Odds and Ends No. 43 (Part 2)


I’ve had the same server for over six years
except for today. I couldn’t help notice
that Fong sneezed a lot. (Not good for me

and my not so immune system.) I noticed
that I was the third customer of the day.
Not surprised. I walked in soon after they

opened. It was getting busier as I left.
Sherlock Holmes will have to wait for me.
As I turned off my Kindle, I figured I gave

Amazon, the CIA, the FSB, and God knows
who else my lunch location. Happy Valley
to the 17; 17 to the 101. Doing about 75

in the left lane. Lots of traffic. I was passed
by cars all the way to my exit. A big tractor
trailer with big balloon tires pulling a flat

bed swerved into my lane. No signal.
Texting no doubt. Auto-reflex—I swerved
into the HOA lane. Then safely moved

right and went on to my exit. I was too
early for my appointment. Starbucks. Tall
hazelnut latte hot. College kids all around

me on Macs. How can they afford them?
Students always get great discounts on
laptops and software. These companies

want them on board as soon as possible. The
laptop in front of me has an Arizona State
sticker on the cover. From my left, “Excuse

me. Will you watch my stuff?” “Sure. No
problem.” She returned to her Mac and
school books. EMDR up next for me. O did

I need that coffee! My phone started to
play “I Love to Love.” I answered it. Dumb
recorded marketing call. I hung up on the

word “resort.” Two sips left. Then I drove
a few blocks down to my appointment. I
did EMDR today. Working through over a

half century of abuse is, well, hard work.
See, I told you I shouldn’t have told you
ahead. I went to the store on the way

home; not what I planned. I’m in too
much pain to walk Thunderbird today.
They had two out of the four items I

needed. If it isn’t a hot seller, they don’t
stock it anymore. No O-rings. Only two
kinds of plumber’s grease. Not what I

was looking for. Then, on to take in
some dry cleaning. I live in T-shirts
here in Arizona and wear a few shirts

here and there. Suits and ties are
dinosaurs in my wardrobe. They’re just
hanging around. My health can only

improve. Another Memorial Day has
past; I’ve got to stop looking back.
Watching “Patton” didn’t help much.

I miss being in the Army. Very true. And
replacing it has become my lifelong
personal quest. For tonight, a mystery-

slash-comedy, so she can nap before
bed. Well, this post got too long. I think
I’ll split it in two, so you don’t doze off.

Odds and Ends No. 42


I’ve concluded without deep thinking or any
intelligence applied, that my electronic
world doesn’t differ very much from my

real world. Better said, it occurred to me that
they are parallel worlds subject to the same
dysfunction of mine at any time. They are

not exempt from my stupid choices or those
choices that result from my dysfunction.
Having said that, my healthy choices can

also happen in either world. So we can both
keep our sanity as I write this and you read it,
I’m not going to discuss my fantasy worlds

here. That content would be better suited to
a secret poems collection (toying with the
idea). Recently I told you I went back to

Windows for whatever reason. I am happily
typing to you from openSUSE in Firefox
today because I figured it out. My long love

affair with Microsoft is rooted in my gray
side, not to be confused with my dark or
secret side. Gray is that place where my

dysfunction bleeds into my light, healthy,
and joyful side. My world of light still has
some gray, some dark, some of this, and

some of that because I’m not perfect, but
healing. I’m far less dysfunctional today
than I was years ago—one year ago or forty

years ago, etc. After I loaded Windows this
time, I detected a false sense of hope. There
was no going back. (Not enough space here

to try and explain it; but I knew a bunch of
old stuff was feeding this simple choice of
OS. It wasn’t based on anything healthy.)

The simple fact is that I can choose Linux
as my OS without the dysfunctional strings.
Dysfunction tries to destroy anything good.

Somehow, I led myself to believe that I had
to keep up a level of electronic chaos in my
life. Not so. The dysfunctional reason why
I was flipping back and forth from OS to OS

was based on old fears. When I walked into my
office at home, sat at my red desk, and turned
on my laptop, I was flying through a self-made

black-hole. I was living my version of Jumanji!
Okay, I’m not really nuts, just working through
my life, through the residual effects of abuse.

Dysfunction becomes part of survival; like
making believe dark is light and evil is good.
I’m doing better. EMDR has been and remains

a life saver for me! I’m happier and I make
better choices. But dysfunction is something
I always have to deal with, something I always

have to choose not to do so I don’t screw up my
life. Better choices bring better consequences.
Am I getting unclear or bogged down here?

Let me give you my short list of dysfunction
defined based on my own life experience
as a result of childhood sexual abuse and
lifelong abuse in many forms:

dysfunction chooses dysfunction
dysfunction loves dysfunction
dysfunction attracts dysfunction
dysfunction produces dysfunction
dysfunction believes dysfunction
dysfunction doesn’t believe dysfunction
dysfunction destroys dysfunction
dysfunction can never be satiated
dysfunction lies (to you and everyone you
come into contact with)
dysfunction kills (you and everyone you
come into contact with)

I’ve said this before: no one deserves abuse
in any shape or form. It wasn’t my fault.

That is enough on that for today. No use
making us both depressed. Without healing,
without changes, a life of dysfunction (alone

or in dysfunctional relationships or marriage)
would have us believe that the chaos we live
in, the Living Hell on earth we are drowning
in, is “normal” and as good as it gets.

Don’t believe it. Wrong! Lies!

The Lord Jesus promised us an abundant and
joyful life. Dysfunction doesn’t believe that.
An unhealthy life, e.g., one filled with abuse

and dysfunction, isn’t able to receive anything
good. If you’ve been abused, then you don’t
trust God or anyone; you don’t believe God or

anyone. You may say you do. But you don’t.
(Dysfunction lies, remember?)

Well, I don’t call these poems “Odds and Ends”
for nothing! How did I get here today? How do
I bring this to a close? I’m reminded that God

loved us before we loved Him. So, it makes
no sense to believe I have to wait until I’m
“perfect,” totally healed, or completely
without dysfunction to make good choices.

I was so excited about walking the other
day. I was planning on walking today, but I’m
in too much pain. Unable to do it. That is a

result of circumstances not dysfunction. So, a
downward spiral is not my choice. I resist the
dysfunction baiting me; I choose to continue

in my peace and joy for today. Life is good. I
think I’ll go check the mail, then finish
watching the movie I started the other day.

And have a lovely peaceful hot cup of tea.

Odds and Ends No. 41


I don’t like writing about what I plan to do in this space
and not do it. That is why most of my “rapid logging”
is in the past tense. That is why I’m going to change

to walk Thunderbird and tell you about it later. My
feet hurt. It is 105 degrees. There are a number of other
excuses I could jot down for not walking. I’ve been sick

for weeks; so it is time to you-know-what or get off the
pot! (It is 14:39. I better get moving if I’m going to do
this.)

New day. Wispy clouds. New heat. Her car in the shop.
She is out and about in mine. And, yes, I did walk
yesterday. Slowly, very slowly and a lot of water. When

I got back I checked my calendar. I hadn’t walked since
the end of March. A lot of sick time in between. I am
thankful for healing and hope for complete restoration

as I go forward. I thought about what I might cook for
dinner as I walked. In my mind, I opened the fridge.
I cooked a pound of Mostaccioli last Friday and still had

one serving left. The six chicken breasts I cut up and
cooked were gone. How can I be walking in 105 degree
heat thinking about dinner? I know what I’ll do. When

I got home, I changed out of my hiking stuff and put on
my uniform of the day—T-shirt and warm-up pants. In
the kitchen, I preheated a small frying pan (to keep my

portion size down). One short spray of canola. I put a
frozen burger in the pan. Meanwhile, I put a serving of
frozen veggies on a paper plate. Broccoli and peas. And

I grabbed the rest of the precooked pasta, a larger smooth
penne, you might say. Since I was throwing all the other
stuff in with the burger, I under-cooked the burger a little.

I cut up the burger in the pan. Added some butter, olive
oil, and garlic. Then the veggies. After a few minutes, I
added the cold pasta. A few stirs and flips later, it was

heated through. A pinch of salt and pepper. Mix. Done.
Added Parmesan. A quick yummy hamburger pasta with
veggies. That was dinner. She ate dinner while I was

walking. We watched Episode 7 of “Hinterland” together,
then called it a night. What on earth did I do before
there was Netflix? For me it was no flicks. Get this. Again,

what was true yesterday in my electronic world is not
true today. I’m back in Windows for now (Don’t ask!) I
have to convert her forms into Word docs. If I was

thinking, I would have done that work on her PC and
stayed in Linux. Maybe it isn’t too late. Certainly not
important as I’m thinking of an old friend who died

yesterday at the age of 92. My youngest called to tell
me last night. When we die, the battle for truth ends
and is revealed in the fullness of the power of the

resurrection in Christ. God’s grace is always greater
than we understand; especially in the face of the
senseless barbaric slaughter of the innocent young

lives in Manchester. When evil works evil, God doesn’t
stop working good. I believe that every child who died
as a result of evil in Manchester has been granted the

full measure of God’s limitless grace and given the
gift of eternal life by God’s love and resurrection
power. Their killers await judgment and eternal

separation from God. To the parents and friends who
have suffered horrific loss, by God’s grace, your
children live life eternal with Christ. And my friend

who died, he lives on with Christ. He also believed
the Truth and in the God who is Spirit and Truth,
and never ever changes. When I die, I will see

you again. And, I will see the young people who died
in Manchester, too. Absolute truth is forever true.
God is loving and faithful even though there is evil

in the world. The power with which He raised Christ
from the dead, so has He done by His grace for the
innocent children of Manchester. (This does not

negate the pain of your loss; so sorry for the loss of
your loved ones.) Only God can get us through these
difficult times and sustain us when things happen

that we do not understand. Truth in the absence of
God isn’t true.

Odds and Ends No. 37


I was thinking about what to write while
I was eating a Popsicle to freeze my throat.
I eat the flavor she doesn’t like. Grape.

Soothing. The temperature dropped thirty
degrees from last week to this. We’ve both
been sick. Most likely a virus with a cough.

She came home on Thursday with a horrible
cold and cough. I was already trying to get
rid of a cold no cough. Now I have a cough.

When you are married you share everything,
isn’t that true? We are getting to the end of
the big batch of soup I made over the

weekend. Using the biggest pot we have, I
started to sauté a bunch of celery, a few
onions while I chopped up five huge carrots.

When the veggies were cooked, I added five
boxes of chicken broth, then added the carrots
to the pot. While that was coming to a boil,

I opened a fresh pack of chicken breasts,
trimmed them well so she’d eat them, and cut
them into small pieces. Egg noodle water was

heating in the back; the big pot diagonal to
that one on the front, so they’d fit on the stove.
Now, what would fit on the front medium

burner for the chicken? Pans were too wide. Ah,
my wok will work. A touch of canola followed by
the sizzle of chicken. A few minutes later, into

the soup pot. I cleaned up the wok and put it
back in the oven where it belongs. When I do a
noodle soup, I cook and keep the egg noodles

separate from the soup. A few reasons. Firstly,
they won’t turn to mush and absorb all the soup
when it sits in the fridge for a few days. Secondly,

if you want a few noodles, take a few; if you want
more take more. Works better and tastes better.
I store the leftover noodles in a gallon plastic bag

in the fridge. Takes up less room; easy to get some
for the next day’s soup warm up. She wasn’t feeling
too hot today, so all she could handle was some of

the broth with a quarter cup of TVP. (Happy to make
it for her upon request; I might try TVP someday.
Not today.) When you are sick, everything you do

wears you out. If you could hear outside our house
right now, you’d be aware of an increase in day and
night training flights out of Luke AFB. They always

loop near our house. Chicken soup is all I can handle.
Flying a jet is not for me. I crewed aircraft for the Army
in Vietnam. That fulfilled any desire to fly or not to

fly on my part. Flying was the easy part; taking off was
the challenge. The planes were P2V-Neptunes and were
probably ten years old or so when I flew them in 1967.

Correction. I was crew. I worked equipment. Not a pilot
or crew chief. There for the dawn to dusk ride. It seemed
important at the time. The chicken soup seems more

important at the moment. The thought of bombing
another country with wave after wave of chicken soup
just came to mind. They’d appreciate it more. Diplomat,

I’m not. My soldier side is thinking many other things
better left unsaid. That is why Jesus loved humankind
but didn’t trust humankind; he knows what is in the

hearts and minds of Man (Meaning, and Woman). He
said there would be wars and rumors of wars not because
of him, but because he knows us. Without God, there is

a limit to what we can do for the good. Human nature
without God gets in the way. If you don’t believe that,
then it is highly probable what Jesus said is true and

something is getting in the way. Nothing like a good
hot bowl of chicken soup. It is good to continue to do
good, even so. Nothing like the truth to stir the pot.