Monday, May 30, 2005


This is a question I have been pondering.
If simplicity is so simple, why is it so difficult to attain?
You hear a great deal about "simplify your life" or "simplify your work environment."
What is it about needing all that "stuff" and conflict and complications that it usually brings that is inherent in the human psyche? Where do we learn this need for stuff? Society? Family? Cosmopolitan magazine? What is all this stuff supposed to do for us other than complicate our lives? How does it creep up on us the way it does?

I am one of those people who hates clutter and loathes disorganization. I am the type that keeps the garbage bag in the closet to throw items into to expedite their transition from my space to the Salvation Army.
Amazingly, there is always stuff to go into that bag. Wow. Where does it all come from? Was it para-matter that has changed back into stuff of this dimension?
Truly amazing. Any ideas??

It's not my fault!

Apparently, now we are even falling to the dire levels of blaming our bacteria for our larger waist lines. It is simple equation: (Calories in)<(Calories out)
But no, we are blaming our little symbiotic buggies....and they can't even defend themselves!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Completely different and yet the same

I started a new job last week. I have been in the academic scientific research field for 11 years. I have a degree in molecular biology and experience in tissue culture, HIV virology, protein chemistry and cellular immunology. All of it very, very cool. In science there is a distinct methodology. You have a question, you research what is known about said question, decide from that background why you think it does what it does and then design experiments to extricate information that will illustrate which way you need to go next. The most important part is the question and an open mind. Oh, and the details. Make sure the data is telling you what you have perceived.

My new job is, in the words of Monty Python; "Now for something completely different."

My company is an economic and demographic research corporation. We research whether cities and businesses can both benefit if specific types of businesses move into specific city areas.

Lots of detail.
Very specific questions.
And an open mind must be had by all to 'hear' what the data is truly telling you.

Hhmmm. Sounds very familiar. In fact, the methodologies are the same. The level of detail is the same. It's great. I am such a nerd..Or is it geek??? I can never keep those straight.

Anyway, It's cool and different and yet the same. The up side is if I need to go I can hit "SAVE" and go; I can work from home on occasion.

The down side: I miss the way-cool really expensive toys. $135K microscopes are way cool. Watching cells differentiate into neurons because you inserted a different gene is way cool.

Oh...The real up side???
It's 13 minutes from home.
And the people are great.

Into the Wild

I attended a beginner's backpacking class at REI tonight. I have car camped and been SCUBA diving, trail riding (horseback of course) and this is the next logical step to get the @@!!@ away from the city and most people. I am very excited about the backpacking and can't wait to go!

The class was 1.5 hours long and very informative. You can find other classes listed if you are interested. A veteran backpacker taught the class and gave handouts along with some fun anecdotes about her backpacking experiences.

The talk covered:
Packs- internal vs external
Sleeping bags and the temp ratings
Sleeping mats and their necessity!
Pots and cups- how many and if you really need the cup
utensils- knife and "spork"
Stove- SIMPLE!!
Tents- What it should do for you and how much you should expect it to weigh
Shoes- C-O-M-F-O-R-T-A-B-L-E with tried!
Water and how much per person per day
No-trace philosophy
Animal encounters- keep your head and you will keep your blood
Types of poisonous plants- VERY useful info even in the city parks!

There was an open forum for questions. I highly recommend it at the $15 price tag. I also appreciated the fact that there was not any pressure to go buy everything. Our instructor, Lori, highly recommended trying stuff out before you buy. Rent it, try it on in the store and walk around forever....That sort of thing. And the real take-home message:

Less is More. So very true.

So get out there and camp, hike and be wild. Enjoy the art that Mother Nature has created for us.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Day at the Faire

Scarborough Faire

A friend and I went to Scarborough Faire this Saturday. It is a renaissance festival held in Waxahachie, Texas every year during the months of April and May. The weather was perfect, being a fine blue sky with just a hint of puffy white clouds that lumbered through the sky. A little more breeze would have made it perfect.
The food is always spectacular, my choices this year being fried mushrooms and steak-on-a-stick. I am extremely fond of hats and there is this one particular hat shoppe (The Hat People) that I cannot seem to escape. This year was no different. I have added 2 new hats to my collection, both of which will make their debut this week I’m sure. I’ll try and post pictures later. Generally the people-watching is the best reason to attend the Faire. The festival attracts all kinds and one can really see a cross-section of society. The people who don’t use sun-block never cease to amaze me. You always see some folks baring skin that hasn’t seen sunlight in several years…and no sun-block. Typically you begin to recognize these people throughout the day and you can systematically watch them begin to bake. Ouch! I feel for them the next day.

The festival always reminds me of how nice it is that we women can wear lighter clothing now. I think I would die if I had to wear all those layers bound up by a corset in the dead of summer and work outside. And why did men give up the kilt?? I think these are really attractive on men and they have got to be cooler! Practicality should drive most all fashion. However, I obviously don’t design clothes for a living…

If you have never attended the Faire, I recommend it. It is very much fun and a great day of being outside. Bring lots of water and for goodness sake…Sunblock!!

The Epic

This past week marked the opening of the final Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith. My friends had a Star Wars marathon at their house. It began at 8 in the morning and ended that night with the midnight showing of the movie. Talk about hard core! It was really fun to hear everyone making comments throughout the Playing of the precious movies. Sort of like Mystery Science Theater. Lots of Pringles being munched on and the chocolate Darth Vader cake that Christy made. She really makes good cake! The single worst dinner I have ever had, nutritional speaking. Taste was great though! It’s amazing how movies can bring people together. It is also very interesting how movies can place you in a specific time frame or a specific set of memories. The power of association. Great fun had by everyone!

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Where does it go? How do you save time? And if you save it, where is it stock-piled and why can't I use all that saved time?

Why can't we go back in time? I theoretically understand the concept of forward time-travel, but why not back? Emotionally many of us live in the time-past, is this a mode of backward time travel or just a way of not moving forward?

Is time to us earth-bound creatures simply our perception as is so many other things? We are our perceptions.

If I had more time...
If I hadn't wasted time...
If I could get that time back...

Time waits for no one.

Friday, May 13, 2005


I just finished watching Apollo 13 for the upteenth time.
What happened to the ingenuity and perseverance of humanity? Where has it gone? I know it still exists, but why isn't it the majority? What direction has our society gone that so buries the desire to excel? I see this movie and wonder, could we do this today? Could we work at something that seems all odds are against and still pull it off because, "...Failure is not an option..."?
I think that element is our reality. If you decide that a particular option no longer exists, does that make it really gone? Is our humanity just simply a stream of choices, or better still, a stream of choices not made? Because to not make a choice, is a choice.

In this movie, people team together to pull off what appears to be the impossible. It just occurred to me, what is impossible? I think our mind is what defines our possibilities.

Parachutes and minds are alike, they work best when open.

Our society needs some more open minds.

Do I Still Teach?

Last night in class we sparred. If you read my blog, you know this is one of my favorite things about martial arts. It is amazingly satisfying to see new students begin, watch them learn and grow and then to see them begin to take that training and turn it into something personal to them. One of our black stripes I sparred last night got me really good. Good technique and good speed. Oh and lots of power too! Although I got his technique blocked with my upper forearm, he still managed to glance off that and catch me in the ribs. Great shot. Tremendous bruise on the arm too.

So this begs the question, do I still teach anything? I really feel as though I don't sometimes. I try, I give it my all, but I wonder when you cease being a student's instructor. I learn every single day, every single class. All my students teach me new things; about myself, about how better to teach, about another way to see martial arts.
So, do I still teach others?
I really hope so, although I have little doubts sometimes.
However, I will never stop trying to.

Registration Hell

As my pursuit for higher education, or at least a career change, continues, I am always amazed at how difficult getting an education is.

I have to take a college Algebra class for my prerequisites. Basic College Algebra. I have had up through two years of Calculus. All from Richland, where I am trying to take this algebra class now. But lo and behold...the online registration says, "You have not met your prerequisites for this class. Please contact advising." Thus, the system would not let me register.
So, in desperation, I contacted the registrars' office. The registrars' office then directed me to the advising line. Of course, with it being registration right now, the recorded message suggested I register online. Wish I could, been there, tried that.
So I called the advising appointment line. I asked if the person I was speaking with could help me. The work-study student on the phone was very helpful but lacked the authority to assist me. This took 10 minutes to bring to light. She then transferred me to her advising director.

Finally, this woman was able to assist me. Consequently, we pulled up the class listings and found there was only one space left for the online math class I wanted.
She registered me while I was on the phone so I would get the spot. Now all I have to do is pay for it. So glad that is over with.
By the skin of my teeth....

Education should be a little easier to do, don't you think? The one thing that can improve society as a whole should be more straight forward to obtain.
At least I got it done.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
My mantra for life.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Therapy the way Nature Intended

As I noted in my previous blog, horses are cheaper than therapy. However a really cheap therapy is Mother Nature. As I was farm-sitting this weekend, I took the liberty of opening a bottle of wine and laying in the hammock outside. My friends live far enough out of Dallas that the light pollution is reduced; still present but much reduced. I laid there gazing at the stars, wrapped in a blanket with a bottle of wine between my legs and a full glass at my side. I didn't have to be anywhere, do anything or talk to anyone. Nothing. Just existence. I laid there for what I thought was a little bit...
When I finally went inside because of the nip in the air, I realized it was LATE. I had been out there for 2-3 hours without even realizing it. Just staring up into the sky and looking at the stars. I also noticed how much better I felt. It is necessary to turn off everything and do nothing.
I let the call of the night animals, the rustle of the trees, and the occasional snort of the horses be my music back-drop.
How quickly your body remembers the ebb and flow of nature. How easily your mind calms and follows that rhythm, that pace...if you let it.

True therapy, outside.
True music: earth, air, fire and water

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mom's day to Remember

For this Mother's Day I asked my 70 yr old Mom what she would like. Her response: To go horseback riding. She was who I learned to ride from, as I grew up on the back of a horse. We always had horses and I learned to ride before I could walk.

Since I don't own a horse at this time, I enlisted the help of my friend Kristi whom I was farm-sitting for this very weekend while she and her husband were out of town. Her mare Stormy is the perfect mount and is as bomb-proof and child-proof as they come. Worth her weight in gold as they say. Perfect. Kristi also owns Ace, a dark bay Thoroughbred gelding, whom I could ride along with my mom.

The day started out threatening rain, but cleared off and behaved itself properly. Mom came over and then we drove out to the farm in Farmersville, about 45 min north of where I live. I had left the horses up because of the possible rain and because it was still a bit muddy.

I saddled both horses, Stormy first. Initially we used the western saddle for Stormy but a couple laps in that and my mom wanted the hunter-English saddle. So I changed that out and off we went. Ace was very dashing tacked out in my dressage saddle. Dale and Kristi own a gorgeous piece of 8 acres completely hidden in a border of trees that envelopes the property. They lucked out on finding and buying the property and take immaculate care of it. So the pasture riding was perfect! Ace and Stormy occasionally exchanged flattened ears but otherwise the two get along great. Horses are like bikes, once you really know how to ride them, it comes back.

My mom hasn't really ridden since her horse, Blue, died at the age of 25. He was a gem among horses and is still missed something fierce. That was at least 6 or 7 years ago. However, Mom had no problem getting aboard Stormy, riding around (even managing a trot!!) and having a great time in the process.

There is an adage among horse people; although expensive, they are cheaper than therapy. This has been the best therapy Mom has had in ages. So, we will be trying to duplicate this event fairly regularly. Although a dear friend reminded me to take the camera, I of course, forgot it. But I will be taking pictures next Sun morning. We will be going back as long as Dale and Kristi don't mind us invading!

I hope I am still horse-back at 70. I hope I am still diving, hiking, and generally being crazy at that age. I'll do my best to try. Kudos to my mom. And by the way, she said it was the best Mom's day in along time.

Time...The greatest gift of all.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Fashion, to impress or to distress?

After my martial arts class tonight, a few of us had a discussion regarding the younger generation's fashion. Namely, this included the young men's pants-down-to-your illiac-crests with-you-undies-showing and the young women wearing lingerie as clothing. And I was informed, the much older women wearing lingerie as clothing. Hmmm. Old enough to know better.

Even one of our high school-aged students chimed in. She also shared the disdain and utter confusion of the boy's trouser issues. We all agreed to an overwhelming desire to run up behind these boys and "Pants" them. A term I was introduced to tonight...apparently a very late introduction. (Must have something to do with being raised on that space ship...) "Pants-ing" someone is as it alludes to; coming up behind them and yanking there trousers down and high-tailing it off. I mean they can't catch you, they can't run! I was glad to know I was not alone in this inappropriate desire to "pants" them!

As for the girls, our males in the discussion group joked about thinking that this was not such a bad thing...wearing loungerie for clothing. However, all agreed that it is not tasteful fashion sense. I mean, I like my lingerie as much or more as the next woman, but I believe it should beckon from under a jacket or some other REAL clothing. Not scream at the top of its skimpy lungs..."HEY!!! I'm lingerie and I'm on the OUTSIDE!!"
Some things are better said with a soft voice.

So everyone, think about what you are wearing. Please! If it will fall off of you unless you are holding it up, it's probably not a good thing. If you resemble the Victoria's Secret models on the bra and panties pages, put additonal clothing on before leaving the house!!


I have never really been a morning person. I am the up late, scurrying around the house in the quite darkness type. Recently, I have learned to have a new found admiration for mornings. I have been able to enjoy them on the back porch with my bowl of cereal, wrapped in a blanket listening to the birds. The birds are SO busy in the mornings. I have enjoyed the nip of the morning air, the freshness of the day, and the snuffling of the dogs doing their doggy things around the yard.
Mornings can be good.
Sleeping in is still pretty cool though....

Monday, May 02, 2005

Life's True Gifts

True Love
True Friends
The Ocean

Take nothing for granted.
Each thing is rare and precious.

Worth Watching

I just finished watching "Warm Springs." It is a movie about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's polio affliction and subsequent struggles to come to grips with it and his future. It also chronicles the forced growth of his wife, Eleanor.

I highly recommend this movie. Set in a time when polio was as feared and misunderstood as HIV once was, it illustrates both the boundless ability humans have for compassion and courage coupled with the raw edge of coldness people can exhibit to one another.
We are more than the sum of our parts.

Another aspect that the movie illustrated was how much the African American witnessed of other people's lives. This film was set in the 20's when "separate but equal" was still the modus operandi. It struck me as to how often the assistants or servants were present and yet not present. Throughout the movie they witnessed intimate, sticky details of the lives of the main characters. It was just interesting. I think their influence must have been so great and yet so understated if not completely ignored.

I recommend the movie...Enjoy!