Friday, May 28, 2010

YouTube - Michael Franti & Spearhead : Say Hey Music Video

YouTube - Michael Franti & Spearhead : Say Hey Music Video
Follow the link to the music video (embedding disabled on request).
Listen to the lyrics.
Rob loves this song and every time it comes on he holds my hand.
I think this song makes him think of me.

Friday Randomness

For all you Harry Potter fans, this blogger created a fake journal for a character she made up who is attending Hogwarts and having trouble keeping up with her personal things.  The artist has created a zine.  For more and how you can own a copy of this delightful and charming fake journal:

This blogger writes haiku and shares lovely images that compliment his words wonderfully.

Here is a list of 40 blogs on Reiki.  I haven't looked at them all so I can't say if I agree with this list or not but I thought I'd share it anyway.  (I do know I see one listed for a blogger I find uses sensational and occasionally divisive language when discussing Reiki but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad resource.)

The scheduling for the FREE watercolor course has been changed so if you thought you could not participate because you didn't learn about it soon enough--now it begins in July.  You have two months to sign up and get ready.

Also, and really most importantly, I am still taking suggestions for how to raise $10,000.  For more information:

I could link over to some or all of the blog posts I've made about vertigo, about how this condition has compromised my lifestyle.  But if you've been reading my blog then you already know.  If you haven't been reading my blog then you won't read this either.

I just really need some ideas.  So far nothing I've come up with is any different from what I've already been trying to do to get some income.  And I can assure you, those things haven't been successful at all.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Post Now - D.C. may ease rules for tour guides

Post Now - D.C. may ease rules for tour guides
I never considered that there might be discrimination against people with vertigo but apparently there is.
Or was. Good to know there are changes on the horizon.
Of course, none of this would be necessary if I could raise $10,000 but since none of my readers have suggested ways for me to raise money I am thinking that I am not the only one stymied by the logistics.

Being Upright by Reb Anderson

Being Upright:  Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts by Reb Anderson is a discussion of the precepts taught when a Buddhist takes the Bodhisattva vows.  The author’s voice is familiar and his talent as a teacher is evident throughout.  Anderson manages to take concepts that are typically explained in ways that keep the truths too esoteric for the average reader and breaks them down into comprehensible and applicable concepts.

Infusing each chapter with personal stories and quoting from literature brings even the most lofty ideas down to earth.  Anderson is not hesitant to share his own faults and is honest about the failings of other leaders within the Zen Center, all the while never faltering in his own esteeming of his teacher.  This book is not written for the person who is unfamiliar with Buddhism and its precepts, however, so anyone interested in learning some basic truths regarding Buddhism should probably look elsewhere.  For the person who is familiar with Buddhism and is already practiced in meditation, who may be pondering how to take their spiritual practice to a new and deeper level, this book will be  welcome.

But like even the best guest, a welcome can turn cold if the guest stays too long and when Anderson shares the failings of himself and his teacher’s replacement the reader is reminded that there are no perfect answers.  If even the leaders are flawed does this make it easier for the follower?  I don’t know.  But I seem to be reading so many books in which the author shares about a leadership that is sexually irresponsible and, while I appreciate the candor, I am getting weary of the reality.  Of course, these men (and women, I suppose) are the exception and not the rule.  For every priest or monk caught in sexual indiscretion there are tens and hundreds who do nothing to violate their own morality.

I would have liked to read this book along with someone else to discuss the concepts more fully.  This isn’t a book that I will buy but it is one that I would recommend.  

PS:  I would recommend, if you are not familiar with the scandal(s) that surround the San Francisco Zen Center, that you avoid learning about them until after you have finished reading this book.  I think that if I had known about these things more fully (and a few clicks through a google search turned up a lot!), I might have been less gracious throughout my reading.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Coffee Maker

Yesterday Rob found this coffee maker on sale and came home with it as a surprise.  I have yet to make a decent cup of coffee with it but that's because it typically takes me a few days to get the water to coffee grounds ration just right.  So far I know that 8 scoops to 10 cups water set to "strong" is not a good choice for me.

I'll bet my daughter would have loved it however!

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge MD

The Brain That Changes Itself:  Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge MD is about how the brain works with a focus on neuroplasticity and how the fundamental ways in which our brain is “wired” can be changed.  For centuries the brain’s being broken down into territories with certain parts doing specific things has been the guiding rule but science, which has been theorizing that perhaps there is another way the brain works, is using technology—like CAT scans—to look beyond the preconceived notions.

When I first started the book, I had an extremely hard time reading beyond a few sentences or a paragraph without breaking into tears.  The first patient discussed is a woman with vertigo; her condition is worse than my own but my empathy was relentless.  It wasn’t until I reached the part where a doctor, Bach-y-Rita, was able to help this woman that I began reading with more haste. 

Then I put the book down altogether because she was cured and I was determined to learn as much as I could about how she was cured and whether or not the doctor was able to develop a tool that would break through whatever nerve damage I have and restore my balance. 

And that is why it took me weeks (no exaggeration) to get through the first chapter because I kept crying and then forgot the book altogether as I was doing research for myself. 

For anyone who is interested in learning how the brain works—the theories behind use it or lose it and neurons that fire together wire together—this book is a great introduction, not so technically overwhelming that the average reader won’t be engaged.  Doidge shares examples from his own practice along with the historical context for what science used to believe and what discoveries are being made the more information we have.

I confess, I had some difficulty reading about the research that was conducted, especially when animals were involved.  If I hadn’t been deeply committed to wanting to read about brain plasticity for myself I wouldn’t have finished some of the book.  Nevertheless, the rest of the content is fascinating.  The truth is, for all I know the reason I pushed through in spite of my disgust and dismay is simply because I wanted to read something that would give me hope that the physical therapy exercises may eventually help.  Little could I know that I would find something that promises a possible cure.  An expensive one but a cure regardless.  Anyone who knows someone who has experienced brain trauma—whether as the result of injury or stroke or anything else—there is information within these pages that will offer possible answers.  If not inspiring, it is at least interesting and a resourceful reader may find a miracle. 

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Monday, May 24, 2010

15 Ways to Predict Divorce | General Headlines |

15 Ways to Predict Divorce | General Headlines |
I guess I'm glad Rob's giving up cigarettes and that he isn't a girl. The odds are still not in our favor but their better than they might have been.

Caldecott Medal Winners

Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 - Present

  • 2010: The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown and Company)
  • 2009:  The House in the Night illustrated by Beth Krommes, written by Susan Marie Swanson (Houghton Mifflin Company) 
  • 2008The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic) 
  • 2007: Flotsam by David Wiesner  (Clarion) 
  • 2006: The Hello, Goodbye Window Illustrated by Chris Raschka, written by Norton Juster (Michael di Capua/Hyperion) 
  • 2005: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollinsPublishers) 
  • 2004: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein (Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press) 
  • 2003: My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann (Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press) 
  • 2002: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin) 
  • 2001: So You Want to Be President? Illustrated by David Small; text by Judith St. George (Philomel Books) 
  • 2000: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback (Viking) 
  • 1999: Snowflake Bentley, Illustrated by Mary Azariantext by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (Houghton) 
  • 1998: Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky (Dutton) 
  • 1997: Golem by David Wisniewski (Clarion) 
  • 1996: Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (Putnam) 
  • 1995Smoky Night , illustrated by David Diaz; text: Eve Bunting (Harcourt) 
  • 1994Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say; text: edited by Walter Lorraine (Houghton) 
  • 1993: Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully (Putnam) 
  • 1992: Tuesday by David Wiesner (Clarion Books) 
  • 1991: Black and White by David Macaulay (Houghton) 
  • 1990: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young (Philomel) 
  • 1989: Song and Dance Man , illustrated by Stephen Gammell; text: Karen Ackerman (Knopf) 
  • 1988: Owl Moon , illustrated by John Schoenherr; text: Jane Yolen (Philomel) 
  • 1987: Hey, Al , illustrated by Richard Egielski; text: Arthur Yorinks (Farrar) 
  • 1986: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton) 
  • 1985: Saint George and the Dragon , illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman; text: retold by Margaret Hodges (Little, Brown) 
  • 1984: The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by Alice & Martin Provensen (Viking) 
  • 1983: Shadow , translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown; original text in French: Blaise Cendrars (Scribner) 
  • 1982: Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton) 
  • 1981: Fables by Arnold Lobel (Harper) 
  • 1980: Ox-Cart Man , illustrated by Barbara Cooney; text: Donald Hall (Viking) 
  • 1979: The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble (Bradbury) 
  • 1978: Noah's Ark by Peter Spier (Doubleday) 
  • 1977: Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions , illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon; text: Margaret Musgrove (Dial) 
  • 1976: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears , illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon; text: retold by Verna Aardema (Dial) 
  • 1975: Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott (Viking) 
  • 1974: Duffy and the Devil , illustrated by Margot Zemach; retold by Harve Zemach (Farrar) 
  • 1973: The Funny Little Woman , illustrated by Blair Lent; text: retold by Arlene Mosel (Dutton) 
  • 1972: One Fine Day , retold and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian (Macmillan) 
  • 1971: A Story A Story , retold and illustrated by Gail E. Haley (Atheneum) 
  • 1970: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (Windmill Books) 
  • 1969: The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship , illustrated by Uri Shulevitz; text: retold by Arthur Ransome (Farrar) 
  • 1968: Drummer Hoff , illustrated by Ed Emberley; text: adapted by Barbara Emberley (Prentice-Hall) 
  • 1967: Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness (Holt) 
  • 1966: Always Room for One More , illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian; text: Sorche Nic Leodhas, pseud. [Leclair Alger] (Holt) 
  • 1965: May I Bring a Friend? illustrated by Beni Montresor; text: Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (Atheneum) 
  • 1964: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (Harper) 
  • 1963: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Viking) 
  • 1962: Once a Mouse , retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown (Scribner) 
  • 1961: Baboushka and the Three Kings , illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov; text: Ruth Robbins (Parnassus) 
  • 1960: Nine Days to Christmas , illustrated by Marie Hall Ets; text: Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida (Viking) 
  • 1959: Chanticleer and the Fox , illustrated by Barbara Cooney; text: adapted from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Barbara Cooney (Crowell) 
  • 1958: Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey (Viking) 
  • 1957: A Tree Is Nice , illustrated by Marc Simont; text: Janice Udry (Harper) 
  • 1956: Frog Went A-Courtin' , illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky; text: retold by John Langstaff) (Harcourt) 
  • 1955: Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper , illustrated by Marcia Brown; text: translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown (Scribner) 
  • 1954: Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans (Viking) 
  • 1953: The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward (Houghton) 
  • 1952: Finders Keepers , illustrated by Nicolas, pseud. (Nicholas Mordvinoff); text: Will, pseud. [William Lipkind] (Harcourt) 
  • 1951: The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous (Scribner) 
  • 1950: Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi (Scribner) 
  • 1949: The Big Snow by Berta & Elmer Hader (Macmillan) 
  • 1948: White Snow, Bright Snow , illustrated by Roger Duvoisin; text: Alvin Tresselt (Lothrop) 
  • 1947: The Little Island , illustrated by Leonard Weisgard; text: Golden MacDonald, pseud. [Margaret Wise Brown] (Doubleday) 
  • 1946: The Rooster Crows by Maud & Miska Petersham (Macmillan) 
  • 1945: Prayer for a Child , illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones; text: Rachel Field (Macmillan) 
  • 1944: Many Moons , illustrated by Louis Slobodkin; text: James Thurber (Harcourt) 
  • 1943: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton (Houghton) 
  • 1942: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (Viking) 
  • 1941: They Were Strong and Good , by Robert Lawson (Viking) 
  • 1940: Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire (Doubleday) 
  • 1939: Mei Li by Thomas Handforth (Doubleday) 
  • 1938: Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book , illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop; text: selected by Helen Dean Fish (Lippincott)

So I don't know if you noticed but the books I read aren't actually Caldecott Medal winners.  I guess they were nominated.  I complain about my public library occasionally for the most random things but truly think this will be the winner of the most random complaint regarding my library because I actually went to to the site and clicked the "Caldecott Medal Winners" so I could choose only the books that won.  I suppose I can't be totally begrudging on this one because I found that delightful book as a result of this error on the library's part.  But they don't make it easy for someone to do something with focus by befuddling the information.  Grrrrr . . .