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May we be free of torture, may there be peace in hearts and minds Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in the "ladycatherina" journal:

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August 1st, 2013
05:20 pm
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Start with those you know. Yes, them! Social capital for authors.
Penguins in community

Been reading Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s guidebook for nonprofits adjusting to social media, The Networked Nonprofit. Most of the book discusses how to engage in social media as an official organization, when you have employees and schedules and rules. However, there’s one big concept in there which I’d say those using online media need to remember as much as those working mainly offline: social capital.

Social capital involves people becoming inspired to take action because people close to them are. Or, networking by using the resources available among their closest circle of family, friends and coworkers. For example, an unemployed person can draw upon social capital by asking the people they know who are working in their field if they know of any openings. Or, an organization or author can reach out to those they’re already close to or working with in some way for donations and sales.

If you received an email asking for contributions to an animal shelter, you’d probably pay more attention if it came from a friend or family member. Or, if you had money to donate at the end of the month, you’d likely first consider the organizations where you already volunteered or that had served you or those you knew in the past. A nonprofit fundraising seminar I attended a couple years back said that organizations often raised more cash by asking those already on their other mailing lists, who participated with them by volunteering, using services, etc to give than by just going after the wealthiest people to whom they had access.

That’s social capital in action, with the organizations building a relationship with you and those close to you and drawing upon it as a resource to help meet their clients’ needs. And authors can use their social capital to reach out to potential readers.

Rather than targeting random people with information about your book, start with those you already know. And get to know those you ‘sort of know’ better, in a real way that involves helping them and isn’t just about you.

An author is like a nonprofit or company, in that they and their books/products have a concept or basic idea (like a company or nonprofit mission), a style (like a brand), a new idea or need to fill (market niche) and readers, critics, bookstore owners (customers and clients) to serve. And an author, like a nonprofit or company manager, must communicate effectively (or hire someone who does) and stay relevant and financially sustainable in order to keep operating.

For those of you who say you write for the craft and don’t care about audience preferences…that’s fine also, publicity doesn’t have to involve watering down your craft, any more than it would for a high-end custom furniture craftsperson. It’s just a matter of letting the right people, who would appreciate and invest in your writing, know you exist, and developing continuing, mutual relationships with them.

And most authors can build upon social capital in a few ways.

In terms of offline relationships, don’t be afraid to let those closest to you know about your book and where to buy it. Don’t become a one-note monotone and overwhelm them, but don’t ignore them just because they’re your cousin, sister, brother, neighbor, friend, coworker, frisbee or dance team member, etc. Sometimes we try so hard to build a relevant audience, which is good and necessary, but we forget about those we already know. And I’m not saying make them feel they have to buy your book because they know you…just let them know it’s available and don’t assume they won’t.

For online relationships - many people have hundreds of ‘likes’ and fans, followers and Facebook friends. That’s great, but are you investing in those relationships? Do you update your pages and groups with new information at least once a week? That doesn’t have to mean writing a whole other novel online. Just a few helpful or funny links, a guest post from an author in your genre you admire, or a quiz, or a link to a relevant news article or information that would help your readers.

And, are you reaching out to people? Do you comment on other authors’ pages and like and share their work? Readers have room for many favorite authors in their chosen genres, and cross-promotion’s good for authors, to keep up morale in a solitary sport and help each other get noticed. Do you find the groups and pages where your potential readers belong, and engage them in discussion and answer their questions?

If you write fiction, start fun reminiscences about people’s childhood favorite books, or start discussions about the situations your characters face. If you write nonfiction, provide informational links about the topics of your books, and answer people’s questions. Don’t be squeamish about giving free advice, it lets people know you genuinely care about them and your topic, and gives a hint of what’s to come in your book. If you’re a poet, post a few sample poems and spotlight the writing of other poets you admire, and encourage your audience to write and share poetry of their own.

Looking forward to seeing how you build your own social capital! If you’d like help with this process, someone to handle a lot of the work and provide advice, please feel free to visit Authors, Large and Small online here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/authors-large-and-small

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05:14 pm
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After Japanese courtier Sei Shonagon: How to Please Your Literary Publicist
Prose list essay, as inspired by Japanese courtier Sei Shonagon. Her essays are gently humorous, yet she makes a variety of good points.

Things Publicists Appreciate:

Clients who edit their books, more than once, to free them of grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Clients who can’t afford editing, who revise their work and use spell check. Clients who can describe their book in two sentences without comparing themselves to famous authors or celebrities. Clients who have some ideas about publicity, but are open to us also having ideas.

Clients who respond promptly to email and phone calls. We know everyone’s busy but you should be reachable within a day or two since the journalists we contact for you also have deadlines. Clients who have open minds about potential audiences and methods of communication, who aren’t too cool for formal writing programs or old-style bloggers, or too traditional for social media. Clients who’ll send their books just as happily to family holiday gift guides as to academic bloggers, who’ll reach out to anyone requesting copies in good faith.

Clients who stay positive without unrealistic expectations. Who can go a few weeks without landing a review or seeing sales go up, who don’t start asking for advice on their wardrobe for going on Oprah. But who don’t get discouraged and abandon the project, and don’t go off into a drunken haze depressed that they’re failures or that the world isn’t good enough for their pure artistic souls.

Clients who stay polite and professional with the other folks we represent. Who know that a blogger or bookstore might do reviews and events with more than one person, and who don’t pick a fight if the other writer’s not their favorite.

Clients who enjoy the process, who ask how things are going, who brainstorm together with us and enjoy the wild adventure that is promoting a book!

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04:59 pm
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Grandma's weird mood swings: the increasing role of emotion in elders' decision making
“I think I’ll just call tomorrow and cancel the appointment. There are lots of doctors around, people shouldn’t just drag me along to some weird person I’ve never heard of.”

This week, Grandma had a regular checkup with her primary care doctor at Kaiser, which we schedule every six months at the doctor’s request. I let Grandma know the day before the appointment, and she got quite upset that my mom had made this decision and given her only a day’s notice.

She later asked several very wise and practical questions about the physician, such as how many years of experience she had and what kind of medicine she practiced. However, no matter how clearly I explained the situation, she still could not remember that she saw this person a couple of times every year.

Wanting to honor and sympathize with her desire for control over her healthcare, I reassured her that the doctor had advanced medical training and plenty of experience, and reminded her that she had been very happy with her over the past years. Also I encouraged her to take the lead in the conversation and bring up any of her issues and concerns during the appointment.

Finally I suggested that Grandma just go and take advantage of the chance to speak with a doctor, since it was already scheduled and couldn’t hurt. Perhaps she saw the logic of that later on her own, although she disagreed verbally.

She eventually went along with us, and the appointment went pretty smoothly, although it took some firm coaxing to get her cleaned up and out the door that morning. But the experience, and similar decisions and statements on Grandma’s part related to clothes, exercises, food etc made me wonder about how aging may affect people’s methods of reasoning and making choices.

It might seem weird or frustrating to some people that someone would find it more important to assert their personal autonomy within the family than to exercise or receive healthcare. But a 2005 study by Drs. Mather and Carstensen, published in Trends in Cognitive Science, suggests that emotions and the pursuit of perceived emotional gratification play a much larger role in the decision making of the elderly than of younger adults.

The researchers compared senior citizens’ views of sample pairs of advertising slogans, and observed a distinct preference for the one with more emotion-laden content, while not observing this effect in younger subjects.The US government’s National Institute of Aging puts out a regular science and psychology report, which in July 2007 linked that study, and a few others by those and other researchers, into a context suggesting that emotional concerns become more crucial to the well-being of seniors as they get older. And no one has ever claimed that emotions are completely rational!

So perhaps it makes sense that at eighty-eight, my extremely practical and calm grandmother now experiences strange mood swings, no longer gets along with everyone, speaks her mind freely, and cares just as much about how information is presented to her as about its context.

And we’ll do our best to be honest yet empathetic with her, figuring out how to help her maintain privacy, dignity, and autonomy as much as possible while keeping her safe and clean.

Mara Mather and Laura Carstensen, “Aging and Motivated Cognition: the Positivity Effect in Attention and Memory,” Trends in Cognitive Science 9, no. 10 (2005): 496-502.

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04:38 pm
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Recruiting more brainpower: the WHO's Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar on how to tackle nodding disease
Thomas Edison said that even seeming dead ends in his early electrical engineering work were steps forward: he’d discovered three thousand materials that couldn’t serve as lightbulb filaments and therefore had gotten closer to finding one that would.

Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar of the World Health Organization might say the same thing about nodding disease research in Uganda and Southern Sudan. Nodding disease, which causes seizures and brain atrophy in children 5-15 years old and is expected to eventually kill thousands of young people in the region, still has no known cause or cure.

When I interviewed him, he outlined several possible causal factors researchers have tested for so far through skin, urine, and blood samples from affected children: various parasitic infections, heavy metal poisoning, metabolic issues, genetic susceptibility to developing illness. So far the only commonality among patients seems to be infection with the Onchocheriasis Volvulus parasitic worm, but that’s prevalent in the region, including in plenty of areas without cases of nodding disease.

Future research directions include looking into the vitamin deficiencies sometimes observed in children with nodding disease and exploring the possible role of several toxic and infectious agents. And community health workers have been taught how to observe and survey families with sick children to collect epidemiological data.

In other words, the world’s leading medical organizations have sent several dedicated experts to look into this condition, but no one has found any conclusive leads. And, while Uganda hosts an international conference this month on nodding disease, no specific funds or organizations or even initiatives have been set aside just for the syndrome.

When asked how the rest of the world could assist with nodding disease research, Dr. Abubakar emphasized the need to recruit qualified scientists.

“Of course, readers and other good Samaritan people can contribute [money] through WHO, UNICEF, local organizations or other research institutions. But more important is the advocacy campaign to sensitize the researchers and clinicians to look into the NS problem and actively participate in the investigations.”

Uganda currently hosts an international conference on nodding disease research and treatment, with governmental and nonprofit researchers in attendance. Hopefully that, and the publicity efforts by Dr. Abubakar and others, will bring more brainpower to the table.

So, right now, maybe it’s up to the scientific communicators, and publicists and advocates, to propel nodding disease research forward by playing a role as vital as that of those working in the laboratory. All of us can inspire those with the necessary technical knowledge to get on board and work together to uncover causes and treatments.

Current Location: San Leandro, CA
Current Mood: awake

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January 4th, 2013
02:02 pm
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After the blaze: rescuing old firehoses from landfills
Invented by the ancient Greeks, the firehose represents an essential part of historical and modern lifesaving equipment. However, old hoses decay very slowly in landfills, as the woven polyester and nylon fabrics take awhile to break down.

Safety guidelines encourage fire departments to junk old hoses after about ten years, and some cities are replacing antique linen hoses with newer rubber-lined ones. So there's a constant supply of scrap fire hose material, which some companies now divert from the trash and reuse in creative ways.

Fire Hose Supply, in Richmond, California, sells old and scrap hoses to people and other small businesses for a wide variety of projects. Chicago urban planner and sculptor Theaster Gates uses their recycled fire hose material in his work rebuilding damaged parts of the city's infrastructure. You may view his projects at theastergates.com

Other Fire Hose Supply customers fashion pet care products, clothing, children's playground structures, iPhone cases, purses, exercise equipment, and climbing ropes out of hoses that otherwise would have been thrown away. The antique hoses also find new life as movie or theater props, when they look authentic but no longer hold water or resist flame.

London and other European cities also have growing markets for products from recycled firehoses. This type of environmentally sustainable business venture seems popular and promising.

Readers may visit Fire Hose Supply at http://www.firehosesupply.com for more information on their new and upcycled equipment.


Current Location: Richmond, CA
Current Mood: awake
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December 31st, 2012
06:59 pm
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Happy New Year!
Happy New Year everyone! This is the truly democratic, inclusive holiday...other events this month seem focused on celebrating what some people possess and others don't (money, gifts, a particular faith, family, friends, etc) while everyone gets another year. You can be wealthy with fifteen swimming pools, middle-class, homeless, a student, a traveling bohemian or hippie or hipster or yuppie or tribesperson in sub-Saharan Africa, the greatest saint or the worst criminal or somewhere in between, or an ant or redwood tree or a rock or a Martian. And you still get a chance to forgive and move forward from the past and celebrate the possibility for good, creativity, new possibilities and all kinds of interesting stuff in the upcoming, unpredictable future.

Happy New Year...some songs for everyone's pleasure. Not everyone's tastes, sorry...but the lyrics are meaningful to me in some way.

Katy Perry's Firework: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TI18KxwbMk

PInk's Raise Your Glass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHtms9voyEg

Black Eyed Peas' Gotta Feeling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tiPAvmy3eA

Wallflowers' One Headlight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzIasfqlO1k

Sarah Brightman's War Is Over Now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikqY56XEbkw

Josh Groban's tribute to Vincent Van Gogh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsJzFwGVF5c

Andrea Bocelli's I Believe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ycWN9vg6Q

Gigi's Utopia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp3EuCCcjdg

Gypsy Devils Orchestra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MS0tGDsMqs

Falling Slowly, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkFB8f8bzbY

Seasons of Love, from RENT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj7LRuusFqo

And of course, Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, because this is the time of year that Heathcliff and Catherine find each other on the misty moors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1pMMIe4hb4

And I Belong to the Earth, from the musical Wuthering Heights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHluVYGYonM

Current Mood: artistic

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July 29th, 2010
11:19 am
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Song to share - It's the Climb
Everyone, I've come across a great version of Miley Cyrus' It's the Climb - sung by a young woman with hope and energy!


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July 6th, 2010
05:26 pm
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You're invited to Synchronized Chaos Magazine's reception, July 30th from 5-10 pm at Muddy Waters
All are invited to Synchronized Chaos Magazine’s semiannual reception, held this time at San Francisco’s Muddy Waters Cafe, 521 Valencia Street, Friday July 30th, drop-in from 5 to 10 pm. Walking distance from the 16th and Mission BART. Come network and meet our writers and artists and cultural creatives! All are invited, this event’s open to the public and welcomes people of all ages and interests. Think of it as a career networking event, social gathering, art and writing reception, singles’ event, couples’ night out, all at the same time!

Muddy Waters is a friendly, laid-back coffeehouse with snacks, coffee drinks of all varieties, and no need to dress up Yuppies, hippies, and students and normal folks all welcome, come on out and network and chill and meet some of the artists and writers of Synchronized Chaos Magazine! Please comment if you’re interested in carpooling or need a ride, or if there’s anything else we can do to help you get here as we would be excited and honored to see all of you! And the Mission is not that dangerous at night…I know plenty of people, including plenty of women, who feel very comfortable here. There will be a large crowd in a well-lighted atmosphere.

Link to the coffeehouse, reception is at the FIRST listed address: http://www.muddywaterscoffeehouse.com/locations.htm

By the way, this is a drop-in event, no need for anyone but me to worry about showing up on time or leaving early…and artists and writers, please feel free to bring stories, business cards, small copies of your artwork, etc. Hope to see everyone!

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June 26th, 2010
06:40 pm
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Blog article on women in philosophy, great read!
http://originalwavelength.blogspot.com/2009/08/are-women-philosophers-any-good.html - article on many competent philosophers, discussion of the nature and definition of philosophy. Not strictly feminist, discusses the field itself and how philosophy works. Great read!

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June 25th, 2010
03:55 pm
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More compiled Theano's Day posts, comment with a link to yours!
Theresa Ramseyer’s post on Heloise, Hildegard, and Mary Wollstonecraft: http://controls-lady.insanejournal.com/2606.html

Sarah Melton’s post on intellectual and political activist Simone Weil: http://www.facebook.com/notes/sarah-melton/women-in-philosophy-simone-weil/439058716084

Amar Chaudhary’s post on Theano, Anna Maria von Schurman, and Mary Wollstonecraft: http://www.ptank.com/blog/2010/06/theanos-day/

University webpage on women in logic and mathematics: http://jwilson.coe.uga.edu/emt668/EMAT6680.Folders/Dickerson/women/women.html

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June 23rd, 2010
02:06 am
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Theano's Day 2010: St. Brigid of Ireland, Poetess Mary Finch, Lady Julian of Norwich, Theano herself
Today, June 24th, marks Theano's Day, the international day to blog in honor of a favorite female philosopher or thinker. This year I'm celebrating women with very humane, gentle sensibilities and social consciences, along with intellectual capabilities.

First off, there's Ireland's second patron saint, Brigid, a nun, artist, writer, and leader known for helping develop the historically more balanced, more gentle and egalitarian Celtic Christian theology. Brigid chose the contemplative religious life after realizing she felt a calling to help the local poor and sick, which she started by giving away her and her father's possessions, including his valuable jewel-encrusted sword. Throughout her life, she organized efforts to care for the sick, educate children, and build and develop the nunnery.

Ireland's pre-Christian past also involves a goddess named Brigid, and some historians observe commonalities among the saint and the goddess' lives and interests. Brigid the goddess serves as patron of wisdom, learning, writing, poetry, motherhood, and children - and is known for compassion towards the poor and sick. She taught people how to raise cattle and forge iron tools, while defending the rights of women, including single mothers and their children.

Links to the story of Goddess Brigid and St. Brigid:



Then, there's the English theologian and poet Anne Kingsmill Finch, born in 1661 and highly educated in literature, history, and the classics. Known for her humor, wit, and energy, Finch satirized social customs which she felt overly restricted or protected women. She also expressed her love for her husband, her religious faith, and her struggle to overcome serious depression, while earning scores of admirers, including Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.

University of Pennsylvania's Women Writers page for Anne Finch, complete with samples of her poems: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/finch/finch-anne.html

And, there's Julian of Norwich, an anchoress (a nun choosing to almost totally isolate herself from society to meditate and pray) who developed a kind of Christian theology which focused more on living out a response to God's love than on following rules for their own sake. She spoke often of divine love and welcome for all living beings, not just those of any one particular faith or culture, and emphasized learning from mistakes rather than strict penitence. Her book, Revelations of Divine Love, is the first published English-language book known to be written by a woman.

Lady Julian of Norwich said, famously, and in the midst of the Black Death, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Article on Lady Julian's spirituality and how to reconcile 'all shall be well' with the world's obvious suffering: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3885/is_200104/ai_n8931020/

Finally, we come to Theano herself, Pythagoras' wife and the mother of his five children. She wrote extensively on intellectual topics, such as geometry, mathematical proportion in art, and literary critiques of books and treatises. And, she could transition well from practical life to high-minded academia and back again - she also wrote much about raising children and managing a household and treating servants with respect and professionalism.

Link to a short biography of Theano and the Pythagorean School: http://www.women-philosophers.com/Theano.html

As an extra treat, here's a list of thirty great books for and about girls, courtesy of Care2.com: http://www.care2.com/causes/womens-rights/blog/30-great-books-for-girls-8-14/

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June 14th, 2010
02:05 pm
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Spontaneous Grace and other poetry
At this moment I experience the desire for spontaneous grace. For the rain that holds off till ten minutes after your hike, for the extra five minutes a friend waits until your arrival, for the extra twenty miles your car somehow runs until the gas station.

For the soft edges on the too-metallic recliner, for the last three rays of the sunset, for the directions you look up at the one coffeehouse where the public computer actually gets Wi-Fi.

For the reason why some businesspeople stop and give change to a strange homeless person, for the reason why a receptionist smiles and lets you in too near closing time, for the reason why people share words of support and a few bucks to folks online without asking for proof first.

For the mirror kind enough to break and shift your image in all the right ways, for the dandelion in the cracks that escapes the neighbor's weed-whacker, for the train that waits for you.

For the traffic cop who winks - just once - at the jaywalkers or the driver ten or fifteen miles over the limit, for the single parent whose garage sale customers tell him/her to keep the change, for the time your housemate who loves angry talk radio actually switches on music.

For the gleam of a rainbow in the soapscum on your dishes, for the time when your Mom actually doesn't open her mouth when there are still dirty dishes in your room, for the reason I still do favors for a friend everyone says could do more for herself.

For home, for love and memories, for the grace notes at the end of the symphony. For the extras which get and keep us up in the morning.

-- After the concept of 'Spontaneous Prose,' and dedicated to Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Edie Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and Diane Di Prima.

Two for Caffe La Boheme, the Mission eatery where we host our San Francisco writing group:

I chalk the words
magenta faux cursive
grass-green faux monumental

menu replete with offerings
mortadella panini rotini
middle eastern parmesan seitan
blushing slushing muffin

for crowded scattered eaters
chess and Pellegrino
pigtails, glasses, and Mommy's laptop
hipster boots, beard, and show tickets

Tomorrow, march to revolution
rehearse for tango production
dust up for school library function

but tonight - sample a muffin.

Haiku for the paintings on the wall:

Pale mistresses fade
darting to a distant star
thin satin goodbyes.

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June 10th, 2010
02:57 pm
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Please comment on some interesting art!
Everyone, a friend of mine's teenagers are making some spectacular art on http://www.ratemydrawings.com/user/santacruiser/ and http://www.ratemydrawings.com/user/savetheseals/ - would love it if people would sign up to leave them ratings and little comments of encouragement!

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02:03 pm
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Distraction for those of you going through hard times...morning dew
June 10, 2010
A Magical Potion
Morning Dew

The world awakens each day from its nightly slumber, transformed by a sparkling layer of morning dew on the grass.

The world awakens each day from its nightly slumber, transformed by a sparkling layer of morning dew on the grass, on flower petals and leaves, on cars and car windows. These glistening droplets last only a little while, an integral part of what imbues the early morning with its aura of magic. If we sleep too late, we miss the magnificent display of sunlight playing upon an infinite amount of tiny crystal balls. To step onto the dew-covered grass is to anoint our feet with a form of water that comes only once a day for a short time, a rarefied gift of the night air that will soon evaporate in the full light of the sun. If we inhale slowly and consciously enough, it is almost as if we are drinking in this magical elixir formed in the boundary between darkness and light.

In one myth, morning dew is believed to be tears from heaven, and in another, the droplets are poured from the vessel of the goddess of dawn. When we see the earth draped with these shimmering drops, it is easy to imagine fairies bathing in the water, or a sky god weeping from a longing to be closer to his beloved earth goddess. Seeing the sparkling beauty of the earth emerging from darkness, we may understand this longing in terms of our own gratitude; how blessed we are to be here.

Perhaps heaven really does long to be here on earth, and perhaps that is why we are here as conduits between the divine and the earthbound. As we drink the morning dew in with our eyes, our skin, our breath, it is easy to imagine that it really is a magical potion, a gift from heaven, a reminder of our true purpose, and a daily opportunity to be transformed.

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June 7th, 2010
06:17 pm
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Synchronized Chaos Magazine hosts Theano's Day, international day to blog about women in philosophy
Everyone, Synchronized Chaos Magazine and I invite everyone to join our international blogging day, Theano's Day, Thursday, June 24th, where we write to celebrate women in philosophy!

Link to the Facebook group for Theano's Day: http://www.facebook.com/?tid=1487709399306&sk=messages#!/group.php?gid=74564828672&v=info

Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras' wife Theano was a scholar and intellectual in her own right. Along with helping him raise five children, she put together writings on mathematics, art, beauty, philosophy, and child raising. She is credited with developing the Golden Mean, a crucial idea in aesthetic theory.

By participating on Theano's Day, you honor and celebrate important women by creating a blog post on June 24th concerning a female philosopher whom you admire, or who intrigues you. As with Ada Lovelace Day, spotlighting women's contributions to technology, the woman you select may be from any nation, culture, or time period, living or dead...and you may blog in any style or format, using any software in any language.

I selected Theano as a mascot as she represents a work/life balance, an apparently decent and loving wife and mother as well as a scholar and professional. Throughout history and on average women have worked very hard in the background keeping things going by raising children, cooking, maintaining households, helping to earn a living through day-jobs...all very respectable activities. And many have made contributions to philosophy or other fields which may have been overlooked because the women are primarily known for work they have done in their other roles. So Theano's Day celebrates the philosophical contributions of women and attempts to bring their ideas out in the open to help inform modern society.

You may define 'philosopher' as you choose - someone need not have specialized in the field to be discussed in a blog for Theano's Day. For example, a female novelist, businesswoman, teacher, politician, nun, homemaker may have created a philosophical outlook worth discussing that is apparent through the values that come out through her work in other fields.

Some women to start with if you need help thinking of someone: Hypatia of Alexandria (mathematician and scholar), St. Catherine (mystic and humanitarian), Sor Juana (Mexican nun and intellectual) and Florence Nightingale and Jane Austen, each of whom developed a worldview and philosophy through their writings on various subjects.

We encourage as many people as possible from around the world to participate this June 24th. Please make your blogpost public and send us the link so we can read each other's writing! Also, please pass on the word about Theano's Day!

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June 4th, 2010
02:19 am
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From chorus_of_chaos - a chance to donate to help some stray kittens!
This post is being edited to sit at the top of my journal for a while, it was originally written May 27, 2010 and will be updated as events progress. I figured this would make it easier for people to find and point to and track if you so desire.

Long story short, I got involved in this because two tortoiseshell female kittens (roughly six to eight weeks old at the time?) got into the ductwork of my house in the winter and took up residence. I pulled a grate up in the bathroom and provided them food and water, but couldn't capture them and take them in because the roads here get impassable in winter sometimes. I had no idea female cats went into heat as young as five or six months, so was quite alarmed when I noticed them getting pudgy, and a few weeks ago they both had litters in my bathroom. (one of them will interact with on a small level, but is still rather wild. The other wants nothing to do with me.) So....I am trying to get the mothers and their children spayed/neutered (spuetered) and find homes for the kittens as I'm actively working with them to domesticate them. The mamas however, will never really be "pets", sadly, they were on their own for way to long.

A meeting was set up by a lively lady named Marian who lives not to far from the complex I live in regarding what to do about the feral cats. She is very active working with a group called S.P.O.T.S. Here is what I found out at the meeting and what a few of us here in my housing area have decided to do.

Apparently what I was told about the local humane shelter or whatever it is was wrong. They will NOT take in any cats, not even kittens. They do have some sort of reduced fare for shots/spaying but you have to take the cat back.

Marian has something set up with a vet out in Cloverdale where she can bring in cats and they will give them their rabies shot (law says they have to have a rabies shot for the vet to do ANYTHING) and will spay/nueter (speuter) for a nominal fee, I think 25 dollars total, shot, surgery and recovery for a couple of days.

They operate on the trap/speuter/return concept. A feral cat really can't be turned into a house pet no matter how much you really wish you could. Basically, we will be bringing the cats back to this area, certain people will set out food for them and provide small shelters (old dog houses, etc) for the cats to stay in, and just kind of keep an eye on them. Trying to domesticate them just results in a lot of heartbreak and often a cat that will become so terrifed it will injure itself trying to get back out to the wild and what it knows.

The eight kittens I have in my home however I REALLY do want to try and find homes for. I can't see putting them out at eight weeks and just speutered. I am disabled however and minimal income which really doesn't even support me, I get assistance from my family. I will keep them until they are at least roughly six months old (not sure how I'm going to feed them but I can probably get a couple of the other people here involved in helping me out there, we can buy a huge bag of feed from the tractor supply company) and anyone I haven't been able to find a home for I will gradually introduce back to the outdoor living thing. I really don't want to do that, if there was any way I could keep them...but I live in a tiny three room modular house, my garage has more space than my house...and financally I can't afford the food and cat litter.

There are something close to 130+ ferals here in the very small homeowners association I live in. A few of us are going to be trying to catch them and turn them over to this lady to get them spayed and then re-release them, I suggested she get a homeowner to sponser her giving a speech at the next POA meeting outlining this plan and request donations and for people to set up the traps she will proved. I told her though, dear god, don't get into talking about COMPASSION for these animals, no one here will care, they'd rather trap them and DROWN them or shoot them. Talk about the BENEFITS it will provide them. Pest control without increasing cat numbers, that within a couple of years the cat population will dwindle to very few, outline the rabbit math of how cats go into heat every six months and with an average of four kittens and there usually being mostly female adds up to a lot of cats very rapidly plus the danger of rabies, the fact that lot of the homes here are trailers or modular homes and cats get under them and tear up the insulation and duct work, they poo in people's flower beds, etc etc etc so reducing the population in this manner STILL gives us protection from mice, rats, voles etc but since a feral cats life span is only a few years usually, it will rapidly reduce the population to a reasonable number!

I have no way to contribute money, but told her I would post here and other locations and boost the signal and try to find folks who won't mind sending in five bucks here, 10 bucks there...whatever they can.
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May 18th, 2010
12:12 pm
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Random thoughts, real update coming soon!
Thursday is Katy Hughes' 18th bday. She's a talented photographer, writer, and sketch artist who lives in her car with her mother in San Jose as a result of various life struggles. Please drop her birthday wishes and love on Facebook under her name or to P.O. Box 111525, Campbell, CA 95011.

Yes I know about and have read the PNN site with the critical/watchful comments but Katy could still use encouragement and support. I sure did myself at 18 ;)

Alma Desnuda was amazing last night at Yoshi's...check them out online if you can, they're on Myspace and worth it. Simon and Garfunkel on a doubleshot mocha latte ;) They're going on tour this summer all over the US and playing for free at nursing homes and schools and then heading off to Burning Man!

Access Magazine's out, love the design and the articles on the environment...and visited the Hayward and Castro Valley studios this weekend, lots of glassware and some woodworking.

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April 30th, 2010
06:23 pm
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Europe update and other matters
Quick highlights from our trip to Europe:

* Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore and the local writers' group currently, successfully, meeting there. Each local French bookstore, proudly offering authors in the original French - even the tourist-traps along the Seine sold Toynbee, Sartre and de Tocqueville.

* Evening concert at St. Martin in the Fields of Baroque favorites, including Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Pachelbel's Canon. The extremely lifelike statue of an infant outside to symbolize the Incarnation.

* Les Miserables...and then touring Victor Hugo's home afterwards.

* Haworth, and losing sight of the official literary highlights trail, and wandering Wuthering Heights (the actual name of the region!) to find black-heather hills with a view of a reservoir and sheep pasture. Probably more what Heathcliff and Cathy would have done, going off trail ;)

* The Paris Opera House and Notre Dame tours...how Notre Dame took 200+ years to build, when lifespans were maybe 50-60 at most. The Lady and Unicorn tapestries in the Cluny museum.

* People on the plane and trains with all types of interesting nonprofit and educational backgrounds. The Mouftard neighborhood and its farmers' market...and the little vignettes about Oscar Wilde and Hemingway.

More updates and photos coming soon...also, this article from care2.com defending the usefulness of online petitions, http://www.care2.com/causes/trailblazers/blog/slacktivism-why-snopes-got-it-wrong-about-internet-petitions/ posted for everyone here to discuss!

Also, if you'd like to further the mission of Synchronized Chaos Magazine, we're asking people to consider supporting (donating OR publicizing/volunteering) these two international organizations we've endorsed for some time, working with Ugandans and Sudanese to further art and culture and literacy/education: http://synchchaos.com/?p=1959

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April 15th, 2010
04:47 pm
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Reposted, request for help for tapati
Passing on a request for help from tapati, a friend of a friend who's sick and very creative and interesting, and could use some help now.

I have happily passed on donation information for others who are chronically ill while struggling to figure out which beans to cook today and adding a scrap of vegetable that I have left in a vain attempt to make it more interesting. I have urged people to contribute towards getting medication for others while my own medications go unfilled. I have watched as my husband goes every day to a stressful job that he hates in order to support both of us in an area where two incomes don't go that far anymore.

There are medical expenses I haven't even tried to tackle with the little we have left after rent and food and basic meds. I need a new CPAP mask and hose, for example. I need special orthopedic shoes for walking because with fluid retention I no longer fit into normal shoes--they aren't high enough even if I buy a size too large. Doctors are always recommending things I should get in addition to my medications or urging physical therapy, always things I can't afford--even with health insurance. I've had to examine why I'm so quick to scrape up five bucks to donate to another chronically ill person while not ever asking for anything to meet my needs.

I suspect it's a combination of low self esteem and a working class bias against asking for handouts.

On the other hand, I have provided free previews of the rough draft of my memoir here, and if you were entertained by it and moved to donate, perhaps I can think of it as payment for being entertained. :)

I left the button set to allow you to enter the amount you feel that you can spare, and if you can't spare cash well wishes and prayers are also greatly appreciated. I have donated as low as five dollars, as I said, so no need to be embarrassed by a small amount! No one else will know. :)

Bless you for reading this and considering helping. I know many of us are in a hard place right now. If you'd like to pass on the link to this entry, please feel free and thank you!

(PayPal donation button is in her LiveJournal, tapati on the first entry.)

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April 14th, 2010
04:20 pm
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Quake in Tibet, thousands dead, please assist survivors
Quake in Tibet. Please help. Donate here: http://tibetanvillageproject.org/ (Please RT and repost)

Almost four thousand dead and counting, more thousands injured. Help assist survivors regardless of politics.

Blog post from Tibetans in the area - http://www.highpeakspureearth.com/2010/04/earthquake-in-tibet-initial-reactions.html

Heard about this from the International Campaign for Tibet, http://www.ict.org

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