My Mom’s Toe


Hi Toni,

Once while visiting Mom at the facility she was in, she had her pedicure while I was there. This was, I believe, almost a year prior to her passing. I noticed a bruised area that included one of her toes and her foot above the toe. She did complain a little when that foot, and especially that toe, was being handled.

I have seen feet that have been injured by being run over by a wheel chair before. Although they did try to be gentle and apologized to Mom for hurting her, neither the doctor nor the nurse offered me any explaination about the trauma that had caused the injury, nor did I ask, knowing I would be told it was confidential information. I hoped that you, as the go-to person for medical information concerning our mother, would have made a report to the family about this injury. I never saw it.

I know you are always right about everything as far as anybody knows and if any information comes up to reveal an error on your part, you will supress, twist or deny that information. So I am not surpriised at your response to my request for information about the injury to Mom’s toe. Is the reason that I want to know because I am concerned the “condition” might be hereditary? I suppose some day I may be helpless in a wheelchair being pushed around by others. My reason for wanting to know something about the trauma that injured my mom’s toe couldn’t possibly be so that I can empathize with her and pray for her more effectively. There must be some selfish motivation to it. It must be because I am afraid that I too will suffer her fate.

Your nastiness makes me appreciate my children’s love all the more! Yes, it is possible for family members to love each other, sadly something you and I never learned. I don’t believe the deficiency lies in me because my children and I learned it just fine. Also one of your children loves me and I love her. You succeeded in teaching the other one to hate. That’s okay, it is pretty clear cut to me where to go for love and where to venture only when I have put on the full armor of God.

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Colonizers In California and Palestine


​I attended a tribal gathering this past Saturday with my husband in Mesa Grande, California. We were each given a large reusable shopping bag, a raffle ticket, a $7 food ticket and a tee shirt. The event was free. This worked out well with our empty pockets. No doubt the casino in Mesa Grande helps enable this generosity at the tribe’s annual gathering, which also included cash prizes for the winners of as assortment of games, including all-night Peon. 

Tracy Lee Nelson played the guitar and sang, but I couldn’t hear him very well. The outdoor PA system was not delivering, and to get closer would have meant standing in the hot sun. I liked where we were sitting under a large shade canopy with a nice breeze blowing toward our backs.

The food we got was a piece of Indian fry bread with a generous scoop of beans, lettuce and tomato on top and a bottle of spring water. I ate the beans and salad off the top of my fry bread like it was a plate and was satisfied. My love ate all his food and then ate my fry bread too, and he didn’t feel well the next day. I felt great.

My husband enjoys his cultural singing and dancing, known as Bird Singing and Bird Dancing. We both enjoy walking around the various booths and talking to the promoters of various products and information. But there really is a lot of sitting time in which I am glad to have an ebook on my phone. I was reading, My Promised Land, the Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit. 

The natives of California have been colonized, exploited, abused and murdered for several centuries. 1848, the California gold rush,  was a time of particular horror for them. In the brand new US state of California, settlers were actually paid to murder natives. 

One of the biggest years of horror for the Palestinians was 1948, 100 years later. At first the Jews settling Palestine bought land legally and got along with the natives, trading with them and hiring them in their businesses (which were, at that time, mostly agricultural, such as orange groves). Then Islamic terror struck in the form of the murders of Jewish civilians by displaced Palestinians or Arabs who sympathized with them. The Jews, severely traumatized by the recent holocaust in Europe, panicked. Innocent Palestinians were driven from their homes along with the guilty. Many more Palestinians died than did the settling Jews.

Over the nearly 170 years since the mostly white gold panners rushed California, the California natives have gradually been endowed with human rights. They no longer grace the cross-hairs of bounty-hunters’ rifles. They are allowed into public parks and museums. During the 1920s they received the right to vote. 

A generation or two after atrocities occur we whites really do want to make amends. We favored affirmative action to our own detriment because it was the right thing to do. In California and many other states, gambling casinos are illegal except on sovereign Indian land. This is a mixed blessing for the tribes. It is raising their standard of living, but very unevenly, and is also benefiting the tribes’ nontribal business partners perhaps even more. Casinos are full of slick, seductive machines designed to separate gamblers from their money. Casino income is the reason for tribal members being kicked off the rolls, so there is more of the money for those who remain on the tribal rolls, resulting in disappointment, hurt and sometimes litigation. Members of non-federally recognized tribes, such as the Tonva of the Los Angeles basin and the Ahashemen of Orange County, historically two of what were once the most populous tribes in Califirnia, were never granted tribal land, nor are they able to benefit from owning casinos. The claim was made that these tribes had gone extinct, they were all killed off. Many were, but many survived by disguising themselves as a different ethnicity or hiding in the hills.  Still in an uneven, crude way, natives are benefiting from the casinos. They are helping to finance the cultural renewal that natives are experiencing. Native languages are being taught in tribal centers throughout the US and Canada. Basketry, archery, flute, rattle and drum making, tribal songs and dances are all making a comeback after generations of supression. Natives are no longer forced into boarding schools or forced to attend mass. They are free to learn what they like and worship as they see fit, but after generations of suppression they may not know a lot about the religion of their ancestors. 

Ari Shavit’s book dealt with the modern  history of the Jews in Palestine, now called Israel. I admired the way Shavit seemed to sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians who suffered loss so that the Jews could have a country. Though his point of view seems more liberal than some, I didn’t like his emphasis on the supposed need of Jews to hang on to their culture. Does a people have the need for aspects of a culture that contain bigotry toward others? Does my culture, right or wrong, take precedence over someone else’s? Everyone should have a right to their culture, insofar as their culture is not a culture of murder, and Islam is probably at least as culpable as Judaism in that regard. The Christian culture has a murderous history as well. Perhaps it is time to leave that behind and root out aspects of all our cultures that are intolerant of others. The Jews may want to do that, but how can they do so without being themselves destroyed? That is probably the question asked by the book. 

Although I enjoyed the Shavit book, I did not enjoy learning that he may be a pervert in a web search on him I did after I had finished the book. He apparently sexually harrassed a beautiful, much younger, female reporter who met with him in order to interview him for the publication she works for. Then he resigned from his job because he was asked to, because other accusers had also come forward. I was disappointed that such a lucid, enjoyable writer as Ari Shavit appears to have such feet of clay.

Flute Circle Cake

Flute Circle Cake

The organizers of the Native American Flute Circle were celebrating five years of it’s existence. They meet on the afternoon of the third Sunday at San Luis Rey Restaurant and Bakery, where wonderful Mexican food is served free to the participants in the flute circle. Jim and I had salads with nopal cactus and beans. I forgot to request no cheese when I ordered and our food, and it arrived with a light sprinkling of cheese which I scrapped off of mine. The restaurant is a great venue for recovery events as the food is excellent, the pastries are popular (although they don’t meet my standards), and no alcohol is served.

 I had brought a song sheet with a composition I had composed and written out called, All My Relations, inspired by the Sioux Prayer. I brought it up to the front encased in a clear zip lock bag. At the last flute circle the previous month, I had won a pair of silver and turquoise earrings in the raffle. I had asked myself, how can I contribute? I don’t seem do  crafts anymore, but I still compose music.

Me playing my American Indian Flute at the flute circle

A husband and wife team, Rob and Marge, have been doing an excellent job of keeping the flute circle going for five years. They both lead White Bison Wellbriety Recovery groups as well. When I made my offering for the raffle, Rob and pointed to something brown on a platter saying, “Look at our five-year cake!” I was thinking something along the lines of, what asshole did that shit come out of? But I tried to keep my expression pleasant and not reveal my deep aversion for cake. I probably didn’t quite succeed.

I love recovery people! They are not going to put liquor or dope in your face, and of that I am deeply grateful. But cake? How sad to switch one addiction for another.

I got seduced into eating cake for the last time twenty something years ago. I was hanging out with a mother and daughter from Romania, I think it was. They were really sweet people. I was telling them a little about the religion I had recently discovered, the Baha’i Faith. They made an elaborately decorated cake and urged me to have a piece. I had cleaned up my diet quite a bit and was fairly sensitive to some of the ingredients in cake, such as wheat and sugar, but I didn’t want to be viewed as a food snob.

Oh did I get sick! I spent several miserable days in bed. I never get sick unless I eat something that has been refined, adulterated, or sourced from a factory farmed animal. I had already known that, and I learned it again. But that was the last time for me for cake, unless I have reason to believe it was whole foods and vegan — or the dairy component was grass-fed and humanely cared for.

The cake was cut and practically everyone in the restaurant had a piece. Even my husband accepted a piece and stirred it up with his fork but didn’t eat it. A woman later told me she regretted missing out when she had gone out temporarily during the time the cake was cut.

My song sheet was the last raffle gift chosen. Why would a person want to struggle ro learn to read and play composed notes when you can improvise something just as good or better? 

Kangaroo Court Revisited

Dear Toni

More painful even, than the abuse I suffered as a child at the hands of my parents, was the subsequent denial, on their parts, that any abuse happened to me while under their care.

Fourteen years ago, right after Mom got out of the hospital, no longer lucid, never again independent, you arranged an ambush for me, right before I was to leave for a water park with my children and grandchildren. You directed the seating in what was, at the time, my residence, for what you called a “visit”.

Why didn’t you inform me that you wanted to discuss Mom’s estate with me and find a time that would have worked for me? Because you wanted to stun me, hurt me and humiliate me. Why? 

These kinds of wounds don’t heal. The nonrelationship you and I still have is your doing. I realize you don’t care, but if you were to care, this hateful bullying on your part would need to be addressed. Telling me it was all Mom is a lie that I am not buying. 

Mom’s mouth was still crooked from the brain accident she had just had. She walked unsteadily, she said nothing, except when you handed her something and asked her to read it, which she did without expression. Telling me Mom is the one who wanted to hurt and humiliate me is preposterous. Even if that were true, why did you, not only go along with it, but take the initiative to set it up, and why did you lie to me that this was to be a “visit”?

This little kangaroo court, set up and presided over by you, was about my need for some acknowledgement from my parents that I had been physically and emotionally abused by them during my childhood, and for some empathy for that. It was also about what an affront it was to my parents for me to have such a need. Toni, have you no knowlege of what your older siblings endured, and have you no empathy for those childhood scars?

I know things were playing out real well as far as you were concerned. You obviously value money and property over relationships. Is your lack of ability to show empathy a problem in other situations, or am I the only one who notices?

Toni, I am going to wait to send you this letter. For now, I’ll just post it on my blog, using names for you and me that you won’t recognize, should you happen to run across it. There is still a deal in the works that I don’t want to ruin, although I am not holding my breath.

Oh and by the way, Happy 59th Birthday! (I’ll be celebrating my 69th later this year.)

Your sister,

Jersema

The Chariot and You

I wake up, think of my home and the relaxed way my spirit feels to belong there. I remember the horrible heist of my property and I recoil.  I want this crime witnessed, and there You are in Your chariot and there I am beside You. Your arm is around my shoulder pulling me close to you. We are hovering in mid air where the roof of the house would have been had we not been occupying the space it would have occupied.

There is Alex. I am learning Your thoughts. You look to see what glimmer of soul, what virtue, what spark of spirit there is in him, ignoring the dross. The way he is animated by new technology, before the pride comes thinking he is better and can do it better than others. There is the desire to be a nice person, before it turns into merely appearing to be a nice person with the attendent necessity of slandering others.

There is Toni. When she considers the sorrow of her sister, she has a moment of empathy, before the excuses start coming, and she finds ways to distract herself. There is a nobility of soul, and the struggle of pride.

I know that we are noble in ourselves, but not in the exclusion of others. I think people that exclude will be excluded. “Yes,” my Lord says with a twinkle in His eye, “See that you don’t exclude others.”

Opinion and Judgment

This. morning I realized that there is a difference between having an opinion and making a judgment. If I have an opinion, I am still willing to talk to you about your opinion, even if it’s different from mine. Once I’ve made a judgment, I’m no longer open to discussion about differing opinions. I’m right, and, If you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong.

Now I understand why the holy books say, “Don’t judge.” Obviously we can still have an opinion. When other people become judgmental we might feel emotionally battered. They are trying to take away our right to have an opinion that is different from theirs. 

Blas

At my mother’s memorial Blas was wearing a fancy blue shirt that reminded me of a mariachi band uniform. As my mother’s friends and relatives were gathering, in what used to be my parents’ lake picnic area, for the service, Blas seemed to be following me trying to get my attention. I walked the other way trying to ignore him.

There had been a lot of prayer and meditation on my part in which I had surrounded Blas with holy witnesses to observe what he had done. I had prayed and meditated in this way in order to heal people close to me who had been hurt by him, and in order to dissipate my own anger.

It was no use, in the small crowd there was no way I could avoid him. My anger melted away when our eyes met. I had the feeling that he had confessed his sins directly to God and been cleansed. We were like two friends who had known each other for a long time, like two actors, one the villain, who shake hands once the play is over.