Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A few fond memories of 2008

Just a few hours left of 2008 - an awful year for many. Not so bad for me. Here's what I want to remember:

Laney calling and saying,"Go Google The Endeavor Talent Agency in Beverly Hills."
"Why?" I asked her.
"Because they now represent the movie rights to your book!"

Driving and smoking (the RV, not us!) and breaking down and LAUGHING cross country (well, okay, we only made it as far as Niagara Falls, but you get the idea) in that damn bio-diesel RV!

The night we sat around the campfire and Sierra and Jeremiah discovered they sometimes had the same dream!

Finally giving in to the hope that Barack Obama could get elected and that maybe, just maybe, he could help turn our country around.

Getting together with the group I went into the Peace Corps with - 20 years after we went to Ecuador. And having a really great time.

That incredible day, Nov. 4, 2008, as I sat watching polls in Keene, NH and people lined up, excited about voting. They were young - never having voted before. The came in old - some having admitted to never voting before or at least not in a very, very long time. They came on crutches. They came with arms in slings. They came in wheelchairs, one having recently had a stroke, several having to be assisted in the voting booth. But damn, these people would not be stopped from voting. They were mostly white in rural New Hampshire - and I know that in other parts of the country, people of color came out in droves. But this was the amazing and very telling thing to me. Barack Obama didn't just speak to people of color. He spoke to and mobilized and excited a whole lot of Americans - of every race, creed and color - who hadn't been excited about politics in a very long time. And though his victory is certainly a milestone and a victory for African Americans, it is also a milestone and a victory for All Americans.

The wonderful feeling I woke up with on November 5th to know that I now lived in a country where the best person for the job - regardless of race - can be President. And believing that soon it will be true for women as well!

But perhaps my favorite memory of all might be the Iraqi reporter who flung his shoes at Bush. Damn, he deserved it! Anyone know what happened to him? Ya think President Obama can pardon him?

I'll keep you posted,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mr. Waite Goes To Washington!

My own personal "Peace Corps Poster Boy" (AKA St. John) will be marching with the Peace Corps contingent in the Inaugural Parade! How cool is that? It's actually cooler than even he knows. Oh, he's excited . . . kind of. Well, as excited as probably anyone would be knowing that he has to be ON HIS FEET absolutely all day carrying a five-pound flag the whole day, in a huge mob of people and he has to be there - rain, shine, sleet, hail, snow, whatever. Okay, so he's not so excited really.

Oh, but I am. I'm thrilled! And yes, I'm the one who entered him in the lottery to begin with. It was open to all RPCVs (that's Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) - and I could have entered myself. But really, me stand in the cold/wet/ice/snow all day, no place to sit down, hoisting a five-pound flag, in a crowd? Not likely. But John can handle it. Hell, that boy can handle anything. Listen he chooses to sleep on top of mountains in the snow in -20 degree weather! This should be no problem.

And I KNOW John getting picked was pure luck. But I can't think of anything more fitting than my husband - Super (3-year) volunteer, recruiter, trainer, Associate Director - carrying a Peace Corps flag in this parade on a day when history is being made. Not only because Barack Obama is our first black President. But because he truly has a world view. He's a citizen of the world. As I like to say, "He's from OUR neighborhood!" I also think that maybe Barrack Obama understands that you can actually serve your country - and the planet - by working to bring peace to it. And isn't that what Peace Corps Volunteers have been doing for nearly 50 years?

I'm not sure how John is going to feel on Inauguration Day. Cold? Tired? Mobbed? Excited? But here's something I know: One day, he'll tell OUR grandchildren about it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

But was there any dog poop on them???

Oh, was that a thing of beauty? Was that a site for sore eyes? Was that half the world I heard standing up and cheering when that Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at W?

Oh, I know. It's not nice. You don't throw your shoes at anybody. Certainly not the "President." Even if you think he deserves it. Really . . . it's not nice. Don't do it. Especially not if there's dog poop on them. (Does anyone know if, perchance, there was dog poop on them? Maybe, oh, maybe just a little?)

But our Commander-in-Thief, good ol' boy that he is, took it well, didn't he? Just stood there and kept smiling (and really, he DOES have an uncanny ability to SMILE through anything - a war, an economy in shambles, a devastating hurricane, another war, a plague. He just keeps on smiling . . . and shrugging.) "The guy just wanted to get on TV," W shrugged after ducking the shoes.

Well, maybe you're right, Mr. "President" (although that would be something for the history books). But maybe the guy was a wee bit upset at you for invading his country - unprovoked - and turning it into a totally chaotic living hell (yes, it might have been hell under Saddam Hussein - but at least it wasn't chaotic and it was THEIR hell), and now instead of apologizing profusely as you ought to be (and perhaps handing out copious amounts of retribution money - why not ask Dick Cheney to kick in some of the big profits he and Haliburton made off this war?), you just sort of stand there and smile, kinda clueless like.

I don't think the guy who threw the shoe actually meant to hurt W, I think he might have just wanted to knock some sense into him. Not that I advocate that kind of thing, mind you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That's how they do it in Putney

Sometimes I think I just don't have enough strange experiences here in America. But then today I found myself up in Putney, Vermont (which is an adorable little town, should be snow-tinged all year long and set in someone's window). Not that Putney is strange. But there I was lying on some doctor's table with my arm stuck up in the air while she asked me a series of yes or no questions and divined the sources of my physical ailments - and their treatments - by muscle testing my arm.

And the whole time I'm thinking, Okay, this is really weird. Probably a scam. Now she's going to tell me I need this and that supplement or herb or whatever she's got on the shelf and sell it to me and then tell me to come back and see her next week for more.

But she didn't. Odd and illogical as it was, she really seemed to be able to figure some stuff out about a bunch of disparate symptoms I've been plagued with for some time. And more often than not, when she "asked" my muscles if I needed this or that supplement or herb that she had, the answer was "no." I did leave with a few bottles of supplements, but they were far cheaper than they'd cost me at my local food co-op. But she also told me where to get them directly when/if I needed more. And she said I really only needed to come back if/when I felt the need to.

So, while the whole technique of how she parsed out my ailments was odd, it's not odder than how medicine is practiced - and has been practiced - in many ancient cultures all over the world. This woman did seem, for all the world, like some sort of shaman. And I don't mean funky weird at all. I mean totally centered and grounded and wise. Her office was full of feathers and stones and chimes, yes, but also books (walls of books) and balance balls and yoga mats. I got the sense that in her medical practice she incorporates all the knowledge and wisdom available to her - wherever it comes from and however it shows itself.

I mean, why is her asking my muscles to tell her what's going on in my bowels (roundworms picked up 13 years ago) or my larynx (muscle compression of the rings around the larynx AND blocked energy in the chakra and a whole lot of things out of alignment in my neck) any weirder than a traditional type of doctor shrugging his shoulders and saying "gee, we have no idea why you have migraines, but try this medicine - which may or may not cause your retinas to detach!"

Anyway, she sent me on my way with some explanations that sound plausible, some supplements to try, an admonition not to drink milk, some things to do for my neck and doctor's orders to (get this) have 30 minutes of FUN four times a week! Now, laugh at that if you must. But I have known for some time that I was suffering from a serious lack of fun in my life!

Okay, laugh at it all if you must. But I'm going to try this new regimen and see if I don't start to feel better.

I'll keep you posted,