Florence?

So far in this hurricane season, the Atlantic basin has been lucky. It’s been quiet. Maybe that’s the way nature balances itself after a horrendous hurricane season in 2017 that set records. That flooded Houston. Destroyed Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. Did some major damage to our house. The damage to our place is now in the process of repair – new roof, new dry board, new paint job. But Puerto Rico is still suffering and the death toll there has been adjusted – from 64 to nearly 3,000.

But here we are in early September, when the hurricane season tends to ramp up, and we have a potential cyclone coming off the coast of Africa. Notice the terminology. Potential. The National Hurricane Center predicts that at day 5 (today) there’s a 90 percent chance of development. But notice that in the graphic, the system begins turning toward the west northwest, but is still well away from the U.S. mainland. If it remains on that course shown in the graphic, it looks like it might hit North Carolina.

I’m writing this on August 30. Today, September 5, how do things look? Well, somewhat better in terms of forecast:

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Social Media

One day, I posted the cover of Aliens in the Backyard on Instagram. It was next to some photos of Golden Retrievers, covers from other books, an astrological chart of the solar eclipse on August 11. So some guy comments on the picture: Your IG (Instagram) is dope. What’s your story?

HIS story is – no kidding – “Just trying to play a super hero in a movie.”

But his remark made me think of an episode in Black Mirror, where everything in your life – from getting a job to obtaining a mortgage to leasing an apartment and eating at a restaurant – depends on your social standing. Your brand. Your story. In the episode, your social standing was, well, everything.  

Today on Sirius radio, I heard an MSNBC host talking about how Don Trump Jr’s brand went over well with his dad’s base. His brand, as defined through the number of his Twitter and Instagram followers, connected with people in that base. I was struck by how this all smacked of high school popularity contests or sororities and fraternities when I was in college. But with an important difference. With social media, you can buy followers. Doing so is supposedly against Instagram’s policies, but I frequently get messages about increasing “my profile” by buying followers.

Who are these bought followers? I Googled the question, but the only links that came up were for places where I could buy followers and why I should or should not do it. But if I do buy, then I should buy active Instagram accounts not inactive.  Huh? Under the why I should buy was a link about how increased Instagram followers meant you were an “influencer” – someone other people should pay attention to  because of… well, the number of your followers. Surely, that number must mean something, right?

Recently, I wrote a post about a woman with 12 million Instagram followers – enough to deem her an Instagram celebrity – who made a stink on a commercial flight. Her Instagram profile says she’s a fitness instructor, but most of the photos seem to be of her prominent butt. I get that Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have zillions of followers. They actually have accomplished something – great books!

But I don’t understand the big butt having 12 million followers or why Don Jr – a guy who hunts big game for pleasure and fun – has so many followers that he’s considered an “influencer.”

All of this brought me back to the question by the Instagram guy who’s “just trying to play a super hero in a movie.”  What’s my story? What’s your story? Don’t most of us have more than a single story?

That typewriter at the top of the post belonged to my dad. It’s a Hermes 2000, where he typed his impressions as an American living in Venezuela in the mid-20th century. Like you and me, his story is multifaceted and that, I think, is where most social media falls short. No one has just a single story, a single brand, a single passion. Our personal stories change as we evolve, as our insights deepen over time, and our passions expand.

No one’s identity is defined by Instagram or Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat or any other app. All are useful in one way or another for creative self-expression, business, public relations. But once we believe that any of them embody everything we are as spiritual beings in a physical universe, then we’re in deep trouble. And if we, as a society, allow social media to define who we are, that trouble gets ugly. We become sycophants just as shallow as those old high school yearbooks that declared so and so as “most likely to succeed,” or “most popular.”

So I think about that guy’s question: What’s your story? My response was writer of fiction and non-fiction.  That doesn’t even scratch the surface but Instagram doesn’t care. Give me a photo, words of wisdom, advice, Instagram says, and I’ll make you famous.

 

 

 

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Astrological Archetypes

Aries: I’m the Star Trek motto, going where no one else has gone before. Cross me and I’ll mow you down. I don’t give a shit.

Taurus: I cultivate and civilize what Aries discovers. I’ve also got some secrets that no one will uncover.  I’m vying with Scorpio for the most stubborn sign. Give me a plot of land and I’ll bring you food, sustenance.

Gemini: I collect information and then disseminate it, far and wide. I’m the messenger who takes what Aries discovers and what Taurus cultivates, and hand it off to Cancer. Ha. But hey, I also seduce you with my words and my stories.

Cancer: Ha? Bro, you need therapy, honest introspection. I embrace Aries, Taurus, even you, Gemini. Let me help you. I am MOM. I am TRUST.  I am NURTURING LOVE

Leo: Seriously? This is a real conversation? C’mon, you guys. Let’s go party with Sadge. Let me lead you. Let me show you how.

Virgo: Details, folks, details. How does  the mosaic fit together? How do all these intricate pieces create a whole? Why do I feel like I’m out here on a limb by myself? Huh?

Libra:  Banging my gavel, listen up. Each of you has a piece of the cosmic puzzle, okay? Now, can we all be friends? Please? Can we go find something to do that we all love?

Scorpio: OMG. They’re all missing the point, the absolute bottom line. It’s mythological, you idiots. Profound. Wake up! We’re trapped in the matrix. Who’s leading us out of this weirdness?

Sagittarius: I’ve got tickets to a vision quest on the island of Mykonos in Greece. Give me mushrooms and let’s  go find the truth. All of you are my friends  until you prove to be otherwise and then, oh yeah, dudes, bye-bye.

Capricorn:  I’m scaling mountains one painful step at a time and you guys want to trip  in Greece? Why? Convince me that I should go.  Explain it. Lay out your case. How does this enhance my resume?

Aquarius: Cappy, c’mon,  You have ambition but lack vision. You have goals but don’t understand your personal quest. Your endurance is unsurpassed but…where’s your passion? Me, I’m into the family of man. Give me your visionaries…

Pisces:  C’mon, you guys. All of you. Let’s go dance with the collective. Let’s be visionaries and optimists. Let’s go find a woods or an ocean and meditate and dream  and visualize what we desire. A planet united.

 

 

 

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Shady side of the Sunshine State

 

Nobody can go swimming on the Gold Coast of South Florida. All the beaches in Martin County are closed due to an invasion of dangerous blue-green algae. Unlike red tide, which is a natural phenomenon, the blue-green algae bloom is a man-made problem.

Where does it come from? Primarily, Big Sugar, which ironically is federally subsidized. Sugar cane fields proliferate in western Palm Beach County on the south side of Lake Okeechobee. The economy of towns such as Belle Glade, South Bay, Canal Point, Pohokee, and Clewiston are all about sugar. In fact, Clewiston, home of U.S. Sugar, is nicknamed Sugar Town.

Interestingly, subsidies for the sugar industry are opposed by diverse voices including environmentalists, who decry the polluting of Lake Okeechobee, as well as free-market conservatives, who for years have lambasted sugar subsidies, as well as limits on domestic production and caps on imports, as a boondoggle that jacks up sugar costs for consumers and protects Big Sugar.

Beyond conservative economic theory and environmentalism, there’s also the sweet tooth perspective. High sugar prices are driving candy makers out of business. The Hersey company opposed the recent subsidies for Big Sugar approved by Congress in June. The company notes that as many as 600,000 jobs in baking and related industries dependent on sugar are threatened by the high cost of sugar, while the sugar industry employs less than 25,000 people. “We believe leaving these subsidies in place causes more job risk to the U.S. economy than removing them,” said Jeff Beckman, a spokesman for the Hershey Co., based in Hershey, Pa.

On the environmental side: “Sugar needs to be a good neighbor, and the fact is the federal sugar program is directly responsible for taking a massive environmental toll in Florida,” said Cris Costello, an organizing manager for the Sierra Club.

Here’s what happens. Phosphorus runoff from chemical fertilizers pollute Lake Okeechobee, resulting in massive algae blooms, then water is released from the lake and flows into the St. Lucie River and from there into the ocean. In some areas, the water turns murky green, other areas it’s coffee-colored.

While Congress voted to continue subsidizing Big Sugar in June, Florida state government shares the blame. “I think it’s irresponsible to point the finger at the federal government,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon of Florida. “The question of who let the all that pollution into Lake Okeechobee is not a federal responsibility, that’s a state responsibility. Florida allowed three million acres that drain into Lake Okeechobee to become overdrained and overdeveloped.”

While Governor Scott talks about the importance of preserving the environment, his actions show another side. Scott is running for the Senate this year, and U.S. Sugar is a major contributor to his campaign. His appointees at the water management district recently rejected a deal to buy U.S. Sugar land south of the lake for water storage. That could have eventually reduced the need for discharges to the ocean.

In 2017, the state Legislature passed a bill favored by Big Sugar that allowed polluters to continue discharging phosphorus as long as they complied with best management practices, such as not fertilizing when the weather forecast calls for heavy rain. I wonder how that’s working out, considering that the run off this year appears on track to exceed that of last year, which was four times above the approved standard. Meanwhile, the Florida Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 2 reported that the blue-green algae in the St. Lucie River was ten times too toxic to touch. That’s because blue-green algae is actually a bacteria called cyanobacteria.

Synchronistically, we were in Clewiston to meet friends just a couple of days before the beaches were closed. (It’s a place we rarely go.) Lake Okeechobee is huge, but the dike along the south shore keeps the lake and the pollution out of sight as you drive along the shore road. But, as the beach closing reveal, you can’t keep the damage out of sight forever. Now people on the coast are feeling the effects of environmental decay. Meanwhile, the federal and state governments largely stands with the polluters, even subsidizing  them as in the case of Big Sugar.

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A Political Synchro

In global events, the synchronicities are often so glaring that even journalists note the “coincidence.”

On August 25, John McCain’s family announced that the 81-year-old senator died at 4:28 p.m., of glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. When I heard about his death, I mentioned to Rob that Ted Kennedy probably greeted him on the other side because they’d been friends and had died of the same type of cancer. What I didn’t know – and that was announced a few minutes later – was that Kennedy died 9 years ago on this same day, August 25, 2009.

After a journalist mentioned the coincidence, Rob asked me why I’d made that remark about McCain and Kennedy. I don’t know why. It was just something that popped into my head.

So, what are the odds on this one? Two senators, of different political parties, died 9 years apart to the day from the same type of brain cancer. Even though McCain, a former POW in Vietnam, was a war hawk who voted for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I respected for his thumbs down last summer, at 1 a.m., to save Obama Care.

RIP, McCain. I hope you and Kennedy are commiserating already on how to get trump out of office.

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Reincarnation Blues

Once a week or so, I head over to Barnes & Noble to cruise through the aisles and take a look at new books. If a cover looks intriguing, I pick up the book, read the back cover. If the copy on the back captures my interest, I open the book and read the inside flap. If I’m still interested, I open the book to the first page. If it seizes my attention, off to the register I go.

But a couple of weeks ago, I saw Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore on a display table and wondered why the cover and title were familiar. I was pretty sure I would remember reading a book that mentioned reincarnation in the title, but checked the back cover to be sure:

“Milo woke up by the water, as he’d done almost ten thousand times. Death was there with him, sitting cross-legged. She was always there when he awakened, wearing her long black hair like a cape. She didn’t have to be there. She could snuff out his life and leave him to wake up on his own. But she never did. Not once.

“‘Suzie,’ he whispered. (She didn’t like to be called “death.” Who would?”)

So, even though the cover seemed familiar, I definitely hadn’t read the book. I bought it and went home. Rob saw the book on the kitchen table. “We already have this book! You and Megan gave it to me last Christmas.”

So I gave Megan the paperback version I’d bought and I started reading the hardcover.

Reincarnation Blues is clever, funny, strange, and sometimes disturbing. The story alternates between some of Milo’s lives – in the distant past and distant future – and his time in between lives, where he and Suzie (death) are frequently lovers. Mile’s quest is for a life of spiritual perfection, and after 9,995 lives, he has 5 more chances to achieve it and “earn a spot in the cosmic soul.” But the only thing he really desires is to be with Suzie forever.

Some of the lives he lives are harrowing. The one in a future penal colony in outer space is the most disturbing, but in that life, he masters a “mind” technique that enables him to drift naked in outer space without dying. The experiences change something in his brain chemistry  and afterward, he’s able to heal the other prisoners of various illnesses. He becomes a kind of guru and completely transforms the penal colony. In this life, he nearly achieves perfection.

Reincarnation Blues lives up to the starred Kirkus Review it got: “Hilarious and often touching…Tales of gods and men akin to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman as penned by a kindred spirit of Douglas Adams.”

It’s one of the most imaginative novels I’ve read in years.

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Numbers in the News

    

 

The number 18, was important in Watergate – the 18-minute gap on the recording that ultimately resulted in Nixon’s impeachment and resignation. It also has shown up in the trump presidency. It took trump 18 days to fire National Security Advisor Michael Flynn after he was warned by acting Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn might be easily blackmailed by the Russians.

On May 18 of last year, we learned from Reuters and the New York Times that there were at least 18 undisclosed contacts between members of the Trump administration and the Russians. That adds up to a cluster of three #18s.

For the last week, trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has been on trial for 18 charges brought against him. That number again. 18 adds up to 9, the number that represents endings.

But it looks like the energy in the larger scheme of things has shifted. On Monday, Manafort was found guilty on 8 of the 18 charges. At around the same time, in a different court, trump’s personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to 8 charges in a plea deal with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. There’s also a weird synchro here about these events happening within minutes of each other.

8 represents, among other things, money, the central issue in both cases. Manafort’s trial was about tax fraud, banking fraud, and undisclosed foreign bank accounts. Cohen’s guilty pleas included tax evasion and campaign finance violations. Money. I suspect more 8s will show up over the course of the next month as these stories evolve.

Number clusters – 3 or more of a number or numbers – tend to appear frequently in the news and in global events and provide additional information about what’s going on beneath the surface. They also happen in our personal lives. Carl Jung used to experience number clusters and wrote about them in his autobiography. He believed they were indicative of an archetype that has become active in our own psyches and once we figure out its meaning – or deal with the archetype – those numbers tend to drop away.

Stay tuned for more 8s. I doubt if the people involved in all this are going to confront the archetype or figure out what it means.

 

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Attractors Among Us

Robert Bingham…UFO attractor

Some people seem to have an innate ability to attract certain things into their lives. In the movies, there was Forrest Gump, who always found himself in the midst of important game-changing historical events that altered the future. Among them, as a young kid he somehow meets Elvis Presley and later John F Kennedy, and his very presence alters the course of history in small ways.

In real life, the physicist  Wolfgang Pauli, was known for being present when laboratory equipment malfunctioned.  When we went to Toronto for the TV show William Shatner’s Weird or What, Trish talked about the strange events that dogged Pauli as well as his obsession with the number 137. While in Toronto, we repeatedly saw that number. Upon arriving, we were stuck in traffic downtown, and there on the building right next to us were the numbers, each about three-feet tall. We later noticed a gym with that same address and on our last day we were walking around \and saw a sign at the former location of that gym which said in large letters that it had moved to 137….

Some people also seem to attract synchronicities and Trish and I find ourselves among them—as the above examples. We often notice two or three a day, usually small things that we never write about on the blog. Like the other day when a man we hadn’t seen for month at the dog park happened to show up one afternoon right when we needed to talk to him. I had bumped into him at Home Depot a few days earlier and found out he was working as a handyman. I told him we could use his help for a couple of projects, then we each went on our way. So when he appeared at the dog park, Trish assumed it was an arranged meeting time where we would talk about the projects. But it was simply a meaningful coincidence. He hadn’t been at the park for months because he was too busy and just happened to have a couple of free hours. So the encounter was a useful coincidence, as well as meaningful.

We’ve also heard about people who seem to attract UFOs or at least be in the right place at the right time and spot strange objects in the sky. Some of these people then get in trouble when they start thinking they are somehow special and to bolster their specialness status they start faking sightings and photos. One such man, whom we met once, lived in Gulf Breeze, Florida and was found to be hoaxing some of his sightings. Yet, dozens if not hundreds of others saw UFOs over Gulf Breeze. We took a trip there during that time and had a sighting when were were out on the long fishing pier. We saw a hovering bright light in the middle distance that wasn’t a star or any known craft. It appeared to be about 1,000 feet in the air. It eventually moved away and disappeared.

Now we’ve read about another man named Robert Bingham in Los Angeles who repeated saw strange objects and began taking photos of them. After collecting photos for ten years, he mentioned his peculiar hobby to someone in 2010. He was referred to someone else interested in UFOs and very quickly 40 people turned up at a meeting to examine and discuss his photos. That was the start of a continuing and evolving L.A. UFO group that continues with events to this day. You can read more about Bingham and the group here.

That’s a link to an article in the New York Times, and nowhere in the article is there any evidence presented, or even a suggestion, that Bingham is acting fraudulently. Good going, Robert!

So it seems the mystery of UFOs is complemented by the mystery of those people who apparently have a knack for spotting them. That’s similar to Pauli’s unwelcome ability to ruin experiments and the ability of some of us to repeatedly experience meaningful coincidences. I’m sure there are other subjects or fields of endeavor where these attractors are also sometimes present.

If you know of any other similar cases where people have an uncanny ability to be present over and over again when something unusual happens, let us know. It could be the subject of a new book…THE ATTRACTORS or maybe…THE FORREST GUMP FACTOR.

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A Mercury Retro Thing

Mercury turned direct at 12:25 a.m. this morning!

This year’s second Mercury retrograde began on July 26, at 1:02 AM EDT, at 23 degrees Leo. As of today, August 5, we’re only 10 days into it.  The retro ends on August 19, at 12: 25 AM EDT – or if you live in a PDT zone, it ends on August 18, at 9:25 PM, at 11 degrees Leo. I include this info so you have a sense of the length of these retros.

So, my retro story, 2 weeks in. Back in June, my 7-year iMac computer was limping along on its last legs. Nothing worked well anymore and it was obvious the computer was really tired and bit by bit, stuff stopped working. I decided to buy a new computer before Mercury turned retro in July. I updated my iMac and was delighted to find that the storage on the new models was 1 TB – which means it has the capacity to hold a trillion bytes. I figured this was large enough to hold all the files I’d created since 2011, all the photos I’ve taken, my astrology programs, word processing programs etc.

The bad news was that I had to buy Word 2016, so I could move my Word 2011 documents to the new computer. The night after I bought the program, my blogging friend Adele Aldridge suggested I try Pages, Mac’s answer to Word, which came with the computer. I did and I love it! It’s a clean program, easy to use, with all the features I enjoyed in Word 2011 and then some. Compared to Word 2016, Pages was a breeze. I was able to convert the novel I’ve been writing in Word 2011 to Pages with just a click.
I quickly learned, though, that the reverse isn’t true.

About a week after I’d bought the new computer, I submitted a short file to someone in Pages and the person couldn’t open it. It was easy to remedy because the document was short. I copied and pasted from Pages to Word 2016. Today, I finished my novel in Pages and decided I should probably have a copy of it in Word 2016, too. I put the novel into an efile in Pages, copied and pasted several hundred pages into a Word document, and discovered the word count was different. I repeated the copying and pasting several times but the end result was the same. Different word count.

After several hours of fiddling around with this, I did what I should have done from the start – Googled it. Oh duh, you sneaky Mercury retro thing. So for anyone who doesn’t know how to do this, it’s actually easy!

Open up Pages, go to File, export to, and click on Word. Within a few minutes, my novel was converted to Word without endless copying and pasting. I’m not sure why I didn’t initially just Google it. But perhaps when Mercury – ruler of communication, the conscious mind – is retrograde, the mind doesn’t work quite as quickly. It fusses and debates, gets mired in details that really have nothing to do with whatever you’re trying to accomplish, and the end result is frustration.

However, the discrepancy in word count still exists. Pages has my manuscript’s word count at 86, 264. Word 2016 has it about 400 words shorter. Short of printing out both versions and going through each of them word by word, I’m attributing it to Merc retro and will figure it today!

 

 

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Alzheimer’s: Portal to the Afterlife

Alzheimer’s is an insidious disease that ultimately steals who you are by obliterating your memories and causing your brain to forget how to do the most fundamental things. In the advances stages, you don’t know what a fork is, how to pick it up, how to use it. You don’t know how to use the bathroom, feed or dress yourself. You forget how to walk. You no longer recognize your spouse, your kids, people you once loved.

My mother suffered from this disease for a decade.

For her, it began slowly – she forgot the names of old friends, became confused about how to drive to the mall in the city where she and my dad had lived for 30 years. She was a consummate bridge player and excelled at it, but eventually couldn’t remember what moves to make when, what cards to play, none of it made sense to her.

She began to believe people were stealing from her. One night she called me in a panic and said she couldn’t find her wedding ring. She believed the woman who cleaned their home once a week had stolen it. “Could you ask your psychic friend Millie where my ring is?” she asked.

“Sure, Mom,” I replied. “But have you looked in your bathroom?” I knew that when she washed her face at night, she often removed her ring and placed it at the edge of the sink.

“I’ve looked everywhere. Please ask Millie.”

Millie has been a friend since she first did a psychic reading for me in 1992. She’s the real deal, the daughter of a West Virginia psychic, a woman who, by her own admission, “sees” things. So I called Millie. She saw my mother’s ring in a cabinet under the sink, where she had stashed it. “So the cleaning lady wouldn’t steal it,” Millie added.

I called my mother and told her what Millie had said. Sure enough, my mother found her wedding ring exactly where Millie had said it was.

As the disease progressed and my dad attempted to care for her, things got worse. One time, Rob, Megan, and I were camping somewhere and my dad called me in a panic. My mother, his wife of nearly 50 years, had just called the cops to report a strange man in her bedroom. The strange man was my father. We left the campsite within the hour and drove south to my parents’ house and calmed my mother down.

As these episodes became more frequent and dramatic, more troubling, it was obvious that my dad could no longer care for her by himself. They sold their home and moved into an independent living apartment in the town where they lived. That lasted about six months. My dad developed Parkinson’s. My sister and her husband suggested they move in with them, in a suburb of Atlanta.

My sister, Mary, is a nurse, and this arrangement seemed like a good fit. We drove my parents to Roswell, Georgia, and helped them move in. My brother-in-law had built an addition to the house for my parents and that arrangement lasted until nine months later, when my dad called and said the arrangement wasn’t working out very well. Could we find them an assisted living facility in Boca Raton, the town where they had lived for more than 30 years?

So we did. At every step in this journey, we reached a crisis before anything happened.

One really dark day in June 1999, my dad and I took my mother out to lunch, then drove her to an Alzheimer’s unit about five miles from where Rob, Megan, and I lived at the time. We told her she was going to a place where she would receive additional treatment, but we didn’t say what she was being treated for. She knew we were lying and sobbed the entire way to the facility.

My dad moved in with us. For the next two and a half years, we visited her nearly every day, and this was when things became truly strange and I began to understand a facet of Alzheimer’s that is rarely mentioned.

She would tell us that her sisters or brothers or her mother had dropped by to say hello. At this time, her four siblings were already dead. Her mother had died on July 20, 1969, the day Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. Early on, I tried to reason with her about these visitations. Not possible, Mom, they’re all dead. But she was so adamant about these visitations I finally stopped trying to convince her otherwise.

Then, in early 2001, our friend Millie was visiting and she and I went over to the facility to visit my mom. She was in high spirits that day. She said her younger brother had just dropped by. “Oh, is that Dick?” Millie asked.

I looked over at Millie, shocked that she knew his name. “Yes, yes,” my mother said. “My beautiful little brother.”

“Well,” said Millie, who ‘sees’ things. “He’s sitting there at the foot of your bed.” And she described his physical appearance.

Right then, I realized that my mother, a lapsed Catholic who feared death, was actually seeing her dead relatives. I suddenly understood a spiritual component of this disease. It’s a way to experience the afterlife without actually going there. You get your feet wet, learn the lay of the land. When she said her dead relatives were visiting her, they were. Alzheimer’s enabled her to test out the afterlife without actually crossing over and when she finally felt comfortable with that world, she moved on.

There are certainly physical triggers for this disease, but the spiritual component is, I think a vital component, a portal into the afterlife.

Sheila Joshi, a clinical psychologist, wrote a great essay on dementia/Alzheimer’s and psi.

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A Bureaucratic System

 

Hurricanes. I’ve lived with them since my parents first moved to South Florida in 1963. But in all those years, I’ve never lived in a house or apartment or or anywhere that was damaged enough in a hurricane that I had to file an insurance claim. Irma was a different beast.

At one point during her trek through the Caribbean, her winds reached 185 MPH and were sustained for 36 hours at that speed. If she hadn’t lingered along the northern coast of Cuba as long as she had, she would have ripped up Florida’s east coast and torn it to shreds. By the time we experienced Irma on September 10-11, it was a Cat 3, I think, and had endless rain. Because of the angle at which it came at us, we were able to stand on our back porch for a time and witness its fury.

We lost power briefly – less than 24 hours. That was a huge improvement from Wilma in 2005, which knocked out our power for 10 days, and left some places around here without power for up to 3 weeks. But Governor Scott was and is hoping to win a senate seat in November 2018 and pulled out the stops to prepare for recovery in Irma’s wake. He did great on that; on just about everything else, Scott has failed and actually belongs in prison for Medicare fraud from his earlier years. But that story is for another post.

In October, we had a huge thunderstorm and noticed leaks all over our house. We filed a claim with our insurance company – the first ever for a hurricane, the 2nd in 18 years. Our first claim was for a stolen bike. They sent out their guy.  He did his inspection. We received a check a few weeks later for several thousand, which didn’t even cover the cost of the new AC unit we had to buy because Irma destroyed the one we had.

A friend who works for an attorney (he lost his hom in Key West) told me about public insurance adjusters – independent contractors who work for you, for no $ up front. They take 10% of the new money. We started calling around and finally found  James, my new hero. His inspection of our house took several hours and his estimate was well beyond that of the guy from the insurance company. He worked tirelessly, pursuing every legal angle he could. And finally, about 7 months after filing the claim, after missing several deadlines, the insurance company paid.

That’s Rob on our roof, surveying the work that’s been done so far.

There’s a bureaucratic system to all this and you either learn it quickly or you get screwed. First rule: start at the top with your roof. You, the home owner, take bids for the various types of repairs. We quickly discovered that roofers in this area are so inundated with work that most don’t even return your calls. Our neighbor Annette, told us about Picture Perfect, a roofing outfit that had done three roofs in our neighborhood. Brad, the owner, became my new hero alongside James, the public adjuster.

The bank that holds your mortgage doles out the money like an allowance, once you’ve uploaded all the forms they required. This process is tedious but apparently necessary because in the past people have walked away with their insurance settlements and fled to Tahiti and the bank had to foreclose on the homes. But, hey, whatever. By now, on August 15, we have a new roof! And the interior repairs begin today.

We’ve met some great and really competent people and I’ve learned more about roofs than I probably need to know. We used to have tile, now we’re going to shingles, less expensive and easier to maintain. A lot of homes are opting for metal roofs, like you see in the keys. But they’re more expensive and noisy when it rains! The bottom line is simple: without a good roof, your home is compromised even before the disaster, whatever it is, arrives.

The ten percent earned by the public insurance adjuster, the guy who set the whole thing in motion, who stimulated the economy through roofers and dry board and paint people, plumbers, and all the rest of it, is the last check issued. This strikes me as grossly unfair, and is something our governor, Rick Scott who wants so badly to be a senator, instituted into law.

Why?

I can’t pretend to understand how someone like Scott thinks. But I know what it looks like: penalize anyone who helps the individual. I think these public insurance adjusters need to unionize and demand initial payment up front. After all, without them, without our guy James, Rob would be standing on our old, compromised roof.

Thank you, James. Thank you, Brad. Thank you to all you guys from here on in. And thanks, universe, for no hurricanes yet this season!

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Mike Perry & Secrets of Spirit Communication

We recently sent our blogging friend, Mike Perry of the U.K., the e-galley of our book Secrets of Spirit Communication. Mike is mentioned in the book and over the years has contributed a great deal to our knowledge  on all facets of synchronicity. His blog on synchronicity is fascinating and filled with experiences.  As you’ll see from his email, reading the book seemed to have triggered some synchros for Mike.

The reference in his email to the white feather as evidence of spirit contact is something I first read about on Mike’s blog.

Hello Trish,

A quick email. I have been reading your book, up to page 66.

Recently I haven’t had any synchros and/or experiences for quite a while. I think your book and words have got me back on track!

We put out food for birds frequently and over the last few days we have had two pretty jays visiting us – always together.

While reading your book it came to me that two Jays is our daughter who died – her name was Janice Juliet! For a minute this quite stunned me.

About 20 minutes later, another almost silly synchro. Simon, from five doors along the road, came to say thank you for us looking after his cat and fish while the family had been away.

For some reason he told me that before coming out he fancied some ice cream with a banana.

The odd bit is that about 10 minutes earlier I had said to Karin that I fancied some ice cream! She went in the kitchen and came back with ice cream and banana. I haven’t had ice cream in an evening for years!

And then this morning, we walked to our local shops and, of course, there was a big fluffy white feather!

So all in all I think your book has got me back on track – so thanks!

Must rush but felt I wanted to tell you this.

We’d love to hear from any of you who have experienced something similar with the book.

 

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Solar Eclipse in Leo – and a question about trump’s birth time

Remember when trump questioned Obama’s nationality? Well, in a weird twist, there are apparently some discrepancies about trump’s birth time that may come to light with the August 11 solar eclipse in Leo. But first, a bit about this eclipse.

On August 11, we have our third solar eclipse this year, at 18 degrees and 41 minutes of Leo. So if you’re a Leo, born between August 6-15, or have a Leo moon or rising at 14 to 22 degrees Leo, you’ll feel this eclipse most strongly.

Solar eclipses trigger outer events and often usher in new opportunities and relationships. This one features not only the sun and moon in Leo, but also Mercury and the North Node. So you Leos – and other fire signs – may have new opportunities in communication, travel, and learning (Mercury) and any of these areas represent a positive direction for you. Pluto, the planet that represents power/authority forms an angle to the eclipse degree that suggests you may have to adjust your attitude toward a boss or other authority figure to avoid confrontation.

These eclipses often trigger unexpected events – personally or globally. What, for instance, might this eclipse bring about for trump, who has a Leo rising?

There seems to be some discrepancy about his time of birth. Here’s a fascinating article about it. The Astro-Data Bank source considered to be the final word for birth times lists trump’s time of birth as 10:54 a.m, which gives him a 29 degree Leo rising. But in a 1994 book by Lynne Palmer, Gambling to Win, trump is one of her examples and she uses a 9:51 a.m birth time, and the source of that time was trump’s mother. The reason this makes a difference  is because the 9:51 a.m. time gives trump a rising of 17 degrees 24 minutes, which means this eclipse falls on his rising.

Given the multiple investigations that are going on into the trump empire’s  questionable financial dealings, possible collusion with Russia, payoffs to women with whom he has had affairs,  this eclipse could hurl him into more chaos than usual. Stay tuned, folks. Things could be getting very interesting as the stakes escalate.

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