Monday, December 7, 2009

The Road - Another Film About the End of Life as We Know It - Whoopee!

Went to see the film "The Road." The poster said it is the most hopeful, optimistic film I would see this year. Perhaps it is meant to force us to be grateful for what we have now....but instead it portrays just how frail our security is.

I sure hope not. If you are depressed, don't see this film. While it may help you appreciate what you DO have, it is so graphic in its portrayal of the end of life as we have known it, it could make things worse for you. It feels real. And, somehow, possible. A look at what could happen?

It begins with an indication of fires and earthquakes that destroy nearly everything. You never find out what happened. A few people have somehow prepared in advance so they have some food and other resources stockpiled against this type of event, so they have survived, but clearly, not for long.

Bands of cannibalistic gangs (all men) range the countryside, raping, killing and eating everyone they find. They bear a strong resemblance to rednecks. There are many scenes of butchered, dismembered bodies and people being kept prisoner for future eating. Almost made me puke.

A father and his son wander the landscape searching for something to eat. All animals and plants have perished. They have been instructed to "go South" to the sea, but you never know why, even at the end.

It was so intense, so visceral. Now that it is so cold here in my house in the woods, I feel like I'm in the film.

I don't know what the point of the film is or how anyone could say it was hopeful or optimistic. It should be played after "2012" showing what happened to the few who survived.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Believe it or not, I am better than I was......

I am back. This has been one of the most difficult years of my life.

I am in a financial crisis, which is not new for me, but this time, I have no job, no boyfriend or family to back me up if things get dire. And they are dire now. I could not do my craft shows for several months due to my broken ankle and now that I am doing them again, everyone is broke, so they are not buying. I had an investment that went bankrupt, so the last of my money is gone.

My cat, Grace, died. She had been ill for months with a thyroid and heart condition, taking meds twice a day. But she took a turn for the worse and was not going to get better.

Many friends have died or are critically ill.

I was housebound with a broken ankle for nearly 3 months, relying on friends for food, water and many chores around the house. I see that I can no longer live out here in the woods alone. It is life threatening. I watched a movie that really hit home last night called Grey Gardens. It is about a mother and daughter who were related to Jackie Kennedy. Based on a true story, it shows their descent from high society to penury. A house once filled with music, cocktails and guests, becomes a stinking repository of garbage and animals urinating everywhere. Very sad and depressing. I looked around my place here and saw that things are definitely deteriorating and I do not have the resources to maintain the house or the yard. I am considering moving into senior housing and selling the house for whatever I can get for it.

My lover/friend of twenty years just dropped out of my life with no explanation. He is out of the country right now and I cannot afford to call him. Also, I could not bear it if he did not take my call, so I am not going to do it.

I am depressed, heart-broken, cold, and feel that life has no meaning or purpose. We are just here to suffer, period.

What makes it harder in many ways is that I am surrounded by all these people who 'are praying for me' or 'sending me light' or encouraging me to 'change my attitude'. It drives me crazy.

Here I am in a freezing house (I cannot afford more propane, so I'm saving it to cook with), recycling my toilet paper for God's sake, and cooking beans every other day.... I know, at least I have a house, water, beans, a stove. And I get 'change your attitude' from people who have never suffered one minute of their lives. They have always lived in comfort.

I know we need rain, but a couple of weeks ago, during that storm, I had a collision with a downed tree and my insurance company is saying it was my fault and so raising my insurance. Hitting the tree was the safest option considering the road I was on. It took taking it in twice to get the repairs right and although most of it was covered by insurance, I still had to come up with a deductible. Thanks to a kind friend who had just given me a financial gift that I was planning to use for food, I had enough to make the deductible. So, I got my car fixed, but I don't have the money to put gas in it so I can use it. Maybe I should move into the car.

Oh yes, and the guaranteed roof job I had done a couple of years ago, continued to leak over my bed. I don't like it when it rains. I am totally dreading this winter, because I could not pay my flood insurance and I think we are due for a flood out here. I live 3 feet from a creek that goes over every few years.

I can just hear you now saying...."Don't be negative, change your attitude. Think positive." Do you really think that makes any difference? Do you really believe in "The Law of Attraction?" What if you want something good and your neighbor who hates you wants a tree to fall on your house? Whose LOA wins? Is it only good stuff that happens? If so, then you can think all the negative stuff you want.

I'd really like to hear from those who 'know' this is true. I'd like to hear what you have to say about it. So.... now that I am thinking negatively, do I have to feel bad about that too? I feel what I feel. I try to do what I can each moment to feel better. Sometimes that means 'stopping thought'. I am beginning to see 'losing your mind' as a good thing. Who wants to remember anything? Forget it all. Just breathe in and breathe out. No thoughts. Bliss. Forget the unpayable bills. Be Here Now. Maybe the whole thing is just a dream. We will all wake up to a happy life.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tears, Tea, and Tomatoes

I have not been posting for awhile for a number of reasons. One being that I have been in a funk. My cat, Grace, took a downturn and had to be 'put to sleep' a couple of weeks ago. I have been so sad and missing her so much that it has been paralyzing.

The state of the world and my personal life have led me to believe that life is meaningless and that everything I have been doing is worthless. Knowing at a deeper level that these thoughts are a trick and that I must not succumb to them, I have been spending more time with friends and going to Master Gardener activities, which are interesting, connected to nature and free.

I can now say this strategy has worked to move me out of depression and renewed my sense of purpose.

Spent a delightful afternoon at a Master Gardener book club meeting and tomato tasting. So many varieties, colors and flavors. We also sampled dishes made with tomatoes including green tomato pickles, tomato jelly and tomato chutney.

The book everyone was reading was East Wind Melts the Ice by Liza Dalby and she came and did a talk about the book and some of her experiences in Japan. In Japanese culture, the year is divided into 72 seasons that last 5 days each. The book goes through the year and each of the seasons. A very different way of looking a the cycles of nature.

I was intrigued by her because she is a cultural anthropologist who writes both non-fiction and fiction and has credibility in both genres.

Many years ago when I wanted to become a writer, I went back to school in a doctoral program thinking that would 'force' me to write. Well, yes it did, but not in the way I wanted. There is a huge difference between scholarly writing and writing for the public. In her case, after she finished her doctorate and was teaching at the University of Chicago, she realized she also wanted to write fiction. She and I discussed the differences between the styles of writing and the audience.

I was inspired after talking with her to get back to my novel. It is so good to meet someone who is successful at what you want to do - being a writer with an anthropological perspective. She lives nearby and I hope to develop a friendship with her.

Liza studied to be a geisha and did her anthropological fieldwork in Japan. Her website

Just a couple of days before, I had gone to a viewing of The Meaning of Tea, by Scott Chamberlin Hoyt at Traditional Medicinals in Sebastopol. Japan was one of the countries featured in the movie. Others were Morocco, England, France, Taiwan and India.

Four of the people I went to Morocco with were at the film showing. Robin, Shelley, Dorothy, Huck and I went on the Plant Lovers Tour of Morocco in 2007 with Rosemary Gladstar. A memorable trip where we drank a lot of tea.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Finding and Following Your Star - Julie & Julia

Last night, we had a Ladies' Night out. Dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant then off the see Julie & Julia. Five of the six of us had worked together at the Forestville Post Office as Rural Carriers. Two still work at a post office, two are retired, and they put me out to pasture after I got hit by a truck, hurt my shoulder and could no longer deliver mail.

Even though I worked overtime nearly every week, substituted on all the routes, could do all types of mail processing, etc., my classification was "part time" so I had no recourse.

I miss the income, but I do not miss the job. The best part of it I still have - the friends I made - 'comrades in arms.' We share our 'war stories' and our present lives. We all live within a few miles of each other. One woman even lives on my street.

The other part of the job I liked was the dogs. I always carried treats and threw them to the dogs, who waited, with their tails wagging, inside the fences. If the dogs were in the house, they started barking when I came by, fearing they would miss their treat. I left the treats in the mailbox.

We went to see Julie & Julia. A fantastic film. I loved it, for so many reasons. One was Meryl Streep. One of my favorite actors: that woman can play anyone. It's like she channels the person. Truly amazing. The other thing I loved was the walk down memory lane - the 50s and early 60s - my childhood days. Seeing the clothes, cars, furniture etc. was so nostalgic. I envied the marriages these two women had. I have never had a relationship like that in my life. Supportive, smart, employed, gentle, sexy - where did they meet these men? I cried with envy, knowing what a difference it can make to have a partner like that, even though I have never had one.

I realized how much I love to oook and have dinner parties. Yes, when I first moved into my tiny house, I had small dinner parties. I have a large collection of cookbooks and when I travel, I always buy herbs and spices not available here at home. I miss cooking for people.

Julie and Julia, two women who made their mark following their heart's desire. I could see how much difference having a goal that serves as a guiding star, can make in your life.

Right now, I feel lost at sea, anchorless, floundering, adrift. It feels like so many things I have set my hand to have failed. I am truly tired of trying to find something that works. I feel surrounded by loss and endings. I understand now why people are so thrilled when a baby is born. Something new, hope, a new start.

Oh! to have something to look forward too! I find myself whiling away the time playing computer games, accomplishing nothing besides keeping my meat suit alive.

This movie made me laugh and cry. I never watched Julia Child on T.V. I only knew her as the brunt of jokes and slapstick gags. Now I see what a delightful person she was. Truly charming. A magical being. A woman who was herself and by so doing freed others to be themselves. I wish I were more like her. She had a big heart, a warm smile and an infectious laugh. At least, that is how Streep portrayed her and Streep, being who she is, would do all she could to be faithful to the truth of the character.

Long live Julia Child!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hooked on Farmville

Just what I needed - another addiction. I have just discovered Facebook and one of its games called Farmville. I can't believe that I get up at 6:30 in the morning to plant strawberries so that I can harvest them by 10:30.

Meanwhile my real garden outside is neglected and dry. We are truly moving into a virtual reality.

I am finally able to walk and drive and in two months, the world has moved on and left me behind. I feel like an alien when I do venture forth. I actually prefer to stay home alone.

I find myself unwilling and unable to interact with people in the real world. I only want to live in the virtual world of the Internet. I read posts by others and everyone seems so positive, so up, so full of energy. Am I the only one who feels about to fall into a deep dark hole?

I love to sleep, but each night it alludes me. I have to fight off thoughts of disaster. I am broke, have lost my medical insurance and have 50 bucks to my name. No job, too old to get one and still recovering from a broken ankle. Then, of course, there is the issue of no job to be had.

I am scared. I admit it. I can't keep pretending everything is okay. It's not. When I stay focused on the present moment, I am okay although constantly in pain. Physical pain seems easier to bear than mental and emotional pain.

The only pleasure I have is playing Farmville. Pathetic. But I guess those people who design these things, know how bad off people are these days. The illusion of connection to people and Nature is more satisfying than reality.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cousin Frank Does it Again!

Yes, he's still running. This time in Seattle for the Rock and Roll Marathon this past weekend.

Here I am on my butt with a broken ankle, can't walk, can't drive and he's up there running for .... how many miles? Boggles the mind. I am going to be happy to walk again.

He started out in San Francisco last year, I think to see if he could do it and got hooked on running. Now it's a regular part of his life.
He looks great, don't you think? Well, he always did. Handsome guy and great dancer! In high school when we wanted to go somewhere that needed a 'date', we would go together. We used to belong to a square dance club because we both liked to dance so much. And we always went roller-skating together. It was cool then (yes, it was a long time ago.)

X number of years ago, he and I took a car trip to Vancouver and brought my dog Gypsy. We camped out and cooked outside on a fire (well, we tried to.) We took the ferry to Victoria Island and hitch-hiked into town. Two elderly ladies picked us up and were so excited to meet us. They insisted that we come to their house for tea. And it was the ultimate English tea experience. Outside in their lovely garden with scones and all. Then they took us into town. They worried we would get stranded and invited us to return and stay if we did.

On the route up north, we stopped in Seattle and visited our cousin Elsie and her husband Paul.

It was a free-wheeling trip by two 20 somethings. We had a great time.

Hey Frank, wanna go to Morocco with me? How about next year?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Plug and Play? In Whose Universe?

My Mayan Hieroglyph Class started last night at the local Junior College. When I first proposed the class the staff at the Community Education office suggested I wait until the Fall, because Summer enrollment is not good and I might be disappointed. The minimum was set at 12 and I got 24, so I am happy about that. One staff member told me many classes were cancelled.

The so-called 'plug and play' computer system was a joke. We just could not connect my laptop to the overhead projector and finally had to use the files on my thumb drive on their system. Unfortunately, the software they had was older than mine and did not support various elements of the newest Power Point and so about 25% of my presentation was either lost or non-functional. I have been working on this for 6 months, so you know how disappointed I was. I couldn't believe that a classroom in the Computer Science Building on campus would have old software and shoddy equipment. Welcome to the budget crunch. I looked longingly at the old-fashioned overhead projector I had requested, wishing I had brought those old transparencies I had made years ago for this class. They would have worked! Next time....

I think the class was successful since the students voted for no break and I had to tell them to leave 10 minutes after the class was to have ended. They were really into it. So glad. I have students who seem to be in their teens (they are probably 30 - but they look young to me LOL) and others maybe in their 80s. A real cross section.

I am still on crutches so I had to teach from a wheelchair. Who said they have made things accessible? It was damn hard to teach a class from a chair, because you can only reach up a foot or so on the blackboard and you have to sit at a strange angle since the chair is in the way. Heaven forbid you have too much pain to twist around like that! There are plenty of special seats and tables for the students, but.... what about disabled instructors?

I have learned a lot about what the disabled have to go through and from now on, I will never take my body for granted. When my two feet both hit the ground together again, I am going to celebrate. I have one week to go, but I'm not sure I'll be able to walk again right away. My foot looks like dead fish and it might take a little physical therapy to wake it up again.

Am I ranting? Sounds like it. But I was so upset by the end of class I couldn't relax for a couple hours afterwards. I am a bit of a perfectionist and control freak (no one who has ever seen the inside of my house would think that, but just ask my friend Steve.) I want everything to run smoothly when I'm teaching a class and if it doesn't, it feels like a nightmare. For me, last night was a nightmare. But the fact that they didn't want a break and had to be told to go home, says a lot about what the students thought.

Someone asked me if they could get a CD of the class. Well, that was my original plan. To make them all CDs as part of their materials package, but when I really got into doing the slide show, and saw that I was going to have 200+ slides, I decided not to do it. But, wouldn't you know it, like a drunk on a binge, my ego blurted out. I told them that had been the plan. NOW WHAT? Does that mean I have to do it? I could just give them an edited version. I could sell them one. Although the school said I couldn't, instructors in this program are always peddling their books and CDs. Today I can't think about it, but we will see.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Value of Friends

As you have probably figured out by now, I have not been very actively blogging for awhile. One thing and another. Getting ready to teach a class on Mayan Hieroglyphs at Santa Rosa Junior College this summer is one thing that is taking a lot of time.

My new blog on 2012 and reading everything I can on 2012 is taking a lot of time too.

Then I broke my right ankle and cannot walk or drive for a couple of months. I find myself tired just trying to take care of the basics. If not for my friends, I wouldn't even have any food. Someone comes over every couple of days to help me around the house and bring food.

But today, I looked at my BlogCatalog account and found that I had gotten an award from one of my friends in Turkey! That made me really feel good. Thank you Aprill!
Her blog: ShiningDay

I haven't yet written about my trip to Turkey in 2005, but it was wonderful. When the economy recovers (if it ever does), I want to go back. I have friends there that I can stay with - in Izmir.

So now it's my turn to pass on the award. Drum roll please.....
The winners are:

Seanymph at Mermaids Treasures
Jackie at Herbs 'n Oils
My gypsygoods
EJ Cooksey Halloween For Kids
Daisy the Curly Cat
Maitri's Heart... Living in The Moment with Loving-Kindness, Compassion, and Grace...

If you want to pass it on, here are the 'rules'

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Add links to those blogs on yours
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blog

Monday, May 4, 2009

Can Do No More - At Least For Awhile

Well I guess it's back to blogging for awhile. I had gotten so busy with 'my life' lately, that I have not had much time for blogging, but all that changed Friday. I was in Calistoga at a Plant Spirit Healing training, when I slipped and fell and broke my right ankle.

Won't be able to drive for at least a month and have to go around on crutches. Barely was able to get up the brick walk way to my house and had to go up the steps on my butt. Now that I am inside, where I live like a pack rat, it's a real obstacle course. I was planning to begin a major spring cleaning this week. Oh well.

It's survival mode. I live alone so there is no one to help me. I open cans of soup, put them in the microwave, then have to stand there to eat them because I don't have any place to sit down in my tiny kitchen and I can't carry soup and hobble on crutches at the same time.

I am really learning how hard it is for people who live like this all the time. As the nurse in the ER said, "this is only temporary lady. You will recover." Yes and at the same time it is really hard not to fall into self-pity. He was not sympathetic at all.

I have not paid my health insurance premium in three months because money has been so tight and I had to pay property taxes recently. Before I let the ambulance take me in I tried to talk to the hospital (no names) to see if I am still covered and they gave me the run around. "Yes, you are still covered, but you must pay now or your coverage will go back to March." Huh? I was nearly hysterical with pain and she actually repeated the same words three times as I tried to get a clear answer. I know they must treat you in the ER, but I can't pay a huge bill if it comes.

I am a total wuss when it comes to pain. I already feel quite burdened psychologically by the suffering of the world. Most people I know are very depressed these days and so am I. This is one more thing I have to deal with.

But today, stuck in bed, raining outside, freezing inside, I got back to my blogs and realize I have all the time in the world to play around with the computer, because there is nothing else I CAN DO at this time. It is a great way to spend time. So you will be hearing from me more often.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sometimes You Just Have to Jump Ship Before It Sinks!

One more thing. Due to the economic crisis, Sonoma County is trying to cut back. There will be a series of meetings to get feedback about areas where there could be reductions or complete cuts. Apparently, whether to get rid of the Master Gardener Program in this county or not is being discussed. While it is an off shoot of the University of California Cooperative Extension, each county in the State has to contribute to the financial support of the program locally.

I have been in the program for three years now. I feel that we could be of much more value to the community than we are, but we are constrained by the rules of the program itself. A few years ago, I wanted to do library presentations on the 'crops of the Americas' motivated by a new stamp put out by the Postal Service. The talk would have been about the significance of five plants domesticated in the New World and was to include recipes and foods to sample (prepared by me). I was told I could say nothing about recipes, let alone let people sample. We could not advise how to use anything. A talk about herbs was strictly about growing them, not what they were for - you could say rosemary is often used as a culinary herb, but no more. Well, this totally turned me off and I decided not to proceed at all.

Lately, during the book club meeting where we discussed "The End of Food" (see below), some of us expressed the frustration we feel that while we have been specially trained to provide information to the public, there are so many constraints that we are in fact, ineffectual. Many of us agreed that we must be proactive is assisting the public in growing their own food and making healthier food choices. Many people don't eat fresh vegetables because they have no idea how to prepare them. There was talk of forming our own group outside of the official one that would get more hands-on.

If the MG program is disbanded in this county, I guess that might free us up to do what we want. Of course, we will not have the benefit of all the support we get from the program, nor the access we have to the public via the county fair, farmers' markets, and other events where we volunteer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

So Now it's the End of Food Too?

I took time away from reading the 2012 books to read one for my Master Gardener reading group. The End of Food is one of those books that will change your way of thinking. And yes, it's a bit depressing. But if you're paying attention at all, you know. Paul Roberts, the author, knows what he's writing about. A must-read for anyone interested in sustainability, food safety, globalism and the power of multi-national corporations.

One thing I learned that was very interesting and useful is that our bodies are designed to live through periods of feast and famine. For most of the time that humans have lived on this planet, we have not had food available all the time. There could be months when there was barely enough to keep us alive. So our bodies adapted to that condition and have not yet adapted to food being around 24/7 (at least in the 'developed' world). When we had plenty, we ate. Whatever fat we put on we were going to need for the famine period.

Our bodies are designed to store and hold on to fat, even if the fat is in excess, because the expectation is that we will use it up. Unfortunately (?) we never have a famine period (most of us). This is one reason why obesity is on the rise. Only a few years ago, an obese person was rare. Now, they are the rule, not the exception. You look around and almost everyone is over-weight to some degree. As many people are obese in the world as are starving. Both are problems. Roberts says there is no way to lose weight just by changing the diet. You must get more exercise. Your life must get much more active. In this culture of push buttons, remotes, cars, and instant gratification, that is not going to happen.

The focus of the book is primarily on the commodification of food. Food as thing. Food as source of income. How multi-national corporations control both the supply and the demand. How they pay for the best display areas in supermarkets, force other smaller companies out by making more and more products, and always seek the cheapest ingredients, no matter what the quality.

The other major revelation came in regards to E.coli and salmonella. Apparently these are considered 'natural' and uncontrollable in the food supply. Thus the consumer is expected to provide the 'kill step' that is, cooking, in order to control it. It is not feasible for the corporations who provide the food to the store to do this. So..... does that mean that if you get sick or die because of these bacterial pathogens, it's your own fault? Because you ate it? Or didn't cook it long enough? According to this book, there is salmonella in most meat you get at the store. Is this a case of 'let the buyer beware'? I know that the FDA is way under-staffed and that these days we import food from all over the world, but hey! wait a minute! It makes me not want to buy anything from the supermarket again.

Roberts says that the whole system is at risk of total collapse. Growers are maxing out, fertilizers and pesticides are maxing out. Transportation costs, marketing, advertising, the whole system as it exists is ready to fall apart. It is completely unsustainable and any and all changes in weather, economics, politics, energy etc. make its demise imminent. He does mention that farmers' markets, locally grown and distributed food are very important, but cannot be relied on to serve the majority of people. Over-population and high levels of energy consumption contribute the most to the problems.

The most inspiring part of the book was, for me, that last couple of pages. He says that another thing we can do, no matter where the ingredients come from, it to take back control over this part of our lives by preparing our own meals and eating them with other people.

"Food has, for better or for worse, served for millennia as a sort of umbilical link between us and the physical, natural realm. By diminishing this link between consumption and production, we have allowed ourselves to drift away from the real world, and to understand less, and to care less about its functions and condition."

As an anthropologist and a person who grew up in a bi-cultural home, I can attest to the significance of food to culture. Ask anyone from a traditional culture the importance food has and they will probably look at you like you're nuts. Even at the heart of Catholicism, there is a meal. The Mass is a celebration of the Last Supper where one eats and drinks of the body of Christ. Even the U.S. holidays, which are not that holy anymore, are centered around food. What would you eat on Thanksgiving if not turkey? (I once had a nut-based turkey substitute at a friend's house and I can tell you, it was not the same).

If you have ever lived or travelled for long in another country, you know that what you miss most is your favorite food. I used to dream about food and shopping at Safeway when I was in the Peace Corps in Zaire. I was not starving, but they just didn't have food I was used to. I remember to this day, returning to the States and going to a restaurant and having a piece of cheesecake. I can still see and taste it to this day and that was over 30 years ago. I really enjoyed it.

I highly recommend the book. Informative but not much fun. Provides incentive to start growing your own food whenever possible and buying from small local farmers even if it is more expensive.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Kite-Runner - Great Movie

As you know, I don't have T.V. here where I live, so my major entertainment from the outside world is the radio (limited reception) and Netflix. I tend to see films later than most people, but I have a huge selection to choose from.

Recently I saw "The Kite Runner", an incredibly sensitive film about Afghan-Americans and the history of Afghanistan for the last 30 years or so. The film is realistic and informative, showing just a little about how much life has changed in Afghanistan in the past 30 years. It's enough to reveal how little we know about the how the current fundamentalism in Muslim countries is both radical and unwelcome by most of those whom it affects. Most countries where the faith is primarily Islam, have been modernizing just as all other countries. The radical fundamentalism that has been rising up is reactionary and militant.

This morning on the radio, someone finally said that we have been under the control of a coup in this country for the past 8 years. If we did not have a strong tradition of 'democracy' and an established term limit for 'rulers', we would still be under the control of that coup. In a sense, we are. They have run off with our money, ruined our economy and our reputation in the world and they are all somewhere now having a ball with our retirement funds while we are hanging on by our fingernails.

We were almost taken over by fundamentalists too. 'Christian' ones. To my understanding, Muslim fundamentalists are no more Muslim than Christian ones are Christian. Yes, I am saying that neither actually follows their prophet nor their book of revelation. Their agendas are private, political and economic. In a sense, they use so-called tradition to justify the most despicable practices of 'modernism'. As the film shows, the leaders of the fundamentalist movement in Afghanistan committed the most heinous crimes against children, while exacting draconian punishments from the public for far lesser crimes. Our recent fundamentalist regime tortured, killed and terrorized thousands, instilling fear in all of us. They violated the Constitution, committed crimes against humanity and got away with it all (so far). In other countries they have a harder time controlling tyrants and preventing them from taking over permanently.

This film tells the story of two boys who grow up together in Kabul before the Soviet invasion. While class separates them, as children they live as brothers. When the Soviets invade, the upper class child is able to escape to America, while the servant remains and suffers the fate of so many others.

The film shows how Afghan-Americans have created their own sub-culture in America, as have so

many other ethnic groups in this country. This was especially interesting to me, because they have a large community in one of the towns I lived in as a child. In fact, the majority of Afghan-Americans in this country live in or around that town. What a difference from when I lived there! It was somewhat 'red-neck' when I lived there. The Mexican-American farm-workers were barely tolerated, let alone Afghans! Good to know that things have changed since then.

For some reason, since I was a child, I have always wanted to go to Afghanistan. So far, I have not had the opportunity to go and the way things are looking, I may never be able to. But then, who knows.

There are scenes from all over the SF Bay Area. So it had a familiar feel to it. While it is always challenging to watch a film with subtitles, the fact that the movie uses the Afghan language makes it more realistic. I highly recommend this film to anyone who wants to understand more about what people are dealing with and want to expand their preconceptions.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What's Going On?

I've noticed a trend. I look at hundreds of blogs on a regular basis and it seems that, in general, people are reporting that their lives have gotten so much more complex, busy or difficult that they have neglected their blogs. They either don't have a thing to say, or they don't have time to write.

What's going on? Is it a fad that is losing it's appeal? Are people finding out just how hard it is to make money blogging? Or has life taken a turn in the last couple of months? I think it's a little of all of those. Or is it something else?

I often get asked how you make money blogging. I make most of my money through Amazon. Sometimes I sell products through Etsy. I make the least from Adsense, but I do make some. True, I don't know much about all the ways to increase traffic. When I write regularly and drop my Entrecards regularly, my stats go up and that helps things a lot. While I started out blogging just to make money, I soon found that it was a medium for expressing myself and writing about the things I enjoy.

Lately, it has become a bit of a chore, sorry to say. I have been wondering why. And I can see from my perusal of other blogs, that others are experiencing the same thing. In fact, I am finding most things in life - a chore. I have this growing sense, that more and more aspects of life are losing their meaning. That so many of my activities are totally irrelevant. I see people bustling around and I wonder why?

The only thing I can find to account for these changes in my behavior and attitudes is the shift I experienced after hearing about the ideas of Nassim Haramein last month. You can go to his website, to see what he's doing. It's as if I feel the presence of another level of reality that is closer to REALITY and that this world is but an distant echo of it and is fading away. I know that sounds bizarre, but believe me, this is a sensation I have never experienced before and so it is difficult to describe. I feel hope and excitement about this approaching NEW WORLD or new level of reality. In some way, I feel it is already here, beginning to peek through.

I have changed many of my habits and activities. I have become activated in some odd way. I have created a new blog about 2012

I feel something has shifted in me as a result of hearing the information that Haramein expresses and a friend of mine says the same thing from watching his material on YouTube. I believe that, due to resonance, people are feeling the shift in consciousness and reacting to it and have no idea why. They use the explanations they know because they have no other way of communicating it. Haramein has plugged into the Shift that is occurring as a result of our conjunction to the Galactic Center and so his ideas are riding the wave of that Shift.

I'm curious about what changes you are experiencing, if any, and how you account for them.

I want to make it clear that the DVD being offered through the Amazon link in the sidebar is different from that advertised in the picture above. The one in the picture is a 4 DVD set for 84.00 and the one at Amazon is 1 DVD for 9.95. I just thought the graphic from Haramein's website was beautiful.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm Back.... Sort of

Well, I'm sort of back. After two weeks, Circuit City called to tell me that since they will be going out of business soon, the service center sent my computer back unfixed and could I hurry up and pick it up before they shut for good. Great! Two weeks without my computer and still not fixed! I will have to send it in myself. Of course, I am concerned about all the people losing their jobs and the fact that one more company is folding during this meltdown.

To be able to use my computer, I had to buy a wireless mouse, because it was my mouse pad that went south. I practiced with it and it is okay for backup, but want my built-in mouse pad again.

Now try to tell me there's no such thing as "mercury retrograde". I knew something would go wrong with this process, but I took it in anyway. I will wait until past the "shadow period" before I dare send it in. This includes the degree that mercury went retrograde.

One thing I learned was just how "addicted" I am to being online everyday for hours. I miss my blog friends soooo much! I miss reading my favs and dropping my EC card. And, yes, I did clean house (a little). Did a major archaeological excavation of the downstairs storage area and almost every pile in the rest of the house. And threw stuff out! Yes, for those who know me, this is amazing! I am a pack rat. Born under the Chinese sign of Rat and boy if you ever come in my house, you'll know it. Now at least I know what is in the piles. When I have to send the computer in again in about a month, I will tackle some more of that.

I also have the goal of creating a space to see my astrology and flower essence clients starting in March or April. I have been thinking about this for months. Rent an office? Share a space with others? What? I have decided to create an area downstairs. That way I am not pressured to "make money" to pay the rent and I can create the atmosphere I want.

I also had to "dig" to find one box that contains all the materials for a class I hope to teach this summer at a local junior college on Mayan Hieroglyphs. I taught the class as a weekend workshop 5 years at Sonoma State University many years ago. I have continued to do my own research since then and want to teach it again at a place more people can afford. I am also producing a CD of the class which I will offer for sale here and on my other blogs which teaches basic hieroglyphs, the Mayan calendar, plus the latest info on 2012.

During this computerless period, I have been reading everything I can find on 2012 from many perspectives. You can see some of the books on my astrology blog.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Limited Internet for Two Weeks

To all my readers, my computer is in the shop for two weeks and I don't know if I will be able to post during that time since I have to use the Internet in the county library and so I have a short time limit each day. See you all soon! I might actually be forced to clean house....

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 - New Year - Fresh Start

The concept of New Year's resolutions is that with the beginning of a new year, we have the opportunity to start anew - have a fresh start on our life.

Usually I don't make New Year's resolutions because I find that either I totally forget them within a few days or I find them irrelevant as I move through the year.

This year, however, I am making some. The reason is that I feel it is time to do those things I know I need for health and sanity. I believe we are now in a time when we need to be congruent with what we know to be true. For me this means I can no longer think one way and do another. I need to be unified within, stop self-sabotage and follow the truth I have discovered in my life. I am starting my 4th katun of life (after 60), and with Saturn passing through my first house, I have been acknowledging that I have become an elder, even though I did not have children of my own. I have had "an interesting life" and have done many things. I have learned a lot.

We must all be prepared to give our gifts to life, so that means taking care of ourselves so that we are emotionally fit. Caroline Casey says it's time to open our 'magic backpacks' and see what tools we have acquired that may be useful during these challenging times.

My resolutions are:

1. I will visit the ocean at least once a month. I only live 17 miles from the ocean, so it is easy to do it. The sea air and the rhythm of the waves are both purifying and rejuvenating.

2. I will meditate every day. I need to connect to the Source on a regular basis in a focused way.

3. I will sing with other people at least once a month. Creating sound with other people opens and connects the heart and throat chakras. Then, the energy created and released goes to the hands where it can be made manifest.

4. I will dance with other people at least once a month. This is vital to keep the body flexible and the lower chakras clear.

5. I will prepare my downstairs to receive clients. I am ready to claim my skills of intuition, divination and inspiration. I am an herbalist, energy healer and astrologer. To see some of this work go to my website, my herbal blog, and my astrology blog.

6. I will take my vitamins and supplements. I need to keep my physical body healthy.

7. I will walk at least twice a week. Exercise is good for body and mind. The rhythm of walking keeps me in synchrony with Nature.

I have been involved in a spiritual path for most of my life. Sometimes I have been involved in groups, sometimes not. Currently I am on the outer edge of several circles. Rather than going to this or that activity, I am striving to 'be' the teachings. This is the goal I believe.

There was a time and place to sit at the feet of teachers, but I feel with the passage of Pluto through Sagittarius, that time is over. We need to take responsibility for ourselves, stop being victims, find our inner authority (Pluto in Capricorn).