That line from David Foster Wallace hits me, especially as I rise at my preferred time of 5:00AM for meditation with the intent of feeling my spirit and essence before all others rise. There generally seems to be a truth to my thoughts at this time. The habit began when my children were small and I just needed some silence for thinking and planning before jumping into my day.
What is the soul? As I child, I had an image of the soul as a wrapped heart with wings, flying in the sky. Trying to capture this flying heart has been my task, in this lifetime. What is meditation? After a bit of research and lots of experience, I have come up with my own definition. Meditation is sitting still and trying calm the race of the brain. I search for that wise truthful part of me … the one who knows the real answers to the questions. With the calmness comes the truth of that flying heart that I capture for a few moments. I emerge with a base of strength and might, and leap into the day.
Winter rain and snow is welcome during a drought, and this year, it also has contributed to an explosion of wildflowers and tree blooms—wonderful to look at, but a little hard on the pollen-sensitive. If you are welcoming the spring colors through itchy eyes and a runny nose, this article is for you.
The number of people with allergies is on the rise in Western Countries, perhaps, believe it or not, because we are “too clean”. In fact, studies have shown that children exposed to dogs, cats and other animals when they are young are less likely to become allergic to them than children who are not exposed. Coming into contact with normal bacteria, animals, and dirt—the traditional exposures that all humans in agrarian societies have had, actually helps our immune systems to develop in a balanced way. Living in an “anti-bacterial” society may cause the immune system to be “over-zealous” against non-threatening exposures, such as animals, pollen, dust mites, or mold. What’s the take-home message here? Avoid anti-bacterial soaps and hand gels—regular soap works just well to clean one’s hands. And don’t worry too much about your children rolling around with the dog and eating dirt.
Rare Hawaiian monk seal now calls Long Marine Lab home
Meet UC Santa Cruz’s newest student--a two-year-old Hawaiian monk seal named Hō‘ailona. Like any freshman, he’s adjusting to his new environment, making friends, and even has his own Facebook page. However, his curriculum is a little different than that of the average student--Hō‘ailona is learning to participate in scientific research that can provide critical data for the conservation of endangered monk seals.
National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) scientists rescued Hō‘ailona from a Kaua‘i beach in May 2008, after he’d been abandoned by his mother. They cared for him and then released him back to the wild on the island of Moloka‘i in December 2008. The transition back into the wild did not go smoothly; Hō‘ailona had become habituated to humans and preferred hanging out at the wharf and interacting with people to being with his fellow seals. As he grew bigger, his interactions with people became a threat to his own and the public’s safety.
Local police and schools team up for new gang prevention program
On Wednesday, March 24, the Santa Cruz Police Department, with the support of Santa Cruz City Schools, announced plans to launch a new gang prevention program.
Modeled after a Southern California program that targets at-risk youth and their families, the Personally Responsible Individual Development in Ethics (PRIDE) program seeks to educate Santa Cruz youth about the risks of gang activity. The 10-week program will inform the adolescents and their parents about the outcomes of good and bad decision-making in an interactive way. The first five weeks will focus on the consequences of bad decisions; participants will listen to talks from former gang members and drug users and will take field trips to a state prison and local morgue. The following five weeks will concentrate on good decision-making. During the final half of the program, the students will interact with positive role models such as professional athletes and elected officials. Meanwhile, parents will learn methods to effectively support and monitor their children.
Will this new fashion trend fly or flop in Santa Cruz?
If your mind is all befuddlement when you hear the word “jeggings,” don’t worry, you are not alone. This latest apparel craze, a hybrid between jeans and leggings (hence the clever moniker), has been made popular by the toothpick legged Hollywood set. Plastered across the pages of celeb gossip mags you will see glamorous jegging-clad starlets dashing to lunch on lettuce at The Ivy, dropping a few thousand dollars on a Rodeo Drive spree or simply taking out their garbage in the Hollywood Hills.
Wow, has it been a year already? This weekend, San Francisco is the place to be when the Wondercon invades the Moscone Center once again. Three days packed to the brim with toys, celebrity guests, and your favorite artistic talent popping in to hype up what to look forward to in the world of comic books for the next year. Think of it as sort of a Burning Man for nerds, only without the drugs and more clothes (well, sort of ).
This spring break, 50 California Student Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) students took to the beach to draw attention to plastic pollution and to encourage banning polystyrene. Beach cleanups were held at many of the tour’s seven stops (including in Santa Cruz on March 23), along with meetings with public officials and press conferences, where students and community leaders talked about the threat plastic pollution poses to our oceans and why they believe the answer lies in a statewide ban on single-use, polystyrene take-out containers.