Welcome to Small Reflections

"Nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Duck photo source: Lisa's Chaos
I hope you enjoy your visit. If you're looking for something specific, check out the links to posts by category in my sidebar and down a ways. They'll assist with tracking down different types of posts found on each of my three blogs. You might also enjoy checking out the other sites: Sacred Ruminations, Blog Rolls, Bling & Blurbs, and Happily Retired Gal.

I hope you'll look around & leave comments
then visit me at my new blog ...

Giraffe Journal

and/or website ... Labyrinth Journal
both self-hosted at WordPress
where I publish as myself
rather than under a

I've not had much time for posting or blog visits, but if you're interested I hope you'll find time to check out my new blog, Giraffe Journal or my Labyrinth Journal website ... both self hosted at WordPress.

Thanks for your visit and have a delightful day ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Friday, November 30, 2007

2007 -- NaBloPoMo -- Mission Accomplished Here and at Sacred Ruminations

With hugs and much gratitude to Mrs. Fussypants for this nifty reminder of my 1st experience as a "newbie blogger" with NaBloPoMo this year :)

It Rained All Day in Southern California

I can't remember the last time we had a long steady rainy day like this. Actually I enjoyed today's weather throughout the day. We really do need the rain ... especially this steady drizzily kind ... so it soaks in rather than runs off. The only frustrating thing was that Molly and I didn't get outside to play or walk. She's funny about rain. For a dog who runs into the surf the minute she gets to Dog Beach, she doesn't like rain at all ... even the misty kind like this.

I took pictures, but can't transfer them from my camera to my computer because McAfee has been scanning my files ALL DAY LONG! (Sigh) It usually doesn't take this long, but around noon I noticed an automatic update come through, and I'm wondering if that caused complications.

Anyway .. EVERYTHING has run S L O W L Y all day, and I'm out of patience. So, I'm going to publish this without photos tonight. NaBloPoMo ends today, and I don't want to miss the last day when I've done so well all month. :)

Perhaps add pix tomorrow once the scan is finished. I'll leave the laptop running and hope it turns itself off (or goes to sleep) once McAfee is done.

Reminder: You have until December 15th
to email me your answers to the
Christmas Carol Quiz

Thursday, November 29, 2007

With Gratitude and Blessings to Mary for this Lovely Award for all those who Participate in the Small Reflections Christmas Carol Quiz

(of Mary's Writing Nook)
volunteered to create an award

for my Christmas Carol Quiz participants
and this is what it looks like :)

Isn't it lovely?
I plan to add a little "bling"
between now and
December 15th when I post the answers
so it will "sparkle & glow"

So, my friends, check out the details
in my previous post and put your thinking caps on!

Time's awasting :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Carol Quiz (with thanks to Akelamalu for the idea)

Over at everything and nothing, Akelamalu has created a Christmas Carol Quiz but, alas, I missed the deadline of last weekend (since I didn't discover it until today). However, I don't believe she's posted answers yet ... so perhaps there's still time to play. I've got them all figured out but one, but I can't find her email address. Such is life!

I've created a similar Quiz here. Play or not as you choose, but I'll post answers on December 15th. That's about 2 weeks from now. You can email your answers to me through my profile so you don't give the answers away prematurely :)

To borrow her instructions: Just to get you in the mood for Christmas ... remember the Nursery Rhyme quizzes? Well this is a bit like those only the initials represent the first line of Christmas Carols and Songs.
Here's an example:
O.I.R.D.C. - Once In Royal David's City - get the idea?

So here's my version of the Christmas Carol Quiz:
  1. T A S I T A
  2. W C I T W L T R
  3. A F T R O G
  4. J T T W T L H C
  5. I C U A M C
  6. O C A Y F
  7. T F N T A D S
  8. W T K O O A
  9. I T B M F W M M
  10. G C M R
Disclaimer: Unfortunately I have nothing to offer but "fun" as a reward because I have no clue how to create these clever buttons, but I come from a generation (now mostly extinct like dinosaurs) where such rewards weren't necessary incentives. We entertained ourselves and one another with a wide assortment of mental games involving words :)

See the nifty
Christmas Carol Quiz Award
Mary created
by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sharing New Discoveries -- Links to Interesting Pieces of Artwork

These links lead to a Blog just discovered today filled with interesting original drawings and thought I'd share. Enjoy ...

My favorite so far: the zoo

Close second -- a series of 3 whimsical drawings:
moleskine book 3, page 13
moleskine book 3, page 12
moleskine book 3, page 11

Animal series:
moleskine book 3, page 5
moleskine book 3, page 4

And one more that caught my attention today:
moleskine book 2, pages 101 and 102

I hope you enjoy them as well :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Reclaiming my Yard (Part 2) or A Slow & Tedious Single-Handed Transition

I suppose this could also be entitled
How I Made a Bunch of New Friends From
Passers-by Who Stopped to Chat :)

Day by day (as time & energy permitted) I worked in the yard ... enjoying my progress (however slow & tedious it seemed to others) ... making new friends as folks on their way to and from the beach stopped to comment (many offering suggestions as to how I might speed things along, not realizing I was using this as a meditative practice). I spent considerable time thinking about how I might similarly reclaim the inside of my home (as in clear out the clutter of books and reading material that collect on any horizontal surface despite my best intentions).

I started by cutting the Korean grass covering the concrete "footer" originally designed & put in place to keep the lawn out of the flowerbeds. I knew it was there, but others were surprised as it reappeared. Next I cut back the bushes encroaching on my walk-way to the house, then started digging out the roots. That's when I discovered the first of many 3" in diameter roots from the city's tree on my neighbor's parkway and invested in a hand-saw to cut them out in foot-long pieces so I could pull them out in sections.

As it turned out, those tree roots were EVERYWHERE in my yard (and probably still run under the grass area) though the offending tree itself has been removed after the fact (illegally, of course, by my new neighbors who afterwards planted something in its place that is lovely and hopefully less intrusive ... all without the city's knowledge ... just as others on the block have done previously). When they asked me about taking this action (ie should they get a permit first), I suggested that it's often easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission in such cases. Actually, I suspect it's quite possible the city is relieved to have home-owners pay for such removal and replacement :)

But I digress (please bear with me as my mind wanders often these days) so I'll now continue with my tale of transition.

Removing the grass from the stream bed was most challenging. I'd clear out a section of rocks, pull the grass out by the roots, replace the 27 year old plastic with a new piece (cut to size & overlapping the previous one), sprinkle a little rock salt to slow down future grass growth, and replace the rocks one-by-one before moving on to the next section and repeating the process. Of course this took WEEKS of daily effort, but I enjoyed the pleasant weather and didn't worry about how long it would take. I snapped photos of my progress to email to family and friends (and now to share with you), but as I look at the photo-collage ... I realize it doesn't contain those close-up pix, so maybe I'll see if I can make a "mini-collage" to use in a later post (making note to self as I type that thought here).

I suppose I could have invested in a weed-wacker and/or some other tools, but I am "a senior citizen" and doing this by hand allowed me to sit down on the job. In addition, it didn't require me to learn new skills or risk injury by accident :)

Eventually it did become obvious (even to my independent self) that I could use some help. I managed to use my trusty pruning tools and newly acquired hand-saw to prune the lime and lemon trees (as I've done yearly for decades) as well as to decimate the peach tree that had never produced edible fruit probably because it was planted too close to the house and in the shade of the lime tree. What I couldn't do however was dig out the massive root system created by this tree over its 27 year life span. So, I enlisted the help of a local gardening service for this purpose.

When they offered a deal I couldn't refuse, I hired them also to finish stripping the lawn for me (much to the relief of my aching hands and back) and to clear off the parkway. It took three workers more than 4 hours (using power tools) to make the lawn area level as in the photo on the left, second from the bottom. Even better, they hauled away the debris so I didn't have make multiple trips dragging heavy trash cans filled to capacity the 120 feet from my front yard to the alley behind my house :)

I plan to create a mini-grid of those photos and pictures taken while they dug out the Tam Junipers on the parkway along with the Korean grass doing it's best to overtake them and claim the area for its own. The "parkway" task took 4 workers almost 5 hours to accomplish! Maybe I'll post it with the other mini-collage of my "rock clearing" photos.

So Karen ... I hope you enjoy Part 2 as much as you did Part 1.
More to follow as time permits :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Happened to my SiteMeter Icons or Why Can't I Log onto my Account There Today?

the little icons
have disappeared
from both my Blogs
though the Page Element
with the codes
still seem to be present.
Did this happen to anyone else
or should I be feeling paranoid about now?

Addendum added here (at the urging of my "aging angels" one of whom is pictured here) in gratitude to Annie for her timely comment ... a link to lift your spirits (as it did mine) offered for for your viewing pleasure :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

No Snow Fell Here in Southern California -- Just Wind & Palm Fronds Like These

Lately some Bloggers have posted a variety of photos with gorgeous autumn leaves and a lovely light dusting of the first snowfall. For balance, I thought I'd show what my neighborhood looks like when the Santa Ana winds blow :)

these palm fronds
landed mostly in my neighbor's yard,
but often
they accumulate all over my yard,
hanging in the citrus trees and from the roof,
crushing my roses and flowers.

They fall from tall palms like these three trees.

Sometimes they litter the streets like this
and parking becomes a challenge
in our beach community
where most folks park on the street.

These palm fronds stay where they fall
unless those of us who live here
drag them out of the street
and into the alley
behind our houses for trash pick up.

Of course, we don't ever have to shovel snow
nor do we have many leaves to rake
so we don't complain
especially since the ocean is
a block and a half away :)
Life is Good!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Reclaiming My Front Yard (Part One) or The Way Things Were Before I Started

As per Karen's suggestion in a recent comment,
I've decided to share the following saga in three parts.

In April of 2006, my front yard looked like this ... overgrown and crowded ... with plants and trees as out of control as the Korean grass that had crept over the concrete footers, infiltrated the rocks of the stream-bed drainage area and sneaked under the Tam Junipers on the parkway in an unsightly manner.

Navigating the walkway toward the house, avoiding the overhanging bushes and the fruit-laden branches of the Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree, required special skill for the Postman and other visitors. Ms. Kitty enjoyed the jungle-like growth because it offered many hiding places, but to me ... it had become an embarrassing eyesore.

Returning from a Caribbean Cruise, I struggled to drag my suitcase up the sidewalk and into the house muttering under my breath. The next day on a whim, I purchased several pairs of gloves and a hand-held electric clipper at Osh and got started doing what I could to take charge of the mess and reclaim the yard.

This was no small task and took the better part of 6 months to accomplish, but little by little I succeeded in pruning, weeding, ripping out, and reclaiming the space. This is Part 1.

Part 2 (the gradual process of reclamation) and Part 3 (new plants and regrowth over time) will follow in separate installments.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So Many Blessings -- Counting One by One

The weather here in Southern California had been overcast and gray for a week or so, but today dawned sunny and clear ... perhaps in honor of Thanksgiving?

Here's a partial Gratitude List off the top of my head:
1. The sound of the waves and the salty smell of the ocean in the early mornings when I rise & at night when I'm drifting off to sleep.
2. My "happily retired life" and all the freedom it brings.
3. Family, friends, and neighbors ... I'm blessed to have each one in my life.
4. New "virtual" friends and acquaintances here in the Blogosphere. I'm pleased to meet so many of you this month and enjoy the interactions on your Blogs and mine. Thanks for the time you spend to make your posts interesting and for stopping by to read & comment here.
5. My transformed front yard ... well worth the effort required to make it so.
6. Molly and Ms. Kitty who share my life ... providing opportunities for exercise and laughter.
7. Books and writers everywhere who expand my world exponentially every day. As one of my favorite t-shirts says: "So many books, so little time."
8. Trader Joe's ... just minutes from my home.
9. The smell of coffee in the morning and Starbuck's Christmas Blend (regular & decaf) beans to brew in my Cuisinart "grind & brew" coffeepot with a timer.
10. My trusty Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop -- almost 5 years old but going strong. Fast enough for "streaming data from e-signal" and Blogging all at the same time.
11. My "all-in-one" printer/copier/scanner/fax machine, Casio Exilim digital camera, Palm Life Drive, LG cell phone, tiny but mighty WD external hard drive, Cable TV-Internet- Nationwide phone service connections (all-in-one), and all the other "conveniences" in my life including (but not limited to) my washer & dryer, dishwasher, microwave and conventional ovens, shredders, etc. Who knew such gadgets would become so much a part of everyday life? (And no ... I didn't forget because don't have a GPS, iPod, MP3 player, and lots of other "necessities" ... at least not yet anyway.)
12. Music of all kinds ... (see Thailand Gal's post on this topic)
13. All the experiences in my life thus far (good, bad, & interesting) shaping who I am, and all the experiences yet to come leading me to who I will be ... someday.

A "baker's dozen" seems appropriate, so I'll stop here (though I'm sure more things will come to mind the minute I post this). Such is life. For now ... I offer
Hugs and blessings,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House we Go ... "

Hmm ... no horse ... no sleigh ... and no "Grandmother's house" any more in MY family (except for my brother's widow who lives in Hemet, but she's my age ... and we can't be old enough for this role, can we?) ... I plan to avoid mirrors today :-).

Until my siblings and I each got married (and for a few years afterwards), we observed Thanksgiving Day at home or with extended family. When we celebrated holidays with Dutch relatives on my Mom's side, it was always in someone's home ... with dinner served on the best dishes around a huge table, in a "formal" atmosphere, and staying out of trouble presented ongoing challenges, for I was the baby of the family, always trying to measure up to the "bigger kids" standards.

When I was born, my sister was 4 and my brother 9. Until my arrival, they had the dubious honor of being the youngest kids in the extended family because my mom was youngest of five and my dad second youngest of thirteen. Many of our cousins on my Dad's side of the family were married and had children our age & older by the time we arrived on the scene, so those were huge family gatherings ... often "potlucks" in a centrally located park ... where the men could play pinochle, the women visit while doing hand-crafts of some kind, and the kids entertain themselves playing together.

Turkey smells permeated the air and everyone helped with preparations. My mom's pies were the best! She made the thinnest, flakiest, melt-in-your-mouth crusts ever ... and I miss her presence here on earth. My Dad and brother have also passed on ... though memories fill my heart and soul.

Later, my siblings and I took turns having "Thanksgiving" at our respective homes. Mom always made pies, but we cooked turkey with all the trimmings ... and always invited what my brother-in-law laughingly referred to as "strays" ...(friends who for one reason or another couldn't celebrate with their own families)... to join our celebration. This year, my sister and her husband are off traveling in their RV (currently on the East Coast near Jekyll Island with two of my best friends and their husbands). They'll be celebrating the holiday together. How interesting that what goes around comes around ;-)

This year, my neighbor and friend who IS "Grandma" has invited me to share Thanksgiving at their house ... surrounded by kids, grandkids, and dogs of all sizes. Should be fun and I'm looking forward to the festivities. I wish you and yours a wonderful day of gratitude and fellowship.
Hugs and blessing,

What's happened at Sober Briquette's Blog? (Thanks for the Memories!) and here's me ... wishing you a speedy recovery :--)

I love Sandra Boynton's work! And, even though Harry Nillson couldn't dance ... the man could sing a song we'd all end up humming for decades! Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Now I remember why I hate to "clean house" ... disaster often strikes unexpectedly! Best of luck on your "reconstruction" at Sober Briquette ...
Hugs and blessings,

5-25-09 Addendum
This post showed up under today's Memorial Day post and I was moved to check it ... just because. Apparently my original Harry Nillson link is no more ... removed for 'use violation' ... so I'm adding THIS link today even though it's likely no one will ever see it ... just because. It seems that Sober Briquette's gone missing once again ... dunno where SHE is but Sandra Boynton's still around making folks smile. Guess I may be the only one who checks out older posts from time to time. Let's hear it for nostalgia and returning to our beginnings ;--)

Monday, November 19, 2007

On Mindfulness, Transforming Anger, Practicing Peace, and Making a Difference

This morning, I found a post entitled "Mindfulness and Transforming Anger" at The Dream Life. It started me thinking about what matters and what doesn't. While listening to Ram Dass and Thich Nhat Hanh (two of my favorite people) discuss this topic -- I found the video clip both timely and perfect. I decided immediately to mention the post here, and to add a sidebar link at Sacred Ruminations so I (and others) can return easily to be reminded as needed in the future.

While I was at You Tube I discovered the following related links. I believe each to be well worth the time required to watch and listen whenever time permits. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks on Living in the Present Moment, Mindful Walking, and Peace in Every Step. The first two are a few minutes long. The last video link is more than an hour in length, but resonates so truly with my personal experience and beliefs that I opted to include it for anyone who cares to listen.

My "ex" was drafted in his mid-twenties and spent 13 months in Vietnam ... returning alive, but forever changed. In turn, my own life was altered. He was a social worker and I an educator. We did what we could with what we had to effect change in positive ways, yet we each spent many years frustrated and angry at the recognition that the main thing to be learned from history is that we don't learn from history. In the early 70s, I recall attending a meeting of a group called "Beyond War" based on an Einstein quote to the effect that war is obsolete. A story was shared there (leaving me with a vivid & long-lasting image) in which people were sitting together in a room filled with barrels of gasoline. Each person held a book of matches, but no one was foolish enough to strike one because doing so would destroy themselves along with everyone else. The older I get (and, of course, I'm a dinosaur) the more I realize that carrying anger & frustration doesn't help solve much of anything.
(Hmmmm ... that reminds me of a pink t-shirt I used to wear often that said something like "Never try to teach a pig to sing" on the front and "It wastes your time and annoys the pig" on the back) ... but I digress and my mind wanders easily these days. Forgive an old broad, please? :-)
While listening this morning to Ram Dass and Thich Nhat Hanh, I recalled that a couple of days ago I left a comment elsewhere on a different (but similar) topic and I share an excerpt here because it captures the essence of how I'm changing (with more effort than I care to admit) and articulates my current belief about how to make a difference which could lead to resolution of the difficult issues of our time. I quote myself here ...
"If we could just accept that we're not "alone" but rather "all one" we'd each do what's necessary to resolve the world's problems recognizing "we're all in this together" ... especially since we've seen earth from space and know how "precarious" life can be ... and we've learned that butterflies in Zimbabwe affect weather on California's coast. I have this image in my mind of a giant jigsaw puzzle and each of us is a piece. When we get lost (or fail to show up and get connected) gaps exist that no one else can fill."

One thing I know for sure from personal experience ... change begins with each of us as we gain awareness of what's within ... learn to own, honor, and live as congruently with our convictions as possible ... find ways to understand ourselves and others ... practice compassion & kindness while we pay attention to the results of our thoughts, words, and deeds as reflected in our relationships with others.

There are many paths, tools & habits to assist and/or guide our journey. A COURSE IN MIRACLES states "when the student is ready, the teacher appears" (and vice versa). It also assures us that all it takes is "a little willingness" to be open to the possibility for change. Don Miguel Ruiz offers a simple (if not easy) path through THE FOUR AGREEMENTS. Hundreds of others point to ways to begin ... and practice ... each moment ... to awaken to and embrace truth as we understand it in each moment.

I'm reminded of Thailand Gal's Blog Blast for Peace ... and perhaps this is my version? I offer it here for your consideration and comments.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

7 Random Things About Me

I've decided to accept Annie's challenge and allow myself to be tagged for "7 Random Things" ... playing this kind of game for the first time. I've noticed other such "games" as I've meandered through the Blogosphere and think this could be fun (though I'm not sure who I'll "tag" yet & hope I'll do it right. Anyway ... here are the rules.

The Rules

  • Link to the blog of the person who tagged you.
  • Post these rules on your blog.
  • List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
  • Tag seven random [?] people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
  • Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.
7 Random Things

1. Everywhere you look in my house you'll see giraffes of all shapes, sizes, and media. People have gifted me with them most of my life. I suspect the underlying message has something to do with the fact that I'm tall and often stick my neck out ... speaking up for my beliefs. This summer at the Writers Retreat someone suggested it might be because giraffes have the largest heart of any mammal and I'm mulling that over even now.
2. I'm a recovering "pack rat" ... hoping to simplify my life and my surroundings ... no matter how long it takes.
3. If it's a horizontal surface, it collects reading and/or writing materials like a magnet attracts iron.
4. I've got floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in every room of my home ... filled to capacity and there are still stacks of books around the house waiting for a home. Guess I'll be paying yet another visit to Ikea sometime soon.
5. If you pick up a book, you'll see I've written notes in the margins of most because I like to carry on a conversation with authors as I read.
6. I don't watch much TV ... seldom go to movies even though I receive frequent invitations from friends ... but lately have spent LOTS of time on the computer exploring this virtual world (much to Molly's dismay). I suspect this too shall pass, for I'm what Barbara Sher calls "a scanner" ... jumping into things that interest me and running with them ... until something new captures my attention.
7. I love Starbuck's Christmas Blend coffee and that's what I'll be drinking for the next two months (though I buy the beans and brew mine at home because I was raised by a Dutch mom and have limited income now that I'm "happily retired" ...

So ... now that MY list is complete, I guess the next step is to "tag" 7 others ... so here goes: Lucy, Karen, Lisa, Sharon, Joy, Marlys, and Sunrise Sister you've been tagged with the following caveat:
I realize this is a busy week (with the Thanksgiving holiday and all) so if you're stressed and/or overwhelmed (or just don't choose to play for whatever reason) consider yourself "excused" until such time as the game appeals to you and time permits participation. :)

If you're reading this and you'd like to play ... consider yourself "tagged" as I did after reading Annie's post, but leave a comment and link here so we'll know where to find you.

Hmmm ... and now I'm supposed to leave comments on their Blogs letting them know they've been tagged. I wonder if there's a way to add a link to this post in a comment? Guess I'll find out soon.

*FYI Addendum (since we're all new and still figuring out this "link" thing):
11-18-07 -- Lucy cleverly left her own link that shows up after "Comments" ... but only if you're reading the posts one by one. In case you're reading them all at once, her list is here.
11-19-07 -- Karen's list can be found here.
11-24-07 -- I notice Sunrise Sister has posted her list here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Recommendations for your Consideration

Seemed to me like this post was one worth learning how to use the "Link to" function here at Blogger. Hopefully it works and I hope you'll take time to read and consider taking action on this issue.

And while I have your attention, you might want to check out the following: The Myth of Pure Whiteness on Los Angelista's Guide to The Pursuit of Happiness and His Girl Friday's latest post at Wellied on Life entitled Enya-Boadicea

Friday, November 16, 2007

My brother used to say "discretion is the better part of valor" and I'm taking it to heart today with GR

Alle alle auxen ... free!
After accumulating more than 900 new posts vying for my attention in Google Reader (watching the number drop as I devoted significant time to reading and leaving occasional comments on newly discovered Blogs ... only to see it climb again when I encountered more fascinating new sites everywhere I explored), I've decided to use the feature that allows me to "mark all posts as read" from now on when I add a new site, rather than continuing to try to "catch up" with previous posts as I've tried to do the past week or so. Clearly, it's a losing proposition anyway. Eventually I may go "exploring the past" ... but for now, I'm sticking with NEW posts to save my sanity. :)

I do like the convenience of GR letting me know when a Blog I've discovered (and enjoy reading) has something new so I don't need to search aimlessly any longer. Google Reading allows me to use my "computer time" more productively, and in addition, this nifty free program allows me to read posts "black on white" ... which is easier with these aging eyes than trying to decipher white writing on a dark background ... and that (in itself) is a gift to myself.

I've added a few new "favorites" to my link list here on Small Reflections finally (something I'd neglected for a while once I started using GR) and will try to keep it current as I find interesting Blogs. Live and learn ... baby steps. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Visual Scribbling #3

Well ... here's installment three of my early Palm V-Multi-mate "experiments" to see how it worked. I'm hoping it'll be readable like the first one. Guess I'm about to find out when I publish this post. It looks a little "ghostly" so perhaps I missed an opportunity to publish it on Halloween? I wonder if I'll happen upon one that looks like a turkey?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Video Experiments -- Molly plays with her friends, Sassy (the black Lab) & Lucy (the Golden Doodle)

I've got a nifty collection of video clips of Molly, but have never been able to share them with others, because the files are too big for email. Today I'm checking out whether or not they'll upload and run here. It's taking a long time to "process" but I'm hopeful it will all come together if I'm patient.

Guess I should have centered the image (and perhaps made it larger?) Live and learn. This process is taking longer than I care to repeat, so there will be no "do-overs" today to fix anything. After all, it's an experiment.

Okay ... it's been about 30 minutes (maybe more) and I'm about to give up. I'm tired of waiting for something to happen. How long can it take?

YEA!!!! It seems to work. Just when I was about to give up and chuckitall because I couldn't make anything work in "Preview" mode, I decided to press "Publish Post" on a whim ... and there it was ... working fine. I'd forgotten my neighbor was carrying on a conversation with someone as I filmed it. Such is life ... humming "I'm not perfect and I know I never will be..."

So ... the image size looks fine. Centered might be better, but I won't quibble. I'm just happy my efforts yielded results. Aren't they QTs? Molly's not quite 3, Sassy's 8, and Lucy (the Golden Doodle) is about 8 months in this clip. She's gonna be a moose!

On a different topic -- where in the world
did the "fish tank" screen saver
on my desktop come from?
That's really wierd!

Lest We Forget ...

With heartfelt thanks to His Girl Friday at Wellied on Life for her latest two posts (discovered belatedly today but well worth sharing with others anyway) Ain True Love and All gave Some, Some gave All ... I offer them here to all who pass this way.

Furthermore, I encourage you to click the links now, check them out for yourselves, and perhaps pass the info on to others in turn ... for I believe you will be enriched .... and, of course, I suspect all of us need such reminders in the midst of our overly busy lives.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The only problem with Google Reader or What a Rich Resource!

I love Google Reader (except for the frustrating fact that I now have more that 450 new posts to peruse because I keep finding new & interesting sites to add as I meander through the Web). It's about as bad as my regular MSN email box that often ends up collecting 500 or more emails because I tend to ignore it for long periods of time. There is an option in GR to "mark all posts as read" but that seems to defeat the point, so I choose not to do that ... yet.

Fortunately, GR allows me to organize Blogs into categories so I can easily check out new posts from my Writers Retreat Friends, Virtual Buddies, and a variety of other "categories" I've created to "sort" these blogs into manageable "chunks". The category called "Blogs to Check out Someday" has 460 or so in it currently, but I'm not letting myself feel pressured by that. I try to check out about 10 each day .. but I know there will be rainy days down the line when I'll sit down by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate ( & perhaps a few cookies) to scan them quickly ... adding some to categories that "fit" and deleting others I won't feel called to keep.

I realize most of you don't have as much "leisure time" as I do ... so this post is my humble attempt to help expand your virtual horizons while saving time and simplifying the discovery process ... though I'm sure as you venture out you'll find things I've not yet discovered, and I hope you'll share in return. Remember I'm a "newbie" to all this ... starting less than a month ago.

In addition to Google Reader, the "rich resource" I wish to write about here is Patti at 37 Days. I'm sure many of you have already discovered her, but she has my head spinning and reminds me of my friends Holly (from the Writer's Retreat) and Elatia (from my EBB training) who are "strategic thinkers" ... from whom ideas simply flow abundantly. What an amazing gift to share so freely.

I've already mentioned the 37 Day Complaint-Free challenge (and a few other ideas) in a post at Sacred Ruminations, but find myself captivated by so many of Patti's ideas. Her post Listen Fully visually & verbally illustrates the point beautifully that I'm sharing here. In it, after sharing the link to Prospero's Book, she quotes that post within her own as I've done here (to spread the word and get folks thinking and talking ... perhaps even making different choices today and tomorrow).

"In his book A Time before Deception, Thomas W. Cooper writes that native peoples around the world have 'specific moral standards for communication.' Those he lists are provocative standards for all of us who speak or write--that is, all of us:
  1. listening fully with the heart, no matter how trivial or wrong the discussion may seem;
  2. not interrupting another's communication;
  3. not walking between conversants;
  4. speaking softly, especially to elders;
  5. speaking only by invitation when among a group of elders;
  6. avoiding slander and defamation of all kinds;
  7. communicating as an individual (contributing independent ideas to the council) first, then communicating in synch with the group (once policies have been set);
  8. truth-telling;
  9. inner communicating (morning and evening sanctification, periods of guidance) must precede outer communicating, openness to the Great Spirit is essential;
  10. communicating with the whole tribe or whole earth in mind so as to honor others."
And adds ...
"I love this. Let's adopt it. Let's make Successories posters of it (or not). More than that, let's just do it."

Like Patti, I'm delighted at the "web-like" ways of this World-Wide Web! The teacher-in-me wants EVERYONE to know, think and talk with others about such rich ideas and possibilities. And so ... this morning, I "touch magic ... and pass it on" hoping others will do likewise.

On Cooper's article I wonder ...
Don't we all deserve such respect? Don't we want our children to learn these practices? To borrow a phrase from Chani's recent Blog Blast for Peace ... "If not now, when?"

If Patti's site isn't enough to capture your imagination and cause YOUR head to spin, check out the following:
-- On Becoming a Tooth Fairy at A Life Outtacontext
-- Lynda and the Alphabet among other things at ELLOUISESTORY
-- see what Lucy's been sharing about Where Spirituality and Creativity Meet where I found links to Abbey of the Arts
-- discover Carla (and her mom's inspiring messages) at zena musings and/or Women at Rest and find links to other bloggers sharing their Sacred Lives, encounter thought provoking posts like Sunrise Sister offers at Mind-Seive and inspirational conversations occuring at Hearth Talks
-- or find Joy's interesting pictures & entertaining life stories at The Joy of Six

You get the idea (and you know why GR is jam-packed with possibilities). Now go explore ... and share your own recommendations as well. It's a community out there! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Continuous Problem Solving and/or Keeping up with Comments

Multiple challenges encountered & solved through trial and error by me on Small Reflections and Sacred Ruminations (because I'm a determined sort who doesn't give up easily) along with occasional feedback from fellow bloggers who graciously share their knowledge of how things work, led me to discover today a nifty feature available in setting up Blogger sites (albeit belatedly).

When creating this blog, I left things pretty much "as is" initially ... grateful that the set up procedures seemed "user friendly" and intuitively straight-forward. I've made modifications along the way when I noticed something on someone else's Blog and tried to figure out how it might work on mine. Some of you may have noticed color and font experimentations among other things over these first three weeks checking in ... or not.

Anyway ... I've learned there's a box I can check (in Settings I believe) that causes all comments left on MY Blogs to come to the email address associated with these sites. How handy is that? Now MY comments to "other's comments" won't be so haphazard. Until now, I responded to comments others left here only when I noticed the number of comments increase under posts as I was "scanning" the "look" of things after making changes to the sidebar (not a very precise way to approach things), but for a while now I've consciously tried to release my "perfectionistic" tendencies and simply let things be.

In case anyone else wonders about this, at the bottom of the "Comments" section of the "Settings" page in "Layouts" at the very bottom (one must scroll down to see it) something that says: "Comment Notification Address" with a box to insert your email address.

Now that I've entered my email address in this section on both blogs, however, I'll be notified when a new comment is posted and can respond more consistently (as I've noticed many of you doing all along and wondered how you managed.) Who knew? Certainly not me.

Saturday's Saga or Life Away from the Computer

Late Friday afternoon workmen arrived next door to "tent" the neighbor's house for fumigation. I knew it was happening and planned accordingly for Saturday.

Molly and I took a long walk early and played "fetch" in the front yard until she was exhausted (it's no small thing to wear out a not quite three year old Lab). I showered, dressed in purple & red, donned a red hat, gave Molly a "Greenie" & a new Nylabone ... and left her safely indoors with the windows shut ... to chew & snooze away until I returned to play with her again.

Thus I left home (and the virtual world of bloggers) to join my favorite Red Hatters out in the world. I picked up A and we drove together ... joining the other gals at a Red Hat Holiday Boutique before moving on to have lunch at a Soup Plantation restaurant in the area. This year's boutique was tiny compared to last year's event and some of the women seemed disappointed, but I'm trying not to spend money anyway ... so I enjoyed visiting with everyone I hadn't seen for a while. The folks at the restaurant set up tables for the 12 of us and we had a wonderful time together. These gals know how to have fun.

In case you don't know about Red Hatters, you can learn about the Red Hat Society at their official website.
"The Red Hat Society began as a result of a few women deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor and elan. We believe silliness is the comedy relief of life, and since we are all in it together, we might as well join red-gloved hands and go for the gusto together. Underneath the frivolity, we share a bond of affection, forged by common life experiences and a genuine enthusiasm for wherever life takes us next." Sue Ellen Cooper, Queen Mother
Women 50 or older wear purple with red hats while those under 50 wear lavender with pink hats. During our birthday month, we reverse the colors ... wearing either red with a purple hat or pink with a lavender hat ... so feel free to wish us "Happy Birthday" when you see our colors switched.

I joined the community of Red Hats a few years ago when I found myself alone (after my sister retired and hit the road with her husband ... and my best friends left for a few months simultaneously). I knew I needed someone other than Molly to get me out of the house. So I logged on to the official website, entered my Zipcode, looked around, found an event close to home, donned a purple outfit & red hat, and went "tea tramping" ... in search of folks I liked. That's how I encountered Sisters at Heart, the gals I "played" with yesterday. I occasionally link up with two other Red Hat groups for a meal or activity as well.

But I digress ... back to my vagabond sister and her husband. After retiring from the work force, B & R rented out their house (for gas money they explained), leaving Jeff (a friend of their oldest son) living in "Grandma's quarters" (you might recall mom died in 1989) in charge of collecting and depositing rent from others in the house. However, they returned after about 3 months when she fell and dislocated her kneecap. Fortunately Jeff agreed to find other lodgings allowing them to move back in into their house during her recovery & physical therapy. Living with strangers in the rest of their house presented interesting challenges for all concerned, but they were home for about 6 months before hitting the road again ... this time leaving a room available for future emergencies.

This time they meandered through Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Canada ... visiting friends & seeing sights along the way as they headed for Alaska where they spent a month touring with other RVers ... having a wonderful time. Afterwards they drove through Canada into Montana ... and on to Colorado where they visited with more friends ... experiencing snow for the first time as RVers ... eventually heading south through New Mexico and into Arizona ... intending meander through the South on their way to Florida. However, once again (this time after being on the road for almost 6 months) health issues brought them home unexpectedly around Thanksgiving of last year. It was my brother-in-law's knee replacement that "came apart" and needed to be redone ... requiring about six months of recovery & physical therapy. As I've written elsewhere, they're currently on the East Coast and plan to winter in Florida.

This is all to explain how it came to be that I didn't post anything yesterday. Here is Saturday's saga ... and perhaps I'll find something to blog about before this day ends, posting a second piece to make up for missing yesterday ... or not. :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

More Discoveries in Blogland and the "Real World" too -- or It's All About Balance

These may all be "old hat" to YOU, but I feel like a kid in a candy store and find myself wishing I'd found all this sooner.

Who knew? Certain not me ... but I'm learning about Widgets & iGoogle where I've created a personalized home page containing handy resources like Weather Forecasts ... Dictionary, Thesaurus, Spell-check & Wickipedia links ... Photo Links of all types ... Quotes ... even Games (like Bejeweled) and so much more, all right here on my computer screen at my fingertips ... instead of the blank page I've looked at all these years. Let's hear it for OPTIONS!

How fun to observe the "beach scene" I selected for a "theme" at the top of the page change as the day progresses. It was dark with I started in the wee hours of the morning, then the sun rose, and colors gradually shifted through the variations of a regular sunny day, followed by a gorgeous sunset and finally became evening again. It's all pretty cool!

In case you're wondering where "the dinosaur" has been, I've been living life out in the world with the TV & my computer turned off most of the time ... mindfully paying attention to each moment ... discovering peace is a choice at every turn, no matter what happens ... grateful for my "happily retired" lifestyle and the expansive time I now experience regularly (instead of rushing hither and yon trying to do too much ... focused on everyone else's needs rather than my own as I did for all those years in the work force) ... continuing to practice The Four Agreements as presented by Don Miguel Ruiz ... eating healthily ... looking for the upside in all things ... walking Molly at the beach ... getting together with friends ... gardening ... reading ... writing in my journals for myself ... trying to figure out what to do next ... and being here seems perfect for now.

Yesterday when I took Molly out to play in the front yard where she can run freely ... chasing & retrieving her favorite toy endlessly burning off energy, I smelled gas in the air ... knocked on my neighbor's door to get her input & help with tracking down the source (thinking I needed to alert the Gas Company right away) and afterwards we chatted a while ... discussing a variety of topics (including but not limited to)
--her concerns about why the mainstream media doesn't cover positive stories & how frustrated she feels at times to realize a few corporations have so much power to control the flow of information, exerting such influence in our society & the world at large
--my recent experiences on the computer, specifically Thailand Girl's Blog Blast for Peace and some of the other topics I've written about previously on this site and at Sacred Ruminations
--our shared concerns about the war in Iraq and other pressing issues
--discussions she has with her grown children and their kids about world affairs and personal choices

When she mentioned her daughter-in-law was interested in learning about Blogs, I encouraged her to tell Y to stop by ... and I invited B inside to show her what IS available "free" right here on the Web. She expressed amazement ... wondering aloud (as I often do) who pays for all this free "stuph".

The teacher in me is happy to share in this way ... spread the word ... bring others to this richly diverse community of individuals willing to share so freely ... who will, in turn, talk with others out in the world at large ... about issues that matter ... enriching us all.

With that in mind, this evening I offer the following links for your consideration:
The People who Matter Most
PhD - Short Course in Leadership

Did you know about:
--the Random Acts of Kindness website with inspirational stories and action ideas for communities and classrooms?
--the Giraffe Heroes blog encouraging people to overcome apathy and fear ... to stick their necks out and do something about the problems of our times?

And, if you need a chuckle, check out:
Train Ticket story
Two Duck Hunters from Wisconsin (mentioned in yesterday's post)

It's been a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
I hope YOURS was enjoyable too.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Blogland Discoveries and Busy-ness

If you haven't discovered Talking Bear at Sleepy Bear Hollow, may I suggest you begin with When Bulls Teach Bears How to be Men, a personal story with a powerful message that I'll remember and share with everyone who will listen for a long time to come. His humorous piece about the two duck hunters from Wisconsin will have you laughing out loud. (Thanks again to Annie for telling me about Google Reader so I can read his posts dark on light which is easier on my eyes.)

When you have a few minutes, I highly recommend Thailand Gal's Blog Blast for Peace -- If not now, when? manifesto. It's certainly generated lots of comments on her site, and I've had several discussions with neighbors & friends about the issue it raises today. I suspect those conversations will continue.

I enjoyed the Cleaning Poem by Paul and birthday greetings to Senior Writer on the Elders Tribune. Happy belated birthday to Marlys. I'm catching up you see. :)

Reminders to self:
Here are a few ideas I'd like to remember and tackle eventually (but not now because I'm doing enough already ... as witnessed by the email message sent by my friend M today ... offering HER advice as follows:
"I think you are one busy little girl! Remember to eat right and get some exercise or we will find you sprawled out on top of your computer -- that is my motherly advice for today."
Rest assured M, I'm eating right, getting enought sleep, and Molly keeps me well exercised. You needn't worry. Right now everything is new and fun. As long as that's the case, I'll be fine.

But I digress ... so to continue with reminders to myself ...
-- I don't know where Olivia gets the energy to do so much, but she's setting an exemplary example with her month-long One Thing- Be Brave video documentary. (How does she DO this? There's so much I don't know!)
--Now I see she's doing NoMoWriMo also. You can check out her progress on more video at Happy Luau. I love to write too, but 20,000+ words on a novel in 4 days boggles MY mind! You go girl!
--Methinks I'll save MY first novel attempt for NEXT November. I have, however, left posts on each of my sites every day. I think that has a name too, but it escapes me right now.
--Start reading Eat, Pray, Love
--Check out Picasa: re Visual Scribblings for future posts
--Find a magnifying glass so I can decipher Visual Scribblings #2
--Return to Rainbow Dreams and follow the links to get acquainted with members of that Virtual Circle
--Figure out how to write a response here and link back there
--Explore some of the "writer's links" like Sunday Scribblings and Writers Island to get acquainted with how they work, who's out there, what they're writing, and consider joining in the fun.
--Don't mess with posts once they're published. Leave them be ... just as they are. (Don't ask!)

Now you know why the previous post has the title it does, but that's enough for so ... so I'll stop.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"Oh my Lord, there's so much to do! Tomorrow I think I'll pour a bucket of water down the mail shute!" ELOISE!!! (That's my name.)

Do you recall that song? I used to LOVE "Eloise" as a child. She did all the things I didn't dare try. I was such a good compliant child (otherwise known as a "wimp" or chicken) back in the day. Who knew I had such a wild child within?

And that reminds me of one of the songs I used to teach my students ... way back when. Always a big hit with the kids (who never failed to laugh hysterically whenever we sang it), parents used to share that it was one the entire family used to sing together ... often ... especially whenever someone blew it big time. Actually, that happened frequently in the middle of class as well ... always defusing embarrassingly tense situations.

I don't recall who wrote it ... or where I picked it up. Like the Eloise ditty ... it's a part of my memory from wherever. If I knew how to record it on YouTube and upload it there (as Olivia at Happy Luau did with her Gratitude Dance) perhaps I'd sing it for you and provide a link ... but I don't. So, here are the words. They'll have to suffice. If anyone knows the source, let me know and I'll add credits later.

I'm not perfect and I know I never will be
No one's perfect ... I know it's true.
Sisters and brothers, even dad's and mothers
All make mistakes, and I do too.

Verse 1:
In the yard I left the rake.
By the stairs I left my skates.
When my mom and dad discovered them,
I knew I'd made a big mistake.
When my bubble full of air ...
Got too near my mother's hair
I tried to pop it but it was too late!
I knew I'd made a big mistake ... Well

I'm not perfect and I know I never will be
No one's perfect ... I know it's true.
Sisters and brothers, even dad's and mothers
All make mistakes, and I do too.

Verse 2:
My friends and I were having fun
Playing ball, I hit a run
When I heard the plate-glass window break
I knew I'd made a big mistake!
Filled my squirt-gun very full.
Then the trigger I did pull.
When the water hit my teacher's face,
I knew I'd made a big mistake ... well

I'm not perfect and I know I never will be
No one's perfect ... I know it's true.
Sisters and brothers, even dad's and mothers
All make mistakes, and I do too.

Verse 3:
Grannie baked an apple pie.
I ate so much I thought I'd die.
When I couldn't sleep for the belly-ache,
I knew I'd made a big mistake.

Uh -oh ... my memory just pooped out on me all of a sudden.
Sigh! These things happen. If someone out there remembers the rest, please add it in "Comments" and we'll all be grateful. Forgive me if it's out of order. I don't think I've even THOUGHT of this song for DECADES so I'm surprised this much remains. ;)

(It seems appropriate to end with)

I'm not perfect and I know I never will be
No one's perfect ... I know it's true.
Sisters and brothers, even dad's and mothers
All make mistakes, and I do too.

After thoughts:
--One thing I do recall is that we substituted the word "teachers" for the word "even" in the chorus to make it more inclusive ... so we sang "teachers, dads and mothers" instead.
--Remind me again why the arts no longer are included in public school curriculum. Seems to me there are valuable lessons learned through art, music, dance, play, drama and other subjects I loved to do as a kid and teach in my classroom later on. How did we let this happen?
--Maybe when I finish my month of daily Sacred Life posts at Sacred Ruminations, I'll switch to weekly Sacred Life Sunday posts and take up the One Thing - Be Brave challenge for the next month. Who knows ... I might even explore YouTube and sing this little ditty.

(Enough! THAT'S a topic for another day)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Visual Scribbling #2

By popular request, I've decided to check out & share another long lost graphic piece created in 2001 with the help of MultiMate on my now defunct Palm V (may it RIP with all the data it consumed). Long live my Palm Life Drive. :)

As before, I have no idea what it says ... but this time I'll know enough to click on it once I publish this post and see (thanks to Deborah at Spiritual Anecdotes).


Addendum: Well ... I hope YOUR eyes are better than mine, for even when clicked on, these old eyes can't decipher what it says this morning. I wonder if I have the "original" around here somewhere? As I recall, the MultiMate left a paper trail in addition to an electronic one. (either 5x7 or perhaps 4x6. This piece IS visually reminiscent & representative of the larger 8x12 pieces in my collection created by hand with pen & ink. Those might be more easily read once scanned ... but I have no time to spend with Picasa or Flickr today ... so they'll will have to wait for now. Consider this an appetizer (or teaser?) ... your choice.

Monday, November 5, 2007

If I'd only known then ...

I've spent many hours (over the past couple of days) trying to clean up and reorganize my Mozilla Bookmarks into a useful format ... a task that might not have been necessary if I'd understood how they work in the first place. Sigh! Such is the story of my life. I jump into new experiences whole-heartedly with a little bit of knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm coupled with self-confidence to figure things out ... often creating messes to be cleaned up later.

I'm trying to become more mindful ... to simplify my life & let go of stuph ... but here I am accumulating Virtual Connections in my usual disorganized way ... then figuring out how to make sense of it all ... after the fact.

About two weeks ago when Kara encouraged me to explore the Blogosphere (with the intention of beginning a Blog of my own & let myself be known ... finally), I started with links (she emailed me) to sites she liked. When I discovered Blogs I wanted to revisit, I clicked Bookmark this Page. I explored links on those sites ... creating more Bookmarks along the way with the intention of revisiting them at my leisure.

In no time at all, the list grew to an unmanageable size ... and I could find nothing. So, when I created Small Reflections, I started a Link List of my own in the right column ... sorted alphabetically. Soon that grew to an unmanageable number so I separated them into categories ... and that helped initially, but I realized I was in trouble and needed to figure out how to manage my Bookmarks some other way when that list grew to a ridiculous size.

I culled the Link Lists at Small Reflections to a few I check regularly and kept the links to my Writers Retreat friends in a separate box, but didn't choose to lose track of other sites I'd found interesting ... so my Bookmarked list remained a chaotic mess (much like my desk often is for I'm an "out of sight, out of mind person" ... when something gets filed, it's forgotten entirely). Eventually I noticed Bookmarks could be Organized in a separate window ...(Duh!)... by creating categories in folders that could be alphabetically arranged. How could I have missed this?

So ... that's what I set out to do several days ago. I created a folder called Blogs to Check Out and another called Favorites. Later I added folders to sort more specifially (Journals, Spiritual Sites, Blogging Resources, Interesting Visuals, etc.) and began to "sort" by category. I made significant progress, but what I didn't realize until this morning is that I can create a new folder at the same time I Bookmark a site rather than after the fact by Organizing them later.

Again ... it's hard to fathom how I missed this feature on Mozilla ... but I did. Perhaps in my eager explorations, my focus landed on content rather than organization. Maybe I needed to create a mess and clean it up? It's possible, in my rush to make up for lost time, I just didn't stop to think at all? And, of course, I've been sick the past few days and my mind doesn't work right when my health is less than good. Enough excuses!

Whatever the cause ... I'm relieved to have figured out how things work ... finally. Now when I find a new site of interest, I know enough to file it where I can find it again easily ... creating new folders as needed on the spot. I'm still cleaning up the mess I made initially in Mozilla, but there's an end in sight and I've learned a valuable lesson ... again!

I'm slowing down ... mindfully attending to each moment ... trusting the process.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Progress and Setbacks

This weekend I managed to add the three pictures (taken by me this summer in Taos) to the top of column at the right. I'm not sure why I wasn't successful previously (because I don't thing I did anything different this time) but perhaps it was some small step I skipped. I'm just glad today it all works the way I intended. In addition, I managed to fix the "What Color is Your Aura" information (originally unreadable) just above the list of Quotes near the bottom of the right column ...(the only think I couldn't do was "center" the picture)... and I added another link entitled "What Color is Your Goddess" just after the list of Quotes. The links will let you take brief quizzes to determine your answers to these questions. Wandering this virtual world leads to interesting discoveries. :)

Surprised by the interest generated by my "Visual Scribblings" post, I've decided to make learning more about Picasa a priority (and/or get Flickr to work on my laptop and learn about it). Unfortunately, the lingering smoke in the air here in Southern California has taken it's toll on my throat & sinuses. Although I've been drinking lots of water, taking extra Vitamin C, and generally being good to myself (eating healthily, getting more rest, etc.) ... I suspect I'm coming down with a cold because I'm running a fever and my throat is raw. My mind doesn't work well when I'm sick, so this new learning may take longer than I'd like. I've learned the hard way NOT to push myself in such circumstances.

“Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”
~Chuang Tzu

I'm grateful I can give myself time to recover instead of rushing off to work. Retired life definitely is good! ;)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Public Television and Inspiration

I don't recall why I turned on the television this morning at 8:04, but it came up on Channel 6 (which is PBS in my area of Southern California), and I found myself listening to Wayne Dyer speak on the topic of INSPIRATION as I checked email. When the phone rang around 9am, I hit "record" on the DVR so I wouldn't miss any of it because I felt captivated. Afterwards, Molly and I took a walk together and I watered the front yard, but with the technology available today ... I can pick up this program where I left off even though it's still recording as I type. I've written more about this program on Sacred Ruminations, but sharing the following information here seemed right today, given yesterday's post.

He introduced an amazing Rwandan woman who survived the genocide there by spending 91 days in a tiny bathroom silently hiding with seven other women ... fearing discovery and death. Immaculee Ilibagiza shares her inspirational story (written with Steve Erwin) in an amazing book entitled Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. I'm looking forward to reading it soon and perhaps you will too.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy News

By chance, I happened today upon a Website that focuses attention on Happy News. What a pleasant bit of serendipity! I mention it here in case you've not discovered it yet and might find it of interest.

Because I believe what we focus on expands in our lives, long ago I gave up my regular subscriptions to newspapers & magazines and stopped watching TV news because I no longer chose to be bombarded with negative information. Initially, I worried I'd encounter problems by not knowing of world events ... but essential information came to me through friends, family, & unexpected sources ... quickly putting that concern to rest.

I believe my life is better for this decision, yet I'm delighted to find this place where I can easily click on categories as I choose to find articles about International, National, Heroes, Health, Opinion & Editorials, Science & Technology, Environment, Arts & Entertainment, Sports, Business/Money & Happy Living ... read optimistic "contest" essays ... and even submit Happy News when or if I wish. The site even has links to "unhappy news sources" ... but I doubt I'll use them. I've Bookmarked it for easy access and think I'll add it to my Link List on so others might find it easily.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Visual Scribblings

Here is an example of the kind of writing I've done for years. This brief, simple piece is something I created experimentally using a gift from M. It was a device that linked electronically to my now defunct Palm V ... allowing me to write with my hand yet transfer the results to my computer. I don't recall what it says and don't know if it will be readable once I publish this post, but I offer it here today simply as a reminder to myself and sample of what's to come.

Once I learn how to scan what M refers to as my "graphic poetry" and save it in a readable format, I intend to post some of them here. In Taos, both Suzanne & Jen encouraged me to do so. This is a first step.

Equal Time for Ms. Kitty

It's the day after Halloween and I admit, I'm relieved to know Ms. Kitty has survived yet another ghostly holiday. M has encouraged me for years to bring her inside at this time of year, telling grisly tales of what some misguided folk do with black cats ... but she will have none of that.
She's an independent sort who values her freedom and definitely doesn't want to be indoors for any length of time ... especially with "the great white beastie" smells close by. The only way she ever enters the house is of her own volition ... and she'll remain calmly explorative only as long as the door remains open & accessible for a quick exit on her own terms. These days it's always from the front of the house ... into the living room where Molly is not allowed because it's carpeted.
This morning I found Ms. Kitty where she usually hangs out currently ... sleeping on the white bench pad my new neighbors donated after she had filled it with black hair in THEIR yard. They've since replaced it with another and have sprayed the new one with something to discourage her from claiming IT ... and interestingly ... she seems to like the new location of her comfy pillow on MY front patio ... underneath one of the blue chairs just outside the French Doors. Apparently it's protected enough for her to relax the way she once did in the fenced yard two doors inland ... before she adopted me.
Actually, Ms. Kitty has "a small igloo" of her own ... purchased especially for her by me after Molly moved in and claimed the larger one in the back yard that was home to Zonker for 16 years before he passed in 2001, a couple of weeks after I retired. It's furnished with the comfy cat bed that she once slept in at my feet in the family room ... (as long as the back door remained open). Once it was clear to me that the cat didn't want anything to do with the puppy ...(nor ME for a while)... I created a safe haven for her on the deck above the garage ... near the spa. She's long slept on the warm cover when the nights get chilly ... and since there's a gate at the top of the stairs to keep the dogs away, it seemed perfect. For a while I kept food & water there for her as well.
However, Ms. Kitty had other ideas ... and it didn't take long for her to claim the front yard as her own ... along with the front yard of my neighbor toward the ocean. That worked fine until they sold the house and moved back to Riverside to be near their family. The new owners made significant changes inside & out before moving in last year, and they have a cat of their own ... hence the changes described above.

I've tried putting the igloo on the front patio, but Ms. Kitty didn't use it there ... so I've moved it back on the deck where she DOES retreat occasionally ... usually when it rains. As my friend M is fond of saying ... it's good to have options ... and she does.

Now ... for all my cat loving friends, I offer this collage of kitty photos ... giving equal time for THIS fur-friend. For those of you unfamiliar with Blog-reading ... clicking on the collage gives you a larger view. Enjoy!

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