Friday, February 10, 2023


For the past 20+ years I've lived with chronic pain. Now, I'm faced with having a few new additional pains added to all my other "normal" ones. Several months ago I injured my left shoulder doing yardwork. When the injury happened I knew immediately that I had done something to it, but failed to get it examined until November which was several months after the injury. My rheumatalogist order X-rays of both shoulders and an MRI of my right shoulder. I didn't realize until I went to get the MRI done that the order for the MRI was for the wrong shoulder. The facility wouldn't call my doctor and get a verbal change to the order, so I just went ahead and had an MRI done on my right shoulder.

Shortly after that I got an appointment with my primary care doctor because getting back into see my rheumatologist on short notice isn't an easy feat to accomplish. My primary care ordered a MRI for my left shoulder which revealed a complete tear of my rotator cuff, bone spurs and something wrong with my biceps. After jumping through all the necessary red tape to get cleared for surgery, my surgery was finally scheduled for February 20th. The results of the MRI on my right shoulder revealed tears in my right shoulderas as well.

Yesterday, my surgeon's office called to tell me that my surgery has to be postoned until April 3rd. This delay is due to the biologic (Skyrizi) I take for Psoriatic Arthritis. According to my rheumatologist surgery can safely be done 13 weeks after my last shot. Needless, to say I'm bummed out that the surgery had to be postponed. I was actually looking forward to putting it in my rear view mirror so I could address the other shoulder.

Chronic pain can be one of the most difficult things to accept and learn to live with daily. It can be a constant reminder of our physical limitations, making it hard to stay motivated and keep up with our daily lives and relationships. Pain can also affect our mental and emotional health, creating a downward spiral of depression and exhaustion. Fortunately, there are strategies we can use to help us accept our physical limitations and learn to live with pain. 

It's important to be aware of the signals your body is giving you and listen to them. I failed to do this initially when I first injured my shoulder. I tried to power through it hoping whatever was wrong would eventually heal and go away. It didn't! If you're feeling pain, don't try to push through it. Doing so can lead to further physical damage and more chronic pain. Instead, take a break and find out what is causing the pain. Pay attention to feelings of fatigue or low energy, as these can signal an underlying health condition or depression. Also, monitor your mood and be mindful of your reactions to stress or changes in your environment.

When listening to your body, pay attention to the little things that bring you happiness. Take time to relax, try something new, or just spend time with loved ones. These activities can bring joy into your life and give you energy. Achieving balance between your physical and emotional needs can help you better understand and accept your physical limitations. Connecting with yourself and your emotions will allow you to assess how different activities affect your energy levels and happiness. This may help you become more mindful of any potential triggers for depression or other mental health issues.

Additionally, staying active even if only for short periods of time will boost your energy levels and help keep depression at bay. Taking care of yourself in small ways each day such as going for a walk or reading a book can also contribute to overall happiness. Finally, seeking support from friends, family members, or healthcare professionals can make all the difference when trying to cope with physical limitations. Surrounding yourself with positive people who are understanding of your situation can help you stay motivated and supported during difficult times. 

Saturday, February 04, 2023


*Repost from November 3, 2014

From early childhood to present day I've always been a cat lover.  And over the course of my life, I’ve owned a variety of breeds. Since 1994 Himalayans have most graciously allowed me the privilege of living in the house with them and feeding them. I often told people they ate better than I did because the cat food they consumed is Science Diet @ more than $30 per bag. If you aren't familiar with the breed, Himalayans have Siamese markings called “points” and like Siamese cats, they're highly intelligent, have a melodious voice and beautiful blue eyes, but they unlike a Siamese cat their bodies and fur were of a Persian cat.  Although a lot of Himalayans have a face that look smooshed, my cats didn't carry that extreme characteristic.  A few characteristics I've always found to be fascinating with this breed is their love to pose and their need to act regal in all situations.   

This breed is not overly active, but they do like to play and be involved in whatever activity I'm doing. For example during my computer time, I always had company nestled around me in various spots. Draped on the tower when I owned a desktop computer, positioned on the stool next to my desk, strategically positioned on top of the printer and on the back of the sofa positioned behind where I sat, they all found a spot to best “help” me type.  Not only did they assist me at the computer, but they scrutinized all my activities and followed me from room to room. I had about a two minute window of time to return if I left before they'd seek me out where ever I was. If I went to the bathroom, they'd have to “bond” with me while I was in there. It was senseless for me to attempt having any privacy because they'd thump and cry at the door until I let them in. My bathroom time usually consists of grooming, petting and sweet talking them.  Too much togetherness just wasn't a concept any of them seemed to grasp. 

I first got involved with this breed in a breeder capacity. When my breeding days were over, I kept the mother and father along with two males from two different litters about a year apart from each other. My clan consisted of Dixie, a small tortie-point female, Beavis, a very large blue-point male and their two sons, Chewy, a large seal point male and Whitey (Dwight Cat), a beautiful flame point male who was a stereotypical "blonde" in every sense of the word.

Dixie was the resident schizophrenic who developed a strong dislike for her two sons who loved to aggravate her. When her space was invaded she lunged at the violator. The older she got the wider her personal space got.  It was comical to watch the males walk way out around her to avoid getting snapped at and/or bitten. Her "husband", Beavis was the only one she tolerated and allowed near her and although she appears to have a dislike for all other cats, she was always very affectionate towards humans and loved to talk to everyone and tell them about the horrible males she had to live with.  That sounds like a typical female to me! 

Beavis was a gentle giant with the softest little voice I’ve ever heard, yet his purr sounded like a loud motor boat. Beavis didn't need to be petted to purr. Sometimes merely looking at him or talking to him would trigger it. One of the funniest things Beavis would do is growl like a dog when someone would knock on the door or ring the doorbell.  He was definitely the Alpha male and at the very top of the pecking order in all feline matters.  He had a very gentle, loving demeanor, but about once a month he kicked ass to make sure everyone knew who was the boss!  What usually started out as him giving them a bath turned into a kitty wrestling match.  As soon as they'd tap out and show submission all would go back to normal until next time.  It was hilarious to watch 3 large tom cats give each other baths and no matter how old they got, Whitey remained the baby of the family and was treated as such by his entire family...humans included. 

Chewy (named after Chewbacca from Star Wars) reminded me of an Ewok not a Wookie when he was a kitten.  It didn't take him long to train me to his liking and he deemed himself “my cat”.  That position was his until the day he died from cancer.  He knew exactly how to get his point across and as long as I complied everything was all sunshine and rainbows. His loud voice freakishly resembled Chewbacca's voice. He did tricks like a dog and “flopped” on command.  Flopping consisted of falling over and landing with his head on my foot. The maneuver took skill and grace and was funny to watch.  Chewy never learned to purr until he was around 7 and when he finally did learn it was in an erratic, unnatural pattern.   It was something he never got the hang of doing, but that was okay because he after all was Chewy.

Whitey was the baby of the family and the cat Chewy picked out to keep. When Whitey was just a small kitten Chewy kept separating him from the other kittens as the time grew near to sell them.  He tended to Whitey like a mother cat would and never stopped mothering him even when he became an adult cat. Instead of selling Whitey, I kept him because that's what Chewy wanted and Chewy always got everything he wanted.  Whitey was very vocal from an early age and has a wide range of cries and noises he made. His most memorable sound sounded like he was saying “momma”.  This was cute except at 2 am when he got on a rant and would tear through the house running upstairs and downstairs crying for “momma”. Whitey also loved to be “spanked” and talked while he received a spanking.  His favorite "spank me, baby" tool was the back scratcher I keep on my desk.  I would gently spank him and he would tell me all about it with such fervor.

Last night, Whitey passed away at the age of 18.  His mother, father and brother who had died several years ago had been cremated and their ashes had been stored in my closet until they were all buried together early this morning.  

Gratitude Statement: Yes, I'm extremely sad right now, but I feel blessed because these four filled my life with such love and joy for so many years.  They are and always shall be the cats who loved me. 

Friday, January 27, 2023


I've never written much about the military. It's not because I'm anti-military. Yes, I've been known to protest a war or two in my younger years, but NEVER the military. One can be against a war campaign, yet still be patriotic and be in favor of having a strong military.  My problem has always been with the politics behind the wars and the needless loss of life. These things have to be closely dissected in order to be completely understood.  Let's face it, politicians can be a pack of deceitful losers and suckers themselves and they get us involved in all sorts of shady things that we'd we better off leaving at the front door.  Do weapons of mass destruction ring a bell? What a costly mistake that was!

All three of my older brothers proudly served in the military and I thank each of them for their service to this country.  My father served during WWII in the South Pacific, but I'm afraid his service included more shenanigans than it did service. His father served in WWI, but I know very little about that side of my family, so I don't know anything about the capacity in which he served, but I don't think he served overseas. I have an uncle who was in the 1942 Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean during WWII.  He was on USS Barton, a destroyer that was cut completely in half by the Japanese.  My great uncle, Waldo "Wardie" Ingalls was one of the "losers" who survived that horrific battle. Forty-five years later my great uncle was laid to rest in 1987 at the age of 69.

As the story goes:
At approximately 1:30 am, both sides finally made visual contact with each other as the first Japanese ships emerged from the squall line only 3,000 yards away from the entire US formation. Despite the Americans having steamed directly into the middle of the Japanese force, neither side opened fire for almost ten minutes as they passed by each other, with the Japanese ships enveloping the American battle column as they emerged from the darkness in three separate groups. In the second position of the rear, US Destroyer van USS Barton began to train her deck guns and torpedo tubes on several Japanese ships in her immediate area and awaited the order to open fire from the flagship. At 1:48 am the order to open fire was precluded when Akatsuki lit its searchlights onto the cruiser Atlanta, causing both sides to immediately open fire on each other and starting the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
Now fully enveloped by Japanese battle lines, Barton and Monssen steaming astern, broke to the northwest into the main group of Japanese ships while firing at point blank range on nearby Japanese destroyers and making violent maneuvers to avoid collisions with both friendly and enemy ships in the melee. Barton had just fired a full spread of torpedoes at the battleship Hiei when the light cruiser USS Helena appeared suddenly out of the darkness and cut directly across the bow of Barton. Making an emergency stop to avoid colliding with Helena, Barton found herself at a dead stop as her engineering crew tried to get her engines back into gear to get her moving again. However, before she could get underway two 'Long Lance' torpedoes fired by the Amatsukaze slammed into the midsection of Barton; one in her boiler room and one in her engine room. The massive explosions broke the Barton in two, and both sections sank only minutes after the first torpedo struck, carrying with her 164 men: 13 officers and 151 of her crew. Forty-two survivors were rescued by USS Portland and twenty-six by Higgins boats from Guadalcanal.
I have another great uncle, John Nichols IV who served in World War II. His military story goes like this:

John went to 2 years of High School in Harrington, Maine before he shipped out as a Merchant Marine. He consigned on iron ore freighters in the Great Lakes before he journeyed on ships traveling back and forth to Europe, across the Atlantic Ocean, transporting war time supplies. His father encouraged him to stop shipping because merchant ships were war time targets, so he decided to join the US Army in December of 1943. He was sent to the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre. He was a Buck Sergeant, serving in the 24th Infantry Division where he was Squad leader in charge of 28 men operating 30 caliber Browning machine guns. He was awarded a Campaign Ribbon with Bronze Service Arrowhead, a Philippines Liberation Ribbon with Bronze Service Star, a Good Conduct Medal, a Victory Metal, a Combat Infantryman Badge, an American Campaign Ribbon and 2 Purple Hearts during his service. John eventually received a Red Cross early discharge in 1946, because his father was dying.

May both men RIP along with all their other fallen comrades and may the United States always have a strong military manned by people willing to serve proudly for our country.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


If you can, allow yourself to imagine what it feels like to have a horrible secret. Perhaps this secret is that you witnessed something egregious at work and now you are torn with having to decide what to do. Doing the right thing is rarely the easiest thing to do. Do you step forward and tell someone what happened or do you fear that telling the truth will end your career and possibly stain your reputation both personally and professionally forever and always? What do you do? Or perhaps the secret is one of having been molested at a young age by a family member, by a family friend or by someone you know. Do you sacrifice yourself for the good of the family and your molester by existing in silence? Do you allow your secret to slowly devour you? Do you live your life always wondering what you would have been like if the abysmal violation you endured had never happened?

Today we seem to live in a culture that penalizes a person for coming forward. Instead of being believed, a person is made to feel shame and disgrace for coming forward. A person is often the subject of cruel ridicule while the guilty parties surface as unblemished and triumphant. No wonder people often wait years to come forward with their story. They know the hornet's nest it will stir up so many people remain silent to their own detriment. They are forced to live a life veiled by many psychological scars. Stepping forward marks you as a liar, a troublemaker or worse while staying silent marks you as a coward who isn't strong enough to possibly help future victims and yourself.

An article published on January 20, 2023 in the Los Angeles Times written by Tracy Brown and Mark Olsen brings to highlights the documentary, Justice directed by Doug Liman. 

PARK CITY, UTAH —  “Justice,” director Doug Liman’s surprise documentary about the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, premiered Friday at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

A late addition to the indie festival’s Special Screenings lineup, the film played its sole public screening during the event — announced at Sundance’s opening news conference on Thursday — to a packed house at Park City’s Park Avenue Theatre, with Liman in attendance greeting friends and giving hugs at the front of the room.

Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2018 after a contentious confirmation process that included allegations of sexual assault. In 2019, it was reported that by order of the White House and Senate Republicans, the FBI limited its investigation into the accusations of Kavanaugh’s past sexual misconduct.

Liman, a filmmaker best known for his work on movies such as “Swingers,” “The Bourne Identity,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Edge of Tomorrow,” explained in a statement that “‘Justice’ picks up where the FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh fell woefully short.

“The film examines our judicial process and the institutions behind it, highlighting bureaucratic missteps and political powergrabs that continue to have an outsized impact on our nation today,” he added. “Justice” is his first documentary.

Oh, and the last songs to play over the PA system before screening began? Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

Here are the key takeaways from “Justice” and the Q&A that followed:

1. This may be obvious, but the title “Justice” has two meanings here. It’s meant as a reference to Kavanaugh’s title and a claim that the FBI and the political establishment perpetrated a miscarriage of justice to those who came forward with allegations by failing to pursue them adequately.

2. Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s, is not a key source in the film. Though the doc opens with Ford asking Liman why he’s interested in this, and what his goals are in making the movie, she otherwise appears only in archival footage. Instead, her story is primarily told through her congressional testimony and interviews with her friends. “I felt that Dr. Ford had given so much to the country... she more than did her part for the country,” Liman said. “She did enough for 10 lifetimes.”

3. “The prominent memory is the laughter.” Deborah Ramirez, who alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when they were Yale students together in the 1980s, does appear in the film to recount her story — and, like Ford in her public statements, Ramirez singles out Kavanaugh’s laughter among her memories.

4. The film features a potent recording from Max Stier. Stier allegedly witnessed sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh during a “drunken dorm party” while at Yale — and notified senators and the FBI after Kavanaugh’s nomination, though the FBI reportedly failed to investigate the claim further. Though he does not appear in the film, the recording is powerful: The alleged incident, he says, involves a woman whose identity remains anonymous because she has chosen not to come forward — for lack of memory during a night of drinking, yes, but also because she saw what happened to Ford after speaking publicly.

5. Context, context, context. The film includes interviews with experts who speak about how traumatic memory works in order to substantiate the credibility of Ford and Ramirez’s allegations. There are also discussions of the media discourse around Ford’s allegations in 2018, which in some cases attempted to paint the scenario as “boys will be boys,” or to counter the accusation by asking, “Why ruin a man’s life for something he did as a kid?” The film positions itself, in part, as an indictment of a broader culture that encourages us to forgive and forget misbehavior by privileged groups.

6. According to the documentary, the FBI to this day hasn’t reached out to those who sent in tips about the allegations against Kavanaugh for formal investigation. “I do hope this triggers outrage,” said producer Amy Herdy — ultimately leading to “a real investigation with subpoena powers.”

7. According to Liman, the chilling effect against accusers remains: “This was the kind of movie where people are terrified,” he said. “The machinery that’s put in place against anyone who dared speak up, we knew that machinery would be turned on this film... We live in a climate where no matter what we got in this movie, the people who support the status quo would keep supporting it.”

Now here we have an issue with two sides. One side wants the world to believe that Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted someone when he was much younger and of course, the other side who claims the people who have come forward to tell their story have done so for fame or some other equally vile reason. Obviously, since no investigation was done we may never know the absolute truth. The question justice really blind or is it apathetic and geared towards protecting the privileged amongst us?

Sunday, January 22, 2023


* Repost from November 2, 2011

The conversation I had this morning with a family member turned to a topic I used to avoid at all costs. My uneasiness used to be so apparent I thought people could see right into those deep, dark scary places inside of me. I thought that the little girl who stayed cringing in the shadows could be seen, but I was wrong. I quickly became a master at covering it up. Even those people closest to me never knew the cesspool in which I lived. And when the time was right, I eagerly and willingly accepted the label of being the black sheep of the family. It so conveniently explained all my erratic behavior and kept the awful, ugly truth from being known. 

Today, I attempted to explain why it takes some people so long to admit to being molested as a child. For the victim, it seems like an eternity of internalizing the pain and the shame and often times, they are quick to accept the blame because that seems to be the only control they have in something of this magnitude. The painful tsunami waxes and wanes throughout the person's life. It's crushing waters flood and warp every aspect of a person's psyche. Some people never get to the point of letting go of their false sense of security. 

The buoy they often cling to is the pain itself and forgiving both themselves and the molester is an unbearable task. But without forgiveness the healing process never begins. Without forgiveness the molester always stays in control. What a tangled web it is and one that a child has no tools to draw upon to help in their own recovery. How awful it is for any child to stay silent because they think no one will believe them. 

How horrible it is to have some perverse sense of loyalty towards the molester. In protecting that person and ultimately the whole family, the child sacrifices themselves. Struggle as they may to build a facade of normalcy, underneath that flimsy facade is a house of cards subject to tumble at any moment. When mine tumbled, it took many, many years to rebuild and be at the place I am today.

Friday, January 20, 2023


In one journalist's attempt to define Crosby, Neil McCormick wrote, "David Crosby didn’t try to sugar-coat his ‘bad stuff’ – and that’s what made him special." 

McCormick goes on to write that David Crosby lived one of the wildest lives in rock and roll, flying the freak flag high through decades of global fame and several fortunes won and lost, a white knuckle outlaw ride crammed with drugs, sex, death and a long stint in prison. 

But that’s not why we celebrate him or mourn his passing. Because he also participated in some of the most beautiful music heard in our times, writing gorgeous, complex songs of cosmic folk jazz, gilding the air with blissful harmonies and playing impossibly complex chords he seemed to pluck out of the ether. 

With his walrus moustache and a perpetual twinkle in his eye, he was a fantastic musician and a richly complex human being whose spirit became infused in the rock culture of the 1960s, seventies and beyond. He was one of the great hippies, one of the great band members in a couple of the greatest bands, and just really one of the greats.

The Croz - as he was known to friends and fans – is no more, dead at the age of 81. Which would come as no surprise to him, or anyone who knew him. 

“You really don’t know how much time you’ve got,” he told me when I spoke to him in 2021. 

“What counts is how you live that time. So what I’m trying to do is fill my life with my family, with love, with music that I make, as much as I possibly can. Because I know this sounds corny, but I believe in music. It’s a lifting force, it makes things better.”

Crosby personified the credo "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll," and according to a 2014 Rolling Stone article, he was "rock's unlikeliest survivor." His turbulent life involved a major motorcycle accident, the loss of a lover, fights with hepatitis C and diabetes, and drug addictions that finally required a transplant to replace his liver.

Crosby, in partnership with longtime friend and entrepreneur Steven Sponder, developed a craft cannabis brand called "MIGHTY CROZ". Crosby, a 50-plus-year cannabis advocate, and connoisseur, credited cannabis with contributing to his creative process of songwriting stating, "All those hit songs, every one of them, I wrote them all on cannabis." Crosby also credited cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) with alleviating his chronic shoulder pain, allowing him to continue touring and making new music well into his seventies. For more info about Crosby and his thoughts on cannabis you can read them on the Mighty Croz website.

Crosby was politically active throughout his professional career. He identified as a pacifist and was a well-known opponent over the US involvement in the Vietnam War, though he also defended the right to own guns.

Crosby was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: once for his work in the Byrds and again for his work with CSN. Five albums to which he contributed are included in Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time", three with the Byrds and two with CSN(Y). 

RIP David Van Cortlandt Crosby (August 14, 1941 – January 18, 2023)