Right to Live — Right to Die

I was going through boxes of papers the other day and came across the article shared below. This was written a year or so after my grandfather’s death in March of 1985.

It’s called “Right to Die” today; then it was termed “Mercy Killing” or “Euthanasia.” It was a rather unpopular and frowned upon subject.  Even today discussing ‘end of life’ or ‘what happens if …’ is only marginally better today — 30 years later.

We are still a culture obsessed with being ‘young & beautiful. We don’t want to thik of growing old; never mind that medical advances make it possible to live an active, healthy life just by taking some care of ourselves.

We do ourselves, our friends and our children a major disservice by turning our backs on ‘what might happen’ or not making an effort to think about our date with Death.  It’s a date we all must keep.

So here is what I wrote in 1986 – 1987 for an English class; my views on the subject haven’t changed.

Mercy Killing – Euthanasia – right or wrong? Should people be allowed the right to die, or should heroic measures be used to preserve physical existence when a person has no hope of living a functional life?’

Those in favor of mercy killing hold that a person has the right to die in dignity without the use of heroic measures to sustain life. They contend that it is not living to be tied to life support systems when hope for true recover has gone; nor is it fair to the person or his family.  It is a human being’s right to choose to ‘pull the plug’ if there is no real hope left for a person stricking by Stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, or other debilitating conditions.

Those opposed to mercy killing claim that no one has the right to play God. They believe that medical science exists to save lives and any techniques that keeps a person alive should be employed. The sanctity of human life is to be preserved no matter what the cost.  After all, there is always a chance for a miracle cure or drug that will restore a person to a normal life after a massive stroke, etc. Mercy killing or Euthanasia violates that ethic by not allowing medical science to do everything it can to preserve life at any cost.

Having had to face this issue head on, I am in favor of mercy killing in certain conditions. My grandfather was the victim of a stroke (affecting his right side) about 6 years ago, which confined him to a wheelchair. About a year ago, a second major stroke caused him to be hospitalized; a week later a third major stroke left him totally incapacitated. He could no longer communicate, feed himself, recognize family or friends, or take care of personal needs. My grandmother, mother, aunt and uncles faced the difficult decision: Do we allow him death with dignity or do we allow the machines to keep him alive? The choice was made to let him go; he survived for eight more days (the doctors gave him three) due to an excellent physical constitution. By allowing him his wish to die with dignity and no use of heroic measures, we remember him as the active, vital person he had been, not the shell that remained after all the strokes. I reserve for myself the right to die with dignity should I now longer be able to live without heroic measures due to a stroke or massive brain injury.  If there is no real hope of being restored to a functional lifestyle, I don’t want to live strapped to a machine via tubes and wires.”

“Create your own unexpected celebrations”

The above quote is from Keeping Life Simple by Karen Levin

There are a number of ‘official’ holidays during the calendar year and the ways of celebrating those have become somewhat ‘scripted’ over the years.  Many are becoming overly drawn out due to their commercialization.  I’ve seen Christmas items in the stores by the first of October.  Is it really necessary to promote Christmas for over four months?

I was flipping through the book “Keeping Life Simple” by Karen Levine when the above quote caught my eye.  It got me to thinking; what could I do to create and celebrate an unexpected holiday? Of course it would be something inexpensive; after all I’m on a budget.

So I started to consider things I like to do that I haven’t done in a long, long time.  I came up with:

Walk in the Park Day —– Pack a sandwich or two, some fruit, a bottle of water and maybe a book.  Then head for a nearby part and spend a few hours just enjoying the scenery and the weather.  Maybe take some pics with my digital camera.

Walk in the Domes Day —– Much like Walk in the Park Day except spend a day wandering around the Milwaukee Domes, a series of large garden areas under glass.

Window shop with a friend Day —– Grab a friend and go for a leisurely walk in one of the local malls.  Sit in the concourse or food court and enjoy people watching as everyone scurries about intent on their business.

Buy Flowers for a Friend Day —– Go to a Flower Shop, buy a small posy and either send it to or give it to a friend just because.

Bubble Bath Day —– Take a day off from work, sleep late and enjoy a long, leisurely bubble bath with good music and a scented candle.

Off to the Zoo Day —– Borrow a friend’s child and go to the local zoo.  See the zoo through the child’s eyes and rediscover your own sense of adventure & fun.

These are just some that I thought of.

Perhaps to decide what sort of holiday you want to create, you could make an “Unexpected Holiday” box.  Decorate a shoe or other small box with paint, paper, stickers or whatever suits your fancy.

Make a list of the things you’d like to do for your celebrations or holidays.  Using a fancy font that you like, type the list in large (24 to 48 point) font on perforated business card or index card blanks.  Once all the items are printed, separate them into individual cards; fold them in half and put them all in the box.

Pull a card out when you find yourself in need of something to look forward to.

Keep adding things to do for your ‘unexpected celebrations’ as you think of them.  It’s okay to recycle ideas if it turns out to be something you really enjoy.

What are some of your ideas for ‘unexpected celebrations?’

Summer Sipping Never Tasted So Good

One thing I’ve noticed when doing historical reenactment, whether Renaissance, Victorian, Steampunk or whatever the period; is the need to stay hydrated and energized plays an important role in staying hydrated, but sometimes you need something a little more nourishing in your glass or mug.

So I experimented and the Summer Sipper was born.

I’ve named it after my Steampunk persona, Lady Eleanor Roden

Lady Roden’s Summer Sipper

1 c Peaches

1 c Strawberries

1 c Raspberries

1 c Cherries

1 c Blueberries

2 Qt Lemonade or Orange Juice

Working in small batches, blend 1 or 2 cups of fruit with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the juice.  Add more juice if needed for a smooth blend.

When a smooth, slush like blend has been created, pour into large pitcher and continue blending fruit and juice until all the fruit has been emulsified.

If mixture is too tart, add sugar in small amounts until it’s sweet enough for your taste.

For variety, substitute pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe or any other fresh or frozen fruits available in your area.


For a festive summer punch, mix the recipe with Chilled White Soda, Club Soda, Ginger Ale or Sparkling Wine.  If ice is needed, freeze slush mixture in trays or add frozen fruit to the bowl.

Blend in spinach, kale, frozen carrots to add a healthy punch.

Moms, if you have kids who dislike veggies, you can blend frozen spinach, kale, or other frozen veggies into the mix.  If they don’t see the veggies going in and you don’t tell them it’s in there, chances are they’ll never taste it.  You could also put the mixture in Popsicle molds to create fruit pops for snacking on.

“Live Like You Were Dying”


Settling in for a short spate of reading before drifting off to sleep last night, I heard Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.”  Something in the lyrics resonated within me.  While the activities mentioned in the song are not necessarily the ones I would do in such a situation, I could see the wisdom in the thoughts behind the lyrics.

The idea behind the lyrics ties in with my plan to start living with the end in mind.  It encourages me to look more for the ways to live each day in such a way that at the end of the day I will be a bit closer to the ultimate end(s) I am working toward for this year and beyond.

Today, in and of itself, has been a bit frustrating in that I have had to fill in at work.  An overabundance of calls meant that the supervisor had to have me log in.  I had hoped to be able to head up to the attic to pull down some fabric bins from the attic to go through.  I need to decide if the things in the bins are worth keeping or if I should send them on the way to new homes.  However, I remember that it will be extra $$ in the paycheck at the end of the month and that makes it workable.

In order to ‘begin with the end in mind,’ I’m going to have to overcome one thing; making and sticking to a list.  For some reason, I have Not been able to make lists of things to do and follow them.  Something inside of me gets very rebellious and refuses to stick to the list.

All the distractions and side trips seem like lots more fun than doing what I know I need to do.

I welcome any suggestions or ideas on how you successfully keep to a To-Do List.

New Year, New Plans

How do I make this work?

It’s the end of January and I’ve made a ‘sort of’ start on the things I want to accomplish for the coming year.  I know what I want to do and yet I haven’t been doing it.  As has been said any number of times “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting new or different results.”

So this year, this time I am going to try something that I have been thinking about for some time now:

I am going to start doing things with the end result in mind.

It is a jump shift of thinking, doing, and being.  I know that it won’t be easy and I will slip from time to time.  But I will admit when I slip and do my best to keep moving in the new and better directions.

I invite you all to join me in a new way of looking at life.  Of looking ahead to the desired result and then back stepping from that to “now.”