Category Archives: Comments & Replies

Frankly Freddie – Your Picks, My Treat

Dear Human-beings,

Thank you for responding to my survey. For every response I got a treat.

Here are the top rated areas you’re most interested in reading on CATNIPblog:

Tied for #4

  • Quizes to learn about myself
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • Managing time and commitment

Tied for #3

  • How to improve relationships
  • Nutrition for brain health
  • Finding purpose

No tie for #2

  • Stress reduction – be calmer & more relaxed

Tied for #1

  • Mood lifters – quick ways to feel happy
  • Animal Tails & Tales

Other:

  • How to “read” other people in order to improve relationships
  • Humor – everything is funny seen through the right lens
  • How to deal with old age losses – friends, health, purpose

Peggy & Judy’s pick:  How to live in retirement in the manner we’d like to become accustomed.

Freddie’s pick:  How to get lots of treats without more polls and subscriber drawings.

Maui’s pick:  How to achieve alpha-status over Freddie. 

IF you haven’t already you can still be entered in my drawing, Click HERE:

Frankly Freddie – Catnipblog Subscriber Drawing

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield

Add 9 more to the list – June 17, 2015

firearms1 firearms2

U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons (2013)*

*Council on Foreign RelationsThe Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher.

______________________

32 killed – April 16, 2007 – Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. A gunman, 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounds an undetermined number of others on campus. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho then commits suicide.

27 killed – December 14, 2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School – Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound. The final count is 28 dead, including the shooter.

23 killed – October 16, 1991 – In Killeen, Texas, 35-year-old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a Lubys Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, Hennard shoots and kills 23 people. He then commits suicide.

21 killed – July 18, 1984 – In San Ysidro, California, 41-year-old James Huberty, armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun shoots and kills 21 adults and children at a local McDonalds. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.

18 killed – August 1, 1966 – In Austin, Texas, Charles Joseph Whitman, a former U.S. Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 while shooting from a University of Texas tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.

14 killed – August 20, 1986 – Edmond, Oklahoma, part-time mail carrier, Patrick Henry Sherrill, armed with three handguns kills 14 postal workers in 10 minutes and then takes his own life with a bullet to the head.

13 killed – November 5, 2009 – Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 32 at Fort Hood, Texas, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death.

13 killed – April 3, 2009 – In Binghamton, New York, Jiverly Wong kills 13 people and injures four during a shooting at an immigrant community center. He then kills himself.

13 killed – April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School – Littleton, Colorado. 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold kill 12 fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide in the school library.

13 killed – September 25, 1982 – In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 40-year-old George Banks, a prison guard, kills 13 people including five of his own children. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence stating that Banks is mentally incompetent.

13 killed – September 5, 1949 – In Camden, New Jersey, 28-year-old Howard Unruh, a veteran of World War II, shoots and kills 13 people as he walks down Camden’s 32nd Street. His weapon of choice is a German-crafted Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88.

12 killed – September 16, 2013 – Shots are fired inside the Washington Navy Yard killing 12. The shooter, identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, is also killed.

12 killed – July 20, 2012 – Twelve people are killed and 58 are wounded in a shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater screening of the new Batman film. James E. Holmes, 24, is taken into custody outside of the movie theater. The gunman, dressed head-to-toe in protective tactical gear, set off two devices of some kind before spraying the theater with bullets from an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one of two .40-caliber handguns police recovered at the scene.

12 killed – July 29, 1999 – In Atlanta, 44-year-old Mark Barton kills his wife and two children at his home. He then opens fire in two different brokerage houses killing nine people and wounding 12. He later kills himself.

10 killed – March 10, 2009 – In Alabama, Michael McLendon of Kinston, kills 10 and himself. The dead include his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle.

9 killed – March 21, 2005 – Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. 16-year-old Jeff Weise kills his grandfather and another adult, five students, a teacher and a security officer. He then kills himself.

9 killed – June 18, 1990 – In Jacksonville, Florida, 42-year-old James Pough, angry about his car being repossessed, opens fire at a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office, killing nine people. Pough takes his own life.

8 killed – October 12, 2011 – Eight people are killed during a shooting at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, California. The suspect, Scott Evans Dekraai, 41, of Huntington Beach, is arrested without incident as he is trying to leave the scene. The eight dead include Dekraai’s ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, 48. He was armed with three guns — a 9 mm Springfield, a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, and a Heckler & Koch .45 — and was wearing body armor during the shooting rampage.

8 killed – August 3, 2010 – Manchester, Connecticut – Omar Thornton kills eight co-workers at Hartford Distributors before turning the gun on himself. Thornton had been asked to resign for stealing and selling alcoholic beverages.

8 killed – January 19, 2010 – Christopher Speight, 39, kills eight people at a house in Appomattox, Virginia. He surrenders to police at the scene the next morning. February 2013, he is sentenced to five life terms plus 18 years.

8 killed – March 29, 2009 – In Carthage, North Carolina, 45-year-old Robert Stewart kills a nurse and seven elderly patients at a nursing home. In May, the Moore County district attorney announces she will seek the death penalty. On September 3, 2011, a jury finds Stewart guilty of second-degree murder. Stewart is sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison.

8 killed – December 5, 2007 – In Omaha, Nebraska, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins goes to an area mall and kills eight shoppers before killing himself.

8 killed – July 1, 1993 – In San Francisco, 55-year-old Gian Luigi Ferri kills eight people in a law office and then kills himself.

8 killed – September 14, 1989 – In Louisville, Kentucky, 47-year-old Joseph Wesbecker armed with a AK-47 semiautomatic assault rifle, two MAC-11 semiautomatic pistols, a .38 caliber handgun, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and a bayonet kills eight co-workers at Standard Gravure Corporation and then kills himself. He had been placed on disability leave from his job due to mental problems.

8 killed – August 20, 1982 – In Miami, 51-year-old history teacher Carl Robert Brown, angry about a repair bill and armed with a shotgun, kills eight people at a machine shop. He flees by bicycle, but is shot in the back by a witness who pursued him. He was on leave from school for psychological treatment.

Source:  CNN.com2013, History of the deadliest mass shootings in United States

“Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed by fear.”

Criticism is good when it’s feedback (parenthetically speaking)

This comes under the heading of “If I knew then what I know now”.  

After years of hearing from Daru Maer, my friend and colleague, about how wonderful, creative and incredibly accomplished her daughter Jenn Maer was I finally got to verify that myself when I met Jenn last year.

I’m sharing Jenn’s article that appeared in the San Francisco Egotist because it is timely.  During the holidays we are particularly sensitive to other’s expectations, needs, wants and their “feedback”.  Jenn’s realization that feedback, most of the time, is given for precisely the reasons she identifies is spot-on.  I wish I knew that when I was Jenn’s age.

(Sorry Jenn, I couldn’t resist the parenthetical feedback) 

_________________

What I Learned in 2014: Jenn Maer, Design Director, IDEO

“This was the year I finally learned to take feedback.”

“Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been “addressing” feedback for my entire career. Early on, I mastered the art of smiling whenever somebody eviscerated my work—nodding thoughtfully while saying, “Hmm. Interesting. Let me have a think on that.” But until recently, I never truly meant it. Feedback was something to be dodged, outsmarted, and begrudgingly incorporated when pressed to do so.”

“I realize this makes me sound like a world-class a_ _ _ _ _ _ (Feedback: Sorry for the edit, Jen, but this is a PG 13 rated blog and your description is not appropriate for those of us emotionally under the age of consent). But I don’t think that’s the case: I love (and insist on) working collaboratively, I always look for opportunities to help other people shine, and I’m pretty easy-going all around. I think I just hated the feeling that I hadn’t done something perfectly right off the bat.”

“Then, after having a really enlightening conversation with a mentor of mine, something shifted in me. I would get a piece of feedback and listen to it. I mean, really listen to it. Like the kind of listening a therapist does, when you say, “I hate the color blue” and they hear you say, “I’ve got deep-seeded issues with my mother.” (Feedback:  Sorry Jen, your mother IS a therapist – how could you NOT have deep-seeded issues with her?)  (Sorry Daru, but since you are a therapist you know that all things lead back to the mother . . .)

“I stopped being so quietly, inwardly defensive, and realized that each piece of feedback is delivered in service of making things better. Now, with every comment or red-Sharpied suggestion, I ask myself, what’s behind the issue that’s being raised? How can I use this as a chance to make my work clearer, tighter, smarter, funnier…whatever it needs to be?”

“I’m not saying I’ve got this new skill down pat. There are certainly still moments when people make inane, counter-productive comments that make me want to bash their heads in with the Polycom. (Sorry Jen, but I don’t know what a Polycom is so if you want to bash in my head I hope it’s soft . . . ). But you know what? I’m learning to hear what’s beneath those comments, too. It’s usually something like, “I need to feel important here.” (Sorry Jenn, I am important here – it’s MY blog) Or, “I don’t know what’s happening and I’m freaked out about it.” And with a little bit of empathy, I can help them through those issues, as well.”  (Sorry Jen, if you don’t want to help me with my issue of compulsively commenting, maybe your Mom can?)

(ALL things are ultimately the mother’s fault –  You are one smart, insightful daughter)

Read more at San Francisco Egoist 

Hooked on Haiku – CLEARly Showing Men How It’s Done

Never been so clear

a new world order is here

bitter, painful birth

judy journal page
judy journal page

You decide: A political post?  a psychological post?  A sociological post? A  post about the sexes? . . 

 Merkel Shows Men How It’s Done

“Would women be better than men at running the world? There’s a case to be made on the example of Angela Merkel, currently the longest-serving — and most popular — leader of a Group of Seven country.”

With an approval rating of 71 percent, far beyond what the leaders of other big industrialized nations could hope for, Merkel shouldn’t need any further justification to stay in power. She has, however, an unexpected one: “I have, at least so far, incredible curiosity.” It’s not just about highbrow lectures. Merkel is the rare politician who listens rather than talks, which is one reason her public pronouncements are famously bland and repetitive. One sometimes gets the impression that Russian President Vladimir Putin calls her so often (he did it yesterday, too) because he finds the sessions therapeutic.

Thanks Sandy W!!!!

Read the entire article: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-07-18/merkel-shows-men-how-it-s-done

Haiku Horizons - prompt CLEAR
Haiku Horizons – prompt CLEAR

Can we handle the truth?

Veteran’s medical care and the private medical system. I rarely post about current events or politics.  After reading  a clear-minded, HONEST and APOLICTICAL post by Dr John Mandrola I’m making an exception.

Here are just a few thought provoking paragraphs from his post. (bold/red print is mine)

The VA healthcare system — Can we handle the truth?

by  JOHN MANDROLA, MD

“I am also connected to veterans’ healthcare. For it is in the VA system that I learned to be a doctor—a feeling doctor, an imperfect doctor, a human doctor. It’s ironic, and not often said, that the $48 billion-dollar VA healthcare system gives as much as it takes. It’s impossible to put a value on the benefit to society from the legions of caregivers who emerge from years of training in the VA system. Algorithms be damned; wealthy Americans benefit from what young doctors learn in the VA system. Veterans give when they serve in battle, then they give again as patients, as teachers.”

“And it’s not just the past that connects me to veterans’ healthcare. My wife Staci works as an attending physician in hospice and palliative care at the Louisville VA. When we share stories, I mostly tell of relieving the palpitations of the rich, she of relieving the suffering of dying veterans. Another irony of the VA: you don’t get Staci if you have private insurance.”

imagesIndicting Obamacare:

“This is a huge mistake. Obamacare fails because it lacked the courage to do enough. Its proponents avoided the truth. (Maybe they had to.) What policymakers set out to do was to correct a great American scar—that a country this rich does not provide basic healthcare to all its people. The problem was that Americans were not told the truth. A leader (or leaders) should have said that to get care to all people, excesses and inefficiency would need to be removed. Hospitals would not look like luxury hotels. Medicine and surgery would be for the ill, not the worried-well. Evidence, not eminence, would guide medical care. And prevention of disease would come not from doctors but from patients.”

“But Americans didn’t get the truth. We got magical thinking about metaphorical free lunches, insurance reform, cost-saving EHRs, patient-safety “quality forums,” and the like. Nonsense. All of it.”

“The VA system is the truth. Rationing is the truth. Triage is the truth. Imperfection is the truth.

And yes, death, too, is the truth.”

 

Failure to see the obvious:images-2

“You simply cannot deliver suburban excesses—the antithesis of efficient and honest healthcare–to the growing numbers of veterans. Thank goodness. Both Dr. Harlan Krumholz and Dr. Kevin Pho remind us that if evidence, not hype, is considered, the VA system performs either better than, or comparable to, the private sector.”

“Yet this should be obvious to anyone who reads anything about US healthcare. It’s clear that the private system is broken. If you hold up the US private system—with its humanity-extracting EHRs, expanding layers of bureaucracy, conflicts of interest, expense, inequalities, and geographic and racial differences in care–as a model that the VA should aspire to, you are not mastering the obvious. My colleague at theHeart.org Dr. Melissa Walton Shirley suggests veterans should be moved to the private system. I wouldn’t do that; veterans deserve better than our mess”.

images-1“Yes, of course, patients die waiting for medical care. It’s utter nonsense to call that a scandal. Why? Because patients die regardless of medical care, and too often, as a result of medical care. This death-denying culture has led to a major humanitarian crisis, one playing out in nearly every ICU in this country.

But please don’t misunderstand. I’m not arguing that medical care is pointless, or that we should not try to extend and improve human life. Rather, it is time to adjust the mindset that more care or faster care is always better care.”

Read the entire article click here. Can We Handle the Truth?

 

Scientific Research: Lose Weight with Sex (parenthetically speaking)

"Here she goes . . .again"
“Here she goes . . .again”

It’s very difficult to design VALID research studies and this one is no exception.  Read on for my scientific reasoning.

“German researchers gave a group of men a dose of oxytocin thought to be roughly the amount released by the brain after breast-feeding or sex, (I think it would have been a more valid study if the researchers tested NATURAL levels of oxytocin while  the men breast feed or had sex but they probably couldn’t figure out a lot of stuff I’ve identified) according to lead author Manfred Hallschmid of the University of Tübingen”. (I’m sure the researchers surmised it would be nearly impossible to get a release of liability from the mother’s who would provide infants for men to breast feed.)

“These men and another group who took a placebo then had a chance to eat as much as they wanted at a breakfast buffet, and later the same day they were offered snacks”.  (The difficulty with studying actual sex is that it would have been impossible to get a valid measure of AS MUCH AS THEY WANTED .  Further complicating the research design would be getting a consensus on what is a sex snack).

“Those who took oxytocin ate fewer snack calories, but the hormone did not change how much the men ate during the main meal,suggesting that oxytocin affected pleasure eating without suppressing normal appetite mechanisms.” ( if sex was used in the actual study it would be nearly impossible to come up with a valid measure of PLEASURE vs NORMAL or consensus of main vs snack)

Scanned Rats_4
Male Mammal

“The researchers hypothesize that the hormone diminished reward-seeking behavior initiated in the ventral tegmental area of the brain, a region found to be highly sensitive to oxytocin in rodent studies (I do agree with this hypothesis. Rodent sex and human sex are valid comparisons as we are both mammals).

The effect may also be stress-related: subjects who took oxytocin saw a drop in their levels of the stress hormone cortisolaccording to the paper published in 2013 in the journal Diabetes. More work is needed to understand whether oxytocin could be used to treat obesity, but until then the finding at least hints that it may be possible to curb your cravings by having more sex.” (giving you less time to eat)

 (My reasonable conclusion:  It’s very stressful for men to breast feed because of performance anxiety . . . raising cortisol levels . . . thus necessitating the need to have sex snacks in addition to regular meals . . . which results in weight gain) 

If you don’t believe me read the article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sex-hormone-lessens-snacking/

Snow Jobs & SNICKER Bars

Homemade from
Homemade Snickers from Iheartnaptime

It snowed 2 inches ’round here,
leaving no time for pretzels and beer.
As we shoveled and shivered,
at you low-landers we snickered
who think raking is something to fear

by Rick Yerman in response to I’ll Take the Fall 

Rick, Can’t snicker at this . . . homemade bliss . . .

Homemade Snickers from Iheartnaptime **

Layer #1:  1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips and  1/4 cup peanut butter

Layer #2
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 7 oz jar marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped
Layer #3
1 14 oz bag of caramels
1/4 cup whipping cream
Layer #4
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

For directions on layers 1, 2, 3 & 4 you will have to click on Homemade Snickers from Iheartnaptime so I don’t get in trouble posting the entire recipe!!!!!!

** Makes sense the blog is called “I Heart Nap Time”.  4 separate layers! – tires me out just writing it down . . . on my way to buy a package of Snickers, a BIG package.

P.S.  Another comment I just got.  It’s a bit more POETIC!

As to fall,
I leave all
the leaves to you.

By Vandi Clark

 

My Encounter with Free Speech REVISITED

american-100-dollar-bills-16440059After having this blog be slammed by spam on several occasions:  One time –  some kind of “cookie-thingey” was attached to Max’s picture (deleted the picture from the post and the spam stopped); another time my headline

Naturally Nude and She’s no slouch!

produced lots of spam (sex ads and links) and continues to get hits!

It’s astounding how many people are looking to see Christine Lagarde the director of the International Monetary Fund naturally nude . . .

Consequently, I’m as careful as I can be screening the comments that may sneak through the spam filter.  Today I received a comment on my post My Encounter with Free Speech from a Mr McDaid.  He isn’t subscribed to the blog, has never commented before and I couldn’t trace who he might be.

Not Mr McDaid
Not Mr McDaid

Mr McDaid, I’m NOT going to approve your comment. However, what you said was so thought-provoking I’ll go you one better and post it:

 “Maybe you were missing the point. If impeaching Obama doesn’t make sense, maybe the point was $100 and impeaching Obama was the rhetoric that gets certain folk all fired up enough to miss the point and hand over the cash. Remember the old saying ‘if you want to understand the crime, follow the money.’”

THAT, Mr McDaid, NEVER occurred to me. 

Verrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesssssssssting.

Would that occur to YOU?

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

For those who haven’t read, or don’t remember, here’s the link to:

My Encounter with Free Speech


IF – an open letter to Rick Clarke, My FIRST secret crush

Links to back stories so you are not as confused as “SOME people: 50th High School Reunion and My Secret Jealousies

______________________

I received this e-mail titled “My mega disappointment” this morning:

“Dear Little Miss Manners.  All of these decades I have lived with the illusion that I, Rick Clarke, was your secret crush. Now I have been outed in public that it was Billy Nelson, not I.  Oh what shall I do?”

Dear Rick,
IF you had been to the reunion AND read THE PROGRAM THAT EVERYONE IN ATTENDANCE RECEIVED you would know what I wrote: “Secret CrushES – (I would never have admitted it then) Bill Nelson’s falsetto and sense of humor, Rick(y) Clarke – cute, tall and kind“.

Rudyard*, not Rick Clarke
Rudyard*, not Rick**

IF you had been to the reunion YOU WOULD HAVE HEARD Mike Bewley read (with a wry smile) the afore-mentioned program, using the microphone  booming out for all to hear  emphasizing “RICK CLARKE TALL, CUTE & KIND and BILL . . . having a sense of humor . . .)

If you had been to the reunion YOU would have heard me ask YOU and Bill to come to the podium where I would declare, IN PUBLIC, my undying secret crush on YOU SINCE GRADE SCHOOL . . . and Bill.

Devastated to hear Rick Clarke was not at the reunion
Devastated to hear Rick was not at the reunion

If you had been at the reunion you would have seen me look longingly around the room, waiting for you to rush to the podium, but hearing instead an anonymous voice call out “Rick’s not here.”  Being the consummate professional, I continued, never showing my hurt and disappointment that again I wasn’t even important enough to you to come to the reunion to see me.

If you had been to the reunion YOU would have seen how EMBARRASSED BILL was, possibly indicating he never crushed me back and was disturbed by the thought that I, instead of Kay Wester adored him . . . further devastating my fragile psyche, and denying me the fall back position of focusing on YOU.

(Charlotte too declared her secret crush to be Bill thank goodness she never told him in high school or I would have been COMPLETELY devastated to watch BOTH a secret crush and a secret jealousy be boyfriend and girlfriend and get married and attend the reunion as husband and wife further wounding me for the rest of the time I have here on Earth).

If you had been to the reunion YOU would know that since you spurned me FIRST, and scarred me for a lifetime I have ever more been too frightened to tell anyone I had a crush on them, thus denying me the REMOTE pleasure and knowledge, that it might have been humanly possible for any male, much less Bill,  to crush me back . . . instead of them always yearning after Kay Wester and Charlotte Mills.

If you had been to the reunion YOU would know that I adored you FIRST since GRADE SCHOOL before I ever met Bill Nelson.  But because you spurned me I had to turned my sights to Bill since he AT LEAST spent time with me in High School whereas you completely ignored me.  (I admit though that Bill damaged me more than you since he kept my hope up longer by spending time with me).

If you had been to the reunion and had taken the time to come and SEE ME YOU would not be wallowing in self-pity, hurt feelings and otherwise unbecoming behavior for a grown MAN, which you were not when I had my crush on you.

And so, my dearest Rick,

Please be comforted to know YOU will always be in my heart

as the FIRST to ignore me.

_____________________________________

Rudyard, not Rick
Rudyard, not Rick**

*True Story, in addition to the above TRUE story:

When I was in grade school (with Ricky Clark) I had Rudyard Kipling’s poem IF in a frame hanging in my bedroom.  Haven’t a clue how I got it but NOW (thanks to Rick) I realize it was to portend things to come:

Here’s the last stanza which use to read over and over trying to understand how it applied to me.  (true)

“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, (yup, all the way until senior year in college)
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, (yup, still common)
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, (Rick Clarke and Bill Nelson – probably Kay and Charlotte too)
If all men count with you, but none too much: (NOW that’s the truth, I never got TOO much from Bill or Rick)
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run (been running toward forgiveness for 60 YEARS)
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!” (Maybe that’s why I’m so confused . . .)
Rudyard Kipling

_______________________________________________

Full Disclosure & Disclaimer AGAIN . . .:

  • I did have a framed poem IF, by Kipling on my bedroom wall and pondered it.
  • Names have STILL NOT been changed as NO one, any longer, is innocent.
  • Small details may not be 100% accurate as research indicates that time can affect memory and the reunion was (can’t remember how many) days ago.
  • And FINALLY Still! No apologies to anyone I might have offended.

**P.S.  Rick, I can NOT find one picture of you to post to PROVE I had great taste, even at such a young age, and you were indeed CUTE and TALL.  IF you are still cute and tall please send me a picture.

Rudyard, not cute
Rudyard, not cute

 

50th High School Reunion – An Open Letter to Terry G.

Dear Terry G.,

Thank you for your invitation to our 50th high school reunion this coming weekend in Phoenix.  However . . .  I would have appreciated a warning notice that the invite was coming with an alert to be sitting down before I read it.    Your first sentence: “Oh my gosh . . . a half a century . . . just doesn’t seem possible!”  set off an eye twitch that has not subsided.

50 years!!!!!!!!  Half a century!!!!!     Terry, Terry, Terry, when we were in high school, people our current age were dead at worst or senile at best.  Please never lead off any invitation with a reference to centuries or decades.

To add to the assault you included my senior class picture.  Please don’t get me wrong – I appreciate your taking the time to scan pictures into your invite and I admire your creativity but honestly Terry my second eye started twitching.

Senior Picture
Senior Picture

WHO is that girl?   You must have air-brushed the wrinkles out, colored the hair?  I absolutely remember that is NOT how I looked.  I was much plainer looking . . . (no wonder I’m a psychotherapist)

You went the extra mile scanning the picture of the student body executive board into your invitation but . . .  when I saw it I got queasy. I had big crush on the President, Bill Nelson.  He never seemed interested in me so I never told anyone.  Unrequited love really hurts . . . (no wonder I have a heart arrhythmia.)

Judy, Senior, board Pic

You really went all out to include a list of all the honors & activities I was involved in. Wow!  I was really active(no wonder I’m always tired now).

However, Terry, it’s the very last entry in the list of accolades and activities that created outright nausea:

Miss “Senior Hambone”

I am looking forward to seeing you Terry.  It has been a very long time.  I’m glad you included your senior picture and your current picture on the invitation so I will recognize you.  You’ll have no trouble recognizing me.  I’ll be the one with both eyes twitching, periodically running to the bathroom.

judy

Pure Play – “No Thought to Outcome, Function or Future”

CRI_257006
Dali

Dear Westerfield,
“. . . The art class I am taking is taught by a . . . woman . . .  who is sucking the life and joy out of her students. She has already separated me from a nice woman I met there. No one is allowed to talk .  . .  I once, shall we say, talked back to her and I felt like I was Norma Rae. Hence, I will be sent to the principal soon, I’m sure. I hate going to the class but I want to stick it out for myself. She is always tense, tells stories, LONG, boring stories (multiple times) about herself and even the barrette that she wears on the side of her hair is annoying.

She is a good artist but as a teacher, HORRIBLE.  I am sticking it out . . .  [because] it took me years to sign up, to push myself and I am proud of me doing it.”

My heart simply went out to Laurie.  She’s landed in a creativity-killer-class. I say she should ask for a refund with added reimbursement for creativity abuse.

Every serious artist I’ve met who went to art school tells tales of how stressful it was. Teacher critiques were at the best uncomfortable and at the least brutal.  Now I’m not down on art school – wish I had the opportunity to attend one.  I am down on teaching methods that take the joy out of creativity.

Famous MAJOR artists play! – splashing paint (Jackson Pollock),  abstracting images until they were “childlike” (Picasso), images-11put together surreal elements (Joan Miro) and all explored and experimented outside the “technique of their time”.

Art should be fun, art should be pushing your own limits with curiosity and adventure not with the goal of doing it “right” or for someone elses approval. Creativity is “PURE PLAY – ” no thought to outcome, function or future” Eric Anderson

P.S.  I’m proud of you too Laurie!

 

MY ALL TIME HIGH – And it’s not from drugs . . . Phish Oil, maybe

  • fish 531         
  • glumfish 2
  • post office garbage 2
  • rape trauma syndrome 2
  • how to walk without jiggling 1
  • a real man, not a mouse 1
  • free and dreidel pattern  1
  • see fish photos 1
  • resiliency quiz 1
  • Other search terms 8 
  • Unknown search terms 5
Total search terms  563

It’s 10 am and my blog search stats are through the roof.  A million would be through the roof.  So, maybe to the roof.   Laurie F. of Hibernationnow told me that occasionally my “FISH POSTS” are included with my other posts.  ????  I’m not the one responsible.  HERE’s my evidence Laurie:

  1. I have 135 loyal followers.  Each one of you is intelligent, curious, great sense of humor and wise beyond your years.  If you weren’t you wouldn’t be my loyal follower. And that’s the truth!
  2. EACH ONE of you would have to search for my fish post and access it about 5 times during the night while I was innocently sleeping.

I suspect you had better things to do.  I suspect one of the following “followers” who are NOT loyal has been pfishing.   Which one do you suspect?  (I’ve deleted their links so as not to encourage them further)

I like this blog very much. I’m a follower of your site and wanna say thanks for all the interesting stuff on it. Please take a look at my website also??? Thanks!

gratissex
Its such as you learn my mind! You seem to grasp a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you simply can do with some percent to drive the message house a little bit, but instead of that, that is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

Josefa
Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at.

Popsanger Lady Gaga , bare om de mest spændende og
de seneste kunstnere i på det seneste , har meddelt hende ivrigt forventede vende tilbage til
USA indenfor hælene på hendes udsolgte Europa-turné. Kesha
blev udviklet i Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, den 28. marts 1986, hun jane er
en amerikansk musiker. Hun begyndte at optræde indeni rockmusik scene af nyeste
York Citys Lower East Side. Hun snart underskrevet med Streamline Records, et aftryk af Interscope Records, indledte sit virke i 2007. Udover
modtager generelt positive anmeldelser , det nåede nummer et i Canada, Østrig og Tyskland.

Usndornsters

 P.S.  DO YOU GET MY FISH POSTS TOO?  Just curious.

Humph!

(This is a Glumfish)

You MISSED me! I’m touched

I’ve not posted for over a week nor looked at my computer.  Wow! Was I surprised tonight when I found a record number of comments waiting for my reply.

And I am so touched by all of your concern but ESPECIALLY your comments of encouragement while I’ve been off-line. There were so many comments that I’ve only posted the ones that touched me most*.   I am sure they will inspire you to comment too:

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*Apologies to all of you who took the time to comment which I mistook for spam.  Please do NOT stop commenting.

Thoughtful Comments & FISH! Perfect blog combination

Ok, Ok, this is a lonnnnng post but READ it ANYWAY – responses from my last post about what it means to “BE  YOURSELF” which I think merit attention.  They sure merit my attention.  And since I don’t want to COLOR anyone’s response I will refrain from telling you the points I REALLY agree with.

P.S.  You’ll have to read  Shimon’s comment carefully

to understand the fishy pictures . . .

Fish? Ego? Authentic self? Love? . . .she's losing it . . .

Shim Frankel, LSWI like it and I get it! In my experience there is an important level – or component – of acceptance of where you or I or a situation is at, and if where I am at is trying to fill someone’s shoes that are “not mine” (Michael Jordan, George Clooney, my Dad or my older brother) then in a funny way filling those shoes are actually my shoes for today.

In a very similar vein have had clients tell me how down they are at themselves for not accepting a situation or some fact of their life the way it is, after all – they have been taught that they are “supposed to” accept life on life’s terms. What has been helpful in my practice has been to help these clients accept that for today they do not accept life on life’s terms. Accepting where they are at is also life on life’s terms, is it not?

However, much sadness and frustration comes my way from people who are forever trying to fill the proverbial shoes and “be someone else”. Albert Einstein said that “if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” It is not stupid but it is being asked to fill the shoes that do not fit!

Everyone I have ever met personally has a list of strengths that can be capitalized on and a list of weaknesses that can be strengthened. Most are unaware that if they would just dare to dream they would find that they have it within them to do many things they thought were “not them.” Unfortunately there are so many too, however, who are completely unaware that all people have limits, and so do they.

Is it true that “you can do anything you set your mind to”? I do not believe so. In the spirit of inspiration and with all the right motives we are taught that we can do anything, but we can’t.

So when a single client asks the trick to successful dating I may suggest “just be yourself.”

When another is going to ask for a raise from her boss I may also suggest “just be yourself.”

Early in my career a senior counselor sat in on one of my groups at the hospital IOP. Afterward he cautioned me “remember to always bring yourself to the session, because if you bring someone else neither of you will be there.” That recipe has worked for me and I freely use it with others. So while I agree that some days “myself” maybe defined as trying to be someone else, ultimately I may be a fish trying to climb a tree – and that is a frustrating place to be.

Fish "Climbing" a tree

Ruth Michelson,  I never thought of “just be yourself” in any of the ways you described. I think it means, “relax, stop worrying, you’re wonderful being who you are, you don’t have to be clever, put on airs, or try to be something you’re not”. Also, I think it means “stop being so self-conscious, and focus on others”.  Ruth

Fish walking on land

Arlan Broder • “Ego is not what ‘it’s’ all about. It is all about relationships. Ego has at least two applications; it is the manager of input, the – who, what, where, when, how, and what are the motives; and it is the selfish we often confuse with the id. Relationships with our clients, between our clients and others is what ‘it is’ all about. As simplistic as it seems, Love and Fear is what ‘it is’ all about. Everything else is just in the way.

Fish that can live out of water. Talk about FEAR!

Joan Dodson “In my own interruption I believe I am true to my own beliefs’, my own ideas, my own values. If I like who I see when I look in the mirror, (my reflection) the person looking back at me, then I am truly happy. I am who I am, no more no less. I am proud of who I am. I can’t find in myself to be fake, I can still be you and still is a passionate person with respect for others and without being egotistical, or just flat-out rude.
I try very hard to be considerate and nonjudgmental. I realize that others are not always going to agree with me on various subjects. I know that I am open-minded that others can have their own opinions which I respect and usually receive the same respect in return.
It has taking me years to find the person I truly wanted to be…and now that I have found her I actually like me. This being said no it’s not ego, this is just “Being Myself” and liking me.”

Snakehead Fish, Can walk on land

John Harris • “Be yourself” to me means detach yourself from who your ego tells you you are, and connect with the “you” of your heart. 
It can also be described as remembering who you always have been and always will be. The eternal, essential you. Not the person you pretend to be. 

More walking fish!

Susan Berg • Be authentic. Keep it real.

Snakehead walking fish!

Mohammed Abdul Muqeet • Be Honest with yourself

Sindisiwe Dashe  “Be Yourself means to be your True Self, the Original You. Love, Happy, Forgive and be Peacefull. Trueself that sees Love in everyone and everything on Earth. Loving every situation. That Trueself- your soul that originates from a place called Love and that has always been love that does not judge self, others and situation. Compasionate towards others ”
________________________________________________

Thank you all for prompting even more thought on the subject!

I feel a FISH POST coming on . . . 

Sing a Song of Inspiration

Everyone knows that EXpirations – like sneezes – spread germs.  

Here’s an example of how INspirations are contagious.

Max and I just got back from our morning prayer walk.  I was singing to God while Max, well, Max was sniffing to the max.

A huge raven swooped by, landing just ahead on a light post.  It was sleek, shiny black and started calling loudly for other ravens to join him.  I wondered if that raven was the patriarch or just some young whippersnapper with a rousing call to action.

  • I wondered how you tell the age of a bird.  No tell-tail  (sorry couldn’t resist) age spots or wrinkles.
  • My mind flashed on a brilliant comment about God that Ramesh Sood had made – something about wrinkles – which I couldn’t precisely remember but I remember thinking, “How brilliant” at the time I read it.
  • When we got home I was inspired to re-read his comment and poem.
  • Ramesh was inspired to spontaneously write his poem in response to the post I wrote How to Appear Younger than You Are.
  • I was inspired to write that How to Appear Younger than You Are by that darling baby boy who came to visit me at my office.
  • And the baby was inspired by EVERYTHING!
“What an inspiring post this… yes, I have often prayed..May God never let my thoughts get wrinkled…May I continue to exude youthful energy and exuberance…And Judy, if one has to go by Photos on your page here..you don’t look 67..touch wood…let me try:”

A song waits to be written
And to be Sung
It’s so happy and joyous
To always stay young

Doesn’t matter if body belies
Let mind think fresh thoughts
Let heart with happier ones clung

 A song waits to be written
And to be sung

Be cheery always, have fun
Talk to Moon, stars and flowers
Taste the rising sun on your tongue
A song that waited to be written
I know you have just sung

Hey, stay happy and stay young..

“Judy this song didn’t exist just ten minutes back.. . . .that’s the power of inspiration.” Ramesh Sood, (author of Elephant & Ant, coming soon to a computer near you).  A Little More Than Ordinary.. 

INhale deeply where ever you are today.

I hope you catch an INspiration!

A Rose Never Smelled so Sweet

Dear Rose,
I want to express my sincere appreciation for you so helpfully putting all of my phobias in one place and adding a few I hadn’t considered.

This is to let you know I am moving to a remote island somewhere in the ocean when I can find a way to get there without going by plane or boat because they are too dangerous.

Oh, and please don’t call me because I’ve gotten rid of my cell phone which emits cancer causing rays.
With eternal appreciation
j
P.S. Thank goodness I use a laptop with a touch pad!

The above was my response to an e-mail Rosemary Lee from Seeking Equilibrium sent me.  Here’s her e-mail:

“As we progress through to the end of 2012, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your educational e-mails over the past year. I am totally screwed up now and have little hope of recovery in my life time.

  • I can no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel, nor let the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.
  • I can’t sit down on a hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.
  • I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one’s nose.
  • Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans fats I have consumed over the years.
  •  I can’t touch any woman’s handbag for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public toilet.
  •  I MUST SEND MY SPECIAL THANKS for the email about rat poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.
  • ALSO, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.
  •  I can’t have a drink in a bar because I fear I’ll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with my kidneys gone.
  •  I can’t eat at KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes, feet or feathers.
  • I can’t use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.
  •  THANKS TO YOU I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.
  • BECAUSE OF YOUR CONCERN, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.
  •  I no longer buy petrol without taking someone along to watch the car, so a serial killer doesn’t crawl in my back seat when I’m filling up.
  • I no longer use Cling Wrap in the microwave because it causes seven different types of cancer.
  • AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW I can’t boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.
  •  I no longer go to the cinema because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS when I sit down.
  • I no longer go to shopping centres because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.
  • And I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a huge phone bill with calls to Jamaica , Uganda , Singapore and Uzbekistan ..
  •  THANKS TO YOU I can’t use anyone’s toilet but mine because a big black snake could be lurking under the seat and cause me instant death when it bites my butt.
  • AND THANKS TO YOUR GREAT ADVICE I can’t ever pick up a 25 cent coin dropped in the parking lot because it was probably placed there by a sex molester waiting to grab me as I bend over.
  •  I can’t do any gardening because I’m afraid I’ll get bitten by the Violin Spider and my hand will fall off.
  • If you don’t send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, and the fleas from 120 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor’s ex mother-in-law’s second husband’s cousin’s best friend’s beautician . . .

Oh, and by the way…
A German scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mails with their hand on the mouse.
Don’t bother taking it off now, it’s too late.
P. S. I now keep my toothbrush in the living room, because I was told by e-mail that water splashes over 6 ft. out of the toilet.
NOW YOU HAVE YOURSELF A VERY GOOD DAY”

😉 Rosemary,  Seeking Equilibrium

Happy Test Revisited. Important Questions to Ask Yourself

At the risk of being much too serious and fracturing your image of me, I invite you to read some wonderfully thought-provoking comments from the post yesterday on the “Satisfaction with your Life Test”.    Take a look at three comments.  I believe that each person brought up what is essential to how we view and experience this thing called “our life”

I’ve posted some questions for you to ponder after each.  

I wonder Judy. I remember having written recently.. if there is pain in my heart doesn’t mean I am not happy.. so is it with satisfaction… does dissatisfaction mean unhappiness… I am not sure.. and one more thing.. the moment I sit to do a test to check if I am happy means that I am not…indeed that’s my perception..and I am no authority..to make a statement.. I am just a simple student of moments..and what feelings those moments bring….. well I am at this moment feeling happy to be here…on your page. Posted by Ramesh Sood

  • If you carry pain about some loss does that mean you can’t be happy?
  • How are your dissatisfaction about specific things in your life affect your happiness?

Hi Judith,
Given the title of the test; “how happy are you”, implies to me that happiness is something that can be measured by degrees. I disagree with that premise. Happiness is a state of being, perfect unto itself. I am happy because I am happy and nothing added would make me any happier…regardless of what is added, I will still be happy. Since happiness is a state of being, it can not have an opposite. A person can’t be unhappy. He can be sad, upset, angry, disappointed, etc. but any of those feelings, thoughts and emotions do not make for an “un” status.

The universe, however it was created, is a positive reality. An “un” positive reality can not exist in the same realm. I’ll avoid the question of “G-D” as a factor and just go with any theory for the beginning of life. If the big bang happened, it happened. It didn’t “un”happen. If we evolved from slime, then we evolved not “un”evolved. I’m making this point and opening it to discussion.
posted by Rabbi Dr. Dan S.Wiko

  • Do you think about your own happiness as a state of being rather than something that you measure?
  • If your happiness is a state of being what do you do to fully experience it?  
  • What do you do to deny your own state of happiness?

“When human’s are happy there is no impetus for personal growth, change or bettering the world.”
This is a statement which is fundamentally flawed and as it is foundational to the proposition, we can’t help but get faulty answers.
To illustrate, I am an extremely happy person – happier than most anyone I know, and my happiness comes from learning, growing, challenging what is considered normal, challenging my own thoughts and beliefs and actions and seeking to better the world through bettering myself.
Now if you were to use “satisfied” or “content” instead of happy…
I can still be happy while not being satisfied. I’m not satisfied with my financial situation but since money does not govern my happiness – I am happy.
I also agree with The Rabbi – happiness is a state of being which comes from within, and not from external factors.
Posted by John H.

  • Do you think satisfied/content on the same continuum as happy  (Satisfied____________Happy______________Ecstatic)?  or
  • A state of being not connected to other emotions?
  • Do you experience your happiness coming from internal or external factors?

What Stuff do you Need? What Stuff do you Want?

Needs and wants are perhaps even more significant a topic at this time of year.  Every year I am faced with getting my husband both birthday and Christmas presents.  This strains my brain to figure out what he “wants” or “needs”.

Gifts of need or want?

never knowing what to buy

A strain on my brain

Then yesterday I received this comment from a “linkedin” friend:

“You seem like a lady who has everything?  

I wonder…what do you want for
Christmas?”

At first, I wondered what I had said in a post or comment to give the impression that I had everything?

Humph, All I want is water

Then I wondered if I really take the time to think about the distinction between what I need and what I want.

Then I thought about Ida who has to weigh this question daily since she  is, out of necessity,  forced to survive on the bare minimum.

Susan Gammage wrote an excellent post on the topic.  It’s too long to repost but here’s how it starts:

“Recently I was listening to a podcast on our relationship to money by my favorite minister, Jeremy McClung of the Muskoka Community Church, which left me asking the question:  When is enough, enough?  This is an important question to ask especially at this season of excess we call Christmas.”
“In his talk, Jeremy handed out index cards and asked us to write “stuff I have” on one side and to write “stuff I want” on the other.  We were to make a detailed list of everything we own (land, cars, houses, clothes, electronics, appliances, toys etc)”.
“What surprised me was how much was on my “want” side!  Even though I have everything I need, and more, the list of what I wanted was longer than the list of what I owned.  This was profound!  I urge you to take out a sheet of paper right now and do this exercise for yourself.”
“My income comes from a small disability pension, supplemented by some paid work, and I live in a small one bedroom apartment in a “geared to income” building.  Some people look at my lifestyle and long for me to be better off financially, and sometimes I wonder if they’re right.  
My well-wishers see the transformative path I’ve been on for the past couple of decades, and how far I’ve come in ridding myself of the anxiety and depression that robbed me of my life, and they think it’s time for me to get back into the “real world” and get paid for all the work I do.

Susan citing the following REALLY got my attention:

If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, maintaining the proportions of all the people living on Earth, that village would consist of:

  • 57 Asians
    21 Europeans
    14 Americans (North, Central and South)
    8 Africans
  • There would be:
    52 women and 48 men
    30 Caucasians and 70 non-Caucasians
    30 Christians and 70 non-Christians
  • Humph, Zero fish?
  • In addition:
    6 people would possess 59% of the wealth and they would all come from the USA
    80 would live in poverty
    70 would be illiterate
    50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition
    1 would be dying
    1 would be being born
    1 would own a computer
    1 (yes, only one) would have a university degree

    Humph, One Blobfish left high and dry

      If we looked at the world in this way, the need for acceptance and understanding would be obvious.     But, consider again the following…

  • If you have never experienced the horror of war, the solitude of prison, the pain of torture, were not close to death from starvation, then you are better off than 500 million people
  • If you can go to your place of worship without fear that someone will assault or kill you, then you are luckier than 3 billion (that’s right) people.
  • If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.
  • If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few amongst the 100 people in the world.
  • If your parents are still alive and still married, you’re a rare individual.
  • If you’re reading this message, you’re extremely lucky, because you don’t comprise one of those 2 billion people who still can’t read.    (source unknown: http://www.movebeyond.net/417/know-no-limits/quote/lightening-in-a-jar/

Dear Linkedin Friend,  Thank you for asking.

My greedy little ego will probably never be satisfied.

My soul tells me I have everything I need. 

http://susangammage.com/when-is-enough-enough-a-bahai-perspective/comment-page-1#comment-1298

Humph, All I need is water.

Be scared, be verrrrrrrrrry scared

Growing up we lived in a tiny 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house.  I shared a bedroom with my baby brother Rick.  I would try to scare him with stories when we were suppose to be going to sleep. I don’t remember the stories I just remember doing my best to torture the little guy.

My now GROWN (make that GROAN) brother Rick is obviously trying to get back at me by sending this supposedly INNOCENT e-mail and pictures:

You should have seen the glowing yellow/green/orange clown suite under black lights! Probably set back a lot of little kids in their future appreciation of Rasta-Groucho Clowns, including our 2 year old Grand-Niece who wouldn’t look at me even without the hat and Groucho glasses. And you did scare the pants of me, repeatedly, when I was just a sweet, innocent little boy. You probably went into helping people as a career as penance/karmic debt.

(Ricks, comment, received the day after my post)

“Put this together for my office’s annual Halloween Trick or Treat Street – whole office is decorated and I have a pass-out-candy station shift. The “hair” is my addition. What do you think – “Groucho the Purple Rasta Hair Clown” perhaps?”

Ghosties And Ghoolies

Be afraid, really scared of

Clowns disguised as Rick

The pictures scare ME and I know who it is!

What do YOU think?

http://Haiku-Heights.blogspot.com

Week’s prompt: ghost

Are you a Party Animal? More on Being Alone.

Z for Zokor

I’m a person who can be very social but I recharge my energy by being alone.  In some systems I’m called an introvert.  I have friends who prefer to be alone and regenerate by being with others (extroverts).

(On the surface introvert/extrovert seems backwards. The key is where you become re-energized, re-vitalized.)

This is not about being  lonely, it’s alone by choice.  If I don’t get enough solitary time I go on overload.

 So I wondered if in the animal kingdom there were animals who were created to be completely solitary and if there was any relationship to humans.
Here’s the short take on animals who live solitary existences.
  • Solitary animals need privacy
  • Solitary animals need independence
  • Solitary animals don’t like to share their territory
  • Solitary animals don’t like to share their meals.  (Some animals are solitary because they eat small things like mice, if they hunted mice in groups, it would be harder to share the meal, the animals would soon die out. …

    For animals, it seems a lot of survival issues drive the need for being alone in the world.

      With humans it seems survival is about connections.  There are lots of studies out there showing that people live longer the more connected they are to community, friends, family.  
    Maybe that is the distinction between being alone for survival 
    and being lonely for connection?

    Here’s a list of some animals that are solitary – never heard of some of them.  
    And judging by some of their names I’d leave them alone too.
Friday Oct 14th
Fish = 14
Epiglotitis = 0

The State of Happiness

A huge part of my job as a therapist is to help people learn that emotional states which are out of proportion in intensity or duration of time to the actual in-the-moment circumstances are what are called emotional memory from experiences that happened in the past.

 It’s rarely prudent or wise to behave/react based on emotional memory.  In a later post I’ll explain more of what I mean.

 In the meantime, Laurie Fessler puts what I struggle to teach in a simple, direct and wise way.  Here’s her post:

The Absence Of Happiness
By hibernationnow

http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/

I used to think you were either happy or sad but I’ve discovered a secret. The absence of happiness does not necessarily mean sadness. There are many things in between this range of emotions. Contentment is one of them, so is acceptance; not swinging too high for expectations or too low for disappointment like trapeze artists in the circus. Life, if you choose it, can be one continuous ride, gently swaying back and forth, back and forth as if you were sitting on an old, white porch swing. Things can change around you but they do not necessarily need to change you within.

It doesn’t mean you have to live without emotions nor does it mean you have to feel overly anxious, happy, too sad or very depressed. It means accepting what comes your way and not fighting like a roaring, clawing tiger but also, NOT laying limply against a rock, waiting to die.

It’s a state of mind that is hard to describe but delicious to live through. I sat on a chair in a lobby yesterday and learned a great deal from an older gentlemen that I did not know. It’s listening more than talking. It’s not overreacting like every nerve ending is set on fire. This man talked in hushed whispers all about his experiences as a young man. He spoke to my dog like he was Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer, noting her behavior, her adoration, her anxiety, her love.

Try and stay in the shadows of your emotions, step back in your mind, reach for the neutral button or better yet, the pause button. Reach out to others with kindness, honesty and inspiration. You will find what you are looking for more from leaning back to listen than leaning forward to interject. Kindness is here, believe in it. Lessons can be learned from everyone and every thing. Wait for it, with patience, it will come.

Searches:

Fish – 14  on Sunday Oct

Fish – 19 Monday

Epiglottitis – 0


Face-off: Which gets the most hits -Epiglottitis OR Butterfly Fish?

Butterfly fish started it all.  I don’t even remember how I got on the subject but since then of EVERYTHING I’ve ever written about DAILY the most searches that land people on this blog are butterfly fish or just plain fish.

My good cyber-friend Laurie Fessler wrote the following post and guess what!  The most word searches she gets are “epiglottitis!

I proposed a face-off between butterfly fish and epiglottitis.  She posted a piece on butterfly fish http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/butterfly-fish/ and I’m reposting her original article.

The two subjects are like Mutt & Jeff, Oil & Water, serious & frivolous, pain & pleasure.

We’ll keep you posted!

Calling Epiglottitis A Bitch Is A Vast Understatement

Picture from Wikipedia

http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com
By hibernationnow

I have had epiglottitis twice; it is an ulcerated part of your epiglottis, below your throat, hidden in thieves. It is the worst pain I have ever had and I’ve had it two years in a row. Nobody knows what causes it, they think it’s a viral infection. As much as I have BEGGED for answers on how to prevent from getting it again, there are no answers. The doctors shake their heads kindly but have no information.

The first time I had it the ENT ( Ear, Nose,Throat Specialist) scoped me through my nose and saw it he literally said “How the hell did you get that?” Those were not comforting words to hear. I don’t know how I got it and I don’t know how I got it again. I just knew that this was the worst pain I have ever had. Childbirth was a breeze compared to this long, incredibly painful illness.

Has anyone out there ever have this monster of an illness? I’d be interested in knowing. The most my doctor could do was promise me to give me pain medication. If I could, I would prefer being asleep for the ten days that I have it. It makes sore throats seem like a cute tickle in your mouth. It feels like a hot, serrated knife butchering you every time you have to swallow.

Don’t come again, you mean and evil illness. I’ve had enough.

Pacing My Pacemaker, Tallulah Pacehead – (winter)

Tallulah Pacehead, my pacemaker

Tallulah keeps working overtime and I feel her like a leaden pain in my chest, short of breath and exhausted.

I’ve been back to the cardiologist to have Tallulah simmer down a bit and not bump up my heart beat when it’s not necessary, like dusting or emptying the dishwasher . . . (hmmmm, maybe I shouldn’t be doing strenuous things around the house . . . )

Whatever they did with her computer made it worse so I was back to the cardiologist two days later.   After talking at length to The Physician’s assistant, she went out,  came back  and said the doctor didn’t know what to do next.  (He’s an expert in the area of electrophysiology . . .)

I jokingly replied,  “Tell him to get in here and cure me”.  No sooner were the words out of my mouth and she had left the room I felt the rush of tears.  Tears that seemed to come from nowhere.  I struggled to regain my composure. (In the past I’ve cried in front of too many doctors who dismissed my feelings or leave because they were uncomfortable)

I was, obviously, feeling much more vulnerable than I had been consciously aware of.

With fibromyalgia I know there is always that possibility of feeling better the next day, always the possibility of science coming out with more information and better medications and I know it’s not life threatening.

My heart, as I age, becomes more and more dependent on the pacemaker, on something foreign implanted in my body.  They are the same tears I had in my early days of fibromyalgia when no one knew what it was or what to do about it and doctors were just stabbing in the dark.  I feel like I’m being stabbed again.

http://Haiku-Heights.blogspot.com

Mechanical beats

Winter of my discontent

Heart felt discomfort

If you want to read more about Tallulah and see her pictures cut’n’paste  Pacemaker, Tallulah Pacehead in the search block at top of blog

Before you die, follow your heart with spirit

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart”.    Steve Jobs, Stanford, 2005

Liberty of Life

You are already naked

to follow your heart

Elixir of Death

 The powder that dries all wounds

return back to God

http://Haiku-Heights.blogspot.com

There was a time in my life when I couldn’t even hear the word death without bursting into tears,into painful, bone marrow deep fear.  My father told me over and over as a child that when we die we are nothing.  Our bodies shrivel into powder and we are nothing.  I would lie awake agonizing over that impossible thought; That one day I would perish into a blackness so profound that I would no longer exist.

He also said that energy was never lost, it only changed form.  I was too young to notice the discrepancy between his view of death and his view of life.

I no longer burst into tears.  I no longer believe that we will not exist beyond this human life.  It’s only taken about 60 years for me to embrace the scientific fact that matter never is lost, and the spiritual belief that the human spirit is never lost, that our souls simply transform as we grow spiritually, spiraling higher and higher, closer and closer to God.

Know thou that every hearing ear, if kept pure and undefiled, must, at all times and from every direction, hearken to the voice that uttereth these holy words: “Verily, we are God’s, and to Him shall we return.”
 
The mysteries of man’s physical death and of his return have not been divulged, and still remain unread. By the righteousness of God! Were they to be revealed, they would evoke such fear and sorrow that some would perish, while others would be so filled with gladness as to wish for death, and beseech, with unceasing longing, the one true God–exalted be His glory–to hasten their end. …
    http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/GWB/gwb-82.html

http://Haiku-Heights.blogspot.com

Do You Really Know What Matters To You?

Ridge we could see from our house

As pictures of Irene were coming at me from every TV channel I thought of all my blog-friends who were in its path and 1993.

In 1993 there was a destructive fire in the nearby town of Laguna Beach.  We could see the smoke and flames from our deck.  I remember going around the house and listing what I would take in the car if the fire were approaching and we had to evacuate:  The watercolors and oils my Mother painted; the folk art sculptures my Dad created in the last years of his life; a few pieces of jewelry, some masks from our collection, birth, social security, bank records, my purse with ID and credit cards; some changes of clothes; a few paintings I did in college, some pictures, a leash, a water dish and Max.

Last year we could see another fire in another location from our house.  I stood watching the smoke and flames and asked myself the same question:  What would I take?    The only thing I could think of was my purse and Max.  I figured my Husband would take care of himself!

It was quite a startling revelation that I had changed in the past 15+ years: Nothing material really mattered to me.  It could all burn down.  I even began imagining what I would do differently. Very strange, very interesting.  I’ve not changed my mind.

There’s a blog dedicated to that very subject created by Foster Huntington.  Here’s a bit of what he says about his blog:“The Burning House” showcases photos and lists of the things people would take with them if their house was burning. The project is a little over a month old and so far has received over three hundred submissions!”      

Read More of Foster Huntington’s interview on  http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2011/06/something-different-the-burning-house.html#ixzz1WOJsaa4y

Here’s what his instructions are:

If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.   http://theburninghouse.com/

 What would your list include?

My Studio – Getting Organized, still

Cupboards almost finished-Painting & Sewing Supplies

My art/jewelry/sewing EVERYTHING studio is coming along – slowly but surely.  In case you didn’t see the original post here it is: /judithwesterfield.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/the-second-best-husband-in-the-world-inching-up/

More stuff!
Old sisal rug I painted pink
POSSIBLE valance and curtains

Only great minds can read this!

This will put your dyslexia into a catatonic fit!
eonvrye taht can raed tihs rsaie yuor hnad!

Only great minds can read this
This is weird, but interesting!

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.

The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

anksthay otay atpay ambellcay orfay endingsay emay isthay ostpay!!!!!

Sorry Doug, Testicles are not Growing in My Garden

Maureen started this!   Doug ended it!

To see all the comments go to

https://judithwesterfield.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/what-on-earth-is-growing-in-my-garden-pun-intended/

____________________________________________

  • “How cool! Just hope they are not some kind of pod from a UFO!”  Maureen,

daybydaywiththeaddisongirl.wordpress.

  • They are UGO — Unidentified Growing Object. And I suspect they are Pod People.
  • I’m not busting that baby open . . . what if it is a Pod Person. . . That would be Podicide.
  • Doug said that it is a “Plant Testicle”… go figure that Doug would

say something like that…LOL  Chris

Procrastination & Motivation Take on New Meaning

I am clearly split.  Here’s my two finger puppets from the Motivation Beats Procrastination workshop:

My Motivator Puppet “Manny Moe & Jack” (I must delve into that name — it came out of nowhere during the imagery)  is a little angel, a star.  She’s a bit too sweet (sweet! did I just write that?!!)

  Oh my gosh!  SHE’S been the one eating all the pastry, pie and candy. . . .eating enough to fill Manny, Moe AND Jack)

(A clear example of the unconscious process.  Until I started writing I never had those thoughts)

My Procrastinator Puppet Isabelle has a heart ( you can barely make it out in the photo).  She tickles my fancy.  She’s a bit scary looking.  Maybe she should ring her bell and scare me from eating junk.  Ah, but she procrastinates.

The plot thickens (just like my waist . . .)

Prediction

Judy's Snail

I predict that of the 10 people signed up to come to tomorrow’s workshop MOTIVATION to Beat Procrastination 9 will be what I call A Gestalt Thinker.  The 10th person  lives or interacts with a Gestalt thinker and needs to figure out how to survive in that relationship

What the hey? You say!  Gestalt is a German word that has no English counterpart.  Think of it as  WHOLE picture rather than as pieces of the picture.

VERY simplistically these are two types of  brain HARD wiring:  Gestalt and Linear.  It’s not about personality, intelligence, intention, character – it’s how the brain is wired to perceive the world.

Linear thinkers rarely procrastinate. Procrastination drives them crrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaazy.  They need to know where they are going, what time, how and when they will get there.  If they are forced to take a detour (they will only detour if forced) they get a bit cranky.  With tasks they go from A to B to C to D and finish each before proceeding to the next.  Linear thinkers are thought of in our society as organized, dependable, tidy and factual.

Gestalt thinkers have an idea of where they’re headed but if something interesting happens along the way they will take a detour, spend as long as it FEELS RIGHT and try out many forms of transportation finding each one interesting.  With tasks they start at A and then get sidelined when M pops up and on the way to N they detour to Q and then F on their way back to A leaving each a little finished and a little unfinished until it’s a deadline and then they get it all done by staying up all night.  Gestalt thinkers are thought of in our society as procrastinators, undependable, messy,  scattered, disorganized and emotional.

In my estimation Gestalt thinking gets a really bad rap.  Our brains are hard-wired differently and our view of the world is different.  We see the whole picture first before noticing detail.  We do NOT like tedious linear tasks (like balancing checkbooks, paying bills, making do-to lists.)

We are very creative in that we see POSSIBILITY in EVERYTHING.  That’s why we never throw anything away.  There’s always some use, need or value in everything.

Don’t throw my prediction out.

I’ll let you know if it’s right. 

And if it isn’t right I have the feeling

I’ll figure out how to POSSIBLY explain it.

Gestalt from Webster: psychology : something that is made of many parts and yet is somehow more than or different from the combination of its parts
▪ the gestalt of human consciousness ; broadly : the general quality or character of something
▪ the gestalt [=feel, atmosphere] of the place ▪ the gestalt [=spirit] of the era

Unrequited Love

Judy's Journal Page

I’m in love.  Unfortunately I’ve not made time to spend with the object of my affection.  Fortunately, my paramour has lots of other lovers and doesn’t miss my attention.  I pine alone. 

This video made me realize that if I am going to feel good about my love affair, attention must be paid.

“There is a reason why art has served as a means of soulful self-expression for centuries upon centuries. All forms of art, from painting to dancing to music, are very personal and emotional experiences — both for the artists and the viewers.

While it is a common experience to fall in love with a certain artwork, scientists now have evidence that shows the brain reacts similarly when viewing artwork and when falling in love. New research by Semir Zeki, Professor of Neuroesthetics at University College London demonstrates that viewing a beautiful work of art creates the same chemical response as love. Both experiences trigger the feel-good chemical dopamine. So if you’re missing that special someone, perhaps partake in a daily dose of art inspiration.”

And even if you aren’t missing “that special someone” take in a daily dose of creative expression.

We all can use as much dopamine as we can get.

Naturally Nude and She’s no slouch!

Ida sent me this comment and link.  MMmmmmmmmmmmmm  Not only is Christine Lagarde classy she’s a pretty smart “broad”.

Ida, you are an inspiration and a founding member of the NNSBS*.

“I wanted to post this link, and hope this gets to you to post.
Christine Lagarde is my model hero for women. She is a walking
model of how to grow gracefully and not pandering to products
and what they perceive men want. Look at her, a knockout man,
head of the IMF. She did this all naturally and in France where
hair color is huge. She exudes self-confidence.

Superbly elegant,
Natural hair, nails, eye lashes,very little makeup….
Women feel as if they have to put on all these false things,
for what?? I never bought in too all that crap, (and actually, most men hate it
and fragrance)

here is the link. Hair color, painted nails, would ruin this look.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/05/christine-lagarde-style_n_917374.html#s321463&title=July_26_2011

*Naturally Nude Smart Broads Society  Instead of purple and red hats we will meet twice a year in Paris and buy a couture wardrobe.  Then we will meet once on the East Coast and once on the West Coast (of Italy) and sip champagne.  Are you with me?

Here’s a bit about Christine Lagarde:

 A French lawyer and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund since July 5, 2011. Previously, she held various ministerial posts in the French government: she was Minister of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry and before that Minister of Agriculture and Fishing and Minister of Trade in the government of Dominique de Villepin. Lagarde was the first woman ever to become minister of Economic Affairs of a G8 economy, and is the first woman to ever head the IMF.
A noted antitrust and labour lawyer, Lagarde made history as the first female chair of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie. On 16 November 2009, The Financial Times ranked her the best minister of finance of the Eurozone.  In 2009, Lagarde was ranked the 17th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.
On 28 June 2011, she was named as the next managing director of the International Monetary Fund for a five-year term, replacing Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the aftermath of his sexual assault legal case. Wikipedia

Tallulah is Owed Apologies

sunshineandchaos.wordpress.com

Well, I think I can see part of the problem. Look at the picture of the delightful Tallulah and see what kind of shoes she’s wearing. Has she had to walk downhill AND uphill on your morning walks wearing those shoes? No wonder she was cranky and sending you messages.I am glad you listened and went to the cardiologist. Hopefully this takes care of things and you can enjoy your walks again. Maureen

My Darling Maureen,

You are obviously a discerning woman to have noticed my shoes.  Since I have to perform my job in the nude I pay extra attention to my hair and shoes.  You are absolutely right I was not given time to change into more appropriate attire before we walk.  I shall discuss this with The JudyJudith.

Yours Truly,

Tallulah

dragonfliesandbuttercups
http://beccagivens.wordpress.com

Judy and Tallulah … Judy I am glad you figured it was time to go to the cardiologist … and Tallulah – I am delighted you are keeping my new blogging friend on track … please continue with your excellent diligent work!! 🙂
My Dearest Becca,

You are so kind to point out how I keep JudyJudith on track.  It is absolutely delightful to be recognized by such an illustrious Poetess such as you.  You have a knowing beyond your years.

With the kindest of regards,

Tallulah

hibernationnow.wordpress.com

and…….? have me worried about you now. umm,, stupid question but what made you keep walking for an hour and a half when you knew you weren’t feeling well? Would that be Tallulah Stubbornhead?! Feel better, and please give an update. Love, Laurie F.

My Dear Laurie F.
The Judy Judith walked for about 20 minutes going downhill. I kept telling her I was beat but she thought it was because she was holding her breath too much while she was chanting her prayer. So she stopped chanting where upon I kept telling her I just was walking to the beat of a different drummer. When she finally got the message that I just wasn’t up to par it took her over an hour to get back home because she had to go UP hill.
Very truly yours,
Tallulah
P.S. You are a good friend to be worried about her. HOWEVER, I am a bit hurt, no make that WOUNDED, that you called me Tallulah StubbornHead.  I do believe an apology is in order.

I think Tallulah StubbornHead is totally appropriate.  My goodness, you cannot mess around with Tallulah PaceHead, especially when she’s being cranky.  You and Tallulah have many people, including Max, relying on you, you know.  I think the early morning prayer walks sound wonderful.  I may try that myself.  Please, please take care of yourself.  Raffie

My Dear Raffie,

YOU TOO with the StubbornHead!  That is totally inappropriate.  Let me tell you . . . if I weren’t stubbornly ticking day and night, night and day, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 24 hours a day, with no time off, no vacations, no sleep, stubbornly stimulating JudyJudith’s heart she would be kaput. I do believe I am owed an apology.

Sincerely yours,

Tallulah 

P.S. You are a good friend to be worried about her. HOWEVER, I am a MORE THAN A bit hurt that you, of all people called me Tallulah StubbornHead.

phylor.wordpress.com

Cranky folks often need more attention — and often cause they are cranky, we would rather ignore them.
I hope that this new level of crankiness for Tullulahcrankypacehead gives you back your morning walks!
Tell Tallulah for me that you are special, and she shouldn’t be so hard on you, even if she is a crankypacehead.

Dear Dear Lorraine,

TallulahCRANKYPacehead!  You are adding even more insult to injury.  NOW I REALLY AM GETTING CRANKY.  I am beyond hurt, beyond. beyond, beyond

Sincerely,

Tallulah

!P.S. You are a good friend to be worried about her. HOWEVER, I am a MORE THAN A bit hurt , I am decimated that you  called me TallulahCRANKYpaceHead.

THESE shoes were made for walk'n

My Dearest Darlings Maureen & Becca,

YOU alone are the ONLY ones who STOOD up for me.  You shall have my undying (no pun intended) admiration and gratitude.  We are women hear us roar.

Tallulah PaceHead, my Cranky Pacemaker

Tallulah PaceHead

I’ve been getting up at 5 am, YES! YOU HEARD ME! 5, that’s F-I-V-E  A.M.  to take my Baha’i prayer walk.  Praying for 45 minutes to an hour has been really good for my soul but unfortunately Tallulah PaceHead, my Biotronik Pacemaker would rather sleep in.  She is a bit cranky getting up when it’s still dark.

Toward the middle of my walks I’ve been getting light-headed to the point where I’ve had to stop every so often.  Yesterday the light-headedness hit almost immediately.  I kept going thinking it would get better.   The walk turned into 1 1/2 hours. To get back home I had to stop every few feet so I wouldn’t pass out (well, that’s how it felt).

Time to stop ignoring the symptoms so I high-tailed it (in the car)  to my cardiologist and sat in the waiting room till they could fit me in.  Turns out Tallulah had to be cranked up a bit more.  As if she wasn’t cranky enough!

Bipolar Pacemaker!

Synchronized: Medical Marijuana & Living

A strange and wonderful place this blog-o-sphere.  Maureen  (“Sunshine and Chaos) is one of the women I’ve “met” through the marvels of this technology which I don’t begin to comprehend.

What I am beginning to comprehend is how all our lives and spirits are synchronized in mundane and miraculous ways.

Please take 10 minutes to visit her blog and view a powerful documentary she discovered on the web.

(The beginning of the video California is a place was a bit start and stop but I couldn’t stop watching and listening)

Click on the post link to view this 10 minutes documentary.

I don’t need to recap what Maureen said because her synopsis of the video and what you’ll see is perfect as it is.

http://sunshineandchaos.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/multiple-sclerosis-and-synchronized-swimming/

Can Compassion be Taught?

A blogger friend asked me this question.  Can compassion be taught?
My primitive thoughts:

1.  To be compassionate we have to put our egos aside.  When self-importance, personal need, greed drive us compassion fades.

2. People must be willing to learn.  What’s the saying? You can lead a human to God but you can’t make him believe.

3. Humans can be taught HOW to be compassionate toward others. 

An example that I come across every time I do couples counseling is that each partner intends compassion while the other partner experiences it as hurt or neglect.  The disparity between INTENTION and EXPERIENCE is based on how each of us PERCEIVES our “reality”.

Ex: The man is being compassionate when he tries to find a solution to the wife’s pain and all she wants is a shoulder to cry on and arms around her.  A wife is being compassionate when she expresses FEELINGS by putting  her arms around him when all he wants is her to bring him a hot meal and stop shopping.

Yes, these are stereotypes but substitute what you “do” to show compassion and you can teach yourself how to match your partners experience to you intention.  Just do what your partner wants instead of what you want.  Fill out the blanks to figure it out.

  • When I show compassion I (behavior)________________ therefore that’s what I want from my partner.
  • When my partner shows compassion he/she (behavior)______________________therefore that’s what he/she wants in return.

Almost to a fault you can believe that whatever one person DOES to show their compassion is precisely what they WANT in return.

4. The easiest way to teach compassion is to put the individual in situations with people less fortunate.  World travel, volunteering, support groups, charitable work are all ways of finding compassion.  Internet chat rooms and forums play similar roles.  (I am not yet convinced that having some kind of direct contact is still not the best way to develop compassion but technology has given us the way of behaving compassionately at a distance.)

After compassion is LOVE.

Can you teach love?

Fugu: Botox for the Brain or How to Teach Good Table Manners on Pain of Death

Here’s a killer fishy post  – because it’s time to increase hits on the blog.   Fish continues to be the most searched of all — blows me away

Fugu (河豚 or 鰒; フグ?, literally “river pig”) Biologists think pufferfish, also known as blowfish, developed their famous “inflatability” because their slow, somewhat clumsy swimming style makes them vulnerable to predators. Pufferfish quickly ingest huge amounts of water (air when necessary) to turn themselves into a virtually inedible ball several times their normal size. Some species also have spines on their skin to make them even less tasty . (Leave it to humans to figure out a way to eat them anyway!)

For Fugu (puffer or blowfish) is the most revered item in Japanese haute cuisine. What makes this culinary delight more interesting is the fact that it is 1,250 times more poisonous than cyanide.

You could survive several courses of Fugu with minimum trauma and live to tell of it. Or you could be writhing on a hospital bed with convulsions, looking forward to spreading paralysis and total respiratory failure in 6 to 24 hours. (Now that would be an exciting first date)

Why then, is the`honorable’ Fugu so popular that 10,000 tonnes of the fish are consumed in Japan every year and connoisseurs are willing to pay upward of $200 for a precious bite?

Sliced into paper-thin sashimi, however, their taste is supposed to be as “subtle as the fragrance of spring rain dripping upon a stone”. Very delicate and fine-grained with a strong oceanic flavor. Absolutely shiko-shiko in the mouth, as Japanese would say, when cut expertly and served up fresh.

The mellow, tingling buzz that comes from eating the smallest quantity – like a shot of dentist’s novocaine — apparently heightens the experience. The best Fugu chefs can fillet the fish in such a way that a safe amount of poison remains in the meat to create a mild narcotic euphoria, which, say Fugu-lovers, is quite addictive. (Thank goodness I’m not Japanese – I’d be dead by now based on my addictive eating patterns)

Bob Blowfish

And there’s of course the thrill of playing a will-it-won’t-it game of Russian roulette with every delicious mouthful. (Pointing a fish at my head is definitely more picturesque than a gun) For a nation that has given words like `harakiri’ and `kamikaze’ to the world, it probably wasn’t exceptional to invite guests to a Fugu restaurant and then have them dropping dead over their chopsticks before they even said thank you.  (mmm, might be interesting to have a jilted lover/betrayed spouse dinner party

According to records, 1958 was a vintage year for dinnertime expires with 176 Fugu deaths occurring all over Japan.

Once the government got into the act, however, monitoring Fugu restaurants and granting trade licences to only the most expert Fugu chefs, the death toll has come down to single-digit figures. Eating Fugu at licensed establishments in Japan and abroad, as a result, is now a lot less exciting (bummer) and almost completely safe.

Fugu is cooked in separate kitchens and every chef is bound by law to taste his preparation before he can offer it to his guests. (I think I will have the dinner party catered)


japanesefood.about.com/cs/seafoodfish/a/fugublowfish.htm

I’ll keep you posted on the search battle between the Butterflies and the Blowers!

Bertrand Butterfly
Percival Puffer

Stoooooooopid is as Stooopid Does

GeeeeeeZ, you’d think my Human would learn: She taught the 4-day Interactive Imagery Intensive; Came home Sunday evening; Monday, Got up at 5 am and walked (WITHOUT ME!) for 45 minutes then saw 4 clients;  She did the same thing all over again today – got up at 5 am, walked WITHOUT ME! for 45 minutes then saw 6 clients; She came home and insisted we take a nap.  I humored her, thinking we could walk together later.   WRONG!  She says she’s still too tired . . .

I pointed out to her this post she wrote LAST YEAR:


Personal: Fog, written in the Stars!

1 Oct 2010

My Horoscope for today: Aquarius, By Rick Levine
“You may be overly confident now in your abilities to make everything work out just fine. But your unrealistic optimism can be exhausting, especially if you have to deliver all the goods that you previously promised. Be as objective as possible today when making plans for your future, for working too hard can take all the fun out of the rest of the year.”

I just returned from teaching a 4 day intensive Interactive Guided Imagery Workshop for The Academy for Guided Imagery (AGI) http://www.academyforguidedimagery.com/ .  9 am to 6 pm every day.  I had a great time.  I love to teach and meeting new people that I learn from.  So I returned back home on a high thinking I was back in the same great form as when I first started teaching for AGI in the late 1980′s.  I hit the ground running seeing clients the first two days back.

Delusional! When will I ever learn that I have fibromyalgia and have to pace myself . . .Today I crashed.. .sat around in a hazy exhausted fog.  No matter that I’ve had fibro since 1996. No matter how old I am. No matter my physical condition or situation. Inside, I experience “me” as young and vital

After all these many years why do I  continue to be surprised when my body doesn’t respond the way I perceive myself?

Any thoughts?  (Is that just an Aquarian trait?)

Me, looking askance

2011 – Any thoughts? (Is that just a STOOOOOOOPED trait?)

Lickingly yours, LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL,

THE Max

Santa Monica, CA

Daru

Picked up my dear friend Daru and teaching partner from the airport and drove to our Hotel in Santa Monica.  Tomorrow Marks Day 1 of a four-day intensive teaching Interactive Guided Imagery for the Academy for Guided Imagery.

It was a series of lovely moments, painful realities and missteps:

1.  Couldn’t get into our rooms because of a credit card mishap so we went to The Promenade, had lunch and strolled.

2.  Went to our favorite store FOREVER 21 where we were the only customers over the age of 22.  I bought my favorite necklace to date — which I dubbed the Narcissist’s Delight,for $3.80, not including tax.

Narcissist's Delight Necklace

4.  Daru’s debit card was rejected because the bank was protecting her from identity theft since it was an Oregon card.

5. It was an incredible day — bright blue skies, warm temperature (75) and cool ocean breezes.  Perfect temperature.

6.  Got into our rooms, Daru’s baggage got mixed with mine.

7.  Daru got a call her Aunt had died

8. Daru got a call her mother who’s in a rest home has dental problems.

9. Ate a deeeeeeelicious warm chocolate chip cookie the front desk gives out for FREE.

10. Lost my key to the room and got locked out.  Went back to desk for another key and . . .

11.  Ate another warm chocolate chip cookie because I felt bad losing my key before I had unpacked.

Pain is Not a Coincidence

Fear in the Face of Pain, Acrylic on Canvas Board by judy

“On a serious note – YES, I can be serious, seriously!
I believe that life isn’t random and there are no coincidences. Everything that happens is to help us learn to let go of what is not needed and hold onto what is. The trick is learning the lessons before we are towed under. It’s hard when the lessons involve pain. But then again I believe the most important lessons always involve pain of some kind. It’s still hard”

I wrote that in response to a blog post on another blog.  The reply I got back was,  Weird how I believe there are no coincidences with good stuff and interesting stuff. I never thought of it for this [pain, catastrophe, etc] but I do now.”

I was surprised. I had never considered that there might be people I work with in my practice who believe pain, physical or mental, was a coincidence, a random happening when they collided with fate.

I know that all the most important learning experiences I’ve had come from pain or fear.  Even the most basic of things.

I lose weight because I fear what others will think of me in a bathing suit.  I eat healthy because I have gastric pain.  I rethink my life when in the throes of betrayal.  I could go on and on and on and on – which is my tendency, as my good friends know.

Here’s an exercise I’ve taught: Reflect – How many significant changes, how many important life altering lessons did you learn when you were happy, pleased, content, complacent, oblivious . . .?

Draw a line through your life and find the common thread of what you’ve lost, what you’ve had to let go of, what you feared losing,  losing a dream of what should be, could have been.  Almost always there is something difficult, painful, trying that recurs in different forms, different times, different ways throughout our lives.  Most often it is about loss, letting go.

If you follow the thread and how it weaves into your life you will probably find the lesson(s) you are here to learn.

My big lesson I have had to learn over and over in different times and ways is that I am not my pain, I am not what I do or what I have.  And I am here – as I believe we are all here – to serve with love and help each other grow with wisdom.

 My pain is still here. I’m still learning.

Why on earth should I keep Blogging? A letter to Lydias

Lydia's REAL Furry Ferret! "KODA BEAR"

I received this comment on the blog:

“Thanks. It gave me a smile to see my poem here. And the quote from mindfulness. I’m happy I stumbled on this blog. I was in a serious car accident a couple of months ago. I got a serious concussion and am still in the process of healing. This site encouraged me to explore more creativity. I can’t read music to practice my instrument but I can play with haiku. lol. It seems the rhythm of haiku is something my mind locks into a bit. (= Every day a new one; every day healing.”     Lydia,   ferretrunner.wordpress.com

About the Accident

Wreck, by Lydia

Ice stealing control
Gravity pulls, spiral down
Sudden crash, blackness.

Summer
Deep indigo sky
Crickets sing fireflies flash
Bright stars dance in night

Anxiety
Anxiety is
Shapeless dark monster pouncing
Snacking on life unlived

Ferrets
Paw thumping on floor
Ferret teeth chewing at itch
Wake up! It’s playtime!

Dear Lydia,

Sometimes I get discouraged.  It can be a very lonely, solitary experience connecting with thousands of people in cyberspace.  Well, not thousands, 80 or 90 at best and many of them are looking for information on butterfly fish – butterfly fish is the single most searched item on my blog, bar none.

I digress.  

I do get discouraged.  I often wonder if I would reach more people if I were more consistent in my blog topics.  I have a “swap meet-style” (you never know what you’re going to find – treasure or trash) rather than a “shoe store-style” (you always know what you’ll find, you just don’t know if it will fit).

I dismiss that thought because I have to amuse and interest myself to continue blogging in the event that no one else is amused or interested.  

What really makes me continue blogging are all “the Lydias”.  Every once in a while I get a message from someone like you who tells me that something I’ve written, or reposted has helped them in some small way.  

That brings a smile to my face, love to my soul and sends my fingers walking up and down the swap-meet aisles.

Thank you Lydia for taking your time to comment.

Judy

P.S.  If you want to meet Lydia’s Ferrets — about the cutest things I’ve seen go to:

http://ferretrunner.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/introducing-my-furchildren/

Bonobos, Play & Isabel

Left: Isabel Behncke Izquierdo, Primatologist, Oxford University, Right: Bonobo!

Reading this, besides being an interesting interview, I was struck by how our life experiences mold our character, our interests and the direction our life takes.  I have to admit I sometimes look back, not with regret, but with wistfulness at some of the paths I didn’t take.   Of course, knowing that if I had taken other paths I might still look back with wistfulness . . . I’ll never know.

I do know that Isabel Behncke Izquierdo’s path is a fascinating one. She is a Chilean primatologist who studies the bonobos in a remote jungle region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Very little is known about the bonobo, which along with the chimpanzee is the closest living evolutionary relative to humans. Behncke Izquierdo, 34, who studied animal behavior and evolutionary anthropology at Cambridge and Oxford, hopes that a better understanding of the bonobo will provide new insights into human evolution and a better understanding of how we come to experience such things as joy, creativity, and our capacity for wonder.

What can humans learn from the bonobo?
Much! Three main aspects: playfulness, social tolerance, and female bonding.

We have an extraordinary opportunity to learn from bonobos, more about our own evolutionary past on one hand, and on the other the incredible diversity of social organization in animals. Bonobos are our evolutionary cousins, that is, we share a common ancestor with them who lived approximately 6 million years ago. Since all the modern human ancestors are extinct, bonobos and chimpanzees are our living closest relatives, the best window we have into our past.

Most of the narratives around human evolution have been informed by what we know from chimpanzees, not from bonobos—since we know relatively little about them and most studies come from captivity, not from the wild. Chimpanzees are well-known for being tool makers, hunters, patriarchal, aggressive, political, and strongly hierarchical. Bonobos on the other hand are female-dominated, much more socially tolerant, with lessened and more flexible hierarchies, playful throughout their lives, peaceful both within and between groups.

It then follows that if we were to learn only from chimpanzees, our ideas of our past would be heavily skewed; we would be missing essential and wonderful aspects of what makes us human.

Are bonobos the swingers of the chimpanzee world? Are they as sexually liberated as the literature suggests?
Short answer is yes—bonobos are highly sexual creatures. Their use of sex is multidimensional: It is seen in contexts as varied as highly tense situations around food competition, bonding, play, and so on. A primatologist once said that “chimpanzees resolve sexual issues with power; bonobos resolve power issues with sex.”

In addition to variety in context, partner combination is also incredibly varied: There is adult male/adult female sex, of course, but in addition there is female-female, male-male, and also adult-infant sex. Much of adult-adult sex happens in stress-related situations (such as just before and during feeding), and a lot of infant sex seems to have elements of playful exploration (such as a game of chase in which a young female held a male literally by the balls as he laughed). But these are generalizations—bonobos’ sexual behavior always surprises.

If you could take a few bonobo behaviors and somehow make them part of human nature, what would they be?
What a fun thought experiment. I would have to choose grooming, inter-group tolerance, and sex. Aspects of these of course, since we already do them, yet not in the same way as bonobos do.

First, grooming because those long sessions of tactile social contact must feel wonderful—the only simile for us these days is paying for massage! Second, female bonding, and social tolerance in general: Formation of strong alliances between females seems to make for a more peaceful, tolerant, and less strongly hierarchical society. Last but not the very least, to bring in at least part of the sexual exuberance that bonobos have would certainly keep humans both very fit and happy! Just kidding, I don’t want to think about the complications that would cause!

How do you observe bonobos? Do you live with them? Do they come to know you or recognize you?
I study a group of wild bonobos that have been habituated to human observation by Japanese scientists and local Congolese trackers since the mid-’70s. The research station is a house made of mud and bricks in the village of Wamba (at the very heart of the Congo basin), which lies at the center of the study group’s range. I get up at 3:30 a.m. and walk through the jungle with the trackers to get to the bonobos’ sleeping site before they get up and start traveling (usually around 6 a.m.). We then follow them thorough their daily activities. They travel and split in smaller parties, looking for food. Usually at mid-morning, there will be a long “social session,” where the adults groom and the juveniles play. When they make their nests (beds) again in the evening, I record the place in my GPS and we then walk back to camp, shower, eat, and prepare for the next day of bonobo observations.

I think they do know me and recognize my voice and face, since for example when they hear the voices of villagers foraging in the forest they get startled in a way that does not happen with my voice (and those of the people they know). Bonobos are highly intelligent and curious animals, and there are a few bold individuals that have come to observe me at closer quarters sometimes.

Did your parents encourage you to have lots of pets? Is that what sparked your interest in becoming a primatologist?
Having lots of pets is an understatement. My dad had anything from eagles-in-rehabilitation roaming inside the house to a South American rhea running outside. So no lack of animal diversity there! Also, I was very lucky that we spent the long summer holidays at a sheep ranch where horses, dogs, and the local wildlife made for all the fun a child could possibly want. But exposure to animals is not all that made me a primatologist, since the multitude of books my mom encouraged me to read left an intellectual curiosity which has been a key driver all the way.

Did you really have a pet parrot as a child that you used to sneak on airplanes?
I was 8 years old when I was given this untamed, angry parrot by my father. I had the whole summer and total determination, so I succeeded in befriending him so that nothing would separate us for the following 15 years. During my late teens and early 20s I was frequently flying within Chile, and so to get onto planes I would regularly hide my parrot inside my sweater. To be honest, I think stewardesses knew about it but turned a blind eye. The proof came once when there was a disabled girl who had a panic attack, and since nothing seemed to calm her, they came to get me to see whether showing her the parrot would work. My little parrot did a great laughter impression and so it worked. We were then invited to visit the captain’s cockpit, but the adventure finished not quite on a high since the parrot decided to poo all over the flying instruments. Unforgettable.

Lose 30 pounds, get a chic wardrobe and an image consultant.

I could let it grow looooooooooong?

To dye for: Author unearths truths about going gray

10/24/2007 01:00 AM EDT
By ELLEN SIMONAssociated Press
Going Gray author Anne Kreamer
Little, Brown and Company / Chris FanningNEW YORK —
 
As author Anne Kreamer researched her book, Going Gray, she did some head counts, looking for famous gray-haired women.
 
She found only one gray-haired Hollywood actress (Jamie Lee Curtis) and no gray-haired women in the U.S. Senate in 2006. At the Fortune magazine conference for the most powerful women in business, only 11 out of 324 women attendees had gray hair.She sent her friends everywhere from parks in Oregon to new-parent orientation at the University of Vermont with the same outcome: A tiny handful of gray-haired women in a sea of dye.
 
Kreamer decided to quit covering her gray at 49. The book followed a popular article she wrote for More magazine about dropping the dye. In it, she argues that hair dye is a form of dishonesty the Baby Boom generation may be ready to shed.
I could wear grey clothes . . .
Dyeing, she figures, cost her hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars. More importantly, “I’ve come to understand that I really don’t want to look like some majority-approved standard-issue version of age fifty or fifty-five or sixty or sixty-five,” she writes.
I could hide my locks under rocks . . .
But going from artificial dark brown to gray brought its own issues.
Her colorist tells her she can’t simply strip the color from her hair. “The result of stripping would have been a ghastly, horizontally striped, porcupine-quill effect,” she writes.
 
So the book follows her “bad hair year,”from some gray roots, to gray roots and blonde highlights, to an earlobe-length gray cut, followed by a super-chic steel-gray style.In some ways, Kreamer’s is a classic makeover story: She loses ten pounds, hires an image consultant, clears her closets of the 1980s power suits from a job she no longer has, gives away the vintage Chanel from her every-hair-in-place mother and buys new clothes for the first time in 10 years.
(One great piece of advice from the style consultants: Your gray and black hair is its own pattern, so don’t wear patterns.)
I could shave my head so I can wear patterned clothes and real jewels . . .
With the help of a social scientist friend at the National Science Foundation, she devises a survey on how gray hair is perceived. One finding, using gray-haired and non-gray haired pictures of the same people, is that, unless you’ve truly gone prematurely gray, gray only adds three years to people’s estimates of how old someone is.
I could go short . . .
Her takeaway: If you’re dyeing your hair, the people around you are on to you. She finds going gray has both given her the best hair color of her life (“I love the way it shines in the sun,” she says) and made her a more honest woman.

HONESTLY !???!

Colorful Comments and MAXimum Replies

Judy.
DO NOT stop coloring your hair.
If, however, you decide to do it regardless of what I and MANY others say, then you will have to do a few more things:
1. Get and wear granny glasses, preferably ones that hang from a gaudy glasses hanger rope.
2. Wear black granny shoes, preferably with orthodics.
3. Begin walking with a cane (or you might just want to limp a little).
4. Start saying whatever you want whenever you want (oh, you kind of do that already).
Joyce
Dear Aunt Joyce,

I am not sure about #1-3.  HOWEVER, I know that #4 is the most aging . . . for me and everyone else.  You know my Human all too well.

Lickingly LLLLLLLLLLLLL,

Max

Max,
Please let Anty Judy know that I think gray hair is beautiful in and of itself. When I have enough of it, I will stop coloring my hair (which I do myself because I, too, detest appointments). So I say, go gray all the way.

Dear Aunt Raffie,

I’m not sure about the first sentence.  HOWEVER, I caution you telling my Human to go “all the way” with ANYTHING.  

Lickingly LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Max

Judy,

Let it grow natural. Unless you use a very low toxic hair color, it is another carcinogen
going into your body. Besides, once you have a lot of gray hair, you have to touch up
frequently….and you have to find a good colorist, very few of those, to really have a beautiful result and that cost hundreds of dollars to keep up. Can’t go cheap on that one:-)
A Good hair cut is key and keeping the cut updated. Nothing like a dated haircut to age one. I use to go into L.A. to get mine. I LoVe L.A.

That’s my two cents worth. Glad you have natural nail. Never could understand the false nails. I now they’re popular in OC.

Ida

Dear My Best Friend Ida,

I’m not sure about your first paragraph.  HOWEVER, I can’t understand the false nails either and nail polish is a complete waste as it doesn’t stay on when you have to dig and scratch.

Lickingly LLLLLLLLLLLLLL,
Max

Max,

You’re beautiful just the way you are. You should NEVER color your hair!  

Your owner is also beautiful, but I think she should color/not color as her heart leads her. It sounds like she’s leaning toward NOT.

I do color my hair. I started at the age of 40 because I figured I’d earned it. But I love it. I love the feeling of somebody else taking care of me for a little while, I love the feeling of having my hair looking completely unnatural…it has always felt like total luxury for me. I only get it done maybe 3x/year – I’m dirty blonde turning white, so I can probably get away with fewer trips to the salon than most.

So I think you should tell Judith that she should do what’s in her heart, and that you think you hear natural hair growing inside there.

Jane

Dear my NEW best friend Jane,

I’m so glad you noticed – I am a natural strawberry blond. That’s why I always wear turquoise collars. That color also plays up my warm brown eyes.
Lickingly yours, LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
Max
P.S. My Human follows her heart very often — that’s how she ended up with purple streaks in her hair and ME!


Judy,
Here’s some questions for you. Do you care if you have grey hair? Is colouring it that much of a bother? Do you like the end results of having your hair coloured or is it an energy expense that you don’t want?
I colour my hair. I don’t work so I also don’t have to worry about having it done in a certain amount of time. I can go a couple of months and not colour. I put my hair in a pony tail each day and at some point the grey hair will show. It doesn’t bother me but, that’s me.
And, like you, I have changed the colour from different browns to auborn. I’ll try a brown shade then go to a red (which I have to leave in a little longer to cover the grey) a couple of times and then back to another brown. Which is probably the reason why I haven’t tried the root touch-up kit. I may try that at some point. But, for me, it’s like changing eye shadow and lipstick shades. It’s still fun for me and I don’t do makeup so hair colour is the girlie thing I do for myself.
How much grey do you have and where is most of it? Most of mine is at the temples so when I don’t have my hair in a pony tail, it’s not as noticeable. My mother, and I’m lucky because I inherited her genes, always looked a good 15 years younger than her actual age. She (actually, a lot of times, me) coloured her hair into her sixties then she got fed up with doing it and let her hair go grey. It didn’t take long as she had short hair.
However, within a couple of years my mother started having mini-strokes and really started looking more her age. Mentally, I think, this is when she became “old” and this may have been the time to colour her hair if it made her happy as opposed to when she was younger.
So, it’s back to the basic questions I asked at the beginning:
“Do you care if your hair is grey”,
“Do you really like the end results of having your hair coloured”, or
“Is it an energy expense that you don’t want?”.
And yes, I realize my long answer to your question is with more questions. Sorry.
And give Max some hugs and a treat from me!
Maureen
 

Dear My Best Friend Maureen,

I’m not sure about anything you said.  HOWEVER, your last sentence was right on the mark.

Lickingly LLLLLLLLLLLLLL,

Max

P.S.  I really don’t care if my Human’s hair is grey or purple or chartreuse as long as she doesn’t color it the same as mine so we look alike.


We are all comatose in some way

ComaDude.com
“The amazing, tragic, heartwarming, frustrating, possibly miraculous story of Randy Hall, who entered a no-man’s land as one person and emerged two years later as another.

“39 year-old Randy Hall was attacked near his store in Laguna. He was struck repeatedly on the left side of his head. He’s still fuzzy on the details, but says he’d like to thank his attacker for saving his life”

I just finished speaking with an extraordinary man with an extraordinary story. 

After hearing his story, I realized Randy’s  journey through this life called “human” was not much different from mine.  

For me to emerge from my own coma it took the pain and fear of not knowing what was physically wrong with me when I developed fibromyalgia to figure out what it is I know: Love, wisdom and compassion ultimately bind us all.

Na-Na, Randy's Owner

Take a moment to read this newspaper article  I cut-n-pasted it below because the link isn’t working.

 

Laguna Niguel News
The Orange County Register
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Reclaiming his life
Brotherly love has helped Randy Hall through a coma, frustration and, maybe, learning to walk again
By AMANDA STRINDBERG
Randy Hall thought he had it all – a sleek silver-smoke SL500 convertible Mercedes, a lucrative clothing business, escapades to Europe, a collection of the finest French wines, parties to attend and women to schmooze.
But it wasn’t until Hall ventured into a two-year venture into no-man’s land between life and death that he realized his life was empty.
He was missing happiness.
Hall was left comatose on April 19, 2000. He was assaulted in his Laguna Niguel home. The case is still under investigation. (Note: in 2005, Randy still had not regained memories of what happened. As of now, however, he says the assault did NOT take place in his home).
He says his two-year slumber was a wake-up call for him to abandon his fast-paced lifestyle.
“I almost feel lucky that I went into the coma,” Randy says. “It was almost necessary for me to realize how bad my life really was. I may have had thousands of women, but it was always boom, boom, see ya. I wasn’t happy. I want a wife. I want kids. I love kids…If it would have been my time to go I probably would have gone down there,” Randy said pointing downward. “I was a bad guy, but look, here I am now. I am so lucky,” he says, shuddering as he thinks of his past life of sin and pleasure. “I am much happier now.”
His brother Alan agreed. “It was like God gave him another chance,” he says. But Randy says there is one thing holding him back from complete happiness.
He wishes he could walk again and get out of the prison he considers his wheelchair. Last week Randy had two surgeries that may give him the chance to walk. Surgeons removed excess bone growth on his hip and knee and sliced tendons to allow them to be stretched.
For the next two to six months hall will go through physical therapy to regain the ability to walk – something doctors said would never happen. But doctors said he would never wake up from his two-year slumber.
Randy is determined to prove them wrong again.
“I am not going to live like this,” Randy said, sitting in his wheelchair. “The doctors, of course, are going to tell you the worst, but I have a goal and I am going to achieve it. I can’t be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”Randy made his decision shortly after waking up from his coma. His brother wanted to take him out of the hospital room in a wheelchair and Randy refused to go. He thought if he never sat down in the wheelchair then he’d never be crippled.
“He never wanted to accept anything other than a full recovery,” Alan says. Randy agreed.
“I have to walk, I just have to,” he said, tears streaming down his face. “I know I will. I can do it.”
Randy dreams of the day he will be back on the slopes, swishing down the mountain to 60 mph, snow flying in his face.
“I loved it,” he said. “Skiing was my passion.”
Disneyland was once one of his favorite spots, but the last time he went the rides were too scary.
“I cried almost,” he said. “I used to eat that stuff up.”
But despite missing his thrill-seeking habits Randy says he is still much happier than he was before the incident. He owes his life and his happiness to his brother, he says.
Alan fought for Randy’s life the two years he was in a coma.
Although doctors told Alan and his family there was little chance Randy would ever wake up, Alan never stopped believing. He kept on top of the nurses and doctors making sure Randy got all the care available to him, fighting the “system” on behalf of Randy for almost three years. He begged, pleaded, pushed and even harassed many professionals along the way, but all in the name of love and saving his brother’s life.
“Had I gone along with what I was told was correct and customary, Randy would still be in a coma or worse,” Alan says.
Randy’s business would also have been gone. Alan took over Randy’s three clothing stores once he went into the coma.
On the ceiling of one of the stores, he had an angel painted, watching over Randy while he slept.
Alan also made sure Randy’s 40th and 41st birthdays didn’t go unnoticed. As family and friends gathered at the hospital, the birthday boy lay nearly lifeless with no memories of the year that passed. Food was bought and a cake was made, but no one was hungry.
“It’s disgusting to see me like that,” Randy said watching a video of his 41st birthday.
While Randy slept his brother visited his bedside encouraging him to wake up.
“Hey you, when are you going to wake up?” he’d say. “Get your lazy ass out of bed.”
He played Randy’s favorite CDs, brought in wine and cigars, waving them in front of his nostrils and read Randy stories.
Randy slept in the coma ward at South Coast Medical Center. Many of the patients had ocean view rooms. None could enjoy them.
“It was eerie,” Alan says. “It’s like you check in, but never check out. It’s beautiful, with white water views. It’s this beautiful place you go, but you never check out.”
But Randy did. Slowly over a couple of weeks in 2002 Randy woke up, his body twisted and curled from the slumber.
He woke up in a fog where dreams and reality swirled together. “I didn’t understand,” Randy says. “I just thought I got too drunk the night before.”
The first year out of the coma he called his brother Steve and the first time he entered his house about a year after he woke up he didn’t believe it was his.
Alan re-taught Randy how to talk and emotionally supported him, even when he wasn’t the nicest.
Being handicapped was a blow to Randy’s self esteem.
“I was destroyed,” Randy said. “I hated looking at myself.” Randy took out a lot of his frustration on those around him, including his brother and attendants, many who quit.
“He yelled obscenities and treated those around him like slaves,” Alan says. For the first time Alan doubted his fight for his brother’s life.
“I felt like I had gone against nature,” he said. “I had that sense I had done something wrong.”
Alan described his bother as a zombie, ready to terrorize the town – unhappy, miserable and in severe pain.
He yelled at others and argued. He hated having to re-learn things he said he was taught in kindergarten. He cried in public.
His progress was like a little kid growing up. There were setbacks including a surgery to remove an infected brain shunt and the removal of a brain abscess the size of a tennis ball that caused Randy to quickly regress and almost killed him.
There were days when the “Great Alan” felt like he couldn’t handle it. There were nights he couldn’t sleep and times he felt like he was going to snap.
But slowly Randy regained his sarcastic, playful personality, with his brother by his side. About a year ago, Randy enrolled in Coastline community College’s program for brain- injured students where he says he learns to cope with life. He graduates in about a year and hopes to walk through the crowd when he receives his diploma.
“I will walk,” he says. “I am doing so well already, my legs are already straightening out.” And through the journey a strong friendship between tow brothers has formed. The two have become more like each other.
Alan has learned from Randy (that) it is okay to be selfish once in awhile and put yourself first.
“He saved my life just as much as I saved his,” Alan says. Randy has learned from Alan the meaning of true unconditional love.
“I love him very much. My brother has been so good to me and been there for me all this time,” Randy says fighting back the tears. “He’s a really good guy. I admire him 10,000 percent.”
CONTACT THE WRITER: (949) 454‐7367 or astrindberg@ocregister.com To contact Randy Hall, email him at comadude@cox.net

Update by Max

Dear ALL my best friends,

Since my Human has been toooooooo poooooooooped tooooooooo pop I thought I had better let you know all the important things that have happened.  Here’s my update:

  1.  I was taken to the Vet today!  I got tricked.  I was told we were going for a ride.  Well, I got taken for a ride.  I DO NOT like that place.   I don’t trust anyone in that office.  I was very upset.  You see I had a staph infection a few weeks ago and they were checking up to make sure it’s all gone BUT NO ONE told me that was all they were doing.  One time I got left there for several days and it was a very harrowing experience.  I did get to have a few treats and a walk afterwards because my Human felt guilty for tricking me.  She SHOULD.
  2. My Human got some sleep last night!!!!!! I’m so relieved because she’s been disturbing MY sleep every night and I need my sleep.  I always sleep through the night and NEVER disturb my humans with coughing and snorting . . .  enough said.
  3. My human Judy’s new studio is at a standstill because my Human Dave has a sore elbow.  My human’s are falling apart right in front of my eyes.
  4. My human is working on a new workshop with her friend Laurie Miller. www.hypnosisconcepts.com  It’s about procrastination.  Laurie wants to do it with my Human because Laurie doesn’t know the first thing about procrastinating and My human is an expert procrastinator.

THE END

Helping my Human catch up with replies

As you’ve figured out by now my human Judy has been tooo pooooped tooooo pop.  She kept falling asleep ON the computer — not a pretty sight.  I offered her a rug that I don’t use – I prefer the couch or the bed.  

I think it rather rude of her not to respond to all your comments so I’m helping her catch up. I put the best comment first so you wouldn’t miss it.

rosemaryl.blogspot.com
just saw Max’s comment!! This is why I love, love, LOVE Max!!!!!!!!

Dear My Best FRIEND ROSE,  I think you are a woman of discriminating taste.  And I LOVE you!

phylor.wordpress.com
You’ve probably heard all the suggestions, including neti pot; elimination diets (google low histamine diet — it’s kinda interesting, very european, and takes a slightly different approach and if you were allergic, might be a good thing).
As strange as this may sound, maybe you need a sleep study? Usually, it’s to see if folks are getting REM sleep, deep sleep, etc. But, maybe being hooked up to monitors might show if there is something physiological going on. How long do you have to be lying down before it happens? Will it happen if you lay down for a nap? Something is triggering your sinus to let go; mine drips all the time; just can be worse when I’m lying down.
I find a good cry cleans out my sinuses; don’t recommend it, but if you need a good cry, there might be some medicinal effects. (as opposed to a bad cry, lol)
PS: haven’t forgotten to collage/poem; been trying to get so much done that I haven’t had time for “fun.” Actually plan on two collages for you; one using your great method; and one of my own devising.

Dear my best friend Phylor

My Human needs more than a sleep study.  She needs to have her head examined!  She had 2 sleep studies.  Those were a joke cuz she didn’t sleep!  You are My Good friend but please don’t tell her to cry because she’s a big enough cry baby as it is.  I’m no cry baby,  I’ve never cried in my entire life.  She needs to learn how to suck it up and be a dog.

Who is singing the song on the hummingbird video?  https://judithwesterfield.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/all-gods-creatures-rescue-of-a-baby-hummingbird/
Dear my New Best Friend Julie,

I double checked but there was no credit for the singer or the song.  Maybe someone will recognize the singer and tell us?

rosemaryl.blogspot.com

I think there’s a little part of us that is a tad superstitious and we don’t like to take the chance! I agree with you though…….I hate forwarding threats………it’s creepy!!!
Dear my best friend Rose,

Humans are REALLY WEIRD.  I’ve never had a superstitious day in my life.  Human’s should be dogs.

Wish there were a magic trick … but alas, I do not know of one … so instead I am sending you healing energies to get you through this! I am glad to hear you are not allergic to Max … :-) but I am sure, not as much as he is! Happy Sunday and here’s to a better week ahead!!

Dear my Best FRiend Becca,

You are right on!  If my human were allergic to me I’d have to turn her in for a new human.  

phylor.wordpress.com

hey, the year plus age works: 111 (if I added correctly, and since I transpose numbers, this could be incorrect). Does this mean I will find 111 pennies or dollars or 100 dollar or 1000 dollar bills? Will the loot come by email? Not sure the CD slot in my laptop is big enough for large bills to shoot out of.
Hey Max: maybe you should forward the email with your human isn’t looking; the money that comes in might pay for my vacation with you in sunny CA. I have relatives in Tustin, CA who might even let me stay in their guest room (or their bath pavilion with the big screen tv — they’re rich — bet they forwarded all the emails they got! {LOL})

Dear my Best Friend Lorraine,

Tustin is very close to where I live.  When you come please bring doggie treats.  We can go for a walk. And your rich relatives can bring me RICH doggie treats.  As soon as you get your loot buy doggie treats and a ticket to California.  I’ll send my Human to the airport to pick you up.  


No Fungus Among Us

Good Mold

Quickie update:  Step 37 – went to an allergist.  Good news:  I tested negative for EVERYTHING.  I’m not allergic to Max, dust mites, cockroaches, grass, trees, wheat, citrus, pollen . . . I didn’t even have a reaction to mold or fungus!

The bad news:  There’s nothing I can avoid or eliminate to stop this sticky-stuff from forming and waking me up for hours on end at night.

Haven’t blogged as I’ve been rather fibro-fogged with the continuing saga of not sleeping.  All my concentrating ability is reserved for my clients.  The rest of the time I’m falling asleep at rather inopportune times:  Like anytime I sit down – I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

I so appreciate all the natural nose sprays, allergy remedies, suggestions, encouragement, sympathy, empathy.  I’ve tried it, am trying it and haven’t given up.

Last night, er morning, I took a 45 minute walk at 4 am.  Couldn’t sleep without choking so decided I might as well exercise.  I actually love walking in the dark and do it regularly but usually between 7 pm and 9 pm.

Good Fungi

Step 38 is using this special Rx nosespray that is suppose to stop mucus formation — unfortunately the mucus hasn’t been told.  Have one week more for the mucosa to get the message before Step 39 which is to see a gastroenterologist (even tho GERD was ruled out. . .?)

Step 40 is amputation.  I’ve always wanted a perky nose.

Grandma-for-a day . . . is pooped

Spent Sunday with Dylen.  He’s 5.  Pardon me, he’s 5 1/2.   I learned a lot:

  1. How to focus on being in the present moment by playing computer games for hours on end, remaining engaged.
  2. How to look at Max in a completely different way.

  1. Turkey sandwiches can be eaten dry because nothing else tastes good.
  2. Max can consume more than his weight in doggie treats.
  3. I’m waaaaaaaaaaay older than 5 1/2.

I love to post the pictures that Dylen took of himself but I don’t have his parent’s permission.

Dylen is fluent in Spanish and English, smart, friendly and totally at ease with himself.  I’ve got more to learn (after I take another nap).

P.S.  For those of you who are suspecting that Dylen might be a dog: Dylen is a real human 5/1/2 year old little boy.  Max liked him a lot because Dylen had fun giving Max treats.