AKID, next day. STILL HERE!

Whew!

See yesterday’s post.

Busy with the quotidian: Walk dogs, eat, do yoga/taichi, write, tax prep, eat, make sure “Everything is in order, just in case.” Tea with a dear friend this afternoon.

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Dream: “Ann Kreilkamp is dead.”

Whose dream? Not mine, but that of a very intuitive psychic female friend.  In fact, she said she had the dream twice. The first time she figured it might be about a part of herself that she had projected onto me; but if not, she resolved to at least email me the next day to tell me how much she appreciates me. Then she fell back asleep, and, asking for more information, received  a much more insistent dream, “Ann Kreilkamp is dead,” over and over, like “a bell tolling,” she said, “at least 70 times . . . one for every year of your life?” (I’m 75.) In any case, she no longer thought it was about her, and knew she needed to contact me, especially since I’m concerned that we make plans now for “continuity of government” here in Green Acres Village before I die.

Well, as you can imagine, the first time I read through her recounting of the dreams I was shocked. The repeated statement, “Ann Kreilkamp is dead,”  just kept reverberating through me like a curse! I kept trying to bat it away . . . but just in case, immediately called son Colin to tell him about the dream, and to begin to make plans to make sure everything IS in order before I die, so that he can work with the GAV Board as they move through the transition to a legal structure that doesn’t need my resources or energy to continue and evolve in the direction I, and we, have set for it. I also decided on a a few people who might function as his advisory council as he works with the sudden loss of his mother, for that’s what it felt like, some kind of sudden loss.

I then called a person that has been close to me for decades, one who holds, in his own heart, the kind of vision I hold here; to me, he is the one who would have both the time and the inclination to  help Colin through the transition.

He didn’t pick up, but called back as I was parking at the grocery store, and we sat and talked for 20 minutes.

He said he was utterly stunned at my news, “Ann Kreilkamp is dead,” and especially at the fact that I had immediately thought of him as the first person for Colin to lean on should this come to pass.

Why? Because he had just in the past day or two made the decision to sell his house  and move here, to Bloomington, to be with us. So, the Board’s common vision of continuing to expand the village within the neighborhood, already begins to bear fruit!

My psychic friend had told me that she felt the dreams were connected to Jeff (my deceased husband, with whom I have been in episodic communication since he died in 2003). See This Vast Being for what went on during the first year after his death. And frankly, the over-the-top dramatic intensity of both  dreams does sound like something that vast being might do, just to get my attention.

And actually, as I told my psychic friend, the very evening of the night she had the dreams, I had been watching a movie on Netflix and could feel, for the first time ever, a spirit next to and above my left side, watching, and chuckling alongside me. Jeff?

Oops! Wait a minute. Remember Carlos Casteneda’s advice from his shaman, Don Juan, that “death walks by your left shoulder”?

Either way, something was palpably there, to my left, as I watched the movie.

Okay. Let’s now abbreviate the statement “Ann Kreilkamp Is Dead” to AKID — as in “I kid you not,” or maybe, “I kid you?”

For that is what the entire saga feels like at this point. It feels like we are now in Round Two of a situation where I am told, by some external authority, that I’m about to die, and my response is completely unexpected, not only to me, but to others in my circle. The backstory:

That first time, Round One, was in early 2008, ten years ago. I had thought I had appendicitis, and very reluctantly went to the EM at 2:00 AM, after feeling an insistent, but intermittent pain in my lower right torso area for at 24 hours. I have yet to publish the long version of that story, which, believe me, will be well worth waiting for, but here’s the short version:

I was told that I had a significant mass in my pancreas, and that I would need to see a doctor ASAP. Having no doctor (I don’t “do” doctors), I was glad that I had gone to the EM, because that way I could be assigned one. So I did that, but three days passed before I could get an appointment. Meanwhile, of course, I went on the Internet, and figured I had pancreatic cancer, with maybe two weeks left of life.

The story of what happened during those three days is where the precious jewel of larger meaning bloomed. For I discovered several things during this period of time: 1) that I was very ready to “die,” in fact welcomed it; and 2) that I needed to alert those close to me as to this close eventuality, and to let them know that I was ready and willing to go. As a result, I, who lived alone at that time, spent most of those three days on the phone drinking in extraordinarily warm and loving conversations with all my familiars, both family and others. These conversations, utterly vulnerable and authentic, both somber and solemn in tone, appeared to germinate a frequency or vibrational field of intense loving energy, as if we were all immersed in an immense, nourishing atmosphere.

Then, while doing tai chi on the evening before I was to see the doctor (for the same pain which, by this time, had completely disappeared) I sensed a large group of spirits swishing around me, all joyous, as if they were clinking glasses in congratulation. Why? Because, I was told, their experiment had worked! They had chosen me, as one who did not fear death, and who would then use the occasion of deathing as an opportunity to generate a powerful field of love. Would this ruse work? Would this kind of experiment actually jump-start such a transformative frequency field? The answer was a resounding YES.

Needless to say, the next day, I discovered that the original CT scan was wrong; an MRI revealed the “mass” to be in the liver, where it is most likely no big deal.

So, forward to yesterday, when I received the transcripts from my friend of her two amazing dreams, insisting that AKID. Hmmm? True? Am I to die soon? Actually, especially the second dream, with its at least 70 reiterations of AKID, felt so over the top that it wasn’t too long before I suspected we were in Round Two of AK’s deathing tales.

And what’s fascinating to me, is that this time, as the day wore on, instead of the solemnity of phone calls to my familiars, I started to experience the entire drama as hilarious. So that, by the time my young housemate Dan arrived home (he had been away overnight; likewise my other young housemate Alex; so this experience was just me alone), and I told him, and of course, he went into shock, until I kept intoning AKID and its cognates over and over again. Like, when going in to take a shower, or out to the back yard for a moment, solemnly: “I may not see you ever again. . . .” We started cracking up. The atmosphere had morphed into over the top funny.

Now, you may say, I still might soon die. The dreams may prove to be prophetic (this woman does have prophetic dreams of others’ dying); so why am I laughing? Well, why AM I laughing? Because I know that I — the fiery spirit that utilizes this aging body — won’t die, can’t die? Yes. I’m sure of it. I’ve had too many out of body experiences to think that I AM my body. And so now, I’m fascinated with the specific qualities of the frequency field that seems to be generating from Round Two of AKID. For if Round One was solemn, this second one feels downright playful.

The first seemed to generate a field of love, and perhaps — this thought has just now occurred to me — it might have been that precise personal drama that invisibly birthed the powerful field of love that now pervades our experiment in Green Acres Village!

This second round feels utterly carefree. The love field is assumed, assured, automatically; now, the question becomes, how can we humans learn how to let to go of our bodies easily “when the time comes”? And how can we turn fearful dirges into tearful celebrations? Time will tell.

P.S. If I do “kick the bucket” soon I’ll make sure beforehand that someone can get into this blog and tell the tale.

P.P.S. IF I live, then I have the feeling this post on AKID will turn into a series. Meanwhile, for Round Two I don’t need to call all my familiars, since I can just send them this post! Ah. the wonders of 2018 technology.

A few more possible death poses:

Still on Netflix.

While doing yoga, downward dog.

With my lover, the ipad.

Dan: “Gee, now when I get up in the morning, I’m going to be worried. What if you’re not already up?” Me: “Yes, you’ll have to knock on my bedroom door . . .”

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Green Acres Village, early February: Pace of life quickens . . .

Geez, it’s only one/third of the way through February and we’re already rollin’ — and in a much more decidedly communitarian manner than prior years when Rebecca worked either alone or with one other helper to get seeds started in the greenhouse. This year, by defining the seed planting occasions as parties, we’ve seen an uptick in participation. YES!

The thing is, so very few of us grew up in homes where people still grew their own food! My own parents grew up in households that did, with World War II “victory gardens.” In fact, Dad told me he was the kid in charge of their garden. But my parents and other vets, after the war, in the push west out of close extended families into more and more isolated “nuclear families,” did not grow food.

Instead, the women did what they were programmed to do by advertisements on newly minted television: they washed and waxed floors to spic and span, cooked three meals from scratch and the grocery store, and vied with each other for the latest and greatest new-fangled appliances.

The next generation of women, those who came of age in the late ’60s and ’70s, were differently brainwashed: we newly minted “feminists” were programmed to “go to work” like the men did (and do), pretend we were “just as good as” the men at often soul-killing jobs, for, of course, much less pay. The result? Well, the home, rather than spic and span, became either a shambles, or cleaning was outsourced, or the women tried, in a frenzy, to do it all. Children were scheduled into group events after school before dinner, which itself morphed into take-out, store-bought frozen or canned, or “let’s eat out” at usually some fast food place; thus did extended family dinners gradually dissolve, to be replaced by simulacra on screens with first computers, then ipads and cell phones.

So here we are, currently suffering from the accelerating atomization — and virtualization — of society, and in the midst of this devolution, Green Acres Village is focused on recreating that forgotten, life-enhancing virtue of connectedness as a profoundly valued aspect of daily life again — both with the Earth and with each other.

All of which brings me to today’s post, documenting events of the past 48 hours!

Remember our first planting day? That was just this past Monday, when a bunch of us converged in the morning to mix  soil ingredients in a wheelbarrow, and then Rebecca, Nathan and Tina remained to plant lettuce.

Yesterday, Dan and Logan, (our “Boonville Boys,” who have hung out with each other since grade school) worked with Rebecca’s guidance to plant lettuce and turnip seeds in soil blocks.

One flat of lettuce, and five flats of turnips! Why so many turnips? I asked Rebecca today. “To use for ferments,” she replied, “and that made Dan very happy.”

Here are the two goofballs, in the greenhouse, after their labors were done.

Then came last night, when we converged for another of our weekly Thursday Community Dinners. But first, and for one hour every two weeks prior to the dinner hour for the foreseeable future, the newly forming Board met again, this time with an attorney present who could at least explain a few things to us. Mariella had discovered Peggy at some recent event, and begged her to come. She and her husband David loved the gathering, and plan to return.

Here we are, looking somber again, but this time twice as many present as the first time.

Two others are still in the wings: John is ill, and Kevin is otherwise engaged for the next several months. My son Colin, busy working on another invention to make the growing of food easy, this time with hydroponics, solving three problems people and stores encounter with hydroponics, completely forgot about the meeting. I called him. He apologized, and took me out to lunch today to make up for it. Now I will remember to remind him on the day of the Board meeting rather than call and ask where he is when we’ve already begun . . .

BTW: the Garden Tower Project has completely revamped its website, plus Colin got word today that yesterday they sold the most individual Towers in one day ever: 118, all from the website. YES! So the GTP is ramping up too. Oh, and recently they did a growing study and found that if you grow herbs in the Tower, you can pay for the Tower in only one year; if you grow vegetables, two years. Either way, it’s well worth the initial cost.

Okay, back to the Board, which has now agreed to set a date for a four to six hour retreat when we will forge the official name, vision statement, mission statement, and all the other material to get formalized before we apply for whatever legal structure we finally decide most fully meets our needs. We are also going to call on the help of both the non-profit center at the IU Law School and interns at SPEA at IU. For the next meeting we’re each to bring one example that we personally appreciate of an existing land-based community, finding out about as much of it as possible. We also agreed to get a google doc going whereby we will each put our “truths” up as a sort of white board to seed further discussion. For example, here are a few of my core “truths,” principles that I’ve been holding consciously and setting into motion all along as we have grown since 2009 from nothing into something:

  1. Most important: There will always exist a tension, or dynamic balance, between the two poles of any polarity; in order for evolution to occur, both poles need to be consciously acknowledged and integrated, over and over again. For example, the shifting relationship between conscious and unconscious (shadow) parts of our individual selves, and of the group; or, again, the shifting dynamic between community and individualism itself. Too much of one, and the individual is swallowed into faceless communism; too much of the other, and community gets lost in the typical zero sum game played by predatory capitalists. Both poles of any polarity (any contradiction, or paradox) are essential, and need to be equally valued and continuously recalibrated within emerging conditions.
  2. Our “bottom line” is not money, but energy, Human energy and Earth energy.
  3. As individuals, we encourage each other to follow and express our unique natures. We assume that “if each of us follows our nature, then Nature takes care of us” — both as individuals and as a community. In short, do what you feel most passionate about! That’s guaranteed to be of great value to the entire community.
  4. In any encounter with “the other,” focus more on what’s going right rather than on what’s going wrong. I.e., appreciate, more than criticize!
  5. Above all, remember: assume good will, everybody’s doing the best they can, and we’re all suffering souls.

Okay, on to last night’s dinner itself, this time followed by a spontaneous concert, involving Alex on her bassoon, Logan on guitar, and Nathan on harmonica. Nathan, afterwards, grinning: “That may be the first trio with those three instruments . . . ever!” They sounded great together. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of this momentous occasion, but I did walk around and shoot a few of the, as ever, copious dinner offerings and conversations that, this time, had an excited, intense quality, which began immediately as we wrapped up our extremely focused, searching, and gratifying second Board meeting.

Amazing, how we can now segue effortlessly from one atmosphere to another!

Okay, final event of this series: this morning, another seed planting day, with Payton and Tina, who biked from several miles away to work with Rebecca planting pea and lettuce seeds in soil blocks.

Arrival:

Getting ready, and keep an eye on that empty table . . .

Just before lunch with Colin, I came back out to see how they were faring, and caught them in the act, made them hold that pose . . .

Voila! Done!

Aha! Just got word from Nathan (who has been traveling here for the past month from Terre Haute once or twice a week) that he got the job with a restaurant downtown and will be moving into the vacant room at the original DeKist house next Wednesday! YES!

Or, as my friend Judy used to say, “Moving right along . . .”

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Professor Stephen F. Cohen on the constantly falsely accused Vladimir Putin

And see yesterday’s post:

BTW: I imagine that WAS mighty brave of him to “come out” in a short presentation to wealthy brainwashed lefties on a The Nation cruise. See the article below, as well as watch the video.

Professor Stephen F. Cohen: Vladimir Putin has almost nothing in common with the Western media’s presentation of him

 

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Who is Vladimir Putin, and why do “we” hate him so?

As the usual MSM demonizing of Putin and Russia continues unabated, check out this chart (from 2015). No wonder Americans are mind-controlled to ” hate” him. 

Note: and see my reading for Putin’s astrological chart.

(To me, it’s clear that Putin’s insistence on Russian sovereignty and Trump’s call for American sovereignty both serve the same worthy aim of destroying the globalist wet dream that would render us all slaves in a centralized global police state.)

Now, read the following heartfelt perspective on Putin by Sharon Tennison of the Center for Citizen Initiatives:

Dear Friends of CCI,

Four years ago, in utter devastation, I wrote a piece putting together everything I knew and had personally experienced about Vladimir Putin. Why? He seemed to be the #1 focus of the sabotaged Sochi Olympics and the fierce Maiden Revolt which was clearly supported by outside forces against Russia and Putin.

Sometimes articles take on a life of their own. This one article has, perhaps because Putin came upon the scene as a “blank page” except for having been KGB.

My piece is being reprinted again now by others, and it has been suggested that I give it more coverage also, since the facts have not changed at all; they have just been compounded in the ensuing last four years.

Today we find ourselves facing the potential of WWIII from which none of us will live to tell about — due to this insane war being waged against Putin and Russia. When, if ever, will our good American people wake up and realize the devastating seriousness of our times and demand a radical change in our military policy toward Russia? ONLY when enough of us are willing to speak up for the future of our planet. Every conversation we have with friends, colleagues and family should begin or end with “HOW CAN WE REVERSE this perilous situation in which we find ourselves?”

The following is what I pondered in April four years ago. It is even more relevant today than it was then!

Sharon Tennison
Center for Citizen Initiatives

RUSSIA REPORT: PUTIN

April 21, 2014

By Sharon Tennison

Friends and colleagues,

As the Ukraine situation has worsened, unconscionable misinformation and hype is being poured on Russia and Vladimir Putin. Journalists and pundits must scour the Internet and thesauruses to come up with fiendish new epithets to describe both.

Wherever I make presentations across America, the first question ominously asked during Q&A is always, “What about Putin?”.

It’s time to share my thoughts which follow:

Putin obviously has his faults and makes mistakes. Based on my earlier experience with him, and the experiences of trusted people, including U.S. officials who have worked closely with him over a period of years, Putin most likely is a straight, reliable and exceptionally inventive man. He is obviously a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. He is a leader who can quietly work toward his goals under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at him since he became Russia’s second president.

I’ve stood by silently watching the demonization of Putin grow since it began in the early 2000’s –– I pondered on computer my thoughts and concerns, hoping eventually to include them in a book (which was published in 2011). The book explains my observations more thoroughly than this article. Like others who have had direct experience with this little known man, I’ve tried to no avail to avoid being labeled a “Putin apologist”. If one is even neutral about him, they are considered “soft on Putin” by pundits, news hounds and average citizens who get their news from CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, just a program developer in the USSR and Russia for the past 30 years. But during this time, I have had far more direct, on-ground contact with Russians of all stripes across 11 time zones than any of the Western reporters or for that matter any of Washington’s officials. I’ve been in country long enough to ponder Russian history and culture deeply, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders. As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.

In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I’ve had discussions with numerous American officials and U.S. businessmen who have had years of experience working with him––I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as “brutal” or “thuggish”, or the other slanderous adjectives and nouns that are repeatedly used in western media.

I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St. Petersburg during the 1990’s. Since all of the slander started, I’ve become nearly obsessed with understanding his character. I think I’ve read every major speech he has given (including the full texts of his annual hours-long telephone “talk-ins” with Russian citizens). I’ve been trying to ascertain whether he has changed for the worse since being elevated to the presidency, or whether he is a straight character cast into a role he never anticipated––and is using sheer wits to try to do the best he can to deal with Washington under extremely difficult circumstances. If the latter is the case, and I think it is, he should get high marks for his performance over the past 14 years. It’s not by accident that Forbes declared him the most Powerful Leader of 2013, replacing Obama who was given the title for 2012. The following is my one personal experience with Putin.

The year was 1992: It was two years after the implosion of communism; the place was St. Petersburg. For years I had been creating programs to open up relations between the two countries and hopefully to help Soviet people to get beyond their entrenched top-down mentalities. A new program possibility emerged in my head. Since I expected it might require a signature from the Marienskii City Hall, an appointment was made. My friend Volodya Shestakov and I showed up at a side door entrance to the Marienskii building. We found ourselves in a small, dull brown office, facing a rather trim nondescript man in a brown suit. He inquired about my reason for coming in. After scanning the proposal I provided, he began asking intelligent questions. After each of my answers, he asked the next relevant question. I became aware that this interviewer was different from other Soviet bureaucrats who always seemed to fall into chummy conversations with foreigners with hopes of obtaining bribes in exchange for the Americans’ requests. CCI stood on the principle that we would never, never give bribes. This bureaucrat was open, inquiring, and impersonal in demeanor.

After more than an hour of careful questions and answers, he quietly explained that he had tried hard to determine if the proposal was legal, then said that unfortunately at the time it was not. A few good words about the proposal were uttered. That was all. He simply and kindly showed us to the door. Out on the sidewalk, I said to my colleague, “Volodya, this is the first time we have ever dealt with a Soviet bureaucrat who didn’t ask us for a trip to the U.S. or something valuable!” I remember looking at his business card in the sunlight––it read Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

1994: U.S. Consul General Jack Gosnell put in an SOS call to me in St. Petersburg. He had 14 Congress members and the new American Ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, coming to St. Petersburg in the next three days. He needed immediate help. I scurried over to the Consulate and learned that Jack intended me to brief this auspicious delegation and the incoming ambassador. I was stunned but he insisted. They were coming from Moscow and were furious about how U.S. funding was being wasted there. Jack wanted them to hear the “good news” about CCI’s programs that were showing fine results. In the next 24 hours Jack and I also set up “home” meetings in a dozen Russian entrepreneurs’ small apartments for the arriving dignitaries (St. Petersburg State Department people were aghast, since it had never been done before––but Jack overruled). Only later in 2000, did I learn of Jack’s former three-year experience with Vladimir Putin in the 1990’s while the latter was running the city for Mayor Sobchak.

More on this further down.

December 31, 1999: With no warning, at the turn of the year, President Boris Yeltsin made the announcement to the world that from the next day forward he was vacating his office and leaving Russia in the hands of an unknown Vladimir Putin. On hearing the news, I thought surely not the Putin I remembered––he could never lead Russia. The next day a New York Times article included a photo. Yes, it was the same Putin I’d met years ago! I was shocked and dismayed, telling friends, “This is a disaster for Russia, I’ve spent time with this guy, he is too introverted and too intelligent––he will never be able to relate to Russia’s masses.” Further, I lamented: “For Russia to get up off of its knees, two things must happen: 1) The arrogant young oligarchs have to be removed by force from the Kremlin, and 2) A way must be found to remove the regional bosses (governors) from their fiefdoms across Russia’s 89 regions”. It was clear to me that the man in the brown suit would never have the instincts or guts to tackle Russia’s overriding twin challenges.

February 2000: Almost immediately Putin began putting Russia’s oligarchs on edge. In February a question about the oligarchs came up; he clarified with a question and his answer: “What should be the relationship with the so-called oligarchs? The same as anyone else. The same as the owner of a small bakery or a shoe repair shop.” This was the first signal that the tycoons would no longer be able to flaunt government regulations or count on special access in the Kremlin. It also made the West’s capitalists nervous. After all, these oligarchs were wealthy untouchable businessmen––good capitalists, never mind that they got their enterprises illegally and were putting their profits in offshore banks.

Four months later Putin called a meeting with the oligarchs and gave them his deal: They could keep their illegally-gained, wealth-producing Soviet enterprises and they would not be nationalized …. IF taxes were paid on their revenues and if they personally stayed out of politics. This was the first of Putin’s “elegant solutions” to the near impossible challenges facing the new Russia. But the deal also put Putin in the cross hairs with U.S. media and officials who then began to champion the oligarchs, particularly Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The latter became highly political, didn’t pay taxes, and, prior to being apprehended and jailed, was in the process of selling a major portion of Russia’s largest private oil company, Yukos Oil, to Exxon Mobil. Unfortunately, to U.S. media and governing structures, Khodorkovsky became a martyr (and remains so up to today).

March 2000: I arrived in St. Petersburg. A Russian friend (a psychologist) since 1983 came for our usual visit. My first question was, “Lena, what do you think about your new president?” She laughed and retorted, “Volodya! I went to school with him!” She began to describe Putin as a quiet youngster, poor, fond of martial arts, who stood up for kids being bullied on the playgrounds. She remembered him as a patriotic youth who applied for the KGB prematurely after graduating secondary school (they sent him away and told him to get an education). He went to law school, later reapplied and was accepted. I must have grimaced at this, because Lena said, “Sharon, in those days we all admired the KGB and believed that those who worked there were patriots and were keeping the country safe. We thought it was natural for Volodya to choose this career.” My next question was, “What do you think he will do with Yeltsin’s criminals in the Kremlin?” Putting on her psychologist hat, she pondered and replied, “If left to his normal behaviors, he will watch them for a while to be sure what is going on, then he will throw up some flares to let them know that he is watching. If they don’t respond, he will address them personally, then if the behaviors don’t change–some will be in prison in a couple of years.” I congratulated her via email when her predictions began to show up in real time.

Throughout the 2000’s: St. Petersburg’s many CCI alumni were being interviewed to determine how the PEP business training program was working and how we could make the U.S. experience more valuable for their new small businesses. Most believed that the program had been enormously important, even life changing. Last, each was asked, “So what do you think of your new president?” None responded negatively, even though at that time entrepreneurs hated Russia’s bureaucrats. Most answered similarly, “Putin registered my business a few years ago”. Next question, “So, how much did it cost you?” To a person they replied, “Putin didn’t charge anything”. One said, “We went to Putin’s desk because the others providing registrations at the Marienskii were getting ‘rich on their seats.'”
Late 2000: Into Putin’s first year as Russia’s president, U.S. officials seemed to me to be suspect that he would be antithetical to America’s interests––his every move was called into question in American media. I couldn’t understand why and was chronicling these happenings in my computer and newsletters.

Year 2001: Jack Gosnell (former USCG mentioned earlier) explained his relationship with Putin when the latter was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. The two of them worked closely to create joint ventures and other ways to promote relations between the two countries. Jack related that Putin was always straight up, courteous and helpful. When Putin’s wife, Ludmila, was in a severe auto accident, Jack took the liberty (before informing Putin) to arrange hospitalization and airline travel for her to get medical care in Finland. When Jack told Putin, he reported that the latter was overcome by the generous offer, but ended saying that he couldn’t accept this favor, that Ludmila would have to recover in a Russian hospital. She did––although medical care in Russia was abominably bad in the 1990’s.

A senior CSIS officer I was friends with in the 2000’s worked closely with Putin on a number of joint ventures during the 1990’s. He reported that he had no dealings with Putin that were questionable, that he respected him and believed he was getting an undeserved dour reputation from U.S. media. Matter of fact, he closed the door at CSIS when we started talking about Putin. I guessed his comments wouldn’t be acceptable if others were listening.

Another former U.S. official who will go unidentified, also reported working closely with Putin, saying there was never any hint of bribery, pressuring, nothing but respectable behaviors and helpfulness.

I had two encounters in 2013 with State Department officials regarding Putin:

At the first one, I felt free to ask the question I had previously yearned to get answered: “When did Putin become unacceptable to Washington officials and why?” Without hesitating the answer came back: “The knives were drawn when it was announced that Putin would be the next president.” I questioned WHY? The answer: “I could never find out why––maybe because he was KGB.” I offered that Bush #1, was head of the CIA. The reply was, “That would have made no difference, he was our guy.”

The second was a former State Department official with whom I recently shared a radio interview on Russia. Afterward when we were chatting, I remarked, “You might be interested to know that I’ve collected experiences of Putin from numerous people, some over a period of years, and they all say they had no negative experiences with Putin and there was no evidence of taking bribes.” He firmly replied, “No one has ever been able to come up with a bribery charge against Putin.”

From 2001 up to today, I’ve watched the negative U.S. media mounting against Putin- even accusations of assassinations, poisonings, and comparing him to Hitler. No one yet has come up with any concrete evidence for these allegations. During this time, I’ve traveled throughout Russia several times every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin’s watch. Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food. Alcohol challenges were less obvious, smoking was banned from buildings, and life expectancy began increasing. Highways were being laid across the country, new rails and modern trains appeared even in far out places, and the banking industry was becoming dependable. Russia was beginning to look like a decent country –– certainly not where Russians hoped it to be long term, but improving incrementally for the first time in their memories.

My 2013/14 Trips to Russia: In addition to St. Petersburg and Moscow, in September I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm. We traveled between cities via autos and rail––the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today’s Russians look like Americans (we get the same clothing from China). Old concrete Khrushchev block houses are giving way to new multi-story private residential complexes which are lovely. High-rise business centers, fine hotels and great restaurants are now common place––and ordinary Russians frequent these places. Two and three story private homes rim these Russian cities far from Moscow. We visited new museums, municipal buildings and huge super markets. Streets are in good repair, highways are new and well marked now, service stations looks like those dotting American highways. In January I went to Novosibirsk out in Siberia where similar new architecture was noted. Streets were kept navigable with constant snowplowing, modern lighting kept the city bright all night, lots of new traffic lights (with seconds counting down to light change) have appeared. It is astounding to me how much progress Russia has made in the past 14 years since an unknown man with no experience walked into Russia’s presidency and took over a country that was flat on its belly.

So why do our leaders and media demean and demonize Putin and Russia???

Like Lady Macbeth, do they protest too much?

Psychologists tell us that people (and countries?) project off on others what they don’t want to face in themselves. Others carry our “shadow” when we refuse to own it. We confer on others the very traits that we are horrified to acknowledge in ourselves.

Could this be why we constantly find fault with Putin and Russia?

Could it be that we project on to Putin the sins of ourselves and our leaders?

Could it be that we condemn Russia’s corruption, acting like the corruption within our corporate world doesn’t exist?

Could it be that we condemn their human rights and LGBT issues, not facing the fact that we haven’t solved our own?

Could it be that we accuse Russia of “reconstituting the USSR”––because of what we do to remain the world’s “hegemon”?

Could it be that we project nationalist behaviors on Russia, because that is what we have become and we don’t want to face it?

Could it be that we project warmongering off on Russia, because of what we have done over the past several administrations?

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Trey Gowdy: “I enjoy the pursuit of fairness as a virtue”

I watched a powerful snippet from a Face the Nation interview with Trey Gowdy two days ago, and unfortunately, can no longer find that exact section. However, I did find a transcript and have excerpted the snippet here. What struck me about this interview was his evident sincerity, and chagrin, really, that he could no longer tolerate being a member of the U.S. Congress.

Certain phrases stuck out for me. I put them in bold. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You surprised Washington with announcing your retirement — that you’re not going to run for Congress. Why did you decide to leave?

REP. GOWDY: You know, I’m just– I– I enjoy the justice system more. I enjoy being fair. I enjoy the pursuit of fairness as a virtue and I’m just more comfortable in that system. My wife hates it when I say this, but I– I was a pretty good prosecutor, I think. But I’ve been a pretty lousy politician. So I’ve done it for seven years. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to do it, but it’s time for me to — whatever time I’ve got left — I want to spend it in the justice system because that’s where my heart is, and that’s where my interests–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why do you say you are a lousy politician?

REP. GOWDY: I just– I– I see multiple sides of a single issue. And the fact that someone disagrees with me, does not make me challenge their love of the country. It doesn’t make me believe that they’re corrupt. I’ve got a lot of friends on the other side of the aisle. We disagree on this issue, but– but I don’t question their love for the country and I don’t– I– I just– I don’t think the end justifies the means. I think the manner in which we get places matters, and in politics too often winning is the only thing that matters. And look, every hero I have has lost. Every one of them. So losing is not the worst thing in the world. Not knowing what you believe and not caring enough about it to fight for it? That’s the worst thing in the world.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think you’ve served justice in your time in Congress?

REP. GOWDY: Not like I did in my previous job. I tried. It’s about winning in politics, and that is not what– the courtroom– there’s a reason we throw out search warrants even though we find the murder weapon. There’s a reason we throw out confessions even though we think the person did it. The process matters. The end does not justify the means. And in politics, it’s just about winning. And– and I– I can’t– I don’t want to live like that. 

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Green Acres Village, late January: Upstairs/Downstairs, part 2, UPSTAIRS

As I said in the last post, our Community Dinners are churning along like clockwork, though they certainly don’t feel that way. Each week, there’s some confusion about whose turn it is to “take the lead,” and given the way we’ve switched places over and over again, no wonder we’re confused. Just in case you’re wondering, Dan has agreed to host this week, and will do so with his new ex-hippie haircut. In case you don’t recognize him, here’s his new “do.”

HANDSOME! As two old ladies remarked in the place where he got his locks cut, “We’ve been watching your transformation.” I told him that I thought he wasn’t going to “slouch” anymore, given the new haircut. And yes, he tells me he’s walking more upright than before.

It’s amazing how much our “appearance” affects others, and how that unconsciously recochets back into our “self-image.”

So, here goes. The last two dinners. Or is it three? I know I forgot my camera when we were at 2615 DeKist, three weeks ago. But the dinner at 2601 DeKist and the one here at 134 Overhill  Mariella and I did document.

DeKist. Rebecca made a main dish, all from contents of the freezer, 2017 harvest.

Overhill:

I can’t remember a dinner when there wasn’t some new face. We love the way our dinners serve to introduce others to our little Village experiment in the middle of an existing Neighborhood. Hopefully, they will either join us on a continuing basis or else take away ideas for transforming their own neighborhoods!

This past week, Mariella brought one of her most important mentors, Bob, who introduced her to the Ph.D. program in which she ended up getting her doctorate at IU. Bob’s “the new kid on the block.” Grateful to see a male elder show up for one of our dinners, and hope he continues to come!

As Dan says, amazed: “So many older people are hard to talk to. Bob is not!”

Here we are enjoying our conversation before the even younger kids arrived.

Mariella had told him that I had cooked a chicken for the main dish. Bob: “Where’s the chicken? Are you cooking it outside?”

“Oops!” I had completely forgotten the chicken. “Thank you!” Rushed to the oven, pulled it out and heaved it up.

Before we ate, Bob wondered about the large jars lining the window in the den. Dan proceeded to show him and Vanda and Sophie (who remember ferments from the olden days when they were small in I think it was Austria), his (and now Alex’s) ferments:

Getting ready to chow down.

Standing in line.

Speaking of who’s an adult and who’s a child, I’m going to end this post with screenshots of a hilarious facebook thread that involved Rebecca and podmates, on our private group page. The thread demonstrates both group responsiveness and Logan’s tendency to use weird aliases. Here goes!

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Green Acres Village, late January: Upstairs/Downstairs part I, DOWNSTAIRS

Though it may seem from the outside that not much is going on in wintertime, on the inside there’s plenty to chew on.

First of all, our weekly Community Dinners continue unabated. Photos in next post. That’s the Upstairs part, light and fun. The Downstairs part? Well, that’s the “cleaning the basement” task, a multiweek committment, two hours every Sunday morning, from the three of us in this house, and this past Sunday, Rebecca from next door as well. Photos follow.

Most significantly, however, our new forming Board for whatever this whole place is to become on a legal basis met officially for the first time, during the hour before our Community Dinner nearly two weeks ago. More people are joining the Board over the next few months. Meanwhile, so far, we’ve identified these possibilities: Community Land Trust, B Corporation, Series LLC, 501c3, 501d3. We will be looking closely at all of these, and meanwhile, hopefully attract an attorney for the Board!

Here we are, looking somewhat solemn. Mariella, on the right, is heading up the process.

Okay, let’s start with Downstairs. As you can imagine, given that a whole lotta people have flowed through the GAV over the years, there’s lots of stuff down there that none of us recognize! So it’s been one long surprise party. Here’s some pics from that first Sunday morning descent:

For our first task, we concentrated on simply clearing the way to the washing machine from the stairs. And ended up with piles of take away stuff for recycling, Goodwill, and Habitat. So glad Alex has a truck!

The next Sunday, Dan had to work, but Alex and I tackled the corner by the dryer and freezer, freeing up piles of stuff from former forays into the neighborhood, our original methods of “getting out the word.” For example, we used to put five or six signs out, all over the 440 house neighborhood, announcing meetings and events:

That was before Katarina moved in here and suggested that rather than concentrate on the whole neighborhood, an impossible task (especially in a neighborhood dominated by fast-moving student rentals), we start focusing right here, where we actually live. DUH! So glad we did. And that single, sudden, decisive shift began to carve out Green Acres Village within Green Acres Neighborhood. YES!

Of course, those old signs got rained on, and at some point, we started covering them with cellophane.

I must admit, seeing and stripping the signs of cellophane and tape, taking them off their metal stands, and generally spending those two hours on a chair doing so, put me in a nostalgic mood. Since I’m the only one who has actually lived here for the entire evolution of Green Acres Village and Urban Farm, I’m by default the historian, or rather herstorian. And it’s a weighty responsibility. On the other hand, who else really cares? Let go, Ann, let go.

Okay, so this past Sunday, Alex and Dan concentrated on the room that has held an enormous accumulation of bags, camping equipment, etc. We managed to let go of probably half of it.

And our new recruit, Rebecca, concentrated on getting all the animal cages together and situated along one wall.

See the table in the foreground. Rebecca would like me to get rid of it. I’m not yet willing. Tug of war, with me thinking maybe I WILL work on organizing all my stuff from 75 years of living at that table SOME DAY.

I remember when permaculture teacher and author Peter Bane commented in a meeting, “we have 30 years of stuff on this earth to use up before we need to manufacture anything else.” Exactly. How much accumulation is enough? How much is too much? What do I personally, really need? What can I gift to others? What can I share? Questions that live inside me, always.

Here’s part of the original take away pile from the first Sunday. It’s next to the art table, long abandoned to further piles . . .

And here’s where all the stuff from last Sunday’s yield is now, on the porch, with a tiny bit of room to squeeze in and out the door. Alex and Dan promise to take it to recycling, etc. this very morning.

 

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Green Acres Urban Farm text message: “For everybody that’s helping in the morning, we’re starting at 9:30 in the greenhouse. it’s going to be fun!”

And indeed, it WAS fun. Rebecca orchestrated the event, and we turned out in force. Even Christina, who biked here from several miles away on snowy streets.

I was out there for a half hour, helping to sift peat moss through the sieve, on the way to making Eliot Coleman’s soil block mixture:

Today, we plan to start onions, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers in blocks.

Rebecca also took the opportunity to instruct folks on how to pile wood. To wit: make sure the stack slants back, not forward, if you don’t want it to topple. (Duh!)

Here are some pics from this morning’s event, the first of the 2018 spring gardening season.

And wouldn’t you know. Just as we got going, so did the chemtrails.

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NFL Sports = Bread and Circuses

Thanks to Jordan Sather for this one.

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