(originally published 15 November 2004)
 Still, like L'Engle, I hope we all continue learning throughout our journey of life… and I hope I have a long journey yet to go. I too want to constantly and happily relearn the importance and wonder of touch, of exploration and closeness with those you love.

I love her occasional turn of phrase, as well, as she describes wonderful creative concepts. Read this one, for example — her imagery is as lovely as her acceptance of the beauty of myth-making:

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(originally published 15 November 2004)
 The nature of creation & Self

On the other hand, I did admire the courage of someone willing to continue doggedly to write, even when she sold nothing whatsoever for an entire decade. I don't know if I'd have that kind of determination.

Also, some of her speculations on the nature of concentration rang true to me. I've often felt the focus of a child at play closely approximated the focus of an artist (or other unselfconscious adult) at work. Perhaps that's why it's so easy to lose yourself in activities you love — you're actually playing, not really working per se. As she notes:

The concentration of a small child at play is analogous to the concentration of the artist of any discipline. In real play, which is real concentration, the child is not only outside time, he is outside himself. He has thrown himself completely into whatever it is that he is doing. A child playing a game, … is completely in what he is doing. His self-consciousness is gone; his consciousness is wholly focused outside himself.

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(originally published 15 November 2004)
I came to this book with great expectations. Perhaps if I'd not loved A Wrinkle in Time so much, or hadn't been informed this book was a fabulous exploration of the wisdom of the maturing woman, I wouldn't have felt quite so much vague disappointment later.

Election Day

9 Nov 2016 In: Random

I truly believed we as a nation were better than this.

…I am beyond appalled. I have no words.

I have had such an excellent day today! Got to sleep a few hours later than usual, then took Goldie to her new agility class. She's doing an amazing job! It's a real pleasure to work with such a happy, eager dog, and I'm overjoyed that she came into my life. Now all I have to do is integrate her training into my daily schedule so she gets to play and train a lot — and I think she'll be awesome! Well, okay — I have to get myself whipped into shape too. I have as much to learn as she, after all, in this sport which is new to the both of us.

After agility class I went to an informal ATS (American Tribal Style) bellydance practice at a friend's house, and that went extremely well too. There were just three of us today, and it was my first time, so I got to ask lots of questions on two steps in particular that I'd been having trouble with. Not being in a paid-for class means that I didn't feel guilty about taking up too much time with my requests. That meant our hostess (who has been dancing for almost two decades now) was able to show me slowly and repeatedly what I should be doing, and where I was going wrong. It was so nice to finally figure out where my feet should be going, then get the steps right, and then feel the flow again as we danced!

Dinner was particularly nice too: orange-cranberry pot roast! Very tasty; one of my "dump meals." A dump meal is basically a crockpot meal placed in a reusable Ziploc plastic bag and frozen, and I can make ten to twelve of them all at once in a few hours on a weekend. The freezer the guys got for me has been a real bonus for this! Once I've made a bunch of the dump meals I'm good for a lot of dinners with very little effort on my part — which is a huge win for me. All I have to do is take a dump meal out and stick it in the fridge to thaw overnight, then empty it the next day into the crockpot. Add in some veggies and/or rolls and dessert at the right time, and presto: instant dinners! Also, pot roasts always come out of the crockpot juicy and delicious, which makes me feel gleefully accomplished. :)

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I went to the "Rally to Recall Judge Persky" at the San Jose Hall of Justice on September 2nd. It was the first rally I'd ever been to and, as a friend put it, since it was a rally rather than a protest it was a pretty safe 'first' to try. It was… weirdly fascinating.

Before one of the signs at the Persky recall rally

Before one of the signs at the Persky recall rally

I took Goldie with me. I figured not only would it be good practice for her in maneuvering through crowds, but also she's a really mellow pup… maybe she could help folks stay relaxed a bit. As we left the house I was amused to hear Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyrie" on the radio — it seemed a good omen! We arrived at 11:00 am, an hour after the scheduled start. There were some tall banners set up as a backdrop to the speakers' podium, and a nice, large crowd with many signs. I was pleased and surprised to see how many male speakers there were — I think it's an excellent idea for male allies to start speaking up against rape, since I suspect rapists and rape apologists aren't going to listen to women. There were also many intelligent, articulate, and fascinating women who spoke, including Stanford law professor Michele Landis Dauber, who is leading the recall campaign on Judge Aaron Persky.

Interestingly, though the rally was set to run from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, the speakers were all finished by 11:30 am. Folks wandered around a bit, chatting with each other and getting last-minute interviews. I watched Prof. Dauber make an effort to speak with every person there who wished to speak with her. That impressed me; she seemed to be a genuinely kind and caring person despite starting to droop a bit by the end of all that talking. I went up to her after everyone had had a chance to speak with her and thanked her for making the effort and leading the charge, so to speak. That kind of thing is hard work, and opens you up to all kinds of flack and other abuse. I figured she'd heard enough of that sort of crap, so perhaps a genuine thank you out of appreciation for her effort would help some. She looked first surprised, then pleased at my thanks… so I think it was the right thing to do.

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I have tons of things I should be writing and reading and painting and training and cleaning and organizing and researching and blah blah blah… but I'm out of givashits right now. This also means it's sometimes hard to come up with something clever and intelligent-sounding for here. The following will have to do instead — because these are just things that made me laugh, and when my brain is all out of brain juice due to scholastic work, having some brain candy that makes me happy is a good thing! :-)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~* ~ *~

C, staring perplexedly at the floor, "Why is there glitter all over the mat here?"

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Goldie does it again! :)

31 Jul 2016 In: Random, Wonderful pets!

Squeeee time! I'm so proud of my clever girl! :)

Here's a photo of Goldie looking unimpressed at me gleeing so much at her that the cell wasn't steady enough:

Goldie & Agility 1 cert

Goldie & her first Agility cert — one of many, we hope!

…and here's the actual certification scanned in. Amazing what you can do with Photoshop to pretty things up when you want! :)

Agility 1 -- aced! :)

Agility 1 — aced! Onwards to Agility 2! :)

Goldie! :)

16 Jul 2016 In: Family, Random, Wonderful pets!

To all my friends with children: I am so very, very sorry! I owe you all an apology… and some explanation. :-D

It is probably no secret to those who know me that I don't care for kids that much. The very young ones are often loud and shrill, and their high-pitched voices frequently hit a note that I find quite painful due to popping an eardrum some time ago while scuba diving. I also happen to agree with the (slightly paraphrased) quote regarding babies being alimentary canals with no sense of responsibility at either end. Consequently I have never been able to fathom parental effusing on the remarkable and unique beauty and/or intelligence of their (very average-looking, to me) offspring — could anything be duller to listen to?

There is also the fact that throughout most of my animal-training and -owning life I have usually ended up with the "difficult" animals — the ones that are fearful, or have learned bad habits, or have been hurt and are now consequently quite untrusting. I don't regret being there for those animals — I'm actually rather proud of being able, in most of the cases, to help them become happier and calmer and better behaved. However, I also got used to needing endless patience with the poor things, and to watch those with friendlier or more confident animals easily navigate tricks and training that would take my particular animal teammate much, much longer…

-until now.

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Okay, finished the book; ready to give a few more thoughts on it. Some notes:

  • Same trigger warnings as before (i.e: rape, able-ism, & thoughtless misogyny) with the addition of violent death and breathtakingly insulting levels of rich white boy privilege — and also…
  • MAJOR spoilers! Though the book (& TV show) has been out for a while, so… cave lector, I suppose?

Anyway! To continue: much as I suspected, in the last 60 or so pages of the book the main character Quentin — I cannot bring myself to call him a hero — does not receive his comeuppance. Unfortunately he also learns nothing at all by the end of the book; his record for horrendous life decisions remains metaphorically untarnished.

For example, I mentioned him cheating on his girlfriend and somehow managing to mentally recast himself as the seduced victim rather than — at the very least — an equal participant. I have two issues with this: first, as depizan (one of the moderators from the excellent Ana Mardoll's Ramblings) discussed with me: due to Quentin being such an unreliable narrator we actually have no way of knowing for sure that this sexual interlude was in fact consensual.

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Bestiaries depict mythical, moralizing animals, but are also potential allegorical sparks that can bloom into brilliant mental bonfires. My bestiary is this mythologizing animal's fascinated exploration of beauty & meaning in the wonder of existence -- in the hopes of inspiring yet more joyous flares of intellectual passion.

Help yourself & me too!

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