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Friday, May 30, 2008

The Endless Forest = Enjah

Thanks Osprey! What would I do without you?

Spot That Grass Mulch!

Because of reading Ruth Stout, whose books were mentioned by Osprey, I am now saving the lawn clippings and using them as mulch. There are about 6 inches of grass clippings under these bushes, covering the weeds that want to take over.

Spot That Gator

This cropped photo shows the head of the alligator better than the full photo, which I reduced to 500 pixels on the long edge, so it would upload into Blogger. The egret is staring down at the gator, which is to the left of that end of the stone dam (which was built, incidentally, to keep gators OUT!).

Here I have circled the gator's head. A wildlife expert told me last night that for every inch of the gator's snout, from eye to nose, there is a foot of body length, including tail. He recommended that we have this one removed from our holding pond. They will most likely put it back into Armand Bayou, but it already knows how to climb around the edge of this dam ===8O.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teddy Bear

Here is Teddy Bear, one of the dogs at the Bay Area SPCA, in San Leon, Texas. He is a magnificent 100-pound Lab / Great Pyrenees mix, and he is very relaxed and easy going. He would make a wonderful addition to the home of someone who has experience handling large dogs. He is about 4-5 years old, and loves people.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sharp Eyes

If you can spot the alligator in this picture, you have better eyes than most. The area to look at is where the egret is looking. Only the small gator's head is visible above the water line. The water on the right of the rock dam is blurry with insects hatching.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tree of Fire

I did this black drawing on impulse today, because I saw a song titled "Tree of Leaf and Fire". The image just popped into my head.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tragic Figure: Dr. Herman Taller

Dr. Herman Taller wrote "Calories Don't Count", published in 1961, about his experience as an overweight physician, explaining the mode of eating he used to reduce his weight considerably. The book included instructions on using the diet principle oneself.

With his patients, he recommended a low-carbohydrate diet, one of the aspects of which was to drink poly-unsaturated oil every day. When his patients complained that it was difficult to drink oil, even stirred into water, he had capsules of oil made up for them. That was a mistake; the FDA said his safflower oil doses were not helpful in dieting and he went to jail for fraud.

It was the fatty acids in the oil, as well as in fish (which he recommended patients eat daily), that he was recommending for his patients. Now great numbers of people buy fish oil capsules and other fatty acid capsules to help their health. Of course, Dr. Taller did not separate the fatty acids out of oils. Sadly, he was not even quoted in Dr. Atkins' book, in spite of the fact that he pioneered the modern form of low-carbohydrate diet.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Love It the Way It Is

I have been feeling discouraged by things I have watched, such as the National Geographic Special "Strange Days on Planet Earth", and I was pondering these things when a phrase popped into my head, "love it the way it is".

I think this is good advice for loving humanity, and the earth, as much as it is for an individual. I have to accept humanity for who we are right now, and send out that love energy, in spite of what disastrous things are looming because we have made a lot of bad decisions. Just as with a loved one, I cannot change those decisions, and castigation will get us nowhere fast. Love and creativity is what is needed most, for all of us.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Anne's Seventieth!

I can hardly believe it, but my oldest sister will be 70 on Wednesday. Today she had a celebration with family and friends, featuring a cake she did not even taste. She has lost over 60 pounds this past year. On her front door, was a sign saying "The age you are is the right age". Happy birthday, dear sister!

The Stampede!

For some reason the stags were really wild today. I told Osprey I was going in to fawn around in the Endless Forest, and she arrived shortly after I did. She is the white fawn ... the stags were running around wildly in a small area and leaping as they ran. I can't leap as I run, cause either I dunno how,or fawn can't do it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New Fence

My son Patrick came over to our house yesterday to move some gardenias that we had planted too close to the house, and he suggested we replace the well-worn pickets on the fence between the house and the garage, which he did, and magnificently. Here it is in progress. The grey wood pieces are parts of the old fence, the posts and rails. The fence is of cedar, which gave my car a divine scent on the way home from the lumberyard.

As Above, So Below

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Upshot

Here is the text of my letter to the endodontist, whom I have never met:

Dear Dr. NameWithheld,

Your office was recommended by Dr. Whojamajiggy, my dentist, so I recently made an appointment to have a root canal. When I phoned, I thought the receptionist was rather curt, but after all, I need the procedure. I was unsure about whether or not I needed an evaluation appointment, because I had had a severe allergic reaction after my only other root canal. She was not terribly helpful, at one point saying in an irritated tone of voice that the only procedures your office performs are root canals. Nevertheless, I planned to have the procedure done.

I was under a lot of stress the weekend before my May 13th appointment, and had myself convinced that the root canal was at 9:40AM. At 8:50AM, your receptionist phoned and demanded to know if I was on my way. Her tone of voice was quite irritated and short. I said no, my appointment was for 9:40AM. She explained it had been for 8:40, and I apologized, saying I guessed we would have to reschedule. She said indeed we would have to reschedule, as you only see one patient at a time, and I had messed up your day. She sounded very angry. I was nearly in tears, having apologized repeatedly, when she sighed deeply and said let’s move on, at which time she scheduled an appointment for May 30th.

Today I decided to cancel my appointment with your office and have my dentist recommend another endodontist. I refuse to be treated unkindly. Perhaps you should consider charging patients for missed appointments, rather than have your staff tongue-lash them.

When a person has to undergo a procedure that is painful and difficult, it is, in my opinion, important that they be treated with care. You have hired someone who is unfriendly, irritable and short with patients; that indicates to me that you do not respect your patients’ feelings. For you it is an everyday procedure. For the patient, it is an unwelcome and dreaded event.

Would It Break My Fingers to Wind a Clock?

I had an "Atomic Clock". To set the time, it automatically connected to someplace that had a real atomic clock; it could figure out what time zone I was in, and it ran on a watch battery. It recently decided I am on Pacific Time, and would not be moved back to Central. After months of mentally adding two hours to the visible time, I decided to purchase a replacement alarm clock. At the hardware store, I found this retro beauty. No batteries, no electricity whatsoever ... it winds up and ticks, like clocks used to do. The alarm also requires winding. I realize this is a tiny droplet in the ocean of battery-operated and electronic gear in the world (truth be told, even in our house!), but I feel terribly virtuous.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Forest Crowd

Headburro Antfarm and I registered ourselves at The Endless Forest, and this afternoon, we met and explored, danced, and ate fungi off trees, which gave us the ability to bestow different pelts on one another.

Tonight at the pond there were lots of fawns and stags. Don't deer come in both genders? Why are there no does? Well, anyhow, I could not see everyone's symbol/name, which I had never noticed happening before. Everyone was busily changing one another's coat, antlers, and putting masks on one another. I got changed into a frog for a time!


Thank goodness, my fellow voters and I chose pure water over money ... in my earlier post, I said we had to make hard choices. Much higher taxes, the opposition claimed, would result from the Water Authority purchasing the old golf course. They put up very sophisticated signs all around the neighborhood, making that claim. The incumbents used hand-stenciled signs saying simply, vote for us. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if the opposition wanted the golf course land for development, and profit.

The old golf course aids us in several ways. It provides drainage, an important commodity in this area of heavy rainfall and increasing population. It provides a green space amongst the houses, with shade and walking paths. It also provides the unseen benefit of recharging the aquifer with water filtered down through the soil. Now it will belong to the Water Authority. Way To Go, Voters!!!! YAY!!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to Upset an Endodontist's Receptionist

Misremember the time of your root canal appointment, then have to reschedule for two weeks later.

Last time I had a root canal, I was fine for about 24 hours, then had extreme swelling and pain. The endodontist said I had an allergic reaction. Now I am concerned this may happen again, and I probably blocked out the time of the appointment due to dread.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Jaybird Extravaganza!

I received this bee yooo tea full card today. The outside on left, inside on right ... I associate bluejays with the souls of my dear departed loved ones, so Robyn sent me a card with jays on it! Of course, Steve's birthday was Saturday, so she sent it early, between his birthday and mine; how dear of her!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hard Choices

Today there was an election for our local Water Board. The incumbents want to purchase a local golf course, which is obsolete (?why? I have no idea). It is a water drainage area that filters ground runoff and recharges the aquifer, and they want to maintain our source of clean water. The opposition says that there will be big taxes to pay, which is true. So this is a hard choice that reflects the hard choices we will all have to make about natural resources vs. monetary resources, both of which are scarce these days.


Reincarnation ... some say it sounds like an easier philosophy than others ... putting off till next time the consequences of today's actions; not fearing death because one is an eternal being. Actually, in many ways, reincarnation requires taking responsibility for one's choices in a way that other spiritual paths do not require.

We all see lives where someone good and kind suffers deeply for no discernible reason. We also see greedy, evil and monstrous people who appear to escape punishment. Some see in this a cruel and sadistic god or universe. One lifetime is not long enough to see the chains of cause and effect in all cases.

We are evolving, learning to be strong human beings: kind, yet firm, with others. There are avatars (not computer-generated simulacra but highly evolved human beings in history) who show us the way to live. We try to follow in their footsteps, but along the way we fall and fail. Every failure is a learning step. We make mistake after mistake, until we become fully conscious of our true role as human beings, mediators in the pageant of spirit and nature (defining these terms is beyond the scope of this post).

A friend said, "if we do not remember our other lives, how can we learn from them?" A valid question! Do we need to remember past mistakes? We encounter almost exactly the same circumstances time after time until we learn how to overcome the problem. Then we move on to the next problem.

Looking back on life, all of us see we had earlier patterns that no longer plague us. Choices that were self-and other-destructive are finally changed to ones that are healthier and more compassionate, as the consequences of our choices hammer home over and over again. There is no need to look back to other lifetimes. The problems we face in this lifetime are the ones we are focusing on for now. Every human being faces the same problems, but not all at the same time or in the same way.

So in a sense, it makes no difference at all if there IS such a thing as reincarnation. We are charged with the responsibility of our choices, no matter what our spiritual philosophy. Some of my best friends are agnostic or atheistic, and those particular people happen to be some of the kindest, most generous and caring people I know. Therefore, atheism is a healthy spiritual philosophy for them. Others choose religions and try to follow the precepts they promulgate, and for those people, that is the best way (hehe in this lifetime!).

Death, Friend to Life

Death is something we humans fear and loathe, and the worst thing most people can imagine is dying. That is a fallacy, of course, as we know rationally. There are many worse things. Physical suffering occurs while one is alive, and ends with death. Yet we persist in gigantic campaigns to wipe out death, and ask everyone around us to contribute to causes that prevent the deaths of those who are unable to help themselves. I am FOR these causes! Unnecessary suffering and death are anathema to humanity (leaving out the deliberate causing of these things which would take up more space than my blog permits). However, without death, we end up with unlimited numbers of a species, which then wreaks havoc on the environment.

Well, since we are working so hard to prevent death among humans, we must therefore control birth. Last night I saw a documentary on NOVA called "Strange Days on Planet Earth", which demonstrated how our small daily choices are affecting the planet. (BIG NEWS FLASH?)

Now that there are so many human beings, everything we do and do not do makes a huge impact on the planet. Forty years ago I belonged to what was then called ZPG. They advocated reducing reproduction. There are many many people who had an adverse reaction to this idea, from those seeing genocidal urges in it to those who believe we should have as many children as we can. Saddened, I became silent on that subject.

Population pressure is the root cause of many of the ills that are plaguing the planet, however. We can do it the easy way (contraception and abortion), or we can do it the hard way (famine, disease, pestilence and war), but the natural world cannot support this number of people. The base we take for granted is beginning to crumble.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

History's Mysteries

Disturbing questions sometimes arise about the history of the USA. Why did we buy African slaves (from Europeans and the British), then keep them enslaved and forcibly uneducated for hundreds of years? After World War II, why did we rebuild Germany and Japan and not Great Britain? That leads me quite effectively to another question, namely Who Really Won World War II?

In the 1980s, why did we let Haitians die on the beaches of Florida? In 2003, why did we invade Iraq when the World Trade Center had been attacked by Saudis and Moroccans?

Do people from other countries feel this shame over the actions of their governments and people? Some say we in the US held to higher standards, and that we have acted no more shamefully than other countries.

We are now massively in debt to China for our foolish recent wars, and who knows where this will lead in the future. Karma works for nations as well as for individuals.

Forward to the Past

No, I can't believe I am doing this either! I just read about how much energy a dryer uses from my environmental calendar, and I bought the indoor/outdoor clothesline at The Clothesline Shop, and one thing led to another. I know hub will say, "What have you done with my wife?" but the aroma of linens dried in fresh air will be priceless.