According to available demographics there are 85 folks over 80 years living in Taos Town. Doesn’t seem like many or perhaps its a lot I wouldn’t know. Does this include the folks at The Living Center, Taos Retirement Village etc? I do know Taos is a retirement community in general which suggests the need for services Taos is not prepared to offer such as medical care. I’ve been searching for a primary care physician and none are accepting new patients. The first appointment possibility is 5 months in the future.

I really can’t wait that long. I’ve been diagnosed with COPD without any tests; no MRI, ultra-sound or CT scan – just the blood-oxygen finger test that said 85. It had been 85 for years and I was able to hike and function normally. Then all of a sudden I had an accident that moved me to the oxygenator and I’m tied to the tubes for life. I need to find out the condition of my lungs. The main symptom is dizziness and fainting along with 24/7 need for air.

I created this condition by smoking for over 40 years. Although stopped smoking in 2000, it caught up with me and now I must confront this hideous condition within the death trade as found in palliative care and Medicare. It’s an experience you really don’t want unless unconscious with no hope of recovery.

Ah yes, at last – great news to share with the terminally ill: This is the Options Coalition that is in process of being updated with all the info one needs to qualify for the meds necessary to end life that has become intolerably painful and unmanageable. It will keep critically ill patients from putting a gun to the head or driving off into an abyss.

Today I have an appointment that hopefully will lead to an ultra sound and determine what is going on. But no. Been to appointment and no help. Seems the ultra sound and MRI are not going to reveal anything about lungs. There are no primary physicians available in Taos so I await a phone consult with my nurse practitioner on Monday.

Guess I’ll be hanging out on the bed with my little angels – Bunny and Rosie. They love to cuddle and snooze with me. I’m so horribly ill I’ll try the nebulizer and hope for the best although Jenkenson says hope is the agitator of the terminally ill.

Who Knows?

This used to be until I ignored the site for several years and somehow a foreign entity seems to have liked the name and is now charging $$ for various versions. So changed the name to living past 80.

Been looking around for facts about over 80 folks and of course it’s more difficult to find than over 78 studies when that was my pursuit. From time to time one runs across those who feel the elderly are thriving: living longer, better health care and lovely retirement facilities where everybody gets together for badminton, pool time and martinis. Sounds like fun but my deep concern is with the poor elderly, in bad health with no resources.

I am not a scholarly authority on this subject – I’m just living my 82 years, day to day, with what sometimes appears to be insurmountable, orbiting, unpredictable realities. So often there are no words to capture the out of control experiences that are outrageous and yet reveal so little because I don’t have a real diagnosis of my illness.

Fortunately there is a great master in our midst: Steven Jenkinson, certainly one of the most knowledgeable authorities on death and dying and all aspects of the death trade and palliative care. I implore you to watch the documentary Griefwalker on YouTube for free. He has written numerous books on various aspects of the subject. His latest Die Wise is very powerful.

It’s interesting and a little unsettling that many folks don’t want to discuss any aspect of death and dying. While most authorities on the subject say one must invite death to walk with you side by side every step of the way. And of course there are various preparations – psychological, medical, legal etc – one can consider through the years. And as the Dali Lama says – we are born to die.

Unfortunately, I never gave a thought to growing old until my 70s when the grim reaper blocked my path with his raucous tune: Good day to you; we’ve never met. But here I am with your regrets.We”re partners now until the end, laughing and dancing, favorite friends.

Castaneda writes of the definitive journey one must take at the end of life. He called this journey the trip into the active side of infinity. Every elder is guaranteed to find outstanding inspiration within the context of Castaneda’s books. He can change your life.

Create A Death Box


If you are over 75 and live alone with no living family you might want to create a Death Box to make everything run smoothly according to your wishes after death. Things can become a little complicated without clear directives. It should be very helpful for dear friends to have easily accessible NECESSARY forms and other instructions and messages. This is particularly true if you’re alone at the time of death.

I created a Death Box containing separate envelopes filled with various forms and relevant lists and messages regarding my dogs and basically whatever comes to mind in this arena. Currently the envelopes are addressed as follows:
Last Will
Health Care Directive: Do Not Resuscitate
Regarding Dogs
Funeral Home Info
Power of Attorney
List of Personal Effects
Taos Property Info
Cancel Insurance Policies
Envelopes addressed to closest friends

All of these items are contained in a shoe box appropriately labeled and decorated as seen in above photo. Close friends know of the box and its location.

Regarding end of life preparations I’m impressed by the work of interfaith minister Susan Varon who conducts the local Death Cafe meetings in Taos. The next meeting is March 1, 2:00 at Golden Willow, 412 Sipapu Street (at the Golden Willow facing Sipapu not Salazar). Be there at least 10 minutes early because the doors close promptly at 2:00.

Email Susan at and put your name on her mailing list to be notified of future Death Cafe meetings AND to receive the super-helpful information she sends out such as “A Check List for Dealing with End of Life Issues” and “How to Take Control of the End of Your Life” by Katy Butler. Katy’s book “The Art of Dying Well” is available at the Taos Library and I look forward to reading it.

Cell Phones as Scary Brain Fryers

It’s a hideous development in the consciousness of humanity – with the scariest aspect of the smart phone/wireless phenomenon being our movement into the shadow world – which is a scientific fact: electrons are shredded from our cells (oxidation) by electromagnetic radiation – diminishing our personal light(aura), creating disease and anti-social behaviors.

Looking for electromagnetic frequencies circling my universe, I was fortunate to have a friend with an Accoustimeter which he used to determine electromagnetic frequencies in my house. It was an alarming experience for one trying to avoid the deadly emf for many years. (see Microwave Grid at, written in 2010)

The Accoustimeter is quite impressive as you will learn by googling the device. It’s expensive but can be rented for 3+ days. It’s extremely user friendly with a detailed visual display and outstanding audio effects.

Strange sounds emanated from the device – a kind of background squabble indicating the ambient frequency. Strange for a home that had no cell phone and the wireless turned off. When the wireless was turned on the indicators turned red and moved into the danger level where connective tissue is affected. I was indeed shocked. I turned off the wireless and the meter returned to a more normal range.

At which point my friend demonstrated his Apple Smart Phone via the Accoustimeter. The indicators turned a throbbing red and went into the top register indicating extreme physical danger. The sounds made were truly scary: super loud squawking in various rhythmic configurations.

Years ago I had a dect phone; it was very convenient. The data on that device was shocking and I got rid of it after extensive research. Recently close friends finally got rid of their dect phone after learning it was probably responsible for crippling physical problems.

Pet lovers should note that a recent 7 hour, online seminar on Pet Cancer warns emf can be a powerful adversary to healing and maintaining good health. It seems obvious this would be true.

Dangers of cell-phone technologies has been known for decades yet folks can’t get the message. For example: ran into a friend in grocery store walking around with her smart phone turned on and resting next to her hip. I asked why it was turned on and she said she lived alone and needed the phone when in the stable at night, in case she has an accident. I replied “But you aren’t in the stable now.”

It was a surprising experience since she had read the current The Nation cover article: How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones are Safe: A Special Investigation by Mark Hertgaard and Mark Dowie which includes the following quote.
“The scientific evidence that cell phones and wireless technologies in general can cause cancer and genetic damage is not definitive, but it is abundant and has been increasing over time. Contrary to the impression that most news coverage has given the public, 90 percent of the 200 existing studies included in the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed database on the oxidative effects of wireless radiation—its tendency to cause cells to shed electrons, which can lead to cancer and other diseases—have found a significant impact, according to a survey of the scientific literature conducted by Henry Lai. Seventy-two percent of neurological studies and 64 percent of DNA studies have also found effects.”

And now we learn more details of future plans for 5G across America. According to The Nation: “Because 5G radiation can only travel short distances, antennas roughly the size of a pizza box will have to be installed approximately every 250 feet to ensure connectivity. “Industry is going to need hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of new antenna sites in the United States alone,” said Moskowitz, the UC Berkeley researcher. “So people will be bathed in a smog of radiation 24/7.”

You might wish to review: Cell Phones, Microwaves and the Human Health Threat found at

Goodby Dear Lulu

Been thinking of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying while digging precious Lulu’s grave – as she lies sleeping peacefully on her fluffy bed. It’s not easy digging into a super hard, rocky ground but it must be done. Cremations are prohibitively expensive these days.

After much pounding away and filling with water, the hole is 2 feet deep. Hope that is deep enough to prevent curiosity of local wildlife. Meanwhile I’m grateful I don’t have to travel cross country with Lulu in an open wagon like Faulkner’s characters in the Dying book.

I want her to have as much time as possible so long as she is not in pain and experiences some joy in life. The joy is getting less but it’s apparent she is not ready to go. She is sticking with me on our journey through the travails of old age.

Lulu doesn’t understand anything about the ravages of time. She continually rubs her eyes against the rug and soft furniture trying to remove the cataract darkness from her almost blindness. She still sees forms and movements and never runs into furniture unless I fail to use the night light. I wish I could tell her exactly what is going on but alas……………

The big surprise development is her lack of enthusiasm for morning hikes in the forest. She stops at the door sill as the other dogs move toward the car. Occasionally she does want to go with us and I rejoice and also fear it could be her last trip.

Months later
My dear Lulu is gone now and I remain broken-hearted so many months later. She was with me for over 15 years and would probably still be here if I had not euthanized her on 11/25. We discussed it and also checked it out with the pendulum: it was time for her to go. She no longer just walked in circles around the entire house. She was spinning in place – non stop, and getting hung up in strange places, unable to retrieve herself. She was totally deaf, practically blind and unable to receive many pets on her bony skeleton. I loved her dearly as she loved me. We were never separated and will continue now walking into the dissolving future.

This is indeed a time of great loss for me: Death of animals, friends,
profession and democracy. The later is an ongoing process which continues to climax with each passing day. I have lost the will to write and so the lack of posts on this site. It’s all mental and seems impossible to overcome.

Is Your Waistline Expanding Bigtime?

It didn’t used to be this way: one in three persons is obese and another third is overweight. That’s two-thirds of the population. The American Health Association considers reasons why we’re fattening up, but they fail to mention HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP and CORN SYRUP found in all processed foods, including meats.

I’ve known about this scourge for years but never knew HFCS is in all processed foods – everything. I discovered this recently when checking out foods from the Deli in Smith’s Grocery. The “super salad” looked so healthy until I asked the clerk to read the hidden ingredients. What a shock to learn it contained HFCS as did 8 other items checked. I never returned to the Deli and lost 7 pounds in 10 days. Impressive.

We love sweets, all kinds of sweet and the sweetest sweet is HFCS. Great news for food processors; it is much cheaper than sugar & also keeps foods moist. And so the obese epidemic was launched back in the ’80s and continues to expand, notwithstanding scientific studies proving excessive weight gain, verified by super fat rats in the Princeton Study. Of course the Monsanto National Corn Growers Association & similar groups advertise against this information.

The original definition of evil is to knowingly bring great harm to another individual and from that point of view there is much evil afoot in the food industry. A perfect example is the product Slim Fast which should be called Fat Faster because of ingredients including sugar, fructose and HFCS. Also surprised to find Thomas English Muffins on the HFCS list even thought it’s not included in the ingredients on the package.

Commercial corn has another major drawback. It is the major Monsanto GM product. No livestock will eat Monsanto grains if given a choice between GMO and organic. Instinctively cows know the difference which is more than we humans can discern. In some arenas cows are smarter than humans. Too bad Obama chose Michael Taylor, former vice-president of Monsanto to head the FDA and Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center to direct the USDA. Is it any wonder we are eating garbage and folks are sicker and more obese than ever?

As a majority of countries across the planet burned Monsanto crops and outlawed Monsanto GMO from their countries, Obama welcomed Monsanto into his administration and now, 2016, into our guts forever with passage of the Monsanto Protection Act, which is well worth a read.

Obesity is the #1 health issue of our time. If you are overweight you have a serious problem; it’s no little thing that can be ignored. To avoid everything with corn syrup, HFCS and corn starch it’s a good idea to cut out processed food, read ingredients, eat organic and avoid public school lunchroom foods, particularly if children are over weight.

The obesity plague affects most of us, even the shinnies, by driving the cost of health care higher and higher. But then – perhaps Obama Care will come to the rescue and pay for the ill health generated by HFCS and other Monsanto GM foods. Really?

(Regarding the video, you might wish to move the cursor forward to beginning of the main speaker.)

Positive Change Vs Disintegration

Precision, passion, imagination returns to the body that remained basically still for several years. All it took was the magnificent Eye in the Sky by Alan Parsons Project to have me dancing again as in the days of yore. Yep, it’s all mental and much change is possible with inspiration.

The root of my current inspiration is a new yoga mat made of coil filled with a nut fiber. It’s hard as a rock yet soft compared to the bare floor. I’ve returned to a slow moving yoga and today when the first notes of Parsons rang out I went into a kind of trance, capable of feats of flexibility.

Much of today’s music doesn’t inspire me to great heights of anything and I’m not a fuddy-duddy musically. I taught a bunch of punk rockers and thought they were delightful. But there’s something about today’s pop music that just doesn’t resonate with me. Much is loud, melody-less and generally boring.

But then there’s a whole lot that doesn’t resonate such as the world zeitgeist which is an ode to all the attributes we used to hang on a dark, evil world to be avoided at all cost. But alas, now the grotesque hand of sadistic greed is contaminating all levels of society or so it seems when dark actions are glorified by press and public alike.

Haven’t been writing much lately, not because I’ve run out of words but rather because I can’t find anything positive or shining to convey about ongoing realities so instead I slip back into the joy of moment to moment reality which is freedom for my being.

I would probably hang out on the Thai yoga mat 24/7, but I must be sure to keep Lulu off, off, off. This mat will not accommodate dogs. I want it to maintain its glorious pristine state for as long as possible. Bunny and Rosie get the message but Lulu cannot be trusted so I must wait for her to go to sleep before I fall into the trance of painful stretching. She has a sneaky way of creeping onto the mat which interferes with my focus.

Regarding the realities swirling at every level of expression – politically, socially, environmentally, and spiritually – it amazes that we hope for change as we continue to do exactly what’s been done for endless decades. Isn’t that an accepted definition of insanity: to expect change while continuing in same behavior. The same equals change strategy is rampant at every level of society.

I recall a major caveat I shared with all my students at NYU and private music students: I cannot accept any excuses for failures to practice because the excuses will continue throughout time; today it is one reason, tomorrow it will be another and nothing will ever move in a positive direction. It may disintegrate but it will not change for your well being.

In the teaching arena I’ve truly seen it all. In the ’70s I experienced unbelievable success working with ghetto children at PS 64 in Alphabet City, NYC. No one looked over my shoulder, scrutinizing my teaching methods, since students were thriving at all levels. This was a school in the 2nd worse ghetto in NYC, the first being in the Bronx. And when I rode up on my bike – usually verging on late, the kids in the play-yards would scream Odin, Odin. What a joy it was and I still remember the full names of some of my dear 4th grade students. Perhaps I’ll write about their amazing transformations in future blogs.

I also had great success creating,(with 5 others) the NYU Experimental Theater program and teaching at NYU for 8 years. And several Georgia music students had great professional success. Then I moved to Taos, NM where I no longer teach. There’s nothing to teach. Everybody here is the world’s leading authority on whatever is under discussion + they do not tolerate change + they do not practice. Even at the 1st level of diaphragmatic breathing they never master it because they never practice. For years and years they have said “I am going to do it” instead of “I am doing it.” Oh well – not my business anymore.

A Fox-tail Summer in New Mexico

Whew! What a summer. Heat, fox-tails and rattlesnakes are reminding me of the deep, dark, south and in particular Georgia where the ticks, fleas, gnats, mosquitoes and Newt Gingrich used to drive me nuts. I usually think of Georgia as the home of biting insects and right-wingers but this NM summer has been even more daunting primarily because of nasty fox-tails. I never knew they could be lethal and they’re everywhere including my little dogs ears. In case you’re unsure, fox-tails are the seed tassels at the top of grass stalks.

10 days ago my elderly dog Lulu started carrying her head radically tilted so that the ear was pointed down toward the ground. Following day her head shaking accelerated to the point she was shrieking in pain. We got to the vet immediately and had several fox-tails removed from each ear.

A little research revealed the horrors of fox-tails and dogs. They can enter the dog via the ears, nose, eyes, sexual parts and skin. That just about includes everything. And once inside they keep moving forward because the structure of the tails does not allow for retracing their forward-ho. And so they are labeled as possible killers with an ability to move into the brain.And they are known to cause serious infections wherever they lodge including the feet.

Had to get those tails out of the dog yard, What a job; they were everywhere and the temps have been in the 90s so I was on the job at the break of dawn with shears and rake, crawling about on steep hill sides under sap dripping pinons. With the beginning signs of emphysema to taunt me this job took days and wasn’t completed until after a second pup Rosie started gagging as though a gopher was lodged in her throat. Gave her a bronchitis tab and after an hour or so the gagging subsided.

We’ve cut back on our outdoor ventures. Not quite as many trips to the forest which is a sea of tails. The situation is worse for little dogs because they are eye level with the wind-stirred horrors. So now we must watch out for both rattlesnakes and fox-tails; not so easy with a deaf and almost blind 16 year old Lulu who stumbles and falls from time to time.

We’re quite a sight walking the trails. Often I think this is possibly Lulu’s final trail walk; it’s difficult for her to follow even tho she is on a lease. She reliably takes the wrong fork in the road which leads to a nice bunch of tails.

Bunny the short hair chihuahua always races ahead. She is quite a little Olympian, leaping over obstacles and rediscovering the river running beside the trail. When she smells someone on the trail she goes absolutely bonkers. She’s not on a lease and usually responds to voice commands. But…………she has the heart of a German Shepard and can be very scary. I need eyes in the back of my head to keep up with her rabbity ears darting about, ears that are prime targets for guess what…………….

Rosie the little Griffon is also on a retractable lease. She is totally unreliable and quite dangerous to herself. She lives in her own world, gets lost in her involvement with whatever and ends up in places she can neither recognize or navigate so she hides until found. The forest is too large to look for her silly self – so she is captured on the end of a lease.

Add to this little monster brigade the threat of coyotes, bear, rattlesnakes and foxtails and you can imagine how my head swims with disaster scenarios. Why not curtail outdoor activities? Yes I wonder sometimes if I’m putting them in danger but they love our walks and seem to get depressed after several days off the trails. I follow their wishes; I am their devoted servant.

Taos Town Council Slithers Into Dictatorship

The universal zeitgeist is extremely right wing and proud of it. And it’s not just Washington, London and Paris. This mentality is spreading its tentacles into every nook and cranny of our lives. It certainly isn’t hard to see the ramifications in Taos where government is in dictatorship mode.

Transparency loses in Taos as some meetings go private by Ken Manning details in the 6/23 Taos News how Taos Town Council voted to amend the town code regarding public meetings, restricting the public from attending meetings of the Development Review Committee. “Town Manager Rick Bellis was adamant that the public be cut out.” Guess he and 3 other council members, including the mayor were generally pissed at losing their effort to expand Smith’s Grocery and locate cheap housing across an enormous expanse of open green pasture land with historical significance. Did I mention that the location was in the center of town?

Appearing in the My Turn section, the article explains the new restrictions: “The public would no longer be able to attend meetings, nor be made aware that such meetings were to occur.” No agenda will be posted; no minutes will be taken. The town attorney told them closed meetings violate NM Open Meetings Act and the Town Council ignored him.

Strangely enough Taosanos don’t seem to give a rat’s ass. I received no replies from locals to posts made on Facebook. And the folks I talked with in person were not interested in even reading about the matter so I contacted the man always in the know – Bill Whaley – and asked what on earth is happening and he replied: “We have entered a new era of profound apathy. You can’t lead this horse to water, he or she ain’t thirsty.” (Check out Bill’s online political journal at

The purpose of the Development Review Committee is “to meet regularly with developers to discuss how proposed developments can be approved.” Why would they want to bring extreme uglies to a unique, culturally rich community if not for some kind of kick-back from development siting, whether a big box Walmart or one more fast food restaurant or Family Dollar?

My hackles have always gone up when encountering dictatorships that forcibly promote developers and corporate entities. But apathy in the face of such hideous control is beyond comprehension. Somehow it reminds one of the Germans living downwind of concentration camps ignoring the odor of burning flesh and pretending to smell nothing. Yes that is an extreme comparison but apathy toward dictatorship is identical in function, or so it seems to this writer.

Have never been able to understand the quality of local government representing this community. It’s been an unfortunate array of questionable mentality for decades, but never has such disrespect of residents occurred to my knowledge. Fortunately, in Taos the people always rule – one way or another. They have a history of stopping the uglies just as they stopped the expansion of Walmart and Smiths. I am confident the locals will awaken and take action in a timely manner. The news regarding Town Council slithering will sneak past their restrictions one way of the other. All will be revealed.

Chasing Memories Into Infinity

In Active Side of Infinity Castaneda advises: recapitulation of major events in ones life and thanks-giving to friends who have been helpful. Got me to thinking about memories of daily events, simple happenings, throughout life. What have I done to fill the hours of my 77 years? Maybe I should write a book of one page for every memory I can recall. My feeling is that it will be a very short book full of trivialities. But it may reacquaint me with who I am.

The book project will require great objectivity in order to court truth by not embellishing or omitting relevant details. From time to time glimpses of moments flit by with missing details and lost conclusions. Which reminds me of Aunt Olga back in the ’50s trying to put names with lost faces and events. She kept asking my dad and other siblings “Do you remember?” At the time I didn’t understand the significance of her futile efforts.

We have heard from near death survivors that every moment of life rushes by as one moves toward infinity. That must be a blowout trip I would love to recreate and savor the experiences while in this life. I realize joy and great sadness will tumble about without mercy but it does appear to be a necessary adventure. Since it is considered part of the preparation for arriving fully conscious in the afterlife. Basically what is done is done and the rest is fun in one’s preparation for the unknown. It is unknown is it not?

Some memories are so very way out I have contacted those in the know only to learn that yes that is exactly what and how it happened. Sometimes friends have worse memory recall than myself and I remind them of events they had long forgotten.

My surprise to learn Memory is the subject of much study. There are endless classifications and processes that scientific brainiacs create and track with their magical viewing technology. It’s most interesting to learn the importance of sleep, known as the great consolidator of memory, most of which is done during slow wave sleep. Guess what? The more one sleeps, the better the memory. That is definitely compatible with my personal agenda.

A fairly recent study finds the elderly have greatly improved memory function in the early morning hours while young memories function better after noon into the early evening. And the elderly are more right-brain oriented, making them more concerned with the whole picture rather than little details. This makes for possibilities of much greater creativity when circumstances are right for personal expression.

I regret not having kept a diary of every single day no matter how insignificant. How wonderful it would be to review my entire life in print form. I did keep a diary for my 7th grade in Junior high and what a revelation of things I would have never remembered. I had only a sketchy memory of the delightful relationship with Jack, the class genius who expounded astronomy on fun filled hayrides and rowed the boat on bumpy rides in narrow creeks at Indian Springs, Georgia. What a marvelous life.

Buddhism teaches to live in the very moment one is inhabiting and avoid ruminating on the past and the future. Yes, that is really the way to move from day to day. But in terms of preparation for death I am more inclined toward the sorcerer’s way and the idea of reviewing my archive of memories before the review begins at the moment of death. Here’s looking at you!