Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bees

"I had a dream about tending to a beehive. I was getting the honey. 
Mrs. Vicki, what do you think this could mean?"  Monica K."  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
That sounds like a good dream! Bees ARE very busy, and making honey isn't the only thing they do.

They, of course, are significant pollinators of plants, and are involved in other things too complex to go into here. Honey is a by-product of their efforts, and now that they've been so busy and done all that work, they have a hive full of honey to sustain themselves through the winter, and a little extra to share with their beekeeper. Getting the honey represents reaping or harvesting or retrieving the benefits of all that hard work and activity.

Couple more points to bear in mind: remember that the benefit is the result of a lot of focused, diligent work. The beekeeper must remember to leave some of the honey with the bees so they can survive to work another season. And the work is never over. The bees have to get up every blessed day and do it all over again. They don't even think about it, they just do what's in front of them to do, and they keep doing it. With all this in mind, it's good to remember that every dream is about the dreamer, and everyone in the dream represents some aspect of the dreamer, so you are the beekeeper, who facilitates or makes a way and a place for the bees to live, watching out for them, making sure they're safe so they can continue working. Not only that, but you are also the bees, doing something every day to support your survival and even prosperity, along with the survival and prosperity of your family - doing what's in front of you to do, even if it seems dull and drudgery sometimes (which it's not, really) and even though it may not seem glamorous and spectacular. But if you think about it, what bees do - going from flower to flower, gathering nectar and pollen, bringing it home and turning that into food for the "family," the hive, and working together, and the way they protect themselves, and each other, even to the death if necessary - think about it - that really is extraordinary! And yet it's just another day in the life for the bees - and for you, too!

Awesome dream! Think of these things, especially when you're at your wits' end. I hope it will help revive you, the way honey revives the bees and adds pleasure to our lives.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dwarf Planets


I recently received this photo of Dwarf Planets. I was familiar with some of the names, and the idea that they represented  ancient mythological deities and, as such, carried special meaning. This made me curious about the others, so I looked them up. Here is what I discovered:
Ceres is the Roman goddess of agriculture.
Vesta is the hearth goddess.
Pallas is the Greek Titan god of warcraft.
Hygiea is the Greek goddess of health.
Eris is the goddess personification of strife and discord.
Dysnomia is a daughter of Eris. Her name means “Lawlessness,” and is also the name of a disorder wherein one has difficulty remembering words or names.
Pluto is a god of the underworld.
Charon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls across the river Styx.
Makemake is the Rapa Nui creator of humanity and god of fertility.
Haumea is the Hawiian goddess of childbirth.
Namaka is a daughter of Haumea and is the Hawaiian goddess of the sea.
Hi’iaka is a daughter of Haumea and is the patron goddess of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Sedna is the Inuit goddess of the sea, believed to live at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
Orcus is an Italic/Roman god of the underworld and punisher of broken oaths.
Quaor (pronounced “Kwawar”) is a Tongva creator god.
Varuna is a Hindu god of water and the celestial ocean, and of the law of the underworld.
Vanth (a moon of Orcus) is a winged Etruscan psychopomp who guides the souls of the departed to the underworld.

Jupiter's moons are named after his lovers.
Saturn's moons are named after fellow Titans.
Kuiper Belt objects are named after mythological deities, with preference given to creator deities.
A Psychopomp is a creature or entity that assists in the transition between this life and the beyond. Some specialize in bringing new lives forth here, and some specialize in guiding the newly departed to the next realm.  When guiding the departed, Psychopomps do not judge, they merely guide.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Vette Redux for '62

A guest post by Kent Bowers

Here is a project that I started in 1963. I believe you can easily see what I had in mind. 

Here's a photograph of a 1962 Corvette. Note that 1962 is the key year that I was targeting.


Here is a photograph of a 1963 Stingray.



Now, let's take one step back and look at a 1960 Corvette. 





So, it is easy to see the transition from the curvy Corvette of the 1950's to the sharper and crisper lines of the classic stingray of the 1960s.


Here is my project car.






This is the 1962 Corvette with the translation being exactly turned around. The sharper and more angular lines of the stingray are used on the front of the car while retaining the curvy lines on the rear.

The years have not been kind to the little plastic car. The tires have flattened and the canopy is yellowed with age. All the glue has released its grip and all the parts are somewhat warped. It doesn't fit together quite right and nothing holds it together. I found it in an old stationary box up on the shelf. The box was still about half full of blank paper. When I picked it up the chassis fell out from under the body and the interior tumbled out.

I remember that my friend Tom Braley had a Vacuform machine. I carved out the shape of the canopy from Balsa wood. The machine heated a sheet of plastic and then pumped all the air out so that it fit perfectly. We could re-create or fabricate plastic parts to suit our desire.


Another interesting feature of this car that I had completely forgotten is the engine. This is a supercharged 409 with four, two-barrel carbs. This car would not have been fast… It would've been terrifyingly fast.

    


So, there she sits; up on the shelf, over a half a century later. An alternate view for one nine six two.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Panther City

A rivalry has existed between Dallas and Fort Worth, maybe since Cain and Abel days. 

Long time ago, a Dallas newspaper reported that Fort Worth was so dull that a panther was seen napping in the street, in the middle of the day. They took to calling Fort Worth "Panther City," initially as a jab. But the would-be insult backfired - the people of Fort Worth decided not to be insulted, and, instead took the moniker in good cheer. This is why you'll see Panther symbols and references to "Panther" this and "Panther" that in matters Fort Worth. 

This amazing statue of a Panther was carved of stone a good many years ago in honor of Fort Worth's Spirit Animal. It stands in a fountain park next to the flatiron building downtown. There is also another one in a courtyard grove across the street from the courthouse. Amazing place, Fort Worth


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Springtime in Fort Worth

FRIDAY interestingly, after a particularly fierce round of storms had gone through, the huge old elm tree in Kent's back yard fell over. We knew that tree had issues, but we think now that it must have been deteriorating worse than we realized, and between that, the ground getting saturated with rain, and probably a post-storm burst of wind, it just fell smooth over, smashing the fence, wrecking the neighbor's above-ground pool and trampoline, and landing on top of the power line from the pole to Kent's house. This left most of Kent's house without power, but he still had power in some parts of the house. He called the number he could find for the power company, but all he could get was one of those computers that pretends it's a person, with the "press one for this," and "press two for that."  None of the options really fit his situation, but he left a message as best he could. The machine said, "Your power will be restored in 24 hours," which would have been a neat trick, since the line was physically down.

SATURDAY, I went over to see how he was doing. He'd moved his coffee pot to one of the plugs that was still working and he was sort of "camping out." He had put in a call to Kyle, his lawn guy for the last five years to come over to either see about getting started on clearing the tree and debris out, or  suggest someone who could. Kyle came on Saturday to look things over, but of course couldn't start on anything until the downed electrical line was addressed. Nothing could move forward at all until that electrical line was addressed.

SUNDAY we found another number to call the power company to report to a live human that we had a downed electrical line. The good news is that they sent someone right out, within an hour! The bad news is that they had to disconnect the line from the pole and the house. The ONCOR guy advised that we'd have to get an electrician to make some repairs to the connection and apparatus on the house before they could come back out and reconnect the electricity.  So even though it was Sunday, we put in a call to an electrician we'd both used before and liked, only to learn that he's backed up for at least two weeks.  Now totally without power, Kent packed up a few things and came to stay at my house until he can get put back together at his house.

MONDAY Kent got an early morning call from the neighbor into whose yard the tree had fallen, saying that there was a huge swarm of bees in his back yard. Apparently there had been a hive of bees in that tree, even though we had never seen even one bee. There was some discussion about spraying, but with that many bees, you wouldn't get them all right away, it would make them mad, and then there'd really be hell to pay, totally aside from the fact that bees are dying too much anyway. We brainstormed our options and located a beekeeper who was able to come right out. The Bee Charmer, very nice lady. She collected a five gallon bucket of bees and finished up just before the next wave of thunderstorms came through. We were able to locate an electrician who was able to make the repairs necessary to get reconnected.

TUESDAY the electrician made his repairs; then the city was supposed to make their inspection (which they were supposed to do the next day, but we can't tell if they did or not), and then we get on the list for when ever ONCOR can come out and hook the electricity back up. Kyle started work clearing the tree. We cleaned out the refrigerator and had to throw almost everything away, except for what Kent brought to my house when he came over. Jeez, a whole refrigerator full of food.

THURSDAY - Because of all the storms and storm damage recently, the insurance adjuster couldn't meet with Kent until Thursday, almost a week after the tree fell.  He came out, and we went over all the information we had thus far. 

FRIDAY Kyle called - he had started work clearing the tree earlier in the week, but is now unable to finish the job due to an elaborate series of circumstances, much to our great dismay.

SATURDAY hopefully we've found someone else who will be able to tackle that job, but it will likely be in bits and pieces. That tree is amazingly huge - even as it lays on the ground, it's about waist-high to me.

So Kent is my houseguest until he has power again. I am so happy to have him here, but I know all this has really thrown him way out of his routine. My part of the neighborhood is a little bit noisier than over where he lives, and along with being in a strange place, basically living out of a suitcase, and with everything else that's going on, It's sort of turned his life topsy turvy. All things considered, he's taking things pretty well. 

I guess we'll see what the coming week brings!



Friday, March 20, 2015

Every Ten Years Beginning at Age 50

Yes, colonoscopies. 

Sorry to bring up such a subject, but I needed some information about this recently, and it wasn't so easy to find, believe it or not. Anyway, now that I've found the information I was looking for, I'm sharing what I learned, because I'm sure I can't be the only one who wanted -needed - to know these things.

Not peculiar to people 50 and over, colonoscopies are recommended for most folks beginning at age 50, and then every ten years thereafter. Here's the thing: the week or so of diet change and prep is the hardest part. Unfortunately, my first time, my doctor said, "You didn't do enough," and sent me home to prep some MORE, so I basically had to undergo the procedure twice the first time. This time I was determined not to have to go through that again.

When I had my appointment with the gastroenterologist, they gave me a sheaf of papers, which explained what I'm supposed to do to get ready for the procedure. The first thing is that about a week before the procedure, you're supposed to change your diet, and the information packet did a pretty good job of telling me what NOT to eat - nuts, seeds, whole grains, and pretty much anything with fiber.   

This was not happy news for someone like me who has spent the last ten years consciously re-learning how to eat healthier - MORE nuts, seeds, whole grains, salad, vegetables, fruits, all containing fiber - as much as possible, whole foods, as close to natural as possible, which by their nature contain lots of fiber. In order to prepare for this colonoscopy my instructions were basically to stop eating everything I usually eat. Unfortunately, this instruction did not offer a suggestion as to what to eat. Remembering my previous experience of having to go and prep some more, and undergoing the procedure twice, I wanted very much to to get this right the first time, this time. But what troubled me was, what could I eat?

Since the focus seemed to be on fiber, I Googled the term, "low fiber diet," and found an actual menu which included white bread, small servings of white rice, egg, baked chicken, well-cooked or canned green beans and carrots, canned peaches, jello, yogurt and milk. I thought as I read this that it sounded like what my grandmother might have known as a "bland diet." More details include:
  • white bread
  • white rice
  • plain white pasta
  • saltines 
  • refined hot cereals, such as cream of wheat
  • cold cereals with less than 1 g. fiber per serving
  • pancakes or waffles made with white flour
  • canned or well-ccoked vegetables and fruits without skins or seeds
  • fruit and vegetable juice with little or no pulp
  • fruit flavored drinks
  • flavored waters
  • tender meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu
  • milk and dairy products (as long as they're 0g. fat and less than 1g. fiber)
  • butter & oils
  • salad dressings without seeds

Since I'd had that do-over experience the first time, I started this diet change a day before the doctor's instructions said to. A couple days in, I switched over to low fiber protein smoothies. From there it was fairly easy to transition to the "clear liquid" segment of prep. 

Fast-forward to post-procedure, I am happy to report that I was successful in "clearing out" my system with this bland diet and subsequent steps of liquids-only days. The doctor could easily see what he needed to see, and I'm fine until the next one.






Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Life is What Happens

"Life is what happens when you've made other plans." 

I'm a fair-skinned person, light-haired, light-eyed, and freckled, too easily prone to sunburn.  One summer, maybe two, during my teen years, I thought I might like to try to "lay out," try to get a tan, but it just didn't work for me. I have endured many many summers of blistering sunburns, starting at an early age, and as I put on a few years, those sunburns began to itch and sting. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced that - it's most unpleasant, isn't it? So now I'm very careful about the mid-day sun, say from about ten to two in whatever time zone I happen to be on any given day. Meanwhile, that fair-skinnedness and history of blistering sunburn at an early age bumps up my risk factor for skin cancers, according to current medical advice.

So I went to see a dermatologist today. Now this is amusing to me: All the spots that were most obvious to me, that were of the greatest concern to me, were "nothing to worry about" - "Benign, benign, benign, skin tag, mole, benign."

But she did see one spot that I hadn't noticed at all. I don't know how I missed that one, but I sure did. "Pre-cancer," she said, and shot it with freezy stuff. Boy howdy, this is why we seek professional opinions, isn't it?