July 28, 2003


Today is Michael's Birthday! Our first born son! When he was born, I thought he was the most perfect baby that ever came into the world. A gift from God. I wasn't sure I believed in God at the time, but I knew that Mike was a gift. He has been a light in my life, and in the life of countless others. The world is better for his presence. I hope he knows that.

After writing this entry, the part of me that is mother to two sons, came alive. And, I had to laugh at myself. Even though my boys are grown men, and he doesn’t need me to say the following; I feel compelled to say that Matt was a gift too. :-) Not for his sake, but for mine. I guess the day will never come that I will not worry that one child might think that I love the other more.

I can just hear Pete saying "You always have to make everything equal, don't you?" Well, I guess I do. ;-)

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July 27, 2003

On with the Fun

OK. Today we went to Mike's birthday party. We were with a lot of people way younger than us. At some point, Pete and I got into a 'discussion' with a young man we both know and love. As usual, we disagreed on just about everything. Neither Pete nor I are very good at keeping out of a debate when one presents itself. I came into the exchange once it was underway, so I don't know how it came about. It got very heated.

This kind of thing doesn't usually bother me. I grew up in a family where this was the norm. Family, friends, and nearly all social acquaintances actually saw these exchanges as a source of entertainment. A sport! On later reflection, someone else's argument and ideas were often assimilated and incorporated into our own thinking. It wasn't unusual that at the next get-together we would include those arguments into our own offering. We expected a level of passion.

Of course, sometimes it was hard not to take what someone else said personally. Most of us want others to agree with us. It can be frustrating when we are not able to sway another to our way of thinking. Sometimes, no matter how well we think we are presenting a reasonable idea, it seems as though we are not getting through. There are times when we take another�s word, tone or manner as an insult. Many of us are just waiting until it is our turn to speak. I have found this true of myself more times than I would like to admit.

It is a rare person who can move the discussion to one that truly becomes an 'exchange of ideas' rather than a 'quarrel'. Once in a while, we run into someone who can present their ideas in such a fashion that we can actually hear them. Their words seem to spring from a place of peace rather than the ego-mind. This kind of person has the ability to gather hearts and minds together and bring about harmony. This is the kind of person who can change the world!

As much as I have always wanted to become such a person, to moderate my tone and present my ideas and beliefs in a way that is respectful to others, I usually fall far short of this goal. For many years, I have tried to tone down the contentious side of me. Not because I don't enjoy the debate. It is because as I moved into the greater world, I found that this wasn't how many families and social groups interacted. I came to realize that lots of people actually avoided these kinds of discussions altogether. And found them disagreeable. Or maybe they actually were able to achieve serious dialog in a more harmonious fashion. Some people like to keep their conversation to informal chit-chat in order to prevent discord.

It depends on a person's comfort level. And, no one's way is really more 'right' than another's. When you consider that everyone's reality is different from that of everyone else, this is not surprising. Cultural and social norms differ throughout our human family. The fact is, that we need each other's differences as much as we need to recognize what we share. Without the counterpoint, the true melody of our song would be missing. It is the uniqueness of each individual that makes our human experience meaningful. Thank God for the differences!

So, on with the fun. Have a good Day!

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July 24, 2003


In Meditation the other night, as the muscles of my body began to relax and the rapid thoughts started to slow, a picture appeared in my mind's eye. I saw a stand of bare limbed trees; their branches reaching to the heavens. Majestic in their essence, all was highlighted by the bright sky. The trunks and arms of the tree were dark and leafless. The whole tableau appeared in black, white and shades of grey. The picture was perfect. Alive. The trees, the ground and the sky, were all part of a beautiful unity.

The scene then switched to a child looking up at the nighttime sky, staring at the stars in wonder. And I remembered.

When I was young, I often slept alone outdoors, listening to the sound of the night and looking at the sparkling stars until I fell asleep. Always allowed to do this, I don't recall my mother ever voicing concern.

We kept a roll-away bed in our garage that was brought inside for the occasional overnight guest. During the summer months, I would push it out onto the patio, and make it up with sheets, blanket and pillow. After donning pajamas, would then settle in for the night.

Those nights were magical. My imagination ran free. The sky was beautiful in its nighttime colors. My mind could not comprehend what I was seeing. The question of what was beyond what was displayed before me consumed my thoughts. I could not take in the idea that there could be anything without end. I reasoned that there must be something after the universe. Something more. What did come after the stars? A mystery, for which no adult could give me an answer. The desire to understand was great and never left me.

I now believe that I have the answer to the real question of my heart. It has greater meaning than the scientific theories or explanations offered. I now know what lies beyond. What fills up all the space of everything. What lies past what we can see or comprehend is God. All fabric of existence is encompassed by what makes up the entirety of it all. The Stuff of God enfolds and encompasses all the stars and all the voids. Ever present in all creation and all the spaces in between. Everything is part of the One. Earth, trees, stars, sky, All Unity.

Knowing this, one would think that I would never fail to be in union with those I share my life. And, would never fail to recognize the God within each one. But, I often get caught up in the unreality, the maya of human existence. Sometimes I forget, and only see the truth in abstract.

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July 17, 2003

I'm still here

OK! ...Guess someone is reading this. Matt called yesterday to ask what had happened. He'd noticed that while at first I was almost compulsively posting, nothing had been added for a long time. I haven't been away. Just doing other things for a while.

If anyone wonders, the last post on July 4th was written that day, but somehow was not published until today. Actually I thought that I had also written of my adventures in gardening and insights in being truly alone. I will have to check what happened.

But that also will have to wait until I can sit here a little longer. I actually have lots to say. Anyone who knows me, is aware that I always have a lot to say. Some of it, that is not lost in useless verbiage, is actually worth saying!

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July 4, 2003

Independence Day

This is what happened to me on the 4th of July.
Pete called very early from Ghana.

He told me take down the phone number so I could call him back.
Apparently he uses some kind of ‘card’ that gives him a minuscule amount of time to talk.

I had to get a pad and pencil, as I had been asleep when the telephone rang. I did. He repeated the number. I wrote it down and repeated back to him. Pete hung up. I dialed the number and was told by a very nice recording that there was no such number.

I jumped up to find the notes I had kept that contained the numbers of two other men, to compare them with the one on my pad. I discovered that Pete had not given me the 3 digit code that one must dial to get out of the country (011) or the country code for Ghana (233).

I dialed those six digits, and then dialed the nine digit phone number that Pete had given me.
Pete answered. He asked what had taken so long.
I him that he had forgotten to give me the first six digits of the phone number.
Pete said “I thought you would remember”.
After all these years, he still hadn’t learned! :-)

However, this is what I gleaned from the conversation.
Pete was calling from a pay phone at the Hotel in Aburi.
He is fine.
He is in charge of the group transportation.
They were soon leaving to go to a hospital or school to deliver some of the supplies our group had gathered.
He gave me the names of people who had just come into the lobby.
A line was forming behind him to use the phone. He had to get off the phone.
He did ask if I was having allergy trouble because I sounded congested.
I told him “No, I just sound funny because of the gum surgery”.
I am sure he had forgotten about it. Or maybe I didn't mention it, because when he had called before, I wanted to know what he was doing.
I still don’t know, but I imagine that it is wonderful.
I forgot to say that I loved him.

OK. It was time to get up. It was about 7:00AM.
I went outside to get the newspaper. A little Flag had been put on our lawn by some nice realtor. I always like that, even though Pete thinks it’s a desecration of our flag to use it for advertising.
Since it was the Fourth of July, I wanted to put the big flag up. I tried, but couldn’t reach the flag holder even when I stood on a sturdy chair. I walked out to the end of the driveway, looked up and down the street, to see if I could spy a neighbor who I might ask to help. Everything was still, no one was stirring. It is a holiday after all!

I went inside, had some coffee and read a bit of the news. After not doing much except to play on the computer for the next few hours, I dressed and went next store to see if someone there could put up our Flag. Our neighbor, Dick, came over, got out our big ladder and hung the Flag. Beautiful! He then took the ladder to his house so they all could climb up to their roof tonight to view the fireworks that will be set off tonight at Wilson Park. He reminded me that every year they borrow our ladder. We are rarely here because we actually go to Wilson Park or to South Pasadena, or somewhere else to mingle with crowds. I love to be with lots of people on Independence Day to feel the oneness of our population.

Here in LA, we are a mixture of people from all over the globe. Among us are people of every color and background. It is glorious! We are One. All celebrating together!

Later I went to Trader Joes and Whole Foods Markets. There was lots of tasting going on. Everyone was wearing red, white or blue. So was I. Everyone was happy and strangers were saying "hello" to one another.

All week I have been eating only liquified or minced meals . I am craving salads and red meat.

Tonight I am not sure that I will see the fireworks. I will be meditating with some of our group that did not go to Ghana. It is the usual night to gather. But if we are not outside, we will hear them, and celebrate in our hearts. I will meditate on PEACE.

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Happy 4th of July

Wish I knew how to put a wonderful picture here, but will just write a few words instead.

Happy Birthday to us! Let Freedom ring!

America is an Idea.
Let's keep this idea alive and cherish it!
As citizens of this country,
remember that we are also citizens of the world.
There can be no separation! We are One.

Freedom is an ideal. And, we must be aware to be free.
Awareness is our responsibility.
If we do not pay attention, we could lose our precious rights.
And if we continue on our present course,
we may no longer be free.

I found this:
As human beings, we are endowed with freedom of choice, and we cannot shuffle off our responsibility upon the shoulders of God or nature. We must shoulder it ourselves. It is up to us.
Arnold J. Toynbee

And this:
For the nation's rise and fall every citizen has a responsibility.
Chinese Proverb

The words of a great American:
"Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Martin Luther King Jr.

So while we enjoy our picnics and our fireworks.
Let's celebrate our freedoms while we still have them!


Matt did a neat remix of his masthead to celebrate.
Look here and click on the words to make them go:

And, Mike called to tell me he just posted this:

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July 3, 2003


I just realized that you can click on my masthead you can make the lights get bigger and smaller and go faster. Pick a spot, keep your mouse there and the lights move to wherever you hold the mouse. Try it! Has this always been this way? My boys are geniuses!

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July 1, 2003

Little Adventures

I left the house yesterday in a state of high anxiety. After making a stop at the pharmacy, my destination was to be at the office of a periodontist who was going to do a gum graft. Aarg! A Gum Graft!

Just the thought of this scared me to death. I had put it off for some time, but had been assured that if I didn't have this procedure:
1. I would probably lose my teeth. They would just begin to fall out. And~
2. It was a simple procedure, with rare side effects. So simple, in fact, that I could drive myself to and from the appointment.

Just in case, I brought with me, three names of people who could pick me up and drive me home if needed. Maybe I wouldn't have been so frightened if Pete weren't half a world away in Africa, but I think I still would have been.

The fear increased after I was handed the consent papers to sign. With the laws now requiring that full disclosure of the dangers of any surgery be spelled out to the patient, you are given some pretty gory possibilities. Before I could finish reading them, I was ushered into the treatment room, and the doctor came in to say "Hello".

The advantage of being o woman of a 'certain age' is that I don't have to put up a 'macho' front, and I am not afraid to express my fears. So, I said: "Hi, I am scared to death!". Dr Rees, the nice man that he is, took a moment or two to go over what would be done, and told me to underline anything on the consent form that worried me. I did!

When he came back into the room, he patiently explained the situations that might result in those awful things, and again assured me that none of this is likely to happen to me. He said, however, that if anything at all did happen or that if I found myself worried I could page him morning or though out the night, even on the Fourth of July. He took my blood pressure, and in a few moments the procedure began.

I calmed down, silently saying my mantra and trying to remember to breathe. Dr Rees made sure I was comfortable, and continued to explain what he was doing every step of the way. Nothing really hurt. Somewhere in the middle of the procedure, the realization came that I was really lucky. That there was now is something that can be done that will save my teeth, and that I can afford to pay for this treatment. I left the office with an ice pack to hold on my jaw, and two prescriptions which were filled quickly by the pharmacy in his building.

At home, I followed the instructions to the letter, holding ice to my jaw in fifteen minute intervals for the next six hours. This was a good opportunity to catch up on some of the Stargate SG1 episodes I had recorded on the TIVO. The only pain medication I took was extra Strength Tylenol!

I awoke this morning with no pain, just a slightly odd sensation in my mouth. There may be another upside to this, in that because I can only eat pretty soft foods for the next few days, I will probably lose some more weight! :-)

I almost forgot to tell you, that about 8:00 O'clock last night, Dr Rees called to ask me how I was doing and reminded me that if I had any trouble, I could call him day or night!

People are just nice! And, I am so lucky to keep finding the really kind ones!

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