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A Paean for Ganesh

November 5, 2019 Leave a comment

I have a handful of poems I’ve written over the past several years I need to get up here. I think this one might be the latest. I’m still reacquainting myself with WordPress and exploring its functionality on my phone and tablet. I hope to get back to blogging regular and having more photos, audio, links to media and the like. Just archiving my existent material will be a project. And of course it competes with all my other projects and responsibilities and my general commitment to keeping some slack in my life.

Anyway, I like this piece. I feel like I wrote it in the spring of 2016 which was an interesting time. I was struggling with Council and career and added a relationship which was a lot to balance and a bit more than I could manage as gracefully as I would have liked. There was a bit of madness to the whole thing and my filter went down completely. I tried to just be wiser and kinder instead of bringing it back. Although I didn’t quite pull it off out of that time a lot of good arose including, I hope, this piece.

A Paean to Ganesh in Gratitude for Blessings Already Received

An Elephant Never Forgets

An Elephant never forgets

When he is all alone

And often left at home

An elephant never forgets…

That elephants were made to live in love

Oh elephants were made to live in love

In a tribe I can’t describe

On a plane I can’t explain

Oh elephants were made to live in love…

Because elephants have strong moms

Oh elephants have strong moms

A matriarch to lead, caress, defend and feed

The little ones who came,

The sick, the old, the lame

Because elephants have strong moms!

So that elephants are made to live in love

Oh elephants were made to live in love

In a tribe I can’t describe

On a plane I can’t explain

Oh elephants were made to live in love….

 

 

Categories: community, insanity, poetry

the more you do the harder it is to sleep

July 19, 2012 1 comment

Its been a weird week here at Leslie Lane. City Council has slowed a bit and our meetings have been getting out at 9ish. There were some appointments to boards and commissions and I had done a bit of politicking and wrestling with all of the issues with their various players and demands on information processing and decision making it leaves me more then a bit spun when I get home. The last 2 meetings I haven’t had dinner before because of a big lunch and rushed for time so I’ve stopped at Taco Bell on the way home. Not a good habit to get into, I’m sure the soda is not helping the can’t sleep after Council phenomenon.

So didn’t really sleep Monday night, made it through a bustling and involved Tuesday. My Co-Occurring Disorders groups have gone up to another level. Its close to the only clinical thing I do and the clients treasure it because its the only time we get to interact and I have been a tour de’ force of random facts, inspiration, and some critical knowledge on getting better. Its been very engaging and very fun and was again this week.

I only had a 1/2 hour after work before my next thing but came home and Flow had made a nice dinner, ham and mashed potatoes with a pineapple/cranberry compote. Quite delish and very much appreciated. I ate that and rode my bike (I am still an every day bicycle commuter though I am close to getting Dad’s truck out of probate) over to Lange Middle School and met with a homeowner’s association. I was only marginally sweaty for day 25 of 90 plus temps (the record is 31 and we are going to crush it in the worst drought of my lifetime). I introduced myself and fielded questions. It was an older crowd and I am sideways to most of them with our job creation scheme that involves a blight decree of their really nice neighborhood and my unabashed support of changing the trash to a roll cart system. But I explained my rationale and listened and we had a very nice dialogue and I remembered why I got into politics and it was fun.

I got home and went upstairs laid down to read a comic book (early 80s MoonKnight) read a page and passed out. I overslept the next morning which was today. I had an all staff training on suicide prevention which went very well. This is how the universe watches out for me. I have done these the last few years and have asked around on a fresh angle with no response. I come home from Taco Bell on Monday and there is a talking head on TV talking in depth about suicide prevention. Flow has a little job teaching suicide prevention classes and had all the materials. I bummed her QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) booklet and taught out of that and our newest policies. I also told the story of the Golden Gate Bridge I had heard just as I walked in the door. 1,400 people have jumped off the bridge with 14 survivors. A pretty lethal attempt and survivor interviews gives us a little insight into “completers” a group we know little about. 13 changed their mind about dying immediately after jumping. It demonstrates the ambivalence of suicidal folk. I didn’t share the 14th jumped again.

After work today I was pretty cashed. Had leftovers, just as yummy and got caught up on my email correspondence, most of it. I may answer one of my troubling emails on that committee thing. I like time stamps of 2:22 am and such and I’m still a little wired. Putting it down on virtual paper helps me get rid of the stuff and I might get some more winks tonight. My laptop gave me the low battery warning and it does not fuck around. It will shut down and I will lose my shit. It feels good to swear, between work and politics I self censor constantly.

So went to bed early and woke from a complex dream. I had gotten a new apartment and married the co-worker I have a crush on but she was on vacation for a coupe of weeks and sometimes morphed into my ex-wife. I was trying to settle in, make plans with friends but managed to get nothing done beyond blow someone off. She got home and I had forgotten about it had other plans I’d blown and was generally befuddled. We lay down in bed, had our first chaste kiss and then I needed to get something out of another room which was a long slow muddle in the dark and down some stairs I had  forgot about. I had to be quiet as another co-worker lived next door and he has mentioned “sleep is hard to come by” for him. I ran into a female friend and we were making out until I remembered I had a wife in bed in the other room which is when I woke up. Weird huh? Well I’m getting low battery warnings better put this up. Good night faithful reader.

Decoration Day Weekend

Hello Faithful Reader,

I was just looking around for how to make the blog public again. With a few tweaks I think I can live with it being public. I was just looking and haven’t posted in almost a month. Maybe with knowing I have more readers again I will feel like posting. I feel like, and someone reaffirmed this is a time in my life worth documenting. Its Saturday night a little passed bedtime but I napped hard so I expect I will be staying up later then usual. It was good to sleep, certainly the most solid one in 2012. My thoughts have been rushing since January with the frenetic activity and deep thought of newly minted political life. Overall I am pleased.

I haven’t had a good nights sleep this week. Monday Council ran late with two hours of public comment on this controversial tax incentive/job creation thing we are doing. I didn’t get home until 11:30 and I was pretty wired. Probably should just start taking people on offers of beers afterwards as its pretty stimulating. I work the next morning though and don’t want to give up an evening to get a late night on Tuesday as I had thought I would do during the campaign.

Its hot on the first weekend of Summer. Mid 90s. Still mowed the front yard. We put in a scoop of cedar mulch, mostly Flow. Got the roses and mailbox beds and the beds along the privacy fence in back and a path to the compost and the dirt outside the back porch. Flow mulched the strawberries  and garden beds with straw. I cultivated a little but have been hard pressed to do more then mow. I weed whipped the back and skipped mowing its been hot and dry. I mowed the front lawn, mostly because it was longer then the neighbors.

The girls in the basement apartment moved out and the owners have been scurrying around on projects. New neighbors. I thought I was going to start a community organizing project but there is a hitch with my intern starting and I want to involve someone else. I told a neighbor I would start in May but I’m not quite there.

Had about 800 pages of reading for the last Council meeting. All the usual stuff plus trend statements and data for Strategic Planning. We did small groups with Council and department heads and the like. Rotated groups and topics, it was interesting. Got to know a lot of folks. Been on a name learning tear.

Everything has a steep learning curve with all the background information and the level of detail to make informed decisions. I have been sideways with my base early on which makes for a bit of consternation. I also get a lot of positive feedback and bounce ideas off whoever which is fun. I’m going to start doing my prep reading in the dog park and getting feedback from the folks out there.

Didn’t do much with the nap and all. I went to the market and got a lot of stuff since I am helping Harry move next week and won’t be able to go. Got a nice deal on big fresh white onions, a giant purple cauliflower, asparagus (I was surprised at that), a couple of nice looking lettuces (everyone agreed this is pretty much the last week for that with the high temps), kohlrabi, some yellow turnips, kale, carrots, sweet cherries, a couple of big beautiful hybrid tomatoes (seconds even), and some trout for my luncheon tomorrow.

Made some fried cabbage for supper. Cabbage I got at the market last week, an onion with some of the green tops, some of the turnip greens, garlic scapes (I cut those earlier in the week), lightly toasted sesame seeds, fried in olive oil with a lot of crushed red pepper and a splash of Worcestershire. It was good and Flow made crab cakes and naan. We were pretty grateful because we have been living large.

I called in sick yesterday. Hadn’t slept right all week, a little free floating anxiety when I am supposed to be slumbering and stayed in bed late and felt sluggish and dumb. Couldn’t nap and slept poorly last night as well but I feel like my 2+ hour nap today was a break through. There’s been so much change with City Council, the new position at work which is learning a bunch of new programs and trying to wrap my head around a few defuse projects, plus adjusting to being an everyday bicycle commuter.

I have advanced the probate situation and have a meeting on Thursday to sign affidavits and go forward so it will be nice to get the truck on the road again. Going on a float trip on Monday. Trevor, a friend of his, Jesse and myself going South out of Coopers Landing to Millersburg I think. I’ve never done passed Coopers and am looking forward to seeing something new.

Jeff and Vicki, Trevor and Lisa and Harry are coming over for trout. Reminds me I need to look up how to roast garlic. I am going to baste the trout in a yogurt sauce with roasted garlic, lemon, parsley, and chervil, maybe a little mace. I am also going to do the cauliflower in a foil pack with olive oil, turmeric and nutritional yeast. Might grill the asparagus as well. I think I will put one of the trout packs in the freezer. I got 3 packs (6 fish) and Brian isn’t coming and Lisa is a vegetarian so probably can get by with 2 like the trout lady suggested.

 

Election Day

Well at long last it is finally here.  I woke up early like I needed to for the plan. I was groggy, sleep has been hard to come by and last night was no exception. Up late doing stuff, mind turning, fitful sleep. I made coffee and grabbed my stainless steel water bottle out of the car pleased with my forethought for remembering where it was in the car and remembering to grab it, not going to have time to drink it at home got to get rolling to glad hand after at the polling place after voting. It wasn’t until the bottle heated up and I dropped it spilling hot coffee all over my hand that I remembered I don’t drink coffee in the stainless steel water bottle but in the stainless steel coffee cup. No harm no fowl. Good coffee though, a light roast Rwandan I roasted yesterday, quite yummy. Almost a nutty flavor.

I got my shower, shave and dressed as fancy I get, pretty much, my nice shirt, my first silk tie I bought new, perhaps all the way back in the 80s. It was late 80s so not totally narrow but narrow on the top and flared out at the bottom, not like they make ties now but passable.

I’d gotten vetoed on taking Fido to campaign with me. Last year, regular readers may recall I took Fido to the polls. It was the day after Dad had died and we were coming back from the dog park. We’d opened up our hearts to some sweet old ladies (sisters I recall) and we had all talked about losing our Dads. At the polling place I saw Henry from across the street (he’s working another polling place this year) and he offered his condolences and me and all the poll workers all talked about losing our dads. I never felt more part of a community then to walk out of my house and find solace in the comfort of my neighbors.

I’m very emotional today, crying as I write this. The campaign has been a wonderful distraction as the one year anniversary approaches but I am melting down today, just a bit. Its normal politically astute folks have told me. Excuse me while I go find a tissue.

That’s better. Breathe in Breathe out. So I walked down to the polls, sans Fido. A neighbor I had spoken to at length yesterday (for the third time, I had won her vote, Bill Pauls came by and stole it, I spoke at length to her husband trying to get a yard sign placement when he told me about Bill, but won her back yesterday on the final pass). She pushed the edge of talking about the campaign in the sacred neutrality of the polling place. I told her I called it a “personal project” when I talked about the campaign at work.

I did the same thing at City Council meeting when I spoke up for some neighbors who wanted a zoning change delayed to gather more neighbors. I publicly commented in favor of the tabling at one of their all’s request and talked about how I had canvassed the neighborhood for a “personal project”. As I was leaving I was set upon by some J-school students for an interview and none of them knew I was a candidate and had a fair shot at being on the Council next meeting. It was funny. (tabling passed 5-1, only dissenter was our current rep who I think is bent because I’ve been campaigning against his comment that the Ward was “apathetic”. He also isn’t trying to develop a cordial working relationship with me as the rest of the council appears to be. I also obliquely referenced that in my comments which probably didn’t help.)

The woman I worked so hard to capture her vote voted absentee yesterday (that’s at least 3 of those plus my own so I’m getting at least 4 votes). Another neighbor was there, I had gone by her house a couple of times but she never answered the door. She’s super-religious and felt she was voting for Pauls, I would have if I was her in spite of a personal connection which she made an oblique reference to herself, so perhaps I did win her vote. I’ve done a good turn or two for the community and there will be some folks who don’t normally vote showing up today.

Seeing yourself on the ballot is pretty cool. These things are close so I chose myself. I got my sticker and put my ballot in the ballot machine.

I went outside and stepped past the “no electioneering past this point” sign and should have slipped on my “Michael Trapp for Ward 2 City Council” badge and started thanking people for coming out but just couldn’t do it. As I told my advisers in an email “I’m not really a friendly and outgoing person. I just learned to act like one and I can’t do it this morning”. The church is my neighbor and they have a sign saying “no trespassing except for church business”. I respect that. The counter-argument is that by providing access to the polls that extends to electioneering on site but it was all to ambiguous, it was early, I felt weird and I am tired, not just tired but weary to the bone.

So I walked home took off my tie and dress shirt and wrote this blog. I am going to make a second pot of coffee and put some time in the garden, perhaps nap if my racing mind allows, and probably take the dog for a walk. I’ve earned a little R&R. Hell I’m going to put shorts on. I closed my email with “If I lose by 3 votes I will feel silly and self-indulgent”. True dat. If I get a chance to do this again I will take a friend with me to buck me up.

 

NA step 2 part 2

Hmmm, just tried to link to the cyber recovery page after writing a little intro but it just cancelled out my post. Dang. Well this is part of a project to translate the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous into simple concrete English with all hearing references removed. I hope to finish by Sunday in spite of being horridly busy.

http://www.cyberrecovery.net/NA/StepTwo.html OK, there’s the link, it came up when I was trying to paste in the actual language of the step. Let me try that again.

“We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Some people say church is for people are afraid of Hell. Knowing God is for people whose life has been Hell. Faith is the gift we get for accepting the truth. If the second step is hard we should look at what we think is important or valuable. If we feel we are not getting important stuff or it doesn’t work well we should change. We want to change. Step 2 is about finding and using extra power to change. Believing is knowing what we think is important and what we hate. Believing helps us get what we want in the future. Being weak and feeling trapped makes us value not feeling pain. When we start to love and do God’s will we can still have bad things happen because what we think is valuable hasn’t changed yet. Changing what we think is right as God changes our life helps us “come to believe”.

One way to figure out what we really want is to put in words what we want in the future. It helps to believe in what will help us get what we really want. When we know the future can be good without limit it changes how we see. Many people try to clearly remember what they wanted out of life in early recovery. Then when it happens we will be happy. As we grow in recovery new dreams come. When we tell these dreams to others in recovery we grow and become stronger. Sometimes our dreams help other people instead of us.

We see more when we learn from what others have done. We become more free and helpful to others when we train, study, and work on what we are learning. A part of changing is enjoying how we have changed and seeing it help others. It helps when we can Give it up to God when we believe God can’t help us enough. The belief that God can’t help us is old or not thought out or only a piece of the truth. Most of us are surprised we can change what we believe about God. D0ing drugs hurt us more then health and legal problems but have hurt the way we think. If you put in wrong thoughts you get out wrong thoughts and actions. Because we were afraid we did not slow down and think clearly. We get used to thining wrongly and believing bad things will happen.

When we did drugs we thought the world was bad and we continue to think that. Healthy relationships are an important part of life. Being healthy means we have healthy places to go, healthy things in our life, and healthy people to be around. As we change we can feel weird as we change how we deal with people. Just because something feels uncomfortable doesn’t mean its wrong. We have to ask other people in recovery about stuff that feels uncomfortable. We feel uncomfortable as we change how we look at the world but haven’t gotten used to it yet. If we are sensitive and respectful to God we can learn to see things in a new way. We stop having beliefs that are to small to work.

Sometimes we make stuff by really believing things we knew were true but we couldn’t really believe. Addicts are sensitive to the truth even when they deny it or hide from it. Growing God shows us that we make ourselves and how we make ourselves affects other people. Staying close to God keeps us in our new beliefs. Our beliefs get stronger and more a part of us.

Things that don’t work for us take time to get rid of but beliefs won’t change by themselves. Its easier to go looking for a belief we may have been interested in for a while. We can try to find something that we feel good about and try to learn more about it. Many people find that what they believed as children will work now. Being confused by using drugs might have kept our beliefs from working good. Our new beliefs are not only easier but work better and we get more of what we want. The need for beliefs that work is stronger then being afraid. Once we belief this step it will stick with us and we won’t have to go back and do it again. Thinking about stuff all the time was a way we used to get stuff we thought we wanted. We had problems because we needed so much. Thinking about drugs all the time was about feelings and not meeting our needs. People could see we were crazy. Every time we give up an old fear our freedom and responsibility increase. As we give up our old fears our faith grows. Faith gives us more energy and allows us to do more with what we have. We are clear headed and relaxed.

Fear is false beliefs that we think are real and it is important to addicts. Fear keeps us from doing stuff that hurts us or makes our lives worse. When we are sane fear keeps us in a place where we are comfortable and our feelings won’t get hurt. When we were addicts much of what we believed was crazy. In other areas some things we think we know are not true but it doesn’t matter. Many things are in the middle and sometimes it matters if we are right. Figuring out what is true or not is a lot of work that we have to do every day. Freedom in recovery is comparing what we get to what we lost from being an addict. The longer we are clean the more important the truth is and that is why we keep going to meetings and working the steps. When we were using drugs we were afraid of getting caught and we may have continued to be afraid in early recovery. Maybe our real secret was we built our own cage out of fear? We replace fear with faith. We start to work the steps and we learn to feel pain without using drugs. When we remember the old craziness we learn to face the truth and get better.

Well that’s about all I have this afternoon. Looks like I won’t finish step 2 this week. I will try to get it done on my vacation. I am looking forward to not being maddeningly busy all the time. The only reason I could do this is I am supposed to be doing something else and I’m not. I’ve lost a little focus with a little “short term ego depletion” from all the challenging stuff I’ve been doing.

Return to Valleyview

If I am posting it must be insomnia. They’re go the 2:00 am Baptist bells, two minutes late, like clockwork. It seems somehow unBabtist to be two minutes late, two minutes early maybe. But these aren’t your parents Baptists, judgmental and strident, but bland with projection screen throwing up bland hymns. Yawn. A little of that and I could sleep. Instead I have Organic NightyNight tea, still to hot to drink. And blogging my thoughts. See if I get them out of my head to make room for sleep to come in.

I didn’t end up calling in sick the day after I was up posting in the middle of the night. I did sleep in and take some time to wake up. Got my mumps vaccine. 43 years old without getting it, not to bad. The vaccine used to only last 7 years so I never got it when it became available. Now with a booster it lasts your whole life so it makes sense. I didn’t want to kick that can down the road when I would be even older when my immunity failed.

Today started early. I had to get going early and take Fido to a dog park friend’s house to spend the day with Ru the Standard Poodle who likes to hump. I think all poodles do. Fido likes him though, he’s pretty tolerant of such things. He’s easy going to a fault. I had to get there early so Cindy could get to her exercise class but she skipped it to have coffee with me anyway. I brought her some of the dark roast Sumatran I had made. It was good. Best of the lot at its peak this morning. She had broken out the French press for the occasion. I was a little sorry to have given it all away. I roasted a light roast Rwandan tonight so I’ve got something to look forward to. Cindy was dog sitting for a spastic little dog. He humped Fido too.

Tea’s still to hot to drink, had a sip anyways. I came home and dealt with returning some of the phone calls I needed to make. I started to write most but some is more accurate. I still owe my friend Amy and brother Bob a call. Still have an email to family to write as well. I called and did an interview on crime in the second ward with the Trib political paper. He had a 12:00 deadline but it wasn’t in the paper tonight. Maybe tomorrow. That Friday night to Saturday morning is a compressed news cycle. Saturday would be better anyway. It helps door knocking to have been on the paper that day, though you pretty much need to be on the front page and/or have a big picture if you want to get into people’s consciousness. My doors tonight I’d sent them 2 pieces of mail, been in the paper twice a week for a month, and had already knocked on their doors before and no one knew who I was.

Made an appearance at work, mostly just checking email and messages and off to Uprise to meet with the Fire Department Association president. He was meeting with the incumbent from another ward but I got to update Scott, an early supporter who owns an ice cream shop downtown and touch base about not having an event at his place. To much to do not enough time. Its hard to beat doors for voter candidate as far as efficient use of time.

I met with the Fireman, didn’t get endorsed but got a donation and the promise not to be organized against. Still a victory. They don’t want their endorsement to be meaningless and their candidate got beat last time. Drove down to Jefferson City for a meeting of the Missouri Cadre for Co-Occurring Excellence. Been a minute since I’d seen those peeps. I was late because of the fireman thing. We’re planning a peer review process in conjunction with the state. Promising. I picked up a committee assignment again and bragged up my campaign. They’re very proud and miss me on facebook. Nine days and I’m back.

Tea’s yummy. I put in my Michigan honey, the honey of my youth. Sleepy now, but not enough. I drove back to town and caught a couple hours in the office. Not real productive, tired and mind racing. Picked up Fido, he’d had fun and sacked out early and didn’t even get out of bed when I got up to blog so he had a good day. I’ll do it again next week.

Did doors with Ann. Drank the last of the Sumatran dark roast. It threatened rain and had a whole street of no one at home. I wondered if there was a tornado warning and everyone was huddled in their basement. Got a couple signs on the next street. “Bitchin'” a young woman said after I gave her my spiel. The listening tour is over, I’ve been to all 13 precincts and asked what was their concerns. Now I’m pitching myself. Starting back where I started so long ago was interesting. I am a different person. I have a comprehensive knowledge of the neighborhood and its issues, a confidence and a huge array of talking points.

Getting back my old walk sheets for my turf tomorrow. Will be nice to have my notes when I follow up with people for a second time. Even just to know if I talked with them before or not. Stopped by Jeff’s when it started raining. Did a couple houses in the rain but then my sheets got damp and its no fun any more. Got a better tour of his awesome house. Built in 1906 by a biologist who testified in the Scopes trial. Its a 3 story built of concrete forms 1′ x 1′ x 2′ with rock facing on one side. He has a pond with frogs and his fruit trees are in bloom. Very lovely.

Gave me the night of, and I do what my advisers tell me. That was a good strategy. We’ve had remarkably smooth sailing.Allowed me to do dishes and clean my kitchen. I’d had ants, so it needed to be done. No more stacking up dishes for days. Flow has a scrubber that holds dish soap and will start washing them as I go. Ants are God’s way of telling you you are a slob.

Made some fried rice. Was going to do salmon patties but had leftover rice to eat from Fido’s party. Waste not want not, Grandma Trapp always said. Watched a little news and went to bed. Now its time to try that again. A little sleepy and some Spiderman ought to do the trick. I’m down to the Annuals so soon there will be no more. I also finished The Order of Things, only took me 7 years. Have to pick  a new book out. Maybe finish that book on the origins of intelligence I borrowed from John in the Spring. I could return it on my cross country odyssey.

Hope to mow, do a load of laundry, straighten the house, do an interview with a Missourian editoraiist. He writes on issues of religious liberty (the freedom from not freedom to do perspective [hope he’s going to slam my stridently Catholic opponent who criticized Catholic politicians who don’t act like Catholics claiming they’re following the will of their constituents] all before 10 when Vicki comes over. I have a public radio interview at 10:30, oh and I’ll need a shower. Seems ridiculous when I write it all down but you never know. Oh, and I saw a rainbow.

i only post when i can’t sleep

Another sleepless night. Made me a cup of Organic Nighty Night. Its been a while and if I have to I will call in sick tomorrow. There’s nothing that pressing on my schedule. It was a pretty exciting day on the campaign trail and that has my mind buzzing and sleep elusive. Less then 2 weeks to go to the election, pretty exciting.

Today I did a training for work on integrating primary health care into the substance abuse treatment that we do. I had my “A” game today and actually had some time at work to prepare the training. I gave a little background and context in regards to health care reform and why it makes since that we tackle the issue, as substance abuse counselors we are the motivational enhancement experts and we need to tackle chronic disease management or our clients are going to die. In Missouri if you have a mental illness you die on average 25 years younger then average. That’s why we don’t have many elderly clients, they’re all dead.

I opened with Health Literacy. I wrote a Health Literate handout on the subject after looking exhaustively for a health literate version of a handout for a preventable chronic disease and striking out. Health Literacy is exactly opposite of what it sounds. Its dumbing everything down to a 5th grade level, short words in short sentences in short paragraphs with lots of pictures. If you read this blog you know that is not my style. I am bookish and like to write for others who are the same. But we have to convey information in a way people can understand. I goofed on the topic though and talked about how much it hurt me and encouraged us to work on literacy as well. I said someday it will all be pictograms and health literacy will be talking about the elitism of words.

The biggest correlation to health is literacy level, greater then race or economic status. Knowledge is power.

I then moved into how to make a doctor’s appt. at the local free clinic and wrote down step by step instructions from navigating through their voicemail to what to say and not say. It kills me that I am the only one who knows how to do it when you just have to try it, learn from your mistakes, and make a note of the process. Then I talked about Health Coaching. Which is basically do they have doctors instructions, if not get them, do they know what they are and help them do them. I did it in a little flow chart and kept it light and funny.

I closed with my Dad’s respiratory tech who came out and said she couldn’t ask him to quit smoking because she was a smoker and called that out for the bullshit that it is. It wasn’t about her. He needed to hear that if he didn’t quit smoking he was going to die, not some day but next month, which is what happened. I brought it back to the beginning that we were the experts on motivation and with all her education and training she sucked at it and killed my dad and this is why we need to do this stuff.

I left early from work to have my interview with Hank Waters, he’s the publisher of the Tribune and semi-retired but still writes the editorials. Pretty spry and we had a lively conversation. I feel my chances are strong for an endorsement. He picked up a couple words I used to describe myself and called me a “passionate realist”. I believe that’s pretty apt. I at least got a chance to tell him I love newspapers and the Trib. I forgot to mention the arts section is a little hoity toity.

Then it was on to door knocking. I had missed a day for the Keep Columbia Safe Forum yesterday (went well, in a panned shot on TV as they covered the event but not anything we said except for the incumbent in another ward). Doors went well. Had people who knew who I was. Had my best door ever with a developer and active Chamber of Commerce member who had a sign up for my opponent. He apologized and gave me $100 for the campaign. They’re is some regret in those circles as I am a passionate articulate campaigner and they like that.

Had a driver which helps a lot and Jesse is good, lays out my turf and scouts ahead. Really makes it easy. I also door knocked the street of the current rep which was fun. I said I couldn’t promise they would have the same access as they have now as I wouldn’t be able to buy the house next door but pointed out my phone #. It was fun.

Stopped and saw Jeff and he showed the attack ad by a candidate in another ward. Hateful, fabricated innuendo and lies. Hope I’m never in a campaign like that. We poke each other a bit when we get the chance but in a good spirited way. It is a contest after all and we have to create some discrepancy. Our answers can run pretty similar with these municipal issues. Bill Pauls came out swinging at the last forum. I enjoyed his passion and he layed out a community response to crime that sounded a lot like what I’ve been saying. In fact it was noticed, not just by me, that all the candidates, well not the candy maker dude, were talking my talking points. That’s fine by me, as long as they govern that way.

That was originally what I thought I could get out of this. Shape the debate a bit. I’ve done that, for both wards that are in play and I may just win this thing. After seeing Jeff took Jesse out for some Mexican food and then home. Went to bed early but only slept an hour and have been up. Almost a thousand words and a cup of sleepy tea and I’m still not sleepy.

Well maybe a little. Maybe some Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider Man will help. I’m up to 1985 now. They’re better, starting to mature a bit. I’ve enjoyed reading 7 years of it straight and seeing it grow and develop. The early 80s were tough times. Can’t say I miss them much. Its been rainy. Basement flooded. The rain barrels need some adjustment but I’m in dress clothes all the time and its wet out so I haven’t wanted to mess with it. This weekend I have to mow. Front yard on Saturday and back on Sunday. That’s gonna be hard with the push reel and then walking all day. My sketchers make my toes on my right foot hurt. I need insoles for my hand me down from Dave shoes I wore today.

There’s probably more of note I forgot. Every day is an adventure now, which is cool. But I’m going to try and go back to bed. The baptists ring the church bells all night. they’re also two minutes slow.

Categories: community, health, politics, work

Fido’s birthday

Good morning faithful reader. Its about 4:30 am and I have been up for an hour or so. Went to sleep pretty early but woke up and really felt there was no going back down so decided to get an early start on the day. I can’t even remember the last time I blogged, aside from my last post on NA step 2, which hardly counts. Life has really become a blur with constant frenetic activity from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. There is only a little more then two weeks before the election though so the end is in sight. And none to soon. I am deep down bone weary tired. I have been campaigning so hard and so long I can no longer remember when I wasn’t and other folks seem like they are moving in slow motion.

Its going well though. Money is coming in, enough to do what we want to do as far as get the word out. Three mailings, two are out, one will go out just prior. The rack cards are looking good. The last one shows some of the problems in the ward, potholes, lack of sidewalks, a police car & the fire station with a picture of Fido and me. I have my glasses off and we are both looking off into the distance like we are pondering how to solve the problems in the Second Ward. Well at least one of us is.

Speaking of Fido I think he very much enjoyed his birthday celebration. He is two now, or fourteen in dog years, a little teenager now. I expect him to start staying out late and smoking cigarettes. Wanting to borrow the car and going on dates. Well perhaps not. He has really enjoyed having Flow here, our new housemate. He wanted to sleep in the hall between our rooms. I started to let him but then he was wanting to get up and growl at the people walking down the street so I made him come and sleep in my room. He gets up and lays outside Flow’s room waiting for her to get up now.

I am going to take him for a walk when it gets a little later. Its probably been 4 days. Just no time. We have this unnaturally warm spell though and have been able to leave the door open so he can go in and out, plus Flow hangs outside with him and took her with him to visit some chihuahuas yesterday. Only Freddy and LuLu came to the party as far as dogs. They all hung out though and enjoyed some dessicated liver while we humans had Chinese and cupcakes Lisa made.

I got him a tiger that roars and some rawhide chews for his chew toy that makes them last. Found it in my bed when I went to lay down. He got a rawhide, and a new neon pink collar (he’s a little girly) but it was to big. I’ll probably have to poison him its been so warm. Maybe after his walk this morning. Its warm enough he may go for a swim, especially if he sees Ru at the park. I was going to invite Ru’s mom to the party but didn’t really do any invites except people I ran across or was talking to anyway. Still had a nice turn out. My embedded reporter and photographer came. That should be pretty much over now and profiles should be out next week, I am excited to see mine. I only gave a slightly expurgated version of my way to interesting for politics life so we’ll see what they do with it. It was fun telling my story.

Also did video interviews for the Missourian website, those should be out soon if you’ve ever wanted to hear me talk you soon can. Later this morning I am shooting a web video for my web add on KOMU website. Got a good deal on it and we have the extra money because fundraising has gone well.

Its the last day of Brain Awareness week at work. Its been fun with dressing the same color and I did a cool education group on Neurogenesis and Neuroplasticity called “This is Your Brain on Recovery”. Also had the most important candidate forum, the League of Women Voters, though it got little coverage, a footnote to the School Board race. I thought I was again the clear winner sounding thoughtful and at times eloquent. Picked up some donations.

Its been hard to find time to do doors and follow up calls with all the events. We had dinner after the forum so lost an evening there and gave one up for Fido. Tonight I think I am going to cancel my date and try to get doors and calls in. Its weird now that its hot, not quite as fun. Its hard not to make it rote, I’ve done so many now. I really like people though and am genuinely curious and intrigued to figure them out. People pick up on that. Been doing around the house trying to pick up some signs around Parkade school. Got 5 out of the project but it was weird being my third pass at these folks.

People are starting to know who I am. The signs really help. I’m glad to be back on fresh turf tonight. Have drivers for the weekend so I should easily get in 300 + doors. There’s some rain coming but I will push through it. I’m getting tired now, may try to go back to bed rather then have that second cup of coffee. The dog may have to wait.

Categories: community, dogs, politics

Step 2 part 1

http://www.cyberrecovery.net/NA/StepTwo.html 

Cyber Recovery posts the steps of Narcotics Anonymous electronically. I have been asked by a deaf individual to translate the steps into concrete, simple English with all hearing references removed. I did this orally and it was immensely helpful and personally rewarding for myself to understand the material and to grow in my health literacy skills. Here is the first half of Step 2, I hope to finish by Sunday.

Step 2

Not seeing our life is good is like still doing drugs. We can focus to much on things that are wrong. We can focus to much on a thing that is good. We can look at the good things in our life to much and have an accident. Drug addicts look at the world in three ways. We can think things are to good and not pay attention. We can think the world is sad and unhappy and feel sad and unhappy. We can also look at the world with clear eyes and see thinking like a drug addict makes us unhappy. When we see clearly we can find a balance. We can see good and bad and respond like we should. Seeing things as they are is a gift. We can move forward without being afraid of a disaster. Life is not happy all the time or sad all the time.

Doing the same thing and thinking it will be different is what drug addicts do. We have to think about our old way of doing things to have a different life. If we don’t its still like when drugs controlled our life. If we trust enough to act differently we can see change can happen. We do something different and different things happen. We are moving forward. Knowing what real life is makes us sane.

Being an addict makes us obsess over stuff. “Coming to believe” lets us see what is real. Thinking can only take us part way to God. What we say to ourselves has to match what is real. When they are different we suffer. We have to work on this every day. We believe what we have done.

Faith is trusting without having done it. Belief can be what we have done or faith and what we have done. In the old days people submitted to a king. When we ask “is it okay?” to someone we are  submitting to them. We all have people and things we submit to. We submit to things we believe in. In recovery we look at what we believe in.

This choice is very clear in recovery. Early in recovery we can decide not to submit to things that make us feel bad. We learn to decide what it is to be sane. Choosing what to believe takes practice. Some addicts didn’t know they could choose what to submit to. Some addicts never thought to try and resist.  Submitting appeared like we had to.

Believing in something is giving up to that idea. Our seeing gets bigger when we look at things like other people do and feel. We talk to others about what we each feel and do. We can talk to others and read books to know how to stay clean. “Coming to believe” means we can stop submitting to bad people and bad things. We can ask ourselves, “Can I do better?” Looking at ourselves every day helps us see reality. We start to forget to worry about tomorrow and yesterday. The parts of yourself you don’t like are often crazy. We would not choose to do those things today. We have a bad life when we are not grateful.

Being sane in recovery must meet our needs each day. It is natural to feel confused as you change. When we are confused or upset it means we are changing. People in meetings and God can help us even if we haven’t worked all the steps or gotten very far in recovery. In recovery people are here for us and we are here for others. This is not true when we act like an addict to control other people. We can’t expect people to treat us better because we stopped doing drugs. We can treat people better who stop doing drugs if we want to. It is important to do it because we want to help or be nice and not because we expect something. What we do willingly is different then what we have to do. Being part of a group means we respect each other.

good morning america

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve been spending some mornings with Good Morning America. Plus side I get a little national news, a lot of pop culture nonsense, and some local weather. I have trouble staying up past 10 to catch the evening news and so far haven’t found anything else worth watching on ABC. The digital 2nd version has some classic TV I’ve been watching a little of that when I want some background noise. The Odd Couple is as preposterous as I remember and without the gloss of nostalgia its probably as crappy as anything on now. It drowns out the sound of the woodpecker out front.

The campaign continues to go well. Hitting doors every day, people more tuned into the election as we get closer and the weather gets warmer. Sun staying up later each day so I can get more time in. Got caught up on follow up calls last night. three hour and a half sessions was all it took. Of course meeting tonight and tomorrow so I’ll be behind again. I still felt confident enough to get back into it to try to go out Friday or Saturday night.

Big day today. Housing inspection in 1/2 hour and going to have to jump in the shower momentarily. Last step before refinancing. Probably won’t lower my payment but taking 12 years off the mortgage is huge. Also getting my broken step fixed. They have a big lip so we are going to reinforce the others and make it more sturdy for the long run. Kicking myself now for not getting them all refinished when Jamie offered. To many decisions to make them all right.

The inspector is here now and after I outlined my modest improvements to the home, kitchen tile, 1/2 a kitchen counter, new windows, fence, and though you can’t tell it in February landscaping he is on his own, photographing my messy house for inspector posterity. After work I have the Labor Meet & Greet, knock on doors, and then I am going to a new group CIVIC. They have organized to oppose the blight designation of about half our city as part of this thing called an Enhanced Enterprise Zone to lure manufacturing jobs, which we desperately need, back to the area. I am still studying the issue so have a little trepidation. I have a meeting scheduled with REDI (public/private partnership that is spearheading the EEZ) next week so I feel I am taking a balanced approach to learning more about the issue. It will be my first vote as a council person.

The other controversy raging in the city is our 6th shots fired incident in recent weeks with the last one taking out a window at Chuck E Cheeze’s. That has our sleepy public up in arms. The police made 2 arrests last night which I am thankful for as politicians who pander to people’s worst fears irk me some and move us in a direction that is not helpful. I wish I could tell people we can manage every scary situation they see on the nightly news but we just can’t. Having some police drive by their house ain’t going to necessarily help. My approach to community safety is to increase neighborliness and “eyes on the street” by making our outdoor spaces more user friendly.

Shots fired though that’s different then the property crimes that more people keeping an eye on things can realistically help. That has more to do with the relationship between the police and the communities of people who have the information that allows crimes to be solved. I think our current Police Chief is on the right track with a scientific approach to police work and a policy of Unconditional Respect to generate trust and manage unconscious biases that can creep into even good hearts.

The real reason I am blogging even though the inspector has moved outside and I could go to work and attack a nagging project that came out of nowhere is I had my most interesting door knock ever last night. Ann was driving and I was door knocking in a pretty sketchy trailer park. We passed this bombed out trailer with the yard strewn with debris and a bird flying out of a windowless section. I marked it “abandoned” and we turned around to go to the next and Ann says “Wait a minute, I see a light on, you gotta go in and see what’s up.” “No lets skip it”. “Come on your a social worker for God’s sake he might need some help”. “OK”.

I see him laying in bed and almost just leave a flyer but I knock. An old guy, looks pretty good, comes to the door and starts rattling on that he is moving tomorrow to some senior housing in the country which will allow him to continue his academic studies of Amish life. He runs on a 10 minute stream of consciousness rant on the Amish, the CIA drug smuggling and pediphilia, his struggles with the publishing industry and their CIA connection, the documentary on his life “Conspiracy of Silence” (4 copies at the Columbia Library), and many other topics. Since he’s moving he gave me the flyer back but I give him a card in case he wants to contact me. My life can always get more interesting, but I hope never as interesting as Michael Zielinski.

Categories: books, community, insanity, politics