Not Knowing

April 18, 2022

I’m reading a book on Antisemitism that is the total of presentations for a conference of the same subject conducted at the University of Indiana this past Fall (2021). It’s written by Academics for Academics which makes sense since they present to each other. My issue with it is that the language is not easy for me to understand. I’m not putting myself down nor am I criticizing the presenters. When one is in a world, that’s the framework that these people have. But for those outside of this particular scope/perspective, it’s difficult to comprehend. It would be like trying to understand quantum physics without really studying it nor having a background in it.

Antisemitism

Why am I pointing this out? Because in reading this book of articles on Antisemitism, I’m learning all the things that I didn’t know about the subject. I must point out to my readers that I’m Jewish so I definitely know what it’s like to be Jewish and to have some people not like me for just being Jewish. I’ve also experienced people being really mean to me for being Jewish. In other words, I’ve experienced antisemitism without knowing the “definitions” of antisemitism nor understanding the academic framework surrounding the intellectual discussion of it.

Again, why is this important? Because not knowing, and then knowing about it opens a whole new world. Now that I know about all the ways that I was wronged in my life based on my being Jewish without realizing it, should I be even more upset than when the particular incident happened? In most cases, these incidents happened many years ago, but I’m coming to realize that many actions people are doing even more recently is actually because they don’t like my Jewishness; in other words, they are acting in an antisemitic way towards me. Does it make me feel any better or worse in knowing? Or in Not Knowing, being in ignorance of why people were being mean to me was it any better?

An interesting point is that most of the speakers who presented and who do present on antisemitism are not Jewish. So, it’s a conundrum to me how someone who isn’t Jewish and doesn’t have any Jewish blood is so taken with others not liking Jews to actually make it a field of study. Do people wonder about this or is it just me? There are many people all over the US and in other countries in this field of antisemitism that are not Israeli, nor Jewish and study this topic. What is their motivation? I see many names that appear to be Austrian, German, etc. Is there any correlation between the nationalities of the seekers with their reasons for studying such a subject when they are not connected to the situation, nor were they harmed by the subject except in concept. “When one of my fellow humans is wronged then so am I”. That’s pretty egotistical if I don’t say so myself. But I really have no idea why these academics are studying this topic so I can’t presume anything.

As I’ve continued my reading of this book, the answer to my questions is becoming more known to me: the speakers/authors are from countries involved in the holocaust and its aftermath. Again, from my readings I’m learning about how these countries are getting tired of apologizing for their involvement in the harming or not protecting more of their citizens from harm during the WWII destruction of so many Jewish lives.

Of course, people of many religions died during this period but most were killed during war times not just rounded up from their homes and murdered in one way or another. The systematic killing of six million Jews is horrific by any historical standard.

There appears to be a new generation of leaders that want to move away from apologizing and even accepting their past history to now shifting away from blame. In other words, they are attempting to change history. Not only are they re-writing what actually happened, but this new perspective is rationalizing the entire historical period away from their minds. Now it’s been done by “Others” and not “Them” so their people can breathe easier. With this new understanding, I can see why some of the authors are taking a stand on the resultant antisemitism that is arising out of this, well it’s not us, but them at fault. Again, it’s the Jews who are at fault. In other words, antisemitism is more on the rise than ever.

Of course, many people study ancient Roman culture and they have nothing to do with ancient romans. They didn’t live at that time nor are they responsible for anything that happened then but they still study this period in history. So, I guess if people want to study about another group of people and why others hate them, it’s ok.

As for my understanding what it’s like to be Jewish and to totally feel what it’s like to have been persecuted during the war, let me say that most of my relatives were killed during the holocaust. I believe that this point makes me able to say that I feel the pain of the persecution through the fact that I have so little family left. I especially am reminded of this fact on holidays and when people tell me that they’re about to visit cousins or other family members. I do have some family but only because those members of my family that did come over in the early 1900’s have married and had kids and they have had kids so there are a few generations in the US. Unfortunately, anyone that stayed behind is no longer.

As I continue my reading into this fascinating book and my NOT KNOWING becomes MORE KNOWING, I’m learning how more of the same old perspective that got Jews rammed into pogroms in the late 19th century is recurring; in addition, it contributed to the “it’s ok to kill the Jews because they caused all the ills going on in society thinking” is again gaining momentum. This is really news to me so my NOT KNOWING here is blowing my mind. Apparently, people just don’t learn from history. Are we going to have another world war over it? Do we have to have more lives lost like before? Or is this craziness the reason that non-Jews recognize the reason to fight against antisemitism before it’s too late? As this is a huge subject, for now, I’ll leave it as the answer. We all need to use our own minds and not be led like sheep to the slaughter by those that wish to tear down the very fabric of our society – (even with it’s edges and curves!)

Comments or questions are welcome.


Just Pray for Peace

March 9, 2022

The world is literally in chaos and I can’t deal with everything at the same time. People are upset about the world stage – there is war in the Ukraine where both Christians and Jews are being killed just because they live there. Many charities are asking for money to help these people and I for one have donated. Hopefully, there is some kind of peaceful settlement of this situation on the horizon. At least we can pray for one. I was dancing with a Ukrainian Jewish guy at a tango dance the other night who told me about the importance of prayer. He informed me of several prior situations that looked quite bleak during which prayer diverted even worse calamity. Could it possibly happen again? Could prayer help those in the Ukraine?

Last week, one of the Jewish organizations that I subscribe to, known as Chabad, held a zoom program with their counterpart in the Ukraine. It was noon in Washington, DC where I live but evening time there. Just outside, the Rabbi was afraid of the shooting and possible bombing expected anytime nearby. During the program, he stated that he might have to suddenly leave. It was like watching a warzone live. I guess it was really. I felt so bad for the people there as he told us how they were protecting the Jewish families as best he could; helping others to reach the border to safety, and still others to just stay alive within the synagogue as a place of refuge. But there is no real refuge from bombs.

I for one was truly impressed at the Rabbi’s words of hope at a positive outcome. He was not a native Ukrainian, but a US-trained clergy that just refused to leave those that become his religious family behind. He was staying! By the end of the zoom program, I was teary-eyed and awed at his bravery in the face of danger as well as his determination. Later, when the program was discussed we all agreed that we had hoped to give them inspiration but it was reverse that happened. We were very much inspired.

Why is this happening? What is our responsibility for all this chaos? The answer can be found on many levels – on the physical plane there is the US Government and its politicians that allowed Russia to overstep its power too many times when it tested us over the years. Now we have a weaker military along with a weaker national security both in terms of national intelligence and in terms of actually being able to fight in a real war. Now we are dependent on oil because the pipeline was shut down. Have you seen the price of oil lately which translates to high prices at the pump? As a result of Russian oil being so expensive and now being embargoed, the price of not just gas, but all things transported are going sky high. Every person domestically and I must guess worldwide is being affected by this war. It’s becoming a global crisis on many levels.

Then there is the responsibility at the soul level. Why would this happen? What are we to learn from it? Well for one thing it shows how groups of people will go to the aid of others; even to put themselves at risk. There are stories of US citizens leaving the safety of their homes to go fight in the war in the Ukraine. There are other stories of families being lost over there with many relatives here. Or still more stories of families here taking on the burden of fostering a Ukrainian family just to help them get settled here. Is God showing us the power of what we can do when pushed a bit?

I really hope that our prayers get answered and peace finds a way to prevail. Just pray for peace and for the highest good of all concerned. As always, comments are welcome.


Upside down justice

January 26, 2022

I’ve lived in my home for 22 years and have had 5 neighbors to the right side of my townhouse, some nicer than others. This current one can only be described as a witch. She’s truly a bully taking great pride in being selfish and demanding of her property rights over plants and trees but totally disrespectful when it comes to my rights. Here’s my story of what should have been a shared expense and how she reneged on her promise to actually pay me once repairs were complete.

Before I start my rant, because admittedly, I’m frustrated at the system that allows people in a neighborhood where the deed of the property clearly states a shared financial responsibility where a shared wall is involved, there are probably some of you that may disagree with my position. Since I believe that perspective is a fact in this world of duality, I accept that opposition to what I’m presenting is a possibility. Nonetheless, I’m going to present what happened in the hopes that eventually there is enough energy to move forward in a more positive way.

Over these many years, my house has needed quite a few maintenance repairs, of which very few involved my neighbors. That said, the walls between the homes to shift due to the settling of the houses. When this happens, the two walls essentially separate which causes a “crack” in the mortar. Although initially one can ignore the esthetically normal small crack, when it becomes a matter of a full length of the house crack then it’s a “structural situation”. At this point, it’s prudent to listen to the knowledgeable contractors that were repairing other parts of my home. “Hey lady, it’s time to fix this crack or you and your neighbor could have water damage”. When I hear this kind of statement, I listen. Having just spend a lot of money to repair first the siding a few months before and then the roof, now I realized I’d have to repair both side seams of my townhouse.

The neighbors on one side of my house had just moved in and were very nice people. During my investigation process and eventually completing the repair, they cooperated with me and paid their share (half of one side of the house or ¼ of the total cost). The other neighbor decided to make it as difficult as possible for me to get paid. As I was travelling out of the state to care for my mother, due to a family death, I was coming home to do these repairs. I was literally coming home for a few weeks and either getting bids or having work done and then going back to care for my Mom. It was and continues to be a stressful time. I just didn’t have lots of time to discuss the whys and wherefores of what I considered to be yet another home maintenance repair. After 22 years these repairs are to be expected.

Although this neighbor initially agreed to pay half of the expected repair, over email and through the President of the HOA to make it official, she later recounted her agreement. But she did this only after she got what she wanted from me – for me to trim a tree in my backyard that was growing into her “air” space. Let me re-iterate – it wasn’t touching any where in her backyard – just reaching into her “air” over a few feet over the property line. And for this transgression on my part, she wrote me a letter instructing me that I had to trim the tree by a certain date or her gardener couldn’t work at all on her backyard. I had a hard time not laughing since my tree was located in the corner of my backyard and was way over to the corner of her backyard. To say that her gardener was paralyzed from working until this beautiful cut leaf maple was trimmed was truly delusional. In 22 years, no other neighbor had bothered me about this gorgeous tree. Because the letter of the law states that I had to trim the tree, I did so and bam, once it was done her tone totally changed. Before that it was “what’s your PayPal so I can send you the money I owe you”. Once I had trimmed my tree, she came up with every crazy excuse in the books. Why did you do a mortar repair instead of caulking? Why? Because caulking isn’t for a structural situation where the entire side of the house is involved. The contractor I used was a licensed, bonded and insured real company that had reviews from doing this type of work, not a guy with a no-name truck like what she used to do her gardening work.

Needless to say, things went from bad to worse. I said she could pay me now or later. She sent $175 when her share was $700. I promptly refused the money she had sent and returned with an invoice for the full amount. She didn’t pay it. So, I tried through the small claims court system which was of little help. Again, she played a game until she got the ending she wanted. I went to court on the appointed day and she was a no-show. The judge called the case and shocked me with the news that she’d scheduled oral surgery that day. She lied and said she sent me a notice. I received nothing in the mail, in an email, nor on my door. It was a total lie. She just let me go to court, even though I had checked in the day before, the administrators didn’t know that there was a note on the file. The case was continued into the winter and of course it was on a day of bitter temperatures and icy road conditions. The federal and local governments were both closed but the courts decided to stay open. As I’d just had an accident earlier in that same week when my car slipped off the road during icy conditions, I couldn’t drive again and take any more chances (it was a huge repair bill). I called the court and was led to believe that it would be ok. But it wasn’t. Although the judge let her make up a story and play games with the date, he wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t drive (she has an SUV) so the case was dismissed not on merit but because I wasn’t there. I’m more than furious. But because I know that there is karma, I know that eventually she will pay her due. Comments are always welcome. But be gentle in this case…


Role Reversal

November 29, 2021

In this blog article I’m going to address the stage in life where the kids are taking care of the parents to the extent where the line of who is the parent and who is the child becomes blurred. This is a subject that is hitting close to home at the moment as I move further along the path of caring for my aging mother, now pushing beyond 94 years old.

I never had children of my own although I was married for a considerable number of years. As my marriage was always rocky, I didn’t want to bring a child into the world under a disadvantaged situation right from the start. I know that some people think that a baby will solve marital issues but I wasn’t of that mind. Anyway, that’s a subject for a different day. As life would have it, I seemed to have taken care of other people’s children along my life’s path. For several years, I had my ex-husband’s niece and nephew living with us when we first got married. They were teenagers, so I had the rebellion stage with which to attend. Then, later, I had the kids of my friends that I’d baby sit, so I became familiar with 5-10 year olds. I once taught school for middle kids so I had to learn what made them tick. In the end, I never had to feed, clothe, and shelter my own children. But the universe had a way of teaching me what this would have been like in a very surprising way, at least for me.

My parents moved out west closer to my brother as my father came down with Alzheimer’s disease. He passed in 2007 with my mother caring for him until the last day. Then she had to fend for herself with my brother looking in on her periodically. As the years went by, I travelled to her condo in Southern California to visit for a few days first yearly, then multiple times per year, then every 3 months. It may not seem like a lot but there was the week of preparation to leave my own home and my cat at the time, the actual trip and then the catching up afterwards. It was about a month of time for me dedicated to the one trip. My family never saw it that way. For them, it was just the few days I was out there. But when I was with my mother, it was 24/7. They would come over to my Mom’s place, bring some food, like bagels and feel like they had done their job. When I visited, I cooked, sometimes cleaned and took her places. I began to feel that I was really taking care of her. Then there were times that she wasn’t well during my visits when I had to take her to the doctor. A few times I had to take her in for an elective procedure – like her cataract surgery. During other times, she had illnesses like bronchitis or swollen legs wherein I had to take her to the doctor. Meanwhile, my doctor brother was at home oblivious to what I was handling for my mother. He never accepted that I was really helping him take care of her. Again, the universe had a strange twist of fate.

My brother, yes the same one that was a doctor, came down with cancer. He valiantly fought it for close to eight years, but in the end it took him down. Probably his poor eating habits, exercising very little and maintaining a very stressful practice as well as his private life didn’t help any either. His children and wife all had huge expectations of the lifestyle they wanted to lead and he was the breadwinner and played that role until his last day. He refused to stop working until he was totally incapacitated. In other words, retirement was not in his vocabulary. Well, rather unexpectedly, again  from my perspective, my younger brother who lived close to my mother died.

I was next in line to care for my aging mother. I quickly went out to California and began the role of primary caregiver for her, except it wasn’t a visit now, it was full time. To the surprise of the rest of the family (his wife and kids) I began to live there just returning home long enough to take care of my own home. This went on for 10 months with me doing all the activities of daily living for my mother; this included making her healthy meals, shopping to make sure food was in the house, maintaining the cleanliness of the condo to my standards (which included steaming the floors twice weekly for example), doing the laundry twice weekly and running her to all her appointment regardless of whether they were for doctors or to get her nails done. There’s a reason that people don’t have children at 70 years old. Being responsible for another person at this age is seriously tiring. I was more than tired. I was exhausted. Multiply what I was doing at her house with flying home and in a couple weeks, catching up at my house and then flying back to start all over again.

As time went on, my mother’s condition began to decline making it necessary to have outside support for just a few hours daily when I went away. After several trips and the world coming out of the pandemic, I decided that it was best to move my mother closer to me in Virginia. Understanding how stressed I was and that I was not going to fly back and forth forever, she agreed to move. Then I had to find a really nice place for her, pack her things, move her and then unpack her. Is this so different than a child leaving home and the parent helping them to move?

Although my Mom loved the place I chose and everyone quickly learned her name, her health took a turn for the worse within a few months. She had several falls, landed in the hospital for 4 days and the following month went on oxygen. Apparently all the years of smoking finally caught up with her. Well at 94.5 years old one can’t say that it shortened her life by much. She’s very lucky that my father made her stop smoking about 30 years ago. Unfortunately, she did gain about 30 pounds which she’s since lost over time with great difficulty. Currently, other medical problems are popping up. I still feel that for a woman that’s almost 95 years old, she’s led a fairly healthy life up to now with only a few medical blimps on the screen. Watching her decline in mental health is disheartening to say the least. Day by day she’s loosing cognitive ability to the extent that someone needs to watch her in the afternoon. There are activities were people come in during the morning hours and again at night so this is the main time for care coverage.

So just like a young child, that one must watch, make sure they brush their teeth, change their underwear, put on their glasses, go to the doctor and stay out of trouble, I’m watching and helping my mother. I get snacks for her in kid’s sizes, even giving her the twist off top yogurts that she really likes. She loves peanut butter and jelly on crackers, bananas and simple food. She’s eating more complicated food like salad less and less. I cut up her meat for her, but she’s eating about half of a portion these days. I open snack packs of nuts/raisins into a little bowl and she likes that. She sits in her recliner chair and closes her eyes most of the day.

Recently I bought an Amazon Echo Dot speaker where I can say, “Alexa, play Frank Sinatra for one hour”. She seems to really enjoy listening to her era of music and it appears to be very calming for her. I’m learning how to use this little device to provide wake up notices and alerts to go to the door to get her breakfast at a certain time as she can easily forget that it’s been delivered.

So now you have it- Food, clothing and shelter are now my responsibilities and all things in between. When her hearing aid gets lost I have to figure out how to get another one. I buy her new clothes and a new coat as it’s much colder here than where she came from. She still likes to sit in the sun on the front porch but there are few days when it’s warm enough for her as we approach December in Virginia.

As I leave my Mom after each visit, I wonder how much longer she has to live. Each day brings us closer to the last day. The thought tears at my heart every time I leave. I’ve also learned that as a caregiver, I can get lost in what I have to do for her, so I try to squeeze in some exercise and outside activities. All of this is not so different that a parent taking care of a child.

If this isn’t role reversal, what is? Everyone that lives long enough watches their parents’ age.  It’s just really hard when it’s your turn. Comments are always welcome.


The downside of too much control

September 27, 2021

I grew up with depression-era parents where our opinion was neither asked for nor tolerated. We were ruled with an iron hand and expected to obey without question. I was scared to death of my father and although not as much of my mother, she had her ways of making me pay for not listening to her. She would get upset with me at the slightest provocation and wouldn’t speak to me like she did before my wedding. Forget that it’s supposed to be the happiest time in a young woman’s life, that’s just how my Mom was, and still is, frankly. You just didn’t want to get on the wrong side of her. So I really get that the next generation, raised by similar types of parents would allow the pendulum, so to speak, to swing the other way.

Misbehaving

So what are the up and the down side of this type of child raising? Certainly it’s a great idea to promote well-being in a child. Regardless of the child’s IQ or physical ability, he or she should be encouraged to do their best to succeed in life. Success should be judged individually and not against a yard stick of others. There will always be someone faster, smarter or slimmer out there, so what is this child good at? Perhaps they are kind, willing to share or a born leader. They may not be the best reader or understand calculus. We should promote and encourage each child for what they bring into this world. I saw an amazing story the other day about a beautiful woman born without legs. She was actually adopted by truly loving parents who supported her being the best she could be and she didn’t let them down. Her friends accepted that she was just a smaller version of what they knew as a person but she is really beautiful. This girl grew up not knowing limitations and went on to excel in acrobatics. Seeing her perform on the internet not only made me smile, it gave me a great sense of awe in the world we live in. She had beauty inside and out. So here is an example of supporting a child and having it work out.

There are many similar examples of parents teaching their kids to be self-sufficient and growing into productive, highly functioning adults that accept responsibility in the world. But what can go wrong when parents treat their kids as if the child is the center of the universe? We’ve all experienced the screaming kid in the restaurant where the parent is hardly noticing while the rest of the diners try to look away or somehow quickly finish their own meals to leave. It’s so annoying to listen to loud voices in a restaurant of any kind, let alone a screaming kid. One goes out to dinner to enjoy a meal otherwise, well, just stay home. Then there’s the similar situation on a plane. I’ve had very long flights where young children are either crying or fighting with each other while the parents don’t do any kind of productive parenting. When we were kids, we were given Dramamine and simply slept during the trip. It was better for everyone involved. If anyone disagrees with me, feel free to express your opinion since I’m certainly expressing mine.

So what else can happen when kids are given too much free rein? Well, in the case of my brother’s kids, they grew up with wonderful athletic skills as well as doing quite well in the academic department also. They were surrounded by friends and as they came from good looking parents they had no trouble finding boy/girl-friends. Thus by most standards they were good kids, doing well in school, getting good grades and being quite popular. So what happened when they hit the real world? Well, here’s where things get a bit dicey. Since just about everything had been done for them for way beyond the beginning of adulthood (normally, when kids graduate from college they go off to start their own careers and also pay for their own apartments/homes, food, clothing, cars, etc.) As their parents could afford it, the kids continued to get their way paid for and to have their way with most things well into the next decade. When they hit a snag, like the girl had an argument with her long-time boyfriend, she just left him. If I said anything to her that she didn’t like, even casually, she’d act really snippy with me. And the boy began to exhibit extreme anger tendencies when things didn’t go his way, even to the point of personal attacks reminiscent of a much younger person. In other words, they were both rather emotionally immature because they didn’t learn much from the school of hard knocks. Their parents had so protected them from the world, when the world finally came in around them, they kind of failed the test from my vantage point. That’s not to say that they will never learn, but they haven’t learned yet.

If it seems that I have an axe to grind, you are correct, but I won’t air my dirty laundry. The general idea is enough for you to get my point. Too much control isn’t good just as too little control isn’t either. Like most things in life, we need to find balance.


Fine line between love and hate

June 10, 2021

Have you ever noticed how fine the line is between love and hate? People can be married for many years and suddenly get divorced hating each other. Normally, one assumes there is love when people marry. So how does the transition to hate occur? There are many answers to this question. In this blog article I will tackle a few of them including: a sudden incident, a gradual loss of connection, and finally, it was a mistake in the first place.

Let’s take the first cause of sudden disinterest in a marriage or relationship. (Perhaps one party changes with age, or there could be a situation that brings out extreme anger, rage or signs of abuse exciting fear on the other partner. Inappropriate intimacies with others can excite betrayal. Such strong emotions are very difficult to overcome and even if excused, often cause love to turn sour…and also, to hate.

Love Hate Computer Keys Shows Emotion Anger And Conflict

Taking a step back for the moment, it’s important to understand what emotions come from the second, third and fourth chakras. Fear (2nd chakra) and love (4th chakra) are opposing energies and cannot coexist. So if one is operating, the other will not be. In other words, fear and love cannot be present at the same time. Once a person begins to fear for safety of self or their integrity (as in betrayal) love is sure to die and to do so rather quickly. So second chances are rare and rarely succeed. The answer is to not do it! Think first or risk the relationship. Meanwhile, the third chakra is the seat of one’s personal power. Thus, if there is little energy in this solar plexus area, then the person feels the victim or without power. If there is too much energy in this area, then the person may be a power person or when taken to the extreme, a manipulator, narcissist, or bully over using one’s power.  

Unfortunately, I’ve had experiences with most of these situations including feeling powerless, a victim and even being bullied. Luckily, I learned from each of them and came out stronger. Not everyone is capable of coming into their authentic self to own their power, and be able to love without fear.  The more we do our “homework”, that is, work through our personal issues, the stronger we become in each of our chakras. The goal is to be as balanced as possible. Even love can be too strong wherein we give out too much forgetting ourselves.

The heart is like an emotional bank account with withdrawals when others are mean to us or we give freely to be of service. We then need to take in emotional support and loving kindness in order to balance out this heart energy. I’m providing just the tip of the discussion here but enough for you to get the idea. Don’t give so much that you get depleted or you will get overdrawn, just like your financial bank account would be.

Here’s a story of a situation that happened recently. A woman went to visit a guy friend who wasn’t finished with his routine weekend chores. Rather than stop his activities when she arrived, he insisted upon keeping her waiting another hour past their agreed meeting time. She was a bit aggravated but kept silent about it. She tried to lighten him up by joking around as he seemed so tense about getting things done. As she leaned into to him, his arms flew up in a protective stance – one that a man would take if he was concerned for his safety. This maneuver was totally unnecessary since the woman was much smaller than the man. None the less his arm hit her in the face knocking her on her nose. She was not only stunned by his behavior, she was really physically hurt. He never said he was sorry.

As she was reeling and dizzy from the strike to her face, she stayed in his house for the next few hours while he watched tv and ate dinner. She quietly planned how she would leave so as not to cause any trouble. Eventually, she felt well enough to make excuses and leave. When she did so, he said nothing and watched her walk out. It was only the next day that he realized that he’d just about ruined his chances with this woman and began to beg her to forgive him. She wanted no part of it. And so it went for a week. Eventually, she felt bad for him and gave him a reprieve but only on probation to monitor his behavior. The relationship lasted a few more weeks and then she ended it for good realizing that she could be in her power and not live in fear that he could be violent again.

The next reason is loss of connection. This can happen at any stage of a relationship. Perhaps people get started based on physical attraction and then really get to know each other finding there is little in common. Or what was in common loses interest. Sometimes people get together for the wrong reasons, like over an activity that one partner no longer wishes to pursue. There are many reasons for falling out including just getting older and changing.

The last reason – it was a mistake in the first place often happens when the couple is too young, there is too big an age gap, the financial circumstances are very different, some cultural norm is very different or there isn’t agreement on how it is to be handled, etc. Sometimes people come together to work out karma and the lessons are done; hence the basis for the relationship is done. I’ve experienced this one a number of times.

One thing I can say for sure: if two people come together and feel strongly about a relationship, there is a reason for it. It may be for a time, for a season or for a lifetime. Only you and your divine essence know. Your comments are always welcome.


Why did you leave me?

March 15, 2021

From what I’ve read there are a number of states that people go through after losing a loved one including denial and anger among others. A few months ago I had to put my dear cat Skylar to sleep after many years of caring for him. It was a heart breaking  experience to look for ;hope one day and take him to be euthanized the next.

Making that kind of decision is beyond expression. From the vet’s office I went to the crematorium to part with my little boy forever. I returned several days later to pick up his ashes and prepared his final resting place near my home. As I was about to conduct his funeral, I got the call that my brother, long suffering from cancer, had passed that morning without awakening from a coma he’d been in for the past week.   Why did you leave me?

Within two weeks after my brother’s passing I was on a plane to the west coast to stay with my mother, my initial thinking was that I’d stay for a while, take her to the cemetery and do a service for him since she’d been excluded due to the pandemic and just figure out long range care for her. However, once I arrived, the situation quickly changed. I soon realized that my brother’s family was hidding the fact that he’d gotten Covid from them and they wanted me to leave, but their agenda was unclear. Although their motives can be surmised I can’t prove them. I accepted their rude behavior over the years when we’d get to get her and I’d be left out of conversations attributing it to not living  nearby, however I now realize my inner notion that my sister in law just had no use for me is clear. Its all about control and money. Its very sad really. She just lost her husband and has his estate and details to occupy her yet she monitors my where a bouts, my car, and has my nephew bring in other external people to try to take over insisting that I’m not taking proper care of my own mother. She doesn’t have enough on her own plate? One would think she’d be glad to have someone else here to care for Her husband’s mother as she works and is shutting down his business. Unless it’s not about my Mom but about her money. Oh now we have it, although she inherited mucho from my brother….. what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too!! No?

Unfortunately,  I’m now caring for my Mother in a way that represents me taking responsibility for her much as a role reversal,  which, of course feels very strange.  I’m doing her laundry, making meals and taking care of other daily details of life. Meanwhile I have a woman  looking in on my own house back home. It’s four months now with no end in sight.

I keep asking my brother now in spirit why he left me with such evil people at my heels making my life so miserable? I have great responsibility and yet have such burdens on top of it.

And in the quiet moments I think of my little boy Skylar and miss him. He tells me that he’s ok and no longer in pain in that little body he had. Surprisingly enough my brother agrees that his wife is not acting properly and he agrees with the defensive actions that I’m forced to take.

Why did you leave me….with this mess??


It’s not just you!

December 18, 2020

My brother died in September and I wrote the following article after he had been gone for a week. My family had been acting weird not communicating with me in any kind of normal way. I’m not going to describe what weird actually means since every family has their own dynamic.

Soon after, I went out dancing to one of the few places that allows such activity, albeit with masks and lots of hand sanitizer in between partners.  As I entered, the first person I saw told me that the love of their life had died several months before of a brain tumor. The next person I met at this same dance told me that their partner had died three weeks before. As I was leaving the dance which was only an hour in length, another person said to “stay safe”- and that they could survive anything after what they’d been through with their family just a few months prior. He went on to explain how his brother was found after four days quite unrecognizable, having been living off soda and liquor [sugar and sugar]. After hearing this story I inquired if foul play had been suspected. I received a very surprising reply, apparently the children reported to the police that he and his brother had had a strained relationship which resulted in this guy being taken in for questioning.

At this point I realized that it’s not just me. There is a lot of death and transformation going around. I’m starting to study astrology and am finding meaning in the alignment of the planets. Perhaps all this strange behavior is the result of Pluto hitting into Mars or Saturn? I left the dance and went out into the night to gaze up at the night sky and saw the full moon. Several of my relationships of late of various types have gone bad. Change is all around me.

Does it help to know this? Yes it helps to put things into perspective. We have both challenges and happy times along our life journey; some high times and some low. Right now, I’m experiencing more lows than highs, but I will get through it with grace, humility, and appreciation as I move along the divine path set before me. There is a reason for everything. Comments are always welcome.


I said goodbye, but he’s not gone

September 21, 2020

I came home today and my fur baby Skylar wasn’t at the front door sunning himself like he usually does. You see, he crossed over Rainbow Bridge today. Skylar had enough and didn’t even want me to hold on to him this morning. I knew when I awoke that today was the day that I had to help me… cross over that is. How does one make the decision to end a life that one has tried to prolong for so many years? The decision haunts me. Should he have just a few more days? Was there even one more thing that I could do to help him?

I got out of bed and went downstairs hoping that there would be less food in his bowl showing me that he had eaten during the night, but it was not to be. In fact, there were only two small urine balls in his box indicating that he hadn’t even been drinking water. Normally, I had to scoop his box a lot in the morning due to the many times he’d used it during the night. This morning, it was different. I knew he’d not eaten and not drunk water. He was done.

With a resolve that can only come from an inner knowing, I called his veterinary’s office and through tears made a 12:30 pm appointment to put him down. Then I tried to give him some of the meds I had in his little box I kept for such things; I tried a pain pill but it only made him wince. I kept hoping that I’d find something that would encourage him to eat and I’d be able to call the Vet back and say that I was mistaken and he was alright. But it was not to be. It was going to be the end.

I took a walk and asked guidance for confirmation and the same answer came back, “you’ve done all you can. It’s time to let go”. When it was time to put Skylar in his carrier, he was already in there. He had used it for comfort. I had come to leave it on the level by the front door so that he could feel secure. It was kind of cute how he’d sun himself on the pad with the carrier open and then go inside when he’d had enough of the sun. It was a condo with multiple options. Lately, he’d spent a lot of time inside this carrier. It was where he felt safe. His hearing was gone yet he could feel when someone would come into the house as the door opened. Sometimes, as I opened the door, he wouldn’t want to move. I had to laugh as he had his little personality. Yet, too he was always happy to see me when I came home. Now I was ending the life of my little boy that I had come to love and who had become as much a companion to me as I had to him.

And so we left for his last ride in the car. We arrived at the Vet and had 30 minutes together before Dr. Chau came into the room. Again, I asked if there was anything else we could do, to which she reconfirmed what she’d told me the week before; he was in end stage renal failure and had given up eating. He most likely had stomach bleeding, had thickening of the spine, could hardly walk, had bronchitis, as well as the pancreatitis that plagued him his entire life. All around me as well as my own inner guidance had confirmed that it was time yet I still was crying so hard at the thought of ending his life. Yet, I had to. I knew it.

 Then the needles came as well as the dreaded end. Once I saw the life leave Skylar’s little body, I realized that I had been in denial. He probably had been trying to tell me that he wanted to leave for a while. He’d been on appetite stimulate for several years, yet I persisted in keeping him alive. He’d been slowly losing weight over the last couple of years.

The pandemic was a bit of a blessing in that I hadn’t traveled in these last six months giving Skylar and I more time together. For several months, I only went out of the house for one hour per day and was available to him when he needed or wanted me. Sometimes he’d come upstairs to my study and just sit near me as I worked. I’d turn around and he’d be there, sitting so quietly. Sometimes I‘d find him in my study when I returned from being downstairs; the little guy knew that at some point he would meet me there. In this sense, he was very patient. I can remember times when I’d be searching the house for him to make sure he hadn’t gotten closed inside a closet or in the garage accidentally only to find that he’d been waiting for me in my study all along. Other times, he would realize that I was on the sofa in my family room watching tv and he’d join me there. When he was awake, which weren’t many hours of the day, he liked to be near me. That is, until the end.

The week before he died, he looked at me like, “help me”, so I took him in to the Vet to find out all the issues that were going on. Whereas he had been holding steady with his renal failure (at Stage 2), he’d risen to Stage 4. Where his weight had held steady at 10 pounds, then down to 8 pounds, he’d fallen down to 7.1 pounds. So in the last 9 months, there had been a huge decline. The 6 months of the pandemic had been his worst period, yet it was the time when I hadn’t traveled and had more time for him. The universe has a way of organizing things for the best.

The last few months I’d been busier with on-line classes and walking outside giving me a more positive attitude, yet I was getting very tired of all the care I had to provide. I was getting caretaker’s burnout. I missed some of his medications. He would come to me and cry – it was time for his fluids. He knew it. He could feel it and so reminded me. It wasn’t that I wanted him to die; I was experiencing adrenal exhaustion and weight gain due to the stress of an almost dying cat, an aging Mom and a brother with cancer. I had done my best, yet I’m second guessing myself now – was there one more pill that I could have given him that would have made a difference. Once I come back into my body I realize that, no, it isn’t possible to play God. The end is the end and all living things have one.

After Skylar expired, the nurse wrapped him in a towel like a mummy but made sure to leave his little head clear. What difference did it make as he was already dead? In my grief, I was thinking that he’d be afraid as he didn’t see well in the dark. One doesn’t think straight at such moments, yet I’m obviously not the only one since this Vet tech knew to do it this way. He was laid in his beloved carrier that had become his safety net, put in my car and then taken to a crematorium nearby. Driving home with the carrier empty, crying the whole way, was very difficult.

Once home, I began the task of cleaning up the house. It isn’t that it was necessary right at that point in time; it was more a way to busy myself to not think so much. Looking at his bowls, his litter boxes and all his toys on the floor were too painful. Cleaning it all up took time and gave me a chance to zone out. Then I went to bed early sure that I could hear him walking around the house.

The next days and weeks will be mourning his loss and remembering all the cute things he did when he was feeling better. I began to realize that when one sees a loved one on a daily basis, the declining health they experience isn’t always seen by the caretaker. I hadn’t realized how much Skylar had declined. I had been in denial.

How will I remember Skylar? When my other cats died back in 2011-2012, I hadn’t planned to get another cat. I felt a pull to look online at rescue cats and found Skylar. He was a big guy at 12.6 pounds and had been told that he was an over eater. I ignored the naysayers and adopted him anyway stating that he just needed to be loved. And love him I did. Within six months, by following me around my three-level townhouse, he was a more normal 10.5 pounds. I feel that he’d been mis-treated when young since he had trouble trusting me for the first year or so. Eventually, he came to sit with me on the sofa and our love affair began.

Skylar had a very sweet nature and loved anyone who would pet him. He was crazy about his pet sitters, which helped me a lot as I travelled several times per year.  Once he fell ill with renal failure and pancreatitis about three years after he came to live with me, (now five years ago), my caretaking began. I went to heroic measures to compound medications for him as the standard dose overwhelmed his sensitive body. His Vet was always amazed at what I was doing. I have been recording videos over the last year of just what I did for him and plan to put together a You Tube Channel  to help other pet owners in Skylar’s memory. I had gotten five years out of a cat that was only supposed to live for two after falling ill.

For now, this is what I have to say about Skylar’s passing. Over the next few days, I will pick up his ashes, write and carry out a fitting funeral for a wonderful guy. He was my little fur baby. I miss him so much and feel his energy around the house. Am I crazy to hear, “Mommy, don’t cry. I’m ok. I can play with other cats here. “I hope he’s at Rainbow Bridge and maybe, just maybe he’d found my other cats and now enjoying activities that he was never able to do here. He was never able to play outside.

“Skylar, Mommy loves you. I hope you’re ok. I hope you’re no longer in pain; that you can run and play and have fun”.

P.S. If you have a cat with Chronic Renal Failure and Pancreatitis, stay tuned for the Skylar Channel on You Tube which I will be creating in the near future.


Aspects in Balance

September 21, 2020

Every quality, like most things in life, has a good aspect and if extended into extremes, a negative one. Even something like being a nurturing person which is normally considered to be a desirable quality, can be negative if done to excess leaving the nurturer over-extended. It is always important to consider the balance point for everything in life, even our personal qualities. Today, I’d like to address some examples of qualities and the full spectrum of how they can be represented as in balance or out of balance.

As a great man once said, let’s look at the man in the mirror first, so I’ll start with myself.  I was born an Aires, with natural qualities of leadership and organization. During my working career, I used my natural tendency to lead and organize to great success for my professional duties; however, when I transferred those same skills to personal relationships it didn’t go so well. As I was to learn, people don’t like to be managed, overly organized and led outside of the work place. Apparently, it feels too much like “mothering” from someone who is not their “mother”. Certainly, it didn’t go well in my dating life for obviously reasons. My awakening moment was during a dance lesson when my instructor told me, “Joanne, you have to let the guy lead!” I was to learn to not only let go to allow someone else lead me, but to do so with complete trust with my eyes closed. I suppose my love of dancing was a way of balancing this natural quality of leadership for me. I also know now that one is left brain while the other is right brain; again, one balancing out the other.

The above example can be applied to many other qualities. How many women, and perhaps some men, over nurture? At home with children, this is a good quality, certainly when the kids are young. That said, as they grow us, even children want more autonomy. If one doesn’t learn to allow space for mistakes so that the kids learn to fend for themselves, then they will be in trouble when they get into the real world on their own. In the worst case scenario, we see grown men and women, totally dependent on a parent (whether mother or father) because they never separated out; they never developed their own identity because of over-nurturing by the parent. It’s very important for kids to have a chance to make mistakes and not be scolded (too much) so that they don’t develop fear of being wrong; otherwise, when they get into the workplace they turn into adults who have to be perfect. Since there is no such thing as perfection, the pursuit of same causes extreme stress and uncertainty. Thus overly nurturing mothers, who are well-intentioned, can raise kids who become neurotic adults. Again, every quality has a full spectrum from the positive to the negative.

Another example is a guy friend who is a good analyst. He was born with an ability to pay attention and hyper focus (perhaps a bit ADHD) on the details of life. In his work life, he’s learned to apply this ability as a detail-oriented person to an analyst position, one for which he is accurately suited. In addition, he has moved on to a managerial job wherein the details are also extremely important. However, when it comes to managing people, he tries to use this same skill of being in the details and it doesn’t always go so well. He tends to reflect back to people what he believes they want him to say rather than intuitively (right brain) ascertains what is needed to mentor them into productivity. When I’ve heard him discuss the issues he has with certain individuals at his workplace, I can only imagine that these are the people that don’t want to be managed; or perhaps even manipulated as it might feel. Perhaps they would prefer for him to just ask how he can be of service to them or inquiry as to the source of their issue. In other words, he should treat his subordinates as adults rather than as children to be managed. I have tried to explain this to him but he gets locked up in his left brain and has difficultly moving into the right brain to grasp the concept. Although he is perfect for this position from the standpoint of attention to details to manage his day, the routine it requires and the constant checking to make sure that everyone has completed their tasks, I feel that he is lacking in real people skills. If it were me in there, I would empower my people to feel a part of the organization, give them a sense of pride in their work and not micro-manage them. It’s been proven that when one treats people like children (micro-managing ) them, that’s how they behave (not performing unless told to do so).

Unfortunately, this same guy tries to handle his personal life in the same way – with an extreme hyper focus to the details and an unwavering plan that doesn’t adjust for changes as they are required. I watched it happen last week and was horrified at how each challenge messed him up. Things that I accept as normal bumps in the road were major hurdles for him – like traffic, rain and a tire getting a nail. My approach was to deal with the traffic, make adjustments in the plan for the day based on the rain and stop to get the tired plugged so as not to ruin the entire day. But that’s not what happened. As each challenged appeared, he repeated it over and over – this horrible traffic; OMG it’s raining. Now there are two things so he repeated the two things until there were three things and he repeated them. Until he had himself convinced that the day was ruined so we had to return home.

 I’m so used to putting out fires and keep going that none of it would have stopped me. It’s all a matter of perspective. Life is life and we have to stay in balance in order to be resilient. Otherwise, everything and anything will throw us off and life will become horrible. Why do that to yourself?  Comments are always welcome.


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