Saturday, June 30, 2007

The 'star' was there, but the others stole the show

Miss K come over tonight for a spur-of-the-moment dinner. The rule was I had to make dinner with whatever I had...I couldn't go to the store to buy anything. So we had a yummie dinner of chicken, fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and spinach and a so sweet cantelope. Mint pear-ginger sun tea and white wine rounded out the meal with a smile. Then we were off to our event of the night - a visit to our town's riparian preserve for 'astronomy night'.

Now, the whole purpose of this evening was to 'stretch out of our box' and do something different. Also, as you know by now, tonight was the rising of the Full Strawberry Moon...and I so wanted to see its ascent into the night sky. We got there as the sun was slipping behind the mountain range and dusk was bading good-bye to the day. A family of ducks took to the pond; greeting each other as they waded towards the marsh grasses. Behind us was an actual telscopic dome; a little round building with a dome that moves 360 degrees for an optimal view of the celestial sky. There were two telescopes set up; one big one inside, and a small one outside. They were both pointed to the low western horizon. The naked eye saw a bright object - Venus - at this point, but when one stepped up onto the step stool and peered inside the black eyepiece of the telescope, this is what was viewed...

that's right........ SATURN!!!



I was stunned! I, literally, couldn't believe my eyes!! It was white..a solid white...and the rings around it were white, too! But it was distinct - a planet surrounded by rings. Venus was there, too. A brilliant, white half-moon shape. But it was Saturn that left me at a loss for words. When we first were looking at these two planets, only Venus was visible to the naked eye. But as dusk gave way to night, a very small, very faint pinpoint of light began to glow just up and oh, so slightly to the right of Venus. (about the '1:00' position). Yes, yes, it was true... I was looking at Venus and Saturn. I must have looked 6 different times through the telescope to see Saturn again and again... it was stunning. We've all read about Saturn, seen the pictures, etc. But to actually see the rings!!??!!


The Full Strawberry Moon announced her arrival with a warm, orange-rust glow beforehand. Soon, she peeked her cheeks above the horizon and rose in full body for all of us to 'ohh' and 'ahh' over. There were more people there than I had expected and it seemed that everyone was whipping out their cell phone camera to take a picture of this beauty. I brought my SRL camera, along with my telephoto lens, and my digital camera...but true confession time... I have no clue how to use my fancy-dancy camera!! I tried one shot, but I'll have to get the film developed to see what I managed to capture. (Yes, this is a FILM camera ... remember those??). This shot is from my digital and I got a decent on on my cell as well.

But wait! There's more!

We also were treated to a view of Jupiter... that's right... JUPITER and I got to see the 4 Galileo moons hanging below this massive orb. They were beautiful! And I could see a red-orange stripe running around the planet. Wow!! After some calculations and moving of the dome of the building, we were treated to a view of M-57 - a stellar nebula - a star that exploded leaving particles and debris hanging in space. It looked like a gray smoke ring hanging there in the dark. So very cool!

The two scottish gentlemen hosting this evening's viewing were full of grand information that really impressed me....did you know that the moon moves away from the Earth 4.5 centimeters every year?? There are 3 laser reflectors on the moon (left from 'moon' missions) which scientists shoot lasers to in order to figure out distance, etc. The famed 'beetleguise' star is found as the upper left shoulder in the constellation 'Orion' (one of my favorite).

This night was so incredible! I am so glad that I did something that I've wanted to do for such a long time, but just never did. Miss M said she would like to go, so next week we'll return. The night sky shows are free and held every Friday and Saturday nights... yeah!! Tomorrow night, just after the sun has set, look above the horizon to the west and you'll see a bright object. That's Venus. Wait for the rest of the daylight to slip away, and look just above and to the right of Venus. You'll see a tiny little white dot. That's Saturn. You'll be looking at Saturn.

Did you catch that?? You'll be looking at Saturn!


Illuminating Orb

Did you peek at it last night? It was brilliant. And will be even more so tonight. Tonight you will be seeing, not just the full moon, but the Full Strawberry Moon. It actually becomes that at 9:49 a.m. this morning, but the show will be at sunset tonight. That's when this orb of brilliance and mystery begins her nightly roll across a field of midnight blue.

Every full moon has a name - did you know that? Names for the full moons date back to Native Americans who lived in the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Even though there are some variations in the names, they are generally the same ones that were used by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. The European settlers continued the custom and created some of their own names. Because a lunar month is only 29 days, the dates of the full moon shift from year to year, so you have to check the dates out for the new year.

Tonight, we will be looking at the Full Strawberry Moon; the name for the full moon of June. This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe; however, in Europe they called it the 'Rose Moon.' Also, because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June, the full moon that occurs during this month was christened for the strawberry.

There is much lore regarding this celestial body. Much of it passed on by the Native Americans who respected and revered Mother Earth and the universe. One of the best books that pays tribute to this is called 13 moons on Turtle's Back - a wonderful children's book that explains the history of how names for full moons came to be. (even though it's a children's book, it satisfies the adult quest to know more!) A quick 'google' on the internet brings all sort of sites with a wealth of wonderful information about the moon! Did you know that the light from the moon takes about 1 1/2 seconds to reach Earth?
I have been in awe and simply fascinated by the moon since I was a little girl. My brother had a telescope and we'd look at the moon and be thrilled with how much you could see - the shadows, the craters the brilliant moon shine! When I was in 4th grade, I was going to be an astronaut and fly there! Instead, I became a teacher and landed in Arizona, but I have never lost my love and admiration for this beauty.
A friend and I have just made plans to go to our town library tonight. They have a amazing riparian preserve AND a telescope/astronomy center. Tonight, they will be featuring viewing of the full moon and several planets that are in their glory. K is coming over for a throw- together dinner, then we're heading over to view the sky! I can't wait! So tonight, grab your binoculars, your camera, your telescope, your loved one, your iced tea, your cat - anything! - and find a place to watch the moon make her entrance onto the night stage. It's a show that I never get tired of seeing!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

When it's 112 degrees outside....

It really was 112 degrees today. Brutal. So to cool off, I watched this little gem of a sacred place to me. This was taken last summer and is of a thunderstorm moving over the rim. I'm going back there next month. I can hardly wait. Ahhh....

Monday, June 25, 2007

That Naughty Rabbit!

Oh Pe-tah!

Tonight, the book club ladies assembled here for a cinematic celebration of that wonderful artist and author, Beatrix Potter. Kelly and I had wanted to see the movie 'Beatrix Potter' when it first came out several months ago, but our schedules just didn't seem to mesh so that we could. So when it came out in DVD, we jumped at the thought of having a movie night here! I eagerly unpacked and set out all of my Beatrix Potter items, and there are many! I've been a fan of hers for over 20 years, and when dear Miss M was born, her nursery was done entirely in Beatrix Potter/Peter Rabbit! I crossed-stitched a blanket, a birth sampler a pillow and a room sign all in this delightful theme! It really was a dream come true to welcome her in this enchanted world of bunnies and charm!

So tonight, we assembled with food (we don't ever assemble without food!) and let the good time begin! Above, you see Peter checking out a new drink that I made in honor of our evening.

I named it 'Naughty Rabbit"...and it was quite a hit! Here's the recipe:

Naughty Rabbit

2 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. carrot juice
splash of triple sec
splash of vodka
diet 7-up
whipped cream

Pour pineapple juice and carrot juice in glass. Add triple sec and vodka. Stir. Fill glass with 7-up. Stir gently.
Top off with whipped cream (da bunny's tail!).

*You can make this delicious drink without the alcohol, if you choose. If you make it without, then you call it a "Bad Bunny".

Of course, no celebration of Ms. Potter's talent (and that impetuous bunny) would be complete without carrot cake! Ms. Kelly did
Peter proud with a beautiful carrot cake from Paradise Bakery... get a load of this decadence! Somehow, dessert just seemed to be the favorite tonight. Must be the carrots!
The movie was purely delightful, and critics who panned it don't know bunnies about portraying Ms. Potter! I could easily see it again, and I learned so much about her that I had never known! Simply delightful!
I'm off to put the books, the baby blanket, the pillow, the figurines...and all the other collectibles away. Then bedtime for this bunny.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The 'Cat' Days of Summer


And Gambit has found just the place to spend his hot summer days (and nights!).

M's bathroom sink. Cool. Curved. Quiet. The perfect place for a cool cat. (he was awoken by Miss Sadie when she visited the other weekend. She flipped on the bathroom light...and there he was! Get a load of those 'bedroom eyes'.

So, what does one do when the thermometer reaches 113 degrees??
Why, run around doing errands and shopping, of course!! I'm having a 'spa party' here tomorrow (if you EVER get a chance to try out the line of the natural products by SENSARIA, doooo!!! You'll have to restrain yourself from eating the cherry-almond body lotion and butter!) So, today was spent going to multi-places to get just the right things for munchies and such. I did manage to make time for myself and do something good for myself today (shock, I know...). I got a massage from my wonderful masseuse, Dianne. I've gone to her for about 5 years, after chiropractor visits didn't do the trick. She worked on clearing cogestion in my head, neck, shoulders and lower back...and I am sore! But it's a good sore and I feel so much better! It really is the best medicine for a chronic thing that I have going on with that area. I've hosed down the front of the house, dug up some aloe vera so that the 'cable guy' has a good access to that part of the house and I've made some veggie artichoke dip for tomorrow. This was my view as I chopped, mixed and sampled.
I have a few more things to do tonight, then I'll be all set for tomorrow.
What are your plans for this weekend?
...and what 'good thing for you' have you done for yourself lately?? hmmm?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ebb and Flow

be it good or seems to be around us.
I apparently ordered a 'super-size' order of the bad, for the last week has been a rather trying one... a combination of odd events that all piled up lead to one big heap... such as:
- the erroneous assumption and subsequent activities by someone on the internet to bring discord my way
- learning of the death of an aquaintance's husband. I'm not easily, truly 'shocked'. This time I was...and in truth, still am. I still am.
- still trying to take better care of my health and turn this situation around so that I feel better
- further acceptance of the dissolution of what was to be forever
- for some 'little girl' reason, missing my mom more than usual
...... and a few other things
I woke up yesterday unable to move my head to the neck felt so pulled! After taking a few minutes to breathe and listen carefully to my body, I realized that my whole upper back, my shoulders from one side to the other and up the back of my neck into my head are just racked in pain! I mean to the point that I feel like I am carrying a bag of rocks in those areas. I feel like my head, my sinuses, my eyes are congested. Maybe stress has settled into me? I called up the place where I get theraputic massages and I made an appointment for Friday afternoon....for 1 1/2 hours worth of work on this bod o' mine. I have a little get-together planned on Satuday, so I will clean house Friday morning and then go get, literally!, worked on!
But with the crash of waves, calm ripples follow.
As I drove to pick up Miss M from work last night, I took a look to the southern sky. There, in it's big arched stage, was the constellation Scorpio.... just as magnificent as ever! And this guy wasn't alone.... I believe it was Venus that was saddling up to its left, like a scorpion holding a flashlight. Looking at this creation instantly sends me up the highway to that little corner of Earth that smiles for me, for many a night I have silently held the night forest in my stare out my bedroom window, with Scorpio as my companion for whatever gift the forest offers out of its inky density. To my right, the cresent-slivered moon slowly fell to the Earth; starting out luminiscent and creamy...only to blush as she slipped below horizon's cloak.
Five days of school left, then I'll REALLY be on vacation! Sprinkler systems slowly being resolved, and the facade of England and the mountain forests coming back to life again (in a desert climate that is hitting 111 degrees today)! Bills all paid. Gas in my car. Food in my kitchen. My children are healthy. A job that I adore and which enriches me beyond. Friends that I love and cherish and am so dang blessed to have!
the tides are receeding and gifts are at my feet....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Did someone say par-tay?

Apparently so! An inpromptu (so to speak) evening was pulled together last night for the ya-ya's - from here and from Prescott! Miss S drove the oh, so cute! Honey-of-a-car down the hill for a wonderful weekend of merriment and gal pals! She arrived looking cute as a bug and us ya-ya's, doing what we know how to do best, had prepared a feast!

Um... a bit of a side note here...

My ya-ya's and I REALLY do know how to throw a feast! We've found that the best way to do it is to just bring whatever we all feel like bringing...and it works! This picture only shows part of the spread. We had humus, pitas, pita chips, artichoke spread, wonderful veggies crudettes, a salad of basil, mozzarella and pearl tomatoes, chocolate covered almonds, 3 kinds of sorbets, fresh strawberries, raspberries, yummy homemade chicken salad served on buttery croissants, melt-in-your-mouth lemon cookies in the shape of hearts, a truly devine antipasto, carrot cake, coffee and of course... cosmopolitans! ... no one ever goes home hungry from this gig....

It was a wonderful evening of women spirits and TRUE enlightenment. (um.. I seem to always learn something new that I never expected.... (rolls eyes over towards N's direction!) Pathways, directions, purpose, family, connections, laughs, spirits.... I am always amazed at the power of these women... they are loving, strong, tender, kind, nurturing, honest, forthright and so very, very giving....

....and ready to PAR-TAY!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

My Motto - Apparently

"Don't f*&k with a 50-year-old woman going through a divorce..."

It seems of late that that is my motto....

like it or not....

case in point... my hair....

It's been driving me crazy...dry, limp and falling out in clumps. Partly, I tell myself, because I quit taking my thyroid medicine about 2 months ago. Oh no...not because my doctor told me to quit taking it...but simply because I ran out and never made MYSELF A PRIORITY on my list of things to do during the last month of school. I could just kick myself! I made sure all my bases were covered at work, at home, with my students, with my daughter, my son, my flippin' dog and cats...

but myself???

nope. Couldn't find the time to call in my refill and go pick it up.

And I have dearly paid the price for it.

But back to the scissors.

I have been 'done' with my hair for several weeks now. And of course, my appointment for my next 'do' isn't for another 10 days. I can't make it that long. I'm already past my optimal 'tough it out' point. So I called my hairdresser on my way to work this morning. Hoping to get in in the next couple of days.


........ she's on vacation.

So what is one to do? Fight with hair that looks like shit and walk out of the house feeling like the ugliest person in town? Again? Find another hair dresser for a quick cut and then try to explain THAT one to your regular gal whom you love and adore?? Wait another week or so until your gal is back in town...and by then you might as well just wait a couple of more days for your appointment that you've had for the last 6 weeks...(refer back to the 'ugliest person' comment above).


Just do the job yourself.

So, I did. My tools of the trade were my kitchen scissors and my kitchen my mirror.

The result is a short, sassy do - that will do just fine!

Like so many other things (and people) over the last 6 months have learned...

you just don't f*&(*k with a 50-year-old woman going through a divorce...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pretty in Pink!


for a friend...

from a friend....

Friday, June 01, 2007

You're 16, you're beautiful... and you're mine!

"mom.... there's someone outside!" (daughter in hushed tone)


"out front.... I saw someone go by the front... I think they're at the door" (fear now rising in daughter's voice)

(I look down to see shadows moving around the door....then I notice red and blue strips across the door window)

"uh...honey... I think it's your friends.... decorating for you birthday. They're trying to surprise you!"

Yup... the Magster turned sweet 16 this week, and her friends made sure the sun kissed her congratulations that morning! So the night before, said friends used the cover of darkness to transform the plain and mundane into a party palace!

Apparently, my daughter's friends consider her
....lovely..... just lovely...
The 'perps' were then welcomed in for some ice cream and laughs...

Mag had a great birthday with her friends, movie, pizza and all of the birthday trappings.

Her friends amaze me...

I am grateful to them...for they take good care of her and have never let her down.

That means the world to a mother....

Happy birthday, my dear Magpie....