Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm Telling You It's Not Straight!

I found this while exploring It was created by Seb Przd. More of his work can be found at this flickr site. His work is quite Escheresque, and I like what I term the "small world" images as well. (They are actually called stereographic projections, and well worth checking out!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Twins Joined at the Ear

PS Happy Birthday Uncle Dan!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is This California?

My husband grew up in Michigan. We moved to back to my home state of California 19 years ago. We moved here in June, and every morning David would open the curtains and scream, "THERE ARE NO CLOUDS! THERE IS NOT A SINGLE CLOUD IN THE SKY!"

Well, no, of course not, it was a California summer, what did he expect? The benefit of this is that you can plan a picnic or outdoor wedding and be SURE it will not rain. You do not have to have a "plan B" for outdoor occasions. Over nearly 2 decades no amount of me touting the benefits of more than three months of nearly guaranteed cloudlessness has yet won him over.

The following pictures were taken in the central valley of California on the first day of summer. The day before had been cloudless with a high temp of 106F. On the day these pictures were taken we had a high of 103F. Not only did clouds move in, but we also got a sprinkling of rain. So, while this may not impress some readers, this is nearly unheard of in California, therefore I am posting these. Besides, I need to officially record this so that I can remind David that we have had a summer day with clouds!
Post Script -- Later in the news it was said that we set a record today: "trace amounts of rain." We had not had ANY rain here on a June 21 before (at least as far back as when they began keeping records)!

Personal Note: Nethe, did you send the clouds and rain? If so, THANK YOU!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wild and Crazy Life!

Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576) was quite someone who lived quite a life! Here are a few tidbits from his biography: He was the result of an abortion attempt that failed. He is one of the greatest doctors who ever lived, often mentioned with Galen and Hippocrates, but he was not allowed to teach medicine in the university because his birth was illigetimate. His father was a mathematically gifted lawyer who advised Leonardo Da Vinci. Girolamo was also extremely gifted mathematically and wrote Ars Magna (The Great Art), one of the first important works on algebra. A situation related to that publication caused him to be involved in the most famous mathematical feud in history (with Tartaglia). He was an accomplished chess play and gambler (which he was forced into to remain sovlent). He is credited with having invented the combination lock and the gimbal (a device of 3 concentric rings that allow a gyroscope to rotate freely). He accomplished all this and more although he suffered from health problems all his life due to his mother having tried to abort him. He was also severely abused as a child and did not get along well with others later in life. He is credited with first having suggest a sort of touch reading for the blind and symbols for the deaf. Leibniz said of him, "Cardano was a great man with all his faults; without them, he would have been incomparable." That is high praise, coming from an arrogant polymath who was one of the inventors of the calculus!

I have become so intrigued by this man that I have just purchased his autobiography. I haven't really begun reading it yet, but I've scanned it, and it scans a bit like a blog. Here is a section I particularly like and which seems like a blog post I would write. In fact, I think I will post something similar:


Among the things which please me greatly are stili for writing . . . . Besides these, I take great pleasure in gems, in metal bowls, in vessels of copper or silver, in painted glass globes and in rare books.

I enjoy swimming a little and fishing very much . . .

In the Italian poets, Petrarch and Luigi Pulci, I find great delight.

I prefer solitude to companions, since there are so few men who are trustworthy, and almost none who are truly learned. I do not say this because I demand scholarship in all men -- although the sum total of men's learning is small enough; but I question whether we should allow anyone to waste our time. The wasting of time is an abomination.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Directorial Debut

Caleb often gets sudden inspirations, and he (almost) always finds a way to bring them about, and he does not stop until it happens! Not having used a video camera, tripod or imovie before did not hinder him, and here is his first animated short (with a little instruction by Dad on camera use, Mom on tripod use, and Jacob on computer graphics). He is hooked and has created 5 such videos in 3 days!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Clocks Cannot Tell

Clocks cannot tell our time of day
For what event to pray
Because we have no time, because
We have no time until
We know what time we fill,
Why time is other than time was.
Nor can our question satisfy
The answer in the statue's eye:
Only the living ask whose brow
May wear the Roman laurel now;
The dead say only how.

What happens to the living when we die?
Death is not understood by Death; nor You, nor I.

-- W. H. Auden (1907 - 1973)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Very Good Day

Well, you know, it's hard to top Cancun, which is where we were last year at this time, but all in all this was a very good day! I got up this morning to find roses by my computer in the office and at my place at the table. We spent the afternoon playing Cities and Knights of Catan as a family. Then David surprised me by taking me to a movie, to dinner (at a new Italian place I'd been wanting to try) and then to another restaurant to pick up a pie (chocolate satin - YUMM!) to bring home to share as a family. We also received a hillarious card from Jeff and Vicki that gave us a good laugh! I just realized that we have now been married for as long as we had been single before, since we were married at age 21 and are celebrating our 21st anniversary!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Boys of Summer :-)

Action boy Caleb IN ACTION! Big bro Anthony takin' it easy, soaking up some rays, and looking on:
Jacob, the recent graduate, chillin' with the Wii.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet --
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
"My fragile leaves," it said, "his heart enclose."
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

-- Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Our trip to UCSF Stroke Center took place today.
Information is posted at the DAVID link at right.
Results put briefly: it was AWESOME!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Cow

The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.
--Ogden Nash (1931)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Multiple Choice Title

I'm not sure what to title this post:

Summer Resolution? After and Before? Possibilities?
Poor Timing? The Mid-Life Challenge? Entropy?

I'm also not so sure I want to put it up - partly because if I fail it will be obvious, whereas if I tell no one, no one will know if I fail - partly because I would rather put up only flattering pictures of myself - partly because this might sound a bit vain - and partly because I don't know if I want to be this vulnerable.

- but, I'm throwing caution to the wind, and here goes.
Here are pictures of me from 2001 when I last did any serious running - ran about 3 miles every day and competed in a 10K:

Here are pictures taken today after my first little jog/walk in recent memory:

From elementary school through my mid-thirties I was an athlete. I LOVED exercise of pretty much any kind and exercised pretty much every day for decades, sometimes running as far as 10 miles. For some reason unknown to me after age 35 I stopped exercising, and at this point no form of exercise whatsoever sounds at all appealing. Also, my eating habits, which were abysmal to begin with (just ask my high school track coach who used to confront me at lunch while I was eating my candy bars!!) have totally deteriorated to the point where if no one else is around, I might have a bowl of cereal in the morning and then eat ONLY chocolate for the rest of the day - LOTS of chocolate - REALLY - I am not making that up. Chocolate is truly THE BASE of my food pyramid (and in the best of all possible worlds it should be able to be!!). As you can imagine neither of these things has been of benefit either to my looks or my health.

As to looks, I've had people ask me if I'm pregnant. (WHY do people ask that question? If the answer is "yes," they've taken away the woman's privilege of announcing it on her time frame - or perhaps it was unplanned and painful to talk about. If the answer is "no," then they've told the woman she looks fat. No matter what the answer, the outcome is likely to be reasonably catastrophic. The question, "Are you pregnant?" is the fastest way I know of to ruin someone's day and to put one's entire foot in one's mouth in only 3 words --but I digress.)

As to health, I used to be able to run 10 miles quite comfortably; one of the pictures above was taken after a 10-kilometer race in 2001 that felt really good; now I'd be lucky to be able to run 10 feet. My doctor has just begun to express concern about my cholesterol levels. Also, I can't imagine having gained 60 pounds is a healthy thing (by all rights I should have gained a lot more - perhaps my former athleticism prevented this from being worse).

Today is June 1. That sounds like a good day to begin a resolution. I'm afraid I'm a little slow on the uptake as most people make dieting and exercise resolutions BEFORE swimsuit season (oh well . . .). So, here's the deal. I'm not going to do anything drastic - no special diets or fitness trainer or fasting or crazy exercise plan - and I'm certainly not thinking I'll make up for 7 years in 3 months. I'm just going to try for the next 3 months to make somewhat better choices in eating and to get at least a little bit of exercise every single day and see what can happen for a 42-year old woman who has totally let herself go for 7 years. Can she get it back? Results of the experiment will be posted on September 1, regardless of outcome.

Against me are:
a 7-year-long momentum in the wrong direction
my abiding and deep-seated passion for chocolate

my abhorrence of vegetables (& growing distaste for fruit)
(& the fact that I find meat mildly to strongly repulsive)
my age
an utter lack of desire to exercise

For me are:
my history as an athlete

( . . . um, what else is for me?)

2 family members training (for other reasons)
posting this makes the world my accountability group!!

Well, there's also the fact that all the things in my closet that I like but cannot now wear took a LONG time to accumulate (because I HATE shopping), and I don't want to buy new clothes that fit (because I HATE shopping). I'm also sick of rotating through the same 4 outfits that fit me. If I could take off even 25 pounds I'd have a totally renewed wardrobe - WITHOUT SHOPPING! That's a pretty good incentive ( . . . oh . . . but chocolate gives such immediate and tremendously satisfying pleasure . . . this is going to be hard!).


Later today I'll put up a post about DAVID's upcoming week. We'll be traveling to UCSF Stroke Center to talk with a neurovascular specialist.

Also, today, June 1, I have a post about myself I'm a bit tentative about putting up. That too will come later.

But right now, Caleb cannot wait to start watching the Indiana Jones triology (all of which were out of theaters before my children were born!) in order to have the background for the one now showing on the big screen. So, for now, off I go into the land of vicarious adventure!!