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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Yesterday, a beautiful day was had by all--I mean, I had a beautiful day.

Up at 5 a.m., I was at the Radiology center by 6:30, far too early for my 7:15 appointment, but it's sometimes difficult to plan it exactly. I was through and released to a normal life by 4:30 p.m. There was a time they sent me away for two and a half hours. It was a beautiful day, with not a cloud in the sky, but fairly chilly for sitting around. Eventually I found a perfect bench in Central park, in a suntrap out of the wind facing south, where I could catch the sweet scent of blossoms of some sort, wafting over me in waves. I relaxed so well I actually fell asleep. So I woke up with a red nose and forehead. For someone as sick as I am, I now look remarkably healthy. Way to go!

While going from one Radiology waiting room to another, I noticed my crutch had lost the one crucial bolt that keeps the thinggy in place on which I lean all of my weight when walking. It could have happened when I was disembarking from a bus--I would have flown out like a witch falling off her broomstick--I felt so lucky to discover the loss in a place where it didn't matter. One of the radiologists took my crutch and went off somewhere into the back and fixed it. This little incident has made me wake up to the fact I must pay close attention to details more than ever these days and avoid unnecessary risks wherever possible.

On my park bench, after my nap, I engaged in a most interesting conversation with a stranger sitting nearby and who had told me the time (I don't wear a watch, and I had no idea how long my nap had lasted and whether I should already be back in Radiology). He was most kind, articulate and pleasant, and we could have talked more if both of us didn't need to go off somewhere. Thank heavens for the company of strangers!

In Radiology, the space is very tightly laid out, just enough little cubicles all in a row for dozens of people to get dressed and undressed behind their own curtain. The patients in their short little gowns keep passing down the corridor, the doctors and technical personnel too, it's a constant bustle in which from time to time you participate to go to the machines, the toilet, the reception area, or to look for another "room" (that's what they call these little cubicles) to wait for what happens next. Every time films have been exposed, you wait until they are developed and someone considers whether they are "good pictures" or not, and if not, you do it over again. At the end of the day, one of the doctors comes and releases you, along with whatever information he feels like revealing directly to you. Most often, it's something like: "I'm going to send the results to your doctor."

The particular center I was at has scads of doctors, some of whom I had already had dealings with (contrast injections, crutch repair), but I still saw several pass by who were complete strangers to me. There was one who caught my attention because he appeared to be such a charismatic character: tall, poised, dignified, elegant, good looking, a head of completely white hair and a mellifluous voice. When my time came, he was the very one who saw me, and I felt so fortunate. On top of everything, the guy was kind--what a bonus.

I went straight from Radiology downtown and crosstown to my temple, where I had planned a memorial for my mother.

She was killed by the Americans sixty years ago on May 8. But, as I like to say, even if she had not died then, she would still be dead today. The memorial toba I offered for her celebrated her 105th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mother!

When I remember the facts of my mother's death, which I witnessed closely because I was sitting on her lap with her arms around me when it happened, my heart cries for her pain. Although I remember quite clearly how I felt at the time, from the point of view of who I am now, I can also empathize for the terrible emotional pain she experienced, above her physical suffering, realizing she was dying and leaving her two small children behind with, as it would have appeared to her I'm sure, no one to protect them--underneath a collapsed building, with bombs still exploding all over the place, and no other human being except me able to answer her cries.

My mother's pain is mine. When I do toba memorial for her, it becomes bearable. No matter what, when I think of her, the pain of all the mothers of Iraq becomes my pain too.

Eveybody believes exactly what they want to believe. My mother's death, and the simultaneous death of her own mother, tore the curtain away from irreality and revealed to me the truth of things as they were. It was the instant consternation that there could not exist a God as he had been described to me, it had to be the very Devil if there was such a power. I could never again go back on that realization, any more than I would ever believe in Father Christmas again when I had found out he did not exist.

I believe it is everybody's inalienable right to believe in whatever they choose, or if you prefer, to choose what they want to believe in, whether it makes sense to me or not, or to anyone else. I will just say this, however, to the religions of the Book, the Bible, who share among themselves the majority of faithful humanity alive today:

To the Jews: Going to war is a sin against the God you believe in, Jehovah, and a desecration of his law.

To the Christians: Going to war is a sin against the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, and a desecration of the teachings of Jesus.

To the Muslims: Going to war is a sin against Allah, and a desecration of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

There just cannot be any justification for the untimely snuffing out of anyone's life, and then declaring: "It's God's will!" If this is truly your God's will, please get yourself a kinder god, one of love and compassion, one of justice, not one of vengeance and retribution.

The fact is that Mankind likes to declare God created Man in His image: the truth of the matter is that Man creates his god in his own image: cruel, greedy, stupid, devious, unfair, self-centered, merciless. How crazy does one have to be to feel any satisfaction in creating for oneself such a destructive role model?

Don't you know your intention gives direction to your life? Don't you know it all starts, over and over, from moment to moment? With your every thought, word or deed? Your "karma" ("action")?

Like I always say to those around me, those who rely on prayer only, "You can put rice on the altar and pray, but ******** will still not cook dinner for you".

In other words: you get what you put into anything. Don't think you can do evil to obtain good. If you plant an acorn, you won't get corn. If you want an oak, you can't get it by planting a mustard seed. It's up to you to keep clear and not plant what you don't want to see grow around you.

Well, to finish on a lighter note: my little window boxes are filled with some green thinggies, self-seeded from last year. I don't have any idea what they might be. I am not in a physical shape to plant anything right now, so I am allowing these little self-starters to enjoy their lives right there. I may have a field of weeds! Wouldn't that just be a hoot?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

It's hard to blog when I am so distracted. I appear to be more of a consumer than a producer these days: when I have caught up with my reading, it is almost more than I can bear to switch myself around and write. First of all, because there is so much to say about the state of affairs around the world, and second, because my own life is hurtling along like a train without brakes.

The new Urologist is a good man. Good enuff. He looks like Ross and Monica's father in Friends, only more so. More hair, bigger, wilder. He sent me for a renal scan to the wrong place. I took a bus for the first time since I have become unable to walk. I bought myself some crutches, and I planned to go for the scan first by bus, and hoppity-hop on crutches across Central Park in the beautiful sunshine. It was a great success, I was on time, but I was in the wrong place.

"We don't do these tests here," they said.

"You gave me an appointment," I said.

"We misunderstood you, we thought you wanted a sonogram."

Ah.

I came out onto the street again and realized I was right across the way from my Oncologist's office, shades of 1996. I thought I would go in, pop my head into the waiting room and cry out: "Dr. B.! Remember me? Look.... I'm still alive!" No such luck, he was out and no one was waiting for him. I stayed long enough to force his receptionist to crack a smile, something she always resists with all her energies. When I finally managed, I was out on the street again, gloating, and with that funny feeling of "What now?"

I still had the better part of the gorgeous afternoon to myself, so I decided to hop to where I should have gone for the renal scan, try and get them to take me right away, or make an appointment for some other day. By the time I was done, I had had quite a walk already and I was drunk with the tulips and the sun and the blossoms, so I decided I might as well push the envelope as far as it would go and set out for home, diagonally across Central Park one more time.

At the Bethesda fountain, groups of Chinese weddings were shooting their wedding pictures. They don't do it on the wedding day itself, they do it ahead of time, so what you have is the bride and groom, all gussied up, and the best man and bridesmaid, ditto. The other attendants are all in jeans, they have just come along to support. Red hair, blue and green hair, punk cuts, white tuxedos with ribbons and extraordinary flowers, powder-puffy gowns with crinolines and bows. A parallel world if ever there was one.

I sat down on a bench to enjoy.

Suddenly, I hear a voice: "Pat! How are you doing?"

It's Kenny, my next door neighbor, walking his dog. He joins me on the bench and we have a good laugh for a while. Then we walk home together.

I was overjoyed by my failed day: it's doable, I can take a bus, I can go to the Park for a walk, I can function.

Yesterday, I went to see my surgeon. I told him I rather thought "it" had gone to the bones. He agrees with me that it's likely. So, on top of the renal scan, he has now also asked for a bone scan, and MRI's of the abdomen and pelvis. I am fully booked for the next few days. My surgeon says he will probably send me to a Neurologist. Meanwhile, moving around is not getting easier, just harder. I cannot dress myself normally any more, must sit down and use both hands to put my left leg into my pant leg, for instance. Shoes are also a nuisance, on or off.

Of course, this is just what it takes for me to have some really ambitious plans.

Actually, this is one time in my life where I would like to have at least one meal a day outta the house. Go and figure, too, why I have suddenly developed a craving for a slush margarita, in a large glass, without salt or ice... None of which is happening, unfortunately.

I am trying my best to put my affairs in order, without freaking out those who need to be involved, and myself in the process. Regretably, there is a vast gap between my attitude and theirs, particularly as concerns death and dying. Most of them are scared ****less at the idea of death.

I told my surgeon: "All I want is a beautiful end of life and a beautiful death." He laughed, "Wouldn't we all?" At least I can say what's on my mind with this guy. It's funny, but I think surgeons are generally more down to earth and honest than doctors. I always attribute it to the fact that they are more courageous, because it does take courage to cut into another human body, say to open someone's heart. I don't think doctors are up to that kind of thing, at least it has never been my experience to come across one who could speak frankly and openly, let alone look me in the eye, and certainly I have never known one make a mistake and admit it.

Whereas Steinhagen talks like this: "I have made mistakes before, I shall probably make more mistakes in the future, and I may be making a mistake right now, but I think, bla, bla, bla".

The first time I met him, in August 1995, after I told him I wanted him to tell me the truth, he said: "You will find me brutally honest". I answered: "That's the way I want it to be, I want to know what I'm facing. I don't like to be told it's going to be a picnic and then find myself in hell." I am so comfortable with this guy and glad that I went to see him.

Anyway, when all the tests are done we shall see what's what, so that within a week or two I shall have a better handle on what to expect next.


Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I've changed my links slightly: I noticed I was not reading some of them any more. I actually have some more changes to make, but I don't have the details ready at hand and this is not the time to fish around the little pieces of paper on my desk. I have to get ready for a renal scan, and my last food and drink intake must be made before 11 a.m. No kidding!

I have received a beautiful present from Maureen in my ex-Urologist's office. Maureen is the kind person who took such good care of me when I was there last month and "his" Carol behaved so badly, for whatever reason it was.

It's an inspirational book called "Furry Logic", a Guide to Life's Little Challenges. Sayings are illustrated with exquisite animal paintings by Jane Seabrook.

My favorites:

"I never made Who's Who, but I'm featured in What's That." (Strange bird)

"I am not tense. Just terribly, terribly alert." (Meercat)

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs--It's quite possible you haven't grasped the situation." (Doe)

"I have one nerve left and you're getting on it." (Baboon)

"You can't stay young forever. But you can be immature for the rest of your life." (Owl)

"If at first you don't succeed, swallow all evidence that you tried." (Toad)

Lot's of birds, mammals, frogs. Very fresh, surprising and fun. High quality watercolors.

It's published by Ten Speed Press, www.tenspeed.com. I recommend it highly as a present for anyone wanting to make someone crack a smile or break into uncontrollable laughter.

Gotta run.























Monday, April 19, 2004

Page 23 sentence 5 Meme

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

"For to rid ourselves of an evil and to acquire a good are often merely opposite sides of one and the same operation; for example, a convalescent regains health in exactly the same proportion as he shakes off his malady."

The Golden Bough, A Study in Magic and Religion by J.G. Frazer, 1913, "Part VI - The Scapegoat"
I'm thinking about cutting my hair. Whenever I cut my hair, it's a symbolic renewal of my efforts to change my life, to renew it.

I had breakfast in bed today. So far, I have managed not to call anyone, not to reach out for feedback. I have started cleaning, slowly, slowly. It's as if the mess were serving a protective function.

If I were to take a wild guess, it would be:

It prevents me from facing my fear of failure and, of course, buttresses my feeling of "not being enuff". Why I should agree with anyone's negative evaluation is beyond me, unless it is just a childish desire to conform to others' expectations in order to satisfy their need for control, so as to obtain their approval and feel safe from their anger and retribution.

All my actions, reactions, initiatives, fears, desires, motivations, etc., are basically aimed at feeling safe.

I just want to feel safe in my life. That is what I want from my doctors, my lawyers, my employers, my lovers, my friends. I only want power towards my enemies, but that is only in order to feel safe from their negativity toward me. Money also is to feel safe: from hunger, from being evicted, from not being free to move, etc. Love is also to feel safe. Health is to feel safe. Everything, bottom line, is to feel safe. If I want security, it is to be feeling safe to be alive and safe to express whatever it is I feel.

It's amaeru to life, which is maybe why I allow myself to show my feelings as much as I feel it's safe to express them, or only when NOT to express them would present a danger to my safety.

When I want to express beauty, that is something that is basic because it has nothing to do with my desire to feel safe.

When I desire to express my thoughts, my feelings, then the feeling of wanting to be safe can kick in and affect what and how I express: I need to give myself permission.

When I make a decision: to move to America, to go on Tozan, to help a friend in need, to go out for dinner, to buy a piece of fabric or a stick of furniture, the very idea that any of these actions might jeopardize my safety or even just my perception of safety, never occurs to me. For instance, when I jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool, as a child who could not swim, the fear of drowning or the fear of not being able to swim, did not occur to me. It did not "inhabit me" that failure could be fatal. It had not become a life habit, only experience and negative feedback and habitual rejection could start a "train of thought" that would, with acceptance, become a habit.

To have a negative pattern of behavior "inhabit one" is the true possession by devils. These are always self-created because they invariably require acceptance, as in the old saying: "He never takes No for an answer". For those who don't, it never is, and they always make the sale.

Edison, in the face of hundreds of light bulbs that exploded, did not say "It's impossible", but rather "That's one more way it does not work, that's one less test needs to be made". In other words, he saw negative feedback as just another step toward inevitable success, never as the hand of fate sending him back to the drawing board.

That's Edison's story, and it's clear as a teaching story because it was merely a matter of making a light bulb that works, that does not explode, or not making a light bulb that works.

When making anything that is based on anyone else's sense of appreciation, you are closer to a sense of failure because you are setting two points up for the evaluation of another person: does it work, or function, as it needs to (a jug, a carpet, a house, a sweater, a meal) and does it suit that other person's sense of aesthetics, needs, desires, level of acceptance, etc.

You are vulnerable because you are dependent for success on your ability to communicate a vision, a standard, a personal taste, which may not coincide with anyone else's: think, in terms of food, only about those people you know who don't eat everything set before them, who only have either a sweet or a savory tooth.

Where taste is in question, there is plenty of room for fashion, therefore, for the potential to manipulate offer and demand, desirability, competition, one-upmanship, etc. This all moves at lightning speed, as a spark can set off a large forest fire if the ground is dry enough. Think, for instance, how mineral water has become a staple in the daily life of New Yorkers, without anyone being aware of where and how it started, or even why. Did someone get the idea or did it just happen? Was it a strategic marketing technique or the groundswell of a natural evolution of something we will never understand? Did ADVERTISING have anything to do with it?

When I design a sweater, for instance, in New York, where the individual climate is pretty much a matter of choice, the perceived value, i.e. the intrinsic value, is not so much quality as it is fashion. So there is very little room for the idiosyncratic or original. No matter how original anyone claims to be, what they really want most is to conform, which is called "fashion" and which gives the edge to the clobber effect of massive outlets like the Gap. The desirability of places like Prada, Celine, Chanel, is the "waiting list" syndrome, which is actually nothing but a marketing device because obviously any of these people have the money to produce "in quantity" anywhere they want. But that is not what they want, because what they are marketing is limited edition, which some people equate with desirability and/or originality. It's for the people who want to stand out in a crowd, somehow, or who, like my friend Irene, want the privilege of not having had to stand in line to get something because of who they are--they are special, ergo they get the rare item, seating arrangement, whatever, without having to wait in line.

It's the opposite of "cause and effect", because the first cause is static (being), not dynamic (doing); but the "being" can actually be a secondary cause, as when a celebrity, who has done whatever it is they did to become a celebrity, now gets something because they are a celebrity. So someone in the wake of a celebrity sometimes can also obtain privilege for no greater reason than proximity, or relationship, to celebrity. It can sometimes happen for a "quid pro quo", as in the wooing of someone who has access to the corridors of power. In Washington, it's officialized and called lobbying.

One way of "keeping it all clean" would be to ask oneself at all times what the cause of one's effects is, from moment to moment, trying to keep the "innen" (interior cause, exterior cause, manifest effect) as simple as possible.

You're back at wanting to succeed in spite of problems, just like that, and not just because they are so bad that someone has had to step in and do it for you.

Once you make your "cause" (for instance, your cushions), it is OK to look for "effects" (for instance, to attempt to sell them). So the looking to sell, where you are offering something, is NOT a begging for a handout; it's just the circulation of energy under variable components that are at some level equivalent: a beautiful cushion is the equal of $75 or a pair of sneakers.

Back to disorder.

Disorder in my life is the effect of disorder in my thoughts.

I have disorder because of the cause that I do not get it that I deserve to have what I want for myself.

When I accept for a value that I do not deserve to live, that I am never enough, never satisfactory, of course I can't counter with the certitude that I deserve to have the environment of my choice, or the body for that matter.

No matter how I tackle my surroundings, my environment, I am in fact challenging a powerful ukase from some superior power that-somehow-I-still-believe-is-personally -set-against allowing me the satisfaction of being, doing, and having what I desire, whether it is good, reasonable, modest enough, or not. As if there were a limit to what I could access, a boundary which I could not transgress. This is not something that exists in reality, it is something my life experience has "habituated" in me by the sheer force of repetition.

A plant cannot do this number on itself because it quite naturally takes what it needs from what it gets in its environment. Lower animals too, but after a certain evolution, they can become greedy and go for more than the others get, though never more than they actually need. Only human beings with greater consciousness got the idea of accumulation, of storing up for a rainy day. Actually, this is wrong: both squirrels and hamsters store food, they just don't have bank accounts. With the invention of money, mankind found a way to protect itself against food spoliage and fermentation. With the development of agriculture, man attempted to foresee the need for "seed-keeping" from planting season to planting season, and eventually invented money as a form of equivalence, so that if you ran out of seeds, as long as you had money and someone else had seeds, they would sell their seeds to you to get the money they needed to buy whatever else they needed which they had not been able to produce. The 13th Century Mongols are a good example of this: they produced horses and sheep (food and transportation), and swapped them for weapons, which they did not produce, and their neighbors then had the privilege to watch them sweep through their world conquering everything before them.

Money logically will always be a problem because it will never satisfy a basic need per se: it is only the equivalent value for something else.

It is not the equivalent value of a human being, however, which is why kidnapping and ransoming is a crime against life.

If all you want in life is money, you will never have enough because there is no limit to desire, there is no "enough" unless you quantify it first, as: I want to have a million dollars, or I want a house with a swimming pool, or whatever equivalent value you are looking at. Then you can have it, have enough, and wonder "What's next?" Then, if you so wish, you can upgrade.

The point at issue in my life, where the disorder "outers", is that I need to get it that I don't need permission for anything I want to do, it's available to me if I can imagine it. There is no application form, no 1040, for life. There is no governor, no bureaucratic authority wearing a little beret, with a smoldering cigarette butt dangling from the side of its mouth, waiting to review and possibly, arbitrarily deny your application to be, to do or to have anything.

What is out there is the equivalent of a huge cold plate of polenta from which you cut yourself a slice whenever you are hungry. You don't own it, but it does not own you either. That is a possible mistake you could make, to believe the polenta which feeds you could withhold itself from you or favor a more favored person or nation.

Animals with claws can catch the next meal but they can also scratch an itch on their body. Man can reach out-of-the-way itches with his hands, and he also can use them to satisfy someone else's itch, even in out of the way places, but also to comfort another with caresses, massages, slappings, rubbings, etc. There are "good" and "bad" ways, both according to intentions and desires. Sometimes these are more in the mind than in reality, and sometimes they totally ignore the other person's point of view, whether in the realm of desire, satisfaction, wellbeing or even respect of life and liberty.

In the absolute, my freedom of choice is limited: by my nature, by my desire, by my ability to either do it myself or provide equivalent value (money, barter) to someone else to provide it for me, or by my imagination. I can deny myself everything: 1) by not ever wanting it or by believing it can never be mine; 2) by believing I can never make it, or by fearing anything I can produce can never amount to the value of what I want; 3) by believing where I am and what I have is all there is, that there is only a past which is the cause of the effect of where I am, nothing to be done about it, there is no point in planning a different future, it's too late now, bla, bla, bla.

That is the point of looking at past, present and future. If you don't like the present, which is the result of what you did, failed to do, thought, believed, feared, wanted, avoided, loved, hated, said, kept silent, in the past, what you can do now is take a different kind of action. That is what will condition the future.

When you stopped taking sugar in your tea and coffee for Lent, at the end of Lent you no longer liked sweet tea or coffee.

When you stopped drinking wine on a regular basis, now you don't even enjoy one single glass.

When you stopped smoking, you started flapping your hands at smoke and became what is referred to sarcastically as "a reformed sinner".

As you always say, Nobbog, you don't become kind, you just stop being unkind.

I guess the moral of that story is you don't become orderly, you stop being disorderly.

As an example, a dirty homeless man is just someone who has not taken a shower for several days. Give him a bath and clean clothes, and you have a clean homeless man.

When you believe in the utter dignity of your life, you take good care of yourself and don't wait for permission. There is no point in arguing the point, or even pointing out the point. Don't analyze it to death, move on like flowing water. You are not here to cater to the world, any more than it is here to cater to you.

There is a point to all of this just the same. As usual, the French have a saying for it: "Un clou en chasse un autre", you drive out one nail by hammering in another just behind it.

So, that is how you change the future. You make a fresh determination, you select a fresh nail and hammer it in, and it will push out the old one.

That's the good news. The bad news is, it only works if you work at it. Hehehe.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I got me a moon bath on the bed last night -- beautiful big full moon! It made up, almost, for the nasty skies that denied us the vision of the sunset alignment of planets some days ago.

This has not been the best time of my life. I can hardly move my right leg at all, even getting dressed is a hassle. I have developed a trick of going right foot forward, and either dragging the left leg behind or using both hands to lift it where I need it, let's say, into the tub, or outta the tub, up onto the bed, down from the bed, etc. I do my best to fool myself that I am able to continue living a half-way normal life. I made a curtain for my kitchen window. It doesn't match anything around it: it's a vibrant, exotic floral, a little like putting an orchid in a cluttered garage. I am often sitting on my bed, hand-stitching small quilting projects, cutting and designing new projects. It's a mess but it's fun, and I can just flop onto my back with a painkiller and take a nap when the whole situation becomes unbearable. So, despite everything, I am having a good time.

Irene called me two days ago and asked me to make sure I leave her all my sweaters in my will: she wants to think about starting a business with my designs. Nobody does it like me. Sure.

Reading Harsh Betty's recent post and her museum possibilities, I think while I'm about it, writing my will that is, I shall leave her all my boxes of quilting snippets. Hehehe! Maybe also she should get my collection of trolls, and my troll book from Iceland. Maybe that qualifies as "coals to Newcastle"?

I am about ready to make the plunge and go visit a new Urologist. Yuck! I'll have to psych myself into a fun move, a fun mood, like maybe Feng Shui my outfit. . . I did that, some years ago, when my landlord tried to evict me from my apartment. I chose the 5-element destructive cycle method: a blue and green scarf, an orange hooded sweatshirt, black pants, red socks and white shoes. You should have seen me.

You should also have seen the face of the grim landlord's lawyer, in his dull brown suit and earthy matching tie.

"You don't have a lawyer to represent you?" sez he.

I suppose he should be surprised, because there's a four-page foolscap counterclaim in my file, signed by me, in florid simili-legalese, citing chapter and verse and precedents, with footnotes and all, an opus horribilis if ever there was one. It's actually hard to imagine to what lengths I will go when my warped sense of humor kicks in.

"I have you. . ." I answer with my best crooked smile.

"I'm not representing you, I'm the landlord's lawyer," he protests, trying to get it through to me.

"It says on this piece of paper that I have to pay your fees and expenses. If I'm paying you, I think that makes you my lawyer." Still very bright and upbeat (that outfit!).

"Well, I'm not." Firm.

"Well, I certainly am not rich enough, or stupid enough, to pay two lawyers to argue both sides of the case just out of curiosity to see how things might come out. A single lawyer is all I can pay for, and you are IT." Final.

"But I am not here to give you legal advice. . ." he stammers desperately. ("I'm here to evict you!" he might have added. I expect him to scream it out at any moment.)

"Well, don't you think there's a slight conflict of interest there?" I pursue sweetly, "I mean, it's not nice to bite the hand that feeds you -- although my parakeet does it all the time."

I don't actually have a parakeet these days, but I know that nothing distracts like distraction.

Anyway, I rather think that for the new Urologist I shall amuse myself with an outfit of the Six True Colors, or better still, the seven colors of the full spectrum.

In all seriosity, I am gathering up my medical charts etc. I feel like a 21st Century general preparing to go to war with the battle plans of Alexander of Macedonia. Well, let's not exaggerate, maybe just Napoleon's plans for Berezina.

The forsythia is in full bloom on the block. I had to go to the post office yesterday, and the little crab apple trees across the way are in full bloom already. Meanwhile, it is freezing cold and windy, which just goes to show, when it's time for spring, it doesn't matter what the circumstances are, Nature does what it always does, on time and to perfection.

It is Nature's way to encourage us stupid, greedy, angry human beings, who have so messed our nest that even our deep indifference has failed to disguise from ourselves the dire straits we have brought upon our entire world: no matter what it looks like, there needs to be Hope, because Life, and Beauty, and Truth, and yes, Love and Plain Decency, are just bigger and stronger than our manmade chaos.

We must believe in Life, and know it's on its way.

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