Friday, January 31, 2014

Today ...

we will wing to Cabo for my sister's wedding.  A quick three days... no computer, but I am taking a camera.  So, there may be photos at a later date.  But probably no posts til Tuesday.  But I am not making any promises about staying on the blogging wagon because then I will be headed to the chilly East Coast for about a week. 

Hang in there, some drafts may make it to actual post status one of these days.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Poetry Thursday, sort of...

When I fell off the blogging wagon, what I missed the most was looking for quotes and poems to post.

It takes a lot of emotional energy (though I know it adds back in a large portion, too) to contemplate all the ideas in the quotes, so, you know...

I am not there yet... but I am getting closer.

This week, I am going to share what Andrea shared.  It is perfect and matches the peaceful feeling I am hoping lasts from the last meditation session.

I am actually hoping that I will begin, *SOON*, a daily meditation practice. It may be the only way I make it through this move alive.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beach Days

After too many days locked inside the house or at the hospital, I decided I needed a beach day. After all, what was I doing here in beautiful Southern California without visiting the beach? So, I announced to my brother and niece that we should have a beach day on Tuesday (this was several weeks ago already)... and I got a call first thing in the morning.
We went to my favorite beach in Oxnard which has grass and a playground and then you cross the dunes to the beach. It is the only handicap accessible beach that I know of ... with a ramp that goes far into the sand through a slot in the dunes. [there is a lovely map here to show the set up of the beach, it's copyrighted, so I am only going to point at it.]  There are several benches and tables there so that folks who are in wheelchairs but want to get sand in their food are welcome to do just that. Personally, what I love about the beach is that you can have your food in the grass and or at a table, if you must, and not worry about sand. But to each his/her own ...

After some time swinging and eating her pb&j, my niece was ready for the beach. As you can see, we are dutiful adults who indulge her every whim (ALMOST!), complying when she says "PUSH!" or wants to stop swinging. I helped her collect sticks and feathers for the dino trap she was creating for her rather large plastic triceratops. Then Barbie's dogs (sans Barbie - she must be recovering from skin cancer or something) decided they wanted to be buried in sand.

I discovered that my niece does not like the ocean. She loves the beach. She is that child who loves sand and is afraid of the ocean. I detest sand -- but I love the ocean. I love the sound of the waves, I like to see the tide come in and go out. I like to dip my toes in the ice cold water -- as I have explained to many people who balk at the ocean temp in SoCal, the trick is to keep your feet in until they go numb and then you can't feel the cold! I swear it works every time.

After a while, I left my niece and brother to the dino trap and Gypsies (all of the dogs are named Gypsy, don't ask, I have no idea why).  I started to scan the horizon for whales or other wildlife.  It is what I do at the beach besides look for treasures (we found some) and watch the waves.  I noticed the pelicans (love them) heading toward one particular site, and that there were lots of white birds bobbing in the ocean there.  Pretty soon, my scanning paid off - there were dolphins, fishing in that same area.
This is how I discovered my niece does not like the ocean -- she refused to even look at the ocean to see the dolphins. At one point, I held her, she wrapped around me like a koala bear, head buried in my shoulder as I described what I saw.

I pointed them out to my brother and we began to watch them in earnest.  My brother said, I sure wish I could see them surfing.  There were human surfers in the area -- and one set of dolphins had seemed to swim around them at one point.  I reminisced with my brother about our trip to Alaska, when my sister had said, Anna get the whale to come out so I can get a picture.  I waved at the ocean and a giant whale's tail came out of the water - seemingly answering my wave, and my sister snapped the picture.

And, so, a few minutes later, as we continued to watch the water, two dolphins came right at us, surfing the waves.   It really made my brother's day ... and we felt the hand of our guardian angels.
These are not my photos, I *borrowed* them from the internet, but they are supposedly in California. And much like the first photo, there was a surfer about to take the wave when he saw the dolphins.  He sat on this board, and at the end pumped his fist in the air obviously as taken with the experience as we had been.

Before we left, we noted about 20 dolphins going back in forth where the birds were feeding.  And at one point, there were three dolphins jumping straight out of the ocean -- it seemed like they were actually playing -- my brother thought it was a mom showing a kid tricks. 

It felt like a great big welcome home -- the one I had been waiting for. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

NRU - on brain death, grief and hospitals

There are too many emotions around this for me -- but I cannot look away.

This is an article ostensibly about the definitions of life and death and brain death.

I thought this counterpoint to the above article was fascinating and frustrating ... demonstrating that this idea of life/death is not nearly as cut and dry as many would have us believe.  And... it demonstrates that those who ultimately get to decide often make decisions based on their own biases rather than some sterile scientific definition -- and that these deliberations rarely take into account the lives the decision will most affect -- those of the loved ones.  UGH.

[Update since I drafted this -- the Texas court decided to order the hospital to honor the families' wishes and the hospital has decided not to take the legal action further and comply with the court order.]

This is an article written by the McMath's attorney -- much maligned in the comments of the SF Chronicle -- I am guessing that is why he published it in the LA Times instead.  Here is the article the LA Times put together about reader responses to Dolan.

Coincidentally (?) while I was preparing this draft, another story about a family that took home their child in a vegetative state came out -- at his death, after 31 years, his family was laying him to rest.  It was clear in the story that their love for him had never wavered - even though he was never able to communicate his wishes to the family, they kept him with them and alive

Bottom line, there is so much we don't know about the line between life/death -- I am inclined to believe that families should be given a fairly wide latitude to decide how to care for their loved ones.  I am pretty sure that the more contentious it is, the less the family feels able to let go.  Despite what the disconnected "cool heads" think they believe, until it is their loved one lying in a hospital bed, they really do not know what they would do.  It is one of the reasons it is so important, when possible, to know what your loved ones intend about their lives.  Obviously, when it is a child, it is difficult to impossible to know what end of life provisions he/she would want. 

As promised, this is also NRU about hospitals ... and, so, I could not pass up another article about the hospital that allowed a woman to wander away from her bed, into a locked and abandoned stairwell, and die... I know that there are good people who work at usually excellent hospitals, but then there are others.  What do we take away from this?

I was hoarding these articles because I thought I would be able to write about how these issues affect me right now.  Turns out I am not ready to write about that just now, maybe tomorrow; maybe next week; maybe longer.

Friday, January 24, 2014

NRU - mish mash

I have been reading articles -- I have been saving them to share with this blog -- but I have not been posting.

If you check in on my blog, you already know I haven't been posting.  But I thought I should acknowledge it ... imagine me with a candle beneath my chin, not close enough to burn me, but you know what I mean ... and I am saying, My name is Anna and I have not been posting.

Here is what I have been hoarding ...

A lovely piece about the young man who helped Gifford after she was shot in Tucson, and used the limelight to launch a political career in which he has been doing what he thinks is right not politically strategic.  Apparently, it is not impossible to do this...

Every time I read about the survivors of violence requesting forgiveness, my heart leaps.  I am not sure how people access this level of compassion, but I am inspired and awed by it.

You are not going to believe this, but texting and dialing while driving is distracting.  There is a report to prove it -- in case, like global warming, you think it is a plot by the government to control your life.

In other news, there is a new PBS documentary on Ruben Salazar ... looking forward to it. But I guess I need to figure out how to tell the tv to record it because I missed the one on Salinger.

I almost couldn't read this article about a young man who tried to get the cops to kill him -- and the cops that were only too eager to oblige.

Friday, January 03, 2014

NRU mish mash

In my quasi-leisure [read inability to get things done that actually need to get done] I have been renewing my love affair with long NY Times articles.  It is harder to do online than in the actual paper, so these might not be the longest pieces.  I am looking forward to reading an actual paper once I am settled.

This piece on the warehouse of artifacts from closed Catholic churches tickled me.  I imagined when they might get to the point where they would sell these pieces to non-Catholic churches, too.

I cannot say anything about this piece without giving away its humor and impact, so I will just tell you the headline and that I loved it:  How I Found Love on Companionship Online.  Hope you love it too.

Glad the courts saw fit to admit this young man into the bar ... but is he still banned from legally working?  I guess they are saying that he can use the legal loophole that allows undocumented people to work as independent contractors ... because no one is employing them?  With all of these contortions, I wish the congress/senate would start to understand the importance of passing the immigration bill.

Ah ... Jefferson county ... still trying after all these years to secede from California.

I cannot believe we needed a study to confirm the distraction of phones/texting while driving... but I guess it is good that it has been confirmed.