Tuesday, October 28, 2014

THINKING ABOUT WHAT I'M THINKING...



 

“You gotta' make a change.  
Its time for us as a people to start making some changes,                       
lets change the way we eat, lets change the way we live,
and lets change the way we treat each other.  
You see the old way wasn't working so its on us,
to do what we gotta do to survive.”          
Tupac Shakur

This week at DFW International Terminal an angry man was obviously upset at another man...you probably know about it.  The innocent victim was wearing a pink shirt...angry man did not like it.   The angry one kicked the pink shirted one, grabbed his hair and lost control.  A number of people rushed to intervene as the man is tackled and put on the floor.

When M went on active duty we were transplanted from Oklahoma to Virginia.  We were stationed there twice and really enjoyed the experiences but there were undercurrents we'd not even imagined. 

On our second assignment we bought a home in a totally Virginian residential area.  We were the only military and they happily accepted us even though we didn't talk like they did...we became friends. 

One weekend we entertained our military friends with a get-together and one of our guests was an African-American officer and his wife...they mistakenly went to the house next door and we never had a second thought about it.  Until.

All too soon we were re-assigned and one weekend we listed our home for sale.   The paper hadn't come out yet so late one evening we were surprised when someone called and wanted to come look right then...we explained our children were already in bed but they insisted so we agreed.  They walked around the outside and never looked inside...refused to leave until we accepted their check...bought the house then and there.  How na├»ve we were!

It finally dawned on us that the neighborhood wanted no blacks so they took measures to guarantee that none of our military associates would move in...you get the picture, I'm sure.

Okay, now I'm in the grocery store again. 

Last week on the next aisle over I could hear a wife berating her husband non-stop; I was party to all of her criticisms of what I imagined was one poor man.  A few minutes later I passed by as she was lowering the boom on him again for suggesting a brand of chili...she slashed him with the fact that she NEVER bought that brand...didn't he know that?  He was tall and walked as though he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.  Neither of them had twinkly eyes or smiles...beaten down.  Who knows what they were going through but the words hurt...really.

People can be so unkind and it isn't limited to one particular sex either.

M and I had friends we played cards with...about eight couples.  I'll call him Jolly and she was Peggy (one of the most beautiful women I've ever known and so sweet).  Jolly would jump on her for so many picky things...the one that he delighted in was if she ever dared to quietly crunch ice...slam, bam...no, no!  He blasted her off the wall every time and it was embarrassing for her...for everyone.

Perhaps our culture has changed so much that it's natural to be sarcastic/super critical/rude...you think?  After all we have those attitudes in abundance in films, television, politics...news. 


Michael and I are not rude to each other in public; rarely in our private lives and now, not at all.  It just isn't in our nature...and it bothers both of us to be exposed to it in public.
"When you hear people making hateful comments, stand up to them. Point out what a waste it is to hate, and you could open their eyes."  Taylor Swift

Michael's first assignment on active duty in Virginia was company commander of a Terminal Transportation unit.  Three days after our arrival he was flown out to a secret location for an indefinite time...meeting up with the company that was scattered along the coast for the Cuban missile crisis/invasion.  He had almost 300 men in the company...100 Caucasian, 200 African-Americans...poised for an invasion which never took place. 

Loaded up for the return to Virginia arrangements were made in advance for restaurant meals.  First lunch stop they had to wait until after the lunch rush…the owner closed the restaurant so the  troops could  have the entire place.  The owner welcomed them but told M the African-Americans would have to eat in the kitchen.  Michael said if they didn't all eat together...they wouldn't eat and the owner stuck to his 'no'...M didn't take kindly to that and moved all of them out.  Trust me, M's nostrils flare and turn white when he's upset...whoosh!  That guy dared...M flared.

So, having written and thought about all of the above…and more?  I am diligently working on metacognition...thinking about what I'm thinking.  

Along with that, and importantly "I'm too grateful to be hateful.  I am too blessed to be stressed."

From my heart...to yours,
Vasca

 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

SIMPLY PUT...


"To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk
or an evening saunter...
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest
or a wildflower in spring ~
these are some of the rewards of the simple life."
John Burroughs

 
This week I watched a short clip of Matt Damon addressing the matter of sanitary 'water'...specifically of the exceptional shortage in Africa. The clip was from an interview conducted by Katie Couric. Damon is just one of those helping in a big way to make water available where there are such dire shortages...there are many others.

Having lived in places where sanitary water...sometimes just any water...was a major problem made me aware of how I use it...but guess what? I'm still wasteful/careless about it...like there's an endless supply. 


California is just one of the areas in the U.S. presently struggling through a long drought.  Stark reality...water truly is a precious commodity and needs careful usage by me...and perhaps you, too!

Michael spent one long, hot, dry year in Ethiopia...I was there only a short time; dependents were not allowed to actually live there. The first week, on his own, M didn't follow directions and foolishly drank some of the water w/drastic consequences. He actually thought he was having a heart attack...was hospitalized and ill for some time. Lesson learned. Be careful.

There also was a drought...                            
you know what that means, right? 
We pray for rain here...we need it
but it doesn't compare with
drought in places like Africa.

There's plenty of water in China but people don't drink it (polluted to the nth degree)...we bought  bottled water. They still boil water and buy bottled  water...everyone has a water machine in their home. Better safe than sick and sorry! 

When M and I were young marrieds we lived in Healdton, Oklahoma ~ had a tiny house a few miles out of town in a small subdivision. 
The community had its own water system...but it was a lulu...sulfur water! Ever had to live with sulfur water? It can be horrendous! Skunks and sulfur have something in common.  Even our washer turned out stinky laundry. Aargh. Needless to say, we bought lots of bottled water.

Good clean, clear water is awesome...I love it...call me a 'waterholic'. My mother didn't like to drink water...said it tasted like medicine. Well, must admit that it did...when we lived in Odessa!  

                                              I tend to take most of our blessings 
for granted...that is as long as I never see, hear or think about anyone, anywhere else!

How selfish is that? Could it be that I am too frivolous, extravagant...or terrible thought...wasteful? Am I living simply enough?

I first thought, "Of course I am"...but realistically I know I'm not. Old habits die hard...for instance?

I've always done my grocery shopping weekly...same as my mother. In Greece, Germany and China our foreign friends did it daily...as needed. I would like to do it that way but...okay, so I'm lazy and stay in. I am also wasteful...probably because of the 'weekly bit'...along w/no prior planning.  Not wise to be wasteful and I'm trying to improve in that area along with other areas in my life that...well...are not up to where they should be.

How about a new car...don't think so.  Our ten year old Toyota looks and runs like a new one...why would we want a new one when this one is outstanding? We have all the extras we can handle...our GPS (we call ours Jack) provides excitement enough...yikes.  (Okay, we would trade if it became absolutely necessary...sometimes one has no options.)

Might be sweet for me to have a small office...somewhere besides in with the washer, dryer and other paraphernalia.  Ooh...nice but don't think we want to complicate things.  Besides, we really like our little house...as long as we don't stuff it...then we get momentarily frustrated. The point is, we are happy here.

Peggy Lee sang the song "Is That All There Is?"  Peggy, for Michael and me...yes, that's all and it's more than enough.  Less is making us happier and life is simplified. I look M in the eye, smile and tell him I am totally content and trust me, it's true...so true! 

I read...I look...I listen...about what's taking place around me as well as around the world. Watching and thinking about others and the differences in our living conditions can be and is heartbreaking. It isn't those who have more that bother me...it's those who have so very little...oh my...never enough.

Water...walking miles each day to get just a little bit…such a little. 
House...what house? Sometimes a tarp/cover...not much else.    
Health care...what's that? It's sometimes non-existent. 
Food...whatever can be scraped up...thankful even for the dumps. Clothes...rags. 
 
 So?
Life goes...on and on…simple for some, not so simple for others.

Some would give almost anything to
find the air and water exhilarating;
to take a morning walk…
to see the stars at night;
to look at a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring;
to have a life.
Simply put, I have everything...how 'bout you?

From my heart...to yours,
Vasca



Thursday, October 2, 2014

BREATHLESS...

This post is not only about bad days/good days.  It's a jumping off place for something else...breathing.  Be patient and we'll be there in a jiffy, okay?
 
Do you recall a day that might have been the worst day of your life?  For the life of me, I can't think of one that was 'the worst'...but there are a few, and one that was rather eerie...personally unforgettable. 
 
My pain tolerance is high and I don't always exhibit symptoms...which can be good or bad, depends on the situation...as in life or death. 
 
While living in Norman I had been quite tired for a few weeks but nothing significant...no symptoms.  That is until I fell into bed early one evening and later I couldn't get up.  When Michael found me lying in bed and white as a sheet he rushed me to the ER; both he and the doctor were shocked to discover I had only two pints of blood left...Dracula must have been working overtime, right?
 
Less than 24 hours later my family was called in and I was on my way 'out' of the picture...good thing I didn't know that.  Oh my!  That was some dark day!
 
Several days later, while I remained, a nurse popped in and remarked how much better I looked than when she had last seen me...happy to see that I had some rosy color.
 
I told her I didn't recall seeing her; the only thing I remembered was sitting up in bed, looking down a hallway w/big doors at the end banked by soft lights.  A person was standing at the door beckoning me to come there; I wasn't about to go and in a loud voice I said, "I am not, I am not, I am not."  The nurse smiled and said, "Honey, two of us stayed over...we were by your side and trust me, we were losing you and you never moved." 
 
Recently I've had several tests and seen a few specialists...the most recent asked me about the above mentioned experience.  He is Indian and I was surprised about his curiosity...he said he really wanted to know...I told him and he listened.  I've no idea what he thought; he asked, who knows?
 
Near death experiences are not always taken seriously but I'm convinced they do happen...and are serious.  For several years I didn't tell anyone about mine, not even Michael...some might have thought I was out of my mind...all joking aside.
 
Having been born with health issues has provided a bumpy road but my motto is, "I'm Rubbermaid...more bounce for the ounce."  A good sense of humor is handy...plus the continual urge to smile.  I have both, in abundance.
 
Until four years ago M has been healthy; we made a nice pair.  What's this?  He has this thing about forgetting to breathe and tends to get light-headed.  Forgetting to breathe is most unwise.  One might just pass out, right?

Breathing is good; honestly I don't pay it much attention...like its natural, right?  Right.
 
I really hope I don't lose you over the next few paragraphs...but here goes.
 
Last Sunday morning...during our class...I was sitting by M (of course) and had an epiphany of sorts.  I know the word but looked it up and it fits what I experienced..."a sudden insight or intuitive understanding".
 
Don't laugh here...I'm serious.  I inhaled and it was so clear, so perfect that it surprised me...to me the pure simplicity of it was stunning.
 
After worship service and we arrived home...I opened our back gate and it happened again...I inhaled and the exact earlier feeling swept over me.
 
What about since then?  Well...I've no explanation other than my inner thinking has changed and moved on to another level, a difference is there and it seems to be much healthier.  might be much healthier.  Do I make any sense?

 "It is possible to experience an awakening in this life
through realizing just how precious each moment,
each mental process, and each breath truly is."
Christy Turlington
 
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca