Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve, Eve, Now, And Zen.

Six years ago today the Social Security Administration after horribly traumatizing and an already traumatized woman who was living in fear, even terror, most of the time, had this same woman involuntarily placed in a locked padded room staring at the possibility of being there through Christmas.  This was after letting her drive in hysterical tears from the SSA office, to her therapist's office, where her therapist managed to get her calmed down enough that she wasn't ready to take her own life.  This also involved having her take double her usual dose of tranquilizer and sending her home.

Still, the SSA sent the local police to her house with the lights on with orders to either take her to the hospital, or supervise her until EMS could come pick her up.  She was given no choice. Either go to the hospital willingly, or wait for EMS.  She went with the nice policeman and was locked into a padded room.   She sat in that locked padded room as people came wandering in and out, asking her questions and trying to decide if she was a danger to herself or anyone else.  She managed to get released and not have to spend the holiday locked up, but that damage was done.

It's now six years later.

So she lives in a different kind of fear. Yet she does a marginally better job of managing that fear.  It's good not to be locked away on Christmas Eve, Eve.  By the same token she sometimes wonders if she might be safer locked away.  Not safer from herself, but from the kind of dark, lunatic, fringe that doesn't seem to be the fringe anymore.  People everywhere are becoming increasingly dangerous and hostile over things they cannot control and know little or nothing about.  Conspiracy theorists are popping up everywhere, not just on the far right, but everywhere. And they have conspiracy theories about conspiracy theories.  It's bedlam.  This includes Facebook, especially Facebook.

So while she does her absolute best to stay calm, present, and focused on what is, and is not real, and treating everyone with love, compassion and empathy, many people just go completely off the reservation trying to spread insanity to her.  The anger, pain, and lack of stability makes her wonder if she might not be safer in a locked room with no access to (self proclaimed) seemingly "normal" people who suddenly turn into mindless zombies ranting about things that may or may not be real, all while they refuse to see what is plainly before them.

On Facebook, she's become particularly adept at completely blocking people when it becomes clear they are interested only in being right, and shoving their own brand of rage down her throat.  She's not suffering fools gladly anymore and that's a big change from then.  She's a whole bunch more Zen.  Mainly because it's a defense against the growing madness of entire classes of people who have come unhinged.

She's taken to blocking friends of friends because they have lost the ability to manage their own impulses and have to be right about something that had nothing to do with the topic at hand.  Meditation and an eye on history that many seem to have lost keeps her from losing what little of her mind is left, keeps her focused on this moment, and helps her to see that quite often what she might once have thought was her own shortcoming really has nothing to do with her.

If you engage fear, let it smolder within you, and fan that smoke into flames you will succeed in setting yourself aflame for no good reason.  If you wish to burn yourself down on a heady dose of the toxic soup of misinformation, lies and pure full on paranoia, I will say a silent prayer to the universe for your lost soul, and go back to my own life, trying to make the best of it I can with what I have to work with.  The woman above?  Yeah, that was me, and I spent the day locked inside my own little corner of reality staying away from dangerous people as best I could.  I blocked someone else's friend so that I cannot see his posts, and he cannot see mine, because he's set on setting himself on fire.  I wish him well with that, but want no part of it.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

"Bring It On" and dream fulfilled.

So when I was growing up, and all through high school, I wanted to be a cheerleader.  I mean really.  But I was the invisible, outcast, almost alien child.  Sure I was in great shape, I used to ride at least 100 miles a week on a bike, up and down all sorts of really gnarly hills and was in great shape.  Tall, thin, flexible, coordinated, and worked the baton whicked fast.  My sister hated me.  I had the hair, skills, energy and strength, heck I could have been a flier, or one heck of a base. I had enthusiasm.  I was almost the whole package.  But I was horribly shy and about as social as an abused cat.  But even today “Bring It On” and “Bring It On Again” are two of my favorite movies.  “Hellcats,” when I remember to watch it, is also a favorite.  But that was just a place in my life I could never get to.

So today I realized, somewhat late, but better than never I’d say, that I got my wish.  My inner cheerleader is feeling fulfilled, happy and proud.  Because life threw me the spirit stick and I DID NOT drop it!  That’s a big thing, I mean huge.  You drop the spirit stick and it’s a curse not just on you, but the whole team.  So while I may not have the body I once did, and 100 miles a week is not quite something I can pull off these days, I’m still, FINALLY, a cheerleader!

Because I support my team, my friends, the people I adore with loving, positive energy any chance I can.  I help people see past the negatives and encourage them to find the sunshine in any situation.  And I can still do a split.  Not that I have any reason to these days, but I can so stick the landing.

But I bring energy, enthusiasm, sunshine and as positive an outlook as I can to anyone that needs it.  I’m Bringing It On every chance I get! And I still think spirit fingers is kinda, well, lame? :)

For those who are so inclined, I was moved to actually read my own blog outloud.  Now let's see if I can post it here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On the values of meditation . . .

I meditate regularly, at least 30 minutes a day or more.  Why?  Because it feels good, and that feeling lasts.  Whether one is counting rosary and saying Avi Maria, or chanting Om-Mani-Pad-Me-hung meditation has some measurable results on one's body, and this is why I posted sometime back about prayer being meditation in fact, if not in name.

Studies have indicated that using either other these two methods can easily slow a persons respiration rate to 6 breaths per minute in experienced meditators.  With slower respiration comes an overall slowing of one's entire body, including heart rate and blood pressure.  Advanced meditators with practice can go even slower than 6 breaths per minute.  The average resting normal range is somewhere in the realm of 12 to 18 breaths per minute.

After a conversation with a friend yesterday about age, and my joking that I'm slowing my aging process down, on purpose, I thought to see, by way of a simply counting breaths meditation how I was doing.

It was an interesting experience for me. Especially since while meditating it's not uncommon for me to have experiences/visions/dreams what have you.  So as I'm counting, I find myself on a quiet street in a town somewhere, and people start showing up, LOTS of people start showing up which can tend to make me very skittish to say the least.  Being crowded by strangers making noisy and causing me to feel trapped is something I've been fighting with for some years.  It has in the past caused me to have panic attacks, and well I'm not much fond of them.  But I stayed focused on what I was doing and noticed with each breath more and more people were vanishing.  All this while staying focused on counting my breaths.  So I didn't let the crow get to me, and I thought this a particularly cruel joke my mind was playing on me while I was trying to determine my meditating respiration rate.  The key here however was that like any meditation, a key is to not engage the thoughts that crowd ones mind.  Not get involved, just let them wander through without thought or judgement, which is exactly what I did.  But as this was going on the thought dawned that this may throw off my test by adding stress to my meditation.  Once again, I let this though pass through without engaging it either.

I'd set my timer for a short ten minute meditation which would give me a large enough sample to determine easily what my per minute respiration rate was.  Much to my amazement and great comfort it was three. Yes, 3 breaths per minute, while I didn't bother to check my heart rate, I know medically that with a respiration of 3 breaths per minute, my heart was probably looping along nice and slow at maybe 15-20 beats per minute as well.  I know my average resting, non-meditating heart rate is usually in the 50-60 beats per minute range, and exercise rate significantly higher than that in the 120-130 range I'll have to think about checking it while meditating since it's pretty much a given it will be much slower than my average resting rate.

So doing 3 breaths per minute, not bad at all.  Being "tested" with stress while meditating very not bad! :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

What would you do?

The accomplished and brilliant author Sevastian Winters recently asked as a general question to his fans the following question:
$50 Million dollars in non-traceable cash sitting on a table in front of you. Cash's owner is in horrible pain, dying of cancer. He hands you a gun and tells you the cash is yours if you blow his brains out. You will never be caught. Would you take the shot?
I was, for something that bubbled up out of me, pleased enough with my answer that I thought I'd share it here:
I would sit with him. I would share his pain and lessen it. I'd get to know him. I'd use the considerable resources at my command to take as much of his pain from him as I could. And I'd listen. I'd give him my full compassion, empathy and love. I would ease his suffering, not just from the cancer, but from a life that got him there. I'd share with him in great detail the beauty and grandeur of where he was going. I'd share with him my own suicide in 1961 and what it cost me, and what I'd gained from it. I'd take him on a journey into his own future to see what his life would be life if he forced an exit point, and if he didn't. Then if he was utterly certain, I'd induce a medical coma so that he didn't have to feel his own impending demise.

I am a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Reiki Master, and a Buddhist. I'd respect his wishes by taking his pain, and I assure you I can and have done the same for others in horrific agony, but his life is not mine to take, and even if he spends the last days, weeks or months of his life in a coma, it would be better for him to pass when the time is right, not from the trauma of a gunshot to the head. Plus with a medically induced coma he'd have the opportunity to awaken from it anytime he wanted. While he was in said coma, I'd taken his hand, and take him on a spirit walk to some places I'm fond of and find peace in. I'd share them with him and how to get there himself. I'd give him options, ease his pain, and help him grow. I'd even in that state teach him how he could heal himself, and make a decision from there. Free from the pain, and with an understanding of more to the universe and time/space then he'd ever dreamed of, I'd sit down with him again and see where he wanted to go from there. That would be after letting him meet his spirit guides, and my Lucia, Xa'els, and Tak'aya and let him see what they would have to share with him. I would, should he choose it, help him Ascend by helping him reach the state inside himself that could make it possible. It would be his choice.  

When, if he passed, if he was utterly serious about it I'd donate at least 47 of the 50 million dollars to causes that need it in his name. The remaining 3 million I would invest in something that generates simple interest, and use the interest to live and set up a foundation to teach more people how to be of true service to other people suffering. I would set up the foundation in his name, and organize it so that it would continue long after I passed from this life into the next.

In short, I would show him a much greater universe outside his own pain and limited existence. I would listen, I would heal him body and soul to where he could make an informed decision. I would provide him the tools and compassion to allow him to do what he needed without judgement. I'd share what Karma REALLY is and how it works, and let him take his last steps from this life into the next empowered and free of the limitations of the false gods of pain, suffering and money.
So, I ask you, what might you do?  There is no wrong or right answer here, only one that feels like it works for you.  For more of Sev's whit, style, and writing that almost insists one think, you can find him on Facebook, his Homepage, Blog or on  
Header image Property and Copyright Sevastian Winters 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It just dawned on me . . .

. . . that when I am down to the wire, and ready to move I'm going to get everything loaded up, packed away in the jumper, tied down, and then spend one last night here so that I get a fresh and early start on the drive the next morning.  My trusty air mattress, which I spent so much time sleeping on when I first moved here will be where I sleep that last night in a big, empty, apartment.  Much like the first night or so that I was here.

It will be symbolic on so many levels, and it will be the closing of this chapter, in this part of my life.  The real closing chapter will be when I get home.  Then I'll be able to fully, finally, start putting Earl behind me.  Not so much in a deliberate "doing" kind of way, but the more spiritual, soul enriching NOT DOING.

Being here has been all about rebuilding after the damage.  Nary a step I take, or a day goes by that I'm not reminded in one way or another what this has cost me.  How much I've lost, since I said yes when he asked me to take some vacation time to fly out and meet him all those years ago.  Getting back home, getting back to a place that hasn't really been tainted by Earl, and the swath of destruction he cut through my heart, mind, body and soul, will be a great goodness.

So yeah, last night here when that comes, will be on the air mattress.  First night in the new place, will be on the air mattress for the symbolism of it.  And then I'll set up my bed, in my new home, and not look back so much.  Speaking of beds.  When the end came, I gave the brand new king side bed from the master bedroom to my sister.  She was thrilled, overjoyed on the one hand to get so much of the furniture she'd been ogling at our house, every time she was there, sad on the other what it meant for me.  The brand new king size mattress was just the top of the list in ways.

Me, I'd been sleeping for years in the guest room, and had finally, after being tired of the pull out sofa bed bought a tempurpedic mattress and slept on the on the floor for the last year of our marriage.  Of course my plan had been to get it out of storage when I moved, and sleep on that.  Problem of course was with the storage locker being 1000 miles away you see.  In the three years I've been here, I've not been back there to get stuff, let alone the bed, out of the locker.  So there it sits.

After sleeping on the tempurpedic at Laura's house in the beginning of the year, and having her lecture me, mercilessly about being "stuck" and otherwise finding all sorts of fault with my existence in general because I wasn't her, and not capable of being her, I decided to do something about the bed.  I really was tired, past tired, of spending three years on an inflatable camping mattress.

My new bedroom set. Squee!
So I set about finding a new tempuredic mattress I could afford and that would help me sleep better.  I'd already long since bought a frame that the air mattress had been on top of now for a while, so it was ready for a real mattress.  In May I squeezed the money out of my meager income and savings to get the mattress, this month I finally found and purchased a comforter, really one of those whole bed in a bag things, including curtains and so forth that I liked.  The colors and pattern was all rich, earthy and inviting, and it color coordinated well with the other sheet and pillow case sets I'd previous bought, giving me a range of options, and meaning I didn't have to wash the same set of sheets every week just to have a clean bed to sleep in.  Now, between the bed in the bag, and the stuff I already had, I only have to wash the bed clothes once a month.  Makes me a happy girl.  Though truth to tell, having three sets already meant I wasn't washing them every week as it was.  But now, now I have something I've not had in years and years, a complete homey feel to the bedroom, something warm, inviting and earthy.  Since my bedroom is my sanctuary, and I not only sleep there, but meditate and read as well, I want it to look nice, to be welcoming.  This fit the bill quite well in my opinion.

It's a long, long, long way from an inflatable mattress on the floor isn't it?  And the comforter is reversible, the other side is the green with dried grass colored lines running through it like the throw pillows, bed skirt, and valence.  And it's all mine.  So it just dawned on me I've come some distance from where I was three years ago, and my place is losing that homeless chic feeling to it more and more.  Instead of those two square pictures hanging over my bed I have a native american dream catcher, which adds to the warm homey feeling for me, and so fits me personally.  So progress is once again, not a dirty word.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I went to the bank in . . .

my birthday suit!

There, I said it.  I needed to deposit a check, and rather then go through all the trouble of getting dressed after my shower, I just went into the bank without so much as a towel.  Deposited my check, and off I went to the rest of my errands for the day.

It was liberating, and not all awkward.

Okay, so I should probably also point out that my phone is one of the new Android based pieces of iPhone death, and as such, I can deposit checks by simply logging into my account, snapping the front and back of the check, and hitting send.  The bank does the rest, and the money's in my account before I've even left the house, or in this case, my bedroom.  Gotta tell you, it was awful convenient!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

He wasn't perfect ... but he was perfect for me.

As to predictions ...

... I have an unerring record with those.  Which is why I can relate to the name Cassandra so well.  But for those of you watching, who probably don't even know who Cassandra is, go look it up, and don't blame me when I turn out to be right.  Unlike Harold "The world is going to end on May 21st 2011" Camping.  Yeah, oops!  He missed ... AGAIN!  Just like I predicted he would.

Love, jealousy, attachment and suffering.

So it's been an interesting day.  Comments and crazy people, memories and accusations that were more projection of their own problems.  A friend started a thread on FB about relationships, this comment sprang forth.

The first time Earl and I slept together? We SLEPT! No sex involved. We talked and laughed and compared note on things we like to do, things we'd like to do as well. When I got married, it wasn't the sex, cause trust me, on balance, it so wasn't about sex. If it had been about sex, I'd have broken off the engagement after we'd lived together for a frickin year planning the wedding.
I wanted to grow old together with someone who got my jokes, who'd been there through the good times AND THE bad. Someone I had a history with, someone who respected me, and cared about me as much as I did about him. Someone who when faced with standing with me against the world, or standing with the world beating on me would stand with me. Someone who defend me as much as I'd defend him.
Someone who knew what I was thinking by the look in my eye, and we'd both start laughing at our own inside jokes. Before we married, we had the kind of relationship I dreamed about, and sex had nothing to do with it. We used to finish each others sentences, complete thoughts, have whole conversations with just a look. Folks said we were like a little old married couple we were so adorable, and freaky together. HIS parents, who had been together almost 40 years didn't know each other, or get each other the way Earl and I did.
I fell stupid in love. Over looked the warning signs, and let him put that ring in my nose. So I'm as much to blame I guess as he was. Because I BELIEVED him, and choose to over look the parts that weren't perfect. Like the fact that he was a pathological liar, an obsessive Momma's boy, had a toxic co-dependant abusive relationship with his Mom. Like the fact that he and his Dad used to go to Giant's games in sub zero temperatures while getting sleeted and freezing rained on to watch them lose ... again. I KNEW he wasn't perfect, but I never claimed to be perfect either.
He was also awesome, and brilliant, and funny, and could touch my heart and soul in a way no one had ever even tried before. He took me to places I'd never have gone, and shared with me things I'd never have experienced because it was fun. Like Skeeball off the boardwalk in a New England coastal town. He helped me fall in love with the ocean. He loved little New England towns and window shopping as much as I did.
He hurt me so badly that anyone else would have wished him dead, not just divorced. I didn't even want a divorce, I just want him to look at me again the way he used to. I wanted, I needed his love again. I wanted to go play skee ball and walk on the beach. I wanted him to hold me. I needed him to hold me. But eventually the abuse got so bad I had to do something. Worse yet he totally took me for granted.
But you know what, I wouldn't have wished him dead. He is, and so he never got a chance to see what he lost, what he'd done. And I'd lost an epic love. Despite everything that happened, and as much as he hurt me, and as much as I grew to fear him, TO THIS DAY I STILL LOVE HIM.
I can't not. Cause this isn't a Disney fair tale, and when I give my heart to someone it isn't just a thing of convenience, it wasn't about sex, it wasn't about a nice house and a white picket fence with 2 kids a dog and a cat. It wasn't about money, or status, or friends, or car payments or a big bank account. It was about love, and that look in his eye he had only for me. It was the way he could just look at me across a crowded and room and I'd KNOW for certain, he loved ME.
And after everything that happened, I'd give just about anything to have him look at me like that again. To have him hold my hand as we walked across the street to go watch the ducks fucking in the lake on a cool autumn day. How for years after he'd just say ducks in that way he had and we'd always break out laughing. I'd live in a cardboard box with him in the middle of the woods eating roots and berries if we could just go walking through the outlets browsing for thing we were never going to buy and laughing about who would buy them. I'd sell my soul to have some "Almost Escargo" at the boat house grill with him and hear his voice. After everything I still love him. After everything I still didn't want for him to die. I can't not love him. And it had NOTHING to do with sex.

Which made me think of the lunatic ravings of an unrepentant Narcissist that claimed I was jealous of her relationship.  She's never even had a real relationship and I'm jealous?  Yeah, right, and the Pope is a cross dressing former nazi who endorses sex with children.  Oh wait, bad comparison since that is pretty much the current Pope.  Not only am I not jealous of the abuse she hands out to everyone and anyone that doesn't see things her way, I'm also not jealous of the life she thinks she has, where she's one more catastrophe away from having to beg or borrow money from anyone because she's incapable of dealing with bills, budgets or life in any meaningful sense.  But she and her lunatic fringe are watching me of course.  Yeah, really?  So "Lindsay I'm such a worshiper of the devil herself" watch this.

Not only am I NOT jealous of anything a Narcissist think she's has, but I'm so sick to death of people like her and my late husband that I plan on dying alone and happily single.  Jealous of her relationship?  There isn't enough money in the 'verse to get me to have the kind of "relationship" she has now.  I had one of those.  I'm still healing, growing, and ENJOYING being single.  I personally think Lindsay is a made up name and persona just so that certain hateful little people who haven't even lived a real life yet could launch more hateful comments because she had to have the last word.  So go right ahead Lindsay, watch, and understand clearly that I think the BEST thing that could happen is for my other friend to finally get to live single for awhile, and live her own life, and get to find out who she is, heal and grow.  Watch as my prediction that eventually our favorite little narcissist finds herself alone because she's a horrid little person who is so self involved that she's incapable or real love, because she loves herself more than anyone else.

I have a nice, quiet apartment all my own that I pay for, a car that runs well that has insurance on it so that I can drive it legally, and can and do pay my own bills instead of suckering other people into paying them for me.  I have friends I adore, who adore me, because we're all bright, shiny, happy people.  I don't have to beg for anything.  Even peace and quiet.  My phone doesn't get turned off all the time because I spent the money on a manicure and hair color I didn't need, and had no reason to have, when the children didn't have enough food.  I don't risk going to jail driving a car with no insurance because my beauty supplies are more important than driving legally.

Jealous of what?  Grow up children and get over yourselves.  As if that all wasn't enough, I'm a Buddhist, I don't form the kinds of attachments anymore that could lead to jealousy because that only leads to suffering.  And with God as my witness I've had plenty of that.  Jealous?  Yeah right.  I've at least known real love a time or too and always pay my car insurance.  So you and all your little friends can go to Ne'tu for all I care, since obviously you enjoy suffering so much.  I've been there plenty of times before and have always managed to survive and escape.  I'm going to keep it that way.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Halp I is being raptured!

By Cassandra Speaking.

So by this time tomorrow the Rapture will be underway.  At least if you believe the lunatic ramblings of an almost 90 year old repeat failure of a prophet.  Twice before he's predicted the date of the rapture with utterly NO success whatsoever.  For a while he was claiming the world was going to end in 1988.

We see how well that went over now didn't we?  Wasn't it so much fun?

Apparently it was so much fun he went back to his magic book and saw the error of his ways and predicted it was actually going to end in March of 1994.  While the early 90's so the implosion of the tech bubble, and resulting economic slide on wall street, 1994 was otherwise unremarkable.  During March he said there was some leeway in the numbers and waited all month for the end to come.

It didn't.  Again!

So here we are now on the eve of the most famous undate in history.  Tomorrow he claims is really, truly, without question, the end of history.  Thus, an undate, since no one worthy of remembering will be around long to remember it.   "Good by my friends, I'll see you all in the great beyond."  I like so many other "people" haven't bothered to pay any of my bills, or put my affairs in order, because the entire world ends tomorrow.  Not just tomorrow, but right after work at 18:00 hours local time.

I hope you'll all join me here Sunday morning as the reports start coming in of people all over the globe drinking the sacramental koolade because they missed the bus.

I predict that tomorrow will go down in history as a famous date.  The date that Harold Camping will forever be known as a three time loser.  You see he's the very self important little man who has predicted the last two spectacularly failed end of the world dates.  Tomorrow at around 19:00 local time, when nothing at all has happened, he'll end up being ranked right up there with "Chicken Little" and the "Boy Who Cried Wolf."

I feel kinda bad for Harold and his followers, because even I know that God has made it clear that the end will come without warning, fanfare, public appearance spots, or any media coverage whatsoever.

I as a Buddhist and former ascended master, who has studied many of earths religions, and was last "risen up" or "raised up" sometime before Christ came, know that there's more than one way to scramble an egg.   Or, perhaps a better way of putting it?  It's fairly simple these days to get from New York to San Fransisco.  There are as many, or more ways to get from here to there than there are days in a month.  So too with reaching the next plane of existence.  After all I've been there, and back.

I'm sorry but it's the height of hubris for one insignificant little man, who has somehow more money and motivated self importance than brain cells, to decide he knows when the end is going to come.  Especially given the numbers involved.  Right now there are around 6 BILLION (with a B) human beings on Earth.  I know for a fact that some one sixth of all those humans follow one of the many flavors of Buddhism, I mean there at least a billion Buddhists on Mainland China for example.  That doesn't count the rest of South East Asia, Japan, and significant parts of India.  Then we have those of the Hindu faith, which is similar in many ways and flavors to Buddhism, and if nothing else, certainly NOT Christianity.  Then there are our Muslim brothers and sisters, who while the don't believe as we do, certainly don't believe what Harold does.  So for good measure lets throw in the Catholics who KNOW, because God has told them so, that no one will know when the end is coming.  Oh, and while we are adding people in who don't believe, lets add the Jews, Protestants, Baptists, Wiccan's, and who else for good measure?  How about the Krishnas?  Who else?

Well see that's the thing, the vast majority of people don't believe what Harold does.  They believe their God of gods doesn't work that way.  Many of them believe a harbinger of the end times, but not a set date, will include quite a show, a new world order, the coming of the Anti-Christ, and much more.  While many have claimed that Sarah Palin is the Anti-Christ, I don't think she's smart enough for that.  Sorry Sarah, but your just not smart enough for that.  That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.  It's also my opinion that Harold Camping is an idiot.  I mean he's even dumber than Sarah Palin, and you really have to work hard to be that vapid.

But I digress.  Yes, I'm a Buddhist, but I'm not a perfect Buddhist, and admit so much of this tome is NOT right speech.  Then again, it's not supposed to be, since this is only my tiny little irrelevant opinion, and I freely admit having fallen from grace, ON PURPOSE, after having already once achieved ascension.

So Sunday afternoon as you're relaxing enjoying a day off, please feel free to join this me in saying "Harold Camping, You ARE The weakest link, Goodbye."

This is Casandra Speaking for Forward Views, all of tomorrows news, today.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Well that went exceptionally well. NOT!

So after a suitable disclaimer, and careful wording so as to not get anyone's panties in a bunch, my last comment was rewarded with five pages of shall we say some interesting comments.  Comments I'm NOT go publish to protect the author from her own madness and my own attempts to keep from making things worse as she's doing more than a good enough job of that herself periodically ranting on her own blog.  If anyone is refusing to leave things in the past and move on, it would have to be her, because I refuse to be baited.

That said, for those poor souls who have somehow connected all the dots together, please keep in mind that ever story has two sides, and it takes two to tango.  There are also times and places when it's impossible to find the truth because it's a subjective thing.  Some people consider verbal abuse just part of living and don't really consider it "real" abuse.  These are often the same people who accuse rape victims of "asking for it" by how they look, act, or simply for being alive.  Reality check here, verbal abuse IS, IN FACT, ABUSE.  Period, end of subject.  It's violence, and when within a relationship, it's domestic violence.  Period.

Often these people are in a world of their own and their own self important ends, justify the means.

My brother is a perfect example.

He uses people.  It's been his whole life.  He's a violent, self important little shell of a person who twists everything to convince himself he's right.  I fell into the trap of that kind of abuse for year, and all allowed him to take from me without ever even trying to contribute anything while making everything about him.  At a point in his life when he had once again fallen out of a relationship because of his own mental health issues and abusive tendencies I gave him a place to live, feed him, in fact wound up fully supporting him because he wasn't even trying.  At all.  He had this self important view of the universe where everything was about him, how people owed him, how it was my responsibility at the time to provide for all his needs even at the expense of my own.  He had to have everything I did, everything was about keeping score for him.  Mind you I was in fact supporting him completely, and his wants and needs were more important than my own, even if it meant rent on the apartment, car insurance, or whatever.  He'd get a notion, I'd have to drop what I was doing, give him what he wanted and needed whether I could afford it or not, just so that he'd stop abusing me verbally.  It was no way to live, and a mistake I went on to make again with my late husband.  Suggest that either of them pull their own weight, or even contribute to make life a bit easier?  That only brought more abuse.  My brother was (and is to this day) chronically unwilling and incapable of supporting himself or even getting a simple job so as not to be a complete drain on my life.

Me, over the years I was more than willing to work in grocery stores or fast food joints if I had to, because they will hire anyone.  He had a mountain of excuses why he couldn't.  Not one of them was a real, viable concern, but he'd decided that he couldn't get a job there.  He came up with plenty of things he demanded I get him that he really didn't need, but he had to have them.  Rent and the utilities were supposed to magically pay themselves and it didn't matter if giving him what he wanted meant I wouldn't have enough for the bills, that was after all MY problem, not his.  Like cigarettes for example.  He smoked, I didn't, but spending the last 20 dollars before payday on a carton of cigarettes was more important than putting gas in my car to get to work, or keep groceries in the house or whatever it was.

And the keeping score thing drove me crazy.  I'd put new tires on my car and he'd have to have new tires on his truck.  Didn't matter that one tire for his truck was the price of all four tires on my car.  He had to have what he wanted.  Whatever I got for myself he had to have better and more.  Even if it meant I had to suffer, after all, I OWED him.  Get a job to contribute to the household?  Hell no.  His ex-wife had the same problem with him after I finally had more than enough and moved.   The whole reason I wound up supporting him is because he'd broken up with his girlfriend at the time because she got tired of supporting him and his sense of entitlement and abuse.

Moving away and sharing a place with a friend where my brother wasn't welcome was the only way I could escape.  That's when he found someone else to leach from and married that poor woman.  She and I became friends, and no big shock when she started trying to get him to get a job and help support the household, all the excuses came back.

And Earl, well I've talked about him before.  His answer to everything was running back to his parents and making ME look like I was crazy and not working hard enough.  I was at the time handling all his medical care, working a full time six figure job, being a housewife, and staying up to date on the latest research that could help make his life easier.  Him get a job?  Heavens no, better to run back to Mommy and make ME look like I was the lazy good for nothing leach.

I don't understand people that think the world, or someone else, owes them a living.  I never have, and never will.  That goes equally for people who twist reality to fit their views and blame someone else for things that happen to them.   I assure you that if my brother were to read this, he'd send me pages of excuses why I'm work, and claim that I was wrong, or twisting things.  So I'm not even going to try and but a disclaimer in here, should someone take offense to what I've written, keep in mind I'm keeping things deliberately vague, and other than my brother, not mentioning anyone specifically.

I'm suddenly reminded of my divorce.  Earl accused me of costing him friends, because people we'd know, or that he'd known, wanted nothing to do with him when they found out his true colors so to speak.  He'd even insisted that some of our mutual friends choose him or me.  I on the other hand refused to stoop to that level of nonsense.  So the friends he forced to choose said, well She's (me) not forcing us to choose, but you are, so we'll choose her, goodbye if you're going to be that way.  Yeah that went exceptionally well.  NOT!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Long unsaid, even longer unasked . . .

So I'm going to start with some questions.

1:)  You and your significant other (SO) are out walking with your children, one of whom is under age five, and your SO and youngest child have long since grown tired of walking and want to head back to your car.  You want to continue on to your destination and then go back to the car.

Do you:   A:)  Get into an argument and stomp off with your two older children leaving your SO and younger child to fend for themselves all alone?  Especially when you know for a fact that your SO has no idea where she is and has no sense of direction?

               B:)  Agree that heading back, getting your youngest and spouse safely back to your car is more important so that they are safe, secure and protected?  Then maybe if your SO and child is up to it drive to your destination?

2:)  You have, for whatever reasons, "concerns" about your SO communicating with a friend.

Do you:   A:)  Sit down with your SO and have an adult conversation where you attempt to work things out and end up closer through understanding?

               B:)  Take a systematic and obsessive approach to monitoring all your SO's mail, email, text and phone activities?

3:)  You and your SO have a scheduling conflict, your SO needs to get to work to continue earning a living so that you, your SO, and children can all continue to live.  You SO has also made plans for her lunch hour that require a car.  Your SO owns a own car, you do not.  A friend offers to drive whomever needs it to where ever they need to go on the day in question.

Do you:   A:)  Graciously accept the friends assistance and make arrangements to get everyone where they need to go safely?

               B:)  Do you insist that your SO take the day off from work, cancel the lunch plans they had with another friend, and take your SOs car to where you  want or need to go?

4:)  You and your SO are at lunch in a public place.  You have a disagreement over something.

Do you:  A:)  Agree to table the question for the moment and wait until you get home?

               B:)  Do you make a public spectacle of yourself, argue with your SO, stomp off, pouting, looking pissed, and refuse to communicate with your SO or anyone else until you get your own way?

5:)  Your SO expresses some concerns about you having control over ever second of her life and smothering her and wants a bit of healthy space.

Do you:   A:)  Break down in hysterics, cry and justify what you are doing and guilt your SO into shutting up and letting the abuse continue because you know exactly which of her buttons to push.

                B:)  Do you talk about it like adults, and find a healthier balance?

6:)  A mutual friend expresses concerns that someone they know may be engaging in unhealthy, unsafe and quite possibly abusive and even criminal behaviour.  Your friend makes a general comment in a public forum that she is concerned about two friends of hers maybe in an abusive relationship, without saying anything of detail to anyone.  You suspect she might mean you.

Do you:   A:)  Leave it be, and wait to see what's going on.

               B:)  Demand accountability from your friend and harass and abuse her mercilessly until she says something?

7:)  Your friend, after being abused into saying something before she is ready has said something you disagree with, you then send her an email giving excuses for why you are doing the things you do.  In it you admit to breaking the law and abusing your spouse.  You have long ago decided it's justifiable to abuse and harass someone until they see your point of view as being acceptable because, they are after all wrong.   She calls you on it.

Do you:  A:)  Step up the abuse and violence on all fronts until you get what you want?  Un-friend her, continue to talk complete trash about her, taking things out of context in a very public pogrom of violence and disinformation making her look like a being of pure evil?  Do you privately FORBID your SO to talk to her?

              B:)  Acknowledge there may be problems and try to work on them?

The way I was raised, the way I feel, have always felt, is nothing is more important than the safety and happiness of my family.  NOTHING.  My spouse, my children, their needs are my needs, their safety and happiness is mine.  I treat, or try to treat, all my friends with a level of respect and courtesy I wish to be afforded.  I treasure my friends and when one of them is unhappy, I too am unhappy and do whatever I can to be supportive.  When I disagree with someone who then becomes abusive, the most I'll do is establish a healthier set of boundaries. Occasionally in the process of setting these boundaries while being forced, through abuse, to see the light, I'll allow passion to loosen my tongue enough to say something long enough to get someone to leave me alone.  But I won't then go on the warpath in public attempting to smear and discredit my friend as an unstable, medal some, harlot out for her own evil purposes.  I will not slander my friend all while painting myself as a rosy, perfect child of innocence and love, much maligned by evil.  I certainly will not start talking about a religion of love, and tolerance that stresses treating others with respect, kindness and grace all while ranting about someone else's unsubstantiated evil.  I will not willingly, let alone intentionally cause others pain and suffering through constant ranting in a public forum while claiming to be part of a religion that eschews allowing others to suffer, directly or indirectly because of my actions.  I certainly won't assign someone a fictional label and then continue using her as an excuse for everything that goes wrong in my life.  I will state that under the US Telecommunications Privacy Act, wiretaping, or otherwise invading someone else's electronic privacy is in fact a Federal Crime regardless of why one does it.  I will also state that under Federal Law, tempering with someone else's mail is also a Federal Crime regardless of who it is, or why it's done.

*Disclaimer:  This post is not meant to resemble anyone real or otherwise in any way, any possible resemblance to anyone living is entirely coincidental.  Should someone take offense, or find resemblance I have but to ask one further question.  Guilty conscience much?  No names or fictitious labels have been used in the creation of this document to protect the innocent and will neither confirm, nor deny, any resemblance of events within to real events or people.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A very BIG bird!

A very BIG bird!

Today I'm flying around Winton, and there's this one stretch on the west side of the lake right by Winton Road that just opens up. Over the bridge, then it drops of and swings down and along.

I LOVE the feeling of flying, especially this stretch, so I'll often lean back in the seat, straighten my back fully and bring my arms up and out to the side palms down as I go whipping along this one stretch.

So today I'm doing just this and I go flying past a couple walking on the path and I hear, "Oh my god, you look like an elegant bird flying along!" That's exactly how it felt.

I passed this same couple on another loop and said thank you!

So, while wandering around I noticed...

So, while wandering around I noticed...

...something on my friend Eu's page that I thought was a good idea. So I just invested the time in putting together a before and after virtual model of myself that will help me keep my eyes on the prize so to speak.

On the left, pretty much were I am now, on the right where I want to be!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Christmas Tree riding a bike...

A Christmas Tree riding a bike...

Today was just too beautiful NOT to ride, and I was itching for some of those good post ride drugs my body makes. It was also St. Patrick's day. So when I kitted up for the ride, I made sure I was wearing the green. A mean with an Irish last name like mine the only way to be more Irish is to buy a house in Ireland, apply for dual citizenship and have an Irish Passport.

Anyway. I have a lovely green top on my cycling shorts, a fanny pack to hold my phone and keys and the red blinky things clipped on to the fanny pack belt. You know, the red blinky things that get drivers attention so that hopefully they will avoid hitting me?

When I'm riding local streets I take a route the is mostly right turns, so it cuts down on the number of times I have to do major street crossings. My route takes me through a little section of town where in warmer weather people are sitting outside. For whatever reason I tend to attract people, like a bug like I'm told. One friend says I have this amazing, bright, powerful aura that draws people to me. Whatever it is, I attract folks. It almost always leads to a cheering section of locals as I go flying past, sometimes I'll be neighborly, stop and chat a bit.

One such local is Chuck. Last year he started cheering me on and wanted to chat, so on the next loop I hit pause on my tracker, and stopped a bit. That of course made me even more popular with Chuck. I mean he's a guy, so anytime a cute girl (his words, not mine) is willing to stop and talk he remembers. So of course today he gives me a cheer as I fly by and then as I pass him he sees the red blinkys on my belt and hollers, "Hey, Sam, you look like a Christmas tree!"

Yeah, when I thought about it, I could see his point. Nice green blouse, red blinkys flashing, or course I look like a Christmas tree. A Christmas tree riding a bike! But as I headed for home with the glow of happy drugs filling my body from the work out, I couldn't help but giggle.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting jazzed for the 2011 riding season!

Getting jazzed for the 2011 riding season!

So last year I bought a new, 2010 Specialized Women's Myka HT mountain bike and started riding again after decades of inactivity.

It was hell at first. I picked Serenity up March 27th of last year and took her up to Winton Woods to ride it around the lake. It's 1.75 miles to make one lap around. That first day it took me more than an hour. I stopped and sat on several benches a bunch of times.

I fell on my bum a bunch of times, was in serious pain, and had bruises all over me for weeks afterwards. I'd promised all my friends I was going to start out slow and easy and limit myself to five miles on that first day. Well my first lap was SO bad, and I forgot to turn on my GPS tracking feature I didn't even count it. So I set about my second lap and made better time on that one. Only stopped twice on my second lap. Third lap I stopped once, and by my fourth lap, I made it around without stopping at all. Yay me!!!

From that point on I just kept getting better, riding further, and improving my pace. My goal early on was to ride 500 miles before November 1st rolled around. Early July came and I was well on my way to blowing past 500 miles so I doubled my goal. By November I'd made it to 1000 miles and was up to 12 miles per hour average pace and was doing longer rides without stopping or falling on my bum.

My friend Laura, who was cheering on my on and a long time cyclist herself had been trying to get me to move to Tucson Arizona for the sun and single track trails there hatched a plan to get me down there for a visit. So I spent most December and January in Tucson getting really dirty. Really dirty, cut up and bruised because all that sand there was something I so wasn't ready for and trying to keep up with Laura caused me to wreck several times. Serenity wasn't all that happy either, and on the third crash I thought I'd badly damaged her.

Thankfully, Serenity survived mostly unscathed, and she and I went on to more rides in the sun while still there. Monday I took her in to get her tuned up, checked over and ready for this year. After the wrecks in Arizona she was still unhappy, the wheels were rubbing and she was, well filthy. With March 27th right around the corner my one year new bike service plan was about to expire so I really needed to get her in to the shop.

Montgomery Cyclery is where I landed after some serious research. They were patient, amazingly helpful and NOT pushy. I went in knowing I wanted a new bike and after having looked at their website extensively I thought I knew what I wanted. They showed me what I was considering and answered all my questions. They also had a sale coming up and suggested I wait until the sale and save even more. Also helped me look at other bikes, even better bikes that would be in my price range during the sale. So while it was sort of an up sell, it was one in my favor. Another reason I chose them was the store itself. It has this calm, quiet, peaceful air to it that reminds me of a library. So that alone was a major selling point in their favor.

The staff there is great, and when I took Serenity in Rob looked at her and said "I can see your worries about not getting enough use out of her to justify the cost wasn't that much of an issue after all. Where have you been riding, because that's a lot of dirt." So they took her in and went over her with a fine tooth comb so to speak. When I went to pick her up Joe looked at me and said "You know your tires are showing a bunch of wear, do you commute to work on your bike?" I laughed and said no, that's just pleasure riding. He looked confused and said "But this is less than a year old, you just got it. That's a bunch of riding." I assured him it was just shy of 1200 miles, that I was going to shoot for 1500 miles this year. "You might need new tires before then" he joked.

So Serenity is clean, and back in proper shape, and tomorrow and Friday promise to be ideal for riding and I'm going to be out in the sun and warm weather loving my bike and reveling in the feeling of peace, of Serenity I have with the wind in my hair and the hum of the tires beneath me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Self control . . .

So I had one of my periodic cravings for chocolate that wasn't chocolate milk and realized I'd left my Premium Triple Chocolate M&M's at Laura's house in Tucson.  I had this momentary panic that there was no chocolate other than the drinkable kind in the house, which would be nearly unheard of for me.  Then it dawned on me back in December I got a quarter pound of fudge from the General Store on top of Mt. Lemmon.  And that most certainly DID make it home with me.

Out of the 1/8 of a pound of raspberry chocolate swirl fudge, and 1/8 lb pure chocolate fudge I bought I still have more than half of both of those.  So I took a slice of the one, let it slowly melt in my mouth, then the other and let that melt in my mouth, but them back in the ziplock, and back in the box.

I think it's all the years of mediation and mindfullness.  I can make a bag of premium M&M's last months and often do.  The Mt. Lemmon fudge will also be around for months, because when I take that little bit on my tongue, it's a timeless moment as the taste and texture slowly unfolds in my mouth.  Food for me in ways is like wine, or even sex, best if slowly savored over a long period of time.

Some folks envy my self control, I think it's just me being selfish in an odd way.  I cannot afford much, and despite having made simply obscene amounts of money once upon a time I've always lavished it on other people and not myself.  So I tend to savor the moments when they come.

If you're ever in Tucson Arizona, and can make it up to Mt. Lemmon and the general store there, by all means get some of the fudge.  It's some of the best I've had and that's saying something, given that I grew up in New England with some of the best fudge in the world at hand.

While I don't really consider Mt. Lemmon a mountain, it does sport some breath taking vistas, has a wonderful restaurant and great general store, I lived at higher elevations in the foothills of the Rockies when I lived in Colorado.  Now THOSE are mountains!

That said, Mt. Lemmon in the Catalina's is some serious must see territory.  And if you exercise some self control, fudge you by there will last a while. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time is a river that tells no lies...

A Zen Koan I'm partial to, that was featured in an episode of Stargate SG1 reads like this:

"The river tells no lies. Though standing on the shore the dishonest man still hears them."

Taoism teach us about "Wei Wu" which is, over simplified, knowing when to act or not act.  Mind you it's not just the Tao, the concept of action, or not, is littered liberally through Eastern thought.  In various forms of martial arts for example it is often better to flow rather than block, let an opponent over extend, become unbalanced in stance and energy and use that to your advantage instead of a hard block.  Sometimes refereed to as using an opponents energy against them, it's all about knowing when to act or not to act.

Taoism will teach us not to fight the river, for we are certain to drown if we do so, but to let the river take us where it will, share with us it's lessons and then deposit us upon the shore when we are done.

Time I have known as an illusion for many years, because it either exists when I choose to observe it, or vanishes from sight when I am mindful and present.  I can and have actively in my own life chosen to absent myself from time by constructive use of mindfulness.  Doesn't matter what I was doing, the illusion of time vanished when I did not observe it, almost in support of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.  Simply stated, Heisenberg forwarded the concept that the act of observing a given event, would act to change the result of the event.  Almost like the butterfly effect talked about in popular culture.  Namely the suggestion that the flapping of a butterflies wings on one side of the world could cause a Tsunami on the other side.

Some time ago I talked about entropy being almost a safety value, working deliberately and intentionally at the quantum level, to help bring balance to the greater universe. How in that split second of the irresistible object meeting the immovable force, a timeless moment of pure peace and beauty can be had if one is open to it. 

Back to popular culture for a moment we find a subplot in the Star Trek movie "Insurrection" where Picard is being taught about timeless moments by a woman hundreds of years older than him who looks like she's younger than him.  Picard later uses what he didn't think he learned to stop time long enough to save this woman's life.  I'm reminded of Hamlet at the moment.  

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." -- Hamlet Act I, Scene IV

Which I've always understood as a particularly salient point that alludes to truth being far stranger than fiction. Having had my share of timeless moments, and mindfulness taken to the point where entire days simply vanish without effort I turned my mind toward time once again.  Especially given that I know at a quantum level it is simply a means of measurement, no more real or important than length, width or depth.  In a universe not limited to three (four) dimensions, there are multiple dimensions of time.  Going out a step further, the Multiverse (or M-Verse) theory suggests that everything and anything that possibly can happen, has happened, somewhere, somewhen.  The TV series Stargate makes great use of this concept over it's 11 year run where time is simply a vehicle for story telling, and regular crossings into alternate, parallel universes is common place.

Another "popular culture" reference that inspired this post is Garth Brook's song "The River" where he talks about the dreamer being a vessel;

You know a dream is like a river 
Ever changing as it flows 
And the dreamer's just the vessel
That must follow where it goes 
Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store 
Makes each day a constant battle 
Just to stay between the shores. 

"And I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry 
Like a bird upon the wind 
These waters are my sky 
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try 
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry."

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away 
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today 
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied 
Choose to chance the rapids 
And dare to dance the tide. 

(Chorus see above)

And there's bound to be rough waters
And I know I'll take some falls 
But with the good Lord as my captain
I can make it through them all. 

Yes I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry 
Like a bird upon the wind 
These waters are my sky 
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try 
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry.

Yes, I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry 
'Til the river runs dry 

I woke up with this in my head this morning, it's a beautiful song in it's own right, but then it came to me, Time is a river too.  If we fight the river, we may drown, or at very least not learn from what it wishes to share with us.  If we simply stand beside the river, and let the water's slip away, we also may not benefit from the wisdom the river wishes to share with us.  Likewise, mindfulness, a form of meditation allows us to open ourselves up fully to what is around us, and simply take it all in, not judging, not shaping or forcing our will onto whatever may pass, but simply being very present in a given moment that becomes two, and four, and more, for however long one wishes to experience it.  Wu Wei, or better still, Wei Wu Wei.  Action without action.

Another Koan that comes to mind: "Put no distance between you and where you are."

In part it's about mindfulness, about being present, about the gifts the river will bring you.

Time will take one on a journey, and it will share with you what it will.  It will tell you no lies, but if you attempt to force your own views onto it, you will miss the beauty in the moments shared.
"The river tells no lies. Though standing on the shore the dishonest man still hears them."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All roads lead to the great path, many cross.

I've been growing, healing, moving in fits and starts down "the way" that leads back to the great path. When I can, rather than fight the river and surely drown, I let it take me where it will, and learn from what it shares with me.

Some years ago I met Laura because on our way to the great path, ours crossed.  We have been on and off walking for a while, working on being present.  So at one point when time and space conspired to have us within relative proximity and she suggested lunch, I agreed.  Two years ago that.  For me it was a big step.  I got up early (for me at the time) and drove the 50 miles up to Dayton from Cincinnati.  Several hours later we were both back on the road, me to "home" and her to her Dad's house.  It was a big step for me.

She's since become convinced I need to move to Tucson.  My plan has been to head home to Colorado.  I joked that I'd need to visit Tucson, explore some, get a feel for it before I'd consider it.  After all, my first move to Colorado so long ago was a result of a business trip there.  I got a taste and was hooked.  I let Earl take me from Colorado years ago, but with him gone now, my plan has been to go home one day soon.

That was two years ago.  I am not the same person I was, nor is Laura, but our relationship has grown. Last year during her annual pilgrimage to her father's house I met her in Dayton again, and had more fun.  Grew further because instead of just going up for lunch, I went up and stayed overnight at a Motel there and we had dinner and breakfast together.  Still she spoke of her enduring love for the Sonoran desert and her belief that I needed to move there.

And then she hatched an evil plot.

So December 9th after carefully planing, packing, and consulting with the weather God's, I set out in the Jumper toward her desert home.  As much about house and pet sitting while she and her boyfriend spend the holiday's with her Dad, as it was part of her evil plan to get her desert into my soul, I spent the last month there.  Yes, I drove almost four thousand miles round trip to house and pet sit.  But the logic was irrefutable.  I already knew and loved Emily (her Portie) and was certain that I'd have no problems with her other four legged people.  It would have cost her a small fortune to board them and they would have been stuck in cages and only periodically walked.  By driving down to the desert I'd be lessening their suffering, Laura would be able to rest easy and enjoy her trip knowing the wee ones were loved and free instead of locked in cages for more than a week.  It made sense all the way around.

On the 16th of January I bade farewell to the Sonoran desert and set course for my "Temporary Home" in Ohio.  The trip out and back, the more than a month I spent there, and the people I shared time with will be part of me forever.  Having now had a taste of the Sonoran desert I know I want more.  Laura's path and mine crossed some time ago, and we've been now and again walking together, even riding together, sharing what we know, and lending a hand and caring heart as we go.  You just  know I had to bring my bike with me right?  There will be more to follow on the subject, this is just a warm up.  This is just to say that Laura's evil plan has borne fruit, I enjoyed my time in the desert and all the paths of other people that crossed mine while I was there.