Archive for August, 2008

Weekend Windows Update on Mars

Posted on August 31, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Games, Musings, Science |

(No, not that “Windows”, not that “Weekend Update”, and it didn’t actually take place on “Mars”, but I just had to get some Mars news in, too…)

This is really meant to be an update on several posts I’ve made recently. My “Valance was out of Balance” as I reported in this post. I’d thought, as that adventure was winding down, that I’d obtain store-bought valances, and a really long curtain rod to hang them on and be done with the whole thing.

Then, my stubborn streak kicked in. I’m able to keep that formidable streak in fairly good control most of the time (I patronize it a bit, by telling it what a “nice” streak it is, and how it’s “helped” me on numerous occasions, but this time it saw through my platitudes and stubbornly decided to continue to be stubborn.)

I realized, by examining various woven wood, grass, and bamboo shades in the stores (something I might have considered doing before attempting to make my own valance!) :oops: that the reason my valance was sagging so unattractively and so unevenly, was because, as it was originally designed as a table runner, all the individual sticks that were stitched together were meant to lie on a flat surface (DUH!!!) and therefore were sewn vertically, and that woven shades, meant to be hung (with gravity being the force that it is) were sewn horizontally. Hah! What a discovery! Undaunted, I took the valance down, put it on the floor, lined up all the little individual sticks once again—and then proceeded to drill sets of two small holes every two inches all along the header. I then found a tapestry needle somewhere, and some really strong thread, and went along sewing and tying knots all along the header. I do not sew! I’m in complete denial that I even know the first thing about it! See what stubbornness can drive a person to?

So, for now, anyway, it’s staying straight; looks good. My valance is back in balance.

As for Mars, and in a related story, Biosphere II, I’m delighted to report that the Phoenix Lander is doing so well, and that the weather on Mars is so hospitable, that the lander is going to continue to be able to do experiments for at least another month (earth time). In addition to observing and testing ICE (and therefore WATER), the lander will now explore whether certain areas of Mars could once have been habitable. If so, they may be again, with a bit of terra-forming. Full story here.

Biosphere II is doing some really good work now in its latest incarnation. There is a ten minute interview here, which explains some of the hydrology and biological systems work they’re doing, and what interested me the most is a facility which will be open to the public to view and test which kinds of alternative energy sources would be best for a particular home or business. Here in Arizona we’re having local elections on Tuesday, and some of the candidates are running on a “solar” platform. With 300 days of sunshine a year here, there is no reason (other than the initial financial investments) that most of our power cannot be solar! I’ve read that Germany has more solar power than we do, with many fewer sunny days; but they have government incentive programs to get it done. Wish us luck on Tuesday!

UPDATE: The “Solar Panel” of candidates won in Arizona! Yay! Now, let’s see what they do!

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Coffee and Pie

Posted on August 26, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Health, Music, Musings, Philosophy |

I received a very nice award from excellent ella of “From Scratch” fame. She’s sent me this:

A strong cup of coffee

I will admit to partaking of this brew several times a week, so it’s very much appreciated. Thanks ellaella! There’s nothing better with a (strong) cup of coffee than a nice refreshing piece of pie, so of course I went to get a link to ella’s blueberry pie post, and found this recipe for blueberry lemon biscuits on the front page. They looked so yummy I wanted to chew on my monitor. ;) She said that these would be the easiest biscuits I would ever make! I like that word “easy”. We’re not quite at the time of year when I’m willing to turn on the oven yet; it’s still too hot, but soon, ella, very soon!

However, after distracting me in that manner, her blog did disclose her amazing and wonderful blueberry pie—I knew it was there—which she doesn’t say is easy, but she does say, foolproof! That means I could make it!

So, with pie and coffee firmly in hand (or at least in blog), memories of a song my parents were fond of (as were their parents) began to surface. This is a depression-era song, written by Irving Berlin, and called Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee (and Let’s Have Another Piece of Pie). I think people who didn’t live through the depression sometimes think everyone was, well, depressed during that time. This exuberant song disproves that, and makes the point that joy can always be found, even in simple things like coffee (or beverage of your choice) and pie. This song also contains the famous phrase “Let a smile be your umbrella.” Indeed.

I chose this recording of the song because the joy and fun comes through loud and clear. It evokes the era with it’s focus on the 78rpm record those of the times would have had. It’s a great recording, scratches and all!

There are also all kinds of pie metaphors: pie charts; “easy as pie” One actually called The Pie Metaphor, and this, which suggests that while I may be enjoying my blueberry pie, you may have your very own cherry pie; enough variety for everyone!

Enjoy! In every sense (Enjoy means to embody joy! Sounds good to me.) Thank you ellaella for leading me down this road. Yum.

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My valance is out of balance

Posted on August 23, 2008. Filed under: HowTo, Musings, Philosophy |

I’m suffering from droopy drapes. I don’t like to make things with my hands. I’m not that sort of person. But, for some reason, I like to watch the home improvement programs on television. I’m fascinated as rooms are transformed from scary to nice. I’ve watched so many of these shows, I thought I’d tackle a project after all. My home came with vertical blinds at the one large sliding glass window that leads into the back yard. The blinds are just “OK”, off-white textured fabric over vinyl, but the top of the door/window is rather unattractive, and the hardware is unsightly.

Lest you think I’ve suddenly gone completely out of character and turned into a decorating blogger, let me assure you I have a reason for posting this, other than talking about what I “really” do in my spare time. I know this is a stretch, but: A “Valance” is a metaphor for life! There, you have it. (You may, of course, substitute any other term for “Valance”:  “Desk Chair”; “Linoleum”; “Cocker Spaniel”; “My Best Friend”.—it’s all the same.)

These aforementioned sliding glass doors were custom made for this home by the prior owner, therefore are not a standard size, so any window treatments I get for them must be custom made, at the cost of many dollars. So, I’ve put up with the boring (albeit custom) vertical blinds and their header for eight years now. Really, the attraction of that side of the house is the stunning mountain views outside it, so I wasn’t too bothered. Lately, though, (darn those home improvement programs!) I’ve noticed much more updated “wall windows” springing upon the scene, such as “French Doors” and “Energy Efficient Panels”.

My “sliders” apparently are hopelessly out of fashion, besides looking uggo. So, here is what I did: I always liked the look of natural grass or rattan shades, so I thought I could perhaps duplicate that look in a valance. Should I go to a fabric store? Probably not. A crafts store? Maybe. An import store…? Oh, look, I’ve found something. I’ll only admit to YOU (not to people who might actually see them) that I purchased two woven grass table runners. I really liked the look of them at the time, the width was perfect to cover up the yukky window tops, and I figured no one would know they were table runners once they were up.

You may start to see where this is going. :? OK, so how to get them up there? Easy! Velcro ‘em right onto the existing skinny little vinyl/fabric valance! After all, the runners were very light. Completed it—they looked great! Went to bed feeling good about a job well done, and saved XXX dollars! Got up the next morning—table runners on the floor, along with both halves of the Velcro.

You see why I don’t do these sorts of things? I’d seen similar projects on the TV, but none quite like mine. Also, there was another issue I’d pretended not to see the day before as I’d put them up and wanted it to be over. They’d looked great, I’d got them up straight, but…you could see light coming in the bottom half, which looked funny as the top half was against the existing valance.

Solution to light problem: a liner! I chose black contact paper. Makes sense? No? (Again, you can see where this is going.) Solution to the unstuck Velcro problem: staples!

Well I won’t annoy you with more details; suffice to say I did get the thing hung up again, and it stayed put, and there was no more light filtering through. Yay! …This was in the winter. It was chilly then.

It’s summer now, and the very hot sun shines directly on that window from sunrise through approximately 11 a.m. The black contact paper didn’t seem to like the intense sun very much. It started separating itself from the grass table runners. I think it wanted to get out of the sun and hide in the garage. So, now, the valance has droopy bits. If they were evenly spaced, I’d swear to all who might question it that I was in fact going for the “scalloped effect”. There’s no way that will fly, however. It’s disheartening to see, and no, I’m not going to put up a photo; trust me; you don’t want to see this.

Now, I’m debating whether to try a “last resort” attempt to mount the pesky little runners to a thin board or something, in effect making a cornice board. I’d have to have the wood cut at my local home store as I don’t (oddly enough) own a table saw. Or, and I’m increasingly leaning in this direction, I’m tempted to scratch the whole project, admit defeat, and buy some premanufactured fabric valances, and install the necessary hardware. I do have a cordless electric screwdriver, yahoo!

It’s just, there are so many styles out there, and I like a nice tailored look, and I’m not sure what to do. I’m feeling a bit like that in life at the moment, too. Part of my life is a little droopy, and starting to wilt, while other aspects look forward to something new and different. (These relate to jobs, groups I belong to, etc., but nothing dramatic, just a couple new crossroads.)

It may be a little weird to relate my life to window coverings, but philosophers tell us the inner reflects the outer and the other way around. It does seem that perhaps…if I get my Valance in Balance, my Stress will be Less! :)

images from JCPenney

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Tea and Brilliance

Posted on August 21, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Games, Musings |

I’d like to take a little break, and share a little tea, and celebrate an award I just received. I was lucky enough to receive the “Brillante Weblog Premio” Award. This is intended to be sent to blogs the sender thinks are “brilliant”, so of course, I’m flattered. And I’m doubly flattered. First, I received a link from sulz, who also awarded B0bbyG, who then proceded to award me as well! Thanks, both of you brilliant ones! ;)

Here it is, a little bigger; isn’t it pretty?

So, the rules are that I must keep the brilliance flowing, and award this to eight more bloggers. B0bbyG and sulz included some I also would have chosen, but I am blessed with knowing more brilliant and wonderful bloggers:

From Scratch (ellaella)

Idea Jump (Curious C)

JoanHarvest (whatever I think)

kaylee (a teenage blogger’s perspective)

seeing is a verb (the being of seeing)

Shane (out taking a ride)

teeveebee (do you see what I see?)

thebeadden (beads and action)

And while we’re admiring our awards, how about a cup of tea? I stole this from saw this quiz at raincoaster’s. Rain is certainly a brilliant blogger by any standard, but she only gets to be mentioned once.

You Are Green Tea
You are a well balanced person. You don’t have many highs or lows in your life.
You enjoy bursts of creative energy and productivity. But you also enjoy your downtime.You are insightful and philosophical. You don’t take much personally.
You are at peace with who you are. You don’t have an inflated sense of self.

What kind of tea are you?

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Blogosophy

Posted on August 18, 2008. Filed under: Health, Musings, Philosophy |

I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking about what it means to blog, lately, for a variety of reasons. I’ve said many times that an unexpected benefit has been finding new friends in this community. In a way, online friends are the ideal kind of friend for me. With the time delay inherent in writing a post, publishing a post, making comments, and responding to comments, it fits the way I think and react. :)

Of course there is no ultimate reality to the concept of “time” at all. We tend to think of it as a constant, but, for someone researching theoretical physics, it is simply a mental construct we’ve invented to interact as beings in physical reality. Time, in essence, “keeps everything from happening at once.”

I tend to feel most “me” when I have a role to play in a group, or, at the opposite side of the spectrum in one-on-one conversations. (I’ve always liked playing basketball one-on-one best as well.)  ;) Additionally, I don’t much like to discuss current events (unless they have something to do with science) or politics (unless it has something to do with science), so “party talk” is not my thing. I’m here on this planet to explore ideas, keeping in mind that “thoughts are things”.

So, blogging has felt like a good community for me as we’re interacting almost totally at the idea level, even within the friendships I’ve found. No good friendship sustains itself, however, without emotions getting involved at some point. I’ve watched a lot of emotion flung about online, and while I’m all for people having an outlet; a place to explore and deal with feelings, it seems prudent to take a step back and allow that time-delay element to come into play before posting a reaction.

Most people online, and locally, want to be heard, (or in online’s case, “read”) not advised. It is human nature to try to “fix” things for people, to make them “all better”. While this can sometimes be problematic in “real life”, in the online world it feels even more precarious. No matter how much we’ve read another’s blog, or emailed them, or IM’d them, there is still a lot of background in their personal lives we may not know, and haven’t been able to observe.

It seems that some, myself included, can rush to judgment, or advice, or to emoting themselves, based on the content of one post! While it’s fine to respond to a particular post, if the poster is encouraging comments, it’s not as fine, at least to me, to read into a post or an email things that just aren’t there, that may be emotional triggers for us. If we were with the person, in person, it might be a good idea to offer advice (and in my opinion, only if asked, even then), but I would hope this would come from some knowledge of the individual, or careful questioning of a newer acquaintance—much of which there simply hasn’t been time for in blog relationships.

I’m the first to say that online friendships are as real as local ones. Maybe it’s just me (probably is, in fact), but it takes me a good deal of time to consider someone a friend in my personal life. It may take even longer online, because we are exposed to just some aspects of a person, not the totality that is them. Every person and every relationship has its own individual pattern, but, generally speaking, I’m coming to think it may take approximately twice as long to see an online friend as a whole and complete entity; to imagine them having a full and complete life even when they’re not here with me in bloggieland! ;)

And, ironically, the online life seems to move much faster; to have its own compressed rate of interaction. When someone who generally posts regularly doesn’t post for three days, I sometimes wonder if they are OK; if something has happened to them. With a real life friend I wouldn’t dream of thinking such a thing after not hearing from them in three days, or eight, or two months…I just figure they’re off “doing their life”, as I am “doing mine”.

Time, again.

The weird thing about online acquaintances is, when I turn off my computer, you all go away. It’s not that I don’t think about you; I do. I’ll remember that blog friend X is going to a concert, or starting a new job, or just got a new pet. I’ll wonder how all that is going, just as I would with a local friend. I jut don’t have the same “gone away” feeling about people I know in person, even if I don’t see them for a long time. They leave whatever space we’ve occupied together for a length of time, but their consciousness is not shut off from my perception. This apparent dichotomy actually bothers me a little bit, and therefore I want to give it a “deep think”.

On the other hand, in another way, I’m much more aware, daily, even hourly sometimes, of online buddies, than I am of those I know in flesh and bone, and I’ve caught myself saying “I want to turn the computer on and see how everyone’s doing.” As if you all live in there—the CPU, or the monitor, or where? (You don’t, do you? Live in my computer, I mean?) And, what if I don’t have access to the Internet for a while? Do you cease to exist? Do I? We have no other way to communicate (in most cases), so how long would it take for you and I to start losing a sense of the reality of the other? :?

I realize this may all sound melancholy (I’m in a pensive mood), and I don’t want to give offense. To anyone reading this I’ve called my friend, or said you were important to me, I want you to know I meant that, sincerely. If I turned on the computer one day, and you weren’t in there, I’d miss you terribly! And of course I know you are real people, with real lives, somewhere. It’s a physical act to type on a keyboard, or speak into a microphone, or however else we may compose these posts. All I have, to know you are there, and that I have been here (in cyberspace) is code; pixels; the words and images of an intangible web. It doesn’t make you or I any the less valuable for that.

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Intercultural Communication

Posted on August 13, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Philosophy, Travel |

Peace

My post today consists of my interview from The Pakistani Spectator. This is an online magazine produced to discuss issues of interest to the Pakistani people, and how world issues impact them. In their words: “We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion.” They seem sincerely interested in providing a place for people to share their honest opinions about local and world events, and they’ve recently been doing a series of interviews with “notable passionate bloggers” from around the world.

I’m pleased to support their work, and thrilled they chose to interview me! The interview can be found HERE. (I’ve even included one or two personal details I don’t usually share here on the blog!)

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The Rainforest in the Desert

Posted on August 8, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Health, Science, Travel |

There is much of international interest in the news currently, and I’ll leave you to form your own opinions about those events. I focus here on a project which may benefit the worldwide community, and is located in my state of residence, Arizona, USA.

I’ve been fascinated to watch the developments of the latest NASA mission to Mars, involving the Phoenix Lander, and recently finding water on that planet. Although American in origin, I truly believe projects such as this can bring the world together to explore, at some point, colonizing either the moon, or the planet Mars. It is my fervent wish that extra-terrestrial planetary bodies will not be seen as the “property” of any one nation, but truly as the combined social and scientific explorations of many nations together.

In this spirit, albeit with a bit of local pride ;) I’d like to discuss Biosphere 2, located a scant 20 miles from where I sit typing.

Biosphere 2 has now fascinated me for two decades, from long before I actually lived nearby. I first visited with family during the 2-year experiment, when eight “Biospherians” entered and lived in this completely closed, and theoretically self-sustaining domed environment. It was meant to study, in close proximity, seven different earth environments including a rainforest and an ocean! (This, in the dry Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona; an area totally landlocked, and anything but tropical). The project also planned to study climate change and its effects on plant and animal life, long before the term “global warming” was coined.

During my first tour there, in the early 90s, the project was managed by its founders, Space Biosphere Ventures. We tourists were given a lecture, and then a guided tour around the outside of the facility. We were, of course, not allowed inside the sealed environment, as it was an active, live, two-year contained laboratory. There are articles I shall link to which tell the story of the construction and philosophy behind the project, but I feel it’s important to point out that it was privately funded, and designed to be self-sustaining.

I was startled to see one of the Biospherians hoeing a field in the intensive farming environment. It’s hard to give a sense of how huge the Biosphere is—it’s commonly referred to as being the size of three football fields, and “the largest closed system ever created”—but it is a truly amazing sight, both from a distance and close up. It took about two hours to walk all the way around it and see and be told all about what was going on inside.

Each Biospherian had their job to do. There was farming, gardening, lab research and analysis. They grew their own food, recycled their waste, and coexisted with a variety of plant and animal life. It still amazes me that they have an OCEAN in there. A small one, but it has waves, and sea life, and everything!

The Biospherians were local and worldwide celebrities. They were on every television news channel as they entered the dome, to be sealed in for their two-year experiment. They waved to the crowd as the cheers erupted, looking just like astronauts in their uniforms. I couldn’t imagine being sealed inside a dome with seven other people for two whole years! Even though they had demanding jobs, emergency rations, and plenty of recreational equipment, it didn’t seem like something I’d like to do!

We all watched, breathlessly, as the experiment proceeded, because if this was successful, it was in all our imaginations that a similar structure could be built on Mars! or the Moon! The domes were based on designs by the iconoclastic R. Buckminster Fuller.

{An aside: Years ago (I’ve always been a science nerd) I met “Bucky” in an elevator at a San Francisco hotel where he’d been giving a lecture. I’d attended, and thought I’d head up to the rooftop restaurant to have a spot of tea. (I was all by myself, and very young. I look back now, and am amazed I used to do things like this at that age.) Well, Bucky and his entourage got into the elevator, too, and he looked right at me (I had to look down, he was a little guy) and asked if I’d enjoyed his talk. I shook his hand and told him it blew my mind. He asked if I’d understood it. I blurted out “No!” and blushed furiously. (I used to blush a lot in those days.) He chuckled softly to himself, as I plastered my tongue-tied self against the wall.}

Bucky’s domes are world famous, and provide structural integrity along with beauty. Biosphere 2 is very beautiful. The visual impact of this delicate-looking structure in its desert location justifies its existence even if it never did an experiment in its life!

Things didn’t go as planned in the dome. The environment, meant to be self-sustaining, was losing oxygen. There wasn’t enough food; the scientists were hungry. And, the eight-member crew split into two political and social factions. Some members barely spoke to one another. Again, I’ll refer to outside sources for much of their fascinating story, including an interview from one of the hungry Biospherians. Many considered this a “failed” experiment, as oxygen had to be pumped in from outside, and the goals of the project changed as the social conditions deteriorated. I still think it’s an amazing effort. It’s crucial, if we as a species ever do colonize other planets, that we know our structures will function. Most likely, on the moon, we won’t be able to pump in oxygen, or send out to McDonald’s if the dwellers run out of food!

In this Wikipedia article, I was particularly interested in the section titled “Psychology and Conflict”. It is, of course, vital to know that a structure housing humans in a non-earth atmosphere can be relied upon. Equally vital is the study of humans living together in confined spaces for a long time. While there have been a number of studies done on living conditions in arctic environments, most of my knowledge about such things comes from Science Fiction. There are any number of plots where either the crew’s air or their patience runs out—not a desired outcome in either case.

Synchronistically, a few days ago an episode of one of my favorite Sci-Fi shows aired on television. Eureka is set in a fictional town where most of the inhabitants are geniuses and doing amazing research into unbelievable projects. Its existence, let alone the work going on there, is highly classified, and the show’s “glue” is its “regular guy” Sheriff who tries to keep order amongst these eclectic and overly-intelligent residents. In the episode “What About Bob“, we learn that Eureka has a long term Biosphere-type experiment going on, but their biosphere is built deep underground. Unlikely mayhem takes place, however the questions asked by the “real” Biosphere are asked, here too, without, unfortunately, any better answers. Stay tuned.

After going through a couple of ownership and management shifts, Biosphere 2 is now managed by the University of Arizona as a science center to research our impact upon our own planet. Many of us breathed a collective sigh of relief when our local “U” took over, as we’d heard the facility would be razed for a housing development!

One can now tour inside the domes! I’ve been back, and I have. It’s this kind of research that gives me hope for the human species.

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Arizona: way to go! Mars Lander: you’re all wet!

Posted on August 4, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Science, Travel |

I’m taking a moment to gloat about the local University’s role in space history! I’m not involved in the science department at the U at all, (drat!) but have been eagerly following the latest Mars mission since it launched last year. I could hear cheers from Tucson the day the Phoenix Lander made a near perfect landing on Mars in May. I watched as the first exciting pictures from Phoenix graced the pages and pixels of worldwide news media.

Would they find water? They found sticky stuff. They found what might have been water, but it evaporated before they could test it.—Oh no, they were running out of test kits! One more chance. The scraping of Martian soil on Wednesday was perhaps the last chance, for a long time, to determine that:

“We have water,” said William Boynton of The University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. “We’ve seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted.”

Yippee! This means:

“…the science team is trying to determine whether the water ice ever thaws enough to be available for biology and if carbon-containing chemicals and other raw materials for life are present.”     [full story here]

I’m so excited. And so proud that our university is at the forefront of this research. Here is a link to a virtual tour of the laboratory and offices of the space center at the university. The 15 minute tour was filmed before the actual landing, which somehow makes it more poignant to watch now. The first couple of minutes show the buildings and desks, but if you hang on, you can see models, lab equipment, and how the lander’s arm performs in different gravities. At the very end is something special I have seen, and which particularly touches my heart regarding this project. :)

There is a lot to explore at the project’s website, too, about Mars, Space, Education, and the Love of Learning. Enjoy, and thanks for indulging my local pride. I have a post coming up in a couple of days about why this science is useful in these times, as well as another local connection. Stay tuned!

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Death; Grief; Life; Love.

Posted on August 2, 2008. Filed under: Health, Musings, Philosophy, Spirituality |

A friend of mine died yesterday. Please keep reading, anyway—this is not a sad post. My friend went for a regular checkup five days ago. She’d been being monitored for a congenital heart condition. The results of her checkup caused her physician to admit her into the hospital immediately for open heart surgery. My friend thought she was fine; had kept her appointment because that’s what she does. Three days ago, she was beginning to recover from the surgery. She sat up in a chair; was told she’d be home by the weekend. My friend belonged to an organization I also belong to, as does her husband. The group had sent flowers to the hospital. I’d written the card myself, telling her we all were looking forward to having her back with us soon. Yesterday, still in the hospital, she was practicing walking around again when she began to feel chest pain. I’d thought, after such extensive surgery, that she wouldn’t experience that particular pain anymore. Wound pain, of course. She’d have to recover from very invasive surgery. The staff tried everything to revive her. She drifted off, anyway. Just like that. The drama come and gone in four short days.

After my tears, my first, irrational thought was “I’m glad she’d gotten the flowers.” What possible difference could that make now, though? Later, I thought it does make a difference. Anne wouldn’t be looking at the flowers anymore; at least not with her physical eyes, but her husband said she’d seen them; appreciated them. And what’s more, HE knew they were there, and from all of us. And, we knew we’d brightened up her room on her last day. That knowledge does help.

My second, perhaps more rational thought was “I am glad I’d arranged that long put-off lunch with Anne a couple of weeks ago!”  When we first knew each other, we’d get together for lunch now and then. We each got busy, doing whatever, and talked of having lunch…”soon”. A year passed, and it still would be “soon”! But, somehow, recently, after a few emails exchanged about this and that, we set a date, and kept it! We caught up on a lot of things. I told her how I’d nearly forgotten how much she made me laugh. We agreed to meet at least every other month.

I have the long memory of our friendship, and always will, but I also have our more recent time together to cherish. If we hadn’t managed to schedule that lunch, well, I would have gotten over it, because that’s what I do. But it is of great solace to me that I stopped saying “later” and “soon”. Great Solace.

I have lost friends before. I’ve lost both my parents, and other close relatives. I do not like this! I’m reading posts from blog friends; I’m talking to people in my local life who are experiencing loss right now too. I really do not like this! I must, and I do, honor it, though. Physical life is short and fragile. Without a belief system, this can seem a scary, uncomfortable thing. I do believe consciousness is eternal. I took a moment, yesterday, to meditate and concentrate upon the essence of Anne; to thank her for her friendship. I had a sense of her presence. Many would say this cannot be proven; many would say it’s naught but illusion.

Perhaps so. It really doesn’t matter, though, because, as I search my own heart, I feel at peace with the notion of eternity. I listen to my heart; a very wise organ. It serves me well.

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