Friday, November 30, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 30, 2012: 

"Our Father-Mother, who is in the heavens,
May your name be made holy,
May your dominion come,
May your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the bread we need;
And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors;
And do not put us to the test, but rescue us from evil.
For yours is the dominion, and the power, and the glory forever.

- New Century Hymnal 56b

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 29, 2012: 

"God, who cares for us,
The wonder of whose presence fills us with awe,
Let kindness, justice, and love shine in our world.
Let your secrets be known here as they are in heaven.
Give us the food and the hope we need for today.
Forgive us our wrongdoing as we forgive the wrongs done to us.
Protect us from pride and from despair and form the fear and hate which can swallow us up.
In you is truth, meaning glory, and pwer, while worlds come and go.

- adapted by M. Furlong

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 28, 2012: 

"Open our eyes, that we may see the deepest needs of our people; move our hands, that they may feed the hungry; touch our hearts, that they may bring warmth to the despairing; teach us the generosity that welcomes strangers. In sharing our anxiety and our love, our poverty and our prosperity, we partake of your divine presence. Amen."

- Canaan Banana, former President of Zimbabwe

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back before you knew I was gone.... 

Went on a short trip to my sister's (four hour drive each way) for Thanksgiving from Thursday to Saturday. My dad was there too; first time the three of us have been together for a holiday in at least seven years. Had a good time but will be paying for it for awhile.

It seemed especially important to make the effort to get together this year; there were two deaths in the family (my brother-in-law's grandmother and my stepbrother's mother-in-law) this month. We should never take for granted that we will always be able to see our loved ones. My nephews are three and five now.

We all went to the Strategic Air and Space Museum on Friday because there was a special exhibit about robots (I used my wheelchair). We had lunch afterward at a barbecue restaurant that was very accommodating to my gluten-free needs; I was able to get a plain steak, baked potato and a salad. And I sort of learned how to play a card game called Pitch, or at least I started comprehending the rules toward the end of our third and final game.

Upside of the hotel we stayed in: fridge and microwave for the food I brought from home, Jacuzzi tub, almost comfortable bed compared to most places. Downside: a "non-smoking room" with cigarette burns on the tub and curtains and a faint scent of cigarettes that left me with burning sinuses and throat by the end of my stay. I somehow forgot to bring my Tempur-pedic pillows with me, which my neck did not appreciate.

Doing the Flareville thing now. Started dozing off on the way home; good thing Dan was driving! Fell asleep twice more on the couch, then when it was finally time for bed, I crashed for 11 hours. Would have been more had Dan not helped me get up. Haven't been able to leave the house since Saturday afternoon, but I'd better get my act together tomorrow because I have a dentist's appointment. Pain level was excruciating on Saturday but has gradually come down; hope to be back to what passes for "normal" in a few more days.

Inspiration for the Day, November 27, 2012: 

This was the call to worship at my church in September:

"O God, we want to be more than happy; we want to be joyful.
O God, we want to be more than healthy; we want to be whole.
O God, we want to be more than alive; we want to be radiant.
O God, we want to be more than adequate; we want to be splendid.
With all these hopes and intentions before us, let us worship God."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Inspiration of the Day, November 26, 2012: 

"Earth Song" by Frank Ticheli

Sing, Be, Live, See...
This dark stormy hour,
The wind, it stirs
The scorched earth
Cries out in vain

O war and power,
You blind and blur.
The torn heart
Cries out in pain

But music and singing
Have been my refuge,
And music and singing
Shall be my light.

A light of song
Shining strong: Alleluia!
Through darkness, pain and strife, I'll
Sing, Be, Live, See


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 25, 2012: 

"O God, you love us like a good parent,
and are present in every aspect of our existence.
May your nature become known and respected by all.
May your joy, peace, wholeness and justice be the reality for everyone as we live by the Jesus Way.
Give us all that we really need to live every day for you.
And forgive us our failures as we forgive others for their failures.
Keep us from doing those things which are not of you,
and cause us always to be centered on your love.
for you are the true reality in this our now,
and in all our future.
In the Jesus Way we pray. Amen."

- adapted by David Sorrill

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 24, 2012: 

"Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it." 

- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, November 23, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 23, 2012: 

"To believe you can approach transcendence without drawing nearer in compassion to suffering humanity is to fool yourself. There can be no genuine personal religious conversion without a change in social attitude."

- excerpt from William Sloane Coffin's book, "Credo"

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Have a great 2012 Thanksgiving! 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The sadder side of Thanksgiving.... 

This was posted on a fibromyalgia Facebook page. It's good advice for anyone separated from family this time of year:

When Poor Health and the Holidays Collide

One of the most frustrating things about having chronic autoimmune exhaustion is that even the tamest forms of interaction wipe me out. It's hard to explain to the rest of the world that part of me actually dreads having a good time because I will be so sick afterward. The best thing I can do is choose my interactions very carefully and limit them to those that are the most emotionally rewarding, even if they come with a price.

Inspiration for the Day, November 21, 2012: 

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you', that would suffice."

- Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The land of diminished expectations... 

One of my Facebook friends shared this with me a few days ago. It sums up pretty well what goes on in the heads and lives of those with long-term ailments:

Broken: A poem about coming to grips with chronic disease

I would have written something similar myself if my brain still worked well enough. The notion of having to constantly pare down your life to accommodate diminished abilities, to try to persevere while feeling so hobbled, to become more and more invisible to the world....it DOES speak volumes.

Explaining Sjogren's.... 

Came across this in a fibromyalgia Facebook page (because so many people have both conditions). It is more thorough than most intros to Sjogren's:

Sjogren's Syndrome

Although fibromyalgia has become more familiar to the public thanks to all those advertisements for Lyrica, most people I meet have never heard of Sjogren's. And those who have heard of it usually have no idea that it can affect more than the eyes and the mouth. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised - after all, it took the medical community over six long years to figure out that I had it.

Let's get it started! 

Now that the election glow has faded, it's time to get to work (ok, maybe after the Thanksgiving holiday, heh heh). Michael Moore has some definite ideas on where to begin:

An Open Letter to President Obama …from Michael Moore

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Dear President Obama:

Good luck on your journeys overseas this week, and congratulations on decisively winning your second term as our president! The first time you won four years ago, most of us couldn't contain our joy and found ourselves literally in tears over your victory.

This time, it was more like breathing a huge sigh of relief. But, like the smooth guy you are, you scored the highest percentage of the vote of any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson, and you racked up the most votes for a Democratic president in the history of the United States (the only one to receive more votes than you was ... you, in '08!). You are the first Democrat to get more than 50% of the vote twice in a row since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

This was truly another historic election and I would like to take a few minutes of your time to respectfully ask that your second term not resemble your first term.

It's not that you didn't get anything done. You got A LOT done. But there are some very huge issues that have been left unresolved and, dammit, we need you to get some fight in you. Wall Street and the uber-rich have been conducting a bloody class war for over 30 years and it's about time they were stopped.

I know it is not in your nature to be aggressive or confrontational. But, please, Barack – DO NOT listen to the pundits who are telling you to make the "grand compromise" or move to the "center" (FYI – you're already there). Your fellow citizens have spoken and we have rejected the crazed ideology of this Republican Party and we insist that you forcefully proceed in bringing about profound change that will improve the lives of the 99%. We're done hoping. We want real change. And, if we can't get it in the second term of a great and good man like you, then really – what's the use? Why are we even bothering? Yes, we're that discouraged and disenchanted.

At your first post-election press conference last Wednesday you were on fire. The way you went all "Taxi Driver" on McCain and company ("You talkin' to me?") was so brilliant and breathtaking I had to play it back a dozen times just to maintain the contact high. Jesus, that look – for a second I thought laser beams would be shooting out of your eyes! MORE OF THAT!! PLEASE!!

In the weeks after your first election you celebrated by hiring the Goldman Sachs boys and Wall Street darlings to run our economy. Talk about a buzzkill that I never fully recovered from. Please – not this time. This time take a stand for all the rest of us – and if you do, tens of millions of us will not only have your back, we will swoop down on Congress in a force so large they won't know what hit them (that's right, McConnell – you're on the retirement list we've put together for 2014).

BUT – first you have to do the job we elected you to do. You have to take your massive 126-electoral vote margin and just go for it.

Here are my suggestions:

1. DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF. The "fiscal cliff" is a ruse, an invention by the Right and the rich, to try and keep their huge tax breaks. On December 31, let ALL the tax cuts expire. Then, on January 1, put forth a bill that restores the tax cuts for 98% of the public. I dare the Republicans to vote against that! They can't and they won't. As for the spending cuts, the 2011 agreement states that, for every domestic program dollar the Republicans want to cut, a Pentagon dollar must also be cut. See, you are a genius! No way will the Right vote against the masters of war. And if by some chance they do, you can immediately put forth legislation to restore all the programs we, the majority, approve of. And for God's sake, man – declare Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid untouchable. They're not bankrupt or anywhere near it. If the rich paid the same percentage of Social Security tax on their entire income – the same exact rate everyone else pays – then there will suddenly be enough money in Social Security to last til at least the year 2080!

2. END ALL THE WARS NOW. Do not continue the war in Afghanistan (a thoroughly losing proposition if ever there was one) for two full more years! Why should one single more person have to die FOR NO REASON? Stop it. You know it's wrong. Bin Laden's dead, al Qaeda is decimated and the Afghans have to work out their own problems. Also, end the drone strikes and other covert military activities you are conducting in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Colombia and God knows where else. You think history is going to remember the United States as a great democracy? No, they're going to think of us as a nation that became addicted to war. They'll call us warlords. They'll say that in the 21st century America was so in need of oil that we'd kill anyone to get it. You know that's where this is going. This has to stop. Now.

3. END THE DRUG WAR. It is not only an abysmal failure, it has returned us to the days of slavery. We have locked up millions of African-Americans and Latinos and now fund a private prison-industrial complex that makes billions for a few lucky rich people. There are other ways to deal with the drugs that do cause harm – ways built around a sense of decency and compassion. We look like a bunch of sadistic racists. Stop it.

4. DECLARE A MORATORIUM ON HOME FORECLOSURES AND EVICTIONS. Millions of people are facing homelessness because of a crooked system enacted by the major banks and Wall Street firms. Put a pause on this and take 12 months to work out a different way (like, restructuring families' mortgages to reflect the true worth of their homes).

5. GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. You already know this one. The public is sick of it. Now's the time to act.

6. EXPAND OBAMACARE. Your health care law doesn't cover everyone. It is a cash cow for the insurance industry. Push for a single-payer system – Medicare for All – and include dentistry and mental health. This is the single biggest thing you could do to reduce the country's deficit.

7. RESTORE GLASS-STEAGALL. You must put back all the rigid controls on Wall Street that Reagan, Clinton and the Bushes removed – or else we face the possibility of another, much worse, crash. If they break the law, prosecute them the way you currently go after whistleblowers and medical marijuana dispensaries.

8. REDUCE STUDENT LOAN DEBT. No 22-year-old should have to enter the real world already in a virtual debtors' prison. This is cruel and no other democracy does this like we do. You were right to eliminate the banks as the profit-gouging lenders, but now you have to bring us back to the days when you and I were of college age and a good education cost us little or next to nothing. A few less wars would go a long to way to being able to afford this.

9. FREE BRADLEY MANNING. End the persecution and prosecution of an American hero. Bush and Cheney lied to a nation to convince us to go to war. Manning allegedly hacked the war criminals' files and then shared them with the American public (and the world) so that we could learn the truth about Iraq and Afghanistan. Our history is full of such people who "break the law" for the greater good of humanity. Army Specialist Bradley Manning deserves a medal, not prison.

10. ASK US TO DO SOMETHING. One thing is clear: none of the above is going to happen if you don't immediately mobilize the 63,500,000 who voted for you (and the other 40 million who are for you but didn't vote). You can't go this alone. You need an army of everyday Americans who will fight alongside you to make this a more just and peaceful nation. In your 2008 campaign, you were a pioneer in using social media to win the election. Over 15 million of us gave you our cell numbers or email addresses so you could send us texts and emails telling us what needed to be done to win the election. Then, as soon as you won, it was as if you hit the delete button. We never heard from you again. (Until this past year when you kept texting us to send you $25. Inspiring.) Whoever your internet and social media people were should have been given their own office in the West Wing – and we should have heard from you. Constantly. Need a bill passed? Text us and we will mobilize! The Republicans are filibustering? We can stop them! They won't approve your choice for Secretary of State? We'll see about that! You say you were a community organizer. Please – start acting like one.

The next four years can be one of those presidential terms that changed the course of America. I'm sure you will want to be judged on how you stood up for us, restored the middle class, ended the s***ting on the poor and made us a friend to the rest of the world instead of a threat. You can do this. We can do it with you. All that stands in the way is your understandable desire to sing "Kumbaya" with the Republicans. Don't waste your breath. Their professed love of America is negated by their profound hatred of you. Don't waste a minute on them. Fix the sad mess we're in. Go back and read this month's election results. We're with you.

Michael Moore

Inspiration for the Day, November 20, 2012: 

"Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."

- Galatians 6:9

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Dawn" has broken.... 

Movie Review: "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2"

The long wait is over: the final installment of the beloved vampire-werewolf-human series has reached theatres, a full year after "Breaking Dawn, Part 1". I watched it opening weekend with a nearly sold-out crowd. The others in the audience seemed excited at the prospect of Bella, Edward and Jacob on screen again, but also a bit sad that this was the last time.

The story picks up at the exact moment where the previous film left off: with Bella opening her vampiric eyes. She has been revived at the precipice of death from childbirth. She is now a newborn herself.

Bella's husband, vampire Edward, takes her on her first hunt, during which she takes down a mountain lion which is in mid-leap. She has super-human strength and speed and must be taught how to safely interact with the human world. A better title for this movie might be "Bella Kicks Ass" or "Bella: New and Improved".

Because Bella was still human when she became pregnant with Edward's child, their new daughter, Renesmee, is half human and half vampire. This causes her to mature at an alarming rate and to be able to communicate through telepathy by touching a person's cheek. Werewolf Jacob has imprinted on the child and becomes her guardian.

But this big happy family is soon threatened. The vampire ruling class, the Volturi of Italy, believe that Renesmee is fully vampire in origin. It is forbidden to create child vampires; the leaders of the Volturi travel to the United States to exact their punishment.

Because there is only one major character remaining who is fully human (Bella's father Charlie), "Breaking Dawn 2" is a special effects feast. There are furry wolves and lightning-fast vampires everywhere you look. But the trickiest feat was Renesmee's rapid aging and unusual intelligence even as an infant. What they ended up doing was using an 11-year-old child actress for the "older" Renesmee and a combination of animatronic and real babies for the infant scenes. The robot babies weren't entirely convincing.

The trailers for "Breaking Dawn 2" spoke of a surprising twist. There are actually two, neither of which are in the book. I will not go into detail in order to avoid spoilers, but I will say that there was a huge gasp throughout the audience when the first one occurred. The second one caused some grumbling. I have reluctantly accepted the changes, but I don't think everyone will.

This movie has a PG-13 rating, which seems appropriate. There is violence but not excessive gore (vampires don't bleed). There is married vampire sex, but nothing more graphic than in Part 1. As with the previous films in the series, kids who read and enjoyed the books will probably be fine, but it might be too intense for younger ones.

The soundtrack was excellent as usual. There is a nice closing sequence so that Twi-hards can reminisce about the entire story of Bella, Edward and Jacob. But I don't recommend seeing this one without having viewed "Part 1"; it would be too confusing to a newbie.

I found "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2" to be entertaining but not quite as satisfying as "Part 1". Still, I was reluctant to return to the human world.

Inspiration for the Day, November 19, 2012: 

"We Dare Proclaim a Whole New World"
- lyrics by Noelle Damico, to be sung to the tune of "Amazing Grace"

We dare proclaim a whole new world is springing up today.
A world of justice, joy and peace, abundant with God's grace.

We are a people born anew who live distinctively.
With strangers, outcasts, poor, infirm, we build community.

Our worship and our work are one, announcing God's new ways.
We feed, and clothe, and share our power; we celebrate and pray.

We dare proclaim a whole new world is springing up today.
A world of justice, joy and peace, abundant with God's grace.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 18, 2012: 

"This isn't a matter of charity, but of justice. Just as to the slaves freedom was not a gift but the restoration of a right no one had any business taking from them, so home is a right; the homeless are being robbed."

- excerpt from William Sloane Coffin's book, "Credo"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 17, 2012: 

Ground of all being,
Mother of life, Father of the universe,
Your name is sacred, beyond speaking.
May we know your presence,
May your longings be our longings in heart and in action.
May there be food for the human family today and for the whole earth community.
Forgive us the falseness of what we have done as we forgive those who are untrue to us.
Do not forsake us in our time of conflict but lead us into new beginnings.
For the light of life, the vitality of life, and the glory of life are yours now and forever.

- Casa Del Sol Prayer of Jesus by J. Phillip Newell

Before you gobble gobble.... 

Was asked what kind of turkey I could eat, so I did a search to find brand names. Here's a page from the Celiac.com forum with some useful info:

Thanksgiving turkeys that are gluten-free

When I've had Thanksgiving at home with just Dan and me, I have bought either Jennie-O or Honeysuckle White turkey breasts, which are very convenient since neither of us like dark meat. I throw away the gravy packet (those contain wheat) and roast the turkey without stuffing. We have baked potatoes in place of the stuffing, one other veggie, crustless pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce (I eat maybe one bite of that because it's mostly sugar). Simple, and we generally don't overeat. There is usually enough leftover turkey for three more meals: turkey salad with apples and grapes, barbecued turkey in the crock pot, and turkey chili.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 16, 2012: 

The blessing at my church on Sunday in August:

The path before us:
May we walk it in peace.
The path behind us:
May we leave it in peace.
And the path within us:
Oh, God, may it be peace indeed.
Go in peace, my friends.

And for what are YOU grateful? 

Another great post by Toni Bernhard. It's getting to be that time of year where we should stop and count our blessings:

What I'm REALLY Thankful for This Thanksgiving!

Aside from the obvious things in my life like a wonderful husband, food to eat and a roof over my head, I have a few others to list:

1. Turner Classic Movies! I have literally watched hundreds of films from this channel since I got a DVR in 2008 to record them on. The movies air unedited and commercial-free 24 hours a day. Some of them are newly restored and/or not available on DVD.

2. I have managed to keep my sense of humor even though I feel like garbage every single day. And Dan has kept his despite having a wife who feels like garbage every single day.

3. Music, all kinds. I have over 6300 songs on iTunes right now, which means I could listen to it for 17 straight days without repeating anything. I also have 40 channels on my TV which play music. I change the channel every day so I don't get stuck in any one genre. Today, it was rap, but another day it could be big band, or metal, or country oldies, or contemporary Christian, or blues, or pop hits, or alternative, or classic rock, or even show tunes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 15, 2012: 

"When we utter words of disrespect about others, we plant the seed of disrespect that often blossoms into hatred and violence."

- excerpt from William Sloane Coffin's book, "Credo"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 14, 2012: 

This was the call to worship at my church one Sunday in September:

In company with one another, we look to the Spirit's guiding as we strive to let the Creator Spirit come to expression through us. Let us rejoice in the callings of faith:
To extend ourselves beyond kindness to compassion,
To amplify desires for goodness into yearnings for justice,
To stretch healthy imagination into high and holy hope,
To deepen feelings of affection into bold and durable bonds of love.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 13, 2012: 

"Diversity may be both the hardest thing to live with and the most dangerous thing to be without."

- excerpt from William Sloane Coffin's book, "Credo"

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Tired" doesn't even BEGIN to describe it.... 

Another goody via a fibromyalgia Facebook page. This piece by Toni Bernhard hits the nail right on the head:

Another Blow to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Sufferers

I've been trying to use the term M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) to describe this ailment because that is what it's called everywhere except the United States. But sometimes I have to use "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" for clarity because most people still haven't heard of M.E. I hope that I won't have to keep it up much longer.

Inspiration for the Day, November 12, 2012: 

"In Micah 6:8 we read, 'And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?'"

- excerpt from William Sloane Coffin's book, "Credo"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Just" a cold? 

Found this a few weeks ago via one of the trusty fibromyalgia Facebook pages. As with most things, with chronic illness, the common cold is anything but simple:

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Getting a Cold

I can never quite tell if I am coming down with whatever's "going around". Sore throats, muscle aches, cough, even a mild fever are a regular occurrence for me. Also, I can never quite tell when I am "over" an acute illness, for the same reasons.

Inspiration for the Day, November 11, 2012: 

"We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the discords of war."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's a wash...and dry.... 

Thought this was an amusing and potentially useful article. Got it from - guess where? a fibromyalgia Facebook page:

Laundry Tips for Living With Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

I have my own tips to add:
1. Everyone does THEIR OWN laundry!
2. Buy LOTS of underwear. I have over three weeks' worth; that way, if I'm too exhausted to do laundry, chances are I will still have a couple pair of clean undies to tide me over. I don't care so much about putting on dirty sweats if I have to as long as my underwear is clean.
3. No more than one load per day. I am usually too wiped out to do more anyway.

Migraines can be noisy.... 

Came across this while reading about something else. While I have noticed that my tinnitus gets worse during a migraine, this is the first article I have seen that addresses it:

Expert Answer: Tinnitus and Migraine

I saw on a fibromyalgia Facebook page that someone with severe tinnitus was trying an allergy medication, and the side effect is that it seems to reduce tinnitus. Interesting. I've been told mine is untreatable; perhaps in time, this will change.

Inspiration for the Day, November 10, 2012: 

"If you want to change the culture, change the music."

- Timothy Leary

Friday, November 09, 2012

Do YOU have an electric personality? 

I belong, believe it or not, to a Facebook group called "SLIders (people who affect electronic devices just by being close to them)".  I found this article posted there:

Always Getting Zapped by Static Electricity? It's a Real Condition Called Bioelectricity, not Coincidence

I do experience this problem, although it has gotten less severe since I moved to a more humid climate. Still, two of my three watches currently do not work. When I lived in Denver, we had to keep a huge supply of light bulbs on hand to replace the ones that burned out every few weeks. The two street lamps nearest our house would go out frequently, and even though they were checked out and deemed to be safe, I would get zapped if I got too close to the one in our yard. I was really rough on computers at my job. On my worst day, I shorted out three hard drives in an hour! Another time, I was reaching for a tower drive to reboot it, and a visible spark went from the tower to my hand about three inches away! My co-worker saw it and said, "remind me never to tap you on the shoulder", heh heh.

When fibromyalgia pummels you.... 

Got this from a fibromyalgia Facebook page. This has suggestions for what to do on those days you're not quite sure you should get out of bed:

Feeling Like You've Been Hit by a Mack Truck: Morn

The two worst times of day for me are right when I wake up and then again at bedtime. Before I even open my eyes, the wonderful world of "ouch" greets me. Stiffness in my muscles and joints persists the first two hours or so of my day. Then I loosen up some and have a bit of energy. After lunch, the exhaustion starts increasing again, but if I am lucky, the pain will lag some until evening. Then, both slowly build until I am almost, but not quite, as bad as when I first woke up. Seems really depressing as I look at the description in typewritten form. But as it has been going on for 15 years, I am generally quite skilled at ignoring these things or at least distracting myself from them for a period of time. I lead what I consider to be a good life considering.

Inspiration for the Day, November 9, 2012: 

"Without music there can be no perfect knowledge, for there is nothing without it . . . the very heavens revolve under the guidance of harmony."

- Isidore of Seville (patron saint of computing and the internet)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 8, 2012: 

"If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."

- Jimi Hendrix

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Doing a virtual happy dance.... 

Following some tense moments and a lot of nail biting on my part, I can finally celebrate the re-election of Obama. And share Michael Moore's take on it:

Morning in America ...a note from Michael Moore

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Congratulations everyone!!

This country has truly changed, and I believe there will be no going back. Hate lost yesterday. That is amazing in and of itself. And all the women who were elected last night! A total rebuke of Neanderthal attitudes.

Now the real work begins. Millions of us – the majority – must come together to insist that President Obama and the Democrats stand up and fight for the things we sent them there to do. Mr. President, do not listen to the pundits who today call for you to "compromise." No. You already tried that. It didn't work. You can compromise later if you need to, but please, no more beginning by compromising. And if the Republican House doesn't want to play ball, do a massive end run around them with one executive order after another – just like they have done and will do if given the chance again.

We have to have Obama's back. As he is blocked and attacked by the Right, we need to be there with him. We are the majority. Let's act like it.

And please Mr. President, make the banks and Wall Street pay. You're the boss, not them. Lead the fight to get money out of politics – the spending on this election is shameful and dangerous. Don't wait til 2014 to bring the troops home – bring 'em home now. Stop the drone strikes on civilians. End the senseless war on drugs. Act like a pit bull when it comes to climate change – ignore the nuts, and fix this now. Take the profit motive out of things that any civilized country would say, "this is for the common good." Make higher education affordable for everyone and don't send 22-year-olds out into the world already in massive debt. Order a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions. Enact economic policy that will create good-paying jobs and spend the money that's needed to do that. Make your second term one for the history books.

Finally, thanks must be given to the Occupy movement who, a year ago, set the tone of this election year by getting everyone to talk about the 1% vs. 99%. It inspired Obama and his campaign to realize that there was a huge popular sentiment against what the wealthy have done to the country and there was something wrong if just 400 rich guys owned more than 160 million Americans combined (all those moochers and bums). This led to Romney's "47%" remarks and THAT was the beginning of the end of his campaign. Thank you Mother Jones for releasing that secret tape, and thank you to the minimum wage worker who placed a camera on the serving buffet next to the candle. This morning's headline in the Washington Post says it all: "At Romney headquarters, the defeat of the 1 percent." Thank you Sandra Fluke for enduring the insults hurled at you and then becoming an important grassroots leader against the war on women. Thank you Todd Akin for...well, for just being you. Thank you CEOs of Chrysler and GM for coming out forcefully against the Republican(!) candidate, saying he lived in "some parallel universe" when he lied about Jeep. Thank you Governor Christie for your new bromance with Obama. You know, you really didn't have to!

And you, Mother Nature, with all your horrific damage, death and destruction you caused last week, you became, ironically, the undoing of a Party that didn't believe in you or your climate changing powers.

Perhaps they'll believe now.

Once again, thanks to all of you who brought a nonvoter to the polls. In a last minute effort to get Obama an extra million votes he wasn't counting on, I enjoyed talking and texting with your loved ones and friends yesterday who weren't going to vote – but then changed their minds after a little nudge and some TLC ("Damn! Michael Moore? I'm getting in to car right now to go vote.").

To my fellow Americans, I think you'll agree: it was nice to wake up this morning in the United States of America.

Michael Moore

Inspiration for the Day, November 7, 2012: 

"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."

- Emma Goldman

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Rave of the Day for November 6, 2012: 

This appeared in The Sioux Falls Shopping News:

Find Something Beautiful

Many years ago, a very special high school teacher lost her husband unexpectedly from a heart attack. About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with a classroom of students.

As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down there. With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, "Before class is over, I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important."

"Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is God's way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day."

Her eyes beginning to water, she went on, "So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn't have to be something you see, it could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone's house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground."

"Please, look for these things, and cherish them. Although it may sound trite, these things are the 'stuff' of life. The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted. We must make a point to notice them, for at any time it can all be taken away."

The class was completely quiet. The students all picked up their books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, those students noticed more things on their way home from school than they had that whole semester.

Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double-dip ice cream cone. For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn't do.

Inspiration for the Day, November 6, 2012: 

"One good song with a message can bring a point more deeply to more people than a thousand rallies."

- Phil Ochs

Monday, November 05, 2012

Get yer butt to the polls on Tuesday! 

Got this via Michale Moore's newsletter a few hours ago:

Tomorrow ...a letter from Michael Moore

Monday, November 5th, 2012


Tomorrow, the bankers and corporate chiefs are planning an historic victory party. With the election of Mitt Romney, their takeover of American democracy would be complete.

They thought they had accomplished that four years ago when they backed Barack Obama (he received more money from Wall Street than McCain; Goldman Sachs was his #1 private contributor). And even though he never put a single one of them of any consequence in jail and never signed any bill that would truly stop their out-of-control greed; and even though he placed two of Wall Street's favorite operatives – Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers – in charge of the Treasury and economic policy; and even though he let them use bailout money – our money – to give themselves lavish bonuses after they wrecked our economy; and even though he didn't go for a single-payer health care system and made sure that under "Obamacare" no insurance company would be fined more than $100 a day for denying a person with a pre-existing condition (thus removing many of the teeth the new law had); and even though he let them keep their Bush tax cut for another four years – yes, even after doing all of that for the wealthiest 1%, it still wasn't enough for them, so they decided to turn on him in a vicious way. They decided that they could literally buy an election and toss him to the curb. Why? Because he enacted a little "reform." Because he wants them to pay just a tiny bit more in taxes. Because, deep down, they know what we know deep down – that Barack Obama, if given a second term, is going to put the brakes on them. They know that Barack Obama will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Citizens United. And they know that next time they crash our economy, some of them will, hopefully, be going to jail.

And they believe they can stop him tomorrow by having bamboozled enough of those "47%", those moochers, to vote for one of their own – Mitt Romney. A man who, like them, believes big business should have no restraints. A man who pays next to nothing in taxes. A man who has destroyed the livings of thousands of working Americans. A man who hides his money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands and won't show us what's on his tax returns for the past decade.

This is who they want elected president tomorrow – and if this happens, their goal of complete corporate control of the three branches of government will be complete.

Trust me, if they succeed, we may never get it back.

There were two things in the news these past couple weeks that unfortunately got little attention. But these two stories say it all about the America we will have unless these people are stopped.

One was a story in The Nation that exposed how Romney, while publicly opposing the auto company bailout, secretly got in on the action with his Wall Street donors – and made over $15 million, a 4,000% return on his investment (which he hid in a blind trust in his wife's name) by buying up the Delphi auto parts company, the former Delco/AC Spark Plug division of GM where my dad worked. He then – get this – grabbed billions in bailout cash to "transform" it from bankrupt to a "viable business." Except what he really did was slash retiree pensions, shut down 24 U.S. factories, and ship all 25,200 union jobs to China. You'd think he'd keep quiet about Delphi – but no, he's got his supporters running ads in Ohio blaming Barack Obama for terminating the Delphi pensions – I kid you not. (When I opposed the Iraq War, Romneyites and the like called me a "traitor"; when Romney does this traitorous act destroying jobs and sending them to China, his reward, in addition to the millions he pocketed, may be the presidency tomorrow.)

The other story was a bill passed by the Pennsylvania legislature that would allow businesses to take the state income taxes they withhold from their employees' paychecks and KEEP THE MONEY FOR THEMSELVES! That's right. Your taxes that you pay to the state won't go to the state anymore – they'll just go right into the pockets of your bosses. I was stunned to find out that other states are already doing this as an "incentive" to lure or keep businesses in their states. Let's be clear what this is about: the final merging that's taking place between the corporate and political power structures, coming together as one, and making the workers (serfs) pay tribute to their employer (the overlord). Welcome to the New Feudalism.

So tomorrow it's High Noon in the USA, a literal showdown on the Main Streets of America between the rich and everyone else. The 1% truly believe they can defeat the 99%. As the conservative commentator Stephen Moore (who sits on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal) said, "Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy. I'm not even a big believer in democracy." Citibank, in an internal memo, said that the only thing that stands in the way of the plutocrats is, well, elections: "[T]he rising wealth gap between the rich and poor will probably at some point lead to a political backlash...Whilst the rich are getting a greater share of the wealth, and the poor a lesser share, political enfrachisement remains as was – one person, one vote…[W]e are keeping a close eye on developments."

We have the chance tomorrow to defeat them. They're counting on us not even showing up. The line in the sand has been drawn. Please do whatever you can today and tomorrow to get everyone you know to the polls – especially any relatives or friends in swing states. Even if you don't live in a swing state, you need to make a loud statement that you won't let this happen. And you need to take the House away from the Republicans so some work in Washington can get done.

To volunteer to walk precincts and get out the vote near where you live, go here. Or make calls to swing state voters. And don't forget that I need each of you to convince just one non-voter to vote tomorrow so that we can deliver the million-vote margin that could make all the difference.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Now go act as if your democracy depended on it – because it does.

Michael Moore

Rave of the Day for November 5, 2012: 

This appeared in The Sioux Falls Shopping News on April 25:

All I Really Need to Know about Life, I Learned from Noah's Ark

1. Don't miss the boat.

2. Don't forget we are all in the same boat.

3. Plan ahead - it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.

4. Stay fit. When you're 600 years old someone might ask you to do something really big.

5. Don't listen to the critics, just get on with what has to be done.

6. For safety's sake travel in pairs.

7. Two heads are better than one.

8. Build your future on high ground.

9. Speed isn't always an advantage. Snails were on the same ark as the cheetahs.

10. When you are stressed, float awhile.

11. Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.

12. Remember that the woodpeckers inside are a larger threat than the storm outside.

Inspiration for the Day, November 5, 2012: 

"Many of God's lessons are based on St. Augustine's insight: 'Never fight evil as if it were something that arose totally outside yourself.'"

- excerpt from William Slone Coffin's book, "Credo"

Much more than an inconvenience..... 

Got this awhile back from a fibromyalgia Facebook page. Those of us with fibromyalgia already know these things, but it's nice to have confirmation:

Fibromyalgia Pain Takes Toll on Everyday Life

Here's an example of just how easily fibromyalgia can interfere with normal functioning. Last night at bedtime, I forgot to take my sleep medication. After three hours of lying awake, trying to ignore my husband's snoring and the muscle cramps in my feet and lower legs (normally I sleep through these things), I realized what I had done, but by then it was too late to do anything about it. If I took a sleep aid at 4am, I would be unable to get up at 9am to get ready for church. So I suffered through another two hours and finally dozed off at 6am. When Dan woke me up three hours later, before I even opened my eyes, I realized my pain level had gone from a 7 out of 10 at bedtime to a 9, and I still had to get out of bed. I had aggravated my bursitis, my feet were agony to even touch, I was more nauseous than usual (had a few close calls), and I had diarrhea (a few more close calls). I limped around the house, groaning, but somehow made it out the door on time and even managed to stay awake through the whole service (I'm ashamed to admit that due to my extreme exhaustion, that is not always the case). But I've spent the rest of the day feeling pummeled and weak, all because of one missed pill. Sheesh.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The choice is yours.... 

Just got this from Michael Moore's newsletter. Right now, the worst thing you can do is nothing:

Letter to a Non-Voter ...from Michael Moore

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

To my friend who is not voting on Tuesday:

I get it – and I don't blame you. You're fed up and you could care less whether Tweedledee or Tweedledumber wins on Tuesday – because on Wednesday, your life will be the same, unchanged, regardless who is president. Your mortgage will still be underwater. You will still owe $50,000 on your student loan. Your son will still be in Afghanistan. Your daughter will still be working two jobs to make ends meet. And gas will still be at $4.

Four years ago you gave in and voted – and you voted for Obama. You wanted to believe he would go after the Wall Street crooks who crashed the economy – but instead the banks that were "too big to fail" four years ago are now even bigger and more dangerous. You thought there'd be universal health care – but the new law only went so far (with most of it not taking effect until 2014). You were tired of war and homeland security measures that violated our civil liberties – but we're still in Afghanistan, we're sending in drones to Pakistan and basic constitutional rights to privacy and a fair trial have been ignored. And you thought you'd have a middle-class, good-paying job like your dad had – but you didn't know that Goldman Sachs was Obama's #1 private campaign donor in 2008, and well, he was beholden to corporate America in more ways we cared to think about. 

So, I get it why you've had it with all these politicians and elections. In the end, it doesn't really seem to be our country any more. It's run by those who can buy the most politicians to do their bidding. Our schools are made a low priority and women are still having to fight for just the basic human rights we thought they already had.

So, it's hard for me to ask you for this very personal favor. It's OK if you say "no," but I'm hoping you don't.

I cannot believe it is possible that, after a group of rich plutocrats wrecked the economy, threw people out of work and stole our future, we may actually hand the keys to our country over to...a rich Republican plutocrat who made millions by throwing people out of work! This is insane, and despite all the legitimate criticisms of Obama, he is nothing like the tsunami of hate and corporate thievery that will take place if Mitt Romney is president. As bad as it feels now, it will only get worse. I need your help to stop this.

I can't promise you that your life will get better, easier under Barack Obama. I do think he cares and I know for sure that if the other guy is sitting in the Oval Office, I can guarantee you that not only will your life not get better, it will get much, much worse. Don't take my word for it. Just ask your parents what life was like before a 30-year pillage by the Republicans of the middle class. Your parents bought a house and eventually owned it outright. They weren't in debt. College was free. They bought a new car every 3 or 4 years. They took vacations and were home for dinner by 5 or 6 PM. They had a savings account in the bank. They didn't live in fear of not knowing if they'd even have a job next year. 

That's all gone. I don't know if we can get it back, but I do know that Mr. Romney would love the chance to complete the final elimination of the middle class and the American Dream. 

He must be stopped. Take 20 minutes on Tuesday and go vote. If you don't want to do it for your country, then do it for me! It's the only favor I'll ever ask of you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know that you care, and care deeply, about your future and your kids' future. You have every right to be cynical about all this. And you hold the power to stop the bastards who plan on squeezing every last dime out of you that they can. Take a stand. And make a statement to those who are hoping against hope that you'll stay home on Tuesday. Your presence at the polls is what they fear most.

Go scare the s**t out of them! For me.

Michael Moore

Grant us peace! 

The idea for this year's peace globe came from a project at my church. This summer, 49 members of my congregation ranging from age three to 80+ were each given canvases which were one foot square. Each canvas had a bit of what looked like a random shape on it, but the color and design of the rest of the canvas was left up to the painter. It was only when the 49 completed canvases were placed side by side in rows of seven that it became clear that the shapes were not random, but formed a recognizable pattern: that of a dove.

I found this very inspiring, the notion that individually, we have our own shapes and colors and may seem to have nothing in common with anyone else, but when we come together, we form a beautiful work of art. And that art of creation can give us wings with which to soar.

Soar, today and always. Peace be with you.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Chronic identity crisis.... 

Found this on a fibromyalgia Facebook page. While it is about myositis, the issues addressed pretty much apply to any chronic illness:

Who Am I Now? Living with an Autoimmune Disease

One of the things that it may be difficult for a healthy person to understand is that in chronic illness, the sense of self changes every time there are new symptoms or a permanent worsening of the condition. Autoimmune diseases in particular don't care if you have plans or children to raise or whether you can afford another trip to the hospital. It can be the ultimate test of adaptability.

Rave of the Day for November 3, 2012: 

This appeared in The Sioux Falls Shopping News on June 30:

Ten Commandments for a Long and Peaceful Life:

1. Thou shalt not worry, for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities.

2. Thou shalt not be fearful, for most of the things we fear never come to pass.

3. Thou shalt face each problem as it comes. You can handle only one at a time.

4. Thou shalt not cross bridges before you get to them, for no one yet has succeeded in accomplishing this.

5. Thou shalt not take problems to bed with you, for they make very poor bedfellows.

6. Thou shalt not borrow other people's problems. They can take care of them better than you can.

7. Thou shalt be a good listener, for only when you listen do you hear ideas different than your own. It's very hard to learn something new when you're talking.

8. Thou shalt not try to re-live yesterday for good or ill; it is gone. Concentrate on what is happening in your life today.

9. Thou shalt not become bogged down by frustration, for 50 percent of it is rooted in self-pity and will interfere with positive actions.

10. Thou shalt count thy blessings, never overlooking the small ones - for a lot of small blessings add up to a big one.

Inspiration for the Day, November 3, 2012: 

This was the call to worship at my church about a month ago:

The unity of humankind is a possible miracle, lying in the universe waiting to be realized, as part of God's interweaving harmonies, with colors blending into beauty and shining light.
The unity of humankind is a gracious choice, born of respect and dignity for all, carried forward in the wonder of discovering new things in each other and bonded together in deep acceptance.
The unity of humankind is a dream of hope, a determination of the human spirit as it connects with Creator God and all possibilities, forming a circle of wholeness.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, November 2, 2012: 

"Musical notes are more penetrating than bullets. Songs are more powerful than bombs."

- World Peace Through Technology Organization

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Rave of the Day for November 1, 2012: 

Here's part of an e-mail I actually received RECENTLY. Quotes to ponder courtesy of Joan:

Reasons To Keep An Open Mind ...

"Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances."
-- Dr. Lee DeForest, "Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television."

"The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives."
- - Admiral William Leahy , US Atomic Bomb Project

"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
-- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
-- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
-- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."
--The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

"But what is it good for?"
-- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
-- Bill Gates, 1981

"This 'telephone'has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
-- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
-- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible."
-- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper."
--Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind."

"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make."
-- Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
-- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,"
-- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this."
- - Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
-- Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
-- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
-- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, France.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."
-- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.

"The super computer is technologically impossible. It would take all of the water that flows over  Niagara Falls to cool the heat generated by the number of vacuum tubes required."
-- Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University

"I don't know what use any one could find for a machine that would make copies of documents. It certainly couldn't be a feasible business by itself."
-- the head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox.

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."
-- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon."
-- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.

And last but not least...

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
-- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

Inspiration for the Day, November 1, 2012: 

"When in anguish over any human violence done to innocent victims, we ask of God, 'How could you let that happen?' It's well to remember that God at that very moment is asking the same exact question of us."

- excerpt from William Sloane Coffin's book, "Credo"

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