Rock Springs

Rock Springs, Apopka, FL; image from Pinterest

spring of my youth
where rocks stay
lodged for endless ages
and I rushed around
them in my haste to
run, jump, hurdle
myself into the
flesh-freezing waters
that refreshed my
body with soul-baring
joy to revisit there again
 
the horizon was brought
up short by the thick
forested trees that
surrounded and kept
partially hidden that
crystal clear pool
that burbled endlessly
up from the depths
of a magical, carved
out cave of underwater
rock…it frightened me
to push my face down
below the surface and
gaze down, down into
that deepness where
boulders had rolled
and shifted and created
the perfect home for
that purity to come forth
 
charming though were
the shallow paths
of water mostly ankle
deep that meandered
through the woods
then to stop and excavate
miniature springs and
extract treasures of tiny
shells and sharks’ teeth
from countless eons ago
 
darkness descends on this
sweet paradise and the
shouts and laughter
of children fall silent
as the wood-burning grill’s
embers slowly weaken and
the colors echo the sunset

Please join me Thursday at 3PM as I host Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub.  Choose any one of your poems to share.

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Unfettered

She wants a green funeral
laid to rest at the roots
of her Christian upbringing
where monks roam
the Monastery of the Holy Spirit
and peace has inherited these acres.

A plain pine box will
encase her remains and
simply, shallowly placed
beneath the oaks, where
their leaves have quietly
drifted and come to rest.

Her spirit will be set
free as it lifts from her
form effortlessly, casting
off the shell that no longer
is of use. Once more her
essence will be unbound
by earthly attachments
and joy and wholeness
will be hers.

Unfettered she merges with
her God Source and the
love that surrounds her
permeates her soul.
Any pain or discomfort
is no more. She is in a state
of endless, divine worship.
All is Good and we will
rejoice in her freedom
while at the same time
mourning the loss of our
Dearly Beloved Sister.

I wrote this after speaking with the sister of my childhood friend, Patsy, and learning that her time with us was very limited.  She passed away on April 15, 2017 after living seven years with cancer.  Before their mother passed away, the three of them would visit this beautiful monastery in Conyers, GA and enjoy the peaceful grounds.  They offer “green” burials and Patsy decided that she wanted to be laid to rest on the acreage that is set aside for this purpose.  You can read about the monastery here.

Join me as I host Open Link Night at dVerse Poets where the pub doors will open Thursday, 3PM EST.

The Pond in the Woods

Several weeks ago, Mira and I planned a morning adventure as soon as I arrived at her house and we set off before she had even eaten breakfast. She was too excited to eat so I packed her some food, drinks and snacks.  No telling how long we’d be gone when we hit the trail together.

But we did know our destination. It was our favorite place to visit…the pond in the woods.  This pond was hand made by its owner and was heavily concealed by the surrounding flora and large stand of beautiful bamboo nearby.  We loved visiting it because it was just enough of a walk to make you feel as if you’ve gone somewhere and many fish and small but full-grown mud turtles resided there.  Pure fun!

Today, though, our adventure was added to by a new dimension to our interacting with the fish and turtles. We got out our bread I had packed for them and started feeding the fish and before long large groups of mostly minnows were hungrily crowding around the pieces near the edge of the pond.  Sometimes we’ll bring along a few of Mira’s plastic cups or beach toys to try and scoop some of the fish up for a closer look.  This day we hadn’t so I decided to try my luck at scooping them up in my hands and I was surprised when I caught a few.  Mira and I watched as they flopped around in my palms as the water drained through.  I quickly lowered them back into the water.  I did this repeatedly and was successful most times.  Then Mira wanted to give it a try as well.  I told her to wait until there was a large school around the bread pieces and then she quickly dunked her tiny hands in and brought up some wriggling fish!  We both were thrilled at her triumph…yay!

Soon we spied a mud turtle swimming our way and Mira asked if she could wade into the cold water and try and catch it. I was surprised at her request because most of the time it’s Grandma who catches them as she watches.  So I answered, sure, go ahead.  She waded in and in no time had grabbed up that small turtle.  She proudly held him aloft, watching his tiny, webbed feet claw the air as we got a closer view.

Mira ate her breakfast after the bread had been dispersed and then the owner and her large, red cat came by for a quick visit before she headed out to run an errand.

When getting Mira ready to go that morning we chose the new shoes that I had recently bought for her. She informed me that one of her heels had a blister on it from the shoes and that she only needed one sock because the other foot had no blister.  Okay, I agreed, only one sock for the one foot.

Early afternoon as the sun began to heat up, we headed back home and stopped at the swing that hangs from an ancient oak across the dirt road from the pond. We swung awhile enjoying the shade and quiet breeze under the tree.  For once, I had brought my phone with me and asked Mira if I could take a photo of her.  Many times she refuses, so I was happy when she agreed.  This time too, she said wait a minute Grandma, and then posed with her eyes shut and her palms pressed together in pranam, her legs crossed in lotus pose.   This is a reverent salutation used in Indian cultures.  The photo is charming not only because of her reverent pose but because if you look closely you’ll see only one foot is with sock, the other without.

Mira Rose;
Photo by Gayle Walters Rose, All Rights Reserved

Mystery of the Traveling Dad

There were a few occasions that I can remember vividly when my father went out of his way to let me know that he was thinking of me. He and I were alike in that we both loved to read. He was proud of my ability and that I enjoyed a good mystery like he did.

He was a traveling salesman for most of his working career. He loved to be on the road and chatting people up and I’m sure it was a relief for him to be away from home for a couple of days at a time and be on his own away from the duties of husband and father to six children.

Once, after being on the road for a few days, he returned home with a gift for me. He had brought me two Nancy Drew books. Nancy Drew was my idol and I had been reading the mystery series, written by Carolyn Keene (now whom I know is a pseudonym), for some time. I was thrilled at this gesture and have never forgotten the feeling of being singled out to receive this generous attention from him.

swallowtail kite swoops
golden rays light up the sky
moon glow calms the night

Join us at dVerse Poets Pub for Haibun Monday hosted by Lady Nyo, aka Jane Kahut-Bartels.

A Room for Two

The room first held only two small boys
when those curtains were first hung.
It was the late forties and the pattern
reflected a somewhat modern take
of the times. They were still
there when as a tiny girl I
lost myself in daydreams
by the shapes and colors.

Oh the stories they could tell as
the room became crowded with
four more children–we sisters.
And before we got too big,
we were doubled up in beds,
sharing our too-tight space with
a sibling literally in our face.

As we grew older and had
more need for space, privacy
and autonomy, our dissatisfaction
grew also.

Summer nights brought
sweat and heightened emotions
as one small fan tried
valiantly to disperse the
anguish pent up in that room.

Bickering would escalate into
shouts and attacks. We were
cramped and forced into
togetherness that added its toll
to our lack of comfort.
We lashed out with fierceness.
We didn’t have the words to
express our grief and distress
but we did have our anger.

No one was exempt from
being pounded. Well,
except for maybe the baby.
Her quiet demeanor and
sweet innocence somehow
protected her from a lot
of the verbal and physical
abuse that we liberally
heaped upon each other.

The six of us “shared” that
one tiny room until we grew,
literally, too big to fit in it.
We overflowed out to the
couch which had a trundle
beneath so two of us could
sleep with a semblance of
having at least our own bed.
And out to the raggedy rattan
sofa on the enclosed porch with
the lumpy cushions that
gave me backaches as a teen.
I wanted no part of it.
I railed against the
injustice of my circumstances.

Living in those close quarters
was an agony that whittled
at my self-worth.
I knew my friends didn’t
live like I did.
They had rooms to themselves
or maybe shared with just
one other.
Their homes were quiet,
orderly places without
the noise…and drunk
parent laying passed out
on the living room floor.
I retreated until depression
and anxiety rendered
me mute and unable to
see a place where I belonged.

I remain a hyper-sensitive
person. Perhaps I’m better
able to sense when someone
else is hurting and can offer
some solace. And though I’ve
come a long way in my
understanding, even for those
who brought me suffering,
that small child can still emerge
and fall silent, not knowing
where her place is in the world.

Mary Kling hosts us at dVerse for Poetics where our topic is “Rooms.”  Please join us.  http://dversepoets.com/2016/02/16/poetics-room-with-or-without-a-view/

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

“The Snowman”; Happy Holidays!

  I want to wish each and every one of you a happy holiday and may you enjoy peace and prosperity in the New Year to come.  I posted this last year and thought I would share it again…it’s a favorite story of mine and I love the haunting song in this movie which you can hear on the video below.

     In 1978,  English author, Raymond Briggs, published the story “The Snowman”.  It is a wordless book using only illustrations to tell the story.  The pictures are in full color and are in a hazy softness that hints of the falling snow that brings about the story that unfolds.  A movie was made of the book in 1982 and has a different ending than the book but is also wordless except for one song that is sung, “Walking in the Air”.  The movie is 26 minutes long.

     The movie (and the book) came to my attention in 1982 when I was approached by our family hairdresser who asked if our two daughters, then 9 and 7, would like to assist her husband in the review of a new children’s movie.  Her husband, Jay Boyer, was the movie critic for the Orlando Sentinel at the time.  He would interview each of them for their opinions after the screening and they would be quoted in the subsequent write up .  The girls were very excited about getting to see the movie before it opened to the public and were accompanied by two other children and Jay on the day that they went to do their “job”.  They also missed a day of school–even more fun.

This is the movie version:

     A small boy builds a snowman after a heavy snowfall.  He continues to look out at it as he joins his family inside at the end of the day.

     However, the boy can’t sleep and he goes downstairs and opens the front door to check on his friend.  The clock strikes twelve and the snowman magically comes to life.  The snowman joins him inside as the boy shows him around the house and the wonders of TV, a light switch, running water, etc.  He doesn’t care for the fireplace…the refrigerator, he loves!

     They return outside and the snowman decides to show the boy his world and gently they glide up into the sky.  They fly over London and off towards the North Pole to meet up with Father Christmas.  Father Christmas greets the boy and gives him a gift of a scarf.  The boy and his friend return to the boy’s home.

     In the morning, as he awakens, the boy runs to the yard and finds that his friend has melted by the morning sun.  As he puts his hand in his robe’s pocket, he finds the scarf.

     The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short Film.  It was scored by Howard Blake who wrote the music and lyrics and conducted his own orchestra, Sinfonia of London.  “Walking in the Air” was sung by St. Paul’s Cathedral choir boy, Peter Auty.

     You can watch it in it’s entirety on Vimeo.

Blessings

When passing a stranger in the street or watching those parade by you at the mall, with your deepest faith in all things good, project to them with heartfelt kindness and deliberation:  I wish you well.  I wish you peace.  I wish your soul’s most deep quietude and knowing.  May you be blessed.  May you feel love.  May you feel the compassion of the universe serving you in the utmost capacity.  May you feel happiness and joy.  May you remain at peace in the face of life’s challenges.

These blessings will go forth and touch all who receive them, and as an added bonus, these blessings will foster these very things within you.

This is a powerful meditative practice that simply asks that you wish goodwill toward others.  Watch as it brings wellbeing into your own life.

Lung Leavin’ Day–With Hope the Odds Don’t Matter

This week I received an email from Cameron Von St. James asking if I would share his wife’s story on my blog. Cameron is the husband of Heather who was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare cancer, eight years ago. She was given 15 months to live. Cameron and Heather had just had a baby girl named Lily Rose. Heather had a life-saving surgery to remove one of her lungs, part of her diaphragm and the lining of her heart. Her sister, trying to lighten the mood of the day of surgery nicknamed it “Lung Leavin’ Day”. The surgery was successful and Heather is now cancer free.

Now each year on February 2 the family celebrates Lung Leavin’ Day as a day to face their fears. They sit around a fire, write their fears on plates and then smash them into the fire. Now the day has become one of spreading awareness and urging people to action against this disease.

You can join in on their interactive website and smash your own fears. I just did.

mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday

Small Stone # 25

Sister and brother-in-law
came for the weekend.
Long conversations over
dinner, sipping tea, laughing.
She is lovingly called
Aunt Birdie by my daughter.
She loves bird watching as
do I.  We hope to see some
nature this weekend.
Kayaking is in the picture
for Sunday…a good day
for sighting alligators, birds
and manatees in the river.
Small Stone # 25 for Writing Our Way Home for the Mindful Writing Challenge:  http://www.writingourwayhome.com/

Small Stone # 24

Went to Orlando today
to see Mom and a sister.
We had lunch and then
Mom and I went
shopping.  She ended
up having to wait in
a chair while I
scouted around
getting the things
she wanted.
Her back and sciatica
kicked up and she
couldn’t shop.
I was glad I could
help her…it was a good day.

Mindful Writing Challenge Day 24 for Writing Our Way Home:  http://www.writingourwayhome.com/

Small Stone # 23

Laundry today,
Mira’s and mine.
Folding tiny onesies,
bibs and blankets,
bring a warmth inside
thinking of her.
 
Fresh sheets on my bed
Will feel good tonight.

Day 23 of Small Stones for the Mindful Writing Challenge:  http://www.writingourwayhome.com/

Mira’s First Christmas

Photo: Mira's first Christmas!

This is Mira…my granddaughter…this photo was taken on Christmas Day.  Mira was dressed in her red flowered Christmas dress but it was so warm that she didn’t need a blouse under it or the cute tights that her Auntie Mahan had bought for her.  She’s four months old now and I’m enjoying her company three days a week and loving every minute with her.  It seems like every week she’s learning and accomplishing more skills.  She’s trying out all kinds of sounds with her voice…sometimes turning them into “singing”.  She’s a good girl, a delight…I’m so fortunate to be in her company.

“The Snowman”–Happy Holidays!

    I want to wish each and every one of you a happy holiday and may you enjoy peace and prosperity in the New Year to come.  I posted this last year and thought I would share it again…it’s a favorite story of mine and I love the haunting song in this movie which you can hear on the video below.

     In 1978,  English author, Raymond Briggs, published the story “The Snowman”.  It is a wordless book using only illustrations to tell the story.  The pictures are in full color and are in a hazy softness that hints of the falling snow that brings about the story that unfolds.  A movie was made of the book in 1982 and has a different ending than the book but is also wordless except for one song that is sung, “Walking in the Air”.  The movie is 26 minutes long.

     The movie (and the book) came to my attention in 1982 when I was approached by our family hairdresser who asked if our two daughters, then 9 and 7, would like to assist her husband in the review of a new children’s movie.  Her husband, Jay Boyer, was the movie critic for the Orlando Sentinel at the time.  He would interview each of them for their opinions after the screening and they would be quoted in the subsequent write up .  The girls were very excited about getting to see the movie before it opened to the public and were accompanied by two other children and Jay on the day that they went to do their “job”.  They also missed a day of school–even more fun.

This is the movie version:

     A small boy builds a snowman after a heavy snowfall.  He continues to look out at it as he joins his family inside at the end of the day.

     However, the boy can’t sleep and he goes downstairs and opens the front door to check on his friend.  The clock strikes twelve and the snowman magically comes to life.  The snowman joins him inside as the boy shows him around the house and the wonders of TV, a light switch, running water, etc.  He doesn’t care for the fireplace…the refrigerator, he loves!

     They return outside and the snowman decides to show the boy his world and gently they glide up into the sky.  They fly over London and off towards the North Pole to meet up with Father Christmas.  Father Christmas greets the boy and gives him a gift of a scarf.  The boy and his friend return to the boy’s home.

     In the morning, as he awakens, the boy runs to the yard and finds that his friend has melted by the morning sun.  As he puts his hand in his robe’s pocket, he finds the scarf.


     The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short Film.  It was scored by Howard Blake who wrote the music and lyrics and conducted his own orchestra, Sinfonia of London.  “Walking in the Air” was sung by St. Paul’s Cathedral choir boy, Peter Auty.

     You can watch it in it’s entirety on Vimeo.

Mira

                                                                    Photo by Saraswati Rose

This is Mira.  She’s my first grandchild.  She’s two months old.  She and her parents went on a road trip this past week to attend a wedding in South Carolina.  This photo was taken along the way.  She apparently enjoyed the trip and was a good little traveler.

These days I’m spending three days a week with her while her parents are at work.  I LOVE her!

The Truce

A husband had come between us…
an angry, arrogant, insecure husband
who demanded control…and ordered
me to choose…it’s your sister or me.

I still thought he knew best…I was
standing beside him…he was
right after all…she had disrespected him…
right?  I chose him…as his wife it was my duty.

No longer welcome in our home…her
overtures of apologies…deemed insincere…by him.

But I grieved, I obsessed…it didn’t feel right.
I love her…he’s wrong…taking this too far.
One night I spoke to her, in defiance, it was
the breakthrough I needed to finally see
the light.  His abusive behavior and
control over me was sick and twisted…
he was wreaking my soul.  It was the
middle of the end of a sham of a marriage.

I later went to my sister, who was so hurt
and betrayed and asked for forgiveness…
I’ll do whatever it takes.  I’m here to listen;
I’ll take your hurt and anger.  I love you
dearly…we’ll work this out.

A healing began, a truce and understanding.
I still have my sister…the husband…no armistice day.

 

Manicddaily (Karin Gustafson) puts forth the idea of peace making today over at dVerse Poets:  http://dversepoets.com/2012/11/10/armisticetruce-making-peace-with-poetics/

You Are Loved

Holding you close,
we approach the
swaying stand of bamboo.
The wind rises
and falls in gentle,
gusty waves.  Our hair
lifts slightly from
our heads…mine
swirling across
my eyes.
 
It’s cool beneath the
shaded chapel of
canes and we both
listen with reverence
and peace as the towering
grasses clatter and clank
the notes of nature’s wind chime.
 
You relax in my arms, relax
into the knowing that all is
well; you are loved.
 
The next day we sit beside
the Ganga, meditating
on the gentle breezes and
lily pads undulating by
tiny swells while a chorus
hums from a fountain
voices blending of those passed on
  
a turtle crawls on the bank
and rests at our feet.

I’m finally back online and writing my first post after moving to Sebastian to help watch my first grandchild, Mira, while her Mom and Dad return to work.  We’ve been taking walks daily (she loves to be outside) and visit a large stand of bamboo nearby and love listening to it as it moves with the wind.  I’m so enjoying my new role…and blessing.

Joining with Hedgewitch today who is hostessing for us at dVerse Poets Open Link Night #69:  Thanks, Joy! http://dversepoets.com/2012/11/06/open-link-night-week-69/

Dear friends…

Picture:  Google Images

I may be a bit scarce for a while as I’m in the process of moving.  I’m packing up and heading to Sebastian where my two daughters, and now, new baby granddaughter, Mira lives.  When my daughter and her husband return to work, I’ll be caring for Mira.  I’m really looking forward to this new chapter in my life and creating a loving relationship between Mira and I.

And look forward to getting back into the swing of posting and visiting all of you as soon as I’m settled.

Wish me well!

 

 

Occupy Wall Street Revisited

 

Women’s Suffragette Movement

Photo:  Paul Thomson, Topical News Agency, Getty Images

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool, during...

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool, during the 1963 March on Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

   The 17th of September marked the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement that began with protesters pitching tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange that eventually spread around the world.  The instigation of the movement was to voice opposition to corporate mishandling and greed, the global financial system, and our government cutbacks that have affected people worldwide.

     A group of Occupiers protested in Orlando, near where I live, for several months…living in tents near a local lake, until an arrest was made over one chalking on the sidewalk.  The charge stemmed from a city ordinance that prohibits “writing or painting advertising matter on streets or sidewalks.”  The man spent three weeks in jail.  The city prosecutor dropped the charges the day after his release.

     I recently took part in a poll by The Daily Post at WordPress.com that asked three questions in regard to the Occupy protests:  1)  I’m all for it, and even participated in some local events  2)  It’s a nice idea but I don’t think protests do anything  3)  I don’t support it at all, and disagree with the idea.  At the point that I answered the poll, it stood at roughly 26% answered 1, 59% agreed with number 2, and 14% said that they disagree with the idea of protests.  My response was ‘one’ and I was surprised and dismayed at the majority of people who stated that either they don’t think protests do any good or that they disagree with protesting. 

     But maybe it’s because I grew up in the 50s and 60s and that’s how I saw people bringing attention to their causes that led me to vote in the affirmative.  On August 28, 1963, 200,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. for equal rights, not only for African Americans but all minorities.  The strong leaders of that group met with President Kennedy and members of Congress and then led a march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.  It was there that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  This movement helped make an impact so strong that the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. 

     Although this protest did not bring about the end of the Vietnam War, the demonstration in the fall of 1969 in Washington, D.C. remains the largest of our history.  Over 500,000 people joined in unity to object to the war. And November marked a time where peoples from around the world came together in their outcry against this conflict. Unfortunately, in spite of these efforts, the war continued on for another six years.

     One of the most important movements came well before my time, the suffragette movement for the right of women to vote.  This push for women to be able to vote started as far back as the Revolutionary War.  But women such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave the push a shove in the mid 19th century and finally in 1920 an amendment to the constitution was instated that gave the right to vote to everyone regardless of sex.

     There have been many other movements throughout history that have brought about change or at least let the “powers that be” hear their oppositions’ voices.  In my opinion, none of these protests are in vain; there is always a message being conveyed.

     I’m all for citizens being able to bring peaceful protest and attention to their causes…the key word here being peaceful.  I don’t agree with rioting, killing and destroying property.  I like the leadership examples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. who both used non-violent means to bring about changes in their time, and add to those names, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who uses the same methods today.

     Some time ago, I joined with a group of bloggers over at Amy Doyle’s “Soul Dipper” WordPress site, http://souldipper.wordpress.com/, for a weekly, Thursday posting she’s dubbed “Occupy Blogosphere”.  The purpose of this being to uplift and bring positivity to a world that can so easily depress and discourage.   We share encouraging messages and support one another and in this small way strengthen us all.

     I can’t imagine not being in support of the ability to gather with others of like mind and peacefully give a direct and strong message to those we don’t agree with and who have the power to dictate the impact on our day to day lives.  And don’t forget, our constitution supports our right to assembly and our right to freedom of speech…sometimes the two go hand-in-hand.

Mira Jaya

I was on a wild adventure this past week.  No apologies when I say I didn’t mind being away from the blogging world for one minute…excitement was happening.

Mira Jaya and Gigi (Grandma Gayle)

I was in Sebastian where my daughter and her husband live to attend the birth of my granddaughter and first grandchild.  I left home last Saturday to be ready if the labor began over the weekend.  Sebastian is on the east coast of Florida, south of Melbourne.  It’s a sleepy, small retirement community…quiet and breezy from the winds coming off the Indian River and Atlantic Ocean. 

Mira Jaya Rose-Hutner was born Monday night, September 3rd (Labor Day) at the Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach.  She weighed 8lbs. 6oz. and was 20 ½ inches long.  She came into the world very curious and looking around and seemingly listening when you spoke quietly to her.  Her Daddy held her close after she had been checked out…you could feel the love.  My daughter and the baby are doing very well. 

I arrived back home last night still flying high over the addition of this sweet, precious, new being in our family.  The best news of all…I’ve been asked to take care of little Mira when her Mom returns to work in a few weeks.  I’ll be moving over there within the next couple of months.  I can’t believe my good fortune.

Mira and Dad

Sharing this today with Occupy Blogosphere over at Soul Dipper’s place.  What’s more inspiring than a new little being entering our world?

http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-september-13-2012/

The 11th Panchen Lama

     In 1995, at the age of six, a young boy was recognized as Tibet’s reincarnated 11th Panchen Lama, one of that country’s most important religious leaders.  Young Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was so recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  Shortly thereafter, the Chinese government took him and his family into custody and have not been seen since.  The previous 10th Panchen Lama had died under mysterious conditions in 1989.  He had been a vocal advocate for Tibetan culture and autonomy.

     On April 25, 2012 the Panchen Lama turned 23 years of age.  Seventeen of those years have been spent in captivity without knowledge of his whereabouts.

     The Chinese government had asserted themselves in the search for the reincarnated Panchen Lama and assigned someone of their own choosing as the religious leader.  Now, this government-assigned Panchen Lama has been given a title in Chinese government equal to the status of a congressman and has been active in making propaganda statements for his regime against Tibetans.

     Peoples worldwide and human rights groups have called for the immediate release of the Panchen Lama.  Under these conditions, there is great concern by many that his life is threatened.  The government of China has remained silent on this issue.

     You can find out more information on http://www.savetibet.org.  This is the website for the International Campaign for Tibet which serves to protect the people of Tibet from human rights violations and mobilizing assistance in education and development for its people.  Or, see Students for a Free Tibet https://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama

 Photo from Save Tibet.org

Uploaded by Students for a Free Tibet

Shattered Vision

     It’s probably been close to twenty years ago that I experienced my first ocular migraine.  I had been suffering from monthly, common migraines since undergoing a tubal ligation, years earlier but I was totally unprepared for this new and unsettling experience.

     I was at my mother’s house one afternoon when I noticed a subtle change in my vision.  My sight was blurring and I saw slight “shimmering” lights in the middle of my field of vision.  I could see but my view was distorted.  I sat and watched as the shimmering became more pronounced and became jagged, lightning-like zigzags of flashing light that encompassed my eyesight.  There was no pain and it left the way it began,  gradually and lessening in intensity until my vision was restored.  The entire episode lasted about twenty minutes.

     At the time, I had been under a lot of stress and I chalked it up to just another symptom of the great deal of anxiety that I was feeling.  Or perhaps it was due to the autonomic nervous system syndrome (dysautonomia) of which I had recently been diagnosed.  In any case, I lived with it not knowing what it was until many years later when I finally was able to consult an eye specialist and received a diagnosis.

     So it was no surprise when this past week, I found my eyes beginning to “shimmer” with those telltale jagged lights.  I’ve been used to them showing up every couple of months or so…the only change being that they now seem to come in twos.  I’ll have one and then a few days or so later, I’ll experience another one and then won’t have another for a while.  Yes, I did have the second one like clockwork, but then surprisingly ended up having two more within a couple of days…two episodes back to back…four total.  Now, that got my attention.  This had never happened before.  The weather had been socked in with a tropical storm for a few days and I wondered if the change in barometric pressure had brought them on.  Sometimes weather conditions can have an effect on migraines.  I was left with a faint headache as is usual for me.

     Ocular migraines are also known as retina migraines, ophthalmic or eye migraines.  They usually are a benign condition and resolve themselves within 30 minutes and don’t require medication.  The underlying cause of this type of migraine is unknown.  During imaging studies, it has been revealed that there are blood flow changes to the brain during ocular migraines (and the visual auras that can be a precursor of regular migraines).  That kind of creeps me out.  It is surmised that a mechanism deep in the brain is triggered which releases inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head and brain but why it begins and ends spontaneously is a mystery.

     The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that migraines “almost certainly” have a genetic basis, and other studies say 70 per cent of people who suffer from the disorder have a family history of migraine headaches.  As far as I know, no one else in my family has suffered from these types of headache.

     Certain foods can bring on migraines (including ocular) such as aged cheeses, red wine, smoked meats, chocolate, caffeinated drinks and some food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial sweeteners.  Sometimes bright, flickering lights, emotional stress, strong odors and lack of sleep can trigger an attack also.

     I’m happy to report that my “regular”, painful and debilitating migraines ended along with my periods.  What a blessing; I wouldn’t wish those on anyone.  Perhaps one day I’ll be done with these eye disturbances as well.

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Weekend in Sebastian

Last weekend was spent as the guest of my youngest daughter at her newly purchased home in Sebastian.  Her company gave her the day off on Friday, which was her birthday and she invited me for a long weekend stay.  She picked me up in the early afternoon on Friday.  I had my own “wing” and a bathroom in her spacious four bedroom home.  I also was able to spend time with my grandkitty, Rumi.  He’s very special to me and it was fun to hang-out with him again.  I don’t know if he realizes it or not, but he’s a very unique individual.  He always brings a smile to my heart.  He’s enjoying his own bright, sunny room where he likes to spend time sitting in the window that has a perfect vantage point to watch the goings on of the neighborhood.

A close friend of Mahan’s treated us both to a lovely meal at a charming restaurant that evening that was right next door to the historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, established in 1924, to which we went after eating.  We saw “Windy City” based on a hit Broadway comedy that has also been remade several times into films.  The one best known to me is “His Girl Friday”, made in 1940, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.  The cast were all skilled singers and it was an amusing and entertaining presentation.

The next morning, we took our time getting breakfast and dressed and later met up with a friend of hers at an antique store in Vero Beach.  Mahan found five sturdy, painted, dining room chairs that looked as if they had been recently reupholstered…very pretty…and at a price she couldn’t pass up.  Now, she’ll have to keep her eye out for a great table to go with them.  From there we went to the Vero Beach Museum of Art where antique dealers were having a showing–and selling.  We had a great time looking at the high-end, way-out-of-our-league offerings, one painting we admired when we first arrived had a price tag of $86,000.00!

We were meeting her sister and her husband for dinner early that evening but by now had worked up a need for a snack.  We decided to go to a nearby Panera and have a cup of soup.  But first, Mahan asked me if I wanted some chocolate.  Chocolate?  Well, sure.  She’s discovered a charming little shop called Faith, Hope and Chocolate that she likes to visit when the mood strikes.  We both found some to try and Mahan bought some favorites to share, and I ended up buying some dark chocolate nonpareils for Tom’s birthday this week…his favorite.

We later shared a relaxing, mellow dinner with my oldest daughter and son-in-law.  It’s always a treat to spend time with all of them together.

After we returned home, Mahan wanted to watch a football game.  What?!  I’ve never known her to watch football.  I don’t watch it..ever.  She and I had been Magic fans when they first came to Orlando and she had often attended the games when she lived in the area…but football?  I was floored.  But some friends of hers were storing their huge-screened television at her house and she said it was fun to watch sports when you can actually see the action so close.  Well, okay…so I gave it a try.  A guy friend of hers came over and I actually sat through the whole thing…and actually enjoyed it.  It was an abysmal match though between Denver and New England.  I’m sure all you football fans know all about it…New England won.

On Sunday, we had a late brunch.  Mahan has become quite the expert at making omelets with the help of this cool little omelet pan and then she really got industrious and made us pancakes from scratch.  Yum!  She also likes to buy fresh coffee beans and she served up flavorful cups of coffee each morning using her French press.  I’m proud of her domestic abilities and so is my stomach!

Later in the afternoon, the two daughters, son-in-law and I went to a matinee showing of “The Barber of Seville”–my first opera.  It’s hard to believe that I hadn’t been before.  But we all enjoyed it immensely and had a quick dinner out before Mahan drove me back home and ended what was truly a very lovely weekend.  We’ve already talked about doing it again.

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Vero Beach Museum of Art

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Best Boy Ever

Hi Jan–Nicholas and I had a wonderful time together this morning.  He’s the sweetest, best boy ever.  First, he informed me that you had said when Aunt Gayle gets there that he could eat his chocolate Sponge Bob Square Pants–so he couldn’t get to it fast enough when I walked in the door.  Yum, yum!  Then it was on to basketball–where we got continual “overtimes”.  We both made some baskets.  Fun!  Sad Mishap number 1:  wayward basketball hits Grandmommie’s glass, gold-colored hummingbird feeder and breaks it.  Nicholas immediately apologized profusely–I told him it was just an accident and was not his fault.  I left it on the kitchen counter–picked up broken glass from porch and threw away.

We then went for walk/bike ride around block.  Michael came out and let Nicholas have two small, whopper eggs.  Yum, yum!  Came in and looked at the Highlights magazine and searched for hidden things in a picture–read a couple of stories.  Then he piled pillows up on couch to sit on–Gayle said, be careful that you don’t slip and bonk your head on the table–he asked “Why?”  Two minutes later–slipped and had Sad Mishap number 2:  head bonked table.  Small boo-boo.  Gayle held him while he cried and then asked if he wanted to put some ice on it to help it feel better–he said yes.  All better!
He wanted to take me to his school and got his backpack and said “come on” and that he knew the way.  Talked him out of it.  Spent much time telling him why I wasn’t going to let him eat his M & Ms and/or his lollipop!  He was very persistent, but I won!

Went outside to smell gardenia flowers and watched two squirrels eating from some plants–they got close and we liked them.  I told Nicholas maybe he could take his teacher a flower the next day.  Then spied wasps buzzing around–I told him those bugs will sting and to be careful around them.  Saw hawk fly low towards us and go over the rooftop–cool!  Watched other birds in the trees and commented.  Soon heard Dad’s car coming–Dad’s home!  Dad spots a small grasshopper on a toy out front, tells Nicholas go get his bug catcher and bug house–Dad catches grasshopper and puts it in house.  Nicholas wants to show Grandmommie when she comes home.  Gayle hugs and kisses the best boy ever and says she loves him so much.  Hug and kiss in return.  Successful mission completed!

I babysat for my nephew’s three year old son, Nicholas, this morning.  The above is the email I sent my sister recapping the busy morning we had together.  Nicholas and his Dad live with my sister and her husband.  Nicholas has been playing basketball since he was around 14 months old.  He is an accomplished player.  And he’s the best boy ever!

Entering this for The Purple Treehouse:  Funny Bunny Week Five:  http://purpletreehouse.blogspot.com/2011/12/funny-bunny-fridays-week-5-december-2.html

Isabella

Dearest Isabella,

I want you to know that you will always be in my heart.  I cherish the time that I spent with you.  Doing all the things a mother does for her little, dear one–feeding you, bathing and dressing you, comforting you and loving you–even though I wasn’t your mother.  You were in my care for a short while–several months when I was your “Auntie Nanny Gayle”.

It was such a treasured time for me even though our family was in the midst of upheaval and strain but you were not a part of that in my eyes–and heart.  You were just an innocent, sweet infant needing love and care and comfort.  I was so blessed to be chosen to do that for you–if only for a few short months.

I became your nanny when you were only three months old.  You were just an angel of a tiny girl–so very precious and new to this world.  My mothering instincts kicked right in–as if they had ever gone anywhere–you needed me–and I believe I needed you too.  To bring that selfless love that had been buried within me to the surface once again.

I remember one night when you were fussy and couldn’t quite settle down to sleep.  It really wasn’t like you–you never cried very much.   I gathered you up and brought you into my room and played some soft, sweet chanting music.  I hummed and chanted while I cradled you close and you calmed right down and relaxed.  It always was a gift to me to provide comfort for you.

You were a joy, never a bother–no never.  I took pleasure and felt fulfilled in giving you the care and love that you needed.

And then there came the time when you returned to your mother and I can’t help wondering about you.  Are you safe and happy?  Are you being protected and loved as every baby should?

I love you Isabella; you’re always in my heart.

 

Love and peace,

Auntie Nanny Gayle

 

 

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