Saturday, July 31, 2010


I enjoy reading mysteries, and that has been the major fare of my reading for close to twenty years.  I read other books, but mysteries predominate.  And, I like serial mysteries.  And, I want to read them in order.  In one of my classes, I learned about Fantastic Fiction which gives you information about the author, and helps you by listing the mysteries in order.

I have several series going.  This helps in a couple of ways:  if I read too many of a series all at once, they all run in together.  Secondly, I rarely buy books (except for the ones I read for the book clubs) and I have to juggle series depending on availability in the library (including ordering from inter-library loan.)

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Hercules Poirot

I was first introduced to Agatha Christie's Hercules Poirot on PBS Mystery Theater.  Then, AE channel started showing these programs. This month, Hercules Poirot is back on PBS.  Things in life frequently go full cycle.  It gives us symmetry and an awareness that life is a true cycle.  And, some of us like to say, "what goes around comes around." And, that is true in many, many ways.

What do I like about Poirot and Agatha Christie's stories.  Well, first of all, his character and personality. The way he speaks, and talks about "the little gray cells."  His self assuredness, his waddling walk.

I also love the exotic settings, the wonderful art deco houses, the period in England when these are set... The character that develops is incredible. (The Miss Marple series also catches this, but a little earlier, maybe.)  I love the men's outfits. 

These are tales of a different time, a different world. But what wonderful tales!

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A coworker told me I should get into a more active sport than birdwatching, which is too sedentary.  He is older than me, and a runner.  Mmmm. His concept of birdwatching is interesting.  We spent two hours walking around the City of Lubbock Cemetery and did not sit down once.  Granted, birdwatching involved stop and start walking, and you are not covering distance, but you are on your feet. Not cardiac exercise, but good to do, anyway.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Deer Flies

When I grew up in New England, we had big black biting flies that we called horse flies.  When I moved to Texas, I was introduced to big striped flies, called deer flies.  This week, I have been kayaking at Dunbar Historical Lake in Lubbock.  The mosquitoes are not bad:  I saw one in two nights.  But the deer flies are awful...  Although I did a lot of swatting, I have at least 5 deer fly bites on my body.  They itch, I swell, and the swollen area is hot and tight.  Deer flies are a hazard of outdoor activity in this part of the world...

From my days of outdoorism, I was reminded, as I was writing this, that meat tenderizer helps to quell bug bites.  I keep meat tenderizer for just this purpose, so applied a past to the various parts of my body that are afflicted with deer fly bite swelling.  The sense of ease was immediate.  The swelling did not go down, but the irritation was eased... Not bad!

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Recently, my work load has decreased. (We are short staffed, and I was carrying a big load to cover the uncovered assignments.)  After several days, I have discovered that I have energy to do things after work spontaneously...

Previously, if I had a planned activity, I had to psyche myself to be able to do the activity. I am so much happier to be able to have the energy to do things spontaneously.  What a blessing.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shoes and Cats

I wear a particular kind of Sketchers: lots of support and no laces.  A little more expensive than shoes I wore years ago, but they offer the support I need to pound the tile covered concrete floors at the very large facility where I work.

Sake likes these shoes.  So much so that she has ruined two pair by scratching at them.  I now keep my good work shoes in a box, so she can not get to them when I am around.  She has taken to hugging the box in which I keep these shoes.

When I wear out a pair of shoes, I do not throw them away if they are usable.  I use Shoe Goo when the tops separate from the soles, and that makes the shoes wearable again. I have an hierarchy of usage, with the most worn shoes used for the dirtiest of jobs. 

Sake likes those shoes, too.  But she likes the newest shoes the best. She lays on them, sniffs them, hugs them. 

Not sure why.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Intrinsic Value of Career

I did a treatment team today with a nurse with whom I do not normally get to visit and share.  The treatment team was laid back and relaxed.  It was very nice.  We talked about how much the patients benefit from the "In Cell" program that we offer where I work (a psychiatric prison. In Cell means they work on self study materials in their cell, then discuss it with the social worker.)

My comments were that some patients are truly motivated to learn and do better.  When I have just one treatment team, I tell my patients that if there is no evidence they are working on their In Cell, there is no promotion in privilege level. Under those circumstances, patients make more effort to "learn." 

The nurse wondered if the reason they had so many nursing call ins was because the nurses felt unfulfilled.  They dispense pills, even to people who do not need pills.  They do not attach any intrinsic value to their work...

I did not consider this at the time, but realize I could have told her that if she hears those comments, she needs to tell the nurses their role with the "catch out patients" is to educate them about the need to adjust to their environment, accept their fate of being in prison, and learn what they can about coping with the prison environment. Nurses can have a major role in patient care, to teach them about learning to report their symptoms, take their medication, and problem solve appropriately.   I bet we can do that....

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Herbs and Spices

I am enjoying reading the Susan Albert series of murder mysteries involving China Bayles, owner of a herb shop in the hill country of Texas .

I have often joked that when I cook, I start with onions and garlic and go from there. Reading these books, and the recipes that get included in them, I have learned a new appreciation for herbs and spices...Now, when I cook, it is not just onions and garlic, but  herbs, spices and peppers, fresh, canned or dried, depending on the situation.

Tonight, I opened a box of Triscuit crackers; they had rosemary and olive oil as flavoring.  I was totally amazed and impressed at what an improvement that made to an already tasty Triscuit cracker. Wow! I know this, but I am reminded about it...Yummm!

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I Did What I Wanted to Do

Frequently, I tell myself I should do things.  Like be outside, exercise, be more involved in the community...And, those are all good things for me to do. 

But, today, I did what I wanted to do:  read a book.  It was not a pressing, important, compelling book.  It was just a novel, and I read while I watched NASCAR, then turned the TV off and enjoyed the quiet. 

I think the cats enjoyed the quiet, too. 

Lesson to self:  I can give myself permission to do this more often.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010


I was honored to be invited to participate in an antiquing trip today... We went to Dougherty, Texas and visited with acquaintances of people I know who have an antique shop.   After that, we went to their home, where we saw more of their collectibles.  After that, we went to lunch in the small town near by, Roaring Springs  It was an interesting, fun down home experience.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Blogging vs. Journaling

I used to journal.  There was a period in my life when I journaled almost every day.  Now, I rarely journal, but occasionally do...

Most of my writing energy is spent on blogging.  Well, that is not true.  I spend a large part of my work day documenting the interactions I have with patients, and this is sometimes done longhand, but mostly on the computer.  So, when I get home,  I am written out and computered out.

I understand why serious writers need no distractions so they can write.  My brain is so filled with brain chatter that I can not focus, sometimes, to know what to write.  I may have an idea, but I can not focus to present it appropriately.  Or, there is so much pinging in my brain, I can not find an idea.  It is rare that I have "writer's block" because my brain is quiet.  On the contrary, my writer's block occurs when my brain is overactive....

But sometimes, the topic on my brain is too intimate to put in a blog.  I think about this... We put out so much personal information about ourselves on line, we do not have a private nor intimate self...There are just some things I will not share with the public world.  That is when I turn to my journal.

This is a lesson for not just young people, but all of us... How much of our private lives do we want to share?  I read the Facebook entries of many people I know, and I find myself subject to intimate, private details I do not feel comfortable knowing.  I wish people would be more discrete with their publishings.

If you must express your most intimate thoughts and feelings, please, journal.  Do not blog or social network.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This is Why I Belong in Prison

I have recently had many casual conversations wtih coworkers that revolve around the topic "This is Why I Belong in Prison."  We talk about how the job fits for us. 

I am not sure why, but this job does fit with me...One aspect is the fact that I wanted to serve the underserved.  I can not think of a more underserved population than prisoners.  

I have often told this story:  When I was a teenager, my mother used to say that if I continued my behaviors I would end up pregnant or in jail.  My first social work job was in adoptions, and I did a lot of counseling with pregnant women. 

So, now, I work in a prison.

Maybe my mother knew me better than I knew myself, and better than I thought she knew me....

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The Game

Have I written about the game that Haiku likes to play?  She likes to bat a pen or piece of plastic off the TV tray next to the computer desk, onto the floor. I pick it up, put it on the TV tray, and she bats it off, again.  This is a game she plays over and over and over again.

Tonight, I caught her:  I left the room briefly, and when I came back, she was on the floor playing with the piece of plastic.  She had it in her mouth, and I have to wonder if she was going to jump back on the tray with it, but I caught her, so she dropped it and waited for me to put it on the tray...

I am not surprised.   I have long suspected she has played the drop game by herself, given the items that end up on the floor.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Taking Turns

For the longest time, Sake did not like to sit in the computer room with me, while Haiku would sit with me regularly.  Things have changed.

I keep a wooden TV tray next to my chair in front of the computer...I am sitting on a metal folding chair, because Haiku expropriated my office chair.  For a couple of years, at least, she sat on the chair and I would have to move her to use the computer... Last fall, I moved in the metal chair, and she continued to use the office chair...

Then, I moved in the TV tray, and she took to laying on that... Even if I am trying to use it.  She especially likes to play the pen game: I put a pen on the tray, and she plays with it till it drops off, then she stares at it until I pick it up, put it on the tray, and the game starts again...

Lately, Sake has started to use the TV tray.  So, when she is on the TV tray, Haiku is not in the office.  And when Haiku is on the TV tray, Sake sits outside the office and looks in, but does not like to come in (unless it is meal time, and she thinks I need to feed her).


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Taking Advantage

Tonight I went to the Westwinds Brass Band  Sunday concert, the last in this summer's series..  Unfortunately, I missed several, due to weather or conflicts of schedule, but I fully enjoyed those I attended.

Last night, I went to a night hike at the Lubbock Lake Landmark  It was poorly organized, the leader walked too fast, did not speak so all could hear, did not talk about obvious features, and was not very knowledgeable about plants, animals, or birds.  And, at the end of the walk, when she asked me how it was, I told her... I hate to be critical, but it was not just an educational issue, it was a safety issue: there were young children on the trail, and she did not even look out for them.  The two other "leaders" did, at least.

I mentioned going on the hike to an acquaintance, tonight at the concert.  She commented about how good I was to take advantage of these activities, while people from Lubbock do not...(Which is not true, there were many born Lubbockites at the hike.)  Of course, that is typical: most people do not appreciate what they have in their own back yard, and have to go elsewhere to see/do things...

I think my childhood was an exception:  My father loved to take us to see things and do things. Our favorites were repeated, but we went to museums, geologic sites, historic sites, sports venues... We had fun, I had fun learning and seeing knew things. And I still do.

When I moved to Lubbock, I continued the same, and when I was married to Lisenby, he, too, enjoyed these activities. 

For a time, I fell out of the practice of such activity, and still have not been entirely through the American Wind Power Center and Museum or the American Museum of Agriculture But they are on my list for this year...  I have made it to the Silent Wings Museum multiple times since my first visit.

Tonight, after the concert, my acquaintance and I were talking, and I mentioned the Carillion concerts at Texas Tech, that are scheduled for the same time as the Westwinds Brass Band Concert, but continue further into the summer.  She commented that she had never heard of these concerts before, and I told her that the first summer I was in Lubbock (1977) I went to one.  Of course, I did not mention I was invited to the concert by Tom and Helen Musiak, who I knew as Tom is my second cousin, and his sisters told him I was going to be in Lubbock... It was a fun concert...And they are very nice people.

My acquaintance and I bemoaned the fact that the scheduling was uncoordinated, and did not allow folks to attend both.  But there will be a couple of carillon concerts left to hear....

I missed the Moonlight Musicals production of "Hello Dolly" mostly due to inertia on my part.  I am hoping to get to "The Buddy Holly Story" and "Willy Wonka" although I did not care for the Willy Wonka movie

I had planned to see "The Buddy Holly Story" Saturday, July 17, 2010 specifically because the Westwinds Brass Band was playing before the play... But I wanted to do the night hike...

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The Rains

We are a dry country.  We have had an inordinate amount of rain this year, and its consequences are many:  crops have been ruined, city parks have been harmed, oil pipes have been broken, houses have been flooded.

And, now, the mosquitoes are out in force.  It makes for discomfort when outside.

These are the unthought about consequences while we enjoy the cool days of rain....

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Saturday, July 17, 2010


I used to be passionate about stuff, but find I am no longer passionate.  I used to be passionate about NASCAR, and about birdwatching.  Now I just enjoy them... casually. 

I do not know why I feel so little depth of emotion these days. But I have been like this for some time... I just can not get excited about much.

I love my cats dearly, and my family and friends, but just do not have much depth of interest in other things.  I still watch baseball, NASCAR, go birdwatching and kayaking.  I am reading a lot. I still like to knit, and have a crewel and cross stitch project, as well as a couple of knitting projects pending. 

But no passion.   Hmmmmmmmmm.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Value of a Human Being

I really think I have written about this before, but it is SUCH an important concept and topic, that I feel like it is worth repeating.  I have this conversation with my patients at the psychiatric hospital prison repeatedly.  The value of a human being stems from the fact that the person IS.  Not what they do or do not do. Not what they look like. Not what good or bad things they may do or not do... The human being is worth living because he/she is human and alive.

As a society we put so much stock into irrelevant things, i.e.  talent, looks, money, power, fame, career, family even, to define us as who we are.  We do not need to define ourselves in anyway other than to say "I am, and I am human."  That statement basically says that I do not have to be perfect.  I can be forgiven by myself and others for my mistakes.  I hopefully will strive to do better, but I can repeat mistakes, and probably will, although hopefully, I will also learn from my mistakes.

I have been told that this is a Christian concept.  I do not think of it purely as a Christian concept, and I truly believe non-Christians can and do embrace this concept. It is a concept that reflects the Golden Rule  "Treat others as you would like to be treated."

Who would not want to be treated with forgiveness, respect, acceptance, understanding, and non-judgemental thoughts? What would our world look like if we did more of that?  I am as guilty as anyone at being judgement, even if I try to be forgiving, respectful, accepting and understanding...So, my task is to learn to be less judgemental.....

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidity

When I moved to Texas in 1977, I was amazed at how hot it could be, and how the lack of humidity influenced the way the heat felt... I did not suffer from the heat, and a lot of that was due to the low humidity.

Well, this is true, it is not the heat (only) it is the moderating effects of the humidity.

As I have aged, the heat has taken its toll on me... Sometimes to the point where I am almost ill.  I am carefull (phobicly so, maybe) about the heat and humidity. But I can manage the heat if there is shade, breeze, and low humidity.

We have had very many days of rain, now followed by hot days with humidity: is it atmospheric humidity, or humidity from moisture evaporating from the rain soaked ground?  I do not know... But the humidity makes the heat oppressive...

So, I wimped out tonight, and stayed inside to avoid the heat and the humidity...

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Decadence: My Newest Favortie Food

For the fourth of July, the local supermarket chain, United had a prepared food for grilling:  jalapeño pepper, stuffed with a shrimp, cream cheese, and wrapped in a piece of bacon...

This is a wonderful food.  Tonight, I went to United to replenish some things, mid-week.  Usually, if I go to United mid-week, I buy sushi... I did not tonight, but I could not bypass the jalapeño, shrimp, cream cheese and bacon. 



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Cat and the Emery Board

Haiku had been sitting next to me while I was computering tonight. For some reason, we got involved in an emery board.  The next thing I knew, she was very interested in the emery board: she played with it, chewed on it, slapped at it..This went on for some time until she decided the emery board was of no interest....Hmmmm.


Owning the future

I am a licensed bachelor social worker in the state of Texas and I work in a state run psychiatric prison... One of the hardest tasks I face is to give young patients (or old patients)  with long sentences a sense of future.

It is understandable that any prisoner, young or old, with a very long sentence stretching before him or her feels hopeless and helpless.   Sometimes we refer them to read Viktor Frankl's "Man Search for Meaning" (I give you the Wikipedia site, as there does not seem to be a definitive site)'s_Search_for_Meaning.  And, we look for other motivations.

Some inmates can be motivated to pursue some esoteric interests: reading, education, religion, helping others. Most find it difficult to think of doing anything other than "one day at a time." 

Some can be motivated to help even newer inmates to learn about doing prison time, and adjusting to the very different culture of prison...

Sometimes, I grasp at air straws while trying to help these patients find meaning for life:  a child who may want to know a parent in 20 years; a mother who never stops loving her child; another prisoner who needs help.  Most recently, a patient mentioned that the jury could have given him from 5 to 99 years, but gave him 25 years.  He hearkened to the comment that maybe the jury saw something in him that hoped that he would learn something new and better in 25 years.  A young man, he liked that idea...To implant it further, I told him he had an obligation to that jury to prove them right... He liked that idea, too.  Hope springs eternal..

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Player Loyalty vs. Team Loyalty

I am watching the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and thinking about players who spend many years, or their entire careers with a team, versus going to more than one team.  The New York Yankees say that Derek Jeter is a life time Yankee I hope so.

On the other side, there is Ted Williams, who spent his entire career with the Boston Red Sox .  

There are so many examples of this such as Carl Yaztremski or Mickey Mantle

Yet, there are many players who are moved around, The obvious example is Babe Ruth , who moved from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankee .

Just recently, a basketball player, LeBron James who was a Cleveland Cavelier basketball star, decided to move to a different team , the Miami Heat   His plan was that he and two other basketball stars, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh  could combine to create a Championship team. 

There is merit in wanting to create a Championship team.  Who would not want to be on such a team.... So, where does team loyalty play into this, vs. playing on a winning team.

The flip side is that due to free agency and contract terms, sometimes, if is inevitable that players seek new teams, and new markets. 

I am a sentimentalist, and am very glad to see players stay with one team... But the reality is, this is a rarity, and I understand that.  But, I am a romantic, and that is a romantic notion....

However, I will congratulate LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh who are willing to take pay cuts (as if they would notice at that rarified pay scale) to join a team and make a concerted effort to win a championship... In their minds, it seems that a championship is worth losing income.  Or is it?  With a championship, there is the possibility of increased endorsements and sponsorships that can be so lucrative that they would make up for salary loss and then some... Skeptical? Maybe? True? Yes! 

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Getting Weepy

My movie viewing intelligence quotient is pretty low... I like feel good with lots of schmaltz movies, such as are aired on the Hallmark Channel:  I do not apologize for this. I do not explain.  I just tell you that the stories have a "feel good" story line that I like, and sometimes, weep over.

I think my life needs some "feel good."  My work exposes me to some of the worst of the worst criminals in Texas.  Granted, they are mentally ill, but so many of their crimes are so heinous, that it really assaults your psyche.  Whether or not you want to admit it...

So, feel good and schmaltz is not so bad...

Having said that, I like police investigative shows, attorney shows, and lay mysteries (Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher) . They are fun and diversionary...

But, I can spend an afternoon or evening watch the feel good movies on the Hallmark Channel....Oh well.


Thursday, July 08, 2010


It is July 8, 2010. I was at Barnes and Noble tonight for the Mystery Book Club. The last time I was at Barnes and Noble was June 10, 2010, for the Mystery Book Club. In June, I did not do much browsing, but tonight, on my way out, I did.

And, I saw a table of calendars. 2011 calendars. I did not recall seeing them last month. But they were out now, and they may have been out then. I am wondering if it is early for 2011 calendars to be out.

But, a few weeks ago, I received a complimentary calendar in the mail. It starts with July 2010 and goes through December 2011. This makes a little bit of sense for me. But having 2011 calendars seem a bit early. Who is planning their life for 6 months from now? Not me.

I have previously mentioned in this blog my habit not to bring a calendar to a meeting, so I can have a chance to plan and ponder before making a commitment. This gives me some power and control.

I understand that by September or October, people will need to start planning their lives into January... But why are the calendars out now? 

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Mystery Reader

I am a mystery reader.  I have been a mystery reader for a long, long time, and enjoy many, many mystery series.  Of course, I love Agatha Christie and am absolutely in love with the Miss Marple series  and Hercule Poirot series, especially those in which David Souchet   is the star in the TV series.  With Agatha Christie, in addition to the mysteries set in England, there are many that are set in wonderfully exotic settings that are so intriguing. 

I found Susan Grafton on my own.  I really liked her until, in the middle of the alphabet, she put Kinsey Milhone in a real predicament, then rescued here without telling the reader how (or only precursorily) Kinsey was able to get out of the predicament.  But, I stayed a fan, and the series got better.  I think Grafton was under too much pressure to produce novels too quickly...

And, because I read an article that said President Bill Clinton was a fan of Sara Paretsky's  V I Warshawski series, I started reading those and found I was a fan. Paretsky did  not produce as many mysteries as quickly as Grafton, but hers were more well written.  And, more violent.

A friend introduced me to Dick Frances  and I was just enthralled.  These were great mysteries, associated with horse racing. There are a couple of continuing series, but mostly just independent stories.... Great!

The same friend introduced me to Nevada Barr the National Park Service Law Enforcement Forest Ranger who is involved in a series of mysteries.

The same friend introduce me to Tony Hillerman .  His mysteries are great!

She also introduced me to Alexander McCall Smith  , who wrote several series.  However, the one my friend introduced me to was about The Number One Lady's Detective Agency  My friend shared a series of DVDs that showed the stories, but as always, the books are better.

My friend also has introduced me to China Bayles, who is an attorney who left Houston, and opened an herb shop in the Texas Hill Country.   Fun mysteries that are set in familiar settings. 

I have gone to a couple of classes that are designed to expose the reader to mysteries: Bill Meador, who finished his career at the Lubbock Independent School District as a librarian, has taught multiple classes about these mysteries at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute .  They have been invaluable to me... They have lead me to varous resources that help me with finding books, with buying books, and in general, how best to maximize your book resources.  

And, I now attend the Barnes and Noble Mystery Book Club.  We read a book by Margaret Coel, and that introduced me to the Wind River Reservation series

One more sight, from Bill Meador:  Fantastic Fiction gives you information about authors, and lists the series in order.  For someone like me, this is important. 

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Fireworks and Firecrackers

Fireworks and firecrackers are illegal inside the city limits of Lubbock, unless it is a permitted commercial show.   That did not prevent many of my neighbors from setting off their own many, many fireworks or firecrackers.  It started late evening, and lasted after mid-night. Sake hid out, and I did not see her until well after breakfast time this morning, when she was screeching in the kitchen at a moth which she was trying to catch.

I went out a couple of times last night, to be sure the heavy odor of smoke was from the noisemakers and not a real fire.  Otherwise, I sat in side, with a very affectionate, clinging Haiku...

There are a lot of reasons not to set off fireworks and firecrackers in residential areas: the safety factor for those who are setting of the works, the fire safety factor (so many people mentioned it was so wet in Lubbock, that was a non-issue this year), and consideration for elderly, or ill neighbors, or family pets and small children who react adversely to the noise and smell of smoke....

Having said that, I love the oohs and aahs of reacting to fireworks....

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Does England Have a Fourth of July

We have all heard the old joke "Does England have a Fourth of July/"  Well, of she does, and France, and Spain, and Italy.  They just do not celebrate Independence Day on the fourth of July.

Last night, as I was casting around looking for a television celebration (very late, after the really good one were done) I heard an announcer say she wants to call it Independence Day Celebration, not Fourth of July.  And, of course, she is right, that truly is what we are celebrating.

I did not do so good this year: many of the local activities were rained out, so I stayed home with a book, and did not think to look for any of the television celebrations.  I understand the Macy's display was excellent, and timed well to the music .  There is also the Boston Pops Concert and Fireworks  And, there were others.

This year, I did attend a Memorial Day Service and a DDay Celebration.  I do not think that makes up for not celebrating Independence Day.... Well, the weather is good right now, so the least I can do is fly  the flag!

But, I really do want to be more observant of my country.  I vote regularly.  I just need to celebrate more.!

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Four and a half inches since yesterday

Yesterday morning, I emptied my rain gauge, which had thee and a quarter inches of rain in it... This morning the rain gauge had four and a half inches.  I have not checked the official totals, but we have had a LOT of rain from once hurricane Alex!

There is some minor flooding occurring.

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

It Feels Like Justice, but It's Against the Law

My title is a paraphrase of a comment in the book Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker .

It is an idea that I can use in my daily life.  I work in a psychiatric prison, and one of the problems I consistently deal with has to do with behavior and respect.  When patients perceive, rightly or wrongly, that they are being disrespected by the correctional officers (or anyone else), they frequently exponentially raise the anti and exhibit behaviors that are out of context or proportion with whatever slight they perceive.  They think that they are justified in retaliation at any cost.  They feel like they are justified in whatever behaviors they choose to engage, since they were slighted.

Most of us will agree that two wrongs do not make a right...

Many of us do not think about why we follow the rules that we follow, yet this comment brings us there.  Some follow rules because they are the rules, and that is they way it should be.   Some follow the rules because they have no idea about doing anything different. Some follow the rules because they are concerned about the consequences if they do not follow the rules. Some follow the rules because their religious ideals would not allow it any other way...

So, let us thing about why people follow the rules.

Following the rules because that is the way it should be is very pro-social.  Whether or not there are consequences, the rule demands to be followed.  Whether anyone knows or not. Do right, because it is the right thing to do... It takes a lot of decision making out of behavior. 

But, if someone is disturbed by the rule, but feels obligated to follow it, they may also feel obligated to lobby to change the rule. A pro-social activity or a rebellion. Depending on so much, including the extent to which someone is willing to defy authority vs working within the system to get things changed.

Some follow the rules because they have no idea about doing anything different. This is rote rule following, and is okay, as long as the rules are good.  But this kind of rote rule following, which sometimes occurs in military or para-military environments, can lead to inappropriate behaviors (war crimes, for example.)

Some follow the rules because they are concerned about the consequences if they do not follow the rules. These are the people who think that the rules do not necessarily apply to them.  But they follow the rules, because they do not want bad things to happen to them.  But, what happens if they think no one is watching?  They have little compunction about breaking the rules.  So they do...

Some follow the rules because their religious ideals would not allow it any other way... This may be the trickiest of the reasons for following the rules.  Religious ideals can be healthy, wholesome, just, and reasonable, or they can become very fanatical, unreasonable, myopic.  We have seen some very prominent religious leaders who have strayed from religious values, succumbing to their own egos and beliefs that they were above the law...

So following the rules might be very important.  We may not like the rules, but they keep us in check, and keep us from using vigilante justice.  Sometimes, vigilante justice might feel like justice, but it is not the law.... And, we have to follow the law.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Rains Came

The Hurricane Alex crossed into Mexico and promised rain and lots of it for southern Texas... In West Texas, we were hoping for at least some of the out boundary rains.  It was grey all day, with some sun, and at about 2000 the gentle rains began...  The hurricane dumped lots of rain and the wave swells were high.  But Alex got downgraded to a tropical storm, but with lots of moisture.   I am still hoping for the rain.

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