June 17, 2007

Happy Day to you

Happy Father's Day to my dear husband and all the other fathers out there.

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June 16, 2007

REST IN PEACE

A note about L's passing

"Praise and blame. Gain
and loss. Pleasure and sorrow
come and go with the wind.
To be happy rest like a giant tree
in the midst of them all.
"

-Buddha

I believe that love never dies.
Even when circumstances cause a split.
Because in reality
there never can be true separation.

Wishing you peace.

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June 12, 2007

Giving My Son Credit

Last Saturday, while Mike was here, he did some readjustment to our newly installed high definition TVs and tweaked the connection to DirectTV. I was complaining about the picture distortion.

Well, the picture is no longer distorted and the TVs are now making their regular scheduled call to the satellite for updates. We now also have a TIVO downstairs. This is great!

The only problem is that now his mom is in real danger of becoming a total couch potato because this has opened up another whole new world of Television to me. So far the neatest station I've found is HDNet.

This station not only has Dan Rather Reports, but old Star Trek Enterprise and Joan of Arcadia episodes, plus all sorts of other good stuff. I love Dan Rather and now I can once again go where no man has gone before.

A little while ago I watched (or more properly listened to) a very interesting program about the controversy which threatens to split the Episcopal Church. And right now HDNet is broadcasting a wonderful historical piece about Mesopotamia ... including beautiful archeological finds of the ancient city of Ur.

There is a gorgeous cobalt blue building showing many representations of lions. The ancients worshiped the Great Mother Goddess Ishtar who appeared to them in the incarnation of a lion.

This jogged a memory of my studies all those years ago as a student at UCLA. This also gives us an idea about the significance of the image I described in my post Mail From Iraq.

The lion cradling the man who appeared to be sacrificing himself seems much clearer. And the meaning now certainly seems evident. The man is surrendering himself to his Goddess, Ishtar. Ishtar, appearing as the lion, holds him in a gentle and loving embrace. His offering is accepted.

Now, before any of my fundamentalist friends out there start to rant. This image of God is only symbolic. Ishtar is not cruel or diabolical. We humans are limited in our understanding of the Divine. But in every path, there comes a point where the believer is asked to give up his will and simply accept and surrender.

Oh, and by the way, Mike ...THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN. If we have any TV problems in the future, I will not call the Direct TV guy, Mir, your Dad, or any other very talented and smart men I know. I will call my son. The one who is in the business of Television! I promise. Well, if you are not busy that is…. :-)

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I seemed like a good idea at the time.

As many of you know, I provide a great source of amusement and merriment for my oldest son, Mike. He seems to be at a loss to understand why I do many of the things I do. Apparently my actions seem very confusing, irrational and certainly quite eccentric.

While most of the stuff I do really does have a logical basis, I can understand that some things may seem surprising and can result in a certain curious befuddlement. I have no doubt that after I have left this plane of existence, both Mike and Matt will have many stories about their whacky and confusing mother. This makes me happy because I know that laughter is always good for the soul.

Nevertheless, I hope that they will also remember that there were other sides of me, and that I will not go down in family history simply as a crazy, silly and eccentric woman, but one who had attained a bit of wisdom in her years. And the truth is that I sometimes long to be taken more seriously … and hold the hope that I will also be remembered as someone who taught them a thing or two about life and what is important. Yet, that like all things, is out of my control.

But then I digress, and want to go back to what prompted this post. If you are still with me, you might be curious about what I did this time. And might be wondering what seemed somewhat crazy to my intelligent and indulgent sons this time. So, here is the story.

Last Friday night, Matt and Yvette arrived from DC to spend the weekend with me. I was touched that they wanted to come here. And, it was perfect that I would have company while Pete was away.

On Saturday, Mike drove down with the girls so they too could see two of their favorite people. Aunt Yvette and Uncle Matt that is. It was a warm day, and both Mike and Matt, at one time or another, went to the freezer to get some ice to cool down their beverages..

Many of you know that I like to be prepared for any eventuality. I think that is a natural outcome of having years of experience being a mom, housekeeper and in business. I like to have an organized household.

In the past, when I had loads more energy and was not constrained by my current physical limitations, I was always able to put up unexpected guests, put together an impromptu party or feed a wandering horde if the occasion arrived.

I always cooked for an army expecting that one or other of the boys would bring home a friend or five who would join us for dinner. Normally, it was my rule to make not one, but two dishes of lasagna or other food, just in case. If the extra one was not needed, it went into the freezer for later use when time was at a premium. But that was then….

These days my freezer contains not only frozen uncooked foods, but also ice packs and lots of covered ice cube containers. I also keep another larger covered container that is filled with the contents of several previously frozen ice cubes for easy access. I like to be prepared.

After coming home from the hospital, I needed to start moving again, and though there are several restrictions I must comply with, (no bending, twisting or lifting more than 5 pounds) I needed to feel as though I was accomplishing something of use every day, even if it was little, which had nothing to do with recovery or sedentary behavior.

The first day I was able to get up and moving, I noticed that the light switch plate in our bathroom was covered with dark fingerprints. I surmised that this was a result of someone turning on the light while, or after, reading the daily newspaper. You know how the ink of newsprint tends to transfer itself to your fingers as you turn the page.

The smudges bothered me, so I took a cotton ball, soaked it in rubbing alcohol and cleaned off the plate. Then it hit me that if that switch plate was dirty, it was likely that the other ones in the bedroom were likely to be similarly smudged. I started there and moved with my cotton pads and rubbing alcohol to the next room. This made me feel good, and so I decided to clean all of the upstairs switch plates I could reach.

I slowly went from room to room, much pleased with my sense of accomplishment. In the last room … the guest room … after cleaning that dirty plate, I noticed that the switch itself was dirty. I went back into our bedroom and got out some Q-tips and an old toothbrush that now has a new life as a cleaning tool. I then proceeded to clean all the actual switches. It was slow going. After about an hour and a half, I was rather tired, but nevertheless returned to my bed quite pleased with my accomplishment.

The next day I thought of something else I could do which at the time seemed to me like a brilliant idea.

Nearly every day, either Pete or I make a new pot of coffee. When Pete is not here, I make a large pot and after consuming my usual two cups, I put the rest in a pitcher to be available for future use. This makes sense to me as it seems a shame to waste perfectly good stuff. But on regular days the tiny bit left is usually poured down the drain.

Every day I also drink a glass of cranberry juice as I down my meds and dietary supplements. I always keep a bottle of this beverage in the frig next to the milk. There is nothing quite so refreshing as a glass of icy cold cranberry juice.

One day after my surgery Pete brought in a new bottle from the garage pantry and for some reason, I wanted it more chilled. Pete put the glass in the freezer to quickly chill it down. But then it was forgotten until later. When he finally brought it out it was slushy with ice crystals. I took a spoon and discovered that freezing cranberry juice makes into a wonderful slightly tart but refreshing Popsicle. This was very cool and I thought that a fresh supply would be nice to have around.

One day, I decided that it was a shame to waste the left over coffee and started to collect the small amount left. I emptied most of the ice cube trays into the larger covered container. Then I washed them out and proceeded to fill half with cranberry juice and the other half with the leftover coffee. Just the thing to have in a pinch and to put in a glass to chill down either beverage!

Last weekend, first Matt then Mike discovered the coffee or cranberry ice cubes when they reached in for some ice. Matt seemed to understand my logic, but then maybe he was just being nice since he only sees me on the occasional visit. To Mike though, it was just another example of his mom’s craziness. On the other hand, the girls liked the idea and the thought of cranberry popsicles would be just the thing for hot summer days.

Well, that is the story. ☺

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June 1, 2007

Mail From Iraq

Today’s mail brought a very large postcard. The pictures on the front included what looks like the dome of a mosque, the remaining structure of an old brick castle or fort, a huge rectangular and ancient looking building sitting in a barren part of the desert and a small photo of a gruesome appearing sculpture showing a lion biting the neck of a man.

On looking more closely at this last photo, the man seems to be holding himself up intentionally and baring his neck for sacrifice. You can see both of his hands on the floor of the crevice or cave, both of the paws of the lion almost cradling the man, but you can also see another hand reaching out and covering the mouth of the victim.

At the bottom, there is some script of what appears to be Arabic, or possibly an ancient Persian form of the language. Just below the photos are the words:

Greetings from Iraq.

On the back of the postcard the following return address appears.
BESMAYA RANGE COMPLEX
APO AE 09308

The card is the long awaited message from our mailman, Danny, who was deployed with his unit to Iraq last January. I don’t know the date that it was written, but the post office stamp says it was mailed on May 18th.

Here is what Danny writes in his precise and beautiful hand:

“HELLO TO ALL. I AM HERE IN IRAQ AND SAFE. IT’S A DANGEROUS PLACE. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN ANY TIME. I HAVE BEEN TO BAGHDAD, TAJI AND NOW IN BESMAYA. TEMP. IS GOING UP. SOON WILL BE 120º. WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. BAD GUYS ARE NEARBY. THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS. SEE YOU ALL BY NEXT SUMMER. GOD BLESS. DANNY”

Imprinted on the card in small print:
Post Card Standard by Nick Peucelle
T.F.L. Product: services@taskforcelogistics.com

I am relieved to hear that Danny was safe at the time he wrote those words. Please continue to keep him and his men in your hearts. And, if you pray, please pray for peace.

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