Some kind of Journal, or something...
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In the end, strip away our social media, the teachings of our polite society; tear off our fancy clothing, our Nike shoes; cut away our Prada handbags and drag us out of our steel covered vehicles; we are nothing more than the baboon or hyena after all.
Deep inside, we crave the blood of our enemies, to see them torn asunder, their bodies flayed open in wrathful righteousness, for us to shit on and cackle over; while their mourning relatives witness our great revenge, and cower in fear of our greedy dominance. See how great we are?! That we do none of this? We put up an enormous smokescreen, hiding our base desires beneath a thin veneer of all the trappings of societal transcendence.
The truth comes out in hints by way of venomous insinuation, lies, and covetous manipulation. That we don’t do the pillaging and mutilation with our own hands, we claim honorable. We call it progress, to send our sons and daughters to work insidious destruction in our place.
Some day we may rise above war. We may each learn the value of a life. That child, who died by that grenade, may have grown into the inventor of a great thing, a singer of that great song, a writer of that great sonnet, a father of a great son. Instead, he becomes a number among numbers so that one side of a conflicted two will know the other is lesser.
That plant, may have held the secret to the end of disease. Gone now under the burning fires of overpopulated cities.
Our ignorance is what will kill us all.
I've seen the end of the world, the apocalypse. It's not Jesus returned to earth to burn everything in a fiery end. It's Mankind. We are our worst enemy.
You're in the military, fighting for our country. It's a service you went into knowing the risks of death or injury, and are generally proud to tell people that you did/do.
Consider our revolutionary forefathers in Valley Forge who froze to death on their bare feet after having eaten their own boots. How about our guys in the trenches of WWII while their wives at home took up their abandoned welding torch, or stood in line for hours to get government spam/bread rations.
We're looking at a max 30 days of government shutdown, during which you will be fed and clothed, and for which you will have back-pay directly after to catch up on lagged bills.
Chins up, heads in the game.
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life...
"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
"One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
"This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old chief simply replied, "The one that you feed."
I was sitting here, thinking about the day. Some of us are in some heart-pain, and some are are having some joy, others are too busy, and still more are disgruntled.
I got to thinking about the cycle of emotions, watching people go through them in a series of texts scrolling across the screen. Today was not a good day for some of us. For others, it's been wonderful. The fact is, the sun is going to rise tomorrow, on a new day, with new choices and chances to shift from a low time to a high, or a high time to a low.
So, you gotta seize your highs! Relish, wallow, frolic and share them! You're getting married! You're walking again, and dancing! It's your birthday! You got a raise! You're having a baby! Your book is published and selling a bazillion copies! You and your mom made cookies. Your dad told you a bedtime story he made up on the spot.
Before you spend that raise money, or start planning the wedding, putting a little away for that college tuition, or writing the next book; take a moment. Sit down, breathe in a huge breath of, "Aahhhhh..." and let your happiness sink through your cells. Put a golden sliver of this in your heart to carry with you.
When the lows come, you will have that sliver to pierce the gloom. A little driftwood to cling to through the messy storm of not-good. These are the things we use to bear us up once again.
When you're in your low time, don't resist! If life was all great all the time, I think our heads would explode. I bet the Dalai Lama gets irritated.
Through your grief, your angst and growly days, your sorrow, your frustration; FEEL.
You're angry? Be angry. Be a healthy human being and have emotion. You're sad; weep. KEEN for your loss. Your lost one deserves your grief. Allow yourself the expression of your feelings. This is not to say that the reason for your feelings won't be resolved, because it will in its own time. But until it does, to deny yourself the outlet you deserve only makes things worse, like swimming in a riptide. You're supposed to float in it. Just as with the happiness, take a moment, sit, and feel it wash over you.
Through your storm of emotion, your little slivers of happiness are still there. They get kicked around by all the rest; jabbing that wave of anger, sadness, frustration, resentment. The ache is to remind you that your sister, mother, father, brother, best friend, dog, cat, guinea pig...they still love you. I still love you. You're my friends, in real life, and on this here crazy book of faces.
So hold on to your slivers. Trust me, no low can be too low that you can't get back up again. There's someone on the other end, anchoring you to the all-good.
This was obviously too large for a status, but there it is; thoughts for the day. I'm thinking of you.
Okay, so I absolutely abhore the disturbing new trend in the shape of trade paperback novels. The additional height of the paperback makes me feel as if the publisher is trying to muscle me into rearranging my entire range of bookshelves to accomodate the new novels. Worse, I have a bunch of ongoing series on my shelves, and the new copies a are coming out in this larger, skinnier shape! Argh! So in protest, my new kindle just arrived today. It's not selling out if it's a protest, right?
If I purchase an eBook, and I really like it, I promise to buy the actual book...how's that?
I was typing out my facebook profile and it turned into a long spiel that took up way too many characters. So, I'll write it here, because these are the things that are in my heart this holiday season. Blessings. :)
In honor of a multitude of holidays coinciding, each one equally as important to the celebrant as the next, we gather with the intention of sharing space in peace and laughter. May we be grateful for the bounty of health and sustenance provided through the work of our hands, and the hands of those we love. May we hold loving memories in our hearts for those who have gone before us. May we be so filled with thoughts of loved ones unable to be present here, that we feel their presence, and they ours, across the miles. May we look upon our fellow creatures, acknowledging that they Are, and that our very existence together is a most wondrous thing. May we help each other to appreciate the gifts that we have, to make potential manifest, and to live each day with a profound love of Life. Amen, so be it.
How can I resist this great offer???
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE GREAT AGBARAUKE WEALTH SECURITY AND RICHES PROVIDER SECRET SOCIETY OCCULTISM KINGDOM.THIS A WEALTH PROVIDER SECRET SOCIETY.
AS A MEMBER YOU MUST SURELY ENJOY ALL THESE :
(1). YOU WILL BE KING OF EXCESS MONEY IN ANY CURRENCY,
(2). YOU WILL BE A MULTI BILLIONAIRE IN YOUR LIFE
(3). YOU WILL BE PRESIDENT OF ALL PRESIDENTS
(4). YOU WILL BE WELL CONNECTED ALL OVER THE WORLD
(5). YOU WILL LIVE LONGER THAN ANY OF YOUR AGE MATE.
(6). YOU WILL BE WHO EVER YOU WANT TO BE IN LIFE.
(7). YOU WILL BE UNTOUCHABLE BY ANY WITCHES OR WIZARDS ACTS
(8). YOU WILL BE EXTRA SUCCESSFUL IN ANY THING YOU DO OR DOING
(9). YOU WILL BE KING OF YOUR OWN KINGS
(10).YOU WILL LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE.
(11).YOU WILL BE WELL PROTECTED AGAINST ANY DANGER OF ANY KIND.
(12).YOU WILL SAY BYE POVERTY, SICKNESS, FEAR OF ANY KIND AND BAD LUCK.
(13). YOU CAN HEAL PEOPLE AND PERFORM MIRACLE AT ANYTIME.
(14).YOU WILL WIN ALL COURT CASES, ELECTIONS AND PUBLIC POSITIONS.
(15).YOU WILL ALWAYS TAKE FIRST POSITION ANY EXAMS OR ANYTHING
(16).YOU WILL PROTECT YOUR OWN WEALTH AND IT WILL NEVER LOST.
(17).YOU WILL ALWAYS WIN CONTRACT FROM ANY WHERE AT ANYTIME.
(18).YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE PEACE AND HAPPINESS TO GROW SUCCESSFUL
(19).YOU WILL BE SUPER POWER OF YOUR OWN WORLD FREE FROM ENEMIES
(20).YOU WILL BE CURE OF ANY SICKNESSES.AND YOU SHALL NOT SICK.
IF YOU WANT TO BELONG AND BE A MEMBER, FEEL FREE TO FORWARD HERE (email@example.com) YOUR FULL INFORMATION'S LIKE:
YOUR FULL NAME,
YOUR VALID EMAIL ADDRESS,
YOUR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN,
WHAT YOU WANT TO BE IN LIFE( YOU NEED EXCESS MONEY,WANT TO BE A PRESIDENT OF YOUR COUNTRY, TO BEING A GREAT PERSON,POSITION AT WORK OR YOU NEED PROTECTION OF ANY KIND),
YOUR PRIVATE TELEPHONE NUMBER,
YOUR CURRENT POSITION AT WORK,
YOUR SEX (MALE OR FEMALE),
YOUR MARITAL STATUS WITH HOW MANY CHILDREN,
YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATION,
YOUR ADDRESS (POSTAL OR RESIDENTIAL).
ALL MAJOR SACRIFICES WILL BE PERFORM FOR YOU, AND THERE IS NO SIDE EFFECT IN THIS GREAT AGBARAUKE OCCULTISM KINGDOM.
I came up with a lot of sentences, and it became a dive into a nice place. So I stayed for a bit.
Happy birthday, again!
She dandles her toes in the water, awash in a flow of impressions. All her senses are basking in the play of smell, sound, light… The brush of her fingers against the moss coated boulder on which she sits brings a sense of freshness to the skin of her digits. The smell of flowers, trees, leaves, grass, fresh soil, seems to tie her bones to the air, to the trees, to the drifting pollen.
There is no one else here. It is her secret spot. She can linger for hours and no one will come to intrude, save perhaps a bird or squirrel…the occasional deer.
To the west there is a small glade of green grasses. Not merely one variety, but a myriad of slender shapes denoting this species, or that variety, and perhaps a mix of both together in a brilliant hybrid. Her bare feet have trod there before, and she spends time remembering how gleefully the nerves on the undersides of her arches had gloried in the natural cushion of that soft patch of green. She’s content to remember right now, perhaps she’ll indulge in a moment.
Beyond the short span of grass is a march of refugees seeking safety in the seclusion this place offers. Hundreds of deciduous trees arching, stretching, shifting, growing into the light of the sun beaming down. She imagines that each is concerned not so much with the world, but with the slow inner workings of this sunlight into food and new growth. Beneath their branches lie piles of leaves, sticks, twigs; detritus from previous growth, the cast-off trappings of saplings, fuel for nuts tossed down by squirrel and jay. Brilliant green ferns and shrubs take advantage of the rich black soil to put down their own roots and become a part of the silent cacophony of unfettered ripening.
Her lips curl up in a smile, eyes half-lidding against the bright afternoon sunshine, dappled by the dance of tree limbs overhead; themselves heavy with a riotous batch of newly green leaves. The sound of them draws her attention; for long moments she’s lost in the whush, sssss of the dancing boughs. She is the wind. She is brushing against each of those countless soft leaves, flying through the space between branches, wrapping diaphanous arms around trunks in gentle embrace before being swept away again by her own rushing enthusiasm. It is several long moments of laughing joy before she lets her attention return again to the cool water over her toes, the moss under her fingers, the solidity of the stone against her thighs.
To the east, the boulder she rests on blends with more great stones, haphazardly fallen in piles to lie against the existing cliff like baby puppies huddled against their mother’s belly. If she cranes her neck up and up, she can see the erratic pattern of color here and there, greenery dotting the face of the granite cliff. In the mornings, the sun hides behind the massive monument and casts her haven in shadow. Only now does this place become truly lit with the warmth of the day. She smiles again, dropping her gaze to the crowning beauty of the glen.
The water moves with a determined flow. Just beneath the seemingly placid surface, she can make out a current that shifts from its origin beneath the great mass of stone, to flow by her perch and on to new adventures through the woods to the west. Sunlight sparkles on eddies and whorls. She finds herself leaning forward to catch the movement of silvery inhabitants flitting through shadow and patches of light. She dabbles her toes until they scarcely skim the surface, smiling again at the possibility of attracting a voracious fish with such callused bait. The stream widens here at the mouth of the waterway, but narrows at its entry into the tree line to the west, weaving its way through the easiest course, as streams are wont to do. Here it is deep enough to swim, to roll and bask, otter-like.
She may still, she thinks, sitting back again with the breath of breeze on her face. There is time.
I have no patience for eating. There's just too much going on all the time. I have even less patience for cooking things to eat, unless there is nothing else going on. So, batches of hummus are good once-a-week preparation for all the meals I snatch up between stuff to do.
Hummus is, to me, simply a bean dip that goes with everything from vegetables to crackers to chicken sandwich. The batches come out differently every time, and some are better than others, but people seem to dig 'em; hence this note.
You can add whatever you think will taste good, and leave out whatever you think will taste not-so-good. There are three things you must have, though, and they are:
food processor or blender (I bought mine from goodwill for $12)
These things will make the blandest, simplest hummus. Use it instead of mayonnaise! Yeah! :)
Here is my staple (read: base) recipe:
2 cans chick peas (drain the juice and save it for consistency issues)
1 half lemon (for the juice, but a little pulp is cool, too)
3 cloves garlic (not three BULBS of garlic, three cloves from one bulb)
2-3 heaping tablespoon dollops of tahini (or more, to taste)
2 tablespoons of oil (olive, virgin, vegetable, whichever)
Cumin to taste
Paprika to taste
Salt to taste
Throw everything in the processor/blender and grind it up. When the processor/blender starts screaming at you, add a little of the chick pea juice at a time until it smoothes out to creamy yumminess. Oops, too watery? Add another can of drained chick peas until it comes out the way you want it.
Optional creation ideas to throw in with the rest (one or a combination of):
black eyed peas?
marinated peppers for a kick
nuts (pine nuts, sunflower seeds, filberts, almonds?)
more garlic? what?? :)
olives (black or green)
Nutritional yeast? Why not? Get crazy with it!
Once you grind all the stuff up, garnish with ...anything. Cilantro, parsely, pico de gallo...anything.
It's all in your creative hands. Do something, taste it, smell it, then change it up and taste it/smell it again until you have something awesome.
I’m about to share something pretty personal. Read on if you’re ready for some more of what makes me tick.
The fact is, I lead a pretty charmed life. I have a good job, a solid support system in my friends and family, a great dog, and probably the easiest roommate in the world. I haven’t ever been mugged, pregnant, assaulted, or (obviously) murdered. It doesn’t mean that topics like abortion, politics, and world peace don’t get me riled up. It just means that I have limited personal experience. So I might get passionate about something, but it’s still a bit distant, and I can drop the debate without any real drive to win one way or another. Sure, I start thinking things like “how I would feel, if”, or “what I might do, when”, but it’s all just conjecture; because I’ve never really been there, done that.
On the other hand, my mom committed suicide when we kids were little.
I have a lot to say about that.
The story is that my dad and mom met during a Summer when they were young, he at Swim camp, she at violin camp, and they fell in love. They went to different colleges, kept in touch, saw each other often enough that marriage became a good idea. Dad finished medical school and got a practice in Eugene, Oregon. It was far enough away from family that they both had to start over, and all of us kids were in the world, in a pretty big way. Demanding, needy, ranging in age from 1 to 7 years. She began to feel pretty down. She tried to remain her vibrant, gregarious self, I’m sure. There’s pictures of all of the great things she dabbled in for fun, and tapes of her voice reading us “chicken little” for bedtime.
She remained depressed, and things didn’t get better. The medications they prescribed, rather than making her less sad, made her feel less everything. So she stopped taking them. Eventually she took her life in the garage, with the aid of the old Bronco (I think), and some carbon monoxide. I remember the face of the policeman who kept us kids on the porch with the fire engines and ambulance in the driveway. He had a huge mustache.
We kids didn’t go to the funeral. Her ashes, as far as I know, are in the mountains. One day I’ll ask Dad where exactly. Years later, my Aunt Sara and I had a sad chuckle when she told me that when she got to the house to help out with us, she took us upstairs and told us that Mom was in heaven, and one of us told her, “But I don’t want her to go to heaven…”
So yeah, there we were, three kids, my dad fresh out of med school and pulling 12 hour shifts in a brand new hospital, in a new town with few friends… You can imagine how stressful that might be. He hired on a lot of help; ladies who would come in and stay with us, cook, clean, take Ryan to school. Some of them were great and I remember them vividly. There were a couple not so great, and one felon. Each time, dad would see them go, and hire on another. Our Uncle Doug stayed with us for a while, too. So we grew wise in the way of fart jokes and laughter. But always, there was the absence of our mom. The solid second pillar in a child’s life.
Eventually dad fell in love again, and remarried. She tried really hard to pick up our lives and create order from the chaos it had become. It was monumental. She was from a world of order and the delineation between feminine and masculine roles. Little girls did this, and little boys did that. We had no concept, really. At least, I didn’t. In the absence of our dad, she had to instill discipline. Which was made especially hard because she had been preceded by so many other women who had tried the same and failed. The bedrock argument is irrefutable. “You are not my mom.”
She tried hard to assume the role that our Mom had vacated, but it was still occupied. We were reminded all the time. People are used to speaking to children, perhaps more so back then, but now too, as if they have both of their parents. Comments like, “Oh, I bet your mom is so proud of you!” Of course she was, we were convinced. For four years after her death, we’d been drilled to respond as if our Mom was perfection. Ultimately, no one can compete with the perfection that is a child’s mother after her death.
So there was a lot of strife, and family meetings, and family counseling, and eventually my brother moved out at 14, then joined the National Guard at 16, then off to the regular infantry, to Iraq and all the bad places in the world…and I’ve seen him about four or five times since then.
It was hard. It was hard on all of us. At some point, someone let slip that mom’s depression was post-partum, which could have been total bologna, but my little sister was crushed by that casual statement. Like somehow it was her fault. She cried and cried. Everyone I spoke to about her death later in life felt guilt in the same sort of ways. “I could have done something.” “If only I had said/done/been…” The shadow of other people’s regret was all over us. I hated it; to this day people's sympathy makes me squirm inside.
Why tell this story? I wanted to emphasize the widespread effect one act of tragedy has on so many. Because the same thing happens to people all the time when they lose someone. Death is a pebble in a pond, with ripples that roll outward from immediate family, to extended family, to friends, to acquaintances, to people who hear about it on the news. A loved one dies, and the immediate family grieves, extended family comfortsimmediate family, friends give comfort to both families and turn to their family for comfort, who turn to their friends for comfort, and on, and on, and on.
If death is a pebble in the pond, suicide is a boulder in a puddle.
Emotionally, people deal with grief all the time. Death is a part of life, and all. When a person dies of cancer or “natural causes”, it’s just another part of the cycle. When someone takes their own life, it becomes something unnatural, mystifying. Atop the grief is a kind of anger, rage even; and blame. How could such a beautiful, vibrant, intelligent woman choose to leave behind three kids and a great guy in such an irrevocable way? She did that, he must have done that, those kids did this... Look! They're still doing it! I have a lot of answers from the family counseling sessions we went through.
Shattering, that’s what suicide is. I would say it’s the same with murder, but again, I have no personal experience with that, so can only suppose. Suicide shattered my family. My immediate family, extended family, family of choice, and even new members through marriage continue to be touched by my mom’s one act of desperation. We were all of us changed by what she did.
I take this topic seriously. It’s one of few topics over which I’m prepared to get pretty emotional about. Not in the way you might think, though. I don’t hate my mom. I don’t know what she was feeling, or who she could talk to. I can’t possibly blame her for what she did. I have only sympathy.
That’s not so much the case with my friends and people I know, though. :P I’m gonna put it out there that should anyone I ever meet consider this course of action an option, please come to me. I’ll show you exactly why life is worth living; why waking up in the morning is a joy, and how people are full of the desire to love you, if you let them.
The flip side of that is my deeply personal and abiding wrath should you drop a boulder in my puddle.
Thanks for reading this, it felt cathartic.
I love you, Dad, more than words can ever express enough.
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