Friday, December 31, 2004

Almost 2005

Happy New Year !!!

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. (Irish Toast)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

As the next storm moves in

With a little sunshine illuminating parts of the mountains, you can see more of the San Gabriels and snow on the very top of some not so distant peaks. I had a Libra indecisiveness about leaving the backside of the school in the picture. I am too short to get the City/County fence out of the way.

Which reminds me of how imprisoned I felt when they gated and put up tall wrought iron fencing all round the condo property. Fences have their usefulness, but I like open spaces much better.

I did figure out how to upload a better image quality this time, I think??? Perhaps now I can work on improving the quality of the photographer.

On another note, my family comes home tomorrow- and it is likely to be raining again by then.

Sun was out

I was going to go for a walk and see if there were any pictures worth capturing. The sun was out and it looked like the main part of the day was going to be a pretty break between storms. Alas, the sun is now hiding behind clouds, the color is going out of the day and though there is still bits of some brilliant blue peeking out from behind white and grey clouds, it is growing cold and dark again. I might walk to the mailbox and back, but I think I will skip wandering around the fringes of our neighborhood.

Maybe more later... I have to keep finding ways to procrastinate cleaning or working.

Two for Thursday

Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.
-- Arthur Schopenhauer

There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.
-- James Thurber

from Quotes of the Day for December 30, 2004

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

New find

beFrank: a local news cameraman with some interesting commentary and shots. I might even put his site in the blogroll, most definitely it is going into bloglines. Both the writing and pics are worth a visit.

Thanks for the heads up go to LABlogs.

Tsunami Relief

Tsunami Relief

Still raining

The doppler shows heavy rain just a few miles away in the foothills to the southeast and west, while the sun tried to peek out a few times in between the gentle rain drops here. I have a pond where my deck area used to be, a wet staircase landing from a window frame leak (cumulative prior earthquake damage is my guess), and the mountains are covered with clouds, including those I could still see for a while, yesterday.

There are more storm cells on the way, but Mother Nature's fury last night is nothing compared to the tragedy in all the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.

Soon we will need an ark

We have had just about everything today and tonight--hail, wind, tornados, flash flooding, street flooding and road closures (plus cars stranded in all the usual places and some that aren't), landslides, snow at higher elevations and rain, rain and more rain. The rain totals for this storm are over 4 inches (when I last checked this afternoon) and climbing. This is a really big (and loud) storm without many breaks.

It seems like good weather for staying in and snuggling.... if I had a partner to snuggle with.
;-) At any rate, I don't plan on going anywhere.

One of the questions floating around LA is if the fifty year record of 'no rain on the Rose Parade' will be broken. I wonder what the Vegas odds are?

Ooops, the power is wavering again, so I ought to have my flashlight close at hand. If I am going to post this, I better do it now, just in case.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

During a lull in the storm



The San Gabriels are hidden from view by the clouds, except for the little parts surrounding our tiny valley. I can normally see through the canyon to the higher elevations beyond- nothing but mountains for as far as the eye can see.

I am playing with new toys. I had to decrease size and resolution to upload these. I will have to work on figuring all of this out, to be able to even attempt to share what I see.

"Do not let your fire go out"

I haven't had time, or energy? or something (I need a swift kick) to do more than quick check of a few of the blogs/people in my blogroll. My bloglines notifier says I have 3184 new items to read. Whiskey River is one of those blogs I try to check several times a week, but somehow missed this on Monday. So often I find the right thing at the right moment or the right new tangent to think about when I visit. Monday's entry was no exception. It spoke to me as I am sure it did to many others.

" "Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle.
The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours."
- Ayn Rand "

Whiskey River, December 27

Monday, December 27, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings Week 99-A

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. holiday:: hope everyone had and is having a good one
  2. fault:: zone, earthquake style
  3. beep:: indicating message, timer for food finished, camera is ready
  4. bubble:: bath, and/or champagne
  5. needle:: sewing, needlepoint, embroidery; in a haystack
  6. fare:: train, bus, plane; food offered
  7. treat:: a piece of peanut butter fudge in one hand, chocolate fudge with macadamia nuts in the other
  8. express:: say, hopefully with kindness
  9. webcam:: want one, but I also want a jane jetson style videophone camouflage/beauty mask for those times when I might turn on the cam but haven't yet done the neatly dressed, hair and makeup routine
  10. capital:: smashing, first rate; oh yeah and the seat of government which often does things that aren't

Want to play? Go to Unconscious Mutterings

Friday, December 24, 2004

In between making food and pretty packages

I am not Christian in the literal sense, though many if not most of the teachings of Jesus are incorporated into my personal philosophy. My family, even my extended family, is of many spiritual and religious beliefs- with no single one in the majority. But we celebrate on or around December 25th by gathering with family. With family stretched from coast to coast in at least seven different states, we never see everyone in any given year. We make a few donations, exchange a few gifts, gather with family in one location and spend time on the telephone with those far away.

This holiday has meant the three of us together for as long as we have been three, but this year my son and husband will be with part of the family on the East Coast. They are leaving very early on Christmas day and I will stay in California. Selfishly, I am full of conflicting emotions about that, including some remaining sense of disbelief about the way it was all arranged. It is difficult not to ascribe several different layers of less than charitable intent and meaning to the various players in how this came about, but I am trying to simply accept what will not now be changed. A touch of nostalgia has me remembering bits and pieces of the celebrations over the past twenty-one years and attempting to reflect on why it all matters to me- the holiday and the gathering of family.

One of the smaller pieces of this reflection is below.

When my son was young, Santa Claus came in the middle of the night to deliver some of the presents. And though he is older, Santa still brings some of the gifts- with a wink and a smile, of course. As he grew older (but still in elementary school) we had many discussions about the meanings of Christmas and other holidays of this season. I explained to him that various religions have an end of the year tradition of some sort, close to the winter solstice. Each year for many years I would help him discover one or two of either the customs or meanings behind various different celebrations. He doesn't remember many, but he does remember that there are many reasons and ways of celebrating. It is enough I think, that I helped him see a larger world view and inoculate him against the commercialism that surrounds this time of year. More importantly perhaps, is his understanding that tolerance, generosity and kindness are not limited to only one season.

Wishing Peace, Joy
and Happiness to All!


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Much too often

"When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren't grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."
~Cynthia Ozick

Monday, December 20, 2004

Change and an unrelated? note on two books

This resonates with me a bit:
"Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better." -Sydney J. Harris

I have been reading two books in bits and pieces .. .and strangely or not so strangely (since I chose both books in a psychological/spiritual/understanding sort of quest), they are slightly different sides of the same thing- one is about connecting with the power of intention, and the other is about harnessing the power of coincidence. The overall theme of the books is connecting to soul, to spirit, to the universal, to the collective and individual- connecting to the flow of all and all things falling into place, coming into/being in your life as or in exactly the moment they are meant/needed.

I am not sure I completely understand either Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra as they discuss these things, but they both are talking about similar concepts. It occurred to me that Dyer is western with a slight eastern approach and Chopra is eastern with a western approach.. or something like that. Their early respective indoctrinations of culture/philosophy seem to play a role in their interpretations. Not so surprisingly, meditation plays a large role in the "prescriptions" from both men.

More later as I digest it all. A new word for me, from Deepak Chopra- synchrodestiny.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Positive Reinforcement

"Once in a century a man may be ruined or made insufferable by praise. But surely once in a minute something generous dies for want of it." -John Masefield

I ran across the quote while cleaning out my inbox. Remembering to notice and acknowledge the little good things that people (strangers and those who aren't) do for each other every day can bring some surprising and happy results. We spend much more time noticing what's wrong and complaining loudly about it, and not near enough time noticing and praising what is right. It doesn't hurt or diminish us in any manner to let someone else know that what they do, even when it's their job, is appreciated. That's a little leftover advice from my behavioral psych classes and probably from everyone's mother in the form of the "mind your manners, be polite and kind" admonitions.

And on another note, my pocket is $50 dollars more empty, but I have ten days worth of large doses of antibiotic and two or three weeks worth of inhaled steroid to see me through the holidays. Hopefully both will start making a difference quickly.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Lost but not completely

I am battling an illness (actually more like trying desperately to ignore it and collapsing at the end of every day) plus trying to keep up with the clients and hours that I waited so long to be assigned, and trying to do holiday things in between. Fitting in seeing the doctor is next or rather hoping that the doctor has some way to fit me in.

Amusement and things to think about from Quotes of the Day (variety of dates):

Nobody believes the official spokesman... but everybody trusts an unidentified source. -- Ron Nesen

Some people have so much respect for their superiors they have none left for themselves. -- Peter McArthur

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. -- Aldous Huxley

Back soon, I hope.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

It's a start (biodegradable plastic with a little extra twist)

Scientists Make Phone That Turns Into a Sunflower (AMSTERDAM, Reuters)
"Scientists said on Monday they have come up with a cell phone cover that will grow into a sunflower when thrown away.

Materials company Pvaxx Research & Development, at the request of U.S.-based mobile phone maker Motorola , has come up with a polymer that looks like any other plastic, but which degrades into soil when discarded.

Researchers at the University of Warwick in Britain then helped to develop a phone cover that contains a sunflower seed, which will feed on the nitrates that are formed when the polyvinylalcohol polymer cover turns to waste.

"It's a totally biodegradable and non-toxic plastic," said Pvaxx spokesman Peter Morris. ... "

I like the direction the thinking is going. If you can't get folks to recycle, then make it all turn into something that doesn't harm the environment. Of course this is just the cover and probably the least harmful of all of it... but it's a start.

Monday, December 06, 2004

One down, one to go

I finished one final exam and have one more to take on Thursday to end the quarter. Tonight's exam was on Medical Aspects. I might have done as well as I did on the midterm, or slightly less well, even though I studied more. My brain froze on some silly things and it froze on some more important things.

Strangely or not so strangely perhaps, while taking the test I could "see" some of the notes I typed out, with only some of the details missing. By accident five weeks ago, I found that I remember more of the obscure details by typing out the notes (after hearing the lecture and taking written notes, plus reading the texts). It hits that combination of learning styles that works best for me. But I probably should have also read them outloud and/or taped them. That part is something I will remember for the master's degree comprehensive exams coming up in a year or so.

Mistakes and all, I am pretty sure I passed with at least a "B".

When I got home, several books I ordered were waiting. One of them is Wayne Dyer's "The Power of Intention". Another is Deepak Chopra's "The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire", and another is by Harriet Lerner, "Fear and Other Uninvited Guests". There are a couple more, plus I still have a sci fi novel to read. If I weren't going to be so busy after finals, the next week would be spent entirely on pleasure reading!

I will probably still steal some moments to read in between everything else. I will call it "me" time- something I try not to do without.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Freezing in California

A couple of notes and a quote to post:

I am wrapping up everything in preparation for finals next week. I have to make corrections on one more paper (that has already been graded; an "A", thank you very much) and I will be finished with everything academic, except tests.The campus computer systems, now correctly show my grad student status and also the official date that I completed my B.S. If I get the financial aid problems sorted out, then everything bureaucratic will be mostly finished too.

It's been very chilly at night, especially in the Foothills. I think it was down to 32 degrees on Monday night.

The quote that struck my eye for today: "Truly great madness cannot be achieved without significant intelligence." -- Henrik Tikkanen
From Quotes of the Day for November 21, 2004