Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Wednesday, 2021.04.21
It's not easy, being green.

		Kermit the Frog

2008.07.08

What A Difference A Door Makes

Wow.

I’ve wanted a new front door for 14 years. It was always on the plan…for next year. It closed. It locked…mostly. And there was always some other priority. Usually something cancer related. So it stayed. Today, that changed. Before…

And after (but still untrimmed and unpainted)…

For the first time ever, my front hall is filled with natural light in the evening. It makes it look and feel more like a home than it has in near 4 years. Maybe there is hope yet for this house of busted dreams.

[Edit History]

2008.07.09

Fixed typos and grammar.

2008.06.27

Mythological Facts In Dispute

I’m not a believer in astrology, in the sense that I find it at all useful for solving problems. But it is entertaining and kinda fun. Stumbled upon this entry in Wikipedia this morning, actually captures the essence:

It’s the “factual accuracy” that is disputed. I’ve been wanting to ask an astrologist what happened to the art when Pluto was downgraded? Or what about the other planets that were discovered in the galaxy. And arn’t they neglecting the influence of other large objects moving about in vacuums like astroids and Michael Moore?

I’m just askin’…

2007.04.15

Being Physically Sick Is Better Than…

…watching daytime television.

I was sick for a few days last week. Bad cold. When ever bugs like that descend upon my person for a visit, my distinct preference is to be sick 100% and push through the fight toward wellness. It’s rare when I’ll take medication of any sort. And all the cold/flu fix-it-up potions and pills from the Super Drugs-R-Us Store do squat for 1) making me feel better and 2) shortening the illness. My immune system is faaaaaaaaar more capable of accomplishing the task of returning to health than any pharmaceutically manufactured cold remedy could ever be. Supporting my body’s natural abilities toward optimum health is where I put the effort. So it’s lots of sleep, soups, teas and generally sweating through it.

Convalescing as I was, I tuned into broadcast television for the first time in over 18 months. I don’t have cable and except for the occasional nature show on PBS, the only thing showing on my television set was fed in through the DVD player. (Netflix is your friend!) Watching for about an hour had me feeling worse than before, and not just because of the cold. Flipping through the channels (all 10 or so of the regular broadcast channels) revealed nothing but crap. The sinking feeling I got, the feeling that had me feeling generally worse than before tuning in, was that people, lots of them, are actually watching this junk and most likely enjoying it. And as far as the news…the phrase “sound bite” suggests a generous portion of information when compared to what is actually delivered. That’s what passes for reporting? Being fed such nano-news nuggets leaves viewers with the feeling they are “informed?”

Broadcast television will continue to be excluded from my diet. And I won’t even have to work at it.

I found repair after a few moments with the elegant splendor of nature. The tulips survived the snow…

Tulips

…and the apple blossoms are on the verge of exploding.

Apple Blossoms

Alas, I will miss this treasured proclaimation of Spring this year as work will have me on the road this coming week. Hey, do you suppose hotel television is better in that margarine sort of way? I’ll explore and report back.

2007.03.21

The Passing of Cathy Seipp

This is a great loss.

Cathy was one of the few bloggers I followed consistently. I admired her writing style, enjoyed her humor, and delighted in the way she could both nudge the reader into thinking about things differently as well as deliver the proverbial slap shot to wake the reader up.

Her latest battle with lung cancer paralleled Janet’s final struggle and so I had a pretty good idea what was coming. Doesn’t make this loss any easier by any measure. Blessings to Cathy, her family and friends. As with Janet, I find solace in knowing she is no longer suffering. She shall continue to be a treasured source of inspiration for writing, for living.

Peace be the journey.

More on Pajamas Media.

[Edit History]

2007.03.21

Official obituary in the LA Times is here. More on Hot Air and Little Green Footballs.

2007.03.22

And Michelle Malkin.

2007.03.05

Beneath Snow…

…is the ground. And beneath the ground, are the crocus.

Crocus

Or so it was until this morning. There were robins in the trees on Friday. Spring is approaching.

2007.01.13

Rocky Mountain High

Spent most of the day in Breckenridge (Colorado) visiting my brother and nephew who are visiting from New York for a ski trip in the glorious Rocky Mountains. This is the view from I-70 about the Genesee exit.

Rocky Mountains

Simply breathtaking.

2007.01.01

2007 – Let’s Light This Candle

For the past two years I’ve had my own private Festival of Lights on the eve’s of Christmas and the New Year. That makes it a tradition. And it’s one of my own making. Building a new life, it turns out, rests on paying attention to the little things and building from there. Here are a few pictures from last night’s festival. In all, there were 68 candles this year. There were more last year, but this year I hadn’t bothered to find lamp oil for the oil candles. The music for the hours leading up to midnight: Eva Cassidy and Keola Beamer.

Table Center Piece

The tree is lit by magical Festival of Lights fairies. Either that or electricity, I can never remember which.

Sideboard

Music and candlelight. Together, they make something much more than just the parts.

Music

Even the bearded lady shows well in candlelight. About as well as she does in bright sunlight.

Jasmine

The wine was a bottle of a favorite I’d been holding for a while – Turnbull Merlot, 2003. It was excellent.

Turnbull Merlot

All set, the evening was spent thinking, remembering, planning and writing. I’m ready for 2007.

2006.12.29

Colorado Winter

A second sizable blast of winter arrived today and Jasmine was wearing the storm’s vanguard late yesterday afternoon. Being a Scottish breed, she is built for cold weather.

Jasmine

So far, the chimes still sing, but the drift is building. There is less wind this go around.

Chimes VI

And for Buddha, nothing special…

Winter Buddha V

This is how I remember the winters of my youth – lots of snow and cold.

2006.12.23

Free To Sing Again…

Chimes V

2006.12.21

End Of The Storm, End Of The Day

The storm appears to have passed. There are patches of blue sky…

Blue Sky

…the sun shines on the frozen wind chimes, lighting a promise they will sing again…

Chimes IV

…and still, is Buddha…

Winter Buddha IV

Such is Colorado.

Snowed In

And loving it. The wind chime chimes no more…

Chimes III

    Somewhere within these drifts rests the silent wind chime…

    Roof Drifts

    The view from the front door…

    Front Door View

    That drift hanging over the eve has crashed down several times during the night with a deep thud. Such noises, like Summer thunder, get Jasmine’s attention and she barks to alert the house. This also means that the snow just outside the garage has been well packed by both the wind and the falling drift from the roof. The final link in all this is that I have to chisel my way out when clearing the driveway. Sure enough. The ruler is showing 37.5 inches of hard packed snow.

    Shoveling

    And still, is Buddha…

    Winter Buddha III

2006.12.20

The Day Fades On A Fierce Storm

The snow continues to blanket my humble home…

Chimes II

…while the wind improvises a symphony with the wind chimes (click image to see video)…

Winter Wind Chimes

…and still, is Buddha…

Winter Buddha II

Inside is warm…

Dinner on the Hearth

Yes, that’s my fine dinnerware you see there (Thanksgiving leftovers, yum!) The beer, an excellent home brew we called “Ode to Oscar Stout” in honor of Little Big Man himself, has been featured on this blog before.

The Developing Storm

A view of the wind chimes outside the second floor window. The ridge of snow is a drift being created on the lower level roof by the wind. Normally, there would be a clear view down to the driveway below.

Chimes

This intrepid sparrow has been camped at the bird feeder for the better part of an hour. He is on the down wind side of the feeder and thus protected from the driving snow. Plus, he has easy access to the seed with no apparent competition. In spite of the weather, this little fellow projects a rather cozy image.

Sparrow

Winter Meditation

Denver and the front range are currently getting hammered by the worst storm of the season, so far anyway. Some are saying it will be worse than the blizzard of ’03. For Buddha, this is just another moment.
Winter Buddha

2006.11.22

Mac Duff

Lay on, MacDuff, and curs’d be him who first cries, “Hold, enough!”. — Shakespeare

Re-read my post on Mac Duff moving on and thought of a few things I wanted to add.

First, I wanted to say more about Dr Ann Brandenburg-Schroeder. She is a tiny woman, a grandmotherly figure who looks like she stepped off a Norman Rockwell painting. Neither her attire or her bags had the slightest suggestion of being a veterinarian. And Mac Duff’s nose was as curious as ever about what she was carrying. He quickly found the biscuits and was welcome to them. Dr. Ann thought of every detail and asked me questions like if I wanted a snip of Mac Duff’s fur (I had already done that) or a paw print in clay (which I accepted). She even researched the proper tartan for the Mac Duff clan and tried to match the blanket he would be wrapped in after he was gone.

In addition to explaining what she was going to do, several times, she carefully explained what Mac Duff’s reactions would likely be along the way. I knew most of what to expect, but if this was a first time or if there were kids saying goodbye to a pet, her explanations would have been priceless in helping them with the experience.

Dr. Ann talked about how after the last shot, and Mac Duff’s breathing and heart had stopped, animals sometimes take one last quick breath. She described this as the soul leaving the animal’s body and not to be alarmed by it. She was also willing to let me spend as much time with Mac Duff after he died as I wanted. I told her all I wanted to do, after his breathing and heart had stopped and he was leaving his body, was to play a piece on the cello which Mac Duff seemed to like. And so, when it was time, I played the “Ashokan Farewell” for Mac Duff. (Alas, I hadn’t practiced the piece on the bag pipes for the lad!)

Dr. Ann took care of the cremation arrangements as well. I like it that they use the metal tag identifier with pets like they do with people. Dr. Ann had recorded Mac Duff’s tag number on my receipt and tied the metal tag to his front left paw with, what else, a tartan ribbon.

I helped wrap Mac Duff’s body in the tartan blanket Dr. Ann had brought and I carried him out to her car. She had lined the back of her VW wagon with blankets of the same tartan and had a pillow ready for Mac Duff’s head. I put Mac Duff’s little body in the back, scratched his ears one last time and stepped back. He looked every bit like he was taking one of his naps. Dr. Ann said I could close the hatchback of her car when I was ready. I didn’t need long, Mac Duff was gone.

Wow. What a contrast to the way Pfred and Oscar had to leave. Particularly Oscar, for I believe he unfortunately suffered more than necessary before his death. He knew where he was and he absolutely hated the vet or anything that so much as suggested a cage of any kind. A dislike no doubt coming from his first 6 months in a puppy mill cage shared with a bigger dog that continually attacked him.

Time HealsThe next day I met a friend for lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Marie and I feel the same about our dogs and loosing one is no small thing. At the end of the meal, the fortune cookie for me was “Time heals all wounds”. I had written quite a bit about this particular phrase in a notebook I’m using to collect such thoughts which will eventually end up in the book I need to write.

Any truth behind this phrase is a myth. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. I’d say unequivocally it doesn’t heal any wounds. What it can do is give those who have suffered a loss the opportunity to grow, explore and discover new and deeper ways to live. Time gives those with even a small amount of courage the opportunity to find ways toward strengthening their soul and moving forward. And in doing so, the distance traveled gives perspective and reveals meaning about the rough road behind them. It doesn’t matter that others fail to understand this insight. It only matters to those who have suffered such deep losses. For them, there is no such thing as just another sunrise or sunset. It is the paradoxical gain that comes from loss.


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