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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Peace on Earth at Winter Solstice

I plan to keep writing pieces about holiday excesses because I have a visual wonder to post on the last such article. But the days are moving quickly through the holidays now and I have a couple of other things I want to post in between. I hope the reader will indulge my hopscotch approach. I figure it's still "the holidays" for another 10 days or so.

I love solstice. It has come to mean "the holidays" to me. And today is solstice. It is the morning I have leapt out of bed, beginning my four-day run for the finish line into solstice celebration. I have begun the lists, the shopping, the planning, the assignment making, the setting out of the appropriate clothes. I've sent e-mails and reminders and talked about it to home dudes when I arrived at the office this morning. For solstice is the season for me. I am the Solstice Fairy of Past, Present and Future.

The first couple of holiday seasons "after", I hardly knew what to do with myself. I was partnered with people who didn't care a lot for Christmas, as such, and "Christmas" is all I ever knew. I'd limp out of those holidays feeling unsettled and unfulfilled. I didn't know what I wanted, but I wasn't getting what I needed. I couldn't move forward because I couldn't quite leave the past.

And then came that year. Mother Badger had come for the holidays and to help get the Badger through a day surgery on his hand. She took him off in the predawn and they called me midmorning to say he was fine and they were going home. I was relieved and now could turn my thoughts to wrapping the last gifts, picking up the freshest items for our holiday meal.

About 2:00 p.m., the lab called me. I'd had a routine blood draw on the previous Friday so my doctor could monitor certain of my prescriptions. I was told I needed to go immediately to the nearest emergency room for blood transfusions and to be prepared to stay a couple of days. I was acutely anemic and I was flabbergasted. I called home, tearful, and the Badger said the lab had called there. He gave them my work number. "Come home, Limes. We'll get you there."

Then commenced an afternoon, evening and night from hell. I was a basket case, the Badger was a bit of a zombie having had general anesthia that day, Mother Badger was a fierce advocate on my behalf. The hospital emergency room, at a good address in Las Vegas, was hideously overcrowded and I wasn't injured or actively bleeding, so we waited and waited until Mother Badger started to raise hell. I was finally seen by an army of phlebotomists, internal medicine specialists and I don't know what else. We'd been there 7 hours when I was shown to the gurney where I would spend the night in the hallway - it was the only place they had to put me. When the first unit of blood was started, the Badgers bid me good night and told me to call when anything was known. I wanted sleep that night, but it was difficult. I clenched my purse between my knees beneath the blanket and closed my eyes, turned toward the wall so complete strangers wouldn't see me in my sleep as they walked by.

At dawn, I'd been given enough other peoples' blood to put me back on the "living" list, had been monitored, given a light breakfast. All the health care providers agreed I needed to be admitted to determine what had caused such anemia, but there was no room at the inn for me. I called home and the middle aged man and the elderly lady set out to pick me up. I was damned glad to see them, and choked up while sipping at my orange juice. They carried me home and we all settled into exhausted sleep.

When we met at the kitchen table around noon, Mother Badger said she'd had a call from the young woman who tended to her cat and home when she travels. It looked like someone had been in the house and burglarized her! She was distressed - we all were - and it was decided we'd open gifts and share our holiday meal that night so Mother Badger could drive home the next day. Not the way any of us intended the holidays to look, but we had to deal with all of it. Arriving at home, Mother Badger called to say she had been burglarized, and likely by a young man acquainted with the woman who was hired to watch her home.

I napped and rested - I needed to. At one waking, the Badger asked me to look at the computer monitor. "Look at the temperatures! Let's go camping, Limes." I didn't want to, readers. I didn't feel up to loading food and camping gear and clothes and . . . . "I'll do most of it, Limes. I'll just need help with things I can't do with my hand." He did, too! Although I am big on splitting the tasks 50/50, that time he did the lion's share of the work.

He drove and I napped in the car. We arrived at the place we'd never visited before, and stepped out into balmy air, clear, sunny, blue skies. The weather readings had been correct - it was warm. We spent a few days there in quietude and warmth. He hiked and I hiked when I could. We discovered an unlikely, misplaced swamp in the transition between the Mojave Desert and Death Valley. No, it wasn't a mirage. I know reeds and waterfowl when I see them. We found old mining structures and became familiar with the most glorious series of sand dunes to climb and hike.

But it is the solstice moon that draws me the most strongly. For in this place at this time of year, that moon squirts up over the mountaintop just about the time I am cooking dinner on the Coleman stove. It presents all fire and opalescence, lighting up the terrain as it rises, the time being not-quite-light and not-quite-dark. We always "ooooh" and "aaaaah" ~ "Badger, can you capture it on digital?" He can. He does.

This will be the third solstice camping in four years. Although on one trip, we found the beautiful gift of an out-of-place little violet flower on top of the dunes, it appears we will be more challenged later this week. First we had the possibility of rainshowers. That has diminished. It will be colder than we are used to in this spot. But it will still be quiet and it will still be beautiful and one can enjoy all of that with just a few more warm layers. I'll roll out of the car and be cradled in the embrace of the dunes. There we talk. There we enjoy our fire. There we read and refuel our empty tanks.

Happy Holidays, everyone ~ I hope you spend them in the ways that mean the most to you. Peace on Earth. Good Will to Everyone.

Photo credits for the real LimesNow and the last three photos above: J. D. Morehouse

In my ears right now: Still Cyndi Lauper and Peter Kingsbury singing Walk Away Renee. In the new year, I'll seek out a 12-step program.

Something that charmed me: Tag just e-mailed me the damnedest thing I've ever seen. He suggests it might be "Limes Now". I submit I haven't worn that mustache for years!

Photo credits for THAT LimesNow: NOT J. D. Morehouse. And I'm NOT that LimesNow.


  1. I KNEW you'd say that! He DOES look a bit like Turturro. Switch up the green dimensional limes in place of lots of purple polyester and spandex, a little "Hotel California" in Espanol . . . looks like The Jesus to me!

  2. A few days in the desert or the mountains sounds like a nice way to spend the holidays. Shari's extended family will be in town. Nice people but a little too much "Christian". I tred carefully.

    Thanks for the shout Limes. Happy, Happy Joy, Joy!

  3. Peace on Earth???

    Aren’t humans amazing Animals? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."

    ~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

    Check out this informative and inspiring video on why people choose vegan: http://veganvideo.org/

    Also see Gary Yourofsky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bagt5L9wXGo

  4. Ever see the Lost in Space where Dr. Smith turns into a tree? That what that picture reminds me of.

  5. @ Tag ~ It's like being on a planet or cloud for two. If one doesn't want to hear the other person's voice for awhile, one can say, "Shhh, please." If one wants to whoop in the solstice moonrise from pure exuberance, that's OK, too. Or stride out on one's own solo hike, saying "Back in an hour." It is as open, free and beautiful as anything I ever knew. I'd tred carefully, too, Tag - that whole stripe makes me impatient and crabby. Of course, re: the shout out.

    @ Kirk ~ oh, I am too serious! I was tired when I got in last night and read your comment. I was composing in my head this explanation that I don't pose myself for photos like that one of me - he sees some light and shadow play that he wants to capture, and asks me to "do this" or "stand like that". This morning, I realized your comment was about Lime Man, not Limes! He DOES look like Dr. Smith in that episode!

  6. @ Anonymous ~ Yow. Not sure who you are or what brought you to my blog or this particular post - of course, you're anonymous. But I can assure you that I do not kill any animals, nor eat any. I am healthy and fit. I cringe at the thought of animal abuse and am widely recognized as an animal lover and respector. I think I can also claim to seek peace on earth for all creatures at all times. I am known to be a peacemaker, a soother and an advocate for other human beings. SInce I don't know enough about you, I don't know if you were going off on me for some reason. If you were, I think it was misplaced.

  7. Limes - I'm pretty sure anonymous was referring to the picture Tag sent you.
    We can assumes that piercing the limes' skin and the man's skin would result in marination - Therefore - Ceviche.....or any number of Thai dishes.

    Back from Nebraska - it was great to see Todd's family. Seems like the Solstice Fairy is off and running. I'm enjoying catching up on my reading.

  8. Welcome back, my Sugarhouse Cookie friend! You've been sorely missed.

    I'm sure you're right about the sensitive Anonymous, but I couldn't let it go by without saying something. Practicing newly learned skills and boundary setting within my own blog. Goes along with saying "Don't steal my words!" Not that that got anyone's attention. I wonder if that marination could render some remmitep?

  9. @ Tag ~ you thought it was funny, the Badger thought it was funny, I thought it was funny and posted it. Seems we and some others are a little insensitive, perhaps. In truth, I didn't think of skin being pierced and marinated. I thought of it more as Kirk suggested - a kitschy TV show fantasy job. When you e-mailed it to me, it had some caption like "His brother is in the tequila business", so my first impression was "Margaritas, everyone, Joe is bartending!" Much to muse upon.

  10. Limesy, I was kidding. I was really reaching for some explanation as to why anonymous would be offended. Maybe he/she was going blog to blog imparting his/or her message of bovine benevolence. We are not insensitive to find this picture amusing. People do strange things. I say, if something is ridicule-worthy, go for it!

  11. Oh, hell, Kass-erole, you're barely back home and already stirring stuff up. I like that! You got my ex-Catholic guilt up for the day. The Badger's take on it this morning was simply "Rant ~ this person drops rant all over the place. It's not even specifically aimed at you, in particular." And, p.s., everyone: I think I see tape in the picture. His lime rosaries are taped to his body.

  12. I should have specified which photo I was talking about.

  13. @ Kirk ~ Not a problem. It goes to show that we should pay close attention to things. It shows up the difference between "long day followed by long massage" vs."lots of morning miles on the legs and coffee in the belly". I'm glad you didn't think I look like Dr. Smith!

  14. I think you're much closer to June Lockhart.

  15. @ Kirk - YOU make me laugh out loud. I'm not sure I want to look like June, but better she than Dr. Smith. I DID, as a child, want to be Angela Cartwright.

  16. Well, your hair looks reddish, which is why I said June. But Angela is acceptable as well.

  17. @ Kirk ~ Yes, you have that correctly re: the hair. I probably DO look more like June, which is why I'd WANT to look more like Angela!