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On the path of figuring things out. November 8, 2015

Filed under: COMMUNITY,EDITORIAL,EN ROUTE,health — gozarks @ 12:34 pm
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I felt pretty crappy for a few days this past week, which annoys me and my longstanding policy is to cope in silence.

What annoys me, however, is not the ‘coping in silence’ part, because when I feel like sh*t there is nothing that anyone can do aid my recovery beyond extending the same courtesy to me (and I to them) that we would in the course of any routine activity.

This old rocker has been in my family for as long as I can remember. It was my grandmother's favorite chair at our family's cottage on North Lake. Now, with the springs re-tied, new padding, fresh polish and new fabric, it is my favorite chair, too.

This old rocker has been in my family for as long as I can remember. It was my grandmother’s favorite chair at our family’s cottage on North Lake. Now, with the springs re-tied, new padding, fresh polish and new fabric, it is my favorite chair, too.

What annoys me is that when flights of (what I have come to think of as) ‘phantom pain’ seemingly take control of various parts of my anatomy, it is difficult (if not impossible) for me to do almost anything, and I find all impediments to my free-will liberty hugely annoying.

The good part is that laying prone, napping and quasi-dreaming, wrapped in blankets with a bean-bag-back-warmer, vests me with lots of time to think.

To wonder and speculate, more accurately, about what I would do if conditions such as this came upon me whilst I was on the road, traveling solo. And so, having actually lived in my RV sufficiently to know how things work and what must be done to sustain, as I languished in my comfy bed at home I imagined how my movements and actions would be different if I was (at that moment) on the road.

And what I realized was that I would have done just as well. Some things would have been, perhaps, a bit more challenging. But some would have been easier. And I would recover, just as I did here at my sticks & brick abode.

Or (I stretched my imagination), perhaps being immersed in the new environs of life on the road would somehow magically mitigate the ‘phantom pain’ that has sporadically interfered with my modus opperandi since my ‘death event’ back in January of this year.

More realistically, reflecting on how I felt 6-months ago, my hope and belief is that over time the renewal of my good health will continue.

Anyway, aside from the above the last couple of weeks have been highy productive. For one thing, I completed my most recent assignment for The Municipal, which is a story about Berne, Indiana, slated for publication December 1st. FYI: I now have two articles in print with them, one each in their September and October 2015 editions.

Also made serious progress tending to ‘little things’ for Louise, such as sealing and refinishing the edge around the sink, doing a heavy-duty flush of the gray- and black-water tanks and determining the cause of an intermittent leak in the gray-water system which is next on my list to fix.

However, the fait accompli with which I am most pleased is that I finally finished reupholstering my (maternal) grandmother’s rocking chair… and I do hope the quality of my work does her artisan sensibility for attention to detail proud.

And one other thing, my advocacy work with friend Vicki (who you’ll remember from Maiden Voyage: Lift Off) is steadily moving along, and an outline of one major project we’re forwarding is now available for public review at our Team JAKE blog. If you have a few minutes I hope you’ll give it a look and let me know what you think…!!!

Until next time, may the bliss be with you… (((hugs))) ~Christine


Maiden Voyage: Happy Endings October 25, 2015

So where we left off, Suzy had delivered me back to Louise and I headed south from Violet Hill with plans to overnight in Mountain View as the last stop on my way home to Shirley.

Having checked-out several RV parks online, I’d selected one along my planned route and headed there. But when I arrived, though the office was open, no one ever came to the desk… and there were no instructions for self-check-in.

Also, there was some sort of (very large) ‘demolition fire’ consuming the remains of what had once apparently been a (pretty big) structure, smoldering right across the street… making it unpleasant to breathe and taste the air.

Thus, having spent 20 minutes of daylight doing nothing and wanting to be tucked in before dark, I called the second RV park on my pre-selected list to get exact directions to their location and got a friendly recording telling me to leave my number for a call-back.

That’s when it suddenly dawned on me that in the time I’d spent waiting and doodling around, I could have been half-way home… where I would not have to attend any of the tasks necessary to bed-down comfortably in an RV park for one night. And that the only reason, really, that I wanted to stay in Mountain View was to meet a friend for lunch the next day… which I could still do, by driving back in my car, even if I went home that night.

So I did, feeling rather gratified that I had proven everything I needed to prove to myself, about my own capacity for extended travel, capability to solo-RV and about my vehicle… sweet Louise… which I now knew from first-person experience to be steady, reliable, easy to maneuver, mechanically sound and uniquely comfortable to my pragmatic ideals and eccentric tastes.

I slept rather well in my homebed that night, though a part of me missed my traveling berth. Sometimes life feels like having to choose between rich-creamy vanilla ice cream and deep-dark-chocolate mousse… and knowing that you can have as much as you want of either, but only one at a time…

This cozy corner of my petit-rv serves as my entertainment center, office and dinner table.

This cozy corner in the combo living-room/bedroom of my petit-rv serves as my audio entertainment center, office and dinner table.

It was wonderful to shower in my own sticks-and-brick bathroom, and pull clothes from my large/spacious closets, and get dressed in the luxury of my almost-enormous bedroom with the window-wall overlooking the broad back deck and yard full of autumn-gold trees. Still, there is nothing more convenient than having ‘everything you need’ literally at your fingertips… thus, my tug-of-heart.

Which was what I pondered, at length and in depth, as I headed back to Mountain View that Thursday morning, only this time I was driving my Tib (2008 Hyundai Tiburon); thinking about how much I enjoy my mobility and the great medley of things (projects, events) that I am at my liberty to choose to do and am sometimes blessed to share with friends.

Miriam, who I was meeting for lunch at Jacks Fishing Resort & Jo Jos Catfish Wharf where she works, has been on my ‘friends list’ since 2010 when we met doing advocacy work with a law-reform organization. A vibrant woman with a deep love of family and devout relationship with God, I have always admired her tenacity, forthrightness and pluck.

It had been some time since we’d chatted face to face, and it was good to catch up. She and her husband are doing well, her work keeps her busy and she has not much been involved with advocacy stuff for a while, she said. She asked about several of our mutual advocacy-friends, some of whom neither of us had seen for quite some time, but we shared what we knew. And we had a great time just chit-chatting about various of our mutual interests, such a the health benefits of good nutrition and the amazingly beneficial properties of various herbs and essential oils.

Lunch, by the way (I had the Seafood Platter with breaded deep-fried catfish, shirmp, and clams, baked potato, cole slaw, hushpuppies, baked beans, green tomato relish, and homemade tartar sauce), was beyond delicious. Possibly the best clam strips I’ve had since childhood visits to Howard Johnson’s…!!! Everything – including the beautiful waterfront view and convivial service – was absolutely wonderful and definitely goes on my list of ‘great places to eat’…!!!

I also learned that I could have gotten an RV site there, at the fishing resort, instead of going home the previous night… and have stowed this info for ‘next time’.

Which is where my meandering journal shall pick up with the story of my great adventure at the (amazing!) Workamper Conference  last week (10/20-22/15) while staying at the Dam Site State Park & Campground in Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Until next time, a bushel and a peck of happy (((hugs))) ~Christine



Note to guys June 14, 2012

It is not okay, in terms of ‘guy talk’, to accuse someone you (supposedly) care about of ‘bitching at you’…. unless she actually did, in which case you would be well advised to abandon the relationship because, to be brutally honest, the only ‘relationship’ that exists is a disabling co-dependency.

People who have respect for each other — which is the only bedrock upon which true affection may be built — do not say things like this to or about each other, especially not behind each other’s backs. And yes, dear ladies, this goes for you too. 

People who have respect for each other do not accuse each other of being ‘insane’, because people who have true affection for each other actually listen to what the other person is saying and hear it with an intent to plainly understand and a heart-felt desire to get to know what makes the other person tick; what ‘lights their fire’ (intellectually speaking); what rankles them -and- what they enjoy, ie: how they wish to be treated; what they adore.

People who have respect for each other do not accuse, infer, imply or proclaim to uninvolved ‘third parties’ that the person they (supposedly) love is a liar or a failure or is somehow the sole and perpetual fault of every problem that has ever befallen the accuser.

People who have respect for each other don’t shift blame or point fingers but look first to re-mediate their own personal shortcomings at no one’s expense save their own, and then to reach out with affection to explore how differences may be amicably, collaborative, cooperatively and beneficially resolved.

And people who have respect for themselves, who do truly love others, who strive to bring honor, grace and dignity to all that they touch and every life that shares reality with them, when they encounter people who routinely violate the covenants set-forth above, are not worth bothering about and deserve to be told plainly that such conduct is intolerable and thus hence forth you will be ignoring them out of the space-time continuum known as your life… (((hugs)))


More animals dead… January 29, 2011

Back on January 4th and 5th, we looked at the strange and widespread animal deaths that came with the New Year. Here now is a follow-up that sorta summarizes things to date. Note, however, that no substantive answers have been found and that the reason given for the death of the 200 cows on a Wisconsin farm just seems rather funky… but then, the true truth of such things may only be known by scientists. I wonder, where are their voices?

UPDATE: February 2, 2011: More fish dead in Arkansas


Where there is Smoke… January 5, 2011

Two more news reports —  these from ‘outside’ our nation — about the dead birds and dead fish in Arkansas and elsewhere. This one alleges that “tonnes of the poisonous gas Phosgene” — a lethal chemical weapon used by the military which causes the lungs to explode and has been stored for disposal at Pine Bluff —  are being pumpped by our own military down the injection wells (in the Fayetteville Shale ‘gas-play’ region of Arkansas), that seepage and/or mishandling accidents with these chemical caused the bird & fish deaths and that the injection process itself is responsible for the earthquakes.

Of course everybody ‘spins’ to aggrandize their own predisposition, however there is still truth to the saying that where there is smoke there is fire… and where there is someone blowing smoke, there is a coverup.  This article delves the wonders of HAARP — a U.S. military program aimed at controlling the weather (and other things) — which has  (by other sources) been alleged as a possible culprit in the massive kill-offs.

UPDATE: A Youtube video goes into great detail about HAARP technology (which does have some very malevolent uses — but only, of course, for use ‘against our enemies’) and the reference list of documentation is extensive. Also, the author of the report strongly asserts that this HAARP technology is being ‘tested’ by our government, with plans to utilize this weaponry against us, the citizens.

Thing is, if we accept what is being asserted as ‘true’, what do we do about it?

The only answer that makes sense to me is to get busy managing the affairs of our government. Get informed about such things as HAARP… it is OUR tax dollars at work, you know. And sadly, most of the people holding office know LESS about this stuff than we do… So we must EDUCATE them, and to do that we’ve got to educate ourselves…

Which is a shame, isn’t it? That we spend so much (tax) moolah paying the salaries of people who seem to have arrived at their Peter Principle ‘level of incompetence’… I mean really, we have tremendous technology at our fingertips. And with all technology, it can be used to do great harm or great good. Why aren’t we — as a nation — tenaciously making use of our vast resources to make the world a better place for everyone? 

Is it because we are selfish… or scared…??? And if you say neither, then what is the reason? I’d love to hear…


Slow Food… February 4, 2010

Just found this marvelous website for Ozarks Slow Food…. Enjoy!!!


Healthy Americans Against Reforming Medicine September 25, 2009

HAARM — This is ‘must see’ stuff


Health Care Facts August 28, 2009

The following summary from a colleague on LinkedIn concisely and emphatically resolves every major concern about having a health care system which includes a public option. Bravo and thank you David!!! ~Christine

By David Vernon, a Management Consulting Professional

1) Private insurers have almost a monopoly on employer plans, so there is now no competiton on price and service. Risk pools are regional, so inter-state private insurance will not change this. Federal jurisdiction does not extend to regulation of insurance policies written within States, but it does extend to plans receiving Federal funds. That is why we need a public option – so that Federally funded plans can offer features private insurers do not now offer, forcing all private insurers to compete on price and service (ignoring pre-existing conditions, eliminating “exclusions”, etc.)

2) 30% of current costs are accrued at municipal hospitals providing routine care for the uninsured in emergency rooms for ten times the cost of routine care in clinics and doctor’s offices. Providing Federal coverage for anyone, no questions asked, for routine care would allow these people to get care for one tenth what it costs now. A 90% reduction in 30% of costs saves 27% of current costs. That is the “indeterminate” savings from covering everybody, at Federal expense, at a cost of 1.4 trillion dollars over ten years. That is how expanding coverage could actually save money and lower overall costs.

3) 80% of lifetime expenses are accrued in the last six months of life for intensive care while dying. Absent clear instructions from the patient, medical ethics and current law require that no expense be spared to prolong life, at least unitl the $1 million lifetime insurance coverage is exhausted. Every patient who elects not to have intensive care while dying saves the system $500,000, $400,000 in insurance payments and $100,000 in copayments from the family of the patient. The cost of covering a living will conference is $100. Net savings is $499,900 per patient who makes a living will refusing intensive care while dying. Absent living wills, the 40 million Baby Boomers will incur $20 trillion in intensive care costs while dying over the next 25 years.

4) After end-of-life and routine care in ER, the next biggest cost item is 15% of current costs due to lack of proper medical information. These costs involve 98,000 excess deaths annually, duplicate diagnostic testing and imaging, and the care required to recover from mistakes in dosage and treatment. The existence of complete, accessible, lifetime electronic health records, such as now exist in the VA system, will eliminate this 15% of costs.

Bottom line = without a public option, it will not be reform. without mandatory living will coverage, it will not be reform. with electronic health records, the living will savings will not accrue because the doctor at the hospital will not know you have one, and it will not be reform. Costs can be nine times the CBO estimate and will still be half the $20 trillion that no reform will cost. Savings potential for living wills and guaranteed routine care for everyone are more than half of what we spend now.

5) Current costs of about $16 trillion annually amount to $8,000+ per capita. Results rank between 20th and 37th worldwide. The “best” results worldwide are achieved in France, which has a “public” option but not “national health.” Costs there are 30% lower than ours per capita, and private insurers continue to make profits, although not as huge as they do in the USA.

The only losers if the proposed reforms pass are the private insurers, who now reap most of the benefits of this system that lets 20,000 people a year die for lack of coverage and costs half again as much as the next most expensive national system in the world. ~~~


Health Care Coops part two August 25, 2009

The Policy-Speak Disaster by George Lakoff, Author and Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley, was referenced to me by colleague at LinkedIn in response to my previous post about health care policy. I enjoyed the article and heartily agree with the assertions.

For one thing, the quaility of the health care we afford ourselves does absolutely have a direct bearing on every other aspect of our aggregate life quality. Also, it is fact to me that people are not persuaded to change their inculcated preconceptions by reason or logic — at least not so long as their consciousness is ruled by inculcated preconceptions…

Are you much aware of the ‘pubic relations / social engineering’ work done by Bernaise (see: Century of the Self — 1 hour video) who demonstrated that people in general are not moved by logic, but by emotion…

Then, after they have made an emotional decision, they use logic to rationalize the ‘correctness’ of it.  

And until this ‘knee-jerk’ reactionary cycle is understood as the compelling mechanism of behavior, we (individually) are the subjects of it. That is, we have little to no actual control over our own conduct tho we most adamantly fight to prove that we are in control by clamouring to gain power over others (aka: the ‘dominator paradigm’).

And one of the ways this is done is by fear mongering… which is the motivating force in the health care debate right now… 

And the only (proven) way to proactively counter ‘fear’ is (not with reason, but) by cultivating (emotional) trust. Of course the (apparent) catch-22 is that the only way to cultivate trust is to be trustworthy…

On a related ‘just for the record’ follow-up, of the folks who responded to my post there was (as I understood it) 100% agreement that the ideal is to have a health care system where everyone has immediate access to the best possible health care practices without having to go bankrupt to pay for it. Also, the general consensus of the volunteered responses (most of which came to me privately) was that doing this — for a multitude of reasons — is simply not possible. About which I feel compelled to say two things:

#1 — We are the one’s who decide what is and what is not possible. Each one of us makes up our own mind and resonates it as our individual/independent attitude, which does in fact have a butterfly-effect on the well-being of our global community while at the same time having an immediate influence on our own quality of life.

#2 — We have the absolute power to choose where we put our resources. We can ‘afford’ to do whatever we set our mind to do and what with history repeating itself (until we learn from it) we have proven this to ourselves time and time again.

#3 — In light of the foregoing, all that needs be done is for us to hold true to our highest standards and most cherished ideals… stop settling for second best… and figure out how the optimum system of health care would work… then we figure out how to pay for it. Because until we know exactly what we want, there is NO WAY to even ballpark what it is going to cost!!!


Health Care Cooperatives August 19, 2009

Are you a member of a cooperative of any sort? Here in our region of the Ozarks, our electricity is provided by a utility cooperative. This type of ‘member owned electric coop’ origniated back in the 1940s or thereabouts, with government backing to assist people in rural communities to get plugged-in to the grid. To help them ‘catch up’ modern-convenience-wise with those who resided in urban communities where women like my uptown grandma were using electic washing machines and vacuum cleaners, and listening to the radio while her country cousins were still hauling laundry to the creek, or boiling it over open fires in big tubs in the backyard.

And it wasn’t that the country folks didn’t want the electric service. The problem was that the for-profit electricity generation & delivery industry was unwilling to bite the bullet to install the infrastructure to deliver the product because the investment/payback ratio didn’t serve the company’s profit margins. Thus the government, by and thru a process of awarding grants and making very low interest loans, made the installation of the conductive infrastructure possible by and thru the enabling of (a lot of) ‘member owned electric cooperatives’ which, at inception at least, seemed to be a very good thing.

Today however, and I base this upcoming opinion on my own personal experience with our local energy cooperative of which I have been a member in good standing for 20 years, our ‘member owned cooperative’ is little more than a localized mouthpiece for mandating multi-national ‘for profit’ energy policy which seeks NOT to deliver the ‘highest quality product at the lowest possible cost’ (which is the overarching mandate of every cooperative enterprise), but panders directly to (you guessed it) the dollar-driven bottom line.

Which is not to dismiss the potential for cooperatives to be ‘good things’ or to diminish the significance of money… which itself at botton line is simply a representative form of ‘energy’ with which I may purchase creative professional service or product from you, limited only by the amount of money/energy I have to trade. A statement of fact which itself goes to the heart of the whole health care reform issue: That at those times when folks are most requiring a significant infusion of ‘energy’ from health care professionals, it is generally at the same time that their own storehouses of energy at a low ebb and/or they are impaired in their ability to generate more. 

Thus in terms of setting up health care cooperatives and in spite of the way our local electric cooperative now operates, the altruistic Pollyanna in me thinks that the system of egalitarian cooperation line-itemed for ‘cooperatives’ would be idyllic and sublime if applied to the health care paradigm. I as a member, by and thru payment of my dues, would be entitled to a certain range of health care services which would be purchased thru the cooperative at ‘the best possible’ price. My dues, combined with those of other members, could fund a full-time clinic and trauma center where members would be seen on an emergency, walk-in and appointment basis and either treated as outpatients or referred to a cooperative-owned hospital for specialist treatment and inpatient care — all the while knowing that there would be no gargantuan debt hanging over their heads when they were well enough to go back to work and hopefully pick-up life as at least no worse-off than they were before they got injured or sick.

Yet the real-world rational thinker portion of my intellect reasons that this would only work if the cooperative was unanimously nationalized, ie: the ONLY way for anyone to get health care and the only way for a doctor to practice medicine… because this is the only way to eliminate the ‘class structure’ which now regulates our health care system, wherein if one has sufficient of money one may purchase any manner of health care available in the world, but if one does not have monetary means the ‘for-profit death panel’ has already passed judgement. 

Frankly, if we are to behave like full-fledged members of the cooperative society we all deserve to share (and that religiously many of us profess supplication to the ‘do unto others’ tenets thereof), then we as individuals must (not insure, but) ensure by and thru our own independent actions that each person in every community is able to get excellent, expedient and appropriate health care all of the time.

Respectfully, it is our own congnitive comprehension of the ovararching objective that must change: We must be unwilling to settle for anything less than the finest of the best for everyone as this is the ONLY way to guarantee that we get equal treatment ourselves.