Heaven Can Wait in 2008

Last year's theme was "Heaven in 2007" but this year I'm thinking that heaven was a premature theme, so I'm telling heaven that it can just wait, in 2008.

2008 is starting out with lots of work to do and little time to play, but it promises to get better in a few months, with a little bit of travel (=photo pages!) also on the horizon.  So stay tuned for updates, and also don't forget to look at the other ways to get into the content of this very large web site.

In the meantime I am waiting for a book to come out that has this photo on the cover, a photo taken (with my permission) from this site.  When it arrives in bookstores I will let you know, and I will also review it.  I believe it is a fictional and fanciful re-creation of the life of Mary Magdalene.

This picture was taken in the center of Baden, Austria, and is one of the works of art in a monument in memory of the victims of the plague that wiped out a third of Europe.  Saint Mary Magdalene was sometimes shown reading with a skull present, showing she had wisdom and a role in salvation of the dead.  So I have read.  She appears in two places on this site, on my very popular "Divine Feminine" page as well as on my page on Baden, Austria.

1.  The first item for this year is a short walk in the Red Rock Recreation Area during rather inclement weather in early February.

2.   The second item for this year is another short walk in the Red Rock Recreation Area during rather fine weather just a week later that same February.

3.  Attempting to do something weekly is a bit on the ambitious side, but here is just one page on a third Red Rock Canyon walk (in the white part of red rock).

4.  Having decided to do more local stuff, here is a fourth Red Rock walk, one that starts where the first walk ended and attempted but failed to reach to where the second walk ended.  But, the destination is the journey.
5. A real change of pace. . . here is the word for the year 2008: OROGENY!  Two orogonies, the Sevier and the Laramide, are causing me to make changes to several of my older pages!  Not nice! But click on the word, get the story of why I had to change a few of my older pages, and click on the links to see the corrected pages.
6. March brought me back to Paris for just a few days of meetings.  With very little personal time and wet weather my activities were limited, so there is just one page with just a few photos of some old haunts I revisited, and a page on a business trip into the eastern edge of the Paris Basin (I was the guest of Andra, the French national nuclear waste agency).

7. Earth-Day, locally observed on April 19, 2008.  I have been asked to once again provide a slide show based on this website for continuous showing at the celebration to be held in Pahrump, Nevada: this time I made 4 silent "films" on the Amargosa River and Death Valley.

8. Life, Love and Time, some reflections after reading Destiny of Fire by Zoe Oldenbourg. X

9.  It is now April of 2008 and much to our surprise and delight there were wild flowers in Red Rock! (Plus a walk to a waterfall).

10. Almost mid-May and the Devils Hole Workshop had another fantastic and interesting field trip with 4 stops.  Two are about rocks and earth movements, two are about water in the desert.  A new page now has links to the workshop field trips from 2004 (my first time) to 2008.
11. While in Death Valley for the Devils Hole Workshop I also looked into Salt Creek and the Wingate Pass

12. On March 14, I was fortunate to be able to say yes to one of my esteemed scientist-colleagues and accompany her on a tour of the Amargosa Valley.  This was a tour with a group from the University of Durham, in the UK.  The professor in charge of this tour was at one time at UCLA, where my colleague was then his student.  Since I also did my undergraduate work at UCLA, was it like a family reunion?  Not really: it was very pleasant.  The geology and environmental studies students were enthusiastic, and because of preparations made for this trip with the aid of their professors, they had a great deal of insight into what they were looking at.  They were a pleasure to spend a day with, along with their professors and my colleague.  I did not take many pictures.  However, the pictures I did take I placed on older pages about Yucca Mountain (2003), about Crystal Spring (2004), and about China Ranch (2007), causing some updating of language in those pages.

13. A short review of another Zoe Oldenbourg novel (see item 8, above for another Oldenbourg review).  This one is called The Cornerstone  and (to me) it gives a disturbing insight into the relationship between faith and war. X

14.  A convoluted review of The Terror  by Dan Simmons and Mercury Champagne by Dan Goodrich. X

15.  Zoe Oldenbourg on Courtly Love.  Two of the novels I have read by this master of Medieval history embedded Courtly Love into their plot, with very different effect.  This is a review of the Courtly Love subplots as played out in The Cornerstone  and in Cities of the Flesh, with a historical introduction based on Oldenbourg's Massacre at Montsegur. X

16. An online book I reviewed in 2003 was published recently, after a good editing, and with a new title.  The book is To Our Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Friends  by Dan Kane (a coworker of mine). It was published in 2008 by Winepress Books.  The 2003 review  is here. X

17. July was the opportunity for a short vacation.  So we did a car trip to THE COLORADO PLATEAU (click here for a VERY BRIEF illustrated overview of the geology of the parts of the southwest of interest to this trip).

On the Colorado Plateau we visited four national parks and one state park.  Obviously we did not explore any one of them in a any detail, just had a look, and you are invited to have a look with us:  

(A)  Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 3 North Rim viewpoints

(B)  Arches National Park, Utah, just a few arches and fins to look at

(C)  Canyonlands National Park, Utah, a few views from the central park unit, the Island in the Sky.

(D)  Goblin Valley State Park, Utah, a fun scramble over some small sandstone formations (my granddaughter Aubree's favorite stop on this trip)

(E)  Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, some views not seen on our previous (2001) visit to this park.

18. August brought a hike to the oldest living tree in Nevada, the 3,000 year old Bristlecone Pine named Raintree.  

19. It is nearly the end of August and the last fling of Summer took us to Sedona, Arizona, once more.   We did some sightseeing in the red rock country, visitng Red Rock Crossing and Schnebly Hill Overlook, and also visited two places where Native Americans dwelt many hundreds of years ago: Montezuma's Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments.

20.  A new book has come to my attention, thanks to the author, Glen Craney, calling it to my attention.  It is called The Fire and The Light  (see Glen's web site linked in the title) and his 27 minute interview in which I learned we have the same ideas about this time and place and what occurred there.  X

I read the book early October.  I savored the book.  It is very, very good.  But as Craney makes clear: it is fiction, a tapestry of thoughts, words and actions woven into a credible fabric and anchored by historical places, events, publications and characters. It is historical fiction at its best.  My observations are linked here, as are the observations of a friend who volunteered to also write a book review. X

21.  The last set of photo pages for this year are from a "Septober" business trip to Southern France, Provence, the Giens peninsual, Toulon, with a side trip to Provence's Grand Canyon.

The photo pages are: (1) Crossing the Alps on the way from Munich (Munchen) to Marseille.  (2) Sunset on the Giens Peninsula where my first set of meetings took place. (3) Sunrise on the Giens Peninsula.  (I took no photos of the city where my second meeting took place, Toulon).  (4)  A visit to the north rim of France's Grand Canyon, in Provence.  (5) A visit to the south rim of Provence's Grand Canyon.  (6) The ITER site near Cadarache.

22.  Just for fun I read two fiction books, both of which gave a fictitious peek into the afterlife.  They were both interesting reads, and if I say too much about them here there is no sense posting my very short review.  The two books were:  Passages  by Connie Willis, and Cloud Drops  by Nicholas Ifkovits.  Willis' book was thought- provoking, leaving a rather dark aftertaste.  Ifkovits' book was also thought provoking but at a shallower level, his book had me grinning as I read it: it was very entertaining. X

23.  In November I read and commented on two books on religion with extremely opposing views.  Ursula King's Christian Mystics, The Spiritual Heart of the Christian Tradition, and Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion.  Why?  Because I thought I could find a common thread, a very thin one, by which to hang my own God-concept using insights gained from the diametrically opposed viewpoints expressed in these two books.  And I did! X

24.  In December I made another quick trip to Brussels, and this is the light show for Christmas, downtown.

25.  Arrival day found me with a need to force myself to stay awake and a wonderful way to accomplish that: go visit the Groot Begijnhof (Grand Beguinage in French) in Leuven, east of Brussels.

26.  During Brussels business meetings this December found out this would be my last visit here on this project, so took a day to go and visit my home town, Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. (most pages still being constructed, but there is at least one completed page there now)

27.  Snow in Las Vegas again!  15 December 2008.

28.  Idaho Falls, Idaho, a few views with much snow.

29.  Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, with snow, plus a few scenes in the nearby Big Lost River valley.

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