Monday, June 5, 2017

Cats I have known

I can't remember when I didn't have a cat in my life. Mom said there was a cat in my crib when I was placed there for the first time as a newborn. Probably Regito, Dad's cat.
Here is a list of cats:
Regito and Gina
Chang Mai
Totie (named after the first one)
Fred, Fionna and Kiggee all reached an age over 17. Fionna is still with me.
Oscar is the baby (at a whopping by 24 lbs!) He is only 2. Kiggee passed away 2 yrs ago. He was 19 and I still miss him dearly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Regarding: Cake Batter

REgarding cake batter,  don't lead me on
and say that the cake batter ice cream
so delicately pastelled in cream and pink and baby blue
is the holy grail of desserts I seek.
Don't say, "It's so simple!" in that annoyingly delicate little font.
Do not even Attempt to list more than 4, no, 3 ingredients
and not include golden cake batter mix
from Duncan Hines,
Creator of my childhood batter,
For I seek the simple, pure recipe.
Don't even, cause I can't even.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Amtrak trip from LAX to ABQ and back

Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.
Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.
Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.
Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.Amtrak trip from LA to Albuquerque and back.

My son and I took the Southwest Chief from LA to Albuquerque.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Personal Art Challenge

I'm going to try to start painting or drawing again.  Challenge is this: create one little piece each week and then post it here.

Here's a piece I did some time ago.

2005, Digital, Corel Draw with a Wacom tablet.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ants and Copernicus

Formicidae Denizens

I have a colony of ants in my bathroom.  The colony is part of a massive one that is, no doubt, scattered throughout the entire apartment building.  I've had my little battles with them for a couple of years now.  I always ALWAYS feel guilty for setting traps.  I don't like killing anything.  But I see it like this: they're destroying the structural integrity of the home in which my son is sleeping.  An earthquake plus rotting wood frame does not equal safety.  So I set the traps.

Well, I think about ants now and then.  Probably more than a gal should.  Collective species, eausocial, superorganisms, they are.  They share information with each other about where to find food, where is the nearest threat, should they build up or out despite zoning laws, etc.... The queen is the brain, in a way.  The nexus of the collective.  Her wishes become the colony's missions.  The workers carry out the mission while soldier ants protect them from invaders.  The collective system is strong and runs like a well-oiled machine.  That is the world of ants.  Ants don't survive well alone.

Ants don't survive well by themselves, (unless there are other bugs to help them).

Well anyway, I take a shower and see ants taking the food from the traps.  The food contains boric acid, which mixes well with sugar and slowly kills the ants and queen, since she is fed this food like a diva being fed bonbons.  And I think about this.  The queen eats this stuff, maybe detecting something odd, knowing it's not a normal food, and still wants more.

The ant queen, middle, is the nexus of the colony.  Is she wants poisonous bonbons, then you better dang well get her some poisonous bonbons.

Her wishes become the colony's mission, remember? They keep eating the poisonous food and bringing it back to her.  They are all living for the next 24 hours on borrowed time, all because momma queenie has to be kept happy and fat.

You better keep her happy!

Well, I see some poor ant there in the shower with me.  Now I have a vivid imagination.  I imagine she's talking to another ant, most likely about where the bait is, maybe about how hot and humid it got suddenly, who knows.  She kinda stops a bit, appears perplexed, like something is amiss, then regains the pheromone trail the others are on.  I look at this worker ant, just there, doing her job, and I think, "I bet she knows there's something wrong with this food."  (Another part of my brain goes on a tangent thinking, "Awww crap.  The ants.  They know too much!" And a 1940's noir-style scenario where the ants are like an insect mafia and I'm an undercover cop starts taking off.  That scenario runs in my mind's background and amuses other parts of my brain at that point.)

But Yelp said the food in Sarah's bathroom was awesome!

This poor worker ant.  She tastes the food, says, "Something is horribly wrong with this food source.  We shouldn't be eating this," and has no choice but to carry out her mission.  It would be nearly impossible for her to walk away from her colony and away from the danger.  She'd have no protection, no communication, and a sense that she is not fulfilling the mission she knew from the first time she left her larval stage.  She is doomed, and she knows it.  She will watch her sisters die, her queen die, and she won't be able to stop it.

The little worker ant in my shower has this on one of her Pinterest boards, I bet.

I then start thinking about humans that have been in this sort of position.  Those people who say, "Hey, something isn't right here. This doesn't make sense."

A person who sees a truth the others don't is a very lonely person.  Everyone else around this person goes along with some directive without questioning "Why?" If he or she says, "You know, this doesn't add up" she/he feels or actually is oustracized, belittled, made fun of.  A lonely life.  That person has to decide "do I go along with the crowd because they are my family and friends, or do I stay here alone with the truth?"

Copernicus.  He was sure the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around.  He was also very afraid to offend the church and his collegues with the truth he knew.

Nicolaus Copernicus was one of those people.  He has been credited with the heliocentric model.  He said the earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around.  He was really, really nervous about telling everyone about his findings.  His closest friends knew what he had found, and said, "Come on, Nick, publish this!" but he was so worried about religious objections that it was only at his deathbed that De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was printed.  If it weren't for the support of his closest friends, the heliocentric model of the solar system and subsequent discoveries would have been in jeapordy.   Around 50-60 years later Kepler and Galileo gave Copernicus's theory the world-wide treatment it deserved.  Both of these men, too, were alone in their ant-worlds, pointing to a truth the established colony denied existed.

Seems like such an ordinary fact to you and me, but in the mid 1600's this picture was heresy and could get you killed. Times change, science advances, humanity advances.  What seems far-fetched and blasphemous to many now may be an ordinary fact in a 100 years.  You or I could be one of the people who change humanity's mind, if we're brave enough.

In the 16th century, it took guts for a man to say, "The earth is not the center of the universe."  That takes cajones.  Guys like Copernicus stood to lose everything, including their lives.  We look back at people in that era and say, "Those guys, were stupid!  Of COURSE the Earth revolves around the sun.  Pfft, everyone knows that!"   Well, we know it now because brave people decided to ask a few questions instead of just accepting what everyone simply accepted as truth.  In fact, most of the advances in science and morality that we take for granted-take as fact now, were only brought to light by men and women who stood alone in a sea of hatred and contempt with nothing but their belief in their truth.

It's a lonely world for these people. Humanity moves forward, and it has done so on the backs of lonely and accused people.


A look at how far humanity has come in what we know to be true.

Monday, April 30, 2012


I follow the Dalai Lama on FB and Google +.  Today he posted about patience.  

"...The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain amount of inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so that we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions."

Humans are amazing.  We can suppress the urge to kill each other by using patience.

I normally consider myself really patient.  Lately, that has not been the first adjective that I would have used for myself.  Oh, I've been patient with my goals and such, but lately my patience with people has waned. 

In the past I have had to exercise extreme patience with my son.*  Kids with processing problems need patience or else they start to feel unworthy.  (They need love, too, but that goes without saying.)  I think I've always had the ingredients for that kind of stamina, but I think my son taught me Industrial Strength Patience.  I later had "patience refresher training" when I helped my mother care for an Alziemer's patient and my dementia-suffering grandmother, all under the same roof.  

I think being a parent has increased my capacity for love, and therefore by association, patience.  I am less likely to, say, sucker-punch a lady if I look at her and think, "Bless her heart, she's someone's baby.  I guess I'll just put my fists back in my pocket."  This strategy has worked well for me, so I stick with it.  

The trick, I've found, to employing patience to avoid multiple homicides is directly related to 2 things.  The first is money.  Being paid money to be patient.  The more money they pay you, the more patience you have.  Any geriatric nurse or Fox Studios errand boy will probably agree with this.  It's horribly true.   Money can fix many problems.  And those it can't fix, it can at least render neutralized for a while.

The other thing that is directly proportional to patience, is love.  Good old, sucka-fool love.  If you are a parent, you know this. If you are caring for your aging parents (and haven't killed them yet), that's love working right there. Good on ya'.  

Well, it works most of the time.  I have a few friends who test my patience on a regular basis.  One or two of them do it everyday.  In unique ways, I love them.  Lately, I have had to juggle a couple of these noodle-heads along with everything else.  I try to do the "someone's baby" thing with them, but it only works for a second or two until the next sentence comes out of their mouths.  My defense is like a phaser blast that just impacts on the surface. It doesn't go in.  So I desperately whip out the auxilliary strategy - I pretend they have cerebral damage.  But they vote and drive cars and such!  My logic tells me they would not be able to do these things if they were truly incapacitated, so I get upset again. This has happened over and over lately. 

So I sit and ponder, "What can I do to be more patient?"   Well, I can't change them all.  (I can influence them, but I can't change them.)  I can change me.  I can change my reaction, my choice of words/retorts, my interactions.  It's the right thing to do, and it's cheaper than hiring a violent crimes lawyer.  Like my buddy DL up there says, "...patience... allows us some self-control."  
I want self-control. 

The problem is actually my perception.  I perceive an issue that rattles my view of the world, and I react to that. Therefore, I should only have to change my perception of the world, or of the idiot  -I mean, per-son in front of me, or stop and acknowledge that this is a situation that I cannot control, and I should trust in something greater... to key their car for me.**  

Perhaps, with this new strategy, we can see the following scenario, instead of crime scene tape:

Friend:  I'm going on a trip and I'm going to leave my car unlicensed in a remote location no one can get to. hahaha

Me: You're an idiot. I am impatient with your behavior.

Friend: Hahahaha.

Me: Let me help you fill out a power of attorney for it, and I can register it and take care of that problem.. again.  (Bless his heart he's someone's kid.  :/ )

Friend:  Nope.  I want to make it difficult so I can learn things.  Learning is so much fun.  It will be awesome to experience the pain of learning.

Me: Have you ever had a CAT scan of your frontal...?  Oh never mind.  (Auxillary patience strategy depleted.)

Friend: The car is not street legal, by the way.

(Here is where I have to guard my presence of mind.  Friend is young.  He is learning. He's allowed to make mistakes just like I was.  People were patient with me, I should pass that forward to him.  The perception of the scene changes, and I can be patient because I know I only saw it from my point of view.)

Me:  I won't kill you after all.

Friend: Hahahaha

By the way, Friend is actually a great guy.  Love the kid.  He should write about the picture-perfect stupid things I do.  It would be a good thing.

*I'll write more later on autism because I feel I need to share with other moms who may be going through that emotional roller coaster.

** I don't key cars and would never do such things, but I imagine it would render some level of satisfaction.