Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wintertime Blues

Got up this morning with a sad sinking feeling
There was a big bubble of water dripping from the ceiling
The ice dams on the roof were as big as glacier
I didn't tell my sweety, didn't want to face her
So I got me a coffee and I straightened my head
When the sun comes up and my tummy is fed
I'll find me a ladder and my little nice ax
Climb up on the roof and give it some whacks
Pour on the rock salt and lots of cuss words
Like "son of a bitch" and "you little frost turds"
But sooner or later they tell me that Spring
Will melt all the ice that Winter can bring
With buckets of ice melt and posts holding up
The living room ceiling and rum in my cup.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Maybe It's the Weather

Awhile back I had an experience where my entire consciousness could be focused on a single spot. Specifically, it was my finger, my left index finger. It was pretty exciting and I have pics I've considered uploading to my web albums except at long last I do have some shame. That finger was fat. And it hurt like Hell, or along the lines of what I think Hell is like. Certainly a lot of nerve pain because that's the hardest for this society to deal with. Nerve pain gets confused with perception of self, maybe because the Self is in part the system of nerves along which the signals pass. So a lot of nerve pain means a lot less You. There's just not a lot of room for You there.

I bring this up as an example of the difference between the body and the mind. When my finger was swollen with infection and the data along the nerve pathways indicated a full blown melt-down of the fatty tissue around my index finger, I was beside myself with pain. It was as close as I could get to leaving the pain behind: just jump to the side of it. So we had a duality going, me and that pain. Most of the planets in the immediate view from Earth are "involved", as they say, with another planet or star. Partners seem relatively common. Just look at Luna and Earth, they've been going steady since Luna was torn from Earth's side by a passing high velocity mass, possibly Venus. That had to hurt.

This finger of mine, this semi-me, doesn't act like the rest of the fingers. When I ask, the rest of the fingers bow their heads, but not that one. NO, it just nods, as if acknowledging a comrade. So it's just not the same as the rest of them. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable asking it to scratch my back. But still, I know it's mine and I do want to be fair. So I ask it to do things, but not things that involve bending. Because of that steel screw thing.

And Earth must feel much the same about Luna as I feel about that finger. You wouldn't ask Luna have have "tides" because, let's face it, if Luna has water, She's hiding it pretty good. It's like She never grew up, never wept and held a young one in Her Hands. Never had an atmosphere. So you're not looking for rainbows here or pretty sunrises. You love Her just the way She is. Well, maybe "love" is a strong word. "Tolerate" is good, plenty good. I mean, Hell, what are you going to do? It's not up to me, I'd be able to handle either way. But it seem to me that a finger of mine ought to be able to at least bend enough to allow me to flip someone the bird without making it into a peace sign. That's all I'm asking.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

When I Was Small

When I was small, as I recall, I felt like a variation of Gulliver, somehow perfect in intelligence and reasoning but held back by size and strength because all the Rest of Them were bigger and pretty much stronger. I'm not particularly strong even now. There's a lot of times when the subject comes up, usually involving the chickens, and it isn't so much the immediate effort, because quite often that feels like good exercise, but the anticipation of the pain that comes later, after pleasure. It always hurts later. That would be an interesting thing to replace "In God We Trust", because quite frankly in God I do not trust, I've read both books and seen the movies. NO, thank you mam, In God "we" do not trust. But I respect and admire His Mother and She seems very "OK" with this situation, this "growing up" crap I seem to be doomed to plow through.

See, God used to beat me up at the bus stop and take my lunch money. As a result I grew up slower and my spinal column was not as dense as it might. So, now that I am not small, I am nevertheless less dense than average and tend to get blown about in the Winds and end up stuck in trees, tattered and torn, or made into nests of strange birds. I always seem to be doing things for birds.

Let me tell you something: some of those doves are getting too fat to fly. They've eaten up all the white millet and sunflower hearts and never with having to do more than sit and have it rain down on your head. Honey, of course they're over weight. If the finches are the penguins of the air, then geese are the elephant seals. It's not that they can't fly, they do that extremely well, but you'd never guess it by watching them on the ground. Even Canadian Geese waddle. And doves rock around as if they never saw a Chaplin movie they didn't like. Or the early Keystone Cops. Actually I saw a person walking exactly like a Keystone Cop, but it had more to do with her hip alignment than a silent movie addiction. Unless... she were a gigantic pigeon wearing the winter coat of a human being.

Wow. That's as bad as magpies. Next they'll be stealing our identities, let alone our nests. I get the feeling that juncos would never steal another bird's nest. They might sub-let it if the lease was fair and the neighborhood good for children. You can't be too careful these days, but of course all that will change with Obama in the White House. You just have to believe that the wave of "HOPE" that swept out of Washington yesterday around noon meant something. Anybody with a fully intact cerebrum had to have felt the wave that went through the Earth yesterday, like the feeling a neighborhood has when the police arrest a fourtyish white male in a late model Chevy van who is identified by seven children as the man who tried to pull them into his van on various Saturday afternoons. Except our perps are apparently, so far at least, getting away scot free. We shall see, ya never know and so forth.

So I walked around, I drove around. When I drove around I made engine sounds and gear shifting noises, like I did when I was small. It made driving around somehow more fun. I do a great brake sound. And I took pictures. In my mind's eye I look over pictures of another age. I faced my size and asthma with determination, I loved the earth, the soil. I tried to share my happiness with others. I felt then like I feel now, full of promise and mountains to climb over. I remember when I was small I didn't just want to go to Mars, I wanted to build a ship to fly to Mars. I wanted to push the boundaries of the universe. I wanted infinity to MEAN something. I had no great problem being small, I used it to climb like a monkey and fit into small places. And now I'm Big and I look at some of the things that lasted and some of the things that didn't and I still manage to have this funny giddy feeling that Things might be getting better, fairly soon.

As Long as Water Flows, Grass Grows

A philosopher once said that reality is it's own reflection. We talk of reflecting on one's life when older, we say a deed reflects well on a person's character. This concept of passive reflection is also held in the Hermetic saying "As above, so below. As Below, so Above." The first condition of Earth was water below and sky above, one reflecting the other. An early symbol of the Divine Feminine holds a mirror in Her hand. Another early form of the Goddess was the Gorgon Medusa who could not be slain because her gaze would freeze you into stone. By using a mirror you could approach Her and slay Her. By seeing Her reflection rather than her Person you could slay Her. By reflecting on himself a man was able to remove the head of the Goddess. Shamans the world over have as part of their essential set of amulets small mirrors.

Sometimes people wonder why I reflect on problems of divinity when I refer to this blog in terms of caregiving, parenting and art. But in order to care, to give care, it's a good idea to understand what you are caring for. What you care about is also important. So when I talk about Jon and his state of mind, or lack of mind, I have to understand what exactly is "mind" and why does it matter. (Did you know 'matter' and 'mater' are related terms, one referring to the stuff of the universe and one referring to the divine feminine, She who is the stuff of the universe?)

If my son is dead and the flesh that moves and excretes, coughs and falls is not human but mere flesh. After eight years all the flesh has been recycled and made new. Jon is mostly feeding formula from a tube now. No more steaks and enchiladas, no more beer or water. This mass in the bed that looks almost like my son but nothing like my son might be nothing of interest to me or it might be the screaming mind of my lost and lonely child, trapped in a form that does not obey him. Would you want to know the truth, would you try to find out where your boy went? So I reflect on consciousness.

Those people who drive their cars by the house, or walk their dogs past our mailbox, or fly overhead in planes, have no bearing on my son. They never knew him, never met him, don't care about him. I'm the last of the care givers. His mother is slightly insane, trapped in her own fantasy in the nursing home that cares for her. His friends, if friends they ever were, have never come to see him, have stopped sending the odd emails, no longer have his address. They don't care. So I am left with the task of caring and it's important to me that I do it right, so I need to understand what I am caring about and why.

If woman gives form and man gives the spark, what is that form and what was that spark? Did Nancy supply the body into which I placed a soul? Did we make a mix 50/50 of body and soul? Did I have anything to do with it at all, is the scientific myth of DNA a fantasy of modern science? What is human, what does it mean to be aware, and is there a difference between self aware and conscious? Nothing is given here in America 2009, no deep debates about the nature of consciousness. We're busy supporting mass death and destruction, far too busy to wonder at the lives we snuff out.

Why divinity and why write about it? Why not? I couldn't give a rats ass about the self-destructive twits on the news. They leave nothing behind but images that fade away. Why try to understand consciousness when so many people waste it? Look at Gaza, look at Mumbai, look at Hiroshima. But to be distracted by imperfections in a mirror will make it difficult to see the reflection. To pick at your sores will make it harder to heal. So I wonder at the grace of two invisible gases combining to form water which runs downhill to fill an ocean and provide the stuff of life for a lifetime of living.

Every day I wake to pain and wait for it to fade. Every day I take science in one hand, water in the other and combine them in order to move this flesh around without only seeing the imperfections, the nerves that startle, the muscles that twitch, the bones that fade away. Every day when I take the pills that fade the pain away I think on Jon, reflecting on our similarities, our bad backs, our need to understand and I wonder if he wakes up to pain every day, because he can't take the pills and sit and wait. They don't think he can feel anything, so they won't help him out of that pain. They don't think the trache hurts him when he coughs. So they leave it in to save them the trouble of making him move enough to not have fluids build up in his lungs.

Dad died in his sleep, Mom died in hers. Suppose for a moment that your child was sleeping and dying and it was taking years to finish the dream, would you wonder and worry? Would you shake you fist at the sky and scream WHY WHY WHY?

I'm pretty self absorbed, what with this constant pain and all. I think a lot about the various body parts rubbing and pinching and screaming. It's hard not to, the screaming is pretty loud. But maybe because my Mom was sensitive to the suffering of others and maybe because my father would splint the wing of a broken dove I find it hard, even in the middle of waiting for the pills, not to wonder at what kind of morning my son gets, what kind of things happen to him down deep inside. I read the papers online about the Gazan children dying in their beds and think of my son dying in his bed. The Gazan children are dying because we sent rockets to Israel. My son has no therapy because the money went to build rockets to kill Gazan children.

I'm not sure I want Jon to wake up to this world. I'm not sure I don't want to crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head. Like the snow covering the earth outside my window. But spring always comes, the Goddess emerges to greet Her Mother and the world knows new life. Kicking and screaming we come out of the womb and silent and faded we return. You can't stop living and you can't stop Life, so you might as well reflect on what it means and why you are involved.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Progressive Rambles on a real Cold Day

Still working on developing some definitions for some terms so that communication can begin. It's so easy to make mistakes when the meanings are vague. But let's make given the alphabet and language, that'll save time, in a manner of speaking.

It's actually easier to just design some terms which perhaps sound in the direction of a previous term, but in this case I'm looking for a good definition for that One that was before the Duality. I mean, it's picky of me at this level to get picky over the concept that that which is before cannot be taking from that which came before it. Spoils the concept of time. Time being a concept from the perspective of the corporal observer. "You gotta start somewhere." So let's compromise with "the Deity". The purpose from our perspective is one of definition and surface understanding. "What are we talking about here?" The Deity Before the Duality would be what? Not like what, but what? Infinite, functionally infinite. This is before abstraction, which requires something to abstract from. If a miss is as good as a mile, then we miss solid understanding of any term by a mile. "Goes without saying."

The Deity is the Deity, nothing else. But is It anything more? No, can't be more than infinite. That would imply a duality exists, and we are before that. Ah, there we have it. The "before", which is also "without" also imply a duality. Wow, that was fast. It was fast because it was before Time, time requiring two. At least two and in a crowded summer room it seems that anything over two gets damn close to Infinity. But I digress.

I, for one, like to imagine in an empathetic field. When I turn that sunny beam to the Deity I am shocked to find myself I find looking back at me, as if from a long, long tunnel. That makes perfect sense. We all see ourselves as somehow related to the Deity, and since we are temporal our looks had to come from somewhere upstream, ultimately with the Deity. And we'd be terribly wrong. We came from the Duality that self created from the existence of both the Deity and Trickster. Without Trickster there could be no Universe, no us to wonder at the attributes of the Deity, the One. But there you are and there I am, so let's make given the Trickster, the element of "What...?" that comes of consciousness. Once you have infinite qualities you have consciousness, because consciousness is clearly part of an infinite set, like the Universe. More complicated than any computer for sure, and connected in an infinite set of ways. Has to be conscious to ask "What...?"

What's it like to be the One, the Deity? Well, it isn't like anything. It's a lot like Nothing, a dead ringer for Nothing, in fact, except for the perception of Self, the consciousness thing. Self perception is not only required of consciousness, but is the leading factor in acquiring consciousness. Now imagine Trickster spinning in a circle, staring back at you all the time. That's consciousness.

In time it would get boring, self fulfilling and self defeating. You can find in Life an imprint of that first boring look. You look for something interesting. There must be an Other. One way to get an Other is to see your Self through an Other's eyes. That's called Empathy, and Empathy is considered to be a feminine quality, as it receives, transforms, and delivers forth some Thing new. In time you'd have infinity filled with infinity and, being so full of it self it would give birth to it self in all it's wonderful details.

IN the beginning you liked bright colors and shining things. You like to bang things together, unless it was too loud. Everything that didn't make you cry made you laugh. You were that close to being bipolar. Later that day you liked to move, to run every where as fast as you could. When you hit things you liked them to break. Then you had children, things like you only smaller and they did things that you remembered and things that you did not. Sometimes they did things you did not like, even when you remembered doing them yourself at that time. They became more like you in power and will, and then they went away. So you did it again, bringing forth life after life, until you were exhausted and you rested. While you rested Things multiplied and grew in power and will, and some left and some stayed. Later that night you awoke feeling rested and thirsty for something. In the vision of the Night Well that reflects your own face back to you, there is the Moon, coldly reflecting the warmth of the Sun back at you.

To be the Deity, for an instance of Infinity, would have to Be like drowning in a lily white sea, with nothing to see and nothing else to be. Until with inward eye the Deity perceives Itself and asks aloud, "Me?"

The echo of that silent "Me?" put waves of ripples across that ivory sea. Each wave a criss to cross itself in Infinity. Thus, you see, both you and me. Say it loud and say it proud "I am!" but not too loud, you wouldn't want to attract a crowd.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On a Bright January Afternoon

Let me, for a moment, examine something and in that examination maybe I will shed some light on something. Don't be confused by surfaces, surface meaning. What I want to bring a light to deals with fundamental Principles. So, let's start with One. The number one or the One, it's all one. The point is, we have a point. It's just to the left there, after t. and again.

You quickly learn and then understand that a point is pointless. A point has no point for the simple fact that it is one. And you come back around to what's the point? So let me explain. Then I'll come back around to an example. Any question, or fact, or explanation has either a background field, a given, some kind of basis for understanding. Even if you are talking to yourself there is more than one self involved. There's always a question and an answer. Ah! Look back over that last statement and you see the conjunction? That indicates a two parter. Now we're up to two. Now we have a point, and a direction. That's sometimes called a vector, but I digress.

A question is an absence of information, a negative form. Our consciousness, for instance ( this is that example I promised) is attracted to a question, clearly, because it forms the basis for our existence. "Who am I?" and you can take the "who" and replace it with a lot of various questions that may or may not make sense, but they would all be questions. And my point is that there is no point in a question. There is a modified point, a point with a figure above it, a kind of sickle or circle that isn't finished and then suddenly goes down to approach the point, but ends before it can. We empathize with that figure above the point and we are attracted to it's story. So we are attracted from our core to questions.

The thing is, a question pre-supposes the existence of an answer, it cannot exist without that supposition. The answer doesn't have to make sense in any particular sense, the point of a question is called an answer. It's also called a duality. Or gender. Lots of masks for lots of tasks.

Now, from a point to the point. You have a Duality there, an absence and a form. Minus and Plus. Female and Male. Before that Duality there was a One. Now put all that together and you have a triangle. Pour white sand onto a flat surface and you will have a solid triangle. Mold and shape with hands, sweat, blood and time and you have a pyramid, four sided in three dimensions based on a triangle coming from a point.

There are more stones at the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza than at the top. If you had the same number of stones at the top as on the bottom you would have a stack, and it would fall. So, a pyramid brings stability, and for thousands of years Egypt built pyramids and variations of pyramids and stacks of stones until Egypt as a fantastic Empire was no more, and the dust that chokes the visitor from afar is both the dust of the pyramids and the dust of their builders. It's all the same dust to the visitor from afar. And since the builders of the last pyramids breathed the dust of the builders of the first pyramids, it's all a great big dust recycling plant, anyway. A big Circle of Dirt.

The First Woman and the First Man drew circles in the dirt. They drew them for hours, over and over, making mounds surrounded by ditches. Like the nests of the shore birds they built their mounds and their ditches and they laid their futures in the center of the mounds and gave to them their heat. And the circles within the Circle broke open into two parts. One was two, and two were one. They were Eve and Adam. They were children to the One.

Eve was smaller than Adam, but Adam felt empty without Eve. When she was bleeding on the Moon he stayed away out of fear and ignorance and emptiness and longing. When they were as one they were close to the One, and when Eve bore a child they were united as one, a family, a solid, multidimensional configuration. It felt right.

Eve talked to the snake and became wise. Adam talked to his snake and became empty, so he went to Eve and she made him feel full. Then she did it again, got big and cranky, and bore a child, yet another boy. Another mouth to feed. Adam became distant and sullen. The children quarreled. The Serpent sprouted wings and headed west. Eve put on weight.

And that was thousands, tens of thousands of years ago! So nothing's really changed. One becomes Two, who become Three, and it get's finer and more dispersed until One is more like Nothing and the skies are crowded with Stars.

Now the birds are feeding on the seed of thistles outside my window. Some of the worthy birds will live to see Spring. Some of the worthy seeds will be shat upon the earth and give birth to thousands more. It just keeps going around and around. Not a perfect circle, sometimes a question mark, but even if it's an uneven point, it's about all I can handle at this point.

Monday, January 05, 2009

MIddle East Madness

As I read through the various articles in the various papers and online feeds I am struck by the curious fact that like so many wars recently the lines between the "terrorists" and the "forces of good" get blurry and strange. Like when America decided that pulling out fingernails was good for democracy or that bombing a people who might at some time in the future think about hurting America is good for our security. But I like to pare things down to a few basic, easy to confirm facts, just to get some semi-clear answers.

Hamas was elected to rule over Gaza by the people in Gaza, a classic democratic event for which we spend millions trying to encourage. Oh, not being ruled by Hamas, but being ruled by somebody you voted for in a fair election, unlike the election in 2000 in America when the outcome was illegally decided by 7 Republican justices. But certain states declared that we needed a do-over because Hamas was unsuitable to Israel and America. I have a problem with any country announcing to another that it's leaders are not suitable and must be removed immediately. It just doesn't sound very... well, fair.

Hamas cannot "rule" a region which is a functioning concentration camp any more than the British prisoners of the Japanese could rule their camp. Gaza functions as a concentration camp. It has the concrete walls, the razor wire, the armed guards at the entrances and the tunnels out to allow for an influx of medicine and food and weapons. There used to be a standard that prisoners have a right to attack their guards and try to escape. It was considered a human right. So the people under Hamas have been firing little rockets into Israel, injuring people and killing some too. Maybe a couple dozen. Certainly 5 that we know of in this last round of attacks.

In response the Israeli military closed the entrances, bombed the tunnels and proceeded to rain down bombs and missiles upon the people of Gaza. So far we have at least 500 dead Palestinians, including women, children, oldsters and pets. So according to the Israeli government a Palestinian is 1/100th of an Israeli. They claim the right to defend themselves, which nobody can argue about. The problem I'm having with this means of protection is that considering the culture in the Mideast, one of revenge killing, honor killing and religious killing, it seems obvious that the best way to keep the killing going is to have a serious imbalance in the scoreboard. In other words, if Israeli forces were to respond to the dozens of little rockets raining down on fields, roads and houses by shooting equivalent rockets into Gaza I would see that as a not-unreasonable tit-for-tat. You still get dead babies that way and that seems to be what everybody in the Mideast wants, so we're golden. But 2 ton bombs do not equate to an Estes model rocket with a stick of dynamite duct taped to it. Collapsing entire buildings down around it's inhabitants to kill one man is not fair and balanced. What it is, is genocide, a war crime. It's a slow genocide, like the one America waged on it's Native populations, but nevertheless, genocide.

Look at what the Israelis are saying: we're going to continue bombing until we defeat Hamas and make it so Israeli families can feel safe. Say, if you want to make Israelis safe maybe blowing up neighbors is not the way to do it. The survivors are going to very inclined to make Israeli families suffer. If you want to be safe, don't kill anyone, don't threaten anyone, don't invade their land and occupy it.

Then you have Hamas shooting little rockets over Israeli skies, mostly to no harm, but from time to time they hit a person or a house. Like I said before, the scorecard shows that little rockets versus big bombs gives the bombers a 100 to one edge. So shooting rockets is not an attempt to destroy Israel. It has no chance of destroying Israel, not even if they shoot millions of them. No, they are trying to get the Israelis to do things so horrible and deadly that the world will get so mad they will say "We don't give a damn about Hitler and what he did to the Jews, the Jews have to stop this genocide!" And in theory this is what Israel is doing... except for a minor problem. The Western world, especially America, doesn't like the Palestinians. There are no famous Palestinian entertainers in America, no famous physicists or doctors, no cute Palestinian children on television shows. But there are Jewish examples of funny, smart and tender people in American culture. Besides which, the Israelis are using American tools and bombs to kill the Palestinians. We can't protest too loudly that the Israelis are using the weapons we sold them for exactly the kind of uses they are designed for. We'd look like hypocrites. Again.

So from a market standpoint this is a win-win for American military suppliers. By keeping the Mideast unstable we also keep gas prices at a rich level. Plenty of profits in war, we all know that. If ever there was a moral aspect to American policies we could argue that supplying the means to conduct a genocide is a violation of our moral principles. But our "moral principles" went the way of habeas corpus and truth in advertising. So aside from so-called "International Laws" and "U.N. Charter" there is no good reason for the American government to stop or slow down the genocide of the Palestinians. They won't just fold up and take their punishment, they won't embrace their Jewish landlords and they refuse to ignore the deaths of their families. They demand vengeance or at least justice. They won't pool their money and donate to the American political system. So they're just not trying.

I had a boss once who called me into his office to stare at me for a minute or too and then declare "Bill, you're just not trying." This was because after rupturing my disc, breaking my back on the job because I obeyed orders from my supervisor I continued to come to work, eating codeine 4's and Flexeril so I could walk and sit without screaming in pain. I tried to use the calculator but my mind was fuzzy and confused and distracted by the shooting pains down my legs. So my boss reminded me that I just wasn't trying. And I wanted to climb up onto the hillside with a high powered rifle and shoot my supervisors as they emerged at the end of the work day. Instead I walked away and did not come back. But I had a place to go, I went home. The Palestinians can't go home because Israel is there now and is raining bombs down upon the Palestinian people in revenge for dozens of toy rockets raining down on the Israelis.

I think perhaps it's time to agree that the Middle east is not conducive to human life. Something in the hot sun, the white sands, something makes people go crazy and want to kill children. Read the Various Holy Books to come out of the Middle East and you will find lots of instructions on killing women and children, raping them, burning them, dismembering them. It's not a happy place, it's the sort of place Charles Manson would like to live. So I suggest we shut it down, make it a psychic brown field and don't allow anybody to live there. Surround the area with mazes that always lead back out. Prohibit airplane flights over it. Pave the region. Paint it orange with a black skull and crossed bones on it.

Let's start a religion where killing babies is never permitted, and define a baby as a person who has been born, not just conceived. If we could recall that we are all of us children of the Deity and as such we are all of us brothers and sisters, or sisters and brothers and it is a bad thing to kill your siblings, a terrible thing. My sisters gave me grief lots of times and we fought like pigs, but never to the death. Never did I drop a 2 ton bomb on their part of the house, because that would be insane. But the Prime Minister of Israel is killing his brothers and sisters for threatening to kill other siblings. Where's Mom when you need her? Melting the ice caps, that's where! She will take care of this whole thing sooner or later. We'll be so distracted by the loss of billions of people we might forget to kill the surviving children for being part of a different religion. We might even drop the whole "Kill a *fill in the blank* for Christ" concept.

Mom!! He's touching me! He won't stop touching me!

Drop a cluster bomb on his bedroom and shoot him as he runs out! Handle it yourself.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year Murmerings

It took a couple of hours to start the car today thanks to the deep freeze of an upstate New York winter. Here it is January 2009 and I'm still not living in a city on Mars. Little Billy Shirley would be so disappointed. But on the brighter side I never expected to live this long, either, so I got that going for me. It's hard for me and the car getting started in the cold mornings. My fibromyalgia doesn't seem to like it either, my arms feel like somebody held them behind me all night and squeezed the biceps. Kinda sucks. One of the chickens looks like she's on her last legs, too. They get sick sometimes in the winter and sometimes they get over it and sometimes not. Big Red stayed in her nest for weeks, hardly moving and looking bad. A couple of times I had to poke her to see if she was alive. But she got over it and survived until summer and then dropped dead.

The charger was on the battery for about two hours, grinding away. Then I sat and pumped the gas, begged and pleaded and then Freya suddenly started. We still don't seem to have much in the way of a heater though and that's a problem, but since she's due for the shop to check the "check engine" light issue we should be able to deal with it. My mechanic is in a bad way, he tried to start a motorcycle business just before the recession got real shitty and lost his shirt. So now I'm letting him fix those annoying little things like red warning lights and no rear wiper.

The little birds are all puffed up and round, like they all turned into chickadees. Even the blue jays have breasts today. They are diving and landing, knocking each other off the perches on the feeders. The way they dive off the branches on the chestnut reminds me of cliff divers on a tropical island. Except for the icicles and piles of snow, the technique is similar. Instead of pearls they end up with a sunflower seed.

Back in Phoenix, where it is warm in the winter, when the car didn't start I would call up Larry and he'd come over with his tools and make it work. Never failed to start my cars and explain exactly why I screwed up. This morning I asked Larry for a manifestation or something and then the car started. I'm pretty sure it was just a coincidence because Larry would have explained why the car didn't start and how to prevent this problem. Nobody told me nothing this morning so I guess I am on my own.

A friend is asking me to pick a camera out for her. She likes my photos and wants to own a digital. I'm temped to give her my old one, the one Larry gave me when I wanted to work in digital, but it's an antique with a memory card they don't even make anymore. The real problem is that my friend doesn't own a computer and doesn't want one. When means she'll have to view her pictures at the drug store when she prints them. I told her this and she didn't mind, just so she gets nice prints. I like being known for having knowledge. It's not like I'm another Larry but there are a couple of things I know well. If somebody wanted to use a kiln or build one I could help. I've taught Jess how to brew and a few other things like that, so I am something of a teacher, not as far up the ladder as Larry got, but not bad.

We're putting together our family tree here, using and their Family Tree Builder. It's great stuff, you can have pictures, sound clips, all kinds of information about the members of your tree. Then you publish the thing at their web site and anybody who happens to be connected can find the rest of the information, like some long lost cousin might discover that there are several William Shirleys and by comparing some details they can link to our tree and the thing gets bigger. My great grandfather was a William and he moved from Tennessee to Erie New York where he was a peace officer and an herbalist. They called him Doc Shirley and his obit described him as a big man. So I can really relate since I too an into herbs and my pappy was a big man. I'd be a big man, the doctors say, except something went wrong as a baby and although my spinal parts are for a man over six feet tall, like Pappy, I am only 5'-10" minus two inches for shrinking bones and ending up at 5'-8". But Doc Shirley had kids and if they ever build a family tree online they would discover ours and the thing would grow. Eventually, if everybody with family tree knowledge did this eventually we'd have this single huge family tree online for everybody to see that they are related to everybody else.

We are a huge family with all kinds of skin tone, height, occupations and interests. Things don't always go well in families and people sometimes drop out, but unless they die in a lonely grave in the desert they continue on with their lives somewhere. Their children may come to wonder about their great-great grandparents and do a search online, and when they do they will discover that we've been growing a nice one. I just wish Mom could see it, she loved to talk about family members, ancient uncles and cousins and what they did when. My grandfather Tate saved people from a flood, going out to collect them from their houses in a rowboat. He got a cold, it turned into pneumonia and he died. The stories mom told about her brothers were delightful and protected under the 5th amendment.

--- How time flies. I started this a couple days ago and now Margaret has added numerous names to our family tree and one chicken has passed on. Poor Tweedle Dum died, most likely of old age. She is survived by her sister, Tweedle Dee and her friends and room mates, Audrey Beardsly, Sharon and Biddie. Instead of flowers please treat birds kindly.