June 2006


For photo tour of the 2006 Kulimela in New Vrindavan, go to

http://www.kuliloka.com/

For a behind the scenes peek at one aspect of Kulimela, here is the email Chaits sent out to those involved with the Kid’s Camp. While this is specifically about KC and Kulimela, he has a desire that in the future the KC would spin off into a life of its own, with maybe a one or two week KC held yearly in NV, perhaps:

Hi all,

I’d like to share some of my ideas for improvement of the next Kid’s Camp:

1. I should have made arrangements for the Kid’s Camp to start on Thursday. There were many kids (and parents) who would have attended if we had started a day earlier.

2. Because of the really late night on Saturday, Sunday Camp didn’t happen. A few volunteers were on hand, but kids didn’t really show. So, even half day on Sunday does not seem necessary.

3. I could have made a better distinction between between the older and younger camps and activities. Next time there probably should be two separate areas for each age group. A good balance of both age groups showed up on Friday. During that day the younger kids needed more time and energy than the older, more self-reliant ones. This meant the older ones got less attention. Because of this only half the older kids returned on Saturday. We need to find ways to get the kids between the ages of 10 and 14 more interested and involved.

4. The Kid’s Camp should be set up in an area a bit more separate and removed from the rest of the festival. This time the location was right in the middle of the Kulimela action. This often made it more difficult to keep track of the kids. It also made the energy in and around the Camp a bit more frantic and hectic.

5. This year we were very fortunate that the weather was excellent. Because many of the activities/workshops were held outdoors next time we need to make sure we have a better thought out contingency plan in case of bad weather.

6. Scheduling of late night activities that include the kids need to be concluded by 10 pm so they can go to bed at a reasonable time. The Harinama parade with the star lanterns didn’t happen because it was too late at night.

7. The lunch Prasad on Saturday was a bit spicy for the kids. We ended up having to find alternate food for many of the kids. Luckily, the Snack Bar stepped up and donated pizzas and the kids were satisfied.

8. More thought and effort should be put into the “Kid’s Area” near the entertainment site. Vraja came up with a great idea and set up an area where parents could bring their kids and trade off watching them. If a little more energy had been put into this it would have been used a lot more.

9. I could have done a better job arranging for some kind of “Thank You” gift for all the volunteers. I mentioned most of them by name at the Sunday Fare Well speech but would have liked to give them some memento as well.

10. The dates for Kulimela need to be later in the season so that more kids can attend without having to make special arrangements to get out of school early.

Overall, I think Kulimela exceeded all of our expectations. Through our efforts we raised the bar and still have plenty of room for improvement next time!

IMPORTANT: I’d like to hear any ideas/suggestions you may have.

With great admiration and appreciation,

Chaits

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My paternal grandfather had 23 grandchildren. The family has a group emailing that gets used time to time to keep in touch. Here is a email I sent this morning, the first since my transplant:

My daughter Manjari had a baby this morning in Columbus, Ohio at around 2 am June 28. C-section, 8 pounds 2 ounces, 20 inches. Her name is Sydney Aleya (spelling?).

I was thinking this has been an archetypical 30 days for the Meberg clan. In Eastern religions, they talk about the samsara, the cycle of birth and death. We have experienced the major milestones of samsara as a family.

Yesterday was the 4 week anniversary of my liver transplant. It was the same day Burt left his body, which I learned after being revived. I was comforted to hear his passing was peaceful and at home with family.

Recently, I almost bled out when some esophageal varices ruptured. My sister Laura had flown in as I was recovering, so I got caught up on family news. I knew that my cousin Dean’s daughter Katie was getting married at the same time as my transplant. Though I don’t really know Katie, due to geographical separation, it gave me peace going into the operation knowing that no matter what happened to me, from the perspective of family, a new life in the form of a marriage was being forged. So thank you Katie for that.

I also knew that Manjari wanted me to see her new baby. Whom I hope I will see later today. Marken has been in Morgantown, using the last of his medical leave to prepare the apartment he and Tulasi will be staying in at WVU, applying for jobs, and buying a car. He will be out of the Navy in time to start at WVU. He will be here around noon and we can drive the 2 ½ hours to Columbus and have a visit with the baby.

So there we have the funeral, the wedding, and the birth.

As for rebirth, that describes my own experience. A generation ago, I would have been dead a couple of months ago. Marken took leave from the Navy when he heard I was in the ICU with the bleeding, came home and donated 65% of his liver. While ultimately my fate was in the hands of the Lord, externally the medical technology that extended my life was unavailable 20 years ago. So in a sense, it is a physical rebirth, but instead of reincarnation, my body was recycled. Waking up helpless, unable to move or independently perform bodily functions, fed through a tube. Recovering function bit by bit, it was a lot like a child learning how to control and use a new body.

I am grateful to be here, to be part of an extended family, and for the opportunity to again be a productive member of society, both materially and spiritually. I celebrated my 4th week anniversary by walking a quarter mile in the morning and in the evening, leaning on a lawn mower and pushing it around the straight and level parts of our front lawn. Which was probably a mistake because my incision was a little sore this morning, but it felt great last night to be pushing myself to get something done.

Farmers Hope For Showers

“PARK RIVER, N.D. – Some of Luther Meberg’s crops are dying. And he knows he can’t do anything but have hope. Meberg, a farmer, said the future of this year’s harvest is up to Mother Nature.

“We did what we can do,” Meberg said. “Now, Mother Nature has to do her part.”

But she hasn’t been.

In the past 51 days, the rain gauge on Meberg’s farm has only seen rain on seven days. The highest measurement recorded was just 0.32 of an inch. The rest were around one-tenths of an inch, Meberg said.

His crops could be in serious trouble if a couple of inches of rain don’t fall on his 1,900 tillable acres. He already estimates he has lost the top half of yield potential in his wheat grains. If the dry weather spell continues, he could produce as little as 10 to 15 bushels per acre. Compare this with two years ago, when he produced 63 bushels per acre. Last year, even with too much rain and crops dying from disease, he was able to produce 33 bushels per acre. This year’s dry spell has just hit hard…”

My brother Luther was on the front page of his local newspaper. He continued farming after I left. I have a reporter coming out today from our local Wheeling paper who wants to do a story on my transplant. Somebody dropped a dime on me.

Yesterday morning I went out and walked a quarter mile. That would be 400 meters. It took me 12 minutes, pushing it hard, huffing and puffing from the git go. I was exhausted when I got back, and it took 90 minutes to recover. Now, if, at a minimum, you run 3 miles in a soccer match (5-6 more probably) that is 12 quarters of a mile x 12 minutes would equal 144 minutes time for a game’s worth. Add in recovery time between each quarter mile, and, well, you get the idea – I am not up to game speed yet. Next year in the match!

Still, relative to what I have been able to do, when 2 meters from the couch was a good distance to the bathroom and the 3 meters to my computer a great journey, walking a quarter mile was great. I was thankful I could do that, and it gave me confidence that greater recovery is inevitable.

Went to Tulasi and Thakur’s summer league game last night. As it was Thakur’s 17th birthday, my wife made cupcakes and after the match we distributed them to both teams and their family members. That was fun.

I didn’t have to go to UPMC last Friday; did have to get blood drawn in Wheeling a couple of times. Went yesterday, and as the multiple tubes of blood were being filled, my phlebotomist asked someone passing in the hall if Tara was working. I immediately thought how amazing Krishna is, remembering my post of June 11th 2006.

“O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.”

Bg 7.8

Okay, occasionally I drink a soda, but not on a regular basis. Usually I filter my own water. Much cheaper than soda and no containers to dispose of. The following may not be totally accurate scientifically, but deserves some consideration as well.

Soft drinks: Unsafe beverages

“Amazingly, Americans (and people in other countries) actually drink a product that can rightfully be called Osteoporosis In a Can. And, it gets worse from there. Read on.
This poison goes by many brand names, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi. Generically, this poison is on the market in formulations known as soda, pop, and soft drinks. It includes all carbonated beverages–even carbonated plain water. The various substances in sodas compound the problem, especially the typical formulations with their carbonic acid or phosphoric acid.

Reading the rest of this article may be the best use you’ve ever made of 5 minutes. Yeah, we know Pepsi will never sponsor an ad on this site. But your health is more important to us.

It’s tragic that the “beverage” industry shoves this toxic brew at human beings. Let’s take a closer look at what it does…”

I grew up in North Dakota, close to the Canadian border, and in the flight path of a SAC wing bomber unit. The sonic booms of aircraft breaking the sound barrier and the knowledge that planes carrying nuclear weapons were routinely landing 50 miles away was as much a part of my growing up as sandboxes and elementary school. I remember as a pre-schooler watching my mom talking to a uniformed Air Force officer. When he left, I asked her what he wanted and she said he asked her to call a phone number if any planes flew in low under the radar. In grade school, we had nuclear attack drills.

In 1965, a Minutemen missile field was completed and all the B-52s went to Viet Nam. We lived in the middle of 150 nuclear missiles, spread out over 50 miles. Driving to and from the locations we farmed at, it was common to see missile silos and the little signs that showed where the communication cables were laid between them.

Eventually I left, not being comfortable living in a primary target zone, amongst other reasons. Long complicated story – I ended up in New Vrindaban. There I found the discipline I needed at that point in my life. I think I may have ended up more naturally in the military, but Viet Nam was the wrong war at the wrong time for me. In New Vrindavan, my survivalist instincts were easily dovetailed. For the first twenty years I was there, I made sure there was enough grain on hand at any time to feed the entire community for a year. Even while farming, primarily for the purpose of feeding cows, I would plant corn in the spring, and when it was harvested in the fall, a cover crop of rye. One aspect of this was that any given time if there was some societal collapse, we would always have a crop in the field that, if push came to shove, could be harvested by hand for human food, even if our larder had been plundered.

Now, New Vrindavan is just as dependent on the macro society for its inputs as every other ISKCON temple. I had my own personal thing going after the old school management at the temple kicked my family and me to the curb, but that has more or less ended with my descent into disability. No one even noticed when their larder went empty.

So for me, the whole survivalist thing is memory. More ironic than that, due to my now lifelong dependence on anti-rejection drugs due to the transplant, my life is tied to the continuance of industrial society and the pharmafia. Very funny, Krishna; so much for my illusion of independence.

I still have an academic interest in these things. For instance, here is a link to an article that may be of interest to those who are simultaneously addicted to electronic devices and convinced the larger society is doomed.

Scientists harness the power of pee

Excerpts:

“A urine powered battery the size of a credit card has been invented by Singapore researchers. A drop of urine generates 1.5 volts, the equivalent of one AA battery, says Dr Ki Bang Lee of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology…

Is it practical?

Foley says the energy generated by the urine-powered battery would be enough to keep a digital wristwatch or a scientific calculator going, but anything bigger would be impractical. “You could probably increase the power by having more of them and loading them up,” she says. “[For power on a large scale] you’d probably have to coat the whole of Australia in this paper-based electrode and wee on it.”…”

Fatigue continues unabated. Energy level at about what it was before the transplant. This was predicted, that energy would be diverted to regenerating the liver from the 65% of one I received. Have been making some relatively rapid progress in my range of motion in the last week. I can actually pick something off the floor. Always took that for granted, pre-op. The first time I was able to pick something up post-op was about a week ago. I would have to spread my feet as far apart as I could and still be stable. Then I would bend my knees about half way into a squat, lean forward and rest one elbow on a knee, then dip a shoulder and extend the other arm to the ground. I could then reach something, and slowly reverse the process to get back to an upright position. Such a sense of accomplishment! Now I can get something in what might appear to a casual observer to be a more natural movement. It still requires some focus and attention to technique but that is a major benchmark

I can even rollup onto my side when trying to sleep, and fall asleep. It is still a bit awkward, and I end up waking up after a REM cycle, but nice to have the option. Overall, the level of discomfort has fallen off a lot and is no longer as restrictive an element in a decision of what I am capable of doing. Some weird transitory skeletal muscular pains manifest and unmanifest, but that is most likely a side effect of the drugs I am taking I suspect, as is the slight tremor I have in my hands.

I have even gone, gently, through my pregame stretching routine. Much of what I do is essentially yoga positions, or variations thereof. I am concerned about scarring on the muscles as they knit and long-term range of motion restrictions. On the other hand, I don’t want to stretch too hard and tear the muscles. Don’t really have a guru in these matters to consult. Alas, the tribulations of a nonprofessional athlete, lacking the support staff that must accompany every World Cup team. To strengthen the illusion I will never age, I need to be able to retain my flexibility and range of motion. At least my legs, while tight, will rebound to former levels after doing some more stretching. I have been trying to make a point of fully expanding my lungs to help their capacity so I have it when I need it. Initially it felt like a band was restricting full expansion of my diaphragm, but that seems to have eased off.

Apparently my new mantra is:

restore body, restore body
Body body, restore restore
restore illusion, restore illusion
illusion illusion, restore restore

Now, if I could only remember that other one…

Gliding through the calm predawn sea
guided by dim silhouettes
and the smell of wood smoke,
they beach their boats on muffling wet sands.

Leather clad feet slip without ripples
into the final shallows of a long journey.
Held soundlessly away from their bodies:
sharp, hungry weapons.

The first to have dreamt his last
dream is the dozing sentry.
Many others are also dreaming their last
dream. Many others.

cow-drinking-sketch.jpgI need some cheering up. No, not my physical thing, that is having a good day. Has to do with external events beyond my control influencing my mental state. Don’t worry about me though, it’s ghana be okay.

A lady from the city and her traveling companion were riding the train
through Vermont when she noticed some cows.

“What a cute bunch of cows!” she remarked.
“Not a bunch, herd”, her friend replied.
“Heard of what?”
“Herd of cows.”
“Of course I’ve heard of cows.”
“No, a cow herd.”
“What do I care what a cow heard. I have no secrets to keep from a cow!”

What are the spots on black and white cows?
Holstains

What kind of milk comes from a forgetful cow?
Milk of Amnesia

Where do cows go when they want a night out?
To the moo-vies!

What did the bored cow say when she got up in the morning?
“It’s just an udder day”

How does a farmer count a herd of cows?
With a Cowculator

Where do Russians get their milk?
From Mos-cows

What do cows wear in Hawaii?
Moo- moos

What do call a cow that has just had a calf?
Decalfenated

Why did the cow wear a bell around her neck?
Because her horn didn’t work

Did you hear that NASA recently launched a bunch of Holsteins into low Earth
orbit?
They called it the Herd Shot ‘Round The World!

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