Love

I saw Jeff today, and I cried. It was the eyes , and the story. And standing up for what it right, and being willing to do the hard thing. And being selfless and GOD driven and loving all. Really loving all.

In our American lives, where we are mostly free to say whom we dislike. We do so often, and without conscience or fear. People don’t bond over who they like as much as they join forces in whom they dislike. It is a verification platform declaring, “I am right, and these people agree with me.”

In our 8 years together, I may have become aware of half-a-handful of people Jeff did not care for, yet, he would be quick to defend them. “That’s just how they are,” he’d say. “They’ve had a rough life,” or “Their actions toward don’t me change who I am, my beliefs, or my love.”

Earlier in the morning, I had seen a reference to “Buddhist Bootcamp.” The entry stood out, so I flagged it, shut down my computer and went to work in my art studio. Later, I visited the website, and found myself reading a familiar blog- path traveled.

I also, copied this Timber Hawkeye thought for future reference:

 “There is absolutely no reason to argue over which religion came “first” or whose philosophy is “better”. The important thing is to be kind, understanding, peaceful and compassionate…” 

With that point to ponder, I promised myself I would read the site more thoroughly sometime soon, checked my email, and browsed through the news. That’s where I came across the other “Jeff,” and cried. There was one impersonal group of people, a type he would not tolerate. He said so, many times. He wouldn’t support the death penalty based on his beliefs. “Except,” he would say, “for anyone who had hurt a child.” My Jeff would do anything to protect a child. The unknown “Jeff” apparently felt the same.

Of all the things Jeff gave me in our time together, his love was the most precious. I’m eternally thankful he taught me how to love, and exceedingly embarrassed to have forgotten those non-lessons; those demonstrations of how to love, completely.

Quote for the Week:

fdecd6244fee30f6ebb25682062c7c18

       Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Where I Saw Jeff:

http://news.yahoo.com/teen-dies-saving-classmates-suicide-bomber-223018543–abc-news-topstories.html

Buddist Bootcamp: http://www.buddhistbootcamp.com/

Why Shared Dislikes Make Faster Friends: http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/shared-dislikes-2011-4/

Continue reading

Advantage

There are certain advantages of having no one to answer to.

The problem is I live with myself, and I have to live with my decision-making or not making.

Those same advantages have become the ones I fight through every day.

I don’t believe my choices are that different from anyone else’s,

Regular day-to-day stuff makes us all weary; especially in the midst of the wintery-est winter we’ve all see in quite some time.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to do something else besides vacuum, or laundry.

Curl up on the couch with cocoa, or work out and a water-flush? So far, working out is winning. Mostly, because I have obligations of my own doing to fulfill, and I sincerely do not want to be embarrassed by all of those times that reading won over the past few years.

Chores, creating or e-laxing? So far, chores lose most of the time. Visitors are infrequent, and I’m pretty good at all of those little 5-minute day-to-day maintenance steps, so things rarely get out of hand. Other times, I push through the cleaning in order to get to what I really want to do. Relax online.  I even coined a word for it: e-laxing. Then there’s cooking. I have to eat. It’s a fifty-fifty most days. I cook on the weekends, and that makes the first part of the week easier. Cook for four; keep out two, freeze two. By the time Thursday comes around, I am usually out of fresh produce. Last week it was still light out at 5:30 pm, which not only heralds being able to get to the market after work, but also the start of possible social re-emergence.

What’s missing from my realm of choice is non-choice. To some extent everyone had a choice about everything, but those with spouses or children or parents who need help have an extra added layer of obligation, demoting regular, optional functions to rote ones. “Stuff has to get done,” I remind myself, often referring to a non-verbatim, often adapted, politically-corrected poem excerpt from Within My Power by Boy Scout Executive Forrest Witcraft: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

I don’t care what sort of house or apartment I live in, as long as I can afford it, and it is comfortable to me. I don’t care what sort of car I drive, as long as I can afford it, and it is reliable, and comfortable to me. I don’t care about designer clothes, the “in” shoes, or status jewelry. Unless they can be found at Kohl’s on the clearance rack, I have a 30% off coupon, and perhaps some Kohl’s cash, as well. Then, I do care, only if they are made well, fit well, and are quality items, though.

Despite all the things I do not chase, there are ones I do, not because I believe I am supposed to, but because I cannot get away from them. I do care what my bank account looks like. I like electricity and natural gas and the luxury of a roof over my head affords. I do hope to save enough money to fully retire. I care what my bank account looks like so I can help, when I am inspired to. I have favorite programs I contribute to; favorite people I like to gift. What makes me happy is making other people happy. Lately, making others happy has been coming at too great an emotional cost. No one puts money in a bank expecting to never get it back, which, of course is the root of my latest problem. I’ve been simultaneously self-serving and trying to lead by example, expecting a full-fledged buy-in of reciprocity.

When that failed, I chose with-holding: restraint. It’s been a difficult exercise; a struggle to not do what makes me happy. Withdraw and uncomplicated simplicity is not always the best route. Like going off-road in a low-slung vehicle, underlying damage changes the performance. I could jack it up with off-road tires and lifts, but I’d rather head back to the path I’d been on. Unfortunately, there are no earthly do-overs. Even if I turn right around, drive directly back to where I went astray, and fling open welcoming passenger doors, I don’t know if any of my previous riders would be willing to re-ride along.

The assumption that giving in any form is an investment is driver error. To our advantage, GOD’s vehicle does not support that version of the program.

We are not saved by a tally of acts. We are saved by the acceptance of grace, and the ever-present advantage bestowed upon us:

Gracefully moving toward accepting who we are.

.

Quote for the week:

I should have no objection to go over the same life from its beginning to the end: requesting only the advantage authors have, of correcting in a second edition the faults of the first.  ~  Benjamin Franklin

Enjoy this week’s  discovery links:

TobyMac. Speak Life: Be inspired, go inspire! ‪#‎SpeakLife http://toby.cta.gs/07s

Within My Power, Forrest Witcraft: http://teachers-and-parents.blogspot.com/2008/02/within-my-power-by-dr-forest-e-witcraft.html

Top 10 Best Benjamin Frankling Quotes . http://www.top10-best.com/b/top_10_best_benjamin_franklin_quotes.html

Monsters

I’ve been creating monsters.

So, when was the last time you sat down to type in front of a mirror?

Maybe the better question is when was the first time?

“Tonight,” is my answer to both.

Why am I sitting facing full-length mirror doors, computing on a folding table, in my studio?

Because, Monsters.

I make myself laugh at the lengths I go to in order to get the results I want, only to realize that the results weren’t exactly what I wanted. “Be careful what you wish for,” doesn’t apply, here. There aren’t many things I wish for. If I want it, I do my best to make it happen. Sometime it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it does, but it doesn’t work, at all.

Miss Freddie and I have a 12 year history. She had no real history before that. At three months old, she walked in through an open door, and claimed her spot. I’ve done that before. I’ve seen where I want to be, so I go there. Sometimes with risks (Nashville); sometimes without (New York.)

I can’t blame Freddie’s standoffishness on any sort of terrible background or misunderstood previous life. She just isn’t… cuddly. Amendment: wasn’t cuddly. Well, she’s not really cuddly now. The point I am heading toward is this: within the last few months, Fred has become notice-me pushy. She squeezes herself into a spot on the couch directly in contact with me, flops over and silently commands, “Rub my butt.” I didn’t start this practice, but since I’ve inherited it, I reluctantly participate. Scratching her butt makes me uncomfortable. I do it because I hope someday she might trust me enough to let me pick her up.

One of those hopefully never-to-be-repeated polar vortex evenings, I was relaxing with my not-so-mindless computer games. When Freddie arrived on the desk and flopped, I ignored her. I was busy crushing candies, and there was a time limit. She immediately got up, and flopped again, closer this time. I told her, “not right now,” not really believing she has a clue about delayed gratification or time continuums. She raised up again, and this time head-butted my arm hard enough to dislodge it from the mouse, thereby ending my bid for the next level. I bent over to grab the flown mouse, and when I sat back up, Freddie was there: between me and my computer.

I laughed because it was a unique and cute sneak attack. I decided to let her stay there, scootched her butt a bit to the left, and played over her. It was enjoyable having her there. It occurred to me that squished up against me, with both arms around her, we were actually cuddling and I was pretty much one step closer “holding” her in my arms.

Harley Blu is a cuddler. He just doesn’t seem to have the common-sense gene most cats possess. I’m referring to the innate feline knowledge that humans are not always going to easily step over them, especially in the dark. He’s just missing it, so I side step, over-step and leap, often nearly stumble. He did catch on Ms. Freddie’s computer moves, though.

Neither one appreciates it when I try to type around them. Blu mistakenly thought he could convince me to stop writing by firmly using his teeth on my hand. We disagreed on the would-be outcome of that particular move. I won, for sure.

The moment I am in the office, and the computer start-up sound rings out, Blu flies in out of nowhere and assumes the blocking position, unless of course, Freddie has gotten there first. She usually does. I head upstairs after dinner and most times she sprints right by me and lands in her spot.

I’ve created monsters.

I cannot work on my computer at my computer desk without kitty-ference. Truthfully, I don’t really want to brush either of them away, especially after it’s taken Miss Fred so long to be interaction demonstrative. I don’t want to discourage Blu, either. That is, after all, the reason I have cats; to cuddle.

Well, actually, the reason I have Fred is because she walked into my life. The reason I have Blu is because he was (lovingly) thrust into my life.

I peek up at my cross-legged, blue-glow reflection, catch my own eye, and think, “This would be a cute picture to compliment this week’s knabble.”  I click, check the photo for appeal, and unexpectedly discover a monster… staring up at me. I don’t know how long she’s been there. I can’t tell if her squinty eyes are expressing displeasure or calculating the jump factor. I can’t help but shrug and snort.

The reason I am sitting at a folding table in front of full-length mirror doors, computing in my studio, is because I got what I wanted. Not on my own terms. At this point in my life, I have accepted these three truths: Nothing will ever be on my terms, I’ve caved to the preferences of two critters, and GOD has blessed me with an ever-ironic sense of humor. #imakemyselflaugh

Quote for the week:

“Over the years, confusing fragments, lost corners of stories, have a clearer meaning when seen in a new light, a different place.”  Michael Ondaatje

Enjoy this week’s  discovery links:

How to Covert Your Reclusive Cat to a Cuddly Lap Kitty:  http://www.petplace.com/cats/how-to-convert-your-reclusive-cat-to-a-cuddly-lap-kitty/page1.aspx

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Folding Table: http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/207378

More quotes from The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje   :  http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/15238056-the-cat-s-table

February 11, 2014

fred monster contemplating

fred monster contemplating

blu monster hogging the keyboard, fred monster blocking the rear fan

blu monster hogging the keyboard, fred monster blocking the rear fan

Because, Vortex.

I’m a little obsessed with the vortex phenomenon.

It’s been record breaking cold here in Michigan. On a day of -14, with a windchill of -41 , it’s been said you could cut your breath and use it to build an igloo. One New Jersey family actually did build an igloo; a very colorful one.

Polar Vortex theories and arguments have been coming from all sides of science and political communities, as well as some misinformed panic-minded weather-ers. Global warming, earth-tilting, oxygen-sucking garbage piles; believe me, I am concerned. My creative clues for Google and Good Search haven’t yielded anything more than light, snowy fluff. I’m after facts, so I try again, and again, entering hint-words, hoping for quantitative scientific data.

In the process, I run straight into a startling distraction. My search-winds take a slightly different turn. I spin off-course, traveling ferociously down an altered path I would not have seen or followed otherwise.Polar Vortex theories and arguments have been coming from all sides of science and political communities, as well as some misinformed panic-minded weather-ers. Global warming, earth-tilting, oxygen-sucking garbage piles; believe me, I am concerned. My creative clues for Google and Good Search haven’t yielded anything more than light, snowy fluff. I’m after facts, so I try again, and again, entering hint-words, hoping for quantitative scientific data.

Formative early scholastic years, taught me formal speech, formal grammar, and informal cursive writing.

I was lead to believe, “don’t” was considered lazy slang for “do not.” Same was true for isn’t, wasn’t, hasn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, etc.

I understand technology, and texting are altering language standards. The desire to communicate succinctly, in as little time, space and number of characters as possible, is overtaking grammar, and obliterating punctuation.

Slang is slang. Every generation claims their own unique come-and-go verbiage niche. The very way some words trend, change their meaning. In 2006, I playfully developed the probable theory of  linguistic obesity. (Explorable link below.)

The 2013 Word of the Year, according to The American Dialect Society, is “because.” Merriam Webster mentions the first known use of “because” occurred somewhere in the 14th century. What’s the deal with that? Well, here it is folks: The word “because” is no longer a precursor; it no longer has to be followed by a clause. Skip straight to the noun.

Let me clarify. The answer to the question, “Why was Johnny suspended?” is no longer “Johnny was suspended because he broke the rules.” The question also no longer needs to be answered, “Because of the rules.” Truly. The new supposed-standard shortened answer is acceptable, but still appallingly.

“Why was Johnny suspended?”

“Because, rules.”

I sigh, hit the back button, and resume my stubborn search. Too easily, “The Vortex Sedona,” calls out my curiosity.

Sedona, Arizona is purported to be home to numerous vortex sites. While based on flowing theories of wind and movement, the angle is  energy related and completely different. Photos of twisted Juniper trees shaped by invisible, subtle, constant, concentrated energy-clones are remarkable.

I’m fascinated by the physics of this, and intrigued by these thoughts:

Perhaps, I have not been spinning in place, at all.

Perhaps, being rooted to one spot isn’t a deterrent to change.

Perhaps, real growth does not only consist of “up” or “over.”

Perhaps, gently and consistently, turned and shaped, more slowly than I can comprehend…

Perhaps,  I have long stood in a spiraling, spiritual, reshaping vortex; under the watchful eye of GOD.

.

Regarding the Polar Vortex, and Word of the Year for 2013: though, I do not care for either, I surely will adapt.

 Regarding Sedona: an extended stay is now on my bucket-list.

 Because, Vortex.

_____________________________________________________

Quote for the week:

“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart” ~  Eskimo Proverb

Enjoy this week’s  discovery links:

NJ Gem Igloo: http://news.yahoo.com/gem-igloo-build-ice-172118691.html

The Vortex Sedona: http://www.visitsedona.com/article/213

Vortex Science: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_North_American_cold_wave