Monday, October 31, 2005

"Fire and Ice"

Fire and ice
You come on like a flame
Then you turn a cold shoulder
Fire and ice
I wanna give you my love
But you'll just take a little piece of my heart

You'll just tear it apart

~Pat Benatar, Scott Sheets & Tom Kelly "Fire and Ice"

weekend sunset Weekend Sunset... a little fire ...

I ordered some music recently and it arrived today- Linda Rondstat, Pat Benatar - greatest hits albums for each and a quieter mood CD by Secret Garden. Linda went into the player first, followed by Pat. I did a little dancing in between waiting for any trick or treaters... and thought about the lyrics and songs I liked the best.

I think I am going to burn a cd for the car with my favorite Sheryl Crow, Melissa Ethridge, Pat Benatar, some of the old Rondstat songs plus a few other female artists- strong, forceful, some happy, some angst, but all powerful stuff. Even lamenting love lost, or moving on without- their music seems to feel empowering right now and creates a mood I wish to stay in for a while.

I'm feeling the barest wisp of a touch of anxiety about Friday (not the process, but the results after) and this is a busy week all around, so posts and pics might be a little sporadic until next week. ... maybe.

later addition:

October is always the start of my new year, and while there have been changes this month in the 'feel' to life, I haven't found the mental key that I'd been working to find. Still... changes are in the air; some intended, some hoped for, some positive, and some have been systemic shocks that required adjusting to, a bit like aftershocks adjust and release the stress buildup in other fault zones. But that's how change goes, isn't it?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 143

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Unbreakable:: resistant to breakage
  2. Have mercy:: on their souls
  3. Do it better:: keep trying
  4. Settle scores:: not into revenge or competition, bad karma
  5. Comments:: like the conversations
  6. Craziest thing:: happened on the way to the...
  7. Apple:: Autumn, bobbing, baking, tree climbing
  8. Halloween:: candy and cute kids
  9. Manageable:: case load
  10. Trick:: not

Weekly word list found at Unconscious Mutterings

Friday, October 28, 2005

"Does this path have a heart?"

Tujunga Wash"The next point is that everybody has his own path. There are a thousand paths to discovering yourself, to becoming. Every one of you will find your own way. Don't let anybody impose theirs on you."
Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D. (in Living Loving and Learning)

In that same section, Buscaglia goes on to quote Carlos Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge) :
Each path is only one of a million paths. Therefore, you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path. If you feel that you must follow it, you need not stay with it under any circumstances. Any path is only a path. There is no affront to yourself or others in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear and ambition. I warn you: look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone one question. It is this: Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same. They lead nowhere. They are paths going through the brush or into the brush or under the brush. Does this path have a heart is the only question. If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use.

Tujunga Wash

The question was one I was thinking about today during my quick side trip into the canyon. Believing that "a path is only a path", doesn't always seem so simple. Figuring out if it has a heart is slightly easier.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

shadow and pansys "Acceptance of one's life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices."
~Dr. Paul Tournier

Half a dozen things made it into my journal Wednesday night, but none of them are flushed out enough for a post. I had a long unfamiliar drive to Whittier then back in the dark, during which I fumbled my search for the entrance to one of the freeways home. If there is a way to get lost driving in the dark, I will find it. ;-) Nah- not really, but I remember the handful of times I got a little lost, more than I remember all the probably hundreds or more of times I didn't.

I missed a tiny sign overhead that said 605 North, busy looking for the typical large side of the road freeway sign that didn't exist. I kept driving four miles past the point I decided I had missed the entrance. I'm not really sure why exactly, but there were parts of me warring with other parts about- if, when or where -to turn around. It wound up all ok, though not an adventure I wish to repeat too many times and certainly not longer than a few miles. I should have taken pictures as it was a beautiful community college campus and a very dedicated counseling group I was visiting (class requirement).

Earlier before I left, I did accidentally (wandering around the Kaiser website) discover I now have an appointment for the MRI --November 4. I don't think I will know anything about the results until perhaps the week after that at the earliest.

There are a couple of lessons in all of this that I can almost grasp- about patience, about learning to live with some uncertainty, without categorizing things and without labels, about acceptance of things (even missing freeway entrances and being a little lost) as they are, without giving up dreams, hopes, wishes and even those things I am not sure if I can do or reach... more later as it comes..










Monday, October 24, 2005

Sun, Mountains Missing

Maybe it's good to have several overcast days in a row as a reminder of just how much I love the sun shining brightly.

The light of the day was good for taking some pictures of flowers that I was unable to capture previously in the sunlight.

I missed seeing the mountains on Monday. They are my talisman these days. The sky was drearier than it has been in a while without actually raining all day, or so it seemed. But a day that started in one mood, wound up as another by day's end. Nothing changed. Everything changed.

It was drizzling and foggy while I was driving and the transition to the last freeway home was blocked off requiring a detour (a mildly anxiety provoking thing in the dark and fog). But even that didn't affect me negatively. Maybe it is that when I arrived home, I was relieved to have arrived and have one half day of work completed; or perhaps my opinion about reframing blah feelings when possible, was working unconsciously all afternoon. Perhaps it was the flowers and bright things I deliberately sought to view on my walk before going to see a client this evening.

Whatever the cause, the result was a positive difference and so the post i was working on this morning is irrelevant except to my private journal. In recognizing and not consciously doing anything about feeling out of balance, some measure of balance was found.

When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance. The Tao Te Ching translated by S. Mitchell

... maybe... or at least it might seem easier.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 142

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Infiltration:: secretly
  2. Nice person:: know some
  3. Debt:: not much
  4. Settle down:: been there, done that- ready for something slightly different... not radically different though...
  5. Thomas:: guide- a most necessary car companion, though a GPS programmable navigator that speaks would be nice
  6. Unforgivable:: forgiveness is one of the keys to healing emotional wounds
  7. Medicine:: quality of life issues
  8. A year from now:: too many possible changes, too far ahead to see clearly
  9. Neighbors:: a typical middle class angeleno mix of races and cultures
  10. Dripping:: wet
Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Friday views

"I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered." ~Nicholas Sparks

Perhaps not every moment of every day... but some part of it spent in that way seems to make the whole better.

Thursday I started working on a post about my apparent theme of the month (year, decade, life?) - balance and acceptance, but somewhere between its start, the day, day's end and taking photographs of the evening, I was interupted by the sound of military jets patroling Los Angeles (Shrub in town). At one point one of them was very low (for military jets) over Sunland, doing tight turns and barrel rolls which brought all the neighbors out to watch. The picture taking was interupted, the post and thoughts I'll get back to at some point. There are things still percolating upward.

Here are a couple more views from my quick trip to the Wash on Friday evening (fewer power lines in the way). I think I need a dog so I can go hiking alone- I want to be in the Wash and the foothills around it, not just near the road, wishing.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The (slow) return of the sun

"Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable." ~ Denis Waitley

(original on Flickr; this one cropped and tweaked some with Picassa)

I am drawn to the sun appearing like this. It always feels a bit magical and hopeful.

The day began with another medical test (ultrasound of carotid arteries, which were fine), and has ended with me looking at photographs of the day taken in various locations. Class was mildly interesting (10 week seminar on higher ed counseling) and went quickly. I kept thinking that some of the things we were doing should be written into a computer program and probably are in some schools. We are meeting on another campus next week which could pose a problem for me driving home in the dark. The instructor knows; I'll handle it as I can.

Nothing to do with the day, but I was thinking about variations of the opening quote (like the serenity prayer). Figuring out which one categorizes any particular situation is indeed often more difficult than just doing one of them. I think I might have lived much of my life by two steps forward, one or sometimes three back and then a holding period of only reacting to situations and people. I've held on too long, left too early, and tried to change things that should have just been accepted. There were a few moments I found the right mix without trying... and there is a lesson in there somewhere.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Rainy day

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

~Langston Hughes

more raindrops and splashes

Well, it isn't April, but it did rain on Monday, accompanied by thunder and lightning, bits of hail, low clouds. I like a good thunderstorm if it doesn't last too long- a day or two is fine (more and mood seems to suffer). I couldn't resist trying to capture a few raindrops from the open door.

And for once I didn't feel guilty about telling work that I would not be driving to see clients tonight. I'm done with feeling as if I were slacking off. I'm not, and that's that. I'm relatively certain it won't be the last thing that I can't do any longer, so it is past time to get over it.

rainy day flowers cloud hugging mt. lukens

This was the view in the morning, on a quick walk about during a break between showers. The top of Mt. Lukens is completely enveloped with thick clouds.

On the top, the view Monday night from the upstairs window, contrasted with Sunday night's view from the ground (bottom)..

I'd like to say I was terrifically productive today, but instead I snuggled under blankets, read, took a little walk and a few pictures, answered a couple of emails and even dozed off a time or two. Everyone needs a day like that now and then... though, I could use a week or two of them.
wink pink

later edit: all the photos are on Flickr if anyone wanted to see more detail or a larger size

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 141

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. On the verge::
    wandering, nay meandering to the edges
    of forests filled with connection
    from start places of hardpan and granite.
    Almost touching
    never crossing.
    difficult re-tracing footsteps when looking back
    or to see ahead through the branches.

  2. Tempestuous:: on occasion ;-)
  3. Coherent:: in the middle of the day
  4. Near death:: not even
  5. Illiterate:: tragic
  6. Why not?:: indeed, why not?
  7. Period:: end, nothing left to say
  8. Long lost:: friends and lovers
  9. Torrid:: hot, emotional
  10. Nail:: perfect, hammer
Weekly Word List at Unconscious Mutterings

The Bubble Project

Very clever...

"I printed 15,000 of these bubble stickers place them on top of ads all over New York City. Passersby fill them in. I go back and photograph the results." ~from the Bubble Project

Check out the results.

The Bubble Project

credit for the find to Cloud Hidden

Saturday, October 15, 2005

rainbows and other gifts

"This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life." ~unknown

This was part of late afternoon's bounty. I took several shots, then quickly moved to where I might see it clear of the roofs, and it stayed visible, but was more red than a full rainbow. After taking several shots, drinking it in for a while then turning back towards the west, these were part of the sights that greeted me. (oh btw, none of these below were altered with photo software).

bits of Friday

This is from last year's Fall Festival, but is what I was helping create on Friday. When I was finished, I did a few more volunteer jobs, then wandered around to look at the preparations and take a few pictures. This is the major fund raiser for the year at the non-profit.

No Fall Festival would be complete without a pumpkin patch and this is also within the area that games, entertainment and a petting zoo were planned. Off to the left and barely visible because of the booth set up in front of the fences, is the stable and riding area.

What follows is a tiny sample of the scarecrows that the various clients and classes created to decorate for the event. Though the donor's names were not yet in place, the materials for these were paid for by various private and commercial people within the area.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Love Quiz- Buscaglia

"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." ~C. W. Leadbeater

perception, perception, perception... How we perceive things is how we believe they are..

I'm choosing to turn my focus outward.

Accepting all the medical junk as something that will be dealt with one thing at a time, I think these are  my goals for the day  (Leo Buscaglia, "Love Quiz")...

and to turn a couple of golf carts into  pumpkinmobiles,  as well as take a few pictures. Maybe there will be some of those to post later.


"Some things are not problems to be solved, they are facts to be coped with." ~Anonymous

"There are no facts, only interpretations." ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Which is true? Maybe only interpretation matters.. that, and how flexible one is about adopting a new interpretation when the parameters seem to change.

leeetttle tiny update from this afternoon's doctor visit:
It turns out the written assessment of the catscan says there is a possible midbrain lesion, not a lesion in the "back of my brain" or in the occipital lobe of the cerebral cortex. Both regions are involved with vision. As to the rest, my doc has no more clues than I do.

gifs from Stanford University- The HOPES Brain Tutorial

Thursday, October 13, 2005

ball rolling, wheel turning - first stop

"Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those you hold well" ~Josh Billings

I think I've used that quote before.. I sure hope I know how to play those I hold -well- when the time comes to play them. Timing is possibly everything. I keep telling myself to breathe, listen, relax, wait...

Everything is an opportunity to use my camera these days. There are quite a few casual passing conversations that happen because of that, too. Leaving Kaiser, I snapped off several shots of the snapdragons which were planted everywhere and several people commented about how pretty the flowers looked.

The snapdragons were in several beds in various places on the medical complex. Some of the buildings are in the pic below.

Wednesday was filled with lots of tests, though not an MRI- that's ordered along with several others. The neurologist was convinced before she saw me that I was there for a headache, though I've lived with those all my life. She spent much of our time asking about headaches and family history of diabetes and not much on listening to or asking about anything else. She did various reflexes, sensation, balance and coordination tests which uncovered a bit of loss of sensation in my feet and ankles that I didn't know about previously.

The bottom line as far as the neurologist is concerned, is that she thinks I had a small stroke (she didn't name the area, but said it was a back portion of my brain which would be the occipital lobe), and possibly have some diabetic damage to nerves (like the feet and eyes), even though I don't have diabetes. !!!???!!! I don't understand at all how that is possible. I also don't understand how a small stroke in the occipital lobe could result in intermittent eye problems. But she did say she will wait to be more definitive until she has the results of the various tests she ordered and the MRI.

I see my own doc in a while and have lots of questions. He tolerates them much better and generally doesn't let me know if he's made up his mind about something before I get a chance to speak. We are collaborative about my health, not him being directive, and he understands my level of medical knowledge and actually listens.

Breathe, listen, relax, wait... can't "play the cards well, any other way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

the post with no name

moon It's the same moon, no matter your perspective, yet the view is always different. On a more concrete note- this was taken Monday night when getting out of the car to see a client.

"The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy."

"The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation."

~Eudora Welty

I've been avoiding the news other than very local things- but of course it creeps in and touches me. I just can't bear to think long about the various tragedies around the world or even within the U.S. outside the boundaries of Los Angeles. I know how selfish that seems, but severe overload set in with Katrina. I don't seem to be able to witness these things on the news without feeling overwhelming sorrow and frustration. Those two emotions are not helpful to me or anyone else right now, so I turn away.

It is selfish, but also self preservationist of me. I can't help anywhere if I can't get out of my own stew, so to speak... so I hear and see from my peripheral vision and allow only the smallest bits of the heartbreak of another massive human tragedy to reach the inner places. This tragedy too could have been largely prevented- not the quake, but the human losses. Money is always the issue. A 7.6 quake would do massive damage here, but result in much fewer deaths. Which leads to thinking about governments, countries, have's and have nots. I don't know any answers... and thinking along those lines feels too massive to contemplate a fix... which sends me back to quietly sweeping up my own corner of the planet - community, clients, home - me included.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Stealing a phrase from Andy for the title of the post, here are some pictures from Saturday that have nothing to do with the rest of the notes at the end, but everything to do with keeping my sanity somewhat intact..

Hawk that I wished I had a telephoto lens to photograph... the photo is highly tweaked with picassa. One of the crows was pestering this hawk in the air, flying it into this tree (at the edge of our property). The hawk fussed about in what appears to be a crow's nest then flew to lower branches. Meanwhile the crow kept up a constant squawking signaling its upset with the hawk- but from a safe distance even though they were close to the same size.

With a little squinting and imagination this looks a bit like a hand with an upturned palm, fingers slightly curled and thumb on top... Anyone see it, or something else?

I took a huge number of photographs of various lilies on the property on Saturday. A surprising number of the closeups came out well (a reason to use my left eye to focus more often, perhaps?), but I can't choose among them to post just one (there are a few on Flickr), so offer up this grouping.

And the more personal...
Yippie... I have a neurologist appointment on Wednesday morning (seeing my own doctor on Thursday afternoon).... wheels turning, ball rolling... and they called me!

well... Ok, not yippie that I need to go, but yippie that the system works even when one doesn't patiently follow the long winding yellow line.

I am not going to turn this into a medical condition blog.. but I don't think I will hide whatever comes next, though I'm of mixed minds. I'm still me, this is still a personal journal and I have tried to use this to reflect some aspects of me that don't get a chance to be expressed in the face to face world.

I want to thank Chameleon at Redemption Blues for the wonderful photograph she dedicated to me on her website. I am quite touched by the gesture and words fail me. It now resides in my rotating wallpaper and screensaver program where I can get lost in the marvelous image.