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Abiding Blog
Lucki Melander Wilder

Still digging the blogs. Keep up the good works.  -- Jim (a reader since the first-ever announcement)

These are personal ruminations on divers and sundry topics of interest to me and, I hope, also you. Some are long, some short. Some are silly, some serious. Some are trivial, some profound. Nor is it always easy to tell which is which, even for me. And all opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.

Email me to subscribe or give feedback, or if there's a topic you'd like me to ruminate about. Not all feedback necessarily appears in this page, and may be edited for links, typos, multi-source redundancy, and relevancy. That doesn't mean we consider negative feedback irrelevant or refuse to post it, as negative feedback can often help us learn to do more and better.

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H A F - 2

"Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐyú zú xià (A journey of a thousand li starts beneath one's feet.)" -- Lao Tzu
"Most people master the art of postponing the start."  -- Mokokoma Mokhonoana

I should have written this a week ago, but I was up to my ears in work surrounding the annual meeting of an association that I'm the board secretary of. So it had to wait 'til today.

A week ago yesterday, I did something unexpected. That happens sometimes. 'Cuz, ya know, sometimes there's something you have to do, sometimes there's something you want to do, sometimes there's something you manage to do, and sometimes there's something you just do. Well, what I did last Tuesday wasn't something i had to do. It wasn't something I planned to do. It wasn't something I started off trying to do. But I did it. My thousand-mile journey started with a single step and I did it. And I surprised myself.

Okay, it wasn't really a thousand-mile journey. It was much shorter than that. But as that old Chinese proverb from the Tao Te Ching literally puts it, my journey of a thousand li* started beneath my feet. Yep, with a single step.

And then another.

And then another.

And then....

[SIDETRIP] A little over two years ago, I told you about a special milestone I reached. My half-marathon day. Go (re)read about it; I'll wait.

That was fun, wasn't it?[/SIDETRIP]

So, to continue: I started out last Tuesday morning doing some things seemingly unrelated to walking a half-marathon. But they did keep me on my feet, more than not, for some five hours. In the afternoon, I did necessarily sedentary stuff at home. Come evening, I cooked and ate, watched the tube some, and revved up the dance music the rest of the time 'cuz I felt like it. Sometime well after dark, I realized how far I'd come ... and pushed for just a little more. And by midnight ('cuz, hey, just a little more), when the pedometer saves the count, I'd racked up a new daily step total.

More than a half-marathon.

By miles.

My combined walking and dancing totals for the day were an unprecedented 60,066 steps! More than 17 miles. (Got pictorial proof. See below.)

What further caught my attention is that if I put together my 8/22/17 day of 46,394 steps and my 9/10/19 day of 60,066 steps, they totaled 106,460 steps. The equivalent of 30-plus miles. In other words, in just those two days (admittedly not consecutive, or even anywhere close together), I exceeded my current weekly goal of of at least 30 miles (normally comprising five minimum-of-4-mile days plus two minimum-of-5-mile days).

That was fun, too.

Khoda hafez,
*Nowadays, 1,000 li (or "Chinese miles") actually equals 500 kilometers or a bit over 310.5 miles.

2019-09-10 pedometer count 60066
Sorry for the lousy pic. As I started to write this late last night, I realized the midnight flip was
about to wipe out my oldest count from seven days earlier. I laid the pedometer on the scanner by
my monitor and ran a quick preview; but before I could then do the actual scan, the counter flipped and
I lost that humongous figure. My only recourse was to screen-capture the preview and cut/paste the result.

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Entries During

2019-09-18 Haf-2

2019-08-06 Doggone

2019-07-20 Rides

2019-06-04 Inter/Intra

2019-05-29 Lily

2019-04-30 Fifty!

2019-04-17 Links

2019-03-13 Yup!

2019-02-10 Mileage
2019-02-07 BiloCat
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2019-01-01 UpRory
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"I write from real life. I am an unrepentant eavesdropper and a collector of stories.
I record bits of overheard dialogue."  -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It's amazing what you can overhear when you're, like, standing outside the pharmacy waiting for someone.

Drug Store Dog
Some woman was standing there talking to the dog that was leashed to a pole. Turned out it wasn't her dog. As soon as this one particular much-younger guy walked out the door, I could tell he was the dog's person. The dog was so excited. The two apparent strangers chatted about the dog for a moment. Generic convo between dog lovers. Then the lady said something unexpected. Gently. Not accusatory. But still. Made me wonder if she'd been talking to the dog all that time just to protect it.

Empty lease around a poleHER: I'm surprised you left him so long. Folks always looking to snatch pets for fighting dogs.
HIM:  In this neighborhood?

It was a good question. She had a good answer.

HER: They want animals that are well cared for and won't bring diseases into their kennels.
         But not so expensive that owners report the theft and make the cops get involved.
HIM:  Well, my dog would never act like that. Good dog. He wouldn't fight."

I like dogs; but I'm a cat person. I've only ever had a dog around as a pet twice in my life. Nonetheless, even I caught what the guy was missing. Talk about oblivious to the obvious.

HER: Oh, not to train AS a fighting dog. To train their own dogs on. To attack. To kill.

I don't know if the guy got it even still. He just winced, unhooked his dog, and left. But at least the lady tried. And it reminded me of one of the reasons I don't let my cats be indoor/outdoor cats, either.

Not to just leave you with a downer, though, I had a couple of doggy experiences as a kid (Mom made sure to tell me about them once in a while so I'd remember) that I hope will help counterbalance the cosmic scales.

German Sheppard guide dog sitting downMusic Man Dog
One had to do with a blind street performer who plied his trade in the central shopping area of the town I grew up in. He had a German Sheppard guide dog. (That was the primary guide-dog breed after the World Wars. Nowadays, two breeds are more often used: Labrador and Golden Retrievers ... and their blend, the Goldador.) Whenever the guy played his instrument, the dog would sit down still beside him.

One day when I was a toddler, my nurturant mom took me shopping. I saw the dog, ran over to it, and sat down between its front legs, my back leaning against its chest, its muzzle resting atop my head. My mom was afraid to approach, 'cuz apparently the dog bared its teeth at her, though it didn't growl. (If it had growled, I suspect the musician would've noticed something was up right away.)

When the performer finished playing his song, my mother called out to him that her daughter was sitting in the dog's paws. The man reached down, felt what was happening, laughed, and said, "You don't need to be afraid for her. He loves children."

"Well, he snarled at me, sort of. I didn't want to get close. Can you move him?" The man replied that the dog had probably been trying to protect me, just like it would him. Still, he had no problem getting the dog to stand up and "let me go". As they moved away, my mom called me. I "ran" (toddled) to her, happily babbling about "doggie".

Slippin' 'n' Slidin' Dog
Careful dog on snowThe other experience had to do with a dog I met as a preschooler while walking with my folks to my Gramma's house. We had to go up and over the little hill we lived on, then downslope to her house. (That's what you get, living in a town in the New England foothills.) It was a very cold day. We were all bundled up in puffy snowtogs and boots. And the sidewalks were snow-covered and very slippery.

As we approached the downslope, I noticed a dog in front of us. I unexpectedly yanked loose of my mom's hand and ran after the dog to hug it (which is what I normally did with dogs I knew). The dog got scared and tried to run away down the slope. It was having trouble, though. Crouching. Legs splayed. Using its claws as pitons. Trying to go slow enough not to fall.

I wasn't so inhibited. I just ran. I slipped, fell, and slid down out of my parents' sight. I heard them exclaim in fear. But when they got over the hump enough to see me, they stopped running and started laughing.


Because, protected in my puffy togs, I'd slid on my rump, unharmed, to the bottom of the slope. Fast. Passing out the precariously progressing canine. Which, when it got to the bottom, there I was waiting to stop its slide and hug it. It didn't try to get away any more. It just stood there with this put-upon look on its face. Like "[Sigh] Blew that getaway, doggone it!"

Khoda hafez,

P.S. Remind me to tell you a couple more dog stories from my oh-so-much-younger days next time.

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"Be willing to step outside your comfort zone once in a while; take the risks in life that seem worth taking.
The ride might not be as predictable [as] if you'd just planted your feet and stayed put,
but it will be a heck of a lot more interesting." -- Edward Whitacre, Jr.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Sure, give me an adventure and I'll ride it." -- Melissa Auf der Maur

While Number One Son Rey was still in his single digits, he'd ridden (with me or alone) on more things than you might shake a stick at. Most of them before he even started school.

Rey rides a camel in IsraelOn park and carnival rides of various ilks, as well as parade floats.

On snow sleds and in a little red wagon.

On the saddle of his small bike and in the big back cargo basket of my trike.

In cars (not me driving) and buses (still not me driving).

On the el (which he actually got to "drive" for about 30 seconds one kindergarten day) and full-gauge trains.

In the express elevator of the world's tallest building then and the ride into the coal mine at Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry).

On planes (definitely not me driving) and boats (row and motor with me driving, river/lake cruises and even the Maid of the Mist with me not).

On a pony (led by the owner), a horse (as an infant in my arms), an elephant (me watching), and a camel in Israel (no, wait, he was well into his double digits by the camel).

So for one of his early birthdays, I asked him if there was some other kind of vehicle he'd like me to take him for a ride on. I was thinking, you know, like a helicopter or a balloon. But he had something else in mind.

"Yes, Mommy, Take me to ride on a spaceship."
"A spaceship? Like the one at the carnival?"
"No, Mommy, a real one. Like Star Trek."

He meant Star Trek: The Original Series. It had run its final original ep in June of 1969, but was already garnering substantial ratings in syndication. We both enjoyed watching it multiple times over the years.

"Um, ReyBey, Star Trek is just a pretend show. There are no real spaceships like that."
"Yes there are. I remember you woke me up to watch a spaceship land on the moon. And then later I woke up to see people get off."

He was right. Fifty years ago today, I did wake him up to watch the Eagle land. And again 6 hours later when Neal Armstrong stepped on the moon, followed 19 minutes later when Buzz Aldrin came out with the flag to plant.

Rey was a kid. Scale wasn't all that important to him yet. Everything seemed big. The moon and the Neutral Zone were equally distant. If the Eagle really existed, then so did the Enterprise. The wonders of childhood.

I felt bad that I couldn't fulfill his wish. My son, though, has definitely always been a show-me person. And I did show him the difference between real Eagle and pretend Enterprise. My late friend Bennie and I took him to the Museum of Science & Industry. And we saw Aurora 7. It wasn't protected then like it is now. It sat there, next to a sort-of stile people could climb to look through the hatch into the capsule, with just a little sign asking everyone not to touch this national treasure.

Made sense: With who knows how many million people pawing at something that historic, over who knows how many millennia it might stand there, it's gonna be damaged. So Bennie and I didn't even think about touching it. But then Rey, too young to read the sign, asked if he could, Mommy, please.

Touching a spaceshipBennie and I consulted a bit. The sign said....  But Rey had politely asked first....  Yes, but it's a national treasure....  But when will he ever have another chance to touch a real, it-flew-in-spaceship.... 

I admit it. I'm one of those people who eventually forced MSI to be more protective of its spacecraft. I told Rey he could gently touch it...just for a second...with the very tip of his index finger. And that's what he did.

Happy Lunaversary!

Khoda hafez,

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I N T E R / I N T R A

"Inter- is a prefix that means between two [or more] groups, and 
intra- is a prefix that means within or inside one group." --

I don't blog about everyhing that makes me go "Huh." Not enough time and evergy in the world. (Come to think of it, though, would having to stay alive long enough to write everything I want to, would that be the path to immortality? Nah, I wish.)

But when something comes at me from more than one direction, I wonder if maybe it's more than mere coincidence. Maybe it's a prevously unnoticed trend. My brain starts cooking overtime. I start wracking my memory for related incidents. I can't get rid of the "Huh." So best to just go ahead and get it over with. Write about it.

It started with something I saw in a boob tube documentary (but for the life of me, I can't remember wihch one). The narrator was talking about similarities/differences in religions, and he used the term "Catholic and Christian funerals". My brain went, "What?!" And started planning an Adding Insult rant. Only that didn't really seem the right place for it. So I let it slide.

See, the narrator (or whoever wrote the script) wasn't talking about something like apples and oranges. He was talking about, like, oranges and citrus fruit. It was a false differentiation. True, not all citrus fruits are oranges. But all oranges are citrus fruit. Likewise, not all Christians are Catholic. But all Catholics are Christan.

There are various denominations of Catholics, the most commonly known in this country being Roman and Orthodox. Just like there are denominations of Protestants, the most common in the U.S. being Baptist and Lutheran.

What makes all of them Christian? The fact that, despite doctrinal differences, they all base their beliefs on the mission and message of Jesus Christ, as revealed in His own reported words and in words written about Him in the New Testament. DIfferent denominations may emphasize the discipleship of Peter, the conversion of Paul, the motherhood of Mary, the miracles, the parables and sermons, the social gospel, etc. But they all follow the revelation of Christ as they understand it. Hence the name Chrsitian ... follower of Christ.

(There are, of course, other religions, other faiths, than Christianity. And many of those faiths also have denominations. But each of those faiths also follows the revelation of a given Teacher. So despite any differences in interpretation and practice, all followers of Buddha are Buddhist, all followers of Krishna are Hindu, all followers of Muhammad are Muslim, etc.)

Anyway, as I said, though I thought about what the narrator said, I didn't write about it. But then I had a chat with with my pal Hal. (Okay, his name is really Harold; he never uses Hal that I know of.) And he related the story of a mutual friend of ours who'd invited neighbors to an interfaith gathering. A number of neighbors came, thanking him for providing such a forum. As host, our friend provided attendees with readings from many faiths, many scriptures: like Baha'i, Buddist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim.  And that's when most of his Christian neighbors in attendance got on his case.


'Cuz they'd expected a gathering solely of members of different denominations of Christianity. That's what they meant by interfaith. They apparently didn't want to include anything or anyone that was not Christian. This event of his, they contended, wasn't an interfaith gathering. He wasn't delivering what he promised.

Interfaith prayer gatheringReally?

Coulda fooled me. Look back up at those definitions from A gathering of different denominations within Christianity is not an interfaith event. It's an intrafaith event ... an event open only to followers of a single revelation, a single religion, a single Voice of God. In order to have an interfaith gathering, you must welcome people of more than one faith, one religion. In fact, to be truly interfaith, you need to welcome members, and their scriptures, of all religions into that sacred space. Which is exactly what our friend had done.

Interfaith is Christian only? Protestants and Catholics aren't even all Christians? Please.

I mean come on, does the marriage of a German and a Swede sound like an interracial marriage? Would you post photos of two different types of animals: bloodhounds and dogs? Did you go to the bookshop to get a book, but decided to buy a paperback instead? Let's don't mix up inter- and intra-. Or insist that the part doesn't belong in the whole. Remember one of my favorite quotes, from Babylon Five: "...if you cannot say what you mean, you can never mean what you say. The details are everything."

Khoda hafez,

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"Lily Ayman once heard from an Iranian visitor that the revolutionaries in Iran
demand that she be executed seven times." -- Immigrant Connect Chicago

I've had to say goodbye to some long-time friends lately. Too many. They live on in memory, though. Their souls still vibrant. Their stories still bringing nostalgia. And joy.

Lily Ahy Ayman is one of those. She would've turned 90 this May, but she died last September. It wasn't unexpected, but it was still a hard blow. She was one of our readers for years. She Liked us and often made comments. I miss her. And to help her soul-story survive and thrive, let me share two vignettes: the first excerpted from Twigs of a Family Tree, the second a prevously unpublished memoire.

    One example of the positive side of "what goes around comes around" that I fondly remember isn't even really about me at all. It's mostly about Gareth Newfield, another good friend. A fellow science fiction aficionado. And an atheist who nevertheless shows nothing but respect for my beliefs. He visited the Chicago Bahá'í Center with me one day, and we found then Spiritual Assembly secretary Lily Ayman in a pickle. She'd accidentally locked a mostly-empty file cabinet for which she couldn't find the key. Gareth immediately offered to help. He asked if we could all work together to lay the cabinet on its back. We wrestled it into position, and he was able to disengage the locking bar from underneath. Lily was profuse in her thanks. Gareth treated it as no big deal.
Lily Ahy Ayman 1929 - 2018    Time passed. Lily moved away from Chicago. One year, after finishing a major long-term consultancy, Gareth decided to take a year off and hostel his way around the world. He left Chicago heading west. Visited friends from here to California. Stopped off at his birthplace in Hawaii. Then crossed the rest of the Pacific and started hiking across Asia.
    When he reached Korea, he saw a postcard that reminded him of an in-joke we often shared: the Breakage Control Department that ensures the Post Office meets its quota of damaged mail/‌packages. He bought it, took it back to his hostel, and sat down to address it and pen a message. Only to discover he didn't have my address with him. So he sequestered the card in his backpack, intending to carry it back to me at the end of his journey.
    He continued hostelling southwest. Eventually ended up in Thailand. Remembered my telling him Lily had moved to Krung Thep (Bangkok). When he reached the city, he asked if there was a Bahá'í Center. There was. He called it to be put in contact with Lily. But they wouldn't give him her private info. So he offered to wait at the public phone so they could ask her to call him there. He waited. They reached Lily. She immediately recognized his name. About five minutes later, she called him and they met up for tea.
    At the end of their pleasant chat, he asked if she had my address so he could send the postcard he had been carrying since Korea. She said she hadn't taken her Chicago Bahá'í Directory with her to Thailand. However, she offered him her son-in-law Charles Nolley's address. She expected Charles and I would soon see each other at Feast or an Assembly meeting. So Gareth wrote me a "having a fantastic time touring a marvelous planet" message on the top half of the postcard. Wrote Charles a "please give this to Lucki; thank you" message on the bottom. Mailed it from Krung Thep. And, much to my happy surprise, Charles gave it to me the next time he saw me.
    You know, Bahá'ís aren't just about being of service to our own community. Or even to seekers interested in the Faith. We're clearly instructed to be of service to the world. And this was a classic instance of the unity of the worldwide Bahá'í community being of service to a person who not only wasn't a member of our Faith, he wasn't a member of any. It didn't matter. Service was gladly given on both sides. That's how the world ought always to work.

   Lori Hewett became Baha'i as an adult  Even before that, though, she  wasn't much of a drinker. She literally stuck to one drink a year, a celebratory martini on her birthday. That was it. So when Pat Shaeffer was teaching Lori, the use of alcohol never really came up, because Pat knew Lori didn't drink anyway. 
   Once Lori had declared, Pat took her to meet with the Assembly to enroll. Lori had decided that, as soon as she was enrolled, she would go out for her annual celebratory martini with Pat, because becoming Baha'i was even bigger to her than her birthday. 
   But after enrollment, when she mentioned that, the sad (to her) response she got was, "Oh, no, Baha'u'llah forbade drinking alcohol." Lori retorted, "Oh heck, why didn't you tell me that BEFORE I enrolled, so I could've had one last celebratory martini I had my heart set on, and THEN given them up?"
   Some while later, Lori told Lily Ayman this story. Lily smiled, reached over, patted her hand, and said, "Lori dear, you should have enjoyed that last martini. Baha'u'llah would've understood."

STILL miss you, Lily joon. Always will.

Khoda hafez,

P.S. Actually, all of the team members here knew Lily personally, as did my family. And we all feel the loss.

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F I F T Y !

"y-y-y-ESSS!"  -- The orange fist-pumping cat on the blue congratulatory card

I admit it: I was waiting for this. Patiently - but not all that patiently - waiting. Looking forward to it. Anticipating. Preparing for. Smiling about. And it finally came this month.

Actually, in a way, it came several times this month.

Saturday, April 20, 2019 dawned beautiful. I woke up earlier than planned. Good thing I did, though. 'Cuz I soon got an early phone call. My friend Brandy, making sure she was the first to wish me a happy 50th anniversary of sobriety.

She was the first, but not the last. Over the next few days, I got calls. Like from my sponsor and sponsees. And, of course, family. I got cards. Like from friends in AA and friends in the Baha'i community. I got emails from near and far. Near being like practically next door. Far being like a note from famed author Barry Longyear congratulating me, wishing me many more, and telling me "you are the sole 50 winner I know." I know what that means ... how it feels. For a while there, my late sponsor Gregory was the sole "50 winner" I personally knew. My current sponsor doesn't have 50 years, but that's OK 'cuz he's got the program I want.

Greetings for my 50th AA AnniversarySo, back to Saturday the 20th. I gave the lead at my home group's Spirituality Meeting that morning. To a full house. Even saw someone standing in the back and someone sitting on the floor. Inspired by the word "believe" in the 2nd Step, and the well known meme of the mustard seed, I started by quoting an Hadith from Islam: The Prophet said, "When the people of Paradise will enter Paradise and the people of Hell will go to Hell, Allah will order those who have had faith equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed to be taken out from Hell." And I asked: "How much faith can a tiny mustard seed have? What does a mustard seed believe in? And how can I apply that to my life?" And I shared a top-ten list, talking for two or three minutes on each item, and ending with a quote from Barry in Yesterday's Tomorrow about "Believing in Belief".

I also received a dozen roses from Brian, and a wonderful "Big Hug" card signed by, like, 50 people. During the comment portion, several members also mentioned how they appreciate my hugs. What they don't get is that I'm not giving good hugs, I'm getting good hugs.

After the meeting, my friend Pamela (who stayed in town just for the occasion) took me out to brunch. We were joined by some other folks from the meeting. Some ate with us; some just stopped by to chat.

Then in the evening, my friends Changiz and Marianne drove me and one of my sponsees to a huge dinner party of, like, 75 people that our Spiritual Assembly threw for my anniversary. Only it didn't know that's what it was doing. It thought it was providing dinner for the Chicago Baha'i community as part of our annual meeting and election. But I knew better. LOL

On Sunday, Marianne drove me and the same sponsee and her spouse to the semi-monthly Baha'i Prayer Breakfast on the South Side. Afterwards, she took us to visit Brandy for her birthday. Brandy hadn't been able to attend the Spirituality Meeting because she'd had surgery the day before it. But she was very happy to see us. In addition to the awesome "living loud" card I'd sent her, and the gift I was able to give her, I promised her that I'd send her the notes I used when I gave the lead the day before.

[ASIDE] This afternoon, in a capper to all things thing April-ish, Brandy called to tell me two things. One was that for the first time today, she wore one of the charms I gave her. The other was that she also received the page of notes I mailed to her. She'd expected me to email her a copy of the notes, not to send her the actually sheet I used at the meeting. She couldn't get over my doing that, but I said it was a way to make up for her not actually getting to be there, even though she also got to hear the lead anyway. [/ASIDE]

Then on Wednesday evening, the 24th, I attended an open meeting and cake-coffee-&-coins party for all my home group members with an April anniversary. My Baha'i sponsor Owen was there, of course. My Baha'i sponsee Helena and her spouse Malvin. Also seven other visitors from the Chicago Baha'i community: Harold, Marianne, Milton, Northside Nancy, Far Southside Nancy, Nilufar, and Shadan. And my Number One Son Rey. (My #grandMya, unfortunately, had a softball game. But she helped win it by scoring two RBIs. That's the second game in a row where she had two RBIs. In the first one, she brought her team from behind to win, as she was the next-to-last at-bat of the final inning.) More cards, and some very thoughtful gifts. One of them was quite unusual: A different kind of coinage. A set of Liberty dollar coins. Celebrating my liberation from alcohol and drugs.

Owen presented my 50-year coin, commenting on how at first he wondered if it was the right coin because it only had a single character on it, until he remembered that L is the Roman numeral standing for 50. I added that it also stood for Lucki. Which made him laugh. Owen always introduces himself in meetings with, "I'm Owen, and God loved me so much He made me an alcoholic." As I thanked him for the coin, I ended by saying that he has the program I want and that "God loved me so much She made you an alcoholic." Which made him laugh even harder. Pamela later commented about that being such a special thing to say to a sponsor. Owen also gave me a card and a beautiful bouguet of various species and colors of flowers, with a sprig of tea roses as the centerpiece. (That threw me a bit when I got home and had to find a second vase of the right size. I'm not used to having multiple bouquets simultaneously.)

I can't, of course, share pictures of the Saturday meeting or the Wednesday party, as that could break people's anonymity. But I at least showed you a little of what I received. And in closing, let me say that my name is Lucki, I'm an alcoholic and an addict, 7123 at RPAC is my home group, I have a sponsor who knows where I'm at, my sobriety date is April 20, 1969, and I'll keep coming back.

Khoda hafez,

Sat, May 25, 2019 at 10:20 AM, Anthony wrote:
   Lucki, thank you for your newsfeed. I always read them, and enjoy your articles.
  Lucki responds to Anthony:
  Thank you. I try to keep them interesting, and it's always good to know when someone has fun with what I write and also appreciates the announcements.

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"Sarah Palin's understanding of the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty is probably not very
different from most Americans. So while it is not surprising that Sarah Palin got it wrong,
it should be noted that if asked, most of us would likely get it wrong too."  --  Sharon Kyle

Statue of Liberty magnetWhen my Number One Son Rey and my #grandMya travel, they often bring me something back. Usually, especially on a first trip to somewhere, I get a fridge magnet ... you know, like a poker chip from Las Vegas, a Mardi Gras mask from New Orleans, a coqui from Puerto Rico, etc. And, when they can find a fun one, also a T-shirt. Well, the latest contribution to my magnet collection is a 4.5" tall, three-fourths 3D, aged-silver colored Statue of Liberty magnet by Phantom of Broadway.

I treasure that magnet, have given it a prime spot in my collection display, because of who gave it to me. But if I'd, I dunno, found it on the street and taken it home to look at more closely, I'd've probably just thrown it in a drawer (or the recycle bin) and forgotten about it. Because of ... well, I'll get to that.

[ASIDE] This is actually my second Statue of Liberty gift from my progeny. My first was a 6.5" tall, fully 3D, aged-gold colored paperweight that Rey bought for me when some friends took him on a road trip to New York for his 5th birthday. It's had its notable place in my curio cabinet for lo, these many years. Interestingly, the molding work on the larger statue is way less precise, more poorly detailed, much muddier than that of the magnet. So the "because of" is just plain easier to see on the magnet. [/ASIDE]

For its size, I'm impressed with some of the detail the magnet manufacturer pulled off. The proportions are skewed. And the pedestal does have several major glitches, but I don't care 'cuz the pedestal was never actually part of the Statue given as a gift from France to the US. Rather, American financiers footed the bill for the pedestal ... apparently formed with some malice aforethought.

So, the cast of the Statue has more detail that I expected. Comparable to the actual Lady Liberty.

Statue of Liberty torch
The torch depicts its individual flames.
Statue of Liberty crown
The crown has its flutes and 7 points.
Statue of Liberty book
The date on the tablet cover is clear.
Statue of Liberty robe
The folds of the robe are clean.
Statue of Liberty feet (wrong)
The foot shows its individual toes.

Problem: One of those five pics (of the real Statue) is a lie. To make the Statue match the magnet, I had to edit out something important. Do you know what?

Statue of Liberty feet (correct)It's the "because of" that I mentioned before. The magnet clearly does not show what's at the Lady's feet. The magnet has missing links.

This is what the feet of the Statue of Liberty really look like. ->>>>>  At her feet lie broken fetters. I recently watched a documentary about the Statue of Liberty, and it claimed these represent the broken "chains of oppression" that the U.S. welcomes immigrants escaping the tyranny of. Utter balderdash. Maddening bushwah! BULL!!

Both the developer and the sculptor made clear what those chains were. (In fact, the original design also had broken manacles in Liberty's left hand.) They stated in no uncertain terms that these were the broken shackles of slavery. The whole reason for creating the Statue as a gift in the first place was as a tribute to the US's finally abolishing slavery.

Well, people in the US at the time (and since) were having none of that. While the people of France were able to pay for the Statue as a gift, it's completion depended on American financiers paying for the pedestal the Lady would stand on. It was the Americans whose demands forced the changing of the broken manacles honoring the 1865 signing of the 13th Amendment into a tablet honoring the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence. The broken fetters are still at her feet, though, but no one can see them. Not from an approaching boat. Not from the ground. Not from the pedestal. Not from inside the Statue. Not from the crown windows. And barely a bit, unrecognizable, from one of the torch webcams. You pretty much have to fly over, slowly like in a helicopter, with binocs or a telephoto lens, to really catch the missing links.

And for a century and a quarter, America succeeded in keeping the missing links missing. Until Dr. Joy Degruy, renowned educator, trainer, and author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Enduring Legacy of Injury & Healing, took a tour. And raised a knowledgeable fuss. Onsite. In public. And continuously thereafter. All over the place. In public. Until National Parks & Monuments finally had to pay heed, ask for her help, and start including the real story in their literature, displays, and tours.

I know this stuff 'cuz I know Joy. You can read more about it, though, in places like this 2014 article by publisher Sharon Kyle, at the bottom of which there's also posted a video interview with Joy from before the missing links were once again "found".

Like I said, I treasure my Lady Liberty magnet because of who gave it to me. But it's past time for Phantom of Broadway and other such souvenir producers to update their old missing-links models.

Khoda hafez,

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Y U P !

"Oh my God, at what point does a 'whoa' moment happen?" --  Paul Singer

Emailing with Kim last month reminded me of another entry I wanted to do on the whole injury/recovery thing. Sometimes baby steps are the best we can do. Doesn't mean we shouldn't do them.

I told you how I injured my achilles tendon, how much I recovered, what I kept doing, and what I didn't get back. (To refresh your memory, in addition to last month's entry, check here, here, and here.) But once I started, I kept up with the whole dancing/walking thing anyway. For, as I mentioned, cardio reasons. And kept setting new goals that - at about 110 steps a minutes -- kept taking more and more time, whether I did it all in one go or spread out over several hour-long or even half-hour sessions.

And last winter I was amazed to discover something. Accidentally. Or perhaps I should say serendipitously. For some reason, while I was dancing, I half-awarely tried that bit about rising up on my left foot, with the right one totally off the floor. Not that there'd be even a smidgeon of lift from that left achilles tendon. But ya know, good dance music motivates fancy moves.

And I was correct. I didn't get a smidgeon of lift. I got lift, period. All the way up on my left toes. And held it, disbelieving, for a good ten seconds.


WHOA!"WHOA!" said I. Out loud. I was flabbergasted. I hadn't expected any such result. But there it was.

I talked with Stacy, my physical therapist, about it later. And we arrived at this conclusion: We knew that a tendon doesn't have its own blood supply. It depends on some oxygen and nuitrients "leaking over" from the surrounding muscles' blood supply. But as I met, and raised, and surpassed my goals on a daily basis, the blood flow in the muscles naturally increased. Which allowed more and more oxygen and nutrients to osmose into the tendon. And gradually, smidgeon by smidgeon, it healed more and more.

I never noticed, though. 'Cuz I didn't routinely test that tendon anymore. I just accepted that it couldn't do the job. Until that day. When I tried again for no conscious reason. And it could. So, without fanfare, it did. It did its job.


Khoda hafez,

Tue, Apr 02, 2019 at 2:42 PM, Kim wrote:
Hey, Lucki
  1) Love the Whoa! moment - what a magnificent surprise!
  2) Of aphorisms and memes - i adored the parable about the street and the hole.
  3) Love your energy.  May you keep on keeping on.
  Lucki responds to Kim:
  1) Yes, wasn't it just, tho. Serendipity can be mind-blowing. That's a good reason to keep encouraging you on your daily walking: 'Cuz you never know what you might find that you totally weren't expecting. An unexpected health benefit. An unexpected vista, or flower, or meditation stone (to sit on or to hold). An unexpected facet of relationship with a neighbor.
  2) As do I. My 12-Step sponsee H.J. reminded me of it, which is why I quoted our convo & gave her credit in Twigs of a Family Tree. That's the kind of meme that can apply to any- and everyone, in and outside the rooms of recovery. It's not just a 12-Step lesson, it's a life lesson.
  3) From your mouth to God's -- and the Nine Muses' -- ears. LOL

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"Walking . . . is how the body measures itself against the earth." --  Rebecca Solnit
"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time." -- Steven Wright

I hit a milestone yesterday. A major milestone. Nay, a humongous milestone. And I didn't even stub my toe.

In grade school. I learned that the United States is about 3,000 miles (that's about 4,825 kilometers) across. We settled for that approximation (by which I mean our teachers did) because the width changes depending on the parameters you use for start- and end-points and mode of travel.

US-Canada borderMore specific is the sometimes zig-zaggy border between Cananda and the contiguous US. It's actually 3,987 miles (6,416 K) long. The border between Canada and the continental US of A, however, is 5,525 miles (8,891 K).

Big difference.

That's 'cuz Canada's border with Alaska, the sole continental state that's not contiguous, is a whopping 1,538 miles (2,475 K). In other words, Alaska alone accounts for well over a quarter of our total border with Canada.

Now, some readers will remember that I was born in New England. And some have read about my trip to Vancouver Island. So they probably know that I've done enough straight-line east/west surface traveling in my lifetime to at least match that nearly-4,000 mile continent-wide border. If not also the more comprehensive, over-5,000 mile distance. Not everyone has had that kind of opportunity in their life - though, of course, many have - so I'm kinda proud of that. In a gentle sort of way.

(By the way, going to Israel didn't figure in, 'cuz I didn't go by surface transport. I flew. And no, my arms didn't get tired. After all, it's not like I had to pull up on the armrests to help keep the plane in the air.)

But I've also intentionally covered a lot of ground mostly just in Chicago over the course not of my whole adult lifetime but merely the last four years. On foot. Walking. Well, and dancing. You've read about it in my blogs. Like here. About my getting a pedometer. Starting a regimen on April 22, 2015. Setting a relatively easy goal. Surpassing it. Jacking it up. Surpassing it again. Etc. My current (and probably final) goal is 30 miles a week. Walking outside when I can. Dancing inside when I must.

Well, for me that 5,525 miles equals 19,448,000 steps. Plus 1 to surpass it. And yesterday, I started the day at 19,444,339 steps. And ended it with 19,459,596.

! ! ! ! !

Gonna keep going, of course. Minimum of five 4-mile and two 5-mile days a week. Don't know what I'll set as my next milestone. Or even if I will. 'Cuz this one pretty much snuck up on me until I noticed my grand totals towards the end of 2018, wondered how it compared to cross-country walking, and calculated/realized how close I was to that lo-o-ong border that includes everywhere the US touches Canada.

Khoda hafez,

P.S. A friend of mine, Nancy, was talking about her daily walking as physical therapy following a severe traffic accident. (She was driving in a funeral motorcade, and some totally oblivious driver at an intersection broadsided her on the driver's side.) She was saying how she didn't like the onset of winter 'cuz it interrupted her PT walking. So I told her about how I dance when I can't walk. Originally to the wonderful SonicTap Retro Disco channel, which really motivated me (only, when AT&T acquired DirecTV, they deep-sixed that contract as fast as they could). But now, out of stubborness, I dance to some far-inferior MusicChoice channels on DirecTV. Or to the radio. Or while watching a TV program. Or talking on the phone. Or whatever it takes to make my daily steps. And she exuded what a good idea that was ... and has been doing it ever since. I'm so glad I had that tool/method to share with her when she needed it. And I'm proud of her.

Tue, Mar 05, 2019 at 1:28 PM, Kim wrote:
  I checked out Abiding Blog, my favorite of your sections. Had not realized that your walking was such a relatively recent habit - wow. So impressive! Congratulations! I take a 1 km walk every afternoon. Takes me 20 minutes ... I enjoy it and I do it, but cannot imagine upping that to 3 miles. Sheesh! You must be hard to keep up with!
   May God's blessings surround you.
Big hugs,


Lucki responds to Kim:
  Well, my walking isn't all that recent a habit. It's the tracking that's recent. And having a daily/weekly goal.
  As a non-driver, I've always enjoyed walking. Long walks with friends. Especially along the lake. Had some especially interesting experiences in the dead of a winter's night on the frozen shore. Or, in good weather, walking alone from one destination to another if I had the time. I think probably my longest single walk was from my dentist to the House of Worship, about 9 miles. Used to cover a kilometer in about 15 minutes, a mile in 22.5.
  Then the big tendon injury happened in the Fall of 2013. And all that walking ground down to about a 0.5-mile limit. And still hurt. Once 2014's PT was done, though, when I was able to walk halfway decently again, I managed to get my time back up to a K in about 20 minutes, a mile (as I warmed up more) in 30.
  But it was in Spring of 2015 that I bought my pedometer, set a relatively easy daily goal, and started keeping track. Mostly for cardio reasons. And the result of that is what I blogged about here. But you've given me an idea for my next entry. Yup. So thank you.
Blessings and big hugs back atcha,
P.S. For heaven's sake, don't try to up your distance from 1 K to 3 miles in one swell foop. If you want to and have the time, try building incrementally, like I did. And remember that walking can actually become easier/faster as your muscles warm up (and you go aerobic, too). A kilometer isn't exactly 6/10ths of a mile, but let's use that as a rough guide. Making each increase as the previous one becomes comfortable, it would take about 1 year if an increase once a month works out for you. Or 2 years if you can only increase once every 2 months. Etc. It could go something like this:

JAN = 1 K    FEB = 1.5 K     MAR = 1 M    APR = 2 K       MAY = 2.5 K/1.5 M    JUN = 3 K  in ~1 hr+
JUL = 2 M    AUG = 3.5 K    SEP = 4 K     OCT = 2.5 M    NOV = 4.5 K               DEC = 5 K/3 M in <2 hr

Whatever you decide to do, keep enjoying it! That's the most important point.



Wed, Mar 06, 2019 at 2:51 PM, Kim wrote:
  Ahh. The light dawns! Love the encouragement  :)
   The one km is from my house to the main road and back. Any further and the neighbors expect visits...I do go for visits, and on those days walk farther - but I have to work up a different kind of "comfort" to extend the range daily. Or add a side trip to the creek, which isn't so many meters, but adds another hill. and another 10 minutes.
   Plenty to think on. Thanks for your blog.
   Finishing one project and will get to my Circular Gallifreyan items sometime this year. I'll send you photos when I accomplish it. (Gregorian year, so be patient!)

      Lucki responds to Kim:
  Well, Holy Writ does encourage and inspire each of us to "encourage and inspire each other", so I try. Don't always succeed; but I'm not in charge of the results, I'm only in charge of the legwork.
  I get what you mean about people's expectations. That side trip sounds like a good idea. And of course, as you build your stamina, there's always the tactic of making that walk twice a day. When I do my walking/dancing, I don't always do it all at once. Some days, I have to break it into, like, maybe 60- or even 30-minute segments to fit all around other things I have scheduled.
  Good luck with the project you're working on. And looking forward to seeing what you finally get to do with your patches. They were fun to plan and make. I have two on my schedule to do right now. They're designed (which is the harder part), so only the embroidering left to do.

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"I wish that my writing was as mysterious as a cat." -- Edgar Allen Poe

It's been a while since I posted about the psychic/paranormal power of cats. So it's definitely time for another go. And today's the perfect day, 'cuz of what happened this morning.

If you want/need to, though, I'll wait until you've looked at previous posts in this series: about Hadji's levitation, Seraphin's teleportation, guest author Rolf's cat Ted's teleporation, and Smoky's astral projection. To say nothing of the heart-touching powers of Ascii and Silver. Go ahead; I'll still be here when you get back.

Data point 5: Bilocation
Angel & her stuffed snuggle-skunk in the cat-condo penthouseMy #grandMya's cat Angel, who lives with me, is a wizard at knowing when I wake up. Doesn't matter where she is. In a window keeping an eye on the neighbors. In one of the cat shelters under the bookshelves. In the cat condo in the living room. (<<<<<=That's her there in the cat condo penthouse, cuddled against the tail of her stuffed snuggle-skunk.) In the litter box in the master bath. In the kitchen scouting for food I might've dropped unnoticed last night.

But the minute I wake up, she starts her special raspy "feed me" call. The one she uses only when I wake up and again at supper time. The one she's been using ever since Silver died and she had to take over the task of getting me up and at 'em.

"Mraah-aahh-hh-aackk!" she says. Repeatedly. Until I'm up and off to the kitchen. Translation: "What's taking so long? You haven't fed me in HOURS! How'za housecat supposed to survive around here?!"

So it was no surprise, as I woke up this morning, to hear her start calling from the living room.

The surprise was her silent, warm weight lying athwart my thighs.

But nope, that's not where the sound was coming from. It was definitely coming from the living room. Only, I can't see into the living room from my bedroom. So I didn't have clear visual proof that she was bilocating. But I certainly had unimpeachable aural proof that she was actually in two different places at the same time.

I didn't know cats could even do that. Bilocate. But obviously they can. Learn something new every day.

Khoda hafez,

P.S. One of my own cats - actually my first Chicago cat, Shadow Delibre - once accused me of bilocation. It was a Sunday morning. I was in bed. I woke up when the clock radio in the next room started playing. A talk program. Shadow woke up, too. Heard my voice in the next room. Jumped down and ran into the next room to see what I was doing. Came back. Put his front paws on the mattress and lifted up to look at me. Yep, I was there. Got down, went under the bed, came out the other side, and lifted up again to look at me some more. Yep, I was still there. Went back to the next room for a short while and listened to me continue giving an interview. Then came back into the bedroom, shook his head, shrugged, and got back on the bed with the silent me. "Impressive," he seemed to say, "but not worth losing more catnap time over." But trust me, this morning there was no radio on. So I know it wasn't some prerecorded Angelic interview I was hearing. It was live. It was her. The bilocat(e).

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"Ishiro! Meet Garima. Queen of Thanzanon." -- Mick Rory

It was unutterably funny. I laughed. I cried. I gaffawed. I roared. I held my sides. I got what they mean by being "in stitches". I couldn't catch my breath. My ribs ached. I shed tears of both glee and pain. It just wouldn't stop. I laughed that/so long and that/so hard. All the way through the multi-minute commercial break. Without stop.

That was on November 19 last year. And then, on December 24, I did it again. On purpose. I figured it couldn't possibly be so funny, so hard, so exhausting the second time around. But it was. Once again. And there I was, once again, laughing uproariously. Unstoppably. All the way through the commercials.

Black, corded Puli jumping over an obstacleWhen my #grandMya is feeling down, or just wants a guaranteed giggle, she goes to an Internet picture I introduced her to. And her eyes light up. She smiles. Chuckles. Chortles. Guaranteed. It's a picture of a jumping Puli. Black. Corded. With a tiny pink tonguetip. That's it stage left there. In all it's glory. Dreadlocks flying. A living, breathing, leaping, panting Koosh ball.=>>>>> 

(BTW, my own personal Koosh ball is black and green. Still gets occasionally played with. And still is in quite good condition.)

Well, from now on, all I need to do to guarantee a risible reaction is say to myself, "Mick 'Mary Sue' Rory." And I will at least smile my way through a Snartly snort.

"So who is 'Mary Sue'?" you ask. (You did ask, right?) Well, the history, denotation, and connotation of the term have become convoluted and complex over time. But the brief basic answer for our purposes here is this: "Mary Sue is the creation by a fanfic author of an idealized character - usually the impossibly perfect love interest of a canon lead character - that is a thinly disguised version of the author herself."

When I started writing Anasazi Anthem, I expressed concern that a protagonist I introduced, Kol Kaguta, might come across as just too Mary Sue. The fellow authors in my consultative group assured me that she was definitely not a Mary Sue. And nor was I. (And yes, I know I have to keep my promise to my spiritual mother, Rezvanieh, and continue working on the story. One of my goals for 2019, it is.)

[SPOILER ALERT] So I'm watching the "Tagumo Attacks!!!" episode of DC's #LegendsOfTomorrow the first time through 'cuz I have nothing better to do that evening. Plus, they're going to meet an historical icon of my youth. And in the course of it, I learn more about #MickRory (hilariously portrayed by #DominicPurcell at his rough, curmudgeonly, primal-force-of-nature best). The fact that Mick's been scecretly writing erotic fiction - and writing it well - comes into play in a big way. 'Cuz the Legends need someone artistic to bond with a book that makes the imagined real. And they are unable to completely defeat the giant octopus (though they did manage to reduce it to somewhat human size) that the book manifested from the imagination of famous director/screenwriter Ishiro Honda while he was directing his first feature film, Aoi shinju (The Blue Pearl), in 1951.

Garima, queen of Thanzanon, battles eight-armed Tagumo on Ishiro Honda's setRory to the rescue. He writes up a storm. Actually, he writes up a hero. Garima. Queen of Thanzanon. She of the huge swords. Leather-bound garb. Blue-banded eyes. And triply-endowed chest. She's fresh on his mind 'cuz he's been writing an erotic science fiction story about her and developed writer's block. But the team needs his talent, he's inspired, and he's off to the races. So is Garima. She battles the eight-armed Tagumo. Eventually dispatches it with some fancy footwork and swordplay. Heads for Mick (who, tongue-tied, introduces himself to her with a simple "I'm Mick"). Kisses him. And drags him off(screen) into the ruins of Ishiro's demolished minature set for a lo-o-ong, messy bout of passion. Come daylight, so to speak, Garima is gone. So is Mick's writer's block.

The closing line of Mick's scenario as he inscribes it in the magic book is "With the monster vanquished, Garima and her beloved Buck made passionate love in the ruins of the city." And the closing line of Mick's original story, now that he's unblocked, becomes "Garima was as strong as she was stunning, and with her by his side, Buck had at last vanquished his true enemy. Fear." [END SPOILER ALERT]

That second line came after the commercial break. But the first one came before it. And as the first commercial started on November 19, I suddenly said to myself, aloud, "Buck is Mick is a Mary Sue!" And loud, unending peals of laughter ensued. Until it hurt.

So, like an idiot, I decided to watch it again when it reran on Christmas Eve. Just to see if it was still all that funny. I knew what was coming. At least I thought I did. Forewarned is forearmed, right? Couldn't possibly be that hilarious the secomd time 'round, right? But it was. And once again, I laughed till it hurt.

You know, one of the reasons #WentworthMiller learned, in their acting and promoting together, to love Purcell like a brother is that Purcell could make Miller laugh. Sure proved it that night. As funny as Miller and Purcell's Legends work could be together - and remember, it was their chemistry and humor that made me a Legends appointment viewer back in the day - Purcell was able to hold his own alone. In spades. And I found myself wondering what sardonic comment #LeonardSnart would've made if he'd been there to see his partner's solution. And secret. But maybe Snart would've been unable to say anything 'cuz he, too, would be laughing. Uproarisouly. 'Til it hurt.

Sadly, we'll never know. But maybe that's for the best. 'Cuz can you just imagine what snarky Snartisms would have ensued if Leonard then heard MarySue Mick admit that his true enemy was fear? This way, absent Lenny, Mick gets to deal with that realization on his own terms in his own time. Good for him.

Khoda hafez,

P.S. For another three "true" stories about LoT-/#Wentnic-watching, and why it's no longer appointment viewing, and how I'm not the only one that's true for, check here, here, and here. Wow, five LoT entries in all. Didn't expect that.

P.P.S. For some extra fun and confusion, google the name/definitions of Garima. Pay attention. There'll be a test. ;-)

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