The Curious Autodidact

April 26, 2015

Easy as Pie to Make a Donation to Help Nepali Earthquake Victims

Take a short moment today to make a donation to Oxfam America to help the many earthquake vicitms in Nepal.

If you prefer to go old school mail your check, payable to “Oxfam America,” to:

Oxfam America
Nepal Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund
226 Causeway Street, 5th Fl
Boston, MA 02114

April 25, 2015

Randy Pausch: On Time Management

Filed under: cool internet stuff,helpful hints,media related — Honilima @ 2:28 pm

Many know Randy Pausch,  Carnegie Mellon University professor, for his Last Lecture about how to accomplish your childhood dreams that went viral years ago. He had pancreatic cancer and wanted to leave a legacy for his children and indeed he did. It also became a book.

His lecture on time management is a brilliant and everyone should take time to listen to his humor filled talk on how to keep things moving and systems that have worked for him, including learning to say “no.”



April 24, 2015

Wanda Says Do It

Filed under: Word Related — Honilima @ 1:11 am

If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing,

if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.

~Wanda Sykes 

April 21, 2015

Alchemy of Tea: Infographic

Filed under: cool internet stuff,helpful hints,kitchen tips — Honilima @ 6:27 pm

Alchemy of Tea Infographic Poster

April 18, 2015

How Many Times Removed?

Filed under: helpful hints,origin of phrases — Honilima @ 12:45 am

Visiting with a neighbor yesterday she remarked she had a “third cousin” working on a project for her and as we walked away the question arose among us, ‘what is this third cousin’ business?

Many other languages have ways to distinguish father’s brother, mother’s brother, and more complete ways to sort these family tree branches. Here’s a great illustration that shows the story we were trying to comprehend on the walk home:

A family tree with the various branches and removals

A family tree with the various branches and removals

April 17, 2015

Getting Comfortable with Life’s End

Filed under: end of life,helpful hints,media related — Honilima @ 1:21 pm

image001 (1)

I was alerted to the documentary Consider the Conversation and that it would be shown on many public broadcasting stations. It was not going to be shown in my area and so I bought one to give to the local Compassion and Choices chapter to make available to their volunteers. It a terrific film and would make for great family viewing, here is a short but powerful three minute clip from YouTube that will give you a taste of the power of this film about a life passage rarely spoken of in our culture. Seattle neurologist and neuro-oncologist Dr. Lynne P. Taylor has written a powerful piece in a professional publication about her work with the Washington State Death with Dignity Law. Also worth reading is the New York Times article: Good Short Life by Dudley Clendinen. Choosing When to Go, the article about Maine resident Norman Morse, is quite intelligent. It does incorrectly state that Oregon is the only state with a Death with Dignity Law that allows physician aid in dying, when so does Washington and Montana. The people of Maine had always been strongly independent and Morse states a strong case for why he should be able to end his life when he thinks it should be over stressing once again quality over quantity. These videos and articles should be shared to make us all more comfortable with all parts of our lives even the end.

April 15, 2015

One Person Can Make a Difference: Kim Bogucki

Filed under: media related,nonprofit,prison reform,social justice,women heroes — Honilima @ 2:00 pm

What do some police officers do with their spare time? Some more than you might image, you have already read here about Detective Bouldin’s Chess Club.

Well Seattle Police Detective Kim Bogucki is a co-founder (with Kathlyn Horan and former WCCW inmate Renata Abramson) of the IF Project.

She tells in this TEDx presentation of the $47,000+ a year it costs to keep prisoners locked up in Washington State and how her work helps people in prison to tell their stories to discourage others to enter that same pathway.  She encourages us all to mentor young people, to give a felon a job, a place to live and a chance.

From IF Project’s website:

“We are a unique collaboration of formerly and currently incarcerated adults working together with law enforcement personnel to affect change for those who are facing issues and challenges regarding incarceration and recidivism. Our work is built upon — and inspired by — these people sharing their personal experiences surrounding the issues of incarceration.

This project is based on the question:

If there was something someone could have said or done that would have changed the path that led you here, what would it have been?

“If someone would have told me I was relevant…”

“If someone would have cared about me to console me…”

“If I would have met someone that has been where I have been to share their mistakes”

What the IF project allows us, is a highly unusual but greatly needed path for collaboration as it brings together inmates and law enforcement in an unprecedented manner. Officer Bogucki’s alliance with the inmates provides a break through to discover the real reasons behind our system of mass incarceration and access to the personal stories and intimate struggles that are leading people down this dead end path. We watch as she offers them access into a new world and they discover their ability to change, to heal and to find forgiveness – both from society and for themselves.

We provide ongoing support and education to the inmates who participate in the project, we offer monthly meetings/trainings inside the prison. The monthly topics are chosen by the inmates and can include domestic violence, healthy relationships, sexual assault and abuse, child abuse, parenting, and gang violence.

To support their project click here.


  • At age 14 I decided I wanted a baby because I wanted to have someone to love me unconditionally. At age 16 I was a mom and scared as hell.— Woman at Washington State Prison

April 13, 2015

National Health Care Decision Day: April 16th

If you are reading this you no longer look like the baby in this picture, life passes quickly, and we are all rushing about putting off health care papers that may be vitally important for our closest friends and family.

April 16th has been set aside as National Health Care Decisions Day.

We are all going to die and in our death denying culture in the US it can be hard to muster up the energy to face getting your affairs in order.

Only a small percentage of Americans have take time out to write up a will or update a will made years ago, maybe when you married or had your first offspring. Many who have gotten a will together have one that hasn’t been updated or may not include your wishes about medical intervention. You hear tales of court cases where a divorced mate never bothered to update their will or insurance when they remarried leaving their wealth to the ex.

Compassion and Choices of Washington has put together some marvelous free tools to help you and your family and friends to detail your values and even provides a little quiz to make sure that when the conversation has been properly understood for those involved.

Just a click away is their Values Worksheet to help you rate your most important wished 1-5. This is a great way to begin a conversation with your family and friends and make clear what is most important to you and what is not. No matter what your feelings about end of life choice this is a useful straight forward tool.

After filling out the Values Worksheet and taking time to discuss the finer points you should have your mate or health care agent fill out the Health Care Decisions IQ Test

If you each fill it out you will be certain that you are totally understanding the others wishes or know that the conversation isn’t concluded.

If you find these resources helpful slip a check in the mail for them to continue offering these services for free to all, they rely on donations to keep their agency going.

Watching the documentary Consider the Conversation will also spark an open discussion and make you aware that it is important no matter what your age, religion, gender or race. Buy a copy to support the filmmakers and show it at your next family gathering, or community club it is important we not keep out heads in the sand around issues of choice.

Journalist Ellen Goodman has put together this site that may be of interest, The Conversation Project.

We might all hope that we just die in our sleep but that chance is not likely and your family will be so much more at ease to know they have done just what you wanted as detailed by your own writing.

Just do it!

April 11, 2015

One Person Can Make a Difference: Ms Veronika Scott

Filed under: media related,nonprofit,social justice,women heroes — Honilima @ 11:55 am


If you ever doubted that one person can make a difference meet Veronika Scott a then 23 year old design student who decided to make a piece of warm clothing called The Element Survival Coat. She designed it to serve as a sleeping bag for Detriot’s many homeless citizens. Her group The Empowerment Plan  works with “individuals…are trained to manufacture a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag at night, and a bag when not in use.  The coats are distributed to homeless people living on the streets at no cost to them through partnerships we have established with outreach organizations in communities around the nation”  (from their website). You can listen to a segment about her on NPR or read more in the Detroit Free Press or watch this short You Tube video or Vimeo.

Bravo Ms. Scott thanks for being a woman hero to so many and for having the heart to think beyond just fashion  You have empowered others to change lives one coat at a time.

You can send in donations large and small to her organization here.

April 10, 2015

One Last Kindness: Organ and Body Donation

Filed under: end of life,environmental ideas — Honilima @ 1:50 am



Death provides many of us with a one-time chance to make a valuable gift to humanity. All major religions approve of body and organ donation for medical and dental teaching, research, and transplants. According to public opinion polls, most people believe that such donations are desirable.

Organ Donation

With the advances in medical science in the last decade, organ transplants have become fairly common. Organ donation at a time of death is a gift of life or sight to the recipient. Circumstances surrounding death may limit this option, yet the corneas of even elderly donors will be grateful accepted. If your wish is to aid the living with an organ donation, make sure your next-of-kin and your physician know your preference. This intent should be noted on any medical or hospital records, too. A body from which organs have been removed will not be accepted for medical study.

Body Donation

Medical schools have an ongoing need of bodies for teaching and research. The need may be especially urgent at osteopathic and chiropractic schools. No medical school buys bodies, but there is usually little or no expense for the family when death occurs. Therefore, if you live in an area where low-cost funeral options do not exist, body donation may be an economical as well as thoughtful and generous choice.

Most medical schools pay for nearby transportation as well as embalming and final disposition. The School may have a contract with a particular firm for transporting bodies, so it is important to inquire about the specific arrangements to be used at the time of death in order to avoid added costs. After medical study, the body is usually cremated, with burial or scattering in a university plot. Often the cremains or remains can be returned to the family for burial within a year or two. This request should be made known at the time of donation. Some medical schools require that a donor register before death. However, in many cases, next-of-kin may make the bequest without prior arrangement.

Funeral Plans

Because it is important for the medical school to start preservation as soon after death as possible, a memorial service is most appropriate for those planning on body donation. Alternative plans for body disposition should be discussed with your family. A few schools take care of disposition regardless of condition at the time of death, in fulfillment of their contract with a donor. Most medical schools, however, follow guidelines in the acceptance of a body. If death occurs at the time of surgery, for example, the body would not be accepted for study. Certain diseases, as well as obesity, make a body unsuitable. Some medical schools may not have an immediate need and have no provision for storage or for sharing with another university.

Provisions When Traveling

There will be special considerations if death occurs while you are traveling and you planned on body donation. If you are a great distance from the medical school of your choice, should your family bear the cost of transporting your body there, or may the nearest university be contacted? The need for cadavers in some foreign countries is even greater than in the U.S. For example, in Argentina 200 medical students must share a cadaver. A private individual’s body may be shipped to another country if placed in a hermetically sealed container. If death were to occur abroad, do you wish your survivors to inquire about the local need for bodies or organs to fulfill the intent of your anatomical bequest? Be sure to note your preference on the Uniform Donor Card you carry.



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