Astronomy Picture of the Day

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stick Season 2

the snow melted
and left us again with
sticks and
sky.
strangely warmer than usual here,
we pause,
and gasp when the weather guy says
winter will be warmer than average.
we have heard that curse before
like last year
and we suffered some of the worst storms ever.
hush you weatherman.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Study's end

Everything felt a little off today.
First my clinic appointment was today, on a Monday, not the usual Tues. or Wed.
Next, it is my last study appointment.
And I was wondering how I ever could control that and I cannot and never would be able to.
Next, my appointment is at noon, when everybody is going to lunch, but here they are, squeezing us all in
because we are all done w/ the study.
My MRI was not until 6 PM causing me to commute twice to the city.
(pardon, it may not be a city to you :>
Thankfully Fred took me to the MRI.

All morning me thinking they may have some breakthrough info re: the study.
After all the usual blood drawing, vital signs, physicals, tests, I said,
"Is that all there is?" I thought they would know more, help me decide
the concrete path, the format for success.
They would know a little more soon, the meds shouldn't cost me more than $35 a month with my insurance
(I think, give up what for that???) She said the meds are worth Thousands, (thousands??) 
and I know she is right. My acceptance of all this shaky as is normal.
My Dr. offered to write letters to help me get the meds covered.
I want to call insurance today,
but i am waiting to see what the best regimen for me is.

I talked with one of my study nurses and describe how a good shot causes skin reactions.
I liked my meds fresh. She gave me that look...
Then I realized again the phenomenon I told some MS friends about.
I am on a different wavelength than these other people. (see * below)
She did say Dr. P (I miss him so) said the skin reaction was a good sign, the med was active.
Somehow, I knew his name was going to come up today. He was the doctor who recruited me for the study 4 years ago. Now he is gone and now the study is almost done. My last official visit today.
Still having a hard time accepting it all.

Then the elevator to the MRI place. I run into an ICU nurse I worked with.
"I am going to get magnetized", for lack of anything better to say.
In the hallway to MRI, giant murals of happy caring staff and short quotes of wisdom.
I stopped in front of Dr. P's. He is gone but here is his photo, his eyes true
his quote, deep. Fred tries to take a pic of it but it is too big of a picture to capture.
Just as well.

Just wanted to jot this down while fresh.
It was such a weird day and more questions remain.
How being off our game can mess with your whole being,
and how knowing and understanding can be different.
How an expectation, an anticipation, of something miraculous,
rarely ever bears fruit.

And I have made it through the study,
stay tuned for updates of the study results as they become available
to me, the mouse.
mary 11.28.2011


* explanation: Hey, I worked neuro for years too,
considering myself an expert nurse.
Only now,
I can hear the wavelength transmission of the MonSter,
and it is ugly.
And those who do not know the MonSter,
cannot see it,
and therein lies a major problem.

Town Meetings to remember

History being made in Bristol, Vermont,
our neighboring town.

This must have been funny for the corrected: this is the planning commission,
This guy comes in, tries to say he has a voice.
Don't that silly guy know,
Selectmen and correction Planning commission members are Kings....

**warning: the writer of this blog does not condone treating citizens like this,
that is the stuff revolutions are made of...........


corrected after posting: this is the planning commission...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Reprieve again

Winter backed off again, the snow melted and we had a nice day to work outside.
The end of autumn again a fuzzy line as warm southern air has been blowing in steadily since
our last Wednesday snow day.
Our broccoli is still producing but has been neatly trimmed by visiting deer.
I boned the turkey and we made 10 TV dinners (and froze them)
with turkey stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash.
Our mashed potatoes were from our red, white and blue potatoes.
They came out kind of pink and very tasty.
We are grateful for our reprieve from winter another weekend
and look forward to lighter days in a few weeks.

Sunrise

 

DSC01675

An unusually warm Vermont November morning.

The ground still not frozen.

DSC01671

Still a little snow left but mostly gone in the valley.

The daylight time a little shorter for about 3 more weeks…

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Music Link

Saturday we always think of the Ramble...
Next Friday catch this wonderful man:
Dr. Ralph Stanley...
at Levon's barn, tickets @
levonhelm.com




Friday, November 25, 2011

The Helix Nebula

what if the universe was just another solar system?
do you feel smaller?
last night the nova show trying to explain our universe
may not be the only one.
my blog felt smaller
as if I should say,
travelogue for the universe(s)
do they know how hard it is to change domain names?
textbooks?
tidy powerpoint presentations?
Do you think one
or
more?

Helix Nebula
Close-Up of the Helix Nebula
Source: Hubblesite.org

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Wishes

Thanksgiving Wishes





I wish you all the best






Even those who are green






And those who are pests






Those that are blue,






Yes, and you too,






And may you see






All that will be






And all that has been






And that we are all me






That if you hurt






Or are hungry or sad,






So am I.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winter

Winter is here

Drive carefully
Happy Thanksgiving's eve,
Winter has arrived

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Interview with a Clone, First Draft

Autobiography of a Clone


1st draft



Chapter 1

Interview with a Clone

Modern Mars Magazine



By Mary E. Gerdt

2011





Alice Karma has let it all hang out with Modern Mars Magazine in her latest interview with Captain Gigi Fairweather, commander of the Mars shuttle for 10 years and now Senior Lifestyle correspondent for Modern Mars Magazine.



Captain: Hello Alice. Thank you for connecting with our interplanetary entertainment show, Modern Mars Magazine.



Alice: Hello Captain. Thank you for inviting me. It is an honor.



Captain: How is it stateside?



Alice: Freezing where I am at. Bermuda has had constant blizzards since the asteroid hit. I am surprised communications are so clear.



Captain: We have had some enhancements. Stuck on the island until the weather clears?



Alice: Perhaps I should ask you that Captain.



Captain: You got me there Alice. The shuttle’s been grounded until at least two years…



Alice: (Interrupting)…I heard 5 at the least, possibly 10...



The Captain switched the microphone to privacy, “Alice, What do you mean telling this audience we won’t be getting anymore food for 10 years!?”



Alice: Well, it is the truth.



Captain: This you must retract. No talk of gloomy subjects, especially about how we may be stranded here forever. The subject is you and being a clone.



Alice: That is news?



Captain: That is a distraction, that is what that is my lady and we need it badly. The obscure, the strange, different. Why we all came to Mars to begin with, and I bet why you came from Bermuda.



Alice: Well Captain, Is that dead air?



Captain switched back on the microphone: I am so sorry Mars and Earth listeners, we had a slight malfunction in our solar panels. Jake had to go adjust them again. This time we let him use the good wrench. Maybe it’ll last. We’ve had several Marsquakes today and it knocks out the antennae every time. Now Alice Karma, where were we?



Alice: We were musing about the strange and different.

I completely lost track.



Captain: Let’s talk about your…beginnings, shall we say.



Alice: That is usually where it begins.



Captain: Did you have one or two parents?



Alice: Well that is already a controversial question.



Captain: Oh??



Alice: My essence began when my replicative parent contemplated cloning herself. She was blessed with health, physical beauty, extraordinary intelligence and demeanor. She could speak 10 major languages fluently and was working on writing the Mars Dialect which would become the universal Martian language we use now for the cross cultural bridge and universal translators. She flew rockets, airplanes, jets, helicopters and submarines. She was deathly terrified her works would not be complete without replicating another human for the preservation of the human race in case there was an extinction event. She had developed arthritis by then and was crippled by its pain, yet she persisted in her research for the final 10 years of her life. She moved to Bermuda where she established a state of the art facility with perpetual power supply, security and self sustaining food sources using cloned animals and plants.



Captain: So, you had a garden growing up?



Alice: I guess you might say that Captain. It was a square mile.



Captain: Wow!



Alice: She was feeding the lab and all the workers.



Captain: Go on.



Alice: She began with plants and then small mammals. Then moved quickly to pigs. Very similar to humans. Soon she wondered about a child replica of herself. Would she capture the same intellect, perfection, and ultimately isolation in a tiny version of herself? After all is said and done the baby would be totally different but undeniably human. She wondered about how to begin this 5 year project without telling one other soul. There were times at conferences or dinner dates with colleagues when she was so tempted. But she kept to herself and let no one see what she did all day at the remote cabin in Bermuda.



Captain: Was she worried she would be arrested?



Alice: Yes, and worse, someone may have tortured her for the secret, or otherwise wanted to cash in. Mom was worried about the dark side: Growing babies for slavery.



Captain: Well that sounds extreme.



Alice: Mom was threatened in college when she worked on plant cloning and the enviro police threw Molotov cocktails at her house.



Captain: Guess she hit a nerve.



Alice: Can you imagine what my news would do?



Captain: Hmm…So what is your greatest concern about human cloning?



Alice: Pause…I guess that I am different in the eyes of other humans.



Captain: I don’t understand.



Alice: That’s what I mean. You don’t and never will understand what it is like to be a clone. I know what it is like to be human.



Captain: Do you?



Alice glared at the microphone and sighed loud enough to be heard on Earth and Martian feed.



Captain: I suppose it is time for a break. Let’s hear from our sponsors, ADM space foods international, where we grow and launch food for Earth and the colonies.



Break music begins to play. Captain turns down the volume.



Alice: Hello Captain.



Captain: Hello, I am sorry but I needed a little drama.



Alice: Did you know, for the record, I am as human as you?



Captain: I know. (She was tiring of the scientist’s vanity child spewing virtues of creating little clones. She only had her on because she needed a good diversion. Be nice, Gigi, the Captain said to herself.)



Alice: And…



Captain: Commercial’s over. Places.

And here we are back at the titanium microphone at the Red Palace on Mars. We are speaking with Alice Karma, famous clone daughter of one parent, Dr. Susan Wolf.



Alice: Thank you Captain.



Captain: Now how were you treated at school, for instance?



Alice: No one knew. Mom had been in Switzerland for two years while I was being developed. She came back and was implanted and claimed she had had an affair with an unknown soldier in Swiss Army. She would joke to me when she gave me a swiss army knife, This is Dad’s, she said. I knew there was no Dad. Only Mom. She is all there ever can be.













Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

H.328

[I sent this letter to some local representatives and I urge any Vermonter who wants reform of Delinquent Tax Policy to write to their legislators as well, like right now. Go to Vermont.gov to find your rep's (is there an app for that?)] mary




Please support H.328.


The property taxes have become so burdensome for us. Please help reform what happens when you simply cannot pay. We suffered great penalties, shame and nearly lost our 4th generation farm after being 9 months late. The towns can be less lenient than banks and mortgage companies or not, at their discretion.

I have written everyone I can to explain what we went through. Please force some sensibility into local punishment of people who cannot pay. The motivation of locals not to change rests on tax collectors reaping large sums for short hours.



Beyond H.328: The VT property tax structure also punishes people like us who hold land more than 2 acres (56 ac) and pay taxes on that land (appraised at highest use even though it is open land) without income sensitivity. The town likewise has no income sensitivity.

Therefore we pay $1 for every $10 we earn to VT property taxes. That is with getting income sensitivity on our homestead portion.

To me that is not income sensitive.





Thank you for your time.
Mary Gerdt


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mary See

Mary See
was on a coffee mug,
my sister sent me,
full of candies,
and this mysterious woman's face:
Mary See,
on the mug facing me
every time
I took a sip
of my favorite beverage,
coffee.

Mary See
I felt the message there
as I pondered stressful
thoughts,
why do humans do that?

Mary See
She was a kind old woman,
as she appeared on my favorite coffee mug
I used every morning for years.

I forgot all about her until my 4 am wake up
thoughts,
the kind that nag my rem sleep
and kick start my day a little too early.

Mary See,
I used that mug for so many years,
Finding it a useful meditation device,
self reflection,
Mary See.

As the internet began, our info searches
became easier,
I looked up
Mary See
and found her to be a candy store icon,
to me a hero,
a grandmother I never had,
a chance to rethink the nighttime dreams
with a cup of hot coffee,
that I loved more after reading
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Mary See
The mug long gone,
How do I remember it today,
as I am hunting for a topic to post,
on a Friday when I am running out of
steam.

Mary See,
When I lost the vision in my right eye temporarily
4 years ago,
those words went through my mind,
Mary See,
a good exercise for anyone,
Do not just look,
You must
See.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Twitter Weather

Twitter Weather

Today's twitter expected to be
fair and cloudy,
building strength
with intention,
messages of truth, faith and
hope,
some
blowing of steam,
like a pressure valve,
some
just wanting to have
their voices
aired
in a sunny place.
Others
just having a good time,
still others,
this is how
they talk now.
(do i call that fair or cloudy?)

All I know is, when there is a
storm
and we have a
signal, an icon,
a widget and a
wi-fi,
we will talk
and it will be a nicer day.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Bluffs

This is an image of the bluffs on the Illinois River.
I clicked it going down the highway
on one of out trips "back home"...
It is hard to capture the dimensions
and contrast. These, were our mountains
in the flat lands.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Serfing USA

Serfing USA



The occupy people moved out of city hall park in Burlington, VT. It was getting cold anyway so perhaps they were secretly happy. Meanwhile, in the country, we got the piece of paper saying we paid
our $5 grand (VT prop taxes) and change to the town so they won't sell our farm next fall.
The money we drained from an account we set up for my eventual theoretical disability. I was denied disability insurance 3 days after my diagnosis of MS even though I showed and show no outward symptoms. So it is a race between draining our account vs. will I be able to work long enough to live here, in our 4th generation farmstead. It is a race against time.
I knew this post would come out awkwardly and sound weird to some. I started with a poem but it seemed too silly.
5 grand is a ridiculous amount for any 2 people to have to pay for the crime of being linear descendants to a Vermont farm.
Feeling more like a serf today than a citizen.
Occupy your job, Mary, and go to work.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Common and not so common Heroes

Heroes
come in all sizes, shapes and colors
Some Big
some small
Some pretty average guys
just trying to do the right thing,
not just for
themselves,
but for
Others...
This week,
Property taxes are due in this town
and other VT towns.
I know, you are weary of my rant,
so turn the channel off,
Or...
Check out Bruce's website:
http://www.vermontadvocate.com/
and get in the know
about the convoluted VT property tax system
and why it really does need a major reform.
Help support Bruce in his good fight.
Now off to work!
The town gets one dollar for every $10 I earn.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Nachtmusik



What can I say? Sean Costello was quite a musician...
Now get ready to contribute to his cause
as you visit his site:

http://seancostellofund.org/


Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day best possible wishes to all veterans and their loved ones.
We inevitably, uncontrollably, are all products of war.

Found this rare and beautiful gem for today.
You tube link to Sean Costello et al.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Hope You're Taking Notes

[i wrote this 4 years ago about the time i started blogging. I sent to a friend and lost it. today she sent me the file and i wanted it in my blog memories, multicolored moments, some stinging, some sweet, all good.. this is for mom]



“I hope you’re taking notes”, my mother exclaimed as we settled into a long overdue visit.

“Oh, I am”, I replied.
We have never had too much trouble communicating with each other. No time to beat around the bush, skirt the issue, wallow in subtleties.

I quickly discovered she was mad about “having” to be “placed” in an apartment with my father. But she always said it was OK if we had to place her in a nursing home and this is just an apartment. The light bulb went off in my head. “But this is the nicest senior housing I have ever been in.” I tried to recover from feeling like I had forgotten something. I guess I had. Does she remember when we talked…they had a choice…everyone thought it was for the best. Now I sat across from My Mom, a mad senior, one with nothing to lose, one with a mission to educate her health care professional daughter about the real world.

I remember when I was 5 and going to kindergarten. 3 doors down. So far away. My mother told me then about the real world. You will come here every day. They don’t have your name tag. You are in the wrong classroom. But I liked the other teacher. You will get used to it. You will have to take naps. I thought to myself, what’s a nap?

We often begin thinking things are one way and discover our perception is only that.

My viewpoint. My reality. Seen through My eyes and filtered through My experiences and My learning.

Some will never get to the point of seeing how their experiences shape their reality.
These are the my way or the highway types.

Some are willing to work through the experiences and consider their perceptions may be influenced by past events.

These are people like you and I who are trying to learn all we can in this life.

Then there is my Mom.

Deceptively quiet at times. Deep down a true warrior. Anti-war warrior, shaman princess, student of metaphysics, Esperanto, Rosicrucian, mother of seven assertive “Gerdt” children, Modern thinker, lover of ancient times, Atlantis aficionado, Lover of Omar Khayyam, opera and anything mystical, mindreader, painter, dreamer.

Now do you understand my dilemma?

She is always right (but staunchly left).

She is powerful but gentle.

She is outspoken but reserved.


The conversation turns as it always does (to my relief) to death and plans.

“I want to be cremated” my mother says plainly as she has done since I was a little one.

“I know, Mom.” How could I forget. After all these years hearing it over and over as if I would suddenly forget when the time comes and slip to the mortician. “Embalm her now, I would say. The purple fluid. “

I decide to change the subject.

“I have made a decision too, Mom. I want to be cremated and Fred knows where I want my ashes spread.” There, the conversation has been successfully diverted. Mom can’t say anything to that one. Now she knows how I feel. Or maybe she still doesn’t.

So we go on trying to make conversation about old days and pictures from the past and what they had for lunch or doctor’s appointments to come. Where is your pain today?

Or silence as the 24 hour news channel stirs up the elders. War, gas prices, political failures, government conspiracies, snafu’s. The golf channel with it eternal 18 hole game. The food channel.

Is it time to eat again?

We take a ride up the river road. One of my favorite places on the planet. The bluffs north of Alton remind me of a day this was all under water. When the planet was covered with water and we were all sea creatures.

We stop at the Wilton Hotel, an old family style restaurant/hotel with fresh fried chicken, homemade sausages and pickles. We get a pound of asparagus at a roadside stand. I envy the woman who sells it to us. She lives out here in the middle of nowhere and makes her living working the land. She has a peace on her face that farmers have. No money, maybe, but that extraordinary peacefulness. She may not even know I am looking at her like that. She may not think her life is so special. "Maybe I could take a vacation sometime", she thinks as we drive away. "Instead of picking this damn asparagus every day."

We get on the Brussels ferry, a 10 minute ride across the Illinois River. I get out to smell the river air. I close my eyes. Feel the motion of the ferry underfoot. Hang onto the railing. I envision the days when people rode the riverboats and played cards and traded and traveled these rivers. A short little trip but I try to prolong it. Hold on to the memory. Can’t I stay forever?

Before you know it we are on the other side.

Before you know it we are back on the plane to go home.

Short visit. So short.

I mindlessly chew the handful of peanuts they gave me and try not to cry on the plane. When I left home years ago, I was eager to find my own way, a new world, a place where no one knew me, or had preconceived ideas about me. It was a bittersweet memory like now. Leaving my parents, wondering if this was the last time, wondering why Vermont was where I landed. Why so different after all than Illinois.

But when the green mountains appeared on the horizon it was as if they said,

“Welcome back, we missed you”, just like the first time.

10 minutes to ground I pulled out my paper and started writing. I heard my mother’s voices say ”I hope you’re taking notes…”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pony Up!


Pony Up!

Watch a short video
to see how monitoring your horse's
vital signs
just makes good
well,
horse sense!

No, horses do have
senses
but they cannot
tell you
what is going on.

Am proud of my bro again for now helping
reform Equine medicine.

Cool!



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stick Season

Stick Season
was looking for an archival photo,
to help describe
the season of
sticks,
bare trees.
Found one from March '10.
The bad news,
about stick season:
 not much green
except conifers.
The good news,
more light comes through
when the sun skims the horizon
hugging tightly
until the days get longer
again.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A letter

A Letter

from the clinic,
nearly left it
there,
on the table,
by my diary,
of my shots
i have had
for
4 years
now,
but the letter,
had a feel there,
out of place,
i had a
feeling,
it was not a simple
letter
but a message
that
my study
will
end soon.

I told
my patty,
my sweet voice
who monitors
my
progress,
that
it was
weird,
being told after
4 years
that this will all
change,
somehow.
She said,
everybody felt
that way.
Seemed like I was just getting used to it,
having more faith that this is the right
regimen.
Knowing the
funding
has a lot to do
with
well,
everything,
and politics,
is right up there too,
and when we feel
powerless,
it is because
we
are.
stay tuned, you know as much as i do.
will find the results of my study in January
and discuss next steps.
4 years no exacerbation,
hope they keep me on what i am on,
whatever that turns out to be.
mary

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Long Needled Pine

When we moved here
almost 20 years ago,
I told Fred I wanted a
 long needled pine.
We never really got around to getting one.
Then I got to a point where the
place seemed different,
my dreams,
well,
different, I guess.
On my walk up to the woods,
I found this fine young pine tree,
I ran my finger over the soft
long needles.
It was a gift,
near the large stones,
moved by glaciers
to this hill,
like me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

12 days of November

12 days of November
(...er 15 days until vt prop taxes due)


I.
christmas won't come around again,
 November tax man won't wait a day
They said we don't tolerate scofflaws
even if you don't have the money to pay.
12-15 days in November, we have to pay 5 grand
for living another year in the cold
and difficult land.


II.
first day it gets me, cannot fall asleep,

second day it fists me, i slap my face in dismay,

third day i am bummed out, sleeping on the couch,

fourth day i wash off my face and shake off all the slouch

fifth day we write the check so it won't be too late

sixth day to the post office and put it in the slot

seventh day we sit and contemplate our leaky broken roof,

eight day the fuel man comes and want some kind of proof,

now,

that's the price you've got to pay,

or you're gonna be fer-reezing, up here out here in the cold.



Ninth day is the weekend, your relaxing in the tub,

you're all dressed up no where to go,

but rub a dub dub dub,



tenth day is a sunday, and you pray with all your might,

that the fuel man don't cash the check before,

the eleventh,

it ain't right,

to be so milked out, so milked out of your dough,

that the twelfth day when it all passes,

that you got no dough to go,

anywhere.....

no christmas this year, honey...

the tax man done come.