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#Parkland #NeverAgain

24 Mar

It is 6 a.m. in Los Angeles.  The crazy kitties woke me an hour ago.  It is still dark and quiet, except for the chorus of migrating songbirds.  And I am awake.  Woke as they say.  About guns.  About gun violence.  About the facts.  Moved by the Parkland kids who should not have to be the ones doing all the work.  I walk with them, today, March 24th, I put this banner on my balcony as we all March for Our Lives.

neveragain

Gramma Carmels

Carma is an American poet and author, publishing a variety of ebooks under her maiden name, C.Y. Dillon, and under Carma Chan to honor her Chinese stepdad. Her grandkids call her Gramma Carmels.

Why I Advocate for Medical Marijuana

22 Mar

medicalmarijuanaI write this here today for my teenage granddaughters.  Advocating for medical marijuana to be legal in the world is important to me because:

1) My best friend Patty successfully avoided opioid addiction by using marijuana for pain management.

2) My daughter–your mother–was referred to a CBD clinic by her oncologist and it helped.

3) I watched a documentary series called Weediquette, in particular the “Stoned Vets” episode about relieving PTSD symptoms so our wounded warriors can function better at home–something I personally care about because your momma’s daddy, my first husband, M. Arndt, suffered tremendously from PTSD.  He was arrested for possession of marijuana, which triggered the crisis that tore us apart.

4) In 2016, I stopped using Zoloft and started using medical marijuana to calm my nerves.  I have struggled in ignorance with depression most of my life.  In 1993, I was diagnosed with PTSD, and started using Zoloft to treat the constant anxiety I felt because of many traumatic experiences that happened to me, starting in childhood, in my teen years, and into my life as a young adult.  Finally, when your Uncle Keath nearly died in the womb but was born three months early, and for 73 days I visited him in the NICU and witnessed horrors happen to other families too, it changed me forever.

5) Research and reports of cases about babies and seizure control–cases where placebo effect cannot explain away results–have further convinced me.

These are the core reasons I follow and read news such as this Forbes article about the U.S. Congress proposing a bill to protect medical marijuana from Jeff Sessions.

First, I want to talk about why Jeff Sessions’ name appears in the title.  Sessions hates marijuana and refuses to see any medicinal value, even though it has been scientifically proven effective in treating seizures and many other problems.  Marijuana is currently listed as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance.  That means, according to federal law, nobody has the right to use marijuana for any reason at all.  Even if their doctor prescribes it–it is illegal to prescribe it, it is illegal to research it, it is illegal to grow it, distribute, or use it.  “But Gramma Carmels,” you might say, “it has been legalized in many states!”  True.  Voters in many states have moved to legalize it for medical use, but it is still breaking a federal law and can be prosecuted in a federal court by a federal law enforcement agent, such as a U.S. Attorney–the public servants whose focus and priorities are directed by Sessions.

Sessions, as the U.S. Attorney General, could have decided to let it be, to let the states’ laws rule in their land, but instead, he has declared war on medical marijuana.  He is actively trying to enforce the federal law banning all marijuana use, disregarding the U.S. Constitution’s provision for States Rights.  What makes that especially wrong is that Sessions, in other matters of law and order, has been an advocate for States Rights–when it comes to matters he personally favors, but when it comes to medical marijuana, he tramples on States Rights.  That is a classic example of hypocrisy–saying you are for something and your actions say the opposite.  He is either for States Rights or he is not.

The reason this matters is that, as long as marijuana remains on the Schedule 1 list, universities and scientists in America cannot study it.  That may be too simple or too broad a statement, but basically that is the fundamental problem.  In order to really get the research needed to discover and prove all of the potential medical uses, marijuana must be removed from the Schedule 1 list.  Until that happens, we are relying on the research of the international community, and fortunately, countries like Israel and Germany are leading the way.

I hope this helps to provide some light as you make up your own mind about how to vote for your future.

Gramma Carmels

Carma is an American poet and author, publishing a variety of ebooks under her maiden name, C.Y. Dillon, and under Carma Chan to honor her Chinese stepdad. Her grandkids call her Gramma Carmels.

Putin’s Odd Bluff

3 Mar

I woke up this morning wondering why our president has said nothing in response to Putin’s wild claim to have super-duper nukes against which no one on Earth can defend themselves.  Why–and how–could Trump remain silent?  Absolute silence.  Mum.  Nada.  Not one word.  Not a tweet.  Why?

Furthermore, I wondered if anyone had said anything–did any world leader react?  I have been watching and reading the news since the Winter Olympics ended and there is nothing much else (unless you like soaps) to watch…and I couldn’t recall a single reaction.

Vladimir PutinPutin stood up and said to the world that he has an invincible nuclear missile system, and his little animated video game showed what looked like Florida as its target.  Why Florida?  It left me wondering.  But before I get to these musings, I want to pause and thank @haltman for his article in the Tampa Bay Times, Why did Putin target Tampa Bay?

After a cup of coffee, I opened my Google News feed and searched ‘Putin’.  One of the headlines found was Fox News featuring the opinions of Condoleezza Rice.  Now, I am not a fan of Fox News, but I do tune in from time to time to see what they’ve got to say about certain things–I do not want to live in a bubble, so I do look into what they’re highlighting.  Usually, I do not fall for their click-bait, but today I clicked, on Condoleezza Rice mocks Putin over ‘absurd’ missile threatsScreen Shot 2018-03-03 at 7.30.08 AMNot only am I genuinely interested in Ms. Rice’s viewpoints, I found it curious that this was the only headline I saw where any leader, or former world-stage leader, had anything to say in response.  Isn’t that odd?

The North Korean leader announced he has an ICBM with a nuclear warhead that can reach Chicago, and there is a reaction, not only from our president, but from other world leaders.  Putin stands up and claims Russia can take out anyone anywhere and there is nothing they can do to stop it, and … crickets.  Oh, except Ms. Rice, a former U.S. Secretary of State, calls him out.  That’s hilarious!

Still, it gnaws on my imagination … why and how could Trump be silent?  He seems incapable of restraint unless there are dire consequences hurting himself.  What has Putin got on him?  In 2013 Trump hosted the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow (and was paid $12M for it).  Following that he gushed like a starstruck kid gazing at a teen magazine.  Then when confronted with questions about Russians helping him to win the election, he back-peddled and said he didn’t know Putin, never talked to him, had no business with Russia.  Now, Putin threatens the U.S. and Trump is mum.  It’s odd.

Putin’s bluff itself is odd.  But here is what is more odd:  Putin seems comfortable gambling that Trump would not call him out.  Isn’t that peculiar?  What makes Putin so comfortable making public threats against the U.S.?

The whole thing is peculiar.  The leader of Russia stood up and basically said, ‘We have the power to obliterate the U.S. and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.’  And the leader of the U.S. said…not one word.

 

Donald Trump

 

Thankful To Be Safe And Well

23 Nov

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It has been 45 days since we fled for our lives and watched in horror from a hotel room as television news crews witnessed entire communities, including ours, burn to the ground.  I can never forget those feelings.  Now, on Thanksgiving Day, I am overcome with amazement and gratitude that we are safe and well.  If my husband had not awoken as early as he did, if he had not investigated why it smelled like a campfire, we might have been among those who were trapped by flames on all sides.

Today we do not care about turkey or feasting or bargain hunting.  Today we paint.  We powered through the emotions, pushed and pulled through financial hurdles, and found a place to call home, and yesterday at 5:30pm we received the keys to our next adventure.  Together.  Safe and well.

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Tomorrow we get WiFi and lots of little touches that make it Home.  Saturday we check out of the hotel that has been our temporary shelter, and introduce our three kitties–who are also noticeably thankful to have survived that wretched night!–to their new safe haven.  Sunday we wake up at home.  Home.  It has a whole new depth of emotion associated with that word, that sound in my head.  Home.  Home Sweet Home.

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Giving Thanks for a New Home

19 Nov

newhome

Week Six

It was evident within days of the firestorm that destroyed our community that living in Santa Rosa was no longer an option.  The issue of affordable housing had already been a factor in the region, and with multiple disasters hitting the U.S. in September and October, a sudden shortage of new construction materials would mean higher prices and longer waits.  Compound that problem with the necessity of City and County reorganizing and rethinking how best to rebuild, and now you’re talking years before we can return to Santa Rosa.  Our decisions had to be made immediately and would impact the rest of our lives.  For me and my husband, it made sense to return to SoCal.

We are fortunate in that I can work anywhere via internet and my husband can find work in any major city.  At first we considered San Diego because my husband’s son lives there and we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation in that sunny, breezy, beach city.  The other idea was to invest in a condo near California State University in Long Beach because my son is transferring there in 2018, and since I promised to help him through college, this was the most practical location.  It was with some trepidation, however, that on October 23rd we signed a contract with our future and opened a 30-day escrow period; tomorrow we sign loan documents to seal the deal, and on Wednesday we will have the keys.

This year on the fourth Thursday of November, we will begin moving into the top/front unit in the building shown above–the one with the beautiful arched window over the balcony.  Donations from co-workers, friends and family combined with a partial insurance payout buffered most of the loss, and pulling a chunk out of retirement savings made our Thanksgiving home possible.

Our joy is mixed with sorrow, however, while my husband’s Mom remains in dire straits.  Her insurance policy did not cover the full cost to move the mobile home, she still owes $19,000 to the bank, and reports of looting in our neighborhood have kept her on edge.  She has been very sick for two weeks, and has been staying in hotels or with friends for six weeks.  We hope she can sell her home soon and start over in a city near us that has affordable homes for retirees.

JEMHP-SaharaStIt has been a daunting post-traumatic period, cushioned by many acts of kindness and friendship.  Throughout this epic loss, the blessings of living in a civilized country have kept us from sinking into poverty and despair.  The firestorm would have incinerated the entire region were it not for thousands of brave people and the advantages of technology pushing back the flames.  We are most thankful that my husband awoke when he did, that our lives were spared, and that we did not lose everything.  ♥

Happy-Thanksgiving1beach
Image courtesy of LivePuntaMita.com

 

 

That’s a lot of rope!

4 Oct

Visiting the Maritime Museum was a highlight of a recent trip to San Diego.  Among the many interesting things to see there is the first European vessel to reach America’s west coast, the San Salvador, in 1542.

Sixteenth century technology is an intriguing sight.  While some may walk through a room like this and give it a few seconds to sink in, the amount of rope and what it took to make it, and all the different kinds and thicknesses of rope–that captivated me–and I invite others to pause and marvel.

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What materials were gathered, by whom?  Where were these materials found, and when were they first discovered as something that could be woven into a durable tool?  Whose hands created all this rope?  Imagine the magnitude of the labor, for this one ship.  Were these particular ropes crafted with the aid of man-powered machines, such as pulleys and levers?  How did they know how thick to make them–what was the minimum requirement for the load each type of rope was designed to bear?  What were each of these ropes here for?  The crew knew.  Do we still know all of this stuff?  Is this old technology lost?

It is really quite remarkable and worthy of contemplation.  I leave you with images that stimulate imagination…

President Trump Never Disappoints

15 Jun

One thing was certain after the 2016 campaign and election was over:  Donald Trump would become the most entertaining president of American history.  His legacy would be riddled with humorous moments.  Comedians everywhere would rejoice.  There would be no surprises, because he would be predictable in this aspect:  He would provide a fresh round of jokes daily.

amateur

Today’s joke is the Qatar debacle.  First, our amateur POTUS publicly stated “the nation of Qatar historically has been, unfortunately, a funder of terrorism at a very high level,” then turned around and sold them $12 Billion in weapons.

Moments like these cause great anticipation for late night shows for the 60% who disapprove of this amateur in office, who quietly smile and wonder about the self acclaimed “deplorables”… Embarrassed much?