Saturday, December 23, 2006

You Just Think You're Going To Fly ~

My heart goes out to all those trapped by fog, snow and other reasons travel plans have been interruped. Hopefully, their sense of adventure will take over and they will make the best of what could be a dreadful situation ...

One Of Each Is Fine ~

It's almost C-day and just in case you are still wondering what to get your significant or in-significant other, I have a few last minute shopping suggestions!!!

Jewel-Encrusted Ice Bucket $100,000 PLUS $1,500 per bottle

Not content with storing your bottle of bubbly in the fridge? Taffin jeweler James de Givenchy has created a platinum-lined Krug commissioned ice bucket with white opals dotting the red lacquer exterior. Combine it with a bottle of prestige cuvee and you have yourself a party.

Diamond Earrings

These 60 carat, flawless drop diamond earrings are sure to please those who love their ice.

For more information, visit

Trip To Space
$1.8 million

Those in search of a fantasy flight of a lifetime might want to reserve Virgin Galactic’s six-seater suborbital space plane, which takes flight in 2009.
Before the two-and-a-half-hour trip, passengers will undergo several days of pre-examination and physical fitness preparation in the Mojave Desert. Post-landing, those aboard and one guest head to Necker Island, Branson’s private Bahamian getaway, for four days.

For more information, go to

But in reality, it's nothing material that we give that's the most important in the end. Yes, it's nice to have the excitement of something wrapped and pretty. It's also nice to have something that lasts FAR longer and means much more. And that is the gift of ourselves. The who we are, the what we are and all the "how" we are. The quiet moments, the open sharing, the wonder of someone understanding. These are gifts that remain long after the others are forgotten, broken or no longer needed.

So - going into the wonders of the season - let's go after the wonders of other people and what we can mean to them!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Early Morning Thoughts ~ family

As I read blogs and commentaries this week, I was struck by the number of people dealing with family, family issues and repairing/bringing back family bonds. As I will not be with direct family this holiday, I began to think about the connections that bind us together. The bonds that create the world around us. Are we family by DNA or family by choice. I'm not sure there is always a difference.

What Is Family?
Family are the shouts in the dark that keep you awake
trying to be invisible under your blankets.
Family is the warm heart you run to
when everyone else at the rink skates too fast
and you've cut your knees on the ice.
Family are given to you at birth
with your eyes and lips and nose.
They will stick to you wherever you go
and shape how you see
and what you say
and how you are seen
Family are found new each day
wherever you put your heart last.
Family are the people you share bread with,
and whoever you share the lack of bread with.
Sometimes your family aren't people.
Family is whoever lives under the tent of your soul.
Your family can be as big as you are,
and from birth to death, your real, real family
are the ones who make you grow bigger

poem by Anitra L. Freeman from "Families of Poems"

So, during this holiday, I intend to examine my connections to those around me and those who are my DNA family. I want to learn even more where I fit in, what I need to change to make those connections better ... and how I can help in bringing those around to their full potential of who they are and what they can be. A wise man once said: There are only two kinds of people in the world - those that want to lower you to their level and keep you there and those that want you to soar higher than you or they thought possible. I only want to be in the latter group.

On Self-Knowledge

And a man said, "Speak to us of Self-Knowledge."

And he answered, saying:

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.

You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.

You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.

The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;

And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.

But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;

And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.

For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."

Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."

For the soul walks upon all paths.

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.

The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
Kahlil Gibran "The Prophet"

AbFab Or Not ~

'Tis the season to be jolly, and totally surprised at gifts, thoughts and people. The other day on public transportation I was amazed at how people were reacting to each other, and anything that might happen. Let's just say that Santa was going to make a lot of notes on naughty or nice.

I was invited to attend an afternoon party. I knew it was going to be trouble when the host(ess) used the word fabulous four times in the conversation to describe the

So, looking at some ideas that are fabulous (AbFab) or not ....

For those who just have to grab something for a last minute gift, this is NOT what you should offer - even at a white elephant party... No, just NO!!!

Christmas is the time of peace on earth, etc. I have difficulty thinking that these little fellows do much to promote that...actually, nothing at all to promote peace.

And you know your day is less than fabulous if the school calls to say something about your child saying something....

And while we're on the subject of doing ~ This is NOT an option, even if your neighbor IS playing "Grandma' got run over by a reindeer" with his flashing lights from 9pm until midnight EVERY night.
(your punishment if you do would be having to watch the Cartoon Network movie of the same name for eternity!!!!)

Now, this one will do without explanation. Perfect for that relation. Just tell them it's building character, muscles and whatever else you can think of!!!

And now, just for me ~ I wish for peace, joy, happiness all that "stuff." But what would really make my day, month, year would be to find just the right person under the mistletoe ... and then someone could sing (a HUGE choir would be fabulous!!!) I saw Daddy kissing Santa Claus! Who would be daddy and what would happen later is NONE of your business!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Early Morning Thoughts ~ hold fast to dreams

This was going to be a night I slid into the comforting arms of sleep early. I was going to curl up in the warmth of my mind and allow my body to sink into the relaxed state where pain went away. And, here I am somewhat awake, somewhat sleepy. Feeling as if I am unable to participate totally in either state.

So I began to contemplate dreams - not the air-brushed kind that fade in the morning as the light fog in the garden, but the kind that poets use to drive us onward, upward and to greater accomplishments than we ever thought possible.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Dreams by Langston Hughes

Once in the dream of a night I stood
Lone in the light of a magical wood,
Soul-deep in visions that poppy-like sprang;
And spirits of Truth were the birds that sang,
And spirits of Love were the stars that glowed,
And spirits of Peace were the streams that flowed
In that magical wood in the land of sleep.
Excerpt from: Song of a Dream
Sarojini Naidu

Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation.
Darkness wakes and stir imagination.
Silently the senses abandon their defenses,
Helpless to resist the notes I write,
For I compose the Music of the Night.

Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor.
Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender.
Hearing is believing. Music is deceiving.
Hard as lightening, soft as candlelight.
Dare you trust the Music of the Night?

Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to hear.
In the dark it is easy to pretend...
That the truth is what it ought to be.

Softly, deftly, music shall caress you.
Hear it, fear it, secretly possess you.
Open up your mind; let your fantasies unwind.
In this darkness which you know you cannot find.
The darkness of the Music of the Night.

Close your eyes, start a journey to a strange new world.
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before.
Close your eyes and let music set you free...
Only then can you belong to me.

Floating, falling, sweet intoxication.
Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation.
Let the dream begin; let your darker side give in
To the power of the music that I write,
The power of the Music of the Night.

You alone can make my song take flight.
Help me make the Music of the Night.

"Music of the Night" by Andrew Lloyd Webber

And so I take hold of the music of my dreams
and push them toward reality.
For this is the time of day when
I alone am in charge.
I can dare to hope,
dare to plan
and dare to believe.

I am here!

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night ~

This is a break from Christmas with an award contest that I really enjoy. For those who read the title and immediately thought of Snoopy sitting at the typewriter, let me tell you that the phrase is far older than that:
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)
It's not that Bulwer-Lytton wasn't a thinker, as he was very good at observations about life and people:
"The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it."
for example. It's just that as a novelist he, as many of the writers of the time, wasn't very good. And to compound matters, Bulwer-Lytton kept inflicting his novels on the public: The Last Days of Pompeii, Eugene Aram, Rienzi, The Caxtons, The Coming Race, and--not least--Paul Clifford.

He also entered some great quotes into our daily use: "the pen is mightier than the sword," "the great unwashed,(my personal favorite)" and "the almighty dollar."

In 1982 The English Department at San Jose State University started sponsoring the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.

Over the years the contest has grown and the entries more fun. I understand that some people spend up to a year working on their sentences. Here are some of the winners: (I'll have more on later posts!)

Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.
--Jim Guigli Carmichael, CA (2006 winner)

A single sparkling tear fell from Little Mary's cheek onto the sidewalk, then slid into the storm drain, there to join in its course the mighty waters of the Los Angeles River and, eventually, Long Beach Harbor, with its state-of-the-art container-freight processing facilities.
--Bill Mac Iver, Berkeley, CA (2006 Purple Prose Winner)

The camel died quite suddenly on the second day, and Selena fretted sulkily and, buffing her already impeccable nails--not for the first time since the journey began--pondered snidely if this would dissolve into a vignette of minor inconveniences like all the other holidays spent with Basil.
--Gail Cain, San Francisco, California (1983 Winner)

Professor Frobisher couldn't believe he had missed seeing it for so long--it was, after all, right there under his nose--but in all his years of research into the intricate and mysterious ways of the universe, he had never noticed that the freckles on his upper lip, just below and to the left of the nostril, partially hidden until now by a hairy mole he had just removed a week before, exactly matched the pattern of the stars in the Pleides, down to the angry red zit that had just popped up where he and his colleagues had only today discovered an exploding nova.
--Ray C. Gainey, Indianapolis, Indiana (1989 Winner)

Sultry it was and humid, but no whisper of air caused the plump, laden spears of golden grain to nod their burdened heads as they unheedingly awaited the cyclic rape of their gleaming treasure, while overhead the burning orb of luminescence ascended its ever-upward path toward a sweltering celestial apex, for although it is not in Kansas that our story takes place, it looks godawful like it.
--Judy Frazier, Lathrop, Missouri (1991 Winner)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Early Morning Thoughts ~ what about love?

In the wonderful musical "Oliver" there is an amazing tune: "Where is Love?" Where indeed. As I mentioned yesterday in early morning thoughts, I too am waiting. At my (.. ahem ..) age, being alone is sometimes not the best in the world. However, I have learned that it is better to be alone for the right reasons, than to be with someone for the wrong reasons. Will I know? How will I know love?
Does it fall from skies above?
Is it underneath the willow tree
That I've been dream of?

Will I ever know the sweet "hello"
That's only meant for me?

Must I travel far and wide?
'Til I am bedside the someone who
I can mean something to ...

Several years ago I wrote the following. The story of how it came to me is not as important tonight as what I felt, and what resonated within me. I have shared this poem very rarely however, with tonight's/today's thoughts I felt it links to all that is here this morning.

You Looked

You looked at me and smiled.
I was unprepared.
You looked at me and spoke.
I was unprepared.
You looked at me and touched me.
I was unprepared.
And, for a moment, only a moment,
Unable to speak,
Unable to smile,
Unable to touch.
Then, I looked and smiled.
I looked and spoke.
I looked and touched.
In that moment,
that moment of happening,
I knew. I knew what I was worth.
I knew who I was.
I knew what I was.
And I was grateful.

Copyright wd

I Held a Jewel in My Fingers

I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep
The day was warm, and winds were prosy
I said, "Twill keep"

I woke - and chide my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.

Emily Dickinson

The Rainbow

. . . she saw the dun atmosphere over the blackened hills opposite, the dark blotches of houses, slate roofed and amorphous, the old church-tower standing up in hideous obsoleteness above raw new houses on the crest of the hill, the amorphous, brittle, hard edged new houses advancing from Beldover to meet the corrupt new houses from Lethley, the houses of Lethley advancing to mix with the houses of Hainor, a dry, brittle, terrible corruption spreading over the face of the land, and she was sick with nausea so deep that she perished as she sat.

And then, in the blowing clouds, she saw a band of faint iridescence colouring in faint colours a portion of the hill. And forgetting startled, she looked for the hovering colour and saw a rainbow forming itself. In one place it gleamed fiercely, and, her heart anguished with hope, she sought the shadow of iris where the bow should be.

Steadily the colour gathered, mysteriously, from nowhere, it took presence upon itself, there was a faint, vast rainbow. The arc bended and strengthened itself till it arched indomitable, making great architecture of light and colour and the space of heaven, its pedestals luminous in the corruption of new houses on the low hill, its arch the top of heaven.

And the rainbow stood on the earth. She knew that the sordid people who crept hard-scaled and separate on the face of the world's corruption were living still, that the rainbow was arched in their blood and would quiver to life in their spirit, that they would cast off their horny covering of disintegration, that new, clean, naked bodies would issue to a new germination, to a new growth, rising to the light and the wind and the clean rain of heaven.

She saw in the rainbow the earth's new architecture, the old, brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away, the world built up in a living fabric of Truth, fitting to the over-arching heaven.

D. H. Lawrence

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Early Morning Thoughts ~ waiting and looking

Whether the love is real and physical, lost and still enshrined in the heart or still something to be attained ~ this poem speaks on so many levels. And yes, I'm one that's waiting, but it will be worth it!

Late At Night -
Poem by Nima Youshij

Translated from Sorani Kurdish,
adopted to English and Romanised from Arabic scripts by Dr Rebwar Fatah

At the moment
When the shadows seep
Between branches of the trees

The love of your sweet heart
Is sad for the darkness of night
At that moment
My eyes are watching the road
For you

Late at night
At the moment
When the motionless valleys and hills
Are the body of a soulless snake

At that moment,
When convolvulus, like a lover,
Embraces the bodies of the pine trees
Whether I am in your memory or not
My mind is only with you
In the way that I came to being
My eyes are still watching the road
For you.

(entwined trees from a painting by Patty Torres)

In Romanised Kurdish
Shew diringan

Shew diringan
Lew demeyida sêber le nêwan liqî telacinda
Resh deçinewe
Ewînidarî dillixesiteyî to be tarîkî shew mate
Lew demeyida emin çawim le rêgate

Shew diringan
Lew demeyida ke shîw u doll
Çeshinî cesteyî marî bêgîn
Le bizûtin dademênê

Lew demeyida
Gullî lawilaw desit le bejinî seriwî shaxan dehallênê
Eto yadim bikeyî ya na
Emin bîrim her lelate
Çonê ke bûm
Emin çawim le rêgate

Poem by Persian poet Nima Youshij (1895 - 1969)
Translated from Farsi to Kurdish by Nasir Husami
Translated form Kurdish to English by Dr Rebwar Fatah
Composed by Fariborz Fazari

Early Morning Thoughts ~ what have we lost?

Time Magazine has made it official You (and I) are Time's "person of the year."

Quoting briefly from the article:
For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.

But a number of years ago T.S. Eliot wondered (poetically of course):
With all the technological advances and change, Is mankind happier or wiser than he was 100 years ago?
"Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of heaven in twenty centuries
Brings us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.

The lot of man is ceaseless labor,
Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder,
Or irregular labour, which is not pleasant.
I have trodden the winepress alone, and I know
That it is hard to be really useful, resigning
The things that men count for happiness, seeking
The good deeds that lead to obscurity, accepting
With equal face those that bring ignominy,
The applause of all or the love of none.
All men are ready to invest their money
But most expect dividends.
I say to you: Make perfect your will.
I say: take no thought of the harvest,
But only of proper sowing.

The world turns and the world changes,
But one thing does not change.
In all of my years, one thing does not change,
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.

from "The Rock"

Monday, December 18, 2006

Manic Monday Timewaster ~

Of course, none of us ever waste time (ahem-ahem), but this delightful little game courtesy of OfficeMax ... It only takes a few moments to learn, and a few moments to play.

Play Reindeer Arm Wrestling here!!!

Just a small word of warning ~

Just don't do as this fellow did playing World of Warcraft at work. (Take it from me - Anugamma in the game) This is NOT a good idea!!!

Darwin May Have Had A Good Idea ~

As I mentioned previously there are several lists that I enjoy each year. The Darwin Awards is one of my favorites. I'm continually amazed at what people continually do to themselves and others. Here are some of this years nominees. If you would like to vote you can go here to see current nominations, and see past winners (and imagine what's left of them).

(September 2006, Florida) A fearsome mythical giant was felled by a humble slingshot. But a modern speargun vs. an underwater leviathan is another tale altogether, as a Florida man discovered.
Outlawed in 1990, hunting Goliath-sized groupers remains surprisingly popular. These fish can weigh hundreds of pounds, yet there are underwater hunters who choose to tether themselves to such muscular sea creatures. However unlikely a pursuit, the poaching of groupers by divers and snorkelers continues, in defiance of both the law and common sense.
Of this elite group, our Darwin Award winner distinguished himself yet further by disregarding one essential spearfishing precaution. By embarking on this hunt without a knife to cut himself loose, the "fit and experienced snorkeler" was guaranteeing that his next attack on a giant grouper would be his last.
Why anyone thinks it's a good idea to tether yourself to a fish twice your size, I don't know. Some time later, the body of the spearfisher was found pinned to the coral, 17 feet underwater. Three coils of line were wrapped around his wrist, and one very dead grouper was impaled at the other end of the line.
In those final hours, the tables were turned, and the fish was given an opportunity to reflect on the experience of "catching a person."

(17 April 2006, England) There's always someone who thinks good advice doesn't apply to him. For example, if a doctor advises that the one thing you must not do is go near a flame, as you are going to be covered wtih a flammable material, most people would take this advice onboard, and not strike a match until the flammable material has been removed.

However, Phillip, 60, knew better than his doctor. Philip was in the hospital to treat a skin disease, said treatment consisting of being smeared in paraffin-based cream. Philip was warned that the cream would ignite, so he definitely should NOT smoke. But he just couldn't live without that cigarette."

Smoking was not permitted anywhere on the ward, but Phillip took this setback in stride, and sneaked out onto a fire escape. Once he was hidden, he lit up... inhaled... and peace descended as he got his nicotine fix. Things went downhill only after he finished his cigarette, at the moment he ground out the butt with his heel.

The paraffin cream had been absorbed by his clothing. As his heel touched the butt, fumes from his pyjamas ignited. The resulting inferno "cremated" his skin condition, and left first-degree burns on much of his body. Despite excellent treatment, he died in intensive care.

(August 2006, Brazil) August brings us a winner from Brazil, who tried to disassemble a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) by driving back and forth over it with a car. This technique was ineffective, so he escalated to pounding the RPG with a sledgehammer. The second try worked--in a sense. The explosion proved fatal to one man, six cars, and the repair shop wherein the efforts took place.

14 more RPG grenades were found in a car parked nearby. Police believe the ammunition was being scavenged to sell as scrap metal. If it wasn't scrap then, it certainly is now!

(19 March 2006, Belize) Benjamin Franklin reputedly flew his kite in a lightning storm, going on to discover that lightning == electricity. However, certain precautions must be taken to avoid, as Ben Franklin did, sudden electrocution.

Kennon, 26, replicated the conditions of Ben Franklin's experiment--sans safety precautions. He was flying a kite, with a short string that he had extended with a length of thin copper wire.

The copper made contact with a high tension line, sending a bolt of artificial lightning down the wire. As Kennon was an electrician, Kennon's father told listeners, his son "should have known better."

Here is last year's winner!

Chimney-Cleaning Grenade 2005 Darwin Award Winner Confirmed True by Darwin

(13 January 2005, Croatia) One fateful afternoon, 55-year-old Marko retreated to his semi-detached workshop to make himself a tool for chimney cleaning. The chimney was too high for a simple broom to work, but if he could attach a brush to a chain and then weigh it down with something, that would do the trick. But what could he use as a weight?

He happened to have the perfect object. It was heavy, yet compact. And best of all, it was made of metal, so he could weld it to the chain. He must have somehow overlooked the fact that it was also a hand grenade and was filled with explosive material.

Marko turned on his welding apparatus and began to create an arc between the chain and the grenade. As the metal heated up, the grenade exploded. The force of the explosion killed poor Marko instantly, blasting shrapnel through the walls of the shed and shattering the windshield of a Mercedes parked outside. Marko's chimney was untouched, however.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Early Morning Thoughts ~

As I looked outside, the weather
matched within.
My heart cried out, but
I heard no one.
I felt no one.

As I looked inside, my mood
attempted to match
what I was seeing.

It seemed bleak,
not forgetting,
with\ out hope or

But as I continued to look
within, and without
I realized that
the choice
is mine.

The hope is mine.

I have to create it,
nurture it,
offer it all it needs.

The inner spinning
brought out
the life I was
needing at that