Our Tiny House

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What do You Believe?



When you were a kid did you wonder what happened to the miracles?

If you went to Sunday School as I did and heard Bible stories about pillars of fire, people turning into salt, Jesus raising people from the dead and turning water into wine, you might have wondered, as I did, that if they could do it then, why not now? Not that I wanted people turned into salt, but you get the idea.

The events around me were physical, a nuts and bolts life, not ethereal, or even mystical. Yet even in those days there was the concept of a guru sitting on the mountain, where people trudged up steep cliffs to ask him about the meaning of life.
  
And then there was the Wizard behind the curtain who tricked us by pulling leavers, and appearing in smoke. The Wizard, however, honored the gift we had exhibited, a heart, a brain and some courage, and he taught us that he didn't have the magic, we did.

And from the mountain the guru told us “Don’t worry, be happy.”

One must rise above the rank and file to accept that the idea that perhaps, maybe, not worrying and being happy just might be a good idea.

We had to advance to the place where we knew we were good people, we have a heart, a brain, and some courage, and we have a right to be happy.

We’ve come a long way baby.

But we’re not the first civilization on this planet to obtain heights of grandeur—there have been others. We would know that if we had not been knocked back to the Stone Age by a series of cataclysmic events.

About a week ago I heard Graham Hancock at Powell’s Book store in Portland speak to a packed house.  He has written the book Magicians of the Gods, and he not only proposes that much of the archaeology taught is wrong but he supports it with evidence. That mankind is not 5,000 years old, more like 350,000, that there were advanced civilizations long before we crawled out of the mud thinking we came from monkeys.

He spoke of an archaeological find in Turkey called Gobekli Tepe, where carved pillars stand vertical in the ground similar to the buried warriors found in China. These pillars are carved with reliefs, and writings yet to be deciphered, and there are five more layers of columns beneath those—they have ground X-rayed to find them. This incredible find was deliberately filled in with light weight soil and sand, and entirely covered with a mound of earth.

They preserved their story.

What story will it tell?

Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiche Maya says this about the “Forefathers.”
They were endowed with intelligence; they saw and instantly they could see far, they succeeded in seeing, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all around them, and they contemplated in turn the arch of heaven and the round face of the earth. The things hidden in the distance they saw all without first having to move; at once they saw the world, and so, too, from where they were, they saw it. Great was their wisdom, their sight reached to the forests, the lakes, the seas, the mountains and the valleys.”
Would that we would be spoken of in that manner…


“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.  - Hamlet Shakespeare

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What's Your Perfect Christmas Gift?

Here's mine.



Carry on, and celebrate the Great High Holidays!

Love from Joyce

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Real Scoop


A funny thing happened on my way to my desk, daughter number one called to tell me about the cooking class she offered at her son’s school. It happened during a storm, and when thunder clapped louder than a train going through the building, the little ones hid under the table while the big one’s went outside to hold onto the flag pole to see if they could get electrocuted.

Before I could lay a pinkie on the keyboard, I get a phone call…

"This call will be recorded for quality assurance."

Garrison Keillor (The Prairie Home Companion show on radio) did a shtick about this sort of call. He wondered why they wanted to listen to his voice, so he suggested—backed up by his sound effects guy—that each time you call use a different accent.

“This is Senior Keillor , I teenk this is a torough explanation…”

“Bonjour, this is Monsieur Keillor…”

The scoop, folks, is, they don’t care how you sound.

They are not listening to you.

They are listening to their employee.

Same with email, Quality Control is watching the employee who is writing the email.  

They are making sure the responder is answering within the prescribed amount of time, that they don’t use contractions, (Horrors), and use proper grammar with no &%4 typos.





Companies are monitoring the very employee they background checked, fingerprinted, drug tested, and interviewed to make sure they qualified  for the job. and then they don't (contraction) trust them to do it.

It boggles my mind.

I hear #Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is a joy to work for.  #Tom’s of Maine as well, and # Log Rhythms, the company that built our log house is terrific.

Just think, if we knew of companies that follow our ethical, humane, and logical way of thinking, and gave them our business…

I’m excited about the possibility.




Ha Ha: What’s a perfect pitch?

When you throw a banjo into a dumpster and it spears an accordion.

Thanks to Doug McMinn

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

NDE


Go into a Wall-mart book section and what do you see? Mostly fiction. (I love fiction, the exquisite kind.) But on this Wall-mart shelf we see mainly murder, mayhem, illicit love stories, and world wracking events. The magazine rack is about the same, as is the TV news.

Nobody wants to be on the Red October, but we want to read about it.

Why?

Escape.

Well, listen to this: Most people go to mind-numbing jobs, stop at McDonalds or the equivalent for lunch, don’t have the money for a Big Mac, so opt for a Quarter Pounder instead, go home, watch some TV, play video games, have chili and crackers for dinner, argue instead of making love with their spouse, go to sleep, and the next morning begin all over again.

But that’s not us right?

We have dreams and aspirations, and we are searching for how to achieve those dreams. We want an exciting life. We figure we are here for a reason. We endeavor to find that reason and realize it.  We want to be successful in life, finances, and family. Whew, that’s a tall order.

I was inspired recently by a NDE, A Near Death Experience, sent to me by an intimate friend. It was her experience, not mine to tell. The bottom line is, however, I want to be the sort of person my friend felt she was destined to be--one who makes the world a flourishing place for people, plants and animals.

And I want to enroll others to join me.

According to my friend with the NDE experience, when we dropped the bomb the world was in peril, peril like total destruction, but someone, some thing, something wise, intervened. And now it is our job to carry out the trust placed in us.

We need to hold the planet in awe. We need to hold it with soft hands and a warm heart.  We need to take care of each other. I don’t mean we have to love everybody, heavens, that’s a crock. We just need to see that their basic needs are met, exalt them to a higher plane, encourage them, and stop shooting each other for God’s sake. And while I’m at it, we can stop bellyaching about our childhood. Get over it. Millions of others are in the same boat.

And stop that mind-numbing stuff.

We aren’t lazy people. We just want to be challenged to greatness, to feel that we matter, to be acknowledged for our contributions, to have a job we rush to in excitement.

Some of the aborigines of Australia believed there were the keepers of the Earth, but because the resources are not supporting them in their preferred wild lifestyle, they are leaving. They are not reproducing themselves, and they are leaving that earth’s care in the hands of others.

We are the others.

Why we must start taking a stand against the system that’s designed to make us despise our work, and start being part of a new movement where work is centered in joy, contribution, and community—Jonathan Mead

#Paid to Exist

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Let's Sift Through the Sludge and Find the Gold


There are many areas where that title applies. 

One would be Thanksgiving. Remember how the pilgrims survived their first winter in the new land, raised their crops and with a bountiful harvest shared a feast? They needed a feast, the poor people were half starving. And so the story goes, they gave thanks, and invited their neighbors. Some of their neighbors happened to be the native peoples who lived on the land before they arrived. The Natives brought wild turkeys and corn, and thus introduced a tradition.

Few of us need a feast, but we do need to give thanks.

And now with Christmas coming up I want to find the gold, not follow a grumbling scenario:  “Oh yeah I need to cook for eight hours, eat for fifteen minutes, and clean up for seven days.”

I’m not doing it.

I want to find the gold.

The gold is to celebrate the great high holidays in a spirit of joy, gratitude, and glad tidings.  

The winter celebration goes back Pre-Christian. The Winter Yule, the Solstice, marked the shortest day, longest night. Trees that stayed green all year held in high regard, and so people took evergreen branches into the house to remind them that life would spring again.

The peoples of Germany introduced the Tannerbnaum, that was they brought an entire evergreen tree into the house. Before that peoples built wooden pyramidal shaped frames and decorated it with branches. Martin Luther, inspired by the twinkling stars, is credited with placing candles on the Christmas frame.

Imagine the delight of a Christmas tree beaming with candles? I can feel the awe in my bones.

Stockings hung by the chimney with care.  So the story goes, a poor widower had three daughters. Because he could not afford a dowry, he believed his daughters would never marry and thus never be taken care of, but he would not accept charity. Saint Nickolas heard of his plight, and on Christmas Eve he slid down the chimney, and seeing the girl's stockings hanging by the chimney to dry, he filled them with gold coins.

Imagine Christmas morning.

The winter celebration has a long tradition, embellished often, and special to the peoples around the world.  When Jesus was introduced into it, it brought new meaning to the faithful. A child is born. The angels sing. And what did they sing? “Good Tidings to all, and Goodwill to all men.”

"Dear Mother, I am writing from the trenches. It is 11 o'clock in the morning. Beside me is a coke fire, opposite me a 'dug-out' (wet) with straw in it. The ground is sloppy in the actual trench, but frozen elsewhere. In my mouth is a pipe presented by the Princess Mary. In the pipe is tobacco. Of course, you say. But wait. In the pipe is German tobacco. Haha, you say, from a prisoner or found in a captured trench. Oh dear, no! From a German soldier. Yes a live German soldier from his own trench. Yesterday the British and Germans met and shook hands in the Ground between the trenches, and exchanged souvenirs, and shook hands. Yes, all day Christmas day, and as I write. Marvelous, isn't it?“

(Future nature writer Henry Williamson, then a nineteen-year-old private in the London Rifle Brigade, wrote to his mother, 1914)

Captain Robert Patrick Miles, King's Shropshire Light Infantry, recalled in an edited letter that was published in both the Daily Mail and the Wellington Journal & Shrewsbury News in January 1915:

We are having the most extraordinary Christmas Day imaginable. A sort of unarranged and quite unauthorized but perfectly understood and scrupulously observed truce exists between us and our friends in front. Of the Germans he wrote: "They are distinctly bored with the war...In fact one of them wanted to know what on earth we were doing here fighting them." )

One Christmas Eve night, a man riding home in his sleigh, emblazoned the story of Saint Nickolas aka Santa Claus, into our minds and hearts. This father wanted something to give his six children, so he scratched out the poem, ”A Visit from Saint Nickolas.” That was Clement Moore, and his poem has become known as “Twas The Night Before Christmas.”

In Moore’s poem, St. Nicholas was a “Right jolly old elf.” “He was dressed all in furs from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.”
“He went right to his work and filled the stockings, and laying a finger beside his nose and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.“

And what did he call out as his sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer sailed off into the night sky?


 “A Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Night.”



The Miracle of the Dog and the Babe:





This was a homeless dog dumpster digging when he found a human infant with its umbilical cord still attached. The dog carried the baby about 100 feet and gave it to a human who rushed it to the hospital. The baby was not injured by the dog, and it survived.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Let’s Go For a Ride in The Gater

A Gater is a small green utility vehicle. It has a driver’s seat, a passenger seat, and small dump-truck bed behind the seats.  “Necessary for a farm,” said the previous owner, and he left it for us. 

I had wanted a Gater since touring 60 acres in one. An Oregon Real Estate Agent and I sat in a Gater's dump bed leaning against a hay bale while husband dear sat beside the property's owner, the driver. The agent said she was scared out of her wits when the driver took off like a bat out of you know where, but I thought it was almost as much fun as a Disneyland ride.

I will be careful with you though, don’t worry. I won’t try to brush you off, as my husband appears to do as he careens through the pineapple fields while I am dodging volunteer trees that have sprung up between the pineapple rows. 

Our ride today in the Gater will be easier than walking to the area I want to show you, for we would likely be huffing and puffing in this sultry heat. 

You’re willing? Okay. Let’s go.

The sun isn't up yet as we climb into our seats, but birds are trying to pull it from its slumber. We will not see the sunrise, for the trees stand in the way of it, but the sun gradually brightens the sky, and enlivens the expanse of emerald green around the house as though the morning goddess, sleepy eyed, is turning up her rheostat.  

We putt through the row of eucalyptus trees that separate the house area from the orchard. We pass a MACK dump truck the size of a small house that is tied to the ground with vines the way Gulliver was tied by the Lilliputians.

I push in the throttle, and the Gater gallops up a gentle incline—or slithers, whatever Gater’s do. We bump past the pineapple field, and past the few scruffy orange and lemon trees that while small in size, produce delicious fruit.

To our left are macadamia nut trees. Ahead is the best lime tree in the world. Its limes are the size of lemons, and so fragrant they can call me from bed when daughter dear is making French toast dusted with powdered sugar, slaughtered with butter, and loaded with fresh lime juice.

 A Star Fruit tree grows beside the lime tree, and while the fruit of the enormous beautiful Star Fruit tree that grows close to the house tastes horrible, this tree’s fruit is delicious. I don’t know why. 

There are more eucalyptus trees along the side fence separating this property from the ten acres next to us. Ahead and to the right is jungle.

Along the back fence grows two exquisite plants, so hidden in the brush I didn’t know they existed until the day I found them flowering by the fence, shining like beacons. One is a Macaw plant, its flower a brilliant red, that looks as though folded by an origami specialist. Next to it grows a hanging Lobster Claw. Both have waxy petals and together they look like bird’s beaks and lobster claws, as their names describe.



Macaw flower

I pull back the throttle, and we roll to a silent stop. I wanted to show you the largest most beautiful tree in the area. It is the reason I brought you here.

It is a Signature tree.

We hop out of the vehicle and walk up to the tree.  It is evergreen with leaves thick as a succulent’s. The amazing thing about this tree is that if you scratch a message in a leaf that leaf and message will last for years. Looking up into the immense green foliage, we begin our search. I know the vicinity, and there we find them—notes from the two little girls who lived on this land before us, little notes, sad notes, notes that said, “Goodbye Farm.”


A few days ago my family wrote their names on the leaves, and now you and I could sign our names as well, and for a while far away in the vast Pacific on a tropical island we would be made illustrious for a time. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

In Praise of Goats


Orville and Wilbur with a rider, Oregon



Little Boy Darling with Do and Re, Hawaii







If you have never met a goat you might not imagine how sweet they can be.

The subject of goats came up for me when my daughter told me about the #Weston Price Conference she attended last week in Los Angeles.

It was a food conference, and you might wonder how the subject of goats came into the conversation. No, don’t eat them.  Use them. One of the presenters was a farmer. And he said we need more animals on our properties.

I began thinking about Orville and Wilbur our free-range goats, who came running from the forest every morning to dive into the horse’s hay. They talked to us, followed us, came when called, and hiked with us. They kept the brush cleared around the house, and they never damaged anything. Well, they would have eaten all ornamental plants and flowers, but everything not wild was behind a deck railing.  The house was fenced in the goats were fenced out.

One thing the farmer said about goats is that they are problem solvers, and they use that ability to get out of fences. They use that ability, too, to climb on anything fun, but we didn’t have that problem with Orville and Wilbur, as all temptation was out of reach, and we lived in the forest. They were perfect.

When we moved to Hawaii we bought two little nannies, Do and Re, still on bottles when we got them, and the only time they were penned was in the dog kennel when we were away from the house over night. The rest of the time they were free-range, as sweet as kittens, and kept the property trimmed as though we had hired a ground crew. They came when called and hiked along the “green trail of bliss” with us.

There was a star fruit tree close by the house whose fruit tasted terrible (another tree in the orchard tasted great, I don’t know why the difference), but the one by the house dropped fruit on the ground leaving a mess—not after we got the goats, they erased all evidence of ground fruit. And you don’t have to worry about goat poop, it’s like a deer’s, pelleted, and when dropped into the grass it disappears.

A downside was that we had to enclose anything that could be climbed upon, the boxes in the storage shed, the Prius, and the tree in the front yard. So I suggest penning in the house and leaving the goats free. They will stay close, they like people.

That’s our story.

The conference speaker said that people are desert makers. If ground is scraped bare in a dry arid climate, like Africa, the ground can heat up to 140 degrees where no plant can survive.  With animals and grass and grazing, the soil will be about 70 degrees, perfect. The grazing animals will nibble the grass encouraging it to grow. One must not allow them to over-graze however, but rotate them to different pastures. And goats, being browsers, will keep the brush cleared. In Oregon they can clear out blackberry bushes that left to their own devices will  over run an entire acre—or more.

The farmer showed two pictures with the caption, “Which picture had the rain?”
 Neither.

The green land had animals, the dry one didn’t.




Up to Chapter 10 on oneyearontheisland.com

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What Happens Next?

“A young couple are driving down a beautiful country road.  In the back seat are their two kids. They stop for a moment to drink in the view… what happens next?”

This was a test for our thought processes and how we are being programmed. Many people would say “A car comes barreling down the road and bashes into them.”

Who’s in control of our thoughts?

For a reprieve, drink in the joy of an innocent. Only a camera is pointed in her direction.

“Have you ever seen a deer frolicking in the surf?”

“Well I did.”

click on


Sunday, November 8, 2015

What’s That You Say?

The other day at the grocery store the checker remarked that he had gotten recognition for being the fastest checker that week. Did he get an award? He didn’t say, but he seemed proud of his accomplishment.

“Are they timing you?’ I asked.

“Yes.”

At the grocery store?! Not them too.

I already know about emails from a large corporation. The respondents have eight minutes to answer an email, and one must go down the list in order of first written, even if the ship has already sailed. Sometimes to answer the question requires doing research. Whoops, no time for that. Sometimes the system breaks down or is slow. Too bad, you are still on the clock.

One solution is to shuffle that email off to another department. Clearing your docket is paramount, not answering the question.

Why all the rush? Why put people on a clock? It demoralizes them—except maybe the checker at the grocery store. It turns them into an assembly line mentality. Have happy customers? What a concept. Those grocery store checkers are so fast I hardly have time to unload my cart, slide the credit card, give them my reward card, and scribble my signature. That’s after I stood in line of course.

Do the efficiency experts go to school to learn how to drive employees insane? Faster makes more money--so it is believed. No wonder some people hate their jobs.

I understand we are a technologically based culture, and I remember when a computer needed an entire room for all its bells and whistles, and that computer had less memory that the lap top I am currently typing on. Let's not forget, however, that there are people attached to that computer, or standing in front of us waiting for eye contact. Have you ever stood in front of a clerk while  behind a computer screen you heard, "Click, click, clicky, click, click?"

Oh yes, and televisions in restaurants. Why? Didn’t we go out to escape the box or to visit with friends or to enjoy our meal in luxury?

Guess not.

Remember, some genius created a device to record television shows enabling them to be watched later.

I was wondering the other day if painting was out. You know, a brush, paints on canvas, sketching. Well, I watch Face Off on television and those people know how to sketch and sculpt, and fabricate in a day or two what it would normally take months to create so I know there are talented, skilled, creative  people out there, but when I see something like a Bionocle, a toy so complex you know a computer created it, it makes me wonder if a person with their simple little hands on materials has a chance anymore. CGI has replaced glass backgrounds movie backdrop painters used to paint by hand. Remember when the Disney corporation hand- painted all those cells used in their animated films? And the art of Bambi is so exquisite it should never be lost, although the sadness of Bambi could. It was my first movie and it scared me forever.

Those who have read me for a time know that I am conflicted. I want to be uplifting, encouraging and motivational, yet I feel that my years have given me a perspective that ought not to be lost. Again I ask, where is the medium? (I know, finding it “takes some share of wit, so tis a mark fools seldom hit”--Cooper.)

And I have noticed that the sweet by and by might get a nod, “That’s nice.” Ho hum. We do like something we can sink out teeth into. (Gosh isn’t blogging fun, we can throw out cliché’s. on a regular basis.)

We ought to look at what's important in our lives and what's not. What do we want to accomplish?  Has happiness eluded us? Let's get it back. 

I had an epiphany the other day driving home from Portland. Earlier I printed my mother’s Letters and interspersed mine among hers telling the family secret. Well, that’s over. I decided my mother deserves her own voice without being colored by mine, so I expunged all my commentary within the book. I did write a Foreword and Afterward, and I’m back to my water-color cover. I guess with winter coming I like the snow. And the book ends with snow falling in crystalline stars on my sister and my lapels.





The Foreword can be seen on www.cominginforalanding.com


Still posting chapters on oneyearontheisland.com
The menu says Home Blog About, the book content is posted on Blog

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ain’t It the Truth?



Truth.

Scientists search for it, yet, we hear that statistics can be skewed, tests can be manipulated, and the new, the unusual sometimes so threatens the establishment that their innovative ideas are blown away like so much chalk from the blackboard.

Lawyers and truth? The goal is to win, and whose “truth” can they trust anyway?  Reasonable doubt is often the best we can hope for.

Truth, the word, gets thrown around like broadcasting lawn seeds.

The earth is the center of the solar system. Nope.

Some people believe “The Bible, said it, I believe it, that settles it,” without understanding that long ago Monks painstakingly hand copied the Bible. Most Biblical scholars agree that there are “glosses,” that is marginal notes make by the copiers, became incorporated into the text by future copiers. 

Around the year 300 many religions were tossed about, many canons for the Bible existed, so old Roman Emperor Constantine said, “Enough already. These are the books for the Bible, and Christianity is the religion of the state.” And then years later someone unearthed a few old scrolls buried in the Dead Sea region that created cause for pause.

“What I said is not what your heard, and what I meant to say is not what came out of my mouth, and you weren’t listening anyway.”

Being clear is like hitting a bull’s eye.

Journalists endeavor to uncover the truth, but then the pundits, the naysayers, the opposition, attack their copy. Controversy ensues, and the truth gets lost under tons of oratory. So much doubt is cast upon their findings that soon the populist doesn’t remember what the initial question was.

I suppose we can count on gravity—we believe that to be a “truth” we’re pretty sure it exists, but then we went into space and had to be tied to our seats lest we float to the ceiling, or worse.

“Seeing is believing.” Optical illusionists made us go out and buy new glasses.

Some people think their idea of God is the truth, other people think theirs is.  For some their God is Love, others say that God directed them to terrorize their fellow human beings.

“Sell the sizzle and not the steak,” so say the advertisers. Tell a good story and people will buy your product. Amp it up, glorify it, make it shine.

And then what happened?  Along came philosophers, and writers such as Wayne Dyer who said “You’ll see it When You Believe It.” They ushered in the idea that perhaps we create according to our beliefs.

A few years ago I was involved with a woman’s group who often read esoteric material. After a week apart we would come together completely befuddled.   What to believe? What was the truth?  A conclusion grew out of our conversations. We had to trust out own inner guidance system. Did it “Ring true?” Did it resonate with our thought systems?

We were left trusting our feelings.


I saw the movie Truth last night with Robert Redford and Kate Blanchett, about Mary Mapes, the Producer of CBS, and Dan Rather the year he left the network. I think it ought to be mandatory showing in high schools, and for everyone else, and it lit a fire under me.




P.S. Still adding chapters from One Year on the Island to oneyearontheisland.com


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"The Metal Cowboy"


Joe Kumaskie is The Metal Cowboy, and author of the following article:

So this happened....

Loading groceries into the van at the Eastside Fred Meyer's before I visit my ailing Mom, I notice a young man in a sports car having trouble getting it started. He's parked engine to engine and one slot over. I see jumper cables on the hood. We make eye contact and his face is part shame, part determination and part defiance. I set down a bag and mimic jumper cables and point at my car. He gets out smiling. I pop my hood.

"You hook em up, while I finish loading," I say. He's wearing a shirt that reads, McAwesome. The M is the McDonald's logo. I can see now that the car is a rehab with a Macco paint job and a baby seat in the back. His accent puts him somewhere in Northern Africa... Ethiopia maybe?

"Many thanks," He says.

"Good thing you have cables because I lent my sister mine."

He nods. "The battery, it's bad but I don't have the funds right now to replace it so I carry the cables instead."

We jump it, starts right up. Looking at his battery with the corrosion jogs my memory. I dig around in my glove box, and hand McAwesome a Les Schwab envelope.

"That's a transferable certificate for a new battery. I got it when we had another car but we only have the van now. It's good at any Les Schwab forever so..."

He keeps bowing and smiling and shaking his head. "Many blessings on you... so many many."

I wave him off. The whole thing took like two minutes and the coupon would have gotten lost, forgotten or tossed. He drives away.

I go to roll the cart back and notice a guy in the truck beside me shaking his head.

"You might have just helped a terrorist, know that?!"

I stop the cart. It's my turn to shake my head.

"I told him to fuck off back to Africa," he says.

Puzzle pieces drop into place. McAwesome had asked for help, gotten grief, explains the cables on the hood and looking at me with shame and defiance.

I had so many things I wanted to say to this guy, about the nature of fear, the world we manifest with our choices, how kindness is not weakness and why we'll never kill our way to peace. I open my door, turn back.

"I'm gonna light a candle for you, my man."

"Fuck's that mean?"

I think about the joy on my son's face the night before at the Weird Al concert, my Mom's brave smile staring down the cancer.

"What... what it means is... if you're broken down in this parking lot I'll give you a jump too."






This article came to me from a reader after I wrote about the little girl at my grandson’s school who wears a scarf to cover her hair and clothing to cover her body.

Besides this article, Kumanski wrote The Metal Cowboy, a complication of stories about his bike touring trips and the people he meets.  His only stipulation regarding my posting his article was that I link to his his website, about IRON OVERLOAD.(Iron It Out).

Never heard of it. Until now.

It is a genetic disease called hemochromatosis, where the body stores too much iron. The symptoms are often fatigue and depression. Hemochromatosis can eventually damage the liver, cause cancer, heart attacks, or Alzheimer’s. It can be deadly.

Kumanski has it.

IT IS TREATABLE! When caught early.

Joe  is paying it forward, trying to include a test for it in routine blood screening.  His site is:


The crowdfunding site/link  is https://www.youcaring.com/iron-overload-action-network-ironitout-org-434486



Chapter Six of One Year on The Island now on oneyearontheisland.com

Do you like my new cover picture, or prefer the last one?'

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Cookie!"

Jeff Goin’s told of a man with ten good friends. He loved them and would die for them, but he wanted more. He built up a following of thousands; he became a rock star, but soon found it had its downside. People wanted something from him, more that he could give. He felt trapped. So he sought out a few good friends, and found them to be his original ten.

One blogger, when asked how it felt to address thousands, said, “I only talk to my tribe.” Those were her few good friends. (For me that’s you.)

I know this writing is best called a “Life Blog,” because I talk about whatever is happening, on life, or whatever. It’s indulgent I suppose, rather than having a “How-to Blog” where I offer information. You know when you tell someone “How to,” you must declare yourself an expert on whatever subject you are addressing. But hey, I learned in college what an expert was.  “X” equals an unknown. And a “Spurt,” is a drip under pressure.  So by that definition I am an expert—a drip under pressure. (This definition must have come from a disgruntled professor.) Oh, the things we remember from our schooling days.

Right now I am enraged.

I just spoke to a friend after I used the word “Grok” meaning “To intuitively know.” This comes from Robert Heinlein’s book “Stranger in a Strange Land,” and I did read it years ago, but don’t remember much except I didn’t like it, and all the religious references turned me off. When my friend gave me a synopsis, I understood why.  Appears he was terrible to women, the sex and violence was rampant, and religions were disgusting.  He had a good premise, but there was too much muck. He won a HUGO award for it. Whoopy do. Don’t care. (Probably he, too, was commenting on society.)

I did like "To Kill a Mockingbird," does that give me some credibility?

After my friend's and my discussion I was still ranting about the amount of violence that is present in our society. And think of children’s games where all characters must have a weapon.  My grandson tells me that without conflict there is no story, (he sounds like a publisher). I tell him that there are other conflicts that do not require battling person against person, like internal angst, or against some apparent insurmountable obstacle.

I have lived long enough to rant against violence’s assault to the senses. (School shootings can do that to a person.) I’m not saying that we ought to censor writing. A person has the right to write, I’m wondering why people want to feed their mind, their heart, their eyes with ugly?

If I get blind-sided by a violent occurrence in a movie, I have, on occasion, looked around to the audience and no one looks appalled, only numb.

Yes, I know there could be a long psychological expose’ here, but I won’t do it. That would require a book that I’m not writing. And if you are my “tribe,” I am probably preaching to the choir, but I’m one voice with my head stuck out the window saying, “Folks, get a grip!”

Ha, you thought I was going to say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” but maybe you are too young to remember the movie Network.


P.S. New address for my book One Year on the Island.


Chapters One through Five are posted.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Reach for the Thought That Feels Better



Well, I feel better just looking at this picture. How about you?



How many years have I been blogging? A pile. For the last week or so, though, I have been in a stall. You know one of those “What’s the use of it?” stalls. Not that I don’t appreciate all you guys who click in, I just wonder if I have anything of use to offer.

Seth Godin says this about blogging

 "No one clicked on it, no one liked it..."

These two ideas are often uttered in the same sentence, but they're actually not related.
People don't click on things because they like them, or because they resonate with them, or because they change them.
They click on things because they think it will look good to their friends if they share them.
Or they click on things because it feels safe.
Or because they're bored.
Or mystified.
Or because other people are telling them to.
Think about the things you chat about over the water cooler. It might be last night's inane TV show, or last weekend's forgettable sporting event. But the things that really matter to you, resonate with you, touch you deeply--often those things are far too precious and real to be turned into an easy share or like or click.
Yes, you can architect content and sites and commerce to get a click. But you might also choose to merely make a difference.

Most of us want to make a difference, yet I wonder, am I?

I wonder why I read blogs.

Sometimes it’s about content. I want to know how to do something, and thank heavens the internet can tell me how to work some of these high-tech devices, or the not so high tech, like how to fix the washing machine. That’s something we didn’t have years ago.

Something I read a blog because it appeals to me.

Sometimes I check out a blog because I believe it will help me, as Lisa Steele did on #Fresh Eggs Daily, when my two chickens died on the same day. She was so sympathetic. (Not my present chickens, they are doing fine.)

Sometimes we read because we’re curious as I have become interested in the life of Shreve in her blog #The Daily Coyote.

Sometimes we read for entertainment.

That makes me think of a morning three days ago when I had sushi for breakfast.

Well it was 11 am, almost lunch time and daughter wanted sushi, and sitting there I tried to think back to when American’s found that raw fish dipped in soy sauce and Wasabi horse radish tasted good. I remember the movie Lifeboat in which one of the fellows offered the Tallulah Bankhead’s character a tiny filet of fish, and disgusted, she threw it overboard. (Darn, no soy or Wasabi.)

My mind went off on a tangent, thinking about when we were kids and stood in the back of a pickup truck while it was barreling down the road at 50 miles an hour. Nope, I wouldn’t let my kids do that. But we did, and didn’t think anything about it.

And I thought about how the playground had no rubber padding, and the slide was so hot we scorched our bare legs on the way down. We drank a Coke once in a while, as a treat, not as a daily occurrence, and we didn’t have cup holders on baby seats, car seats, electric wheel barrows or lawn mowers. How did we ever stay hydrated? And what about those party lines where the phone was attached to the wall? Horrors.

I’m not saying those were the good old days, just remembering. A friend of mine who died this year said she wanted to stay around jut to see what would happen next.

So, what is going to happen next?

Who can predict? Right now I’m thinking that we can watch horror movies, (Why?) or violent ones, and listen to the naysayers, and let the media scare the pants off us. Oh dear, the election coverage is already blatant a year before the event will happen. Or, we can do as Abraham says, “Reach for the thought that feels better.”

We can notice that we breathed the night through without thinking about it. We can be grateful the engineers have given us highways in which we can travel in comfort to just about any place on the continent. (No covered wagons.)

And we have airplanes that will take us off the continent and bring us back.  We can be grateful that this thin layer of atmosphere--so thin that Mt Everest sticks up above it--sustains us. That we are lucky to live on this emerald blue and green planet that has such wonders it could or should put us into a constant state of awe.

Autumn: Outside my window, one branch on an otherwise green tree is red. And in October flowers are still blooming, and last night I heard a frog choking…

“Hack, gak, awk- the sound of a frog choking. Of course I meant to say, “croaking,” but instead said “choking.” What the heck, it’s funnier. 


ONE YEAR ON THE ISLAND, chapter One, two , three and four available on 

http://jdavisonisland.WIX.com/oneyearontheisland