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Monday, September 30, 2013

Peek

It's fun to peek into other people's worlds and see how they go about doing things.
~ Norah Jones
- - - - -

I think that little point at the hairline is probably called a window's peek because it's right above the eyes of human beings.  The eyes allow humans to peek out, but also allow the world to peek in.  So I think that's a good name.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - language is fun.

And I've said it before and I'll say it again because language is also pretty repetitive.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Zen

Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.
~ Rumi
- - - - -

We don't spend enough time lying in the grass.  

Instead we spend time lying to ourselves.  Pursuing things instead of enjoying moments.  Trying to buy ourselves happy when happiness in within us and around us.

We spend time believing the lies others sell us.  We "deserve" things.  More and more expensive is better than less and free.

It actually makes me sad sometimes if I think about it deeply.

But that's not what I'm thinking about as I lie in the grass.

I'm thinking about the bugs on me.  And how I should probably mow the grass.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Job

Whenever asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, "Certainly, I can!" 
Then get busy and find out how to do it.
~ Theodore Roosevelt
- - - - -
 
It's difficult to give people a sense of who you are in a short period of time.  Like on a bus or in a meeting or a job interview or in the quiet area of a library.  I think we should try, though.  I think that when we share ourselves in a genuine and non-creepy way, that is good.  It bonds us to our fellow human beings.  It makes us part of a community and of the world - a part of something larger than ourselves. 
 
I also think you have to be careful what you share, though.  For example, I think that if I was interviewing someone and they said that they didn't sleep well, I probably would't give them the job.  Seriously, if you can't do that right, how are you going to be able to do this job?!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dandelion

It is the mind which creates the world around us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld in yours, my heart will never stir to the emotions with which yours is touched.
~ George Gissing
- - - - -

 I don't think I agree with George Gissing.  I think that - while we may not see things in exactly the same way, we can certainly be stirred by similar things and experience similar emotions.  I think that is the beauty of human connection.  Not exact duplication.  Not precise and programmed response.  Instead, common and shared moments.  Isn't that what allows us to care and build community and support one another?

And also, can you please not stand quite so close to me in this meadow?  You're weirding me out a little bit.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Anger



- - - - -

Sometimes when I am preparing blogs, I will find a quote that works with a photo.  I may not finish the entire entry, but I have a start.  Then when I go back,  I can look at the draft and finish it and then post it.

I like this quote.

I like this photo.

I don't know what I was thinking that linked the two.  Maybe nothing.  Maybe I was thinking about how angry I was the day we went to the site where Buddy Holly's plane crashed.  Because it was such a tragic loss for music.

Maybe I was thinking that I don't like it when it's really, really cold.  Which it was that day.  So cold we didn't tramp all the way across the field to where the exact site was.

Maybe I thinking about how when we're angry we tend to be cold toward others.  And if we let go of some anger, we can be warm and caring and generous instead.

Or it could be that I was reflecting on how anger is a waste of energy when you hold on to it for too long.  It's okay to be frustrated or angry or upset on occasion, but it's best to move on to more positive things.  Appreciating the moment instead of wasting it on rage is important, I think.

I don't know what I was going to write.  I bet it was better than this.  I wish I knew what my plan was.  I am furious I can't remember.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wise

Modest doubt is called a beacon of the wise.
~ William Shakespeare
- - - - -

I think wisdom is a great thing.  I think it's a huge compliment to be called wise.  I think that the pursuit of wisdom is a good and worthy pursuit, but I'm not 100% you get to be wise by pursuing wisdom.  I think maybe wisdom comes to you -- often when you least expect it.

Lots of things are unexpected.  Which keeps life interesting.  Like the exchange my brother and I had last night.  I ended up posting an image of a yeti and Bigfoot giving each other a high five.  Kirk said, "Cool.  The Abominable Snowman and an owl."  I said, "Yeti and Bigfoot."  He said, "Oh.  Duh.  That makes more sense."

Yes, it DOES make more sense.  An owl is too wise to give a high five to an abominable snowman because abominable snow people probably eat owls.  At least the snow people probably aren't vegetarians since all the vegetation is frozen in the land of abominable snow people.  It's a NATION of abominable snow people.  An abomination, if you will!

Also, an owl is too wise to do that because it doesn't have "five" to give.  It has a wing.  And an abominable snowman would break an owl's wing giving a high five -- even if he tried to be really gentle.  They don't know their own strength.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Courage

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
~ Winston Churchill
- - - - -

I like this quote.  Sometimes people with the courage to talk don't have the courage to listen.  And vice versa.  I think it's important to remember, however, that sometimes people stand up to talk out of fear and some people sit in silence out of fear.  Which is one of the implied truths in what Churchill had to say, right?

So how do you know if the person sitting or standing is brave or fearful?  It's really quite easy because she is.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Antiques

You have friends, Paullus, just like your pictures and vases, all antique originals.
~ Marcus Aurelius
- - - - -

Old things are cool.  They have history.  They carry stories.  They connect past and present.  Old people are cool, too.  They have history.  They carry stories.  The connect past and present.  Society frowns on cooping a bunch of old people up in a building, though.

(pause)

Or at least society should frown on that.  Truth be told, society ought to do a lot more than simply frown on something like that.  Maybe that's the problem with society - too much frowning not enough doing.

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to keep oldsters in a building somewhere.  A nice building.  With nice grounds.  And then younger people and world leaders could visit to get information about the past to better inform the present and the future.  Kind of like a human information depository (H.I.D.).

Of course some oldsters wouldn't reflect the past accurately.  Instead of keeping them in the H.I.D., we would have to keep them in an oldster liebrary.

Oh, and happy birthday dad.  This post has nothing to do with either your age or where Mom and Kirk and Erik are talking about storing you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Flection

Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why I am doing it, What the results might be, and Will I be successful.  Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.
~ Chanakya
- - - - -

I don't believe we spend enough time being reflective.  Whether we reflect before (PREflection), during (Flection) or after (REflection).  Even people who really believe in the value of this can be victims of distraction (DEflection) and fail to engage in real thinking (GENUflection).  Wait, that's not right.  That would be GENUINEflection.  I think genuflection is when you get not what you think about, but what you kneed.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Iowa


My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.  I never did like work and I don't deny it.  I'd rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh, anything but work.
~ Abraham Lincoln

- - - - -

Larry told me a joke a while ago.  He said, "A woman went out east to meet her future in-laws.  When her future mother-in-law asked where she was from, the woman replied, "Iowa."  The future mother-in-law scoffed and said, "Here we pronounce it O-HI-O."

Larry paused a moment and then said, "You know, though, when you're from Ohio you don't pronounce it O-HI-O.  You prounounce it A-H-A."

So, my friends, who is the joke REALLY on?

And, if what Larry says is true, I think Ohio should change it's motto to "Land of Discovery."  Because "AHA: Land of Discovery" is awesome.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Art

I want a tattoo over my heart that reads, "TRY HARDER YOU LAZY PARAMEDIC SHITBAG OR I WILL HAUNT YOUR BEDROOM FOREVER."
~ Warren Ellis
- - - - -

I was looking for a quote to go with the other dandelion photo I posted two days ago.  One of the things to pop up on my computer was a post, "Does anyone know a good quote to go with a dandelion tattoo?"

This concerns me.  I'm not opposed to tattoos.  I think they can be beautiful and art and meaningful.  I just think that tattoos ought to have significance for the person getting them.  And asking interlopers and the internet about what sort of permanent body modification you should get seems unwise.

It's kind of like believing your body is your temple and then inviting strangers to paint graffiti on it.  But - hey - your temple, your rules.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Leaf

A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.
~ Anais Nin

- - - - -
I like leaves.  I like autumn.  I like when things wind down and prepare for the quiet, blanketed winter.  The early is simultaneously soft and crunchy.  The moist earth preparing for things to be buried and mixed into the soil.  The leaves and twigs cracking beneath boots and animal feet.

I think it is about the most beautiful time of all.  I used to think it was the end of something.  Instead, now, I think it is the beginning before the beginning.  If things don't die and compost, the world won't be ready for new growth.  It's getting the earth ready to incubate for spring.

So, when I was trying to think of the world incubate just now, all I could think of was concubine.  That is a very different kind of thing. 

On an incredibly loosely related note, I think "The Porcupine Concubine" would be a good book except that maybe people would think it was a children's book and it wouldn't be a children's book at all.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dandelion

What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

I don't know why people don't like these.  They look like fireworks.  And blow like bubbles.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Always

Consider the sunlight.  You may say it is near, yet if you pursue it from world to world you will never catch it.  You may say it is far, yet it is right before your eyes.  Chase it and it always eludes you; run from it and it is always there.  From this example you can understand how it is with the true nature of things.
~ Huang-Po
- - - - -

This is true about sunlight.  And rainbows.  And flies.  And echoes.  And the quiet voices in your head offering you guidance and sometimes bad advice.

Wait.  No it isn't.  Because rainbows and flies and echoes aren't ALWAYS there.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Blizzard

We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it.  Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.
~ Zhuangzi
- - - - -

Playing the "complete this line" game...

Me:  "Bells on bobtail ring..."

Leslie:  "Making (mumble mumble)..."

Me:  "Making SATAN SING?!"

Leslie:  That's NOT what I SAID!

Games are fun.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Moments

There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.
~ Maya Angelou
- - - - -

I love this quote.  To me it is about the difference between now and tomorrow.  You can enjoy the moment you are in - or maybe the lessons it can teach; you can long for more - tomorrow, things, relationships.  Gratitude is about what you have and who you are in this moment.  Greed is about wanting more.

The other day I posted, "It is good to be where you want to be."  To me that is what the title of this blog is all about.  We have zen moments in every moment.  We just don't always realize them.  And when we search for them we certainly don't find them because we are doing and not being.

I will say that it isn't good to pursue zen when you're in a crosswalk on a busy street.  You should be doing the work of crossing the road, not just being in the moment and being hit by cars.

Sunday

“Sunday is the only day you have to push like a handcart,’ Thomas wrote in The Book Of Everything. ’ The other days roll down the bridge by themselves.”
~ Guus Kuijer
- - - - -

I love this quote.  Sundays are hard work.  There are a few Sundays I have enjoyed - relaxing and reflecting and rejuvenating.  Most Sundays I am preoccupied because Monday is the next day.   Monday brings routine and schedules and a structure that is mostly disconcerting.  I'm not sure the time I spend on Friday being excited for the weekend makes up for the time I spend on Sunday being less excited for the obligations of the world of work.

However, I wouldn't want a month of Sundays or Saturdays, either.  I get easily bored and have tendencies toward isolation that might not be good for me.  And where would you find a calendar with a month of Sundays?  Don't say "At the 'Month of Sundays Calendar Store,'" because you and I both know that place doesn't exist.

It might be good to sell those kinds of calendars off of the handcart you're pushing around.  Just a thought.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Web

The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught.  He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept.
John W. Gardner
- - - - -

I wonder how much of creativity is thinking differently and how much is expressing differently.  Can you be creative inside and never show it and be considered creative?  Or is it like a tree falling in the woods no one sees?  Except the thinking - the person who is thinking creatively "sees" it, right?  Does being creative require outward expression?  

I think probably not.  I think that there are lots of creative people who do not have a chance or take a chance or get the chance to express their creative selves.  Maybe all of us have something creative we don't express.  And each of us has our own reasons for not expressing that piece of our creative selves.

I think the "web of social pressures" is a good way of capturing this.  Webs are very strong, but can be almost invisible at times.  They connect and trap simultaneously.  And a web lends itself to something creepy or startling (if you've ever walked through the woods or a doorway in an old building and gotten your face in a web you know that is true).  There is a tension in webs.

There is also a beauty in webs.  Each spider creates his or her own web.  Each web is unique based on the circumstances under which and the location where it is built.  So, is it ironic that the creative spider may be creative while simultaneously being bound by his or her web?  Maybe.  And is Charlotte the most creative of all spiders because she could spell words in her web?  No.  Charlotte is made up.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Impressions

Light travels faster than sound.  That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
~ Alan Dundes
- - - - -

I am horrible at assessing people based on first impressions.  Horrible.  There are some exceptions, but very few.

I think most of the time I try to give people a fair shot - well beyond whatever the first impression might be.  Maybe sometimes I don't.  And maybe other times I give them a LONG time before I realize how they are -- good, bad or otherwise.

You know that saying, "You only get one chance to make a first impression?"  I agree with that.  I think what we forget sometimes, though, is that first impressions are shallow and making one involves pretty much superficial stuff.

Maybe that's just me, though.  And I know my friend Rose would agree with me.  How you are over time - the quality of your character - that is far more important than if you have on matching shoes.  Right, Rose?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Medicine

Always laugh when you can.  
It is cheap medicine.
~ Lord Byron
- - - - -

I am pretty sure that I have healing powers.  Truth is, maybe we all do.  Maybe we all can make people feel better through the power of touch or care or simply be being attentive.  I think maybe I have more special powers than most, but I think that about most things.  Because I'm like that.  Leslie and I were discussing just this concept not too long ago.

Me:  I am descended from medicine people.  I am a healer.

Leslie:  Like Dr. Quinn.

Me:  I said "descended from medicine PEOPLE" not medicine WOMAN.

Leslie thinks she's funny.  And it's difficult for me to convince her she isn't when I'm usually laughing at what she says.  And if laughter is curative, then she - also - is a healer.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Knowledge

Knowledge is power.  Information is liberating.  Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.
~ Kofi Annan
- - - - -

Everything I needed to know, I learned in one night of ELPerS curling...

* Sometimes you just NEED to throw rocks, but when you do, throw them gently and on the ground and not at a person.

* It is important to sweep up after yourself.  Or before yourself.  Or before your opponents.

* Walk softly or you'll fall on your butt.

* Cheers help especially when cheerfully cheered by the cheerful.

* Teamwork matters, but it is work.  Done by a team.  Thus the name.  Teamwork.

* Being first isn't everything.  Persistence is everything.  This is true in both curling and writing a dissertation.

* It's all about the uniform.

* It's not always about where you are, but much more about whom your with and how you spend your time.

* Try new things.  And then try them again.  For at least five years or so.

Congratulations, ELPerS.  Now get back to the writing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Storm

They sicken of the calm who know the storm.
~ Dorothy Parker
- - - - -

I like storms.  I like them best when I am at home and not having to travel through them, but I like them.  I know that they can symbolize anger or violence or change.  I like the change part the best.  Sometimes change happens without a single big storm or event.  It happens slowly and gradually over time.  Sometimes a storm brings change in crashing and thundering and wind and rain and lightning.

There are lots of different kinds of storms which bring different kinds of change.  The first big snowstorm of a season can change the landscape and represent a visible change of the seasons.  A spring shower may bring flowers (or something like that).  A sandstorm can  bring a lot of sand and increase broom sales.  Even a storm that brings pennies from heaven brings change.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Listener

A good listener truly wants to know the speaker.
~ John Powell
- - - - -

Me: (mumbling)  Oh...  that's why...

Leslie:  What?

Me:  Nothing I'm just talking to myself.

Leslie:  Why are you doing that?

Me:  Because I'm a good listener.

Leslie:  What?!

Me:  Because I'M A GOOD LISTENER!!!

Leslie:  Oh.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Life

Believe that life is worth living and 
your belief will help create the fact.
~ William James
- - - - -

I sometimes wonder what people will say about me when I'm gone.  Not necessarily when I'm dead - I don't particularly want to imagine all the crying and moaning and tearing of frocks that will take place then.  I just wonder what they might say if I move away or am out of touch for a while.  Or - okay - maybe if I'm just in the other room.

In my wondering the stuff they always say is good and nice and complimentary.  Of course.  Why would I spend time imagining them saying bad things.  That seems counterproductive.

I heard something the other day - I don't remember where or who said it...  But I hope someday someone says it about me.  "She was good at life."

(pause)

I guess that would fit best if I was deceased rather than just in the other room.  The past-tenseness of it seems weird if I'm just a few feet away.

I'm good at life sometimes.  I could do better.  Guess I will start.  You should, too.  I mean, it's not like I want people to say, "She was better at life than that other person."

(pause)

Or maybe I do.  I'm kind of competitive.

(pause)

Nah.  "She was good at life," will suffice.  It doesn't have to be, "She was the BEST at life."  I mean, even if it's true, I don't need people to say that.  I'll be dead after all.  And being good at death.

(pause)

This is a lot more morbid than the running dog photo might have indicated it was going to be.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Endurance

Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.
~ Virgil
- - - - -

Leslie and I were playing a game.  A game where you have to complete quotes or proverbs or whatever.  It was pretty fun, but some of them were challenging.  We were pretty lenient and gave each other partial credit on the tougher quotes.

Leslie:  "Nothing endures but..."

Me:  Time.  Love.  Peace.  Space?

Leslie:  No.  "Change."  And I'm not counting that.

I think I could have at least gotten some credit for quantity if not quality of responses. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Smart

Being with someone who is smart and gives good advice adds tremendously wonderful elements to your life.
~ Patricia Cornwell
- - - - -

Leslie is one of the smartest people I know.  I like that about her.  I like smart people.  I don't care so much for people who aren't smart.  I don't mean people who haven't had educational opportunities, I mean people who choose not to think.  Or don't think before they speak.  Being unkind, in my mind is not being smart.  What rewards do you reap when you are unkind?

Was it unkind of Leslie to dominate the Harry Truman quiz we took at the Truman Presidential Library?  Or was it just her being smart?  Well, since I was trying to "win," then if I say it was unkind of her to ACTUALLY win, then that would make me unkind for trying to win.  Therefore, it was clearly not unkind.  She is just smart.

And also she probably paid more attention to the displays than I did.  I'm smart, but sometimes easily distracted which can make me look unfocused and unable to retain information.  But isn't that what we have libraries for to begin with?  To retain information?  Yes.  And also why we have librarians.  So, you can see, I was at a disadvantage from the get go.  And also I had my camera and that is what I use to focus sometimes.  Which is a way that I am able to focus sometimes.   I love photography so much.  What were we talking about?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Opinions

People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world 
is also a confession of character.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

Today is my mom's birthday.  She is a woman of strong opinions.  She is also pretty generous in sharing said opinions.  Kirk inherited all of that from birth.  My inheritance of that trait has developed over time.  The oldsters in my family (I'm not calling my mother an oldster.  Not publicly.)  tend to get more and more opinionated or at least more and more generous with the sharing of said opinions as they get older.

I think that's fair.  If you make it to 75 or 85 or 100 you probably should get to say whatever you want. That said...  you have a few more years before "you probably should get to say whatever you want," Mom.  Let's not forget that, okay?

Happy birthday from the best gift you ever received.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bridges

 

The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -

I don't like this quote above.  Not because of the despair of middle age.  I don't like it because I worry that the middle aged man is building a woodshed so he has a place to go to give the youth a whippin' for taking the middle aged man's materials so the youth could build his bridge to the moon.  

Which is probably why we STILL don't have a bridge to the moon.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sunset

The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color - 
oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples.
~ Anna Godbersen
- - - - -

I love sunset.  I love the colors and the clouds when there are clouds and the hint of the mysterious night which is creeping its way across the horizon and through the sky.  I like to think of it as God doing a painting at the end of the day.  Some days I even think, "Nice work," when I see the sunset.

I realize it could seem risky to be an art critic for God.  S/He really doesn't need my praise to know the works is good work.  But we all like a little recognition now and then.  And I think gratitude is important.  Also, it's not like some days I go, "Wow, God.  That sunset sucks."  Because it's not like I can make a sunset.  Or even just the sun.  (Pause)  Or a barn for that matter.

Or a lot of other things.  Like, say, an over easy egg.  At least I can't do that last one consistently.  I can, however, make one that is sunny side up.  And, thus, this blog has come almost full circle.  Like a huge glowing circle in the sky.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor

Labor gives birth to ideas.
~ Jim Rohn
- - - - -

I might have mentioned before that I think I could have enjoyed life as a farmer.  I think the hard work and the solitude would have been a good fit for me.  I don't know a lot about farming, so that would have probably made for some challenges - at least in the beginning.  I do think when you are working in a job that requires routine - even a routine one enjoys - it does provide some space for thinking and reflecting.  So, with that in mind, I agree with Jim Roth's quote above.

I think he missed a pretty important point, though.  Labor also gives birth to babies.  Of course, what are babies besides zip lock bags of human being filled mostly with water and ideas?  So, maybe I'm mistaken.  He's probably right on a number of levels.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

State

The more rational an institution is the less it suffers by making concessions to others.
~ George Santayana
- - - - -
I love Iowa State.  I don't think I realized quite how much until a recent vacation to Canada.  Suzanne asked me, "Do you go to a lot of athletic events at Iowa State?"  I said that I tried to get to most sporting events at least once every year or so.  When I got home from my trip and was doing laundry, I realized that almost every t-shirt I had taken along had "Iowa State" on it.

I suspect that may have been part of the prompt for Suzanne's question.