Daniel, Jules, Jean-Luc, Jeremy, Summer 2008
Jeremy at High School Graduation, June 2009
The Annual Christmas Letter January 3, 2009
Palo Alto, California
Dear friends and family,
We returned very late/or very early, like 2 am, on January 2nd from our annual Christmas vacation to Quebec. I still haven’t caught up with laundry, letters and phone calls, from past years… 2008 was a challenging year for us, especially me, trying to recover from kidney stones and wiped out by the heavy medication that was proscribed for me. Weak from the medicine, in January 2008, I still was inspired by a Presidential Debate that Mattered, featuring Green Party candidates for president- including Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney. When asked to run again for Congress, I agreed to do so, provided that local Greens helped me to gather the required signatures to get me on the ballot. Later, a follow-up CT Scan, revealed that I had tumors/cysts throughout my pancreas. I knew if they were malignant that they would be lethal, and I didn’t really want to go through the biopsy procedure, but eventually I did- in July.
In the meanwhile, Jean-Luc had a scare, and visited the Emergency Room at Stanford Hospital, and we both had to confront the possibility of DEATH… On top of the health challenges, the house where we live had some problems- the roof was beginning to leak, the heater died, the owner decided to get a new roof, replace the heater- remove the dead water heater from the garage, and replace all the windows and doors, so for six months, we lived on a construction site. I also injured my thumb (and thought it was broken- but it wasn’t- although it has never healed, and it just won’t bend at the knuckle the way it once did, and I was unable to use it for a month or so…)
Jeremy also had his wisdom teeth pulled. His life, and his medical/dental appointments were hard to schedule between the academic tests he had to take, the numerous trips he went on (to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and to Costa Rica, for a 12 day program to study and work to help sea turtles with Ecology Project International), plus working on the theatrical productions, and completing his Eagle Scout Project. He also got a job as an intern in a Genetics Research Lab at Stanford University over the summer, investigating factors contributing to longevity.
In June, I went to Minneapolis for the National Conference on Media Reform and did a poster session on 9/11 Truth with Peter Phillips, Mickey Huff, Kevin Barrett, Michael Andregg, and lots of activists. We passed out Deception Dollars and other materials, and I’m glad we were there- although our issue was, again, “censored.” We got a very positive direct response from the people we met.
In July, I missed the Green Party Convention to get the biopsy. Shortly after I received the good news that the cysts were benign, Randy Pausch died (of pancreatic cancer) and I saw his Last Lecture on Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.) His lecture is a very moving one which has been an internet blockbuster. In addition to Randy, my friend David Wald also died in 2008 from pancreatic cancer. Both men and others who succumbed to pancreatic cancer will be greatly missed. My family and friends were relieved to learn that I didn’t have cancer.
I continued to do my weekly radio show (Questioning War- Organizing Resistance) through September. Jules came home for the summer and worked as an intern at the local Menlo Park Jazz Festival. Jean-Luc visited his family in Canada in June, but we never had a family vacation because of everyone’s conflicting schedules. We had hoped to visit Hawaii, and almost went, but then Jules ended up spending a couple of nights at the sleep clinic, and we discovered he had a mild form of sleep apnea. Corrective surgery was ruled out as a possible remedy, and we got him a machine instead which has been helpful.
I also was busy organizing the annual Northern California 9/11 Truth events- our 7th rally and march to the Power to the Peaceful Festival and our 4th Annual 9/11 Film Festival. In August NIST came out with a report on WTC Building 7 claiming that fires were responsible for the collapse of a 47 storey steel framed building- for the first time in history! This ridiculous claim was well countered by Richard Gage, founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
Despite the lack of media, our rally, march, and film festival were successful events, and we nearly filled the Grand Lake Theater. After the Film Festival, I miraculously was contacted by a gifted programmer who volunteered to create a better Congressional Campaign website for me. My campaign really suffered from my inability to get into the old website and update it. In addition to creating the new website for me, he also offered to teach me Joomla, so that I could keep up the website myself. I still have much to learn- not just in terms of website work, but sound and video editing, but there is never enough time.
Only in September when I had to do short television speeches, and began to participate in candidate forums, and produce a television ad, was I able to give some time and attention to the campaign. I also was doing the radio shows and working on a show with Mike Nickerson, author of Life, Money & Illusion when the radio station abruptly shut down. I had just finished a paper entitled- Evolution of the Apocalypse- Empire's Demise- Human Renaissance looking at the financial crisis on the same day that we were going to broadcast the show on Money.
It felt like I lost my voice when I needed it the most, but in some ways it was liberating to no longer have the radio show which ate up so much of my time. I prefer “Being the Media” to writing press releases and trying to get media coverage.
Both Jeremy and Daniel had demanding schedules, as well. Both were involved in theatrical productions, scouts, and Jeremy also had soccer late afternoons and weekends, and his college applications to complete. Jean-Luc also flew to Canada in October to celebrate this mother’s 80th birthday with the Brouillet family.
Back in 2006, I really did get “discouragement and groans” from the family when I told them that I would be running for Congress. This time, I had hoped that they “wouldn’t notice” and that it wouldn’t impinge too much on my time, and the family. Fortunately, they were no longer afraid that I might win- thus ruining their lives, and accepted the situation as “part of my regular activism.” Jean-Luc actually became a U.S. citizen and Jeremy turned 18 and registered to vote. They even both voted for me, which meant more to me than all the other votes that I received (I garnered 3.5% of the vote which is typical for a Green Party candidate- I also received more physical votes than in 2006- particularly in the counties where the TV ad was run).
On Election Night I joined with Peter Myers (Green Party congressional candidate for CA District 15) and other Green Party activists to watch the election returns and socialize. After two stolen presidential elections, it was strange to see the Democratic landslide and I felt very mixed emotions. I know much of the country hopes for change, and I am deeply concerned that Obama will continue with the policies that have been laid out by his predecessors that threaten the bulk of humanity. The window for the 9/11 Truth Movement feels like it is closing, while the door or wall for Monetary Reform is opening or being blown open.
In November, after the election, I finally took a break and took time to catch up on my life, my sewing, the family… I also attended and gave a speech at the End the Fed Rally on November 22nd at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. I still attend meetings and do my monthly actions on the 11th, but we are in a time of tremendous change and I think there is a great need to assess and strategize what the situation is, and what is the best thing that people can do- individually and collectively to get us off of the current crash course.
Before leaving for Canada in December, I learned about the American Citizens' Summit to be held in Denver, February 11th-15th. Both David Ray Griffin and Cynthia McKinney were invited to speak and they wanted the 9/11 Truth issue to be raised at the Summit… The Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance voted to get a booth and send Richard Gage, AIA (founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth), Ken Jenkins (who makes most of the David Ray Griffin films) and I to the Summit.
Our trip to Canada was not easy. At the airport, the lines were enormous, they just announced that the Seattle Airport was closed, our flight was delayed, and it was questionable whether we would be able to arrive in Montreal that night. Jules was flying in from Ohio and scheduled to arrive just before we did. We made it, but our luggage was lost. We had dinner with Jean-Luc’s parents, but didn’t find our chalet until after midnight. Without our winter clothes, toothbrushes, boots, stuff, we were really stuck inside for the first few days, and on our first day, the water stopped running- the pipes had frozen and the water pump needed to be replaced. Fortunately, the guys who rented us the chalet were quite nice and did fix the pipes. It was a very cozy, comfortable chalet and our first family vacation that year. We played cards and socialized. Only Jeremy missed out on much of the playing to work on his essays for his University applications. (Both Jean-Luc and Jeremy also spent a weekend in early December checking out UC San Diego, Cal Tech and Harvey Mudd in Southern California.)
Christmas Day, Jean-Luc went to Montreal to get three of our four bags. He returned late and just had time to shower before all of us took off for his brother’s home for the big family Christmas dinner. It was good to see all the family. We measured the growing kids. Jules, Anne-Julie, and Florence have probably reached their adult height. Daniel has finally grown as tall as me and gained over 8 centimeters this year! Unfortunately, Jules, Jeremy and I had colds over the holidays. We also stayed up way too late at night, and the kids were hard to rouse before noon. The night that Jeremy sent off his college essays, he was up until 7 am, and caught the sunrise before he went to bed.
They lost Jeremy’s bag- so he missed out on most of the snow play. We did finally get his bag, and he was able to get his snow gear only on the day before we left Canada. We had lunch with Jean-Luc’s parents and then visited McGill University and went to an Indian Restaurant for dinner. Then we went to Serge’s home for dessert and to celebrate New Year’s Eve, where we danced while the kids played the band version of Guitar Hero. One of the best things for me about our trip (despite having my fingers painfully frozen while we were at McGill University) was that upon returning to the US, 30 degree weather in DC and 48 degree weather in California seems positively warm and quite bearable now.
The time went by so quickly. On January 1st, we had to get up early to pack up and begin our journey back to the US. We stopped in DC where Jules left us to do a month internship for the DC Mayor. Our airplane had technical difficulties and we had to disembark and reboard over four hours later to get back to California. When Jules phoned us the next day, we spoke for quite awhile, and I realized that he was exactly the same age that I was when I visited DC thirty years ago. Back then, I had just sailed around the world; it was my first time on the East Coast. The only guy I knew in DC was Rich Bond, working for a recently elected Congressman from New York (Bond later became the head of the Republican Party and chaired the Re-Elect Bush Campaign in 1992.) I also stumbled onto the biggest feminist march in history- over 100,000 women gathered, dressed in white, to lobby for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment; I joined them. I still remember hearing the conversation/confrontation between Bella Azbug and Phyllis Schlafly over the ERA and the startled look on Ted Kennedy’s face when I nearly ran him over running out of the Capitol Building. I spent three weeks in DC staying at the apartment of friends who had sailed with me from the Virgin Islands to Cape Cod.
I’m glad I won’t be in DC during the inauguration of Obama, but I’m sure that this month will be a dramatic one that will make a lasting impression upon Jules. I just alerted our group to be at the protests against the war that will be taking place this Saturday in cities across the US and the world, including DC and San Francisco.
Jules has surprised me somewhat. He has learned to cook, and decided to major in Economics. He was elected to the Oberlin Student Council last semester. He asked for a Kitchen-Aid mixer for his birthday and specializes in weekly cookie parties (I think cookies was the winning logo which got him elected). He also is going to work as a Research Assistant for a member of the Chicago Federal Reserve next semester. January 31, 2009
Jules flew back to Ohio today (catching his plane with 9 minutes to spare). He had quite an experience in DC, perhaps the most traumatic part was being robbed at gunpoint by 5 young men, but he survived intact.
He may be the Economics major, but I’ve been reading books on money, monetary reform, and following the financial heist (that’s what it is folks- the biggest transfer of wealth in human history from the many to the already obscenely wealthy). At least it is becoming more and more obvious to the ordinary person. Unfortunately the solutions are not apparent and deception continues to be the name of the game for the corporate media, government, and entities such as the World Economic Forum.
I’ve been more focused though on feeding the hungry teenagers on Jeremy’s Robotics’ Team this week, and getting people to the American Citizens’ Summit where I hope 9/11 Truth and Monetary Reform will be some of the issues discussed and hopefully help launch a more powerful coalition of voices to push us off the pro-corporate/war path towards a more populist/peaceful path. I guess I can’t resist trying to do the impossible, again and again.
August 4, 2009
In triage, yet again, Jeremy’s last semester of high school was quite a roller coaster, as he juggled being on the Robotics Team, doing tech for theater, college interviews. During Finals Week, the day before the Thespian Banquet, a friend of his, another tech person in theater, committed suicide. It was devastating for the whole community, particularly those who were close to her. I actually went into shock, grief, for nearly a month and wrote a long essay, entitled “Why?” I believe very sensitive, creative people often throw themselves into creative activity to escape the pain of life.
Jules flew home in June for a few weeks. We finally had a bit of a family summer vacation up in the mountains, where Jeremy, Jules, Jean-Luc (and Jeremy’s friend Valentine) went on a small backpacking trip. Our old friends- Bob, Chetna, Andrew and Michael also joined us. We stayed at a cabin on a beautiful lake, that was a gift, really, from family friends (the kid’s boy scout leader- Ken Poulton). In scout style, though, we did a service project on the cabin, which meant - hauling wood, painting, enclosing an area beneath the cabin. I loved being able to hike every day, and we also had kayaks to play with on the lake.
In July, I spent an afternoon with some wonderful activist friends who inspired me to get back to my activist activities, which I think are a positive way to counter despair and hopelessness in the face of stark political realities. I threw myself into working on our 5th Annual 9/11 Film Festival, and working with Blaine to create issue #11 of the Deception Dollar, and hopefully, a new Perception Dollar (an evolution of the Conception Dollar) pointing towards solutions.
In the spring, I was concerned for awhile that I might be pregnant (no- I’m not!), but the experience sparked some soul searching and I think that this is a year of tremendous transformation for me. I don’t know whether to refocus on the Monetary System, (I will be going to the American Monetary Institute 2009 Monetary Reform Conference in Chicago this September), run for Congress, again in 2010, try to avert a pandemic by exposing the bioweapons/vaccine industry. I need to get myself more organized, my own life in balance, before shouldering greater responsibilities. My kids, including the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance, are growing up, freeing me from the parental responsibilities which have consumed so much of my time over the years. Jules will graduate from Oberlin next year. Jeremy’s back at Stanford this summer working in the lab and going to Dartmouth this fall. I’ll be down to one child living at home.
I’ve been wanting to reconnect with my old friends, whom I have neglected so much for so many years. I always mean to, want to write, but I am continually pulled into the vortex of the moment. Forgive me for not getting this letter out sooner! If you would prefer to not get these letters, or would rather communicate via email, please let me know (my email address is cbrouillet(at)igc.org).
I guess it is a bit late to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year! But I wish you Health and Happiness (and don’t let anyone force a flu vaccine upon you!)
I enclosed cards for our upcoming events: