Saturday, September 26, 2009


Jackie and I were given about two cords of dry firewood by our next door neighbor (a lovely lady named Phyllis), so I spent the last couple of mornings taking the wheelbarrow over and "fetching" it. It was quite the workout!

We still need more wood -- free, if at all possible. We're going to borrow John Adams truck in a few weeks and go cut up three fallen trees that are also on Phyllis's property, but I don't think that will be enough to get us through the winter. The stuff I just hauled over had been laying in a wood stack for ten or twenty years so it's either very, very dry (feels almost as light as balsa wood!) and will burn pretty much like paper (quickly) or it's been lying at the bottom of the stack atop and in wet ground and needs to dry out before it'll burn -- at which time it, too, will probably burn pretty fast. I just don't know how long it will take to dry out now that it's above ground in a major way and sitting in an open shed with a waterproof roof.

Last weekend I taught PR writing at church to the Writer's Edge gang; today we were back again to hear Christian singer/songwriter Kim Walling (formerly from Tacoma but now living outside Nashville, where her career carried her almost seven years ago). She told us about her writers' journey and gave us some pointers on writing songs. Great stuff!

Kim has three terrific CD's of songs she has written or co-written. Her newest is "Where Do We Go From Here?" Her earlier CDs are "A Dream and a Prayer" and "Beyond What I Can See." You can get the CDs at or at Amazon (but why pay a middleman?).

Kim's music spans different genres -- contemporary, chorale, southern gospel, contemporary Christian, and Country. She's very talented and a very kind soul. She just got married in April and is expecting her first child in late March or early April next year. She'll find out on Thursday whether it's a boy or a girl...

I gave my clunker Saturn to a friend to find a home for, which he did (with a dealer he knows; I think they'll be parting it out since the transmission is hosed). He also got me $100 for the almost-brand-new tires that are on it. He made out pretty well and I did okay, too...

What else? I've been watching Dr Oz and trying out some of his ideas for getting healthier. Of course, I've been walking all along -- 32 to 62 blocks daily. Yesterday I took Jackie's wee dog (and I mean WEE -- she can't weigh two pounds) on the walk using a GUINEA PIG -sized halter and lead. She had an absolute blast, so I'll probably do it again sometime. That was a first. I didn't know if she was even trained to walk -- and she wasn't -- but she caught on immediately.

I gave all my leftover garage sale stuff to Jackie for her Altrusa Int'l charity sale, which they're having today. What doesn't go will be given to a women's shelter so they can offer it at their upcoming garage sale and make some money. No, I didn't give up any of my STAR TREK stuff. I still have it. I think Daryl Frazetti and a few of his friends are going to get what I have left (of what I'm willing to give up, that is). We had to clean out the garage because we need to start parking the vehicles in there again. It's getting fall-ish/wintery around here...

I tweaked my right elbow somehow-- don't know if it happened yesterday while I was transporting firewood or last night when I slept on it, but it feels arthritic today, a bit swollen. Weird.

I got a flu shot yesterday (in the other arm). It isn't even remotely sore today.

What else? Guess that's about all for now. Guess I'll jump back into the Mark Twain book I bought (by Ron Powers) and see if I can finish it off by this evening. I'm a little more than halfway through.

Ciao for now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cast of Departed Loved Ones...

I don't know what I ate last night, but whatever it was... THE DREAMS I HAD WENT ON AND ON AND ON LAST NIGHT!

The cast of characters in the dreams consisted of deceased loves ones -- De, Mom, Dad, Deaken.

De was back and wanted to go to a function but didn't think he could get through it without being overcome by emotion, so instead he decided to go to dinner with me and send a message to the other function. The other function had something to do with Leonard Nimoy, but I don't recall what any more. (I was half-scared I would wake up this morning and learn that LN had passed away overnight!)

De looked and acted great -- very healthy, he grinned a lot, and I got to see him throw his head back and laugh again in the unique way he did when very tickled about something.

After that, I found myself frantically gathering food and water for Deaken (the serval cat I was Mom-cat to for over seventeen years) and crying in desperation because I couldn't gather it fast enough. I was embarrassed to tell anyone -- including Mom and Dad -- why I was so upset, but the reason was because I hadn't fed or watered him, or cleaned his enclosure, in YEARS and I knew the chances were very good that when I finally got back to him he would either be dead or very, very thirsty and hungry! (DUH!) (Dreams are nutty things, aren't they? If I had ever forgotten to feed, water and keep Deaken clean during his lifetime, my house and yard would have reeked and he would have been all over me, probably chewing on my ankle or one of his domestic kitty brothers and sisters! HA HA HA)

Mom was so concerned by my frantic upset that she implored me to tell her what was the matter, and I finally blurted out to her that I had neglected Deaken. She assured me that she had been taking care of him all the while and that he was fine! I looked at her and asked, "Does he have fresh straw?" She said, "Piles and piles of it." I ran out to the enclosure and Deaken chirped at me and came running to me as though he hadn't seen me in years. I opened the gate, went in, and ran my fingers through his fur, laughing and crying all at the same time.

Then I began to realize that I must be dreaming and I almost cried over that, still asleep... got all choked up as I realized the symbolism of all of the dreams: Mom is, indeed, taking care of Deaken until I get across Rainbow Bridge, too, and De was stopping by to have dinner even though there are a lot of other people he "should" be having dinner with! (If they're as lucky as I am, they are having dinner with him again in their dreams!)

I got very misty and overcome... still sleeping!!! ... and felt so lucky to be interacting with my "four D's" again: De, Dad, Deaken and Mom (Dorothea).

When I told Jackie about the dreams this morning, she said she has similar dreams at times and then reminded me that it was about this time in 1996 that I had Deaken put to sleep... and a month from now, eleven years ago, is when Mom passed away from brain cancer. Although these dates hadn't occurred to me (Sept 11th means Ground Zero in NY, the Pentagon and a field in PA to me more than it means the day Deaken was put to sleep 9/11/96 these days), I'm guessing that's exactly why I dreamed this way during this time of year. The weather is changing and it's probably keying my brain to remember earlier times when I was interacting with my four D's before they passed away.

I've been feeling lucky all day, to have spent the evening with four of my long-lost loved ones. It feels like I was with them last night in real life. Priceless!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Saddens Me Most About the Current Political Climate...

I've just uncovered what distresses me most about the current political climate. Here in the United States of America tens of millions of citizens have distrusted our government (for good reason in many circumstances) for so many decades that they no longer feel affectionate toward it or safe from it. How sad is that?

The GOP and, to a much lesser extent, the Dems have created such a vicious circus maximus atmosphere that we now seem to be in ideological camps with vitriol our most potent offensive/defensive weapon. No one is listening to anyone anymore. It's just verbal fisticuffs at the top of our considerable lungs. Too few folks are acting civilized anymore. More than half of the talking heads on TV sound like hysterical women -- and most of them are still men!

But here's what saddens me most and makes me feel extra blessed: What saddens me most is that more people are afraid of their government than ever before. Now, I've been afraid of the GOP for many, many years but at no time did I consider them the Great Satan. I just disagreed with their perspective and most of their policies. It wasn't anything personal. It was just a philosophical difference.

The reason I feel extra blessed is that there is finally, once again, an Administration in place that I know, down deep to the core of my being, is trying to do something to help and bless all of its citizens... not just its well-to-do citizens, but its struggling, two and three job-holding folks, and its disabled folks, and its old folks, and its youngest citizens. I think the DEM party still has not during my lifetime, until this past election, been given the chance, the amount of time, or the clout it needed to truly bless all of us in ways that would make us realize they really are acting to HELP us, not to harm us or to take advantage of us to line "big government's pockets."

Yeah, I know: they had to recently bail us out of catastrophic situations on numerous fronts, and the job of returning us to sound footing is still a way off. I get that. I never expected the Obama administration to fly in like Superman and make all of Wall Street's and the banking industries' excesses go away in nine months. I have never lived in Fantasyland.

But I do know they're doing what they can -- what we'll allow them to do -- to help us get past this dark period of time and come out victorious. I know that health care reform MUST be a part of the equation or we'll come out of the downward spiral just in time to have our health care system descend into the pit (at enormous expense to all of us) and be unable to help ANYBODY.

Whether you are or were a Kennedy "fan," one thing was for certain about that family: they made strides for people at every turn. They helped create a more level playing field for folks, until the reform got hijacked and run off the road by subsequent administrations.

I'm not saying the subsequent administrations weren't legitimately elected or following their own compasses, but we haven't even given the Kennedy compass a serious chance to succeed, and yet it has in so many ways. I think if we'd elect to follow this leader -- Obama -- for a time, we will discover that he's taking us not into socialism or worse, but into the stated creed and goals of our great republic. The Democrat Party is the party of the common man and woman, and its focus in on treating all America's citizens with respect, honor and compassion.

I hate it when the DEMS spout vitriol and try to demonize others every bit as much as I hate it when the GOP does it. But a fringe percentage -- the most-often-reported -- of the GOP has elevated (I should say sunk, not elevated) the tactic to ridiculous heights, equating Obama with Satan and Nazi leaders. It makes me want to vomit; it affects me physically.

Probably the most level-headed, least creepy guy ever to hold the office of President holds it right now. When I see people demonizing him, questioning his faith, citizenry, and his love for America, I feel very, very sorry for them. They are utterly delusional.

So that's why I feel blessed. The opposition seems scared spitless by their government as it now stands. I feel renewed and hopeful for the first time in forty years.

I don't think anything that Ted Kennedy wanted done (health care among the many things he worked so hard to accomplish during his 47 years as a Senator) or helped become law was in any way designed to harm or hurt anyone. I think it was all designed to bless American citizens. I feel the same way about Obama's ideas, or I wouldn't have voted at all in '08 for the first time in decades.

I do wish I could say that about previous administrations, but alas... I can understand why so many people distrust the government, especially if they're under 50 years of age! But this is one time when I feel fully justified in believing that our national government truly has our best interests at heart.

Obama has a lot to "prove" to a lot of people, as our first African American President. If you doubt for one second that he doesn't want to do everything he can to become a stellar President, you need to re-think the matter. He's in it to make a difference that will be trumpeted by the angels in heaven and the citizenry here on earth.

His bacon is on the line. Anyone who wants to see him lose does not have America's best interests at heart. The President has our best interests at heart. I have never been more convinced of a politican's good heart since RFK.

I know, I know. To many of you, the Kennedy name is anathema. Read a few of the pro-Kennedy books. I've read them -- and I've also read the anti-Kennedy books. Get outside your comfort zone for once in your life and read about what they tried to do, and about what they accomplished during very short life spans. They were into public service, not into public sabotage. So is Obama.

I hope everyone who fears our government and the current health care reform bill will do this, dial back the paranoia and vitriol, and realize that patriotic, loyal Americans come from all political parties.

I really would love to see us talking to each other again, understanding each other, and -- when we disagree -- agreeing to disagree agreeably.

I am so sick of the hatred and vitriol I see every time I turn on the cable news channels or read the commentary on the Internet. It makes me intolerant! I want to knock heads together! And that's not like me at all!

What we're doing to each other now is no way to honor our nation, the people who fought and died to establish it, or the people who have worked so hard to keep it going, of all parties.

We're all in this together. We don't all have to agree, but if we want America to survive, we do need to listen to and honor each other. Let's stop trying to annoy each other and start electing to reason together...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thanks, Phil! Sonny Starr Interview with Me Now Available Here

My nephew Phil just came by and upgraded my PC a wee bit, and I asked him to transfer the Sonny Starr radio interview I did (about the new STAR TREK movie and the newest De book, ENDURING LEGACY, and my association with De) from a CD to a wma file so I could share it with y'all at long last. So here it is. Enjoy! (Select Download or Copy from the menu and take it from there.)

The interview is about ten minutes long. Sonny very kindly gave me permission to use it in any way I see fit... so if you'd like to disseminate this to other TREK/Kelley sites, feel free. The more people who hear it, the better for both Sonny Starr (Starr Talk Radio, available via the Internet every Sunday night; he interviews golden oldie stars. It's a delightful program every single week!) and book sales.

Thanks for you help! Let me know if you place it anywhere else.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ooh-Whee! Our Neighborhood Just Had a Scare!

Jackie and I were outside gardening when two boys came by to ask if we had seen a young blonde-haired boy walking by himself. When we said, "No," they told us that a lady not far from us had told them her son was missing and they said they'd walk around the block and look for him.

That put Jackie and me into "Let's help this mom find her wee one!" so we both jumped into vehicles and headed in different directions. Every time I saw someone outside, I let them know the situation so they'd be on the lookout for a little boy.

I drove about five miles down various roads, letting people know all along the way, and then decided I needed to talk to the mom and get some more information on the boy -- age, height -- and to see if she had notified police yet.

The boys had told us that the mom drove a bright yellow vehicle and lived in a cul de sac between 48th Avenue East and Canyon Road, so I went down 96th Street slowly between 48th and Canyon looking for a bright yellow vehicle. BINGO! Spotted one in a cul de sac, so I stopped and went to the front door. It was open except for a screen door -- and there, behind the screen door stood a young boy with blonde hair. "Jesus," I prayed silently, "let this be the right house and let that be the missing boy!"

I asked the young man, "Hi, is your mommy home?" He said, "Yes," and at that moment she came around the corner. I asked her, "Are you the lady who's looking for a lost little boy?"

She said, "Oh, yes, I was, but he's here now!"

I said, "Thank God!" I said, "Two boys came by and told everyone they could that a lady was looking for her little boy, so you have a lot of people looking for him right now."

She said, "Oh, my God! I'm so sorry!"

I said, "Don't be sorry! It's great you found him. I'll let everybody I told about him know that he's back home."

She said, "God bless those two boys.." Then she said, "He's just in kindergarten and was supposed to get off the school bus at a certain time, but he didn't. When I called the school, I was told he had been let off on 48th Street -- but that wasn't right -- he actually stayed on the bus but it didn't stop at his stop... so the bus driver called them to let them know she would bring him by later than usual."

I said, "Fantastic. I love happy endings, and I can't wait to tell the others!"

She said, "Thank you so much!!"

I said, "We were all happy to help -- we were all very worried for you and about him."

So then I retraced my routes and let everybody know he had been found and was fine.

It turns out we have an unofficial Neighborhood Watch that works GREAT when there's an emergency. People turned out at a moment's notice to help look for a little boy none of us knew.