Thursday, August 28, 2008


There really is electricity in the air today... as I walked to the bus this morning, the sun was bright and the air was crisp. All the colors seemed brighter and the world happier. Maybe it is just me.

I haven't had a chance to watch my tape of the convention speeches last night, but I listened to the roll call live from my desk at work yesterday!

I can't wait for tonight and I am in love with the symbolism of having Barack accept the nomination tonight, 45 years later... (I would have been equally proud to have Hillary accept the nomination tonight, by the way)

Dr. King, as always, thanks for everything ...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you,
not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.
-- Rumi
Pictures from my trip up the Northern California coast...
If you want more pictures, check out my postcards from the three days on the road.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Not so Secret Wish List

This is what I would like for Christmas, my birthday, or just because.

As soon as I work ONE extra shift, I am going to order it... because that is how my wish list works.

There are a few other non-thing items on my list that I am working on.

I decided not so long ago that one of the greatest hurdles I face is disappointment. So, I have instituted some glorietas to get around potential disappointment -- sort of heading it off at the pass. The first of these is to make my wish list, and then grant those wishes for myself. This is particularly useful with regards to occasions when gifts are expected or customary. If I buy myself all the gifts I want, then whatever else comes my way is gravy and can be duly appreciated for its thoughtfulness and not judged for its usefulness (or lack thereof), etc.
The non-thing items are more challenging -- like world peace or unconditional love -- but I am actively working on these as well... not waiting for others to fulfill my wishes has been a big part of the happy-ness I have found in the past two years!

Postcards from the Road - Day Three

Kitsch on the road

Wildlife, snake eating a banana slug:

Wildlife on the water:

More wildlife, look closely, you'll see a woodpecker:

All that beauty, and I am going back for the rocks!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Postcards from the Road -- Day Two

One day (and about 200 miles) in pictures... be gentle, I am still getting to know the digital camera.

Seen at the farmer's market in Arcata:

Tasty treats on the side of the road:

From the inside of a drive thru redwood:

Amidst the giants:

Imagine these little guys going around in tight circles, seemingly chasing their tails:

About thirty shots later, I got one green baby wave:

Still learning how to use this camera, but it looked great in person:

Imagine this as your magic fort:

Like clouds, these dead giants contain limitless posibilities:

Graveyard of sorts:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Postcards from the road - Day One

It takes me a while to get the camera out of the bag ... I am always afraid I will lose the present trying to capture it. I was also not feeling particularly well, so I was pretty low energy (so low that for the bulk of these shots were from inside the car -- window rolled down, though). Aside from that, I am just not sure how to work the digital camera, but since there is no way to figure it out without actually using it, I finally did get the camera out.

Outside the ranger station along the Avenue of the Giants:
We stopped in a little town where I might want to live one day: FERNDALE.

This is the place I would buy if I won the lottery:

Another house I liked:

One for Nimia:

And I didn't get a shot of the fantastic cemetery, the houses on the hill where I really want to live, or the picturesque downtown... you'll just have to imagine it, or rent the movies Outbreak or The Majestic, I am told this town was where they were filmed (at least the on location parts).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Babies, layers and grounding

Two years ago (hard to believe it was really that long ago!) I took my first steps towards healing ... I quit the job with the abusive boss, I signed up for three life coaching sessions, and I went on a seven day meditation (nearly silent) retreat.

Since the meditation retreat, I have wanted to have a daily meditation practice. Just a few minutes every day – 10 or 15 – in silence to center myself – to ground. I also set as a goal at that retreat to find a meditation center locally where I could develop a sense of community. What I miss most about organized religion is the sense of community you find there – not the coffee and donuts after service type, but the energy that flows through a religious or spiritual place. It is such a strong current. In those spaces, where I can empty my mind of the contradictions I feel about religion, I feel held and protected while I open myself to the universe and its messages. I experience my spirituality as vulnerability. As such, it is both a very open and tender experience as well as a scary place. When I am centered and grounded, I am also exposed, necessarily since only open channels can receive messages from the universe.

It was exciting, scary and wonderful, therefore, to be invited to attend a local people of color meditation. It was not necessary to get an invitation since it is open and I have known about it for awhile – sometimes walking by the center and looking longingly at the doors but not going in. For my friend who invited me, it was also comforting to know that she would not walk in there alone.

I hadn’t sat in meditation since a brief visit to the retreat center over a year ago. I was nervous about the pain I might feel sitting, whether or not I would be able to turn off the mind and avoid the distractions. For thirty minutes, I sat in silence, much of the time chiding myself for not having an empty mind, hearing the cars and the emergency vehicles pass on the street, aware of every twinge of every muscle. At times I was convinced that I could not make it to thirty minutes sitting. As some points I had to remind myself to unclench, let go, breathe. I followed my breath, watched the colors dance in my mind, wished some love to thoughts of people who were haunting me, trying to let go and be. When the bell called us out of silence, I was not ready. I guess I had been having a “good” meditation.

I sat open and ready to hear what our teacher wanted to share. She exhorted us to think of the baby -- open and feel, willing to experience life without thinking or analyzing -- just be with the world and discover the joy available.

Then we were invited to share. Many people shared sweet, intimate observances about their practice. Others asked questions about the talk. One wonderful woman shared the poem she had written to herself that morning to celebrate her 58th birthday. As so often happens to me when I meditate, I sat in silence and tears welled in my eyes. This is only significant because I am so tightly wound that I have great difficulty crying. I felt as though I had shed many layers. Think back to that baby -- or small child -- elated to have shed the layers (including diapers) and run around the room ecstatic to be free. I am not saying I was getting ready to flash anyone in the room, but it was a sense of freedom and liberation from those layers that made me feel stronger and yet more open at the same time.

It was a beautiful experience. I am planning another visit to this center in the near future, but up next is a Monday night at Spirit Rock and hopefully some silent meditation at my own house as a regular practice.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Truly Disturbing

I am catching up on my radio listening today as I troll the internet for scholarly studies on the small school movement and academic achievement. I was hot on the trail of some great articles when this segment on Tell Me More started. I was so disturbed, I had to stop what I was doing and find out more information.

In a nutshell, Pfc LaVena Johnson's parents were notified of her death in Iraq in 2005 --- they were told that she died of a gunshot to the head that was or wasn't self inflicted, no definitely it was suicide -- and by the way, just ignore the signs that she was raped and beaten.

I thought I had a lot more to say about this....but just recapping the story turned my stomach.

Read the articles, listen to her dad on Tell Me More and then tell me what you think.

I understand that war is hell -- but I cannot imagine that anyone thinks this is ok -- I cannot imagine how the military powers that be sleep at night knowing that they have created a situation where young women serving their nation turn into punching bags -- and that's ok, we'll just call it suicide.

Ugly, depressing, disturbing and not inspiring any flag waving notions for me.

We need to get the hell out of Iraq.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Happy Friday

I am wearing red for the special day -- you know, today, 08-08-08. I don't think I was really awake for 8:08 am, though. I might have been but I wasn't focusing yet.

In any case, I wore red for the good luck associated with red in the Asian traditions... and it just so happens, I already got some.

Some good friends are getting married today! Out of the blue, I get a call and a can you be free in a little bit... WOO HOO ... they did it like this last time, too. We have all been asking and asking ... are you going to get married again? It was always, we'll wait until after November and see how this thing plays out. But, maybe they just didn't want to plan a big thing and having it on a special day if it works out is better.

Anyway, I just read Andrea's blog entry this morning and she was thinking about a wedding she shot this weekend, and I realized, this is exactly what I need to be writing about.

It's all about the LOVE ya'll. Get out there and get you some! Congratulations S and S!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Warning: Rant Crossing or Crossing Rant...

Update... got home tonight ... unscathed from my walkings around Oakland and San Francisco -- thank you very much, and read this! HAHAHAHA I wish I would have been there to gloat ... and that I could get some of that response from at least one of the places I have to cross every day.

I want to be compassionate, really. I want more than anything in the world to be compassionate ... especially with the people who most aggravate me. I try. And it is struggling against the tide most days to try to be compassionate when all you really feel is angry or frustrated. I believe in gun control largely because I know that if I had a gun, I would use it on all the people who desperately crave my compassion! I say all of this as a way to set the scene for the little rant I am about to write. I have decided after long deliberation that it should be in the form of an open letter to those who would be dead if I had a gun. It is not at all compassionate. I thought I was sending out love and compassion by not writing about it -- but in fact I am just poisoning my life slowly and painfully by holding it in. I think I am done with the preamble, but there may be more editorializing later. You are duly warned.

Dear People Who Have Never Learned the Use or Purpose of the Crosswalk:

I would like to start by indicating to you the proper use of a crosswalk: people who are not driving use marked walkway across a road that cars traverse to get to the other side. We do this because we need to get to the other side; not because we want it to take you two minutes longer to get to your destination or to make your life miserable or frustrated in any way. It is quite simple, you are in a car, we are not. It makes us slightly more vulnerable than you.

Your job when you approach a crosswalk is to see if it is in use. If it is in use, that is to say that there are either people waiting to cross or people actually crossing, it is your responsibility to STOP. Stop. Not slowly inch towards said people in order to intimidate them into walking faster or to keep them from venturing into the crosswalk. Especially when there is either a sign denoting that YOU MUST YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS (that's what they call us people who WALK) or a STOP SIGN, you MUST stop. It's not me asking you to do something that you don't want to do -- it's simply the LAW. Ah yes, laws, they do apply to you, people who drive cars are required to follow laws just like everyone else. [Don't think that I give any slack to bike riders who don't stop or to pedestrians who jay walk -- anyone who knows me understands that I go to the corner to cross -- it's polite but it's also the law.]

When you are trying to run me down in the crosswalk, this is what I think: do you have children?? I mean really, do you have children who will be required to do this thing we call walking sometime?? Follow up question: wouldn't you like other cars being driven by other people to stop for your children when they are crossing the street?? If so, then it might be worth your while to PRACTICE stopping!!!

I have to go out and WALK to the library to return a book right now -- I am hoping that if you are reading this that you are not in your car so that there might be one less person trying to run me down... I will have to cross no less than three streets there and another three back, anyone want to place a bet on the number of cars that will not want to stop when they see me in the crosswalk. I will be the one glaring and possibly yelling at the drivers who don't understand that thing called a crosswalk -- and it won't be pretty.

I added these lovely flowers in an attempt to lower my blood pressure before I have to back out and brave the streets -- that is to say the crazy drivers.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Time in Hell

If I believed in heaven and hell, I would surely subscribe to this man's tattoo.

Either way, it is a powerful statement and photo.

Thanks, Zoriah. I wish I had the $25/month to subscribe to your photos. Sharing these images with the world is important work.

It is an interesting thought to consider his work sensationalism in a world where we photograph famous people doing perp walks, or famous people sell photos of their newborns (regardless of how the money will be used) -- war is real and people die, but all we get is the reports that "the surge is working." Do we ever stop to think what "working" means?

Listen to his discussion with Neal Conan on Talk of the Nation yesterday.

Blowing Kisses to the Universe

I have heard it said, and I want to believe, that you can have what you want -- if you are willing to ask the universe. (Oh, and you have to be willing to receive the gifts as well.)

I was discussing this with a friend the other day in regards to asking for what I want -- aloud -- and to the person from whom I want it.

She was concerned that perhaps she wasn't speaking in the right tone to the universe -- because she wasn't getting what she wanted. In fact, she was recovering from finding out that she was fairly definitively NOT getting exactly what she wanted.

It helps when you ask and you get --- it reinforces your belief -- but their is still a power in asking. I guess if you ask and ask and don't get, you might feel beaten down.

But I am feeling more and more powerful by asking -- sometimes I vocalize and decide how I can make it happen for myself, that is with no extra help from the universe. Somehow it is affirming just to ask.

It takes courage, the bravery I sometimes I feel I lack, to ask because behind every ask is the chance for disappointment. But, if you decide that the worst that can happen is that the universe (or the person) will say "no," then perspective may take over. The perspective to see that being courageous can be more powerful than getting what you want.

At least, that is my glass half full mentality. It takes a lot of work and every day practice to see the silver lining. I am trying to train my mind to see the world through the glass half full -- hoping that someday these more lovely and affirming thoughts will filter into the subconscious. I dream of the day when the inner voices whisper the silver lining about anything and everything in life. I want to believe in my soul like I do in my head ... just like the seeds for these lovely flowers believed they would emerge from the snow in Alaska.

So, this morning, I am just blowing kisses to the universe for being there -- not even asking for anything.

Monday, August 04, 2008

messages from the subconscious

Every morning I resolve that today is the day I will finish all the projects, exercise, WRITE, finish the blog drafts, finish the grad app essay, clean my apartment, etc...

That is to say, I over promise myself... and then some things get done, but clearly not all of them.

At the end of the day, even when I feel somewhat accomplished... I still feel that I failed to get all that I wanted to get done.

Sometimes, the reminder that I need to do certain activities -- like WRITE which is the way that I process -- gets underscored in my sleep. Yes, my sleep.

For the past three days, I have awoken from a nice, deep sleep from the most disturbing dreams. Not nightmares, exactly, but bad dreams. Dreams in which things that I don't want to happen in real life feel painfully close to reality, in which I feel alone and/or betrayed and in which I have to work way too hard to get what I want.

I don't enjoy these dreams. They trouble me... and I don't like the emotions that are displayed in seemingly neon signs in the themes of these dreams.

Balance eludes me... and I need to make just one thing my priority right now ... processing the emotions, whether that be through meditation, long walks, or writing.

Wish me luck, and peace -- seemingly in short supply in my sleeping hours.