Archive for August, 2011

Open Your Eyes!

Beauty is everywhere. Goodness surrounds us. We just need to open our eyes to what is around us, and not live in minds  overwhelmed with all the warnings and bad news and ugly images we see and hear from media everyday.

Even in the media there is a good news network which only reports good news.

Don’t worry. Be happy.

That sounds terribly naive. I know. But I’m convinced it’s the only answer to how to live. We can choose what to focus on, and what to think about. We can decided to pay more attention to what is in the immediate small world we inhabit and most likely we will find all we need, and much to bring a smile.

I know there is a lot in the world that is not bringing joy to those who live with it, nor to those who hear about it. We can, as we are called to, do what lies within our power  to help, and then not let it all pull our minds into a whirlpool of darkness. We can find the goodness around us, a single leaf, the sky, a glass of water, a kind act of someone we know or only observe, and exist in peace and gratitude for this gift of life on our lovely planet

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A Bittersweet Day

This picture is actually from a year ago. It is my oldest grandchild Nathan getting on the school bus for his first day of kindergarten. He was in the (correction) morning class….It was supposed to be the last year for our school district to have half day kindergarten, but they still have no funding for the 4 extra teachers they would need and still have only half day kindergarten which I think is better for the kids.

Today, however, was his first day of  all day school, first grade. I think we are all in a bit of shock. Nathan will love it! But I will have less time to just hang out with him.  So will his Mom who has been at home with him all his life, so far. And I know from raising my own kids how time seems to accelerate!

It takes a century or so to get to kindergarten. You have all the time in the world to enjoy those first five years. But once they begin school the time goes faster and faster. Sneeze and they finish grade school. Blink and they are graduating from high school and then college and they are off and on their way into their own lives.  This is a blessing and no one could wish it to be otherwise. We have to rejoice that all is going on as it should. But there is also a little bit of grieving for the lovely days of early childhood. Alice is going to do some volunteering at the school library and I’ll hang out with Stephen while she does this. And I know that really, everything is changing moment to moment all our lives. But this is a milestone.

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A Sort of Celebration!

It’s so wonderful to be alive! And today I got the good news from my latest PET/CT scan that they see no cancer, and this is one year since my initial diagnosis and surgeries of metastasized melanoma. I am so lucky in so many ways. From now on I only need to do blood work in four months and the next scan in six months. No more every three months! It’s not the scan I mind so much, though that’s hardly my favorite activity. It’s just the worry that precedes it which lasts until I see the doctor and get the results.

So many thousands and thousands of people experience the same. I wish they all have good results and less worry!

And the doctor saw no reason why I could not go ahead with knee replacement surgery.

Hope this whole post is not turning you off completely, dear reader. But really I am so happy I have to share!

"Anthem of Joy" by Czech artist Vera Liskova

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In Just Ten Months

A baby who was newborn on October 6th can be celebrating his 10 month birthday and having his first ice cream. That little boy can “march” in his first parade, the Bath Community Day parade, on the Crown Point CSA Farm float with his Mommy, Daddy and big brother.

Waiting to get on the float - pictures courtesy of "Mama"

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   I know this book will be one that many of my blogosphere friends will not  like, though perhaps some will. If I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t be writing this!

It’s another of those books which I read because I like to experience another culture through mystery novels. I’ve read all of Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri books and enjoyed them though they are a bit more like fantasy stories than mysteries!

A friend who is an anthropologist and did research in northern Thailand in the seventies felt they were a fairly true picture of Laotian culture. But I know well that Dr. Siri, 73 year old, slightly lovelorn, cynical communist and only Laotian medical examiner in the early 70s, and also a man who seems to channel a dead Hmong shaman, is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  But I found the books fascinating and amusing and a host of other people did as well for they sell excellently well and have won numerous awards.

And now Cotterill  has begun  a new series set in southern Thailand. I am most of the way through it and it has, if anything, even quirkier characters, but again, I’m finding it very entertaining.

One of the minor reasons I’m enjoying it is that each chapter begins with a quote from George W. Bush. These quotes, which are real, range from strange word usage to  nearly horrifying bits of misinformation and they leave me laughing out loud.  The quotes are relevant to the chapters that follow.

The first chapter begins with, “Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream,” which is a fairly understandable set of grammatical and dyslexic  sorts of error which precedes an introduction to the main family in the book. I could see myself saying this sort of thing in a moment of stress!  But the quote from a speech in Tokyo in February of 2002 in which Bush proclaimed, “For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times”, took my breath away. And it didn’t make me laugh.

The book’s title comes from something George W. said in Washington in 2004: “Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat.”

But these are only chapter titles. The book is the story of Jimm Juree, (a name that makes me hear in my head a song from Mary Poppins. Is Jimm going to be another lucky one?) a crime reporter most of whose family  moved to the south when her mother, who may be suffering from early Alzheimer’s disease,  sold their northern home and bought a rather iffy resort on the shores of southern Thailand. However, there is crime to investigate in the south also, or should I say crimes? There is the hippy couple who have been buried in a VW  for twenty years, and the Buddhist abbot who was stabbed twelve times…..Following Jimm’s journey through these investigations is quite fascinating for those who don’t at all mind reading about very different worlds and philosophies.

Cotterill has a great website –    http://www.colincotterill.com/ and has some ongoing charitable projects like books for Laos.

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