My grandfather, the German engineer, the man always on a quest for new scientific discoveries, was also a devout Catholic. He went to 6am Mass every day. Every day. He was also a Mason. So, you know, secrets. One of the most secret things about my grandfather? After his mother died, he sought out spiritualists. I guess there were unresolved issues? Things left unsaid? I dunno.
As a scientist, he wanted to know if it was possible to contact the dead. Religiously, it was sketchy territory, biblical injunctions against necromancy abound. I guess science won out over religion when driven by personal grief and need? But he eventually stopped, after all, good Germans don’t pay good money for hokum and bunk. You might think he put all his eggs back in the Catholic basket, with heavy rotation of Sacred Heart devotion. (Good backup plan, right?) And it was true-ish.
Later in life, when his child (my mother’s actual parent, my actual grandparent) and that child’s spouse perished (that’s the word they always use, perished, no idea why), he did a second round of spiritualism. I don’t know much about it. Maybe he got some satisfaction from the first round? I really don’t know. I wasn’t alive then and this whole topic (the perished grandparents) is long in the past. It’s not that it’s verboten. They’re just not talked about and I’ve never even seen pictures of them.
Anyway, I say all this to say, I’m considered by family to be a lot like my grandfather. A foot in two worlds at all times. In my case, literally, with the BC/CA tours of duty. But also on the spiritual/intellectual plane. I boldly go places in quest of knowledge and understanding. I believe things, am open to things, that other people with more rigid or religious worldviews might run from. Not everyone understands, but I always feel God does and I always ask him along for the journey.
I’ve long believed that other civilizations exist on other planets in other universes. It’s just basic math. I don’t think they fear us. They’re too advanced. I think they fear we’ll destroy our planet. I’m not sure they care if we destroy each other. Maybe. But, do peoples exists elsewhere in our universe? Sure. I ponder questions such as “Is the Earth sentient?” or “Is the universe sentient?” Sounds weird, but bacteria and viruses and even fleas or lice might live on a person. Maybe people are just fleas on the pimple of the Earth, on the buttocks of a sentient universe? Maybe all the dark matter is alive, in some sense?
I think the barriers between dimensions, worlds, people, planes of existence, are much thinner than we imagine. By this point, you might think I’m really nerdy and weird. That’s ok. Buckle up, it’s going to get much stranger. One of the reasons I think these things is the stuff that happens, on a quite regular basis, in my own life. I remember one time sitting at a stop light thinking, I’d really like to have a French cross covered in flowers. Literally, one day later, a friend said she had something for me, and gave me a large (2.75″ tall) gold French cross pendant covered in flowers. Fit for a queen. I never said anything to her, or anyone. It was just a thought.
Then there was this time I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pay my student loan. I didn’t know what I was going to do that month. The next day, in the mail, a letter arrived from the loan company saying they had received my request to put the loan payments on hold for 6 months. I never contacted them. I never filled out any paperwork. I never even said anything to anyone about being strapped for cash or struggling with making the student loan payment. It just happened, by itself, miraculously.
I have a lot of interesting dreams as well. And that’s always been true. Some of them tell the future, never my own, never anything useful (lottery numbers), or anything I can do anything about. But I find those far less strange than my “normal” dreams. I’m almost never me in my dreams. I’m an observer, who sees me, but the me I see, is almost always (99.9% of the time), not actually me. I’m not always female or even white, in my dreams. Identity is one of those fluid things, in dreams, I guess.
I very rarely dream about my own life or real people and places in my real life. However, I always end up in world I know very well, filled with familiar places, populated with people I know very well, by name. It’s super strange. That world, seems so much more real, in terms of familiarity, than the one I actually live in now. It’s the one thing that makes me wonder if reincarnation, in some form, is real. Even my dreams that feature the real world, and the real me, are off by a factor of 10 in strangeness.
When I started doing the White Tara thangka, about a month in, I had a dream in which the Dalai Lama appeared. I’ve seen HH in person, speaking. That’s the full extent of my knowing him. He was sitting in one chair, I was sitting opposite on a slightly lower chair. We were alone. I don’t know where. And he began by telling me of his great concern for the health of one of his translators, a man named Erick. He emphasized the name ended with a k. He was suffering some illness. HH didn’t say what. It was weird. I don’t know anything about HH’s translators. I don’t know anyone named Erick or Erik.
Then the conversation took a turn, to me, and I asked HH how he felt about my WT project. He laughed and said it was fine. He approved. Then he touched my cheek. Which is a type of blessing. And the dream ended and I woke up. Now, I could understand if the dream had been about me and WT. But why does HH share his concern for the health of his translator? A translator I don’t know and can’t do anything about? Except maybe say a prayer for or do a practice for. But, if HH is concerned, I mean, HH’s prayers and practice have way more weight than mine, I should think. Who am I to think anyone will listen to me?
Okay so, circling back, to this week, and why I’m talking about this stuff, last Friday a friend called me. I hadn’t heard from her in a while. We texted a few times in the past year, but she and her husband have been really locked down by covid (he has heart issues, she has diabetes) and really busy with a move (their house went underwater in 2007 with the crash, they managed to hang on to it, by skin of teeth and HARP, but now, 2020, prices went through the roof, so they sold up, paid off debt, made a profit and moved). You should know. She’s a witch.
Sorry, wiccan. Literally, she calls herself a witch. Anyway, she called and told me “someone from the other side was trying to contact you.” She’s never done that before. I said, ok. Given the space-time continuum has no “side”, a bit perplexing. But I understood. And I figured, if it was anyone, it was my grandfather. The next day I went out and lifted the canopy of the trees in the backyard, so it would be lighter and brighter and have more summer breeze. Mutti has claustrophobia (she wants to be cremated because she doesn’t want to be in a box in the ground). So, it was an important to-do before she arrives in June.
In the midst of lifting the trees, I looked at Gran’s Easter iris. Still there, air dried in perpetuity courtesy of Santa Ana winds. But there. Then I looked up into the tree, to cut a hanging branch, and there was a dead crow again, in the same spot where a dead crow had been removed during the tree trimming a couple months back. It was weird. It was in the same position. In the same spot. It was like the crow flew into the tree head first, wings open, and just died. Totally strange. I didn’t dwell on it. But this kind of thing reminded me of some of the loop dreams, dreams that happen repeatedly, I’d had in the past.
The next day, another friend, a work friend I hadn’t heard from in over two years, called me. She has a sideline of reading tarot cards and runes at local fairs on the weekends. She said, “Someone is trying to reach you. Can I do a card reading for you?” Uh….well…My friends and I used to go the Renaissance Faire and have readings done just to laugh later about how wildly off they were. I’m not saying my work friend was in that class, she’d never read for me, I didn’t know. But I wanted to apply some science to the situation, and some religion. So, I silently asked God to join me on the journey, then set out my conditions for her.
Because I didn’t want her doing a shuffle and read at her end, meaning only she touched the cards, I said would pick a website, that randomly generated tarot cards. And I would pick the type of spread. And I would not tell her what was going on in my life or what the question was I had in mind till after she did the reading. She was fine with all that. So I went to this site called serennu. I shuffled the deck a few times, then picked a Celtic Cross because, I’m a Celt, and I believe in the Cross. I have to say, as a person who has had useless readings immemorial (but lots of laughs), this was really spot on.
I don’t think everyone would be happy with the outcome card I turned (Four of Swords). But for me, it was just the answer I wanted to hear. It’s the card of rest. It’s the knight in repose in his tomb, in the chapel, at peace, sword down, hands in prayer/meditation. I cannot tell how much more having that outcome means to me, after almost 2 years of covid shit, than riches, fame, wealth, love, knowledge or…anything else at this point. So, props to my friend, and I told her so. I also know she’s a cash-strapped widow, so yes, I sent her money for the reading even though she said there was no charge.
Thus fortified in spirit, I woke up the next day, Monday, to Gran with a bedsore – despite the EHOB inflated mattress I bought and put her on. Gran has been spending less time walking, more time sitting and laying down the last few months. It’s abuse if I make her get up, it’s neglect if I don’t. I can’t really win. Mutti was livid. I mean, livid. Because bedsores can be a real difficulty to heal. And Mutti’s already on a tightrope when she’s with Gran, trying to help her while continuing to do her own work. This looked to her like an epic fail on my part and dumping a lot of cleanup work on her because I was “lazy.”
Um, … yeah. This is my 3rd Tour of Duty. I’m kind of used to this. I get it. Mutti is really stressed out. Gran is getting quite elderly. Honestly, she might pass by the end of the year. Hopefully not while I’m there. I know that my mother wants to be with her, it’s important to her to be there. I’m guessing because of that “perish” event we don’t talk about it. But it can be rough. I care about Gran too. But again, caught between 2 worlds, or a rock and hard place.
I have my Da asking me to make a list or repairs or upgrades, while I’m here this ToD, and asking me to do an inventory of things that could be sold to finance the repairs on my next, and final, ToD. And I have Mutti yelling at me about bedsores now, while asking me to reach out to my RN friends in Sept, to see if we can find an RN wanting a post covid break, and happy to take a stipend, and free room and board, while caring for Gran. Which you know, why not? Do an online BSN, regroup, go back to nursing, or take time, re-eval, move on.
You would think, that would be plenty enough. But no. I called Gran’s doctor about the bedsore. Now we are getting homecare. An LVN to check on the wound, and PT to try and get Gran walking. Because my Hoyer lifting her out of/into bed into/out of her wheelchair is a big project and not really one Mutti will be up for. I’m trying to organize all the homecare, and make some good progress with Gran before Mutti gets here so she doesn’t have to do so much. The doctor recommended a new homecare company we had never used before. I’m like, sure, ok, let’s give it a go.
Tuesday, the RN they sent out to do Gran’s eval was Filipina. My grandfather was a big presence in the local Filipino community. Shared love of family, hard work, the Catholic faith and pork. I have lots of Filipino friends. Then the nurse told me that she’d too, like me, owned a chow-chow. Uh….hmmm. Coincidence? Or, the universe strikes again. That same day, the Japanese shirofugen cherry trees blossomed. Canada declared plastics a toxin! Trudeau is talking about opening the border. And I ordered a PURAP wheelchair cushion for Gran. Needless to say, I felt pretty good about the new trajectory of things. Honestly, I think the bedsores were a blessing.
Weds the SO told me he plans to work from home or just take off the 2 weeks of my quarantine, so we can be together – with the cats! Yes! Even though only 3% of BC is fully vaccinated, and I’ll be one of those, because I’m entering from the US, I have to quarantine. I’m ok with that. So basically, I’m going from California, with a mask mandate, to BC, with a mask mandate. I’m not sure what the state of things will be when I return in Sept. At this point, 65% of people 16+ have 1 dose in the home county, and 53% are fully vaxed. And we’re still vaxing the crap out of people, and lowering the age to 12.
I expect when I return I’ll be wearing a mask, again. By then Gran will be 6 months post her Moderna. As far as I know, Moderna data at this point, says good for 6 months. My hope is that more data will come in, and she’s good for a year. But if not, I’ll get her revaxed with Pfizer, or if they have a booster, get her that. Not sure what the options will be by then. I have to say, if I were staying in SoCal, I’d continue to wear a mask till 70% were fully vaxed or, honestly, till next Spring. I know that sounds extreme, but I’ve looked at the data and the science, and our family situation as well as the California and US situations.
Here’s the math, as I see it. If 100M people are fully vaxed with Pfizer, at least 5M will get breakthrough infections. Pfizer is 95% effective. Of those 5M, most will be asymptomatic. And even though the CDC claims vaxed people, who are asymptotic covid carriers, can’t pass on the virus? The situation with the Yankees screams otherwise. The truth is, the CDC is not testing daily or weekly a large group of asymptomatic vaccinated people. The CDC has no idea how much spread is happening with vaxed, asymptomatically infected people. As a result, I don’t want to be responsible for infecting a child or immuno-compromised person who can’t get a vaccine.
Of the 5M breakthrough infections, I’d expect about 10%, 500K to be mildly symptomatic. These people, because they become symptomatic, start spreading covid the moment they are infected. They have to quarantine. They have to contact trace with people they saw 2-3 days before they had symptoms. They put others at risk. With so many people unvaxed, at this point 2/3 of the US, I don’t want my mild infection to turn into an unvaxed someone else’s death sentence. I understand you can’t wait forever for other people to “do the right thing.” And, at some point, a lot of people will just get sick, get long covid, die because of their ignorance, but, for now, I’m not going to be an added factor.
Finally, and I think this is important to note, fully vaxed people, who get breakthrough infections, can end up seriously ill, can end up with long haul covid, can end up dead. I would reckon (I have no data) maybe 1% of symptomatic breakthrough infections will end up this way. So, 5K people out of 100M. My take on that is, I don’t want that to be me. Ever. So, I’m waiting for herd immunity through vaccination. And I’m waiting till the end of the 4th, spring wave in 2022. I know that sounds depressing, but I’d rather face the truth and prepare for it, than … bury my head in the sand or stick my fingers in my ear and lalalalalala, and get sick and/or die.
Okay so, regarding other things I thought about this week. And yes, this is a bit long, but it’s my penultimate post for this ToD. Live with it. I found Liz Cheney’s ouster interesting because 74% voted looney tunes, and 25% of the House GOP voted Liz Cheney. That means Liz now has the mantel of “true conservative.” I have a feeling all these extremist abortions bills suddenly appearing just after her ouster are a way for the GOP to try to hold on to what they view now as the Cheney Republicans. It’s a bit knee-jerk and not very well thought out. They think white evangelical conservatives will vote for them because of this one issue.
To be fair, some WEC’s will vote that way because they simplistically, and un-scripturally, believe God punishes the entire US for women having abortion access. Uh…yeah. But I think a lot of WEC pastors and women who follow Christ have realised this is putting out a match by starting a forest fire. It benefits no one. I also think that as Democrats continue to publicize what the Democrats alone (GOP votes agains evertyhing) have accomplished for the people, all that should change. People, specifically women, and people of color, demand a better democracy. And so should we all.
Not to be unkind, but the GOP has literally nothing to offer. It does nothing. It stands for nothing. AZ’s GOP is the epitome of the crazy level. When I see people like Gov De Santis grooming himself for 2024 not by expounding his policies, but by gaining weight, dressing and combing his hair like the former president, getting a spray tan? Uh, yeah. Not good. The GOP has PR, but no policy game. The Dems have policy, but no PR game. In a media-driven environment, you gotta have a strong PR game informing people of policy wins that positively impact their lives. At this point, the GOP has a strong PR game on imaginary wins, or even Dem wins.
Moving on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to shake my head at people talking about mental health in the news in the last few weeks. Not because there’s no need. There is a desperate need. But “you need mental health help” is such white, male answer. It undercuts looking at actual needs, and meeting those. People need actual help. Food, homes, jobs, health care, child care, elder care, community safety infrastructure, education, political access, clean water, air, green spaces, etc, etc, ad infinitum. When human beings don’t get those things — in general because you’re a human that’s female, a person of color, or “poor” — humans get stressed, and then those humans get slapped in the face with a white male “you need mental health.”
White men get the actual help they need. Because white men in govt grasp, see, empathize, understand with their needs. But if you’re not a white man? It’s a tough row to hoe to get anyone to see your real need. No one needs mental health, if they aren’t stressed out. No one is depressed, if they can see hope. But if a govt does everything to stress people out, to take away hope, and yeah, create mental health issues through crappy govt policies? Dear God, please shut up about “mental health” until you’ve embraced the fact that the appalling white male govt policies and propaganda of the previous administration, and of every GOP legislature and governor still across the country, has denied the majority of the US population’s reality, gas-lit them, and driven them to the brink.
Then come back and we can talk about mental health.
Sorry, that that took a turn. I’m still fuming a bit today. Yesterday, I found out, from La Mère that all the extra love songs I got last week, and the few days the SO missed our virtual catch-up lunches, was not because he was busy. But because a) he felt unwell and fainted, b) he had to go to the ER and then c) he was at their condo eating Omelette de la mère Poulard and “dormir comme une marmotte” afterwards, for a couple days just to be sure he was okay. He said it was low blood sugar. I was told I shouldn’t be concerned. Really? His father had his first heart attack at 35.
When I asked him when and where he fainted and who was with him, apparently it happened at his folks. He’d been helping them re-arrange furniture. This was after a long bike ride, and a full day of work, sustained by only a breakfast granola bar, and a lunch of coffee and a grilled cheese, because he knew he’d be eating a big dinner at his parents’ place. I expect a normal person in normal times would fly to their SO’s side. But, not a normal person. Not normal times. I’m actually more concerned he might develop covid having been in the ER, and end up giving it to his parents.
I know it’s all kinds of wrong, but I don’t want to leave Gran’s only to arrive home to find everyone has covid and now I’ve got to spend my “down time” nursing them through it, and hoping no one dies or ends up with long-haul covid. So, yeah. This sort of stuff is why I’m pro-mask for vaccinated people, still. And this is why I’m pro-vax for everyone, still, even though my state and county is doing well, comparatively speaking. I literally have to spend the next 10 days praying everyone is spared the guillotine. Four of Swords? Oh please, mercy, yes.