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Aikya Param is a licensed minister, a visual artist, and writer.

One more dance with the COVID vaccine

Tomorrow, Sunday, I go visit someone I know in a State Hospital. We haven’t seen each other since before March 2020. In order to visit, I needed to get a vaccination against the COVID virus and a clear test proving that I’m virus-free within 72 hours of the visit. So on Thursday morning, relatively early, I hopped in my car and drove to the entrance to my health care provider’s COVID test area.

To get the test, you drive through the area as directed. You do not get out of your car. The…

Remember to love yourself on dark days

Margie Pearl started her article “Spring’s Etude Begins” with a poem featuring a dried rose.

Let me stay with the dried roses.

I’m not ready yet.
I can’t let go of loved ones.

I also have a dried rose.

It was given to me as part of a blessing ceremony by a minister in church. The gesture touched me so I kept the flower. Every time I see it I remember the feeling of loving and being loved.

I hope everyone has something like that. Perhaps it’s an engagement ring. Or, it’s the place you went on a surprise vacation…

Not things of this world for me but their attitudes, behavior, and beliefs

My family lived in Weehawken, in the 1940s and 50’s a small lower-middle-class New Jersey suburb on top of the Palisades across the Hudson from Manhattan. People there were hard-working folks. My grandfathers did not earn great wealth to leave me as an inheritance. Instead, they passed along the strengths of their character. That shaped the cultural environment of my childhood and infused my character as an adult. I’m remembering my father and his father today.

I was born prematurely in January 1944 when U.S. forces and their allies won important victories in both the European and the Pacific Theater…

Physically present, emotionally engaged

When my younger brother was born, I was fourteen years old. There was so many years’ difference in our ages that we didn’t have a regular sibling relationship. Our growing up years were very different. I was very fortunate. He was deprived of our father and experienced the consequences.

My parent’s relationship was rocky. They wanted very different things in life. My mother needed to be in control. I think that’s why she was attracted to my father. He was a quiet, gentle person. She may have mistakenly believed he’d be easy to lead in the direction she wanted to…

Thanks, Marilyn, for this informative article. Skin cancer is something we roommates have in common. I see the dermatolgist every six months. She often found actinic keratoses on my face. The big excitement came when an apparently unexciting bump with no pigment to the side of my left knee cap turned out to be melanoma. It had not spread, thank goodness. Beware, readers. Lather on that sunscreen and wear a big brimmed hat.

The partner dance between oral and overall health

Smiling has seven benefits according to the BrightSpring Health Services website. They are:

  • Improved Mood. Smiling releases endorphins, which helps a person feel happier and more positive. …
  • Pain Relief. Believe it or not, a good laugh relieves some body aches or pains. …
  • Lower Blood Pressure. …
  • Stronger Immune System. …
  • Stress Reliever. …
  • Better Relationships. …
  • Younger Appearance.

Yet in order to be happy about smiling, we need to care for our teeth. That is challenging if you are afraid to visit the dentist.

Fear of the dentist

The article “Overcoming Dentophobia, Fear of the Dentist,” says that 75% of adults in…

Identifying birds and trees

Almost always I’ve lived in a city, in a manmade environment. Immersed in concrete, surrounded by towers of offices and homes, I am always attracted to nature pushing through cracks or flourishing in parks. I admire people who can name the trees and birds where I live and would love to be one of them.

For that reason, my bookshelves are full of volumes that hold what my mind does not.

The Audubon Society’s Master Guide to Birding, Volumes 1–3

Peterson Field Guides

Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling, and more.

A library on your phone for bird identification

And now, of course, such encyclopedic knowledge can…

Story telling, fashion, home ownership, loss, and misunderstanding

My mother Peggy was one of the older siblings in a large, Irish Catholic family in a lower-middle-class New Jersey suburb of New York City. In her day, it was fashionable for young women to be curvy with full breasts. My mother’s sisters, Frances and Marie, were like that. I have the curvy. My mother was large-boned, angular, and always thin.

Wise, prayerful risk taker

My mother had German measles in her first trimester of pregnancy with me. When I was born prematurely with a large head, doctors told my mom to put me in an institution and forget about me. She was young…

Carried like a bridal veil by the ocean breeze

We took the cremains of Steve in a metal box
Painted a warm brown, and we all came,
Driving from Seattle, Oakland, and Belmont:
Mother Barbara, brother Don (Jack
Of all trades), Tim, lover of poetry and fine
Artist, all in black leather, and I
To bless, a day beyond Barbara’s birthday.
We drove to Cameron’s Pub, Restaurant, and Inn
For friends and helpers, Adora and Cameron.

Through the houses in construction rising,
With guaranteed buyers because, as Steve did,
Everybody loves this coastline place midway
Between San Francisco banks and South Bay tech;
Through sturdy shoreline grass, Cameron led us
To the edge…

New friends, inner weeding, rapid remakes, and quick tips

I have lumbered under a load of low self-confidence most of my life. Well, that makes me a champion collector of correctives for low self-esteem. Some take time. Others are quick fixes to use on and off.

Clearing the outside

I grew up with an emotionally abusive mother. That means I was used to nonstop criticism, belittling, and nagging about all the things I still didn’t do well enough. I collected a coterie of friends who treated me the same way. One fine day I saw the similarity between friends’ treatment of me and my mom’s. worst attribute.

No more!

Over a few…

Aikya Param

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