There must justice for all or there is justice for no one.

Friday, May 10, 2013

THE BEST LAID PLANS

There has been a lull my life and the blogging life while dealing with a bug of some sort. It pops up every now and then. Upset stomach and other symptoms that are more a PITA than anything else but it does slow things down a bit.

On other fronts. Blood pressure readings for both mom and me are improving. Her balance is much better and her mental state is, well if there was anything higher than a hundred percent she'd be there. Less hesitation when talking on the phone. Time spent outside, which she loves. So far so good. More later.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SO FAR SO GOOD



Sis and her family were down for the U of O’s spring game this weekend. She and the BIL had time to stop by briefly. I was about half way through explaining what mom and I are doing when they both started nodding their heads. It was way, way easier than I thought it would be. Both very supportive and with some good suggestions. BIL just laughed when I said that as far as I was concerned garlic was a food group all by itself and started reeling off all the things garlic is good for besides tasting pretty darned good.

There is evidence from studies in Britain that show that garlic helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also reduce the chance of internal blood clots. There is also evidence that garlic helps support the immune system. This is purely anecdotal but the last time I was on the RX’s I came down with everything bug that came through the office. That was one of the reasons I went back on the herbs. Within the month my resistance was back up to what I was used to. And has stayed that way. More later

Friday, April 26, 2013

THE BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR, MOM AND ME


Green Woman seems like a good place to start this journey. Mom and I going into this after about a month of discussion and research. We're doing this deliberately, carefully and we have to tools to make sure that we're making things better, not worse. 

About six months ago mom was diagnosed with high blood pressure. She just turned 87 and has never had a problem. And it’s the systolic that’s high; her diastolic was and is in normal range. Some research on the net gave us information that this is a common side effect to aging. Like the rest of your body your arteries just aren’t as flexible as they used to be. But, what the hey. Doc puts her on one medication. Doesn't like the results; adds a second drug. Doesn't like those results and ADDS A THIRD.

In the meantime, my 87 going on 80 pretty darn sharp for her age mother is turning into a zombie. Even her friends start to notice. “You’re not the Kathryn I know.” The weakness in her left leg is getting worse, her balance is off and she’s having muscle cramps at night. Just for info, I’ve been the same doctor in the past and discussing side effects is like talking to a brick wall. I’ve been using herbs and getting reasonable results given that my knees are shot and I haven’t been watching my diet very well. That’s going to change.

I don’t’ pay much attention to Dr. Oz but there was an article in the local paper a couple of months ago on the benefits of adding high potassium foods to your diet to help control blood pressure. I check the indications on mom’s RX and low and behold she’s being told to watch her potassium intake. As in don’t take too much. (head slap, forehead hitting desk) Here’s something that can help you not need so many drugs and you’re being told not to take it. Meantime mom’s getting foggier (depression is a possible side effect of two of the drugs along with muscle cramps and balance problems) all the time. This is a gal who has had a few problems with her back but didn’t need cane to get around the fucking house for cryin’ out loud and the only thing she’s been taking regularly is generic Prilosec.

Ok. Best herbal compounds I can find? Check. Tai Chi DVD’s dusted off? Check. New arm cuff that will fit her so she can use my monitor? Check. Wrist cuff as back up and for me to use too?  Check. Excel spreadsheet to keep track. Check My trusty, dusty copy of Laurel’s Kitchen with the very readable nutrition charts in the back? Check. Does it list potassium levels? Check, check, check. Do dried beans, nuts, brown rice, other grains and Swiss chard suddenly look absolutely delicious? Damn straight. Funny, what you won’t do for yourself, you’ll fall all over yourself to do for someone you love.

Do I want to keep my mom around as long as possible? Of course. But, not if she’s miserable and she was. This is a gal who faced going to work when dad was disabled and she did it with style. This is a gal who loves to play in the dirt. And she’s telling me she doesn't know why she’s still around. “Danger Will Robinson. Danger” And I can't help wondering how many older men and women are in her position without backup. Falling, breaking something or being written off with what looks like approaching senility and it's the American Way of Medicine instead. 

Ok. Third day off the drugs. Fog is already lifting. Balance is improving. We’ll keep an eye on that left leg. At least if she does finally have to go to that neurologist for it we can be pretty sure it’s actually a physical problem and not side effects of the drugs. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

THE SOUL OF A RIVER


THE SOUL OF A RIVER

A few years ago I invested in the 1990’s Cousteau River Journeys DVD’s. Four of the episodes followed the Danube from headwaters to the Black Sea, with emphasis on the environmental degradation along the river in the former Soviet states. Chemical plants that dumped untreated waste into the river. The dangers of aging nuclear plants that weren’t that well built in the first place. Run off from contaminated ground water along with gas leakage into the atmosphere. Local economies based on fishing and farming were stressed out by the pollution.

The diversion of the river into man made channels to improve navigation, while destroying local economies based on the wetlands and marshes.

So, where is the soul of a river? Is it just the river? Or does the river and its soul stretch beyond the channel and the meandering blue line on a map.

The river is the ocean that gives up its moisture to the rains and snows.

The river is winter ice and summer sun.

The river is snow, rain and hail.

The river is the tiny veins and capillaries of water that stretch beyond the banks and below the river bed.  Searching, seeking, seeping into the deep rocks and the deep roots of the mountains. Finally finding the way to new streams and new tree roots. Coming into the sun again, pulled into the sky a thousand miles from where the rain last fell.

The river is the mountains, home to the springs a rivulets that join to form a torrent.

The river is the animals that depend on it for water and forage, the trees that shade the banks and shelter the birds.

The river is the disappearing marshes and the migratory birds that nested in the reeds.

The canals are the river and so are the drying wetlands that used to hold back the floods.

The dams we build are the river and so are the fish blocked from their native spawning grounds.

The river is the disappearing, sick and mutated fish and the villagers and fishermen who depend on them not only for their livelihood, but for tonight’s dinner.

The river is the untreated chemical waste that leaches into ground water. It’s the sewage from overburdened, aging city systems.

The river is the rain falling through air contaminated with radiation from nuclear plants that couldn’t be built to withstand every possible risk.

The river is us.

The last episode ends with a group of children including one of Cousteau’s grandchildren flying kites along the river bank to remind us that they will have to live in the world we are creating.

(Words fail me sometimes. I have the vision in my mind but can’t find the words to express what I see)

Friday, August 3, 2012

RIDING A SEA OF STARS


Painting by Australian artist Hue Walter. The sun riding the seas of heaven over the entrance to New Grange in Ireland and images of petroglyphs from Chaco Canyon in the American Southwest. At the winter solstice the sun shines into the entrance New Grange. At the summer solstice the sun intersects a certain spiral in the Chaco Canyon complex. August 1 marked the beginning of the harvest season in the Irish Celtic calender. Midway between summer solstice and the autumn equinox. I suspect the apple trees were inspired by Yeat's old poem. The fire in the head is the inspiring power of the shamen and bards.


The Song of Wandering Aengus



I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

                                    William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

IS IT TIME TO START OVER?


When will these fundamentalist nutjobs figure out that the MODERATES they almost despise are THEIR best protection? That protecting our rights are the best protections for their rights. And I don’t suppose that it will ever sink in that the rest of us, who just happen to be the majority can be pushed just so far and no further.And

And no, we'll try not to push back. That doesn't solve anything. But, very big but, we simply won't follow your path. Perhaps when you finally find yourselves at the end of a dead end road you'll realize that you're welcome to join the party but you can't call all the tunes.

Approximate dates of the most radical fundamentalists

Seventh day Adventists-1863
Four square-1927
Fundamentalism-1920’s
Pentacostals-1900’s
Charismatics within the mainline churches-1960’s
Methodist offshoots-mid 1800’s

And some of the rest of us

Wicca-early 1900’s
Neo druids-mid 1800’s
Celtic reconstruction-1980’s
Other pagan reconstructionists-mid twentieth century

Most of the ultra conservative fundamentalist Christian groups are not much older than the neo pagan reconstructionists. And I believe they can’t stand it. I guess they cling to Biblical literalism to give themselves the illusion that their groups have a history to stand on.

Just finished Tom Cowan’s Fire in the Head on Celtic Shamanism. His discussion the similarities between the experiences of trained shamans and the charges leveled against the so called witches during the great persecutions. The ability to shape shift, the visits to the Otherworld during trances, the so called devil worship.

I could never wrap my head around the reports out of that period. Whole villages with almost no women, not even girls. The attacks on the local healers. Ok, take the reports with a handful of salt. The reported death tolls are still out of sight. One thing makes sense. It wasn’t witches or heretics the hunters were after they were out to break the old religion and these guys were real pieces of work.

Lying was ok. Cheating was ok. Even encouraged since informers got a share of the convicted “witches” property. What if Christian belief had never taken a deep hold and large pockets of the old religion had remained throughout Europe? It wasn’t witches the hunters were after it was the remaining followers of the old ways. If it was Goddess worshipers they were after it would make a twisted sense to go after any female old enough to have begun to learn.

I’m just about ready to call for wiping the slate clean and starting over. Try to find a balance between the old and the new if it’s possible. Learn what we can of the old ways and go back to them if it’s not.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

THE PRAYERS OF STREAMS, STONES AND MONKS


Two similar visions of the relationship of the natural and spiritual worlds form opposite points of view. Rae Beth is British; a self described wild wood mystic within the Wiccan tradition. John Howard Griffin, author of Black Like Me, was a friend of Thomas Merton and was chose to write his biography. Unfortunately he was only able to work complete the material about Merton’s hermitage years before his death.

“….One who speaks for the tree roots and stone. Who speaks with the tree root’ and stone’ voices One who speaks as the grass and rivers. Who speaks as field and woods and hills and valleys and salt marshes and waves and tides. Yet who speaks as what is close to home. With the mouse’s voice or the seagull’s or the fox’s or the badger’s. One who speaks in cadences that go beyond the darkness and beyond stars, encompassing what is immeasurable. One whose entire being vibrates to the spirits’ words in nature, like a reed at dawn in a pool where trout swim.”

Rae Beth in The Hedge Witch’s Way

“The very nature of your solitude involves you in union with the prayers of the wind in the trees, the movement of the stars, the feeding of the birds in the fields, the building of the anthills. You witness the creator and attend to him in all his creation.”

John Howard Griffin biographer of Thomas Merton’s hermitage years. He spent time in the hermitage used by Thomas Merton at the abbey of Gethsemane and kept a journal during that time.

Rae Beth writes of one of her familiars, an old cunning man who lived in Britain over a thousand years ago. He spoke to her of prayers. He said that we must know all the prayers of the world around us; of the birds, beasts or fish. I can understand the idea that a sparrow or a fox might pray; but the prayers of streams or stones?

What does water dream of and pray for? Does the drop of water in a tiny brook remember when is was part of a mighty ocean? Does it remember being a snowflake, a glacier, or a tiny drop of rain? Does it remember being another tiny rivulet? Flowing from rivulet, to stream, to mighty river and finally to the sea. Does it remember being caught up by the warmth of the sun only to become a new drop of rain. Does it remember the long fall from cloud to earth, the sinking into the soil, the slow drift into tree roots, the release from leaves into the air and back to clouds to fall again.

What does a stone remember? Does it remember when its atoms were part of the primal lava flows? Does it remember further back when the atoms were formed in the death throes of a super nova? Do the atoms remember their lives in a cliff face being ground down by relentless breakers? Does it remember the endless pressure as the sandstone was thrust again into daylight or carried down into the heart of the earth to return again as a lava flow?

Imagining the dreams of a bird, badger or fish is difficult enough for a human. Normally we see water, grass or stone as inanimate, unaware. To imagine their prayers; that is a mystery.