Monday, January 30, 2012

In My Lap

There's nothing quite like a cat in your lap.

Warm, purring.

Some would say it's better to have a sexy woman.

Or a child in your lap, maybe reading.

Others want a poodle. A standard. poodle.

Or a surprise. Landed, as it just so happens, there. In your lap!

Knitting is great - even if it is just lying there, looking pretty.

But a cat or a kitten, content for a moment...

That's the cat's meow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Loss of Navigational Points

Seems to me that every single point of reference we have is being attacked by the Huns. And by the Huns, I mean all of us. But mostly the radicals.

Call me old-fashioned. I think there is some merit to the idea that we don't have to know everything about every candidate. I would like to know their character, it's true. But I don't want to know about every text message. I do want ethics and integrity to play a huge role in government, corporations, small organizations (who have better odds) and in the medical industry.

I'd like to remove conflicts of interest. It would be helpful to play less "follow the money" and more "applaud thems that do right".

This story reminds me of a growing, quietly nagging concern. If all our institutions are torn down, including the "fact checkers", if they lose credibility, then by what will we navigate? Will there be a renaissance of moderates after an informational wasteland? Will impartiality rise again? Could well-reasoned, thoughtful discourse begin to push back the hubris of partisanship and vitriol, and re-emerge?

Somehow this line of thought is linked to Too Big To Know (not *literally* linked, metaphorically). I'm just not sure how, yet.
Simmering :)


[love to know what I was planning to write here - this was a post that never happened... Bet the muse, er, hope she will strike again :) ]

Months later, we return to our heroine. Or is that hero-ine (are they spelled the same, the drug and the character? Can I be a writer if I don't know?)

I think this was to be a post about how coaxing people, plants, animals, art, music, craft is better than forcing.

Nudging has become a gold-plated, jew-jitsu for me :)

It occurred to me several years ago, musing with my BDNHTPATBU (beloved dear now-husband, then-paramour, about to break up), one summer night after a lovely, rare trip to a movie.*

I had been noodling over this idea for a while.  Slowly it came into focus.

(How sweet and lovely are these moments of revealing clarity. It's why focusing a camera is so much fun, to me.

If you wait for it the bread rises, the fudge sets, the child walks, the film negative transforms into an image, the sock emerges, the thought coalesces.)

We had been discussing the difficulty of radical LGBT protests and harsh insistence on their rights. I support their goals - perhaps even all of them. I'm not sure.

What I was and am sure of is that, while it seem important to force change in some instances, it is also rife with risks.

I wonder if true change can ever be forced??

After all, I've watched the gay rights movement become more and more "mainstream", over the last 30 years. Over time society does seem to figure a lot out. With any luck we don't slip back into old, messed up ideas, like slavery and genocide (no guarantees tho - see recent post on global warming).

Along the way they have pissed off a lot of people. Did the strident, arduous protests have to happen? Maybe. I won't deny that it could be that change would not have come without it, without the pushing and shoving or demands for attention.

Stan's amazing contribution, the catalyst to my swirling thoughts, was to comment that he did respect that people are entitled to their life styles and beliefs, but he hated having it, their views, shoved down his throat.**

When raising children, I've learned that it's helpful to remain dispassionate. When working toward solutions with peers, authority figures and those who look up to me, I've noticed stating "my" truth and detaching from the outcome is key. It allows space for movement toward a resolution or even a synthesis of ideas...

I wonder how much it could help to be firm to our world/national/community in our beliefs, without demanding that they accept them.

On the other hand, maybe if we didn't push hard, society wouldn't  grow up. Grin. After all, that is what siblings are for.

* movie night, for us, consisted that night of driving for 30 or 40 mins to a theater, watching something fun (I think it was the new Star Trek movie?) and driving all the way back to the farm. I had dressed up, something I had never done there, and I remember sitting on the porch at the barn (a pole barn), having a beer or wine after. Stan took my picture with his phone, or tried to. It was a sweet moment of his looking at me with "fresh eyes", as if seeing me anew.

**I remember well the sense of various lines of thought coming together, that evening, in the moment, and talking this idea over with him. It seemed that he appreciated being a catalyst, and he knew he was, as much as I enjoyed it. He loved the exchange of ideas and synthesis of his thoughts and my own. This was somehow a key moment for us; something intangible quality shared that also came into focus, along with our ideas. We began, I think then to recognize our ability to complement each other, to both challenge and support our thinking.  Maybe it is/was just synchronicity - or maybe it's more than that.


Great radio show today - missed most of it, but the mindfulness sure would come in handy.

Friday January 27, 2012, 10:06 AM


Ellen J. Langer, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology Department, Harvard University; Artist
Ellen Langer
It’s possible to go through life carrying out a range of complex tasks without consciously paying attention to what we’re doing.  While it is possible to live that way, you end up missing a lot. We will talk with Harvard professor Ellen Langer, a scholar who has been called the mother of the psychological concept of “mindfulness.” It’s a very simple but powerful idea--that, by paying attention to what we are doing, we will better understand ourselves and others, and in the process live a more full and healthy life.

(this content belongs to

I do at least intend to listen the the entire show asap. Intrigued by her comment that all (?) human ills can be traced to lack of mindfulness. It's been a godsend in my office to have the local public radio show consist of high quality interviews. Not just Terry Gross but also the local show called Focus... no, the irony did not escape me.

Yes, I missed my Tai Chi class both days this week. No, I did not make it to Yoga. (deep Breath). Nor dance on Tuesday night. I did however lose a few pounds, ate mindfully and plan to enjoy a walk today. I have been doing epic battles with my beloved child in re-learning math. Each night, exhausted, I miss reading and movies and just find some rest. I think I did knit about 4 rows this week :)

There is something that most people don't realize about teaching. Think of your time with your children, doing anything. Now add to that a teachable moment. IF you are an extrovert, as many teachers (most?) are, then you must pull yourself back, make space for the child to learn. You have to ask questions rather than making demands. You have to wait to let their brain work. You must edit any critical or impatient thought (if you have them, usually mine are directed at me). You hold the space.

This lets the child/person think for themselves, discover answers, and reap the deep reward of having very little help from you. I've found this is also true when teaching computers, knitting, math, and dance. It doesn't matter if it's left or right brain, physical or spiritual. As a teacher you are just trying to help the process of learning gently and yet with right enthusiasm. You are staying out of the way, and guiding. You may have 30 people or 3. But you have to pay attention.  You have to figure out where to add guidance or info. You are watching how their brain is working, real time.

It's wonderful. It's intensive. Rarely is it mindless.

No wonder I'm exhausted, after working as business owner, being wife and managing my family duties, connecting with friends, helping guide Youth Group, and tutoring G for about 2 hours each night. Perhaps I should be babbling?

I saw something on Facebook today about leaders. Paraphrased: If you inspire and encourage then you are a leader. I agree. Unfortunately, leaders are human and can make mistakes.

Below is my post in reference to the suicide of Barry Bowe - principal of a great public arts school in Charlotte, NC where many of my friends have children attending. It was a really sad situation that surfaced  on Facebook a few days ago. I wrote this in response to his niece, who thought that the press revealed too many details of his death. I suggest it's time to pull back the damn cloak of shame surrounding suicide.

ok - I'm far removed from the local news, but I have an interest in what happened. I have friends who are affected and more importantly their dear beloved children are affected - it's not a small matter at all that a school leader decided to end his own life. I'm sorry for your loss Carrie, but it is completely wrong (imnsho) to say that the details of his death are not news and should be kept private. In fact every suicide should be a call to battle for all those who care for humankind. It's a loss most tragic and often avoidable.
Should we not advertise that someone died of cancer? Do you think we could get funding for research if we covered it up and pretended the illness didn't exist? Do you think people would know what early signs to look for or how to support those who suffer with it if we were all embarrassed about cancer? Diabetes? Heart disease?
Suicide is a huge problem in this country. I've experienced in my immediate family. Twice. I consider it a call to arms - for those of us who battle for the souls of those who are confused, ill, heart broken, crazed and/or depressed and need help. Make no mistake - it is a matter of life or death. I'd suggest we strategize.
Yes, mourn the dead. Damn right hold CMS accountable. But comfort the kids and explain the extreme myopia that precedes suicide. The dangers of depression. The need for accessible help. The warning signs. The preventative measures. And do remind them all that those who die by suicide were very very sick. It's preventable. But not if we pretend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So Many Opinions, So Little Time

Yeah, I don't have time to do much here today, but am at least thinking about freshening up the site. Did add a couple gadgets. Funny how many visits I supposedly have, but pretty sure many are from trolling virtual search engine bots or whatever they call those.

News flash: I have fewer opinions.

Suspect this is a sign of ack - aging.

There, I said it . FUTG (f- you time gods).