Friday, October 29, 2010
Our neighbor had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday. Her left knee is bent the wrong way and getting worse. I knocked on her door coming home from walking to the store today to ask how it went. She started to cry. The surgeon yelled at her for waiting so long. She lost her job when the tube plant closed in South Lyon, and she valiantly struggled to pay her COBRA until it ran out. She has no health insurance. And her knee has hurt all this time, and she needs a cane to walk. The orthopedic surgeon yelled from ego. I have a theory that most hollering comes from fear. This surgeon is afraid that the surgery won't turn out as great as he and his ego would like. It's commendable to have personal standards until your standards yell at another human being. His ego was acting out. Our neighbor is depressed and crying. Could this have been handled better? Absolutely. All doctors need to be forced to watch "The Doctor" with William Hurt before demeaning patients for having no resources. This guy needs an ego-ectomy. And much better training.
Messaging. I'm trying to listen with my other ears, to mute the voice of ego and self-interest and heed the voice of intuition. The reality cloak I've donned is no longer protection from whatever I used to shield myself from. I feel like a human switching station: on the circuit that includes lessons from Beckie, my matriarchal ancestors, the universe, nature and my faith. Off the switch that connects to falsehood, fear and fury. Today I read an essay at 13.7 Cosmos about the need to balance self-interest and Earth community. Read an article in The Crazy Wisdom Community Journal about working with our hands and how we can reconnect to our labor by having a literal hand in its creation. Read a blog post about narcissism and its false cloak of niceness. Listened to Keith Olbermann's Special Comment about certain candidates for public office, and realized the hypocrisy of any platform that condemns while offering no solutions. I'm reading Isabel Wilkerson's marvelous new book "The Warmth of Other Suns," and talked with my father about hatred of other peoples, and what might break that horrific chain. I want to be a better person, a stronger supporter of my community and a good example to the young people in my life. We saw these words on roadsigns in England, and I laughed then. I'm not laughing now. I'm learning.
This week's commercial counsels men who feel a shadow of their former selves to ask their doctor about a medical condition called LowT. Yeah. Guys don't dance, or buy flowers because of a shortage of testerone? And it's a MEDICAL condition? The ad belongs to Abbott Labs, but the website is copyrighted Solvay Pharmaceuticals. Checked further - Abbott Labs acquired Solvay in September this year. And promptly announced it will lay off 3,000 people. And close the United States headquarters of Solvay in Marietta, GA. And this ad is where the money saved on jobs is spent? Sending more goofballs to their doctor to get a prescription pump. Further checking - it's a topically-applied gel! Oy! The whole mess gets The Boot.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sometimes my Pisces sun/moon combo picks a fight with my Capricorn rising. Yeah. Truth is this yin/yang is ongoing, and it's probably true for lots of people. Is it? Depends on whether I'm in the mood to feel mainstream or bizarre. I always answer football victory questions with "on any given day," because any football team can win. Even the Detroit Lions. On any given day, I believe serendipity is real. Another day, I wander in bunglebosh, malarkey, and juju. My reliable raucous alarm clock (a gift in the early 80s from my roomie Cheryl, who went shopping for a clock that tipped my bed and dumped me on the floor) has a snooze alarm that donates 9 more minutes of sleep. I know from experience that it can only be slapped 3 times. But it's lost that prohibition. It can bless 9 mins. infinitely. This October, I'm having 9 minute speed dreaming episodes. These are so vivid, colorful and weird, I started a dream journal. Last night a character named Sedhahy, Sedhai? showed up. "Not from Chicago, Detroit or Philadelphia." So where is she from? Is this a spirit guide I need to listen to? A traveler who got sucked into the 9 minute vortex? Early Sunday - I did the math (ugh) and discovered I'd hit the snooze 23 times. Each of those 23 9-min. dream sequences had a bird drawing in it. Not a real bird, an art bird. Stone? Painting? Symbol? A sandpiper, other wader? What's up with this bird? Today I went looking for a piece of my art for this post, and found this bird. I drew a page of aboriginal drawings to entice a project from a Native American intuitive healer a few years ago. And here it is. The bird. Not exactly the bird, who I wrote was green/blue with wavy lines for wing feathers, nevertheless it's the bird. The 23-times bird was facing the other way. Does that mean I'm moving in the wrong direction? Is this a serendipity or bunglebosh day?
Friends are sharing a mixed-mash feeling this autumn. We want to eat homemade pasta, wash blankets, paint decks, sleep at odd hours and be awake at odder. Hibernation envy; the luxurious, earthy smell of nature going to sleep. Woolly bear caterpillars are rushing around, doing whatever pre-Isabella tiger moths do before cocooning. Snakes are alert, fast, on the move. I can now discern the difference between a chipmunk sounding an alarm, and a squirrel front-toothing a hickory nut. Saw 40 Blue Herons in a shallow pond gathering to discuss the next adventure. My friends and I feel tired, but excited. Wonder what will happen next?
Saturday, October 16, 2010
"Time. Time. What is time? Swiss manufacture it, French hoard it, Italians squander it, Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. Know what I say? I say time is a crook." ~ Peter Lorre as Julius O'Hara, Beat The Devil, 1953, screenplay by Truman Capote, directed by John Huston.
Friday, October 15, 2010
No COLA this year for social security recipients. This also means high earners gathering over $106,800/year won't have their deduction increased for the second year. The annual Pentagon budget remains higher than SSI expenditures. We are spending $6.7 billion a month in Afghanistan and $5.5 billion in Iraq. The average SSI check is $1,040.00 a month. 58.7 million Americans receive social security. President Obama and his economic crew are mulling over cuts to SSI. Not much mulling over defense spending cuts; Congress's most divine of sacred cows, in fact some Congressmen are hollering about how defense spending increases save the taxpayers money. Or is there a confrontation in the near future?
Fed Chair Bernanke is channeling his inner Voldemort. The Fed will buy US Treasury Bonds from the Big Banks. Expect an announcement in November. The Federal Reserve will conjure the money to buy its own bonds from thin air. More magical thinking: the imaginary money the Big Banks get for selling the government its own stuff back will supposedly encourage the Big Banks to lend more, and thus encourage people to spend more. Pose the scenario to your favorite 2nd grader. I have no money. I want to buy from you the IOUs that you hold from me. Then I want you to lend the money I pretend to give you to other people. I'm no economics expert, but the economic experts in Japan are. The government tried this move to help recover from their Lost Decade. Read the latest news about how Japan's economy benefited from this hocus pocus.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Yesterday I biked to the library in the golden, sweet morning. I'm getting braver on the road, so I toughed it out through the deeper dirt and rocks on the roadside. Thought about wearing shorts, but a tumble would be more abrading, so jeans rolled up sufficed. As I was putting my bicycle away, I said hello to the woman we see walking, wool hat on in any weather, and "Hello Kitty" pink purse swinging. Her name is Julie and she was hosting a card night at her house and went to the store for spoons. Today I walked, checked on my feathered friends in the swamp, and no friends, no swamp. It's dry. Walking on the path ahead of me were four boys, cutting school? At a distance I can tell boys from girls. Boys have the hunched-over, leg flung to the side walk, like a lazy tango step. Girls walk upright and their legs move straight forward. In the distance I could see headlights. A truck on the bike path? It was a South Lyon Public Works truck, picking up garbage in the cans on the path. Stopped at the grocery store for a bagel and there were none. I asked the bakery woman if there were any hiding in the back, and she baked me one fresh. First time I've had a hot bagel, and I ate it walking home. We'll get rain today, and the last of the cottonwood leaves will be down, joining their summer companions once more, and soon together will be transformed to mulch for the next generation under the snow.
Monday, October 11, 2010
It's 7:30 pm and October in Michigan and the temperature is still 78 degrees. Bikers, rollerbladers and walkers were out this evening, enjoying the weather, the color and the clear sky. The older people were admiring the surroundings, taking big nosefuls of autumn evening air, admiring the sun playing in the tops of the red, orange, yellow leaves. The younger folks were speeding along, ears stuffed with whatever the wire coming out of their pockets was channeling into their ears, racer sunglasses in place. One rollerblading dad wearing speeder shades was pushing a jogging stroller with an infant sporting baby-version shades. A biker, hat on backwards, sped along, texting with one hand. Two women were sharing a conversation with a third via speakerphone. "And then I said, 'like really, you know.'" The sumac leaves look like feathers on a long pole, and the shorter growths mix their brilliant crimson with the white and purple aster, and the gold maple leaves in the underbrush. The sun has set now, the fountain in Baker Park will sound as beautiful in the dark as it does in the daylight, and the streetlights will try to play with the scarlet/orange/gold leaves on the sidewalk, while the sun sleeps.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Lovely day for a bicycle ride to the library. Perfect football weather for MSU:UofM at The Big House. Glad I wasn't bicycling near Ann Arbor, and grateful for the day and the luxury of enough. As I was almost home, at the pond next door, I surprised a Great Blue Heron, and it surprised me. We ogled one another, but nobody flew away. I thanked it for sharing the space with me.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Recovered from successful hand surgery, Barb Barton's back on stage! October 23rd at Gone Wired Cafe in Lansing. Barb's set is at 6 pm. The concert plays from 4-9 pm, with Sometimes Y performing, and the event benefits The Women's Center of Greater Lansing. Tickets are $20-$25, (including food) and can be purchased at The Women's Center, or call (517) 372-9163 for ticket information. Nahnie Copiaco will join Barb for her set. Welcome back, Barb!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Jeanne Mackey, Michigan activist and songerwriter/singer marks her 60th birthday with a performance of her memoir-in-song in Ann Arbor on November 21 at 2 pm. Details are at Jeanne Mackey's site. The show's title is a legendary answer to a question "What is the sign of someone who knows God?" The 14th century Persian mystic Hafiz answered, "Dear, they have dropped the knife. They have dropped the cruel knife most so often use upon their tender self and others." (Daniel Ladinsky, The Subject Tonight is Love) See "No Time to Hesitate" from Drop the Knife on Jeanne's site, and on YouTube.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Here's what all the fuss is about: we're at the apogee of an elliptical orbit about to be swung around into the next 26,000 years. We're completing a circuit of all twelve houses of the Zodiac in quadruply significant space/time. The Mayan Long Count calendar ends. Sacred geometry starts dancing with the stars. Prognosticators are all poised to say "I told you so!" Nostradamus is interviewing agents for a comeback. The Antikythera mechanism is shinier suddenly. Chicken Little is booked for Oprah plus The Daily Show, and the Julian calendar is wondering where it went wrong. It quacks like a big deal, feels like a big deal, because it is a big deal. None of us will be around the next time this happens, and we have no idea what anything was like the last time this happened. On the whiteboard of infinity, the next 26,000 years are taking shape. Maybe the Mayans just ran out of markers?
Missing my friend Beckie grievously the other day, I picked up a crystal point on my desk. It is an extraordinary piece I chose as a woman was unpacking a box of crystals at Sweetgrass in Davisburg. I see a menagerie of animals, one of the Three Kings offering a gift, and a fantastic cleaved inclusion that causes the myriad of images. On this day of missing Beckie, my heart was empty and aching. As I clutched the crystal to my chest, my heart was flooded with light and warmth, and I felt her presence perfectly: a gift of healing from the Magi, and Mother Nature. When I am weary and heartsick, I will remember that no energy is ever lost, great spirit survives, and my soul will soar again in awe of the great mystery of life.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
NPR website has this story (and this picture) about Levi's using real people in Braddock, PA for a commercial. Mayor John Fetterman is an everyday hero, and I wish him and the people of Braddock, PA continued reinvention.
The crabapple tree that is so stressed each year it loses its leaves by July has taken action this month, and produced a single blossom in October. Reminds me of "Calendar Girls" when John writes that the women of Yorkshire are like the flowers of Yorkshire - "Every stage of their growth has its own beauty, but the last phase is always the most glorious. Then very quickly they all go to seed."
Brought my camera on this sparkling day bicycle ride, planning to stop for batteries at the drugstore. I crossed the busy street one way, and pushed the walk signal button for the next cross. Walk signaled, I stepped out and was halfway across when I caught a car making a left turn in my direction. She was braking/forward/braking/forward right on my back wheel. I gave her a big frown, and turned away. She drove into the parking lot, pulled in front of me, and rolled down the passenger window. "You were in the crosswalk when it was a no walk signal," she growled, holding up her hand, palm out, as though I might not recognize a don't walk sign. "I left on the walk signal," I started to say. She interrupted, "Well, you were still walking when it said don't walk." Flabbergasted, and pissed, I said, "Look, just watch out for bicyclers, okay?" "YOU, TOO!" she yelled, and sped away. So, being in such a big hurry she needed to nudge me out of her way with her car, she then wasted more time explaining to me how thoughtless she was. The ride improved immediately, thanks to the gorgeous sky, the applauding cottonwoods, brilliant asters, sumac, the beautiful Huron Valley Rail Trail, and the fragrant air of Michigan in autumn. I took a picture of my favorite treehuggers: trees that stood beside each other season after season and then came down together, (or were shoved by a frustrated motorist) and there they rest, becoming one with the swamp.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Launching a walk yesterday, I crested the hill and my knee complained loudly. I wondered if it needed to turn back, decided not, and as I was descending the hill, I saw a big, oddly moving leaf on the right. Its head turned. The leaf with eyes and I watched each other, and I slowly extended my hand to measure how big this creature was. As long as my hand! I moved my palm up to scoot it off the walking path into the grass. Wicked spikes on its forelegs, and a spooky intelligence in its eyes, it turned its head away and moseyed up and over the long turf. I was overwhelmed. Wednesday we talked in writers' group about nicknames in elementary school. I got called walking stick. In the same week, for the first time in my life, here was my nickname's cousin. Looked up "praying mantis" in AnimalSpeak. Praying mantis references the Power of Stillness. The universe gives us messages when we most need to hear.