Monday, December 29

A story about "What Makes You Not a Buddhist"

Since I stopped going to church in the 90s I have struggled with defining my spirituality. No that’s not it. I understand and know where I stand, for the most part, spiritually but I have struggled with defining my spiritual affiliation.

I believe my main reason for not attaching myself is some weird reticence to belonging to a community of believers. I don’t know if its arrogance or selfishness but I just can’t get over this hurdle.

I picked up this book to see if I was really missing anything. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse explores the trappings of being a follower or believer. As I read it, he says if you are caught up in what it means to be a Buddhist you are not one. Emptiness is the way; meaning you have to go beyond the I am/am not duality.

He is a contemporary person, not much older than me, so he uses examples and anecdotes that apply to today’s world without sounding like he is apart from it (I get this feeling from some of the writings of HH Dalai Lama). I like his writing and I appreciate his attempt to say get over it. Will it change my situation? I don’t know yet.

Friday, December 19

Obama's selections

Team of Rivals, Team of Schmivals.

I'm really not digging Obama's cabinet choices. It seems so Clinton heavy that I am having trouble finding the "Yes! We Can!" changes. Don't get me wrong, a lot of it makes sense. Clinton came in on the heels of a long rough patch and made significant and, I believe, positive changes. We need that again. 

I know Obama has said that he wants people who know what they are doing and he will take it all under advisement and then he will make the decisions. I was just hoping for more people from outside of politics. There are so many movers and shakers in the private or non-profit sector, let alone at the state level.

I'm still hopefull but this has not been a boost to my confidence.

Puppy Pad

I threatened to make a doghouse for Johnders way back when we first got him for a couple of reasons. I thought it would be fun to try, not having much in the way of carpentry training, and also because he used the cheap plastic one we bought as a toy and never went inside it.

I started with the idea of a green roof but as summer progressed I saw that he had a favorite spot in the shade and a green roof wouldn't work if I put it nearby. My next idea was to spend as little money as possible. I didn't know if he would actually use it and wood is expensive. So I went to our neighborhood listserv and asked for wood pallets, thinking I could break a few apart and use the parts. Somebody offered 2 right away, I picked them up, put them in the garage and there they stayed until a month or so ago. Tara was nesting by cooking. This was my way of nesting, I guess.

Anyway, its all but finished and Johnders loves it. I did some things out of sequence so it didn't work out exactly like I'd hoped but I think he is very happy.

I ended up putting a pallet on the bottom and a pallet on the top and support posts on the corners. I'm not good at geometry so my diagonal cuts on the support posts don't match the slope of the roof. I intended - to a degree, succeeded - to stuff the pallets with hay. I should have done that before I attached the plywood.
It was fun to see Johnders take right to this thing. Look at the pictures, he came right over and sat down before I put in the floor.
So its a roof, a floor, 2" of wheatstraw in the roof and floor, and a pile of hay in and around it. My next step is to use some plexiglass for sides. I decided plexi b/c Johnders loves to see the action. He's interested in anthing that moves. If I use plexi I can create a windbreak and he can see what's going on. I hope I can make it work.

What have I learned?
  • I need a circular saw, I've done all cutting with a standard hand saw and that sucks, especially when cutting plywood sheets!
  • Johnders loves to be in the middle and he loves wood. He would take every piece I dropped and walk of with it, gnaw on it until I dropped another piece at which point he would come take that piece and go gnaw on it.
  • Gather all materials before you start. Not having parts made me finish things in a bad sequence.
    If I had had the hay I would have remembered to stuff the pallets before I put the floor down.
  • Reevaluate at each step. Since I didn't have a complete plan, since I'm not a carpenter, since my geometry sucks, I really needed to take a step back at each point to see what I should or could do next.
  • Get some geometry tutoring.
Next project, bookcase for my office...

Wednesday, December 10

Julia Frances & Tara - need I say more?

Julia Frances

She was born 12/9/08 @ 3:22am.

There is more of the story and more pictures to come.

As you can see baby and mother are healthy & happy.

Tara & Julia