The Poppies are Here

California Poppies

Picture 1 of 8

One of the joys of living in California (among many) is the arrival of the California Poppy in the springtime arrival of the outrageously happy flower.

Three Days in Yosemite this Winter

Tuloumne River

Picture 1 of 13

The sun setting over the Tuolomne River valley as I arrive in Yoemite.

This winter I had the chance to spend some time with Mike and Brenda in Yosemite. They were house sitting one of the ranger cabins near the visitor center.

We walked every day and I had a chance to really use my new camera for the first time.

It has been a long time since I spent any time in the valley. I always remember how magical it felt and this visit did nothing to diminish that feeling. I will always be grateful that I took the time in my youth to climb and live in Yosemite.

It helped me develop some self confidence. But more importantly I did learn one thing from climbing:

Go up or go down, but you have to do something.

I have a strong memory of being in the Valley for Thanksgiving. I had a campfire and it was snowing. The flakes were large and they slowly spiraled out of the dark sky. I was so mesmerized by the beauty of the moment and the joy I felt was overwhelming. I finally accepted that it was possible to be happy.

I was living my life. I was doing what I wanted to do and whatever the future held I would choose it. I was no longer living my life to please others but I was living my own life.

I also realized that if I was here in the Valley living this life when I was forty five (which seemed impossibly old at that point in my life) I would be miserable. This moment would be cold and wet, not glorious.

I packed up my van and headed south to school and the future secure in myself and my choices.

These pictures are a testament to the wisdom of that youth.

Sudden understanding of why Antibiotic resistance is a HUGE deal

This summer Eileen and I went to Lake Sabrina where my family has a cabin on Forest Service Land.

While we were there I was bitten by a soft body tick. Normally they feed at night and they only attach themselves for a half hour or so, unlike the hardbody ticks. I didn’t notice a thing except for the bite mark.

When we returned to Los Angeles I started to get sick. At first I thought I had the flu but then the symptoms started to get much worse. I would alternate between bouts of sweating and fever where I literally would soak my clothes and the bed as well as suffering severe muscle aches.

I went to the doctor but he was sympathetic but of little help. He took blood samples and ran some panels to test for known infections but said to call if the symptoms got worse.

They did so on Monday night Eileen took me to the emergency room. The provided me with two bags of saline, which turned out to be right in time as my kidney’s had started to shut down.

A visit to an infectious disease specialist and an email from my brother who had suffered the same disease two years before solved the diagnosis. I was prescribed a round of antibiotics which cured the bacterial infection.

In a few more years that simple solution may not be available anymore. The overuse of antibiotics in food animals. The incorrect use by many people who do not finish the prescribed course but simple stop when they feel better. The insistence by patients to doctors to prescribe antibiotics for viral infections like colds or the flu. All these cause are rapidly breeding antibiotic resistant bacteria. (who says evolution doesn’t work?) What then?

What does and does not matter in the Deficit

Following in the footsteps of much more illustrious bloggers I want to try and make sense of the federal budget and what matters moving forward.

Here, roughly is the 2012 Budget by Category:

2012 Federal Budget by Category

Other than Military 19% and Discretionary 17% is strictly transfer payments.  SS Taxes, Medicare taxes as will as SSI taxes flow from one taxpayer to another with minimal administrative costs < 2% as well as being self supporting, taxes are roughly in balance. (More about that in a moment.)

So the savings from any program cuts need to flow directly from Military or Discretionary spending.

Lets consider Military spending first. We spend a lot! We spend slightly less than the rest of the world. That seems the best place to begin reducing the deficit.