Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wow...

...wow. wow wow wow.

Read this...
Anamnesis, or The Psychoanalysis of God
May 20, 2008 15:30


I can't find the words to express all that I felt reading this...truth...recognition...remembering...knowing...sameness...connection...wonder...awe...beautifully written, insightful, thought-provoking, awe-inspiring, wonder-striking...

Just read it.

Wow.

Friday, May 30, 2008

When you find the good stuff...

...share it!

Ran across a great blog today - PaganPerspective on Wordpress - and immediately recognized a kindred spirit in the first post on the site (apparently a re-post of an article from 2004 - still more than timely).

I tried to leave a comment but the site wasn't allowing that, so I'm tipping my pointed hat here and hoping my kudos find their way back to the author. I'll visit often, I'm sure, and hope she'll free to stop by my idea house from time to time. Hail and welcome!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good news, bad news

Mark Morford has done it again. His latest article is a romp through the good and not-so-good developments, fall-out, and random occurances of late. It's a great read and pretty insightful. Read Mark's column here.

Mark races through the postives and negatives, finally skidding to the conclusion that maybe - just maybe - things are turning around a bit, that conservatism - that rampant virus of Rush-speak idiocy that has plagued us for the last few years - might be dead, or at least dying. Is it possible that, in the words of Melissa Ethridge, "...we are waking up from the spell those who profit from the fear cast so well; and good people of the earth can tell there is no us and them..."?

I think so. So does Mark Morford. What do you think?

Don't blog when you're exhausted...

...because you'll fall asleep at the keyboard and wipe out your entire post just before you hit the "publish" button. $*#@!

Prior to the falling asleep incident, I was celebrating the current success of my herb garden and how I have my husband to thank for it. He didn't plant the bed; I did. What he did was share his bountiful Green Man energy with me.



You see, before Three Crows came into my life, I had managed to kill house plants, tomatoes, flowers...in short, anything I tried to grow. I used to joke that I could eradicate crab grass (a common scorge of southern lawns)if I just tried to grow it.

Nowadays, however, I'm having a lot more success. The herb bed is beautiful! I love stepping off the porch and clipping handsful of fresh flavor and fragrance. Rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley, sage, cilantro, lavender, chamomile, chives, and now stevia and apple mint...they're my babies and I love them. And I just planted more...spearmint, peppermint, tarragon, tomatoes, and peppers...along with lots of flowers for the porch and deck rail boxes. Three Crows is still recovering from surgery, but he was there, guiding the efforts and sharing his energy. Amybeth (eldest of our combined girl-children) helped, too, and I think she enjoyed her first gardening efforts.





So...keep a good, green thought for continued success, and I'll share more photos with you as the babies grow. And try growing some of your own. You'll love it!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Come Saturday morning...

...I'll be doing my regular Saturday stuff and loving it.

I cherish Saturday mornings for a lot of reasons. It's the first no-alarm-clock day of every week. I get to wake up with my beloved; we cuddle and make love and laugh and wish the coffee would make itself.


After breakfast, I tackle my two Saturday chores - trash and recycling. The trash run isn't exactly fun, but it's satisfying to get the bags of yuck off property and into the landfill. Recycling, on the other hand, is one of the highlights of my week.


We do what I call "big chunk" sorting throughout the week; steel and aluminum cans go into one container, paper into another, glass and plastic into a third, or sometimes in with the paper. Come Saturday morning, I take it all outside to the big table and sort everything. It can get a little messy but I don't mind. It all gets loaded into Bessie (our trusty Ford Ranger, 190-odd thousand miles and still going strong) for the trip to the recycle center.


This is my friend G___. Actually, he's just a guy I met this morning at the center and I don't really know anything about him except that he recycles. He gives up part of his Saturday to keep some of his family's trash out of the landfill. That's good enough for me to call him a friend. He was a nice guy with a good sense of humor; when I promised him I wouldn't identify him or say where he was from, he immediately replied, "Thank God! I have to beat off the stalkers already." A good steward and a quick wit...what's not to like?

The recycle center was full of people like G___ and me today. That gives me hope. There aren't enough of us yet, but the numbers are growing, and every can, bottle, and bag that G___ and I and others like us recycle is one that doesn't wind up in the landfill. It's a small thing, but it's important and I'm happy to be part of it.

To G___ and all recyclers, reusers, reducers...thank you. Enjoy your recycling chore...it's an act of love and life.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yes! Do this...do this do this do this!

Precycling - what a great concept!

Precycling refers to the process of reducing the amount of trash, recycleable or otherwise, on the front end...

...avoiding excessive packaging;
...refusing what you don't need;
...reducing what you do need;
...reusing what you can't reduce;
...recycling what you can't use;
...rebuying recycled material whenever possible.

When I was growing up, my parents did this all the time. I just thought they were stingy and tight with the little bit of money they had, which was cool in itself - they made a little do a whole lot. What I didn't realize is what good stewards they were. When I left home, I gradually drifted away from those practices, but I'm relearning them now.

For more good information, visit http://www.summitrecycling.org/html/prere.html (where the precycle list came from) or their parent site, http://www.highcountryconservation.org/.

Do this...this matters.

Beautiful place...beautiful attitude...

A small piece of my weight loss puzzle revealed itself yesterday.

I have been actively exercising for several months now. In the last couple of weeks, however, I've not done a thing. Sciatica has sidelined me for a little while, but I made up my mind that I would walk yesterday regardless. My husband helped by playfully saying, "...after you finish your walk," after every statement. He's good that way.

So I walked across the Walnut Street Bridge when I left work. Total walk was about a mile and a quarter...walked about 30 minutes so not a fast pace but not strolling. I thought I'd share a little of that walk with you, a 360-degree view of the beauty surrounding me...

video

Isn't this just an amazing place to live, work, and play? Stunning!

More importantly, I learned something really important. The last few weeks have been a struggle to stay on plan with Weight Watchers. I thought maybe I was just bored, but that's not it. I'm a good cook, I enjoy cooking, and there's plenty of variety to be had. No, it was something I couldn't put my finger on, and it was powerful enough that I was wondering if I'd reached the end of my weight loss.

But when I walked yesterday...what an eye-opener! My resolve, my excitement about feeling better and being strong, healthy, and capable came rushing back with every step! My usual stop at the grocery store didn't result in the usual urges to buy everything and eat it all immediately. I was hungry and still experienced a remarkable lack of craving. I was happy to go home and enjoy a healthy dinner, content that I was doing good things for my body.

We're told frequently that exercise is good for us and that it's the key to sustainable weight loss. What they don't tell us is that it redefines your world view. I don't know exactly how it works, but when I've had a good walk, I don't want to put junk into my body. I want to treat me like the goddess I am and be good to myself with nutritious food that doesn't contribute directly to obesity. And I don't experience the cravings for sugary junk that have plagued me lately.

Who knew? Well, I guess the experts did...but maybe I wasn't listening. I am definitely listening now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sit down, shut up, and be kind...

...and the three are related. Really.

One of my favorite journalists, Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle, points in a recent article to research that backs up what thousands of years of mindful meditation practice has already proven - that "the regular, habitual act of stilling yourself and intentionally calming the mind and working with the breath...can inject some divine love-juice into your core and make you more sympathetic, kinder, more apt to feel a natural inclination toward generosity and compassion..." That's not news to anyone who's already doing it, but it might be a shock to the rest of the world.

Mark says it better, of course; his articles are always funny and entertaining, and he writes about stuff that matters and makes sense. If you enjoy a combination of irreverance and intelligence, wit and wonder, check Mark out. You'll feel right at home.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fire!

Beautiful fire spinning at PUF this weekend. Gorgeous!


video

Hope and so much to learn...

...from the forgiveness in one woman's heart and the soul of a nation more comitted to recovery than to revenge.

CNN tells of how Rwandans are rebuilding their nation and their lives in the wake of Hutu murder of nearly a million people, mostly Tutsis.

That a woman can find it in her heart to even attempt forgiveness for such horror gives me hope.

That a nation can understand that rebuilding is more important than attempting to right unimaginable wrongs that can never be made right gives me courage.

That a man who helped to perpetrate the horror can find it within him to stand and say to survivors, families of men, women, and children who were raped, beaten, clubbed to death, buried alive, "I did this. I am guilty. And I am sorry," gives me chills.

That a woman who suffers the pain of loss every day of her life can sit next to a man who suffers the pain of guilt every day of his, and weave baskets, and make a concious choice to practice forgiveness rather than perpetuate the cycle of death humbles me beyond measure.

If we took one tiny sliver of that courage and determination and applied to to the day-to-day minutia that we waste so much precious energy on...what might our world be?

I will try...now...today...

If Iphigenia Mukantabana can weave her baskets of peace alongside Jean-Bosco Bizimana, I will weave peace daily alongside those whose actions hurt me. If Jean-Bosco Bizimana can face his victims' families and own his actions, I will summon courage to own my actions and hope those I have harmed will choose to practice forgivness toward me.

The community basket we weave will be beautiful and strong enough to hold us all.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The good thing about today is...

You didn't think I would name just one good thing, did you? If so, you must be a new reader - welcome!

I'm excited because California's Supreme Court overturned the same sex marriage ban in that state. That's a positive step and worth celebrating.

And today is Friday...another productive (sort of) work week in the can and a weekend looming. I'm going to the Pagan Unity Festival in middle Tennessee with a good friend tomorrow and looking forward to it.

Finally, a shout out to the folks at Lowe's. I had a problem there and they've surprised me with how well they've handled it. I bought a grill, a fairly expensive grill for my usual budget, and asked for it to be assembled, scheduling pick up for three days later. When I got there, they cheerfully delivered me a grill that looked like hell! It was badly scratched, dirty, and was, in fact, the one they'd had sitting outside in the weather on display. When I told them I didn't want a used grill, they checked and no more were assembled. I'd have to come back the next day, or I could take ten percent off the one they offered.

I live about 25 miles from the store and didn't want to come back, so I reluctantly agreed to the discount, but I wasn't happy. When we got the grill home, my husband tried to read the owner's manual and it was soaking wet, even in its plastic bag. He couldn't turn the pages! This was not the joyous new grill experience I had been looking forward to!

I asked store personnel (who were all very nice, by the way) to make sure they passed on my displeasure but I wasn't satisfied my voice would be heard. To make sure, I went to the Lowe's website and sent a note. I explained that I had already accepted the discount and that I was writing in hope they would educate and manage store policy and employees in the future to tell people upfront if they're trying to sell a display model.

I got an email response within 12 hours stating that the store would be in touch within 24 hours, followed by a call from the local manager. He said they wanted me to have the new grill I purchased and they would deliver it. I explained again that I had already accepted the discount and wasn't trying to gouge them; I just thought the practice was wrong and wanted to be heard. Lowe's wanted to make it right anyway, so they're delivering a new grill today or tomorrow.

I've always said that recovery is better than perfection in business. I still hope they'll be more concientious but I am pleased that they heard me and took my issue seriously.

Happy Friday, everyone...enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

61 Steps...

...that's how many steps at the back entrance to my office building.

I started a weight loss journey in November 2007. Among my goals is a raised level of fitness, mobility, energy, and agility. Those 61 steps have kicked my butt far too long!

I'm proud to say that, as of Monday, May 12, I've lost 66 pounds and I'm feeling TERRIFIC! I'm still a little winded at the top of those stairs, but nothing like the wheezing wreck I used to be. More importantly, I no longer avoid them. I used to go around the world to not have to climb those stairs and I avoided hills when walking with the same determination. No more...now I look at a hill in my walking route and think, "Cool!" It's actually fun to climb. I feel strong and proud of myself.

Weight Watchers has been the best thing I've ever done for myself and my health. Still, after six months, it's getting harder to stay focused. The program works and I'm not on a diet. I'm learning to live differently. The realization that this is my life now and not some temporary inconvenience that will go away when the weight goes away has been an emotional thing for me. It's like the nurse educator here told me recently in a candid conversation about weight loss and health. She said, "You know now; and once you know, you can't un-know. You'll never be able to just eat with reckless abandon again. You might do it, but the knowledge of what you're doing to your body will be there, and it changes you."

She's right. I can't go back. For me, that's a loss. I miss being on a road trip with my husband and stopping at our favorite buffet. I miss picking up a bucket of chicken and going to the lake. I miss random junk food. And I can hear you out there..."You said it was your life, not a diet. That means you can have those things, just in moderation." I hear you and I concur and I actually do have some of those things from time to time. I think the loss I'm really grieving is the one my nurse friend talked about. I miss the ability to do something bad for me without feeling guilty and conflicted about it. I miss being able to enjoy all the wonderful foods my friends prepare for feast after ritual without having to think about how much fat or fiber or how many calories.

Portion control is not a natural state for me. I'm not someone who naturally selects smaller portions of richer foods because that's all I want. I want more! If one is good, two is better, and what the hell, have three! I'm learning (still, after six months) to listen to my body and respond to signals of being satisfied, but they've been shushed for so long I think they're a little afraid to speak up. And the funny thing is...I have NO idea how that came to be. Well...that's not entirely true. I have some ideas...theories, really...but I've not decided yet if any of them really hold water.

Maybe that's a post for another time. In the meantime, I had a nice lunch and it's time to get back to work. Thanks for listening...more to come.