Monday, November 17, 2014

Good Quote

"My hero is always me in ten years.  That's who I chase every day."
 -- Matthew McConaughey

Friday, November 07, 2014


"Does the primary visual cortex contribute to conscious experience or not? Are areas of the brain that project directly to the prefrontal cortex more relevant than those that do not? Does only a particular subset of cortical neurons play a role? If so, are these neurons characterized by a special property or location? Do cortical neurons need to oscillate at 40 Hz or fire in bursts to contribute to conscious experience? Do different areas of the brain or groups of neurons generate different conscious fragments - a kind of microconsciousness? ... By what mysterious transformation would the firing of neurons located in a particular place in the brain or endowed with a particular biochemical property become subjective experience, while the firing of other neurons would not?"

from A Universe of Consciousness, Edelman/Tononi, 2000

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Food For Thought

Don’t lie about yourself. And never lie to yourself. Find the thing in you that is different, that’s as sharp as a diamond and jagged as a razor. Hone that, because that’s the thing with which you’ll cut the world. If you try to stay a safe and soft and average, then you’re going to get lost in the sea of all those other things that look just like you. Find the things about yourself that are weird and cultivate them because, eventually, those are the things the world is going to want to reward you for and that will bring you the most happiness. When you’re young, those are the things that cause you so much pain, but it’s that pain that makes you unique. Own your scars.” - Clayton Cubitt

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Food for thought

"The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do."
    - Bill Phillips

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Food For Thought

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” 
― Thomas Jefferson

Monday, July 09, 2012

Monday's Deep Thought

“Forever is composed of nows.”
- Emily Dickinson

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life is super-excellent

Main Entry:
good [good]  Show IPA
Part of Speech:adjective
Definition:pleasant, fine
Synonyms:acceptableace*, admirableagreeablebadboss*, bullycapital
choicecommendablecongenialcrack*, deluxeexcellent,
exceptionalfavorablefirst-classfirst-rate, gnarly, gratifyinggreat
honorablemarvelousneat*, nicepleasingpositivepreciousprime
rad, recherch√©, reputablesatisfactorysatisfyingselectshipshape, 
soundspanking, splendidsterlingstupendoussupersuper-eminent, 
super-excellent, superbsuperiortip-top, up to snuff, valuable
Notes:using good  as an adverb in place of well  ("she dances real good", 
"he did good") is nonstandard usage - so, it would be best to 
say "she dances very well", "he did well" 
well  is an adverb to describe an activity; good is an adjective 
to describe a condition or state
Antonyms:bad, detestabledisagreeableunpleasant


Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Friday

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."
- -  Epicurus

Friday, May 04, 2012

Flashback Friday: Why Bugs Bite

from 2006

Ever since my friend's husband got really, really sick with what the doctor said could either have been spinal meningitis or West Nile Virus, I have been really paranoid about mosquito bites. I have them all over my legs and toes because I am also, unfortunately, paranoid about putting chemicals, including insect repellent, on my body. It is hard to say in some cases which is more dangerous, the disease or the cure. However, in the case of mosquito bites, I think the diseases are pretty frightening.

I have done some reading about mosquitoes recently in a book called Field Notes from the Northern Forest by Curt Stager in which he pretty thoroughly explains the predicament of biting bugs in a chapter aptly titled, "Why Do Bugs Bite?".  He explains that it is only female mosquitoes who bite. Male mosquitoes, who bunch together in clouds at dusk to attract females, don't bite at all. In fact, most of the time, most mosquitoes feed only on sugar water from plants. However, after insemination,

"[the female mosquito's] reproductive tract is freshly loaded with sperm, and hundreds of fertilized eggs are growing inside her abdomen. Each egg is a living, growing cluster of cells draining her maternal tissues of protein and minerals. She must replace those losses or die, and mere sugar water is not rich enough in the necessary compounds. Only blood will do. This is why biting flies bite, and why it is only the females that do so... It is hard to feel sympathetic about the lot of a female mosquito. But think about it: She is risking her life by approaching you, and she only does so for the sake of her unborn young, albeit instinctively. The risk is more than just a chance of being swatted. From her perspective, we humans are the ones who carry the parasites... If you happen to be suffering from filariasis, a single blood meal from you can send a swarm of nematodes down her throat. Once inside her gut, the worms bite their way out of her stomach and burrow into the fibers of her flight muscles..."

He further explains that there are many species of mosquitoes that don't bite humans at all. It is unfortunate that they are so tiny we can't tell apart the ones that bite from the ones that don't, but in any case, it's a good idea to make sure there is no standing water near your house, since that is where they breed. It is pretty fascinating to think of things from a bug's point of view, but it is hard to feel sorry for an insect that's been around for 170 million years and spreads disease to 700 million people a year. So maybe they don't *mean* to spread disease, but they are a serious threat to human life, particularly in regions of the world plagued by malaria.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

I Love A Piano

Growing up, my family had a baby grand piano in our living room. It was usually cluttered with books and papers on every inch of it and it was not always well-tuned, but it was a constant during my upbringing and a reliable source of good entertainment. My brother and I both took piano lessons, so we practiced our scales, etudes, and solos there. We both enjoyed playing around, sightreading through new songs, and making up our own songs, too. My brother strongly identified as a songwriter/composer at a young age, so he played the piano a lot. My mother double majored in piano and violin in college, so although her main job was playing the violin in a symphony orchestra, she was eager and willing to play piano for me whenever I needed an accompanist, a luxury I've never quite become accustomed to being without. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are the times when she and I would read through books of non-classical songs together at the piano, with me singing and her playing. That's how I learned most of the jazz standards and ballads I know.

It's not that I didn't watch television or movies as a kid. It's not that I didn't read books or play board and video games or do my school work. I did a lot of other things than play the piano. But, having a piano in my home always was and continues to be a source of great joy to me. I love that I can sit down and play it anytime. It's one of my very favorite things in the world. And, whenever I go to someone's house or to a restaurant or bar or cafe where there is a piano, I feel drawn to it like a squirrel to a birdfeeder. It's hard to believe almost every home had a piano not too long ago, that people played music to entertain each other instead of watching TV, that people felt like music lessons were a necessity in a child's life partly for social reasons. I am always so glad to see pianos. I always want to play them or at the very least touch them gently like I would if saying hello to an old friend.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A well-stocked bar...

is a good bar.

And, a good bar is not usually well-lit. But, it may have nice lamps.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Snowy Day in Syracuse

As I adjust to the freezing-my-butt-off cold weather here, I am in total awe of the birds and squirrels going about business as usual. It's a tough life out there.

This picture is worth clicking to enlarge. I think there are three juncos and three cardinals in the tree and two more juncos on the ground.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Beach

A great place to put your feet in the warm sand...

or wade in the shallow waters...

A great place to bring your happy dog...

or just enjoy watching someone else's happy dog...

A great place to watch people learning to surf...

or just relax the day away...

I wish I was still there.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Pacifica, CA - January 4th
This sunset got redder and more dynamic as I drove north into San Francisco. I wanted to stop and take more pictures, but I wasn't able to.

Denver, CO - December 28th

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Washington Park - Denver, CO

Bare trees in winter have a special kind of beauty.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mt. Tamalpais

One of my favorite places in the world is the top of Mt. Tamalpais. It's a pretty short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, just a few exits north on Route 1 in Mill Valley. You can drive all the way to the top and then walk around the perimeter on a paved path, or stop and hike at any other place along the way. And, it's just a short hop over from Muir Woods and Stinson Beach, so you could conceivably spend one day exploring the city, the beach, the woods, and the top of a mountain. Because I don't have a good camera and am taking photos with my phone, you can't see a lot of detail, but the top of Mt. Tam gives you an amazing bird's eye view of the whole Bay Area. It's amazing.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Wise Man's Guidance

"If you follow your heart's desire, you will bring your best self with you wherever you go."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December in San Francisco

The sight of flowers and greenery thriving in wintertime here never gets old to this child of the snow belt.

A green hillside in the south bay:

Flowers for sale at the Civic Center Farmer's Market:

A tree in Golden Gate Park:

A flowering tree on a city sidewalk in the Inner Richmond:

A sidewalk succulent garden in NOPA:

In the Rose Garden at Golden Gate Park:

Bright Sun

Sometimes the light is just right.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Fortune Cookie

Today I got a fortune cookie that said:

"Be prepared to modify your plan. It'll be good for you."

Ah... yes.

"If you follow your heart, you're going to find that it is often extremely inconvenient."
- Pema Chodron


"Since all things are naked, clear from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The everyday practice is simply to develop complete acceptance and openness to all situations, emotions, and people."

- Trungpa Rinpoche (via Pema Chodron)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


"...I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fog Lifts

It's amazing what a few hours of sun can do.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pacific Ocean

San Francisco


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Impromptu Trip to Adirondack Park

This morning my mother and I drove up to Adirondack Park. We stopped in Old Forge to look in the shops and then went on to Nick's Lake. It was a lovely trip.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bear Bear

Sadly, my mom lost her dear old Bear Bear today. He was her companion for the last ten years and was such a sweet and gentle kitty cat. I will miss him very much.

Here's a LINK to a post about Bear from a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

I lost my best little kitty friend suddenly and unexpectedly two weeks ago to a genetic heart defect I never knew she had. She was only four years old and as far as I knew, as far as her vet could tell, she was perfectly healthy. I loved her like a child. I would have done anything at all in the world for her. As a childless woman in my thirties living alone far from my family, my kitty was everything to me. I have been completely devastated by this. I miss her terribly.

Some things that happen in this life make you so sad that you don't ever want to get out of bed. You don't ever want to even acknowledge what happened because then you would have to acknowledge the truth. When you think of it, you can't stop crying. But, somehow, weeks later, you know you have to move on eventually. Life goes on, even when it's terribly unfair.

I can't even talk about how traumatic it was to bury her. But, my mother was with me and we planted a garden of pansies and petunias above her. I placed an engraved stone with her name, dates, and a paw print by the flowers. I put a bird feeder in the tree above the garden because Nashira loved to watch birds.

The sad truth is that she had a heart condition that could have taken her at any time and there probably isn't much at all I could have done for her even if I had known about it, but it's hard not let the wheels of my brain spin and spin thinking "if only I had...". I have spent time talking to more than one veterinarian, reading article after article after article about the disease, and even talking to others like me, who suddenly lost a cat to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Animals are such amazing companions. They love us unconditionally in a way we never experience from anyone else in our lives. They don't care if we are fat or thin, tall or short, white or brown, if we're having a bad hair day or if we screwed up at work. My little Nashira curled up in my arms every night in bed and I patted her little head before I went to sleep. Her company made me so happy. She was so affectionate and she loved to be brushed more than any other cat I have ever known. She made me laugh. She was the epitome of joy. I kissed her and hugged her about ten times a day and for that I am so grateful. I could not save her, but I did love her with all of my heart and she will always be part of me.

One regret, dear world,
That I am determined not to have
When I am lying on my deathbed
Is that
I did not kiss you enough.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I have hundreds of photos of Nashira in just about every single place and posture imaginable, but this is probably my favorite. :-) I think it had been about 1 minute since I had last brushed her and she was ready for some more.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


On the drive to California, Nebraska was stormy and dark. Today was my first time seeing Nebraska in the light. It was beautiful!