Friday, April 20, 2007

Truth Or ... What The ~ Late Night Thoughts

I'll be the first to admit it ... I've needed some good laughs over the last couple of days. And along with a couple of dear friends sending me some good solid belly laughs, I also found some "true" stories. I put the true in quotations, not to say I question their accuracy - but rather to accent the word. After all, truth is almost always stranger than fiction. (A famous writer stated the difference as: Fiction has to make sense.

Guns have been banned in Britain for years, so now swords are getting to be a menace. "Imitation" samurai swords have been identified as a weapon of choice in various attacks, so the Home Office has announced it wants to ban the weapons by the end of the year as part of a "wider crackdown" on knives and other bladed weapons. "Samurai sword crime is low in volume but high in profile," a Home Office spokesman said. "It is already illegal to have a samurai sword in a public place but I want to restrict the number of dangerous weapons in circulation." Those caught with swords, whether used in an assault or not, would face up to six months in jail and a 5,000-pound(US$9,800) fine. (London Telegraph) ...The ultimate conclusion: half of all Brits will be sentenced to break rocks into sand so the other half can't throw them.

Lawyer Balthazar Napoleon de Bourbon, 48, of Bhopal, India, has always loved France, and even gave his children French names. And, he has recently learned, he may be first in line as king of France. His lineage has been traced to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and apparently also the Bourbon king of Spain. He is willing to take a DNA test to confirm the link. (London Guardian) ...You know, this "outsourcing" thing is really getting out of hand

Students from rival campus organizations at the Dawood Engineering College in Karachi, Pakistan, had fistfights and threw furniture at each other in a January confrontation over which group should get credit for putting up posters urging students not to fight on campus...sounds as if reading class had gotten a little behind.

Two Bulgarian nationals were arrested in San Marcos, Texas, in January after being caught allegedly robbing coin-change machines at an apartment complex, and police subsequently found apartment guides for several cities in their van, along with a half-ton of quarters ($18,700)...Now there's a commercial in the making!!

And last, but not least - from California Driver education Exam (where else and what else?)

Q: Do you yield when a blind pedestrian is crossing the road?
A: What for? He can't see my license plate.

Q: Who has the right of way when four cars approach a four-way stop at the same time?
A: The pick up truck with the gun rack and the bumper sticker saying, "Guns don't kill people. I do."

Q: What are the important safety tips to remember when backing your car?
A: Always wear a condom.

Q: When driving through fog, what should you use?
A: Your car.

Q: How can you reduce the possibility of having an accident?
A: Be too drunk to find your keys.

Q: What problems would you face if you were arrested for drunk driving?
A: I'd probably lose my buzz a lot faster.

Q: What changes would occur in your lifestyle if you could no longer drive lawfully?
A: I would be forced to drive unlawfully.

Q: What are some points to remember when passing or being passed?
A: Make eye contact and wave "hello" if he/she is cute.

Q: What is the difference between a flashing red traffic light and a flashing yellow traffic light?
A: The color.

Q: How do you deal with heavy traffic?
A: Heavy psychedelics.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Refuse To Be Afraid ~ Early Morning Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel the fear and do it anyway.
--Susan Jeffers

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

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

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

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

--more to come

---Dragon picture

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Storms Have Eyes ~ Early Morning Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And the music goes 'round and 'round
and it comes out"

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 16, 2007

There Was Calm Before The Storm ~ Early Morning Thoughts

In short ~ It doesn't rain but it pours!

In longer:

Today was to be a delightful, warm and sunny day. A day of relaxing, regrouping, and building back up to face the week.

Tonight in the space of two hours ~ Three major events, one very personal, one personal and one involving two very dear friends rolled across the horizon and opened up and the "quality of mercy" didn't drop as gentle rain - but in great big lumps!

I'm still dealing with two of the events, and I'll explain them tomorrow. I can say, however, thank heavens I had the day ...