16 Oct 2017 Victoria

Hello to you.  It’s evening here as I write to you.  I hope this finds you well.  So far I’m doing well with my goal of observing the news headlines but refraining from becoming emotionally antagonized by them.  Cutting Facebook out of my life for the past couple of weeks has really helped me in this endeavor as well!  I am trying to consciously “rewire” my brain and behavior patterns about this and so far, so good.

Kyle and I finished The Living and The Dead on Sunday and decided to give another period piece available for watching on Amazon, Victoria, a try.  No regrets!  We adored Jenna Coleman in Dr. Who as companion Clara Oswald, and are equally smitten with her fantastic portrayal of young Queen Victoria in this wonderful series.  Tonight we just got to the part where the young queen falls for Prince Albert.  Who would think a man cutting his clothes to place  rose corsage next to his chest could be so romantic…steamy even?!   Apparently such a thing really happened!

Source Internet – Prince Albert and Queen Victoria

http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/708773/Victoria-Prince-Albert-rip-shirt-Jenna-Coleman-Tom-Hughes-Daisy-Goodwin-ITV

“Speaking at a recent screening of the fourth and fifth installments of the ratings hit, which follows the courtship and marriage of Victoria and Prince Albert, Daisy told media including Express.co.uk: “One of my favorite moments in episode four is when Albert cuts the hole in his shirt and puts the corsage in.

“It’s something that might have come from my fevered imagination, but actually no. It was actually true, I read it in an account of their first meeting. So it might have come from someone else’s fevered imagination. ”

VICTORIA PREMIERE TRAILER

My drawing today, “door in the sun”

 

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16 Oct 2017 Detour to Keene

Hello to you, how are you doing? I have been feeling disconnected the past couple of days and it’s probably just the difficulty I am having synchronizing to Kyle working night shift. I really had hoped he wouldn’t get this shift again. He’s the infamous “low man on the totem pole” and one of the youngest people they have there, so he gets night shift.

Yesterday we took advantage of our time together to make a trip to Burleson. We wanted to see if Half Price Books had anything for me and to pick up an inexpensive pair of slip on shoes for Kyle to wear at work. Since we’ve been here, Burleson has become our favorite town. Pretty much everything we ever need is there and we don’t venture much further unless I have an appointment or we absolutely have to! Driving here in our part of the state is one word – awful. Thank you Burleson for being wonderful!

So I dug around in Half Price Books for quite awhile to try and find something to read. I almost bought a book called The Particle Zoo (https://www.amazon.com/Particle-Zoo-Search-Fundamental-Reality/dp/1784298670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508160429&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Particle+Zoo)  but decided to put it back.  I may return to get that one at some point. There were several other books that caught my interest, as if often the case when you go into a treasury of a store like this. I ended up with two. A book of children’s poems, “Favorite Poems Old and New” Selected by Helen Ferris and Illustrated by Leonard Wisegard and “Inferno” by Dan Brown.

I had sent Kyle into Academy Sports to find the shoes but all he found was either way too expensive, uncomfortable or a decent price but none in his size. We tried Kohl’s and it was the same story. Ultimately we found what we wanted in the new 5 and Below Store lol. What we have figured out when it comes to buying shoes, it really doesn’t matter where you buy them, they are all the same. They are not made to last. The price for them seems to be driven by the cost of the name of the store selling…or how much they are paying for rent lol! We have paid $60 for shoes that last less than a year and $5 for shoes we are still wearing. Shoes are definitely one of the things in our world made with planned obsolescence. It’s been so long since I’ve had a great pair of shoes!

After standing in line at yet another store that has 5 checkout lanes but only one or two people to run an entire store (comic Sebastian pops in my head, “Has there ever been 5 cashiers at this store?!!), our “public meter” was pinged. We headed home. We seemed to be well on our way until all the sudden break lights happened and the inevitable crawl and lane changing crap people do with their impatience at being obstructed by some sort of inconvenience.

We decided to get off I-35 and take a detour through Keene.

It was a much more scenic and peaceful drive going this way. We enjoyed the more relaxed pace, talking to each other about random things and taking in the fallish looking trees on either side of the road. This is Texas, so we don’t get a real fall. The kind with brilliantly colored leaves and all that – the fall I miss from childhood or from when we lived on the east coast.

It wasn’t until we got into Keene and Kyle mentioned it, that I fully realized what we went through in this town 3 years ago. It was almost a week to the day (19 Oct 2014), my friend Suzan Michelle Mize Sullivan died at the Town Hall Estates (http://www.americanreligious.org/town_hall_estates_keene.html).

As we drove by the building, so many memories flashed through my mind! Kyle and I had never been through something like this – losing our friend the way we did! We both felt so utterly and completely powerless to stop what happened to her! What we experienced of her life and death has become for us a prime example to us of how awful the “system” can be.

It’s not all tears for our friend Suzan, (we called her Michelle) though.

As I look across the street these days, at the house she and Carroll shared, I think she’d be so happy! People she loved so much (her oldest son, his wife and grandkids), gave her entire life for, are living there now and continuing to make the place home. I don’t see her in my minds eye or dreams like I used to. I am hoping this year will be free of any broken glassware or other strange occurrences in our house as the anniversary of her death nears.  I hope she is at peace wherever she decided her heaven was to be!  I will always miss her.

https://saymber.com/2015/10/19/19-oct-2015-the-last-blue-bowl-a-visit-from-a-lost-friend/ – a bit about what I’m referring to with strange happenings when the anniversary of Suzan’s leaving us nears.

Sometimes detours aren’t simply detours…..are you paying attention?  Is the traffic jam and your choice to find a path around it just mere coincidence?  

A sampling of poems from the poetry book:

 

A Book – poem by Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toil;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!

 

Fireflies – poem by Carolyn Hall

Little lamps of the dusk,

You fly low and gold

When the summer evening

Start to unfold.

So that all the insects,

Now, before you pass,

Will have light to see by,

Undressing in the grass.

But when the night has flowered,

Little lamps agleam,

You fly over treetops

Following a dream.

Men wonder from their windows

That a firefly goes so far –

They do not know your longing

To be a shooting star.

 

 

 

15 Oct 2017 My Grandparents, being a Polar Bear (dreams) and The Two Bears (poem by Carolyn Wells)

Hello to you.  How are you this morning?  It’s morning here as I write.  We had rain last night so the pictures I drew yesterday have been lifted up to fly with the gray ships and on the wings of the large swirl of birds that greeted the dogs and I when we went out this morning.

14 Oct 2017 – woman I drew last night before calling it a day. She kind of looks like actress Gillian Anderson to me (X-files)

It’s cooler and feels like fall.  Kyle and I are talking about going to see if Half Price Books can help me with my craving for interesting words telling stories printed on pages and bound…aka a book…you remember what those are right?!  (wink).  Unfortunately, most of the books on my wish list are expensive and not for entertainment, of the non-fictional nature.  I will have to see what happens….see who finds me seeking them in the world of print.

So I have been sleeping really well the past couple of nights and am so grateful.  The cooler weather definitely helps.  With this rest has come almost a non-stop stream of dream.  There were two that stuck with me from last nights travels.

The first one was about being someone, I think my Grandma Schmidt or may be me much older.  Whoever I was talked about  not believing she was 80 years old, she didn’t feel like she was.  She showed me where they lived and it was a dump lol.  A building being held together with strips of white cloth and tape (kind of like how it feels our house is being held together sometimes lol).  I remember walking and talking with a man who looked like my Grandpa Elias Schmidt as a young man.  I remember singing karaoke.  I couldn’t remember all the words but sang really well!

http://hdm.wikia.com/wiki/Iorek_Byrnison
Iorek Byrnison – was a panserbjørn and the king of Svalbard. He was a great friend and comrade to both Lyra Silvertongue and Lee Scoresby.

The other dream was about being part of a polar bear family….actually being a polar bear.  We were traveling on sheets of ice over water and down streams.  A lot of running and sliding!  It was snowy white every where but lots of sun.  It was very liberating to travel this way.  What’s funny is before I drifted off to sleep, I heard a man’s voice say, “remember, I can be anything or anyone.”   Why not a polar bear?!  God is in all creation.

To close…time to get breakfast on and enjoy the remaining time we have before work begins again.  I found this poem and it made me smile, so fanciful, playful and silly!  I really enjoyed it.  I hope you do too.

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-two-bears/

The Two Bears – Poem by Carolyn Wells

Prince Curlilocks remarked one day
To Princess Dimplecheek,
‘I haven’t had a real good play
For more than ‘most a week.’

Said Princess Dimplecheek, ‘My dear,
Your majesty forgets–
This morning we played grenadier
With grandpa’s epaulets.

‘And yesterday we sailed to Spain–
We both were pirates bold,
And braved the wild and raging main
To seek for hidden gold.’

‘True,’ said the prince; ‘I mind me well–
Right hardily we fought,
And stormed a massive citadel
To gain the prize we sought.

‘But if your ladyship agrees,
Methinks we’ll go upstairs
And build a waste of arctic seas,
And we’ll be polar bears.’

‘Yes, if you’ll promise not to bite,’
Fair Dimplecheek replied,
Already half-way up the flight,
His highness by her side.

‘Princess, on that far window-seat,
Go, sit thee down and wait,
While I ask nursie for a sheet,
Or maybe six or eight.’

A pile of sheets his highness brought.
‘Dear princess, pray take these;
Although our path with danger’s fraught,
We’ll reach the polar seas.’

Two furry rugs his lordship bore,
Two pairs of mittens white;
He threw them on the nursery floor
And shouted with delight.

He spread those sheets–the funny boy–
O’er table, floor, and chair.
‘Princess,’ said he, ‘don’t you enjoy
This frosty, bracing air?

‘These snowy sheets are fields of ice,
This is an iceberg grim.’
‘Yes, dear, I think it’s very nice,’
She said, and smiled at him.

And then they donned the rugs of fur,
The mittens, too, they wore;
And Curlilocks remarked to her,
‘Now you must roar and roar.’

Dimplecheek looked out from the cowl
Formed by her furry rug.
‘I’m ‘fraid of bears that only growl–
I like the kind that hug.’

 

14 Oct 2017 Blue butterflies, Sky Dog (drawings) and Blue Butterfly Day (Robert Frost poem)

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May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish blessing

 

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/blue-butterfly-day-2/

Blue-Butterfly Day – Poem by Robert Frost

It is blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.

*Hope your having a wonderful day wherever and whenever you are.

13 Oct 2017 Mustard Seed

Hello to you this Friday evening.  I hope you’ve had a good day from whatever point in your timeline you are at when you visit here.  I know it’s weird for me to talk like that to you but that’s how I think of this blog.  It’s a connection point between multiple dimensions.  Mainly mine and yours.  I think of each of us as walking, talking….living and breathing dimensions all overlapping each other.

The example I always use to illustrate this concept is thinking of when Kyle goes to work and I am here.  Unless I tell him what happened here while he was gone, he has no way of knowing what actually happened.  Unless he tells me what happens at his work, I have no way of knowing that either.  Even when we are both here at home,  even sitting in the same room, we are still recording unique perceptions of reality into our memory.   We are worlds within worlds!

Todays drawings weren’t spectacular but lead me to a particular passage from the Bible I’ve always thought was beautiful; the one about having faith as small as a mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20New International Version (NIV)

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

There are certain passages from the Bible, that even if I no longer participate in organized religion, have always resonated with me.  This particular passage is just such a one.  Revisiting passages like these gives me strength during times when I need it the most.  For me, that is what the Bible or any sacred text ought to be used for.  A resource to help, not a weapon to harm.

I hope that through all these billions of lines of wires, cables, electrical signals, dirt, ocean and sky….through all that is between my dimension and yours that this post helps make the moment you are in just a little better.

*I found this video to share, thought it might be interesting to you.  I didn’t know that Canada was the largest grower of mustard seed!

From a Tiny Mustard Seed

Published on Jan 29, 2015

Ever wondered where mustard comes from? Follow the production of mustard from seeding to harvesting.
Learn more about mustard at http://www.saskmustard.com.

*I found myself craving rhyme tonight and wanting more of the coolness of fall we got a brief taste of the other day.  It was 93 degrees here today!  Anyhew, I looked at several poems before finding this one.  I chose it because it spoke to me for some reason.  If you go to the actual site, you can hear each of the poems read out loud either by a person or computer  person.

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/autumn-friends-2/

Autumn Friends – Poem by Sandra Fowler

If one could bridge the distance with a word,
A journey would become a pilgrimage.
Elegant letters slant across the page.
My leaf has found a home upon your coat.

My kind critic, I think it is our fate
To meet in stanzas of my poetry.
Simile and metaphor must be our bond
Until autumn blows one of us away.

Our rare rapport is irreplaceable.
Old moods glimmer on sills like fallen stars.
My little leaf says thank you every day.
It comforts me to know it traveled safe.

‘With my compliments to Mukund Dave for
all his eloquent reviews’

 

 

12 Oct 2017 Remember why you are here (today’s drawings and message)

Hello to you.  Just a quick note with the chalk drawings I did out back today.  The weather is still very nice here.  My thoughts are with the folks in California and any corner of this globe needing help…some glimmer of hope today.   Lots of folks are having hard times.   I hope you are doing your best to shine your light wherever you can.  Keep your lamplights burning!

*the featured drawing is based on a dream I had once about flying around a huge tree with two other men.  Then we were standing on a geometric shaped building made of glass and I left the other two by flying away.

9 Oct 2017 In the moment, Poem (California on fire again) and revisiting the past (can be painful!)

9 Oct 2017 – drawing I did today…The Amnesiac’s. I was thinking about how it seems like we keep forgetting things that are important.

Hello to you.  It’s Monday evening as I start to write to you.  How was the day you just lived today?  How are you doing in this moment?  What is everything in your “now?”  For me it’s drinking coffee that is a tad bitter but I’ll keep drinking it because I don’t want to waste it.  Link and Spot are on edge because I was just outside and rang the doorbell like an asshole after walking Kyle out and looking for gecko’s….only found one.  Ever since we put up the new siding…less gecko’s.  May is meowling again about who knows what and it drives me crazy….sounds like a baby crying.  Almost impossible for me to ignore her even if I try.  I am in no physical pain, comfortable temperature and there is an annoying smudge on my glasses again.  I hear the random pinging of raindrops on our metal siding which is a good thing.  I’m grateful for this moment I am in and grateful to have this cyber place in which to express my random “stuff.”  I’m grateful for whoever you are reading this, for your taking a moment from your busy world to visit me.

I have some quiet time to myself so this is going to be long lol.  I’ve finally resolved to myself that brevity is never going to be my thing lol!  If you don’t have time right now, please come back when you can.  There is something for you here. 

Yeah…..so I wrote this little poem today.  It’s not positive, complicated or even very eloquent….just one of those poems that started to come in while I was doing something else and I jotted it down.  Then I saw on the news later that California is burning even more so than normal…..sigh.  (http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/09/us/california-fires/index.htmlFast-moving wildfires kill 10, spur evacuations in Northern California By Ralph Ellis, Joe Sterling, Paul P. Murphy and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Updated 7:48 PM ET, Mon October 9, 2017)

9 Oct 2017 – Jackie Wygant poem

I hate you

You hate me

I hate me

So it goes

Through our family tree

Barren seed in fallow soil

A life

Of blood, sweat and toil

Where is the love we once knew?

Is it only ember and ash now

Against the darkening red, white and blue?

It’s weird sometimes the random things that I will pick up and they end up in poems, writings and my art.  Guess that’s the way it’s always worked for me.

Today I found something out about myself.  It’s now not an easy thing for me to look at pictures from the past….just as bad as reading my old journals.

Kyle was sleeping and the internet was off so I decided to take a trip down memory lane and look at some old photos from 2009 when we still lived in Newark DE and some since we’ve been here.  This turned me into a mass of sobbing wet tears.  What happened that really set me off was I saw video I had taken of our kitty Amber when she was still here and our Spot during one of the visits from the squirrel.  The furniture in our house was different.  We still had the pergola which the squirrel has sorely missed since its removal.  We still had our old back fence!  In just a short little video I saw how much time had gone by and all that was changed….missing.

5-march-2015-my-sunbeam-kitty-amber-alvarado-tx

Part of my current resentment at our remaining cat May is May has never loved me like Amber did and she’s still alive and Amber isn’t!  It’s so hard for me to get over that!  Amber was the kind of cat that was more like a dog than a cat in her personality and behavior.  She got that way after we got our cocker spaniel Sam.  She was smart enough to figure out that if she was going to get any time with me she had to become more like a dog.  So she did!  Amber was a big part of my heart.  I used to hold her when she’d come visit me on the toilet and just hold her and start crying I loved her so much.

Yeah…..but I think Amber has found her ways, through perhaps the ashes we spread about the yard, to find her way back to me.  Whether it be a positive or negative insect interaction…..sometimes it seems very personal lol.  Like a fragment of Amber making herself known to me whether it be a fire ant bite or a butterfly randomly flittering through my hair.  Amber isn’t the Amber I knew….she’s much more and that comforts me some.  It’s just when I go back looking for what she was and isn’t anymore that hurts so bad.

What happened to me today reminds me that we must be careful going back for what we have lost.  We can be reminded how much it hurts that we can never get any of it back.  Even if we can get something back from our past,  it can never be exactly as it was.  Kind of like it was for me after joining the military and going home to visit.  I wasn’t the same person even if the people and places I left behind were much the same.  Going backwards on anything can sometimes open wounds that had finally closed.  I am reminded of this today.  Sometimes I go back to things better left in the past.

I don’t want to forget the past ever happened.  I don’t want to forget the people, animals, places and things that made me the me I am now.  I just really had it hit me today looking at those old pictures and videos that I don’t want to emotionally torture myself in my present with facts  and parts of history that are fixed….set….unchangeable.

There will never be another cat exactly like Amber in my life.  There will never be the exact version of any other person, animal, place or thing that I loved after they have left this physical world or been destroyed.  For as long as I live and can retain my memory, they will exist in my mind, heart and even my soul.  Even fragments of their existence, rejoined with the energy God of my understanding, will remain in the air, the water, the food, my sleeping and waking world …but they will never be them again.  They are part of my past and I cannot get them back again!

This was taken during a visit to the San Francisco CA Zoo in *cough* Nov 1987! The note on the wall behind me, “This bench is reserved for primates only” is appropriate lol!

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_Beebe – the first time I saw this was when I visited the San Francisco Zoo:

The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.

  • The Bird (1906)

I feel like my little blurp here could be a bit of a cautionary tale of the direction I see us going in this country….in this world.  I see a fading mass of people trying to take those newer on the scene kicking and screaming back to the caves by the hair without Wi-Fi.  Why?  I think, speaking as someone who can be averse to change, because it’s comfortable, it’s safe, it’s familiar, it makes them feel like they have control over something and it means not having to change.  This world is changing so fast!

This is an ironic observation as I live in a world of people who seem to thrive on change and new external stimulation!  Kyle and I notice this especially with video games and how the industry seems to have such a hard time “feeding” gamers with new content.  As soon as new content is released, people eat through it like a bag of chocolate and get pissed and act like addicts going through withdrawal waiting for their next “hit.”

We want change but we want to control the how, where, when, why and what of it happening.   For many, and this is the case for myself, not having any sort of input or control over changes like those coming from our government,  that affect me and those I love,  has left me feeling quite powerless and angry.

I  cannot really get to mad at my parents, teachers and other role models in my life for all the dirty secrets I’ve found out about my country and the world since my growing up years.  I’m finding out from personal experience that history is a contextual thing.  It’s also a matter of perception…your experiences, your background, your family, your education shape your perception of the world and how you live in it.

Depending on where you are in time and what you know at that time, determines how you live in that segment of history.  What was acceptable behavior for white people in the context of history going on during the time of slavery isn’t what should be going on in our current times in the context of modern history….why? Because we know better!  My parents and all the teachers through my life probably didn’t know or realize half the things that have come to light in our current times.  Now we do know what was and is still yet going on.  Are we as a world going to just keep revisiting and repeating the past or finally let go, let God and move the fuck on?!!

I think we have a lot of people in this world who feel powerless in our times.  So they are clinging on to whatever they can to give them some sense of stability…certainty.  Many are choosing to hold on to history, be it positive or negative, to have some sort of certainty, identity, purpose and meaning .  I am living in a country that makes it seem like you have to go on America’s Got Talent or something to be worth a shit…to have value.  If you have ever watched that show, you have seen the lengths people will go to be worth something.  They will nearly kill themselves!  It feels like you have to “be something, someone or connected to something or someone” in order to have any sort of self-esteem.

People are still not being taught how to light their own fire inside.  They are still being taught in every conceivable way that they must seek their value and worth outside of themselves – other people, places and especially things.  It’s a lie perpetuated all the way back to the first real fire I think!

Anyhew….

Kyle and I watched this tonight and I thought John did a really good job on this very sensitive subject in our country – confederate monuments.  I didn’t know that a large majority of monuments in our country that depict Confederate themes were erected decades after the Civil War was over, meant to be the middle finger of sorts towards minorities and many were dedicated by members of the KKK!  I think these statues should be put preserved, as John suggests here.  I think they should definitely be put in museums with background information and historical context provided.  I think destroying the statues would be not much better than what everyone has gotten upset about ISIS doing.  It isn’t a good idea to erase history…especially history we really shouldn’t repeat!  I feel like people should be able to choose to go to a museum and view them versus not having a choice about being subjected to them in sometimes unavoidable public places.

Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

 

We can only go forward and through….that’s the only way to survive the callous master that is Time.

 

7 Oct 2017 Angels with paws (service dogs help Las Vegas shooting victims) and drawings

Hello to you this Saturday afternoon.  I hope this finds you doing well.  I wanted to share this wonderful story from the folks at Today about what I and so many others who share their lives with dogs or cats already know – they are healers!  To me they are angels with paws.  I think  what the folks from Lutheran Church Charities did by bringing these dogs to folks trying to heal inside as well as out after the mass shooting in Las Vegas is just a beautiful and loving thing to do!  There is a reason dog spelled backwards is God.  Our Sammy was one of the first to show me here on earth God’s love….no judgement, no boundaries, no limits….just pure unconditional love.

Me with our cocker spaniel Sammy on 25 Dec 2009. He passed away 27 April 2011.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/paws-on-the-ground-comfort-dogs-bring-much-needed-love-to-las-vegas/ar-AAt1zyL?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Paws on the ground: Comfort dogs bring much-needed love to Las Vegas

Ethan Sacks
For many scarred by seeing the carnage inflicted in the Las Vegas mass shooting, a little comfort came courtesy of man’s best friend.

 Nineteen trained golden retrievers from across the country padded their way to Las Vegas this week courtesy of Lutheran Church Charities to provide comfort for those affected by the attack, which left 59 dead, more than 500 wounded, and thousands of families and friends emotionally devastated.
But even those who survived the carnage at the Route 91 Harvest festival without physical wounds desperately needed that nuzzle — like Sunrise Hospital director of guest services Tracy Szymanski, who is still persevering through her job despite having been in the crowd Sunday night.

“I came straight to the hospital from the venue at 10:30 at night, still wearing my concert clothes, because I knew there were things I could do to help the families,” Szymanski told TODAY. “It was a sigh of relief when the first dogs arrived Monday morning, because I knew the cavalry had arrived.

“I felt I had help at a time when I felt helpless.”

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. The comfort dogs, along with their 30 human handlers, are part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs unit — veterans used to having their “paws on the ground” after disasters, natural or otherwise.

The unit’s canine caregivers brought survivors some solace after the Sandy Hook shootings, and more recently, provided comfort to parts of Texas and Florida hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

And even amidst all the horror of the Las Vegas shooting, it’s amazing to see how quickly these four-legged pros can spread smiles, LCC president Tim Hetzner told TODAY.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.

© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. “Dogs are non-judgmental, they don’t take notes and are comfortable to talk to,” Hetzner, who oversaw the Las Vegas mission, said.

“A key part of healing in any crisis or disaster is to be able to talk about (the trauma), and people find it easier to do that with dogs.”

Those dogs — including one, Lois, who is based in Las Vegas and a regular visitor at the Sunrise Hospital — have been busy. “Because of the magnitude of this event, just about everybody who lives in Las Vegas has been affected,” said Hetzner.

Besides working with survivors and grieving families, the comfort dogs visited a high school where several students were injured in the shooting, hotel workers helping victims’ families, and traumatized first responders.

They have also visited the coroner’s office, both to support victims’ loved ones and staffers wading in such overwhelming grief.

It’s extremely emotional work for the dogs.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.

© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. “The dogs have an ability to tell when someone is suffering, so after working with them for a few hours, we take their service vest off, pull a ball out let them run around and be dogs for an hour,” said Hetzner. “These are golden retrievers, they like to retrieve. That’s how they work off their stress.”

The current team is being flown out Friday to be replaced by a new, rested crop that will stay through the beginning of next week.

“They come up to you and get dog hair all over you, and then just nuzzle up to you and put a smile on your face,” said Szymanski. “Every morning, as the person who supervises their visits at the hospital, I get to get my first dose.”

“It helps me process everything.”

My father-in-law gave Kyle and I this after Sammy passed away. It is so true!

 

 

6 Oct 2017 Chalk drawings today and sleep (the effect of smartphones and even sleep trackers)

I hope this finds you well and that you have a wonderful RESTFUL weekend!

5 Oct 2017 What Constant Exposure To Negative News Is Doing To Our Mental Health (Huffington Post, Carolyn Gregoire)

Hello to you.  It’s 4:19 pm on this Thursday afternoon as I write to you.  I have spent the day trying to work through some of my anger and frustration that I expressed in my earlier post today and the past couple of days.  I am not liking the person I have been the past few days and I know why.  My sleep has been poor because of Kyle’s work schedule  and I have been inundating myself with negative news!  Not a good combination!

This is a poem I wrote today as part of my therapy, not one of my best, but it describes what it’s like to “tune out” when someone is going all negative at you:

Tuning out – Jackie Wygant 5 Oct 2017 /1:36 pm

I tune out

I’m sick of caring

What the latest fuss is all about

You are talking

Your lips move in slow motion

My thoughts are already walking

It doesn’t matter what I say

I just want you and your troubles

To just go away…..

I feel like I should apologize to those of you who regularly visit me and have been subjected to the torrent of negativity I’ve been expressing here, but I think, I sincerely hope, you understand what I’m working through.  This blog, from it’s inception, has been an outlet for me….a tool in my sanity toolkit.  Lately I have had to work extra special hard at keeping my lid on top!

What’s happening is my trying to be a responsible and informed citizen about what is going on around me has become quite toxic and addictive.  Yes, you can become addicted and actually start to rewire one’s brain after repeated exposure to negative news. This article from the Huffington Post is a couple of years old, but the information still is relevant.  I thought it might be helpful to share so if anyone else is going through what I have been, they can learn about what’s going on in their head!

What do you do to rid yourself of anxiety, stress, anger and frustration?  What are your coping mechanisms?  I’d be curious to know!

19 Sept 2017 – first drawing of the day. This is my husband Kyle trying to keep me from getting sucked into the negative goop of mainstream media!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/19/violent-media-anxiety_n_6671732.html

SCIENCE

02/19/2015 08:49 am ET Updated Feb 19, 2015

What Constant Exposure To Negative News Is Doing To Our Mental Health

The world isn’t falling apart, but it can sure feel like it. The news can be violent, depressing and emotionally-charged.

“Terrorism is newsworthy because it is inherently dramatic and threatening,” political scientist Shana Gadarian wrote in The Washington Post in October. “Media competition means that journalists and editors have incentives to use emotionally powerful visuals and story lines to gain and maintain ever-shrinking news audiences.”

This may be driven partly by our natural negativity bias, which leads us to pay more attention to things that are dangerous or threatening.

According to some psychologists, exposure to negative and violent media may have serious and long-lasting psychological effects beyond simple feelings of pessimism or disapproval. The work of British psychologist Dr. Graham Davey, who specializes in the psychological effects of media violence, suggests that violent media exposure can exacerbate or contribute to the development of stress, anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Negative news can significantly change an individual’s mood — especially if there is a tendency in the news broadcasts to emphasize suffering and also the emotional components of the story,” Davey told The Huffington Post. “In particular… negative news can affect your own personal worries. Viewing negative news means that you’re likely to see your own personal worries as more threatening and severe, and when you do start worrying about them, you’re more likely to find your worry difficult to control and more distressing than it would normally be.”

According to Davey, the way that negative news affects your mood can also have a larger affect on how you interpret and interact with the world around you. If it makes you more anxious or sad for instance, then you may subconsciously become more attuned to negative or threatening events, and you may be more likely to see ambiguous or neutral events as negative ones.

On a neurological level, when we’re confronted with images of violence, we know that images or videos depicting violence are categorically different from actual violence — so we don’t process the input as threatening stimuli. However, we internalize the negative stimuli, which can affect mood and cause one to feel more negatively towards the environment more broadly.

“These images change our overall mood to a more negative one — more sad or more anxious — and it is this change in mood that leads to psychological changes in the way we attend to things around us (e.g. we are more likely to pick out things in our environment that are potentially negative or threatening),” Davey explains. “This can have a vicious cycle effect on mood generally for some time.”

Some research has even suggested that viewing traumatic images in the media can cause PTSD-like symptoms. A 2001 study found that watching the events of 9/11 on television was enough to trigger PTSD symptoms — such as worrying about future terrorist attacks and reduced self-confidence — in some viewers. Severity of symptoms, interestingly, was directly correlated with the amount of time the subjects spent watching television.

A recent study also found that being frequently exposed to graphic, uncensored images of violence is emotionally distressing to many journalists working in newsroom settings. The journalists who were regularly exposed to violent video footage scored higher on indexes of PTSD — including re-experiencing, avoidance and general anxiety — as well as increased alcohol consumption, depression, and somatization (physical signs of distress in the body).

The researchers noted that over time, exposure to graphic violence can cause a process of either sensitization, in which the individuals becomes more sensitive to emotional distress upon viewing the images, or desensitization — a sort of numbing process in which individuals become habituated to what they see — to occur. This numbing effect, which causes the brain to exhibit less of an emotional response to disturbing stimuli, has been observed in those who have been repeatedly exposed to violent video games.

The diagnostic criteria for PTSD — which was appended for the DSM-5 to recognize that not only experiencing something traumatic oneself but also witness a life-threatening trauma to another could lead to symptoms of the disorder — acknowledges this to some degree. Davey notes, however, that the DSM description does say that these events should be witnessed in person.

Of course, it’s important to note that exposure to negative news is unlikely to cause depression, anxiety or PTSD in individuals who are not already prone to these conditions. But it can still lead to a pessimism and world-weariness that leads us to perceive the state of the world in an overly negative light — leading us to ignore and overshadow the many things that are working.

What’s clear from this research is that more positive news is needed to outweigh the violence and destruction we’re exposed to every day. As psychologist Steven Pinker and international studies professor Andrew Mack write in Slate, the world is not going to hell in a handbasket, despite what the headlines suggest. Violence has actually decreased, and quality of life has improved for millions of people. Journalism should reflect these truths.

As Positive News founder Sean Dagan Wood said in a recent TED talk, “A more positive form of journalism will not only benefit our well-being; it will engage us in society, and it will help catalyze potential solutions to the problems that we face.”

 

 

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