Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dante pays a holiday visit in his cool new Christmas togs



I had fun taking photos of Dante in his cool new outfit. HIs dad's cousin Scott gave him the black hat and his mom's friend Jennifer gave him the shirt and pants. Dan, Dante, and I met over to the Arizona Center and each one of us went to a different movie. Dante saw Sherleck Holmes, Dan saw Up in the Air, and I saw Precious, then after a Subway lunch, Dante went home with me for the night.

We were going to make a video but he decided to wait on that. So we made do with a photo session. Dante gots lots of video game playing done on Grandma's computer. He brought a game with him. Doc gave Dante a little monetary gift for Christmas and between the two of us we got him well fed for a couple of days. Dante loves the home made pasta I get at the Farmer's Market, so he ate a ton. Doc contributed chocalate icecream and eggs and sausage this morning. His mom came ot pick him up a little while ago. Dan is working New Years so he went home to her house.
I am glad to end the year with a visit from my grandson Dante as I did not get to see him during Christmas. Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Another tale of survival in "Precious" a powerful movie of affirming life

I had put off going to "Precious" because I knew it would bring back painful memories of me and my family living on welfare among many women with huge problems. It did remind me of those days, but there was terrific acting in this story of a black girl who has to survive incest and two pregnancies by her own father. It doesn't get much worse than that. I don't think anyone will be able to top the chilling portrait of the mother who stood by and watched it happen by the actress who played her, I think her nmae is Monique. Rmember that name, because she is so good and horrifying in this role she should win an academy award.
Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry who have both disclosed they were molested by relatives and 'friends,' were the producers. Mariah Carey played the young black girl's therapist. She has a riveting scene confronting the mother about why she let incest happen to her daughter while she was present in which Mariah somehow manages to be very convincing, too. This had to be one of the most difficult scenes to play I recall ever seeing in cinema--the mother explaining the details of how this incest all got started when the child was 3 years old!
The actress who plays the young obese black girl is very affecting also. She is so good she seems like a real person up there whose life we get to see without her knowing it!

Nobody but Oprah and Tyler Perry could have made a movie about blacks this graphic in my opinion. It stunned me. The first child the young girl gives birth to has downs syndrome, and is taken off by the great grandmother to raise since the grandmother is too cruel to it. Since the next one is also by the father, I had to conclude that with hardly even mentioning the word abortion Tyler and Oprah are against it with the young mother planning to take care of both of her children on her own, away from her abusive mother. This mother would just let fly a frying pan at her daughter's head for hardly any reason at all. So she was also violently abused by the mother. Oh yes, the mother did say to the daughter, "I should have aborted your ass, you are ugly and stupid and you will never be anything else!"
In the movie, Precious goes to an alternative school in which she is urged by a very intelligent dedicated teacher to write every day about her life, which indicates that the producers believe telling your story to people who care can be a catharsis and a healing process. This is when Precious who has certainly not been precious to her mother and father gets to tell a therapist and others about what happened who are determined to help.
I think Oprah and Tyler Perry are sending the message out to young black people like Precious that no mtter how bad your life is you must try to make your way toward education, toward a chance to get away and heal, and this is a movie that shows how one very damaged young girl begins to climb out of the chaos of her childhood, taking control and being a better parent than her parents were to her.
I can relate to this story, for I thought both my parents were damaged souls who hurt their children even as they attempted to raise nd educate them. It was hard just surviving them. But you have to figure out just what you can rely on parents for and make the most of that as well as using any other source of help you can find. I always kept journals just as this young girl is urged to do. I figured I would write my way out of my troubles by analyzing them and talking about them to the world if I could. This has sometimes been hard on the people around me because I had so much on my mind, but I tried to help them to articulate their pain as well. My mother would explode in rages similar to what the woman in the movie did although not nearly as bad, and my dad would fight back, so it seems as though I was raised in one long never ending quarrel at home. This naturally was not a good exmaple of how to succeed in marriage. We daughters were going to have to act different than they did if we were to do better. We learned that lesson just as Precious does in this movie. She rises above her parents with her own better thinking and determination.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Crazy for the Storm" by Norman Ollestad is the story of a 11 year old boy with a daredevil dad who hikes down a mountain when the plane crashes

Crazy for the Storm is the name of a memoir of survival I got from the library yesterday, which was so riveting I could not stop reading it until I was done. It was about a boy's relationship with a daredevil dad who was constantly pushing him to become a superb athlete in sports like surfing and skiing. He finally won a junior championship and during events that followed his dad felt the need to charter a small plane to get them to the Big Bear Airport in California. I am familiar with that area because Pierre who was from Canada lived there quite a long time and talked about it a lot. It turned out that the pilot was very remiss in following instructions from the airport to call off his flight when a storm moved in. He was lost almost immediately, but did not turn back, eventually crashing the plane in the side of the mountain. The dad who threw himself over his eleven year old son was killed on impact as was the pilot. The boy who had been trained for hours to ski in snow country extricated himself from the plane as well as his dad's girlfriend who was hurt quite badly.
He could see in the distnace what he thought was a meadow and a road, and he thought they would have a chance if he could get them to the road. The GF was hurt too badly, however, to make such a harrowing trek down the rough terrain, fell, and died. The boy, in an unbelievable act of courage, struggled on until he saw footsteps and eventually ran into a woman who had heard the plane crash and just had a feeling to go out and look for survivors!
In flashbacks he tells about his relationship with his dad who had taken him on a harrowing trip into Mexico that is an adventure in and of its self. His dad was also surfing with him when he was a toddler tied to his back!
But he says in the end that the training his dad had given him was what made him struggle on, essentially saving his life.
However, I was upset to think the dad would charter a plane and let the pilot take them into a storm. He even had his doubts but of course being the daredevil he was did not heed his own instincts. As for the pilot, he was quite suicidal. The plane was deemed a loss once he took off under such circumstances and headed toward a mountain covered with clouds. He was warned three times not to proceed further without visibility. The son also found out that he could not have landed at that airport during rough weather anyway! I always get upset when it turns out there is human error when such suffering ensues.
The father talks about his relationship with his own son, indicating he wanats to take fewer risks with him insuring that they both survive!
My own memoir is a story of survival, too, and a complicated father and daughter relationship, with a daughter forced to keep a dad's secrets for many years even as she deals with the fallout, molestation by two of his gay partners who became jealous and revengeful.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Time to put away Christmas stuff and look toward the new year


Christmas comes and goes, but winter is sill with us. People back east will continue to shiver for some time yet while we in Arizona can look forward to balmy days in January, when the most delightful climate in the nation kicks in. It was mild enough yesterday that I did not wear a coat, just my scarf to keep my neck warm and my beanie along with a long sleeved shirt and levies. Boots, yes, no sandals yet, although some wear them and shorts year around like Doc. He only gets into his long pants and a heavy coat maybe once in December.
But we talk about the weather here just as much as they undoubtedly do where they have got real winter weather!
Our resident vandal hit the main laundry room again, cutting open the cash boxes on the washers and dryers with a drill so he could get at the money, and they are saying now management really must lock it at night, because putting a camera in the laundry room so it can be watched by security at the main desk is too expensive! Better lock it up than have to close it indefinitely for repairs. I am thinking I am going to have to cross to the patio wing and try the washroom on the 5th floor. I used to do my laundry there when I was hanging out with Pierre who lived in a large apartment that used to be a suite for movie stars to rent in the old Westward Ho hotel.



The family photo is of our Holiday Christmas eve party when Pierre was with me. I thought he looked funny in this photo, quite drunk, although he wasn't. He was very nervous, and had worked hard to add more decorations to an already highly decorated Concho room for our party. My ex Dean who who was the one who disappeared into the desert is on the photo in the back, looking wild. Our son Raymond brought him but had neglected to tell him I had a BF Pierre, so Dean thought Pierre worked for the hotel and had been asked to help with the party, since he was fussing so much over the food etc. Everytime he tried to talk to Pierre friendly like Pierre would excuse himself and go outside to smoke. It was a funny night. Now Dean and Pierre are both gone.
After one hoop de do night Doc settled back down to more prudent drinking which is bad enough. We have New Years to get through when he will undoubtedly have to do a little extra celebrating, but so far he has not alarmed me enough to think he is not long for this world.



My sister Margie in the photo called me Christmas day and she sounded pretty vigorous. She is always generous with her gift. Her husband is approaching 90, but he is still going out with her to attend basketball games, so I can't think he is too bad off yet.
I called my sister Ann to wish her happy birthday the day after Christmas. She was going on Monday with her husband Tom to get his eyes and teeth checked. He is having implants because the dentist was unable to make him dentures that he could use due to some scarring in his lower jaw from a previous surgery. Now he has found out that having implants is very painful. He wants to be able to eat more than soup he says so he is persevering. I have my teeth cleaned and checked regularly, so I am good, but Doc looks as though he should have his all yanked out. Since he does no maintenance. I know he won't have them pulled except when they give him pain. I am wondering if infection from his mouth can kill him. It surely can't be doing him good. Oh well, I can't let myself worry about it as there is no talking him into doing anything he is resisting.
Pierre was dying of lung cancer for a year and we didn't even know it. He was by death surprised believe me.

I worry about my sister Ann (photo below) who has no pancreas so is a severe diabetic. She is very disciplined about exercise and diet. She is the one who gets up in weather quite often below zero and drives down to the heated pool at the high school to swim! Yes! Amazing and remarkable. I think her husband's ailments are harder on her than hers, since he is experiencing a lot more pain from any number of sources. Pierre's lung cancer like to have killed me, too, so I know your companion's aches and pains can be dangerous to your health.


It's coming light, so it is getting about time for me to go in search of a laundry room. I am running low on clean clothes! Ta Ta!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Here is the theater article in the Republic that kept me awake practically all night!

With annoyance I might add. Why do newspaper writers love lists so much? Well, here are three winners of the Pulitzer Prize listed. Newspaper writers love those a lot more than all the playwrights who never won one do. This tells them what play they can safely call good. Theater companies love Pulitzers. They will hardly produce anything else. So guess what happens to you if you are the playwright who doesn't win one? Nothing. That's the biggest reason for me to dislike the whole idea of awarding prizes and announcing this is practically the only play worth doing that year. I see a black woman won one in 2002 and the first Latino won in 2003. Fine. I am glad to see that even as I prepare to criticize this whole value system, one reason why there are so few people who get recognized compared to the many who don't. Why most of the people get to be the common man while the lucky award winners get to be called good by the newspaper critics, playwrights they can recognize and elevate ad nauseum.
While me, I put my plays up on Youtube. If you watch either my improvs of them or my own readings, you will discover that some of them are profound and cover very difficult subjects. In fact, so difficult they were bound not to get recognized by anybody if they could help it. Nobody is going to give them a pulitzer prize, why because for one thing I don't believe in such prizes, and because it is too darned hard to get a production of a play anywhere after you write it. I peddled my plays everywhere, could not get any productions, so in desperation I put them up on Youtube so somebody might see them before I died. You people who watch Youtube got lucky. Ha! Ha!
Tyler Perry is listed here in the list. Tyler Perry?? Oh, he needs the publicity. Well, when you are making lists you have to praise famous men. Right? Are you reading this, Kerry? Now you are probably going to hate me until I die. I have caused a lot of newspaper theater critics to hate me, believe me. Because I am a protester, and I am always protesting their policies of never recognizing new people. It takes an act of God to get recognized in this society. How many times do you read stories about already famous people? Newspaper writers are responsible for a lot of this malarkey. Instead of digging up some new material on some new people they just write about already famous ones.
I should have known this article of lists would irritate me so badly I should not have read it. I should have ignored it and then I would not have stayed awake so long and jumped up this morning to write a protest.
But let us look at it this way, this is probably the most in depth reaction Kerry will receive on his article of lists. I am an inveterate newspaper reader, even when they make me angry and I feel forced to write protest letters. I protest to try to make my newspaper better, get those guys to thinking and realizing they can't get away with this, even if it is a bad economy. And they don't want to lose their jobs.
In the meantime I have to come up with another exciting idea for videos to put up on Youtube. In time I expect to be as famous as Susan Boyle, all from my own efforts and my idea to use online means that are free to me to make it to the top. All the directors who did not do my plays will be able to say they did not help me! I will do it without Kerry's help. Without the Republic's help. One of these days I will just be famous and there will not be anything they can do about it. You can't keep a good playwright down even if she wins not a Pulitzer!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas dinner at Tano and Debbie's home

I thought that since I forgot my camera I would post the Christmas card above that I received from Rissy and Rich of their children, Jed and Clarke, taken in Sicily this past summer. Tano and Rissy are Linda's Bongiorno children whose grandparents came from Sicily. So they traveled all throughout Italy as well as Venice. Rissy said the kids were wonderful travelers. Clarke is the little girl who has been ill from a bad stomach virus at their home in San Francisco but she was definitely on the mend at Tano's house. She and her cousin, Gianna, are great pals and were having a wonderful time.



In the first photo Tano and Debbie, our hosts, are pictured on their Christmas card with their two adopted children, Gianna and Sammy. Their story is especially significant to me this Christmas when the struggle over abortion funding was going on in Congress. Tano and Debbie are very active in their church in the pro life movement. These two children are ones they saved from abortion. They were able to persuade both sets of parents to have the children rather than abort them with their help, and then they adopted them. The parents are given pictures and reports of their progress as they request. Sammy, the oldest, pictured at the bottom, is a brilliant child as well as a very good looking one. He is 15 now, the same age as my grandson Dante, and attends a school where he can develop his gifts. He read us quite a long poem he had written in iambic pentameter as an assignment about Winston Churchhill and his struggles with a father who rejected him. I could not help but think that Churchill's story resonated with Sammy. Tano and Debbie, who could not have children of their own, intervened to help save his life.





The third photo is of my youngest grandson, Ethan, which his mother, Ronda, sent me in her card, for Christmas. He was also having a wonderful time with the other kids. Jamal, my oldest grandson, was home from ASU, tossing the football around with them.

My son Dan did not attend as he had been hit with a $400 dollar repair bill on his old car just when he barely had it, and did not have enough money left in his bank account for gas. He felt bad to think he could not buy any presents, but Scott, Linda's youngest son, was there. He was talking about he and Dan having to pay back school loans, too , with spotty employment. He has not been regularly employed so got a deferment, but Dan had not, but Dan apparently thought it would be better just to get the loan paid off as soon as possible. So Dan is broke broke broke, but will be going back to his job at the Sheraton hotel setting up for conventions and so on after the Christmas break.
I was reading where the convention business has been hit very hard in Arizona with the recession, and it is going to take some time for the economy to recover and get back up to par. A lot of people are out of work. Dan is lucky to have a job. He says the hotel says there will be work in January. I was reading where the Sheraton has cut room prices across the nation to try to keep competitive and in business during the recession.



I am happy to report I was also able to connect to Angelina, pictured here with my son Dan in a photo taken when they were married and she was pregnant with Dante. Dan had had to come to her rescue, also, with money for car payments, so she would not lose her means of getting to work. Angelina has more clients now in her cleaning service she said, so is getting close to enough income to take care of her bills. She actually looks trim and healthy with the exercise she gets in her cleaning work.
This is a better job for her she says than bartending or waitressing where the temptations of alcohol don't exist. Her job in a bar led to their separation. She admitted to me the last time I talked to her she had become an alcoholic, which behavior she regrets so much now. She attends a church regularly to keep straight as she has separated from the father of her two smaller children. He was the one she had met in the bar job and partied with.
My friend LaRena and I both gave her money this Christmas for a trip to the grocery store. I told her how much I loved the hair decorations I bought from her. I put them on all my caps, and gave three cute beanies with decorations on them to my daughter, Ronda, and sisters, Linda and Ann for presents. She was very pleased and said she got another order from my sister Ann.
I am glad to say my sister Margie also responded with some help for Angelina, but I was sorry Dan got so broke he did not feel like attending the family dinner.
My son Gary's daughter, Kelly Anne, one of my older grand daughters, visited him, and Gary did not attend either.

Raymond also reported from Austin, Texas he had recovered from a temporary down mood after his show closed, and had some projects in mind, namely starting on his memoirs, through Christmas holidays. That son has led a fascinating life in theater which only he could tell.

The other family members all just had a wonderful time to Tano's, visiting. Debbie cooked Italian, chichen marsala, sauce and riganoti (sp) and baked manicotti. She served both lettuce and fruit salads, and wines, champagne, and apple cider (my favorite). Ronda brought home made pumpkin rolls, cookies, and apple pie. Debbie always sends containers of the food home with us, so I have some pasta and sauce in my fridge and I bought Doc a sample of desserts.

Doc and I had our shrimp supper the day before, plus a variety of sliced meats, so he had plenty of food to eat! Oh yes, Tano and Rissy's father, Sam Bongiorno, was there really enjoying a genuine Italian meal. He says he is happy he moved here from Florida because he gets to see his kids and grandkids a lot more often!

We also distributed books gifts among others. Ronda and Rissy were marveling over the fact that they gave each other the same book! I received a Barbara Kingsolver book from Rissy who is a great book giver plus a care package of shampoo, etc. she has taken to giving every Christmas. Ronda and Chad gave me money. I am anticipating purchases at the Farmer's Market already. I gave them home made pasta I bought there. Divine.

So all in all I would say Christmas was delightful, with a few problems. Life without problems would not be normal!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Trying to decide on my Christmas outfit for the family dinner

I had Doc take several photos. One had light shining on one glass lens. So I took my glasses off and don't look like myself in this one I posted. Then it is hard being a fat fashion plate as shown in the video. Yes, there is a video! I think we are going to get this Christmas outfit business tackled very thoroughly. That is all I have on my mind today, and will try to keep nothing more on my mind through Christmas supper.
Since I canceled my annual Christmas supper for family, due to broken down cars, etc, (this might be the end of that tradition) Doc rushed out and bought his idea of a Christmas Eve supper, which was a shrimp plate, sliced ham and turkey, and even rolls to brown. He has also got a video to post on his channel and blog called "My froggy green shirt" so our minds are running in the same shallow channel. In that video I whip him with my silver fox scarf which is why I like it.




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Talking to Raymond in Austin


I wanted to get hold of Raymond before Christmas and finally caught him this morning at home. He caught cold or an allergy attack and has been under the weather a few days but he sounded up. He is driving out to College Station, about an hour and a half away, tomorrow to check on a theater out there, but he has four more shows to do in the festival in January. He said response was good and inspiring to him until the theater closed down for the Christmas holidays even if the audiences continued to be small as expected. Alan Lea, an actor he had worked with in his play "Pig Hunter from Blue River," came to the show on Sunday. He lives in the Austin area now, so that was an interesting reunion he said. I will never forget that show and Allen Lea's performance as the 'boy' obssessed with javelinas. This was one of Raymond's wildest shows. You never knew what he was going to come up with in the twists and turns of plot in that play. I also recall a reviewer writing about it saying even the the country boys were shaking their heads as they walked to their pickup trucks after seeing "Pig Hunter". Everytime I think of some of those characters I laugh. This was his definitive Arizona desert opus-- what living close to the wilds of Arizona had done to him.
Raymond said he still has a lot to say but has not been able to get to his writing while shaking this cold. I am sure he will be back blogging away soon.

I have been reading the paper carefully this morning trying to understand just what Congress had done so far with the healthcare plan and what still remains left to be done. I told my family as near as I could figure out nobody got what they wanted and everybody is dissatisfied, but there has been a terrible struggle and that's what's important. Looks like we are going to get a health plan. The Republic came out today with a column from the Washington Post expressing grave disappointment with Senator Nelson who is accused of 'selling out' his pro life beliefs to get a better deal in medicaid for his constituents in Florida. He provided the crucial 60th vote to get the plan passed in the Senate, but it seems the bill will have to be submitted 2 more times before it is actually voted into law. Senator Johanns from Nebreska who spoke on the aud iocast trying to stop abortion funding thought that Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada would get his 60 votes but the house can still stand firm against abortion funding if the pro life democrats don't change their minds as Senator Nelson did who is accused of 'making a deal.' One of those deals we question when politicians do it.
Arizona Senator John McCain reports he is prepared to stay the distance and vote his pro life beliefs before going home for the Christmas holidays. I do not think the pro life congress members have backed down for the most part and that is a hopeful sign to me that Americans are beginning to realize they must fight for the lives of the unborn if anything is to change.
Our beliefs about a hereafter are really being tested by this issue. I have had several near death experiences and each time saw an afterlife manifested in some way before I 'came back from the dead.' How many mothers could go to the other side and see the children they have aborted in spirit form and still continue to believe in abortion? When my sister died, a voice from the other side spoke to me in a dream and said that the child she had aborted years before had forgiven her mother and was waiting to be reunited with her. My sister continued to believe in pro choice up until she died. It was legalized about a year after her illegal abortion, so she felt vindicated. She never backed down, but I knew very well that when she got to the other side and saw her child in the spirit, she would back down. Seeing would be believing. She had not believed enough in the spirit before her death twenty years ago to change her mind in my opinion.
She has come a number of times since in the spirit and talked about the abortion issue, saying just recently that mothers who aborted their children starting in 1973 are just starting to come there now and see that their children survived death. She says the bond between her and that child will never be the same as it was between her and her two other children who are still living, but she is only one among many who has acknowledged the existence of her child in the after life and attempted to make restitution.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let us hope Doc survives Christmas

When Doc calls me very drunk the night before, I am half way hesitant to knock on his door the next morning for fear he did not survive the night.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Doc is starting to 'celebrate' the Christmas holidays



Last night I called my friend in Utah (photo) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was telling me that she her her husband used to go outside and watched the explosions from the nuclear tests at the Nevada site and would undoubtedly qualify as a 'downwinder' probably developing cancer from the fallout, and can be compensated some by the government. My sister Larae was a 'downwinder' as was my brother-in-law Pole. They both died of cancer and both worked at the Nevada testsite as well as lived in southern Utah in the area of the fallout.
My friend also has a heart abnormality which was picked up by an EKG by the cancer doctor. She knew she had the abnormality but had not made up her mind to have the procedure they were recommending to 'fix' it. The oconologist made her an appointment with the heart specialist and told her she would have to see him before he could perform surgery. So goodness sakes, she is facing a whole lot of worry right now.

She is in her early seventies, but she was optimistic saying she would get through it all. She has four children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to live for. And she is very devoted to them.
We talked for about an hour and a half. She said she had already talked to another friend earlier in the day for two hours. A former beauty operator, my friend has a lot of talking stamina. I am sure she was popular because so many of her customers found comfort and enjoyment talking to her as she made them beautiful.

I usually figure on talking two hours when I call her, as we know so many people in common we can just start on any end of town and talk for hours about the histories of all the people we have known and what we did with them.
We discussed the two children she lost, one a month old and one six months old. She told me their names and said they were 'over there' and she would look forward to joining them if she should die, as she had grieved greatly over their deaths. She asked me what chance I thought she had to beat cancer. I told her that she seemed very strong and vigorous in her life force. I thought that was greatly in her favor, and I thought that she could beat the cancer since she has had a mammogram every year and her doctor does not think the cancer is far advanced. I also privately thought it was a good thing she had to go to a heart specialist, as she had kind of been putting that off. So getting this diagnosis might be a blessing in disguise.



The next morning I went down determined to spend the morning with Doc as he had been complaining I had been too preoccupied of late. I had been, but I had also been leaving him fairly soon in the day as I always do before he drinks too much. At Christmas Doc always gets into the mindset of celebrating the holiday, so he is more prone to go on a binge. A binge meaning that instead of going to bed around 6 or 7 after getting up at 5 or so and starting to drink, he will drink all evening, getting into a sleepless state with so much alcohol in his system. When 'bingeing' he is apt to stay awake all night and this is when he is most apt to get into trouble with his drinking.
Well, he must have been hitting the bottle pretty hard lately as I could not connect to him this morning. This was the worst time I have had connecting to him in a long time. Nothing worked. He wanted to sing Christmas songs, so we tried that, and it sounded terrible. I have never felt he was so 'off' in his reactions, sort of peevish and negative. About one pm I went home and he kept calling me, wanting me to return. I told him no, and finally had to remind him that he chose to drink, so I did not feel an obligation to stay with him for hours regardless of what that did to him. I said once he has a lot of trouble 'connecting' I don't enjoy him. I just want to get away.

He was trying to make me feel guilty for not staying longer. I hung up. He was just not making sense, and he can't recognize the effect alcohol has on him. He tries to act like he is being perfectly normal, normal for him, but not how a normal sober human being acts. As a result, my nerves were jangled by the time I went home. After I got home I had this feeling that I had been in the presence of impending death. Not with my friend diagnosed with breast cancer, but with Doc even though nothing appears outwardly wrong with him at the moment.
A couple or so hours later around 5pm he called and said that a woman here in the complex had just left. He sounded very drunk. He asked me to come down. I said no, and he said well there were other women who wanted his company! I said, good luck.
Again I would say that because Doc is moderate in his other habits, does not overeat and does not smoke and tries to drink moderately even if he always has a drink by his side, he has lasted a long time without a crisis such as most alcoholics experience. But he is 72. He can't get away with drinking forever. I just don't know now when his 'celebrating' will get him into trouble, real trouble.
He talked about being an only child today and what that entailed. His parents moved out in the suburbs and instead of letting him go to elementary school there, they sent him by the city bus back to the Lutheran school in their old neighborhood. From the age of 6 on he would be the only little child on the bus alone with the adult strangers riding into the city and back, around 45 minutes each way. He said this increased his loner ways and he faulted his parents for doing this to him. He said his mother had grieved so long over the death of his younger brother with leukemia he did not want to upset her by protesting too much.

He seemed to recognize that he is too much of a loner, has always been, and this had probably helped lead him to his solitary drinking.
He had been doing a little thinking about why he has ended up drinking himself to death, isolated. I am generally the only person he really talks to. He is a 'bad influence' on his alcoholic buddies who try to stay away from him because they get so drunk when they party with him, he furnishing the alcohol. Doc is very frugal. He always has money to buy alcohol, and he does not binge very often. But whenever he has gotten into trouble it has been on one of these binges. Now Christmas is here. Time for a binge. Unfortunately for many alcoholics, Christmas is for really getting drunk.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recovering children and getting ready for Christmas


My sister Linda in San Francisco has been tending her granddaughter, Clarke, ( photo) for two weeks at home. She has been suffering from a virulent stomach virus and could not stop throwing up. She has just barely showed signs of getting better but Linda says Clarke has her clothes packed to leave for Phoenix next week for the holidays. Linda said she cooked her chicken soup yesterday, as now she is feeling a little better she wants to eat what she is used to eating and can't. She ate chicken nuggests! Oh, no! Didn't work.
We have been invited to Linda's son Tano's house here in Arizona for the annual Christmas day dinner, so I will be keeping track of Clarke this week to see if she is well enough to travel. She thinks she is!
Linda however says she herself is not going to make the trip, but will opt for coming at a later date when the kids are out of school. She wants to arrive in Utah around the time of the festival in July. That's when I plan to go, too! The theme is Boulder women of history and I am writing about my Grandmother King who had the most influence on me of any woman during my childhood.
My son Dan's old car is down to one gear and no brakes, so he is thinkng about the bus and bicycles. The hotel does not book conventions during the last two weeks in December, so he is home awaiting the new year. There is no finding another job at this time in Arizona. Besides, since he is always writing, this job works out, giving him time to do other projects. He has been working on the Caffeinetv.net website. I checked it out and it looks good and the video system works well. (see it on my blog list at the bottom) I could not help but get a kick out of Dante again playing Sidney in the third episode of Caffeine, "The Idiot." Dante is so cool and believable as the genius kid who cures the young guy who has a seizure. Everytime I see it, it makes me laugh
Dan has also been helping out Dante's mom who hit a rough patch in the road. I am saving for a grocery trip for her and some of the relatives have ordered her flower decorations and contributed to the cause.

Doc and I just got back from the Farmers Market with a poinsettia. Now we will really feel like it is Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Writing to the president as a registered democrat

What would you say if you wrote a letter to the president? First of all I wanted to remind him that there are registered democrats who are pro life, and these are the ones we must depend on now to say no to government funded abortion.
I talked to the president about what he said in his speech when he accepted the Nobel peace prize in Oslo, that there are some causes for which war becomes necessary. I asked him what he thought about violence used to fight abortion violence, for I fear violence from zealots on the right will be very hard to contain if abortion numbers are to go up due to government funding.
A former recent employee of Planned Parenthood spoke in the audio cast to stop abortion funding. She said that during one year of her employment an anonymous donor gave 23 million dollars to be distributed across the nation to women who wanted an abortion but needed funding to do it. She said that abortions went up 100% with funding!
You could just feel the shudder going through the unseen thousands listening. As though approximately 48 million deaths were not enough abortions since Roe vs Wade in 1973, we could possibly expect that number to double with funding!
Which is why I thought the description of where we are today, coming from the website dedicated to stopping the funding was so apt, calling it hanging over a precipace.
An insistence that our tax dollars go to abortion funding is an extremely dangerous development. We don't get to say where our tax dollars go except now. We democrats can stop the government from funding abortion if we can gather the strength to stand firm in our conviction that this is wrong. Democrats as well as republicans will have to vote no in order to kill this bill.
The president cannot sign a bill that does not get past congress. So members of congress must also be held culpable if they vote to expand abortion. Our government is on the verge of becoming more corrupt than ever before in that it will be directly involved in the taking of the lives of the unborn. President Obama's strong support of abortion funding may cause a severe backlash. If you support violence against the totally innocent can this be said to be war for a good cause? Abortion advocates have been trying to persuade us for years that these deaths relieve misery and hardship.
What is wrong with expecting our citizens to be more responsible about conceiving children they cannot afford, emotionally or financially? Anything is better than supporting the death of the child who has done nothing but been 'mistakenly' conceived. Whose fault is that? The parents. So why punish the child.
It used to be that mothers seeking an abortion were going outside the law and the abortionists who provided them with this service were prosecuted if caught. Now the president wants to bail out the biggest abortion provider in the nation, Planned Parenthood, which is intensely involved in lobbying for this bill in Washington. Clinics have been closing across the nation according to this former employee, and there is some desperation here. The economy, of course, has affected women's ability to pay for an abortion, it is thought. Hmm, they are having the kids? Wouldn't that be even more expensive? Quite possibly as pro life factions hope, the belief that abortion is wrong may also be growing stronger, which is why the abortion advocates are trying to make abortion rights 'untouchable.'
Certainly if they are voted in as part of the health plan, it will be extremely difficult to cut out this part of the plan. Advocates know this, so they are hoping to put enough pressure on all the democrats they will cave in and vote yes! If they cave in they have the numbers to pass it! Which is why I reveal I am a registered democrat and ask all democrats to vote their conscience rather than their party.
If this healthplan passes with abortion funding, we will be waking up and going to sleep with abortion as never before. My newspaper, the Arizona Republic, said nothing about this struggle going on in congress right now. The pro life leaders acknowledged that the mainstream media would not address the issue. You would think by their actions they were in the pockets of Planned Parenthood.
I get the idea that the powers that be at the Republic hate the subject. Oh, so let us ignore the fact that the biggest expansion in abortion will be accomplished if this plan passes. The mainstream media has long been muzzled when it comes to the subject of abortion. That is the extent to which our government is already corrupt.
Well, more corruption is on the way which also puts our president at even bigger risk. I would say to all black people, fight abortion if you want to protect your president, because the abortion lobby which is going blindly ahead with their agenda poses the biggest danger to his administration. They are holding him to his promise to give them what they want if he became their candidate, the same promise given by Hillary Clinton. Violence in the form of abortion cannot be protected. It invites danger by its very nature. Violence begets violence!
Some right wing zealots found it extremely difficult even to call the death of Dr. Tiller a murder. it looked more like taking the killer of many second and third trimester children out, because the corrupt government supported such killing. So who is wrong here? We are right to be in a war on Afhanistan after the Taliban, but when a zealot decides to take out a killer in our country of unborn children practically to full term, he is wrong wrong wrong? We are marching with these policies right into a war over the government becoming so corrupt that many may begin to feel they cannot support it. What does our president say to this reasoning? I asked him in my letter.
Legalized abortion advocates are trying to have it both ways, blood shed and death somehow not that. Let abortion be faced for what it is, legalized killing. To ask all citizens to support legalized killing and provide the abortionists with millions to do it is extremely dangerous thinking. In fact it is not thinking. It is folly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stairway to Eternity


I listened to the webcast I talked about two days ago which was an audio broadcast composed of many right to life leaders gathered in the capitol to fight the healthcare plan from funding abortion. I listened intently and was very interested in what strategy they were using to fight for the unborn in the Senate and the House of Representatives, because it must pass both before the healthcare plan as is can be signed into law. I thought Mike Johanns, a senator from Nebraska, was especially impressive in what he had to say. He said there were 9 pro life democrats in the House who voted for the Stupak amendment denying abortion funding but in the Senate he said he knew there were not enough pro life democrats to pass the Nelson-Hatch amendment denying abortion funding in the Senate. But he said that even if Harry Reid, the Senator from Nevada, is able to martial the 60 votes he needs to pass the bill in the Senate--the count is now at 59-- it will have to go back to the House of Representatives, and if those 9 pro life democrats stand firm, they can still vote it down.

I was thinking as I listened that many people seem to think that religion controls the stairway to eternity, when it actually has to be like life, freely given to all. So the churches have some of their doctrine to thank for causing a lot of confusion as well as resistence to the idea of eternal life. People may in fact be resisting some aspect of a religion they were born into when they rebell against the teachings. They may have had good reason. But then they may get just as locked into their rebellion as the religous are locked into their version of reality.
I feel that abortion gained converts among the rebellious because they felt they had been unfairly treated by those who claimed to know the only path to eternal life. And supporting abortion was felt to be a way to get back at them. A tangible here and now way to defy the religious. We have a lot of people rebelling against the rigidity of some religious beliefs, which is why I think abortion became a lightning rod to punish the religious who were seen as too powerful to fight.
And so abortion has proved to be a powerful weapon the rebels could come together to support in a concentrated effort to 'get back at them.'
In this battle the religious have been forced to discard thinking that does not work. If they antagonize people they will not win. Victory is gained only with reasoned strength.
Which was why I was excited by some aspects of the ideas I heard tonight on this audiocast. And the calm with which the poeople spoke, and the attempt not to bring 'religion' into the battle when it might not help the cause. I thought the most effective thinkers were like Mike Johanns, calm, reasoning, and unemotional. They were all attempting to erase from their voices and language too 'religious' a tone. They seem to be aware that religion did not serve them well if it antagonized a possible supporter.
Religious leaders down through history have claimed that only they know the secrets to gain eternal life, but false claims by the religious seeking power and converts can do harm.
A true glimpse at the stairway to eternity is harder to come by. I think most people know deep in their hearts that abortion will not further anyone's ability to gain eternal life, it will in fact make heaven recede further from sight. Our deeds do indeed seem to make a difference in our grasp of eternal verities. We suffer a kind of hell when we commit acts of violence that hurt others. So by trial and error man has learned what heaven is all about. It is gained through our deeds, complex in many ways, but doing good to others in some way. Kind humanitarian behavior is within everyone's grasp. It's a simple lesson, learned by trial and error. If you hurt people you do not feel good. If you do good to others, peace comes to live in your heart.
Killing a child however young, even in the womb, causes a recoiling, reflexes indicating what looks like pain and fear. If we do not want to risk hurting this child we protect it. We commit to taking care of it.
The idea that abortion is all right is false doctrine, it simply ignores the fact that taking life requires violence and bloodshed which alone should tell us this is not a good deed.
Yes, if we take the time to develop a society that protects the life in the womb it might be more expensive, but think of the rewards, peace in the heart, a feeling that heaven may someday be in our grasp. If we commit an act that kills, we feel depression, heaven receding into the dim. Through our good deeds, we gain a sense of eternal life. We have hope. We feel joy.
To me, those feelings of peace in the heart are the rewards for fighting against abortion and other acts of violence. And the fact that I think we actually make progress through our good deeds in perceiving what eternal life can be. We aren't going to feel that joy and come by that knowledge if we don't do the good deeds.

Most decorated apartment ever!




Daniel, (in the header) my neighbor, gave me a tour of his apartment, so as a gift from him to you, I am posting a photo or two as well as a video! It was fun hearing about his joy at Christmas time and seeing it personified in decorations that looked to cover about every square inch of his apartment. Even his cat, 'Baby girl' seemed impressed. Doc even did his share by burning 2 copies of the video for Daniel.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I received an urgent e-mail to participate in a webcast December 15 to try to stop congress from providing abortion funding in health care plan

What a message to receive as we move closer to Christmas. Is congress going to expand abortion rights? We are approaching a critical juncture, you might say, when the soul of America is being tested in this battle going on in congress right now. Doesn't look good for the pro life faction with a democratic president who promised abortion advocates he would pass FOCA and now has a democratic majority to back him up. Well, the health plan isn't called FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) but the results would be close to the same thing. We have never had government funding for abortion before. If congress passes government abortion funding it is going to take a possible civil war to undo it. Do we want civil war to come to pass over abortion just as we had to have it to do away with slavery? When some people think our government needs to help people kill their unborn, what is it going to take to fight them? What do Christian democrats say? Tyranny from those who uphold the violence of abortion is the rule in the world now rather than the exception. Everytime we uphold violence we enter a dark age for man. Do you think I like saying this? But I, in truth, could not come before my creator in the afterlife without fighting murder of the unborn in this one. I do not believe there is any reward in heaven for those who do not fight the policies of violence. I am too close now to the other side not to hear the bells knelling for all those who have died in this war on the unborn. Millions and millions of children, clamoring with one great cry to earth to stop.

It took centuries to stop slavery in America but after years of suffering and many deaths, including that of a president, we did the right thing. It is hard to do the right thing. It is hard even to tell what the right thing is when we have been told the opposite is fine, our 'right to choose'. Why didn't letting the people who believed in slavery go on having slaves work? Because nobody was really free when that policy was in effect. Everybody becomes culpable when the government expands abortion rights by paying for it! That means you and me. Abortion advocates do not see how dangerous it is to run roughshod over opposing beliefs when the act of abortion causes death.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's going to be card receiving time...

Photobucket

When I think of more to add to this card I will (add it that is). Right now I am tired. I have been wrapping gifts to send out tomorrow. I went to see how Trudy was doing, the 83 year old lady in here who is going blind. She was wearing the beautiful satin Christmas green blouse I gave her. I used to wear it once a year on Xmas, so decided to give it to her, and she had just been to a Christmas outing with it on, and she looked lovely. She wore it with a black crocheted shawl and black silk trousers. She wears her silver hair up. She is still worried because she can't test her blood sugar. She talked for quite a long time about all her difficulties going blind as it compounds her difficulties in taking care of her other health problems. I assured her I would be back soon to check on her. (Before Xmas)


Then I dropped in on Doc as he wanted to tell me a funny story he heard about his friend Jack, but I am sorry it is too risque for my blog. All about Jack receiving a very aggressive female visitor. He has applied to the Silvercrest down the street as he says this is too wild a place for a guy over 80. He wants to live in a place where everyone is a lot more decrepit. He has started to go to church as he is afraid of going to hell. He said the priest asked him how long it had been since he went to confession and he said 52 years! I suppose it is better late than never.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cards, cards, and books!



Connie helped me to get my card from her animated and snowing! She created a special blog. I found out that I needed this big blog format to use the one she gave me. If I reduced it in size on photobucket to fit that other one, the animation would not work. I found out that I liked this big blog format. My blog list is down toward the bottom, but easy to zip down there and look at it. Hooray! Now it looks good!! Thank you, Connie! However, I still don't know how to get a header to work in animation. There is always somethng to learn.
I am getting my books ready to package and send. I sent my cards today and am starting to receive cards and books. I received my sister Ann's yesterday. She sent money and books. I have already gone through the books. I went to the Farmer's Market and the money was gone in a flash. Now I am reading library books, but thank god, Ann and I exchange e-mails every few days. I have had this big fat book sitting around for a couple of years I wanted to send to her but thought it would cost a fortune it was so heavy, so I thought this is the year. Big Trouble (name of book) is going to my sister Ann at last. Guess what, that is the exact same book she is just going to read! What a coincidence. I must have read her mind which caused me to decide to send it to her. She would have had two copies of Big Trouble!!
Now I am worrying that nobody will read any of the books I am giving them. Oh well, that is the chance you have to take. Anythng else is just as risky. I stopped sending clothes, because they might not fit and they cost too much to send, too bulky. Above all, they probably hated them. So no, I am not sending clothes.
I feel guilty because I have not read the book one relative sent me last year or the year before. They are good books, don't get me wrong, I just have not felt in the mood for them yet, so how can I fault anyone else for putting my gift books aside never to be touched again! Christmas giving is high risk. It is a wonder we keep on doing it. But heck I buy books and don't read them. I get books in the library and toss them aside after a chapter or two. You can just never tell how a book is going to set with you when you try to read it.
I am going to risk giving just two caps with the flower decorations I bought fastened on them, and I swear I will not ask if they ever wore them. They can give them to somebody else for all I care. It is a good idea never to ask anyone if they liked your Christmas gifts. They might have to lie!
Merry Christmas to everyone and I wish you the same every day now until Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

News continues to be good from Texas about Bohemian Cowboy


Raymond's latest blog entry reports that someone who was involved in one of his productions of Blue Baby in Phoenix lives in the town where Texas A&M University is, and she is making connections to get the play done there. It is about an hour and a half from Austin. So now he is beginning to think about touring the play to rural locations in southern Utah as well. He believes he can see possibilities to extend the tour of this play longer, and that, of course, makes him happy to think all the work and worry might pay off. Bringing a polished theater piece to a little country town is I think a gift.
I am thinkng back when we toured Aunt Santhea to several other small towns, and how those nights live in memory even though that has been over 50 years ago.
So that's the latest good news on my family front.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Three Sistahs a most enjoyable musical treat



Once again treated to a musical at the Black Theater in Playhouse on the Park by our dear friend, Joyce Gittoes (in photo), Nola, Darlene, and I had a wonderful time. We three met upstairs to the Viad Building's cafeteria, where we had lunch and reminisced about old times at the Westward Ho. Darlene moved some time ago, and Joyce just a few months back. Joyce could not join us but we met her at the door. She now lives in Scottsdale, so was waiting on a friend to bring her.
The musical, "The Three Sistahs" could not have better in my opinion. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was well cast, acted, and directed. The writing was wonderful. The girls who played the 'sistahs' were very different in looks, but they were all so talented we still believed it. The girls had come home to their father's funeral and were reminiscing in the house where he had lived so long. The oldest daughter had gone back to take care of him after their mother died as she did not have a husband or was not otherwise preoccupied as the two younger ones were. I could relate as I, too, was the oldest and was considered the one daughter who might best go home to look after our father and was there when he died.
In fact, I think the sisters were addressing universal concerns especially relating to black people. Usually one of the singers stands out in a musical, but all three of these actress-singers were so appealing I could not say which one I enjoyed the most.
Joyce has tried out for another play we are eager to see. She was called back, but now must wait to see if she made the final cut! I did not know it until today but when Joyce had her knee operation her surgeon accidentally cut through her ACL ligament, so she is still very lame and can't ride the bus lest her leg give way on her. I was in hopes that her knee surgeries would make transportation easier for her. It is amazing how she manages to get around despite her crippled leg.
After Nola and I walked back to the Westward Ho stopping on the way to buy fresh vegetables to the Farmer's Market. Nola is the best walker in the building. She walks everywhere What an enjoyable afternoon!


Nola, the 'walker'

Monday, December 7, 2009

Phone call from rainy Austin, Texas


Raymond called and said it has been raining quite a few days. He said he had a good performance last night as his friends from down there, a couple, gave a dinner party and brought their friends to the theater, so altogether he had a bigger audience than usual and it was fun playing to more people. He can hit his stride better with more reacting.
He is afraid though that the closer it gets to Xmas the less people may go to the theater. He is however going to be playing some festival dates in the same theater in January which he hears is very well attended. He will also get some weekend nights. He and the guitar player from Enterprise, Utah who went to Texas with him to do the tech are playing their guitars until their fingers hurt, inspired by all the music lovers in Austin, which is known for being a Texas city of high quality country western musicians. They are both writing songs and using this opportunity to soak in the atmosphere.
He said Baby, his dog, loves the dog park. All he has to do is mention it and she goes crazy with excitement. I said you are treating that dog better than people treat their kids running her every day in the park. I think kids need that kind of exercise, too. They'd all act better if a family member took them out and ran them every day.
Raymond is getting ready for a barrage of teasing about getting compared to George Bush by a woman reviewer of his performance. I talked to his cousin Cheryl and she said they finally told Camille, his cousin, who is a republican and she can hardly wait for him to get home. She is such a tease anywway. Now she has been given fuel. He said one more reveiwer is supposed to come, but has not arrived yet. He acts like he is not even sure he wants that one to show up. His cousin Cheryl said that she was going to suggest he drop his act of doing Jimmy Stewart and polish up a George W. Bush act instead. Raymond was always imitating all the movie stars.
I remember one time when his Aunt Linda got put in jail for defying a restraining order during her divorce and she kept calling me from jail, and I kept calling him and all I could get was Johnny Cash on his answering service! And then John Wayne. He had several movie stars answering his phone at the time. His Aunt Linda needed money for bail. Our rich cousin was in the hospital but she finally called him there, and got him to agree to put up her bail money.
I wrote a one act play about that incident, too. My family has provided me with a lot of material over the years.

P.S. I love this header Connie did of dogs. Baby is the border collie on the left in the middle. McKye is his older kindly friend belonging to Kate who took this photo.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Fashion show for Angelina




First my white cap with a white flower and band.






Second my brown cap with Doc's upside down Christmas tree drawing on the wall in the background.












I saw my grandson's mother, Angelina, yesterday and bought flower decorations from her for my hats. As I picked them out we talked about her situation, and I began to realize that things were not going too well at her house. She still does not have a job and must pay the rent and a large car payment. The more I listened the more I realized that Christmas charity must start at home! I decided this monning to have Doc photograph me in my caps with her decorations as I talked about what I had decided to do on camera. No expensive Christmas gifts will I buy! Instead I will save money to buy some groceries closer to Xmas for Angelina, Dante, and her other two children. I found out that her sister Silver got her three children back in a custody battle and they were living with her, too. Silver's job just evaporated. She had a nervous breakdown after her third child was born and she and her husband were fighting. She has not had the kids but he had 2 DUI's so she won them again. Dante had not mentioned this new development. It is no wonder he might be having some problems in school. But he loves these children and his mom and his little brother and sister. I don't know what to tell him. In fact, I called up my son, Dan, his father, and talked to him. He finally said he had to shower and go get his brakes on his old car fixed. (He needs another one) He said Angelina's car payment is high because her other car broke down and she had to get another one for work. This is the car payment she is having trouble making now.
I hope you enjoy the fashion photos and the fashion show video I made dedicated to Angelina in which I learn once again that charity begins at home!
P.S. Thank you, for the lovely personalized header, dear friend Connie!







Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas is proceeding to come on schedule!

I discovered an item I bought at Walgreen's was damaged so I returned it to the store and bought my Arizona Christmas cards while I was there. I usually buy about ten to send to my sisters and granddaughters. I also consulted with my son about where I needed to send his daughters' cards and money gifts. I also urged him to go to my sister Ann's blog, Kanyonland King on my blog list, to see the photo of the reindeer. A woman where she lives made them out of papier mache' and they are the most amazing life like creations. Ann said she has been doing this kind of art work for years. She would do Halloween stuff. Once she created all the Alice in Wonderland characters and displayed them somewhere. Ann took this photo to perserve history. She hopes the woman at least has photos of her work. Her kids are up and gone so she probably created Santa and his reindeer coming off her roof and bounding across the yard to delight the kids of the town. There are other action figures in the display, too. Go and see Kanyonland King blog!
I am supposed to go down and make a video today for Doc's channel and blog. He did not feel well yesterday, but we do have his upside down Christmas tree picture on display in back of where we sit on camera for our videos. One viewer asked if these drawings were done by children. Well, Doc does have a child-like mind when he is creating these cartoony pictures of his. He thought and thought to come up with a different tree than he's ever done before. But this was painted 2 years ago. He is rarely painting anymore. He is getting in worse and worse shape, but nothing seems to convince him sobriety would be better.
The other gentleman who was evicted was I believe only in the neighborhood a short time before moving on. The Y down the street was probably too expensive for him, and he was limping quite badly. He may have had to have his leg fixed. He, however, comes in, via dreams sometimes, and has a chat. This was an amazing gift he had, being able to travel out of body. Nobody hardly believes it, but he was very psychic, and since I had done spirit walking I suggested it to him as a means of talking sometimes without running into so much reaction. I had in fact written a long play which I put up on Youtube not long ago called "Blue" in which all the characters are spirit walking and are not in their bodies. This was written when my sister was dying of cancer 20 years ago. Not long after she visited me in Arizona, where the play takes place, she had a dream that murderers were chasing her to the top of a building. She was trapped. There was no escape. She looked out and thought I am close enough to death that I should have grown my wings, and so she leaped out in space and sure enough she had grown her wings and flew away. Thus escaping death. Not long after she died.
This dream indicates to me that we must think about growing our wings in order to escape a terrible depression about what death is, and it is good if we are able to use them to travel about before we die, so we will be quite prepared for death and the leap into space.
I had so many near death experiences when I was in my twenties and later, too, with my bouts with the same ailment, I began to develop my wings. The gentleman I am talking about has had a number of near death experiences when drinking, so he started growing his wings in preparation for the transition. It is a natural thing. I believe it happens to everyone when they begin the process of dying. Many have near death experiences and come back, but they have begun to grow their wings so will have unusual powers. I think that is how he developed his out of body traveling. He will just come in like a spirit who has died, like my sister does. I know he is there just as I know she is there, only he has not died yet. He is still attached to his body which by now is probably pretty battered with all his crisises. We will have a chat about everything that has happened just as she and I do.
I have found it quite hard to connect to him again with him gone from around here, but I trust what I sense. My sister says I will be able to tell when he has died. There is a difference when the body has expired. The spirit is lighter and more free and less occupied with the body as we know it. My sister's spirit is very light, but still definitely her essence.
We sometimes resist all these thoughts even when we are practically at death's door. We fight such changes as they are frightening to us, even though we know very well we cannot live forever.
There is an old lady here whose health is poor and what is more she is going blind. She is very miserable, so I told her I would help her to do meditation since she cannot read or watch TV. We have not gotten very far yet as she has many negative attitudes about it. Even though she is in her eighties she does not seem to have given any thought as to whether we have a spirit or not. She has a good strong mind. She says so herself. She says she is still 'sharp as a tack', but she is having a time wrapping that mind around the idea of a spirit. Yet, she is too scared not to do it some, especially when something happens in her body that frightens her. I don't feel like talking to her when she is shutting her mind to the idea of transition and change, as I don't think she is facing reality. I just will not indulge people in talk about boring things. She is against the wall. She needs to talk about the change that is happening to her. Her body is failing, moving her toward change whether her mind is willing or not. But I just wait for her to want to talk, and then she gives some indication she is ready for more. She saw me in the hall one day and absolutely begged me to come and talk to her, and so I did. Last time I was there, she kept begging me to stay longer, but then she could not help but be negative in spite of herself, so I have to let her think it over, because this is not a subject I am going to force on anyone.
But I am too worried about her worsening health to ignore her problems. I told her that she needed to make the decision that she needs to go to a care center when it is time. She cannot stay in her apartment if she goes blind or has some other drastic change as she has diabetes that is barely under control. They won't let her. So soon, I will be having to say good-bye to her as she goes to probably her last destination before death. When she can no longer manage an apartment by herself. I will be her friend to that time of departure, then others will be there to lend her assistence. Hopefully what we have talked about will help her when she has to leave the earth.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I love Christmas

Yesterday was a great shopping day for me, beginning ro enjoy Christmas. Bought my Christmas stamps. Deciding should I give this or should I give that. Beginning to set my book gifts aside. Checking out thrift stores now. Seeing if my book selections all year are going to be enough. Maybe make an annual trip to Barnes and Noble. Love doing that anyway.
I have fallen in love with winter caps, but don't know if others will share my enthusiasm. I don't do scarves much, not cold enough here, but it is plenty chilly elsewhere.
Sister Linda is in San Francisco this year. She might like something warm. She just had to have two teeth that had broken off extracted which she said made her quite ill, but she is recovering now I am glad to hear.
Bought a new ink cartridge for my printer, or rather Doc did. I need to repay him with lunch. That will be a start.
The new Farmer's Market store continues to be a boon. I love not having to go so far away for a single green thing. Yesterday I bought kiwis and apples. Oh, and I bought the most divine couscous salad Neena who does Indian food made and is selling there during the week. It so wonderfully flavored.
Indulged in pinenuts from Fresh and Easy. Pinenuts are a once a year treat to remind me of our fall pinenut hunting days in Utah. This is such a lazy easy way to attain pinenuts. I never saw such hard nuts to harvest in the wilds. We would hit the trees with long sticks. The trees with the biggest pinenuts on them were prized. Rain during the year made the nuts grow bigger but now you can get them nice, big, and plump, I don't know from where, but somebody is having to work hard to shake the cones down and extract the pinenuts if they don't fall out by thmselves. I don't cook with them. I just eat them as we did back then, out of hand!
Lots to think about from now until Christmas, making a list and signing the cards. Attaining new addresses if relatives have moved as my granddaughter did. I have got a good start, now I need to go back to bed for a few winks before getting up and facing the day. I am feeling so much better after changing my water. I even had the ambition to wash dishes down to Doc's. I have been making him do them all. It is surprising how not feeling well saps your energy. A little thing like that, soft water causing an allergic reaction in my digestive system, and this can go on for months until a possible cause is detected. With our possibilities for toxic reactions quite rife, we have to be on the alert all the time to stay healthy!

P.S. Cute Christmas header by Connie.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Good Review of Bohemian Cowboy in Austin, Texas! Hot off the wire in Examiner

http://www.examiner.com/x-14051-Austin-Theater-Examiner~y200
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nd-his-soul


Watching a one person show is a lot like having a first date. You know you’re going to spend some time with the person, so you hope with all your might that they’ll be interesting and worth the time you invest, but so many times they end up coming out a wash. Those few that do live up to your standards, however, can end up being some truly memorable experiences. With Bohemian Cowboy, Theater 4S presents us with Raymond King Shurtz, an earnest, southern man mourning for a father who vanished after a walk in the desert, and who goes through a series of mystical journeys to find some meaning. Along the way we're treated a bevvy of family stories, road stories, and some good ol' Southern music, all while going on an adventure of self-discovery.

Most of the play concerns Shurtz’s experience with his family, and in most cases this would grow tedious after the first thirty minutes, and in truth, the show does lag a few times, but Shurtz has a way of keeping things interesting. He’s a natural born storyteller, with plenty of charisma, two properties that any great actor in a one person show simply must possess. Shurtz also injects a bit of my magic and mysticism into the proceedings, reminiscing about his journeys across the rugged west, his adventures playing poker with Hamlet, drinking with Hank Williams, and even arm wrestling Jesus, and each of these helps to illuminate a part of Shurtz’s own emotional mindframe, and help to keep the audience engaged in the story. The play also features plenty of music, both original and traditional, mostly played by Shurtz himself, and in one of the most touching moments in the play, Shurtz sings a song mourning the loss of Hamlet’s Ophelia, showing himself a gifted songwriter as well as an actor.

One person shows are not for everyone. They all take a little patience and a little faith, but once you let Bohemian Cowboy permeate you with its old west charm and mystic flights of fancy, you’ll find yourself immersed in one of the most emotional journeys you can find on Austin stages. It may seem like just one man talking for an hour and a half, but the results are magical.

To purchase tickets, and to find out more about the cast, crew and company, just visit the Hyde Park Theatre site.



Monday, November 30, 2009

While Raymond blogs, I film


(By the way how do you like the neat header Connie sent me, Raymond?) He wrote today in Austin about how his show "Bohemian Cowboy" went last night, his thoughts about his filmed series he started at Metro Arts called "Caffeine!", ( http://www.caffeinetv.net/) and his runaway dog (I know that dog is fast and I warned him before he left watch out she does not run away, so now he knows he has to leash her anywhere but the dog park after she ran away and was caught by two bloggers er I mean joggers. See his blog, Bohemian Cowboy). And in the meantime I was filming all morning talking about a playwrights co-op which I could not seem to get off the ground no matter how I tried. Now I know why. Raymond is focused on coming back to do another season of Caffeine! which means he will be filming instead of doing plays on stage. I can understand why. There has got to be more money in it. The stage for a lot of reasons still seems impossible. Not feasible. Filming is where ite has been at for me the last few years. He might possibly do "Bohemian Cowboy" on stage here sometime.

Just as long as I know what he is working on so I can get somewhere on the same page as he is. I know Dan is working on the Caffeine website because he was talking about it at Thanksgiving. He wrote and directed at least one of the episodes with Dante in it. Dante was Sidney. I have a photo of them at that time.



Raymond says he has 14 shows to go in Austin before he returns. Brave man. I do not know if he plans to come back here and film more Caffeine! or what. Stick around to find out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dante's Thankgsgiving visit


Dante spent the night last night which is always an occasion. I fixed him delicious spaghetti with cheese in it instead of meatballs. I use the homemade pasta I find at Farmer's Market of which there is none better. I try to have all his favorite foods on hand for him in these days of spare income. Sounds like his mom is working cleaning houses and the kids' dad has been recruited to tend his little children since he cannot find work in the construction business. He was not tending for a while for smacking the kids. Angelina keeps good track of her kids and is not above a real sacrifice if she thinks it is best for the kids. He really should cooperate and do something to help out. Cleaning houses is hard work!
Well: his dad called and I had to get Dante up early to send him on his way. His mom will pick him up later at his dad's for Sunday services more than likely.
My neighbor next door is showing his Christmas decorated house at 5 pm complete with candles burning. He has 5 trees decorated in his living room so far. As soon as it is completely decorated he says, I can come over and photograph it for you all to see.
I am looking forward to December and shopping for Christmas, picking out books for everyone. I collect them all year long. I decided to buy some beautiful cards I saw with an Arizona motif. I will scan it for you. I won't be able to afford too many of them, but will send out at least a package of them. I love picking out a special card or two to send each year. Everything about Christmas is fun for me.
I found a couple of gifts to the Farmer's Market yesterday I want to get.
Doc and I have been making videos every day, some have been hilarious but not suitable for uploading. I am going to go down and edit more of Doc's play, "The Shetland Pony" as he is chomping at the bit. (another horsey expression of mine) And maybe I will be able to think of something to talk about to bring a laugh.
I am enjoying my son Raymond's blogging about theater. DB who writes Vagabond Journeys is back on line again. It is always good to have people blogging who never run out of things to say that are entertaining and insightful.
I recommend Postcards of My Life to you again. I am enjoying it so much, just photographs with a witty, moving, or insightful caption. Sherry is very good at that. These postcards have been a poignant way for her to express missing her daughter who passed not long ago.
Missy who writes What's Next has gotten her stomach reduction surgery and is recovering very well. That was a big relief to me as people who have had such surgeries in here have had mixed results. Some have had fabulous success while one met with complications she could not overcome. So now I hope we will be celebrating Missy's weight loss with her unti she gets to the shape she has in mind. I am always intrigued by her energetic approach to life.


I have been having fun putting photos up on Facebook, lately of my son Dan. I put his basketball photos up there, as his best basketball playing buddy is on Facebook, too, and this is another way of saying hello. He and Smitty (left) are pictured in the photo with baby Jamal after the game was over. I also put photos of Raymond up with the opening of his show in Austin. See my Facebook albums. Oh yes, and I was glad to see blogger Connie on Facebook. I am sure we will have fun on there.
I was just thinking how my daughter Ronda could get involved in theater through Raymond if he returns to Phoenix. She is such a performer. I can just see her playing a dancer, can't you? She could write her own play. I am going to have to suggest this to her. I know there are plenty of young playwrights Raymond has helped so much to write in high school that would love a playwrights co-op. If Raymond gets the idea of sharing the leadership then he would not feel so tired when he thinks about such a thing. It would just be everybody's burden. He said he would respond to my ideas today. I hope he does. I might do a video on it.
I read all the theater news in the papers. Thoughts and ideas about theater keep germinating.



P.S. I have just noted that my sister Ann has posted an entry called "Massacre" in her blog Kanyonland King in a book review about the Mountain Meadows Massacre committed by Mormons against an emigrant wagon train years ago, which crime has haunted the church ever since. Since a violent rape was committed in her family of a niece's daughter during the holidays with drinking involved, she is writing about violence, with affecting depth I might add. Sometimes we have to deal with violence to mar the holiday spirit very close. I think you will find this blog entry of troubling substance an insightful one.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day after Thanksgiving

I fell into kind of a defunk on what is known as the shopping day of the year, Friday after Thanksgiving, since I was not ready to shop. I could find no action on the Internet. That is not until a while a go when my son Raymond, the only family member not with us on Thanksgiving, blogged from Austin, Texas with an entry called "Test of Faith." And I thought, oh here is the answer to my prayer, somebody trying to do something out of the ordinary, communication on a higher level which is what I call art. Hmm, I read, and think, well, looks like he is having a day in the doldrums, it is tough selling theater to the masses, and I wrote to him, it was always tough to sell theater, 40 years ago, yesterday and today.
David Goldstein, head of the biggest theater company in Phoenix, in fact, it is regional and plays in Tucson, too, had a bad outing with a new Elaine May play this past week. I am sure loyalists did not let the play lose money even though the critics did not like it, but there was no buzz. No hit. He must have felt discouraged. With the brilliant Elaine May as the playwright and director he probably thought he had a sure thing.
Now I think there is no question that Raymond has the play, it is good, people like it when they come to see it, but getting the word out via the press is what can kill you. If they don't review it in time, if the public just never learns about it as money runs out, well, this has been the story of theater risk for years, not just today by any means, although there are always today's factors that contribute.
So you know what I told him? Son, come back to Phoenix. You all know I am a playwright, right? You should know it by now as many plays as I have posted up on Youtube, and my idea is that Raymond should return and form another playwrights' co-op. Clifford Odets was a playwright who made it big in the depression from just such an idea. There might even be some grants that could be found for such a thing. I know Raymond learned a lot from his first venture with a theater company. I learned from the formation of that company, too.
I know I wanted a bigger say than I got because the woman who seeded the company at first was not a playwright yet she wanted the biggest say. I thought the talent of the playwrights should have counted for a lot more than it did with her. With irreconcilable differences, Raymond had to walk away from that partner with nothing, leaving her with whatever profit she could take out of it from the purchase of the building, even seeded by other patrons. So we know the wrong partner can be fatal. That was one costly divorce even though he was not married to her. But she drove a very hard bargain when he wanted to split the partnership. Partnerhips with theater are risky. Too much riding on just one other person. And one person can't do all that work.
Raymond might be hit a little too fast with my idea, but we want him here, because we know he understands theater. If you want to do original theater, he is the big kahuna you want involved. He is Mister Playwright himself, having written and produced so many of his own plays and the plays of others!
I am not done thinking a playwrights' co-op coming out of the recession its self would work here. Why the first play I would want to do is this play I found in my closet, the fisherman's play, maybe call it "Fishing, Fightin' with Family, and Love on East Deer Crick." Doc might even find that becoming a lead actor for this co-op would be worth sobering up for. Doc has got a very good head on his shoulders, if he could decide something was worth doing. This idea, I am sure, is big enough. Because he won't be an asset even in the building if he is drunk. I will have to go down and run this idea past him.
Because I feel in my bones, Raymond is not done with Phoenix. Austin is hard. He is going to start thinking, hey, I know a thousand people in Phoenix, so it would not be this hard, no matter what.

It is so easy for theater to fail it is not even funny, but if first you don't succeed, here there or anywhere, try again!

Herrad

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