August 3rd, 2006

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checking in -

Elaine and I met yesterday and talked about our respective experiences.   She had brain surgery soon after I had surgery.  We both became public, a collective.  We needed your support to survive.  Now, we are recovering a bit of our own individuality.  That feels odd, and sad in some ways, and joyous in others.  We live, as we know, as particle and wave.   I am grateful to know the feeling of both.


I am off to radiation world for a check-up.  I feel nervous about returning to that “place,” and ….   I was about to write that it will be great, and I realized that what I have learned is it is what it is.  I meet it as before, open and whole.   Great joy, and care to All!


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bouncing in and out - and up and down -

Jane and I worked today with February 10th.  It was a jubilant day.   I was in my "good" week of the chemo treatment.   It is odd to realize that even in the midst of the chemo, or maybe because of it, there were such jubilant moments.  I was bouncing up and down.

I am realizing now that I sometimes use my extra energy for worry, expectation, or judgment.  I did not have that luxury or indulgence while I was in chemo.  Now, I must consciously catch myself, and, be with this full moment, and the next.   I know my schedule and can show up for it.  Worrying about it,  or setting up a scenario is probably unnecessary now.  I am trying to be, in this moment, with no mind, no mynd, just the elegance of living peace.
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checking in -

Well, it was still hard to go back to radiation world even with all my good intentions.  I cried.   First, Diane who runs the support office saw me and exclaimed on my hair.  She really wants me to do the fashion show, and somehow being back there, it felt right.  It is a part of my past.  I can't act like it didn't happen, and it raises $300,000 for programs that helped me.  It is worth doing, so I will be there.

There is a new art exhibit, and all is spruced up.  They welcomed the new machine.  It seems my machine was fine, but this one is easier and more efficient for the operators.  They still realize how important the human touch is in the whole process.  I learned that a linear accelerator is what was used on me.  I have always meant to go to Stanford and see the linear accelerator, and here I was, experiencing one, first-hand, and I didn't even know it.  It was odd because I drove up there, thinking about a new visualization for the word, "cancer."   Elaine and I were talking about that.  People used to see a death sentence.  Now, it is an experience.   I thought radiation was being burned, but really, I was just being exposed to fast particles.  It is exciting to think of it that way.

My breast is still sore and swollen, so I don't have to have a mammogram on the left side for another seven months.  Hooray!   Unfortunately, the right one is due for its joyous squeeze, though I am told the new machine here, too, is warmer, and friendlier. 

I was startled by the earthquake last night, and felt some fear, wondering where it was centered, and if anyone was harmed.  I feel more fragile, I realize, as to disasters.  I don't think of them as happening over there.  I believe it can happen here.

A friend can't use her tickets to an Ian Anderson concert, so has offered them to Steve and me.  We will be floating in the heavenly realm of the flute tonight.
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sobering -

 Fly the Flag, Forget the Dead
    By Stacy Bannerman
    t r u t h o u t | Report

    Thursday 03 August 2006

    "Open the casket. We need to see what's inside."

    Carlos Arredondo spends most of his days traveling up and down the East Coast with a flag-draped coffin. He takes it to parades and protests, schools and state fairs. Today it's in front of the Russell Senate Building, next to 78 pair of combat boots representing the number of US troops killed since June 15, when Congress voted to "stay the course" in Iraq. One week later, Military Families Speak Out launched Operation House Call on the front steps of the Cannon House Building.

    This week we moved to the Senate side, where two Capitol Hill police have spent the past twenty minutes going over our event permit and making calls to headquarters. The flag-draped coffin passed the security checkpoints on the National Mall, and got an initial "OK." Now that it has come to rest at the entry of the building where Senator John Warner (R-Va.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has his office, the casket is a problem.

    Ten military family members, including three Gold Star parents, are gathered around the coffin, which has a photo of Carlos's son, Alex, on the lid. Alex was killed in Iraq in August of 2004. We watch as Carlos methodically removes his boy's boots from the lid and hangs his son's uniform, bedecked with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, on the crossbars of the Operation House Call sign.

    We know Alex's body isn't in the glossy wooden box, but we still hold our breath when Carlos lifts the lid. The two officers observe stoically as he pulls out Alex's soccer ball, followed by two of his favorite childhood toys. When Carlos retrieves a fuzzy Winnie the Pooh bear in camouflage, one of the cops loses his composure, and removes his mirrored aviators to drag a hand across his eyes.

    I cannot bring myself to look at Gold Star parent Al Zappala and newly-minted member Gilda Carbonaro, who watched a box like this being lowered into the ground of Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery on May 23rd, 2006. The coffin contained the remains of her son, Sgt. Alessandro Carbonaro, a Marine in the Second Reconnaissance Battalion. Sgt. Carbonaro was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was hit by an IED, which caused severe burns on over 60% of his body. Gilda was at the military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany, holding her boy in her arms when he died.

    The Capitol police inform us that Carlos and his coffin have got to go. Now. It's not listed on the permit and apparently the "stay the course" strategy applies here, too, because they tell us they can't make any changes or exceptions.

    But when I ask the officer if we can keep the large American flag that was added to our vigil this morning, he flip-flops and says, "That's not a problem."

    "Are you sure? Because I know it's not on the permit either."

    "Yeah, well, it'll be fine."

    The policy on the Hill: fly the flag, forget the dead.


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Attitude -

Sandy just sent this.  I like it!!!


There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the  mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

 “Well,” she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

"H-M-M," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today."

So, she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.

"Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tall." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.

"YEAH!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

This is especially funny to me today, because going to radiation brought up all the times I went in my little hat.  Today,  I had to comb my hair before going.  I thought,  "Well, there is that."    Happiness and Joy to All!!
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Your laugh for today -

Biblical Nutrition

In  the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth and populated The Earth  with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red Vegetables  of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Then using God's great  gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream And Krispy Creme Donuts. And  Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And Man Said, "Yes!" and Woman  said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10  pounds. And Satan smiled. 

And God created the  healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure That Man found so fair. And  Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and Sugar from the cane and  combined them. And Woman went from size 12 to size 18.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And  Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast  on the side. And Man And Woman unfastened their belts following the  repast.

God then said, "I  have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil In which to cook them."  And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and Chicken-fried steak so big it  needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight  And his cholesterol went  through the roof.

God then  created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It  is good." Satan then Created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's  Food."

God then brought forth  running shoes so that His children might lose Those extra pounds. And Satan  gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would Not have to toil changing  the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried Before the flickering blue  light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming With  nutrition. And Satan peeled off the Healthful skin and sliced the starchy  center into chips and deep -fried Them. And Man gained pounds. 

God then gave lean beef so  that Man might consume fewer calories and Still satisfy his appetite. And  Satan Created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You  want Fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan  said,"It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass  surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs.
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Heron Dance!

I have mentioned Heron Dance before.   This today is too beautiful not to share.   Check Heron Dance out at:   

PRACTICE HAS BEEN described by a Tibetan teacher as the wearing out of an old pair of shoes. Wearing the soles thin. Wearing through ego and delusion. You may approach Zen thinking that you are going to become enlightened, become a great teacher and have fantastic powers that people will respect. Doing the practice, you come to realize that you don’t give a damn whether people respect you or not. You really don’t want to be a great teacher. What you want is to be helpful. To be of assistance—a benevolent entity.

Kobutsu, The Engaged Zen Foundation, from Issue 13 of Heron Dance


THE SHERPAS ARE alert for ways in which to be of use, yet are never insistent, far less servile; since they are paid to perform a service, why not do it as well as possible? "Here, sir! I will wash the mud!" "I carry that, sir!" As George Schaller says, "When the going gets rough, they take care of you first." Yet their dignity is unassailable, for the service is rendered for its own sake—it is the task, not the employer that is served. As Buddhists, they know that the doing matters more than the attainment or reward, that to serve in this selfless way is to be free.… The generous and open outlook of the sherpas, a kind of merry defenselessness, is by no means common.…

Peter Matthiessen, from The Snow Leopard

Dear Heron Dancers,

A year ago, I was getting acupuncture when the practitioner asked me, “Have you ever stuck with any spiritual practice?” I answered with a certain familiar guilty panic, “No … but I feel like I am really close to being able to commit to a practice. Maybe I should sign up for your Tai Chi class.” Later, back at the Heron Dance office, I laughed out loud at my response and reminded myself of what I knew to be true, “I am deeply committed to many important practices! To my kids, to Heron Dance, to my partner, to walking through each day with an open heart.” Each of these challenges me every day, humbles me, and teaches me.

When I feel badly about not meditating or not having one particular accepted spiritual practice, a good friend of mine says, “Being Buddhist not important, being Buddha important.”

I rest with this thought and stay open to the possibility of eventually committing to one particular practice, but I no longer feel less than for trying simply to live the practice right in front of me.

In Celebration of the Gift of Life,

Ann O'Shaughnessy

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Vocabulary Fun!

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.  The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. Karmageddon (n): It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly .

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

    16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
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Stephen Colbert -

Jessica Clark, in her article called "In Politics, Comedy is Central", in In These Times, has this to say about Stephen Colbert.

    "Colbert, who pointedly skewers the absurdities of conservative newscasters, displayed satire's hopeful promise at the Knox College commencement in June.

    "Don't be afraid to be a fool," he told the students, recalling how his early improv training in Chicago had stressed the value of saying "yes" in order to move a scene along.

    "Young people who pretend to be wise in the ways of the world are mostly just cynics.  Cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.  Cynics always say no.  But saying 'yes' begins things.  Saying 'yes' is how things grow. ...'Yes' is for young people.  So for as long as you have the strength to, say 'yes.'"

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"Conservatives Without Conscience"

After seeing John W. Dean speak eloquently on Jon Stewart, I ordered his new book,  Conservatives Without Conscience.   For those who are struggling to understand what could possibly be going on, this is the book.   It began way before 9-11, and it is scary stuff.  I recommend it as a must-read.   I would place some of what he says here, but I just ate dinner, and I don't want to upset my stomach.   Read the book!!