Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Feeling like the cat's dinner...

Just a quick note
to let you know that I am still alive even if not quite well.

I've been a bit under the weather and too foggy to write anything coherent
. Feeling a little better so hopefully I will be back soon. I'm just waiting for the fog to lift.

Meanwhile, here's a funny video...hope you will enjoy it. If you've ever been owned by a cat, I think you will relate.

Here is a link in case you are unable to access the video here.

Simon's Cat "TV Dinner"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just a bubble off plumb...

Sympathy card?

I found this weirdly wonderful site that appeals to my slightly warped sense of humor. It is called and offers to provide the 'wrong' ecard for any occasion. The cards are free...they sell nothing on the site. Warning...some of them are pretty strange. Some were a bit too 'odd' for me but I thought some were pretty clever.
Check it might find something that appeals to your wonderfully warped side, too!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Excuse me while I remove my bra.....

Just when you think you have seen it all they come out with something else! I was surfing the internet looking at green products and searching for some reusable cloth shopping bags. The last thing I expected to find was a bra that can be converted into a shopping bag. Hmmm, that would turn a few heads in the supermarket!

Here is a video demonstrating the "shopping bag" bra

(Technical note re: video-There seem to be some technical difficulties viewing this video if you don't use Mozilla Firefox as your browser. I'm trying to iron out this glitch. Meanwhile,
click here to see the video on YouTube )

I'm not sure how practical the 'shopping bag' bra is but
reusable cloth shopping bags are a terrific alternative to disposable plastic bags. The use of disposable plastic bags is extremely problematic, to say the least. They need to be eliminated or at the least greatly restricted. Just take a look at the following facts and I think you will see what I mean.

The U.S. Environmental protection agency says that between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. That's over one million per minute. The U.S goes through 100 billion bags a year. Billions of these bags worldwide end up as litter. Only 1 % are recycled.

Instead, they are clogging waterways, getting tangled in trees, floating in the ocean, and breaking down into toxic bits which contaminate soil and waterways. Plastic bags account for over 10 percent of the debris that washes up on the U.S coastline. They kill animals from close to 200 different species of sea life. Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine animals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags that they mistake for food. In addition, many birds and animals die after becoming entangled in or smothered by plastic bags.

Switching from disposable plastic shopping bags to reusable cloth shopping bags can have a tremendous impact. Reducing or eliminating the use of plastic bags would have an impact in reducing litter, pollution, and in saving our wildlife. Plastic bags are made from polyethylene, a thermoplastic made from oil. Therefore, banning or restricting use of plastic shopping bags would also have a serious positive impact on our oil reserves, our dependence on foreign oil, and perhaps even factor into reducing our need for military involvement in the Middle East.

Since plastic shopping bags are made from oil, if you reduce or eliminate plastic bags you reduce oil consumption. For example, when China banned free plastic bags it resulted in a savings of 37 million barrels of oil each year. When Ireland began taxing plastic bag use in 2001, it cut consumption of bags by 90%, which in turn saves approximately 18 million liters (about 113,207 barrels) of oil every year. (Click here to see some of the other cities and countries who have banned or restricted plastic bag use as of May 2008

You may not think that the number of plastic bags you use could make much difference.

However, one source says that using just ONE cloth bag a week instead of plastic
  • takes the place of 6 plastic shopping bags
  • that's 24 bags a month
  • that's 288 bags a year
  • that's 22,176 bags in an average lifetime
  • and that if just 1 out of 5 people in our country did this we would save 1,330,560,000,000 bags over our life time.
  • Remember that's using just one cloth bag...imagine if you replaced all plastic bags with cloth ones.
A simple and easy alternative to plastic bags is reusable cloth shopping bags. They are available in stores and online for very reasonable prices. Bags made from materials other than cloth are also available. I bought a couple of reusable bags from Walmart last night for only $1.oo each. In addition to being a reusable alternative to disposable plastic bags, these bags are made from 85% recycled materials. The raw materials for each bag come from approximately 4 plastic soda bottles. The tag states that each of these bags can replace 50 plastic shopping bags and can carry the same weight as 2-3 plastic shopping bags. I'm going to experiment and see which I like best...cloth bags or these recycled plastics bags.

Here is a link discussing the hidden costs of cheap reusable bags like these I've described from Walmart.

The same site appears to have lots more informative articles that you might want to take a look at.
( )

You can also find lots more information on the internet.

My bias right now tends to be towards cloth bags for a number of reasons. Well-made cloth bags are sturdy, attractive, and if not highly processed their production may be less toxic than the recycled plastic bottle ones. While recycling is good, any production of plastics has toxic by-products. My gut sense is that we would be better eliminating plastic bottles entirely (substituting glass bottles or perhaps cans instead) rather than continuing to produce and then recycle them.

[In addition to the toxic byproducts produced in making and recycling plastics there is another issue regarding the continued use of plastics. This other issue is about the safety of foods and beverages packaged in plastics. Studies are continuing to come out saying that toxic chemicals are leaching into foods and beverages packaged in plastic.]

The following is a link for a slide show that does a great job of illustrating the facts covered in this blog post regarding plastic shopping bags. I'm going to be e-mailing it to people I know to give them an overview of the situation. Please,take a look may decide you want to send it out, too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One of my poems...Emotions








or sometimes






collected in




set boundaries







Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another favorite painting...

Les Coquelicots à Argenteuil
(Poppies at Argenteuil)


Claude Monet

oil on canvas 50x65 cm

Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Feeling my way along...

Hi everybody,

It's been a interesting day and pretty emotional, too. It occurred to me very early this morning that it has been 4 months since Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, Texas (September 13, 2008). I spent the morning looking for pictures and updates on what happened at my favorite beach at Galveston Island State Park.

What I saw made me very sad. I wrote a blog post about it...or started one. I decided to file it in my journal instead as it got very long, complicated, and very personal. Instead I posted the picture and brief note you see below in my previous post.

I imagine stuff regarding the hurricane will come up as we go along. It had such an impact on our lives down here. It's still too emotional and hard to process some of it right now. When I try to write about it, everything kind of pours out in a jumbled mess. Probably therapeutic for me but confusing for you.

I'm still feeling my way along here, learning new things about blogging, HTML, and all sorts of intricacies involved in starting a new blog. I guess confusion is a normal state of affairs considering. I won't bore you with a list of my adventures and misadventures. ("At least not right now," she said with an evil grin.).

I still have most of my hair and I'm about as sane as I've ever been able to claim being so I guess I'm doing okay. I have learned so much...and yet there is so much more to learn. A little overwhelming sometimes...especially when you don't know the word to use or the questions to ask about what you want to do or what is going wrong. I LOVE it though!

On a less technical note, I really enjoy having conversations and writing letters. I tend to write letters like I'm sitting and talking face-to-face with someone...a little better organized, I hope...but chatty and informal. I want to bring some of that informality into my blog posts. I've done so much academic, technical, and report writing that I can get awfully serious in some of my other kinds of writing.

Blogging is really new to me. Right now, I'm still figuring out how to put all the different writing styles together. Sometimes it's easier/more comfortable to hide behind the more formal styles of writing. (I think that's pretty common for writers). I'm not entirely sure yet what or how much to share.

I guess I'll just have to pretend you're sitting right here with me and start talking. That's what I did when I first learned to really love letter writing. I threw out the rules and just started writing. I hope you will comment and give me feedback. It's so much easier to be less formal when we interact and I know what you think and feel about things.

It's been a long and emotional day, so I'm going to close now.

Hugs and blessings,

Monday, January 12, 2009


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My favorite beach at Galveston Island State Park.
Remembering good times.
(I took this photo there November 2007.)

I'm feeling sad today. It's been 4 months since Hurricane Ike roared into Galveston, Texas ravaging the Texas Gulf coast. Galveston Island State Park remains closed due to severe damage. No date has been set for its re-opening.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Time Keeps On Slippin', Slippin'...

That great old song 'Fly Like an Eagle' from Steve Miller kept running through my head as I was thinking about this post. Remember that one? You can click here to listen to it.

I've been thinking about time today. Something we always seem to either have too much or not enough of. Wonder why there's usually no happy medium there? Oh well, that's another question for another day, I guess.

Have you ever thought "If I only I had more time I'd _____.". Maybe you've been overwhelmed by the size of a task or project and thought, "I don't even know where to begin.That's going to take forever!" or "I just don't have the energy for that big a task."

I certainly have!

Well, I was thinking about it and did some calculations.

10 minutes a day = 3,650 minutes in a year
10 minutes a day = 60.83 hours in a year
10 minutes a day = 2.53 days in a year

30 minutes a day = 10,950 minutes in a year
30 minutes a day = 182.5 hours
30 minutes a day = 7.6 days in a year

60 minutes a day = 21,900 min. in a year
60 minutes a day = 365 hours in a year
60 minutes a day = 15.21 days in a year

Hmmm, when you look at it that way, a small amount of time really adds up!

Mulling it over, the following things occurred to me:
  • While 10 minutes a day may not seem significant...if I fool around and waste 10 minutes a day, in a year I've lost 2.53 days.
  • If I spend just 10 minutes a day learning or doing something, in the course of a year I've learned or done a quite a bit.
  • I may not have the energy to work on something for 2 1/2 days straight. I can work on it every day for 10 minutes though.
  • At 10 minutes a day, in a year I'll have worked on it for 2 1/2 days.
  • I may not be able to work on something for more than 10 minutes at a time, but maybe I could do several increments of 10 minutes a day.
  • Wow...
    • 3 x 10 minute increments a day = 182.5 hours = 7.6 days in a year;
    • 6 x 10 minute increments a day = 365 hours = 15.21 days in a year.
  • If I'm overwhelmed at the thought of tackling a large project, cutting it into smaller increments isn't wimping out or a waste because it won't get me anywhere. It really will get the job just won't happen as fast.
  • 10 (30 or 60, etc.) minutes a day, while manageable, adds up to a significant investment towards accomplishing a goal.
How about that? Something to think about, huh?

Think I'll play 'Fly Like An Eagle' again while I ponder this some more and decide what I'm going to do with some of those 10 minute increments.

Monkey Mind...

I've tried, several times today, to sit down and write a semi-coherent blog entry and it just isn't happening. I start out with one topic in mind and before long it morphs into several totally different topics.

In Eastern philosophy and meditation, when your mind strays from one thing to another and won't stay focused, it's called 'Monkey Mind'. It's an appropriate descriptor, I think. Today, I have a SERIOUS case of Monkey Mind.

I'm usually very focused when I write
. When I get like this it's usually a signal that I have something on my mental or emotional back burner that needs attention. I've found that it's a waste of energy to keep fighting it. It's time to go to my journal and meander and write until whatever is triggering this bout of Monkey Mind reveals itself.

Novelist Anita Bruckner says that, "You never know what you will learn till you start writing. Then you discover truths you never knew existed." I couldn't agree more. Laughing here...for me, journaling is a cheap and efficient substitute for psychotherapy.

I'll try again later or tomorrow to pull together a more coherent posting. Excuse me now, while I chase down those 'monkeys' that are destroying my concentration.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Staying alive... why you should eat your fruits and veggies!

I've been trying to work on eating healthier for a number of years. I'm not a nut about it but I try. One thing I'm trying to do is add more fruits and vegetables to my diet, especially the bright and deeply colored ones. I like fruits and vegetables so eating them is not a problem in itself. I do have problems at times remembering to choose them over less nutritious foods.

I, also, have problems with remembering to eat them all before they turn into biology projects in my refrigerator. (You know those gray, fuzzy, or slimy, hard-to-identify objects that seem to magically appear in your refrigerator? Come on be honest, I can't be the only one that has those.) Anyway, I am trying to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables and cut down on the biology projects.

More and more research is finding that deeper, brighter colored fruits and vegetables have many health benefits. The research coming out on beneficial substances found in plants (phytonutrients) is amazing.

Glancing at my homepage today, I noticed an article in health news on the connection between some substances (anthocyanins) found in black raspberries and cancer prevention. The study discussed in the article found strong evidence that anthocyanins are important for cancer prevention. They discovered that anthocyanins decreased the growth of cancer cells and 'encouraged' them to die.

Anthocyanins are substances that give certain fruits and vegetables their red, blue, or purple coloring. They are powerful antioxidants. Anthocyanins are found naturally in blueberries, cranberries, black raspberries, red raspberries, black currants, cherries, eggplant peel, black rice,concord grapes, blood oranges, and red cabbage. They are also found in specialty vegetables like blue corn; red or blue fleshed potatoes; and purple or red broccoli and cauliflower.

Anthocyanins are being found to prevent or improve many diseases and health conditions. They are being shown to lower the risk of various forms of cancer, heart disease, and some degenerative and neurological diseases. They may also hinder inflammation, obesity, and diabetes.

Anthocyanins are just one reason to include brightly colored fruits and vegetables in your diet. Other colorful fruits and vegetables contain different substances that give them their colors and health benefits. We should include them in our diet, too.

More and more, when there is a choice between a colorful and a pale fruit or vegetable, I try to choose the deeper, brighter colored one. it's just one easy way I can try to improve my health and my life. A side benefit is that those colorful fruits and vegetables are so pretty and visually appealing. They are like living artwork. I love things that appeal to my senses!

Note: If you are interested in reading the article I mentioned for yourself the link is

There are lots more articles there at looking at the effect of anthocyanins on health and disease prevention, as well.

The Science Daily website ( ) is a favorite of mine. I highly recommend it. It has all the latest research news (and archives of older research) in all areas of science. It's a huge could spend days reading and never cover it all!

One of my favorite paintings...

Posted by Picasa

The Birth of Venus
c. 1485-86
by Sandro Botticelli

Tempera on canvas, 172.5 x 278.5 cm;

painted for the villa of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici at Castello;

now in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Danger, Hard Hat Zone

Warning, major construction going on!

Please don your hard hats before entering and watch your step. I'm so excited to welcome you to the grand opening of my new blog.

I love to learn and have lots of, nature, art, music, history, philosophy, poetry, books, gardening, food, living more simply, and lots more. I love to write (essays, stories, and poetry), paint, make jewelry, and take photos.

That means I'll be writing on a wide variety of topics and sharing some of my poems and other creative projects. I hope you will enjoy and come back often. Please feel free to leave comments...I love feedback and getting to know you.

Getting Started

It has certainly been an interesting experience launching this blog. There are so many steps...I really had no idea! There have been times when I wondered if I would ever get to the point of actually writing.

Just deciding on a name put things on hold for several days. I had lots of ideas but it's more complicated than it looks. The name needs to be notable but at the same time it needs to be easy to remember. It also needs to be easy to spell. I tried lots of names but so many were already taken or there was a blog with a similar name.There are thousands and thousands of blogs out there! I finally decided on 'Rain Music and Mindstorms'. I'm a little worried that it might be too long...all those letters to type.

Once you get past the hurdle of a name then you have to decide on a template. Ha, that was fun...looking through thousands of templates. Okay, okay, that was probably a slight exaggeration but there were certainly a lot of them. Being an artist and something of a perfectionist, I wanted something special. Something elegant and balanced that would be pleasing on its own but wouldn't detract from any photos or artwork I might post.

I finally found something very simple but pretty (not on Blogger) and downloaded it. Yikes, the design was simple but the steps to get it onto this site and functional were overwhelming! Although I'm fairly computer literate, I'm a novice when it comes to what was required to put that template on this site. I thought templates were supposed to make it easy. Naive, huh?

I'm sure I could have done it eventually but frankly I just didn't want to invest the time in learning a skill that I wouldn't be likely to use again. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!). So I opted for one of the templates available right here. I chose a simple one called Minima and started playing with it.

It wasn't exactly what I was looking for but I thought with a few tweaks it would be a nice start. For starters, I didn't like being stuck with one color background on the whole blog. I wanted to change the header box color and the blog post area color. I didn't know if it was possible or how to do it but I wanted to try.

I may be a novice in setting up a blog but I'm a world class Googler! I found some information and was able to make some small changes. There are lots more things I want to add or change but this will get me started. I am NOT a computer geek, although I do think it would be kind of fun to be one. Give me time a little more time and a few more adventures...who knows what will happen.

Meanwhile, I'm so excited to finally get started! I hope you will join me on my adventure. Next post I promise not to spend the whole time talking about the start up process.