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 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.