Archive for July, 2010

Blogiversary revisited: #3

Posted on July 27, 2010. Filed under: Culture, Games, HowTo, Musings |

On the 27th of July, in 2007, I published my very first blog post. I had “rehearsed” my posts for a number of weeks prior to this, as I was trepidatious about this sort of personal writing. After three years, and having people come and go out of my life, I know that this blogging thing is more than just a fancy pixelated diary. It has become a source, and has led to other sources, of much valued communication between me and me, and me and you.

I like to celebrate both my birthday and my blogiversary on my blog; they’ve both become annual traditions for me. I looked back at my last two July 27 posts, for 2008, and 2009, and I can’t help but feel a little sad. πŸ˜• On the one hand, I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met here, who have enhriched my life in unexpected and wonderful ways. On the other hand, I’ve seen many of my most cherished blogmates either depart from the blogosphere, or greatly lessen their postings for a variety of reasons, as I have myself. But—thankful again am I for new friends which have arrived within the past year.

Of those who have moved on in the past year, I most miss B0bby and ellaella. B0bby was a young student, pre-university when I met him, who started a blog as a class project. I think he was as surprised as anyone that it expanded to something more. He did say on his blog this past year, that the blogging spirit had gone out of him, and he was going to give it a rest. I appreciated his many comments, the chapters of his excellent serial novel he published on his blog for a while, and his unique and charming perspective. I imagine he’s at University in the west of England, or in Wales now, with all that life has to offer. I just wonder if he has—or will—finish that novel πŸ™‚

ellaella is another story. Many of you have read her blog, From Scratch. She is one whose friendship initially surprised me, as, while I’m greatly interested in eating food, I’m not as much in cooking it. And while there are a few political issues I’m passionate about; politics, in general, is not my thing. Nevertheless, she and I formed a strong bond. She always supported my writing, and, when I learned recently that she had been in the media professionally, I was even more humbled by that. I also turned to her when I was called upon to bring a special dish to a holiday potluck…she referred me to simple things I could actually cook; and they were always a hit at the party.

ella’s most recent post was on December 25, 2009. In it, she said she was taking a few days off, and would see us in the new year. In fact, she hasn’t. A few of us bloggers who have been close to her have been trying to investigate what’s happened to her, but so far, we don’t know if she is ill, disabled, or…Β  All of us who have known her recently and in the past are convinced she never would have stopped blogging without notice unless something dire had happened. ella was one of the first people I met here at WordPress. A Real-Life old friend of hers has gotten involved in the search for her, and, if there is any further information, I’ll post it here. It is a bittersweet thing to recall our three-year friendship on this anniversary.

There are a few people who have almost stopped blogging πŸ˜‰ but do pop up occasionally, like my lovely French-Canadian friend Colourful Vision, Randomly Relevant, from Melbourne, Mr. Gnome from Finland, Creative Expressions of South Africa, and walkingbetween from China and now in New York, who would have to really, finally, go away before I would stop checking in with them.

Apar, Bret, Care, Cat, Davidya, Ian, Jules, Kate, Kiran, Poch, Poonam, Shane: you continue to delight me! JoanHarvest went and got herself a grandchild, WillRhodes got himself more politics πŸ™‚ and TheBeadDen got herself more work, and remodeling, and family issues. To those three: I know where to find you; muahaha!

Moonbeam McQueen and Ronnie Ann: you are dear, and erudite, and witty; your posts and comments never fail to bring cheer to my day. πŸ™‚

Newer on my goto list are Dave–seriously entertaining gardening; animals; bike rides; origami: many things, and my newest blog buddy Tricipian’s 3dom, who, in addition to creating new philosophies from ancient truths, enhances my existence in many ways.

There are those few who have exchanged comments, advice, and friendship from almost the first day of my BlogBirth. They all have changed in these years, either in HOW they blog, HOW OFTEN thy blog, or the FOCUS of their blogs, but they are still here! Three years is a long time in any online community, and I feel particularly blessed that you are still in my life:

cjwriter, from down under, has been the most amazingly supportive and informative friend. He helped me out when I was a fledgling, and has supported my growth as a blogger. He has grown, much, as writer as well, inventing a new novel form, and recently has had much interest from publishers! It is a pleasure to read you and know you, cj.

Deirdra Kiai is the blogger who got me to blog. She makes socially relevant games; and has socially relevant comments. Until recently (!) she’s worn Birkenstocks and socks—how can you not trust a person like that? (I may forgive her for the toe shoes, haven’t decided yet.) πŸ˜‰ She’s quirky and kind and plays unusual musical instruments. And she composes the music for her games as well. Deirdra, I thank you for continuing inspiration.

Juan‘s technical wizardry has gotten me out of a couple of scrapes! He and I both have a different way of viewing relationships and social obligations that has been interesting to explore. And, he has offered to make me cookies! Thanks, Juan, for your continuing friendship and support. πŸ™‚

It’s hard to know how to describe raincoaster. She’s been blogging a long time, and teaches blogging in Vancouver. Her topics range from the emotionally moving to the bizarre. Sea creatures are remarkably prevalent, as are obsessions with certain celebrities. Always entertaining, she is a very helpful blogging friend. She wants us to get it right. Thanks, rain, for helping me when I was a newbie, and continuing to add your own unique voice to this world.

Richard, of The Sacred Path, now hails from aloha land. I watched as he made this huge move and change in his life, yet remained the calm, supportive, and wise spiritual friend he always was. We met in the forums, and discovered many things in common. He journeys! I’m on one! Rich, I thank you for your friendship and aloha. πŸ™‚

When I first met sulz, she was a very witty and articulate college student in Malaysia. She blogged about her life and opinions in a way that gave new meaning to “letting it all out”! πŸ˜‰ I found her charming and entertaining, and an odd sort of friend—not because she is odd—but because on the surface, we don’t have much in common. It just shows me what a fantastic medium blogging is: I might not have met someone like sulz in real life, but now that I know her, I’m so grateful I do! I’ve watched her go, and grow, through her first post-college career moves. She has matured, and learned and traveled since then. Her blogging frequency and topics have changed, but she remains as dear to me as she ever has. sulz, your loyalty and stalwart friendship are ever there; evolving over time, perhaps, but never leaving my heart. πŸ™‚

Timethief writes a very well-regarded personal growth blog. She also has a helpful blogging tips and technical blog, and beyond those things is an artist and excellent writer from an island in western Canada. She and I became forum friends early on, and timethief is still very helpful to WordPressers needing assistance. Thank you timethief for supporting this blogger’s whims and emotions, and sharing yours. πŸ™‚

All in all, I feel humbled, blessed and nurtured. Not a bad result for three years of spewing forth! Thank you readers, visitors and friends. β™₯

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Peevy Weekend! :)

Posted on July 25, 2010. Filed under: Culture, Health, Musings, Philosophy |

I’ve been grouchy for a couple of days. Usually, I like to stay upbeat and optimistic on the blog, but occasionally I give it a little rant time, just for balance. I’m going through a phase, it seems. I don’t see these as negative (still trying to put a positive spin on it) πŸ™‚ but as springboards. I’ve noticed in the past, that when I become extremely disgruntled, it signals impending change in my life. It’s like those last little bits of complacency are still trying to hold on.

So in the interest of acknowledging the change, and because I tend to process my life on this blog πŸ˜‰ here are my current grumblies—not in order of importance:

Missing socks: I was doing laundry today; which I tend to do while also doing a multitude of other things, and a sock was just gone! I’m sure we’ve all experienced this; for me, it’s simply not possible to get on with my life until the sock is found. Finally, it turned up in the corner of a fitted bedsheet. Personal Quirk regarding socks: I have a color-coordinated sock drawer. I like it best when all the black socks are together; then the blue ones, then the brown ones, etc. Unlike many of my fellow desert dwellers, I wear socks all summer, so I have a lot of them.

Technology in general: The thought of not having access to my computer 24/7 is frightening for a few reasons. A lot of my life is lived through the machine at the moment, and not having a computer would make me feel cut off. The obvious example: I’m using it right now to talk to you! πŸ˜‰ My computer is sort of limping along these days having quirks and grouchiness of its own. I may have to get a new one. 😦 I think I messed up my sound card recently…music plays fine, but I’m not able to use voice/microphone without grave distortions…not that I want to much, which brings me to:

Telephones in particular: I admit this is a personality quirk. I must have been traumatized by a telephone at an early age, because I really, really do not like talking on them. I can do the professional thing for work-related calls (although I prefer email if at all possible) but I don’t like having personal conversations on the phone. I generally just use my phone for emergencies, and quick business calls—I don’t even have it turned on most of the time. I don’t know why email, and more recently instant messaging is OK, but phone/voice…not as much. I’ve even lost friendships over this. I have a friend who hates email, so would call to arrange a lunch or whatever. If I didn’t answer the phone or wasn’t available when she called, I’d answer in email…which she wouldn’t read for three days, and by then, the moment had passed! πŸ™‚ We eventually realized we were not technologically compatible, and don’t see each other much now. 😦 I also don’t like being interrupted by the phone. It startles me when it rings. I will most often let it go to voice mail, and respond when/if I feel like it. (stubborn streak!) If I know you very well in person and you live at some distance from me, I will chat on the phone, but if you live in my area, I would much rather arrange a meeting by email, and then show up and look you in the eye! The aforementioned former friend would also do something that bugs me: she’d be calling to arrange a meeting, and then start chatting; asking about my life; telling me about hers. That’s what we’re planning to have lunch for, right?—to catch up with each others’ lives. I find this sort of conversation irritating (never said I was a fun friend). πŸ˜‰ By the time I get off the phone after one of these kinds of conversations, I wonder why we’re bothering to meet for lunch!

At this point, the only people I chat with (at any length) by phone are my sister, occasionally my niece, and an old friend. My cousins even email me. Recently, though, I realize my phone-hermit tendencies have been hampering my social life in unexpected ways, Hmmm. πŸ™‚

My Interaction with Medical Personnel: While I can’t imagine any of you saying “Oh, boy! I get to visit the doctor today”, I disliked my medical appointment this week more than I usually do. A lot of fussing, I thought, and recommendations for blood tests (just to check—for what?) and a stern lecture about diet (want my pasta!) because of blood sugar issues. I tend to get rebellious (more of the stubborn streak), but I realize this isn’t helpful; it’s better to concentrate on what feels right to acquire optimum health. So, I allowed myself to growl at the doctor (once I was safely home) πŸ˜‰ and then make the d#*% shopping list he wants me to.

Other Drivers: I am, of course, a perfect driver, driving at the perfect speed for the occasion. πŸ˜› YOU, on the other hand… πŸ˜‰ are driving 25 mph in a 45 zone. Or, you are riding my bumper. Or, you have suddenly decided to make a left turn right in front of me. I do use these opportunities to breathe deeply and embrace the quality of patience…sometimes. πŸ™‚

These are all, relatively minor; in the scheme of things. There’s a lot I could get upset about in the world, if I really wanted to. Which I don’t. I think change comes from within, and the best thing to do is recognize these grouchy moments as foment for change. If I contemplate society, or my life situation, or anything else that doesn’t seem quite right, I can do one of three things: either continue whining and complaining, take some inspired action, or stop thinking about the things I’m not going to do anything about. I allow the first action for a little bit of time, but I don’t like to indulge or nurture it too much because, ultimately, it’s doesn’t help anyone/anything. Still, without the occasional glass (or blog) of whine; sometimes the peeves get stuck. None of us want that! πŸ˜€

Finally, a friend sent this to me a couple of days ago (in email, not by phone) πŸ™‚ and while I don’t have kids (or anyone else) who would do this, I, um, can relate:

Last night, my kids and I were sitting in the living room and I said to them, ‘I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.’

They got up, unplugged the Computer, and threw out my wine.
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A picture of the Universe

Posted on July 12, 2010. Filed under: Culture, Musings, Philosophy, Science, Spirituality |

Space news doesn’t make it into the bigtime news very often. There has to be a shuttle launch or a major issue with the International Space Station to make headlines. So this photo of the aftermath of the big bang (you’d think that’d be pretty bit news!) sort of slipped through the cracks. Here is the photo, and here a newsclip with one of my favorite physicists commenting on it.

I think the photo is astounding; perhaps even consciousness changing. Something that disturbs me, though, is in Dr. Kaku’s commentary. He declares “This is the fireball that created the Universe (emphasis mine)...Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 1 ‘In the beginning’…” I’m not sure why he brings the bible into it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all about integrating science and spirituality; I’ll get to that in a minute. I’m just wondering if Dr. Kaku and other scientists like him really equate the event known as “the big bang” with the first chapter of Genesis (from the Judeo-Christian scriptures).

Much as I respect some traditional religious teachings, I have never, really, been able to wrap my mind around a religious theory which claims a finite date on the calendar as its start. As in: The world was bad and sinful, and then “the special person” was born, and changed everything, and nothing that came before was any good, and you must embrace this new thing which is now true forever. This doesn’t fly for me, but neither does scientific theory stating that “The Universe” “began” at a certain moment in linear time. Besides the obvious (and a bit testy) question: “What happened before the big bang?” (or, conversely, “What happened before ‘The Word’, or ‘The Way’ from Genesis) the concept of a finite beginning is simply incomprehensible to me.

You can probably guess the primary linear-beginning religion I’m thinking of, but there are others. I’ve stated before on this blog that I’m a Universalist; that doesn’t mean I believe every single thing that each religion teaches, but that all are of equal value. I’ve found life enhancing wisdom in many sacred texts, particularly those of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism (in alphabetical, not priority order).Β  I’ve studied all these in classes and/or groups, and have lived the teachings as well.

I’ve lately been exploring an even newer, yet ancient, philosophical structure which promises to integrate scientific understanding with mystical wisdom; something I’ve sought for some time.

So, is this picture, amazing though it is, a stop-action photo of a real event in linear time? Or, more likely to me, a moment; a point in the ever-changing landscape of our inquiry?

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Morning Symphony

Posted on July 6, 2010. Filed under: Culture, Health, HowTo, Musings |

I’ve been keeping various hours for various reasons lately. For one thing, work slows down in the summer, and I’m not out as much as I can be at other times. Generally, unless I have a morning meeting, I’m quite capable of staying in bed until 9:30 or so. (Honestly, there are a couple of days a week I could stay in bed all day if I chose, but one does want to think one has a life!) πŸ˜‰

Tell that to animals, wild and domestic, that live near me, however! Let’s say I’ve gone to bed around 2 a.m. I’d naturally want to be left alone until at least 9, but it is not to be. At around 5:30 it begins. First up are what I call “The Twitterers” (and I don’t mean those who tweet on Twitter), nasty sweet little birds of several species who think it’s a fine idea to chirp the world into being each day.

After that, there are always one or two quail willing to contribute their opinion. Have you heard a desert quail‘s call? It’s just the most appalling melodious sound, kind of a combination of a duck and a goose and a loon.

I’m just nodding off after this, when My Neighbor’s Dog is let out in the morning, promptly at 6! There is probably higher-level neural processing than this going on, but this is what I imagine him to be thinking:

Janice just let me out into the backyard! This is the most exciting thing that’s happened, ever! (OK, since yesterday afternoon) I must bark for three minutes to celebrate! {5 minute pause; I’m nodding off again} Look! There is a bird! I must bark at it! {another pause} Look! it’s a lizard! I must bark at it! {yet another pause} Look, a rock! (A rock in a suburban desert garden is as common as a grain of sand on the beach, so you see it doesn’t take much.)

The dog gets let back in around 6:30, so I can sleep for another couple of hours, right? …Not quite. This doesn’t happen every day, but often enough: The tale of the woodpecker and the chimney. After that, I’m pretty much awake, or if not, a neighbor has chosen the coolest time of day to use his electric hedge clippers, or they’re cleaning up a construction site down the road and the trucks are intermittently making those back-up noises. In the meantime, the intense summer sun hits the wall of my sleeping room. I have the blinds drawn, but still! All of the above occurred this morning; in fact the woodpecker started up even before the dog!

So, you ask, why don’t I just go to bed earlier, the way my sensible neighbors do? I have tried. Really. But I am a creature of the night; I’m alert, then, and I even do much of my best work in the wee hours.

Lately, I’ve mastered the art of the afternoon nap, when necessary. As long as I don’t have meetings then, it’s a good sleep time for me. Siesta revisited. There are studies indicating that power naps make one more alert and focused. I like the word “power” in the title; makes me feel as if I’m doing something vital and productive, as opposed to a name like…”lazy sloth nap”, for instance.Β  I’ll leave you with this well-known situation.

As for me; I’ll see you later; it’s time for my nap. πŸ˜€

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