Saturday, July 01, 2006


I have to be quick because I need to get a shower, get dressed and get the heck out of dodge. I have a VE session in Woodland Park this morning and I'm meeting the team for breakfast at the Hungry Bear at eight. So, here goes.

In five days the domain name I bought for my online magazine that I hoped one day to take to print expires. In a weak moment, I renewed the domain name, and bought three other extensions (info, net and biz) for three years. I must be out of my mind but I know I'm out a small sum of money, much less than would be expected. After spending eight hours last night putting the PPRAA newsletter together, putting it in PDF and sending to the people who take it from here (except for checking up and making sure everybody does what they're supposed to do), the desire to put "Living Voices Magazine" out there is growing. Forget that I have a couple of ham radio projects I need to do and painting and decorating and work on my plate, but I do want to revisit the magazine and get it out there. If I do this, I will take the magazine to print within two years, if not sooner. I will need a full service host but I'll also look into buying my own servers and hosting it myself. I'll have to figure out how to do that and work my tuchus off to pay for the servers and the contributors but it is doable. I may even be able to add my own art work to the mix (I used to be very good at portraits) and possibly some photography. Already the magazine is percolating in my brain. I hope it doesn't boil over before I get the splatter shields in place.

Beam me up, Scotty. I think I have what I'm going to need.

Friday, June 30, 2006

I don't believe in coincidence

Best friend Lynn gave me a copy of this book that keeps falling open to revenge and manipulation spells and lately the spell group I belong to keeps sending me revenge and binding spells. I don't believe in coincidence. Things happen for a reason, even though the reason may not be immediately apparent.

I've always eschewed revenge as a waste of time, energy and resources but have been known to bind a person or two who couldn't get the message any other way, especially when they were hurting or planned to hurt others. That is an acceptable use of power and resources. In fact, I once helped a friend every full moon for nearly a year to protect her and her family from malignant forces bent on causing harm. The friend's life and future took a big turn for the better. The magical results remain although the friend is now long gone. People tend to be less reliable than magic.

And speaking of magic, after the VE session tomorrow morning I'm headed to Larkspur for the Renaissance Festival that I missed last year. This weekend will be beautiful and cool and I need a heaping dose of Ren fair fun to celebrate the recent cooler temps and rain. It's only fair. Besides, I can't go next weekend because I'll be in Monument all day for the MegaFest and the weekend after that I have plans with friends in Yoder. So, this Saturday it is.

If you're in the area, look for the lady with the long brown hair sporting a face splitting grin of joy gawking around like a child locked in the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory overnight. That will be me.

And now it is time for me to make my soy protein fruit smoothie breakfast and get to work. I have plans and dreams and bills to think about.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Another day and a half

I am sitting here eating bread pudding from Mountain Mama's deli made with challa. It is unbelievably good. I also bought some roasted red pepper hummus (they make it there) and a sprouter to grow my own bean sprouts. It's something I did years ago but stopped for some silly reason like not having the time, energy or something to continue. I also used to make my own yogurt in a very primitive way (without special kits or yogurt makers) and yesterday I looked at yogurt/kefir makers with the idea of doing that again. I have not made kefir before but it sounds like a good thing to add to my morning soy protein-frozen fruit and banana drink.

One thing I have noticed since eating more sprouts, especially of the alfalfa and sunflower variety, is that I have fewer bruises that don't last as long. Last weekend my knee locked up on me and I took a tumble into a set of concrete steps. Ordinarily I would have ended up with a big ugly purple, red and black bruise on my shin where it barked the concrete step and my knee would have been similarly colored and sore, but the bruise didn't show up for two or three days and it was already green and yellow. I haven't been that lucky with bruises since I had the blood transfusion eight years ago when I nearly bled to death.

More and more I am interested in doing things simply: sprouting grains, making yogurt, trying kefir, growing food plants, honing my survival skills and learning to make crystal and tube radios in case of who knows what. I want to get back to where I was before I moved down here -- self sufficient. I am self sufficient now, but not nearly as far along as I should be. I want to be able to survive in any kind of climate, political or natural, and be able to make what I need for any and all occasions. In fact, I'm buying an ATS-3 and building it myself. It's an ambitious project, but I have to start somewhere and this seems like a good place. I can take the little radio rig anywhere, even camping, backpacking and hiking, and communicate with other hams all over the world under the right conditions. Today the ATS-3 and tomorrow my own home brewed tube and crystal radios. I'm in an electronics frame of mind.

I am also looking into recipes for baking with sprouted grains and the memory of homemade yogurt makes my mouth water. I tolerated yogurt until I made the first batch of my own and then I was hooked. I have stayed away from most dairy for a long time and I miss certain things: ice cold buttermilk (no ewwws please), cheese, cottage cheese and the like. Since getting the cheesecake baking itch I have had more dairy in the past 30 days than I have had in the past year.

The landlady and I took a walk to Front Range BBQ last night past Cucuru, a new art gallery and espresso/dessert bar that opened up a couple weeks ago. Guillermo, the owner, invited us inside to take a look at some jewelry and the paintings and he offered us a piece of chocolate mousse cheesecake when the landlady told him I was sort of an expert and made the best cheesecake she'd ever tasted, and she doesn't particularly care for cheesecake. It was all right. The texture was a little dry, but that happens when you mix cocoa powder with a basic cheesecake. It's important to increase the moisture so the dry cocoa doesn't suck it all up, ending with a mealy cheesecake. The flavor wasn't in question, although it was a little flat, again being an issue of balance. The chocolate shouldn't overwhelm the creamy texture and subtle flavoring of the basic cheesecake.

OMG, I'm beginning to sound like a foodie. I've been spending way too much time reading 's LJ. I suppose there are worse things in the world.

I'm going to attempt a chocolate raspberry cheesecake, maybe even this weekend, and I'll let you know if I get the balance right. I might even talk Guillermo into trying my cheesecake, especially the key lime variety. Cucuru even has wi-fi and an outdoor patio and would be perfect on weekends or latter week evenings to sit, drink some juice (I don't do coffee) and sample a coconut cream pie or fruit tart while absorbing the local color and people watching. I might even take my new sketchbook and pencils along (when I take them back to Office Max and get the pencil sharpener they left out of my box of pencils) to sketch a little of what I see. I might even spring for some pastels; I used to be pretty good with those.

Dinner at Front Range BBQ was good, as always, but the one margarita I ordered was not very good -- pretty bad in fact. I left half the margarita in the glass and finished all my water -- both glasses. When the landlady and I walked home we passed Bancroft Park where the summer concert Old Colorado City sponsors on Tuesday nights was just beginning. They played a martial air by John Phillip Sousa and followed it with MacArthur Park, a song I know by heart because it is part of my youth when I listened to the radio and records every chance I got and sang along. The music is hard wired.

It was a soft summer evening with a BBQ and green summer scented breeze that flirted with us all the way home. Last night was one of those evenings I hate to go inside and would gladly sleep outside under the stars if I had a sleeping bag.

And now it's time to get back to work and finish the pay period with a bang instead of a whimper. My bread pudding is gone and there are jobs waiting to be transcribed.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

In a rut

I have obviously beat the "I" key so hard in all my writing lately that it has become so shy it won't show up when I hit it again, forcing me to go back to hit the key harder and make sure it shows up where it should. I don't know what the problem is, but I doubt I will be able to do with my laptop what I have to do with my regular keyboards -- replace them twice a year. I don't know how (or if it's possible) to replace a keyboard on a brand new out of the box laptop. Hopefully, it's just some grit stuck beneath the key and a good vacuuming will clear up the problem. I didn't think I was hitting the keys that hard, but after 40 years of typing and keying and all sorts of data input, and the speed that I have attained over the years, I know the force I use is more than most people who either hunt and peck or type at a much slower rate. C'est la vie.

I hate ruts. I have never liked them and go out of my way to avoid them. When I realize I'm headed for a rut or a rut seems likely I change direction, sometimes violently, but I always change direction. So why am I comfortable in this rut?

When I was away for a week on vacation I realized how much I missed the sounds I had taken for granted. Nel's shower coming on at 4:30 AM and the loud bang when the shower lever hit the metal faucet. The sliding glass doors swishing when she left for Monument at 5 AM. The smell of fresh ground coffee and the buzz of the landlady's coffee grinder around 5 AM and the usual calls and yells at Pastor when he's being an unruly child, followed by the swish of the landlady's glass doors when she goes out onto the deck to water her geraniums and fill up the aluminum pan around the rock in the middle so the birds and squirrels have fresh water. The sound of her horn when she and Pastor get into the car to go to dog park for their morning constitutional at 6 AM.

The birds start singing between 4 and 4:30 every morning and I wake slowly to their music, urged to get out of bed by a full bladder, and then back to bed to snuggle under the covers for a bit before I start my day. I check email (the laptop sleeps with me), answer what needs my attention, and do a quick cruise around the Internet when a new writing newsletter appears. On Wednesday mornings I check out Writers Weekly and run through the markets and jobs available to see if there is anything interesting or worth my writing time. I go back to the bathroom, brush my teeth and do a little more surfing and writing before I gather my cup and go to the kitchen to make my soy protein drink, adding whatever frozen fruit and bananas I still have left. Then it's back to the bedroom to get comfy and write my morning post before gathering my energy and resolve and heading into the sunroom to begin yet another work day, putting the writing I would rather do on the shelf in order to make the money necessary to continue to live with George, the landlady and Nel.

Until my vacation I didn't realize that this apartment is my home and how much I missed the daily sounds. Each day has its own sounds and the weekends are no different with me usually getting ready to go to some ham radio function or lazing around reading a book while the landlady and Pastor drive to the dog park and Nel turns up her music and putters around her apartment. Sundays she goes to the grocery store early and then does laundry all day while I either clean or write or read or spend time surfing on the Internet, our rhythms comfortable and comforting in their familiarity. Our personal and intertwining ruts.

I don't think I'll avoid this rut. It is too homey.

I'll still be unpredictable around the edges but I don't feel the need to run from this rut or avoid getting too comfortable because my search for a home has finally ended. I'm here. I'm home. And I like the view from this rut.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It's in the air

Divorce. Several people I know are headed toward divorce or talking about divorce.

The landlady picked up her divorce papers yesterday. They have been filed and now she and her husband, who lives in New Mexico, wait the requisite 90 days before they are officially free to do what they have been doing for the past 11 years -- see and become involved with other people. The landlady is the one who initiated the divorce action and her husband has decided not to tell his girlfriend he is getting a divorce. He wants that safety net when his girlfriend gets the idea their relationship is permanent. It is not as if the landlady or her husband haven't lived their own lives for the past decade but she felt like the screen door was hanging open letting in all the flies and gnats and she wants it closed.

Another friend celebrated his seventh year of being divorced by getting drunk and crashing on a friend's floor all night. He's happy and comfortable in his life and getting drunk annually is his way of marking the time, especially since he doesn't get drunk but once a year.

And then there's another friend who wants a divorce and has wanted one for years now. She's even mentioned it to her spouse, gone to counseling and checked all the financial arrangements but just can't take the step to end things. I don't know what's holding her back, except fear. Her husband and his family are all the family she has, that and her daughter. The rest of her family is either alienated and dead. I understand some of her fear. I gave up my dream because my family threatened to disown me and I hesitated for two years before telling my husband I wanted a divorce. She doesn't realize the power she holds and lets her husband emotionally bully her.

She has a very good job and manages their money so well they are in a good financial position. They own three properties and their cars are paid off. She has her retirement from the military, rent from two properties and a lucrative position in a tech company. Her husband finally gave in and got a part time job that doesn't pay much despite having three degrees. He decided to stay home with their daughter, even though she's in school all day and can fend for herself, instead of getting a real job or diving back into his career or even teaching full time. He has the credentials, but he has become very used to being taken care of. She just does not realize her power or how much she stands to gain if she decides to get a job.

If she stayed in the marriage she could continue living her life as she chooses, just like the landlady, because her husband is not going to give up his meal ticket; he would have to go back to work. All she has to do is put her foot down and walk out of that house, stay away a night or two, and then come back and lay down the law. Things would change. Her husband's alternative is allowing her live her own life until their daughter is grown and on her own or getting a job and paying the bills on his own. He's gotten very used to being taken care of; he isn't going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. She could parlay that power into forcing changes that need to be made and in being happy for the first time in decades. No more recriminations. No more lies. No more depressions or living in fear of the next emotional onslaught that sends her spinning into the darkness. But she doesn't realize the power she holds nor does she know how to exercise it.

I've found that people with a lot to lose will make any bargain to maintain the style of living to which they've become accustomed. The trick is in recognizing in whose hands the power lies and taking advantage of that fact.

If you decide to stay together for the children (although it's never good for the kids, teaching them that love and respect can be bought) at least make it worth your while. Live life on your own terms. Despite the romance we attach to marriage and all the mystique and religion with which we wrap it, marriage is a contract and contracts can be renegotiated when they no longer work. The landlady and her husband negotiated a separation of their personal belongings and set up separate households, keeping some assets together because of the financial benefits, but then it became more and more complicated to file taxes every year because they jointly held their assets. Divorce began to look better and better until the landlady realized she had more to gain without her husband in tow. She even gave him her favorite leather lounging chair and ottoman because it took up so much room in the living room and she likes things more open. And they remain friends.

In my view, nothing is worth the emotional destruction or the detrimental effects on one's health (my friend has high blood pressure and drifts in and out of depression) inherent in staying in a marriage that doesn't work. She and her husband sleep in separate rooms and both of them have had affairs over the years. They are not even friends and barely converse from one day to the next unless it involves their daughter or money. There is not a single pleasant emotion between them. She resents her husband and he continues to punish her for the affair she admitted to decades ago. She doesn't realize, nor can I tell her without revealing my sources, that he has had several affairs during their marriage. Instead, she feels guilty for needing companionship and love and being close to someone who respects her and acknowledges her needs and her existence, even though night after night she goes home to spend most of her time alone or wrapped in television or working around the house or immersed in her hobbies and silence to remain in a loveless and unhappy marriage out of a sense of duty and responsibility.

It's hard to see people I respect and care about unwilling or unable to get out of a bad situation but, like with my own children, it's not my life to live. I can only offer support and understanding, hold out my hand and hope they take it.

Don't get me wrong. Even though I have been married and divorced twice, it wasn't easy for me to throw in the towel, especially the first time, but I have lived and learned and I know what living death marriage can be. I simply choose life. It's selfish but so is survival.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Busy days, sleepless nights

I didn't get much sleep over the weekend as my brain churned with everything I learned about radio operations this past weekend and now I'm going to spend a few more busy days and sleepless nights putting together all the events and pictures and perspectives for the club newsletter. I foresee another busy weekend, especially with the Pikes Peak annual hill climb and VE sessions up at Woodland Park on Saturday and fielding more and more offers to review books. I wanted to be busy and productive and I hope I can be both with this inundation of information, books and activities flying my way. At least the weather is cool and the Hell moments are fewer and more tolerable with the cool weather.

It was 43 degrees when I got up this morning and I fleetingly thought of plugging in the heater and turning it on but Mother Nature and Father Time took care of the thermostat for me. I am antsy beyond belief right now but that is probably a function of all the activity and still being wired from the weekend.

Thoughts are flying around in my head and I'm working like a one-armed paper hanger to pin them down and put them into some coherent order so I can follow up with the positive responses to queries I made to national magazines. I didn't think my article ideas would get such rapid response, especially in view of how long I waited in the past to get anything published before. The national magazines were notorious for making me wait for months before responding, sometimes with a form rejection and once in a while with a long drawn out personal rejection leaving the door open for me if I dared to essay their transom again. So to get a response back almost immediately means I hit a nerve or the right editor at the right time or simply that I have hit the mother lode with a topic tuned just right to catch their receivers. (I'm still thinking in radio terms and it hasn't worn off yet)

We are expecting another 10-14 days of scattered thunderstorms for which I am heartily grateful and I know the tinder dry forests are grateful as well. There was rain in the mountains when I was on vacation in Estes Park but it has been hotter than a Sunday griddle here most of the time. I'm so glad to see the rain coming through and the temperatures dropping and the ground soaking up the precious water so no more fires like the fire four years ago can get a foothold here in Colorado. That would be a very good thing.

Well, I'm off to read and write and do a few money making things before I steal away for 45 minutes to watch one of the last two episodes of Lost on DVD. I want to know what is about to happen but I don't want it to end. Then again, I want to see the second season and it's not out on DVD yet. I now know what everyone was talking about and why they were so excited and mesmerized by this show. I won't watch it with commercials; it would be far too nerve wracking, so I'll wait for the second season to come out on DVD and save my pennies to buy the first season for myself and Nel next door. This is one I want in my library.

I'll shut up now -- but only for now.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

News -- disturbing and otherwise

On a tribe thread this came up.

The age of cesarean sections on request, epidurals and drips of oxytocin is a turning point in the history of childbirth. Until recently women could not give birth without releasing a complex cocktail of 'love hormones'. Today, in many countries, most women have babies without releasing these specific hormones. The questions must be raised in terms of civilization. This turning point occurs at the very time when several scientific disciplines suggest that the way human beings are born has long-term consequences, particularly in terms of sociability, aggressiveness or, in other words, 'capacity to love'.

The scientific abstract from which this is excerpted reminded me of a conversation with while we were on vacation. We talked about how doctors and scientists are performing more and more surgeries and the long term effect of those surgeries on quality of life and life in general, and whether or not they should be allowed. The above gives a whole new perspective on that discussion, making me wonder if children today are indeed more aggressive and less able to love or if their parents are truly not as committed to disciplining and curbing their children as earlier generations, for instance, my parents and their parents.

Can situations like Columbine and more recent instances be tied to current birth practices or a lack of naturally occurring hormones released during the birthing process, or even the lack of breast feeding? Is science and medicine meddling in areas that will have long term detrimental effects on basic human instincts and chemistry that will lead to the destruction of civilization?

On a lighter note, I spent yesterday at WV7T's house yesterday for Field Day and spent most of the time rigging and putting up antennas and logging contacts. I didn't get a chance to get on the air, but I'm going back today.

I also met a ham who is involved in weather balloon launches in the area with EOSS and who is designing an experiment to measure the chaos effect between the upper reaches of the atmosphere where the weather balloon bursts and the lower atmosphere in the oxygen rich layers of atmosphere. He's asked me if I'd like to take part in a few launches and recoveries and I asked him if he'd like to write an article for the newsletter about his project. We both discussed satellites and getting involved in AmSat launches and possibly putting together a communications satellite for launch. He has the experience and the connections and I have the desire to learn. Seems like a very good fit.

He showed me some of the pictures he took during some balloon launches and we talked about the program for quite a while, even to the point of being asked to go outside (we were talking quietly) so the rest of the group could get on with their contacts. Worked out really well because he went to his truck to get his laptop and fire it up. We exchanged contact information and he also gave me contact information for the editor of QST, which is the ARRL's magazine.

One of the topics Paul (weather balloon guy) and I talked about was the percentage of women involved in hard sciences and ham radio and how little it has changed over the past 30-40 years. It's still about 10-20% overall and that isn't good. You'd think with all the talk of equal rights and such more women would have ventured into the scientific arena. Paul and I both agree that women, American women, are not aware of the potential and the available areas, and we'd both like to change it.

I participated in Field Day to learn about antennas so I can build my own, and I got plenty of hands on experience and knowledge to build upon yesterday, but I also participated to get to know more local hams. I met quite a few yesterday, older and my age, and I had a good time being the only female involved -- or at least I was until Su showed up for about an hour. She went away again, too, and left me the field. The day wasn't a total loss since there were quite a few bachelors in the group who were asking a lot of personal questions about phone numbers and availability for further contact. Could get very interesting -- and I'll learn more about electronics and radios, too.

That is all. Disperse.