Friday, May 02, 2014

Weekly Quotes 2014 #13

There are five key ways in which we can bring self-compassion into our lives:  (1) physically, (2) mentally, (3) emotionally, (4) relationally, and (5) spiritually.  Each area offers numerous practice options.  (102)

Many of us find it hard to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes.  We extend no mercy to ourselves.  One way to forgive oneself is to ask, “What would my best friend say?” . . . By taking the more benign perspective of others, we can extract ourselves from our ruminations.  (107)

Kindness in relationship means that our actions are guided by the wish to help others and refrain from harming them.  The Dalai Lama calls this “wisely selfish” because it inspires people to be kind to us in return.  (108)

When you know how it feels to feel good, and think you deserve it, a red flag will go up when you’re harming yourself and you’ll probably stop what you’re doing.  (113)

Savoring is a variation on mindfulness.  When we savor, there’s the intention to enter fully into the experience, rather than cling to it or drag it out.  The goal of mindfulness is not to get “hooked” by positive or negative experiences—to let things be just as they are, fully and completely.  (115)

Artificial sweetener on a salad . . . supposedly tastes wonderful . . . in place of dressing . . . I have my doubts but . . . (253)

Quoting Samuel Johnson:   Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.  (254)

It’s easier to complain than to laugh, easier to yell than to joke around, easier to be demanding than to be satisfied.  (259)

[P]eople’s  assessments are very influenced by other people’s assessments.  (269)

Studies show that distraction is a powerful mood-altering device, and contrary to what a lot of people believe, persistently focusing on a bad mood aggravates rather than palliates it.  (274)

[I]n my judgment the translations available to most English readers are based on the wrong text, and having the wrong text makes a real difference for the interpretation of these books.  (127)

The mere question of numbers of manuscripts supporting one reading over another . . . is not particularly germane to the question of which reading in our surviving manuscripts represents the original (or oldest) form of the text.  (129)

Manuscripts are to be weighed, not counted.  (225)

[I]ntrinsic probabilities—probabilities based on what the author of the text was himself most likely to have written.  We are able to study, of course, the writing style, the vocabulary, and the theology of an author.  When two or more variant readings are preserved among our manuscripts, and one of them uses words or stylistic features otherwise not found in that author’s work, or if it represents a point of view that is at variance with what the author otherwise embraces, then it is unlikely that that is what the author wrote—especially if another attested reading coincides perfectly well with the author’s writing elsewhere.  (131)

The second kind of internal evidence is called transcriptional probability.  This ask, not which reading an author was likely to have written, but which reading a scribe was likely to have created. . . .  This is premised on the idea that scribes are more likely to try to correct what they take to be mistakes to harmonize passages that they regard as contradictory, and to bring the theology of a text more into line with their own theology.  (131)

Dishonesty is a state in which I am mesmerized by my words and disregard my senses. 

By approaching my problems with “What might make things a little better?” rather than “What is the solution?” I avoid setting myself up for certain frustration.  My experience has shown me that I am not going to solve anything in one stroke; at best I am only going to chip away at it.

Today a friend wrote me, “Do you think you are a mistake just because you made one?”

There is no such thing as a mistake. There is only what happens.

As long as I am thinking I am not fully present.

It is acceptable to tell a story without people knowing all the details of what led up to it.  (54)

People tend to worry about the middle of the story and think the ending will take care of itself.  It won’t!  Plan it out ahead of time.  It is the focus of the entire story.  (57)

A common mistake among storytellers is the story ends and they keep talking.  (58)

Most stories are told using only the senses of sight and sound, leaving out taste, smell, and touch.  Sight and sound are necessary, but they are lighter.  The last three are heavier and make the greatest impact on your listener.  (70)

Stories impact lives.  When you increase your ability to draw people in the heart f your story, you are increasing the impact your stories will have in their lives.  (73)

Such a person believes . . . that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that only those who accept the divinity of Jesus Christ will experience salvation after death.  (viii)

I have little doubt that liberals and moderates find the eerie certainties of the Christian Right to be as troubling as I do.  (ix)

Even the most progressive faiths lend tacit support to the religious divisions in our world.  (ix)

[M]ore than half of our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago.  (x)

Consider:  every devout Muslim has the same reasons for being a Muslim that you have for being a Christian.  And yet you do not find their reasons compelling.  The Koran repeatedly declares that it is the perfect word for the creator of the universe.  Muslims believe this as fully as you believe the Bible’s account of itself.  (6)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shifting Gears As I Head Into May

Not a great pic but I got a trim yesterday
and we added a bit of fringe to my face.
This is what 52 looks like!
I just wrote about April and it occurs to me that I hardly need to rehash the month—my delightful birthday, the sadness, the sickness (Holly) so why don’t I just focus on my intentions for May?

I read Start Where You Are by Pema Chödrön and have notes and, assuming I can figure out how to do so, I’ll write out some of my thoughts.  I know, I just said I’d write about May and here I am writing about April.  Just think “Whitman” and forgive me my “multitudes.”  The monthly book for May is one that my mother highly recommended to me:  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.  As always, if you want to join me, please do so.  It has a reading guide  so maybe I’ll even consider reading the guide and responding.   I updated the sidebar with the other books I’m currently reading.  I also need to choose some other reading material for my trip.

What trip?  Aha!  I’ll be going to visit my family for nine days in May.  I hope they notice I have lost some weight but you never know.  I have four more weeks to lose still more weight.  Which is why I need to think about what book(s) to bring with me for reading on the flight and during the quiet times when my mother and I are just curling up in her window seat with Lizzie.  

But before I head up north, I have plans.  For one thing, remember the Bullet Journal?  So far I haven’t gotten into the habit of using it but I think it’s a closer fit than anything else I’ve tried thus far.  I just need to remember to use it daily and I don’t think I fall into the cliché of creating a new habit in 21 days.  (There’s research that suggests it takes longer and I must be the poster child for the research.)  Today I’ll sit with my moleskine and start planning out my May. 

And I have plans!

Over on Ekaterina’s blog, there is a second (or other, if you know more than two) language challenge.  Read a book in a language that is not your “mother tongue.”  Only, I never learned a second language.  I studied a little French in middle school, a little Spanish in high school, and a little more French in college.  But not enough to navigate my way through a primer in either language.  So I asked if I could, instead of reading in another language, try to learn another language.  With her approval, I’ll be studying Italian.  I just need to get my Italian ducks in a row. 

BTW, if you do read in a second/third/fourth/etc. language (unlike yours truly), you should sign up for the challenge. It looks like fun.  And if you don't, maybe you can do what I'm doing and start studying a new language.  Or new to you, anyway.  (Last time I checked, Italian has been around for a while.)

And thanks to Betty Taylor, I’ve decided to pick up my calligraphy pen again.  I just need to scrounge around and pull together the materials.  Chisel point markers.  Dip pens.  And I think I have a fountain pen lying around here somewhere.  I’m going to do the “drills” of simple strokes and copying pangrams, focusing on relearning italic penmanship.  I’ll also play with my own handwriting, perhaps copying poems and such.  I think I can commit to practicing every day.  I’ll share pictures when I can and, when I’m out of town, well, you’ll have to use your imagination, I guess.  Or trust me to keep up the practice when I’m away from home.  I used to have a lovely hand and, while I may never have the level of skill I had when I was younger, who knows?  Maybe I can at least work my way to being legible again. 

Also, in a few days, Rob and I will be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary.  And they said it wouldn’t last!  I have a couple of gifts for him but I think he sometimes snoops in my blog so I’ll not say another word about what I have for him until after he’s opened the goodies.

April wasn’t quite what I thought it would be.  May will probably come with its own surprises.  I’m trying to think of creative ways to have blog posts that will go live while I’m out of town.  Not sure what I’ll post which is why I’m “trying to thin of” rather than “thinking of” and I’m definitely open to suggestions.  Hmmmm . . . see?  I’m already opening myself up to surprises.  Surprise me!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In: What a Week! What a Loss!

I don’t really have much to say about my exercise except I did a lot of it.  By which I mean, I steam cleaned my carpet more times than I can number.  And I am counting that as exercise. 

I did lose 3.5 lbs last week.  I guess cleaning up Holly’s diarrhea was not conducive to my having an appetite.  Go figure.  As much as I want to lose weight, stressing out over and caring for a dog is not the way I choose to do it.

This week, however, I have plans to get back in the habit (or get into a habit because it feels like that’s all I keep saying “this week I will” do).  I requested and picked up 3 Jillian Michaels DVDs from the library and, since I can only borrow them for one week, I guess that’s what I’ll be doing this week. All three DVDs.  I’ll alternate and give myself a day off sometime this weekend.

The nice thing about finally losing weight is my wardrobe is gradually expanding, again.  I have a pair of slacks I need to have taken in and two that don’t quite fit yet but will 5-10 pounds from now.  But I tried on a couple of skirts, a jacket, a few blouses and lo and behold I have several more pieces I can wear to the office without feeling uncomfortable in things that are too tight. 

It’s been so long since I last had to have things taken in that my seamstress didn’t recognize me.  It feels sooooo good to be unrecognizable in this context!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekly Update -- Why April Was So Quiet and What to Do About Doggy Diarrhea

The card
I wasn’t anticipating the upheaval of emotions the past few weeks.  After a wonderful birthday celebration, I found myself reaching for silence more and more.  When I realized that we were approaching the anniversary of Romanov’s death, I knew what was going on.  The guilt and grief were weighing me down.  

And that was okay.  But I wasn’t able to write about things because my words kept going to Romanov.  I simply did not want to touch those things in words. I just wanted to hold them in my heart and experience them.  Maybe because I didn’t think the words I could find to write about Romanov would never be enough. 

Easter brought those emotions to a head.  I mean, of course, the feelings are still there but I am back to where I can put things into words.  Easter morning I woke up to a couple of treats from Rob—an M&M fan (because fans are good when you are a woman of a certain age) and a stuffed Beanie Boo.  Now, anyone who is familiar with Beanie Babies knows that many of them have dates on them, like birthdays.  I looked at the Beanie and discovered the date is Romanov’s deathday.  It was an intentional choice on Rob’s part.  He recognized the date as immediately as I. 

Poor Bibi was sick but not contagious so we decided to move the Easter celebration to her place.  Joe took pictures which I’ll share when I see them.  We arrived with her filled Easter basket.  Then, Rob went to put something “in the car” and to hide the eggs all over the front yard which, to be honest, is a better place for Easter egg hunting.  She had a blast trying to find all of the eggs.  And there were a lot.  She did not, however, like the bunny cookies we had made.  She thought they were cute but she didn’t really want to eat them.  I guess I can’t blame her.  I didn’t think they were spectacular.  But they were fun to make.

But it was the card that stands out in my heart. 

So all of this is why I didn’t really post much at all.  Clearly, however, I’m back.  And what a week I’ve had.  It started off uninspiring or exciting.  I mean, except for the fact that Rob would be out of town, there was nothing special planned.  I was going to take advantage of Rob’s absence.  I wanted to clean off the kitchen table and do laundry.  I wanted to put away the Easter things, organize some of my clothes (rotate long sleeves out for short sleeves) and do my hand wash delicates.  I figured I could start on Wednesday, finish up on Friday, and have some freedom for the weekend to do some fun things. I still wanted to make some things for Bibi’s book (more pictures coming, I promise!). 

Holly had other ideas.  Tuesday morning we realized the poor thing had diarrhea.  And Tuesday is the day the Rob left, meaning he left me to clean up the mess.  Literally.  And it lasted all day Tuesday and Wednesday.  It might have gone on through Thursday if not for Joe who, after dropping Bibi off at school and working all day and picking Bibi up from school, went to the drug store to pick up some diarrhea medicine for Holly.

For the record:  1 tsp / 20 lbs of dog

Friday I noticed she was doing better.  Not quite there yet but not too bad.  I was exhausted.  Between Tuesday and Wednesday, I only had 3 hours of sleep.  All day Wednesday, I was cleaning up diarrhea and trying to take care of Holly, taking her out at the slightest sign of her needing to go.  I did about six loads of laundry and steam cleaned the carpet every time I cleaned up after Holly.  Over and over again.  I would sit down for a few minutes, and she would want me to take her outside again. And again.  And again.   

Because Joe brought me medicine on Wednesday, Holly was doing better by Thursday and Friday I was able to join him and his family to see Bibi’s final dance performance of the season.  It was so much fun to be there with them, to see her being more confident as she moved around the stage.  She was great!  I took blurry pictures and shared them with Rob who was still out of town.  After her performance, we went for frozen yogurt (I had a small serving of pistachio which was yummy). 

Then Saturday was my day of catching up with the cleaning I had hoped to do.  I went out for a walk with Kanika Saturday morning and came home to do some more cleaning but I didn’t finish.  Truth is, I’d kinda given up on getting things done and just wanted to relax a bit.  So I did.  I watched A Streetcar Named Desire (love this movie) and finished one book before finishing up another that I wanted to devour.  With Holly eating rice mixed in with her canned dog food, she was doing better.  She is doing better. 

It was an unexpectedly eventful week.  Maybe this week will prove to be less thrilling.  If nothing else, it will be wonderful to have Rob back home again.  Holly is going to be overflowing with joy at his return.  I just hope she doesn’t overflow with anything else!