Friday, June 23, 2006

Field Day

Few of you probably know what Field Day is but it's a chance annually to show off our ham radio expertise and get people who haven't been on the air for a while or have never operated on the air. It also gives people a chance to try it out and get involved and maybe start planning to get their ham radio operator's license.

I have been a licensed amateur radio operator (ham) for over a year now and this is my first Field Day. I'm looking forward to operating on lots of frequencies in lots of modes and helping to set up antennas, which will come in very handy in setting up my own antenna since I have had lots of promises to help me get it up and no follow-through so far. Besides, it's time I learned to do it myself, something I have had lots of practice with in other areas.

At any rate, at 0800 hours tomorrow I will be taking three bags of potato chips and my eagerness over to a local ham's house and helping with three antenna installations and then racking up some QSOs and hopefully some QSLs coming my way.

If you don't know, then it's time to fine out what I'm talking about. We can use more operators on the air and it will give me another way to contact people I have met on LJ. Find out where they're holding Field Day in your area and you could even talk to the International Space Station when it passes over your area.

That is all. Disperse -- and find your own local Field Day adventure.

Right to exist

I received the following from a retired journalist who lives in Israel (and has been begging me to visit for years) and is a long time friend.


There is irony in the thought that were Menachem Begin alive today he would be saddened, indeed outraged, at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's insistence - in [conjunction] with the US and the EU - that Hamas's political legitimacy be conditioned, inter alia, on its recognition of Israel's right to exist.

"Right to exist?" I can hear the late prime minister roundly chastising his younger successor who declares himself to be a Begin disciple. "Are you telling me, Ehud, that our right to exist in Eretz Yisrael has to be sanctioned for political purposes by an intrinsically anti-Semitic, murderous Palestinian Arab terrorist organization? Have you lost your Jewish self-respect? Where is your Jewish memory?"

Menachem Begin had a surfeit of both - Jewish self-respect and memory. He had an all-encompassing grasp of Jewish history. Instinctively his memory went back thousands of years and his vision forward thousands of years. Jewish nostalgia fed his soul; it nurtured his deepest convictions.

SO WHEN, on the first day of his premiership in 1977, he was waylaid by a tall, debonair, rakishly good-looking Englishman in a bow tie and a perfectly pitched BBC announcer's voice, and saucily asked whether he looked forward to a time when the Palestinians would recognize Israel, his jaw tightened in restrained Jewish anger. But honed as he was by years of legal training, he answered with the composed demeanor of a practiced jurist, saying, "Traditionally, there are four major criteria of statehood under international law. One - an effective and independent government. Two - an effective and independent control of the population. Three - a defined territory. And four - the capacity to freely engage in foreign relations. Israel is in possession of all four attributes and, hence, is a fully fledged sovereign state and a fully accredited member of the United Nations."

"But, surely, you would insist, would you not, that the relevant Palestinian organizations recognize Israel as a sine qua non for negotiations with them?" persisted the fellow.

"Certainly not! Those so-called relevant organizations are gangs of murderers bent on destroying the State of Israel. We will never conduct talks about our own destruction."

"And were they to recognize Israel's existence - would you then negotiate with them?" pressed the correspondent.

"No, sir!"

"Why not?"

"Because I don't need Palestinian recognition for my right to exist."

TWO HOURS later Menachem Begin stood at the podium of the Knesset, presenting his new cabinet. He began by dryly outlining the democratic processes that led to the changing of the guard, from Labor to Likud. And then, in recollection perhaps, of his acerbic exchange with the BBC man, he began talking about Israel's right to exist.

"Our right to exist - have you ever heard of such a thing?" he declared, passion creeping into his voice. "Would it enter the mind of any Briton or Frenchman, Belgian or Dutchman, Hungarian or Bulgarian, Russian or American, to request for its people recognition of its right to exist?"

He glared at his audience and wagged a finger, stilling every chattering voice in the Knesset chamber. And now, using his voice like a cello, sonorous and vibrant, he drove on:

"Mr. Speaker: We were granted our right to exist by the God of our fathers at the glimmer of the dawn of human civilization four thousand years ago. Hence, the Jewish people have an historic, eternal and inalienable right to exist in this land, Eretz Yisrael, the land of our forefathers. We need nobody's recognition in asserting this inalienable right. And for this inalienable right, which has been sanctified in Jewish blood from generation to generation, we have paid a price unexampled in the annals of nations."

Then he rose up on his toes, his shoulders squared, thumped the podium, and perorated in a voice that was thunder, "Mr. Speaker: From the Knesset of Israel, I say to the world, our very existence per se is our right to exist!"

A spontaneous applause rose from the benches. Many got to their feet in full-throated acclaim. It was a stirring Knesset moment - a moment of instinctive self-recognition affirming that though the State of Israel was then but 29 years old, its roots in Eretz Yisrael ran 4,000 years deep.

THREE WEEKS later, the very same issue cropped up once more when prime minister Begin first met president Jimmy Carter in the White House. As their encounter drew to a close, the president handed the premier a piece of heavy bond White House stationary on which the formal communique to be released in their name was drafted.

"I trust this will meet with your approval," said Carter in his reedy Georgian voice.

Begin ran his eye over the one page text, and said, "Totally acceptable, Mr. President, but for one sentence."

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, an unruffled man as a rule, who had invested much effort in drafting the document, became momentarily agitated. After a year at the job he had perfected a manner of drafting such joint statements designed to convey as little meaning as possible.

"And what might that be?" he asked.

"Please delete the sentence which reads, 'The United States affirms Israel's inherent right to exist.'"

President Carter's steely pale-blue eyes flared in surprise. "It would be incompatible with my responsibilities as president of the United States were I to omit this commitment to your country," he said. "To the best of my knowledge, every Israeli prime minister has asked for this public pledge."

"I sincerely appreciate your sentiment, Mr. President," said Mr. Begin, his tone deeply reflective as if reaching down into generations of memory, "But it would be equally incompatible with my responsibilities as prime minister of Israel were I not to ask you to erase that sentence."

"But why?"

"Because our Jewish state needs no American affirmation of our right to exist. Our Hebrew bible established that right millennia ago. Never, throughout the centuries, did we ever abandon or forfeit that right. Therefore, sir, we alone, the Jewish people - no one else - are responsible for our country's right to exist."

So yes, Menachem Begin would, indeed, have had what to say to Ehud Olmert, were he around today. Never would he have put on the table a demand for recognition of Israel's right to exist as a quid pro quo for negotiation. To him, this was a high ideological principle, a fundamental axiom, an absolute given, a natural corollary of his all-embracing view of Jewry's extraordinary history.

Ehud, take it out.

The writer served on the personal staff of five prime ministers, including Menachem Begin.

Fixnwrtr over and out.

I really just need to get up

Well, up is relative. I've been up since 4:19 AM and I didn't go back to sleep. Instead I decided to check email, answer email and play on LJ for a while. It's nearly time for me to make my breakfast, throw on something to keep me covered and work, but I'm still playing here on LJ -- and flirting with my favorite kind of guy -- willing who wears a uniform. Baby!

Yesterday, I went to the eye doctor's office (for the second time this week) to be checked out for LASIK. It seems my eyes are healthy and there is sufficient corneal tissue for the procedure. Good. It also seems I have about five months' worth too many daily use contacts. Not good. I need to a) bite the bullet and take the loss on 150+ contacts or b) wait until I use all 150+ contacts or c) get my money back on 90 contacts, use up what I have and schedule my surgery accordingly. Whatever I do, there is a cost involved and I don't think the refund on 90 contacts is going to be enough to offset the $1850 (could be $1990) cost of LASIK surgery. I will also need to save the money to pay for the procedure, which would take a very long time to recoup in terms of cost of contacts. I'm wiling to wait to balance on that one if it means better eye sight and no more corrective lenses of any kind. So, okay.

Last night, just before I headed for my book and bed, I checked to see who had called while I was at the movies seeing X-Men: The Last Stand and my landlady had called. It was too late to call Beanie or Lynn but not too late for the landlady, so I called her. She wanted to know how I was doing and to thank me again for lending her A Promising Man by Elizabeth Young. She was doing the same thing I did with the book, laughing out loud and hating to put the book down. She was sitting on the front porch with a glass of wine and anxious to get back to the book so our conversation was short.

The landlady told me she was at her daughter's beauty shop getting her hair cut when she burst out laughing while reading the book. I did the same thing on Saturday while sitting outside the laundry room while new neighbor Mike (who now owns the house of the tree hating orc wench who was killed by sunlight and hauled away) worked in the yard. I am certain he thought I suffered from Tourette syndrome, but without the profanity, or some form of barking seal disorder, but I didn't care. Young's books are that good. I still have a few more to get through, now that I've found her and want to plumb the very depths of her abilities, but there aren't many more because she died in 2001 of hepatitis C. More's the pity because she cranked out laugh out loud romances. Too bad the depths are so shallow. *sigh*

Anyway, I had some time before the movie yesterday and stopped in at Office Max to pick up some more legal size tablets for keeping track of how many pages I transcribe and broke down and picked up a sketch pad and box of drawing pencils (sans pencil sharpener which means I must return and get a new box with pencil sharpener) because I've decided to break out the rusty drawing skills and kick off the rust. I'm considering writing a couple of children's books while I'm working on the current projects and thought I'd try my hand at illustrating the books. I'm only planning two books but I think I can adequately capture what I want, of only to give a real artist a good idea of what goes where and how it should look. I'll also need to buy a camera and take a trek back up to my old stomping grounds to take pictures, and to buy some water colors or pastels or acrylics to paint pictures. Or I might just do them in charcoal and/or pencil. That would be effective if a little dark for a positive story. Maybe a mix of the two. Don't know. Still in the in-my-head-planning stages. However, I do miss drawing and painting and a sketch book and pencils, eraser and sharpener don't take up that much space or weight in a backpack when I go for a stroll during the day. Gives me a good reason to unshoulder my pack and sit down for a few minutes, and to hide the real reason I'm sitting down (wheezing, gasping and sucking wind).

There is also an old love back in my life, one I have long missed but will miss no more. I got a healthy dose yesterday but I crave more -- and more -- and more. Need to carve out a little time for him, too. A couple hours a day ought to stave off the worst of the craving -- for now.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Some days you get it

I have been having trouble sleeping for a while now but this morning I woke up much later than usual, at 7 AM, refreshed and full of energy. That hasn't happened in a while. Could be the book I was reading last night (or rather browsing through) or it could have been accumulated stress and lack of sleep finally put me down for nine hours or anything and everything. I don't care. Today is a good day and it just got better. I found the answer to all my problems. Chalk it up to my penchant for looking beyond the first glance and my voracious curiosity.

Yes, today is a very good day and all the days that follow will be so much better. Ain't love wonderful?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ooh, goodies

I have been going through all the goodies I brought back from my vacation a couple weeks ago (how could it have been that long ago?) and took them over to Nel's to share the joy. She opened my Encyclopedia of 5000 spells and came up spells for domination. I don't believe in coincidences. Neither does Nel. Now, who can I dominate? Should be interesting and the spells seem very old and pretty straight forward. Should be fun.

So, if you suddenly feel like you are a marionette and someone is pulling on your strings...bwahahahahaha.

I changed my lasek assessment from Tuesday to what I thought was today and was late for the appointment because I'm not familiar with the route or that side of town. I wasn't late. I was early -- 24 hours early. But I asked some questions, got some paperwork to fill out (don't you always with a new medical provider) and a neat portfolio of info on lasek surgery. I can have my own optometrist provide the pre- and postoperative care but what am I going to do with 120 days worth of contacts? It's not like I can give them away as party favors or to the Salvation Army or ARC, but maybe I can get my money back on at least one of the boxes and postpone my surgery until about September when I can throw away solutions and contacts for a very long time. The money would be nice, too.

The one time I plan ahead I discover I was thinking too far in advance. Oh, well. *sigh*

Last night I tossed and turned and couldn't get comfortable or cool or sleep more than an hour all night. All I did was think about rain coming over my mountains and down toward my little section of town to cool things off and freshen everything. Today it started raining at 10 AM and kept raining on and off all day. It's still raining on and off and the air is fresh and cool and clean and I think I will be able to sleep, not just because I am knackered from not sleeping last night but because it's cool and breezy and wet, perfect sleeping weather. Perfect for something else, too, bit I'll have to wait for that.

It's definitely summer, and not just because today is the solstice, but because there is a band playing in the park two blocks away and the music is drifting this way just like last year. What a perfectly wonderful day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What is a hero?

It was once easy to define hero as someone who did something extraordinary during a time of stress and/or danger, natural or otherwise. In our current reality TV world heroes are much more difficult to define -- and to keep.

Academics are constantly justifying their existence by debunking heroes and every other aspect of our lives, getting most of it wrong, I might add. They believe they are getting at the truth and doing a service to mankind and to the country whose heroes they debunk. They're not.

We need heroes, real or imagined. It's very much like The Polar Express and the reindeer bell that only someone with the heart of a child can hear. When we lose our heroes what is left?

Cynicism has its place and is necessary to unraveling the tangled webs woven to bilk us of our money, our lives and our beliefs, but cynicism has no place when it comes to throwing heroes off their pedestals. We all know heroes have feet of clay, just like gods, but we need heroes, not as individuals but as a composite of all the men and women who have risked their lives and resources to stand up for what they believe.

Monday, June 19, 2006

This just in

Google is your friend. Say it ten times a day every day. It should be your mantra.

In researching menopause and nose bleeds I came up with alfalfa and sprouts as the best possible way to deliver their amazing array of benefits.

Alfalfa sprouts are what people typically think of when you mention sprouts. They are the ones you commonly see at a salad bar. Rich in phytochemicals, they protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and fibrocystic breast disease. They stimulate natural killer cell activity, which strengthens the immune system. What's more,they are beneficial in reducing symptoms of PMS and menopause, including hot flashes. Furthermore, they contain high concentrations of antioxidants, the body's defense against the destruction of DNA which is the cause of aging. Alfalfa sprouts are abundant sources of vitamins A, B, C, E and K, the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, also carotene, chlorophyll, amino acids and trace elements.They contain 35% protein. One pound of alfalfa seed produces 10-14 pounds of sprouts.

That such a small threadlike sprout could contain so much good is unbelievably amazing. And there are other sprouts that are beneficial and even help alleviate menopausal symptoms.

Google is your friend. Google is necessary. Google is your friend. Repeat. Use. Repeat.

There oughta be a law

A new wrinkle in my changing biological war zone occurred yesterday afternoon. I had just returned from watching Firewall with Nel across the hall. FYI, the movie left a lot to be desired. It was Swordfish meets Frantic meets every Harrison Ford family-in-bad-guy-clutches-race-against-time without the redeeming features.

I had queued up the program to pull down some work and sent it to find some decent jobs for me and then went to the bathroom. As I washed my hands I felt that slithery tickle that means my nose is about to run and the Kleenex were in the other room.

Attention: Gross female stuff ahead.

I sniffed it back, all the time hearing Gram's voice saying, "Get a Kleenex", and decided to get the Kleenex on the desk, reached up to blow and came away with blood. Not just a trickle or a blush but a river of blood. I raced back to the bedroom to the Kleenex box, ripped up a handful and settled on the love seat at the foot of the bed to wait it out. Half a box of Kleenex, a near belly full and two hours later it finally stopped, but not without a massacre's worth down the bathroom sink and some pretty impressive mega clots. I can just imagine what had already slithered down my throat but I'd rather not.

The only time I get nose bleeds these days is if I've scratched the delicate lining while cleaning out said orifice a little too vigorously. But to bleed like that for no reason?

A quick Google search added a new symptom to the growing list of menopausal signs to deal with over the next who knows how long -- nose bleeds.

I have learned to deal with the power surges and being dumped head first into the center of Hell. I've found that wearing shoes lessens the swelling in my feet when I sit too long and it's not the time of my cycle, which seems to be faltering. Cold showers feel really good right now and I'm sure they will continue to feel good deep into the winter as long as the heat wave continues. I can even get past the lack of concentration and sometimes muddled thoughts that sporadically plague me, but I foresee a Sam's Club trip to spend my paycheck on Kleenex if this new wrinkle continues.

Something needs to be done.

It would be a very good idea to move to Alaska, or the north pole at least, right about now. Cold flashes would also be good, but Alaska and glaciers and snow should be the right of all menopausal women. We wouldn't be a drain on electricity and heating resources because we provide our own year round and could even be rented out to melt sidewalks, roads and parking lots. Summer time is not the time of hot flashes but for cold flashes and if Mother Nature and Father Time could stop battling it out long enough they could at least sync their skirmishes to take advantage of the appropriate season. Hot flashes for winter to save on electricity and heat and cold flashes for summer to save on A/C. Now that is planning.

I propose that all women suffering from said alternating power surges, or temperature drops, be allowed to swap with women having the opposite symptoms in order to help conserve resources and be more comfortable. That should be the law. In the meantime, I'm going to spend more of my hard earned cash to buy vitamin C and E because there is a rumor they help with the nose bleeds and center of Hell phenomenon before I'm transferred to the middle of the sun.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Oh, for a catheter

I feel like lollygagging today (Gram's word for lying around doing nothing). My idea of lollygagging is naked in bed with a book, something tasty to drink, lots of water and my laptop for those inspirational moments. However, imbibing all that fluid means frequent trips to the bathroom and that means putting down the laptop, book or rousing myself from a comfortable doze (and probably a sensuous erotic dream), thus the need for a catheter. If they only didn't mean infections and pain when you roll over them and twist them around your legs, not to mention the logistics of gravity drainage when it's a straight line from the bed, through the door, around two corners and into the toilet, since I do not want to have to empty the bag later -- or sooner with my current output -- defeating the whole not getting out of bed for the rest of the day idea. Aah, the trials and tribulations of truly lollygagging for a while day.

Yesterday I was quite industrious. I did almost all the laundry, cleaned the bathroom and most of the dishes and finished a book I needed to read. I also got some sun, as evidenced by the pinkish-brown coloring both arms now and a bit of my shins where the sun actually reached while I sat outside the laundry room reading. When the last load was in the dryer and the landlady had just finished her last customer, she appeared on the deck, hands cramped into claws, and asked if I'd like a glass of wine, Shiraz, to be exact. I thanked her, gathered up my books and went through the gate and up onto the deck. Deciding she was also peckish, the landlady went into the kitchen, peeled a couple hard boiled eggs and wrapped Swiss cheese and turkey slices in endive and invited me to share. I agreed to that, too. We chatted about books and men and all things to do with being single and free to travel, although she is a bit more encumbered than I, having Pastor, and I offered to share my dinner with her -- Mexican grilled chicken taco salad with a chili lime vinaigrette. She agreed. Later that evening I assembled the salad and brought the skinless thighs down and grilled them on her new grill, which is getting quite a bit of use since she got it three weeks ago.

In between cleaning and laundry I also gave in and watched the rest of the second DVD of Lost. I would truly hate to have watched this on commercial TV with all the ads, but I am glad I finally gave in and decided to watch. The show is an amazing mix of magic, relationships, the intricacies of the human heart and psyche, and excellent writing, exactly what one would associate with David Fury, who also wrote Angel, Dream On and episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 24. The man has a gift. I can't wait to get the next two DVDs in the first season and I may just download the other episodes from ISOHunt or possibly watch them online (ABC offers free viewings). I'm hooked. And it's something else I can do while lollygagging in bed.

And I so want one of these. Yes, I know I have a laptop, but this would be strictly for writing, gets up to 25 hours on the battery (more than enough for taking to Poor Richard's or on walkabout), has Wi-Fi access and could be downloaded onto the laptop. The other one can be synched and gets 700+ hours on 3 AAA batteries. At under 2 pounds, they would be perfect for trips and hikes. All I'd need for my writing arsenal is a digital camera and I'm working on that. Aah, technology.

If I move the bedroom into the living room that would pose logistical and gravity problems for the catheter but it would put me closer to the source of food and water. Wonder if I can rig something to bring me food in bed, too. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting