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Have been away for a bit, and yet have so much to say. This past early April I started what I would call a journey. Not just any journey, I needed to know some things. Things that you really do not read much about. Things that matter to life and living and love and family and happiness. Things that have such meaning to the quality of life we – as human beings on this earth, things we try to build and maintain for ourselves every day. Not just in my home or the neighbor’s home, but across this country and throughout the entire world. And I had noticed things missing in our lives, many lives – everywhere. So many of the same stories.
These things mentioned above were not as present in my life as before. Had I done something? Why were they harder and harder to achieve? Were they being just – elusive?What was going on? Bear with me here as I really did not plan out this post as I normally would. This is coming from my heart and mind and soul and right off the top of my head. No place else.
There are many things I am uncomfortable with. Uneasy with. As I dove into the internet, deep down into the internet, I was discovering what was going on. It wasn’t nice. It sure isn’t pretty. In fact, what I was reading and seeing at times was pretty horrific. I found myself in a rabbit hole I didn’t know I was entering. As I entered the edge of the rabbit hole, I was pushed right over the edge. At first I was curious and kept reading and vetting info and learning. Then I wondered – do I want to do this? I am not liking being in this rabbit hole at all. Should I continue? I wanted to get out of there and pretend what I had read and learned just didn’t exist. Could I do that? Nope. Because once you get into that rabbit hole – there is no unlearning what you learned.
In other words – I had to go there. I had to bottom out in this hole before I could start my climb back out. And I did. It wasn’t easy, don’t get me wrong. Not at all. When you really want to know life, this planet, this earth, what the humans in charge of this wonderful place are doing – not only to the earth, but to the human beings and living creatures on this planet – – it can take you some place you never expected. It can be devastating at first. There is cruelty there, crimes against humanity and earth. Its ugly and dark. Some of the cruelty is unspeakable. As I walked through this ugly rabbit hole I kept wondering; what happened to love? Morals? Decency? Why was this even allowed to start let alone continue? Where were the earth’s leaders? Do we have any leaders left? What the hell happened here!
Unless you go into that rabbit hole and explore around for yourself, take a look… you may only think you know what is really going on. And once you go in – you can’t come back out the same person. I now am thankful for this. I am not the same person. It’s not just the knowledge or the information provided to me by those here at home, in the states or worldwide. Once this begins – it changes your soul. It changes your heart. It changes your mind to think differently than before. It opens up a piece of your being you may not have known was there – like it did for me.
They say at the end of 2012, the Mayan’s predicted a new era for humans on this planet. Not one of book learned knowledge, but of a spiritual evolution. Evolving to a higher place of being. I found that. I evolved. A spiritual awakening so to speak. A higher level of consciousness was waiting for me once I jumped out of that rabbit hole. Thank goodness. The missing pieces, the uncomfortablness and akward feelings are gone. It’s not something you can take and claim it as yours or plan it out for it to happen, it just happens. It just does.
Now? I work with and meet folks worldwide doing many things. Meditating as a collective in a synchronized prayer for peace and meditation is one of them. Had never even considered meditating before. The energy doing this with 2,000 other souls on this amazing planet is nothing I have ever felt before. Again, I had never considered the idea of meditation before I went down that rabbit hole. It’s now a big part of my life.
I have been involved in many movements and actions to change laws, bring peace, uphold the constitution of the United States of America – a place I love dearly, and many other things. Change needs to happen, and it needs to happen pretty quickly for us to survive. I realized in this rabbit hole – it was up to me, no one else. Just me. To join in changing this around, or stand and feel uncomfortably awkward and unhappy – even scared. No matter what is going on in this world, no matter who is controlling all the bad things, trying to take my peace and happiness and throw confusion and discomfort at me – it is no longer allowed. It is not acceptable for anyone, anywhere… to do this in my life. Completely unacceptable. And its my job to keep it that way. Thank you – you ugly rabbit hole – you are full of chaos and noise and ugliness and lies and deceit and everything thats unhuman and unpleasant. May I never see you again. Not ever.
IF we – as human beings, do NOT protect this planet, do NOT love and care for each other – the world will die – and all of us right along with it. Not just in the physical sense, in every way we will see death. I sure saw death in that rabbit hole. Death of human spirits from all over the world. WE have brilliant power as humans, as collective humans – to do such great things.
It’s now up to me. I am front and center and I am not going anywhere. Not a chance. The knowledge is here, the rabbit hole discovered – I survived it. I have reclaimed my beautiful place on this earth as I should. It’s always been there, it’s always been mine for the taking. This place of mine – belongs to me and no one else. What a beautiful awakening.
~ Humanity matters ~
“It is in the shelter of each other that the people live” ~ Irish Proverb
Dedicated with much love to my Mother, Joanne Marie Hahn Kolhoff – and to her best friend in the entire world, Carole Lynn Check. Thank you both for such amazing love. Rest with angels. I love you both.
~ Namaste ~
As I was looking for an inspirational Easter Sunday service online, this is the sermon I found. If I may take a moment of your day to share this with you, to help clarify an urgent need – I thank you for your time. It is that important. As a woman living in the south, and looking for inspiration and hope on this Easter morning, this is exactly what I needed to read. Now, I need to share it. And I need you to share it also.
We Need A Movement. Open request to the states of the north, the southern states need your help.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II ~ Palm Sunday April 13th, 2014:
Americans economic theory today is called conscienceness.. We are all integrated and really do need one another. We are the richest nation and the poorest nation all at the same time. Poverty numbers are higher than any other western democracy. The greatest gaps between rich and poor since we started collecting data. The southern states, the south, the native home to American poverty, has more people and political leaders that are untroubled by this than ever before.
Ten of the country’s poorest states are in the south. The former confederate states set the standard for economic deprivation. We also lead the nation in those without health care coverage of any kind. Texas paves the way with an astounding 25% uninsured. The leaders of these states are also the most opposed to health care reform.
We need a moral movement. We need help with a moral movement. A moral dissent. And it is necessary… now. Right now. Somebody must be able to say it does not matter what party is in power. We need to challenge both the democrats and the republicans. There are some things that transcend majority politics. There are some things to big for a liberal / conservative conversation. We need a moral movement. We need a moral movement with help from our northern sisters and brothers, family and friends.
There are some things that must be challenged because they are extreme. They are immoral and they are just wrong. We need a movement that goes out and tells this story far and wide. We in the southern states need help. We are asking for help. Please hear us. Justice is our battle but justice has been denied. Please hear us. These battles are more than black and white. We need a moral movement across the nation. An indigenous, home-grown movement that is state based. Please hear us. A movement that is state based and government focused. A movement that is deeply moral, deeply constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-liberty and pro-labor.
We need a movement that is about the moral fabric of our society that is guided by a deep vision of what is possible. A movement that is long-term and not based on a one-issue campaign. We need to challenge the myth of our time. The myth that they only hurt a small subset of people such as people of color or people in poverty. This is a myth. Extreme policies hurt us all. We need a moral movement with a southern context that has northern connections.
If we want to change America we must think state. And we really want to think state, you have got to think of southern states. A movement that understands anti-poverty and anti-racism must always remain at the heart of our struggle. We need a movement. The southern states need the help from northern states to hear us.
A movement guided by our deepest faith, tradition and values that bring moral prophetic inquiry into the public square and saves us from this quarantined religion of escapism. We need a movement of grassroots organizing in every state. We need a movement of civil disobedience where need be in every sate. We need a movement of voter registration and education guided by our deepest values. We need a movement of strong constitutional legal strategy. And we need a movement that builds transformative long-term coalition. We need a movement.
A movement – not a moment. We need a revival not a rally. We need a movement to declare together – that we will not dare take one more step back. Somebody, somebody tell your neighbor. Somebody has got to understand the soul of our country and world is at stake.
Keeping millions of poor people from seeing a doctor when they are sick is not just bad policy, its immoral and hypocritical. Kicking hard-working people who lost their jobs off unemployment and refusing to pay people a living wage and giving tax cuts to the very wealthy is not just bad policy, its immoral and hypocritical when aligned with our deepest values of our faith. We need a movement.
Trying to undermine public education and give the money to private owned business is immoral and hypocritical when again aligned with our deepest values of faith and constitutional dream. Trying to destroy labor rights and collective bargaining at a time when corporations are making more than they ever made before is immoral and hypocritical. Having the nerve to sing “America, America God shed his grace on thee..” then denying grace to women, then denying grace to the LGBT community and grace to immigrant rights who’s families are being torn apart is immoral and hypocritical. We need a movement.
Please help us and listen to us. We need a movement. And we recognize this because moral dissenters helped destroy the myths of illusion and domination. If they want to crucify people’s hopes and dreams and then crucify our right to vote, then every crucifixion needs a witness. We need a movement. Somebody has to stand up. Somebody. First there are ten people, then one hundred, then a thousand. Then it works. Somebody listen. Somebody please tell your neighbors.
We need to get away from talking republican and democrat and talk about what is right and what is wrong. People do understand, we need a movement and we need it right now. Be a moral dissenter. Take a stand for your morals. Give voice and spirit to the cause of justice. Its our time now. Our fore fathers are gone and they are not getting up. But we are their children. Its time now. Its time to ensure economic sustainability. Its time to ensure the hungry are fed and the poor are clothed and the sick can get help and the children have education and the disabled and elderly have medicine.
Its time for better environment health. Its time for peace between citizens and peace keepers on a daily basis without fear or abuse. Its time to address these inequalities regardless of color or income. Its time to protect and defend all rights due to so many that have done without. Its time to live out everything we declare when we said we have equal protection under the law regardless of who we are. Its time.
Time to restore the hope and imagination that gives us the courage to break free from the lies of domination and oppression. Justice, love, mercy – its time. Woe to those who legislate evil and rob those of their rights. In my house, in your house, in the state house and in the white house – its time. Lets dust off the constitution and read it fresh: We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union establish justice…
Love, mercy, kindness, fairness and justice – and we are bound to get to higher ground. We can love all people. Somebody must understand and want to make their way to higher ground.
Do we have a witness?
We are better than meanness. Its time for a movement. Now. Please help us.
A unique American story of life, age, critical happenings, emotions and one old woman with a room full of Xbox gamers, that met by chance on one very freaky Saturday morning.
Last Saturday late morning, I was alerted to something going on in America I had never witnessed in my lifetime. The Bundy Ranch siege in Nevada by a federal land management agency called the BLM – Bureau of Land Management. Recently, I had become a big fan of those who are citizen journalist, live streamers, etc – that are taking on the challenge of presenting to the general public – live documentation via video, live stream, crowdsourcing, info-sourcing, of today’s important news/political/life events of interest. The reason this has become so important for so many in America, is to bypass mainstream media, to find unbiased, live view’s of what is really happening without bias and spin. To be able to see things as they unfold, with our own eyes, our own brain and thoughts – to determine for our own selves the accuracy of what is being reported in general. With that being said, something really magnificent occurred. Here is what happened and how it happened and the affect it had on me. It was more than chilling.
Am only going to give some basic details as to the Bundy Ranch siege as reference, for that is not the only reason I post today. But it does need to be said, that without viewing these events live, not having that ability to do so – would have left me to the numerous articles, videos, endless opinionated commentary with someone elses ideas and thoughts about it all. I know better. I did not want that. The only thing I wanted was a simple live stream. Never before have we been so capable of viewing history in the making. Bare with me as I try to find the right words to say to you as I witnessed these live events, and how I was fortunate enough to view them.
First, as so many of us know now, there is a rancher in Nevada that has thousands of private acres of land and owns around 900 head of cattle. There have been signs posted for many years on the adjacent land to the Bundy ranch, owned by the state of Nevada – that say: Open Range. Several years ago, the BLM, who is not a law making agency, but rather only “manages” lands for the US federal government. The BLM makes “rules” for this land without any federal regulation. They do not make laws and do not have the authority to do so. BLM has said to the Bundy family that the desert turtle needed protection on this paticular state of Nevada land,adjacent to the Bundy ranch, and made a “rule” the Bundy family would then need to pay grazing fees per head of cattle. The Bundy’s complied for many years until the fee’s kept going up. The Bundys joined with the Sate of Nevada and went to federal court. Recently, the BLM has decided to heavily enforce their “rule” of fees for grazing and contracted out for over 200 law enforcers from around the US to help them seize the cattle belong to the Bundy family and possibly sell this private property, the cattle, for this debt. Higher law did not seem to matter. Constitutional law did not seem to matter. As the Bundy family would like the “fee” money to stay in the state, they even tried to pay the local tax office. It was refused. The Bundy family drew a line. No more “taxation” without representation – as it says in the Constitution. No more extorition from a federal agency that had no power to make laws, and was not a law enforcemnt agency. This led to a stand-off between the Bundy family and the BLM.
For the last few weeks, the BLM was seen not only on the state land, but also on the private land belonging to the Bundy family – with dump trucks, backhoes, helicopters and up to 85 SUV’s with heavily armed law enforcement personnel. As the family went to ask questions, using iPads and cellphones to document, they were arrested, jailed, tased and attacked. Up to 300 cattle were rounded up by helicopter and taken to a holding penned areas. Some have died. The breaking of local, state and federal constitutional law here was broken in a way I have never seen it broken before. Let me note, everyone that holds public office, lawyers, judges, all law enforcement personnel take an oath. An oath to defend and uphold the constitution of the United States of America. Failure to do so -they no longer hold power. That is the law of the land. After years of fighting the changing rules of the BLM, paying endless increasing fees per the “rules” of the BLM, and now knowing they were under full attack – the Bundys had enough. A call to action was placed for American citizens, American militia, cattle ranchers and anyone who wanted to help them defend their constitutional rights to come to the ranch and help. By Saturday, April 12th, 2014 there were 1,000 American citizens present due to this call to action. Heavily armed militia from around the country arrived to help protect the ranch along with other citizens. There was a rally that started around 10am last Saturday, where the citizens and militia were called to a stage on the Bundy property to listen to the local sheriff address this growing crowd. His statement is as follows: It is over. The BLM will stand down and are leaving. The Bundy family along with the public and militia – demanded the BLM surrender their weapons, and leave the property so all then were free to go release the cattle belonging to the Bundy family. The sheriff agreed. The family and militia and citizens gave them one hour to do so.
After that hour passed, there was no word from the same local sheriff. There was no disarmament of the BLM. What had been told to these American citizens and militia at this rally by the local sheriff – was a true lie. All present understood this. So was I as I witnessed this in real-time via live stream. I understood clearly what was happening. It was decided, with militia snipers in the hills, that the citizens, militia, ranchers, horsemen/cattle drivers on horseback – would then go and free the cattle. They understood clearly; there would be resistance. They were now armed, going head to head, toe to toe with our federal government, who was waiting and armed and ready to shoot them, to defend the American constitutional law. To defend the freedoms of American citizens, to take their cattle – their property back. They were willing to put their life on the line, as those that have gone before them have done.
That is where I will stop. There is very good video of the rest of what happened all over the net. No, the BLM were not going to release the cattle as promised by the sheriff. What I was now live viewing, was the intense possibility of many, to be shot and killed in front of my very eyes. A possible blood bath on American soil by our federal government and American citizens. My gut was wrenched. I was in shock and nervous and upset just sitting at my own dining room table witnessing this stand-off. I was scared. Really scared, at times shaking. This hurt me. It hurt in a place I had not known this kind of hurt before. I didn’t just break down in tears, I broke down and sobbed. As the crowd got to the gated area where the BLM were with the penned cattle, it came over the loud-speaker: Stop or you will be fired upon. Stop, or we will shoot.
The rest is now history.
How did I find a site to view this live stream in real time? By chance. Just by chance. All the bigger sites of citizen journalists that are known to carry this type of live stream (there are not very many) were jammed. You didn’t have a chance to get in to view. I saw a game site listed that was said to be streaming these events and I jumped over as fast as I could before I was once again blocked out. It worked. I was in. Here is the information about what this site really does, what they were doing that day live streaming this event, and who they are. Its pretty incredible.
This website is called LateNight101.com and is intended for Xbox gamers to upstream live their gaming activities for others to participate in. #LateNight101
As a 54-year-old middle-aged women, I realized the people here with me watching this live stream were much younger than I am. They certainly did not care that I had intruded onto their site and welcomed me warmly. They explained that they felt this was much more important than Xbox play that day. The average age of players on this site of gamers is mid 20’s, but the entire age range of normal visitors/Xbox players to this site is age 14-36 years old. I was humbled. They explained to me how they thought about it, wanted a live stream of these events of the day on their site to be available to the public. They explained how they put their cell phones together – as hot spots, and then hooked into streamup.com – and were able to provide the feed. I was so proud of them. I was so very pleased to be there with them. Not just for streaming live, but in how they took me in, were so very humble, kind, friendly, non-biased, apolitical, honest, caring, very concerned, so laid back and open and quite frankly, what a joy to be with them viewing these historic and critical events.
LateNight101.com has open chat on this site in addition to the live broadcasts via streamup.com and I need to tell you that our icon’s assigned to each individual chatting were a cartoon version of: batman, super woman, villains, hello kitty, super heroes, and other comical looking icons. We used purple smiley face emoticons to express much emotion that day. Our names were also assigned to us for chat. My icon was a blue/purple warrior woman and the screen name given to me to chat was: American Hope. This was perfect. I was a blue/purple warrior woman named American Hope, on a gamers Xbox site with purple smiley faces, chatting to an age group that took me in, expressed deep thoughts, emotions, feelings, as these crucial events unfolded. We were from all around the country. It really didn’t matter who we were and it didn’t matter what age we were. We were there together, no political chat, no bullying, no bias, no spin, joining together because our hearts needed to. We needed to view these live events of the day. We supported each other, cried with each other,were scared and nervous together, happy and even silly together. Many times wer were very silent. Quiet. Watching. Thoughts and emotions were expressed that day, very openly by many. It hurt us deeply at times to view these events, but watching live was pure freedom. We rejoiced together as the cattle were finally set free. Free to go home. Free. We stayed together for almost 6 hours that day until the feed was finally lost or stopped for some unknown reason. We didn’t want to leave. We kept waiting for the feed to come back but it was gone. We all check, but – it was gone on any site that had carried it that day. Our time together was ending. We said goodbye.. but I still know, most of us did not want to go. What we had just witnessed together bonded us together. We cared for each other now in a way I had never known via the internet. We said our goodbye’s – and when I signed off, through all this emotion, all these critical events of the day, watching American citizens draw the line and stand up to federal authority, being surround by some of the most beautiful younger generation I have ever known, being taken in by them without a single judgement, I completely broke. As I said good bye, I sobbed.
As I started to write this blog today, it was important that I go back to LateNight101.com so I could understand better where I had been last Saturday. How the site worked, what it exactly does. Certainly I am not a gamer and no, I have no idea how to work an Xbox. I talked to a site admin named 101 Chris (the other day I had talked with another admin named 101 Bear, both were kind and courteous and helpful at all times) and he filled me in on the site, give me the ages/age ranges of participants of the site and politely answered my questions. He patiently explained to me, more than onece, the basic functionality of their site – being a bunch of Xboxers that come to LateNight101.com and use streamup.com to be able to interact together via Xbox to play games. Others also upstream and play simultanously. There is no pre-recorded play. They can also stream on YouTube videos and have over 80,000 followers. Their site was revamped just this past January.
THANK YOU GAMERS! For you kindness, your humbleness and openness in giving me the ability to view events live on this critical day. To chat freely, and to be accepted into a community of which I almost need to say I had no prior bond. Little knowledge of. How very enlightening. I am humbled without words as how to express how well behaved and kind you were. We hear so much about the younger generations, things that may not show you in the best of light at times. I see that differently now. What I myself found on this day, was something I will never forget. No, I have no chance of ever forgetting you.. and what you gave to me that day. And for that, from the bottom of my heart, I now know you are also my brothers and sisters who want the very best for America and the American citizens, and you care just as deeply and passionately about America and these events as anyone else ever could.
When I visited this site and chatted to get information to write this post today, and to let the site know I would be including them in it, the site admin – 101 Chris, played for me on the site (without asking) a song by Neil Young – Old Man. We listened together as we chatted once more, still knowing the bond that brought us together just days ago. I cried once more as the song and artist are very dear to me and he had no way of knowing that. And yet he did know.
So, now you know the story of my day last Saturday, April 12th, 2014. What happened, where I went to view live, who I met and what we went through together. It occurred to me that I was counted as one of them. And it was as important that I be there as anyone else. I felt counted. Not just on the site, as an American citizen. Having a voice, being free to watch event, live and in real-time. It mattered. I mattered. The gamers mattered. We were being counted as citizens having the open right to view, express, and openly chat during an event so very critical to the Constitution of the United States and American freedoms. Without fear, without intimidation, without judgment. Free to speak. Free to view. Free to express opinion and feelings and emotions and support others as they did the same.
That is the true reason I chose the picture at the beginning of this new blog post. One hand. Counted. Important. One hand with something to say. One hand in a sea of hands that love this country very much. One hand in support of the Constitution of the United States. My hand was counted that day. It mattered. One hand united with many hands.
The only thing that has been asked of me by the site admins is this: A call to action by other gaming sites. To consider a live stream during critical event times and to open up the room to all who find a deep need to view these events live. It is my pleasure to do so.
What will happen further to the Bundy ranch and the BLM? No one knows for certain but I do understand it certainly may not be over. I had always known this was not about fees or cattle or turtles. As more citizen journalist, live streamers, etc. hit the streets, use their own sites, dig into and research and film, upload and try to discover what is really happening, not only here with the BLM case with the ranchers, but on many topics needing fact not fiction, I have my gamers. I am counted. We are counted. You are counted. Feel free to change your icon to a single pic of your own hand showing support to those who want fact from fiction, real life live streamed events, more fact checking to happen more and more and become open for all to view. Be counted.
Be well my game friends. Until next time.
“Old man take a look at my life – I’m a lot like you were…” ~ Old Man, song by Neil Young
“Blind, oh – but now I see. Truth, lies and in between. Wrong – can’t be undone. Oh, it slipped right from the tip of your tongue…” ~ Blue on Black, song by Kenny Wayne Shepherd
“The purpose of art is the washing of the daily dust of life – off our souls..” Pablo Picasso
“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built…” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
With the launching of the Worldwide Wave of Action starting on April 4th, 2014 and running until July 4th, 2014 there seems to be an amazing shift in conscientiousness going on worldwide. It didn’t matter to me that this was the brainchild of former occupy or anonymous. What mattered to me was a much-needed call to action. Occupy and anonymous has the network to get the word around. Even though I myself do not have an association with either – the word of a “global spring” found its way to me and my laptop about two months ago. It was refreshing.
What I had noticed about myself was an inner ache that was very deep. Had been pushing it back, pretending it was not there for maybe a year. Maybe longer. Discontentment, confusion, concern, anger, sadness and even disbelief over many issues we face as humans on this planet. From corruption in politics, banks, education, corporate control, lack of truth in media, the poisoning of water and food, homelessness, poverty, income inequality and non-living wages, prison industrial complex, police brutality, privacy concerns, loss of human rights. I could go on with that list but am pretty sure there is no need. It was becoming too much heartache. One night I sat and I no longer wanted nor could ignore this ache for one more second. I sobbed. For quite a long time. I now wanted this emotion and inner turmoil out of my body. It had to come out. A 54-year-old woman who loves her country and humanity so very much, but felt so utterly betrayed. My heart felt broken, my brain overcome with too much wrong. Too much wrong. I felt helpless and even hopeless. Once I collected myself, I asked: how did all this happen? Why is it happening? What the hell can I do to help? Of course I had zero answers at the time but it started a journey. A journey out of those feelings of despair and longing – and into more of an understanding and awareness. A curiosity to find and dig for truth. So I did.
A revolution inside myself began to happen. Slowly. Started reading anything I could get my hands on. Dug deep as I clicked from one article to the next, qualifying who the writers were, verifying the information. It just kept going and going and getting deeper and deeper until there it was. Truth. Simple. Honest. Easy. After I read and read and researched and learned – it just didn’t matter any longer why these things were occurring – not just in the US but abroad. It no longer mattered to blame anyone. I didn’t want any those answers. They were too ugly. What was done was done. Greed is what happened. Apathy. Ignorance. Intolerance. What was much more important in my readings and findings and discovering were that people were pushing back. Standing up. Taking their power back – everywhere around the globe. I discovered my hope again, buried way down in that ache I had grown accustom to putting up with – and welcomed it with joy. Contentment. Pride. Fear had met its match and was packing its bags and going home. It was a breath of fresh air like never before. I can breathe again now.
As crowdsourcing begins and spreads like wildfire, grassroots movements are everywhere – and human beings are called to take the challenge of making wrongs right again – I am here now. I refuse to go back. I will stand right next to you, I will support you, I will care for you my brother’s and sister’s. I hear you, I now understand. And I want to apologize it took me a bit to get here, please forgive me. I will not let that happen again. Thank God I found you. Thank God I did. From my heart to yours, thank you.
My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake. ~ Aristotle
Non cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. And I do not plan to cooperate with evil at any point. ~ Henry David Thoreau, essay on civil disobedience.
Memory is a funny thing. It always has been interesting to me how memories vary. Within ourselves and from one person to another. How do we remember certain things and can’t recall others? How are witnesses to the same event, able to describe different stories?
Mem-o-ry: 1) the ability to retain knowledge: the ability of the mind or of a person or organism to retain learned information and knowledge of past events and experiences and to retrieve that knowledge and information 2) somebody’s stock of retained knowledge and experiences 3) retained impression of events; the knowledge of impression that somebody retains of a person, event, period or subject.
The singular word that stands out to me in Webster’s definition above is ” impression” which is the first and immediate effect of an experience or “perception” of the mind. Is it any wonder then, if memory is of impressions and perceptions that they can vary greatly even with the same event? Not at all.
Take for instance two eyewitnesses to the same actual event. The stories told are told by interpretation and perception. No two individuals hold the exact same interpretation and perception at exactly the same time. There are too many variances in the person themselves. Variances like: intellect, recollection, experiences, personality, information, audio and visual senses, emotion, stimulus and environment. It’s within these combinations in ourselves that we shape our memories. If indeed memory is altered to serve one’s purpose, then indeed it would be a lie. Honest memories are neither truth nor fiction, just memories from our human brains and minds. Our perceptions, our reality.
Memory is far from perfect or permanent. And we certainly can not leave out forgetfulness. One of the most obvious reasons of forgetfulness is the information was never stored in the first place. Not all information is stored into memory. Thus, as we recall this memory as a story- another may interpret it as a lie, or at best a half truth. This can lead to some odd looks, and into an uncomfortable situation where we may find the need to defend our truth, our perception, our own memory. Happens all the time.
There are three stages to memory. Encoding, storage and retrieval. These three stages tend to stay the same from person to person. Also true from person to person are the three separate stages of memory. Sensory memory, which uses visual or auditory information that is stored for a short few seconds. Short term memory, which Freud said is mainly the “conscious” mind, our active memory, which is stored on average for about 30 seconds but has the ability to transfer to long-term memory. And long-term memory. Information that can be recalled easily. Organizing of our memories lets us recall information to make decisions and solve problems. We usually cluster and categorize this information as it relates to other information and experiences.
How we interpret the world is told through stories. Stories we tell ourselves and others. They say the best way to get to know someone is through the telling of a story. It’s how we communicate to one another. It’s how we express living and our experiences on this beautiful planet. It is indeed our reality. Our perception of our own lives and who we are. Memory by memory, one thought and experience at a time.
“Everyone needs his memories. It keeps the wolf of insignificance from the door” ~ Saul Bellow
“Every man’s memory is his private literature” ~ Aldous Huxley
“I am a miser of my memories of you – and you will not spend them” ~ Witter Bynner, “Coins”
Note: the above information may or may not be true. As they say, all the world’s a stage.
Twelve years ago I was hit with the news of having RSD. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Six years after that an extra treat came my way. An additional diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Two completely different health issues from one possible source, at very different times in my life. Both were shocking and unwanted but nonetheless – here. It is said that there are certainties in life, illness is one of these certainties. Illness let’s you know you are alive. Out there in the trenches of life..giving it all you have with the hope and dream that you still fit in somewhere. Everyday, surviving in a world that seems to only accommodate and acknowledge the strongest and most fit. Fighting through the deepest stigmas society has to offer us. Healthy. Not healthy. . I know both sides of this fence very well.
Always was a sports fan. Very fortunate to have had the physical abilities to run track, learn archery, love gymnastics and had enough stamina, endurance and sheer will and confidence to compete on local and state levels while growing up. Even enough to see my way to the Presidential Physical Fitness Award two years in a row. I sure was one proud athlete and worked very hard to become disciplined enough to achieve these goals. It’s a part of my life I always remember and treasure. Always. This discipline spilled over into my work as I became older. Very pleased to accomplish most goals in my professional life – being focused on productivity and rewarded with deep satisfaction. Life was good and I was in charge.
So I thought. One day I went for a root canal and it was one of those life changing events that would ultimately change the course of my life forever. Six months after this root canal I was diagnosed with dystrophy in my feet. It was to spread up one leg, then the other leg with such force and pain there were times walking was just so painful. My legs became heavy and my walk became reminiscent of a Frankenstein scuffle. The world of one specialist after another then pain docs was maddening. I was fired from my job and my world became small. It takes time to adjust to illness in many different ways as in lurches in and bends and folds your life in unwanted directions. As the spread continued to the upper body, one of my options for treatment was ganglion nerve blocks into my spine. This is now six years into RSD and proved to be helpful to slow this relentless spread down and quiet the pain. There is no repairing the damage done so slowing the progress was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.
Then… I got sick. Straight to bed sick. Feeling like I won’t survive kind of sick. This was not RSD. This was a “kill me now I can’t take this “… and then some. Sarcoidosis. Now that is some kind of being sick. Immune system stuff. Just what I needed. In my mind’s eye – no one can convince me that I did not contract this from anything other than bacteria from the ganglion nerve blocks. Not from the drugs used, but rather from the insertion of a very long needle into the front of my neck to the base of my skull into my spine. My treatment for RSD had led me straight into the waiting arms of sarcoidosis. Or…did it?
Over a year later after dinner one night, I was using a toothpick and watching TV when I felt a lump of something in my mouth. Where did this come from? What was this? Could not imagine as it was much to big to be a piece of food. I could taste the blood as it filled my mouth and in horror ran to the bathroom sink. I spit it out …looked…and was stunned. In fact, I couldn’t release my gaze into the sink. I couldn’t budge. Packing. Dental packing from the root canal I had years earlier. There it was in all its glory. The answer to the mystery of the RSD and possibly sarcoidosis. That dumb, stupid piece of rolled up cotton that was never removed after surgery. You bastard! I was staring at the truth after searching for it for so many years. It had always been with me. I just didn’t know.
Is it no wonder why I can hardly talk myself into telling this story. The very rare times I do its met with one of two responses. Shock is one response – just better to keep quiet. Or.. the opposite response – sheer disbelief. There are never any questions. That does not mean I am not free of lots of speculation and judgment. That if only I pushed harder. Try harder. Stop pretending. After all ..I still think and walk and talk – what could be the problem? And by-gosh I even laughed today… I must be cured! My goal is to stay out of a wheelchair, not to jump in one so folks believe my story.
It really happened this way. And no, my pants are not on fire.
“Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers..” ~ Dorothy Bernard
Boomer. It may be possible I have said that word more than any other in my lifetime. At least it seems like it.
Boomer, has brought much joy and heartache in my life. It can only be after finishing reading this blog, that one would understand the nature of my boomer mind-set. First of all, I was born a “boomer”. Without even knowing the extent the boomer world would invade mine over the course of my life. There I was, a boomer. Being born a boomer means you were born in a certain era in the US, from 1946 – 1964. That was me, born in 1959. Post World War II era in the United States – saw a huge jump in births. In fact, 76 million of us. That’s a lot of boomers out there.
As a young boomer, I saw dramatic change in the world. All boomers did. It was a time in the US of the Vietnam War, rock and roll, Motown Sound, The Beatles, Woodstock. We also saw the Cuban Missile Crisis, the war draft, political unrest, the civil rights movement, Watergate, the resignation of President Nixon, protests and riots and the women’s movement. Man’s first walk on the moon, sexual and drug experimentation, the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Those were the growing up days of the boomer.
First of all, I was born in Saginaw, MI – into a family of sports fanatics. Grandfather, uncles, brothers, me and sis – and even my Mother. There is great sports to be had when living in Michigan. When extremely young, we moved to Lincoln, NE – there may not have been a pro team in Nebraska, but since we lived directly in Lincoln, home of the University of Nebraska, we had the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team. That was plenty enough. When I was 12, I started writing my very first diary. Such a thing young girls do. What was my very first entry into this private, secret world of a young girl? The “game of the century” of course, 1971. Nebraska Cornhusker’s would play the Oklahoma Sooner’s the day after Thanksgiving. That was tradition. Wonderful, beautiful tradition. What else was so worthy in this young boomers diary? Nebraska was the defending national champions, ranked #1 that year. Oklahoma was a powerhouse football team ranked at #2. Game on!! The coach of the Nebraska Cornhusker’s at the time was Bob Devaney. I was born in the same city as Coach Devaney, Saginaw, MI and my grandfather had gone to school with Bob, even played a little school ball with him. It was an incredible back and forth game, tensions were high. I was right there in front of that television experiencing it all, barely moving. It was wonderful. Fun. Exciting. Tense. In the end, Nebraska successfully defeated the Sooner’s, 35-31. Amazing. And so it was written in my diary, the game I will never forget. The game of the century. Even a bit more amazing was the visit to our home by Coach Devaney to visit with my grandfather. As a young boomer, I was allowed to meet him, but the drill was.. we would go outside to play for the remainder of the visit so these two gentlemen could sit and enjoy their time. I can remember other friends in the neighborhood trying to peek through our windows. We stood quietly, out of respect – off to the side in the yard. Humbled to be there at that moment. Privileged. A memory never to be forgotten.
It was just shortly after this, we moved. It was not just any move. I now refer to this as “the move of the century” with good reason. What are the odd’s of moving from Lincoln, Nebraska, to… of all places, are you ready for this one? Norman, Oklahoma! What?? Going from husker land and directly into the land of the Sooners? Us? Boomer Sooner?? My Dad had a lot of fun with this. He knew we would need to adjust in our new school’s, as leaving friends behind at that age is just awful. He knew we would struggle to make new friends in our new “boomer” environment. I remember thinking at least the school colors were the same, red and white (at the time they were the same), and the saying of “Big Red” was used by both teams. What a quandary. My Dad with his quirky sense of humor, made up several signs to take to my new school to plaster in the hallway. They read as follows: Big Red Invasion From The North is imminent. Huh. Dad?? He kept that smirk on his face and kept laughing. We packed up the signs and moved to Norman, Oklahoma.
It took a while, taking in the new environment, new school, new surroundings, new house. When the next college football season rolled around, I knew I had to take my place. I was not a converted husker. Not yet. I hung the signs. Of course they were immediately ripped off the wall. But the fact that I hung them was pretty hilarious and even brave of me. Coming from another college town, a college town that also had great college football history – actually helped me blend into this new young boomer crowd. Oh, boy. Boomers and boomers. There is was, my fate sealed into the boomer and boomer world forever. Boomer eternity.
Eventually all the family did convert from husker to sooner. It was inevitable. Mom, me, sis and the three brother’s. Boomer Sooner! They were just as fanatical about college football as we were. ts not fair to say I left my huskers, they will always have a special place. But, it was never an option to leave this sport behind because of geographical change. This boomer has memories of my Mother and I sitting in a steaming hot 104 degree boomer sooner stadium, pressing ice on our pulse points as not to pass out. Taking the shuttle buss’s back and forth to the OU games, walking in high winds that could rip our eyeballs out because the wind chill was zero. This was our joy, our time as a family. Our bonding through our love for the sport of college football. There was not a game where I was not well aware of the incredible athlete’s on the field. My hero’s. Playing their heart’s out for the love of the game. For our love of the game. Every single Saturday. That’s what we waited for, fall. For football to start again. The excitement of the win, the heartbreak of loss. The emotion and all that goes with it. We wait. We still wait – we will always wait. We were then, and are now – the fans.
“Half of life is luck; the other half is discipline – and that’s the important half, for without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with luck.” ~ Carl Zuckmeyer
For many year’s of my life I have wanted to scream. Scream at God, scream at the world. Just scream. Never have done that, at least not about this subject. One of the many reasons to start a blog was the subject of addiction. I know that writing this today I will lose something of myself. Something I have kept in a secret room, stored away inside myself to keep it safe where I could cope with it, try to understand and deal with it. It needs to be let go, released from my soul and into the universe.
Addiction touched my family from the get-go. As much as we loved our Dad, he had a real addiction to alcohol. We could go for years without this monster coming into our home. Into our beds where we slept peacefully as children and young adults. It’s not fair to forget all the wonderful times as a family. My Dad was the only father in the neighborhood that would gather up all the kids and take us out to play baseball. Play soccer with us in the yard. For the most part, he made sure we had all we needed and then some. His heart was big, he was smart, a hard worker. He loved us very much, we loved our Dad.
For many years my parents hid his addiction very well. A few times a year I would wake up in the middle of the night to yelling, fighting. It has always been a fight in my mind as to which was worse; my Mothers temper to his carelessness with alcohol, or the drinking that was taking my Dad further and further away. Either way, the two combined would rotate around like a tornado in our home. Endless hours of bad language, accusations and crying….yelling. That damn yelling. Then it would be gone. Silence. The next day would be forced normalcy. That was the drill. Keep quiet. It was not until I was into my teens that I realized that was in fact – not normal. Nothing about this was. There was a monster on my back and my instructions were to ignore it. So, I did. To a point.
My parents divorced in my mid-teens. It was ugly, everyone suffered greatly. The pain was obvious to everyone in the family and beyond. It showed on our faces and in our actions. My Mother’s sense of loss and sadness became her norm for many years. Rehab and AA, Al-A-Teen and Al-A-Non were used with enormous hope by all. Addiction won, and my Dad would die alone, a chronic alcoholic. As much as he tried, as much as he suffered, as much as his mind and body wanted sobriety, alcohol won. I padlocked my secret room after that. This was all bundled up and folded and very neatly put away in this very special secret place. Until today.
Still miss my Dads smile, and that really offbeat sense of humor. I miss how much he really loved his family. Gosh I miss you, Dad.
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it” ~ Salvador Dali
After thoroughly enjoying starting a blog, it became unclear as to why my hips were hurting. The only answer I could come up with was my hips were not familiar to this sit down time. Is it my age? My damn dystrophy? Even though I have never had sit down problems before? One day they hurt, the next they don’t. Stretches, easy exercises, support pillows while sleeping – always seem to help. It’s unclear why it keeps coming back. So, I just keep doing the routine that seems to make them better.. for a time.
This brought up something else that seems to be unclear to me. As funny as this may sound, lately it has gotten a bit out of control – auto-correct. On my phone. On my tablet. These electronics were to be smart, right?? Over and over I see the changing of a word, maybe even several words in my sentence due to auto-correct, which I now will be happy to call:
auto-(in)correct. It does not seem to matter if I am asked to add the word to the dictionary. It’s not as if it is in there the next time I try to type it. Where did it go? Did not ask for auto-(in)correct to assist me in my spelling, or in my sentences. It is great to suggest to me a spelling of a word when spelled wrong, but that is not what auto-(in)correct is doing. The more I spell a word auto-(in)correct does not understand, does not have in the auto-(in)correct dictionary, well… it auto changes what I type. This rereading every time I type a word is now beyond frustrating, and I seem to still not catch them all. Sneaky little thing. Am seeing so many postings with auto-(in)correct errors, it actually becomes a bit difficult to understand some posts. Give me a built-in dictionary, I applaud you. Suggest to me a spelling if I spell incorrectly, that’s great! But when I am trying to use my own good words to clarify… stop changing them! Very unclear as to why this can’t be fixed. And where, oh, where.. did these dictionaries come from? A dictionary is used to clarify meaning, not to change the word because it can not be found.
Here is one of my biggest areas of unclear clarity. It is typical on weekends that I get caught up on my news and politics of the past week via television, as it should be the easy way to gain the news. There are two areas of unclear clarity. Let me use a dictionary to define what news means. News – noun 1) a report of a recent event; intelligence; information 2) the presentation of a report on recent or new events in a newspaper or other periodical or on radio or television. This means to me, it is a report of facts deemed newsworthy. But what I seem to be getting is opinion, shaped and reshaped to fit what ever media corporation’s view’s and agenda are, and what the commentator wants to throw in there. Unclear clarity. This leaves me to scramble to other sources to find out what is true and not true. It does not seem that facts matter, not to the media corporations or many who are reporting “news”. Just like the auto-(in)correct, forcing words where I do not want them, do not need them, did not ask for them to be there… the media is doing the same. Telling me what I should be very capable of deciding on my own. There are plenty of “opinionated” news programs out there. I know where they are if that’s what I am looking for.
Oh, while I am on the topic, a quick address of the use of acronyms in communication. Have read so many acronyms used online that I had absolutely no clue what they meant, I stopped using the few common ones I knew. That might be “uncool” in the world of chat or text messaging, or in posts or maybe even blogs. I do not care. I do not want to be cool. I do not want to be unclear in my clarity, in trying to communicate. What is the point? Saving time? Each topic I discuss in this blog is costing more and more time just to get to the understanding of something that should be quick and easy. It’s just not fun to invest time and be unclear about what you just read or listened to. No fun at all.
This brings me to my last topic, the loss of a great actor and human being this weekend, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It still is hard to grasp for me. So much joy in witnessing what I think is really one of the greatest character actors of all time. I wish the world could have been kinder to you, Mr. Hoffman. You gave us so very much. Your expression of words, of emotion, was far beyond the typical roll. Far beyond ordinary or even good. It was superb. It was my honor to witness your craft, you will be very missed. Very missed. Rest in beautiful peace.
“The only true currency in this bankrupt world, is what you share with someone when you’re uncool..” Phillip Seymour Hoffman