Wilderness — A Meditation

Monday, December 26, 2005

Crispy Merrimus

G'day..dear readers..

It's Christmas afternoon here in the northern hemisphere...Pacific Coast time zone..and for the first time in four years I am celebrating in California with my family...what a lovely time it is...

no snow..but plenty of keep the wildlife happy..acorns falling from the heavenly huge ancient Oak trees of this vicinity of the coast range..mid coast..and find good humour and if not the very least..good cheer to keep us all warm and dry.

It is one of those days when one is thankful to be alive and interacting with of the most pleasant Christmas days I can remember sharing..past happy days included hiking in Patagonia last year on Christmas day..a hearty feast at the end of that day turned the whole endeavor into joyful comraderie..

After a lifetime of unfortunate and ill timed misadventures on Christmas, it is lovely to be with those I love and to feel enormous gratitude for the gift of their companionship.

I can only hope that many of you are celebrating in a similar manner.

Happy holidays..and pleasant sojourns to you all..

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Narnia and the animals

Hey there..

While visiting in America, I have for some strange reason..probably because I don't have enough to do to fill my time..been going to an awful lot of movies..

I've seen Good Night and Good Luck, Seriana, the latest Harry Potter, and today Narnia. It is this last choice about which I would like to comment. I'm not quite sure how loyal to Lewis' books the movie is, but assuming they tried to create the images according to his Christian viewpoint, I am at the very least chagrined at some of the choices.

For instance, little furry creatures like beavers and foxes are good. The King of the Beasts is the best..the lazy ole savannah dweller himself plays Aslan. Could it be that early 20th centry well educated Brits really didn't know about the King of the Beasts? Those guys sometimes eat the offspring of their earlier competitor when they take over the family of a new feminine partner. That is called cannabalism..eating those of one's own kind. What kind of a creature is that to represent the ultimate good..and the great beast is a trickster, too! Who would have thought it..Oh, I know he died to save us from our sins..but still!!..a stretch..

Of course, then we have the wolves..obviously one of the most misunderstood of the dog family. Why would anyone find such loyal groupies in the company of witches? Wolves take care of their own, cull the herds of critters who no longer are viable in nature's rugged terms, and generally are a regal and successful hunter..unless, of course, you are a rancher or sheep herder who runs massive numbers of animals on public forests and lands in the western part of the USA..then you may have a complaint. But to turn them into evil maurauders seems patently unfair.

And on the battlefield itself, what do we find..cheetahs on the side of the good Christian guys while tigers are on the side of the bad guys..At first I thought that cat fur was all one needed to be considered part of the Christian right..but wrong again..the battle gave us a few other possibilities..

According the the script, only those who had lied, cheated, or betrayed were on the side of the Ice Queen..but!! there is some question in my mind about how tigers and wildebeasts both find themselves aligned with such critters. Maybe it's just an issue of being on the endangered list.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sunday..glorious Sunday

Another good day in the northern hemisphere.

And yet another awareness of how my life allows me to stay out of trouble..most of the time..

It has occurred to me this week-end that living in another hemisphere is good not just for me, but also for those whom I love. As long as I live 7500 miles away from them, all of my relatives are safe! It is very difficult to cause problems for people when one lives so far away. Any decision I might make, any deeds I may plan, any manipulations I might inadvertently propose all take time to manifest when one lives so far away from those influenced and inconvenienced by them.

And so, maybe all moms ought to reside in different hemispheres from their children. Just a thought. Visits are good. Long term habitation is not necessarily a wise alternative.

May the count down on this holiday season bode well for each of you..may all the presents you seek to provide be the right ones..may all those you love be satisfied with their own circumstances..may the weather cooperate and your pets love you immeasureably.

See you soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Well,I have two items on my mind this morning..and it's been a bit since I have written. One might think that I would have dozens of opinions to share.

Let's start with the fact that I've been 'on the road' for a month as of today, my son's birthday..

Four weeks is a long time to travel for the likes of me who has a penchant for quiet time in my own special spaces where I can cogitate and fantasize to my heart's content for hours on end. One does not have that option while living with hosts and hostesses. The rhythm of daily life is tossed on wild winds when others constantly have the options to determine how one will spend one's time.

Of course, there are ways..usually rather expensive ways to alieviate this situation. One could rent space for oneself instead of relying on the hospitality of friends. One could rent a car so that transportation continues to be a self directed activity. However, a given is my willingness to opt for the less expensive option and co-habit with some very generous and kind friends while away from home.

Still, such circumstances certainly cut into my ability to concentrate sufficiently to write this blog on a frequent level..actually, this is the first time I have taken keyboard in hand to communicate in this manner since 20 November..and I have to admit that I was a tad surprised that I even took time to do that.

So..a giant thank you to my friends who are so generous as to open their homes..and a sigh of relief that for the moment I am NOT using them as an excuse to avoid writing.

The other topic that interests me this morning is the ever present fact that weather often determines for me my activities of the is a blustery, almost winter morning in lovely downtown a result, my trip to NewPort Beach is cancelled. Oh, it isn't just that the beach would be inhospitable on this winter's morning..but that it's Friday..and in the Los Angeles basin it is unwise to take to the roads..way too much traffic on the giant parking lots of LA better known as freeways..

And so..happy holidays to you all..may your christmas tree shopping be full of good humor..and may the right tree stomp from it's small corner of the lot and whisper in your ear..that it is indeed ready to join you in your home..

See you tomorrow..all other things being equal..or unequal..

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunday...bloody Sunday

That's a isn't bloody..unless you are a Brit or an Aussie in which case most Sundays are bloody..bloody awful..perhaps unless, of course, you are on vacation..

And that is precisely what I am..visiting Sunny, clear, dry southern California..happily enscounced near the wilderness of the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles..

Have been here for a week visiting with friends whom I haven' t seen for almost 9 months.

Helping out the teachers by doing some essay evaluations..those take a miserable amount of time out of any English teachers'life and free time.

And I am wondering as a result if anyone would care to post about what you all know about including citations to essays to identify the source of researched material. Is it just American high school seniors who don't know how to do this? I am interested to note that not one of the thirty-five research papers I have read so far have sufficient citations in them. Every single student has included information about the topic of his/her paper without giving any information about where that information originated.

How come? How come kids don't know??'s my job this week to help them understand..and so I'm off to read some more about Hemingway, Eliot, Freud, and Mary Pickford...

Catch ya laters..hope Thanksgiving is a joyful moment in all your lives!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Per$onal Power

I am a slow learner.

Just today, three days before my 65th birthday I have discovered that personal power is not a matter of how others see us but, rather, an issue of how we see ourselves.

If I perceive myself to be powerless, I am.
If I perceive myself to be a powerful entity, I am.

I act on the basis of my self evaluation. I am generative, loving, supportive, generous to the degree that I perceive myself as possessing all of those attributes.

If I pay you a compliment, it is because I feel myself to have enough goodness to share. That is the very nature of power. Power exists to the extent and degree that I have a surplus to share with the world around me.

If I am feeling bereft of an attribute, I am unable to share any of the small portion that I am hoarding at that moment.

Think about all of this in terms of the government of the United States right now.

They obviously are very very frightened of losing power. They feel bereft of money and compassion. They lie, steal, and otherwise obfuscate in order to keep what they feel they have too little of. I realize that in terms of finances this is a conundrum, but that irony does not change the nature of the Amerikan government's attitude toward power.

It is a great sadness that the leadership of a nation with so much to be thankful for, the leadership of a country with so many material goods, feels bereft of the basic aspects of humanity that create personal power.

And it is a statement of the degree to which so many Amerikans feel this way that they were willing to vote into office such a powerless group to govern the nation.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So, I've been busy

Been distracted by a short story I have to write as a uni assignment.
The writing process is always full of intrigue. I have eight current versions of this story. But, the number of times I have written this one is more than that. Probably more like twelve at this point. I make daily revisions. The most interesting part of this revision process is that each of the last eight versions have been to take words out or to rearrange the words so that the introduction is shorter.

My professor has insisted that we 'kill our darlings' and I must admit that is the hardest part. There are so many special little items that I have had to remove, not because they are not important, but just because they are 'too much'. They slow the action and after all, keeping the reader involved is one of the requirements of a piece of literature.

If the reader quits in boredom with 'my darlings' my writing is purposeless in terms of communicating.

As a matter of fact, that is the most important thing I have learned about writing in the past year. Writing is not about me; it is about my reader. Communication is the issue and that means taking into consideration who my reader is and how long he/she will engage with me in the process.

I should have known this...I guess I just forgot about it in terms of the written language. I remember the first time I was acutely aware of this 'engagement' in terms of spoken language. I was sixteen and a junior in high school. A school mate asked me causually, 'how are you?" while we were waiting for our mothers to pick us up after school one spring afternoon.

Wouldn't you know, being the self centered dreebe that I am/was, I began to go through the whole entire litany of just how I was. Needless to say, (and that means I ought to stop here) she turned away and walked to another spot from which to wait for her ride.

Embarrassed? you bet I was. Enough so that I still remember the spot and the girl. I can't drag up her name, but I know she played the other base drum in the Girls Drum and Bugle Corps that we marched in while in high school.

And so, dear reader, if you are still with me...please don't walk away..but do take a moment to let me know what you think..I'm listening!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cavorting Cadavers in the dance of life

Can you imagine in the not so distant future that Body Worlds 2, an artistic exhibition of human cadavers, created by Gunter von Hagen’s plastinated process, could be featured as part of Body Zone at the Queensland Museum South Bank, Brisbane or at the Scienceworks museum in Melbourne? Currently on display at the museums of Science and Industry in Philadelphia, this exhibition of real human bodies belongs here in Australia, as well.

Plastination is a modern mummification process that allows entire bodies to be preserved and displayed after the fat in biopsied body parts has been replaced with modern plastic as a preservative. (BodyWorlds2, September 2005)

In the past, medical students used human cadavers preserved in formaldehyde to supplement Gray’s Anatomy, a textbook on the human body. Today, scentless displays of plastinated bodies posed as though they were about to move into motion are available for viewing by laypersons in this exhibition. Spending an hour with von Hagen’s twenty corpses minus their skins in the BodyWorlds2 exhibition allows museum goers an extraordinary opportunity to understand just how various body parts interact.

For instance, in the Queensland Museum’s Body Zone, the Biking with Boney display allows youngsters to ride tandem on a bicycle with a plastic skeleton in order to see how joints function. Featured are special joints made just for the museum visitor. (Body Zone, October 2005)

Von Hagen’s plastinated bodies offer real human bones to complement one’s understanding of how joints interact with the tendons and muscles that support them. The two exhibits combined would allow museum goers a fuller understanding of the working of human joints.

The current Hundreds of bones exhibit on display in Body Zone at the Queensland Museum would be a greater teaching tool if the museum added a BodyWorlds2 model with muscles, tendons, and ligaments attached to those bones.

“Frightening and disgusting” are terms used by some to describe this exhibit now touring North America and hopefully arriving in Australia at some date in the near future. However, with respectful intent, it is possible to view the several systems of the human body in three dimensions, to see muscles connecting, tendons and ligaments joining, bones supporting, and nerves and blood vessels energizing bodies that are neither frightening nor disgusting. Viewers can respond to the artfully displayed body as a total functioning entity. One begins to have a new respect for one’s own body when viewing the complexity and dynamics evident in these biopsied human specimens.

If literature gives us the opportunity to understand the emotional similarities between human beings regardless of culture, plastination and the BodyWorlds2 exhibit allows us an opportunity to understand that once the skin has been removed, the similarities between us outweigh in every instance the differences.

This exhibition, which I saw at the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry in February of 2005 and that is now on display in Philadelphia, may come to Australia at some time in the future. It is one of the most celebratory compendiums of dead humanity I have experienced.

17 million people from Taipei to Singapore, from Munich to Los Angeles have so far visited the BodyWorlds exhibitions. Not everyone finds the exhibition a positive experience. For instance, In Munich the exhibition was closed as a result of community concern. Von Hagens responded by scheduling the next exhibition of BodyWorlds in North America where it has been displayed in San Francisco, Los Angles, Chicago, Toronto, and Philadelphia where it is currently open.

Obviously, not everyone agrees with the concerns of the Germans. The individuality of each of the plastinated bodies on display and the respect for the exhibition from the group with whom I travelled through the museum in February 2005 convince me that this is no circus sideshow. Indeed, this is a teaching opportunity, a time to experience in entirely natural ways what it means to physically function as a human.

As a result of the patented process, plastination, developed by Gunther von Hagens and the gift of their bodies by the dying, Australians can see with clarity just how connections are made in the human body. When the ballerina is on point, when the skateboarder is upside down coming off of a particularly vivacious run, when the soccer player is at full tilt in his goal kick, when the male body builder is using his shoulder and back muscles to keep himself prone on the rings, when the three day eventer is about to take the highest jump in the show on the back of her graceful, powerful stallion, we can see how the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and spine function to produce spectacular action.

For instance, I have arthritis in my left knee. Although I have seen plastic models of my knee and plastic skeletons, I have had no real idea of how my knee works until I viewed twenty different human cadavers with muscles and tendons in tact captured in a moment of movement. In order to offer more specific information, some models have artificial joints surgically implanted. Perhaps for the first time, the general public can see just how these man-made joints not only function, but also fit into existing real body parts.

The brochure, provided by the California Science Center where we viewed Body Worlds2, uses the terms complexity and elegance to describe the display. It is true that through this exhibit one can see, for the first time, if one is not a medical practitioner, how the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bone structures provide movement, balance, and symmetry to the human body.

Not only are the twenty cadavers posed as though they were vital and engaged in activity thus showing the extension of movement, but the body parts, both diseased and healthy displayed side by side in glass cabinets, point out the effects of certain negative habits or environments on the body. The Philadelphia exhibition includes a model with diseased smoker’s lungs. Normal livers are dis[played beside distended, diseased livers to show the effects of life stye practices.
It is a quiet delight to see parents pointing out body parts to their children who respectfully make note of the effects of certain life style choices. Surely this exhibit will have more influence on children’s choices in future than any media informational. The graphic nature of this display may offend some, but every one with whom I interacted throughout the exhibition expressed wonder and amazement at the strong visual impression the exhibit provided.

Can this exhibit be described as artistic? Indeed! There is no doubt that this is an artistic mix of science and art coming together as all good museum exhibitions tend to do. The symmetry and beauty that is available in holographic displays of the natural environment, the Hubble photographs of outer space, and the beauty of geometric fractals are now joined by BodyWorks2, static but in motion. Body Worlds2 is a beautiful display of the human. Each cadaver, minus his or her skin, resonates a personality, an individual who made a unique contribution to the world in which he or she lived. There is a sense of honouring humanity here.

Linda Manley, a year 11 public school science teacher commented, “Body Worlds2? Although it seems funny, I guess my first impression was how small the lungs are! I always thought their size was much larger. I would encourage anyone who has ever wondered how our bodies function to see this truly amazing display of the human experience ”.

Becca Frenel, another secondary school teacher, who saw the exhibit in Los Angeles in February 2005 commented, “I loved Body Worlds2 - the amazing muscles and tissues that connect us and support us and hold us together - loved it - fascinating”.

Some have noted the similarity between the work done by Leonardo Da Vinci who exhumed bodies and drew the musculature and underlying bones and tendons and the work of Gunther von Hagens who allows us to see how the body works and what constitutes healthy living. This array of plastinated human corpses is not a funeral. It is instead a celebration, not only of the lives of each of the cadavers, but also of all humanity, of the amazing manner in which beings function on a physical level.

If I ever thought of the body as a temple, it was always as a temple that held the personality. After lingering in von Hagen’s display of plastinated bodies, I am sure that the body itself is as amazing, complex, and beautiful in it’s functioning as the personality is in introducing that same body to the world. Seeing this exhibit can be equated with having a spiritual experience of awe and respect for what it means to be human, what it means to be alive on this planet.

In the final display of the exhibition, behind artistic curtaining so that those who wish to avoid it may, stands a cadaver of a young pregnant woman. This 30+-year-old pregnant female died along with her foetus. Many question the use of her body, but seeing the foetus snuggled so comfortably inside the opened uterus and the mother’s protecting hands around her abdomen, leaves one with a great sadness for the death of mother and child and a sense of wonder at having had the opportunity to see the closeness, the physical connection between the two.

It is ironic that BodyWorlds2 has found it’s current home in the USA where no national health insurance is available. Perhaps that means that enthusiastic museum viewers believe the best insurance is knowing how one’s body works and what one must do in order to remain as healthful as possible.

Australians of all ages will find this exhibition to be not only worth the small cost (currently $12.50 – $16.75 American) entrance fee, but also a celebration of what it means to be human.


BodyWorlds, (Oct 2005).

BodyWorlds, (September 2005).

Bodyworlds - a review of the notorious 'Corpse Show', (Oct 2005).

Body Zone, Queensland Museum South Bank – Sciencentre, Oct, 2005).

Friday, October 21, 2005

a note on Internet friends..

A few days ago I posted an address for a site that commented on internet friends. This morning as I signed in to my usual bulletin board on which friends of the last 8 years have posted, I found that one of those friends died on Sunday. Her partner, whom she met on line, took the time to let us all know of her death.

Since I am an old person, the death of friends no longer comes as a shock. I am aware that my 1958 high school graduating class of 360 has been trimmed to 150 folks. Our next reunion will, I am sure, even be a tad smaller. I am no neophyte to this 'loss' process.

But, Lori's death is the first I have experienced of an on-line friend. I am not shocked. I am saddened. I knew that she had a stroke a year ago, but I was operating under the assumption that her improvement was only a matter of time.

I suppose it is very easy to make all kinds of assumptions about the lives of those whom one only knows on-line. This wake up call reminds me that I might wish to pay more attention to those persons who live thousands of miles away but who are available to me on a regular basis on-line.

There is no way I can change the life circumstances of most of those friends, but I can attempt to bring a smile to their computer screen by being a supportive person when we do meet in cyberia.

And so..I wish you each a joyful evening with a supportive family this evening..

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Australian Adventure

Had an adventure adventure into the 'bush' and an adventure into the wilderness within...
Perhaps you recognize the experience. I'm sure it happens to all of us at sometime in our lives. Just as I am sure that it happens to some of us more often than to others.
Here's the scenario:

When your firiend describes her experience and you suddenly realize that it is your experience also…when she uses words that are better than the words you have been able to find to delineate, to symbolize the experience, when her metaphor is so perfectly your own experience; then, my dear, you have found a person with whom you must remain in contact.

My friend lives in a gum tree wilderness of exquisite beauty, full of the grey green forests of central coast Australia, high on a hill above a lovely pastoral valley most of which is still covered with the eucalypt forest. To this pocket of Austrlaian flora and fauna she brings the slightly clipped, very perfectly pronounced British/Scottish/Australian patois that creates a civilised ambiance, a culture that seems almost alien and at the same time quite at home in this amazing bush conclave of out buildings, of fruit trees, bananas, peach, pomegrante and figs surrounding a 'bush' cottage full of warmth and good food.

It is a journey of discovery to drive the yellow/red dirt roads onto the 157 acres of the land held by my friend Theirs is a story of affinity, of love in the gum tree wilderness and in the wilderness of middle age, away from the noise and lights of urban living. To this abode high on the ridge line, protected from the westerlies by the knot of Mt…Goolma rising above their clearning. When he leaves of a morning to go off to work to make the living they must have in order to continue in their solar powered, pond fronded, goldfish decorated space, her heart stings for a moment..racting to the loss of his presence. Is this love? On every level, I think so.

Thank you, dear Scottish/Australian friend for inviting me into the cove of creatures that you call home.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Internet friends

I have included below a web addy of a site on the internet with a peceptive commentary on internet friends. I thought you might enjoy checking it out. It was sent to me by an internet friend who lives in California. POD and I have met on line for the past seven years. We have met in person five or six times. She is one of the most witty, compassionate, intelligent women I have ever known. She is a commediene with perfect timing.

I started chatting on-line in 1996-97 or whenever the first internet chat rooms like Healthy Choice were available to us. It is interesting that I really don't know the year when I began. The web opened up a brave new world that intrigued my quiet evening moments.

I talked with people from Afganistan, Pakistan, Britain, Brazil, Indonesia, India, South Africa, Canada, United States, Mexico, Germany, and finally Australia - the country in which I now reside.

I am currently in contact with several of those folks, which is an interesting commentary on internet communities. We all moved from Healthy Choice to a chat site called C5 and then on to other spots on the web where we could share our sadness and our happiness, the throes of parenthood, and the flirtations of our middle age.

Today, I share my life with a man whom I met on the net. Our relationship is a loving sharing of discovery. We have the rest of our lives to discover what magic we can create in the 'real world'.

The addy article comments on what happens when we meet our internet friends. I find it to be a rendition of reality that is fairly stated. The web has among other things, created a planetary community, a world without borders that allows like minded folks to share their perceptions of the world with other folks whom, under previous conditions, they would NEVER have met. Isn't some technology grand!!...

If you check the article out, stop back and let me know what you think.

Monday, October 10, 2005

the goddess of disaster and Pat Robertson

Have you heard? The evangelical Christian front man, Pat Robertson (yes, he who once ran for the Presidency of the United States) has declared that the recent disasters of firestorm, earthquake, and hurricanes are god's assurance that the second coming is about to commence, that the son of god is about to descend to the planet and take all the good christians away. I'm betting a few Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists are wishing the christian god would shorten his lunch break and get on with the rescue mission.

What drivel! What self serving madness! This man could have been President of the United States. And look at him whom we got instead - a man who also thinks he sits at the right hand of the christian god himself..whewy! What a bunch of nut cases.

And these are the fellows who are in charge of funding for scientific research in the planet's most financially affluent cultures. And I say financially afluent, cause at this point it becomes obvious that in no other way is that leadership culture affluent..indeed it is bereft of any spirituality that might cause the peoples of the world to find it charismatic leadership material.

If there is any criticism of the educational system in the USA, it has to be that somehow that system has turned out so many folks who have so little ability to think rationally, to sort out the nonsense and drivel from the meaningful, helpful, and intelligent solutions to the problems of the world. How ever did we manage to graduate so many with so little ability to sort out media hype from truth?

We have been dupped, we amerikans! We have a congress with no ethics and no courage. We have a government so entrenched with the concept of staying in power that no deed is too sordid if it will allow cronies to make big bucks. And furthermore, we have shipped out to the rest of the world our penchant for believing that making money is what makes life worth while.

I hope the cockroaches won't mind being the next great experiment of that godhead just itching to take the christians to heaven and throwing the rest of us in the 'big fire'...I can tell that the old father god has just about bored himself silly with humans anyhow..Maybe the roaches and ants will be more least they have a tendency towards community..more than we can say for an awful lot of the political leaders of the USA...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Hard thing is to get slowed down

Saturday morning! I can hear the neighbors on their veranda having morning coffee/tea..maybe here in Oz. Their voices are soft and involved. You can hear them caring about what each other is saying... I wonder how often the same is true here at our house. We have our brekky on the back veranda most days and always have some sort of discussion in the midst of our oatmeal.

Today I am up early. Last night I crashed early...unlike me, but I was buggered by 9:30 and having difficulty keeping my eyes open. We had been watching TV..always a dopifying experience in the best of times. The detective show we had been watching was a Brit thriller. Not badly done, but I had been up early yesterday and I just wanted my pillow.

But on to the title of today's entry, The hard thing is to get slowed down. Isn't this absoutely the truth. Even in retirement..and I am way into retirement, it is so hard to just slow down the motors of my mind, to let go when the wilderness presents itself.

This past week, G and I traveled to Tasmania, the north west coast, to do a little hiking in the temperate rain forests of Cradle Mountain. My greatest difficulty was slowing down, giving nature a chance to complete her processes, to rain and blow until blue skies once again mixed with cloud cover so that we could walk the byways of this extra ordinary country.

G asked me several times what might be wrong. I had difficulty just allowing my book to entertain me. There was really not much else I could do but wait out the weather. But there was that interior push to make things happen more quickly, to create a scedule that matched the speed with which my mind was moving.

I'm never sure what my rush it. How come I have to move so quickly, make decisions so rapidly. It would seem far more productive to allow the pattern of my days to mirror those of nature herself. There is dawn and there is sunset. There is the Butcher Bird greeting the dawn along with the Kookaburra and then there is the busy fruit bats just after sunset munching on the palm nuts in the front garden. There are amazing moments in between that have nothing to do with my need to accomplish..what? Just what is it that I tend to think I must accomplish. Maybe just completing the day with a smile of satisfaction at the end ought to be enough.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Hi there..
It has just come to my attention yet again that it is the people in my life that make the world the magnificent place that it is.

There is no other component that is anywhere nearly as important. The kindness, love, cleverness, playfulness, curiosity, and support that my friends and relatives offer to the world make me a happy camper. Without these dramatic, loving, dedicated individuals, this life simply would be a boring morass of tv time.

So..I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to each and every one of you. The gifts you offer me on a regular basis simply make my day!! my week!! my month!! my life!!

I don't know how I got so lucky as to have collected the whole passel of you..but the goddess surely was smiling in my direction when each of you stepped up and into my space.

I can only hope that in some small way I add a modicum of what you offer...back to you in your lives..

Thank you..thank you..thank you...and humongous kinesthetic hugs to each and every one of you...


Sunday, September 25, 2005


Do our relatives have the right to take their own lives?

Do they have a responsibility to talk to us first, to ask our permission, to listen to our arguments?

I wonder. I have always thought that, in fact, each of us has no real control over anyone else except our selves. We do have ultimate control over how we choose to live our own lives. Oh, I know,there is argument over what is part of our conscious mind and what is an unknown part of our psyche over which our consciousness has no control. And just how powerful is that unconscious part of the self? Well, that's not part of this discussion today.

Let me define the issues. Does my relative have the right to act in such a way so that his body will not be able to survive?

You think I'm talking about sky diving, don't you?

Well, I'm not. Not today. However, I can imagine that my feelings are probably the same as folks whose relatives choose to sky dive. Or drive too fast in cars that have no crumple zones and whose steering columns act as leathal weapons in any head on accident.

No, I am talking about a relative of mine who gave up his job which in the USA means giving up his health insurance. This relative is a diabetic. He needs medication in order to keep his insulin and blood sugar in balance. He is one of those adult onset diabetics, actually. But, he is not a heavy weight who eats chips.

Nope, my relative is a skinny, marathon running adult who now, because he has no health insurance and therefore no money to pay for blood work and therefore no access to medication because no doctor will give him a perscription in the USA without the blood work, is unable to get the medication that will keep his blood sugar/insulin in balance.

I suspect he is not the only adult American who can't get medical care because he has no health benefits on the job. What kind of a national policy is that, anyway????....

But, back to the issue, does he have the right to give up his job if he knows that no health insurance means death?

And what is my responsibility? Should I pay for his health insurance so that he has access to medication?

He says, "NO!"

I say, get a job that has health benefits.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I'm so jazzed...We booked into Cradle Mountain Wilderness Lodge this morning..

It's gonna be a wild trip into the unknown. I have wanted to visit Tasmania ever since I first arrived in Oz..and here we go.

It's a tad expensive, but we don't go all that often and there are kilometers and kilometers of trails to keep us both happy. I take the short tall Aussie partner takes the long hard tracks. Together we manage to cover most of whatever there is to see.

Please pray for good weather..that means no snow!....for the first week end in October..

It is such a joy to anticipate being trekking again...not camping this time of year..if we were going in summer twould be a different story. My see a wombat and a platypus in their natural environment..unlikely..but a goal just the same.

If I weren't in school, If I didn't have to write a short story on which I have to do some research, If I weren't partnered to the most amazing Australian, this trip would not take place.

And so..dear world of readers..and anyone else who happens a random ghost or energy system checking out this corner of the internet...let me assure you that the thought of being in the midst of carnivorous flora and endangered birdlife is one huge incentive to enjoy retirement. There are so many undiscovered, unseen amazing entities just waiting to surprise and entice one into the wilderness.

Happy Thursday..

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Sounds a little like venereal diseases, don't they...:)

Not so!

these charming little plants are carnivorous. They live in heaths and moors..places that are heavy with water..and yet somehow desert like because of the nutrient poor soil in which they exist..

So how do bladderworts survive in this barren landscape? They capture tiny creatures in the water, digest them and use them to enhance their own nutritional base....kind of interesting, hey??

I discovered the beauty of these little creatures..fairy aprons..their popular dainty and lovely in the godforsaken amazing heaths below Cradle mountain in Tasmania.

I suggest you take a look at them on line...because I am mac bound, I don't have a program that will allow me to put a picture on line for you to see..sigh!....and I wouldn't give up my mac for the right to post a photo..maybe I can get a friend to do it for me...and then you can see these sprightly amazing little dancers fliting around the heaths of the great island to the south.

In the meantime..enjoy a Tuesday..delightful here!!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Wilderness fiction

While researching wilderness fiction for my grad class, Research to Text, I have come across several interesing volumes.

Not the least of which is Mrgaret Atwood's short stories in Wilderness Tips.

However, it is the humor that delights me most. Try out these two items:

"Real Programmers don't play tennis, or any sport that requires you to
change clothes. Mountain climbing is OK, and real programmers always
wear their climbing boots to work in case a mountain should suddenly
spring up in the middle of a machine room."

from: "Real programmers don't write specs" in
%A George S. Almasi
%A Allan Gottlieb
%T Highly Parallel Computing


Dear Mr. Wilcox:

We have received your extraordinary letter regarding the plans
for your record-breaking efforts this year [1967] on Mt. McKinley.
I have answered hundreds of queries over a long period of time,
but have never before answered one quite like this. In fact, I am
amazed that the National Park Service would grant a permit for
such a weird undertaking.
...[Significant history removed]
-- not just sleeping their way into headlines!

For your information, according to our records, McKinley
has not yet been climbed blindfolded or backwards, nor has the
same party of nine yet fallen simultaneously into the same
crevasse. We hope that you may wish to rise to one of these
compelling challenges.
Very truly yours,
Bradford Washburn, Director
Museum of Science and Hayden Planetarium

Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!

Friday, September 16, 2005


I am aware that solitude works to increase my altered state creativity. However, the problem with this solitude is that it often is sof illd with my own machinations that I forget about the real world surrounding me. I forget about other parts of the world where folks are less blessed with material items; there are hungering children, starving from the lack of the same material items that I take for granted.

Then, I feel like I ought to be acting differentely; I ought to be involved in some way to make a difference in the world out there.

Of course, such involvement increses the risk that I will have to leave this isolated tower in which I have everything I need to survive qite comfortably, thank you.

I listen to the news daily. I pay attention to the political situation and criticize those in power because they do not do more to make a differnce for those who have less than we do, but my integrity has a gigantic hole, a chasm of egotism and disregard for those less fortuante that I am. I do nothing to make a difference. I take no stand. I write nothing to help them. I do not spend my time on their behalf.

I feel guilty, but not guilty enough to step out of my home to make a difference in their world.

Confessing to you makes absolutely no difference. I supose the Catholic church thought that such confession would do its memebers some good. Obviously, they were wrong.

It's a glorious day here in Oz. The greens of the fig tree wilderness are greener than ever. The blue skies are more blue than one could imagine. There is no suffering within my visual field. For now.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cloudy skies and bird song

Why does my whole world begin with the weather? Today, for instance, the cloud cover almost dissipated as the sun courageously broke through for a couple of hours this morning and then lost the battle for the skies and retreated behind the marine layer.

I realize that some studies have been done about the effect of certain types of weather conditions affecting the mood and energy levels of humans, but this is ridiculous. Here it is 11:30 on a perfectly fine Wednesday morning and I have not yet made the bed nor showered and dressed. Sitting here in my ratty but comfy robe and bedclothes, with my sloppy red larger than life slippers, I am totally comfortable to do absolutely nothng but play snood or solitarie on my computer.

Now, if it were one of those fantastic spring days full of sunshine and only 35% humidity, I would be out to Mt. Cooth-tha walking the tracks already or in the garden picking up the palm nuts the fruit bats knocked down in their feeding frenzy last night.

Fortunately, the weather seems to have less influence on the Butcher Bird in whose territory I live. Although I must say I didn't hear my favorite Kookaburra family chuckling the dawn into submission this morning. Probably, because of the cloud cover I was just far too deeply asleep and didn't hear them. Certainly some Kookaburra conclave somewhere in Oz raises the dawn each day. One wonders if the darkness would actually turn to daylight without the chortling of those happy birds.

Like the larks of Europe, they are harbingers of the lightness that allows us all to exist. How they must have suffered when gigantic volcanoes spewed forth enough detrius to block the sun in the southern hemisphere in day sof yore. We are fortunate that they did not forget their songs during that long and dreary winter.

Well, so much for gringing. Time to meet the day. I have class today. And the joy of that experience is that I am allowed because I pay the big bucks to the University, to sit with young and fertile minds for two hours twice a week to see how youthful Australia thinks and problem solves. They are a great gift to the planet, these young minds!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tuesday..sunny Tuesday

Greetings, Blog world..

Today I am doing school work. Have I shared with you that I am a masters degree student at the Univeristy of Queensland?

And that I have several projects underway? Projects with which you might be able to help?

It seems that I need some more information about just what it means to be airlifted out of the Cradle Mountain wilderness area of Tasmania. That is the subject of my next short story, an assignment due in a few weeks in my Research to Text class.
If you have any information at all about helicopter rescues in wilderness areas, do jot a note and let me know. Or if you know what it is like to break a foot inches nor meters..just a foot..while carrying a backpack, jot me a note and let me know.

Furthermore, I am doing research on fitness levels for senior citizens involved in Adventure Travel destinations. If you are or if you know of anyone who had difficulty completing an adventure journey, do let me know. I would love to interview that person to find out just what the problem was and how they addressed it.

Thanks ever so much..Time to get busy now and actually do some school you all..

Monday, September 12, 2005

Broken feet

The Aussies count space in meters, centimeters, and millimeters. The Americans count the same distance in inches, feet, and yards. I supose one must also include miles and acres for the Americans and the kilometers and hectares for the Aussies.

How is it that the Australians are so much more anglicized than the Americans? After all, which country is closer to the mother land? The the land of motherfookers anyway? Well, I suppose that's a tad Irish afterall.

But, it is true that when one breaks one's foot down under, the doctor is going to speak of the number of millimeters that the spiral break entails while the American doctor will probably speak in termsof inches.

And to be truthful, I haven't any idea at all how long the sprial freaky split in my fifth metatarsal may be...or for that matter how healed it is.

To celebrate the American 4th of Jly holiday minus fireworks, I created a few of my own in terms of a slip off a milk crate and an unlovely twist of events ending up with a nasty sprain and a spiral break in my foot. Actually, when one looks at x-rays of the bones of the foot, it is a wonderment that we don't break more of them more often. I know that the arch itself is what makes us so ssfe...thank the goddess for those amazing keystones in the midst of the archs of our feet, but it is equally amazing that it took me 64 years to break any bone n my body and that the first one would be in my foot.

Makes new meaning of the Jane Fonda rant..These boots are made for walking..right over you!!..

And you..have you broken any part of your body? Have you seen stars? Have you almost vomited from the pain of it all? I'm betting there are some rather interesting, inviting tales out ther waiting to be told..including the one about the tail bone??

Let's hear what you have to say about that moment when you just know that something has split asunder under the skin and left you unable to move some part of your anatomy in the regular acceptable manner????

Broken feet

The Aussies count space in meters, centimeters, and millimeters. The Americans count the same distance in inches, feet, and yards. I supose one must also include miles and acres for the Americans and the kilometers and hectares for the Aussies.

How is it that the Australians are so much more anglicized than the Americans? After all, which country is closer to the mother land? The the land of motherfookers anyway? Well, I suppose that's a tad Irish afterall.

But, it is true that when one breaks one's foot down under, the doctor is going to speak of the number of millimeters that the spiral break entails while the American doctor will probably speak in termsof inches.

And to be truthful, I haven't any idea at all how long the sprial freaky split in my fifth metatarsal may be...or for that matter how healed it is.

To celebrate the American 4th of Jly holiday minus fireworks, I created a few of my own in terms of a slip off a milk crate and an unlovely twist of events ending up with a nasty sprain and a spiral break in my foot. Actually, when one looks at x-rays of the bones of the foot, it is a wonderment that we don't break more of them more often. I know that the arch itself is what makes us so ssfe...thank the goddess for those amazing keystones in the midst of the archs of our feet, but it is equally amazing that it took me 64 years to break any bone n my body and that the first one would be in my foot.

Makes new meaning of the Jane Fonda rant..These boots are made for walking..right over you!!..

And you..have you broken any part of your body? Have you seen stars? Have you almost vomited from the pain of it all? I'm betting there are some rather interesting, inviting tales out ther waiting to be told..including the one about the tail bone??

Let's hear what you have to say about that moment when you just know that something has split asunder under the skin and left you unable to move some part of your anatomy in the regular acceptable manner????

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A return to blogging ...Sunday at dawn

Up early this morning and ready to start the week with all kinds of intentions..Sunrise in Brissy is full of birdsong. Woke at 4:30 to Kookaburra chatter in the gum trees.

Spring is spruning in the nmost gentle ways..medium temps..yesterday around we expect rain, but the dawn seen through my sunroom windows doesn't look stormy yet. slight breeze moves the silhouettes in the tre tops ..westerlies come in from the center of the land..brushing cloud cover out to sea.

LIfe in Oz is relaxed and comforting most of the time..Hopefully daylight is similar..This is enough for now..more laters

American in Oz

American in Oz

Is this where I can make a comment on this post? To say how lovey it is to find myself published on the net?