Thursday, March 31, 2011

OLD SOLDIERS (Keep on Dancing!)

March 14, 2015 - As you can see by the date of this post, it has been almost exactly 4 years since I wrote it. It's hard to believe that this old gentleman has left. He spent the past three years in a nursing facility, and decided it was time to go this past Sunday, March 8, 2015. He went very quickly, and the Hospice nurses assured me he was in no pain and went peacefully. Four of them were in the room with him. I got a call that morning to let me know he had taken a turn for the worse, and two hours later he was gone.


Marilyn and Jarvis Moragne, 2011
Recently I spent a few days with my dad in Mineral Wells. We had a great visit, and of course, I went to the VFW and the American Legion posts with him. We ate, visited with all his friends, and had a generally good time. Dad was kind enough to dance with a little girl there, and she did a good job of keeping up with him. She asked him to dance, as he's a favorite with all the ladies of any age! 92 - and he hasn't slowed down much. Check out the little red shoes she was wearing. Maybe they were magic like Dorothy's - in case she wanted to go home quickly.

At the VFW there was a memorial to POWs and MIAs (You Are Not Forgotten) in foreign wars. A place was set for them, and a candle lit, with lovely memorials framed in their honor.

Old soldiers also have a great sense of humor!
Jarvis Moragne, Age 5
When Dad was about the age in this photo, he was staying at his grandparents' home in Mississippi. During my visit with him he started to reminisce about his stay there. He described their home and the land behind it that stretched to a wealthy family's property at the top of a distant hill. There was a big two-story house with a garage beside it that was open at each end. Behind the house and garage were the barn and stables. One day the owner of that property came to visit them with his gentlest horse, named Bob. He asked if my dad wanted to ride him. Oh, boy! Did he ever! Dad's eyes sparkled as he was telling me this. He seemed to be back there in time, with all the exciting emotions of that five-year-old getting ready to ride a horse for the first time.

As soon as they placed Dad on top of old Bob's bare back and handed him the reins, old Bob took off at a great speed. Dad said he was scared to death, and hung on for dear life, yelling "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" the entire time. But Bob didn't "whoa"! He was headed for home at a fast pace. When they reached the top of the hill Bob jumped the fence and headed for the garage. Dad ducked his head as they raced through the garage, heading for the barn, which was Bob's destination, and finally came to a halt.

Dad was laughing at his recollection, and said he never did care much for horseback riding after that!

As this was such a sweet remembrance, I didn't press Dad for more of his stories from World War II. He was not your typical idea of a soldier at war. I am thankful that he was late getting into the battles. He was a paratrooper sent to Okinawa on a cleanup operation. The Japanese surrendered while he was there and he was sent to Japan. Maybe the next visit I will ask more questions about his days in service.

Here are a few of my Dad's many friends. They have been instrumental in keeping my dad active, youthful, and happy through the many years of their friendships. (By the way, Joe and Virginia have been married almost 60 years, and they are still the cutest couple on the dance floor! Unless, of course, Dad is on the dance floor!)

Joe and Virginia

Al and Lu
Dad and friend Betty

In case you missed it, this is how the Super Moon looked from my front porch recently.

"Super Moon - March 19th"
(It was so much more breathtaking in person!)


Until next time.. remember to pray for the Japanese people, and keep affirming that "good stuff happens".

Peace and love,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This is how Miss Kelly looked when she arrived at Grandmommy's house Friday. She's a new member of the Steiner Ranch Elementary Stallions! She recently registered for kindergarten next year. She looked so cute in her pink and black - even the ribbons in her hair. She reminded me of our rock and roll 50s generation! Check out the shoes - pink, but on the wrong feet! (She told me she often puts them on like that.)

We had a fun weekend. Saturday we went to our local library, where Travis picked out two biography books that contained information on Christopher Columbus. He's been working on a paper about Columbus as a class assignment. He showed me what he had already completed, and we talked about it. He told me things I didn't know about Columbus! Kelly picked out two movies for them to watch if they got bored.

Saturday night people all over the world observed Earth Hour. One hour (from 8:30 until 9:30PM our time) that we turned off all the lights... no TV, no computer or music. As you can see from the photo of Travis and one of the young boys from next door, Tres, we had candlelight and

my great-grandmother's kerosene lamp. Tres and big brother Garrison joined us, and Grandmommy read ghost stories by lamplight. Before the stories, we had a discussion about the reason for having an Earth Hour. I'm not sure if they quite understood "carbon footprint", but each of them perked up when I talked about the ice melting at the North Pole and threatening the extinction of polar bears. I think they will relate that to saving energy in the future. At least until they are older. Travis confessed he would be bored if there was never any electricity. He said he would probably go to bed early. Like they did in my great-grandmother's day!

Travis had told me earlier that he wasn't sure he wanted to go to the park and feed the ducks. He said it made him sad to see the turtles who were usually sitting on rocks near the ducks. I asked him why and he told me he read that all turtles are now threatened with extinction - not just the sea turtles. He and his cousin Tanner have tender hearts when it comes to animals.. not just turtles, although that happens to be a favorite.

Mommy and Daddy always seem to be excited to have a weekend to themselves when Travis and Kelly come to visit me. However, it's not long before one or both of them are checking on the kiddos via text message, email, or if those aren't answered quickly enough (you know they stay pretty busy here!), there is the inevitable telephone call. An old-fashioned telephone in this case. Kelly is already practicing for those marathon phone calls she is bound to

receive when she's a little older. Her pose prompted me to run for the camera!
While we turned off the lights by choice, I couldn't help but think of the people in Japan - and even the people in Libya, who had no power or water. It will be such a long, long time before there is any sense of normalcy in either country. My heart goes out to all of them. Listening to President Obama speak last night, I was moved by his statement that it was "a moral as well as a strategic necessity" for the United States to assist the rebels in Libya. And of course, he promised as much assistance as necessary to the Japanese in their hours of need. I did not want to hear any comments on his speech this morning. I knew that, as usual, he would be "damned if he did, and damned if he didn't"! As much as I abhor war, I have to agree that it is a moral obligation for the countries of the world to unite against such brutal dictatorships. We do not wish to see more human atrocities as those that took place in Bosnia or Rwanda. We cannot as a democratic country who professes to be a "nation under God", in good consciousness, turn our backs on the the neediest in the world. No matter what shape our economy is in.

The law of return (reciprocity) guarantees us that we will receive what we give. We will benefit in the days to come from the United States standing up for the freedom rights of the oppressed, providing military backup and courage to those who pleaded for our help, and sending as much help as needed to countries devastated by disasters. The more we give, the more we will get!

At least, that's what this Grandmommy believes to be true.

Peace and love,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I raised up, joints creaking, and stuffed the last two handfuls of leaves into the bag and tied it. I looked with some dismay at the flower bed. I had just finished raking the third bag of last fall's leaves, and realized I had at least that much or more still to do on this bed. As I groaned, there immediately flashed through my mind a scene from an Internet news site of a Japanese family surveying what was left of their home after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. They searched through the mud and rubble to try and salvage some of their belongings. I felt ashamed.

Yes, I had worked hard. Then I thought of the freezing weather they were suffering in Japan, with no heat even in the shelters. It was a balmy afternoon in Texas, with temperatures in the mid-70s. I had the company of Piper, my neighbor's Great Dane. She's not allowed out of her yard, but as you can see, she scoots part of herself under the fence to get as close to me as possible without breaking her rule. A songbird trilled close by, and I could hear a dove calling "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?" As I scooped up leaves I had dropped I noticed a tiny violet who's seed had escaped the flower bed. It was blooming bravely under all the leaves. I sent a silent wish that some small sign of hope be given to the people of Japan as they dig through the debris left of their homes.
After I wrote my last blog post, I quit obsessively searching the news sites on the Internet, and again started limiting what news I see on television. I'm sleeping better. I just feel so helpless at times. Prayers don't seem to be enough, and I really don't have enough money to donate to all the disasters around the world. Earthquake damage repairs and human suffering are still being addressed in places like Haiti and New Zealand as well as Japan; and flooding in the United States and Australia has left many lives in chaos.

Chaos... I remember a very simplified definition of chaos that brings me some semblance of peace at times like these. "Chaos is a system rearranging itself to attain a higher sense of order." If a higher sense of order has ever been needed on this planet, it is needed now! We will learn from these disasters, and our lives will be better for it... maybe. Maybe we won't build more nuclear power plants in this country. Maybe if we do, we won't be stupid enough to build them on fault the ones in New York north of NYC. The uprisings going on in the Mid-east and Africa will hopefully bring about much-needed changes in the governments in those regions, and rid them of the brutal dictators in power. And maybe the protests we have had in the U.S. will cause our politicians to take another look at the cuts in budgets they are willing to make.
This morning I read in my Cherokee Feast of Days the following: "...There are things that seem to break our hearts; pain that goes on and on. But we can work through. If we are strong and don't let our hands grow weak and slack, our work will be rewarded. We grieve for the loss of things, or persons, ache for what we cannot do, but there is a day when the sun finally shines. We can make it..."

I've had the opportunity to work with my hands twice in the past three days, helping those in need in my own community. There is nothing more rewarding than "hands-on" experience. And, I believe that when we help one person, we are all blessed. I cannot be in Japan - or New Zealand - or even in the flooded regions of the U.S., but I can do what I can for others right here in Burnet, Texas. And of course, I can keep sending prayers and positive images to our world at large.
The highlight of my week was Sunday afternoon, when my oldest grandson Cameron called. We had a long telephone visit, and I caught up with all of his activities at LSU. Last weekend he was an assistant director of a production of the local opera company. At the end of this month he will perform in the LSU production of Figaro.

Cameron, who turns 21 this coming Saturday, sings in the choir of the Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge. He told me a little story of what happened at church Sunday, saying, "You're going to love this one, Grandmama." It seems the church had no electricity that morning, so they were conducting a candlelight service. The choir was performing "Miserere". (Not recognizing this, I listened to a version on YouTube - Awesome!) There was a quartet singing from the balcony, and the choir would answer with their part from below. Cameron was singing a solo part that went, "Cast me not away from Thy presence; take not Thy Holy Spirit from me." (This is traditionally sung in Latin, although they had chosen to sing it in English.) Just as the word "Spirit" came out of Cameron's mouth, the lights came on!

He was right! I absolutely loved the story. God's mysterious ways at work. He is, indeed, omnipresent.
I hope you are experiencing the loveliness of spring where you are. We had so little rain over the past few months we may not have an abundance of wildflowers in the Hill Country this year. There are, however, a few reminders that all's right in our world, and spring is on time. These are the first of my irises to bloom. I also have a few blooms on the Lady Banks rosebushes. I wish I could transport them to the suffering people in the world. Flowers brighten the gloomiest of days, and confirm to us that beauty survives even the harshest of conditions.

And...oh, yes.. P.S...
I love you,
Not long after I published the above, I received an email from my dear friend Pam in Denton. She sent me the following letter from "a friend of a friend in Sendai, Japan". I cried tears of thanksgiving for proof that our prayers are being answered, and that there is a great deal of hope for the Japanese people and all who are there with them. This message will warm the heart of even the most cynical among us.

A message of hope from Japan:


Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,

First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am very touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all. But it seems the best way at the moment to get my message to you.

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend's home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, and share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.

During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their home, they put out a sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.

Utterly amazingly where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, "Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another."

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.

We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on.

But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not.

No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled.

The mountains of Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently. And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend's husband came in from the country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don't. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that is much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard and yet magnificent.

Thank you again for your care and Love of me,

With Love in return, to you all,


Friday, March 18, 2011


Loma Prieta Earthquake, San Francisco, 1989
The telephone rang. As I answered it, I pictured a former boss on the other end of the line. As she spoke, I became extremely anxious. She was asking me to come in and talk to her about "a hurricane position". There was nothing about a hurricane in the news. Next I found myself walking through a center filled with people on the telephone and computers. With a start, I woke up. My heart was pounding. It was a dream. I dreamed I was going back to work for FEMA! When I left the FEMA National Teleregistration Center over fifteen years ago, the Operations Manager at the time told me that if I ever wanted to return, I would be welcome. Over cake and punch at the small good-bye gathering, I jokingly said to her, "If the big one hits California, give me a call. I'll come back only for that disaster." I threw off the covers, took a long drink from the glass of water on my bedside table, turned on the lamp, and looked at the time. Too early to get up, I picked up my book and started to read.

Cypress Freeway, Loma Prieta EQ, 1989

The disturbing images and news from the tragedy in Japan are continuing to fill my mind and keep me from sleeping well. Like the proverbial moth to the flame, I cannot stay away from the news sites on the Internet. Over and over I watch in horror the scenes of devastation from the earthquake and tsunami. It brought back vivid memories of the time in 1989 when the California coast was hit by a 7.1 (surface magnitude) earthquake, with the epicenter in Santa Cruz. I still remember the fear I felt for the victims caught in their cars on the lower level of the Cypress Freeway in San Francisco as it collapsed on them. I cried and wrung my hands watching the rescue efforts on television. Can you imagine the devastation if the multi-level freeway system in Tokyo had suffered the same effects in the 9.0 magnitude earthquake?
Tokyo Freeways, 2011

One cannot imagine the horror the victims of the earthquake and resulting tsunami felt, and the sadness they are experiencing as their losses are becoming more apparent by the day. So many have lost everything.. family members, homes, and belongings. As if that were not more than most humans could bear, they are now facing another disaster in the possible meltdown of one or more nuclear reactors at the numerous power plants located along the coast of Japan. Many survivors of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II must be absolutely terrified at the news of an impending nuclear reactor meltdown!
Japan Tsunami, 2011

Reading the reports online as well as seeing images of the devastation of these multiple events, I keep hearing echoes of reports I heard when I was at FEMA. One was the explanation of the tectonic plate system of the earth given to me by one of the long-time FEMA employees. How often (but not always), when there is a major earthquake on one side of a tectonic plate, there will follow, in a relatively short period of time, another earthquake on the opposite side. This led me to do some research on the "Ring of Fire", which is a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that encircles the Pacific Ocean basin. 90% of the world's earthquakes, and 81% of the largest earthquakes occur along this Ring of Fire. Since 2004, the following earthquakes have occurred along this ring. These are only the major earthquakes and/or tsunamis.

*Dec. 2004 ~ A 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Aceh, with a resulting tsunami that killed a quarter million people in 13 countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. This triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska.
*Sept. 2009 ~ Earthquake off Sumatra, resulting in tsunami killing 1,000.
*Feb. 2010 ~ 8.8 earthquake in Chile.
*Oct. 2010 ~ 7.7 Sumatra earthquake, resulting in Indonesia tsunami killing over 100, over 500 missing.
*Jan. 2011 ~ 6.8 earthquake in Chile.
*Feb.2011 ~ 6.3 earthquake in New Zealand.
*March 2011 ~ 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The numbers of dead and missing are still being tallied.
Ring of Fire

Was my dream about a "hurricane position" really a forewarning of the really "big one", an earthquake supposed to hit the California coast along the San Andreas fault? The fear that this might be the case led me to doing the above research. It appears that that part of the world is overdue for another massive earthquake. Not since the California Northridge earthquake in 1994, which registered at 6.7 and caused 33 deaths and 8,700 injuries, has there been a major earthquake in the U.S. In the past seven years, it's the only area along the Ring of Fire that hasn't been struck. (I didn't list the horrific Haiti earthquake, as it did not occur along the Ring of Fire.)

As a result of the impending meltdowns of the Japanese nuclear power plants, I looked back at my experience with Three-Mile Island. 1979. We lived one hundred miles from the nuclear power plant. We had seen the movie "China Syndrome" just a week or so before the occurrence, and were glued to the daily news reports. Of course, we had no cable TV or Internet at that time, so whatever the major TV networks and our newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, reported was all we had to go by. From that point in time I was fearful of nuclear power. It has lingered in the back of my mind - fueled by the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown as well. For years I wondered if I or my youngest child who lived with me at the time would suffer any effects from the Three-Mile Island meltdown.

In America, there are over 100 operating nuclear power plants, and 16 nonoperational power plants - shut down for various reasons. There are also a large number of nuclear fuel and weapons facilities. One of these is located only a few miles from Amarillo, Texas where my daughter and her family currently reside. This is Pantex, the only nuclear weapon assembly/disassembly of WMDs facility in operation today.

From the beginning of the nuclear energy movement, my big concern has always been the radioactive waste produced by these facilities. Some of the ones that have been closed still maintain fuel or wastes. There are still several in operation in California as well as those that were shut down or "decommissioned". The radioactive material will have to go somewhere. If a major earthquake destroys or damages all or even some of the sites - then what?

From Wikipedia: "Radioactivity diminishes over time, so in principle the waste needs to be isolated for a period of time until it no longer poses a hazard. This can mean hours to years for some common medical or industrial radioactive wastes, or thousands of years for high-level wastes from nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons reprocessing." That's THOUSANDS of years, folks!!

And we worry about radioactive fallout traveling 5,000 miles across the ocean? We should be more concerned with the nuclear facilities in our own back yard! You think?? 

Being an empath, I am very sensitive to emotions and moods of others (although this was unbeknown to me at the time). At one FEMA deployment, I turned around and walked out of the facility shortly after reporting for duty. There was the usual chaos as the telephones were ringing faster than we had people to man the lines. The emotions ran high, supervisors were frantic with preparations as their job performance could make or break careers. When I entered this place already filled with at least one hundred souls speaking to desperate people on the telephones, I felt like I had been hit in the gut. I was physically ill from the energy of so many negative emotions. Go back? Not on your life. I am experiencing enough emotional trauma now from reviewing all the disasters going on around us in the world without getting up close to them.

The best I can do is send my love and prayers to the people of Japan, the rebels who are suffering in their attempts to overthrow despotic regimes, and the wonderful people around the world who are going to their rescue. Over 100 countries have sent rescue personnel and military assistance to Japan. Soon we shall see the no-fly zone finally in place in Libya. Hopefully, that will stop the brutal attacks on the rebels in Yemen and Bahrain as well. The world is watching.

Maybe I should find a group to join in opposition to any more nuclear power plants being built in this country. And, just maybe, I should go on another "news fast". This time I probably should include Internet news sites.

I might just get a good night's sleep.

Peace and love,

Sunday, March 13, 2011



It is very difficult to remain optimistic and upbeat with all the turmoil in the world at this time. Here in the U.S., we've watched the sad fate of Unions in Wisconsin, the Educational system in Texas being threatened with massive cuts in funding and teacher layoffs, and the devastating floods stretching across the Midwest to the Northeast. The tragic pounding of the Libyan rebels by Gaddafi loyalists, with the resulting Arabic calls for a "no-fly zone" that portends a U.N. military invasion of that country. The whole world is horrified by another act of Mother Nature. Japan is reeling from the effects of what they are now saying is over a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, a 23-foot tsunami; and if that were not enough to suffer, they are also facing a meltdown of one or two nuclear reactors. The Prime Minister of Japan said this is the worst disaster Japan has faced since World War II. I am pretty certain there are many survivors of that war and the atomic bombs dropped on their country. What horror they must be feeling with the possibility of radiation poisoning their atmosphere again. It is hard not to believe the doomsayers that claim the end of the world is at hand! Prayers, love, and assistance 

are in order for the people of Japan.

If indeed the end of the world is at hand, my outlook is that it may just be the end of the world "as we know it". We will definitely have to reevaluate what we have done to perhaps cause some of the natural disasters. The flooding in the U.S. can partially be blamed on the redistribution of our rivers done by our Corps of Engineers in order to change their courses, to create dams for use in powering our electrical needs, etc. The massive hurricanes in recent years have been related by some scientists to global warming and the resulting melting of the ice caps and warming of the world oceans. The horrific damage done to our oceans and the wildlife therein by the drilling for oil and the resulting accidents cannot be anything but our fault. The rainforests are being destroyed, threatening the extinction of more and more of the earth's creatures. There have even been incidents where the injection of waste materials from some mining efforts has had to be stopped, fearing that this had contributed to seismic activity in the region. We may yet discover that man's misuse of the earth and its resources have been a major cause of many more disasters.

We need to reevaluate our need for more nuclear power plants in our country. The incident in Japan can be viewed as a warning. We need to take a "kindler, gentler" attitude toward our planet. We've known since the 70s that oil is a limited resource in the earth. And coal is far from being a "clean" energy source. We've had the technology to manufacture cars with much better gas mileage or that run on electricity. Wind power and solar energy have been available forever! When cities can utilize their landfills and other renewable resources to supply as much as 30 per cent of their electricity, as the city of Denton, Texas is doing with current technology, there is no reason this cannot be the solution for the world's energy crisis. 

I have added two more excellent sites to the right of the post: "Anyone Can Change the World" and "Invest in Peace and Security Worldwide". Two organizations working toward solving some of these difficult issues. They deserve our support.

Peace and love,