Author Archives: mariadeathstar

About mariadeathstar

This is where I express myself. The real me. Prolly not for the faint hearted. I'm also real on twitter: @mariadeathstar

Hope you get my drift…

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So we weren’t planning on getting another dog. At least not till we were both totally retired. Overall, the caregiving duties in our household have grown over the past couple of years, and were not entirely relieved when we lost Pippi when she was felled by her tumor last May. After Pip was gone, Poppi seemed to enjoy her new found freedom, as she no longer had an overseer monitoring her every move. Even though Pip was about half her size, she was the total alpha dog. In fact, when we first brought Pippi home at 8-1/2 weeks old, she immediately started bossing our ginormous chocolate lab around.

So Poppi never really got to decide what she did and in what order or where, everything had to get Pippi’s approval first. Poppi is so mellow we figured she was happy just going along, but after Pippi died she did seem to be totally relaxed for the first time ever. But after a while, Pop seemed a little lost and when Blaine told us she had whined and cried when Ric and I went out one day, we started worrying. Then she whined and cried when I left the house for a while one day and was pretty much inconsolable until I returned, we knew we had to figure this out.

Those who know us understand we are pretty much fixated  on Bichon Frises. That’s what happens when you have one. Or even meet one, as in our case. Blaine and I were set on them way back when Blaine was in elementary school and there was a Man’s Best Friend store with stuff for dogs on Hawthorne Blvd. near our home. The owner had a Bichon she brought in to work with her. Blaine and I would roll and walk respectively down Hawthorne just to visit the dog. There’s just something about Bichons. They have SO much personality and are such great companions, especially in the city. They’re just….special!

Because they are so desirable, they are really expensive when you get one from a reputable, responsible breeder. Pippi came from a backyard breeder we found in the newspaper classified ads (remember them??) before we knew about backyard breeders. A few months later we got Poppi from a family moving to Sweden. We actually went looking for a playmate for Pippi, who was becoming more human than canine. They advertised a two year old male, so we went to take a look. Their dog was a stud dog and we no more than entered the door than he hopped astride Pippi and humped her through the kitchen, down the hall, around the living room and back to the doorway where Ric scooped her up to save her from this serial rapist. In the meantime, I had picked up the ‘pick of the litter’ puppy that had been their payment for his last consenting adult sperm donation. And  instantly fell completely in love. We purchased Poppi before Pippi could suffer any more indignities and made our escape. That was more than 10 years ago, and the price has gone up a whole lot in the interim. Out of our reach, especially considering what will be our meager income in retirement.

I’m all for adopting a “rescue” dog, but I didn’t think Bichons come up very often. Actually, it took me a while to get my head around the whole rescue situation. I didn’t hear that term growing up, but I pictured it meaning a dog had fallen into a roaring river and a fearless human dove in and pulled the dog to shore just above the crest of a 50-foot waterfall. Or the house was burning down and all the people were accounted for but the little girl cried out, “Where’s Sparky?” and the fireman sprang through the scorching flames and carried the pooch out and administered oxygen before Sparky coughed his first breath. One day when someone told me her dog was a rescue, I asked what calamity the poor pup had survived and she told me the family down the block decided they couldn’t give him the best possible care and asked the neighbors if anyone wanted to take the dog, and she volunteered. Where I come from, we called that “getting a dog a new home.” It’s not exactly a “you’re-at-the-50-yard-mark-on-a-100-yard-railroad-bridge-and-a-train-appears-around-the curve-only-20-yards-away” emergency type situation. But whatev. If it makes people feel better to call giving a dog a new home a rescue and it results in more dogs getting more homes, I’m all for it. We live in dramatic times, after all.

But seriously, since then, I’ve learned about puppy mills where females are kept in cages they can’t even turn around in all their lives and are just used as breeding machines, a cruelty I can’t imagine any human justifying on any level. And I’ve seen horrendous cruelty to dogs on shows on Animal Planet, from Animal Hoarders to Animal Cops. Not to mention the dog fighters and the so-called shelters that euthanize most of the animals because they don’t have enough room for all the unwanted animals that show up on their doorstep. So, yes, I have learned that dogs really are rescued from inhumane, intolerable and fatal conditions.

I see I have drifted from the main plot line a bit, so let’s steer this rig out of the ditch and back on the highway.

I didn’t know that Ric had actually begun scanning the web for puppies when he sent me an email saying “Drifty is 1.5 years and needs a forever home.” I clicked and saw this:

I need a home where I am wanted. anybody?

I need a home where I am wanted. anybody?

I surprised even myself when I immediately threw caution to the wind and texted “Omg we have to get this dog.” So Ric started communicating with the dog rescuer and we arranged a meeting. Poppi was all for the idea and kept reminding us!

He was a Bichon/Maltese mix, rescued from a shelter in southern California that has way more animals than people who want them, so an awful lot of the dogs are killed. A woman down there picks out dogs she thinks are adoptable and drives as many as she can carry to Portland, where there are more people looking to adopt, especially given the “End Petlessness” campaign that’s been underway here. Lori Cory of LoCo Rescue here in Portland works with her, finding families and making matches, ensuring that from this day forward, these dogs have the life they deserve.

Well, of course we loved him and wanted him. Our only hesitation was how he would do with Poppi. She’s a senior dog now and has arthritis and related spine issues. They didn’t interact much during the initial visit, and we wanted to make sure Poppi didn’t have to live under another petty dictator for the rest of her days. So we agreed to foster him to make sure they were good together.

We took him home and he was wide eyed and curious, just watching and watching. He was skin and bones, smelly and dirty. The most telling thing for me, and most heartbreaking, was seeing what a tiny little ball he curled into when he slept… as if he was trying to hold in every molecule of heat he could muster. Or be as invisible as possible. It seemed he had never experienced stairs before and didn’t quite know what to make of them. He was a little shy, but very affectionate and interested in everything as we walked through the house. Bichons can be somewhat notorious for peeing in the house, and our floors and rugs had taken quite a hit during the last several months of Pippi’s illness, to the point that we had the floors refinished and rugs professionally cleaned after she passed. We were pretty worried about housebreaking Drifty, especially since it wasn’t clear he knew what a house was, and planned to be ultra diligent about training him.

So I was a little smelly when I got here, but I clean up really nice!

So I was a little smelly when I got here, but I clean up really nice!

He slept in a crate next to Ric the first night and when Ric took him outside first thing in the morning, he immediately peed and pooped right where he was supposed to. Interesting. Neither Pippi nor Poppi had been so cooperative. After Ric took him in for a bath and grooming, we could see what a handsome little fella he is.

He seemed kinda traumatized at first. Maybe he couldn’t really grasp what was happening. Or that it really was possible to be safe and carefree. When he was snuggled up with me in the covers the first morning, I could hear his eyes say, “Am I really here? In a warm bed? Do dogs really get to live like this the rest of their lives?” And I whispered back in his ear, “Yes, Drifty. Yes they do.”

Do dogs really get to live like this the rest of their lives?

Do dogs really get to live like this the rest of their lives?

Blaine is so happy to have a dog that will jump onto his lap and stay there again. Blaine is back in canine heaven. As you can see.

This is what I'm talkin bout!

This is what I’m talkin bout!

Drifty and Poppi started sleeping together on the couch, moving closer, and closer, then finally spooning. They are surely bonding. Although Poppi can’t quite keep up with Drifty’s pace of playing, Drifty keeps trying to get her to buzz about with him. We play “throw the toy and try to get it away from him when he returns it because he doesn’t yet get that he has to let go for us to throw it again” game. I put aside my quilting for a time, although as he gets more comfortable, he’s happy to sit in the chair as I sew and pose with the quilt in progress.

I could sit here all day watching my humom make quilts

I could sit here all day watching my humom make quilts

He’s discovered looking out windows and while I was sick in bed with the nastiest cold in years, he sat on a stack of quilts and watched out for me, looking at a world he had never seen from inside a warm home he had never known. It’s so much fun seeing him explore and learn and become himself.

I never saw the world from inside glass before. There is so very much to see!

I never saw the world from inside glass before. There is so very much to see!

And Ric already taught him to talk. Seriously. See for yourself!

Yes, he is home at last now. Where he belongs. Look at this picture. You get my drift?

No more drifting. Home at last.

No more drifting for Drifty. Cuz he’s home now.

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Reflections on Retirement, Part 2

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The first installment in Reflections on Retirement is here.

Given that my childhood did not put me on a path that led directly to the place of wealth and philanthropy, how the heck did I end up there? I guess you could say I sort of fell into it. Come to think of it, when I look back I can see that my life was pretty much unplanned all the way along, I just availed myself of opportunities presented to me and fairly naively took it from there. I’ll show you what I mean.

Take college for example. One day, Miss Rice – my social studies teacher at Cottage Grove High School who also served a kind of career counseling role – handed me an application for a scholarship and said, “Your SAT scores are good, I think you should apply for this.” I looked at it, it was an application for the Grass Roots Talent Search program at the University of Chicago that – if you were accepted – guaranteed complete financial assistance for four years if you kept up your grades and contributed positively to the university community. Early in high school I had my heart set on going to Stanford, I don’t really remember why, probably because I had heard of it. But then in my junior year I read somewhere that 200 valedictorians flunk out of Stanford their first year, so my heart abandoned that plan and I figured I would go to the University of Oregon because it was close by. But I went ahead and filled out the U of Chicago paperwork because it didn’t have a submission fee, even rather enjoyed it because it included a writing assignment, and promptly forgot all about it. I continued to check out colleges in Oregon like Willamette and Pacific Universities.

Imagine my surprise, when in the middle of April 1967, I got a letter in the mail that said I had been accepted into the University of Chicago and had a four year scholarship that covered all expenses (tuition, room and board, books, etc.) I went into shock and had an out of body experience, like I was drifting through the air watching myself drive to the high school to show Miss Rice, then on to my after school job at the Cottage Grove Sentinel. I instantly knew I would say yes. My sister reported that my parents were against me going there, but in my head I was already packing. It was a way of escaping the boundaries that are so easy to get caught in around a small town where everybody knows your business, and you know theirs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just knew I needed more exposure to more differences: different experiences, different points of view, different places, different people, different everything…

Well, that was a rather long detour, was it not. I went there because it shows how I fall into things rather than devise a plan and follow it. My style is more one of discovering the possibility of a plan and giving myself over to it. Fallow, not follow. 🙂 If I had a plan upon leaving high school, it would be that I would become a journalist. I had really found my niche working at my hometown newspaper, over time doing pretty much all the steps required to publish a newspaper, even selling advertising. Once I got to Chicago, I discovered it didn’t have a journalism program. Oopsie! At the U of C, majors weren’t that big a deal, but they did exist. Even ones with names like Philosophical Psychology. My favorite classes in high school had been geography classes (CGHS had a very innovative geography program before the regular school day started). Chicago had some very distinguished geography professors, so I took several classes. Mind you, I took as many art and art history classes, but my declared major was Geography. Now geography as a major doesn’t get all that much respect, but take my word for it, it’s the most interesting thing ever, because it’s about everything. Anything and everything from a spatial perspective. It’s really that great.

So during fourth year of college, when I started thinking of what to do next, and my husband at the time wanted to go to law school, I figured since we will be at a campus, I might as well go to grad school in geography. By the end of the fourth year, Chicago’s physical environment was getting really hard for me to take (I swear the potted cactus on the window sill got cancer from the coal dust in the air) and Oregon was tugging on my heartstrings. And that’s how we ended up at the University of Oregon after college and I became a duck after all.

Beginning in grad school, I taught geography classes at the U of Oregon, and then continued doing so at Portland State University, Willamette University, Lewis and Clark College, etc. after we moved to Portland. Again, just kind of fell into it beginning when a professor at PSU was on sabbatical and they needed someone to teach his classes. I was still teaching and leading field trips through Portland right up until the month before Blaine was born.

And, of course, that day everything changed.

I tried to continue teaching after Blaine was born but my heart wasn’t in it. Child care was an issue, because most people didn’t feel comfortable watching someone with as many complications as Blaine. He went to an early intervention program beginning when he was 18 months old and I found myself spending a lot of time navigating though a tangle of medical systems and social bureaucracies that a family with a child with a disability encounters. And mind you, this was back in the day when families were not considered a very important part of the equation. Given my nature, and my excellent college and grad school education that prized inquiry, I was not one to lie back and be happy with whatever we were told or not told, shown or not shown. For example, in the beginning, it took weeks and weeks and much back and forth communication to even get copies of medical reports. I became a vocal part of the movement toward family-centered care. (And we really changed things. A new day has indeed dawned in medical systems for families of children with disabilities. The tales I could tell!) I began sharing what I learned by publishing a newsletter… well, it was more like a zine but zines hadn’t been invented yet. Maybe we invented them????

Well, advocacy and writing a newsletter didn’t produce income, and after Blaine started first grade, I found myself battling the public education bureaucracy I felt did not serve students with disabilities as well as the law required. I got a paying job as an advocate for families of children with disabilities. Well, the pay wasn’t great, but the job was pretty much right up my alley at the time. And the best part was meeting, working and becoming family with the other mothers from around the state doing the same job in their regions. OMG. I love those women so much. And when we get together it’s like only an hour has passed since we last hugged and talked and laughed for hours on end.

Returning to the actual subject of this post, I had to leave that job and take one that paid a little better when I was going through a divorce. It was with a consulting firm that worked on disability issues, purported to be in support of families of children with disabilities. I thought it would be a continuation of the kind of things I had been doing for the past several years, but I was wrong. They did evaluations of disability programs around the country and I got to see the sausage making that goes on inside consulting firms.

When Blaine was 12, he had the most complex surgeries of his life, which involved putting rods that attached to both the front and the back of his spine to arrest his ever worsening scoliosis (he had two curves in opposite directions that had to be addressed in serial surgeries.) He was in the hospital for more than two months, and encountered one complication after another, including sepsis from an infected Hickman central venous catheter. The very day the doctor had tears in his eyes as he told me how sorry he was about all the things that were going wrong, I got home to find a fed ex envelope in the door with a letter inside terminating me from the firm for my absences. It felt like such a cruel irony because I had been recruited for the job so they could say they had someone on staff with a child with a disability. When, during the interview, I told them they would be crazy to hire me because Blaine was facing the biggest surgeries of his life, and I would need to be with him during that time, they told me it was not a problem because they kept a sick leave pool I could draw from to cover my absence. So having the actual parent of an actual child with an actual disability on their actual staff was more than they could actually handle, I guess.

Blaine was in a full body jacket at home after leaving the hospital, and it was really hard. I remember the time Niki watched me carry Blaine in his body jacket up the stairs to his bedroom. Her eyes widened in horror and she promptly started taking Blaine’s bed apart so we could move it to the first floor and set it up in the dining room. Shit was getting real.

That’s when I faced the reality that I had to get a job I could do from home. One day Abby called to say her friend Sandy had called on behalf of the place she worked, they were looking for someone who could work from home who had a Macintosh. Well, that sure sounded a lot like me so I called and met with the executive director of the Meyer Memorial Trust. He hired me, and I began inputting, reading, analyzing and writing reports on the applications to the Small Grants Program.

That’s how I fell into philanthropy. I blame Blaine. And Abby and Sandy. And Steve Jobs. In that order. 🙂

Next time: What I found inside philanthropy once I got there.

 

Reflecting on Retiring, Part I

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So a while back I mentioned that I have set a retirement date. And then I didn’t say any more about it. But now it’s time. I have no idea how this will go, I’m just sitting here with my laptop, watching what happens when I write about why I’m retiring now.

First, it’s pretty weird that I ended up working in the field of philanthropy at all. And downright shocking that I’ve now been doing it for more than 20 years. When I was a little girl in Douglas County, I never met anybody who had much money. I grew up among families of loggers mostly. My own family was a logger family. My dad fell and bucked trees, set chokers, and for many years, rode a crummy into the woods. Sometimes a Great Notion’s vocabulary felt like home to me.

When I was 12, my father was smashed between two logs when one rolled down the hill while he was bucking the other one. He was in the hospital for a long time and his back was never the same, hurting him most every day for the rest of his life. Most of the other loggers we knew were injured in one way or another. Some were killed doing their jobs. They gave their bodies to the woods.

After his accident, he had to find a new way to support our family. That’s when we moved to the metropolis of Cottage Grove (seriously, that’s what it seemed to me), where he got a job as an auto electrician, drawing from his wartime training keeping the troop and supply planes flying over the Himalayas during WWII. Cottage Grove was a pretty prosperous mill town in those days, with a lot of family wage jobs. And even some of the mill and lucrative business owners’ kids went to the community’s public schools.

Many of the mill jobs were very physically demanding and I was around enough of those families to know that mill workers’ bodies, just like loggers, were punished by their jobs, with pain and disfigurement following them into their golden years.

Being part of Oregon philanthropy, I have noticed that many Oregon foundations grew from timber industry fortunes. Thinking back on my childhood, I wonder how so much money ended up in the owners’ accounts. Should they have paid the workers more? Was the pay fair? Did the workers get good enough medical care? What was their standard of living in retirement? Workers in the Cottage Grove mills were in unions, so had some protections. But the loggers I knew along the South Umpqua River in remote Douglas County were not.

Did the owners know how large the fortunes they were amassing were becoming? Did they plan it that way? What did they know and when did they know it?

What about Fred Meyer? Could he have paid his workers more? Was he fair to them? What was their standard of living?

I have the same questions about technology fortunes of a few in the Pacific Northwest, whose riches are still piling up. When will they have enough? Why that much? Are they paying workers enough? Using too many contract workers with no benefits? Could they charge less for their products? Why don’t they?

Working in philanthropy, in many ways I am still a curious child from a logger family in southern Oregon. And I can’t always find good answers to a lot of her questions.

And that’s why, after more than 20 years, in many ways I still feel like a stranger in a strange land.

Next Up: How I found my place in philanthropy…

From whack-a-mole to a clean kitchen

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cleankitchen

One corner of a clean kitchen

I was just sitting here thinking about what a great thrill and privilege and honor it is to just clean your own kitchen.  I mean, when the most urgent thing in your life for the next 10 minutes is to clean the kitchen, it can really make you happy… and filled with gratitude that you have a kitchen to clean.

Blaine has been through several weeks of serious illness…. and despite doctor visits and antibiotics and lots of love and care, he wasn’t getting better. In fact, he kept getting worse. Sometimes it would seem like he was getting a little better, but then things got worse again. It got really really bad. And unlike when it’s your young child who is sick and you just bundle them up and carry them to the ER or urgent care, when your child is a full grown autonomous adult, you have to get their permission and cooperation to go to a hospital, as long as they are conscious.

Part of the reluctance to go to the hospital is understandable. When one of the presenting problems is the horrific state of pressure sores on your butt, the prospect of sitting on said butt for six hours or more in the emergency room is kinda intolerable. Especially when you have extreme diarrhea that will be oozing out onto the floor in the waiting room. So we didn’t go to the ER, but to yet another clinic appointment, where Blaine finally agreed to enter the hospital. Thank you, Blaine, you saved not only your own life, but your mother’s as well. Ric’s too, probably. 🙂

While hospitalized, we successfully treated some things along the way, but it took quite a few days to pin down the source of the continuing problem that kept showing up in new ways in different parts of the body. It was kind of a whack-a-mole situation. Treat one thing, see it start to get better, then another part sends out it’s storm troopers to attack on a new battlefield.

To cut to the chase, the doctors finally found a huge abscess that had walled itself off so antibiotics couldn’t get in and wage war with the storm troopers. Once they removed the abcess, the tide started to turn!  And after it was clear the antibiotics were killing off the storm troopers, we got to come home!

And while the wound nurse and Blaine’s personal helper were here, I got to clean the kitchen. And though we have a long way to go to return everything to the way it used to be, goddammitohell, I couldn’t be happier if I won the frickin powerball.

My Bucket DeList

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ImageI keep hearing people talk about their bucket lists. Good for them. I applaud their search to cross items off their lists of things they want to do before they die.

But this post is not about bucket lists. It’s just the opposite. I’ve reached the age where I am beginning to concede that there are a number of things that are not attainable for me in this lifetime. So I list them.

Why make such a list? Because it totally takes the pressure off! Weights lift off shoulders when you DeList your Bucket. You still get that great feeling you get when you cross things off lists, even if they weren’t on your list to begin with. And you get more free time! Imagine how much time it would have taken to do those things. That’s now time you saved. That’s time for living!

So here is the beginning of my Bucket DeList. I will add to it as we go forward in these times.

1. Never climbing Mt. Everest. Yeah, that’s right. I’m never going to climb any mountain, let alone the Big One. To tell you the truth, I never had the slightest interest in climbing the world’s tallest peak. When I thought about it, I realized the only reason I could imagine for climbing the mountain would be for the view from the top. So why not cut to the chase and just fly up there in a plane, and see that view from the warm comfort inside a plane.

Even that wasn’t all that attractive a prospect after hearing my dad’s tales flying over the Himilayas as a Hump Pilot in World War II, what with all the running low on fuel and being buffeted about by winds. So maybe the best unbucket approach would be to watch a high def video of the view from the top. Yeah, that works.

I did climb one mountain in my youth because my brother wanted me to and my knees have never been the same. The view was marred by smoke from fires, so I didn’t get all that I expected. I just do not have the mountain climbing gene. I don’t begin to understand why and how there even is a mountain climbing gene. Nature is not meant to be conquered, fools! Deliberately risking fairly certain death for the adrenalin rush is not favored by evolution and it is a really stupid thing to do. Hiring local people to risk their lives to carry your gear is not courageous. It’s fucked up. It’s wrong. It makes you look like rich arrogant assholes. But maybe that’s what you’re going for?

2. Walking across America. Yeah, this sounded fun at one time. I really thought it would be cool to meet a bunch of people along the way and see the land close up and personal. But now I have rather painful arthritis in my right hip. And my back and neck have all these herniated disks so I probably couldn’t really carry my provisions. So I would have to hire local people to carry them for me and that would be fucked up and make me an arrogant asshole. So that’s out.

Maybe when the rains stop I’ll walk to and from work. That might work.

3. Reading the entire Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant. I seriously intended to do this at one point in my life. All 11 volumes. Even got a set. Never read a page. Donated them to charity. Epic fail, no excuse.

4. Relearning the French and Chinese I once knew. Who was I kidding? That part of my brain is toast. Can’t even recall much of the English I use every day. Like in number 2, when I was trying to remember the name of the people who wrote Story of Civilization… I kept thinking Rousseau…no, not Rousseau, Thoreau? No not Theoreau… I had to google “civilization volumes” to get it. Turns out I wasn’t even close.

If I’m that worthless and dangerous in English, imagine how much trouble I could get into in French or Chinese. No more language tapes for me. Besides, nowadays, there’s an app for that!

PLEASE HELP!

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I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m not sure how to go about it. Please bear with me while I blunder through it.

I knew this already but Blaine’s recent serious illness, hospitalization and recovery brought this right back into focus. My husband, Ric Seaberg, is a such a wonderful husband, father and all around human being. He’s been there through every bit of what was a really hard time these past few weeks. I feel like the luckiest woman on the face of the earth. I wish you could see how he is with Blaine. So patient, so kind, so generous of his time, giving him opportunities he would never otherwise have…Blaine would not be having such a happy and fulfilling life if it weren’t for Ric.

Many of you may have no idea that in his late teens and early 20s, Ric was on his way to become a rock star. I was never fortunate enough to hear his band–Morning Reign–play live back in the day, but I’ve heard records they made and the stories about appearing on the tv show Happening ’68, recording at studios in LA in 1969, and so forth. And I got to see him perform at a reunion of his band for a show last fall and he’s definitely still got it! (Check out him doing a cover of Good Lovin at that gig and you’ll see what I mean!)

Jonathan Nicholas (remember him? where is he now?) once wrote in his Oregonian column that in a kinder and gentler world, Ric would have been a rock star. I think he’s right. He may have even made it in the real world, but the realities of becoming a teen parent sent him in other directions. Where he did great things too!

Fortunately, I get to watch Ric make music now, recording it in his little bedroom digital studio. He’s such a talented songwriter, I swear his lyrics could not be more brilliant. Would you believe he once rhymed garage with maharaj?? And his topics! No one on the planet writes songs about things Ric observes or imagines or makes up. I think his new CD–Consciousness–is his best one ever.

Ric loves his life and has no regrets, but I know there’s a little part of him that wonders, “What if…” I think he sorta kinda wishes he could have a hit song in this lifetime.

So there’s a little thing I’d like to do for Ric, to thank him for all he is and does, especially for Blaine. Just once, I’d like him to experience the feeling of having a hit. But I need your help. Ric’s music is on

I am going to ask you to go to one of those places between now and March 5th and buy something. It can be a song or an album or any combination of whatever you want. If you don’t have even 99 cents to spare, I know it’s a tough time right now, I’d be really happy give you a scholarship if you just let me know!

If you’re going to buy just one song, I recommend “The Blessing and Curse of Consciousness” on the Consciousness album. If you want to buy an album, I recommend Consciousness, then 1000 Songs, then Santa Monica and so forth…

It’s about the numbers. He’ll be able to see a sudden jump in activity and he will be so so excited and happy! He’ll feel on top of the world. And don’t you agree that would be the most wonderful thing for him?

Won’t you please help me pull this off? And can you pretty please pass this on to your friends and family. I want this puppy to go VIRAL!!  And seriously, I’m only doing you a favor, because if you haven’t yet discovered Ric’s music yet, you don’t know how much you’re missing and how happy you’ll be to discover it!

Thank you so much for your help, I sure hope this works!!