ACHOO! Plagued with Allergies

Is anyone else noticing their allergies to be particularly awful right now? My main culprit is grass--always has been. However, I cannot recall having been bothered this much, especially so many days in a row! It's really irritating me. I go outside, even for just a few minutes, and I'm sneezing my head off. Itching all over. I had planned on taking a break from work and taking a bike ride this afternoon, but after I headed to the store and came home 15 minutes later, sneezing like a mad woman, I decided to take a rain check. I just returned indoors after watering my plants and sure enough, the sneezing had begun.

I noticed it last weekend--even with the cooler weather. I'd head out. I'd sneeze. I'd sit inside for awhile, I'd feel better. When it's warm outside, especially in the early evenings (my absolute favorite time of day, especially in the summer), I WANT TO BE OUTSIDE! Outside and comfortable, I should add. I have some prescription nasal spray I take--it's the only thing I've found that works, although right now it isn't working so well. I do the nasal douching, which at least cleanses out my sinuses and provides some relief. Homeopathic and herbal remedies haven't done a thing. I did shots for 3 years and they didn't do a thing for me either. I later learned the likely reason was that synthetic allergens are used instead of the real deal. How stupid is that?! Once our pre-existing 6 month waiting condition is over though, I plan on going to an accupuncturist (local MD here in town) and trying that for my allergies.

Oh well. Once July hits, I'm better. Although when the field burning begins, I have to hibernate again. Gawd..... Grass allergies annoy me. Field burning though, oh man, you want to get me started on a tirade, ask me what I think about that practice. I'm hopeful for its elimination though, being we have an excellent Rep. in our State Legislature--Paul Hovey out of Eugene--who is a strong proponent of banning this practice. His latest attempt at a bill made it through the Health Committe and stalled, in all places, :::shock shock::: the Agriculture Committee. The grass seed lobby is, of course, huge in this state. Rep. Hovey won't be giving up though. There are talks of the introduction of another bill and perhaps even a ballot measure.

In the interim, pass me a tissue, please.

A Little Bit of Denial A Good Thing? It Is If You're Highly Sensitive.

I noticed something yesterday. Nothing I didn't already know, but still, it was an observation that made me take notice in a new way. I was doing my usual internet browsing, checking out one of the sites for my daily dose of "in the news". Or shall I say "the news you won't find on the MSM". I've been having a lot of stomach issues lately. Mostly it feels as though my tummy is in knots. Yesterday, as I read of the latest doom and gloom news, I paid attention to how my stomach reacted. It had been calm and relaxed--until I read the news. "I heard the news today, oh boy......." I then asked myself "why are you doing this to yourself?"

Maybe there are some people who can keep themselves informed of the happenings around the globe without suffering any health consequences. I have to accept that I am not one of them. I'm a highly sensitive individual. Always have been, always will be. Someone once gave me the book "The Highly Sensitive Individual". I refused to read it for years. When I took the quiz in front of the book and answered "yes" to every question, I groaned. Being highly sensitive in our western world is hard. But it explains the struggles I've had. Words affect me. The moods and actions of others affect me. Music, the arts, the clouds and birds and all of nature, all affect me. Good and bad. I've tried the "let things bounce off of you" approach. I've tried the mind control stuff--training my mind with new thoughts. Doesn't work on me. I am who I am.

Sometimes it's a real curse. It has meant that loud music from neighbors is very disturbing. It has meant that crowds can, at times, send me into a state of claustrophic panic. Traffic, the heat, drunks in loud drunken stupor, even bright lights in stores can all simply be too overwhelming for my nervous system.

Sometimes though, it's a real blessing. It means I am deeply moved by a song, by the smile of a child, by the look in my spouses eyes when he says "i love you". It means I can watch a bird, as I did last night out in our yard, and not only see its aura but feel it's presense and find the experience so amazing, I weep.

This sensitivity of mine is probably, in large part, what drives my passion, what drives my intense need for justice and fairness. What makes me compose the songs that I do. Write what I write. Feel at the level I feel. Misunderstood and unaccepted (mostly by yours truly), it's probably what has, in part, been fuel for my anger, my rage.

As I noticed what my stomach did yesterday upon reading the news, I realized that, for someone like myself, a little bit of denial can be a good thing. Or maybe it's a little bit of "i already know--i just don't need to remind myself of it again". Afterall, my health is all I really have.


More Proof of a Corrupt System Lacking in Compassion

And common sense, I might add.

Mr. Nina has some health issues that warrant a social security disability claim. He's applied for SSI, but of course, like the vast majority of applicants, he was denied. He applied again. Same consequence. This time he visited with an attorney. The news was sobering.

There are five levels that Uncle Sam looks at in order to disqualify you (or qualify you, depending on how you wish to look at it). In order to be approved, an applicant may not make more than $900/month. An applicant may not work full-time (even though he doesn't work full time, it's still considered to be too many hours). Quitting your job doesn't count, either. You have to be forced out due to your disability. Absolutely rediculous.

Mr. Attorney said if/when you get into this situation as outlined above, then you may use our services.

So let me get this straight, SYSTEM. An applicant, who has worked their entire lives and fed THEIR MONEY into the Social Security SYSTEM, who has been abused by employers to the extent that permanent bodily damage has resulted (we already went the Workers Comp route--unless you're in a wheelchair or have a lot of money to compete with Big Business and their host of millions and attorneys, forget it--our attorney told us to settle--said biz was much more powerful. Criminal, ain't it?), said individual cannot receive a dime of disability until they are living in such extreme poverty conditions, which of course as anyone with an ounce of brain matter knows causes such extreme levels of stress it only worsens health issues, and then at that time, likely homeless or living in a one room shack, THEN they can apply and receive benefits. Uh, sure. And what social service agency gives an applicant money for rent??? Only one here in town is Community Services Consortium and their program is so rugged-individualistic-american-worker-dog-slave based, you must agree to take full-time work (which they will constantly monitor your efforts and help you find such work) when the opportunity arises--irregardless of your ability or want or needs.

Even as my income increases and Mr. Nina can therefore cut back on his hours, it still isn't good enough given he cannot cut back on his hours. His disabilities must be shown to interfere with his job and only his employer can cut back his hours as a result. Ok, so wtf do you do when your employer refuses to do just that, even though you have said I AM IN TOO MUCH PAIN TO DO THIS WORK AT THIS LEVEL OF HOURS. ???

It's his damn money. He has the fucking RIGHT to start collecting it whenever he feels he wants to or needs to. PERIOD. Hello?!! Uncle Sam, you are holding his money hostage.

The SYSTEM sucks. It's broken. It's corrupt. It's criminal. It supports the top and screws the bottom. It helps and values the healthy rugged individualist while abusing the vulnerable broken human. When I experience these sorts of things, I lose it. I go off on a ranting rage. What in the fuck am I to do when my value system doesn't mesh with the value system of the world around me?! It's a question I've pondered for years. I have no answers to it. The madness is enough to make you feel insane.

I completely understand why people resort to non-violent criminal activities to make it in the world. At least the only one telling you what to do is your own mind. I keep telling Mr. Nina--self-employment. Self employment. Self employment. Self employment. Either that or sell off everything and go restore some old abandoned cabin. Of course, there are cameras and laws up the ass, so living in hiding, so-to-speak, doesn't seem doable these days--unless perhaps you have a hefty size bank account or trust fund. Money can indeed buy you freedom these days. Sickening, but true.

God damn, this world sucks more than I can grasp. The unfairness. The injustice. We call ourselves a 'Christian Nation', but that is indeed a lie. Perhaps the biggest lie of our times. If Jesus were here today, would he encourage our leaders to invade another nation? Would he encourage Big Business to continue to give themselves huge bonuses and pay increases while their workers struggled? Would he tell the Health Insurance Industry to keep on raising their rates and putting profits ahead of the well-being of the people? Would he be overjoyed to see people working their asses off just to keep a roof over their heads? Would he cheer as he watched people's dreams slip away due to the workaholic slave labor system and the lack of support we provide one another? Would he be estatic to see the polluted oceans and waterways, the chemical spraying of our skies, the destruction of so many of our beautiful forests, the inhumane ways of today's modern farm? Would he turn on the TV and cheer loudly with the rest of the red necks while watching the reality shows, the judge shows and others like it that only serve to keep rugged individualism and blast-thy-neighbor/whoever yells loudest wins alive and well?


Or perhaps, maybe just perhaps, would he shake his head and slip into a deep state of apathy and depression. Maybe he would cry tears of deep pain. Maybe he would scream in rage at what he witnessed. And then maybe he would talk with our leaders and remind them of who they really are. Maybe he would remind them of the value in all of life. That inherent worth that cannot be bought or sold. That inherent worth that cannot be judged in absolute truth by any living soul. Maybe he would say ENOUGH to the high cost of housing. ENOUGH to the high cost of health insurance. ENOUGH to the fighting. ENOUGH to rugged individualism. ENOUGH to the "dog-eat-dog" and survival of the fittest mentality (it may apply in the animal kingdom but remember we were given a frontal cortex that enables us to experience REASON and LOGIC so there's no excuse for this auto-pilot bullshit we see in today's world). ENOUGH to greed. ENOUGH to poverty. ENOUGH to living lavishly while others go without basic needs. ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH

I see so much in my mind of how things could be, but I also believe the resistance and apathy is greater, so much greater, than any vision I could ever have. Even though I'm not Christian, at least how today's people have defined it, I sure do wish in my heart of hearts that this being Jesus would return. Male or female, I don't care. And not in some silly, stupid armageddon or end times scenario. In a way that only the true being would do--in love and peace. To unite us all. Bring us to our own hearts again. Remind us.

That is my wish.


HPV Vaccine Gardasil: Linked to 3 Deaths, Over 1600 Adverse Reactions

All females (and parents of young girls) who are considering getting this vaccination need to read this report. According to the watchdog group "Judicial Watch", who received their information straight from the FDA under the Freedom of Information Act, there have been three reported deaths and 1637 reactions (of which 371 were serious) resulting from this mass marketed vaccine. While many of the side effects are typical in comparison to other vaccinations, others, including paralysis and seizures, are not.

This is evidence enough to pull the vaccine from the shelves. How many more young girls have to die? How many is too many? One is enough for me.


An Absent Rosie, The View and No "Loose Change"

Before I begin I want to say am not a fan of The View. I've watched it for a moment or two at a time this past year, but overall, the show bores me. Today though I made an exception. The folks who created "Loose Change" were to be on so I made myself watch it from start to finish. In between the moments when I wanted to gag myself (and ok, drooling when seeing Apolo Ono), I waited patiently for that interview. It never happened. Before I turned on the tube, I double-checked the show's website to make sure the Loose Change people would be on. Yep. It said they would be on. However, I noticed that the oooooh so annoying Kathy Griffin would be filling in for Rosie. WTF? I thought. Rosie is the one who wanted these folks on. Why wouldn't she be interviewing them?

Something didn't feel right, so I went to Rosie's website. The only thing she had to say about today's show was that, due to her partner's birthday, she would not be on.

Rosie saying "due to my partner's birthday I will not be on the show tomorrow" holds as much truth as when she said she wouldn't be returning to The View this fall due to a "contract dispute".

We know what (likely) happened. The argument between Rosie and Elisabeth yesterday likely made the producers very nervous. Rosie showed her bosses and America she is not going to step down from her truth-seeking agenda. I'm sure with some help from Uncle Sam, ABC decided to cancel the interview with the Loose Change folks and asked Rosie to take a few days off.

Of course this is just speculation. And it will likely remain speculation for we all know the relationship big business and uncle sam has with We The People. Glossy cover-ups, logic, big-sounding words softely spoken and phony smiles supercede truth.

If I hear of anything different (from credible sources) than my own perspective, I'll update.


France's New Prime Minister: Just Another Corporate Slave Driver

I've been meaning to post this for several weeks now. I heard on PBS weeks back that France's newly elected PM wants to make overtime pay tax-free. The reason? To encourage people to work more. Now there's a brilliant concept if I ever heard one. Brilliant if your goal is to enslave the people and turn them into mindless working robots.

Why the fuck the people of France elected this idiot is beyond my grasp. Of course we do have George W. Bush supporters in this country, even to this day. And that will ALWAYS be beyond my comprehension. Of course, they likely have "elections" in much the same way we do here in the states.

So I guess we can say "so long" to the reasonable work weeks and likely, those afternoon siesta's. What will he do next? Take away the country's mandated vacation?

Sigh. The last thing this planet needs is another conservative, pro-corporate/capitalistic/ greedy workalcoholic leading the way. Where are the true liberals, the tree and people hugging, vacation/nap/break loving, leisurely, laid back, passionate, honest folks? Oh that's right. WE ARE ENSLAVED TO THE CONSERVATIVE WORKALCOHOLICS.

OMIP and Blue Cross Insurance Outrage

Received our insurance premium in the mail today. Blue Cross/OMIP made the "very difficult decision" and raised premiums. Ours is up a whopping 20%.

Very difficult, my ass. Since when in the fuck has our government and corporate sleeze balls ever had difficulty in demanding more of our money?

Of course this warranted a call to OMIP. And of course I spoke to a lowly customer service representative, underpaid and overworked, having absolutely no power for the capitalistic greedy bastard of a company she works for. I began my conversation by saying my issue was not with her but with her company, so I asked her to please keep that in mind once I began my rant. I also told her she was free to record the conversation and play it for the filthy rich executives who use the people to lavish in their mansions and vacation homes, who profit from people's fear, and who are under the ungodly illusion that they must make outrageous salaries and bonuses in order to be "competitive".

I didn't hold back. I began by saying this increase was outrageous, unacceptable and that I would not stand for it. I asked what I could do to challenge it (I was given a website to contact the Board. I don't have much faith in that, but I will be writing them nonetheless.) I raged about corporate greed. I raged about the criminality of health insurance today. I raged about my meager income and how it sure as hell won't be going up 20% to pay for their outrageous premium increase. (Need I remind her of the criminality of the ongoing increase in gas? Need I remind her of the outrageous increases in our energy and water bills this past year? No, but I did.) I pleaded with her to think about what I was saying. I pleaded with her to think about speaking out, join in with others so that we may take back this country by overthrowing corporate bastards such as her employer--to overthrow all organizations and individuals who suck off the poor so that they may surround themselves in wealth. I asked her to imagine what it would feel like to know that instead of making 400% more, her superiors would instead only make 40% more. Imagine what you could do with that extra cash, I said.

Enough is enough. Right?! If you don't think so, if you don't think the time for change is now, today, yesterday, then go the hell back to sleep. When you hear the marching in the streets and the chanting of the people saying "ENOUGH", peacefully yet strongly quietly presenting our agenda to those in charge, maybe then you will decide to open your eyes and join in.

I'm pretty sure about this: If EVERY PERSON who received the same letter as I did in the mail today were to call and e-mail on an on-going basis, WE COULD PUT A STOP TO THIS. If you are such a person, I urge you, I am pleading with you, to call. E-mail. Tell them how you feel about this. Tell them how this will effect your life. Tell them this increase IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Speak out. Together, there's nothing we cannot achieve. NOTHING.

I believe in the human heart. I believe our compassion is stronger than greed, although given the current state of human existance, that doesn't seem to be the case. However, throughout history, we see that all systems run on greed eventually collapse. It is compassion that sustains. Getting through the greed and reaching into the hearts of those who have turned their backs on compassion is needed. How do we do this? I have this silly ideal, or perhaps it isn't so silly, that looking into the eyes of one who is suffering, of one who is showing you their pain, is impossible to ignore. Do it long enough, we began to feel empathy. Maybe what we need is a new Television Station that is dedicated solely to sharing the pleas, the pain, the suffering of the people. 24/7. REAL reality television. No make-up. No scripts. No music. Corporate execs and government leaders are required to watch the channel 2 hours everyday. Have it running around the clock in Corporate Boardrooms, the House, Senate and the Oval Office.

In the meantime, I urge those of you who are suffering unnecessarily, who are aware you are a slave to the system, to begin calling and writing the Big Wigs. Tell them your story. Tell it over and over again. Don't stop telling it until real change happens. Then continue telling it just to make sure these people who have sold their soul to greed actually get it.


What's Really In That McDonald's Chicken McNugget?

check it out for yourself. interesting, but not surprising.

speaking of food, we had a small portion (leftover from a friend) of an AMAZING briskette from grempsey's here in town. i believe it was their bbq briskette. three words: TO DIE FOR. although, a little spicey for my tummy. i'm sensitive to spicy foods, but i just had to inhale this delicious treat.

tonight's menu is homemade vegetarian quiche. no chicken mcnugget's. sorry mcd's.

one other request......

anyone know how to upload musical clips onto blogger? is this possible? i'm going to be meeting with a local production company next month and if all goes well and they like my songwriting abilities, i'll be making some clips for whatever projects they are working on. in the beginning we'd be bartering--they will make me a demo tape in exchange for my work. once that is made, i want to upload brief clips of my material so people can get a taste of what i create. one of my (many) goals i have set for myself is to sell cd's of my music. last week i began to see that as a real possibility. the excitement i felt was almost enough to make me burst inside! i don't want to jinx myself, but if these people are impressed with me, the possibilities with this up and coming company are pretty big! they have good connections and years of experience working out of hollywood. at the moment they're trying to get an idea turned into a tv series on the paranormal. !!!!! one of many things i am fascinated with.

lots of irons in the fire at the moment.......... but i have a desire to see all of my dreams realized--or at least worked on.

In Need of Advice

hey all my blogger readers. i need some advice. mr. nina and i have several ideas/inventions that we wish to see actualized. we're both idea people and over the years, we've been sketching and writing them down on paper. enough of that. any ideas on who to speak with to get some help in this? investors? manufacturers? where do we find these folks? we connected with a former osu professor/inventor a year or so ago who was particularly interested in one of mr. nina's ideas, but he had retired from teaching and inventing and thus was unable to help us.

anyone know of people in the area who we could speak with?

thank you! :)


City Living: Clusterfuck Galore

mr. nina and i traveled to portland yesterday for a mini-family reunion (his side). we took hwy99 up and had a very peaceful, relaxed drive until we reached newberg. we haven't been to the portland area in a couple of years, and i swear to god, even though it doesn't seem possible, the place is even more congested.

we had planned on being there between 12 and 1. we would have reached that goal if we hadn't come to gridlock hell. we made it to newberg at quarter til 1. but once we reached tigard, we sat. moved a few feet. and sat. moved another few feet. and sat. etc. etc. almost 45 minutes later, we arrived at our destination.

as we sat in that traffic, not moving, i reflected on some things, mostly to keep me from screaming or having a panic attack. i first tried distracting myself on a tree, but then the sound of thumping stereos and the smell of car exhaust sort of ruined that experience. i then imagined that, instead of everyone in cars, everyone was on bikes. but then i thought of china and crowds of people pedaling all over the place and, well, that ruined that experience as well. crowds of people are crowds of people. i don't care if they are on a bike or in a car or walking. i despise crowds. especially when i cannot escape them when i want.

there is debate on whether we have over-populated the earth or not. for myself, it isn't just about resources. it's also about comfort. having lived in seattle and portland, having lived in those massive apartment complexes where people are shoved into small spaces like sardines, i can say i find those experiences smothering and unhealthy. i need open spaces. not just to visit--but in which to live.

i can confidently say that, according to my values and my needs, this planet is way too populated. it was scott peck who wrote "city living is not conducive to spiritual growth." while i do not subscribe to the notion of spiritual "growth" but rather it is our human self that evolves into/merges with our already "perfect" state of spirit/soul, i believe he was on to something.

when we finally arrived, we apologized for being late and began relaying our experience, hoping for some sympathy, of which we received little. lol it slipped our minds that they live with this daily. so i walked over to our little nephew, who is not quite 4, scooped him up in my arms and told him he needs to tell mommy and daddy to move out of the city (which they have talked about doing eventually), closer to us, where there was fewer people and more trees. and as only a little child would do, he said: "can i bring my monster truck?" i had to laugh at that.

yes, you can. only if it's the toy variety.


Organic Bee Farms: Doing Just Fine

yesterday's lesson was on money. today's lesson is on what happens when humans interfere with mother nature, or in this case, the bees. as many of us have heard, there has been a significant decline around the globe in the bee population. and lots of speculation as to the cause, which has been everything from disease to EMF fields. and as most of us know, if the bees don't survive, neither do we. no bees means no food.

i came across this piece last week. it may be a good one to put in the "duh" file. hmmm. leaving the bees to do their own thing + not stressing their colonies + not messing with their genes = good crops and healthy bees. sounds like a good plan to me.


Lessons in Finance 101

Ok boys and girls. We're going to talk about money today. It's time to learn what our country's bank account balance is. Check it out here. After seeing where the United States places, we will move on to discuss colors, namely black and red and how they apply to money.

(as linked from piglipstick.blogspot.com)


Is Google Kissing The Ass of Israeli, Too?

i have been online searching for dry cottage cheese. for one of my search queries, i typed in "jewish food store". at the top was the following link from google. i decided to go to it. read it here.

something about this felt very strange to me, so i decided to type in a few more "offensive" terms: nigger, faggot, and spick. this "offensive search result" from google did not appear in any of these searches.

certainly we can agree that the words nigger, faggot and spick are, in and of themselves, much more offensive than the word jew. (and before anyone wants to call me an anti-semite, let me inform you i am half jewish. and...i had members of my family die in the concentration camps.)

google must be part of the business and political culture that continues to suck up to israeli. sigh....

oh and by the way, does ANYONE know where i can find dry cottage cheese? i need it for my nana's blintzes recipe. i have been unable to find it anywhere--both in town and online.


we just finished disposing of their attempt to make good on their original "fuck over the customer" fiasco. two boxsprings, falling apart, one completely collapsed. these were delivered to us under the guise of being "pretty new" and "in excellent condition--top of the line". reality is they were made in 1999 (according to the tag which they stupidly left attached) and from the start, they did not line up. we are now back to where we began: sleeping on an old mattress on the floor (the original mattress we purchased from them failed to support my spouses weight--he's 6'3" and weighs 215. excellent weight for his height but still failed to support his weight--despite the sales person insisting it would. that mattress ended up being disposed of as well--they refused to take it back or exchange it for another and in time told us not to call them again). sleeping on the floor is just lovely when you have back issues. and when you're not in your 20's.

these fuckers have made our sleep lives an utter hassle off and on since 2003. and now it's my turn to put that karma back on them. DO NOT SHOP AT CORVALLIS SLEEP CENTER. these people are liars. they don't know the first thing about customer service. they need a good dose of compassion and reality shoved up their asses. i would do a dance of joy if they went out of business.


What Do We Want?

last summer i wrote a blunt, heart-felt, brutally honest e-mail to kate mucci, co-host of "Out There TV" (as seen on saturday afternoons, channel 12, for local corvallis residents). my e-mail inspired kate to write a column where she put forth some of my questions to the american public. sadly, only 3 people commented and they did nothing but gripe (understandably) about their own problems and whine how we need good leaders to make the changes. that was not my point nor was it kate's point. no real conversation was started. at all. the point was AS INDIVIDUALS, WHAT DO WE WANT FOR OUR COUNTRY AND WHAT ARE WE WILLING TO DO TO CREATE THIS KIND OF ENVIRONMENT?

sigh. dontcha just want to smack some people upside the head at times?! i sure did after reading the dismal commentary.

so i thought to try it again. i'm putting it out there for all of you who want a different social system. a different government. a different world. a different way of living. i will ask you those questions i asked kate. then to be fair, i'll answer them myself.

1) what kind of a world do you wish to see?
2) what kind of a government do you wish to see?
3) what do you value?
4) what would you like to see change?
5) what steps are you willing to take to make these changes?
6) what are you willing to risk (if anything)?

here is how, today, i would answer those questions.

1) my vision is pretty utopic, which i realize according to the dictionary means it's ideal but not practical. bullshit. whatever we can envision WE CAN CREATE. period. that being said, i see a world without hunger, without poverty, without homelessness, without human-created suffering. i see a world where all are truly equal. i see a world where human worth and dignity are valued over money. i see a world with small communities that are self-sustaining. i see a world where all have an equal opportunity to create meaningful work, where our god-given talents and gifts are put to use. i see a world where either bartering is the way or a world where wages are sufficient to provide for the basic expenses: home ownership, food, clothing, transportation, medical/health care. i see a world where work hours are flexible and meet the needs of the employer and employee equally. i see a world where we are encouraged and supported to heal our wounds and talk openly with one another. connect in the way we are meant to connect. i see a world where our air and water are clean. i see a world where monetarily speaking, people are equal--no more class system. i see a world where ALL work is valued. and for those who are unable to work or even unwilling, government-provided income to maintain a livable, dignified existance. (what, honestly, is so threatening to any of us if someone chooses not to work? how does it interfere with my health or happiness? i first came across that discussion in one of the conversations with god books and it's changed my view on the subject.)

2) what kind of a government do i want? a government that is honest, that represents the people, that doesn't tax the people but instead derives revenue from commerce. i want a government that takes care of its people at home and stays out of the nation building business. i want a government that promotes peace and conflict resolution. i see an election process that allows for a variety of parties to run irregardless of money. i see an election process that invites ALL parties to debate in public. i see an end to these lavish campaign dinners and instead free (or sliding scale fees) town halls. if this government does not follow the will of the people, the people can toss him/her out on the street and "hire" another. the articles mentions socialism is anethema to the american psyche. likely very true. if so, our psyche needs some fine-tuning for a fair and just society includes an equal sharing of the wealth and programs to help out those who otherwise lack the ability or support.

3) what do i value? my heart: honesty. love. fairness. kindness. my relationships. peace. quiet. health. nature. animals. my brain: money. power. fame. recognition. acceptance. justice. can these co-exist in ways so that these seemingly polar-opposites don't crush the other? heck if i know. i'm still getting to know myself.

4) what do i want to see change? an end to the chaos. an end to the lying. an end to the game playing. an end to competition. an end to this frantic lifestyle we've helped create. i want to see us look into the eyes of each other and see ourselves. see our common bond. i want our common bonds discussed. i want to see people spending more time (oh so much more time) enjoying the company of one another, enjoying nature, playing again and less time (oh so much less time) working hard to keep up with the joneses, less time working hard so that another may profit.

5) what steps am i willing to make to see such changes? well for starters, i would love to help create a small community of like-minded folks--create a new model of living. i am willing to take the risk in being open and vulnerable in sharing who i am. i am willing to demand more from my employer. i am willing to continue to write and blog and speak out about my ideas. as far as demanding more from our government--that's a tough one. i have utterly no faith in these folks. there may be a few authentic souls of course, but overall, they aren't going to see to it that we are all treated with the dignity and respect and decency and love we each are worthy of. i'm willing to help support an organized movement to create a new system--however, my focus is on a more local level. that is what i feel called to do. (in the interim though i am so flipping worn out at every level imaginable from the healing/awakening/learning work i've been doing--i could use a good 6 months in hawaii on a beach being waited on around the clock my only question of the day being "hmm, i wonder when i should schedule that massage". if i were a wealthy woman--or access to oprah's bank account-- i would have two tickets in hand yesterday!)

6) what am i willing to risk for these changes? right now? not a lot. i'm not strong enough. i feel i take a chance by posting some of my thoughts online (trust me--many of these blogs i post leave me wanting a nap). perhaps when i am stronger or when i feel more of a sense of support--when i can trust in that--feel safe--then i will be willing to be more publically outspoken. i have moments where the desire to continue forward greatly conflicts with a desire to say "screw it all"--sell our belongings, move someplace that is a lot cheaper (in terms of housing for certain), near the mountains, and make money selling crafts. do a lot less of this modern way of living and more of this 'livin' off the land'. as mentioned above, i am--we are-- in such a need of a real vacation. sigh......i can almost feel the breeze on my face.........(please though don't post a suggestion about taking a mental vacation! i do that often. i need to take my body with me!)

let's get the dialogue going!



What a morbid sounding title. It's all I could come up with though. While I usually never have much of a problem finding something to babble on about, coming up with titles is tricky for me at times. I wonder if someone has a blog dedicated to sharing titles that we bloggers can use.

I received one of those phone calls you don't wish to receive this morning. My great uncle died. Considering he's been very sick and in hospice for the past 5 months, his death was to be expected. However, I'm never completely prepared for the words: "they're dead." Even though I didn't know him that well, and even though I have had to admit I never really liked him much and was, overall, always uncomfortable around him, it was still painful news. He's been on my mind all day.

Death hits me at this very strange, scary place, that place where I feel completely vulnerable, completely out of control. I don't like going to that place, although I know the freedom of doing so. I know to avoid that space I keep myself held prisoner in a way.

We won't be going to the funeral for many reasons. While some are logistical, most have to do with the idea that "bonding" with my family, who I have come to describe as familiar strangers, is enough to make me throw up--and I don't mean that in a metaphoric way. I remember when my grandpa died. I was 17 at the time. I adored him. Everyone stood around like zombies. I don't remember any hugging. I don't remember any real talking or reminiscing. I do remember the drinking and my cousin and her friends hurting me with their snide remarks and relentless teasing over god knows what. I remember thanking god I would be 18 soon and could thus stop attending these family events that had quite literally traumatized me since I was a child. I ended up memorializing my grandpa in my own way in the years to come. One such way was by getting married on his birthday. I remember at the time thinking maybe this would help bridge the gap in some way between me and the family. Instead I received grief for having a wedding on a weekday. Oh well. Sometimes you just gotta say 'wtf' and do your own thing.

I heard Sylvia Brown say the following this past week: "Death is a relief. A celebration. We're finally free from life on earth which is the real hell." While I don't believe it is living on earth that is hell (it certainly doesn't have to be anyway), I do believe, or want to believe, that death provides a sense of WHEW. How am I to really know that though? While I believe in past lives and have had enough strange experiences that validate some of my own, I don't recall any of my other deaths, so there is still that great unknown. That's what I fear the most--that fear of the unknown. What will happen to me? Where will I go? What if I don't make it? What if I just linger, lost and alone? My first plan is to explore the universe. A free trip. No expenses. Don't even need fuel. No need to ask some stupid human for a passport or even permission. Just an intention and as such, it is so. That is what I envision as heaven to be. As the line from Field of Dreams goes: heaven is the place "where dreams come true." There is no human interference, no rules. Just support, help. A giant YES.

So....in the meantime, I'm still living as a human on this planet. And as such, death will probably always feel like this great unknown to me--something that feels like it's in my grasp but when I reach out to touch it, it slips away.

Rock on, Uncle B. Tell grandpy and cousin S hi for me. Have a safe trip and come visit me sometime. I'm open to talking in my dreams--I do it quite often. Maybe we didn't do a very good job at connecting in the way humans are capable of. Life goes on though for both of us. Maybe we can start a new connection in a new way with a new understanding. I'd really like that.


Pet Food Recall Update

Here's the latest from the FDA.

Distressing for me to read was to see Drs. Foster and Smith's canned cat food (one variety of Country Classics) being added to the list. Even though we have a dog, we began feeding her their canned dog food a few months ago. I visited their website, assuming there would be a large ad on their front page announcing the recall. There was none. They did, however, have a link (along with the rest of their links) to the pet food recall off to the left. Even though they never use wheat gluten or rice protein in their Country Classic pet food products, and despite their statement that equipment is thoroughly cleaned between batches of food, some of their products may have been made using equipment that had been used to make the contaminated products. They also said some of their products come from Canada and overseas. WTF?! I thought. Overseas?? That can be anywhere. I sent them an e-mail and suggested they buy and make all of their pet food products right here in the states and only use facilities that make pet food products, period. And ONLY USE NATURAL INGREDIENTS. Good lord. Get rid of the fillers. THIS IS A NO BRAINER. Approximately 700 or so customers (or kitties I should say) are affected by this recall and most thankfully, there have been no confirmed reports of illness or death.

I visited Animal Crackers yesterday (they have the best bulk doggie cookies there--excellent ingredients and a LOT cheaper than Petco's selection). There seemed to be a lot more customers than usual buying the more natural pet food products. They also have a sign in the front announcing "make your own pet food, we will show you how". I began doing that months ago and now that we've had this pet food nightmare, I will be increasing that. I'm lucky in that I have a dog who will eat anything as long as I say it's "nummy". She doesn't like lettuce or broccoli but she will eat them if I say "nummy". : )


Late Night News

One reason why it's important to listen to your intuition. I've had a couple of friends nagging me to get a mammogram since I entered the 40's decade a little over a year ago. Something in me has always said "no". Good thing given this article I read today. I don't know why ultrasounds aren't performed instead. They're more accurate and you don't have to deal with that nasty radiation.

Here's another possible explanation for the disappearance of the honeybees (although I still like the cell phone EMF field theory the best).

How bad is the housing market and where is it headed? Here's a rather dark scenario for you to read (if you can stand the typos that is).

Anyone who watches the skies knows some of the trails laid down by planes aren't vapor considering they don't dissipate. Here's an interesting article outlining some of the reasons behind this cover-up.

I need to start searching for some good news stories. This has been a real pisser of a day and perhaps some of it is due to what I'm feeding my brain.......

Going For A Dip In The Lake of Hell Fire

ok so the title is a little insulting. what can i say? i'm mischevious and at the same time, i'm so tired of the evangelical movement--a movement my brother is a part of.

i don't get it either. he's a smart man. a very smart man. incredibly intelligient. cautiously sceptical. contemplative. and yet he fell for the whole fire damnation mantra hook, line and sinker. of course, as he told me, it took a long time and he had a "really hard time" believing what he was being told. of course he did. his better wisdom told him he was being fed a line of shit.

what has me concerned is the stuff they are feeding my niece and nephew. according to their churches website, children are born as sinners. they lack the devine spark until they have accepted jesus christ. it doesn't matter how they live their lives. it doesn't matter how generous they are, how loving or how kind, or even how awful and violent for that matter. as long as they claim jesus died for their sins, THEN they are saved and are thus guaranteed a place in heaven. if they don't claim christ as their savior? god sends 'em into the lake of hell fire for eternal punishment.

typing that makes me shake my head and laugh. how can i not? if they believe in a god that loves unconditionally, how can they also believe in a god that would destroy that very soul he/she/it (ok, for the evangelicals, HE) created? how does this fall under the term unconditional love? unconditional love means you love WITHOUT CONDITION. no "i love you BUT". no "i love you but now i must destroy you." the two don't jive.

it really angers me, all of this religious mind control and brainwashing that goes on. it angers me that this man, this church leader, continued to feed my brother this shit until my brother finally got it. he got it allright. he got it out of fear of punishment. out of guilt. of course he would. our childhood was full of that sort of thing. i was the one who rebelled while he remained quiet and went with the flow. i listened to this church leader once. he was charismatic. he had an energy to him that commanded attention. an energy of authority. he even had me questioning my own belief system until i realized he was using fear to pursuade his followers. and fear isn't love. fear isn't god. i'll give this man this--he knows exactly what he's doing and he's very good at it.

people will do amazing things, things they otherwise wouldn't do, when they are conditioned under the principles of fear. we see this happen with cults, with which i liken the evangelical movement. my brother was searching for his own spiritual truth at the time and unfortunately, he met up with a man who taught a of a different sort of god. a god that was different than the loving, non-judgemental god he had learned about in his brief stints with other churches he had visited, in particular the lutheran church. he met up with a man who takes the bible literally (well, those sections that suit his agenda that is). he met a man who is obsessed with being respected, revered, likely worshipped. he met a man who hasn't a clue as to the real messages as taught by the man jesus. love in action.

when jesus said "i am the way" he didn't mean to worship him--he meant for us to model the example he lived. he knew how to live as one with the god within and he wanted to teach us just that. when jesus said "the kingdom of god is within" he meant it is in ALL of us. he meant that we are EACH a part of god just as he was. when jesus spoke of heaven and hell he was talking about states of being. when jesus spoke of turning our backs on god as a sure fire way of entering hell he meant when we turn away from our own devine spark, our own soul, that part of us that is god, we will experience our own state of hell. to thine ownself be true.

doesn't this make more sense? doesn't this feel more loving? it does to me. and i hope one day it will to my brother as well.

Wage Statistics

This will quiet those people who have told me I'm exagerrating or otherwise engaging in conspiracy.

*In 1960, the minimum wage was 94% of the living wage. In 2003, that number had dropped to 57%.

*In 1960, CEO pay was 41 times that of the worker. In 2004, that number had soared to 431.

*700,000 Oregonians without health care work full time.

*In 1976, the top 1% owned 22% of all household wealth. As of 2000, that number had nearly doubled to 40% (given it's 2007, that number had likely increased).

*64% of people living in poverty work full-time.

There you have it.

Bottom line, the current economy is not sustainable. History teaches us that. There will be a collapse or a revolution (or perhaps a bit of both) unless change happens immediately. There are a myriad of organizations out there fighting for the return of Unions, fighting for worker's rights, fighting for living wage jobs and health care (see below for a few examples). This is a huge battle considering some of the big corporations, like Walmart, are fighting the right for employees to unionize (just another reason not to shop at the place). These organizations are up against some of the wealthiest fuckers who want things to stay as they are. We have news for them. We're sick of being enslaved to a system that supports YOUR ass and YOUR wealth. No more. We're uniting. We're taking back our 4 acres and a mule.

hrw.org (human rights watch)


John Edwards wants to end poverty. Or does he...

I saw an interesting dialogue this morning on BlueOregon.com about John Edwards run for the presidency. Someone was pointing out how bothersome it was to them that John Edwards, with his multi-million dollar estate, would be talking about ways to end poverty. Another person thus responded, questioning why anyone would chastise John Edwards and his millions, especially considering he is a self-made man.

This got me to thinking about a variety of things.

1)Wages. The more you make, the more respect and worth you garner.

2) The term "self-made". Who in the hell is truly self-made? Not one of us. We've all had to rely on the help of others to get where we are. No matter how easy or difficult the road has been, someone has always come along and helped us achieve our next goal. The term "self-made" is an illusion. Those who create the most success for themselves usually have the most support. Not all are born into such a support system and not all of us have the know-how (or trust) to create such a network of support.

3)His plan to reduce/eliminate poverty. While it's a good start, it leaves out many things we as a society seem afraid to address and discuss honestly.
(a) His plan wants to raise the federal minimum wage to a measly $7.80/hour. Why do we even have a minimum wage? Why not instead have a livable wage? We need to talk about this.
(b) He wants to guarantee employment to all those who are "drug free". What does he mean by this? What about people who use marijuana for medical reasons? What about the right to privacy during people's off-work hours? This is just a sign he supports the draconian war on drugs (not to mention the invasive drug testing done by employers and the multi-billion dollar industry created as a result). This war on drugs in reality is a war on the people, usually those who are the most vulnerable, the poorest. While I agree people need to be alert and sober while on the job, on-the-job accidents also occur when workers are sleepy, stressed-out (and who the hell isn't stressed out working a minumum wage job, trying to support themselves and/or a family) or on other prescription drugs that have side-effects. We need to talk about these things rather than just paint the canvas with the illusive phrase "drug free".
(c) He wants to guarantee employment (again, with those minimum wage jobs) to those who are willing to "work hard". Who says what is hard work or not? People who are employed at such employers that pay the crappy wages ARE working hard. Anyone able to keep a roof over their heads on such wages IS working hard. Working hard is over-rated and is part of the rugged indivualistic diatribe we're all brainwashed with since birth. It wears on the body and on the mind. Instead let's talk about working joyfully. Let's focus on helping people find what makes them happy, what brings them joy, and then help them create that out in the world. Let's guarantee every one of us a livable wage. Let's talk about this rather than the mindless "work hard and you will get ahead" diatribe. Let's talk about people's abilities. We're all different. This promise of a minimum wage job if you work hard sounds like a continuation of the slave labor force. We need to work to break that--not continue it for christ sake.

4) John Edwards lifestyle. I would like to pose a few questions for Mr. Edwards. Does he think it possible for every one of us to be afforded his affluent lifestyle? Are we all worthy of such a lifestyle? (If he's smart, he'll answer "yes" irregardless of what he really believes.) If so, does he think the planet can sustain that existance for every one of us? (That answer would be no.) This needs to be discussed. We need to create a vision that outlines the basic minimum existance you and I can afford to live which does not deplete the planet and which does not cause another to go without. Then and only then when he has thoughtfully and honestly answered this question will I think of him more of a real humanitarian who truly does wish to see putting poverty to an end. Ending poverty means we must create a much more equitable playing field. And that means those with the most will have to relinquish some of those resources, or at the very least, change how they, how we live our daily lives.

I'll take all of this one step further. How about we have a system that guarantees us all the basic minimums needed for physical survival: Safe, sound housing. Cleaning running water. Healthy, fresh abundant food. Clean clothing. Health care. Sound good? I'm sure it does. Here comes the tricky part: these things are provided for all and are not dependent upon ones income. That's the part that challenges some of the values of our western world. That's the pill that would be hard to swallow. But swallow it we can. The only qualm I have about such a system is the obvious: we must have government leaders that would see this vision for us all. We must have a deep trust in our government to provide this for all fairly and equitably. And right now, we obviously do not have leaders who are capable or even interested in such concepts. They're too busy sucking off the weakest while lining their own pockets and those of the elite.

I did not have a full understanding of poverty until I lived it. I don't think anyone can have a true understanding of living in poverty until they do. If you don't know what it's like to wonder how you will pay for next months rent......if you don't know what it's like to be sick and unable to afford to go to the doctor because you do not have health insurance....if you don't know what it's like to be low on food and have to eat ramen noodles or peanut butter to get by until food stamps kick in or that next measly pay check is deposited.......if you don't know what it's like to need new clothes or furniture but you don't have the extra cash to buy such things.........if you don't know what it's like to live this way on an on-going basis and if you don't know what it's like to experience the stress and the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual effects...........if you do not know what any of this is like, you do not understand poverty and therefore, you are not fully enough aware of offering up the REAL solutions. I have an idea: for those government leaders who love to spout the "let us end poverty" mantra, let them create a series of discussion groups that are largely comprised of people who live in poverty. let those of us who have lived it or are living it offer the solutions. it begins by asking us what we need.

i'm ready to talk if they're ready to listen.