Monday, June 25, 2007

Lucky choice

One of the more fortunate things we did back in the 1940s was to join Kaiser-Permanente health plan. It is truly a health organization dedicated to keeping one healthy. Of course it also takes care of illnesses, injuries, or an occasional hospitalization or operation. If one fails to make regular appointments with one's personal physician, they will send notice of an appointment they have made for you (saying to change it if it is inconvenient), and they will do the same for overdue inoculations, special exams, etc.
Of late, because I take coumadin, I have gone to the lab frequently for coagulation tests. The lab a friendly place - that is one of their window boxes at left - and also somewhat relaxed about rules, while maintaining strict standards of sanitation. I was there this afternoon, and was amused to see the couple below in the waiting room.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Am I Bragging?

When people ask me what I do, I tend to copy one of my Father's answers to such a question:"I haven't decided yet what I want to be when I grow up". Of course he did quite a few things, from inventing and developing products for Fibreboard Products Inc. to traveling all over South America measuring terrestial magnetism for the Carnegie Institution at Washington (from 1916 to 1918, he was the first white man to venture into many areas, especially of the Amazon basin and Amazon river tributaries, as well as crossing the Andes on mule-back - but that's another much longer story which I will share another time).
There are not many crafts that I have not concentrated on from time to time. At the left is one of them - macrame - a hanging that I made for my mother but which has hung in our dinette since her death. You know about my beads - see photo in right column. I have knit, crocheted, sewed clothes and toys, made stained glass. Of actual art, I started with mostly watercolor paintings in college (I was an art major). Those paintings were representational. Since then I have worked with crayons and pastels - abstract drawings, illustrations, etc. I have made a number of leaded glass window hangings.
I also think I'm a writer. I have one published novel (AI is a Three-toed Sloth) to my credit, as well as short stories, articles and poetry published in nationally circulated magazines. I also have one book of translations of poetry from Portuguese (As Evidencias, by Jorge de Sena), published by the Portuguese department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.. (Yes, it happens to be a book of sonnets - I apologise, Elizabeth Barrett Browning).
But then I also want (when I grow up) to be an astronomer or astrophysicist. I do own one patent (on heat rejection from a power plant), but that would never have happened without Otto. He was describing the problem of heat rejection, and I said, "Why don't they just do such and such", and he took it from there. Right now I am in love with my computer, not only because it let's me do things such as this blog, but for composing, creating artwork (and calendars and mailings), and for doing all of Otto's circuit diagrams for his inventions.
There were also years that I worked with and for the homeless on the streets of Berkeley. At one time I thought I might go into politics. Unfortunately (for me, at least) I now lack the energy level to do such things.

Change of subject: After posting the parrot pictures yesterday, the new National Geographic arrived with a horrendous photo of a wild parrot caught entangled in a net. It was to be sold - probably in Europe. I'm sure that the parrots in the photos I posted were not captured wild ones. Of course their ancestry had to include parrots who actually had been wild.

Why do the previews of my blog always look like I want them to, but turn out quite differently when published? That was true of yesterday's post. And I had arranged the text and pictures so nicely!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fathers' Day

Here is an an image of great-grandson Jon Andersen that makes me feel cool even on the hottest day! It was recently posted by his mother, Josie, on her blog Jonster's Days, after a visit to a pool with jets.

It has occurred to me that my relatives seem to have an affinity with birds of the parrot family - as an example, these two photos of Jon after a visit from a parrot expert to his nursery school class and of my son-in-law, Clinton Shock, on one of his frequent visits to Brazil. I also have a daughter-in-law who had a parrot for many years (a macaw, I think) and an ex-daughter-in-law who owned a very intelligent and talkative cockatiel.
Sunday, we had a very pleasant picnic in Tilden Regional Park to celebrate Fathers' Day. It was fairly crowded, and to get a good table one had to be there VERY early in the morning to reserve a place. Otto and I drove up there early to claim the ideal spot. It was very peaceful until more picnickers arrived at each reserved at each table and the actual picnics got under way. One or two people reserved each spot, armed with reading matter or just idly watching the butterflies chasing one another. The picnickers we awaited were Sterling, Joni and Roxanne, who drove up from San Jose.

I hope you had fun, too!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Heat Wave

Whew! Hot again today. Otto has been lecturing for thirty years about global warming. Now he is planning to install a heat pump enhanced with his own Enabler; it will heat and cool our house.
I promised an update on Otto's wandering trumpet vine. Actually it is doing its job of covering the unsightly fence rather well, but the neighboring trees next door, as well as in our yard are irregularly festooned with clumps of ruby blossoms high in their branches. I took the following photo in a parking lot where a fence was trumpet-vine covered with similar intent. Where it had no trees to climb in, the trumpet vine produced this lush display.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Looking Back

In August I will celebrate my 86th birthday, and we will have a big family reunion to celebrate Otto’s 90th. People usually estimate Otto’s age as a very healthy 65. None-the-less, though active in our respective fields and joint endeavors, we can feel the physical changes that restrict our activities.
This morning we were remembering things that we would probably never experience again.
In recent years both of us have suffered when at high altitudes. What are the signs of altitude sickness? Breathlessness, wheezing, more than usual fatigue. It means that we will probably not again visit Stan and Dianne in mile-high Denver, a city where Otto and I briefly lived in 1942, and where we rode our bikes for miles of happy sight-seeing.
But what we recalled this morning had to do with our beloved California high Sierras: the euphoria that we experienced as we rose in altitude and breathed in the mingled scents of ozone and coniferous trees; the establishment of our own little wilderness home, as we pitched a tent, laid out sleeping bags, started a smokey piney fire of fallen branches, watched the steam rise from our blackened kettle, and sang campfire songs with one, two, three, or lastly four children chiming in as our family grew.
The watercolor above is one that I sat on a snowbank to paint, while Otto kept the children occupied looking for specimens of anything interesting - lizards preferred!.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Newest Great-granddaughter

Here is the latest addition to the family, Ainsley Lee Frank, born to Mandy and Ian on May 10. This is the first picture I have had of her. Isn't she a cutie?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

New Link

This little photo is just a taste of what awaits you if you visit the Shock Family website, which I added to my chain of links today. For more pictures by my son-in-law, Clinton Shock, scroll down to his name and begin exploring. I lay claim to all of the Shocks, my daughter, my grandchildren, and soon-to-be-a-Shock Susan Sullivan, who is engaged to grandson Cedric. Every one of them has worthwhile things to contribute.