Thursday, November 13, 2008


Some-times, as in pretty close to all-the-times, I am embarrassed of my interests. Dilemma: Interested in something popular, they’ll think I’m a copy-cat; interested in something not popular, look like weirdo/dork. I don’t want to be a dork. I’ve let a few of my not-populars slip out, namely the infatuation with the insect documentary.

Well, here’s to becoming more comfortable with me. Not only do I love the bug documentary… I love the mammal, bird and reptile documentaries made by the same organization as well. I’ve been watching the mammal one. Here were the two funniest parts I just saw. I even re-watched them because they made me giggle… all three times.

  1. They show footage of an elephant walking in a pitch black cave. Suddenly you hear a loud THUMP and sure enough, the elephant walked right into the wall. (Note: Just start laughing. Even if you don’t think it’s funny. Once you start laughing you’ll start to see how funny that is, an elephant walking into a wall and bumping his head)

    1. Here is the dialogue the narrator (David Attenborough) gives for the Giant Anteater of Brazil:
      Ants and termites aren’t very nutritious. So the giant anteater has to do all it can to conserve energy. One way of doing that is to sleep 15 out of 24 hours. It [also] covers itself with that big bushy tail, reducing heat loss to a minimum. It keeps its body at as low of a temperature as any animal, 32° C (89.6° F). That means of course, that its brain doesn’t work very fast. So it isn’t an animal with lightning reactions or a dazzling intelligence. But then you don’t really need that if you’re an anteater, do you?
      No David Attenborough, I guess you really don’t.
    (Note: The anteater kept falling over as it was walking. I think that’s when you admit you need to turn the body heat up. There’s a lesson in there for all you Jimmy Carterites who still believe that 68° is all the warmer your homes should be. 72° is not a sin.)

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Good Morning

    Good Morning Seattle

    You've made running fun again. I think it's because you've given me something new to see. I can easily block out the pain of sucking-air lungs and double-timing heart when I have something worth while to stare at. Although the following tribute is only a tenth of what you've presented for me to observe, it's the tenth I was able to catch on camera.

    My neighbor's house. I saw my neighbor and his son sitting on the porch the other night. They were both smoking their pipes. I think they were discussing politics and would later end their evening with a nightcap of something strong.

    My neighbor... I think
    I thought he lived 1 block over and 2 houses up, but then I saw him the next day 3 blocks over. Both times he was raking leaves. I've seen him about 4 times since then, always raking leaves. I think it’s sweet. It reminds me of the elderly in Japan, or at least the North countryside of Japan. When I was visiting over there, I was asking Satoshi’s grandparents where they were going for the day. They said it was their day to weed the roadside. Sure enough, I saw them later that day out on the road pulling out weeds, so the grass could grow. There were about 50 other elderly Japanese out there with them. I asked Satoshi why they were doing it. He said that since they no longer contribute to the community with taxes, this is their contribution. That was humbling to contemplate. Unfortunately I think this man is still paying taxes. The saddest part about this picture is the fact that only 1/4th of the leaves are on the ground. The other 3/4th is waiting for him to finish, then they’ll have their way with that street.

    Another neighbor's tree. It looks like it's been there for 200 years; maybe because it has moss growing all over, maybe because it is HUGE. I say it's a shame it doesn't have a treehouse in it. Have you ever seen a tree more suited for a TREE-house? Instead the squirrels have it. There's a squirrel nest in that crook.

    The city surveyors truck. While they were out surveying a street, I took a picture of the little, dirty leprechaun/elf/troll/Santa they had perched in the back. I guess it was someones toy that got left in the street. I now know where my doll that has been missing since I was 3 went. It's okay mom, you don't have to blame it on the dog anymore.

    All the crazy mushrooms that grow. Both of these clusters grew in less than a week. One day there was nothing and the next there was this.

    A house up the road that is for sale. It is beautiful.

    My only neighbor with a McCain/Palin sign. I admired them for posting it in a neighborhood where ALL but 8 houses had an Obama/Biden sign. I almost left this out because I think we've all been electioned-out. It is kind of humorous though.

    The house across the street and the storm rolling in above it. Those clouds carried hail. Hail that slapped me around for 5 minutes. The worst part about the hail was watching all the people stare at me in pity from their windows. I think they were reflecting, "drowned rat, what did she think those clouds were carrying."

    My neighbor's yard before Halloween. The best part about this is that the house through this gate and up theses steps really looks haunted. It has a jungle for a yard (the norm), wrought iron, and gables with stained glass windows. It's beautiful. Beautifully spooky.

    Another house down the street. The house itself looks like the French Quarters in New Orleans. I liked their "drain ditch" stream. It was beautiful, like the rest of their yard. I think I'm just in awe that this is what people's yards look like in November... still green.

    I like this house on the next street over for a couple of reasons. I love their porch, but I LOVE their veranda. It has grapes growing over it and the grape clusters drop down and hang like chandeliers.

    And best for last. Shel Silverstein, I finally found where the sidewalk ends. And just in case you're wondering Shel, I kept right on running.

    In Memory's Eye

    Abe looking out, over the Hudson, at West Point.
    The rest of us were walking back to the car, I turned around and saw Abe
    still looking.

    The view he saw

    Dear Soldier,

    Thank you. That "thank you" should not be mistaken for a "thanks." No, it means so much more than that. In fact, it means far more than even "thank you" can articulate. I don't think there is even such a word. It's more a feeling; maybe tears silently streaming down; maybe an ardent goodbye kiss; maybe a firm handshake accompanied with direct eye-contact; maybe a congregation singing Battle Hymn of the Republic; maybe even those don't truly capture the meaning in my "thank you."

    In honor of you and your service, I have listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing the Spirit of America. I have thanked every veteran I've seen. I have read General Douglas McArthur's Duty, Honor, Country, and I cried through each of them.

    Duty-Honor-Country. [Those three words] build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep. They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

    And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory? Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now -- as one of the world's noblest figures, not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give.

    He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words.

    -General Douglas McArthur's final address to his Alma Mater, West Point

    I know you are a stranger, that I can't comprehend what you've done for me and my country, but none the less, thank you.


    Cali Payne
    If you skipped past the quote... get back up there and read it.