Sunday, January 28, 2007

In Beauty I Walk

"In beauty I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty. It is finished in beauty."
Navajo Prayer

My long-time friend Audrey sent me a beautiful tea set for Christmas, a picture of which is included to the right. The colors match my decor and it looks very nice tucked under the rack which holds our big glass coffee/tea mugs.

This gift got me started thinking about how many of the things in the Tinpalace were either gifts or were inherited from people we love.

Beginning at the front, there are framed photos of our (adult) children, our parents, and both Tony's and my grandmothers. One the table sits a tiny silver tea service. The tea pot only holds two small cupfuls of tea, so it is only useful as a decorative accent. It's dinged up, the silver is completely worn off in places and it desperately needs a good polishing so it looks a lot less loved than it actually is. It belonged to Tony's grandmother.

There's a sturdy basket Tony's mother bought when they first came to Canada in 1951. She kept it on the basement steps, filled with potatoes. It's associated with her and her kitchen, and the many meals we shared on Sunday nights.

Then there are the antique cups and saucers she gave me, one by one. Four different styles, four different color ranges, but all delicate and fit for the Queen herself, should she drop by for tea some afternoon.

There's the quilt my friend Jackie made for my birthday in January 2005, before passing away totally unexpectedly later that year. A tiny doll my friend Judy made and gave me before she passed away a year ago. A wee jointed teddy bear made by Zak a few years ago.

There's a series of three pictures of my beloved kitty Patches, which hangs at the foot of my bed, a gift from Ian.

On a shelf in the back is a a Butsudan (A Buddhist altar) which Tony made. On the altar are a prayer bowl from Zak and Mandy, a small brass bell, and a prayer cloth from my dear friend Iris.

A cloth doll my daughter-in-law made me for Christmas a few years ago and a sock monkey made for me by my sister-in-law when I was a little girl sit in a protected corner.

A silk rosebud, the favorite toy of Fred the cat, is tucked into the safety strap which keeps our 13" TV from leaping off its shelf. He loved these little silk rosebuds. He'd pull the flowers from the stems and carry them around in his mouth crooning to them until he loved them to pieces. He eventually lost interest in red rosebuds and the tattered remnants were discarded one by one. At the age of 14 he developed lymphoma and the day came when we had to take him to the vet for the last time. It was so hard to say goodbye.

The next morning I turned the corner from the hallway into our room and there he sat, sleek and healthy. He was there for only an instant before he vanished, but in his place was a silk rosebud of the kind he loved as a kitten and young cat. I cannot for the life of me say where it came from. But there it was, and I like to think it was his way of saying bye and thanks for all the tuna. Anyway, that rosebud is tucked where I can see it, a reminder of a sweet kitty.

There are shelves of books, old favorites like Wind in the Willows, The Old Man and the Boy, Lydia Bailey, I Heard the Owl Call My Name and The Shipping News jumble together with medical references and puzzle books.

Simple stuff, none of it worth more than a couple of dollars at a yard sale, but loaded with memories. When you don't have someone you love with you, next best thing is to have something they gave you, made, handled, or loved. The energy of that love fills our little space, making it the happiest 157 square foot home on earth. We walk in beauty.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So Sorry!

Terribly remiss of me but I haven't bored you to tears lately with rhapsodical expressions of delight over the birds visiting our feeder.

Let me correct my error.

In addition to the birds noted in earlier posts we have noted in the past few weeks the following visitors:

1. The purple finch. Oh but they are cute! It's hard to count, but I think we have three pairs, as there are three brilliant little males who always come together, accompanied by the plain females who look like a pale sparrow.

2. Just for fun, compare the purple finch to our other red visitor, the hoary redpoll.

3. We have pine warblers as well as the magnolia warblers I described earlier. They are wearing a duller "winter" coat now, but will become bright canary yellow as breeding season approaches.

4. We also have what looks like a little mutant house sparrow. He looks as if he has a little pile of snow on his head. At first I thought he was a white-capped sparrow, but he doesn't have the black bordered white stripe of the white-capped. The pattern of his white colouration was what tipped me off that he might have a mutation. He has a white cap, otherwise the feathers on the left side of his head are white, while on the right side they are brown.

We aren't the only ones with a mutant sparrow. I happened on this Q & A on a nature site:

Q: I have an English sparrow coming to my feeder that has an all-white cap (not at all like the white-capped sparrow). Is this a species or a mutation? This bird has all the markings of the Eng. sparrow but a white cap instead of a gray one. Help!

Bird expert George Harrison answered: The English sparrow (proper common name house sparrow) apparently has some partial albinism in the feathers on its head. This is not unusual among songbirds, including house sparrows.

And of course we're still supporting a small army of California quail, sparrows of many descriptions, the occasional starling, a downy woodpecker, the flickers, and a few chickadees. All of this bird activity just outside the door drives the cat to distraction at times, but it gives him something to think about besides being naughty.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

You Get What You Pay For

Tony and the boys always say that I ought to write a book about my family. The classic Buddhist example of impermanence is to say, "In 100 years not a person living today will still be alive."

It hasn't taken that long for me. When I stop to think of it, very few of the members of my huge childhood family still survive. I only knew one grandparent, my paternal grandmother Josie Smith. She died when I was 11. My parents have been gone for almost 25 years, I've lost a brother and a sister. None of my aunts and uncles, on either side survive, and many of my cousins are also gone. What is there left besides memories? How do they live on if no one tells their stories?

My maternal grandmother Molly Hayman, died when my mother was 13. There were still several children at home, including my mom's nine-year-old brother Lonnie. Mother became a sort of surrogate mother to Lonnie, and he lived with my parents after they married.

Lonnie was only about 5' 3" fully grown, and probably never weighed more than 100 pounds. He was dark skinned, big-eared and scrawny but he was Mama's baby brother and we all loved him dearly.

My Uncle Paul drove an ice wagon back in the days before electric refrigeration, when people kept food cold in an insulated box which held a large block of ice. Paul sold 50 pound blocks of ice to the people on his route. This meant he'd have to climb down off the wagon seat, climb up into the insulated compartment of the wagon, haul out a block of ice with a set of iron tongs, lug it up the front sidewalk, up the porch steps, into the kitchen and load it into the ice box. One day he hurt his back and asked if Lonnie would come along and handle the ice, since Paul couldn't afford to lose a day's work.

Lonnie was 14 and weighed about 80 pounds himself, but agreed to help. He manfully hauled ice off the wagon and into kitchens all day. Late in the day they as they approached one house Paul said, "When you choose the ice for this one make sure to get a big piece. She has a scale on the porch and she weighs it. If it's not 50 pounds she'll make you bring it back to the wagon and get a bigger piece."

So Lonnie looked over the remaining blocks and chose what looked to be a big block. He lugged it up to the porch, where his customer stood with crossed arms and a sour expression.

"Weigh it," she said. "I pay for 50 pounds of ice and I'm gonna get 50 pounds of ice!"

Well, the block weighed 48 pounds. She was adamant that it be returned to the wagon and a larger piece brought. Poor Lonnie, with sore arms and back and shaking legs, lugged the 48 pound block back to the wagon and searched until he found a larger piece. He lugged it back to the porch and scale. It weighed 49 pounds.

"Oh, please lady," he begged. "It's only a pound, don't make me carry it back for a pound of ice."

"I gotta pay for 50 pounds of ice, and by gum, I'm gonna get 50 pounds of ice," she said, immovable as the polar ice cap herself.

So back he went, and searched until he was certain he had the largest block in the wagon. He hauled it to the porch and dropped it on the scale, where it tipped over at 54 pounds.

"Well, that's more like it!" The woman said, with a smug grin.

But she had not reckoned on Lonnie's sense of justice. He whipped an ice pick from his belt and, with a close eye on the scale, began chunking at the block of ice, making shards fly off in all directions.

"Here! Here!" the woman cried, "What do you think you're doing?"

"Lady," Lonnie said, drawing himself up to his full and inconsiderable height, "You paying for 50 pounds of ice and by god, 50 pounds is all you are gonna get!"

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Danish Haiku

Much screaming and little
wool, said the woman,
shearing her sow.

Has something ever struck you as so funny that you laughed yourself breathless? This little poem, dubbed A Danish Haiku did that for me today. I know for a fact that at many points in my life, I have diligently sheared the sow, and cursed the fact that her "wool" was more suitable for making a scrub brush than a warm sweater.

It seems to be a human trait. Lots of us, metaphorically, shear the sow when we actually need and want sheep's wool. We consistently use totally inappropriate methods and/or actions - hoping against hope that the act of doing something/anything will work magic and gain our objective. It's as if we were saying, "Hey Universe! Look how hard I'm working and reward my efforts!"

Or we shear the sow because while we say/think we want wool, we really don't, because having wool in the hand means we would have to embark on the long-planned project, which leaves us open to the possibility of failure. Best to look diligent, shear the sow and curse fate that sow's wool is an unsuitable material for spinning our fine dreams.

We sabotage ourselves. We fool ourselves into thinking we're on the road to success, while we wrestle the screaming sow, and with pounding hearts and sweat pouring into our eyes, shear her bristles off. The longer you struggle with the sow the larger and stronger she grows, and the more irritated she gets.

I had this strange phobia when I was in my early 20s. I hated washing dishes. I'd put off washing dishes for three or four days, till every dish in the house was dirty and the counter was loaded. The longer I put it off the bigger the knot in my belly grew, just thinking about it. It kept me anxious and unhappy all the time. Finally some wise person said, "Don't tackle them all at once. Just fill the sinks with water and do only the glasses. Then quit. Later you can do the cutlery. Then quit. Later do just the cups and saucers. Don't do all of the dishes at once, it's too much. Just do one thing. You can do just the one thing."

So I filled the sinks and did just the glasses. But it only took three or four minutes so I went ahead and did the cutlery. But even then I'd only spent six or eight minutes so I did the cups and saucers. Well, you guessed it. Within a half hour all the dishes were done and I felt 100 times better. I learned that I could accomplish a great deal by not allowing myself to become overwhelmed by the scope of the job. I learned that it's better to do the job than worry about doing it. It takes lots less energy.

It's easy to shear a sheep. You get the wool you needed in the first place. It even makes the sheep more comfortable. Everybody wins. The easiest way to get something done is just to do it, not to agonize over it, analyze it, work up to it, or procrastinate over it. Just dive in and get it done. You come up with a double fistful of wool every time.

Wake up!

Pema Chodron says, "Our life's work is to use what we have been given to wake up. ...It doesn't matter what you're given, whether it's physical deformity or enormous wealth or poverty, beauty or ugliness, mental stability, life in a madhouse or life in the middle of a peaceful, silent desert.

Whatever you're given can wake you up or put you to sleep. ...The only way to do this is to be open, be curious, and develop some sense of sympathy for everything that comes along, to get to know its nature and let it teach you what it will. It's going to stick around until you learn your lesson, at any rate...the same old demons will always come up until you learn the lesson, the lesson they came to teach you."

I had to go over to the hospital this week, to get an x-ray, a blood draw and to pick up some records to take to my new doctor. It was an interesting experience. I woke up in the middle of it.

First of all, it never occurred to me that you might need to book an appointment for a blood draw or chest x-ray. And I never thought that the lab would close at 2:00, as it is in the hospital, and there's a lab tech there 24 hours a day. So I arrived at the hospital at 1:50. By the time I stood in line and reached the registration window it was 2:00. Since I've dealt with the woman who registers patients before I wasn't surprised to find that she was busy shopping by phone and she made me wait while she finished placing her order.

She asked if I'd made appointments, which of course I hadn't, but she said, if I was lucky they might do the tests. But the cut-off time was 2:00 and by then it was 2:10.

In the lab the tech simply stuck her head out of the door and said, "I'll be with you in a minute!", but in the x-ray lab, which you could have fired a cannon through without scratching a living soul, the two technicians acted as if I'd asked for a kidney from each of them. After some discussion they decided they could "work me in", but only with rolling eyes and martyred looks.

The attitude at both the front desk and in the x-ray department said, "I'm in charge here, you are at my mercy. You'd better acknowledge my power if you want help."

In the past this kind of attitude made me see red. I'd have raged for days about it. But for the first time I finally saw this arrogance for what it is, a cry for validation, a desperate plea for recognition. "I feel like no one notices what I do!" it says, "please - tell me my work is important!" I thanked all four and told them how much I appreciated their kindness and help. All of them responded with warmth.

If no one tells a person that their work is valuable, that they do matter, they may resort to subterfuge, i.e. employing subtle, or not-so-subtle, power games to get the validation they need. Those who serve in the health care field need to be told frequently that their work matters, that it is especially appreciated when they show compassion and loving-kindness to patients and families. People who serve the ill have needs which are not often met in systems which stress efficiency and cost-cutting. It is not only the ill who are emotionally vulnerable and stressed.

I have a complex medical history, and I've dealt with many physicians and medical systems. Time and time again I have been astonished to find myself faced with rude, arrogant and even verbally abusive physicians. My Buddhist friend Iris says I have bad doctor karma.

From the Buddhist point of view, this recurring nightmare has something to teach me, and I think I may have waked up and realized what it is. I know my illness does indeed baffle (and frighten) a good many physicians. Maybe They are afraid that I expect them to be able to fix my problems. Maybe that's where our conversations should start, with my compassionate assurance that I do not expect them to cure me, but rather need them to act as my coach and advisor, as part of a mutually supportive team.

Time to leave bad doctor karma behind.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

House Proud

Once in a while, even in the best of families, things get a little out of hand. Case in point, my kitchen pantry and fridge.

Now you'd think, with three pantry shelves and four cubic feet of refrigerator space they'd behave themselves and stay organized. Not so. The last couple of days we had to stave off an avalanche every time we opened the pantry door and, something in that fridge has gone south. Every time the door is opened a distinctly funny smell wafts out.

I just spent a half hour organizing the pantry. My husband is blind to everything that isn't front and centre of any shelf. If there's anything obstructing a clear view of what he wants he can't find it. I don't think installing a beeper on the cracker box would help. He's deaf enough not to know which direction sounds are coming from. For that matter, so am I.

Our conversations the past few years have degenerated into this kind of exchange;

Him: (or me) Gibble, thing, rattlebox, cinderblocks.

Me: (or him) What?

Him: (or me) Gibble, thing, rattlebox, cinderblocks!

Me: (or him)WHAT?

Him: (or me) Why gibble you rattle LISTEN?

Me: (or him) (By now huffy) I was listening! You don't speak clearly!

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, cleaning the pantry. He sticks everything in the front. It appears to be packed to the gills, while it's actually just stuffed in front with nothing behind.

Yesterday when I came home from the grocery store I couldn't get much of anything in the pantry, so it was time to reorganize. Now, with all the new stuff in, there's still lots of room. But it's in layers, front to back. Soon everything will be poised at the front again, the great wall of groceries. Inscrutable as the East. Requiring an expeditionary force to extract a can of beets.

I'm not complaining. He could drink, gamble or run around with other women. Piling everything in the front six inches of the pantry shelf is a minor vice, easily dealt with with a half hour of organization.

Next I have to tackle the fridge, which is also loaded to the gills. There's a rotten apple in that Denmark somewhere. It will have to be unloaded. Everything is in the front six inches of shelf, except that stinky whatever, which has probably been pushed to the back and forgotten. I'm trying to learn not to cook large quantities, but years of habit engulf me over the stove. I cook too much, we don't end up eating it all and occasionally a leftover escapes to mold comfortably behind the cabbage.

He has no idea what I am writing, but as often is the case, we mirror each other's thoughts. He just said, "It's amazing what we get in here though."

Yes, it certainly is. We want for nothing. We have more than enough. We are soooo happy. We are enjoying our little challenge, though we do wish the weather would warm up! This day after day of cold and biting wind hath no charm. The cat wants to go outside, and so do we.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Beneath the Gaze of the Buddha

I saw my new doctor day before yesterday. His office is very cool! The decor is Japanese, including a toko niche with a Buddha statue and a sumi ink painting of two sparrows on a blossom-laden branch. Lots of plants, trickling water, shoji screens. I'd go just to visit the office, even if I didn't need to see the doctor.

I'm still enjoying Oliver's small town dynamics. In Calgary it was very different. I'd go to the doctor's office where I'd gone for years. The receptionist always treated you like a total stranger, and a suspicious one at that. You could almost see her mentally sizing you up, trying to decide whether to call security or to allow you to sit in the waiting room.

Once past the guardian of the gate you sat. If you smiled or said anything to another of the waiting mass, they edged away nervously, like crabs before a wave. Never were pleasantries exchanged. It was like the waiting room for the torturer's apprentice.

One exception - one day, after a late appt when I walked out of the exam room without my prescription I had to wait until the doctor finished with her next patient. I was the only person there, even the guardian had gone home.

A man came in, and immediately introduced himself, obviously expecting me to know who he was. His name rang some sort of vague bell way back in the recesses of my dim mind. He made grand gestures and talked about the wisdom of a Tibetan monk he knew from Bhutan, who said, "Thisthisthisthis...."

We talked, or at least he talked and I said, "Oh yes," and "Really?". He kept dropping clues about his identity, and even went so far as to say, "I did xxxxxx. You've probably read of me, or seen me on TV." By then I had remembered who he was, but I am perverse. I pretended not to have a clue. This is my only remembered "friendly" encounter in that waiting room in all those years.

Day before yesterday, because I remembered my appt to be at 1:20, when it was actually scheduled for 2:20, I got to sit in my new doctor's waiting room for an entire hour. The receptionist was young and pleasant, friendly, chatty. No forms were pushed into my face. They took my health care number and left the paperwork at that.

Three physicians work from this office so people came through at regular intervals. They greeted each other, and me, and lively conversations ensued; They asked about each other's families, their health, ("What's the matter that you're here today?) told stories about neighbours, holidays and work. "I have this cough, I had surgery, I have MS, my daughter is sick, my daughter's having a baby,"

Surprisingly I was included in all this, "I love your hair!" one woman said, and she got up from her seat across the room and moved to sit beside me! "Where do you get it done. I want mine just like it."

I was questioned in a friendly and curious way, by several people, about where we'd come from, how we liked it here, where we were living, if I was "Native" - first time someone has ever recognized that I have Native blood without being told.

I was told I'd like it here, that I'm going to find it a good place to live. If I hadn't figured that out already I learned it in an hour, sitting in the doctor's office, under the beneficent gaze of the Buddha.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Orion Comes Up Sideways

In the Star-Splitter Robert Frost says:

"You know Orion always comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg across our fence of mountains,
And rising on his hands, he looks in on me
Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something
I should have done by daylight, and indeed,
After the ground is frozen, I should have done
Before it froze, and a gust flings a handful
Of waste leaves at my smoky lantern chimney..."

These are the days of winter, when Frost's talk of roaring winds and short days seem all the more pointed. On the few nights that we have had clear skies Orion's belt sparkles as he comes up sideways across our fence of mountains.

We have had storm after storm. The earth is locked in ice, walking is like trying to negotiate frozen surf, choppy, rough, slanting and falling off in every direction. Walking is an adventure in itself, one which you hope won't land you in the hospital. The only way we get in and out of the driveway is by engaging the four wheel drive in the truck.

And the wind! We are shaken like a terrier shakes a rat. The trailer quivers and jumps like a living thing. We were both brought wide awake during the night by a huge crash, but so far we've not seen any damage. Up and down the valley trees are down, awnings and roofs are pried from their moorings and other signs of wind mischief are evident.

At 3:30 pm the temperature is -8, with a wind chill of -16. That's in bright sunshine. The wind is gusting to 50 kmh. Tonight will be bitter. I've thrown out twice the usual amount of bird seed today, trying to fortify my little winged friends for the night ahead.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Confuse a Doc!

In the best tradition of Python, who offered a "Confuse a Cat" service, I now happily offer for a limited time only , my "Confuse a Doc" service, at the temporarily reduced price of $19.95 (plus handling and shipping).

What the heck, if you can do it you can sell it. This is the internet after all! Since I missed the first I-bubble, and failed to make ten M $ off gullible stockholders before my idea of selling ice cream cones on line went south, I figure it's time for my money ship to come in. Nothing quite so much fun as confounding the physician. Buy now and avoid the rush!

Last night my lab tests indicated that I was in kidney failure and a likely candidate for kidney dialysis. Today's lab tests came back absolutely normal. Not just high normal but thuddingly dull normal.

The doctor's immediate response was that last night's readings were a lab error. The lab technician bared her teeth and said, "I ran those tests three times last night, and when the results were so different today I ran those three times. Then I went to the leftover blood from last night and reran it. That result was consistent with last night's readings. Don't ask me how, but today her levels are fine."

So, while I still get to revisit a number of cardiac tests, and probably will not be able to talk my way out of a cardiac angiogram this time, I don't need to see the renal specialist because I don't have a kidney problem.

I just have some very confused doctors.

Friday, January 05, 2007

If It's Not One Thing It's Two!

All the old-timers here say that Oliver is never this cold, never has snow on the ground for such an extended period. As I sit and look at the window at a grey day with a wind chill of -11 I don't know whether to believe them or not. Are they full of hot air? Blowing sunshine up my skirt? Oh please, if only there was some hot air or sunshine, which someone might blow up my skirt!

This time I was smart. Okay, I went to town to go to the PO and buy a few groceries at about 12:30. It's bleeding cold out there. By the time I was checking out at the grocery store my old familiar friend had decided to join me. By that I mean I had chest pain, that fist-in-the-middle-of the-chest pain that runs up the neck into the jaw and down my left arm.

I started taking K-Lyte there and kept taking it once I got home. I didn't want to have to go to the ER again. Frequent fliers are not looked on with enthusiasm in hospital ERs. However, by 5:00 it was apparent that my chest pain was not going to settle and I was getting a bit concerned. I called the neighbours and they graciously brought me to the ER.

The smart part was bringing Baby Mac with me, so I don't die of boredom while tests are run. I deal with pain by distracting myself. Music works, so headphones came along. I got a new CD in the mail today, a gift from Ian, so that was loaded into the Mac and is entertaining me as I sit here.

My potassium level is fine, 4.6, which is smack dab middle of normal. The pronouncement is that, until further testing proves otherwise, my pain is garden-variety angina and I am going to have to have more cardiac tests. I can't say I am all that surprised. My Mother's family has a history of early cardiovascular disease. All of her brothers and sisters had heart attacks beginning in their early 50s. My brother had a quadruple by-pass just a few days ago.

With a nitroglycerin patch and some Plavix I am considerably more comfortable. However the doctor came in with some unsettling test results. I was here November 28th and at the time my kidney function was normal. Now he says I am at the point where if my kidney function drops any lower I will need dialysis. Gulp This has come from nowhere. The Nephrologist (kidney specialist) has been called for a consult, and we will see where this leads. Very strange.

30 minutes later: (Your imbedded reporter types it as it happens!)

The Nephrophologist wants more tests done tonight, then I have to return tomorrow for more tests. I have to wait for the results, which will determine whether I am admitted tomorrow or can wait till Monday to see the Nephrologist in her office. Tony has a dental appt. at 1:30 Monday. I may have to figure out how to be in two places at once.

The nurse just came in and commented that she hopes I have blood left after the lab gets finished with me. That sounds promising. I have to say the staff here is superb. The three doctors we've seen in our visits have all been absolutely excellent. The Rocky in Calgary is excellent too, but god save me from ever having to submit myself to the tender ministrations of the staff at the Foothills again. Aw, we can complain all we like, but we've got a great medical system. None the less you don't like needing it.

My dearly loved Aunt Iva Lee (my Mother's older sister) had a granddaughter named Candy (It was the 50s, sweet was in. No one named their daughter Jackknife or Snotnose back then.) Anyway, dear little three-year-old Candy had a nanny. Nanny had a digestive complaint for which she took a large spoonful of castor oil every night.

Candy watched night after night as her Nanny downed the oil, and somehow got it into her baby head that this must be something delicious, which Nanny was greedily keeping from her. She asked if she could have some, but Nanny said, "Baby you wouldn't like it. It tastes real bad."

"Oh," Candy argued, "I know I'll like if you like it. Just let me have a taste."

"But Nanny doesn't like it, it's medicine. I just have to take it, whether I like it or not."

"Oh, I know I'll like it Nanny, please let me have a taste."

This went on for night after night until finally the poor Nanny could take no more of Candy's wheedling, and she popped a big spoonful of the nasty stuff into the waiting mouth.

Candy swallowed, shuddered, and blanched.

"See," Nanny said."I told you that you wouldn't like it."

"Oh I do like it," the little liar said, "Only I wouldn't want any more."

So, that sums up my recent experiences with hospitals. I appreciate the care, but I don't want to have to have any more. Now there's a new wrinkle in the sheet, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

Guess time will tell.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cultivating Universal Love

And, having lately spoken of revenge, we balance that silliness with a meditation to begin the New Year, and my New Year, with:

Cultivating Universal Love
And Sympathetic Joy

I now intensely cultivate universal love,
wishing for all conscious beings only true happiness,
fulfillment, peace and freedom from suffering.
I experience great ecstatic joy
at the very thought of conscious
beings abiding forever in equanimity and bliss,
free from every obvious fear and subtle anxiety.
As universal love increases in this mind stream,
harmful forces cannot affect me,
and I become a protector of living beings.

I deeply rejoice in all authentic religious
and moral teachings which have elevated
any person into selfless love.
I rejoice as well in all kind actions
performed by or for even the least evolved sentient being.
I remember constantly that all societies and relationships,
in order to be fruitful, can be based upon
and sustained by loving-kindness alone.

A Mother Can Always Get Revenge!

I resigned myself long ago to the fact that I will never be awarded any prizes for my photography. But you'd think I could take at least one decent shot of each of my kids while they were here over Christmas.

No, in every case eyes were closed or at half-mast, mouth pulled sideways or hanging open, or I caught the top of a head as they looked down.

My camera doesn't take what I want it to, it waits about half a second and then takes what it wants. This is fine for landscapes and sleeping cats, not so good for spontaneous photos of one's ever-active chilluns, unless you want the relatives to look at said pictures and say, "I'm glad ours didn't turn out looking like that!".

But we're holed up recovering from Christmas and New Years, and I was digging through a box looking for something else when I found, in an envelope, a series of photos of our younger son, Zak, back when he was a rock star, playing with a band with the improbable name of Marry Me Lisa

I'm trying to remember the year, maybe 1993 - 1994. Doesn't he look cute in that grumpy face? Heck that was his face, from the time he was born until he .... geez, until last week. hehehe I'm told he's a very charming man now. I taught him that. At least that's my excuse for being grumpy now, "I gave my charm to the kid. He needed it for work."

Wow, lot of water under the bridge in those years! Is this the time for a long walk down memory lane, dragging you kicking and screaming behind me? No, I didn't think so either.

I have some other fish to fry - old Texas idiom for "I got stuff to do". So I'll go do that thang.