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Maiden Voyage: Lift off. October 2, 2015

My first excursion in Louise was like cruising the universe on a rogue moon.

Having quantum-leaped free from the gravitational jurisdiction of my native solar system, Friday last I set course for St Louis and the flux was on <smile>.

Aiming to be off the launchpad between 8am and 9am, completing the pre-escape checklist took a bit longer than anticipated, partly because I kept thinking of specialty tools that would make life more comfortable at all of the little stops along the way.

The item last grabbed at 10am as I shared mega-hugs with eldest son, Adam, was our family’s old campfire-soot-stained 8-cup percolator.

“You know, that wouldn’t be here for you to take if I hadn’t rescued it from Sassafras,” he chided.

I smiled at him, over my shoulder, reflecting backward with uber warm-fuzzies on the last time the percolator was used, on a family camping trip, fifteen years ago, to a nook in a cranny of the Ozark Mountains that we named SassafrasWilds.

Then finally, with the turn of a key and the engine purring like a quick-witted tiger on the prowl, five years of hoping, dreaming, wishing and navigating through the passage of my off-springs’s young-adulthood and my liberating emancipation from the work-a-day world to that stage of life we call ‘retirement’, I was cruising.

Wow… What a hoot!!!

Time of arrival at friend Vicki’s abode, where I was to backyard boondock for a couple of nights and which the google-gods calculated to be 346 miles north-northeast of my start, was estimated at 3pm to 4pm.

In fact, according to Louise’s instrument panel, we logged 354 miles portal-to-portal, with no digression from route. And for those (like me) who care about such things, Louise got just a hair over 13mpg on this first leg of our journey, which was all on U.S. Hwy. or Interstate with many long and sometimes steep grades.

Coupled with my penchant to ‘take things slow and easy’ (average speed was 60-ish) and my self-awarded liberty to stop whenever the spirit so moves me, actual travel time was 10 hours… which included 1 stop to check tire pressure and fuel-up right after leaving home, and one to refuel along the way, plus several to just to get out of the driver’s seat, have a snack, stretch my legs and take a potty break.

Truly, for me, an enchanted way to travel.

Chumming with Vicki – who I met at a conference which she coordinated in 2011 — was grand. Our friendship was seeded by our respective independent advocacy work on issues pertinent to social justice, professional accountability, individual equality, civic well-being and family health — my personal role in which has mainly been that of journalist: reporting on programs, events and activities being forwarded by various organizations that, in my cultured opinion, deserve to make print, and sometimes volunteering as the communications director or public relations person with organizations that are doing what I see as critical work in the fostering of healthy, happy, vibrant communities.

In this instance, my test-run with Louise included piggybacking my penchant for advocacy with my desire to travel and visit family and friends. To find out, experientially, how capable I am to maintain the pace requisite multiple consecutive days on the road, including the doing of routine operations (like dumping the tanks and hooking-up shore power) plus the daily housekeeping of my mobile mini-mansion, while at the same time driving upto to 300 miles a day -and- doing the things that I actually want to do.

Thus for two days Vicki and I dug into the subject matter of the organization she now serves as president: Women Against Registry, aka: WAR.

Our first task was to draft some written copy for new brochure to succinctly articulate the organization’s purpose which, in a nutshell, is to insist that society look at and do something about the harm being done to whole families and most especially to young children, by laws that were – with the best of intentions – intended to protect everyone.

A tenet I personally find to be too true in too many aspects of our great nation’s justice system today.

Thus a good measure of the time that Vicki and I shared – reaching back to include several months of email correspondence — was given to detailing plans for an envisioned conference that we’ve lovingly dubbed JAKE, which stands for Justice, Accountability, Knowledge, Equality… and which to us, sorta says all of everything about what we want life to be all about for everyone, all of the time… just and fair, with each of us accountable for our own actions being grounded in an understanding of the complex dynamics of social interaction and thus resonant with the quality of respect amplified by the tenet, “Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.”

So, there you have it… <smile> Phase one of my weeklong test run went great. Louise operated fabulously well on self-contained systems from Friday morning through early Monday afternoon, when I checked in for our first night together in a real RV park… my experience of which will I shall elaborate upon soon….

Until next time, (choose to) be the peace, love and joy that makes the world a friendlier, happier, healthier place for everyone… especially yourself… because you (and all of us) deserve it. (((hugs))) ~Christine

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enemies February 23, 2012

 The following came to my Inbox compliments of Simon Black, author of Soverign Man, who (if you take what he says at face value) makes a good living out of telling people what’s wrong with government, the economy, health care, the media, banking and finance, foreign policy, etc., etc., and so on… and then selling them his version of ‘the answer’.

Please, do observe:

The war you won’t hear about in the media

There’s a war going on that you’ll never hear about on the nightly news.

This war poses, by far, the largest immediate threat to you, your family and your future well-being.

And provided you take no action to protect yourself, this war could very well alter the quality of your life forever.

But this war is not being fought against some unseen enemy on the far side of the globe.

This war, dear reader, is being fought against you.

You are the enemy.

Your way of life is the enemy. And your belief in your freedom to live that life as you see fit is in the cross hairs of a government desperate to maintain the status quo.

Your freedom is being destroyed. But it’s happening slowly so as not to stir the masses hypnotized by their TV and video game lifestyle.

During the collapse of an empire, freedom doesn’t disappear in a blink. As we can all see by the events around us, it disappears very slowly. Little by little, laws are enacted that remove it.

One day, there’s nothing left.

That’s the point at which people will wake up and start to freak out.

The goal of this message is to make sure YOU are not one of those people.

[sales pitch removed]

To your sovereign freedom,

Simon Black

Word-crafted rhetoric, homed to an invisibly transparent purpose, parsed with precision pronouncements all pitching to do one job: Sell a product.

Simon has something he wants you (anybody, somebody) to purchase. He wants to trade something he has for something you’ve got. 

His singularity is motivating you to ‘buy’ and he is using every manner of logic and persuasive (gravitational) cunning to pull you across his event horizon, punctuating each participle to stress every adverb that will help close the deal. 

Such is the distilled essence of all that we call ‘capitolism’, which — some would say — is the backbone of healthy free-market economies and the bedrock of global prosperity and peace. So, we wonder, why does Simon chronically tell us ‘how bad things are’ and blast us with info about why things are not working, and then offer to ‘sell’ us his ready-made solution for precluding such woes lest they befall us, ‘the enemy’, ourselves. 

That is, if Simon really does have a solution — a better way of doing things than free-market exchange — why isn’t he giving (yes giving) all of us a free lesson in the subject-matter. Why isn’t he — having (supposedly) found ‘the way to a better life’ — explaining this passage, step-by-step; handing out ‘maps’ out of the goodness of his heart? 

Does it matter…???

What do you think… Lemme know. 

“America: Love it or fix it…”

(((hugs)))

 

What if… January 1, 2012

Filed under: CIVICS 101,COMMUNITY,EDITORIAL — gozarks @ 10:37 am
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What if today was ‘the day after’ ALL of our problems had been solved?

What if the multinational headlines were shouting glad tidings, that finally and at along last every person had a secure and comfortable home, all were well fed, good health was rampant, the arts were flourishing and that the people of the planet were all indeed prospering in all things….

What would YOU be doing…???

How would you fill your time…???

If there truly was nothing more to complain about… nothing to hurt us… nothing for us to rail against… truly, what would you do…???

And by ‘you’ I mean all of us, of course. Because really, if you seriously think about it, without pain and fear our whole system of ‘survival’ would…. whoops… I almost typed one of the ‘flag’ words supposedly being spidered by our Office of Homeland Security which, according to the news report I heard on network TV the other day, can get a post flagged for further inspection, thoughts about which make me cringe at so many levels that I must resist the urge to further digress.

Because my point is what if we — as a society — were finally able to muster the strength, courage, determination and fortitude to start behaving with decency, courtesy, respect, integrity, virtue and convivial regard for each other, all the time… which is (I assert with sublime confidence) what things will ‘look like’ the day after all the problems are solved.

There will be no more hatred because each person will have made the uniquely independent choice to extinguish hatred by treating all (not just some) others in the same manner as preferred, desired and enjoyed by self.

So again I gently ask, What will you be doing when this is how the whole world works…???

And what are you doing now, during this inbetween time, to bring the vision to life…???

Have a look at what the folks at Dreaming New Mexico are doing…

Are you ready to thrive…???

Come visit me on gozarks… Let’s get ‘er done…!!!  (((hugs))) ~Christine

 

Abuse October 13, 2011

Been too long since I’ve taken time to reflect, assimilate and digest. Contrary to profuse and numberous distractions, however, life is good — at least in the grander sense and bumps in the road aside.

For reasons related to a lot of things I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘abuse’…. what it is… that is, what defines it… where is the line crossed? what are the objective dimensions of that line and where does subjective experience enter in…?

What I’ve arrived at: it seems that we — society as a whole, that is — have developed a type of cognitive dissonance about what we classify (or not) as ‘abusive’… and how we deal with it. Take for example the actions taken by officials in Topeka, Kansas, to unadopt a local law on domestic violence due to a budget crunch… A sane person who has studied the facts would be hard put not to wonder why ‘domestic violence’ (which typically victimizes women and children) was targeted and not, let’s say, the prosecution of cannabis (marijuana) crimes where there is no victim involved?

What does this say about ‘us’ — the Great American Society? 

 And if actions really do speak louder than words, how do we turn this into a win/win/win….???

 

Nobody knows nothin… June 21, 2011

Filed under: CIVICS 101,COMMUNITY,EDITORIAL — gozarks @ 6:59 pm
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The facts are coming in regarding the circumstances which resulted in the shut-down by the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office of the Arkansas Family Muisc Fest held near Old Joe, Arkansas, on Saturday, June 18, 2011. (See: Home To Roost) And they are confusing.

For example, we have learned that there is NO ‘noise ordinance’ in Baxter County. We have learned that at least one of the neighbors who was rumored to have filed a complaint did NOT. And we have learned that NONE of the local law enforcement agencies has any record or knowledge of the festival being closed-down by their agency.

Most disheartening is the report from one local resident who tried to find out why this happened and started making phone calls: “They (the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office) knew nothing about it and told me it was Marion county and I told them it was most certainly not so they said it was Stone county, so I called them and they said that it was Izard county who once again told me it was Baxter!”

I mean, do we really get it… That if NO law was being violated and there was NO ‘probable cause’ (evidence that a crime was being committed), then the law enforcement officers had NO authority to close the event.

NO AUTHORITY. NONE. ZIP. ZERO. ZILCH.

Do we really get it that when officers of the law behave in this manner that they, being bound by the duties of their employment to safeguard our constitutional covenants of liberty and freedom, have in the act of taking the law into their own hands committed an act of treason against the well-being of the community as a whole. 

This is serious stuff, folks. Our birthrights as individuals to unfettered self-determination — the sacrosanct holier-than-holy “Highest Law of the Land” — is being systematically gutted by our own apathy and indifference.  Respectfully,  we should ALL be contacting the elected public officials of Baxter County and asking them to explain not only how this all went so wrong, but also what actions they are going to take to make things right. 

Respectfully, calling our elected officials and insisting that action be taken on matters like this is NOT ‘meddling’. This is us ‘regular people’ doing OUR duty as citizens, honoring the lives of every man and woman who has ever served in the military safeguarding our Constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And please, don’t take my word for it. Read what others are saying about the creeping destruction of our unalienable rights. Then get busy and start making phone calls…

 

Home to roost… June 19, 2011

My previous rant about “The Power,” addressing the insidious and sublime ‘police state’ mentality and how desensitized ‘we the people’ have become to the unfathomable perils of it, came home to roost here in Arkansas yesterday. But please, let me start at the beginning.

Yesterday, my daughter Shawna and I treated ourselves to a concert-outing. (See poster at right.) It proved to be a pleasant and entertaining ‘family style’ event. Our whole time there, people were smiling and happy. Kids frolicked on an improvised waterslide. Folks visited. Music played. And the sweet-cool evening breeze off the White River bathed us all. Even my daughter ‘had fun’ (and you know how persnickety teenagers are)! For your enjoyment, I have posted a few photos, below.

But sadly, as I hear tell, after my daughter and I headed home, around-about 10pm the local constabulary pulled-up two patrol cruisers in front of the stage and shut the whole shin-dig down. As I understand it, this action was taken resultant of complaints about ‘noise’.

Now I can’t say how loud things got after we left, but while we were there the music was loud enough to be appreciated and not so loud that you couldn’t hear yourself think. And it was, after all, a music festival.  A place where one might expect the drum-beats to reverberate.

I also confess that I have no knowledge about what (if any) ordinances exist in Baxter County that limit the decibel of sound one may issue forth from one’s own private property. And I stress here that this was a private event, accessible only by purchase of a ticket, presented by an independent promoter at a private campground at an ‘end of the road, way-out-of-the-way’ location.

I also don’t know who the people were who filed the complaint and I don’t even know for a fact that a complaint was filed. Everything I know about what happened after Shawna and I left is hearsay… though it all comes from trusted sources. 

Still, no matter the facts what I do have is common sense, a strong understanding of what is fair, right and just, and a growing outrage over what ‘we the people’ are subjecting ourselves to in the namesake of ‘doing something good.’  I mean, what are we doing (as a society) when we use ‘police power’ to treat a bunch of harmless, fun-loving families like they are  rowdy-punks having a destructive kegger in somebody-elses woods?

Where are the ‘rights’ of the people who peaceably assembled to enjoy the music? People who were all there voluntarily… who chose to be in a place where people were celebrating… where NO ‘harm’ was being done and no ‘crime’ was being committed. Who honors their rights and those of the musicians who came to perform?

If you are even a wee bit concerned about this, please call the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office ( 6/20/11 CORRECTED: 870-425-7000) and politely ask what ordinance was violated by the folks at the Arkansas Family Music Fest held near Old Joe, Arkansas, on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Then please, let me know what they tell you. In the interim, enjoy the photos…

 
 
 The crowd gathered on lawn chairs and snacked from coolers as the musicians played on stage.
 
 

One of the several band that entertained during the music festival.

Folks mixed-and-mingled throughout the event.

 The improvised waterslide was an absolute favorite with ALL the kids (young and old)!!!

And there were even totally awesome souvenir T-shirts…

And as already mentioned, my daughter (that’s her, second from the right, with the folks at the Monster Energy Drink booth) had an excellent time.

All in all, it was an event about which the whole community SHOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD!!!!!!!!!!!!

My fellow Americans… Where are you?  

 

BirthDays March 2, 2011

If I had gone to our state capitol today, in the hopes of addressing the membership of one of the various legislative committees who are considering bills which — in my self-esteemed wisdom — deserve critical attention, then I would not have shared breakfast and conversation with my daughter. Reason enough, it could rightly be said, for not going. But the issue to me is bigger than that.

Today, I am 62.

Thus, in my self-esteemed wisdom applied to me, I have arrived at a new benchmark. The beginning of a time in space where I get to more freely choose those things that will fill my present moments. And, with my children now predominately at the helms fo their own lives, my business obligations all satisfied, a comfortable roof over my head, a reliable vehicle to drive and the benevolence of a tidy Social Security pension, the expanses of what I may if I wish to do with my time are, perhaps for the first real time since I was twelve, seemingly limitless.

This is an odd and wonderous place to be, the liberating sensations of which wash over me like warm effervescent tides of sunshine and smiles.  It is a lovely place of mind to simply be. No ‘pressure’ of any great magnitude to ‘get things done’. Not that there isn’t a ‘to-do’ list — which I know is a double negative, but serves the point well. Because there is and will always be a to-do list. Its rigors, whether consciously chosen or memetically engendered, are assigned from our first breath of life.

Knowing this, when posed with a meaningful and substantive equation to resolve — such as ‘what do I want to do with the rest of my life?’ — my solution is simple. I ask myself “What will I be doing the day after all the ‘problems’ are resolved?” And of course the operative ‘problems’, generally speaking, constiute a whole lot of different things and are usually respective of the circumstances immersing my moment-to-moment reality.

At one time in my life, for about ten years, the ‘problem’ was how to steward our family resources to make sure all the bills got paid, that we had a comfortable home, reliable transportation, nutritious food and suitable clothing while homeschooling four children and being the (hopefully) loving spouse of a disabled person.  That decade resounded with a series of life-quaking problems, such as arriving home from work one day to find all four of our children (then ages 9, 7, 5 and 3) ‘missing’ from our home and yard while their dad slept on the couch and, when awakened, had no idea where they were.

It was a revelation for me to come to grips at that moment with the inhibiting constraints of my husband’s disablilty.  The ‘problem’ was real and huge. That instant of cognition added a heaping of ‘new tasks’ to my to-do list, some immediate and many long-term.

Thankfully, the children were quickly found playing at a neighbor’s. And I resolved in that moment for everyone’s sake that my husband — whose dysfunction is predominantly cognitive — must never be left alone with reponsibility for our children ever again. Thus, until we divorced some years later (by that time our eldest was 18 and our youngest was 12) I was effectively a single-parent ‘head of household’ for a family of six. And trust me, there were many problems.

But always there was this vision of what life would be like ‘after’ all the problems were resolved, and a yearning for some sort of blissful meadow of contentment to prevail in my life and, to whatever degree it is in my power to affect it, in the lives of all others… all of which comes with its own set of problems. Such as, for example, the crossroads I am camped at now: Taking stock. Inventorying my ‘to do’ list. Assessing what is (and what is not) truly important to me… Asking myself, somewhat obsessively, ‘what do I want to do with my time now that I am more free than I have ever been as an adult to make the choice…??? 

And the truth of the matter is that I just don’t know yet…

What I do know is that I don’t want the rest of my life to be a recurring processional of things I have already done, which brings me back to the legislative hearings I did not attend. For better or worse I have been doing my bit as a ‘good citizen’ to uphold my civic duties for over forty years. And, respectfully, over the passage of time I have done this with increasing vigor. But now I have arrived at a break-point and before I take another step forward I need to assimilate, digest and ponder which direction I really want to go…

Which is exactly what I am doing and, as with the choice I made this morning, this path of ‘not’ doing is feeling pretty good…. except for the part of me that still feels a duty to share what I’ve learned about all of this stuff over the course of the last 62 years, in the hopes of making life better, easier, simpler and more satisfying for everyone, every day.  So I’ll have to see what I can do about that… (((hugs)))