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Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson: The Man in the Music

Michael Jackson Died

I was told Thursday evening. Though saddened, I refused to give his death more of my sorrow than any of the thousands who die daily. I listened to television media reports because I didn't know what else to do.

On Friday I had two conversations that centered around Michael and honoring someone's life which means we take action to better ourselves. A third conversation centered around the question, “What does it take to live?”

Michael Jackson's Music

On Saturday something urged me to listen to music. Michael Jackson's HIStory was right there. Part 2 is my 10-year old's music of choice while exercising. I have yet to tell him Michael's music got me through many workouts before he was born.

It is useless to be good or great at anything unless it extends beyond the accomplishment itself and enriches life. Michael's music obliterates that criteria. The softness and rawness of his voice draws you in while his ability to fill the music with nuance infuses you with vibrancy.

Michael Jackson, The Man

Michael is not the cute boy singing ABC or moonwalking. Michael is one with the beat because he is one with himself. Michael was one before he learned his ABC's. We all are. Our “growing up” from our spiritselves limits our understanding of a grown man who bravely ”loves in such elementary ways.”

Michael is a genius in so many ways. One of the ways he is a genius is that he is a child in so many ways. This allows him to maintain the purity of who he is as a man. He is a strong person, a loving person. This is what it takes to live.

Michael Jackson Lives

It is useless to be good or great at anything unless it extends beyond the accomplishment itself and enriches life. My son and I are 35 years apart but not while Michael's music is playing.

Tonight I dance a new dance – not because Thriller plays in the background – but because contemplating Michael's life helps me listen more carefully to my own beat. Michael is known for his music, but it is his message and his example of how to live that keeps him alive. HIStory continues...

I am thankful for his family and friends who supported Michael's safari. Without them the sadness we feel now would be much greater because we would have been completely without Michael.

Asante Sana Michael.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nature of Ant Problems in Houses

I'm convinced ant problems inside the house have a lot to do with an environmental problem outside the house. It stems from this: Living Area With Nature. This is clearly not what lawns/yards have become. For now, back to the ant problem.

Ants ant the ant problem

Ants only become an indoor problem for us when we create an outdoor problem for them. For those who think the ants themselves are the problem, stay with me.

Just after the heavy rain yesterday, construction season is back in full gear. The spectacular evidence of the excavating, rises nobly. An ant colony has upgraded their living from a two-holed, side-by-side townhome arrangement to a five-holed village complex. Times of late have been good for the colonizers. The gritty, gray, circular mounds of earth are arranged like the Olympic Rings or vice versa. A line of red and black shimmers among the overgrowth between former and current residences in the late-morning sun. The line materializes into ants carrying insects, larvae and pieces of things. I provide a cheese curl my son left in the car as a house-warming gift.

This year, after two years on this land, I've noticed a doubling and tripling of the amount of ant holes. So far, not one ant has been seen indoors. My manmade cave is not airtight so if ants wanted to get in they could. My analysis: I've also noticed a greater variety of plants mixed in with the grass and increased bird activity. A more diverse flora provides or attracts what the ants need and does the same for their predators.

I just learned ants do a lot for any environment. I won't be needing those aerating shoes. Amazingly, ants turn over more soil than earthworms. Yet, it is not ants over earthworms, bees over flies or birds over rabbits. It is not one over the other, it is one with the other. Ants are fellow soldiers of the soil working together with the earthworms, multi-legged crawlers and microorganisms. They are the healthcare workers of the ecosystem.

Solutions: What works for me

I mulch and leave grass clippings and leaves in the grass. I do the same for plants pulled from the flower and vegetable garden if I choose not to compost them. Come Spring, I don't rake the grass of all the partially decomposed grass and things leftover after Winter. I don't use synthetic fertilizers. I have yet to add any natural fertilizer. I allow the natural plant diversity that emerges to continue. I don't cut the back yard as often as the front. I don't primp and preen my yard for the sole purpose of making it look a deep thick lush green and contain grass only. This “nice, lovely lawn” mentality that is so important to our social system is detrimental to the underlying health of the ecosystem. That's not nice. Finally, I assist plant diversity by planting things, especially plants my neighbors don't have, that feed me, birds, insects and a host of other living things.

My theory is selfish. If I can help the natural world as much as possible, when I need it to provide nutrients for all my plants, including grass/lawn, it will be able. When I need it to pollinate my fruit and vegetables, it will be ready. When I need it to maintain balance, it will oblige.

Solutions: To keep ants outside

Instead of attacking ants where they live, feed them where they live. Drop vegetable and fruit peelings outside their entrances. If ants will take my nail clippings they'll take just about anything organic or food scraps or anything we eat.

Why not put out food for ants? You won't attract ants by feeding them, they're already there. You will keep them where they are plus keep them doing what they do best which benefits us all. Just give them some of the stuff you don't want and do it in the morning, not at night. The only reason ants are coming in the house is because that's where the closest and best food source is. There's not enough food in their environment. Since ants will eat a lot of naturally-occurring stuff, it's a big environmental problem if there's not enough naturally-occurring stuff in your yard for non-finicky, scavenger-minded, eat-anything ants.

Solution: Cheapest, simplest and most sensible

Leave all of nature's food in your yard and the ants won't pass it up just to come into your house. Ants are exceptional opportunists yet they will not travel to a house to raid its indoor storehouse while passing up food on the land along the way.

Ant Problem Redefined

For the past two years, when there weren't as many ants on the land I share, there really was an ant problem.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Personal Growth: Michelle Obama's Garden

Michelle Obama First Mama
Why does your garden grow?
To remind us what's worthwhile
And the impact of our lifestyles
Returning to what we used to know

It's wise for Michelle Obama to have an edible garden at home. Understanding what it takes to keep us alive by understanding what it takes to keep plants alive is crucial to the continued viability of the human race. This is the real way to achieve security – reconnecting to the basic, sustaining things in this life. We cannot be completely connected to each other unless we are connected to nature since nature is the common denominator.

It's smart for Michelle Obama to show us that a garden bigger than many living spaces, cost under $200 plus a free investment in exercise. I know I spend over $200 per year on fruit, vegetables and herbs I could grow a little more of myself. I guarantee you, once you get going and see how much easier, cheaper, tastier, healthier and rewarding gardening is, you will be forever changed for the better.

Gardening indoors or outdoors is about enjoying, growing, caring, nurturing, understanding, learning and experimenting. There are no masters or experts. Gardeners and farmers control very little and only influence a few things so we can plant without the pressure of perfection.

Growing something is not an exercise in getting it right but in not getting it wrong. Our focus should be on not harming, destroying or disrupting the natural processes. Once we become aware of our impact and imprint on the soil, environment and every living species, eating and planting become more about a privilege and partnerships.

We will no longer lament the rain or lightening. We won't care whether it's the heat or the humidity, just that both are present. We will reuse containers, cardboard, wood, leaves and grass clippings like crazy. Mulch and compost will become the new checking and savings accounts. We'll inadvertently become a mini-ecologist/biologist and learn to welcome more than birds because you'll understand that biodiversity is in everyone's favor. Beyond bees we'll begin to appreciate the importance of flies and midges. Our awareness will increase through germination, respiration, differentiation, pollination and maturation. We'll become intimate with photosynthesis and it's relationship to digestion. Everything that stimulates roots to shoots to fruits will also fascinate us. We will ultimately become a part of the process of growing soil and embracing the ecosystem. Gardening really is about learning and sharing from the ground level to the spiritual level.

Just as enjoyable as the food are the rich rewards of an environment with increased diversity. Yesterday I saw a brown and yellow hummingbird poking around in the stylish purple and yellow flowers of the Wild Columbine. Later on a Silver-Spotted Skipper stopped by. As kids we called them police butterflies. Perhaps it was searching for the tangerine Monarch that flitted through this morning casing the bounty of blossoms that are just a few weeks away.

Layer upon layer of interdependency is what it takes for us to be fed yet growing food at home is something we can easily achieve. Hopefully we will follow the leader.

Poetry & Poems About Nature
White House Garden Details

Michelle you're very, revolutionary
More than you'll ever know
Using renaissance and influence
To help us personally grow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fear of Fear

Fear is a catalyst. It causes you to take action to preserve life, liberty and dignity. You won't sit there and take it. You won't bow down or bend over. You won't continue to do the same thing waiting and hoping for fear to go away.

Fear does not freeze up. That's either panic or anxiety. Both inhibit our ability to think clearly and make good decisions. When we do nothing we could be really nervous, really worried, anxious, panicked or perhaps comfortable, but not afraid at all. Quit thinking it's fear.

With fear, there is still a sense and awareness of control. There are options. Even when choices are limited, there are still things you can do. At a minimum, you can fight or flee/defend or run.

Since you can run, that's what I'm afraid of.