Hey Big Spender!

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Environment | 9 Comments

Christie explores a modern dilemma: is time saved actually time well spent?

The whole idea started when I was standing at my kitchen sink washing a badly blistered finger and cursing enough to make Snoop Dog blush. I had spent 30 minutes yanking the pull rope on my gas mower. The grass grew another half-inch while I over-exerted myself, sweat stinging my eyes and puffs of blue-reeking smoke burning my lungs. Enough! Gas mowers are supposed to save you time and effort. I dragged the dying beast to the curb, wrote “FREE” on a piece of cardboard and went inside to clean my wounds. The truck pulled up while I was at the sink. Sayonara El Toro.

I was not quite prepared for the clothes dryer to give a screech and die. Shall I buy another? Or shall I try and do without another time-saving machine of post-modern living?

It was about this time that friends passed along a wonderful read, Drinking The Rain written by Alix Kates Shulman. Ms. Shulman writes about her life and of her self-imposed exile to an extremely basic Maine Coast cabin. After a particularly stressful and difficult visit to the local store for food supplies she muses on “saving time/time-saving.” Her muse visited me. If I am saving time, who and what am I saving it for? Can time actually be saved? If you have been following the progression of quantum physics from string to membrane (or brane) theory to parallel universes you know we could go a lot of places with these questions. Read more

Back to School

Filed Under All Posts, Environment, Family, Melissa Howden | 12 Comments

Photo by M.A. Howden

Photo by M.A. Howden

In the waning days of summer, Melissa Howden ponders the markers of time.

I heard on the radio today that here in Northern New Mexico we always know school will be starting when the sunflowers bloom. Sure enough the sunflowers are at their peak, and the school buses just started rolling.

As a child my seasons were pretty much “school” and “summer”. I happened to be a child who liked school, but I also loved summer. Now as an adult who does not have children, thus the markers of the beginning and the end of the school year—my seasons tend to mush together which in some ways I think creates the sensation of time speeding up.

I do find myself longing for more specific touchstones in the year. Recently I visited my niece and nephew. The days of my visit coincided the last days Emily’s summer. As a result I was gifted with some summer nostalgia as we lolled about in the swimming pool eating popsicles, and picked out new tennis shoes for school (in this case we designed high tops online). Emily went back and forth to the neighbors Slip n’ Slide and sleepovers, squeezing one in for each remaining day of the summer. But even as we slept in, and went for mani-pedis, the lazy days of summer were being squeezed out with the start of soccer practice and the posting of her class lists and teacher assignments coming hand-in-hand with the promise of early mornings, car pooling and homework. Read more

Winds of Change

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Environment, Group Posts | 5 Comments

Sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy

Sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy

When we decided to write about change, I didn’t realize how omnipresent it was. It’s everywhere. Change pricks up my ears and engages my senses.

The artist Andy Goldsworthy comes to mind. I recently re-watched his documentary Rivers and Tides to inspire my chemo flow visualizations. His creations are often ephemeral; captured in time, mostly by photographs or film. His work consists of painstaking ice sculptures that melt away; bursts of colored rock powders that disappear into thin air; leaves held together by fragile twigs which flow down a river, shaped by the rocks, shaped by the river, shaped by the rain.

The weather is warm in California. It’s February and the trees are confused. Magnolias are blooming and my pedicure is seeing the light of day. Biologists document the disappearance of a butterfly in the Bay Area.

I’m seeing change in my urban life as well. Read more

Looking Up and Down

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Environment | 6 Comments

A false-color view of the Cartwheel Galaxy

A false-color view of the Cartwheel Galaxy

Maybe things will start to look up here on earth if we each could spend a little time looking up.  Professor Andrea Ghez of UCLA Galactic Center Group has been looking up for a long time.  She is developing high spatial resolution imaging techniques to see things in our galaxy and far out into space previously not visible with traditional imaging technology.  Her work in observing space at infrared wavelengths may well prove the hypothesis that there is a massive black hole at the center of our galaxy.  Don’t panic, we still have a few billion years in which to come up with a Plan B.  Read more

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Beware of Hippie-Toothpaste-Squeezing Terrorists

Filed Under All Posts, Environment, Prudence Baird, Travel | 6 Comments

The middle aged mom and her long-haired teenaged son snaked their way through the security line at Bob Hope International.  A short, dark haired woman stuffed into her TSA uniform bellowed, “Gels and liquids to the left!  Everyone else, straight!”

The mom heaved their overnight bag onto the examination table, unzipped it, and presented the regulation zip-locked baggie to TSA II, a grizzled man with spectacles flecked with bits of skin and lint.  He gripped it between latexed finger and thumb and examined the tiny shampoo bottle from a long-forgotten hotel and the almost empty tube of Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry Toothpaste for Kids, crumpled and rolled within an inch of its life.  Read more

Hunting, Gathering and Investing

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Environment | 6 Comments

Kiva entrepreneur Sony Yoem of Cambodia

Kiva entrepreneur Sony Yoem of Cambodia

Indian Summer has arrived on the great northern plains; the days are golden and warm. There are many hypotheses for the origin of the time of the year known as “Indian Summer.” The one I like best describes the sudden reappearance of warm sunny days after the first frost when native North Americans gathered in their corn and squash for the coming winter.

Fall is a reflective time and this year I am prompted to consider my New Year’s resolution and see how well I have done with my year of secondhand living. I did buy a new top from Target in August. The one I was wearing bore the results of a “missing mouth with coffee cup” accident in my office and I had a client meeting that afternoon. Apart from that I have bought no new clothes, no new shoes, no new things for the house. Read more

Fauna v. Flora

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Environment, Politics | 6 Comments

My garden is in bloom and I am planning my annual adventure into growing my own food. Last year I luxuriated in my homegrown tomatoes until I worked out that each bite of plump juicy red flesh had cost about $3.14; I could have bought a pound of locally grown for about $2. The rabbits that have taken up residence under the deck enjoyed most of my other horticultural efforts. They decapitated tulips, bit into squash, trashed ferns after deciding they really didn’t like the taste and gnawed the Hostas down to the flora version of bloody stumps. This year will be different.

Rabbits in your yard are cute. Rabbits in my yard are a national threat and I need to take appropriate action. Read more

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