Nala – love in a teacup (poodle, that is)

24 Jul

“This black teacup poodle named Nala is making everyone smile at a nursing home in Minnesota. She scurries from room to room, even riding the elevator by herself, to see her friends.”

Thanks Linda B.!!!!!!


Read more at http://nethugs.com/inspirational/angels-of-the-morning/#FHqRAPmRrshWCGtG.99

If you want to remember – Forgeta bout it!

22 Jul

I’m so smart.  I’ve been employing this strategy for years!  The only problem is when I remember what I forgot, I forget why I needed to remember what I forgot to remember.

gettyimages-475158629edit_slide-4874e948fe7a268e4ff21523af7a56cdfcc5dfe9-s800-c85

Leigh Wells/Ikon Images/Getty Images

Trying To Remember Multiple Things May Be The Best Way To Forget Them

by CHRIS BENDEREV

“A new scientific model of forgetting is taking shape, which suggests keeping multiple memories or tasks in mind simultaneously can actually erode them.”

“Neuroscientists already knew that memories can interfere with and weaken each other while they are locked away in the recesses of long-term memory. But this new model speaks to what happens when multiple memories are coexisting front and center in our minds, in a place called “working memory.”‘
“It argues that when we let multiple memories come to mind simultaneously, those memories immediately lock into a fierce competition with each other.” When these memories are tightly competing for our attention the brain steps in and actually modifies those memories,” says Jarrod Lewis-Peacock, a neuroscientist at UT Austin.”

“The brain crowns winners and losers. If you ended up remembering the milk and forgetting the phone call, your brain strengthens your memory for getting milk and weakens the one for phoning your friend back, so it will be easier to choose next time you’re faced with that dilemma.”

It’s a strain on my brain

to remember

whether it’s June, July or December

Multiple memories,

lots of tasks

my brain crowns the winner

which I reward with dinner

Eats I never forget

Food being a permanent mind set

P.S. I forgot to tell you that you can read the entire article by clicking on the title above.

 

 

 

 

It’s SWEEPS “weak”

20 Jul

Haven’t blogged in a while. The last few weeks have been rough – the fibro-fatigue-fiends frolicking fearlessly.  I’m looking for my mop.

mad, sad, fatigue, fear

sweeping away sanity

the broom of my brain

92db0134526be573f75d3cf4e9645951

dust storm of feelings

tiny particles of dirt

blowing through my mind

6827_view

wring out the debris 

clean clear water, bucket brain

gratitude mop up

 

Pluto and beyond “. . . will a Race one day stand really tall”

14 Jul

IF ONLY WE HAD TALLER BEEN

By Ray Bradbury

O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measure out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s great hand come down the other way
To measure Man and find him Good,
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that.
Short man. Large dream. I send my rockets forth
between my ears,
Hoping an inch of Will is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal Mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!

“NASA New Horizons Pluto Mission Tribute Video! | NPR Hundreds of images from NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto stitched together in retro newsreel form with audio of American science fiction author Ray Bradbury reading his beautiful poem “If Only We Had Taller Been.”‘

pluto-charon-false-color_wide-f242f06d28a8d782392397c78967cee8b205dda6-s800-c85

New false-color images of Pluto and the moon Charon exaggerate colors to highlight differences in their surface compositions, NASA says. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/14/422840586/nasa-zooms-in-on-pluto-for-closest-views-yet

 


FREE 6- week art online lessons – for kids and the kid in you!

11 Jul

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Pablo Picasso

The class will run the week of July 27-31, 2015. It’s for kids (especially!), but also teachers, homeschoolers, parents, grandparents, or anyone who has access to a child and/or wants to tap in to the child inside!

If you sign up, no questions asked about your age!

Click here to sign up and for more information

Know a Narcissist? Blame their brain

9 Jul

I am fascinated by our newfound ability to study the brain in real-time.  For most of my life the only way the brain was studied was by  autopsy.  

For decades, I’ve explained to clients that “feelings” are not psychological constructs but a neurochemical phenomena. I had no proof – just  trickles of brain research I read. Now that I’m retired the evidence is mounting.  I’d love to be able to say “I told you so!”

hypnotized-people-hallucinate-colors-at-will_44927_600x450-1

In psychological “terms” the proportion of outward behavior is a measure of internal feelings.  Examples:  Do you know some one who is a “control freak”?  Of course you do.

The more someone tries to exert control over everyone and everything it is usually (read “always” – I’m trying to be “politically correct, ahem . . .)  a direct measure they internally/unconsciously feel out of control.  People who “feel” in control don’t have to prove they are in control – they can collaborate, give others credit etc.

Know someone who is a narcissist – the earth revolves around them, not the sun?  Of course you do.

The more a person needs to boast about themselves, point the finger of blame at others etc. . . . the more insecure they are.  Read about some interesting brain research that substantiates this that on a neurological level.

Read more: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/07/a-neurological-level-narcissists-are-needy.html

I TOLD YOU SO!

” . . . bear this matter in mind”

6 Jul

” But to blessed animals the utmost kindness must be shown, the more the better. Tenderness and loving-kindness are basic principles of God’s heavenly Kingdom. Ye should most carefully bear this matter in mind.”  Baha’i World Faith

A 400 lb. black bear wandered into a residential neighborhood in Florida.  Black bears half this size have attacked and killed humans across the nation recently … twice in Florida.  Wildlife officers sedated the bear to safely relocate him, and that’s when things began to go horribly wrong.”

Tjb5iA4qjOBSkZ-1ZCwyLU1yFbMvE8A2g1VZnEr8IKmsNR2XKUXSa0DeIOfshdCW5BcCw4UvlMj6PmGbXBrNE40IVbBNUFsQrVLDbntZpp9Qr78ws4NZ9I0RVbGxdMzj3cJXP4tS8aGeumPvBxzmOlvG7SkMOKI=s0-d-e1-ft

The tranquilizer dart sent the bear into a panic and he ran towardsthe saltwater Inland Waterway, evading officers.”Fh1NPrUuj_QkrgJGB7LMOEhn6UNBQjiAT7ZnqYvLav3OcNsMML7XF5mqF2pE2-WWtlRjTpJi0N7wPyeQ0NUkNc5MJIXfO7hptRB4_2sU0WsEBhmXi0C1dhKMBG36fAMRWLmqWhiM5sBxRdKh3vAy7Z12DZAQGAI=s0-d-e1-ft“As he swam further and further out, he became drowsy and started to drown.But Adam Warwick, a biologist with the Wildlife Commission, wasn’t about to let that happen.
Adam went into the water after the bear… yeah, after a bear … to stop him from going under.”40axVLexcJTvHeifCV1gu-jxGopjgf4DcKea0A9UrFKmXGFIRtniErAGR-tbfHMuGsZU9c2M4QH4XbmiuWMiQmKyRxE3hMeBCNhxwpAQ5UKd6fqEr9tBv8BlQHvAqNu-Dm8zprLp-ZwvdWghNq0OoccREirBxyM=s0-d-e1-ft It was a spur of the moment decision. I had a lot of adrenaline pumping when I saw the helpless bear in the water dying. HAmEt5lRE48RGDSEaJzTvdiArNlbls91Gcq56uJrLm4wadHGCFAPYZPnFBUocfv0jcmww5NdSMY3bZfyWnq2YriOMG4NUt2HYAOB4Ko31KZ14IBUEIdBzL0_fq_XjZ4CjVOSEc4mB2bS9ZNilyJOMt-NmjYX1eU=s0-d-e1-ft“He knew the very high risk, considering the powerful bear was scared and could have easily became aggressive to defend itself, killing him with a single swipe or bite. But the bear somehow seemed to know it was in good hands.”sAGKW1wlXLw8kNmaphgZc2yHjRk13eBVsIaOMo7ksQy1oAaO7gj-4FMqQ9-gmL_VxvvEZxVxhCzPkcze3x2PGMV_iADgUsq3jlKDtb_-7rAUPFlBF-fLyWebQsWcPqkRpwytEM45mJSSuvdlE4XuwBN7pEPYcY4=s0-d-e1-ft“It seemed to become calm when under the man’s control? Adam’s determination finally got the 400 pound wild creature safely back into shallow water.”vte4GprBuWFbo40-9xMrBeNs0uP8dy2wrxKdfV98_K1XgTLL05cZSKA-_vHJUxYHiAN_16ukZyXJtbbe1LjZzXEuS8-u-Tme4X6n4gQL1JKD6QTXFd1Enc8dVeiccn459laHcMn5zV292d5CnRVH5z7bAlt10zQ=s0-d-e1-ft“Adam suffered only a scratch from the rescue.”Oz21XB48nnCHA5OOTH-xwltIfLb9E2K9yO6UjpYLGYL7UufsXi2iqSOAIE-5b3vxFC76Li-G8rGHWXXyn9iu1CeOHgN8dkZYImVE7MPRdq28FXBXaKwiLkqFIo3Xzu2IGEs6QMnHwzAQsqQsUZXku0CbpeZ7K4w=s0-d-e1-ft“Once they reached the shore, other team members came to help.”IMOvW4YSw6Uzno8H20E6aTs9y9egWXtLPdDquq9YygdrEFl2GZNcQET-CyNpl8Dd3E04pkR7k8sMeejdkBeCA-KpwZVtdavZpe2tukIm4sXSd8kxuKE8cQKvzd7k3x2JTjXbN8CY9wAq0z0DYZSB7yCqxPSU8XQ=s0-d-e1-ft“The team was able to use a tractor bucket to transport the poor guy back to his home in Osceola National Forest.”unnamed-3“Adam rode with him back home … a sight you don’t see on the highway every day (neither had a helmet).”vF6bhPUyG4lDCge6kSr0SHQP0ztyyIiPZp4iGU9ypd1tFJ4Ailuwg7-KR6ewamvT-sogAwX7SWFECvAc_joeR3oWNja93k_mXhGfsKp7YOglSViyfsBlRsVumq2qiAlkP0G4rD5kWnko5UuFTh-jgC8yIPGBZDpb=s0-d-e1-ft“… where he is safe and happy again and has one honking’ story to tell the grand kids.”

64cSblYYT0ZmtyEFNfyj6NJBDE5LRqyn-Og0xuNbmbr5s89yFB-CYRo-E_j5HJ25wC9Hzkm9T1Ka_CHVPMkCnHIaysQILfV2R62F62Zkp8crUtSvpKoFTR7f_3QF9wJOTtJLWvSr0Qjq0OtF5q3Wnc2cZqihiBwj=s0-d-e1-ft“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take,

but by the moments that take your breath away”

Thanks Linda B. for sharing this!!!

 

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime on July 4th

4 Jul

You’ll have to go elsewhere if you want beer, back yard bar-b-ques and fireworks for the Fourth of July.  More interesting (to me) is Benjamin Franklin’s letter to his daughter, in which he explains his choice of the turkey, a “bird of courage” for the National Bird instead of   the an eagle, a bird of “bad moral character” and “a rank coward” to represent the majesty of our great nation:

img_00131

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”

“With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping & robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our country…”

“. .  . For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”  Franklin Institute  Read more: American Myths, Smithsonian Magazine

I leave you with the sublime

Download “Amazing Grace” by Condoleezza Rice and Jenny Oaks Baker on iTunes: http://apple.co/1LElsTB

All proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project.

Thanks Lyn!

Not on my bucket list, never on my bucket list, but if it were I now check it off

26 Jun

Google Maps Now Lets You Scale Yosemite’s El Capitan Mountain

 by  

“. . . Google Maps users can use Street View for a first-person climb on both the The Nose and a portion of the Dawn Wall routes for scaling El Cap.”

The advantage of Google’s Street View mountaineering is that you don’t actually have to risk anything to do it, except maybe a static shock from your mouse depending on if you’ve been shuffling your feet around on carpeting.”

” . . . Alex Honnold, Lynn Hill and Tommy Caldwell performed the climb used to capture the imagery . . . “

http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/24/google-maps-now-lets-you-scale-yosemites-el-capitan-mountain/

 

My Motto: Don’t call me. I won’t call you.

23 Jun

I never answer my phone.  I call people back when I have energy or e-mail because two-way phone conversations are physically tiring.  Crazy! . . . sounds crazy, even to me.  So I assume it sounds crazy to you.  

Not wanting to be labeled as “nuts” I usually explain  that after 30 years as a psychotherapist, answering my phone knowing that someone is probably calling in crisis, I’ve become phone-phobic.  

You understand phobia’s and their hallmark of being irrational.  You don’t understand neuroimmune-central nervous system-out-of-wack.  Can’t fault you.  I don’t understand it.  Medical science doesn’t understand it.   

Normal stimuli overload my brain circuits and the brains of others who live with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Lyme disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, brain trauma etc.  There are a lot of theories but no one really knows why or what to do about it. 

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

Even though I’m a social person by nature all socializing tires me. One or two “events” a week is my limit.  Social Events?  You are undoubtedly picturing me out-on-the-town, wearing a Dior gown and sipping wine at the opera ( . . .  those who know me are picturing me wearing a t-shirt, Levi’s, Crocs and sipping coffee at Starbucks).

Activities that once were pleasurable now create fatigue:

  • Going to the movies or lunch with a friend (afterwards I nap for 3 hours)
  • Participating in any group activity (afterwards I go to bed early)
  • Walking Freddie in the park.  (I go the opposite direction when I see others walking their dogs.  Walking is taxing enough without interacting with dogs’ humans.)
  • Shopping in stores crowded with merchandise.  (My brain goes on visual overload)
  • Talking on the phone to someone I love.  (Yup, two-way conversations take focus and thus energy.) 

Since retiring I’ve done phone sessions with clients.  The pleasure of hearing their voices, catching up on their lives and the honor of hopefully helping them get back on track far outweigh any fatigue that comes later.  I’ve long ago figured out that some things are well worth the consequences of a nap or a few days of inactivity. 

Please continue to reach out. I will be honest with you about my options and energy.  I don’t want to live as a social recluse.  So E-mail me when you want to catch up, share, or get together because I won’t answer the phone . . .  

Hammy Hamster sez: "Nuts?, Did I hear NUTS!)

Hammy Hamster sez:
“Nuts?, Did I hear NUTS!)

This article prompted me to write this post: Cort Johnson, Social Exhaustion The comments are perhaps even more telling than the article itself.

Sneek a Peek How to – my own coloring book page

22 Jun

One blank piece of paper

One black marking pen

Colored crayons: 2 pinks and 1 orange 

One TV

DSCN6306

Doodled with black marker while I watched TV

Colored in my doodle

Took a nap

Summer of Color

Summer of Color – 2 pinks + 1 orange

Add 9 more to the list – June 17, 2015

21 Jun

firearms1 firearms2

U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons (2013)*

*Council on Foreign RelationsThe Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher.

______________________

32 killed – April 16, 2007 – Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. A gunman, 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounds an undetermined number of others on campus. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho then commits suicide.

27 killed – December 14, 2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School – Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound. The final count is 28 dead, including the shooter.

23 killed – October 16, 1991 – In Killeen, Texas, 35-year-old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a Lubys Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, Hennard shoots and kills 23 people. He then commits suicide.

21 killed – July 18, 1984 – In San Ysidro, California, 41-year-old James Huberty, armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun shoots and kills 21 adults and children at a local McDonalds. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.

18 killed – August 1, 1966 – In Austin, Texas, Charles Joseph Whitman, a former U.S. Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 while shooting from a University of Texas tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.

14 killed – August 20, 1986 – Edmond, Oklahoma, part-time mail carrier, Patrick Henry Sherrill, armed with three handguns kills 14 postal workers in 10 minutes and then takes his own life with a bullet to the head.

13 killed – November 5, 2009 – Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 32 at Fort Hood, Texas, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death.

13 killed – April 3, 2009 – In Binghamton, New York, Jiverly Wong kills 13 people and injures four during a shooting at an immigrant community center. He then kills himself.

13 killed – April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School – Littleton, Colorado. 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold kill 12 fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide in the school library.

13 killed – September 25, 1982 – In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 40-year-old George Banks, a prison guard, kills 13 people including five of his own children. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence stating that Banks is mentally incompetent.

13 killed – September 5, 1949 – In Camden, New Jersey, 28-year-old Howard Unruh, a veteran of World War II, shoots and kills 13 people as he walks down Camden’s 32nd Street. His weapon of choice is a German-crafted Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88.

12 killed – September 16, 2013 – Shots are fired inside the Washington Navy Yard killing 12. The shooter, identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, is also killed.

12 killed – July 20, 2012 – Twelve people are killed and 58 are wounded in a shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater screening of the new Batman film. James E. Holmes, 24, is taken into custody outside of the movie theater. The gunman, dressed head-to-toe in protective tactical gear, set off two devices of some kind before spraying the theater with bullets from an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one of two .40-caliber handguns police recovered at the scene.

12 killed – July 29, 1999 – In Atlanta, 44-year-old Mark Barton kills his wife and two children at his home. He then opens fire in two different brokerage houses killing nine people and wounding 12. He later kills himself.

10 killed – March 10, 2009 – In Alabama, Michael McLendon of Kinston, kills 10 and himself. The dead include his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle.

9 killed – March 21, 2005 – Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. 16-year-old Jeff Weise kills his grandfather and another adult, five students, a teacher and a security officer. He then kills himself.

9 killed – June 18, 1990 – In Jacksonville, Florida, 42-year-old James Pough, angry about his car being repossessed, opens fire at a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office, killing nine people. Pough takes his own life.

8 killed – October 12, 2011 – Eight people are killed during a shooting at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, California. The suspect, Scott Evans Dekraai, 41, of Huntington Beach, is arrested without incident as he is trying to leave the scene. The eight dead include Dekraai’s ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, 48. He was armed with three guns — a 9 mm Springfield, a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, and a Heckler & Koch .45 — and was wearing body armor during the shooting rampage.

8 killed – August 3, 2010 – Manchester, Connecticut – Omar Thornton kills eight co-workers at Hartford Distributors before turning the gun on himself. Thornton had been asked to resign for stealing and selling alcoholic beverages.

8 killed – January 19, 2010 – Christopher Speight, 39, kills eight people at a house in Appomattox, Virginia. He surrenders to police at the scene the next morning. February 2013, he is sentenced to five life terms plus 18 years.

8 killed – March 29, 2009 – In Carthage, North Carolina, 45-year-old Robert Stewart kills a nurse and seven elderly patients at a nursing home. In May, the Moore County district attorney announces she will seek the death penalty. On September 3, 2011, a jury finds Stewart guilty of second-degree murder. Stewart is sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison.

8 killed – December 5, 2007 – In Omaha, Nebraska, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins goes to an area mall and kills eight shoppers before killing himself.

8 killed – July 1, 1993 – In San Francisco, 55-year-old Gian Luigi Ferri kills eight people in a law office and then kills himself.

8 killed – September 14, 1989 – In Louisville, Kentucky, 47-year-old Joseph Wesbecker armed with a AK-47 semiautomatic assault rifle, two MAC-11 semiautomatic pistols, a .38 caliber handgun, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and a bayonet kills eight co-workers at Standard Gravure Corporation and then kills himself. He had been placed on disability leave from his job due to mental problems.

8 killed – August 20, 1982 – In Miami, 51-year-old history teacher Carl Robert Brown, angry about a repair bill and armed with a shotgun, kills eight people at a machine shop. He flees by bicycle, but is shot in the back by a witness who pursued him. He was on leave from school for psychological treatment.

Source:  CNN.com2013, History of the deadliest mass shootings in United States

“Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed by fear.”

Frankly Freddie – If your shadow is square you’re a hedgedog

20 Jun

Dear Chris, Maws & Paws, My personal Groomer – Human Being,

The next time you come please do not make me look like a hedge-dog*. 

CGlzzIUUQAAgz7D

CGlwIzMWQAE3Hl4

Cutting dogs’ fur into perfect cubes, is the latest dog hairdressing trend to sweep Asia.  “It is not known where the inspiration for the trend originated, but the look has been cropping up at dog shows around Asia in recent months.”

“Hairdresser Tain Yeh, who runs a parlour in Taipei told the Daily Mail: “It came about because people were always looking for more impressive haircuts, and somebody came up with the idea of shaping the dog like a hedge.”’ (HEDGE!, sounds like the Organic Green Revolution has gone to the dogs) . . .  “The dogs don’t mind, (humph!, we are just too polite to complain) and the owners keep coming back for more. This sort of haircut needs a lot more maintenance than the regular type.”

CGfPeWmUgAA7riW

“She warned that the look isn’t one which works for all dogs and has this advice for any British dog owners seeking to emulate the slick cubes: “It is also not suitable for all breeds. The dog needs to have plenty of hair to play around with so that you can shape it around the face and body.” (I’d love to get my paws on a pair of clippers and trim human-beings to look like a poodle . . . or a HEDGE . . . or a  . . .)

If you don’t believe me read it here: Japanese People are Grooming their Dogs into Perfect Cubes  

*Frankly, I prefer the round look when I’m groomed

See you soon Chris!

Freddie Parker

P.S.  Chris, please bring treats

On my way to work

Portraits in Faith and Diversity

18 Jun

Portraits in Faith is a fascinating project which celebrates diversity of belief. For nine years, 27 countries and 400 personal spiritual journeys Daniel Epstein interviewed and documented spiritual experiences and the role of faith in people’s lives.   Take a look at the introductory video:

“The main objective was to save my life by helping me understand that there was reason to believe in a Higher Power. That sounds very self-serving, but I needed out of my old way of thinking and my old way of feeling about myself and the world.”

“Now I have a much bigger aim for the project — to help heal the world by bringing people together in humanity’s greater, common spiritual journey. The journey is all we undoubtedly share no matter how much we try to make each other out as different. I have a real love-hate relationship with religion. It really can give people the smallest view of the world when really we are beyond understanding.”  Daniel Epstein

 Read the Daniel Epstein interview on the Baha’i Blog

P.S.  The Bardo Group/Beguine Again is a blog I’ve followed for several years. Their theme for June is diversity  ” . . . in all its manifestations: sexual/gender orientation, race, religion, culture, national origin … even nature. . . .  celebrating respect – as inclusion – as a big step toward peace, understanding, justice … even environmental stewardship.” 

Take a look at the June issue of The BeZine

Frankly Freddie – Dog Dance

17 Jun

Dear Aunt Jane, Human Being,

Thank you for sending me this video.  It’s obvious that this dog is performing solely out of fear of being stabbed by the thing on her head.  Otherwise, there’s no explanation for it.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Canine Dog

Dogdance Freestyle – Sandra & Lizzy

Can you imagine what it will be like 50 years from now?

15 Jun

Scientists have grown the entire forelimb of a rat in a lab . . . and it moves!

 Hidden in plain sight

God’s miraculous secrets*

Waiting to be found

photo curtesy of

Bernhard Jank, MD/Ott Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Harold Ott, head of the Ott Laboratory for Organ Engineering and Regeneration, and his team at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston were able to “engineer rat forelimbs with functioning vascular and muscle tissue,”  . . .

“This may be an important first step leading to the eventual creation of functional, bioartificial limbs that could be used in transplants.”

Ott says this work “finally proved that we can regenerate functional muscle.” (They know because they ran an electrical current through the muscle tissue — and the little rat limb began to twitch).”

“They’ve since applied the first part of this technology — stripping cells from the framework — to the arms of primates, showing the process might work on the human scale.”

Read the article: In Massachusetts Lab Scientists Grow an Artificial Rat Limb

Come Fly with Me

14 Jun

This video reminded me of a memorable flight I took on Southwest Airlines.  Immediately after the landing gear touched the runway the flight attendant led all the passengers in song:

If you’re happy that you’ve landed, clap your hands

If you’re happy that you landed, clap your hands

If you’re happy that you’ve landed

and your baggage isn’t stranded

If you’re happy that you landed, clap your hands

Thanks Sharon for the memory!

Sketchy Sneek a Peek – Summer of Color

13 Jun

Always on the lookout for things to divert me from mundane living I stumbled on Summer of Color – A weekly challenge that gives you a color palette to use.  Any medium goes: sewing, jewelry, quilting, art journaling, digital art . . .  even NAIL ART!  

Since my nails are broken and split I resorted to my recent scribble-a-face “kick”. (the first color palette of the Summer is . . . . 1 Blue + 1 Blue + 1 Green)

colored pencil

judy’s sketchbook, colored pencil

Freddie’s Flash Fiction – The Tree

11 Jun

Dear Human-beings and other creatures, Those of you who follow my posts know how frank and fundamentally illuminating they are (not to mention how fantastically informative about the human condition).   This post is no exception as my story The Tree has an important lesson for all to heed.

Here is my first (and possibly only) draft of the story.  Those of you who appreciate and are knowledgable about this genre your “critique” would be appreciated before I am sought out by publishers.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

 Freddie’s Flash Fiction

The Tree

By Freddie Parker Westerfield

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a tree. (I frequently start my writing with “Once upon a time” as it lends a universal appeal to readers young and old) Its trunk was crooked and all its bark was peeling.  Big roots spread all around the tree, some deep in the earth and some growing above the ground.  The Tree lived in a park with other trees of its own kind on the far edge of town.  Every day many dogs of differing sizes and persuasions came to claim the tree as their territory.

One day, after years of being claimed, the tree yelled at a big black dog with pointy ears and a black nose sniffing around its roots, “I am NOT your territory!” The big black dog didn’t care what the tree thought, claimed it for its own and walked on looking for more territory.  

Within minutes a little white dog with floppy ears and a wet nose sniffed out where the big black dog had been. “I am a tree not a fire hydrant!,” the tree yelled at the little white dog  who ignored the tree, claimed it for its own and walked on looking for more territory.  

The tree, ever alert for impending indignities,  spotted a medium-sized dog with shaggy brown hair and a pink nose approaching.   Finally, after many years of being claimed by many dogs, the tree figured out that actions speak louder than words.  So it picked up its roots and walked away.

The end of my tail

The End

Frankly & Faithfully yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Canine Dog Therapist RET, Author

Read my last published work: The Real Tail of Little Red Riding Hood

 

Sneek a Peek – I wrote a Pie Man pome

9 Jun

A weird collage I did in my journal led me to the Pie Man. 

judy's journal collage

judy’s journal collage

Pie Dream

The pie man delivers

in the dark of night

To your brain he goes straight

when it’s quiet and late

not to give you a fright

He’s a curious sight

Wearing pie on his head,

very berry red

a flaky vest on his chest

 he‘s a living taste test

His eyes are wacky

lips are smacky

from too much snacky

of tasty pie

a slightly weird guy

Pie Man After his midnight snack

Pie Man, After his midnight snack

But you’ll think him quite swell

because he’ll never tell

how much you eat

in your dreamy treat

Strawberry, apple or cherry pie

give them all a try

Pecan if you like a crunchy start

Key lime or lemon for sweet ‘n tart

So when you go to bed

No need for dread

chocolate, banana, coconut cream

each taste a luscious dreamy dream

Eat all you crave in your reveries

Pie man guarantees

no calories

 

“Chimps are no chumps: Give them an oven, they’ll learn to cook”

3 Jun

For those of you aspiring script writers or producers read this article for inspiration . . .  a premise for a new reality show – The Real Housewives of the Jungle or . . .  for the Food Network – Jungle Cook-off . . . or . . .  ? 

___________

“If you give a chimp an oven, he or she will learn to cook.”

“That’s what scientists concluded from a study that could help explain how and when early humans first began cooking their food.”

“This suggests that as soon as fire was controlled, cooking could have ramped up,” says Alexandra Rosati, an evolutionary biologist at Yale and a co-author of the study  . . .  First, the researchers gave the chimps a device that appeared to work like an oven.”

Before he ate them, Kanzi cooked the vegetables in a pan on his own.

“Before he ate them, Kanzi cooked the vegetables in a pan on his own.”

“When researchers gave them a cooked potato slice, they simply ate it. But when they got a raw carrot, they immediately put it in the device. And their preference for cooked food was so strong that they would hold on to raw potatoes, or carry them to other locations, in order to have them cooked.”

“The study also offers a reminder that very few behaviors are uniquely human, Wrangham says. “What we’re seeing here is that the chimps are surprisingly similar to humans, even though the whole process of cooking seems like something that is a huge divide between humans and other animals.”

 Read the entire article by Jon Hamilton:

 

Escapegoats and other Eggcorns

2 Jun

Never heard of “eggcorn”? . . .  neither had I but now it’s a new favorite:

“A word or phrase that sounds like and is mistakenly used in a seemingly logical or plausible way for another word or phrase.”  Merriam-Webster, which included eggcorn among the more than 1,700 words added to its dictionary this past week

DSCN6290

judy’s non-dominant hand drawing of 2 Escapegoats

Examples:

  • Spread like wildflowers” is an eggcorn when used instead of “spread like wildfire.”
  • Coldslaw” is an eggcorn if you meant “coleslaw.”
  • Self phone” is an eggcorn of “cellphone.”
  • A very smart 4 year old was telling me about getting ready for school each day and he had to remember to take his furnace bottle with him.   “Furnace bottle?” I asked.   “Yes, you know, a furnace bottle………keeps your soup hot until lunch time………
  • She seduced him using her “womanly wilds” (womanly wiles).
  • For all Intensive Purpose

Eggcorn” itself is an eggcorn. Linguist Geoffrey Pullum is credited with coming up the word, which is the way some people say “acorn.”

click to read other eggcorns which pass the mustard

 

 

Sneek a Peek, Scribbling Rubens

1 Jun

judy’s lesson:  Use others who are more accomplished, wiser, creative as inspiration not aspiration.

Combining Carla’s Spark assignment on sketching great masters, Lynn’s on doing portraits and Shari B-P’s suggestion to do more gestural drawings (I always, ahem, do as I’m told) I used Peter Paul Rubens Portrait of Susanna Lunden as a starting point.

DSCN6289

After scribbling Mrs Lunden I shut my art book (alas, I don’t have the original as a reference) and took liberties  – I figured neither Peter Paul nor Susanna are around to mount a Twitter protest . . . or sue me.

Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Susanna Lundens

READ THIS! – There is hope.

31 May

This fascinating article helps me understand the Baha’i principle – The “greater good” outweighs the “lesser good”.   I do know that good things are born out of suffering and sacrifice but I must remind myself that this world isn’t instant cup-a-soup.  

Below are some excerpts  

judy journal page - collage

judy journal page – collage

How The World’s Largest Refugee Camp Remade A Generation Of Somalis

“The world’s largest refugee camp is also a giant social experiment.”

“Take hundreds of thousands of Somalis fleeing a war. Shelter them for 24 years in a camp in Kenya run by the United Nations. And offer different opportunities than they might have had if they’d stayed in Somalia.”

‘”Probably the most interesting and misunderstood thing about Dadaab is that the refugee camp has had a kind of liberalizing influence,” says Ban Rawlence.”

“They are a ready-made middle class,” Rawlence says. “Educated Somalis who are ready and waiting to move into Somalia to rebuild the country.”‘

“The Kenyan government wants the experiment to end, soon. It’s pushing the refugees to return to their home in Somalia, though the camp called Dadaab is the only home many have known.”

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“Habiba Abdurahman fled the war in Somalia when she was six, with her mother and sisters. She had lived in a village where girls rarely went to school. Suddenly she was in a camp where international organizations offered free tutoring for girls to catch up academically. In her village, female genital mutilation was common. In the camp FGM was not only illegal but there were constant messages against it.”

“At 27 Abdurahman was elected a camp chairwoman, under election rules designed to promote gender equality. Last year she went back to Somalia on a U.N.-sponsored “look and see” trip to the liberated city of Kismayo. The trip was meant to assure refugees that parts of Somalia were finally safe enough to return to. But what she saw shocked her.”

“What kind of person would she be if she’d grown up there instead of here in the camp?”

Click here to read the entire article: 

How The World’s Largest Refugee Camp Remade A Generation Of Somalis

by GREGORY WARNER

 

 

Sneek Peek into my journal – Loosely Sparking

30 May

Sometimes wanting to be “perfect” stops me from finishing projects.  I’m now too tired to strive for perfection.   I figure it’s time to experiment and remove expectation to get my “spark” back.

I’m comfortable abstractly sloshing paint color around but “drawing” is another matter.  Put a pencil or pen in my hand and I tighten both my grip and expectation.

With that in mind, I purposely held the pencil very loosely and literally scribbled “areas” rather than try to draw perfect lines.  I didn’t bother trying to copy anything, look at any references, decide where the light was coming from or have a plan.  I just scribbled.   I like the looseness of the drawing and taking away expectation of being precise was enjoyable.

Maybe this is a good lesson to apply to other areas of my life . . .

DSCN6281

judy’s journal – Scribbled and scratched in the face with pencil and pastel chalk

Cure for pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis – Part III

29 May

Stroppy became famous from Esther Newton’s weekly writing challenge

For those of you new to my blog read the beginning of the story below to learn how Stroppy and her lonely astronaut ended up in the black abyss of outer space.

_______________________

Writing challenge #3 –  A 10-word story using the following 5 words:  Fedora, Patagonia, pink, melancholy, and Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (apparently the longest word in the dictionary, meaning a lung disease caused by inhalation of very fine silica or quartz dust – which, as we all know, is easily contracted should you find yourself untethered in space)

Patagonia*, adjusting her pink fedora, cured her melancholy astronaut’s pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

*”Patagonia” is one of Stroppy’s nick-names, which she often uses when feeling a bit frivolous.

DSCN6280

Writing challenge #1 – A 20-word story, using the words, ‘fairy’, ‘tomato’, ‘stroppy’, ‘nuzzling’ and ‘astronaut’.

Nuzzling the alien Stroppy, the lonely astronaut watched the tomato-earth rise. Stroppy comforted him. It’s no fairy-tale in space.

_____________________

Writing challenge #2 – use the following sentence in a story of any length: “I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this, I thought.”

Stroppy eyed her lonely astronaut tethered next to her in space I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this, she thought. Now that we’ve nuzzled it’s time. She bit cleanly through his safety tether and taking his gloved hand in hers pointed the jet thruster toward home. With a twinkle in her eye and terror in his, they zoomed off into the vacuum of space to meet Mom and Dad.

 

 

 

Sneek a peek into my journal

28 May
I’m either incredibly ego-centric or beginning to emerge from my creative black hole because this is the first Spark assignment (self-portraits) that has “sparked” me.  I’m also feeling a bit better – not great, but better – so my eyes are clearer, although a bit “chalky”, in this picture than my last self-portrait. 
It’s interesting (at least to me) that I’ve had a migraine-type headache behind one eye and I see it in both pictures.  Of course, it could also mean I’m delusional and seeing things that aren’t there. 
I smeared this journal page (literally) with acrylic paint.   A figure emerged who I “helped out” with pastel chalk.  It’s instant gratification since it only takes a few minutes and little thinking. 
I prefer doing “spontaneous quickies” (don’t read more into that!) since I don’t have the focus and energy to do anything that takes much thought or time – not that I ever did.
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judy’s journal page – Acrylic & chalk pastel

Soul Song

26 May

Sing it from your soul

words of grace and gratitude

melodies of love

images-1

Poppies and Sacrifice

25 May

 Thanksgiving is a day when we pause to give thanks for the things we have.
  Memorial Day is a day when we pause to give thanks to the people who fought for the things we have.  

I wanted a VW Bug for years.   One month before my Father died at the age of 93 he bought me one: Brand new, white with a beige interior and a little plastic vase to hold a flower right next to the steering wheel.  

My Father was a World War II veteran.  Every year he would buy red poppies from The Veteran of Foreign Wars and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers who gave them out for contributions for disabled and hospitalized veterans and their families.

I hadn’t seen or thought about  poppies in years until 2 months after Dad died.   Outside the grocery store an elderly man was selling  poppies.  I gave him a donation and received a poppy.  Since then it has shared space in the little plastic vase in the Bug my Dad gave me.

  A brief history of the artificial poppy

   In the World War I battlefields of Belgium, poppies grew wild.  The overturned soils of battle enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, allowing them to grow and to forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed during that and future wars. The poppy movement was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” written in 1915 by  Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces in 1915 before the United States entered World War I

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
 
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
 
By 1918 the poem was well-known throughout the allied world. Moina Michael, an American woman, wrote these lines in reply.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then adopted the custom of wearing a red poppy in memory of the sacrifices of war and also as a symbol of keeping the faith.

The poppy became a nationally known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is worn to honor the men and women who served and died for their country in all wars.

Here’s to you Dad!  Thanks for  fighting for us,

all your life.

Listen to the #1 song on the day you were born.

25 May
A strange and wonderful place this internet . . .  Here’s a site which plays the song that was Number One on the day you were born. If there is a video available with the artist, it will play it for you.

http://playback.fm/birthday-song

Enjoy the show Rick – MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC! (I didn’t like my birthday song . . .)

Thanks Sharon for sending this!

Up a Tree X 8

21 May

An octopus in the sea

decided “Hey, this isn’t for me.” 

Climbing out of the muck

 said “If my life’s going to suck

I might as well be up a tree.”

treeocto

The Pacific Northwest tree octopus (Octopus paxarbolis) apparently was first sighted in the temperate rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula on the west coast of North America.  

However, since octopi, or more grammatically proper, octopuses (crediting Maggie Wilson , The Zombies Ate My Brain, for this important research) , are extremely intelligent  (“Some evolutionary theorists suppose that ‘arboreal adaptation’ is what laid the groundwork in primates for the evolution of the human mind.”) it appears tree octopuses are acclimating to harsher and milder climes in their quest for survival.  

 Check out sightings of the ALLEGED tree Octopus here.

Thanks to Jacqui Murray for helping to make me, her public, aware of this, ahem, “endangered species

Jacqui Murray, Ask a Tech Teacher

True Facts about the Octopus . . . . . and the Pentapus

20 May

Excess in life

just leads to strife

All I need is five 

to stay alive

One with which to eat

Two for feet

One to comb my hairDSCN6276

whether or not it’s there

and the last to procreate

Who on earth needs eight?

Thanks Daru!

 

 

Going Viral

17 May
Scratch one more cure . . .  for now.
I started an anti-viral medication that has been successful in treating some people with Chronic Fatigue.  There is a long-held theory that virus are responsible for fibromyalgia/CFS and since I have tested positive for a viral-reactivation it seemed worth a prescription.
After taking the meds for over a month and coping with a bit of  24-hour nausea and headaches, last night I was wakened by really severe stomach pain which radiated to my back .  The cure was worse than the malady. 
Before the pain became full-blown I was playing around with some oil paint and roughed-in this face.  Now looking at my preliminary sketch it’s a window into how I’ve been feeling.  I think I’ll not “finish” the painting and leave it be  . . .  for now.
Oil

Oil

I stopped the medication this morning.  Like my painting, I’m not going to try to “finish off” the virus either  . . .   for now.

100 Years of Beauty

14 May

Being tired is exhausting

13 May

I look normal, I act normal (relatively normal)However, I feel exhausted much of the time, my body aches from head to toe and my brain sometimes has trouble remembering or concentrating.  Please don’t tell me to exercise more, eat better, try acupuncture or go to a new doctor.  After 20 years I’ve tried just about everything there is to try that I can afford, swallow or legally do.

I don’t even care anymore what you call it: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, malingering . . . it’s just tiring being tired much of the time.  I push through it otherwise I’d have no life.  But the price for pushing can be days of crashing so I pick and choose my commitments.

Judy's Journal, Mixed Media, Collage

judy’s Journal, Collage

No one knows what causes it or how to make it better.  Looking back, I think I’ve had it my whole life.  But I’m lucky because it didn’t become full-blown until I was an adult.  For teens and young adults it’s really hard. Read this article by teens and 10 things they want the public to know.   Teens who live with chronic illness and the 10 things they want you to know.

I’ve blogged about it before:

The Mask of Invisibility and me

Fibromyalgia, Dx: Hysterical Middle-Aged Woman’s Syndrome

I prefer not to talk about it, write about it, dwell on it.  It is what it is and I’m blessed that it’s not life threatening.  But today is World Awareness Day for neuro-immune illnesses of ME/Chronic Fatigue (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Lyme disease, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). It’s an opportunity to raise public awareness of these conditions that impact millions all over the world.

It’s a good bet that you or someone you know has one of these invisible conditions . . . if you didn’t before, you do now.

Sneek a Peek into my Journal – Stripping for fun (not profit)

12 May

Year of the SPARK  lesson:  Reverse painting on clear packing tape.  I didn’t like my results so I cut it up in strips.  What you see is the reverse order of the process.

3.  Cut-up strips on black paper

Thrown Around

Thrown Around

2.  Cut up strips, a variation

Cut up

Cut up

1. Painted-packing-tape, torn magazines and chalk

Pasted down

Cut-up, pasted down packing strips, torn magazine and chalk

Who said life was fair?

11 May

Alas, fair maiden

bereft of  biting remarks

all your teeth are gone

*     *     *

a judy doodle

a judy doodle

Alas, fair maiden

your ears continue to grow

as your stature shrinks

*     *     *

Alas, fair maiden

eat chocolate, drink wine, love, laugh

life is pretty good

*     *     *

Bob Blobfish sez: ". . .  no comment  . . "

Bob Blobfish sez: “. . . who needs teeth?  . . “

Haiku Horizons - prompt FAIR

Haiku Horizons – prompt FAIR

 

 

Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? You might have ADRA2b like me.

10 May

Goggle “emotional sensitivity” and you’ll find tons (well maybe not tons, but a lot) of articles, books, survival guides on how to overcome “being so sensitive”.   

About 1 in 5  fit the HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) profile.  I currently rate a 12 1/2 out of 16 traits below.  When I was younger it was 16 out of 16.  (Interestingly, artists and therapists seem to fit this profile in larger numbers than the general population . . . hmmm)

Fragile Fleur by judy

Fragile Fleur by judy

It’s baaaaaaaad:  I cry at dog food commercials and can’t tolerate anything that has a hint of violence.

My husband prefers “blow’em up – shoot ’em dead – stab ’em hard” for his watching pleasure.  He reminds me that it’s “not real” as I lock him in his room so I can’t see or hear what he’s watching.  I watch HGTV House Hunters International, preferring my suspense and intrigue to trying to guess which house the couple will buy.

However, rather than label myself as a “Highly Sensitive Person”, I prefer to think of myself as a fragile flower . . . so much more feminine.    

_____________________

Here are 16 HSP traits.  If you want to read more about each click here

  1. They feel more deeply.
  2. They’re more emotionally reactive.
  3. They’re probably used to hearing, “Don’t take things so personally” and “Why are you so sensitive?”
  4. They prefer to exercise solo.
  5. It takes longer for them to make decisions.
  6. They are more upset if they make a “bad” or “wrong” decision.
  7. They notice details.
  8. Not all highly sensitive people are introverts.
  9. They work well in team environments.
  10. They’re more prone to anxiety or depression (but only if they’ve had a lot of past negative experiences).
  11. That annoying sound is probably significantly more annoying to a highly sensitive person.
  12. Violent movies are the worst.
  13. They cry more easily.
  14. They have above-average manners.
  15. The effects of criticism are especially amplified in highly sensitive people.
  16. They prefer solo work environments.

________________________

The good news! I no longer have to read up on how to overcome, minimize, explain or justify my emotional sensitivity because I must have a ADRA2b gene.

(Now I can blame my mother for my sensitivity – aren’t mothers always the ones who get the credit for how we turn out . . .  or the blame?)

Genes might explain differences in how we experience emotions

“Your genes may influence how sensitive you are to emotional information, according to new research by a UBC neuroscientist. The study, recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that carriers of a certain genetic variation perceived positive and negative images more vividly, and had heightened activity in certain brain regions.”

“People really do see the world differently,” says lead author Rebecca Todd, a professor in UBC’s Department of Psychology. “For people with this gene variation, the emotionally relevant things in the world stand out much more.”

“The gene in question is ADRA2b, which influences the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Previous research by Todd found that carriers of a deletion variant of this gene showed greater attention to negative words. Her latest research is the first to use brain imaging to find out how the gene affects how vividly people perceive the world around them, and the results were startling.”

"Fragile flower . . . I think WUSS may be closer to the truth . . "
“Fragile flower?  HSP? . . . I think she’s just plain melodramatic. . “

Genetic Literacy Project

 

Everyone has a story

8 May

Don’t let the cartoons throw you off – this is a real life interview and worth every minute of your time (watch all the way to the end).

“Kay Wang was a strong-willed grandmother who was reluctantly taken to a StoryCorps* booth by her son and granddaughter. Though Kay resisted, she still had stories to tell—from disobeying her mother and rebuffing suitors while growing up in China to late-life adventures as a detective for Bloomingdale’s department store.”

“Kay passed away just weeks after that interview, and her son and granddaughter returned to StoryCorps to remember her gentler side, which she kept to herself.”

“Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews with over 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind . . . “

You can donate to this incredible project and find out where recordings are made, click here for the StoryCorps website.

Stroppy and the Astronaut, Part II

7 May

I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this, I thought, as I wrote Stroppy and the Astronaut, part II  for this writing challenge from Esther Newton.  The sentence (in red) has to be included somewhere in the story:  

Click here for my first “Stroppy Story” which might, or might not, help you understand this one. 

DSCN6264

Stroppy eyed her lonely astronaut tethered next to her in space I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this, she thought. Now that we’ve nuzzled it’s time. She bit cleanly through his safety tether and taking his gloved hand in hers pointed the jet thruster toward home. With a twinkle in her eye and terror in his, they zoomed off into the vacuum of space to meet Mom and Dad.

Bob Blobfish sez: ". . .  I can’t believe she actually wrote this, he thought.  . . "

Bob Blobfish: “. . . I can’t believe she actually wrote this, he thought. . . “

 

How to Control Other People with Your Brain

6 May

“Big Brother is watching you” George Orwell wrote in his novel 1984.  In 2014 BIG BRAIN is controlling you.  WATCH THIS!!!!!!

“Greg Gage is on a mission to make brain science accessible to all. In this fun, kind of creepy demo, the neuroscientist and TED Senior Fellow uses a simple, inexpensive DIY kit to take away the free will of an audience member. It’s not a parlor trick; it actually works. You have to see it to believe it.

 

A prayer, a plea and a promise

5 May

May heavenly rain

water the hearts of mankind

with loving-kindness

th_004K0516FTa-1

*     *     *

Flotsam of our past

it’s water under the bridge

Wave from river banks

*     *     *

Washed away through tears

Cleansed through the sweat of our brow

human suffering

*     *     * 

Year of the Spark – one-liners

4 May

I’ve been a bit sparkless but Carla Sonheim’s Spark lesson on doing one-line faces I had energy for.

DSCN6258One I drew from my imagination, one using a photo of a real person and another is a person on TV.  Bet you can’t tell which is which . . . !

DSCN6251

DSCN6263

You can do this too. Just put your pen down on the paper and keep drawing using one continual line.  It’s fun and easy . . . as long as you have no expectation to have it hanging in the Museum of Modern Art.

Amusingly Mindful Meditative Amusement – with Stroppy

2 May

I fall asleep when I try to meditate. Doesn’t matter what type of meditation, I fall asleep.  So I’m now practicing my own form: “Meditative Amusement” (or should I call it “Amusing Meditation” or “Mindful Amusement”?).    

Focusing on amusing myself matches the conventional definition of meditation* (AND makes me smile which is therapeutic in itself), don’t you think? 

Here’s what led me to Amusing Meditation:   Jacqui Murray who has an excellent writing blog – Word Dreams (among many other blogs) introduced me to Esther Newton, a British author, who has a weekly writing challenge . . . 

This week’s challenge is to write a 20-word story, using the words, ‘fairy’, ‘tomato’, ‘stroppy’, ‘nuzzling’ and ‘astronaut’

alien Stroppy

alien Stroppy by j

My 20-word story:

Nuzzling the alien Stroppy, the lonely astronaut watched the tomato-earth rise. Stroppy comforted him. It’s no fairy-tale in space.

Try mindfully amusing yourself – having your own Stroppy is optional.

*”A practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stresspromote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.”

Beyond the A to Z Challenge, well beyond . . . Eternity

1 May

Recently two very close and dear friends died. They were both younger than me – by at least 10 years.  I was hit by painful sadness and simultaneously comforted by a belief:

Several years ago I was depressed.  Life was the color of dirty grey.  I was in a fibromyalgia flare and feeling helpless.  I wasn’t suicidal, just weary, really weary, of pushing through the pain and exhaustion. Half jokingly I wrote to my Baha’i friend and mentor something to the effect:  “I’m ready to leave this earthly plane. Beam me up into eternity”

He wrote back four words which rocked me to my core:  “You are in eternity.”

Judy's journal page, mixed media
Looking Beyond, a judy-journal page, mixed media

You see, I had always assumed life here on earth as a human was separate from the “eternal realm”.  I thought that after I died I would then be in eternity.  It was a paradigm shift for me.  It is strangely comforting to know we are all already in eternity – you, me, my friends.

Believing knowing

we are in eternity

life is never short

 

“Z” is for Catching some Zeds. snooooooooozzzzzzzzzzzz

30 Apr

“A” started the day

with Anything Goes”

“Z” brings the challenge to a close

Posting 6 days a week was a chore

If by chance you found it a bore

give me some credit please

for helping you catch some zzzzzz’s

DSCN4718

“ZZZzzzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzz”

English speakers equate sleep with zzzzzzzz, more specifically snoring.  The British call sleeping  “Catching some zeds.”

If I had earlier researched how languages represent “sleeping” I could have used this topic for 5 other letters of the alphabet:

  • “C”Germans use “chrrr,” which considering the typical German pronunciations of ch and r—is closer to snoring than “zzz.”
  • “R” – The French, who also favor a sonically rich r, use “rrroooo,” “rrr,” “roon,” “ron,” and so on. The Spanish similiarly use “rooooon.”
  • “G” – The Japanese use characters that transliterate as “guu guu,” 
  • “M”Mandarin Chinese use characters sounding like “hu lu.”
  • “K”Finns use “kroohpyyh,”

Why does Z stand for snoring

crbs0540508

“A” is for Annoying sounds

Chrrr, rrooooo, ZZZZ, guu guu, hu lu, kroohpyyh, 

and so ends the A to Z Alphabet Challenge

It’s been a snoooooozzzzzzzzzzzzz

“Y” is for Yu Yi – the desire to feel intensely again

29 Apr

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki

yù yī – 玉衣 is the desire to see with fresh eyes, and feel things just as intensely as you did when you were younger—before expectations, before memory, before words.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
From Mandarin Chinese yù yī, literally “jade suit.” Some Han dynasty royals were made to wear ceremonial burial suits made of jade, stitched together in hundreds of pieces threaded together, like a suit of armor made of jade. Literally, it is to be ‘jaded’ in an attempt to protect yourself.

The Atlas Obscura includes this detail, which is useful for the metaphor: “Jade was believed to have preservative and protective qualities that would prevent the deterioration of soft tissues and keep away bad spirits. 

“X” marks the spot

28 Apr

“X” gets tired and worries a lot

always being the one

to mark the spot

afraid no one will find it

unless he is there

He does it for free

no complaints or “why me?”

It’s his lot in life

no children or wife

just spots to mark

It’s really no lark

not having a say

where he’s to stay

I bet you wouldn’t like

always being put on the spot

So the least you might do

is pay him a fee

or occasionally use

a “Y” or a “Z”

"x" by j

“x” by j

"I think she forgot to mention it's National Poetry Month as a rationale"

“I think she forgot to mention it’s National Poetry Month  . . . as a rationale”

“W” is for Wences & Wendy

27 Apr

Senor Wences always made me smile and NOW herrrrrrrrrrrrres Wendy! To quote Sharon Bonin- Pratt  “Whoowhee! Wowzers! Whoop dee doo! Won’erful won’erful!”

“Marc Metral has a unique bit he does with his dog, Wendy. When he brings her out on stage, the audience and judges are skeptical about her ability to talk. But once she starts singing, the entire audience loses it.”

Thanks Joyce!

“V” is for Vampire Squid

25 Apr

“The Vampire squid from hell

is actually rather quite swell

 He doesn’t suck blood

 or lurk in  the mud

but in chilly, dark waters drifts free

where he never eats meats

just low-calorie treats

that sink toward the bottom of the sea

A sighting is transforming

But here’s a forewarning

always go in the morning

and certainly not on a whim

For late at night you’ll die from fright

especially if you can’t swim

The scientific name for the species, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, translates to “vampire squid from hell,” but the animal’s behavior isn’t all that intimidating.

“Vampire squid drift in chilly, dark waters with low oxygen levels up to 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) below the surface. They have a low metabolism and they eat low-calorie foods — mostly “marine snow,” or clumps of particles, that sink down the water column.”

The new findings were published  in the journal Current Biology.”

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