Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Lucas With The Lid Off
Red Hooded Sweatshirt
I Got A Girl
Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?
All I Wanna Do
I Don't Want to Wait
What Do You Hear In These Sounds?
Falling In Love
Leaving Las Vegas
We Danced Anyway
Out of My Head
Veinto De Cambio
Sex and Candy
With or Without You
River of Dreams
When I hear certain songs, my mind automatically queues up the song that followed on my old favorite mixed tapes. Many of the songs are things I wouldn't have heard otherwise or never had on any other format. I probably couldn't name the songs or the artists, either, so I probably won't ever acquire that tune. When I grabbed these empty tape cases, I actually got excited about recreating a mixed tape that my first college roommate gave me - it was a great tape - but alas, this case was just an album she copied for me and not the mixed tape that I so enjoyed.
I'm clutter clearing tonight, but I'm feeling a little nostalgic about it.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
What have I done with my snow days? What would I like to have done or do? What I've done includes not a lot - it's been a continuation of my vacation, but not a pleasant one. Note to self: in future, when bad road conditions prevent attending normal work functions, think about how you would have liked to spend the time.
What I wish I had done:
- Finish unpacking - I moved in to my house in August and still find myself rummaging in boxes in the garage for this or that gadget
- Clean/organize my house - we have company coming in January!
- Study for board exams
What I did that I'm glad of:
- Got to know some new friends better
- Played a lot
- Took Chibo everywhere I went
Addendum: After this post, we had 5 more snow days in which I continued to do not-a-lot.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
So yesterday I stayed home, blogged, uploaded photos, slept, read, slept some more and refused to leave the house when A returned home in the evening and suggested driving the truck over to some friends' house to play games. I was out like a light by 9pm - hello, jet lag. This morning, I was up early at 5-something and couldn't go back to sleep so I got up and commenced more blogging, photos, etc. Eventually A got up and started getting ready for work. When it was time to go, he did the sweetest thing, though: he took me out for breakfast.
We headed over to one of our favorite local coffee shops, Insomnia Coffee Co (tied as favorite with the Iron Mutt Coffee Co), for bagels and coffee before he dropped me back off and headed into work. What a sweet heart to help me avoid cabin fever, feed me (we still haven't bought any groceries since we got home), caffeine me (zoom! zoom! zoom!) and then get out of my hair for the day! (Just kidding...sort of.)
I wonder if and how I could pleasantly surprise him?
- Swimsuit, sarong, bandana, sun hat, sunglasses
- Underwear (1 pair each day +2)
- Socks (in warm weather: 2 pair; in cold weather: 1 pair per day + 2)
- Lounge wear (comfy's that can also be worn as PJs or work out clothes)
- Sneakers, sandles, dress shoes per occassion
- Interchangable outfits for 1/2 the days of travel - plan to rewear, you probably will anyways!
- Formal/occassional wear per occassion
Toiletries and First Aid
- Make up: tinted lip balm and a waterproof mascara, eye makeup remover
- Misc: nail clippers and tweezers
- Regular toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, shave kit, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deoderant, aftershave, lotion, hair products
Next time: share toiletries like shampoo and/or take 1/2 empty bottles or hotel bottles so you can just leave them behind!
- First Aid: aftersun lotion, SPF, seasick meds, bug spray, papaya pills, eye drops, stress drops, all purpose salve, sleeping pills, cold sore meds, aspirin, arnica and tums
Next time: Keep the meds where you need them. We actually didn't use much of this, but I would have if it wasn't such work to get them out.
Gear and Misc:
- Pen and little notebook
- Day pack - maybe not a camel back - mine was always too heavy and a water bottle would have worked just as well. Each person needs their own day pack and to carry their own identification, credit card and cash!
- Water bottle or travel mug
- Cell phone, charger
- Camera, batteries, memory cards - underwater camera case if going anywhere for snorkel and SCUBA - ESSENTIAL! Holy crap, I didn't know what life was missing until we got this case. It's incredible to take pictures of things underwater. I want one for my camera, post haste! Oh yeah, if you're going to be in or near the water, get on of these!
Were we to do this entire trip over again, I actually think A and I could almost pack into a single suitcase. Let's see how that goes in April when we travel with his family to Hawaii and A meets his goal of visiting all 50 states!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
We had lunch in the formal dining room, which A and I hadn't even known was possible until mid-cruise. Of course, on days at port, we were never onboard during lunch, but we missed that opportunity on our first day at sea, so we told everyone who wanted to meet us there at noon our last day at sea and we had a nice group of about 10. I think everyone enjoyed their meals and I enjoyed another meal at table with my new friends.
We spent some time in the afternoon discovering the final nooks and crannies of the ship, including the absolute front point (think Titanic), the open rear deck, the movie theater and conference rooms (occupied almost exclusively by a 300 member Mah-jong group!) hidden on level 2 and then - woops - time to hot tub. As soon as I noticed our friends in the hot tub, my tour was cut short and it was into the stew for me. Ahh, that's nice after tearing it up on the rock wall. Our group moved in and out of several of the hot tubs, so I got to spend time with several different people - including the flower girls from the wedding who were doing their best hip hop hand movements. Hilarious, cute and spunky.
What I Learned:
- If you miss the shows or games on board the ship, they replay the videos of them on the TV.
- Especially when shared or large souveniers are purchased, you should just pack at the same time as your travel companion.
- Everybody loves group hugs.
Friday, December 12, 2008
What I Learned:
- When long travel and/or meals are a part of the shore excursion package, it may be worth spending a little extra money for a ship's organized shore excursion to avoid the stress and clock-watching needed to do it on your own.
- When bartering, the seller can start with a ridiculously high price and expect to be bartered down, but if your counter offer is too low, they won't offer to come down and will instead simply be offended.
- Corona should always be drunk ice cold in 80+ degree weather.
- You should remember to look up monetary exchange rates before traveling.
- Gone are the days when you could only purchase "authentic" local items by traveling to those locations and gone are the days when purchasing something in a market ensured it's authenticity. We saw many of the same trinkets for sale as "authentic, hand carved by my brother" at each of our stops. The things we bought will remind us of our trip, we hope the money we spent will help the local people, but we are not deluded that there is a more unique story behind each item...well, except for the conch that we harvested in Cayman.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A had to push me to get me back on the boat at the end of snorkeling - I wish I'd snorkeled, swam and dived at every stop! - but our guides even made the trip back interesting. They had harvested several conch while we were snorkeling and they showed us how they remove the animals from their shells - they are really strange and ugly to look at out of their beautiful homes with tubes that would seem more mechanical than biological. I was pleasantly surprised when our guide finished cleaning one of them and cut it up for us to eat - the consistency of a fleshy fruit with a sweet, briny flavor, A and I enjoyed the raw conch very much, but would probably recommend eating it in fritters or chowder. In the channel, we looked for swimming iguanas with no luck, but one of our guides dived off to hunt his dinner - a huge lobster! Everyone took pictures with the poor doomed creature and then we were back at the dock.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
- Destination weddings are a LOT of work.
- Destination weddings are worth the work.
- There is a reason people wed and honeymoon on Jamaica.
- Some places serve the alcohol for your mixed drink separately.
- If you break your leg walking over Dunn's Falls while on a cruise, you'll be treated at a local hospital and put back on the boat. (Yes, this really happened, though not to a member of my party.)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
After that we just hung out in the ocean with a couple of beers and a couple of friends. Oh yes, I would love this life.
- Destination weddings are a lot of work.
- Scupper plugs are a worthwhile investment for sit-on-top kayaks.
- Don't eat the hamburgers. [One of our companions got really sick - no one else got sick from eating them, but I'd rather stay veggie and avoid the ground beef.]
- Get details about shore excursions before signing up.
- Don't expect to get to know the locals or even be more than a blip on their radar when participating in a cruise - it would take a very different kind of vacation to have that kind of experience.
Monday, December 8, 2008
What I Learned:
- Destination weddings are a lot of work.
- Having a highlighter for the cruise compass would be handy.
- You can always find members of your group wherever there is late night food.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
What I Learned:
- Destination weddings are a lot of work.
- Gift bags are a lot of work.
- Every adult should be responsible for their own baggage, their own transportation, and their own room number. [I was none of the above, but I think it would have been less stressful for everyone involved if every adult took those on.]
- If I'm not going to eat it at lunch, I shouldn't take it with me.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
- Destination weddings are a lot of work
- Gift bags are a lot of work
- Everybody loves surprises
- Everybody loves pizza
- Carry on should have clothing to change into immediately on arrival or better yet, on the plane, when changing climates.
Friday, December 5, 2008
· Sneakers, Dress shoes
· Sandles, Aqua socks
· Black pants, Khakis, Jeans
· Light jacket and sport coat
· Nice shirts (2)
· Tie (3)
· Polo’s (2)
· Swim trunks
· Underwear, Socks
· Workout clothes
· Lounging pants
· Sandles (3), Dress sandles
· Dresses (3)
· Skirts (3)
· Underwear, Socks
· Hoodie, Sneakers, Jeans - to be worn on plane
· Workout clothes
· Lounge wear
· Make up + remover
· Nail clippers and file
Misc/Both Packing List
· Sunglasses (I packed 2 pair)
· Snorkle gear
· Day pack (2)
· Waterbottle/travel mug (2)
· Cell phone + charger (2)
· Camera + batteries + charger (2)
· Extra memory cards, downloader
· Drink Coupons for plane
· Books (2)
· Underwater camera case
· Ipod + charger (2)
· Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, shave kit, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deoderant, aftershave, lotion, hair products
· First Aid – D meds (lost, didn't bring), aftersun lotion, SPF, seasick meds, bug spray, papaya pills, eye drops,
· Ziplocks, plastic bags, laundry bag
· Hand wipes/sanitizer
· Pens, pencils, notebook
· Business cards
· Playing cards and games
· Kleenex packs
· Lanyard for key card
· Post its
· Walkie Talkies
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Worked my monthly early shift today, so I've had a nice long afternoon on the computer to get caught up on emails, reading blogs, paying bills online and other WWW miscellanea. I was surprised by how actually little there was to do. Thanks to Blogspot following, I have been keeping up on blogs of interest; I pre-scheduled most of my bill payments and there wasn't much needed doing in email. So...I guess it's going to be okay. My electronic and physical worlds will not fall apart due to my stepping behind the curtain for 8 days. And that's kind of weird.
It's that strange self-centeredness that humans (living beings?) exhibit - the world revolves around us...I don't think this is a bad thing, seems actually quite healthy that one should be the center of their own world. But, when something like this vacation shakes things up a little and we realize that how much bigger the world is and how small our part of it is...it's humbling. And exhilarating in a way. Puts all my little stressors into perspective. Time will not cease to exist as we know it if I don't do the dishes one evening (okay, for a week or more), the world financial structure will not crack if Chibo's nails grow a little long (or maybe that's really what's going on?) and the cure for hunger, poverty or war will not be missed by a hair's breadth because I wasn't here at a crucial moment.
Well, maybe something like that would happen, because we are all intricately connected, but I think it'll be okay to take a vacation. At least this once. Wowser, start down that line of thinking and it's all spirals and concentric circles. I need to sit down before I fall down or I'll be dealing with one of those IFs and calling my emergency contact before I've even left!
Friday, November 28, 2008
I admit it. Guilty. I raise my hand. Me. Yup. I want corny holiday celebrations. I want my holidays like I've seen them on the movies (kinda). I want to celebrate holidays with all the little kitch that comes with them. I want to dress up on Halloween, I want to hand out treats and tell all the little ghost and ghouls how scary they are. I want to put up lights and listen to Christmas music. I want to have pujas whenever there is any excuse to have one in our home. And I want to be grateful on Thanksgiving.
A and I headed over to a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner and something just didn't feel right to me. I couldn't figure it out, but attributed it to our arrival about 30 minutes later than the rest of the group, though still well before the scheduled dinner hour. Since the food was ready, people were already seated and serving themselves when we arrived. Maybe we'd missed something. After dinner, we talked and laughed in smaller groups and rubbed our stuffed bellies until it was time to leave for our movie. After the movie, home to bed.
I kept thinking something didn't seem right...maybe I'd forgotten something? Yes, I had. I'd forgotten the point of the day: to be grateful. After my conversation with my mom, no one else talked about what they were grateful for or asked what anyone else was grateful for - at least not in my hearing. In retrospect, among the irreverant group of our dining companions, a listing of the simple things I am grateful for might seem out of place, but I think the large meal eaten without grace, a moment of silence or a sharing of thanks was more uncomfortable.
A and I talked about how we really wanted to have spent the holiday, casually among a small group of close friends or family, with a reasonable meal and games afterwards. I think among that group, for whom I am grateful, I wouldn't feel the need to say my thanks as feeding and entertaining them would be a more physical expression of my gratitude. On the other hand, I also think I would feel safer and happier to share my gratitude with such loved ones. Either way, I think I would like to make a point of verbalizing everything I'm grateful for at least once a year.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
It's a little piece of etiquette advise that I would like to share with the world...maybe etiquette is not the right word...maybe it's more of a form of social contracting. When someone asks you a question, it seems right to ask back. It's actually funny because sometimes I ask "how are you?" more than once because it's such a habit to reflect that question. That one is a pretty standard ask-back, but I think asking-back should be the rule in general, because it provides an opportunity for intimacy and compassionate sharing.
I have been frustrated by not being asked back a question I asked several times - I wanted to tell someone my own answer to the question I asked them. That wasn't why I asked, I was genuinely interested in their answer and I listened to their answer, but it felt like it was only half a conversation somehow when I didn't get to tell my part, too.
So try asking back. Start with me. I'll love it. If I ask you a question that can be reflected back, shoot it back to me. See what happens. You just might like it.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
But I'm good at this - I can collect all these tasks and look at them a bit more objectively than anyone of the immediate players and figure out which thing really needs doing right now and which can be done later.
At my other job, my business, I may not be quite as good at this because I am too immediately involved. My To-Do list is as likely to include and prioritize balancing my personal checkbook as drafting an important and needed policy. Maybe this is why people hire business coaches and other external consultants to help them streamline and get their priorities in line. Additionally, I think if I could prioritize the business when I'm at the business and balancing my checkbook when I'm home, I would also appreciate the boundary between work and home a little better.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Thanks for always being great about the myriad of dietary choices and fads I've subscribed to over the years. Thanks for being willing to make vegetarian versions of classic dishes so that I could enjoy them with the family. And most of all, thanks for not ever making me feel like a freak or the butt of jokes, but instead for helping me always feel valued as an important part of our family.
Friday, November 14, 2008
- mail ear seeds to brother
- mail donation to alma matter
- study for board exams
- collect gas receipts from car
Yes, I passed my exam today. One more to take in two weeks. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I like to think I'm not into material things and pretty anti-consumerist in general, but now I know that I am just as susceptible as other people. My coworker got this tea pot for our office and I WANT IT NOW! I've been fighting myself to stay away from Target where it can be purchased for a mere $39.99.
Yes, I said $39.99.
For a kettle that heats water.
When I have a stove and a glass tea kettle. [Those who do not know the glass tea kettle story, it's basically this: I had a glass teapot, I love it, it broke. I mourned it. I found a new one.] I want it, but I'm trying to resist. At least until Black Friday. And that I know and use that term says a lot about how consumerist I have actually become.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It's about how you use things in your life, like say, a room in your house or an item/object. Think of the guest room in your house. Think of how often it is occupied by a guest. What is the percentage of time in a given week, month or year that this room is occupied by a guest? Unless you're the hostest with the mostest, probably less than 10% of the time. So what happens the other 90%?!
I like to plan, organize and arrange things for the 90% of use they will get rather than the 10%. Things can always be adjusted for the 10% times, but I don't want to be adjusting every day when I'm doing my 90%. Here's a few examples:
- In my kitchen, I have a set of white bowls that I use nearly every day. These live on the counter because I'm going to reach for them often enough that I don't even want to have to open a cupboard.
- The guest room at my house is LOVELY. I love looking at it and am excited to have hosted our first guest in it. Can't wait to do it again. But in the meantime, I store my coats in that closet; keep an iron and ironing board handy and accessible, but not in my way; have a place to hang delicates to dry; and store my extra health and beauty supplies. I go in that room almost every day for something.
- My dog's food sits in a canister on the counter because he eats twice every day. Way more important to have the dog food accessible than flour which I might use once a month.
- File folders - I have a file cabinet in a closet deep in my house where I keep old tax files, medical records and old class notes. I have a filing crate next to my desk for insurance claims in progress, bills and other misc I may have to access any given day.
As A and I make decisions about our life, I'm constantly saying, "well, that'll happen 10% of the time, but what about the other 90%?" And generally, this serves me well. Think about it - try it.
Monday, November 10, 2008
A wise friend that I frequently quote here told me that the difference in how men and women communicate can be described by the rule of 90-10:
Men will be 10% sure they are correct about something and speak as though they
are 90% (100%) sure of it; women will be 90% sure of something and speak
as though they are 10% sure.
It wasn't actually men I was pandering to today but women who thought they knew something. Now, I'm not judging them for not knowing, but I don't like that they assume that I don't know. Actually, I do know and yes, vegetables are a great source of soluble fiber. I also don't like that they might be spreading what they don't know around. I find there are 2 ways to go in the face of gross misinformation: a) provide correct information or another way of viewing things or b) let it go. Today I did a little of both. It's just so much easier to share information with someone when they are willing to admit that they aren't exactly sure or that their facts may be wrong. The challenge is to set aside my own feelings in the matter and offer information that may or may not be accepted.
I find that female pattern 90-10'ing give me a lot of benefits:
1. I can admit that I don't know everything - what a relief!
2. I can ask questions that I think I already know the answer to and learn something!
3. I don't roll over other people, aggravate them or patronize them. I get to treat everyone as my teacher.
4. I get to offer information to people rather than tell them.
Male pattern 90-10'ing is rarely as useful. The times I do it the most are the times I think I'm supposed to know the answers to the questions I'm being asked. I become less authentic and less open to learning new things. The opportunity for me and my audience to learn is lost as I stretch what I know to cover the gap or make something up. Yes, if the other party allows that the confidence with which I answer them (a keystone of the male pattern 90-10) means that what I'm saying is true, my pride is assuaged - oh good, I don't have to admit I don't know or that what I just said was actually wrong, but is that worth it? It also just caters to my perfectionist tendencies that I'd like to jettison.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
- create sliding scale policy
- create seasonal health talk
- call patient back
- call verizon
- mail ear seeds to brother
- mail donation to alma matter
- study for board exams
- rock board exams
- call verizon
- collect gas receipts from car
- consider re-writing 101 goals
- find notebook for art project
Saturday, November 8, 2008
7: Write my masters thesis. Because of a new Masters program that I am eligible to transfer into, I may not finish this. And frankly, if I can throw money at this problem and make it go away, I'm happy to do it in this instance.
4. Get names/artists for the currently un-labeled music – do I need that much organization?!
14. Sell or donate crafting supplies not in use – I like having them around so I can create whenever I want.
20. Do deep breathing exercises every night for 1 week – I’m just not into this. It's like I think I can force a new healthy habit on myself. Since I'm all about life evolving organically, I don't think I should force myself into this.
30. Get caught up on filing and data entry – what does “caught up” mean? I’ve felt caught up several times and still have a stack. I think I need to define goals like this one a little more clearly.
35. Consult with an adoption counselor – I’m content for this to happen in it’s own time and take it off the list with a deadline.
45. Take ceramics/pottery class – I’d like to do this someday when it feels organic.
51. Plant Tiger Lily's bulbs – ditto.
52. Buy a book on Lily's or orchids – I’d rather take a book from the library one spring when I feel like planting things.
59. Hike 2x per week for 2 months – I just don’t like hiking that much. I'd rather be swimming or boating.
83. Get a fish or bird – Chibo’s enough companion animal for me and learning about what it takes to get fish for aquariums makes me dislike them a bit.
90. Make a recommended reading list for professional development – I don’t want to take the time to make a list, I just want to keep reading.
96. Fast for 24 hours – If I find a viable spiritual reason within my own practice, I’ll do this, but otherwise, I just added this because it sounded challenging.
Friday, November 7, 2008
2. Finish putting my hard copies of photos and scraps into albums - I'm also scanning in photos, but that is a long term project
10. Finish my mom's afghan
12. Drink no soda for 1 month (excluding soda water)
23. Teach a QiGong class
27. Go outrigger paddling again
28. Go for an overnight backpacking trip
29. Go backpacking for more than one night
31. Take another obedience class with Chibo
34. Consult with a dermatologist
38. Reduce by 1/2 my primary credit card – need to adjust this and consider where I started
43. Take guitar lesson/class
44. Take dance class
48. Eat no processed food for 1 week
49. Plant an herb garden (or at least 4 kinds in pots)
50. Plant a vegetable garden
54. Crochet something to wear
56. Spend an important anniversary with mom
60. Visit Pete and Sara in DC/NY
65. Make a supplement list and take consistently for 2 weeks
66. Go 1 day without swearing
67. Set aside an afternoon 1x per month for 3 months to send birthday greetings and other mail
69. Find a good calcium supplement and add to regular supplement list
70. Put videos onto DVD
71. Learn to sharpen dad's knives
72. Renew SCUBA certification and go diving!
73. Learn 3 prayers
74. Memorize 1 poem
75. Floss nightly for 2 weeks
80. Go to the zoo
81. Have a day of gracious living - tell people about the concept
85. Go to my 10 year college reunion - scheduled 10/2009
86. Find out if Math/Science Center is still running and contact the director
87. Tune up sewing machine
88. Take a sewing class
92. Go to AANP and/or NWNPC conferences
93. Drink 8 glasses of water daily for 1 month
95. Take the train to Seattle
97. Have a cocktail party - make a new drink for friends!
100. Go to Olympic National Forest
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Spoke with my mom early in the evening yesterday before the polls were closing. She asked me, almost shyly, if she could ask who I voted for. I had been avoiding asking her and my brothers who they voted for, assuming we would disagree and not wanting to create further tension in the family, but it turns out that mom and I agreed on this one. The two brothers who made it to the polls cancelled one another out and surprised me on their choices.
A and I were glued to the television watching the results come in and when the icon saying "Elected: President Barack Obama" came on the screen, we couldn't believe it - it was too fast. There were still so many states unaccounted for and he had already won! It was amazing. I watched the people celebrating in the streets, crying and shouting while A went upstairs and talked to his family and Martin. Martin voted McCain and called to congratulate A that his candidate won. A smartly replied that we will all benefit from Obama's presidency. A said to remember what we were doing that day because it is an historic occasion, the election of the first African American president of the United States.
There is some part of me that is also very inspired that president-elect Obama is not only African-American, but biracial. It's not that he has a white parent, but just that part of me that relates to that on some level, being in an inter-racial, inter-cultural relationship. In a word, I guess it's because, Barack's masala, too.
I feel so touched, inspired, proud, relieved and happy today. I feel like we've all been waiting to exhale and finally I can feel the tightness in my chest start to release. I'm looking forward to the next four to eight years. Oh yes, I said it, eight years. God bless Barack.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
On the other hand, I voted for hope and I voted for change. Even if the election doesn't provide the strong catalyst for change that I hope it will, I must have hope and stimulate change where and how I can. I haven't listened to many speeches, but Senator Barack Obama's debate response in which he described how America needs real leadership and what that means moved me and struck me.
I have heard the call. Now, fingers crossed that the majority of Americans have also heard.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
What the heck? Why? What was so upsetting? I don't know, but I know it started much earlier in the day as I could feel anxiety rising while I was still about my business before I even headed home to get dressed. I was speaking to a friend in the car on the way home and I told her that I was aware that I was manifesting this bad time with all the dread I was feeling. She pointed out that I was upset about things that haven't even happened yet. That is interesting.
I was upset about things that haven't even happened yet.
Not only had they not happened, but it was possible they wouldn't happen. It was entirely possible that the things I had envisioned or thought of either consciously or unconsciously would not ever happen, let alone having not even happened yet. But I was just as upset, sad, angry and anxious as if they had already happened. I already felt berated, beat up, left out, less than, ugly, unwitty and taken for granted when in fact, I had every reason to feel supported, cherished, included, valued, respected and fun.
By staying home, I certainly prevented the worst of my projected unpleasantness, the things that hadn't happened yet, from happening. If I lived alone and had no partner, this wouldn't have been a problem for anyone else - maybe friends would miss me, but when I saw them again as my normal contented self, they would be none the wiser and no feelings would have been hurt by my responding to things that haven't happened yet. But I live with A and he was hoping to spend a fun evening together. Though I'm sure he had fun, he was very disappointed that I didn't go and then he started wondering about things that haven't happened yet, such as my future refusals to go to parties, because of the various reasons I gave to try to explain my disquiet.
This, I think, is the gift of Buddhist practice - being in the moment, you don't hold on to the past or project the future. Things that haven't happened yet have no bearing on the moment. I need practice with this, because every day my decisions and emotions are influenced by things that haven't happened yet. The more I consider this, the clearer it becomes that these things have a strong influence in my life - I can become a weeping mess over the death of a loved one that hasn't happened yet within moments, I prepare for confrontations that I imagine happening that never materialize and I get myself in these anxious states because of imagined slights, attacks, disrespects and situations that leave me feeling powerless.
Besides practicing being in the moment, I think an important next step is to examine the pieces of these imagined things that haven't happened yet and see why they would be so upsetting to me and how I could develop myself so that they aren't. That sounds a bit like preparing myself for confrontations that never materialize, a practice I'm already more than familiar enough with, but what I mean is something different. What I mean is to figure out what I feel that allows me to project these imagined scenarios, such as feeling powerless or disrespected, and determine if there are social skills to develop or conversations to have to ensure I'm feeling in control of my own destiny or respected in the present moment. Because these imagined scenarios can really only reflect the reality going on right now.
And right now, I'm feeling determined to be more clear about why I do or do not want to do things, to respect my own desires to be in certain environments and to allow myself the freedom of entering situations without manifesting my own pre-meditated resentments and negativities.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Fresh green salad with tomotoes we picked from the farm this weekend. The tomatoes were the best part - so delicious.
Live pizza. Tried two types of raw pizza. Sergei's Live Pizza made with a flax crust and the same sauce on dehydrated eggplant slices. Both were delicious with toppings consisting of red and green peppers, julienned yam and parsley. (Don't ask me why parsley, all the books suggested it and I had some so I thought, 'why not?')
Dessert: raw apple crisp. The filling was apples, dates, raisins and cinnamon - some ground in the food processor and some sliced. The topping was walnuts, raisins, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of allspice. Freakin' delicious with no sugar or HFCS added.
Then we watched Sarah Silverman's video about Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel's response. Did I mention that my friends told me about this blog/new book?
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I've written about my love of Law and Order, but even I didn't realize how strong its grip on me is. I reviewed my viewing history on Netflix and counted at least 6 episodes one day. The episodes run about 40 minutes, so that's 6 x 40 = 240 minutes or 4 hours. Four hours. Watching Law and Order. One day. That's a lot of Law and Order. I've almost watched everything that Netflix has available. By some strange quirk, I am unable to enjoy watching these out of order, so I'm happy and lucky that Netflix doesn't have everything up to the current season, so I have to wait and can't get hooked to watching it on television.
Another form of media binging is blogs. There are several blogs that I follow and a few that I've started reading backwards, forwards, crosswise and inside out. Christine Kane's beautiful blog is one such. I'm enjoying jumping from post-to-post, reading related entries and then jumping to another random one. This binging seems a bit healthier than food or alcohol or television, but I am aware that I am not and could not possibly be digesting all that is coming at me. Would it be better to miss some posts in order to really ruminate on another?
Can one really get too much personal growth or spiritual work? When I stopped working with my transformational educator several years ago, I certainly thought so. I was a little "worked out" on that front - not quite burned out, but certainly overtrained and underexperienced. I felt like I needed to take some time to assimilate and practice all that I'd learned. It's been several years and seems like my quick attachment to this series might indicate readiness for another guide or more structured form of learning.
Teacher, I am ready, open and grateful for your kind and gentle lessons.
Friday, October 24, 2008
In every crisis there is a message. Crises are nature's way of forcing change - breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can take their place. -Susan L Taylor, Essence Editor
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I'm not one to suggest looking at the bright side at the expense of dealing with the real, legitimate and important experiences and feelings that are happening even if they are hard or ugly or uncomfortable, but I do remind myself that this, too, shall pass and a list of the positive experiences is a good reminder to myself that even in the dark times, beauty is blooming.
Today, I'm grateful for:
- the widening group of people that I think of as family
- the calm and centered feeling I've experienced all week
- having tonight and tomorrow free
- Chibo's enduring love and patience
- my brother calling me for help - even though I'm not sure what I can do, it means a lot that he called me ... and that nothing can rock our relationship as siblings
Words are powerful. I noticed recently that when certain words come out of unexpected mouths, I sit up and take more notice. In coming across this new-to-me blog, I've remembered how healing words can be. And I noticed how knowing certain jargonal words might help someone feel control in a situation that is really not theirs to control.
I'm fascinated by words and their meanings and et·y·mol·o·gies. It started with foreign languages and has evolved to include the evolution of English, street slang, proverbs, catch phrases and mottos. Despite this, I'm not always precise in my use of words and language and in fact, sometimes, on purpose, play with words, such as jargonal, above. Nowadays, after reading this post by Erin McKean, my favorite lexicographer, I almost want people to tell me 'that's not a word,' so I can smile and say 'oh.'
The inspiration for this entry is the strange and unexpected utterance of medical terminology from a non-medical source. E and I have talked a bit lately about how people suffering or believing they suffer from some symptom, syndrome, condition or disease may actually know more about said symptom, syndrome, condition or disease than their medical personnel, because they research it unendingly on the Internet. Now, I think this can be valuable to get some background, read some explanations and learn about options that may not be common knowledge in your own community, but sometimes I think all that's happening is they are learning the words, but not all the connected ideas and experiences that accompany them.
Just using the words might provide some feeling of control in an insane world, but does it really foster understanding or closeness? Or does it simply provide family, friends and loved ones a distancing medical language to use instead of sharing their fears and sadness? In theory, I would much rather tell a patient that they have Stage 5 something or other than to use the words, 'you're dying,' but I think the honesty, commitment and caring in the second are much more powerful than the first. [I do recognize the power of suggestion, especially in words spoken by The Medical Profession and I don't know yet how to balance that with allowing an individual to die with dignity.]
I remember my own experience online when I was sick. Everything I read and even people in the online support group I found told me that I shouldn't/wouldn't/couldn't live beyond 5 years. What did they know?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I made a list of style elements that appeal: natural fabrics, relaxed fit, big silver and earthy jewelry, stones, earth tones, solid colors, neutrals, some bright colors, classic styles, men's styles, separates, natural make up, long hair.
I've looked online at books and services (this one and this one looked good for me) that could help me better define and establish my personal style and considered spending money for such services, but in the end, I just went shopping. After months of arriving to my professional job feeling like somebody's red-headed step child, I bought myself a few comfortable, professional, inter-mixable separates that I feel totally comfortable in. When I went out to dinner in the same clothes I wore to work, I knew I was on the right track.
Monday, October 20, 2008
DANDELION AND ARTICHOKE SPREAD
This savory dip was the top winner in the National Dandelion Cookoff (who knew?!) at last year's Dandelion May Fest in Dover, Ohio (of all places?!).
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/4 cups dandelion greens, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, prepackaged or canned, chopped
2 13.75-ounce cans artichokes, drained and chopped
1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 small loaf French bread, pita triangles or crackers
In a large mixing bowl, place mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, dandelion greens, chicken, artichokes, red bell pepper, onion and garlic powder. Stir until well mixed. Place in a well-greased 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serve with bread, pita or crackers.
-- Gail Harshbarger, Akron, Ohio
- Waking up to the sound of my beloved softly saying "happy birthday honey"
- My mom's delight in receiving the birthday gift I sent her three weeks ago
- Getting flowers at work
- Cooking for myself and A (yum - recipe to follow!)
- Staying home
- Getting to do whatever I want
- Not having to eat over-frosted cake (or cake at all!)
- Getting incredibly thoughtful gifts, including: a raw uncook book, a massage and the knowing that my partner does sometimes read my blog (and enjoys it)!
All in all, I think it's been a very insight provoking and self-empowering birthday. Yeah, 32!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Today is my dad's birthday and I had a lot of anxiety about how I was going to spend the day. I wanted to mark the day somehow and make it special without bringing myself or the people around me down, but how? Then I thought I wanted to just stay home and meditate quietly and alone. What I ended up doing was beautiful and perfect for my energy and mood. A and I set up our guest bedroom. How that relates to my dad specifically is very peripheral - we have an alter space in that room where I will keep a photo of my dad. But doing the work, cleaning the room, setting up the furniture just so to be welcoming and comfortable for whatever guests come felt really nurturing to me, too, so it was perfect.
And the result of that is a domino effect that seems to clarify the placement of a lot of things that haven't been getting done at home. Oh, if that goes there, then of course this will go over there. All in all, a calm, healing and fun evening.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
My other brilliant idea of going to the gym to watch television (for example, on Heroes night) has yet to materialize, but I'm still holding onto that one. A wants to try going to the gym in the mornings and I say great - even if that does mean we end up going twice a day. Then I'll at least feel like I'm earning my entertainment.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
"Yes. Don't worry. Yes. Don't worry. Yes, work less," she answered.
I don't hear that answer often. It seems that everyone -my mom, teachers, boss, government - is telling me to work more. A recent article on burnout suggested that you may be burned out or on your way if you routinely work more than 40 hours a week. I work 50 hours most weeks and 60 several, but instead of comparing myself to those working that 40 hour week, I compare myself to those working 80-90 to put food on the table. Mom's arguments are particularly compelling - she worked overtime waiting tables to feed us kids and we never went hungry. It's a different time, though. I don't have kids and could probably benefit from a little hunger.
In this current climate of financial meltdown, I keep reading about retirees going back to work and baby boomers who are just going to have to work a little bit longer. My partner had planned on retiring at 55 and though I hoped he might work a little longer so we might retire together, I did not want it to be forced on him by the slow death of his 401(k). Why is the answer always "more work?" Or more specifically, why is the answer "more work at a job?" I like the idea of opas and abuelos working with the children, in the garden patch or at educating and guiding our young adults, but I think it's a special form of American cruelty that ties us for longer years to a desk, production line or fast food joint.
It's a depressing time, so perhaps watching some good videos like Obama's talks leadership or Be The Change is in order. And maybe, just maybe, I should try working less. After all, I've been working more for a long time and that's not getting me anywhere fast.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
1. My last place of residence was rented to me more inexpensively than anything else I could find. It required no paperwork, no security and allowed my dog without question. I paid my rent late several times with apologies but no penalties and moving out was simply a matter of mutual respect between myself and my landlord.
2. I got a new car for nothing. That said, out of the four cars I've owned, I've only purchased one. My first car was a gift from my dad, the second a gift from a girlfriend and this fourth car is a three-year loan with option to buy from a friend of A's. Getting a "free ride" is definitely something of a gift from the universe.
3. A and I were invited to a cruise wedding and weren't sure we would be able to go for various reasons - when things seemed to fall into place for our attendance, I requested time off only be told that I would be risking my job to go due to holiday black out dates (no time off granted). My immediate supervisor said she'd try to work something out, so we hoped for the best and booked our tickets. A couple weeks later, my boss pulled me aside and asked me the dates for the trip. After I told him, he smiled and showed me the modified black out dates that start the day I return home.
4. My finances seem to be straightening themselves out. Far from attributing this to karma, I recognize that my hard work, planning and frugal habits have much to do with it. I do recognize, however, that I have much to be grateful for not happening in my life too - it's so easy for this or that negative event to rack up the bills and bring on financial ruin. I say good karma has kept me from those events that could have pushed me over the brink I've been walking so close to.
Friday, October 10, 2008
It's also weird that I talk about what "we" have all the time now. I don't say it without some self-consciousness, but I still say it and haven't been questioned or corrected to date. As in, "we still have a pick up truck for hauling things around and taking the kayak out."
Anyways, the happy news about the truck selling is that it breaks me even so that I'm in a much more stable financial place in addition to saving money on gas with my new car every month. So, from here onward, if I can continue to keep spending in check, things are just going to get better.
Addendum: I just remembered that this was one of my goals! Goal #26 - CHECK!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I took out 1 bag of trash.
I recycled 2 bags of plastic from inside the house.
I unpacked at least 6 boxes.
I recycled all the packing paper immediately and broke down the boxes for recycling.
I found the remaining boxes containing food (made harder by my mixed packing methods).
I discovered new cupboards in the kitchen.
I located my travel coffee cup and brought the dog food in.
Then I went out for dinner. By the time we got home, I was beat! No need for sleep aids when your body is bone weary. Now that I'm up on the day after, I do regret, just slightly, not taking more time to put the unpacked things away. Every burner on the stove, every inch of counter space, the entire kitchen table, the bar in the living room and yes, even the kitchen sink, are covered in misc kitchen stuff. I can get a glass of water, but that's about it. Oh well, I guess that's tonight's project.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Somehow A and I have a these weird things that happen in our sleep. We've each gotten socked in the face several times, there have been rolling-over-on's and now, an eye poke. I'm unclear exactly on how it happened, but somehow he stretched with his arm extended in the air over my part of the bed and his finger(s) pointed at the exact moment that I returned to bed from a nature call and lay back down. The pointed fingers landed right in my eye.
Luckily I hadn't flopped quite as vigorously, but it still hurt and there was little sleep after that.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
It was wonderful to spend some time with them, but I definitely was feeling my routine blown a bit. Yesterday, I came home after work and got several hours to putz around the house before meeting them and that was great. So now I find myself wondering about things I do every day and things I don't. I recently set a goal to take and post (to a different site) one photograph every day. My first day was easy, that was the day I set the goal and the goal came after the first photo which was really cool and jumped out at me on its own. The second day, no photo, but I posted one on the third day and pre-dated it the second day. Since then (4 days later), no photos taken or posted. Maybe that has something to do with how I did spend the last 4 days, but I also think it's a goal-setting issue that I have.
I set high goals - realistically or not - of doing certain things perfectly. Post a photo everyday, and make sure it's a good one. Give up soda pop everyday for a month. Do X, Y or Z consistently or everyday. When I miss a day or mess up, I have trouble continuing - this, of course, is the curse of perfectionism. One can't actually live up to the perfectionist ideal that exists only in our heads, so we do nothing. I think that's one reason I actually blog so much - it's easy to blog everyday or regularly because I don't consider this a priority, I don't try to write anything particularly deep or well, and I don't feel obligated either way to write or not write. It's just something fun for fun.
I think goals are important and wouldn't want to be without goals, but I think this is worth thinking about some more. Perhaps I would do better with hobbie-related goals that are about attaining a skill or skill level or trying something new rather than about consistency, especially since my schedule is so packed with work. So, my modified photography goals is to take and post photos on that other site from time to time. And my modified fun goal is to have some, every day. Oops, I did it again.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I like to think we're all mature (read: ma-toor) enough to be in the same room together, but human emotions get involved and sometimes that's just not comfortable, not least of all for me. There's definitely a feeling sometimes of being in the middle. Take the other evening when I found myself with a close gal pal and her old flame's new wife. I hadn't been together with them before, so I was very conscious of the hugs and kisses I gave new wife in front of old girlfriend. Though we used to poke fun at new wife together, I've since gotten to know her and found her perfectly pleasant and nice to be around, but old girlfriend wasn't really around for the getting-to-know part.
I've also become quite close with the ex-boyfriend and his new wife of another friend. This ex-boyfriend had made something, let's call it a 'birdhouse' for lack of any other imagination on my part, for his ex-girlfriend, my good friend. This 'birdhouse' was given or taken back in the break up but has landed with me several times in the years since. In my recent move in with A, I declined to take the birdhouse with me and another friend took it to put in her 'yard.' I'm not losing sleep over this, but I am aware of the fact that when the ex-girlfriend-friend visits the home/yard where the birdhouse is now displayed, she might have a reaction.
I'm learning to let people have their own reactions, to be open and willing to talk about them and negotiate ways to keep people comfortable within my own home or event, but not to take responsibility for managing these people in other circumstances. I've also stopped being afraid to say an ex's name in front of the wrong people - these are people in my life, so they may get mentioned, although I try not to do it gratuitously. And finally, I've learned that there are some advantages to my having kept my dates outside of my own social circle for the most part.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
1. Rusted Root Rain
2. Eurythmics Here Comes The Rain Again
3. Fleming and John Rain All Day
4. Jane Siberry It Can't Rain All The Time
5. Frank Sinatra Come Rain Or Come Shine
6. Prince Purple Rain
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers Naked In The Rain
8. Kenny Chesney There's Something Sexy About The Rain
9. John Denver Fire and Rain
10. John Mayer Covered In Rain
11. Adele Right As Rain
12. Ani Difranco Rain Check
13. Counting Crows Rain King
14. Otis Redding I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Is Gone
Marvin Gaye Ain’t No Sunshine (When She’s Gone)
KC and The Sunshine Band Walking on Sunshine
John Denver Sunshine on My Shoulders
The Beatles Good Day Sunshine
Natasha Bedingfield Pocketful Of Sunshine
Prince Play In The Sunshine
The Brady Bunch It's A Sunshine Day
The Corrs Summer Sunshine
Stevie Wonder You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
The 5th Dimension Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In
Osibisa Sunshine Day
De La Soul Sunshine
Belle And Sebastian Song For Sunshine
Johnny Cash You Are My Sunshine
That personal history aside, I've always wanted to make a compilation CD of songs about monkeys or with monkeys in them. I was shocked by how many songs I was able to find with just a simple search - 111! No fewer than than 10 songs just called Monkey or The Monkey; several about Monkey Business; the obligatory monkey phrases such as Monkey Wrench and Monkey Bars; monkey body parts: Monkey Butt and Monkey Back; all kinds of monkeys: Dirty Monkey, Toilet Monkey, Spider Monkey, New Monkey, Cheeky Monkey, Little Monkey, Steel Monkey, Musical Monkey, Brass Monkey; and all kinds of things to do to or with monkeys: Spank the Monkey, Shake Your Monkey, Punish the Monkey, Shock Dat Monkey and my favorite, Let Da Monkey Out!
Hard to choose, but my CD would probably go something like this (some picked just because I like the name or the band):
Dial Zero Be No Monkey
George Michael Monkey
Eminem Monkey See, Monkey Do
Beastie Boys Brass Monkey
Dave Matthews Band Proudest Monkey
Elvis Costello Monkey To Man
Goldie Lookin' Chain Monkey Love
Michael Jackson Monkey Business
Smokey Robinson Mickeys Monkey
The Rolling Stones MONKEY MAN
Aerosmith Monkey On My Back
The Beatles Too Much Monkey Business
Traveling Wilburys Tweeter And The Monkey Man
Gorillaz Fire Coming Out Of A Monkey's Head
Sprout Why Don't You Wear What That Monkey Wears?
The Beatles Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey
The Monkeys Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkees
Monday, September 15, 2008
The second older gentleman I spoke with ribbed me about my shortened name tag which has just a "B" on it. He asked if that's all I get, and I replied with my usual, "They weren't sure I was going to last, so they made sure they could reuse my name tag." And he almost brought tears to my eyes by saying, "Well, you're an A in my book."
It's a great day when you can't choose the best moment because there are too many.
Also grateful today for:
- A making dinner - yummy BBQ tofu and rice
- Fruit salad - free pineapple, cantaloupe and apples
- Feeling energized for the first time in a while!
- Connecting with Ree and my other Soul Sister