Friday, April 29, 2011

The headlines...and a little more

The rapture debate via billboard... fascinating.

With a slightly different religious sentiment, the LA Times reports on the blessing of the aninmals on Holy Saturday... these prayer requests make me smile:
"I'm hoping he'll be potty-trained earlier," said Veronica Lopez of El Sereno, who brought her silky Yorkie, Napoleon Bonaparte.

"We'll be happy if she calms down a bit," said Ramona Dawkins of Long Beach, who brought her Chihuahua, Poppy, to be blessed.

That sentiment was echoed by Leannah and Maddy Barreto, 9 and 7 years old, of El Sereno, whose 5-month-old Australian cattle dog, Hunter, had trouble settling down. Their Aunt Laura, who brought them, had come to the event years ago to have her Blackie blessed.
Turning to politics, perhaps it is just this kind of poll that has legislators in CA trying to keep the public from weighing in on taxes. Turns out 60% of votes, majorities in both parties, would do what lawmakers haven't had the guts to do in years. Now we know that it is not the voters that they work for ... or are afraid of... term limits apparently only makes this lack of backbone problem worse.

This story just breaks my heart on so very many levels. I know each life lost is a tragedy, but this one hits particularly close to home. The time and energy this young man spent educating himself just to get killed in an senseless war (granted I think all war is senseless, but still), truly tragic.

And, we're back to religion, sort of... when I heard the headline: Governor Perry asks Texans to pray for rain on Easter, my first sacrilegious thought was "Texans should pray for leaders who don't tell you that global warming doesn't exist." I knew I couldn't be the only one who thought this exhortation was worthy of mocking and politically when I googled the headline, I was happy to see beyond FOX news, that it popped up on Mother Jones and a Science's blog called "Dispatches From the Culture Wars."

Mother Jones' favorite quote:
Now, for a little bit of context: Perry is well-known for his skepticism about the existence of global warming—a phenomenon that has contributed to the conditions that cause wildfires. It's also more than a little ironic given that the state last year filed a lawsuit to block the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations of planet-warming emissions, claiming that the finding that climate change poses a threat to humans is based on flawed science.
What diversity looks like ... here in this LA Times story. And coincidentally the opposite of what I read in a local abq story about a high school in Clovis (NM not CA) planning on disbanding all student groups in order to keep students from creating a Gay-Straight Alliance... shaking my head in disbelief, seriously.

Another story about public schools having to be creative as cost saving measures keep them from updating texts. I personally prefer that they use novels to readers, but I think it is important to note how many time we've heard that cost cutting measures in schools will not affect students or academics, yeah... I bet they are not cutting back on football uniforms.

There are a few things I have heard and read this morning that I am choosing not to share in order to end on a high note. So, here is a wonderful story about a "genius" who decided to be a teacher...and is helping his students love every bit of it. So, happy Friday!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Do you think the universe is trying to tell me something about that other twenty page paper I have to write??

Horoscope for 4/27/2011 -- read at 12:19 am on 4/28/2011... It's high time for one of your most promising ideas to come out of your mental incubator and into the real world. As the proud parent of this fledgling idea, you will naturally feel nervous about how well it will fare in the big bad world -- but that's no reason to deprive the world of its brilliance! Shut your eyes, take a deep breath and push this new plan out of the nest. Whether it succeeds or fails, you will learn something.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

not zen

Perhaps I should have stuck with that plan to go to meditation once a week and to start a daily practice.

I am not feeling zen-like at all... not even close. And the evil thoughts that simmer barely below the surface have been leaking out in a dangerous fashion.

I used to blame the caffeine ... but it wasn't a once in a while thing anymore, until I cut myself off again a few days ago... holy headache! As the pilots might say, maybe it wasn't the right day to stop drinking coffee.

I can give myself the tiniest pat on the back for not jumping off the cliff on Monday. Tired, frustrated, feeling unaccomplished, with a stomach ache and not having eaten more than 500 calories, I sat down to work.

I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, so I said to myself, it's okay, you can cry. Mind you, I was in sb, so I didn't actually say it aloud. I haven't gone that deep off the end, yet. I took out my lovely RED journal and wrote it in the book in RED ink.
It's days like this that make me want to ... well, apparently it's going around as Heather's post from Monday (that I just had the courage to read) will attest. All that, and Mercury is direct again, go figure. Wonder what would have happened if I felt like this when Mercury was retrograde, better not to think about it.
If it weren't so cold today, I would wear my red shoes, they might make me feel better.

Who am I kidding? Knocking out more work and some drafts and ONE more finished thing will make me feel better... getting right back on that ... as soon as I eat breakfast.

photo credit: me, with the computer guy's fancy camera, last June outside my door... these are the treasures I pick up on my walks. With these, you might be able to build your own Frankenstein, or maybe if I pick them up, they won't puncture your tire.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Come to the Edge

'Come to the edge,' He said. They said, 'We are afraid.'
'Come to the edge,' He said. They came.
He pushed them...
and they flew.
--Guillaume Apollinaire

This is an all time favorite. I find it comforting.

It says to me that trusting and being vulnerable are difficult. That the value in letting go, in part, comes from that difficulty, and the courage it takes to make the leap.

In fact, it doesn't matter what befalls you on the other side of the leap.

The victory is in leaping (not lemming like leaping) but soaring, flying, opening to whatever lie on the other side of flying.

This is how I would like to be.

I would like to have a trusted soul who could tell me to leap.

Lucy ... the others

Lucy, in my family, always refers back to the original...Lucille Ball, or Lucille McGillicuddy, or Lucy Ricardo, however you conceive of her.

So, she is the original, the progenitor.

Then there is Lucy, my truck. It is technically my dad's truck now, but, as the first brand new car I ever bought, she will always be mine.

Besides my dad never remembers her name.

Then my mom got that crazy dog. You know the one she calls her Heinz 57. She looks like a little red head coyote mix instead of whatever she is supposed to be a mix of..

And she liked to howl.

She is the Lucy anyone is referring to now when they refer to that l-word at 3129.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What caught my eye this week...

The news week starts out with these two articles that may make us wonder how our society is changing ... the first one I found is about a funeral home in southern California that has added a drive thru option (yes, you read that correctly) and the other is about the vanishing town greeter in southern California. Both of these are worth the read... once again, I love the

Steve Lopez delivered again this week, with the fascinating story of the a debt to his family that he didn't know existed.

Then there was this piece ... trying to be upbeat about this partnership despite the budget challenges.

Hmm...did I really need any tangible proof about how creepy I think online dating is? I know, I know, many people have met future spouses on these sites. I have another entire treatise on that subject. When the sex offenders, or just wannabe sex offenders, can use to online dating sites (particularly ones that you have to pay to be on... let alone the *free* sites) to troll for victims... sort of makes you think that maybe we are a drive thru kind of society. Oh my!

Here's the earlier LA Times story I somehow missed.

Fascinating story about participatory budgeting in Colombia. Really, truly fascinating.

Perplexing situation regarding reducing water use while paying more...

I like this story, hope someone will share the final report. Here's the's much better, with a lot more detail; though the folks at AP did a good job with the story; not all of the outlets that picked up the piece used the long version. Here's a bit about the media fallout for the school, town and paper.

One late entry about some frat-boys, it's a feel good one, don't worry. Hope the link lasts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh, Thursday...

where did you come from?

I barely marked the passing of Wednesday.

I was going to find a picture of David sedaris and type the words

But I don't have time to do that.

So, close your eyes and hear his voice, and hope I can keep my eyes open long enough to laugh.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


My horoscope yesterday:
Aren't you sick of holding onto those old grudges? Today you need to realize that it's okay to let go -- closure can be overrated. Are you keeping this event or person in your emotional bank account in the hopes that someday you can cash it in for a sense of revenge? That's no reason for it to take up valuable space in your heart. Get rid of the bad energy or memories by turning toward the future and not looking back. Make room in your heart for the new, positive forces coming your way.
My answer: YES!

I accept that horoscope and hope that it is accurate. But I would have happily taken one that said: "you will finish some of the big items on your to do list ON TIME" ... not all, just some!

I decided sometime in the last 36 hours (can't really tell day from night anymore) that it will not be this bad for the entire next three weeks. It can't be ... if it is, I will not make it to graduation. So, I decided, it will be so much more doable as soon as I get one or two of these drafts into final form.

Fingers and toes crossed.

UPDATE: I just checked in to free will astrology for tomorrow's weekly tome - why yes, I should be writing one of the 14 million papers due in the next three weeks, thanks for asking!

Here it is... too funny not to share given the earlier content.

Happy Wednesday.

"Search For Self Called Off After 38 Years," read the headline in The Onion. "I always thought that if I kept searching and exploring, I'd discover who I truly was," the report began, quoting 38-year-old Andrew Speth. "Well, I looked deep into the innermost recesses of my soul, and you know what I found? An empty, windowless room the size of an aircraft hangar. From now on, if anybody needs me, I'll be sprawled out on my couch drinking black-cherry soda and watching Law & Order like everybody else." I wonder if Speth is an Aquarius? Many of my Aquarian acquaintances seem to have hit a dead end recently in their quest to fulfill the ancient maxim "Know thyself." If you're like that, please hang on. The floodgates of self-discovery will open soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I am not the only one...

...who loves the Los Angeles Times. A little group called the Pulitzers decided to laud some of the reporters at the LA Times. It is a lovely story... please take a moment to read it. It will make you smile!

Well, congratulations to them ... and I hope they continue to have a place to work for a long time.

Too good to wait for the round up!

Monday, April 18, 2011

three hours ...

of sleep and a four shot venti latte... WATCH OUT WORLD.

No time to really blog today, because all of my words are being used for assignments... I am going to finish one or two of these damn drafts today, or I won't sleep again tonight...

that's a threat and a promise (to myself, and by extension to the world, I guess) ... sorry, it feels very Sopranos.

That must be more of the lack of sleep talking!

photo credit: me! four sycamores at the ranch

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekly News Round Up

I am not sure how to feel about this story is a no win situation for the students, so I guess I can't help but agree that they should not live in the shadows waiting patiently for the people *in charge* to get off their asses and do something. It's a gamble, and as long as they are taking it out of their own volition ... it is theirs to take.

I started compiling this set of articles on Sunday, April 10th... so I guess you could say that it has been slow news week for me. Perhaps, it is just that I don't have time to read the articles... or maybe I have buckled down and am getting work done?! I wish!

Here's a little tidbit I got in an email from one of my favorite places in the whole world. Someday, when I hit the lottery, I am going to spend a whole week at La Posada and just decompress... and eat the delicious food at the Turquoise Room!

Here are a few more that were open in the browser...
This was a fascinating article about Oakland and teachers... I still don't know how to feel about the *reporting* -- was this just an incredulous journalist who was reporting what she discovered? or is there a not so veiled agenda? Given that Tucker is an experienced education reporter, I find it hard to believe that she was just truly surprised and had to report it that way. Then, again, perhaps she has a point... when the entire country is up in arms against teachers, maybe it gets people too riled to notice that in the face of terrible odds, you aren't getting the shortest stick?!

This article with local (Ventura County) legislators discussing NCLB caught my eye ... when I got around to reading it (it was open on the computer for nearly a week), I was tickled to see Gallegly's comment. Read it carefully for the Republican spin on what trying to close the achievement gap produces. Fascinating... I am every day more interested in the use of rhetoric.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April Fools, in a good way?

So, I haven't finished my taxes. That isn't to say I haven't started them... I did. I just didn't finish them. And I was all geared up to do just that today, when I realized that today is NOT tax day after all.

I really don't understand why we get until Monday... I don't have time to figure it out, and I am just happy for the "april fool's joke."

Taking it and running with it... or at least walking to the library.

Now, the no real hot water, that one, is another story. I am not so happy with that april fool's joke!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Random Texter

She (?) thinks I am her cousin. Once she even sent me the "verifying" and so is my dad, but I was too annoyed to register the data.

She sends me very elaborate forwards of chain texts. As if chain letters and emails were not enough of a scourge in the world, yes, there are chain texts.

I have always wondered at the phenomenon, but not that deeply, really. Generally, I just delete them. But, sometimes I save them to share with bar friends. My *cousin's* texts are very amusing. Sometimes they come with music and generally they are accompanied by pictures.

They are all very middle school girl sentimentality, though I should not generalize, I am sure middle school boys are also just as interested in these sentiments! I hope my *cousin* is in that age range.

Here is the most recent text... copied exactly from my phone. It is not the best one to date, just demonstrative of the genre:
Middle school couples: almost 96% of people marry their school sweethearts Because you opened this you will get kissed on Friday by the person you love or like & tomorrow will be the best day of your life.Do not break this chain. You have 2 minutes this is not a fake...apparently...Forward this to 14 people in the next 10 minutes And you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You're number one crush will either KISS,ask u out, or call u.If u break this chain the little girl fromThe Ring will be in your room tonight
[then there is a picture of a guy kissing a girl, looks like in a park]

I left in the typos and other conventions so that you can appreciate all the finer points of the genre. If only I could figure out how to post the picture.

I can't saw I really understand the need to send something to anyone that includes threats... there must be something that I am missing.

The threats, however, are often the part that gets these labeled "gems." They are often super intricate stories of mayhem, murder and privations... one I read to a friend, and she thought it sounded so real, with a name and all, that she googled it. Turns out it is a story that has already made its rounds around the internet (why does the spell checker want me to capitalize this word? Is it a proper noun because it is a virtual space in the world?).

I guess getting these texts proves that I am still part of the world even when I have not seen the outside of a book in days.

I get these from this *cousin* every so often... sometimes I respond with "Stop forwarding me these messages" -- and she responds an indignant "fine." Then a few weeks later, I get more... some evenings, and weekend mornings, I get a slew of them in a row.

Needless to say, I did not forward this to 14 people. I did not have the best day of my life today (I received the text yesterday) and the little girl from The Ring did not show up in my room last night. I didn't see The Ring, so I have no idea just how menacing that threat might have been. Tomorrow is Friday, though, so maybe I will get kissed or asked out or called?!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

remember that great idea ...

I had about collecting all the weird fb like strings of words I was sometimes thinking ...

well, I don't know if it is the lack of sleep or the crazy amount of work that I am trying to do ... or the information overload or overdrive, but I am thinking like that again.

So, sorry... here it is, essentially one evening studying at my usual spot:

Appreciating the beauty of the play list … every song is one of your favorites!

But also missing the spontaneity of hearing some great song you haven't heard in a long while…

I need to know how many calories I am burning while using the brain cells. Some, right?

If I am going to live at sb, shouldn’t I just come in my pjs and bring my blankie?

I get to watch a lot of "checking out" techniques at the sb. It's somewhat oddly comforting to see that men ogle men just as blatantly as they do women. Yeah, meats are in the case.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

motivation, inspiration, light at the end of the tunnel?

I have not had time to be sufficiently excited about the fact that I am going to get to see SADE on tour this year... and if that isn't wrong, I don't know what is.

Sitting here at the sb trying to get some work done and the ipod just got to the vintage Sade section and the little light of my enthusiasm turned on.

I get to see SADE!!!! I have never missed a tour yet ... and then, I found out that I get to see her TWICE!

Hoping this will carry me through some of the pile of work I got to do...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Scratching my head and tapping my chin...

here are the latest news stories that made me scratch my head or tap my chin ... or yell and stomp. Oh, and some of them made me smile, ear to ear.

I am all for justice that is compassionate and thoughtful and takes into consideration fiscal responsibilities in a state/country that has too many people incarcerated, she said, adding her incredulity to the setting of a parole date for one of the Chowchilla kidnappers. Read the article carefully, and then try to apply the logic to any other premeditated kidnapping for money. Yeah, it won't work... it only works here because these were wealthy, lazy white boys. That is to say, it doesn't work, but the logic is based on the idea that wealthy, lazy white boys do not pose a danger to the public. Hmmm... those who were kidnapped beg to disagree, but, then again, they aren't wealthy, so they just don't understand?! Oh, yeah and then there are all those wealthy white men from Wall Street and places like Enron (though there weren't the only ones) who also were thought to pose no danger to the public. Still scratching my head... I would be so much more pleased to see them just be honest. We feel that these poor wealthy, lazy white boys were just kidding, not really planning a way to not have to work for their drug money. Seriously...

On a lighter note, but not really, Toyota is celebrating selling its millionth Prius. Still the best car I ever bought.

Thanks to C., for this little reality check. It is very well written ... in my opinion, truth telling counts for a lot. The fact is, slashing budgets sounds really good until it means that your kid isn't going to get into the state school... yeah, try to blame that on undocumented immigrant kids all you like, YOU were the one who didn't want to pay more in taxes. You were the one that said, yeah, cut back all that pork in higher education, or k-12 or medical expenses. We are super famous in the US for cutting off our noses to spite our faces, and this time, it is going to really hurt.

On cafe sitting and storytelling, courtesy of B. I love this story... and I have more to say about this and "making friends" at the cafe. Perhaps it will be another post.

Oh ... and today that creep who kidnapped Dugard (still not naming him, he doesn't need any more attention unless it is sentencing) didn't plead guilty. One public defender said the other public defender didn't have a right to speak for him... um, you waited until today to say that instead of refuting the earlier article that went national? Talk about jerking the victim around. Those are some sick puppies.

Lest you think I don't enjoy the lighter fare, here's a little story about his purple badness setting up shop in LA. I bet he will go to that trendy restaurant we went to while I was in there...

And my two Friday radio favorite: StoryCorps (features a story about a little town I loved to explore in NJ) and The Barber Shop... the boys are on fire, super raucous good time, VINTAGE Barber Shop!!

YouthRadio presented this piece on Thursday about narco novelas ... love the way that group helps to bring out the best in youth!

Heartbreaking stories Saturday morning ... but well worth the listen. One is about helping dying people leave a legacy; the other is about Mexican students who are crossing the border to go to school as a result of the drug violence and how the schools are dealing with the trauma they have survived.

Sorry to end on such a disheartening note, perhaps next year will bring us better news... report on undergraduate women and leadership at Princeton and soured relationship between Virginia and Ikea.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Yet Another Update

So, technically, I am graduating with my Masters this year ... I was supposed to get it in the spring ceremony, but apparently I missed the memo on having to send a separate email requesting to graduate. Therefore, I will actually receive the degree in the summer, but I will participate in all the spring festivities.

To add to this *news* -- I was officially accepted into the PhD program after we consulted with the profs to let them know that they had neglected to tell us whether or not we were accepted. That is to say, I received a lovely letter from my adviser letting me know that I was *in* and all that.

I also received a not so lovely letter informing me that I had not been granted an NSF, and another from the Ford Foundation. I added this to the letter informing me I didn't get the alumni scholarship. I am still waiting to hear from one more scholarship whose application I sent in last fall. And there are at least two others that I should apply to...

It looks fairly grim for the funding ... maybe the department will come through with an assistantship... maybe I will need to get a *real-ish* job, or maybe I will just take the loans this year in order to maximize the studying time.

We'll see...

Como diria mi madre espanola, "siempre hay un amanecer..."

ya veremos lo que llega

photo credits: September 2009 atop of the Sandia Mountains, not really day break ...actually night fall.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Chencha and Lencha

Many years ago, some burros were relocated from the Grand Canyon, and my aunt and uncle adopted two of them. Here they are *guarding* the picnic tables in "the canyon" -- what we call the area where we have always celebrated family milestones... birthdays, weddings, retirements, etc...My aunt promptly named them Chencha and Lencha.

I will admit that I did ask for clarification on this last visit, but I cannot remember now what my uncle told me.

While I was in California last week, my parents and I took a quick trip to "The Ranch" (what we affectionately call the place my aunt and uncle (and padrinos) live in the Malibu mountains). My dad decided we should go on a hike (more on that to follow -- as in, I have more pictures).
On the way back from our walk to see the water level at the pond, my dad decided that he wanted to pet the little one. I will admit that I was holding my breath and wondering how I would help if he really pissed her off, so I didn't get a shot of the actual touching of the ears... I recovered my composure as he walked away and snapped this:

She was not pleased:

She watched my dad walk away warily:

As soon as we moved far enough away that they felt comfortable to move, they were out ... so done with me and my damn camera and especially with The Judge and the touching.

My uncle told us the sweetest story about the old gals, they have been at The Ranch for a long time. He said that when he used to have cows and there was a calf that a momma cow left alone in the pasture, Chencha and Lencha would be the babycowsitters.
He said, at first he thought the burras might hurt the calf, but realized they were guarding it if the mother was being inattentive or just busy eating. We were always told to give the burras a lot of space because they really only like to hang out with each other. I love the image of the girls watching the baby cows.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

scenes from the lost reel

You can find some very interesting things when you dig through a bag that has been collecting treasures. My father has a ton of boxes like this in the garage, no telling what we might find if we looked through them.

Turns out that I had a little camera that was hiding in the trunk of my car.

And in it were some pictures from my first week in Albuquerque.

Here are a few of the gems.

A little friend I found on my front door several days in a row:

Some shots from atop the Sandias ... thanks to the tram that took me and C there when she was visiting...

Only one week in, and I was already hooked on the skies!

And already fascinated with the summer storms:

The really good news is that now I have a little camera to take with when I don't want to lug the big beauty. Um...I already had it, I just didn't know where it is, so I guess I should restate... now I KNOW where it is... well, sort of, I kind of left it in California when I was there, but my parents have pledged to bring it out when they come out for GRADUATION. That's another story altogether, it's just around the corner.

And I have more photos to share...soon.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

More musing on news stories ...

These are sort of twin postings... the first one is about how Charlie Sheen's one man show isn't funny. That's right, watching a mentally ill man spiral out of control isn't actually that funny, and/or you can't plan a tour around someone's manic bouts. It is indicative of all that is wrong with our society that folks could admit they came to see the man spiral and complained when he wasn't funny. The other is for Sheen's family that is apparently not in much control themselves. I didn't post his mother's rant because it was really almost too painful to read her denial. I was hoping for more from his pop, but perhaps that's just the man he plays on TV.

Six Feet Under Redux
... in NJ and not for TV. This article is such a weird mix of "natural" burial, family togetherness and frugality that I am not really sure what to say about it ... take a read.

LA Times gauges the fall out from their "Grading the Teacher" article...with good and bad unintended consequences, and the reality that knowledge doesn't necessarily change systems.

Woke up to this story on the radio yesterday. I thought maybe I was dreaming but it is actually right there on NPR. It's about the brain benefits of being BILINGUAL... hahaha, imagine that! And here we've been taught that being mono-lingual English made one a KING!

I am not naming the asshole, but so glad he finally decided to plead guilty. May he rot in jail.

Oh... Steve Lopez riling up the seniors with talk of Proposition 13...someone's gotta be willing to talk about it.

Wish I had more time to write... got a lot of stories from California to tell and some to show...

Friday, April 01, 2011

round up... week and weekend?

This is a truly fascinating piece on eating disorders in the not-so-young. Ask me about that later, I think I have a hidden treatise on it in my brain.

Love this piece about a Dodger fan taking a stand against a bully of an owner. Another reason why I love LA... (ask me how I feel when I get back, but I almost always enjoy time there) when did folks in NY ever stand up to their bully?

I laughed out loud ... no, I will absolutely not be writing this in texting language despite its being added to the dictionary. All of the fear of the brown tide, and this prof breaks it down, "Race is a pigment of your imagination." Give it a listen, it's short and sweet.

AHA... the first line of this article is: "Facebook friends might not be that friendly..." It is short and sweet (or salty) depending on your views of their survey results. I laughed quietly to myself at the airport. Everyone thought I was crazy, what's new. Put that in your fb status.

Oh my.... I could not resist. Cancer Survivor Turns Medication into Jewelry. The headline was super grabby, but the rest of the story is equally compelling... and there is a video, which I didn't watch, because even if video is the future of the internet, I am not going to be strong-armed into watching a video when I am trying to read the paper! PAPER, not tv... get it?! Oh, ok, just read it.

I am sure there is more ... but I didn't have time to update it.