The Lady & The Warrior in the Land of Kwarinteen

*A creative version of how my husband and I passed the time during the recent lock-down in the USA. We live in a rural area with very few cases of Covid19. Your experience may have been quite different.

Once upon a time, there was a land far away where an evil virus scourged the populous. In this land was a lady, not quite old but not quite young. She lived with a handsome warrior who thought himself old but had the strength of a champion. Each day they asked each other. “How did I get so lucky to be with you?” Then they would smile and answer in turn, “It’s a gift.”

They lived happily and well before the scourge cast its shadow, but then they became fearful and cut-off from family and friends. The minstrels and messengers of the land call out in constant litany, “Flatten the Curve! Flatten the Curve! To arms! To arms!” This was done night and day lest we forget why we were scared and lonely. The days droned onward.

Each day the couple stayed home as required, puttering about the house and yard. Clothes and linens were scrubbed, lintels were dusted, storage rooms were inventoried, and the midden raked and buried. When they would venture out, they put on their armor of mask & gloves. Their trips were limited to the market for food or to the apothecary for medicinals. The market was getting bare with only meager supplies of their usual food choices. Many times substitutions would be made, and the lady worried that her kitchen skills would be found wanting. On a particularly exasperating day, the warrior asked his lady, “How do you make this soup taste so good?” With a look of joyful relief, she answered, “It’s a gift!”

After a time, their imagination took hold with dreams for a brighter future. In the distance, you could still hear the minstrels and messengers with their incessant call, “Flatten the Curve! Flatten the Curve! To arms! To arms!” The couple listened to the warnings, but it was slowly becoming white noise in their home. Though there was still fear, they had other, more joyful things to think about.

They ventured out in their armor to the hardware and farming shop. They bought seeds and plants, dirt and compost, pots, and plant stakes. Together they brought their precious items home and set to work. Soon a garden came forth from their efforts. Large containers of tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers and zucchini, potatoes and marigolds were carefully watered, weeded, and watched. The lady said to the warrior, “I am so glad you are strong and able. I could never do this on my own!” To which the warrior replied. “It’s a gift!”

In their cleanings and rearrangings, a long-forgotten boat of dubious vintage was discovered. Its paint and propulsion could be improved, but the hull was sound and well-made. Paint was ordered from deep in the Amazon, and the propulsion was sent to the smithy. The warrior and his lady worked on the little boat remembering days long past when they plied the lakes nearby. Day-in and day-out, they scrubbed, cleaned, scraped, and sanded. The minstrels and messengers call of “Flatten the Curve! Flatten the Curve! To arms! To arms!” were nearly drowned out with the sounds of work and laughter.

The granddaughter of the lady and warrior had finished her schooling. She was now a woman that would make her way in the world once the evil virus was vanquished. To celebrate this auspicious occasion and still maintain their isolation, they rode by her home on their trusty steeds Kia and Nissan, waving and shouting their congratulations. Colorful banners were flown, and trumpets blared. It was a merry time indeed. The warrior commented to his lady, “How did you come up with these banners?” Laughing, she replied, “It’s a gift!”

During the time of the scourge, the warrior spent the first days off-duty, but then he was called in to help maintain supplies for the carriages, wagons, and carts of the land. He worked a day or two for a time, then he began working a full week. He felt better knowing he was working for the cause and taking care of his family. The lady missed his presence but soon became involved with her own projects. She sewed masks for a local healer establishment and sent cards to folks who lost loved ones before the virus took hold. They both did their work and were grateful for it. The calls of the minstrels and messengers grew ever fainter in their experience.

While the land dealt with the evil virus on the front lines, the lady and her warrior felt closer than ever. They enjoyed picnics and carriage rides, reading and discussions, cooking and music. After the busyness of the day, they settled and snuggled at night. Their love was savored and reveled in. All of their focus was on each other. The calls of the minstrels and messengers could not compete with the beating hearts of the lady and her warrior. The lady dreamily asked her warrior, “How is it that you make me feel so safe and loved?” The warrior kissed her upturned face and replied, “It’s a gift.”

Artwork~ The Chamber Idyll ~Edward Calvert, 1831
The Metropolitan Museum of Art-Open Access/Public Domain

~Dr. Catherine Denton is a Metaphysician who lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.  She is the author of her memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health.  Her mission is to encourage folks during challenging times and help them realize they are stronger than they know. Catherine & Jonathan (her handsome warrior) will celebrate 30 yrs of marriage December 2020.

Hydroxy Wars

I appreciate all the information from folks who have contributed to the hydroxychloroquine discussion among my Facebook friends. This has been a fascinating project for me. It seems there are two camps that are putting forth information. There are experts that do not promote its usage & feel more research needs to be done before giving the okay versus those with real-life clinical experience along with local studies of the drug. I had done some homework previously and indicated to my friends that if I were to become ill with Covid-19, I would consider this medication as a viable option.

There are valid points with both the for and against views in my opinion. I agree that more research should be done but with folks suffering from this illness now, it seems that anecdotal evidence should also be seriously considered. The main difference I can find in reviewing several articles for and against using this drug is when it is administered. It appears that after being sick enough to be in the hospital, it is not the optimum time to use hydroxychloroquine, though there may be exceptions. The most favorable time-frame is when you are first diagnosed with Covid19 and symptoms appear. Catching the virus before you are hospitalized seems to be key to a much better outcome.

At drugs.com, I found the recommended dosages for the four illnesses that hydroxychloroquine is approved to treat. I thought it interesting that the dosage and length of treatment are comparable for malaria and Covid19. The other two diseases listed require a daily dose for an unspecified amount of time. I have included a couple of articles that are against using this drug. These say much the same no matter what publication you are reading when it comes to a negative response.

The positive outcomes are listed as well for a variety of places in the world. After those articles, there are some studies from the American Heart Association and then a paper compiling several studies showing the efficacy of the drug in question. I encourage you to click on the links to read for yourself. I don’t propose that I am an expert nor am I a medical doctor. I have done homework enough to satisfy my decision and I add that it would be made with my physician’s input and prescription.

No matter which side you are on- that of extreme caution or those who feel comfortable with the risk- do what you need to take care of yourself and your family. Know your family’s medical history and the reason you take any prescribed medication. This will help you and your doctor no matter what you get sick from.

Drugs.com ___hydroxychloroquine

Usual Adult Dose for Malaria:
Maximum Dose:
-First dose: 800 mg salt (620 mg base)/dose
-Second, third, and fourth dose: 400 mg salt (310 mg base)/dose

Total of 5 doses = 2400mg

Usual Adult Dose for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus:
200 to 400 mg salt (155 to 310 mg base)/day orally divided in 1 or 2 doses

Total = long term daily use

Usual Adult Dose for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Initial dose: 400 to 600 mg salt (310 to 465 mg base)/day orally divided in 1 or 2 doses
Maintenance dose: 200 to 400 mg salt (155 to 310 mg base)/day orally divided in 1 or 2 doses
The action of this drug is cumulative and may require weeks to months to achieve the maximum therapeutic effect.

Total = long term daily use

Usual Adult Dose for COVID-19:

At least 50 kg: 800 mg salt (620 mg base) orally on day 1, followed by 400 mg salt (310 mg base) orally once a day
Total duration of therapy: 4 to 7 days, based on clinical evaluation

Total of 5-7 doses = 2400mg-3600mg

Articles that Do Not endorse hydroxychloroquine:

“The new analysis — by Mandeep Mehra, a Harvard Medical School professor and physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and colleagues at other institutions — included patients with a positive laboratory test for covid-19 who were hospitalized between Dec. 20, 2019, and April 14, 2020, at 671 medical centers worldwide.
The Lancet analysis is based on a retrospective analysis of medical records, not a controlled study in which patients are divided randomly into treatment groups — the method considered the gold standard of medicine. But the sheer size of the study was convincing to some scientists.

”For those given hydroxychloroquine, there was a 34 percent increase in the risk of mortality and a 137 percent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias. For those receiving hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic — there was a 45 percent increased risk of death and a 411 percent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias.
Those given chloroquine had a 37 percent increased risk of death and a 256 percent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias. For those taking chloroquine and an antibiotic, there was a 37 percent increased risk of death and a 301 percent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias.”    ~ Washington Post article

“A former Army doctor who has spent a career helping veterans who believe they were permanently harmed by malaria drugs said two medications being considered to treat the COVID-19 coronavirus could cause brain damage and other long-term health problems in some “susceptible individuals.”
“We are trying to strike a balance between making something with the potential of an effect to the American people available while at the same time doing it under the auspices of a protocol to determine whether it is truly safe and effective,” Fauci said during a press briefing March 20.
He added that, although chloroquine has been used safely as a treatment for malaria, what “we don’t know is when you put it in the context of another disease whether it is safe.”
“Any drug has some toxicities. The decades of experience that we have in this drug indicate that the toxicities are rare and they are in many respects reversible,” Fauci said.” ~military.com

Articles and studies that DO endorse hydroxychloroquine:

London: Oxford University began enrolling U.K. health workers on Thursday in a global trial to see whether anti-malaria drugs can prevent infection by the coronavirus. ~ The Print

France: In the last week of March, for instance, over 10,000 people were prescribed hydroxychloroquine in Marseille alone. . . In France and the U.S., the use of hydroxychloroquine has been fraught between those who think the risks are small enough to warrant widespread use and those who think that more research is required before the widespread prescription. ~ forbes.com

Costa Rica: The medical director of the Caja, Mario Ruiz, as the director of Pharmacoepidemiology, Marjorie Obando Elizondo, the director of the Children’s Hospital, Olga Arguedas and the minister of Health, Daniel Salas, confirmed the use of the drug and the success in mitigating and containing the progression of the virus and also in reducing the number of patients who must be hospitalized in intensive care units. . . We were told that it is key that a mild or moderate patient does not become severe. ~ QCOSTARICA.COM

Texas: “The Texas State Board of Pharmacy issued a new rule that no prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine could be dispensed without a diagnosis, then changed their tune.
On March 20, the Texas State Board of Pharmacy issued a new rule that no prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine or azithromycin could be dispensed without a diagnosis “consistent with evidence for its use.”
“Never before have we had to turn in a diagnosis with a prescription,” Lozano told The Texan. Lozano has seen about five to six patients per week for coronavirus. “They see a dramatic improvement within six to eight hours,” Lozano said.” ~the Texan News

New York: My name is Dr. Zev Zelenko and I practice medicine in Monroe, NY. For the last 16 years, I have cared for approximately 75% of the adult population of Kiryas Joel, which is a very close-knit community of approximately 35,000 people in which the infection spread rapidly and unchecked prior to the imposition of social distancing.
Given the urgency of the situation, I developed the following treatment protocol in the pre-hospital setting and have seen only positive results:

  1. Any patient with shortness of breath regardless of age is treated.
  2. Any patient in the high-risk category even with just mild symptoms is treated.
  3. Young, healthy and low-risk patients even with symptoms are not treated (unless their circumstances change and they fall into category 1 or 2).

My out-patient treatment regimen is as follows:

  1. Hydroxychloroquine 200mg twice a day for 5 days
  2. Azithromycin 500mg once a day for 5 days
  3. Zinc sulfate 220mg once a day for 5 days

~Global Research

AHA Journal: – “Results – Two hundred one patients were treated for COVID-19 with chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine. Ten patients (5.0%) received chloroquine, 191 (95.0%) received hydroxychloroquine and 119 (59.2%) also received azithromycin. The primary outcome of TdP was not observed in the entire population.
Conclusions – In the largest reported cohort of COVID-19 patients to date treated with chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine {plus minus} azithromycin, no instances of TdP or arrhythmogenic death were reported. Although use of these medications resulted in QT prolongation, clinicians seldomly needed to discontinue therapy. Further study of the need for QT interval monitoring is needed before final recommendations can be made.” ~ The American Heart Association Journal

Timeline & 17 Research Papers: Executive Summary Interpretation of the Data In This Report- The HCQ-AZ combination, when started immediately after diagnosis, appears to be a safe and efficient treatment for COVID-19, with a mortality rate of 0.5%, in elderly patients. It avoids worsening and clears virus persistence and contagious infectivity in most cases. ~ Sequential CQ / HCQ Research Papers and Reports: 

 

~Dr. Catherine Denton is a Metaphysician who lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.  She is the author of her memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health.  While on her medical journey, she was prescribed more than a dozen psychiatric medications over thirteen years.  She knows what it means to “do your homework” when it comes to prescription drug use, though much of it was hindsight during those years.  Looking before she leaps is now her motto.

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Safety First?

Humanity has been trained in our modern times. We have to watch out for the other guy so we won’t get a bad review on our business or product. We don’t want to hurt someone unintentionally, or (heaven forbid) we get sued and taken to court. We have made it easy to be blamed for things that may or may not be within our control. Conscientious folks do try to not harm people, and they do the best they can within the scope of their experience or expertise. Assuming the best intentions can be a good axiom to live by. Sure, there are times we will get burned on a deal, but looking for the bad in everything is a rough way to exist.

My husband works in manufacturing in industrial maintenance. For a short stint, he was the Safety Officer for his shift in his department. He was excited to be part of this rotation. He had experience actually working on the machines and knowing what it was like to fix this equipment. After 40+ years in this type of work, he saw how safety standards had changed. He hoped to inject some common sense into some of the regulations. There are occasions when the regular safety protocols are more of a danger than what you are trying to be protected from.

Factories live in fear of OSHA – Occupational Safety & Health Administration. They also dread work injuries. Gone are the days of children working in the mills. Modern-day machinery has safety guards around the moving parts, alarms when doors open and close, and preventative maintenance is done at semi-regular intervals. Even with all these precautions, accidents happen, and sometimes people get hurt or even die. There are times when it is due to operator error and not a failure of the machine.

I watched a video recently where Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame was talking about how too much safety fosters complacency in folks. He cites studies showing how people using seat belts drive faster and motorcycle riders wearing helmets corner more quickly. When was the last time you were at a cross-walk where the electronic signal is telling you when to walk? Did you look at the traffic before you crossed the road, or did you take the sign as your only cue? Are we relying on other people or mechanisms to keep us safe then blame those very protocols when things turn out bad? Could we augment those items by using our own discernment and accepting some responsibility for the outcomes, either good or bad?

Many in our country wish our government would do more in keeping us safe from the recent pandemic. Some even go so far as to want the government to keep things shut down indefinitely to save lives from this virus. Are these actions making us complacent? Are our immune systems taking a hit by not being exposed to things that can make it strong? Despite an abundance of precautions- safety regulations, health awareness campaigns, product warnings, etc…- people still get sick and die from numerous causes. Where can we accept self-responsibility for the choices we make?

My husband and I joke about needing to “eat a peck of dirt” just to get by in this ol’ world. Exposure to working and playing in the outdoors at an early age was an everyday occurrence for us. He and his father worked the family farm while I played in my grandparents’ barnyard a few times a week. We were told to wash our hands before we ate and take a bath each day, but there was no sanitizing or bleaching the entire house where we grew up. It seems some scientists agree with this way of living. An article in Mother Earth News- The Hygiene Hypothesis says, “Some exposure to “germs” will mature and strengthen your immune system.” Isn’t this the premise of how vaccines and homeopathy are supposed to work? Dosing with small amounts of what can make you sick in more substantial amounts can, over time, make you immune to the full-blown disease.

I’m not advocating ditching all safety precautions or dumping modern sanitation. I call for us to look at safety and reflect on what it means for each of us as individuals. Are we trying to compensate for places in our past, or even our present, where we don’t feel safe? Are we being overly cautious with our behavior in areas where we feel more in control? Are we advocating for more government control so that we can shift our responsibility? Are we giving our power away to others such as the experts, the law, or the authority figure du jour? Should we all just cover ourselves in sanitized bubble-wrap and give others our Power of Attorney?

Being responsible for our lives is scary and can make us feel abandoned if we are not used to it. All those folks on those Survivor programs are thrown into an abandonment-type situation for our entertainment. Can we attempt to live somewhat like those reality TV stars (minus the rat-eating) and learn to take care of ourselves in real life? Humans are more robust than they realize. To be conscious of our choices and responsible for the outcomes is to live in a free world. We are made for this type of freedom.

~Dr. Catherine Denton is a Metaphysician who lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.  She is the author of her memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health.  Her mission is to encourage folks during challenging times and help them realize they are stronger than they know.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

The Gift of the Corona: Light is the Spirit Who Wears the Crown

America has been shut down for forty-two days. The world is wrapped in fear, and folks are suffering financially, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Scientists, politicians, and other authority figures say an entity that can only be seen with an electron microscope is the cause. Humans are made up of various bacteria and viruses that allow our bodies to do their job of keeping us alive and well. How did this particular virus turn our world upside down?

I have said in other articles on this blog how the media manipulates us if we allow it. I extend that shaping ability to others who we allow to have power over us as well. Fear can make us do things we would never dream of doing voluntarily. In fear, our body is buried in the primitive aspect of our brain, where evading pain and suffering is primal. Our prefrontal cortex- the thinking, reasoning, and creative center- is shut down. We trade our personal power for safety. I wonder if it is worth the price we pay.

Fear lowers our immune response. It causes or exacerbates existing trauma. It sets in motion specific hormonal reactions within our body and prepares it for fight or flight. Some folks feel no way out of their circumstance and just freeze, trapping the hormones inside the body and causing more damage than the initially feared entity produced.

I offer a different perspective on this current predicament. I am reminded of the Pixar movie Monsters Inc. The company employs monsters to jump out of children’s closets at night and scare the children so their fear and screams can be harvested. In turn, this fear provides energy for the world the monsters live in. After one of the children enters the monster world and offers a first-hand experience to those who would scare her, we see a change in the power dynamic. Her open joy and laughter are shown to have superior power than the screams and fear that were elicited from other children by stealth.

Humans do not change anything voluntarily. We need an incentive. Our world, pre-Covid 19, was going off the rails. Folks were working more and living less just to survive or maintain what they had acquired. Healthy relationships were strained or non-existent. Those who had got more and those who were without became entrenched in that loss. We can not expect all of life to be fair or equal. We are all individuals with our own particular motivations and needs. The disparity, in this instance, was beyond acceptable. Something was needed to make it all stop- enter a suitable viral catalyst.

The fear, whipped to a frenzy by the media, seemed contrived. Though the ability for the virus to initiate illness was real enough. I have to wonder at the complete lack of hope the news portrayed to us was not done on purpose for some nefarious plan. The attacks on any possible treatment or faith in a brighter day seemed coordinated and vindictive. The narrative seemed controlled and deliberately confusing, like a squirrel trying to determine which side of the road to go to when a car comes.

Man-kind has survived many and varied attempts to wipe it out. War, famine, disease, including pandemics, have all failed at extinguishing life for humans. Yes, our numbers have temporarily fallen, and our collective morale has taken a hit at each of these circumstances. The amazing thing is that we keep getting back up, and despite the set-back, we gain strength and momentum.

Newton’s Second Law of Motion states: Force is equal to the change in momentum (mass times velocity) over time. In other words, the rate of change is directly proportional to the amount of force applied. At the present time, the world lock-down is exerting a tremendous amount of force on the will of the people. If Newton’s physics are to be trusted, we can expect an equally enormous change in humanity as well. For the most part, folks are not fond of change, especially when it isn’t their idea. Changing our perspective to one that accepts the emerging times can bring us a gift that helps us evolve as a species. For most people, they were not aware of how bad they were doing in certain aspects of their existence until the world stopped and showed them what they were putting up with. For others, it revealed how good they could have it if they merely tweaked something in their life. More folks are also becoming aware of how much less they need to still be happy.

It seems ironic that the act of limiting in one area produces expansion in another. Much like damming of a river forces it to find another path or widen to form a lake. The Enclosure Movement in the 1700s put many small farms out of business by limiting land use to only wealthy landowners. It was one of the main acts that brought on the Industrial Revolution. With enough pressure and time, coal becomes a diamond. It is not unreasonable to expect our current enforced limitations to expand the human condition and raise it to new heights.

To easily facilitate this transformation, we must allow fear to fall away and hope to return. Fear tamps down our creative thinking and the solutions that could be attained. These are steps that can be useful in acquiring a calmer state so that our aspirations can be realized. Choose the ones that work for you.

  • Diversify your news sources but do not accept any of them as the truth. Establish a neutral attitude and only take in the messages as data. Do not invest your emotions so that there will be no need to defend your position.
  • Remember that to live is to risk. Taking chances is part of life, and the reason amusement park rides are so popular. We used to take our life into our hands every day, just driving on the highways.
  • Examine what the fear you feel is triggering within you. Has your safety ever been threatened when you were growing up? Does your current situation remind you of those feelings? Who do you need to forgive so that you are no longer affected by this past trauma? Forgiving does not mean you absolve them of wrongdoing.
  • Are there people in your life you need to express appreciation for? Did this quarantine force you to examine any dysfunctional relationships? Strengthening a partnership or taking steps to end another may be in order so that all parties can grow.

Fear is a normal reaction to adverse circumstances. It is like a warning light on your car’s dashboard. It is telling you to examine the cause and take appropriate action. The key is to not get stuck in the fear or freeze your response so that you can’t see a way out. This virus and subsequent quarantine was only a catalyst to help us move to the next level of our evolution. Blaming others such as the president, the government, China, or even those not adhering to lock-down rules hinders our individual growth.

Gifts do not always come wrapped in pretty packages. We may not see the real value of this time for many years. Do not allow others to steal what you have gained and worked hard for. You are worthy of wearing this crown. What if we discover that our potential joy and laughter overcomes our no-longer-useful fear? You are a Survivor and a Thriver. Now get out there and show us how it’s done.

Photo by roegger “Drop of Water” at Pixbay

~Dr. Catherine Denton is a Metaphysician who lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.  She is the author of her memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health.  Her mission is to encourage folks during challenging times and help them realize they are stronger than they know.

Celebration of Life: Mom & Dad

Sherron Forshee     &      Kenneth Forshee
June 2nd 2019                  June 18th 2019

As a family, we have lived very full lives. Traveling with the Army calling the shots was all we knew and thought everyone else lived this way as well. Though the places we lived and the people we met over the years were incredible, it is the everyday things that are sustaining for us. We were not a perfect family but the events that occurred shaped us. Mom & Dad helped us grow into resilient, generous & loving people.

Barbara, Kenton, and I grew up in a household where Mom took care of the home, while Dad did as the Army commanded. It was known to us from a young age that Dad would not always be there. He traveled or worked in a different state than where we lived several times over the years. Mom made sure the money deposited into our account stretched as far as she could make it. Somehow, for nearly 59 years, they made it work.

We lived in California when I was born. My early memories include Daddy holding me above his head when we lived in Hawaii. I was the only child at that time and had all the attention. He smiled a lot back then. He lost that ready ability after Vietnam but regained it when dementia set in. Dad was a Career Counselor in the Army and was forevermore encouraging us to try our hand at this job or that school. In the month before he died, as sick as he was, he was still at it. There was a poster at the Veterans Home where he lived that said, “Only You Can Prevent Falls!” In his halting speech, several times, he tried to talk me into applying for what he thought was a “job.”

Not everything was rosy with Dad. His frequent absences made it hard for him to know our routine at home. He wanted things done a certain way when he was there while Mom had her own rules for us. The PTSD he suffered transferred to us having symptoms of that trauma as well. Quiet was the rule at dinner when he was home while talking about our day was welcomed when he was not.

Barbara was the middle-child and born in Hawaii. She recalls Daddy taking us to the circus in Ft. Worth, Texas. She also had her first Halloween when we lived near there. Daddy had her by the hand, taking her from house to house with her little bucket for candy. The summer we moved to Atlanta, Dad had a part-time job delivering AutoTrader magazines to convenience stores. Barbara went with him to help and would often get a treat of doughnuts and a drink. After her son, Brandon was born, Dad went with them both to the beach in Ft Myers, Florida. Walking with them both on the sand was heaven. In those moments, she was the only child.

Other memories were not so enjoyable. Dad did not approve of Barbara’s first marriage choice. He threatened to not come to the wedding, causing her much heartache. It was only at the last minute did he decide to go. Barbara has mentioned often over the years of Dad’s leaving us. Even though work was the reason, she still hated that feeling of seeing him walk out of the door.

Kenton was the youngest and born in Texas after Dad came back from Vietnam. His best memory was their trip to Italy just before Dad was unable to travel due to his failing health. Dad loved being in new places, seeing new countries, and learning new things. Everything was beautiful for him if it was somewhere else. Kenton loved showing Dad the places he had been when he was in the Air Force, and Dad drank it all in. Dad also loved seeing people he knew when he traveled. Visiting our family friend, Ed in London was a great treat. Kenton and Dad saw the movie Titanic when it opened in theaters. That was an enjoyable event as well.

As with his sisters, not all memories of Dad were amazing. When Barbara and I were small, Dad would take us fishing when we lived in New Orleans. Kenton was a baby then but grew up hearing about our fishing expeditions. When he was older, Kenton begged Dad to take him fishing. Dad relented but sat in the car while Kenton drowned worms in a small pond nearby. Disappointing, to say the least, but there were many other disheartening moments as the only boy child of his soldier father.

Mom teaching Barbara and me our numbers and colors by playing cards with us was an early recollection. She taught us Rummy and Old Maid before I was six years old. She walked me the few blocks to school when I started first grade. I remember her sewing some of our clothes on her portable Singer Sewing machine. She was there for me when my first husband left and when I brought Jon and Robert to meet my parents two years later. We went on many adventures in the mountains and especially to Bald River Falls. We laughed and cried freely with each other.

Mom also had her authoritarian side. Her home was spotlessly clean. Her rigid training of us in housekeeping skills made sure of that. When she said no, that meant no. When she said maybe, that also meant no. I was fearful of asking for things as a child. Mom’s word was law.

Barbara remembers her taking us to buy school clothes. Mom tried to teach her to sew, but Barbara remembers crying more than sewing! Wedding shopping trips with Mom was also a fond recollection for Barbara. They both went to the store to buy the flowers in the arrangement on the alter displayed here today. They had fun putting it together. Barbara has fond memories of Mom playing paddy-cake with Brandon and Nikki when they were both pre-schoolers. Mom also always cut our hair and gave us home-perms.

The arguments our parents had left their mark on Barbara’s mind. There was some conflict over buying a house at one time. Dad wanted to, but Mom did not, preferring to stay in the mobile home we had. There was a big row over it when at some point during the dispute, Mom sailed one of those See & Say Farmer Says toys at Dad like a Frisbee hitting the bedroom door just as he got in and slammed it shut. We were all stunned by this behavior since we were always punished for throwing things at each other.

Remembering the times when Mom would take him to McDonald’s while his sisters were in school is a fond memory of Kenton’s. In later years, watching British TV shows was a favored pastime. Before moving to Maryville, there was a large wildflower patch in their yard purposely planted for Mom. Kenton would take pictures of these beautiful flowers and put them on Mom’s computer for her to enjoy year ’round. She loved it. He also taught her how to work her computer. This valuable skill allowed her to have a view of the world when Dad’s illness prevented them from going places like before.

Kenton also remembers feeling controlled by Mom. She wanted things done her way. He was fearful of disappointing her many times. Her recent decline included her berating him for things he hadn’t done. Knowing a person you love is ill doesn’t make their hurtful words wound you less. Being her primary caregiver during that time was draining.

As a family, we had laughter when Mom scolded Dad about complaining regarding a particular restaurant food. When asked how it was by the server, he glanced at Mom before replying, “We ate it, didn’t we?” We also laughed and sang in the car when we moved from state to state, never knowing what to expect in our surroundings. Tears poured aplenty when Mom was in the hospital for ten months trying to regain her sense of sanity and then again when we watched Dad accept a commendation medal as he retired from the Army. Their last years had many similar moments of laughter and tears.

Our parents were human. They were authentic, and they were as real as you or I. They had their good days and bad, strengths and flaws, shining moments, and glorious failings when it came to parenting. They were the product of their upbringing and what they added to that, just as we are of ours. They improved on their early family life just as we try to improve on the families we brought into the world.

We had days of making ice-cream and folding laundry, learning to drive and failing in relationships, enduring financial hardships, and celebrating career successes. Through all these things and even after death, our parents cared for us. Mom & Dad did what they could with the resources they had and the knowledge they possessed. They loved us… and I believe they still do.


In my memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health– Epigenetics is a concept we explore.  Beliefs and behaviors can be passed down from generation to generation but without the context of the first-hand experience to tell you why you act the way you do.  To learn more about how I saw my family, you can purchase this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo.

The Letter

The evening light peeks through the window casting enticing shadows across the room and on the woman at the cherry escritoire. The setting sun embraces the day as she readies herself for a restful night. Perhaps that elusive state will come before the wee hours this time. Long has she waited for a word from his hand. Sleepless she has been for far too many evenings when desperate imaginings claimed her thoughts driving Morpheus from her arms.

A linen envelope hastily opened, lies on the desk franked with foreign stamps. The worn edges and a smeared address graced its expensive vellum from the many hands it passed through on its journey to her door. The tale it imparts if we would but observe its condition. The sender’s feelings of exhilarating hope or crushing despair as they gently folded the letter encased within. The dry-mouthed tongue tasting the adhesive, so the linen was sealed for its long-awaited travels. The messenger entrusted with a missive so dear. How would the letter be met? Would there be tears of unbounded joy or a cruel dismissal of words come too late?

She sits draping her languid form on the chair seeming to rise to meet her every curve. The diaphanous gown caresses her figure showing alluring shoulders and a graceful neck. The hair bound up about her head in artless disarray was still damp from her nightly ablutions. An unlined face was arranged in a state of replete repose as though still glowing from an exquisite orgasmic reflection. Lashes fanned her flushed cheeks as her lips remembered unforgotten kisses.

A well-formed limb rested along the arm of the chair and in her dangling hand was the yearned-for letter. Fingers clung to the linen as her mind recited every word of the flowing script on the page. He had not forgotten nor was he gone from this life to the hereafter. Her salvation written in ink. Her anguish extinguished with the broad indigo strokes of love undimmed by time or distance. An illness of excessive duration, he said, prevented his reply but now health had returned. He dared hope it was not too late to pronounce his ardent devotion and hunger for her smiles. His regiment was heading north to take the boat from the port. She could be in his loving embrace in less than a fortnight if that were her passionate wish.

What would be her response? Was her affection strong enough to carry her? Would he find her wanting since they last cast eyes upon each other’s visage? Time and worry change people just as battle and bloodshed. Ah, sweet prolonged desire. Is it better to seek and hunger for that person kept from one than to have one’s ardor sated by their return?

My 116 Day Hiatus

It’s been over three months since my last post on this blog. Ironically the previous story- When Bad Things Happen- proved prescient for my life as the days turned into months. Here we are in 2019. This will be a year of change for many of us and some things we are not going to like as it happens. That’s a given for any situation. Settle in with a cup of tea and allow me to provide you with an overview of my life since we spoke all those months before.

A few days after my last post, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with bladder cancer. To be sure she has had other life-threatening issues over her 86 years but this illness was one she wasn’t sure she wanted to come back from. I’ve known her for the last 28 of those years now and have always been amazed at her health and diligence in keeping it. She lives alone in a rural mountain town working on her art and doing community service. My husband is her only child, and we live on the other side of that mountain 1 ½ hours away in good weather.

After two surgeries in three months, countless doctor appointments, and hundreds of miles driven between our two homes she is physically doing well with immunotherapy treatment. Mentally and spiritually she is regretting calling 911 when she nearly bled out at home the day she was rushed to the hospital. I love this woman who has been my mother for all these years, and I feel compassion for her plight. She only wants to talk about “when she is no longer here” and what needs to be done before the day that happens. She is not sad or angry. She seems to look forward to that time.

In the middle of this, I had to undergo lithotripsy for a 7mm stone in the left kidney. Earlier last year I had a 3mm one that became stuck in the right ureter. Allowing time for myself was necessary but difficult to feel right about. The old mantra of “others are worse off than me” tried to return with its litany of hit tunes. I managed to shush its fears and remind it that I am part of the “others” I care about.

Just as I was nearly recovered from that procedure, my cousin’s husband died suddenly after only being in the family for two years. Deb’s previous longtime mate passed away after an extended illness just three years before. I traveled down to Florida to be with her for several days as I had done when Clint died. The emotional toll of these various events was catching up with me. I was exhausted and in need of support but where do you turn when the people you count on are in the same boat with you?

As if this wasn’t enough, one of my grand-dogs contracted Lyme disease and went into kidney failure. My son’s family were heartbroken to lose Stella who was still a young dog and so much a part of their lives. My husband and I lost our little companion two years ago, and the wound feels fresh at times like these. My granddaughters cling to Stella’s adopted brother, Rusty and fret over his age and impending blindness. We may lose another dear friend in the coming months.

It was fortunate these events happened in a consecutive manner instead of all on the same day or even the same week! Scattered as they were made them a bit easier to deal with from a logistical perspective but the building up of emotional trauma blocked my ability to write until now. I am one who needs quiet time to process events. My life has been far from quiet these past months.

This incoming year will see more of this unquiet time. I have aging parents in ill health along with my mom-in-law. We may experience a move from our present residence, and my own health issues seem to be a continuing thing for 2019. We will handle these changes when they arrive as we have done in the past. Doubtless, you will endure the changes headed your way as well. May we bend without breaking in all our endeavors.

In my book- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health- I faced many challenges. Some of this was due to the medical system, some to family strife but much due to my own procrastination in taking responsibility for my own recovery. To read my story, purchase the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo. My hope is that you are inspired to take charge of your health and your life.

When “Bad Things” Happen

Let’s face it. Bad things happen to us. Sometimes we can see the cause of the misfortune and other times we are left with no person or no circumstance to blame. What do we do with this “bad thing” that has suddenly turned up in our lives? We can have a variety of reactions so let’s explore some of these and possibly why the darn thing happened in the first place.

We moved into our present home eighteen years ago. It has a full unfinished basement where we promptly filled it up with our unused and seasonal stuff. It is true that nature abhors a vacuum. We did not have the room in our old house for all the things that we have now. A nice clean or at least tidy space was not to be. As a result of this wall to wall chaos, we failed to notice some creeping mold in the back corner. My husband, who is down there every day at his work desk and very near the offending fungus, did not notice it until it had traveled from behind some boxes stacked nearby.

When it was discovered, we began moving things. Then we thought, “Why just move them? Why not get rid of some stuff?” Thus began a journey that is still ongoing. After moving and purging that small corner, we found the mold encompassed that entire lower wall plus behind the peg-board on the adjacent wall at the height of about two feet! We had been living with this stuff for quite some time. It could explain some of the various medical concerns we have experienced. It was a real mess.

The mold was the “bad thing” that showed up, but we could trace it back to the basement getting wet a few times over the years. The damp area could be accounted for by the way our yard slopes and the shape of our home. The extent of the damage could be attributed to our carelessness and hoarding habits. The various circumstances all contributed to the mess we found and the subsequent cleaning that ensued. These situations were going on for years but until it found its way into our awareness- near the desk- we happily ignored the stacked items we no longer needed, the puddling area in the inner corner of our front yard along with the mysterious aches and pains we both experienced.

People do not change willingly. There must be a catalyst. For us, in this instance, we saw this “dirty patch” on the wall. For others, it might be a spouse suddenly coming in and demanding a divorce. Another instance could be getting a failing grade on a test. The catalyst must be sufficient enough to propel the offended person into action but not enough to throw them into hopelessness. Ignoring the signs and symptoms of an impending disaster is what humans do best. The trick seems to be to learn from these less than comfortable engagements.

I personally believe that everything that happens either to us or around us is here to teach us something. There is value in the “bad things” that come into our lives. It is true that instances like our moldy basement could have been mitigated if we had done things differently in the beginning and going forward. The telling part of this story is our reaction to the “bad thing.” We didn’t yell or get huffy by blaming each other for the situation. We just set to work and did the best we could given what was to be done.

How do you react to “bad things” showing up? Our circumstance was mild, but your troubles could be worse. Does blaming and being overly angry solve the problem? Emotions are not inherently wrong, you need to feel them when they come up. When emotions get in the way of taking care of the business at hand, then it may be time for intervention or at least a time-out to be able to see the real issue.

To take it from the personal to the collective, are there issues in the news such as the environment, healthcare, finance, politics or wars that you deal with and consider them a “bad thing?” Much of these collective woes can be traced to earlier decisions that may have seemed reasonable at the time they were made. Again, the trick is how do we, as a collective, react to these situations and events? What is the lesson to be learned? How can this “bad thing” that has come into our world’s awareness be something that can be used for good? Can we find the value that is there and instead of placing blame or calling one group or the other names, use our stirred-up emotions to propel humanity forward together for a better future?

We are all here to learn from each other and from the events that happen to us. This is how we grow as individuals and as nations on this earth. To look at the “bad things” as merely a catalyst for us to change what is no longer working is to become free of suffering needlessly. Whatever the “bad thing” is, it can be made worse by our negative reaction. We can change our perspective when we hear or see things that hurt or anger us. We can look for the value so we can transform our lives and that of the world.

In my memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health- there were several “bad things” that showed up in my life. At first, I reacted negatively to these events. After a time and after a lot of inner work, I began to see the value of what was happening to me. To learn more about how I did this, you can purchase this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo.

Red Pill Journey: How War Changed My Family

I do not trust our U.S. Intelligence agencies and here’s why. Much has been said regarding President Trump’s remarks about US Intelligence, especially in the alleged Russian Collusion affair. Right or wrong, I do not see his comments as treasonous. My family’s life has been directly and adversely affected by US Intelligence and the way it was used more than fifty years ago. Is the sentiment I feel a treasonous act? Am I a Russian bot? You be the judge.

On November 22nd, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas. I was not quite a year and a half old when this event put in motion a portion of the story that changed my family. The Warren Commission Report indicated that Lee Harvey Oswald, a former marine, and communist sympathizer, was the shooter. As the police were transferring Oswald to a car that was to take him to the Dallas County jail, Jack Ruby shot Oswald in the abdomen and killed him. Ruby was subsequently tried and sentenced to death.

https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/chapter-1

In the recently released JFK Assassination Records, it was revealed that there were two shooters according to the FBI, witnesses and the apparent trajectory of the bullets as told by the Surgeon General’s Report. J. Edgar Hoover spoke with LBJ, (Pres. Johnson’s) aide, Walter Jenkins, the evening of the assassination, to “have something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” An FBI informant, Orest Pena, alleged that Oswald was also an FBI informant due to seeing him with other government agents including the FBI agent Pena reported to for many years.

https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32144493.pdf https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32263509.pdf https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32246608.pdf

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was saddened by Kennedy’s death. President Kennedy had been in the process of diplomatic talks with the Soviets, and they were making headway. The Soviets worried regarding the unknown policies of LBJ toward the USSR. According to a CIA source, the KGB allegedly had data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination. The Soviets seemed convinced that this was a carefully planned campaign in which several people played a part.

https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32204484.pdf

It appears that Kennedy had decided to begin troop withdrawal of US Forces in Vietnam in October 1963. This information was revealed by Kennedy’s then Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect. In spite of numerous Vietnam historian’s assertions to the contrary, a handful of knowledgeable writers, historians and a retired intelligence officer whose “specialty is deciphering declassified records,” have found evidence that Kennedy planned to withdraw troops and indeed ordered it to begin.

https://bostonreview.net/us/galbraith-exit-strategy-vietnam

On August 5th, 1964, the American people were informed that the North Vietnamese attacked the US Maddox in open seas while it was on a routine patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin. President Johnson ordered “retaliatory action” against North Vietnam thereby placing the US in a war where more than a quarter of a million people from all sides died during the conflict. For people contaminated with the military’s use of the defoliant Agent Orange, those deaths are still coming in.

At the time there was doubt regarding the incident with the Maddox. Since then more testimony has been uncovered that the US involvement with the war in Vietnam was based on falsehoods and deceit. There was no 2nd attack on the Maddox. A conversation between President Johnson and Defense Secretary McNamara indicates that they favored withholding specific information from Congress. This non-disclosure led to Congress not having all the information they needed to make an informed decision regarding the entrance into this deadly conflict. Lives were needlessly lost or forever harmed.

https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/tapes.htm
https://www.usni.org/magazines/navalhistory/2008-02/truth-about-tonkin
https://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/world/asia/15vietnam.html?_r=3&emc=eta1

It appears that President Kennedy’s untimely death could have been subverted since Oswald was known by the FBI unless that was the goal of “some people” for him to be involved with the assassination. Why was it not widely known that Kennedy wanted to withdraw troops? Who was controlling that information? Why was certain intelligence withheld from Congress concerning the attack on the US Maddox? Would that knowledge have implicated “some people” in more distressing deeds or was our US Intelligence at fault? It seems to me that with the amount of money spent to gather information for our government, we are not getting much bang for our buck. Intelligence data is only productive if it is used.

My father joined the Army in 1960. He and my mother married later that same year. By the time the US became involved with the Vietnam War, they had two daughters- my younger sister and me. In the spring of 1967, my dad was deployed to Vietnam while his wife and children were left to wonder if he would make it home. The year dragged by as we waited for news of his safety or his demise. At last in the spring of 1968, he returned to his family, but both parties had been changed by the time apart.

Dad had been a loving father and an attentive husband before his war experience. When he came home, he was distant and reserved. When he did speak, it was to tell us to be quiet or not touch him. The dad I remembered did not come home, and another person took his place. My little brother was born in 1969. We all adjusted, but we suffered from the second-hand symptoms of his PTSD. We all eventually succumbed to the trauma and needed extended emotional support in our adult years.

Dad retired after 20 years from the military and began another career as an electrician. The contamination he endured from the Agent Orange started to take its toll. It is a testament to his military discipline in regards to his health that Dad has lasted as long as he has. My father had several issues that can be attributed to the poison that was sprayed in Vietnam. He is now bed-ridden in a Veterans nursing facility with 110% disability and in the care of hospice workers. He is 78 yrs old as we watch his body systems shut down one at a time. All because of a needless war.

After reading the documents above and doing your own research to further prove to yourself the allegation I have made, I ask if you believe our US Intelligence Agencies? Do you believe without question the information that our government puts forth as an official story on each news item they are called upon to investigate? For myself, I cannot accept anything I hear or read from them without questioning something. I have read enough history to see where the dots connect and where they don’t.

I am not angry anymore for what was perpetrated against my family and so many others. At this point, my anger would only harm me. I now use a healthy skepticism in regards to our government. So far, they have not earned my complete trust, and if they keep to their old ways, they are not likely to do so. I now look for an evolving truth and realize I may never get the complete picture. I will close with one of my favorite lines from the 1968 film Yours Mine and Ours as spoken by Henry Fonda’s character- “If this be treason, make the most of it.”

To find out more about my family check out my book- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Red Pill Journey: Introduction

Quite a number of folks on the internet have talked about “taking the red pill” which is a pop-culture reference from the movie The Matrix. This 1999 film written by the Wachowski Brothers (now sisters) is the story about “a computer hacker [who] learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers” as explained on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB). To be red-pilled is to learn a deeper nature of something beyond what conventional wisdom or group consensus promotes. It begins a journey for a person that, at times, can be fraught with an intense dichotomy. The question is how do you hold both views as valid depending on your perspective or is that even a viable option?

Thus begins a new series of posts- The Red Pill Journey. In today’s offering, we will look at a small sampling of the symbolism in the movie and how it pertains to our everyday aspects of life. Spoiler-Alert: I will be talking about the film. At some point, you may want to watch The Matrix or re-watch it, and see how much of the symbolism you catch. Our brain processes words and pictures differently with picture symbols having a more universal understanding and greater depth of meaning for us.

The unwitting hero of this film is Neo played by Keanu Reeves, a man of mixed heritage including Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese and English. Keanu was born in the Middle East in Lebanon. The name Neo is derived from the Greek word neos for new or recent. Neo wants to know what the Matrix is. The actor’s heritage implies he could be any of us, a kind of everyman, who becomes a savior of sorts. He is, therefore, the most recent incarnation of a seeker of truth. Are not we all seekers of some kind of revelation at pivotal points in our lives? Do we come to a place where the known is too safe and boring? Whether we act on our restless thoughts depends on how deeply and passionately we want to discover something more.

Morpheus is the mentor who helps to awaken the hero and believes Neo is The One that is prophesied to help free the people. In Greek mythology, Morpheus is the god of sleep and dreams. This role is played by Laurence Fishburne, an accomplished actor who is an attractive black man. Fishburne’s voice is hypnotic and eloquent when playing Morpheus. Though not preacher-like in his delivery, his way of captivating his audience is reminiscent of Martin Luther King when he speaks of having a dream. Who is the person or what is the device that awakens us from our slumber? Do we grasp at the opportunity to wake up and gain knowledge or do we hit the snooze button and remain unconscious?

The ultimate nemesis is the Matrix. It is what keeps the people imprisoned and controlled. It holds them back from their full potential. The interesting thing about this particular villain is that it is not real. It is a construct that is kept together by consensus. In the movie, it is shown as a machine that harvests the energy from the unconscious people in its grasp who are cradled in womb-like comfort. Where in our lives are we lulled into a state of somnambulance- sleep-walking through our various activities? It is no wonder we have the saying “I can do this with my eyes closed.” Is our energy being used by others that drains us of our creativity and motivation? Are we addicted to comfort and safety at the expense of our passion and soul-calling? To become cognizant of this potential choice is a frightening moment. Many shake themselves trying to convince their mind it was all a dream. Just go back to sleep, and all will be fine.

It is at this point when Neo is presented with an opportunity to gain knowledge of what he desires- the meaning of The Matrix. Morpheus delivers the ultimatum. In each hand, he shows Neo two translucent capsules- a red one and a blue one. If he takes the blue pill, Neo stays as he is and believes anything he wants to believe about his meeting with Morpheus and their conversation. It is well known in home décor circles that the favorite color to paint a bedroom is blue. In one of it varied shades, you will find a soothing coolness that inhibits wakefulness while inducing sleep. We describe depression or sadness as being blue. Music that invokes a raw emotional though resigned feeling is called the blues. Morpheus is offering Neo one last chance to hit the snooze button.

The red pill promises answers. It doesn’t guarantee the questioner will like what he finds but how many of us read the fine print? The intonation of Wonderland and Rabbit Hole indicates a circuitous route with counter-intuitive choices to make and potential plot-twists. This red-pill journey requires work on our part and a take-no-prisoners attitude. If we want to discover truth, we can’t be squeamish about how it shows up. We must also come to grips with the realization that we may never know the complete truth and be satisfied with a bit of mystery that is yet to be solved. History is written by the winners. The losers in any altercation must find other ways to communicate their side of the story.

Now that you have some background on this red-pill concept, we will tackle various topics that impact our lives that are not all they seem at surface level. With each subject, we will also look at how we can respond to this more in-depth knowledge. What good is knowing something if it leaves your emotions in a tangle? Finding meaning and purpose will be our aim. Using that which was meant to harm us and turning it into a beneficial action can bring healing to all. Stay tuned for the next installment of The Red Pill Journey where we wake-up to the truth about our family and local environment.

In my recently published memoir, Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health, I was “red-pilled” with the fact a person could totally recover from a diagnosed mental illness. My family history and the medical establishment I contracted with did not seem to include this possibility as part of their reality. In the beginning I used traditional western medical treatments but went on to use eastern remedies and holistic therapies to become a healthy person.

You can find this book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in paperback and e-book.

The Matrix movie
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/?ref_=nv_sr_1