Prenumbral Eclipse of the Snow Moon

moon

Tonight’s Snow Moon after the prenumbral eclipse.

February 10 in Colorado on the night of the full Snow Moon….and I spent the day running in shorts and a t-shirt in the foothills. Tomorrow I’ll be skiing. I love Colorado. Tonight was also special because it was a prenumbral eclipse of the Snow Moon. Because the name sounded like a bad teenage romance novel, I was intrigued by this lunar event and had to find out where this name came from. Prenumbra means almost shadow  and is a less intense part of Earth’s shadow being cast on the moon–a shadow that is not as dark as the typical umbra eclipse.

I had not heard of a Snow Moon (or a prenumbra) until tonight. I’ve watched many lunar eclipses and heard of the Harvest Moon before, but after all these years I guess I didn’t realize EVERY full moon had a name or that we could sometimes see the very faint prenumbra shadow. It’s easy to miss. The Moon names were actually names given to the whole month and thus the corresponding full moon received its name. Most of the names were bestowed  by the Algonquin tribes on the East Coast. Thanks to Farmer’s Almanac, I learned all their names tonight. Historically, the names are really interesting, even if they don’t apply to life today.

Wolf Moon – January

Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.

Snow Moon – February

Because the heaviest snow usually falls during this month,this was most often called the Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this moon as the Hunger Moon, because harsh weather made hunting difficult.

Worm Moon – March

As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this moon as the Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the  Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation.

Pink Moon – April

This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

Flower Moon – May

In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this moon. Other names include the Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.

Strawberry Moon – June

This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon.

Buck Moon – July

July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month’s moon was the Hay Moon.

Sturgeon Moon – August

The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

Corn Moon or Harvest Moon – September

This full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox.

 Hunter’s Moon or Harvest Moon – October

This full Moon is often referred to as the Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains.

Beaver Moon – November

This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

The Long Nights Moon – December

During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long. It has also been called the Cold Moon.

Source: Farmer’s Almanac

These are great names, but I decided I would give the moon names an upgrade to fit life today…or at least my life. Here’s my version.

  • Resolution  Moon – January
  • Crocus Moon – February
  • Bike Tuning Moon – March
  • Slush and Mud Moon – April
  • Mother’s Moon – May
  • Yippee Moon – June
  • Splash Moon – July
  • Mountain Climber’s Moon – August
  • New Pencil Moon – September
  • Creepy Pumpkin Moon – October
  • Thanksgiving Moon -November
  • Chaos Moon – December

I doubt the astronomy world will rename the full moon names on my account, but I’m going to think of each full moon differently now. They are now fun time markers shining on the treasures that each month brings.

People with Rabies

rabies

This guy has Rabies.

A homeless guy called me “cool” today. He said and I quote, “Only cool people appreciate the name of my dog.” His dog’s name is Rabies. He knew how much I appreciated the name by my reaction. I LOVE creativity and a bit of dark humor. And this pup is aptly  named.

Just one day after watching A Dog’s Purpose at the movie theater (spoiler alert: bring Kleenex), today I saw another dog with a purpose. A dog named Rabies loving his master. A master who many people treat like he has rabies, though neither of them do.

I love his sign, too. I think it is a sign we all should carry. Everyday.

Because isn’t that what we are…really? Ugly and broke. We are all imperfect. Yes, we may wash our hair and put on clean clothes in the morning, but let’s face it. His sign is our sign, too.

And aren’t we ALL traveling folks? We journey through this world looking for our next opportunity–whether it be a better job, a happiness fix, a loyal friend, or our next meal. We travel. We journey. We wander. And every now and then, if we are wise, we slow down enough to share in the joy of the struggle and break bread with other ugly, broken people along the way. Cool.

Entropy, Feelings, and the Next Chapter In My Quest for Peace

grave

Is this a picture of peace or unrest? I think it is both–the nature of our life on Earth.

I’ve been thinking about peace all week. And as with other synchronicities of life, I happened to also take a personality test on 16personalities.com . It is a Myers-Briggs style test. I scored as an INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging) type when I first took the test in the early 90s and in all the years I’ve taken it since. This particular test labeled me again as an INTJ-A, and categorized it as a rare analyst personality type called “The Architect.” If you haven’t taken this particular test, I highly recommend it. Don’t forget to read all the methodology (but of course I would say that, I’m the Architect).

Naturally, it makes sense I continue my quest for peace by none other than good old reliable analysis. It’s what I do.

First, I discovered people often misunderstand what I mean when I say I am not peaceful at Christmastime. It is not spiritual peace I am lacking. I have plenty of that. In fact it is because of my spiritual peace that I am all the more in a state of unrest. I want and desire more than anything the promised peace I believe is to come. This peace does not exist naturally on Earth. Don’t get me wrong, there are peaceful moments, but let’s face it…the second law of thermodynamics proves that disorder is the order of the day. That’s right! Entropy! And the holiday season brings with it both  great joy as well as great disorder. Hence, less peace in my life.

Secondly, while doing my morning swimming/thinking, I contemplated how we all use the same words to mean different things. Peace, joy, happiness, contentment …what do they really mean?

I hear all the time that joy and happiness are different; that is, happiness is circumstantial and joy is not. That’s how I’ve always thought of these two words. Webster only partially agrees with this concept. I hear people use peace, joy, and happiness interchangeably when describing their state of being. I see both circumstantial and spiritual meanings in all of these definitions. It is confusing because you never know on which plane people are speaking when they say they are happy, content, joyful, or peaceful.

Joy: 1) the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; 2) a state of happiness or felicity 3) a source or cause of delight

Happiness: 1) a state of well-being and contentment;  2) a pleasurable or satisfying experience

Peace: 1)  a state of tranquility or quiet; 2)  freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

Contentment: 1) in a state of peaceful happiness.

My contemplation of peace has been centered on something I’ve started to really embrace and let out.

Are you ready for it? They are called feelings. Amazing, right?

Did you know we are allowed to feel bad, or sad, or mad, or glad? And we don’t have to repress, hide or deny those feelings? In other words, I don’t have to cry in my closet or the car wash anymore. I can, but I don’t have to.

I’ve actually been working on understanding feelings for the past six or so years (thanks to my feeling friends—most of whom score high on the Ffeeling scale on personality tests).

When I took the personality test this week one of the things I discovered about myself was a change on the thinking/feeling scale. I was no longer heavily weighted on the thinking side, as I have been in years past. There was almost an equal balance on the thinking/feeling scale. And, if I switched the T (thinking) for the F (feeling), my personality profile changes to that of an Advocate (INFJ) not an Architect (INTJ) —both of which are rare personality types. Eureka! This explains a lot!

INTJ – Architects form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. Few personality types are as mysterious and controversial as Architects. Possessing intellect and strategic thinking that allow them to overcome many challenging obstacles, Architects have the ability to both develop and implement a plan for everything, including their own personal growth.

INFJ –Advocates tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.

In short, what I’m discovering is that my own repression of feelings for many years may, or may not be, my natural personality. Most likely I am some hybrid of the two.

So what does this long personality explanation have to do with peace, you ask? Everything for me. I’ve been interpreting my newly embraced entropic feelings as the lack of peace – physical peace. And, I believe, rightly so. And guess what? That’s alright. Because when I let myself feel them and I share them with others (outside of my closet) it allows me to be an advocate for others–something I’ve been doing more and more and more as the years advance.

A good friend of mine told me to imagine feelings as if they are kept in a vise. If you tighten the vise and suppress one side you suppress the other as well. So if you squash the unrest, you squash the joy, too.

So, today I say this. I’m going to be glad I’m not “peaceful” all the time. I’m better for it. Ironically, I’ve found that there is peace in not being peaceful Wow! Who knew?

But no time for more writing today…. I have whips to crack, puzzles to solve, people to love, and a world to help rescue.

Choosing to Give. Choosing to Receive.

kickball

Kickin’ it with kids. What choice do I have?

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”– Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore is a man of few, but profound words. October means it is time for my Harry Potter marathon—a Potter movie (or two) every weekend until Halloween. I just finished watching The Chamber of Secrets and the headmaster’s words quoted above have been sticking with me.

His words echoed in my head this weekend as I spent some time playing kickball with homeless kids. As I started my work week, I carried with me the smiles on their faces, the high fives, the laughter, and the excitement from the game. A simple game played in a parking lot with hula hoops for bases.

The kids and their families chose to embrace the moment. To enjoy the company of strangers. To pray for their blessings. To play and have fun regardless of their abilities or their situations. I have nothing but admiration for those kids. They are making the best of their situation—living in cubical bedrooms with tarps for walls. Sleeping on cots. Yet choosing to enjoy life whenever life gives them enjoyable things—not dwelling on what they don’t have, but what they do.

Spending my free time serving others may have some labeling me a “do gooder” trying to earn some Earthly praise or cosmic medal or maybe even work my way to heaven. Not at all.  I do hope I’m helping, but the reality is what I receive often outweighs what I give. The giving and receiving are practically indistinguishable.  The two together make something beautiful, healing, and the closest thing to heaven I have ever experienced—whether I’m giving or receiving. I can hardly ever tell which is which.

This world is a broken mess. We can’t make it whole again. But we can fill the cracks with mortar. Still broken, but patched together–the giver and the receiver—one in the same. We can choose to be together and find joy despite the flaws.

Thanks for the game kids!

It’s our choices that show us who we really are. Indeed.

Crossing the Cross Country Midline

5k

You can take the girl out of the running, but you can’t take the running out of the girl.

I am a runner—at least in my soul. My mind still thinks I’m a runner. My body doesn’t always agree. I spent this crisp fall morning not out bounding over crunchy leaves, but in a gym doing interval training. Seems ridiculous to me.

My time felt ridiculous as well. I slowed the machine down to snap this picture when I hit 3.1 miles.  The time is a bit deceiving. I sprinted a lot of this 5K on an incline.

But the time also doesn’t lie. I jogged in between the sprints.

I decided to do some math to ease my pain. If I ran an 18 minute 5K when I was 20, then when I double my age I should be able to double my time, right? So that means anything under 43 minutes would be incredible.

Too bad it doesn’t work that way.

After knee surgery in college and back surgery in my late twenties, running has been the itch I just can’t scratch. I tiptoe back into it whenever I can and often end up discouraged or injured. But not this month. I’ve actually been running (carefully) three times a week. I don’t want to jinx it. And I can feel the cross country returning to my soul and filling me with joy again.

I think I’m almost ready to take it outside—where I want to be. But there are potential hazards out there. Birds for one. Rocks for another. And my own self…who tends to think I’m still 20 when I hit the trail.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never stop trying to run. My old shoes in my keepsake box remind me of that. Why did I keep them? Did I think they were magic? That if I put them on some year in the future I would be able to run—really run—again. No. I think they just serve as a constant reminder that you can’t stop being who you are.

old-shoes

My cross country spikes and flats from high school and college remind me that I’ll always be a runner.

Thanks WordPress #wwwp5K.

Controlling Time

young-family-pic

When I was little time moved at a snail’s pace, but it must have been racing by for my parents.

Tonight at dinner my 21-year-old son started to say words adult’s say. “How did it get this late? How did time suddenly change speeds? How is my cousin now married? How is time moving faster now?”

It made me both giggle and sigh. I felt bad for him. He is hitting the part of life where life is fast. And it made me wonder why. Why is life slow as a child, fast as an adult, and slow again when you are old?  First, I thought, that’s easy…it’s because we are ridiculously busy when we are adults. But then I thought, no, busyness has nothing to do with it. It is all about control.

When we are kids, our parents, teachers and pretty much everyone else control our lives. We don’t get to decide, not really. It’s why it takes so long for Christmas or our birthdays to come. We have to wait a long time to actually get something we want…something we hope for…and even then it doesn’t always work out the way we expected. We wait. We wait for a small piece of control—asking for something and then, if we are lucky, getting it—finally.

When we hit the adult world it is a sudden jolt. Suddenly we make all the decisions. We are in control of everything and we make a thousand decisions a day. Small ones, like breakfast. Big ones, like marriage. And with our hands on the controls of our own lives there are more decisions than time. It is probably why time in jail seems so long (I’m assuming, of course). Loss of control equals the slowing down of time.

So here’s the question. Is there something we can do to slow down time without losing control?

Vacation? That works sometimes when we give up some of the control to the housekeeping staff or the taxi driver. Or maybe those rare occasions we refuse to make decisions and spend some quiet time with our thoughts…but not thoughts about what we are going to do or need to do.

It just seems like it is hard to find the balance between control and loss of control—each of which is both a prison and a paradise.

Total Exhaustion

nap

One minion riding a fluffy unicorn, two minions riding a fluffy unicorn, three minions riding a fluffy unicorn……..

If you haven’t noticed, my blogs have been few and far between the past few months. But not because my head isn’t reeling with topics. I now realize my bloglessness has been due to total exhaustion. Complete and utter total exhaustion.

Total exhaustion has never been a negative phrase for me. Total exhaustion, rather, has been a battle cry. It is something I aspire to when climbing peaks or riding my bike. In fact, it’s become a game. How much harder can I make it? For example, is there an alternative way to get to the trailhead? Anyone can drive there. How about riding my bike there…and then back after finishing a grueling climb? Yes! Total exhaustion! Bring it on.

This summer I discovered a new form of total exhaustion. And I did something I can’t remember ever doing before. I took a nap—a real nap. Not just nodding off for 15 minutes on the lawn furniture on a sunny Saturday. No. I got up at 8:00 a.m. on a work day (really late for me), stood up, checked my phone, wrote my boss a “not happening today” note, and didn’t get out of bed again until 12:30…possibly 1:00.

What drove me to total exhaustion? It wasn’t a mountain I had climbed or a pass I had peddled. No.It was mental and physical exhaustion from work and simply finally letting myself fully recover from the cold I had fought with for the last four weeks. Although there were no lingering signs of the infection in my sinuses, it had apparently sucked the life from me and my body was still crying…I just refused to listen…until what I will now and forevermore refer to as THE NAP.

But, no more! My mind is doing cartwheels and my body thanking me all because of THE NAP. And because it was so amazing, I followed it up with a shorter sequel today …THE NAP 2.

In fact, I have not thought of work once today. Not obsessing over our startup business struggles. Not counting my long list of “to dos.” Nope. Just counting minions riding fluffy unicorns as they bounce over my head…1…2…3… Zzzzzz!

Now I believe I am ready to blog again, ride again, hike again…maybe, just maybe, even work again.

Naps. Who knew? Maybe I’m getting older and this is what crossing the midline is all about. Or maybe I’m just getting wiser and maybe that is what crossing the midline is all about. Either way I’ve found a new friend called sleep.

Bad Hair Days, Extreme Zeal, and Everything Else String Theory Now Helps Me Explain

I’ve often wondered why my hair is so crazy. Now I know. It isn’t because I buy cheap shampoo or rarely look in the mirror to fix it. It is particle physics!  I saw this depiction of strings on a two-dimensional brane and thought…EUREKA! That’s my hair!

string-therory-hair

Strings on a 2-dimensional brane.

bad-hair-day

Strings on my brain.

I was also overcome with joy when I learned about supersymmetry. Although these connection particles have technically not been found, they are fabled to exist and I’ll take them, please!  Not only do they simplify the string theory equations by canceling out all kinds of variables, they take away inconsistencies like infinite values and imaginary energy levels.  This helps me quite a lot. When I start thinking I have infinite time and imaginary energy levels, I can just apply a little supersymmetry and….VOILA! Nap time.

And because string theory is the “theory of everything.” I now can pretty much explain…well…everything.

“Mom, why can’t you pick me up from work?” String theory, honey, sorry.

“Trish, why doesn’t your budget balance?” String theory.

“Where did my missing sweatshirt go?” Slipped into the eighth dimension. String theory. Oh well.

Physics is so useful. Who knew?

Definition of String Theory

A theory in physics that views subatomic particles as string-like objects floating in space-time rather than as point-like objects. Space-time in string theory can have up to nine dimensions of space, plus the dimension of time.

Strange Angels and Nonverbal Hilarity

nails

Getting a French manicure isn’t usually this eventful.

As I sat in Angels Nails today getting my toes done along with my once every few year  French manicure,  a strange man came into the shop.  More on this in a moment…

First, let me paint the picture for you. The salon is owned and run by a Vietnamese staff,  all of whom rarely speak English to their customers. They communicate as best they can using broken English with a thick accent and, when necessary, some sign language. During your service they all speak to each other, never to you.  Oh, how I wish I could understand what they were saying. It’s like having a secret code language. They could say anything!

“This lady has the worst nails I’ve ever seen.”

“You take this one! She’s a terrible tipper.”

“Don’t make me come over there and use this electric file on you!”

“Look at all this dog hair on her pants! Does she know this will fall into the drain and clog up everything?”

The possibilities are endless. I try to figure it out based on body language and facial expressions. It’s like watching a foreign TV channel and trying to get the gist of the show. I love it.

But today we all, the staff AND the patrons, spoke together in the universal language of raised eyebrows, curious glances, and smiles.

As I was getting Bogota Blackberry brushed across my toes, the aforementioned man came into the shop. He was in his late sixties, white, thin, medium height and  had on well-worn, but clean, khaki pants and a nondescript casual shirt and jacket. He had short white hair and a scraggly-trimmed, short white beard and glasses. The Sherlock Holmes in me started to size him up. Does he look weathered or pale? Geologist or construction worker? Is he wearing bifocals or cheaters….hmmm.. Motive? Hmmmm.

He grabbed one of the business cards in his free hand. In the other he held a plastic King Soopers bag and an open glass bottle of Coke. Ahhh.. I’ve got it!  He is here to get a gift card for his wife. Case solved, Watson!

(Remind me not to go into the detective business,…I was wrong on all counts.)

Kim, the owner, said  “May I help you?”

He replied, “No, I just want your card so I can come in tomorrow.  I’m too tired today.” My nail tech and I exchanged glances. [Translation: Getting a manicure is relaxing and not a lot of work for you, Sir.} He looked down at his fingernails and began picking at them.

Next he made eye contact with many of us in the room and smiled, then loudly said “Hi.” He asked if he could have a drink and pointed to the small glass fridge holding tiny bottles of water. My tech and I exchanged glances again. [Translation: Aren’t you drinking a Coke right now?]

He proceeded to grab a water, not drink it, and announce that he was just going to look at the colors. We glanced again. [Translation: Is he planning to rob the place? What is in that bag?]

Next he asked if he could try a color on a nail. Now, trying a color on one nail is a typical practice to check out if you like it.  So, Kim, with a raised eyebrow and puzzled glance, replied affirmatively again.  At this point all eyes were darting around the room. He didn’t fit the description of a man you would think would want color on his nails. Plenty of men get manicures, but polish?  That’s usually left to the rock stars, emo kids, and maybe someone participating in the #polishedman social media campaign.  My next guess was that he was homeless…possibly seeing what free stuff was in the store.  But again, not a guy you’d picture ever getting his nails colored.

At this point he could clearly see the only “free stuff” he could get here was an itty bity water and a Dum Dum, which he did not take. So, I started ruling out the homeless possibility. Especially because he was drinking the most expensive type of bottled Coke you can buy.

He then proceeded to sit at a table and paint all ten of his fingernails with a deep cerulean. Now it was getting awkward and the glances became more intense. [Translation: What the heck? Why blue? Why paint your own nails in a nail salon? Is he going to pay for that?]

Before his nails had time to dry, he stood up and shouted goodbye or …..thank you.  I’m not sure because he said it three times in three languages, none of which I speak. As soon as the door closed behind him, the nail tech to my left burst out laughing and said, “What he think? This ALL Asian salon.” I asked her what languages he had used. She told me: Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

So who was this mysterious man? I’ve decided he was a strangel. That’s my new word for strange angel. It was Angels Nails, after all. His purpose? No idea. Maybe it was just to get us all speaking the same language. If so, it worked.

Spill Your Sugar Everywhere

jack

When Jack crossed the midline he couldn’t walk. Now he is 53 and he can. Yay, Jack!

Today started out gloomy and snowy. It didn’t feel much like Spring. As I sat in my usual spot at the Starbuck’s bar pouring sugar into my oatmeal, I completely missed the bowl. The sugar spilled onto the table.  Just then I got a gentle nudge on my shoulder from Jack.

Jack rides his motorized wheelchair almost every day to and from and my local Starbucks.  He smiled at me and said, “I’m going to an MS meeting this week. I’m going to surprise them and show them how I can walk. It’s going to be a bright day.”

Jack makes every day bright. I met Jack at Starbucks about 5 years ago. I’ve been stopping at Starbucks ever since, saying hello and giving Jack fist bumps. He always shares his smile and we discuss the Avalanche or the Broncos or whoever is playing that day. He usually asks about “Indy.”  That’s what he calls my son, because he thinks he looks like Indiana Jones (and has the adventurous stories to go with it).

What you would never know from looking at Jack is that he spent 14 years in bed. He was diagnosed with progressive MS in his thirties. A month after the diagnosis he was essentially paralyzed and had lost his voice.

“I thank God for MS,” he told me, “because He gave me a disease I could conquer.”  The doctors don’t want to write about him in any journals, he shared. They don’t want to give people false hope–that this could be their story.  The medical world tells him he is a miracle and that he is “one in a million.” (Something I already know.) I told him to heck with the medical journals! I wanted to write his story. It wouldn’t reach the masses like a medical journal would, but I didn’t see anything wrong with giving people hope or at least letting people rejoice in his hard work, love of life, and miraculous comeback.

As his 14 bedridden years passed and he slowly started to improve, he set his sights on walking. It took him 5 years to take his first steps. Jack wanted to take the picture above  standing—not sitting in his wheelchair. He told me that when he stood for the first time, he could feel his toes wiggle. That was all the encouragement he needed. He said he wiggled and prayed, wiggled and prayed, wiggled and prayed. That was the trick.

As I brushed the spilled sugar into my hand and tossed it in the trash can, I realized that Jack was like sugar—pure sugar. He comes to Starbucks every day and spills his sugar everywhere. I’m so glad he does. I can’t think of a better way to start the day. My oatmeal is always better with some Jack on the side.