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  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

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Ron Sullivan

Your friend and her kids -- both of them -- have my sincere best wishes for a good outcome in the new year. Also a sort of sigh of recognition: "I should be the perfect mother" -> "She could have done better." Really, cut that out, mom. You can bet it leaks through to your kids whether you ever say it in front of them or not. Some of us never get that voice to shut up, either. (Of course, that chide there appeals to the inner perfectionist itself, doesn't it...? And so on.)

About that risk-of-immunization bit: I myself in my adult life have taken care of two kids who got sick enough with diphtheria to do time in the ICU (in isolation) because their daddy the chiropractor refused immunization for them. The younger one especially was on Death's front porch at least. Diphtheria! In the twentieth century! In the northern California prosperous suburbs! In otherwise healthy, active grammar-school kids with a wholegrain-healtful diet and lifestyle!

So I guess I'm a bit personally jaundiced about all that, without even touching on herd immunity and civic responsibility.

Oy. Off soapbox. I still really hope your friend and her family come through this OK.


Thanks, Ron. Naturally, I hope this, too. This has been perfectly awful for the entire family, you know, the way it always is for any family who has to endure this or something like it. Also, the father is very sweet but does not have a heart of oak, and everybody has an opinion. Ugggggghhhhh.

About the immunization thing -- I may have misstated. She and I had lengthy discussions about this at the time, and I told her of people I know who have survived things like polio and TB, and what their lives are like, not necessarily terrible, but more difficult than they would have had to be if a good vaccine had been available when they were children. I reminded her that catching some of this stuff, like small pox and diptheria, seems like a trivial risk to us because people have been getting vaccines for so long that we don't know anyone our age or younger who has contracted any of it. Not in this country, anyway. But A loves to travel, and it's something she expects to share with her children. Vaccines will be required for their safety. I think there are some places they are not even allowed to travel without proof of vaccination.

Still, I also know children who are believed to be autistic because of the vaccines, children who were "perfectly fine" according to their families 'til they received them and then changed noticeably. So I don't know what's right. But it is possible in the end that A got her kids some vaccines after a lot of research into which were the riskiest for side effects but just didn't go for the full panoply. I can't remember now.

I would also be surprised to discover that they were allowed legally to enter public school without any at all. Talk about the health of the herd -- without proof of specific vaccinations, no one was allowed to attend public school when she and I were the ages her kids are now. Maybe that law has changed. Or maybe it's just a tiny subset of available vaccines which is legally required now.

Sometime when all this is over, I will ask her about that, just to set the record straight.


I, too, hope for health for her child, and peace for the mother with the heart of oak.

I also wanted to stop by at this late hour (1:43 a.m.) to wish you a year filled with light and joy, and to thank you for all the insights and book recommendations, the stories, and the art tips you've shared with me in 2006.


Thank you, Patry. Your visits are always welcome, even at strange hours, and it is always a pleasure to converse with you. In fact, I have many of the same thanks and good wishes to offer back to you.

I'm very much looking forward to reading your book when it hits my local bookstore. I also look forward to hearing of your further adventures as a Published Author (and to the cognac ads shot on your beach once you become a Famous Published Author; I know it won't be long).


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