Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016 - "the biggest holiday of the year!"

As a close to Christmas baby, I make a big deal out of my birthday. I used to tell my kids that it was the biggest holiday of the year.

But, here it is my birthday and I've been working and working all day. I signed with a realtor and am getting my house all fixed up to sell. I called a painter on the day after Christmas and he started yesterday. He was available and I am off for the week so I thought why not let him start?  

His crew is working in every room at the same time. I am struggling to move things out of their way and pack the stuff that I want to take with me to Portland. I have SO much stuff. It is a huge task. Hopefully, next year my birthday will be more fun. I will be with my grandchildren and be settled in an apartment.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 29, 2016

After my last post I received several messages from friends about my plans to move to Portland, Oregon.

I am not moving for at least a few more months.  I have sooo many preparations to make.  Besides, the nice weather season has arrived in Houston.  This is the best time to live in Houston.  I hope to move before the weather gets too unbearably hot again.

I just have so much stuff!  I have to sort through it all and keep only some of my things.

This past weekend I've been weeding through my clothes.  I just love clothes.  I take such good care of them that they seem to last forever (or until they somehow get too small).  I took 2 bags and 1 box full of my clothes to Goodwill yesterday. 

For the clothes that are  just too good to give away I use, an online reseller. They decide what items they'll keep and put on their website.  The other items they donate to charity.  They also decide the prices and do the shipping.  It used to be that the company would send out "clean out bags" with a prepaid label.  All I had to do was fill up the bags and drop them off at FedEx.  They made their money by keeping the lion's share of the items' selling prices.  Now they want $9.99 per bag plus their share of the selling price. The fee is deducted from the seller's portion of the sales price or if that doesn't cover the fee they charge you via paypal.  Their policy change is very disappointing, but it beats pressing everything, putting them on hangers and hauling them to a resale shop or even worse, holding a garage sale!

Sorry, I've gotten off topic.  Once I decide when to make the actually move I will be sure to share it promptly.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 24, 2016

It's the sixth anniversary of the day my life was forever changed.  My husband of 10 years fainted in the bathroom and became instantly and permanently paralyzed.  I've already written about what the 2 of us went through during the months that followed.

I was aware that life as I had known it was over.  I've recovered from the shock of his accident and I've even gotten over the shock of his later behavior.

But, I'm still mourning the loss of how my life used to be.  I was married to my best friend.  My mother lived with us.  I was never lonely.  Of course we had our ups and downs but overall we were happy.

Now I miss the  lifestyle.  We had a good relationship.  We took short trips frequently, played cards with friends, had real conversations, faced life's problems together.  I had hoped I could have a similar life again.  It's been 6 years and I have been trying to rebuild my life.

I guess I'm lucky that I had those happy 10 years.  I still hope to make a happy life for myself.  I've learned that I have to be independent.  I enjoyed sharing the responsibility of home ownership with my husband.  It's difficult to do alone.

I'm ready to give up owning a home.  It's so expensive and I worry about flooding, property taxes, roof leaks, etc. etc.  My plan is to move to an independent senior living apartment in Portland, Oregon.  My rent will cover a 2 bedroom apartment, 2 meals per day, covered parking, maid service and some entertainment.  I will have to give up some privacy, a roomy house and 2 of my cats.  But, I will be in a group environment and no longer alone.  My son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandchildren will only be 6 miles away from my apartment.

The other residents are mostly 10 - 20 years older than me.  But the years go by quickly and I'll be the OLD one soon enough.

In my senior years I hope to more fully explore my hobbies, especially doll making, do more exercise, explore the Northwest, go on an Alaskan cruise, travel and spend lots of time with my grandchildren.  I would also enjoy a part time job so I will be part of mainstream society.

The future looks promising.

Friday, October 28, 2016

2016-10-28: Cheshire Cat Vest

The completed project

There's a great thrift store near my house- Texas Thrift.  It's on Fondren just south of South Braeswood on the west side of the street.  The items are tagged with different colors, depending on when they were received.  Each Monday one of the tag colors is selected to sell for only $.99.

There is always good stuff to be had there.  I Last week I found 6 shirts nice shirts for Bert at $.99 apiece.  On another Monday I found this gray Disney t-shirt with the Cheshire Cat.  It was too small for me but I loved the cat.

Cutting out the good parts
 After washing the t-shirt I carefully cut out the cat and most of the spooky-looking tree.

I then appliqued the cut-out to the back of a raspberry-colored hooded vest.  The entire cutout was outlined in black so I only needed to use black thread in a zigzag stitch to apply the cat to the vest.

I'm very happy with the result.  Plus I already own a cheshire cat hoodie hat with matching mittens and a cheshire cat fanny pack with a tail.  I'm ready for the cooler weather plus the ensemble would make a great Halloween outfit, too.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 25, 2016: A More Complicated Upcycling Project

Finished front
Finished Back

I bought an interesting Ralph Lauren man's shirt at a thrift store.  I liked it because it combined plaid with southwestern motifs.  Unfortunately, it didn't close around me, so I had to enlarge it besides restyling it.

I cut out a 3" strip from the middle back of the shirt (about 3/4 of the way) and inserted an 8" piece of black fabric with embroidery on it in complementary colors.  After I tried the shirt on again I thought that the addition looked too jarring.  It needed to mesh with the rest of the shirt more.  So I appliqued the pieces that I had removed back onto the fabric insertion.
restyling the back of the shirt
 I didn't cut the shirt all the way to the collar because the shoulders fit fine and it would be too much trouble to redo the shirt collar.  That left a space that needed to be filled.  I covered it with a piece of black lace from my stash.

Of course, then the front needed something more.  I added more black lace above the pockets.

Before - front
Before - back
When I first started restyling clothing I enlarged tops by adding fabric to the side seams.  I've found that it works better to simply add to the garment back.  That preserves any darts besides being an easier, better looking solution.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 1, 2016: My Poodle Shirt Refashion

I bought a t-shirt from The Mountain that had big poodle face on it.  The shirt was light gray.
I lowered the neckline and shortened the t-shirt.  Then I dyed it pink and added a big silver bow.

Now I have a shirt that looks like my little Sweetsie-poo! 

 I think my grandkids will enjoy looking at their Grandma wearing this silly shirt.

Sweetsie and me

Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30, 2016: Another Refashion Completed

While I was cleaning out my sewing room a couple of weeks ago I came across some batik pieces that I had purchased at the Quilt Show several years ago.  The colors went perfectly with a blue plaid shirt I had recently purchased at a thrift store.

I placed the large piece on the back of the shirt.  I selected 2 small pieces and appliqued them to the front of the shirt.  I did blanket stitching with brown embroidery thread around the 2 front pieces.

I was inspired by a plaid shirt that I saw in a Soft Surroundings' catalog. That shirt had flowers on the back but the front was only plaid.  I thought the shirt would look better if some of the design from the back were repeated on the front.  So, that's how I made mine.

Shoot!  I can't believe I forgot to take before photos.  Oh well, it's easy to imagine the shirt minus the appliques.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 29, 2016: Refashioning

Before - short tight dress
On September 10 I led my sewing group to a couple of thrift stores.  We went to fulfill a group challenge.  Each member was to buy a piece of clothing at a thrift store and then refashion (upcycle) it into another piece of clothing.

I remade several tops last weekend but I'll just show you one a day.

This first one was the simplest.  I bought an size XL sweater dress that actually fit me on top but was too tight and too short for the rest of me.

I cut off the bottom of the dress where it started narrowing.  I tried adding
lace to the bottom edge but my lace wasn't stretchy so it just didn't work.

I didn't really need to finish the hem since it was a knit and wouldn't ravel.  I just did some stitching at the side seams so they wouldn't come apart.  Then I used the bottom of the dress that I had cut off as an infinity scarf.
I think it came out cute.  Unfortunately the best photo of me wearing it is red-toned but you can get the idea.
After- hem is visible

Sunday, September 4, 2016

September 4, 2016: Clean Out Time

I've been cleaning out my sewing room - again. This time I'm emptying the walk in closet so I can rip out the carpet in it. I had 2 huge bins that I called my memory boxes. I was able to toss out enough to get it all into one. Plus I cleaned out 2 smaller boxes and put the remains into that remaining one, too. I threw away high school yearbooks, old film negatives and tons of handwritten letters. My recycling bin and trash can are now totally filled up.I remember looking through my mother's old photos when I was a kid. Everything looked so old. Now my high school and college memorabilia look ancient. I had papers from my first year in college. There was a letter in the box that I wrote in 1970. I was home from Albany State for a weekend. I described how horrible I felt. My father would be nice one second and horribly nasty the next. I swore I would never feel homesick again. I said that I had no home to be homesick for. I swore that I would not feel homesick when I went on my semester abroad in 1971. That was a very important letter in my life. It explains why I stuck out my semester in Austria until the end. During my first 2 weeks in Graz my roommate and I went on a date with 2 guys that we met in the student cafeteria. I was beaten and my roommate was raped. We reported them to the police. I had to be x-rayed to look for a concussion. We had to go through a court hearing and then shake hands with the 2 of them at the end of it. During the last couple weeks of the semester we would run into them around town and they would taunt us.
It was very hard because I had no one to talk to. My roommate didn't act upset like I did. She barely spoke to me after that episode. I tried to speak to other students in the program but they just seemed to blow me off. I was traumatized. I had just met Ken in October of 1970 at a frat party. I felt like I had gotten over my fear of boys. So, naturally after the that experience in Austria, when I returned home I stuck with Ken.
Then I married him. I ended up marrying an emotionally-absent man who acted like my dad had in many ways. I couldn't share with him. He just wasn't available to me emotionally. He hadn't listened to me while we were dating. He knew that I was handicapped when he married me. But, after we were married he wanted to play tennis with me, ride horses, go skiing. He bought a man's bicycle for me that was so hard for me to get on and off of that I would have to ride up to something and hold on to it in order to dismount.
In the last cruise we took together I couldn't jump down into the Isle of Capris shuttle boat. I climbed back up the stairs and spent the day alone on board. He was so angry with me about that that he brought it up at our marriage counseling.
Anyway I'm digressing. I meant to write about cleaning my closet. The trouble is that I read so many of the papers in the memory box so I could decide what to keep and what to discard.
An avalanche of memories are bombarding me. I kept diaries from 1962 on. There weren't continuous day to day accounts. But, they were consistent. One includes my early marriage. I was never happy in that marriage. I was so thrilled when I had babies. Finally someone to talk to! I welcomed his parents' visits because I loved having company. I enjoyed my parents' visits, too. But, my dad was always a problem. The kids wouldn't play games with him because he made fun of them when he won. He just couldn't connect with them, or me. I was surprised that when my brother did our father's eulogy that he was so upset. I was not at all unhappy about his death, other than feeling sorry for my mom being alone. I knew she was better off alone. Then she could come live with me.
I threw out a lot of the memorabilia from my marriage with Jim after the divorce in 2012. I do have the shutterfly photo albums. I still don't look at them. I'll never recover from the injuries that he caused me. It's hard to believe that he could turn from such a loving man to someone so nasty and underhanded. I know it was from the traumatic injury he suffered but still....
My memory boxes, diaries and this blog show how I came to be who I am today. I am now a single 65 year old woman. I try not to think of the future. Life scares me. What will happen next?
I try to take care of myself so I will stay as healthy as possible as I get older and older. I used to think of suicide. I don't anymore. It would hurt my children too badly. The antidepressants keep life tolerable and even happy at times. I hope I don't live long enough to be a horrible burden. The trouble with my generation is that we know what it is like to get older. Many of us took care of our elderly parents. I loved my momma. I felt bad putting her into the assisted living home. But she was just too difficult for me to care for, especially after my husband became an invalid, too.
I think assisted dying should be an option. I don't want to go through senile dementia like both my parents. Old age is scary. I might have another 15 to 20 years of keeping my mind in tact. Can't I just exit the planet after that?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

September 3, 2016: Wistful

I'm not really unhappy.  Unsatisfied is more like it.  The new life I made for myself is okay.  But, I always have a kind of "antsy" feeling, like I need to go somewhere, do something.

I've traveled a lot on my own in my new life.  I was happiest when I was visiting in Japan -being with family.  I loved being with Kevin in Portland, too.

I did enjoy my trip to Germany.  I'm glad I went.  I always wanted to go back to Germany.  But, it was lonely on my own.  The cruise was just okay.  There were things I wanted to go to on the cruise - like the comedy club, karaoke, a show.  The other women I was with weren't interested so I went alone.

I think about that dumb Barbra Streisand song- "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world."  Those are the stupidest lyrics ever.  If I didn't need people so much, maybe I could be satisfied on my own.

I've been spending my time sorting through all my stuff, getting ready for the big move to Portland.  My life feels like I'm on hold.  Kevin has to sell his condo and buy a house first.  I want to be as close to the family as possible.  Then I have to sell my house.  It will take time.  I worry about leaving the friends I have in Houston.  But, friends just aren't the same as family.  I want to be with family.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 23, 2016: 20 years later

I just finished watching "Independence Day" on HBO.  I first saw this movie in 1996 when it had just come out.  Kevin wanted to go to the Almeda theater because it had the new stadium seating.

Kevin, his dad and I drove out to the Almeda theater.  We all loved science fiction.  The aliens were attacking earth.  The president's wife got fatally wounded.  The president acted like he really loved her and would miss her.

I realized at that moment that my husband would have been very happy if I died.  He didn't love me.  He wouldn't miss me.  It was quite a blow.  I knew my marriage was failing but the contrast with that portrayal of a happy marriage hurt me so much.  I cried from that moment on through the movie.  On the way home I sat in the back seat so I could cry.  When we got home, I got my car keys and drove to my friend, Susin's house.  I cried some more.  This was July 1996.

My husband told me he was looking for an apartment and would move out.  I told him that I would move out.  I knew I couldn't afford that big house.   I started looking.  He wanted to know the cost.  He said he could find cheaper apartments.  That was the last straw.  The next day I drove to my lawyer's office and signed the divorce papers.  They had already been drawn up but I hadn't been ready yet.

I served him the divorce papers myself.

I thought that I had found real love with Jim.  We were going to be married the rest of our lives.  Then he hurt me so badly, so much worse than my first husband had.

It's unbelievable to me that I still enjoy men's company.  I have a fence around my heart now.  I never want to get married again and chance more pain.  But, I don't want to be alone either.

Now,  I'm thinking of moving to Portland OR.  I'm flying out to visit Kevin there tomorrow.  I'll be looking at apartments, houses.  It will be a new life.  I have no one to share it with.  I can't afford to bring Bert with me.  It would necessitate a bigger place to live.

Another stage in life.  It may be the last new stage in my life.  I have no idea what the future holds.  Why bother thinking about the future?  Life can change totally at any moment.

Spinach Balls

I'm putting this on my blog so I can "pin it."  The original website's page had so many huge photos and the actual recipe was at the end of a bunch of writing that I thought this would be simpler.
(I copied and pasted from this website, deleting what I thought was unnecessary.)


Did I said that those cute spinach balls are actually easy to make ahead and freeze? I usually love to freeze those spinach balls on a plate covered with parchment paper leaving half thumb space between each to avoid them to stick together. After an hour they are hard enough to be transfer into an airtight plastic box  Honestly, I am not always defrosting the balls before baking. It works really well to bake them frozen – well, it took a wee bit longer to get crispy and hot – but works like a charm!  This store very well and I always have a batch in my freezer. Last time I served those as a last minute appetizer to some friends who pop up!

Spinach balls
  • 220 g fresh spinach leaves,, trimmed, washed - about 6 cups. It makes about 160g (2/3 cup) of cooked, squeezed and packed spinach
  • 3 eggs, size 6
  • 1/2 cup (60g) grated cheese - I used noble cheedar from Mainland
  • 1 cup (75g) panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs of your choice - I used coriander
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Trim and wash the fresh spinach leaves.
  3. Place the leaves into a saucepan, add salt and cover with boiling water. Cover and set aside for 3 minutes.
  4. Rinse the spinach with cold tap water. Drain using your hands to squeeze all the remaining water. You should obtain about 2/3 cup (160g) of packed cooked spinach leaves. If you are using frozen spinach, defrost and measure this quantity.
  5. Place on a chop board and finely chop the cooked spinach. Transfer into a mixing bowl.
  6. Add eggs, cheese, herbs and panko gluten free crumbs. You can also add salt and pepper if your cheese is not very salty. I did not add salt.
  7. Combine with a spoon or your hands, until it forms a batter from which you are able to form balls with your hands.
  8. If too moist add slightly more crumb until easy to roll as ball with your hands palms.
  9. Place the balls on a non stick cookie tray covered with baking paper.
  10. Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes or until golden on the top.
  11. Serve immediately or cold in lunchboxes.
  12. Serve with dips of your choice like pesto, hummus or homemade ketchup.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 4, 2016

This morning I woke up at 6:30 AM.  It's Saturday and I don't need to be awake yet.  Bad dreams woke me up.

It's 5 and one half years, why do I still dream of my old life?  Should I up my dose of antidepressants?  Or should I suffer through it?  If I suffer enough, will it go away?  That's my dilemma today.

Everyone I speak to tells me to get over it.  If it were easy, I'd be through with it by now.  My current problem started with Bert telling me something like - "but, you didn't love him."  He doesn't get it.  He seems to think that since I was so hurt, my loss wasn't that big.  He talks on and on about his dead wife.  I listen.  When I tried to share my feelings he doesn't listen

I could go back to my therapist, Stella.  She'd listen.  Maybe that's all I need.  But, first, I'm writing it down.  That might be enough.  It's worked in the past.   My poor blog has turned into a moaning and groaning story.  It started out as a way to share about what I make and how to make it.  I do keep making - it gives me purpose.

I wish I could get back to my "making" sharing blog writing.  There really is no going back.  Have to keep moving forward.

I think about moving to Portland.  Everything would be new to me.  No more places that hold so many memories.  Would that be what they call in AA as the "moving cure?"  Would I then dream about Houston and all the memories it holds?

It's been raining and flooding in Houston for months.  Perhaps the dreary weather is the cause or part of the cause of my somber feelings.  It does cause me anxiety worrying about my house flooding or being stranded somewhere with high water all around me.

Portland would be new.  I can't talk about moving to Portland either.  Bert asked me if I would take him along.  I can't afford to support him.  My money manager told me that I need to keep working and earning money; that it's too early for me to retire.  So, I can't afford him.  I like being with Bert most of the time.  I wish he would stop saying "I don't feel good" everyday.  It's his mantra.  Whenever he has to do anything, like bring in the groceries, he gets cranky and whiny.  It's getting old.  Of course, no one is perfect.  Soon he'll have teeth and a driver's license.  Hallelujah!  It's only taken 2 and 1/2 years to get him moving on it.  Now I'm trying to get him to find his wife's 401k.  He "thinks" that there is one.  Oh my!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 6, 2016: do tragedies get better?

I went to see a tragic play tonight - The Rabbit Hole.  A family is mourning the death of their 4 year old son.  The mother asks "do tragedies get better?"

From my experience I can say as time goes by I occasionally feel that I've put my personal tragedy in the past.  Last weekend I was happily enjoying San Antonio and I felt like I'd reached a milestone in recovery.  Then the memories came whipping right back around and slapped me in the face.

The tragedy has shaped the last 5 1/2 years of my life.  Only 4 1/2 more years and it will be 10 years - the length of time that I was happily married.  It only seems fair that by then I should be done with it.

No more "I'm NOT sorry for what I did" ringing in my ears.  That cruel betrayal on top of the horrific accident still seems unsurmountable to me right now.

I have gotten over the sounds and images from TIRR hospital.  It was a living nightmare being there. Then I'd come home and be aware of my mother's mind fading away.  I have succeeded in mellowing out those images,and it gives me hope.  I thought I would never stop reliving the daily horrors of seeing my husband in his pitiable condition at TIRR.

Now when I think of my past life, I remember lots of the good times we had together.  I remember the feeling of oneness with another person.  But, these nice memories come with the associated painful ones.  I remember the intense dislike and anger from the person I was once closest to.

As I write this I can see how I've progressed.  I truly believe that I will get past this tragedy.  It will always be an important part of the person that I have become.  I have been working hard on my recovery.  One day it will be just that - a part of me; not the definition of me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 12, 2016: head hunting

It's the beginning of the Spring semester at Rice.  This means that I copy lots of books and make pdf's of them for the faculty's classes.  Last week I copied a few dozen chapters for Cymene.  It's a boring part of my job.  Sometimes I take a break at the copier and read some of the pages.

I read a chapter on the customs of a remote tribe in the Philippines.  The anthropologist questioned one of the tribal elders about head hunting.  The man said that when you are grieving, you hunt heads.  Of course! If a family member dies, you hunt someone down and chop off their head.  You toss the head into the jungle.  Poof, your grief has been dealt with!  He couldn't explain it.  It was so obvious to him. (See bottom of this post to read the excerpt from the book, Culture and Truth by Renato Rosaldo.)

When Marcos was making reforms in the Philippines he made it illegal to head hunt.  The tribe was at a loss to deal with the anger they felt when they were grieving.  They joined some missionary church to appease this grief.  Their purpose for joining was not to pray for the future safety  of their loved ones.  They took the "life after death" premise with the promise of heavenly rewards as a means to ease their grief and the anger that accompanies a loss.

Just think - when Jim had his accident,  I could have just hunted down somebody and chopped off his head.  The grief would have been gone.  I can't even imagine killing someone.  Plus, I am unable to fool myself into believing religious propaganda.  I wish I could.  Life would be so much easier.

A few months later, after Jim stabbed me in the back by proposing to a woman while married to me, I would have needed to chop off another head.  It felt to me as if he had died twice.

Instead I grieved.  I went to a psychologist for talk therapy and took antidepressants.

It's becoming more obvious to me why Jim acted as he did.  I guess I'm lucky that he wasn't able to chop off my head after he returned home from his months in the hospital.  He found another way to deal with his grief - find a scapegoat (me) and decide to "fall" in love with someone else.  It worked for him.

After his first post-accident love, Claudia, left him, he fell into love with a series of strippers.  After they left him, he found his old girlfriend through facebook, proposed and quickly married her.  An emotionally immature solution, to be sure, but it seems to be working for him.  His new wife appears to be happy, too.

I wished my grief could have ended so easily.  I don't feel angry at him.  He actually did me a favor.  I have a good life now - I worked at it.  I'm sure if I had to keep lifting him and his heavy wheelchair, my back would be in worse shape.  I have arthritis of the spine as a result of the loss of my left knee at an early age (and from growing older).  Plus, I don't have to go through my retirement funds by supporting him any more.

Life has gone on.  Sometimes I can't believe what happened to me in the past five years.  I used to wish for the good old days before November 2010.

I learned the hard way that marriage is not security against facing old age alone.

Now I am happy being unmarried.  It's a good feeling to be independent and in charge of my own life.  I wanted to go to Germany so I went.  I went on a cruise.  No need to get a husband to agree with me.  I wanted a small white poodle and I went out and got my little dog, Sweetsie.  I decorate my house however I want.  Right now it's with pink poodles and dolls.  My computer and desk are in the family room where I can also see the TV.  I keep sewing tools and some fabric near my recliner-with no one to criticize me.

I have a great companion to share life with.  I met my sweet Bert by contacting him through an online dating site.  We go to dinner together, attend plays, movies, etc.  We enjoy each other's company.
It's a good life.

An excerpt from the book, Culture and Truth by Rosaldo Renato:

  Introduction: Grief and a Head hunter's Rage  (p1-2)

If you ask an older Ilongot man of northern Luzon, Philippines, why he cuts off human heads, his answer is brief , and one on which no anthropologist can readily elaborate: He says that rage, born of grief, impels him to kill his fellow human beings. He claims that he needs a place "to carry his anger." The act of severing and tossing away the victim's head enables him, he says, to vent and, he hopes, throw away the anger of his bereavement. Although the an­thropologist' s job is to make other cultures intelligible, more questions fail to reveal any further explanation of this man's pithy statement. To him, grief, rage, and headhunting go together in a self-evident manner. Either you understand or you don't.
from p 4:
The force of the dilemma faced by the Ilongots eluded me at the time. Even when I correctly recorded their statements about grieving and the need to throw away their anger, I simply did not grasp the weight of their words. In  1974, for example, while Michelle Rosaldo and I were living among the Ilongots, a six-month-old baby died, probably of pneu­monia. That afternoon we visited the father and found him terribly stricken. "He was sobbing and staring through glazed and bloodshot eyes at the cotton blanket covering his baby."' The man suffered intensely, for this was the seventh child he had lost.
Just a few years before, three of his chil­dren had died , one after the other, in a  matter of days. At the time, the situation was murky as people present talked both about evangelical Christianity (the  possible  renunciation of taking heads) and their grudges against lowlanders (the contemplation of headhunting forays into the surrounding valleys).
Through subsequent days  and  weeks,  the  man's  grief moved him in a way I had not anticipated. Shortly after the baby's death, the father converted to evangelical  Christian­ity. Altogether too quick on the inference, I immediately con­cluded that the man believed that the new religion could somehow prevent further deaths in his family. When I spoke my mind  to an Ilongot  friend, he snapped at me, saying that "I had missed the point: what the man in fact sought in the new  religion  was not  the denial of our inevitable  deaths but a means of coping with his grief. With the advent of martial law, headhunting was out of the question as a means of vent­ ing his wrath and thereby lessening his grief. Were he to re­main in his Ilongot way of life, the pain of his sorrow would simply be too much to  bear."'