Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Max from the Hague

is visiting. He's sick. So I fed him chicken soup and brownies, and he's in bed hacking his lungs up. We'll spend an elderly new year's eve making dal from an old friend's recipe, and channel surfing. Have invited some friends over, but doubt any of them will wanna go out either. He said I looked very Dutch with my new haircolor, Cinnaberry. As if. He wants to get a lemon zester when he is here. My friend from Ireland was taken with my potato peeler. Do these Euroguests have a thing for small kitchen gadgets? Do you think if I send Irish a potato peeler in the mail to Ireland that it would be confiscated because there is a blade in there? I love being retired, love being able to worry about such things.
Photo: Sunset in the yard a few days ago.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Global Melting


Real Winter Solstice Holiday Trees Better for the Environment Than Artificial Ones
Ronald Bailey
December 19, 2008, 10:46am
At least, that's according to a study reported by Terra Daily:

A Canadian sustainable energy company in Montreal says real Christmas trees have less of an environmental impact than reusable artificial trees.
The company, which uses no capitals in its name, ellipsos inc., said its analysis in a Life Cycle Assessment found real trees generate 6.8 pounds of greenhouse gases compared with 17.8 pounds for an artificial tree per year.
"The results are astonishing", ellipsos President Jean-Sebastien Trudel said in a release. "Considering that the artificial tree is reusable for many years, one would think that this choice is best since the natural tree requires annual trips to purchase it."
Research process factors ranged from the extraction of raw materials to travel to marketing and purchase to disposal, the company said.
The study found an artificial tree would need to be kept for at least 20 years to be equivalent to a real tree, although consumers keep an artificial tree for six years on average, the report said.

The foot of snow we had has nearly completely melted away. There's a huge winter house fly that has taken up residence. Sometimes the animals get them, sometimes not.

Photo of leaves from a shamrock type plant in my house. Maroon leaves, small pink flowers. Purple leaf oxalis.
Photo of the country angel on my solstice bush.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Kwanzaa/Boxing Day (Canada, UK, Australia)

Dec. 26. Turns out "Boxing Day" is really a labor holiday, meant to throw a crumb to the lower classes historically. I thought I would freak out having no specific plans for Thursday. But I slept late, went out for Chinese food, watched "House" reruns. Felt fine.
My big day was Thursday the 18th, and I think I am still filled up from that.

(The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa)

Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
­ Maulana Karenga

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Madonna and Child

Photo of my nieces by their dad.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Increasing Light

Remembering requires no longer being in the present.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice/Hanukkah

The day and night are of equal lengths. From now on, the daylight will increase in preparation for new growth in the Spring.

Hanukkah, "the Jews rededicated their holy temple. They did so by lighting the menorah with the oil that was just enough for one day but miraculously it burnt for eight consecutive days, until more pure oil could be brought."

Again, the idea of increasing light.

Photo is a decoration in my foyer. Angel graced the garden all summer. Holly from a local tree.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Solstice Eve

These are my buddies who came to my birthday/retirement party on Dec. 18

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's My Birthday

These photos are from the day before yesterday on Route 17 and 68, coming home from my 1 1/2 hour

Had a great birthday/retirement party in Guilford last night. (It's 2.30am on the 19th already).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yosemite in November


The Cathedral .

El Capitan - The Captain.

Niece and beau by the Merced river.

Nature dance.

Fancy lodge in the park. $450/night.

The forest.

El Capitan

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Change the Sheets

The view from Adrian's father's deck, Mariposa, CA.

My niece Risa with her partner Adrian,
Thanksgiving morning, 2008.

Oh, gay cabana boy, where ARE youuuuuuu? It's that time again to change the sheets on my bed, such a huge undertaking. But I bet he could do it in a flash, singing all the while.

Went for a massage with a new person yesterday. I looked on the Aetna sight, my health insurance company, and found this woman about a half hour from me who gives discounts to Aetna members. So instead of paying $65 or $70 or more, I paid $45 for an hour. I'm going back next week for an hour and a half. The drive out Route 68 to where she is in Durham in really lovely.

I HAVE to start using my CPAP machine, for sleep apnea. I have such a revulsion for it, but I've got to at least see if it makes me feel less tired. I'm tired all the time, except when I'm doing something that really motivates me. Could use some encouragement.

Yoga yesterday was strenuous. Not that we were doing anything so differently. Someone else complained about having a hard time too. Maybe it's the weather. Or maybe it was that I had just come from the massage. The yoga instructor wants to teach the class every day the week after next because the room will be available, and he's so into sharing his knowledge. I guess it's good that it feels strenuous -- building and stretching muscles and all that.

Had my second guitar lesson on Monday. That was hard, too. But I ordered the Strunal guitar yesterday, and hopefully it will be here by next lesson, so I can begin practicing. Twinkle twinkle little star . . .

Bought myself red, white, and peppermint striped mini carnations yesterday, and am mixing them in vases with fresh holly from a tree near here. Very pretty and seasonal.

Watched "Angels in America" a few nights ago. Very moving. A two disc dvd. When the play was on Broadway, I think it was six or eight hours long. It focuses on the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, but is wide ranging in its exploration or love, death, ethics, truth, the meaning of life, all that good stuff. The movie has Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, James Cromwell, Mary-Louise Parker, Patrick Wilson, and others. Tony Kushner, the writer of the play, is also in it for a brief time.

Bindi's picking up my bad habits. When I let her out of her crate in the morning, you'd think she'd want to go outside and pee, but instead, she crawls under the covers in my bed, and stays there for another hour or two. Yesterday I had to call out, "Come on, Bindi, it's time to get up," a couple of times before she would come out. I guess she likes the comfort and the warmth.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Sunday, Dec. 7

This is my new niece Anara. The above photo is Dec. 4, and photo below Nov. 30, her birthday. She sure is good lookin'! And she's a Sagittarian, like me, ha ha!
A little snow today, Dec. 7. Took Bindi to get her nails cut, and the trainer's store was mobbed, and not a little chaotic. There was a HUGE bark and we all turned around to see it coming from this tiny dachshund. And people talk about Bindi having a big bark for a little dog.
Have had jet lag since getting back on Wednesday. Yesterday and today I had to put myself to bed at around 4 and got up around 7. I went to a couple of crafts fairs yesterday, I almost feel compelled to cause I never know what special thing I might find, and I indeed did find something unique: a new kind of wreath made out of dog biscuits, for five bucks. But I was feeling very panicky around 3pm, and knew I had to get home and into bed for a bit of unconsciousness.
K. came over for a quick breakfast today; forgot to ask her to get stuff out of the attic for me. She was in CA when I was, but our paths did not cross.
Had dinner with M. & S. on Friday night. Blazing fire in the fireplace, and we played again the game that S. loves, fold a paper in three, and each person makes either feet, torso, or head, and then we unfold to see what we have. No peeking at the drawing before you add your bit. S. made me a sweet glasses holder. She is just learning to sew.
Another guitar lesson tomorrow. Had a new client this week. She came in saying she was depressed and anxious, but did not know why. After several minutes of conversation, I had a list of about fifteen things, any one of which could make her depressed or anxious.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Grand Lake, Oakland

Rachel and Frances and I went to this glorious refurbished theatre to see the movie "Bolt," which we all liked very much. It made me cry when Bolt felt like his person didn't love him and didn't miss him. But she did love him and miss him and there was a happy ending. These photos are the outside and the inside of the theatre.

This is the staircase up to the 2nd floor of the theatre.

Rachel and Frances on the big sofa in the lobby.

A mosaic on the wall.

A Tiffany style window in the lobby.

We saw the movie in the Egyptian themed screening room.
The ceiling was a dark blue with small lights simulating
the constellations. Starry starry night.