April 18th, 2006

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checking in -

Radiation and the doctor visit are finished for the day. I saw this morning why they tend to run late. My doctor got there at 8:45, so there was a line-up of patients when she got there. I was done by 9:45 though and grateful for that. She said how good I look and commented on the difference in my speech patterns. She said when she met me, it was clearly an effort to speak. I did not have the energy for words. Now, I do!! Yay!! She also commented on my color. Each time, it seems, I am a little more colorful. I am grateful to have color. She also liked the blue of my new hat.

I saw a wonderful bird this morning in the oak tree. Again, I don't know what she was, but she was beautiful, and I am thrilled to have her here. I wondered if she is pregnant. She looked quite plump. Also, we heard a woodpecker this morning.

So, some upsetting news. My beloved sister-in-law had a mammogram that shows a dense mass. They will do more tests as they did with me, and I am sure her results will not be mine, and it is so hard, and it is so hard to wait. Her next test is next Tuesday so that is a long time to wait for the good news that I am sure will come. Anyway, that is throwing me off a bit today, though also, again, re-inforcing this moment, this moment, this.

Katy got six baby chicks for Easter, so in four months they will have fresh eggs there in Newtown. I look forward to that.

Take care, everyone, and breathe in the joy of this moment, and the next. I learned this morning I am a deep breather. I breathe in fully, and I savor my exhales too. I have a new person guiding me, and she really honors my need for a full exhalation, and a wait for the next breath. I love to breathe. Savor fully today. Take nothing for granted. Even granite is made of many stones.

Also, prayers please for my beloved brother Gary, my treasured sister-in-law Jan, and my stupendous niece Katy. Thank you!!
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Horse Quotes -

My brother sends this quote by either Teddy Roosevelt or Winston Churchill. "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." I am guessing Teddy said it first, and Winston picked up on it, but it is more often attributed to Churchill than Roosevelt on Google. No matter who said it first, I agree.

I feel the difference in myself from working with the horse last Friday. I feel layers and layers, depths and depths. I am dreaming of horses, and that seems a good thing.

I google and find more horse quotes. Enjoy, and maybe head out for a ride!!

When I looked at life from the saddle, it was as near to heaven as it was possible to be.
Frances, Countess of Warwick

The horses of Achilles stood apart from their battle weeping, because they had learned that their charioteer had fallen in the dust by the hand of man-slaying Hector. When Zeus saw how they grieved, he took pity on them. "Poor creatures, why did I give you to King Peleus, a mortal destined to die…you who are immortal."
Homer, The Iliad

Where in this world can man find nobility without pride, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity? Here, where grace is laced with muscle, and strength by gentleness confined. He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity. There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent; there is nothing so quick, nothing more patient. England's past has been borne on his back. All our history is his industry; we are his heirs, he is our inheritance. Ladies and Gentlemen: The HORSE!
Robert Duncan's "Tribute to the Horse" Read at the conclusion of every Horse of the Year show in London

Some people think horses are dumb. Ability and intelligence are in all horses, regardless of breed. Their so-called stupidity stems from our poor communication. Training a horse is like drawing a picture. The better I draw the picture, the better the communication. If I'm drawing a horse in pencil, I've communicated something. If I add crayon to my drawing, you can then tell that the horse I've drawn is a Palomino. Does that mean that you've gotten smarter? No. It means that I've become a better communicator.
John Lyons

I don't help people with horse problems, I help horses with people problems.
Nicolas Evans, The Horse Whisperer

A lovely horse is always an experience….It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words.
Beryl Markam

A perfect book on riding could be written only by a horse!
Vladimir S. Littauer

Horses leave hoofprints on your heart.

Horses are karmic and they come to us in our lives karmically, when it is time for us truly to learn.
Dominique Barbier
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self-care -

This morning, Francine, my radiation oncologist, informs the young woman who is there today to learn, that I spend 15 minutes applying lanolin to my breast, and that is why I am doing so well as to no problems, though my skin is extremely fair. I laugh. No, not 15 minutes. My whole morning routine is about 8 minutes. I brush my teeth with my sonicare toothbrush, hop in the shower, hop out, dry off, and dab the lanolin in circles, then, rub it in, powder myself, and toss on my clothes, including a weather appropriate hat. Out the door I go. Pretty funny, I thought. I cannot imagine spending 15 minutes applying lanolin to one breast. I do keep the lanolin by the heater vent to soften it, so maybe that is why I can whipple through my morning routine so quickly. Quickness in the morning is one advantage to no hair. Efficiency Ho, I say!
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more horse quotes -

I'm on a roll, a canter, or a trot.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
~ Anonymous

Spring and summer are riding on a piebald mare.
~ Russian Proverb

No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as horses.
~Hermann Melville.

The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.
~Sharon Ralls Lemon

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.
~ Arabian proverb

For horses can educate through first hand, subjective, personal experiences, unlike human tutors, teachers, and professors can ever do. Horses can build character, not merely urge one to improve on it. Horses forge the mind, the character, the emotions and inner lives of humans. People can talk to one another about all these things and remain distanced and lonesome . In partnership with a horse, one is seldom lacking for thought, emotion and inspiration. One is always attended by a great companion.
~Charles de Kunffy

In riding a horse we borrow freedom.
~Helen Thomson
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a quote of a different color -

"I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness."

Abraham Maslow
1908-1970, Psychologist
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Horses -


I decided I had to see a horse before Friday, so I sent an email to Linda, who owns Miwok Stables, which is a mile from my home.  I explained I was a cancer patient in the program in Fairfax, and would like to do one of her regularly scheduled trail rides.  She forwarded my email to Derek, who is a mentor in the Fairfax program, and he called, and is going to meet me at Miwok, so I will have a trail ride with him, rather than with a group, and I guess rather than with someone who might not understand the training I am experiencing.  Now, that is astonishingly considerate.  I am touched.   That’s horse people, I guess.   They keep telling us they are a special breed, trained and changed by their horses.  It seems so. 

I am getting more and more obsessed with horses, and I am trying to understand why.  I am dreaming about them, and feeling this incredible love not only for horses, but also myself and everyone and everything else.  I feel myself expanding outward around this experience with the horse, and so you can see why I couldn’t wait until Friday to again see and touch one. 

Analytically, I realize it may be because there is this huge eye to look into, a huge eye that looks right back.  The horse observes with this huge eye and huge heart and I feel my eyes and heart grow in response.   I feel like I, too, have a huge heart, lungs, and chest.  I feel the depths and the vastness of the cavity that holds the beating heart.  I feel like a horse, like I could run and run,  and stand on mountaintops and bellow at the sun, and it would rise and set on my command.

 I am solid and strong, my two legs as firmly planted as four. 

We watched Grizzly Man the other night, and the narrator, Werner Herzog did not feel anything in the bears but the desire for food.  Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell,  felt much, much, more but then he was a little off.   Of course, bears are not horses, and bears have relatively small eyes.  They are not like the eyes of the horse, with those long, fluttering lashes.  I feel the horse is a Rosen master,  touching something deep within, with the beat of its heart, and the beam of its eye which reaches right into my heart and lights it afire.

I want to be atop a horse, and tomorrow I will be.    I’ll let you know how it is. 

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more on horses -

There is an article in the New York Times today on the New York police using horses. They are a great deterrent to crime, and cost only $10.00 a day for food and bedding. It is hard to beat that. The horse and his policeman are great companions, and effective. The police would rather have a horse than an expensive cruising car.

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makes sense to me -

From the NY Times Today
Op-Ed Contributor
Iran's Sitting Duck

Published: April 18, 2006

THERE has been a lot of debate over reports that the United States is exploring the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. Setting aside the question of whether military action is wise — and there are strong arguments for focusing on nonmilitary options — one thing is clear: the nuclear option makes little sense.

Discussion focuses on Natanz, where Iran is building laboratories to enrich uranium, ostensibly for nuclear energy but also useful for making a nuclear bomb. Those plants are buried underground, leading many to conclude that only a nuclear weapon could destroy them.

That conclusion is wrong. In general, there are three intertwined reasons military planners might consider using nuclear weapons against an underground target: uncertainty about the target's location, concern that the depth makes conventional weapons impotent, and a need to destroy the target near-instantaneously. None of these apply in the case of Iran.

If an underground lab were bored into a mountain, or involved a labyrinthine tunnel system, its location may not be well known. Military planners might then argue — as some did in considering a tactical nuclear attack on the Libyan chemical weapons facility at Tarhuna in 1996 — that only the broad blast of a nuclear weapon could guarantee destruction.

But the precise locations of the underground chambers at Natanz are well known — they were built in open pits, visible to American satellites, before being covered with concrete, rock and dirt. (And the only building at Natanz where we know Iran has enriched uranium thus far is above ground.) If anyone wants to to bomb Natanz, they will know where to aim.

The second concern is that if an underground laboratory is deeply buried, that can also confound conventional weapons. But the depth of the Natanz facility — reports place the ceiling roughly 30 feet underground — is not prohibitive. The American GBU-28 weapon — the so-called bunker buster — can pierce about 23 feet of concrete and 100 feet of soil. Unless the cover over the Natanz lab is almost entirely rock, bunker busters should be able to reach it. That said, some chance remains that a single strike would be unsuccessful.

That leads to the third factor. Advocates of nuclear weapons normally plan on using them in a time-sensitive scenario: an enemy is about to launch an attack on the United States, and the only way to immediately stop it is to employ nuclear arms, taking out the enemy base in a single strike.

This is weak as a generic argument, and it is patently unsound in the case of Iran. Natanz poses no imminent threat — the worst-case prediction is that, in several years, the Iranians might produce enough material for a nuclear bomb, but we do not worry that any weapons there endanger us now. The United States could repeatedly bomb the plant, if it wished, drilling down until it reached the underground chambers. Even if that took days, it would set back the Iranian program just as decisively as a nuclear attack.

In the end, the nuclear option makes little sense — and flirting with it undermines the American stance against nuclear proliferation. Taking nuclear weapons decisively off the table would reinforce the taboo against the bomb, and make American actions to oppose proliferation more effective.

Michael Levi, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is a co-author of "The Future of Arms Control."