January 30, 2007

Response to Bush as the Antichrist

This came in from a friend of mine and I found it expressed many of my own thoughts, but also some fresh ones of her own.

"Well. Pam .... I am very intrigued by this. It seems like those that have spent most of their lives finding all types of ways to "prove"evil and moral corruption is present in our society (and world) today by demonstrating via the words of the Bible have always done this to certain groups of people (ironically contradicting the very words that are in the ten commandments "thou shall not hate, thou shall not kill" [paraphrased]).

"These certain groups of people have suffered much pain and ridicule because of fanatics misusing this abused tome: They are people of color, people who love people of the same sex, people who have been accused of breaking laws and may or may not have been guilty -yet were assumed guilty (a violation of our U.S. Constitution), people who have mental and other illnesses are marginalized by virtue of their alleged differences from "mainstream societal norms", people have been cast out of their communities for debts owed due to lack of finances only to perish in extreme climates when once upon a very long time ago before Christian "ethics" were the overriding moral and ethical code of our country, (continent) -even our world-people would reach out to one and other to help and share resources, Children go without due to poverty and homelessness, and the list goes on and on and on in the name of this book of the "word" of the "good" living and Holy Word of "God" as misinterpreted by many hundreds of years of corrupt people who have used it for ethnic cleansing, political power, and other acts of genocide and monetary gain.

"So, your concept is both ironic and very refreshing to see in this powerful book of words used by so many EVIL men and women against the powerless for so long to control and terrorize all in the "name of God", to demonstrate how the most powerful of our very own country who sees himself as a "Christian man of God" leading this country against "those evil doers" based on his "Christian beliefs" is indeed the most evil man of all - leading us down a path of self destruction and damnation if he is not asked to resign or impeached soon.

"After all what is an antichrist but one who is all the opposite virtues of those that are supposed to be living in the eyes of Gods goodness and practicing his teachings via his words as best as we can considering our mortality.

"The Bible suggests Our purpose is to attempt to live without sin, though, according to what is taught in many Christian faiths, we are born into sin-so we need to do much work in this life to purify our selves -thus there should be no time to do evil- it takes a lot of time to do good for our neighbors, attend our places of worship (where ever we choose to find that place or feel most connected to our God how ever we understand and feel a connection)- charity work, do for our neighbors, family, friends, be good to those who are in need, work hard, take care of our selves (health and wellness), do some praying (if that is how we feel connected best tom our God), ... bottom line ... lots of work -no time for the corruption unless you are basically focused on evil as is "W" and the many others who have way too much power and control and the audacity to say they speak for us all.

"You made a very good argument. I see the connection.

"He is leading us exactly where "THE EVIL DOERS" he so loves to make a point of reminding us of each time he opens his mouth were taking us that very day in September 2001. He is no different and is more of a Terrorist than they were. Terrorism is not the actual act of the horrors that occurred that day. It is more about the events that followed after and to this very day we are writing now. It is the psychological after math that he continues to perpetuate -the fear that he continues to help keep alive and well inside most Americans and world citizens about the "WHAT IF".

"Terrorism is not about actual events necessarily, it is about the fear of what if that is inside a person or a society. OKLAHOMA city bombing never resonated for political gain to exploitation of those people whose lives were lost like this horrible event still does. It was not continuously bombarding us with visual horrors and daily media bursts of political propaganda.

"Even though the magnitude was not the same and we did not actually see the event happen we were not under siege by the leadership in our country who did not hold us hostage by his sociopathic power like we have now. Had that been the same person then as we have now.... we would have been under the power of our own fear of "what if" day-in-day out as we continuously live now (it is the intent now at least)

"Anyway -I have digressed somewhat, but I did like where you went in you referencing the antichrist. I would be fascinated to see who the bible-thumping fanatics in the bible belt would see your thoughts as they never seem to see anything but what they wish to ban, boycott, or politically control when its convenient. Funny how the bible seems to fit any given occasion and political agenda -

"Never seems to fit the truth though does it?


Posted by pamwagg at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2007

George W Bush is the Antichrist!

This particular "revelation" about REVELATION came to me in a flash today and I could see it all so clearly. If you are one to interpret the Bible, you should take a look at the Revelation of John, understanding that THESE ARE INDEED THE END TIMES. Global Warming has made them so. Since we know that they are, we can also now figure out who the Beast and Antichrist are, who they have to be...if Revelation has any basis in fact. Which it looks like it does after all.


The second Vision, 4:1-8:1, reveals God as ruling the world’s destiny, and the Lamb as taking the book of the divine decrees and breaking the seven seals of which each one represents a part of God’s purpose, the first four referring to the terrestrial, and the last three to the celestial sphere. Between the sixth and seventh seals an episode is introduced to show the safety of the people of God amid the judgments that are inflicted on the world.

In REVELATION 6: The seventh seal is opened and the seventh angel fills the censer with fire from the altar and flings it onto earth. Seven trumpets are blown. The first trumpet heralds 1/3 of earth being burned up, 1/3 trees and all green grass scorched black. (I INTERPRET THIS AS THE CONSEQUENCES OF GLOBAL WARMING - WILDFIRES, DROUGHT, HEAT) The 2nd trumpet heralds a great mountain thrown into the sea. A third of the living creatures in the sea die. (SEA LEVELS RISE 200+ FEET DUE TO MELTING OF ANTARCTICA'S ICE CAP) 3rd trumpet heralds the star called "wormwood" falling onto rivers and springs of water, making them "bitter" and killing them.(WATER POLLUTION) The 6th angel releases 4 angels at the great river to kill a third of mankind by fire and smoke and sulfur. (POLLUTION and GLOBAL WARMING KILLS THEM) The rest did not repent or cease sinning... (MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DIE BUT NO ONE CHANGES THEIR WAYS OR STOPS AIR POLLUTION) and so forth.

REV 8: Seventh trumpet: the "kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord...We give you thanks, Lord God almighty, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign...the nations raged but your wrath has come and the time for judging the dead...and for destroying those who destroy the earth (WHO DID? WE DID MOST OF IT).

REV 9: After a third of world was destroyed "the rest of humankind...did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood...did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornications or their thefts." SOUNDS LIKE BUSH AND HIS CRONIES IN CAPITALISM TO ME!

REV 13:1-10 The Dragon-Satan gave the Beast(USA GOV'T) its power and authority, "uttering haughty and blasphemous words." WHICH I HAPPEN TO THINK BUSH DOES. The whole earth followed the Beast (USA GOV'T). They "worshipped the Beast, saying 'who is like the beast and who can fight against it?'...It was allowed to exercise authority for forty two months...allowed to make war and to conquer... given authority over every tribe and people and language and nation" (IF THAT AIN'T US, WHO IS IT?)

REV 13:11 The second Beast = ANTICHRIST and exercises all the authority of the 1st beast on its behalf. It makes the earth worship the first beast, performs great signs, deceives the inhabitants of the earth...causes those who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed, and all to be marked by its name or they cannot buy or sell = GEORGE W BUSH!!!!

REV 15: Seven plagues -- like drug resistant TB and malaria, resurgent small pox, polio etc

REV 18: The Great City of Babylon [USA] split in three where "the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her one buys their cargo anymore...cargo of gold silver jewels and pearls fine linen...articles of costly [materials]..."

And more, but need I say more?

Posted by pamwagg at 03:18 PM | Comments (3)

January 27, 2007

THE Missing Picture (couldn't upload it before)

DSCN0349 copy.jpg

I kept getting an error message with this one the other day so I had to do a lot of manipulating it to get it to "take" this time. If it comes out very small, just click on it and it should take you to a viewable image...I hope. If it comes out very large...Well, it shouldn't, not if what I did was correct!

Posted by pamwagg at 02:24 PM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2007

Short Entry: About Joe

After finishing Yurtle the Turtle -- Kate, I started him about two weeks ago and have worked on him almost non-stop since then, with maybe three or four days off for drying times -- I came up for air and spent a lot of time with Joe today, when I wasn't too sleepy to see anyone. We went out to supper tonight, at a place called Hops after their "home-brewed" beer (which I don't touch but Joe likes occasionally). It was supposed to be a mini-celebration -- for Joe after a long spell of getting his "life onto his laptop" and for my finishing my turtle, but it turned out to be a near disaster.

It started like any other dinner out. We ordered sandwiches and when they came, munched on the fries first. Joe picked up his hamburger, then put it down and decided to eat it with a knife and fork, realizing that it would be too hard for him to bite and chew the usual way. I noticed that there was a lot of the dreaded lettuce packed onto the bun. Joe has never been able to leave a morsel of anything behind on a plate; no matter what, he's a member of the clean plate club. Tonight, this worried me. "Joe, how about you skip the lettuce," I said. "You don't need to eat it just because they put it on your hamburger. You know it gives you a hard time..."

But he just went on plowing through it, claiming that it was fine to eat it because it was in big crunchy chunks and not leafy. I took a bite of my club sandwich, relieved, and said something about how iceberg was good for something then.

Shortly thereafter I heard Joe gurgle and I looked up. He was bent over his plate with his hands up, coughing. "Joe? Cough it up. Keep coughing. That's right." I stood at once and went to his side of the table. It was hard to interpret his gesture. With his hands up it looked like he meant to be saying, Don't touch me, leave me alone. But when I asked him, he indicated, managed to mouth, I can't breathe! At that, I gave him a whack on the back, trying to dislodge the lettuce or whatever he had gotten stuck in his throat. "Stand up, Joe! Stand up! Can anyone do the Heimlich?!" I called out. He was too big for me to get my arms around but I was certain that one of the many men standing at the bar would be able to help out. A man rushed up to do so...

Just then, Joe looked up and said, "I'm okay. It was lettuce. I got it out. Thanks."

I sat down again. The waitress asked Joe if he needed anything, if he wanted something else to eat, a glass of water, anything at all. He was apologetic, said it was just the lettuce, he had made a mistake, couldn't swallow the lettuce, not their fault...I looked up at her and said, He's sick, he can't eat lettuce. It's nothing you did. A glass of water would be good.

We sat there for a long time, not eating, we never did eat, though we brought the meals home with us, just trying to calm down. Apparently, my thwack on the back had been what he needed to bring up the lettuce in his throat. Next time, if that doesn't work, I'm going to try the Heimlich myself anyway, see if I can do it after all, at least if no one else is around. It would be better than doing nothing and I think a version could be done from the front if I can't do it from behind. I'd figure out something!

The problem is that his tongue is nearly paralyzed so he can't manipulate food to bring it from the back of his throat to chew it better so if it gets back there too big or too dry he has to swallow it, willy nilly. And if it is too big, it gets stuck and must be expelled, forcibly sometimes. He tries not to let anything big go there, or to take any big bites, and in general he doesn't, but even small foods can get caught, if they are dry or the wrong shape, and he can't predict what will get lodged until it happens. When the food is at a certain level, he can reach back and pull it forward with his fingers, doing what most of us would do with our tongues, but just a bit farther back and it is swallowing time, whether he should or wants to or not. That's when the problems arise.

Apparently, this is typical in ALS, and cause for much panic. Also a reason why many patients switch to pureed foods or an all liquid diet, when eating solid foods becomes too scary or too difficult. I don't think Joe is quite there yet, but he has been asking for a lot more soups than before, and I think is enjoying them more than he does solid foods, simply because they require less caution and effort to eat.

Posted by pamwagg at 09:18 PM | Comments (1)

January 25, 2007

Yurtle the Turtle - Click on him!


This is how Yurtle looks today. I think I will change his legs to be black, though, as I do not like the beige after all. The picture that showed him from the side would not upload without an error, so you can't see him in that view, but at least you can see his shell and one eye. Now, on to my next project, a person!

Posted by pamwagg at 10:08 PM | Comments (4)

Yurtle the Turtle #3


This is me as I start to paint Yurtle, having no idea what I am going tyo do, but winging it every step of the way!

Posted by pamwagg at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

Yurtle the Turtle #2


Posted by pamwagg at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

Yurtle the Turtle


This is Yurtle after I've created him out of papier mache and put the final coating of white paper on top of the newsprint I started out with. Alas, I did not think to take pics of that step of the process.

Posted by pamwagg at 10:00 PM | Comments (1)

January 23, 2007

The Little People and more

As I think I told you all, I am making a large tortoise out of papier mache (almost finished) which I will show you pcitures of when I am done. But as I make it and paint it, the Little People are out in force, sometimes driving me up a wall.

When I was applying the paper to the skeleton, there was apparently a war going on in their world and it was taking place on the turtle's back, or at least the turtle was the site where, like the battle maps the Pentagon uses in planning a war, strategy was worked out. So the little People were telling me all about this war, a domestic war, almost a civil war, but really a revolution and they ordered me to put more papier mache on a certain spot, a "hill" where enemy soldiers were likely to enter the field, as a way of preventing them. "Keep adding more, more, more!" they begged me, and I obliged...Until I suddenly realized, Wait a GD minute! These are only the Little People ordering you about. You do not need to keep adding paper to that spot on the sculpture at all. In fact, it is absurd that you are doing so! Stop listening to them. They are only hallucinations. And get on with what YOU want to do. Needless to say, after such forceful and enlightened self-talk, I did just that. They didn't stop talking after that. No way. But they did stop ordering me around. And I stopped paying attention to their demands for this or that.

On Saturday night, I was painting the sculpture (all along they have been bothering me, it's just that this night's appearance was particularly striking) using certain colors I'd chosen when White announced itself as a "Born-again"
and Yellow piped up that she was Born-again too. They started quoting Bible verses and sounding very pious and self-righteous when Blue made an appearance. (I must have switched colors.) Blue was innocent but a non-believer, whom White and Yellow immediately tried to convert, clamoring loudly and surrounding him, not letting anyone get a word in edgewise, or even have access to Blue. I was finished with Blue for the time being and put that brush into some water. Picked up the red paint and a clean brush. Oh, Red was livid! He did not like White and Yellow at all, nor did he appreciate what they had done to poor Blue, monopolizing him and not letting anyone else talk to him. Blue didn't seem to mind, nor have any interest in being Born Again either, but Red was incensed nonetheless. He started uttering death threats, presumably aimed at the two female Born-Agains, though it wasn't exactly clear. This was no doubt on purpose. If Red didn't say whom he was threatening to kill, but simply mumbled "I'll kill you!" under his breath, no one could say he had threatened them and go to the police.

Finally, Purple came into play as I put the red brush into water and started using the best color of the lot so far. Purple was obviously a lawyer, very rational and reasonable, not getting involved with any of the brouhaha that was going on but appealing to me to solve the problem. I said to him, Hold it! You are obviously well-educated, a lawyer. You are rational, smarter than I, more logical and you know the law. You must have it pretty good, there where you live, YOU solve the problem. Why should I step in and do it? THe lawyer, Purple, said nothingm but seemed disappointed. Suddenly, the human figure the colors were painting, The Queen, spoke for the first time. Everyone listened, even Red. And though I don't remember what she said, I do know that like any decent and reasonable queen, she solved the problems of her subjects in no time.

I realize that this sounds outlandish, even completely made up or fantasized, but it isn't. It's what I heard, unbidden, involuntary, and undesired. Like so many other things I hear. I no longer hear either music or the nasty, insulting voices, but these little people have not diminished one iota. Granted, I can laugh at them after the fact, and I had a hearty one at the story of the colors arguments when I told the visiting nurse about it yesterday. Just relating it sounded so ridiculous, I had to smile :) but in truth it is very distracting at times, and can derail me, as it did in the first instance, from doing what I need and want to get done. Nevertheless, I'm not so sure I want them to go away...I think I would miss them if they did. They do keep me company and they are harmless, if irritating sometimes, but amusing much more often than they are irritating.

I got the results from the colonoscopy and the liver ultrasound: nada, nothing, zilch. The liver has some cysts, but no fat that they could see. The doctor doesn't know the reason for the elevated liver enzymes, but wants to see me in 6 months to see if they are still elevated. If they are, he will do a biopsy. Otherwise, I am to sit on it and simply wait. I guess all that is good news, though I dunno still why my liver function tests are off. Guess I'll have to wait and see.

What with the tortoise taking so much of my time, I haven't been doing much of anything else. No poetry, except for one for my twin, on the occasion of her engagement to a wonderful wonderful Italian (truly Italian, he came to this country when he was 14 and we think his Old World ways is partly why everyone likes him so much). I do write in my notebook (journal) but not as much as I should, and you can see that I have not written here quite as much as I want to. But I get so excited by making these sculptures that I can do little else for as long as one is in the works. My next one I want to be a person, The Decorated Betsy I have tentatively titled it, and I am already visualizing how I am going to build the skeleton and what it will look like once made.

The problem with making these things is that in my two room apartment, not counting the kitchenette, I have NO space to put them, and I don't really want to keep them, but don't know where or how to sell them nor even how to find people who might want to buy. People have suggested E-bay, which is one idea, and I have someone, presently in Hawaii but due home soon, who says this problem is right up her alley and can definitely help me. But ideally I'd find some public place to put Dolly the Llama with my name and contact information displayed, so that people could find me and order or come see other sculptures and maybe buy those. I do not care about the money; I'd have to pay Lynnie back with it anyway. But I do want to continue to make these things, and if I do, I need to have a way to get rid of them afterwards! (I say I don't care about the money, and I don't. But it would be nice if someone paid me what they are actually worth, time and material and market wise, as it would help me out to actually reimburse Lynnie for some of the things she has paid for for me.)

Posted by pamwagg at 05:37 PM | Comments (5)

January 19, 2007

I'm not the only one afraid of Global Warming...


1 - Rank of 2006 as hottest year on record in the continental United States.

1 - Rank of America as top global warming polluter, emitting almost as much as the European Union, Russia and Japan combined.

20 - Percent increase of America's carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels since 1990.

15 - Percent increase of America's carbon dioxide emissions forecasted by 2020 if we do not cap pollution.

80 - Percent decrease in America's global warming pollution required by 2050 to prevent the worst consequences of global warming.

78 - Number of days by which the U.S. fire season has increased over the past 20 years - tied closely to increased temperatures and earlier snowmelt.

200 million - Number of people who could be displaced globally by extreme droughts, sea level rise and flooding by 2080.

358 - Number of U.S. mayors (representing 55 million Americans) who have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement pledging to meet or beat Kyoto goals in their communities.

0 - Number of federal bills passed by Congress to set a mandatory, economy-wide cap on America's global warming pollution.

0 - Number of times President Bush has mentioned "global warming" or "climate change" in his previous State of the Union speeches.

Another piece from They are as afraid of this mess as I am:


The science of global warming is too uncertain to act on.

There is no debate among scientists about the basic facts of global warming.

The most respected scientific organizations have stated unequivocally that global warming is happening, and people are causing it by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which in 2005 the White House called "the gold standard of objective scientific assessment," issued a joint statement with 10 other National Academies of Science saying "the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions." (Joint Statement of Science Academies: Global Response to Climate Change [PDF], 2005)

The only debate in the science community about global warming is about how much and how fast warming will continue as a result of heat-trapping emissions. In the case of global warming, scientists have given a clear warning, and we have more than enough facts to act on.

Global warming is just part of one of the earth's natural cycles.

The global warming we are experiencing is not natural.

People are causing it by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. Scientists have shown that these activities are pumping far more carbon dioxide (C02) into the atmosphere than was ever released in hundreds of thousands of years. This buildup of CO2 is the biggest cause of global warming. (IPCC 2001) Since 1895, scientists have known that CO2 and other greenhouse gases trap heat and warm the earth. As the warming has intensified over the past three decades, scientific scrutiny has increased along with it. Scientists have considered and ruled out other natural explanations such as sunlight, volcanic eruptions and cosmic rays. (IPCC 2001)

Though natural amounts of CO2 vary from 180 to 300 parts per million (ppm), today's CO2 levels are around 380 ppm. That's 25% more than the highest natural levels, looking back 650,000 years. Increased CO2 levels have corresponded with higher average temperatures throughout that long record. (Boden, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center)

As the ozone hole shrinks, global warming will no longer be a problem.

Global warming and the ozone hole are different problems.

The ozone hole is a thinning of the stratosphere's ozone layer, which is roughly 9 to 31 miles above the earth's surface. The depletion of the ozone is due to man-made chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). A thinner ozone layer lets more harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the earth's surface.

Global warming, on the other hand, is the increase in the earth's average temperature due to the buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities.

We can adapt to climate change—civilization has survived droughts and ice ages before.

Individual civilizations have collapsed from dramatic climatic shifts.

Although humans as a whole have survived the vagaries of drought, ice ages and more, not every society has. What's more, unless we limit the amount of heat-trapping gases we are putting into the atmosphere, we will face a warming trend unseen since human civilization began 10,000 years ago. (IPCC 2001)

The consequences of continued warming at current rates are likely to be dire. Many densely populated areas, such as low-lying coastal regions, are highly vulnerable to climate shifts. A middle-of-the-range projection is that the homes of 13 to 88 million people around the world would be flooded by the sea each year in the 2080s. Poorer countries and small island nations will have the hardest time adapting. (McLean et al. 2001) In what appears to be the first forced move resulting from climate change, 100 residents of Tegua island in the Pacific Ocean were evacuated by the government because rising sea levels were flooding their island. Some 2,000 other islanders plan a similar move to escape rising waters.

Scarcity of water and food could lead to major conflicts with broad ripple effects throughout the globe. Even if people find a way to adapt, the wildlife and plants on which we depend may be unable to adapt to rapid climate change. While the world itself will not end, the world as we know it may disappear.


T.A. Boden, R.J. Stepanski, and F.W. Stoss, Trends '91: A Compendium of Data on Global Change, ORNL/CDIAC-46 (Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, December 1991).

IPCC. 2001. Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Edited by J.T. Houghton, Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and C.A. Johnson. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Joint Statement of Science Academies: Global Response to Climate Change [PDF], 2005

The Latest Myths and Facts on Global Warming [PDF], Environmental Defense, 2005.

McLean, R.F., A.Tsyban, V. Burkett, J.O. Codignotto, D.L. Forbes, N.Mimura, R.J. Beamish, V. Ittekkot, L. Bijlsma and I. Sanchez-Arevalo. 2001. IPCC Third Assessment Report, Contribution of Working Group II, Chapter 6.
The Dangers . The Science .

Posted by pamwagg at 10:51 PM | Comments (3)

January 17, 2007


I am going to describe my colonoscopy for you, in order to relieve the fear that some of us over 50s have about a routine test that we are all encouraged to have, if not earlier for non-routine reasons.

First of all, for two weeks before the test you must not take either aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) only Tylenol. Presumably this is because the former drugs lower the blood's ability to clot, which can be a problem in any internal procedure, especially gastrointestinal.

The day before the test, you must follow a liquid diet, meaning no solid food and only CLEAR liquids. This means clear juices, juices you can literally see through, NO ORANGE juice unless it is completely pulpless and transparent. No tomato juice. No RED juice, nothing red colored at all. Grape (purple) is fine. Liquids include frozen and jelled liquids so you can have popsicles, as long as they are made from juice not fruit, or just sugar syrup, Italian ice, jello, tea or coffee but without milk (sugar is fine) chicken or beef broth (with NOTHING in it). And you do this from midnight until 4 or 5pm the next day. (Note: this was the "Halflytely" protocol. Your may be slightly different. I was offered one with gatorade for instance but didn't take it.)

At 5pm I took the 4 pills in the package, which turned out to be bisacodyl or Dulcolax in an industrial strength. I was supposed to wait till 8pm or until I had a bowel movement to start drinking the Halflytely solution I had mixed that morning (a large container with a powder in it to which you add flavoring and water and refrigerate). I started drinking it at 8pm on the dot and downed one 8oz glass every ten minutes. It didn't taste bad at all. A little salty, with little flavor otherwise. Just a heckuva lot of fluid to get down in an hour and a half, at which point I had the runs but royally! Staying near the throne, but not on it, for an hour and a half helped a lot, but even after that several times I almost didn't make it. By the time I went to bed at my usual time around 1am the "runs" had ended nearly clear as water. (I would suggest that you start somewhat earlier than 5pm if you want to go to bed early as, for me, the diarrhea did not stop after the one measly hour they said it would, definitely not. In fact, I'm glad I wore rain pants to bed as I actually had an accident early this morning, due to the fact that I could not wake up in time (the Xyrem makes me sleep too deeply) to get to the bathroom. Sweat soaked me through during the night, though, I can tell you that! It's probably why I only weighed 91 pounds when I woke, that and a cleaned out colon!

My colonoscopy took place at 3pm so I had to wait till after 4:30 before I could even take my pills. But I could drink fluid up till 10am, which you can't do if your procedure is in the morning. But that frankly would be a lot easier than waiting all day.

When you get into the hospital, you disrobe and put on a johnny and robe and they take your pulse and BP and put in an IV (without anything attached yet) then, having asked a lot of questions about your health that you've already answered elsewhere before you go into the procedure room, where they place a pulse oximeter on your finger to measure your blood oxygen level, a BP cuff that automatically takes your BP throughout, and a few chest leads to measure heart functions. They attach your IV to the anesthesia apparatus and ask you to turn on your side. Sometimes they use a mask, sometimes nasal "straws" for oxygen. I asked, am I going to sleep now? I heard a "Yes." and the next thing I knew, someone was saying to Josephine, the homemaker/friend who had brought me, "She'll have to come back for a barium enema."

"You mean they didn't do it?" I said, rather disconsolate.

"Oh, no, they did it. It's all over. You are just waking up now," said the nurse. "But they couldn't get all the way up the colon. They tried, but it was too twisted. You're going to need a barium enema. We're on the phone right now, trying to get it arranged for tomorrow so you won't have to prep again."

"Oh, no," I groaned. "You mean I'd have to go through that whole thing again?"

"We're trying not to have you have to go that route."

Mercifully, all I have to do is not eat tonight, and tomorrow, bright and early, I'll have the barium enema and be done with this nonsense! BD

So it isn't too bad. Certainly no pain afterwards, and none during it if you are asleep, though you don't have to be. Then there is pain, but not unbearable. Both my parents have done it without anesthesia. I'm glad I was sedated though, since they had so much trouble it probably would have been much more painful than usual.

Posted by pamwagg at 08:41 PM | Comments (4)

January 16, 2007

Lynnie's PsychJourney Podcast Interview

The following button plays an interview of Deborah Harper of PsychJourneys (Psychology Podcasts and Biography Podcasts ) with my sister Carolyn Spiro MD, a psychiatrist, who speaks about schizophrenia, both our experience with my illness and in general. You will find it fascinating. The interview is c. 40 minutes long.

MP3 File

Posted by pamwagg at 03:57 PM | Comments (2)

January 15, 2007

More on Global Warming (Thanks to EG's comment)

Do people need basic "lessons in what global warming is and why it happens? Do people understand what is happening on a fundamental level, the ABC chemistry and physics of it? Do you want to? If you don't, and do, let me know, and I will go through it here in as easy and straight-forward a fashion as possible. If everyone understands it, great. But I've found that often people talk about things that in truth they don't actually get, not really. Just leave an anonymous comment if you want to, or email me, if you don't want to leave your name. Something, so I know the information is wanted.

I realize I am cheating in letting someone else do the writing in the next two articles, but they did such a good job that I figure, instead of me paraphrasing them, why not just let them tell the tale.

The important thing to realize about coral is that it is the basis for much of the life in the sea, and if it goes, a GREAT deal of sea-life may go with it, plankton to very large fish like sharks which depend on coral-dependent smaller fish for their food. When so large a part of the food chain is lost, the fishing industry dies, which means not only huge unemployment, but enormous numbers of coastal peoples become dependent on inland crops for food.

Similarly, if sea levels rise 20-200 feet as variously predicted (if Antarctica's ice cap slides into the sea, which I believe is bound to happen, it will be 200+ feet) the corals' algae will not get enough sun and will die, leading to bleaching, which will kill the coral polyp, ie the coral animal itself. With the same consequences, except that the coastal population will also crowd inland to escape the rising fishless waters, putting increasing pressure on croplands to provide both living space and food for more people than ever.

Oh, the doomsday scenario goes on and on...and it just keeps getting worse. For those of you who believe in god, what does your belief tell you to think about all this? Do you simply believe that it won't happen? That god will rescue you or all of us? That He or She or whoever won't allow it to happen? Or can it happen and there still be a god, and if so, how do you explain our ending as a species? Where is god in all that? What do you do with such a calamitous situation? I know, I know, we had free will and screwed up...So we're all going to die now? How does god figure in all that? (If you tell me, no, a few really good people will be saved, you can go to hell...because you no doubt are one of those few, right?) But if you say that god would never allow such a calamity to happen, doesn't that mean that you can sit back on your duff and do nothing because it isn't necessary, god will take care of it, even if it is man-caused and OUR problem? Will you take that gamble and do nothing but wait?


These two are from the Environmental Defense site


Warmer waters, more acidic oceans and stronger storms are taking their combined toll on coral reefs. "Coral reefs may prove to be the first ecological victims of unchecked global warming," says Environmental Defense scientist Rod Fujita.

Loss of coral reefs would translate into huge economic losses in coastal regions dependent on reefs—they provide about $375 billion each year in food and tourism income. ( U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy)

Severe damage to reefs is also an ecological catastrophe. Coral reefs are sometimes called "rain forests of the ocean" because they are home to a rich diversity of marine life such as reef fish, turtles, sharks, lobsters, anemones and sponges.
Warmer water linked to "bleaching," death

Corals get both their food and their spectacular color from tiny algae called zooxanthellae that live in them. Corals are very sensitive to temperature and thrive within a narrow range of heat and cold. An increase of just 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit above the typical maximum summer temperature can cause corals to expel their algae, or "bleach." After prolonged bleaching, they often die.

A massive bleaching of corals occurred during one of the warmest 12-month periods on record, in 1997 and 1998. About 16 percent of the world's reefs suffered severe damage, and thousand-year-old corals perished. Continued increases in ocean temperature could make mass bleachings an annual event. Environmental Defense scientist Doug Rader says that "within a century, very large portions of coral reefs could be gone."

Double damage: Oceans getting more acidic

Coral reefs face another threat related to global warming: carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution. Carbon dioxide is the main heat-trapping gas that causes global warming, but that's not the only damage it does. A report by the U.K.'s Royal Society found that the increased levels of CO2 in the ocean are making it more acidic.

When CO2 dissolves in ocean waters, it produces carbonic acid, which corrodes the limestone structures of coral reefs and seashells. In acidic water, "there is a greater tendency for seashells to dissolve, like putting them in vinegar, but not quite as dramatic," says Environmental Defense climate scientist Dr. James Wang.

"The world's seas are naturally alkaline," adds Fujita, "and many of these marine creatures that have been around for eons will not survive in an acid sea."

As waters become more acidic, coral reefs and other marine ecosystems could suffer. The Royal Society's panel of scientists report that acidification will hurt tropical and subtropical reefs the most, but cold-water corals are also in danger. Since acidification is "irreversible in our lifetimes," the authors say, "the only practical step is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide as quickly as possible to minimize large-scale, long-term harm to the world's oceans and marine ecosystems."

Guard reefs from stress, and they are resilient

Rader has spent years diving in the Caribbean and seen first-hand the decimation to reefs. Disease has nearly destroyed elkhorn and staghorn reefs throughout the region, he says. "Add to that more frequent bleaching events and an abundance of CO2 in the water," says Radar. "It seems hard to believe that it is happening—and happening on our watch."

But Fujita offers a sliver of hope. "Corals are sensitive but also very resilient—if conditions are right. If we can reduce some of the other direct stresses from human activities on coral reefs, like pollution from diffuse sources, that may also enable reefs to cope better with threats like climate change."

Creating more protected areas for coral reefs may help them better withstand the rigors of too-warm water and be less vulnerable to extinction. Kelp forests seem to be able to cope with warmer water better in marine reserves, explains Fujita. But even so, cautions Fujita, "the number of corals that can adapt to or withstand such dramatic, rapid changes may be just a tiny fraction."


The energy we use at home accounts for about a fifth of U.S. global warming pollution. That means making smart choices at home matters.

Heating and cooling

This is a top home energy user, with the average household producing about four tons of heat-trapping pollution a year. It is heavily influenced by weather. For example, a relatively cold 1996 led to an increase in heat-trapping emissions compared to the previous year. But the next year, a warmer winter helped emissions dip bit. Warmer summers increase greenhouse gas pollution, too, from heavy air conditioning use. Despite the relative warm or coolness of the season, the U.S. emits a harmful amount of global warming pollution.

Even as the weather varies, your choices can help spew less global warming pollution.

* In summer, keep shades drawn to keep the cool in.
* In winter, open shades to let the sunlight to help warm rooms.
* In winter, keep your thermostat cooler at night or when the house is empty.
* Install a programmable thermostat to heat and cool rooms only when necessary.
* Plant trees around your house to cut cooling costs in summer.
* Insulate your walls and ceilings.
* Install a light-colored or reflective roof.


After heating, refrigerators and freezers are generally the home's next two big energy eaters. Other appliances follow closely. Together, these items account for nearly eight tons of heat-trapping emissions per household per year.


Upgrade to Energy Star products. Not all appliances are equal. Whether you're in the market for a new fridge, toaster or air conditioner, look for Energy Star choices, which offer the best energy savings.

Size counts. When in the market for an appliance, make sure you buy what suits your needs. Items too large or too small waste electricity and your money.

Unplug. Your electric meter is often adding up kilowatt hours when you don’t think you’re using an appliance. Unplug toasters and cell phone and other chargers when they’re not in use. Don't use air fresheners that have to be plugged in.

Use power strips. Cable boxes and video game boxes, and to a lesser extent TVs and VCRs, use almost as much energy when they're off as when they're on. Make it easy to turn them all the way off—plug them into a power strip and turn off the whole strip.


Lighting accounts for about 21 percent of commercial energy consumption and about 12 percent of home energy consumption. In terms of heat-trapping pollution, that means the lights in the average household produce just over a ton of carbon dioxide each year. Here are a few steps to lower those numbers.


Use energy-efficient lights. Changing just one 75-watt bulb to a compact fluorescent light cuts roughly 1,300 pounds of global warming pollution. They also last up to 15 times as long and save you money. (Learn how to pick the best bulbs.)

Turn off lights. A good chunk of lighting expenses is from rooms that stay unnecessarily lit.

Use natural light. Open shades and use sunlight to help light rooms.

Install motion-sensors so that lights automatically turn on when someone is in the room and turn off when empty.

Green Energy

Does your electric company sell energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar? More than forty states in the U.S. now offer cleaner energy. Find out more about home energy choices.
Other energy efficient choices for your home

* Use the energy saver cycle on your dishwasher and only run it when full.
* Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.
* Turn down your water heater to 120°Fahrenheit.
* Clean or replace the air filter on your air conditioner.
* Install low-flow shower heads to use less hot water.
* Caulk and weatherstrip around doors and windows.
* Ask your utility company for a free home energy audit.

Posted by pamwagg at 11:16 PM | Comments (1)

January 12, 2007

Last Doomsday Entry

I promise not to write any more about this, one because it scares people, or scares ME at any rate, and two, because I know that certain agencies would NOT want me to talk about it openly. Notice how NO ONE is discussing it on the news? It's not because it isn't true, it's because they've been ordered not to do so, to avoid causing mass panic among people who can't do anything about it anyhow. We KNOW Bush and Cheney will try to save themselves, by holing up underground for years, with stockpiles of food and dibs on any food produced above ground (in the fertile winters, when there is not a drought). Ditto a lot of very wealthy people, who will move from Greenwich and Miami and Manhattan and other lowlying coastal developments inland, stockpile food and water, and...Well, you see the picture. But no one is telling us, because we can't do anything to escape, if there is any escape, which I do not think there is. To avoid mass panic and social chaos. So people like me become a liability and have to be shut up, by hook or by crook...You know their various methods. So I will not continue in this vein, as I treasure my freedom, and I also do not wish to frighten folks who should not be made frightened.

I do have one poem I wrote in that regard, however, and then I will cease and desist:


I’m fearful in this warming world
certain of calamity as of sunrise,
nearly as next. In what chapter,
on what page of the book of our species
are we but the last, where the tragic-
comic-mystery-thriller-romance ends?
Bang, whimper, pfft, rebel yell – how
we go is anybody’s guess but
it’s all the same good-bye, “God be with you”
without meaning perhaps even to those
who once believed with God all things
were possible. Not this, not stopping
what we’ve started in Antarctica,
in the Siberian permafrost...

Oh, let’s
not think of what can’t be helped.
We must live as if meaning means
and matters, or eat, drink and be merry.
The ending is not yet written,
only proposed. A hero may yet appear.
A hero may yet appear to save our day.

(I know that "Oh let's" in going to appear at the beginning of its line, but it is meant to appear far to the right, starting the line above the word "helped")

As far as other things go, Joe is doing well enough. He went to an Econmic Development meeting at the Town Council and used his computer voice, which they loved and applauded him for. (They all know he has ALS and have been supportive, but he has wondered how long he could continue to work for them without a voice.) He is still not using it otherwise, but we need to get him to practice using it on the phone, which is where many people cannot understand him. He needs to have the confidence to be able to make his own phone calls just so he doesn't feel too dependent just yet. He also bought a transfer chair to use in the shower, so he doesn't have to step over the tub, but can slide along the chair right into the tub and sit there while he showers. So far he has refused a handheld shower, but when he can't stand up, he may need one.

My brother and his family are visiting here on Sunday morning. I haven't seen them in months as they live in North Carolina. I have made up a crafts kit for the teenaged girls (who like that sort of thing) -- this year a soap-making project, with scent, herbal additives, coloring and seashell molds to make lovely little handsoaps for their use or for presents. Then that afternoon, I go with Karen to the theatre for the first time in 26 years. We will be seeing CHICAGO, the musical, with a Broadway cast. I do not know this musical but I hear it is terrific. We have very good seats; somehow Karen managed to get them for very little money. I think they are handicapped seats that she qualified for and I am going as her companion. I feel weird about her doing that, as she can walk fine without crutches or a wheelchair or even a cane and drives a car perfectly! But she IS eligible; her SSDI is for physical handicaps. So it is legit, though I dunno if I would do it. Maybe I would...You never know. So anyhow, Sunday is going to be jam-packed, and afterwards she wants to go out to supper, but I may draw the line at that, plead utter exhaustion, as I dunno if I can keep going for that long a time. From 10am or earlier when my brother comes, until 5pm when the show is over is long enough! I decided to drive us, just so I would not be held captive in the car if she insisted on stopping, as I once was when we went to do errands...Luckily it is not very far away.

I probably won't write on Sat and Sun this week, unless I feel inspired. I'm taking Kate's advice and giving us all some time off! BD

Posted by pamwagg at 10:32 PM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2007

Another blog

I have heard from another woman, Christina B, with a website and blog who would like some attention from y'all. She writes: My website is (the link would not paste into this entry...will try again tomorrow), and it has a link to my BlogSpot. I seek to be positive about the experience of living with schizophrenia. My site also includes links to my published articles, and an excerpt from my memoir.

This sounds like an interesting site. I plan to visit. I hope you all do too. And visit Kate's and A's and Yayaknitting's site's too, as we ALL need attention! (See their addresses in the Other Blogs entry below)

Posted by pamwagg at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

Links to PsychJourney Websites and My Interview

The yellow button below should work, but if not, try these links to Deborah Harper's Psych Journey and Audio Book Club Biography sites.

Posted by pamwagg at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

Psychjourney Podcast

Check out this recent podcast interview on DIVIDED MINDS. The following code should produce a player but if not, one of the links above will take you to the site where you can listen to the podcast. (Later: AH! It works! Just press the yellow button. Ignore all the other underlined junk.)

" height="64" width="84" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

MP3 File

MP3 File

These are the addresses to the Deborah Harper's PsychJourney podcasts and biography website if the player doesn't appear or work. Links appear in the entry just above this.

Posted by pamwagg at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)

January 10, 2007

Another article

I stole this one too, but will give you the URL so you can see it at the proper website.,12374,1546824,00.html


Siberia feels the heat It's a frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany combined, contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas and, for the first time since the ice age, it is melting

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Thursday August 11, 2005
The Guardian

A vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming, climate scientists warn today.

Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of permafrost spanning a million square kilometres - the size of France and Germany combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.

Article continues
The area, which covers the entire sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, is the world's largest frozen peat bog and scientists fear that as it thaws, it will release billions of tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.

It is a scenario climate scientists have feared since first identifying "tipping points" - delicate thresholds where a slight rise in the Earth's temperature can cause a dramatic change in the environment that itself triggers a far greater increase in global temperatures.

The discovery was made by Sergei Kirpotin at Tomsk State University in western Siberia and Judith Marquand at Oxford University and is reported in New Scientist today.

The researchers found that what was until recently a barren expanse of frozen peat is turning into a broken landscape of mud and lakes, some more than a kilometre across.

Dr Kirpotin told the magazine the situation was an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He added that the thaw had probably begun in the past three or four years.

Climate scientists yesterday reacted with alarm to the finding, and warned that predictions of future global temperatures would have to be revised upwards.

"When you start messing around with these natural systems, you can end up in situations where it's unstoppable. There are no brakes you can apply," said David Viner, a senior scientist at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

"This is a big deal because you can't put the permafrost back once it's gone. The causal effect is human activity and it will ramp up temperatures even more than our emissions are doing."

In its last major report in 2001, the intergovernmental panel on climate change predicted a rise in global temperatures of 1.4C-5.8C between 1990 and 2100, but the estimate only takes account of global warming driven by known greenhouse gas emissions.

"These positive feedbacks with landmasses weren't known about then. They had no idea how much they would add to global warming," said Dr Viner.

Western Siberia is heating up faster than anywhere else in the world, having experienced a rise of some 3C in the past 40 years. Scientists are particularly concerned about the permafrost, because as it thaws, it reveals bare ground which warms up more quickly than ice and snow, and so accelerates the rate at which the permafrost thaws.

Siberia's peat bogs have been producing methane since they formed at the end of the last ice age, but most of the gas had been trapped in the permafrost. According to Larry Smith, a hydrologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, the west Siberian peat bog could hold some 70bn tonnes of methane, a quarter of all of the methane stored in the ground around the world.

The permafrost is likely to take many decades at least to thaw, so the methane locked within it will not be released into the atmosphere in one burst, said Stephen Sitch, a climate scientist at the Met Office's Hadley Centre in Exeter.

But calculations by Dr Sitch and his colleagues show that even if methane seeped from the permafrost over the next 100 years, it would add around 700m tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year, roughly the same amount that is released annually from the world's wetlands and agriculture.

It would effectively double atmospheric levels of the gas, leading to a 10% to 25% increase in global warming, he said.

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said the finding was a stark message to politicians to take concerted action on climate change. "We knew at some point we'd get these feedbacks happening that exacerbate global warming, but this could lead to a massive injection of greenhouse gases.

"If we don't take action very soon, we could unleash runaway global warming that will be beyond our control and it will lead to social, economic and environmental devastation worldwide," he said. "There's still time to take action, but not much.

"The assumption has been that we wouldn't see these kinds of changes until the world is a little warmer, but this suggests we're running out of time."

In May this year, another group of researchers reported signs that global warming was damaging the permafrost. Katey Walter of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, told a meeting of the Arctic Research Consortium of the US that her team had found methane hotspots in eastern Siberia. At the hotspots, methane was bubbling to the surface of the permafrost so quickly that it was preventing the surface from freezing over.

Last month, some of the world's worst air polluters, including the US and Australia, announced a partnership to cut greenhouse gas emissions through the use of new technologies.

The deal came after Tony Blair struggled at the G8 summit to get the US president, George Bush, to commit to any concerted action on climate change and has been heavily criticised for setting no targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.


As you can tell, this article is a year older than the one yesterday, but it reiterates, with even more urgency, what the USA Today article suggests. Neither one, however, goes the whole way, extrapolating from the 1000 gigatons of methane released into the atmosphere and the catastrophic warming, to the obvious consequences...The End of Life as We Know It...

I hate to say it, but with the ocean warming, methane hydrates, not far below the surface, could also be released into the air, adding their gigatons to the greenhouse effect. I'm afraid, friends, that despite all my hopes for the future, we have none, none as a species, even if we, as a group, may live out our lives in relative discomfort. I must say, though, that I doubt we will do even that. I'm hoping that whatever they found in my liver (most likely more or less benign fat) will instead kill me before the End comes, because I do not want to be around for the mass panic and the riots and the nuclear wars and the screaming and wailing and despair and hopelessness and extreme hedonism and uselessness of everything...

I do not want to be around for it. Once social chaos breaks out when the End is recognized for what it is, I'm checking out. I told Dr O that before I do, I'll call Lynnie or Dr O or a visiting nurse, someone, just to run it by them, to say good-bye, something, just in case my perceptions are off and the chaos is only in my head, not in reality. I agreed to that readily. I do not want to die until I have to and I'll want to say good-bye in any event.

Ah, this is so terrible, so horrifying, so devastating to know. I wish I didn't, I should not have told you. It would have been kinder not to have. Sometimes ignorance is easier to take than a knowledge that is useless and leads only to despair. Forgive me if I have opened your eyes, only to leave you in unspeakable bleakness. Try to think of solutions; there may be some. However outlandish, if they are possible, the world could use them were we to develop enough discipline and political will and unity in attacking this problem.

Thinking of solutions also fights the despair; Kate is right. There are things each of us can do. They may seem small, but if EVERYONE did them, they would be enormous in their impact. In fact, tonight I am switching my last 2 incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent ones, just to set an example. Then my entire apartment will be lit only by fluorescents. I already do not use the heat, but the building is heated by a boiler that probably burns a set amount of oil no matter who uses the heat. I dunno how that works, actually. All I know is that on the 12th floor, all the heat used on the lower floors rises and heats me fine without my using any additional. BUT of course, the winter has been springlike, the crocuses are coming up in January in New England, so what cold weather are we even talking about? There has been no need, until today, for any heat at all! (Today we were still well above normal, but at least we were in the 30s in the morning; I think it got into the 40s by the afternoon.)

Enough for now. I have been given permission, by someone in the know about reading my blog and getting backlogged in doing so, not to write every day, though I did make a New Year's resolution to do so the month of January. In fact, I wasn't going to write tonight, but I had the energy and so decided to after all. I will write if and when I feel like it, but won't pressure myself to write 7 days a week, as I had been doing. Hope that's okay with everyone! BD

Posted by pamwagg at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2007

Article from USA Today plus...Addendum

I'm stealing this, so don't tell anyone. But it's on the web at
so you can see it there too.

Scientists find new global warming threat from melting permafrost

By Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — New research is raising concerns that global warming may be triggering a self-perpetuating climate time bomb trapped in once-frozen permafrost.

As the Earth warms, greenhouse gases once stuck in the long-frozen soil are bubbling into the atmosphere in much larger amounts than previously anticipated, according to a study in Thursday's journal Nature.

Methane trapped in a special type of permafrost is bubbling up at a rate five times faster than originally measured, the journal said.

Scientists are fretting about a global warming vicious cycle that had not been part of their already gloomy climate forecasts: Warming already underway thaws permafrost, soil that had been continuously frozen for thousands of years.

Thawed permafrost releases methane and carbon dioxide. Those gases reach the atmosphere and help trap heat on Earth in the greenhouse effect. The trapped heat thaws more permafrost, and so on.

"The higher the temperature gets, the more permafrost we melt, the more tendency it is to become a more vicious cycle," said Chris Field, director of global ecology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "That's the thing that is scary about this whole thing. There are lots of mechanisms that tend to be self-perpetuating and relatively few that tends to shut it off."

The effect reported in Nature is seen mostly in Siberia, but also elsewhere, in a type of carbon-rich permafrost, flash frozen about 40,000 years ago. A new more accurate measuring technique was used on the bubbling methane, which is 23 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than the more prevalent carbon dioxide.

"The effects can be huge," said lead author Katey Walter of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. "It's coming out a lot and there's a lot more to come out."

Another study earlier this summer in the journal Science found that the amount of carbon trapped in this type of permafrost — called yedoma — is much more prevalent than originally thought and may be 100 times the amount of carbon released into the air each year by the burning of fossil fuels.

It won't all come out at once or even over several decades, but the methane and carbon dioxide will escape the soil if temperatures increase, scientists say.

The issue of methane and carbon dioxide released from permafrost has caused concern this summer among climate scientists and geologists. Specialists in Arctic climate are coming up with research plans to study the effect, which is not well understood or observed, said Robert Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a group of 300 scientists.

"It's kind of like a slow-motion time bomb," said Ted Schuur, a professor of ecosystem ecology at the University of Florida and co-author of the Science study. "There's these big surprises out there that we don't even know about."

Most of this yedoma is in north and eastern Siberia, areas that until recently had not been studied at length by scientists.

What makes this permafrost special is that during a rapid onset ice age, carbon-rich plants were trapped in the permafrost. As the permafrost thaws, the carbon is released as methane if it's underwater in lakes, like much of the parts of Siberia that Walter studied. If it's dry, it's released into the air as carbon dioxide.

Scientists aren't quite sure which is worse. Methane is far more powerful in trapping heat, but only lasts about a decade before it dissipates into carbon dioxide and other chemicals. Carbon dioxide traps heat for about a century.

"The bottom line is it's better if it stays frozen in the ground," Schuur said. "But we're getting to the point where it's going more and more into the atmosphere."

Vladimir Romanovsky, geophysics professor at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, said he thinks the big methane or carbon dioxide release hasn't started yet, but it's coming. It's closer in Alaska and Canada, which only has a few hundred square miles of yedoma, he said.

In Siberia, the many lakes of melted water make matters worse because the water, although cold, helps warm and thaw the permafrost, Walter said.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press

Posted 9/6/2006

Now the only point I think in this that has not been made correctly is that it says this will not happen quickly....But I have seen those methane hydrates dissipate and it is explosive. So I think it will happen suddenly, at a certain tipping point of temperature, which may have already been reached.

I think the permafrost is gone for good, and that feedback loop is in full swing. We can't refreeze it now. Only another ice age can do that. But another article said if the permafrost goes, and methane is released into the atmosphere, expect an increase of 5-10 degrees centigrade, or 15-33 degrees fahrenheit! And that is on average. That means the extremes, already at 120 F could be at 150F and higher, which I think is beyond survivability. But if the high temp on a day is 150 F what is the "cool" temperature? 120F? And how long does that last? And what does it go down to when it "cools" off?

I dunno if you ever saw the old old movie called THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE, about the planet off its orbit and slowly heading in towards the sun, but this coming catastrophe reminds of it. There was an extremely upsetting scene, absurd of course, but at 8 I did not know it, of melting typewriters as the last newspaper on earth finally closed its doors. This is the end we will be seeing, and I fear it will be sooner rather than later, if we don't do something extremely drastic, which we won't, because people like me are considered delusional rather than bell wethers. Because not enough responsible people are speaking up and out and being heard and listened to by the masses of people who could MAKE the congress make the president do something! Will you? Write to your congresspeople today and quote this article, lift some of the phrases! Or if you want to know more, google global warming and permafrost and you'll get a number of articles. But DO SOMETHING or your children and your children's children will not have a world to grow up in!

ADDENDUM: By the way, here are some ideas for solutions: carpet the ocean in floating white slowly disolving organic pellets, preferably something that would feed fish or become part of the ocean floor, not interrupt the natural cycle. But it must stay on top of the water for a long enough time to reflect the sunlight and not allow the dark water to absorb any more sunlight/heat. Best if this is done in the arctic where the need is greatest, but it needs to be done in huge areas all over the ocean. Ditto with some degradable material on barren glacial land, land where the glaciers used to be, to help reflect the additional sunlight and keep the land from heating up more. This perhaps should not degrade for a long time, but be removable eventually, as it will be needed until snow returns when the climate recovers.

STOP burning so much oil and gas in the U.S. RATION it equally and allow the trading of ration cards. That way, the poor, who don't need to drive as far to work, or who may not have jobs, can gain an income from selling their gas rations, while the rich have to purchse their extra miles from others, rather than getting them freely.

Strictly regulate and LIMIT CO2 emissions to a very low level, and do the same in terms of trading carbon dioxide credits. But allow no factory or power plant to be grossly polluting just because it has the "credits" to allow it to do so. Give large tax incentives to bicycles and mass transit takers; penalize non car-poolers.

TURN OFF UNECESSARY OUTDOOR NIGHTTIME LIGHTING! I dunno what else we can do, beyond encouraging all sorts of alternative energy use, like building houses into the ground for natural cooling and heating and wind and improved solar power, and using the natural power of sea swells to generate power...and creative use of all sorts of natural rhythms to generate electricity, ANYTHING but coal-fired plants, which will only add to the problem, and it is obvious that we can no longer rely on burying carbon dioxide any longer. The earth is already giving it all back! But even if we can bury the new CO2 we make, we MUST generate electricity without using coal as often as we can, and put an enormous amount of effort into finding those renewable sources of energy. Non polluting ones that do not add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

We need to find a way to prevent huge wildfires out west, which add tons of carbon into the atmosphere each summer they burn out of control...Dunno how to do that, but maybe someone has an idea, or would if enough manpower were put to the task of thinking about it.

Help. Any of you have some crazy cockeyed ideas of how we can save the world from the Armageddon that will and is befalling it, before it reaches a point of no return, if indeed that is not already in progress?

Posted by pamwagg at 09:45 PM | Comments (2)

January 08, 2007

Consequences: End of the World

Civilization is on it’s way out. It’s Armageddon time. And it’s within our lifetimes. And it’s ALL MY FAULT because I didn’t warn people, wasn’t active enough, wasn’t an activist, even though I knew it was going to happen back 35 years ago. It’s what Gray Crinkled Paper was getting at, I finally understand. And now it’s on our doorstep with the visage of Global Warming, only it is not just a maybe or how well people adapt, it is THE END OF THE WORLD.

Russia, like much of the eastern U.S. has had an unusually warm winter, and has had absolutely no snow. Their permafrost is thawing, and has the capacity to release, just in Siberia alone, 1000 gigatons of methane, a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, which will initiate a much faster global warming trend and with a feedback cycle that is unstoppable. The temperature will rise by 5-10 degrees, meaning average global degrees, so that extreme temperatures of 130 F or even 140 F and higher could occur in some places with regularity. (Phoenix sees 120 F now). The ice sheets would melt and raise sea levels by 20-30 feet, obliterating coastlines for miles inland. The coral, being flooded beyond the light of the sun, would die, and all the sea life dependent on it would no longer have a ready food supply. Much of it would die as well, leading to a huge loss of the food chain in the ocean, and huge losses to the fishing industry and the food available to humans, who now would have less cropland because coastal inhabitants would have squeezed into what land is left. This cropland has to feed even fish eaters now, and can no longer support cattle, leading to mob outbreaks when meat is no longer available, or is rationed. But the temperature keeps rising, and even the crops fail with drought and unreliable weather. Then what? Then what? If people live even that long, your guess is as good as mine.

This can happen amazingly quickly, within 50 years or less, a lot less and will end civilization and eventually end all life as we know it. When word gets out that nothing can save Life on the planet, war will break out with nukes raining down on the US for what they’ve done, and what I didn’t warn them enough not to.

But nothing will help. Nothing can. It’s over. It’s the end. Maybe something will survive, but probably all water will evaporate from the planet and all that will be left will be a desert world with a hot atmosphere of methane and CO2 and H2O vapor. Even if the ocean still exists, it will be the only site where life remains, and whence life might emerge again some tens of thousands of years hence, when the atmosphere has cooled again. If you think this is alarmist and not going to happen, fine, don’t believe it. It won’t do you any good either way since the congress hasn’t the political will to do the drastic things that could be done that might save the world.

I feel like I can’t live with this understanding, this knowledge, this fear. I don’t want to be here when it happens, or when the angry mobs of terrorists and terrorist countries send their nukes towards us. I just want to be dead and gone. But I won’t do anything, not right now. I’m desperately afraid of what I know, and I feel like I can’t breathe, but I know it will pass, that I won’t be thinking this way forever. At least I hope not. I, too, will go back to living as if the situation were not as dire as it is, to forgetting that the world is at its end point. Because that’s the only way I can live. Otherwise, I’d have to end my life, the despair would be too much for me.

Posted by pamwagg at 08:07 PM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2007

New poem


I bought an umbrella, ridiculously expensive,
because it makes me happy on rainy days
to walk under blue skies, white clouds, pensive,
nylon to be sure, but with wood-tipped stays,

a wooden shaft and handle, yes, you have to
open it with “both your two hands.” I love
the surprised look of friends, when I laugh to
hand it over, black and no different above

from any other until opened and voila!
Somebody told me that if you like rain
you have a depressed personality. Ha!
What if you just like umbrellas? Mainly

I owned three that I bought at a thrift store
a red plaid old manual, pleated accordion,
used and loved till it leaked at every pore;
a pocket umbrella for rain that was sudden.

My third was regular, outsize and black.
I never liked it, it caught just about
every damn wind, pulled and pushed me right back
and in the least breeze, it turned inside out.

“Bumbershoots,” is what a friend used to call them
the French, “parapluies” for rain, and in Spain
for waters “paraguas.” Swahili: mwavuli,
Hungarian: esernyõ, Russian:зонтик

If black weren’t the only acceptable hue
if only umbrellas we chose in a range
of styles and fashions, personalities, moods,
see, the look of a city in rain would change.

The mood of a city in rain would change too.
You can’t look like a circus, behave funereal!
It’s time to recycle your black paraplu--
umbrella, that is, pick out colors that heal.

The next time a rainy day threatens my humor
I’ll fight it with humor I’ve thought of instead.
That steel clouds have linings of shining's no rumor:
I’ll walk in the rain with blue skies overhead.


I don't know if you noticed, but the whole poem above is in rhymed quatrains or four-line stanzas, with a rhyme scheme through out of abab. Of course, the meter is not rigid, and the line breaks keep the pace from sounding clunky or end-stopped all the time, so you don't notice it much, but it's there. You only really notice it, by design, in the last, and maybe the first, stanzas.

It feels good to be back writing poetry after almost a month away from it. I've been so busy with other things and people that I haven't had a chance to sit down and try to write creatively in that long.

I need to curb Karen's enthusiasm for social encounters as she tends to come up here and plop hereself down with a diet soda and stay and stay. And I dunno how to tell her not to, that I'm working and don't want to be disturbed. She CLEARLY does not consider my writing to be important, or she wouldn't interrupt it the way she does. Or insist that we stop for an hour and a half lunch when we are out doing errands that could take only an hour but end up taking three because of it. She tends to have little to do, and enjoys being with people, so I guess she doesn't much care that she sucks time away from others, who might in fact have other things to do. I find it unconscionably selfish of her, barging in with a soda when she is just returning a book, and STAYING! And to not respect my writing, that also upsets me. It's bad enough that she didn't bother to read my book, which she said was to give me provacy, but which I suspect was because she couldn't be bothered. She is never afraid of gossip or to get the dirt on anyone. She doesn't shy away from getting any personal information and would love the info in the book, if it didn't mean reading it. That's bad enough. But now she wants to stop me from writing at all! SHE used to write, and write well, but gave it up. Could she be jealous?

Oh I'm just being bi-chy but I am really and truly irritated with her. Anyhow, I'll get over it, I know. I just don't want to go out with her again soon, because she'll make errands an all-day trip yet again and I don't want to do that.

Joe is holding his own, though his voice continues to deteriorate. He sleeps all night with the BiPap machine on now, which is really good as he needs it. And he mostly eats soft foods as he can't really chew hard things anymore. Thick soups and things like creamed spinach seem to be what he most likes, though I think he can eat a soft meatloaf or omelet still. He doesn't seem to have too much trouble actually swallowing, except for thin liquids, which make him cough. And his strength is reasonably good, though his balance is not so. I think he still has a while yet before he becomes noticeably disabled, except for his speaking ability, which may go fairly soon, devastating loss as it is bound to be.

It is going to be pretty awful, the day he stops speaking altogether, though that may not be how it happens. It may be a slow transition, with him using the speaking program some of the time, and talking as much as he can be understood, other times. I don't know, and can't predict. I don't know if his voice will "die" slowly, or go abruptly one day. They say a muscle can suddenly give way and the person collapse, if it is a major leg muscle for instance, so I imagine that can happen with speech and the tongue. As Joe says, it is a journey, an adventure, and we have to stay upbeat about it, be as optimistic as we can. He is still planning to live past the three year mark, which would put him in the league of those who survive up to ten years. I think if optimism counts, he can make it if anyone can! :)

Posted by pamwagg at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)

Reminder of Other Readers' Blogs

A M wants to remind people to visit her site. In an e-mail to me she writes: The blog is titled Light Out of Darkness . It is about living with manic depression and its consequences and trying to write through the pressures of rapidly changing moods and thoughts.

In an early entry, A wrote: This journey is about illness. Illness as a narrative, illness as identity, and re-creating one's life of health and wellness all the while faced with long-term illness of popping a pill everyday. I am a diagnosed manic depressive. The beginning happened with a mental breakdown in college in 1996. I spent two years in and out of the psyche ward and elite mental hospitals, on and off an array of medications, and in and out of college. I eventually graduated with a degree in journalism/english and landed my first job at a small newspaper in my home state...

About Kate K's blog, Yin and Yang, she writes: Morality is a key stance of the I Ching. And truthfulness is the basis for every virtue. What troubles we encounter are just a part of the learning process and can be directed towards the good in every instance if one is willing and respectful. The I Ching gives a dynamic base from which to deepen one's faith in the greater good, in oneself and others. It requires a lot but also gives a great deal.

Though I 've studied the I Ching on and off for several years, I am only now beginning a serious study of it and this is part of what I want to write about in this blog. And Yin and Yang as the principle of duality seems to be a good jumping off point for a whole range of topics.

Yayaknitting's blog Mindadvocate at has a lot about all sorts of things and here is a listing of the categories, which should give an indication of this:
* Community
* Family Life
* Health Care Reform
* Knitting Therapy
* Mariah
* Mental Illness
* Other Conditions
* Poet, Leonard J. Cirino
* Poet, Pam Wagner
* Politics
* Religion
* Resources

I know I've forgotten other people's blogs, so do write me and I will add them to the list! More later on today.

Posted by pamwagg at 08:24 AM | Comments (1)

January 06, 2007

Addendum to Yesterday's entry

Say it costs the chemical companies $1-$2 to produce 500 grocery bags, which I hate to say but that may be all it takes. Still, think how many grocery bags a large store uses, at least millions a year. Multiply that by the number of stores there are that use plastic bags, Walmart and all such stores included, and you can see why stopping the use of them could save quite a bit of oil as well as reduce a lot of landfill and unsightly litter.

If stores charged for the bags, to discourage their use, as many countries in Europe do, you'd better believe those pennies would add up to a hefty sum we'd be giving to Stop and Shop or whatever your local market is called. If the bags were also taxed a penny each, think of the revenue to the country! That I might go along with! Whichever you prefer, you'd pay someone, either the store, the country or both.

Even though we seem now to get the bags free, the stores do not, and what they pay for them is reflected back to us in the form of higher priced goods. We could pay less if we didn't demand free bag. So buy your string or net bags and carry them in the car at all times, or keep them near the door in your house, so that whenever you go shopping anywhere, you can bring a couple along and when the cashier starts putting your items in yet another plastic bag, you can tell her or him, "No bag please, I have my own."

A minuscule step I know, and one that seems unlikely to make much of a dent in our problems, but just think what billions of bags NOT used would add up to. If we did this for many small problems, we could perhaps do as much in terms of conservation and reducing our hydrocarbon use as any large step. More later!

Posted by pamwagg at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2007

Saving Money and Saving the Environment

Global warming is real, and anyone who lives in New England can feel it this winter, with above 50 temperatures virtually all of December, since the 9th, which was the last day of cold weather, and near the high 50s yesterday. It would have been even warmer today -- perhaps it was, but I did not go out later on -- had it been sunny. We have not seen snow, not even flurries, not once. And so far as I know, no big change is predicted for the near future. This is very scary to me, having worried about global warming ever since it was first discussed in the 70s, when we were warned what would happen. We were told that southern New England would have a climate much like Washington DC did then (which would itself be more like Georgia) and lo and behold, what are we seeing today? Global warming comes from greenhouse gases which largely comes from our use of fossil fuels, gas and oil and coal, which is now being used even more than ever in this country, because we have a huge supply of it. Plastic is made froom oil, and while it doesn't produce greenhouse gases unless burned, making it does, and it does contaminate the environment with plastic garbage everywhere. We need to reduce both our energy use, esp. electricity from coal-fired electric plants, by using fluourescent bulbs, and reduce our dependence on oil by recycling plastics or reducing our use of them altogether.

But I cannot convince doubters; the willfully blind will remain blind because they want to, not because there is no evidence. (Just like W.) For the rest of you, the following fact that Joe pointed out to me might be of interest: he bought tall kitchen garbage bags for a certain price and discovered that each bag came to approximately 10¢. Since that is a 10¢ equivalent of oil (plastic being a wholly oil-based product) or electricity, you could translate it to half a kilowatt hour, if a kilowatt costs approximately 20¢ these days (it used to be 10¢ but we are estimating a doubling of that now). So the use of 2 garbage bags, or say around 8-10 grocery bags, is equal to a kilowatt hour of energy, which is 1000 watts, or ten 100 watt bulbs burning for an hour. If you use fluorescent 100 watt equivalents, that is 37 watt bulbs, you have more than 2 and a half times that. Think about it -- what you could save on your electricity bill and on the environment if you used fluorescents, and stopped using plastic grocery bags and purchased a string bag or used one of the many tote bags we all have lying around, sometimes gotten for free at a conference or meeting. I have a total of 3 NAMI bags from NAMI conventions and I never mind advertising NAMI when I go shopping.

Not using kitchen garbage bags is problematic though, at least in Connecticut, where by law you must place all trash in plastic grabage bags that tie at the top before the trash collectors will pick it up. Even here in my building we can't put unwrapped garbage and trash down the compactor chute (sp?).

A few more ideas: For the last 25 years Saint Jude's Ranch, a non-profit youth home, has operated a holiday card reuse program. The ranch provides counseling and opportunities for troubled youth. The kids operate a business taking used greeting cards, neatly cutting off the front covers, gluing on new back covers, and selling the result. The kids earn money, and gain experience and a sense of purpose.

The St. Jude's program has been such a success that they don't need any more cards, ever! They have millions. But you can buy the cards, helping them, and helping to close the recycling loop. Here's the link: (Dunno why it keeps repeating itself but hopefully one will take you there!)

Unwanted Household Goods (small appliances, tableware, clothing, furniture, toys, sports equipment, children's books, white elephants, etc.)

Your unwanted household items can have a life again if you donate them to charity. Organizations such as Goodwill Industries will take your donations, sort and sometimes repair them, and resell them in thrift shops nationwide. Broken items are fixed, and scrap materials (like worn-out textiles) are sold for recycling. Goodwill provides jobs and job training for tens of thousands of people who would otherwise have trouble finding work. In 1994 alone Goodwill assisted 25,000 people finding placement in the private sector, helping many people get off public assistance. Wash the clothing, and try to include manuals or brochures on appliances (especially if broken). Surf the net, scan the white pages or look in the yellow pages under "Thrift Shops" for a charity anddrop-off center near you.

Nonstick metal cookware and utensils can be refinished (See Fry Pan Man for one provider).

Another great option is the local repair shop. Don't expect to sell your old appliance, just give it to the shop for use as spare parts.

Here's a link to a great recycling site:

Again, if two links appear, as it looks like is going to happen from how it appears on my editing site, I hope one of them will take you there. If not, try putting the address in manually.

Finally, I am lifting, that is, STEALING, two sections from an opinion piece in the NYTimes, by an Eleanor Randolph, because she said it first and better than I could have. Please give her the credit.

"Christmas Trees. First, if you have a real tree, you get three stars. The argument against cutting down a tree for the holidays makes no sense, especially if the replacement is a plastic tree — i.e. a tree made from all kinds of unnatural and maybe toxic substances. In a few years, when this mock tree looks dusty and sad, it will have to be thrown away — and how much landfill space will that take? Christmas tree farms, on the other hand, keep large patches of land from turning into storage warehouses or highways. When the trees grow, they emit oxygen into the air. Best of all, when a real tree is finally past its glory, it can be recycled into lovely mulch. New York City, like many others, recycles trees for free, and for a few hours, those mulch machines can make whole neighborhoods smell unusually sweet.

"Stuff. Here is where recycling starts to become really important. Save any unusable or unreturnable gift to pass along to somebody else (in “Seinfeld”-speak: “regift” it). If you plan to do this, be sure to record the name of the giver when you receive it. This is so you don’t regift to the original gift giver, like my aunt once did to me. I think she said something like, “This just reminded me of you” when she handed over the silver tree ornament. Well, no wonder it did. At some point, I realized that it is entirely possible that she gave it to me before I gave it to her before she gave it to me. I decided to break the cycle, however long it was, by keeping it.

"Then, of course, there’s eBay, although you have to hope the giver doesn’t shop there. And if you can send the gifts back to the store, use shredded paper (credit card applications are excellent) not plastic peanuts.

"And finally, there is goodwill, where my own personal challenge is always to leave more things behind than I take back home.

II. Recycle Your Computer, Keep Your Secrets

"One of the hardest issues in recycling is what to do with computers — one that looms large right now, as people plug in the new computers they got for the holidays, and try to decide what to do with their newly obsolete ones. They shouldn’t go in the trash any more than a barrels of toxic dioxin should, because the monitors contain pounds of lead, a toxic substance that can poison groundwater near landfill.

"The best thing, of course, is to donate it to a school or a charity that could use an extra computer. But if it doesn’t work well enough for that, it should be recycled.

"Some manufacturers will help you out. If you buy a computer from Dell, the company will take care of recycling your old one. Many communities have set up special procedures, like New York City’s “recycling events” for electronics.

"There is, however, an underreported catch. The hard drive that you hand over to a stranger in a recycling T-shirt probably contains all sorts of personal information. That might include your private financial data, medical information, or stray bits of your personal life. Mine has letters to my husband and other people that I have written and never intended to mail.

"There are ways to scrub a hard drive clean. A really strong magnet would “probably make it very tricky” for anyone else to dig into all the embarrassing stuff, says Peter Eckersley, staff technologist at Electronic Freedom Frontier. An even surer route is to use a program to overwrite the disk a couple of times. As Mr. Eckersley explains, “Many geeks swear by a free open source program called Darik’s Boot and Nuke, or DBAN for short.” "

If anyone has other ideas on how to save a buck and save the environment, there are thousands more out there, do share them!

Posted by pamwagg at 07:14 PM | Comments (1)

January 04, 2007

From yesterday's notebook

"I saw Dr IZ the gastroenterologist today and he was okay. He had me weigh myself in private in the examining room then tell him the number (this was after a ten minute discussion of the presenting problem in his office right next door). Then he did a brief exam, told me to dress and meet him back in his office. When I opened the door and rounded the corner to enter the open door of the office, I saw two strange men inside: one in a sweater, sitting at the desk, and the other standing, talking to him. I hesitated. The one seated said, Come in, come in. Or someone did. I didn't actually see either one say the words, I was too busy trying to figure out who they were and panicking about whether I was actually in the right place. One of them, the man seated at the desk, seemed to be Dr Israel, but I didn't recognize him. The absence of a minute or two, and the change of rooms, had made me uncertain that the same person who had done the exam was here now. I had looked at him, had made eye contact. But it seemed to me that this man wore a sweater, and the other did not, and I simply could not tell that the two were the same! I could recognize him from the sweater now, if he wore it. That I remember, a black shawl collar button down. But his face remains a blur, for now at least. It always takes several to many meetings with a person for me to consolidate some sort of memory of them that will withstand changes of place and clothing and remain with me permanently. And if the interactions are only casual, I might not recognize that person out of context ever. Some receptionists I've seen, or suspect I've been seeing for years I still don't recognize, except that I know their names when they introduce themselves on the phone. I wouldn't recognize my dentist anywhere, barely recognize him IN his office, though I've been going to him for at least 8 years. THe hygienist I used to see, who just left, I have no inkling as to who she was or what she looked like, and I never was sure if I saw the same one each time, though apparently I did. There is one polish assistant I recognize within the office, because she calls me inside each time, and talks with me before the dentist enters. But I would not recognize her out of context. I suspect this is the case for most people but would love to hear from you whether it is or is not. Can you recognize a face after you've seen it once, twice, ten times, or perhaps you never recognize a face...which is more common a phenomenon that you might think. It must run in families, this sort of ability or lack thereof, as I know that my father has a similar difficulty with recognizing faces and even warns new patients that if they see him later on in a different context and say hello, he won't recognize them, though he will of course remember them as patients. He has told me the pithy line in which he encapsulates all this, but I'll be damned if I can remember it now! :)

The same Dr IZ didn't like my weight and weight loss over the year past and went looking for reasons for it, even though I told him it was simply from a lack of appetite and forgetting to eat. He did a number of blood tests, for diseases that are obscure and wholly impossible for me to have, and I told him so and why. But he did them anyway, plus various enzyme deficiency tests etc -- all on two tubes of blood. I only hope it is not extremely expensive as it was totally unnecessary.

I forgot completely to suggest that the Abilify could be taking away my appetite, largely because we didn't discuss the meds at all, not even in the context of my abnormal liver function tests or LFTs, which was rather strange.
I know that the Lyme doc was concerned about my weight in March 2006, after I'd been on Abilify for two and a half months, and that when I started it in January I noticed that along with helping me write write write, it seemed to curb, even obliterate my appetite. But my appetite had been getting less and less anyway for months, so the Abilify just put the final cap on it.

(An aside: Odd the effect that different atypical anti-psychotic drugs have on me, when they work. Zyprexa, while the drug from hell in certain ways, lets me read with enormous pleasure, concentration and understanding, but only while actively taking the drug. Once I stop it, my ability to read diminishes gradually as the drug gradually disappears from my system. Nothing, not even Ritalin for my narcolepsy, has ever given me what Zyprexa did in terms of sustained interest and moptivation, memory, and enthusiasm for learning. With one 10 mg dose, or less, 2-5mg if on Luvox which magnifies the effect, it all becomes passing easy. I'll bet even a PRN dose of Zyprexa would work, and be effective, but I doubt anyone would prescribe such a powerful and dangerous drug PRN! Now on Abilify the writing is easy, but reading is a big problem, and much harder to do: I can put out written inforamtion but can't take it in very effectively, though I do force myself to slog through as much reading as I can. It's a pity that I must force myself though. Reading shouldn't be a labor, it should be a labor of love!)

Back to appetite: I don't find food particularly distasteful. I just don't feel any urge to eat it, or any need to. I don't feel any hunger pangs or any signals at all to remind me that I need to eat. Yesterday is a case in point: I had prepared a meal, small but nutritious and hot, for myself and put it on the table, then went back to the fridge for something to drink. I got a can of selzer and took it recliner and sat down, preparing to start writing emails, completely forgetting that I had just made myself supper and was supposed to eat. That's the sort of ridiculous thing I mean. I did remember when something made me turn to see the plate on the table, but it was a close call! So even when I remember it is meal time, I can forget to eat what I make myself.

I had the liver ultrasound today. The technician, when I asked if everything looked normal, said she was seeing "some things," which might have "been there a long time or not." She was taking pictures of them for the person who reads the sonograms. I dunno what she was talking about. She wouldn't explain any further either, not to say it was fat or that it might have been anything else. Probably fat, my guess is. Since that's what everyone seems to expect. What that means, I don't know. But my impression is that it's nothing to be upset or even worry about.

Joe's car is on its last legs, so he's thinking about getting a wheelchair accessible van. This is well before he needs it, while he is still able to drive but as he in the market for another car, it makes sense to buy it now than buy a car and have to buy a van in a year or two. It also makes sense because once he needs it, and is unable to drive or otherwise get around on his feet, he'll be housebound until his wheels are available, which could take months, depending on what he gets and what he needs to have done to it. It's not all that pleasant a thought, his getting a van, on the one hand, because of what it means. On the other hand, Joe has ALWAYS wanted to have a van, and now he finally has an excuse to get one.

Welp, enough of this for now, I forgot breakfast and only had a little yogurt for lunch, and though I had supper, it was not enough to make up for the deficit, so I'd better go find something to eat now, before I have to go to bed on too few calories yet again. Hope I haven't made too many typos as I haven't proof read this time.

Posted by pamwagg at 08:13 PM | Comments (1)

January 03, 2007

A Book I'm Reading and more

A friend of mine, Leila, suggested I read THE BATTLE FOR GOD, by Karen Armstrong, a former nun (I believe) and now an historian of religion, especially for the three monotheisms, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In THE BATTLE FOR GOD, which I should have read after I read the first book, the HISTORY OF GOD, a more general study of the three religions, she takes on fundamentalism as it takes its form in each religion. Her observation is, from the outset, that for all their obvious differences, they are remarkably similar.

I read the introduction and am in the middle of the first chapter. I have to read it very slowly, because I keep getting distracted, despite underlining almost every other word in order to keep myself attending to the text. (Which helps, by the way, but makes rereading a real pain!) And because it is simply hard for me to read anything these days, hard to read because of some vague distress reading causes me that I find hard to define or explain. It doesn't feel good to me, mostly and I don't feel as excited by it, though I want to know the material. Occasionally I can pick up an easy novel and enjoy what I read if I can get into the swing of it, but even that is rare. But I'm going to slog through this as far as I can, because Leila loved it and says it is very much worth reading.

But before I get too far into the book, which no doubt has a lot more to say with a great deal more knowledge and discernment about fundamentalism than I, I wanted as I frequently do, to try to clarify how I feel and think about fundamentalism right now, with what I know about it now. So that I can compare it with how I feel after having read the book.

First thing I have to admit is that in general I find fundamentalists as a group, as an example of group thinking and ideology, chilling. I speak mostly of Christian fundamentalists here. I do not know much about Jewish or Muslim fundamentalist beliefs, though in fact I do perceive the quite similar results in terms of behavior in the outside world. I'm not talking about the little snake handling church in the Appalachians. I'm referring to the congregation of largely middle to upper middle class educated professionals, who pay taxes (grudgingly) and send their kids to Christian private schools or home school them so they are not sullied by the filth of the world and work as doctors or teachers or accountants or nurses by day, blending in more or less, until they start talking religion...

I find them chilling, one, because they wield so much power politically as the major component of the Religious Right yet lack all democratic impulses, lack a larger community spirit, except in their own little band of fundamentalists and display a singular void when it comes to compassion and helping those less fortunate than they. They don't believe they should pay taxes to support public schools when they send their children to private schools, they don't believe they should have to pay social security taxes because they will have plenty of money and won't need it. They certainly don't believe the government should be in the business of helping the poor. Let them get jobs or let's resurrect the old poor houses for them. They are lazy, that's all. I worked my butt off to earn my money, they all say, if I can do it, anyone can!

I know, this doesn't sound very religious, and it isn't, but it goes hand in glove with the religious fervor of the Bible verse quoting that reverberates like a tennis ball volley. Back and forth, back and forth the ball goes over the net, each person "proving" her literal point by reference to a book that is largely couched in parable and poetry and other non-literal means of communication.

The fundamentalist believes he or she is saved, or otherwise somehow among the elect, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, and doesn't much care about those who are not, or if she does or he does, cares only insofar as they must convert to the fundamentalist's beliefs posthaste, and in some cases there is an OR ELSE implied. Hell, sometimes it is pretty obvious: when the Taliban is threatening to stone any woman who wears white shoes or doesn't don a burka, it doesn't take much convincing to get her to put on dark shoes and cover up completely. Belief cannot be forced but fundamentalist practice can, and sometimes that is all that is necessary. A child who is taught by fundamentalist teachers, in a fundamentalist society, whose family is not allowed to talk about other ways of thinking (Afganistan), will most likely grow up fundamentalist. A child who is raised in a fundamentalist home in a society of free thinkers, who is sent to religious schools and shielded from worldly contact, has little chance to break out of the mold of fundamentalism, not at least while still living within that comfortable enclave.

The thing is, it is comfortable. You know who you are and where you belong, and you know where you are going i.e. to heaven or paradise or somewhere the sullied rest of the world won't deserve. If you are a woman you are by definition secondary to your husband, and must cook and clean and serve him, and dress modestly, perhaps covering your hair and face in public, if not your whole body. Even as a Christian you probably don't wear the slinky dresses of the world or the bare midrifts or the skin revealing styles, but more modest, less fashionable ones, and some churches even have dress codes that dictate what a female may and may not wear. You also know that your husband will be a good Christian (if Christian) and will not stray and take a mistress (hah!) or at least should not, but if he does that you must forgive him and start anew, because forgiveness is a holy virtue.

And so forth. In return for all that, God will reward you with good health and wealth and a fair amount of happiness, because you deserve it. But most of all, he will reward you with a place in heaven, either after you die or after the final battle, Armageddon, where you will go along with your friends, leaving your pagan enemies on earth or in hell to suffer and burn.

These are the sorts of things that fundamentalists have told me to my face, and with great seriousness. If I am not saved, they say, God will wash his hands of me. Jesus won't love me. I won't be welcome in heaven on the last day. On and on and on. But these are the same people who don't feel the slightest need to pay taxes so the government can help the poor or the elderly. Why should we pay for other people's X Y Z? they say. As if they aren't even part of a democratic community that looks out for each and every member, including them. Oh, I dunno, maybe the problem is that the upper middle class fundamentalist Christians I have met have all also been Republicans, and the two clearly meshed with poor and to me appalling results. But the limited, completely uncreative and rigid, hidebound even, thinking of fundamentalist religion just doesn't sit right with me. The spirit should not be fettered and chained; why else call it a spirit? The spiritual state to my way of thinking must also not be kept in chains but allowed the freedom to find out where it needs to be.

Enough for now. More when I have read more in this fascinating book.

I saw the gastroenterologist today and agreed to have a routine colonoscopy...ARGH! But he also wants to rule out certain reasons for my abnormal liver function tests and rule in what he thinks it might be, a fatty liver, which he says is a result of some people's glucose metabolism. It could go bad later on, so he told me, but is often quite benign. At this point I'm having an ultrasound tomorrow, and had bloodwork done today, which should tell him what he needs to know. I will get the results in two weeks. That's just about when the colonoscopy is scheduled for, so...Gawd, do I dread that. Anyone undergone this charming little procedure? Is it horrible? I've heard the preparation is the worst. He said I'd be asleep for the coloscopy itself and would not know or remember a thing, which is good. But I'm afraid of anesthesia, too, so I dunno which is worse, to be awake for it, or to have to be put out for it! Do they let you stay awake for it ever? Or would it hurt too much? Aah, I might as well take the anesthetic and sleep, but I'll fear it all the day before, right up until I fall asleep.

Posted by pamwagg at 08:53 PM | Comments (6)

January 02, 2007

Today started out on a down note when I weighed myself and found out I was at 94 I had to eat today whether I wanted to or not. I made a good start by having a rather unconventional and bad breakfast of an egg and french fries (leftover from supper), fries not being the sort of food I often eat. Though I'm wondering now why it is considered not good for you: is it because potatoes and vegetable oil have little nutritive value, beyond starch and fat, both of which I need? Or is it something that makes them actively bad for you? I dunno, and I can't think. Must ask someone. Because if it is the former, obviously I needn't avoid them after all! But in any event, I tend to prefer truly healthy stuff like whole grains and fresh vegetables -- a baked potato over fries any day for instance. I like very little meat, though I'll eat it if I am presented with it, but mostly I avoid it when I can... But where was I? I ate a decent breakfast, then took an involuntary nap from 10-noon. Though I wanted to do other things I simply couldn't stay awake. When I woke, I immediately started working on my tortoise, and finished the underside, at least the papier mache part, by four o'clock, forgetting lunch! Damn! By that time, I decided to have supper and not wait, then have a big snack around 8pm, which I did. Though I know I won't have gained any weight by tomorrow when I see Dr O, I did try to eat and feel I am on the right road to not losing any more.

During the making of the tortoise today, the little people voices were going haywire, ordering me to do this, do that, put paper here, put more glue mixture there. Once, they were telling me, as they do, about some domestic war that had broken out and how the crease and gap in the paper I had put on two days ago simply had to be concealed or the war would go very badly for them, so would I please cover it up with gluey paper immediately, several times, please? I started doing this, and had covered the spot twice, with them begging me to keep at it, when I realized that this was NUTS. They were just voices telling me that some fictitious war was going on on the turtle's stomach and I was going to follow their orders as if it were true? How long was I going to obey them?! So I stopped, and went back to the job that needed to be done, but the little people kept at it the entire four hours, begging me and telling me all about their lives and trying to cajole me into changing my mind and listening to them. Oh, listen I did. I had no choice. But I stopped doing what they told me to do until they finally stopped asking or telling me and returned to merely bickering with me or with each other.

I don't know what or who these little critters, these little people are. I mean, they don't feel scary, like the voices do. THey talk to me, and about me, yet don't nag or carp or say nasty things about me, and though they order me around, it is to help them, not to hurt me or anyone else. Despite what anyone thinks, I am really rather, well, not fond of them, because they are rather annoying when they start getting me off track when I want to be doing something else and find myself responding to them. But I am not trying hard to rid myself of them either. I feel kinda sorry for them, like they need a home, and who better to provide it than me, since I am already used to them. If they didn't have me, they'd have to find someone else, and that person might not greet such interruptions with equal equanimity. For me, as you can all imagine, after what I've been through, the little people are nothing, they are, as the French say, "tres amusante." [very amusing]

How is everyone's New Year starting out? How were your holidays? Do write in to tell us all if you feel like it. They don't have to have been great or successful. If they were a downer, it can help to vent and you can do it here. Please feel free to use my comment section in any way you wish, except for flaming of course.

I realize this is a short entry but I'm going to have to stop here, at least for now. I didn't write poetry for two weeks, because of the busyness of December, and I'm itching to get back to it. And although I didn't formally announce it, my informal NYR, is to write here every day. Somedays, therefore, it may only be a paragraph at best. I may decide in fact that such a requirement is so grueling that it is affecting the quality of my entries and have to cut back in order to have some time off. But for now, that's what I'm going to try to do. In January, at least.

Posted by pamwagg at 07:58 PM | Comments (1)

January 01, 2007

New Year's Reflections

January 1, 2007, a new year. Last year around this time, I was just starting to take Abilify and having trouble adjusting to it, though noting even then that it helped me write and seemed to take away my appetite. This year, I'm in the middle of arranging a poetry book manuscript for another press, this one Femto, which has a series on books by and about those suffering from serious chronic illness, including the "psychological". I am also in the midst of apartment chaos because I am creating a very large papier mache turtle in my small kitchen, which means that little else can be done there and everything in it has had to be moved out (cat dishes and recycling bins, for instance, are now in the living room).

Last year I felt anxious and iffy, not sure how well the transition was going. This year I feel quite well, the voices being absent and the music almost gone. Only the little people come around to bother me, which they mostly don't: we have come to an agreeable peace with each other such that I mostly don't mind if they talk to me or to one another so long as they don't distract me from what I'm doing. I don't even deal with the shopping paranoia, esp at the grocery store, anymore as I order groceries and most other items over the Internet and have them delivered. So all in all, at the start of the year, things look pretty good.

What about Joe? Well, we got him his Voice, computer-synthesized, from a place called that specializes in communication for those who have lost their ability to speak. The one he chose, "Mike16" sounds terrific. It is a completely computer-generated voice, but is nothing like Stephen Hawkings, who does not need to sound as robotic as he does, but probably chooses to because he is now recognizable as the man with that strange voice. But Joe's Voice is very, very human-like, and on the phone could almost fool you, not quite, as it lacks certain human qualities of intonation and expression, but it certainly is understandably "human" speech.

Now he has to practice getting used to using it, which will be hard for him to do as he never likes to do anything he doesn't absolutely have to...and so he probably won't practice...not until it isn't practice but by necessity and will get a baptism by fire. There's nothing to be done about that, though. I can't nag and it wouldn't do any good even were I so inclined. Joe just gets entrenched in his habits and patterns and won't do anything different once he has set his mind on a course of action or inaction. It's a big flaw, but there's nothing for it but to let him suffer the consequences. What else can I or Karen possibly do in this case? It is not anything we can do for him this time.

The next time they go up the the Clinic, Karen and Joe, I also hope they will be bringing back the handheld AAC device, the speaking machine, that he can bring with him to the store and bank etc. Places where a laptop would be too unwieldy. He'll need that too, and needs to practice with it but won't, for the same reasons. Then there is the simple whiteboard and marker he should get, for easiest quick communications. That probably takes no practice, except that Joe's handwriting is atrocious, as is his typing by the way, which makes practice on his laptop and AAC device all the more imperative. Argh! What's the use of harping on it. He won't do it, and that's just how it is gonna be.

A year ago, Joe was "fine." That is, he didn't know he was already sick, was told only that his speech problem was a side effect of his meds, which I said then was a load of malarkey. Anyhow, he had this mysterious slurring of his speech, but nothing else seemed to be wrong, so we weren't worried, not then at any rate. We had celebrated my first Christmas with the family in 35 years up in Northampton at my younger sister's house and had spent a quiet New Year's Eve, going to bed early as usual. This year, "we" meant Karen and Joe and I spending Christmas with my family, which was fine, and again no New Year's Eve bash for Joe and I, both of us so exhausted from the holidays that we went to bed early.

So what of the year to come? Well, of course, no one knows, no one can predict. So they make New Year's Resolutions that they can predict they will fail at. Should I join them, just for the fun of it? Resolve to do something I know I'll fail to do? I should say not. What's the point? If you know you will fail at something, you are a masochist to set yourself up for failure, especially if it is a matter of the self-discipline you ought to have but you know from past experience you don't. Because then you just feel bad or worse about yourself than you did before: Look at me, I just did such and such and broke my NYR to boot. What a failure I am. I'll always fail at this no matter what I do!

It seems to me that if you resolve to do something, as opposed to aiming for an uncertain goal, resolve, say, to exercise for 30 minutes every day, or to quit smoking cold turkey, starting New Year's Day, you are saying I will do this OR ELSE...Whereas if you acknowledge that the goal is perhaps not attainable yet, though a good goal to aim for...Oh damn, that's not what I mean at all!

"Man's reach should exceed his grasp." That's what my mother always used to tell us. You should aim or reach for something far higher than you could ever attain, and keep trying to reach it, because that way you'll keep going further and further. In the end, the goal isn't the point so much as the growing. I never understood this saying until just now, though. I would always argue and say that it should be that man's grasp should exceed his reach, not really understanding what the difference between the words meant or too confused by the pithiness of the statement to "get it."

This is so much more important than a NYR (new year's resolution) made and broken within the month of January. Whether the impossible goal is to take the meds or to keep a job or to recover completely or to reclaim your Life or help someone else do these things, or something much much grander (I aim to become a major poet) may all of us reach toward the stars and though we can never get there, keep trying, keep trying.

Posted by pamwagg at 07:19 PM | Comments (3)