Saturday, December 29
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!
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
Saturday, December 22
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
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
Woohoo! Johnders is great.
Ear Candy of the Moment: Method Man - Rodeo ft. Ludacris (Mixtape)
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
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).
Ear Candy of the Moment: Lucinda Williams - West
Monday, December 10
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
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 Concert with Harpeth Hall Chamber ChoirI was in an interview so I missed them. Too bad.
Dates:Wednesday, November 28
Time:12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Enjoy the wonderful music of Harpeth Hall Chamber Choir
Monday, November 19
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
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
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.
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
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!
Thursday, November 8
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!
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
Phenomena are preceded by the heartDhammapada, 1, translated by Thanissaro Bhikku.
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.
Tuesday, October 30
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?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.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Monday, October 29
- why people say a pet is a good prep for a kid
- 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
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
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...
Better to conquer yourselfDhammapada, 8, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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.
Monday, October 22
Saturday, October 20
Monday, October 15
Blog Action Day
Sunday, October 14
Yeah, there are plenty of those too.
Friday, October 12
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Monday, September 17
Focus,Dhammapada, 4, translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
not on the rudenesses of others,
not on what they've done
or left undone,
but on what you
have & haven't done
Sunday, September 16
“Live in joy,from the Dhammapada
Even among those who hate.
Live in joy,
Even among the afflicted.
Live in joy,
Even among the troubled.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of the way.”
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:
Booker T Jones
Saturday, September 15
Ashamed of what's not shameful,Dhammapada, 22, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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.
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
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"
Ear Candy of the Moment: DuOud & Abdulatif Yagoub - Wa Rariah
Thursday, September 13
Dhammapada 17, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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.
Wednesday, September 12
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.
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
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
She's located at East End Body In Balance Nashville.
Wednesday, September 5
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
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.
Greater in battleDhammapada, 8, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
than the man who would conquer
a thousand-thousand men,
is he who would conquer
Friday, August 31
By day shines the sun;Dhammapada, 26, translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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
Thursday, August 30
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
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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
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
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
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
But when, having goneDhammapada, 13, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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.
Saturday, August 18
Thursday, August 16
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.Technorati Tags: music, jazz, death, max roach, genius
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.Sutta Nipata
The pureness of perfectly balanced action based on seeing the way things are--this is freedom and the ending of ignorance
America's 20 Most Beautiful Campuses
Monday, August 13
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!
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.
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?
Now playing on iTunes: Love - A Message To Pretty
Thursday, August 9
[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
Nagarjuna, Precious GarlandI am not, I will not be.That frightens all the childish
I have not, I will not have.
And extinguishes fear in the wise.
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
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
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
Now playing on iTunes: Funkadelic - Can You Get to That
Thursday, August 2
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
~ Latin Romantic Ensemble
~ Rockabilly entertainer
~ Country-Americana singer-songwriter
Riders In The Sky
~ America's Favorite Cowboys
~ Rock and Soul talent
Jim Hoke's Jazz Quartet
Local Jazz Saxophonist
~ Rockabilly/Western Swing entertainer
~ Big Band Dance Ensemble
~ Pop/Jazz Artist and Songwriter
~ Blues Rocker
Thursday, July 26
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
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I guess the men learned their lesson.
Wednesday, July 25
Anybody who's considering not voting for Senator Obama because he's black or for Senator Clinton because she's a woman, I don't want their votehe said.
Monday, July 23
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
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
Monday, July 16
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.Clutter Wars
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.
Saturday, July 7
Thursday, July 5
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
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
Technorati Tags: 4th of july, declaration of independence, rights, revolution
Monday, June 25
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.
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.The whole article.
"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."
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
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
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.
Technorati Tags: episcopal church, nigeria, homosexuality
Friday, June 15
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.4. Go outdoors.
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.
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.5. Use water to take the stress away.
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.
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.6. Take a walk and calm your breathing.
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."
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.