Friday, October 14, 2011

Mommy's and Daddy's

I realize that change is inevitable. I also realize it isn't always good. I also know that like anything, people view change differently, some as good, some as bad.

One change I don't like is the reference to a mother or father of a child as "my baby's daddy" or "my baby's mommy".

It seems disrespectful to the nameless parent AND the child. It seems immature by the user.

If you refer to the other parent of your child like this, aren't you teaching your child disrespect for that parent? Even if you don't like this person anymore, is that a view you want to teach your child? Being disrespectful from the beginning?

Legally, in custody issues, that's a no-no. Even if you aren't bound by law, you should still take the high road and be kind (or silent) about the other parent, letting your child form it's own opinions.

It also seems like a way to often let the other parent off the hook. If not named, they aren't known publicly for not being a part of the child's life.

I realize there are many different situations but creating a nameless parent seems to go down a sad dark road.

I don't have children but I did have parents. I may have issues with them but I don't deny them. I am very proud they didn't deny each other. It's nice to have a bit of knowledge to ground my life in. They are my mommy and daddy but it's nice to be able to tell people WHO they are... Margaret and Almon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

As Time Goes By...

Sometime after my mother passed away, I went searching for Emily Dinett. I called her "tete" which she said meant "little Aunt" in her Louisiana French.

I discovered that she no longer lived at the address in my mom's phone book nor was the phone number valid. There was no contact information in the records that the service rep was viewing but I was fortunate to work for the phone company at the time and knew how to be persistant and ask the right questions to the right people to discover where she was.

It turned out that the people whose child she used to care for had found her laying on the floor of her kitchen after having a stroke 2 days earlier. They had sold her stuff and put her in a nursing home. I felt by the woman's voice that she was quite concerned that a relative had found her (Tete supposedly didn't have any relatives and never had any children except me, her adopted nephew).

I didn't care about what had happened to Tete's house or stuff. I just wanted to know where she was. My partner Jerry helped me with directions and calling the Nursing Home many times as they lead us in what seemed like many a dead end.

We finally got there and went inside. It was the first facility I had ever been in and I suspect it was not one of the better ones. The smell of urine was everywhere and the patients seems so dejected and the staff so uncaring.

I walked to Tete's room with much trepidation. I turned the corner and there she was, smaller than I remember but still the same lady that had helped raise me.

"Tete?" I said. She turned a worn and tired face and searched my grown features. "It's Van, Tete.". "Ohhhh, Vannnnnnn!" she said in that wonderful Grand Isle drawl of hers as her face lit up.

The years slipped away as she showed how her left side was mostly paralyzed and how they had found her days after the stroke, still laying on the floor of her kitchen. We talked of so many things and I tried real hard to keep a smile on my face but inside, I was so very sad.

I wondered if this would someday be my fate. Sick, alone, forgotten. Waiting to die in some urine scented room whose staff worried more about the latest scandall in Hollywood instead of their patients needs.

We told Jerry about the many things I had done (many I had forgotten) as I was growing up in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a very good visit and even though she could not read, I said I would write to her and someone could read it. She looked around as if to imply no one would.

I couldn't get to the car fast enough and I broke down and cried my heart out. For forgetting this wonderful lady, for feeling so helpless at her plight, and for knowing she was so far away that my own problems would quickly encroach upon my time when I returned home.

So when I woke this morning and found my blind pussy cat sitting in a puddle of her own urine, I could hardly do anything but help her as best I could. Though my own feet and back hurt quite a bit in the morning, I took her to the sink, rinsed her off, shampooed her and took her outside like she loves so much.

To her, nothing was wrong. She seemed unaware of wetting herself and though she didn't like the partial bath, it wasn't so bad and a lot better than waking up fully later to realize that she had to clean herself!

The pillow is in the washer though it's probably going to the trash. Her pillow has a special pillow case for accidents but she doesn't like the crinkly sound or maybe she just likes to sleep by me on my pillow. I don't always have the heart to tell her no.

And so, when I think back, I tell Tete I hope she passed on quietly in her sleep like she always wanted. I'm sorry I never visited again or wrote, time flew by so fast. I still have her gumbo recipe that mom wrote down three times (and each time is different) and I wish I knew how to make her shrimp balls and roasted 'coon (that's Racoon for you city folks).

And for my blind little pussy, I pray I am there to see her pass on too so I can be sure she got the best care she could get. That's always from the one's that love you the most! If not, I pray somebody loves her enough to care for her properly or put her down gently...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Easy as 1...2...3...

Nothingness. That's how I once felt. Completely void of anything. I wanted to die and tried to blow my brains out a few times but something prevented it.

I.T. is a term I coined that stands for the Intelligent Totality. It's kind of when you refer to something using lower case "it" but this is as great as I know.

I.T. or IT for short, is the Alpha-And-Omega-And-Nothingness, my beloved friend. My confidant. Some say Jesus, or Mother Mary, or Budhha, or Lord or Lady or Spirit or Great Spirit to name a few. I use those and many more depending on how IT appears to me.

Yes, I claim to see G-D. Not metaphorically, not just in my mind, but with all my senses, however you number them (see wikipedia for an explanation of senses and the complicated nature of their identification, classification, and numbering).

So whether it's matter that matters like one membrane being a universe in a multi-verse of such, or energy in forms not yet fully understood my dear Graviton or Uriel, or those clear and dark and colorful spaces some of us DO see but I afraid to admit lest we get put in the loony bin again, I have numbered the 3 forms I see and understand a number like 4 is more to your liking. Have you seen the movie "I am number 4!". So cool.

I AM Ivan. Just Ivan. That's all folks! Namaste!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The PeePee Dance by the PooPoo Monster!

Okay, today at 7:32, I concede defeat. Sister Sheena Adams II has won THIS round.

I made the mistake of waking her up too early. I was very busy yesterday and was gone most of the day which was VERY hot. I was worried she might not have enough shade or be able to find it (being blind) so I kept her inside most of the day.

I came home to find that she was pissed. Or should I say that she had let me KNOW she was pissed by PEEing in the middle of my very high priced bed. Time for a rubber sheet though I hate the crinkly sound they make when I toss and turn at night. Resolve for Pets is my friend!

Round 1 to Sheena.

When I woke her this morning using the new Red, White, and Blue 911 2004 Emergency Bell to wake her up and find her food dish, she was slow to wake up and tired still. I wasn't really paying attention to her signing and didn't realize before it had begun that she needed to find the litter box (like most of us Cats and Dogs do when we wake).

She was close and dribbled a stream all the way as I moved her quickly to the box.

I thought, okay. That's enough. She now smells of pee and I have a mess to clean up so into the bath she went. She is pretty good about it. I think she likes getting clean. Drying her with a towel afterwards sounds like I am attempting to skin her alive!

I had the blow dryer out too to keep her warm and dry her more thoroughly and quickly and she really doesn't mind it. The towelling is the bad part. I had also laid her on my thick white sheep fur throw because she loves it so much she will usually stay a bit calm.

That didn't seem to work and all of a sudden, I noticed little tootsie rolls stuck on the rug. These were NOT the kind I would suggest eating although a certain great-grand nephew has a liking for them (Beadro!).

I gave up. Round 2 to Sheena!

I took and put her outside on the porch which she loves. If it's too hot and she gets confused as to how to get out of the sun, I lose round 3. But she is smart and stubborn and determined so I think she will be okay even if my meds make me forget her.

I would be more worried of the coyotes that roam the area at night. That's why I do not clip her claws. When cornered, like her Daddy, she comes out fighting!


Form of a Wild cat. Form of a Tiger. Form of TAZ (may he rest in peace, Jerry Brown's nickname).

Potenial pet owners BEWARE. Spay and Neuter your pets. Proper maintenance can be expensive. If you can't afford to Spay and Neuter them then you should be mature enough to NOT HAVE ANY!!!!!!!!

Treat them like your babies and cleaning up after them will often bring a smile to your face, a prayer of thanks to your lips, and a story to tell your tribe.


Monday, May 2, 2011

BAD Kitty!

Although I am overly critical, I try to focus more on the lesson that can be learned instead of obsessing over the mistake. Guilt is one of those wonderful tools abused quite well by many religions but should really be used to help you focus on the true issue. Learning from the mistake.

I've moved from using terms like sin and atonement to mistake and lesson to remove the power that religions have tried to create for themselves and focus more on how to improve myself. It is quite a liberating experience though you may find it doesn't happen over night.

It's much easier to remain a timid sheep hidden within the folds of a large flock then to raise your head up high, desire to know what lays beyond a mountain ridge, and find your own path through life but I am happy to have found my own way.

What made me think of this was an issue I have with my pet cat, Sheena. A few years ago, she was young, fearless, and free. Her path took her into that of an on-coming vehicle. It shattered her face and blinded her and she is now very reliant on me for help.

Never having had kids (though I've helped with others children), she is the closest thing I have to a child. Now that she's blind, for as long as I have her, I'll be cleaning up her messes when she can't find the litter box, wiping snot from her nose from her fractured skull, letting her in and out of the house, and making her special food, to name a few of my responsibilities.

It was not something I intended to do. I would much prefer her to still be able to see and do things without my help. So, I try to ask myself, not "Why was this punishment given" but "What lesson will this teach me?". I see so many lessons it is hard list them all.

First, it helps me to understand how hard it is to constantly be responsible for another. My cat tries really hard to remain who she's always been. That means she usually makes it to the litter box on her own. With the sinus problems she has, I can hear when she's becoming desperate (breathing harder while she's trying to sniff out the box) and about to have an accident. It can often bring me out of a deep sleep to help her to the box!

Sleeping lightly and being wakened like that takes a toll sometimes. It's harder to be nice and understanding when you've had a lack of sleep. Being constantly watching her is also very taxing. You can't do it all the time. It's a simple lesson but one that I often have to remind myself of when around others who might be cranky for the same reason. Compassion is one of my short-comings (I believe from growing up alone).

That in turn teaches me about patience. Understanding. Channeling my emotions properly. Staying active even.

I can't run my life completely on my own. I have to consider Sheena's needs also. She tries hard to do things and I really have no right to get upset or annoyed with her (though I still do). So bit by bit (perhaps for a LONG time), she gives me the same lessons to learn and improve upon.

I don't always do the right thing, but I do try. Each time is a reminder to consider the issue in broader terms. Did I handle the situation well? How does this apply to someone else's issue? Am I judging others differently because I haven't considered their problem in depth? What advice can I learn or share?

For instance, I keep the center from a role of paper towels by her food. When she annoys me, I take the paper cylinder and hit her a few times on her back. SHE LOVES IT! I don't know if it's the "bonk" sound it makes or the way it feels on her spine but she just gets all excited when I do it.

She has no clue I am upset and I make sure I don't put any inflection in my voice to imply I am. I am trying to realize it's not her fault and find a better way to handle my emotions and be compassionate. What better way to handle negative emotions with than laughter and a smile?

So in the end, I hope to come out better. Not because I was punished for something bad but because I was loved enough to be given an opportunity to grow.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Although I'm not one to jump off a cliff just because everyone else is doing it, I do recognize when something moves from a fad to being useful. Like the telephone and television, I believe the internet has moved into the realm of utilitarian for many.

It is a form of communication, from providing information (or misinformation) on a particular subject to staying in touch with friends, family, and even strangers. In our capitalistic society, advertiser's encroachment upon pages shows that even they recognize it's significance.

Yet it is still misunderstood and misused by many.

For some reason, the insulation from direct interaction seems to make the rude and mindless even more so. They even hide their inability to spell behind the guise of the internet "coolness" for saving time through abbreviations. They are too stupid to use the spell checker most browsers have or spell so poorly even it can't figure out what they are trying to say. Of course, part of the "coolness" is never admitting you don't know what their abbreviations (or misspellings) mean.

There is also the mindless nature of the masses. Re-posting something because someone told you to. Never going against the grain for fear of no longer being "Liked" or "Friended". Being the same old sheep in a virtual world as they are in real life.

Many advertisers don't get it either. If they do provide feedback, it is usually lost in translation (in whatever country it is actually processed) and never gets a proper review. There are those that maintain so many different sites or pages for a group that you don't know which one to use (even the creators don't keep them up-to-date!). You are inundated with the same message from multiple pages, mindless repetition, or old information to the point that you finally block it out or stop following it altogether.

The worst part to me is from friends and family. It seems a nice way to stay in touch but instead of communicating important information, I get to hear when people are going to bed. If it's for an unusual reason, that's fine but if that's all you have to say to folks, it sounds a bit needy. Or if all you can do is complain about your job or your partner or the world, I often just block those folks (something not as easily done in person!).

I posted this mainly because I found many events going by without any form of notification even after I suggested it to the organizations (yes, more than one) as well as many with old information automatically generated. It seems so many people want the title an organization gives them but really don't do the first thing to attempt to promote them properly.

I'd love to walk up to some executive at HP and shake some sense into them but they are well insulated from the public. From my experiences with those I can reach at the top, many just don't care. There are still some that do and for those few, I will keep the lines open and continue to share my views.

Oh, and HP, when I compliment you on having many laptops with keyboards and mouse pads centered on the laptop, one of the worst replies you could give was the one you gave me: "Regrettably, we do not have a PC with mouse pad or touchpad at the center.". So very very sad...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Against all odds

I consider myself a realist. Since this is based on MY personal experiences in life, it leads me to be a pessimist and often cynical. But I do observe others and try to emulate some of what I see and like as long as I don't find myself straying into what seems to me to be a fantasy land of perfection. To me, it seems dishonest though I see the benefits in positive reinforcement.

Which brings me to todays topic. Hope.

I have been exposed in many ways to the negative ways of others. Hospice for instance, is focused on death and preparation for it. Many involved in the field can't even understand a terminal patient not obsessing over preparations for death but instead continuing to cling to hope.

Doctors and medical commercials seem to often be going the same direction. They focus on your ills and tell you all the dangers you are in or heading to instead of focusing on the positive aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

To me, from my own experience, there is always hope. I try my best to be positive when others need it. ESPECIALLY when they ask for it. In those instances, I try to lay aside my normal tendency to preach and just support someone with positive words. Even to the point of roaming into that fantasy land of dishonesty for I have occasionally returned with someone in hand.

I don't know the reason nor do I need to. All I do know is that when needed, against all odds, I too can be positive and help to set someone else upon a rare path with just a kind smile and a little bit of hope.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Laptop Wish List

Since my 10+ year old Toshiba laptop gasped it's last breath after a trip to New Orleans last year, I've been saving and searching for my next laptop. Along the way, I've begun to use user's online reviews on sites like and to get an idea of how good a model is. I also make note of which ones are sold refurbished. It seems to me this means there are a lot of returns on that model (for whatever reason!).

I found an interesting thing occur on Two Toshiba models that had many bad user reviews came and went quickly on their site and so did the bad reviews. When a model is no longer sold, it's bad press is no longer seen!

Friends had warned of HP models freezing so badly you had to remove the battery pack for 30 minutes before it would start up but since they seem to offer the most models with a keyboard and mouse pad centered on the laptop (instead of shifted to the left), I am still considering this brand.

Sony desktops couldn't handle standard replacement parts because they had their own specialty upgrades which standard replacement parts did not fit. The recovery software was so rigid that upgrading to a higher capacity hard drive was almost impossible. Graphics cards had so many compatibility issues I gave up playing video games on pc's and just got a video game system.

As I spoke with others, I found complaints for most brands. To the point that I am still searching for a laptop 6 months later. Anyone notice the Intel I7 models get pulled recently? Kinda disheartening when even the CPU's are having problems!

It seems that the manufacturers develop their models in a vacuum, with no user feedback/suggestion button to be found. You can often send email to some generic address but it seems an idea/suggestion/wish list button would be a great way to get some free ideas from the folks most likely to know what they want - THE USER???

So here is my Wish List for a laptop:

1) Keyboard & mousepad centered

Alleviates my over-extension in my right-shoulder from the addition of a numeric keypad that is rarely used. Just because we have wider HD screens now does not mean you have to have more keys!

2) Curved keys

My fingers are curved, not flat. What's up with these flat keys?

2) Back-lit keyboards

I suggested this to Toshiba many years ago. It is just now catching on. Even touch-typists usually don't know where the special keys are on a keyboard. And being able to change the backlit color would be nice too!

3) Touch screens

Seems way overdue as a laptop feature. They also need to work as well as they do on i-Stuff.

4) Recovery discs

You do realize this is not included on most laptops nowadays?

5) No bloatware killing performance

Don't you hate getting a brand new processor with no noticeable improvement in performance because of all the proprietary crap pre-loaded on the system? Give this as an installation option instead. We're not all THAT PC illiterate!

I am sure I could go on for quite sometime but I'll leave room for others to comment. I doubt anyone with any influence will see this but I can hope (and as usual, I feel better having Ranted). For now, I am limping along on my old Pentium 4 and thinking I'll just go for something cheaper and less than ideal for now. Blu-ray, 3D, and hand-motion control will just have to wait for my next 10 year upgrade...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spirituality - Theory or Practice?

A walk in the woods is one of the simplest ways for me to practice my spirituality. I quickly find myself forgetting about modern day life as my consciousness begins to shift my awareness into an altered state.

For me, it often turns into a sort of meditation as I "stop the world". Extraneous chatter quieting as I focus upon a specific idea. I watch the ground in front of me, step by step as I let my find follow its course.

I enter my own world which is quite magical to me. I stop often to admire nature's beauty or our human touch upon the landscape. I can't help but see the earth as one big ant pile with humans using it as mindlessly as any other life on this planet.

When I return, the sounds of the nearby railroad begin to encroach on my thoughts and I find myself thinking more about what my spirituality means to me.

Like many, reading has allowed me to learn about the many beliefs of others. It seems that they often congregate together to share their beliefs on a regular basis and then go back to their lives, leaving the ideals behind.

I am no different. I don't do it consciously but my awareness does slowly decrease as the modern world distracts me. From cell phones to PC's and television, I quickly find myself forgetting about the natural Spirit of the world around me.

It's hard to maintain that elevated awareness. Allowing it to guide me all the time. Thankfully it is always there, all the time, everywhere. I just have to take a moment to quiet my thoughts and BE in the moment.

I don't apologize for my perception of the world. I am quite happy in my perspective though it might make others uncomfortable or even frightened. It's definitely not shared by the majority but that does not invalidate it.

It isn't found in any one book and is ever changing and growing. For many, it seems so much easier to give an hour or two a week to study and then throw it out the window the rest of the time. I don't get so fixated on routine and instead try to spend more time practicing a heightened awareness all the time in order to live what I believe.

So what ideals do you find important? Do you bitch about people more or praise them more? Do you even THINK about your impact on the environment or try even in the smallest way to reduce your footprint? Are you stagnant and proud of not changing or do you at least look for ways to improve yourself?

Do you ever move from theory to practice or do you think your times of ritual are really all that's needed?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Addiction, Responsibility and HOPE

From nicotine to alcohol to any substance or other addiction, we all have a personal responsibility to ourselves and those around us. Whether we are suffering from addiction, enabling someone's addiction, or helping in whatever way we see fit, we are involved and owe it to ourselves and others to own up to this.

My ex once stopped dealing Meth to someone about two weeks before they blew their brains out. My ex said if he didn't sell this person their drugs, someone else would. I explained that it would then be that new dealer's involvement, not his. My ex later thanked me for getting him out of the situation before our friend blew his brains out. He knew he still had a hand in it but his guilt was far less.

It's the same with bar tenders that give out drinks to people swaying in the wind, barely able to stand. By law, they can usually be held accountable for selling too many drinks to someone but drug dealers rarely worry about such things and don't see their hand in such matters (yes, I lump alcohol in with drugs). Most seem not to have a conscious.

And lately I am battling with nicotine in many places in my life. From the loss of my father to a brain tumor, my mother to both cancer and emphysema, and my sister to pneumonia and emphysema, all caused by smoking, this is a personal demon. Many in my family seem not to care or the addiction too strong to see these losses and their suffering and learn from them.

Now a good friend's Aunt is about to die from it and the old feelings stir. Fear, helplessness, anger, to name a few. I remember the coldness upon hearing of it. The tightening in my chest and the floor seeming to fall from beneath my feet. And the feelings of hope against all odds.

I handled each time differently and not always very well. I have and continue to face my own demons too and don't always succeed. I will say that there is ALWAYS hope. From beating your addiction to honoring those that have died as well as miracle cures, there is always hope and help.

So hang in there and try to see things differently. Instead of "why me", how about "what now"? What can you learn from others? What can you change? And you can change!

Change can be so transformative and usually possible if we just keep telling ourselves "I want change!". Even if we don't believe it. It's a kind of self-hypnosis or brain-washing. If you hear something long enough, you stop fighting it and start believing it.

Never give up hope, keep trying, and reach out when you need some help along the way.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I was recently talking to my niece Elia about her argument with her sister Elise. I had somehow ended up in the middle and was trying to remind her of the same thing she kept reminding me of, that my sister (her mom) had asked they we all stay in touch before she passed on.

She had not been speaking to her sister so I reminded her that you never know when your last moment might be. I jokingly told her that I was calling to tell her that she was on MY shit list. I said we should call it the "Elise" list which she found very funny.

She went on to say that her mom had a similar list which she called the "Disowned" list. She had kicked it up a few notches and I just roared with laughter to know my sister had had a similar idea as I when she was alive.

I then asked, "Was I ever on the "Disowned" list?". "Oh yes, many times" was her quick response! That really got me in stitches of laughter. Especially to know that I had been "Disowned" many times but never told.

I also told Elise that we had called the list the "Elise" list and she thought it was hilarious (though Elise finds most things hilarious). I am still on one "Disowned" list in our family but I am patient.

I am also on many a "shit" list too but those don't bother me as much as family. Like a friend said today, if they are that sensitive, they aren't worth my time. I'm learning not to care as much over friendships and focus more on family. They are "my precious"...