You Push and I Pelt

Learning From How The Flowers Felt

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White Devil

Racist! White Devil,” she spews

Her lips bristle—an angry red

Her skin rich, glowing brown like melted dark caramel

She is beautiful

This killer winging daggers at my ignorance

I dodge the blades and silently think

“Even translucent white devils bear crosses!”

I think this

When later the Director inhales deeply

Frowns and with furrowed brow

Dismisses me

—the racist white devil—

I recall the first Director of my fate

“You must learn how to please me,” he announced

His pale thin lips smirk

His skin dull white like paper

He is ugly

The sumo wrestler who first smothered my body and soul

Who pinned my fate to a need for escape

I silently thought

“I wish the war had perverted his body too!”

I thought this

When he inhaled deeply

Frowned and with furrowed brow

Pushed himself inside me

He never leaves me that putrid white devil

He never


Leaves me


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40+ Years on Earth

I did not reflect on my 40th birthday nearly four years ago. I simply cried that I was old. I howled when I realized I was older than my mother was when, as a child, I remarked to her “40? That’s old!” Please allow me to provide my my own insights on having some experience now on Earth
1. The world stays the same. We gain and lose a variety of perspectives along the way.
2. Traveling highlights our commonalities as humans
3. People will let you down, and tear your heart out. They will betray you and hate you for no good reason.
4. People will amaze you with their acts of kindness, particularly those you thought had given enough.
5. Age does not bring wisdom to all – choose wisely to whom you pay attention and to whom you hand your trust.
6. A scattered approach is the sign of a creative mind. Discipline gathers the pieces together somewhere down the line. Trust the process. Don’t make lists. You’ll forget where you put them.
7. Many people are good, but fear can overshadow it.
8. Fight the urge to care for your own first. It’s in our nature, but we’re all the same at our core.
9. Animals suffer from our gluttonous consumption. You will be judged by how you treated the creatures of the Earth. You shake the universe with the splat of an insect.
10. Childcare means very different things to different people and so does house cleaning.
11. Get your hands dirty. Make messes.
12. Stereotypes are rooted in truth from the past, but you need not subscribe to them. Be the change you want to see in the world (That sentence, of course, is plagiarized).
13. Don’t fear plagiarism. Being copied is the ultimate compliment. There are no new ideas.
14. Watch Star Trek – everything you need to know about life and a better future is in there.

15. Humans waste great innovations until leaders show them how not to.
16. War determines the victor who then determines history.
17. Be childlike and respect a child’s point of view, for it is closer to God.
18. Bad customer service really stinks and something smells rotten in Denmark (and most other places).
19. Exponential population growth is destroying our planet. We need a plague or a plan.
20. If you can’t enjoy the moment, then you’re entire life is fucked.
21. Boredom is for the weak minded. Life and people provide too much fodder for story telling.
22. Change politics. Every incumbent in the western world is corrupt.
23. Be kind, and know your enemies.
24. Be funny. Life is too important to be taken seriously.
25. Question everything – for most of it is made up by another human just like you.
26. Read, Read, Read! For God’s sake man! Read more books and articles than you write.
27. If you have a dream go for it even though you probably will fail. Remember it’s the journey that matters, and failures are stepping stones to success.
28. Human beings are hypocrites. Nature has integrity.
29. Stop coddling children. Grimm’s Fairy Tales are awfully scary. Not everyone is a winner. In fact, nobody escapes life unscathed or alive. The children of today will be the same scarred, imperfect humans we are.
30. Strive to be childlike not childish.
31. Mom and Dad did the best they could do with what they were given, and chances are they fucked up, but after 40, that’s no longer an acceptable excuse for anything.
32. Mainstream schooling is an outdated construct and a wretched failure. If you have children, home school them if you want them to learn anything of value.
33. Be accepting of things you cannot change. Change the things you can.
34. Charity begins at home.
35. Move your body. It is good for the soul. Dance alone in the rain and sing loudly.
36. Volunteer your time. It’s worth more than money or gifts because nobody else wants to do it.
37. Get worked up over little things, medium things, big things. There is too much apathy in our world.
38. Do what you can. Even small steps make a difference. Don’t hoard.
39. Although this life is one of many and the universe is more than our petty minds can fathom, go forth in this focus as though you’ve got one shot.
40. Be interesting so that somebody else wants to listen to you. Perhaps someone will stand on your shoulders one day. Maybe one day we will fold space and time to prove there is more in Heaven and Earth than was dreamt of in our stone age philosophy.


The Start of My Family and Early Intervention

My Son and I –Kangaroo Hold–About One Month Old

In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU for short, babies like my son are called “25-weekers.” Babies get this name from being born extremely prematurely, at only 25 weeks gestation. My son was born weighing only one pound, four ounces in the middle of August 2015.

For 147 days, Joel lived in the NICU of two hospitals (Alta Bates in Berkeley and Children’s Hospital of Oakland (CHOO)), and I did too.

He required three blood transfusions. He endured intubation and a feeding line. He was poked by needles and prodded and invaded in his tiny isolette. So that his head wouldn’t be shaped like a toaster, as one nurse described it, he was turned every three hours in a world he wasn’t supposed to meet for another three months.

The nurses and doctors knew challenges were ahead. People who care for high-risk infants are well aware that premature babies face a mountain of health issues and developmental delays. Some go blind or deaf. But, not my son! I denied any possibility that he wasn’t going to grow up with a perfectly normal childhood to become the all-star captain of the football team and prom king. He still may be all of these things, but the nurses and doctors were right. His start was not smooth sailing, but I wasn’t ready to deal with what was coming next. I was so overwhelmed in the moment.

Living in a NICU is an emotional roller coaster. The first time I held my son skin-to-skin, the nurses had to do a dance with the tubes and wires just to lay him on my chest. Feeling him next to me was the happiest moment of my life. Minutes later he was ripped from me. His saturation was dropping. He was unable to breath. What followed was a real scene that looked familiar. I had watched dramas like this on shows like ER. Everyone on-call raced into our room. People pulled me out of it—I stood and watched through the doorway dazed, crying and in disbelief that my baby was dying in front of my eyes. The happiest moment of my life quickly turned into one of the worst. The medical director had to be called to re-intubate my son. After several attempts, he got the almost microscopic tube into the airway. My son stabilized. I had climbed and sped down that first hill on the coaster ride which was to come.

In a NICU, life and death are so close at hand. There is nothing normal about this environment. I cannot fathom how someone works there every day. My admiration for NICU nurses and doctors is too profound for words. At the very least, they are my heroes. They smiled for me through the harsh sterile smell of the soap, the meticulous record keeping, and my tears, feelings of guilt, shame, tiredness, confusion, anger, sadness, and all of my hopes and fears. Maybe they’re used to it. Every parent in the NICU is in emotional turmoil. I watched as some struggled with diagnoses they weren’t prepared to hear. I got choked up upon hearing that some mothers leave their babies there because the outside world with all its addictions, hustles and other terrible things calls to them; especially after the trauma of having a baby admitted to a NICU. I talked with some couples who couldn’t wait to go home, but had to wait until their babies didn’t de-sat for six minutes. I witnessed the nurses and parents of a baby mourn its death. I sat glued to the monitors so often that some nurses turned them away from me; trying to teach me to look at my son and the signs of desaturation his little body would show.

As months passed, I slowly came to terms with the fact that I was a new and first-time Mom at 44, with nothing but God, hope and a very sick baby. I had no home, no money, no assets, no car, no family, no friends, no nothing. I literally was starting from zero. The hospitals got the ball rolling because they need to get paid. Social workers applied for MediCal, and I got the aid that is wrapped in with this application. I also got referrals to the Regional Center of East Bay (RCEB). Assessments followed. My son qualified for all services: PT, OT, Speech and Early Intervention.

We lived in shelters and all over really: Oakland, Hayward, Brentwood, Pittsburg, Sacramento, LA and even a truck for a couple of nights. A year ago, we got “housed,” as it is called—through a project-based voucher at a decommissioned navy base that is being repurposed as housing for homeless people. As much as we moved around before getting the apartment, I did my best to stay in Alameda County. This is the place where our lives were saved. This was our new home.

Meeting the RCEB was empowering. My son’s therapy was nothing that I could have ever expected, which was to drive to a dingy office somewhere, leaf through an outdated Cosmo and sit in an uncomfortable chair as he would be ushered elsewhere while I waited for him to finish.

Home visits?

Caring about how I was doing?

Listening to my struggles?

This is EI?

At first I thought, this is some California, granola feel-good hooey. One day, they’ll discover I am on MediCal and the real therapy will begin—back to that dingy office with outdated magazines and uncomfortable chairs. But, that never happened. I met Program Managers who advocated for me, and some of my son’s therapists have become friends. These people catalyzed my return to confidence because they were on my side—on our side—on my new family’s side. I accepted that they really did care for me because I mattered as much as my son—because I am who my son has primarily.

Because of the work my son has done he is at parity with his peers on cognitive abilities. He sings and dances. He laughs and he cries. I love to hear his cry. For so long, he couldn’t cry. He could only breathe. He is three now, and he has come so far from being a fragile “25-weeker,” that I dare say he can now be called a poster child for the immense benefits of early intervention.


Sex Appeal and Beauty

Sex Appeal and Beauty

Sex Appeal and Beauty

When did beauty and sex appeal become intertwined?

It has been my experience that the two things do not go hand-in-hand, yet they usually are spoken about as if they were. I think about Jean Harlow, Mae West, Mick Jagger, Denis Leary who are all very sexy indeed, but not classically beautiful. Sometimes the disconnect between society’s definition of beauty and what is happening between one’s legs is explained in utter disbelief.  I would have more money for my laundry than I do if I had a nickel for every time I heard one of these phrases when a man couldn’t stop touching me or wanting to fuck me:

“Baby you are damn sexy.”

“It’s not one thing—you’ve got the whole package.”

“It’s your mind darling…Your mind is what turns me on.”

“It’s the connection I feel when I’m with you.”

Being the insecure cunt that I am, I usually ask men for further clarity in a bat-your-eyelashes kind of Sally Field ‘You like me, you really like me’ kind of way.  “What do you like about me specifically though?”  I unabashedly probe.

Inevitably, he sighs before grabbing my ass, tits or voraciously kissing my neck before explaining that my 43-year-old, overweight 5’4” frame is made of flesh he just cannot get enough of.  Then, I am held up in great esteem as the superior choice when compared to a model he shared his bed with the other week, the stripper he watched dance that night, or a young bartender with a perfect body that failed to keep his interest for very long.

“She just had nothing to say,” he explains.

I want to quip, “You cared about what she had to say?”

But, I hold back. Sarcasm and sheepish ego-satiating questions are like oil and water.

At first, I was sure every man was lying to me—assuaging my ego—telling me I was hot enough to fuck without blatantly lying, so that I would let my inhibitions down and he could do what he pleased, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. There have been too many unrelated instances of men telling me the same exact thing for this tactic to be the truth and the truth to be fiction. With these examples, and my understanding of quantitative studies—that is when reproducible results in two or more experiments creates validity—leads me to think the guys were and are telling the truth.  I may not be Cosmopolitan material, but it seems most of my casual encounters result in an erection and a man who is not content with wham, bam thank you Mam.  I usually am called the next day or so. He wants me.  He misses me and wants to see more of me though sometimes he is unable to articulate why.

I think about my attraction to David Bowie as a teenager. By no stretch of the imagination was he the hottest rock start in the 80’s.  He was not the epitome of a beautiful man, and yet the way he moved, his odd lyrics that spoke to my soul and his confidence despite the awkwardness made my fingers and toes tingle. Just thinking about the men I’ve been attracted to–famous and personally–who would never be Calvin Klein’s choice for underwear model still can get my panties in a bunch.  The way my first love bit his bottom lip and ran his sterling silver ringed fingers through his thick dark auburn hair is one of the sexiest images I can muster, but he was not beautiful. The untouchable and deeply sad eyes of a young man I could only look at from afar in college haunts me to this day—sexy, but not beautiful. The lawn mower guy with a thick head of dark brown hair, green eyes and disinterest in me was more sexy than beautiful – though he was both as a young man.

As I get older, the text of a frustrated love interest is sexy to me. “Okay you win-I happen to miss you probably more than you miss me. Call me,” it vibes and reads.   He doesn’t want to like me at all, but he can’t help it, and he admits it. It’s funny and real and that’s sexy. He likes when we read together and talk about math and science.  He even likes my obstinacy and absolute insistence that I do things my way. The last thing he wants to do is let me in, but he does.

I think most men love and hate that I cannot be controlled or held down.  I have a mind of my own and it drives them crazy. They like my passion and how I move. My honesty takes some aback. They try to unravel how I can be vulnerable and pissed off that I am vulnerable at the same time. Is it the mystery they find sexy?

It may be rare when beauty and sex appeal mingle, but when it does it makes for superstar fireworks that we usually only see in movies: Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Melanie Griffith, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and I’m sure you have your own favorites.  Still, none could hold a candle to David Bowie for me when I was 18. It’s the whole package baby—the whole package. Now that I think about it some more, I might go so far as to say that sex appeal and beauty are like time’s arrow moving in one direction. In that phallic arrow, sex appeal can become beautiful, but beauty alone can never become sex appeal.  There is just no makeover for that one now is there?

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Unicorns, The Universe and Other SkillsWhat Are Patterns For?

I suppose it all started when I decided to become a unicorn, which is a mythical creature that doesn’t exist except in the dreams of the middle class voyeurs of weekend erotica. My demands for my individuality drove my husband to the brink of insanity. His jealousy caused him, my sister and his (my matron of honor and self-proclaimed BFF) to try and 5150 me, which I learned without having to experience the act of being committed, is an attempt to declare me insane. Imagine that! A woman in 2014 who creates a virtual identity for her sexuality is a danger to herself or others.

When the police were called because I threw a wine glass at the wall, I grabbed whatever I could from the run down hotel room where all of this freedom was to begin and ran to hide. I knew I looked like the insane woman they claimed I was, for I had grabbed a shower curtain that had been packed up, a few books, my computer, of course, and my Birkenstocks. I had been betrayed by everyone I thought cared for me. It was not the first time I would fall to my knees that month and cry to God. “What the Hell am I supposed to be learning?” I cried it again and again. The crazy woman who collects cans for a living and channels the Dali Lama grabbed me and pulled me aside when I was hysterical. She told me that I’m not supposed to be in control. “Let it go…” she laughed at me. “Just let it all go…” Her hand flitted the words into the wind. But, how was I supposed to let it all go? I had my dogs, no job, no money, no direction, and I knew nobody who would help me. The universe was about to give me my first lesson.

The events that were to unfold from that night are stranger than fiction. Suffice it to say, I am writing this post from an apartment of an ex Israeli soldier who is a French chef and lover of Fellini and Kurosawa films. He drove two hours to pick me up in his Range Rover with no promises of anything. He cooked me dinner. He wanted to hold my hand and listen to opera with me. He is a poet and apparently a very load snorer. He has left me alone here to write. He has fallen asleep in his bed and I could rob him blind, but I won’t, for the universe gives me everything I need when I need it. I am in awe, and I am still learning. I’m still insistent on a few things.

I want to keep my dogs. I made a promise to them-the only living things to stand by me no matter what, so I won’t just drop them at a shelter to save my skin, or to be put in some shelter prison. This insistence has been met with outrage and disbelief. Still, they are fat, happy, sleeping soundly and were just groomed yesterday. Since I’ve been “in transition,” the eccentric name for homeless, my dogs and I are in better shape than we’ve been in years. How fucking funny.

I started with three dogs. A man I am fairly sure is a non-violent kind of crazy fell in love with one of them, Gracie, and kept her. I know she is safe with him, as they drive to Scottsdale Arizona in his BMW. She finally has the one owner who will love her like the princess she is. He told me that he was saving her from me, and I believed him. She needs him as he needs her. He will be her forever home. I still have my 11 year old Shepherd Husky, Jake and my little bitch of a min-pin, Bella. She is irreverent, intolerant, watchful, loyal and just like me, her attitude betrays her size. I have six bags of stuff-mostly clothes, this computer and my music. I still have no car, no job, no desire to work for another asshole ever again, but it seems I have everything I need. I do have the ability to write and post ads on Craig’s List, like my most recent ad, which reads as follows:

Any decent men?

Single female needs decent place to stay for about a month. I need to get my life in order without someone calling me names, or stealing from me. Are there any decent people out there? I can cook, clean and I have other skills too.

Join me on my adventure in LA. Fasten your seatbelts. I have a feeling it is going to be a bumpy ride.

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We Can Predict And Design Four Score And Seven Years From Now

What Are Patterns For?

Eighty years ago, nationalism sounded really great. It sounded great to the Americans. It sounded great to the Japanese, and it sounded really great to Germans.

The reality is that our intuition often can be a poor guide for change. Though it is almost certain that small things can produce sudden, big changes, more often than not humans are surprised and confused when sudden change occurs.

They Didn't Expect WWII
Barton Biggs (1932 –2012): one of the world’s first global investment strategists

In his Gettysburg Address, the first thing Abraham Lincoln did to honor the fallen was refer to The Declaration of Independence. He urged Americans to increase their devotion to “the unfinished work” of advancing liberty. Four score years later, the world was embroiled in a war that could have ushered in an era of oppression, fascism and tyranny, the very antithesis of Lincoln’s vision. Now, nearly 80 years after The Gettysburg Address was delivered (see image below for full speech), we are engaged in another pivotal time. It is the era of globalization that shall put humanity to the test. Can we recognize the small changes that are before us now and choose to create a better way?

Gettysburg Address

Tsunami Warning

We are on the precipice of globalization, and it inevitably will tear down the borders that have separated us as a people. The change won’t be easy. If history is any guide, I suspect most people will ignore the small signs that a tsunami is fast approaching. Most will be dragged kicking and screaming into the undertow of the digital age.

Like a deep underwater earthquake, the invention of the Internet and the subsequent rise of social media shifted our foundation at its core. The wave it’s created is closing in on land. The water in which people usually swim has been sucked out.  For the first time ever, those on the shoreline can see the bottom of the sea where they usually swam. Fish helplessly flip-flop around and previously hidden coral structures emerge.  Many scratch their heads at this unnatural looking landscape. Some run towards it for a better look. They have no idea of the unimaginable power heading their way at 500 miles per hour. What they are witnessing is the unveiling of a communal mirror.

My understanding of the human unconscious only scratches the surface. Crowdsourced inventions from a group of amateurs working on the project for the love of it usually are better than what professionals or so-called experts can create.  People with something at stake make better guesses too.  That’s called crowd wisdom. When we come together as a  crowd something powerful and greater than the sum of its parts happens.

The potential for the tsunami has always been there.  As the wall of water heads our way, awareness of the changing landscape grows. Things look different now, but few grasp that the metamorphosis is a radical shift and the landscape will never look the same again. Many will be hurt or will die in the event, for change never comes easy. Social media has just started to democratize business functions, but the C-Level suite is not immune. None of us are.

“In our democracy, 1% of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income … In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1% control 40% … [as a result] the top 1% have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99% live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1% eventually do learn. Too late.”

Joseph Stiglitz, Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, Vanity Fair, May 2011

United We Evolve

With the right combination of desire and action, we have new tools to bring society and the world to the next level. We are capable of much better things than what we’ve created in the past. This is not a political issue. We need only to breathe in the gray and polluted air, swim in trashed filled oceans and rivers, live with no clean water, or fear a looming water crisis, turn away from the extinction of animals and the more than six billion people who inhabit this planet to see the truth.  The Earth has never had to support the existence of so many human beings. A child could tell you that something is amiss.

There may be hope for us after all. The inherent trade-off between profitability and destruction does not have to exist. It does now, but only by our own design. The industrial age is over, but in its place is the power of connection, which waits to be unleashed fully. Comprised of individuals, our collective work has the power to become the true democratizing force for our world. Should we choose to make the world a better place, we now are more able than ever before. Our survival no longer will depend upon having to be separated by and defined as people representing companies, states, countries, languages and ideologies. We no longer have to work as cogs in a machine that produces something we cannot obtain and which is foreign to us because we know of only one stage in its manufacture. Today, we are all able to contribute and become fully aware of the entire creation. This is our age—the age of information and connection—which, I hope, will historically be remembered as the time when we woke up and evolved into humankind.

To Conquer Division of Labor

This thing we term “the crowd” is ringing the industrial age’s final death knell. Its faithful servant, division of labor, a myopic mass of ignorance, rests in the coffin next to it. The assembly line has fizzled out and will be a chapter in a history book. The crowd has the power to fundamentally change current economic and political systems that are based upon scarcity. The rise of social networks and information sharing democratizes power and can hasten the birth of a meritocracy. The elite few need only to leave it alone.

Though individuals comprise the whole, together they form the collective unconscious, an entity unto itself. The collective unconscious now has a tool that lets it listen, speak, judge and translate as one, and that tool is all of the social networks. The rise of connectedness and sharing hastened experiments with crowd-wisdom, crowd-funding, crowd-voting, crowd-sourcing and the discovery, now called counter-intuitive, which causes some substantial uneasiness, shows that an undivided human race (the whole) performs better than a fragmented one. The Internet is our unification tool and catalyst for a new and happier age that awaiting our design.


From the dawn of civilization, great thinkers have struggled to create an organizational structure to be the proxy of the collective unconscious. The unrelenting drive for individual power eventually eroded all of these structures no matter how well designed they were. It could be argued that America is the best one to date. What prior societies lacked was an ability to join together. The crowd is not going away, but I wonder how well it will cooperate.

Divide and conquer has been used successfully in war, economics, politics and labor since the dawn of civilization. It is based upon the truth that the whole is less powerful and easier to overcome when it is torn apart. At best, complex challenges become easier when divided into smaller, more understandable units. At worst, division allows an elite sovereign to control populations for personal gain. I would be naive to believe world leaders are unaware that unification via Internet opens the door to the power they currently hoard. History teaches us a free Internet will be threatened by those in power seeking to maintain their individual status.

The worldwide web allows individuals from around the globe to choose their subject of interest and get to work on it. In the future, I imagine human beings from abject poverty, with little or no formal education and who don’t speak the same language being able to do the work they love unhindered. We hear about the widening gap between rich and poor in our country, yet pay little heed to the gap between rich and poor on the Earth. The injustice and outrage that disenfranchised workers from western societies feel now is the same injustice that third-world countries have suffered for years. How many Einstein’s had to till a field, or work in the rice paddies to keep from starving. What happened to the Venezuelan Hawking, Nigerian Newton, Chinese Marie Curie, Bosnian Monet, or Ecuadorian Beethoven?  Now, the Internet gives all people a chance to emerge, be brilliant and advance the human race. Wave patriotism good-bye and say hello to a new way of thinking: If you work hard doing something you love to do, you’re likely very good at it and will be able to survive by sharing your gift with the world. It has value. The tradition of scarcity and the concept of money are disappearing because they’ve been illusions all along.

“The dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crisis…The solution to this is to replace the national currency with a global currency.”  Justin Yifu Lin, Former Chief Economist of the World Bank

So, what is our new currency?

The mindset and setup Americans inherited from the industrial age isn’t relevant and doesn’t work anymore. You know what I’m talking about: the daily grind that’s been instilled in us since birth, or perhaps before that. It goes something like this. We wave good-bye to our youth and grow up. We work for a living because we’ve been taught that if you work hard, you’ll be successful. We drive to and from where our work requires us to be. We endure long hours to prove our commitment to the company through its downsizing, outsourcing and trimming of the fat. We get married, have children and buy a house. Now, we fear being a part of the next round of cuts because it will hurt more than just us. We can’t imagine what the reality of not having a job looks like, so we push the thought out of our mind, smile bravely, dress and act the part and live our lives as-if they will happen to us sometime soon.

Good News – Your Job No Longer Exists!

This Just In - You're Not Working

We have breaking news. Nearly all of those who are employed at companies and factories will lose their jobs, if they haven’t already. The unemployed in mid-career will not be hired for full-time work ever again. They shouldn’t think the reason is because someone pegged them as too old, overqualified, under-qualified, over-educated or not educated enough. The jobs no longer exist. It’s that simple.

This is great news. This is your time to break free, devote yourself to liberty and invent a better future. The past doesn’t predict the future though it should inform it. There’s a brave new world that is waiting for all of us to design and it looks more like Star Trek and less like now. It’s taking over quickly–like Tsunami, 500 m.p.h. quickly.  We shouldn’t stand on the beach scratching our heads. We can make the new currency. Our combined knowledge is the new wealth.

To get in on this deal at the ground level, start by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What have you done to help someone today?
  2. What have you contributed to make the world a better place?
  3. What do you want your legacy to be?

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”  -Ronald Reagan

Extra! Extra! Share/Post About It!
                                 Extra! Extra! Share/Post About It!
Together we are more powerful than we possibly imagined.

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When Do Megabytes The Dust?

Grave Markers For The New Millennium

When our virtual persona outlive us what is the right thing to do with them? Should Facebook pages of the deceased become their grave markers? Will Facebook be haunted with virtual ghosts? Or, should our pages RIP with our other belongings?

We caution children about the content they post, explaining it can take on a life of its own. When we issue these warnings do we consider our own mortality? If asked, most of us would say that what we share online is a reflection of us-the lives we live outside of the virtual realm. Though we would be wise always to operate under the belief that nothing sent, published, tagged or posted will ever be a secret again, as humans, we likely do not always follow such a conservative protocol. It is difficult to always keep the fact that potential employers, love interests, neighbors, friends and enemies, will peek at our virtual selves and judge us on what they see. Although we want our online persona to show our best selves (for the most part) it is beyond our ability to consistently maintain awareness that everything we do online becomes a part of the public domain forever.

Now that Baby Boomers and GenXers have entered the second half of their lives, there are more stories about posthumous Facebook pages because we are finding that online personas have a power and life of their own.

Messages From Beyond

On a blustery Saturday in the winter of 2012, I received a message from my Facebook “friend.” I didn’t know she had died seven days earlier. I clicked on the little quote, but instead of a Happy Holidays wish, it was her sister, also a friend of mine and old college roommate, who was writing to me. Her message was a personal obituary for which I wished I had been warned. A flashing red message box might have prepared me. Pancreatic cancer had claimed her sister, and my Facebook friend. Formal services were held earlier that week.

“I thought you should know,” the message read. “I was going through her things, and saw you played Gardens of Time, but not until after the funeral.”

It was true – we played a few Facebook games together. She and I had reacquainted after more than 20 years apart. I gushed about Facebook reuniting people like us. Her house at the end of Main Street in my artsy, eclectic hometown was the center of all action back in the wild 80s of my youth. As a teen, I baby sat her children. I hung out at her pool nearly every summer day day between 1985 and 1988. She was elected as our driver when we saw Pink Floyd’s Momentary Lapse of Reason concert at the Vet in Philly. After graduation, I went to college, and from there started my adult life. I forgot about high school, my hometown and my friends from there for a while.

In 2012, I asked her “Would we have ever met up again without Facebook?” She said no. We shared brief messages like this before trading requests for items in the games we loved to play. “Please send me a present, so I can build my fountain?” I clicked and sent a request to her about four times a week. One or two days later, the gift was delivered to my inbox. This back and forth went on for a year, during which time she never mentioned the chemotherapy, radiation, nausea, sleepless nights, losing her hair, and the suffering she endured.

On June 26 2014, the news of another friend’s untimely demise shook me. I found out through a cryptic post on Facebook.

“Goodbye Marquis!” It read.

“Huh? Couldn’t be.” I thought as I punched out a rushed comment on my phone, hoping to quickly dismiss my suspicions.

“Sounds weird.” I wrote. “Did the Marquis finally go native to that giant Congo in the sky? Message me privately.” I referred to things only friends and readers of his would know. He had visited Africa and written a book about it, entitled “Going Native.” My high school friend’s message back was quick. It confirmed my worst fears.

“He died. Sad to say he hanged himself. I guess he always was the master of his own destiny, so in a crazy way, it makes sense. Hope you’re well.”

I wasn’t well though. I felt sick. He was only 55 and I hadn’t spoken to him or seen him in years. We weren’t even friends on Facebook, yet I felt as if I had lost someone really close. I felt guilty about not being there for him, strangely enough. He was one of those staples that towns like ours come to rely upon. He defined what was cool about us. He was well educated, irreverent by accident mostly, I think, and a living dichotomy. He was a writer, a junk man, a mower of lawns, a connoisseur of French cooking and wine and a country man who loved antiques, but who had lost everything he loved in this horrible economy.

“Damn. That’s really bad news.” I messaged back.

“Shitty eh? Sorry to have to tell you the hows of it all.”

The messages ended.

When Should Megabytes The Dust?

In 2012, I called a friend for advice.

“What are your thoughts about death and Facebook?” I asked him.

He told me about one of his friends who had died a year ago. “On his birthday and anniversary, this whole social circle pays homage on a Facebook page. They post that they miss him, and they share memories…maybe leave virtual flowers,” he described.

What do you do?” I asked.

“It’s all too strange for me. I don’t go,” he answered. “Too macabre!”

I contemplated Facebook pages as virtual shadows. I turned to my friends the poets for guidance. Has the digital age silenced death’s finality? Will social media give us more comfort as we grieve?

In Macbeth, Shakespeare wrote:

Out, out, brief candle!
 Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
 That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
 And then is heard no more. It is a tale
 Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
 Signifying nothing. — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

Robert Frost’s last line in”Out Out,” which is inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, reads:

"And they, since they were not the one’s dead, turned to their affairs."

Will it be our friends and kin or the courts who will turn to our affairs once we are dead.  Who will decide for how long our sound, fury and megabytes shall live on Facebook?

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A Brave and Startling Truth – Your Favourite Poem

Maya has left me “…lying in a heap upon the ground. All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.” My tears stream for Maya’s passing and in gratitude that she left behind such exquisite words. Here, she urges a greater awareness of our “Patterns,” so we can realize our magnificence. Realist or Optimist? Note: For lovers of women poets, yes, I am plagiarizing a bit from Amy Lowell.


We, this people, on a small and lonely planet 
Travelling through casual space 
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns 
To a destination where all signs tell us 
It is possible and imperative that we learn 
A brave and startling truth 

And when we come to it 
To the day of peacemaking 
When we release our fingers 
From fists of hostility 
And allow the pure air to cool our palms 

When we come to it 
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate 
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean 
When battlefields and coliseum 
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters 
Up with the bruised and bloody grass 
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil 

When the rapacious storming of the churches 
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased 
When the pennants are waving gaily 
When the banners of the…

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What A Strange Name For A Blog

Lodgedsad fleurs

By Robert Frost

The rain to the wind said,

“You push and I’ll pelt.”

They so smote the garden bed

That the flowers actually knelt,

And lay lodged–though not dead.

I know how the flowers felt.

Revived FleursRevived!

By Julia Fine

Stems refuse a staid wilt.

Blooms choose to revive!

Flowers lift up from brown silt

With a strength that betrays their size

And acute-angled tilt.

Gardens tend to be rebuilt.

What’s It Mean?

I showed a friend my new blog when he tilted his head to one side and asked “What’s the title mean? It’s kind of weird don’t you think?” He carefully chose his words. The question motivated this post, which explains why I named it “You Push and I’ll Pelt.” I thought it wise to write a post about the subject, as potential readers might pose similar questions.

Perusing for inspiration in a book of poems, I randomly turned to “Lodged.”  This little known gem of a poem about flowers that take a beating from wind and rain was almost too apropos.  Perhaps the title will attract other poets, Frost fans or curious readers? Though odd sounding, I instantly fell in love with the words, Push and Pelt. I had found my title.

The words, I think, are a gate keeping mechanism, or as some might even argue, protection for my delicate ego, since the title may not generate a ton of interest. I want curious, well-read, open minded readers. I respond well to constructive feedback, but stupidity is another story. I defend my values like a pit bull, and I’ve seen bloggers chased away from forums by angry, anonymous commenters. Since, I would get wrapped up in that type of fight, I liked that this title might appeal to someone like me—clearly not a marketing decision designed for the masses.

Also, it doesn’t sound like the names of other blogs. Being status quo is so dull. I believe most people aren’t as boring as they’d like to appear. For me, normalcy is a stressful facade, a mask we all wear at some point or another—some better than others. I take the road less traveled because it’s where I feel most at home, and I wear the normal mask when a situation demands it. Society prefers the consistency and reliability that normalcy offers. It’s comfortable for the collective.  However, individuals pay the price in the form of lost creativity, connectedness and intolerance for our glorious differences.

Life Only Gets Harder

My mother laughed at my tears in high school when I threw tantrums about the kids making fun of me.  I wasn’t popular enough, skinny enough, or rich enough for my tastes. I complained about having to wake up at 6:00 AM every morning, and Mom would sing out “Lazy bones, sleeping in the sun. How you ‘spect to get a day’s work done?”  Then, she’d add, “Enjoy these problems now. Life only gets harder.” “How could life get any harder than 10th grade?” I thought, but of course, she was right.

There are times when Hurricane Katrina-like storms are unleashed upon us. When I cried to my father, who was fighting liver cancer, about life being so crappy he smiled and said, “Yeah but what’s the alternative?” It was meant as a joke, but there’s been times when I needed to remember that he smiled when asking the question.

The storm in my life brewed for years, and when it finally hit, its fury stunned me before I dropped to my knees. It twisted and turned me around so badly that I had to retreat. It was then that I seriously thought  about his alternative. In the eye of the storm, I met other survivors. I found that nobody is alone with their struggles. Nothing can prevent us, rich or poor, healthy or sick, from trudging through tough times. “Lodged” reminds me that nothing escapes the shadow of seemingly bigger powers. We’ve got to make the best of it. We’ve no alternative but to get through the storm, pick ourselves up from the silt and rebuild our gardens.  As much as events can push and pelt us down, great moments lift us higher. My sky brightens when I blast “Ode to Joy” in my car and cry, which is inevitably followed by laughter that I’m crying. Clouds dissipate when I spend sweet time with Frost, Burns, Shakespeare, Path, Lowell, Stevenson, Emerson and Wordsworth. The sun peaks out when I stand mesmerized before the dappled light in a Monet series. It gets even brighter when I finish a novel that tears at my heart; Steinbeck is the biggest offender. I once threw “Of Mice and Men” against the wall – HARD. The final sentence made and ruined my whole week in one fantastic instant.  There are real people who’ve inspired me too. The sun would shine down upon us and the temperature rose when my husband would spin me on the dance floor. I always loved the way he moved.  When my girlfriend and I could just sit for hours together without uttering a sound and still know what each other was thinking about. These are the moments that feed my desire to go on, to grow and that give me faith brighter days are beyond the deep valleys filled with tears.

Bring It On

Big snowflakes rarely last, driving rain storms taper quickly, and delicate things like flowers, egos and the human heart come equipped with flexibility enough for the rebound. My blog, “You Push & I Pelt” represents the first step in a personal rebuilding. The title honors what I hold dear: being slightly off-center, having integrity, loving poetry, respecting truth, and honoring the universe that guides me.

Like my add-on poem above, I’ve pulled myself from the silt ready to push and pelt right back. Bring on the next round. This time, I am determined, wiser and more focused. I am tough, but balanced by a more empathetic, experienced heart. My eyes and dreams are cast toward the light, yet I won’t forget how the flowers felt.

I am unabashedly proud of my unique perspective. I don’t care about popularity or meeting others’ standards. It’s time to celebrate my wins, losses, joys and propensity for melancholy. For years,  I wandered lonely as a cloud rarely sharing my writing and never asking for help. From that journey, I’ve learned how flowers bounce back. They can do more than curl up and just survive. I am reaching out to join the thousands who line the garden path tossing their heads in this sprightly dance we call life in the 21st century.

Daffodils (an excerpt)

By William Wordsworth

For oft when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude

And then my heart with pleasure fills

And dances with the daffodils.

Daffodils and Blue Sky