Poem: Billions


In a billion years

the sun will burn hot bright

Giant red star

from afar

A pinpoint light

yet earth so near

Its searing heat

shall render cinders

the planet blue

once so sweet

And waters now dry

long before life will flash

The living planet

will blacken and die

A star was born

and so is cursed

The question is

will man kill earth first

 

 

 

 

 

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Sorry I Just Had To…


I’m not usually very political on my blog, but it’s getting harder and harder not to be these days. I turn on the radio and listen for a few minutes and either get ill or have to turn it off. Every time I hear something to do with our president-elect (sorry but I will not give power to him by mentioning his name), and feelings of such sorrow come over me.

Today I heard a story on NPR where a Gay man was interviewed in Orlando. He is a prominent figure in that town and the reporter was recapping the Orlando massacre, how the city has handled it, how this man feels now in Orlando as a Gay man and as one in general.

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While he felt there has been an outpouring of support in the city, he said his biggest fear is in the future or this country’s attitude because of the election. Since the vote, he has experienced even more hate crimes and said there is more fear in the Gay community. My heart just sank. It doesn’t surprise me though….

The radio is just heavy with the news of death everywhere in the world: major world powers teetering on the edge of hate ready to explode, while others are in the thick of raging wars already. Innocent people trapped between warring extremes desperate to escape somewhere, anywhere safe.

And now so many places, including potentially our country, shutting our doors to these people. It sickens me. Our fellow humans! What is the difference from them and the Jews in Germany? Nothing! Since when have we become so narrow? Why is there so much hate in people’s hearts now? Hate against anyone different… But the sad irony is: we are all the same!!!

Cut us open: we all bleed, break down our cells, we all share the same DNA; hurt us, we all cry; we all have the same bodies, bones, skin, brain. It is crazy to me that some people look at cultural differences, or skin colors, gender orientations and to kill over these things? I mean, seriously: think about this….

When will we all just think about ourselves as HUMANS?

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All the chatter about Christmas…does anyone remember the first five letters in that word? What would He say about this behavior? Hey, I’m not even Christian, and I know!

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Maybe I will be wrong about this all and He-he-who-will-remain-nameless will get his act together and not start another world war. Maybe he will realize you can’t keep opening up your yap all the time and say the first thing that comes out of it just because you feel like it. Maybe congress will actually do something smart for once and realize what a blessed mess we’re in and hopefully not undo so many of the decent things that are in place just to show they can.

Any maybe Santa is real too…

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Permanence


When were kids we expected the world to fall at our feet and for everything to go our way. We didn’t know that were supposed to work at some things to make them happen, or for them to be right because we were the center of the Universe and everything else revolved around us and our needs.

Ahhh, if only it could still be like that……

But, alas, this is not so when we grow to be adults. Unfortunately we learn, sometimes the hard way, that we must work (often with much effort) to make our lives come out the way we hope. The plans may be laid thoughtfully either in our minds, or even very carefully in real-time, and still end being tripped up when they come to fruition.

This may be due to any number of factors: our ‘dream’ may not be what we had quite imagined it to be or maybe some monkey wrench gets thrown in to burst our bubble after our tidy plans were hatched. Either way we can be hit we a huge wave of disappointment, which may turn into sadness, depression or even anger–anything but the joy, happiness and excitement we had been dreaming about.


For me I had experienced something like this with my move from the North where I had been for so many years to the South where I am now. It was a huge decision and took a long time to decide to do. There were many factors that made me chose to come, some pushing me from the northern end, and others pulling me from the south. So when the move finally came: I felt more than ready!

But after I had been here for some months and found myself away from my friends, my home, leaving a career I had for many years, in unfamiliar surroundings–suddenly I found myself second guessing myself. I was scared, down and leaning on my Mom a lot.

I’m not sure what the turning point was for me –when I realized that the world, this place  I was now living in, was not going to come to me. I did know that one reason I came was because I didn’t want to be miserable anymore! It was for change, not more of the same.

So, when I heard on NPR about a book called: “This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live” by Melody Warnick and the interview with the author, it gave me a whole new perspective on my dilemma. I have not nearly completed it, but it made me realize that I’ve barely given this place a chance, and that I personally have done nothing to make this place home.


While I’ve been grumbling and seeing all the negative, life has been passing me by here. All the good reasons I came have still been here and I’ve ignored them and focused only on the negative. When I changed my mindset at work and decided to love it there, things got so much better. It seemed time to do that with living here too.

In discussing this with my Mother, who has been my constant companion and confidant here, we decided that buying a condo, rather than renting–could possibly be a better option. Prices are high for rentals and many are such bad options. For me, I know that it’s all about mindset more than anything. Feeling more permanent here and a part of the community is what I may need, rather than feeling like a drifter. So I’m at least looking at a few places. Who knows if it’s possible, but it gives me hope anyway.And hope is a powerful tool.

The bottom line is that a main reason I came was to be closer to my Mom and I am very lucky to be near her. She has been steady when I’ve been unsteady. It’s been hard to express how strange it’s all felt at times, but she’s done her best to understand. She’s my rock and I’m so grateful to have her close after so many years.


So maybe I’m not a kid anymore and can’t have the world falling at my feet, but I try my hardest to make my world positive. And as long as I’m here and have my Mom around, I’ll still be her kid and she does the best she can to make my world the best it can be.

Listen


Tonight I heard a very disturbing piece on NPR that I had never heard before about the Space shuttle Challenger. It’s the 30th anniversary of the fateful day of its explosion. I suppose it’s slightly personal, because the teacher on board who died also taught in the state from where I have just recently moved.

Anyway….NPR did an interview tonight with an engineer who had apparently warned NASA that it would not be safe to send the ship up because of the low temperatures. He and another engineer (now dead) apparently repeatedly warned them not to launch as it wouldn’t be safe. And yet, they did. And we all know the sad outcome–sad because I guess it didn’t have to happen if they had only waited.

The really hard part of this newscast was that the engineer who is still alive, now 89 years old, has lived with huge guilt his whole life! What he said during his interview brought me to tears–it was literally heartbreaking that he felt it was his fault that those people died because he didn’t make it clear enough to NASA that they shouldn’t fly! The poor man. He felt God picked the wrong man to have the information about the fated flight to pass on….

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But in truth, probably no-one could have changed the outcome. Certainly when dealing with a machine like NASA, stopping the wheels of something like a launch would probably take an act of God–not some lowly engineer telling them they shouldn’t do something! No-one 30 years ago figured out why they didn’t listen–and who knows? It could have been any dumb reason. And maybe there are better checks in place now since the space program isn’t what it used to be and doesn’t have the money to spare blowing up space crafts randomly.

I heard arguments over the years that yes, it was very sad about a civilian getting killed, but on the other hand she did sign up for it. Some people feel there are other more important things to feel sad about: like poverty and kids going hungry. Yes, that certainly makes sense to me.

Let’s face it though: no-one should have to die needlessly! And no-one should have to carry around the burden of 30 years of guilt because other people turned a deaf ear.

So the moral of the story for me is: Whatever we are doing, in whatever job: big or small or even our every day interactions with each other–we all just need to listen! Because you never know when someone says that one important thing that may just end up being something that could end up changing the course of someone else’s life–hopefully in a good way!

Let’s take the time, slow down and just…listen. Even if you are a huge corporation!! After all, they are just made up of individual people, just like the ones that died wanting to go home to the people they loved!

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Baby Steps


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Maybe today dawns bright and hopeful, whether or not it’s raining where you live. So often our days are filled with news that is brimming with despair and gloom making it hard for any of us to feel there is reason to move towards any kind of joyful tomorrow.

But for me two rather monumental things took place recently. Two things that show maybe, just maybe we have can have a reason for small glimmering hope. It may only be like a thing that is crouched in a small corner, hiding in the darkness, fearful to show itself in the full light. Afraid that if it does, it will be recognized and laughed back into its anonymous place. Yet, it’s there, and it’s creeping out….

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There are those, though, in this world of ours that do great work! Those that fight against the despair. These warriors battle for the future, our future and all the injustices and crimes against the planet so that we may go on.

It’s to those, that I dedicate this blog post. They are our heroes.

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Recently, many nations met at the  2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. It was an incredible and, in my opinion, unprecedented conference to come up with concrete goals to combat climate change and all the horrors that come with it. Most of the Big Players were there, which is huge! Finally! The world is paying attention to something that can truly end our planet. Read about it here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference

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Another giant step forward for humankind was that this was the first time that Saudi Arabia allowed WOMEN to run for office and vote! Quoting NPR: “Today, the government announced that several of the 979 women who ran had been elected to the council.” Also 130,000 registered (which isn’t a lot, but it’s a start). For a country that has been decidedly sexist against women for decades, this is truly hopeful!

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So, I see this as progress in an otherwise bleak forecast. Baby steps these may be in the vast amount of work there is yet to do in the damage we create and the inequity that exists, but at least it’s forward movement.

With this year rapidly coming to a close, maybe we can each evaluate our own lives and say: how can I take up the battle cry and head to the front line? I know I am going to try.

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Too Small


Inspired by the movie “The Woman In Gold,” I have begun to read the book titled “The Lady In Gold,” by Anne-Marie O’Connor. It is about a famous painting by the Viennese artist Klimt which was stolen during the Nazi invasion of Vienna by Hitler, along with many other Jewish treasures and artwork.

The book goes into much detail about the horrors of that time and it has hung heavy on my heart. And I realize, though, it seems not much different from today.

When I woke up this morning, after having dreams about German invasions of a hospital (because of my new job offer at a hospital I suppose), I turned on the radio and heard about the San Bernardino shooting.

My early walk had already been filled with thoughts of what a violent species we were, and questions about why this was so. And here it was yet again! More death, more unnecessary bloodshed.

NPR was profiling the current types of people who do these sorts of things: the outcasts, the unhappy childhood, the ones that feel separate or not a part or who have been rejected. This was even Hitler! It’s shocking. But what makes that one person turn on their fellow human and decide to harm them–sometimes en masse?

Sometimes this person is so extreme in their behavior they are able to recruit others–even change a nation to be brutal! Slavery of any kind is also a kindred kind of violence unleashed upon others and is filled with superiority and hatred.

In looking through history, what little I know of it, it seems that many indigenous people did not act in these types of ways. There may have been some tribal fighting, but the random ethnic cleansing due to insecure and hateful personalities of individuals seems to be missing.

I often wonder if we are mutating to possess some gene that carries this violence within us. I pray we do not. There are days I fear turning on the radio and simply feel numb when I hear about more dead.

How do we stop this march? How do we make these people feel more a part? Can you start to sense when someone might do a heinous thing and help them see it is not the answer? Are we all simply lost?

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Maybe work places need to provide more time for employees to meet, gather and really talk. And make sure everyone’s mental health is stable. We need to really start caring about one another: our co-workers, neighbors, family members–even people you just meet in the street.

Because if we all are going to live in this volatile world together, then we are each responsible for the action of another. The earth is getting too small to believe otherwise!

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Learning to Love


How do we learn to love? Or do we learn to love? Is this an ‘ability’ that is inherit within us all or is it something that we must learn by seeing others ‘do’ it? It was a question I began thinking about today after hearing a poignant interview done by radio NPR  personality Terry Gross who was speaking to Author Andrew Solomon. He had interviewed Peter Lanza, father of Adam Lanza-the shooter of Sandy Hook elementary school. His article “Reckoning” appeared in the New Yorker magazine.

It was a compelling and heartbreaking interview, and drove me to read the article too. And after reading the article, it has raised so many questions in my head. Questions about love: a parent’s love, a child’s love, love of humanity. What drives us to love and are there people who just don’t love? Are some people just incapable of caring for another human being, even when shown what true love should and can be?

Having been raised on a strange stage myself, and learning about it in my fifties, I look back on my own abilities (or maybe lack thereof) to love. As some of you know (or have read here), I was adopted at 18 months old. My adopted mother’s story to me still continues to be rather sketchy, but she tells me I was found in a prostitution house. My birth mother supposedly wanted to get out of the business, but in the 50’s a young single woman with a child would not have much hope of a future. So there I was left with a gaggle of women to care for me, until fate had it ‘someone’ tipped off my adopted mother that some kid needed a home.

What kind of ‘love’ and care I received during those first 18 months is pretty much an unknown. But what we all know is that those months are critical to human development. Tests on both human babies and primates show that lack of love and attention during these times can hamper proper development later on. While my adopted mother said I appeared fairly ‘normal’ and well cared for, who knows what really went on. And, most would agree, a whore house in no real place to rear a child.

From there I moved into a situation where my adopted father had never really been on board in the first place. My parents were divorced when I was 6 and my mother remarried a man 25 yrs her senior shortly thereafter.  He was a decent man, but so much older that I never felt a strong male figure in my life. My mother cared for me just fine, but as for love…well, that’s an interesting question. Here’s where it gets sticky.

Without going into lots of long and boring details of my growing up, suffice to say I didn’t feel a closeness. And this is where my topic originates. I’ve always been someone who struggled in some ways with love. While I felt very different from my mother in that I was far more demonstrative, I look back now and wonder if I’ve really succeeded any better at giving/receiving love. Growing up I never felt she loved me very well. It felt that the way she did it was tossing money at me. This continues to be the case even now. I’m very different and always felt love comes from the heart.

And I wonder: where did I learn this having not grown up seeing it being given that way? Or did I somehow inherit it? Did someone in the first years give me that kind of love? My adopted grandmother was very loving and was around more when I was younger. Could this have been an influence? But even being different on some levels, I realize now that maybe I really didn’t learn loving as well as I thought.

Having been divorced three times and having a multitude of difficult relationships points in part to a problem. Even with my daughters, my relationship with them has never been as loving as I had hoped. Even though I think of myself as this loving, caring person–when I really look at my track record what I see is devastation. But more importantly, if I really stop and be still and go way down in my soul, I know something is lacking where love is concerned.  While the ‘pictures’ of what love and loving relationships should be are clear in my mind, how to carry them out has always seemed somehow out of my grasp. Or my heart seems to not follow my head.

So what does this mean? Are we hardwired from the beginning with what we will feel or not feel? Like Adam Lanza–would anything have changed that fateful day of him shooting all those innocent children and their teachers? Or was he just destined to be a murderer? Would growing up in a different environment have helped me to love better or am I just who I am? Or does it just depend on each individual person? Some can learn things for sure, and some can’t.  A sociopath is simply hardwired I believe. There may be no helping them to be loving human beings. Or is there?

When it comes down to it fate plays such a huge part in all of life and history! Being in the right-or wrong-place! One egg and one sperm coming together to produce an Adam Lanza or Mozart. So after fate lands it icy hand on us, then how will we leap from there? Will will learn and grow, will empires fall or new ideas burst into being? And in the end, do we as human beings have the ability to learn to love? Or are some people just hopeless no matter what environment they are raised? Will they someday find a ‘murder’ gene or discover that humans are predisposed for self-destruction? Or rather will love conquer all and we and up living happily ever after? The answers lie either in the future or within the mystery of life itself. Let’s just hope it’s the latter.

Things I Would Like Soon


Today, twice, I heard mention of lists. The first was on NPR and it was in reference to songs–that some songs are done in the style of a list. A song like our favorite Christmas carol: Five golden Rings is an example of a ‘list’ song. The second mention of lists was at church today when the minister mentioned how this time of year was made up particularly of list making. We make lists of whom to send cards to, who to give gifts to, where to buy what, what needs to be baked..well, you get the idea.

To me, when events happen like this, it’s not random. It seems very serendipitous to me that these two events occurred. Maybe they are telling me it’s time for me to make a list too! And so I shall.

Things I would like soon:

To be more like my dog, resting and being peaceful whenever I’m not eating, going to the bathroom, playing or loving those around me.

I would like go to work and keep the attitude of patience I leave the house with despite becoming frustrated with all the things that come at me during the day.

Remembering my daughters when they were young and loving and keep that in my heart when they are disappointing and forget me on important days or even on not so important days.

To continue to give and be kind to those close to me even when they may not do the same back because it is always better to give than to receive anyway.

Never forget to keep my heart open to new opportunities for love, work, people and places because it may be just around the corner that the miracle may occur.

To stay committed to the environment even when it’s easy to be lazy and consider new ways to help more than I do now.

Keep focusing on my health, my body, my soul, my intellect even when others challenge me and try to make me feel my way of thinking is odd or not main stream.

Work harder on standing up and speaking out for justice, prejudice, equality, freedom, poverty and try to actively DO MORE!

And to dive into my heart and spread laughter, kindness, friendship and always walk within my beliefs, ethics and moral standards that all people deserve to live in peace and happiness.

These things I would like soon

Happily Ever After


So it seems very often (more than once a week even), either in a social gathering or speaking with a friend or relative, the topic always seems to come up that I’m single. That in itself is no big deal, but rapidly on its heel always seems to be some comment related to the fact that I will somehow in the near future be meeting the man of my dreams.

I guess I’m here to say that I’m getting tired of this presumption on many levels. First of all, I don’t want to meet a man. Second of all, I don’t believe there is a ‘man of my dreams’. Third of all, I’m perfectly happy single. Fourthly, maybe I wouldn’t want to be with a man. The list may even go on.

My question is: why does everyone I meet or talk to assume that I need to be with someone? Do I personally exude some ‘loneliness’ hormone? Do I look pathetic and sad? Is it that they are so all fired joyful and happy being in a relationship that they feel everyone needs to be? I simply don’t get it.

Take my mother for instance: understand she is not your typical mother. While she is in her 80’s, she is a very liberated woman. She raised me to believe I could be anyone or anything I wanted to be. She was married twice, but now lives with a man 91 years young and refuses to marry him! But that doesn’t stop her from constantly chiding me every other conversation we have with the old: when you least expect it.

People don’t understand that if you don’t want it, it doesn’t matter when you least expect it. I’ve had many, many experiences with multiple husbands and boyfriends and dates. I find it very hard to picture now trying again. In fact picturing it simply freaks me out. So even if it happened, I would most likely walk away.

And it’s not just ‘them’, it’s me. I’m very quirky: vegan, gluten-free, a diligent athlete, a paramedic with weird hours, dog lover, cat lover, very liberal (in an area that isn’t always that way), outspoken, ADD, OCD….well, you get the idea. I mean fitting someone into my life at this point could be, well, let’s just say problematic. He would have to have “Saint” in front of his name.

In ‘our’ stages of life we carry around all our ‘stuff’ as George Carlin says: we each have our homes, our own jobs, our own families, sets of friends, ways of doing things (that’s not the way I put the dishes away). It becomes increasingly difficult to blend with someone else this late in life.

Sure I sit in bed with my dog at night and wonder about it, but then I think: how could I share my bed again? I take up the whole bed now! I wouldn’t want my dog banished to the floor. Or my three pillows, or the three blankets I use in the winter. Hey, it’s cold!

One good reason to have a man around would be safety. Some days I don’t feel safe living alone. It used to feel OK living where I do by myself, but now nothing feels safe anymore. Or if I was up on the roof raking the leaves and I fell off, at least he could call 911. Or wait, maybe HE could rake the roof! Or better yet, we could do it together? No, he would be watching the game. No wait, I don’t have a TV–and don’t want one! Yup, another quirk.

So, I just wish people would leave me be. I wish they would stop being cute or whatever it is when they say: when you least expect it, or just stop trying so hard (who’s trying?) or well you don’t want to be alone forever…. Who knows, maybe I do!

I’m happy for those married couples that manage to stay together. Good for them. And am never surprised when another couple gets divorced.  But for me, I like my life just as it is: two dogs, two cats, one daughter in and out occasionally. I was raised an only child and find my own company quite sufficient. As long as I have some friends, NPR, nature, a good book, my computer, my yoga, my thoughts and my phone then I will live happily ever after….by myself.