Sage, Bryn, and an unidentified ninja:
Popular costumes this year:
- fairies (lots)
- cowgirls (2)
- ninjas (5)
- angels (2)
- Hermione Granger from Harry Potter (3)
"Are you a moth?" I asked.
"No, I'm a dead fairy."
Ah. Well of course. ;)
"Are you a moth?" I asked.
"No, I'm a dead fairy."
Brain tumor Thyroid Alien impant Anemia Low ferritin Kidney disease Brain suckers from space Marriage Depression Vampire bats Insomnia Insanity HIV Voodoo Witch Doctors Too much exercise Not enough exercise Anxiety Stress Liver malfunction Heart murmurs-- and pretty much anything your blood or other bodily fluids can be tested for.
Always looking for creative new ways to embarrass myself in public, I came up with this today:
That's me. Epitome of grace. And I still ended up with mascara over half my face.
(On a side note, if this works, perhaps I should go home and put signs around the bedroom: "Pick" "Up" "Your" "Socks". Nah...)
I don’t know what it would take for me to be more productive – an extra memory chip for my brain, perhaps, or five more employees, or another six months of project time before we lock down, or, most helpfully, a nice long sabbatical – but let me tell you this much. It sure isn’t a tablet PC. All a tablet PC would do for me would be to make it easier for me to deal with email and other tasks during meetings that are boring and that don’t really require my attention, because a tablet is so much quieter to use than a laptop. I often feel bad when I’m tap-tap-tapping away at a mail during a meeting. So I tap-tap-tap slower and more quietly. But that slows me down - grr. Now, with a tablet and its nifty little pen thingy, I could scribble away without detection! Hrm. Maybe there is something to this.
Shortly after absorbing this inspirational message, I came in and immediately had a catastrophic failure on my laptop, the kind where you have to flip it over and take the battery out to unfreeze the thing and then your mail still doesn’t work for the next several hours.
Funny how a day that began with such an inspirational message may have ended up being my least productive in years. :)
This is not really a gardening post. I don’t feel like writing only about gardening right now, now that I’ve gotten in the habit of posting my day to day thoughts. (There’s vacation for you, always screwing up your complacent routines.) What I feel like posting about today is an odd summary of things: 1. Marriage. Just saw this quote on the
1. Marriage. Just saw this quote on theFAQ for Dooce’s blog, which I’m addicted to:
I used to use a Nikon Coolpix 990 to take all of my photographs. It’s a few years old, and it’s something I inherited when I married my husband. When you get married you should make sure that the person you’re about to swear your life to comes with great gear. In addition to the camera I inherited a really big flat screen TV, some lamps, a big area rug...
Just kind of made me laugh because I’ve been thinking lately about stuff like this. I’ve been realizing lately how deeply I hit the jackpot on the husband front. Not only did I get a great, funny, kind man who not only wanted to get married but seemingly loves being married now that we are, I got one who is completely enthusiastic and welcoming about the idea of my parents moving to Seattle. His in laws. Living in the same town with him. Somehow this does not fill him with the fear that it would most stereotypical married men – he invited them himself, and meant it. How, how, how did I get so lucky?
He also came with good gear, as Deuce says above. Mainly a nice little craftsman house, room to garden, and a clawfoot tub. And he did buy a nice camera shortly thereafter that I probably use more than he does. But all that’s just frosting.
2. A quote and a phrase that have been on my mind lately – ran across this little bit in a book a few days ago, and it was one of those things that leapt off the page in recognition. Colin Wilson, in another of my husband’s crazy conspiracy books (I’m temporarily obsessed), was talking about his early enlightenment into the fact that the world was broader than he thought it was, and about how that shook him up:
”Even so, periods of intense depression were interrupted by flashes of feeling I called – after a phrase of G.K. Chesterton – “absurd good news”. It often happened early on a summer morning, when I set out on a long cycle ride, with a bag of sandwiches and a bottle of lemonade in a knapsack: the feeling that the world was infinitely rich, and that the problem lay [elsewhere]…”
3. Which brings me to another related quote, a favorite of mine that I’ve had hanging over my desk for five or six years now. This also sums up something quite fundamental in my experience of the world:
“Happiness lies in small things, passing experiences, accidental encounters, and yes, I think that some people have it in their nature to walk out the door in the morning and, even though beset by deadlines and anxieties, take a certain exhilaration from the dew on the grass, birdsong, a dog going about his dog business, the herd of children waiting patiently for the school bus, the aroma of sod. And other people, even in the flush of success and ease and booming good health, brood over old resentments and anticipate disaster.”
- Garrison Keillor
We spent the last two days on the moon – or at least it seemed like that. We drove across the “saddle road”, which cuts across the middle of the island, rising to about 6000 feet and cutting between the two most active volcanic peaks (Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea), and over to Volcano National Park, south of Hilo. On the way there, we went partly up the access road to Mauna Kea, stopping at 9600 feet to see the visitor's center, but the road was scary and the altitude was hard to adjust to, so we ended up not going to the summit to see the telescopes. The Visitors Center had plenty of cool displays about what they do there, and we spent quite a while reading up on the nine or so different telescopes they run up there, including the Keck, the Subaru telescope, and one member of the Very Large Array. At night, when the sun's setting, you can see them from Waikaloa.
After Mauna Kea, we drove through Hilo and around to the south side of the island, to Volcano National Park. Ended up staying the night there at a national park system inn that’s right on the lip of the Kilauea crater. This was the view out our hotel window:
Is it safe to sleep right on the rim like this? Apparently. This particular crater hasn't been active for quite a while, although magma is only two miles below the surface at this location (sounds pretty far away to me, but apparently that's pretty close in geological terms) and the active eruption on the mountain continues out a side vent a little further east. Interestingly, park bulletins reveal that in September there was an unprecedented number of deep earthquakes below Mauna Loa, something like 500 in a period of 4-6 weeks. No one's sure what this means, but it does seem to indicate that magma is building up beneath the peak and that a major eruption could lie ahead.
The park was definitely one of the highlights of our visit -- lots to see and do. We visited some petroglyphs in a lava field, saw active steam vents, hiked across a lava lake that only cooled about 30 years ago, visited a tropical rain forest, and drove down the road to the sea to the point where the current lava flow has cut it off from civilization. When you do this, signs point out, you're standing on the newest land on the planet. Sort of an interesting thought - what we were standing on was a lava flow from 2002. This part of the island is forming and reforming all of the time - beaches and forests are swept away and new ones are formed. Roads are cut off and reconnected. The big island is still growing, every day.
We didn’t see any flowing lava, but the landscape was surreal and fascinating – huge swirls of lava that look like cake batter, yellow sulfur stains smeared across the side of a mountain, a half-mile wide crater where the volcano goddess Pele is supposed to live and which in Mark Twain’s time was a swirling sea of lava, dark smudges of black lava flows cascading down a 2000 foot drop, with new trees and grasses beginning to colonize a new existence out of them… Fascinating.
Lava field we hiked - hard to get scale on this, but it's about a mile across, and nowhere near as smooth as it looks:
On the way back the next day we went by the southernmost point in the United States. Of course, every little business in the area had to capitalize on this. Sourthernmost Bar in the United States! Southernmost Gas in the United States! Southernmost Waste Treatment Facility! (Ok, I made that last one up.) Kind of funny.
We also visited the place of refuge on the drive home – in ancient Hawaiian society, if you’d committed a crime or there was a war on and you made it here before your enemies reached you, you were safe from harm. Now it’s a national park, with several reconstructed temples and the original layout delineated and narrated. It was definitely a beautiful spot, with its coconut trees swaying in the breeze and the white sand almost glowing in the sun. This turtle was taking a little refuge himself:
Brett and I travel with a lot of books, and then we buy more when we get to wherever we’re going. Probably half of the weight of our luggage is reading material. On this trip, my three objectives were to sleep in, swim, and read a lot. We’re doing pretty well on all three. Halfway into: Skimmed through:
Here’s what I’ve been reading so far. Kind of an usual list for me.