Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday -- Wheee!

It’s Friday!!!! Friday before a three-day weekend! Wahoo!!!

I am at loose ends all weekend except for a visit to Aunt Tod. I’ll do that first thing Saturday morning and find out what her wishes are about me looking into Kings Manor for her. I will also call Joe and see what he thinks her prospects are for returning to Maple Creek. If not good, I will definitely give Kings Manor a call and make arrangements for someone to go to the facility Tod is in now and let me know if she’s a candidate for the Manor.

I just called Kings Manor. They have a couple studios available right now. Joe will be calling me back shortly to give me his take on how he thinks Tod will be when she gets out of where she is now and whether he thinks she should be placed at Kings Manor, if they will take her…

I hope, of course, she can stay at Maple Creek because she has made friends there and the people really do adore her. They will adore her anywhere, though, so that isn’t an issue. I know Kings Manor will take great care of her, because I know the people and many of the residents, and if she’s there I can visit a lot of folks when I visit her! That’s a plus for me… but it might take some convincing for her…
I will explain all the possibilities when I see her this weekend, or before…
Other than that, I plan to rest! A lot! That’s the ticket!

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T’was a busy, busy day at On-Hold Concepts ( I didn’t take much of a breath until close to 3 pm. Clients were coming back in droves and the salespeople landed three new accounts – I wrote copy for all of them. (The others copywriters had their hands full with some peripheral tasks, so I was "it" – and happy to be so! I LOVE WRITING!! Can you tell? WAHOO! I love days like this!

My boss asked me what I plan to do on this long three-day weekend and I said, "Crash! Rest! Sleep! Veg!" Then he remembered what this month has been like for me, non-stop. I’ve never felt healthier, though! You get that adrenaline pumping and it kicks out any real or perceived weakness you might have!

Anne called last night, as did Bobbie. But before I knew they had, and before they called again, I had to go to Office Depot and get a new answering machine because all the calls that came were indecipherable. I inherited my answering machine and phone from Mom and Dad, so it was time to invest in a digital one. It’s charging all day today, but starting tonight I should have a pretty amazing answering machine. People who call me will be very glad because in the past, they heard squawks, beeps and lots of other nonsense before the tape ever came around so they could leave a message. BUT IT STILL WORKED -- until yesterday -- so I was reticent to replace it. It isn’t that I’m a penny pincher. I just don’t have all that many pennies to pinch! I’m on the comeback trail, though. I see light at the end of the tunnel – and if it isn’t an oncoming train, I’ll be fine!

What else? Jackie and her brood should return from Lake Chelan tomorrow afternoon so I can let her in on Tod’s move and the repercussions and choices that may face us now.

Alison emailed to say she thinks she’ll be over for a visit in mid-October. That’s a good time to visit. I have a women’s retreat the last weekend of this month, so if she came sooner she’d be hijacked and taken along. (She wouldn’t mind one bit, I’m sure!)

That’s about all I can report at this time. More tomorrow…

Monday, August 27, 2007

Weekend Comings and Goings...

The weekend whizzed by again and I really didn’t want this one to do that because Wednesday Bobbie flies back to North Carolina so our "full days" together are gone! Waaahhh!

Saturday we stopped to see Aunt Tod (still in the hospital but looking better). We went there first, but she was in dialysis on another floor, so we left her a note, a vase of flowers and a little angel to let her know we had been there and that we would be back when she was in her room again.

From there, we drove down the hill into Tacoma where we spent just a little over an hour at the Museum of Glass. We watched some glass artists creating vases and other vessels for a while and then visited all the galleries where everything was made of glass – fascinating!

After that we grabbed a couple of Kentucky Fried Chicken meals and went to Owen Beach to eat them. The day was overcast but warm enough still for enjoyment. It was about 70 degrees F. We watched many forms of watercraft going to and fro in Puget Sound as we ate – al the while trying to get two yellow jackets to invest time eating our leftovers instead of what we were trying to put into our mouths, with limited success. They didn’t get mad at us – we just kept trying to "lead" them away from the best stuff with a chicken bone with a little left on it – but they were too smart for that ploy. (These are beach bees – they know where the good stuff is: at the entrance to the mouth!)

After that we drove across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge – the old one in one direction, the new one on the way back. In case you ever saw the old film footage of "Galloping Gertie" back in the 40’s, these are the bridges that replaced that bridge after it fell into the Sound almost a thousand feet below… These new bridges are built of sturdier stock. (I believe you can still access film footage of the 1940’s era bridge collapse on-line by doing a search on "Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse’ or "Galloping Gertie" and it’s worth the search.)

After that we came back to St Joe’s and found Aunt Tod back in bed, so we visited her for about 40 minutes (until her eyes started looking droopy and her voice began to fail), then we skedaddled out of there so we wouldn’t deplete what the nurses have been working so diligently to recover.

When we got home it was about 2 pm. We gabbed into the night and I went to sleep at about eight or nine.

Yesterday we went to church and after that at lunch at Bur’s Restaurant. I fell asleep promptly after lunch sitting in the recliner. I will blame that on Bobbie because she put on some of the most amazing Montovani music (classic operas without words) I have ever heard and they lulled me to sleep better’n a sledghammer on my skull could have!

At four I awoke and Bobbie and I drove to Jackie’s for dinner. Another friend of hers, a 67 year old female race car driver named Evelyn – came by for a visit and dinner, so Jackie’s grandkids took turns getting into the driver’s seat of her race car, which was parked out front, and donning her race helmet. I filmed all of that on a movie camera. Grins, grins everywhere.

Dinner was great as was the company. Phil, Wendy, Casey and Jamie were there, too and later, Lizzie and Isabella came too, so the whole gang was there eventually.
Bobbie and I got home about eight and we laughed ourselves silly for most of the rest of the night. Suddenly it was 11:30 pm and I had to get some sleep so I could work today with competency.

We have about 12 hours of "togther time" left before she flies away. That’s not enough. We’ll be fitting in stuff we forgot to say before now, I’m sure…

It has been an absolute blast. I caught some of it on videotape so Bobbie can take it home to share with anyone else who might be interested…

Alison has emailed a time or two, as have Billie and Helen. Scout’s honor: I will be responding to each of them better on the weekend, if not before… I’m usually a much better correspondent.

And some of the people I met at the convention emailed some cool photos, so I will be adding them to this blog sometime soon…

Friday, August 24, 2007


I’m usually not as crazy about Fridays as I have been the past two weeks and this one, but because of the Vegas convention and because Bobbie’s here, weekends are more out-of-the-ordinary than usual. I’m looking forward to having lots of time with her for two days again. These will be the last two days of uninterrupted time, so we need to make the most of them… and still find time to rest/sleep sufficiently… As long as we have all day to "play," it should be easy to get to bed at an earlier hour, methinks!

Sunday we’ll have church half a day, and a visit to Jackie Sunday afternoon/evening (should we elect to do that… we don’t have to if Bobbie and I are feeling short on visiting time). Jackie and family head for Lake Chelan (pronounced shuh-lan) for five days on Monday. Jackie is halfway through a two-week vacation, lucky Pierre that she is. I won’t have a two-week vacation for two years… and then I will probably use it to go to Australia and do a convention there and spend time with Anne Richardson, who says she’ll drive me around…

It was nearly eighty yesterday here in the Pacific Northwest – more like summer weather than it has been for a couple weeks. I dressed too warmly for it, because my office is all windows on two sides – the sides facing the sun, of course. Had to change into a t-shirt in the afternoon to keep from being miz’able… Today it’s misty and overcast (at the moment). I expect it will burn off and give us a mid-70’s afternoon. I love this part of the world; not even the weather is same-o, same-o from day to day…

There’s a three day weekend coming up next weekend and I’m looking forward to it. I will do as much of nothing as possible (and still keep breathing) for at least a day or two of the three. Maybe I’ll go to the beach one day – a nearby beach in Tacoma on Puget Sound, not a farther-flung beach on the Pacific. Don’t want to give myself anything extensive to do that weekend… just short-term, light fare… maybe take in a movie…

Aunt Tod is still at StJoe’s. She sounds very weak and says she still has pain in a couple of places, so she’s going to be seen by another doctor today to see what the deal is. I told her Bobbie and I will be in tonight or tomorrow morning to visit for a bit. We won’t stay long because she sounds really wiped out and I know it’s a drain on her system to try to visit when she should be resting… Jackie will probably stop by today for a short visit because she won’t be able to all next week.

Bobbie and I got into a song fest again last night. I love those times supremely. There is something about music that just restores my soul. She plays my guitar and we caterwaul till we can’t do it anymore. It’s just terrific.

Guess that’s all the news that’s fit to print at the moment!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

August 23, 2007 Update...

Got some serious sleep last night – from 9 pm to 6 am – so am a new woman today! That’s good, because the old woman would not have made it two more days at work! The weekend is on the horizon now and I can do this!

It is my hope and prayer that Aunt Tod will get home today. The fellow from Maple Creek has to decide she’s healthy enough to return to a residential care community – which is a step below assisted living in the hierarchy of care facilities. People in residential care must be fit and well enough to basically take care of themselves except for medication reminders and perhaps some ambulatory help. Up until now, Aunt Tod has fit neatly into that category. I think she still does, but she’s having some skin tissue breakdown issues because of being in bed so much, and that has to be corrected, or she has to be ambulatory enough and well enough to address them herself, before she can go back to Maple Creek. Please keep her in your prayers. If they boot her from the hospital before Maple Creek will accept her back, she may have to go into rehab care or a nursing home (pretty much the same difference) and she will not like that one bit. She has seen the inside of too many nursing homes during her lifetime as she visited her husband and others and they distress her…

At work today we had a surprise party for one of our production men. Most of us made homemade meals to share and to send home with him, because he’s a bachelor and mentioned that home-cooked meals are the best gift he could imagine – so we invited him to a noon-time "pizza party" (ha ha) so he’d walk in on a full-blown, home-grown food festival – much of which he took home with him. He’s one happy camper and will be for days. (He’ll probably wish he had a birthday every week!)

I’m not a cook, so bought Safeway Signature soups, which are to die for. I bought four cartons of them, so we could eat three of them and send him home with the fourth… I buy them when I have some disposable income. They’re pricey but worth every cent! I also buy an Italian lentil soup at H&R Produce when they carry it. That one might be my favorite… but Cravin’ Crab and Corn at Safeway is a top contender!

Last night Bobbie and I started watching PIPPIN, but I faded before long so we’ll catch the second half tonight. We are also halfway through another of her favorites, A MAJORITY OF ONE, but I faded in the middle of that one three days ago. We’ll finish it off this weekend, I’m sure. It’s good! I just can’t seem to stay alert after about 8 right now… It has been a long three weeks without sufficient rest. I don’t decry a moment of it; it has all been so wonderful! My energy level just is compromised right now because in between all the fun is the workday world five days a week… and that takes energy, too! I bet I’ve lost some weight – a very good thing! We have been so busy chatting and laughing, we eat only when we get hungry… now, there’s a divergence for me – a good divergence! It was that way at the convention, too… It’s all good!

Ashley (shy kitty) is finally coming around and allowing Bobbie to touch and scratch him. He’s a gorgeous cat and everyone wants to pet him the moment they see him, but unfortunately very few visit long enough for him to settle down so they get their chance. It takes days. Bobbie now adopts the "soprano kitty call" in order to entice him over. He won’t approach an alto – it has to be a high-pitched, saccharine-sweet voice or he’s too chicken to risk it. Bobbie’s getting the knack now. Poor gal, has to change her voice modulation to get a cat to come hither! I call that bending over backward to achieve one’s purpose!

There isn’t much more news so guess I will publish this and let you have at it without further ado!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lend a Hand In The Hospital Your Loved One Is In...

If you have a loved one in the hospital near you, be sure there is someone at the facility to advocate for him or her at least a couple hours a day. Hospitals are frantic places, and the least-critical folks are the ones who too-often get the short end of the stick. If you or someone else is there, you can provide the helping hand your loved one needs to have their non-emergency needs taken care of – either the visitor can provide the service or they can stand in front of the nursing station and be a "presence" for as long as it takes for a nurse or another aide to provide what’s needed.

This is not said to disparage the work that hospital staffers provide; it’s simply to state that the worker bees can’t be everywhere all the time. And most of them appreciate it when you or another one can lend a hand, and an ear, to your loved one’s situation.

Hospitals will become even more crowded as the baby boomer generation ages and needs extraordinary care. I shudder to think what it will be like when I am in need of hospitalization because already the level of response to emerging needs is too slow to suit me when the comfort of someone I love is at stake… I am not a good patient when pain is involved. I can only last so long under the thumb of pain before I become suicidal: "Fix this pain or shoot me – either way!" becomes my mantra.

Two nights ago Aunt Tod was in a lot of pain, and scared, and Bobbie and I tried until we succeeded in getting her the medication she needed. She was unable to leave her bed and advocate for herself, so we did it. It still took a long time. We heard various "reasons" for it, but when the final gal came by and said, "Oh, haven’t you had your pain medications yet? That’s not right. You should be kept comfortable…" we wanted to punch out the earlier nurses who had stated she couldn’t be given anything until some tests came back, or until the medication cart was ready, or until this, that and the other thing…

Sometimes you just have to be a squeaky wheel and a pain in the arse to get the help you need for someone. I haven’t mastered the ability to be a bitch yet but I’m sure there will come a time when I will, if the needs of loved ones of mine in the hospital are ignored or delayed, or if mine are. Because I know how I react to pain, I assume others feel similarly and need relief as much as I would under the same circumstances. Poor Aunt Tod was hurting so much that her blood pressure was sky high. As soon as the anti-nausea and pain drugs were given, she felt relief… and I felt angry that she had to go through several hours of waiting. Had we not been there to force the issue, it’s possible she would have been denied it even longer. And that gets my goat!

I know nurses need to develop a degree of mental and emotional "callus" to work where people are in distress every day, or they’d lose their minds and probably their jobs, but the need to do so impacts on patients and their loved ones. I wish there were some way to translate what a patient is feeling to the caregiver, beyond words – in sensation form – so that they would know when someone was in dire need of relief. It’s a sad thing that we don’t have that degree of empathy (the way The Empath, Gem, did in the original Trek episode of the same name). That would solve a lot of problems in the world, not just the pain management ones. But God didn’t give us the capacity of that degree of empathy – possibly because it would have crippled or destroyed us – only HE can know what each of us feels and not be destroyed or paralyzed by it…

Anyway, this is just a word to the wise. Visit your loved one in the hospital and "take their pulse" – ask if they are being treated well, responded to in a timely fashion. etc. If not --- or if you see they’re not – step up to the plate and do for them what they can’t do for themselves: make yourself a sweet nuisance so their needs are met as quickly as humanly possible… and if you can, provide the help they need yourself because the nurses are running their tails off or filling out vital charts every working moment (and probably having nightmares about it at night).

Lend a hand.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Be Yourself -- There's No One Else Like You!

"There is in certain living souls
A quality of loneliness unspeakable,
So great it must be shared
As company is shared by lesser beings.
Such a loneliness is mine; so know by this
That in immensity
There is one lonelier than you."

Theodore Sturgeon , "A Saucer of Loneliness"

I resonated mightily to the above quote as a teenager. I memorized it and wrote it into one of my journals. I felt truly "alien" when set alongside the rest of my tribe and classmates. There was just something terribly lonely about being "different."

So I isolated to all intents and purposes. I was shy and afraid of revealing myself, knowing I was somehow "fatally flawed" by a creative urge that could not be put asunder. So I wrote instead – journals – trying to figure myself out, trying to find out what it was that wouldn’t let me be "normal" – wouldn’t let me be happy as a wife, mother, teacher, nurse, or any other 9-to-5 occupation or pastime…

No one else seemed to be having much trouble fitting into the roles that society and years of tradition had slated them to fit into. What was my problem?!

Sturgeon’s lines still haunt me. I remain "different" in numerous ways but have by now found others who believe it’s okay to be different. Lots of people even celebrate my surrender to being different because it gives them the encouragement they need to lay claim to their own.

In many cases I had to go outside my family, my tribe and my comfort level to locate those who vibrate to this frequency, but it has been worth all the trouble, all the wrong turns, all the mis-steps that it took to finally find a comfort level about "being different and being okay with it."

DISC Personality Insights provided the ammunition I needed to proclaim myself "Well within normal parameters" for an extremely high I,D,S personality. I no longer consider myself the result of some awful birth defect! It’s my nature (and a gift from God) to be the way I am when not shuttered or stunted by others’ opinions of how people "should" be. I’m well under the control of the Holy Spirit these days, so the I,D,S that I am is not detrimental, but contributory. I’m sure it was at least occasionally detrimental in the past, when I was a pre-Christian. Out-of-control I,D,S folks can be a severe pain in the patoot!

I wish it hadn’t taken me 54 years to figure all of this out. I hope it doesn’t take anyone else that long. But however long it takes, just know that you are not alone. Your passion to be whatever it is you want to be is a gift, as long as it has as its goal a desire to benefit others to the same degree, or to a superior degree, that it benefits you. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you anything different.

Your passion is divinely inspired. Go for it!

"Each one should use

whatever gift he has received

to serve others, faithfully administering

God's grace in its various forms."

1 Peter 4:10

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Please keep Aunt Tod (Evelyn Fremault) in your prayers. Bobbie and I went to visit her in the hospital last night for a few hours. She may be coming home today, but no guarantees yet.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday! Hallelujah!

I asked Bobbie if she would like to take a road trip anywhere in Washington tomorrow to get a look at the lay of the land. She didn’t expect we would go anywhere; she just wants to visit with me, but I said we can do that while I drive, so I think we have settled on a day trip to Mt St Helens tomorrow and to the Seattle Center/Space Needle/Pike Place Market next Saturday. This isn’t in granite yet, but it’s in wet cement, sorta. Things can change. I need a good night’s sleep tonight to be sure I can make it to Mt St Helens and back safely (alert and awake) because I have been busy the past two weekends pretty much non-stop (OHC booth at UPFest on the 4th and Vegas from the 10th-12th) and since Bobbie has been here I can’t seem to call it a night and go to bed at a decent hour. That’s entirely MY fault! She keeps trying to get me into my bedroom at the time I “designate” for shut-eye so I can function at work the next day, but hey… she’ll only be here two weeks and we’re having so much fun, I can’t seem to shut down until I’m just about cross-eyed. So it’s all my fault!

Last night Bobbie played my guitar and pulled out song music from six decades of wonderful music and we sang it all. Then I regaled her with large memorized swatches of dialogue from FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, MAN OF LA MANCHA and THE MUSIC MAN. She never shoulda got me started. She knew most of the same stuff from those shows (the musical parts), so we launched into a stereo version of all of it at eleven at night with the windows and doors wide open - and no one in the neighborhood batted an eyelid or called the police about the caterwauling. (I think they were amazed…) You haven’t lived till you’ve seen us going through the motions of MARIAN THE LIBRARIAN, complete with imaginary book stamping… We had a very good time, can you tell?

“A fiddler on the roof.. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka you might say that every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a decent, simple tune without breaking his neck… You may ask, why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That, I can tell you in one word: Tradition! Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what G-d expects him to do… For example, we always keeps our heads covered and we always wear prayer shawls. You may ask, how did this tradition get started? I’ll tell you: I don’t know… but it’s a tradition!”

And then we’d launch into the song, “Who, day and night, must scramble for a living, feed his wife and children, say his daily prayers? And who has the right, as master of the house, to have the final word at home? The PAPA! The PAPA!” And right down the line for all family members… That led to Yente the matchmaker, and Sunrise, Sunset…

Well, you see, there was no way we could go to bed in the middle of a smash musical. And when we ended that reenactment, we started on THE MUSIC MAN, and on MAN OF LA MANCHA. Those aren’t musicals you can go to bed in the middle of, either…

And so it went. We had a wonderful time! And I’m cross-eyed here at work this morning but my brain still seems to be functioning just fine so no one has noticed I walk funny…

We’ve been in stitches and in tears several times. It’s cathartic for me to re-live aspects of my association with De and Carolyn at length, which gets Bobbie misty, and her emotions set me free to mist right along with her! Truly, it’s very good for me. I was so busy being strong for everyone around me during the final months of Des’ life (and even before that with my Mom’s own terminal condition) that I pushed aside my need to cry for myself when I should have… so this is very, very good (and totally affordable!) therapy. Bobbie keeps apologizing for bringing me back to those “thrilling, chilling days of yesterday” when life was good and then pretty awful (as De started to go downhill physically), but if I still have tears inside, they need to come out, and I’m certainly with company who understands… so it’s just terrific! The tears don’t last long – we just hug and then say something silly to “break the spell” so we can laugh through the tears. De would like that. He’d say, “Don’t get stuck in the tears portion of our association! I’m free now – you be free, too, you two!”

The cats are doting on Bobbie. Even Ashley, the shy one, is slowly coming around (you can tell, because his slinking has stopped for the most part) because he sees Poppy and Archie being groomed and chin-tickled and he’s thinking, “Well, she hasn’t killed and eaten them, yet, so maybe she’s okay… Hmmm..” When he finally makes her acquaintance, he will wonder why he waited so long! But timid cats just don’t seem to “get” that not everything in the world that’s new is not deadly. Archie immediately “scouts out” a new prospect to see if he can garner some TLC, and Poppy doesn’t hide and is amenable to meeting people, but Ashley is like a critter shot out of a cannon whenever someone new appears in his world – he secludes himself in the bathroom cupboard at warp seven and comes out only hesitantly to eat and to spy and see if everyone else is still safe despite the “intrusion” of alien life forms. Poor guy. Sweetest cat you ever met, but with the IQ of a doughnut…

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Let The Convention Reconvene!

Bobbie arrives this evening, so don’t know how much opportunity I will have to blog during the next two weeks. If I can dash blogs out during the course of the work day during slack times (or lunch time), I will of course do that, of course, but if not, I don’t believe I’ll be blogging at home.

At work (, we’ve been handling the work load capably without Keith. That’s because we all worked ahead to create gaping holes in our work day so we can respond quickly to serve new clients and to respond to emerging situations with existing clients. This pro-active approach works very well!

Alison is already in touch with a Hollywood contact I know, and he’s jazzed, so she’s “dancing on sunshine” (as she calls it) over in the UK. She’s very busy right now and unable to blog herself, but hopes to do so soon, perhaps this weekend.

I received an email from Alex T Noble with a chapter of his book, but won’t be able to look at it in detail for a couple of weeks. He understands. I took a quick look last night – I mean a REALLY quick look – and know it’ll be a great deal of fun to delve into when I can…

I’ve been trying to recall other things that happened at the convention this weekend that I haven’t mentioned yet. I wasn’t involved in listening to other presenters, so you’ll have to get those details at STARTREK.COM. I did manage to spend a scant few minutes with Marge Duff at the book-signing table, and Alison or Billie took a photo of the two of us together. Marge is a really nice gal and it was great seeing her again. She still looks very young – younger than she did in the photo she gave me to update me on her look/age, so for a second or two I didn’t recognize her. It didn’t take long, though! (Good thing, since we only spent about three minutes together!) The only bad thing about being a “mini celebrity” at a convention is that I meet a lot of (temporary, I hope) strangers and can’t spend much quality time with those I already know. But it’s okay! My friends understand and are happy for me, and many of the new ones will become friends and it will go on and on and on in that way…

I have never been happier at a job than I am at this job! SO SEND ME MORE CLIENTS! Those of you who own businesses or know business owners who have to put people on-hold for any length of time, check into and let’s get something AMAZING created for you to rivet callers to your business line while they wait. (40% of callers who hang up while waiting on hold will not call back again, so don’t lose them to a competitor!) I’m confident we’re the best in the nation (Yes, I have heard on-hold programs created by other companies, and they don’t hold a candle to what we do here at On-Hold Concepts) so let’s work together; do your trade with THIS Trekker or DE-er, or whatever you want to call me (as long as it’s NICE)!

Betty Mosher (my Vegas pal and “chauffeur” this past weekend) has emailed to say she is having a consultation at UCLA soon and her cancer (even if it’s in both places) is very get-able. So keep her in your prayers that God will guide the surgeon’s hands and that her surgeon will send her health challenges into oblivion! I serve a healing Jesus and I know He has vibrant health in mind for us… so I ask for it for all my friends and family! WAHOO!!!

What else? Hmmm… Not much! The weather is hot here again (hot for us in the Pacific Northwest is the mid-80’s). I’m glad for fans and air conditioning here at work, and for big fans at home! Fans keep my abode quite comfortable even on the hottest summer days, a huge blessing!

Okay, when I start talking about the weather in a blog, I know it’s time to sign off and let the well fill again. The last thing you need is a weather report from an area of the country that may be thousands of miles away from you, huh?

Only IMPORTANT stuff goes into THIS blog, right? (Please DO NOT look back on all earlier entries and point out the ones that were so far from important that they don’t even register on the Richter Scale. I know there are some in there – but I choose to consign them to history and move on from them with all deliberate speed! Hey, it was just a matter of time before I hit my stride. This is my first-ever blog site and it took a while to get it rolling, but NOW I think I know what people want to see in a blog… SOMETHING WORTH READING! DUH!!!!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Putting Faces To Names...

click on the photo to see it larger...
"Senorita Invierno"
In case you haven't already guessed... we had a lot of fun in Las Vegas! Sure hope I'm not violating anyone's copyright by publishing this photo. If I am, let me know and I will pull it pronto!
There's coverage about my appearance -- and lots more! -- at this web address:
There is an error in the wee part about me, though. It reads "Kristine M Smith, Biographer." NOT! Terry Lee Rioux is De's biographer. It seems everyone wants to christen me with that moniker but it's totally misleading and has caused some fans to pan my book at Amazon as a result. My book about De is a memoir -- very little biographical material about him is in my book. So get TERRY'S book, From Sawdust to Stardust, if you want a biography of De. Heck, get it anyway. If you get mine, you need to get hers. If you get hers, you need to get mine. Between the two of them, you will have a well-rounded understanding of DeForest Kelley as a man and in his times. They're both worth the price several times over. I should blush while saying this about mine, except that two people who bought copies (in Australia and New Zealand) paid upwards of $75 per copy and both said the book was worth every cent, or whatever, they paid... so I have to believe it's also worth the $15 or $21 or $24 or $32 people pay for it here in the U.S. (Buy mine direct from the publisher, to get the best price).
Alison is now back in the UK, Billie Rae is back in New York, Margot is back in Colorado, and I am back in Tacoma. It's not always easy getting back to "normal" following an amazing weekend like the one we just had. There's a little bit of a let-down... we all wish we had more time to visit!
Tomorrow evening at around 9 pm Bobbie Bobstein lands in Seattle to visit for two weeks, so I can go back into "convention mode" with her again. That's good for me! I just need to find some way to get the entire gang together for some event and to make it last a week... I bet we'd still part wanting more time! There is something about this little group that is just electric and magnetic. I'll bet De is sitting in heaven smiling over all the friendships that have been spawned that began because of a common affection for him. I think that would give him purest joy! He even mentioned something along those lines at a convention once.
Heck, I guess I came to De and Carolyn (became their friends) in the same way -- as a result of attending a few conventions and continuing to interact afterward via letters!
Now I'm collecting De fans and claiming them as personal friends. I'm a thief!
Somehow I don't think he would mind!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Las Vegas Convention Report

The convention appearance could not have gone better where my presentation was concerned. Many thanks to all of you who prayed me through! There was ZERO nervousness before, during or after the presentation (during the book-signing). I know a good part of that was that I was surrounded by angels – the heavenly kind and the earthbound ones: Alison, Angie, Billie Rae, Lissa, Margot and the stage manager, Barb. I think they were nervous for me because I made such a big deal out of being nervous for months… but now, as a result of this experience, I don’t think I’ll ever be nervous again in front of a crowd. Hard to explain, really. (When Barb told me there were about 4000 fans in the auditorium, I should have dropped dead of a heart attack, but my heart didn’t miss a beat or speed up at all. It was truly a miracle!)

Another thing that made it go as well as it did, I think, is that I had met Alison and Billie Rae the day before and we had visited and talked into the night and all morning about De and Carolyn and about many other things, and it occurred to me that I should simply carry this same casual, engaging ambiance onto the stage – the ambiance of a conversation with friends. It worked like a charm – so Alison and Billie Rae blessed me in a major way by being so easy to talk to, responsive and genuine. I wouldn’t have been able to pull off a “presentation” that morning, and I knew it. So I changed it to a visit – and that made all the difference. I will do that from now on!

The show was running late so I has less time to speak than I had planned (without knowing it) so I wasn’t able to tie up the tail-end of the presentation with a nice little bow the way it was intended – had to throw in a quick tag line and then head to the book-signing table in the dealer’s room. Apparently the amputation didn’t occur to the fans because they applauded loudly and with great energy. They were very responsive in all the right places as I read excerpts from my book, too…

At the book booth, many people came by, and many of them already had my book in hand. All were complimentary and appreciative of the appearance. Those who had already read the book were filled with gratitude for my having written it – which warmed the cockles of my heart in a way you may be able to imagine if you try really hard! One was a policeman from Texas, who said he was glad I inserted a little bit about De’s effect on people (I said De truly reflected the love and grace of God to all he met). He told me that while some near him did the eye-rolling thing, he’s sure all spiritual folks in the audience appreciated that I mentioned it.

The entire weekend was a blast because I spent every moment of it with and among people I care about in a visceral way. Meeting Alison and Billie Rae and being able to spend quality time with them (hours and hours and hours of it) was fabulous. I’m sure we were all trying to cram a month’s worth of communication into two short days – and I think we managed it!

After the presentation I was able to connect with Margot Worthington and her best friend Lissa (now a friend of our little group’s as well), even though I was only able to spend “stolen” time with them, as they had other appearances and presentations they wanted to see and were staying at another hotel. So every time we’d pass each other we’d hug and say, “See you soon!”

The whole gang ended up in Quark’s Bar at the Hilton for dinner Saturday night and that’s when I had a somewhat more substantial visit with Margot and Lissa. The Bar was peopled by Klingons, Andorians and other TREK-inspired humanoids, and a great deal of banter with them ensued. It was great fun. (The evening before Angie Solomon has taken Alison, Billie Rae and me to dinner at a Mexican restaurant at the Hilton. THANK YOU AGAIN, ANGIE! What a surprise and a blessing…)

That evening we decided that even though we wouldn’t shell out $43 for the Mission ride at the Star Trek Experience, we would shell out enough for an ensemble photo on the bridge of Enterprise NCC-1701-D. That’s probably the most camaraderie I had with Margot and Lissa during the weekend, and it was grand.

Alison, Billie Rae, Margot and I were outfitted in Next Gen tunics. Alison was in the Captain’s chair with Billie Rae to her left. To her right was Margot. I stood behind the railing just above where Captain Ali sat. The photo we have as keepsake mementos is just priceless. We all look great in it! If I had a scanner I would slap it in here so that when I talk about these people in my blog you can attach a name to a face!

I also met (finally) Tim Gaskill, Senior Content Editor for many things TREK. We had hoped to spend more time together – perhaps during a meal – but that man was working his tail off and it never came to pass. But it will! Somehow we will “make it so” at a future date. We did get together at my book-signing table long enough for Alison to snap a photo of Tim, Billie Rae and me together. (It was Tim who nabbed the first of two amazing interviews with me. P.S. I take little credit for the wonderfulness of the interviews. Billie Rae simply asked the greatest questions imaginable to get my “remembery” going so that I could spill my guts to her.)

Another fan brought me a three page “fan” letter about how much she enjoyed my book because she didn’t know how else she would be able to contact me. It was a beautiful letter. I gave her my business card so she never worries about how to contact me again. I have adopted her and she’s here to stay. A lovely lady!

And we three Musketeers (Billie Rae, Alison and I) also met other people in search of someone to give them encouragement and hope and glommed onto several of them. With us, the “Pay It Forward” rule applies; “blessed to be a blessing.”

My “chauffeur,” Betty Mosher, of course kept me in stitches on the way from the airport to the convention hotel. On the return trip to the airport, Billie Rae was with us. Betty picked us up early enough that we were able to have lunch with her at the Cheescake Factory (we all behaved and had no dessert, more because we were stuffed with fantastic meals already rather than that we had such great self-control) before she dropped us at the airport. Betty is a talker… joy-filled, animated, fast-paced… and we are good listeners and responders. It was a fun time. Please continue to keep Betty in your prayers as she faces serious health challenges without the benefit of thinking there is a God Who can help…

You may think that once I got on the place winging my way home, the convention was over, but if you do, you’d be wrong! As luck would have it, my two seat mates – a young lady attorney and her brother (Alex T Noble is his name) – had been in Vegas for the convention as had a fellow in the window seat in front of the attorney.

Brother and sister started talking about STAR TREK, so I inquired whether they had been to the convention. They said yes. I asked if they had seen my presentation. They said no, but were big De and Original Series fans and were sorry they missed it.

So guess what? I repeated much of the presentation for them (conversationally) -- and then some -- as we flew from Vegas to Reno for a good hour, where they de-planed with my email and blogspot address inside Alex’s notebook. I expect to hear from Alex soon.

Alex is an aspiring writer. I gave him a few pointers (do not edit as you write or you will cripple yourself – turn your creator loose to have fun and lock up your critic and editor until after you’ve written your adventure or they’ll cripple you), and lots of encouragement. He’s going to send me some of his sci-fi stories to look at. Should be fun! He’s a gracious, lovely young man. His sister is great too but the guy ahead of us hijacked her on some legal questions so she and I didn’t share much conversation, unfortunately… Alex can fill her in on what she missed when we were chatting. And Alex can fill me in on his sister’s name, please!

I didn’t get home until midnight and probably didn’t get to sleep until after 1. Aunt Tod called at 6:30 this morning, which was probably a good thing although it didn’t seem so at the time. I might have overslept if she hadn’t. She wants me to bring her a roll of quarters for the shuttle after work tonight. I also have to be sure the condo looks sensational when I leave for work tomorrow so the broker open house goes well.

Then Wednesday night I drive back to the airport to pick up Bobbie Bobstein so I can go into “convention mode” again and extend this wild, wonderful weekend out two weeks! (Usually the mood after a convention is a bit like post-holiday blues. I’m rescued from that by Bobbie! Whee!)

More happened at the convention than I have detailed here, and as I recall it over the next few days I’ll bring it to you. Right now I’m operating on fumes and need to focus on work, helping Aunt Tod, and getting the finishing touches on my condo for the brokers open tomorrow…

But in a nutshell, I’m very happy with the way the convention appearance turned out and I did get a video of it (from two different angles).

Update: Adam Malin just emailed saying thanks and that he really wants me to find a way to transfer my PowerPoint Presentation to a Mac format “because it’s such a waste not to use it during future appearances!” WAHOO!!! Sounds like Creation has me in its sights for future chats with De’s fans!

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder...

August 9, 2007

Zowie!!! My Preventive Medicine Library was a hit today. The copywriters are making me feel like James Michener (or at least famed advertiser Ogilvie) this afternoon. Now, if the CLIENT feels similarly, we should have lots of additional clients contacting us to partake of this carefully crafted treasure trove. I couldn’t be any happier regarding the response, because I have been at this job much less longer than they have, so if THEY feel it’s a major winner (they are good, helpful, critical mentors and don’t flatter me) I’m walkin’ on air the rest of the day! I told ‘em I may get to Vegas without a plane, they have me feeling so “high”!

I walked at lunch time again today – have done that all this week. It keeps my endorphins up and my nerves re Vegas down.

My Realtor called today and said there will be a brokers open house at my condo on Tuesday. EEGADS! That means I have tonight and Monday night to spruce up the place again. Not that it’s a shambles, but it does need that “sparkling” look brought back to the fore. Right now it looks lived in – by a very busy working person. Books are on the table instead of in the library; the toaster and mixer are in evidence in the kitchen; I need to put those away… and I need to vacuum and dust again… stuff like that. It won’t take long but it would be really, really great to not have to do it until Tuesday NIGHT, which is when I was planning to do it (prior to Bobbie’s arrival) because I have a feeling I’ll be pretty zzzausted Monday night after a long weekend convention and a work day without one of our copywriters…

But it is what it is -- and I will deal with it TONIGHT so I won’t have to think about it much at all Monday night. Besides, if I work hard tonight at it, I will sleep well and won’t be waking up every hour on the hour thinking, “EEEEEEEEGGAAAADDDDSSSSSSSSS!!!! It’s almost time to do my thing on stage in Vegas!”

One friend emailed me and said, “I don’t have another friend in my life who has APPEARED IN VEGAS! You’re the first!”

I laughed and then panicked again – but just for a moment!

Maybe I’d better rehearse again while I’m cleaning tonight… but then I would have to go around the stage cleaning it up in order to remember the words… No, I’m prepared to wing it now…

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder…
Flying high into the sun…

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sheesh and Wow!!!

What a day! We have a potential client whose happiness over the copy we write may turn into a HUGE account across many states... and I was put in charge of it! So I spent nearly every hour today carefully crafting a library full of "wellness/preventive health care" on-hold messages to submit to her tomorrow.

Isn't it lucky (cough, cough) I've been exposed to so many illness/wellness issues over the course of the past eight years? ("God will turn all things to His glory.") I've spent so many months sitting in hospitals, months on end, with people (the Kelleys mostly -- nine months worth) that I've absorbed an amazing amount of information about these very topics... plus the fact that I'm a voracious reader and have a couple of books (more like six) on health and wellness issues. So I was able to write, write, write all day long without hardly breaking a sweat. I wrote 54 messages. Tomorrow I'll write thirty or forty more, and the guys will pitch in then, too. Keith already has, to a degree. (They took care of the rest of the work issues while I concentrated on this task, so I haven't received much input from them yet -- but tomorrow I will and Friday I will leave the books and the whole shebang in their capable hands to continue the process toward total tickled-ness of the client. This is the plan as it stands at the moment, anyway!)

I awoke this morning feeling full of peace and love and broke right into praise songs. It was a morning I hope to repeat many many times in my life.

Alison emailed me saying she has landed in Las Vegas after an eighteen hour flight and is so excited she can't even rest. Yahoo!!! It makes me want to catch an earlier flight and leave NOW... but alas, I have one more day of work. It won't be long, now.

Bobbie emailed me to wish me a premature "Bon voyage". She also wrote a limerick. I really must share most of her email with you (with her permission, of course). Here we go:

Twinkle, twinkle, little starchick!

As for twinkling --- your audience will see the light!

Kris'en them with DeSpirit and enjoy the wave of feeling that returns to you across the footlights!

And now, before it gets too late, it is necessary to preface my visit with this disclaimer:

Long distance e-friendship can work,
Because, now and then, there's a perk!
The house may be messed up...
You need not be dressed up...
Nor hide any personal quirk!

You might think my theory is stale
But logic may well yet prevail.
Maybe when my stay's over
You'll be rolling in clover
And glad to return to email !!!

(heart) Bobbie

Methinks Bobbie is concerned about wearing out her welcome, being here for two weeks. Not a chance. She is such a kick and such a card -- besides having a heart of gold -- I may kidnap her and hold her for ransom when it's time for her to fly out of here! The problem with this plan is that as soon as she gets back home, she'll have a visitor of her own flying in for four days... so I can't exactly do that... Drat!

I'm excited. I'm REALLY excited. You would think I was flying to Vegas to see DE, I'm so excited. It's because I will be meeting Billie Rae Walker and Alison, and reconnecting with Margot Worthington who I haven't seen in -- what? -- seven years? That stinks! And when we met in California we were only together a couple of days -- but we sure made the best of them.

I'll meet Marge Duff, who has grown into a beautiful young woman since I saw her last (in the early or mid-90's), and get to hug Angie Solomon who I've only met once, briefly, for a few hours... Who knows what else will happen? It's all just so exciting! Right now it's easy to forget I have to be the center of attention for 40 minutes on Saturday morning because of all this other exciting stuff that'll happen between now and then -- connecting with e-mail pals and reconnecting with others, all of whom should live a whole lot closer to me than they do so we see each other more than once a decade!

Then, three days after I get back from Vegas, Bobbie Bobstein flies out for two weeks. Life doesn't get any better than this. I can't wait. But I have to...


Tuesday, August 7, 2007


It’s Tuesday! Last night while dreaming or half-awake I was being ministered to with remembered Bible quotes even as I fought off minions working hard to capitalize on every last nerve in my body and on every diseased thought (old audio tracks) in my brain about “not measuring up”. It was all pretty amazing!

I would start to have a bad dream about being in some crisis, unable to function or escape -- and then a choir of angels and reassuring passages from the Bible would segue in, becoming incrementally louder until I would notice and focus on them instead of the situation before me, and the crisis would then shrink and fade and calm would prevail… It’s so lovely that I no longer have to fight against my nerves or obstacles without benefit of all the promises I’ve discovered in God’s Word. “I am with you always… You can do all things through Christ Who gives you strength… If God is for me, who can prevail against me… For I know the plans I have for you… Be not afraid…. I have overcome the world… rest… be still and know that I am God…”

Let me tell you -- This is a TOTAL BLESSING right about now! It always is but when a nervous system feels “in crisis” (when the fight or flight response kicks in and there’s nothing you can do to out-run the perceived “danger”) having these Bible verses rise to my consciousness without having to go looking for them feels like the Holy Spirit ministering to me! And of course that’s exactly what it is because I haven’t memorized any Bible verses at all. (My mind isn’t very good at memorization these days so trying to memorize frustrates the starch out of me.)

HA HA HA HA HA!! The head copywriter gave me a dose of his unique, profound insight while I was writing this today – and it happens to have struck a chord as well as my funny bone, exactly what I need right now. So here it is. I told him I was nervous about the appearance and he emailed his concern and wise counsel, to wit:

“Slow deep breaths. For god's sake, you're addressing a roomful of Trekkies- one of the theoretically least judgemental aggregates of individuals ever to gather on the planet. If the terrible acting on the show didn't put them off, what makes you think anything you might possibly do could make it happen now?”

I work with a couple of cards, can you tell? The copywriters here are just about the funniest people I know – and I do my best to keep pace in the wit department, but try to modulate it around here because I’m the LOUD kind of funny, and my “roomie” (a gentlemanly, quiet kind of side-splitting guy whose office I share) can’t hear himself think when I’m myself, so I play “church mouse” as much as possible – usually unsuccessfully, I might add!

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Something Pastor Alan from Church For The Nations sent in an email today:

Dear CFTNers,

Thank you for your prayers last week as I addressed the Cedar Falls Bible Conference. The Conference addresses went well and the crowd was very responsive to the messages. It is always good to know there are faithful people backing one's efforts in prayer. Thank you. This week, I am sending you excerpts from an article that should interest you and one that you are not likely to hear about otherwise.
For the Nations,
Pastor Alan

The Martyrs No One Cares About

By Michelle

Commentary August 01, 2007

The blood of innocent Christian missionaries spills on Afghan sands. The world watches and yawns. The United Nations offers nothing more than a formal expression of "concern."

Where is the global uproar over the human rights abuses unfolding before our eyes?For two weeks, a group of South Korean Christians has been held hostage by Taliban thugs in Afghanistan . This is the largest group of foreign hostages taken in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001.

What was their offense? Were they smuggling arms into the country? No. Inciting violence? No. They were peaceful believers in Christ on short-term medical and humanitarian missions.

Seventeen of the 23 hostages are females. Most of them are nurses who provide social services and relief.

Over the past few days, the bloodthirsty jihadists have demanded that South Korea immediately withdraw troops from the Middle East , pay ransom and trade the civilian missionaries for imprisoned Taliban fighters. The Taliban leaders have made good on threats to kill the kidnapped Christians while Afghan officials plead fecklessly that their monstrous behavior is "un-Islamic."

Two men, 29-year-old Shim Sung-min and 42-year-old Pastor Bae Hyeong-gyu, have already been shot to death and dumped in the name of Allah. Bae was a married father with a 9-year-old daughter. According to Korean media, he was from a devout Christian family from the island province of Jeju . He helped found the Saemmul Church south of Seoul, which sent the volunteers to Afghanistan.

Across Asia , media coverage is 24/7. Strangers have held nightly prayer vigils.

But the human rights crowd in America has been largely AWOL. And so has most of our mainstream media.

I noted the media shoulder-shrugging about jihadist targeting of Christian missionaries five years ago during the kidnapping and murder of American Christian missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham in the Philippines. The silence is rooted in viewing committed Christians as alien others.

At best, there is a collective callousness. At worst, there is outright contempt.

Curiously, those who argue that we need to "understand" Islamic terrorists demonstrate little effort to "understand" the Christian evangelical missionaries who risk their lives to spread the gospel -- not by sword, but through acts of compassion, healing and education. An estimated 16,000 Korean mission workers risk their lives across the globe -- from Africa to the Middle East, China and North Korea.

These are true practitioners of a religion of peace, not the hate-mongers with bombs and AK-47s strapped to their chests who slay instead of pray their way to martyrdom.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sunday Before the Convention... Prayers Aloft in Abundance!

Went to church today and was prayed over by Lead (Senior) Pastor Bill Wolfson and by several other folks about next weekend's presentation at the Las Vegas STAR TREK ( convention. I think that's the first time Pastor Wolfson has ever prayed with/for me in agreement over anything I am personally endeavoring to do, so it was mighty special, and totally spontaneous!

As soon as I reminded him that next weekend was "it," he took my hand and another member's hand and prayed for great success in bringing the REAL McCoy to the masses ("as God's spirit has led Kris to express it"), then hugged me. The other pastors -- Pastor Leksen (Nils and Pat), PastorKen Ecker (who I served as an administative assistant for a year and a half), Pastor Wes and Carol Braaten -- all are aware and will be praying for me next Saturday and all week this week... I'm feeling more "shalom" than I have any right to feel about this HUGE opportunity. That, too, is the work of God!

Dr Benn at Creation will do his level best to videotape the appearance for me (for private archives) but has again said I should bring a video camera and have someone else record it as well "just in case" I need a back-up... so I will be bringing my sister's videocamera and see if I can get a non-attached De fan with knowlege of cameras to run it for me during the presentation so I won't have to enlist one of my friends who I'm SURE would rather sit back and enjoy rather than "work" during the forty minutes I'll be on stage...

I am praying that God will provide a willing participant who has a seat close to the action... I will ask for such a person (or have Creation ask) and see if I can find someone who'll do the honors. (Of course, by then I may find out that Dr Benn CAN tape it and this taping concern will be moot!)

I'm also bringing along a PowerPoint presentation to run (silently the the background) during the Question and Answer period. It has some great candid photos of De and Carolyn and other information about them in it. I'm bringing it on a thumb drive this time. When I brought it on a CD to Sacramento, Adam wasn't able to get it to go, which was a shame, because it was a big hit in Seattle at Planet Xpo in September... I'm hoping for better luck this time!

I notice on the Vegas schedule that Creation will be running a vintage DeForest Kelley appearance at 5 pm on Friday, so all of you coming to Vegas to see me know where to find me at 5 pm on Friday! It will be a real treat to see De as De again!

McCoy was great but he didn't hold a candle to the REAL DeForest Kelley!

What a blessing he was to us all...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Seven Days To VEGAS!!!

August 3, 2007


Wahoo!!! A week from today, God willing, I will be winging my way to Las Vegas. When I lived there in the 70’s we called it Lost Wages because it was almost entirely a gambling town, but now it has become a play land for all ages and you don’t even have to step into a casino to have a lot of fun…

I’m getting calmer and calmer as the big weekend gets closer. It’s going to be all right. I may even leave the outfits I bought for the occasion at home and just wear jeans – that would help me relax and interface with De’s fans better. Getting all gussied up is, and always has been, unnatural to me and I don’t need my own “alien-ness” that day to trip me up! It’s a relaxed, fun crowd – there’s no need to be dressed like I’m in church or at a banquet or out to make a deal with a Fortune 500 company, ya know? Hey, what a revelation… and I feel better already!

What was I thinking when I thought I had to dress up, anyway?! Just ‘cause I did at the earlier conventions doesn’t mean I have to do it again… I am a free to be just who I am in Vegas!

Ooh-whee, ooh-whee… just get me there in one piece and on time, Lord!

I always fly in the day before a convention because it leaves lots of times for airlines to be delayed, re-routed, inspected… so far there have been no delays or re-routings, but one never knows in these days of terror threats and attacks. Al Qaeda will never keep me from flying or doing anything else necessary to go where I gotta go and do what I gotta do, but they do make things “interesting” (as in the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”). I liked the “boring” old days better… before 9/11. But we’ve been blessed (here in the US) to have not felt many repercussions before 9/11. Many of the other countries are all-too-well aware of the evil in the world and have been exposed to it in many more instances (owing to proximity, I guess, because IF Al Qaeda could get to us earlier, there is no doubt they would have).

Isn’t it awful that we are heading to a wonderful convention that is so much about IDIC (infinite diversity in infinite combinations) and yet we have to arrive at the airports and be scanned and remove our shoes two hours early because of the zealots in this world who think diversity is something to be routed out and destroyed?

It’s ironic… and very, very sad.

I’m glad that when De was flying to conventions he didn’t have to jump through any of these pre-flight hoops or wonder, in the back of his mind, whether terrorists -- or our own nation-loving, dedicated airborne fighters -- might blast us out of the sky should terrorists again stake a claim inside an airliner bound for the same place he was… It’s not much fun to fly anymore. I do it to be a blessing to De’s fans and to piss on Al Qaeda’s attempts to terrorize us enough to keep us from enjoying travel and sharing love, but it’s certainly not the pure pleasure it used to be. One has to be sure we have a will in effect anymore (as we all should anyway!) just to take a plane anywhere!

The bastards.

That’s my political statement for the day and the last time I mention this niggling concern.

It’s funny, the human race. In the weeks before taking a cruise to Alaska some a couple years ago, there was a significant upsurge in conversation about ship wrecks, culminating in jokes like “Shall we watch The Titanic or The Poseidon Adventure now?” Then when we got on the ship, we didn’t think ship wrecks even once! I guess once you make the commitment you say, “It’s all in God’s hands. Knowing that, I am secure.” And away you go!

I guess it’s our way of saying, “Here is the risk… here is the likelihood it will happen… Let’s go!”

That’s the way life should be lived every day – with the LET’S GO winning out in areas where what we plan to do will bless others – all others – to its full potential.

I was twenty two before I ever “risked” hugging someone and really meaning it – and that’s because I received a hug from somebody who really meant it but had no ulterior motive other than to bless. (De hugged like that, too!) Since then I have probably hugged 4000 people and in only two instances was it misinterpreted as a “come on,” at which time I back-pedaled and apologized for the miscommunication and all was well. So I wonder how many others fail to bless with a hug because we are afraid it will be misinterpreted… This reticence has to stop! This world needs hugging – it’s under attack by powers and principalities. The Hug Brigade needs to disperse in all directions and hug as many people as it can!

(Proviso: Don’t hug little-known people when you are alone with them. I wasn’t alone when I hugged the two mentioned above, or things could have gone awry very fast!)