Archive for October, 2007

A Great Halloween Photo

October 31, 2007

Ghost Head Nebula


NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day has a great Halloween photo–the Ghost Head Nebula. The site also puts in an interesting historically context.


Happy Halloween, I guess

October 31, 2007

I have been less and less a fan of Halloween over the past few years. Somewhere along the way, it has become less of a fun time for the kids and more of a celebration of the gross and the disgusting for adults.

However, this house in West Virginia looks like a good old fashioned Halloween to me. 3,000 carved pumpkins are displayed each year. The owner figures he has had over 25,000 shown at his 115 year old Victorian house since 1978. I wonder what it smells like?

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Laughing–Until You Can’t Breathe

October 29, 2007

Last night, I was reading a story from the Fulghum book. If you have the book, it’s Chapter 46–a story about culture differences between America and Crete customs. As I read the story, first I grinned, then smiled. The smile turned into a laugh. Wendy said, “OK, what’s so funny?” As a began reading the story, the laugh turned into laughing fit. It was hard to breathe. Just looking at a word or two and anticipating what would happen next would start the laughing all over again. Finally, I just had to put the book down for a while.

It was a good story, but it really wasn’t all that funny. I think that I started laughing at me laughing. It became circular–I would laugh at the story, then laugh at myself because of the laughter.

It’s good to laugh. Even if you can’t breathe.

By the way, the story’s theme is about laughter–Cretan laughter–Asbestos Gelos–Fireproof laughter.  The closing lines of the story:  “”Unquenchable laughter.  Invincible laughter.  And the Cretans say that he who laughs, lasts.  And they have been around a long, long time.”

What on Earth Have I Done?

October 26, 2007

I started reading Robert Fulghum’s latest book, What’s on Earth Have I Done. So far, I’m enjoying it. He uses several thought-provoking questions that he calls Mother Questions because he heard them from his mother so often–“What on earth have you done?”, “What in the name of God are you doing?”, “What will you think of next?” and the final question, “Who do you think you are?”

While these questions are usually made as statements, not questions, Fulghum writes that when we ask these questions of ourselves, they are the ultimate questions of accountability. We need to make an assessment of what we have done with our stewardship on earth, how we have behaved in the spiritual/moral realm, and we must be aware of the need to keep learning. When we answer the first three questions, we will be able to answer the last question–we will know who we are.

Wild Animals

October 24, 2007

I saw this bear on my way to the Central Library at lunch today. I guess the fires have chased the wildlife into the city.

“We are our memories.”

October 24, 2007

Yesterday on the Dennis Prager Show, when discussing the local fires, Dennis said, “We are our memories.”  He mentioned that one of the first things evacuating families take with them are the family photos.  Not only are the photos irreplaceable, they are symbols of who and what we are.  He said, “Even though the photos may not have been looked at in years, they are still the first things taken.”

In the past 4 years, we have had fires close to our neighborhood 3 times.  Each time, our family photos and journals are the first things we think of protecting.

I agree with Dennis.  We are our memories.  And in the past year, I’ve learned how important those memories are.

Wednesday’s Fire News

October 24, 2007

When I left the house this morning, there were no winds and the only thing in the sky was stars.  Hopefully, the fire problems are over for us.

San Diego County is the place that needs our prayers.  Close to 1 million people had to be evacuated from there homes.  More than 1000 homes have been destroyed.   Hopefully, the change of weather will help the firefighters get the fires under control.

Tuesday’s Fire Update

October 23, 2007

Not only is the smoke from the fires filling up Simi Valley, it is blowing hundreds of miles out to sea.  Check out the NASA site here for information regarding this photo.

Fire Update

October 22, 2007

The wind blew hard all night. The air quality in Simi Valley is bad enough that the school district has canceled school tomorrow for the students, but not the teachers. So Wendy will have a quiet day at school tomorrow.

The photos above are the first taken with my new camera. The 2 daylight photos show the smoke cloud to the north and to the west of our house. The night shot was taken at sunset of the smoke tonight.

Close to 500,000 have had to leave their homes in San Diego County. Green Valley Lake, where my family had a cabin, is burning so bad they had to evacuate the firefighters. They won’t know what the fires did until sunrise tomorrow.

Fires, Again

October 21, 2007

View to the north

View to the southwest

The Santa Ana winds started blowing last night and blew hard all night long. There are nearby fires and the skies to the north are full of smoke. It is 2:37 p.m. and here is where there are fires right now: Santa Rosa Valley (Camarillo), Malibu, Castaic, Agua Dulce, Placerita Canyon, Chatsworth, and Fontana. Because the winds are so high, they are having a difficult time fighting some of the fires from the air. The water or retardant just blows away. Hopefully, the winds will calm down and the firefighter will be able to do their work.

This is quite a way to celebrate our 11th anniversary of moving to Simi Valley.  We got the key to the house 11 years ago today.