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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quick Quake & Other Passing News

We had the 3rd earthquake I've ever been thru on Weds. Quakes scare me. I couldn't live anywhere that they occurred regularly. This one was mild, part of the Ontario 5.0-5.5 (depending on when you heard the report). Laying in bed, resting my shoulder, I was reading and listening to a friend sit in as DJ for another friend's show. Then everything started swaying, like riding the R train thru the tunnel into Brooklyn, in a north-south direction. As always I was paralyzed, wondering if it really was an earthquake, but as the seconds went by and the rhythm kept up, I thought, "Maybe I should get up and stand in the doorway." Then it stopped, as they all have so far (knock wood) and it was over. Really, there'd be little chance of surviving a big quake in this huge brick building. Standing in a doorway or laying in bed wouldn't make a diff. If I'm gonna croak I'd rather be in bed.

The website we all rely on here in town was hacked by a bot claiming to be a Muslim. I believe that as much as I believe my landlord can't find anyone to sell him new air conditioners. Really, I'm fairly certain (with no evidence) that it was done by some Rovian who's trying to fearmonger. Happily, it wasn't long before the server was cleaned out & our iBrattleboro was back and running as usual.

PAYT is voted up or down on Tuesday. Gods help us all if it goes thru.

Money continues to be the stomach-churner in my life, and what's been taking up all my time and energy, keeping me from posting or working on my book. Medicare will cost me 110 bucks a month. Which comes right out of my SSDI. And will leave 53 dollars a month to pay bills, buy all non-food items and take those extravagant vacations I'm so famous for. Behind that, the yearly 600-buck energy grant has been declared for heat only, and the balance left by May was taken back without notice. So I owe 2 months' electricity already. It'll be okay. I may get an energy grant from a community fund, and my brother and a good friend-in-need have offered to help if that falls thru. As for the 110, that'll be reimbursed by Medicaid in the fall and thenceforth covered by them. So I'm shorting my landlord and I'll catch up when they reimburse me. That's the best I can do. All this tsuris takes a toll, though. I've seen a lot of the interior of my toilet this week.

Health issues continue to fill my family and closest friend's lives. But everyone's hanging in there and nobody died this week.

For someone who rarely leaves the house I have an active social life. Friends were in and outta here all week. The Princess came to town bearing bagels and bread from NYC! The "health bread" she brought from Zabar's is total heaven and I may cry when I eat the last slice. Stevil came by bearing cream cheese and we shared a nice lunch with the bagels and idle chatter. And Ellen came over for one of our catch up sessions, bringing a great pizza from the new-but-the-same-old Frankie's. Thank Gods Frankie's is back. That was a long 6 months! One song I could play to cover the last week-Ya Gotta Have Friends.

Also possible good news- affordable housing may be in my future. I don't wanna jinx it by blabbing too early but it looks good.

My walker finally came back fixed! Yay! No more pushing myself around this little place on an office chair!

So life goes on. The older I get and the more I live thru, I realize that happiness really is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hope In the Younger Generation

My friend Daryl's daughter recently came back from a working trip to Tanzania, Africa. Chelsy is a college student and I've never met her, but I know her Dad, and he's amazing, so it wasn't a surprise to see what she's made:

I cried from the second minute in.

Then she posted a story on our local website:

It's from that post that I take this list-
1. Be thankful for the small luxuries in life, like clean tap water, cement trucks, and the ability to choose (even if it's as simple as having an entire menu in your hands).

2. "If you give me rice, I will eat today. If you teach me how to grow rice, I will eat everyday." -Mahatma Ghandi. Helping others doesn't mean dropping off money and shaking hands. It means going the whole nine yards, picking up the hammer yourself, getting your hands a little dirty, breaking a sweat, planting a seed, watching it grow, teaching what you know, learning what others know, and building relationships.

3. America may not be paved with gold and over-flowing with cash, but we have extraordinary hospitals, doctors, nurses, police, scholarships, grocery stores, health care and free education. In the eyes of poverty, that's gold. Cherish all of it. Everyday.

4. A neighbor is more than just a person living next door. Personal relationships go a long way. Say "hi", smile back, be genuine, and know that when everything falls apart, you'll always have your neighbors.

5. "People are people. They are not mountains; they move around. This is how I know I will see you again." -My amazing friend Godfry from Tanzania. Never say goodbye.

6. It's amazing how well two people can communicate without even speaking the same language. Be open, aware, and observant. Your heart will grow ten times bigger.

7. Try to speak another language. It may not come out perfectly but it will be perfectly appreciated.

8. Respect your elders. Always.

9. Hug, holds hands, and make eye contact. The simplest forms of affection go a long way to somebody who didn't get it from their parents.

10. Be kind and never make assumptions--everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

11. So your internet is too slow and your cell reception stinks? Go outside, take a good look around. There is so. much. more.

12. Listen to children, they know more than we think.

13. Education is the root to every solution. Absorb it, spread it, value it. Some people would die to have the education that we get for free.

14. Okay, so our government is a bit corrupt. And there's a constant tiff between the Dems and Repubs. But try to see the positive, because the corruption here is heaven compared to the corruption elsewhere.

15. Always have something beautiful in sight, even if it's just a flower in a mason jar.

16. Be patient. Clock time as we know it is completely artificial, don't become a slave of it. Relaxing and going with the flow will make you a happier person. I promise.

This young woman has changed my expectations of our youth. In my day to day life I see kids who are apathetic and ignorant, who don't want to face the world as it is (and who can blame them?). Then along comes Chelsy, with her truly beautiful video, crafted with so much love. She writes a simple straightforward accompanying post that shows more wisdom than most "adults" I know could muster. And I'm kinda awestruck. I could never have done this at her age. Not just because of the way the world was then, nor because of the fact that such things weren't possible then. But because I wasn't raised to hope for such things. Chelsy is a young woman with a lot of hope and love. I guess we can thank Daryl and Bridget for that, but it had to be in her to begin with. A seed will grow with care, and not in a vacuum,; but the seed needs to be there in the first place. I expect to hear great things about Chelsy for a long time to come.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

High Mowing

It's just the first week of June, but it sure feels like midsummer. We've had short t-storms all day today. My circa 1970 GM air conditioner has not been turned off in 3 days and nights. But the heifers and cows and humans all made it thru the parade and festivities and we wave bye-bye to all that falderal for another year. And Pay-As-You-Throw is in for the vote, putting that to bed til the end of the month.

However, this town is rarely at a loss for causes and controversies. And it seems that every summer brings one old issue back with at least one new one. This year it's what to do about Harmony Lot and Elliot Street starring in its recurrent comeback role, and the stoplight and sidewalk renovation contention starring in its debut role.

When I have brain cells and a fresh supply of blood I will go into each of these topics. I just wanted to get a first June post up so I start the ball rolling. Right now I'm a dehydrated husk just capable of finishing this sentence and toddling off to a long summer nap (though it's technically still not summer).