Wednesday, November 23, 2005


A most remarkable thing happened this morning. I had to use a brush to push white stuff off my car so the windows were cleared. This doesn't happen at home very often; I think it has been about 8 years since the last time we've had snow. The landscape looks very soft and pretty under the white blanket. It behooves me to button up my coat before I go outside in the below freezing temperatures. And the residents here live under these conditions for months! My heartfelt sympathy to you all!

Yes, I used to live in the northeastern US once too, but I got smart in my early 30's and high-tailed it for the desert. It is fun to see different places, but I know when I start to see the western vistas, I will get anxious to get home, sweet home, in the desert.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

November In America

I have now travelled 2500 miles so far across America. I can tell you this is a big country. And we have so much in common, despite our different accents and different scenery out the window. First, everyone cooks great food. Next, all my friends and relatives have a dog, cat, or a horse, or several of them. One even had a house full of parakeets. And I got to spy on a couple birds mating! Shame on me. So there are things that bind us together, despite our different locales. And I'm not talking about the mating, this is a clean blog!!

The weather has been quite cold, at least compared to what I am used to. There was a 50 degree drop in high daytime temperatures from what I am used to. This is just a lot for the body to take, but I'll adapt. I knew this was going to happen. Just not so suddenly. I even missed a tornado watch by one hour in Oklahoma. Now I've driven in snow, but a tornado is another story. I'll take a winter blizzard or an Arizona dust storm in 100 degree temeratures over a tornado anyday. No I won't be moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma anytime soon!

If this is Saturday, I must be in Pennsylvania. The sun is out. The land is big and strong, will write again, on the road, this is your steadfast reporter, occam, giving you the scoop, on America... and later, Canada.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Pondering Fool

Last Sunday the newspaper headlines were very refreshing. Nothing about the war, nothing about politics, the economy, or crime. The main headline was about the university winning a football game by a wide margin, and the main local headline was about a woman rescuing a dog from a fire. How interesting! Do you think the editors recognised that they were on a break from their normal "We are on the eve of destruction" type of reporting? Probably not. Had to be a freak accident. After that it was back to the war, politics, the economy, and crime. The one day respite was great though. That was one lucky dog!

I found out there are audio books on-line that one can download for free. Of course these are old books but one can never have too many oldies but goodies. I downloaded one and burned it onto 3 CD's that I can listen to in my car while whiling away the hours as I drive cross-continent. Wish I had discovered this earlier so I could be listening to more classics. I may have gray hair but I am not afraid to embrace new technology. Too bad few of my friends are very tech savvy. Most often I have to figure this stuff out on my own and things drive me (more) crazy. Like how do I correct something in a blog post that I've already published??? I have fun anyway.

My doctor doesn't know I am going on this long trip. I wouldn't want to scare him. But I'll be ok. Isn't there a saying that God protects fools and puppy dogs? I'm too big to be mistaken for a puppy dog. I'll tell the doc when I get home, "Oh by the way, I just drove 6000 miles or so." It is just something I have to do before I die. Surely that day is coming.

Today I ruminated on faith. This does not have anything to do with cows or other cud-chewing animals. Rather I thought more about my experience of faith. Anyone can believe in and study Marco Polo, Genghis Khan, or Jesus Christ. But I have a connection with the latter that comes to mind when I see a herd of cattle grazing, or admire the vast world that Marco explored and Genghis conquered. It is too much for my little mind to grasp that all we behold is the result of mutations of tiny genes that we'll never see, occurring over vast expanses of time that we cannot comprehend. I can hear the scientists out there howling. But until they make evolution as rock solid as the claims of the Son of God on earth did 2000 years ago, hey, I'm gonna go the God route. It is the simpler explanation or my name isn't occam. Chew on that if you have any teeth left.

And what if Pat Robertson says that Dover, PA may be in for trouble because they voted out the school board members who backed the teaching of intelligent design? Didn't a hurricane nearly wipe off the map a city known for voodoo? It has happened before but now it probably won't because God doesn't need to "play" God. He is. But would it really get people to think if something did happen to Dover? Not likely because the non-spiritual have hardened their hearts toward the things of the spirit. For those willing to open their minds though, it is so rewarding. Again I remind you of Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. Freud died alone. His choice. And his words coldly live after him. In contrast, when the author of the Narnia Chronicles died, Great Britain wept. Go to see "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" when it opens on Dec 9th in theatres. Would you rather have as a neighbor: C.S.Lewis, who invented Aslan the lion, or Freud who invented the technique of explaining your problems as a sexual issue from your childhood? I don't have to ponder that question very long.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Eyes Have It

Here is another poem. Inspiration comes burning down from the achingly blue desert sky.

Mine Eyes

One eye sees light
One eye sees dark
Oh- they hurt so.
The light side is worse
Its lightning, jagged lightning
The dark side is bottomless
Falling, falling.
The hopeful third blind.
Pain squeezes that inner vision
And life gushes over the optic rim.

copyright by Michaelina Lewandowski, Nov. 10, 2005.

Never Tackle a Skunk

I am still not feeling up to snuff, but I go on because that is what is expected. After all, aren't our heroes those who put on a good face and persist in spite of circumstances? Don't we all want to be just like them? Oh poppycock.

I lost my eyeglasses for about 20 minutes yesterday and turned the house upside down. I found them outdoors. My vision is excellent for about 18 inches and then it drops off precipitously. So if I don't recognise you on the street and I'm not wearing glasses, that is why. Now if I have my glasses on and still don't recognise you, ah, well, I am not a spring chicken. Is that a good excuse? Is that ageism? Yes and yes.

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others-" Groucho Marx.

I am in the final days of preparation before my cross-continent trek. The vehicle is in top shape except for the jagged crack in the windshield. This is legal in Arizona but I don't know about other states or Canada. Do you suppose I will get a citation and have to get it repaired? Do you know I don't really care? I will persist in spite of circumstances but I don't have to put a good face on it. Some laws are unduly restrictive. That is one reason I love living in the wild, wild west. I don't think you even have to have a windshield in Arizona. What bugs are going to hit you in the face? I never saw a mosquito this past summer. Also, despite driving in rural areas after dark, I've never come close to hitting a deer in the road. It is relaxing to roll on down a dark desert highway, singing along with your favorite CD - I recommend "Hotel California"- and not worrying about 100 to 200 pounds of flesh and bones about to step in front of you and becoming windshield dressing. Although it is not unheard of, right Mrs. L?

To change up the subject a bit, in high country campsites in Arizona there is a frequent nighttime mammalian visitor of the family Mustelidae. It's a large skunk with a wide beautiful white stripe down its back and tail. He wanders around people and their camping equipment looking for stray bits to eat. If the campers are clean, they can just sit and admire his long, lovely hair in the firelight as he noses around, sometimes right under your chair. Alarm is the wrong reaction. Live and let live and you'll be treated to a close up view of one of the forest's most maligned critters. Scent-free and amusing, just calmly enjoy his antics. And you won't get skunked.

Soon it will be cold in the high country though. Suprisingly this state has many opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. It is common in my town in winter for a pick-up driver to go up the mountain and shovel up a load of snow and bring in down to the desert to dump in a yard for play. It has been over a decade since we've had measurable snow here in the neighborhood. Unfortunately it occurred when my brother was visiting from the Northeast, after I had been bragging to him about how warm it was here in winter and no snow. He shovelled a path in the 4 inch accumulation from his motorhome to my front door and came in saying: "It never snows here sister?" Very embarrassing.

I mustelidae end for today. Keep your chin up. Tomorrow will have new circumstances for you to tackle. It will be college football Saturday! Hasta la vista, Baby.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Want Those Fries Supersized?

We are having record-breaking heat here. Near 90 degrees today and yesterday. Oh boy, I'm going to freeze my gluteus maximus off when I get up north!

I was out of town yesterday and out of sorts the previous days which is why I have not been posting. Sorry to disappoint you .003 people per day who visit this blog hoping for fresh inspiration.

I am thinking of the riots in France and its neighbors. So what did M.Chirac do to the poor immigrant and French-born youth of north African descent? He let them congregate in their own slums. Mind you, many of them wanted to live together, to preserve their "traditions" so they wouldn't be "assimulated" into French culture. No want to join countrymen? Then suffer. Oh no, that would be discrimination! M. Chirac should have joined the coalition fighting in Iraq and sent them there to see what their traditions have wrought. Such as their "brothers" blowing up their "brothers" in crowded marketplaces. Where innocent children are just part of the collateral damage in an insurgency intent upon putting Iraq back into the darkness of the past. One look at that and those poor disaffected youth would feel fortunate to live in a rich, socialist European country with peaceful democratic elections and incredible art, history, culture. Vive la France!

I don't know what the problem is between France and the US. Politics! I enjoy french fries, not freedom fries. And ever since I began to study it in 1966, I've thought French to be the most beautiful sounding language in the world. C'est magnifique! But I will grind on in English because it has more words. We have supersized it.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Command and Control

I am now going to wrap up my comments on the poverty mindset, also discussed on Oct 23rd: Fistful of Dollars, and Oct 30: Divine Comedy. According to the biblical account, on the 6th day God told man to take dominion over the animals. I know some animal rights people are going to scream at that one. But I have no problem ruling over the beasts. If I am on a nature hike and a wolf attacks a child, I have no qualms about using my revolver to blow its furry, fanged head off. People first. I also believe in fair chase hunting. For a number of years I raised sheep and rabbits for food. I believe in using science to create better agricultural crops, to cure plant and animal diseases, and to control fishing for sustainable harvests. So as a step to defeating a sense of impoverishment (yes, that is a word!), I have the dominion thing down pat. So how does that help? Theoretically, if I have control of outer things it will transform somehow into inner things. The right perspective recognises this connection and enables one to have a balmy outlook in one's finances, relationships, and emotions. If one recognises they have weak muscles, one can transform them by eating better and exercising. But if I recognise I have need in a relationship, do I style my hair different and expect that will make me more acceptable? If I have need in my budget, do I cheat in my checkbook to show a bigger balance and everything will turn out ok? If I am shattered emotionally, do I put a smile on my face and go about the world like there is nothing wrong? I can tell you quickly where that last scenario will get you. The locked ward of a hospital. So to summarize, I will admit that the right perspective on dominion will work in a few instances but is porous as a colander in righting the sinking ship of the needy. (Ya gotta love those mixed metaphors, eh?)

On the day of worship, people of faith gather to hear words from their imam, priest, rabbi, bishop, leader or minister. The vast, vast majority sit, listen, the words washing over them, uncritical. At political rallies the group also waits for those words, baptizing them into the fraternity/sorority of the "cause". Students sit and sponge up their lessons. Mobs take cues from the leaders and respond in an animal way without having taken the time to figure out the purpose, risks, and real outcome from that Molotov cocktail. I suppose it has always been this way. The charasmatic lead the sheep. Well, I'm sorry but my heart just isn't into being sheepish. I have within myself: faith. Faith that I have command and control over the words I am being fed. And if you know what is good for you, you should too.

In case you think I have just contradicted myself, please think again. When that doesn't work, congratulate yourself. You are taking the first steps in taking possession of your mind from the established forces. Contradictions are everywhere. Beware.

Taking on this Job

The book of Job in the Bible was written a long, long time ago. I don't know anyone today whose name is Job. After all, the story of Job is one of intense suffering. I also have noted the similarlity to the English word: job. Job had quite an undertaking, quite a "job" to live through his suffering. And his suffering was completely undeserved. I think today we get really annoyed at God, at Fate, at whatever when our suffering seems so unwarranted. As the story progresses we see that Job's friends were no help to him. Have you ever thought, gee, my friends are well-meaning but they just don't understand? You are right. I am reminded of the spiritual song whose lyrics say: "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen." Everyone has unique problems because we have unique abilities and experience. In Job's story his wife gives up and tells him to just curse God and die. Not the best advice a helpmate could give their misery-ridden spouse. I would hope my spouse would stand by me a little better. He has so far and that's been no mean trick! But I digress. The reason I got thinking about Job is late in the book is a description of the "behemoth" and the "leviathan". I understand that some "intelligent design" folks use these lines to support their belief that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time on earth. It is compelling to read about these two great beasts and wonder what they could be. Not something I want as a pet in my backyard! I'll stick with horses, they are big enough for me. So where am I leading to with these two seemingly disparate ideas: suffering and big monsters? Why does this ancient book combine these things? Let me remind you of Occam's Razor. Two possiblilities: the writer of Job is a lunatic, or the writer wanted to reveal something about their view of God. Would this writing have endured if it was nothing but meaningless dribble? I have troubles. Specific troubles. So do you. I chose to believe my troubles can be transended by faith. I do not believe in Fate, Good Luck, the almightly position of Science, talismans, dead relatives, dead holy people, the lottery or even myself. What am I compared to the Leviathan? the Behemoth? Yes, there are times I believe my problems are about to crush me like a bug. But then I remember Job. He did a good job of showing people through the ages that there is a reason to endure. At the end of his suffering, Job's fortunes are double what he had before and he lived a long, full life. I don't believe every person will see their reward in this life though. But fortunately there is an afterlife. And it isn't what you see on TV on "Medium" or "Ghost Whisperer". Those shows are so laughable that it causes me great suffering to think that people just suck up all that entertainment at face value. Ah, there is enough suffering in this world. No need to add to it the suffering of those who are dead but not "crossed over". Ha! That reminds me of an old movie (or TV show) that showed a minister preaching over an open coffin and he says: "When you dead, you dead, and there ain't nothing gonna bring you back." At that point the corpse sits up in the casket to a huge uproar among the mourners. (wish I knew the name of that show - any trivia buffs out there?) To continue this run-on thought, think of the story of Job and how many individuals have taken comfort from this history. And then tell me that we are just carbon-based entities with no purpose but to interact, reproduce, and fall to ashes when our time is up. I believe in the Creator of that behemoth.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Tilting at the Sun

I got a wild hare and decided to make a trip alone back east so I can have Thanksgiving with my family there. Also I plan to stop and visit some friends along the way. Some of them have computers so I can update my blog! You aren't getting rid of me that easily!

I love to travel but I haven't done much lately due to health issues. I don't know whether my health is really up to this trip but I guess I will find out. At least I got my flu shot. I don't plan to get sick on the road. Driving relaxes me. I put on my 1960's & 1970's rock music and drive on, rather oblivious. For some reason I hardly ever get lost either. That is good because I can't afford the gas I am going to be using, much less the gas to get lost wandering around some State or Province. But life comes first. Money is a secondary concern.

Being from Arizona, I rarely have to wear heavy outerwear. But I do have some cold weather attire. More importantly, I haven't driven in snow for years. I hope I remember how, or I get a lucky break in the weather department. This is where global warming could be real helpful, do you hear me you atmosphere up there? It is 80 degrees here today.

When I was a child my family used to take vacations to New York's Adirondack Mountains and to Cape Cod and Maryland on the coast. These were most exciting days for me. I think that is why I love to travel. I've met some interesting people along the way too. I'll never forget these friendly folks in White Pine, Tennessee who gave shelter to me, my girlfriend and her horse (!) one night. They didn't know us from Adam but they gave us a vacant mobile home to rest in and a full hot southern breakfast in the morning. Wouldn't take a dime for it. All they asked is for a postcard from New Mexico so they were sure we made it to our destination all right. We did get there ok even though neither of us could back up the horse trailer with any skill. (I can do it a little better now.)

People who live more than 50 miles from your home are markedly different than you. Maybe it is the angle of the sun, but they live and talk and have a way of living that is different. I find these changes fascinating. I have two doctors in a city 130 miles from my home and everytime I see them I see they have a whole different pattern or design to their lives that is distinct from mine and not just because of their profession and that I am their patient and that they have scads of money compared to me. It must be the angle of the sunlight again. Of course there are plenty of people within 50 miles of me who are very different from me, but they can relate to the view of the mountains that we each see every day. From experience my neighbors know about the cost of food here, the color of the police cars, how long the signal light is at the corner by the post office, when the wind starts to blow how the dirt from unplanted fields will fill the air, that our valley "snow" is cotton, etc. These are examples of the patterns of our lives, unique to us, foreign to outsiders. I am going to explore outside my familiar pattern, seek out people who have a design to their lives totally different from mine. But we will get along famously. Because I believe all people should be treated with respect. And I like to see that sun at different angles.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pulmonary Palaver

There are often 3 or 4 desert cottontail rabbits hanging around my hay barn door. They clean up the spilled hay because the desert is meager pickings lately. They aren't as scared as rabbits that have less contact with people. So this bunny tonight let me reach as close as 2 feet before he thought better of it and hopped away. I must take my camera tomorrow!

Tonight I am having a shortness of breath but this has happened before. No need to call the paramedics. I'll survive. It just makes it a tad more difficult to write coherently. But if I was always coherent, it would get old fast. The inconsistent is much more dramatic. Our weather has been consistently beautiful lately. But who talks about the weather unless something interesting is happening? I found when I moved here that in Arizona people hardly ever talk about the weather compared to the Northeast where everyone talks about the weather all the time because it is always changing. Maybe I'll be able to report our first frost in November. Or maybe not. We seem to be in a consistent pattern of 70 degree days and cool nights. Normal. Predictable. Isn't it more fun to think I might have a respiratory disorder or a heart problem? Naw, I'm healthy as a horse. Speaking of which, the mare with the sore leg is fine.

I am glad that I have a high pain threshold as well as a high capacity to drink alcohol before appearing drunk. That does me no good though because I don't drink anymore, so... but back to the pain thing. It must be awful to feel every ache and pain vividly. The only possible benefit I can see to that is that one doesn't hurt themselves further if one stops at the first twinge of pain.

The problem of pain is one that theologians and atheists discuss a lot. The best book I'd recommend on universal questions like this is The Question of God by Armand Nicholi. It is about two men and their answers to such deep questions. One is C.S.Lewis, a writer who was a staunch atheist in university who later converted to Christianity. The other is Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalist who was brought up in Judaism and later became an atheist. They never met in person to debate, but what a debate it would have been! The book is very neutral on who had the right answer. So you get to make your own decision. What I find most peculiar is that the atheist Freud had to get his behind out of Vienna before the atheist Nazis got ahold of him for being born a Jew. So Atheists can't decide who is a good atheist and who is a bad one? Why that sounds almost Christian! As in my denomination is better than your denomination! That sounds almost Islamic, as in my Shia (Shi'ite) is better than you Saddam boot lickin' Sunnis! Or did I get that mixed up? Our MSM (Main Stream Media) gives us such good reporting from Iraq, that I can't keep straight who the good guys and the bad guys are. Except OUR GUYS are the best of them all! Hoo-rah!

So my breathing feels a little better now. I must have needed to get some things off my chest, so to speak.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sense of Darkness

Today I post an original poem. I enjoy poetry for its' emotion, playfulness with words, and concise thoughts. The author wants the dear reader to have their own opinion of "what does it mean?" So without further ado, open your spirit and savor --

Sense of Darkness

Don't let the light shine on me.
My eyes have adjusted to the dark
I can see fine

Don't tell me it is common sense
This is the dark continent
Breathe deeply of this reality

Don't tell me the world is round
Anyone can see it is flat

Copyright Michaelina Lewandowski, October 30, 2005.