Johnny WINS! He Told the World and We Believed Him #JusticeforJohnnyDepp

Today is June 1, World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day.

This winning verdict for Johnny Depp is a win for those who have truly been abused and for those who have ever been falsely accused.

For the past two months I’ve diligently followed the Johnny Depp trial. In case you don’t know, he sued his former wife (of fifteen months) for defamation regarding false claims of intimate partner violence.

Today’s the day!
The verdict has been read and Johnny Depp was awarded $8,350,000.00.

No matter what happens, I did get here and I did tell the truth and I have spoken up for what I’ve been carrying on my back, reluctantly, for six years.”

There was never a question in my mind that he was the victim and she was the abuser.

Johnny said it best, “When there is an injustice against you or someone you love or someone you believe in, stand up, don’t sit down on them because they need you. No one should accept anything, but the truth, to express your truth.”

For those people who think the internet turned against #amberturd, this is my opinion. The “internet” didn’t turn on her. Those who have actually suffered intimate partner violence and other REAL abuse from a toxic person recognized the signs of someone who was lying and we took umbrage against someone who falsely accused a man of abuse. We seek JUSTICE for the real victim. In this case, it’s Johnny Depp.

I don’t really like to even say her name. She brought it on herself. She’s made a mockery of domestic abuse survivors as well as our legal system.

Like Johnny said, Never Fear Truth.

Attorneys are meant to be our sword and shield, our gatekeeper and protector, and that’s exactly what we saw from Camille Vasquez to Wayne Dennison to Ben Chew and Johnny’s entire team. Ethical, honest, brilliant lawyering, with respect and love for their client.

#AmberHeardDeservesPrison is trending because she manipulated and abused the #MeToo movement with malice and the sole intention to ruin #JohnnyDepp. Hopefully, she will be convicted of perjury and face a prison sentence.

Finally! #JusticeForJohnnyDepp

From Blissful Butterflies to Bans Off Our Bodies

I did a lot of “B” things today all before noon, which leaves me the rest of the day to enjoy in the garden.

First of all, I went to a butterfly festival. I mean, how could I NOT, right?

It was the North County Monarch Butterfly Festival in San Marcos, which isn’t too terribly far from me, but it’s inland and since we’re having a heatwave, I thought I’d go early. It was 95 degrees at 10:00 a.m. That’s HOT!

The North County Monarch Butterfly Festival featured butterfly-inspired art, crafts, clothing, gardening, live music, and food. I really wish the kids were here because it was the perfect fun and educational event for children.

Here’s what the event website had to say: The fate of the iconic Western monarch butterfly is tied inextricably to the health of the planet, and that means our fate as human beings is informed by the same forces that impact the monarchs. Simply put, if monarch butterflies thrive, so do we, along with all of the other inhabitants of the monarch universe; conversely, if the monarchs can’t thrive in this universe, then human beings can’t either.

This event – hopefully the first of many – will feature any and all aspects of the monarch universe, from monarch-inspired arts and crafts to jewelry, clothing, biology, pollinator gardening, milkweed and nectar plant propagation and cultivating, to discussions and presentations on a wide range of subjects, from conservation and migration to habitat restoration and creation, from diseases and predators to native plants vs tropical, from children’s activities to seed exchange.

I held a snake too, from the San Diego Herpetological Society, the same organization that helped me identify that Great Basin lizard that visited for a while last year. I’m not 100% sure what snakes and lizards have to do with butterflies, but me and all the other children loved it. The snake’s name is Matt. Isn’t he handsome?

All kinds of milkweed; I purchased the native variety. I also got a variety of milkweed called Hairy Balls, again, how could I NOT? Gomphocarpus physocarpus, commonly known as hairy balls, is a species of milkweed native to southeast Africa, but it has been widely naturalized. It is often used as an ornamental plant.

Yummy smelling soaps and lip balms. Lovely!

After that I drove back to the coast where it was noticeably cooler and stopped by the Bans Off Our Bodies rally gathering at our local train station. I was happy to see an awesome and exuberant crowd of like-minded folks while I took a few photos.

Bans Off Our Bodies

Blocks and blocks of people all the way to the beach! This is in front of Spin Records.

I like to take photos of the signs, all with their permission, by the way.

A little butterfly bliss and a show of support for reproductive rights sounds like a great day to me, don’t you agree? Time to plant that milkweed!

Mother’s Day and Reproductive Rights Walk Hand in Hand

The real world has a sneaky way of intruding on my enchanted life. It’s so annoying.

Seriously, are we really doing this again?

Although in retrospect, I think Mother’s Day is the perfect time to stand on my soapbox and SCREAM to the world.

Mother’s Day isn’t always all about flowers and cards, although it’s nice to be appreciated for our neverending love.

MOTHER takes on new context in this fresh wave of assaults on our reproductive rights.

I don’t particularly care for the word “abortion” even though I’m one million percent pro-choice, because I think that every single right we fought long and hard for is being horrifically and systematically eroded in real time.

Do you know what’s been happening in some of our states? No rights for rape victims. No rights for children who get pregnant as a result of being raped by a family member. What’s next? No birth control, no credit cards, and then rescind the right to vote?

More new repressive and regressive reality:

Eleven-year-old girls are now old enough to…

Legally marry!
—YES, Tennessee HB 233

Be charged with homicide for an abortion!
—YES, Louisiana HB 813

Can learn about racism?
—NO, 31 states pass bills to ban dialogue on racism.

More insanity…the American Taliban now wants to pass legislation in ‘red states’ that will require women to pass a ‘negative’ pregnancy test in order to leave their home states.

Beto O’Rourke said that abortion laws are about “power and control over women” and he’s one hundred percent right.

I’ve shared this before. My mom was a registered nurse who practiced way before Roe versus Wade. Abortions were illegal but that didn’t STOP women from having them; what it did was drive women to back room practitioners or resort to self harm. My mom was on the front lines day after day and this is what she told me about working in a hospital before legal abortions: one infection after another, one hysterectomy after another, one D&C after another, one death after another — women who bled to death, hemorrhaging so profusely with blood loss so severe, no one could stop it.

This is the reality of life before Roe versus Wade in 1973.

Those were some of the reasons why she was an early and fervent supporter of reproductive rights. A majority of those women would have survived if abortion had been legalized at the time.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I CHOSE to have my son. He was planned and loved well before there was even a fertilized egg. However, if I had chosen NOT to have him for ANY reason at all, that also is MY CHOICE. Without government interference and without any religion or man telling me what I can and can’t do with my body. MY CHOICE. My rights.

Probably the most chilling thing about all this is horrible Amy Coney Barrett and Samuel Alito wrote in their leaked opinion that we don’t “need” abortion: “domestic supply of infants for adoption” is their justification for taking away our right to our own body.

This is a real life dystopian Handmaid’s Tale. Basically, they’re attempting to turn us into baby making factories for child trafficking.

My friend Nancy Sinatra (yes, THAT Nancy Sinatra) says, “You know, I’ve been thinking, I don’t want a man, any man, telling me what to do or not do with my body, It’s none of his damn business. Period. I would never tell you what to do with your body so leave mine alone. My body has sovereignty. It’s my temple, not yours so back off!”

From Bruce Miller, Creator/Executive Producer of “The Handmaid’s Tale”
“I’m not sure I can ask actors or crew members to travel and work in a state where an ectopic pregnancy would sentence my employee to death.

Codify Roe v Wade. Once and for all, stay out of my uterus. Organize and march.

Most of all, VOTE.

And Happy Mother’s Day!

Johnny Depp: When Misandry + Intimate Partner Violence + Defamation Collide

From Jada Pinkett Smith’s puppetmastering of Will Smith which led to the Academy Awards slap heard ’round the world, to Johnny Depp’s failed relationship with Amber Heard, the term misandry is now in our lexicon.

If misogynist is the word we use to describe a woman-hater, the correct word for a man-hater is a misandrist. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, misandry is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men or boys. Misandry can manifest itself in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of men, violence against men, and sexual objectification of men. The belief in a matriarchal structure like this is the true ideology for those who wish to completely switch the power structure. http://www.aiesecus.org

I knew of people and situations like this, but never before had specific terminology to clearly define these particular patterns of behaviors.

I’ve known of toxic women who have falsely accused their partners of rape and assault. I’ve witnessed the damage it wrought: emotional, psychological, and financial.

It does a total disservice to those real and true victims — any gender — of intimate partner abuse; it damages their credibility and believability.

For those of you who aren’t my regular readers, I’m nobody special. I’m nothing more and nothing less than a mom and a grandma. I have one son and two grandchildren.

I’m not a medical or mental health professional, but my opinion from my own observations, is that misandry, narcissism, and other Cluster B personality disorders go hand in hand.

I knew I wanted to opine on Johnny Depp, but I wasn’t sure when I would post it. I think now that his case-in-chief concluded, it’s the right time.

Have you been following this trial?

Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard has given us a glimpse of what it’s like to try and prove (or disprove) intimate partner violence in court.

He claims that her false abuse allegations defamed him and caused him financial damages, ruining his entire career; especially the loss of acting as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and other films.

In a recorded conversation presented as evidence, Amber was heard taunting him, “Tell the world, Johnny, tell them, Johnny Depp — I, Johnny Depp, a man, I’m a victim too of domestic violence” and challenging him to “see how many people believe or side with you.”

And that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Johnny Depp has sacrificed his money, his ego, and his privacy to show the world what domestic violence looks like behind closed doors. #mentoo

Tragically, what this trial shows us is that a man must go above and beyond to prove he’s been abused — simply because he is a man. Amber Heard only had to SAY the words and many believed her. Johnny Depp has had to expose every personal and painful detail of his life to just get the world to listen.

Asked by his attorney what he lost, he replied, “I lost nothing less than everything.” I will live with that for the rest of my life because of the allegations,”  “No matter the outcome of this trial, I’ve already lost. I lost when these allegations were made cause they will stay with me forever. My life is ruined forever”.

Because of his courage, millions of survivors no longer need to feel alone and unheard.

In my eyes, he’s a hero.

Dr.Shannon Curry provided a court ordered psychological evaluation of Amber Heard. She reviewed audio recordings, videos, photograph, and witness testimonies to result in a dual diagnosis of Borderline Personality disorder and Histrionic personality disorder.

Here’s a link to excellent clear and concise information about personality disorders: Abuse in the Media: The Johnny Depp Case

I am proud of Johnny Depp for standing in his own truth with authenticity and vulnerability in the face of raw testimony that included getting a part of his finger cut off, Amber defecating in his bed, cigarettes put out on his face, being punched, and cans thrown at him.

From @Sophie_Choudry So happy #JohnnyDepp is speaking up! Someone very dear to me has suffered years being married to an abusive narcissist. His biggest fear was that being a man, people wouldn’t believe him. Praying this case changes that & people recognise Men get abused too!

No matter what the jury decides, I believe that Amber Heard is the abuser and Johnny Depp was her victim.

I’m #TeamJohnnyDepp #JusticeforJohnnyDepp

Wisdom from His Holiness The Dalai Lama

How to overcome negative emotions with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama

Every single time I hear him speak, I’m filled with gratitude for the time we spent together and how he touched me: mind, body, spirit, and soul.

He’s a special, special gift of light and love and wisdom.

Melancholy

There will always be a hole in my heart for all my loved and departed souls.

I had a dream about my Border Collie and I thought of “melon collie”, our joke because Victor loved to eat almost anything including cantaloupe and watermelon, and then I saw this.

Sometimes this is exactly how I feel; a void left by grief, sitting on a bench, adrift in sadness.

I’m updating this post to include some research into this sculpture because I feel it’s relevant.

Albert Gyorgy felt intense sadness and isolation with the loss of his wife and went on to create this beautiful piece of artwork as a way to cope.

This hole represents the massive void that we all feel when we lose someone dear to us, and many people have expressed their appreciation for this sculpture for it portraying the exact emotions they feel, but perhaps haven’t been able to quite put into words.

Curated from: https://www.penwellgabeltopeka.com/Blog/6245/Melancoliesculpture

Strange Encounters

Do you listen to your inner voice? Do you pay attention when you’re in a situation and something doesn’t feel right?

I know it’s a been a good long time since we’ve gathered in groups. For me it’s been a bit more than two years because I had a feeling that this mystery virus was worse than anticipated and stopped going to the gym or any other public event at the end of February 2020, a couple weeks before the proverbial shit hit the fan.

Now we’re in this sort of post-pandemic limbo coupled with a country inhabited by repression and rampant racism, banned books, elected officials who want to turn the clock back to a time where women had ZERO rights (reproductive and otherwise), and schools are prohibited from teaching certain subjects and acknowledge individual gender identity — and if we add the genocide in Ukraine, the world seems bleak.

A few days ago I had every intention of attending an all day seminar but I left after a few minutes.

Here’s why:

Right off the bat I got some weird vibes (only way I can describe it) from a group of guys that were clearly in the military. There were about a dozen of them, very young and all unmasked although masks were still required. They stood in the hallway just outside the room. One of them, way too clean cut and extremely militant looking, for some reason picked me out and started interrogating me with rapid fire questions in an insistent, belligerent, almost hostile, overly assertive voice, “Are you the teacher?” “Do you know where we’re supposed to go?” “Are you taking this class, too?” I took a moment to breathe and assess the threat level (haha) and responded, “You sure do ask a lot of questions” and he tried to stare me down before he walked away to stand with the guys he arrived with. It’s not easy to intimidate me so he obviously picked the wrong person. I might be only five feet tall, but that’s misleading if anyone thinks I can be bullied. I can turn into ghetto grandma in the the blink of an eye. (Namaste, y’all.) My initial feeling is that they were white supremacist/Oathkeeper-types. No, I have no proof, only a feeling, and not a good one. Why they were there didn’t make sense.

I observed another man, older, also unmasked, making the rounds of the room before the seminar started. He seemed to think it was one of those instant speed dating events as he chatted with all the women. When he came up to me, I purposely made no eye contact but he didn’t seem to care. “You must be cold. YOU MUST BE COLD.” I glanced at him. “Your arms are folded, you must be cold.” I ignored him. I don’t play the “friend finder” game. He was annoying and obnoxious. He walked away without escalating his sales pitch, thank goodness.

I don’t think it was ME — I wasn’t spewing negative energy — I was minding my own business.

The instructor showed up and closed the door. I was sitting all the way in the back nearest the exit and counted about fifty people in the room with only ten masked, including myself. All I could think about was the newest variant and how it might not be prudent to be stuck in a room with no open windows or air circulation.

When I quietly told the instructor’s assistant that I didn’t feel comfortable being there, she was extremely gracious.

I feel like I totally did the right thing by leaving for all the reasons.

I wonder what the story was all about with those Marines because they were out of place. I heard the instructor and his assistant talking about them too, so I know it wasn’t just me. Something didn’t fit. Something wasn’t right.

Are things back to normal for you now? Would you have stayed?

I See You. Eye Health. Seriously.

Every year I have a checkup with a specialist because I had a torn retina in my left eye in 2014 and a vitreous fluid issue in 2016 in my other eye that so far hasn’t deteriorated. (Knock on wood.)

I thought I had previously written a post about this medical condition but I couldn’t find it which is odd yet timely because I have my annual appointment on Friday to check my retinas. I don’t like ambiguity and their high tech equipment calms my anxiety.

I was told that my severe myopia was the leading cause of my retinal tear. I also believe that the crazy stress I endured because of my son’s life threatening medical condition and subsequent emergency surgery contributed to the tear, but I can’t find any facts to back up my theory. However, we know stress can do crazy things to our body, right?

In my case, I knew what it was the exact moment I saw the white flashes (Photopsia) that didn’t disappear if my eyes were open or closed. A family member was an ophthalmologist and I had worked for him during high school and college thinking I might like to go to med school, but I didn’t really want to spend another decade cooped up in classrooms. And then there was my nemesis, organic chemistry…

I called my eye doctor after hours to explain what I saw; he told me to come in at 7am the following morning, no appointment needed, and by the end of the day I had been referred to and had already been seen by a specialist who confirmed that it was a retinal tear. Laser surgery was scheduled for the next day.

My advice is not to delay seeking medical attention when you see flashes.

I won’t lie; the laser repair is the most painful procedure I’ve ever endured, worse than my C-section when the anesthetic wore off as my OB was suturing me (REALLY) and worse than a poorly done root canal. It was like a thousand sharp knives were stabbing my brain. Some people just feel a dull ache/discomfort and they’re the lucky ones.

The bright lights leave you blind for a brief period after it’s all done. For the first 72 hours after the surgery, you can’t read ANYTHING, no computer, nothing –because the eye has to stay stable and not track back and forth in order for the laser treatment to fully seal the tear. I had to sit up and could only watch TV. My friend brought books on tape to listen to, which was great. Yoga and weight lifting and jumping and pushups and plank were prohibited for about a month to reduce any pressure and inhibit healing. That drove me crazy too, but I still limit my downward dogs because I don’t like how it feels when I keep my head down. I’m scared it’s going to happen again.

As painful as it was, I’d prefer that to the repair options for a total detachment which can take place in a hospital and can involve a gas bubble insertion and/or a scleral buckle. You must hold your head in a certain position for several days to keep the bubble in the right spot.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the risk of developing a retinal detachment is five or six times greater in people with high myopia compared to those with low myopia. People with high myopia have longer eyes (axial elongation), which means that the retina is more stretched and therefore prone to peripheral retinal tears. High myopia is said to occur when a person’s myopia progresses until they need −5 diopters or more of spherical correction.

A retinal tear can lead to fluid and blood collecting in the eye, which can cause the development of several new floaters and loss of vision if the tear leads to a retinal detachment.

The retina is the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye on the inside. Located near the optic nerve, the retina’s purpose is to receive light and then send pictures to the brain of what the eye sees.

If the retina is unable to receive and process light, the brain won’t receive information. One condition that can stop this communication between the retina and the brain is a retinal detachment, which can result from a retinal tear.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a retinal tear include flashes in the eye and visible spots called floaters. Retinal tears can develop and progress quickly, which may lead to retinal detachment.

The most common signs and symptoms of retinal tears include:

  • Sudden appearance of floaters.
  • Black spots in field of vision.
  • Flashes of light.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Darker/dimmer vision.
  • Loss of peripheral vision.

Retinal detachments and retinal tears

Those seemingly harmless “floaters” and “flashes” in your vision can indicate serious trouble. “Floaters” are tiny black specks that you may occasionally see floating in your line of vision.

What causes floaters and flashers?

As we age, the gel-like fluid in our eyes (called vitreous fluid) begins to liquefy and pull away from our retina. As vitreous gel changes it can pull on our retina enough to cause a retinal tear or detachment.

Having a few long-standing floaters in your vision is normal. However, if you notice flashes or an increase in floaters — or if you see a curtain or shaded area in your side vision — these can indicate serious eye disease and the need for immediate treatment. Left untreated, retinal tears and detachments can lead to permanent blindness. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical. In fact, vision loss could have been prevented or minimized by early detection in 50% of all medical cases involving blindness.

Please take your eye health seriously!

Call to Action: How to Help Ukraine NOW

I brought a carload of donated items to House of Ukraine in San Diego’s Balboa Park. While I was there, the HOU was alive with many people who stopped by to help. An elderly gentleman brought 1800 sterile syringes while a person in military fatigues dropped off a Kevlar vest. Another, a retired soldier, brought the vest that had saved his life many years ago and he wanted to donate it, hoping it would do the same for a fellow soldier protecting his homeland in Ukraine.

There are no people pics because I thought it prudent to protect their identities. You just never know, especially active military.

This photo isn’t from World War II. This is NOW, 2022, Ukraine.

Did you hear this? A six-year-old girl died “alone, weak, frightened, and thirsty” after she was trapped under the rubble of her destroyed home in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol https://telegraph.co.uk.

Putin’s aggression needs to be stopped, but it’s going to take all of us to help Ukraine.

Before anyone gets too bored of hearing about Russia’s atrocities, this is scary info: In case you didn’t know, Russia is approximately ONLY 55 miles from Alaska. Pretty close to home, don’t you agree?

Image

This horrendous invasion has names and faces, helpless victims of insane megalomaniacs. Animal rescuer Sasha chose to stay in Ukraine to take care of her animals. A Russian rocket hit her home. Her son found her body. Another innocent life ended.

Non-financial Donations:
In the San Diego area, bring all non-financial donations to the House of Ukraine cottage, 667 Pan American Rd W, San Diego, CA 92101 (OPEN daily 12 pm – 4 pm), BRING or SEND to our storage: St. Mary Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 9558 Campo Rd, Spring Valley, CA 91977

The people I met with said their supplies are sent out every few days with materials eventually arriving by air to some of the surrounding European countries and then brought to Ukraine.

Not in San Diego area? Locate your own Ukrainian community and find out how you can help where you live.

1.High Priority Needs:
– Military supplies (helmets 3A, Kevlar vests protection standard IV, Kevlar plates, monoculars with a magnetic arrow, thermal imagers, boots, knee pads, gloves, military clothes)
– Military aid kits and medicines (QuickClot, First Aid Esmarch Medical Tourniquet Rubber, thermal blankets, hemostatic drugs, blood transfusion systems)
– Thermal underwear: men’s underwear, warm socks
– NO MORE DIAPERS NEEDED at this time. Cannot accept used clothing at this time.

Humanitarian Supplies:
– Medical supplies (Theraflu, any painkillers, Gelofusine, dressing bags, needles №20,10, catheters, Iodine, antiseptics, needles КВ-3, Sets for measuring central venous pressure, infusions of sodium chloride, drip systems etc.)

Political Support:
Write and/or call your area’s elected officials. *Sample template below, I didn’t craft the letter; take what feels right for you as I know the no-fly zone concept causes some concern regarding retaliation.

Write NATO urging no-fly zone over Ukraine.
USNATOPAA@state.gov

Financial Support:
There are several vetted charities; please research for your area.

My opinion is pretty straightforward. We simply can’t sit back and do nothing. I’m doing what I can, and I hope you will, too. ‘Nuff said.

_______________________________________________________________________

*TEMPLATE:
Dear Senator/Congressperson /name/,

I am a US citizen and I would like to express my concerns about the atrocities in Ukraine where homes and livelihoods are violently attacked by Russian troops.

Despite strong and consistent promises from the US government and its allies before the attack and invasion by the Russian forces, we are yet to see a strong and powerful response. The people of Ukraine are bravely facing the heavily militarized and massive Russian Army. We understand that the US is not ready to send American military forces to Ukraine, but we do expect that the US government should be able to help the Ukrainians.

The following is critically needed for an effective response by Ukrainian troops from the sea, air, and land:
• Heavy anti-aircraft launcher systems similar to Patriot MIM-104
• Additional man-portable air defense systems similar to FIM-92 Stingers
• Additional man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missiles similar to FGM-148 Javelin
• More ammunition

The people of Ukraine are in desperate need of protection and, unfortunately, expressing concerns and prayers alone cannot protect their children, women, and seniors, but No Flight Zone over Ukrainian territory can. The no-fly zone will provide for the protection of the civilian population against cruise and ballistic missiles and air assault debarkations.

This war is the largest and longest war in Europe since World War II. It began in 2014 because of Putin’s fear of Ukrainians striving for their democratic future and independence. Russia occupied Crimea and orchestrated a war in Eastern Ukraine taking over its territories and people. Russia’s recent invasion disrupts and threatens the lives of millions of Ukrainian citizens today and potentially millions of European citizens in the future. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

As a US Senator/Congressman/Congresswoman, you are in a unique position to stop the beginning of World War III.

Sincerely,
YOUR NAME
YOUR ADDRESS



Trust Your Gut

I really thought I had posted this before, but found it in my drafts folder.

This was a brief moment in time but chock-full of unanswered questions and potential menace where my gut intelligence sussed out something so weird and so random. It was like a scene on a TV show.

A while back before the pandemic stopped most travel, I was taking a short flight. I had an aisle seat. As this was a smaller aircraft, there were only two seats on either side; window or aisle.

A man walked by and said his was the window seat. I got up so he could squeeze in. He was a big man, not really obese, but close to it. His bulk took up the entire seat. Thank you, he said several times, although I’m not sure why he kept repeating himself. He was looking at me as if he wanted to strike up a conversation and I wasn’t really feeling particularly chatty so I began to read a book. I could feel his eyes on me, though, and I felt a creepy vibe.

Here’s where the first strange stirrings of anticipatory dread occurred.

In the periphery of my mind, or maybe it was my gut, I had an odd feeling. That’s the only way I can describe it. Odd. Nothing tangible to point my finger at, nothing out of place, nothing I could see with my eyes, but a real feeling that something was wrong with this person flitted through my mind and my gut. In fact, I was on high alert for any gesture or words or behavior that might be inappropriate.

It’s unusual to have a first impression like that, don’t you agree?

I’ve been learning to trust my gut even when there might be nothing definite to satisfy my need for facts that I can see or hear or touch.

Luckily for me, as I was planning to dread the next few hours, a flight attendant stopped by and asked me if I’d like to move to another row by myself as the plane wasn’t full. I jumped at her suggestion and enjoyed the peace and quiet, all the while wondering what made me feel like there was something wrong with that man.

When we arrived at our destination, I grabbed my suitcase from the overhead bin and impatiently waited my turn to disembark. I didn’t give that man another thought as I was focused on a stop at the nearest restroom.

The next few moments were like a scene out of a TV crime show and it happened SO FAST, almost too much to process.

I noticed a man standing near the place where we all exit from the jetway to the flight waiting area. He had an intense gaze as he watched all the arriving passengers. That means that he obviously had to go through security.

Apparently I was right behind the man I had originally sat with. He was walking as fast as his size would allow. He spotted the waiting man too, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to escape.

The man stopped him, said in a VERY STERN VOICE, “You know that you violated your parole, don’t you?”

The big man stuttered, “Yes.”

“Well, then there’s nothing left to say. You knew what would happen. I’m here to take you back to prison.”

I was gobsmacked (another one of those great descriptive Brit words).

I thought it prudent to extricate myself in case I became an unwilling participant in some sort of dangerous situation. Although I wanted to watch the rest of the show, I continued to the restroom, shaking my head and praising my gut instincts once again.

I KNEW something was off about that man, but I had no idea that he was a criminal.

I want to know the rest of the story. What was he on parole for? What crimes had he committed? Why didn’t TSA do a better job of screening?

And most of all, I’m thankful that for whatever reason, the flight attendant (and the Universe) moved me to safety from any potential harm. Maybe I’m being melodramatic and maybe I’m not. Maybe I really do live an enchanted life. Maybe there ARE angels protecting me.

How crazy is that????