Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Putting It Out Into the Universe! Woo Woo!!!!!

Today I took The Big Plunge!
I acknowledged a monumental change in my life
from how I've lived it in recent decades.

I updated my profile on Linkedin
for the first time since I retired
from Cherry Creek School District.

I changed my professional headline
from Elementary Teacher to

~ Putting It Out Into the Universe!  Woo Woo!!!!! ~


I've been out on a lot of skinny limbs,
but this one feels about one Planck Unit wide!

Source:  Wikipedia

You have no idea what I went through 
to get that formula 
on this post
in a legible form!

And don't ask me to explain it.
I'm no theoretical physicist.

Just know that it means 
a very, very, very small length;
and thus, 
a very, very, very skinny branch!

(about 10−20 times the diameter of a proton)

Theoretical Physicist Max Planck
Source:  Wikipedia

Just blame my description on
my too many late nights 
spent reading recently ~
I've been pouring over 
Dan Simmons' The Fall of Hyperion
while holding an ice pack 
against my face with my left hand
(stuffed for protection in a big red mitten).

Planck Everything runs through
Volume 2 of The Hyperion Cantos.
(Don't let that scare you away from the book ~
background in theoretical physics not necessary!)
Would that I could write like Simmons! 

Source:  Wikipedia

I've written most of my life
for many purposes and for many audiences.
I've taught writing to hundreds and hundreds of students.

I've studied writing.
I've given workshops on writing at literacy conferences.
I've encouraged so many to write.

I've even helped and cheered on my youngest sister
as she has written and published two excellent books,
and has a third in the works.


                                                  Source:  Books by Bert

Bertie and I,
Presenters, Colorado Council International Reading Association, 2009, 2010, 2011

But I wouldn't/couldn't 
claim "Writer" for myself.

I've been wrestling with a memoir,
a painful and difficult slog.
I keep going around and around in circles
trying to find my way.

It would be so easy to give up and walk away.
But I can't.

Images like this haunt me.

 Donald Blair MacBeath
My Father
Most Likely in St. Peters Bay, P.E.I.
Circa 1929

I'll find a way.
After all, I've put it out into the Universe.

Maybe I'll pull an elementary teacher strategy
and make a picture collage for extra help
from this Universe that is so hard to fathom.

Writers illuminate the human heart.
But damn ~ is it hard!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Brief Break

Yesterday morning when I opened my eyes,
the first thing that greeted me 
was my left cheek.

This morning when I opened my eyes,
the first things that greeted me
were my left cheek and nose.

And a horrified gasp from the E~P
when he walked into the bedroom
moments later.

Yes, I have to admit,
I am a scary sight indeed.


Little Shop of Horrors - Dentist Song
You tube ~ Keith Errington

Yes, my latest go round with my oral surgeon
has left me swollen, 
black and blue and red,
and seriously misshapen.
I can see the left side of my face!!!!!

I'd post a photo, 
but I don't want to give anyone a heart attack.

I am a sore sight for unsuspecting eyes.

I'll be back posting and visiting blogs in a few days.
I'm doing okay ~ really!
As long as my icepack, painkillers, and peridex
are close by.

Source:  Toonpool

Source: smilessouthflorida


Source:  doblelol

Source:  9LoLs

Source:  jokideo

source:  quicklol

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bruddah Iz and Lemon Drops

stop playing this song!

Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole
Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Every time these ukulele notes
spill out of my car radio,
I want to flee from snowy, cold Colorado
and sink my feet 
into the soft sand and warm water 
of Ke Iki Beach. 

Ke Iki Beach
North Shore, Oʻahu

Surely there are few spots in the world 
as lovely as the North Shore of Oʻahu at sunset.

I swear, one of these days,
I'm going to drive off the road
because I'm lost in sand 
and gentle waves washing the shore
instead of seeing the next bend in the road.

And that soft pure voice,
so mellow it makes this driven soul relax.

Do you think the KBCO DJs
ever name the singer of this song 
I'm loving on the radio?

Who is this singer and ukulele player?

Don't you just love Google search?!
I typed in "hawaiian somewhere over the rainbow,"
and BAM!
There it was!
And the singer:  Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole!

That explains the DJs' silence.

As I read about Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole 
on Wikipedia, 
I discovered that the song came 
from the best selling album of all time
by a Hawaiian artist:
Facing Future (released 1993).

Kamakawiwoʻole, The Fearless Eyed,
devoted his life and music
to promoting Hawaiian rights and Hawaiian independence.

Many people think the lyrics 
from Bruddah Iz's song Hawai'i '78
summarize his Hawaiian ideals: 
"the life of this land is the life of the people
and that to care for the land (malama 'āina) 
is to care for the Hawaiian culture." 
Source:  Wikipedia

Kamakawiwo'ole also used his ukulele
to raise awareness 
about how the tourist industry 
has pushed native Hawaiians 
into a second class status.
Source:  Wikipedia

I think the situation for native Hawaiians
has worsened since Iz's death
on June 26, 1997.

A bronze bust to commorate
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole 
stands at the Waianae Neighborhood 
Community Center on Oʻahu.
Source:  Wikipedia

Just saying,
if you find my car
wheels up on the side of the road
with a smiling me inside,
you'll know it's KBCO's fault!

You'll know I'm somewhere
"Where trouble melts like lemon drops" ...
Source: azlyrics 

Thanks, Iz!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Back to The Hyperion Cantos Again


Oscar Wilde said of reading,
“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, 
there is no use in reading it at all.”

             I so agree!  
             And I'm roaming our galaxy again
             centuries into the future
             through the words of 
             my favorite science fiction writer,
             Dan Simmons.

 The Sun's Location in the Orion Arm
of the Milky Way Galaxy
Source:  Google ~ Richard Powell

Source:  Wikipedia

Some years ago, 
Terry surprised me 
on Christmas morning
with Dan Simmons' 
a book I had never heard of.

Little did I know
I was embarking on
the science fiction adventure
of my lifetime,
as I began to read 
Volume I
of what is now known as
The Hyperion Cantos.

I consider 
the four volumes of
The Hyperion Cantos
the finest 
science fiction
I have ever read.

Now, some readers I have run into
look down on science fiction.

They think that because science fiction 
deals with an imaginary future,
futuristic science and technology,
and such topics as space travel, aliens, 
and parallel universes
it is somehow not literature,
not worthy of being taken seriously.

How mistaken they are!
Excellent science fiction
is much more than shoot 'em up space cowboys
and little green men.

Source:  Wikimedia

Source:  Wikimedia

Science fiction at its best
plumbs the big ideas,
like the consequences of scientific and technological progress,
and it explores philosophy and psychology
to better illuminate humans, their societies, and their ethics.

another sometimes disparaged genre,
does this also.
The difference between the two 
is that fantasy uses magic 
and other supernatural phenomena
while science fiction works largely
within the constraints 
of known physical laws.

But there is always room to speculate
and to push the boundaries beyond the known and proven.
(To read more about science fiction as a genre, visit Wikipedia.)

The very best science fiction asks the BIG questions.
It challenges our thinking,
and forces us to confront the metaphysical.

Dan Simmons tackles the BIG questions
in The Hyperion Cantos  
with an audacious creativity 
and a depth and range of imagination
that amazes and delights me.

The four Hyperion novels grapple with such questions as:
Who or what is God?
What is the relationship between Creator and Created?

Hands of God and Adam
Source:  Wikimedia ~ Michelangelo

What is the fundamental nature of the universe
and in what direction is it evolving?

  Cyclic Progressions of the Universe
Source:  Wikimedia

What is humanity's role in the universe?
What does it mean to be human?

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
Source:  Wikimedia

Sounds HEAVY indeed ~
but really,
it's all bound up in an interstellar armageddon
with one hell of a scary monster, 
the Shrike or Lord of Pain,
who slays with abandon and gore.
Like the shrike birds of the family Laniidae,
Simmons' Shrike impales its victims
on the thorns of a tree or other sharp objects.
Source:  Wikipedia

The Shrike
Source:  Wikia 

The books are emotional, exciting, 
diverse, and profound;
vivid and terrifying,
bawdy and profane.

I reread them before Christmas,
then turned around and started them again!

I want to know them inside out.
I want to understand more 
about how Simmons 
created and crafted 
his complex and heartbreaking narratives:

                                                             Source                                                   Source                                                   Source       

The Last Three Volumes
of The Hyperion Cantos

Do you like science fiction?
Have you read this series?
If so, what did you think?
I'd love to hear!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stood Up in Aurora by the Aurora!

I thought by now
I'd have it figured out ~
but, nope!
Here it is,
another wrecked morning.

Can't blame it on 
a raucous Friday night at Parkway.

Can't blame it on 
our new legal freedoms in Colorado.

Can't blame it on
waking up jet-lagged in a foreign land.

Bang Niang Beach, Khao Lak, Thailand

Nope ~ I'm blaming it on the aurora borealis!

Aurora Over Alaska
Credit:  Joshua Strang

I am wrecked this morning 
because Thursday night I forced myself
to stay up past midnight
waiting on the northern lights ~
Following on the heels 
of a wildly erratic holiday schedule.

New Year's Eve Celebration
Ameristar, Black Hawk, Colorado

My diurnal rhythm is totally out of whack!
I never learn.

I fell for an aurora borealis line
instead of sensibly going to bed on time
in a attempt to reset my circadian clock.

The Denver Post reported last Thursday
that the aurora borealis would
shine its light on Colorado
around midnight:
clear weather, partial moon, good viewing,
a rare natural spectacle,
compliments of a strong solar flare
pushing a geomagnetic storm
to Colorado.
Source:  The Denver Post, 1/9/2013 p. 4a

I was probably the only person
roaming my neighborhood Thursday
in the dark and cold of a winter night
scanning the cloudy skies
for a shimmering glow.

Northern Lights
Observatoire Mont Cosmos, Quebec, Canada
Source:  Wikimedia

No such luck!
Like a no-show blind date,
the aurora borealis stood me up!

How I long to see northern lights again.

Aurora Borealis
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Source:  Wikimedia

When I was a young girl living in The North,
the curtains of shimmering light
weaving across the night sky
were the most beautiful and mysterious things
I had ever seen.

I did not know then that the northern lights
were the result of collisions
between charged particles from the sun's atmosphere
and gas molecules in the Earth's atmosphere.

Storms on the sun 
send a solar wind 
of electrons and protons
streaming out into the solar system.

When these charged particles
strike gas molecules in the Earth's magnetic field,
the molecules become excited.
Their electrons jump to higher-energy orbits
around their nucleuses.

When the gas molecules calm down,
their electrons jump to lower-energy orbits
releasing photons of light.

Auroras from Around the World
Source:  Wikipedia

The different colored lights of the aurora borealis
are caused by the types of gas molecules 
in the Earth's atmosphere
colliding with the charged particles from the sun:
oxygen releases a green light, 
and nitrogen releases blue and red lights.
Other colors such as white, violet, and pink
sometimes occur.

Aurora Borealis, Tromsoe, Norway
Source:  Wikipedia 

I used to walk in the dark
on the ice of Lake Attawapiskat 
listening to the howl of wolves
and drinking in the beauty of the night sky.

My Brother Roy and I Canoeing 
in Lansdowne House on Lake Attawapiskat, 1961

I used to lie in the dark
by the summer waters of Lac Seul 
listening to the call of the loons
and watching the bright lights dance in the sky.

I could hear them:
the snap, crackle, and buzz of the aurora.

My Indian friend John
always warned me not to whistle or call the lights.
He said that if I did,
they would come down and burn me.

And, of course, I'd whistle and shout ~
and run through the fireweed
hellbent for the safety of our log cabin.
Those slanting, reaching lights never caught me!

Even though the aurora borealis stood me up,
the chance to see it again
was well-worth feeling wrecked right now.

Source:  You Tube ~ Alaskan Dispatch

Have you ever seen these glorious lights?