My Novels

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

On the Road

All my bags are packed and I'm leaving today.

Taking the laptop, and may write entries from the road...

It has taken several days to make arrangements for my destination, as well as a necessary caretaker for my cats, etc.

More later...

Friday, May 27, 2005

Um, though it is a cliche' I have had the MOST horrendous experience with my mother-in-law. Yes, thirty+ years of marriage, and this slithering snake rears its head. What she did is unbelievable, and worse, DH seems to "accept" it.

You know what? I won't. And I am going to soon be leaving him, and if nothing else, I will set out on a "who-knows-where" trip. The HELL with them both!!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Protesters Heckle Laura Bush in Jerusalem

May 22, 1:49 PM (ET)


JERUSALEM (AP) - Protesters besieged Laura Bush during her visit Sunday to two of Jerusalem's most sacred sites, with Israeli police locking arms to restrain the crowd and Secret Service agents packed tightly around America's first lady.


Note to Laura: Psst, your husband has gained the bitter, undying HATRED of middle Easterners EVERYWHERE in that region.

Can't you just see her shock when she gets back to the USA and says to Bushie, "You know Dear, those people really don't like us!"

Think that will wake up the Prez? Nope, today he was spouting off about how great everything was going in Iraq and Afghanistan. The man has a serious problem with

Thursday, May 19, 2005

New photos posted below. I took these early this morning, and the sunlight was slanting across our backyard and garden. We've already had some of the thriving salad spinach, and it is delicious (and healthy) for a salad with our meals. The long-leaf lettuce is slower, but also doing well. I have had two radishes already, and hopefully it won't be too long until I have carrots and tomatoes (though it may be awhile yet.) Our weather has been somewhat dry, so I've been watering the garden every other late afternoon with the water hose, but maybe we'll get rain tonight.

Critters are thriving as well, and Mr. Slick has a habit of sticking his head out the barn doors when I am outside since he KNOWS I often bring him treats, like apples or carrots or loaf bread. He has become such a spoiled pet, and has been here in the pasture since we moved in over a year ago. I have to admit I'm liking the place more and more (though I will always have bouts of homesickeness for the town-life, I guess).

My sister is doing exceptionally well; at her last checkup the surgeon told her to start doing light housekeeping to get some exercise, just not lift anything heavy. That is GOOD news. One of my other sisters, however, learned she will need some surgery this summer. But it is nothing as serious as breast cancer.

DH will go for an extensive medical checkup next week, lots of tests to find out how he's doing since his heart attack. The cardiologist will have the results in two days, and we'll both go in for his visit, learn what the results are. I'm hoping for GOOD news, though DH does seem to tire easily now. Perhaps it is the medication, and maybe some of it can be reduced if his checkup shows he is doing well.

I've been searching on the web for a new desktop computer, just haven't decided yet what kind I want. This '97 model is verrry slow, and I need an upgrade! :-)

So it seems life is smooth and easy now. Keeping my fingers crossed it'll continue this way...but one never knows.

Garden with salad spinach, lettuce, more... Posted by Hello

Back deck and cats in window Posted by Hello

Mr. Slick, hoping for a treat Posted by Hello

Kitten: Peaceful in sleep, terror awake! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Every now and then a news article appears about "the oldest living woman." I have a collection of these, and thought I'd post them as evidence it is indeed a "mad, mad world."


IN A tiny cottage in the Belorussian village of Kuravsovshina, the world's oldest living person is recalling some of her most significant memories.

Hanna Barysevich turned 116 last week. She was born in the same year that Jack the Ripper began his notorious killing spree and she was already 13 by the time Queen Victoria died.

She cannot read or write, has spent most of her life enduring poverty and hardship and has survived famines, two World Wars and ruthless dictators.

All this on a diet of raw pig fat, gherkins, mushrooms and fried potato.

Lost in her thoughts, events which have long been assigned to school history lessons come cascading into the present when she speaks.

Hanna vividly recalls the hunger her family suffered during the Great War, the news that the Tsar had been executed by the Bolsheviks, the day Stalin's men came to take her husband away to be shot and the moment the Red Army shot her German lover.

She remembers the first time she saw a car and the day her grandson arrived in one to take her for a ride. Hanna smiles when she remembers hearing of Yuri Gagarin's space mission.

"I've seen everything," she says. "I've lived through the wars and under every type of government - the Tsar, then the Communists and then the end of the Soviet Union.

"I've seen the arrival of telephones, cars and planes. I even saw pictures of the planes that go into space."

BUT Hanna says life is the same. "It doesn't matter what people invent to help them communicate or move from one country to another, people are the same.

"I can't understand why, having seen it all, God doesn't come for me now."

At her home, 10 miles south of the capital Minsk, she celebrated her landmark birthday last week with her 87-year-old daughter, Nina, and 55-year-old grandson Yevgeni, who share her home and sell roses and tulips from the garden to supplement her £30-a-month pension.

She has two other children, her 82-year-old son, also named Yevgeni and youngest daughter, Valentina, 80. Hannah is also a grandmother of six, great-grandmother of 13 and great-great-grandmother of four.

Today began as normal, with a slice of salted raw pork fat - salo - and a cup of strong, sweet milky tea, two staples she believes have helped her reach her record-breaking age.

Then she retired to her tiny dark bedroom, to listen to the radio and gaze out of the window at the fruit trees.

"When I was a child, my dream was to live to be 100 but I couldn't imagine it would be possible to live so long," she says.

Hanna didn't retire until the age of 95, when she stopped work on the village's state-owned collective farm. "I've never been ill in my life," she says. "The worst I've suffered is childbirth."

There are no medicines on the table next to her bed, aside from paracetamol, which she takes for the occasional headache.

Born on May 5, 1888, into an impoverished peasant family, her grandparents Josef and Hanna were Polish emigres and her earliest memories are of the small Belorussian village of Buda, where she grew up.

Her mother, Jesefa, died when Hanna was just 18 weeks old and she was raised by her father, Adam, and stepmother, Olga.

The village was destroyed long ago but Hanna still recalls having to help with the housework and carry water from the river from the age of four.

Listening to her recount the past is like taking a lesson in Russian history. She recalls the day that Tsar Nikolai and his family were shot dead in Yekaterinburg by the Bolsheviks in July, 1918. Hanna was already 30.

"We celebrated with dances and songs," she says. "We were so happy. The Tsar was a very bad man. He didn't care about the peasants, so thank God the Bolsheviks murdered him.

"The only pity was that they also shot the Tsarina and the children...

"One of my granddaughters started arguing with me about it some time ago, saying it was a crime to kill him. But people don't know what it was like to live under such a ruler."

For Vladimir Lenin, Russia's first Communist dictator, she has nothing but praise.

"He was wonderful," she says smiling. "He took the land away from our landlords and gave it to us. He looked after the peasants."

But if Hanna and her family believed that Communism was the answer to their prayers, they soon changed their minds when Josef Stalin succeeded as ruler after Lenin's death in 1924.

Like millions of other peasant farmers, Hanna's family were forced into state collective farms and ordered to hand over their harvests to the government.

"It was like slavery," she recalls. "We had to work for 'workday' units, not for money."

It was under Stalin, that her husband, Ippolit, was executed. "He was chief of our collective," she explains. "One day, men from the People's Commissariat Of Internal Affairs came to our village and wanted to buy all our pork at a low price. He refused to sell it because we could get a better price in the market."

HER husband was seized. "They arrested Ippolit and then shot him in the forest and I was left alone with our three children.

"For about 20 years we were branded as 'the family of an enemy of the government'.

"It meant we couldn't leave the village. My children couldn't apply to study at any Soviet institutions. It was only when the government officially forgave us in the 50s that we got the chance to live like ordinary people.

"Stalin's rule was a time of fear, when people had to give police information on their relatives just to save their own lives."

During the Second World War, Hanna fell in love again, this time with a German soldier stationed nearby.

"There are two things I remember about the war," she says, "Permanent hunger and a German soldier named Damian. He courted me and desperately wanted to marry me.

"He was so sweet. He came to our house with mushrooms and meat to help feed us. I nearly said yes to his proposal but then the Red Army troops came back and they shot him. It was a terrible shame."

Hanna is always happiest when revisiting her girlhood. "It was a wonderful time even though we had to work hard. What you don't see today in villages is people working and living as one big family. We used to wake up at 5am, all sisters together, and go to work in the field. We cut the grass and made hayricks and we always sang songs.

"If you were ill, somebody would always help. You were never alone. Today, people are left alone to face their problems."

Sitting in her bedroom, looking back on her long life, Hanna has few regrets, though sometimes she thinks it's a pity she didn't learn to read or write.

"At the end of 19th century, it was costly for peasants to hire a teacher. I did begin to study the alphabet but my father said that a girl only needs to know how to cook and please her husband.

"It was my grandchildren who taught me to sign my name for documents," she says. Hanna believes there is nothing left for her to achieve now.

"I have fulfilled all my ambitions. I wanted to have my own house and have children, and I've done that."

But for those who wonder just how she has reached such a remarkable age, Hanna has her own words of wisdom.

"There's nothing in this life which is worth worrying about," she says. "Don't be nervous, whatever happens. Don't sit near your TV sets and wait till sickness finds you. Work, walk, meet people, do something but don't stop moving.

"Love people and forgive people, whatever they do. Eat good meals - eat pork fat, gherkins and potato, drink good vodka and wine. That's my recipe.

"And meet every morning as if it's the last morning of your life."


Chechnya claims 'oldest living person'

The world's oldest living person is believed to have been discovered in war-torn Chechnya - beating by nine years the current record holder.

Health officials in the separatist Russian republic say great-great grandmother Zabani Khakimova is 124 years old.

If her age is authenticated, Mrs Khakimova would beat the current record-holder - Japanese woman Kamato Hongo.

Mrs Khakimova, a devout Muslim from the south-western Achkoi-Martan district, is said to remain energetic and be in comparatively good health despite impaired hearing.

Chechnya's Deputy Health Minister, Sultan Alimkhadzhiyev, said she has 24 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.

He told Interfax news agency that doctors believed she might be even older than the age on her passport.

"Despite her advanced age, she still works around the house, looks after her numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, and prays five times a day," said the agency report.

Mr Alimkhadzhiyev said she had outlived her oldest son, who died two years ago, but her youngest son was still alive and had 10 children.

'No worries'

The current world record holder is Kamato Hongo - born in 1887 on Tokunoshima Island in southern Japan - who is due to celebrate her 116th birthday in September.

She took the title in March 2002 after the death of the former title holder Maude Farris-Luse, from the United States.

Bed-ridden and needing continuous care, Mrs Hongo sleeps for two days and stays awake for two days. She enjoys a tipple of sake, Japanese rice wine, and uses her arms to perform the traditional dances of her native island.

Her recipe for long life is "not to worry too much".

The world's oldest man is also Japanese. Retired silkworm breeder Yukichi Chuganji, from the island of Kyushu, took the title in January 2002 aged 112.

He is said to hate vegetables but loves to eat meat and drink milk.


Chechen woman may be oldest person

MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) -- A Chechen great-great-grandmother born in 1881 could be the oldest woman in the world, Russian state television reported.

Pasikhat Dzhukalayeva has nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren who call her 'Granny Asi'.

"I do not know why I have lived so long. I have buried five brothers and sisters, and four children," the wrinkled Dzhukalayeva, who moves around in a wheelchair, told Rossiya television. She showed off a passport giving her year of birth.

If 122 as claimed, Dzhukalayeva would have been in her thirties during World War One and Russia's 1917 revolution, and already in her sixties when Soviet dictator Josef Stalin deported most of the Chechen people to Central Asia in 1944.

The most long-lived person with reliable documentation is believed to have been France's Jeanne-Louise Calment, who died at 122. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's oldest living woman is U.S. citizen Charlotte Benkner, who was born in Germany in late 1889 -- a mere 113 years ago.

According to Guinness, the oldest living man is from Spain and was born less than a month after Benkner in 1889, the year Adolf Hitler was born.


World's oldest woman voted for Putin

Russian woman Maria Strelnikova was born on March 15th, 1890 in the village of Ukrainka of the Samara region

According to the Guinness Book of Records, a Brazilian woman had been reported to be oldest human being on Earth. Maria Olivia da Silva, a native of the state of Sao Paulo, has a birth certificate that says that she was born on February 28th, 1880. However, a recent statement by the Guinness Book of Records company indicates that the Brazilian woman has not enough evidence to prove her phenomenal longevity. There is a good chance that Maria Strelnikova will be found eligible for the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest woman on the planet provided that her next of kin file an application.

Mrs. Strelnikova doesn't look like a happy record-holder. Local medical emergency service has stopped sending an ambulance to her address a long time ago. "The old lady lived long enough, it is about time she..." must be the reasoning behind the paramedics' attitude. Mrs. Strelnikova has been bedridden after breaking her hip joint bone two years ago. "My mom had not even turned 100 years old when the doctors refused to provide medical help to her," says Alexanda, her 80-year-old daughter. "So I have to take care of her myself. You know, buying medicines at the drugstore or giving her a shot," says she.

Maria Strelnikova was born on March 15th, 1890 in the village of Ukrainka of the Samara region, the Volga area. All the ancestors within her recollection were very healthy and hard-working people. Her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all lived till 100 years. By conventional standards, her family was considered well-to-do, they kept a small livestock consisting of a few cows, goats and a camel. All the family members worked hard. They would rise at dawn and would spend the whole day plowing, sowing or harvesting. "I remember the old saying 'Early to bed and early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise' since I was a kid," says Mrs. Strelnikova.

At the beginning of the 1930s her family lost everything even though they never belonged to the rich. The Bolshevists broke into her house one night. "They must have thought we were living in clover so they took almost everything we owned including our chickens which they threw into a huge canvas bag," says Mr. Strelnikova. Then somebody reported to the authorities on "the lack of cooperation" allegedly displayed by the Strelnikovs toward the Soviet power. The arrest seemed imminent. The family had to flee the village and take shelter in a village close to Leningrad.

Nazis put Maria Strelnikova and her two children to a concentration camp in the August of 1941. The camp was located near the town of Pskov. They spent there three long years before being sent to Konigsberg, East Prussia. The freight train packed with prisoners got blown up with a land mine. Only seven people survived including her children and herself. Her children had to climb the car's roof and take a jump to safety. She followed suit despite her injuries sustained in the explosion. But their journey was far from over. They spent another year in captivity and were finally set free by the Red Army on January 27th, 1945. They set off on their trip to Leningrad walking barefoot in the snow. They arrived home on March 5th.

Mrs. Strelnikova had lived in a tiny room of the communal apartment until she turned 81 years old. Then she was granted a one-room apartment by the authorities of the town Vyborg, near Leningrad. "That is when her real life began," says Valentina, her 84-year-old daughter. "She had a definite run of luck about a year ago. Some kind people in Norway sent her a TV set. Then Alexander Nevzorov, a Duma deputy, put pressure on the authorities and her apartment was finally hooked up to the telephone line. Mr. Nevzorov also paid 1,000 rubles for her future telephone bills. He sent a money order for 300 rubles to my mom on her birthday last year so that we might bake a curd pie," says she.

"I want to live till Easter, that is my only dream at the moment," says Mrs. Strelnikova.

"I have a good pension - 4,000 rubles - thanks a lot, Mr. Putin, for making my life good at the end of the road, with money like that I can save up for my funeral arrangements while staying on my magic diet that kept me fit for the last 115 years," says she.

"Are you afraid of death?"

"No, I am not. The purpose of dying is not heaven high above where you should go to. It is heaven that you should find inside yourself."


Jeanne Louise Calment
August 4, 1997
122 years 164 days

Oldest Woman Ever

The oldest fully authenticated age to which any human has ever lived is 122 years and 164 days, by Jeanne-Louise Calment. She was born in France on February 21, 1875, and died at a nursing home in Arles, southern France on August 4, 1997. President Jacques Chirac once said Jean Calment was a little bit like a grandmother to everyone in France. She was 14 when the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889. She led an extremely active life, taking up fencing at 85 years old, and was still riding a bicycle at 100. She portrayed herself at the age of 114 in the film Vincent And Me, to become the oldest actress in film.

Jeanne Louise Calment

Jeanne Louise Calment was born in Arles, France on February 21, 1875. She once met Vincent Van Gogh in her father's shop. Her genes may have contributed to her longevity as her father lived to the age of 94 and her mother to the age of 86. She married a distant cousin at the age of 21. Her only grandson died in 1963. She rode a bicycle to the age of 100.

In October of 1995, much press coverage announced that Jeanne had exceeded the lifespan of Shigechiyo (Chigechiyo) Izumi, who until then had held the claim to the longest lived human. In fact, work by John Wilmoth indicates that Izumi may have only been 105 when he died, meaning that Jeanne may have outlived Izumi in 1980. If that is accurate, Jeanne would have become the longest lived human in 1991 when she exceeded the longevity of Carrie White, who died at the age of 116.

Quotes attributed to Jeanne Calment:

* In life, one sometimes makes bad deals.

Comments on the notary public, Andre-Francois Raffray, who purchased her apartment, promising to pay $500 per month until Jeanne died. He paid twice the market value for the apartment before dying in December of 1995.

Comments on her vision of the future on her 120th birthday.

* I've been forgotten by a good God. (or L'Oubliée de Dieu?)
* I've only got one wrinkle and I'm sitting on it. (Je n'ai jamai eu qu'une seule ride et je suis assise dessus.)
* I'm a normal woman.
* I am very brave and I'm afraid of nothing.
* I took pleasure when I could. I acted clearly and morally and without regret. I'm very lucky.

Jeanne Calment published a CD and a VCR tape titled "Maitresse du Temps".


Jeanne Calment, the world's oldest person, died at 122 on Monday August 4, 1997.


Now, there you have it. From these articles it is easy to learn the secrets of longevity. NOT. ;-) In other words, there is NO secret formula, no sure-fire way to live past 100. As always, the "reasons" given by those who HAVE lived that long are varied and weirdly eccentric.

But aside from all that, who in their right mind WANTS to live that long?

On another topic, I've been writing, and you can read a continuing story I'm posting at my website if you wish. FOGBOUND

Friday, May 13, 2005

I had a good visit with my sister and brother-in-law Monday/Monday night and Tuesday. The drive, though long, was actually fun -- once I quit worrying about a break-down and turned the radio up loud and just DROVE! :-)

My sister seems to recuperating well, right on schedule. She hopes to get the annoying two drains out next week, and that will surely be a relief. Monday night we watched a movie, "Birth" (an unusual theme on reincarnation) on their big screen TV. It was just like being at the theater, since they also have digital surround-sound speakers in the corners of their high-ceiling entertainment room. The movie was nothing special, but I'd almost forgotten how BEAUTIFUL everything looks on such a large screen with excellent acoustics!

During the past weeks I've been doing some serious "thinking/reflecting"...about not just my sister's condition, but about life/death itself. I have always thought that "quality over quantity" is important -- at least for myself. IF I should be diagnosed with cancer, I would NOT have any treatment. Why? For one thing, I'm not CERTAIN that all the radical treatment works for everyone -- and why put myself through such excruciating pain/suffering for no reason when I would die anyway? I HATE physical suffering, and having had enough of it when young, would choose to live what time I had left on my own terms. Yes, I'd want pain medication...unless it didn't help enough. At which point I would take my own life.

EVERYONE should have a choice about health matters, and that is MY choice. No one else's, just mine alone. And it would be the right choice for me. Besides, who knows, perhaps I'd outlive those who DO seek all that complex, painful treatment...but who die anyway.

Let's face it: Humans die, it's a FACT. We may live longer, but at what cost in pain? Or we can live less time, and live as we wish. I think so many people never confront their own mortality until a life-threatening event forces them to. I long ago went through the realization that we are ALL going to die, it's just a matter of time. And as a poet/writer, I have always explored mortality in my work. Otherwise it would all be shallow. Knowing my decision gives me peace now, and a certainty about how I would respond to a fatal illness, should I ever be diagnosed in that category.

Should we fear death? I think not. Whether it is sweet surrender to eternal rest/nothingness, or a blissful rebirth into whatever mysterious realm unknown to us humans...death is NOT the enemy.

I have been creative lately, and posted this poem at my website: Transformation Dream

And that is all for today.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Good news: my sister's checkup with her doctor yesterday turned out well. Although she didn't see the doctor, just a nurse practioner. (What's up with that? Seems it is happening more and more, and one is lucky to see an actual doctor instead of the nurse practioner!).

At any rate, my sister was told she is progressing steadily in her recuperation, and that she should have the drainage tubes out within a couple weeks. She is having less pain now, but still some considerable swelling. And then today the nurse called with the final pathology report from her surgery: Excellent in that there were "clear borders" defined, and no spread of the cancer!

All in all, that sure made MY day, and I feel much better. I've been reading Anita Shreve's latest novel, "Light on Snow" and it is a real page-turner. I stayed up till after midnight last night reading in bed -- great escapism and relaxing too. I have read ALL her novels, and "discovered" her long before she became popular.

Looking into her biography online tonight, I found the following excerpt by her, which truly states MY own view of old houses. (That is partly why I love her suspenseful novels; old houses are prominent in the themes.)

A Note from the Author, Anita Shreve:

In this note from her web site, Anita Shreve discusses the origin of Sea Glass and how houses came to be such an important part of her novels.

I first saw the house in Biddeford Pool, Maine about five years ago. We were renting a sad and pathetic cottage there for our summer vacation, and one of my favorite pasttimes was to walk through the village and look at the houses. One day I took a side street I hadn't been down before and at the end of it was one of the most beautiful houses I had ever seen. It was two stories high, of white clapboards, and it had a Mansard roof with dozens of dormer windows poking out of it. It was completely surrounded by a wraparound porch on which sat two wooden rockers looking out to sea. The house had a kind of graciousness and serenity that was exceptional, and I think it is fair to say that I fell in love with the house. I wanted to live there.

Living in it was, however, obviously out of the question then, but that was all right, I thought -- it was enough just to be able to look at it and fantasize about it. I've always been charmed by houses, and descriptions of them are prominent in my novels. So prominent, in fact, that my editor once pointed out to me that all of my early novels had houses on the covers.

A novel is a collision of ideas. Three or four threads may be floating around in the writer's consciousness, and at a single moment in time, these ideas collide and produce a novel. Shortly after I had first seen the house, I overheard a conversation between a pilot and a woman at a party. Something he said lodged in my consciousness and wouldn't go away. The thing he said was: When there's a crash, the union always gets there first. He meant that when there was a crash of a commercial airliner, a member of the pilot's union made it a point to get to the pilot's wife's house first. There are a lot of reasons for this, the most important of which is to keep her from talking to the press. And there was my collision of ideas. I decided to set my novel, The Pilot's Wife, in the house I had seen in Biddeford Pool. At the very least, the novel gave me a wonderful excuse to think about the house for a year and get paid for it.

So strong was the house's hold on me, however, that I was loathe to let it go, even when I let go of the novel itself. I knew already I wanted to set my next novel in the 19th century because I had found writing in 19th century language in The Weight of Water so pleasurable. At the same time, I was observing the process of having a daughter and two stepdaughters pass through that delicate age of 14 to 15. Same house, I thought, but a hundred years earlier. Very different story, very different young woman.

A house with any kind of age will have dozens of stories to tell. I suppose if a novelist could live long enough, one could base an entire oeuvre on the lives that weave in and out of an antique house. Until recently, I lived in an old house of my own. It had sloping floors, no closets, no bathroom big enough in which to take an actual bath. Sometimes I felt awash in plastic toys, old newspapers and milk cartons I thought I was recycling. But occasionally, when there was a fire in the large kitchen hearth and I was sitting beside it at the table, I imagined the people who had gone before me: The young woman who gave birth in the room just off the kitchen that was known as the borning room; the middle-aged woman who cried at the inattentions of her husband in the room that was our bedroom; the child who died of diphtheria croup in the room that belonged to my son. Sometimes I would have to force myself to realize that they, too, lived their lives in technicolor, that their experience of life was just as vivid and as immediate as mine. In that house there was a great deal of history -- the history of accounts rendered, dresses falling, bitter accusations and words of love. It was a house full of stories.

Last year, when I was on tour for the paperback of Fortune's Rocks, I was giving a reading at a bookstore in Nashville. A woman in the audience raised her hand and asked: Why did you set both novels in the same house? And I answered that I had been thinking about the fact that a house with any kind of age might have dozens of stories to tell. Ten or eleven women, each with her own life, her own story, could be imagined to have lived in the house that featured in The Pilot's Wife and Fortune's Rocks. For example, I said, you could write, say, a story about a women who lived there during World War II, or during The Great Depression.

If I didn't actually pause in my answer, I had a heart-stopping pause in my head. There's an idea, I thought. Same house, absolutely derelict this time, very different kind of woman trying to make a go of it during a difficult era in our nation's history. I have no memory of the rest of the Q and A, or the signing, but I do remember moving immediately to the history section of the bookstore and searching for a book on the Great Depression. My escort found me and said, "You know, they want to give you a book for doing the reading." "Wonderful," I said. "I want this one." She glanced down at the book and narrowed her eyes at what looked to be a very dry history text. "Are you sure?" she asked. "I'm very sure," I said.

The novel that resulted is Sea Glass. I often think that sea glass itself is not unlike old houses in that it, too, suggests stories of previous lives. Sea glass is essentially trash -- bits of glass from ships that have gone down or garbage that has been tossed overboard. The glass breaks and then is weathered by the sea and washes up onto shore. The shards take on a lovely patina and come in many subdued colors. Sea glass will not break. I have spent many hours on the beach collecting sea glass, and I almost always wonder, as I bend to pick up chunk of bottle green or a shard of meringue white, what the history of the glass was. Who used it? Was it a medicine bottle? A bit of a ship's lantern? Is that bubbled piece of glass with the charred bits inside it from a fire?

The pull of history has been a strong theme in my life as a novelist. I don't know that I will write any more novels set in that particular house on Fortune's Rocks beach, because I have to wait for that collision of ideas. But I suspect the house has many stories left to tell. I know that dwelling very well now. I feel an odd sort of bond with it, a unique kind of loyalty.

That sure gives me ideas for a novel myself!

I will spend next Monday, Monday night and Tuesday with my sister, another sister going along also. DH and I checked the mileage the other day, and it is 70 miles from our home to where my sister lives -- quite a tiring drive. But her son will be home from college for two weeks starting Tuesday afternoon, and I want to be there for her on Monday, since her husband is returning to work. He has been with her all this week, therefore I did not need to be there.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I'm sitting here typing this today, very nervous. My sister had a doctor's appointment earlier today, and said she'd call when she got back to let me know what he said. I'm hoping it is GOOD news, but she seems to still be having a lot of pain. And of course, I KNOW (unfortunately from my own long-ago surgical experience) that it takes awhile to get over the pain and soreness of surgery...but I can't help worrying.

The more I read about breast cancer (or ANY cancer for that matter) it just seems no one knows anything about it. I mean, first is the long, long list of what "might" cause cancer. Then all the various treatments that, sadly, sometimes do no good at all -- or make the cancer spread. Who knows?

At times I have to think that cancer is simply a disease that occurs BECAUSE a human being is not immortal, after all. We all die, that's a FACT. The confusion about the "causes" are irrelevant, unimportant. I have done a lot of research on cancer AND heart disease (due to DH's heart attack) and the more I learn, the more it looks as if there is really NO WAY to avoid certain conditions, no matter how diligent, how determined, how dedicated the science/medical efforts -- or the person's individual efforts.

I guess I'm just depressed about the whole situation with my sister and husband. And wondering why I have thus far escaped such a disastrous condition when, in truth, I don't much care whether I live or not.

In the end, I have to say once again: It's a mad, mad world.

{Note: For those who have sent email, I apologize for not replying yet. I just haven't felt much like writing lately. Or if I do write, I work on my current story. But I DO appreciate the emails.}

Monday, May 02, 2005

I'm home again, had some time today to do research online. My sister continues to do well, recuperate, and hopefully is now cancer-free. According to the surgeon, all the test results show she has no cancer in her system -- bone scan, blood tests, lymph-node biopsy, etc. There may be a couple more test results tomorrow, but otherwise, all seems positive.

I am finally feeling more like myself, not so exhausted. DH and I visited my sister and brother-in-law yesterday, then came home and got some rest. I was able to use my air-bike today for a very good workout, and that also made me feel better.

At any rate, I'm going to post some article and excerpts here regarding mammograms. I am NOT an advocate against mammograms, but I DO think there is enough "evidence" that women should be very, very careful in how often they have mammograms due to the radiation.

Mammogram Radiation Debate Cancer Solutions: Rife, Energy Medicine, and Medical Politics

by Barry Lynes (book excerpt)
APPENDIX P: The Depths of Deceit Mammography

The great deceit began in the early 1970s. It was concocted by insiders at the American Cancer Society (ACS) and their "friends" at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The number of women who were put "at risk" or who died as a result of this nefarious scheme is not known but estimated to be huge. The Director of the NCI at the time of this massive abuse of the public trust later left government service and took a high paying position at ACS (sort of a payoff).

The American Cancer Society's self serving program (financial scheme) continues to the present day (1999) and probably into the 21st century until enough women realize the stakes and force an end to the lie and the terrible dangers.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) particularly wanted to push mammography because it could be tied in with the Society's own financial objectives (keep in mind the ACS slogan "a check and a checkup"). And the radiologists, of course, loved the ACS program. There were few, if any, powerful voices individual or institutional which cried out, "No!" or "God No! Don't do this. NO. NO. NO."

The collusive attack on healthy American women happened because "the fix was in." Powerful politicians and the media were silent. Silent as sleeping sentinels while a determined, aggressive, self serving gang of sophisticated operatives manipulated the nation's entire cancer program to suit its own interests. And to hell with the millions of American women who would pay the price for the next thirty years or more, well into the 21st century.

In 1978, Irwin J. D. Bross., Director of Biostatistics at Roswell Park Memorial Institute for Cancer Research commented about the cancer screening program:

"The women should have been given the information about the hazards of radiation at the same time they were given the sales talk for mammography... Doctors were gung ho to use it on a large scale. They went right ahead and X rayed not just a few women but a quarter of a million women... A jump to the exposure of a quarter of a million persons to something which could do more harm than good was criminal and it was supported by money from the federal government and the American Cancer Society." (P1)

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) was warned in 1974 by professor Malcolm C. Pike at the University of Southern California School of Medicine that a number of specialists had concluded that "giving a women under age 50 a mammogram on a routine basis is close to unethical." (P2)

Repeat... The experts in the government were told not to do this to healthy women in the YEAR 1974! The warning was ignored because Mary Lasker (whose husband was the dark advertising devil behind the Lucky Strike cigarette advertising campaigns) and her advertising / promotional / corporate power types at the American Cancer Society (ACS) wanted mammography. Everyone else could go to hell. What Mary and her powerful political allies wanted in the cancer world, they got. Everyone else, including the public, was ignored.

By the early 1980s, NCI and ACS were at it again. They jointly put forth new guidelines promoting (again!) ... annual breast X Rays for women under age 50. They just simply refused to give up their lucrative racket. (One official candidly admitted the publicity brought in more research money for both institutions.) They refused to do what was not in their personal, empire building interest no matter the cost in human lives.

doctors and their patients assumed that there was good evidence supporting those recommendations. But at the time, only one study showed positive benefit and the results were not significant." (P3)

In 1985, the respected British medical journal The Lancet, one of the five leading medical journals in the world, published an article which ripped the NCI-ACS propaganda to shreds. It not only (again!) exposed the original onslaught by the high level ACS NCI conspirators in the early middle 1970s against a quarter million unsuspecting American women, but reviled the continuing 1980s ACS NCI propaganda.

"Over 280,000 women were recruited without being told that no benefit of mammography had been shown in a controlled trial for women below 50, and without being warned about the potential risk of induction of breast cancer by the test which was supposed to detect it ... women below 50... mammography gives no benefit..." (P4)

But nothing happened. Mammography was known to cause cancer but the media and the "health officials" in the government stayed silent! The mammography policy pushed by the American Cancer Society to fill its bank account remained the U.S. government policy for ten more years until a massive Canadian study showed conclusively what was known 20 YEARS before but what was not in the interests of ACS and NCI to admit: X raying the breasts of women younger than age 50 provided no benefit and probably endangered their lives.

In February 1992 Samuel Epstein, professor at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, a tireless opponent of the "cancer establishment," along with 64 other distinguished cancer authorities opposing the status quo thinking, warned the public about the ACS NCI shenanigans. The ACS and NCI (like long married felons caught in a crime together) were outraged, terming Dr. Epstein's reference to the breast studies as "unethical and invalid."

The next month, the Washington Post broke the story into the mainstream media (finally!). It published an article by Dr. Epstein which exposed what the ACS and their insider "friends" at NCI had done to countless women twenty years earlier and continued for twenty years until 1992. Dr. Epstein wrote:

The high sensitivity of the breast, especially in young women, to radiation induced cancer was known by 1970. Nevertheless, the establishment then screened some 300,000 women with Xray dosages so high as to increase breast cancer risk by up to 20 percent in women aged 40 to 50 who were mammogrammed annually. Women were given no warning whatever; how many subsequently developed breast cancer remains uninvestigated.

Additionally, the establishment ignores safe and effective alternatives to mammography, particularly trans illumination with infrared scanning.

For most cancers, survival has not changed for decades. Contrary claims are based on rubber numbers." (P5)

The crimes described were crimes. They were not errors of judgment. They were not differences of scientific opinion. They were conscious, chosen, politically expedient acts by a small group of people for the sake of their own power, prestige and financial gain, resulting in suffering and death for millions of women. They fit the classification of "crimes against humanity."

In December of 1992, the New York Times published facts about the Mammography scam. The story included the following:

"Dr. I. Craig Henderson, director of the clinical cancer center at the University of California in San Francisco, said, 'We have to tell women the truth' ...

"Dr. Robert McLelland, a radiologist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said... 'In our zeal to promote mammography, we as radiologists and I'm one of them haven't looked at the evidence.' " (P6)

In July 1995, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet blasted (again) the whole ACS NCI mammography scam into global awareness:

"The benefit is marginal, the harm caused is substantial, and the costs incurred are enormous..." (P7)

But the spreading knowledge of what was going on made no difference to the bureaucrats "protecting the public" at the NCI and the FDA who had their empires to protect. And of course the American Cancer Society (ACS) furiously fought every attempt by those with any honor in the federal agencies who sought to restrict the number of mammography examinations for individual women or to extend the age at which a woman had her first one. Mammography was the American Cancer Society's ".sacred cow" (cash cow) and they wanted legions of women to begin having annual exams as early as the ACS could brainwash them into doing ("a check and a checkup").

By 1999, even celebrity poet Maya Angelou was shamefully and ignorantly promoting Mammography in public service ads on television, parroting the American Cancer Society's propaganda spiel. Nothing had changed. Those "protecting the public" at NCI and FDA were doing the exact opposite. They were hiding, protecting their little empires, while American women were being needlessly exposed to dangerous, cancer causing X rays.

In September 1999, the full depth of the decades long deceit was explicitly described in an article in the journal Alternative Medicine. It would reach relatively few mainstream American women who were being brainwashed by the "interests" through the mainstream media and pliable state and federal legislators representatives of the people") but it did provide a torch glow in a dark night.

Here's the awful truth it stated baldly like a screaming American eagle to any American woman fortunate enough to read the hard facts:

Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth,' says Dr. Charles B. Simone, a former clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute...the annual mammographic screening of 10,000 women aged 50-70 will extend the lives of, at best, 26 of them; and annual screening of 10,000 women in their 40s will extend the lives of only 12 women per year." (P8)

So there's the lie and the depth of the Mammography Deceit spelled out: mammography will extend at best 2 women's lives for 10,000 women put at risk in order to benefit radiologists, the American Cancer Society, assorted bureaucrats, and other "interested" parties who profit off the vast, well organized mammography deceit when safe alternatives exist but are ignored!

And that brings us back to the essential issues and fundamental principles which once guided the American nation into greatness. Which of course forces us to look again at the cancer empire's tyranny and threat to everything once held sacred in America.

The fine political thinker Hannah Arendt who studied the Nazi and Soviet tyrannies, and wrote brilliant works on the evil at the core of fascism and communism, scolds those of us who today surrender to the bureaucrats, conscious, unaccountable deceits and tyrannies. Hannah Arendt's words:

Bureaucracy... the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done.

Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act. It enables him to get together with his peers, to act in concert, and to reach for goals and enterprises which would never enter his mind, let alone the desires of his heart, had he not been given this gift to embark upon something new."

It is time for women to try something new, such as the Thermal Image Processor (TIP) and to toss dangerous mammography, toss the American Cancer Society, and toss the ACS's lackeys at NCI into the dustbin of history. (P10)

P1. H.L.Newbold, Vitamin C Against Cancer, 1979.
P2. Daniel Greenberg, "XRay Mammography Background to a Decision," New England Journal of Medicine, September 23, 1976.
P3. "Mammograms Don't Help Younger Women," Spectrum News Magazine, March/April 1993, p. 22. (Spectrum, 61 Dutile Road, Belmont, N.H. 032202525)
P4. Petr Skrabanek, "False Premises and False Promises of Breast Cancer Screening," The Lancet, August 10, 1985.
P5. Samuel S. Epstein, "The Cancer Establishment," Washington Post, March 10, 1992.
P6. Gina Kolata, "New Data Revive the Debate Over Mammography Before 50, " New York Times, December 16, 1992 (Health Section).
P7. C.J. Wright and C.B. Mueller, "Screening Mammography and Public Health Policy," The Lancet, July 1995.
P8. "How Mammography Causes Cancer," Alternative Medicine, Sep. 1999, p. 32 (21 Main Street, Upper Level, Tiburon, CA 94920).
P9. Hannah Arendt, "Reflections on Violence," The New York Review of Books, Feb 27, 1969.
P10. "Thermal Image Processing: Breast Cancer Detection Years Earlier," Alternative Medicine, September 1999, pp. 2935 (21 Main Street, Upper Level, Tiburon, CA 94920).

Alert - Mammograms Cause Cancer
From Rcik Ensminger
To: The Webfairy

Here's some food for thought: Dr. Irwin Bross was director of biostatistics at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York. In the 1970s, Dr. Bross headed a project that studied the alarming increase in rates of leukemia. It was called the Tri-State Leukemia Study. His sample used tumor registries from 16 million people from New York, Maryland, and Minnesota. After checking factors as diverse as health history, occupational history, residential history, family background, cause of death for parents and grandparents, exposure to farm animals, pet ownership, whether or not the pets had ever been sick, Dr. Bross came to the conclusion that the main cause of the rising rates of leukemia was medical radiation in the form of diagnostic medical X-rays (Leslie Freeman, ed., Nuclear Witnesses: Insiders Speak Out, New York: Norton, 1982, p. 27).Dr. John Gofman, Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, was wondering the same thing in the early 1990s. His research led him to write a 400-page book in which he estimates that "three-quarters of the current annual incidence of breast cancer in the United States is being caused by earlier ionizing radiation, primarily from medical sources." Astonishingly, this isn't even news. "[M]edical science," Gofman continues, "has known for 20 years that ionizing radiation is a prominent and proven cause of breast-cancer" (John Gofman, Preventing Breast Cancer, San Francisco: Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, 1995, p. 303).

Note the size of the study. It was no small sampling. Note the words "prominent and proven." Not surprisingly, Dr. Bross lost his funding from the National Cancer Institute when his study was published in the respected American Journal of Public Health. This despite the fact the Dr. Bross is an eminent researcher who has held prestigious positions at major medical centers including Roswell Park and John Hopkins. From Reclaiming our Health by John Robbins, p. 233-234(which also cites the above study): In the early 1960's, working for the Atomic Energy Commission, John Gofman established the Biomedical Research Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for the purpose of evaluating the health effects of all types of nuclear activities. There, he came to the distressing conclusion that human exposure to ionizing radiation was far more serious than had been previously recognized. Dr. Gofman's work led to his 1995 book Preventing Breast Cancer, in which he came to a stunning conclusion: "Our estimate is that about three quarters of the current annual incidence of breast cancer in the United States is being caused by earlier ionizing radiation, primarily from medical sources." John Gofman does not underestimate the role played in cancer causation played by pesticides, hormone pills, fatty diets, and other environmental stressors. He states: "There is no inherent conflict or competition between carcinogens," because they multiply each other's carcinogenic effects. But he finds the medical use of radiation to be so crucial that it bears repeating: "An estimated 75 per cent of recent and current breat cancer cases would not have occurred as they did, in the absence of earlier medical[and other] irradiation." Although ionizing radiation, the type delivered by X-rays and radiotherapy, is one of the few environmental contaminants known unequivocally to cause many forms of cancer, it is routinely recommended for many cancer patients. This, despite the fact that,with few exceptions, there is no proven benefit to survival."


Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way

By Susun S. Weed
Published by Ash Tree

"Scientists agree that there is no safe dose of radiation. Cellular DNA in the breast is more easily damaged by very small doses of radiation than thyroid tissue or bone marrow; in fact, breast cells are second only to fetal tissues in sensitivity to radiation. And the younger the breast cells, the more easily their DNA is damaged by radiation. As an added risk, one percent of American women carry a hard-to-detect oncogene which is triggered by radiation; a single mammogram increases their risk of breast cancer by a factor of 4-6 times. "The usual dose of radiation during a mammographic x-ray is from 0.25 to1 rad with the very best equipment; that's 1-4 rads per screening mammogram (two views each of two breasts). And, according to Samuel Epstein, M.D., of the University of Chicago's School of Public Health, the dose can be ten times more than that . Sister Rosalie Bertell-one of the world's most respected authorities on the dangers of radiation-says one rad increases breast cancer risk one percent and is the equivalent of one year's natural aging. "If a woman has yearly mammograms from age 55 to age 75, she will receive a minimum of 20 rads of radiation. For comparison, women who survived the atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima or Nagasaki absorbed 35 rads. Though one large dose of radiation can be more harmful than many small doses, it is important to remember that damage from radiation is cumulative."

In other words, it appears that the diagnostic X-rays being used to detect possible breast cancer are themselves a prime cause of breast cancer. And then they turn around and recommend even higher doses of radiation to treat the cancer. Insane!!! I'd recommend reading Reclaiming Our Health by John Robbins. He goes into the medical madness of the AMA and big drug companies but he also covers the alternative medical treatments of cancer very well...treatments that have a much higher rate of success than, say, chemeotherapy and radiation, which fail about 97% of the time and subject the patient to "medievel torture" as one doctor called it. Dr. Glenn Warner is a board certified oncologist and one of the most highly qualified cancer specialist in the Seattle area. He uses alternative treatments on his cancer patients with great success. He has over 1000 surviving cancer patients. On the treatment of cancer in this country he said:"We have a multi-billion dollar industry that is killing people, right and left, just for financial gain. Their idea of research is to see whether two doses of this poison is better than three doses of that poison." The Washington State Medical Board came after him and revoked his license without any proof of incompetence, misconduct or malpractice and without a single complaint from any of his patients. In fact, his patients raised over $300,000 for his legal battle to get his license back. What does that tell you about the priorities of our medical system and authorities?

Just some food for thought.