Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday December 30th


Can you believe that this year is now over but the first decade of the 21st century has passed? Look at what has ingrained itself into our Lexicon that was not there 10 years ago. We knew nothing of Blogging, Twittering, Instant Messaging, YouTubing, Blackberry SmartPhones or Skype. Our world has changed so quickly and it constantly amazes me how quickly we human beings are capable of mastering these new techniques and make them our own so they show off our individual styles.

 When 2009 started I would never have imagined that I would be where I am now. I never considered the notion that I would be in a relationship that is 500 miles from where I live nor would I have ever imagined that I would have found a group of people in Tucson that I could be this close to this quickly.

It has been an amazing year for me on many levels. For me this was a year that had as many trials as it had successes. Each year, I pick word to focus my plans on for the year. My word for 2010 is to be ~DETERMINATION~. Not matter what goals I set for myself the focus on the path to each of those goals is ~DETERMINATION~. Choose your words wisely and make sure that they are words of strength and not words that put up boundaries for you.

This New Years Eve we are to be treated to a ~Blue Moon~ A blue moon is a full moon that is not timed to the regular monthly pattern. Most years have twelve full moons which occur approximately monthly, but in addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each solar calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days compared to the lunar year. The extra days accumulate, so that every two or three years (on average about every 2.7154 years[1]), there is an extra full moon. The extra moon is called a "blue moon." an astronomical rarity that occurs just seven times every 19 years, hence the famous phrase "once in a blue moon." The last time was in 1990; the next one won't come again until 2028.

What's more, this New Year's Eve, people living in the Far East will see a lunar eclipse, making this an even rarity. A blue-moon eclipse only happens once roughly every 15 to 20 years.

Revel in the festivities, have a safe and prosperous 2010 and I wish much happiness to us all.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday December 25th

The Sound of Music / Central Station Antwerp

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder~

The holidays arrive each season and families gather and we all eat way too much and then it is all over and for another year the obligations have been met and everyone goes back to their own lives. Sounds rather pessimistic right? Well, in some simplistic way this is just the way that it is. It really does not matter how much we care for our families, how much we love them or enjoy seeing them, the simple facts are just this; we get together for the briefest of times and then return to our own lives.

I find the passage of each Christmas amazing to witness. My niece and two nephews are all pretty much grown but it was not that long ago that the youngest of them still believed in Santa Clause and this meant that the insanity of presents on Christmas morning was a joyous occasion. There is still some of that wonder and amazement in the morning but I as the years pass the traditions continue but the mornings and the day grow more subdued and the conversation a bit more in depth and interesting.

I leave to go back home on Monday and back to my life and I leave these simple traditions for another year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday December 22nd

I am all packed, the house is clean and I leave tomorrow for Dayton. The only hitch in my day was the fact that the winds kicked up early and ripped part of the  roof off of my home this afternoon.

Luckily, my handy man Monte was not busy and he spent several hours patching the issue to get me through the rains that were due to hit this evening. And hit they did… The rains came with a vengeance and they smelled so good and all of the vegetation in my yard has been very thirsty.

I have a very cavalier attitude about the plants on my property. I do not water any of them, no matter what genus they are (well except for my Oleander plants)… my philosophy is "Live or Die" If they can get through the heat of the summer and make it to the monsoons then survive the dry of the fall till the winter rains hit then they are the hearty vegetation that I knew they were and they can stay … other than that … sorry.

Did you know that today is Puccini's birthday? … this dude was an amazing composer and is responsible for one of my favorite operas … Manon Lescaut. originally produced in 1731, this was one of the first operas that I ever listened to and I was introduced to this opera with the voice of Maria Callus singing the role of Manon. The opera takes place in France and ends up in Louisiana. The last act takes place in the desert outside New Orleans. Puccini never made it to America and just assumed that Louisiana was part of the Wild West. That story makes me smile every time I hear the score, just pondering Puccini's image of all of the cactus in the desert outside of New Orleans. I guess he had never heard of Lake Pontchartrain.

Listen here to one of the most famous arias ever, preformed by one of the most amazing voices to ever sing the role of Manon …

Monday December 21st

Happy Winter Solstice to us all.
The days will get shorter and these dark nights will not seem quite so dark for so long.

The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26'. Though the Winter Solstice lasts an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like The first day of winter to refer to the day on which it occurs. More evident to those in high latitudes, this is the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. The seasonal significance of the Winter Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice occurs on December 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday December 20th

I have spent the last 2 days getting projects set up for me to take on my trip to Dayton for the holiday. Yesterday, I wound, cut and fused 10 troy ounces of fine silver jump rings to weave into loop-n-loop chains. I do realize that I will get a good 8 to 10 necklaces from this day of preparation but I just look at these 2 very small bags of rings. I nod & just sigh at the hours of assembly line work that went into getting me to this point.

But once I do get to this point not many tools are required to finish up the necklaces, so it is a perfect travel project. I do this every year so I do not feel that this time away from my bench it totally wasted.

I also have set my sights on some Dendritic Agates that I picked up at last years gem show. I am gonna set these into square wire wrap settings. I will post images as I get them done.

The only thing that I am not looking forward to is the weather that awaits me in the midwest. On Christmas Eve morning I have to drive from Dayton, OH to Ft Wayne, IN. For the last several years the weather has been horrible either coming or going and the extended forecast it is not looking good his year. I just am hoping that the predictions are wrong. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

It seems I did make a better travel choice this year. Well, the choice was actually made for me… Last year I flew Frontier and all connections take you through Denver. I beat a blizzard out of Denver back to Tucson by 15 minutes. If I had not made it out I would have been stuck at the Denver airport for 24 or 36 hours. This year my flight connections take me through Atlanta. There are two down sides to this travel scenario. The 1st bad part  is the Atlanta Airport (nightmare) and 2nd is the fact that I am having to fly Delta.

I despise the larger commercial carriers these days. There is not one thing that I like about any of them. They do not care about the traveler anymore all they have done is jack up the prices over the holiday and apply Tack-On-Charges to nickel and dime the traveler to death. The ONLY reason that I am traveling this way is that I got a practically free ticket. Oh what we do for family… right?

I am looking forward to seeing my niece and my 2 nephews. I usually only get to see them for these few days each year and I look forward to catching up with them. We are all on FB together and I do have to say that I really like to see what they are up to and just generally keeping in touch every so often. I will admit that it is sometimes hard not to be an adult with them and not just the "cool aunt."

I hope that every ones holidays have started out wonderfully and will only get better as this season progresses.

It is important that all of us remember this time of year is not just a Christian holiday season. It seems that a good many celebrations converge during this time of year...

Hanukkah was in the early part of December this year.
Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.
Eid El Fitr - marks the end of the fast of Ramadan
Festivus, a secular holiday created by writer Dan O'Keefe is celebrated on December 23rd.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday December 17th

Today in 1903 Orville & Wilber Wright made the first heavier than air flight at Kitty Hawk North Carolina. Now even though the flight took place in NC, it is Dayton Ohio that calls itself the birthplace of aviation and lay claim to the Wright Brothers. I even attended college at Wright State University. 

Just think of the 1900 to 1999, what a century our parents lived and my generation got to see the last 30 + years of. I do not think that there has been a century that ever saw such leaps and advances.

If Charles Duell had had his way the 20th century could have been a bust. He was the Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office and in 1899 he declared "Everything that can be invented has been invented" and he actually considered closing the Patent Office for good.

I think that if we can go to the moon, defy gravity, explore the depths of the ocean and dream of creations that have gotten us to the heights that we have attained, I truly feel that we should be able to find the answers that we are struggling to find now. All we have to do is decide to do it together.

An excerpt from Kennedy's Speech in 1963 about going to the moon sums it up pretty well.

"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday December 16th

Washington Irving: "There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love."

I approach each holiday season with trepidation. It was 4 years ago, Christmas Eve, my father was admitted into intensive care and I rushed home Christmas Day to be with my mother and father. My parents friends rallied around my mother and were there for her and for us. I spent the next week at home, spending my days at the hospital and evenings with my mother in my childhood home that I had not seen in over a decade. As I was getting ready to go back to California, I kissed him and told him I would be back as soon as I could. At that moment I looked into my fathers eyes and held his gaze as I never had before. I hesitated, knowing what I did not want to know, that this was the last moment that we were going to ever see each other. The depth of his gaze will be with me forever, he knew.

I dream of my father often. Mostly we are doing stupid stuff, regular things, then we always end up walking side by side talking. My most vivid dream of him came months if not a year ago when I turned to him in my dream and just simply told him that I missed him so much, he just continued walking and replied " I know, I miss you too."

I share this story now for one reason only, the holiday season can bring so much family tension. Cherish the moments that you bring those you truly love together and always look your loved ones int he eye, make contact & tell them how much they mean to you and how much they mean in your lives. There is nothing more intense, screwed up or more precious than our families. They know our past, our secrets, our weaknesses and our fears and yet… they are still family…nothing can replace them, no matter how hard we try...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday December 15th Part 2

Just so we are all aware.
On this day in 1791 the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, know as the Bill of Rights was ratified...

The U.S. Archives & Records Administration

The Bill of Rights: A Transcription
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Tuesday December 15th

I went out of town to visit my girlfriend and to relax for a few days and it turned into a few more days. I got some work accomplished and the biggest thing I did, other than install new lighting in her kitchen, was to get my mind wrapped around the new version of Dreamweaver CS4 that I had to get to replace the older version that my web site was built on.

To say that I had an uphill battle is an amazing understatement. Just the simplest tasks had and entire new command sequence and to just simply change the color of some basic text became a battle of wills that almost cost my poor wireless mouse it very existence in this world as I came very close to throwing it across the room in frustration.

As you can see, I feel that I won this particular battle, I have updated my calendar for next year, updated my front page and soon I will have a new work for sale on my jewelry page. I am also working on a very cool slide show that will be the new introduction to my site… Keep  a look out!

All through these last days I have been mildly amused to absolutely frustrated by our current affairs.

First:  This childish war that AT&T has tried in vain to wage against Verizon. To me this idiotic bantering and name calling is endemic of the same problems that we are facing on a larger scale. While the iPhone is the device that put AT&T back on the "MAP" so to speak…it is now complaining that the users of the device are taking up too much band width and slowing down service for the rest of their customers. Verizon is not lying about the coverage and AT&T is upset because the truth hurts..

There is a trend to not try to be the best…the desire is to do just enough to get by is the trend that most are trying to skate by on. There are so few that are willing to stand up, hold true and be accountable. When we do find an honorable person, one who is truthful and does not flinch, we hang them out flap in the breeze to fail instead of honoring a person for being honest and trustworthy.

Second: We have people in the country that are trying to use their influence to murder gays in Uganda. Can you actually believe that "religious" individuals from our country that are supporting Uganda in this referendum? Who are we and what are we becoming?

Third: We have some members of our Senate that are so full of their own power and self importance that they do not even remember that they actually tried to institute anti-filibuster legislation and now all he wants to do is to filibuster the most important reforms our country has tried to take on. I would really like to find out who is paying for his retirement and I want him to go without health care and to have to sign away coverage because of a "pre-exhisting" condition. I wonder how he would feel if he had to clean out his retirement account to pay for a surgery that insurance would not cover.