Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!

To all, a safe, healthy, prosperous New Year in which you experience Peace Profound. Designate a driver tonight if you're out and about. We'll be in, barbecuing Harris Ranch filets and watching the ball drop.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

The image relates directly to my first New Year's resolution--to get rid of "mind poison." Anybody following the gist of my statements on Facebook the past several months knows how completely disillusioned I've become with government, and that in November I expressed my dissatisfaction with my vote by voting for neither of the two major (only viable) political parties. But here is where I've remained stuck, feeling helpless that nothing short of a revolution can bring about change. Well, I can't keep putting that thought out into the ether. Instead, I vow to focus on healing thoughts, thoughts of peaceful change, and to not fall victim to cynicism. I want my idealist back. There can be no change if I give up.

My second resolution is to listen to my intuition more, to pay closer attention to impressions and to gut feelings. My third resolution is to learn to trust them enough to actually act on them.

My fourth resolution has to do with my own physical health. I've already started doing some beginner's yoga and once I clear up some lower back issues, I want to start using my treadmill and Power Blocks (weight lifting) again. The goal is to drop some unneeded bodyfat and to lower my cholesterol. This also means making wiser food choices and controlling portion sizes. Healthy body/healthy mind.

Finally, my fifth resolution is to love more. To wonder more. To marvel more. To laugh more. To do my best to bring joy and light to others rather than getting into useless arguments. To always keep an open mind and to be less "I'm right and you're wrong" in my approach to those with whom I disagree. To invite meaningful dialogue but to not come off as a broken record, as I sometimes do. And to not take it so personally when someone misunderstands me. To remain positive. When there is an impasse, to love them anyway.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Symphony of Science: The Quantum World

Physicists are only now just finally beginning to get a handle on what the mystics have always known--there are natural laws that ultimately make sense of everything, and in understanding natural laws (start with the tiny things), you'll understand the bigger things. As above, so below. Look within; see the music, the symphony, within yourself, and that will bring you closer to what we term The One.

Hat tip to Frater Bobby.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Namaste Anyway

I've been trying lately to pin down what it is the mystics are doing, precisely, in their quest for union with the divine. It is often expressed as the relationship of the Lover and the Beloved, such as in the poems of Rumi. It is often expressed as a dance. It is often expressed as the absence of Ego (the "I") and the ecstatic feeling of being One with All. It is, in fact, impossible to describe. I suppose the mystics can only point to the way. Or, not even that. They point to a way.

Others describe psychedelics as providing the same experience, and some scientists say we are wired for religious experiences. It's just biology--DMT, for instance, made in the human brain giving you this feeling.  If we stimulate this area of the brain, the subject "sees" or at least senses a celestial being.

Does that make these experiences no less real, no less spiritual? Visions on vision quests, hallucinations during long periods of fasting, hearing that "still, small voice" when pushing the body to its limits, near-death experiences: are our minds playing tricks on us, or are there truly other dimensions, time/space are merely social constructs, and we're just stuck on a materialistic third-dimensional plane and don't even know the half of what "reality" actually is?

Well, I don't know. My mind is open to all possibilities, but I can say, like Jung, that the more you peer into this stuff, the more you stop believing in coincidences and start believing in synchronicity. Everything starts to become imbued with meaning and you start having dreams that answer your questions and you begin to wonder. Surely we creatures have purpose--we have consciousness. Then again, how do I know a tree or a rock doesn't have consciousness? Better yet, what is consciousness? If you've ever had a lucid dream--a dream in which you become conscious of the fact that you're dreaming, and, fascinated, you continue to watch or even start directing your own dream--consciousness starts to become a slippery concept.

At risk of sounding moronic, I guess I have created my own little cosmology. I realize it's not the truth: it's just a way of articulating the basic concept. It goes something like this. The universe is One; the Divine is One. We are all parts of the One, which is full consciousness--or an entity coming to full consciousness, evolving or self-realizing as if each of Its individual cells were becoming conscious, one by one. (See what I mean about it being impossible to explain?) Each human being is a part of this Cosmic Consciousness. We consist of physical body (a material body that holds your soul or divine spark); mind (which we all have, a thinking, rational brain that consists of conscious, unconscious, and collective unconscious); and then your Ego personality (the "you" of this incarnation). The purpose is to evolve through multiple incarnations as human being until you "get it"--remember Cosmic Consciousness, and all else drops away; you become a conscious cell of the Divine and there is no longer any need to incarnate as human. Then perhaps God will have another task for you--as helper or guide or who knows?

So this sounds like a lot of New Age gobbledygook. It is just possible that you live, you die, you rot away, and there is nothing else.

My intuition rejects that notion--and not because I need some sort of dogma or religion as if it were a life insurance policy. I'm not afraid of death or Hell. I just intuitively "know" we have purpose, and that the purpose is to return to God. We each carry inside the breath of God, the Divine flowing through us, if only we will see it. Knowing that, it is impossible to not love one another. Everyone is a flowering plant in various stages of development. If bad shit happens to you, worry not: even if you die, you'll be back, until you get it right.

When I look at the world this way, and I look at my credit cards and social security number, and I think about bills to be paid and how much we all worry about debt and how so many of us make ourselves sick working our asses off at jobs we don't care about just to get money to feed ourselves some non-nutritional crap brought to you by Monsanto or DuPont or Dow Chemical and how everything has been reduced to profit-making--water is for sale, for god's sake. Next they'll be charging us for clean air (don't laugh--walk through a casino in Las Vegas and you will find "oxygen bars"), you just know the modern era is absurd. If some company making an extra dollar is valued more than seeing to it every human being has the basic necessities for life without having to hock everything they have just to get those things, and if the same people owning the companies claim to love Jesus, you just know the modern era is absurd.

And so if I reject materialism, then you'll understand the appeal of spirituality. And you don't have to believe a word I say. Namaste. Namaste anyway.

Monday, December 17, 2012


I've always held an affinity for certain rocks or crystals and keep a few special ones on my altar. There are those who claim certain stones or crystals are good for activating particular chakras and the like. I don't believe they do in any sort of magical way (any more than I believe wearing, say,  a protective talisman will ward off evil spirits), but stones, crystals, minerals and such do exude certain energies. Some people are more sensitive to their energies than I am, but one that I own about five pieces of (three on my altar, one in my office, and one that I use as an occasional pocket stone) is labradorite. If you watch the video above, you'll see why.

It reminds me always of a metaphor to apply to people: they are not always as they seem. Someone can seem plain, average, or even ugly, but look at them from a different direction or viewpoint, and someone beautiful may actually be right there in front of you and you never took the time to pay attention.

Technically, labradorite is a feldspar mineral. New Age healers attribute all sorts of properties to it, among them relief of anxiety, increased focus and clarity, increased intuition and psychic ability, and improving the ability to have lucid dreams or astral project.

In a word, it's cool.

Friday, December 14, 2012

I Grieve

For all those affected by the horrible events in Connecticut today. There are no words. Hold your loved ones a little tighter today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


The only way to lead is by example, and the only thing you truly have any control over is yourself.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Here and the Now

We are twelve days away from the Winter Solstice (3:12am on the 21st here, to be precise) and entry into the Age of Aquarius. The Mayan calendar also ends on this date. What should we expect to happen?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It is not the end of the world, although some may see it as such (those who believe we are already in End Times, for example). But it's merely a shift, leaving the Age of Pisces to the next age in the progression--you can think of it as a change in seasons. Shifts don't happen like a fingersnap every 26,000 years or so. We've been already shifting (some argue the current shift to Aquarius started with the Renaissance or Enlightenment, in fact). The New Age movement has been around for a while. In other words, our whole lives we've been on the cusp anyway.

The only thing to expect is continual change--and it's up to each one of us to decide whether our own personal changes will be positive and creative, or negative and destructive. Either way, you will evolve whether you like it or not. You'll either be aware of it, or you won't. You can be excited about this, or you can be afraid or merely apathetic.

Me, I see this as an exciting time to be alive. Maybe it's because I've been meditating more lately or connecting more with my spirituality, but my dreams are becoming more vivid and I'm becoming aware of guides or helpers sent my way. Certainly I've become--and this could also be a function of my age, fifty--I'm quite less concerned with material things and much more concerned with fulfilling my purpose for being here in this incarnation. In all things the answer is compassion. Forgiveness. Treating others well even if they spit on you. (Sometimes they spit on you and aren't even aware they're doing it.) My temper is really evening out. Whereas (especially when I was a drinker) I would occasionally go on a rant or a pitch a tiny fit over some injustice, now these things are more likely to fill me with sadness and I do what I can to appeal to the goodness in others. Very few people are actually hateful. It's just that most hateful people feel hated or misunderstood, and that is the problem.

I'm reading more, painting more, playing music more.

The Age of Aquarius is an invitation from the Cosmos to evolve past third dimension materialism. It's personal. It's inner alchemy, inner transformation. Find your Truth and follow it. The Kingdom of Heaven is already here--look into your heart and you will see. The time is here; the time is now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life of Pi

Eh, life. I haven't blogged in forever. It's just the usual after-Thanksgiving Break crunch, when papers are due; I return one set only to get another. This keeps up until after final exams. I'm on the verge of tearing my hair out, but I've been remembering to take at least a little time for myself. So, last Sunday, I went to see the movie Life of Pi--and was wowed.

A caveat: I have not read the book (although I may now). A friend who has tells me the ending of the movie is different from that of the book, but since I don't intend to talk about the ending (no spoilers!), that doesn't matter to me. Frankly, the ending made sense to me. We have two storylines. As the viewer, you get to pick the one you like. The one you prefer says something about who you are.

This is a movie about the existence of God (is there a God? Which religion is "right" about God? Does that even matter?), the natural world of beauty vs. destruction, and the human drive for survival and that remarkable thing we call consciousness. What's real? What isn't?

I saw the film in its 3D format, and with big questions such as these on the line, I suggest you do so as well. Certain elements pop out at you at just the right time, so the form fits the message in 3D as well. The director, Ang Lee, of Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame, knows what he's doing, and I'd say this one is a masterpiece of film-making and is by far the best film I've seen this year--maybe even in several years. I'm not much of a crier in films, but I admit it: I shed tears twice during two scenes that moved my cold, dead heart (okay, I'm kidding about the cold, dead heart.) But shedding tears during a movie is rare for me.

The basic storyline is this: the film is framed by a blocked writer in search of a story. In India, he's met a man who tells him to seek out Pi in Canada, who will tell him a story that will make him believe in God. (Pi jokes that this same man would say a good meal would make a person believe in God.) But the writer seeks Pi out and asks to hear his story. The film is Pi's story. As a child, Pi was an inquisitive young man, reading books by Camus and Dostosvesky, and also in search of a god or gods to believe in, so he winds up embracing bits of Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. His father is sheer rationality and argues there is no sense in getting on a prayer rug and saying "Allah Akbar" and then at the dinner table the same night, declaring he wants to be baptized. But his mother realizes her son is a seeker and indulges him.

Eventually the political situation in India changes, so the family must move. They run a zoo (the animals are theirs, including a beautiful Bengal tiger), but the land is not, so they book passage on a Japanese freighter to make their way to Winnipeg, Canada, to start a new life. One night the ship runs into a wicked storm and the vessel is damaged and begins to sink. After swimming underwater down into the cargo hold to set the animals free, Pi manages to make his way onto a lifeboat--he loses his family, but he gains a new family of a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and the Bengal tiger.

The rest of the story describes how they managed to survive; and after some 225 days afloat across the mighty Pacific, living on canned rations, rainwater, and fish, Pi washes ashore on a beach in Mexico, with him and the tiger the only two remaining survivors.

Here I end the plot summary so as to not spoil any surprises, but there are other beautiful and fantastical elements of the film that will make you catch your breath: a breaching whale, flying fish, a seaful of jellyfish sparkling and shimmering in the water, a floating island of meerkats, and a lotus which, when fully opened, contains a single human tooth.

I have thought about this film for days, and it still hasn't left me. I know I'll probably watch it again one day and see things I didn't see the first time through. But it certainly isn't necessary to read the book to appreciate the movie. And as for those who fear the tiger dies: he does not.

The writer chooses which of the two stories given he prefers--and probably most people would. I know I did, reason be damned. As for god, here's my take-away. Perhaps God is human consciousness. And miracles happen within the conscious and subconscious minds. The subconscious--that little-used, so misunderstood enormous part of the river of our beings and brains--holds the key to god, holds within it the grace of god.  As an adult survivor of such a catastrophe, by any sense of reason Pi should be traumatized and troubled. He's not. He's happily married with two children and is a generous, joyful man.

So, you tell me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

For my spouse, family, and dear friends and acquaintances; for the many blessings bestowed upon me; for my higher power and the Divine within; for faith in the human family and the continued potential for Peace Profound.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bless This Earth


    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

                        --William Butler Yeats

 Peace to all nations.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Me Working Very Hard Grading Essays

Well, at least I finally got them done. Chelle is evil for recording this, though.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Congrats, President Obama--Even Though I Didn't Vote for You

Guess what? I did NOT vote for Barack Obama. I know a lot of you are presently spitting out your coffee or peeing your pants in surprise, so let me explain. Actually, I did not vote for either Romney or Obama. I voted for the candidate with whom I actually agreed with the most on the issues: the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein.
Now, had I lived in a swing state, my vote would’ve gone to Barack Obama. But, I live in California, and Obama already had this state in the bag. So I opted to use my ballot to make a point. I do not consider this a “wasted” vote, although I realized Stein had zero chance in hell of winning.
For the record, I did vote for Democratic Senator Dianne Fienstein (who has been a steady moderate throughout her tenure in the Senate) and for Democratic Representative Jackie Speier, whom I’ve admired ever since she’s been serving this country—as far back as when she took a bullet in Guyana while she was accompanying Rep. Ryan when they were investigating psycho Jim Jones and the People’s Temple.  She stays close to the people in our district and has even visited the campus where I teach on several occasions.
In truth, largely I have been fine with Barack Obama’s job as President, and to help “even things up” a little so he could afford to run counter ads to the Romney SuperPAC advertising machine, I donated several times to his campaign. $3 here, $3 there… whatever I could to help him get his counter message out.
But, I am simply sick and tired of this gridlocked two-party system. And, that’s why I voted for Jill Stein. Let’s face the facts: for at least the past thirty years, and back in the age of the Robber Barons, the people really running the show in this country are Wall Street, the big banks, and the Fed. The Fed is the entity running this economy, not the President or Congress. The policies of either party can keep them a little bit in check here or there, but largely Wall Street finds a way to court both parties. As for the Fed, it has grown so large as a private bank it is now running the economies of most of the developed world. The only politicians who seem even remotely concerned about this are Ron Paul (a libertarian), Dennis Kucinich (a Democrat) and Bernie Saunders, a progressive Independent. These three men get continually written off as whack jobs, yet they finally managed to push through an audit of the Fed—no, the Fed is not regularly audited; it’s too “special,” I guess. The audit showed that the Fed lent or outright GAVE $16 trillion dollars to banks and corporations outside of the United States (this number exceeds our own federal deficit) without the knowledge of the President or Congress, which I do believe was illegal (at least it was when the Fed was first formed in 1913); and during the last financial crash, many members of the Board of the Fed bailed themselves out while holding stock in the very banks they were bailing out. That is a blatant conflict of interest and it is blatant shenanigans when a private bank (which the Fed is) has that kind of power. Just so you know, the Fed is NOT the US Treasury, as many people think. It is a private, for-profit bank. The US Treasury is merely a bank account at the Fed.
Neither Obama nor Romney seem to have any problem with the Fed, but I sure as hell do. I don’t think any for-profit entity (which the Fed is) should have the power to basically bankrupt most of the civilized world if they decide to do so, especially when they are able to print money (essentially making promissory notes out of thin air—tied to nothing actually tangible). In fact if you happen to be a New World Order conspiracy theorist and are pointing your fingers at the Freemasons or Skull and Bones or any other “secret” society, you are pointing at the wrong people. Point your finger at the Fed. The people who rule the world are the people who control the money. And that’s the Fed. Period.
Unless you have been living on Planet Kolob, Obama did inherit a fiscal mess from George W. Bush. The deficit is a nightmare that has been growing for years now. The US has always carried debt, but we have rarely worried about it in the past because it has always looked like a reasonable amount in comparison to GDP. (Remember Dick Cheney’s comment that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter?”) That’s pretty much true when we have a healthy GDP, in which we produce products, we sell them, the economy rolls along; people have jobs; we have a way to pay off our debts.
This is no longer the case. Our economy is now a service economy, not a manufacturing economy, so the old “trickle down” economics theory is a load of pie-in-the-sky bullhockey that’s still being shoved down our throats. But trickle down doesn’t work unless the wealthy actually invest their money HERE, in American businesses, in creating American products, in forming new companies. That’s not what they’ve been doing. Instead, they are offshoring their money, hiding their money in tax shelters, and investing in foreign banks and businesses--and yes, hiring third world laborers or people in Singapore and China to make goods because they can pay them less. Plus, many products on Wall Street people are holding in their mutual funds or retirement IRAs are also not backed up by anything tangible. These are the kinds of products that go kablooey, and it’s usually the middle class investor who’s left holding the bag when those funds go south.
Bully for them; the wealthy peeps can make their money however they choose as long as it’s via a legal method; but they can’t be doing the above while telling you out of the other side of their mouths that taking another big tax break will trickle down to us somehow.
So, with Bush, add two tax cuts that made zero economic sense because they did nothing to create jobs but did remove a revenue stream from the US Treasury; and then throw in two unfunded wars and then a huge housing crash (recall the aforementioned Wall Street product? Much of the crash was due to the buying and selling of bad debt, so lots of people like you and me were buying “safe” funds that were based on bad mortgages)--the market went belly up, and that suddenly made this deficit scary—because GDP wasn’t keeping pace. Why? Because, as stated, we are now a service economy; we are not manufacturing much in the way of new products in this country.
Economists say Obama’s plan for increasing jobs and reducing the debt is more reasonable than Romney’s: but that is largely because Romney never really articulated a plan. Economic policies of the 1950s won’t work in 2012.
As for the rest, there are other things I like about Obama, so I’m okay with him being re-elected. As a married gay woman, I didn’t care for the idea that Romney wanted to make my marriage null and void. How dare he impose his religious beliefs on me? I thought we had freedom of religion in this country. As a compassionate person, I also think Obama is a more trustworthy and likeable man. To me, Gov. Romney seemed like a flip-flopping robot who’d say anything just to get elected. I certainly never really understood how on earth he could say with a straight face that a 5 trillion tax cut was somehow supposed to fix the deficit. And I have always agreed with a woman’s right to choose and I support equal pay for equal work.
So why Jill Stein when I sound so “sold” on Obama? Well, Obama hasn’t been able to implement many of his ideas (many of which have been bipartisan in nature and ones even the GOP have supported in the past), but he has been unable to inspire Congress and the House to work together for the common good. So, I question his leadership. You can blame a lot of that on the Tea Party—they simply say “no” to everything, which is disgusting and frustrating even to my more moderate Republican friends. For example, saying “no” to funding a special program to help returning veterans find jobs? Why on earth would the GOP say no to that? But they did.
But of biggest concern to me is the slow chipping away at our Constitutional rights in the name of “the war on terror.” Shades of Orwell’s 1984. First we got Bush’s Patriot Act, which I had really hoped Obama would toss out. He did not. In fact he signed onto it and in NDAA, enacted even stricter measures, endangering our right to public protest. It’s as if the government is someday actually expecting a “People’s Revolution,” which, if things continue as they are, may not be a false fear. (Donald Trump is certainly already calling for one. Then again, that guy is a lunatic.) But, it is our RIGHT to revolt. This is why I have never been against the right to bear arms.
Now make no mistake—Romney is for these same things; he and Obama do not differ on these policies at all. Nope, Obama and Romney have both been fully vetted by the corporate media and signed off on as “okay” by our friends on Wall Street and the Fed.
Folks, we need to get rid of the two-party system. It exists only to give us the impression that we actually have a choice when we really don’t. We need a Teddy Roosevelt, someone willing to call bullshit on the powers that be and break up the banks and the monopolies and do something about the Fed. Somebody who is willing to make multinational corporations follow the laws of this land if they do business in this country, which means we need someone who wants to revisit the tax code and vastly simplify it, getting rid of all the loopholes people use to wiggle out of paying no tax at all. Make the multinationals pay their fair share, but meanwhile stop treating small businesses—the backbone of American employers—as if they deserved to be lumped in with the tax evaders. And for individual filers, frankly, a flat tax is not a bad idea, if one eliminates all loopholes and treats all income—earned or investment profits after losses are written off-- yet allows for certain reasonable exemptions (for children, for example) and sets the poverty line at a reasonable place so that old retired folks living on a fixed income aren’t slammed with giving back part of their social security. A flat tax should be something carefully studied and considered for flat-out fairness across the board and making it not so easy to cheat on one’s taxes—but no one seems willing to do it.
We also need to undo Citizens United and make it illegal for corporations to “purchase” our representatives by basically promising them cushy, highly paid lobbying jobs once they retire from office.
We also need a President who doesn’t have the mindset that America is somehow the world police. Did you know that for every dollar you pay in taxes, .56 cents goes to defense? That’s insane. We spend more money on defense than all 26 of our allies do altogether. We’ll throw trillions into military technology, into hiring crooked military contractors (remember Halliburton?), and into maintaining military bases all over the world, but we give wounded veterans crap for treatment and leave them to suffer PTSD and from other illnesses for the remainder of their lives.  Who made the USA the world ruler? We need to defend ourselves, sure; but since we already have the capacity to blow the shit out of anybody already, what more do we need?
What we need in the White House is common sense, compassion, a genuine desire to serve the country. The same goes for our Senate and House.  They need to start following the will of the people and not the will of their campaign contributors.
So, I voted my conscience and voted for Jill Stein. I have thumbed my nose at this ruse of democracy that keeps being fed to us by the media. The system is broken. We need to develop ELECTABLE third, fourth, maybe even fifth parties to keep the system honest. It’s not so hard to buy off two parties, but buying off five with candidates that all have a legit chance at election is not so very easy to do.
Restore democracy to America.
To refuse to vote is to surrender. To vote for “the lesser of two evils” is surrender. Vote for the candidate who best represents you. And keep doing it. And raise your voices louder. We are the People.
In the meantime, my hearty congratulations to President Obama, and a plea to the Senate and House: get along. Legislate. Stop being so partisan and do what needs to be done to help pay down the debt while getting people back to work.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Breeder's Cup 2012 Picks for Saturday

Well, today was an up and down day. Lots of upsets, and now that I've watched the two year-olds race against the European two year-olds, who are used to not running with Lasix on board, that did give the Europeans a clear advantage in the juvenile races. I lost both my Pick 3 and 4s, but I did get the superfecta in race 8. That eased some of my pain, but I wound up down for the day. That's okay--often when I have a losing day, I pop right back with a winning day! So here's hoping my picks work out better for me tomorrow.

Once again I'm just choosing my four favorite horses in each race and leaving it up to readers to cobble together their own tickets. 

Race 4: Juvenile Turf. Okay, so the Europeans have the advantage. Artigiano is pretty classy so far and on the improve; a lot of 'cappers like George Vancouver because of the speed ratings, but what I see is 113, bounce (88), 113 (will he bounce again?) He's a question mark for me when we're talking about a two year-old.  Aiden O'Brien's other entry, Lines of Battle, seems maybe the better bet at better odds. One horse that's NOT a question mark is Dundonnell, who has never been off the board. We do have two American horses in the race that are undefeated--well, in only two races, though--Carla Gaines' Gervinho, whose one advantage is that he's won over track at this distance. Otherwise, his Beyers are a little below par. Noble Tune may be a little faster, but he's never raced over the track. The closer (and there is some early speed in this race) is Julian Leparoux's mount, Balance the Books. So, I'm liking 2, 6, 8, 9, and maybe 14.

Race 5: Filly and Mare Sprint. There are two in this race that love to win: Dust and Diamonds and Groupie Doll. One interesting entry is John Sadler's Switch. She's been running longer distances lately (and losing), but now she cuts back to 7 furlongs and has been firing a series of bullets over the track for the last three weeks. Leave her out at your own risk. The other obvious choices are Musical Romance and Turbulent Descent. So, 3, 6, 8, 9, and 10. If you must toss one out, toss 10 just in case she really hasn't returned to form.

Race 6: Dirt Mile. Oh my god, what an impossible race because of all the early speed. Will they wear each other down? Maybe or maybe not, depending on how fit they are. Bob Baffert never runs a horse that isn't ready, so you'd better not ignore Fed Biz. But, that horse may not be the best of the speed. Shackleford is the classiest of the speed, and Emcee posts the highest Beyers of the speed. So you'd better not leave out a closer or somebody who will sit off the pace. That leaves you Jersey Town or Rail Trip. Ah, Rail Trip. I have a special place in my heart for that horse. So, my picks are 1, 5, 6, 7. BUT, if you prefer class over my own irrational biases, go with Jersey Town (3) instead of 1.

Race 7: Turf Sprint. Do you really think I'm going to leave out California Flag, who won this race over this same track with this same jockey (Joe Talamo) just two years ago? And who has been firing bullets in prep for this race? California Flag did abysmally last year at Churchill Downs (different jockey as well), but the turf track there is a totally different ball of wax. Here at Santa Anita, they race downhill, make a turn over dirt, and then run lights out to the finish. The other obvious choice is Bridgetown, and Steve Asmussen's horse on the outside, Unbridled's Note, may get lucky because of a lack of traffic problems. Another horse that intrigues me is Jerry Hollendorfer's entry, Chosen Miracle. He puts phenomenal jockey Martin Garcia aboard, and though the horse lacks class, he clearly likes to win and has done so at this distance on this track. So, I'm choosing 1, 9, 12, and 13. If you have deep pockets, it appears many 'cappers like the 10, Corporate Jungle.

Race 8: Juvenile. This race is Bob Baffert's to lose. He's got Martin Garcia on the rail on Title Contender, who will break fast and go to the front and try to run away. Meanwhile, on the outside on the 9 horse, is Rafael Bejarano on Power Broker, who will track the pace and try to steal the race from Martin. The only other two who could win are Rosie N. on Pletcher's Shanghai Bobby, and Kiaran McLachlan's entry, Fortify. I like 1, 4, 8, and 9.

Race 9: Turf. Look, when the distance is a mile and a half, you have to look for horses that can get the distance. There are many unknowns in this race. But here are the knowns: you NEVER leave out a Shug-Phipps horse that has won four times at this distance. You also wouldn't leave out last year's winner of this same race, Aidan O'Brien's St Nicholas Abbey (who once again has his son aboard as pilot). You also want the other Irish horse in this turf race, Shareta, who has won 3 times at the distance. Finally there is an interesting Japanese horse named Trailblazer who seems pretty fast on paper and who has one win at this distance. My picks: 1, 3, 5, 12.

Race 10: Sprint. Good lord, this one is another of Baffert's to lose since he has three entries. Still, the crowd favorite--who has a better than average shot at winning with Mike Smith aboard--is Amazombie. Trinniberg is another "famous" horse in the race because he ran in the Kentucky Derby, and he actually gets decent Beyers at shorter distances, but I find him hard to back because he's simply inconsistent. Of Baffert's horses, Capital Account seems the fastest. One other of his, Coil, is clearly on the improve. Finally, the horse in the field with the highest Beyer speed figure is The Lumber Guy, who seems to run best at this distance of 6 furlongs. So, my picks are: 4, 7, 8, and 11.
As much as I personally like Jeff Bonde and his entry Smiling Tiger, I think Smiling Tiger is just not a Breeders Cup winner. If that horse or Baffert's third entry, Fast Bullet, wins, I'll probably cry like the girl I am.

Race 11: Turf Mile. Clearly, Wise Dan is the one to beat. Who could beat him? Obviously, Excelebration, and maybe, just maybe, the very odd entry of Animal Kingdom. He's known as a dirt runner (aside from winning the Kentucky Derby two years ago), but he did have (and win) a turf prep race for this which seemed easy for him because he clearly had more in the tank afterwards as he was ridden out. Graham Motion is up to something.  Round the four out with Moonlight Cloud, so the picks are: 2, 3, 5, 6, and 9 (unless you think I'm crazy for considering Animal Kingdom, in which case you'd toss the 5).

Race 12: The Classic. Who do I want to win? I'll Have Another, the Derby and Preakness winner, and who looked awfully good heading into the Belmont Stakes before Doug O'Neill and Reddam were forced to scratch him for a damaged tendon and retiring him. So, since the horse isn't in the race at all, I'm rooting all out for Richard's Kid. The pace in this race sets up perfectly for his closing kick and I have faith in Garrett "Go-Go" Gomez to get the job done. But I also like Game on Dude, Mucho Macho Man, and Flat Out. The picks are: 2, 5, 9, 11.

Good luck and bet responsibly!

Some morning updates prior to scratches being posted: one Southern Cal capper tells us to not be so sure Trinniberg isn't in the perfect spot to win. He is a fast little sucker (and the Derby was longer, was a rabbit in much of the Derby when he ran in it), and so it makes much better sense to see him in a sprint. So if he looks good, don't be so quick to dismiss him from race 9. Also, there is news that the Japanese horse, Trailblazer, may have been injured giving his stall a good kick last evening, so be sure to have a good look at him as well, even if the vet doesn't scratch him. 

Updated BC Friday Picks, After Scratches

More to come, but here is my Pick 3 ticket. Hopefully it won't be all chalk that wins.

Race #4    11/02/2012
Santa Anita
$0.5 Pick-3
# 3,6,7
WT # 1,2,4,10,11
WT # 1,3,6,13
And here is the Pick 4. Decided to bet against the favorite in the Ladies Classic.

Race #6    11/02/2012
Santa Anita
$0.5 Pick-4
# 1,3,6,13
WT # 3,5,8
WT # 2,4,6,9,10
WT # 2,4

Also, I feel it's only fair to point out that if I'm wrong about race 6, I'm totally screwed, so be forewarned. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Breeders Cup 2012: Picks for Friday Nov 2

Well, it's that time of year again--The Breeders' Cup, where the world's best race horses gather together for a two-day showdown to prove to the world who's the best in their category. Tomorrow's races largely comprise "Ladies Day."

What I've done is simply pick my four favorite horses (in no particular order) for each of the Breeders Cup races. You can decide how to put together your own tickets, but if you're doing superfectas, these would be the ones I'd use unless I saw something on the track or saddling ring that I didn't like beforehand that makes me toss a horse out (or, perhaps, see something I like so much that I substitute another).

Race 4 (the Juvenile Sprint): Merit Man is the pick and a likely single. But Super Ninety Nine poses a threat, and behind him are Hazardous and Sweet Shirley Mae.

Race 5 (the Marathon): Fame and Glory, Grassy, Worth Repeating, and Commander. If you have deep pockets, my guts also say to maybe toss in Eldaafer too. He performed horribly in this race last year, but here he is again and his connections more likely have him ready. He could pull a surprise.

Race 6 (Juvenile Fillies Turf): Sky Lantern, Watsdachances (how can you NOT bet a filly with a name like that?!), Flashy Ways, and then my longshot filly I hope blows them all out of the water. Why? She's a US filly who does NOT run on Lasix, never has. If Kitten's Point can win this race while not running on Lasix, that would sure help make the case for getting this diuretic out of the sport in this country.

Race 7 (Juvenile Fillies): Dreaming of Julia, Spring in the Air, Kauai Katie, and Beholder.

Race 8 (Filly & Mare Turf): Marketing Mix, Lady of Shamrock, Ridasiyna, and Zagora.

Race 9 (Ladies' Classic): Well, Royal Delta will be the favorite. I also like Love and Pride, Awesome Feather, and My Miss Aurelia. (Screw Grace Hall: the Dutrows can kiss my ass because they give this sport a bad name.)

Good luck and bet responsibly!

Morning Update: second thoughts about maybe also tossing in The Fugue in Race 8 and Atigun in Race 5, although Atigun may be a "bet against" if at really short odds. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yeah Baby. I Have Neanderthal DNA.

This, my dears, is a "spit kit." I am a naturally curious soul, and I recently read somewhere in some magazine about a company called 23 and me (23 as in the 23 pairs of chromosomes all human beings have) that will test your DNA and tell you your biological origins.

And I don't just mean your mommy and daddy and a generation or so back--I mean, your origins from as long as 15,000 years ago. They can even tell if you have any (gasp!) Neanderthal DNA in you. (Something like 2.5% is average for most of us--yes, Homo sapiens sapiens did mate with the Neanderthals, but our superior brains deemed us the fittest; we survived; the Neanderthals did not. I have approximately 2.3% of Neanderthal DNA. Ha! Maybe that explains the bushy eyebrows.)

Now, as we all know, the very first humans originated in Africa. So every last one of us started off there. But then there were migrations--to the north, then east, then back west and farther north, etc. Now, since I'm a female, the company could only test my maternal line (unless I were a bizarre anomaly who possesses a Y chromosome, which I don't), so I could only get results for my mother's bloodlines. I'm considering buying my brother a kit for Christmas, since Dad is dead, assuming we actually do have the same daddy, which I'm pretty sure we do, lol.... although he is the only person in the family with green eyes, hmmm.) But I'd be interested to see my paternal bloodline as well. Problem is, these kits cost $299. On the other hand, you get quite a bit of information for that amount of money.

So I joked on Facebook yesterday that I'm about as honky as a honky can get. My maternal bloodline is a subgroup of Haplogroup RO, known as Haplogroup V. Haplogroup V originated in Iberia during the Ice Age. After a last burst of cold conditions roughly 12,000 years ago, migrations carried the haplogroup northward along the Atlantic coast and through central Europe to Scandinavia. Today it is found in a wide variety of populations from the Basques of Spain to the Saami of Finland. My color coded "planet" chart put me in way northern Scandinavia, just a tick over from England--which is then probably where my mother's family migrated to and lived for many generations before heading over to America.

Other interesting things you can find out from the site are diseases common to your DNA group, responses your DNA group is likely to have to certain medications, and other interesting health-related things. One total non-surprise is that I genetically have a tendency to obesity, heart disease, and Type II diabetes, which does indeed run in my family.... so if it turns out we also get that on my father's side, well, we've got a double whammy and it's no surprise so many of us die in our 50s.

How it works: you pay your money, the company ships you a spit kit (pictured above), and you spend about 15 minutes gathering up enough spit to spit in the tube to the fill line. Then you ship your sample back in a pre-paid box and it takes about 2-3 weeks to get your results. The website is here:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Double Hummmmm, Baby!

OMG the neighbors are setting off fireworks and dogs are barking like crazy. The cats are running around the house with poofy tails.

I love my San Francisco Giants! Way to go, boys! To sweep in the World Series is no small feat.

Detroit gave us quite the fight tonight, sending the game into an extra inning, so congrats to the Tigers for showing a lot of heart. Better luck next year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Winchester Mystery House

One of the most humiliating things that touristy places like to do is pose visitors in ridiculous positions with props and snap a photo in hopes of selling them to you at outrageously exorbitant prices.

So, today I visited the Winchester Mystery House with my friend Lisa, and naturally they had us pose with old model Winchester rifles. Because I am a person with a sick sense of humor, naturally I took the prop, immediately cocked the weapon, and pointed it straight at Lisa's head with my finger on the trigger just in order to make the other tourists behind us gasp. Silly people. If they think a tour guide at the Winchester Mystery House is going to actually hand anyone a working, loaded weapon .... well, they must believe the place is, like, totally haunted or something.

Anyplace that makes you walk into a gift shop first to buy tickets to get into the place is all about the money and not about much else.

Still, the story of Sarah Winchester is interesting, and anybody who is genuinely sensitive knows full well the old mansion has the random residual spirit hanging around---not because this place is anything special, but simply because the darn things are everywhere. Yes, I got poked, and since the only person behind me was Lisa (and she swears it wasn't her), and yes, there was one room where I definitely felt a presence. There was another area of the house that was a little harder on me because I couldn't feel an agenda (like curiosity) and I felt dizzy and nauseous. The rest of the place felt like mostly nothing, just a rickety, crazy old maze of a house--you know, with the doors opening to nothing or the stairs that go up and just end at a ceiling. I'd post pictures, but they don't let you take any from inside the house.

We also did the basement tour, which was kind of interesting because it would be a helluva place to be stuck perpetually shoveling coal into the furnace, dumping and sifting ashes. Mostly what I got was pictures in my head but I didn't feel anybody there--though Lisa (who is much more sensitive than I) said there was a grumpy old guy who more or less saw us as an annoyance and wanted to be left alone.

But that's me: I feel and hear; I don't see, and so for me I'm often left wondering "was that real or was that just my imagination?"

On the whole, it was still fun to visit but nowhere near as haunted as the USS Hornet.

To read about Sarah Winchester, go here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Panda Man Can; Yes, the Panda Man Can

 What can I say?

Pablo (Panda) Sandoval hit not one, not two, but THREE home runs last night against the Tiger's star "unhittable" pitcher, Verlander.

So, the Giants are 1-0 in the World Series. Second game is tonight.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Giants Heading to the World Series! Humm, Baby!

OK, so I went to Sunday's game (we scored tickets in Club Section 106), which we won, tying the series. SO.... it went down to Game 7 after all. Now, this poor, hapless Tigger was so wiped out yesterday from the game on Sunday that, after being at work for a half hour or so, I knew I couldn't hack another game without making myself sick again (damn this thyroid issue anyway. I have virtually NO energy). With some reluctance--especially since it was raining buckets outside--I gave up my ticket to my brother-in-law, Jimmy, and so he and Chelle went to the game.

They were waaaaaaay up in the nosebleeds as this video will show. But that didn't make it any less exciting. Here's closer Romo tossing the last pitch, which is popped up and caught to win the game, 9-0, shutting the Cards out.

Favorite game moment: pitcher Matt Cain soundly smacks on the arm the guy on the Cardinals who tackled our Scutaro in the first game sliding into second base. You don't slide BEHIND someone, poor courtesy. He deserved to get hit by a pitch.

Oh.... in the video below, that's Jimmy who needs his mouth washed out with soap. LOL

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Let's Tie It Up, Giants!

Beat the Cardinals and stay alive!

Game's at 4:35 Pacific, 7:35 Eastern.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hummmm, Baby!

Amazingly, the Giants managed to shut out the Cardinals tonight and stay alive in the race for the National League pennant.

So now the series is at 3-2 with the Cardinals up by a game, with two games left to go. Whoever wins 4 takes the pennant and goes to the the World Series to face the Detroit Tigers (who swept the Yankees).

Chelle and I already had tickets way up in the nosebleeds for Game 7 (if the Giants make it that far), but we are now thrilled to have scored three tickets to Game 6 to be played Sunday night. We're bringing along our friend Lisa, who will be getting the ultimate Giants experience: visiting AT&T Park for the first time in halfway decent seats for a championship game. The thing that would make it all perfection is if the Giants manage to tie the series up.

Of course the tickets are not cheap ($300 bucks a pop, ouch!) but tickets to the World Series games on Stubhub are already going for a cool $1300 a seat, and that's in the bleachers.

Considering that Tim Lincecum, our star pitcher, has totally lost his mojo and has not pitched well for much of the year and that Brian "Fear the Beard" Wilson, our star closer, has been out all season with an injury, it's actually pretty amazing the team has come this year as far as it has. Zito truly earned his paycheck tonight.

Oh, yeah, orange and black fever. We totally have it in this household. GO GIANTS!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free Falling and Breaking the Sound Barrier

In case you missed this yesterday, Felix Baumgartner went up in a capsule attached to a cluster of balloons to an altitude of roughly 127,000 feet before leaping out of the capsule and plummeting to Earth.

It was a total freefall, with him tumbling uncontrollably head over heels and reaching speeds of over 700mph, so he broke the sound barrier doing it.

Even though I was home sick in bed, I watched it live online, mesmerized, and today--even though I'm still home sick in bed--I am still marveling over the fact that a man has done such a thing.

Even though I was too sick to go to the game last night--my brother-in-law, Jimmy, was more than thrilled to take my place--and even though the Giants lost 6-4, I am still marveling over the fact that a human being has done such a thing. He got his fall under control and his chute opened and he landed safely upright on his feet, incidentally.

If we can go to the Moon, put Land Rovers on Mars, and do things like this, why can't we as a species do something as simple as learn to get along with each other? To accept each other without condition as the beautiful creatures we all are? To embrace each other as the brothers and sisters we are, inhabiting just a single planet in a universe full of galaxies and, no doubt, housing other species on other planets besides us?

Video of Baumgartner's amazing feat is below.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Go Giants!

Well, all righty! The Giants are going to face the Reds with homefield advantage in the National League pennant race. Winner goes to the World Series.

We have bleacher tickets to Game One and nosebleed tickets to Game Seven (if the series goes that far).

So look for us on tv tomorrow. I'll be the big orange blob on the end of the front row bleachers in center field. Since it'll be a chilly night game, I've already decided I'm going to buy a Panda hat so that my poor ears don't get too cold.

This all assumes I can go to the game at all. Chelle has managed to give me the cold that kept her out of work two days this week, so I'll be doing everything in my power to fight this thing off today.... rest, hot tea, Yin Chaio and Gan Mao Ling (Chinese cold remedies that do seem to help), maybe some spicy sinus clearing food sometime today if my appetite wakes up.

Barring that, I still may go even if I feel like utter shit. It's not every day you get to go to a championship series game. I just may chug a bottle of Nyquil beforehand and simply hallucinate my way through the game.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Words With Friends

Well, today was the day! There was a President's Lecture Series on campus in which five members of the faculty who are published writers got to share a little of our writing and discuss our writing process. Here's me beforehand, all miked up and looking (I was told) just like a sportscaster.

Naturally, being the ham I am, I double-checked my mike prior to the beginning of the event by suddenly turning it on and quipping, "No, my name's not Janet; it's Miss Jackson if you're nasty." This, at least, brought laughter from the event coordinator, Helen, whereas the old ladies in the front row looked at me as if I'd lost my mind.

The event went well. Each of us read about a minute or two of a prepared poem or prose, and then the audience was invited to ask questions. There were none, so then our moderator (also one of the readers), Autumn Newman, went around the horn and asked each of us about the piece we'd each read. By that point, the audience had relaxed a bit more and we opened the floor to questions again, and questions--mostly directed to the entire panel--filled out the rest of the program.

It was pretty laid back and interesting, and it was nice to finally get an acknowledgment from the College of San Mateo that yes, indeed, there are members of the faculty who do creative writing and are published. Normally these events feature a "name" author--Anne Lamott, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Adrienne Rich are three who leap immediately to mind--so it's kind of cool to have now shared the same stage as writers of that caliber.

What I read was the first page and a half of the short story that is published here. It's called "How to Break Your Lover's Heart," and was, as I explained in the forum, inspired by a short story in Lorrie Moore's collection titled Self-Help. The title story was written in the 2nd person, which is pretty rare, so my story began as a writing exercise, really, and then grew and grew until it became something publishable.

Kudos to all those on the panel, who had some incredible poems and prose to share and who all answered questions thoughtfully and helpfully.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Letting Go

It is all about letting go. You cannot put down the big bag of garbage you're carrying slung over your shoulder if you're still emotionally invested in carrying it around. Why give the gift of forgiveness to the people who have hurt you? Because that damn bag of garbage is weighing you down so much that it's keeping you from moving forward. As for forgetting the bag of garbage, that's so you aren't tempted to go back and pick it up.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Guitar + Art: Life Off the Fault Line

I have no idea who this guy is or why he sent it to me on Youtube, but he did, and I'm glad he did. It's perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I Have to Brag on My Friend Matt

The husband of my BFINM (best friend I've never met) Dawn has created a wondrous thing that went viral on Facebook yesterday, so naturally I have to brag on Matt. Actually, I met Matt first because we are both big horse racing fans, and we used to hang out in a horse racing game on Facebook racing cartoon horses against each other. Oh yes, it was serious business. We each had stables of fine thoroughbreds all decked out with bug eyes and bling. Then the game developers reset the game and everybody had to start over from scratch, so Matt and I both walked away from the game in a huff.

But, we remained FB friends; his wife, Dawn, finally approached me online because it became clear from comments on posts that we both had the same zany sense of humor (as well as our other BFINM, Heather, who is presently on a Caribbean cruise so we are able to talk smack about her while she's away), and so we four have all become a rather tight-knit little group sharing the ups and downs of daily life. Yes, indeed, Facebook--it is a wonderful thing.

So, here is Matt's creation. It is a very clever use of the "Texts with Hillary" meme that Matt put together after Mitt Romney's declaration that he would eliminate funding for public broadcasting, despite the fact that he likes Big Bird.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2012 Presidential Debates Drinking Game

Naturally, I don't recommend this for the alcoholics who follow this blog, but we can always drink club soda. For the rest of you, this just may be a good way to get through the debates without throwing things at your television set.

Hat tip to Lori Hahn.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stinkin' Thinkin'

You want insanity? I'll tell you what insanity is. It's insisting you don't have an addiction problem when you do, and going out of your way to ensure other people don't think that as well. How do you do that? You cover your tracks.

I would sometimes buy a six-pack, then run back out to the corner liquor store to buy more when I ran out (until I wised up and started buying 12 packs or a six-pack of tall boys). When I went back the second time, I'd mumble some excuse about "my company drank up the beer" or "I didn't buy enough for my guests" so the cashier wouldn't think I'd drunk all the beer by myself. (Which, of course, I had.)

Or I'd go to two stores and buy two different kinds of beer and drink one six pack before my partner got home, then take out the garbage so as to hide the empties. Then I'd start in on the second six-pack, and when my partner got home, it'd look like I'd had only two when in fact I'd had eight.

Sometimes I'd keep a fifth of vodka hidden behind my guitar case or hidden in the bathroom under the sink behind all the cleaning supplies. Then I could sneak into the bathroom and have a shot or two, flush the toilet, and come out, my throat burning, looking for all the world as if I'd only gone in there to pee.

Never once did it occur to me this was crazy behavior.

In my way of thinking, I was just trying to avoid being nagged--because there was absolutely nothing wrong with the amount I was drinking. They just didn't understand that the amount was normal for me.

So let me be clear. When you lie about how much you drink, you have a problem. When you hide empties, you have a problem. When you hide booze so you can sneak drinks, you have a problem. It's not your wife; it's not your friends; it's not your family--it's you. The problem is in that glass in your hand.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Passive Aggressive Notes

You just know it's going to be a great day when you come in to work and someone has left a passive-aggressive note on the workroom refrigerator.  Now, please understand I am not making fun of this person. I totally understand the frustration of going to get something of mine out of the fridge and not finding it. I got tired of my Diet Pepsis or Diet Cokes or whatnot being swiped, so I've taken to labeling anything I put in there. Sometimes that is enough of a deterrent, sometimes not. Other colleagues have combated the problem by keeping their own mini-fridges in their offices.

No, I'm sharing it because this note is so well-crafted, so biting in its condemnation of the offender, and so vengeful in its wish that illness be visited upon the thief that I find myself marveling over such wickedness from a person who is normally quite sane and calm. Ie, "You are NOT an esteemed anything; you are self-absorbed and stupid; you are a dishonorable thief and I hope you get sick. In any case, beware of stealing anything else from me, you pig, you."

I mean, it is typed and printed and perfectly spelled and punctuated and just marvelous in so many ways.

Take THAT, beyotch!

ps. I did not take the raspberry jam.

Monday, September 24, 2012

An Old Lady on a Monday

I have lost the battle. I have now taken to bringing a gym towel with me to class in the morning because I perspire like a marathoner. I don't think this problem will be corrected until I get on thyroid meds. Alas, I can't see the endocrinologist until some time in October when my new health insurance kicks in. So, I will just have to perspire for another month or so.

Even then, I'm told it can take as long as 6 weeks before thyroid meds start making a difference.

The odd thing is, after about 10am, the sweating drops off. It comes back in the evening and so I drench the bed as well. Last night I had to toss one of my pillows to the floor because I had soaked both sides of it. This is why I'd originally thought I simply had the night sweats of menopause, but no. I'm still making estrogen. I'm just not making much of whatever three thyroid hormones they test for.

I swear, even my legs get sweaty. I leave my 8am class every morning with my pants legs sticking to me and the back of my shirt sticking to me. It's embarrassing.

I may have to start sprinkling baby powder all over myself in the morning and at night before bed.

The irony, of course, is that I had no problems with my cholesterol and no problems with my thyroid while I was still drinking. Alcohol, it turns out, increases your HDL, and my HDL was always high enough to offset any scary levels of LDL. My total cholesterol has always been slightly high, but with my HDL ("good" cholesterol) dropping, this is now a problem. So quitting booze has had a negative effect on my cholesterol. Still, better my cholesterol than my liver, right? I met people in rehab who were fighting cirrhosis and esophageal varices, and I'd much rather have high cholesterol, especially since 235 isn't so high it's scary.

But since this has been going on for two years, the doctor was about to prescribe me Lipitor when he saw my thyroid hormones are way too low. So now he's saying, "Let's straighten out the thyroid first, because when that happens, your cholesterol may just well drop under 200 because you'll have more energy and might start burning off more calories."

So.... I sweat, yet get fatter by the minute, ha.

The only GOOD thing about all of this is that at least now I have a medical reason for why I can't seem to lose bodyfat. I can blame it on my thyroid, and it's not even a lie!

Still doesn't make me feel much better. Getting old is no picnic. Everything that runs in your family starts appearing in you. Next up: heart disease, diabetes, schizophrenia. I'll take problems with the ticker and blood sugar over mental illness any day. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Free Your Mind, and Your Ass Will Follow

I was looking at the box above last night and my gut reaction was to discard it as too dualistic, but the more I stare at it, the more it releases truths. I think I just want to change the last box to rid it of the value judgments good and evil. And change "order" to "peace of mind" and "chaos" to "dissatisfaction." Then it works for me.

Here's what I learned about myself when working Step Four. When I come at things from a place of fear, I automatically limit my own options. ("This won't work"; "that won't work"; "if I try that, this bad thing might happen," etc.) So, I would shut a lot of things out even though I didn't know for a fact that my fear-based predictions would be true. This is the willful ignorance of the chart. Confusion would result when other possibilities or other viewpoints or things not fitting my fear-based interpretation would pop up and throw me off balance.  To get rid of the confusion, I would naturally try to control things around me ("So-and-so can't know this or that about me"; "so-and-so needs to do this or that"; "if I do this, so-and-so's response will be to do that," etc). Ultimately, no one is able to control everything around them, so the result will be dissatisfaction, unmet expectations, feeling manipulated or persecuted--and the result of feeling that way is often acting out in anger and frustration. I would end up feeling even more fear than before, and so I would slowly but surely dig my own hole deeper and deeper over time, as my alcoholism got worse and worse.

So the key to everything is letting go of fear. Get comfortable with standing on the abyss. Sure, sometimes you might fall off and get clocked in the jaw. But you're not dead. Actually, seldom is the result that horrible. It's nowhere near as horrible as being continually dissatisfied. Truth is, more often than not, letting go of fear and stepping off the cliff leads to a pleasant surprise: you fly and didn't know you could. Openness allows you to seek out options and a bigger picture and to try out other possibilities, expanding your world. Self-mastery--continually checking in with yourself, examining your emotions, evaluating your actions in light of the many possibilities available to you--gives you a sense of total freedom. We are empowered to choose. No one is ever entirely in a jail: you always have options and choices. The biggest jail is our own minds. Once I understood that, I stopped even attaching value judgments to my own choices. This is because I check in with myself enough to know that I make educated guesses, act accordingly, and act with consideration towards my fellow human beings. There is no malice behind any of my actions. So I'm always happy with my choices, even if (after the fact) I realize I could have made a better choice. Then it's just a learning opportunity, no big deal. It's really easy nowadays to forgive myself. The result is general contentment and peace of mind, even in the face of the same enormous anxieties that used to drive me to drink.

The great mystery of finding happiness is this: don't look for it outside yourself. No person, no thing, no things, can ever bring you anything but a temporary rush. Happiness is a lasting state of being that has everything to do with what is inside of YOU. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hey, hey, what can I do, I fell in love with a hooker and she won't be true.

In a silly mood this morning, so I thought I'd play a silly song. Actually this may very well be my favorite Led Zeppelin song. I found the chords and lyrics at some website (in fact I'm trying to read it as I'm playing it, so.. you know...) and some things seem off.  I was just going to send this to a friend for laughs but decided instead to share it with the world. Because really we ALL need a chuckle right about now. The Middle East and Australia are exploding in rage over a stupid film some idiot posted mocking Islam. I humbly offer myself as comic relief.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Robin Williams on Alcoholics

His is a reasonable theory about blackouts--your conscience is vacating the scene: "Dude, you're about to fuck a hobbit--see ya!"

Some of the most ridiculous things I've ever done happened when I was in a total blackout.

I once asked a friend I had gotten--ahem, a little too friendly with--when I was drunk why she had gone along with it. "Couldn't you tell I was in a blackout?"

"No. I just thought you were drunk."

Leaving the preposterousness of that aside (how sexy is a drunk? Not very), I asked, "Was I repeating myself a lot?"

"Yes. Yes, you were."

"That's how you know someone is in a blackout."

And then you're stuck in the awful position of realizing you've just fucked your friend and when you're sober, you are about as romantically interested in her as in a whiteboard eraser.  It's a mess.

If this describes you, get sober.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Quick Hop Up to Yosemite

It's been about three and a half years since I visited Yosemite, so it was high time for another visit. I used to go at least once or twice a year. I always get re-grounded there. The granite walls of the Valley are so mammoth that I'm reminded how small I really am, how quickly my own lifetime will pass in relation to the millions of years it took for a glacier to carve out the Valley, how small we all are in relation to the whole--but together, the Whole becomes an Enormous Thing.

Seeing deer, coyotes, and bears isn't uncommon in Yosemite, but this time we were treated to a bobcat that ran across the trail.

Description can never do Yosemite Valley justice, so I'll just let the photos speak for themselves.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mandatory Pick 6 Payout with Carryover at Del-Mar

Well, you kinda have to play it, though hitting it will be hard. Here's where I landed. Three singles, but heck. These are so hard to win that I'm reluctant to dump much more than $24 into it. Wish me luck.

Race #5    09/05/2012
Del Mar
$2 Pick-6
# 5,6,7
WT # 1
WT # 3,11
WT # 2,10
WT # 3
WT # 2

Michelle Obama's DNC Speech 2012

If you missed Michelle Obama's speech last night at the Democratic National Convention, then you missed something worth seeing. She was inspiring. I said on Facebook that I found myself swallowing a big lump in my throat several times. This is just Part One of her speech, but the rest of it should follow on Youtube, depending on your settings. (If not, the rest should be easy to find. It's probably up on several news websites as well.)

She just comes across as so sincere, so genuine, and so likeable that even somebody as twitchy as I would feel comfortable around her.  Favorite idea, paraphrased: When you walk through that door of opportunity, you do not reach back to slam it shut--you reach back and hold it open for someone else.
I also liked (again paraphrased): Success is measured not by how much money you make but by how many lives you make a difference in.  And that most parents measure success by how many opportunities they create for their children.

Anyway, I can't possibly do her justice, so listen for yourself.

ps: she's got great shoulders

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Joke for the Day

A philosopher, a mathematician, and a physicist were walking along the craggy moors of Scotland enjoying a hike when they spotted a herd of sheep on a hillside. All of the sheep were white except for one black one.

"Wow," said the philosopher. "I didn't know there were black sheep in this part of Scotland."

"Don't be silly," said the mathematician. "What you see is ONE black sheep in this part of Scotland."

"Not really," said the physicist. "What you see is just one side of a black sheep in this part of Scotland."

Riffs on a Sunday Morning

I came across this on Facebook this morning and it honestly made me stop to think. Look at the state of the world today--the endless wars, terrorism, poverty, unflinching scary dogmas. Look at the fighting, snarking, and ranting already going on over the 2012 Presidential election here in the United States (of which I freely admit I contribute to... well, snarking anyway. I tend to not fight with people.) But I do grow more cynical with each passing year--and as George Carlin once said, "Within every cynic is a disappointed idealist."

We doggedly stick to this idea that humankind evolves--the history of humankind is the history of human progress over the ages; and, then I read something like the above and I have to wonder, "Really?"

I am continually trying to adjust my view, change the seat I'm in, rather than falling into the deep dark hole of fear-based and anger-based thinking. Raging against the machine may inspire some to action, but you're still living in a place of rage. I don't want to turn into a bitter old person.

Humor keeps me going--I thank the Creator I have a keen sense of the absurd. And really the world today is theater of the absurd. I have been known to stop and consider the fact that here we all have assigned Social Security numbers, for instance, which you must have--and yet we consider ourselves free.

What is civilization? What does it mean to be "civilized?"

The Indians had something we are sorely missing--a sense of community. Instead, what we continually experience is the result of a fractured community.

I was also thinking about poet John Donne this morning, and this poem:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee. 

So instead I remind myself of what I want and what I'm willing to give to get it. That's the law of the universe--focused mindfulness, getting back what you put out.  Do I sound crazy when I say I want to see the earth and humankind healed?  

And what I'm willing to give back is to do it myself, as much as any one human being can accomplish. The task begins with myself and my own personal evolution and transformation.

 The more of us who do so, the more we evolve and heal together.