Holy Smoke – a movie review…

In the year of our Lord, 2000, Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel made a movie.  Maybe you haven’t noticed this, but it seems whenever I have some burning question in my heart, maybe I’ve been carrying it about for some time, I can reach out, and pick a book up from one of my many overflowing shelves, open it, and my eyes will move as if by magic, to one particular part of the page, and there in full view, is my answer.  It simply can’t be explained.

That is the story with this movie, Holy Smoke.  For some time, I have been floundering about, like the proverbial fish.  After watching this movie, it is clear that indeed, I may never find my way home, wherever that may be…  perhaps it really is time to quit chasing something “out there,” and look to myself.

Put Harvey Keitel and Kate Winslet in a movie, in Australia, and India, with ashrams and the unforgiving Outback, and let me just say, “interesting” doesn’t begin to cover it.

This isn’t one of those deeply gratifying movies that gives you great insight.  I think it proved more worthy to me for its blatant shock value!  Imagine Harvey Keitel in red lipstick and a red dress!  Now that was an image I could have done without!

But then I love Kate Winslet, not as a Hollywood starlet, although she puts all others to shame, but for being a great artist.  Ms. Winslet has an amazingly beautiful voice.  And I’ve only been exposed to it a couple of times, but I surely do intend to see what her singing is all about, and I’m eager.

Harvey is paid a hefty sum to come to Oz and deliver Kate from her “cult conditioning” after she joins a group of Hindu followers of a fellow called Baba who apparently elicits spiritual marriages from his followers.  Indeed her own family, although loveable characters, I suppose, are completely daft and completely over the bridge, if you get my drift…  dad, mum, the whole clan is quite the spectacle.

Harvey’s modus operandi is to break her down, take away all her faith, and deliver her back to the real world and her family.  She does love her mum, but beyond that, I’d run to the nearest ashram myself!  What he didn’t figure on was catching a real live tiger by the tail, and by the end, he’s totally undone.  And if it wasn’t supposed to be serious, I’d have been LMAO, as they say…  sorry, Harvey, but I’m just telling it like it is….

So the movie review goes like this:  Highly entertaining, very visual, great characters, and sweet, just sweet, actually.  I believe if they had made the same movie in this decade, it might have been something quite different.  I wouldn’t want my kids to see this one, just too raw and a little “between the lines.”  But for the great actors, and interesting premise, I give it a strong 4 on the 1-5 scale.  If you enjoy Kate and Harvey, give it a go… by all means…

For a while I couldn’t read these stories, but that day is gone and I am here to do whatever it takes beyond anything I ever imagined to connect our good people and find the way to change all this. I would take on any horse, any time, and be responsible for it, rather than see our country’s people in shock and in shame once enough understand what has been happening, and after you start looking, you’ll quickly see that horse slaughter is just one of many unforgiveable things being legalized today. Things have always been sketchy to me, when it comes down to the final gavel strike, but come on people!!! Let us all focus to End this shameful practice of Horse Slaughter in our beautiful country. Show support any way you can to help.

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source: KOCO.com ~ Oklahoma City

“Yet another politician succumbs to misinformation and well funded lobbyists”

OKLAHOMA CITY —A controversial horse slaughter bill was signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

Queen of HeartsHouse Bill 1999, a bill ending the prohibition on horse meat processing for export in Oklahoma, was signed Friday. Forty-six states, not including Oklahoma, currently allow horsemeat processing.

Fallin released the following statement:

“In Oklahoma — as in other states — abuse is tragically common among horses that are reaching the end of their natural lives. Many horses are abandoned or left to starve to death. Others are shipped out of the country, many to Mexico, where they are processed in potentially inhumane conditions that are not regulated by the U.S. government.

“Unfortunately, the 2006 federal ban on horse processing plants has made this situation worse. After the implementation of that ban, the Government Accountability Office reported a 60 percent…

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Getting A Spiritual Tune-Up

The common denominator phrase over and over always refers to “being open.”   You never want to discredit an idea just because it seems so far-fetched, so for the last month I’ve put all my focus on opening my heart, and my mind, just to be receptive to, well…   whatever…

I am beginning to notice all kinds of “energy,” that part of reality you can’t see, you just feel it.  Like every other human skill or activity, energy-work must be practiced with enthusiasm and determination to achieve a good result.

It may sound too ultra-simple, but I find beauty in that.  It may have already been discovered, and written about in a thousand different ways, but this is my best effort to explain what in the blue blazes I’m talking about.

This may well be one of those really amazing a-ha moments when what you desire is right in front of your face, and always has been.  You just weren’t “tuned-up.”

My first blog was called Altered States of Consciousness.  And it could continue on easily, as there are hundreds of interesting topics to explore in that realm.  It is about the different places we go mind, body and spirit to shift perspective.  We all do it.

Whenever my buddy Jim returns home in his little Chevy truck, just like always, there is huge drama and excitement from every creature we have here on the farm, especially the pack.  It’s almost like a competition between the alpha members, Big Biscuit and old Abigale to see who can stir it up the most!  The excitement will turn into a frenzy and most times I am so bewildered and taken aback at the spectacle, I just stare at them frozen in time and space…

It is easy to feel the energy of the house whenever the “it’s Jim” ritual occurs.  The old girls begin with little yips that join in with the two hounds’ stretched out yodeling that quickly turns into all-out major howling, like wolves or sled dogs of the iditerod.  The wild amazing energy is all focused on Jim.  Then I notice as he collects himself, and begins to settle down in his room, he directs his energy outward to one or the next terrier or wanna-be sled dog…  it was their goal from the start, to have his energy directed at them!  They thrive on it.

As I mentioned briefly in the old blog about peak experience during an altered state, our resident dog pack will start their little frenzy episodes slowly, and build up to the resulting crescendo when it finally breaks as the front door opens.  It is easy to feel their energy build; it is like a tsunami of sound and emotion.  Their energy is all connected.

I call my new blog Ephemeral Spirit.  It is more about learning and discovering energy, what it is and how we can benefit and enjoy it.  Americans are notoriously always behind the times in a progressive sense, at least to me, but I am confident that all people are exactly where they are meant to be, and “time” as we know it, is just simple measurements of a collective heartbeat.

I made a new friend yesterday, not altogether intentionally, but quite indirectly.  At the same time, I faced something that I didn’t even realize I feared, which is placing myself into a situation where I am the clear minority.  It would seem that on the surface I am perfectly at ease with most anyone, but put me in a group of people I have no relation to and no understanding of, and I will most likely be courting some serious anxiety, even if it is subconscious.  I am really glad I found this out, because… I don’t feel that way anymore!  I looked at it, noticed how completely irrational and ungrounded a fear like that was, and just let it go.  Simple, right?

Here’s the epiphany, and I don’t use that word lightly.  Whenever I face something I basically fear, it’s an adrenaline rush.  At my age, you can never get enough of those.  You’re just relieved to live through it!  Whenever a true connection happens between two people, like unexpectedly making a new friend, this new connection can be exhilarating, depending on the level of awareness you have for the experience and the endless possibilities it presents.  It is the energy, or more precisely, the “connection” of energy, which now has the capacity to grow and increase exponentially.

I imagine the scene in Avatar, the movie, where all the people are seated around the Mother Tree, and they are all chanting, connecting mind, body and spirit, directing all their energy toward the tree.  And the tree itself is connected to everything around it as well.  The tree has a massive root system, a living fractal underground, right beneath their bodies, and long-hanging branches like a willow surround the tree a hundred feet above them, with little feathery seeds/the essence of life itself, floating down into the air.  The whole scene is the living vibration of breath, the embodiment of life.

Yeah, I know, it takes me a very long time for things to sink in, but I am infused with possibilities as I contemplate what this discovery means.  Just think, if instead of discord, it was the ultimate goal of humanity to make connections.  Many are well ahead in this direction.  It’s very interesting how suppressed we’ve become as a nation in America, when you think about the vast numbers of us.  We’re divided into groups on purpose, ready to fight each other, and that’s just not necessary.  So many are caught up in fear.  You name it, somebody fears it.  And fear is a negative energy that can spin out of control quickly into unthinkable situations.  Taking away one man’s gun is like giving a diseased person a bottle of pills and expecting a positive result.  You have to go to the root of the problem.

I have a new idea for purposeful, mindful connection– that all things come and go in their own time.  And the emotional energy is created as our conscious minds search to fulfill our destiny. This thing we call life is just a dance of human emotion, no matter how hard we try to suppress or deny it. Wonderful, raw, powerful, intense human energy, folks.  We’re not broken; we’ve just been beaten into submission.  Finding our own spiritual energy so we can focus it out and make meaningful connections is the one best and brightest hope humanity has to survive.

Remember in the movie, Hidalgo, how the goat-herder used all his emotions and energies to convey every detail of the serious nature, life and death, of the great race to Frank Hopkins.  Despite the dangers, and the cowboy’s obvious handicaps, the beautiful Persian people, the great Bedouins, the People of the Horse, all gathered around him, actively and consciously participated with him in his journey.  Quickly man was not divided by race or heritage but united in one goal, to finish the race.  The story ends with the cowboy, stoked with the spiritual energy of his ancestors and the real-time energy of his new desert friends, rides Hidalgo through the waves of the sea, people cheering and joyful, even for the cowboy and his painted pony.

When Frank comes to say goodbye to the Sheik, their connection is obvious, as it was from the beginning.  They just took a little time to embrace it!  This historical and epic movie is another clear and beautiful path to understanding the great impact of the human connection and the great force we have for good in the world.   It comes in the form of our own energy, special and unique to us alone, abundant and meant to resonate with incredible rhythm and harmony within the minds and hearts of people in conscious awareness.  The energy is the light, which comes from Source, the One and Only known by many names, and this Energy is all there is, and all that will be.  We have been terribly disconnected, and the time is right now to see the endless possibilities, all right before us!

I’ve spent all day with my computer, since early this morning, with this one bright idea in my head, of how important connection is.  I’ve been sleeping with a phantom quartz crystal just bigger than my finger and a slightly smaller double-ended wand of fluorite, all purple and green with clear sparkling crystals inside, being open to the possibilities!  So as the baby spring crickets chirp out that old familiar song of spring, I wish you all, every one, a peaceful and starry evening tonight!

You’re Okay! You’re Not Broken!

Hello and Good Morning Everyone!  Today’s topic is going to be “Typical Western Healthcare.”

I wonder if anyone else has noticed this, but every common prescription drug out there, the ones we’ve all been given to take in America, are now being exposed as not only fraught with side-effects, but actually very harmful and ultimately destructive to the human organs of the body.  Like the liver, and the brain.

I would venture to say, that somewhere right after your 50th birthday, the average person in the US gets slammed with reality, if it hasn’t occurred already.  The reality that things just aren’t right anymore, parts of your body seem to be the enemy.  But you’ve still got to go to work.  You’ve still got to feed the family.  So you learn to cope and deal with the situation as best you can, until you retire early, or have a medical crisis that sends you home.

In America, I was just another mass commuter during the best years of my life, at my desk on the 22nd floor by 8 am.  15 years later, my health was so bad, my doctor told me I had IBS, was clearly not in shape, seemed to be exhausted as well as highly-stressed, and that if I didn’t change something quick, I’d be headed down a really bad road.  Dr. Garcia was a real genius with extremely high standards for himself, so I took his words to heart.  I was desperate for help.

More than twenty years since that appt., the improvements have been significant, but there is no denying that all the years of forced sitting with raised arms, the intense pressure from attorneys to “draft” their product as well as produce it, all took a real toll on my body.   But there is also some good news in this story.

After I walked out of the elevator of the huge bank building for the last time, I discovered a doctor/author, an endocrinologist, a brilliant physician from India working in a hospital, east coast urban metropolis, turned advocate for his native ayurvedic background, on cassette tape.  Most everyone knows Deepak Chopra by now, but listening to his kind voice explain to me that I didn’t have to accept the mass cultural conditioning of the west, completely changed my life.  That indeed I could take control of my own health, with great results.  Plus, he explained how to do this, in great detail.

So I tried it.  No matter how weird or against the western protocol it was, I did it.  In my thirties, I had little access to healthcare unless it was an emergency situation.  My health required a major overhaul and I knew it.  No longer would I smother my natural mind churning out boiler-plate legal documents en masse day after day, until the familiar knot/baseball formed in my left trap muscle.  No longer would I lament and feel embarrassed that my backside resembled an over-stuffed cushion from sitting endless hours, endless months, endless years.  I won’t even talk about endless minutes.

After I stopped the commute and took back my life, I was getting close to my forties.   Without the amazing paycheck anymore, I couldn’t go to a doctor.  No insurance.  They wouldn’t see me.  The words “self-pay” in the doctor’s office were like dirty words.  No, we aren’t accepting new patients meant no, the doctor doesn’t accept patients without insurance.

Feeling a little “pi,” I am compelled to point out that I am a native citizen of the US, but because I wasn’t pregnant, and had no children, it was basically impossible to qualify for any type of aid, no matter how sick I might be.  But everytime I would try, the waiting room would be filled to capacity with Hispanic women and their children.  All being ushered into their appointments, all speaking in animated loud voices in Spanish.  Believe me, as I sat there in the waiting rooms, ignored, unable to speak the language, I totally understood discrimination.  Actually it felt like I was on some other planet entirely.

After everything I’ve gone through, all the tests, x-rays, interviews and exams, what it took to finally receive healthcare was to become legally disabled.  But would you like to know what my primary doctor once said to me in one of our first visits? “I’ll work with you here, but you can’t cause me any trouble.”  He doesn’t allow me to speak while he is writing in his file, or looking at the computer screen they use now, which is 99.9% of the allotted 10-12 minutes appt. time.  In fact, the nurse that first sits me in a treatment room does the interview, writes in the file what meds I am requesting, and basically does what I might expect the doc to do.  When he does enter the room, he gives a cordial greeting and goes to the computer.  He examines the file, comments on the basics, and then explains that my meds have been refilled.  He closes the file, as he looks at me and smiles, and that’s about it, really!  Of course as he is exiting, he turns his head sideways to emphasize I must come back right away and submit for blood-work and I still haven’t gotten a mammogram, and he wants me to be seen by an ob/gyn for yearly cervix smear.  Then there is the spine/scoliosis issue, which requires x-rays and bone density tests.  I come out of those places glowing like a green plastic alien toy.

Unless I am partially paralyzed in pain, or caught in a chronic severe pain situation, he will not prescribe anything for pain.  It is posted all over the waiting room – No narcotics!  I’m no fool, so if I’m in real pain, I just go straight to the emergency room at the hospital and pray they don’t try to give me that horrible drug toridal, which burns through your veins like napalm and does very little if anything for severe pain.

One thing my present primary care doctor did do, was indirectly aid in saving my life, as he referred me to a brilliant surgeon in Austin after a frightening night in the ER.  What killed my father was trying to kill me.  Whether it was due to fluoride, chlorine, ddt, hydrogenated food products, salt, sugar, bpa, and one and a half million other poisons routinely served up to Americans, my poor little gall bladder was clogged and no longer functional.  I can honestly tell you that the pain you experience when you have a gall bladder attack is like nothing else.  It feels like your shoulder blades are in a vice growing ever tighter and harder to breathe.  You can’t stand up straight and you can’t focus.  I became borderline hysterical, throwing myself onto floor cushions face-down, thinking something was terribly wrong with my back.  I couldn’t get to the ER fast enough!

I truly and honestly believe with all my being that “my people up there” watch out for me.  Unless I am just randomly very lucky on a regular basis.  Anyway, a brilliant young man/modern surgeon performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  And luckily I didn’t die by the hand of his equally young anesthesiologist either, although I felt like beating him soundly when I felt human again.  Compared to most people, I must have a really small mouth/opening, and I woke up with two inches of white paste cemented on my tongue and my throat felt two inches wider…  At least I woke up, right?

The old way to perform this operation was to open up the person with a hugely long incision that was extremely dangerous and took months and months to heal.  After my experience of this amazing advance in surgery, there were only 3 or 4 tiny incisions around the area, and even though at first you feel like you’ve been run over by a tractor wheel, it all heals up really quickly, and I can barely see the tiny marks now.  You can still function without this organ, but it is not without issues, despite what you will hear.

One of the few people in this world I know as a good friend, since grade-school in fact, whom I highly respect, is a doctor in a very large city.  I am thankful for the great doctors we have in this country today, without which I would not be alive.  But government and insurance has them so strapped down that some of them seem to have lost their real intention in the first place, to heal.  In my opinion, always going to a standard American primary care doctor as you age, might not be the only avenue to try unless you are purposely clueless or striken.   There is a quote from somewhere that I agree with, that says you cannot understand the part, if you do not first examine the whole.  It makes perfect sense to me, but doctors in modern practice today do not waste time or lose money.

I’m sure I’m in for an interesting ride, as I’ve made a personal decision not to subject myself to continuous blood draws, unending x-rays, or the highly-invasive pelvic exam.  I know that some people will be screaming at this point, because all these tests do have a place and a good reason to do them, in some cases.  But in my case, I feel pretty healthy, all disabilities aside.  No flu shots for me, no vaccines.  I’ve had enough of them, thank you.  Sometimes, I look at the state of health of the average American and it is almost shocking that any of our kids make it to college.  That is the sad part.  The diseases only common to adults in past generations are now in our children.  At least I wasn’t given anti-depressants when I was a teenager.  There’s no telling what this sort of brain-altering drug is doing to us.  Look at what the children are doing.  American pharmaceutical companies totally run the whole show here, we know that.  But their total connection with the FDA has the door wide open for greed and the “business” of it all to flourish, which was their plan all along, since it is a business, first and foremost, right?  It would seem to me when the children are being so obviously affected, something must change and quick.

Purposely, and also due in large part to other priorities, I have not paid my prescription insurance yet for this year.  I also have not checked in with my primary for a cholesterol test because I am off the Crestor completely now, since he refused a refill call-in and I couldn’t drive that week.  I also did not hunt down any hospitals for a mammogram, nor did I drive 35 miles to the other side of Austin to the fancy/schmancy Ob/gyn office to sit with all the pregnant girls.  Also, if you require any medication for depression or anxiety, or heaven-help you if they’ve labeled you mental, you will find it awkward and difficult to get your refills without presenting at appt. with some other “billable” problem.  The only reputable psychiatrist within a 40-mile radius costs more per hour than the best criminal attorney in Dallas and she doesn’t accept Medicare.

Early-on my doctor told me he was taught in medical school that a patient with scoliosis does not usually have pain (wow) and he doesn’t ever prescribe the “benzo’s” for anxiety because of their highly addictive nature.   I am not sick, and I ask myself, WTF?  His big ploy/pressure now to get me in there is the issue of cholesterol, and I quit the statin drug several months ago.  It seems research is showing that cholesterol in and of itself, isn’t what affects cardiac disease after all.  And I am not willing to ingest a drug daily that could be killing my liver.  I can figure out the diet and I can be disciplined, unlike President Clinton was in those days, likely…   Like my dad used to say, I’m trying to look all the way down the runway, not just at the hood ornament … so to speak…

So considering the federal government, you are probably thinking “Good Luck with that, sister!”  For literal months I have agonized over this, paperwork piling up, unopened letters looking official from insurance companies, stupid AARP always trying to get my money…  I suspect in no time at all to be hearing from Social Security regarding my disability payments, requiring my immediate attention.  Who knows what brand of hell I face.

Every single day and every single night I lay here and imagine the day when “alternative” therapies and “psychiatric” services will be accepted, affordable or offered through the gov’t. for people at the end of their “working” lives who look to our nation’s healthcare providers for help and services.  But as you may come to realize, healthcare in America is not affordable, if you can get “in” with insurance.  In America to “qualify” you must have beaucoup insurance, or be a recognized celebrity of infinite wealth.  It’s very clear that patients with Medicare are starting to be ignored or turned away or taken for a long and unpleasant ride without a happy ending.

You know, when I was married to Charlie, who was an auto mechanic, we quickly recognized the chance to run our own business.  The interesting thing to me about mechanics was how you might find endless different ways to address someone’s car problem.  You could be a parts replacer, buying part after part until something fixed the problem.  Or you could be highly resourceful, like Charlie, and depending on the customer’s financial situation, you might find used parts, make adjustments to the timing to make it run better, pull out old plugs, clean ’em up, and put ’em back…  I could see quickly that it was in his hands how expensive the job became…  how long it took, and how much it would disrupt the peoples’ lives.

That’s what has me scared about doctors nowadays.  They have the power to:   1. Bug the heck outta you,  2. Completely waste your valuable time when you’d rather be home alone dying in bed,  3. Expose you to probably multiple kinds of germs and viruses of the ever-present “children of the waiting room,” (Stephen King?)   4. Send in young girls with frenetic energy wearing glasses to take your blood when you know even an experienced phlebotomist looks instantly serious at the sight of your arm, and finally  5. End up with no time to talk to you, have nothing new to share except to nag for more tests, and ignore any real pain, to end up prescribing a drug for me that will ultimately cause cognitive decline or some other total organ/system failure I’m not willing to risk!  I know these guys can offer up good advice, but for some reason, they are solidly glued to that prescription pad.  All my doc seems to be willing to offer me is minimal, as long as I don’t cause him any trouble.  Wow.  And as long as I drive to the big city and submit to radiation on my lady parts.  I am so thankful when I see the new research indicates that the x-rays are inconclusive, unreliable and dangerous to boot, being given year after year.  There’s just too much room for error and individual interpretation not to mention you are radiating a highly sensitive human body (searching for cancer???!!!).  (Every single human being is different; this is just my story.)

In ten years, I predict this type of medical mentality will be a sad practice of the past, and I pray a caring, progressive and intelligent healing community in cooperation with a reformed gov’t has emerged.  Of course, the little guys will always have to fight the big boys with big checkbooks, God Bless Our Democracy!  But I have a strong feeling there is reason to hope.  Everytime I see the face of a bright, fresh and intelligent young person, committing their lives for the betterment of this world, I see hope.  I know other generations before us may have said these same words, but these kids today are different.  The ones raised by progressive minds are healthy.  They are like bright lights, ready for anything.  And they see all the suffering and decay and mismanagement.  Thank God They See It.

So I am on the ten-year plan now, looking down the runway to 68, and the picture I see is stronger, straighter, more confident, more educated and informed, and able to function well on every level.  I am not defined by my disabilities and I do not limit my expectations for myself because of them.  And although I will always seek medical advice from a professional when I need it, I always question authority!

The cost of dental services in America, along with the huge cost of psychiatric consultations, are two “parts” of the healthcare system completely out of reach for most, might I say, the majority of people here.  While I have never been an advocate for free rides, it is a real and true shame that working adults and older people on substantially smaller incomes, have little if no alternatives.  It is also a huge reflection on another reason our system is broken, and our people are not being healed.  We are the cattle that keep the wheels of American Drug Corporations turning.  You have to treat the whole organism, mind, body and spirit to heal.  “First, do no harm.”  In years to come, history will reflect how lack of proper dental care and toxic chemicals in the food and water supply were the major precursors to all American disease of the past century.

Blame Larry!

Because I am one of those people, who worked very hard all her young life in America, but now finds that working the 9-5 is  simply not possible anymore, I find myself in the ranks of the disabled.  Which means that until some Republican sways Congress to obliterate Social Security, I have earned the right to have my hard-earned coin back, when I really do need it.  And because piano players don’t generally make a lot of cash, my monthly allotment is, well, let’s just say blessed, appreciated and barely adequate.  And believe me, if I told you the things we do without around here, you might think I was writing from some far off undeveloped country, not the US.

Something I learned about myself in the past few years:  I have been very wasteful.  Nowadays, I use every inch of that veg, one way or another, even to the point where the roommate bottled up some rendered bacon-fat and placed it in the fridge, for hard-times.  (When the cupboard is really bare, we can “flavor” the dogs’ food with a little lard, and they are compelled to eat the primarily dry kibble without the usual added embellishment or extras.)

Every month now for about 8 months, roommate Jim has been suffering through/engaged in some sort of financial meltdown.  We might be roommates for over 13 years now, but I am not his wife, and he does not discuss or include me in any of his financial dealings.  But it doesn’t take a genius to see his monolithic television is absent from the scene.  And one tends to notice when the roommate comes asking you for tools, when you just gave him a really cool “Fat Max” Tool Box for his birthday.  It’s all highly irregular!

So when dear old Jim turns up broke around every 9th of the month, you start to realize there could be other people eating lard-flavored entree’s before it’s all over with.  Let me just say here…  my dearest friend Bushra has totally educated me about only consuming that which is halal.  In the nation of Islam, true followers will only eat an animal that has been both humanely and spiritually killed (is that possible?) and it is called halal.  Also the meat is clean, and the animal was well-taken care of.  Not unlike the native American Indians whom we chose to largely ignore and persecute, if not completely destroy their very way of life, All Their Sacred Animals…  and Muslims do not eat pork.

I also understand that consuming the flesh of terrified animals, abused and neglected intelligent creatures, is another factor contributing to the rampant disease prevalent in America today.  I am living as a huge hypocrite lately, even having bacon in my fridge, much less consuming it.  About three years ago, I was a vegetarian, and no meat or milk from an animal would dare cross the threshold of my kitchen.  I would just blame it all on Jim.  But today, we can blame it all on Larry!

A very clear indication that we’ve reached that middle of the month omg we’re dead broke again place is when the beans come out of the pantry.  I admit, I have a pre-conceived collective conditioning that “beans” means poor, and there’s nothing else to eat.  So to combat that false idea, I doctor them up with all kinds of good things, when I can.  And over the years, I’ve become  quite the accomplished pinto bean chef.  Before I found out that people were discovering arsenic in the common bags of rice given to the food banks, i.e., the cheaper brands available at the grocery, I was a certified rice lover/addict.  If I made up a good-sized pot of rice to go along with those beans, I’d be okay.   But somehow finding out that indeed I may have unknowingly and unwillingly consumed arsenic over a period of years, has left me loathe to even think of a bag of rice.  Whether it’s completely stupid or not, I just never thought to rinse the rice before cooking it.  Who knew?  I can guaran-damn-tee you I do now!!!!

But Jim likes cornbread.  Who doesn’t, right?  I love the stuff.  Jim has never asked for rice with his beans and actually much prefers to just have cornbread.  But over the years, my recipes for cornbread evolved from Bubba’s super-delicious cast-iron version (which most definitely contained a couple of tbsp.’s of bacon grease) to a semi-whole wheat version made with applesauce (it’s delicious) with little bits of jalapeno mixed in.  The evolution of cornbread.  Wow.

So in common fashion, today Jim was in the kitchen, heating up the leftover bean concoction I last served him, (a little bit of rinsed rice was added to this batch right at the last), but he was quite distressed at the lack of cornbread.  As I was quietly in my room, trying to lay low, and amuse myself, I could hear him next door in the kitchen, talking to me as if I was in there, about what “we” should do about this cornbread problem, or the lack thereof… (ok, you knew I was gonna say that last bit!)

I quickly dispatched the problem by spelling out a simple way to duplicate his precious store-bought mixes, since my pantry had plenty of staples to get the job done.  We even had one lone egg left and a little shake left in the bottom of the milk carton.  Alarms went off briefly as Jim discovered that there was also no sugar.  How much sugar does someone need to put in a cornbread recipe anyway, I asked myself…  (another health evolution – no white sugar in this house!)

I went back to the pantry for him, and showed him the container of confectioner’s sugar, which had a bit left in the bottom, (this poison is in my house because one time Jim insisted on having “icing” on cakes, if we were going to make them).  In order to stem the tide of this particular culinary meltdown, I told him he could add a little bit of that sugar instead, as it really was exactly the same stuff, just “powdered.”  He looked bewildered, and yet somehow enlightened!  Good grief!

To make this terribly long story short(er), later on, I drifted into the kitchen to check out his cornbread, and ended up finishing what beans he couldn’t finish, and as he droned on and on about how dry this cornbread must be, since he broke our timer days ago, and inadvertently left his cornbread creation in the oven too long…  I examined it, tasted it again, and noticed something, well…  “good”?  Different than my evolved recipe no doubt, but what was this tastey bit I detected on the crusty edge of the cornbread?

OMG, I thought to myself, as he began to rapidly spill his guts like some long over-due confession.  He had taken some of the dogs’ flavor substance, the dreaded non-halal bacon fat from the fridge, and added some (eeeeekkk) to the cornbread.  That deviant son of a biscuit!  Now he had me eating lard!  What next?  Is this the way of all poverty-stricken people?  Apparently, it was now “our” way.

Suddenly, he began to giggle and actually began to look quite proud of himself.  He said, ” Hey, don’t blame me, Blame Larry.”  Damn Jim’s stupid “finger-punching” smart phone and all his fancy “Apps.”  And damn you Larry!  Grow up and get healthy!  Don’t put out-dated Paula Deen-esk recipes on an App where some unsuspecting amateur cornbread maker might try to use it!  His beautiful and ultra-healthy roommate might accidently and unwittingly take a bite!  Has it all come down to this?  Damn you, Larry!

Tiny Gardens & Depression

Just over two years ago, I went searching the net for depression support.  And boy, did I find it!  I joined a forum that included people from around the world.  Having that connection was the beginning of me being able to write.  Which for me was huge!  And from that first group of people, I made one really close and important friend.  Then I fostered and encouraged another.  I have never been one to juggle relationships well, even of the internet variety.  So, from a small handful of people who gave me their words and attention, sprang a new beginning for my life, one that has led me down so many new paths, new directions, many I might never have known otherwise.  And my viewpoint of depression in general, as well as personally, has improved as I’ve become educated and learned to practice new ways of thinking and doing.

I have a book called “Things I Learned About Life from my Garden.”  I haven’t run across it in quite some time, because I put the ideas into practice, and made a real garden.  Being only an amateur writer, I felt clumsy sometimes, as I tried to make “subtle” analogies, outright suggestions, and mainly just random observations on the depression forum, from little “light bulb” moments in my garden.

I gathered several readers who left me comments regularly, which was wonderful for me.  Being depressed probably means you are lonely also.  But one day, and just for the record, not all of my posts were about the garden, a girl pops up I didn’t know, and comments on my page (in public) that if she wanted to read about gardens, she would go to a gardening blog.  Her comment made me feel sort of bad, for her, for me, for us all, I mean, how could she not get the connection, the reasoning?  Other people did.  They seemed to like my funny little garden stories.  I just could not perpetuate my despair by writing about how crummy I felt, day after day, like so many others did.  I felt like anybody could whine and complain incessantly, so maybe it was my path to add some levity, shine a little light.  It just didn’t work for everybody.

So today, in honor of the depression tribe, I want to tell you all about one of my recent growing projects.  I am a face value kinda girl, so I usually go with my gut feelings, I follow my intuition where it leads me, as real planning and organization have eluded me in this lifetime, anyway.  One day I decided to try some aromatherapy to help center and ground my monkey mind, and for some reason, I was guided to eucalyptus.  I ordered a tiny vial of eucalyptus and lemon grass, which sounded divine, as I imagined little koala bears all smiling…  which oddly led me to the ebay where I found a man selling eucalyptus seeds, eucalyptus gunni to be exact.  (that one’s for you, Matt).

Isn’t it funny when you get a great idea, and you’re totally stoked and way out on a limb over it, and suddenly there is someone who vehemently disagrees, out of the blue, so to speak…  I don’t like that when it happens… hahaha  Anyway, these teeny tiny microscopic black seeds came, smaller than a black poppy seed, and I thought to myself, “wow, what in the hell?…”  This is supposed to make a tree?  Come on, really, you are kidding, right?

My dear and ever-present roommate, Jim, took one look at my latest project, and once again got all animated and highly concerned over my clearly “crazy” plan.  My thought process was based on the great success I achieved growing bamboo.  Again, everyone told me, “oh, no.  You don’t want to grow bamboo!  It will take over!”

Well, what do you do, when you live on a patch of ancient sea bed, of wild junipers and scrub oak, entirely made of sugar sand, with a hard clay table about 3 to 4 feet beneath.  I come from the luscious and beautiful east Texas, where the ground is fertile, and you’re surrounded in pine forests.  I shake it off, and look at what has succeeded for me in the past, which happily, was the bamboo.

From one disgusting root/tuber grass-wrapped looking thing that seemed far too soggy and rotten/forgotten to survive, I now enjoy what I call the Spiritual Bamboo Garden, where my sweet little Paleface is buried.  This bamboo has given me full coverage privacy from the prison yard/junkyard next door (I exaggerate here for effect.)  It is more important to me that the neighbors can’t see me, as my wardrobe tends to be a bit unpredictable at times…

You see, this soggy bamboo root planted alone some years ago, is now a miraculous garden of unending pleasure for my mini-panther Spooky, and the 110 year-old calico, Cherokee.  It has truly created a micro-climate, a bamboo forest that is now many yards long in length and breadth.  When the harsh summer sun gets super intense around June and July with no rain in sight, the bamboos will just curl up, close up their leaves, they sort of shut down to conserve energy and survive.  But the true amazing miracle of the bamboo lies underground where the root system from one plant shoots out in every direction and from there a new plant will sprout to the surface.  It’s exactly like the spiritual heart/mother tree in the movie Avatar.  It’s not individual plants so much as one connected organism and I find that amazing!

What else would grow and thrive like this on the ancient sea bed of sand.  Well, my next best bet is eucalyptus.  From the limited research I’ve done to this point, it would seem that a eucalyptus tree, once established, is quite strong and enduring, and there also seems to be some mystical element to them also.  There is much to discover!

Today is Monday, and I was keen to face the week, since it has now been two days with no SSRI’s in my system.  It’s like that box of chocolates, you just never know…   So far I’ve enjoyed some bouts of dizziness all centered right behind my nose, between my eyes, a certain uncomfortable pressure in my skull that is constant, so far…  Any morning when you’re 58 can be a challenge, hehe, but when you are determined and completely engaged in kicking all prescription meds once and for all, despite the raised eyebrows and clearly fearful admonishments of dear Jim, of my quest, (bless his heart… ), I find that the weeks have turned into a couple of months now, of trying…  facing my fears and anxiety head on, feeling, yes feeling for the first time in too many years.  One might expect a little drama, perhaps some major unsettling discomfort, but, happily, there are other Positive results to be reaped from this venture.  Such as the impact of pleasant surprises, like the joy at seeing a tiny seed pop open and reveal a little tail!  And this morning, I remembered the euc gunni seeds on top of the fridge, and I quickly got them down for inspection.

And there, lo and behold, some of the teeny black specs seemed to have something white-ish on them; I needed my reading glasses to be sure, but instinct told me to “Rejoice!”  The Eucalyptus seeds have germinated!  I must insert a true gardening/growing secret I just discovered that made this little miracle possible.  I know, it seems so obvious, but then, give me a break…  horticulture is not totally natural for me, for some unknown reason.  I love plants, just like the women who came before me.  But through my internet research, I discovered that if you simply put a tight lid on your germinating container, i.e., put the lid on your Tupperware, the drops of water you put on your paper, on your seeds, will concentrate and voila’ you have germination.  Some things are so easy when you learn the “tricks.”  My initial research had told me that “pricking” extra hard seeds could encourage germination.  I’m open to ideas, but come on!  (I felt like a huge clumsy Giant on a teeny tiny planet.)  This “pricking” idea was not gonna happen.

The newly sprouted seeds have been quickly planted into seedling pots alongside some mixed pepper seedlings.  They are now out on the table Jim just built, which is beneath his window on the outside, facing south, where the morning and afternoon sun can shine down gently through the river tree that protects his window.  Another trick I have learned about germination is that soil temperature is key.  If you don’t yet have your dream greenhouse built, like me, you have to be cognizant of temps and especially ground temps.  Get the potting medium warm, between 65 and 75 F, and your seeds will have a fighting chance.  I mean, we all should be able to grow things, right?  We are human, right?  (… “but ‘ya know it don’t come easy….”)

Despite the adamant warnings of my roommate/landscaper, that his research on eucalyptus gunni revealed that this is a highly invasive plant, that again, will try to “take over,” I believe I have succeeded in the introduction of yet another foreign species that just might do well here.  Well, whoopti do, yee haw, and all that stuff, that’s the idea, Partner!  haha   Perhaps I should consider that a previous friend planted, of all things, Catalpa trees here in our front yard, (I call them the River Trees because they came from the San Marcos River down by New Braunfels), and these catalpas are clearly out of their element here in the semi-arid desert we call “the farm.”  But guess what, the river trees also connect underground.  And in that light, the sand is a perfect growing medium, as long as we amend their soil at times and water, water, water.  Compost is my life!  And guess what?  Within a short three-year span, there are four catalpas over 15-20 feet tall, fanning out widely with large green leaves.  And little baby river trees are popping out all over in the most unexpected of places!  Much to Jim’s dismay!  (Jim believes in a manicured lawn with artistic embellishments, and I’m more into random permaculture.)  I find it hugely amusing that I am growing/planting massively invasive plants on purpose, and poor dear Jim is out there daily with his fork/hoe secretly chopping anything unauthorized.

I could get mad or upset, but he has a right to engage in his own brand of gardening.  What he hasn’t yet realized is that I can be just as subversive and I have made mental note of each and every baby river tree peeking up around corners, and edging our driveway.  I have pointed out to him that many people might like to have a little catalpa tree in their yard, so maybe instead of chopping them, we could re-plant them into containers until a proper planting can be achieved.  Lately, I noticed a marked decrease in missing baby catalpas.

Going back to a particular website, say… a depression support site, and being labeled bipolar and quite prone to free association, and you just happen to mention/delve into a totally unrelated topic like gardening, grab all your energy and pull it back in, try to stay on topic.  Lesson for the day:  Don’t expect heavily drugged individuals to discern subtle analogies.  Even if you think they aren’t subtle at all…    And don’t expect grumpy old control-freak roommates to agree with your free-style gardening techniques either.

Keep on, keep going, keep it together, keep it simple…  Hava great week, my aspiring friends, and just remember, from a tiny, unappreciated seed, You Can Grow a Beautiful Enduring Tree, so that many can benefit and enjoy!  Rock On!

Batting around spiritual ideas

People often talk about spirit in terms of energy, and this is exactly what keeps the fields of spirituals studies divided from the fields of hard science.  The very physical definition of energy includes and depends upon the concepts of time and space – yet spiritual awareness, at its very core, transcends these.

So instead, let us use a model that any physicist can agree with – the universe as a state of potential quantum interactions.  The entire universe is involved in a vast quantum entanglement in which manifestations of reality (quantum events) take place in terms of PROBABILITY – i.e. CHOICE!  What I’m saying is vast, people – EVERY QUANTUM EVENT IN THE UNIVERSE TAKES PLACE DUE TO SPIRIT CHOOSING IT.  As spirit, each of us plays a part in that constant game of choices.

In the normal course of events, of course, those probabilities even…

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