Saturday, March 31, 2018

James Baldwin is a Vitamin!

James Baldwin is a vitamin I must take every day:

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”
― James Baldwin

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
― James Baldwin

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
― James Baldwin

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be”
― James Baldwin

“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”
― James Baldwin

“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”
― James Baldwin

“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
― James Baldwin

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
― James Baldwin

“I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”
― James Baldwin

“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. ”
― James Baldwin

“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”
― James Baldwin

“People can cry much easier than they can change.”
― James Baldwin

“It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.”
― James Baldwin

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“People don't have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears - not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.”
― James Baldwin, Another Country

“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
― James Baldwin

“People can't, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. ”
― James Baldwin

“True rebels after all, are as rare as true lovers,and in both cases, to mistake a fever for passion can destroy one's life”
― James Baldwin

“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat.”
― James Baldwin

“You write in order to change the world ... if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”
― James Baldwin

“Everybody's journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality. ”
― James Baldwin

“To accept one’s past – one’s history – is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.”
― James Baldwin

Great Depression Meals

Article

Reckless

Yesterday I was remembering my mother's reckless driving. She would pass cars crossing the double yellow line. We'd be zooming towards oncoming traffic. I would yell mom!!!!!!!!!!

She would blow through red lights honking.

"It's okay if you honk" she'd say.

Once she got a ticket for not getting out of the way of a zooming police car blaring its siren.

She thought that was ridiculous.

She wrote a scolding note to my 4th grade teacher and had me hand deliver it.

When my teacher read it, she cried.

She drugged us with Dramamine and drove to Florida driving 90 miles an hour the whole way. I was being a gymnast at the time (age 11) and after a few days of this my legs started cramping and I cringed in agony.

"I'm driving 90 miles an hour, what the hell is wrong with you," she screamed.

Full Moon

I saw the full moon setting over the Rosie building this morning.

Dream

I dreamed I was in an Italian restaurant kitchen watching the chefs cook. The walls were tiled. The lights were as dim as candle light. I joined in and did some cooking.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Belladonna:The Eyes Have it

Over 500 years ago, women in Italy used extract from the Belladonna plant to dilate their pupils because they believed it would increase their attractiveness. The word Belladonna literally means “beautiful lady.” They thought that bigger pupils would make their eyes seem more “dreamy” and entice men into falling in love with them. While you can not force or artificially manufacture attraction between two people, modern studies have confirmed that their line of thinking may have been correct.

In the 1960’s and 70’s, Hess et al studied the effect of pupil size on feelings of attraction. In one experiment, they took two pictures of the same woman, presented it to male subjects and asked them to describe the female in the picture. The researchers had artistically altered the photographs, manipulating the size of the woman’s pupils to be either slightly larger or smaller than they were in their natural state. Hess noted that “none of the men reported noticing the difference in pupil size” between any of the pictures but the subtle change seemed to subconsciously influence the level of attraction they felt for the woman. When the woman had large pupils, she was said to be “soft,” “more feminine” and “pretty,” while when the very same woman had small pupils, the men described her as “cold,” “hard” and “selfish.” This frequently referenced experiment and phenomenon has been re-tested using a variety of different methods over the years and has yielded the same results; men finding women with bigger pupils to be more romantically appealing.

So why does this preference for women with large pupils exist? It may be a reproductive strategy for men to ensure their success in the biological quest of passing on their genes. By this I mean that in a recent study it has been demonstrated that women’s pupils dilate the widest while looking at a prospective partner or loved one during times of ovulation. And since we know that men find women with large pupils alluring, it seems to be the perfect formula and timing to promote successful reproduction and perpetuation of the species.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/learning-the-look-of-love-in-your-eyes-the-light-the-heat/

Suicide Prevention: A Dog

I tell everyone that I would die without my dog.

Poetry Corner

My dream is to rearrange my office so my reading chair and poetry books create a nook.

Why I Loathe Popular Culture

“Money is the ideology of Hollywood.”
source

The Edge

The other day I was walking and I saw three teens on main street. One of them had her wrist and forearm wrapped up in a white gauze bandage. I said "Oh did you sprain your wrist?" And just as I asked her the white gauze slipped off a little and I could see red cut marks. Her boyfriend stepped in and said "No, she didn't sprain her wrist, that's not what happened at all." I wanted to hug the poor girl. She was with her group of friends. Hopefully she will not slash herself anymore.

Jodie Goodacre

Today is World Bipolar Day, so I wanted to write a little bit about what it has been like living with Bipolar. As I have spoken about before, I have Bipolar type 2, which is categorised by episodes of 'Depression', 'Hypomania' or 'Stable', though even with stability usually comes with some underlying issues, but when not at an 'extreme' or 'intense' level, for me, that is 'good'.

I am attempting to allow myself to be vulnerable when writing this post, because as a campaigner I have often found myself emotionally detached from my own experiences, I would go into schools, or talk to the media about my experiences, but doing so in past tense and not really connecting to it. There is a lot of stigma I attach to myself, and this self-stigma has led me to only talking about how I feel in past tense, and not really being open about what I am currently going through, despite constantly advocating for openness, honesty and reaching out. I guess I feel, and others have sometimes reinforced my idea that as a Mental Health campaigner I must be 'recovered', but to excuse the cliché, recovery is very much a journey and not a particular point, and we all have very different views on what recovery (or recovered for some) means.

"Vulnerability isn't the opposite of strength. It is a necessary part."
-Meredith Grey

Bipolar Memoir Vignette

Thursday, March 29, 2018

David Lehman

Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

Nin Andrews: Dare to Be Unconventional

A Dare to Be Unconventional: Nin Andrews and Dante Di Stefano Discuss Miss August (CavanKerry Press, 2017)

I simply felt that I wanted to talk about my formative years. But to write about my past, even in a fictional way, composing stories and prose poems based loosely on my childhood, was to write about race and gender and class. After all, I was raised by a black nanny who hated other African Americans, by a father who helped to start an all-white private school, by a father who was also a gay man and who was kicked out of the Navy for having an affair with an officer, by a mother was from Boston and not a typical woman and not a bit like Southern women, by farmhands who were illiterate and who were my playmates, by friends’ parents who called the Civil War –The War of Northern Aggression.

But my goal as a writer is not to explain, pontificate, or change what is or was, but simply to describe, to bear witness. I know that my particular vision and filter is tainted, colored not only by my class, race and gender, but also by my inevitable prejudices, fears, eccentricities, opinions, and blind spots. Nevertheless, it is liberating to write. Silence, for me, is suffocating.

Geneen Roth

My teacher Jeanne once said, “You do very well in catastrophes, Geneen. You notice what’s important. The fact that you are alive, breathing, sensing, taking in what’s around you, becomes primary. But the challenge is doing that on any old day, every day. You have to want this more than you want anything. You have to keep paying attention to the effulgence of every day.”
https://www.npr.org/books/titles/597639730/this-messy-magnificent-life-a-field-guide#excerpt

Nothing in the House

Okay there is not much fresh food in the house and both cars are in the shop but there are grains; 1 pound of brown rice, 1/2 cup wild rice, wheat berries, and barley, a pound of spinach and a pound of dried lentils--and 3 onions, 3 cloves of garlic, olive oil, a rind of Parmesan I was saving for soup, lots of water, Adobo and salt. I cooked a gigantic pot au feu in my instant pot for 45 minutes. It made a delicious savory porridge!

More to the Story

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2018/03/family_in_northern_california.html

When Grief Strikes

When grief strikes, food can be a gift from the gods
David Ferguson

Cakes, pies, loaves of homemade bread, crocks of macaroni and cheese, fried chicken. Southerners know how to deal with bereavement

Semolina Bread + Sourdough Rye

My biggest response to my mother's death is being hungry.

I made a fantastic sourdough wheat rye bread. So tangy and sweet at the same time. I also made semolina bread and oh my god that is so good too, especially with homemade tomato sauce.

And I have selected 28 used books which are now waiting in the holding tank at my amazon account. Most are 2 dollars....not sure yet if I will buy them. Ha!

My Mother the Manticore

A mythical creature of ancient fables, the manticore keeps company with the better-known unicorn, dragon, and griffin. Descriptions of the manticore's features sometimes differ (some accounts mention porcupine quills or poisonous spikes, for example; others depict the tail as having a serpent's head), but the animal is by all accounts a dreadful beast. The word manticore came to English through the Greek mantichōras and Latin mantichora, and is probably ultimately of Iranian origin. Etymologists think it is related to an Old Persian word for "man-eater."

Facebook: the Social Wrecking Ball

I hate it with a passion!
Social Wrecking Ball

Death of a Salesman is my life

Biff Loman: Willy's elder son. Biff was a football star with a lot of potential in high school, but failed math his senior year and dropped out of summer school when he saw Willy with another woman while visiting him in Boston. He wavers between going home to try to fulfill Willy's dream for him as a businessman or ignoring his father by going out West to be a farmhand where he feels happy. He likes being outdoors and working with his hands, yet wants to do something worthwhile so Willy will be proud of him. Biff steals because he wants evidence of success, even if it is false evidence, but overall Biff remains a realist and informs Willy that he is just a normal guy and will not be a great man.

Harold "Happy" Loman: Willy's younger son. He's lived in the shadow of his older brother Biff most of his life and seems to be almost ignored, but he still tries to be supportive towards his family. He has a restless lifestyle as a womanizer and dreams of moving beyond his current job as an assistant to the assistant buyer at the local store, but he is willing to cheat a little in order to do so, by taking bribes. He is always looking for approval from his parents, but he rarely gets any, and he even goes as far as to make things up just for attention, such as telling his parents he is going to get married. He tries often to keep his family's perceptions of each other positive or "happy" by defending each of them during their many arguments, but still has the most turbulent relationship with Linda, who looks down on him for his lifestyle and apparent cheapness, despite his giving them money.
source

Amber and Nicoli

Amber and Nicoli were cleaning up the yard. "We are picking up garbage!" Do you have gloves? I have plastic bags you can use to cover your hands."
"We want to plant fruits and vegetables." I suggested they get some flower pots and grow plants inside buckets. "Joblot has seeds for cheap," I said.
"We have no money," the chimed in unison.
"Hey a seed," Amber said noticing I had finished eating my apple, and was holding the core.
Here ya go, I said.
"We can plant an apple tree!"
I adore these kids.
Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring them seeds and flower pots.

Dale the Cat Lady

I met a lady who rescued 26 cats and had them neutered and spayed and she built a heated cat house and has a fenced yard so they will be safe and warm. Three of them live inside with me, she said. They speak to each other while I am reading.

Living Without Money

Step one get a FREE library Card
Step two buy 1 pound of dried beans and 5 pound bag of flour
Step three soak beans
Step four bake a loaf of bread
Step five simmer the beans.
Make a bean sandwich and share it with your neighbor while you read a book.

Brene Brown

Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.

The Marble Jar story

Giving

Bicycle Books and Bread

In my Woonsocket fantasies I would pedal through the city sharing books and bread.

Hotter than Hinges of Hell

Hot as fresh milk - Said by Tom Cassidy, the rich man who flashed his cash in Psycho . Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) stole his money.

Hot as the backlog o' hell -- From "Cowboy Lingo: A Dictionary of the Slack-Jaw Words and Whangdoodle Ways of the American West" by Ramon F. Adams (Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2000. Copyright 1936). Page 216.

Hot enough that the dog was chasing the cat and they were both walking. -- Online discussion forum, July 19, 2006.

Hotter than a hen in a wool blanket - "I still felt hotter than a hen in a wool basket and made and outdone." From "Shady Grove," a Kentucky novel by Janice Holt Giles (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1967). Page 250.

Hotter than a two-dollar pistol - Very hot, an allusion to cheap 19th-century pistols that go hot when fired. From the Mountain Range chapter,"Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms: Local Expressions from Coast to Coast" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 2000). Page 376.

Hotter than bus station chili - Kentucky man in his 40s. 2006.

Hotter than hell in August - From "Cold Shoulder" by Lynda La Plante (Random House, New York, 1994, 1996). Page 338.

Hotter than hell with the blower on -- From "Cowboy Lingo: A Dictionary of the Slack-Jaw Words and Whangdoodle Ways of the American West" by Ramon F. Adams (Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2000. Copyright 1936). Page 216.

Hotter than Methodist hell - About as hot as it can get; an expression used chiefly in Maine. 1. Very drunk. 2. Very hot weather or anything hot. Yankee Talk chapter,"Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms: Local Expressions from Coast to Coast" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 2000). Page 244.

Hotter than the brass hinges of hell - Sounds like the door of hell to me. However: hinges of hell - farthest reaches of hell. From "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume II, D-H, by Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall (1991, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England). Page 1016.

Hotter'n a burnt boot -- From "Cowboy Lingo: A Dictionary of the Slack-Jaw Words and Whangdoodle Ways of the American West" by Ramon F. Adams (Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2000. Copyright 1936). Page 216.

Hotter'n a skunk - 1. Very drunk. 2. Very hot weather or anything hot. From the Yankee Talk chapter,"Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms: Local Expressions from Coast to Coast" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 2000). Page 244.

Hotter'n love in hayin' time - Extremely hot. Cited as a common expression in George Allen England, "Rural Locutions of Main and Northern New Hampshire," Dialect Notes, Vol. IV . 1. Very drunk. 2. Very hot weather or anything hot. Yankee Talk chapter, "Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms: Local Expressions from Coast to Coast" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 2000). Page 244.

So hot that when you dig up potatoes, they're already baked -- Online discussion forum, July 19, 2006.

So hot you had to feed the hens cracked ice - "I seen it so hot till you had to feed the hens cracked ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs." Richard Edwards in "Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-Tales from the Gulf States" by Zora Neale Hurston, HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 2002.
source

Colder than a Witches Tit

Origin of "colder than a witches tit"

The simple explanation is that "colder than a witch's tit" is just a vivid metaphor, like "hotter than the hinges of hell." Since a
witch is in league with Satan, presumably she has no maternal feelings. Thus the medium by which she would suckle a child is,
well, cold as a witch's tit.

But there's some history behind this wisecrack. A witch's t i t (or witch's teat, to use the older spelling) supposedly left a marking
that witch hunters and courts would look for on the body of an accused person. Supposedly, witches would suckle their
familiars, and sometimes the Devil himself, from this "unholy" body part. To find these marks, as well as insensitive spots on the
skin called devil's marks--caused by the Devil's claws or teeth--the suspects were stripped, shaven, then closely examined for
any blemishes, moles, or even scars that could be labeled as diabolical. To find marks invisible to the eye, the examiner would
poke the victim inch by inch with a blunt needle (called a bodkin) until they found a spot that didn't feel pain or bled. Discovery
of these marks or spots--one supposes they would be considered cold since they were a sign of communion with the
Devil--would be "proof" of the person's dealings with Scratch, so they would be shown in full court before the execution.
source

Angels of Bread

So may every humiliated mouth,
teeth like desecrated headstones,
fill with the angels of bread.

-Martín Espada

Heal a Friend

A friend has this.

The World is Bigger than You, and it Belongs to us Too.

It is frightening, I assume, when you are accustomed to being not just a voice of authority in your field but the archetype of authority in your civilization, to be challenged and feel those challenges stick.

You can choose to be permeable, to be curious, to be the one that didn’t die.
Article

Insidious as Ever

Groups such as the American Psychological Association and two former U.S. surgeons general have assailed the report as distorting scientific research.
Article

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Polyphagia

Always hungry!

Bread and Puppet


About Bread and Puppet

“We give you a piece of bread with the puppet show because our bread and theater belong together. For a long time the theater arts have been separated from the stomach. Theater was entertainment. Entertainment was meant for the skin. Bread was meant for the stomach. The old rites of baking, eating and offering bread were forgotten. The bread became mush. We would like you to take your shoes off when you come to our puppet show or we would like to bless you with the fiddle bow. The bread shall remind you of the sacrament of eating.

We want you to understand that theater is not yet an established form, not the place of commerce you think it is, where you pay to get something. Theater is different. It is more like bread, more like a necessity. Theater is a form of religion. It preaches sermons and builds a self-sufficient ritual. Puppet theater is the theater of all means. Puppets and masks should be played in the street. They are louder than the traffic. They don’t teach problems, but they scream and dance and display life in its clearest terms. Puppet theater is of action rather than dialogue. The action is reduced to the simplest dance-like and specialized gestures. A puppet may be a hand only, or it may be a complicated body of many heads, hands, rods and fabric.

We have two types of puppet shows: good ones and bad ones, but all of them are for good and against evil. ” -Peter Schumann

Morning Muses

My dog ROMEO is in my lap. I am at my desk in my office chair. He weighs 60 pounds. He is silky as cashmere. If he was a man he would have the voice of Jeff Golblum.

My studio is full of books and I have 30 more I'd like to add to my library. I haven't purchased them yet but I have selected them out of the used books category and I watch them go up and down in price like people watch the stock market. Until I earn I will not spend. And most things I refuse payment for.

The three slum apartment buildings next door just got sold. This could be good news if the new landlord believes in lights locks and stairs that work. Time will tell. The world is full of dirty sabotage right now.

My mother died a week ago. No flowers, no cards. Just baking bread and thinking about how awful she was. Thank god for my dogs. They have been my true mothers over the 40 years of living as an adult.

Ram Dass:How can we create a culture that supports our process of transformation?

You and I are a part of a process that’s going on in our culture at this moment.

And to that extent we are conscious of that process, it’s easier for us to let our acts support that process while simultaneously holding the confusion we feel because the process is leading us in uncharted ways into feelings we have not had before. It seems to me we are all traditionalists, we are all modernists, and we are all ‘cultural creatives.’ To the extent that you bring it all into consciousness, you can feel the way it affects all of it. I often feel like Kahlil Gibran, the prophet: “Speak to us of love, speak to us of pain, speak to us of child rearing…” all of the aspects of life that he taught about.

To the extent that you bring each aspect of your life under scrutiny, there is an opportunity to have that aspect of your life be something which supports transformation.

I mean a lot of people are incredibly generous in the world, but with their family, they are very, very tight, and yet they’re bringing offspring into the world. Many people have greed in one corner of their consciousness and philanthropy in another corner of their consciousness. I’m not knocking them, but just to be conscious about it, to cope with it, to be with it, that’s the first thing.

I’m not arguing for everybody to give up everything, It’s not gonna solve the problem.

I’m saying the psychic cost of disparity between the rich and poor is incredible, and there are other ways to have differentiated classes and structures in a society without it having the absolute toxic quality that it has in our society, in which there is guilt and denial and anger and righteousness and all this stuff.

At what point in our lives do we stop and say, “What is this about?” “What am I doing?” “what’s my vision?” “Where am I going?” “What part am I playing?” “What has this got to do with it all?” and instead of asking, with a litany of self-pity, “Who am I? What is this? Who am I?” seeing that it can all be answered from different levels.

We’re at a moment where science is pushing right up against the mystery. I love it, I absolutely love it, I love where we’re at with these new theories, the patterns, the systems are all delicious. They sound like I’m reading from the Vedas, these ancient books of old wisdom, we’re at such an interesting moment.

We’re at a moment when this kind of world-collective awareness is on us, and we haven’t figured out remotely what to do about it yet, and how to live with it.

We are about to have a world of unskilled workers who are being crapped upon in every place in the world, and then fewer and fewer number of people are enjoying the fruits of that. We are trying to bureaucratize against our own greed, which comes out of our own fear, which comes out of our own sense of separateness.

Ram Dass

Bread Tastings

Last night I made semolina breads

and sourdough rye breads

to photograph for my bread class, and to eat.

I was thinking....
a BREAD TASTING could be a cool idea for an event.

With local butter!

and olive oil

and peanut butter

Table Manners Around the World

https://www.thedailymeal.com/travel/table-manners-around-world-slideshow
https://www.thedailymeal.com/travel/table-manners-around-world/slide-2

Everything Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s recent history is a story of war and civil unrest. A country once prosperous now suffers from enormous poverty, a lack of skilled and educated workers, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread land mines. It’s being heard about in the news...
Table Manners from Afghanistan

o Hospitality is an essential aspect of Afghan culture.

o No matter who you are, if you visit a home you will be given the best the family has.

o This relates back to the idea of gaining honor.

o If you are invited for tea, which you inevitably will be, you will be offered snacks and your tea glass will be constantly filled. When you have had enough cover the glass with your hand and say “bus” (meaning ‘enough’).

The breaking of bread, a common mealtime food
Guests are always seated farthest from the door; when there are no guests the grandparents are seated farthest away from the door.
Depending on the customs of the household, a prayer may be offered before and/or after the meal.
Guests are offered food first and expected to eat the most, while the hosts begin to eat last and the least.
Guests should refrain from eating too much, unless the hosts coax them to eat more, which he/she almost always will. A host who coaxes his/her guests is considered a good, gracious host. The host should always ask at least three times if the guest wants more food, and the guest should refuse at least three times.
Guests are always given the best portions of the food. Refusing to eat however is considered bad manners, and guests should eat. Likewise, failure to offer food or to be attentive is considered bad manners for a host.
Traditionally food is eaten with bare hands. However, cutlery is sometimes provided, depending on the private culture of the host. Only the right hand should be used when eating with your hands. There are proper ways of picking up rice and other loose food without spilling any, which one should learn and practice. Wasting food is frowned upon. When cutlery is provided it is usually a spoon and fork, since there is seldom need for the use of a knife when eating Afghani food. Even when cutlery is provided it is acceptable to eat with your hands as well.
Soup may be eaten by soaking bread in it.
Food remnants should be collected with slices of bread.
Sometimes it is common to eat collectively from one large plate. One should always eat from one’s own side.
If bread is dropped on the floor while eating at a table, the bread should be picked up, kissed, and put to one’s forehead before putting the bread back somewhere other than the floor. If eating on the floor, make sure that your feet do not touch the food.
Compliments to the chef are customary; however, compliments should be acknowledged with extreme modesty.
Traditionally, service during dinner is performed by the young ones.
First, water is brought in a jug (afthawa) with a very large saucer (thaee-disti) to wash the hands. The jug and saucer usually are made of some sort of metal. The person bringing the jug and the saucer is apologized by the person who washes his/her hands.
Large table cloth (Distarkho) is spread over which food is served.
Everyone starts reciting “Bismillah-er-Rahman-er-Raheem” (In the name of Allah The Most Merciful, The Most Beneficient)
The food is then served.
Special prayers are recited by the eldest in the guests.
Food may be followed by fruit and then tea.
Tea is mustily served after dinner, with dried fruits, sweets, and sugar cubes. When tea is served, the cup of a guest must never be empty, and snacks must be offered. The guest should never be asked if he or she wants tea. The host should simply serve the tea. A guest never serves him or herself tea, nor performs a refill. The host must be attentive and refill tea cups until the guest is satiated. Afghans drink a great amount of tea and having 2–3 cups of tea at a sitting is common. Once the guest has finished drinking tea, the guest can flip their tea cup over to signal that they are done.
Eating or talking with one’s mouth full is frowned upon.
Even if one is extremely hungry, one should refrain from being over-zealous at the table.
One must never sit with one’s back to anyone, especially an elder or a guest. One must never sit with feet stretched out toward anyone, especially an elder or a guest.
After eating, the jug of water is brought out again to wash hands. A towel may be provided.

Bread in the Streets

https://tellingknots.wordpress.com/tag/jewish-customs/

OLIVER SACKS An Anthropologist on Mars

An Anthropologist on Mars
What is it like to be keenly intelligent and to care deeply about science and animal life—but to feel absolutely alienated from even the simplest human emotions and interactions? Temple Grandin knows, and her experiences offer rare insight into the enigma of autism.

Grandin has made the most of her remarkable rapport with animals. “If I could snap my fingers and be non-autistic, I would not,” she said at a recent lecture. “Autism is part of who I am.”

By Oliver Sacks

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1993/12/27/anthropologist-mars

Fastest Mechanism for Disarmament

By Nicole Lafond | March 28, 2018 7:35 am

After a retired Supreme Court justice called for the repeal of the Second Amendment on Tuesday,[...] reassured his base that he would “NEVER” let that happen.

In his New York Times essay, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said repealing the right to bear arms from the Constitution would be the fastest mechanism for legal change surrounding gun control. He said the move would limit the National Rifle Association’s lobbying power and make room for significant gun access legislation.

Gun control has made its way back to the national conversation following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last month that left 17 people dead. In the month since the attack, the high school student survivors have lead national protests calling for a ban on semi-automatic weapons and common sense gun reform measures.

Woonsocket's Clean Streets

The streets have been swept and tidied overnight. The highway Dept works hard while we are asleep!

Spooks

The Census Will Ask A Question It Already Knows Spooks Immigrant Communities
By Tierney Sneed | March 27, 2018 4:39 pm

Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said his group would be encouraging Latinos to participate in the Census as a way to defy the Trump’s administration’s attempts to undercount their communities.

“Donald Trump doesn’t want you counted. Make sure you are counted. They’re handing us the messaging,” Saenz told TPM. “In the end it might backfire on them. But I am absolutely convinced that this was their intention: They want a Latino undercount.”

Creating Harm

“The fact that this is even being raised is already creating harm for the community, is already creating some fear for the community that all of us will need to work to undo,” John Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said on a conference call with reporters. “Typically you have had a situation where you have tried to create partnerships with the Census Bureau, make sure that we have trusted messengers out there that will ensure that the community will understand the importance of being counted and the safeguards that are in place for being counted. Under this current environment, it was already very challenging.”

Saenz predicted the move may even backfire on the Trump administration by further motivating Latinos and other vulnerable populations to participate in an act of defiance, while courts wrangle with the question.

“We haven’t really faced this circumstance where there’s a clear obstacle to a complete enumeration that has been put in place for political reasons,” Saenz said.
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/legal-battles-census-citizenship-question

INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“We’re inventing new ways, it seems, to drive people out of the teaching profession in Kansas,” Parker said.
Kansas Considers Making Schools Liable For Not Arming Staff
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/kansas-considers-making-schools-liable-not-arming-staff
By Mitchell Willetts | March 28, 2018 7:01 am

Community Running Group

“Our mission statement is to promote health and wellness in the community and the community running group is very much aligned with that mission,” Dinezo said.

Runners participating in the group will not only get some help in breaking out of their routine training practices and expectations, but also have some fun running with others on a team, Dinezo explained. “They will experience what it is like to be a part of a team and see how that gets people motivated,” he said.

For more information on New England Distance Project’s community running group visit the website, nedistance.wildapricot.org.

Children on the Front Line

But students should not be expected to cure the ills of our genuinely troubled classmates, or even our friends, because we first and foremost go to school to learn. The implication that Mr. Cruz’s mental health problems could have been solved if only he had been loved more by his fellow students is both a gross misunderstanding of how these diseases work and a dangerous suggestion that puts children on the front line.

It is not the obligation of children to befriend classmates who have demonstrated aggressive, unpredictable or violent tendencies. It is the responsibility of the school administration and guidance department to seek out those students and get them the help that they need, even if it is extremely specialized attention that cannot be provided at the same institution.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/opinion/nikolas-cruz-shooting-florida.html

Sleeping with my Dog

"If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."

Desire to Impeach

“Doing nothing is doing something,” he continued. “By doing nothing, you’re still making a choice.”

Article

Kurt Vonnegut

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.

Rabindranath Tagore


I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

Rhode Hard and Put Up Wet

“Rode hard and put up wet.”
A term that originated with people that ride horses, since you are supposed to brush them and groom them after a workout; now used to refer to the way a promiscuous woman looks.
There is a very Southern expression that can be used of a rough-looking woman, a woman who has obviously had a tough life; it is "She's been rode hard and put up wet."

Not Playing with a Full Deck

“There’s no use crying over spilt milk.”
This means that you shouldn’t be upset over an outcome you cannot change.

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
You can present an opportunity to someone but can’t force them to act on it.

“Speak of the devil!”
This expression is used when the person you have just been talking about appears.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
Don’t assume that things will go a specific way in advance.

“I’ll be glad to see the back of…”
To be happy when a person leaves or a situation ends.

“Wouldn’t be caught dead…”
A person would never do something they find distasteful no matter the circumstances.

“Straight from the horse’s mouth.”
To hear something from the original source.

“Steal someone’s thunder.”
To take credit for someone else’s actions or to unfairly eclipse their deeds.

“Not playing with a full deck.”
Someone who lacks intelligence or common sense.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Don’t put all your resources and hope behind one possibility.

“Caught between two stools.”
Having trouble selecting between two choices.

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”
Walking away from a situation in order to avoid unnecessary complications.

“Not a spark of decency.”
Lacking politeness.

“It’s in the bag.”
It’s a certainty or a done deal.

“Dig in your heels.”
Refuse to change your mind or budge.

“To bamboozle.”
To swindle or deceive.

“Stick to your guns.”
Standing up for your beliefs and not accepting compromise.

“That dog won’t hunt.”
A plan is doomed for failure.

“That thing is all catawampus.”
Something is a mess and beyond repair.

“Bless your heart.”
The nicest sounding way to call someone an idiot.

“No dog in this fight.”
Neutral on the outcome of a situation.

“Bought the farm/ Kicked the bucket”
Nice ways to say “dead.”

“For the birds.”
To deem something as trivial or worthless.

“Shoot the breeze.”
Engage in a leisurely, casual conversation.

The History of the Phrase

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Oh, my stars and garters'?

A jocular exclamation or expression of astonishment.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Oh, my stars and garters'?

'Oh, my stars and garters' is now very much an American expression. I haven't ever come across 'in the wild' here in the UK. That's a little odd as, as we shall see, the phrase's origins are very much English.

'Stars' has been a favourite in British exclamations for many centuries; for example, 'bless my stars', 'thank my lucky stars' - both 17th century coinages. This usage of the word dates back to at least the 16th century, when it was used by Christopher Marlowe in the play The troublesome raigne and lamentable death of Edward the second, circa 1593:

O my starres! Why do you lowre [bring down in rank] unkindly on a king?

The stars in question are the astrological bodies and one's stars were one's position in life, or disposition.

My stars and gartersMoving on to 'garters' and the connection isn't with astrology, or even hosiery, but with chivalry. The Noble Order of the Garter is the highest heraldic order that the British monarch can bestow. Queen Elizabeth is seen here with the emblem of the order which is worn by the monarch when the members of the order assemble. The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that the emblem is in the form of a star - like several other of the honours and decorations bestowed on British notables. 'Stars and garters' was used as a generic name for the trappings of high office and, by extension, the people who occupied such; for example, this piece from Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, circa 1712:

While Peers, and Dukes, and all their sweeping train, And Garters, Stars, and Coronets appear.

'Oh, my stars and garters', when used as a humorous exclamation, appears to be a merging of the previous 'star' exclamations and the 'stars and garters' associated with the honours given to the great and the good.

Oh, my stars and gartersThe earliest example that I can find of it used in that figurative way comes from The London Magazine, Volume 34, 1765, in a comic verse titled 'A Journey to Oxford':

"Supper at such an hour!
My stars and garters! who would be,
To have such guests, a landlady"

Stars and garters are still linked with landladies, as that is the name of many public houses in the UK.

A Good time or a Good Story

But no matter how busy the holidays get, I always think about the words of a dear friend and make them my mantra: It will either be a good time or a good story.

And either one is fine with me.

"My Stars and Garters!"

"Being a dog in the manger" - You dont want it yourself but you don't want anyone else to have it.

"Cutting off your nose to spite your face" - Saying "no" to something that you really would like, just because.......

"Wearing out your shoe leather" - Walking a lot.

"Take the bull by the horns" - Just do it!

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander" - What she can say when 'he' says something to 'her'.

"Don't put all of your eggs in one basket" - Don't depend on any one thing.

"Make hay while the sun shines" - Do it while you have the opportunity.

"I'm not broke. I'm just badly bent" - Only a penny in her purse.

"Try sleeping on your back" When someone complains that they can't sleep on an empty stomach.

"Pshaw" - The old timers said this rather than 'darn'

"If that's supper, roll on breakfast" - A reply to "Did you enjoy supper?"

"I didn't know they piled it that high" - A remark when seeing a really tall child.

"Penny wise and pound foolish" - Someone who pinches pennies and then squanders the dollars.

"Look after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves" - Save your pennies and you will have dollars.

"A penny for your thoughts" - Said to someone being unusually quiet.

"Get behind me Satan - but don't push too hard" - Wanting to do something but feeling guilty about it.

"Small fry" - Children.

"You'll have your head in your hands to play with" - Threat to someone wanting to do something you disapprove of.

"Old man Can't is dead and he left a little boy named Try" - Never say can't.

"Handle that with kid gloves" - Be careful and/or be kind.

"My sufficiency is suffonsified; any more would be double superfluency" - I'm full!

"Poor wee lamb" - This was what some old ladies said when they saw a baby.

"Well, you just take a run around your collar and slide down your tie!" Ladies' comment to smart alec guy comments.

"Children should be seen and not heard" - Speak only when spoken to.

"Up the wooden hill" - Upstairs to bed.

"More hurry, less speed" - The more you try to hurry, the slower it goes.

"Take the bitter with the better" - You have to take some bad along with the good.

"Get your skates on" - Hurry up!

"Six of one - half-dozen of the other" - One is the same as the other.

"It's as broad as it is long" - It's the same thing.

"Don't bite off more than you can chew" - Don't take on more than you can handle.

"Waste not, want not" - If you don't waste, you will not go hungry.

"Scratch the mad spot" - Remark you make when you think someone is angry with you unjustly.

"Button your lip" - Be quiet.

"My stomach thinks my throat's cut" - I'm hungry.

"I'm pulling your leg" - I'm teasing you.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" - Really needing something has led us to many good solutions.

"There's a long drink of water" - Remark made when seeing a really tall person.

"A galloping horse wouldn't see it and a blind man would be glad to." - Something to think about when you worry about a small flaw.

"Slower than molasses in January." - Now that is SLOW.

"A watched pot never boils." - The more you watch for something to happen, the slower it seems to take.

"Put that in your pipe and smoke it!" - Remark made, emphatically, when you were trying to get a point across.

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" - It is better to take one dollar than wait a long while, hoping for two or more.

"Chewing the fat" - Talking.

"Use elbow grease" - Scrub really hard.

"Keeps a stiff upper lip" - Doesn't complain.

"The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it in your purse."

"I don't chew my cabbage twice." - Said when the person does not intend to repeat themselves.

"Adam's ale" - Water.

"Their right hand doesn't know what their left hand is doing" - When a company or person continually makes mistakes.

"He couldn't chew gum and walk at the same time!" - To do two trivial tasks at the same time. Used in negative phrases to indicate incompetence.

Busy as a one-armed paper hanger with hives! Think about trying to hold up all those rolls of paper, then you have an itch … and no way to scratch.

Busy as a one-legged man at an ass kicking contest! Not sure what’s up with idioms focusing on people with missing limbs, but that’s one busy dude.

So busy you’ve worked from can to can’t!

"I have "too many irons in the fire." - too much going on.

"Isn't 'that' a fine kettle of fish!" - Not what was expected.

"Picking up the pieces" - Starting over.

"Bending over backwards" - Trying your extreme best to do something.

"Jumping on the bandwagon" - Joining in.

"Eating crow" - Apologizing and taking back what you have said that turned out to be wrong.

"Tooting your own horn" - Bragging.

"Adding fuel to the fire" - To keep a disagreement of some kind going - usually intentionally.

"I'll be a monkey's uncle!" - I'll be darned!

"Stir their stumps!" - Hurry them up!

"You cant make a silk purse from a sow's ear." - You cannot make something beautiful without the right materials to work with.

"Take the bull by the horns." - Just tackle the problem!

"A new broom sweeps clean." - New things and sometimes relationships usually look great at first.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat." - There is always more than one way to handle something you are unsure of.

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." - This was quite appropriate in the 'olden' days - at least in many families.

"Take that with a grain of salt." - Don't be upset about it.

"A lick and a promise." - A little dusting today and a promise to do better tomorrow.

"Out yonder." - Outside, perhaps in the back field.

"So mad I could spit hot water." - Very angry!

"Chew the fat." - Talk.

"Wet your whistle" - Have a drink. (It would mean water, tea, juice, ginger-ale)

"Don't burn the candle at both ends." - Don't work day 'and' night; you'll burn out. You need 'some' sleep.

"Mind your P's and Q's!" - Don't be nosy!

"Not half bad!" - Good!

"Take the whole kit and kaboodle!" - Take it all.

"Keep your shirt on!" - Wait a minute!

"Don't cut off your nose to spite your face! " - You shouldn't do something out of spite or revenge that will end up causing more harm to you than to the person with which you are angry. In other words, do not let your overreaction lead to self-harm.

"Beggars can't be choosers." - Be happy with what you can afford.

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." - Don't find fault with something that has been received as a gift or favor.

"My stars and garters!" - Just another way of expressing surprise.

"That's really the Cat's pajamas." - Cool!

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

"Let's get this show on the road!" - Let's get on with it!

"The better the day the better the deed." - An expression used when someone had to do something on Sunday that they ordinarily wouldn't.

"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." - Your opinion cannot be forced on anyone.

"Putting your foot in your mouth." - Saying the wrong thing!

"I was knee-high to a grasshopper." - I was very young.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." - Take care of things as you use them and prevent needing a major repair or replacement.

"You hit the nail on the head." - You are right on.

"Don't buy a pig in a poke" - Don't buy just anything. Choose wisely.

"Rob Peter to pay Paul" - Borrow from one place in your budget to pay something else for which you don't have enough money.

"Do you mind?" - Do you remember?

"A Bone to Pick" - Someone wants to discuss a disagreement.

"A bad apple" - One corrupt person can cause all the others to go bad if you don't remove it.

"Bad Egg" - Someone who was not a good person.

"Been through the mill" - Had a rough time of it.

"At sea" - Lost or not understanding something.

"Bee in your bonnet" - To have an idea that won't let loose.

"Between hay and grass" - Not a child or an adult.

"Calaboose" - A jail.

"Hold your horses" - Be patient.

"I reckon" - I suppose.

"Jawing" - Talking.

"Lower than a snake's belly" - An unprincipled person.

"Madder than a wet hen" - Really angry.

"Pert-near" - Pretty near.

"Scarce as hen's teeth" - Something difficult to obtain.

"Skedaddle" - Get out of here quickly!

"Sparking" - Courting.

"Sunday go to meetin' dress" - The best dress you had.

"Straight from the Horse's Mouth" - Privileged information from the one concerned.

"Wearing your best bib and tucker" - Being all dressed up.

Diddly Squat

The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang suggests that this is a variation of doodly-squat from 1934. Doodly-squat was originally the more common form, but diddly-squat overtook it in the mid-1970s, and is now four times more common in print.

Breakfast of Champions

Vonnegut states that he tends "to think of human beings as huge, rubbery test tubes, too, with chemical reactions seething inside."

Suicide, free will, mental illness, and social and economic cruelty are dealt with throughout the novel. In the preface, Vonnegut states that he tends "to think of human beings as huge, rubbery test tubes, too, with chemical reactions seething inside." As with Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) and The Sirens of Titan (1959), the nature of free will is called into question, in this case by considering mankind as biological machines, and physical measurements of characters are often given when they are introduced. He attributes the mental illness of Dwayne Hoover and society at large to an abundance of "bad chemicals" in the brain which, when combined with bad ideas, formed "the Yin and Yang of madness." This idea, that humans are no more than machines, is contained within the novel Kilgore Trout gives to Dwayne Hoover. Both Trout and Vonnegut realize the power of bad ideas, with Vonnegut remarking how "natural it was for [people] to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: it was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books." The view of humans as biological machines, initially accepted by Vonnegut, is counteracted by Rabo Karabekian, the abstract artist who suggests "Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery."

The novel is critical of American society and its treatment of its citizens, many of which Vonnegut writes "were so ignored and cheated and insulted that they thought they might be in the wrong country." He focuses largely on race, the poor, and the destruction of the environment, criticizing the hypocrisy of a land that claims to be based on the principles of freedom having been founded by people who "used human beings for machinery, and, even after slavery was eliminated, because it was so embarrassing, they and their descendants continued to think of ordinary human beings as machines." The incidents in the life of Wayne Hoobler, a black resident of Midland City, are frequently contrasted with those of the similarly named Dwayne Hoover, emphasizing the aforementioned impact of race.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakfast_of_Champions

Lens: Gel Sheets

In stage lighting they are called gel sheets, or gel cuts. They are the translucent lenses placed over the stage lights, for lighting the stage. I like to think of them as personality traits.

I wear amber prescription sunglasses for the same purpose, my personal downtown stage lighting.

Changing the color of our lights is probably the single most powerful artistic change we can make easily. Gel filters are the media of choice for this purpose. Gel sheets are generally 20" x 24" and can be cut with scissors, mat knife, or a paper cutter to cut the gel size to your fixture's needs.
source

Muffled Booming

I woke up to the muffled booming of a car stereo in the neighbor's parking lot at 4:15 AM.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Soft Pretzel Buns

http://www.hummingbirdhigh.com/2013/04/soft-pretzel-bread-buns.html#

The RI Community Spay/Neuter Clinic

MAKE AN IMPACT!
Donate

Please consider donating!

100% of your donation will be used

to spay or neuter pets of those who cannot afford the cost of surgery

or to sterilize homeless cats.


On behalf of all the animals,

thank you!

info@ricsnc.org
Home

The RI Community Spay/Neuter Clinic is proudly owned and operated by the Ocean State Animal Coalition

RI Community Spay/Neuter Clinic, LLC • 235 Elm Street, Warwick, RI 02888 • www.RICSNC.org


The Rhode Island Community Spay/Neuter Clinic, which is owned by the Ocean State Animal Coalition, is committed to ending companion animal and feral cat overpopulation by providing high quality, subsidized spay and neuter services.


The clinic uses only the highest standards to ensure the safety and comfort of your pet during his or her stay with us.


Our vision is to end the need to euthanize healthy, adoptable dogs and cats by reducing the number of dogs and cats that enter the State’s shelters. It is our belief that through prevention (spay and neuter) and public education, we can save lives. To learn more about our work and the Ocean State Animal Coalition, please click here.

Snyder's Sourdough Pretzels

Snyder's Sourdough Pretzels dipped in peanut butter. It's like portable toast.

Eihei Dōgen

In the spring, cherry blossoms,

In the summer the cuckoo,

In autumn the moon, and in

winter the snow, clear, cold.

10 poems by Eihei Dōgen – Zen Poetry and Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace

Impermanence

To what shall
I liken the world?
Moonlight, reflected
In dewdrops,
Shaken from a crane’s bill.

Zazen

The moon reflected
In a mind clear
As still water:
Even the waves, breaking,
Are reflecting its light.

*

In the stream

In the stream,
Rushing past
To the dusty world,
My fleeting form
Casts no reflection.

*

Ching-ch’ing’s raindrop sound

Because the mind is free —
Listening to the rain
Dripping from the eaves,
The drops become
One with me.

Coming or Going

The migrating bird
leaves no trace behind
and does not need a guide.

*

No title

The bridge of dreams
Floating on the brief spring night
Soon breaks off:
Now from the mountaintop a cloud
Takes leave into the open sky.

Koans

ko·an
ˈkōän/
noun
plural noun: koans

a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.

What I Did

Web site

Bereavement in Judaism

Article

Socca!

How To Make Socca: A Naturally Gluten-Free Chickpea Flatbread
https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-socca-a-naturally-gluten-free-chickpea-flatbread-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-169513

Mike Fishbein + Annie Duke

Mike Fishbein:

Some of the most effective strategies look like mistakes.

If it looks like a mistake, but it's working, it's probably not a mistake.

The best way to avoid distraction is to find something better to focus on.

Children don’t need “meaning” to get up in the morning. Life is the meaning.


My friends who stayed in on Saturday nights are now running companies, operating on patients, etc.

My friends who partied too much are still partying too much.

Being a nerd gets a lot cooler as you get older.

Annie Duke:

How to accelerate learning: • Say "I'm not sure" • Build community • Get accountability • Experiment with small stakes • Teach • Have compassion for yourself

Annie Duke article

Nurture Your Marriage

Article

Christine Caldwell

Getting Our Bodies Back: Recovery, Healing, and Transformation through Body-Centered Psychotherapy
by Christine Caldwell

A habitual movement as common as nail-biting or toe-tapping can be the key to pulling out addictive behavior by its roots. These unconscious movement "tags" indicate the places where our bodies have become split off from our psyches. When brought to consciousness and confronted they will often tell us very plainly where our psychological suffering originated, showing us where to begin reconnecting body and soul. Christine Caldwell, a pioneer in the field of somatic psychology, has created an original model for working with body wisdom called the Moving Cycle. She describes how this form of therapy has worked effectively in her own practice, and she provides practical techniques to show how we can learn to listen to what our bodies are telling us, confront addictive habits, and learn to celebrate our inherent wisdom and elegance.

Biography
Christine Caldwell, Ph.D., BC-DMT, LPC, NCC, ACS, is the founder of and professor emeritus in the Somatic Counseling Program at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, USA, where she taught coursework in somatic counseling theory and skills, clinical neuroscience, research, and diversity issues. She has published over 30 articles and chapters, and her books include Getting Our Bodies Back, and Getting In Touch. She has two books coming out in 2018, The Body and Oppression, and Bodyfulness.

The Fantastic Laurie Metcalf

Mantello, who has directed her in two other Broadway plays, describes her as a “monster in the room. She supplies you with such a variety and wealth of choices, and she doesn’t need a lot of guidance.”

all goes back to being given such meaty parts at an age when most actresses are being forced into retirement. But she knew exactly what to do with these parts when she got them. “She is so hard-working,” says Will Frears, who directed Metcalf in a 2015 Broadway adaptation of “Misery.” “She is extraordinary in her desire to be extraordinary.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/magazine/laurie-metcalf-lady-bird-roseanne.html

Thug in Chief

We live at a time when a porn star displays more credibility and class than a president, his lawyers distinguish themselves through swagger more than legal skill, and we seriously wonder just how thuggish the man in the Oval Office is. It seems like a bad dream.
Article

Kwame Anthony Appiah THE ETHICIST

Two situations
Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at N.Y.U. He is the author of “Cosmopolitanism” and “The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.”

Good Answers

The deeper question we need to reckon with is why boys and men are socialized to derive their self-worth from the denigration and domination of women. The symptoms of this mindset — discrimination, abusive behavior, rape — are infuriating. But beneath this rage lurks a deep sorrow that belongs to all of us.
Article

When the Criminal is Your Mother or Books Save Lives!

There's a piece of me that wanted someone official, someone in power to catch my mother's crimes. I guess in the end I was the one! I ran away and read books. I even read books before I ran away. At age 11 I saved up my 50 cent allowance and sent away for a pink paperback book: The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce. There was no Dr. Phil but this worked just as well.

Detective, Nurse and DNA

They caught the guy, 20 years later.
Article

Williams

Seven months later, Williams spoke at Roy’s sentencing.

“I didn’t break down crying until I looked at him,” she said.

“I guess at that moment I realized that my life wasn’t the only one affected by his actions,” she said. “My heart broke for him.”

But, she said, “My heart also broke for myself.”

article

Ever since Reagan, Republicans Have Basically Played a Con Game on American Voters.

To be sure, there have been plenty of crooked Democrats. But usually the revelation of their crookedness ended their political careers. What’s striking about today’s Republican landscape is that people who are obvious crooks, con men or worse continue to attract strong support from the party’s base.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/26/opinion/conservatism-honesty-crime-gop.html

Killer Headaches

Do you ever wake up with killer sinus headaches. Once in a while I do and they are so painful they cause nausea. I try to avoid bright light. I jump into the shower and that helps a lot and then I take 1 generic excedrin and 1 antihistamine and 1 decongestant with banana or toast and tall glass of water/ Thank god for the drugs.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Poster on Bus Today

Day One 5k Run/Walk Overview

Date: Saturday May 12, 2018

5K Start: 10:00 AM

Youth Race Start: 9:00 AM (.25 miles)

Start Location: 400 Elmgrove Ave. Providence RI. All races finish at the Brown University Stadium track in Providence, Rhode Island.

Aid stations and water along the course.

CONTACT >

Day One
100 Medway Street

Providence, RI 02906

401-421-4100

info@dayoneri.org

Day One 5K to End Sexual Violence

Day One's mission is to reduce the prevalence of sexual abuse and violence and to support and advocate for those affected by it.

Margaret Renkl

In this house, we have never been Christmas-and-Easter-only Christians. My husband and I grew up in the church and raised our children there. Even during the hardest years, when mobilizing three young sons and various configurations of elderly parents felt like running the Iditarod every Sunday morning — even then, we didn’t miss Mass.

But the 2016 presidential election changed all that for me. I just couldn’t forgive my fellow Christians for electing a man who exploited his employees, boasted about his sexual assaults, encouraged violence against citizens who disagreed with him, mocked the disabled and welcomed the support of virulent white supremacists. This is what Jesus meant when he told his followers to love one another?

At church, all I could think about were the millions of people likely to lose their health insurance thanks to Catholic bishops who opposed the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. I was supposed to be thinking about the infinite love of a merciful God, but all I could hear were thousands of Christians shouting, “Build that wall!” By the time Easter had come and gone, I was gone too.

A church isn’t a necessary thing to a believer for whom the whole world is holy.

Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/25/opinion/easter-church-faith.html

Blatantly Unconstitutional

If it’s up to them, they won’t stop until it’s impossible for many or all women in America to make their own choices about whether to access a safe, popular and common form of health care.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/25/opinion/ohio-abortion-ban-bill.html

Self-Taught, Rocket Man

Self-Taught, Flat-Earther Rocket Man Laughs Last
'Mad' Mike Hughes blasts off in a homemade rocket, lives to tell the tale
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 26, 2018 8:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – "Mad" Mike Hughes finally went up—just like the self-taught rocket scientist always pledged, a mission accomplished for a guy more daredevil than engineer, who drew more comparisons to Wile E. Coyote than Evel Knievel. Hughes, the rocket man who believes the Earth is flat, propelled himself about 1,875 feet into the air Saturday before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert. He told the AP that outside of an aching back he's fine after the launch near Amboy, Calif. "I'm tired of people saying I chickened out and didn't build a rocket," he said. "I manned up and did it." The 61-year-old limo driver converted a mobile home into a ramp and modified it to launch from a vertical angle so he wouldn't fall back to the ground on public land. For months he's been working on overhauling his rocket in his garage.

Hughes reached a speed around 350mph before pulling his parachute. Hughes was dropping too fast, though, and he had to deploy a second one. He landed with a thud and the rocket's nose broke in two places like it was designed to do. "This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways," said Hughes. "Am I glad I did it? Yeah. I guess. I'll feel it in the morning. ... At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight." He got permission to launch on the land owned by Albert Okura, who bought Amboy in 2005 for $435,000. "Mike branded us as 'Rocket Town,'" Okura said. "It was amazing." Hughes always maintained that his mission isn't to prove the Earth is flat. "Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is," he said. "Do I know for sure? No. That's why I want to go up in space." His future plans are simple: A run for governor. "This is no joke."

First, dig pit latrines

Of sanity and sanitationBangladesh shows how to keep children alive

First, dig pit latrines. Then persuade people to use them

https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21739154-first-dig-pit-latrines-then-persuade-people-use-them-bangladesh-shows-how-keep-children

How to Make Dough

I'll be teaching a FREE bread baking "how to make dough" I will send my students home with boingy dough that they created to BAKE in their own ovens.

Maybe for my class I will do mix and match "a flour bar!"

High Alert

The trauma caused by childhood neglect, sexual or domestic abuse and war wreaks havoc in our bodies, says Bessel van der Kolk in The Body Keeps the Score

“Childhood neglect can prime individuals to be on high alert, their bodies tuned to fight or flight”

The lifelong cost of burying our traumatic experiences

By Shaoni Bhattacharya

Giannis

He was born in Athens in 1994 into poverty on the lowest rung of Greek society. His parents had come here from Nigeria and raised their family. They had no papers, lived in tiny two-room apartments, sleeping three or four to a bed. There was rarely enough food.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: You know, it was tough. We didn't have a lot of money. But we had a lot of happiness. So we wasn't broke happiness wise. When we were struggling back in the day, we were all together in one room, same room. We were having fun. We were smiling. There was some tough times.
CBS News

Steve Kroft: You think it made you stronger?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Oh yeah, definitely.

Steve Kroft: Were you the best player in the league?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: No. I wasn't. I wasn't. There was a lot of players better than me. But I had a lot of potential to be better than them.
source

Running in the Dark

Could Running in the Dark Be the Secret to Hitting a Faster Pace?
Yes and no. While there is no research that shows exercising in the dark actually makes you run faster, there are other benefits of running at night.
By Emily Abbate Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 8:41 am

I was in the middle of six pitch-black miles at 2 a.m., decked out in reflective gear and a safety vest for the second leg of my Ragnar Relay. With my stride guided by a headlamp and my breath providing a steady downbeat, I felt strong. While I was aware of the risks—inattentive drivers and unseen potholes—the dark enveloped me, pushed me to stay in the zone, and helped me cruise at a pace that made me feel like Superwoman.

So I had to wonder: Was the dark actually making me move faster?

Maybe, says Angie Fifer, Ph.D., executive board member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology in Philadelphia. “When you run at night, there is nothing to do but pay attention to your surroundings,” she explains. “It can make us more aware and focused, which provides a freeing sensation that can help us pick up the pace.”

Abandoned streets can also encourage you to unleash your inner speed. “No one is looking and judging, so in your mind you think, ‘I can just go, without inhibitions,’ ” says Fifer.
Newswire: Midnight Runners Crew Takes Over Boston With Neon Lights, Techno Music
The growing group from the United Kingdom brought its party to the United States for the first time.
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0:59

Safety Check

Use these simple strategies to log shadowed runs unscathed.

Get techy.
Leave the ’buds, but bring your phone: Having the bSafe app handy means a simple button push can alert friends of your location and that you’re in trouble if things go awry.

Stick to known trails.
The dangers of unexpected turns or a technical route outweigh the benefits of being one with nature. Save adventuring on new trails for well-lit weekend outings.

Light the night.
Now’s not the time for black zip-ups and matching tights. Layer on bright items with reflective hits, like a BSeen LED Slap band ($10, amazon.com).

Nikki Glaser Comedian + Runner

It helps my comedy as well. I think of jokes when I run. It is the only time that my mind is allowed to wander and I fall into this meditative state, usually when I pass the three-mile mark. That’s when the ideas flow. I need to figure out a better system of remembering them, though. Right now I dictate them into my iPhone as I run, so it comes out all jumbled and misspelled.

The Creative Ideas Start to Flow After 3 Miles for Comedian Nikki Glaser

The 33-year-old came back to running a year ago, and this time for all the right reasons.
By Charles Thorp​​ Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 8:47 am
Nikki Glaser is a stand-up comedian and radio/television host living in New York City. You can find her on tour at nikkiglaser.com.

Storm Topples Trump

Ms. Clifford has not been the subject of a single tweet.

To many in the capital, Ms. Clifford, 39, has become an unexpected force. It is she, some in Washington now joke, and not the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who could topple Mr. Trump.

Imagine Learning!


Why It’s So Hard to Hear Negative Feedback

By TIM HERRERA MARCH 26, 2018

If you’re receiving the feedback, frame it so it will ultimately lead to self-improvement.

Yes, it can be tough to take.

But imagine that on top of being judged on your job performance, you’ll also be judged on how you act on the feedback.

Rebecca: Foodie with Family

https://www.foodiewithfamily.com/about-us/

Sunday, March 25, 2018

NY Forget's Its Juvenile Lifers

Article

Who Were My Parents

BBC Story

Who were my parents - and why was I left on a hillside to die?
By Claire Bates BBC Stories

19 March 2018

In the summer of 1937 a nine-month-old girl was hidden, with her hands tied, in a blackberry bush in southern England. She was found by sheer chance by a family of holidaymakers. Now 80, Anthea Ring has spent most of her life wondering why she was left to die and who her parents were. Thanks to a leap forward in genetic genealogy she finally has some answers.

Jane Dodd was tired. The 11-year-old was walking over the South Downs with her family on a bright August day. Ahead were her parents Arthur and Margaret and her older sister Elizabeth. Every year they travelled from south London for a fortnight's holiday in Worthing. Her father would insist on an invigorating walk in the afternoons. It was still hot, even at 6pm. There was no shade up here, just grassland, gorse and blackberry bushes. Suddenly her mother stopped.

"There's a baby up here," she said.

Her father turned around.

"Of course there isn't, there's no-one up here," he said.

"I haven't had five children and not know what a baby sounds like," her mother replied.

The family started searching through the scrubland. Minutes later they found a blonde child hidden deep in a blackberry bush. She was wearing a pink dress and looked about one year old. She had scratches and insect bites. Her hands were tied tightly in front of her.

Slum Landlords

The SLUMLORD giveaway PRIZE is overflowing trash, broken windows and chirping smoke alarms.

Raising Awareness and Funds: When you're suffering from trauma, you feel isolated

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/03/21/christian-griffith-nj-child-abuse-prevention-run-2-heal/438118002/
North Jersey

Man on coast-to-coast run braves storm as he crosses through New Jersey today
Michael W. Curley, Jr., Staff Writer, @mwcurleyjr Published 3:24 p.m. ET March 21, 2018 | Updated 4:20 p.m. ET March 21, 2018

Endurance athlete Christian Griffith is running from the east coast to the west to raise $1 million in the fight against child sexual abuse. Michael W. Curley, Jr./NorthJersey.com
Christian Griffith

Dr. Gabor Maté

Addictions and addictive behaviors are rife in our society, and they are all over the place. Virtually all of us have one or another going at any given time. It may not be substances, but my definition of addiction does not mention substances; it’s any behavior that has those characteristics. That’s the first point. The second point is that we are in a society in denial. We deny our dysfunctions. Therefore, it makes us feel better when we can point out and look at somebody that seems inferior to us. By doing this, we believe we can feel better about ourselves by somehow thinking that we are different. There is a lesson here that can be found in most of the spiritual traditions and taught by most of the great spiritual teachers. The lesson was particularly well-expressed by Jesus when he said that before trying to remove the speck from your brother’s eye, take the plank out of your own. Don’t be a hypocrite.
*****
In other words, what if we actually began to care about and listen to the stories of these people? That’s why I believe the job of people like you and I, John, is to tell these stories and to encourage people to listen to the real-life experiences of people suffering from this disease. Once they hear the real-life experience, most people can relate and most people can understand. It’s the absence of knowing the experience of the other that causes such judgment, stigma, and fear.
Article

Diogenes Syndrome

Diogenes syndrome, also known as senile squalor syndrome, is a disorder characterized by extreme self-neglect, domestic squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, compulsive hoarding of garbage or animals, and lack of shame. Sufferers may also display symptoms of catatonia.[1][2]

The condition was first recognized in 1966[3] and designated Diogenes syndrome by Clark et al.[4] The name derives from Diogenes of Sinope, an ancient Greek philosopher, a Cynic and an ultimate minimalist, who allegedly lived in a large jar in Athens. Not only did he not hoard, but he actually sought human company by venturing daily to the Agora. Therefore, this eponym is considered to be a misnomer[5][6][7]. Other possible terms are senile breakdown, Plyushkin's Syndrome (after the Gogol character),[5] social breakdown and senile squalor syndrome.[8] Frontal lobe impairment may play a part in the causation (Orrell et al., 1989).[9]

Erin Aubrey Kaplan

We’re All in the Ghetto Now

By ERIN AUBRY KAPLAN
MARCH 24, 2018

LOS ANGELES — During President Trump’s fund-raising trip to Beverly Hills, Calif., this month — the first time he’d come to the official state of resistance since becoming president — a couple of friends of mine took to the streets, along with hundreds of others, to protest. But the visit was highly stage-managed, and Mr. Trump never faced the crowd; the most my friends could do, they said, was raise a middle finger to the sky as his aircraft flew overhead.

It’s a funny image, but also a stark reminder that we have a president who assiduously avoids the majority of the public that disagrees with him. In the nation’s most populous state, people turned out to meet their leader, and their leader refused to appear. This reinforced something I’ve felt since the beginning of the Trump era: We’re all in the ghetto now.

Springtime for Sycophants + Tin Pot Dictators

Article

Now, it’s a commonplace, but also a euphemism, to say that Trump has authoritarian instincts. A more accurate statement would be that he expects the kind of treatment tin-pot dictators demand, free from any criticism inside or outside his government and greeted with constant hosannas of praise.

And everyone who isn’t willing to play the full game, who has tried to play by something resembling normal democratic rules, seems to be fleeing the administration. Soon only the shameless sycophants will be left. This will not end well.

Paul Krugman

Saturday, March 24, 2018

How to Cope when your Monster Dies

https://www.wikihow.com/Cope-when-Your-Abuser-Passes-Away

Developing Resilience


Loved this article!
Mining past trauma for meaning requires developing resilience in the face of pain.

Post Traumatic Growth

Article
Experts call this phenomenon post-traumatic growth, both the inverse of post-traumatic stress and the productive use of it — and the more I learn about post-traumatic growth, the more I realize that I have my mother to thank for mine.

When the Monster Dies

Article

The Long Goodbye: I Have no Memories of Love

My mother died on Tuesday.

She was a monster!

She threatened to die since I was 11 years old. I am 57.

I have been scouring my brain for one good memory of her.

She was an abusive vindictive narcissistic toxic monster.

She even made my 4th grade teacher cry!

I have no loving memories of her.

Anne Lamott: A Writer Pays Attention to the World

One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.

I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do — the actual act of writing — turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.

I tell my students that the odds of their getting published and of it bringing them financial security, peace of mind, and even joy are probably not that great. Ruin, hysteria, bad skin, unsightly tics, ugly financial problems, maybe; but probably not peace of mind. I tell them that I think they ought to write anyway.
My writer friends, and they are legion, do not go around beaming with quiet feelings of contentment. Most of them go around with haunted, abused, surprised looks on their faces, like lab dogs on whom very personal deodorant sprays have been tested.

But I also tell [my students] that sometimes when my writer friends are working, they feel better and more alive than they do at any other time. And sometimes when they are writing well, they feel that they are living up to something. It is as if the right words, the true words, are already inside them, and they just want to help them get out. Writing this way is a little like milking a cow: the milk is so rich and delicious, and the cow is so glad you did it.

Good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.

Hope, as Chesterton said, is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate. Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong.

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.

Hope, as Chesterton said, is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

(Neil Gaiman famously advised, “Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.” and David Foster Wallace admonished, “If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything.”)

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.

Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here — and, by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.

“That’s what a writer does — a writer pays attention to the world.”

Writing is about learning to pay attention and to communicate what is going on.

The writer is a person who is standing apart, like the cheese in “The Farmer in the Dell” standing there alone but deciding to take a few notes. You’re outside, but you can see things up close through your binoculars. Your job is to present clearly your viewpoint, your line of vision. Your job is to see people as they really are, and to do this, you have to know who you are in the most compassionate possible sense. Then you can recognize others.

To be a good writer, you not only have to write a great deal but you have to care. You do not have to have a complicated moral philosophy. But a writer always tries, I think, to be a part of the solution, to understand a little about life and to pass this on.

George Eliot famously observed, “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”

As we live, we begin to discover what helps in life and what hurts, and our characters act this out dramatically. This is moral material. … A moral position is a passionate caring inside you. We are all in danger now and have a new everything to face, and there is no point gathering an audience and demanding its attention unless you have something to say that is important and constructive. My friend Carpenter says we no longer need Chicken Little to tell us the sky is falling, because it already has. The issue now is how to take care of one another.

In order to be a writer, you have to learn to be reverent. If not, why are you writing? Why are you here? … Think of reverence as awe, as presence in and openness to the world. Think of those times when you’ve read prose or poetry that is presented in such a way that you have a fleeting sense of being startled by beauty or insight, by a glimpse into someone’s soul. All of a sudden everything seems to fit together or at least to have some meaning for a moment. This is our goal as writers, I think; to help others have this sense of — please forgive me — wonder, of seeing things anew, things that can catch us off guard, that break in on our small, bordered worlds. When this happens, everything feels more spacious.

There is ecstasy in paying attention. You can get into a kind of Wordsworthian openness to the world, where you see in everything the essence of holiness.

If you give freely, there will always be more. … It is one of the greatest feelings known to humans, the feeling of being the host, of hosting people, of being the person to whom they come for food and drink and company. This is what the writer has to offer.

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
Source