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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: 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


Fools rush in… January 10, 2011

In reading what follows, you may think me a fool to believe and behave the way I have chosen. And that’s okay. Because my behavior is my choice — given I am cognizantly mature and physio-psycho-logically healthy. But the thing is, if we (individuals) really want things to change in the world around us, we’ve got to devote 100% of our conscious attention to ‘living the way we believe life ought to be lived’ in the present-tense.

Thus this morning when a very polite and professional young woman called to enquire if I had received the packet of materials from the company she worked for, and we exchanged pleasantries about whether I’d read same and what my thoughts were on the product she offered (which I note for the record is a service related to ’emergency health care’, specifically being a type of insurance that would cover certain costs associated with said emergency health care services), as the conversation unfolded and she, being very good at ‘sticking to the script’ of her telemarketing routine, went for the ‘close’ line — wherein the seller points a question intended to provoke a ‘buy’ response — and I responded, very casually, that I did not buy any ‘insurance product’ unless it was somehow mandated, ie: to get car tags, and this because I see insurance as a ‘bet against myself’ wherein in order for me to ‘win’, first I gotta ‘lose’.

Also that I had decided that if I was going to play “what if?” about my future, that I would limit myself to what if-ing about those things that I do actually want… and that respectfully, and no offense intended, but that I do not wish to have need for ’emergency’ health care services, and therefore I was simply not interested to purchase the product she offered.

I also confided to this lovely young woman that I did not think it was right that folks such as those she works for, have to go out beating the bushes to generate income to pay the salaries and maintain the equipment needed to provide ’emergency’ health care services. I said, that I firmly believed that all such costs should be covered by some sort of community action policy… that we (the people) should take care of our own.

And if this young woman happens to read this, I want to thank her for her patient listening. And I also want to advise her that I purposefully planted a ‘meme’ in her thought process which I hope she will contemplate and chat about with friends. Because I intentionally and willfully seeded her consciousness with a ‘different’ idea about ‘normal’ and ‘good’ and ‘how things work’ than that of the paradigm she was pitching… and that she then was thus endorsing… and participating with, and replicating, and handing down to her children one by one.

I’d really like to provoke people to thinking that there is ‘a better way’… that by working together (aka: NOT ‘competing’) collaboratively, there is no mountain too high for a unified ‘us’ to climb… and still, if ‘we the people’ want things in the macrocosm to change, we’ve first got to change them at the microscopic level of introspection.

This is simply ‘the way’ the system works… Or at least, it is how I comprehend it.


Slow Food… February 4, 2010

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


01022010 January 8, 2010

According to WikiPedia: “A palindrome is a word, phrase, number or other sequence of units that can be read the same way in either direction. ” A palindromic number or numeral palindrome is a ‘symmetrical’ number like 16461, that remains the same when its digits are reversed. Thus January 2, 2010 (01022010) could be thot of perhaps as some sort of inversion point initiating a season of turning things front-to-back or back-to-front while at the same time coming out even <grin>.

On that merry note I’m introducing a new Category to this weblog, titled simply MJ. Chronicled under this heading you will find my personal comments on the actions now being taken by a group of regular citizens to forward legislation which enables people who so choose to be free to imbibe/cultivate marijuana for personal and commercial purposes without fear of discrimination, persecution, arrest, forfeiture or incarceration.

We also believe there should be some distinction between medical and social use in terms of regulation which will likely permit taxation; that medical use should be tax exempt and that med-mj should be freely available to every person who has a health condition for which mj provides relief.

As things come to pass and actions are taken, I will post updates here, in the MJ Category. For starters, have a look at a legislative_initiative we are studying, looking to refine the language and make sure it says everything we want.

In this interest, take time to ponder the following article which I find is so totally ‘right on’… and I double-ditto the bottom line about mj-law being (illegally) used to persecute supposed ‘troublemakers’ (but have no other charges against them)… This is a huge elephant in the middle of the room that nobody really is talking about, yet as with racial discrimination it must permanently end:

Marijuana for medicine: Many are ready, including a prominent legislator.
Doug Smith, Updated: 12/17/2009, Print E-mail del.icio.us Digg this

LAVERTY:  Been at the bedside of cancer patients.

[Arkansas] State Sen. Randy Laverty of Jasper says that after the news mediareported last month on his proposal to legalize medical marijuana, he got more response than on any issue he’d been associated with in his 15 years as a legislator — telephone calls, e-mails and personal contact.

“And it was all positive. That never happens.”

Laverty says that at the next regular legislative session, in 2011,he’ll introduce a bill to permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The time may be ripe.

Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana. Maine became the latest last month, when voters approved it by a 59 percent majority. At least a dozen more states seem headed toward legalization in the near future. It was a full eight years ago that a University of Arkansas poll found 63 percent of Arkansans in favor of medical marijuana and 32 percent opposed. (The finding astounded, and was disputed by, a number of people, and seemed to go unnoticed by the legislature.)

In 2004, drug-law reformers tried to put a medical-marijuana act on the general election ballot, but failed to obtain the required number of signatures. In the last couple of years, voters in Eureka Springs and Fayetteville have declared that enforcement of marijuana laws should be a low priority for law enforcement.

A few medical marijuana bills have been introduced in the legislature, but none ever got out of committee. Those bills weren’t sponsored by legislators as well-entrenched as Laverty.

Medical marijuana is part of a larger issue, Laverty says, but it’s the part that can be achieved most quickly. The larger issue is whether to decriminalize the use of marijuana generally as a way to curtail the explosive growth in the state prison population. Laverty also is pondering legislation that would entail the release from prison of large numbers of nonviolent offenders, through greater use of house arrest.

New technology has improved devices, such as ankle bracelets, that keep law enforcement officers informed of offenders’ whereabouts, Laverty says.

“When I first came to the legislature, we had about 6,300 prison inmates,” Laverty says. “Today, we’re pushing 16,000. They’re projecting 22,000 in 10 years.” The prison population is aging, too, which means it’s more expensive. A few years back, Laverty saw a National Conferenceof State Legislatures report that said $21,000 to $26,000 a year was thecost of keeping an inmate in his 20s confined, and $53,000 to $57,000 a year the cost for an inmate in his 50s or 60s. Older inmates are more prone to health problems.

Laverty, who has three years left to serve in the legislature, said he’s still studying what other states have done in this area. But in regard to medical marijuana, he’s ready to go. He said he’d been at the bedside of too many cancer patients in pain not to want to relieve their suffering.

Most local law enforcement officers already say that arresting marijuana users isn’t a high priority. It’s impossible to know how many marijuana offenders are in the state prisons, because most drug offenders are charged under a blanket “controlled substance” statute that doesn’t name a specific substance. Dina Tyler, a spokesman for the state Correction Department, said she doubts there are many people in prison for mere possession of marijuana.

Possession of a small amount of marijuana is amisdemeanor, she said, and misdemeanants don’t go to prison. But drug reformers note that a second offense of possessing marijuana, even a small amount, is a felony. They believe that sheriffs and police use this provision of the law to send up people who’re considered troublemakers but who have no other charges against them. ~~~


MEMETICS November 17, 2009

I have become increasingly intrigued with the science of ‘memetics’ — being the study of the ‘systems dynamics’ of cognitive evolution as a parallel track to the biological kind.

The other day, for example, I was half-watching an old-ish movie on TV; a comedy about a handsome young man who goes celibate for 40 days and his office-buddy who starts a betting pool at work, hedging how long the handsome young man will be able to keep the self-imposed vow.

At one point the ‘office slut’ decides that (on behalf of women everywhere, but mainly on behalf of her own frail ego) she can’t afford to allow the handsome young man to ‘have the power’…

The ‘power’ of course being that she (aka: women) is somehow ‘entitled’ to use sex as a weapon; a tool of manipulation; a means to an end of getting her own way; having whatever she selfishly (no matter the consequences to others) wants.

And by strict terms of biological evolution, such ‘dominator’ behavior is not only sanctioned… it is genetically encoded as the ‘key to survival’.

In fact, the whole strategy of all biological genes is self-satisfaction. And the memes (aka: cognitive genes) which collaborate (in a chicken/egg duo) to compel dominator behaviors have no morals.

By prime directive of what science calls ‘4-F memes’*, the better a single member of a given specie is at establishing hierarchical superiority — no matter the bullying, trickery or abuse — the greater is that individual’s chance for survival and thus the better the odds to pass along his or her own biological and cognitive predispositions, ie: to achieve genetic/memetic immortality.

Still, as memetics clearly points out, humanity has the power to transcend 4-F reactions by ‘choosing’ to ‘look at things differently’, ie: to ‘rise above’ our engendered behavior code. That is, at base-line in our unique humanness we each still recognize a somewhat uniform ideal about how things ‘should’ be in terms of egalitarian equitability… but for the most part such altruistic morals are subjugated by fear-driven 4-F reactions.

The good news is, of course, that we do not have to be slaves to our preconcieved dispositions. Having the ability to ‘think’ and to ‘reason’ and to ‘evaluate’ and to ‘decide’, we have the innate capacity to self-determine our own behaviors. The only question then, it seems to me, is why would we choose to do otherwise? And the only logical answer I have arrived at so far is because we do not recognize (aka: are unaware) that it is a personal choice. ~~~

* 4-F memes: By strict biological terms, the four ‘prime behaviors’ which ensure ‘perpetuation of the specie’ are Fleeing, Fighting, Feasting and F*cking. By strict cognitive terms, we are each (to various degrees) slaves to these memetically encoded behaviors — until and unless we (1) recognize the validity of this paradigm, and (2) appreciate the fact that — as thinking beings — we have the everpresent liberty to ‘choose’ how we will (or will not) behave.


Healthy Americans Against Reforming Medicine September 25, 2009

HAARM — This is ‘must see’ stuff