Saturday, September 23, 2006

Good New/Bad News

The bad news is someone tried to steal my car last night.
The good news is we think that Cael happened to go out to his car while the attempt was in progress, thereby thwarting the thief, causing him to slither out one of the back car doors.
Bad news is the steering column is broken and the ignition jammed, the wiper lever broken off and the wires cut = I'm out of a car.
Good news is my insurance will cover it.
Bad news is it'll cost me a $500 deductible.
Good news is I have free car rental.
Bad news is the car alarm on the rental (a Ford Escape) has gone off once an hour for 9 hours since we got it. This has left me as wound up as a 5 year old boy on koolaid and red dye number 4 (or is it 5, or 8?) You get the picture.
Can we just admit it? I am an electromagnetic force of nature! There can be no doubt now.
Worse news... the rental place closed right when the alarm problem began.
Good news is there is very cold air conditioning in rental cars and the window goes up and down freely.
For now, I'll leave it at that.

On another note, the happy day of the free tree being moved to the back yard suddenly turned sour. The tree seems to have died a quick death. It's gray and somewhat crispy today. Okay, brittle even. I feel a little like Charlie Brown sometimes. You know how when they touched the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, the needles all fell off with that little clinking sound. The free tree's leaves do that now. Is the doctor in?

But some other good news is that Cael pressure cleaned the awnings that have been down since tropical storm Ernesto, plus he did the back patio and other areas. Soon I will be able to open the awnings again and see the light.
Bad news is that now I have to paint EVERYTHING... worse, I have to decide on paint colors. What was I thinking! I should have been laboring over this for months. Paint color is not a one day decision. I know... I'll stall by priming first.

That's all for now. My nerves are shot. I'm gonna have to sleep with the car clicker in hand. My neighbors have been listening to the alarm go off all day. Introducing the dagger sounds of loud honking into the darkness of night as well isn't going to make me real popular.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Silly Free Tree Video

Once upon a time, about 3 or 4 years ago, a tree popped up out of nowhere and grew in our front yard. It was considered a "bad" tree by Florida standards. It was a carrotwood or carrothead, or something related to carrots. I can never remember. Anyway, during the hurricanes of '04 it toppled and we had to chop it down. A sad day. Despite the fact that it was a "bad" tree, it had grown very quickly and gave lots of shade and I found it to be rather beautiful. I lamented its demise.

Then one day out of the blue, another free tree popped up in the exact same place, growing right at the base of the oleander bush. Only this was a completely different type that I like to think is some sort of Florida Oak, but you can tell that I make these things up because I'm too lazy to look them up. Anyway, this puppy of a tree grew very quickly and within the past two years has grow quite a bit. Since our backyard was stripped of the orange and grapefruit trees recently, I decided we should transplant the free tree to the back yard and let the oleander have it's space (and perhaps this will give it room to produce a new one for me). So today, Cael finally moved the free tree for me, and so I share with you the joy of having a new tree in the back yard... shade and all. Waalaa!

Math in a New Light

Just caught part of the NOVA film, Einstein's Big Idea, tonight, which apparently debuted last year. It expounds upon some of Einstein’s brilliant observations that revolutionized physics, in particular, e=mc2. This film captured a moment I never grasped by way of a text book. It was the producer, Gary Johnstone’s, take on Einstein’s creative observation and insight which translated into a sort of creative comprehension of Einstein’s theories on light, matter and energy in me. It is amazing how much more interesting something so flat-lined like math or physics can be when someone points to the story surrounding the facts. In the film, attention to the details of observation, supported by a peek into the cast of supporting characters in Einstein’s world, whom we would never meet in the same way in a classroom, makes the story behind the facts come to life. What a difference to be captivated by learning through art rather than to be taught a lesson. As a kid you have seemingly unending facts crammed into your head. Surprising the ones that stick, maybe even more so that any do. For me, the ones that did certainly weren’t about e=mc2. Yet in another moment, craftsmen and artists can spin all those facts into something personal and meaningful.

Gary Johnstone, the director and producer of Einstein’s Big Idea took some flack for playing out the drama of the story, but how else would you captivate those for whom math and science has always been painfully alien. I found it completely fascinating the way in which the math of creativity came into play in Einstein’s life. You know, I think I actually enjoyed math tonight! I must have as I found myself sitting forward, chin in hands, watching and listening for more. Bravo Gary Johnstone! This is a huge accomplishment. But then the film did mention electromagnetic fields too and we all know that there has been a recent interest on my part in that subject.

My imagination and interest were especially sparked during the scene when Einstein began to grasp that light is the constant in the universe. This thought and those surrounding it were fascinating to me. I will have to watch this again as the story moved on while I was contemplating all of this.

It appeared from the portrayal in this film that Einstein found himself in an intense observational niche that seemed to build for a time, as often happens with creative people. Once the creative’s eyes are opened to what God has placed within the range of their senses, their insight goes into overdrive and it’s nearly impossible for them to stop “seeing”.

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday life"
-This quote has been attributed to a number of people including Albert Einstein. I'll have to look into it further.

But whomever said it, perhaps if we all spent a little more time refining everyday life and being a bit more observant, who knows what any of us might come up with.

"After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well."
—Albert Einstein

Cool stuff.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Something has gone painfully wrong with my photobucket upload capabilities and I've wasted my day on it. So I figured out how to do this with some of my favorite black and white photos, which was some consolation. However, I, of course, can't view it with my aol browser and that just stinks. And what am I gonna do without a way to upload video? Someday maybe all the computers and browsers and software will learn to just get along and the "electromagnetic phenomenon" that plagues me will be a thing of the past. A girl can dream...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Everyday is a winding road...

The craziness didn’t end after the trunk popping phenomenon I told you about on my last post, instead it manifested itself anew the next day. I had to stop no less than 25 times the next day and evening due to continual trunk popping. The drive home from work was completely freaky and my nerves were shot and of course it was raining on top of it. At one point, the trunk began closing itself too. That was about all I could take. Later that night Cael was outside on the phone in the front yard and said the trunk popped twice while parked in the driveway when he was out there. Then as he closed it, it just kept popping. It was really bizarre (like Herbie the Love Bug gone whacked) but thankfully it has once again taken to remaining as it should. It must have been caused by some sort of intense barometric pressure or something scientific or mathematic which would, of course, elude me. Now that the tropical storm is over, so is the popping. I feel almost sane again. I know, the thought of me and "sane" in the same sentence is sort of funny.

But one odd event isn’t enough. This week on an afternoon drive to pick Casey up from school, I was sitting at the light at Prosperity and Lighthouse when I saw in my rearview mirror, three really cute mylar birthday balloons making their way down the street toward me past the SUV in line behind me. They seemed to be making a flying run for it but in sort of a flowy, balloon-in-the-wind way, and I watched to see where they would go, wondering if they had come untied from someone’s mailbox nearby or floated out of a car window. They sidled right up to my open windows as if having chosen me to catch a ride with and latched onto the passenger sideview mirror. Their brightly colored ribbons and plastic tie down thingys at the ends wound themselves around the mirror while the balloons themselves continued on and tried to pass in front of my windshield. I had been at the light a while and figured I’d better get the strings detangled from my mirror quickly so they could be on their way because I couldn’t see past them to drive once the light changed. But they wouldn’t come undone. With no time to spare, I threw it in park, undid my seatbelt, leaned over the passenger seat and began to reel them in from my awkward position. I sensed that the light had changed and I was still reeling, but thankfully those behind me were enjoying the unfolding scenario and the resulting fishing expedition, wondering what would become of the gypsy balloons. I managed to snag them without undue hassle, threw the car back in drive and realized I had been sitting at the green light with lots of empty road in front of me for at least 10 seconds. You ARE aware that 10 static seconds in a car at a green light is enough to create road insanity in fellow drivers. It also brings a certain level of fear to the driver sitting in park, I might add. So I took off as fast as I could, feeling sort of like I had just robbed a bank and was making off with the goods. I was wondering if perchance the people behind me had lost the three pretty balloons and whether they might have a manic three year old in the back screaming for her lost treasure and were thinking me a thief. But when that car turned off to another street a while later, I relaxed and began wishing I had a birthday to celebrate to make use of my little gift from heaven, though none came to mind. I pulled into the school parking lot and Casey walked over with that scrunched up look on her face, where the left side of her mouth curls up and the left eye squints in quizzical fashion. She wanted to know what was with the balloons. I gave her a quick recap about the gift from heaven and asked her if any of her friends were having a birthday that day. She smiled slowly and she looked off and told me it was her friend Chelsey’s birthday the day before, so the balloons changed hands and off they went to their new owner. Perfect. I loved it. This is what it's like to be me while driving.

But it doesn’t end there. Now Mary, I had a sighting this morning while on my way to work that reminded me of our life back in the day. Remember PSSSSSSSSSSSTTTT or however it was spelled. I remember you using it when I was probably in elementary or Jr. High. It was powdery stuff to put in one's hair that made the accumulated greasiness less apparent. It was billed at the time in a positive light as something like dry shampoo, just a way to clean your hair without water. Right, whatever. More like soaking up grease with baking soda. But people weren’t as shower conscious in those days and there were only like three other brands of shampoo back then, Prell, Clairol and No More Tears. Okay, there was also Herbal Essence and Suave, but not much else. Needless to say, self-perceptions were different, hair care was not the art it has become.

So this morning, I had just pulled up to the light at Military while on PGA and there to my left and across a lane was this pretty blond woman using the rearview like she was in the bathroom at home. She was brushing up sections of hair at a time and sprinkling baby powder in her hair, then floofing and brushing and primping each part like she was stylist to the stars, only to do another section and another and another without skipping a beat. She chose her red lights well, as this particular light is the second longest in the PBG area by my standards, so she had plenty of time to change her clothes as well, had she so desired. She didn’t do that as far as I could tell, and she didn't look trashy or unkempt. She was a very attractive young business-looking woman who apparently has poor hygiene and is short on time but finds hair degreasing a necessity and feels dousing her head in baby powder while at stoplights a socially acceptable practice... well, now everyone on the street knows her secret. Come on ladies! Where is the mystery? So maybe it’s a great quick-fix she learned from some fashion magazine, but are no beauty secrets sacred and left to the privacy of home anymore? I was staring, and I mean hard to see if she would notice and be embarrassed... and she didn’t bat an eye. She had a lot to do at that light let me tell you. I dared her in my mind to even look around nervously to see if she’d been busted, but no! She didn’t even give so much as a sideways glance in any direction. Didn’t care. How did she not feel me boring my eyes into her head? This isn’t the 70’s and I haven’t seen PSSSSSSSSTTTT since Farrah hair was the rage (and I think Farrah is like 60 now... yeah.) I am so continually amazed by people. But more so, I am always amazed by what goes on when I'm on the road.