Monday, February 20, 2017

WYSIWYG: tRump Revealed

After weeks of misery, shock & awe at facing the sorry reality of our latest Presidential Election, I at last found -at the bottom of my glass- a very toxic revelation. Empty. 
So, I had another in hopes that my mood might brighten right here, right now, in my own private Institute for Institute for Attitudinal Adjustment. That didn’t work either.

So, after a wee nap, I awoke with the ANSWER! Nothing weird like a vision, but simply cold, hard facts -not of the Alternate Variety. 
What You See Is What You Get
That’s right, WYSIWYG. So clear, so simple, it clears up everything! What took me so long? 

Hell, what took everyone so long! Even those stupids who voted for this 't'-creature, and those who didn’t vote at all, and those thought their vote was worth wasting by voting for someone NOT HILLARY. 
I’d better have another drink now, sorry. 
I’ll be quick. 
There, that’s better. 
Others may feel cheated by this short unnecessary delay, but get over it, neither you or I are likely to feel better in the morning…

Anyway, what was revealed to me was this: 
tRump never gave us any good reason to vote for him, except wishful thinking. 
He never spelled out any plan except in the most general, hazy way. 
He refused to answer any normal questions.
Neither the Press, nor his fellow candidates were able to penetrate his deviousness.
He bullied and intimidated his supposedly R competition, until they all dropped out, victims of poll tea-leaves reading, plus an epidemic of weak spines, fear and disgust. 
He still defies releasing something as American as Tax Returns, unlike Warren Buffett, et al. He claims the ‘unfairness’ of his releasing tax information because he is involved in ‘litigation’ 
-Huh? That ought to be a red flag, doncha think? Besides, the man is just plain litigious , with something like 3500 lawsuits reported.

Bottom line is ’t’ ain’t gonna change, unless he’s forced to. 

His colleagues have so far been too chicken to really press the issue, so partisan is their view that they hope he will become the ‘tip of the spear’ for pushing through selective legislation, or repeals thereof, that they want to impose on the rest of us. 

Until it proves too hot for the R’s to handle, they won’t do much about it, except the usual jawboning and posturing so typical of groups who operate as a block, desiring so mightily to stay in power. 

Unless, their rather high tolerance for shame is reached, ’t’ is their man, despite the chaos he causes daily. 

When that trigger point is reached, they will turn on ’t’ with a vengeance, and it won’t be pretty! 

The World will be treated to a spectacle it won’t forget, and hopefully not of the violent type. 

So, its up to you, Congress, to get this right -it’s not a PARTISAN issue!

Question is, what will it take to turn up the heat quickly enough so that the frog knows it’s being boiled?

Likely, that may be the Russian Connection which is NOT going away. 
If that is the trigger that impeaches ’t’, then so be it. 
But please let it happen sooner than later! 

Then, we get to figure out What Mr Pence brings to the Off-White House. 
Plus, all the excitement of finger pointing and scrambling for power seats.

I’ve already seen too much of this movie, which unfortunately, cannot be un-seen! 

So, go ahead little ’t’ and make my day; screw up just enough -but not too much- to flush that throne you’re trying to sit on. 

Go back to where you belong! 

Air Wick, anyone?
Maybe Fabreze…

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Day to Remember: January 14, 1984

Thirty three years ago today, I met Joan Casey, who became my dear butterfly...
We went on a long hike at Point Reyes National Seashore, and until April 12, 2016, we have hiked many, many miles together!

Despite the sadness of Missus Joan's sudden passing, the joy we shared during our life together certainly outweighs the pain of me missing her physical presence.

I will always have the precious memory of her, her zest for life, and the love we shared.

Here are a few photos that recollect moments our journey together:
Trails & Picnics - 2 Favorites!
Our Camping Home
We never regretted living at 1015 Toledo!
At Ash Lawn - James Monroe's Home (2011)
Joan's iPad, a gift that kept on giving!
UVA President's Home (2011)

Chincoteague Birding
Joan with Bud & Juanita McCormick
J & J - Dingle, Ireland
Joan on Patio @ 291 Surrey
Giddy Gato - Our Wonderful Cat
J&J with John's son Tom, Sister Mary & Richard - Tullahoma, TN
Missus Joan @ Moose Lodge - ca 1998

J&J with Mr Jefferson - 2011

Clowns Lily & Big Red

Hiking at Mt Baker - our backyard!

Joan & John - June 17, 1990

Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday Doldrums: Integration with Reality

I've been lazing-ass around since returning last Thursday from points South, but I'll get over it soon.
Picked up sniffles and wee cough that are now going away without infecting anybody else, I hope.
Lots of rest, warmth and liquids -all kinds- have helped; now to answer the mail that accumulated will require all the attention that I worked so hard to minimize during my meditative retreat.
Guess that's called 'integration', or applying calm to the material world.

So, if identifying a problem is half of its solution, I should only need a few more lines...
The drive home was longish, but it mostly broke into bite-sized chunks, since I came late to the realization that the journey is just as important as the destination. That's something Joan knew since birth I believe.

Picking up from where I left off in Dec blog; all the visitations planned were enjoyed, plus an additional one! Vitaly Kolesnikov, Irina and their 4 kids were in Sacramento visiting his Pop & Mom, so I went by Tuesday AM for a reunion and the picture below:
Front: Mama Yelena, Papa Fedor, Mr John
Rear: Dina, Leah, Irina, Andre, Vitaly, Tanya
Missing: 16 other children of Papa & Mama K!
After having a great dinner with Tom & Peggy at the historic Jacksonville Inn, near their new home, I drove to Eugene, OR for rest before returning to good 'ole Bham. In-route, I was extraordinarily lucky  in dodging potentially dire storm warnings and pulling into the garage just prior to more snow on Thursday afternoon.

Then, I crashed. I'm still semi-crashed, but satisfied about meeting many friends and getting 'stuff' done. Haven't left the building since arriving, except for rounds of electronic volleys in all directions.
Actually opened the mail, not answered it mind you!
Now, Christmas has passed, along with my son, Tom's, birthday and mine, without watching a single minute of football - or the news. Silence has been golden! I'm thinking I prefer no sound to the types of sounds that now pollute our space.

Silence ought to help me in coming to grips with the so-called 'reality' situations in which we find ourselves these days.
But, so much for ranting about silence; after all, if you rant about it that requires interrupting silence!

My wish is that 2017 is a better year than many of us expect! 
It's just that simple; don't enter a 'reality' you can't deal with in equanimity.

Here's hoping we all experience the type of simple, basic meditation we need, know how to do, and that brings peace to the world as we know it....

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Greetings!

As 2016 draws to a close, many reflections and thoughts arise in a grand mixture of joy, sadness, hope and some concerns. So much has happened, much of it unexpected and troubling, yet my predominant state of mind remains hopeful and at peace. And, that is the way I want it to be until the end comes, whenever it will... I do believe that is what Missus Joan prefers, and so do I.

Since I've begun receiving Christmas letters from friends and family, it must be time to respond in kind, now that over two months have elapsed since my posting which summarized my activities for the 6-months prior period.

At this moment, I am in Joan's house in San Francisco, where our friends Ilya & Rina Kolesnikov and their family have recently moved in at my invitation. Missus Joan's direction was to have them occupy her home as long as they wish. That's happening, despite the fact that Probate and transfer to my name won't happen until early 2017.
The Holiday Season has already been made real in the neighborhood, as evidenced by several dinners with neighbors, colorful lights and decorations and carols being sung - just what Joan would have wanted!

I've been in California since driving down in my new Honda CRV just before Thanksgiving.
Weather has been good except for a few days of needed rain.
My 10-day Retreat with the RIGPA Fellowship in Ventura was wonderful, as I rejoined the study of Buddhist teachings while meeting many old friends.
This has inspired me to continue learning mindfulness, regularly and peacefully.

After the Retreat, I met with my paternal 1st Cousin Robin McCarthy in Woodland Hills for the first time in 64 years! Can you believe it? Of course, I had communicated with her by phone and e-mail, but not in person all that time.
At 17 months younger than me, Robin remains at her professional fighting weight of 92 lbs on a 5' 2.5" frame! BTW, she was a world class ice skater, who with her husband and partner starred in Ice Capades, Holiday on Ice, and various Hollywood productions - a true celebrity.
While her current husband is seriously incapacitated, her main companion is Sunday, a feisty little Rescue dog, part West Highland Terrier, part Poodle, part Chihuahua. What a treat to spend time with Cousin Robin!

While in Southern California, I swung by Palm Springs/Rancho Mirage to meet Joan's Cousin Clifford McCormick and his wife of 68 years, the wonderful Juanita.
They are both 91 and planning next year to move East to be closer to their 7 children + umpteen grand kids.
What great friends they were to Joan; inviting her to family functions, reunions and the like!

Coming back to San Francisco, I was able to take care of business; visit with Lawyer re Probate; visits to the Sausalito Presbyterian Church; minister; friend Paul Meade at VA Hospital; California Alpine Club on Mt Tamalpais; San Francisco Parks Alliance; Fromm Institute of Life-Long Learning at San Francisco University.

Five Memorial Benches were donated in Joan's Memory -count 'em 5- each with a different inscription. Glen Canyon Park [2 blocks from Joan's home], Golden Gate Park [Concert Concourse between DeYoung Museum and CA Academy of Science], CA Alpine Club Lodge [close to Mt Tam], SPC [outside front entrance to Church], Fromm Institute [outside concourse/patio].

These 5 memorial benches will supplement the three I have already donated in Bellingham; Point Whitehorn Overlook above the Beach [Whatcom County Parks]; and 2 for Bellingham Parks & Recreation Dept- [locations to be determined].
Truly, future Missus Joans will find places to sit in many of her favorite places!

This weekend marks both my son's and my birthdays; Tom the 17th; mine the eighteenth.
RIGPA in SF will have a meditation on 12/18, after which I will begin my return to Bellingham, by way of Sacramento, Jacksonville, OR, then on North.
In the Sacramento Area I will visit friends Sherri & Peter Brown, Nancy Carleton -maternal 1st Cousin, and Lynn & Carol Stradley - very good friends since 1970.
Then, to Jacksonville, OR, where good friends Tom Pratum & Peggy Leviton have recently relocated. Thence, to home - Lord willing and the ice permitting!

That's it for now, unless something happens quickly of note.
So, please enjoy this Holy Holiday in safety and Happiness!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Reverse 9/11; 11/9 What we've done to ourselves: A Poisonous Dark Day for America

The cause of human suffering, as explained in Buddhist terms, are greed, anger and ignorance. 
These negative traits and fundamental evils are called the Three Poisons, because they are dangerous toxins in our lives. 
These poisons fill our lives with suffering, and unhappiness.
A cockerel, snake and a pig represent what are often referred to as The Three Poisons
The cockerel is greed, the snake is hatred and the pig is ignorance
I believe this Election was won largely based upon negative emotions, including a large dose of apathy on the part of many who ought to be ashamed they let this happen, and doubly ashamed of letting Trump get away with a campaign based upon ignorance, fear and greed. 

Unfortunately, it may take a long time for America to recover from this gross lack of collective wisdom. But, let's hope we do without bringing on more grief than we -and the world - can handle.

It is well known that emotional appeals have a time advantage over more rational arguments. We can see this demonstrated everyday. Maybe it would be helpful to examine this simple phenomenon from an ancient perspective, including the Greek Philosophers and Buddhist Scholars.

Emotion, in everyday speech, is any relatively brief conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a high degree of pleasure or displeasure.

Destructive emotions and Their Antidotes

Greed/Attachment - Generosity

Anger/Aversion - Compassion

Ignorance - Wisdom

Several years ago, when I was just starting to study Buddhist philosophy, I learned about these negative traits and fundamental evils that are called the three poisons. 

Fortunately, I also learned these also have antidotes; meaning if we are aware of the causes of the Three Poisons, we can counter them with three effective cures, but first, we must become aware!
Sometimes pride and jealousy are added, with pride being a combination of ignorance and attachment, and jealousy a combination of attachment and aggression.

Plutchik's Wheel of EmotionsRobert Plutchik's theory says that the eight basic emotions are:

  • Fear → feeling afraid. Other words are terror (strong fear), shock, phobia
  • Anger → feeling angry. A stronger word for anger is rage.
  • Sadness → feeling sad. Other words are sorrow, grief (a stronger feeling, for example when someone has died) or depression (feeling sad for a long time). Some people think depression is a different emotion.
  • Joy → feeling happy. Other words are happiness, gladness.
  • Disgust → feeling something is wrong or dirty
  • Trust → a positive emotion; admiration is stronger; acceptance is weaker
  • Anticipation → in the sense of looking forward positively to something which is going to happen. Expectation is more neutral.
  • Surprise → how one feels when something unexpected happens
  • Shame, opposite confidence (shame: how one feels about one's past bad actions or thoughts; shamelessness: one does not feel shame, but others think one should.)
  • Kindness (benevolence), opposite cruelty (kindness: when people are good to other people)
  • Pity (when people feel sorry for other people)
  • Indignation (feeling angry because something is not fair, such as undeserved bad fortune)
  • Envy, jealous (pain when people have something that one wishes for oneself)
  • Love, a strong emotion of attachment one feels for someone else. Ranges to family, pets, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband.
Emotions are what drive us and what drive us astray. You cannot persuade without understanding them well.

This leaves us with four "basic" emotions, according to another study: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. 

It is common to think that emotions interfere with rational thinking. 
Plato described emotion and reason as two horses pulling us in opposite directions. 
Modern dual-systems models of judgment and decision-making are Platonic in the sense that they endorse the antagonism between reason and emotion.

We are persuaded by reason, but we are moved by emotion. Several studies conclude that up to 90 percent of the decisions we make are based on emotion.

Unfortunately, this seems all too true regarding the American public's selection of Trump as the most important elected official in the world!
God help us, and may God save the United States of America from the dangers of hate, greed and ignorance.

That is my fervent wish for us all, and the World....

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween: My Irish Colleen

I received this today from a dear friend of Joan and asked her if I could post here.
She agreed, so here it is:

As you might expect, this brought a tear to my eye, as I remembered our unique time together...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

An E-blast Update: Six Months After Joan’s Passing

Hi Folks:

Sorry I've been too slow in updating this blog.
One week from today will mark six-months since Dear Joan passed away.

I thought about that today, while driving to/from Seattle under a gray sky that drizzled intermittently.
Amidst the grayness, tree leaves stood out in their changing colors, yellows, reds and in-between green.
The seasons are definitely passing, as they always do, even in a man’s life; I thought that while remembering a book on the same theme which helped me through an earlier tough patch - a mid-life crisis.

That other time, hard lessons were learned and much suffering endured, with memories of sadness, a sense of irretrievable loss, questioning of what had gone wrong and why, and yet somehow knowing that despite this set-back, I needed to get on with my life. [so glad I did!]

Maybe, that earlier time helped prepare me for the suddenness of Joan’s departure, but it’s hard to say, because this current pain doesn’t seem to fade much either, despite my determined efforts to focus on the love we shared as true kindred spirits. All I have to do is watch that 8-minute You-Tube clip of our wedding. Talk about the experience of joy!

In the car this morning, every time I reached over for her hand, it wasn’t there. Hard to not miss that warm feeling…
But, I know her beautiful spirit lives! 
Just knowing that really helps inspire me to keep going strong, and rejoin the world of the living.

This last 6 months there has been so much to do, getting affairs organized and beginning to plan for my own ending.
I am very thankful for the help so many people have given me to make this transition proceed so remarkably smoothly!
Here’s a synopsis:

Memorials - The series of six planned Memorials served to allow many of Joan’s circles of friends and family to remember her bright smile, love of life and joyous spirit! Those events also helped me share the wonderful support of the many others who also loved her. I greatly appreciate that! Also, many other gatherings and remembrances were held in Joan’s honor, and these were truly amazing in their combined effect! Thank you all.

Legal - I’ve now gotten much more familiar with lawyers and their trade, both in Bellingham and in San Francisco. These folks have been essential in handling the provisions of Joan’s Will and the Probate process. I’ll be using them again soon, for my own end-of-life planning.

Real Estate - Our beloved Bellingham home of 26 years has been sold and is now occupied by a couple with 2 teenage sons. I know they will love living there as much as we did.

I have purchased and moved into a Condominium in the Fairhaven [Old Town] section of Bellingham, near the Bay, trails, eateries and instant social life - should I want it.

Joan’s wonderful Victorian house in San Francisco’s Glen Park Neighborhood is in Probate, now being valued so that her Estate can be finally settled. Her wish was have our good friends, Ilya & Rina Kolesnikov, live there with their 2 sons, and this will happen soon. 
Joan bought that house in 1978, as a single woman, and paid it off! Wish I had made such a good investment! [Come to think of it, I did - by marrying Joan!]

Joan’s beloved Cabin of 18 years, called "Moose Lodge" in Winthrop, WA has not yet been sold; but it has been rented for 6-months over the Winter and will be put back on the market next year.

Monetary Assets - These are all being consolidated to simplify accounting needs, including the IRS, using the expert advice of advisors who will coordinate these efforts with me and the Legal folks.

Autos - I sold my 2003 Volkswagen Eurovan, traded in Joan’s Subaru Outback, and bought a 2016 Honda CRV Touring model that seems much smarter than I am! It does fit my needs, and my basement parking spot better. 

Ongoing Stuff - I've already gotten rid of, literally, a ton of stuff just to fit into my smaller space; now, the job of sorting through remaining books, correspondence, files, pictures, slides, memories, Buddhist publications and notes demands attention. 

Next Steps - What are my plans now, you might ask? 
Several essential tasks include updating my Will, developing a Revocable Living Trust, Updating my Advance Healthcare Directive and creating a Durable Power of Attorney. 

Next, I’ll be getting IRS returns prepared and submitted, using a CPA this time! 

I am also now motivated to maintain a better level of physical health to help enjoy life; practice regular spiritual meditation; visit relatives and friends; stay in touch with others better; continue reading and all-life-learning pursuits.

Above all, I am going to continue to honor Joan’s Memory in the very best way I can...