Defining Sanity and Humanity

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I’ve been away from my blog for some time. Knowing it exists, and that I would return, was always a comforting thought. I am pages from completing a fascinating, enlightening, true story and could wait, no longer, to share it.
I am grappling with the term “forever changed” by this book. Instead, I think it is more accurate, in my own case, to say “finally aware” or “forever defined”.
This is a firsthand story of a brain scientist’s stroke. There is a wealth of science about symptoms and perceptions, from the victim’s view. It is an essential part of the story and, really, not hard to learn and appreciate but the overall message and “insight” into the human psyche will “blow you away”!
We are a single being which operates, through our world, by using two separate, yet connected, brain hemispheres. The story exposes the purpose and function of those hemispheres in enlightening detail. The author’s conclusions about the necessity for both to function in unison in order to offer a life “rich” in a common conscientiousness are extraordinary, possibly, life changing.
As I read this book, I was thankful for my years with children for my primarily hopeful perspective about living “in the moment”. Jill Bolte Taylor hits the “nail on the head”, in my opinion, about how much of our own happiness is a matter of how we CHOSE to perceive the world. Embracing how ordinary events make us “feel” (emotionally and physiologically) just may be the biggest tool in the counteracting of everyday depression and sadness.
The author does not disregard the fact that our mental health is subject to chemical reactions beyond our control. The awareness that we CAN control much of it, though, (beyond brain damage and illness) offers a primer in a more fulfilling, happy, existence.
Incidentally, the carefree, forgiving, nature of man’s best friend seems to further explain why our Left Brains (containing speech and ego) can be our worst enemy if left to control too much of our time. On the other hand, who wants children, or dogs, making critical decisions?
As with everything we learn about life, balance is the best medicine.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the wisdom between the covers of this book!

  • How to recognize a stroke.
  • How to treat stroke victims.
  • The recuperative power of sleep.
  • How our brains interpret the world.
  • The importance of patience and kindness.

I give this book 11 stars out of 10.

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A writing prompt: My Emotional Weather Report

winter '04 walk-in

A cold chill looms in my subconscious.

Awake, there are flakes of doubt whether,

I will weather, future rains on “my parade”

With a calm front.

We live not in the doldrums for very long.

 Clouds come and go.

I will focus upon the clear skies…my horizon.

Stomping in puddles,

Making snow angels,

And building sand castles on the warmest days.

For the winds of change are unpredictable,

Yet, I’m certain, the sun always rises in the East.

NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Veery

veeryThis cute little bird is a Veery. It belongs to the group of birds known as Thrushes, therefore, it has a more familiar cousin, the American Robin. A Veery is slightly smaller than a Robin.

All Thrushes have lovely voices. The link below will bring you to a site where there are audio samples:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Veery/sounds

I found these birds hopping around my yard, at camp. It’s not surprising that I find them there. They live and nest in damp forests. These feathered sweethearts, primarily eat small insects and berries. The one, below, was flipping over leaves and gobbling up insects as she moved along. I usually find them to be shy but either the food source was just too enticing or the nesting drive too strong, to scare these photo subjects away from my lens. There were two birds present and, it seems safe to assume, that they were a mated pair. Their coloring was identical, so unlike Robins, there is no easy way to tell “Mom” from “Dad”.

038These birds build nests on the ground, or very near the ground, under dense shrubs. They occupy Canada and the Northern U.S. during springtime and summer but migrate to South America for the winter.

036Their cheerful voices always fill me with happiness. How fortunate I am to have them as summertime neighbors!

Doctor Hopper

designallDoctor Hopper, a handsome dude,

 Only eats from happy food.

A helping hand or handmade gift,

Gives this fellow quite a lift.

He always shares and travels miles,

Seeking kids who offer smiles.

Wanting things, just isn’t why,

A person, sometimes, needs to cry.

Being glum is not okay.

It’s not your birthday every day.

A sour frown’s no good to eat.

Insects only like what’s sweet.

You’ll find this superhero bug,

In every single happy hug.

The doctor wants the world to know,

Nectar comes from the love we show.

Cheer for your friends, and family too,

Keep him fat, he counts on you.

Happily Ever After

February xxx 019My husband grew up in a pet-free environment, so when he married me, we had many battles over living with pets.

We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary in July but the pet angle was a great big “bone” of contention for the better part of those years.

To the non-pet people, they are messy, costly and really get in the way of vacationing .

To a pet person, they are comforting, fun, and who needs a vacation, when the pet has to be left behind?

It took many years (about 26) for my husband to finally “see the light”. I can thank Ollie, my Jack Russel, for this transformation. Getting Ed to accept a new puppy took cunning and some deceit (I came clean eventually.), as well as, a sister who was willing to be an accomplice. My need to have a puppy took top priority. My heart was saddened by my husband’s inability to recognize how desperate was my desire for a dog. I could not imagine why anyone, who loves me, would deny me something so critical to my happiness.

Well, there was a power issue. “Who’s the boss?” plagues many marriages. BUT, it was mostly due to the fact that he had never felt the bond of a dog. He couldn’t place any importance on an “imaginary” need.

Then came Ollie. The little guy and Ed became fast friends. Ollie would lean against Ed and beg to sit with him. I would refer to Ed as “Daddy” and pointed out how much Daddy was missed by Ollie.

All things considered it was a very successful effort. Yes, I’ve gotten my way but the best part is having given Ed the love of a dog.

Now I catch Ed talking to Ollie on a regular basis, “What do you think of THAT, dog?” is a heart-warming phrase repeated daily. Ed invites Ollie under the bedding at night too. “Come on dog, want your blanket?” (For you wise guys-NO, he’s not talking to me.)

Above, they are pictured in a familiar camp posture. A man, a beer and his dog…Happily ever after. 😉

“Tuning in” on Nature

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I spent most of my Autumn getting caught up in the political debates. It was a depressing time for me. I felt agitated and angry, as well as, without hope. My journals and photography went from plentiful and bright, to almost nothing.

Today, I posted in my Nature Knowledge category for the first time in months. It made me feel good. Then I happened upon 2 articles that gave definition to my happier endeavors. I’ve entitled the 2 links:

Seeing is Believing

and

Connecting with Nature

Disconnecting from social media in favor of being outdoors is a prescription for true happiness. One of my status posts during the political rumble of last Fall asked everyone to stop labeling each other and look at their neighbors. I dared them to find bigots, baby killers and ugly Americans. In taking my own advice, I noticed charity, compassion and goodwill surrounded me.

The first article, linked above, clearly states that what we see is too often predicted by what we expect to see. The second article is a scientific experiment about our brains and what technology does to us.

I believe spending time with Nature is an awesome learning experience. Mother Nature has no agenda but for life. She can be cruel but never hateful. She can be beautiful but never vain. When I feel depressed and without hope, I choose to listen to Nature with my eyes and heart wide open. I suggest we introduce our children to that wonder for their own happiness and future.

Simply Silly

Some people break into song to lift their spirits.

Some people enjoy meditation.

I prefer the underrated and shameless art of silliness.

Kids respond to silliness so much better than adults. I like kids. They are seldom caught looking over their shoulder, wondering who may be watching, before enjoying a silly moment.

Tools for the sillies vary. I think rhyming works well. The kids and I have wonderful fun while teasing each other in rhyme.

Once rhyming “kicks in”, it takes over, and giggling happens. Who doesn’t enjoy giggling?

Yesterday’s best: “That baby is peeking. Hope his diaper’s not leaking.”

Have a great weekend, my friends.

Remember:

If you forget to be silly…then you’re over the hilly…don’t be a nilly…Just say I willy.

Random Word Story #21~Marriage is Served

Insecurity by zummi

Insecurity by zummi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Random words generated by creativitygames.net

One set of words used to create a spontaneous story.

soldier…eyebrow…hot plate…medal…appetite…pub

Here is my story:

Living with mental illness was not his problem but dealing with it was. David kept wondering if HE were the problem? Of course, then he could fix himself. Really? Did he have to be the one who always made amends and emotionally support Jen? This was the first time that he even wondered if her paranoia was “catchy”.

With much guilt, he’d considered if he had married the wrong woman on countless occasions. She’d made him laugh and had that playful wit and was “easy on the eyes” too. But after 30 years of marriage, he was tired of being the brave little soldier. His medal of honor for staying married had no sparkle, faded color and he wondered if there was even such an honor. When staying married is a choice, not a vision, how long could he endure?

The pub gave him a temporary reprieve but also served as an irritant. He’d return to a dark house, even if it really wasn’t late at all. Jen would have turned in and left him a meal beside the hot plate.

Was HE crazy or was the dark house a signal…his punishment for having a “life” in spite of Jen? It wasn’t only the cold homecoming, but the irritated swipes for the next few days. An eyebrow raised when she’d ask, ” Did you have fun with YOUR friends?”

Jen could convince him that he’d done something wrong any time he questioned her motives, her reasons and once-in-a-while her mental health.

“No one is perfect.” He rationalized. “Maybe I could give up my pub visits and all would be fine. Maybe I could support her more…”

He was at a loss. Everything that he might enjoy was threatened by Jen’s insecurity.

Ha, was he really qualified to tell someone that they were insecure? Maybe he WAS the problem?

David was a fair, likable sort who didn’t much like feeling caged. But he didn’t like the feeling that there must be a “menu” somewhere that could serve up just the right condiments to make this marriage happier.

David was also not a quitter. He would keep giving and apologizing for awhile more while searching for that magical meal. But frankly, he was losing his appetite.

Random Word Story 7~ Never Alone

Random words generated by creativegames.net.

revenge…stretcher…definition…dragon…bus station

Here’s my story:

I was in the overcrowded bus station. It was there, that I realized, being in a crowd of strangers was the true definition of loneliness. No one really cares…no one wants to understand…life was a highway and everyone was traveling along, way above, the speed limit. Even while standing still, the energy was overwhelming. Moses appeared beside me. I was happy to see him but said nothing. He wasn’t a talker.

I’d known Moses since I could remember. He had a special way of showing up when I needed him. He was wearing his kimono with the fluorescent green dragon on the back. He just bowed and the crowd separated. Ha! The parting of the Red Sea. I was following my Moses to the promised land.

My cane and I inched forward until I felt the cool surface of an empty counter. I’d had an onion bagel for breakfast and enacted my revenge on the unconcerned clerk with my breath. I accentuated every “H” in my sentence.

“Hey there! Have you time to help my friend and me? Heaven knows he’s a needy fellow.”

“What the hell ails you mister? Your breath reeks and I see only a crazy old man…YOU!”

Ah…the sighted never truly see. Moses took me by the arm and led me away from the bad energy emitted by the ignorant clerk. I could feel him, but now, he seemed to become part of the crowd. The last remnant of him was the green dragon. There was a bright light consuming my companion. I had not seen such light since the flash of the fire that had taken my sight away as a child. There was an explosion then, but now, a warmth wrapped me tight and I was floating. My cane fell away from me as I beheld the most beautiful green valley…

The sirens overpowered the crowd which became momentarily silent as the stretcher passed carrying an anonymous blind man’s body to the city morgue.

The loud-speaker barked:

” Bus 2012, leaving in two minutes people… move it along!”