Saturday, December 29

Dog Park

I was back at the dog park for the first time since Johnders was cut. Tara took him the other day but we both went today. It's always fun. The dogs are fun to watch and it's fun to see Johnders run around. We chatted with a young woman, recently moved to Inglewood from NC. She mentioned how you can spend a couple of hours talking to people at the dog park and never get their name or talk about what they do. You talk dogs.

I have to say yet again that it is a wonderful training experience, you don't get better distractions than a bunch of dogs running around. Also we get Johnders home and he's laid out - quiet and motionless for a couple of hours.

Thank you metro parks!

15 Minutes of Fame

This past week I was on the local NBC News. The library is doing its Food for Fines. One minute I was answering the phone telling Channel 4 that I would transfer them to the PR Dept to ask for permission to film and the next I am out front being ask to be a backdrop for the story.

I'm standing there in my BB King tie and unshaven face chit chatting with the library's PR mistress, Deanna Larson, about living in Inglewood and she also made me aware, although I already try to check myself, about what and how I blog; I am also a public face of the library. Anyway, the guy is filming while we are chatting. When I got home I watched the 6pm news and there I am just gesticulating away. The next day a coworker said they repeated the segment a couple of times.

Woohoo! Not only was I on TV but somebody saw me.

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays to my few but loyal readers and I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

Saturday, December 22

Congratulations, I think.

I have just completed my first week as Customer Service Specialist for the Nashville Public Library. When the announcement was made I got several honest congratulations but I got several tepid, even disappointed congratulations. Most of the latter came from people who I have observed as not the most customer service oriented and I imagine they pictured themselves dealing with the "problem" patrons and just couldn't imagine that being a good job. Honestly, I worry about that too but for a different reason.

It's not logical but I will take some issues of complaints personally. I think it is usually related to how the patron approaches me. I can't put my finger on what all that means but it does have to do with the way they approach me. The other part of it is that I want to be understood and I don't think I am necessarily confusing but when it apprears to me that someone doesn't understand what I am saying I want to explain more and that usually frustrates everybody. So, my hesitation or concern about the job has to do with me not letting go of a situation after its over. Yoga techniques and mindfulness practicing will help me deal with all sorts of focusing and concentration issues. I hope to use my mindfulness techniques to help deal with difficult situations. My predecessor always said this was a job in which she got to make people happy by resolving they problems. I hope I can maintain that attitude.

This first week went well. At this point, it is a very hectic job. I am trying to organize the space, organize my head, and organize the daily duties/routine. The job involves making phone calls, receiving phone calls, sending/receiving emails, answering emails on-line, searching this building for items, emailing or calling branches to search, and fielding questions at the front desk. Basically, there are a lot of moving parts and I have to figure out how to best organize the day and the space to make sure I don't get pulled into a crazy mess. I hope I will have the routine half-way figured out by mid-Jan...that is two full weeks (since we have holidays both this week and next). I'm sure I will be referring to zen habits and lifehacker for some helpful hints.

Overall this seems like it was a good choice on my part. My two supervisors have shown confidence and support which, I would like to emphasize, is a wonderful feeling. I am sure I'll be ok once I'm settled but as any new chapter I am nervous and a little discombobulated. I know it will come but its hard when you hit the ground running and you have to take a lot of responsibility .

Friday, December 21

Dog walking is the way to go!

The past week I've been trying to walk Johnders more than I used to. I've noticed he's been a little antsy and unfocused. I mean, he spent the last 2 weeks with an E-collar and it's been raining alot. I recognize he's a high energy dog but I have not been able to make myself go to bed early enough to get up early enough to take him for a walk. Last week we started walking when I got home. Almost every night we've walked up or down Gallatin Rd. We are probably averaging a little over a mile a day which means I am walking 2 miles a day when I ride the bus (probably 8.5 of 10 days). I haven't seen much improvement in him as far as hyperactivity but he is walking on-leash better. He's not pulling as much if he wears his harness. The surprising thing, or at least the part I didn't consider is that I have seen improvments in me. I now weigh less than 185, not by much but there is downward movement and I have been hovering at 185+ for months. We'll see how I survive the holiday eating season but so far so good.

The other thing I have to mention isn't directly about dog walking but it is something I have noticed how my polartec jacket combined with my lightweight gore-tex rain jacket. Wicking is cool. I sweat while walking and I get home and only the outside of the polartec is wet. I think that's cool.

Tuesday, December 18

Smartest Dog on the Planet

Last week I bought a bell to hang on the door so Johnders can tell us he needs to go to the bathroom. He rang it once yesterday but I didn't see it happen so I wasn't sure if it was an accident. We went out and he peed. This morning I saw him do it. That's barely one week of training! Now, if I can get him to stop jumping and pulling when on leash.

Woohoo! Johnders is great.

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Ear Candy of the Moment: Method Man - Rodeo ft. Ludacris (Mixtape)
via FoxyTunes

Food=no fines

Exchange canned goods & other foods for overdue library fines to support Second Harvest Food Bank
Resolve to help the hungry in Nashville and get overdue fines forgiven during Food for Fines, January 2-9, 2008 at Nashville Public Library.

Library cardholders will get $1 in current fines waived for each can or package of food donated to Second Harvest Food Bank during the drive, held at the downtown Main Library and all neighborhood branches.

Items especially needed include peanut butter, canned meats (tuna fish, beef stew), canned vegetables and fruit, macaroni and cheese, and rice and beans.

Bring canned goods, or items in boxes or plastic bags or jars (no glass can be accepted) to the circulation desks at Main Library, 615 Church St., or any library branch (visit www.library.nashville.org for locations).

Staff will accept the cans & food items as payment for overdue fines on customer accounts at the rate of 1 can or package per $1 in fines. Replacement fees for lost or damaged materials, fees for losses that are in billing or collection stages, and lost card fees are not included in the food
drive.

Bring canned goods, bags, boxes or jars (no glass containers can be accepted) to the circulation desks at the Main Library, 615 Church St., or any library branch (click here for a complete list of library locations).
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Ear Candy of the Moment: Lucinda Williams - West
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 10

Buddhist Thought of the Day

I believe this is my new mantra. OK, I know its basically the eightfold path but this makes that seem so real. Besides, its a bit long for a mantra.
In this present moment I care that my thinking be the right kind of thinking, thinking that reflects understanding and compassion. This kind of thinking can nourish and transform me, bringing joy and happiness to me and people around me. In this very moment, I care that my speech be the kind of speech that communicates understanding and compassion, the kind of speech that can restore communication and offer confidence and reconciliation. At this very moment, I care about my physical action. My physical action should be able to translate my understanding and my compassion. If I'm sure that my thinking, speech and physical action are in line with understanding and compassion, I don't have to worry anymore about the future, and I save a lot of energy. I wasnt to invest one hundred percent of myself in this very moment. And this is possible. If I know I am doing my best in the present moment, I'm not afraid of the views or ideas of people now and in the future. The past, present, and the future are interconnected. The present contains both the past and the future.
Thich Naht Hanh, "Art of Power"

Thursday, December 6

Buddhist Thought of the Day

This is a great first step.
Don't cling to anything and don't reject anything. Let come what comes, and accomodate yourself to that, whatever it is. If good mental images arise, that is fine. If bad mental images arise, that is fine, too. Look on all of it as equal, and make yourself comfortable with whatever happens. Don't fight with what you experience, just observe it all mindfully.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"

Wednesday, November 28

Lunchtime @ the Library

This one is for Marjorie.
Lunchtime Concert with Harpeth Hall Chamber Choir
Dates:Wednesday, November 28
Time:12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Enjoy the wonderful music of Harpeth Hall Chamber Choir
I was in an interview so I missed them. Too bad.

Monday, November 19

Flabby Bass Classic of the Day

"School Days"
by Stanley Clarke

Took my iPod to lunch and right as I was leaving this classic tune popped up on my perptual shuffle setting. I love this song. When I was a kid first getting into Jimi Hendrix a family friend told my Mom that he was too white and I should listen to Stanley Clarke instead. My Mom bought the first two records, Stanley Clarke & School Days. I didn't know what to make of it. It wasn't what I wanted, first off, but it was interesting. I remember getting a very melancholy vibe from Stanley Clarke, especially "Lopsy Lu". I shelved them and delve deeper into Hendrix. When I got to college I took my records with me and I started listening to Stanley again. He's about as good as it gets.

Wednesday, November 14

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Cerebral & personal yet global.
If we can reach the understanding of what we actually are, there is no better remedy for eliminating all suffering. This is the heart of all spiritual practices.
Kalu Rinpoche, "Luminous Mind"

Monday, November 12

Doggie Pleasures

I think I've mentioned that Johnders and I went to puppy class. We went 5 of 6 weeks to a class about an hour from our home (we got a deal although the gas cost probably blew the differential). I will say that these trainers know what they are talking about but their methods are a little archaic and even brutal for my taste. They advocate pinch collars and a knee to the chest (for jumping dogs), I didn't like that but I did get a lot out of the class. Of course, I have checked out almost all the puppy training books I could find at the library too. As I see it dog training, much like any relationship, is about respect and communication. The trainer has to respect the dog's nature and the dog has to respect the trainer's commands. To gain respect the trainer has to learn how to read the dog and the trainer must communicate clearly and efficiently. The bottom line is consistency with commands and fair expectations. We have to remember that we are teaching the dog a 2nd language, a language they can only respond to. They can't speak it. The popular school of thought (these concepts probably change with the wind) is positivity. The more the dog recognizes what you want the better he will perform. This also means, as one book says, the trainer must set the dog up to succeed.

Johnders is extremely smart. Actually, it amazes me. Having never had a puppt to watch the growth and learning. He is inquisitive and learns quickly. He is also hard-headed, and therein lies the biggest problem. We - owners - are working to help dogs control there impulses, their natural urges which most humans don't believe they can if they aren't given an alternative and that's what I want to do with Johnders. It's hard. I have to make doing what I want so exciting and rewarding that he always wants to do that.

His basic issue is excitement. It is hard for him to get calm. The way that manifests itself is jumping combined with some biting/mouthing. Its a daily stuggle to get him to stop his game of tug and let me go on my way. I walk away he jumps up and grabs my shirt. I see him do the same thing with dogs. He bugs them and keeps bugging them until somebody (another dog or an owner) pulls the dogs apart. He's not hurting anybody he just doesn't understand that No means No. That's really the only behavioral issue. I have to figure out some things to keep him occupied; just like bored people he turns to unproductive, even destructive behavior. We try to take him to the park, both walking with us and dog park, a couple of times a week. I try to teach him new tricks and of course, there is the Kong, which seems to be the only widely available cerebral toy for dogs. It is simple but it works really well. Sometimes I jump ahead. I think he knows something really well but he gets in a new environment and loses control. The trainer saw that and said something to the affect of "he knows everything you are asking him to do, he's testing you" like a toddler or a teenager. I think he pushes buttons too. He knows what pisses me off and he decides to do it. We keep trying and he keeps testing.

If anybody knows any tips and tricks let me know.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

This I truly believe.
An act of meditation is actually an act of faith--of faith in your spirit, in your own potential. Faith is the basis of meditation. Not of faith in something outside you--a metaphysical buddha, an unattainable ideal, or someone else's words. The faith is in yourself, in your own "buddha-nature." You too can be a buddha, an awakened being that lives and responds in a wise, creative, and compassionate way.
Martine Batchelor, "Meditation for Life"

Saturday, November 10

Halloween 07


Field Trip
Originally uploaded by bmitd67.
John & Carolyn's brood on Halloween. Jack, LiAnna, Lindsey, Olivia. See how Lindsey has grown since the photo in the previous post.

5 years ago today


Lindsey - Nanning
Originally uploaded by bmitd67.
I got the following email this morning:
Remember what somebody handed us 5 years ago today? Hint: She was very loud, yet very sweet.

She's very excited today, she looks forward to her "gotcha" day every year because she gets mommy and daddy to herself all day. The others are going to grandma's. I think we're going ice skating, I'll give you the report from the hospital later. Hopefully I will not break more than one appendage!

See you.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

A little Sat morning Zen.
Flow with whatever may happen
and let your mind be free;
Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.
This is the ultimate.
Chuang Tsu

Thursday, November 8

Johnders


Are you looking at me??
Originally uploaded by bmitd67.
I've done some talking about Johnders and I keep forgetting to post a picture...

Is he a Catahoula or something else? You tell me.

A story about "American Gods: A Novel"

by Neil Gaiman

I asked a coworker for a sci-fi fantasy suggestion for my open-minded but very feminine book club and she suggest this. I’ve known about Neil Gaiman for a while but I’m not much of a sci-fi reader so I never picked up anything. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure about the story or the style and all I can say is Cool. This book rocks and Gaiman is an extremely enjoyable writer. I’m not done with it but I will be finishing this and reading more by him. It’s not very sci-fi either, it’s almost anthropological…I hear a lot of Joseph Campbell in this and I like that a lot!

A story about "Watina (Dig)"

by Andy Palacio

Brilliant.

Back in the 90s I took some grad level classes at LSU. One of the papers I did was on the Garifuna. Before that I had heard of them, I knew they were some cultural/ethnic mixture of African and Native in Central America or the Caribbean. Even with my constant focus on music I never considered contemporary music. A few days ago I saw this disk and decided to give it a try. This is an extraordinary disk. The liners have the words but I haven’t read them b/c, like much of the best music, I don’t have to know what he’s saying to understand. Musically it reminds me of mento, that laid back acoustic reggae-ish stuff. It’s got some latin american vibes and sounds as well. The guy’s voice is lush. I recommend this highly.

Thursday, November 1

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Is it really so hard to be nice? Apparently for some, especially some of my coworkers it is. I wish they would learn from this.
Phenomena are preceded by the heart
ruled by the heart,
made of the heart.
If you speak or act
with a calm, bright heart,
then happiness follows you,
like a shadow
that never leaves.
Dhammapada, 1, translated by Thanissaro Bhikku.

Tuesday, October 30

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Can you imagine?
Wars arise from a failure to understand one another's humanness. Instead of summit meetings, why not have families meet for a picnic and get to know each other while the children play together?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I would love to see George Bush in a park with Kim Jong Il, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Pervez Musharraf, Hu Jintao, Nancy Pelosi, etc, etc at some picnic.

Monday, October 29

Doggie Worries

So. After we had him a couple of days I recognized two things:
  1. why people say a pet is a good prep for a kid
  2. why parents are tired all the time.

We got Johnders and I found myself constantly worrying about "raising" him right, keeping him healthy, happy and safe. I want my dog that is a good citizen and happy. That's the prep part. The tired is related to that. I was worrying so much that I found myself exhausted. It took me a couple more days to make the connection but I did. The emotional roller coaster is tiring.

Sunday, October 28

Buddhist Thought of the Day

I struggle but I know some people who really suffer and these are words they would do well to work to understand. My suffering is usually manidested in procrastination but sometimes depression. I sometimes feel that there are too many important decisions to be made and I can't to it. Other times I feel like there are too many important decisions to be made and I shouldn't be the one to make them. I have some coworkers and family members who have far more severe issues and they blame everybody else for the problems they have.
If my mother had done this, if my father had been this, if my boss didn't do this.
I so wish some of these people would get the clue that they have something to do with it. Especially when they find themselves in similar situations time and time again.
Happiness and suffering come from your own mind, not from outside. Your own mind is the cause of happiness; your own mind is the cause of suffering. To obtain happiness and pacify suffering, you have to work within your own mind.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, "The Door To Satisfaction"

Friday, October 26

Doggie Chronicles

I have always envisioned myself as a dog owner but I wanted to do it on my terms. I wanted the dog I wanted when I wanted it and he would be easy to train and well-behaved and so on and so forth. Tara thought if we got a pet it would be a cat. She's not a fan of the dog neediness(is that a word?). We'd talked about getting one and people would tell us getting one is good prep for having a baby, which we are trying to do, but we'd never done anything to really move toward getting a pet. It remained on that "Yeah, one day, probably." list.

In August we went to a BBQ at a friend's house and we were greeted by this black & white splotched puppy. It was a very cute, happy, friendly puppy but I didn't think much about him. Then, from across the room, my very unimpulsive, cat-loving wife said "can we keep him?". I was stunned. One, because I would we hadn't planned for it. Two, Tara doesn't say things like that. Three, Tara didn't want a dog. We talked about it when we got home and Kathy, the "owner of the dog" said we could do it on a trial basis. Her family was going out of town and we could keep "Freckles" and see.


The story was that Brian, the husband, found the dog at a hotel while he was on a business trip. According to the staff, the dog had been at the hotel for a few days. Brian knew he couldn't leave the dog so he didn't. He figured he could find a home if his family didn't want to keep him. Sounds like a great plan, right? They already had one dog, a couple of cats, a 4-year old boy and another boy on the way. Well, this dog proved to be a little more rambunctious and a little stronger than Carter, the 4-year old liked.

Before we brought him home Tara started planning. She brought our handyman over to complete the backyard fence - I hate it but it works and that's a different story - she started looking into puppy classes and other things so I knew this was not a temporary thing. We brought him home and he was a blast. We kept him in the bathroom the first couple of days and then found a crate. We had to push him in it in for the longest but now, we have a calm down routine and he just has to be nudged.

After a week or so one of our friends, Niki, came up with a new name...Johnders Sanson. My name is Sanders and Tara is Johnson, hopefully you can figure it out. Next for Johnders was training...

Buddhist Thought of the Day

I've been kinda busy and haven't posted anything recently. What a great one to restart with. It's sort the same as the Serenity Prayer...work to control the things you can, not worry about the things you can't and learn the difference between the two. We can't control anybody but ourselves and sometimes that seems impossible.
Better to conquer yourself
than others.
When you've trained yourself,
living in constant self-control,
neither a deva nor gandhabba,
nor a Mara banded with Brahmas,
could turn that triumph
back into defeat.
Dhammapada, 8, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Monday, October 22

The things we see

I was walking through the computer room and I saw a mullet wearing, redheaded white guy filling out a profile on blacksingles.com or something like that. Not the kind of guy you'd expect on that site.

Saturday, October 20

Tragic music news

I was fortunate enough to see Lucky Dube many years ago at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest. It was a magical afternoon. He was a wonderful gift to the music world.

Jah Live!
Shock at SA reggae star shooting


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Monday, October 15

Recycle Nashville

If you haven't noticed, downtown Nashville has added some swanky new bottle/can recycle bins. I don't have a photo but they are quite elegant for a recycle bin.

Go Nashville!

Recycle Nashville
Blog Action Day

Sunday, October 14

On the other hand

I recently posted about the cute, attractive women who come to my desk. Well, what about the other ones? The ones who don't have their stuff together. The teachers who have Diana Gabaldon books in one arm and are asking to check out more than the limit because they "are a teacher".

Yeah, there are plenty of those too.

Friday, October 12

Call me Humbert.

Yeah, sometimes I feel like a dirty old man.

There are many very attractive, sometimes flirty, young women who interact with me throughout my work day. I'm not talking disgusting, Lolita-type young, I'm talking way too young for me, which is college-aged & mid-20s. Some are sweet, some are cute, some are sexy and some are a combo of several. Now, there are plenty of women my age and older who fit this desciption but I guess b/c I just dealt with a young one I am thinking about it. She was very sweet and she walked away but turned around and smiled at me (unsolicited, or at least I think so).

Anyway, thank God for women. If I had only been more knowledgable in the ways of women when I was younger. Who knows if that would have changed anything. I love my wife more deeply and fully than anyone I've known, other than my mother. I think she is all the things I listed above and more but sometimes I wonder how things would've been different if I had pursued the women I've had crushes on or just the cute ones I've met through the years.

Monday, October 1

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Sounds a lot like "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", don't you think?
Whatever attitudes we habitually use toward ourselves, we will use on others, and whatever attitudes we habitually use toward others, we will use on ourselves. The situation is comparable to our serving food to ourselves and to other people from the same bowl. Everyone ends up eating the same thing--we must examine carefully what we are dishing out.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness"

Saturday, September 29

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Take that you close-minded frakin' fraks! OK, that's not the nicest thing to say but everybody knows what I mean. This applies to most of us in some way but it really goes to the heart of the matter of the people who are anti Harry Potter b/c it contains magic.
Some people live closely guarded lives, fearful of encountering someone or something that might shatter their insecure spiritual foundation. This attitude, however, is not the fault of religion but of their own limited understanding. True Dharma leads in exactly the opposite direction. It enables one to integrate all the many diverse experiences of life into a meaningful and coherent whole, thereby banishing fear and insecurity completely.
Lama Thubten Yeshe, "Wisdom Energy"

Wednesday, September 26

A story about "The Hero With a Thousand Faces"

by Joseph Campbell

I first saw Joseph Campbell on PBS replay of “The Power of Myth”. I was amazed and enthralled by what he said. I felt someone was finally explaining the way I looked at religion and spirituality.

Reading this is my first foray into his writing. It’s pretty academic and very heavily annotated, some footnotes are longer than the text on the page. He explores “the hero”; what is the process individuals go through to become a hero? He uses examples from all over the globe. All religions, all traditional societies and cultures and continents are explored to present a wonderfully comprehensive picture of the hero. Joseph Campbell shows us that we are all more alike than not, our heros share the same qualities, our religions are used to teach us and guide us to the same ends. It’s quite heartening.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Again with the high road stuff.
We should not seek revenge on those who have committed crimes against us, or reply to their crimes with other crimes. We should reflect that by the law of karma, they are in danger of lowly and miserable lives to come, and that our duty to them, as to every being, is to help them to rise towards Nirvana, rather than let them sink to lower levels of rebirth.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Monday, September 24

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Compassion is the best healer.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Ultimate Healing

This is my new mantra. Although I have work to do on my ability for compassion I know others who really have some real issues with it. If I could just convince them that it isn't the "high road", it is the only road; and it is as much about showing compassion for yourself than others. On the way to work this morning I was reading more of Joseph Campbell's Hero with A Thousand Faces and it dawned on me that Virgos, at least as far as I see myself as a virgo, are naturally inclined towards this mentality. We are supposed to be objective and sympathetic which is the way I see things. People have misinterpreted my objectivity as negativity; that I am taking the other side but that's not it. I have to distance myself from the arguement to sort things out in my head and then I can look at both sides in a relatively even manner. I guess its hard for people to believe that you can be objective. That was kinda tangential. Let's leave it at compassion is the way (no Buddhist pun intended).

Wednesday, September 19

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Preach on brother.
And better than a hundred years
lived apathetic & unenergetic, is
one day
lived energetic & firm.
-Dhammapada, 8, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Monday, September 17

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Words to live by. These are the posts I post for specific people and I know those specific people will never see the posts.
Focus,
not on the rudenesses of others,
not on what they've done
or left undone,
but on what you
have & haven't done
yourself.
Dhammapada, 4, translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Sunday, September 16

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Its not easy but I try this everyday.
“Live in joy,
In love,
Even among those who hate.

Live in joy,
In health,
Even among the afflicted.

Live in joy,
In peace,
Even among the troubled.

Look within.
Be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of the way.”
from the Dhammapada

Who do you love?

I started this post last summer. I forgot about it but now I have it back.

Paste created lots of controversy with this list of 100 living songwriters but I figured it was a good excuse to list some of mine. These are all I can think of off the top of my head. This list is songwriters in the sense of writing words with music. Some of them are more consistent than others but its art who can truely create the same level of consistency all the time?

In no particular order:
Bruce Hornsby
Bruce Cockburn
Alejandro Escovedo
Neil Young
Bob Dylan
Talib Kweli
Paul Thorn
Steve Earle
Kim Richey
Stevie Wonder
William Bell
Smokey Robinson
Isaac Hayes
David Porter
Ben Harper
David Olney
Lucinda Williams
Booker T Jones
Steve Cropper
Warren Haynes
Common

Saturday, September 15

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Man, do I know some folks who need to memorize this, 'specially that part about seeing danger where there is none. We all anticipate how things sometimes. How things are gonna be and many times we, relying on our own hangups, we create environments and situations that don't need to be the way they are.
Ashamed of what's not shameful,
not ashamed of what is,
beings adopting wrong views
go to a bad destination.

Seeing danger where there is none,
and no danger where there is,
beings adopting wrong views,
go to a bad destination.
Dhammapada, 22, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Doesn't get much better.

Yesterday I turned 40 years old.

I took the day off from work, did some laundry, spent way too much money at Brooks Brothers, and went to the park with Johnders. I haven't really talked about him, have I? I will. Later.

Last night we planned a little dinner party at one of my all time favorite Nashville spots, Bosco's. It is home of the best beer in the state, maybe the country. I hadn't been in a long time and I didn't think it was a real possiblity b/c it tended to be pretty smokey. I don't do smokey as well as I used to and Tara doesn't do smokey at all. Was I pleased to find out that they are non-smoking? You're damn skippy! Come 1 Oct all restaurants will be non-smoking but some, like Bosco's jumped the deadline and U thank them for it. I gave Tara a list of people to invite. Many were out-of-towners who I just wanted to let know something was going on, didn't really expect to see any. Lo and behold two came in specifically for the party. One was Carolyn Allen-Schmidt, the person I have known longer than anyone outside of family. We have known each other since we were 6 or 7. We see each other every few years and we email every few months. She drove from Columbus, OH yesterday afternoon to come to the party and she was leaving today, after she woke up. I am beyond words as to how that makes me feel. The other was Johnna Norris, a former rekkid stow coworker. She doesn't live as far away as Carolyn but she lives in Kentucky and that is far away enough to make me feel extra special.

I said everyday. I am one of the most fortunate people alive. Thank you to all of my friends and family.

Friday, September 14

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Buddhism. Keeping it real.
Karma is not something complicated or philosophical. Karma means watching your body, watching your mouth, and watching your mind. Trying to keep these three doors as pure as possible is the practice of karma.
Lama Thubten Yeshe, "The Bliss of Inner Fire"

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Thursday, September 13

Buddhist Thought of the Day

It sounds so easy.

Abandon anger,
Be done with conceit,
Get beyond every fetter.
When for name & form
You have no attachment
--have nothing at all--
no sufferings, no stresses, invade.

Dhammapada 17, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Wednesday, September 12

MySpace ruined my space.

The past few days I have gone through our public access computer room once or twice a day and a vast majority of the users are on myspace.com. Are they looking for jobs or researching Nashville? If that includes "Power Ass" shaking her stuff then yes I guess they are but somehow I doubt it. I obviously use the internet differently than most. I read blogs and yes, I sometimes look at celebrity wardrobe malfunctions...if you know what I mean but Jesus H. Christ! You are in the library and the only way you can figure out how to use it is trolling myspace? Not only that but not all terminals are hidden from the aisles so if you are walking by, like I have been, you see all of this crap.

I have a myspace page - don't really use it but I have one. I have many friends who have one too but there are so many other ways to waste time on the internet. I don't know what can be done other than myspace setting tighter restrictions. I'm sure from our POV it's a 1st Amendment type thing...freedom of expression. I don't know, I guess I'm just a little frustrated by seeing the same people coming in everyday, sitting on the computer hour after hour and doing nothing productive.

"Have a blessed day."

Have you ever noticed that the people who say this most are the people most difficult to deal with?

I see it everyday. Someone who complains a lot or is unorganized to the point of frustration, both theirs and yours, is the person who is quick on the draw with the "Have a blessed day" exit.

Monday, September 10

Customer Service

A couple of weeks ago I woke up with a case of sciatica. I didn't know what it was at the time I just knew it hurt. I was coming down the stairs and my knee buckled in one of the worst bursts of pain I have ever felt. I struggled through the next week or so trying stretches and whatnot without much change. Then I went to Bonnie, my mother-in-law, who happens to be a Healing Touch practioner and instructor. She worked on me two days in a row and I scheduled an appointment for a massage a couple of days after that. I had begun to feel better but after the massage I really started to feel better and eventhough I'm not 100% yet I felt good enough to go to yoga yesterday.

Not really thinking about it this morning when the phone rang and it was the massage therapist calling to see how I was doing. That, my friends, is customer service. I went to her on the suggestion of Tara, she did a good job, she was filled with info and suggestions about how to get and stay healthy. As is quite often the case I am glad I took my wife's suggestion.

The Masseuse is:
Val Knust, LMT
(615) 300-8331
She's located at East End Body In Balance Nashville.

Wednesday, September 5

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Tara and I haven't picked a specific day but we are trying to plant a tree each year. Earlier this year we actually planted 3. They had a rough summer but I think they will be fine.
On a certain day, month and year one should observe the ceremony of tree-planting. Thus, one fulfils one’s responsibilities, serves one’s fellow-beings which not only brings happiness but benefits all.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, October 1993

Saturday, September 1

2007 Football

Props to the Sewanee Tigers (with new coach Robert Black) and Appalachian State. Sewanee, who usually doesn't field great teams won it's first game of the season as well as getting the SCAC player of the week. I have high hopes!

Now, Appalachian State. What more can you say?? We raced them when I was on the canoe team and for God's sake they are from the hills of NC.

It was a great day for small colleges.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Oh, how I wish people, including myself, worked on this more.
Greater in battle
than the man who would conquer
a thousand-thousand men,
is he who would conquer
just one--
himself.
Dhammapada, 8, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Friday, August 31

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Just try and be happy.
By day shines the sun;
by night, the moon;
in armor, the warrior;
in jhana, the Brahmin.
But all day & all night,
every day & every night,
the Awakened One shines
in splendor.
Dhammapada, 26, translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Thursday, August 30

Buddhist Thought of the Day

I know I talk a good game but do I actually and actively practice the compassion I desire from and for myself? I would say that I usually do. Where I falter most often is with those closest to me. I have trouble letting go in general but its even harder when it involves someone I know intimately. I usually get frustrated when people don't seem to understand what I mean. I feel, some might say arrogantly so, that I am easily understood and what I am talking about is easily understood. Also, I would say that I have an easier time seeing the forest than the trees and I get most frustrated at those who areI believe are focused too tightly on the trees. I will keep trying.
Adopting an attitude of universal responsibility is essentially a personal matter. The real test of compassion is not what we say in abstract discussions but how we conduct ourselves in daily life.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "Imagine All the People"

Tuesday, August 28

My sympathies

Don't know a whole lot about the guy. I heard this on the news last night. This is so sad, he was a kid. Although there is no promise you can stop this kind of thing. Boys and girls you must go to the doctor, you must drink water when exercising and you must tell someone when you feel bad.
Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta dies


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Buddhist Thought of the Day

Buddhism. Keeping it real.
Karma is not something complicated or philosophical. Karma means watching your body, watching your mouth, and watching your mind. Trying to keep these three doors as pure as possible is the practice of karma.
Lama Thubten Yeshe, "The Bliss of Inner Fire"

Monday, August 27

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Whenever you hear that someone else has been successful, rejoice. Always practice rejoicing for others--whether your friend or your enemy. If you cannot practice rejoicing, no matter how long you live, you will not be happy.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, "Transforming Problems Into Happiness"

Saturday, August 25

Buddhist Thought of the Day

I know some of my Christian friends will have trouble with this but this is probably the best summary of what I believe.
Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Friday, August 24

Part of of "a week with kids"


This part involves the kids of friends. We took a road trip to Kentucky to see John, Carolyn and the kids as well as .vek, Christine and the kid. Kevin, Anne Marie, Tara and I went to Georgetown KY where John lives. Tara had met John but not Carolyn or the kids, Anne Marie hadn't met anyone in the family, and Kevin hadn't met the kids. I hadn't seen LiAnna or Lindsey on close to 5 years nor had I met the twins. Honestly, I was nervous. How would the girls remember me? What would they remember?

Thanks to John & Carolyn they loved me! They were dressed up when we got the house and were greeted with enthusiasm and nervousness. The girls warmed to us immediately, LiAnna told Anne Marie secrets and they showed us their dolls and toys and pets. We ate and then Lindsey got a hold of my camera. She took more pictures than I did. I have the pictures up on flickr. Day one wound down and we planned to go to a nature park and Frankfort the next day. Once we got to the nature park if one wasn't pulling on me or wanting to be carried the other one was. It was a blast. The girls are very smart and the twins seemed overshadowed but John & Carolyn said we should not be fooled, they can hold their own.

I had a blast and I enjoyed seeing how they girls had grown. They had turned into little people with vocalized opinions and ideas and dreams and talents. LiAnna said she wants to be a writer and Lindsey showed a talent for photography. John and Carolyn were glad to have somebody else for at least two of the kids to harrass and Tara was glad to see that her husband was good with kids. During those few hours I was king, at least to two very active, talkative little girls. Lindsey told me that her Mom tells about when her Dad and I went to China to get her, and LiAnna told me about her favorite books.


Next we were off to Pewee Valley to visit .vek, Christine & Sierra, all of whom are known by everybody in our traveling party. It was just the adults the first night. We had a good Indian dinner and went to see a Hitchcock Film at the Palace. The next day was all about Sierra. We met for lunch at the Arnett-Conner residence and then we went for Graeders Ice Cream ending up at big park where Sierra showed us about the "soccer monster" and then she got us to do exercises that she created while we were in the exercise area. She is a very bright, thoughtful, and creative little girl.

I am proud of my friends and anxious for my chance to be a father.

Wednesday, August 22

Buddhist Thought of the Day

Ahhh stress...this is what I like about Buddhism. It doesn't just look for sin or pain (although stress can make you sinful and it can definitely be painful) or something like that. It recognizes that if you recognize and accpet the bad for what it is (and you follow the eightfold path - which has to do with being honest, fair and kind) you will be alright in the end, maybe even better than alright, maybe enlightened.
But when, having gone
to the Buddha, Dhamma,
& Sangha for refuge,
you see with right discernment
the four noble truths--
stress, the cause of stress,
the transcending of stress,
& the noble eightfold path,
the way to the stilling of stress:
that's the secure refuge,
that, the supreme refuge,
having gone to which,
you gain release
from all suffering & stress.
Dhammapada, 13, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Saturday, August 18

The insult seen around the world.

I prefer the whore that is your sister
Marco Materazzi to Zinedine Zidane in the World Cup final that provoked the French star to retaliate with a head-butt.

The truth comes out

Buddhist Thought of the Day

We all have the power do control our minds and emotions.
When everything is clean-clear in your own mind,nobody can create obstacles for you.
Lama Thubten Yeshe, "The Bliss of Inner Fire"

Thursday, August 16

Genius


Jazz pioneer Max Roach dead at 83
An innovator of the highest level, Roach was one of the first jazz musicians to coax lyricism out of the drums. Roach ushered in a new expressive style of percussion in jazz, and subsequently all of pop music.
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Bend it Like M***Fracking Beckham!

This is what we've been waiting for! Andrea Canales says "Beckham can really play." and the AP story I saw explained how he was talking to the team and egging them on. As girly as he sounds (have you actually heard him speak?) he is a leader. He is what a captain is supposed to be. This start should shut some of the moaners up. He hit a FK, he assisted Landon on a pass and he applauded the fans. What more do you need?
Beckham takes captain's armband to great effect

Buddhist Thought of the Day

The last line is crucial, "The pureness of perfectly balanced action based on seeing the way things are...this is freedom." I so strive for that balanced action but I struggle with the seeing this as they are. I take things personally too often and too quickly. Most times I assume too much. None of that is conducive to seeing things as they are. What's worse is that it sometimes bothers me when people do take things as they are. My wife is an example. She rarely assumes, she, more than anyone I know, says exactly what she means when she speaks and she says she doesn't understand when she doesn't understand. I am jealous of people who think this way and sometimes I am too arrogant to let people know that I don't understand. I've done it this way for so long. I hated asking questions in class, I hated making coments in dlass. I didn't want the attention.
When a person has lived properly and acted generously, he grasps the way things are. He is not dependent on attachments; he is free from anger and aversions; what he does becomes perfect action.

The pureness of perfectly balanced action based on seeing the way things are--this is freedom and the ending of ignorance
Sutta Nipata

Yea Sewanee's Beautiful!

My glorious University made the top of yet another list. I have visited two of the other campuses mentioned and I did like what I saw. I was quite surprised that Wellesley didn't make the list. I thought it was beautiful.

America's 20 Most Beautiful Campuses

Monday, August 13

G-Day

I got a phone call to remind me that I am scheduled to take the GRE tomorrow morning. Yipes!

Let's hope all goes well. If my practice test was any indication I should do well in verbal, ok in quantitative and who knows on analytical (they can't score the practice test versions).

I can't wait to get it overwith!

Family Fantasy (rated 4 stars)

by David Anthony Durham

All I know of fantasy is “Lord of the Rings” and, I guess, Harry Potter but I’m talking about the sword wielding, sorcery bound, warrior fantasy.

I started to read this b/c the author David Anthony Durham is black, I remember good reviews of his “Pride of Carthage” and this book, the first of a triolgy, was getting compared to Lord of the Rings. Maybe because I am a novice at fantasy or maybe because of the writing I had a little trouble getting into it. I had trouble with naming schemes and found myself getting confused about who was part of what “race”. About 150 pages into this 600 page door stop I was hooked. I found myself exciting about moving to the next chapter. Each chapter tells a different point of view and rotates through the 6 or so primary players.

It is the story of a prosperous empire brought down by a surprise assassination of the king and then the use of biological warfare to wipe everybody else out. The three of the four children, ranging from 10 to 17 or so, of the king are scattered to the winds. The rest of the story follows the children coming of age as distinctly different but equally special people. The youngest girl is the voice of a goddess who discovers she has amazing sword skills. The youngest boy is a pirate but also a young leader. The oldest boy becomes the rallying point for regaining the kingdom but changing it for the better and the oldest girl is the concubine who falls in love with the man who orchestrated the takeover of her empire but ultimately becomes a major force to be reckoned with.

A lot happens but what I liked was the ethnic landscape the author paints and his transition into the forthcoming second part. The “Known World” consists of a variety of ethnicities from the pale, Nordic-like Mein to the tropical, pacific island-like Talay. He doesn’t go into lots of details about their cultures but you can feel and see the differences. His set-up for future stories is wonderful. He starts planting seeds and signs that some things are happening that he can’t fully explain yet. You see characters do things that obviously take the story in a different direction but you don’t know their complete motivation. It’s nicely done. It looks like it will be one grand adventure, each part distinct but ultimately one big tale.

Buddhist Thought of the Day

It is not that anger and desire are inherently evil or that we should feel ashamed when they arise. It is a matter of seeing them as the delusions that they are: distorted conceptions that paint a false picture of reality. They are negative because they lead to unhappiness and confusion.
Kathleen McDonald, "How to Meditate"

Need I say more?

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Thursday, August 9

Buddhist Thought of the Day

[The] defilements are like a cat. If you feed it, it will keep coming around. Stop feeding it, and eventually it will not bother to come around anymore.
Ajahn Chah, "Still Forest Pool"

Amen to that but as everything it's easier said than done. One of the reasons I emotionally like Buddhism is that all it asks is that you try. Do the best you can and keep on moving. None of this "all or none" stuff some brands of Christianity push. Maybe I have trouble with this b/c I have trouble with commitment but I think there is more to it than that. I think it has to do being honest with youself. If you make the commitment to do away with the bad habits or "defilements" you will do this. You don't have to worry about following a certain path and this going to heaven or not. As the Army asks, be all that you can be.

Tuesday, August 7

Buddhist Thought of the Day - The Return

I've been away for a few weeks. What happened? I can't say and I can't worry about. The fact is, I am posting again.
I am not, I will not be.
I have not, I will not have.
That frightens all the childish
And extinguishes fear in the wise.
Nagarjuna, Precious Garland

It's hard to give things up, to let go (and let God, some might add). I have a hard time. I take things personally far too often; the flip side is that I hold things in far too often. I think things but I don't want to hurt people's feelings even when they should probably know what I am thinking. I work on it, both parts. I try to slow down when I recognize that I am taking something personally. I try to anaylize what is being said to recognize whether or not this is something I should appreciate being told or not. As for the holding back part. I don't put the effort into anaylizing this. I don't say something, the moment passes and so with it, the thought or comment I had.

Monday, August 6

GRE

Today I was going to Provence to get my bread (Monday is 1/2 price day), my coffee and chat with my crush who is a baker for Provence and sometimes comes over here to help. I've already told Tara about her so I feel free to chat. This young woman is adorable and I'll leave it at that.

We were talking and this guy walks up behind and asks when I was gonna take the GRE (I had a book in my hand). He was in the library to tutor someone on taking the GRE or SAT but he had a few minutes to spare and he gave me a handful of hints for being a better test taker.

I love where I work.

Sunday, August 5

Sewanee Tigers Football


Good luck to the Tigers and their new coach (my Sewanee classmate and childhood friend), Robert Black.
2007 Sewanee Football

Date Game Site
September 1 Sewanee v. Westminster Sewanee
September 15 Sewanee @ Colorado College* Colorado Springs, CO
September 22 Sewanee vs. DePauw* Sewanee
September 29 Sewanee @ Centre* Danville, KY
October 6 Sewanee vs. Austin College* Sewanee
October 13 Sewanee vs. Millsaps*! Sewanee
October 20 Sewanee @ Trinity* San Antonio, TX
November 3 Sewanee vs. Birmingham-Southern* Sewanee (Home Coming)
November 10 Sewanee @ Rhodes* Memphis, TN
* SCAC game
! Family Weekend
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Thursday, August 2

Nashville Public Library = Music in the Courtyard

Why this is called the "Summer Series" when it starts in August I don't know but its that time of year and we love it. For more information go to Library Foundation.
2007 Summer Concert Artist Lineup

August 1
Serenatta
~ Latin Romantic Ensemble

August 8
David Tanner
~ Rockabilly entertainer

August 15
Ellen Britton
~ Country-Americana singer-songwriter

August 22
Riders In The Sky
~ America's Favorite Cowboys

August 29
Judson Spence
~ Rock and Soul talent

September 5
Jim Hoke's Jazz Quartet
Local Jazz Saxophonist

September 12
Chris Casello
~ Rockabilly/Western Swing entertainer

September 19
Radio Daze
~ Big Band Dance Ensemble

September 26
Anna Wilson
~ Pop/Jazz Artist and Songwriter

October 3
Jonell Mosser
~ Blues Rocker

Thursday, July 26

Good Stats

I am happy to include myself in this statistic. I can count the times I have ridden the bus since my senior year in high school on one hand...2. I had ridden the bus 2x in 15 years until this past March when I started working at the library and started riding the bus everyday.

I am loving it too. I can read, zone out, people watch, whatever for 15 minutes or so b4 and after work. I walk 1.2 miles everyday b/c of the bus and that doesn't include the wandering I do during lunch. I spend about $30 a month whereas I would spend about $200 a month on gas and parking if I drove to work.

Huhrah for public transportation.
The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority says ridership is up six
percent - or about 500,000 more rides - over the same time period last
year.


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In Consideration


In Consideration
Originally uploaded by bmitd67.
Last week or so there was one sign in the staff bathrooms. A few days after I took the photo that sign was gone and replaced with this no-nonsense version, 3 days after that this sign had been removed and now we are back to no signage.

I guess the men learned their lesson.

Wednesday, July 25

Monday, July 23

First half of "a week with kids"

This story goes back a couple of weeks but I've been busy or lazy or something. Actually, I haven't really felt like writing.
During the summer we host our neices and nephew for overnighters. Tara has an agreement with them that once they turned 7 they could spend one night a month rotating between all the other kids who are at least 7 (there are currently 3). Well, something happened and we ended up with two sisters, Jahliya & Yasmin (I think I spelled their names correctly), at the same time. Yas is the older, she's 9. She is kinda quiet & shy. She is the girliest one of the family, most like her mother. You know, the "Ewwww, gross it's a bug." kind of girl. I can also see her acting more and more like the oldest, telling the younger ones what to do or directing them toward or away from activities and things. Her insane younger sister, Jahliya, is 7 and she loves to play in the dirt. She goes to Grandma Bonnie's and helps with the garden basically by removing the dirt from the grown and putting it on her body. She's funny and very patient but when she's wired she is W-I-R-E-D.

They picked me up from work and we went home. The girls and Tara had spent the day canoeing so showers were the first order of business. Then came food and this is where I came in. Tara wanted me to cook with them while she showered. So, I tell them what we have and Jahliya wanted beans.., she took every can of beans she saw and was ready to open all. I persuaded her not to open all of them. They worked really well together and really well with me. Nobody's finger was cut, nobody's hair was singed and the food was good. Yaz also made sure we had a menu, a glorious 3rd grader style menu. After dinner it was movie time and the girls wanted to watch different movies. Tara set Yaz up at the upstairs TV and Jahliyah, the younger sat with us and very surpisingly watch "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (not recommended unless you are a Christian and have lost faith). This is a PG-13 movie that deals with adult themes but she, a 7 year old sat there like a trooper. She got a little squirmy a couple of times but for the most part she was wonderfully quiet. A couple of times she was, unbeknownst to her, the source of fun for Tara and me. I, as usual, was the last one in bed and when I walked past the guest bed and they were sprawled out on top of each other, no covers, legs, arms and hair going in all different directions. Eventhough there was a lot of sniping and bickering they did pretty well together.

Thursday, July 19

E3 Campaign - Eat local and save the planet!

Did you know that most food in supermarkets travels 1500 miles and generates 5 to 17 times more carbon emissions than food grown locally? Or that big box retailers only put $14 back into the local economy for every $100 spent in their stores, but locally owned businesses put back $45 of that same $100? How about that small farms use far less pesticides than large farms?
The Center for a New American Dream knows that every individual can have a significant impact on the environment, and our new Carbon Conscious Consumer (or C3) campaign makes that impact visual. Each month from July to December c3.newdream.org will highlight a new, simple way each individual can make an impact, plus show the difference each person makes both individually and along with the people they’ve influenced.
This month, reduce your carbon footprint by eating 1 pound of food locally. You’ll reduce carbon emissions, pesticides, even packaging, all while helping your local economy. Then, increase your impact by spreading the word. The participant who convinces the most people to take on the challenge will win a landscaping package that features local plants, herbs, and vegetables. Find out more at c3.newdream.org

Accuracy Counts


Accuracy Counts
Originally uploaded by bmitd67.
Librarians put everything in order. We have unisex staff bathrooms and here is a recently added warning.

Monday, July 16

Freakin' story of my life

Tara is organized. I am selectively organized. Tara always wants to clean up messes in the house, most of which are mine or my parents mess. I have trouble letting go and this quote is a prime example of what goes on.
I’m finally getting my head around the idea that organization is what you do to stuff that you need, want, or love — it’s not what you do to get useless stuff out of sight or to impart makebelieve meaning. And even though that 50-pin SCSI cable cost me a fortune in 1998, there’s zero reason for me to have it today. And, yet, there’s an invisible but very real cost associated with keeping it around.
As you wage your war on clutter, you will have many moments where you pause, item in hand, over the trash or recycling and feel resistance and fear. Sometimes its for cause, and you’ll elect to keep it, but also be prepared to let go on an unprecedented scale. Think volume and be brutal in your evaluations.
Clutter Wars

Thursday, July 5

Soccer & Sex

What a great way to start the morning...soccer & sex.

I got this from Global Game and it truly shows the powerful impact soccer can have. Sometimes the smallest thing can infintely empower someone. I see it in the library. People who are excited and emboldened when they check out books.

Wednesday, July 4

You say you want a Revolution!

I think it's time for a another revolution and a new government which will actually work to uphold these inalienable, self-evident, Creator-given rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The Declaration of Independence

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Monday, June 25

Buddhist Thought of the Day

The bliss of a truth-seeking life is attainable for anyone who follows the path of unselfishness. If you cling to your wealth, it is better to throw it away than let it poison your heart. But if you don't cling to it but use it wisely, then you will be a blessing to people. It's not wealth and power that enslave men but the clinging to wealth and power.
Majjhima Nikaya

That last line is key. I am completely convinced that you can do well and do good. You don't have to be a user. I, of course, don't have much wealth or power to worry about but I still have to work on the selfishness, which I can be a form of manipulation.

Nuevos Galacticos!

Now Barca has less of an excuse for losing La Liga.
Henry said it was the departure of vice chairman David Dein in April that had changed his mind and led to the $32 million move. Dein, a friend to both Henry and Wenger, quit after falling out with other members of the board over his support for a possible takeover.

"Before Mr. Dein left, for whatever reason, I went to the boss and said I don't want to leave," Henry said. "But after Mr. Dein left, that unsettled the team and the boss.

"He (Wenger) said he will see out his contract but you cannot be sure if he is going to go or stay. Hopefully, he is going to stay but I need to be certain and reassured of that."
The whole article.

Sevilla can do as well as they do w/o many big names but for some reason Barcelona acts like the Titans... I will miss seeing Thierry play ball and wish I could get more La Liga game on Fox Soccer Channel; GolTV is looking more and more like a necessity.

Saturday, June 23

Owen Meany's Book Club

What am I missing?

At some point Tara and I talked about important books and she mentioned Prayer for Owen Meany. I started to read it, got about 50 pages and was done. I didn't care about anything or anybody in the book. Several months later I tried again. I struggled with those first 50 or so again but once I made it past that I sailed through the book but at the end I still didn't care. Throughout the reading of it people would comment on how great it was and how much they enjoyed it. All I wanted to know was, how and when Owen was gonna die.

I was looking at Zen Habits' discussion of high impact books and several commentors have mentioned Owen Meany as a book that had a profound impact. Maybe if I had been at a spiritual crossroads or less sure about my spiritual state, maybe if I had been younger. I don't know but it just didn't mean much for me.

The books on my list (closer to chronological than anything):

The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein) I actually remember reading this when I was a kid and I also remember working the story over and over trying to figure out what it meant.

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (Dee Brown) As a child and even as a teen I was utterly infatuated with Great Plain natives. I was (am) also an idealist so I saw them as heroes and victims. This book provided evidence of all of that. This is probably the book that cemented me as a liberal.

The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner) I'm still not completely sure what this book did to me. I think the main thing was that it showed to me that there are no boundaries to how a book is written. I think I also like trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

Sunday, June 17

Welcome to the new face of Christianity.

Rod 2.0:Beta: Nigeria
Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria. Those convicted face jail terms in the mainly Christian south and execution in the mainly Muslim north. Meanwhile, proposed legislation would be the most homophobic laws in any country, effectively stripping gays and lesbians of all civil rights and freedom of speech or association.
This is the Anglican environment the conservative Episcopalians want to join. Very sad.



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Friday, June 15

Whiny Babies

Freaking conservatives. If they don't get their way they run away. (I know people have said the same thing about liberals.) Why can't we talk thing over?
London, Jun 14, 2007 / 10:30 am (Catholic News Agency).- A powerful coalition of conservative Anglican leaders is preparing to create a parallel church for conservatives in the United States, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

The parallel church would be in defiance of appeals made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, to his fellow primates to refrain from provocative actions. If this parallel Church is pursued, it would provoke the biggest schism in the history of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Welcome Dirty Hippies!

Actually, I guess Bonnaroo isn't as much a hippie fest as it used to be. With the addition of extra tents (Comedy and Jazz, maybe more) it's more like New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest North.

And by being a former dirty hippie I can call them that.

Have fun, be careful and remember Manchester loves you so be nice.

Thursday, June 14

1-9-9-2 Wellesley, Rah!

Last weekend I attended my wife's college reunion. This was the first reunion I have attended since we've been together. Things are different at a women's college. I am used to homecoming, football and debauchery. Wellesley, apparently like a lot of New England colleges, has reunion shortly after their graduation and it seems pretty common that the alumni (alumnae, in this case) stay in the dorms - we didn't but Tara wanted to. We, along with 6 other adults and 2 sub 4 year olds, stayed at a friends swank condo in Brookline, MA.

Saturday we drove over to campus and you could feel the excitement in the car. These women were all very excited as they pulled towards and through the gates. Then reality hit, we got out of the cars and were greeted by lightning and claps of thunder. We meandered across campus, greeted at every turn by a cheerful young woman and driver of a limo offering us a ride. Of course, these 92ers were mockingly appalled that someone would think they were old enough to need a ride. In the quad was the big tent filled with returning alum packets and at the end of the tent was a table featuring Wellesley bottled water and cookies. Looking around I was struck by how cute the student workers were as well as how ethnic. Then I looked at Tara and her classmates and saw this is not a recent development. Wellesley seems to have been populated by cute and ethnically diverse students for awhile; this would be further verified at the parade on Sunday. I guess I thought my wife and her friends were an exception to the rule. I was still living with the not-so-attractive, nerdy, northeasterner stereotype that I associate with those northeastern, private, all women's schools. There was a huge picnic lunch which most of us agreed should be the end of the day. The alumnae did some campus shopping and we headed for home.

That night the overwhelming choice for dinner was Boston's North End. I was just along for the ride b/c I'd only been to Boston once b4 and don't know which end is up. We hopped a train, walked down this street that was nothing but Italian restaurants and a Paul Revere statue. We chose a place called Cibo and oh-my-God. This is what italian food is supposed to be. I can't tell you how fantastic I thought the food was. I sampled a couple of different dishes at the table and they were all delicious. I got Penne Arrabiatta b/c a couple of weeks ago I heard it mentioned on the Sopranos. Tony used the phrase to describe his hot-headed bodyguard and my ears always perk up when I hear some extra-cultural reference to Africa or the Middle East, so a pasta dish called Arabian pasta is interesting to me. It was a tomato based sauce with sausage and some red pepper.

Sunday was the main event. We got up early and made our way to campus. The kids were gone and over night we had added the last expected member of the core group who was coming. See, at Wellesley and it might be like this at other institutions but I have never seen it before, each class has a color; there are four colors - red, yellow, green, and purple - that cycle through. In addition to that the classes have a reunion every four years. This year was reunion for the 2's and 7's. Tara is the class of 1992 and their color is red. None of this means much until the parade on Sunday; at that time the classes, dressed in white from head to tow with only their class color and their reunion paraphernalia get in line from youngest to oldest. The paraphernalia is another oddity each class gets a different item for their reunion and I saw all sorts of items from canes, berets, umbrellas to the cheesy red megaphones and red feather boas which rubbed off on everybody's white outfits that the Class of 1992 had. The alumnae then parade from the oldest, who was from the class of 1932 or 1937, to youngest with each class greeted/honored and cheered by all younger classes and lastly the University president who seemed to be having a grand ol time at the end of the parade route. When the class makes it to the president they stop and chant their Rah, or cheer or whatever they call it. 92 was pretty lame. I think Tara and her friends need to talk to the class alum assoc in order to get cooler paraphernalia and recreate their cheer. That being said and as I am one for pomp and ceremony, I thought it was all very cool. As a husband at the reunion of an all women's college I didn't even feel that out of place.

After the ceremony there was shopping and one by one everybody trickled away. Tara, Pauline and I wandered around this stunningly beautiful campus. There is a lot of greenery and native plant landscaping. Comparing it to Sewanee I see Sewanee's campus as an area that has always been and the woods grew up around the campus but Wellesley it seemed was plopped down right in the middle of the woods. On one level those two images seem much the same but in my head, and I apologize for not conveying this mental image very well, despite all of the similarities of architecture and landscaping, I see two distinct campuses.

I expect to have some photos up on flickr in the next few days.

Wednesday, June 13

Hermoine, oh my


The Magic of Puberty

This commentor says it all.
JMBell says:
Then I have no opinion on her looks, nor will I, until next year.
At that point, I will happily point out that she certainly got pretty, but, no, not yet.
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Buddhist Thought of the Day

As rain penetrates an improperly shingled roof, so passion overwhelms a confused mind.
Buddha
As a homeowner I completely recognize the importance of this analogy. I get a pang of fear everytime it rains. I also understand the second part, both from my experience and that of family. Once you start down the road of self doubt or blame or victimhood you have to work extra hard to turn that ship around. My crutch is procrastination, which at some level comes from a fear of loss and at some other level comes from fear of success AND failure. These fears lead to confusion and that confusion leads to more fear or guilt or suffering and so on and so on.

Coach for life

I know its early, too early to say Bob Bradley should be lifetime coach but 3-0-0 in the Gold Cup, +7 goal differential and 3 shutouts. Eddie Johnson, Demarcus Beasley and Clint Dempsey are scoring. The new kids are playing almost as well as the old guys. What more can you ask? I'm excited for the team. Yes, I know CONCACAF is for the most part a lame-ass confederation but this is where we live.
FOXBORO - Coach Bob Bradley stressed the importance of getting better every game out in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the U.S. men’s national soccer team has done just that.
From the Boston Herald

Monday, June 11

(Sort of ) Buddhist Thought of the Day

It takes a while to get me stressed but I have a hard time letting go when I get there. My wife is the opposite, she gets heated up pretty quickly but she also forgets about it pretty quickly. She is the the yang to my yin. Anyway, I have incorporated some of these techniques, although it's tough to remember them in the heat of the moment.

I would add another one...taking a deep breath. That combined with closing my eyes helps quite often.

Six Strategies to Calm Yourself Down
Here are some physical strategies Aron mentions if you find yourself overaroused and about to have a meltdown (like I did in Toys-R-Us). She offers psychological methods, too, but I've found it more helpful to start with these physical suggestions. (Then again, that's coming from a person who has difficulty meditating if she's not burning calories.) The commentary is mine. (I got sick of the brackets, so I thought I'd just fly with my own descriptions of each suggestion.)
1. Get out of the situation!
For example, leave your kids with your husband and walk out of Toys-R-Us before you throw Elmo and his whistling buddies across the store. Or if a conversation about global warming, consumerism, or the trash crisis in the US is overwhelming you, simply walk away from it. My great aunt, Gigi, mastered this point. She knew her triggers, and if a conversation or setting was anywhere near her trigger point, she simply put one foot in front of another, and went bye-bye.
2. Close your eyes to shut out some of the stimulation.
Ever since my mom came down with a neurological tick of the eyelid called blepharospasm, I've become aware of how important shutting our eyes is to the nervous system. Her only option to keep her eyes open was to have an operation that would do just that...but then she wouldn't be able to shut them, and that would be even more detrimental to her well-being and ability to function. My mom's disorder is very much like an extreme arousal of the nervous system, and she often has to retreat somewhere to close her eyes. Only then can she retain her balance and her proper focus.
The only time I recommend not using this technique is on the road (if you're driving). (My mom and I argue about that all the time.)
3. Take frequent breaks.
This can be challenging if you are at work, or at home with kids as creative and energetic as mine (I can't pee without someone getting whacked in my absence). But HSPs need breaks to let the nervous system regenerate.

I must have known I was a HSP back in college, because three out of my four years, I opted for a tiny single room (a nun's closet, quite literally), rather than going in on a killer room if I roomed with three other people.

"Nope," I said to my prospective roomies. "Can't do it. Need my alone time, or else none of you would want to be around me. Trust me."

I would go to the extent of pasting black cardboard on my window, so that no one could tell if I was there, and I'd get my hours of solitude that I needed (of course I was also depressed).

Be creative. Take your break. Any way you can. Even it involves black construction paper.
4. Go outdoors.
This is a true saver for me. I need to be outside for at least an hour every day to get my sanity fix. Granted, I'm extremely lucky to be able to do so as a stay-at-home mom. But I think I would somehow shove it into my schedule even if I had to commute into DC everyday. Or maybe I would quit my DC job, because the commute was making me into a monster.

Even if I'm not walking or running or biking or swimming, being outside calms me in a way that the right pharmaceuticals do. With an hour with nature, I go from being a very bossy, opinionated, angry, cynical, uptight person into a bossy, opinionated, cynical relaxed person. And that makes the difference between having friends and a husband to have dinner with and a world that tells me to go eat a frozen dinner by myself because they don't want to catch whatever grumpy bug I have.
5. Use water to take the stress away.
While watching Disney's "Pocahantas" the other day with Katherine, I realized I must be part Native American. The sheer joy that Indian woman of healthy proportions (thank you, Disney, for not releasing another animated anorexic princess) shows upon paddling down the river, singing about how she is one with the water, makes me realize how universal the mood effect of water is, and especially to a HSP.

On the rainy or snowy days that I can't walk the double jogger over to Spa Creek or Back Creek, I do something the global-warming guys say not to, and take a long shower, imagining that I am in the middle of a beautiful Hawaii rain forest. I've always needed to chill out on the side of a lake, pond, creek, or bay--even the dirty St. Joseph's river in South Bend, Indiana, or Caesar Creek State Park (the closest thing to nature) near Dayton, Ohio.

"Water helps in many ways," writes Aron. "When overaroused, keep drinking it--a big glass of it once an hour. Walk beside some water, look at it, listen to it. Get into some if you can, for a bath or a swim. Hot tubs and hot springs are popular for good reasons."
6. Take a walk and calm your breathing.
A method that combines both of those things is walking meditation, a form of mindfulness meditation that involves focusing on the details of your movement and breath at the same time. Sayadaw U. Silananda, the Buddhist monk and scholar, compares the practice of mindfulness meditation to boiling water in his article "The Benefits of Walking Meditation":
If one wants to boil water, one puts the water in a kettle, puts the kettle on a stove, and then turns the heat on. But if the heat is turned off, even for an instant, the water will not boil, even though the heat is turned on again later. If one continues to turn the heat on and off again, the water will never boil. In the same way, if there are gaps between the moments of mindfulness, one cannot gain momentum, and so one cannot attain concentration. That is why yogis at our retreats are instructed to practice mindfulness all the time that they are awake, from the moment they wake up in the morning until they fall asleep at night. Consequently, walking meditation is integral to the continuous development of mindfulness.
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