13 August 2011

Movin' On Up ...

... or over, or under, or through, whatever.  I am moving my blog to WordPress since that is where my work blog is hosted and I've found it a little easier to work with.  So, farewell to amilewide on blogger.com and hello to amilewideandaninchdeep.wordpress.com.  Follow me over to the other side (or the bottom, or the top, or ... well, you get the picture).

10 August 2011

The Cat Scan

The Cat Scan
Wow. I stumbled across this site today and all I can say is: I want to do this! The problem is, I don't think any of my cats would cooperate by sitting/standing on the scanner long enough. If I didn't want them on it, they would be on it 24/7 but as soon as I ask them to do it, they will refuse just to be contrary. Such are cats ...

Speaking of cats, I recently read a wonderful book: Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper, about a remarkable cat who had to have his eyes removed at a very young age and therefore never learned to see. Despite this "handicap," Homer learned how to navigate his home, catch flies, climb EVERYTHING and make humans fall in love with him. Homer survives several moves, a flight from Miami to New York, 9/11 (living just blocks from Ground Zero) and his Mommy's marriage to a man who (supposedly) doesn't like cats.

25 June 2011

The Answer

As all good Douglas Adams fans know, the Answer to the Great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is 42.  Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of my 21st birthday, which means I have achieved the Answer ... and yet, I am no wiser than I was before.  So apparently, the Question itself is NOT "How old does one have to be to understand everything?"  Although, it could be "On which birthday should one eat immense quantities of cornbread and ollalliberry pie?" because the answer to that question is definitely 42. :)

I borrowed this photo from another website, but this is basically what my pie looked like last night :)

08 June 2011

Don't Quote Me on This ...

I haven't posted in ages; just another dry patch in my writing life, I guess.  I have been busy, though, if that's any excuse.  Work is done for the school year (yay!) but I am working a few hours a week doing some cataloging at Citrus College Library.  I've also been busy doing some long overdue spring cleaning in anticipation of my sister S's visit in a couple of weeks.  Today I sorted through a vast quantity of books and sold a few online to Powell's, with the rest going straight to the Goodwill donation center before I could change my mind!

While sorting and dusting and sneezing, I discovered my commonplace book: a small journal in which I have written quotes that spoke to me.  Since I can't think of anything exciting to write about, I'll share some of my favorite quotes on a variety of subjects:

NATURE
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. -- John Muir

I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more. -- John Burroughs

The world we are told was made especially for man, a presumption not supported by all the facts. -- John Muir

Extinction is not something to contemplate; it is something to rebel against. -- Jonathan Schell

There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. -- Aldo Leopold

WOMEN/MEN
A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. -- Jane Austen

Men build bridges and throw railroads across deserts, and yet they contend successfully that the job of sewing on a button is beyond them. -- Heywood Brown

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.  Luckily, this is not difficult. -- Charlotte Whitton

CATS
There is nothing so lowering to one's self-esteem as the affectionate contempt of a beloved cat. -- Monica Edwards

It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that whatever you say to them, they always purr. -- Lewis Carroll

BOOKS
Just the knowledge that a good book is waiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier. -- Kathleen Norris

Five years from now you will be pretty much the same as you are today except for two things: the books you read and the people you get close to. -- Charles Jones

A room without books is like a body without a soul. -- Cicero

Men may come and men may go, but books go on forever. -- Henry E. Huntington

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore? -- Henry Ward Beecher

HORSES
Far back, far back in our dark soul the horse prances. -- D. H. Lawrence

A lovely horse is always an experience ... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. -- Beryl Markham

I think the smell of horses is the most exciting smell in the world. -- Zilpha Keatley Snyder

FRIENDSHIP
True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice. -- Samuel Johnson

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

MISC.
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. -- Gertrude Stein

Nothing every seems interesting when it belongs to you -- only when it doesn't. -- Natalie Babbitt

It is a curious thing that people only ask if you are enjoying  yourself when you aren't. -- E. Nesbit

Don't Quote Me on This ...

I haven't posted in ages; just another dry patch in my writing life, I guess.  I have been busy, though, if that's any excuse.  Work is done for the school year (yay!) but I am working a few hours a week doing some cataloging at Citrus College Library.  I've also been busy doing some long overdue spring cleaning in anticipation of my sister S's visit in a couple of weeks.  Today I sorted through a vast quantity of books and sold a few online to Powell's, with the rest going straight to the Goodwill donation center before I could change my mind!

While sorting and dusting and sneezing, I discovered my commonplace book: a small journal in which I have written quotes that spoke to me.  Since I can't think of anything exciting to write about, I'll share some of my favorite quotes on a variety of subjects:

NATURE
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. -- John Muir

I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more. -- John Burroughs

The world we are told was made especially for man, a presumption not supported by all the facts. -- John Muir

Extinction is not something to contemplate; it is something to rebel against. -- Jonathan Schell

There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. -- Aldo Leopold

WOMEN/MEN
A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. -- Jane Austen

Men build bridges and throw railroads across deserts, and yet they contend successfully that the job of sewing on a button is beyond them. -- Heywood Brown

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.  Luckily, this is not difficult. -- Charlotte Whitton

CATS
There is nothing so lowering to one's self-esteem as the affectionate contempt of a beloved cat. -- Monica Edwards

It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that whatever you say to them, they always purr. -- Lewis Carroll

BOOKS
Just the knowledge that a good book is waiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier. -- Kathleen Norris

Five years from now you will be pretty much the same as you are today except for two things: the books you read and the people you get close to. -- Charles Jones

A room without books is like a body without a soul. -- Cicero

Men may come and men may go, but books go on forever. -- Henry E. Huntington

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore? -- Henry Ward Beecher

HORSES
Far back, far back in our dark soul the horse prances. -- D. H. Lawrence

A lovely horse is always an experience ... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. -- Beryl Markham

I think the smell of horses is the most exciting smell in the world. -- Zilpha Keatley Snyder

FRIENDSHIP
True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice. -- Samuel Johnson

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

MISC.
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. -- Gertrude Stein

Nothing every seems interesting when it belongs to you -- only when it doesn't. -- Natalie Babbitt

It is a curious thing that people only ask if you are enjoying  yourself when you aren't. -- E. Nesbit

25 April 2011

Ear, ear!

It's been an interesting month.  Basically, my right ear has been plugged up since April 1st and will be until May 12th (at least), which is when I finally have an appointment with an ENT. Health insurance is great but sometimes it's a pain in the (ear) getting to see a specialist.

What with the constant "Sorry, can you repeat that?" and vague feeling of disequilibrium (is that a real word?) I've not been feeling entirely up to par.  Throw in some rather dismal weather and the month of April hasn't been terribly exciting for me.

I did attend two fundraisers for The Second Race, despite suffering from an ear infection, which ended up netting over $5,000 to help the horses.  Hooray! I can now add to my resume "can set up and monitor a silent auction" and "can decorate tables with plastic jockey helmets and horse-shaped confetti."

To top it all off, one of my cats (Harry) has been sneezing; another (Pippin) has a swollen lip; and a third (Timothy) had an irritated eye -- all in the same week.  Do cats have allergies?  It would certainly make sense, considering that none of the three seemed particularly bothered by their afflictions and nothing nasty came out of anyone's orifices. Which is more than I can say for myself a few weeks ago ...

02 April 2011

Japanese Thunder

I know that I promised Japanese drummers and dancers earlier in the week but I have a very good excuse for being late.  No, really, I do!  I lay all the blame on whatever virus has invaded my head and caused me to spend the last 4 days in bed feeling like crap.  I haven't had a cold in a long time, so I'm not entirely surprised that this one is hitting me hard.  Blah.

But, as promised, here are the Japanese cultural delights.  Last Saturday was Tokyo City Cup Day at Santa Anita Park.  In conjunction with the running of the Tokyo City Cup race, they hold a Japanese cultural festival at the track, which is probably as close as I'll ever get to Japan.  It was especially poignant this year, coming just a few weeks after the earthquakes and tsunamis that devastated Japan.  Last year, there were traditional samurai horseback riders who performed, but they couldn't make it this year because the town they are from was hit hard by the disasters.

It was still a fun day of Japanese culture and food.  Earlier in the morning (which was Saturday night in the United Arab Emirates) Japanese horses ran 1-2 in the $10 million Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world.  At Santa Anita, there weren't any Japanese horses running but there were lots of performances by taiko drummers and folk dancers.

First, there was a performance by a small trio (which consisted of four people; they must have been reading too much Douglas Adams) of taiko drummers on the stage in front of the grandstand. You can only see three of them in the photo, but trust me, there were four.  I had trouble getting a good photo of them because we didn't realize they were there until they started playing and I had to squeeze in around a tall man with obnoxious elbows that kept getting in my way.
Trio of taiko drummers
 After that performance, we went to the festival area behind the grandstand to get something to eat but got distracted by these colorful dancers with huge lotus-flower headdresses.  The colors were incredibly vibrant and each dancer had a little pair of clackers in each hand, which they clacked in time to the (very slow and fluid) dance steps.
Crazy lotus-flower headdresses
I had some delicious chicken curry for lunch and two cups of iced barley tea (my sister decided that it tasted "funky" so I ended up with hers as well as mine) before we wandered back to the festival area to see some more dancers.

First there was a pair of dancers who were incredibly petite and reminded me of Japanese hobbits. :)  One carried a basket and the other had an oar or a cricket bat or something of that sort.  I'm sure there was a story behind their dance but I just enjoyed their precise, stylized movements and big smiles.

These dancers were so TINY and CUTE!


 The last group of dancers we saw wore red, purple and white outfits that, I'm sorry to say, immediately made me think of the Red Hat Society ladies.  They were very graceful, though, and their dance was reminiscent of the hula, with the hand movements and swaying hips.



Before and after the main race (the Tokyo City Cup) the L.A. Matsuri Taiko performed on the front stage.  They used two different drum configurations.  We had a better spot to view them this time and I took roughly a million photos.  If you've never seen or heard taiko drummers, it's something you really should do.  These drums are HUGE and you feel them as much as hear them, but not in that obnoxious way that you feel the bass from the car behind you at the stop light that is blasting out rap music from a crappy sound system.  The sound of the drums is such an organic sound; the drums are made of wood, metal and hides - all natural materials.  It's more like thunder or a rockfall ... something you'd hear in nature.

L.A. Matsuri Taiko drummers


The second drum configuration








This drummer looked like she was just having the BEST time!