On my way to Idaho

On my way to Idaho
The Road Less Traveled . . .

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Coptic Icons - Help preserve them

Beautiful art. Icons - the 1400 year old culture, faith, and beauty of life lived in the Egyptian Deserts of late antiquity speaks from the walls this ancient monastery. They need your help to preserve and restore these painting! Please help.


Friday, June 14, 2013


"Welcome Home Dad" (Image is copyrighted)

“[Genuine, validating, honest, personal] attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”  Simone Weil

 "But then a funny thing happened: we began to prefer the diminished substitutes."

"it’s easier to check in without becoming entangled. To avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity. Over time, we, too, become diminished substitutes. We often use technology to save time, but increasingly, it either takes the saved time along with it, or makes the saved time less present, intimate and rich . . .  further . . . from our hearts. Everyone is always in need of something that another person can give, be it undivided attention, a kind word or deep empathy. There is no better use of a life than to be attentive to such needs. There are as many ways to do this as there are kinds of loneliness, but all of them require attentiveness, all of them require the hard work of emotional computation and corporeal compassion."

"We live in a world made up more of story than stuff. We are creatures of memory more than reminders, of love more than likes. Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be messy, and painful, and almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die."
"My Grandpa" (Image is copyrighted)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"THERE is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person."

~G.K. Chesterton: 'Heretics.'

Friday, December 14, 2012

"I'm sorry Ma'am, but, we don't see people like you"

Uhhh? What? WHAT!? <

"What do you mean  - 'You don't see people like me'?"

I am so freakishly angry right now I can barely type.<

*breathe - breathe - breathe*

O.K. So, here the long and short of it.

Yes, I just tried to make an appointment for a service we all use and need regularly and I was told by office manager (after being transferred through two other people first, and put on hold  three times for no less then 11&1/2 sappy musak Christmas carols = about 35 minutes) that they -

 "don't see people like me."

Stop for a minute. Think. Just what does that conjured up in your mind?


What ever it is you thought of I am 100% sure it is not a happy image, nor is it one where the party of the second part - the ones who "don't see people like me" are doing what they are doing because understand what I need and want to help the party of the first part - me. But that is what the woman said. They don't see "people like me" at her office, but, she was willing to magnanimoisuly do me the favor of calling around to find someone who did - a specialist even!

What kind of people am I?

An amputee. Technically I am a left leg knee disarticulation - my knee was dicessted apart and the bottom half of my leg removed to save my life. Functionally I am an above the knee amputee.

And who is it that donesn't "see people like me"?

Board Certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder, elbow, knee, and sports medicine.

According to the office manager of this spiffy doctor I should be seeing someone who specializes in amputee's problems. O.K., so explain to me just what problems do amputees collectively deal with; aside from obtuse nudnicks?


O.K.  - feeling better now; but still


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Being easily amused is what’s best in life." - Wil Weaton


There is a beautiful song arranged/composed to celebrate one of the greatest composers of the Western musical tradition, Beethoven.

 5 Secrets is so titled because the themes of Beethoven' Fifth Symphony are woven together in clever and musically satisfyingly ways, and, to recognize that Beethoven was a man of secrets. To quote the arrangers/composers of this homage:

"What are Beethoven’s secrets? He had many. His most prominent secret that he desperately tried to keep from the public and that caused him to be considered extremely eccentric, irritable, and hermit-like was his “weakness.” He was deaf during most of his life. Imagine that…one of the greatest composers that ever lived could hardly hear. And yet, he wrote his life’s greatest works after becoming deaf. He believed that art itself had “secrets” that had to be “forced into” in order to obtain art’s highest level. There is no doubt Beethoven discovered many of the “secrets” of art — people all over the world enjoy them every day. He was a true master of music, blessed by God. This piece and video are dedicated to him." (The Piano Guys - reference)

There is beauty and mystery and knowledge in both Beethoven's personal secrets and the elusive musical secrets he chased through his art. There is also an exquisiteness that is on one hand pain and the other joy, and sometimes both together.

So, before I get myself bogged down in personal esoteric musing about life the universe and everything (42), I'll get straight to the point - we all have secrets and we all feel compelled to hide them from public view like Beethoven.  Today my secret is: I think my neighbor is, well, a nudnik.

For now, click on this link 5 Secrets and enjoy the music; the joy and beauty excavated from the secrets and pain.  

(My secret here is to create a strategy that will provoke me to write more. By leaving the story unfinished I will come back and add more to it tomorrow.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

 “God sees the truth but waits.”


Monday, August 6, 2012

“He’s very special to our sport. He’s a great individual - it’s time we see him like that and not anything else.” - Kirani James 

"I think every athlete that’s just out here for the Olympics just does something to inspire those around them and inspire each other." - Oscar Pistorius

 Oscar Pistorius: I'll cherish Olympic race 'rest of my life'

Monday, July 16, 2012

Greetings from St Andrews.

Life has been busy - so what's new - isn't that the perpetual state of things?
Yes, I am in St Andrews, Scotland! Going on two weeks now. It has been a great visit.
I am brought to the lovely East Coast to participate in the School of Theology Conference on Galatians. I spent most of last week shut up in conference rooms with eminent theologians and philosophers. My paper was on Coptic Ions, a subject rather at the fringe of the central themes of the discussion -- I felt like a duck crashing a convocation of owls.

Oh, well. My paper went well, I have learned a lot, and have discovered new areas of input for my research to explore.

It rained buckets and buckets all during the conference, but the past few days the sky has cleared just so that I can spend hours and hours tramping all over town sketching and taking pictures.

Monday, May 21, 2012

So, I transplanted to TX a couple months ago. New sites, new people, new adventures. But, I still have a year of work to do for my Masters Degree which keeps me quite attached to Claremont, CA.  Spring term is over, and I got an 'A'. Now it is time to catch up with lingering course work held over from Fall term.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Earl

Always there to listen to my silly jokes, to critique my paintings,
to share our music and photography
to encourage my adventures, to make me laugh,
to be the fierce defender and best playmate of my early years.
A gentle soul watching over me.


Here is a song I think you would like!

Loving you always

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Miracles and surf

Feeling grateful today. And missing my big brother Earl a lot.

It that deep wordless kind of feeling--or space where one--I grapple with life. Waves or change and flux churning me every which way. Surfers call it 'getting caught in the dishwasher."  Yet at the same time, all is well, just relax, control my breathing, enjoy the 'ride'-- the wave will bring me to the surface and push me to shore; just be ready to do my part--swim a bit, float, swim.

I thought this song kind of explains my sentiments for the day.


That, and a little bit of Aloha dreaming.


Obey Joy :-D

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Up and 'running' with help from my friends

Well, three years ago I was told I would never get one of these. My doctor and the prosthetist I was working with at the time both seemed to think that the particular nuances of my age (hey!!) and stage (harrumph!) in life, together with the limitations of the knee dis-articulation didn't mean I qualified for nor did I need such a locomotive 'hot rod'   Fortunately, Lance, my magic leg guy, at J & K Orthopedics, Inc. and Dr. Goldman believed differently. (actually I think the words -"if you don't help me get a leg that can pretend to keep up with me, I will have to take *this* one off and beat you with it" - shared with them during consultations may have influenced them somehow).

This is a C Leg; a hydraulic prosthetic knee with a computer microprocessor chip.  His name is 'Sugar' (from C & H - pure cane sugar, from Hawaii . . . ) I had Sugar a week and Troy, my Physical Therapist all ready has me doing stairs. (eeek and ya-hoo at the same time)

Now - does any one have 10 grand they want to give me so I can get a running leg!!;-D

The Ronnie Dickson Project: Amputee Climbing

Amputee Climbing

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Alive Day

Ten years ago yesterday, there was a light bluster in the wind, throwing off spackles of sunshine and spitz of rain. The wind, rain, and sun felt magnificent against my cheeks as I sat in my pink flannel P.J.s wrapped in a couple of those thin loose excuses for a blanket ubiquitous to hospitals.

I was going home. I felt great.

Of course the generous amount of morphine I was on may have had something to do with that - but, no -  pain meds.  dull the mind and senses.(believe me, I know pain meds.),  and they decidedly do not have the side effect of making one feel alive down to every turn and twist of one's DNA.

I had been in the hospital, what, three weeks I think. Half my left shin was gone. I had a beauty of a surgical wound nearly 17 inches long from my knee to my ankle (I used to tell people it was a shark bite - kids loved that story). I weighed less then 115 pounds, had bad eyesight, no energy, no hair - thanks to the chemo.


No Cancer.

Well actually, the doctor had told me that morning that they can't say Cancer is ever completely dead; but 98% necrosis was the best pathology report he had ever seen in his nearly 30 years of researching and treating Ewing Sarcoma.  Treatment still held two more surgeries and five more months of Chemo in store for me; plus years of 'follow-up'.  -But, right this moment - here - now -  I was Alive - it was My New Day!

The nurses had parked me inside the sliding glass door to wait for my Dad to bring the car around. Pish, I've never been much of an indoor girl when the weather was good for adventure. When they weren't looking I wheeled myself outside to the very end and edge of the sidewalk of the patient pick up drive.

April 6th 2001 - a perfect Spring day to be alive.

Yesterday felt exactly the same. Ten Years!

I sat on the porch reading and watching the weather from the time I got home from class until it was to dark to read. Flitting sunshine, spritzing spring rain, a bouyant bluster in the wind dancing with the trees; smells of rain and earth and roses and daffodils and jasmine and orange blossoms; the sight of racing clouds (I miss the cloudscapes of England), my viola's spilling out of a half dozen pots about my feet on the porch, the Bonsai Juniper (a gift from Justin) sheltering the little ceramic shrine and fishing man, my Christmas cactus covered with tiny buds (Grandma Young is still watching over me), the neighbors tulips, another neighbor's stand of bird's of paradise and white lilies hemmed about with California poppies, even the Cati and succulents are in bloom; the street lined with palm trees growing next to oak trees growing next pine trees growing next to lemon trees,and peeking through the trees, a snow dusted Mt. Baldy; a warm tea, chocolate fudge pudding with black berries, a fat book (a novel, no research few a few hours I am celebrating!). A veritable cornucopia of sensations to revel in.

Celebrate my Alive Day with me. Your festivities must include chocolate, flowers, a favorite book, a warm beverage, a favorite food all to be shared with your favorite people!!  Tell me all about it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Home Made Falafel

My Master's Degree is centered around the use of art in religion. This is actually a pretty big subject. I could easily make a dissertation out of just trying to explain what is it is all about and why I am studying it.  Ready -

O.K. I'll spare you. (Believe me when I say the restraint I am imposing on myself right now is of legendary proportions.)

Any who - when I started my degree I choose to limit my research to the use of art in the Orthodox Copitc, Egyptian, Church (another paper in that - yes you just dodged another one).

I attend the closest Coptic Church every few weeks as part of my research and field study, and, because I find I am enjoying it. People are beginning to recognize me and I am made to feel quite welcome there.

As a rule the Copts take the injunction of caring for the poor and needy very seriously (Matt 25:35 - 40). Every service I have attended at the Coptic Church to date has included a discussion from the pulpit about the subject. What with the - ah-hem - in-ter-es-ting things happening in Egypt recently there is a significant number of poor and needy in the local Coptic community; people who are fleeing the turmoil in Egypt with little more then the clothes on their backs for the safety of the Coptic diaspora.  I have come to observe that the Copts understand that just giving people handouts does not equal caring for the poor and needy. The Coptic community finds creative ways to provide the care these people need with out taking their dignity.   (Ummm, waxing political here - could certain of our government agencies learn something useful here - would they?).


Food. Great home made Mediterranean dishes. The supplies needed to make this great food is purchased and given to the 'poor and needy' who make all kinds of home made dishes, frozen take-away style - pastries, cookies, entrees, pickled stuffs, pints of sauces, and so on.  After services on Sunday and at other activities throughout the week the dishes are sold. Proceeds go to buy things people need, and supplies to make more prepared dishes to sell. A few people I talked to who were buying the food did so not because they really needed it but because they knew they were providing care and service to people in need. Many others commented on the service these prepared dishes provided to them. Busy mothers bought plates of sweets and cookies for their children's school lunches; dual income families bought prepared dinners so they could come home from a long day's work to a quickly reheated home cooked meal; college students stocked up on enough food to see them through a week of long days spent in class and at study.

I bought a plate of samosa style pastries; I don't read Arabic so I don't know what they are called nor do I have any idea what is in them; although it is Lent this week so I was inform they are vegetarian. I also got a quart of frozen falafel batter. As soon as I got home I set about fixing myself a lovely Egyptian lunch. While I heated up a pastry and fried spoonfuls of falalel batter in some healthy coconut oil, I pondered upon the thought that I would have paid at least $30 plus tip for this amount of the exact same food at the local Mediterranean Restaurant. I have enough for three maybe four meals. Even as I watched my falafel balls fall apart I was pleased to think that the measly $6 I paid was helping another fellow being in need, as I enjoyed the food they prepared to serve my needs - I think I received the greater gift.

So, I drained the excess oil from the crumpled falafel, then, tossed in some diced carrots, celery and zucchini, some cilantro, cooked rice, and spinach  - - -

Falafel stir fry?  Anyone?

Saturday, March 19, 2011


So, I just got home from the two day conference on War and Peace (see previous post); as I turn into my driveway I see my neighbors have a big sign nailed to the tree in their front yard loudly exclaiming-

"The most violent element in society is Ignorance"

Are they trying to tell me something? Should I have taken better notes at the conference? Asked more questions of the presenters?Paid better attention to their Power Point slides? Not eaten that second brownie for lunch?

Oh, I see; while I spent the day huddled up in a windowless room listening to panels of National Security advisers, Military strategists, conscientious objectors, soldiers, veterans, returned Peace Corp volunteers, students, philosophers, academics and religious leaders discussing things like Just-War doctrine, non-violent conflict resolution, historical perspectives regarding role of religion in conflict, Peace studies, and more, all towards the end of getting the hawks and the doves to fly together a neo-nazi rally was parading up and down the streets of my town protesting against - -

Well do I really have to go in to that?  But, it is certainly ironic and I do like the stand my neighbors made on behave of my side of the street. Thank You!

Now. I am very tired. My head is full of theory and possibilities and I am starving.

"Sad World"a picture my son drew some years ago of the World crying because people were not being nice to each other
Oh, and the 'wave' of white curling up around the World are Flocks of Angels coming to give it a hug.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Yes, I live!  It is a beautiful Spring day, about time I came out of hibernation - social media hibernation that is.

How am I spending this fine Spring day you ask? Weeding and feeding my tulips; taking a walk through the local botanical garden, chillin' with a novel over a lovely salad and Roobois tea at the local outdoor cafe - - - ?

At the moment I am sitting in Albrecht Auditorium - a windowless theater seating conference room on the Claremont Graduate University campus. "War and Peace in our times: Mormon Perspectives" a two day acdemic conference sponsored by CGU's Mormon Studies Program.    War and Peace - Mormon Perspectives

Courious place to come out of my social media cocoon, I know - but not really. I love to study and learn, I love people, I love adventure, I love sharing the beautiful things of the world. 

Sooo -  - - Carpe Deim

A scholarly confab with soldiers, natinal security personel, ivory tower academics, interesting religious prespectives etc -

In this day and age. If I want to pursue and share the things I love, learning about the priciples that goven the movements of war and peace is a "Must Know."

Still - this room really needs a couple windows . . .. sorry dear presenter your spiffy Power Point just can't compare with one of my favorite peaceful vistas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It is that week here in the U.S. of A. Started  388 years ago by William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony.  Fall of 1662, Bradford declared the third Thursday of the month of November as a day dedicated to gratitude. Gratitude to God, to life, to fellowman, to the blessings of the earth . . .  -  William Bradford Plymouth Governor (this is a link to wikipedia; of which I am not a big fan. But, this is a good basic review of William Bradford's life)

The every core of what was to become the United Sates of America can be found in sum of Bradford's life as a family man, a leader of his people, a disciple of Jesus Christ.  It is not politically correct to draw attention to such things these days.


Another gentlemen whose life like Bradford's reveals all things which are core to the liberties of man and the founding of the U.S. of A. is John Quincy Adams. 

Men have faults. Bradford and Adams had thier share. However, Adams once said -

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

Despite all our faults and shortcomings we can, and indeed I think it is a divine mandate to live so as to inspire others.

So, I would like to stretch the last word of Adams' quote - 'leader' - to include teacher, mentor, hero, friend.

All week I have been thinking the many people who have and do made me want to become more. Family, instructors, business colleagues, friends, Doctors. Some of you I know well, some formally, some as brief chance encounters. Thank you, thank you for inspiring me, supporting me, challenging me to try harder, for encouraging me, validating me; making me laugh, making me think, making me do above and beyond my preconceived limits  - - - Thank you from the bottom of my heart to -

- William Bradford
- John Quincy Adams
- the US militia (the everyman) and the US Military (the trained solder) who gave, and protect my liberties
- My Dad
- My Mom
- Earl Madsen
- Nina Madsen
- Maggie Wands
- Susan P. Zobell
- Dr. Sant P. Chawla
- My 6th grade teacher
- Sis. Menlove
- My scuba diving partner, HI, '80
- Aunt Nellie
- 11th grade World History teacher
- Uncle Ronald
- George Smith
- T.S.
- Andrea Hofeling
- Debra Jones
- Jo Gartenberg
- Karen Kulzer
- Tom
- James C. Christensen
- My Grandparents
- O.C. Card
- Karen Sanchez
- Patrick Stinson
- Becka Mansfield
- Lance Clawson
- Phyllis Case Bennett
- Jan
- Kat Sgiers
- LaVeta Kirby
- Susan and Dale Moyers
- All my P.T.'s
- Csongor Vasvary
- Marjohna Madsen
- Asioli
- Sheri Pliz
- Marilyn B. Oveson
- Beth Tracy
- Corina Christiansen
- Pat Horn
- Professor Anderson
- Fellow travelers on GWC Europe Tour 2005
- Pam Taylor
- Rick Terry
- Karen Kindrick
- Fiona McCloud
- Lady sitting be me in the waiting room at Princess Margaret Hospital
- Julie Earley
- Katie Munday
- Dominene
- Steven
- Justin
- Vicki
- Tammi Schnieder
- Dr. Terry Peterson
- Fox River Academy of Music and Art
- John Madsen
- Eulalio Hernandez
- Tiafu Purcell
- Christopher Hiatt
- Ben Siegel
- Roni Weinstein-Jaco
- Pres. Jesperson
- Ryan Fisher
- Kendall Arts Guild
- Andrea Peacock Brown
- Professor Fassbeck
- Gawdat Gabra
- Denis Mori
- Wilma Koldwyn
- Janice
- Gary, my love

(I been adding names all day long, in no particular order as names come to mind; and, this list is by no means limited to those named above.  This Thanksgiving day is turning into late evening and it is time to make this post)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Live your life as an Inverse Paranoid.

"Meditation on Sense and Nonsense: Dialogues with Ludwig #2" This guy is Not an Inverse Paranoid. He acted like all of Chicago was out to get him.  He made for a great photo op, which enriched my day--and my portfolio!

"Instead of believing the world is plotting to do you harm, choose to believe the world is plotting to do you good. Instead of seeing every difficult or challenging event as a negative, see it for what it could be -- something that was meant to enrich, empower, or advance your ultimate happiness.

"Treasure Hunters" Oil Study 12" X 14"  Now these guys can find adventure everywhere! Even in the waves of the cold north Atlantic ocean on the shores of the Isle of Barra.

"What an incredibly positive belief! Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in life if you were constantly expecting the world to support you and bring you opportunity. So whatever tragic or painful event that you encounter, believe that it is there for some good and ultimately making you better in some way."

W. Clement Stone

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chasing the Sunset

We had a wonderful sunset here in So. Cal. this evening.

Luscious pink and salmon and lavender and aborigine clouds - colors thick and rich and warm and vibrant against a crystalline sapphire sky.  I could swim in them, taste them.

In times past such a sight would send me off to find the best vantage point as quickly as I could, to allow as much time as possible for savoring the unfolding artistry of the celestial evening drama.  This always entailed walking, or running.  When I lived in Hawaii I lived on the beach about 50 yards from Laie point -- a quick dash down the beach and a scramble part way up the rocky cliff and I had a marvelous vantage point; an unobstructed view along the shore and out over miles of ocean. Yeah, I have some great Hawaiian sunset memories.

In England I lived near the Ascot horse racing track. A great sunset view was a quick walk down to the end of the lane and across a walking path that passed by the eastern end of the race track; thus presenting a wonderful view of the sky across a landscape of the race track and open fields.

My parents had a generous property of about three acres. Our front lawn was over half acre and was lined with poplars, lilac and snowball bushes, and pine trees, and hibiscus.  When a great sunset presented itself I would run out and lie on my back smack in the middle of the lawn to watch--the trees and bushes framing the sky perfectly. Or, I would climb the hill behind the house and run to the point which offered a view of the Salt Lake Valley from the mountains on the east to the copper mine in the mountains to the west. 

All this is to say I faced a challenge tonight. Out the window behind my desk I could see the promise of an amazing sunset peeking through the trees. The trees surrounding my tiny yard  are old and tall and well endowed--they block out all views of the sky except straight up, and even that is mostly fringed with foliage.

There is a park about three blocks away. I could walk there if I am very careful; but I can't watch the sky as I walk. I have to watch the ground in front of me every step. The entire neighborhood is lined with hundreds of mature trees with extensive mature roots.  I have yet to find a stretch of sidewalk more then 15 feet or so that has not been heaved and shifted out of place by the tree roots (serious scary trip hazard!!).  If I did make t to the park to enjoy the sunset I would then have to walk home in the dark. - - - Ummmm, not a wise plan.

So I watched the sunset unfold from the driver's seat of my 'red-neck' truck--high above all the spiffy little cars most people here drive-- while driving west on highway 66.  Power lines, street lights, and lots of other cars tempered the view. But, I drove west watching the sky (and the road and stoplights and pedestrians, and other cars) relishing and wondering in the beauty of the world turning; and the perfect dependability of such things as sunsets. When the color had mostly eased out of the clouds and the sky held a distinctly indigo hue I turned around and drove home and watched the stars easing into the western night sky (as best as they can with the city lights of all of L.A. and the Inland Empire trying to drown them out).


I miss my leg and all that that means.

Yet -- It was a beautiful evening; I got my sunset.

Good times!


I didn't think it was such a good idea to try and take pictures while driving - - - so, this is one of my favorite Hawaiian sunset photos.  The back side of Diamond Head. I took it from the ridge line above the western beach of Molokai Island towards Oahu.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Goodhearted People

Here I sit eating lunch between classes. I 'ran' over the Halgerbargars, the campus dining center for a BLT wrap with avacado. By 'ran' I mean I carefully and slowly walk across the parking lot to the McMannus building then climb a two stage flight of stairs. I 'one-step' the stairs -- step up with the right foot then bring the prothestic foot up -- cane in one hand other hand firmly ahold of the railing.

Halgerbargers is a busy place at noon. On a typical trek to get my lunch I will cross paths with a dozen or more people dashing up and down those same stairs in a hurry to get their lunch and make it to their next class by one PM.

As I proceed on my quest for lunch I have to be very aware of people coming and going around me; especially on the stairs. Understandably I present an obstacle; people are in a hurry and tend to dash and dart around me. I am adept at walking and keeping my balance with my prosthesis. However this darting and dashing around the cripple lady can easily throw me off balance and create a fall hazard.

So, I plan on taking my time, watching and predicting how people are moving, stepping aside to let them run ahead of me, and, I hold on tightly to the stair railing.

Today as I started up the stairs there were four people coming up behind me.  I moved far to the left, there was aplenty of room for them to scamper past me, but they didn't. All four of them slowed down and waited for me to climb the stairs. As I got to the top, a lady carefully stepped around me to open and hold the door for me.

I ordered my lunch. The cashier always graciously has a sack ready for me; making it easier to carry my lunch back to the class room.

Then, as I approached the door on my way out, a young man stepped forward opening and holding the door for me. This young man and his two friends stayed behind me as I made my way down the stairs one by one.

Well, what can I say but - thank you thank you thank you.  How wonderful to cross paths with such goodhearted people. Along with the beautiful blue sky, bright sunshine, and the refreshing cool breeze; your kindness has made my day!

Friday, October 8, 2010


I love the rain.

Growing up, the first rain in the spring always felt warm even though it soaked my wool jumper chilling me to the bone, and caused the snow to turn to mush, ruining ski conditions, and left invisible patches of black ice on the roads, and soaked through my mittens turning my fingertips blue while making snow balls that were more like slush bombs. Rain meant winter was over. Oh, yeah, there might be several more weeks of snow ahead but that was "spring snow" not winter snow.  Crocuses, hyacinths, snow drops knew it was time to wake up. The tips of the scrub oak and fruit trees in the garden turned from a from  frigid gray color to subtle hues of lavender and green that gradually spread as the days past.

Summer rains were an invitation to run and dance. Barefoot. Through the grass, the new mud between garden rows, in puddles on steaming pavement. It meant stalling to be the last one out of the pool when the lifeguard blew his whistle and ordered everyone out and under the awning in case lighting accompanied the passing rain storm. I just had to grab that minute to float with my nose barely out of the water so I could listen to the music of rain drops hitting and melding into the surface of the pool . Rain made the chore of hoeing and weeding my designated rows of peas and corn and tomatoes and squash as quick and easy as cutting butter with a hot knife; which gave life more time for swimming, baseball, bike riding, climbing trees, and making homemade cages out of old tuna fish cans and window screens for captured lizards and Monarch butterflies (no they did not share a cage; they had separate domiciles and were usually set free after a few days of examination).

I do love rain.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Conundrum

Regarding handicapped stalls in public bathrooms -

The space between the row of stalls and the wall is just wide enough to accommodate two people as they pass each other and the sinks along the wall.  The stall designed for the handicapped person; especially someone in a wheel chair is the stall furthest from the entrance to the bathroom. Therefore the handicapped individual is expected to navigate the gauntlet of a steady stream of people coming in and out of several bathroom stalls who then stop at the sinks to wash up; further adding to the congestion of the typical bathroom.

Upon reaching the designated handicapped stall rest assured it will be in use. Since the handicapped individual can't use the other stalls because they are too narrow to get in and out of with all the handicapped mobility aids, they have to choice but to wait (whilst urgently practicing one's kegels). On average three to four people have finished their business in the stall next door by the time the handicapped individual gets a turn.

Architects who design bathrooms should be required to spend a week in a wheel chiar out and about in public before any of their designs leave the drawing board -

I'm just saying . . .

Friday, September 10, 2010


I woke up this morning to a strange (non)sensation. It took a few minutes of luxuriating in that place between sleeping and waking to identify what I wasn't feeling.

No pain! No phantom pain. - And what a nice way to start my day.

With in the hour - having gotten up and made ready for the day the pain did return. It is generally at a constant 'buzz' of a 2 to 4 on the happy face chart doctors use to identify pain levels.

Pain is such a subjective thing - I mean no one else feels what I feel, likewise I am unable to experience another person sensations, pain or otherwise. Does pain really exist? What is identified as 'pain' by one person might not be by another. What does 'pain' mean? Of course, there is a framework of agreement that takes for granted certain things equate with 'pain.' No one (excerpt a few idiots I've met) dispute with me when I say I am in pain--the metal leg does all the arguing for me.

OK, I'll stop here. I tend to wander off into existentialist musings quite frequently. I just wanted to consider for a moment the deliciousness of not feeling . . . which is provoking even more sense/non-sense musings (Ludwig W. where are you?). Enough of that ;-D.

For a few minutes this morning I positively lolled about in a delicious sense of wholeness - simultaneously energizing and relaxing. In the practical sense I am very pleased. It means the nerves and the neuropathy in the amputated limb are healing and that long months of exercising and therapies are really working. This means there is hope for a pain free furtre.

In a bigger sense (sorry can't stay away from the philosophical musings, Marilyn says I was born this way-- it's blessing and a curse), The thought occurred to me that perhaps we, as in human kind, are missing out on untold opportunities to experience and share Joy.

Let see if I can explain: I have always felt that one is responsible for finding/identifying/recognizing, even creating one's own experiences of Joy in life. My 'non-sense' experience with pain this morning put me in a state of realizing the 'sense' of Joy for myself; however fleeting. Non-sense is another way of 'naming' something that is unknown, possibly unknowable; i.e. is there a name/label/term for 'no-pain'? I'm too lazy to bestir myself to examine a dictionary just now, but, I can't think of such a word. The state of being or act of being with out pain is exactly that a state, act, and/or experience with out sense, o,r outside of sense - non-sense, an unnamed possibly unnamable concept . The act of embracing this unknown for a few minutes this morning opened up room for 'sense', in this case an experience with Joy, that could not have happened otherwise.

I guess what I am getting at is sort of a "less is more" argument. Our hands and arms and heads and hearts are overworked with the task of holding onto things/ideas/experiences that we use to make 'sense' of who we are, what we do and why, and how we live. Are many of these things crutches? probably, and definitely should be used when one is crippled; but what if we are so busy holding on the these things that we don't recognize healing is happening. We can put down the crutches and embrace 'non-sense' instead.

Using my experience this morning as an example - a little bit of 'non-sense' is easier to embrace and goes miles further then ten times the things we use to make sense.

Don't know if my raving here stand up to critical examination; regardless, the luxury of Joy was/is mine today!

Interestingly, in the midst of enJOYing my 'non-sense' moments this morning I remembered that nine months ago today my brother Earl died and I miss him very much.

And THAT, is a quite another discourse on sense and non-sense; pain and joy; and is best saved for another day--I'm yet to be able to tease the two apart in this instance.

* * *

Back to my reading - the final text I need for the term just arrived in the mail - and I have several hundred pages of reading to do.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beauty in Suffering

"We misunderstand how beautiful suffering can be - I don't willingly sign up for it - when it comes we forget God is in control and God has a way of making the miserable thing beautiful"
 - Gianna Jessen

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Long Day

Yes. It been a long day and feels even longer. But, not in a necessarily bad way. Just evry tired and a little frustrated that my energy doesn't carry me through the day. In RPG terms, life rolled me a low Con. score, and in real life ,experience points don't always boost your score.

I'm trying to keep in mind that my basic focus for the blog is how I adapted to everyday life as an amputee. What does that mean?

Well, to start with, I have to plan an extra 30 to 45 minutes every morning to get ready.  The extra time is needed to give a little TLC to the stump. The prosthesis is cleaned and I quickly check it over for signs of mechanical failure. After donning the leg I walk around a few minutes to make sure of a good fit. Putting the leg on and off can  add up to 30 minutes on a good day, as much as an hour if I need to make adjustments during the day. 

Any who -  my day - two classes totaling seven and half hours; lunch and a hour of study did find a place between them. I made it and I'm exhausted.

Good times.

My class notes are a form of my own personal hieroglyphs - today they included a sketch of the teacher, Tammi. Look to the right  - there she is under My Hieroglyphs.

Monday, August 30, 2010


So, it is old news now but when I got the email 10 days ago it was quite exciting!!!

"Dear Magi,

You are being offered admission to the General M.A. program in Religion at Claremont Graduate University with a 20% fellowship.  Please look in the mail for a packet which will be coming from our admissions department and then I ask if you return the acceptance card and the deposit as soon as possible.  


School of Religion
Claremont Graduate University"
Well, in an hour I will be sitting waiting for class to start; Mesopotamian Religion with Professor Tammi Schneider.

I make the effort to be 15 minutes or so early to classes, and meetings, etc. I do not move very fast. It can be a lot of work just to make my way from the parking lot to the classroom. Research has shown that a person wearing a fake leg will expend about 40% more metabolic energy then the average normal person in preforming the same activity. And that is just the psychical activity itself. I also have to take into account many other tings that can influence how I do things besides just the action of walking across the room. Things such as cracks in the sidewalk, loose gravel or dirt, a wrinkle in the carpet, but, of all the things I must take note of, people are the most unpredictable.   Being early makes it a bit easier because I wont have to negotiate my way through a gauntlet of people milling around settling in for class.

A far different approach to life then I use to take.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grad School here I come!

A packed and eventful Summer is officially coming to and end. I know, I know is it 26 days yet until the the Autumn equinox, the day's are still long, the night's bright and warm. it will be ice cream and snow cone season for at least another four weeks or so.

Well, school starts tomorrow, and not just for the kids. Part of my eventful Summer activities was tracking down all the references and materials I needed to apply for Graduate School. There were not a few administrative red tape mis-haps, (my application was 'lost', twice), but all is ready for my first official class tomorrow afternoon.

I am attending the Claremont Graduate University's School of Religion for a Masters in Religion. The degree has a three pronged focus - Critical Comparative Scripture, History of Christianity, and Islamic Studies.


Am I really doing this??

Friday, July 2, 2010

Time flows and takes us on strange a journey


Here it is July 2, 2010. Two and half years since my last post. Too much to catch up with all at once. So, lets just say life has brought me back to a place where keeping up with a blog has potential. 

A wonderful thought was shared with me by a good friend. -

"Courage is fear that has said its prayers."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Quote

Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
 -  Will Rogers

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Thought For your Consideration

"I would not creep along the coast, but steer out in mid-sea, by the guidance of the stars."
-                      George Eliot

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Thought To Consider

The words 'I am…' are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to. The thing you are claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you.
-    A. L. Kitselman