Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Multi-Headed Gorilla

Today I woke up around 6:30 a.m., much much earlier than my preferred time. My thoughts about a gargantuan photo project kept me awake. How could I ever finish it in the two days that I had allocated for the project. This was a time-line that I'd established for myself in order to take advantage of a mega-discount (67% off) from an on-line photo company.

This morning I finally admitted the obvious. I can't do it. Sitting at the computer for the time needed to achieve the results I am aiming for is too much of a physical strain for me. My back hurts. My neck hurts. And what was supposed to be a FUN project has become a multi-headed gorilla that needs caging. I've decided to trade robotic perseverance for a saner incremental approach. I'll spend no more than 90 minutes at a time at the computer - and only 60 minutes if I'm hurting.

This approach, to throw myself entirely into a project at the expense of other things (eg. exercise) is not unusual for me. Over-all I think I lead a fairly well-balanced life; on a day to day basis not so much. The all or nothing approach is all too typical of the way I live my life.

Pain can be a great teacher. Today it is teaching me that it is time for a fundamental change in how I approach my days.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Chimpanzee And The White Baby Tigers

My long-time blog friend Mick sent me an e-mail with these beautiful pictures. I revised the captions to create a book for my three year old granddaughter, Maddie. I hope that she (and you) will enjoy looking at this. If you'd like the original or my edited work, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. Merry Christmas to y'all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year and beyond to my on-line friends. Click on this link from my long-time on-line friend Nola. It wonderfully catches what I'd like to think the Christmas spirit is all about.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have You Been Bad or Good ????

(Click on the picture for more detail.)

After I left the group of Santas after the sun had gone down last Saturday, I approached a woman who smiled at me as she waited for the boat parade to start. I was still wearing my Santa pants, but had taken off my jacket and may have also taken off my hat.

"I've been looking for you," I said.

"You have?" asked the woman. "Do I know you?"

"Why of course you know me."

"I don't know you."

I turned to the woman who was with her. "Does she know me?"

"I don't know."

"I don't know you," repeated her friend.

I waved my red jacket, trimmed in white "fur," at her. "Okay," I said. "I'm not used to this hot weather. It's cold where I come from."

"Oh," her face relaxed into a smile. "You're Santa Claus."

"Yes," I said. "And I've been looking for you to find out if you've been bad or good. I couldn't find your name in my records."

"Oh, I've been good," she said.

I paused, tilted my head and asked slowly, "but what about that one time. You remember don't you?"

She giggled. "Yes there was that time."

"Well, since you've been honest about it, Santa has something for you." I pulled out an ornament from the red bag that I was carrying. It was one of the more expensive ones enveloped in a wrapping of pale blue nylon.

"That's just the right color," said the woman. "But you already knew that didn't you."

I smiled and moved on to find other strangers with whom I could play.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I am freer now than I have ever been - or, more likely, I am just now realizing and appreciating that freedom from a different perspective.

My dream the night before last was my first indication. For as long as I can remember, I have had an active and well remembered dream life. My dreams are often inter-connected and evolving; new dreams are frequently impacted by the events in previous dreams. The same themes keep coming up.

In Thursday night's dream, I was once again returning to school. This time, I finally found the totally right program for me, a short program which would enable me to work with animals. On Friday night, I refused a contract to teach for another year. I've been teaching constantly in my dreams - up to 3 or 4 times a week -and it is rarely a pleasant experience.

I don't expect the returning to school dreams nor the unpleasant teaching experience dreams to end. It will be interesting (to me) to observe the new wrinkles in them, but this is not primarily about my dreams. It is about my shift into a new reality.

The truth is that most of the things that I have been telling myself that I HAVE to do are things that I can choose or not choose to do. My choices have consequences, but none impact the quality of my life except to the extent that I've made them "have to's."

I do not really have to:

organize my pictures from China (though I took many excellent ones that are lingering as bytes on my computer)

work with my glass (despite having invested a fortune in glass supplies)

finish a couple of sewing projects (including the compelling one on which I'm currently working)

finish reading Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution (even though it's absolutely fascinating and very well written - and a major intellectual challenge to me)

learn to do various things on my iPhone (though it is the most awesome material object I currently own; I do not own Daisy, my kitty)

learn to even use the GPS that I recently ordered (though not to do so would be a total waste)

make reservations for events I want to attend (There is the option of missing them.)

Organize various papers (that should be organized, but life can go on perfectly fine without this happening)

Donate the rest of Matt's clothes and other items, keeping excellent records of these donations in preparation for taxes (The consequences of not paying taxes make the payment of them not an option for me, but I don't HAVE to donate stuff and take a deduction for doing so).

Replace the very unsteady shelf in the garage that a careless move will destroy causing cans of paint to fall on the floor and possibly open causing an almost catastrophic mess

Roast pumpkin seeds, bake corn bread, make root vegetable soup (though I'll probably do the last of these after I finish this blog)

I don't HAVE to visit the grandson who will most likely be born this week-end, maybe even today. Nor do I HAVE to go to the symphony tomorrow. Nor put butterflies (fake ones) above my bed.

I have been making an agenda of things like those listed above, assigning their completion to a given day then reassigning them to other days because I always imagine myself doing more than I can actually accomplish. I will still probably do this. I have a need for such structure. The difference is one of attitude:

I don't mind doing the things that are "have tos" (in the sense that bill paying is a
"have to" and not really an option). Even with the "have tos," I'm in the very lucky position that I really do have almost complete flexibility about when I'll do what I need to do. Most of the things on my list are NOT "have tos." I haven't been appreciating this. And now I do.

(For any youngun's reading this, the price for this freedom has not been insignificant. At 64+ years old, I've kinda earned it.)