June 4, 2013 — Shortly after school started Friday, May 24, the students at Fletcher Walker Elementary went through an earthquake drill. I happened to be at the school for a previously scheduled interview, so I watched as everyone ducked under desks.
Ducking under something sturdy would have been a good move the night before when the 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck at 8:47 p.m. I was standing in the kitchen and my husband, Terry, was in the carport. My first thought was that Terry did something outside that jarred the house, but as the floor, countertops and ceiling began to sway and the rumbling increased in volume, I knew we were in the midst of an earthquake. Truthfully, it did not dawn on me to take cover although I could have dropped to the floor and crawled under the table. My husband said he walked out from under the carport into the yard. Smarter reaction, but he has lived in many places where earthquakes are more prevalent such as the Bay Area and near Eureka.
June 4, 2013 — I spent most of my youth surrounded by really intelligent people. It was mighty tough to have a coherent conversation at the family dinner table if the powers that be wanted to take you on, let me tell you.
My stepfather was a chiropractor who served on the state’s medical quality assurance board even though he wasn’t a medical doctor. He graduated second in his class, falling by a few points to — get this — his college roommate.
And my mother, a child of the depression who dropped out of school after the seventh grade to go to work as a waitress to help support the family, was actually just a wee bit brighter. Both were members of Mensa, a group that includes only the smartest 2 percent of people on the planet, and much to my stepfather’s consternation my mom scored a couple of points higher than he did on the group’s qualifying IQ test.
May 28, 2013 — Public lands belong to the public, and the effort by the Lassen County Board of Supervisors and others to guarantee public access to the roads and woods in the Lassen National Forest should continue.
The board’s fight with the national forest over public access began in earnest more than four years ago — in January 2009 — when the board declared the proposed Travel Management Plan “unacceptable” because of what it characterized as many errors and inconsistencies, a lack of local input and a failure to respond to the concerns of local agencies and residents.
May 28, 2013 — In Taoist households, an offering of food is left for the hungry ghost on the family altar. If the family doesn’t leave a large enough offering, the hungry ghost might return to the world of the living where it can take whatever it needs. In China, the seventh lunar month, usually late summer or early fall, is devoted to the hungry ghost in a festival that continues all month.
A similar character shows up in the Buddhist/Hindu traditions as well, and the hungry ghost we have today is a blending of Southern and Central Asia, incorporating aspects of both the Taoist and Buddhist religions.
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