Monday, May 20, 2013

Practicing Safe Yoga

     A recent article cautions against certain groups practicing yoga.  For example, it is suggested that people with osteoporosis avoid forward bends.  The full article can be accessed here:

Friday, May 17, 2013

"Mrs. Kennedy and Me"

     I recently finished a book by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbins titled "Mrs. Kennedy and Me."  Hill was secret service agent to Jacqueline Kennedy and early on, he describes how disappointing it was not to be assigned to the Presidential detail.  Hill was just 26 at the time and went on to spend a rewarding and loyal four years of service to Mrs. Kennedy and her children.
     Hill was devoted to the First Lady and writes at great length of the depth of her intelligence, her athleticism, her sense of humor, and her dedication to her children.  He traveled widely with her.  Especially interesting are his descriptions to Greece and Pakistan.  The President of Pakistan gave Mrs. Kennedy a horse, which she had brought to Washington, D. C. and named Sartori.
     Clint Hill was present at the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.  Kennedy had been campaigning in Florida prior to going to Dallas and made the comment there that he didn't want Secret Service agents riding on the back of the car.  He wanted to be more accessible to the people.
    Clint Hill was near the follow-up car at the time of the first shot.  He immediately began to run toward the Presidential car.  He heard an additional shot ring out and noticed to his horror Mrs. Kennedy climbing out on the trunk of the car.  The film footage below shows this happening.
     For fifty years, I'd always thought that Mrs. Kennedy was trying to help Clint into the car.  In actuality, she was trying to retrieve a part of the President's head.  I never realized before the terrible extent of the President's injuries.  Tragically, the second bullet smashed into his head, scattering bone, blood, and grey matter all over the limosine.  Mrs. Kennedy's pink suit was covered in blood.
     Amazingly, there were no emergency personnel to meet the President's car at Parkland Hospital.  The secret service agents placed the President on a gurney and rushed him to the emergency room.  Throughout the experience, Mrs. Kennedy never left her husband's side.  She was so devoted to him that she even rode in the back of the ambulance that that transported the body from Dallas to be flown to Washington, D. C.  She then later planned every detail of the President's lying in State and his funeral. 
     Everyone remembers what they were doing at the moment they heard of the death of John F. Kennedy.  I was in my 8th grade Algebra class.
     I don't think anyone realized the depth of guilt and suffering experienced by Clint Hill.  There were many details of the assassination that he never even shared with his wife.  The truth came out in a moving interview with Mike Wallace in 1975.  We actually see Clint Hill wincing at the memory of the assassination.  For 50 years, he blamed himself for not taking the bullet meant for President Kennedy.  However, many years later, he realized that there was nothing that he could have done.
     Here is a link to the 60 Minutes interview.  Mike Wallace is to be commended for the compassion he shows for Clint Hill here.

More on Mindfulness

I practiced mindful walking yesterday after I hurt my knee.  Walking slowly and meditating enabled me to relax my mind and body.  Later, I danced that night at a beach music concert.

MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) is offered in seminars all over the world.  The program I attended at Duke can be accessed at this website:

Last year, I attended a lecture with Dr. Jeff Brantley.  One comment of his caught my attention:  "look into rather than at people."  We never know what they may have experienced to cause them to be "difficult people."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Christmas Poem, 1991

(I came across this poem last winter while going through some papers.  I wrote for my son one year at Christmas.)

Christmas Poem for Chris

On this lovely Christmas Day,
I have so very much to say
To the special little boy,
Who has brought me so much joy.
But what I hold most dear
Is your help throughout the year.

So thanks from deep within my heart,
Because you certainly do your part,
In so many, many ways
To lighten and brighten our days.

And what are some of the things that you do?
Why, I’ll count them off, two by two.

You clean your room
With never a moan
You carry the groceries
With never a groan.

You’re a friend to your friends.
You share and help out.
You rise early for school,
With never a pout.

You play soccer each year
And root for the team.
Your attitude is sunny,
Your smile, a sunbeam.

Your mind is awash
With fun things to do.
Reading is one
That I love, too.

Your spirit is kind,
Your love fills the ocean.
When my friend died last fall,
You gave all your devotion.

You’re eight years old,
Full of energy and play,
And how I love to check out
How you’ve grown every day.

It’s Christmas time now,
And though we haven’t a lot,
You’re mostly concerned
With what others have not.

In this age of tv
Advertisements galore,
You are mostly concerned
With the plight of the poor.

No cries “gimme, gimme”
Do I hear from you, Chris
You have managed to capture
The true meaning of Christmas.

May we keep our concern
And the spread of good cheer
Alive throughout
The rest of the year.

And a long time from now
And of this I am glad,
You’re going to be
A very fine dad.

And I must confess,
To all I say:
Being part of a family
Is great everyday!

"Being Mindful"

     I recently attended a Meditation Retreat on the Duke Medical Campus.  According to the program at Duke, based on Jon Cabot-Zinn's work,  mindfulness is about waking up, "being fully alive, and being present in the richness of each moment of our lives. Within this awakening, we gain access to our deepest inner resources for living, healing, and coping with stress. In our programs, participants practice present moment awareness, deep relaxation, and gentle movement. Through the use of these techniques, a person learns to discover and observe his or her reactions to life's stressors and to choose how to respond. With practice, one can apply these skills to everyday situations and connect more fully with one's self, loved ones, and the life one is living."  
    Choosing how to react to life's stressors is key.  Stress can manifest itself in the body, causing dis-ease.  Confront the stress, acknowledge it.  But keep the body relaxed.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


First day--
"Welcome to school,"
As she talked with all the
Staff, no indication of
First month,
Flew by,
Her angry words hurt her
Staff, teachers so upset
That they would confide to each othertheir pain..
And hurt.

Then the
Outbursts began,
In hallways, staff meetings and,

Not there
For the teachers
or students
Morale declined, then fell
Off the charts, as teachers left for
New jobs.

So many...
Pervade and fill,
The ranks of school principals, and
Administrators in the U. S.
Why is
This thing 
Allowed to go
On, poisoning 
Our schools.
Stayed for 
Two more years, then
A forced retirement sent her
Unprepared to,
Establish a quality
Educational setting
For kids.
Let down,
These kids,
Retreated and
Failed to give them a good education.
Let down
By the system
Who allowed her to stay.
Her name should be engraved
on a Wall of Shame

Meditation for Today

"If you have some respect for people as they are,
you can be more effective in helping them 
become better than they are."  -- John W. Gardner

I have a difficult neighbor who had a drinking problem and never got help for it.  He seems sad, lonely, and judgmental.  A widower, his wife died in child birth 40 years ago.  I can separate the person from the illness.  "Hurt people hurt."  I can still feel some respect for him, even though I choose not to interact with him.

Up-Date on the House, Lowball Offers, etc.

The listing is on the web, now with photographs.  I managed to get the siding cleaned in the back and the shed cleaned out for the first showing.

The realtor and I thought this was a committed buyers, until she submitted the offer.  She basically took $20,000 off the list price.  Her offer was $93,500.00, PLUS she wanted me to pay closing costs.  Ridiculous!  We didn't hear back from her on my counter offer of 109,000.00 and I supply a home warrenty.  I'm not going to GIVE the house away.  And I paid my own closing costs.

Sooooo, I may be coming down on the price at the end of May.  I meet with an accountant to figure out an appropriate list price.  The tax value on the house is about $94,000.  I did decide to let Maggie work as a "dual" agent, so she can show the house, along with other agents.