperation on the part of my mother, and a certain grim acceptance from my father.  There was a rainbow and silver lining to all this, however.  I was able to finally embark on my richest and most cherished dream.  I left with my friend Christa, and her Mom, to New York City. 
My riches were just beginning.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I'm dying to know

I'm really interested, but I do not know how to solve this problem.  I frequently find from my stats that I have people following my blog from Germany, the Netherlands and Russia, among the countries I sort of expected.  I know it is hard to leave comments on the blog unless you are already signed up for Google +, but I would love to have your feedback. If you have Google + please leave me some comments.  Those who access me through face book can leave a comment or message on my timeline.  Those who have my email can of course email me. Since I am putting so much of myself out there I would just like to know who is listening(IE. reading). Thanks.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Morning

It is Sunday morning, September1, 2013 and in a few more minutes I will be going to Church.  Why bother, you might ask.  You all know me for what I am.  Sarcastic, gossipy, lazy, materialistic, irreverent, and very critical of religions in general.  So why would this woman be going to church?  Does she think a few minutes in a sacred environment will change her?  Does she not notice that her pew mates share some of her characteristic's and that in fact some of them may be even worse than she is? 
No, I am not silly enough to believe an hour or more in church is going to change the bad habits or thoughts, or actions of me or anyone else.  In fact it could be even worse.  I might become sanctimonious, believing that because I spend an hour thinking of and worshiping a higher power, I might be better than those who do not, or who worship differently. 
I know God, if he exists, and I do believe he does; is too big for any religion or church and he gathers to himself any who wish to be with him anywhere, from gutter to mountaintop, and loves us all equally.
So why am I happy about going to church today?  I am happy because I look forward to greeting my friends, with whom I have worked for years, on projects and missions which bring comfort and aid to many others in my community and world.    I am happy to sit in my pew and say the old prayers, sing the old hymns and listen to the reading from our ancient texts. I am blessed to listen to a live sermon from our pastor who illuminates with compassion and love the trials we face in our daily life, and offers comfort and support for those who seek it. 
I become present in a holy environment, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." 
I feel I walk with my God, each day of my life.  I am in a holy presence whenever I turn my thoughts to that which is so much greater than I.  I cannot hope, in this life, to ever know the answers to all my questions.  I do know, however, that I did not create myself and that neither I not anything else is accident or chance or natural selection.  Where accident, chance and natural selection play a part in the creator's plan I am unable to fathom. I know in my most present moments, my darkest thoughts, my most destitute moments, I feel the action and presence of God and he sustains me.
Church service is a moment in time where I share with others our belief in the divine and holy being who creates, sustains and destroys each of us in turn in this life; and who one exists in, eternally.   

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A quick poem for my readers

So I sit down to write
even though the timings tight
There is so little time
to even think of rhyme

So many things to do
and I am stuck with you
I promised self last night
that today I'd write

Other people's poems
often read like tomes
I want my lines to run
and frolic very lightly
so once you've left the page
you'll come back, maybe nightly?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

So I'm trying to be optimistic again

O.K. I just gotta do this even if it is short.  It is like meditation or exercise, you must be consistent or it is no good.  I did practically nothing today but I did read the great article Nick posted from cracked.com.  I can't keep thinking about the article.  I cannot say anything better and the guy really made me think.  It seems like a long time ago when I thought like that.  I have really become a pessimist and for no good reason as nothing bad has happened to me personally.. 
I think it all really began with our invasion of Iraq and finding the later truth of no nuclear weapons.  I watched our "shock and awe" and listened to our embedded reporters and thought we were doing a good thing to get rid of Saddam.  I was thrilled when his statue was pulled down and I really believed we were ridding the area of a tyrant.
Then slowly the war went on, the truth came out, our killed and wounded kept coming home in body bags and stretchers; and what did we gain but unending war and bad world press?  I stopped being optimistic about our country or believing anyone in power. We missed our chance to get Bin La din on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border,  then came the great recession in 2007.  It just kept going on and on from there.  Friends and family lost jobs, homelessness and poverty grew, civil rights were challenged and voter suppression began in ernest.  My most cherished hopes for a better life for all of our citizens were being eroded.  I became more and more depressed, sarcastic and negative about our congress and local and state govt.
I became a member of the opposite of a tea bagger.  I became an old cracked coffee potter.  No relative of Harry. 
Anyhoo, the cracked .com" 7 reasons the news looks worse....." gave me a new lease on optimism.  I can't deny my frustrations but perhaps I can balance them more objectively and remember it is out of my hands anyway.  History will judge, not I.  And I loved the embedded cat video

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why I have a love/hate relationship with FB

I am led to blog again by a Facebook incident which has forced me to review once again what I am doing and why I do it.  I got on Facebook a couple of years ago just to find out what it was.  I discovered to my surprise that I really was enjoying my FB experience.  I began to encourage my friends and family to get on it with me so we can keep in touch with what each other was thinking , enjoying, where we were traveling to and from, getting engaged or having babies....All sorts of exciting stuff I had not known about for many years. For me the benefits of FB have been mostly positive.  I find that while my family seldom if ever writes and rarely cal,l they will keep in touch somewhat on FB.  I am separated by a lot of miles by most of my family and friends.  From India, Korea, New York, Pennsylvania, to California and Michigan, among just a few places, my friends and family are scattered far and wide.  From FB I have met up again with my great nieces and nephews.  Josh, Nick, Sean, Angela, are all my friends now.  Their significant others Elizabeth and MerryDeath, and now little baby Natalie are on my radar, where normally I wouldn't have a clue from their parents and grandparents where they were or what was happening in their lives. I have connected with old friends Becky, Helene, Charlene, and have become much closer again, to Eileen and Jenny. I have become friends with Joretta and some of her kids and love keeping up with them. Debra is in touch much more often and I am so thrilled to be in contact with her again.  Amy is in touch through FB but I have not found Dylan, Zack or Brooke yet.  Blake and Kenny and Michael ignore me but perhaps it is an older  guy thing.  Srini  too, isn't officially on FB but he reads the posts from family and his friends in martial arts and really enjoys them.
There are so many other people I would like to find and be in touch with but I forget to look for them when I'm on FB.  If your out there and see me, send me a friend request.
I really enjoy posts about you and the family and the animals.  I like to know where you have been.  Its O.K. that you don't say where or when you are going, but I love the updates when you get back.  I love to know your daily details, like comments on funny kids, kitties, dogs, or other wild life.  I enjoy recipes you post, cute sayings or profound thoughts or just status updates.  I like to know about family reunions, frustrations with daily life, funny things that happen or pictures you take and post.
The whole experience is mostly good.
What I do not like, however, are political statements which bad mouth others, or which put others in a bad light or try to convince others to one's point of view.  I do not like religious statements for the same reason.  It is one thing to mention you are campaigning for the Tea Party, Republican, Libertarian, Democrat or Progressive party, or to mention that you went to a rally, etc. It is quite another to post political rants or smear campaigns or negative cartoons or racist comments. I also do not like statements of faith which imply if you don't think or feel the same way, you are wrong and worse than that, damned.  I love hymns and lovely religious music and interesting links to what my friends and relatives might also find interesting.  I hate rants right out there in my face, which I am forced to hide or skip over continuously.  I just do not believe FB is the forum for our deepest faith and political beliefs.  There are blogs and emails which are much more suited for this type of exchange, or even links and private messages through, FB.  Please just do not proselytize to me when I just want to know you better, share a few laughs and pictures, and relate to you all in a gentle way.  So much for this blog.  See you all again soon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm Sorry I've been gone so long, I promise I'll be back.

I have been traveling a bit and now I am immersed in a project which is totally unimportant and irrelevant to any sane creature.  I have been putting this off since 2001 and I am bound and determined to finish this week.  When it is done I will let you know and I am sure you will agree I am certifiable, however never knock one's passions.  They may point to who a person really is.  Enough said.  See you soon.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Taking time off

I am going to take a break from writing for a few days.  Check FB to see when I am back or I will send an email.  I have lots to do in the next few days and it doesn't include blogging.  I plan to stick my fingers in a light socket and recharge.  Just a little light humor.  Did you ever think about what it means to recharge your batteries?  As if one is some sort of a machine which constantly needs to be refueled, and occasionally needs to get recharged or get a whole new battery.  Wait, we are machines like that!  Who would have thought?  We add water and fuel everyday, we sleep to recharge, we crash and burn or sometimes just end up with damaged fenders or need an engine replacement.  We try alternative fuels like smoke, alcohol and drugs, but they seldom sustain us and do damage and rust out our parts and even throw off the electrical system and electronics on board.  We also sometimes add too much fuel and become twice the machine we used to be. Not good.
Did you ever think what kind of a vehicle you would be, if you could be any vehicle you wanted?  Much has been written about how and why people choose their means of transportation and it is a fascinating subject.  I would like however, to take it farther.  I would like to know what kind of person you would be if you could start all over with a brand new life.
I haven't really thought too much about this but if I were to be reincarnated into a brand new being I think I would again choose to be a woman. I would like to be a very strong and empathetic woman. I would like to have conquered my fears and insecurities and face life boldly regardless of the circumstances.  I would like to try on a variety of lifestyles but manage to live authentically regardless of the vagaries of the life I would be re given.  I want to love children, people and all animals and life forms, and to walk softly and gently through  God's creation.  I want to love beauty, art, nature, creativity and to contribute value to my fellow man.  Then to pass gently into the heavens.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Material possessions

I have given myself 20 minutes from now, to write this.
I have no clue but hope my muse will lead me.  Sometimes I listen and sometimes I do not.  It depends on the subject presented.
  I have been trying to get ready for the next step in my life but I am unsure of what it will be.  I don't think it is death just yet but I do think it is in the process of dying to things.  All my life I have been so materialistic.  I love beautiful things and when I see them I want to have them for my own.  I know I can only hold the things for a short while then I will be gone, so now I am looking to make the time of ownership even shorter.  Like, I want to have things of beauty in my mind only, instead of needing to physically bring them home.  I have been a little ashamed of my materialism but not enough to avoid telling people about it.  Everywhere I go, everything I see, I want some of it.  I ache for the beauty of the world and I somehow think if I can just hold onto it in some physical sense, that sense of awe will hold forever.  Well, you all know the end of the story.  After you have a thing it gets old, and you want something else to replace it.  The house, the cars, the furnishings for each room of the house.  We get tired of them all.  We want something new and shiny to replace them.  On the other hand we really want to hold on to what we already have.  We do not want to give it away or share it.  Sometimes we can be enticed to sell it, so we can get something new. 
 Now sometimes, unfortunately, we feel the same way about relationships.  New is better?  Can this be a reason why the divorce rates are so high?
 Anyway that is another topic and I have never wanted to replace my marriage or friendships. 
 But this materialistic thing, it is hard for me to get a handle on it.  I have always wanted to be free and unfettered, but I keep adding to my treasure trove of goodies.  I can't just pick up and go because the things I am leaving behind tie me up with invisible bindings.  They say to keep only what you love or is important to you.  It all is.  My thoughts and memories are all bound up in these things.
I keep thinking of having an estate sale before I die so I can separate myself from these material attractions.  I know many people in my Church and of my generation have these same problems.  It  always achieves tragic proportions when people have to leave their homes and move to independent or assisted living.  Decisions are forced on them and while in some sense they are ready, in another they are most assuredly not. 
 So I say, make the plans now.  Separate yourself emotionally and then physically from these emotion fraught things, and move on.  Buy no more, then you will need no more goodbuys.
 A little humor there. Sayonara.  I made my time deadline.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cain and Abel, and maybe Sally, today

We all know that in the Bible, when Cain slew Able it was the first murder and the first we know of a life threatening dispute between brothers.  This apparently started the series of all the sibling disputes which have followed.
My question is as follows: WHY?
I know of two situations intimately, where two sets of brothers who once loved each other, fought for each other and seriously planned their lives around one another, have become sworn enemies and are totally incapable of even talking to one another. WHY?
Oh, I know the circumstances of each situation and there all sorts of incidents which led to the breaking point of each relationship, but what I cannot understand is WHY?
It is always somewhat understandable when siblings with large age or character differences just cannot get along and avoid each other.  Sometimes they do not see each other for many years and there is little or no communication, but they do not hate each other.  They just do not like each other too much and there isn't a lot of love lost between them.
In the situation, however, when the brothers or sisters have been very close I can only ask WHY?
What is it which comes between the two to cause such anger and separation?  From my observations it seems to be two things.  Control and money.  In both cases the final split came after the death of the Father, who was loved and respected.  The mother was left a widow and the younger brother assumed a position of control he had previously been denied when the father was alive.  For differing reasons the younger brother was asked to assume some help and assistance with the estate which remained  for the widow.  During the remaining years of each mother's life the tensions built between the elder and second brothers.  The third brothers, in both cases, took sides with the elder brother.  When the widows finally passed there were open fights with words and insults and the 2 sets of brothers have been unable to get along since.  If they are to meet there are harsh words and further alienation.  I believe these matters can never be resolved as neither set of brothers wants them  to be.  The money and inheritance problems have never been completely resolved and lawyers have been consulted in both cases.
I have been thinking and thinking and several possibilities come to me.  In both cases the younger of the two brothers had health problems which most likely led to them being somewhat spoiled, but nonetheless neither felt he had been given enough love from the parents. The elder brother in both cases was strong and competent and the apple of their mother's eyes.  I am sure for many years resentments smoldered in the younger brother's hearts but they both made it seem like they loved and admired their older brother.  They used to trail after their older brother when they were young and tried to get their attention.  Once the parents were gone their true feelings were given an outlet and what had smoldered, burst into flame.
The families of both sets of brothers have been devastated by the fractures and keep trying to handle what went wrong. 
I do not know if my thinking makes any sense to anyone but me.  I would seriously make sure that if I had more than one child my will would be in place down to every last detail before either me or my husband became incapacitated.  Siblings and relatives will fight over animals, possessions, jewelry, money, the family Bible, you name it. Whatever is left can be a fight if resentments have been buried over time.  My two close encounters involve men, but it is the same for sisters, or brother and sister.  Beware the murderer in your midst.  He or she would slew their sibling if given the chance.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Right Now I Am O.K.

It has been a while but I have been very busy doing my usual daily little dumb things. I read "Super Brain" and I really enjoyed it.  The main thing I really got; I had once before, but forgot it.(it is an interesting thought, got/forgot)  It is a very important concept that I forgot..  It is that Right Now I am O.K.  This means all the normal or abnormal things I worry about are in the future: and the stuff I fret about or feel inadequate about  or which makes me sad, are all in the past.    Right now, this very minute I am O.K.
I don't seem to realize or maybe I just don't get that I make my own heavens or hells or purgatories.  When I leave the current moment is when all of the problems begin.  It is however very hard to stay in the current moment.  Our hopes and fears keep coming up and we keep slipping backward or forward in time.  If time is a man made concept and everything only happens as it happens, not before or after, then it is easier to stay focused in the now. 
It is interesting to read stories about people with amnesia who apparently forget who they are, and remember nothing from the past.  It seems to be sort of like Alzheimer's only the self is lost all at once and can come back.  All of these people should have it easy living in the moment but it seems the moment is really unavailable to them too.  They appear to be worried about their confused little moment.  There appears to be only confusion or angst, in their moments. The moment is wasted in worrying about what they should but do not remember or what they are missing by being unable to imagine a future.
They seem to live in the lost land of existing /not existing, never ever land.
Meditation promises to take us into the moment but I have never succeeded in losing my mind.  Instead I lament and wonder why I cannot escape my thoughts, If you are worried about it you are not meditating.  You are supposed to gently draw yourself back to your mantra, instead I jerk myself around and try to force myself back.  I would much rather be consciously aware of what is happening now in the current moment.  The sounds I hear, the colors I see, the softness of my pet's fur that I feel.  Even the pain.  I try to go into the pain rather than escape it, remembering right now I am O.K. and if I can get out of my thoughts and fears and just tune into my senses I can continue on and live in the moment. 
Too often there are the moments of beauty and peace and Godliness and then we are jerked back to our hates and fears and belief systems.  How can we come from meditation, church, a symphony, and experience of beauty, God, or realization, and be the same old stinky, corrupt and unforgiving persons we were before?  The over the top experiences do not seem to change us.
This is why Priests and Pastors are forgiven for their transgressions and redemption is possible.  It appears to be part of the human condition.  As humans we visit the heights and descend to the depths
and carry only vague impressions of each state to the other.  Whatever the conditions of either state.  If I can only stay in the now I am O.K.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A most Curious Situation

Have you ever been curious about things?  I have always felt like a cat who is curious about everything.  I have been told that curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought her back.  I am not sure if I will be brought back and I doubt I have nine lives but I have always been inordinately curious.  I want to know everything.  About everyone and everything.  On a lazy day in India I once spent 3 hours following an ant to see where he lived.  He eventually went into a hole by a Jasmin plant after a very slow and circuitous route.  As you can see I have a life well spent.
My curiosity can encompass many different things but mostly I am interested in people.  What has happened in their life?  How were they raised? What did they feel?  How do they feel/think?  What are their likes and dislikes.  Why, Why, Why. I can listen to someone talk for hours about themselves.  Their past, their hopes, dreams, ambitions, marriage, singularity.  My favorite types of books are, Duh, autobiographies, biographies and novels.  Really, are there any other kinds of books?  Oops, I forgot mysteries, I love them too.   I do not like historical novels, science fiction or politics or history or romance novels.  I will occasionally experiment with one of these but for the most part unless they are recommended, I ignore them.  I do also like stories involving animals.  True stories only.  My Black Beauty, Bambi days are over, I am such a sap I always cry.
I am on the whole very unobservant.  I do not notice what people look like, what they wear, what color eyes they have or other obvious visual signs.  I am more interested in what they are like on the inside, and I do make a snap judgment based on what I instinctively feel.  I am very interested in how people treat me.  Do they look me in the eye?  Do they have a solid handshake?  Do they really see me or are they too much in their own heads? Are they looking around or over my head for someone more interesting to talk to?   I am also very concerned with how they treat or talk about others.   Are they nice to animals? 
I could care less if someone is bald, limps, or has a physical handicap.  Mostly I really do not even notice.  But if you have an air of mystery about you or an unresolved conflict I cannot wait to find out more about you.   

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Marriages-circa 1963/64

Srini got me a diamond when we were engaged, one month after we met.  It was a surprise to me, but he wanted me to have what every other American girl had when they were engaged.  We eloped in NYC, two months later.  No wedding dress, no fluff.  Just Srini and 2 witnesses and the Methodist pastor.  Had renewing of the vows again in upstate NY, for my Mom and Dad because the date had been set before we eloped.  Mom didn't want everyone to think I got married because I was pregnant(remember this was 1963).  Got married again.  Again, no fluff, no Wedding dress.  I did wear a blue suit and heels.  We had dinner in a restaurant then our family went bowling and Srini and I went to a motel.  No one knew it wasn't out first wedding.  I think there were 14 people including 4 kids, total at my second wedding.  My third wedding was in India when we visited his parents the first time.  They had a Hindu Priest come in, vows and prayers were exchanged, I wore a Sari and was presented with my marriage necklace of gold and black beads and thali.  I was truly married but never pregnant.  I loved my wedding ring and wedding necklace.  My diamond, not quite so much.  I had to keep it in the safe deposit box most of the time.  I am like Eileen in that I don't like things I have to worry about losing.  On the other hand I am unlike Eileen in that I love jewelry.  I am like a magpie, attracted to bright sparkly stuff.  I have always loved stones.  I have collected them from driveways, fields, anywhere really, and from every place I have visit.  Simple stones and rocks I always have around me. So enough about my materialistic ways.  I have changed so much over the years and I am still evolving.  I never wanted nunchucks, but I love knives and swords and jo s.  My three happiest moments were when I married Srini, graduated from college, and received my black belt in Kazi Arashi Ryu.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Reflections on Dog, dog gone it

Sorry, I am behind again.  I just have to stop worrying about if you will miss me.  I miss you all and you don't worry.LOL
It is just too damned hot to go outside now and yet I have had to the past 4 days.  Angie had to go to the Pet Salon for her beauty spa treatment today.  She always looks the same after, as she did before, except her nails have been clipped.  She screams when I try to do her nails and the scream is worse than any terrified child. I am too soft.  I cannot take it.  I always knew I would make a rotten mother. So, I have given up and take her where she meekly submits to the professionals.  She was so happy to see me when I picked her up that she hasn't left my side. 
Animals always seem so vulnerable and trusting to me.  Even the very large and wild ones.  The videos which keep coming on Wimp.com are breaking our hearts.  Especially the one's about mixed relationships.  Especially the ones involving dogs.  Dog with ape, cat with dog, fawn with dog, elephant with dog, dog saving dog, dog mourning man or woman.  Notice the most common element to these relationships is dog to: being.
Dog spelled backwards is God.  We all know this but it doesn't always hit us. 
Well, it is hitting me now.  I love God and I love Dog.  The dog less than God because the dog is finite, littler, and less powerful.  God is Infinite, Absolute Power and Eternal.  God is Love, but the little dog's love, and I cannot imagine a purer or more selfless love.  I can only imagine the love of God but I can feel absolute love expressed through a dog. 
I know I love and am loved by humans differently than by animals.  It is complex, never simple or clear.  I believe love cannot be separated or broken down.  You cannot love one person more than another.  You cannot love Spouse more than Mother, for example.  There is only love.  It either is or it isn't.  With human love for one another, however, there is a lot more baggage in addition to the love which we feel, and which is eternal.  There is our free will, our conscious, our needs and desires, our hopes and our dreams, and our guilt's and sorrows, missed opportunities,  and our nasty little secrets. 
These all muddy up the water of the stream of pure love towards and between humans.
Jesus said "I am the living water", and we know that water can only be pure and crystal clean.
If we could only let ourselves love God and others with the simple and pure love that both God and dog love us, we would inherit the key to eternal love, and beauty and truth.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Technology!!

So I found a bunch of things I wrote in 1962 and 1968.  They were actually dated.  I decided to scan them to my computer and I did it in PDF format but with no security.  Once they were scanned I needed to move them around because they were on onion skin paper and I used the auto feed to scan them.  Thus, some stuck together.  I sorted them and scanned some again but had to use a different file.  Now I have ended up with 4 different PDF files but I am unable to copy and consolidate them into one file because I just don't know enough.  I have copied some pages from "help", concerning PDF files and right clicking to copy, etc, but once I copy I cannot paste.  Right now I am very frustrated.  I am telling you all about this because firstly, I know I will eventually figure it out, and secondly, so you realize how hard it is for someone who is almost 70 to do something new on the printer and computer when she has had no advance training.
It was also very difficult to set up a new Kindle fire and a new Nikon camera.  I spend 23 hours(I really did keep track) to figure out how to set up the Kindle Fire I received for Christmas.  The user manual is on line but you have to be able to turn the damn thing on and add security before you go online or you leave yourself vulnerable.  My Viper security came with few instructions as well. I cried with frustration several times and Srini was ready to send the damn thing back-then Eureka, I experienced success.  The Nikon only took 2 hours but it had a little manual.  I have not yet tried to put my pictures on the computer.  I fully expect more grief. 
It should not be this difficult.  These things are supposed to be intuitive, but I guess only to the young.  I was not taught to think technically and I spend more time learning these things than I do using them.  On the other hand it may help to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.  I just finished the book "Super Brain" by a Neurologist  Rudolph E. Tanzi,  and Deepak Chopra.  I have never liked Chopra but I love Tanzi and it is mostly him and his knowledge of the physical brain and the user.  It is all about the brain and its 3 parts and the self who uses the brain.  It is fascinating and I would highly recommend it.  The interesting thing is Tanzi has spend the majority of his career researching Alzheimer's.  Tanzi has also given a lecture on PBS which I watched and saved.
To make a long story short, as I want to continue to live and grow in this new century, I must continue to at least learn the rudiments of the technology.  After all in my hay day I could operate a hi fidelity turntable and a tape recorder and even a black and white TV with no remote control and only 3 channels.  This new stuff should be duck soup.  Or is this the wrong saying for a vegetarian.  I should say vegetable bullion.
So tomorrow I will try again but I need some Excedrin right now.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Days

June is busting out and it is getting hotter than hades here in our happy little town.  Of course as always Phoenix is beautiful.  The flowers are all in bloom as are all the trees.  The grass is green where it has been planted and watered.  The trees, bless them, have become overgrown with their spring growth spurt and we have had to have the ones in the front trimmed already.  The early mornings are still in the high 70's but are quickly moving to the 80's by 8:00AM and over 100' by noon. 
By afternoon it is 105-108 and it then slowly cools down by midnight.  It will only get worse until September.  Oh! happy summer days.
I well remember when I could not wait until summer.  School was out in mid June and we didn't go back until after Labor day in September.  It rarely even approached 90' in summer and you could always use a sweater or shirt by evening.  I do not remember ever complaining about weather back then during spring, summer or fall.  Rain would come in either brief showers or heavy thunderstorms but I loved the rain.  I would run out to walk in it and enjoy it.  I remember Eileen and I in Alex. Bay walking downtown in the rain and back with our feet bare.  Eileen's Mom thought we were crazy, but then she always felt I was crazy.  She wasn't far from the mark.  When I was younger I spend most of the summers alone at home or playing and fighting with the neighbor country kids.  I read a lot or played games with my dolls, chemistry set, or snow fences rolled up behind the barn.  Those snow fences became my horses and I would ride them into my wild west fantasies.  Sometimes my friend Terry, who was 4 years younger than I, would ride the snow fences with me and I would carry him along in my mental adventure.  I would also turn my front porch into a covered wagon and drive my mules or horses by sitting on the wooden risers which enclosed the side where the steps were.   I would write out lists of barrels of flour and beans and sugar, and  preserved sides of pork and beef which had to be loaded in the wagon along with extra wheel rims, tins of nails and tools like axes, shovels, hammers etc.  I would make the lists as complete as possible to meet the needs of travel through both plains and deserts and I always brought beads and baubles to trade with the Indians I might meet along the way.  Terry would sometimes come in the covered wagon with me but all he wanted to do was fight Indians so he didn't fit well in the over all scheme.  I had to worry about trails over the mountains and fording rivers.  I didn't  want to fight Indians I wanted to become their friend and use their knowledge to help me get to my destiny.
When I entered my teen years I went to Church camp, Alders Gate, one week every year and I just loved it.  I also was invited to my brother-in-law's family home every summer to spend a few weeks in Alexandria Bay.  Alex. Bay  was a small town on the St. Lawrence River and near some of the Thousand Islands which are so famous in the region.  My brother-in-law Gene drove a Tour Boat on the river which stopped on or near many of the islands.  His sister Eileen and I were the same age.  She was my best friend and we had such fun together.  We both read like crazy and we would walk to the library and come home with arms full of books.  We would read each others books too and we had long discussions.  Sometimes we also fought but mainly about religion.  I was Methodist and she was Roman Catholic.  We would fight about the Virgin Mary, praying to the Saints as intermediaries, and Communion and transfiguration.  It was such fun but sometimes we would yell so loud at each other that an adult would have to intervene.  Eileen had a sister and 3 older brothers.  I had only a sister so it was also fun to see Eileen's family argue and fight.  All her relatives and cousins would descend on the Catlin house especially on the weekends.  I wasn't used to large Irish families so that was a lot of fun for me too.  There was always something going on.  I was jealous of Eileen's relationship with her cousin Diana, but she was so nice I couldn't hate her.  I was just happy when she went home and I could have Eileen to myself.  On the other hand I did hate Eileen's niece.  She was Marie's daughter and I can't remember her name but I am sure I forgot on purpose.  She was just a few years younger than us, spoiled, and I could not stand the attention Eileen paid to her.  When she came I was ready to go home to my solitary summer life.  My sister Jackie and her husband Gene were very generous about driving me the 80 miles back and forth from Potsdam to the Bay.
The summer weeks I was home were long and lazy.  I would read, walk and ride my bike in the country, pick berries, play with my, and the neighborhood's, animals, and daydream.  My mother and father both worked and my sister was working in restaurants in the Bay or married with small babies.
Until I got my driver's license at 16, I was home bound, but even after that I didn't have a car so I was home during the summer.
The long, warm summers did breed discontent and I couldn't wait to leave home and start living my life.  I had one summer of freedom after I graduated from High school.  My Dad bought me an old $50.00 car and I had it for most of June, July and August before I left for College.  I drove that old car to the max.  I went into Potsdam and picked up Christa and we went to Postwood swimming and then we would just cruse around. Christa left for Airline School in early July and then I would drive to Massena to help my Dad at the Marina to make some spending money. I also drove to Alex. Bay to see Eileen and got her in trouble with her parents because we stayed out too late.  I forget what we were doing but it was innocent.  However, her folks sure didn't think so and I got yelled at by the whole family. I was persona non grata for the whole week.
So I never had a long summer after that because the following year I began working and that was it until India.
Aw youth, aw summer, aw heck.