Thursday, May 05, 2016

The Bicycle

The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.
— Christopher Morley

Christopher Morley

“It's a good thing to turn your mind upside down now and then, like an hour-glass, to let the particles run the other way.”
― Christopher Morley

“There is only one success - to be able to spend life in your own way.”
― Christopher Morley

“There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.”
― Christopher Morley, Pipefuls

“The real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking. ”
― Christopher Morley

Dream

I dreamed I was climbing through an old farmhouse. I was wearing pale yellow shirt and pale yellow pants. I had loose blob of blackberry jam in my hand.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Dream

I dreamed I was serving a soup with a tangle of muddy roots as a garnish.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Receive Mode

I'm deep in receive-mode. My head is noisy which is sheer hell. I feel like I am moving through molasses with cinder-block shoes. I have been swimming which is good and I've reached for May Sarton's JOURNAL of a SOLITUDE to console me. For over 25 years this book has and still provides me with surprise and treasure. The weather has been gray and rainy and the forecast is more of the same. My task is to make a nest in this part of my wheel. It is scary and part of me just wants to out-run my chattering mind. A certain amount of running is good but nest building is also essential because the mood usually lasts about three months. "Get comfortable as best as you can in your new emotional home," I tell myself.

May Sarton

It is never a waste of time to be outdoors, and never a waste of time to lie down and rest even for a couple of hours. It is then that images float up and then that I plan my work.
- May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude (pg 26)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Annie Dillard

"One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. [...] Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you."
- Annie Dillard

Friday, April 29, 2016

Practice

You seize time and you make it yours. You counter the narrative of diminishment and loss with one of progress and bettering.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/01/opinion/better-aging-through-practice-practice-practice.html

Two Dreams

I dreamed I was in a barn and there were many full-grown black labradors presumably for adoption. I spotted a male one that looked just like my long-legged yellow lab, Lily. This dog wore a round metal tag with the number 546. I was thinking that I wasn't ready to have two dogs. In the dream my parents had come to the barn on their own and they had spotted the same dog. What a coincidence, I thought.

I dreamed a bunch of us were in a movie with Yoko Ono and we were re-filming scenes. I was bored and wanted to escape.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

May Sarton

It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it - and I do and always have - then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it.
- May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude, (pg 67)

Textalyzer

“Why are we making a distinction between a substance you consume and one that consumes you?”
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/science/driving-texting-safety-textalyzer.html

Carolyn Forché

No one is a great poet because she is a miserable drunk. No one is a great poet because he has had a nervous breakdown. Suffering, however, can be experienced as a curse or a blessing; the luckiest is the one who can experience it as a blessing.
- Carolyn Forché

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

August Wilson

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.
-August Wilson

Dream

I dreamed I was walking on a wide path in the woods with my friend Al. We came upon a tree made of long strips of metal the width of fettuccine. Al said "Watch this," and he hopped up holding one strand like a rope-swing and he spun around in a huge circle a bunch of times. He asked me if I wanted to try it. I declined. Off in the distance I saw a figurative statue. "Is it my imagination, or is that statue moving?" I asked him.
"It's moving," he said.
I woke up and then fell back to sleep and dreamed I was telling Al this dream.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Barry Hannah

Writers maybe just stare, like cows - just staring. Most people don't stare. A writer is unembarrassed to just keep looking.
- Barry Hannah, Writer's Almanac

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dream

I dreamed I was in a bookstore and there was a book way up on a high shelf that I was interested in. I noticed the woman who worked at the store was extremely tall. I asked her if she could help me retrieve the book.

Louise Glück

I think the poem is a communication between a mouth and an ear.
- Louise Glück, Writer's Almanac

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Iceland's Water Cure

“I think the swimming pools are what make it possible to live here,” the young artist Ragnheidur Harpa Leifsdottir said. “You have storms, you have darkness, but the swimming pool is a place for you to find yourself again.”

“It’s wonderful,” an actress named Salome Gunnarsdottir told me in the pool one evening. “Growing up here, we see all kinds of real women’s bodies. Sixty-­five-­year-­olds, middle-­aged, pregnant women. Not just people in magazines or on TV.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/magazine/icelands-water-cure.html

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dream

In my dream last night I was dreaming about sleeping.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ideas

Where do you get your ideas?
Arthur Miller: I wish I knew; I'd go there more often.

Parcel

“One does not travel by plane. One is merely sent, like a parcel.”
― Isak Dinesen

Tingle

“I start with a tingle, a kind of feeling of the story I will write. Then come the characters, and they take over, they make the story.”
― Isak Dinesen

Artist

“A great artist is never poor.”
― Isak Dinesen

All Sorrows

“All sorrows can be borne if you can put them into a story.”
― Isak Dinesen

Without Hope

“Write a little every day, without hope, without despair.”
― Isak Dinesen

Difficult Times

“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.”
― Isak Dinesen

People who Dream

“People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the artist, who has no will, who is free of will. The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this: that there things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control. Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, rich and delicate colours, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of...”
― Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Difficult Task

“When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.”
― Isak Dinesen

Isak Dinesen

“Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.”
― Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Cure for Everything

“Do you know a cure for me?"

"Why yes," he said, "I know a cure for everything. Salt water."

"Salt water?" I asked him.

"Yes," he said, "in one way or the other. Sweat, or tears, or the salt sea.”
― Karen Blixen, AKA Isak Dinesen, Seven Gothic Tales

Isak Dinesen

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”
― Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Mothers

“Mothers are all slightly insane.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

The Mature Man

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger

“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Isak Dinesen

"Truth is for tailors and shoemakers. ... I, on the contrary, have always held that the Lord has a penchant for masquerades."
- Isak Dinesen

Be Happy, Do good, and Find Work that Fulfills You

Sometimes when I’m writing a poem,

I feel as though I’m operating that crusher that turns
a full-size car into a metal cube the size of a suitcase.

At other times, I’m just a secretary: the world has so much
to say, and I’m writing it down. This great tenderness.

- David Kirby

http://writersalmanac.org/episodes/20160417/

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Susan Orlean

You should know more than what you put on the page. The reader can sense that.
-Susan Orlean

James Baldwin

The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him.
- James Baldwin

Anniversary Dinner

We bought a gorgeous slab of pollock and drizzled it with olive oil and Adobo and then broiled it to perfection. We made a garlic ginger broccoli carrot stir fry. Simple delights.

Nisht Geferlach = Not Dangerous

Midseason, with plenty of New England cold stretched ahead of us, our 12-year-old daughter, Birdy, lost her winter coat. This was not a tragedy. Things are only things, after all.

The Yiddish expression for this is nisht geferlach — no big deal or, more literally, “not dangerous,” which I love for the way it expresses the important distinction between matters of life and death and, well, everything else. (As my father likes to say, “There are very few geferlachs in life,” which is, I suppose, the Jewish equivalent of “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”)
[...]

Back to the coat. Birdy, a vegetarian, had researched the down industry earlier in the year and concluded that it was not her ethical cuppa. Her father and I, in love with her and her principled self, offered to replace her old feather-filled jacket with a good-quality synthetic one, which we bought on Ebay and which, despite being “gently used,” cost approximately one million dollars. Now it was gone.

[...]
The problem with parenting is that it’s a cross between diagnosing and fortunetelling, and it starts when they’re newborns. Everything’s a geferlach. Does this mucus look green and viscous? What does it mean? Does it mean the baby’s going to die? Run a meth lab? Go to M.I.T.?


http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/15/the-gift-of-a-lost-coat/

Faith Shearin Poem

The Dog Watched Television

by Faith Shearin

The summer of my mother’s illness,
a season so hot and dry it might
have erupted in flames, we discovered
the dog liked television. She barked
if we left her alone in the dim silence
of the bedroom but was cheerful
if we provided a documentary
about whales. She learned why
prehistoric wolves were likely to
care for their sick and injured while
we drove my mother, fasting,
to the operating room and kicked
the broken dishwasher and forgot
garbage day for so many weeks
the utility room became an odor.
The dog watched Billy the Exterminator
capture raccoons and alligators
and restore them to their natural habitats;
she watched The Civil War, learned
about our national parks, considered
the troubles facing our oceans.
My mother wept and raged and drank
clear liquids and worried that none of us
loved her enough, and the dog settled
her narrow head on a pillow,
her black eyes wise.

- Faith Shearin from Orpheus, Turning

Respond in a way Worthy of our Common Humanity

“Regular people will understand the sign these three religious leaders are sending,” Professor Pioppi said in an interview on Friday. “To see them have lunch with refugees, all together, is a strong message of humanity.”

“We have come to call the attention of the world to this grave humanitarian crisis and to plead for its resolution,” Francis said during a lunchtime visit to the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, where he was joined by leaders of Eastern Orthodox Christian churches.

“As people of faith, we wish to join our voices to speak out on your behalf,” Francis continued. “We hope that the world will heed these scenes of tragic and indeed desperate need, and respond in a way worthy of our common humanity.”

Solo and Socialization

“Beer running combines two actions: running and being social,” Mr. April said. “You have the serious solo runner who needs socialization, and the guy who drinks too much who needs exercise. Being social encourages more people to be consistent.”

Matt Hotz, a 38-year-old business analyst who lives in South Philadelphia, runs with the Fishtown Beer Runners occasionally. He is training for the Philadelphia half-marathon in November and, while he usually runs alone because of his schedule, he joins the group runs when he can.

“It’s a reverse causality,” he said while drinking a Dark Horse Crooked Tree I.P.A. after one recent Fishtown run. “Loving beer comes first. Finding something that I like that made me not get fat came next.”

Article

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hair

The truth is natural hair represents an absence of fear. And for a lot of men, nothing is scarier than a woman who publicly displays an absence of fear.
-Stephanie Hinds
source

Napa Cabbage Delight

Chop up a huge Napa cabbage leaving out the core. Then core and chop 4-6 cloves of garlic. Peel and chop a knob of fresh ginger.

Heat a large skillet or wok and add (olive) oil and the fresh garlic and ginger, rooster sauce and soy sauce. Then add cabbage sesame seeds peanuts almonds and cocoanut and leftover spaghetti. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top.

Enjoy!

Kevin Broccoli

Broccoli was writing every day, "just like going to the gym," he said, and began posting on social media everything he wrote.

"I didn't want my writing to be precious. I wanted the good, the bad and the ugly. I thought it was the only way I was going to grow, the only way I'd get any sense of bravery."

He was also looking for feedback because he said he's not good at judging his own writing. "I try to surround myself with people who are brutal," he said.

He also likes to get in front of an audience as soon as possible, even after a single rehearsal, to "see how things land. I want to see the reaction from people and learn from them."

And he likes being out there on the edge. If he can push a scene to the breaking point, he's happy.

"I don't want to be backstage looking at my nails and saying, 'This will be fine.'"

[...]

"One year I did a professional show, a semi-professional show and community theater all in a row," he said. "Where else can you do that?"


Meet the hardest-working man in R.I. theater: Fearless actor-writer-director Kevin Broccoli has his own theater company, but he seems to pop up everywhere.

Article

Paul Smith on Creativity

"I have a very childlike curiosity, which means I’m constantly looking around myself and thinking about things in a lateral and creative way. I really do find inspiration in the most unexpected places."
//www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/paul-smith-creativity/1391019#00FzcIXTLV3ZCm09.99

Pelican Man

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/15/this-mans-bond-with-a-pelican-will-make-you-wish-you-had-a-feath/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

"An Important Victory Against the Criminalization of Poverty."

http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20160414/federal-court-in-ri-cranston-panhandling-ordinance-violates-free-speech-rights

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Brenda Ueland's Timeless Wisdom

“In fact that is why the lives of most women are so vaguely unsatisfactory. They are always doing secondary and menial things (that do not require all their gifts and ability) for others and never anything for themselves. Society and husbands praise them for it (when they get too miserable or have nervous breakdowns) though always a little perplexedly and half-heartedly and just to be consoling. The poor wives are reminded that that is just why wives are so splendid -- because they are so unselfish and self-sacrificing and that is the wonderful thing about them! But inwardly women know that something is wrong. They sense that if you are always doing something for others, like a servant or nurse, and never anything for yourself, you cannot do others any good. You make them physically more comfortable. But you cannot affect them spiritually in any way at all. For to teach, encourage, cheer up, console, amuse, stimulate or advise a husband or children or friends, you have to be something yourself. [...]"If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say; 'Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!' you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.”
― Brenda Ueland

Moodling Idling Dawdling Puttering

“The imagination needs moodling,--long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering. ”
― Brenda Ueland

“I learned...that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.”
― Brenda Ueland

Tell me more. Tell me all you can.

“The only good teachers for you are those friends who love you, who think you are interesting, or very important, or wonderfully funny; whose attitude is:
"Tell me more. Tell me all you can. I want to understand more about everything you feel and know and all the changes inside and out of you. Let more come out."

And if you have no such friend,--and you want to write,--well, then you must imagine one. ”
― Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Brenda Ueland: No writing is a waste of time

“No writing is a waste of time – no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good.”
― Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
I am finally allowed to speak my mind and be heard.

Inky the Sneaky Octopus

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/04/octopus-sneaks-away-to-freedom-in-a-decent-impression-of-you-leaving-work-early.html

Octopus Sneaks Away to Freedom in a Decent Impression of You Leaving Work Early
By Melissa Dahl

The story of Inky the octopus is a good one, vaguely reminiscent of the second half of Pixar’s Finding Nemo: Recently, the cephalopod took advantage of a small gap in his enclosure at New Zealand’s National Aquarium, and wriggled his way out. From there, he worked his way across a wet floor before coming to a small drain, just six inches wide — Inky, let it be known, is about the size of a football. All the same, he stuffed himself into this drain, the other end of which leads to the Pacific Ocean — and this, presumably, is where Inky still is today.

He left an obvious trail behind him, so this is how we know his story. The breakout happened three months ago, but the New Zealand news site Stuff just picked up the story this week; soon, many other publications followed, most of the tellers of Inky’s tale marveling over the animal’s seemingly unique capability as an escape artist. “Who knew octopuses were such skilled escape artists?” asked The Week. Silly me — I thought everyone knew. Inky’s story is remarkable, but it is not at all unique. Consider, for example, the last octopus escape to go viral: At the Seattle Aquarium last March, the near getaway of an octopus named Ink (surely there are better names for these creatures) was recorded on video:

That octopus, aquarium staff later assured a local news station, was not actually trying to escape. But others have, and have succeeded, though not quite as neatly as Inky seems to have. As The Stranger reported in a fascinating 2009 feature on the Pacific octopus, a security guard once found a “quiet and nearly dead” octopus in a fleshy lump on the middle of the floor. Another time, a different octopus at the same aquarium successfully nudged a 60-pound weight off the top of its tank’s enclosure to try to get free; this octopus, by the way, weighed just 40 pounds. As that same story (which is so good; please go read it now) noted, keeping octopuses in their cages has been a problem plaguing aquariums since at least the 19th century:

The Octopus, like many other predaceous animals who seek their prey by night, habitually returns to skulk in the same retreat in the daytime. This practice enabled the resident Octopus of the Brighton Aquaa’ium [sic] to enjoy, for many weeks, the run of all the neighbouring tanks by night undetected, for, like the celebrated robber Peace, he was always to be found at home in the morning. But the rate at which he thinned the young Lump-fishes in an adjoining tank led to give suspicion, and after too hearty a meal one evening he imprudently stayed out all night, and was caught red-handed, gorged to distention, next morning, in the Lump-fishes’ abode.

Among their many talents, octopuses (and it’s octopuses, not octopi) are able to make their malleable bodies fit through impossibly small spaces. As long as their beaks can fit, as a spokesperson for the New Zealand National Aquarium told Stuff, they’ll figure out how to squish the rest of themselves through. Take this guy:

And if they really can’t escape from their enclosures, octopuses have other ways of acting out. Some unhappy creatures spray saltwater at their handlers, The Stranger reported, sometimes destroying expensive technical equipment in the process. And this in itself is kind of incredible if you think about it: How would an octopus know that saltwater — which to them is as indespensible yet unremarkable as air is to us — would be an annoyance to humans?

In a way, the history of human understanding of this creature is a great way to understand the problem with anthropocentrism — that is, defining other creatures by a human yardstick. Aristotle, for example, once called the octopus a “stupid creature,” for its tendency to “approach a man’s hand if it be lowered in the water.” But it’s now of course becoming ever more clear that octopuses are incredibly smart — if not, perhaps, in exactly the way that humans are smart. When is the last time you escaped from captivity via a six-inch pipe? I thought so.

The Global Cost of Untreated Mental Illness Is $1 Trillion Per Year

This week, the global health agency announced its intent to strengthen its focus on illnesses that attack the mind, with a meeting in Washington of medical professionals and government officials — along with aid groups already engaged in this work — from across the globe. It’s a significant step forward in the acknowledgement of mental health as a central piece of physical health.

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/04/the-global-cost-of-untreated-mental-illness-is-usd1-trillion-per-year.html?mid=twitter-share-scienceofus

GiGi Gorgeous

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/14/fashion/gigi-gorgeous-transgender-youtube-makeup-tips.html

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

RI Health Department gets $42,000 grant for Addiction Hotline

http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20160413/health-department-gets-42000-grant-for-addiction-hotline?rssfeed=true

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The state Department of Health has received a $42,000 grant from the Del Prete Family Foundation to staff a phone line with recovery coaches to help people seeking help with addiction.

The funds donated by the nonprofit foundation based in Providence will pay the coaches to staff the "warm line," scheduled to launch in June, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said Wednesday.

The department is seeking another $42,000 in donations, she said, to fund the hotline staff 24-hours a day. To make a contribution email Linda Mahoney at linda.mahoney@bhddh.ri.gov or call (401) 462-3056.

larditi@providencejournal.com

On Twitter:@LynnArditi

The Field of Neural Engineering is Advancing Quickly

I just want other people to hear about this and know that there’s hope.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/14/health/paralysis-limb-reanimation-brain-chip.html

Colorful Drama

This morning when I stepped out for a walk I noticed there was a group of people one man was pressing on a man's bare chest as he lay on the ground. Then I heard sirens. I watched seven emergency medical technicians pile out of a little red ambulance in matching blue shirts. Was it a heart attack, stroke, overdose, who knows. They brought out a yellow stretcher and they lifted the man onto it and brought him into the ambulance. The vehicle was motionless for a while. Was he alive or dead? What's going on? My dog pulled me to continue on our walk.

Improv: Leftovers Became Excellent Soup

Leftovers are my canvas when making a meal. I had rice. I added fresh garlic, frozen spinach, chopped red bell peppers, Sriracha "rooster" hot sauce, olive oil, Adobo, Cajun spice, some leftover homemade tomato sauce, kidney beans, and vegetable stock. Magnificent soup.

Livingston Taylor Taylor: Patience and stillness are very inviting rooms

I always try to play simply enough so that I have plenty of room to respond to the unexpected outside stimulus: people entering the hall, a spilled drink, a siren in the street. In shows past, a distant train whistle has prompted a quick verse of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," and a the sound of that nearby siren has prompted me to suggest I should leave NOW - both are good for a quick laugh.

Room to react tells and audience that you're in the moment and that you are sharing the moment with them.

This book is about having belief in yourself, developing confidence in your ability to have the conversation, and learning to be free of fear and open in front of all of those people.

To acclimate yourself to externals, take some time onstage before you begin a performance to listen - again, taking in before you put out. in other words, notice and pay attention to everything that's happening around you. First, be patient. Don't let nervousness jump-start your performance before you're ready. Breathe in. Breathe out. Wait. Watch your audience. Listen to them. Be still. Patience and stillness are very inviting rooms.

Open Sesame!

When the chef Danielle Oron was growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, she knew that her Israeli family’s habits of dousing vanilla ice cream with tahini and spreading halvah on toast would be considered odd. Sesame was for cold Chinese noodles, bagels and not much else.

“My American friends wouldn’t have understood that tahini is an addiction for Israelis; that we eat it out of the jar,” she said. “Sesame cookies, chocolate halvah, tahini with silan,” a date honey — “those are the treats everyone grows up with.”

Throughout the Middle East, sesame sweets are the taste of childhood. For Philippe Massoud, the Lebanese-American chef at Ilili in New York, it came in a bowl of carob molasses, with a float of tahini to stir together and eat with bread.

“Tahini and carob molasses is the peanut butter and jelly of the Middle East,” said Mr. Massoud, who lived in Lebanon until the age of 15; his family has been in the business of sweets there for more than 100 years. “A sandwich of butter, halvah and chocolate shavings is the best after-school snack of all time.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/dining/tahini-halvah-sesame-dessert.html

Addicts shoot up in MGH bathrooms OD threats spur action

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2016/04/addicts_shoot_up_in_mgh_bathrooms
Lindsay Kalter Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Credit: Christopher Evans
LIFE AND DEATH: Massachusetts General Hospital security officer Shaun O’Halloran, above, holds a hospital-issued dosage of Narcan that security personnel carry while on duty at MGH.

Drug abusers are shooting up in bathrooms, walkways and parking garages at Massachusetts General Hospital in an alarming new tactic they hope will save them from lethal overdoses, the Herald has learned.

The phenomenon is just the latest sign of an epidemic that’s driving MGH to ramp up its overdose-fighting efforts, including equipping the hospital’s security guards with the powerful opiate antidote Narcan.

MGH staff say the number of abusers getting high on their premises is still relatively low, but they’ve seen an uptick over the last 18 months. Some are shooting up inside parking garages, while others are tying bathroom emergency pull cords to their bodies so alarms will automatically get tripped if they collapse after an OD.

“I think we see more overdoses in bathrooms and other places in the hospital so people can have that access of help around, because they know their odds are so great they can overdose,” said Dawn Williamson, MGH emergency department nurse and clinical specialist in addiction.

“They’re well aware that every time they inject it’s potentially their death, but the addiction is so powerful. It’s their way of kind of mitigating the risk,” Williamson said.

The news comes as the latest state Department of Public Health data in January showed accidental opioid deaths in Massachusetts skyrocketed by 
65 percent from 2012 to 2014.

MGH has about 756,000 square feet of official medical ground space. But including areas like the nearby Wyndham Hotel, there is closer to a whopping 
10 million square feet that the hospital is charged with patrolling and policing, according to its security officials.

Because of the amount of time it takes to transport an overdose patient to the ER, even one who is already onsite, security guards are now being trained to carry and administer Narcan.

“We think it’ll help because there are so many different areas of the hospital. It could be one of the parking garages, or a bathroom or a number of different places,” said Bonnie Michelman, MGH director of Police, Security and Outside Services.

“The time difference between finding someone and getting them into the emergency department can be the difference between life and death,” Michelman said.

Boston Medical Center is the only other facility in the area that equips its security guards with Narcan, a protocol that went into effect in summer 2015.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital last week began dispensing Narcan too, along with informational training packages, to patients in the emergency department, according to a spokeswoman.

Brigham security staff — about 150 in total — began training last week in 30-minute classes of 20-30 people each. They will begin carrying Narcan in the first week of May.

Classes are taught by Emergency Medicine Vice Chair Dr. Ali Raja, and include information on how exactly opioids work, the protocol for responding to overdoses, rescue breathing strategies and Narcan administration, according to Associate Director of Police, Security and Outside Services John Driscoll.

He said 60 doses of Narcan will be purchased, half to be carried by on-duty guards, and the rest to have on hand in various locations throughout the hospital. Each dose is about $40-$50, Driscoll said.

“It’s less of a financial issue and more of a good practice issue,” he said. “We’ve never at the hospital, or in our society, ever seen this type of overdose problem.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Small Town In Italy Embraces Migrants And Is Reborn

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/04/12/473905899/a-small-town-in-italy-embraces-migrants-and-is-reborn
April 12, 20165:03 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition
Sylvia Poggioli/NPR

Riace's medieval old town is a warren of winding cobblestone streets atop a hill. Migrants have revitalized the shopping district.

The town of Riace lies near the toe of Italy's boot. Small shops line its winding, cobblestone streets. It's perched on a hilltop, a typical medieval village with a church at its center.
Riace Mayor Domenico Lucano has welcomed the influx of migrants to his small town.

But there is nothing typical about Riace's people. Out of a population of 1,800, 450 are former refugees. Their children outnumber native Italians at the local school. Riace now calls itself a global village, whose residents come from more than 20 countries beyond Europe.

"So many civilizations have left their mark on this land," says Riace's three-term mayor, Domenico Lucano. "The ancient Greeks and Romans, the Arabs, Turks and Saracens. And this has helped us have very few prejudices about other peoples."

Lucano says in the past 18 years the town has welcomed more than 6,000 migrants. As they arrived in Riace, an aging place with high unemployment, the mayor sensed an opportunity to revive what was quickly becoming a ghost town. He offered refugees abandoned apartments and job training.
Kurdish refugee Bahram Akar, 50, has lived in Riace for 18 years.

Bahram Akar, 50, arrived one night in the summer of 1998 on a boat carrying him and about 250 other Kurdish refugees.

"Next day, in the sunlight," Akar said, "I looked at the landscape and I liked it immediately. It felt like home."

The town receives about $40 a day in government subsidies for each refugee for one year. A portion goes to the migrants and the rest pays for their living expenses. Once they've received regular documents, most move on to northern Europe, where more jobs are available.
Zara Hosseini, 34, sells her embroidery in Riace. The Afghan migrant arrived in the southern Italian town three years ago.

But some, like Akar, remain. Their impact can be seen in the town's shops.

Zara Hosseini, 34, weaves fabric on a loom and then embroiders it with delicate needlework. She and her daughter fled Afghanistan and arrived in Riace three years ago after a harrowing trip across land and sea. She says she feels safe here.

"The Taliban are very, very bad for women," she says, speaking Italian. "Terrible, no democracy, women are kept down. I came to Europe so that my daughter could go to school. I don't want her to die in war."

Selma Giamah, a young Somali woman, also works in the shop. Despite her halting Italian, she's able to convey the horrors she went through fleeing her country. Her journey took her through Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya, where smugglers kept her captive for eight months.
Somali refugee Selma Giamah arrived in Riace two years ago after a horrific journey through Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya. She has no intention of leaving.

"They made us sleep on the filthy ground," she says. "They kept asking for money. They beat us. No food. No water. Then three men took me outside."

Selma's voice drops off but her expression and gestures make very clear what the men did to her. She's been in Riace for two years and has no intention of leaving.

In contrast to other parts of Europe, Riace's natives say the migrant experiment has been good for the town. Mirella Cogocoru credits their arrival with enabling her to expand her bakery into a grocery store and to open a cafe next door.

"It's good the migrants are here," she says. "The town is now full of people. Before, there was nothing, no work."

Mayor Lucano — who is bemused to have appeared on Fortune magazine's list of 50 great world leaders — doesn't claim Riace's choice can work everywhere. But he offers his town's experience as a counter to European politicians who keep migrants out.

"To those Europeans who fear migrants bring disease, take away their jobs and sense of security," he says, "they bring us their culture, their world, their colors and their knowledge."

Television Detectives

I love the television detectives because they project clarity and stability in the face of crisis and mystery. I didn't know anyone like this growing up. I wish I had. When I came home from school each day I never knew what to expect. I was always taking the temperature of the room and dividing it by how many angry looks while navigating voice tones. I wondered where the landmines were hidden, under the rug, in the bathroom, or in the fridge. A few years ago a friend from high school remembered my mother telling me I was worthless and inconsiderate because I had accidentally forgotten to flush the toilet. Thank you, you, were my witness to this never ending cruelty, I told her. The next day I adopted a dog from the pound. I deserve love, I told myself.

Tea + Fog

I could build my whole life around tea and fog.

Sweet Grieving

“Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing...”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Dog-Gods Happily Run my Life

When I was lost in the woods I said, okay Travis Let's go, and he lead the way out.
Years ago I dropped my keys in the leaves at Oak Hill Cemetery. I asked my coon hound Lucy where are my keys, she followed the scent and there they were.
Lily orchestrates my day. She's my personal trainer I say. She happily won't let me wimp out on the big walks.

Henry David Thoreau is helping fight big industry from beyond the grave

Protesters are Rebuilding Thoreau’s Cabin to Block a Gas Pipeline
http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/protesters-are-rebuilding-thoreaus-cabin-to-block-a-gas-pipeline

Sweet Potato + Stock Sourdough

I'm baking a sourdough that has leftover sweet potato mixed into the dough and leftover vegetable stock. Last week I used leftover pumpkin puree and it was excellent.
UPDATE: Baking with bean and broccoli stock is too strange. It smells like cabbages when I make toast. Next time I will only use the sweet potato or the pumpkin in the dough.

Simple Joys: Asparagus Rice and Almonds

Sometimes the simplest foods are the most delicious. I made rice using leftover vegetable stock and ate it with asparagus and almonds.

Kris Hernandez Japanese Pro Wrestling

"I would walk four hours across Tokyo to get to practice, do three-hour training and then get the train back," Hernandez said about her efforts to join the world of pro wrestling in Japan.

"If I saved the train fare one way, it would be all right."
- Kris Hernandez


http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/wild-world-japanese-women-pro-wrestlers/8/

Kris Hernandez and fellow wrestlers scatter across the ring during their Stardom female professional wrestling show at Shinkiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, December 6, 2015.

Deadly

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/health/addiction-recovery/os-fentanyl-super-pill-central-florida-20160405-story.html

Liberty

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
― George Orwell

George Orwell

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
― George Orwell

Lies Sound Truthful

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”
― George Orwell

Orwell

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Memory and Desire

“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”
― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Write It

“If you don't see the book you want on the shelves, write it.”
― Beverly Cleary

The New House

I brought my home-made lasagna to their new house. After we finished eating Lacy lit a cigarette and leaned back bluing the air. She put the butt out on the last remaining island of lasagna and covered it with her white napkin, like a dead body.
"Years ago I had to have my jaw broken and rebuilt, while it healed my jaw was wired shut. I had to live on chocolate milkshakes from Friendly's," she said.
"She loved it, but she looked like a skeleton," her husband Rick said, laughing.
Lacy was a twig.
"Now she thinks she's fat!" Rick said.
I was already planning my escape.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A.S. Neill: “All crimes, all hatreds, all wars can be reduced to unhappiness.”

“The function of a child is to live his/her own life, not the life that his/her anxious parents think he/she should live, nor a life according to the purpose of the educators who think they know best.”
― A.S. Neill

“If the emotions are free the intellect will look after itself.”
― A.S. Neill

“All crimes, all hatreds, all wars can be reduced to unhappiness.”
― A.S. Neill

“Goodness that depends on fear of hell or fear of the policeman or fear of punishment is not goodness at all - it is simply cowardice. Goodness than depends on hope of reward or hope of praise or hope of heaven depends on bribery.”
― A.S. Neill

“I would rather see a school produce a happy street cleaner than a neurotic scholar.”
― A.S. Neill

“Small boys often produce their own plays; but usually the parts are not written out. They hardly need to be, for the main line of each character is always "Stick 'em up!" In these plays the curtain is always rung down on a set of corpses, for small boys are by nature through and uncompromising.”
― A.S. Neill, Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing

“Compelled respect always implies fear.”
― A.S. Neill, Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing

“Summerhill children are allowed to go through their gangster period, and consequentially more furniture is destroyed.”
― A.S. Neill, Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing

“No teacher has the right to cure a child of making noises on a drum. The only curing that should be practiced is the curing of unhappiness.”
― A.S. Neill

Freedom, Not License!

A.S. Neill, the now-renowned headmaster of the Summerhill School in England, has received hundreds of letters from correspondents in the USA requesting advice about their specific problems in child rearing. With his uncommon wisdom & in his unique, forthright style, he proffers answers.
There are chapters about sibling rivalry, homosexuality, eating habits, the fearful child, censorship, homework, nudity in the home, children of the divorced & about other vital topics which either directly or obliquely affect the home life of the American child.
This penetrating volume will be read & quoted again & again. It's sure to excite controversial discussion. The title epitomizes Neill's Summerhillian philosophy. Every child is entitled to freedom; an excess of freedom constitutes license. Freedom deals with the rights of the child; license constitutes trespassing on the rights of others. Neill explains how & where the line is drawn between these two.

“Participation - that's what's gonna save the human race.”

“The key to the future of the world, is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”
― Pete Seeger

“The American Indians were Communists. They were. Every anthropologist will tell you they were Communists. No rich, no poor. If somebody needed something the community chipped in.”
― Pete Seeger

“I’ve never sung anywhere without giving the people listening to me a chance to join in - as a kid, as a lefty, as a man touring the U.S.A. and the world, as an oldster. I guess it’s kind of a religion with me. Participation. That’s what’s going to save the human race.”
― Pete Seeger

“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”
― Pete Seeger

“This banjo surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”
― Pete Seeger

“It's a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.”
― Pete Seeger

“The world will be solved by millions of small things.”
― Pete Seeger

“Singing with children in the schools has been the most rewarding experience of my life.”
― Pete Seeger

Stretching the Definitions of Words

“The nice thing about poetry is that you’re always stretching the definitions of words. Lawyers and scientists and scholars of one sort or another try to restrict the definitions, hoping that they can prevent people from fooling each other. But that doesn’t stop people from lying.

Cezanne painted a red barn by painting it ten shades of color: purple to yellow. And he got a red barn. Similarly, a poet will describe things many different ways, circling around it, to get to the truth.

My father also had a nice little simile. He said, “The truth is a rabbit in a bramble patch. And you can’t lay your hand on it. All you do is circle around and point, and say, ‘It’s in there somewhere.”
― Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger

“Once upon a time, wasn’t singing a part of everyday life as much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in this world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. Can we begin to make our lives once more all of a piece? Finding the right songs and singing them over and over is a way to start. And when one person taps out a beat, while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.”
― Pete Seeger

May Sarton: Public Education

“Public education was not founded to give society what it wants. Quite the opposite.”
― May Sarton

Routine

“Routine is not a prison, but the way to freedom from time.”
― May Sarton

Sarton: Let it Rest

“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.”
― May Sarton

Bedrock of Truth

“It always comes back to the same necessity: go deep enough and there is a bedrock of truth, however hard.”
― May Sarton

May Sarton: Enlarging of Consciousness

“When I speak of life and love as expanding with age, sex seems the least important thing. At any age we grow by the enlarging of consciousness, by learning a new language, or a new art or craft (gardening?) that implies a new way of looking at the universe. Love is one of the great enlargers of the person because it requires us to "take in" the stranger and to understand him, and to exercise restraint and tolerance as well as imagination to make the relationship work.”
― May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

May Sarton: The Real Person

“It is a waste of time to see people who have only a social surface to show. I will make every effort to find out the real person, but if I can't, then I am upset and cross. Time wasted is poison.”
― May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

May Sarton: Myself

“Now I become myself. It’s taken time, many years and places.”
― May Sarton

May Sarton

“The moral dilemma is to make peace with the unacceptable.”
― May Sarton

Male vs Female

Whenever possible, give the kid to his father. People smile at men holding babies — even crying babies — on airplanes. Flight attendants offer them assistance. I wondered about this, till I read in my favorite parenting manual, “Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children”: “A father traveling with a screaming baby is presumed to be a widower who is devoting himself to the welfare of his poor babes… A mother traveling with a screaming baby is presumed to be a slovenly person whose husband was driven away by her neglect of discipline and the resulting bad behavior of the children.”
Source

Thoughts

This morning I was thinking about relationships versus rules when dealing with my approach to life; art, exercise, eating, chores, etc. I was also thinking about humor versus cynicism. Humor comes from accepting grief and arriving at the funny place. Cynicism is about trying to bypass the pain thereby holding onto it and becoming bitter.

Paul Krugman

If your party’s central mission is to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted, you need to claim that all kinds of wonderful side effects will take place from what might otherwise look like a combination of greed and cruelty.
-Paul Krugman

I’ve written on a number of occasions about the Veg-O-Matic temptation — the urge to claim that your preferred policy solves all problems — it slices! It dices! It purees! It creates jobs! It raises productivity! It takes off weight without diet or exercise! There’s also the reverse version, in which a policy you dislike does everything bad — It’s inflationary! It’s contractionary! It causes acne!
-Paul Krugman


http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/09/the-donald-and-the-veg-o-matic/

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Phylicia Rashad

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/11/theater/phylicia-rashad-finding-joy-in-tribulations-of-her-role-in-head-of-passes.html

Saving a Suicidal Jumper

http://nypost.com/2016/04/09/hero-cop-saves-would-be-suicide-jumper-from-10th-floor-leap/

“We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.”

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead

“I was wise enough never to grow up, while fooling people into believing I had.”
― Margaret Mead

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
― Margaret Mead

“Laughter is man's most distinctive emotional expression.”
― Margaret Mead

“Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.”
― Margaret Mead

“Having someone wonder where you are when you don't come home at night is a very old human need.”
― Margaret Mead

“Never depend upon institutions or government to solve any problem. All social movements are founded by, guided by, motivated and seen through by the passion of individuals. ”
― Margaret Mead

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
― Margaret Mead

“There is no greater insight into the future than recognizing...when we save our children, we save ourselves”
― Margaret Mead

“You know you love someone when you cannot put into words how they make you feel.”
― Margaret Mead

“We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.”
― Margaret Mead

“Young people are moving away from feeling guilty about sleeping with somebody to feeling guilty if they are *not* sleeping with someone.”
― Margaret Mead

“I used to say to my classes that the ways to get insight are: to study infants; to study animals; to study primitive people; to be psychoanalyzed; to have a religious conversion and get over it; to have a psychotic episode and get over it; or to have a love affair with an old Russian. And I stopped saying that when a little dancer in the front row put up her hand and said, 'Does he have to be old?”
― Margaret Mead

“It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.”
― Margaret Mead

“If the future is to remain open and free, we need people who can tolerate the unknown, who will not need the support of completely worked out systems or traditional blueprints from the past.”
― Margaret Mead

“We won't have a society if we destroy the environment.”
― Margaret Mead

“Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For indeed that's all who ever have.”
― Margaret Mead, The World Ahead: An Anthropologist Anticipates the Future

“It is easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet.”
― Margaret Mead

“I measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her fellow human beings.”
― Margaret Mead

“Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.”
― Margaret Mead

“Never ever depend on governments or institutions to solve any major problems. All social change comes from the passion of individuals.”
― Margaret Mead

“Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man. ”
― Margaret Mead

“My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.”
― Margaret Mead

“I learned to observe the world around me, and to note what I saw.”
― Margaret Mead

“For the very first time the young are seeing history being made before it is censored by their elders.”
― Margaret Mead

“An ideal culture is one that makes a place for every human gift.”
― Margaret Mead

“I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.”
― Margaret Mead

“It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly. ”
― Margaret Mead

“If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse gift will find a fitting place.”
― Margaret Mead

“As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.”
― Margaret Mead

Willie Nelson has Droopy Earlobes like the Buddha

I love Willie Nelson and I think he is becoming the Buddha.

Sunny Sunday

I ran with Lily and she was leading the way. When we got to Edgewater Drive Peter was holding a basket of strawberries. He picked out a bunch for me to take home and share with Bill. Further down the street I saw the eleven year old boy doing cartwheels, ariels and back hand springs on a blue gym mat on his front yard. "Excellent," I said. "You're ready for the circus." On my way home the lady in purple told me about her two neighbor friends who have moved to the other side of town. "You still have me," I told her and we both laughed.

If you want to make a child crazy keep shifting the goal posts.

When I was a kid my mother took me to a shrink claiming I couldn't read.

I read plenty of books but they weren't her choices.

When my mother announced a family vacation to Spain, I was told I had to stay home.

Then she told me the reason I was unlovable was because I hadn't been anywhere.

Livingston Taylor: Best Advice for LIFE!

If the intent is to put the audience at ease, you must be at ease. Be sure to do material with which you are comfortable.
-Livingston Taylor Stage Performance


I LOVE this book. It is so deep it applies to nearly everything. Thank you Livingston Taylor.

In versus Out

The quality of performance is contingent on what you can take in, not what you put out.

Periodically, you have to be still or you will exhaust your audience, and they will have to turn away to rest.


- Livingston Taylor

Livingston Taylor: Sage Advice

Please remember: in the long run, your audience will support you - not because of what they see in you, but because of what you see in them.
- Livingston Taylor

Livingston Taylor

It can take years to learn a song because it goes beyond learning the words and music. It's learning the song so well I can quickly adjust, twist, or shade it to the demands of a specific audience.
-Livingston Taylor,Stage Performance pg 27

Developing a Spare Capacity

“If you want to make an ordinary man happy, or think that he is happy, give him money, power, flattery, gifts, honours. If you want to make a wise man happy - improve yourself!”
― Idries Shah, Reflections

“Knowledge is something which you can use. Belief is something which uses you.”
― Idries Shah, Reflections

“It is not important to have said a thing first, or best - or even most interestingly. What is important is to say it on the right occasion.”
― Idries Shah, Reflections

“The union of the mind and intuition which brings about illumination, and the development which the Sufis seek, is based upon love.”
― Idries Shah

Compassion + Wisdom

"When you feel that you are superior to someone else, you lack compassion. Compassion is a word Buddhists use to express the realization that even though we may differ greatly in evolution, appearance, talents, or intelligence from other beings in the universe, we are all equally valuable in the eyes of eternity. This is wisdom."
― Frederick Lenz, Surfing the Himalayas

Lenz Balance Patience

The balance and patience factors are much more critical in surfing than they are in snowboarding ... if you're out surfing serious waves and you wipe out, you don't land on soft snow. It's usually either very sharp coral, or you get raked across the beach gravel and sand while you're tumbling underwater.
-Frederick Lenz

In meditation what you are trying to do is simply get rid of your own junk. You are trying to move all the confusion out of your mind, all the heaviness, all the emotional upsets, all the impressions that you have picked up since your last meditation.
-Frederick Lenz

Chakras are mystical energy centers that exist within the human aura. Tremendous occult power resides in a person's chakras. Siddha masters draw upon that power during meditation, store it within themselves, and later use it to perform miracles.
-Frederick Lenz

It is necessary to do a very thorough examination of your life and to discover whether the people in your life, no matter how much you love them, are using you or abusing you.
-Frederick Lenz

Fredrick Lenz

"If you learn to lead your life strategically and strongly, you can overcome the opposition. But running away, you never overcome anything. The pathway to enlightenment is for the warrior, the samurai."
- Frederick Lenz

Anne Lamott

Last year on my birthday, I posted this essay here, on everything I know. My intention on my birthday this year was to do an addendum, of everything I've learned in the year since. But I spent the last three days flying to and from the east coast, with 3 a.m, wake-up calls, and i can't think of a single thing to add. I am celebrating my 62nd in bed with my dogs and cat, and I send you enormous thanks, love and God's great hilarious blessings.

I am going to be 61 years old in 48 hours. Wow. I thought i was only forty-seven, but looking over the paperwork, I see that I was born in 1954. My inside self does not have an age, although can't help mentioning as an aside that it might have been useful had I not followed the Skin Care rules of the sixties, ie to get as much sun as possible, while slathered in baby oil. (My sober friend Paul O said, at eighty, that he felt like a young man who had something wrong with him.). Anyway, I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.
1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.
2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.
3. There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of last way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can't buy, achieve, or date it. This is the most horrible truth.
4. Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can't save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. When people respond by saying, "Well, isn't she full of herself," smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea.
5. Chocolate with 70% cacao is not actually a food. It's best use is as bait in snake traps.
6. Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart--your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it's why you were born
7. Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly-evil men I have known were all writers who'd had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published (see #1.). Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes. It won't, it can't. But writing can. So can singing.
8. Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. (See #1 again.) At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it's a miracle that this annoying person even lived. Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants. When Blake said that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love, he knew that your family would be an intimate part of this, even as you want to run screaming for your cute little life. But that you are up to it. You can do it, Cinderellie. You will be amazed.
9. Food; try to do a little better.
10. Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings. The mystery of grace is that God loves Dick Cheney and me exactly as much as He or She loves your grandchild. Go figure. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, "Help!" And then buckle up. Grace won't look like Casper the Friendly Ghost; but the phone will ring, or the mail will come, and then against all odds, you will get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness, even if you are sick of me saying it.
11. God; Goodnesss, Love energy, the Divine, a loving animating intelligence, the Cosmic Muffin. You will worship and serve something, so like St. Bob said, you gotta choose. You can play on our side, or Bill Maher's and Franklin Graham's. Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up. My pastor says you can trap bees on the floor of a Mason jar without a lid, because they don't look up. If they did, they could fly to freedom.
11. Faith: Paul Tillich said the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. If I could say one thing to our little Tea Party friends, it would be this. Fundamentalism, in all its forms, is 90% of the reason the world is so terrifying. 3% is the existence of snakes. The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God; although cats can be so bitter, which is not the god part: the crazy Love is. Also, "Figure it out" is not a good slogan.
12. Jesus; Jesus would have even loved horrible, mealy-mouth self-obsessed you, as if you were the only person on earth. But He would hope that you would perhaps pull yourself together just the tiniest, tiniest bit--maybe have a little something to eat, and a nap.
13. Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this. If you are in a wheelchair, you must do chair exercises. Every single doctor on earth will tell you this, so don't go by what I say.
14. Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to. We Christians like to think death is a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you. All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know.
I think that's it, everything I know. I wish I had shoe-horned in what E.L. Doctorow said about writing: "It's like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little ways ahead of you, but you can make the whole journey that way." I love that, because it's true about everything we try. I wish I had slipped in what Ram Dass said, that when all is said and done, we're just all walking each other home. Oh, well, another time. God bless you all good.

Mexican Knish

Last night I made hummus and spooned it into a burrito and rolled it up with asparagus, broccoli and red bell peppers. It's a Mexican knish, I said to my husband. Next time we'll make a spaghetti burrito or spaghetti stuffed grape leaves. I love to mix and mingle the soul food of all nations.

Cozy Authenticity: A Lonely Proposition

My husband and I are introverts. We live in the poor and troubled part of town but we love our neighborhood and our City's characters. This is real life. It's never dull. Our college friends long ago dropped us for being incomprehensible and living a downwardly mobile life. Very few people understand what we are about even our own families, especially our own families. We are all about the inner life, making a secure nest and creating every day. Cozy but conscious. I'd call it. Not pamper-your-ass cozy, wide-awake cozy. It's a lonely-at-times, rich life.

Ragnar Kjartansson

I think making art comes from being a little allergic to society, not wanting to belong.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.

Paintbrushes

No need to drive. Paintbrushes are broomsticks!

Chef Michael Smith of Canada

'Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.'

— Woody Guthrie

William Hamilton Cartoonist

They cited one cartoon — a husband and wife dressing in black tie to go out — with the caption, “If we don’t go do you think people will think we weren’t invited?”

“He took a rarefied world and broke it down into terms that would seem familiar to any socially insecure high school student anywhere,” they wrote.

Mr. Hamilton began drawing when he was a child, and his first rejection came from The Saturday Evening Post when he was 12, The New York Sun reported in 2005. He had submitted a cartoon of burglars complaining about the rain as they broke into a house.

In a 1988 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Hamilton said his fascination with those in high society came from “being near money, but far enough away that I couldn’t quite get my fingers around it.”

Mr. Hamilton, who was raised on a ranch in California’s Napa Valley called Ethelwild, said, “We lived on one of those dwindling trust funds with a hint of money in the past, but not much in the present.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/arts/artsspecial/william-hamilton-popular-cartoonist-at-the-new-yorker-dies-in-car-crash.html

Anne Lamott

Happy Birthday Anne Lamott and thank you for your amazing writing. I feel like your books saved my life and keeps on saving it. I keep your books in my inner sanctum for quick relief and grounding and the most important laughter. Amen.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Musical Time Machine

http://www.wnyc.org/story/musical-time-machine/

Venetian Blind

One of the things my husband and I love to laugh about are scrambled venetian blinds we see in the tenement windows in our neighborhood. "How do they get so crazy?" my husband asks.
"Dogs and kids, prying them apart to lookout and shout. A few rounds of twist tangle and snap," I replied.
"I wonder what the Venetians would think?" I asked.
"They would go blind."

Writing + Reading Clocks and Cursive

A neighborhood girl told me she doesn't know how to tell time on a clock nor can she read cursive. I can't imagine not knowing these things.

Portrait of Petrarch

On this day in 1341, Petrarch became the first poet laureate and was crowned on the holy grounds of Rome's Capitol.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrarch

Dalai Lama: Humanity is One Family

Creating a better world will require will-power, vision and determination. And for that we need a strong sense that humanity is one family.

Pollen: 9.9 Juniper, Alder, Poplar,

Do you feel it? I do. We have juniper bushes and Alder and Poplar trees everywhere! Thank goodness for antihistamines, generic Excedrin and decongestants.

Woonsocket Slogan: Making it Happen

Good things are happening all over our city. This is my slogan: Woonsocket: Making it Happen! I like it better than Getting it Done which sounds like a dreaded chore, or City on the Move which is trying too hard. Forgive me, my parents were in advertising. Rhode Island needs a new slogan too: Small State Big Hearts

Hen House, Doll House

When I saw the photo of the chicken coop in the newspaper circular I immediately wanted to build one and raise my own hens but the reality is we can't do this in the city because the skunks, fisher-cats, coyotes, feral cats, racoons and kids in the neighborhood, and my own dog would go nuts trying to break in to go after the eggs and birds. I think I just like the way the hen house looks like a big doll house. Also we don't really have a place to put it.

Barbara Kingsolver

Kingsolver rises at four a.m. every day to write. She says: "What keeps me at the wheel is the thrill of trying something completely new with each book. I'm not a risk-taker in life, generally speaking, but as a writer I definitely choose the fast car, the impossible rock face, the free fall."
- Writer's Almanac

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Cooking For Cancer Patients, Teens Learn More Than Recipes

Ceres follows the American Institute of Cancer Research's recommendation that meals should be two-thirds plant-based whole foods, and they don't include any white flour, white sugar or processed foods.

"A lot of the kids, I'm seeing their natural leadership come out in the kitchen," says Aileen Suzara, the Alameda program coordinator and chef. "I see a spark from some of the kids. They have a sense of how this is really touching someone's life."

The program's focus on its teen volunteers comes from Couch's belief in something she once heard from a Buddhist teacher: The most important person in a room is the youngest.
Teen volunteers eat together after they finish cooking meals for a local hospital.

"If we could influence how young people see their relationship with food, if we can make them excited about the impact of their food choices on their own health, on the health of the people that they love and on the planet," Couch says, "then we're going to help raise a generation of people who will help to shape a healthier food system."

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/04/01/472693610/cooking-for-cancer-patients-teens-learn-more-than-recipes

The effect of caffeine in people with asthma

Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cola drinks and cocoa. Caffeine is a drug that is very similar to theophylline. Theophylline is a bronchodilator drug that is taken to open up the airways in the lungs and therefore relieve the symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing, coughing and breathlessness. Scientists are interested in finding out whether caffeine has the same effect on the lungs as theophylline.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0010864/

Endorphins for Introverts

I loathe parties and social gatherings and I dread them weeks in advance. That said if I am flying high I feel somewhat emotionally protected. So, if I have to go to a social function I run or swim as fast as I can before the time of departure to bathe my brain in endorphins so I will have a good time and maybe even find the conversations interesting.

Breathe in Breathe Out

I had a privileged lady ask me, "How many miles do you walk each day? How do you take the time?"
I knew what she was driving at. I recognized the trap. I paused for a moment.
"We can't just breathe in all the time, we need to breathe out too!" I said.
And that was the end of it.

Able to Escape her Captors

Not long after, Ms. Amos, a Christian, said she was forced to enroll in Boko Haram’s classes on its version of Islam, a first step on her way toward being taught the art of suicide bombing.

After months of training, Ms. Amos said she was finally able to escape her captors when they assembled for evening preaching. She stayed behind, gathering two of her young children and a grandchild so they could make a run for the Cameroonian border.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/08/world/africa/boko-haram-suicide-bombers.html