Thursday, November 7, 2019

And Here We Go...

I have been plagued for awhile with failing and aging technology when it comes to writing in this blog. And also with writer's block and a few other issues, but lets focus on the tech problems for the moment.
The computer I have is over a decade old, and a far-geekier-than-I friend up and installed Linux on it which was not remotely user friendly imhop, although as I understand it, it is a far more stable platform than other operating systems out there - the Linux kernel is actually the underneath basis for Android phones! Mind blown.
Anyhow...I found the Linux less intuitive and cumbersome, but I was able to work around in it - the growing failures mechanically mounted up, as ports failed one by one, and - ahem - the, um, keyboard wound up staying attached to the screen by duct tape as the hinges let go.
Financially, getting a computer that actually ran well was problematic.
We have several times been seduced by incomparable LOW prices, only to discover that you actually can have a computer that doesn't have enough memory to support its own operating systems.
Not too mention you can grow mold and die of old age waiting for it to do anything.
Heck, the last one I'm pretty sure I was on my way to fossilization.
The old saw "You get what you pay for." remains true to this very day.
So at some point I do hope to get a computer that doesn't sing "If I only had a brain...", meanwhile a dear friend has come to my rescue with a Surface Notebook that she had grown out of.
It has its own quirks, evidently, and I'm sure I'll eventually find them all, heh.
But it runs up to speed, its NOT Linux empowered, glory hallelujah, and it's not held together with duct tape!
In fact at the moment the only real issue I'm having - and it's hilarious - is that this being a little notebook, the keyboard is likewise smaller than I'm used to, so I'm occasionally hitting the wood grain of the table, rather than, oh say, Tab or Enter or Shift. Pretty sure that knot in the wood grain up there isn't going to function as the backspace! The cats are looking at me rather funny!
However, a few days of typing on this will cure that as I get used to the new dimensions. I'm actually already doing much better than when I started this post. Nice!
Meanwhile, I actually am writing a blog post on this thing and it's actually working! I'm very happy with this!
So, tomorrow, my goal is to write another blog post. Well, okay, yes, its after midnight, so in the morning or maybe afternoon of today. The main point is to keep it going, and let the occasional missed days become the rarity rather than the norm.
I like my blog. I've missed it.
Its good to be back!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Turnips, Pumpkins and Jack'o'lanterns...

For this year's Jack'o'lantern, I carved...

A turnip. 

I know.
Say WHAT!?!?

Of course, jack'o'lanterns abound at this time of year, carved from the extremely versatile pumpkin. 

Pumpkins originated in the southern and central Americas, and their wonderful orange glow and often elaborately carved faces are synonymous with Halloween or Samhain here at this time of year.

But Halloween has roots in Samhain, the Celtic turning of the year in Ireland and they carved other root vegetables, primarily turnips.

It is believed that the custom of making jack-o'-lanterns at Hallowe'en time began in Ireland.
And turnips, hollowed out to act as lanterns and often carved with grotesque faces, were used on Halloween in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.

In these Gaelic-speaking regions, Halloween was also the festival of Samhain and was seen as a time when supernatural beings and the souls of the dead, walked the earth. Jack-o'-lanterns were also made at Halloween time in Somerset.

The lanterns were could represent either spirits or supernatural beings, or were used to ward off evil spirits; sometimes they were used by Halloween participants to frighten people.
Sometimes they were set on windowsills to keep harmful spirits out of one's home. 

So I am carving my little guardians from turnips as ancestors of mine likely did. 
So here is the Turnip Jack'o'lantern! 
We did not have trick-or-treaters 
this Halloween.  We very, rarely do. 
Most of them go out of the neighbhood to other venues, like trunk-or-treat at local churches. However, we always have some treats and a jack'o'lantern up and are prepared.
But hopefully everyone
had a wonderful, safe Halloween or Samhain, and Blessed Be!
And dang, but I think that unlit black and white photograph below of the little jack'o'lantern turned out spooky!

Friday, November 1, 2019

A tree is a living being...
In Autumn, it does not die. 
Rather, it goes through a cycle of change, that includes resting. To rest, it must step back from the heightened energy expense of storing its food over the summer, and let extraneous things go, like the leaves.  If the tree tried to maintain it's leaves through its downtime, it would exhaust the tree and weaken it, using up more energy and food than it can store. 
We are blessed by the fact that as the trees go through this cycle, we see such colors as cannot be imagined. These are actually the real true colors of the leaves. When the leaves are doing their busy summer job of collecting food and energy for the tree, they are green because they are full of chlorophyll, which gathers nutirents from the sunlight. When the tree seeks out its dormant rest and renewal time, the chlorophyll is drawn back into the tree as the sap drops, leaving the actual scarlet and gold and orange colors of the leaves.
The leaves then are shed, so that the living being of the tree does not have to maintain them while it dreams and restores itself though winter.
I think that one of the greatest tragedies of our busy, artificially lit, insanely paced, madcap culture, is that we have lost totally the idea of introspection and rest, letting go and renewal. 
And unfortunately, the speed of modern day life so often will not allow us to slow down and take the time for ourselves that is so desperately needed.
No wonder we are so often strained and exhausted. We don't follow the natural path of the seasons, we don't slow down, we don't contemplate, rest, let go, meditate, renew, like the great trees around us.
What are things we could do, driven by time clocks and electric lighting and commercialization though we are, to create time for self care, for rest, for the deep needed introspection to recreate ourselves whole again?
Food for thought.