Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome, add a great deal to a blog, but must be in English, with no profanity, hate-filled insults, or links (unless pre-approved).

Monday, February 28, 2011

Snow... what the heck is that all about?

Weather never asks my opinion. If it had, I'd have said-- summer please... spring if you can't do better.

What we got was winter multiplied, with what for my part of the Pacific Northwest were frigid temperatures (to which means many parts of the country would say-- wimp) down to 17° F and that to me is way too cold.

Earlier this year, in December and January, I would have liked snow like this one that covered the fields, coated the branches, covered up all the mud, and turned the world a different color. Nobody asked me then either, and this one came way too late to be appreciated.

Oh I admit it was pretty especially when the sun came out with the fresh snowfall. We grabbed the cameras and headed toward the back of the farm requiring a circuitous route to avoid the main barnyard with mud so thick I could have had to resort to four-wheel or rather four-point drive to navigate my way through it-- which might have even ended up five-point... if you know what I mean.

Basically even going around, it wasn't easy as the ground under the snow wasn't frozen hard and anywhere near the barns and where we get runoff from the hill, was mud... nearly boot deep, stick like glue mud. Thank goodness for Muck Boots that are above mid-calf and don't easily come off. I should have brought a walking stick but fortunately I had Farm Boss.

I like to see the creek in snow and it didn't disappoint me.

Right now, most of my thinking ideas (such as they are) are going into my political blog, Rainy Day Things (and don't even ask how it got that title for politics, but it was hanging around, unused and so it inherited all of that).

Here, for awhile, I will put up some photos -- like two blogs worth on the snow because I have the pictures, and hope that eventually I will find some inspiration for something else. At the moment, inspiration is in short supply.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Negative Energy

The usual disclaimer: what I believe is just what I believe, so take it for that.

In writing this series about energy, I originally had written a paragraph or two about negative energy. That fit into energy convergence or using energy, but I decided the subject deserves more than a paragraph.

If we can use energy in positive ways. If we can send energy to others through things like reiki, then what about negative energy bombarding us? Does all the negative and frankly hateful emotional energy floating around the world interfere with our own emotional power?

Or how about when someone deliberately tries to curse us through say voodoo or their ability to use energy but in a negative way not for good? In short, through energy alone can someone else do us harm?

There are cultures that believe such. Those who believe in voodoo are very afraid of such curses and they will pay to have them removed if they know from where they came. They can even die from them or so goes the belief.

In my culture, most would say how primitive and ignore the same kinds of fears that are couched in language with which they are more familiar; but it's about the same thing-- energy being sent to harm others. For instance recently Billy Ray Cyrus said he believes the Devil is attacking his family. We have frequently been told to pray for our leaders especially religious ones as they are a target of Satan. There are those, who when they hear of some terrible natural occurrence, right away claim their god sent it as a lesson or punishment.

Some have been so afraid of evil beings, who they believe can inhabit humans, that they have burned witches for the damage they have decided they are doing. If you read the papers, you hear about it still happening in some parts of the world. My guess it would happen more places if there weren't laws against such.

If someone goes to a psychic, they can run into a fraud but sometimes something more. I do not believe all psychics who charge money are frauds; but let's face it, it's pretty easy to give a pretend reading to someone to keep them coming back. This isn't a bad thing other than a waste of money. As was mentioned in comments earlier, they probably believe in what they are saying.

But, there is another kind of psychic reading that can suck energy. These are the ones who tell their client that someone has put a curse onto them. You will likely not be surprised regarding how that curse can be broken. In one case where I was told of this, the fee was only going to run about a thousand dollars. The person receiving the initial reading never went back. The fear such a thing can arouse though is where the real loss of energy comes in.

I am cautious about who I go to for a psychic reading. What I was told when I got interested in the whole process is that we were letting them access our spiritual information. Do we want to let just anyone do that? I suggest if someone wants to go to a psychic they choose a psychic fair or one of the body mind and spirit conferences which should have some standards for who can be there.

Another good way is through a reputable metaphysical shop or business where they have their own reputations on the line and are not apt to want someone who might be a dangerous fraud.

In terms of protecting ourselves from negative energy, I believe in being aware of the energy in situations where it comes to people, places, and activities. This isn't just about something being dangerous but another question more important where it comes to energy-- is it bringing out the best in me or the worst?

I do not believe we can protect ourselves from everything bad that happens and that means diseases, violent people, natural disasters. I don't think those things come from a god or a demon. I also don't think we can put a bubble around ourselves that blocks everything out that we don't want.

Developing our own positive energy is our best protection, but as much for what we do once something has happened as to hope to prevent it. If nothing bad ever comes along, we are still ahead for our own positive sense of life and our place in it.

With so much information today, such a sophisticated world, we simply can become swamped by things that we cannot impact. That's where the rub comes. How do we find out what we must to be part of making the world a better place without becoming swamped by the negativity?

My daughter told me something a month or so ago that I think fits here. She said she had stopped reading Huffington Post because of the invasive and pointless stories of disasters with photos to illustrate them on things that happened to someone else but where she had nothing to do with it and it was already over. As an example she cited a story with a photo showing someone falling from a building where they had jumped to commit suicide. She said she wrote Huffinginton to give her opinion on those kinds of stories.

When you go to many sites, Drudge is one of them, you will always see headlines for at least a few of these tragic stories. It appears people want them. I am not sure why. A lot of that kind of information can become very draining especially where we cannot do a thing to alter the situation. If we can donate, pray or send energy, then that should be done and still release the tragedy because it's not ours.

So blocking information, where we cannot be part of the solution and are not part of the problem, is part of protecting ourselves from negative energy. There is more than enough going on where where we need to know what's going on and have to be informed.

I mentioned in an earlier blog where Farm Boss was listening to one of the Clear Channel right wing radio stations on his way home and the news was full of attacks on people and violent stories. Is it any wonder righties want AK47s? We are learning about stories nowhere near where we live and that don't impact our lives physically but they sure do emotionally. We need to keep up on the news, but we do not need to spend a whole day hearing it over and over.

Entertainment is another place to watch out. There are so many shows and movies with really bad things in them and when they are over, there was no conclusion to make us feel better. Exactly what purpose does that serve? Call me a Pollyanna but if I put my time into a movie, I want it to inform me, give me something I can use to make my own life better, help me avoid a possible mistake, make me laugh, give me a good time, or I don't want it.

Movies used to be better at this. I just saw, for the first time I might add, Born Yesterday with William Holden, Broderick Crawford, and Judy Holliday. That was a great film for showing (from 1950) where our government was heading. The thing I liked best in it was that when the heroine was being 'made over', it wasn't physical but her understanding of what our country was founded to be. It was teaching her about what government is supposed to do, what morality is. Instead of the superficial, it went for the heart of what is important in deepening someone's character. I highly recommend it. Maybe it wasn't realistic but it gave the viewer something to aspire to. I think that is important.

Now i admit that once in awhile i like to watch what I call roller coaster movies where one disaster follows another and the hero must surmount them all (think Raiders of the Lost Ark, 2012 types) because it's a bit of an adrenaline rush but not realistic. If it's about some serial killer, forget it. That happens for real sometimes but I sure don't want to immerse myself in thinking about it.

When I want something negative, I'll choose a documentary. At least then it's real (usually) and not some film maker's manipulating of emotions to make the viewer feel more hopeless than they did when they started watching the thing. Documentaries serve to inform us about more parts of the world than our own and usually to help us gain a better understanding.

Books can be great sources of positive energy or even worse at sucking it out. If you spend a couple of days reading a book where every character in it is bad and nothing good is resolved, what do you think that does to your own energy? Did you learn something you need to know which might make it worthwhile, or did you just wallow it it and carry that energy into your own life?

A major source of negative energy is fear. I try to always remind myself what it is-- False Evidence Appearing Real. Being scared is a necessary mechanism for us to react to dangers that are real. The problem is most of what we are being told doesn't fit that category.

Our media, right and left wing, feeds on fear. We shouldn't as all it does is nourish our own negative energy. I am not sure what would happen to a person emotionally if they let it all in, day after day, the fear rhetoric. Today I suspect we are seeing that play out, and I don't see how it can be healthy. The worst part is it is likely that hearing such things becomes addictive and the person wanting the negative information wants more and more of it.

Positive energy is a lot better for us. The negative makes us feel helpless. Positive helps us to believe in ourselves. It helps us not lose faith in our ourselves. We are really all we have. We need to believe in a positive way. That doesn't mean think we can do everything but realistically figure out what we can do.

The things that block the negative is growing the positive. That can happen in simple ways like forcing our mind to quiet, giving ourselves time to not think about anything, to just be. We can use positive energy to give us dreams that help us solve problems.

When you are wrestling with something, ask for dreams that night to help resolve it. This doesn't even require you remember the dream but when you wake, often the answer will suddenly seem apparent.

We can build up this positive energy through good memories, places we have been, moments we have had where the world suddenly seemed perfect. Those images and memories are then there to block fears when they come along. No, I won't think about that but rather this instead. I think there is a saying something to the gist of bad news comes fast enough without our rushing toward it.

None of this is about a god, nor does it deny a god, but instead about our own power, our own energy. For those who think depending on our own energy would be evil in itself, I suggest if they are Christians they reread the parable of the gifts. Basically it was that we each are given gifts to plant and use. Those who don't do so out of fear, they are the ones coming under judgment (for those who believe in judgment).

Wiccans by the way are the last ones we should fear for doing bad through rituals. They do not believe in putting upon anyone else any kind of curse as it would then come back upon themselves three times what they sent out. Frankly I think harboring hate, wishing bad on another is the surest way to bring it upon ourselves; so even though I'm not a wiccan, I think they are right on for how it works.

Photos are all from February. The lighthouse which is always considered a beacon of hope, is still lit for the times a computer or satellite might fail as it warns ships as much as 25 miles out to sea that they are near Heceta Head. The lamb was napping in the sun and from this year's crop. The egret was out at Finley Reserve where Farm Boss and I often go for energy boosting.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Big Skies

About creativity and energy


Are you tired of the same old plots and stories?
Read a different kind of romance novel

Big Skies is the story of the artist, the cowboy and the aliens.

Enrica moved to Montana so she could get away from the stress of her divorce and focus on her painting. Instead of the peaceful quiet life she envisioned, horrifying nightmares wake her up every night. In these nightmares, creatures abduct and torture her. Sleep deprivation and discovering she has newly acquired telepathic powers, make Enrica question her sanity.

After meeting a handsome cowboy, her life takes a turn for the better. But can their relationship survive? Even though they haven’t had sex, Enrica becomes pregnant.

About the author:
Cynthia Tierra -Holistic Health Practitioner/Reiki Master Teacher, has a degree in Fine Arts from Old Dominion University. The founder and proprietor of Healing From The Heart in Sedona, Arizona, Cynthia assists people on their journeys towards healing and self realization. Visit her web site at

Save $4 off the retail price. Special Price $10, plus $3 shipping. To order your copy of Big Skies, send $13 to: Cynthia Tierra 55 Pebble Drive, Sedona AZ 86351.Or send PayPal payment to: Please include your postal address with your payment. Once payment has been received, your order will be sent via media mail.

When I started writing about energy, well when I started thinking about writing about energy, it was over a month ago. It took me awhile to put together in my mind what I wanted to say, where I wanted it to go with it. In the middle of that time, one day, on a spur of the moment impulse, I called a friend who now lives in Sedona, Arizona. As we were talking about what we'd been doing, she told me she was finally getting her book published.

I first met Cynthia in Tucson where she gave Farm Boss and me each a reiki session. Over the next year, not sure how far apart, we took the first two levels of reiki training from her. She and I stayed in touch and whenever I'd be in Tucson, we'd have lunch and talk, sometimes I'd have a psychic reading from her, but it was more friendship than professional in terms of how I regarded her although sometimes I'd run into her at a psychic fair where once I had a rune reading from her.

Then she moved to Sedona and we kept even more loosely in touch over the phone. We had a lot in common in that she is an artist and a writer. When she told me about her book, I told her, I'd mention it and asked her for a bit of info on how she came to write it. Cynthia's answer comes next:
"I wrote this book just for fun. As with all books, it is derived form my experiences, but not necessarily personal experiences. I'm an artist, so the main character is an artist. There may be metaphysical concepts sprinkled in there and references to aliens, virgin birth, near death experiences, and telepathic communication, but it is not meant to be taken seriously.

"Big Skies
is an easy to read book for shear entertainment. It will appeal mostly to women who like classic science fiction, romance and humor, and who want to read something different than typical mass marketed paranormal romance.

"I started writing it on a dare. I was in a writers group and our members dared each other to write a novel with an absurd plot that wasn't a joke, but instead was compelling to read. Big Skies was my response to the challenge. It was fun to write and has gone through several incarnations to get where it is now.

"I haven't begun to investigate selling it online as an ebook. That may be the next step. I've already written the next two books, that follow three generations of the women in this family. Here are brief synopses of them:

"The Gift is the story of the librarian, the rancher and the aliens. Kiri Johnson, a librarian in Missoula Montana, has lived with a deep secret all her life; the truth about her alien origin and her gift of psychic powers. She wants to find a man who will love and accept her despite her past, but that seems impossible. Then she meets Sean, a handsome rancher from Tucson. It seems all her dreams are coming true, until she reveals the truth about herself.

"The Keeper is the story of the musician, the cowboy, the scientist and the aliens. Strong non- earthly forces are at work in Beverly’s life, forces she has no control over. The aliens have been involved with her family for fifty years and she’s tired of their interference. Her life finally appears to be happy and secure until the most devastating earthquake in history traps her fiancĂ©, Dan, in California. Beverly meets Gary and is instantly attracted to him, but her loyalty to Dan keeps her from giving her heart away to another man. Or does it? When Dan finally returns to Montana, she is torn between two men, she loves; handsome and supportive Dan and loving, creative Gary."
When I told her I'd write about her book here, I had no idea how synchronistically it'd fit this whole train of thought as examples of energy and creativity.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Using Energy

Up until here, the blogs on energy have been pretty non-controversial. Most of us know we are made up of atoms, molecules and energy. It's not hard to see how our feeling of energy can be increased by positive activities or reduced when faced with negative situations. The idea that we can find ourselves distracted and pulled off course, none of that delves into the realm where many grow suspicious.

But the idea that we can use energy in positive ways to help our health, arrange our home, our garden, that eastern religious ideas on energy healing have merit, that we can impact our cells by more than medicine or surgeries, that's where it gets dicier. It is not natural to our culture to think that way.

Many in this society can accept miracles from a god, but the idea that they might have control over their own inner body, help themselves heal, use techniques from the East, that's suspect because they aren't things that can be laid out in a grid to prove (of course, neither are miracles)-- although there are grids attached to them all, but mostly not from religions with which most in the United States are comfortable.

People who follow 'earth religions' have less problems with all of this. They look at nature, see how it operates, and look at how they can utilize that with their rituals and practices. While the name feng shui might make some uneasy, the layout of their home might just seem more right to them without pinning a name on it or knowing why it feels right.

Earth religions and practices are being done and often just by nature, with no special training. People, on their own, come to see this works and utilize the practices. They can be people who do not believe in any god but do believe we can do things to make our lives better without pills or buying something.

Energy warriors have been around a long while. They have trained others. They have used their energy techniques in ways that benefit more than themselves. Maybe it's more suspect today but probably not as there have always been those who saw anything that didn't point to 'their' god as coming from evil. Today the suspicion comes also from atheists who see the earth as very ordered but in a biological way. If they can't count and measure it, it is not there.

So what I am saying here will be dismissed by both those groups. For anybody else, read on as there are many ways of using energy that can help with healing and improve our lives. Some are little things that don't require much thinking to incorporate. Others take training and time to utilize. I can't more than touch on this in a blog.

Now when sick, I do not espouse doing such things instead of visiting a western trained medical doctor. I think energy thinking is most effective before we get sick. It is for keeping us in balance. In my mid-50s, when I was told I would need a hysterectomy, I got a second opinion from a medical doctor, but also visited an acupuncturist for enhancing my energy for healing.

The acupuncturist told me he could shrink my fibroids. I believed my situation had gone too far. There was uncertainty of whether or not it might be cancer. So I went through with the surgery from which I healed remarkably fast which may or may not have been due to the acupuncture. It wasn't hurt by it. I might have hurt myself though if I had relied totally on the acupuncture. What I believe is let what can be treated by western medicine be treated that way, but there are many things western medicine doesn't help and there is where eastern comes in.

What energy medicine is doing is aligning our energy, increasing our chi, looking for where our energy is dark and working to strengthen those areas. Sometimes you can feel that energy if you are sensitive to it.

These techniques can be visualizing but mostly because visualizing is a form of meditation which has been proven to help certain conditions. Our stress and even health can also be helped by breathing exercises or simply breathing in and out with deep even breaths. It is all about seeing ourselves as energy beings because we know of what we are actually made.

Some believe we can put protective energy bubbles around ourselves, our families, but I don't know of anybody who thinks that always works. Life is full of the unpredictable. We do what we can and we accept what we can't change.

Reiki is about lining up the energy and letting that of the universe flow through us. This is none of it about a god. It is also not about living on as souls when life is done. This is all about improving the physical life while here. Who can prove what comes after.

Sometimes this comes naturally as there are those that from childhood have visions, can help others heal, and they don't require training. Many actually had it trained out of them by a culture that is suspicious of it.

This also isn't about paying a guru or psychic but rather what we can do for ourselves when we choose to do so. That's not our American way though as we want to see it about something we can buy or get someone else to do for us. Energy medicine is not like that.

This photo was the second time I was somewhere that had a camera which supposedly photographs the energy around us, the aura. Some would call it an energy halo. Each person has that and it has a certain type of energy attached to it. Some people actually see the colors in the halos. I see halos when I think about it (trees have them also) but not colors. Artists often used to paint saints with such halos but in reality we all have them.

Having my aura photographed was one of those things I felt would be fun. It turned out a bit disappointing as I wanted to think I had a very spiritual aura and a bright orangish red wasn't what I had in mind. Farm Boss had the colors I would have liked. *sigh*

Now the cameras that do this don't really photograph the aura anymore than our space cameras photograph colors of the nebula. In the case of the auras, the energy is identified through you putting your finger on a button which then lets a specially made camera identify which color and now far out the aura goes. The aura will be what is out there for energy but the color is created for our purposes based on its energy being different than someone else's. I do not know anything about using such cameras for diagnosing a disease. This camera is about emotional energy as best I understood it.

Tell me the process is a fake and I won't care because I know that what that aura color said about my personality is pretty much how I am (yes, I got some books later on it all)-- like it or not like it.

By those who also see auras or feel energy, I have been told I do have an energy that goes out quite a ways. All of us have some out there as the molecules, atoms and the energy holding it altogether don't stop at our fingertips. I think it explains why when someone gets too close, without our permission, we physically feel our space has been invaded. It will explain why with some people our energy will seem to melt into theirs. Hugs really do share energy.

Having my aura photographed didn't increase my energy. It was for fun and the second time out of curiosity when I wondered if it would have changed. It hadn't and neither had Farm Boss's even though they were done a couple of years apart and not at the same place or by the same people.

For those who are interested in using energy for healing, for balancing, for planning vacations even, or simply for pleasure, there are lots of books. I have quite a few on Native American sacred places which seem to lie along lines radiating out from the great Medicine Wheel in Wyoming and those ley lines I mentioned in an earlier blog.

There are books that explain chi and how various exercises can enhance it-- and this whether you believe in a god or you don't. You can also learn how chi is lined up in the body, how it can be strengthened. These are not mystical ideas despite how some might want to see them. They are about what we can do to work with those atoms within us. The benefits of the right kinds of music have been proven to be effective-- again that might be different for different people.

I think mankind has little idea how much potential is within each of us. We are slowly learning. Is this all something in our DNA patterns, the things we inherited from the time we were conceived?

I am not one of those people who has gone a long way down these paths. Using energy isn't something that we can learn just from a book. It's what we practice ourselves. I do something for awhile and then let myself be distracted. As I have said, I don't believe it can protect us from everything but it does help. Some of it is just letting ourselves feel what is out there in life, in nature. It's not mystical at all.

A full moon, one of those times some believe is a good idea to harvest, was Friday February 18th-- the wolf moon. The photo was taken the next morning as it was about ready to set. It was golden in color and very beautiful.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Energy Convergence

Recently, I had a dream where I had written like maybe 32 short chapters to a book but they were all meant for the blog. Each chapter related to a topic that the overall blog was about. It went from scientific to spiritual to emotional and I have no idea of the specifics of what went into each of them. The only thing I really knew was that one chapter was supposed to be called Energy Convergence.

I liked that title and thought it'd fit into energy thinking. It further appealed to me after something I saw one day while waiting in the truck for Farm Boss to do some banking business in town.

Watching a V of geese in the sky flying north, I noticed another flock heading south straight toward them. Neither appeared to be veering off which led me to wonder what would happen when they met. The southward bound flock was not in a formation, more flying in more of a bunch as they sometimes do.

They flew right into each other. Some of the geese did appear discombobulated by the meeting and I could see their wings changing form to deal with it as they appeared to recalibrate where they were going.

Then an odd thing happened. Instead of both flocks continuing on as they had originally been headed, the flock in less of a formation broke and about two-thirds of them joined up with the V flock. The other third kept on flying south but slower and seemingly with less purpose.

This was a kind of energy convergence as no energy was lost and yet the direction of where the birds were flying changed to the one that had the most organization. I began to see how this applies to people on many levels.

When an organized mass meets a less organized mass, the power is going to go with the more powerful of the two. Organization and a purposeful direction probably enhances power and likely often will be the gainer of energy that the less organized mass will give up.

This is the concern with Egypt. I don't think there is any doubt that those demonstrating on the street want democracy, a choice in who runs their country, more opportunities for themselves. They had more power or seemed to except some of that was because the greater power (the military) held off and we don't know why. So what happens next there? Will that unorganized mass be able to profit from the actions of those weeks? Or will a more organized force take over?

It's the same with us, if we aren't set in our path, whatever comes along distracts us from our own purpose. I have seen this with myself many times. If I am set in my way, have a purpose, have a plan, I can continue on with what I had in mind even after a distraction. When I don't, I am set off course.

There are times I tend to feel as though I am like the loose group of geese with going somewhere but not wanting the dynamics of a forced organization even to my daily routine. I am probably easily distracted then by whatever comes along. That happens less when I have the inner sense of purpose.

Most of that is just about distractions but what about when I truly know what I want, have plans to get it but something comes along much stronger willed than me and I lose my place totally?

The photos are from Simpson Reef, along the Oregon Coast not far from Coos Bay. We got there very serendipitously as neither of us had been to this beach although Farm Boss had done a college project in the general area-- obviously so many years ago he had more or less forgotten where all he had gone until we started driving around.

We had driven south along the coast and when we got to Coos Bay, which was the farthest south we intended to go, we decided to just follow the signs to the beach.

What we found was this gorgeous, rugged and very natural state park with lots of hiking trails, and a mostly untouched shoreline. The signs said that not only were there the seals and sea lions we saw (click on images to see them) but this is the farthest north elephant seals come to breed. I really want to go back as I have never seen elephant seals in the wild.

I didn't know it until I saw Simpson Reef but seeing elephant seals should be on my bucket list! I don't tend to think of such things until they come along and into my life. Maybe this trip was a kind of energy convergence for me-- in a good way.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gathering Energy

Basically I could stop writing this blog right here as John Muir said it all for me. It was on a sign at one of our stops west of Coos Bay along the Oregon Coast. But, of course, if I did that, I'd not have much of a blog and besides there is another point to how we gather energy. What interferes with the gathering.

Even before I went through a month of minor but irritating and energy depleting events-- ear infection, tooth breaking, dental visit, crown, crown not comfortable, tmj irritated by dentist visit, and finally add in sinus irritations due to all the weather pressure changes-- I was into thinking how I build energy within myself. Does what gives us peace emotionally also work for our bodies? Can we, as the eastern teachings would tell us, align our bodies in ways that lead to better physical health (and that doesn't mean avoid all illnesses)?

Looking at energy purely from the emotional end, I think most can see how it helps us feel better when we are doing things that feel positive and not draining. We find it less able to do that when something is going wrong physically. That hurts pretty much trumps anything else and often it should as it is a bodily warning. Still if we are constantly submerged in what has gone wrong, it's hard to concentrate on what has gone right. There are times, January was a lot that way for me, where we just want to pull a blanket over our heads and say wake us when it's spring.

What I did instead was write down the kinds of things I do in a standard month and try to evaluate which ones built energy (physically and emotionally) and which ones sucked it out. It wasn't like I thought it would be possible to stop doing the depleting things. Some jobs must be done-- depleting or not.

After awhile I realized most of them can be both energy gathering and depleting depending partly on how I look at them and which part of them I am doing. Some things seem neutral as I go through the paces and not sure they add or detract. They simply must be done.

I think that slowing down to take deep breaths, more time letting myself think about something positive, even in a dentist chair or at the doctor's office, can make any of the less pleasant things more positive.

Studies have shown that meditation can lower blood pressure. What else can it do for the energy in our bodies, the stuff that is holding us together? Visualizations of say cancer cells being gobbled up by the body's defenses have also shown positive results in tests. There have been studies on prayer likewise helping people heal faster.

What if the reason these things work isn't because of a godly intervention but instead the body's response to what are all forms of meditation. If it makes us feel better emotionally to do certain things, how do we know it doesn't do the same thing on a cellular level?

Farm Boss has something he does and suggests I do when I am feeling stressed. Turn on the kitchen faucet until the temperature is hot but not too hot, and then hold my wrists under them. It is relaxing if it's not energy gathering, it would help avoid the tension that can block positive energy.

When things seem dark, I try to have as many positive things going on as possible which can be good books, movies, the right music, in my case perfect silence most often, conversations with friends, possible plans to improve things, and there are places I feel as though energy grows within me and leaves me clearer and cleaner feeling. Those places are not the same from time to time. Some aren't that close to visit when I need them, but I can draw up their memories.

Some think vortexes are energy hot spots which can be used for such purposes. Most people know about Sedona's claim for that. The thing is vortexes aren't in one place. They don't need an advertisement telling you where they are. Many are along energy lines which some call ley lines.

Yes, I know I just lost those leery of anything smacking of New Age, but there are strong energy places and whether we can measure them, whether someone is trying to sell them, we know them when we are there-- woo-woo person or not-- if we are open to what we are feeling.

For January finding such energy places led to more frequent trips to the ocean in many types of weather. Most were just for a drive as we live about 50 miles from the beach, but one was over night.

There have been studies on the positive impact of the ocean on people. Our Oregon coast has a higher than average population of divorced people because of its healing qualities, they think. They say there is a biological reason for that--the ions in the air. Same thing is true at waterfalls.

I think there is also an emotional reason for the coast impacting a person that way. It is so vast, always changing, and the power of the waves dwarfs our problems whatever they might be. It's never quite the same whenever I go.

These photos in January were taken near Yaquina Lighthouse. In the photo above, the light caught something unusual almost like an echo of the wave. You could think it happened because the camera moved but everything else is sharp. Farm Boss thought it was the mist rising off the breaking wave due to the temperature of the water and the air. That later led to fog all along the drive up the Coast. It does look like energy rising though doesn't it?

You think this seagull on the rock is gathering energy, meditating, or just enjoying that sunshine? He stood like that all the time we were there. If you can't see him, click on the photo to enlarge. It's one of the problems we have sometimes-- not a broad enough perspective to see what is really there.

The first of February-- 5-6th to be exact, we were again at the Coast. We took a lot of photos. The ocean which almost looked as though it was being seen in black and white, had spectacular waves. I realized later that the photos went well with music I liked. Finding such a combination is another way I gather energy.

If you click on the link, you can make the photos full screen and be sure you have your volume on to enjoy Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Energy and Matter

When thinking about the times I had written of us as beings of energy, I wanted to go further with this in terms of what I meant. It's not so much a spiritual way of thinking as a physical one. We are not what we appear to be; so I asked Farm Boss to give me some of what he knows about it from the science perspective.

Incidentally, this is what passes for pillow talk in our home as we often, if we both wake up in the middle of the night, end up discussing politics, cultural issues, farm problems, spiritual questions, his work, or the blog world.

Basically as a scientist, he's seen things I can only imagine. They do relate though how it works for us as humans... or so I believe when I say we aren't as simple as we think for how we are put together.

So the following are some of the things he described which I found interesting. It's all about energy which can be taken on a very flat plane or go soaring off into who knows where.

Farm Boss's (photo is of him January 30 at the Oregon Coast) comments are in blue.

An interesting place to start talking about this is with a science experiment for kids called the beating heart of mercury. You place a drop of mercury in a glass fill it with a small amount of acidic material (diluted battery acid, or something similar), and add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and the tip of an iron nail or a small piece of iron wire. Do not touch the mercury with the wire-- yet.

Mercury is a shiny metal that makes a nice ball in the solution. When the wire is moved close to the mercury with say a q-tip, the mercury starts to vibrate. And if the size and shape of the glass are right, the mercury will suddenly move toward the iron and then jump back. [YouTube]

So what is the magic force that you cannot see that causes that to happen. It's a study of electrical charge and balancing of surface energies. It is the balance of energy that drives the whole universe. In this case, the mercury surface will oxidize. The iron will become oxidized, which means it will give up an electron to the mercury when it touches it. The mercury surface energy is restored and the ball returns.

Another experiment to show nothing is as solid as you think is a phenomena called Rutherford Scattering. This is where you can see the structure of the nuclei of the atoms in a gold sheet. If alpha particles which are similar to helium atoms are discharged from radioactive materials can go through the gold sheet, why? The gold is a conductor. What Rutherford found was that while most go through, some are deflected. In this case, in a very specific pattern. That pattern is the stacking of atoms within the sheet; therefore most of the space between the nuclei is empty space. Yet we see it as a solid.

Now in fact, everything is bound together by a cloud of electrons around those nuclei. But what you see is a solid and the physical properties ...hardness, strength, etc. are determined by how strongly the atomic structures are bounded together. Yet all that 'bonding' is a 'distance'.. you can still shoot alpha particles or electrons between the atoms.

Other interesting places to start looking are in the areas of transmission and scanning electron-microscopy. LINKS>>>

You know where this is going and why it matters. It's that we see in scientific experiments how energy works to not only hold things together but to change them. We are beings of energy and even though we are used to thinking of our bodies as solid, we are actually made up of moving atoms and molecules. We are held together by energy.

Auras, which the New Age community discusses, are ridiculed by ones who see this life as physical wanting it on the level they can see, are nothing more than the energy around us which is measurable. We don't stop right at our skin for our energy zone.

If we are energy beings, than the Eastern methods of medicine aren't as mystical as some would make them. They aren't about a witchdoctor saying a spell, they are part of the energy network and healing it when it is broken.

Years back Bill Moyers did a series on healing, the gist of which was looking at western and eastern medicine and making the point that we have one treat us for one thing and the other for another. Neither are the only answer for what works. There are things that western medicine doesn't treat well that eastern with acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and acupressure deal with more effectively than surgery or pills. With all medicine, it's letting the body heal and getting what is blocking it out of the way.

So if this is how it is with our bodies and everything we would call physical, then what about the rest? That's what I am thinking about-- the stuff some would call woo-woo but is it? Or is it taking advantage of our actual physical make up and using it? How do we use that? That's the rub, isn't it.

More on this coming next.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Romance and my recommendation for worst such film of all time

Valentine's Day and I wasn't planning to write anything on it because I am a bit bah humbug about such holidays. Symbolisms always leave me cold. This is a day supposedly to turn on the romance and make money for merchants? Leave some people sad because no valentines? Remind others they didn't get what the 'dream' was all about? I have never liked this holiday. I dislike it more as I get old.

And where it comes to romantic films, well they are worse than Valentine's Day. They are aimed at presenting a view of relationships that might exist for a fleeting second, for a few, but basically isn't how life is for the majority of couples. However, for reasons I cannot figure out (can I blame it on astrology? I should see where Venus is), I dug out a romantic film that I had bought years ago in one of those $5 bins and had put off seeing because of-- see above.

Spoiler ahead so you are forewarned if you go forward that I will reveal the plot and ending to the 1980 film, Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer. I am doing this review partly out of disgust, partly as a rant, and partly to do my part to keep someone else from wasting their time on it. Better an umpteenth viewing of To Have and Have Not or Key Largo. Now those folks knew what romance was-- even if it wasn't.

And, if this happens to be one of your favorite love stories, you can make your case in comments.

As the film opened, I thought I can handle this. A little reincarnation maybe. Some time travel. Endless love. It's not like I never have watched or liked romantic films. I have some that I enjoy-- whenever I need a good cry. Its stars were very appealing and its theme music even more so (I had to buy an MP3 of the film's arrangement)-- Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. That has to be one of the most romantic melodies ever written. The location it was filmed on was lovely-- big old hotel of the sort they don't build today with a grand history and beautiful location on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

So I stuck with the film despite a few misgivings. With a less good cast, less beautiful setting, less good music maybe I'd have wised up sooner; but it took right to the end before I realized how much I'd been had. I was so furious at that point that I took the movie out of the DVD player and threw it in the garbage can. I have only done that once before. For anyone who hasn't seen it, it is the most disgusting take on romantic love that could be out there. If you don't know what romantic love is, this won't help you figure it out!

Here's the plot's gist. It opens with Reeve a college student who had just seen his play produced and was at the beginning of a fabulous career. Was there a handsomer man ever? A very old woman has been sitting watching and then walks up to him, puts her hand on his shoulder, gives him a watch and creepily says -- come back to me. She walks off. He is perplexed. She goes back to where she lives in The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, starts some music and sits back to listen to it. Fade out.

Eight years go by. He is now a successful playwright, has made a good living, others want his next play but he can't concentrate. He is playing some music-- that music. dum de dum dum. Romance is on even if he has yet to meet her.

So he goes for a little vacation which coincidentally ends up being the hotel where she had been eight years earlier. He feels something but isn't sure what until he comes across photos of a famous actress who was playing there in 1912. She is gorgeous. He wants more information on her which he quickly gathers. He finds his name in a guest register for that very time where he now is.

In the rooms where she lived, he finds a book she has read often. The woman who had helped care for her tells him that the watch he has was precious to the old woman, Elise, that she died the very night she must have given it to him... and that she had her whole life changed in 1912 on a certain date. From that time forward she didn't do much and became reclusive.

The book he looks at is by this time not surprisingly, on time travel and conveniently the professor who wrote it lives nearby where he can learn how you do it-- basically it's meditation that involves body travel but it is very hard on the body.

You know how on movies, you pretty well can figure where something is heading at certain points. The assumption he has and us too is that she wants him to come back to 1912 to that date and maybe this can all be changed from whatever went wrong. That was my expectation anyway. I assumed he would not come across the young man version of himself there but that would have worked also if he was just a spirit back there wandering around and watching.

Possibly if he did that he'd see the previous mistake and find her again in today's time. Okay that's not likely given she had only died 8 years before. Anyway the feeling is he would learn something beneficial to his life when he went back-- or he'd be able to stay there and that would change what happened. All valid romantic possibilities. Unrealistic but possible in a fantasy. I do not remotely demand happy endings to my favorite romances like Casablanca or Bridges of Madison County.

He gets back there after making sure he has cleared his pockets of anything that might remind him of from where he has come. He meets her. They have obstacles (Christopher Plummer), overcome them, make love, and then... he finds a penny in his pocket from 1979 and is instantly thrown back to from where he came.

All right, I could have taken all of that. A viewer of romances must be forgiving. It's not like I really expect it to be realistic. I might have not valued it enough to watch it again, but it would not have found its way to the garbage can. What happened next though was not okay even in a romance.

Back in his hotel room, he sat there, glassy eyed, looking out the window, unable to move. When the hotel went to check on him, he was dying.

I thought-- oh no, they wouldn't. They did... He died as she waited for him to walk to her in the sky.

Now when Titanic had Rose meet up with her lover who went down with the ship, it was fantasy but it came after she had lived her whole life in a healthy and full way. She died an old woman.

So this story basically had the old lady draw him to his doom when she said come back to me. She wanted him to not get a whole life? She gave up on life when he disappeared in the poof of a 1979 penny and he let himself die (the doctor thought of starvation) when he couldn't go back to her again. Weak? That was pathetic. I think the audience gets sucked in to watch the whole thing (unless they are wiser than me) because the actors that play these characters were/are strong people; and so you have them looking like the kind who'd never do such a thing while the script makes them do exactly that.

So I give my warning here for anybody who has not already wasted an hour and a half or so on this movie. Don't take any romantic movie too seriously. Don't spend your life waiting for that fairy tale romance and for heaven's sake don't watch that movie unless you enjoy movies about beautiful, total losers.

The only reason I can think that it doesn't appear on lists of the worst of all romance films has to be sympathy for Christopher Reeve and his tragic end as well as a liking for the cast. It's not enough.

(Interestingly William Macy had a small part in it before he became a star. Also it was based on a book where the hero had a brain tumor and the whole set of illusions might have been a result of that.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Old Age Beauty Tips

Nobody asked for the following but I was thinking about it after writing on aging-- the things I do to look as good as I can for my age. If such tips bore you or you consider such concerns shallow, come back in two days when the next blog will be on Energy and Matter.

When I was young, I'd have thought, when I get old, I won't care how I look. Now maybe there will yet come such a time but for now, I care; but despite today's mantra to be young at any price, I do NOT care if I look younger. I just want to look as good as possible for where I am. I like being in my late 60s and don't mind if I look it. Once in awhile I am interested in trying something new, but not obsessed with trying to defeat something that cannot be done.

So, I do what I can without surgery, Botox or any of those filler injections. To me, besides not actually looking good, they would feel like cheating. I had a salon owner talk to me about Botox some years back, and I didn't want it then and sure don't now. Those kind of things are aimed at erasing what I have earned through living. But improving on my skin, well yeah, they have my interest if it's not too expensive.

Last November, when we were coming back from a family gathering, I heard an ad on radio for a product that claimed it would help rejuvenate skin with its unique ingredients. After hearing it a couple of times, I wrote the name down, checked it out on the computer when I got home, and when the price wasn't too far out of line, I decided to give it a try.

When it arrived, I liked the texture of the lotion, how it felt on my face. I followed their instructions for beginning slowly. After a month, I felt there was a subtle difference. An age spot had faded. The color seemed more even. My skin might have been a bit tighter, but the little lines and all were still there. I can't really nail down what the difference is except the overall impact seems positive to me. It was fun to experiment and maybe that's part of why I like such things.

Although, the first month I felt the new lotion wasn't working with the other thing I had been using. I needed something different for day. A few days later, I was walking down an aisle at Costco and saw StriVectin-SD, a supposedly improved version of StriVectin which I had tried before. It wasn't that expensive considering you get two 4 oz. tubes for I think under $60. You don't use that much; so it would last six months or more. I added that for daytime.

When it came time to order the night one again, I asked Farm Boss if he thought it was making a difference, he said he thinks it is. It has not reverted me to forty but I like what it's done for 67. I think it is the combination of the two which work well together.

I always hate to recommend something because we are all different and no guarantee how anything would be for anyone else. My skin has not benefited from years outside in the sun. I was never much for lying in the sun tanning, but swimming, hiking and gardening are part of what I have enjoyed-- often without a hat or sunscreen back in the days. I am not going to give sunlight up even now; so this lotion can't do miracles.

For someone interested in trying it but not wanting to invest so much, they offer a free sample; but it looked to me like if you did that, you should be sure you stop them from sending more along with a bill because that looked automatic. I didn't buy any of their myriad of other Dr. Perry products. I also am not receiving anything for mentioning it in the blog.

The night cream is Dr. Perry's NightSkin which I get from New Vitality with three of the little 1 oz. containers which each last about a month as you use four pumps each night. It isn't cheap-- $50 each with the third free when you order three together. They had a DaySkin but it was probably as costly as the NightSkin. There are products out there that cost a LOT more and I think do less (yeah I've played with some of them too).

I use the NightSkin at night and the StriVectin-SD during the day. If I am going to be outside for long, I have a foundation which has sunscreen in it which I try to remember to use. Currently that is Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Enhancer which has some of the same pluses as the others plus the 20 spf. I don't routinely use foundation as I really like my skin best when it's bare. It feels healthier when it can breathe. Standard sunscreens though tend to be a little oily for my rosacea and skin type.

For quite awhile my skin cleanser has been 'Olay daily facial hydrating cleansing cloths' which I also buy at Costco in a box of 150. Mine are for normal to dry skin-- although one time I got one for oily skin and it was fine also. I feel a tad guilty sometimes knowing it's not as environmentally pure as soap but I can't use soap without drying out my skin-- and surprisingly at my age, I can still get an occasional blemish if I am not faithful in cleansing well and avoiding oils.

I don't put a lot of time into any of these things . Even when I was in my 30s, lots of make up didn't improve my looks. My fav0rite thing is eyeliner and that has to be because of what I grew up seeing and admiring. Owl eyes? I think they look better than no eyeliner but try to resist the temptation. These days I wear very pale lipsticks, much lighter than my own lip color just because I like the effect. I have tried expensive lipsticks and decided the ones for $2 or less do the job just as well.

You know part of my philosophy is to trust what I was naturally given to be my best look but enhancing it is just fine. That's why I don't color my hair. It's not like I think gray is more honorable. It's because at my age dying my hair never seemed as good for my face as letting it turn gray has turned out to be. Sometimes it looks almost blond or even brown in photos, but it's really whitish gray in front and a kind of ginger color in the back. I would be happy if the whole thing turned white or gray but it hasn't worked out that way-- yet.

One last thing-- I have mentioned I believe in facial exercises. Last summer I found a little tool to add to the ones I was doing (fairly regularly). The Neckline Slimmer is basically a resistance tool to tighten the neck and jawline. IF you opt to try it (they are online, but I got mine at Bath, Bed and Beyond when I just saw it at the checkout stand), be sure you follow the directions for using it properly. Exercise that isn't done right can become detrimental.

It was inexpensive at $20 and should last a long long time as it's formed plastic and a spring. To begin, the instructions have you change the springs to gradually increase resistance. I can't say for sure what it's done for my jawline, but I will say I have only had one migraine, months ago, since I began using it when I normally would have one or two a month if I didn't visit the chiropractor to have a neck adjustment. I read some comments from people claiming it had helped their tmj, but when I try that exercise, I hear my jaw click and that is not a good sound. I go very cautiously with anything that might make my tmj worse.

The photo at the top was taken with my webcam. Although the lighting was a little off, with too much sunlight streaming in the window, I liked the expression for how I feel about my age. I tried to duplicate it with better lighting and it never quite happened. There is one thing about expressions, they don't come on demand.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Old Old Age

Once in awhile I just have to write something about old age. To be honest, I don't think a lot about being old-- anymore than I thought about any other age. The thinking happens when a combination of events come together to tweak my interest or remind me-- hmmm I am old, aren't I. One of those things was this article from Susan Jacoby on

Definitely it seems our culture is screwed up regarding our thinking about old age-- beginning, middle or end.

I don't know about you but I find the television advertisement about the guy in his mid 70s with a weight lifter's body to be repulsive. Is it appealing to think some old dude spends all his time working out-- and please don't tell me that body happens without steroids or constant working out. What it tells me about him is that a muscular body is his primary interest.

Or the other one in the same ad who, thanks to this program, wants sex ALL the time? Is wanting to go back to one's youth, feeling and acting like a teen-ager again, and being just as shallow, that's supposed to be our goal for our life, where we get to when we finally reach old age? Seriously???

Is this really about trying to deny aging, the cycles of life? They went through all those years, those experiences and it ended up all they care about is a muscular body and a libido like being a teen? I didn't find that appealing in a man when I was young and at this age it seems pathetic. That's all there is to life?

I don't think there was so much debate about what old age meant when I was a girl. None of this-- 60 is the new 40 talk. Old age just was what it was and you knew it when you saw it. Grandmas were old-- aunts not so much. Old didn't mean the same thing though as my grandmothers were very different for how old age was for them.

One always wore dresses, her hair in a braid coronet around her head, old lady shoes (if you don't know what that means, you are still young), and sat a lot while activity swirled around her. She was the queen bee. My memories of her are from after she lost my grandfather. From photos I have seen of her when younger, she changed after that. I never really knew her as a woman but only as my grandmother. She was an example of one sort of being old, living with her daughter and her son-in-law but with fierce dignity and a sense of self worth that never left her. She was who she was and had no interest in being someone else. Emotional game playing around her? Forget it!

The other grandmother was still probably regarded as hot when she was old. She wore wigs, sandals, slacks if she wanted, laughed a lot, and had men wanting to be boyfriends after she had lost my grandfather. She sold her cabin at the coast and bought a small home in north Portland where she lived alone, got involved in a Soroptomist Club, painted, and stayed busy. She had grown up in that general neighborhood, remembered racing horses down one of the main streets when she was a girl; so she had come back to her home base. Her I knew better as a woman because we had long phone calls where she shared of herself and was interested in my life.

I look nothing like either of these women and tend to look more like my father and father's father, but I have taken values from them both. I don't know that they taught me how to age though. I am not sure they either one thought about it. They likely knew they were old, but did they think about that as something negative? It was just a fact.

Today there are a lot of elders who deny they are old as though the word is somehow insulting. They say they feel as young as they ever did and inside they are still girls or boys. I am not sure from what this stems except maybe the fact that inside we are the same person who has learned as we went along but the inner us is still us from the time we were children to the time we reach the end of our days-- assuming our minds travel along with us-- and if we cannot access the memories, inside, they are still there, just with a short circuit to them.

Over a month ago I was at a funeral in the local rural church. It was for a much beloved old lady who had touched many many lives during her 95 years. I first saw her when she was 62 which means younger than I am now. THAT is simply not possible, except it is although I never knew how old she was until much later. I guess she did seem old. Or maybe not since she was taking care of her mother who was really old. Still I was 34, and back then anything over 50 probably seemed old. It's all relative.

When I was at the funeral, I saw a lot of friends I hadn't seen in years. One of them asked how I was. I said fine (this was before ear ache and tooth breaking). She said no aches and pains? I said, 'By 67 everyone has aches and pains. It goes with the territory.' She and her daughter were in shock at my age. That cannot be. Well it can and is and aches and pains do go with being my age, but it's one of those other things I don't think about unless something gets out of hand.

When I got the ear infection, maybe helped along by being out in extremely cold air without a knit scarf, I thought was that a less effective immune system that ends up making old age a lot like being a child for how more things go wrong? I don't actually have an answer, but I do once in awhile remind myself that I can't eat what I once did without it upsetting my stomach or intestinal system and the muscles don't recover as fast from being pulled. There are differences

There is no doubt that when I see people I haven't seen in a long while, I do think how much they have aged or haven't. It's of interest to me how people get into real old because that's coming and I want to see how it's been for them. We live in a culture that hasn't much valued old age. It doesn't have to be that way.

To worry about looking young doesn't make sense to me. I do what I can to make myself look good for where I am. I haven't let it go for the styles of clothing I wear, my hair, or my skin (don't ask about weight); but I don't feel the need to take extreme measures.

Actually I like how old looks. We watched RED recently and I liked seeing Helen Mirren as a woman of her age and yet still vital. She may have had some plastic surgery. I don't know. But she looks in her 60s to me and it was fine. She has changed from what she looked like years ago but in a good way. She still is her and sh looks like a real person.

The thing is plastic surgery doesn't actually work for making people not change. I read something the other day about how the bones in our faces shift as we get old. Tightening your skin then will produce a different person than that 20 year old you once were.

Those people who have had surgery are trying to defeat aging but it doesn't work. If they aren't careful, it takes away their identity and turns them plastic. They might look smooth of skin, but they don't have character. No thanks. And Botox would be worse as, injecting poison into our skin, where will that end up someday? Maybe people can have a tweak now and then and it's not so noticeable but why do it? To hold onto youth? We can't anyway.

I think the biggest thing with aging is how it amazes me the various ages I have been. I was that girl? Really, I was her? It doesn't seem like me and yet I know it was. I guess someday I'll look back on these years and think the same thing.

When I was leaving a beauty salon a couple of years ago, after a permanent, an older lady than me and I got to talking and she said these would be the good old days to me someday. So far they all have been. :)

The photo was from 1967. My grandmothers are next to me with my mother beyond, Farm Boss's grandmother was visiting from Iowa, and his mother was holding our daughter. The abstract painting on the wall was a gift to Farm Boss and me from and by Diane Widler Wenzel (Parapluie here).

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Ghosts of the Forest

After seeing the Finley Wildlife Refuge elk herd (which doesn't mean they stay there as elk have a regular circuit they usually follow that can encompass quite a few miles), I was interested in the Dean Creek Elk Preserve which is east of Reedsport just off Highway 38. We stopped there on our way back from the Oregon Coast this week-end.

There, 1000 acres have been fenced and set aside for the elk with the lower pastures improved to their taste. For humans there is a nice parking lot, restrooms and sidewalks; so anyone can see these beautiful animals without a hike. The fences I saw there didn't seem to me they would really keep them in if they wanted to jump out, although they appeared quite content to stay where they were when we saw them February 6.

The Coast Range has several of these preserves, but this was my first time to visit one. I do see elk every so often in the area where I live-- never when I plan though.

When we were in Yellowstone this summer, I got the closest (in the wild) I have been to Rocky Mountain Elk. They had no reason to fear people. The elk at Dean Creek, Roosevelt Elk, do have reason as there is a hunting season in Oregon although they would be safe in their preserve and since it provides pasture and hills, it gives the habitat they need. I am not sure how they thin the herd but there are barns and corrals nearby; so maybe it's a managed range in all ways.

The pasture section, just off the highway and Umpqua River is a restored wetlands where not only the elk benefit from the safety but also migratory birds which consider this an important resting spot on their way north or south.It was interesting to see the different grouping here. Often I do see the bulls not with the herd as they will linger back in the woods-- their hunting season is longer than that of the cow. This time though the bulls had their own little group, the cows in the largest herd and a bit down the road were the yearling calves with their own gang. Farm Boss thought one older cow was with them but to me they all looked young. I suspect the calves were being pushed off by their mothers as they will have been weaned as the cows put their energy toward the baby growing in their wombs which will be born in May or June.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Force from Superbowl Ad

This has to be the best Superbowl ad and you know it if you saw it already-- and most people have seen it at least once. It's not about the product, although that's cool but about a little boy who wants to gain power and a father who remembers those days :). As always, there are cute ads on the Superbowl but some last beyond the game.

This was my previous favorite, and I still like it.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Rainy Day Things

This is a reminder for those who may have forgotten that when something is political, I put it in [Rainy Day Things]; so that those who come here aren't forced into looking at tough issues. I understand the world is full of painful choices and sometimes a person just needs a break.

The one for today though at Rainy Day Things was actually going to go here before I had second thoughts. It's on income disparity and I think it is really a cultural issue, but on the other hand, it can be seen politically. So if you are interested in issues where the answers aren't always simple, click on the link above.

The photo was one from Finley where we finally saw the elk herd. The photo of the geese taking off, with the elk in the background taking their morning siesta, was a lucky combination.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

In Defense of Fence Sitting!

Although I try to keep politics in my other blog, Rainy Day Things, once in awhile, something intended for there has other implications and ends up here. So if you simply cannot stand to hear anything remotely political, warning for what lies ahead.

Because sometimes it's fun and because I enjoy the use of folksy metaphors in my own writing, I was inspired to write about fence sitting here after reading a blog where the writer used the term with great disdain as he said Obama is a fence sitter.

Oh my, that is the worst of the worse.

Then the writer added Obama is nothing like Lincoln who called himself a rail splitter. I will not get into how country folk might regard rail splitters in terms of metaphors but fence sitters attracted me for how it works on the farm, in politics as well as personal relationships.

I wasn't going to get into the debate at the person's blog because it was really that writer's right to dislike Obama and find fault with him in whatever way chosen. But I'm a farm girl, born, bred and still living on one. Being a fence sitter is bad?

There were a few occasions when I was a little girl and making a run for a fence as a way to avoid being butted by a wether (neutered male sheep) who in this case had been bottle fed which meant not afraid of people not to mention feisty-- as in he was running straight for me. In that case the fence was a rock wall and I was quite happy to sit on it until the wether lost interest.

Perhaps that writer didn't quite understand the purpose of fences or why a person might sit on one. Possibly they heard or read about it elsewhere and thought what a great insult. So I thought I'd write a blog for anybody who also isn't farm oriented and might not know.

Where it comes to agriculture, fences divide pastures and land that one person owns from another. They serve valuable purposes in grass management as well as keeping stock where the rancher wants them to stay. The land on either side of the fence is not meant for the same purposes or there'd not be a fence. Fences have to be strong or around cattle they are not there long. I suppose most people do know that much.

Why would one sit on a fence? Well there are multiple reasons on a farm but the most likely is when you started into something, or were forced into it and you aren't quite ready to go ahead because something isn't right there. You sit there awhile as you consider where to go next which means you might go back from where you came as well as forward. There are consequences to each action, you know them, and take them into account because some condition has changed and you have the time to think about it-- in short it's not an emergency.

To not be a fence sitter means you'd jump off anyway, regardless of which side or where you'd land, because to wait for the right time, or to consider the options for any length of time is the mistake. Maybe you simply don't like to think and would rather be doing anything other than that.

You cannot be a fence sitter if you aren't in the field. It's easy to kibbutz back in a house about what it means to be a fence sitter, but the person on the fence is in the game. They have already made some decisions to get to that place and set themselves up there for a period of time as they consider what comes next.

Fence sitters at a rodeo are there to be of assistance when something goes wrong out on the arena. They sit, seeming to be doing nothing. At that time, it's not their business to be doing something; but they are watching. If a cowboy is thrown, about to be attacked by a bull, spectators will see them off that fence in a flash to do what they can to get the downed man to safety or if he got hung up in the rigging, to help him as only they can. They are there because they can work fast from that spot.

Now if one sat on a fence too long, that isn't necessarily comfortable-- depending, of course, on the width of the fence. Comfortable or not, a fence sitter will eventually go back or forward. But on the farm, they can stay long enough to be sure the mean bull isn't in that pasture, or that they aren't going to scare off an animal they want to catch.

There are other ways to get into pastures, like gates. A fence sitting happens because the person isn't close to a gate. Maybe they started to do something but then another issue arose. They are taking a moment to consider because a quick decision isn't needed-- no coyote chewing on a sheep requiring immediate action. They might be surveying the situation but want to be ready to act swiftly when the time is right.

Oh definitely Bush was no fence sitter. He'd do anything to avoid thinking through a decision. He'd jump, yelling 'bring it on,' and then later worry (maybe) about where he'd landed. For someone who admires that kind of action, I guess a fence sitter is an insult. It's not to me.

Fence sitting applies to a lot more than political choices. It can be about relationships. There's the person sitting on the fence unable to decide between being with someone or going on alone. Fence sitting for a bit gives them time to consider where that will all lead.

The non-fence sitter jumps in and worries about it later. Or they sit at home and kibbutz over what someone else should do when they are not in the pasture or on any fence themselves. It might look easier to not be on the fence but it often means you aren't part of the solution either.

It might be obvious to anyone who reads this blog that I am a bit of a fence sitter, but I who can get over one as fast as possible when I know it's the right thing. I like though to evaluate situations, look at the whole picture, do a little nuanced thinking about where things are going-- when it's not an emergency.

Being a moderate politically, who won't defend one side of an issue where I think it has to be a mix of solutions, someone might try to insult me by calling me a fence sitter; but of course, I'd not take it as an insult.

Fences do force choices and action because you can't really stay on one forever. For me though a president as a fence sitter for awhile is just fine.

It's not like Obama has sat on any fence forever. If he had, the Republicans wouldn't be so angry at the health care plan, the stimulus, the financial regulations, tax cuts. You'd not hear he won't listen to them and acts like a dictator. When he moves off that fence, like he did in December, he moves fast but after he's taken some time to think it all through. Which does not mean he cannot still be wrong. Thinking through things doesn't guarantee you won't make mistakes-- just less of them.

And for anyone who thinks fence sitting is a bad idea, I might suggest trying it some time. I even have a bull who likes to protect his cows and calves from strangers, who might help them see the value of giving it a second thought before jumping into his pasture.

Farm Boss added: There are situations that need watching just like a "baby sitter" does with older kids. You don't clean up the mess watch and guard. 'Fence sitting' is a responsible activity.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


By some calculations, Imbolc is February 1st and by others, it's the 2nd. I don't suppose it matters that the date is exactly right as most important is what it is about to a Pagan (one who celebrates nature's cycles)-- ewe's milk.

February 2nd is also known as St. Brighid's Day who began as the Celtic goddess of the hearth and became a Christian saint. Catholics further took it over as Candlemas. They know a good pagan festival when they see one. For those not into any religion, it's Groundhog Day which is when it's determined if it is really the end of winter...

Anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows I am more 'into' the natural, pagan celebrations than the ones we are more familiar with in our Western culture. They make more sense to me when I look out my door.

Imbolc celebrates new life and the end of winter. Yes, I know it doesn't officially end until the Equinox. It's still cold out there but nature knows it's coming; and if we are tuned to her, we can feel it also.

The egrets out at Finley were doing what looked a lot to us like a mating dance as they swirled around each other before finally separating to get busy with hunting. Photos weren't easy to get as white birds never are and then add they were in movement, but maybe you can get the rhythm of it through these shots.

The geese and ducks also appeared to be more paired up. For a month we have been hearing the owls in the trees around the farm calling for their mates. It's the time to make nests for many birds-- a time for us to refurbish our own nests.

You know when it seems particularly dreary outside, perhaps that is the time we most need a day to celebrate what is almost here-- spring and new growth. Imbolc is considered the time to celebrate poetry, healing (definitely high on my list right now of wants), and the first milk of the ewes who are about to bring forth their lambs.

Sometimes our farm has our first lambs by this day, other times they come a bit later, but the ewes, heavy with the babes inside them, are so ready for this new season in their lives, as am I.

A good way to celebrate the day is with candles, most especially a red one, while we dedicate ourselves to earth healing. Boy can it use that right now with all the upheaval happening in Egypt. Will that prove to be a new, healthy birth or end up like Iran's rebellion did?

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, light is returning; so light our candles to celebrate. We can surround the candles with symbols of spring, like plants and herbs. Some would consecrate their healing herbs at this time. Others believe in putting a white cloth or silk ribbon outside to have Brigid pass by and bless it for healing. We who write can ask blessings upon our words that we may be bringing forth in this new year, with the light from these flames, words to heal, not to harm.

New Moon is February 2 6:31 PM PST. New moons are for planting and in this case that can be our plans for the growing season-- both of plants and ourselves. So, ride the waves and make the most of a time when the energy is riding them with you.

And then, just before it came time to post this blog, the first lamb of the season was born on our farm.