The Numbers Game

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February 6, 2023- Two things happened today. I went back to True North Nutrition, where the owner was working alone. I listened to his explanation of the Herbalife-based program, and recognized an oft-repeated statement: The aging body does not digest dairy products all that well. Baked goods are also not all that easily digested. I accepted his daily meal plan, which looks filling and nutritious enough, and doesn’t call for giving up my Lifelong Vitality supplements. There are shakes, which I like, and I don’t have to add sugary drizzle to the top. The shakes are preceded by drinking tea, which I have aplenty. I will give this regimen a good three-six months, and see how much it helps my metabolism. Being told my metabolic age is 73, when I feel like a 50-year-old, could be smoke and mirrors-or it could be a sign of something that needs addressing. By the time my annual medical check-up rolls around, on the 1st of June, I will have a better handle on the whole thing.

This evening, as a show of sincerity, I gave away all my baked goods, save a few English muffins, which I can eat a half-muffin at a time, I’m sure, with no harsh effects. True North’s program is rooted in Food Combining, which is a valid nutrition program. Carbohydrates should not be mixed with Healthy Fats, during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. The three food groups-those two plus Protein- are to be taken together at the main meal-be it lunch or dinner.

So, with the giveaway, and my cheeses in the freezer, for a good several months, I am taking on this metabolism upgrade in earnest. We’ll see how the numbers game plays out, week by week.

e

Speed The Plow

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January 26, 2023- It is amazing, in some ways, how my inner thoughts and feelings have changed thus far in a new calendar year. The cosmic focus is said to be more inner directed this year, than last. There seems to be much truth to that, even in the early weeks of the year. My thoughts, as I drift off to sleep, are less other-directed-a good thing, given that one can’t do much to help as slumber approaches.

Nonetheless, what I want for myself-and by extension, my loved ones, is more focus and keener insight on what can make each of our little worlds a safer, healthier place. As this first of three intense work weeks winds down, I have experienced some progress in that regard-and have continued to stand firm in the face of some opposition to my work, actually turning things around with a couple of naysayers, in a span of three days. I have yet to win a couple of estranged friends back, but everything needs to happen naturally and organically.

A small conflict over the process of a certain medical check-up was resolved, yesterday, and I reached a compromise with the government, so the check-up will take place in a month’s time, which is actually better for me-as March and September will be the check-up points, and I am already committed to Home Base at the beginnings of those months.

The process of what needs to be accomplished this year is starting to accelerate. As the plow forges ahead, I promise to keep it moving straight, and not to upend the soil to an unhealthy depth, but rather to mix the minerals and nutrients in a beneficial way. Let all activities this year help to bring a spiritual bounty to all those I love.

No Retrogrades

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January 25, 2023- When I’ve been asked how my day has gone, over the past week or so, I can honestly say very well. Work has been good and while I have seen only a few friends lately, in person, the vibes I get, even online, are of high positivity. In a “hero to zero, and back again” society, that strikes me very well, as giving the present lack of planetary retrogrades a fair amount of significance. This may be attributed to the air of forward thinking, of not going over old ground, that seems to happen when all planets do not appear in retrograde, with respect to Earth.

I actually am not rehashing old conflicts right now, for what it’s worth. Rather, the energy that is coming from within right now is concerned with helping a small group of students advance and being of more help to those who ask my views or for my help, without second-guessing myself. So, there does seem to be a fair amount of truth to this planetary retrograde phenomenon, recognized by cosmologists and astrologists, but discounted by those whose worldview is more rooted in tangible, earth-bound practicality.

It also helps that there is slightly more daylight now, as is usual for late January. Personal energy, though, begets solutions to long-standing problems, large and small, and generates ready answers to questions from others that appeared intractable in the dead of winter/heart of retrogrades. Plans may now start to be made in earnest, for Spring through Autumn and long-standing issues actually get resolved. This feels, the cold aside, like an early Spring.

Dignity Above All

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January 22, 2023- It was well said, last Monday, “all means all”. Any decision made, with regard to the life of an unborn child, will hopefully place the utmost value on that child’s quality of life-as well as that of the mother. The decision, one of the heaviest that any human being is asked to make, must be made by the mother-not by politicians. I’ve made that point several times, and will let it stand.

I carried a sign around Courthouse Plaza, this afternoon, a tolerated but not entirely welcome act, in the midst of a highly politicized march that was billed as a Women’s March. The message, well-crafted by someone else, stated simply: “We march on, for equality, fairness and justice for all.” All means all-and the implication, that this applies even to those who do not subscribe to a given political stance, is nettlesome to a few. I see that this is greatly evident among those who are of the opinion that an authoritarian regime is the best way to solve all the problems besetting a given nation-all the while ignoring the track record of totalitarians up to now. Invariably, the elite of both Right and Left enrich themselves at the expense of the vast majority of their fellow citizens.

In the end, no one who might have been opposed to the march bothered the participants, and only one or two of those gathered bothered with me-one of them helping to carry the sign for a while, before walking off in a huff, from some unknown slight. The kids, and their mothers, remain more important to me than any political operative-of any stripe. It was gratifying to see a dozen or so young women scattered among the marchers, taking charge of their own dignity, making it clear to the others that this is their struggle now and will be carried out on their terms. Later in the afternoon, I stopped in at a restaurant across from the courthouse and was greeted by a young woman who was grateful for those who spoke up on behalf of her generation’s rights.

The future belongs to those who do not slam the door on people with whom they might not agree or on those whom they regard as “irrelevant” to the process. The future lies beyond emotional fits, self-aggrandizement or making veiled threats against others. I may be of an older generation, but I stand with those who could be my children, or grandchildren. Hopefully, as those discomfited by my presence see that I am not going away, they will also place more value on working with the young, rather than carrying on ideological battles of times past.

Human dignity matters more.

Magical Again

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January 15, 2023- An eclectic musician was also present, at least night’s concert-dancing with several ladies, in the small area, front of the band. He was sporting a red ball cap, with the acronym MAMA, representing “Make America Magical Again”.

I rather like that notion. Much of what has made life nice, these many years, has seemed almost magical in its unfolding. How many times have I been graced with accommodations that would ordinarily seem out of reach? How many meals have come my way, both when Penny and I were at wit’s end and when I have been on my own? How many friends have appeared, seemingly out of nowhere?

Some of this is, certainly, a reflection of love for others. I find myself thinking, ” Whatever you need, my love”; or “As you need,my pal”, when helping a child or adolescent, or a young woman, for that matter. Their needs are those of the future, after all. Their dreams and efforts are a good part of what will make seeming magic become commonplace. Helping remove obstacles, for anyone really, is an essential part of being an adult in this world.

As I sat with one of my young friends, last night, she noted that what makes any community special are pockets of celebration and affirmation. Some communities, like San Francisco and Boston, have several such areas. Prescott, with Raven Cafe, Founding Fathers Collective and Wild Iris, among other places, is increasingly holding its own in that regard. Faithful readers will note other such pockets of celebration, around the United States and in various countries across the globe.

So, the magic unfolded: The delightful sprite-like dancer, mentioned in the previous post; the structured, polished ballroom styles of an elegant couple; the dancing musician, wearing the M.A.M.A. cap; the melodious offerings of the three lovely women from Bisbee; the genuinely joyful presence of a dear friend and collaborator. Magic, after all, when it is intended to bring harmony, is pure and loving energy.

Fascinatin’ Rhythm

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January 12, 2023- There was this long journey, made by someone dealing with an injury, the journey was a solo one, with only an intermittent stop, for someone to check on the person’s condition. Then, the road continued. The destination was reached, around 4:30, this afternoon. I had the honour of helping the individual get settled again.

January is ever a surprising month, and this year is already a year of surprises. More rain and snow has fallen, in California, than in any winter in the past thirty years. Lake Cachuma. a key reservoir near Santa Barbara, that has been rather low, for several decades, is now full to overflowing- becoming so, just in the past month. I suspect the same is true for other southern California lakes-though not yet for Lake Mead.

The rhythm, the pattern, of winter in the western United States thus far this year suggests a 1924 song by George Gershwin. “Oh, what a mess you’re makin’.”, sang Tony Bennett, as Joe Bari, in 1949. Oh, what a mess is being made now. Will the solutions that come out of the current mess, whether it is made, or they are found, in California, in Kenya or in Brazil, be equally as fascinating and impressive in their execution.

Here’s Tony Bennett performing “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” with Diana Krall, in 2018.

Is Pressure Intended?

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January 11, 2023- Among the features of this blog site is Seven-Day Highlights. The daily, sometimes hourly, algorithm serves as a scold-showing comparative ratings of Visitors, Views, Likes and Comments. A red arrow shows the least little decline in any of those areas, as if how people react is within my power to “correct”. This ignores the fact that I write for myself, but capitalizes on the notion that not everyone does. Those who have monetized their blog site are likely to take this more seriously, and “up their game”. These are the people who join writing courses and fret over lost readers.

I used to be like that, wanting to increase my readership. The fact is that few of us can set aside the time to read dozens of posts, each day. So, my posts have become more vehicles of self-expression and almost journalistic in content. That should be okay-and it is with my friends, even those who used to be close, but are now separated from me by schedules, temperament, divergent views of life and the vagaries of Nature. People are not commodities, as much as some would like that to be the case.

This brings up the larger question: What does anyone really gain, from putting pressure, intentional or not, on others? It basically, as someone recently pointed out to me, is a reflection of pressure one puts on self. We like to share what’s in our life, and so the bitter comes along with the sweet-ignoring the age-old adage: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.” (This, also, is a rather distasteful view of life; but it does serve as a forewarning of how we might manage our well-being.)

I am better able to manage both internal and external pressure, through meditation and the act of bringing self to account, several times each day-not in an accusatory manner, anymore, but with a more neutral view of my own actions and motivations. I was asked by someone dear to me, a while back, to maintain a “neutral love” towards her. I know what she was implying, and the fact is that Agape was already in the driver’s seat, vis-a-vis our friendship. Pressure, coming from a misdirected and unrealistic view of interactions, is brought to heel by a mature view of their ebb and flow.

So, if you, or the systems you employ, are making life harder on self and everyone else-consider taking things down several degrees, decibels or ergs.

Holding in Reverence

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January 9, 2023-

I revere sass, to a great degree.

Sass shows strength, independence of thought and commitment towards speaking truth to power.

I admire grit, under all circumstances.

Grit shows perseverance, detachment from the opinions of others and a supreme self-confidence.

I prize fortitude, especially in dire straits.

Fortitude could be surviving on one meal or less, making one’s way with scant resources or few friends, enduring persecution, even false imprisonment-or the gallows.

Maybe this is why I am drawn to adolescents and young adults, special needs children, outliers, rough people with good hearts, even those with whom I start off on the wrong foot.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like liars, grifters or wirepullers, con artists who say anything with a view towards transactional success. I despise those who do nothing for themselves, then blame everyone else for their plight.

Those I adore the most are those who stand up for themselves and their loved ones. They owe me nothing, except to give their all, to meet their goals.

Twists and Turns

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January 8, 2023- The usually spirited and upbeat friend of mine seemed a bit reserved and downcast, yesterday, and though such happens to everyone, now and then, I will keep a close watch over the next several Saturdays, to make sure that it’s not something more serious. Likewise, another dear friend, facing the aftermath of a loss and an ongoing family health issue, may well need my help very soon. For these and other commitments, my meanderings will be limited, over the next few weeks.

Today was largely a day for honouring a woman who had given an enormous amount of herself to the veterans of our area, since the 1990s. Coleen “Corky” Hintz had been an irrepressibly joyful presence at our American Legion Post, since 1994, and was one of the first to welcome me there, in the Fall of 2011. She spearheaded and hosted so many activities, even after overcoming a serious health challenge, nearly eight years ago, that her passing leaves a crater-not easily filled. It was beyond fitting, that the hall was packed. The packets of Forget-Me-Not seeds that were offered to each of us are aptly named.

Northern California, and by extension SoCal and northern Nevada, remain much on my mind. There are dear friends scattered around the region, as well as the fact that, in general, the flood danger in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could easily be of Biblical proportions. Anything I do for the Red Cross out there is probably a month away, but the twists and turns of life can shred plans into so much confetti.

In sum, I’m glad to have not signed up for a dull life.

Progression

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January 7, 2022- The breakdown of the common areas of our local Farmers Market took about ninety minutes, as it was my first time with the crew. This year, I have committed to more consistent volunteer work, and early Saturday afternoon is the least interrupted by other activities. Red Cross events, happening primarily during the week, are more touch and go, with substitute teaching and what few dental and medical appointments I have, tending to conflict with them.

Regardless of what choices one makes, though, the key to their being meaningful is clear, consistent communication and not making assumptions about when is a good time to communicate. I had occasion to check in with someone this weekend and found that the matter would have been better discussed earlier. Assuming the individual was too busy, I let slide, which was a mistake.

Another friend, of eleven years, is entering a period of great change in her life, and will likely need my assistance in a few months. Suffice it to say that the change represents stability, in a way that I have hoped for her, for a very long time.

Progression of communication skills, and the relationships that stem from and depend on them, is often a forwards, then backwards, process. We are seeing it in world affairs, in government, in commerce and between individuals. I learned a long time, ago, though, that communication, even-or especially-when difficult, is never something that can go backwards and forwards. It is essential to stay in touch, except in cases where communicating with a person, or group, brings forth a clear and present danger. Thankfully, that is not the case for me, with anyone, right now.