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!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Back in 2001, I took in a kitty cat who was living under my house. But, then the next Fall I decided to go to grad school in Boston and there was just no way I could take three cats to live in a tiny room in a new city. I asked my Mom, who had never had a cat, if she would consider looking after him for a while. She agreed and since then they have become the best of friends, and she has been such a wonderful caregiver for him. In the last couple of months he has become quite ill. He had to have one of his kidneys removed and now the other is not working so well. You may remember another time two years ago when he was ill and pulled through. His veterinarian says he is unlike any cat she has ever seen. He has fought his way through the greatest obstacles and come through miraculously. He is nothing less than a superhero cat in my eyes. And, he's the sweetest little brown kitty you've ever seen. We don't know how much longer he's got, but we love him.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

“It's not knowing what to do, it's doing what you know.”
- Anthony Robbins

Friday, May 27, 2011


I am so lucky. I feel like I need to be more thankful for all of the blessings in my life. I am going to start by posting some photos of the beautiful place where I teach on Thursday evenings.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Year Goes By

Sometimes you're so busy, you barely notice that a year has gone by. I just remembered that a year ago this month, I cut off a foot of hair and sent it to locks of love.



Monday, February 21, 2011


I was a student (and Teaching Assistant at the UW-Madison) in WI for two semesters in 2005. Soon after arriving in Madison, I met my friend, Susan, who asked if I would like to co-steward the Music Department for the Teaching Assistants' Association, which is the oldest graduate student teacher's union in the US. In all honesty, at that time, I really had no idea what unions were about. I had never been a part of one. I knew my parents were in the Musician's Union, who negotiated their very meager salaries. I knew that my grandfather had been a union steward, but he was an accountant and I'm not sure what union he was in... I didn't know anything about Robert's Rules or collective bargaining. But, Susan's enthusiasm was infectious, I could tell we had similar ideas about politics, and the more she talked about what the TAA was all about, the more I wanted to be involved. I joined and I am so glad I did. The experience was truly rewarding. I feel very honored to have been part of the TAA. I swear to you, I have never met a more intelligent, compassionate, politically savvy, and civil group of skilled debaters interested in fairness and democracy in my life. I was truly inspired not only by the people I met there, but by the process that they took so seriously, with such reverent respect. It sounds cheesy to say it, but I would be lying if I didn't say that my fellow TAA stewards inspired me to want to be a better person. They inspired me to get off my butt and try to make a difference.

While a student at UW-Madison, I became very aware of the political situation on small and large scales and how that affected the money trading hands. I learned that public universities were becoming less and less public and more and more influenced by private interests. I learned that the state of Wisconsin has a great divide in ideologies between the more liberal cities downstate and the more Republican bent of the rest of the state. I saw how certain departments in the university (like economics) refused to be part of the union, whereas other departments (like sociology, english, and math) had a lot of representation. I saw how some TAs were way overworked grading papers and tutoring students for professors who only gave the class lectures, whereas other TAs were the primary teacher for a group of students who never saw a major professor in that area of study. (And, started thinking about how integral these TAs are to the wellbeing of the university.) I saw how some departments had so much money that their TAs could afford to sit around and play cards for several hours a day and had stipends to pay them to not work over the summer, whereas other departments had so little funding that they had to pass it around from one student to another, so that some students had to drop out of the program altogether because they couldn't afford tuition, or had to work several extra jobs even with their assistantship just to make ends meet. I think the politics of why some departments had more money than others and how that influenced their representation in the TAA had to do with where the money was coming from (national foundations? or corporate interests?) and also the politics of the major professors in each area (whose politics may have been influenced by money in a similar way). And, those are just a few thoughts from someone who has been away for a very long time about a very complex issue...

Here is a link to Susan's blog, where she has six great posts in a row about the situation, including lots of photos and good links.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I heard that 15,000 people rallied at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison yesterday and that thousands are staying overnight to make their voices heard in opposition to Governor Scott Walker's barbarian budget bill that would end the collective bargaining process for all state workers. Videos like this and these photos from Susan's blog are so inspiring. Solidarity forever indeed!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Living well

Today I watched an interesting video about a study that was done of five communities around the world who have extraordinarily high life expectancies and what traits they have in common. I also found this article which sums it up.

One of the most intriguing findings in it shows that none of these people do any formal exercise, meaning they don't go to the gym or do other intense cardio workouts. They all do, however, walk a lot and are the type of people who take the stairs and ride their bike. In other words, they are not sedentary. They all eat mostly plant based diets, drink red wine in moderation, and eat small portions. Also important is that they have good social/family networks and take care to relieve stress on a regular basis.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Internet Is Fun

Protactinium - A short-lived, naturally occuring, radioactive element, extremely rare and expensive. (Gr. protos: first)
Mithril - A durable silvery metal that is very light and easy to work, mined by Dwarves in Middle Earth. (mith, 'grey', and ril, 'glitter')
Elementium - A rare element that came from the Elemental Plane in World of Warcraft.
Lanthanum - A very reactive, soft, rare-earth metal. Used for high intensity lighting. (Greek lanthanein: to lie hidden)

Your turn?  Click here.  :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More Food For Thought

‎"The Greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." 
           - Walter Bagehot

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Food For Thought

“What you do in life is insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” 
     - Gandhi