Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Waiting for the baby to be born

It feels like waiting for a baby to be born, the intense excitement surrounding our vigil at the courthouse. People from around the world are waiting and watching with us.

In my post last week about my day as one of the firedoglake court people, I left out a really cool part of the story.

Ok two cool parts. Jane and I both wore our Louboutins to the courtroom, Jane today and me last Tuesday. FDL women rock!! I saw those shoes in an ad and had to have them or die. But they served a purpose, to divert Byron York :) He kept turning around in the courtroom to look at me.

Now the serious story:
On the corridor between the media room and the coffee vendor, a path which is surely well-trodden, there are two glass display cases.

One has documents from the Teapot Dome Scandal. The other is empty.

I pose that they are waiting for documents from this trial. Can you fit our entire blog into the glass case? Probably yes.

It's such an exciting time that people who have mood swings [that's me waving hi] are having a difficult time keeping stable.

This is history in the making. But for now this is hysteria in the making.


ps Yes I did talk with Senator Webb last night. How is he doing in the Senate? GAME ON. Hope he can convince other senators soon enough about Iraq and Iran. MTP asks him like every week to be on but he's busy with constituents. How rude, to turn down celebrity for the sake of ordinary people. For his State of the Union rebuttal he was handed a script by a person who will remain anonymous to protect the banal. Script => wastebasket. The rest is history. "A star is born."


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Setting a good example

Three kinds of good examples today.

My pilates teacher, fellow Cherokee, who is being very brave in handling all things as her husband is in Iraq for a year. Oh yes, and more, as he is being stop lossed. They have a baby who is growing up without dad.

My commenters here at egregiousBlog who are sharing very personal and painful details of their lives. I am in awe. You guys are the greatest. You are inspiring not only me but many others who benefit from your example of courage. Keep up the good work.

A new senator that I had the good fortune to speak with again this evening. He totally gets it about Iraq and Iran, the depletion of our military, the necessity of finding a new way home.

And WHAT is that yellow thing in the sky, seems to be melting the snow?? Is it related to waiting for the jurors in the Libby trial? For those of us who are watching and waiting, everything in the world seems related to the trial.

JUSTICE. And soon please God.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Let other people step up...hard for me

"Great minds discuss ideas
Mediocre minds discuss events
Small minds discuss people"

At FDL, blog minds multitask and can discuss everything simultaneously, at least here at the lake.

Heaven for people with ADHD. So much semi-connected stuff flying by, this is how we perceive the world in general. It’s home.

People are responding to my being sad about not being there with Jane, I could have prevented her from losing her phone---which I did once already---glasses, and wallet, and from being there to pick Marcy up from the airport at 11pm. I said I was doing my Russian work and where are my priorities?

HotFlash: "Don't worry, someone will turn them in at the Lost and Found. (((((((Egregious)))))))" LOL!!!

Egregious i guess there is a lesson there in letting go…see there are people who do step up, as they can, when they, in ways that they can. We must believe in community. Its not all on us as individuals..Will that bill pass tomarrow IF i am not there in the gallery. I made my calls to the reps. Point is we do as we can,when we can.

Besides not being there gave others a chance to step up for Jane and FDL. And likewise all these over welming socio/political issues. gotta trust those who can do, will do. And in fact are doing. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

So in order to prevent burn out we must give ourselves permission to not be all things, to all people ALL the time..

and the beauty part is ..its all turning out just fine. i second TSF..yay for the turner in lady !!!! (who turned in Jane's phone and wallet) [end quote]

---------Thank you lovely friends. This is healing.

Lead. Follow. SUPPORT. Teach. Learn.
Everyone can do something.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Second sight---blessing or curse?

Seeing into the future. They call us mentally ill, but in the past we were called the seers. The visionaries. The ones who could see the future.

We are your scouts, your birds returning with branches to the ark, your canaries in the mine.

I have the second sight but it is painful.

We are different and strange but you need us. Don't exile us for being difficult to understand. Many times we don't even understand ourselves.

Everyone can do something

Lead. Follow. Support. Teach. Learn.
Everyone can do something to help.

I'm working on a list of reasons why people feel that they can't help, and some ideas for them.

No money---give time and encouragement.

Don't know any families in need---even in communities that look wealthy there are pockets of hidden need. Local ministers might be able to point you in the right direction.

Live in isolation or homebound---work remotely on the internet. Pray or send positive energy for those who need it.

Too needy oneself---sometimes doing for others is a reality check and a strange source of encouragement. During the worst of my depression years I would take the wee lassies and go sing at the local nursing home. They made me feel useful, young, and vigorous. A win-win.

Handicapped oneself---get together with other people and encourage each other. Together see if you can figure out some way of reaching out to the community.

Everyone can do something.
Lead. Follow. Support. Teach. Learn.

Quote of the Day, from Tom Maxwell of Squirrel Nut Zippers:

"I realized partly through this [his small son's cancer] that in all things I needed to be relentlessly loving and lovingly relentless."

Doesn't that just make you want to cry.
Sometimes we help most by setting a good example.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Rest? What would that be like?

No verdict today in the Libby trial.

It's been fun, in a manic kind of way, to share this waiting experience with thousands of FDL folk. I'm feeling happy about being given a set of keys to help behind the scenes. I have a set of keys for our department at the children's hospital in Russia. It makes me feel that I am included and needed, both important to my psyche.

So many comments made me laugh out loud. When I suggested that sufficient pacing would constitute aerobic exercise, Rayne said she was at that moment trying to figure out how to connect her laptop to her treadmill. Commenter squirrel hiller asked who else had a blood pressure cuff right by the keyboard. Looseheadprop and littleprop talked about prosecutor mom jumping 10 feet every time the phone rang. HAHA I typed rant. It's a habit.

It's been that kind of a day.

So when the news came, no need to keep the vigil until Monday, all of a sudden I was SO TIRED. I have several interesting projects for this evening which have mostly lost their appeal. I don't want to do anything. Well...maybe some puzzles :) But all other plans will apparently have to wait until tomorrow.

Is this what other people experience, the setting down of work, and the adoption of, what do you call it, rest?

I am the mother of three. The oldest of seven. The daughter of a bipolar parent. The founder of a charity that literally saves lives. If I ever knew what rest was, I have forgotten.

Rest, relaxation, re-creation. A different set of keys. I need them too.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The dove and the kindergarten child

As if to underscore yesterday's post on spiritual communication with animals, today there was a dove trapped in my garage, banging into the windows looking for escape. Finally she rested on one window sill, probably wondering what next, the urgent question for those of us with OCD. I spoke to her calmly as I gradually eased closer, explaining that I would open the other garage door for her but it would be noisy, and not to be afraid. The door opened with what was probably an awful sound to a small bird. She waited without flinching. Then I slowly came closer and moved my arms in the direction of the open door. She flew out.

A dove, sign of peace, as we rush to another war of aggression, against a country that is by all accounts YEARS away from even having a nuclear weapon, Iran. Will the mainstream media report on the 2003 diplomatic overture from Iran through the Swiss which offered to settle all outstanding obstacles? Of course our leaders threw it in the wastebasket. Can they pick it up again and smooth out the wrinkles?

I fear there will be a false flag incident which will be blamed on Iran. They have even given us little clues, that "Iranian" mines are endangering U.S. ships. So when the newspapers report that Iran has "attacked" one of our ships and we must go to war, what will we do? God help us.

I was trying to silence my mental white noise today and listen to the still small voice of God. Sometimes there are sufficient coincidences that even I must admit they rise to the level of synchronicities, events which are spiritually related. On the way to an appointment I planned to go to the bank's drive-thru. But there were delays.

First, the above mentioned dove. Then, a construction detour on my customary route. Finally, an extended stop for a school bus waiting for a kindergarten child to get everything organized for the big step off the bus. It took so long that the driver closed the bus door and let a couple cars go on. But I waited to see the outcome. Finally the wee lad came forth and crossed the street to his waiting mother. They have 6th graders as patrol guards in the morning and afternoon, but the mid-day kindergarten busses need them as well. Perhaps parents of five yr olds are sufficiently involved that this treacherous crossing of the dangerous street is guarded well enough.

Those of us who follow national politics, including the Libby trial, observe that there are some other treacherous crossings to concern us, and I wonder if we have enough patrol guards.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The dog whisperer

Second sight. Is it from our understanding of animals?

A fox ran across my lawn this morning. She thinks she lives here, and I will not dissuade her. Is this where cats evolved from? Her legs mix back and forth so quickly I can hardly see how she moves. The quick brown fox indeed [jumps over the lazy zebra/dog or some such typing exercise].

I need more time with animals. Not so easy when my allergist forbids most interesting pets. Have you read Temple Grandin and her autism and her relationship with animals? That will have to be another post but let me say I totally get her perspective. I don't think I'm autistic---who knows maybe I am it would CERTAINLY explain a lot---but I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed by input from the world, retreat to save one's sanity, and the elemental goodness of relating to young children and animals.

My children persuaded me to keep the anoles they had in science class, requiring little except for weekly trips to the pet store to buy live crickets for food. The poor crickets! And so each week I would be there, again, wondering in amazement at the things we do because we love our children.

On my daily forest sanity walks I see birds, squirrels, ducks, geese, and swans every day. Yes in fact I DO know how lucky I am. I feel my Cherokee ancestry when I communicate with animals. And I hope to see my beloved deer. They know the sound of my voice, and swish their tails in response to hand gestures I make to mimic their flattened ears when they are happy. They feel safe around me. If only I could feel safe around other, larger creatures.

These larger creatures, humans, can be scary to those of us who do not easily read nor understand social cues. I have to have the rules spelled out for me. In new social situations I feel that I am swimming in the deep end and have forgotten how to swim. That covers a great deal of my high anxiety around the day at the Libby trial. My mind is advanced but those brain cells came out of the social adaptability center, wherever it is. Talk about working in the yellow zone, this was all the way to red.

So why, then, would I reply in the affirmative to an invitation to meet complete strangers over a lasanga dinner for our county Democratic party? Using a cattle prod my rational mind, I remembered that I promised our local state rep that I would become more involved with the local party. His car was parked in front of mine at the last election [Webb!!] so I viewed it as a sign and introduced myself.

On today's cattle prod-induced voluntary walk, I encountered my neighbor who has taken in a shelter dog who was abused. I also am a sponsor of a little dog named Bingo who was found wandering the streets and starving. I wish he could live with me but the allergies.... So my neighbor was only too glad to hear what was going on in my life, and it occurred to me how lucky I am to have a dog whisperer living next door.

Thank you God for putting such people in my life. I NEED THEM as one needs water.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fitzgerald's closing statement

History in the making.

Patrick Fitzgerald's closing in U.S. v. Libby, recorded by Marcy Wheeler, edited for spelling.

"DONT YOU THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO ANSWERS? If as a result his [Wilson's] wife had a job, she worked at CPD, she gets dragged into newspapers. People want to find out was a law broken, people want to know, who did it. What role did Defendant play. What role did VP play? He told you he may have discussed this with VP. Don't you think FBI deserves straight answers? When you go in that jury room, your common sense will tell you that he made a gamble. He threw sand in the eyes of the FBI. He stole the truth of the judicial system. If you return guilty you give truth back."


Fitzgerald, as recorded by Sidney Blumenthal of Salon. [I briefly sat next to him at the trial on February 13.]

"He stole the truth from the judicial system," Fitzgerald told the jury. "If you return a guilty verdict, you give the truth back."


Comment by attorney looseheadprop on Fitzgerald's Opening Statement---

"It takes, all in one unified moment: nerves of steel, total humility, exquisitely nuanced taste/discretion, and a total belief in the “rightness” of the evidence to dare so simple and stark a presentation. It was like Shaker furniture, or the glistening perfection of a white marble Doric column. Weeks later, I am still blown away by it and cannot get it out of my head."


Keep in mind that I was just an alternate who was available when one of our regulars missed a couple of days. This from commenter Sandia Blanca:

'I never realized adrenaline could be transmitted electronically, but today’s blogging brought thousands of us close to the pervasive power of JUSTICE! Fitz is my hero, and Jane, Christy, Marcy, Jeralyn, Swopa, Pachacutec, egregious, TRex, et al., are the picture window into this momentous trial.
We cannot thank you enough for the service you have done, and continue to do, for us and our nation. Now I’m tearing up (shades of Wells?). Thank you!!!! "

I was available for liveblogging but Marcy handled everything beautifully. So it was my privilege just to watch and add a few notes last Tuesday when Hannah testified Libby was a very busy man. I've been busy too but am pretty sure I would remember outing one of our nation's undercover assets. The press people in the courtoom tried not to laugh out loud when a juror question was read, if Libby forgets so much, can he really do his job as National Security Advisor?

Jury instructions tomorrow. We wait for justice.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Knowledge is delicious

This morning I was having fun researching the proposed skyscraper for St. Petersburg, Russia, the first building over a few stories in the entire city. For Gazprom, it would be in the shape of a natural gas flame, and blue, and astonishingly tall compared with the rest of the city. Architectural and aesthetic battles are ongoing.

While looking up the proposed location, I discovered the Google map showing where it was. This program is not new but I've not been able to find very much in St. Petersburg before. It was all fuzzy, no resolution possible, so they said. I have to believe we have long had the capacity to see quite clearly from sky to ground there.

So hey! Let's look up the children's hospital, there it is! I felt like waving hi or something. Then looked up the city center and my colleagues' apartment buildings.

That was great, what about on the home front. I switched it from Map to Satellite and headed on over to North America. Now we see what the astronauts and cosmonauts see: land with no stripes and words on it. I was astonished how much I think of our country with the state lines and labeled cities on it. Even around Washington it took me a while to find familiar territory.

Zooming in and out gave a very different sense of perspective of how close things were to each other. I kept wanting to switch to Map, to get boundaries and names, but resisted as an experiment. Finally I found chez egregious, and traced the path of my forest sanity walks. It was different that I had supposed.

And so does our perspective vary on other matters, life, politics, creativity. I am experimenting with different levels of perspective in these areas, somewhat uncharted terrority.

I feel that I am looking in Satellite view, and would like to find familiar places with Map. But this time I must draw my own maps.

Into the Breach? No thanks

I decided not to see the movie Breach for now, even tho it's filmed in my own town. Which of course means part of the story took place here as well.

When we heard the story some years ago it was shocking to realize the transactions of documents and money took place in our local park. The kids around here used to go over and do Creek Cleanups to make the environment better. It's not out of the question they could have thrown out one of those bags.

Being in the Libby trial courtroom last week was very interesting but also a little scary. Matters of war and peace, espionage, alleged treason, these are serious. I tend to get overstimulated even by normal events in life, so this day took a while to recover from.

So on the eve of the trial's closing statements, is this a good time to watch a spy movie based on a true story within one mile of my home?

Maybe some other time.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mental health open house

What's on your mind?

My goals for today include trying to stay calm, getting an outside walk of any length [freezing] and sticking with my drinking plan. It's gone well for the last 3 days.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

My world. Welcome.

For the record:

Not my world—I am a newbie wrt courtroom and mediaroom etiquette.

My world—if somebody tells you that you are being followed, don’t start looking around. Then they know that you know. Yay years of working in Russia, you kind of know when the hair on the back of yr neck stands up.

In Not My World I experience criticism about not knowing the dance steps. I think the funniest was observing everybody standing up in the courtroom at the lunch break. Within two seconds I realized this was an "ALL RISE" and I whooshed myself up off the bench.

Also apparently one is not supposed to say anything about other people in the media room. I think this is not talking about their conversations if that takes away from their ability to write a unique story, but perhaps it is beyond that and I still don't get it. Would not be the first time.

And finally, one does not speak to others in court. Guilty of being star struck. I have a policy of not bothering famous people that I encounter in real life. Apparently that works because there are so few people that impress me. Kind of imperial, yes? In this case I acted against my own policy. What can I say. I'm human.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I feel like a foreigner everywhere

Why I am so successful working in Russia is when I make my usual interpersonal and social mistakes they just chalk it up to my being a foreigner. Sometimes I feel like a foreigner everywhere.

Usually it’s safer for me to hide at home and not Talk With People™.

The fact that I was willing to come forth and work in public, attend fundraisers for Webb, etc, demonstrates my patriotic love for our country. It was hard.

I came out of my turtle shell to attend the Libby trial Tuesday, when Fitzgerald demolished Hannah with a couple of quick questions about Libby being So Busy On Matters Of Urgent Scary National Importance [and Scary Terrorist Threats!!!!], yet available for 1-2 hours with Judy Miller. Where they discussed nothing much. Except for outing an undercover CIA agent during time of war. One who was in charge of investigations regarding weapons of mass destruction for Iraq and Iran. Oh, well, no biggie.

May I say for the record, as the daughter of a city prosecutor, this was a dream come true, to watch the most important prosecutor of our time establishing his case, brick by brick.

One thing about our blogger trial coverage [in today's NYT!] is we have a lot of people working while wounded. Those of us who have faced serious illness are more willing to use our remaining energy and time on earth standing up to injustice. We recognize that our earthly life might be very short. Time’s awastin’, need to act. Burn the candle at both ends, hell, melt it down if that will save people.

I think I’m kind of a child prodigy in a grownup body. On an intellectual level things work well but when interacting with the world it seems overwhelming. I feel that I have made too many mistakes.

I've stopped eating again. Trying to make myself smaller. Shame attack. Long history of anorexia and eating disorders. I trust this will be temporary. Yes, meds, psychiatrist, friends, all that stuff. Sometimes my defensive perimeter is breached.

And so? I feel that I am on a journey of self-exploration where the outcome matters. In my two previous journeys I raised three children and started a charity that has saved the lives of 2,000 children. So need to take this new journey seriously. Is it mania to think you can save the world? The world needs us. I can save the world, unlike most people, but can I save myself?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One catastrophe at a time

I need to do fewer things better. My sister Marilyn says the crises just have to line up, then she can handle them.

WHAT NEXT. The urgent question.

People with OCD, that wd be me, spend a lot of time thinking about SEQUENCE, what is the proper order to do things. I so get why people with more severe OCD, mine is mild, why they go into these routines of whatever, handwashing, necessity to touch or do things in a particular order, it makes them feel calm and in control at last. The poor angels!

What next can be a terrifying question. If you choose wrong, there could be terrible consequences. This is not only in families with alcoholic or rage-aholic people, yet it is understandable that where there are such people, it is painful for their family members. They are in anguish. They lash out, sometimes in ways that hurt other people. The vicious cycle continues. Hurt people hurt other people. Some of us, me included, spend an enormous amount of energy trying not to hurt other people. Turning the other cheek is giving me whiplash. Dear God I hope they get the meds right soon.

For people with OCD, they find whatever answers they can. Even if it looks abnormal from the outside.

I raise a toast to my fellow people with OCD. Maybe we're Presbyterians in spirit---"decently and in order" or Germans, who understand instinctively that there IS one optimal solution to a problem and one MUST do it that way. I'm half Presbyterian and half German. Doomed.

I see that this tendency leads to tenacity when it is important. I also observe in myself and others how it can go so wrong.

The world needs us, and our persistence and focus, but reviles those of us who have this trait in spades. Unfair.

St. Patrick's Day

What? You say it's St. Valentine's Day? I will call it whatever I want. The Catholic Church says Valentine isn't a real saint anyway.

So at the moment I'm pacing the floor waiting to see if there will be court today. Do you suppose that's why they call the documents the Pacer system? High-strung people trying to calm down long enough to get the facts onto paper.

To amuse and calm myself I'm looking at the slogans on my coffee mugs:

Rocky and Bullwinkle---"Stupidity at Epidemic Proportions"

Dogbert---"Let me drop everything and work on YOUR problem"

and finally,

"What time is recess?"

Well this isn't working. Back to pacing the floor. Hey it works off the winter weight. I actually lost a pound this week. I'm gonna call it the Trial by Jury Diet.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A day with Patrick Fitzgerald

What a privilege to have a press pass to the Libby/CIA trial.

Since my father was the city prosecutor, I have a great respect for the law and its deliberative approach to discerning the truth. I tend to favor the prosecution because of this, which makes me not the ideal jury candidate :)

I arrived at Prettyman Courthouse at 8am with only a couple of other people there at that early hour. Have since learned not to give any details about fellow journalists, it's not the accepted etiquette. They can get in trouble if their employers learn that they have been discussing things with other people, i.e., giving away product for free I guess.

But to speak in generalities, the media people were just great. There were differences of opinion yet everyone worked in an atmosphere of congeniality. I compare it to a gathering of ambassadors: you encounter representatives of rival nations, yet you share the same profession, so you have something in common.

I met many people including the Post's Dan Froomkin, who lives up to his reputation as one who is interested in the true story. He disagrees with people but cordially. Have we lost the ability to disagree without being disagreeable? Some of my fellow bloggers would do well to learn from his example of kindness.

For the record David Shuster is very cool. A great guy. The kind of person you are glad you met, the neighbor you hope to have, the man you want your daughter to marry. Integrity plus. Whatever it is he has gone thru, he is the better man for it. And we are the lucky beneficiaries.

Some mainstream media people that I met today are orbiting their own very tiny planets. I will withhold their names to protect the guilty. It wasn't so much a nose in the air---which I understand, they are STARS after all---as an inability to see beyond their existing small worlds. You want to do that, great go be The Little Prince. But spare us your 'wisdom' about matters of war and peace, because you are reading from recycled paper.

Patrick Fitzgerald is a human being. Let me start with that. He clearly hungers for the truth, and for justice. He leans towards the person speaking. He stares into the future. He hurts when things do not go the way of Good. It is a privilege to be on the same planet as such a person, and to speak to him however briefly is my happiness. I said Thank You to him, but I will not describe his reply because I don't want to make him into some kind of an idol, which is forbidden by both Old and New Testaments. But testimony today shows that important people are lying about important matters. I identify with some of them, they remind me of people I went to school with. They are only trying to do their job, and protect their bosses and their administration. Yet while I identify with them, I try to remember that their policies are responsible for the unnecessary deaths of many Americans and many people in the middle East. Judge not, says God; He will judge. I rest my case. I throw this situation His way and beg Him to bless our efforts at obtaining real justice.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I'll be live blogging the Libby trial

Including in the courtroom. Tomorrow. Be there.

My hillbilly father/HLS would be astonished and proud.
You hope yr children will go beyond you, as I hope my
children will. For my dad, I think we're there.

Dialing it back a little

Have been blogging less because of the need to rest and de-stress. That whole re creation thingie.

One amusing item, we found out why Mom's phone wouldn't work overseas. We called [name of phone company omitted to protect the guilty] to say it wasn't working for certain foreign calls, and their response was to turn off all of her international service just as she was leaving for Europe. Which they knew, since that was the point of the call. In fact that was the point of getting this particular phone.

I spent hours trying to get this straightened out, and my brother is doing the same, from France. I have to wonder if we are simply over-engineering the situation. There are bypass solutions [everything is surgery for me you know]. She could ditch this phone and get another one that will work in France. We could say that she doesn't really need a phone since my brother will be staying at the same hotel. But I think we are programmed genetically to take pleasure in coming up with the optimal solution. Bunch of engineers and scientists and lawyers.

A colleague and I once spent a half hour researching ever more clever ways to get from the city center to the airport. That was strictly for fun, but keeping the mind sharp for real problems in the future.

So when I say dialing it back a little, I guess that doesn't include the time with the phone company.

Friday, February 09, 2007

First trip to Paris

I just put my mother on Air France for her first ever trip to Paris. At 82 it's best not to delay, even if she is in good health. Mobility counts too, and might make her less able to travel in the future.

My French-speaking brother insisted it was his responsibility to show her Paris. So she and I resisted severe temptation while in Europe. Look, it's the Eurostar, Mom, we could be in Paris in only 2 hours! But no, it wouldn't be right. Must wait for my brother.

And in my case such a trip would have been my first experience with the tunnel between England and France. Imagine what the warriors of centuries past would say about a tunnel under the English channel. Hey, let's invade this morning!

Mom and I have had a roots trip to Germany, where we saw people that look like various relatives; a lovely tour of Britain including my beloved Scotland; and a train tour of Italy and Switzerland. I am grateful to have these times with her. The experiences remain high on the list of my fondest memories of the last few years.

Bon voyage Mother! Wishing you much joy on your journey. You sacrificed so much to bear 8 and raise 7 children. You deserve all the happiness you can get.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sunshine in February

It may be winter for everyone else, but with the return of longer sunny days, for me spring is here.

My productivity will surge---sorry, retract that word which is stained with the blood of our brave troops. A girl I hae known since she was seven is going to Iraq this month with the Marines.

Tears and prayers for her. Speaking of life and hope.

I played Spring in the second grade play. Still have the dress. Favorite color green, new life, new hope.

The ice is breaking up and the river is beginning to flow in the CIA/Plame case. "The prosecution rests." I find little buds and shoots of hope appearing in our winter-weary nation. When will we be finished with this harsh political season, and return to running the country properly?

I think it will be 6 more weeks of meteorological winter and maybe several more years of political winter. [Groundhog Day or Candlemas, take your choice.]

But spring will come again.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ansel Adams: our family has unattributed photos

Some history I need to record.

There are unattributed photos of Ansel Adams in two publications: Arizona Highways, put out iirc by the state of Arizona, and The Highway Magazine, put out by Armco Steel of our hometown Middletown, Ohio, now AK Steel.

My grandfather Walter Herbert Spindler met Ansel Adams in 1958 [possibly 59] as a fellow nature photographer. My mother has the 4-6 issues of Arizona Highways with unattributed Ansel Adams photos: I will TRY to get you the dates. 1930's - 40's - early 50's she thinks, and promises to look them up at home. They also contain photos by a younger Barry Goldwater. We also have decades of The Highway Magazine with the first Adams in 1916 then jumping to the mid 20's and continuing on for decades. My cousin Steve Spindler [a cartographer---surprise?] in Jenkintown, suburban Philadelphia, has these issues.

Granddad was a photographer of the building of the Alaskan Highway in 1943, because he felt he had to be there. Is there a better reason?? Does this sound like any egregious characters you know?

Granddad also met Mt. Rushmore and Stone Mountain sculptor Gutzon Borglum. They met in 1936 at Mt. Rushmore when the sculpture wasn't yet finished. He saw Borglum's work at Stone Mountain in approx 1933, apparently they ran out of money...for 50 years. The project was later finished.

This is from the absolutely non-ADHD part of the family. Yet amazingly artistic/creative! I always thot of them as the calm engineering people and yet here is the desire to explore and the appreciation of beauty. A cousin on this side of the family has wintered over at the South Pole 3 times including in the early years before DVD's. Another cousin lives in China. And yr own egregious works in Russia. We inherited the explorer gene for sure. We have SO many slides [children, that is how people used to keep photos in the dinosaur days] of individual flowers.

I don't know what else to say about this except that I promise to extract more details from my mother tomorrow before she embarks on her first trip to Paris.

JUST when you think you know your family...

Monday, February 05, 2007

The puzzle puzzle: solved!

Did you ever find an activity that just made you feel calm and happy? Ok other than THAT one :)

People with ADD and possibly OCD apparently find some peace by taking up activities with repetitive hand motions.

I am surprised by how many acquaintances used to knit during the Vietnam war, then let it lapse, then have recently taken knitting up again. Myself, I don't pretend to make anything fancy, just rectangles that could charitably be called scarves.

My new activity is a logic puzzle called Paint by numbers.* My sister found one book of these that she liked so much, she would erase the puzzles and do them again. Me: ok weird, but interesting.

*Eeeeek, my first successful link on this blog...

Then I found a magazine in the St. Petersburg airport, airside, mostly in Japanese with pithy sayings and salacious ads in Russian. Got one for my sister and as an afterthot one for me.

Well! Turns out it is very calming to quietly calculate which squares to fill in with pencil strokes. So I find myself hooked. It has helped me keep my sanity while waiting in airports, on long distance flights, and while enduring inevitable pauses in Plame trial news. [Go Jane, Christy, Marcy, Swopa, Pach, TRex!!]

So this time leaving St. Petersburg, following a troubled trip in terms of customs harrassment and being followed by strangers, I looked forward to buying another pair of puzzle magazines at the airport for Marilyn and me. Alas! The space where they had been was vacant, open for reconstruction. Ach du lieber. Went towards the departure gate and found the store in its new location. Hope springs eternal [not, hopespringsaturtle, one of the all-time great pennames].

Rustled thru my briefcase and pulled out the beloved puzzle magazine, Do you have this? She looked over at the magazine rack and said, Sorry. Ruh roh. Class C emergency. It doesn't really matter in the long haul, but still....

[Little travel joke about long haul. Guess you had to be there.]

So upon return to the USSA it was a priority to research this puzzle book. I thot I would have to contact either a Japanese or a Russian distributor to get the needed material.

New theory: maybe a general US puzzle magazine would have this, good thinking. I looked carefully at Games Magazine and found the gold at the end of the rainbow: the familiar pattern on the corner of the cover. Raced to google the name of the puzzle, and found many! books and magazines with diverse names:

Paint by sudoku
Paint by number

VICTORY! So I ordered a set for my sister and a set for moi. Patiently waiting. Ok those of you that know me, not so patiently waiting.

I struggle to calm my hyperactive brain. It is a great blessing except when it isn't. Thots flying too fast. Scanning the universe in search of....? Anything I find to help calm me down, excluding alcohol, is on the list.

I drink so I don't become hysterical, and angry, and say something that would hurt someone. PLEASE GOD let the researchers find new drugs that will help people like me.

Puzzle not quite solved, after all.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Heroic rescue: healing the healers

These words of encouragement from Kevin Hayden:

You will, I bet, choose the necessary course. Sometimes (since I've done social work) that requires a psychic retreat to heal the healer. Such retreats never last, as there's always more lives at risk and always more that require extra attention.

Not all will be saved and we have to trust that life's chosen moments include proper moments to cease.

Trust your heart. Those of us who catch glimpses of it do, and for good reason. Folks who love you, even at a distance, would naturally wish you proper health, proper rest, and all the same good that you provide others.

So the moments you choose for your own renewals are just as vital as are the others you carry your missions to. Your life, too, is worth the extraordinary effort, worth the heroic rescue.

Do what you can and do what you must. It is not just the babies you save that adds value. You inspire thousands more (at least) to persist against long odds, to resist the uncaring, to remember that every life deserves extra attention.

You will inspire just as many to care for themselves when you take your retreats to take care of you.

Remember the old TV series 'Mission Impossible'? Only the tapes self-destructed. And the missions proved possible.

Do what you must. And never fear asking others for help when the bad guys are near.

Friday, February 02, 2007

My ADD interferes with my OCD

True quote from my best friend. We were discussing the joys of being both ADD and OCD when she came up with this gold. Need to think about the implications.

May I ramble on a bit? All right, you say, and in fact necessary to identify a post as being uniquely mine. Not kind of unique, sort of unique, nearly unique, [uniquer--per egSon] thank you lovely children who know this pet peeve. It is either one of a kind or not. Unique or not unique. /rant.

As to rambling, you might think this was the very sign of me posting, rather like looseheadprop's spelling errors at firedoglake. It's how we know it is her speaking.

This lovely friend came over today, as every Friday, to help in whatever way I needed for the Russian Medical Fund work. Today the agenda was to keep the president from quitting. Again. But rather seriously this time.

According to my friend, there are still children who will die without our help, and no one will take my place if I quit [what is WRONG with this world], and I probably am strong enough to keep doing this work. Gratuitous swear word inserted here. I apparently continue to have the obligation and the opportunity to save lives if only I will keep going. So be it. But I hope it's worth the cost.

We operated on a child from Tadzhikistan, who came to us from another center that will remain nameless to protect the guilty. The parents SOLD THEIR HOUSE to pay for his first surgery at the other institution, and they nearly killed him. They at least had the conscience to send him on to us. We did his repair, undoing their strange cutting and pasting, and now he has a chance at a normal life.

I watched the re-do surgery and sat with the mother, who was understandably hysterical, as her son came from surgery to the ICU. I explained to her that the surgery went well, was perfectly normal, yet her son would look strange being under anaesthesia and with tubes sticking into him. We spoke in Russian, which was her second language and mine. Yet as mothers we communicated at a higher level. She trusted me since I too had children.

That's the good news. The bad news: there are people in the city where I work who are actively trying to shut down our program, which saves the lives of 350 children a year.

Why? To bring a trickle of federal money toward their own program, so they can have a small and weak program that kills more patients than they save. They want to expand their own program at the cost of killing ours.

Can you hear my response? Their inability to see beyond themselves is evil.

Yet at some level I am sympathetic. It is always hard to see beyond oneself, or beyond one's own organization. But in this case, for them to succeed, children will die. I WILL RESIST.

My alcohol counselor is unhappy. Better I should withdraw from this struggle and work on my own sanity. What is morally right here?

I have already decided to withdraw from the issue of war and peace between the United States and Iraq/Iran/et cetera, for the benefit aof my sanity. Must I leave my work of 10+ years as well?