4/2/11 - At the beginning of March we attended a Mandala ceremony, essentially a sacred sand painting created by Tibetan Monks. The design is painstaking drawn then created over a period of 3-4 days. It is destroyed during the closing ceremony, to symbolize the impermanence of life. It was fascinating to watch the monks slowly & steadfastly create this beautiful painting. They set up a much simpler "fake" one nearby for people to try their hand at pouring the fine sand into the drawing. Candy took some exquisite pictures of the real mandala & accompanying ceremonies.

We've been maximizing our time outdoors, attending several art festivals, dining outside, taking long walks. We managed to get out for spring hike several weeks ago, with a group from the Desert Botanical Gardens. It was intended as a wildflower hike, as March is typically when the mountains are blanketed by wildflowers. Unfortunately we saw very few flowers at all because we had a very dry winter (La Niña weather pattern causes dry & cool winter, El Niño causes wet & warm winter).It was a good hike anyway, 4 miles roundtrip & a little more strenuous than we expected. Once again, we lagged towards the end of the group, but periodically caught up to share some great vistas with them.

Candy went on a photo shoot with a group from her camera club.  You'll see some of them in the slide show below.

For my birthday Candy got me a much better digital camera than the point & shoot I have been using. It is a Canon SX30, an ultra-zoom model that gives me some of the flexibility to adjust settings that you can find in a SLR camera. So give me some time to practice with it & you should see some much finer photos from me!

As we head into April I have lots of events on the calendar. I'll be doing some training sessions under the HRC banner at corporations around the Valley, introducing the topic of Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace. For the Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce I'll be speaking to local HR associations about the importance of their companies completing the Business Equality Index, a pared-down version of the HRC Corporate Equality Index, for smaller employers. And the Citizenship Workshops are gearing up again. Last year we helped 1000 legal residents apply for U.S. citizenship; this year we are aiming at 1500!

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