Thursday, September 25, 2014

Say You Say Me

This song by Lionel Richie was written for the 1985 movie “White Nights” … yet the lyrics still speak to us today.
Wars, genocide, brutality, a new break-out of Ebola.  Kids in blankets lined up like burritos on the floor of a holding pen at the border.  War planes thundering in formation headed for Syria.
More wide-eyes newbies, all dressed to match, headed somewhere hard to pronounce.  Knowing some will not come back.  And those who do, indelibly marked for life.  
The rest of us watch, unable to do much, or even convince anyone to listen to our side.  We write, protest, vote … while those in charge ignore our pleas and implement plans to slay this latest dragon.  
There never seems to be a shortage of dragons.
It all reminds me of Frankie -- a classmate when I was nine or ten.  He wore braces on his legs; struggled to walk, let alone run.  We played games with teams where players were chosen.  Frankie was always the last one picked.
How cruel are kids?  How sad that so many of them grow up to be cruel adults, always bullying someone who is weaker.
Sooner or later, we’re all like Frankie:  picked last, dropped from the team, violated by someone bigger and stronger.  Wounded in one way or another.
Caroline Myss tells us there is a silver lining in this otherwise bleak picture:  “Wounds are the means through which we enter the hearts of other people.”
So once in a while, when you’re sure you’ve lost your way, someone comes along who takes your hand and whispers:  “ … believing who you are:  you are a shining star.”
On that note, Skagit Leeks is taking some time off to savor the peace and harmony of the Oregon Coast … where there are no dragons.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Man's Best Friend

**Note:  Some pictures are SEAL dogs posted by Chris Hagerman (  Others from facebook:  DoD MWD Breeding Program; Donna Culpepper Evans **

So much war, pain and suffering in the world at large.  Too much to take in and make any sense.  More fun to find distractions; focus on pretty words; savor sweet images.

It’s easier for us who have no skin in the game.  When we don’t even know the men and women fulfilling their missions, following orders for someone’s Game Plan.  The people who enlist have their own reasons.  They make a choice, knowing little about what they’re signing up for, but still … making a choice.
But then there are the dogs that are part of the rank and file.  They did not choose.  They are there to work.  Loyal, trustworthy, talented, with super skills and senses, and tireless energy and stamina.  Ready to serve.

The latest favorite canines for battle are the Belgian Malinois, smaller with more stamina than their predecessor the German Shepherd.  With short hair and intelligent faces.  Unlimited energy.  Amazing strength and endurance.
Even as puppies, the faces of the Belgian Malinois are so intent, eyes lit by intelligence, probably expecting there will be sheep to herd when they are older.

If one is a non-violent pacifist, with no personal investment in what has been decided, it is hard to be touched by the remoteness of it all.  Troops all dressed the same in deserts or rocky mountainous terrain, fighting enemies who all look alike.  It is hard to become engaged.

But then … the dogs.  They are another matter.  Those sweet intent faces.  Those willing spirits, filled with unconditional love for and trust in their human handler.

Searching out danger fearlessly, tirelessly.  Dropping from airplanes at unimaginable heights.  Never asking why.  Never doubting the importance of the “work” they do.
I cannot relate to the camaraderie among buddies in this group or that one.  Sharing stories, smokes, snacks sent from home.  Have no idea what goes through their minds as they travel on roads riddled with IEDs, closed up in armored vehicles.
But animals are different.  They know not what the ultimate mission is or why it matters.  They trust … protect … out-run, out-last … eyes open, ears alert, senses on high.

They fearlessly lunge into battle:  into the water; into the crowded marketplace; even falling through the sky attached to their handlers.  Without religious convictions or political opinions, their devotion to their handler and the assignment is pure.

And like their handlers, only some of them come home after a job well done.
"I wish that I could make you see that Heaven indeed is real.
If you could see me run and play, how much better you would feel.
But our loving God has promised me that when the time is right,
You'll step out of the darkness, and meet me in the light."
Last 4 lines of Poem written by Maureen Bauer



Friday, September 5, 2014

Got Pain? Get Mary Jane!

It turns out that “Pain” is the magic word in Washington State these days.  Just like with the duck on the old TV Show, “You Bet Your Life.”  Back then you got $100.  Today you get ever so much more.

So … Alice called the magic number (866 306 3210), made an appointment with the Verde Clinic, and showed up in Bellingham the next day.

“I have pain!” she said with a tremor in her voice when she walked into the room.
An hour later, she strolled out with her first prescription for medical marijuana … plus approval to grow 15 plants.  $95 and good for a year.  Less than the deductible on her MedAdvantage Insurance Policy!

Apparently her spiritual journey was taking a detour through Cannabis Country.
Since the abode she shares with Heinrich is still for sale (no doubt setting a record for # of days on the market), the Realtor nixed the growing of the plants inside as planned.

Instead, Alice will sign her approval to grow over to a licensed grower, called a “Budbroker.”  That exchange involves some kind of promising business proposition that she has yet to enter.
This little detour was turning out to be a lot more interesting than searching for the Path to Righteousness.

With prescription in hand, Alice perused the products at Top Shelf Medicinal Collective with the help of the owner, Jeff Clark.  He is knowledgeable, and his store is impressive, professional, and private.  And the new store is even located in Burlington.


Jeff explained how cannabis cannot only help with pain, but also nausea from chemo, depression, seizures, and a host of other ailments.

Alice told him she didn't smoke, and  has not had even a tiny toke in decades.

Fortunately there are a plethora of alternatives.  “Patients” can can eat it, rub it on, and even drink it.  So now, Alice has fearlessly plunged into collecting data and recording her research results.  The products below were purchased a week ago.

The deep muscle rub (pictured on the left) is a thick salve, and is an alternative to the creamy spray (pictured on the right).  Alice prefers the spray for her back and sore muscles and joints from aerobic walking.  The smell is pleasant and it works!

The Agave Tincture is another matter.  The taste -- said to be “earthy” – seems to her more like something grown in pig poop.

Alice had to mix it with some OJ and Sambuca just to get it down.  So far the results are questionable.  She much prefers a rub-on stick called “The Remedy.”

She also acquired edible forms of marijuana:  a brownie and some cannabis butter.

Alice ate the brownie over the course of a few hours.  Bottom line:  it gave her a headache ... but she didn’t much care.
Some of the butter – which also tastes vile -- will be used this weekend to bake biscuits.  So you’ll have to stay tuned for the results of that culinary effort.

The message Alice hopes to communicate at this point -- especially to senior citizens who have any kind of pain -- is give this stuff a try. 

It’s legal.  It’s safe if you start slow and assess tolerance and results along the way.  And it works!