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February, 2008: 1 3 9

2/1/08-Fri.-Up at 6 AM. Got ready to begin the day, said "Howdy!" to Mary and Mom, found the movie schedule, listened to news while had a cup of coffee, meditated for an hour after Mary left for work and while Mom rested, and went for a long walk by one of the area's many artificial bayous. During this exercise, I saw swallows, killdeer, an ibis, a great blue heron, and two lesser blue herons.

Had a snack brunch, and then Mom and I drove over to a shopping center where we stayed till early afternoon. She wanted to look for a couple clothes and shoes items and, as expected, we also went to a bookstore and saw the movie, "Bucket List." I'm glad we went, but its good idea was poorly realized in this weak, often terribly slow film. The entire concept could have been well explored in about a half-hour long television episode.

I learned today from Mom that my brother, Horace ("Paranoia runs wild. Nobody's right when everybody's wrong."), a fanatically right-wing Christian Republican, contributor to George Bush's campaigns, and passionate "right-to-lifer," always carries a loaded concealed handgun on his person, has yet another one at his office, has several more at his house (I suppose he needs one or more for each room and each male in the household, just in case), and has assured that his son-in-law, the father of his granddaughter, the precious next generational extension of his DNA, also has "several" guns on hand to protect his family when the bad times inevitably come.

From my perspective, it is scary to realize that the next time our society has a major crisis, unlike in the Great Depression when people generally tended to pull together, there will be thousands or millions of other aggressive, paranoid folks like Horace and Mike, ready to kill others first and ask questions later, people who righteously believe they have the duty to take the law into their hands, and to hell with anybody who gets in their way.

Since I also believe we have now an "excellent" chance over the next generation of being effectively attacked by terrorists and/or of suffering a major flu pandemic, in either case seriously disrupting order, security, and services, it seems almost certain to me that tragic conflict will undermine our country, and that, just as after the Civil War, this nation will thereafter never be the same. These are the "good old days."

Later. Tonight, the three of us visited as Mary opened gifts, and then we went out to eat at a favorite Thai place of hers. Once back at her house, we talked of any number of topics, from the movie seen today to how Mary's folks met early in World War II, etc.

It is a small world. Apparently both Mary's dad, then in the U.S. Navy, and my father, then a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, were involved at close to the same time in the Early Warning Radar program and training for it in FL. Meanwhile, Mary's mom, in her early 20s, was a U.S. Navy nurse instructor assigned to a facility in that area of FL as well. Mary's dad, who was also Catholic, would give her mother rides to a nearby Catholic church for services on Sundays, and from this acquaintance one thing led to another.

Before or after that, her dad had applied for officer training at an opportune time. He had been, just before this, assigned to the Battleship California in Pearl Harbor and was a radio operator there and working on one of its lower decks not long before the surprise Japanese attack. But because of his ambitions to become an officer, he had just been transferred elsewhere and so missed being on board when the California was sunk on 12/7/41. He eventually rose to become a Navy rear admiral, then sold real estate after he had retired. Mary showed us a picture of her mother, in her nurse uniform as a navy instructor at about age 21, an attractive, intelligent looking young woman.

I turned in earlier than usual, around 11 PM. Mom had already headed for bed, and Mary seemed about to do the same after checking e-mails.

Unfortunately, Mom had used Mary's phone this afternoon and forgotten to replace the receiver properly, so Mary got no birthday calls or messages (her birthday anniversary today), since this oversight was not caught until quite late in the evening.

2/3/08-Sun.-Left Mom's about 11:30 this morning, heading home. Will stop off for this afternoon's dream group meeting on the way back.

Yesterday, Mary, Mom, and I ate out for lunch at a favorite Tex-Mex, and, shortly after that, Mom and I began the drive from Sugar Land to Waco. Neither she nor I realized, a few minutes later, we were approaching another toll booth till we saw that the only full service toll section was on the other side of a concrete barrier and that we were in one of the three EZ Tag Only lanes. Of course, I do not have an EZ Tag. Oh well! Perhaps I shall need to pay a fine, if the cameras got a good shot of my license plate.

Saw several large hawks during the return trip.

Last night, we just relaxed in front of the TV after eating some of the Thai food leftovers. I called Frances and we had a good chat once Mom had gone to bed.

Am enjoying reading Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk's The Black Book, set in Istanbul.

2/9/08-Sat.-With one exception, when I sat for just 90 minutes, I have, since resuming this regimen last month, continued my 2.5 or more hours of daily meditation whenever home. The efforts continue to be productive.

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