Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Go Crazy Folks, Go Crazy" *



It's never bad form

To question the norm

It doesn't matter if you're six

Or wait until 47 to get your kicks

Even if you go through life named Storm

Thursday night we had a chance to see the one woman play"Crazy Enough" which was the autobiographical musings of Susan Storm Large, a self-described 6 foot blond "Glamazon" rock & roll singer and actress. She had performed to critical aclaim as Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" last year but this current play was really an amazing production. Although I would need to use ampersands and apostrophes in unusual ways if I quoted some of the lyrics or dialogue, it was one of those most poignant performances I have seen. As a nine year old, Storm was told by a doctor that she'd be as crazy as her mother by 21, and having no reason to disbelieve an authority figure, she decided to make the most of the next two decades. Sex drugs, and rock & roll were her currency and she spent with abandon, but now as she approaches 40, she's comfortable with being "crazy enough" to deal with life. She astutely observes that getting outside the box is what's need to creatively and succesfully negotiate the ups and downs of our existance.

A couple of YouTube videos that have been circulating also seem to reinforce the theme of what is normal and acceptable and how important it is to stay true to your talent and dreams.. A few months ago,, a British 6 year old named Connie Talbot wowed the judges of "Britain's Got Talent" ( the inspiration for American Idol) and just recently, a 47 year old Scottish woman, Susan Boyle won over skeptics with her performance. If you watch both of these singers, the most interesting thing is their complete focus and belief in what they are meant to do and how to do it. I would assume a degree of discomfort or nervousness when being in front of an audience but both singers seem amazing calm and in control.



I guess that's one of major questions we get to answer while we're here - what unique talent or gift do I have, and how do I express it in its highest form? We need to ask ourselves these questions every day - it would be crazy not to...

*The title quote refers to Jack Buck's call of a walk off home run by Ozzie Smith in the 1985 NCLS aginst the LA Dodgers.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's My Birthday Quote, Unquote...

April 11 brings my 56th birthday

Which could be a cause for dismay

Although the candles increase

The wonders never cease

As long as I remember to play

When you're young, birthdays are a good excuse to invite friends over to play... has pin the tail on the donkey ever been played outside a birthday party? My favorite parties when I was young usually involved rounding everyone up for a baseball game - I asked my dad if I could burn off one of our two acres to build a baseball field in March 0f 1963 and celebrated with a true sandlot game and, as a result, that field was the site of hundreds of games over the next 2 decades. In college, I was kidnapped with a pillow over my head, put in a car and delivered to homeplate outside of our freshman dorm for an impromptu game with friends. I tried to organize a game for my 30th birthday, but Portland weather isn't as amenable to mid-April basking as Stanford's is.

(A nice postscipt to the day came with Albert Puljos hitting a grand slam and a 3 run HR as the Cards beat Houston 11-2 and at least for a day are in first place!)
These days, my celebrations aren't as active though nice weather will lure me out for a round of golf, but today's forecast is mixed. As a result, I'm inside posting. I've decided for this entry to collect some of the more approriate quotes regarding birthdays and also include a nice poem that Deborah wrote for me - my transcedentalist high school English teacher, Edna Stewart would have approved...


Methinks time spent in soft repose
Is oft mistook for idle doze.
But here we’d have some hard debate
Does one daydream or cogitate?

Reflection on the past to date
May be to some, to ruminate
While others find their thoughts best spent
Toward future plans of high assent.

But neither here nor there, not up nor down
Is where ideals and dreams must crown.
For thoughts, like roads, are seldom drawn
Intending they not be traveled on.

In any trek detours are found
Amid deep thoughts our dreams abound.
So now and then, one supposes
we must stop and think of roses.
-- Deborah Huxley
April 2009

I’m 56 years old. That’s 13.33 Celsius

Of late I appear

To have reached that stage

When people who look old

Who are only my age.

- Richard Armour

My birthday!--what a different sound

That word had in my youthful ears;

And how each time the day comes round,

Less and less white its mark appears.

- Thomas Moore

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.

The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.- T.S. Eliot

The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.- Muhammad Ali

Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while.
-Groucho Marx

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”
-Abraham Lincoln

“All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.”
George Harrison

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.
-Mark Twain

Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle.
-Bob Hope

Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.

Happy birthday, you’re not getting old,

Stay in the game, it’s not time to fold.

Wrinkles and grey hair, are just a new look,

Countless experiences, you should write in a book.

A birthday is seldom, a serious occasion,

Try not to take it, like the D-day invasion.

Laughter and jokes are within sight,

Stock up on both, all through the night.

The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left but as you get older, it turns back to the right….

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now.

If we could be twice young and twice old we could correct all our mistakes.

Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair

Monday, April 6, 2009

Everyday is Earth Day!

It's time to discover some change to effect
While showing the planet some long overdue respect
As we all recognize the true worth
Of this blue-green jewel known as Earth
We move toward becoming sustainably correct
I just finished co-teaching the first of a 6 part class on"Becoming a Change Agent in Your Circle of Influence", a course created by Dick & Jeanne Roy of the Center for Earth Leadership (a link is listed under Sustainability) This class helps provide suggestions for encourging change within the groups we live, work & play. This class fit's nicely with all the April Earth awareness activities such as the currert Arbor week, the PSu Symposium on Water Use and the Earth Day festivities that occur in 2 weeks. I thought I would include a photo from my high school days at Earth Day #2 where we planted some tree, and the famous Apollo * photo that reminded everyone of the need for a unifying vision for addressing the Earth's ecological challeges.
Over the next few months, I'll highlight some of the many resources available to those who want to make incremental changes in their environmental footprint. At the bottom of this entry you'll find a few suggestions thanks to the Energy Trust of Oregon (
On a completely unrelated note, I am reminded that TS Elliot said "April is the cruelest month" and he clearly was referring to today's opener for St, Louis. I listened as StL took a 4-3 lead to the ninth inning with 2 outs and an 0-2 counts before losing 6-4 on a bases-clearing double. I'll hope the sun comes up tomorrow with a different result...
No-cost Projects
Ten tips to save energy that don’t cost a dime

A lot of savings can be generated from personal choice and actions.

1. Practice thermostat control. During the heating season, it’s estimated that you can save about 2 percent on the heating bill for every degree you lower the thermostat.

2. Night setbacks pay off. A 10-degree night setback while you’re in bed can work wonders on the bill.

3. Use hot water as required. If you have a choice on your clothes washer or dishwasher, use the Energy Saver mode. A cold water wash or rinse can be just the ticket at times.

4. Turn down a too-high water heater thermostat. For most households, 120°F water is just right… about halfway between the low and medium setting.

5. Don’t heat or cool rooms that are not in use.

6. Take shorter showers. You’ve heard that one before as well — but it works.

7. To keep your home cool, adjust shades, blinds and draperies to block the sun's hot summer rays. Let hot air out with attic vents and make sure soffit vents are not blocked. This keeps you and your attic cooler and it also extends the life of your shingles.

8. Clean heating system filters regularly.

9. After your fireplace fire has been “cold” a couple of hours, close the vent. Warm air rises… so will your bill. Why heat the great out-of-doors?

10. Turn off lights, computers and home electronics when not in use.

A relatively small investment can reap big dividends.
11. Programmable thermostat — You may need to upgrade your existing thermostat to maximize energy efficiency. Newer models have “smart” features built in that can automatically provide night setbacks and other important features. Before purchase, make sure you review your heating system operations manual as there are many types of thermostats and each is tailored to specific systems. If necessary, ask a qualified heating-cooling contractor to install your thermostat to ensure optimum performance.

12. Compact fluorescent bulbs — High quality compact fluorescent bulbs come in a variety of models for just about any use. They cost more than incandescent, but they last a whole lot longer… and can save energy but please recycle properly. A typical 100-watt incandescent might be rated for 750 hours, while a comparable 25-watt fluorescent is 10,000 hours. The outdoor models are perfect for those porch lights that are on long periods and often awkward to replace.

13. Caulking and weatherstripping — A small investment in caulk and weatherstripping around exterior doors or windows can make a difference. Take half a Saturday, your trusty caulk gun, and stop energy waste. Pay attention to pipes, telephone wires, anything at all that enters the house. Make sure they are sealed tight. Pay particular attention to exterior doors. There are a variety of ways to stop air leakage around doors. Your local retailer will have a good choice of threshold weatherstripping, door sweeps and jamb weatherstripping materials. Carefully measure and follow installation instructions carefully.

14. Summer cool down — A window exhaust fan is a good idea, but a larger attic whole-house exhaust fan, thermostatically controlled, is a real plus in summer. It can help cool things down without central air conditioning.

15. High-efficiency showerheads and water control devices — New showerheads are required to meet a 2.5 gallon-per-minute standard, but there are many older models still in place. If you can squeeze the gallons per minute lower than 2.5, it means you’re saving even more money. Also, faucet aerators, including the types that have a shut-off valve built in, can stop waste of water while you’re rinsing dishes. And, don’t forget leaky faucets: It doesn’t cost much to fix’em, and they can be big energy wasters.

16. Water heater wrap — Despite all the advances in better insulated water heaters, it still pays to wrap a water heater, especially if it is located in an unheated space. Special water heater kits are available at retail hardware stores where heaters are sold. Just follow the instructions. (Tip: While you're wrapping up for energy savings, strap up for earthquake safety. Securing your water heater against earthquake tipping is a smart move.)

17. Fireplace pillow — An open fireplace can be a giant energy waster. Today you can purchase a plastic, inflatable “pillow” that inserts into the chimney to stop heat from escaping. You blow it up (usually just by mouth) and it is easily removable when you want to build a fire. Find out more by contacting your local fireplace dealer or search online for the nearest vendor.
While there are all kinds of no- to low-cost ways to save energy, sometimes a larger investment is required to gain the most ground.

18. Get a free energy audit to guide major investment decisions.What you need before anything else happens is an energy audit. We recommend scheduling a FREE home energy review with the Energy Trust of Oregon. It will give you guidance on how you can save energy and money and create a comfortable living environment. An Energy Advisor will come to your home, recommend energy-saving measures specific to your home and install FREE compact fluorescent light bulbs, faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads. We strongly recommend an audit be accomplished prior to any major investment in insulation, heating, ventilation or other improvements.
To schedule an energy audit with the Energy Trust of Oregon, call 866-ENTRUST or 866-368-7878.

19. When replacing appliances, buy premium-efficiency models.There is no question that an energy-smart major appliance purchase (refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers, heating systems) can generate significant dollar savings over the lifetime of the appliance. Why pay $20-$30 more per year than is necessary?
There’s a ton of good information on energy-efficient appliances from the Oregon Department of Energy Web site. But here are some basics on shopping for an energy-efficient model:
· All major energy-using appliances are required by the Federal Trade Commission to include a yellow and black label on each appliance that gives consumers a good idea how that respective model performs. Look for these labels on refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers, water heaters, furnaces, boilers, central air conditioners, room air conditioners, heat pumps and pool heaters. The estimated annual operating cost posted on the label is a composite price based on national averages. Always calculate your savings using your local utility’s prices.
· On many appliances look for an “Energy Star” logo. The Energy Star program is operated by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star labels are on those appliances that these government agencies feel meet high levels of energy efficiency than the average comparable model.

20. When replacing your furnace, consider a heat pump— the most efficient way to heat and cool your home.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April (in Parens)

There are moments in time when a decision
Creates change with geometric precision
So the reference to April in Parens...
Is a month specific tribute to what happens
When Life's Path bends like light through a prism
As I sit here on 04-04-09 in a month that started as a perfect square (2003x2003 = 4012009),
I was thinking about other interesting confluences and influences that have appeared in April over the years. Since the Eiffel Tower celebrated it's 120th birthday as of April 1st, it gets top billing.
This is an active birthday month as we celebrated Brenda & Bryan's birthdays Friday night and we just returned from Diane M's 60th gala with a 30th & 50th party on tap for tomorrow. I was supposed to be born mid June, but the opening day of baseball season found me arriving early(April 11, 1953) weighing 8 baseballs - 2 pounds 9 ounces so I'm part of this April birthday onslaught. The complications of this early arrival seem to be minimal but I still have trouble recognizing faces since the first 6 weeks everyone I saw was masked and I occassionaly enjoying revisiting the incubator, as I bask in the warmth of an incandescent bulb (CFL's don't work as well.)
Continuing on the baseball theme, my first major league game I saw was the Cardinals and the newly arrived LA Dodgers (April 26, 1958), two weeks before we packed up and moved to Medford and as a result, still hold a fond spot for Dodger fans though I'm a diehard Cardinal fan. I've always marvelled at my folks decision to leave a comfortable existence in LA for the unknown territory of Oregon, but I know how glad they were that they relocated.
I appreciated growing up in Medford but life shifted with my acceptance to Stanford (April 15, 1971) and fundamentally changed who my friends were, who I would marry, where I would live, and what work I would do. My freshman dorm of 50 gave me connections to the guys I would live with for 4 years, my golfing buddy for 36 years who also has been the best man at both my weddings, and significant friendships and life experiences that still shape the way I deal with the world.
Diane and I got married in 1978 after an April 1977 visit and theworst Wisconsin winter in 100 years convinced her to relocate her graduate studies to PortlandMy purchase of an Apple II (April 10, 1979) led to my 30 year involvement with computers and my opening of Oregon's first software store, Software Station (1983-1987). Armed with my computer, I joined a Pacific Power subsidiary, NERCO (April 6, 1981) and now will have had an association with Pacific Power for 28 of my soon to be 56 years.
I had attended First Presbyterian with Diane, Sean & Evan and appreciated the church's passion for social justice but never could fully embrace the theology. Dianna & I got married in mid 1997 and were introduced to New Thought teachings ( of which Religious Science and Unity are the largest denominations) after attending Living Enrichment Center (April 18, 1999) and have been drawn to the New Thought message of inclusiveness and"divinity within". The last ten years have given us plenty of opportunities to explore this new paradigm.
We now arrive at this April fraught with possibilities... Rick and I enjoyed our first day of spring golf with temperatures in the 60s and scores in the 40's per 9 so we're off to a good start. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2009 Major League Baseball Season and the Cards are tied with the Cubs for first!. The weather should be perfect for the penultimate Hillsdale Winter Farmer's market and we have it on good authority the Hillsdale's harbinger of Spring, Josh will be "jamming" at the Market. April should be "eiffel" exciting -stay tuned... MTP