Saturday, December 24, 2005


mani2-anim digital prayer wheel

Prayer Wheels

meaning of the mantra

Love and Compassion is what I wish for the world... If we fill ourselves with and practice those, Peace and Happiness will surely follow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter Solstice

Among other things it is the beginning of the new solar year, the shortest day and the longest night of the year, the day the Sun is the closest to the Earth, the first day of winter in Western calendars... The Winter Solstice has held religious and/or spiritual significance for many humans dating back thousands of years.

In my heart and home it is the opening day of a period of festivities that ends after the official New Year's Day on the calendar. A little cedar and sage smudging, a sprinkling of special dried herbs, a candle for the darkness, lights and holly garlands for the (fake) tree which was first lit tonight... and a hope that the winter will be followed by a good spring.

My best wishes for everyone in that regard.

But Happy Winter Solstice to all (or just Happy Solstice, since the southern part of the planet is heading into summer)- doesn't have quite the same ring as Happy Holidays, does it? Bah humbug on the other controversy- I think it is silly. Whatever you celebrate- call things how you wish, be considerate of other's beliefs. Simple really.

In my larger extended (and scattered across the country coast to coast) family, a great number of different holidays are celebrated this time of year. I've still preparations to finish, remembrances to send (and shopping to do) and a list that grows instead of showing signs of being completed. Oh well, everything that needs to be done will get done as it does. I am certain of it. Let the celebrating begin.

not so itsy bitsy...

And now for a bit of levity:

"Our egos tells us we're the only ones that have any kind of feelings. We're the only ones with a relationship. We're the only ones with family. You know, I think that if you kill a spider, there is a relationship that you're ruining. There's a conversation going on outside with the other spiders. 'Did you hear about Chris?....Killed yeah....Sneaker. And now Stephanie has nine hundred babies to raise all alone. Well, she's got her legs full I'll tell you that right now. Chris was so kind, wouldn't hurt a fly. It's just been tough for them lately. They just lost their web last week. Those humans think they're so smart. Let them try shooting silk out of their butt and see what they can make.'" ~Ellen DeGeneres

I heard birds fussing excitedly in the trees when I was about to leave to see my first client today. It appeared that something large was in the trees going after one of the nests, so I wandered over from my car with camera in hand to see what I could see. I thought perhaps it was a hawk or at the very least one of the crows, but I couldn't see any birds when I got to the stand of trees. Whatever was happening in the upper branches was finished.

But my brief delay wasn't a total loss as far as pictures go. I'm glad this creature is outside and not inside. Their kind creeps me out a bit, even more so after my recent experience with another unknown but undoubtedly, much smaller variety (whose inflicted wound still looks a bit like the Target graphic).

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

more political

Wirearchy linked a post by The Rude Pundit, which is worth reading and so I wandered to the current posts and found this one which sounds rather similar to a few of the things I was thinking listening to Bush..... though these are written oh so much more cleverly: The Rude Pundit : Live Vodka Shot Bloggin' of the President's Press Conference

Yeah, that makes two posts in two days on Tangents about the Bushies and Corner languishes and dies waiting only for the old posts to be moved. I can't resist an occasional scream in the dark, somewhere. Sorry.... Sort of...
I try to channel my outrage into something useful, at the very least emails and faxes to Congress (not that those are always useful except in the overall tally of  for and ag'in's to put a little fear about a re-election into some Congressperson)- but sometimes venting elsewhere is necessary.

Contact Representatives
Contact Senators

Tiny Moments of a Day

"In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you."
~Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Lovely skies...
Cheery sunshine flowers...
Trees with personality...

Strange clouds in the sky...
Beautiful sunset...

"Happiness is not a brilliant climax to years of grim struggle and anxiety. It is a long succession of little decisions simply to be happy in the moment."
~J. Donald Walters

Too many things to do, places to be, things that need finishing before the weekend, plus a growing sense of uneasiness that there are too many things for too little free time if I intend to get the amount of sleep I also need. Stopping for the little moments along the way becomes one of my most important coping mechanisms.

What are yours?

I cheated... this is being posted before midnight, so Tuesday will have a post.

Monday, December 19, 2005

"When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out"

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.

When they came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
~Pastor Martin Niemöller (Wikipedia)

Bush vows more eavesdropping

Bush Defends Eavesdropping Program

Bush Calls Blockage of Patriot Act 'Inexcusable'

There are more stories of course. I am sure you can find some of your own, depending on which side of this you are on. I oppose many if not most provisions of the Patriot Act. I oppose spying on U.S. citizens outside the parameters of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which in itself is a rather loose protection since the courts almost always go along with whatever the government wants. There is a middle ground. Urge your representatives and Senators to find it.

And for goodness sakes, tell them to stop Christmas tree bills. It is past time for a law that forbids Congress to add endless amendments that have nothing to do with the original legislation.

Do I sound a bit angry? I am. I shouldn't watch CSpan in the morning..

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
~Benjamin Franklin

the calendar changes date

Calendar changes date
though not yet done with the old day. Stopping
past the midnight hour,
and in a blink the clock moves past
creeps onward to two.
Alarms and sunlight will come
too soon. once again
Awake mind tumbling, stumbling,
tripping over
facts, to-do's, people close and far,
lives lived and living, futures not here
time passed and passing.
Joy, sorrow, tears, laughter.
Demands self imposed, work, appointments, chores, errands,
The week ahead
Running out of time before it begins.
Seeming unendless lists of unscratched off items,
to those overloaded camel and precarious one more straw
proportions and elusive balance.
Silence surrounds me
except within...
and the calendar changes date.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 150

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Replenish:: supplies, energy, strength
  2. People:: accept them as they are
  3. Trend:: up or downward direction of statistic
  4. Girlfriends:: important-- need to allot more time to cultivate this essential aspect of life
  5. Spirit:: soaring or at least I wish it was, prefer it that way
  6. Banshee:: devils of destruction
  7. Oasis:: aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... trying to create one of light and calm
  8. Thrills:: amusement park rides which I mostly dislike is the first thing that comes to mind; second thought is- cheap
  9. Fountain:: of youth, located somewhere in the mind
  10. Boxes:: of junk, of decorations, of papers, of books, of supplies- all hiding things i can't find when I need and want them; a significant portion of my life is packed away in them, probably just figuratively
Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings. "Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Wandering around comparing Google Earth to Windows Live Local, there is no comparison when looking at remote areas like the place I grew up. There might be more detail and better pictures for large cities, but out in the boonies all one sees is a bland map with WLL.

Here is the Google Earth map:

I can't download a pic from Windows Live Local, but I do have a link to the map generated from similar parameters.

I was completely surprised to find that the Lake Lemon Conservancy District has an entry on Wikipedia with the history, management and external links for the lake. My Dad was one of the key players in forming the Conservancy District, and president of the Conservancy for a few years. He is still very active in the decision making. In the Wikipedia article there is mention of the various wildlife that inhabit the area including Bald Eagles, the kinds of fish (2 dozen varieties according to Wikipedia), and of course all the details like overall size, depth and shoreline.

This is a pic from the LLCD website, used shamelessly without permission. I haven't been home in a while.. it's past time for a visit.

It was a great place to grow up. We spent time on the water, in the water and in the surrounding forests and hills. I knew all the best coves, the best places to fish, the best places for day dreaming and drifting or finding wild herbs and mushrooms. Winters were full of ice skating and a few snow days where no one could get to anywhere. It always took a couple of days for the snowplows to reach us. This time of year the ground was snow covered of course- at least in all my memories.

As a side note, it amazes me as time goes on how much information is available on the internet even compared to just five years ago.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Learning styles inventory

Usually not strongly dominant in any one particular area (I use different strengths for different things), this learning styles inventory result is similar to others I have taken, except for having a category for social and solitary. Most of the ones I have found useful focus on slightly different areas- such as kinesthetic, visual, and auditory. A good instructor uses all to reach the majority of students in a group. One on one, it is useful to use a particular student's dominant areas- which means that it is useful to be able to use different styles to teach or guide.

Style Scores (each area is 20 maximum).
Visual 13
Aural 11
Verbal 13
Physical 10
Logical 10
Social 8
Solitary 18

Try it yourself for free at Learning Styles Online.Further information on the various styles are also available for free.

I have no idea what sent me in search of psychometric tests this night. I started out looking for a quality of life inventory and one thing led to another. My stop at Starbucks around 4 pm, probably helped keep me going today through a 10.5 hour work day with no long breaks or a real lunch.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Crows, days and changes

"Learn one thing from a lion; one from a crane; four a cock; five from a crow; six from a dog; and three from an ass." ~Chanakya

One of my spirit guides has been a crow... Among other things he/she shows up in my dreams to point out something significant and sometimes speaks English or at least it seems that way to me. Often when I have dreamt of this crow, I see crows everywhere the next day when turning over whatever thing has been pointed out in my dream. The logical part of me says it is just that I notice them more.. the other side of me thinks signs.

When I was briskly walking daily first thing in the morning a few years ago, a group of crows would show up every day and perch on different high points and turns of the roughly oval .2 mile route I would walk in the complex driveways. They would stay perched like guardians as I walked and meditated for 1-2 miles, only talking if my focus wavered- as if they knew. That isn't my only encounter with odd behavior from crows seemingly connected to or directed at me in the physical world.

In various mythologies, crows are often thought to be messengers between the physical and spirit world. In my dreams, they frequently signal change... change needed or change coming.

The crow of these two pictures was on campus last week.

This week is full of places to be early every morning (Tuesday could be a 12 hour day with clients) and afternoon- clients with extra needs and hours, medical appointments, an office holiday gathering, routine errands, plus checking on that University paperwork problem and possibly driving to campus somehow on one of the days. I did this all to myself. I need to learn to plan a little better, to be a little less optimistic when setting up weeks with extra appointments.

Past about 7 hours on a good day, I start fading fast and this week I'm dealing with new/old autoimmune symptoms just like 30 years ago, which was a surprise (If something has been more or less in remission for thirty years, it ought to stay that way!!). A clue to lead the doctors with, is probably the best way to view this if I can't just ignore it or make it go away. Perhaps my crow will show up in dreams to tell me. Maybe an animal who could gift me with a little more stamina would be more helpful... or maybe infusions of caffeine at the right moments, will work. ;-)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 149

I say... and you think...
  1. Stalker:: scary
  2. Outrageous:: prices
  3. Carrying:: on
  4. Spirited:: discussion
  5. Oh!:: my!
  6. Grid:: search
  7. Country:: political boundary
  8. Karen:: Valentine
  9. Candles:: scented
  10. Relationship:: connection
Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Night Skies

According to Space, after sunset Sunday night should be interesting for stargazers even without a telescope. Venus should be shining in the South at its "maximum brightness for 2005" and Luna and Mars will be "having a close encounter" in the East. They say that "through a telescope, Venus appears to be a tiny crescent".

If I can just remember for 24 hours, I might get a picture or two.

Tuesday and Wednesday should be the peak of the Geminid meteor shower, but the almost full moon will probably block out most of them. I'm not sure I can get up before dawn when Luna will be "at or below the horizon" (between 5 am and dawn).

Space has some interesting information on a variety of topics like sunspots, auroras, magnetic storms, near Earth asteroids and more.

Friday, December 09, 2005

"change the world and have a hell of a good time"

I am subscribed to several newsletters on a variety of topics including some quotations. Since I don't seem to be able to sleep tonight (naps at 9 pm aren't good ideas), and the mood within is restless (comes from having all the outside things caught up and only the inside things and housework to deal with), I decided to catch up on a little mail before trying again to sleep.

Some pieces from wisdom quotes:

"An Italian poet said, "We live in a flash of light; evening comes and it is night forever." It’s only a flash and we waste it. We waste it with our anxiety, our worries, our concerns, our burdens." ~Anthony de Mello, 20th century Jesuit priest

"The way to really live is to die. The passport to living is to imagine yourself in your grave. Imagine you’re lying in your coffin….Now look at your problems from that viewpoint. Changes everything, doesn’t it?"
~ also Anthony de Mello

"If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning." ~ Gandhi (1869-1948)

"Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality." ~ Wayne Dyer, psychologist, self help author

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes, this makes planning the day difficult." ~ E. B. White (1899-1985) American writer

Sounds like a good way to start a day; problems aren't really problems when looked at in a different frame of reference, and making a difference is always my goal - one tiny little fragment at a time. Having a good time while doing seems a very important condition. To me there is no point getting up dreading or feeling indifferent to the start of each new day. Been there, done that.. the hole one sinks into can be very dark and deep. I choose the light...

...and now sleep..

Thursday, December 08, 2005

not ready to compromise

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise." ~Robert Fritz

Today was a longer day than I had hoped, but not too much more than I expected. It began early with one of the first of the day appointments with the optometrist at Kaiser who has a unique sense of humor and apparently makes notes in his files about obscure personal details because he asked and mentioned things that have nothing to do with vision and everything to do with keeping things friendly and light-hearted. My overall vision (not the weird episodes of single eye blurring) has worsened enough that a new prescription and glasses were necessary and it was suggested that I come back in 9-12 months instead of 18 next time. The expense is one I hadn't planned.
Some of the positive things about going in early in the morning:
Parking cost the minimum amount since there are no attendants at the lots until later.
There is minimal waiting time because they haven't had a chance to get behind.

I see the opthamologist again next week and then I only need to squeeze in one more medical visit this month. I am tired of seeing white coats and I have spent a couple of paychecks with this recent stuff and the new glasses (not counting medications). I fear turning into the old woman who tells everyone about every ache and pain and medical pronouncement. ;-)

This was the last day of classes and I got through all the university paperwork needed for reinstatement and also financial aid, though I still need to go back when they process it (hopefully one week), pay them cash and then make sure that everyone turns in grades on special forms.

And perhaps most importantly to looking forward:

I picked up the application for the second master of science in counseling degree, for the MFC option, got the advisor's office location and telephone number to make an appointment. The application deadline is February. I need to decide within the next couple of weeks so that there is time to gather the necessary paperwork and letters of recommendation.

In addition, I was discussing with another aging boomer of the same decade, the goal of a Psy.D (clinical psychology doctorate- sans research). He intends to go for that goal and his boss who is about five years older than I am has just begun that course of study. It was a dream of mine. Perhaps I should quit thinking of myself as being too old and tired to reach that goal, and instead consider that I always intended to keep working at least part time and die "with my boots on" (there was a wonderful past post at Sacred Ordinary with a picture of beautiful boots talking a little about this, but I couldn't find it and it's past time for sleep.)

Dr. "Stormwind", psychologist, sounds like a pretty good way to use the end part of my life, too.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Changing the mood

When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the
darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen....
There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.

~Patrick Overton; Richard Bach

more photos from Thanksgiving...

Today was a good day, despite some residual hangover from having a reaction to a pesticide that had been sprayed in a client's home yesterday.

The work was the same, the same personal health problems that have been simmering along are still here with more medical appointments that must be kept; the University paperwork problem is still unsolved and waiting for me when I arrive on campus on Wednesday, but I felt different today. I suppose that is some sort of mood swing that could be attributed to brain chemistry, or maybe it was the crisp blue sky this afternoon or the bright clear night sky that allowed me to see more than the usual number of stars. Or perhaps it was the email from a friend over the weekend, or playing my own mix of pop/rock/blues music in the car or simply deciding that the old mood is not one I wish to stay within. Whatever the reason, it was a welcome change and it feels as if no matter what happens, the rest of the week will be easier to endure.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 148

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Amazing:: sunsets
  2. Delights:: for the senses, for the soul
  3. Inspired:: solutions
  4. Disgusted:: with government
  5. You:: are special
  6. Vagina:: Monologues
  7. Palm:: trees
  8. Sweetheart:: no one's
  9. Guilt:: trip
  10. More to come:: stay tuned
Join in- Weekly word list at Unconscious Mutterings

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday already????

"Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible" ~Javier Pascual Salcedo

I am in University paperwork hell. A letter arrived last night saying I was "disenrolled" for the fall quarter (one week before final exams) for non payment of a $150.00 balance that shouldn't be there. Since I have a University Grant that covers tuition and fees, and a student loan that disburses an amount each quarter that covers other expenses and books after being run through the cashier's office for outstanding balances, this was a complete puzzle to me. Speaking to several different departments on the telephone, they and I have no idea why they only used a portion of the grant and decided to bill me for the rest.

So next week will be spent filling out forms for reinstatement, getting them to accept a payment from me (before reinstatement) and trying to figure out what went wrong with financial aid who says there is a form that I didn't submit. I am certain I did this in August and October, but they don't have the paperwork and of course, I didn't make any copies. I will submit all those various forms, and cross my fingers since I intend to give my final exam presentation on Wednesday evening. Arrggghhh.

Otherwise this has also been an up and down week. There have been lots of good days, laughter and smiles. I am meeting a new client next week and I have a glimmer of what my expanded job role may include in January. But the week has also contained some soul searching moments trying to figure out why certain things that are emotionally painful are the way they seem to be. Analyzing things isn't always the way to acceptance. Often, not analyzing is a better route.

I have been troubled by some lingering feelings from a relationship that feels like a heart wrenching loss when examined closely- the kind that leaves a huge aching hole that isn't likely to ever be filled. These are not new feelings for this particular relationship, but for so long- perhaps too long- I have been holding on to hope that at least a shadow of the friendship could be salvaged and refusing to deal with the feelings of loss. It is past time to accept my feelings as they are, mourn the loss and move on. If something changes later that would be great, but not dealing with what is now, is causing difficulties for me.

"When we come into the present, we begin to feel the life around us again, but we also encounter whatever we have been avoiding. We must have the courage to face whatever is present / our pain, our desires, our grief, our loss, our secret hopes our love / everything that moves us most deeply." ~Jack Kornfield