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Archive for May, 2009

daniel hauser I don’t usually get too much into politics and government on this blog because, if I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to stop.  But lately, something has been really bugging me.  It’s the case of 13 year old Daniel Hauser whom the court is forcing to undergo chemotherapy, against his and his family’s wishes.

Now I know there are a lot of variables in a case like this – the age of the child, the parents’ intentions, etc.  But, from everything I’ve heard and read about this case, the boy is aware of his options and has already undergone one session of chemo, and has chosen to pursue alternative therapies, based upon natural healing practices of a religious group called the Nemehah Band which is based on American Indian beliefs. I think that, at thirteen, he is old enough to understand the ramifications of his actions.  His mother has stated that she will continue to seek permission to use alternative treatments for her son’s cancer “that aren’t toxic.”

What is really raising red flags in my consciousness is the word “forcing.”  Since when is our judicial system allowed to force individuals to accept medical treatment?  Even if a certain course of treatment is medically proven to help, since when do the courts, and, by extension, the government, have the right to decide and force someone to comply?  It’s starting to sound pretty “Big Brother-ish” to me. And where will they draw the line?

Five years ago there was a similar case in Utah involving a boy named Parker Jensen who had been diagnosed with cancer.  He and his parents had to fight for their right to refuse chemotherapy and finally won against the court.  Today, five years later, the boy is still alive and in good health.

I understand that when a small child or baby is being denied treatment by parents with questionable motives, someone must step in to protect them.  But I think this whole issue of the courts “forcing” treatment on people is one which we, as Americans, need to keep an eye on.  There’s a fine line between genuine concern for someone’s welfare and judicial heavy-handedness.  We’re in a situation already where the government makes decisions every day in the name of doing what’s best for the people. But my question is – “In whose opinion is something best for me?”  I’m never consulted.

Our individual freedoms are very important and very precious and we must be vigilant in protecting them because once they’re gone…they’re gone.

I’m just sayin’…

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Patience Pays Off

Well!  I just had a nice surprise.  Remember the “bad neighbors” I’ve written countless posts about?  They are the ones who were snotty from the git-go.  They are the ones who always put their trash in front of my house rather than their own, and, when the bags got torn open, left their garbage in my yard.  They are the ones who took their dog out in back of my townhouse to “do his business,” and never ever picked it up.  They are the ones who never gave that dog any exercise and, in fact, grew impatient and hit him with his leash if he took more than three minutes to poop.  They are the ones who let that same dog pee on my prized yucca plants until they almost (and still may) died.  And when I put up some fencing to prevent that, they are the ones who waited until the dead of night and pulled up my fence without my permission.  And, even when I tried to make peace with them, they still maintained their “we’re better than anyone else” attitude.  Remember them?

WELL, THEY’RE GONE! I still have to pinch myself to believe it!

I had written earlier that only six months after they moved in, they put the place back on the market, but they’ve had very few lookers, and I had resigned myself to the fact that they’d be around quite a bit longer.

Then I met the people on the other side of them and got the scoop.  Apparently, the mother had met a man and went to Las Vegas and married him and planned to move to Arizona.  (Her divorce hadn’t even cooled off yet!) I have no idea if she’s taking her kids with her or is going to hand them off to her ex-husband.  When I asked this other neighbor if she was friends with her, she started laughing and said, “Oh no!  The moment she found out I was living here in sin with my boyfriend and my kids, she thought I was the spawn of Satan!”  At any rate, that’s where things stood…

UNTIL TODAY…

I just saw the other neighbor outside and she told me they’re gone – lock, stock and barrel!  They left their furniture at the house so it would show better, but she said they are GONE.  The bad neighbor mentioned to her that she was leaving for Arizona and her kids were going to spend the summer with their dad in Colorado.  They only told her because they wanted her to know that she had a friend and a real estate woman who would be coming by to check the place.

I know it seems like I’m making a big deal over nothing, but it’s not nothing to me.  It’s amazing how unfriendliness can taint your everyday life, but it can.  It’s the little things, like waving at someone at the mailbox and not having them wave back.  I’m not the kind of person who needs to be “best buds” with my neighbors, but it costs nothing to be civil and considerate.  And they certainly never were.

I know.  I know.  You’re probably saying, “Star, how do you know someone worse won’t move in?” And you’d be right.  I have no way of knowing.  But you know what they say – “Live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself.”

And, you know how I feel today?

joy

Yes I do!

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mailbox bits & piecesHey, y’all!  This is more of a photographic version of Bits & Pieces today, consisting mainly of things I’ve been observing around the house.

First of all, maybe it’s just where I live, but I’ve been experiencing of lot of instances of Mother Nature shedding like crazy lately.  First it was this kind of Spanish moss-type stuff in front of my house.

moss on porch

This stuff was everywhere!  It accumulated along the curbs until there were virtually bales of the stuff!

No sooner did we finally get done with that, than the cottonwood trees in the back started shedding.  This stuff, too, starts to pile up…cottonwood fuzzBut the really annoying thing is that it floats through the air and it’s THICK, like snow coming down.  I tried to get a shot of it, but it’s difficult to catch because it’s always moving.  This is the best I could do. airborne fuzzRight now I’m looking through the window, and the air is filled with this cottony stuff!  It makes it almost impossible to sit out on the balcony and read or relax because the stuff heads right for the eyes and the mouth.  Each year I tell myself  to keep track of how many days this goes on and each year I forget to do it.  All I can say is  – “Enough already!”

Remember the two yucca plants I had to dig up because my neighbor’s dog’s pee was killing them?  Well, the big one hasn’t been doing so well…as in, on its last leaves.  But lately, it seemed to be doing even worse.yucca

And then I found the culprit!

birdThis little bird has been making trip after trip, pulling the “threads” off this plant.  I might as well give up, and have an appropriate funeral for this good old yucca.  It can’t fight dogs AND birds!

I’ll end this on a pleasant, (as opposed to griping,) note.  On Bab’s and my last hike, this is the totally cool and lovely trail we followed…

best trailKinda makes you want to get lost in there, doesn’t it?  It did me.

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About a week ago, I wrote this post, creating a new game whereby I wanted to see who could name the most things they’ve never done. I started with five of my own and invited readers to add theirs. Whenever a thing had been done by more than one person, that thing was knocked out.  The idea was that whoever had the most things by the end of Friday would win the title “The Oddest One of All.”  Well, it turns out, it was a three-way tie of four things apiece, between:

smocha – who has never eaten cottage cheese, never given a speech, never done a cartwheel and has never had a honeymoon…AND

moonmaiden – who never saw “Mary Poppins,” never owned or drove a foreign vehicle, never used a dishwasher and has never been to a seafood restaurant AND

me, Star – who has never been to a Starbucks, never owned a dog, never worn sweatpants and has never eaten pizza.

So girls, here’s your award bling!

Bling

We’re the oddest ones of all!  But, something tells me we knew that!

Have a great week!

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angel_devilThursday morning I woke up, knowing she was there, but decided to ignore her.  “She” is the side of me I usually keep successfully locked away.  She’s a nitpicker, a worrier and my worst critic and I hate having her around.  I’m the stronger of the two, but, occasionally, when I’m exceptionally tired or having a hormone storm, she bursts out of her prison to torment me.

It started when I was trying to leave the house to do errands and passed a mirror.  I felt her saying, “Good grief!  Look at your hair!  Do something about it!”  I looked, and my hair was fine, but I felt myself starting to re-fix what I’d already done.  Again, I tried to leave the house.  Again, she stopped me at the mirror.  “Your lipstick is crooked.  Can’t you see that?”  And, like some mindless zombie, I wiped it off, and reapplied it.  She started to say something about my mascara, but this time I didn’t even glance at the mirror, just left the house in a hurry.  Nonetheless, the rest of the day I felt less than confident about my appearance.

The afternoon was made up of doing chores around the house, one of which was putting some documents in my lock box.  I  kept busy tackling all the things on my “To-Do” list until I finally collapsed, exhausted, in my easy chair to take a few moments of well-deserved rest.  That’s when she whispered in my ear, “I didn’t see your car title in the lock box.  Isn’t it supposed to be in there?”  “Of course it’s in there!” I protested.  “It’s always in there.”  But that sneaky, evil, nasty little part of me, let’s call her “Hyper Star,” just kept on.  “Okay, fine!  Of course, what if it’s not in there?  If it’s not, then where is it?  Can you even prove you own the car?  What if you ever want to sell it?   I’m just saying… ”  Honestly!  Sometimes I get on my own nerves!!! As tired as I was, I couldn’t relax until I traipsed back upstairs and checked the damned lock box…which, of course, contained the car title.

All in all, she saps my strength and dampens my spirits, but I made it through the rest of the day without hurting anyone.  I had a hot bath, made a cup of peppermint tea, got into my nice cozy bed, rearranged the pillows just right, and began to read a book.  At this point, I felt I had slayed the demon, but NOOO!  This voice in the back of my head said, “Did you lock the door leading to the garage?  I’m only asking because you had your hands full when you came in, and I’m not sure you went back and locked it.”  This time I was firm. ” I always lock that door, you know I do.  And, not only that, I always check it before I come upstairs.  And besides, if anyone came in that door, the burglar alarm would go off, so shut up!”  The voice, sounding hurt now, whispers, “I’m just trying to protect you.  It’s always that one time you don’t check that something bad happens.”  Needless to say, I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on my book or anything else until I went down two flights of stairs to check the door.  And, YES, it was locked.

I wonder if other people have this battle between different aspects of their personalities, or, if it’s part of the long slippery slope that leads to the cuckoo house.  I guess it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I’m in charge of myself  99% of the time.  I’m reasonable, logical, kind and loving.  I don’t let myself get carried away with crazy speculations or undue worrying.

But, the next time I feel that Hyper Star coming toward me, I’m going the cross the street.

That chick is a real lunatic!

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Going To The Birds

I don’t know why, but lately I’ve really been trying to “get into the heads” of my neighborhood birds.  There is such a wide variety around my house and I guess in the past I haven’t paid all that much attention.  But, since I got my new zoom camera, I find myself fascinated with seeing them up close and personal.  Here are some of my latest discoveries and the drama that is inherent in each of them. This first one is what I call the “Zorro Bird,” (see the mask?) and he’s on his way to the Zorro Bird Convention.

zorro bird

Which is here…Notice that most of the participants are indulging in the free berries.

convention

But there’s always that one bird who indulges in too much joy juice.  This one is doing his bunny impression.

bunny impres.

This robin, who was turned away at the door, is saying, “I didn’t really want to go, anyway!”

robin

And finally, this last bird wouldn’t have gone even if he’d been invited.  He’s spending his time contemplating his future and what a hassle it is to drag around that long tail all day every day!

thinking future

So see?  There’s a world of stuff going with all these seemingly innocent birds.  You just have to look closely and think about it!

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holding_handsWhen I was growing up, I had my friends and I had my family.  Both groups were important, but I had a message embedded in my brain – “blood is thicker than water.”  I took this to mean that, when the chips were really down, the only people you could count on were your family.  Well, my experiences of the past few years have shot that theory to hell!  When the chips were down for me, my family just threw me away!

This was shocking and hurtful  but it was something else, too…embarrassing. I kept asking myself, “How worthless must I be that I’m so easy to erase out of their lives?”  I felt so alone.  But then I was surprised to find out that I wasn’t…

Several of my friends came forth with tales of their own, of hurt and humiliation perpetuated by their families, and laid them on my doorstep like gifts of love to let me know I wasn’t alone.  It happened again and again until I realized that “being family” is no guarantee of anything.  And, as I heard their stories it became clear to me that sometimes family members can be the cruelest of all.

That brings me to friends.  Oh dear Lord, where would I be without my friends?  Over the past month, I’ve been lucky enough to be with or be in contact with many of my friends and it’s occurred to me that they have become the family I always dreamed of having.  They are all different and yet, each of them fits like puzzle pieces into my life, filling a space that is just their size and shape.  There’s the ex-neighbor who grew into a friend.  The friend who has emailed me once a week for years and years.  Two friends I lost and then found again, only to be closer than ever.  There’s the one who moved away and yet calls and emails faithfully to keep our bond strong.  There’s the mentor I don’t see often, but who has a permanent place in my heart.  All of these people I have chosen to make my family, and the miracle is – they’ve chosen me, too! What grander compliment is there than that?

It’s said that “When God closes a door, He opens a window,”  and now I know that’s true.  What I didn’t know was how much love would pour through that window and bring me from the darkness into the light.

So, maybe I’m getting sentimental with age, but I think it’s important to tell the people how much they mean to you, and tell them often.  We never know how long our lives will be.  The healthiest person could get hit by a truck tomorrow.

So, to all my friends – I can’t imagine what my life would be without each and every one of you.  Thank you for choosing me to be in your life.  Thanks for becoming my family.

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