Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Organized? Me?

I have heard for years that I am well organized, and I always feel embarrassed, and maybe that I am an imposter, when I hear this.  If you see my house or office, you will see that I am a pack rat and stuff stacks up, piles up, amasses and no kidding, paper in my possession self propagates...

But, people insist.  So, what do I do that impresses people about my organizational skills: 

Well, I rarely forget things.  But that has more to do with my anal retentive mind, and less to do with organizational skills. I will admit,  I build on past experiences and I generalize my knowledge from one situation to another.

I can usually find things in my office.  That is for several reasons:  I file things in a manner that makes sense to me, so I know where it will be... sometimes I duplicate file, especially if I am not sure where I want to file something.  That way, it does not matter where I look.  When I do file, I label the file with a common sense name that tells me what is there. Sometimes, I can not find something and have to recreate and refile.  If I do this twice, I know I am not filing it correctly and have to be better at finding a place for it.

I also do not file:  If something is commonly used, or anticipated to be used in a short time, I put it where I know it will be... I admit, I do lose a lot of stuff in the jumble, but it does resurface.

I am a person of almost obsessive compulsive routine: what I do, when I do it, where I go, and where I put things.  This keeps me on track.  The downside is that sometimes I do something(s) so automatically, I do not recall the doing, and have to recheck myself.

I think ahead and organize my moves accordingly.  Then, I think backwards and go through everything again.

I am a list maker.  Ten years ago, I would have said I was a compulsive list maker, but now my lists tend to be more mental than pen and paper, and less compulsive.   But, having a written list which allows me to cross things off is for me, contentment. Being able to cross things off actually creates, in me, a physical pleasure reaction.

I use electronic reminders.  I use the Hallmark reminder service: Currently, it is free.  It will email you a reminder about any event you load.

I use reminders on computer calendars, and I set reminders on my cell phone.  Years ago, I used paper calendars and a calendar book to keep me organized.  I use sticky notes, magnet posted notes.  I put notes in the seat of my vehicle, on top of my purse, where ever I need them. 

No, I am not organized... I have a good memory, and I over achieve at reminders...

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My knees

As I was getting ready for work this morning, my cats wanted in the garage.  This is sometimes a problem, because I literally have to herd cats if I am ready to leave, before they are ready to go into the house. But I let them into the garage, anyway...

Sake has gotten better, and as long as I tell her more than once it is getting to be time to go back in, she usually goes in when I tell her it is time.

Haiku is not so good.  She is usually in a place where I can grab her, and just put her in the house.  Not so this morning.  She was under the middle of the Vue...I tried several times to "sweep" her out from under the Vue with a broom. She was not very cooperative, until finally, she came out from under the vehicle...and I put her in the house.

This process involved me getting on my knees several times this morning.  I did not notice it until I started to walk from the Vue through the parking lot to work, but knees were weak, and I felt a little disoriented... It took me until well after treatment team to start feeling strong again...My administrative assistant told me to go home after treatment team, and I just said I have too much to do...  She commented "You are a strong woman."  I do not see myself that way, but when I look around at how I measure up to others, I see that I am...

Which makes me concerned about my knees.  I did not like that weak feeling.  It was really strange, like kneeling on the cement had taken the starch out of my knees...Well, tonight they are fine.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Old is Not Done With

Old is not done with... It is my understanding that some of the Oriental countries:  China, Japan, Korea, really respect their elders and include them in honorable positions of society.

Unfortunately, that is not exactly the same in the American culture, where old tends to be equated with antiquated, outdated, and useless...

Over the years, we are beginning to understand that old means experience and knowledge that we can not replace.

I am watching the movie "The Space Cowboys"  An outdated set of would be astronauts who want to prove their worth to do a space mission. They are determined to "cut the mustard" and qualify for the opportunity to do a space mission..

What bravado, gumption, and courage to do what needs to be done...

This is a good movie, and it helps us to understand that old is not bad....

I applaud Clint Eastwood who has done so many wonderfully relevant and sociologically important movies:  Gran Torino, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, but how many more are you not aware of: .

I am grateful to be able to watch this move...  I am grateful to be able to enjoy the irony and improbability of this movie..

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Sunday, March 28, 2010


Henbit or Lamium amplexicaule is listed in my wildflower books as such, a wildflower... In the urban yard, henbit is considered a weed or pest plant...

I learned, a long time ago, that what is considered a weed in a yard, may be a wildflower in a different setting..

This speaks to perspective, and we all need to keep perspective in our lives..

Nevertheless, as I drive through the neighborhood, there are many, many yards in which the blossoming of henbit is overflowing. 

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Day at My Own Pace

This was actually a very productive day.  I went to a workshop, looked at houses, went to an art gallery, went out to lunch, talked to friends, knitted, cleaned house, and did some paperwork, sending cards and letters.  I even watched a movie and some TV.

But, it was a day at my own pace.  The only things set in time were the workshop and the open houses.  But, with that I was able to just fit everything in.

The difference between this and a day of lazing around in regards to my mental attitude is amazing.  I feel so much more effective, productive and worthwhile...I am a creature who is goal oriented, and when I am lazing along, I tend to get mentally bogged down, and have trouble getting things done.

On the other hand, I was not in a struggle to get too much done, and face the mount of unending and pressing tasks that loom regularly at work... Being my own boss made it very pleasant and enjoyable.

I need more days structured at my own pace.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

The Winds of Change

Well, I do not know what the winds of change are, necessarily... But I do know about the winds of Lubbock... Today was a wind storm day...  I learned about winds in Lubbock the first year I was in Lubbock.  It was December, I was in a 12th story office, and saw Styrofoam cups passing by....

Wind storms vary...Today was a windstorm that lifted fine silty grit in the air...The windstorm was predicted to last overnight until the next day. The fine silty grit is insidious.  I worked in a "sealed' building.   It got in....

Some windstorms start mid-morning, and go until sunset or there abouts.

Some windstorms are red.  I remember a three day windstorm, with winds so strong, the plate glass windows at the airport were blown out.

Some windstorms do not stop at night...They just keep going...

I saw a windstorm of rolling black dust blow in one time...

Windstorms can cause serious damage.  They can cause power outages. They can property damage. They move dirt from one place to another. They move tumbleweed. They move trash, cause automobile accidents, negative ions in the air. 

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who Knows Where the Time Goes

I actually left work about on time. After I got home, and tended to the cats, inside and out, I had some time.  I ate dinner outside, worked in the yard, and sat outside because Sake wanted to be out.. She stayed out in her pen for about 20 minutes...Then we went in.

I worked on the computer for a while, then loaded the Cornell vs. Kentucky game on my computer.  I also had the TV on the station that was covering the NCAA games, and from time to time, they aired the Cornell vs. Kentucky game.

I worked on some NASW emails, read personal emails, made some cards... I was amazed when I realized that it was after 11PM.  Who knows where the time goes?

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Change in Weather

So, yesterday was a mellow and warm day.  Today,  the weather was balmy in the morning, but as the day continued, the weather temperature dipped.... Sake wanted out today, as she did yesterday...Due to my obligations yesterday, Sake did not get to go out. I brought her out into the yard tonight so she could experience the wind,  and she was  not interested in staying out.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring in West Texas is Amazing

It is about 11:30 PM and I stepped outside just a few minutes ago, and the night air was phenomenal!   There have been some showers in the area, but the night air is just mellow...It is not unusual that this mild air prevails...This is why I live in West Texas..

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I do not understand my cats

I had last Friday off (spring break) and wanted to get Sake outside but she was just not interested.  It snowed Saturday, and she did not ask to go out, nor did she want out Sunday...I understand: it was windy, which bothers her. 

Monday night, I put her out.  But not early... I came home, fed cats, ran errands, and got home in plenty of time for Sake to be out early...But, she did not want out immediately.  When she did, I put her out, and when it was getting dark, brought her in... She did not want to go in, and was violent with me about it...

Today, I left work early so I could feed the cats before I went out for a function. When I got home from the function, Sake wanted a treat...Okay, I had not given her one when I fed her (sometimes she wants a treat, then eats her dinner.  Desert before dinner, anyone?) so I gave her a treat.

Haiku, on the other hand wanted refuge or solace in the garage, on the hood of the Vue, where it is warm... She had not eaten the food I put out that she normally eats. I showed it to her, but she did not want it...I give my cats multiple options of wet and dry food. I do the best I can.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Wind

It is the second day of spring, and the sun was bright and strong.  I had lots of indoors activities to do, but spent some time outside this afternoon.  Although the temperature was in the low 60s the wind was brisk, and at times, made it feel colder than low 60s, even in my somewhat protected back yard.  The wind was from the West, so the protection was not as good as if it were from the North; my house faces North, and blocks the wind in my back yard.

Before I moved to Texas I read stories about the wind howling, roaring and moaning.  In Western Massachusetts, I do not recall the wind howling and moaning. It may have, I was just not aware of it.... It whipped, it rustled, it whispered.  The leaves swayed, the branches swung. 

After moving to Texas, I understood what noises the wind can make: it roars, it howls, it moans.  Today, there was no dust.  But dust is often a companion of the wind. 

Sometimes, when the wind blows in from the North, it is a bone chilling wind.  I think of that wind as a "Blue Norther."  Folks around here associate a "Blue Norther" with a blizzard snow storm.  I do not think we necessarily need the snow.  Just the bone chilling wind, to have a "Blue Norther."

In the spring, the wind swings to the Southwest.   Even at high speed, it has a sense of being a kinder wind.  It is a warming wind, and sometimes, a moist wind.

On the Caprock, the wind from the East is often a blessing.  We are a dry area, and the wind form the East carries Gulf of Mexico moisture.  As it climbs the Caprock,  clouds form and sometimes, the Llano Estacado is the recipient of rains...

No matter how much flash flooding we have from rain, rain is a blessing in West Texas, except during cotton harvest.  It may delay planting, but when planting happens, there is moisture in the ground.

There was a book written about West Texas wind:

It was made into a silent movie:

The wind can create "wind chill"  If you have not experienced a strong wind chill, it is amazing what a difference the wind makes in terms of comfort.  Phenomenal! 

This is information about wind related fatalities:

There are a lot of electricity creating windmills being erected in this part of the world.  While thought of as a "clean energy" there are still many concerns about the use of windmills.  They alter, and to some, destroy the skyline. The are dangerous for birds, that might fly into their blades.  Some windmills are erected not too far from residential areas, and their noise is considered a nuisance.

I do not like being out in the wind.  It makes breathing difficult.  It can water your eyes so it is difficult to see. If the dust is blowing, it blows into every orifice of your body. It hurts, it makes you itch. It creates negative ions and static electricity that can result in visible sparks, audible snaps, and keyboard disabling electrical currents. 

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Influence of El Niño or The First Day of Spring and It Is Snowing!

Okay, so the title gave it away. Last night was one of those what used to be very common but now are rare nights for me, in which I just could not get tired enough to go to sleep, and it was well after 3 AM when I finally crashed...

Consequently, I heard, when at about 1230 or so, the sleet and rain started, and within 30 minutes there was snow, starting to cover the grass. Eventually, it covered the concrete, but by morning, it was melting, and while, at about 2130, there is still some snow around, it has mostly melted.

I grew up in New England, where the saying was "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute."  I moved to Lubbock, Texas and guess what?  The saying is "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute." I do not think I ever told anyone we said the same thing in New England. (Texans are so egocentric, I think they would be insulted to know someplace else, with a LONGER history of settlement, people say the same thing.)

Weather is just a fickle thing...With good instrumentation, computer models, human observation, and knowledge of past history, meteorologists do a fair piece of making predictions.  But predictions are not statements of fact, they are just conjectures based on lots of information... If you want to know the weather go outside and look up. 

I have written this before:  One of the things I like about living in West Texas is the wide open sky and horizon that allows me to look at what is happening in the sky... Being an informed observer, sometimes it is possible to predict what will be happening with the weather... Like yesterday morning, which had a very low percent chance of precipitation.  I looked at the clouds, and knew something might happen.  I was driving to an appointment when the sprinkles happened. Not much, no long, but it happened.

And, so it is now officially spring, and we move into another cycle of renewal, growth, decline and dormancy.   This is the way of life.  So doggedly predictable, yet many people seem to be surprised by the decline and dormancy phases of life.  They are inevitable. And, the reality is, some year, we will not be around for spring. But while we are, ENJOY!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Owning books

I love to read, and go through periods of my life in which I would describe myself as a voracious reader.  Currently, I have too many other projects to allow me to be a voracious reader, but I still rather read than do many other things.  But I do not usually buy books.  I am a big supporter of the public library system, and tend to get my books there.  Also videos and DVDs.  Except I do buy books at the Friends of the Library book sale.  More than I intend.

I now belong to two reading groups, and for the reading groups, I buy books, so I do not monopolize a library book someone else may want, but can hold onto it until we have our discussion.  So, I am finding myself with books that I have read, and will not read again.  I realized today why I do not buy books.  I feel guilty having books on my shelf, and not having anyone else read them.  So, when I finish with a book, I have to try to find someone to pass it on to. You may become the recipient of an un-asked for book.  If you do, return it or share... Please do not let it collect dust on a shelf.

Having said that, I have many keepsake books: books I read that I enjoyed so much, purchased after reading, or some very old books, and of course, the books that are gifted to me...(not to share, but as a special present.)

A word about buying books.  I use Abe Books,  because it is possible to get many books for very low cost, some for a dollar and shipping.  Even recently published books are available inexpensively on Abe.  Some are new, some are used, some are paperback, some are hardback, some are trade editions... But books, never the less.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Father's Paradise

I belong to the Texas Tech University Osher Life Long Learning Institute, and attend the Reading Circle... We met today to discuss "My Father's Paradise" by Ariel Sabar

The discussion was lively and interesting.   Many of us agreed we would not normally have read the book, but were enriched by it... We discussed the "pecking order" of immigrants.   The desire of immigrants not to acknowledge their heritage so they can assimilate.  The loss when that happens.  The difference between "the melting pot" and the respect and acknowledgement of individual cultures.  The importance of preserving family heritage and stories.

Many of us were surprised that there was a social stratification of Jewish immigrants in Israel.  We were interested to learn that this area of the world (Kurdistan) , where Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived, had had a sort of homeostasis, that was disrupted by outside influences (the Nazi regime during World War II.).

We talked about using the Aramaic language, including in some recent movies.

It was a good discussion...  

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A 40 Hour Week vs. Results Only Work Environment

I am on salary and expected to work a 40 hour week... I believe as a professional, I have an obligation to work a reasonable amount of time to get done what I think needs to be done... I set myself a task list, what I hope to accomplish for the day.  I set a list of what my patients need, more than what I think I can do in 8 hours. Consequently, I frequently work longer than 40 hours a week. 

Sometimes I do downsize my expectations, so I can leave at a reasonable hour.  And, I plan my days so if I have after work activities, I can reasonably try to leave on time to get home, feed the cats, and get to my after work activities... 

I am blessed that my employer lets me adjust my work hours to some extent, as long as I get my tasks done.  If I want to go in late, leave early, go in early, leave late, or leave in the middle of the day and come back,  it is all okay.  As long as I am present for set activities, and as long as I let someone know what is going on...  And, letting someone know is partly about accountability, but MOSTLY about people knowing who is in a prison, and who is not (safety and security.)

A couple of summers ago, I was having some sleep issues due to some health problems, and frequently ended up going in very late some times.  I slept through my alarm and just did not wake up more than once.  The only things my supervisor asked was that I call when I get up, and I ask my doctor for some help... The help the doc suggested was muscle relaxers.  Not for me...

I heard a story about Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) which emphasized getting results versus what schedule someone works.  It makes so much sense, and is sort of the environment in which I work, although not formally defined.   A great concept.  What they have found is that people actually work more, and are more productive with ROWE....


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Daylight Savings Time

I am not sure what Daylight Savings Time is all about.  Except, for the summer months, I like it. I love the long days in West Texas...I was able to sit out tonight until 8 PM.  The weather was right, and the light was great, so I took advantage.  It was wonderful.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Snuggly sock suit

Several years ago, a brother sent me a Christmas gift that is what I would call a "snuggly sock suit."  It is made of fleece, has ribbed cuffs on the wrists and ankles, and is pretty much a "sack"  otherwise: no legs, but arms... Very warm...

I wear the snuggly sock suit when it is very cold.  But, I wore it tonight.  It is not especially cold, but it is a very wet, rainy, raw day and night...My house is very warm when the ambient temperature is very cold, and cool when it is very hot outside... But sometimes, when the temperatures are moderate, the heating/cooling unit seems to lag... I thought it might tonight.  Frankly, I do not know if it  has, or not, because I have my "snuggly sock suit" on tonight.  Very warm....

Thank you, Tony!

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Bye, Bye Birdie"

I heard a talk by the founder of "Lubbock Moonlight Musicals" as it was in the planning stages.  He talked about needing community support, and maybe getting some from AT&T, as we have a large call center here.  I suggested he do the movie "Bye, Bye Birdie" and ask them to sponser "The Telephone Song" ("Going Steady."  He looked at me as if I were speaking a foreign language.  And, they have not presented the play.

The play was back on Broadway  Just recently, I watched the movie,  and as I remembered, there were phones galore in the scenes for "Going Steady."  They had them everywhere, and remember, this movie was made before cell phones and mobile phones in general (1963.)

The story is a fun spoof of Elvis Presley being drafted, the movie includes Ed Sullivan  as himself, and it sure is a lot of fun!

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Gander, Newfoundland

I stumbled upon a documentary by Tom Brokaw, March 13, 2010, about Gander, Newfoundland and the events of 9/11/2001.  Due to the closing of US airspace, the jet traffic was diverted to the airport at Gander, Newfoundland.  Built in WWII, it was used for refueling cross-Atlantic commercial planes until the jets could make the flight without having to stop.

Gander is a town of 10,000 and they adopted and cared for about 7,000 people for 4 days.  "The Plane People" as they were called had to remain on the planes for hours until security was cleared.  Then, they were deplaned, but their luggage was not removed.  So, Gander and the small communities around, housed, clothed, fed and moved all these people.  They used homes and community buildings. They used school buses to transport the people.  The bus drivers were on strike, but did not hesitate to help. They provided prescriptions.  The story is the help was all free.  This is an amazing story, and shows how something good can happen.

I will tell you that when I watched the scenes of the attack on The World Trade Center, I had a visceral reaction, almost as strong, if not as strong, as when it had first happened.

Read about it at the Gander Airport website
Read about Tom Brokaw working on the story:

Jim DeFede wrote a book about this:  "The Day The World Came to Town."

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Good bye

Tonight we had a good bye party for a dear friend who will be moving out of the area, and hopefully moving on to bigger and better things... Her husband has transferred employment within a state agency to another part of the state of Texas (which is like moving cross country) to improve his career opportunities.  As it turns out, where they will be living has a university that will provide her adult daughter a safe landing, with transfer of credits, to complete her degree. Their biggest heartache at moving was leaving daughter and granddaughters, but it seems the progeny will follow the move.  We will miss this dear friend, her husband and family...We will stay connected by email and Facebook, and rejoice as their lives improve and unfold in their new setting...


I do not know what to write.

That was my topic for Thursday, March 11, 2010.  So, I did not post... That was a mistake... I could have written last night what I am writing right now... So, why didn't I? Because I see this as defeat, and I did not want to accept defeat.... But I was defeated... Today, onward and upward....


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grass and sunflower seeds

My cats like grass.  Both Sake and Haiku like to chew on grass.  I do not understand it, because it makes them throw up.  Maybe it helps them with hairballs.  I do not know.

What I do know is that Sake is very particular about grass.  Apparently many cats like grass, so you can buy indoor grass growing kits in the cat section of the store. My cats like Smarty Kat Sweet Greens the best, of the types I have purchased. But Sake likes outside grass the best. There are shocks of rye grass in my yards that I frequently cut for Sake.  She seems to prefer that more than the indoor grass varieties.  Except for the snowy parts of winter, we have had outside grass available.  When we sit out in the summer, the girls like to chew on grass outside... They seem to prefer rye to Bermuda.. Hmm.

A friend of mine told me that her cat likes sunflower seeds.  I thought it was an anomaly.  A few weeks later, I saw a cat treat with sunflower seeds and seaweed.  Sake likes those treats. Haiku, my picky eater really seems to like those treats. 

I feed outside cats.  I do not want to, but I feed wild birds, and the area cats feast on the wild birds.  So, I feed the outside cats, which keeps the bird kills down (although during the very cold winter weather, we had a lot of bird kills.) I have seen the outside cats under the birdfeeders.  I thought they were checking out bird droppings.  But, I saw one eating something: a sunflower seed.  I would not think of sunflower seeds as cat food.  But cats do.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010


My Facebook had a comment about someone deserving a punch in the face.  I returned a comment that no matter what, no one ever deserves a punch in the face.  A responder made a comment about not taking life too seriously.

Violence is serious.  Accurate or not, I spent almost three years reading a graffitied quote in a bus stop on the Cornell campus:  "There are many things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for" attributed to social protester, Rev. Daniel Berrigan, SJ.

When I find myself wanting to extract justice by anger and violence, I remind myself of that quote.   For years, I stared at the business end of a six shooter in the Lubbock Sunday newspaper, as part of an advertisement for a PHARMACY (no less.)   It insulted me...I finally wrote to the pharmacy and expressed my distress at the violence that ad bespoke.  It disappeared. 

I understand why that advertisement lived in Lubbock:  When I moved here in the late 1970's, most pick up trucks had gun racks that were loaded with guns... Even teenagers drove pickups with loaded gun racks...  Now, the pick up is a suburban mama vehicle, and less likely to have a gun rack.

I work in a psychiatric prison hospital.  I have learned a lot about life from the patients I work with. One thing I have learned is that violence begets violence. 

Many of my patients grew up in homes in which domestic violence is rampant... The model of solving any problem is violence. The way to gain dominance is violence.  Violence and revenge were the role model given to these men. How can they resolve problems any other way?

In the neighborhood, police are the enemy.  Problems with authority are the rule... The system did not work for the people in the neighborhood, so there was no using the system.  Everything was done outside the system. Chain of command was in the gang, not in established authority. There was no help, no relief, no uplift from established society... Police and authority were the enemy. Violence ruled.

So, violence becomes the norm.  And people become desensitized to violence... People are held hostage to violence, while the violator gets his way, in an effort to appease the violator. People give in to violators, in hopes the people will stay safe.  And the more violence there is, the more common it becomes, the more desensitized people are...

I worry about this because there is so much violence in our public media:  movies, news, TV shows, books. People learn that violence is a common way of life, acceptable behavior... So, a punch in the face, if well deserved, is okay... I am sorry, no matter how well deserved, a punch in the face is not acceptable...

And, the folks on Facebook were offended that I took exception to their comments about violence, about a "punch in the face." (Made in jest?)  Are we that crass, that unfeeling, that uncaring, that willing to subject people to violence that we think comments about violence are funny?

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Weather, March 8, 2010

Weather in Lubbock can be amazing.  This morning it was raining.  As the day progressed, we had strong winds, blowing dust, mud drops, bright sunshine and virga. Weather truly can change very quickly in Lubbock, and today was no exception.

Because of the amazing weather in Lubbock, especially the severe storms, tornadoes and rapid changes, Lubbock is a prime spot for National Weather Service meteorologists. An interesting claim to fame...

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Passion or Blasé

I have noticed that in the last several years, I do not have emotional passion for many things that I have had emotional passion  for in the past...  No passion for bird watching, ( no passion for NASCAR ( ):, no passion for Lady Raider Basketball  (

Dissecting this, am not sure about the birdwatching... I do know that some of the local birdwatching types have made me less interested in bird watching....

I absolutely know that I have a hole in my heart about NASCAR since Dale Earnhardt has died.. I try to be interested, but it is a struggle.  I want to be passionate about Dale Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Joey Lagono, but it is not the same.

The Texas Tech University Lady Raider basketball team has done so poorly, and performed not as a team for so long, that it is difficult to have passion for them.  I try to be, and want to be, a team player... I hope that happens...

I think it is hormonal.  I just do not have the emotional spikes I used to have.  Maybe, that is better than not.

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Heritage Fiber Guild

I went to a meeting of the Heritage Fiber Guild today.  It has only been organized for about 3 years, and it is for people who do fiber arts (knit, crochet, papermaking, weaving, spinning, dying, basket weaving, etc.)  The meeting today was a demonstration of fusable plastics that can be used to make things (fusing plastic bags and recylcing them.)  It was really fascinating.

I was in a room full of people who brought their "project bags."  Not knowing what to expect, my bag only brought the suggested supplies for the project.  I had thought to bring my knitting, and should have.  You don't know how good that felt...

I listened to people (father and son were present as well as the women in the group) about dyes, textures, staple, wool type, drape, it was like I walked into a room of people who talked about things I care about... (And did not know it.)

I am going to the next meeting, on basket weaving... I ordered a kit.  I am really, really excited about that....

And, I plan to join this group next fall....

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So I am late

I am late in posting a blog for March 5, 2010... It was a good day: I went to work late, had a good day at work, went to a CEU lunch presentation, and left work early, because I was trying to burn some leave this week.

I was able to enjoy some outside time, reading.  This evening I have done some work on NASW mailing lists, and consumer surveys... I could not think of a blog topic until now...

So, I am late, not blogging for 3/5/10.   So, 3/6/10 will hopefully have two blogs.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Ultimate Bolero

Some years ago, I purchased "The Ultimate Bolero," a CD produced by BMG Music Classics, a unit of BMG Music... They have a lot of other gobbledegook names after that. 

I love the "Bolero" music.  There are stories that Ravel was schizophrenic, and wrote his music as a result of traveling with his father to fatctories where repetive movements inspired him.  Who knows.

There are those who say "Bolero" is a very boring piece of music... I say it is intriguing..

Whatever you think, "The Ultimate Bolero" presents several differnt renditions, including a "big bands" version...


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Tour of "the New County Jail"

Today I went on a tour of the new county jail in Lubbock, or the Lubbock Detention Center.  The people in charge of the county detention center, if they enact the plan they present to the public, "get it." 

The configuration of the jail is such that the offenders will be in "direct supervision."  They will be in pods where they have access to a day room and courtyard area, juice bar, microwave, showers.  Under the supervision of an officer. With videos cameras recording everything.  For minor violations, they can be placed in the cell for 23 hours...The emphasis is on following the rules... They will have access to GED classes, learning life skills, parenting and anger management (mostly done by volunteers.) When they are first arrested, they have unlimited access to phone calls, to try to get out of jail... The day rooms have free access to phones.

The mental health ward will place an emphasis on medication compliance. 

A member of the group asked why the center is not open, if it has been finished for a year... The tour guide explained it has not been finished, because although the outside looks done, the electronics are not.  Taking over the building would mean the county would have to pay for fixing what was not right in the first place...

Visitation will be by video access.  And, eventually for those who can not travel to the detention center, computer access on a library or home computer will be possible... There will even be computer video access for some court proceedings (not trials.) 

This prison was spearheaded by our former sheriff.  The one, who when another mayor died, wanted to run on the Republican ticket, but I am sure because he was Hispanic, the Republicans did not support him.  The Democrats offered to support him to run as a Democrat.  He declined.. He did not want to change his party to win.  So, he ran as an Independent, and won handily.  This sheriff has been on many statewide commissions and committees, and currently is on the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole...So, the county voted to fund this state of the art jail... The county commissioners axed some of the technology, and to the credit of the sheriff's department, they sought out grants, and got them, to fund their plans...

It was a most enlightening tour... The people who toured us were obviously excited and dedicated to the project.  I am a realist, and I know not every employee who will work at the Lubbock Detention Center will have their zeal and vision... But what a culture of positivism.

Go Lubbock County Sheriff's Department!

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

West Side Story

I am watching West Side Story on TV tonight. It was made in 1961, based on the 1950s play. It is a favorite movie of mine.  Every time I see it, I am struck at how timely it still is.   Of course, it has been timely since Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet. 

The love story is not lost on me... But if I focused on the love story, I would cry throughout the entire movie.

When I watch West Side Story two themes run through my mind:   The first is that there are so many places in the movie where an intervention would have made things turn out different. And at each instance, I cringe.... The corruption and prejudice of the police, the stupidity of the social worker, the passiveness of the store owner, the lying, angry, and vengeful acts. The bullheadedness at the rumble that something violent HAD to happen.

The second is how timely the theme is:  We have gang problems.  We have prejudice problems. We have inter-racial problems. True, they are less divisive and more subtle than 40 years ago.  But, They are still there.

I once watched the movie with a friend. He had not paid attention to the words of "America"  The irony, sarcasm, and juxtaposition of the have and have nots was not something he had noticed...

I also cringe at the "Officer Krupke" song... This is a classic rendition of passing the buck. From one professional to another.  And, frankly, it is still happening today.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

March is Social Work Month

March is Social Work Month...    The National Association of Social Work sponsors recognitions of social workers, public citizens, elected officials, and agencies. 

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