Thursday, April 28, 2011


Tonight, I had too much to do.  I had a social event planned with friends.  A wake interposed.  I had planned to do some chores last night, but with my car in the shop, the chores did not get done, but were time sensitive, and needed to be finished before morning 4/29/11.

So. I went to the social event.  Made my way over to the wake. And, found an alternate way to tend to the chores than I would have normally done.  It takes some creativity, effort, and time, but things can be managed.

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Deadly Medicine and Corollary Activity

The Texas Tech University Museum has a presentation on the medical procedures of the German Third Reich, aptly named   Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, in the Diamond M Gallery  I have not seen the exhibit yet, but plan to do so, soon.

Tonight, some friends joined me at a panel presentation about the Holocaust: 

Panel Presentation by Speakers from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, .

Marc Masurovsky - “Landscapes of Experience: The January 1945 Evacuations of the Auschwitz Camp Complex”

Martin Dean - “Spearate Jewish Residential Districts - Documenting the Universe of Nazi Ghettos

Fabulous! Very interesting, and very sad, about the atrocities during World War II, and the perpetrators, survivors, victims, and witnesses.  Hmmm.

And, another learning piece from history, but have we learned?

One of the speakers talked about how the survivors said the slightest, smallest act of help provided hope. 

I see this sometimes at the prison.  Just paying attention to someone gives them hope.  Especially the patients with life sentences, or with no family contact.

Emily Dickinson said it so well:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Quite unexpectedly this morning, the Vue did not want to start.  Finally, it did.  I drove it to work, shut it off, and tried to start it.  It was difficult to start, again.  So, I called into work, drove home, put the car, still running, in the garage, door down. I went into the house and found my warranty information, turned in my purse, took my driver's license and credit card with me (I have these in a separate wrist holder in my purse; when I kayak, I only take this wrist holder), and drove to the dealership.  The car is still under warranty, and I have an extended warranty, so even it is a simple battery replacement, I want the dealership to work on the car, in case it involves warranty work.

The courtesy van took me to work.  I can take the wrist holder into the prison, so, when I get back to the car, I have what I need.

The dealership is always busy.  Sometimes, when I make an appointment for service, it can be 3 to 5 working days from my phone call before I can get in.  I am glad for Scoggin Dickey that their service business is that brisk.  Their hours are extended, from 7 AM to 6:30 PM.  They have a courtesy van, which takes me to and from work, as needed. So, they are relatively easy to access.

Well, because I did not have an appointment, they could not guarantee that they would even check out my vehicle today.  Not good.  But a car that does not start reliably is of no value to me. 

So, by 4:45pm. my car was not repaired. A coworker had offered to take me home, and I took her up on her offer.  Another co-worker had said she could get me to work Thursday morning. I took her up on her offer. 

I could have gotten a rental car:  Enterprise makes it fairly easy. They will pick you up, and I could have done that from the house.  But, I did not need to go anywhere tonight. And my ride to work was tended to.

There was a chance that, with the service department being open until 6:30 PM, my car would have been ready tonight. But it was not.

Usually, when my car is in the shop, I feel very disenfranchised: I do not have the access and control of having my vehicle available that is important to me.

Today, while I worried about timing, I was busy enough that I did not have the sense of urgency and panic I sometimes have.  I had several co-workers who offered me rides to and from work. I had no sense of panic.  When I arrived home, I felt oddly content that it was okay to be without a car.

That is a very different experience for me.  Hmmmmmmmmm.

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How the States Got Their Shapes

I am watching the History Channel's How the State's Got Their Shape?  I have seen this show before, and it is a fun way to hear about history stories.

Watching the part about Vermont awakened some nostalgia in me:  Seeing the very New England villages and houses.  Knowing how fun and nice it was to be able to cross over to Canada with little deterrence.  We did not do that often, but it was nice when we could. 

We used Canadian money interchangeably with US money, although the exchange was not exactly equal.  The only thing, the Canadian coinage did not work in vending machines.

So, those are some nice moments evoked by this show.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Knew I Made a Mistake When I Made It

Last night, I cooked some shrimp, which I had to peel and remove the tails.  I put the tailings in the trash, but did not take the trash out to the dumpster.  Well, that was a mistake. When I came home from work today, the odor was awful... I knew better, but I was being lazy: it was not too dark to go out to the alley and deposit the trash, after I had shelled the shrimp last night. I was just being lazy. 

Lesson learned.


What is in the Sky?

The sky and air in Lubbock has been unusual lately.  We have dust storms that fill the air with very thickly suspended particles of dust.  I remember a time when we had smoke clouds from Mexican wildfires, and recently, we have had smoke in the air from Texas wildfires. 

Tonight, we had strange grey clouds that appeared to be real clouds. But, the low lying haze made me wonder if it was smoke or dust.

No rain happened.  We need rain. What was in the sky today?

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Is it Only Tuesday?

It was a long day at work today: I was doing chart reviews. I usually do chart reviews on Wednesday or Thursday, so my brain is having some trouble reconciling the fact that it is only Tuesday.

But, I have had to step up my schedule:  Friday all day, I am at a continuing education workshop, which counts for work, but precludes my getting things done at the unit.

So, what needed to happen, happened. It just felt weird.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

150 Years Ago

One hundred and fifty years ago the War Between the States started at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. It was one of the bloodiest wars ever fought. It was fought to protect a way of life: but the way of life was Northern and industrial, or Southern and agricultural, and based on slave labor to bolster the economy.

When I met Lisenby, I was a Catholic and a Northerner. Granny Merriman still talked about the War of Northern Aggression as if it had happened last year.

I had no idea how emotional people in the South were about the war.  The pain and anguish lived on.  I had not seen anything like it in the North.

This is a sad part of our history.  But it did not end there. And it did not start there.  Slavery was part of this country at its founding, and was a blight on our country then.  Racism was a blight on our country for another 100 plus years and is still a blight, subtly, on this country.

But, we did the right thing. The cost, the time, the pain to accomplish what is right is untold.  I am sorry my country was founded on such inhumanity, and not just to the Negro Slave, but to the First Americans, and repeatedly, at times to others who are different: Japanese, Germans, Muslims.

150 years ago, this country engaged in a war to affirm the rights of all humanity.  It was the right thing to do.  It is unconscionable that so many died.  War is hell.

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There is a lot of technology involved in using a laptop computer.  Thanks to my brother, who gave me a cordless mouse, I have that luxury and convenience.  I like it so much, I bought a second to use on the desktop computer that I now no longer use, as it is sooooo slooooow.

The last time the batteries died in the mouse, I did not realize what was happening. All of a sudden, I could not use the mouse.  And the computer seemed to freeze.  But, I changed out that mouse with the one for the desktop, and was back in business. It took me some to figure out how to open the mouse, but I even did that, changed the batteries, and I was back in business.

Obviously, I did not see the warning signs that the batteries were low:  the light on the mouse turned red instead of green.  And, there was an icon on the laptop that told me the batteries were critical.  So, this time, I was able to change out the batteries in a timely way!  YEAH!

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Blowing Dust

We are in a drought. Today, the winds kicked up and the dust was blowing. It was low dust, you could see the blue sky above it.  But it was enough to fill my sinuses and give me a headache, make me sneeze, and make my skin itch. 

If you have not been in a desert dust storm, you might not understand the irritation the blowing dust and strong wind can precipitate. It has been said that the blowing wind creates negative ions in the atmosphere which can irritate people.  I believe it. 

I am grateful to have a house to be in, and thankful I can be out of the wind tonight.

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I enjoy knitting. I give knitted baby blankets to new baby members of my family. I have knitted hand warmers for my colleagues. Recently, I was commissioned to knit mittens and a hat for an anniversary present for the wife of a coworker. I like to knit.  I like to create. The repetitive act of knitting is soothing. Sometimes, the repetitive work hurts my hands. But, it is a skill I enjoy.


Sink the Bismark

The other day, I heard the Johnny Horton song Sink the Bismark and realized that I had not seen the movie in some time. I like World War II movies, and thought that it might be a good movie to see in the near future.

Today, I was browsing Netflix, and the movie Sink the Bismark was available for instant play. Well, how could I ignore that coincidence. I could not. So, today, I watched the movie.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Brain Chatter and Calm

There is no TV, no music, no extraneous noise in the house right now.  I can hear the whirr of the ceiling fan, and the windows are open, so an occasional street noise floats in.  Sometimes, the quiet is so blessed, so heaven sent. I was sitting outside, but it was cool, and I decided to move in.  It would be pleasant outside, if I had to be there. I am just a cold woosey.

I am grateful for so many things:  I have good family and friends. I have a job I enjoy. I have a house in which to live, and transportation. I can pick my food choices, for the most part, without worry. I can pay my taxes.

I have plenty of activities which I enjoy: knitting, reading, being involved in NASW, and being on the board of Catholic Family Service, Inc .  I am a dues paying member of the Heritage Fiber Guild and the Llano Estacado Audubon Society, although my involvement in both are minimal.   I take classes through the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at Texas Tech University   I try to attend the monthly meeting of the Barnes and Noble Mystery Book Club

I enjoy following the sporting events at Texas Tech University, specifically the Lady Raiders Basketball team, and I follow the football team. I had tried to follow softball, but that did not work for me.  Maybe, with the new coach, I should try again.

I am still and always will be a Red Sox fan and a Yankee fan  I rarely watch the NBA games, simply because I am only a Celtics fan f and their games are rarely shown in this TV market. I have been a long time NASCAR fan  This is an endearing and enduring gift from Lisenby, for which I am so thankful.

I am sure there is more that life could offer. Yet, I am so blessed with everything I have.  Thank you to my family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances for your contribution to my life.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

The Way We Treat Americans

I went to a book discussion group 4/21/11, and we talked about the book: "The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  It is a very good story about the Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans in America during World War II, when, if you remember, the Japanese were interred due to their heritage.

We talked about this a lot: Most of us were not exposed to this part of American history as we were growing up. We seemed to be aware that there was a period in history when children of immigrants were encouraged to learn the new language (American English) but we did not know about the overzealous atrocities of the government to confine the people of Japanese heritage, during the war.

Our government has treated other peoples, as a whole, unwholesomely.  Certainly, the Native Americans fit into this category.  So too, the African-Americans. Jewish Americans.  The Germans, especially during World War I.

Most of the book group echoed the same sentiment: we are now doing the same to the Muslims. This is sad. We do not need to treat people of different heritage as the enemy, just because they are different.

We need to learn from our past, that our differences do not make us enemies, and although we have differences, our similarities are more prevalent.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Drought and Wildfires

We are in a drought.  Not only are we in a drought in West Texas, we are in the midst of horrible wildfires, fueled, in part, by the luscious growth that occurred after last year's rains.

But the wildfires are not the only concern. The water supplies for Texas are depleting. We are being asked to conserve our yard watering.  Lake Meredith a long time source of water for Lubbock and the South Plains, is drying out.   The Ogallala Aquifer is being depleted

Lake Alan Henry  is touted as a source of water for Lubbock, but it is down hill of the Caprock, and its contents will need to be pumped uphill.

-We live in a semi-arid region, but we live as if we are in a rain forest. Maybe we need to adjust our lifestyle.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Home Safety

Two times in my life, my home has been broken into.  The first time, my then husband surprised the intruder. His response was dramatic: he wanted to keep a loaded gun in our living room. I would not accept that. We did get storm windows, as these are an extra barrier to invasion. 

I refused to be cowed by the experience.  A colleague told me I was very strong. I just would not let the criminal "win."

In 2003, once again, my home was broken into.  My computer, cell phone, and some jewelry from my first husband had been stolen.  Little else was lost.  The door that was breached was replaced. The computer equipment was replaced. And life went on.

Two nights this week, I noticed that the gate in my back fence was compromised.  I have had padlocks on the gates, front and back, but did not lock them.  The last two night, my back gate was left open, with the padlock not securing the gate, although I was sure that while not locked, the padlock was securing the gate when I check it last. 

Well, once is a fluke, maybe a mistake I made. But not twice. So, I locked the locks on both the front and back gate of my fence. This is a little inconvenient, when I am taking out trash or doing yard work.

But, what is more important: convenience of yard work, or safety of home.?


The Difference in Language

I am watching a British show on TV.  They speak in English.  Their accents and idioms are such that it is not exactly the English we speak in America.  But for the most part, it is understandable.  But, sometimes, I have to listen very, very closely.

The really interesting thing about that, is I find the same thing happens to me in this country. I do a little bit of traveling, and there are parts of the country where the idioms and accents are so different from what I am used to. But it is still English.

This happens to other languages:  French in Canada compared to the French in France.

Spanish:  "Castilian Spanish" may refer to Spanish spoken in Spain, compared to Spanish spoken in the "New World."  But Spanish in Mexico is different than Spanish in Texas, California or New Mexico.  Spanish in Cuba and Puerto Rico is also slightly different.

My father spoke Polish, but he understood some Russian. 

Romance languages have a base in Latin, and are similar but very distinct, also.

I work in a prison. The "jargon" is very different than jargon in other fields. Each field has its own jargon.  It helps to understand the different languages people speak: 

When I take my car into a mechanic, I do not speak "mechanic" so I can not always effectively communicate with my mechanic so he knows what my concern is.   It helps to understand the technical speak of each field.

We gravitate to people with whom we are comfortable: people who have shared similar experiences, have similar ethnic backgrounds, have similar interest.  Similarities make us comfortable.  Similarity in speech is most important.  Even if I do not have the other backgrounds, if I can speak the same language, I have broken many barriers.

So, often, even though there are differences in language, when we focus on the similarities, we bring ourselves together.

As a high school student, I learned about Esperanto  I am not sure what Esperanto sounds like, but the idea of a universal language makes sense to me.

We realize that this is a small world, and the oceans and atmosphere especially join us as one. Language has made man unique among the life forms of this earth. But, we are discovering that other species have simple and complex language.  Man needs to learn that it is "A Small World, After All." Man needs to learn how interdependent we really are. Language helps us, to interchange. But language keeps us apart. So maybe a universal language would help to erase our differences.


What Good is A Newspaper

I subscribe to the local newspaper.  I usually skim the headlines, read what stories interest me, look for local interesting events, and check sports.  This morning, I checked for TV coverage of the Yankee-Rangers game.  None listed. 

After a windy dusty day, this evening was very pretty, so I sat out a couple of hours.  Well, I came in and was flipping around looking for something to watch on TV.  I found the Yankee - Ranger game in the 6th inning.

What good is the newspaper if the news is not accurate or correct?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can You Be Addicted To Music?

Recently, I wrote about a baby shower, and the CD gift the expecting parents gave to the attendants:  "A Lullaby Story."  This is a CD they put together, of a series of lullaby songs, songs about children, parents, relationships, going to sleep and the new morning.

I find that the songs of this CD ramble in my head throughout the day, over and over again. I hear it when I am driving, when I am reading, watching TV, trying to sleep.  It is a most relaxing series of songs. 

I think I am addicted to these songs. I listen to other music.  But I hear this music in my head when there is nothing else there.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

You Can't Judge a Book By it Cover

This spring, I signed up for a class at the Lubbock Lake Landmark  The second session was about preserving your keepsakes. I almost did not attend. I am not a scrapbook person, and I do not keep a lot of stuff from when I travel.

And, I am now a board member for a local non-profit charitable organization.   The monthly board meeting conflicted with the class I paid for. I was torn. I was assured it would be acceptable to miss a board meeting.

I went to the class. It was very interesting.  The discussion included the elements that destroy or deteriorate keepsakes and mementos, and how to preserve these things. It included what kinds of things are available to preserve keepsakes. 

I am not a keepsake preserver. But the information in this class was really interesting. 

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Yankees and Red Sox

The television hype includes advertising the long time and intense rivalry between the the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.  So, when they meet, I am blessed that there is national television coverage of their games.

I am a rare breed:  I am a New York Yankee fan and a Boston Red Sox fan.  When I get to watch their games on TV, I cheer for the Yankees or the Red Sox.  But, what to do when they play together?  I use the tactic I used when the University of Massachusetts came to Lubbock to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders football team:  I just cheer.

And, I hope for long games, with lots of scoring, and extra innings.  It is known that when the Yankees and Red Sox play, the length of their games is longer than average.  For that, I am grateful.  I just like their games.

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Time Zone and Sunset

I live in the Central Time Zone, some 60 miles (about an hour drive) from the Mountain Time Zone.  One of the things that really amazed me when I moved to Texas in 1977 was the length of the days.  

As has happened before, I was watching a sporting event in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Fort Worth is about 300 miles to the east of Lubbock; Dallas, another 30 miles east.   As I was watching the television broadcast, I was struck by the fact that it was dark in the Fort Worth area about 8 PM, but we still had daylight, not even dusk, in Lubbock.

This is phenomenal to me....

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The Right Tools

What makes an expert is someone who knows what needs to be done, how to do it, when to do it, and someone who has the right tools.

I recently worked on a knitting project, and needed a specific size circular needle. A circular needle has two working ends, and a smaller flexible cord that allows the stitches to slide back and forth to the working ends.  I could not find the size I needed made by a brand with which I was familiar.  So, I purchased a needle of an unknown brand.  The price was reasonable, and I was able to use the needle to complete the project I was working on. of the beauties of the circular needles is that the stitches slide smoothly to the working ends without any extra motion or effort by the knitter. The needles by the unfamiliar brand had a "lip" where the connecting cord met the working ends.  So, to get the stitches onto the working end, I had to physically push the stitches, instead of just sliding them.  This was inconvenient, slowed down my knitting rhythm, but was not unworkable.  But, if I can find a better circular needle of that size, I will obtain it for the next time I need it for a project.

So, am I saying I am a knitting expert? No. I am just commenting on the importance of the right tools.

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Blowing Again

It is blowing, again.   This is West Texas, and Spring, and the two combine for some very blustery weather.  When I was out just a little while ago, I could hear the wind roar in the lines.  Which means the speed is about 35 MPH.  The Weather Channel said 28 MPH gusting to 36 MPH.  I really do get tired of the wind.

Interestingly, I am watching the NASCAR race, which is at Texas Motor Speedway, so 300 miles west.  The wind is a factor there, too.

Later in the summer, when the fields are no longer bare (hopefully crops will be growing) the dust will be much less noticeable.

It is interesting what is affected by the wind.

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Proof Reading

A long time ago, I discovered that I do not proof read well on a computer screen. I do not know what it is, but I just do not see mistakes as well on the screen, as I do on a hard copy.  A friend of mine once told me it was because I learned to read on hard copy, and younger people who spend much more of their early years reading on a computer, do not have this difficulty.

I do not know. 

I do know that I generally re-read my blog posts a couple of times before posting them. Even so, usually when I go back the next day to check the post, I find another mistake. Usually a very obvious mistake.  Hmmmm.  I try to be careful.

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Companionable Silence

I tend to be a quiet person, and have for all my life.  I find that when I am sharing space with someone, I do not have the need to always carry on a conversation with them. I can sit quietly near someone, and not need to speak or visit with them (although I may talk to my self.)  This is especially helpful when in a work setting that requires shared space.

My cats do not share companionable silence. They rarely both sit on the sofa with me at the same time.  The same is true for the bed. Even rarer, will they share the sofa or bed when I am not there.  Today, I saw them sitting close to each other. It was probably not for a very long period of time, less than minutes, but for just that time, they seemed to be sharing companionable silence.  Or, I was experiencing wishful thinking.

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The Eyes of God

I have written before about the lessons regarding homelessness that Lisenby taught me.  Some time ago, I was at the grocery store, and saw a women give a donation to a man standing outside the entrance. I had seen him there before, but sadly, to be honest, I did not see him in that unseeing way we ignore unpleasantness around us.

The next time I saw him, I, too gave him something.

I was driving home tonight, thinking about indulging in some seafood for dinner.  I approached an intersection, and there was someone there with a sign needing help. I did not stop to consider his story or what he would do with my contribution, but I made one to him.  I thought that if I could splurge on extavagant food for dinner, I could help someone who may not have the options I have for food, shelter, clothing and self care.

I think, when I do something like this, I look into the eyes of God.  For years, there was a man who inhabited a corner near "the Strip" which was the only, restricted location in Lubbock County where people could buy packaged alcoholic beverages. This man had long stayed at the intersection he inhabited, long enough that he was there when I was married to Lisenby in the 1980's.  And, Lisenby used to make a contribution to him regularly.  

After we divorced, I did not, at first, but after a while, decided I could give him a contribution, and did, regularly.  I planned for it, and if I knew I was going that way, and did not have cash,  I would make sure I had some, taking change from my "piggy bank."

A colleague of mine once made the comment about how I was brave to talk to a homeless person. She has a very warm, kind heart, and would not demean a homeless person, nor reject the opportunity to help a homeless person.  She is just very aware that there are hidden dangers out there.

I have decided that I can look at a homeless person directly, and when I do, I am looking into the Eyes of God.

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Self Talk

Do you know what self talk is?  It is the internal messages we send and give to ourselves, about our selves, that impacts our self esteem, self worth, self image, and general self. 

But in my way of thinking, it is more. It is also the gathering in of messages from other people, messages that we internalize to describe ourselves: What my boss says about me; what my lover says about me; what my family says about me; what my friends say about me.  This internal messaging system helps to create our self image and helps to develop the person we become.

Many of us grow up with negative, or at best, neutral self talk: we are quick to hear about our mistakes, failures, how we disappoint people, what we have done wrong. When we do okay, average, mediocre or as expected, we seldom get positive feedback. We are fortunate when we are recognized for very good effort, accomplishments and activities.

But positive input and feedback are very important to who we are. With positive input, we develop confidence, the desire to achieve more, strive harder, stretch our comfort zones and try new things.

Some thirty years ago, I attended a workshop and learned that what I thought was positive self talk was not: we often give ourselves negative messages, thinking they are positive.  For example, I start to have a conflict with someone, and I decide "it's not worth it."  Well that is really negative self talk. What I can positively decide is that I am worth more than belittling myself by getting into a conflict with this person over a petty argument. Or, if the argument is over a power issue, I can decide that I am worth more than trying to prove my dominance over that person by behaving in a socially unacceptable way.

So, self talk can help us to behave in a more pro-social manner.

Additionally, it is important to remember that when we use self talk, the brain does not process the word "not."  "Not" is not a concrete. The brain processes the concrete.  So, if I say to myself "I am not going to overeat,", my brain processes the overeat part of the statement.  This is weird, but true.   So, if I want to eat less, my self talk needs to be "I eat small portions." 

The example I use with my patients at work is a bowling example:  I can stand at the bowling lane, and tell myself I want to throw a strike.  I can do this one of several ways:  I can tell myself I do not want to throw a gutter ball, but the likelihood of doing so is great.  My mind is in the gutter. Or, I can tell myself I want to throw a strike, or throw the ball down the middle. The likelihood of success has just increased. I have taken my mind out of the gutter.

This is a very good graphic way to teach about negative self talk:  we can have self talk that is in the gutter, or we can have self talk that is straight up the middle.  

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Beautiful nights

This is the time of year that the nights on the South Plains are just beautiful... I spent the evening sitting outside, reading. I have, in the past, moved my computer outside, to write, or even watch a movie.

I moved inside to go to bed, then decided to work on the computer. Sheer laziness kept me from moving it outside, although I will admit, before I moved inside, I had had to find a jacket to wear, as the night air was cooling off.

Now, the house windows are open, and I am hoping the night air will cool off the inside of the house.

And, I still have things to work on before I go to sleep.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Cooling Down

The weather has become summer warm, and controlling the temperature in the house at this time has become a bit of a gambit.  It is really not warm enough for the air conditioner, especially with the over night temperatures reaching into the 30's sometimes. But the day time temperatures are sometimes in the 90's.

So, I am struggling with temperature control right now. In the evenings, after the sun has gone down, and the wind blowing the dust has laid, I can open the house to try to cool the temperature.

But, I am well aware of the crime rate in my neighborhood, and am concerned about easy access through windows.

So, I open windows where I can monitor them. The windows I have do have a lock feature, but that only allows 3-4 inches of air in.   And, I do not trust the lock feature. So my open windows are open when I am up and alert, and can monitor them.

I am hoping to cool the house down tonight. What with the blowing air, and the ambient temperature, I may get some help.

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Reading Crescendo

I have mentioned more than once that I am a mystery book reader.  I have noticed an interesting phenomenon to my reading habit in the last year or two.  There are many mystery books that I really do not care about, but this also applies to the books that I am really enjoying:

As I get closer to the end, and the pieces are coming together, and the mystery is being solved, I find myself wanting to read faster and faster, and more and more, until I finish the book.

This is a bit of a change for me. Maybe it is the type of book I am reading, but there was a time in my past that I really enjoyed savoring a book, and spending time with the characters and plot, without being in a hurry to finish the book.

I am not sure when this change occurred, or why.  Have you had either experience with books.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Being Off

My schedule has changed this week, because the doctor is out, and we are not seeing patients for treatment team until he returns.  I am still seeing patients. And, I have plenty of other work to do, including going to training. 

But, I am off. I want it to be Wednesday night, not Tuesday.  I am afraid that tomorrow I will be mis-aligned into thinking it is Thursday.

Maybe I can re-align myself.

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Sunday, April 03, 2011


My cats are aging. Sake will be 10 this year, and Haiku is 9.  That is not old for cats, but it is middle aged, I think.

I have noticed a difference in Sake. She is more hesitant when she jumps, and sometimes, does not do the seriously high or difficult jumps, after she thinks about them.  This breaks my heart. But, so far, she does not seem to have injured herself by an ill-fated jump attempt.

The other thing that is happening, is that she is not as able to keep herself free of mats. She has always had trouble with her britches, and right now, they are really matted. I spend a very few minutes every day trying to work on those mats, but she is not very tolerant, and I understand that it is painful to have the fur pulled while I am trying to just cut out the mats.

Most recently, she has had severe mats under her chin that she does not seem to be able to tend to. I have worked on them regularly. She does not like that, but after the work is done, she seems to acquiesce that something needed to be done, anyway. I hate to hurt her, and try to be gentle, but know that mats are tough.  I cut when I can.  I comb softly when I can. I hope for the best.  

Interestlngly, when I show her the fur, she seems to realize where it came from and she does seem to feel better when she does not have serious mats...


My Hair

If you know me, you know that my personal appearance is not my top priority or concern, although I have to somewhat conform to the conventions of professionalism and try to present half way decently.  But, really, I could care less.

And, working in a prison has reinforced this:  we do not want to look alluring, attractive, even becoming.  Frumpy is not frowned on, as long as we are neat and not unprofessional.

So, my hair has not been a crowning jewel for me, as it is for some women.  For years, I wore my hair long and straight. I did not want anyone touching it, and had it trimmed on my infrequent trips to my mother's house some 2000 miles away.

After a while, that did not work, and I found I needed to have a more professional hair cut. So a friend recommended a hair dresser who I really bonded with, and who provided me with the type of blunt cut plain hair style I wanted.

Then, something strange happened. The hair on the back of my head started waving.  And, after a while, the hair all over my head started waving. So, I have gone to a short, layered cut. I call it my "Meg Ryan" look, because she has short, stick out, wavy hair. Which is what my hair looks like.

I am no longer using the hair dresser I so liked. I am just using the Pro-Cuts a few blocks from my house, and whatever stylist that is available. They each put their own touch on my hair cut.

My most recent cut was very, very short. I ended up with bangs, if my hair dries over my forehead.  If, like today, it does not, I have a cowlick or rooster tail above my forehead (yuck). The hair over my ears molds to cover my ears (and stick out over my ears.)  But with this very short cut, there is little I can do to change or style my hair by combing or drying.  Which is okay with me, but kind of strange.  On the other hand, I really like just being able to run my hand through my hair and have it not change or do anything.

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A Wind Advisory

We are in, and have been consistently in, a hazardous weather situation:  the South Plains are dry, and the winds are strong. Any small spark can ignite a fire and send it whipping along the plains.

We are blessed. I remember some years ago, when I spent time out in the country, seeing grass fires blowing through the fields.  It was eerie: it looked like the flames were about 18 inches or so above the ground, and everything just burned in its path. There is nothing on the plains to stop these flames. I do not know how firefighters combat these grass fires. It would be phenomenal! And dangerous.

If you live on the South Plains, be careful about flames and fire: including cigarette butts, cooking fires, and hot equipment.

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Vinca Lives

I have a small grape arbor, and the grass underneath has died, due to the dense summer shade.  I tried shade grass, but it was tedious, and I was not diligent enough to get it established. So last summer, I planted vinca, which is supposed to do okay in sun and shade.  I had several hills of vinca come fall, but it did not do well with the extreme winter cold that we had.  I should have covered it, and if we have a cold snap like that next year, I hope to remember to cover it.

However, there are several small (one or two sprouts) and some larger (3 or 4 sprouts) plants coming back.  I purchased a few more to supplement, and will water and feed, hoping to help the vinca along.


Saturday, April 02, 2011

The American Myth: The Cinderella Story

It is March Madness, when the NCAA Basketball Tournament occurs.  And, often, especially in the men's contest, we hear the term "The Cinderella Story" being applied to teams that are not well seeded in the tournament, but do well, anyway.

What is "the Cinderella Story" in sports? In this instance, it applies to a lesser ranked team making their way through the ranks of the tournament, win by win, to make it to the Final Four and more improbably, winning the national championship.

How often has this happened? Well, who knows, but there is surely a sports statistician out there with that information. This link just tells you about March Madness.  This link gives you some history about Cinderella Stories:

Remember the University of Texas at El Paso team of 1966, which was the basis for the book and film "The Glory Road"  This was a Cinderella Story deluxe, involving underdog and racial themes. Coach Haskins recruited many black players and brought his team to a national championship.

This year has been another year of Cinderella Story teams in the men's tournament. All of the number one seeded teams did not make it to the final four.

You can argue what that means, but ultimately, it means that when the chips are down, when push comes to shove, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and teams not ranked number one show their dominance, if just for one game.

So, this brings me to think about "the Cinderella Story."  Does it not bother you, sports fans, that the real Cinderella Story is about a woman? Sports announcers do not even have the decency to change it to "the Cinderfella Story" when they apply this term to the men's tournament.

What that says to me is that it is a wonderful, universally known term and men have usurped it for their own use, instead of allowing it to be used for the women who deserve their due.

So, come one guys, get politically correct, there are no "Cinderella Stories" in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.


The American Myth: Three Cheers for the Underdog

On March 29, 2011, I was watching NCAA Elite Eight woman's basketball games, and found myself cheering, in the final game of the round, for Texas A&M against Baylor.  Both teams are currently in the Big 12, and rivals of my "home team" Texas Tech. The season this year saw Texas Tech lose twice to Texas A&M and surprisingly, only once to Baylor. Texas Tech had an 11 point upset win over Baylor in Lubbock.

Well, there is something to be said for the American Myth about cheering for the underdog. And I tend to do that sometimes. Often.  In the USA, we love "the Cinderella Story."

But for me, there was more that went into cheering for A&M than cheering for the underdog.  Some of it had to do with the BAD HISTORY between Texas Tech and Baylor.  Specifically, and most recently, the events of the the Texas Tech vs. Baylor game in Lubbock on March 3, 2010. Baylor "superstar" Brittany Griner punched Texas Tech player Jordan Barncastle and broke her nose.  From the Texas Tech perspective, Ms. Griner was given a very mild punishment: she issued a written apology, but she also was given a 2 game suspension.  A mere slap on the wrist.

But, even before that, there was the Kim Mulkey presence.  Her style, her dress, her behavior.  Her style is rough. Her dress is flamboyant, advertising all she has to offer as a coach. Her behavior reflects her style and dress: angry, aggressive, adversarial to the MAX.

On the other hand, Gary Blair, coach of the A&M team has a more collegial, generous style. Less aggressive. More complimentary of the opposition. He even approached Tech player, Kierra Mallard, after one of the Tech vs. A&M games and encouraged her to step up to the leadership role she really should be demonstrating as a junior player. How much more generous and gracious as a coach can you get.

So, when I am deciding on a team to cheer for, there are factors other than being the underdog, that influence my decision.

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The First Time

I am watching baseball tonight, and one of the announcers commented that one of the players did something that was a first in major league baseball. The announcer noted that it was unusual and exciting to have a first in major league baseball.  When you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. The first professional teams were organized in 1871, and baseball is a much written about, much analyzed sport. So, when something new happens, after 140 years, it says something. 

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Friday, April 01, 2011

Jigging the Printer

Okay, my printer/scanner/copier is getting old. I do not recall when I bought it, but I it may have been as long ago as 2001, or much later. I just do not know.

What I do know, is that every time I have to load a new color cartridge in the printer, I have to "jig" the printer. Although I now buy HP brand name cartridges (I have actually bought off brand cartridges, and that is when the trouble started), I have to go through all kinds of machinations to get the printer to work.  I have to shut down the printer, unplug it, replug it, turn it back on, take the cartridge out, put it back in, take it out, shut off the printer, turn it back on, etc, etc, etc until finally, the printer decides I do not have a bad cartridge, and it will do the self test and alignment.  I spent 45 minutes doing that today. 

But success at last!

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