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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Communication

We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.
~ Voltaire
- - - - -
Or maybe it's good. Sometimes when I have tried to communicate in open ways, I have struggled. Here is an example of an exchange with one of the grad students when I was in residence life at Iowa State...
Sara: Wow, you are really astute!
Me: NO! You're an astute! I'm copying your supervisor on this so she can se the kind of language you use! Your vocabliary might be big, but you shouldn't swear at people!
Sara: According to dictionary.com, the following words are synonymous with teh word astute: skilled; cunning; wily; crafty. It was supposed to be a compliment... but since that word isn't in your "vocabliary" I guess it was ust way over your head. Just think of it as me telling you, "You're funny" next time, ok?
Me: Oh. I thought it meant I was carved out of rock and didn't move. My bad. Thanks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Help


Helping others is the secret sauce to a happy life.
~ Todd Stocker
- - - - -

If we think of our sharing as a means of helping others (and I'm sure not all of us do think of sharing that way), then what is the purpose behind what we choose to share?  How do we expect what we share to be helpful to others?

What do we have to give?  What do we have to lift up others?  Are we intentional, accidental or neglectful in our sense of assistance to something beyond ourselves?  

Maybe we just each share and help what we have to share and how we can help.  It's not a "most helpful contest."  Thankfully.

Person 1:  Here.  Look at what I ate.
Person 2:  Oh.  Okay. 
Person 1:  Did you see it?  Did you see what I ate?
Person 2:  I did.  You just showed me a photo of it.
Person 1:  Pretty great, huh?
Person 2:  Um...  yes.
Person 1:  You don't seem too excited about it.
Person 2:  I'd rather see how you helped the world yesterday.
Person 1:  (pause)  Um...  I cleaned my plate.
Person 2:  Nicely done.
Person 1:  How did YOU help the world yesterday?
Person 2:  I didn't post a picture of my food.  I posted a video of a cute kitten.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Self

I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.
~ Rita Mae Brown
- - - - -
Sara and I worked together for a long time.  We were an excellent team.  She was patient with me.  I think she also lives by the adage, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." 
I think that is a good thing to do sometimes, but sometimes your feedback - even though it might be harsh - can make things better.  Other times silence is better.  Ultimately, you have to make the call about when you speak up and when you speak naught.
Often, Sara would challenge me at first.  This helped me think a different way.  I suspect there may be times when she realized it was best just to let me go about my business since that was what I was probably going to do, anyway.
Me:  (forwarding email) Sara, would you mind responding to and working with this student?
Sara: Sure.
Me:  Thanks so much.  Do you want me to respond to his email and to let him know he'll be working with you?  Or if you want to email him, that is fine, too.  Just let me know.
Sara:  I already emailed him. 
Me:  Of course you did.  In case I haven't told you lately, you were a good hire on my part...  see how I made that about me?  It's going to be my new thing.
(silence)
Me:  Well, of course I guess I have always done that stuff about myself and making it about me so that I can feel great about being me and being myself which I do feel great about.
(silence)


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Meat

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like and do what you'd rather not.
~ Mark Twain
- - - - -
 
I have a good friend who loves meat.  Actually, I probably have a lot of them who love meat.  This one in particular however has proclaimed his love of meat (and hatred of all things citrus and his loathing of the wind) repeatedly. 
 
One time we were hosting an event with some other people and I assigned him to bring "some kind of meat."  He said he wouldn't be able to do that because he is a vegetarian.  I called him out on this joke / lie, responding, "If you've never woken up after an all-night binge and breaking out of jail to find yourself in a meat packing plant and unable to control your sobbing, well then, you're not a REAL vegetarian."
 
I guess we all have our own ways of defining things.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Siblings

Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.
~ Susan Scarf Merrell
- - - - -

I think that we have brothers and sisters - well, those of us who have them - for the primary reason to teach us to deal with conflict and our emotions.  Most of us do this very poorly at first and if we didn't have test audiences who were obligated through legal and socially institutionalized channels to stay in contact with us, we would alienate a LOT of people as we were learning to navigate conflict and manage our emotions.

That said, I think that the term "siblings" is a misnomer.  In doing some research lacking both depth and fact-checking, I found that "sibb" has to do with love (brotherly love, for example).  Now, I don't know about you all, but I am not sure that love is the primary feeling I had for my brothers growing up.

I think "soblings" would be a better and more accurate term.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Closets

(photo by Joanne Marshall)

There is something about a closet that makes a skeleton terribly restless.
~ Wilson Mizner
- - - - -

My friend Joanne sent me this photo because she thought it might be good for my blog.  She is right.  So very right.  I love this.

In many ways we are always communicating in closets, right?  In closed spaces - not letting (or wanting) everyone in.  We shelter our words and our thoughts and share them selectively - if at all.

And isn't that sad?  Isn't sad that we can't trust the entire world?  That we can't be more open with everyone around us?  That we can't show our true selves?

And if we are communicating about swimming, are we doing that in a water closet?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Teaching

Who is sitting in that empty chair?
~ Eugene Ormandy
- - - - -
 
Today I teach my first graduate class as a full-time faculty member.  I picture a room of empty chairs and imagine a variety of personalities and experiences in the form of people in each chair.  Well, at least most chairs.  Not sure how many chairs there are in the room.  I guess since I'm picturing it, I can picture it however I want.  When I picture it, I picture everyone there, but a few extra empty chairs so it isn't too crowded.
 
But I digress...
 
I hope I do a good job teaching.  I'm pretty sure I will.  There will be times I do things better than other times, but that will be true of the students, too.  I hope I teach not only the subject at hand, but a sense of professionalism, the ability to navigate conflict, creative problem-solving, and ethics.
 
I have written some case studies for an ethics book.  I wrote them for Mimi and Flo's book.  I wrote them with my friend Craig.  When Mimi said they were reviewing them and that a few of the ones Craig and I contributed would be in the book, I was very excited.  I wrote her and said, "I am very excited.  We took them from another case study book.  We thought they were pretty good."
 
There are lots of ways to teach people about ethics.  Being an example is one way.  Actually, it's two ways - being a good example and being a bad example.
 
Teaching is fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fear

Find out what you're afraid of and go live there.
~ Chuck Palahniuk
- - - - -
 
I once had a staff member submit the following when I asked them for motivational quotations:
 
Roses are red,
Violets are blue
They'll need dental records
To identify you!
 
I shared this with others on staff as something amusing.
 
I read it now and wonder why I have not lived in more fear throughout my life.
 


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Revenge

The best revenge is to be unlike him who peformed the injury.
~ Marcus Aurelius
- - - - -
 
I like that quote.  While I understand the concept of "an eye for an eye," I do not quite understand when people play that out as more like, "ten eyes for an eye."  Revenge is a dangerous thing and takes us down a slippery slope.
 
 
Even the interwebs know it.  When I typed in "revenge" in the search engine today, I got a warning that my search might be observable by others and did I want to continue.  Thanks, interwebs.  Thanks for protecting the revenge-seekers.  Or for protecting us from them.
 
It is interesting that "revenge" and "venge" and "avenge" all mean about the same thing.  Which came first, the wrong or the seeking of retaliation for the wrong?  Maybe we all are stuck in lives of constant vengeance - the cycle of repetition repeatedly repeating itself.
 
I'd rather be stuck in a life of constant abundance, endurance, happenstance, balance, romance, transformance and vibrance.
 
Actually, I'd rather not be stuck at all.
 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Self

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.
~ Toni Morrison
- - - - -
 
I think that through every endeavor in life we are seeking an understanding of ourselves.  First (and at random times throughout life) we seek care of the self - food, shelter and the basics.  Then we seek an understanding of the self in the context of others.  Then we seek an understanding of ourselves outside of the context of others and the labeling others do for / to us.  Then we seek to understand the role we play in the larger picture - family, society, world, universe, time and space.
 
As conscious beings, this is our challenge.  Of course some of us choose not to engage in the challenge - or are not privileged enough to move beyond the care of the self stage. 
 
Others try to take shortcuts.  Instead of sitting in quiet and thinking and being to find ourselves, we look for answers in books or online quizzes.  Right now there are LOTS of online quizzes.  What color are you?  What 90s rock anthem are you?  What letter of the alphabet are you?  What left-handed artist from before the 20th century are you?  And so on and so forth.
 
As I was preparing for my move, I was going through files and found some quizzes I had developed.  In addition to the "What is your HOBO name" quiz and the "Traveling Companion Compatibility Instrument" (or TCCI), I found a quiz called, "Which Dwarf are You?"  It was composed as follows:
 
Uusally I feel:

1. happy
2. grumpy
3. dopey
4. bashful
5. like a doctor
6. sneezy
7. sleepy
 
Your results:
 
If you chose 1 you are...  HAPPY.
If you chose 2 you are...  GRUMPY.
If you chose 3 you are...  DOPEY.
If you chose 4 you are...  BASHFUL.
If you chose 5 you are...  DOC.
If you chose 6 you are...  SNEEZY.
If you chose 7 you are...  SLEEPY.
 
I was way ahead of my time and I'm pretty sure my quiz is about as accurate as some of those written since 2004.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Allergies

I used to wake up at 4 a.m. and start sneezing.  Sometimes for five hours.  I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had, but finally came to the conclusion that is must be an allergy to conscniousness.
~ James Thurber
- - - - -
 
I know that there are a lot of allergies people have.  I know that there are probably a lot of allergies that I have that I don't even know about.  Erik used to be allergic to chickens.  Not the food, but the creatures.  Not sure if he still is or not.  Allergies happen.  It's okay.  Not fun, but they are real.
 
And then there are people who make dietary choices.  Maybe someone in the world is allergic to meat, but I think most vegetarians choose to be vegetarians.  I don't know.  I have done zero amounts of research on the topic.
 
That said, others HAVE done research.  For example, I just overheard a woman in the library say, "An allergy to garlic is a real thing.  I looked it up."
 
So, there you have it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dew

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures.  For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
~ Khalil Gibran
- - - - -

I love mornings.  Well, mornings when I am not in a hurry or when I have some time to myself to enjoy quiet moments before the rest of the world gets going.  I know it's egocentric to think that the rest of the world is asleep just because I don't see them.  That's not what I mean.

I mean...

No.  I nice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monsters

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.  And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
- - - - -

We all have our own versions of monsters.  For some people they are psychopaths from history.  For others monsters are the terrifying imaginary creatures we dream up.  For still others monsters are the creatures one has spawned.  The babies who go about the world recklessly - destroying it by following the genetic predispositions of the parents.  Being how they were.  Saying what they said.  Doing the horrible things the parents did.

And maybe those are the scariest monsters of all.  Those little biological replicas who navigate the world as carelessly as their parents.  What could be more terrifying than that?  Than seeing a part of yourself being cruel and disrespectful and destructive?  Is there anything more terrifying than that?

Yes - zombies.  Or dolls that come to life and try to kill you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Serenity

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.  Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow.  Let reality be reality.  Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
~ Lao Tzu
- - - - -

I like this concept.  Being.  Not fighting or resisting or resenting or fearing.  Being.  Letting things happen.  Letting things go.  Letting other things be.

I believe that is a great way to exist.

But not if you're responsible for a two-year-old.  Research has shown that they're bad decision-makers.  Don't let them just be or they will break things, hurt people, hurt themselves and think they're the boss of you.  And there's NO WAY they're the boss of you.  They're just little.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dead

I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me - they're cramming for their final exam!
~ George Carlin
- - - - -

I know that it is difficult when people die.  We miss them.  The world seems different without them in it.  Often when others die, we reflect on our lives and struggle with our own mortality.  Or struggle with whether or not our lives have made a difference.

We also sometimes struggle when people dye.  Their hair.  Their clothes.  Some of them don't really know what they're doing and the results are not always pleasing.  Often when others dye, we reflect on the color in our own lives.

Actually, that doesn't really happen as often as you might think.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Feet

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
- - - - -

My friend Ryan does not particularly care for feet.  He does not like those shoe things with the toes in them.  He is very direct about this, which I guess is nice.  To own your stuff.  He owns that part of who he is.

I am guessing that he would not be a fan of my idea to develop sign language where you can use your feet instead of your hands.  It will be challenging for anyone who doesn't have an opposable toe or two, but I think it's good to have as an option in case you want to use sign language while you are juggling or playing video games.

Then I would like to make a documentary of this new language.  I plan to call it, "Foot Lucid."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Learning

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- - - - -

As I was preparing to leave one institution for a new one, I went through journals and papers and books and other documents.  I was able to reflect on my time and look back at what I learned or what questions I had at a given time.  In some cases, I now have the answers or no longer worry about the same questions.  In other instances, the questions persist and I continue to wrestle with dilemmas and points of confusion.

Part of why I journal is to keep track of my questions.  To see if there are themes to them over time.  Or to see how my answers change from one year (or month or minute) to the next.

And I learn a lot about myself through this process.  For example, I found a document entitled, "Taunting Colleagues" from several years ago.  So I learned, yep - I've always been into that.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gone

We are time's subjects, and time bids begone.
William Shakespeare
- - - - -

Today is new job eve for me.  I start my new job tomorrow.  This photo is of the sign that used be Long John Silver's in Ames.  I'm guessing Ames kind of feels like this right now.  Like I'm the really nice Long John Silver's that got away.  And now Ames is sad.  And dark.  And lonely.

There are a couple of problems with this comparison, though.  First of all, I do not particularly care for Long John Silver's.  Second, I don't know that Ames misses me more today than they did yesterday or the day I left town.  Or tomorrow.  So the timing of this post could be off.  Third, it's not a good analogy because the thing MOST like Long John Silver's leaving town is the fact that Long John Silver's actually did leave town.

Anyway, tomorrow I start a new job.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Watching

It's not a bad thing for a writer not to feel at home.  Writers - we're much more comfortable at parties standing in the corner watching everyone else having a good time than we are mingling.
~ Neil Gaiman
- - - - -

It is good to watch.  It is good to be patient and see what is going to happen.  It is okay to remain at a distance.  You don't always have to be in the middle of everything.  Especially if it is someone's else's something to begin with.  

Their party.  Their argument.  Their meltdown.  Their car accident.  Their wedding.  Their funeral.

Seriously.  It's not all about you.  Sometimes it is about other people.  Like me.  

(pause)

Mostly about me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cracked

 You live and learn.  At any rate you live.
- Douglas Adams
- - - - -
I have learned a lot from Sally.  She has taught me when not to be patient.  She has helped me understand the value of being direct and not quiet.  She has shown me that I SHOULD be quiet when I am dialoguing with her because what she has to say is far more important and helpful whereas what I have to say is just kind of rambly.  Kind of like the introduction to this post.
Anyway, once upon a time I was visiting her in her office and I did something worthy of having my bag kicked.  That is not a euphemism for anything.  She literally kicked my bag.
In trying to follow her lead, guidance and mentoring, I followed up with her via email.
Me:  I just got back to my office and I noticed that when you kicked my bag, you damaged a couple of teh Faberge Eggs I was transporting (because you know that's the kind of thing I would collect).  Anyway, I won't charge you the full cost of the eggs, since I already have a guyer lined up and I'm pretty sure I can conceal the damage and still sell them to Kurt - I mean to the anonymous buyer.  So, instead of their actual value, if you could just give me about $500 in cash (twenties) when I see you this afternoon, that will be fine.  Thanks for your help with this.  Love, michelle.
Sally: I will give it to you in ones, not 20s or the deal is off.
I'm still waiting for the 500 one dollar bills and I sen tthat email 12 years ago today.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Grindstone

It is tough trying to keep your feet on the ground, your head above the clouds, your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel, your finger on the pulse, your eye on the ball, and your ear to the ground.
~ Proverb
- - - - -

When we were hiking around the mill, Leslie and I saw this.  We speculated that it got carried downriver from the mill after one of the hurricanes the park ranger guy told us about.  Like the old saying goes, a grindstone in a flood gathers no moss.

My grandfather used to have a grindstone.  I think he used it to sharpen his tools.  It was in a little stand thing rather than being a giant grindstone like this one.  I mean, it was still pretty big, but just not AS big.  At one point, I think I believed that the grindstone was part of the spanking machine he was always threatening to invent.  It seems like it might be able to play a useful role as a part of a spanking machine.

I can't say if he ever invented that machine or not.  I know he never had to use it on me.  Not because I was perfect.  Not even because I never got caught.  Just because - no wait, it is because I was perfect.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Game

You have to learn the rules of the game.  And then you have to play better than anyone else.
~ Albert Einstein
- - - - -

Life is not a game.  Life is work.  Life is observation and action and reflection.  Life is about doing and seeing and being.  Well, there is a game called "Life" but it's not like real life.  Not everyone can choose to go to college and not everyone is forced to stop and get married at some point.  And in some places insurance isn't optional.  And not everyone has a car.  It does involve money, though.

Or the lack thereof.  

What if there was a chess master (I'm switching game references here, stay with me) and s/he became very poor.  And s/he had to pawn her chess pieces one at a time.  That would be sad.  And ironic.  And I hope the person at the pawnshop wouldn't laugh at the chess master.  Because s/he has it hard enough as it is.

Sorry this isn't a picture of a chess board.  That would have been more relevant.  But I had to pawn the one I had.  Just kidding.  

I don't have a chessboard, though.  Or a surfboard.

But if there was something called surf-chess, I would watch that on TV.

Wow.  I should have ended this post a while ago.  Now you're probably game bored.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Food

First we eat, then we do everything else.
~ M.F.K. Fisher
- - - - -

So, people like to post pictures of their food.  Why, I wonder?  
I have found that very few foods are photogenic.  I think for most 
food to be beautiful, it has to be accompanied
 by an amazing smell.  The food above was very good.  It smelled 
good.  It tasted good.  I don't think it's pretty food.  It's one of the olfactics of life.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Resilience

Things do not change; we change.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -

Apparently, resilience is a buzzword right now.  That's not a bad thing. It's much better than if "conglomerate" was a buzzword because I hate that word.

I like the assumption of challenge that comes along with the idea of resilience.  To me it conjures images of overcoming trials and tribulations, of working through difficulties as opposed to never experiencing difficulties of any kind.  To face again.  And again if necessary.

Not just silience, but REsilience.  That's what it's all about.

Some people may wish it was about re-silence when they read this.  But if they're resilient, they'll get through it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Watch

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely place.
~ Roald Dahl
- - - - -

I like talking and Facebook messaging and texting Kirk.  We have some really good conversations.  We explore issues around popular culture and family and one another's lives.  It's fun.

For example...

Kirk:  Ever watch "How I Met Your Mother?"

Me:  No.  Do you ever watch, "How I Avoided Your Father?"  Or "How I Estranged Myself From Your Auntie?"  Or "How I Disappointed Your Grandmother?"  Or "How I Bamboozled Your Second Cousin?"

Of course sometimes the conversations are a little one-sided.  And then I don't hear from Kirk for several weeks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Laugh

God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
~ Voltaire
- - - - -
 
I believe God has a sense of humor.  Or - you don't have to call it God.  I believe part of the balance in the universe is maintained through humor.  There are just too many funny things for whatever exists not to appreciate those things.
 
Like while we were on vacation and swimming and Leslie told a seagull flying overhead to poop on me.  Almost immediately the bird pooped.  Fortunately, it was not directly over me. 
 
I have never seen a bird poop from that angle before.  It was kind of a miracle of nature.
 
Not all miracles are beautiful.  Not all miracles are funny.  Like Miracle Whip. 
 
Still we should watch for and appreciate miracles.  And laugh when it's appropriate.  And laugh occasionally when it is inappropriate.  But when it's inappropriate, we should probably laugh a little more quietly. 
 
Learned that one the hard way.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bridge

The biggest emotion in creation is the bridge to optimism.
~ Brian May
- - - - -
 
I was going through a journal the other day and I came to a list of items I needed to do.  I usually differentiate these lists from other lists because these things have boxes next to each item so that I can check them off when I'm done.
 
Well, This list included contacting my friend Catrina for some information (which I had done), look up graduation dates for a few schools (also done), and a few other tasks I had completed.  Then there was one marked, "Enjoy life."
 
Wow.  That is a really good task to assign to myself.  I don't remember doing it, but it was clearly my handwriting.
 
And I didn't check off that box.  It isn't that I haven't started, it's that I haven't finished.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Journey

When you have completed 95 percent of the journey, you are only half way there.
~ Japanese Proverb
- - - - -

My friend Stephanie doesn't like the word "journey."  I don't know if I have ever asked her why.  I know that it is true, though.  Because she told me.  

And that's okay.  I like that word.  And it's good to have friends who can like different things and still be friends.  It teaches us a lot about compromise and patience and helps us on our journeys.

Just kidding.

It doesn't help us at all.  What does help is when you convince someone to only see things your way.  That is really helpful.  Then you can have what you want any way you want it.  What you want comes to you and all you have to do is wait with open arms.  Seriously.  Don't stop believin' in what you want.  After all these years, I have found that to be the case.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Erik

(photo by Kirk Boettcher)
 
Unfortunately, life may sometimes seem unfair to middle children, some of whom feel like an afterthought to a brilliant older sibling and unable to captivate teh family's attention like the darling baby.  Yet the middle position offers great training for the real world of lowered expectations, negotiation, and compromise,
~ Marianne E. Neifert
- - - - -

Today is Erik's birthday.  My birthday was about a month ago.  Remember that?  It was a great day.  

It is awesome to be the oldest.  I mean it's awesome, but it's also hard.  The expectations are high (of course oldest children usually exceed those expectations).  And it's not like we have it easy like the babies of the family.  We chart the course to make the way easier for those who follow.  

And it is SO much easier.  Rules are relaxed.  Is it because parents don't value younger siblings as much as they valued us?  Yes.  We are the precious ones.

Wait.  What was this post about?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Beauty

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
~ Confucius
- - - - -

This is a photo I took after a recent flood in Ames.  I don't much care for floods, but they happen.  And even in the midst of floods and destruction there is beauty.  I'm not saying this is a beautiful picture.  I can't say that because I took it.  I think it's a pretty good picture.  What I saw was beautiful in that moment (whether it is beautiful here or not is up to you).

Sometimes we have to stop and see the beauty.  Even in difficult circumstances.  I mean, I wasn't at risk of getting swept away by flood waters.  The flooding was over and the waters were receding.  

Similarly, I'm not saying you should stop in the middle of a tornado or fire or if you get some kind of chemical in your eye to find the beauty of that moment.  You should probably find an eye wash.  And if it is a beautiful eye wash, all the better, but get that stuff out of your eye.  If you don't, it will be more difficult to see beauty in the future.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Zen

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.  This is the ultimate.
~ Zhuangzi
- - - - -

The other day I was walking to my car and I saw this flower.  So I took a photo of it.  I was looking at the photo as I continued toward my car.  I walked by a car that was parked but running.  It was the first time I had parked in that part of the parking lot, so I didn't think much about the car.  I didn't even look up.

When I was directly in front of the car, the person in it honked the horn.  It was loud.  It disturbed my zen.  A lot of very un-zen words flashed through my mind.

By the time I went to the window of the car and confront Mike for doing that to me, I had softened my language in my head enough so that the language that came out of the mouth part of my head was simply, "Butthead."

It's okay that I called Mike that.  He was laughing too hard to hear me.

Isn't it a pretty flower?