Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekly Quotes 2012-2

All we have is all we need.  (November 23)

Some mysteries are beyond our comprehension.  Some mysteries we will never solve.  (November 26)

[A]ll shall be well, even if it’s different from what we had expected.  Even if it’s different from what we had hoped for and believed with all our hearts would happen.  (November 26)

If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, napping is not optional. (November 27)

There are many marvelous books available offering the wisdom of different spiritual paths, but most of them seem to have been written by people who do not have children. . . .  (November 28)

Love is not only a feeling; it is also a practice.  It is not only a miracle; it is also a discipline.  It is not only a gift; it is also an understanding.  (December 5)

What can you do, now and always, to encourage the blossoming of your children?  (December 30)

When in doubt, go to the library.  (255)

It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. (333)

By focusing our energy in a positive way, we are far more likely to generate good experiences.  (42)

How can I really feel good in this moment?  What thoughts can I think right now that will make me feel better?  (45)

When something good happens in your life, you want to go to the mirror and say, ‘Thank you. That’s terrific!  Thank you for doing this,’ . . . .  Or if something awful happens to you, you want to go to the mirror and say, ‘It’s okay, I love you.  This thing will pass, but I love you and that’s forever.’  (78)

If we can make a habit of putting ourselves down, we can make a habit of building ourselves back up too!  (124)

Our thinking either makes us feel good or it makes us feel bad.  (118)

People could push and pull at you, and poke you, and probe as deep as the could go.  They could even tear you apart, bit by bit.  But at the heart and root and soul of you, something would remain untouched.  (90)

That is the strangest thing about the world:  how it looks so different from every point of view. (167-168)

The shit we create doesn’t ever disappear, especially when we leave it for someone else to clean up. (25)

We knew how hard we could push, but we knew how much we could forgive.  (26)

You need to figure out where you’re going from here first and what of this history is coming with you.  (66-67)

[U]niforms make the people who wear them disappear.  (141)

Tending bar is a triage all its own.  (145)

“But if we only wait a few minutes, there will be no danger of our seeing them at all.”  (32-33)

[A]n occasional memento of past folly, however painful, might not be without use. (190)

She was ashamed of Isabella, and ashamed of having ever loved her. (207)

There are two kinds of useful exercises.  The first sort is to ‘play’ with technique. . . .  In other words, play with the patterns.  Examine what works, and how it works.  Or doesn’t.  There is no failure in such activity.  The intent is to learn—and that, of course, is taking place whenever one puts words to paper.  (97)

Read.  Read!  You can never read enough.  (98)

[I]t is the process that is important, and the body of literature entire, and how it changes us from mere humans into meditative beings.    (99)

Art is transformational.  We do not make it as therapy and yet it is profoundly therapeutic.  (243)

Remember, creativity flourishes in a place of safety and acceptance.  (245)

Our fears are just needless suffering.  We may as well elect to have faith.  We may as well choose to be optimistic.  We can and do survive our storms.  (245-246)

But is it really so easy to let dreams die?  Dreams are hardy.   They are as stubborn weeds.  We may think we have uprooted our dreams only to have a dream push upward again, daring us, one more time, to believe in the unbelievable.  As long as a dream lives, so does a chance of its manifesting.  We can cooperate with our dreams or we can fight them.  Our dreams are tenacious.  They don’t just fade away.  (246)

Quoting Ned Rorem
Sooner or later you’ve heard all your best friends have to say.  Then comes the tolerance of real love.  (250)

As adults we lose memory of the gravity and terrors of childhood.  (100)

How could she have even imagined that I would not take care of her? . . . How could she have even imagined that I could take care of her?  (101)

For a while I laid this to a certain weariness with my own style, an impatience, a wish to be more direct.  I encouraged the very difficulty I was having laying words on the page.  I saw it as evidence of a new directness.  I see it differently now.  I see it now as frailty.  (105)

How could I not still need that child with me?  (181)

Women, like other marginalized groups, internalize countless messages:  we do not belong in important places; we do not really count; we do not really shape history and culture.  And so, when we do achieve recognition, we tend to attribute, our success to luck, or if not that, then to something, anything, other than our competent and entitled selves.  (73)

. . . Dead-end jobs evoke dead-end dreams, while new opportunities evoke new desires and, ultimately, new stories about our ‘true self.’  (81)

The ideal family encourages the optimal growth of all its members and provides a safe place where individuals can more or less be themselves.  (84)

Like a pedestal or a prison, fixed labels that are either positive or negative leave one with little space in which to move around.  (91)

The myth that motherhood is a ‘career’ rather than a responsibility and a relationship is a particularly disastrous one.  (93-94)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday
is hosted by BermudaOnion's Blog

These words are brought to you by 
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

Image from this site
I drew the cows, for they were made interestingly; they hung in catenary curves from their skeletons, like two-man tents. (28)

In physics and geometry, the catenary is the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends.
Definition from this site

Don't you just love it when you look up a word you don't know and the moment you read the definition, the image of what the writer is trying to express is immediately there, in the forefront of your imagination?

I drank coffee in titrated doses.  (49)
Image from this site

titrate (verb)
To determine the concentration of a solution by titration or perform the operation of titration.
Definition from this site
titration (noun)
determination of a given component in solution by addition of a liquid reagent of known strength until the endpoint is reached when the component has been consumed by reaction with the reagent.
Definition from this site

And then there are times when the definition merely makes the chosen word seem more of an allusion rather than a clarification. I mean, are we to suppose Dillard is sitting there drinking her cup and somehow conducting an experiment to assess the concentration of the coffee brewed? Or are we to infer that the coffee was strong? Or is the allusion here to an increasing strength of brew? I don't know.  Is a single does a cup?  I drink coffee.  This shouldn't be so confusing.

EDIT:  Please be sure to check out the comments because one of my wonderful readers explained this perfectly.  You simply must go and see for yourself.

Image from this site
Her father was a grazier, her grandfather had been a butcher, but that was all nothing. (199)

grazier (noun)
A person who grazes cattle.
Definition from this site

This is one of those words that I understood because obviously it comes from the word "graze" and once again the context assured me that I was probably guessing correctly. With that said, I looked it up anyway. (Of course, it could simply be that I like to be right and these words where I can tell what they mean without looking them up lets me show-off how so very I am.)

Image from this site
Showers of sparks shot out of the caldera—the dark hollow in which the keys lie. (63-64)

caldera (noun)
A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption, such as the one at Yellowstone National Park in the US.
Definition from this site

I love it when a definition sheds light on something that you can visualize but for which you have no specific name. I mean, what if I wanted to describe a typewriter going up in flames? How would I have described the sparks flying out from . . . where? From between the keys or from above the keyboard? But this is it, the word. And the definition, although I could not find oen for a typewriter specifically, was still clear because I could see a volcano crater and it all immedaitely made sense. Further, this is one of those perfect word choices that make my heart dance with delight when I read.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm Not as Flaky as I Seem

Rob and I take turns making the bed and we have a small collection of Siberian husky stuffed animals.  Lately, these dogs seem to have a mind of their own and we never know what we will find when we walk into the bedroom so throughout this post you will find random photos with captions that try to explain the inexplicable.  

The puppies are curious
and gather to look out the window
I interrupt this post to offer an apology.

I know, just a few weeks ago I said I was going to be more consistent with the Wondrous Words and Weekly Quotes.  But then last week blogger was not being cooperative and this week my body was not being cooperative.  For one thing, I forgot this Wednesday was the SOPA blackout but I remembered in a nick of time.  Yes, I suppose I could have posted the WW on Thursday but that sort of belies the title not to mention that I felt pretty lousy Thursday.  And then again Friday.  So I sincerely apologize and I swear I am not a flake.  I just play one on the internet.  I now return you to the regular planned blog post.

Speaking of returning (How’s that for a nice segue?), I have returned to school for the third and final class in my course.  (Hmmmm . . . just noticed that I started the third class during the third week of this year.  How strange is that?)  This is a Continuing Education class so it’s not as intensive as a college course would be.  But I don’t know how to study any other way and I tend to study a lot.  Which is why I will probably be commenting as infrequently as I was in November but means that I won’t be studying for long.  I’ll come back to the real world by the end of March, just in time for some new craziness in my life.  But more about that another time.

As part of my morning ritual, I’ve been reading the Rig Veda, which is comprised of ten books.  I finished the first book this week and I’ve been untouched by the text at this point.  This is not to suggest that I’m not going to finish the text.  At the beginning of the year, I determined how many pages per month I would need to read to finish the book within the six month time frame.  I am reading at a comfortable-for-me pace and, having reached over 110 pages (because the first book of the text is longer), I can now set it aside and pick up another of the books from my Hinduism bookshelf without feeling like I am compromising my exploration. 

Puppies love belly rubs.
Here they are hinting oh so subtly.
One of the reasons the text hasn’t resonated with me thus far is that so many of these hymns are focused on how wealth equates divine approbation.  For instance, in 1.xcvii you can see how being sinless, worshipping properly, and such are all evidenced in being wealthy and victorious.  Now, there is the interpretation to be argued that these are spiritual blessings and not physical manifestations meaning that one is spiritually wealthy and victorious and not necessarily physically so.  Taking that interpretation then, how does one move towards the “pleasant homes”?  Those who contend that these physical blessings are metaphors for spiritual ones would typically suggest that the “home” is actually the physical body.  Which then brings us to question of how do we then interpret these things if someone has a genetic pathology or comes down with a terminal or at best incurable condition?

Puppies like dens.  Here they are
"denning" in Rob's bedside table. 
It smacks of “prosperity thinking” and is too close to the teachings of a few Christian teachers who teach God created us for abundance, etc. 

Another reason is that so much of the language is cloaked in a rhetoric that is martial-centric.  I have to laugh at myself for this, of course, because I’ve read (more than once) the Bhagavad-Gita so this language should not come as a surprise to me.  But it is off-putting. 

None of this will stop me from continuing.  From what I understand, the Rig Veda is a collection of many traditional hymns and they are organized thematically so it stands to reason that if I don’t fully appreciate the first book that doesn’t mean that I won’t find something inspiring in another book in the collection.  I shall read on and let you know what comes up. 

Mommy puppy realized baby couldn't
really see out the window before.
My yoga challenge hit a snag when Snowdoll had diarrhea one morning and I was more interested in taking care of her and then cleaning up the mess, including steam cleaning the carpet, than I was in doing my morning practice.  Also, I found the whole updating process a bit tedious.  I would do the morning yoga in the morning.  Later, I would have a vegetarian meal either for breakfast or lunch.  Now, if I had already logged in my morning yoga practice, I’d then have to log my breakfast.  But sometimes I would log them both at the same time.  That still left a meditation practice to be logged and I kept forgetting to log something so that it looked like I was not following through even though I was.  So when I actually chose not to do yoga one day, in favor of tending to the needs of Snowdoll, I just decided to not bother.  That I ate a vegetarian meal that day, that I also meditated, mattered more to me anyway.  And as Shakti Gawain says, yoga is not something you do on the mat, it is how one lives from moment to moment.  My yoga practice that morning was caring for Snowdoll and I know I made the better choice.

It was a dark and thunder stormy day.
The puppies hid under the bed.
Anyway, I’ve blabbered enough already and I have some studying to do.  Did I have more to share?  Yes.  Was it good stuff?  Oh yes, very.  Will it wait?  I suppose it will have to.  I have so much to do today.  You do too, something other than reading a post that just goes on and on and on.

PS:  Snowdoll was fine and dandy before the day was out.  A little rice and a lot of tender-loving care and she had no more tummy troubles.  She is, however, a bit jealous about the fact that all these other puppies get to climb up on the bed but I think as long as we rub her belly as often as we can, she'll be okay.