Saturday, September 29, 2007

Open Letter to Blond Bimbo with Black Boxster

It seems our paths cross yet again. It's becoming impossible to go anywhere in this neighborhood without seeing you put the entire citizenry of San Francisco at grave risk in your black Porsche Boxster, performing acrobatics which can only be described as anarchy behind the wheel.

I don't know who bought it for you but I'm sure that someone did because you can't possibly be smart enough to have earned that much money yourself, especially considering what you must be paying some lucky salon to keep your voluntary blond tresses free of dark roots.

I was particularly impressed by the maneuver you treated us to at around 5:00 p.m. yesterday when you executed a double U-turn at the intersection of Divisadero and Chestnut Streets, cutting off vehicles in four directions and then deciding for reasons unknown to back up all the way to Lombard Street in rush hour traffic heading for the Golden Gate Bridge.

It turned out that you weren't trying to merge onto Lombard after all, but to get a running start back to Chestnut, where you slammed your car to the curb, beating out another woman who was in the process of parallel parking in that space.

At this point, you had my full attention. I'm sure you didn't notice me because your sunglasses have mirrors on the insides, but I was the brunette in jeans and white t-shirt leaning against a lamppost across the street staring intently at your vehicle. I really wanted to see what you looked like because you are, in your way, quite remarkable.

After flipping off the rightful owner of the parking space, you spent quite a lot of quality time with your rear view mirror, tweezing your eyebrows and applying more spackle and base coat before venturing forth.

When you had done as much damage control as possible, you slid out, ignoring the parking meter, and sashayed into a bar. A pick-up bar, actually, but then I'm sure you know that.

The prospect of you driving home later on busy roads, smashed, really made my day.

And since we're such good friends and all, I want you to remember that no matter how cool your car is, you're still ugly and I hope you get towed.

With the snidest of wishes,
Heart in San Francisco

Friday, September 28, 2007

More Fun With Dick and Jane

Last night, we attended a lecture at UCSF on Alzheimer's Disease. As we headed for the campus, I said, "I'm glad you decided to come with me."

"I'm the guest of honor," said Flip. "The specimen."

"You may be the guest of honor, but they have the right of way," I commented as someone ran a stop sign. Flip's cautiousness saved us from being sideswiped on the crest of a hill.

The evening began, somewhat amusingly, with people committing atrocious acts with their cars in the University parking lot in their haste to get to the Alzheimer's lecture. Flip, who was driving, grew increasingly agitated and finally burst out to no one in particular, "You got mental problems?" (For some reason, when angry, Flip reverts to a New York accent which I recognize, having grown up there, but to which he has no entitlement since he is from Los Angeles.) I have to admit, grudgingly, that he has a point: New Yorkese is the perfect medium for expressing rage.

We had to sign in and show photo ID's for security. Like in airports. Apparently, the University believes that journeys of the mind are as likely to attract terrorists as those in which people are bodily transported from place to place. We were directed to follow the purple balloons to the Conference Center. I thought with wry mirth of Dick and Jane as, holding hands, we navigated the many twists and turns highlighted with balloons to the auditorium. Dick and Jane run, run, run to an Alzheimer's Evening. Or maybe, Dick and Jane Grow Up.

We turned to each other at the exact same moment and said, "I wish I had a pin." It's no accident we're together. "I hope the balloons are still here when it's over," said Flip. He must have been traumatized by Hansel and Gretel, whose intentions of following their trail of bread crumbs home were defeated by hungry birds.

The lecture was devastatingly informative. We were shown diagrams of how the disease, characterized by plaque and tangled, ropey fibrils, progresses. It always follows the same path through the brain. It is inevitable. There are no loopholes, no reprieves for good behavior. Section by section, it destroys every part of the brain, removing everything that makes a person who he is and leading finally to the end stage where he forgets how to swallow and breathe.

The only thing up for grabs is how long it takes in a particular instance. This disease completely robs a person of himself. My heart is breaking even as I recognize the benefit of knowing now how it will be then. There was a panel of two neurologists and a financial adviser, which I thought odd until he explained how much the care of someone in the later stages costs. It's beyond terrifying. President Bush cut a huge amount of money from research of this disease right before he began the war in Iraq. He has also made it increasingly difficult for people to get state aid for such care. After all, we have nations to conquer. Perhaps his rationale is that if he kills off enough young Americans, there will be fewer people who might be afflicted if allowed to grow older. Meanwhile, the disease is exploding as baby boomers age.

One of the doctors stated that what we need is something as powerful as chemo for Alzheimer's, and there is nothing even remotely close. Because of Bush's cuts, he said, we have lost an entire generation of young scientists who might otherwise have gone into Alzheimer's research, but now will not. During the Question and Answer phase of the evening, I had a possibly wacky idea which I wanted to ask about, but didn't get called on:

A number of years ago, Human Growth Hormone was highly touted as an anti-aging treatment. Movie stars were flying to Switzerland for injections of the substance that was believed to dissolve some kind of mysterious bodily plaque. Since one of the factors in Alzheimer's is the growth of plaque in the brain, I wonder if perhaps treatment with HGH could be helpful in reversing it. The disease typically attacks the elderly and only rarely someone as young as Flip, although that is changing, so it seems that anti-aging procedures or medications could have some effect.

I wish I were a scientist because if there is to be a cure, it is absolutely necessary to consider the problem from a new angle. I say that with all respect for those who are using their difficult and expensive medical educations to study diseases and to offer hope to all of us that the nightmare of Alzheimer's will one day be over. The Alzheimer's Association had a table spread with cookies which I recognized as a Pepperidge Farm assortment and some brownies that Flip declared excellent. I collected many pamphlets from a longer table and we left, fitted out for our disease as with a diaphragm. We missed the season premiere of "Gray's Anatomy" because of a real medical problem. I guess that's fitting, in a way.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Give Good Garbage

This morning, I heard an unusual amount of noise coming from the garbage containers behind the building. I peered out my kitchen window and saw a strange man methodically pawing through the trash, opening every bag and withdrawing the contents by handfuls. I recognized paperwork and other things I had discarded from our apartment. Most of it went back into the large plastic bins, but certain items he placed in his own bag.

I watched for several minutes, unsure of what I was witnessing. Then I decided to ask him nicely, in Spanish, if necessary, what he was doing. I opened my door and headed for the back stairwell, where I was stopped by a woman who seemed to be dusting doors with a feather duster. She apologized for the "noise" she was making and I said, 'Oh, that's ok," and slunk back into my apartment, embarrassed.

Identity theft is epidemic and it worries me that someone may be targeting us. We are not wealthy. They would not get much, but what they got could make the difference between life and death for us, between living indoors or not. We don't have much of a cushion, and asking relatives or friends for help is out of the question. We wouldn't do it.

Chances are, these people, who clean buildings for a living, are simply trying to supplement their wages with items they can sell. I won't report them to the management company because as janitors, their lives are already very hard. Perhaps they are illegally in this country. I would not jeopardize their existence by getting them fired from their job, which probably includes cleaning all the buildings under the same management, not just this one.

But I will buy a shredder. And perhaps next Wednesday, I'll bake a batch of cookies and discard them in an airtight Tupperware container.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Doc in Town

We are visiting a new neurologist today. I don't know if he's an Alzheimer's specialist, but we're shopping for an upgrade. Flip's present doctor is like the Masked Man. She comes into the examining room shooting words from both hips to knock us dead with her knowledge, then dismisses us. I'm sure we can do better. He deserves better. Someone who will answer our questions and address our concerns, who will actually give a damn.

Last night, Flip asked me if the doctor would be giving him scans. "No," I said. "We'll just be talking with him. We're interviewing him to see if we like him."

"Ok. But if he uses the word 'ga ga,' we're outa' there." "Or 'scrambled eggs'," I added. "'Nut job.'" "He'll get a knee to the groin," said my gentle husband. "There's your nut job right there."

Thursday night, we're going to a lecture by David Shenk who has written a book about Alzheimer's, "The Forgetting," which I'm reading now. It's depressing, to say the least. The disease has reached epidemic proportions. The prognosis is horrible. It is incurable, in part because nobody knows what causes it. Flip is phenomenally young for this diagnosis. An unwelcome precocity. There will come a time when I, who am older, will have to think for both of us. Contrary to popular belief, this is not what anyone wants in a relationship.

As some of you may know from a previous post, we've been dealing with this for a few years. I have vacillated between despair and denial, and have not always been as patient as I should be. I struggle daily with this challenge. It must be one of my big life lessons because I'm not there yet. I believe that we come into each incarnation intending to learn specific lessons and that life gives us the opportunities to learn them. It provides these opportunities with increasing urgency, knocking gently on our door at first and continuing to knock harder each time. Eventually, if we still don't learn, it kicks the door in.

It would help if we could remember what our lessons are, but we come into being with full amnesia, or it sets in soon after our birth. I remember being conscious of a fully-developed adult mind living inside my baby body, but when I tried to communicate my thoughts, all that came out of my mouth was baby-burble and my parents laughed at my endearing helplessness. All my attempts to express myself were frustrated by the limitations of this inept body and at some point, I gave up and became a new person who had to relearn everything I was born knowing. I wore diapers.

It is heartbreaking that Flip's illness provides an opportunity for me to learn patience, even as I understand that we are all here to learn from each other. Our lives are intertwined and every one of us is a mirror and potential lesson to all who inhabit our world. There is both comfort and pain in this. It is also a great inducement to treat others kindly.

Alzheimer's oddly imitates the learning process of children, but in reverse. Like a sharpshooter, it gradually picks off all the skills a person possesses, taking him progressively backward as he slowly but surely unlearns all that he has spent a lifetime learning. I already know the prognosis. I guess what I want from this new doctor is hope. And I'm not sure that he can give that. We will probably have to settle for kindness.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Weekend So Far

I needed some negative ions yesterday and the sun was shining, so we took a bike ride to the beach. There were a million dogs of all descriptions, including a three-legged Irish Wolfhound and a Cairn Terrier mix who resembled a piglet. Soon I was covered in sea spray and doggie drool, a delicious combination which someone like Chanel should bottle. Eau de Wetdog. Chien trempe´. It would be a big seller.

We have lived here long enough not to be deceived by a little sunshine, but we fall for it every time. September in San Francisco is the dead of summer. Trees blow down and capsized sailboats limp piecemeal onto the beach. There is a vicious headwind which makes me feel puny as I pedal madly and barely cover any ground.

Everyone passes me on windy days, even the scantily clad tourists on their rental bikes. You can always tell who they are because they dress by the calendar. They rarely wear helmets, whereas I have come a long way since my seat belt-scorning days. My helmet is blue-green, like my eyes, but this should not be construed as flattering. I just believe a brain is worth protecting.

It's raining today, just as Mr. Twinkle, the Channel 5 weatherman, promised. The news anchor, who has had such extensive plastic surgery that I wouldn't know her but for her glass-shattering voice, was entirely too happy to inform us that Barry Bonds was fired from the Giants.

I am not a big sports fan, but who fires Barry Bonds? He is the best thing that ever happened to the Giants. What were they thinking? The owner must have a death wish.

I hope Bonds goes to play for the Yankees now.

My friend's granddaughter, who is not yet a year old, had her first play date. Her nanny assured my friend's daughter that the little boy was from "a very good family," whatever that means, and she agreed to let Annabelle meet the other child with his nanny in the park.

Annabelle fell asleep on the way there.

I always felt that way about blind dates, too. I preferred my own company to that of any stranger and went on only one blind date, ever, for political reasons; my aunt was friends with his mother.

It was a disaster which resulted in an engagement because I had problems with the word "no." I thought that if someone professed to care for me, I had incurred a debt. Happily, the young man's mother ended our engagement because I refused to inflict a gigantic wedding at the Waldorf Astoria on my parents.

It took a lot of fiances before I got comfortable with the notion that I didn't have to love everyone back.

I feel sorry for today's children. Every minute of their lives is regimented with multiple lessons. Applications to the most prestigious pre-schools are submitted as soon as the pregnancy test comes back positive on the assumption that it will influence the child's success throughout his life. Young parents network with other parents to acquire the best possible friends for their children. Nothing is left to chance, or, heaven forfend, the children themselves.

When I was a child, I was missing in action after school and on weekends. Nobody knew or cared where I was as long as I showed up for dinner. I played in the woods and in fields, on abandoned golf courses and in houses under construction, swinging from beams and jumping off roofs into piles of fall leaves. I spent hours sitting in trees with a book and an apple, caught eels in the brook and tried to build a flying machine in the backyard of somebody my parents didn't know.

It's immeasurably sad that the world is no longer safe for such free-form play, that a responsible adult needs to know where children are and what they're doing every minute. Along with safety, a lot of creativity has gone out of the world. We are raising a generation of captains of industry who have no idea what it's like to lie idly beneath a tree and gaze at shapes in the clouds. Or to entertain themselves. Every activity is planned and presented to them, prefabricated and pre-chewed.

I am also wrestling with a serious ethical dilemma today. It's Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which involves fasting. Will I rot in hell for the pizza I had for lunch with my son? Will he? Does it help that the crust was burned a little?

I am not good at fasting for any reason. It makes me hungry. St. Paul said, "Better to marry than to burn," and I apply the same flawless logic to fasting. If I am obsessing about food, would there really be any benefit in doing without?

I think not.

Walking back from lunch, I saw a woman back up her Porsche Boxster an entire block to park across an intersection, where she narrowly missed being slammed by a bus.

She has a Porsche and doesn't know how to drive.

That's just wrong.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Making Nice

Ian at Or So I Thought has awarded me the Nice Matters Award. That is sooo ... nice. My mother would be thrilled as she valued niceness above most things, and worried that I would never qualify.

In Ian's words, "nice" means "positive thoughts, uplifting passages, provocative meaning, humor, honesty and a host of other considerations."

I am lazy. I am not going to offer my own definition. Ian is an excellent writer as well as a genuinely nice person. His definition is quite good enough for me.

And now I have to pass it on to five other bloggers who are notably and notoriously nice.

David at Witnessing Am I practices kindness. He can always find something wonderful to say about everyone's posts in comments that are positive and encouraging, so he defines "nice" for me.

Katrice at Still Thinking... Have a Seat is a veritable sweetheart who is not afraid to say what she thinks, but always makes a conscious effort not to hurt feelings and to be supportive.

Sweet Pea at Little Pea is a blithe spirit whose posts are so much fun to read, partly because she is quite adorable and partly because she fits every definition I have ever heard of "nice."

Jay at Kill The Goat is a wonderful writer who is able to focus her readers on any issue, large or small, with immense charm. She never preaches, but she is persuasive.

CEO at The Morning Meeting is always supportive of others. He tries hard to cheer those who need it, to encourage all around him, and seems to carry his own sunshine through life.

Big Brother at Life in the Twilight Zone, who gave this award to Ian, has designed a Nice Matters Award for diabetics and others who prefer to limit their intake of sugar. I am posting both the original one and his, so that my awardees may choose which they prefer to flaunt on their sidebars.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Q & A From the Heart

Chani of Thailand Gal has given me five questions. This meme has been making the rounds, and I finally found the courage to ask her to interview me.

Here are Chani's questions:

1) I just got off the plane from Thailand and have no idea where to go. I understand and speak fluent English. I am over 50. What do you think it is most important for me to know about San Francisco, something that will make me rave about it when I get home?

I don't know enough about Thai culture to guess what would appeal to Thai tourists, so I will have to fall back on several of San Francisco's attractions that I most enjoy: The Asian Art Museum, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, and a cable car ride.

I would show them the different areas that make this city great and diverse: North Beach, Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, Marina, Pacific Heights, Japantown, Castro and Cow Hollow, and describe the outstanding characteristics of each. I would take them to wonderful restaurants with wondrous views, and to performances of the ballet and symphony. We would visit art museums, of which there are several, and stroll in beautiful parks with gorgeous plantings, lakes, and wildlife. We would walk across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands, and then relax in a charming cafe. And I would photograph them in front of all the famous tourist sites so they would be able to peruse their memories in full color forever.

2) What is the number one principle that governs your life?

Compassion. I am an empath and when I witness suffering, whether human or animal, I feel it to some degree as well. Since I believe that we are all connected energetically, I do not kill creatures of any kind nor purposely hurt other people, for in doing so, I would only be hurting myself.

It is not about selflessness, however. I realized one day that I could not reasonably care less for myself than for others while endorsing such a concept, and I began to treat myself better. It has made life much easier for me, and possibly for others because they know that if I do something for them, it is because I really want to and not because I think I have to.

I consider compassion to be a basic human quality, even though it seems to be displaced increasingly by anger and aggression, which are destructive. If we could practice more compassion as a society, we would all be happier and healthier. When people help each other, they are able to accomplish things that individuals cannot which benefit all. Societies are collapsing around the world because there is not enough compassion among their citizens, many of whom fear that kindness and concern for others are signs of weakness.

Compassion is our birthright. It is time to claim it if we are to continue as a people, and a species.

3) You have mentioned an affinity for Native American culture. What do you think about the concept of soul retrieval?

I don't know much about Native American practice of soul retrieval, but have read some of Sandra Ingerman's and Michael Harner's books on the subject, and it makes sense. I believe that we all have lost or given away parts of ourselves, and that shamanism might be more successful than psychotherapy in their retrieval.

The training courses these people offer are very expensive, though, which makes them unavailable to most of us.

I believe that there are pivotal points in every life, specific events that change the course of our lives and that can be identified with skilled help or our own recollections. Sometimes the latter is not possible, however, because when traumatic events occur, we tend to develop amnesia so that we can physically survive them.

It stands to reason that a pivotal point might involve the loss of parts of our souls, our self-esteem, our joy, our trust, our ability to learn.

Perhaps the common feeling that something is missing relates to parts of ourselves that we have lost. Often, we try to find in others what we sense missing in ourselves, but this is never successful because no one else can provide our own missing parts. Furthermore, the responsibility they are expected to assume can put too much strain on a relationship and cause it to fail.

4) Presuming there is a God with individual consciousness (not addressing whether or not that exists), what would be the question you would most like to ask?

Why am I here? What lessons did I come to learn, and how can I best learn them? What is my purpose, my place in the grand scheme of things? Was I born simply to be a link in the chain of humanity that produced my children, or is there something more that I am meant to do with my time on earth?

5) What do you think would be the answer?

"You are here, like everyone, to perfect yourself, to become your very best self, to utilize your particular gifts of spirit, of genetics, of experience, to make a difference to others as only you are able to do. You and everyone else on this planet are uniquely talented in certain areas. Your mission in life is to discover what they are and to use them to the best of your abilities.

One of your greatest gifts is to relate to many different kinds of people, to find a common ground and to engage their hearts. You are a force for unity. You have sought unity among people your whole life, and have tried to become a bridge that connects people. Writing is one of the ways in which you express that part of yourself, and when you are better at this, you will be able to channel my intentions for all you meet: That they behave as one people regardless of small differences like color, religion, nationality, status, intelligence, economic level, all the things that presently divide people but which do not matter to me. You are meant to be a force for good.

I have been very patient with you because I love you and all your fellow humans. I have not given up on your species yet. Do not disappoint me.

I do not need or desire to see people holding hands and singing "Kumbaya" to show me how sincere they are. I am not convinced by such performances, no matter how prettily they sing and dance. What I want to see is genuine respect, understanding and kindness among mankind. I want to see all the artificial boundaries that have been erected to create feelings of superiority eliminated. I want the people I made to begin to really see one another, and to recognize the great beauty of my handiwork.

I want an end to war, both wars among nations and wars among individuals. I want the riches of this planet divided more evenly. I want to see love and kindness in all human interactions and less aggressive driving in San Francisco.

Remember that I created you, and I can destroy you whenever I choose. Armageddon is nothing to me. Don't make me get ugly."

Interview rules:

1. If you would like to participate, leave me a comment saying "Interview me."

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. Update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.

4. Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you ask them five questions.

If you request questions from me, please give me a few days so that I can personalize them.

Mona Lisa

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Some Things about Buffalo (and that's no bull)

We found a herd of American Bison in Golden Gate Park the other day. It was thrilling to see the largest living animal in North America, and one with such an important history.

Golden Gate Park is larger than New York's Central Park, and was once nothing but sand dunes blasted by harsh ocean winds. Today, it has over one million trees and offers a beautiful and varied haven for both locals and tourists, thousands of whom visit the park every weekend.

The huge tract of barren land covering 1,017 acres was deeded to San Francisco in 1870. John McLaren, a Scotsman who came to the city during that decade, established grass, trees and numerous plants in an environment considered too barren for lush foliage.

In 1892, a small herd of bison arrived. Bison (or buffalo) had provided everything necessary for life to the Native American tribes that inhabited North America, but railroads, highways, and other forms of "progress," including killing vast numbers of them to spite the Indians, had made the animal nearly extinct. Within ten years, the small herd in the park had produced 100 calves, and it was evident that the buffalo would survive into the 20th Century.

The herd is all females today, and most of them were sleeping in the sun when we arrived. One, however, must have noticed our cameras because she got up and came as close as possible within the double-fenced paddock. She posed herself from every angle while we took pictures and told her how beautiful she was.

She reminded me of the animals who "gave away" to the Indians by allowing themselves to be killed for food, skins, bone and hooves, for every part of the animal was used by the original people. They did not have the dispose-and-replace mentality that is prevalent in our culture, and wasted nothing.

The Lakota people have a prophesy about a white buffalo calf, which is an incredibly rare occurrence.

2,000 years ago, the people were starving. Two of their best warriors were sent out to find food for the tribe in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. They saw a large body coming toward them, a white buffalo calf. As it came closer, it suddenly turned into a beautiful young Indian woman.

One of the warriors lusted for her, so she told him to step forward. When he did, a black cloud passed over his body, and when it disappeared, the warrior was left with no flesh on his bones. The other warrior knelt and began to pray.

The young woman told him to return to his people and tell them that in four days, she would bring a sacred bundle.

The warrior gathered all the people in a circle and told them about his meeting with the white buffalo calf woman. On the fourth day, a cloud came down from the sky. A white buffalo calf stepped out of the cloud and rolled onto the earth. As the calf stood up, it became the beautiful young woman who was carrying a sacred bundle in her hands.

She entered the circle of the nation, singing a sacred song, and spent four days teaching the people about the sacred bundle. She taught them seven sacred ceremonies.

The first was the sweat lodge, the purification ceremony. The second was the naming ceremony, the naming of children. The third was the healing ceremony. The fourth was the making of relatives or the adoption ceremony, hunka. The fifth was the marriage ceremony. The sixth was the vision quest. And the seventh was the sundance ceremony, the people's ceremony for all the nation.

She assured the people that if they performed these ceremonies, they would always remain caretakers and guardians of their sacred land. As long as they took care of it and respected it, their people would never die.

When she had taught all these things to the people, she promised to return one day for the sacred bundle and left the way she had come.

The sacred bundle, which has been passed down from generation to generation, is kept today by Arvol Looking Horse, who is known as the keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe. It remains in a sacred place on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

When White Buffalo Calf Woman departed, she prophesied that the birth of a white buffalo calf would be a sign that it was near the time of her return to purify the world by bringing back harmony and spiritual balance.

In 2006, a white buffalo calf was born in Wisconsin. This is a rare event, as only one in ten million buffaloes are white. The Native American world took notice and came from all over the country to see it, as the birth was considered the fulfillment of White Buffalo Calf Woman's prophesy.

Native Americans have endured horrible and undeserved punishments since the arrival of the first Europeans. Their trials are not over. The Lakota Nation mounted the longest court case in U.S. history to regain control of the Black Hills, Paha Sapa, the sacred land on which White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared 2,000 years ago. They lost.

The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 recognized the Great Sioux Nation as a sovereign and separate entity. In return for the undisturbed use of some of their land, the Lakota agreed to vacate vast sections of the Great Plains.

In 1864, an illegal army expedition led by George Armstrong Custer found gold in the Black Hills, and settlers from the east began to swarm into the area. In 1877, Congress passed a law which annexed the Great Sioux Reservation and the Black Hills, dividing the land into several small reservations. It seems obvious that this was done in reprisal for the defeat of Custer's Seventh Cavalry in the Battle of Little Big Horn the previous year.

In 1980, the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to compensate the Lakota for their land. But the tribes have refused to accept the money, a sum that now stands at $380 million, insisting instead on the return of the Black Hills.

Despite their ongoing struggles, Native Americans are heartened by the appearance of a white buffalo calf and continue to hope for a harmonious and prosperous future.

"We are praying, many of the medicine people, the spiritual leaders, the elders, are praying for the world," says Joseph Chasing Horse. "We are praying that mankind does wake up and think about the future, for we haven't just inherited this earth from our ancestors, but we are borrowing it from our unborn children."

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Claudia, the evil html genius at On a Limb with Claudia has created a new button, which may be the best invention since sliced bread. It's called the Blame Award. The possibilities are endless, people. Endless.

I see it as a kind of reverse Academy Award speech, in which we blame everyone in our lives for everything. How cool is that?

I am going to kick off the festivities by blaming all of you for my blog addiction. If you were not so incredibly smart, funny and fascinating, I could be having a life. I would not be hunched over my computer while entire days slip by, clicking on Just One More blog before I eat. Or shower. Or ANYTHING. But you are all of those things and more, and not likely to become any less so. What's a girl to do? Thank you, Claudia, for giving me the means to attach blame where it squarely belongs. So mwaaaaaahhhhh, everybody. This one's for YOU!