"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

where's emily?

Most recently, truckin' along through the Sierras in a blizzard, if 20 mph and second gear for 3-4 hours can be called "truckin'." Celia noted that on the bright side, we fared a lot better than the Donner party. True. Slid around a little but stayed on the road. I learned how to attach and remove snow chains. I was taught growing up that snow chains are for people from California who don't know how to drive in the snow. It wasn't so much that I don't know how to drive in the snow (though I've had fewer opportunities since moving to CA), but that my vehicle apparently has the traction of a hockey puck. It's probably good to spend more time reviewing the weather in advance of a drive through the mountains after Thanksgiving.
We were returning from a holiday visit to our friends Wendy and Betsy in Flagstaff, AZ, where it was stunningly clear (though cold) during most of our visit.

It was an excellent visit even though I was way out of my league in the card games: they play a solitaire-like game called "Nerts" that reminds me a lot of "Flinch" except that playing Flinch with Grandma years ago I seem to remember winning now and then. Go figure. Walking in a big open park in Flagstaff we saw a tarantula. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture of it. Sometimes a thing will grab your attention in such a way that you don't step back and record it. I wasn't walking along thinking, what should I take a picture of? I was a little bit tempted to touch the tarantula, as I am always tempted to try to catch a (nonpoisonous) snake, frog, or lizard I encounter. The spider had such an interesting furry texture. At the same time, however, it was a very spidery spider and missing my cats was ultimately insufficient reason to try to befriend a wild tarantula. Wendy and Betsy have a dog and two cats so I shifted my affection for the animal kingdom to them instead.

Prior to the Thanksgiving trip I was invited to be on a relay team in the Sacramento International Marathon on Dec. 4. All the fun of participation but only a 5-mile run to the finish. Couldn't say no to that. I am trying to get the most out of the marathon experience by avoiding excess preparation. Hopefully I'll get at least one run in between now and the event so that I can remind myself that I know how.

Friday, November 11, 2005

revise this!

I'm trying to enjoy my paid holiday today with at least some mindfulness of why it's a holiday. I noticed that the president was giving a speech on the TVs at the gym (mercifully without sound) so I later looked up the text of his speech. Since he didn't write it anyway, why suffer through watching and listening to him deliver it?

The brief discourse on Muslim doctrine against taking human life was good, but it's always tricky to know how to apply those scriptural prohibitions on killing. Moses and Mohammed were perhaps a bit rushed in their taking of the dictation because God must have told them something more about the exceptions to the rule that you and I of the general populace don't really grasp. Otherwise, so many "men of prayer" who have weapons at their command would behave much differently.

The speech also reached brilliant new heights of logical fallacy with the comment that we weren't in Iraq on 9/11, therefore our being in Iraq now isn't a contributing factor to ongoing terrorism by Muslim extremists. I think he meant that those extremists will find any excuse to blow people up, it doesn't make any difference what Islamic nation(s) we occupy. Sort of like saying that the fire was already burning good 'n hot before we came by and tossed on another log or two, maybe some gasoline and a few old tires for good measure. I'm confused about how terrorism clearly thrived without us invading Iraq, yet now Iraq is THE front in our war on terrorism. I surely don't want to be irresponsible in my rewriting of history but I'm not sure which version of history I'm not supposed to revise. I think this is precisely the effect that was intended. Bravo, speechwriters.

I almost feel like it's less and less worth the effort to rant about this guy (the president, I mean). Slightly more than half of the polled citizenry now believe that he's full of shit. History is going through a big rewrite all over the place in the minds of the formerly duped. I learned in years of English classes that revision is good, but then I went to public school way before No Child Left Behind so I probably was allowed to spend too much time lazily entertaining ideas and reading subversive literature rather than drilling for standardized tests.

But, back to what I was going to say before I began to exercise my wonderful freedom to criticize. I have been reading stories of soldiers returned from Iraq. Even if, for the sake of argument, our leaders were honest with us and fighting there was actually something that would lead to less terrorism around the world, I don't understand how the people in charge worked out the math. We have a running death toll (at least of American soldiers) but it's much harder to pin down the numbers of wounded bodies and minds and families. I just want a leader with a little more empathy, who is capable of understanding suffering. We have such big brains, surely we could figure out a way to make the world safer and happier without wreaking devastation on so many men and women and families.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

got jobs?

Celia does. Two of 'em. They are each checking in at around 15 hrs / week, but hopefully they will provide added sustenance to C's mind and shine to future resumes even if her bank account isn't likely to grow fat. One of the jobs even required an art degree! Thank you to everyone to may have sent prayers and / or specific or general good intent in our direction. It's been a long year or so of job hunting.

I delivered my first Power Point presentation last night, on the subject of Nonprofit Incorporation. I had inserted some clip art on a couple slides, and then thought I made the picture transparent so the text would show through. Didn't quite translate that way after I'd already burned it to a CD and had to rush off to the meeting. I think my Power Point is haunted by something that mysteriously removes objects I know I've pasted in, and makes the transparent clip art solid. Either that or I'm doing something wrong.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

strength lies in nights of peaceful slumber

I dreamed that my last blog posting degenerated into random key strikes. Oh, it looks like that really happened. Well then. I realize not everyone might have been interested in joining me on that trip. However, I had a wonderfully refreshing night's sleep of sufficient length and consistency. Can't remember the last time I woke up feeling that rested. Hooray for drugs (in context and all that).

By way of brief explanation...the bit about crossing the snow field was a description of the Blogger page where I initially type these postings. It is a white rectangle and the typing fills it in from the top, like slowly approaching a wall made of little black words. Maybe I'll work on the piece and send it to Sanofi-Aventis in case they'd like to publish some Ambien art on their website (in exchange for valuable consideration, of course).

Ran the Almond Bowl 6-miler this morning in a satisfactory 0:51:00. Satisfactory considering I haven't run 6 miles in a long time. In the past when I have done 10Ks after purposely training for them, I don't think my times have been any faster than that. Maybe the correct interpretation of this phenomenon is that I'm generally stronger now at 33 than I was at 27 so I can run faster even if I'm feeling undertrained. Or maybe the tri-training has stuck with me even through the past few weeks of inconsistency.

Only nine more hours until bedtime. Suddenly it feels like a little Christmas that happens every day around 9:30 pm.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

training? what training?

Hmm, seems I'm signed up for a 6 mile run tomorrow. Can't remember the last time I ran 6 miles. I have this idea though that if I just take it easy I'll be able to finish eventually.

I did go to the gym once this week. Treadmills really mess with your head. All sense of speed and distance is altered. The good thing about the treadmill is I can bring my iPod. The TV screens above the treadmills play CNN and Fox "news," all dramatically improved with a soundtrack of ABBA.

Celia returned from NYC this week to great acclaim. She has started working at a local attorney's office (not mine) and has learned how to operate a dictaphone. I didn't know such devices were still in usage. Seems like the dictating end would be quite an acquired skill itself. This guy must really hate typing. A friend of Celia's sometimes records audio blogs which are really cool, but not anything like dictation because you have to put in all the punctuation and occasionally spell names or strange words. I have received feedback that my written blog voice is really different from my speaking voice. Probably because I write in whole paragraphs of multiple sentences. If I mumble on the screen or the page, you can go back and read what it was I tried to say. I'm not a really glib, off the cuff chatty kinda gal. Not at all like the PA at Immediate Care clinic last night where I dropped in for some help with my unwanted head bumps. I'll try not to go into great detail but if you're clinically curious, just google "sebaceous cyst" -- and welcome to my world. Fortunately they've been in places where only my hairdresser notices them. But after awhile they start really annoying me and I get kind of fixated on them, sort of like the heart beating in Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart." Anyway the PA was really friendly and not at all fluttered by someone walking in at 9:30 at night for help with head bumps. He chatted away all the while performing the excision about his previous career as a firefighter, and how the weird disturbing things always seemed to happen to him. He also, before the night was out, wrote me a prescription for Ambien. Having been sleeping rather less than well for awhile, decided to give them a try. Hesitant though I've been to jump on the pharmacy sleep choo choo. Might be all I write for now because I took an Ambien10 about 30 minutes ago and the words on the screen are forming 3D structures that turn and ambi-dance.

the post is a wall above a field of snow, a long field you've crossed with snowshoes and fluffy dogs

you get closer to the wall foteh opost you see it reisign up before you will you ge t voer tehe wall:

far away in teh stno veid ith swjoi biesjo wlsigei fhieoz;jf wigsokceijfoa;vm siefw giwoslkd gheivnsl

ok, this is the part where I should be actually falling asleep rather than experiencing the wakefull free-associative typing. Hard when they keep moving my letters.

Good night ladies, sweet ladies, good night.