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Archive for September, 2008

I am pretty proud of myself, I read 5 books from June through August. I was a frequent visitor of our local library. I was browsing through the mystery books, as I needed something different to read and came across David Handler. I ended up reading three of his books. I like mysteries, but I have to admit after the third of one of his series, they kinda became predictable.

I then picked up a Thousands Splendid Suns which I read in two weeks. It was yet another awesome book by Khalid Hosseini. I loved it, it was amazing and intense. I love the way he writes he just sucks you in. I took the book with me when we went backpacking and pretty much spent a whole afternoon reading. It was the most relaxing experience ever.

The last book that I read this summer I found by chance. I picked it up because it was by a Persian author. I have been reading more and more books by Persian authors in the past couple of years. Caspian Rain by Gina Nahai was a little too much for me. While fiction it focused on religion too much, precisely the tension between Iranian Jews and Muslims. I have had my share of that in high school and I am done with it.  I kept on reading the book in hopes that it would get better…it never did.

I am back for yet another semester of school. I am finishing a certificate in Rhetoric and Composition. I like it and I am enjoying the experience very much. So reading for pleasure is going on a little vacation until December rolls around. I love reading!

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I have had a raging headache since I woke up this morning and nothing seems to make it go away. Even my face hurts.  Needless to say I am in no mood for unnecessary and loud noise. I have been trying to write a paper and after some effort I decided it was best for me to go lay down and close my eyes for a while. Just as I was getting comfortable I hear this woman’s voice who was clearly speaking through a megaphone.  I wondered what the commotion was all about. The woman was speaking in Spanish and I couldn’t really understand what she was saying.

Little by little the nuisance grew louder and louder.  She was clearly close. I got up and went to see if I could see the source of the preaching. Sure enough there were three women standing across the street from us at the intersection with what looked like a Bible in hand. The woman on the megaphone was going on and on about God, Jesus, the devil, and children.  Good God was she angry…there was way too much bitterness as she preached and yelled through the megaphone.  Is this a new way to attract members?

J called the cops, he stepped outside to give the dispatcher their description. One of the women noticed him and pulled the woman with the megaphone by her sleeve and they proceeded up the street.

A couple of months ago our poor gardener was “attacked” by 3 JWs who were trying to convert him.  They argued for a while.  J had to go out there and rescue the poor man, tell the three JWs to take a hike and let the poor man do his work. Our gardener was visibly annoyed and shaken by the whole encounter. I went outside and gave him some water and made sure he was OK.  For the love of God, 3 to 1?

Every morning the tamales guys go around the neighborhood with their cooler on their back singing their “tamales…tamales” routine. Then we have the ice cream, fruit, and chicarones vendors that go by a few times. The ice cream truck makes its rounds a few times a day and in the summer it actually comes around as late as 10pm. Insane! Then once a week we have the incense guy that sings as he walks to let his costumers know that he is in the neighborhood.

On Thursday nights there is some serious commotion in the alley behind us as people come by with their shopping carts or what ever type of cart to collect cans and bottles from people’s recycle bins before they get collected on Friday morning.  Poor Mr. Ocifer is fed up with the noise.  His bedroom window faces the alley. Not only he has to deal with the sound of the carts being pushed through the alley but also the banging of metal trash bins as they are opened and closed by EVERY person looking for cans and bottles.  According to him this goes on all night.

I won’t even get into the colorful individuals that walk by….one is worth mentioning…a young hippie guy with long hair. I see him every so often walking with his red wine in hand; naturally drunk and spaced out. Indi barks at him and he stops and looks at her with absent eyes as he swings back and forth because he is too drunk to stand still.

I swear this is the craziest place I have ever lived. There is never a dull moment.  San Peepee, as I have started refering to it, is insane, yet, there is a lot about it to like. Most days I like it.

On the brighter side of things, I planted the sunflower above from seed. We had a bunch of beautiful sunflowers. Behind it is our guava tree which is currently full of fruit and smells marvelous.  Every so often the breeze will carry the delicious scent through the window.

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Indi Friday

Mr. Ocifer, Miss Witty, J, Charlie, Indi & I went for a fun day of hiking and swimming to Ojai again. Well the only once that went swimming were Indi, Charlie and me. It was a good day and everyone had a great time.  Indi has become more and more bold about diving and swimming. She LOVES it! We also discovered that Mr. Chalie is a good swimmer and he jumped in a few times!

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Indi Friday

Sleeping curled up in her favorite place: under the coffee table

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Indi Friday

Indi and her daddy chilling in her new bed

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I saw an article relating to happiness in the LA Times. I thought I would share:

A guide to enhancing happiness

September 8, 2008

Count your blessings. Express gratitude for what you have privately and also by conveying appreciation to others.

Cultivate optimism. Keep a journal in which you write your best possible future. Practice seeing the bright side of every situation.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. When you start to dwell on problems or compare yourself to others, distract yourself with positive thoughts or activities.

Practice kindness. Do good things for others.

Nurture relationships. Pick a relationship that needs strengthening, and invest time and energy in it.

Do more activities that truly engage you. Increase the experiences at home or work in which you lose yourself in total absorption.

Replay and savor life’s joys. Pay attention, delight in and review life’s momentary pleasures.

Commit to your goals. Pick one or more significant goals and devote time and effort to pursuing them.

Develop coping strategies. Find and practice healthy ways to manage stress, hardship or trauma.

Forgive. Keep a journal or write a letter in which you let go of anger and resentment toward those who have hurt you.

Practice spirituality. Get more involved in your church, temple or mosque. Read spiritual books.

Take care of your body. Exercise, meditate and laugh.

Source: “The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want,” by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Tips on switching to a positive outlook

September 8, 2008
While working with unhappy clients, psychologist and author Dan Baker draws on the science that shows that half of our happiness is genetic, but as much as 40% is up to us. “That 40% is huge,” says Baker, who is the founding director of the life enhancement program at Canyon Ranch, an upscale spa and resort in Tucson and the author of “What Happy Women Know” (Rodale, 2008), a sequel to his bestselling “What Happy People Know” (St. Martin’s, 2004).

To help clients rewire their unhappy outlook, he offers this three-part prescription. For the next week, do these things daily:

1. Every morning when you wake up, think of someone or something that you have a deep and abiding appreciation for: a former teacher or coach, a neighbor, a parent or friend. Do the same just before lunch. At night, when you get in bed, think of something that occurred that day that you appreciate.

2. Do something for someone else. Call a friend or send her an e-mail. Give a toy to charity.

3. Curb your negative self-talk. When thinking of a forthcoming event, such as the birth of a baby or having the family over for Thanksgiving, don’t focus on the pain or hassles. Focus on the possibilities — and on what’s good and special about the event.

“It only takes a couple minutes each day to eventually build up a new neural network,” Baker says.

Keep up these new behaviors until they turn into habits.

— Marnell Jameson


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This video is for anyone who is a Rick Astley fan. Remember him from the 80s? This clip is from a recent concert in Manila which was loaded onto YouTube by someone who attended the concert. He is seen singing with the Filipino version of himself!!!  I ❤ Rick Astley!!!

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