September 30, 2009

Bicycle Diaries

This could be my husband! Well, the man in this article could be my husband. Well, not exactly like that. The man in this article is a musician. So is my hubby. The man in this article writes. So does my husband. The man in this article rides a bike. So does my hubby. Lots of people know this man by name and appearance and his music. Not so much my hubby. I get all of him. I am his biggest fan. His bipolar disorder and all his addictions conflicted with his success. That is a good way of saying it, huh. He has been clean and sober nine years but the bipolar disorder cannot be left behind like the addictions. My hubby has more talent in his baby finger than I could ever hope to have.

Musician, writer, and artist, David Byrne is going to ride a bicycle ..."around Detroit, Istanbul, London, San Francisco, Manila, New York -- you name it. He cycles through cities bike-friendly and bike-hostile, musing on the myriad advantages (and disadvantages) of getting around on two wheels in places where, often, a man on a bike (a famous man, with shockingly white hair, no less) is a strange sight indeed. He muses on everything from urban planning to bike helmets to art criticism to Latin music, often on his bike (but not always). Even if you don't own a bike and have no plans to mount one, you'll pedal through the pages of "Bicycle Diaries" in no time; the book is full of musings by a compelling eccentric."

This post is a preview of a book review of "Bicycle Diaries" by David Byrne, because I am going to buy this book for my hubby's 60th birthday next month. That means I will get to read it too!

My hubby rides his bike at least twenty mornings each month. When I met him he rode his bike every day. At least once. The new meds the doctors have him taking this year have caused him to gain some weight and have affected his thyroid. But my hubby is determined to stay as balanced as possible and not have another manic episode. The exercise regimen of riding the bike shows his determination to be consistent and be as healthy as he can be.

For more information about David Byrne's bicycle tours check his website.

September 29, 2009

The Best Player On The Team

He jumps in the air. He runs and plays. What speed! It is a pleasure to watch him.

When the players gathered they knew he would come. They play for the joy of playing, they don't keep score. There aren't really any teams. They just play.

It doesn't matter if they have found a tennis ball, a frisbee, or a baseball. He has trouble with a football, so they deflate it to make it easier for him.

They have talked about him many times, and admire his skill. They think he is a German Shepherd mix. No one knows where he lives, probably on the streets and alleys.

Their name for him is Tripod. He has three legs. He can run from one end of the field to the other faster than they can and he can catch better than any of them. He's the best player they have seen. He's the best friend any of them have.

Note: This is my first attempt at a little fiction. The dog's name was the name of a raccoon in a book I read recently.

September 27, 2009

Developing Muscles Through Inner Struggle

Sorting through the struggles within is a singular responsibility. No one else can do it for me. They wouldn't even be able to truly understand because it is inside me. They can't stand me in front of an x-ray scanner to read my thoughts and feelings and emotions because these exist in the abstract.

This past year has been an amazing adventure. I have learned so much about myself, accepted some things and can now practice new skills to change some things. Hardship is a good education. The struggle doesn't take as much effort. I think I have developed some emotional muscles!

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. We would never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world."
- Helen Keller

September 25, 2009

My Wanna Be Me

Christina, at Christina's Outlet, has graciously given me permission to use one of her very own works of art. This graphic is her design. Check out her blog here to see the other designs.

This particular graphic is everything I would like to be and am not. Big sigh.

Long dark luxurious hair. Daring and somewhat different tattoos. I really like the stars cascading down her neck. Slim and energetic. She must have energy because she is smiling as she slaves in the kitchen. IN GARTER AND STOCKINGS and not much else! Wonder if hubby would like me dressed like this in the kitchen. Maybe I'll try it when I make bran muffins! No, bran muffins are for old people. Oh, that's right, we are kind of old. Maybe banana muffins. Maybe apple spice muffins. Christina, help me out here, do you have a recipe for apple spice muffins?

September 23, 2009

Counter Culture

In the New York Times:

"Excuse me? Pardon me?

I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt your text messaging, which is probably what brought that look of scorn to your face, but I was wondering if you could help me.

That’s funny. Maybe I’m imagining this, but each time I open my mouth to ask a question about the clothes you’re selling, your nose scrunches, your eyes roll, and your head darts down to where the register is. I can’t imagine what’s so pressing.

I’m the only customer in here. Is there an urgent cash crisis? A dangerous cashmere spill?

Oh, of course! It’s me, isn’t it? I’m not exactly amusing you with these little queries of mine. My bad. I know my Gap jeans and old sweater are hardly from the mind of Karl Lagerfeld, but that’s why I came in here today. To trade money for goods and services. The way it works is: I ask questions about various products — in this case, the clothes beautifully displayed around us — and you, in your role as service person, answer them, perhaps even leaving your spot behind the desk to physically touch the clothes and aid in my investigation and ultimate purchase of them.

We can even have fun doing it. You can talk to me, ask me questions, too, even joke casually about things we might have in common (I totally agree about Lady Gaga!). You can use those powers of human interaction to assist me in a purchase, maybe even one that’s larger than I had originally intended.

Wouldn’t that be cool? I’ll end up feeling validated, happy that I spent $200 on a pair of jeans I didn’t need, because you made me feel like a million bucks when I came out of the changing room.

Perhaps a friendship will blossom out of it. O.K., friendship is a leap. A camaraderie? Can camaraderie blossom? Like the type that allows me to say, “Thanks so much for your help, man,” or even address you by your first name. That’d be nice. Wouldn’t it be nice, Mark?

I can see this isn’t really your thing. You’ve told me to “feel free to look around.” Maybe you were just trying to put me at ease — a little “my store is your store” attitude. And I understand. A lot of people don’t want your help. They want to browse at their discretion, unencumbered by salespeople.

I am not one of them. I need guidance. Think of me as soft clay, ready to be molded in your image. What do you think, Mark, brown belt or black?

Oh dear. There are those eyes again, barrel-rolling in their sockets like a pair of F-16s at an air show.

But you’re coming out from behind your perch? How exciting! Wow, those are some serious tattoos.

And what boots — I can’t believe you tuck your jeans right into them! I totally underestimated your coolness, Mark. Do you have this jacket in a medium?

Oh, you’re going outside for a cigarette. My God, I didn’t even realize I was interrupting your private time. I’ll just slink out of here quietly. So sorry to have troubled you."

I grew up in southern California and watched it grow to overflowing, with people and houses and freeways and vehicles. And smog and irate drivers and crime. I know there is still lots to beckon people to southern California besides the weather. But in my early twenties I left California for quite a few years and lived in five other states before returning to find it changed even more. For twenty more years I lived in San Diego, worked there, met friends there.

A year and a half ago hubby and I packed a big truck and pulled one car and with adventure in our hearts, moved to Nebraska. One of the first things we noticed was how different the people in Nebraska are. They are NICE, FRIENDLY, POLITE, HELPFUL. As we were unpacking the truck and getting settled, we made several trips to stores for necessary items, and it was actually a shock when people approached us and asked if we were finding everything we were looking for, and when we walked toward a checkout counter we were directed to one that would ring us up immediately. All with a smile on their faces and looking directly into our eyes.

I may be exaggerating a teensy bit, but for the most part we have been welcomed to our new home area by neighbors and shop owners and restaurant staff in a way that seals the deal. We are staying here. We are home. The people make the difference.

September 21, 2009

New Hope For Early Diagnosis Of Pancreatic Cancer?

Does this article in Scientific American give us false hope, or could it be that at last researchers may be onto a way to detect symptoms of early stages of pancreatic cancer early enough to make a difference?

"The failure to detect pancreatic cancer until after it has progressed to a fatal stage has long been the bane of doctors and the demise of patients. Imaging the out-of-the-way organ with MRI or CT scans often fails to catch tumors and, so far, there are no reliable blood-based markers for the disease.

For most patients--including actor Patrick Swayze, who died this week as a result of this aggressive malignancy--abdominal pain, weight loss and jaundice are the disease's first indicators, and their onset usually occurs after the cancer has metastasized, erasing any possible benefit of surgery.

Approximately 42,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year. Nearly all of them will succumb to the disease, 76 percent within the first year after diagnosis. Swayze managed to battle his cancer for 20 months, 12 more than the median survival time.

New hope for improved detection comes in the form of small RNA molecules called microRNAs. For pancreatic cancer, scientists have catalogued dozens of microRNAs whose levels are different than in healthy samples. Even if measuring microRNAs does not turn out to be sensitive enough for general screening, it would arm doctors with a great tool for screening at-risk individuals."

When a celebrity passes away, we the public feel we should be privy to any and all of the private pain and agony suffered throughout the illness. Just as in the case of Michael Landon, when Patrick Swayze's body could no longer fight the cancer in his pancreas, he left his body behind.

The hope that the article in Scientific American gives me is personal. My son-in-law spoke of pain in his lower back when we were all together for Thanksgiving. I told him that sounded like a kidney problem and suggested he see a doctor soon. He was a big strapping, handsome, athletic, intelligent young man. He and my daughter were expecting their first child. The baby was born the end of March, and three months later my son-in-law passed away. He had lost weight and had little energy and was unable to work at the time his son was born. That was seventeen years ago. He was twenty nine years old. Every time I read about someone in the public eye who loses the battle with pancreatic cancer, I hurt so much for their family and for thousands of others whose names are not known publicly but who are dying of this horrible disease, and their families. I know the researchers are working hard to eliminate all cancer, and I want so desperately to see the end of cancer in my lifetime.

September 20, 2009

Smile, You're on Candid Futurama Camera

"Pictures of grinning kids may reveal more than childhood happiness: a study from DePauw University shows that how intensely people smile in childhood photographs, as indicated by crow’s feet around the eyes, predicts their adult marriage success. According to the research, people whose smiles were weakest in snapshots from childhood through young adulthood were most likely to report being divorced in middle and old age. Among the weakest smilers in college photographs, one in four ended up divorcing, compared with one in 20 of the widest smilers. The same pattern held among even those pictured at an average age of 10.

The paper builds on a 2001 study by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, that tracked the well-being and marital satisfaction of women from college through their early 50s. That work found that coeds whose smiles were brightest in their senior yearbook photographs were most likely to be married by their late 20s, least likely to remain single into middle age, and happiest in their marriage; they also scored highest on measures of overall well-being (including psychological and physical difficulties, relationships with others and general self-satisfaction)."

This article was in a recent issue of Scientific American.

September 19, 2009

Why Does Music Make Us Feel?

When I read this article in Scientific American, two things jumped out: First, that the article was not asking if music made us feel, it was clear that music does make us feel; secondly, that the article didn't require how music makes us feel, either sad or happy or melancholy or any number of reactions.

" does emanate from our alarm clocks in the morning, and fill our cars, and give us chills, and make us cry. According to a recent paper by Nidhya Logeswaran and Joydeep Bhattacharya from the University of London, music even affects how we see visual images. In the experiment, 30 subjects were presented with a series of happy or sad musical excerpts. After listening to the snippets, the subjects were shown a photograph of a face. Some people were shown a happy face – the person was smiling - while others were exposed to a sad or neutral facial expression. The participants were then asked to rate the emotional content of the face on a 7-point scale, where 1 mean extremely sad and 7 extremely happy.

...The researchers found that music powerfully influenced the emotional ratings of the faces. Happy music made happy faces seem even happier while sad music exaggerated the melancholy of a frown. A similar effect was also observed with neutral faces. The simple moral is that the emotions of music are “cross-modal,” and can easily spread from sensory system to another.

...Music is exquisitely emotionally evocative, which is why a touch of happy music makes even unrelated pictures seem more pleasant.

...Regardless of whether music is emotional intonation from speech or a summary of expressive movements – or something else altogether – the new research by Logeswaran and Bhattacharya adds yet more fuel to the expectation that music has been culturally selected to sound like an emotionally expressive human. While it is not easy for us to see the human ingredients in the modulations of pitch, intensity, tempo and rhythm that make music, perhaps it is obvious to our auditory homunculus.

Music has been almost as important to me in my life as breathing. Music helped save my mind and my spirit as a child and has filled my heart and fed my soul throughout my life.

One of the many blessings for me in being married to my dear husband is that he is a musician and he understands my need for music because music is as necessary to him as it is to me.

September 18, 2009

Remembering Jimi My Second Main Man Hendrix

James Marshall Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970).

September 18 2006 I wrote a post in remembrance of Jimi Hendrix.

Because Jimi Hendrix was, is, and always will be an inspiration to my guitar playing hubby, today's post is commemorating the extraordinary talent of a musician who is still popular today.

"I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice."

Jimi was able to do that and surpass anything he could imagine at that time.

Jimi, we still think of you as the best of the best.

September 17, 2009

Some Dogs Are Treated Better Than The Wife

Most families with pets don't actually think of the pet as an animal, it is part of the family. A loved one. If the house caught on fire it would be a tough quick-thinking decision whether to run back and save the wife or the dog. Of course, I am seeing this from the wife's perspective. Perhaps there are women out there who prefer the dog. I'm just not one of them.

I've been treated like a dog in past relationships, but in this marriage I am top dog so to speak (if there were a pet). Of course there is no pet to compete with but I am pretty sure that hubby would run back in and get me first.

I've had acquaintances who talked to their dogs nicer than they talked to their spouse. "Oh, sweety, you have such a cute butt". "Come here and give me a big wet kiss". In a sing-song voice of seduction. If I happened to be looking in another direction, I would have thought they were talking to their spouse. I would end up an evening with these people thinking why couldn't they have as much fun and show as much attention to their spouse.

These have been my kind of examples in life. I try to learn from all my experiences.

In actuality, I can't have a dog right now and I do love them very much. So does hubby. I love to see photos of people's pets and I get to share the fun and adventures when I read other blogs, sort of an aunt.

September 15, 2009

A Tribute To My Father-In-Law

One of the reasons I enjoy finding blogs written by school teachers has to be because my father-in-law taught school for thirty two years. One of his other titles was coach. He coached in the school system as well as little league teams during the years his sons played ball. The older son played football, the sport in which he excelled. That son is my husband.

Being a good teacher and coach and husband and father seemed to come naturally to my father-in-law. He had strength and was a strong disciplinarian tempered with wisdom to show a kind and gentle spirit to his family.

My father-in-law and I never met. He passed away many years before I met his son. But I like hearing stories from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law about their dad and I have adopted him as my dad. My husband has told me that I have things in common with "our" dad, whose name was Jim. We both were fans of John Wayne movies. We spent lots of time playing ball and also watching ball games. We shared a passion for reading. We placed a high priority on the importance of family.

In our living room there is a plaque on the wall in a place of honor at the front door. Next to the insignia of the high school there are the words "With deep appreciation for 32 years of service and dedication to high school students" and the name of the high school with the dates 1959-1981. My father-in-law's name is in big letters on the top of the plaque.

The most important interest we share is the love for my husband. It would have been great to have met and spent time with Jim, but I am blessed to be married to his son, who is the most interesting person I have ever known, and I believe some of his charisma and intelligence came from my father-in-law.

September 14, 2009

Are Legs Lucky Or Are Lucky's Legs Lucky?

The title of the story is Lucky Gets New Legs. But the picture was what caught my eye. So I read the story.
This turtle was aptly named. This is a story of courage, determination, and love.
This turtle's story is an inspiration.

September 12, 2009

The Day The Ducks Were All In A Row

Ah, camping, nature, peace and quiet. Camping was something my children and I did several times a year. Sometimes we would take a road trip to different states and stay in a campground we would find along the way. We carried a large book of national campsites in the car. One memory that jumps out when I think of camping is of my daughters constructing daisy chains in a field near a campground in Kentucky and wearing the daisy chains on their heads. It made me want to cry to see them find something fun and innovative and get in the spirit of the camping trip.

Years later I was camping with friends and family at a membership campground. This campground was large yet each campsite was among trees and natural settings of leaves, bushes, downed logs, and lots of critters. Campers fished in a large lake on which ducks swam and played. I would sit on a bench under trees and read, catching sight of the ducks paddling around in the lake and enjoy the serenity.

One day a large white duck was not keeping up with the flock and was circling slowly in a small area close to the edge of the lake. I watched closely. I called to the duck. I ran back to my campsite and scavenged bread and popcorn to persuade the duck, who I was now calling Trouble, to come closer. He wasn't enticed by the food, but his friends were and soon they were out of the water, waddling and squawking. Fortunately, I had brought lots of bread and popcorn, so I started feeding the ducks and watching Trouble carefully lumber across the grass toward where the action was.
As he approached, I could see what was causing his distress. A fishing hook was caught in his leg and many feet of fishing line was following in his wake. I gasped, frightening the healthy ducks eating out of my hand.

There was absolutely NO WAY I could walk away from Trouble and leave him to his own devices. I ran back to the campsite again, this time to get my brother to help me, and I picked up pliers, first aid kit, and hydrogen peroxide and returned to the lake.
Using the same ploy of feeding the ducks, Trouble tried to join his friends at the side of the lake. As my brother fed the flock, I slowly advanced upon Trouble, gently talking to him. I reached his side and picked him up in my arms and when I looked at the red, swollen leg and the rusty fish hook, I knew it was the right thing to help him.

So with my brother holding Trouble, I never stopped the soothing talk as I used the pliers to pull out the fish hook, then poured hydrogen peroxide into the wound several times. Then I took Trouble out of my brother's hands and I carried him to the edge of the lake, waded in a few feet, set him into the water and wished him well.

During the next few days, my brother would join me in my visits to the lake to see how Trouble was doing. Each time we came to the bench we used to help Trouble, a large white duck hanging back from the rest of the ducks would quack at us. On the fourth day, as we walked to the lake, we could see all the ducks in a row, paddling and ducking and splashing. And one big white duck quacking loudly at us.

September 11, 2009

Patriot Day

There is so much I am still feeling and reading about that I can't say it yet. This was such a shock that morning to be driving to work and turned on the radio to hear the tail end of someone talking about what looked like a war had begun and that this country had never seen anything like it. I did not know the country they were talking about was this country, the USA. I remember thinking uh oh something really horrible must be happening in some small country and my heart went out to them and I made a mental note to find out about it later. And headed into work. The entire space of offices across from where I worked was taken up with computer specialists who were police officers and detectives who worked the internet tracking down criminals, in particular pervs seeking young people. When I walked upstairs one of the officers came out of the office across from ours and asked if I was okay. I said I was and why was he asking, he said if I needed to come in to their office till someone else came to work they would welcome me there. Note: No one was ever allowed into their offices. Then he told me about what they knew so far about the twin towers. It still would not register in my pea brain. You mean the tail end of the news story I heard on my car radio as I pulled into the parking lot at work was actually a true story about the United States? To this day it is so incomprehensible to me. This is one holiday on the calendar that I cannot say "Happy Patriot Day", how can the word happy be associated with 9-11-2001?

September 09, 2009

Let Me Entertain You

When my children were growing up, we all had responsibilities. Each child could make his or her own bed. I didn't go along behind them to straighten the bedding. It was their bed and it was their decision to either make it the best they could or not. It wasn't something to set them up for judgment. In their eyes their finished bed making was beautiful.

Because they participated in household chores, they were pretty busy little people. They did have play time and friends over sometimes. But they had each other so they always had someone to play a game with or talk to or trade chores with.

How did those children grow into parents who think someone should be entertaining their children at all times? I see my grandchildren and children of their generation as missing out on using their imaginations. They either have an electronic game or a computer in front of them or they expect someone to be providing amusement for them. Being on their own is "boring", and heaven knows, parents don't want their children unhappy. So someone needs to be paying attention to them every waking minute.

I am in a strange position these days. I am at an age that I remember how it was when I was a child, left to my own devices to imagine and play act and dance and sing and dress and undress the various cats in the house and be outside with nature and watch ants and learn how to take care of plants and pretend as much as my mind could experience. When adults were talking we were not to interrupt unless the house was on fire. Children "were seen and not heard". I didn't feel rejected or stifled; on the contrary, I was able to look within and invent my own games and use my imagination. Then I became a mother and I was absolutely nuts about my kids. I thought they were the cutest, smartest, most enjoyable kids ever born. They were busy, and in some ways productive, and always learning how to interact socially with other children. How to think of other people, not just themselves. Then my little darlings grew up and they and their friends who have children seem to think the same way about children. Someone has to be playing with the little ones, on hand to listen to every little thing they have to say, and allow them to interrupt adults over and over thus reinforcing that the children are automatically at the top of the priority pile in life.

Some things have changed so drastically from when I was a child to today's training of children that it looks like another planet. There are good things about each of the three generations worth of parenting. Maybe in the next generations the best teachings and thoughts on parenting can be combined. Because right now it is a very scary future when I think about the little people today (who can only think of themselves) growing to adulthood to take a place in society.

September 07, 2009

Is Life A Struggle?

A post on Gurushabad:

"Make today a breeze not a battle.Never fight. Nothing is worth fighting for. Wisdom never fights, it waits patiently, speaks positively, releases easily, sees benefit in everything and envisions a future of abundance...
knowing that all needs will be met at the right moment, in the right way.
If we think life is a struggle we will always be struggling,
If we think life is a breeze, our attitudes and actions will convey lightness and easiness.
And that's what attracts everything we need, and much more.
Let us make today a breeze not a battle."
(source: internet)

If we think life is a struggle we will always be struggling. That one sentence is powerful. When I struggle I get nervous and then I get agitated and then I get disappointed in myself that I am getting like that. Gads. On and on. Round and round goes the struggle wheel.

Struggling is a violent effort, not necessarily a valiant effort. Facing constant resistance and conflict. So much energy is needed to perpetuate the cycle of struggle.

September 05, 2009

Some People Still Smoke

Ahhhh, nice dinner, then the relaxing after dinner cigarette. Inhale. Exhale. I wonder what is the matter with me. This doesn't taste as good as it used to. Must be the brand. Drive to the store to buy a different brand of cigarette. Inhale. Exhale. Huh. Still tastes gross. Go back into the store to buy a menthol brand. Maybe that will do it. Inhale. Exhale. Nope. Tastes like something I don't want to put into my mouth much less into my lungs. Light bulb going off!!! Duh. If the cigarettes don't taste good, why am I smoking them????

That was in 1981. I don't know what changed, but I am so grateful for the awareness it took for me to do such a turnaround and dislike smoking. My children had been nagging me for years to quit smoking. They were just young children and I smoked in the car, in the house, in the restaurant with no regard for anyone else. Even when my children would cough and swing their arms in the car. It was just an act to get me to stop smoking. Right? We did not know back then what second hand smoke would do to other people. People we worked around. People we visited. People in hospitals. People in our homes. People we loved.

I finally have come full circle. I finally get it. I understand I have to first love myself enough to take care of myself. To not smoke. To eat to nourish my body. To get some exercise. That is what happened in 1981. In caring about myself I was able to care about others and expand on that love to participate in the responsibility to leave a healthy planet for the next generations.

September 04, 2009

Two Years Married and Four Years Together

Anniversaries were not important to me before I met my hubby. Something happened to me when he and I met. It started with our first real date. He emailed a sweet invitation to meet at a movie theater and attached the movie choices and asked me to choose which movies I would be interested in seeing and list them in order of first choice, second choice etc. That was easy. I looked at the trailers and made my choices and hit reply.

Turned out we had the exact same selection. So we met at the theater the following weekend to see our first choice. Hubby was waiting for me in front of the theater. He had a big smile and already had the tickets in his pocket. We didn't even hold hands in the movie. But we enjoyed the movie and decided to eat at one of the restaurants within walking distance. We were talking and eating when my stomach started telling me how nervous I actually was. I made a beeline for the restroom. When I returned I told him I thought I should go home. He said he had something for me in his car so we walked to his car and he handed me a CD of his favorite music. And then HE HUGGED ME. I was shaking my head all the way home, asking myself what the heck was that anyway. When he hugged me I felt like I had come home. It was the first time I had ever felt like that and it was impossible to describe it. It really surprised me.

After that we met as often as possible. We put the movie stubs in an envelope at his apartment and started saving every teeny tiny souvenir. A feather we found. A post it note one of us left each other. I thought he was just always a romantic guy with everyone but much later I was to learn that this was just as new to him as it was to me. He was enjoying the discovery as much as I was. We lived forty miles apart so
sometimes he would drive up to see me and we would play tennis and get to know each other. Sometimes I would go to his place and we bought me a bicycle so I could ride with him. He rode his bike every day and I was to learn much much later how the exercise is necessary for him.

So we have been together four years now. Our little envelope became a large manilla envelope and then grew to a shoe box and today everything is in an office storage box with our handwritten "MEMENTOS" all over it. We still put things into the box and laughingly talk about someday sitting in our rockers with the box or boxes nearby and looking through our receipts and stubs and notes and drawings and all the items that mean so much to us.

Today is our two year wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, dear hubby. Thank you for your love. You are the most interesting person I have ever known and I treasure your dimple, admire your talents, and trust my heart to your care.

September 03, 2009

He Should Have Left The Store

When a man was shopping in a Wal-Mart store in Georgia, he became upset with a crying two year old child and approached the mother and her crying child and told the mother "If you don't shut the baby up, I will shut her up for you."

According the an article in,
"A few moments later, while the mother and the crying child were in another aisle, Stephens allegedly grabbed the girl and slapped her across the face. Police said he hit her four or five times. "See, I told you I would shut her up," the suspect allegedly told the mother."

The man was arrested for first degree cruelty to children.

Whatever could be so difficult for someone, what circumstances in life could prompt someone to slap a child? A child unknown to him who obviously was herself not having a good day.

Stories like this one cause me distress for our communities and families in more and more difficulty financially, emotionally, mentally.

Perhaps if Mr. Roger Stephens had been able to restrain himself, get in touch with his inner self, see that he was overly anxious and that the child's crying was pushing his buttons of stress, and just left the store, he would have felt good about himself for acting in a mature manner. Instead, I'm afraid his problems are only beginning.

Hopefully, the mother and child have already gotten on with their lives and again, hopefully, the little girl is in a loving stable home where she is nurtured and cared for in a responsible way. My mother's heart is appalled that someone would hurt a two year old child.

September 02, 2009

Blast It Out On The Porch

When I was a pre-teen I would stay at different people's houses for a couple weeks here and there. The host families all had lots of children. For some reason I thought I was the entertainment director at each house. I would write a play or a musical (not original music, just songs I already knew), get all the neighborhood kids involved setting up a sheet or two over a wire or rope strung across the porch for the curtain calls, set up folding chairs facing the "stage", and we would practice for how many days I would be there and on the last day we would charge admission and every kid would perform. We all took turns with the curtain and the lights (flashlights). We danced and sang and acted and brought the house down. All the parents in the neighborhood were there because their kids were part of the show. And the money earned was for treats for the kids the next day. I wasn't interested in the treats, but I was interested in giving the audience its money's worth. I pushed and cajoled and directed and re-wrote the scenes till it was polished enough for a dress rehearsal. Most of the musicals started with a bang with this song, everyone singing as loud as possible. We wanted to begin the show with a bang. Because I was staying at other people's houses, my own parents never were present for a performance. My mother was in the hospital on most of those occasions and my father did not come to see me while I stayed with the other families. But having all those other kids around to be with and accomplish something major like a "Broadway show" was one of the most fun memories of my young life. In the last semester of high school, I talked my way into an audition with the San Francisco Light Opera and I handed the musicians the music to this song. If I had the strength of this voice, perhaps I would have been accepted. It was a good experience and they did say for me to return in a year when my voice would be more mature. A post on Subdural Flow brought back the memory of the audition.

September 01, 2009

The Nose Knows

The sense of smell is as different as a signature kiss.

Most of us can smell something we are on top of, like lifting the lid of a pot on the stove and inhaling the aroma. Or driving along a highway and identifying the strong scent of a skunk. Or trapped inside a crowded subway next to someone who detests good hygiene.

My husband has the faculty to detect the lingering odor of a mouse fart. Not that he has ever smelled one, I am just making the case that he has the most amazing sense of smell of anyone I have ever known. I mean this as a complement. From outside in the detached garage he senses something cooking in the kitchen. From the bedroom he opens his eyes that follow in the wake of his nose and can describe what I am doing based on what he smells. I've been impressed with his sensitivity for smell as well as audio. I have allergies that may prevent me from reaching his level of perceiving odors. I like the house to have lingering cooking smells. It's homey and cozy.

I had already written this post when I found this article in Scientific American about a study to do with sense of smell.

"When the human nose sniffs, odors travel up the nostrils and into the brain. This happens separately on the left and right sides of an impervious wall in the nose called the nasal septum. So what happens when each nostril is exposed to a different scent? Does the brain interpret it as a mixture, or does it select between them?"

According to this article, The sense of smell is a "very youthful sense" and with deterioration in smell, taste is also lost. "[The sense of smell] affects quality of life."

I venture to state that if the study had participants with a nose like my hubby, the outcome of the study would have been different.