Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Solstice!

I know I have posted this poem before, but I love it, so I am posting it again (this time with the correct credits!).

The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

As they say in Revels: Welcome Yule!

I will be off to California tomorrow morning for a few family gatherings and the wonderful camp Harmony -- there's no better way to bid farewell to the old year and bring in the new. Happy Solstice, and, if I don't post again before then, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Even my eyes are perfectionists...

I had my first eye exam in... well, ever, I think... today and let me tell you, I came out extremely thankful for my good vision (20/15 to be precise, and yes, I'm gloating a bit). The whole process was utterly fascinating, from checking out the crazy apparatus with all the lenses and dials that they make you look through (like some torture device from a sci-fi novel), to the bright yellow numbing eye-drops (when I saw that my drip-catching tissue was bright yellow I immediately asked if I could check out my eyes in the mirror to see if they had changed color [they had a bit, but not dramatically]).

And then she dilated my pupils and I had the strangest experience of all. It was totally bizarre to "watch" my vision deteriorate as the dilating drops took effect, and to gradually have my vision get blurrier and blurrier. I got up out of the chair and just started walking around the room looking at things, trying to read labels or distinguish details, and then going back to the same things a few minutes later to find that they were unintelligible. (Pretty much the opposite of Graham's experience after LASIK.) It was like my brain was playing tricks on me -- I would try to focus my eyes like I always do, but they just wouldn't focus, and things remained obstinately blurry. I pretty much retained my distance vision throughout, but my near vision was abysmal. The whole thing served to make me a hundred times more thankful that I was already that I was blessed with good vision and that I don't have to deal with fuzzy edges on a regular basis. Oh, and I was also happy to find that I am not far-sighted, there are no other problems with my eyes, and I don't need to have another checkup for a good number of years. Hooray! :)

After my exam, I stopped by the bike shop downtown to purchase new brake pads. (Since I haven't yet managed to get my bike to a shop, I figured I should try bringing the shop to the bike.) I asked a guy behind the counter for help, since I wasn't sure exactly what I needed... and then, as he started laying my options out on the counter, realized that I would have to explain to him that I couldn't actually read any of the product information, since I couldn't focus my eyes on anything. He was amused, and very nicely helped me out (after making eye contact and remarking, "Wow, your pupils are huge!"). So now I have new brake pads to put on my bike -- hooray! Hopefully I will be riding to work again come the new year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Catching up

'Tis the season for a number of things, one of which seems to be catching up with friends I haven't seen in a while. This week has been wonderfully full of planned, spur-of-the-moment, and chance encounters with people I haven't seen in some time, and it's been great! Paul came over on Tuesday and chopped vegetables for a veggie pot pie; DeMara came over on Thursday and showed me pictures of the house she just bought (woohoo!!); on Friday I was on campus at PSU and spontaneously decided to knock on Virginia's door and see if she was there -- and she was, and we had a nice catch-up chat; and this morning I ran into Lisa as I was walking down the Park Blocks to the farmers market.

I am now munching my last morsel of Maine maple candy and thinking about another someone I haven't seen in a while (three guesses who...), and starting to get very excited about coming down to CA for Christmas and Harmony. At the same time, of course, I'm realizing that I now have less than a week left at home before Christmas, and that I am completely unprepared in the gifts department (and the clean laundry department, but I won't go into that here). So, if last week was the week of being out and/or otherwise social every night, this week will be the week of staying home and getting creative. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Know Thyself

When you can take joy in the rising sun
and greet the night like a welcome friend;
When you can find comfort in the unconditional truth of the seasons;
When you know that you yourself are nothing
but the wind and the stars cascading
over the earth in an endless wave of compassion;
When you can look deeply into yourself
as into a still lake under the moon
and listen to the joyful singing of your heart;
When you can be completely still
yet utterly, vibrantly, jubilantly alive …
This is when you know yourself.
This is when you are whole.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Thrilling Discovery

I just discovered that my digital camera has a black and white setting -- that's so exciting! :) (Especially since I just put new color film in my borrowed SLR camera.) Unfortunately, the battery ran out as I was exploring things to take black and white pictures of, so I didn't get a whole lot of pictures. But now I have something new to play with tomorrow! :)

Here are a couple of photos I did manage to get. It's funny, things I would never think to take color pictures of somehow all of a sudden look good in black and white. It's like having new eyes!

Yes, I know this one is in color. I put it in to compare it to the black and white one below. Pthhh!

A black and white version of the same. It needs a less distracting background, but that's where the light was.

I liked the shadows in this one. Who ever thought my beat up kitchen chair could look cool in black and white? :)

Yes, I know I need a new mirror. No, it's not dirty, just really old.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Ripples on a pond
Memories, drop by drop, fall
Reflection unfolds

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It's Official

February 1 will be my last day at OHSU - yay! My manager took the news quite well, considering. She was vacillating between excitement for me and "ohmygodwhatarewegoingtodowithoutyou?" which I expect to be the reaction from the rest of my team as well (though Catherine will be outright devastated, poor thing). So, it's still mostly a secret, but secrets will out, and this one probably will within the next week. It feels so good to be moving forward!


I love these moments in life of extended periods of blissful happiness. They often seem to come in the middle of or following a big life shakeup, as if I'm finally waking up and realizing that I'm okay, and I'm going to be okay, that life is good -- wonderful, in fact -- and exists only to be enjoyed to the fullest.

I had one of these periods in August of 2005, when I scribbled this on a piece of paper by the side of the couch I was sleeping on at Mom's:

It's a deep excitement
that keeps me awake at night,
Not some superficial
spur-of-the-moment giddiness,
but a deep-seated eagerness,
an excitement for life itself
and a readiness
for whatever it may bring.
I'm excited about my life.
I love where I live.
I love how I'm choosing to live.
I love the consciousness with which
I choose to live
and act every day.
I am in the thick of my life
and I totally love it.
I get so excited about life
and so eager for
whatever comes next
that sometimes
I lie awake at night
not sleeping for excitement.

And I'm having one of those periods now. I was pretty darn depressed after my bike accident and ensuing cold, but I finally managed to make a positive mental shift on Friday, and my whole world has changed. Everything is making me happy, and nothing seems to dampen it (not even the huge storm we had this weekend -- I love the rain!). I was even happy during my biology final. Not just "not stressed," but actually happy! (I know, I'm strange. But I finished that 2-hour final in 35 minutes!)

I've been smiling all the time, and laughing a whole lot, just finding joy everywhere (and absolute fascination watching raindrops strike puddles on the street). It's a skippy-jumpy-bouncy energized kind of happy, and it feels fantastic. I'm feeling completely ready for the next step in my life, which is a good thing, because today is the day I get to walk into my manager's office and happily tell her that I will be leaving OHSU next month. On second thought, maybe I'd better try to tone down the overjoyed happiness a bit so I don't give the wrong impression. :P