Sunday, February 17, 2019


Saw two turkey vultures today. This was right after I picked up my tax return paperwork and shortly after I spent a vigorous 30 minutes shoveling out my car with an ice scraper. I'd parked on an icy curb. The sun warmed the ice and the car sunk and then I couldn't get out. Stuck. Dug out around the tires with the trusty ice scraper.

The vulture was in the road, and I thought it was a turkey. I've never seen a turkey in the city before. I saw it on my way to my accountant, and it was still there when I came back. That's when I saw it was a vulture, not a turkey. I've never seen a vulture in the city either.

So I turned around to take a good look. It was eating a dead squirrel, fresh roadkill. A car came and the vulture hopped up onto the snowbank. Then it flapped it's black wings and swooped up to a rooftop. What big wings. That's when I saw the second vulture. It was up on the roof.

The last time I saw vultures was out west last May. I remember one morning at Mesa Verde. I drove up there in the dark and was there at the rim when the sun came up. As it got light, I saw black blobs in the Douglas firs. I thought they were plastic bags. It got lighter and I saw they were sleeping turkey vultures. About 20 of them, maybe more. One by one they rustled, flapped, resettled, hopped around, and swooped to a new branch. Douglas firs can grow to be 200-300 feet tall. The firs and vultures were just below me, between the ruins and me. I was the only person there. I just sat on the rock rim and watched the light, the vultures, and the ruins.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

eye strain

Eye strain?

Close your eyes and rest. Several times a day, stop and cup your hands. Place them over your closed eyes. Breathe in health. 

Blink often. Try an herbal tincture from your local herbalist or health food store. Eyebright orally or in a compress. Cut back on screen time. Get enough sleep.

Self-Reiki. be well ~

4 corners

Acceded to peer requests and gave a talk at work yesterday. I talked about my travels around the 4 corners. I had PowerPoint slides of photos, stones, and a stack of books.

This is what I told them.

First I plan. That is some of the fun. I choose my flights, rent a car, and find little motels. TripAdvisor is great for finding motels. I make lists of museums, bookstores, restaurants, rock shops, and hikes. I research petroglyph and pictographs. I plan to drive about 4 hours/day. It takes me about 8 hours to do a 4-hour drive because I love to stop and explore. I plan days with my son and DIL.

I pack light. One carry-on whether it's one week or three.

I take the bus to Logan airport in Boston and fly to Salt Lake City, Denver, Albuquerque, or Phoenix. I rent a car and head to the first motel. I stop at a grocery store for jugs of water and bags of snacks.

Every morning I get up before dawn and head to a spectacular spot for sunrise. I hike til noon. I take lots of pictures. When it gets hot, early afternoon, I go to a museum, bookstore, thrift store, or a rock shop. Then I head back to the motel for a shower and a meal. I rinse my clothes in the shower. Some days I drive, stop to explore, and sleep in a new motel. Sometimes I stay at one motel for several days, as I explore the area. I get coffee from the motel lobby in the afternoon or evening, and stick it in the car for the morning. Sometimes the lobby has books to trade.

I like independent bookstores, and look for local biographies. I like farmer's markets, grocery stores, and botanical gardens. I don't like crowds; I despise tourists. I recognize the irony. I like wild animals: antelope, elk, horses, turkeys, vultures, hawks, coyotes, and rabbits. I like flowers, lakes, sunrises and sunsets, cacti, ruins, arches, and easy hikes. I like to look up the altitude and the humidity wherever I am. I like to be alone in nature. I like to chat with people I encounter. Narrow ledges, steep drop-offs, and narrow steep windy roads are scary.

So that's what I told them, as I showed them gorgeous photos of some of my favorite places: national parks, ruins, and petroglyphs of our 4 corners. Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Already planning my trip for this summer.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Educational models

I've been reading about the difference between teaching at a university, a community college, and a for-profit school. Also related topics: tenure, academic freedom, use of adjuncts, endowments, government subsidies, tuition, retention, student loans, and employment after graduation. And important topic for nursing education: NCLEX pass rates.

The model for higher education in the United States is shifting from the university, research-based, government-subsidized, tenured faculty, lecture format to a revenue-focused business with packaged online courses taught by interchangeable adjuncts. The US Department of Education supports for-profits, and has rolled back student protections implemented by the Obama administration. Interesting times in higher education.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Speedy, Sniffly, and Sneezy

True friends check on you politely, laugh at your jokes and make you laugh too, and give you space when you need it.

A friend stopped in to my office today. She was having trouble making videos and needed help. She's been out of work for a few days with back pain. She knew I'd be in my office on a Saturday.

So she asked why the sound is all messed up. Too fast. I showed her how to check the speed setting. She backed away when she heard my sneezes and sniffles. I hab a code. She pulled her coat up over her mouth and nose. Just eyes showing. Kept asking questions.

I asked about her back. She said her back hurt so she walked funny so now her knee hurts. I asked if she has access to a pool. She said No. I suggested yoga. She said she tried it twice and threw up both times.

Barfy, Limpy, Speedy, Sniffly, and Sneezy. 

Monday, December 17, 2018


If you accidentally turn off the touchpad and your laptop becomes a Brick there is a way to fix it. I know because I spent an hour with Brick and my backup notebook researching websites and pressing buttons. Brick or PaperWeight, you pick. It was useless. I tried to navigate with the arrows but kept getting stuck. In the end it was simple: Fn and F6. All those little buttons along the top actually do something.

PS: If you accidentally turn off your camera while you're trying to turn on your touchpad its Fn F8. Different on every keyboard, of course. Look at the little icons.