I seek, therefore I am human

Basically, my aim in anything I am engaged in, is to do it to the best of my knowledge and ability at the time. This blog is my journal of discovery as to what works for me. It could be about my relationship with my husband, cats or my Higher Self; or it could be about food, particularly vegan food; or it might be about gardening, rants on the government...whatever the day brings. Hope you enjoy! Please feel free to comment at any juncture!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Michael & Beth - a Tribute

I’ve had a friend for many years, a man named Michael.  We met in 1989 at a computer fair in Portland where he was manning a booth and I was scouting for SCUBA students.  I didn’t get to teach him SCUBA, but we had a more important destiny….that of good, solid friendship that has lasted over two decades.

Michael and I were both single at the time we met, but there wasn’t much interest in the two of us becoming involved.  In any case, it didn’t happen.  I dated whomever, and so did he.  In one period late in 1992, I found myself homeless, jobless and pretty much friendless, all but for my best friend Michael.  He allowed me to sleep on his sofa for several months while I tried to get my life back on track.  All the while he was dating a gal named Karen who resented that I was living in his apartment.  I could hardly blame her but, for my part, she needn’t have been concerned. 

Around the time I moved to Seattle in 1992, Michael broke up with Karen, and subsequently met a woman in Beaverton where he lived named Beth.  Beth was a very prominent and successful family law attorney in Beaverton with her own firm.  Honestly, I can’t recall the first time I met Beth.  It could have been at the birthday party she threw for Michael at the Oregon Coast.  She rented two homes (they weren’t “cabins” in any sense of the word!) side by side on the beach and invited all his friends for a weekend of partying and celebrating.  Beth, with the help of one or two of her friends, did all the planning, preparations, cooking, cleaning, etc. associated with a party of 20 or more people for two full days.  Most of the guests did nothing to help.  I offered, but was told it was her treat and to just relax and enjoy.  That’s a big “wow” right there.  Beth was one of the most generous women I’d ever met. 

I’ve always moved a lot.  When I was younger in one 10 year period I moved 25 times.  If it couldn’t fit in my car, I didn’t own it.  In nearly twenty years of living in the Seattle area, I’ve moved about 10 times, not counting the two weeks I perched at my daughter’s place after I first moved up here.  Two of those moves were assisted by Michael and Beth who drove up here from Portland to help me.  To me that is a more amazing statistic than the number of times I’ve moved.  Here she is, a high-powered attorney, and a judge pro tempore, helping ME move!  During the second move she assisted, she was actually sick with the flu. 

In 2004, I married a nice man named George in a pagan Handfasting ceremony in his sister’s backyard in Lake Stevens Washington.  Michael and Beth came up for the festivities, even though Beth had broken her ankle riding on a Segway in Los Angeles the week before and was hobbling on crutches.  She clearly wasn’t in a good mood that day.  Beth had served as George’s sister Debbie’s attorney during her divorce so they had a connection.  However, Beth totally ignored Debbie – even when spoken to directly.  She also snubbed or was sharp to others who spoke to her, so it wasn’t just that she didn’t remember Debbie.  Almost everyone who encountered Beth that day left with a bad taste in their mouth about her.  You can fill in the blanks with the kinds of descriptive adjectives people used for her.  She wasn’t extremely warm to me either, but she pulled it together enough to at least somewhat congratulate George and I on our marriage.  I know she wasn’t too happy about my marriage to George.  She not only told me to be cautious, she actually bought a prenuptial agreement for me (drawn up by my own attorney) as a wedding present.  Remember I said I owned practically nothing?  I did own a condo and George had no property.  I guess that was reason enough for her to be concerned for my welfare.  I can’t really fault her for her concern, even though I thought it was way out of proportion to the level of perceived threat.  The marriage only lasted three years, but the prenup was not even brought up in the divorce.  George and I had sold the condo and bought a house together.  The house that my husband Gayle and I now occupy.

My point about talking about Beth so much is to show how extremely generous and sweet Beth was to me, one of her boyfriend’s best friends.  I never took her wonderful bigheartedness for granted and still don’t.  To me, she and Michael are the epitome of the word “friend”.  Michael figures in here too, of course.  He has bailed me out of bad situations and rescued me more times than I can count.  Beth and Michael.  Michael and Beth.  They are one and the same.  Together forever.  And that brings me to my final chapter on the story of Beth and Michael.

About four or five years ago, Beth and Michael moved to Guadalajara Mexico.  I went down to Beaverton to see them before they left.  Beth had sold her firm and her living room was full of printers and computers from the firm that she was peddling.  Her normally clean house was a mess.  She was somehow different.  Michael told me she had been diagnosed with a disease that there wasn’t even a name for.  It involved the gradual disintegration of the frontal lobe of her brain!  No one knew why this was happening to her.  There was no treatment protocol.  There is no cure.  Beth was given two years to live.  Michael thought that by moving to Mexico her life would be less stressful and perhaps they could extend her life a few more months or years.

When Gayle and I went to Ajijic Mexico last month, Beth and Michael drove down to visit us from their home in Guadalajara.  I was shocked to see Beth.  Her spontaneous verbal skills are gone.  She can only repeat back to you what you say.  If you’re asking her if she wants water or is hungry, she can repeat back “water” or “hungry”, but she can’t come up with those words on her own.  She makes a continuous noise I’m not sure how to describe…like a hard “uhhhh” with every breath through her sagging mouth.  When she’s walking, it’s quite loud and noticeable.  She’s unaware of her eliminative functions and has to wear a diaper.  Michael takes care of her 24/7.  They walk every day to try and keep their weight down, and otherwise Beth spends her time watching the same five movies every single day of her life.  She knows the dialogue of them by rote.  Actually, if you ask her the name of the movie she’s watching, she can tell you what it is.  Otherwise, she’s about 99% non-verbal.

It sounds like all bad news, but Michael plays Santa Claus during the Christmas season for orphanages and schools in Guadalajara.  (That’s why the beard and long hair!)  Beth goes with him dressed as Ms. Santa Claus.  This is a complete joy for them and for the children whom they encounter.  Ms. Santa is a big gal – much larger than almost everybody in Mexico.  She inspires awed looks wherever they go.


The Beth who used to verbally joust with rival attorneys in a court of law; who could ride her Honda Gold Wing for thousands of miles along side Michael on his Valkarie; who was either the life of the party or could wither you with a glance; whose unfailing generosity created great loyalties or deep resentments (I didn’t mention her spoiled ungrateful children!)  – well, that Beth is no more.

I praise Michael above almost anyone I can think of for his incredible devotion to this woman, his “esposa” without legalities, to whom he has dedicated his entire life.  Without his love and caring support, Beth would have been gone years ago.  He continues to research this devastating disease that Beth has and tries all different kinds of possible helpful remedies based on little more than anecdotal evidence.  His latest finding is that coconut milk has helped her become a bit more verbal.  She can at least parrot what is being said, or answer yes or no.  This is an improvement.  He said that her abilities are on a continuum, sometimes good, sometimes better, sometimes worse.  He’s unsure as to the long term benefits the coconut milk will have, but for now it has improved her condition somewhat.  The long term prognosis, however, is not encouraging.  Beth is over 60 years old.  The prospects of her living into her 70’s are quite slim.  Still, she continues to cling to life with surprising tenacity.

I love these two people – Michael and Beth.  I wish them well in their journey and pray that when the time comes for them to part, the parting will be blessed and that Beth will be easefully released into the incredible beauty and freedom of the Great Spirit. 

Namasté, my friends!


Michael and Beth in Ajijic, Mexico11/25/2011

                                           Beth, Michael, Gayle and myself Ajijic, Mexico 11/25/2011.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trip to Ajijic Mexico

My husband Gayle and I just got back from a week in Ajijic [Ah-hee-heek] Jalisco Mexico on the north shore of Lake Chapala – the largest lake in all of Mexico – and a forty minute drive from the airport at Guadalajara.  We stayed at a beautiful Bed & Breakfast called La Estrellita’s owned by Lorraine Pasini (http://estrellitasinnajijic.com/) about a block from the lake front and two blocks from the levee that runs 1/3 mile along the lake known as a malecón [mah-lay-cone].  It is also just two blocks from the town square.  I highly recommend this B&B.  Lorraine is an absolute doll of a host.

Ajijic is touted to have the second best climate in the world.  At about 5,000 ft elevation, it nearly always has moderate temperatures.  While we were there (late November), the temperatures ranged from 50 deg F at night and one cool day to a high of about 85 degrees.  It was dry the entire time we were there, however there was a wind storm one night and into the day time which knocked out some power in places. 

We found almost all the Mexican people to be extremely friendly and somewhat conversant if not entirely fluent in English.  Part of the reason for this is the large population of American and Canadian retirees and snowbirds in Ajijic.  Restaurants especially catered to North American and Canadians and the wait-staff speak English quite well in most places.  As for the restaurants, we ate fabulous Italian and Thai food more than once.  Gayle had a great big steak done perfectly at Ajijic Tango restaurant for $10!  For myself, I did not have any traditional Mexican food while we were there, in contrast to the last time we visited Mexico - Tequisquipan in 2010.  I wasn’t a vegan in 2010.  Yes, beans and rice in a corn tortilla make a complete protein, but how boring that would be for every meal!  The best I could do was vegetarian food.  So I consumed dairy and eggs for a week.  No big deal.  It was a fine compromise.  But for that I’m glad to be home where I have some control over my diet.  Healthy, strictly vegan fare is almost completely unavailable in restaurants everywhere, not just in Mexico.  North American restaurants could use some upgrading on that score.  Vegan/Vegetarian’s are the fastest growing segment of the population in the US.


Describing Mexico (at least Ajijic and other towns I’ve been to) to someone who has never been there is difficult.  If I could use one word to describe it, it would be “messy”.  The streets off the main road through town (“carretera”) are all paved with stones that are bumpy, slow and noisy to drive on.  Skin-and-bones dogs sleep and crap in the roads and on the narrow sidewalks.  The sidewalks themselves are so uneven and broken up, in most cases, you have to watch every step, not to mention having to keep from treading on dog crap as you pick your way along.  Buildings are built right to the edge of the sidewalks, have zero clearance between them, and are walled 8 to 12 feet high with masonry construction.  Masonry construction is the rule everywhere in Mexico as they have no timber resources to speak of but plenty of rock, stone and mud.  All windows and doors are covered with iron bars.  The tops of the masonry walls are guarded with razor wire, broken glass, bougainvillea with its inch long thorns, or barbed steel hooks of some kind.  Security seems to be a priority in building construction.  While we were there, we heard the tale of a visiting couple whose rented house was robbed of everything they had brought, including underwear and shoes.  There had been no sign of forced entry, so it looked as though someone had used a key to gain entry.  Perhaps a “bump” key was used.

Note:  If you’re renting a house or unsecured condo in Mexico, insist that the keyed entry is changed immediately before your arrival (same day if possible) and ask for proof that it has been done.  Don’t take the owner’s word for it.  Probably the best kind of lock is a combination lock in which the combination is frequently changed.

Houses, shops and buildings have tall masonry walls and steel barred doors and windows.  Some are nice, some are really, really nice, and right beside these gorgeous places are almost uninhabitable looking house faćades, but most are occupied despite their appearance.  The masonry is almost always painted with bright colors, mainly in the orange/yellow or blue hues.  Some have murals painted on them depicting scenes from the Aztec area, or other colorful designs.  Some are just plain ol’ ugly. 


Gayle and I strolled the market set up on a four block long cobblestone street on Wednesday of the week we were there.  Some of the products being sold were sweets and nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, handmade jewelry, CD’s, leather goods, toys, and painted earthenware.  I bought a couple of beautifully hand painted condiment bowls.

If you go to Mezcala which is about an hour drive east of Ajijic, you can take a tour boat ride to a little island in Lake Chapala.  We saw a boat leave but decided not to take the trip.  Gayle said he’s not a “boat person”, whatever that means.  We didn’t see that there were any tour boat trips available in Ajijic.  We saw fishermen in boats along the shore competing with the egrets for the fish, but they didn’t offer us a ride.  Hahaha.

Walking around and checking out the numerous shops and stores in Ajijic turned out to be most of the activity we engaged in.  That and eating!  There are bars – some of which cater to smokers, but we only did that once.  I had the best hand-made margarita ever at Tom’s Bar on Constitución Street. 

Taking a siesta during the hottest part of the day – one to three p.m. – seems to be the thing to do.  I caught up on emails and Facebook status or read while Gayle napped.  I don’t normally take naps but I did once while we were there.  To me it makes sleeping at night difficult.

I got a pedicure at one of the nicer salons in town and it only cost $12.50 including tip.  It was one of the better pedicures I’ve ever had.  Massages, including Reiki, and reflexology are also available in town. 

We heard there were hot springs spas nearby Ajijic. 

We had a car but probably didn’t need it.  Taxis are plentiful.  Buses run on schedule.  It’s a little dicey and very expensive to rent a car.  Insurance is not optional on car rentals so it cost us $500 to rent a Tsuru for a week through Thrifty.  The worse thing about driving in Mexico is that nobody obeys speed limits and you will get passed if you do – sometimes dangerously.  As an aside, NEVER leave anything visible in your car. 


If you have a Kindle or iPad (or the like), bring that!   It’s so nice not having to tote around actual books.

            Bring your netbook or laptop.  WiFi is available most everywhere you stay.  It may be a bit dicey or slow once in awhile, but usually not. 


            Comfortable walking shoes.  Sandals and flip flops are okay, but you’ll definitely need a sturdy shoe to walk on those cobblestone streets with.



We both brought our iPods and didn’t use them once.  Not even on the flights to and from.  Of course, you may love having yours. 

Bathing suits didn’t get used because our B&B didn’t have a pool.  The lake is not swimmable by American standards, though the water quality is said to be good during the summer months in the rainy season.  It looked pretty icky to me in November!


            Checked luggage was free to and from Mexico (Guadalajara, at least).  Two pieces each person.  Gayle just told me that was a special that Alaska Airlines was running in November.  Poo.

            They FEED you on the flight…actual food that’s not too awful.

Well, that’s about all I have on our trip to Ajijic Mexico.  If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below and I’ll try to get back to you quickly with an answer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What can be done about it?

What's on my mind these days is the state of 'our' government.  I say 'our', because the governance "of the people, by the people, for the people" as it states in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address has become a governance "of the rich and powerful, and to hell with everyone else". 

Where to begin?  Let's start with the FDA since that's the first agency that springs to mind and the one at which I'm the most angry, upset and bewildered - at the moment. 

The FDA is supposed to be the regulatory agency in charge of approving drugs that have been proven, through various means, fit for human use.  First off, the agency is headed by either former or current employees of major pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma).  That's a huge no no right out of the starting gate. Then there is the fact that the FDA takes money from Big Pharma to expedite the approval of drugs. 

I could go on a lengthy and involved rant about the FDA involving certain 'alternative cancer therapies' and how the doctors who come up with these therapies are systematically discredited through any and all means (and I mean ALL), including but not limited to:  grand jury indictments, media smear campaigns, congressional hearings, raids, confiscation of property without due process, National Cancer Institute (NCI) warnings, and other more heinous means.  These FDA efforts cost taxpayers millions of dollars and forces these doctors to to spend great sums of money, time and effort to fight the proceedings.  Often the doctors just give up and go practice in other countries.  Rather than detail these proceedings, I've included some links at the bottom of this page which will give you the full story.

You would THINK that the FDA must be trying to protect the American people but you would be wrong.  The cancer therapies approved by the FDA are chemo, radiation and surgery.  Period.  Who benefits most from these three so-called therapies?  You got it:  Big Pharma, the medical equipment business and Cancer Doctors (Oncologists).  Sometimes these therapies cure people of cancer.  More often, however, people with certain types of cancer (inoperable brain cancer, notably), are killed by the therapies designed to help them, or it renders them into a vegetative state and THEN they die.

The truth of the matter is that cancer therapy is all about money.  Money for Big Pharma, Oncologists, the medical equipment business and the government.  It's not about curing cancer.  That is exactly the LAST thing anyone in that industry wants to have happen, despite what they constantly tell us.  In fact, the FDA and Big Pharma will allow you to die, even systematically CAUSE you to die, in order to discredit any therapy that does not make money for them.  True story.  Investigate it for yourself.  Look at the movies I've provided links to below.  Particularly the Dr. Burzynski movie.  That's a real eye-opener!

You ask:  What about the Susan G Komen Foundation?  What about the National Cancer Institute?  What about Livestrong?  Yeah, they just want your dollars too.  It's not about cure.  If you remember that, then you've saved yourself buckets of money and have kept it out of the hands of people who are profiteering from the suffering of hundreds of thousands of individuals with cancer.

What if you or someone close to you gets cancer?  I put a some links below to a couple of alternative therapies.  Call either one of these clinics and talk to them.  I sincerely hope you investigate these BEFORE you allow your physician to administer chemotherapy or radiation or cut into your body. 

So my title question is:  What can be done about it?  The answer is THINK, INVESTIGATE, don't be mislead by people with an agenda, and most of all - always and forever - take care of YOURSELF! 


watch The Gerson Miracle on Youtube.com