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Articles in "Spiritual Smart Aleck "

It is that time when we pause to look back and reflect on the year that was. Well, those of us who buy into the conventional idea that a new year is coming on January 1 do this, anyway.

The Island’s years tend to have a regular routine, and this year mainly followed that routine: the tide came in and went out, usually a couple of times a day. Some trees fell over. Some hillsides slid. Some days we saw the mountain

Micheal, the husband of my friend Susan who recently passed, writes that their four year old grandson Ian asked if MaMa was dead. Yes, Micheal told him, and the boy went off to play. But now, a couple of weeks later, Ian wants to know when MaMa is going to come back alive again.

My friend and constant email pal, Susan Bardwell, passed away on Friday, November 11, at the age of 57. She had inoperable lung cancer, and after a course of radiation and two chemo sessions her body couldn’t go on.

Hallowe’en is past, and the next day the Christmas products appeared, at least on the shelves that weren’t already decked with Christmas products. That stuff has been in the big stores on the mainland since August.

All my life the Christmas shopping season has left me feeling inadequate and disorganized about Christmas shopping and gift giving. There is a reason for that feeling: I am inadequate and disorganized when it comes to Christmas shopping and gift giving. I’m the one waiting to mail packages at the post office on December 23rd, for example. 

"I love humankind. It’s people I can’t stand." - Charles Schulz

Well, crikey, mates. Let’s talk about how hard it is to love people.

There are different kinds of love – there’s the love we feel spontaneously for people we know, and there’s that more challenging kind of love, agape, "non-erotic love, as of God for humankind..." Thank you, Webster’s dictionary.

Once upon a time, a friend’s heart stopped. It was 4:30 in the morning. His wife awoke, there was a 911 call, there was CPR. The EMTs got his heart going again, and he was transported to the hospital, but a doctor told his wife that her husband was not expected to live.She called the priest to come and give her husband last rites. She called their children to come and say good-bye. All who knew him prayed for him, hoped for the best and feared the worst. 

I was cornered by a ranter yesterday. It was a left wing ranter, decrying the corporatocracy. I thought what I always think when cornered by a ranter: Where is the nearest escape route?

I might not disagree with what a ranter is saying, but I do resent the ranter taking up my precious time yelling at me. It isn’t as if yelling at me, or anyone else, is going to improve the situations which have the ranter so upset.

I was asked to write a blurb about the island Labyrinth Tour that is coming up, and I realized that the blurb needed a picture.

I mentioned this in an email to my friend Susan, who is a retired journalist, and told her that it would be hard to get a good picture of a labyrinth because a labyrinth is a pattern on the ground, and I wasn’t sure how I could get a picture that looked like anything more than a lumpy bit of lawn with some rocks set in. I mentioned that perhaps I could climb up on a bench that sits at the edge of the lawn where the labyrinth is located, and from that height I could get a better picture.  

It is September again, and the spiders are in full bloom. We see them and their webs everywhere.

I will not say that I am not afraid of spiders. Just the other day I picked up a plastic cup in the sink and a spider came galloping around the corner headed for my fingers. I yelped and gave my hand a short sharp shake, and the cup flew clear across the kitchen.

How old was I when I first realized that one of the greatest things I could do to increase my happiness was to lower my expectations? Perhaps it was about the time that Mick Jagger was informing us in his iconic rock whine that you can’t always get what you want. Probably later than that. I’m a slow learner.

A couple of months ago I found out that I didn’t have cancer. It was a huge relief. Not two weeks later I found out that a dear friend of mine has stage 3 lung cancer.

Her name is Susan.

Today went well right up until I dropped the cell phone into the toilet.

The phone was in my pocket, as it often is. I went into the bathroom. You don’t need to know why. I was in the bathroom, minding my own business.

My old friend Sonya is here this week. Our friendship goes back to the mid-1960s, when we were alternate lifestyle ladies together, sashaying around in our long skirts and thrift store glad rags.

My birthday was last week, and a couple of people wished me “the happiest birthday ever.” Oddly enough, that is exactly what it was. I had some biopsies done six days before my birthday and I was waiting for the results. Many of my friends and family members have had cancer, and I thought it might be my turn.

As I am writing this, it is May 20, 2011. According to some people who have been getting a lot of press lately, the end of the world is supposed to occur tomorrow, May 21. If that is the case, it won't matter that I didn't get my column in before deadline today. 

When I started writing a column for this paper nine years ago I wrote about you and titled the column, “Grandma's Diary.” You were my newborn grand daughter then, and the apple of my eye.

It’s been a good week for doggerel here at Casa Tuel. It started out innocently enough. It began as I was digging out buttercups: