Friday, July 31, 2015

Poetry Friday ...

 Oops... somehow Thursday came and went and I forgot to post something.  Here is a little quote to celebrate the blue moon.  I found it on Goodreads, so I cannot really vouch for its veracity. However, I liked the quote ... and I found this little tidbit about the purported author who was allegedly was the mistress of a Russian spy.  Maybe the back story of this quote is even better than the quote, I don't know. 

“Tell me the story...
About how the sun loved 
the moon so much...
That she died every night...
Just to let him breathe...” 
Hanako Ishii

Monday, July 27, 2015

NRU California Sights

Still in my terse phase:

A long and rambling piece on Ojai but the picture are nice!

Article with an interview about the project Blaxicans of LA.

East and west (coasts) meet, sort of, over bagels...

On "sanctuary" and making cities into immigration officials...

South LA speaking directly to the Pope?!

A Ralph's becomes a Ranch 99, and the white people feel attacked ... I would be excited! I love me some Ranch 99!! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Poetry Thursday

At the centre of the lake is fire. 
Radical change.
In the same way, 

the noble one calculates 
the heavenly signs and 
clarifies the seasons.

- I Ching

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NRU mish mash

My mind is swiss cheese and thoughts and words fall through the little holes at will.  That is my current excuse for being so behind in any and all blog posts --even the News Round Up.

There are a million tabs open in my browser with articles to post, but ...

So, here they are with very little commentary because it has taken all my concentration to get this much out ...

I want to read this book.  I wonder, though, who gets the residual ... should I try to buy it used?

So much of the recent crazy news stories have got to be so sad that there is no longer BUMP BUMP, ripped from the headlines -- now we will have to wait for the movie.  Though in the L&O episode, the lawyer was going to have be a Princeton grad because someone over there in that production company sure had a thing about Ptn crazies.

To continue with the crazy pants ... I give you Texas.

If you want the updates on Donald Trump and his shenanigans, you will have to tune in to Jon Stewart -- yes, he is finally back from vacation!

And some almost real news, an interesting story about a woman working on Hilary's campaign...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Poetry Thursday

The Red Wheelbarrow
-William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

I found this article - amused by its title, I decided to read it.  I had never read this poem though I have heard of its author.  I loved the piece, especially following the detective work of the professor and town historian.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


If it is not too late where you live, get out there and see this movie:

I cannot say enough good things about this movie, but I don't want to give anything away.

For anyone who was ever an awkward teenager, or experienced loss, or had cause to regret, you will find something in Me Earl and the Dying Girl.

The actors are so natural, I swear they were not acting.  The writing is priceless.  It is hilarious and moving and fun and tragic and deep and real and hilarious!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Lovely piece about this author's meeting with Harper Lee.

The world is atwitter in anticipation of Lee's novel, to be released this week.  I read an early review, but it felt more like a comparison of Lee's two novels rather than a review of this latest one.  I wondered many times if the reviewer had actually read the novel, or if he/she (didn't look to see who wrote it) had promised not to reveal too much --- most of the quotes seemed to be from To Kill a Mockingbird not Go Set a Watchman.

This piece on the "racism" of the older Atticus Finch was somewhat more interesting on the nuances possible if you could get over your nostalgia for the Mockingbird Atticus.  Of course, the racist constructs we live within are undeniable -- and left unquestioned bloom in our souls even though we may not want to admit it.  As a nation, we carry racism in our social DNA, whether we like it or not.  Through privilege, again whether we acknowledge its existence or not, we are complicit in that societal racism.  We have created so many explanations for our attitudes that promote discrimination that we have a hard time even admitting to the existence of racism -- until it explodes in our faces.  What it made me think more about what it means to age than what it means to be racist. 

Also, that article brought home much of what I have been living with my parents, especially my dad, in their 80s.  The narrowing, the hardening, the anger and grief caused by the trials of aging -- these realities affect, or maybe even change, the ones we love, have known and respected all of our lives, into scared beings who exhibit these challenges through narrow-minded and often prejudiced viewpoints.  These opinions, in my case, are ones I never heard growing up ... and I look at this man, my father, and wonder how he got here -- I have to remind myself that it is mostly fear and helplessness and fear of helplessness that drive his brain right now.  It seems, then, completely appropriate to me that the older daughter's view of her father would be radically different from that of the young daughter in Go Set a Watchman.  Both father and daughter were different people.  And, as a metaphor for race relations in the South both also work -- the closer we get to true integration the more fear rears its ugly head.  Fear, real or perceived, drives our interactions much more than we are willing to admit to ourselves or others.  I haven't decided if I will read the book -- I am sure, though, that it will not change my opinion of To Kill a Mockingbird or its author.

Dementia -- or the aging of our brains -- can take different turns, too, and this article is a sort of* lighter look at that other turn.  (*sort of: I dislike how often we soften every thing we say with SORT OF, but in this case, I meant it not just out of habit).  The article reminds us that the best way to deal with this loss in its embodiment (that is the loved one who is losing his/her memory) is to actually interact with the person in front of us, and not our memory of the person who used to be there.  Of course, this author's experience of dealing with a softer personality is different from dealing with the fearful, narrowed, seemingly prejudiced or racist personality.  The example is still instructive.

I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this article because the topic, twins switched at birth and raised as fraternal instead of identical twins meet up, but it was, again, too long, and I skipped over some parts to get to the story of the brothers... but I did read it to the end.

This is a heartbreaking story about an adopted person and his mother searching for, and finding, each other.  It is not too long and though it brings in the larger issues around this personal story, it does not meander or lose focus - and thus it does not bore the reader.  BRAVO!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Poetry Thursday!

A callarse 
Pablo Neruda 
Ahora contaremos doce
y nos quedamos todos quietos.

Por una vez sobre la tierra
no hablemos en ningún idioma,
por un segundo detengámonos,
no movamos tanto los brazos.

Seria un minuto fragante,
sin prisa, sin locomotoras,
todos estaríamos juntos
en una inquietud instantánea.

Los pescadores del mar frío
no harían dañó a las ballenas
y el trabajador de la sal
miraría sus manos rotas.

Los que preparan guerras verdes,
guerras de gas, guerras de fuego,
victorias sin sobrevivientes,
se pondrían un traje puro
y andarían con sus hermanos
por la sombra, sin hacer nada.

No se confunda lo que quiero
con la inacción definitiva:
la vida es solo lo que se hace,
no quiero nada con la muerte.

Si no pudimos ser unánimes
moviendo tanto nuestras vidas,
tal vez no hacer nada una vez,
tal vez un gran silencio pueda
interrumpir esta tristeza,
este no entendernos jamás
y amenazarnos con la muerte,
tal vez la tierra nos enseñé
cuando todo parece muerto
y luego todo estaba vivo.

Ahora contare hasta doce
y tu te callas y me voy.

 en cancion

translation follows

Keeping Quiet / A callarse

-By Pablo Neruda
-English translation by Stephen Mitchell

Now we will all count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,
let’s not speak any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.

The fisherman in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn’t be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren’t unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,
if we could perhaps do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and everything is alive.

Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I’ll go.

Monday, July 06, 2015


I don't think I ever heard of this man before, and I am sorry to only know of him upon his death.  I hope his 106 years ended peacefully and that he was able to enjoy life knowing he had given that gift to so many. May he rest in peace.

Add this story to the pile of those waiting for situations to be made right.  I hope she gets some measure of justice however delayed.

The New York Times hosted a discussion about race with white folks.  Here is the transcript... there is a video, but I don't watch those because they make my computer blow up.  And, I like to read the news unless it's Jon Stewart.

It is like the news lately is begging for a movie -- girl on girl violence sells, but this story is a little more complicated than that -- it is, as someone in the article suggests, Lord of the Flies, but I would add, meets The Bling Ring meets I don't know what ... spoiled kids, kids sent away from home to school, too much money, too little supervision and too much social media ... they are lucky no one is dead.  

The NYTimes is getting in on the love column ... and this one made me smile.

I am planning to go see this movie tomorrow ... I have heard some interesting commentary about it, looking forward to seeing it for myself.

Too long, but keeps your attention, til about the middle when it starts to feel toooo loooong... story of a person who doesn't really drive, and lives in NY City, who decides to drive in Montana and Wyoming ... go figure.

late addition:  beautiful photo journal of a family --Strangers No More, just gorgeous! I braved non-reader NY Times blowing up my computer to see it.  Worth it.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Long & Rambling Update

These are some lovely black skimmers I saw at the beach one day on my walk ... they have nothing to do with this blog post.  I just wanted to share them.

So, I had this big deadline this week ... technically, July 1, I was to turn in something, anything, to show that I am making progress in my PhD program. 

The truth is, I have had a hard time motivating to write these two out of four papers that I owe various people at the university.  Even though I have actually been working on the papers, off and on, I still didn't seem to be making progress.  I could write and write notes, but getting something to see coherent in the paper was elusive.

At nearly 2 am on July 2nd, I was still working on the paper.  I had pledged to myself that I would get this monkey off my back ... no matter what.  I decided to turn in whatever I had done by July 1... well, at 11pm on July 1st, I was rounding the corner, with only one section to complete and a conclusion to write.  I had a pile of notes on this section, but every time I read through the notes in an attempt to get something that sounded like it meant something, well, it made me want to run screaming through the house.

So, I winged it ... and some of it might have sounded ok, I couldn't actually bring myself to read the rest of the paper after having revised so closely all the rest of it, over and over.  All that to say, I FINISHED IT.  And the other paper? Well, I made an executive decision not to do it. 

In the midst of all this craziness, I felt like I needed to have control over some part of my life -- so I decided to get serious about the workout and diet routine. 

Black skimmer in flight!
If you are thinking to yourself, why would she add this to the pile of other things she has to get done, well, you might be on to something.  But, truthfully, it did help. 

Every day, regardless of how much I wrote, I would go for my three mile walk.  And in between sitting and working on the stupid paper, I would get up and do some stretching or some ab work.

It should demonstrate to you just how much I did not enjoy writing this paper that I found exercising a BREAK! It didn't get so bad that I started cleaning, but I will admit that I thought about it SERIOUSLY.

And, when I say diet, I have to admit I read an article (when I should have been writing) about fast-like diets -- diets of 1000 calories a day OR LESS.  I got the bright idea that I should try this, but I was understandably scared that it would be hard to do.  My compromise was to try to step down into the lower calories. I started at 1200 and worked my way down, by July 1st, I was eating 1000 or less and happily shedding pounds (why is LB the abbreviation for pounds?).
The egret that led me into the lagoon

Next week, I am going to go all the way and do the five days of fast-like, plant only diet to see if it will help me keeping from plateauing as I work my way to my weight goal (140). 

The good news is that I am not hungry... I am eating almost no processed food and getting most of my carbs from fruit and feeling fine.  I am 11.6 down, officially, as of this morning, though I am afraid to report that until it is maintained.  As I keep losing .4 lbs per day, it turns out I am not plateauing as of yet.

And, I accidentally went caffeine free yesterday. I just forgot to drink the coffee I intended to make. In the evening, I was feeling super tired, and that was when I realized ... I never made that coffee! I marveled that I didn't have a headache.  It was unintentional but fortuitous because next week, in my non plant phase, I didn't have a back up plan for the milk in my coffee. 

This morning I woke up with the splitting caffeine withdrawal headache.  OUCH! I remembered that Monday I planned to have NO COFFEE, so I decided that I should not make this headache go away with coffee.  Instead, I took tylenol, and am sipping tea, hoping I can step down by Monday ... all else fails, I can do green tea with no milk ... that's my update-ish.

I have other things to say about what I might be doing with my life next, but I decided not to make plans more than a week in advance for a while.  That's my plan for next week except I also plan to go to the movies, maybe three times! And I am going to read books (already started one) that are not for papers. 

But, I am also going to keep working on one of those other papers... because I am dutiful, often to my own detriment.

Happy fourth!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Poetry Thursday, delayed...

The loving acceptance

You so deeply hunger for...

Can never reach you

Until you've learned

To give that gift

To your self.

Practice holding

Your self

As dear as you

Would hold anyone

Else whom you

Truly cherished!