Monday, November 28, 2005

Mr. Avatar and "God's Debris"

I'm currently reading this throroughly fascinating and thought provoking "essay" called "God's Debris" by the fellow who writes Delbert. It was sent to me by Trevor. I'm about halfway through it and it has opened up all kinds of new thoughts and probabilities for me.

First of all, the "wise old man" who expounds on all these theories and explanations is called, "Mr. Avatar". That had a familiar, quasi-religious ring to it. I looked it up. 1. It is from Hinduism. One that is regarded as an incarnation, esp. of Vishnu (a head god in that religion) 2. an embodiment or exemplar; archetype. I think the author is trying to connect to this ancient tradition to help his credibility. Clever.

The coin-toss example as an example of "probability", one of the two "constants" for "God's Debris" Has been often referred to in literature. What I was reminded of was Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and his two minor characters, "Rosencrans and Gildenstern" In that scene, if I'm not mistaken, they are discussing the flipping of a coin which always comes up the same and defeats the "so-called" 50/50 probability. Then they realize that they are "dead" and not in reality. Hamlet also toys with this same thought/reality when he muses, "To be, or not to be..." Our "reality is truly a product of the "delusion" that we have currently settled for...whether it's working for us or not.

In Mr. Avatar's discussion of "time", my immediate connection was to one of my favorite Musicals, "Brigadoon". I think I know now why it has alway been so fascinating to me. The clans of the wee town of Brigadoon made a pact with their "concept of God" because of some tragic event, and they never age (or age very slowly). The poor "modern blokes" get the miraculous privilege of visiting this strange anomily of a town and it truly upsets their lives in different ways. How bound we all are by our own sense of "time" and "custom"...and what is working for us. To be continued "she who must be obeyed" wants to "go out and do something"...Bob

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Simple Gifts and Millions

"Now for something completely different." Monty Python Yes, a quick segue from the "ridiculous" to the "sublime". I've been listening to "The Essential YO-YO MA". His new 2-CD album is a wealth of his creativity, depth and versitility. His cello armature is multilayered, rich and warm. On the second CD, which has several more contemporary selections, he and Alison Krauss get together for a hauntingly spiritual and traditional Quaker hymn-tune, "Simple Gifts". I've played it over and over. I've known it for many years and even taught it at Danbury to a class of physically challenged students when I was a mentor teacher. The words, sentiments and beliefs of the Friends ring true for me right now:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free;
'Tis the gift to come down where you want to be;
And when we find ourselves in the place just right;
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come 'round right.

I went to a "Friends" meeting once in Claremont. It is on Harrison near Pilgrim Place, but way back in. Very quiet, it was, with the congregation sitting all facing each other. Certain members got up and spoke when "the spirit" moved them. They had an observation or "testimony" and they "kept it simple" and to the rambling or long-windedness. Most it was meditative. They sang, sans leader or accompaniment. These fold, traditionally, are pacifists and do not support our Country's war efforts. They were called "quakers" because outsiders thought they saw them "shaking" when they were moved by the spirit. They had the courage of their convictions and were just as brave taking an "unpopular stand". Nowadays they might be more popular in their beliefs with the way it is going in Iraq. Maybe soon, they won't be a minority.

"Millions" is the title of a movie we just rented from Netflix. It came well recommended. We enjoyed it. It was the story of two brothers growing up in England who got to move to a new and better home in the suburbs. The younger one is sweet and inquisitive. He has an obsession with memorizing the births and deaths of the Saints. He even talks with them, hallucinates them. His wants to live like they lived. The older brother is more "worldly-wise" and has a more pragmatic view of the world and all its challenges. They have the usual "brotherly squabbles" and arguments. They get to go to a new school and the younger one doesn't seem to "fit in" with his wealth of knowledge, especially about the Saints. He goes off on his own and builds a "fort" in a field near his new house with the giant boxes left over from the move. He talks to his Saints in his "Hermitage". One day, out of the blue, a big bag of money, British Pounds, comes crashing down on his "fort" as thought it were "from his Saints". The plot thickens. He has to tell his brother and they decided to hide it since their dad would have to pay taxes on it. They have to figure out what to do with it and, of course, they both have very different ideas. Here is where the humorous situations abound. To further complicate things they find out that the money was probably stolen and fell off a passing train. A bad guy comes looking for it. Now, this all happens just when the country is getting ready to convert from pounds to euros. So the found money "millions" (hence the title) will be worthless. What eventually happens and who gets the money is quite a surprise. A hint, it fits with the theme of this "post"...keeping it simple and using our "simple gifts".

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sin City

"What happens in Vegas...stays in Vegas!" Needless to say, "We had a ball!" Talk about your "Mortal Sins"...Gluttony! Greed!...Lust! You name it...But we can't tell. Belagio Buffet! Paris Buffet! The "search" for the "loosest slots in Vegas". Oh my! The "Party Pit" at Harrah' favorite 3-in-one game...being "hit on" by a couple of the "skankiest..." Shocking! $10. Blackjack and Craps...minimum. It goes fast that way. Texas Hold-em lessons at Paris (free) with big and small blinds set at $1 and $3...then a max of 4 raises or passes or calls in multiples of $3. Winning with a pocket pair of 6's and another 6 on the "river"...ooh "666" Evil number! Double cappacinos in the Palio Cafe and delicious gelatos. But I'm telling too much already. We had a great time and we were very Thankful on the Day that we went to the Brunch and a 5 minute line and not the Dinner and an hour plus line. We thought of all our "loved ones" sons and grandchildren and hoped they were as thankful and happy as we were for them.
Here then are some pictures we took. They can only be transferred to the top of the "post". Two from the "Conservatory" at the Belagio and one of the giant Christmas Tree decoration balls in the hallway between Belagio and Bally's. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Goblet of Fire

We just had to go see the latest Harry Potter film. It was excellent as expected. It was predictably "darker". I read the book a few years ago. It seems all the "special effects" really add to the excitement. What is so amazing about these books is that the author, J.K. Rowlings, has tied them all together with such intricate attention to detail and a knowledge of the pubescent teenager and human nature.

First of all, this time, it doesn't start at Privet Lane and the stereotypical villainous "step parents". That was a relief. It doesn't even get "cute" with the Weazleys and their magical cottage and garden of gnomes. No magical, flying cars either. I does have a tent that is vast and palatial on the inside, not outside. Almost right away, the "brother figures", Ron and Harry, have a misunderstanding...mostly about petty jealousy issues. It is interesting how they work it out through the movie with stabs at communication and commaraderie. They rely on memories of past successes. They both have problems with the girls they like. Hermionne has been such a "buddy" in the adventures and now she is being perceived differently and she is blossoming too. Different races are introduced too, Patels, La Fluer, Cho. and, of course, The Try Wizarding Contest's has that emphasis. The three tasks also have a chance for Harry to show how he helps his fellow contestants and friends. He saves the stranded friends of this rivals underwater and he comes to the rescue of Seamus(?) Digory in the maze.

There was a detail I remember from the book that I don't think was shown in the duel between Voldemort and Harry. Their wands had a similar make-up or heritage (or a feather) and therefore, couldn't defeat each other. The dark mark in the sky and the ones on the forearm were a bit confusing too. Did Harry ever have one at all? Mad-Eye Moody was a great, believeable bad guy. This is where the author introduces devices used later also ie. Polly Juice and Veritas Potion I think. Neville has a more heroic role this time. I'm still not used to the new Dumbledore and his tied-up beard.

They better get on with making the next one "Order of the Phoenix" before they all get too old. They may be late bloomers like some other guys I know. Then it doesn't matter. We're all young at heart, aren't we. And the is the reason for the world-wide, mass appeal. Long live youthful thinking and adventure. Here's to friendship and brotherhood...noble aspirations don't you think? Bob

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"2005" Dove Hill/Riviera Quiz"

Betty and I went to a great party last night. I was just up the street at Bonnie and Rick's house. Most of our local neighbors attended and we finally got to see their fabulous home. It is a decorator's dream. Bonnie really has a touch for it. It is a "work of art" in progress. My wife just flipped over all the creative touches and the color choices. She loved the way the dinnng room table was set at an angle next to the floor-to-ceiling mirror wall. Bonnie is currently trying to paint her family room a light beige with cream trim. Betty loved it.

Bonnie and Rick are fabulous hosts with every kind of drink you could think of. We each brought appetizers. Lots of shrimp, dip and crackers. Lots of gnauching and smoozshing(?). We all "caught up" with each other and had quite a time. Rick said that it would be lots of fun to have a summer party there too. We will look forward to their "state-of-the-art" backyard barbecue plus the view of the pass.

About an hour and a half into the party Bonnie passed out her "mixer" that we all had to RSVP about. The Quiz. Rick was the M.C. Each of us had to tell her what we were "up to" that was new and maybe "a secret". We then had to go around and find out what we all were doing. It was quite a kick and I learned alot:
Sunni and Jay became "Godparents" for their dear friends. They are "on the road" in their giant RV 5 mos. out of the year. They tow their car so that once they get to where they are parking, they can save gas using the smaller car. Bruce and Deana also took more trips than ever before. His health is improving and he is "wheeling and dealing" with his hobby of "Classic Cars" mainly at shows. Gene went to a "backyard Easter Egg hunt" with more than 600 eggs. I don't think he was the hider or seeker. His wife, Eileen, worked in her daughter's classroom in San Jose. She decorated it. Mary and George celegrated their 50th Anniversary in Tuscany, Italy. They also went to Montecatinni, a lovely little town with a health spa. Kathy, our Master Board President's wife,(he came late after his board meeting) ran out of gas on Sun Lakes Blvd. in front of the main gate. She still remains quite active and involved in golf. I had a hard time getting Betty to leave the party and Kathy. Shirley and George bought a new house in Canada on a bigger Island near Vancouver. Bea's grandson is racing quads and is now in 1st Place on the circuit. She was there to cheer him on. Peg and Roy celebrated their mom's 100th birthday in Germany. Al's cumberbund fell off in the clubhouse parking lot and he didn't know it until they announced it from the stage of the dance as they held it up. Dianne, the winner of this quiz, opened her freezer door and a gallon of water fell on her and her foot is still in bandages. George and Helen visited friends in Florida in a house that survived the recent Hurricanes. They couldn't even find the closet on the second floor it was such a grand home. He still volunteers at the Banning High School in Math and Science. He bikes daily and has a "titanium hip" like me. They also have four kids with similar "situations". Bonnie has taken up golf and paddle tennis. She is working on her Broker's License and not currently active in R.E. She is one of the "reasons" we are here. She sold us our home, suggested I apply for a job selling homes at S.L., trained me, and chose me to help sell more homes at the Estates at Oak Valley Greens. What a gal! Rick found that he loved Sedona after kicking and screaming about going there. They stayed at the Enchantment which is "top notch" as resorts go. He was awed by the monumental "red rocks" and canyons. We've got to go back there soon. It is not far from our son and daughter-in-law's home in Gold Canyon, AZ.

This is all for now, I have to go to work. Thanks Bonnie for making all this possible. Bob

Monday, November 14, 2005


Say "Om"; Meditation may aid in brain function
Attention improves, studies find

This is the title of an article in the USA Today by Kathleen Fackelmann

The ancient practice of meditation may change the brain in a way that helps boost attention, according to studies out Sunday at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Buddhist monks have been saying for years that meditation helps increase attention and concentration. New findings now offer some support for the notion.

Sara Lazar of Harvard Medical School studied Westerners who meditated for about 20 minutes every day but didn't necessarily believe in the tenets of Buddhism. Lazar and colleagues used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to look at brain parts involved in memory and attention. She found that meditators had increased thickness in those regions. Those areas shrink as people get older, but this study found that older meditators were able to ward off some of that shrinkage. That finding is preliminary but suggests that a regular meditation practice might help people maintain their ability to remember and focus on details, Lazar says.

Meditation involved sitting quietly and focusing on breathing or an image...(or, in my case, "transcending" which starts that way but focuses on a "mantra")

Another study suggests meditation boost performance on tests that measure attention. Bruce O'Hara at the University of Kentucky and colleagues wanted to see how meditation might affect the ability to attend to a boring task during the mid-afternoon, a time when attention often flags. He found that 10 people taught to meditate for 40 minutes did better on a test of attention compared with their own performance after reading for 40 minutes.

Too little sleep can impair performance on such tests, so the group repeated the experiment after subjects had lost a night's sleep. Meditation improved their performance even then, a finding that suggests that meditation might give the sleepy brain an edge. "Vigilance is much more difficult when you are sleepy," O'Hara says.

In a study of mostly Buddhist monks, Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin found meditation produced a jump in brain waves associated with vigilance. His study also found meditation activated brain regions involved in attention.

On Saturday, the exiled leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, spoke to neuroscientists, urging them to continue their crucial work on meditation. Such studies may help identify practices that will help people rein in negative emotions, he said. More than 500 scientist signed a petition against the Dalai Lama's talk: Many said they didn't want to mix religion with science.

Meditation to me is not religious or "a Religion". It may be used in some Religions for clarity and identity, but my form, transcendental meditation, is not connected with any religion. It doesn't cause me to "think" about God or a Supreme Being. It does just the opposite in a way by focusing on introspection and the random thoughts that come up. Sometimes I find it harder to "calm" a very active mind and imagination and that's OK too. It helps you to just let it BE! Bob

Friday, November 11, 2005

"Cognito Ergo Sum"

"I think, therefore I am." This is about all I remember from my Philosophy 101 class almost 40 years ago. At the time, it seemed very simplistic. Now "I think...I know" that Descartes knew what he was talking about. Cognition is definitely a prerequisite for action and being and having. "Do...Be...Have." The thought has to be there or it's "thoughtless" activity. Not good. Then there is the old "saw" "Fake 'til you make it." I've heard this in sales...which is not the best source.

The "Music Man" musical had the now famous "think-system" for learning band music. Henry Higgins(?), the Music Man, was usually long gone by the time the suckers found out that didn't work; but they sure looked good in their uniforms with all their instruments. He was quite the salesman. I'm sure there have been many "self help" and "sales help" books written with this same philosophy ie. You have to think all the positive thoughts before they actually happen for you. I think they call them "affirmations". "But he doesn't know the territory!" This is what the other salesmen said about him. He actually did "know the territory". It was in the minds and ambitions of his clients and it was certainly in his thoughts too.

I've noticed that "thoughts" do seem to work subliminally. Attitude is the key to most successful interactions. A positive one helps tremendously, especially when all those around you are being "nay sayers" I remember a saying quoted by my old pastor, Lloyd Tornell: "I hate the guys who criticize and minimize the other guys, who by their lives have tried to rise above the guys who criticize and minimize." Or something like that.

I've seen it work with young children at school too. Some of your best teachers know the secret. They get the kids to do much more and enjoy doing it. They then are willing to attempt more with little fear of failure. One of my favorite books, even from my childhood, way back in "pre-historic" eras was "The Little Engine That Could". I just gave the old and new version to my son and grandson. The new one has more modernized pictures and some rewritten parts. It starts out, as you probably know, with an "impossible task" but the little engine "thinks he can" and keeps repeating it in that train rhythm. After he makes it over the hill and is coasting down into the valley with all the toys for the good girls and boys, he then says: "I thought I could." "I thought I could." etc.

This now is the way I'm going to approach the next challenges in my life. I think I can write. I think I can produce copy that is not just for my own enjoyment but might sell or be for others to see. Now, acting on those thoughts I will start doing the tasks and challenges that will get me there. It's like a goal that is accomplished by step by step objectives along the way...little reinforcers that give me feedback that my plan is more than hatched. "Baby steps Bob!"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oxy Undaunted

There's an article in the Sports Section of the L.A. Times today about Occidental College in Eagle Rock. It brought back memories. They are a Div. III College. They play Colleges like Redlands and La Verne. Without any athletic scholarships they have something in common with mighty U.S.C. ie. They are undefeated this season...8-0. They have crowds smaller than at some H.S. games and an enrollment of around 1900 students. They get less publicity than some H.S. teams. However, they have avid and loyal fans. I'd be one if I still lived in that area where I grew up.

Walking through their beautiful "ivy league-ish" campus, as I did alot, one g0t that "feeling" of loyalty, fraterity etc. "be true to your school" from the Beach Boys song. It was old and ivy- covered when I did just that back in '54, '55, '56. It was a short-cut on my "long walk home" that I had to do most days. You just went over the hill and through the Park behind Eagle Rock High. There was the Sylvan Amphi-theater back there nestled in the trees. It was quite hidden from view and kids would go back there to "make out" and "smoke" (quite foreign to me at that time...ha, ha, ha) It was rumored that they had an "honor system" on the Oxy campus that was so strong that you could leave your books or belongings on a bench and they would "rot" before someone would steal or disturb them.

I went to many a "swim and gymnastic" meet there since our school didn't have adequate facilities for those sports. John Bobo was a record holder in the "butterfly" and a great tuba player too. He hung out there too. I would see campus flyers of events upcoming. I actually went to a choir concert there. It was on the Jewish festival of Hanakah..."Festival of Lights". First time I had heard any of that beautiful music and there was this one particular girl in the front row that looked very "distracting" in her choir robe...I remember.

The article in the Times jokes about the football captain and team not knowing the words to the "alma mater" which is always sung at the end of each game. They usually just went back to the locker room. This time, because it was Homecoming, they had been asked to stay and sing. Most didn't know the words, so the undefeated quarterback, Andy Collins, flipped up his wrist band, where he kept the plays etc. and there he had a copy of the words folded up. All the team gathered around to sing together and get a picture taken:

"Occidental Glorious
O'er her foes victorious
Be her praise uproarious!
Occidental Fair!"

It was for camaraderie with the Alumni. How many of us even remember our school songs?
I probably don't. Let's see"

"Far above the city's turmoil
Arched by blue above...
...Eagle Rock... ugh...
Nope. How about my class song?

"Imperials, we're known for our success
With our colors flying, we symbolize the best
Persian Blue and Ivory, forever may they stand
Ever true and loyal and known through out the land."
Yep. That was just the first verse. Oh, those were the days!

Oxy has been fielding a team since 1984, 35 years before the USC-UCLA rivalry was born. It's 1957 team spawned Jack Kemp, the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee in 1996, and Jim Mora, a former NFL coach, both of whom returned to Patterson Field for the Homecoming Reunion.

Many of the current players, from the 65 who come out, play both offense and defense. They have to work extra hard at practice and at games. They also have to be very strong academically just to go to Oxy. "You've got to make the Big Time where you're at." Andy Collins. This is a great attitude and one to carry with you through all your life I think. Bob

Monday, November 07, 2005


This is the beautiful cover on the program for last night's performance of "Transform" by the Los Angeles Master Chorale; their second concert this season. To me it illustrates the theme of the concert's two major choral works perfectly. Yes, there is a "light" at the "end of the tunnel" so to speak/sing. If fact, you may not have to wait until "the end", to "transform". You can "Transcend" even now.

I started to transport myself to L.A. about 5:15P.M. It was very hard to go because I had a home full of sons and grandchildren. It was one of those "unplanned" events where you get the rare chance to get (almost) the whole family together. It happens about once a year or less...lately. However, we had just had pizza and I noticed that the girls were talking "girl talk" and the guys were into computer games and the grandkids were either just waking up or off playing the piano so...I took off for my pre-planned "bit of heaven" a choral concert. It took exactly 2 hours of frustrating slo-mo crawl to get to "The Disney" (concert hall) Yes, I arrived about 5 mins. too late and they wouldn't let me into my down-front edge seat. It was OK. My head was still buzzing. I watched a bit on the large Hi-Def screen over the bar. The sound was fine. The picture never changed though. ie. no zoom-in's to the soloists (who were fabulous) So...I had a $3.00 cup of warm coffee and a $3.00 cookie packet. The attendant said that was their minimum price; and listened.

I tried to enjoy "Rio de Sangre Suite" by Don Davis, I was impressed with the virtuosity of the soloists and perked up when I heard the chorale come in. Rich and full sounds with full percussive accompaniment. I couldn't get into the libretto or the translation much since I was so removed from the auditorium. It just wasn't "live" enough. I was wondering and hoping they had put in a device like they have at the Santa Fe Opera with a scrolling translated libretto read-out that you can touch in front of your seat. Guess not. So I just didn't get into the story line but just enjoyed the dynamics of the music.

During the intermission I went in and took my regular "season-ticketed" seat...or tried to. The fellow in the next seat had used it to store his folded jacket. So, I sat next to my seat which had more leg room anyway. Then, when everyone came back, those same three seats were still not being used, so I stayed there. The stage crew was busily rearranging the stage to accommodate less percussion and a beautiful harpist. I was all ready to be "transported" and "Transformed"... "Requiem" by Gabriel Faure.

Ah...indeed I was. This is my favorite requiem. We have a history together. I first got to sing it in the Church Choir of the Presbyterian Church in Eagle Rock.* My High School Choral teacher, Mr. Skance, was the choir director at that church and he needed a few more male singers. It was my first requiem and I sang bass/baritone. I fell in love with it. The romantically melodic phrases and themes kept "singing" in my head long this is so familiar. I've probably sung it three or four more times with different chorales. Chills.! I have several favorite passages but, I suppose, my most favorite is the "Libera Me" baritone solo and choral response "prayer" I have memorized it over the years and have used it twice to "audition" acappella for choirs. It is so poignant and pleading.

I was newly informed again by Victoria Looseleaf's notes in the program about Faure's work and his life. "...It opens with...rooted-to-the-earth D-minor chords but ends up in a magnificent literal and spriritual paradise, the tuneful treatment approaches death "transcendently". This is how I see death also...intimate, peaceful, adoring. Faure said he saw death as "a welcome deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness beyond the grave, rather than a painful experience." He wondrously accomplishes this harmonically and dynamically thanks to the expressive interpretation by Maestro Gershone and over 150 talented musicians. (I'd guess) This is part of the transcending thrill for me ie. to see his direction and facial emoting as he leads. I could hardly keep myself from "singing along" with the familiar words.

For many years now I've been a meditator. One of the continuing goals of my daily meditation is "transcendence". Last night's concert was about as close as it gets for me. I truly do transcend and transform myself, my thoughts, my very being when I hear such wonderful music. It inspires "a hope" in me that I'm incapable to express...tears of joy are all I have. Bob

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Mighty Oak

William Bryant Logan is an arborist and writer of "Oak: The Frame of Civilization" - a book about the 12,000-year relationship between people and oak trees. "No tree," he writes, "has been more useful to human beings than the oak."

The oak is not a tree in a hurry. Plant an oak and you won't be doing yourself any favors. Instead, you're putting down roots for your grandchildren's grandchildren. It isn't unusual for an oak to live 300 years. I remember a massively sheltering oak in the lower 40 of the Santa Ana Botanical Gardens in Claremont. I would take classes there and we'd rest underneath it. We'd dig down through several layers of mulch before hitting dirt. I probably had seen the local Cahilla Indians camping there.

Oaks are enfolding and enduring. They seem to hold our landscape in their embrace. Oaks link generations together. They are large and long-lived, but not out of human scale. If you want to plant them, learn about the variety of oaks and about the character of your own home place. Oaks are so adaptable that there is likely to be one for almost every kind of landscape. Some oaks like it wet; others like it dry. Some grow to 100 feet; other to only 30 or 40 feet. Some grow tall and some spread wide. (the one in Claremont was both tall and wide) Almost all like slightly acid soils, so it is important not to put them in alkaline situations.

Oaks may be enduring but they are not immortal. They do need care. In many cases, however, you must know when to leave an oak tree alone. To keep an oak, give it room. Don't compact the soils. Don't cut the roots. Don't over prune or top them. If you can, give them native surroundings, replacing lawn grasses with an under-story garden of native grasses and shrubs. We had about 4 city oak trees on our property in Claremont. I believe they were the "Holly Oak" variety. They were slow growing with leaves that looked like holly leaves; very prickly. They were prolific at producing acorns every year. Of course, with four boys, there were alot of acorn fights and acorn art with the little caps.

Now, I get apples at "Oak Glen" and sell houses just off of Oak Valley Parkway, Beaumont's new east/west corridor north of the I-10. I also sold homes at the Estates at Oak Valley Greens, a golf course nearby. I guess oak will always be around somewhere in my life. It is comforting and inspiring at the same time. I remember I had the dubious task of making the funeral arrangements for my dad. I chose a more expensive, oaken casket, just because it was "so like him", ie. good, solid, reliable, enduring, endearing, kind and protective. "Great Oaks from little acorns grow."

The Bizzaro comic strip in the upper right hand corner reminds me of a short story I once read about someone waiting for the last leaf of fall to finally fall before they could get on with or without their life. I think that is an oak tree and an oak leaf...always a living lesson. Bob

Thursday, November 03, 2005

At Seventy

I just found this inspiring poem by Judith Viorst, one of my favorite poets. It is from her recent book of collected poems on the delusions of aging: "I'm Too Young to be Seventy..."

At Seventy
Instead of "old,"
Let us consider
Or maybe, "oldish,"
Or something, anything,
That isn't always dressed
In sensible shoes
And fading underwear.
Besides which,
Seventy isn't old.
Ninety is old.
And though eighty
Is probably old,
We needn't decide that
Until we get there.
In the meantime
Let us consider
Drinking wine,
Making love,
Laughing hard,
Caring hard,
And learning a new trick or two
As part of our job description
At Seventy
(or 66)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Writing Right?

I'm starting the "learning curve" now! Stay tuned to see how and when it all comes full circle. Yes, I do want to learn how to write better. Journaling is one thing, but I secretly want to write something that I can get published or produced. Ya gotta have aspiration, right? I'm taking the beginning steps toward this process and we'll see where it leads. I made my second visit to the Crafton Hills College Campus since I took that Geology Course so long ago. This time I met with the Records and Admission Registrars in their offices under the "clock tower". They asked the key questions about a student ID # and "release of residency". I told them I had done that and that I had sent for my transcripts from L.A. State. They hadn't arrived yet and they wouldn't notify me. They suggested that I seek "counseling" on what I was hopefully planning to do. I then went to the "counseling offices" and made an appointment for next week. It was over an hour wait for a "drop-in". It will be 1/2 hr. with Debbie Bogh. That is the surname of a local councilman or superintendent I think. They said it would be good to bring evidence of course work or "units". I said I'd look and I may get copies from L.A. State by this time next week. What pre-requisites do I need? Can I realistically try to "matriculate"? Can I taylor-make a course of studies for my specialties? What might they be?
I then went back to my "visitor parked car" via the 3rd floor of the Library where they have a "Writing Center"/Writer's Cafe. It is just a small room with some couches, and longer tables and students who volunteer, I guess, to help and tutor other student in "writing" assignments etc. I walked in on one and asked to take the above pictures. Looked very interesting and non-threatening.

I then continued on my way in to get my monthly haircut and try to visit with Clark and Soren. Clark was supposed to be giving an inservice on clay firing, but I couldn't connect with him on his cell and the school was empty. I wanted to photograph him doing what he does best. I stopped by Borders and got a couple of books I've been meaning to give him and Soren: "The Little Engine that Could" There is now an up-dated version out. I got the old and new, for comparison. Soren loves books. After my hair cut and a fellafel, I stopped by their house and found Clark painting shelves in the driveway. I gave them the books and had to go. I had made an appointment to get my annual flu shots. My doctor recommends this since I take a medicine that lowers my immune system. I would've like to stay and read the books but it just didn't work out. Maybe next time...we'll get together then...I know we'll have a good time then. Maybe someday I'll have my own stories to read to my grandchildren, or maybe a screenplay or script. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Bob