Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pockets of Tranquility

"You owe it to everyone you love (including yourself) to find pockets of tranquility in your busy world." ~Unknown

Slice of tranquility
Fountain and back yard area at a retirement home in Valley Village...
Outside this little oasis of calm, is the crowded bustle of Laurel Canyon Boulevard.

Soothing water
A fountain with water flowing and rippling would be great outside my door. I like the patterns and quiet sounds this one makes.

All of the monthly paperwork is finished and turned in (everything early for a change), and I am finished with work and clients until Tuesday, since Monday is a holiday. The final exam for the summer class is Thursday afternoon and then I have three weeks with a minimal work schedule. Yippie!!!

...back to studying for that exam..

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina and the after-effects

Click to the Red Cross for donations to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina

The news pictures are horrible.. and the floodwaters are continuing to rise.. my thoughts go out to those who are affected by this..

Kara at Space Tramp has posted some links including this one to Flickr images

Later edit: I ran across this at Making Light.

A snippet: Yahoo News Photos
White people find things.    Black people loot things." ...

"I keep hearing on the news about looting in New Orleans. But what I’m seeing—everybody has digital cameras these days, especially reporters—are pictures of people slogging through filthy water with stashes of food, diapers, bottled beverages, etc. ..." ...

" ... Fourth, I have yet to hear one mention, one murmur of a hurricane evacuation plan, that didn’t consist of “everybody gets in their cars and drives somewhere else.” This, in a city which was guaranteed to sooner or later need evacuating, and which had something on the order of 100,000 citizens who didn’t drive cars. ..."
  the whole post at Making Light

Monday, August 29, 2005

Little pieces wrapped loosely

"What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable." ~ Joseph Addison

Andy at Older, but no wiser has an interesting little game/quiz- identification puzzle. I think I might know what four of them are, but need to give up for a while now and see if my subconscious comes up with more guesses.

I had a little smile from Sacred Ordinary- My Get Up and Go, Got Up and Went. My Dad used a few of those in the first paragraph, plus some other more colorful sayings. In my people observer mode as a child, I was fascinated with when he used language in that way and why my mother did not.

"I have woven a parachute out of everything broken." ~ William Stafford

My son (finding the last of his summer before some intensive buckling down for academic work), is out this morning doing one of the items that used to be on my 'want to do at least once in my lifetime' list. He has gone to parachute out of an airplane. I have never liked adrenaline producing thrill rides where I have no control, so I'm not sure why it made my list twenty years ago- maybe mastering fears was the driving force.

He planned this a few weeks ago, and then last night said he was both excited and nervous about it... wanting a hug and to tell me he loved me before he went to sleep, which he did again this morning. I haven't heard from him, but one of the last things I said to him was a small suggestion to call me later today. I didn't make it a demand.

(update: 1:13 p.m.- son just sent a text message which I interpret to mean he really-really enjoyed his experience.. "I made it!! Sky diving is the shit!!!")

"Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it." ~Ernest Holmes

One of the photographs I took on a whim last Thursday before I noticed the fire...


My reflection in a shop window.

Unconscious Mutterings Week 134

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Girlfriends:: son's- two in six years
  2. Here to stay:: This one was puzzling because there were no immediate associations that came to mind. Many things and people are here for a time, even a long time, but nothing seems rock solidly permanent.. not even the rocks.
  3. Call me:: a seeker
  4. Frustrated:: sometimes
  5. Public school:: funding
  6. Glitch:: minor, fix and move on; major - takes a while longer
  7. Cheese:: recipe favorites made with mozzarella, ricotta
  8. Director:: calls the shots
  9. Pivotal:: moment
  10. Exclusive:: view
Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Saturday sunset

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset." ~attributed to Crowfoot (Blackfoot Nation)

Sunset - Tujunga Wash (53)

Sunset- Tujunga Wash (52)

Sunset - Tujunga Wash; Saturday evening... one using 'night mode', one without..

edited blog at 1:30 a.m. and reposted; both straightened with Picassa, but otherwise unaltered.. have a lot to learn yet..

Friday, August 26, 2005

Safe - Thanks LA County Fire

Well..... a little excitement this afternoon as I noted in an earlier post. I needed to go to class, but I didn't want to leave until I was sure the fire wasn't going to come over that ridge. Though it is a fair walk to the base of the ridge, it isn't very far for wind. We've had experience with burning embers traveling ten to twenty miles or more in some conditions. This was much closer.

Helicopters and hand crews were at work immediately, but the terrain is rugged and the wind was blowing in our direction. There were two water dropping helicopters on the fire at all times when I was watching and driving (four total according to news reports). Hand crews were in all the tiny canyons and up the sides of the "hills". I wish traffic had stopped when I drove by the best view of the hand crews.. but it didn't.

Water dropping helicopters
Best shot of helicopters- through the window of the car. (click any of these photos for a larger view).

Only a tiny part of the fire area.

A slice of the terrain with some barely visible new spots starting to smoulder..

Those helicopters are definitely worth the cost. The firefighters kept the blaze from growing too large-- 25 acres is what I heard last- not much at all in the bigger picture view. The firefighters were still on scene this evening, mopping up the last of it- by hand.

The LA Times (registration required) is reporting 100 firefighters were on scene to knock down the blaze. Those trucks were parked three and four across for more than half a mile.

In discussing this later with the husband, I realized I have never thought about what I would grab in a fire evacuation other than my cat. We've lived up here for twenty-two years and been watchful, even wary at times (standing outside with burning embers coming down from a fire twenty miles away, for instance), but never had a fire get close enough to think about leaving.

Our immediate area is surrounded more by dwellings and well watered landscaping, than wild (and now very dry) vegetation. But after today and eyeing those ridges-- and even though this event wasn't a big deal -- I'm thinking we ought to have a plan for fires, just like we do for earthquakes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I should be sleeping...

Wednesday schedule is all daytime hours, but getting to sleep after Tuesday night's work is proving to be difficult. I really dislike switching back and forth in the schedule. There are a couple of stories to tell about tonight, when I have a few moments of clarity. For now, here are a couple of loosely related items to mark Tuesday.

I found this quotation Tuesday morning (while looking for something else, of course):

"Learning which is combined with action provides a peculiar and solid enrichment. If, for example, you are interested in art, you will gain much more if you paint as well as look at pictures and read about the history of art. If you happen to be interested in politics, don't be satisfied with being a spectator: participate in political action. If you enjoy nature, refuse to be content with the vicarious experiences of naturalists; become a naturalist yourself. In all of these ways learning becomes an integral part of living until finally the old distinction between life and education disappears. In short, life itself becomes a perpetual experience of learning."
~Eduard C. Lindeman, The Democratic Man (1956)

This idea of learning combined with action, fits in all sorts of ways for the manner in which I would like to live this part of my life. ... or maybe it is already part of the way I am living my life. ??

And the day wouldn't be complete now, without at least one photo

'Precious' the Parrotlet

This is a parrotlet named 'Precious' who is still young (a few months old), but so cute from the moment she became a part of a client's home and family three or four months ago, that I have considered looking for a character like her. She is full grown, but is moulting.

to sleep now..

Monday, August 22, 2005

Long day..

I am too tired tonight to write much, instead I offer some weekend photos...

"If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive." ~Eleanora Duse

Slice of the San Gabriels

My daily view.. . When I cropped this I was a little tired, as I am now. I just noticed that a tiny piece of the garage line is visible on the right corner.

Crow in flight

Crow in Flight... I am fairly happy to have gotten this shot- as it was an experiment in following the crow with the camera. It is cropped, but the original is simply more blue on all sides with the same alignment.... looking at it now, I really need to crop this a bit more...

Jacaranda Tree

Jacaranda trees are one of my favorites.... this, of course, is seed pods and leaves.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 133

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Fan:: carry a fabric one in my purse- a sometimes necessary albeit eccentric, accessory for a woman of a certain age; fan palm
  2. Scum:: soap, pond scum
  3. Lily:: of the valley; pink lily
  4. Humid::usually seldom here in my chosen location... this summer- frequent
  5. Ghetto:: restrictive (poverty, race, ethnicity...), segregated areas
  6. Remember me?:: depends on who's asking as to how I might answer..
  7. Polished:: stone
  8. Compose:: mind, letter, words, melody, haiku, photograph, painting, sketch, art, life-- put elements together to achieve something new or different or hopefully pleasing..
  9. Squish:: mud. ...some mud is "squishier" than others
  10. Future:: is jazz with a little rhythm and blues, change and adaptation, go with the flow and make things happen at the same time
Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday smiles

I've been too busy to get around to everyone on my blogroll lately, so I was doing that in between other things on a very lazy Saturday, along with reorganizing and playing with new blog toys and pieces and being frequently side-tracked.

Here are a couple of chuckles I found:

From Liz at "I Speak of Dreams: Security Theater"- a link to a pic on "Do It Yourself Inspection". The other site she linked -Stupid Security-   is worth the read, though if you have blood pressure problems and are annoyed easily, you might not want to check it out.

SilverMoon (aka GreenEyedLady) at Silken Threads: Insomnia No-Nos  has some things not to do when awake in the middle of the night- some of which I am completely familiar and some that would never have occurred to me.

"Poetry in Motion"

Komo to yu mo                      You Say, "I Will Come"

Komo to yu mo                      You say, "I will come."
Konu toki aru wo                  And you do not come.
Koji to yu wo                          Now you say, "I will not come."
Komu to wa mataji               So I shall expect you.
Koji to yu mono wo              Have I learned to understand you?

~Lady Otomo No Sakanoe (eighth century)
Translated from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth

One of the more pleasant aspects of riding a bus with clients is that I get to look for various works that were included in "Poetry in Motion"- a series of inside the bus placards that Los Angeles MTA has been using for several years. Apparently started in New York, most Los Angeles buses have at least one placard. Some are by modern poets, some are older ones I know, and some are new to me. Most are wonderful, some leave me pondering the poet's meaning, and a few just leave me shaking my head. "You say, I Will Come" by Lady Otomo No Sakanoe is one of those delightful finds. A Google search turns up more examples of her work on the internet and in print.

More about Poetry in Motion:

MTA: The Poetry Society of America
Poetry in Motion-Mapsite
Poetry in Motion for New York City which not only has titles, but has the poems in full as used on the transit system.
Poetry in Motion for Portland
Poetry in Motion for Los Angles

Friday, August 19, 2005

"answers in unexpected places"

"It is the challenge and the answers I find in the most unexpected places that keep me looking, keep me endeavouring to stay open and aware but most of all make heart smile and soul expand. A ways to go in the smiling and expanding stakes I wonder when I 'll know the tide has come in and where I will find myself"

From AnimatedStardust: Locating .. thoughtful words of which I suspect little pieces will come back for reflection through the day.. on to work now...

Light and shadow

lines and shadow

A little souvenir from the afternoon- this is the connector between the two library buildings on campus... That center section ends just below the photo and is full of students walking in various directions. The structure of the buildings and the connector section, cast shadows and form angles and lines that catch my eye no matter what time of day.

I took this while on my way to class from the financial aid office (taking photos on every turn and stretch- seriously, it was fun!).

I now have one more thing crossed off my list of "to do's". Next up when there are a few moments, is to figure out what classes to take for Fall and still continue to see my current clients. I think I have completed all the core requirements for the master of science in counseling, and the rehabilitation specialization, with only electives and additional specialty classes remaining (a couple for career counseling, and maybe a couple for higher ed counseling)... unless I want that dual masters (marriage and family).... and I really think I do.. not sure I am up to the extra time.

Busy day on Friday.. time for sleep.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

finished.. sort of..

Tuesday Traffic
This is the view from the passenger seat on Tuesday on the trip to Kaiser- traveling about fifty mph. I started taking pictures in defense- as a way to keep my mouth shut and stop feeling stressed about the driving. With some drivers, it is really difficult to be a passenger in a car on a busy freeway, and even worse when one is slightly nervous to begin with..

I have uploaded my last paper for class, need to go to two more lectures, two more quizzes (one lecture and quiz this afternoon) and then get ready for the final exam. There are numerous details to be attended to before the beginning of the next quarter, but for the moment, things feel sort of finished.

Earlier I felt a bit like the freeway picture, dismal, crowded, busy, stuck between trucks (and no brake pedal on my side ;-) ). I was attempting to switch gears and was thinking about a friend, when a text message from that same friend arrived and brightened up my whole afternoon.

Thank you... just for being you and for being a part of my world.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Tuesday Comes and Goes

The morning view on my little walk... peaceful, tranquil, birds singing, bees buzzing, flowers blooming... not quite as sweet smelling as Monday morning after the thunderstorm, but still a beautiful morning.

Where I spent my entire afternoon - a fifteen minute routine procedure, sandwiched between an hour and a half wait, a forty-five minute prep and wait and an hour wait after... plus a couple of hours or so of driving time (in traffic to and from) and the terror of being driven by a male who fits all the aggressive male driver jokes (and nightmares) and uses two feet to drive an automatic. ;-) (I'm exaggerating a bit on the last- can you tell?)

(Fountain on the edge of Glendale- across from entrance to Griffith Park)
Taken on the ride home, where I was alternating groggy, semi-alert, and nodding out.. which is how I spent my evening too..

The doctor and nurses told me not to drive for 24 hours. I can't decide if I am working on Wednesday or not or if I should alert my boss. I am just aware enough to know how ridiculous it is to say these seem like huge decisions.


Back to nodding out..

Monday, August 15, 2005

"just lower your arms"

"There was a farmer who had many fields. And throughout all his fields, he worked very very hard at keeping all the animals away, and as such, out of his crops that he worked very very hard to plant.

And ... He was successful in keeping all the animals out. No birds, no deer- NOTHING got through all his wire fences and the traps he had set to keep the animals out.

But as time went on the farmer got more and more lonely. So lonely as a matter of fact, that one day he went out into his fields, held his arms out wide and called to all of the animals to come. He stood there all day and night with his arms out wide calling to all the animals, but none of the animals came ...

All of the animals were afraid of the farmer's new scarecrow out in the field."

I had to hunt for the words to the little story. I watched the movie "The Doctor" (1991, William Hurt) on Sunday afternoon (for the third or fourth time)... If you remember the movie, you remember the advice after the story given in the note from the doctor's fellow cancer patient concerning talking to his wife- something to the effect of "just lower your arms, and we will all come to you"...

Sometimes I can't decide if I want to even call out, let alone lower my arms..

Early Evening in Sunland


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 132

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Idiot:: sometimes self applied invective
  2. Rocket:: space
  3. Liability:: insurance
  4. Harmless:: never
  5. Stringy:: hair
  6. Theater:: art
  7. Gwyneth:: Jones
  8. Use it or lose it:: applies to just about everything
  9. Sonic:: boom
  10. Pucker:: lemon

Want to play? Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings

Friday, August 12, 2005

"another golden opportunity"

Thursday sunset

Thursday finished with an "ahhhhh".... and a little breathing room. Friday is a new day and morning will bring a fresh perspective to the parts of my paper that still need reworking.

A frantic email to my professor just before the last post and like magic, I have an extension for the deadline for online submission of my paper. It didn't hurt that she had many frantic emails about everyone having some difficulty completing the assignment before Thursday evening's class lecture. But her email to me provided an immediate release of the growing tension I was feeling.

On other positive notes, I managed an "A" on the midterm two weeks ago (missed 4 out of 50) and though I can't drive to Cambria as I had hoped, I do have Friday and the weekend off. My case notes are current; there are no looming deadlines for work or intensive projects causing me angst and my shoulders feel lighter, even though I still have to finish rewriting and reworking that paper.

I have to run an errand late in the morning and stop by a 'good luck, goodbye' gathering for a co-worker in the afternoon, but there should be a little time to meander some foothill passes in search of a few pictures and some of that feeling that wandering mountains brings.

Friday and the weekend look pretty good from here.

"Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don't waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail." ~Og Mandino

That's how I intend to face the morning and the day.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

In between frantic...

Stoney Point

I took this on Tuesday along with several others, on a break from one client to the next.

Back in a day or two after I finish this paper.. life is way too busy with catch up right now.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sunday time out with the camera

Afternoon Cumulonimbus

I took a little walk and snapped several shots of the clouds forming over the mountains... There were flash flood warnings, again...

Pink Lily

... saw this lonely pink lily outside of a neighbor's fence...

Foothill Blvd

Starbucks should give me a few free blended iced coffee drinks in exchange for the free advertising.

Sunset clouds (2)

... took a short second walk and watched the sunset...


After the sunset, this spider (unknown identification- maybe an Orb Weaver?) working on its web caught my eye, but she/he was moving too fast for the auto settings on the camera in most of the shots. It was fascinating to watch the web building, though.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

End of a Saturday

Sunset clouds 42 (08/06/05)

Sunset Sky 24 (08/06/05)

Dusk 08/06/05

Saturday evening, sunset.

Unconscious Mutterings Week 131

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Complexion:: skin
  2. Teach:: facilitate learning
  3. Back to school:: never left
  4. Months:: months, weeks, days all mingle together sometimes
  5. Nominate:: no good candidate in sight
  6. Favorite curse word:: oh sh*t, and on very, rare, exceptionally frustrating occasions -the f-word.
  7. Concerned:: citizen
  8. Better:: pressure is off
  9. Escalate:: de-escalate
  10. Unveil:: reveal
Want to play? Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings

Thursday, August 04, 2005

very seldom..

"Dreams. They're never in the place we expect them to be."

from the 1989 movie "Shirley Valentine"

I just watched the movie for the first time... wonderful, except I'm not sure I liked the ending. But I do know something about the life she found herself living in the beginning of the movie. Ten years ago, I wondered who was this person I'd become, going through the motions and pretending to live?

~~~ ~~ ~~~~~ ~~
One should probably avoid long naps in the early evening... else one finds oneself up late at night, flipping through televsion channels and watching movies that end at 3 a.m.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Last week hasn't ended yet...

"Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." ~Albert Einstein

That may be so, in fact it rings true, but I am too tired to find any of those things... With no weekend time off, my batteries are in serious need of recharging.

"He who runs behind truck is exhausted, he who runs in front of truck is tired." ~Confucius

I think I have been doing both.. mostly trying to stay in front of the truck, but now and then running behind it.

Monday, August 01, 2005

A quick glance at current "Edge" articles

Summer Reading from Edge, had a lot of interesting suggestions. I found several that I added to my list of things I want to read, including one by John D. Barrow and another one (I have several of his on my list) by Daniel C. Dennett, among others.

In addition at Edge,an interesting talk with Dan Sperber with this section among many others:
" ...Just as the human mind is not a blank slate on which culture would somehow imprint its content, the communication process is not a xerox machine copying contents from one mind to another. This is where I part company not just from your standard semiologists or social scientists who take communication to be a coding-decoding system, a transmission system, biased only by social interests, by power, by intentional or unconscious distortions, but that otherwise could deliver a kind of smooth flow of undistorted information. I also part company from Richard Dawkins who sees cultural transmission as based on a process of replication, and who assume that imitation and communication provide a robust replication system.

A good part of my work has been to study, in large part with British linguist Deirdre Wilson, the mechanisms of human communication and show that they're much more complex and interesting than is generally assumed, and much less preservative and replicative and more constructive than one might think: understanding involves a lot of construction, and not just reconstruction, and very little by way of simple replication.

When you are told something, the simple view of what happens would be: 'ah! These are words, they have meaning,' and so you decode the meaning of the word and you thereby understand what the speaker meant. A more realistic and, as I said, also a more interesting idea is that the words don't encode the speaker meaning, they just give you evidence of the speaker's meaning. When we speak we want our audience to understand something that's in our mind. And we have no way to fully encode it, and trying at least to encode as much as possible would be absurdly cumbersome. Linguistic utterances, however rich and complex they may be, cannot fully encode our thoughts. But they can give strong richly structured piece of evidence of what our thoughts are."
and a little later:
" ... We're not that interested when we try to comprehend what others say, in getting in our minds a copy of what they had in mind, we're interested in getting that which is of use and of relevance to us, and we see what others are trying to tell us as a source of insight and information from which we can indeed construct a thought of our own. ..."
Lots of food for thought.