Where Are the Children of Light?

“. . . history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Our generation will have to repent not only for the acts and words of the children of darkness but also for the fears and apathy of the children of light.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I drove north on Hwy 101 not surprised to see a small gathering in the parking lot of the Newport Armory. Hand drawn signs covered a jeep pleading “protect your guns.” I shook my head and scowled disapproval at the woman waving at me from that scene as I drove by. Why didn’t I stop and let them know, on no uncertain terms, that there is at least one person in their midst who opposes their “clamor”?

“The clamor of the bad people” – who are the bad people? I suppose, like me, these folks are speaking to represent those they perceive as a compliant majority of like-minded protectors of a civil right (though not the same right I would select above the others to concentrate my energies upon). Would they really defend all of the policy choices of this gangster-in-chief? While I don’t really know if most people are good, I can hope that we are. Misguided, frightened, not evolved – these are words I’ve used to describe, for my own comfort, these extreme right-wing responders. I live among them and communicate civilly as I do with any stranger. What is civility in the face of barbaric behavior like imprisoning children? Is that good manners or just fear?

I am not apathetic regarding what is going on in this country. I am not apathetic about the current federal administration policies that separate families and put children in cages. The racist, sexist, thuggish bullying tendencies of this American President that seem to have overthrown the minds of a segment of the American population and belittled American values based in humanitarian morality is breaking my heart. What is this slimy ideology that is creeping into our lives? Should we be expecting the mind-police at our doors soon?

The familiar chant of the 1960s echoes in my mind: “Love it or leave it.” Leaving it has crossed my mind lately, but, the thought is quickly followed by the self-accusation of “Coward!” I have loved Oregon, being born here, surrounded by the stature and incomparable beauty of every part of our state. There have always been our right-wing thinkers, but, as evidenced by Oregon’s status as a politically “blue” state, most of us are not of that lot. We have all lived together like family – sometimes in disagreement – usually with respect. What changed?

Our so-called leadership in Washington DC is calling to the dark nature of a small segment of our citizens. The strength of the response seems to be growing if reports are to be believed, but, I think we are all being manipulated into thinking this “trend” is inevitable. I cannot believe that we have no option but to fall into this pit of hell and despair! What set of reasonable answers do we have from which to chose that will solve this distressing equation?

I am just a lonely voice screaming from my broken heart and it seems to be all I can do from here right now. When opportunity for real and effective action presents itself I hope others will join me. This situation we are being given is a problem to solve and quickly – lives and the futures of very young children who cannot act for themselves are being held hostage along with the true soul of our nation.

Please speak up as a Child of Light.

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23 days into keto

An odd number of days to celebrate, but a 10 pound weight loss is extraordinary for me. I have no before pictures . . . sorry to those who thrive on such ghoulish voyeurism. To me, the number on my not-always-reliable-for-accuracy (but useful for recording incremental changes) is an outward indicator for (yeah, man, this is so cool!!!!)the first stages of success at something new.

I feel that ketogenic ways of eating are a natural for me and it seems so weird that I missed it on my radar for so long. I’ve been researching the science for the past month and cannot find any good reason to stop the process of very low carb eating.

I have recently completed a study sponsored through Oregon Health Sciences University testing a biologic medication for my early stage rheumatoid arthritis. I’m now in remission thanks to this drug, but each weekly dose is about $1,000 delivered by injection. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have had access to such efficacious medicine, however, I don’t make enough income in a year to pay for 6 months of treatment. Clearly, my future health and mobility depend on finding another path.

Keto may be that path and I’m very excited. I’ve already seen improvements in my blood pressure measurements and, three weeks after my last dose of Abatacept, I have no recurring pain in the joints that were heavily affected by the RA . . . so far, fingers crossed!

That’s all for now.

A New Crusade – Rage Against the Bully

Bullies seem to be in style now – we all have our Trump.  And I have my own bully, my own personal bully – the kind one finds in a workplace.  Research teaches me that this is not my first one.  I simply have not recognized them.

In this new age of bullies – ones that torture children at school and through the internet, ones that get elected to high office, ones that lurk around the workplace – it felt reasonable to do a little online research to see if any of the pieces fit my situation, if any of the boxes could be checked.

All of the boxes could be checked for me as the classic target of a classic bully.  Oddly, the discovery is liberating.  I mean, even if I don’t escape the “attentions” of this person, I will still be free of the effect of those attentions.  With time, opportunity, and careful cunning, I may be able to convince my tormentor to move on to some easier target.

That may sound cold-hearted – wishing the bully onto some other poor soul – but, nothing will ever stop the bully from being one. Sadly, there is no guarantee against picking up another one – like I said, I recognize that I have had at least 2 in the past 3 years.   All one can do is shake them loose.  Fortunately or unfortunately, both of those encounters resulted in a job loss for me.  By the way, being the target of a bully in the workplace usually does result in the loss of your job according to research.

It’s not important to display details of this very stressful , insidious, and personal torture.  Bullies come in all shapes and sizes with all manner of psychological influences and motivations.  That one latches on to me (or you) is only a matter of matching up profiles.  It is almost neither person’s fault.  It is import to realize, also, that bullying is not illegal – it cannot be viewed as harassment unless it is clearly based in illegal discrimination.

The important thing for the target of the bully is to recognize what is happening and call it by its name.  That simple gesture alone will relieve a lot of unhealthy stress and put one in the productive mindset that will enable escape from any further damage, professionally and emotionally, by the bully.

I’m still learning and I will share an important website :

http://www.workplacebullying.org

If you suspect that you have become the target of workplace bullying, check out this very helpful website.

The Pelicans are Here at Seal Rocks

Yesterday and again today, I saw 2 or 3 dozen Brown Pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis, on the large rock on the south end of Seal Rock State Park. The sky was breaking with blue and, as I walked north, I saw pelicans on Elephant Rock at the north end of the park. It felt like a gift to see them; they are my favorite seabird. It is my understanding that the Brown Pelican wanders between Canada (Southern British Columbia) and points south; a bit uncommon to see, they are related to cormorants as evidenced by throat pouches and webbed toes. Even so, the pelican’s pouch is enormous compared to any cormorant. They wander the Northwest coastline to follow food which they dive to reach and fill their throat pouches – releasing the water and swallowing the fish.

So, it is truly a gift for me from the universe to see so many and in one area. Spoken as a person who is thrilled to see 3 or 4 skimming the waves in view and then to disappear around a sea stack. I’m so happy to see them in such numbers here today!

Cruel Day for Ravens

Ravens, Corvus corax, are large sleek, black shiny, and extremely smart. A raven will assess a problem, figure out a tool and make the tool with another tool if needed to meet a challenge head-on. A trait I admire. Resourceful, clever, undaunted.

In Oregon, on the Central Oregon Coast, the Northern Raven inhabits the open and forested places.

Native people of the Pacific Northwest regard the raven as an incurable trickster, bringing fire to people by stealing it from the sun, and stealing salmon only to drop them in rivers all over the world. 1

Anecdotal evidence – isn’t that what you call it when someone tells you what they saw? – reveals that ravens can get a little rowdy and destructive when, in the autumn, berries ferment on the vine. Ravens eat them, as do other birds. But, when ravens eat fermenting berries which are, in fact, wine, the ravens get drunk and rowdy. They have been seen stumbling about the parking lot at Cape Perpetua looking around and spoiling for a fight. Normally the picture of pride and decorum admired and loved, the Cape Perpetua raven pair get berry drunk and attack inanimate objects that, in their state of drunkenness, are an annoyance or threat. For example, cars.

It has been observed, scientifically, that ravens form nesting pairs that stay together all year long. The pair then spends much energy defending what they view as their place in the world from all intruders. When a pair of ravens is berry drunk, even that raven in the side mirror must be repelled – beaten to a bloody pulp. Ravens can cause some damage. At Cape Perpetua, the resident raven pair caused damages to vehicles in the thousands of visitor dollars.

A simple observer, I only see the fine and noble raven. I smile at the male, he bows to acknowledge me (or so I would like to believe about his nod). He feels large, an imposing presence – a middle-aged raven maybe 5 – 7 years old – standing in the evergreen tree just a bit away from the door of the Cape Perpetua visitor center. Turning to lock the door behind me, I feel safe – like walking with a street-wise boyfriend on the mean streets – when I see the raven nearby.

But, you can’t hit and run in a blur of Autumnal drunkenness and get away with it every year, not even if you’re a clever and noble bird, not even if you’re a clever and noble bird who has been there longer than most of the people, not when dollars are involved.

This morning, October 31, 2013, a Forest Service employee raised a gun fitted with a silencer (so none of the nature lovers visiting the area would be disturbed) and killed the raven pair.

And, my co-worker aged 42 with wife and three children at home and a mortgage he can barely cover was fired from his job today, October 31, 2013. Fired from his job of 16 and ½ years.

It’s always about dollars. Tears, like mine, only prove one thing regarding ravens and co-workers – I was made for some other place.

1 The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/common_raven/lifehistory