Bird and Moon…

I am totally infatuated with Bird and Moon comics.  Especially “evolution sucks”.  Birds used to be SO fierce, kicking ass all over the dino-planet and now they’re small novelties to be collected as sightings or pets.  As long as you’re not a worm or a mouse-prey, that is…

November 19, 2008 at 9:02 pm Leave a comment

Journey to Acceptance

Everything teaches.  This was the presence message on a coworker’s IM.  My recent motorbike trip to Flat Rock, NC was a large example of that concept.

Internal journeys mirror external journeys and if we pay attention we can experience personal growth.  I knew this would be a significant journey and had resolved to be open to the learnings.  This was more challenging than I expected it to be.  Right off the bat, even before I left, I had mechanical issues that I had more-or-less created.  I’ve been taught that Acceptance of a challenge is the best way to move through that challenge.  Easy to say, much harder to do.  I went thru the gamut of emotions, from “Lori, you stupid, you broke your bike” to “Ok I’m calm and walking thru this” to “it’s the auto parts store’s fault”.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get everything running to go, and the thought of having to ditch the bike trip in favor of a car trip – when I had told the world I was going motor-bike camping – was nothing I wanted to face.

Then there came a moment, on the third trip back to the parts store, when I said to myself, “OK, if I have to take the car, I have to take the car, and it’ll be all right.  There are even advantages.  I can load everything I might want to load.  I can take drums and my Uke and a blow-up air mattress.”  There was a shift in my attitude and I became at peace with the situation.  I decided on a go/no-go time frame, and continued on in my efforts to get things sorted.  By that time I was tired of dealing with the issue and it would have been easy to stop and load the cage (car) but I had invested so much time and energy that I tried one last thing.  And it worked!

It’s no coincidence that I was able to work thru the issues only after I had accepted the situation.  Acceptance was a step in that particular sub-journey that led to the end and opened the door for the next leg.  This was one of the largest challenges on my trip and it was satisfying to know that I had been able to work thru it.  It gave me confidence that I could handle other issues that might arise.  And I Accepted the lesson.

November 16, 2008 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

Multi-Project vs. Multi-Task

Leo at zenhabits says Don’t multi-task — multi-project and single-task.

How many job descriptions do you read that list “ability to multi-task” as a requirement?  Sure, we all have that ability to some extent, but I’m realizing that’s not the best way to get things done.  If I’m trying to give my attention to two or more different things at once, I’m not giving either the attention that it deserves.  Of course, we all have a smorgasbord of things we’re trying to accomplish, from getting the yard done to finishing the weekly status report.  Our focus should be on one thing at a time, until we move to the next.

I’m working on putting this strategy in my life, but I can’t say that I’m successful yet.  As I’m writing this post I’m getting up to stir lunch that’s on the stove, then sitting back down to write.  So I have a ways to go.  But what a goal, huh?


November 2, 2008 at 12:19 pm Leave a comment

…but is it fun?

I was talking to a coworker today about a book she was reading.  A long book that had gotten boring in the middle, so she was skipping pages and sections to get to the ending so she could quit reading.  Ah yes, I’ve been there many times.  So why do I feel compelled to complete a book when it becomes work instead of a diversion?

Most of my reading is for pleasure.  It fascinates me how authors are able to create entire worlds, sustain and expand these worlds.  If it’s done well the places and characters come alive and beckon me to explore.  It can be historical fiction or modern day outrageous characters, mythical fantasy or my favorite, a well-thought-out cyberpunk/neopunk realm.  I can immerse myself for hours at a time.

But there are times when a popular, critically acclaimed writer just doesn’t click.  The concept of the book may interest me, and people I share similar tastes with rave about it, but I struggle the whole way through.  Douglas Adams’ writings are like that for me.  There, I said it.  I really tried to like the Hitchhiker books, can praise the virtues of the number 42 and the importance of towels with the best of them, but was always a closet yawner when I made myself read the books.

So why do we push ourselves to get through recreational activities that we don’t enjoy?  Oh sure, I know there are some uncomfortable learning curves, and there are things that aren’t enjoyable that provide some kind of value to ourselves, others, or the planet – I’m not referring to those.  I’m talking about the things that we get in a habit of doing supposedly to relax, that end up being more taxing or boring than really relaxing.

“Have fun.”  A simple concept, that’s not always simple to carry out.  I’ve been exploring lately what it takes for me to have fun.  If I’m having fun, there will be a reward of feeling more alive and present during the activity.  Also there’s typically an anticipation before, and a good, cleansed feeling afterward.  Three fun activities for me are motorcycling, singing and drumming.  Certainly not slogging thru tedious books that I “need” to finish because I started, or playing certain mindless online flash games til the wee hours just to prove I can beat the next level, or even sitting in movie theaters watching things blow up.  That could be fun for some, and can pass the time.  But it’s not fun for me.

So often in our culture, we let our recreation be prescribed to us by folks who want to sell us something, or by those who want to simply share their enthusiasm for their passions.  The motivation of those who offer up their pastimes to us may be pure or tainted, and the motivations shouldn’t make a difference in our response to the offerings.  It’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves, and give ourselves what we need to feed our passions and our souls.

And what does this get us?  More than frivolity, though that’s important too.  It’s when we follow our heart and our passions that big things start to manifest.  Take, for example, the Day of the Dead festival that was created by Tracy Martin at Bare Hands Gallery in Birmingham.  She simply expressed what she was feeling in her heart, and it has grown into a huge event, one of the most unique that I’ve experienced, and rewarding for the entire community.

I’m working on applying this to my own life.  Progress has definitely been made.  I’m singing in a choir, taking an African drumming class and I recently completed a motorcycle camping trip to a music fest in North Carolina.  I’m still working on releasing the clutter-work I create in my leisure time.  Like all of life, I’m learning the lesson, even when having fun.

……..

October 29, 2008 at 5:38 am 9 comments

Expensive Ride to Straight Mountain

A beautiful day today, perfect for a ride.  I spent the early morning doing a little yard work, and decided to reward myself.  I headed out, with no destination or route in mind, just following the roads I took.  Ended up on a 4-lane highway, having the time of my life, zipping down the road, dodging patched potholes and roadkill and shadows and whatever else there was to swerve around.  And singing.  If you’ve ever sang in a full-face helmet, you can appreciate that.  Sorta like singing in the shower, but better.  The close quarters make for some great sounds.  So I start out with Arlo Guthrie’s Motorcycle Song, “I don’t want a pickle, just want to ride my motorsickle…”.  Went downhill from there, on to an old one from 6th grade chorus class, Old Joe Clark.  Things couldn’t have been better.

Until I heard the sound of a siren.  Huh?  Yeah, blue lights in the mirror.  Ah shit.  Throttle down, turn signal on.

Now, I was in an area that was a little built up, with small businesses on either side of me, but it was Sunday morning church time in small-town Alabama and the roads were about deserted.  I hadn’t paid attention to any speed limit signs, but thought the limit must be 50 or 55.  Though I was doing a bit more than that.  I had thought it a little strange that the Camaro had dropped back so far, but was having too much fun to worry about it much.

Well, it was time to worry.  First decent place to stop was a place that makes tombstones.  Fitting.  The cop was nice enough when he informed me the limit in the stretch I just rode through was 40mph in some places and 45mph in others.  <Gulp>  Yep, I’m getting a ticket all right.  He cut me a favor, took 10mph off my speed, so I couldn’t be mad at him, I totally deserved it.

So I keep on heading up that same road, a much more subdued rider.  Thinking of two things, getting OFF that highway, and finding some roads to make the day’s fare worthwhile.  And did I.  Headed through Springville past Homestead Hollow, and found Pine Mountain, a beautiful scenic road, and kept on going til I hit a T in the road with a gas station on the right, pulled in for a pit stop.  By this time I had no idea where I was – I have a completely unreliable bass-ackwards sense of direction – and thought about asking for directions, but decided to just keep following my nose.  Took a right, which led me down a great motorcycling road with cool hills and curves in the middle of nowhere.  Then I saw the sign – Straight Mountain Baptist Church.  Doh!  Not a place for this directionally-challenged lesbian to be wandering around!  U-turn at the first chance, back down the mountain, making my way back towards my urban comfort zone.

If you ride or have ridden, you know what a day like that can do for your spirits.  It’s a completely in-the-moment experience, makes me say wheeee like a fun ride at the fair.  Today I rode about 120 miles, around 3 hours and it would have been about perfect if not for the small-town road tax.  And can’t wait til the next time!

June 15, 2008 at 7:44 pm 2 comments

Blue Haze

If nothing else, they get one’s attention. The blue-tinted glasses.

What must it be like to look at the world through a blue haze? Blue, the color of the throat chakra, the power center of communication and speaking our truth. Blue, especially a light blue, is said to be calming, but she with the blue glasses is anything but calm. I’m put in mind of the Mississippi River as it flows past the Vieux Carré, smooth on the surface with roiling currents underneath that are said to be powerful and chaotic enough to pull under the strongest swimmer.  Though I don’t dare to dive below, I’m drawn to the rippling, dipping my fingers and toes in to feel the strength.

“LOVEly Evening”    …  <shimmer of a (begrudging) smile> …

…  then I allow an escape from the mirror we share, graspng my 6-pack and heading out from under the flourescents, to think in blue haze…

June 12, 2008 at 9:56 pm Leave a comment

Un-IQs

I don’t always agree with Malcolm Gladwell’s viewpoints but he wrote an interesting article about IQ scores. Seems that instead of being absolute and non-changing, as we were once told, IQ scores have been rising over the generations. Who’da thunk it, huh?

We’ve heard discussions for a long time about standardized tests being written so that certain demographics – white upper/middle class male – have a higher chance of passing, and now facts are being publicized about the tests that are given to children to measure IQ. Seems that IQ scores have been rising – about 3 points per decade on average – since the tests were first created. And, the frequently used WISC test has been renormed, or updated to be harder, three times since it was created in 1949, the last update in 2003.

Think about the implications to those testing with an IQ of borderline mental retardation. I’m reading that an IQ of 70 or below is generally considered mentally retarded. So, if a child was tested in 2002, and tested in the low 70′s but above 70, that child made the cut. But if a child of the same intelligence and abilities was tested two years later, that child could be branded mentally retarded with all the baggage that goes along with that. Unbelievable.

Not to mention that the WISC seems to test a certain kind of intelligence, a more abstract thinking.

Now I was never, as far as I know, given the WISC. The only IQ tests that I’ve taken are the popular ones on websites, and – in another era – at my local bookstore. And while I always wanted to be able to join Mensa, I never made the grade. Maybe that’s a good thing.

What do you think, readers? Any off-the-charts IQ out there? Know of folks with low IQs that are high performers?

June 9, 2008 at 6:01 pm 2 comments

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