It’s been a slow day. So I charged up my camera and tried out a couple of lenses and filters. I used a macro lens and it was so close to the subject (flowers) that I had to hold my breath to keep the camera from shaking too much.
Anyway, I actually realized that my mom collects all kinds of weird things. So I took pictures of all our little yard trinkets, and all the textures. Kind of fun.
I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been (a) ridiculously busy, and (b) sick with the Bubonic Plague. But I want to pause for a moment and talk about today’s obsession (been a while since I did that).
I freaking love tea. I love it hot, I love it cold, sweetened or unsweetened. It’s like the most incredible beverage ever… maybe even better than my dad’s home made foamaliscious lattes… Maybe.
I’ve long had an obsession with green tea. I like how it makes me feel refreshed and clean and healthy. And in the summer, I can rarely resist the temptation of a venti iced green tea lemonade.
But recently I’ve also started drinking Earl Grey in lieu of coffee. While I have my green tea plain, I spruce up my Earl Grey a touch: honey, milk, and maybe a touch of cinnamon for a little added spice.
Regardless, I just love love love tea, and the way it warms my heart and soul and sends my brain into a caffeine-induced frenzy. I love the sound that my tea kettle makes when it’s screaming for me from the stove. And there’s just something subtly romantic about a simple cup of tea. It’s one of those indulgent simple little pleasure that I just can’t get over.
Scones aren’t bad either. Obsessed.
When I was younger, I use to pretend that I was a cat, and I’m meow all day and then cuddle my dad, who would pet my head and scratch my chin. He was the person I talked to about first kisses and crushes. He was my king, and I, his princess.
We’ve always had that kind of relationship, and though I no longer pretend to be a kitten, I’m still his princess. There are lines that we don’t cross in conversations, certain subjects we don’t discuss, secrets we don’t acknowledge… because I want to forever be Daddy’s little girl.
When I was growing up, I dragged him to shop for prom dresses, and we went to baseball games together. We got pedicures. We went on ski trips. We saw Jewel concerts and Cyrano de Bergerac and movies.
In my head, I viewed him as a superhero. I thought he was forgiving, because he had let go of his own father’s mistakes, and forgiven my mom for hers. I’d heard stories of his childhood, and he was always the “good kid:” Senior class president, athlete, private school kid, conscience for all his friends. He made fresh lattes and a hot breakfast almost every morning and listened to Jewel with me. Plus, he loved my mom.
I’ve since—you know—grown up (though not that much), and I know my dad is plagued by mortality just like the rest of his. His loved ones die, despite his efforts to “save” them. He breaks bones and grinds his teeth and can’t touch his toes. Sometimes his smoothies aren’t stellar (but I drink them anyway). And I steam my milk for lattes better than he does.
He’s no superhero, I have to confess. But that doesn’t take away from how spectacular he is, or the incredible bond we’re lucky enough to share. He inspires me to pursue things that make me happy, and his moral compass typically points north. He may not be a superhero, but he is my hero. An everyday hero. A cape wouldn’t look good on him, anyway.
|Spot Cool Stuff also evaluates various BPA-free bottles.
Photo Source: spotcoolstuff.com
This recent health craze has me hyperaware of how dehydrated I am, so I’ve been on the lookout for a nifty water bottle. After scanning, I noticed that several sites advertise BPA-free bottles. I investigated the chemical and started shopping for the best BPA-free bottle I could find.
I’m an advocate of reusable bottles because they help minimize waste, but the concept of BPA—or the lack thereof—is relatively new to me. I’ve heard the term before, especially in advertising plastic bottles and products, but had no clue what it actually was. So I decided to do some digging, to investigate what this mystery chemical is and why there’s a stir about it in the “green scene.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, BPA is short for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical used since the 1960s in various plastics, especially those used for storing food and drinks. Though some claim that the chemical is harmful, it’s a controversial subject.
The American Chemistry Council, an association with ties to plastic manufacturers, maintains that BPA poses no health risks. Yet the National Toxicology Program at the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Food and Drug Administration both say that they have some concern about the possible health risks BPA may cause to the brain, behavior and prostate gland development of fetuses and children. A 2010 review at Tufts University concluded that BPA may increase risk of cancer, though U.S. programs have yet to evaluate in for potential cancerous properties.
There’s also evidence that BPA-exposure can cause problems to reproductive health and functionality.
So while there’s little concrete evidence for either side, I figure it’s best to err on the side of caution. In February, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection voted to ban the use of BPA in bottles and other reusable containers, effective January 2012. So I figure I can take a hint and start reducing my BPA-exposure, as well. The Mayo Clinic article lists a few simple steps that consumers can take to help minimize their exposure. And various sites list their top choices: Good Housekeeping tested 32 BPA-free bottles, evaluating their ease of use, functionality and looks, listing the pros and cons of several different brands; and Inhabitots focused specifically on the best BPA-free bottles for kids, who—as evidence suggests—are more likely to be affected by the chemical.
Top contenders include the Nalgene OTG Everyday bottle ($10)—which is also sold at a significant markup ($15) at Northeastern’s campus store—and the CamelBak Podium bottle ($9). Both ranked high in regards to their ease of use, though the CamelBak bottle was criticized because the lid isn’t attached and is, therefore, easier to lose.
Personally, I just ordered the Thermos Nissan Intak Hydration Bottle ($11), which features a spill-proof lid (much needed when I carry a camera and laptop) and a meter that measures how much water I consume. Though Good Housekeeping ranks the Intak bottle 8th, I figured it was the best fit for me because I maintain a very busy schedule and it’s great that the bottle can work for me, measuring my water intake and helping to ensure that I am healthy and hydrated. Plus, it’s much prettier than the other bottles; there’s a lot more incentive to drink when I want to show off my water bottle. Hello, hydration!
Sorry it’s been a while… there’s a lot that’s happened in the past several weeks. I concluded my time in San Diego, I flew home to Boston, I worked (a LOT), I moved into my new apartment…
I also managed to shatter the screen on my laptop. And no, I don’t know how it happened, though I suspect I sleepily stepped on it as I got out of my bed. But suffice to say that Lloyd, my beloved and loyal companion these past several years, is dead.
I’m so tempted to write an obituary…
But alas, there is some sort of good news in it all, as well. Because I have a new companion. She’s round and shiny and lights up when she sees me. I’ve known for a long time that my next computer would be a Mac. With my passion for photography and my need to be multi-media-oriented, it was an obvious step. I had just anticipated that it would be another year or so before I converted.
And though the timing was rather unfortunate for a variety of reasons—mostly financial, I now have a new MacBook Pro. And her name is Charlie.
Charlie’s personality is already coming through—she’s intelligent, friendly, useful. And undoubtably stubborn (even with Macs, technology hates me).
She’s named after Charlotte York. Yes, that Charlotte York, of “Sex and the City.” She’s classy and intelligent and quirky, just like my Charlie. And she’s a sorority sister, albeit fictional.
So, ladies and gents, I’d like to make a toast. Here’s to Charlie and the beginning of a beautiful, aesthetic, multi-media relationship for years to come. Somehow it only feels appropriate to toast with a cosmo.
|The lovely Charlotte York.|
|RIP, James Thurston Daniells. 8/7/11|
Jim Daniells, known by many for his robust laugh, his effortless golf drive and his passion for fishing, died unexpectedly last Sunday, August 7. He was 48.
James Thurston Daniells was born August 6, 1963 at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. to Barbara John and Jerold Compton Daniells. He attended school in the Bay Area and graduated in 1981 from San Mateo High School. The last few years of high school, and for a few years afterwards, Daniells—who collected recorded tapes of Grateful Dead concerts—played drums in a Dead cover band titled the Cosmic Muffin.
Chris Martin, who played bass guitar in the Cosmic Muffin, recalls having a special connection with Daniells. Bassists and drummers have a special relationship because they hold down the rhythm, he said.
In August 2010, Martin organized a Cosmic Muffin reunion in the Bay Area. Daniells still played the drums as precisely as Martin remembered.
“The way he sat on the drums was in such a regal mater. I think the seat in a drum set is called a throne, but he really made it a throne,” said Martin.
Following his graduation, Daniells attended some classes at Canada College in Redwood City before moving to San Diego in 1987. There, he played a role in many of the Daniells brothers’ entrepreneurial pursuits, from moving furniture to painting garages to managing ATM firms. His brothers recall Daniells’ people skills and his ability to find “a way to get the deal done.”
Daniells’ most recent entrepreneurial endeavor was with Torrey Pines Transportation, a limousine and car company that he and his brothers co-own and operate.
Daniells was a free spirit and found significance in Native American teachings and prayers, but his true passion was fishing. Daniells was first drawn to fly fishing and used to fish both sides of the Sierra Mountains, but he expanded his expertise and became skilled at deep sea and freshwater fishing.
“He could pull a fish out of any creek or any hole, and never met a kelp patty that he didn’t love,” said his brother, Brian Daniells.
Daniells shared his knowledge and expertise with the whole of the San Diego fishing community as the spokesman for Fishdope.com, reporting the daily weather conditions. Though he often released his fish back into the water, Daniells kept his finer catches, skinning and filleting them before distributing the freshly prepared meat in oversized Ziploc bags to his friends and family.
“He was in his own world when he was on the water,” said Pam Meiferdt, a friend of Daniells’. “He could channel fish like no other and it was always evident when he brought a boatload of fish home… [Fishing] was his religion.”
In 2009, Daniells reconnected with his high school sweetheart, Barbara “Boo” Bruce, via Facebook. She moved to San Diego from San Francisco and the two lived together with their dog, Kobe.
“Jim and I could finish each other’s sentences and talked of growing old together,” said Bruce. “He was magic to me.”
Daniells is survived by his mother, Barbara Daniells of San Diego; and his brothers, Clay, of Orange County and Brian Daniells, of San Diego.
In addition, Daniells’ corneas were donated to the San Diego Eye Bank, and his skin, bones and fat were harvested for medical research.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends and loved ones consider donating to the Jim Daniells’ Memorial Foundation, which aims to provide access to fishing for children who otherwise would not have the opportunity. The Foundation is funded through private donations and plans to use Daniells’ own extensive collection of fishing gear.
Daniells, a longtime member of Alcoholics Anonymous, enjoyed many years of healthy sobriety due in great part to the strength that AA provided him. Daniells was especially proud of being sober for his last month and, according to family, credited his success to his new Saturday men’s meeting.
A cleansing service is scheduled for 1 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 21 at Kate Sessions Park in Pacific Beach.
In the wake of my family’s loss, I’m struggling to sort through my feelings. The problems is that emotions are not easily translated into words, and there’s no one thing that can describe the overwhelming nature of this all.
I’ve never previously dealt with death or loss. It was a concept to me, something that I heard about and read about and that I could conceptualize, but by which I had never truly been touched. But with a simple phone call last night, everything changed.
I cried. But then I stopped myself, grabbed a pen and started writing lists of everything I needed to do. Writing lists felt organized and as far removed from emotion as possible. I’ve never been one to allow myself to be very emotional. I don’t know how to process things so I subconsciously numb myself. I run as hard and as fast as I physically can. I write. I make lists.
But sometimes the numbness is just as painful. When I close my eyes or think about someone so near and dear to my heart, I can’t fully process everything.
I’m consumed with anger, that someone would so selfishly take their own life. I’m sure he considered the consequences of his actions, but he made the decision anyway. Now someone has to tell his aging mother that her youngest son is gone. Now someone has to piece together the broken bits of his life. Someone has to write an obituary and decide the next steps.
I’m sad and sorry that he was in such pain. I’m filled with guilt at having forgotten to call him on his birthday. I’m so sorry for those blind sighted innocents that were forced to play a part in his death, people who will be broken for the rest of their lives and feel guilt for something that was never their fault.
In the simplest of ways, I’m also happy though. If things were truly bad enough to motivate someone to take their own life, than I’m happy that he’s no longer in pain.
And I feel an overwhelming and instinctive love that overpowers most everything. I love him, despite the pain and the sorrow and the guilt.
No matter what I feel, though, it doesn’t really matter. Someone I love is gone and I will never be able to see them again. I will never hear their distinct radio-worthy voice at the other end of the line. I will never hold their hand or laugh with them. And I will never again open their tin foil-wrapped presents. The emptiness is something indigestible and it literally gives me a stomach ache.
He is gone. And I’m still at a loss at how to calculate it.
The government puts a value of a human life between seven and 10 million. I would give ten times that to bring him back. I would walk those 600 miles. I would do anything. But saying that doesn’t mean anything because I can’t. He’s gone.
Gone… But then again, matter cannot be created out of nothing. And matter can’t just disappear, either; it’s turned into energy of some sort, recycled and processed back into the universe. So from a religious or scientific perspective—either way, there is an energy in the universe that is my uncle.
This is both a current events post and a political post… I’m really stepping outside of my comfort zone, here.
But I was reading the Sunday Globe this morning and there was a story in the local section about a Massachusetts politician, Thomas Conroy. According to the Globe story, Conroy—who is a three-term state representative from Wayland—is walking more than 600 miles across all of Massachusetts for a chance to oppose Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate election.
He’s more than 400 miles into his trek and has braved the Mohawk trail, triple digit temperatures and blisters. Conroy drew his inspiration from Lawton Chiles, a Florida politician that walked his state 41 years ago; and I’m drawing my inspiration from Conroy.
I think his walk is ballsy and painstaking. But it shows a dedication to his state that I seldom see or hear about from politicians. And it got me thinking… what would I walk for?
Obviously that kind of consistent trek is a great workout (and it looks like he does it in slacks and a button-down), but what am I so passionate about that I would walk 600 miles?
Maybe Woof, though I’ve been feeling a little burnt out from it. Or perhaps my family? There are times I feel like I could easily walk the 3,000 miles home. Or even just for a story… “The Day I Decided to Walk Hundreds of Miles in Search of Artistic Inspiration.”
Ultimately, though, I don’t know that there’s anything I would do that for, especially with my shirt tucked in. But because of that, I admire Conroy. It has nothing to do with his political views or his family or how beautiful his wife is. I admire him for the person he is, and for the passion he has for his candidacy and his state.
I can’t see someone who loves their state that much doing something in office to ruin it. It’s inspiring. And I don’t say that very often about politicians.
|Photo retrieved from Thomas Conroy’s blog|