Monday, August 31, 2009
Don't start reading it now or in the near future.
I urge you, really.
On a lighter note. indications are a Category IV hurricane is headed our way.
We do, indeed, live in interesting times.
Thank you Quebec for flying in your Super Scoopers. You have probably saved many lives and structures.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
On the anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we here in Southern California attest to nature's power and whim.
Friday, August 28, 2009
My first visit came two weeks after the abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard. The picture above could be found on posters in every store, restaurant, hotel and casino in town, and pink ribbons were being worn everywhere. Several of the children in the congregation had known her, and one had played on a team with her. All of the parents were distraught and anxious about letting their own children out of their sight in this small and lovely town in which they had chosen to raise their families.
Yesterday, I saw that picture again as the astounding news broke that Jaycee Dugard had been found after having been kept captive all those years, not more than a three hour drive from South Lake Tahoe. As the disturbing details of her captivity emerge, I am thinking of her. I think of all her contemporaries, the children I knew in South Lake Tahoe who grew up in the security of their homes, went to school and played sports, went to college or to work or to military service, had social lives and love lives and professional lives, the kind of life that Jaycee would probably have had if she had not been abducted. I think of how many changes there have been in my own adult life from then until now. I pray that Jaycee and her children may find some semblance of a secure and happy life from this point on.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here's what I have to say to the bees: Listen; these are fellow creatures trying to help you. If they can, they will save your home and environment as well as ours. Give them a break and bee nice.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A businessman named Will Herron, dreamed a dream of a huge thermometer for 25 years before he built his dream in California's high desert.
The World's Largest Thermometer is 134-ft.-tall, symbolic of the record breaking high temperature in Death Valley -- 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. Apparently it's never been hotter anyplace.
Herron had the thermometer constructed by Electric Sign Co. of Las Vegas (manufacturers of many lights on the Vegas strip). They used 33 tons of steel, and almost 5,000 lamps to create the three-sided digital display. After strong winds broke the thermometer, smashing a gift shop under construction, it was rebuilt, and eventually filled with concrete so that it would survive just about anything.
Obviously, though, not everything.
In this era of failed just about everything, it is with deep sadness that I report the demise of the Baker thermometer. It's still really tall. The post cards and road side signs, though, have changed. Baker is now the proud home of the World's Tallest Broken Thermometer.
I guess that's still something to write home about unless, of course, you live in Baker.
As a boy named John, the high school love of my life, wrote in my year book after I had dramatically ended our relationship during a speed test in our typing class, "Time flies and things change."
Wow! Was he ever right.
Hopefully John doesn't at this time live in Baker. Hearts broken twice are sad to behold.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Iris Murdoch, in an interview with Sarah Booth Conroy, published in the Washington Post 3-18-90.
--which is just yet *another* reason to go see live magicians perform, you know, *live.* Doing so will make you wiser, more subtle, AND more reverent toward God.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I'm glad that we are having to think about water. Considering how important it is, we should be mindful about how we use it. Senseless wastefulness in anything really is not one of our sacred rights as Americans.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Here are some more thoughts about considering change.
We need to give ourselves a pretty good reason to climb out of our six foot deep Oregon Trail ruts and choose a different path.
In the case of conserving water, information about the global water crisis might be sufficient motivation to cut our showers down to five minutes. Perhaps, possibly, probably not, though. Here in Southern California our cities have apparently already figured that out and have put in place a system of monetary fines if we fail to cut down on the amount of water we use. Ploughing through back water bills, the cities came up with how much water we should be using per household and upon that amount they base their fine structure. We can also be fined for obvious wastes of water and for failing to adhere to imposed days on which to water our gardens. Okay. I get it. We choose change to avoid penalty. That's another good reason.
Whatever reason we choose, giving ourselves a good reason to change helps us change.
Sounds easy, right? Yeah. Sure. When was the last time you flossed?
In order to change our behaviors we need a motivator. The approaching dental appointment generally send me to the bathroom drawer looking for the floss.
First thing about change then? Give yourself a good enough reason because change takes energy and planning.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Daniel Klein loves the English language. I couldn't put this book down and on top of that on page 86 I learned the meaning of the word 'audodidact'.
I can well imagine my two cats talking to each other in this manner as one peers out the window and the other is on the window ledge glaring at a wild cottontail. They both vie for the ledge which is the better view of the bunny. I look out and tell the rabbit he's soooo lucky my two cats are inside and can't get out. I've become quite fond of Mr. Rabbit so much so that I refuse to repair my back yard wooden fence that has a slat missing. I love Mr. Bunny to visit my yard. It reminds me that all is well and good in Mother Nature.
Friday, August 14, 2009
"Hi," I said which was sufficiently out of character to cause low level alarm in my Friday regular.
The regular, being brave of heart and kind of spirit, turned to face me.
"Are you ready for the weekend," I asked with earnest good intention spilling from my every pore.
Her smile was immediate and broad.
"You better believe I am."
This variation on a theme threw me for a second but I quickly recovered and replied with enthusiasm to match hers.
"Me too," fairly shouted I.
When I returned to the privacy of my office I gave myself a high five and then went back to work.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Go Jen Go!!!! We're rooting for you!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
So goes the saying and so arrives the first aspect of change. Understanding can provide motivation and motivation is necessary for change.
'Dawn of a thirsty century' by Alex Kirby and published by BBC News Online might help us consider turning off the faucet.
The amount of water in the world is limited. The human race, and the other species which share the planet, cannot expect an infinite supply.
Water covers about two-thirds of the Earth's surface, admittedly. But most is too salty for use.
Of what is left, about 20% is in remote areas, and much of the rest arrives at the wrong time and place, as monsoons and floods.
Humans have available less than 0.08% of all the Earth's water. Yet over the next two decades our use is estimated to increase by about 40%.
Monday, August 10, 2009
That's okay with me.
This does, however, involve behavioral change and we know that change is difficult. Whether we're trying to change the length of our showers or the amount we eat or how much we exercise or how many pages we write a day, change is tough. Understanding change can make change easier and thus possible.
One of the first steps in any change is understanding the reason for the change. Because the various water companies say so probably isn't enough to create significant and lasting change if we happen to be talking about changing the length of our showers to five minutes from however many minutes are in I'll get out when I feel like it.
Since it's rarely about what it appears to be about, I'm going to write over the next several days about change. I'll probably address our Southern California need to conserve water as the specific change. But change is change is change.
Whatever behavior we want to change, we can -- after all -- do it only one drop at a time.
However, we also have a Family Dog and two Family Cats. I wish they took care of their own toileting tasks, but they don't. I also wish they could fix their own meals and get themselves jobs, but that is another post for another time. Suffice it to say that I use plastic grocery bags to take care of their needs. Having been a good citizen for the last few months, I have used up the backlog of pastic grocery bags. For this purpose, reusable canvas bags are not advised. What should I do? I have seen rolls of plastic bags for sale at the pet store, but it seems kind of ridiculous to pass up the free bags at the market and then pay for a roll of them at the pet store. On the other hand, the other shoppers glare at me when I ask for plastic instead of bringing my own bags. Any solutions to my situation here?
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The Friday after receiving the script none of my usual interrogators approached me. I was left waiting in the wings of social repartee's theater.
Yesterday, though, my moment came.
A colleague approached me with clear dread written on her face. She took a deep breath and once again asked the inevitable Friday question.
"Are you ready for the weekend?"
My mind froze. My moment had come. I paused to collect my thoughts and my courage. Her expression began to change from that of polite expectation to one of pity. I knew that if I didn't speak soon the expression would move from pity to defeat and she would once again walk away confounded by my inability to participate in the game of mindless social exchanges.
And then I did it.
"Boy am I!" I said probably a bit too late and with just a tad too much enthusiasm.
Never the less, my Friday interrogator appeared first stunned and then thrilled.
Her reply mirrored my exuberance.
There. We were done. And just in the nick of time.
We had exchanged no useful information. Apparently, however, we had exchanged something more valuable than information. We shared good feelings and positive energy.
Boy am I!
Friday, August 7, 2009
I wore the new sandals out of the store, and went about my day. When I got home the sandals were entirely comfortable except for that spot on the left ankle. I sandpapered it. No help. When I realized that I wasn't wearing my expensive new shoes because I expected them to hurt, I got out the candles. I rubbed wax on the left ankle strap. No more problems. I'm not your mom, but I'm giving you this advice anyway. It really works.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I walked into the lobby of the agency where I work. Already television news showed live footage of the fire. I recognized the area. My friend was right. The fire was near my home. I left work immediately. The ordinarily forty minute drive home took over two hours. I had plenty of time to think about the meaning of possessions.
I had even more time to think about the meaning of friends. Those thoughts were interrupted by another friend calling to check on our well being and to offer, should the need arise, shelter. Finally home, I watched water dumping helicopters make back and forth trips from the fire to reservoirs or ponds of lakes -- to anyplace with enough water to fill the buckets.
This morning more friends called or dropped by to say, "Don't forget...anytime you need something...Everything okay..."
Here in high fire danger land we get frequent reminders of shelter's fragility and of friendship's power.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Yes! My friend's cousin is the husband of one of the two women.
The world got just a little smaller as I got it, really got it, that I was connected to these women all along. We are all connected all of the time. Most of the time, though, we just don't know in what way. My friend's joy reminded me of that connection.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Counters are great places to sit, too. I like them because I get to be in the middle of the coffee shop action. This morning, though, we felt like boothing it.
Right after we sat down, a man and woman entered, looked around them and then with stern faces walked to the remaining empty counter. Five stools from which to choose two. The man chose the second stool from the end and the woman sat next to them. Their decision made it impossible for a party of three to sit together. I thought things might get interesting and they did very quickly. In walked a party of three. There were only three remaining places to sit. The party of three, with not a stern face among them, walked directly to the counter. They stood in back of the seated party of two. One of the three cleared a throat. Another tapped a foot. Neither member of the party of two indicated any awareness of people behind. Finally one of the three tapped the guy of the two on the shoulder. Several times, it worked out, before the guy turned around. Even after being asked to move down one stool, no one moved. I thought this could be the most exciting day ever in the Toasted Bun's long history of, well, not very exciting days. Eventually, though, the guy stood up and moved down to the end stool and then his friend did the same.
As things wound down I thought what a perfect time it would be for the traveling bag pipers who frequent the Toasted Bun to show up instruments and all. They didn't, though.
There is a logic to eating in a coffee shop. It's probably the same logic needed for a lot of life.
Think ahead and try to be kind because you never know when the pipers will play.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
And Michael Jackson?
You're Still #1!