Monday, August 31, 2009
I received this today in an email and I checked it's authenticity. It's definitely thought provoking.
Washington, D.C., Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007.
The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The child stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.
The questions are raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made... How many other things are we missing?
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This song cracks me up. I reminds me of teenage girls. "I love you!" "I hate you!" "I love you!" "I hate you!" Dang me! Just make up your mind. And then the other night I overheard my daughter on the phone. I wasn't eavesdropping. I couldn't help but hear her. She was doing the dishes and had her blue tooth in her ear (I can't even imagine where she learned that!!!). She was discussing the Homecoming Dance with her best friend. It was the second day of school and already she's talking about a dance that isn't until October! I heard her say that if no one asked her to the dance, she was going to ask one of the boys that she had met at a party she had gone to over the weekend. Of course, being the super-duper mom that I am, I said not a word! Inside though, I WAS SCREAMING!!!! I brought the subject up a few days later and she didn't seem to have a problem telling me what she told her friend! Where did my sweet little girl go? And where in the hell did I get this non-stop chatty high schooler from?!!!!! God help me when she "falls in love!"
P.S. Happy 600th blog!~
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I received this via e-mail, so I just had to share!
The boss of a Madison Avenue advertising agency called a
spontaneous staff meeting in the middle of a particularly stressful week. (This is one pretty sharp boss!) When everyone gathered, the boss, who understood the benefits of having fun, told the burnt out staff the purpose of the meeting was to have a quick contest. The theme: Viagra advertising slogans. The only rule was they had to use past ad slogans, originally written for other products that captured the essence of Viagra. Slight variations were acceptable. About 7 minutes later, they turned in their suggestions and created a Top 10 List. With all the laughter and camaraderie, the rest of the week went very well for everyone!
10. Viagra, Whaazzzz up!
9.. Viagra, The quicker pecker picker upper.
8. Viagra, like a rock !
7. Viagra, When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
6. Viagra , Be all that you can be.
5. Viagra , Reach out and touch someone.
4. Viagra, Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.
3. Viagra, Home of the whopper!
2. Viagra, We bring good things to Life!
And the unanimous number one slogan:
1. This is your peepee. This is your peepee on drugs.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Walking into my favorite most caffeinated place in the world prior to work, Dunkin Donuts. I am approached by a man I presume to be homeless, or down on his luck, he is asking for money to anyone who walks by him. I say no, I was not in the mood. My mood that morning was a sense of survival, the survival part being me and only me, not others begging me for their survival. I enter Dunkin Donuts and proceed to the line that seems to never end when you are craving coffee. This morning, Dunkin Donuts is crowded, lots of ppl coming and going. I wait my turn when I see the man walk into Dunkin Donuts, now normally when I run into someone as he, they never usually walk in, they stand outside. But this brave soul just trotted his way in.
He begins again to beg for money, tapping ppl on their shoulders, walking up to ppl as they work on their laptops, each of these ppl shook their heads no, and allowed him to continue on his quest.
I am now fuming, thinking first off, not everyone could be in the mood I am in, surly someone is in the mood of giving. Finally I saw the giving person, a woman hands him change, and then he moves to another you totally blew him away. I could not take it anymore, my control freak issue which I have tried to tame over the years emerged.
"Excuse me, Excuse me" I yell, all eyes are now turned on the control freak crazy lady, which just happens to me be. He looks up, "Yes you, come here" "Yes ma'am" he says as he walks over to me. I have now stepped up to the counter as my turn as finally arrived. I say "I will not give you money, but I will buy you coffee and something to eat, you have to stop begging, ppl are struggling as well, and they just want to get their coffee and go off to work, so please order what you like" he asks "any size coffee" "yes" I say. He orders a medium coffee and a donut. I pay for his items as well as my X Large Black Coffee and start to turn my back to leave, when I hear "Thank You" I replied with "Have a good day". As I leave I realized not one person said a word about what just happen, they all just went about their business, as if nothing really happen.
So, I am thinking didn't these ppl just see a crazy lady yelling at a homeless man, or was I dreaming that the control freak me surfaced?
Then it hits me, a crazy lady, and a homeless man, is nothing shocking, so why would anyone make a fuss. Normal day, Normal doings. Sad but true.
And that's how I see it..
Thursday, August 27, 2009
There are two kinds of people in the world; those who prefer showers and those who prefer baths. I definitely fall in the first category. I love the feeling of the hot water pouring over my body. I find it soothing and stimulating at the same time. I always stay in the shower longer than I mean to just because it feels so good. And who came up with the idea of having a massage setting on a shower head? Pure genius!
Soaking in a tub always sounds better to me than what the reality is. A few years ago, my bathroom was re-done and everything in it, floor to ceiling, was new. Ah, the new bathtub looked so white and shiny and inviting. I decided I should treat myself to a nice long soak in the tub, something I hadn't done in decades. I started the flow of hot water and carefully and gingerly lowered myself into the tub. It quickly became clear that there wasn't really going to be that much room for water now that I was in it. Parts of me were constantly exposed to the cold air. If I slid down in the water to submerge my chest and back, then my bent knees and much of my legs were out in the cold. If I straightened my legs to warm them in the water, then my top half was out of the water and cold. This wasn't relaxing at all!
Then came the real test; getting out of the tub. OMG! I hadn't thought about that! I barely fit in the tub as it was and now I had to figure out how to maneuver myself into a position that would allow me to get out without killing myself. Being older and with knees much weaker than they used to be, this was quite a feat in itself. First I had to flop onto my belly so I could get on all fours. Oh, what a lovely picture that was, not to mention the mini tidal wave that it caused! Then, while holding on to the wet, slippery edge of the tub, I had to get my legs under me and push myself up, hoping my hands didn't slip, causing my chin or chest to crash into the edge of the tub in a most unpleasant way. I barely got out alive! I'm fairly certain that will be the last time I ever try taking a bath.
As a child I had baths all the time, never showers. One particular bath stands out in my memory. When I was about 7 years old, my mother had me take a bath with my little brother who was two years old at the time. She trusted that I would keep my eye on him and not let him drown while she tended to other chores. What she didn't know was that her seven year old daughter was experimenting with mind control that evening. Through the power of suggestion (okay, maybe it was the grunting noises I was making while squeezing the bar of soap until it squirted out of my hand) I got my brother to take a poop in the bath water. Of course I jumped out immediately (in those days I could do that) and yelled for my mother and pointed an accusing finger at my brother, feining shock and surprise at what he'd done. I was secretly pleased that my experiment worked, plus I never had to take a bath with him again.
Are you a shower person or a bath person?
P.S. Special thanks to MO for posing for the illustration. : )
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Good morning, owls! Well, we’ve made it to the third blog in this little series. I can only trust that you were doing your homework over the past week, performing the time measurement experiment over and over again, and always getting the same two second value (once your smart stopwatch automatically subtracted your “brain processing” time). In fact, you’ve probably gotten thoroughly sick and tired of the whole, dare I use the word, tedious, activity, because the outcome is always the same!
To spice things up a little, you decide to hire an accomplice. Since “accomplice” kind of sounds like you’ve decided to rob a bank or something, perhaps “collaborator” or even “confederate” is the preferred label. Your “confederate” agrees to sit on the floor of the spacecraft instead of you, and to toggle the searchlight on and off, and measure how long it takes to see the pulse of light on its return from the ceiling. Of course, when he does this, he gets the same two second result that you did; his stopwatch is smart enough to automatically subtract his ‘brain time” too.
But where have you gone? Not far! Not far at all! You want to continue to measure the travel time of the light flash right along with your confederate. Thus, you arrange for your spacecraft to be tethered just a couple of feet in the air - just high enough that you can lie flat on the ground underneath the transparent floor, and stare straight up through the floor in the direction of the ceiling (just like your confederate does right above you). And just like him, you’re going to start your stopwatch at the exact point when he flicks the searchlight on (remember, the searchlight is bidirectional, so you can immediately see the light coming through the floor), and you’re going to push your stopwatch again, halting it, when you see the return flash. Of course, when the reflected flash hits the transparent floor, it only has to pass through and travel another couple of feet to reach you – a negligible distance. Thus, not only do you start your stopwatches at the same time, you stop them at the same time, too. BOTH stopwatches register exactly the same two-second duration for this event.
But where’s Einstein, you’re beginning to wonder? Now it’s two of you, not just you yourself, who keep getting the same result, and are getting restless and bored. The thought experiment, with its predictable two-second result on both stopwatches, is still tedious.
But it’s always darkest just before the dawn! Like a bolt out of the blue, you both get an idea for how to stir things up. Your cylinder is a spaceship, after all, so why not repeat the experiment with you remaining in the same position on the ground, but with the spacecraft in motion? To accommodate this slightly more complex condition, you and your confederate engineer the following situation. Lying on the ground, you stretch your arms straight out to the left and to the right, so your body forms a cross. Your confederate takes control of the spacecraft and, still hovering at the same short distance above the ground from you, flies it to a point directly down the line formed by your outstretched left arm. Next, your confederate accelerates the spaceship quickly to a constant speed, so that it (and he) is moving steadily towards you along the straight line formed by your outstretched left arm. Eventually, still holding the same speed, the spacecraft passes directly over top of you, and continues down the line formed by your outstretched right arm.
Initially, you decide you want the spacecraft to move at a steady one kilometer per second. Although that’s actually pretty darn fast, about the speed of a supersonic military jet, it pales in comparison to the speed of the light itself: One kilometer per second is only 1/300,000 of THAT ridiculous speed! Still, your confederate now has to take great pains to toggle the searchlight on and off at the exact instant that the spacecraft passes over you. That way, you still see the flash of light through the floor of the spacecraft at the same time that your confederate toggles the searchlight on; therefore, you both still START your stopwatches in unison.
But do you both still see the light flash RETURN to the spacecraft floor at the same time, STOP your stopwatches together, and measure the same amount of time for the event to happen? That, owls, is the question for next week. In the meantime, feel free to speculate on the answer!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I’ve known Brandon for about 10 years. He had a bright future before I knew him, but I never saw that. Instead, I’ve seen the sad existence of a man who is fighting the demons of addiction. Why would a teen throw away a promising career? What could be so troubling to a kid that he would seek comfort in the arms of heroin? According to Brandon, it kills the loneliness. This is what he told Ville Valo of HIM when he was asked. Ville expressed his pain over Brandon’s situation in this edgy ballad. The ending seems to me to be inevitable for Brandon. I won’t be surprised to hear of it. In February of 2008, an intervention was arranged for someone we thought could be saved. It was very ugly and draining for everyone involved. This individual has been drug-free since that intervention, and he’s grateful that we did what had to be done. Could you do whatever it takes to save a friend or loved one?
Monday, August 24, 2009
I never listened to KISS and am not really a big fan of reality shows, but one day my kids were watching Gene Simmons Family Jewels and I found myself watching with them. One show, and I was hooked. That man can be such a teddy bear. He doesn't believe in marriage, yet has been with Shannon Tweed for 23 years. They have two children who seem to be really good kids. Even Shannon admitted on one show how she can't believe they have turned out as well as they have, considering who their parents are!
I couldn't find a video to post from my favorite show, so I'll just tell you. Sophie had a father/daughter volleyball tournament that Gene wasn't going to be home for. She didn't tell him about it because she didn't want him to feel guilty for not being there. He found out though, when he came home one day to find his business manager practicing with Sophie. On the day of the tournament, Gene was on his way to the airport, when, at the last minute, he decided to cancel everything and go to the tournament at the beach, which had already started. But doesn't just "show up!" He brought the LA Clipper's cheerleaders with him to cheer them on. Sophie, her brother Nick, and Shannon were all embarrassed. They lost the tournament, but in the end, Gene was there and that was all that mattered.
Here is a scene from another good show. Sophie has a sleepover and they sneak out of the house and meet up with boys. One of the girls decides to stay with the boys and the girls go back home. The lone girl ends up calling her friends to pick her up because the boys have left her. This scene is from after the girl is rescued, by Gene of course, and they all go out to grab a bite!
The man just makes me laugh. In business, he's ruthless, but with his family and friends, he's a jewel!!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
It doesn't come up often, but every once in a while I am asked to answer the question "Who is your favorite recording artist?" or "What is your favorite song?" These days, you may have to answer this kind of question as a security measure to access a site on line, such as your personal banking information. Although there have been many recording artists and songs that I've loved through the years, my answers to these questions remain the same: Eric Clapton and "Layla". I just love guitar music, for one thing, and I love the sound of Eric Clapton's voice. Plus, I've always thought he was pretty cute, especially as he appears in this video.
"Layla" was released in 1970 when Eric Clapton was with Derek and the Dominos. He wrote it for Patti Boyd who he was in love with and who was married to his good friend George Harrison. He eventually won Patti away from George and they were married for a time. Although their marriage didn't last, the song surely did.
"Layla" is considered one of rock music's definitive love songs. It is without a doubt a rock classic. It is the one song that I must listen to all the way through, even if I am in the car and have already reached my destination. The song grabs me everytime.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Dedicated to Goldie's Grandbabies
Do you remember Johnny Quest? How about the Banana Splits? Scooby-doo? The Archies? These were all popular Saturday morning cartoons when I was young. For a kid that hated to get up early during the week...I was usually out of bed at 6am on Saturday to watch cartoons. If my dad was awake when my sister and I got up..he would make us each a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. If he wasn't, we'd get ourselves each a bowl of 'Sugar Pops' and sit in front of the TV and watch the adventures of Penelope Pitstop and H.R. Pufnstuf. As we got older we liked the Monkees and American Bandstand.
Did you watch cartoons on Saturday morning when you were a kid? Which ones were your favorites?
Friday, August 21, 2009
Starting August 24th, I will have 28 children. Nope that wasn't a misprint, I will have 28 children. Three are biological, one is a stepdaughter, and the other 24 are my second graders. Here are the names of my newest family members:
Timothy, Elijah, Jurrian, Arleth, Breyman
Tyler F., Nadya, Abigail, Chris, Kyle
Tyler L., Daniel, Dillon, Richard, Daricka
Sammy, Summer, Marly, April, Macayleigh
Kamden, Hayleigh, Riley, Thomas,
I think of them as family from day one until to day number 175. I wipe away tears, laugh with them, and teach them all that I know. I constantly worry about them and they are always in my thoughts. Every morning I jump out of bed and I can't wait to see what the new day will bring for us.
I received my class list today and I have been writing their names all over the room. On their locker, desk, and mailbox. I daydream what the new year will bring. Every single year is full of surprises. Some are happy and some are sad. I have all there names memorized in my head and they are already tugging at my heart.
So with a Diet Pepsi in my hand, I'm toasting to a new school year full of learning, laughter, and hope!!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Welcome to the second installment of "Whabby Wednesday" This week I’m going to start us out with a very simple “thought experiment”, which is quite apropos, since thought experiments were one of Einstein’s favorite investigative tools. Suppose you suddenly became obsessed (I mean seriously obsessed) with measuring how long it takes events to occur (in other words, you got seriously into measuring time). To satisfy your new obsession, you construct a rather special spaceship, shaped like an enormously long, thin cylinder. For reasons that will become clear shortly, you specify that the cylinder must be precisely 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) long, not a foot more or less! The floor of your ridiculously elongated spacecraft is quite snug, just large enough to hold one passenger and a strong directional searchlight, just like the ones they use to aim beams of light into the sky at gala movie premieres and the like. This searchlight, though, is a customized beast in the sense that it is bidirectional: it sends a light beam both straight up and straight down through the spacecraft’s floor. That’s possible because the floor of your spacecraft is made of a layer of glass, strong enough to support a human passenger and the searchlight, but completely transparent, so that somebody directly beneath the spacecraft can easily see the light coming from the searchlight.
The roof of your spacecraft, 300,000 kilometers above the floor, is a carefully polished, perfectly reflective, mirror. That mirror is there for one purpose: to assist you to make very precise measurements of the time it takes for a brief flash of light to travel from the floor of the spacecraft to the top, reflect off the mirror, and travel back down the length of the cylinder to the floor. With that goal in mind, you enter the spaceship and lie down on the glass floor, facing straight up. Right beside you is the bi-directional searchlight. When it is powered on, the light it produces goes straight up the shaft, toward the ceiling of the spacecraft, and gets reflected straight back down. When the light pulse reaches the floor, it is still plenty strong enough for you to see as an unmistakable flash, like a lightning bolt.
Now, how do you set about making measurements of how long it takes the flash to travel to the roof and back? Still lying flat on the floor, you carry out two tasks in quick succession. The first task is to toggle the searchlight on and off as quickly as you can, creating the light flash. In your other hand, you hold a standard stopwatch used to time foot races and the like; you know, the kind you both start and stop by pushing the same button on the top of the watch. At exactly the same time as you flick the switch, releasing the pulse of light from the searchlight, you press that button to start the stopwatch. Then, when you see the light flash on its return journey from the ceiling, you press the button on the stopwatch again. Finally, you look at the amount of time showing on your stopwatch, and record that value in a log or a spreadsheet. Voila: You’re measured the duration of our event of interest.
So, how long WOULD it take to see the flash of light? The figure below illustrates the situation and provides the straightforward answer. Since the cylinder is exactly 300,000 kilometers long, the mirror in the ceiling is 300,000 kilometers away. By astonishing coincidence, light happens to travel at a speed of almost exactly 300,000 kilometers per second; rather fast, in other words. The flash of light takes precisely one second to travel up to the mirror, and another second to make the return journey, for a total round-trip time of two seconds. Two seconds is the value you’d expect to see on your stopwatch.
So far, there’s nothing very complicated about this thought experiment, is there? As we all know, the time to complete a journey is simply the distance traveled divided by speed. The total distance up and down the cylinder is 600,000 kilometers; light travels at 300,000 kilometers a second, so the total travel time is two seconds.
Of course, human physiology does enter the picture, and complicates the interpretation of the value that shows up on your stopwatch. As you do the measurement over and over and write down the result in your logbook, you quickly come to see that the average of all those times is a little more than two seconds. This is because, before you can press the button to stop the stopwatch, your eye has to be stimulated by the light flash, and your brain has to respond to that stimulation by issuing a command to your finger to press the button. These brain activities would delay your button presses by a slightly different amount each time you repeat the measurement. On average, though, the delay would be about two-tenths of a second (trust me on this… remember, I’m a psychologist)! If, every time, you subtracted that 0.2 seconds from the value showing on the stopwatch, you would be left with the real two seconds of time it took for the flash to complete its journey and reach your eyes.
From now on, let’s imagine that the stopwatch is a smart device, smart enough to automatically subtract this “brain processing” time from the value that shows when you hit the “stop” button. That way, you get a really pure measure of the time it takes the light pulse to travel.
Next week we’ll extend the thought experiment in a way that I hope will pique your interest. Until then, Owls, in the words of Star Hustler Jack Horkheimer: Keep…. Looking….. Up……. (to the roof of your spacecraft… LOL)! And feel free to speculate, if you like, on where this thought experiment is going. Hint: You’ve deliberately put your measurement apparatus in a spaceship!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Some days I have a chip on my shoulder. I think we all have those days. Where no matter what someone says, it’s going to piss you off. Sometimes my chip has a specific target. Just one person who annoys the heck out of me. I recognize that about myself so I control it. I don’t know how, exactly. Metaphorically, I think I just set it aside. I treat the person or people respectfully and will humble myself to avoid an argument. I am not always successful, but I think I make a respectable effort.
I see other people with chips on their shoulders all the time in my work. There is one individual who may as well be called Chip because he always has one. When he blows, he really blows. You can walk into the office and say it’s a nice day out and he’ll go berserk. “What do you mean a nice day? It’s shit! It’s going to get hot and we’re going to be sweating in this sauna! How can you even say that? The day sucks!” Whoa. Sorry you don’t like sunshine, dude. You can always lower the A/C and I installed that fan, so you can use that. “I don’t care about all that! The day still sucks! Say it! It sucks!” And he will continue until I admit that yes, the day sucks and we are all miserable. If I were a man, he would hit me or throw something at me. If I were anyone but me in that office, I’d refuse to say the day sucked, just to watch him freak out. He’s just part of that job. When the fireworks are over, we all get back to work.
I had an experience with a woman who had a chip on her shoulder. Women seem to be more passive aggressive. I was at that office to do some IT work and she was the manager. The owner had requested my services, but this woman was the one I had to get information from. I knew she didn’t like me on sight. She dug in her heels and either gave me wrong information or claimed not to know anything. What should have taken 6 hours took 2 days. On the second day this woman told me I needed to take the outgoing mail to the post office. What??
I told her I’d be happy to do as she asked, but thought she might want to consider 2 things. First, I didn’t know where the post office was. Second, I charge $150 per hour and that’s a lot to pay someone for mailing letters. She didn’t care. She wanted me to mail the letters. It took me about 40 minutes. A $100 mail run. When I returned, this woman apologized to me and told me she’d been having a tantrum. No kidding, I thought. I told her I got paid by the hour and it was no skin off my nose. Inwardly, I saw her as selfish, catty and ugly because it wasn’t her money she was wasting; it was her boss’ money.
I called the owner of this office that evening and told him that I thought it would be better if he had another consultant handle his IT work. I didn’t have to tell him why. He knew and said he was in the process of replacing her. Outwardly, it was none of my business and I recommended another consultant to take over where I’d left off. I’d maintained my professionalism.
The point of this is that the man who freaks out, does it outwardly. There’s no question he’s pissed and he lets loose. Then he’s done, and everything’s normal again. The woman thinks she’s clever. She masks her anger or dislike. The only person she’s fooling is herself. Sure, she tried to humiliate me by sending me to the post office. I protected myself by telling her why it might not be a good idea, but she still wanted that humiliation. Fine by me. In the end, she lost her job and I gained another reference as well as a respectable reputation. I’ll go back to work at that office, she will not.
We all get chips on our shoulders at some time or another. The way I see it, there are 3 ways to handle them. Set it aside, let it out and get it over with, or try to be clever about it.
How do you handle someone else’s chip? What about your own?
Monday, August 17, 2009
Life is so tricky, you just never know when its going to throw you a curve, and many times, you are not ready for the curve, so you go straight trying to ignore the curve, but then all does not make sense. So you have to back up and be brave and strong and take the curve head on. Once there the strength will come, it will surprise you how strong you will become. There is reason for the path that curves, it is our destiny, its written in the cards. And perhaps like magic, when you are there, it will make sense, and allow you to continue on with bravery and strength that only the curve in your journey can give you.
And thru this journey, your heart will be full, the memories will wash over you with a stream of light that will remind you of yellow, and certainly comfort you. I say this with sincerity, as I felt such as I described with Aunt Jo. My heart is full, my memories of her over flow and I can promise, it shall for all of you as well.
Follow the curve, its yours, do as you will, it will be ok.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
This little song has become a favorite this summer. It's the Black Eyed Peas.....I Gotta Feeling. Every time it comes on the radio I either jam it in the car, or I get up and shake what my mama gave me!! Enjoy.....and get up and dance!!!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Boy, do I have some great news to share with you.
However, I don't know how to say it?
Part of me wants to run naked up and down the street yelling "My husband has just been offered an awesome job."
Part of me wants to put a big tattoo on my forehead that says "My husband has accepted a job that he is proud of."
Part of me wants to cry, hug, and kiss everything that comes into my path without saying a word.
If you could see our smiles it would say it all.
This job is exactly what my husband, Dean loves to do and he is excited. I really don't feel comfortable, yet, saying the name of his company, due to this being a public blog. However, I will share with you that he will be one of the product managers of a company that produces such things as tools, hoses, and sprinklers.
The job is 1 1/2 hours away, but it is worth it. We already have a plan in motion for the commute. Some days he will drive there and home, some days he might stay at a hotel, or some days he might stay with my sister's family who lives real close to it.
I can't even begin to explain all what is running through our heads right now, but it is all good. We have so much to do in so little time to get organized and ready. The funny part is that he starts his new job, I go back to school, and the boys all go back to school on the same day, Aug. 24th. Isn't that funny !
It is very hard to organize my thoughts right now to make this blog flow. However, there is one important point that I for sure want to express and that is my gratitude to my fellow owl friends. Your e-mails, cyber hugs, and laughs have helped me keep my chin up. It is truly amazing how supportive you have been to us. Thank you so much, you will always have a special place in my heart.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Have you ever gone somewhere on vacation to see something specific and were pleasantly surprised to find something else? My sister just got back from France where she spent a month learning French. Each weekend she planned a trip to somewhere she'd never been: Amsterdam, Lisieux, Normandy, and Lourdes.
For those of you who don't know, many people make pilgrimages to Lourdes because of the healing waters. Mary is said to have appeared to St. Bernadette there. Bernadette was asked to dig in the mud, and days later, a spring began to flow from that spot. Many very ill people have been cured of their ailments after bathing in the springs. Although I found my sister's visit there interesting, it was her story of Maximilian Kolbe that fascinated me the most.
While waiting in line to see the house that Bernadette lived in as a child, the Polish seminarian who was showing my sister's group around, asked if they wanted to see the Maximilian Kolbe Center (the Franciscan monastery) which was next door. He was very excited to find a fellow seminarian who spoke English and could tell the story of Kolbe.
Maximilian Kolbe was born on January 8, 1894 in what is now Poland, to a father of German decent and a Polish mother. He claims to have had a vision of Mary as a child and was subsequently influenced by her the rest of his life. In 1918, he became a Franciscan priest. He was sent to Warsaw where he founded and supervised a monastery, a seminary, a radio station, and several other organizations and publications. Between 1930 and 1936, he went on several missions to Japan, founding a monastery in Nagasaki. He was advised to build his monastery on the side of the mountain best suited to be in tune with nature, but went against that advise and built it on the other side. Because of this, his monastery was saved when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The force of the blast from the bomb hit the other side of the mountain, saving the monastery and his fellow priests.
In 1936, Fr. Kolbe was recalled back to Poland. By 1939, in the midst of WWII, he began to organize a shelter for 3,000 Polish refugees, among whom were 2,000 Jews. The Friars housed, clothed, and fed them all. Fr. Kolbe also spoke out against the Nazi's at his radio station and wrote about them in his review, The Knight of the Immaculate. On February 17, 1941, he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Pawaik prison in Warsaw. On May 28th, he was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670. In July of that same year, during the evening roll-call, it was found that three men had escaped, one of which was from Fr. Kolbe's barracks. As was the practice, 10 men were chosen to be starved to death in the Bunker (the underground starvation cell), in order to deter further escape attempts. One of those men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, "Oh, my poor wife, my poor children. I shall never see them again." It was then that Fr. Kolbe volunteered to take his place. From several eyewitness accounts, it is said that Fr. Kolbe led the men in prayer, saying the rosary and singing songs. He was outwardly calm and, after two weeks, he was the only one of the ten still alive. Needing the cell in order to torture others, it was decided that Fr. Kolbe would be given an injection of carbolic acid. He was murdered on August 14, 1941 at the age of 47. His remains were cremated the next day on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.
Fr. Kolbe was beatified (the first step towards sainthood in the Catholic Church) in 1971. On October 10, 1982, in the presence of Franciszek Gajowniczek, he was canonized a saint by the Polish Pope, John Paul II. His feast day is August 14th and he is the patron saint of drug addicts, prisoners, journalists, and the pro-life movement. Pope John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century". Franciszek Gajowniczek lived 53 years after Fr Kolbe saved his life. His wife, Helena, survived the war, but his sons were killed in Russia in 1945, before his release.
My sister loves to tell about her travels and I love listening. I thought I knew what I was going to hear when I asked, "So....how was Lourdes?"
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I wonder? Do others have a plan B when plan A is so loved..
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Over the last 500 years or so, painstaking work by generation after generation of scientists has produced an enormous but internally consistent “bank” of knowledge that encompasses biology, physics, chemistry, geology, and astronomy. Unfortunately, there’s now way too much knowledge in the bank for any one person to acquire more than a small fraction of it, and scientists are making new deposits at a faster clip than at any time in history. Making matters worse, most people haven’t enough formal training in science and mathematics to understand the specialized language in which much scientific knowledge is expressed, creating an insurmountable barrier between them and the bank.
This past January, a dear friend that I met through my husband Jim, named Karl Baker, died unexpectedly from complications of colon surgery. Barely into his 60’s when he met this decidedly untimely death, Karl had long since established himself in my eyes as “uncommonly uncommon”. For example, although Karl lacked formal training in the hard sciences, he had a keen interest in cosmology, the study of the nature, history, and fate of the universe. So strong was his curiosity that he actually learned enough about the topic to write a lengthy and quite interesting essay on the Big Bang.
Right after Karl died, I decided that I wanted to write a blog to mark and honor his unusual willingness to wrap his mind around an esoteric scientific concept. Little did I know that this decision would mushroom into a series of blogs, complete with figures, diagrams, and even (horrors!) a little simple mathematics (very simple, I promise). The work behind these blogs is entirely dedicated to Karl.
My goal with these blogs is admittedly ambitious. I aim to slowly, carefully, and cautiously introduce you to “time dilation”, one of the most important aspects of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity (as opposed to his “general” theory of relativity, which he developed years later). Why did I choose to tackle this particular nugget from the bank of science? Several reasons. First and foremost, time dilation ranks right up there with Newton’s laws of gravity as one of the most important additions ever made to our understanding of physical reality. If you come to understand it, you’ll have mastered one of the bigger deposits in the bank. Second, there’s good old fashioned bragging rights. Einstein is such a famous figure, but almost no one understands why he’s so revered. Imagine the satisfaction that will come with living the rest of your life, smuch with the knowledge that you understand an important aspect of one of Albert Einstein’s theories! Imagine the thrill of being able to explain it to your children, grandchildren, or your students.
And, last but not least, learning about time dilation is actually fun! The details are so eerie, so bizarre, and ultimately so breathtaking, that much of it seems like science fiction. At the same time, the phenomenon rests on a breathtakingly simple and very real-worldly set of conditions, so concrete that they can be grasped with just the slightest use of elementary mathematics.
The story of time dilation started in 1905, a year that has gone down in the history of science as “Annus Mirabilis” because of four papers published by Einstein. One, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Objects”, created a whole new way of thinking about space and time. We’ll start into the nitty-gritty of time dilation tomorrow. Today, I just wanted to introduce you to what it is we’ll be doing while I hijack the nest over the next week or ten days. In the meantime, thanks so much to Carol for indulging me in this very unusual “nesting behavior”! If I succeed in even a small measure, and get even a few of you to make it to the finish line with me, I know Karl would smile.
Are you ready? Are you ready to scream at me in the comments section as soon as you hit something you don’t understand? Are you ready to take me up on my daily challenge, which is to guess what the solution is to a mystery or conundrum that I’m going to pose at the end of each day’s blog (and then answer the next day)? Ok then… let’s be off! To start things off, I’d love to know: have you ever given Albert Einstein’s scientific contributions any serious thought? What they actually were, I mean, and what he actually found? Go ahead, owls… share away!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Today, August 10th marks the 10 year anniversary of the day Buford Furrow walked into the North Valley Jewish Community Center and opened fire upon a Jewish children's summer camp program. He then went on to kill a Filipino American postal worker. A sunny August day that became a dark day in history.
Among those that were wounded was my best friends 5 year old son. Her 9 year old son was also there, as well as the 4 year old daughter of another dear friend of mine. All these children referred to me as Auntie Reenie. I was there to hold each of them when they were babies.
Although I was nearly 3000 miles away when the shooting occurred, I felt it to the innermost core of my soul. I immediately flew to Los Angeles and walked into the ICU and saw this precious child, unconscious, with tubes and wounds and tears rolling down his cheeks as he lay there, prone. A miracle by every definition of the word that Ben was even still alive. The paramedic that saved him said good bye to him when he wheeled him into the trauma center...a 19 year veteran thought for sure that was the last time he would ever see Ben.
Ben was always a fighter, from the moment he was born. He was stubborn, obstinate and sometimes even mean. These became his best qualities! It was that stubbornness that kept him alive. And that allowed him to fight back and be the 6'3'' 15 year old he is today! That spirit brought us a 6th birthday for Ben and soon, a 16th birthday will arrive. He still has scars...physical and emotional. 10 years later, he still has nightmares that Furrow is free and coming for him. He still has a limp and still has scars the length of his abdomen, his legs, his side and his back. He still bears a bald spot where a chunk of hair fell out from the meds and laying on it. But he is here. He is thriving as a teenager...causing his parents a delightful amount of teenager problems!! Thank G-D for that.
I still remember the things I saw, the sounds I heard and the tears we all shared as I spent 2 weeks with them, and then another week that October when he turned 6. I can still hear the screams as they turned the pins in his legs. I still hear his sobs when he woke up if his mom or dad weren't in the room. I still see him cry as the physical therapist taught him to walk again. I still hear his 9 year old brother say we don't have to love him because his little brother needs all the love.
All because he was Jewish. Nothing more, nothing less. A neo-nazi that never met Ben or the others he shot and shot only because they were Jewish...or Filipino. He wanted to kill Jews. He tried a few other places before settling on the JCC because the other places had tighter security.
As ten years approach, I have to try and focus on the fact that Ben and Josh and Gabriela are alive. Josh is starting his second year of college in the fall. Ben will be a Jr. in High School. Gabriela is a thriving teenage athlete in both Soccer and Basketball. Award winning! I have to be thankful for those things. I am also thankful for the bond that developed between that paramedic and the family... and me. A man I am so honored to call a friend. A true hero.
It's time...once and for all to end the antisemitism that still exists in this country. The antisemitism that nearly took innocent lives, and profoundly changed their lives. I thank G-D that these 3 children would not let the likes of Buford Furrow keep them down.
I love you Ben, Josh and Gabriela.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Some people, who shall be nameless, have horrible taste in music! Jennifer Nettles, from the band Sugarland, has one of those voices that can sing anything. Very few people can just start singing and sound good right from the start. Most stars now-a-days need all the bells and whistles to sound "decent!"
Sugarland did a show with Bon Jovi called Crossroads. They alternated singing each others' songs. IMHO Jennifer Nettles made Bon Jovi's songs sound better. I have some of them on my myspace page. I KNOW!!!!! How can you improve on Bon Jovi????!!!! That's what I thought!
Here is the song that Di mutilated!!! I loved this song the very first time I heard it. She wrote it from the perspective of the mistress. I know not everyone listens to country music, but give it a listen and see what you think!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I was talking to Carol the other night and I don't remember what I said, but she replied, "I'm magic!" Of course I laughed. I had told her that on the blog a couple of days before. And she remembered. We had been talking about blogs and we both knew there wasn't one for Saturday yet. She was going to write one, but I kinda scared her and told her I would write it. After all.....it's her birthday...but I didn't say that to her! She's probably going to kill me, but Carol dear, it's all your fault! You should never have reminded me that you're Magic! :D
For fun, I looked up the word magic in Urban Dictionary. You always find the best definitions there. I think my favorite is "A cigarette with the tobacco at the end removed and loaded with cocaine." lol~ When I told Carol she was magic, I meant that she's special, cool, awesome, does so much for everyone, and makes it look easy. She's a business owner, which alone, takes so much of her time and energy.....especially with the travel industry the way it is. She's a caregiver. Those of us who have or still do care for our parents, know how time consuming that is, although it is incredibly rewarding. She also has a large family that takes up much of her time. And then she has us!
In the big scheme of things, a little blog doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it does take up a lot of Carol's time. Even when someone else writes the blog, she's still responsible for making sure it's formatted correctly and posts on time. And when "something happens" on the blog, she's the one who gets all the calls and emails about it, as if she can make the problem go away or fix it.
Carol, I bow down to you on your special day, for all you do for us.....people you've never even met. I appreciate you more than you'll ever know and am proud to call you Crackwhore! You're Magic! Happy Birthday!
p.s. Feel free to kill me later~ :D
Friday, August 7, 2009
At first, it was easy being a stepmom because she was so young when we met. Her parents were never married and they had never lived together, so it made the transition in the beginning easy. At the age of three, Grace used to draw pictures of her mom, dad, herself, and me all sleeping in the same bed. Then by 3 1/2 she started to see that her friends had moms and dads that lived together. So then she started drawing pictures of her mom & dad in bed together and me in the next room.
Then came the age of four when I wasn't in her drawings anymore. She really wanted her mom and dad to live together. It hurt a little but I totally understood. It was a tough phase but we made it through together.
Stepmotherhood is similar to motherhood, but then different too. It is hard to explain the difference. Sometimes it feels more like I'm the Aunt. It is hard to define, but I do know I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I'm really proud of the relationship that we have and how we continue to work on it. There are bound to be more bumps in the road as she gets older, but I feel confident that we will be able to work through them.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I miss you…..
I hate you…..
Don’t call me fat!……
Do you think I’m fat?.....
Leave me alone…..
Why don’t you want to spend time with me?.....
I thought you had plans today…get out of here.....
I love you more than anything…..
I don’t need you……
I can’t live without you…..
I said DO IT NOW!!!.....
Give me a hug.....
You make me so happy…..
Get away from me!.....
Thank you for putting up with me…..
What the hell do you mean….I’m lucky you stick around??!!!.....
Will you rub my back?.....
Don’t touch me!!!.....
Ugh……….I think I may be pms’ing~
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
So a recent blog got me to thinking……watch out as that can be somewhat scary.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you in person, and have grown to know who is calling me when I answer and hear some of the following….Turtle? Heya HO or what ya doin? But even for those that I think I know somewhat well, there’s always something that comes out in our postings that makes me go REALLY?
So I thought howz about a game of Truth~ Pick 5 of the following questions and answer them as truthfully as you can. There are more than 5, and if you care to answer all as I am about to that is entirely up to you~
1.) Your real name Susan
2.) Current Location Honolulu
3.) Ethnicity Scottish, Irish, English and Welch
4.) Most cherished possession (inanimate object) My father’s wedding band that I wear on my right hand.
5.) College Graduate? (If so what kind of degree) Nope
6.) Three jobs you have had in your life. Technical Chemist, Graphic Artist, Purchasing Manager. Still don’t know what I wanna be when I grow up.
7.) Marital Status? Currently Single, but looking~
8.) How would you describe yourself? Hmmm Loyal, intelligent, sometimes introverted, strong, adventurous, giving, sarcastic all wrapped in a Pillsbury doughboy façade.
9.) What does your screen name mean. Kahonu means The Turtle. It is derived from the Hawaiian name that was given to me. Kahonupaalani. I have many nicknames, but that is the one that is most commonly used.
10.) Do you remember your dreams? Yes and VIVIDLY. If I concentrate well enough I can usually either replay the dream or continue it the next evening. Comes in kinda handy sometimes. ;-)
12.) Do Roman paramedics refer to IV’s as 4’s? ok I am just seeing if you are paying attention…lol
13.) What is the one thing you want me to know about you?
Ok Hooters…….have a stab at it. Feel free to ask me any question you like, you all get one freebie random question.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The first time I went to visit Dianne, she took me to Clement Park, near Columbine High School, where the Columbine Memorial is located. I went to look at it on my own and took my camera along. As I neared what I thought was the memorial, I remember thinking that they really could have done a better job, especially since it had already been 10 years since the tragedy. There were some bushes and a couple of flowers and a sign that told where you were.
As I neared the sign, I realized my error. That was just the entrance. Tucked into the side of the hill was the Memorial, and although it was the middle of the day, it was calm and quiet. There were colorful flowers as you walked in. I recognized the white ones as the columbine flower, but I didn't know until later that they were all columbines, just different colors. They were exquisite.
The memorial itself is circular. There is a ring in the center and the families of the deceased were able to write something about or to their loved one. There is water constantly running from a fountain that adds to the tranquility of the place. Along the back wall are quotes from various people: students, parents, President Clinton. One parent was quoted, "I hope people come here to this place to think about how they themselves can be better people rather than come here to reflect on death." A student was quoted as saying, "I would be misleading you if I said I understand this. I don't." If you start at one end and read to the other, there is no way you can get through it all without crying. I filmed this video after reading and while crying, so I'm sorry for the quality, but it will give you an idea of what it's like. The next time you visit Dianne, be sure to have her take you there. It's incredibly humbling.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Five years ago our school district was in a big financial mess. Unfortunately the school board had to make some hard decisions. They decided to close down one of the schools. The teachers and students from that school were moved to our building. Let me tell you something, that did not go well at all. It was a nightmare. The teachers were very upset about moving to our school and they had a very hard time adjusting to the transition. So now there were four teachers teaching second grade and I was so nervous about working with them. They had a terrible reputation of being negative. I kept telling myself, no big deal, just stay in your room and worry about yourself. Well, that would have worked until my principal shot that idea out of the water.
My principal decided each grade level needs to work like a team. He set up grade level meetings each week and always had an agenda for us to work on together. It started off all on the wrong foot. It was so hard for all of us to agree and to work together comfortably. At that time I was on my 12th year of teaching and they were all on their 28th. I basically just sat at those meetings and nodded my head. Teaching 30 children was easier then trying to work my three co-workers. I honestly didn't think we were ever going to gel, but eventually we did.
I can't even tell you when it happened, but somewhere down the road we learned to work together as a team. It was a lot of hard work and it also took time. I'm so glad I didn't give up and stuck with it. We are certainly not "best buds", but there is not all that anxiety at the meetings. I'm very proud of the accomplishments that we made together as a team. In fact one of my team members will be retiring this year and I think I will miss her. lol
I have often heard that getting along with co-workers is a common theme everywhere. Is that true? How were/are you with your co-workers?
Sunday, August 2, 2009
A few weeks ago I dedicated a Sunday morning video to my dad. It was so easy to do, because my dad and I enjoy the same type of music. It was so much fun to write it and pick out the music. So now the catholic guilt has kicked and I feel guilty for not doing one for my mom. I know exactly why I've been dragging my heels to write this blog, because I know exactly which song I have to pick.
When I was growing up my parents always played the music they grew up with in the car. It didn't bother me at all, I loved most of that music. My mom and dad always took turns playing their favorite tape. I loved it when it was my dad's turn. I could expect the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, or Fats Domino. However, when it was my mom's turn I would totally cringe when she picked......Gene Pitney.
Oh man, did his music use to drive me crazy. I would close my eyes and try real hard to drown his music out. Boy, did my mom like his music. She would sit there with a slight smile on her face with a calm far away look. For the life of me I couldn't understand why she liked him. So now 30 years later, I still don't understand. However, through maturity and growing old, I have learned to appreciate how he makes my mom happy. So I have caught myself once or twice actually requesting it in the car with her, because I like to see her face light up.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Lost. That is Dawn's myspace status. It is a fitting word for how a lot of us feel. We live in a very strange world....this online world. When I first heard what had happened, my immediate reaction was to find out what I could do for Dawn. There are the obvious things like praying for her and the family, sending a card or flowers, but I wanted to DO something. I talked to Mary a couple of days later. We had been going through and thinking the same things. I talked to a couple of more people who felt the same way. We live in an online world, and although we feel as if we are neighbors, we are spread out across the country and even into Canada. Our natural inclination is to "do something" and since we don't live near Dawn, there is very little we can do to help.
When I started thinking about what I would want in a situation like this, as if I could even imagine it, I realized that I would want to know that there were people here for me in case I needed them. That's exactly what some of us have done....either by phone, email, IM, MySpace comments, or even FarmTown, we have let Dawn know we are there for her and that we love her. And she has heard us.....sometimes loud and clear (I can be a little overwhelming at times!). Although I didn't know Rick, and I don't know Dawn like her best friends do, I know that I care about her and those she loves. I did know Rick loved the beach and he loved NASCAR! That alone gave him a special place in my heart......even if his choice of favorite driver left something to be desired! (Dawn will understand this!) :D I thought it was ultra-cool that he got to ride around with Ryan Newman.....who, by the way, is a hottie! Rick probably didn't think so~ :D
"Indiana Rick" is my favorite picture of all that Dawn has posted on MySpace and Facebook. I thought I would share it with you for those who haven't seen it. I love his smile and that getup~ He looks so incredibly happy. I want to remember him this way. Well...to be honest...I'll remember this look......and him in a car with !!!
Dawn, we care for you, worry about you, and love you dearly. We hope you are able to find peace, and one day realize that you are not alone and no longer lost, because Rick will be with you always.