Monday, March 28, 2011

Women's College Basketball

Last year, I was a women's college basketball fan.  I watched the games and the championship, not faithfully, but with good interest.  I watched games from other conferences, games from championships, and tournaments.

This year, I was a Lady Raider Basketball fan, and lost interest in the team as they faltered, and lost some games they should have won. True, they made it to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but even then, they did not reprensent themselves well. There were too many games in which the team did not play as a team, nor show heart and determination to win.  The NCAA tournament game was one such game.  They have not learned how to be a team.

I missed a lot of the NCAA tournament, but am watching the Elite Eight, and will watch the final four and the championship game.  There is a lot of reason to support women's college basketball.  First of all, it is a statement of gaining equality. Let's face it, men's sports still outshine the women in publicity, importance, and available resources, although things are supposed to be equal.

Second, it says something about women being team members. Young women are only now being more and more socialized as team players. So, promoting a team sport like basketball says something about building women's team skills.

Third, the women coaches are so collegial. They have such a sense of comraderie and supportiveness notwithstanding their rivalries.

Fouth, women support women. Most notably, women's basketball places a heavy emphasis on supporting women's breast health. During the basketball season, there are any number of promotional activities to raise funds to help support breast cancer awareness and research. How much more supportive can women be of women?

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Daylight Savings Time

Most of us have little difficulty adjusting to standard time, when, in the autumn, we push the clock back an hour. It requires a little adjustment, but because it can be the occasion for an extra hour of sleep, it seems not to be a bad adjustment, usually.

Generally, I do not have much difficulty adjusting to daylight savings time. But this year, something is different. Of course, losing an hour of sleep can be a problem. But, part of the problem is that the weather has been so pleasant, that when I get home from work, I do not want to be inside. So, I am outside longer than I intend. But, when I finally do go inside, I still have projects to which to attend, some of which I can not work on outside. So, I expect to complete those projects, although I start later than I am used to doing.

Consequently, I am getting less sleep.  I am feeling the effects of it. So much so, Friday at work was a very, very long day for me.  And, I decided to change my plans for Saturday, to afford me extra rest.  But, here it is, closing in on midnight, and I am still awake.  I do not mind now, but it makes early rising difficult.  And, I keep saying, maybe tomorrow night, I can get to bed early. I also know that if I can force the early rising, I will be able to get to sleep sooner at night, and get my schedule adjusted. It just takes some self discipline.  Of which I am capable, but obviously not engaging in currently.

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Expanding Your Limits

Recently, I was asked to work on a knitting project for someone. The request included selecting a pattern which I had not worked on before, and which required me to expand my skills and capabilities as a knitter. Although I felt I was up to the task, I faced the project with some trepidation.  However, it has gone much more smoothly than I had anticipated.  I faced some blocks along the way, when I felt sure the project was not going to turn out as I had hoped.  But, ultimately, it seems to have gone well.  I am not done, I have a little more knitting to do. But what remains to be done is well within my skill level and past experience.

It is good to be challenged to expand one's limits and horizons. It helps to build self esteem. It helps to foster creativity. And it certainly can develop a sense of accomplishment.  Additionally, if the experience is positive it can add to a sense of pleasure and even well being.

If the experience does not turn out so well, we can still use it as a positive learning experience. Perhaps it becomes a matter of knowing what we do not like, once we try something. Or, acknowledging what we learned, what we learned not to do, what we learned to do differently next time. Experience, positive or negative,  is still growth and life expanding.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hoping for A Storm

It has been a dry spring.  The weather predictors have suggested a possibility of 20% chance of rain. Tonight, the percentage was increased to 40%.  We need the rain. There have been a plethora of grassfires throughout west Texas. There is a lot of dust in the air when the wind blows.

I am hoping for a storm this weekend. It would be nice to have the rain, and nice to have a lazy weekend.

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As per Merriam Webster Online:

Definition of INSOMNIA

: prolonged and usually abnormal inability to get enough sleep

— in·som·ni·ac \-nē-ˌak\ adjective or noun

I have spent various periods of my life suffering from insomnia.  Usually it is manifested by an inability to fall asleep.  Lately, my insomnia has been manifested by waking up about 4:30 AM.  I doze after that, but have not been able to sleep soundly.

Most recently I have been dealing with feeling dragging during the day after not being able to sleep at night.  I blame not adjusting to the time change, because the insomnia has been happening for several weeks, and the only change this past week was the time change.

I am tired tonight, but not ready for bed.  Maybe, when I go, I can go to sleep and stay asleep. That would be a blessing.

Like many of our functions, sleep is a habit.  Maybe I can change my habit by getting tired enough to sleep through and change my rising time.

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Paper Eater

Haiku is the paper eater.  She likes to scratch at the newspaper put under the litter pans or the food dishes.  She likes to chew on the corners of papers that I have on my desk. She likes to chew on the corners of magazines and books.

Haiku loves envelopes. She likes the sharp corners, and also really likes to lick the glue and shred the flap. 

Hence the name "The Paper Eater."



I am not officially involved in an organized religion. But I do believe in the power of prayer. I live in a part of the world where "The Power of Prayer" was part of a weekly newscast. People in the part of the world sometimes wear their religion on their sleeve (but are no more free of human failings as anywhere else in the world.)

But I do believe in the power of prayer.  My niece told me to watch Shadowlands for the comment by C S Lewis about prayer, that it does not change God, but it changes him (paraphrased).

We are facing serious budget cuts in the State of Texas, which may impact employment, including my own. A coworker told me she prays about it. I have found that my prayer regarding my own circumstances has allowed me to reach a certain equanimity about the situation. 

Now, I realize, I need to pray for the recipients of government programs, that their well being will be considered and tended to during this time of budget cuts.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Midnight Marauders

Who are your midnight maraudes? Who are the people, visions, visitors who enter into your dreams and steal your peace of mind restful sleep?

Are you one of the lucky ones who does not have a midngiht marauder? Or, are you one of us who have varying and multipe midnight marauders.

I am blessed. My midnight marauderrs are at worst, spiteful, but generally benign, nagging but not vicious. 

But there are those whose midnight marauders are hateful, vicious, evil marauders. For many people, medication, counseling, working on changing of thinking, relaxation and meditation just does not seem to impact those midnight marauders.

God bless us all. Hopefully we can handle the midnight marauders.

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The Comfort of Lullabies: "A Lullaby Story"

I went to a baby shower tonight.  A coworker is due to deliver a child in April. It is popular where I live to do such activities in restaurants:  each participant is responsible for their meal, no one has to worry about housekeeping in anticipation of guests, and we can have or not have those silly games.

This was a really nice shower. The couple is one of those young but wise beyond their years couples that are so rare these days.  The mother received a "quotations book" on her 18th birthday that she still treasures, so asked us to contribute to such a book for her son. There were a lot of wonderfully creative and thoughtful gifts. 

The group gathered truly were folks who care for each other and enjoy each other's company.  It was just nice.

The parents had a gift for each participant:  A CD called "A Lullaby Story" which is a collection of lullaby songs. I am sitting here listening to it, and finding myself very comforted by the songs. That is what lullabies are all about.  This couple included in this CD "Morning Has Broken"  and "Good Morning" from "Singing In The Rain."  Well, isn't that what lullabies are all about? Assurances that morning will come and when it does, there will be good things to encounter as the world awakens and we face a new day..

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Of Course, I Am Tired

Last night, I awoke about 3 AM after having a dream about dogs invading my old Victorian style house (I do not have an old Victorian style house). I could not get the dogs out, and I could not keep up with cleaning after them.  My cats, some what miraculously, were safe.  But the dogs were hell bent on destruction.

I actually have an idea about the message that this dream was sending to me. It is a recurrent theme, and one upon which I will have to take action soon. And should have taken action sooner.  Dreams are amazing.

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What Can You Do?

Each of us has some skill, talent or qualification that enables and allows us to contribute to our community.  The question is: "What Can You Do?"

We frequently think of political activism as protest, politicking, campaigning. Well, it can also be helping people to get out to vote. Encouraging people to just be more aware of the issues. Encouraging people to contact their legislators on the local, county, state and federal level, especially regarding a specific issue. Encouraging people to help in parts of the community that are undeserved. Attending minority celebrations, activities and ceremonies. The latter can be solidarity building and uplifting!

Through our churches,religious and community organizations we can be involved in activities that help the poor, homeless, poverty stricken, downtrodden.

There are organizations that embrace our physical talents and help to build and repair homes and community facilities to the benefit of all.

There are a multiplicity of civic, service and community organizations who work to help to provide support, sustenance and assistance to the community. Some are local. Some are local branches or chapters of national or international organizations.

There are organizations that help to foster children, in their home environments, or institutional environments. Organizations help to protect childrens' rights, and advocate for their well being.

There are organizations that seek to protect and defend the well being of developmentally challenged individuals of all ages. And organizations to help to protect minorities, however minorities are defined: race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background or what have you.

There are organizations that seek to protect pets, other animals, wildlife, the environment.

There are so many options for helping to improve our society, that the question is not "What Can You Do" but "What Will You Do, and What Will It Be, and When Will You Do It?"

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Not for Profit Board of Directors

Recently, I was honored with an invitation to join the board of directors of a not for profit Christian social service agency where I had worked years ago.  Just being invited was an honor, and to be elected to the board, a blessing.

My term began in January, and I have been to 2 board meetings.  I am feeling a bit of a "fifth wheel" because I am not sure where I fit or belong.  I know about meeting participation.  I went on line and found some readings about being on not for profit boards. I recall, when I worked for this same agency, years ago, a beloved board member embraced the members and was very caring about them. He set a standard maybe I can achieve? 

I was excited tonight to receive a phone call regarding setting up a new member orientation. The agency has a new director, as of January, so my thought was to let her get settled in, but if by March, new board member orientation did not occur, I would invite myself to the agency and orient myself.

I am truly blessed and honored to serve as a board member for this not for profit.  I hope I am up to the task.

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The News is Depressing

I am reminded tonight why I do not watch a lot of news shows on TV, or the semi-news shows. Tonight, for an hour, I watched a show on PBS about for profit universities. This may not be the exact link to the show, but you will get the drift:

It was really depressing.  Although the for profits offer opportunities, they offer the pitfalls of higher education at much greater the price than public education.  And there was indication that their recruiters are under even higher pressure than the pressure placed on government or religious based institutes of higher education recruiters. And, they may not be above board about their outcomes and accreditation.  So people who use them may not obtain the results that they were lead to believe they would obtain.

This did not surprise me.  I think I am discerning enough to recognize that for profit education runs some risks, and while I may not have stated all of them, intuitively, these are some of the risks that I would have expected.

The sad part about this story is that it is a story of people who are honestly and earnestly trying to better themselves so they can enter into the job market, develop a career, make something of themselves, and otherwise improve their lot in life. And the scamsters may or may not be taking advantage of them, and their desperation, but it is a fine line. And, as with any fine line, many will cross either way.

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