And We Got Here How? (Part 1) ~

When I first began to gather my thoughts for this “ramble” … I was concerned with discourse, or lack of discourse.

As I thought and worked through how I want to try and connect my thoughts – yesterday, THIS report was released by the PEW foundation – which has been polling the polarization of America since 1986.  This report, which I’m going to link to in it’s entirety, shows that we are more polarized than we’ve been since they began tracking.  This does not surprise me in the least.

As I’ve said before – I’m a member of several forums, follow an insane number of blogs and news sites (and the comments) as well as being part of World of Warcraft and Pogo games.

I cut my computer “teeth” – so to speak – in the AOL chat rooms of all kinds – where one had to have an advanced degree in AOLese or AOL speak or you would be five conversations behind everyone else.  (For those who may not know, you had to learn to read through the typos/spellings and strange constructions because people were typing so fast and thinking so quickly that sometimes things didn’t quite match-up.)

All of this introduction is to simply say, I didn’t need the PEW organization to let me know “There’s Trouble In River City”, all I’ve had to do is be around people on-line and even in real life.

What has happened over the years is a steady decline in the ability of people of differing beliefs, hopes, dream, ideas, lives to even civilly approach each other.  At one time, personal opinion, you either were willing to listen to another person or you didn’t interact with that person at all.  Much of time now, I feel it has become a game of seeing who can one-up another in either hate/degradation/intimidation/provoking (not to be confused with trolling – that’s a special sub-set of behavior!!)   or proving how much more someone knows than anyone else.

Just the other day on Facebook, I entered into what I thought was a discussion involving the concept of gay marriage (how’s that for a hot button at the beginning of these postings?) and the difficulty someone had found in talking to someone else about it.  Those of us who are friends with this person and know the overwhelming love in her heart for all people, commiserated with her and offered some light-hearted and yes, even snarky thoughts to help.  Another person had entered the conversation and within two posts it had devolved into 1) necrophilia 2) pedophilia and 3) bestiality.  Even with AOL speak, I couldn’t figure out how we’d gotten there.  It became very obvious that the person simply wanted to anger everyone and bait everyone into an “argument” so that they could present themselves as a 1) winner 2) extremely knowledgeable and at the same time 3) the victim.

So, how did we get here? There were news events from when PEW began tracking the polarization: 1984 The Aids Virus is identified it is not the worldwide problem it is today. Following on from the PC Apple releases the Macintosh computer. Following the Widespread Famine in Ethiopia many of the top British and Irish USSR pop musicians join together under the Name Band Aid and record the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. Following the boycott by the US of the Moscow Olympics the soviet block boycotts the Los Angeles Olympic games. Recession continues to be a problem in the US and 70 US Banks fail in just one year.  But I think it goes back to even before that.

Here are three images and comments that will start this series of posts ~ and hopefully, you’ll forgive the length of this one…

At this point in time, we as a people were pushed into the realization that those dedicated to protect us, could indeed seem to turn against us.

Kent State by John Filo

Add to that another realization that perhaps our view of life wasn’t quite so quaint as we wanted to believe.

Birmingham Alabama 1963
I don’t know whose picture this is


And lastly – an event that shook our already shaky belief in our government.

So bear with me, and more on this journey of thought over the next few days ….

An Elegant Timewaster – Lovecraftian Lore ~ Early AFternoon Thoughts

It’s VERY hot here today – just the kind of day to stay inside and get all those nagging things done that I have been putting off doing . . . and after discovering –>this delightful site<–, will put off even further … The site is devoted to those dark and deadly seeming card games. Somewhat like playing Dungeons and Dragons, but it moves much more quickly and even somewhat darker. Alas, no gnome tossing or princess rescuing …

The start of the game looks like this ….

And once you press start game (I would suggest reading how to play first!!!) you will see this —

Nice creepy music and sounds accompany the game play, and no I’ve lost each time I’ve played, but there’s always the next time

To play the game …. –> CLICK HERE <– and as always, I'm not responsible for lost time, jobs or – in this case – sleep!!

The Pen Becomes Mighty ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Those who have followed this blog know that I love words, language and writing. It wasn’t until tonight that I discovered ~ to my horror ~ that poetry is considered dangerous….

Yes, those wonderful collections of words are now terrorist material!!

You might want to get a pencil and pad to take notes … everyone is depending on you!!!

Remember ~ no more poetry!! They will come and take you away!!!

Edit: January 29th, 9:49pm ~ I feel terrible! I forgot to mention that the video was taken from The Durn Moose blog – a really great blog that I try to read every day!!! Sorry Moose!!!!

Complex Tales Or Flip The Switch Henry! ~ Early Evening Thoughts

The finals of the “it was a dark and stormy night” for this year have been announced and will be posted tomorrow night probably… (thanks EB for the heads-up)…Today was my own “dark and stormy”, or so I thought. Along with the usual phones, people, a boss wanting to micro-manage, demands on time and energy – I had my personal SWAT team here today (again with the vice-grip handshake!).

They really worked very hard to get a lot of things accomplished. There was much noise of maintenance happening ~ a lovely sound I haven’t been able to hear for awhile! I also went with them (at their invitation since I was the one with petty cash!) to purchase some of the needed materials.

While on the way back from the trip/expedition I got a phone call from a restricted number. When I answered it, a woman simply started the conversation with: “This IS the ________ apartments, right?” I answered in the affirmative. “And you DO have an apartment XXX, right?” Again, I answered in the affirmative. “And you ARE at __________________, right?” Once more (with little feeling) I answered in the affirmative. “We’ll be out,” was her response as she hung up.

I have to admit there was a sinking feeling of my heart heading for my shoes, and my stomach heading out my back. In all honesty, I inherited a complex (as I’ve indicated) that has suffered from severe managerial neglect (for lack of a better or more politically correct term) ~ and by taking on this inheritance, I also have inherited the possibility of some consequences from the city. I now made the assumption that the call was from one of the city departments (correct assumption) about to do an inspection (wrong assumption).

By the time we arrived back at the complex, I had developed a somewhat plausible plan of action. However, when I sat down at my desk, the phone rang again. This time it was a person who nicely identified themselves as someone from CPS (child protective services) who wanted to know if I had received a call from a parole officer about one of my apartments. Now, I know the person who lives in the apartment in question ~ which is directly above mine. The thought that they might be on parole was indeed laughable. Then ~ as Paul Harvey would say: “The rest of the story…”

It seems this “lady” with six (yes, six!!!) children had given her parole officer my complex and one of my apartment numbers as her address. This “lady” was on the “run” and they were trying to find her. At the end of what I would call a good bridge building conversation, the person made the statement: “Aren’t you glad we called rather than just showing up with police and all?” To which I had to agree. What I didn’t tell them was the image that ran through my mind at that moment, was a montage from several silent movies … that was best left unsaid.

The day carried on from there ~ and made me think my mind was beginning to turn to mush by about 4pm. And it was around that time I heard someone else’s mind beginning to turn to mush ~ or close to it. My vice-grip handshake friend was having real difficulty with something that should have been simple…even for me. (No snickering or sniggering behind your hands, please!!) The light fixture in the laundry room needed to be changed out. A new, improved one had just been purchased and was being installed.

I was watching the miracle of electricity being installed when I was interrupted by a tenant who took literally five minutes to tell me someone needed to clean up in parking slot 5. (Clean up in aisle four!) I kid you not — FIVE minutes. I had to interrupt watching to go on poop detail in front of the complex. All I will say, that was one healthy dog!

I thought when I got back, I would see the wonder of light in the laundry room ~ which had been absent for awhile. Unfortunately, there was no power to the light or the light switch. Everything else in the room was working as it should. My vice-grip handshake friend was reduced to vague mutters about ~ well, I’m not sure what they were about, but I have a feeling various people’s (possibly mine) ancestries were being called into question.

The two of us went through various scenarios, ideas and thoughts. We both prodded, poked and twisted various things to see if they would work. At one point, vice-grip handshake went and purchased a new circle fluorescent bulb to see if that was the problem.

Finally, about the third time we were tearing apart the light switch, it hit me. The breakers. Off to the electrical box ~ some choice words on my part now and definitely an ancestry called into question. I had posted about the maintenance man who is no longer here due to getting in between two people who were arguing – and both people turned on him. He had the key to the locks on those boxes.

Fortunately, vice-grip handshake and those accompanying him have great experience in drilling locks – and in moments we were into the box and checking the breakers. There it was, the one switch on the top. A slight flick of the switch, and there was now power in the laundry room, joy in my heart and vice-grip handshake realized that I might be mature – but I’m NOT dead!!

All in all, a satisfying day.

As I was posting this tonight, I was reminded of a Lewis Carroll poem I once earned three dollars from my parents for memorizing at a very young age…

I’ll leave you with that poem tonight:

You Are Old, Father William

“You are old, father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head–
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door–
Pray what is the reason for that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment – one shilling a box–
Allow me to sell you a couple?”

“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak–
Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose–
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father. “Don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs.

—more tomorrow
should be able to post pictures this weekend!!!

The Moment Of Non-Truth ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Once again, I was awake much earlier than I wanted to be. It fascinates me how in the early morning hours things that should not be a problem become magnified many times more than they are worth.

This is not to say that problems don’t need solving, but in the moments between night and dawn ~ what should not be that big a problem looms larger and more oppressive then a couple of hours later when the sun illuminates the day ~ what seemed so large is revealed at its correct size. A size that is something that can be handled, dealt with or simply dismissed as not important.

I found this morning that my breathing changed (not for the better) and my mind became completely over-active with concerns that hadn’t even made themselves evident in reality.

Being honest, it was nothing more than unsubstantiated fear. The kind of fear that creeps in on soft feet, and tries to take over the mind…which then translates into reactions of the body…the heart, breathing and even the skin temperature.

I would like to say that it’s easy to say: “Begone!” But we know such is not the case. Sometimes, I literally have to get up and deal with each phantom individually~ individually, and firmly.

Perhaps you don’t have these night-time holograms ~ if so, be very thankful. To those, such as myself, who do ~ I offer these quotes:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
–Frank Herbert, Dune – (Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear)

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.
— German Proverb

Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake.
–Edgar Wallace – The Clue of the Twisted Candle (1916)

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.
–Japanese Proverb

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
–Eleanor Roosevelt

To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.
–Katherine Paterson

No matter how hard you work for success if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I can endure for this minute whatever is happening to me No matter how heavy my heart is or how dark the moment might be… If I can but keep on believing what I know in my heart to be true, That darkness will fade with morning and that this will pass away, too… Then nothing can ever disturb me or fill me with uncertain fear, For as sure as night brings dawning, my morning is bound to appear…

Don’t be afraid of fear
Because fear is afraid of itself
You give into fear when you doubt yourself
Fear makes you a complete opposite of yourself
Draining every bit of confidence your body has left
Fear tricks you of your potential
Wiping away your credentials
A life ruled by fear is life without hope
Of course people are going to have raining days
But with fear, everyday you will have your droughts

Be confident and put your head up high
How can fear overtake you when you’re looking at the
Beautiful clouds high in the sky
–Rico Graham

Fear And Violence ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I am interrupting the usual part 2 of yesterday’s post. There has been a slight change of agenda. Tonight violence came home to someone very close to me. We all know the statistics and TV news keeps us WELL informed as to what awful things are happening around our neighborhoods, cities and nation.

Tonight those abstracts became reality as TOBY was mugged in the parking lot of a discount store on his way home. TOBY is not a small person (6’4″) and was completely surprised by the method and attack. Unfortunately, it’s a parking lot that has had trouble before – and STILL is basically unlit at night. He was on the sidewalk and was pushed through the bushes lining the lot. The three ______ (insert your own inappropriate words here) were on top of him in moments. He had his wallet taken and his backpack as well. The wallet was found at the end of the lot, the backpack almost two blocks away. Fortunately, he was not hurt in any physical way. He was very shaken and, not surprisingly, very frightened. He was trying to catch the last bus and felt he was in a “safe” area of town.

He was able to call a friend that lived close by – and he helped him find his wallet, backpack and call the police. He also helped him through the initial reaction to all that had happened.

To say that he is/was scared is an understatement. And I know that fear only too well. His description to me of what happened brought a not very welcome flood of memories back to me.

As I told TOBY as we were talking, he can be thankful his wasn’t physical. The money and “stuff” could be replaced – the memories and nightmares will eventually fade. When physical violence gets involved, there’s a lot more that has to be dealt with. And continue to be dealt with. I’m not going to go into my stories this evening.

I was sorry I wasn’t there for the police. Their reaction was, frankly and sadly, quite typical – “You can file a report if you want, but the chances of anything happening are very slim.” (translation: we really don’t want to do the paperwork involved.) Had I been there – it would have been filed – if for no other reason to continue to highlight the problems with this particular parking lot. As this had never happened to him (or his friend) before, he agreed with the police.

This being TOBY‘s first day at his new job certainly put a damper on any feelings of joy and excitement he had. Perhaps over coffee tomorrow morning he will gain some of that excitement back.

Until it’s time to catch a bus.

Not The TV Fear Factor ~ Early Morning Thoughts

“Confronting our feelings and giving them appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness.
It takes strength to acknowledge our anger, and sometimes more strength yet to curb the aggressive urges anger may bring and to channel them into nonviolent outlets. It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.”
–Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers.

I picked up that quote a couple of days ago.
I realized that I was sailing/floating in some uncharted waters (for me) and in order to reach the shore facing some things that have been eating at me was the only way to deal with them. Otherwise, I would continue to wander like the Israelites in the desert…and frankly, I don’t have a generation or two to wander as I wonder.

One of the most difficult feelings I have to deal with is fear. Not the monster in the closet type fear, but the “what if” kind of fear. This is a really insidious kind of fear as it may or may not have basis in actual fact. It also is the fear that can keep me from dealing with unpleasant situations. I grew up in a “peace at any cost” family and I made choices that transferred that into my own life. If I’m not alert to it, I will make decisions that allow the path of least resistance on anyones part. Of course, that’s occasionally not the best choice to make.

This is a somewhat fun party game (after a couple of drinks, of course!). Lay a plank down on the ground and ask people to walk across it blindfolded. Then – while the blindfolds are still on – raise the plank one or two inches at one end, and again ask them to walk the plank. You’ll find that a lot of them won’t do it – their perspective makes them fearful that they will fall. Even though it isn’t high at all. It’s the perspective that makes the difference.

I’m dealing with D&D (when am I NOT dealing with them!) and their “problems” with Toby and our friendship. I am going to have place myself in a position of creating some boundaries that I didn’t want to have to draw. As I was looking at the situation earlier this evening, I was struck with the realization that I had the wrong perspective.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, reportedly told of a time when he climbed into a taxicab in Paris. Before he could utter a word, the driver turned to him and asked, “Where can I take you, Mr. Doyle?”

Doyle was flabbergasted. He asked the driver if he had ever seen him before.

“No, sir,” the driver responded, “But this morning’s paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi stand where people who return from Marseilles always come. Your skin color tells me you have been on vacation. The ink-spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduced that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

“This is amazing!” the writer exclaimed. “You are a real-life counter-part to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes.”

“There was one other clue,” the driver said.

“What was that?”

“Your name is on the front of your suitcase.”

If only all clues were that obvious! However, many times they ARE that obvious if I will only take the time to look for them. In dealing with D&D and the current situation, I missed that clues that the problem was not TOBY (more on that tomorrow) but rather what THEY were expecting to occur in the situation and what they were expecting MY reaction to be (of course, in line with theirs!). Remember the false luggage tag of other peoples expectations?

There is also another tag people will try and put on your luggage. Those who are familiar with PAC will recognize “get back where you belong.” This tag doesn’t allow for changes on anyones part – and makes an attempt to place someone back into whatever category someone else has placed them.

This can be difficult. However, along with the help someone else is able to give, or what we can find within ourselves – help may come from unexpected sources. The quote from Mr. Rogers is an example of that.

This is a temptation I can fall into very easily. It is almost second nature for me to worry about “what if” until it becomes “that’s what’s going to happen.” Sometimes what I have worried about will happen (after all, the hypochondriac’s tombstone DID read: “I told you I was sick.”). But more often than not, it doesn’t happen that way – unless I create a situation where that’s the only outcome possible.

–What does all this have to do with D&D, Toby and other events in my life? To misquote Paul Harvey – “Tomorrow, the rest of the story.”

–fear painting

Strength, Feelings and Integrity

So many people made fun of him ~ but he was amazing at touching feelings at just the right moment. I will admit that even as an adult I enjoyed watching his program. And remember the incredible special he did for children on death and dying?

“Confronting our feelings and giving them appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness. It takes strength to acknowledge our anger, and sometimes more strength yet to curb the aggressive urges anger may bring and to channel them into nonviolent outlets. It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.”
–Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers.

— more on this later

Refuse To Be Afraid ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Looking back over the last several days, several themes became quite apparent. I kept trying to change the categories, but they refused to cooperate. What I kept trying to label as concern wouldn’t accept that title. What I had determined was anxiety simply refused to put on the crown and sit down. Finally, late this evening what they would accept became perfectly clear – I was the one having difficulty accepting the “word.”

I tried very hard to argue, very hard to persuade – but my mind simply refused to accept any arguments or persuasions. It would only deal with one word – fear.

There are people that talk about the three dragons that can steal life – The dragon of loneliness, the dragon of self-hate and the third powerful dragon of fear. There is much I admit I fear, and there is much I still refuse to admit to fearing. There is, of course, the reasonable fear that protects us – or makes us take action when needed. The kind I’m dealing with is the kind that can stop someone dead in their tracks. The kind that can eat away at someone until they are hopelessly enmeshed in the fencing around healthy thought or life.

I have a dear friend facing a medical procedure – her comment? “…I was kinda upset for a few days. But, I feel good, and I’m going to keep a positive attitude about this.” What an upbeat attitude about things.

As further “living without fear” … wander over to one of my absolutely favorite blogs – “Don’t Make Me Get My Flying Monkeys…” read carefully the posts about Dale. There certainly is much to fear – but I find no evidence of it … only positive attitude. (OK, I just had to borrow steal this picture from Laurie) – When talking about him being back in the hospital for a tune-up — this is the picture he gives Laurie:

And then I read “Two Lucky People” and realize that with all Yen and Jesse have gone through fear is not really a part of where they are. The fear that was creeping over me concerning my physical problem is simply melting away. In short, I had something I thought was a boil – which isn’t, and the swelling is spreading. I’ll be at the Doctors tomorrow and will know more then. In the meantime, my mind had created an incredible set of theatrical pieces (Having spent many years acting, directing and writing – it happens!!) The worst part about all those “scenes”…they had no basis in reality only anxiety and fear.

Just as I required my speech students to do, I began a search on what other people had/have said about fear.

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
–Bertrand Russell

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
–Dorothy Bernard

Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.
–Dr. David M. Burns

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
–Edmund Burke

One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.
–Emily Dickinson

It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.
–Eric Hoffer

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
–Eric Hoffer

In life we don’t get what we want, we get in life what we are. If we want more we have to be able to be more, in order to be more you have to face rejection.
–Farrah Gray

None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.
–Ferdinand Foch

Even the fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having lived authentically and fully.
–Frances Moore Lappe

I’ve grown certain that the root of all fear is that we’ve been forced to deny who we are.
–Frances Moore Lappe

Let the fear of danger be a spur to prevent it; he that fears not, gives advantage to the danger.
–Francis Quarles

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.
–George Carlin

Fear is the tax that conscience pays to guilt.
–George Sewell

A timid person is frightened before a danger, a coward during the time, and a courageous person afterward.
–Jean Paul Richter

Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.
–Marie Ebner von Eschenbach

Fear is a question: What are you afraid of, and why? Just as the seed of health is in illness, because illness contains information, your fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if you explore them.
–Marilyn Ferguson

Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.
–Michael Pritchard

To use fear as the friend it is, we must retrain and reprogram ourselves…We must persistently and convincingly tell ourselves that the fear is here–with its gift of energy and heightened awareness–so we can do our best and learn the most in the new situation.
–Peter McWilliams

The fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself.
Publilius Syrus

Feel the fear and do it anyway.
–Susan Jeffers

At first cock-crow the ghosts must go
Back to their quiet graves below.
–Theodosia Garrison

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
–Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.
–Louisa May Alcott

The hens they all cackle, the roosters all beg,
But I will not hatch, I will not hatch.
For I hear all the talk of pollution and war
As the people all shout and the airplane roar,
So I’m staying in here where it’s safe and it’s warm,
–Shel Silverstein

–more to come

—Dragon picture

The Storms Have Eyes ~ Early Morning Thoughts

As I mentioned last night, it seems not to just rain, but it pours. I told a friend today that it reminded me of that moment when the grocery bag has a small hole and then suddenly “rendeth” open and dumps everything out. I was just glad that I had a couple of other “bags” to put everything back.

“While grave-digging, after rainy weather
Always keep a long hollow pipe next to you.
Another poet told me never to forget this.
It will help you to breathe until you’re dug out.”

I had mentioned that yesterday was to be a day of rest and relaxation. Toby and I spent much of the day just chatting and even some – dare I say it – dozing off (and you thought we were doing what?). There were two lengthy conversations later in the day, that I’ll post on later. But, that seemed to set the tone for the evening. There was a great deal of honest talk – some of which fell into the “I’m not sure I want to know that…but I’m glad I do” category.

Of course, no “interesting” day would be complete without some interaction with D&D having some kind of interaction either with themselves, or the world around them. The evening’s middle trauma was a phone call from one of the D’s announcing that they were through with each other and that I could expect a phone call from the other shortly. Having been around them as for this long, I cudda/shudda moved that announcement from the “I need to worry about this right now” to the “I’ll worry about that when I get around to it” category.

But the most troublesome part of the evening involved my Mother. She is a feisty 93 year young lady, who still lives alone – does quite a bit for someone of her age, and refuses to have an answering machine. Last night when I called, something didn’t sound quite right – but I let it pass at the time. Nothing I could put my finger on, but just slightly off none-the-less.

This morning the reason I was uneasy became even more clear. She was lounging in bed when I called and was thinking about simply staying in bed all day. This is not like her. Now, she (as I do) loves to sleep in and enjoy easing into the morning. This was unusual.

Tonight was the cap of the two days. When I called her – all she could get out was that she was having trouble with her words. The next sentences were completely unintelligible. Now, this was a call to action. There are two people who live very nearby and with one phone call one was on the way to see what was up – or down.

My Mother suffers from TIA … without going into great detail (which you can get —>here<—), she was suffering from a mini-stroke. This has happened before, and will definitely happen again. And yes – according to the Doctor, it's not a question of IF she has a stroke but WHEN. (Just to let you know – yes, plans and provisions are in place.) Alright, now the choices come into play. The inner choices. The kind of choices we make all day long on minor things, but sometimes I drop the ball on the major choices about my reactions to what’s going on.

I’ll go back to my Mother – when asked tonight if she realized she was having trouble talking, her only comment was: “The only one I was talking to was the dog, and he wasn’t listening!”

I could easily have become a “spinner” over all the events. Let me explain. When I worked for a certain major airline – the flight attendants had a expression for those people who discover that someone is supposedly sitting in their seat. (next time you’re flying – watch for this) They usually stand in the center of the aisle and turn around and around. Hence, the name spinner. Of course, with all that’s gone on the last couple of days – I could emotionally become a spinner as well.

“And the music goes ’round and ’round
and it comes out ….here.”

And in my case, it wouldn’t have been music, and it certainly would have come out NOT where I wanted. But then again – maybe there IS music in all this. I posted the following on another blog (Sorry Laurie, but I’m using it here as well!!!). It kept coming back to me all day – So, here’s a wonderful poem about music and life!!

Tuning up for the concert of my life
Taking note of classic techniques
Finding the keys to composing myself
I entered into the first movement …
ready …
To B Sharp.

Being A Natural … at this stage
fright did not come into play
Being confident of each measure
I scored victory
Refusing to sing the blues
over A Minor setback
(stumbling upon a broken / bridge
over troubled waters) …
Crossing over anyway to
C Major possibilities
not to B Flat or one-dimensional …
but to embrace all that jazz this
life’s made of …
I entered into the second
movement … set …
to B Sharp.

Directing a chorus
voicing four-part disharmony
Orchestrating rare repeat performances
in unison
I turned a deaf ear to discordant tones
striking a chord of discontent.
Having no time for Modern / pop / bluegrass
/ country / swing / hip-hop
Soul / rap / rhythm and blues / heavy
metal to weigh me down …
I entered into the third movement to a
higher octave oblivious to
all that jazz …
and decided to B Sharp–
to be … MYSELF.
–Iris Formey Dawson
Essence,May, 2001