Wash Rinse Repeat

I was born in 1959.

I remember watching the TV news with my parents when I was very young. I wondered why there was always a big graphic with how many Vietnamese died that day, and how many Americans died that day. Was I supposed to cheer if more of them died than more of us? Even then, I didn’t understand how ANYONE dying was a good thing.

I watched the riots and protests in the 1960s. If I had been a little older, I’d have been out there marching. I believed then, I believed it would change the world. I believed we could end war and end prejudice.

I watched and listened to the riots in 1992 when Rodney King was killed by the police. The authorities vowed there would be changes.

And here we are, in 2020. And I am watching protests and riots because George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by the police. The news reporters report on that right after the big body count graphic, how many died of COVID-19 today. At least, the ones reported as COVID-19 and not covered up or hidden as pneumonia or other conditions.

Looking at these protestors, they are the grandchildren of my generation. The hippies who were going to change the world. And when that didn’t work, we were sure that when the generation of our own parents and grandparents – because THEY were the prejudiced ones and WE were enlightened – when those people died off, then prejudice would be gone. We would raise our children to be better. What happened?

Most of the generation that included my parents and grandparents are gone, or warehoused in senior jails, I mean living facilities, so who is perpetuating the prejudice now? I really do wonder that. I don’t understand it at all. I’m not arguing that it is there, I still see it around me every day. And if you doubt it, listen to our elected President quoting a Sheriff who said, in 1967, “When the lootin’ starts, the shootin’ starts”.

Here is what I know.

Riots and protests didn’t change anything in the 1960s.

Riots and protests didn’t change anything in 1992.

And riots and protests aren’t going to change anything in 2020.

Perhaps what we need to do is simply accept that the United States of America is the biggest raft of hypocrisy ever to exist. It is a bad place to be brown. It’s a bad place to be poor. And it is never going to change.

Here in the USA we discredit, ignore, and warehouse older people. We shove everyone over 60 aside and say the youth know better. We don’t believe in wisdom gained with age. We won’t listen to someone who has been here and watched this society for 60 years do the same thing over, and over, and over, and over…

I don’t have the answer. You kids are so smart, you come up with one. But riots and protests are not it. Raising your kids to be better, apparently is not it either. I plan to live to be 100. I’m watching. Show me that you are better than my generation was. Show me that you can solve this.

Blessedbe

 

 

“A Little Shy”, They Said

I mentioned on this blog a few days ago that we had added a family member – we adopted a cat. Several folks have asked about her, and I’ve been pretty closed mouthed after the initial joy. This is why.

A local shelter announced through the news that they would be having “free” or rather “sponsored” adoptions for cats over 6 months old. A particular car dealership was actually paying the adoption fees – which are very high in this big city. I mean, REALLY high. You could buy a nicely pedigreed show quality purebred for what they charge for adoptions here.

Now from experience I can tell you I’ve NEVER had a free pet in my life. Oh, I’ve certainly adopted and rescued literally hundreds of animals in my life – but any time I’ve taken an animal that was “free” they ended up costing me a small fortune one way or another.

Hubby and I have been discussing and wanting another pet for about three years. Our beloved cat, Pearl, died while the hubby was on peritoneal dialysis. Since peritoneal dialysis, done at home, is not pet friendly, we chose to not immediately get another pet. A good decision, as it turned out. The next few years we were not in a stable position between his health changes and moving to Nevada, to take on an additional responsibility. But for about the last year we have been wanting a cat, and we feel like we are finally in a good stable position to offer a good home to a pet. So when these “free” adoptions became available, we applied and were quickly accepted.

My first surprise, in fact, is that we were accepted on the same day that we applied. No references were asked for or contacted, and apparently no check of any kind was done on the information I provided the shelter. This should have been my first clue. 

Second clue – This was a “no contact” adoption. This sounded reasonable, since we are still in Phase One of coming out of lockdown here. Also, the pandemic has really devastated animal rescue organizations, with loss of donations, and volunteer shortages, as well as being closed and having no way to do adoptions in person. But it does mean that we never met our cat until she was actually here in the house.

I provided a great deal of information to the shelter about our home and a list of several of the cats from the website we were interested in. I was told only one of our choices was still available, but she would be a wonderful match for us as she is shy (but really sweet – yeah, right) and doesn’t like other cats or dogs, so she would be happiest in a very quiet, all adult, no other pets home such as we have to offer. I took the “adoption counselor” at her word and we got really happy and excited about our new friend to be.

The next day I was told I would have to get to the shelter by 3 pm or I would lose this cat and have to start over. There was some rushing around as I found a ride other than the ride I first thought could get us there, blah blah blah, but kitty and I finally got home.

This was the third clue – almost inevitably when you are given a time limit and often a veiled threat (“if you don’t come get them RIGHT NOW I’ll have to put them to sleep” or even “I’ll take it out back and shoot it”) – you are about to get saddled with an animal no one wants. You’re being rushed so you don’t have time to make a thorough decision. This is true, by the way, on almost any acquisition – any time you get a high pressure sales pitch, stop, back up, and give the situation a very thorough going over. If the other side freaks out and increases the pressure, back out – you’re probably doing yourself a favor.

I will call this the fourth clue – I noticed it earlier and it did make me think – but I chose to go forward anyway. So this is on no one but me. But. Looking at the one and only rather poor photo of this cat on their website, I noticed that she (like several others) was eartipped. That is, one of her ears was partially cut off. This is frequently done in TNR situations.

For those who do not know, a brief explanation. Trap-Neuter-Release is a way to care for communities of feral cats. We all know someone who feeds all the strays in the neighborhood. A responsible stray cat feeder practices TNR either on their own dime or in cooperation with a rescue group. The cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, usually vaccinated, evaluated for adoptability, and if they are quite wild – released back into their community. Cats that have been “processed” are also “ear tipped” – a bit of one ear is cut off. This is so they can be identified quickly as a cat that has been vaccinated and neutered, in case they are trapped again. They can be re-released without the expense of an exam.

So when I saw that tipped ear I wondered if this cat was from a feral colony. And if so, and if she was judged adoptable and brought into the shelter – then why did they tip her ear? Normally, you would only do that with a cat you were going to re-release. It made me a little suspicious, but after all some feral cats are simply lost or abandoned and they ARE socialized and adoptable.

In the cats description on the website, and in email with the adoption counselor, the cat was described as “a little shy”. Repeatedly. But “she will be a great match for you, and I’m sure she’ll settle down quickly once she is in your home.” I can’t even call this a clue. Most cats are freaked out in a shelter situation, and especially a cat that is of a submissive, introverted type of personality. We do have a very quiet home, with lots of human contact and reassurance and lots of cat experience and a shy cat doesn’t necessarily turn me off at all.

So I arrive to pick the cat up and end up waiting outside for a good bit of time. Meanwhile, other people were in fact going in and out of the building – which also houses a vet – so okay, maybe they were going to the vet. When the cat is brought to me, the lady (who was not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing BTW – some contactless adoption – not. Maybe that should have been a clue, too) tells me that the cat didn’t want to go and was hard to get into the box. I find out later that the cats in this shelter all co-hab in one big room.

Now, I realize that to most people this sounds more humane than little cages. But it isn’t. Not with cats that are frightened, poorly socialized, that don’t like or get along with other cats. There are also other problems inherent in this. For instance, the new cat did not eat for a couple of days. When I asked the shelter if she was a picky eater (and what food they feed) I was told “I don’t know. We just free feed all of the cats and sometimes they get some wet”. One of the very first signs of illness in a cat is refusing to eat. When I had a large number of cats, I did “breakfast”. Once a day I put out one dish for each cat with a dab of wet food. Almost no cats will refuse wet food. I then literally stood there and watched the cats eat. If any of my cats refused to eat at breakfast, I would note that and keep an eye on them. Certain cats who were real hogs would get an immediate vet trip if they didn’t eat. So this free food with no monitoring situation is not good. I’m going to also guess they are mostly volunteer staff with one or two overworked paid staff, so there’s no consistency of care. A shy cat, such as our new cat, could hide (as she does) for days at a time and no one would even realize she was missing, sick, not eating, etc. The same issues apply to the other end of the plumbing – with multiple cats in a room sharing litter boxes, you can’t tell which one of them is passing those worms in their stool, or having diarrhea. So although many cats together in one room looks more cozy and homelike to potential adopters, to an experienced animal care person it looks like, well, chaos and possible cat hell for a cat who is shy, bullied, introverted, sick, frightened, or not socialized. 

There is a reasonable alternative, which is individual cages for each cat and a period “out to play” in a large room with other cats during designated hours each day. I volunteered at a shelter that practiced this and it was ideal. There was no fighting over food, and each cats intake of food, and output of urine and feces was easily monitored. As another benefit, even if one cat became ill, it did not usually infect the whole population as it could be quickly noticed, and quickly isolated. 

At this point in time I suspect what she was telling me was it took four people chasing the cat around a room full of cats for thirty minutes before they finally cornered her and grabbed her.  I won’t count this as a clue, as many cats are frightened and suspicious when you start trying to grab them and put them in a box. It’s pretty reasonable if you figure most of the time when we’re catching them and putting them in a box they’re going to the vet! But this fairly chaotic and hysterical situation can also be avoided with individual cages. As simply as, “someone is coming for this cat today, so don’t put her out with the others”. No fuss, no muss, no panic for anyone or cats.

I get the kitty home. She is introduced to her food and water bowl and litter box. She sits in my lap for a few hours being petted, and in hubby’s lap being petted. But she doesn’t purr and she’s almost motionless. She isn’t comfortable and happy, but frozen solid with fear, although she does give a few head butts and chin wipes. When she finally goes exploring she finds the closest hiding place and disappears. That spot was not someplace she ought to be, so we pulled her out and closed it off (boy did she sulk). She glares at us for a while, then goes and finds another hidey hole. And that’s it. She spends about 24/7  in that hidey hole, unless we literally drag her out for a repeat of the frozen cuddle for a little while, then back to the hidey hole. She did not eat or drink or use the litter box for two days. Well, that’s not all that weird for a new cat in a new place. It’s a bit extreme, maybe.

It’s been nearly a week now, and now I am quite sure based on my experience with many, many cats from every situation from dearly loved to born and survived wild to adulthood that this is a formerly feral cat. An adult feral cat who has no socialization. Her only experience of humans is being trapped, vaccinated, spayed, and thrown in a room with a large number of strange cats, with different, strange humans going in and out probably several times a day. That is, she has gone from being feral to being traumatized.

At best, many adult ferals never become socialized to humans. She is beyond feral at this point. The best I can say is if you reach into her hidey hole and drag her out, she freezes with fear instead of attacking. I think this is due more to her shy, basically gentle personality rather than any socialization.

They sent us this cat, knowing that my husband is disabled and has health issues. To tell you the truth, I am pretty pissed off. Not to jerk your heart strings- but my husband was not supposed to live past his 20s, he is now 54. We wanted a sweet, lovable cat to join our family for love, cuddles, playing, and companionship. We got – a wild animal who barely accepts our presence. My husband may or may not have years for her to maybe accept us. We are sharing a 26 foot RV with her. Right now the cab is set up as her private apartment and luckily that is fairly convenient for us all.  But what if hubby is hospitalized and I have to ask someone else to care for this wild animal? And not to be really mean, but she costs as much to keep as a friendly kitty would. We are not rich.

Thinking strictly of ourselves – this is not a cat that we want to have right now. And it is in the contract that we can return her within 30 days for any reason. It is tempting.

But.

Again, from my experience. She’s going right back into her own little version of hell. Big room. Lots of cats. Lots of strange people in and out. Constant chaos. Depending on this particular shelter’s policies, once she is returned she may be automatically killed as “unadoptable”. This is not to my knowledge a no-kill shelter. Or she may go through several homes, each told she is “a little shy” and because she freezes rather than fights, less experienced cat people may believe that. So can I bring myself to send her back to that?

Not really.

We’ve had a long discussion. Several, in fact. We have a couple of alternative solutions that don’t involve her going back to hell. Since she is not aggressive or destructive (so far), she can go on as she is. Naturally, we will do our best to encourage her to accept us. This hardly makes us feel like we have the pet we desire, however. So we plan to be patient, but also to have an eye out for a nice kitten. I didn’t really want to raise a kitten, but here’s my point on that. I think as a mature female feral, this cat has no doubt raised one or two litters of kittens per year of her six years of life. I think she may accept a young kitten as non-threatening and even adopt the kitten as her own, making s/he a good companion for her. This means that Misty (our new name for our new cat) will have a feline companion she does accept, even if she never accepts us, and we will have a feline companion that accepts us, even if Misty never does. Misty may also be influenced to accept us since the kitten does.

But I am still pissed. We did not want to raise a baby kitten – although Misty will help by providing companionship, and influence in using the litter box properly. We will have extra expense, not just for two cats instead of one, but since the other will be a kitten we will need the full series of shots, licensing, and spay/neuter when the time comes. All of which is, you guessed it, very expensive here. One of the reasons it took us so long to decide we were ready for a new pet was that we don’t have a whole lot of money above and beyond day to day living expenses. I had planned on a single (large) adoption fee covering all the vet and licensing expenses for at least the first year, including the monster fee for spay/neuter. Basically, now all these expenses will be doubled, and I was cautiously hopeful of being able to afford it once.

And if you are wondering, um, no, I won’t be going to any other rescue operation here. One more section of society in the U.S. where I see lying has become the default rather than the exception. I’ll be watching out for a (Goddess help me) “free” kitten. Actually, the Goddess has dropped many kittens on my porch steps (or under them) in my life, so that could happen.

Bottom line; an animal shelter took advantage of the pandemic to offload at least one, and probably several (because she isn’t the only one on the website described as “a little shy”) purely wild, feral, unsocialized cats on an unsuspecting public who were kind enough to open their home during this situation. They’re taking advantage of the sponsor as well. And I am almost positive that if I contacted them again with my issues, I would be guilt tripped into feeling it is our fault somehow that we are mean and can’t be bothered to keep this poor cat and deal with her issues (on top of our own, may I add) although I have to admit, that is just my suspicion. I can’t bring myself to send her back to what I suspect is a hell situation for her. (Instead I let her create a less than perfect situation for us – but maybe it will improve) I also have a sneaking suspicion that they saw we do have experience with many difficult cats, and expected us to have this dilemma when we figured out she was feral. Because surely they didn’t think we would be fooled beyond the first day or two.

At least she is with people who have dealt with ferals before, and many cats with many different personalities and difficult pasts. Mind you, dealing with rescues and ferals when you’re in your twenties, and both working with good incomes is a very different situation than dealing with it as seniors with a considerably smaller fixed income and health issues. Yes, we can deal with her and offer the best possible solution FOR HER at this time. Truly, the best situation for a feral cat is to leave it where it is – in a cat community they are comfortable in, a place they have chosen and are comfortable in and especially if it is a TNR community being responsibly cared for. It isn’t ideal, but neither is this. Perhaps they had to capture and remove the feral cat community for some good reason, or perhaps someone misconstrued her frozen in fear reaction for gentleness or some socialization. I’d like to think we were all really doing our best in any given situation. Really, I would.

So. Here we are. We have a cat. But really, we don’t. We are harboring a wild animal that may possibly someday accept us. We’d still like to have a PET. Sigh.

I’m blocking comments for this post. Our decisions are based on our situation, and our experiences and are not open to discussion or anyone else’s criticism. I’m not going to argue about this. I’m already pissed. I just wanted to get this off my chest. Maybe something here will contain a nugget of wisdom that will help somebody else, or at least warn them, or make them think. I’m not naming the shelter because I don’t need a lawsuit and really, it isn’t that important at this point.

 

Update: I started out to check if the shelter involved was a no-kill, in case we decide in the next 30 days that we cannot deal with her and send her back. What I discovered is that this shelter has a lengthy record of news stories, problems with fraud, money, and multiple allegations by volunteers of terrible conditions for animals and people – including a couple of severe maulings by “socialized” dogs on volunteers. Clearly, there is no way I’m sending Misty back. And, as i suspected, there are also reviews where the return of an animal is met with quite a nasty reaction and guilt tripping, as well as black listing of the adopter.

Here is my takeaway on that. Don’t make the assumption that an animal shelter, even one associated with a well respected national association, is truly a good and trustworthy organization. Like any acquisition, an animal adoption needs to start with thorough research on any organization you may choose to be involved with. Not just their puff website, but an open search on their name for any reviews, news stories, petitions for change or investigations by the District Attorney (!), and so forth. If I had seen these articles first… well, I might have adopted just to SAVE an animal from what amounts to a horrific hoarding situation. So, we do have that to hang on to. We have saved Misty from a miserable life of fear and neglect. (Never mind that it would have been going on in a “shelter”)

 

 

Breaking the Tyranny of the Streak

Or…there’s streaks, and there’s streaks.

 

Harvard Streaker Glitch
not that kind of streak

Recently I’ve been a bit frustrated by my inability to continue streaks on certain software that I enjoy. After some thought I decided to ignore all their exhortations, encouragement, and pokes and prods and release myself from the tyranny of maintaining a streak on a number of things.

At first, I felt like I was a bit… not worthy. Less than. Online you see so many people who have blogged every single day for years – writing great articles every single day. Or who sketch every single day, or take photographs every single day. For some of these things it seems like it’s really not a big deal to remember to spend maybe five minutes on a quickie – although of course, more time is better for some things. So why can’t I manage to journal in my private Penzu journal every day, and make even a quick sketch a day – even after I put sketching apps on the phone so I sketch even on days when we aren’t home very much. Not finding time for a few minutes of Japanese study – even though that app barely nags (or rewards) is a particular frustration for me. I mean, I really DO enjoy and want to learn Japanese.

But here is my biggest stumbling block. I have actual responsibilities. Three days a week my hubby has a 3 1/2 hour dialysis treatment. When we ride the Transit bus they pick us up about two and a half hours early, and can drop us off as much as three hours afterwards. Which is one of two reasons we no longer ride the Transit bus. (The second is that they are not enforcing masks, and are actively making it impossible to social distance – so we get to pick someone up at the hospital, then sit less than 2 feet away while he hacks and coughs and sneezes for two hours. Complaints are answered with “you should be grateful for this service”). Now that we are back to riding the public bus, the transportation time is a little more reasonable so at least we are not gone from the house for up to 10 hours for a 3 1/2 hour treatment. Still, we often arrive home sick, tired, and very out of sorts. Both of us – even though only he had to undergo the treatment. At any rate, 3 days a week are quite focused on one thing.

The other four are the only time I have to go grocery shopping, walk down to the machine (about 1 mile) to refill water bottles, pick up prescriptions, go to the bank, do laundry, cleaning house, or any of a dozen or so other responsibilities I simply have to do. The fact that we no longer have a vehicle means that everything entails an hour or two or more of walking or riding the bus on top the of actual errand time.

Hey, I’m not complaining. I do have a 180 day streak going on the pedometer app! We walk a lot. It’s very healthy for us. This is a good thing. So I’m about half on half on – those are excuses, and nope, that’s just life.

After some more thought, I realize I have to give myself credit for those things that there is no app for that I do have a “streak” on.

I wash the dishes by hand. Every single day. Some days, twice. Admittedly, I often skip that duty on dialysis days because it’s too late and/or I’m too tired when we get home. We also tend not to make as many dirty dishes those days so I figure that’s okay.

I manage to take vitamins every single day. Yeah, I’m kind of a health and wellness freak. I’d rather take vitamins every day than a bunch of prescriptions drugs, and then drugs for the side effects of the drugs, and so on.  I also nag the husband to take his, poor guy. Then again, he is in remarkable health for someone who has been on dialysis for ten years. That’s not me bragging, that’s what his dialysis nurse and his nephrologist say. I’d guess our streak on this one is literally years without a break.

Every single day I pray, meditate, and make offerings to the gods and goddesses. Every single day I spend a few minutes to connect and send reiki healing to any of my friends who may need it. Every day I do some little accupressure treatments on the hubby that help with various little things like blood pressure or anemia or pain. Again, streaks that are years long.

A few days ago I added to my daily chores; feeding, watering, and cleaning a litter box for the new family member. She pays in purrs. It’s a more than fair deal!

So you know what, I’m tossing out all the frustration and the guilt for the streaks I can’t seem to keep up. And giving myself a little credit for those I do.

I hope by sharing this that maybe if you are feeling a bit of guilt, or like you are not as good as someone else because you just can’t keep a streak of daily whatever going that you will take a second look at your life and realize that we are all doing the best we can do with what we have and where we are at in our lives right now. We have to set our own priorities over those things we need to accomplish, and however “good” it might be to journal or sketch or practice our second language every day, there are things that can simply be set aside for things that simply must be done. There is no shame or guilt in that. In fact, you probably deserve some kudos for taking care of business. (That often is a lot less fun than journaling, sketching, etc.)

So there, hah.

Blessedbe.

Let’s Get Metaphysical About COVID-19

0-prayerfortransformation

I am pagan. Specifically a Solitary Ecletic Neo-Pagan Witch and if you need that spelled out for you, you can find it here. I have no ill-will towards any living being. I believe deeply in The Law of Three, however you wish to call it. If everyone who claims to believe in that simple law which is part of almost every belief system in the world one way or another, and took the time to think before they act this would be a different world.

For most of my lifetime there have been people sounding the alarm about the growth in human population, and about the abuse of the Earth and her plants, her resources, her children. However, because that would cause them to have to think, or to sacrifice material goods or cash or a lifestyle they desire, the vast majority of human beings have chosen to ignore this advice, which is based on well grounded scientific facts (as well as Native beliefs). Some humans do make occasional small token efforts to live with the earth in harmony, but they are few and far between and often the efforts are far less than equal to their consumption of resources.

In our defense, modern life deluges us with information and advertising to create desires based on what will make the most money for people who already have more money than they could spend in a dozen life times. Most of us live our life at a pace that does not allow time for quiet reflection or deep thinking.

Our Lady loves us. We are her children just as much as the tigers or elephants or mosquitos are all her children. However, the human race has become that one unruly child who considers their own desires and needs to be more important than those of our brothers and sisters, let alone stop to consider our parents. Babies come into the world focused solely on their own needs for survivals sake. Children have to be taught empathy.

Perhaps because in the Western world we have decided that elders are worthless parasites, rather than repositories of wisdom and knowledge, we have lost that link that teaches children as they grow to also grow their circle of empathy from themselves, to their family, to their community, and to the world. To include plants and animals and the earth herself in that circle.

The Lady provides enough for all. No living being need go hungry, thirsty, or without shelter. But because of the fear and the resulting greed of a few who mistakenly believe that with enough money they will find safety and security there is a distribution problem. There are people vying over who has the biggest yacht while others are desperately hoping they get to eat today. This creates a situation where those who have much can dangle cash in front of those who have little and get them to act against their own interest and in a way that only enriches those who already have more than they need.

Human beings with their intelligence and technology have the ability to dominate nature. Human beings who are impoverished have the need to use up all of their available resources in an effort to survive. This leads to the burning of forests, and the steady push out into the few truly wild places left on Earth. The need to eat forces the poorest human beings to forage in the wild places and to come into contact with animals that carry diseases that have never met humankind before.

Hundreds of years ago, European people created an overcrowded human grouping that lived in close contact with their domesticated animals. Because of that they were exposed to diseases carried by those animals and in time developed immunities. When they made contact with the First People of the Americas – who lived in harmony with their surroundings and kept few if any domestic animals – those diseases found humans with no immunity.

The effects were devastating.

Through scientific research the COVID-19 pandemic has been traced to a single wildlife market in China. It resided most likely in an animal that was in the market to be sold for food. There is no evidence that the virus is passed by eating, so probably the animal was simply live, in a cage, sneezing on hundreds of people as they walked by. (The study information is linked here)

Our medical establishment over the last few decades has followed protocols that destroy the human immune system in the name of curing certain prevalent diseases such as auto-immune disease and cancer. Other treatments severely impair that same system, such as dialysis. Many elements of our current lifestyle also impair or damage our immune systems. I believe that there are other, more natural treatments and lifestyle changes we could make that would prevent or treat disease by working with our natural body defenses rather than by destroying them. But that’s an article for another day. This is where we are now. This situation creates a pool of human beings with little or no immune defenses for a new virus. Kind of like the First People, in a way.

Karma works.

We have overpopulated, outgrown our territories, invaded wild spaces, stripped the Earth of her resources and damaged her ability to provide for all of us. She has struggled to carry on for decades, maybe centuries, as we infected her like a plague. This is not the first epidemic or pandemic that our own actions have brought upon us. It is the most severe, and it’s the first to really impact the Western world – so we’re acting like this is something novel and amazing.

This is the Lady, in desperation, asking us to learn some self control. To slow down. To think about what we are doing. In fact, the only way to protect yourself and your family and your community is to be mindful of your actions. To think about it before you buy the last loaf of bread on the shelf. To think about it before you get in the car and drive, or hop on an airplane, or cruise ship that is fueled with the earths resources and returns only pollution to her. To be mindful of where you have been and who and what you have been in contact with and to clean your hands, your clothes, and your surroundings.

To stay home.

There is a new software to search movies that has literally billions of movies in their databases. Modern life and a certain level of wealth provides us with ample distractions. It’s really built that way so that we don’t ever stop and think about what we are doing to the Earth.

But at some point in time, you will have to stop and face yourself. You may find you have time to think. To use the marvelous human gift of reason and intelligence and the wisdom of the ages, the ability to read – and write – to share thoughts with those who lived hundreds of years ago or today. To use our unique human abilities to learn from the past, even the past of those you never met, to gain knowledge from those who know more about a certain subject – like epidemiology and microbiology – and natural healing, diet, creating good health and caring for ourselves. To stop and think about our actions and their effect on the Earth.

Or we can let the media drive us like the First Nations people drove panicked buffalo over cliffs to die.

Are you a frightened prey animal? Or a reasoning, intelligent human being? Your choice affects you, and thousands more. The time has come for us to slow down. To be mindful.

I know, it hurts.

The Lady never wanted to hurt us. She has tried to cope for decades. But we insisted on pushing further and further, to having every last resource for human beings only. She isn’t so much fighting back, as having a nice shower to get the fleas off. Any bird outdoors having a dust bath is doing the same.

You would know that, if you stopped and took time to watch birds outdoors and to think.

Blessedbe.

Let’s step into the bullshit free zone for a minute

0-prayerfortransformation

At the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States I noticed some talking heads repeating over and over the phrase “9/11 like atmosphere”. It made me cringe and my stomach turn over.

9/11 was 19 years ago, so some of you may not remember or may have been young children during that time. There is the common story of how America all pulled together blah blah blah and then there is the real story. Some of us had a little different experience of 9/11.

9/11 scared Americans. Really scared us, deeply, for the first time ever in our history. We like to pretend, especially online, that we are all kind, compassionate, caring people. The truth is not as rosy, I’m sorry to say. There is a significant section of the American people who – when they get scared – they strike out. They look for someone to blame and they act out aggressively.

My husband is a Native American. His skin is brown, and his eyes and hair are black. The day after 9/11 he was literally cornered at his work place and questioned about his religion and his place of birth. And this is in Tulsa, Oklahoma – where there are many people of Native American ancestry. This harassment continued for him throughout the next several years. It was very scary. Especially since stories circulated about brown people being physically assaulted on the street.

We are Americans. We were scared. We were scared OF OTHER AMERICANS. 

Those Americans now have a leader – someone who is calling this virus the “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus”. Someone who is all about whipping up hatred and violence and pointing at “the other” for us so we know who to hate.

The most vulnerable population to this virus are the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Many of us are also on Social Security or Disability. There are people who consider us parasites on the American people (as though we did not also work and pay into SSI or SSD when we could) who will literally CHEER if great swaths of elderly or infirm people die. Those people who gripe when the bus pauses to lower the ramp for us or complain if they have to make some minor accomodation for someone who is somehow differently abled. My favorite, the ones who mutter “he doesn’t look that sick” when my husband uses his disabled pass on the bus or my new favorite, the ones who straight out openly BLAME dialysis patients for their condition. (“They deserve it, they didn’t take care of their health, we ought to let them die”) Don’t make that face at me – deep in your heart you know damn well it is true. I warned you this was the No Bullshit area. I’m not making this up – I’m describing what we have experienced on a good day in America.

You cannot argue with these people. Because their nastiness is not based on fact – not at all. It is a self defense mechanism. It is “I am not like them. I won’t be homeless because I work hard.” and “I am not like them. I will never be old, sick or disabled because I am too smart and I take care of myself. So it won’t happen to me”. This is a self defense reaction to fear. Fear that most of us are one paycheck from homelessness, and one accident or illness from disability.

And speaking of one paycheck from homelessness – Las Vegas went into lockdown today. All non-essential businesses are ordered to close. There goes that paycheck. And what do some people do when they are faced with a fear they have no control over? They lash out. They lash out at the ones they blame. They will lash out at the elderly, the immunocompromised, and I hear they are already beating up “Asian looking” people in parts of this country.

This post is two things. It is a plea to NOT act in this way. To be calm. To be compassionate. To be kind. To be the people we claim that we are.

But it is also a warning. That there are people who will react in this way. Just like the people right now who are ignoring the self quarintine protocols and go laughing to the movies, or as one person on a facebook post yesterday said openly that the people who will die from Covid-19 “do not matter” because they’re just old and sick anyway. These are also self defense mechanisms against fear. You can’t reason with it.

I ask you to be calm, and compassionate and understanding of those who lash out, be it verbally, on the Internet, or in the media, or physically. Since we’re all supposed to be staying home, we should be pretty safe physically. Unless that person is in your home. But please keep in mind they are afraid. They need reassurance, not you lashing back at them which will only escalate the problem.

Really, the best thing we can do is step away and send them love from our heart. Just quietly think “love” at them, for love is the only antidote to fear. Don’t engage them. Again, remember you cannot reason with them, because this is not reasoning – it is emotion driven by fear and encouraged by the media and their leaders.

Let’s transform. Let’s raise ourselves UP into love and out of the media lashed fear and negativity.

Blessedbe. Be Well.

 

A Prayer for Changing Times

_absolutely_free_photos_original_photos_butterfly-on-green-tree-3000x2000_27256It was 1990 and the Gulf War had begun. In a repeat of the Vietnam War, the media was there in force to share images and words of fighting and death striking fear into our hearts for some of us, and inciting anger in others.

The Internet had not been available to the general public for very long at that time. It was still a wonderland full of personal websites about personal passions and a place where people who had less popular views in their area could find and join with people like themselves. Which is why all us Pagans and various other New agers kind of knew each other, had a sense of community and conversation. This made it possible for the first time for many of us, perhaps thousands, maybe more there’s no way to know, to come together and to agree to pray, meditate, light candles and perform our own rituals in accordance with our own beliefs but with a common purpose to shorten the war. I was one of many participants.

At the time the U.S. government was telling the media it would be short. We’d take over Iraq, whip some democrazy on them and it would all be over with in a flash. At the same time I spoke with acquaintances in the military who said the military was preparing for a lengthy siege with many casualties. I know who I believe, but you make your own decision.

What happened was one of the shortest wars the U.S. has ever been involved in. I believe it was because there were so many people all over the world not just saying “oh I hope this blows over soon” but praying, lighting candles, meditating, performing rituals with one purpose – to end that war.

The coronavirus transformation isn’t a war. But it is a time when our world is going through a major transformation – and changes can be hard. Changes can also be for the better, or for the worse. I’d like to say we all hope the changes will be for the better, but what is better to one and what is better to another is different, of course. Sad to say, but there are people out there who think it would be great if old those sick, old parasites on Social Security and Medicare would die. Let alone people who are of another religion or country or color. I’ve been thinking, meditating, and sleeping on a desire to create a prayer, a meditation, a ritual I can perform that would encompass the desire to make these coming changes be for the better.

At last, during meditation this morning this prayer came to me. Call it a prayer, meditation, affirmation or whatever works best for you. Use it as you wish. If you wish. But for the good of all my relations, here I share this prayer.

I begin it with “Beloved Goddess” but you may certainly use whatever words you chose.

In this time of changes

Help us move in the direction of

Our Greatest Good and

Our Highest Growth

As a person

As a family

As a community

As a nation

As a world

So Mote it Be (or words you prefer)

 

In perfect love and perfect trust I share this with you.

Blessedbe

Be Well

 

The Coronavirus Transformation

I notice many people and the media are using “these troubled times” or “these changing times” to refer to what others might call “the coronavirus crises”. Semantics, words, do matter. Today’s media is certainly aware of that and uses it on us constantly. In this case, I happen to agree that changing times, challenging times, or troubled times is much better than coronavirus (which points to the virus as the source) and crises or any related words. Because the many changes that are happening right this minute in the world are/were/have been initiated by the coronavirus, but the virus itself certainly isn’t causing them. All the virus causes is a lung infection – quite impartially making use of our animal body as a cozy little home. Everything else is the result of human reaction to that impartial virus.

When I began thinking about a title for this post I couldn’t quite find the word. I went looking in an online thesaurus and of the alternatives they offered I quite like “transformation”. There is no doubt this is going to change the world we live in right now – and for many years to come. Perhaps less than we think, in the long run.

This, too, shall pass.

Transformation points to a change that is for the better. From caterpillar to butterfly. From school girl to magical girl. From chaos and ego to harmony and love. That’s what I am hoping for anyway.

The reason I wanted a good title I could live with is that I am going to use it as a tag. I have a number of things I want to talk about related to these changes going on and although it is all interrelated, I feel that some of my thoughts would do better cut away into smaller bits for focus and analysis. I’m not writing a book of 50,000 words, but a series of blog posts that I’d like to be readable in a few minutes so that you can go off and think about it for a while if you like. Or comment and converse. That would be awesome.

It’s likely that I will return and edit this post as well with links to all of the later posts on the subject just to make reading them all, or selections, a bit easier. Consider this to be sort of a “main header”.

As such, I’ll be posting another entry today.

_absolutely_free_photos_original_photos_cocoons-hanging-on-tree-4702x2876_36445

The more I think of it, the more I like the butterfly analogy. There’s a caterpillar going along with his/her life which consists entirely of thinking of oneself and stuffing all the food it can find into it’s gut. All about self, ego, and consuming. Then it builds itself a safe little home and holes up inside for a while. During that time it doesn’t seem to be doing much, but in fact, it is completely reinventing itself. And then it emerges, beautiful and able to fly. It’s life consists of visiting pretty flowers, helping them to reproduce and seeking connection. A mate, someone to love however briefly. Meanwhile, it’s very presence brings joy to those around it who admire it’s beauty.

That’s what I want this world to do with this opportunity to transform that the coronavirus has given us. Yes, let’s turn this thinking completely around. It isn’t a horrible, frightening disease – but an opportunity to change our thinking, and our way of life to something more harmonious with the world we live in.

No, I’m not so crazy that I think OH BOY a deadly virus! After all, my dearest beloved and I are very much in the most likely to die category according to the medical authorities. But I do have a turn of mind that makes me always want to look for the good in something, to find the good in every event, to look for the teaching and learning opportunity in every event. I won’t apologize for that.

And here we are, sitting at home, surfing the internet and/or sitting and thinking and learning so we may as well do just that.

Blessedbe. Be Well.

Good Intentions

Screenshot from 2019-12-22 15-37-50As 2020 began I found myself having the occasional urge to write. Now and then thoughts come into my head – stories, characters, and opinions – and more or less demand to be allowed out onto the page. Then I think about whether I should foist them on an unsuspecting public – or even just my friends. After all, they ought to know by now what kind of strange words might come out of my head and mouth. So I guess this means that the major burn out is lifting, and the gut wrenching punch of being more or less forced to unpublish all my income producing work is finally healing – at least somewhat.

Recently I’ve also been inspired by some of the marvelous bloggers whose work I am reading. Sure, I may have found them for the book reviews or anime reviews, but the truth is there are some beautiful voices out there – and one in particular is inviting me to return to writing. (Pinkie, stand up and take a bow please)  

Her idea for SMILE force is irresistible for me. I do have to warn all and sundry that not all my posts will be sunshine, however. I have been known to rant when I feel it is necessary. Mainly when I feel that there is something being left out of the conversation I see online and in the media. It happens. But by and large I would just as soon stay out of it.

My primary responsibility these days is taking care of my husband. His needs will always come first. Because of that I can’t and won’t obligate myself to a schedule I may not be able to keep. I was going to title this “Mission statement” and thought – it isn’t a mission. I don’t really do “goals” anymore either – I am currently using “intention” as in, I intend to write three to four times a month at least. (If I don’t use the word plan, perhaps it will not make the gods laugh and then begin plotting my undoing)

But – I’m back. I can’t tell you quite what to expect. As always, Foovay’s Cauldron will be a unique, eclectic, accumulation. There will be opinions. Probably health stuff. Possibly some fiction – but I will most likely set up a seperate blog for anything long or serialized. Anime. Gaming. Science. Art, including possibly some original bits. All the myriad weird things I’m into.

It’s only fair to warn you.

Speaking of warnings. Some days ago I read this article in Japan Times. I expected to soon see it disseminated in US media – but no mention. I feel it has some information that is important to all of us regarding the COVID-19 virus. It’s good news/bad news. The good news – it’s easy to kill on surfaces. The bad news – it’s on surfaces touched by people who are infected. So social distancing isn’t going to stop the spread as long as you have to leave your house. Now don’t freak out. Just tuck a few bleach wipes in your bag and if you have to touch a door handle, light switch, toilet handle, faucet handles, things that are high touch surfaces – give them a wipe before and after you touch. Tada. But you have a right to know that.  I know businesses and so on are really stepping up to improve their disinfection – but once a day for a place with hundreds of people passing through isn’t going to do it.

Here’s a link to the article:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/03/05/asia-pacific/science-health-asia-pacific/coronavirus-lingers-disinfectants-kill-it/#.Xm_TOKhKiM8

Be well and blessed be.