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