Thursday, January 27, 2011

What He Said!

I don't usually post links to other blogs, but Philip Pullman is worth reading. His point is that the worth of public libraries cannot be measured by the "free" market system. And he says it far better than this daughter of a librarian could.

Besides, who else would be able to mention both "Finn Family Moomin Troll" and "Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition" in the same blog post?

Go here:

Friday, January 21, 2011

This made me laugh

I have never been a high maintenance woman, no matter how hard I've tried (and I've tried!). Since I live in the world of suburban malls and chain stores, I hate to shop, preferring to do as much purchasing as I need to online. As a result, I get a huge amount of commercial/retail email. Rarely are these emails a source of amusement. But, today, I got one that read:

Repair damaged skin with DRAGON'S BLOOD
complex, a patented extract taken from Amazonian trees.

And, in case you were wondering, that is the font size and set-up of the email.
Now I am off to check out my pantry and supply shelves to see what other cutting edge beauty treatments might be lurking about.

Monday, January 10, 2011

No back button, no Tardis

Not long after 9/11, the New Yorker magazine had a cartoon; a couple sat in a travel agents office and when asked where they wanted to go, answered, "September 10th." I had a similar reaction on Saturday, when I heard of the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, Judge John Roll and 12 others (6 fatally) at a Safeway Supermarket, where the Congresswoman was holding a public meeting. Couldn't we start the day over again? But, of course, we couldn't. Just as we can't go back to September 10th and redo our airport security for that week. Just as I would have liked to go back to the day before the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing and redo those events.

There is no way of redoing events. No going back and erasing and "improving" history. And, I am afraid, no Golden Age, no Garden of Eden, when and where life was wonderful for everyone. Never happened.

Pick an era and there were winners and losers, the big difference being that, in the United States, the pool of "winners" as a percentage of the population, had been growing since the middle of the 20th century. The growth was not easy, nor was admittance to the "winning" side given, nor guaranteed to anyone. But the promise of full acceptance into society was not limited to Horatio Alger myth, nor legacy. You did not have to be of the right color, or the correct last name or bank account. Right now, that pool of possible winners is shrinking. People are angry and scared, and because a few years ago everything seemed brighter than today, there is a much angry talk (and looking for blame), about bringing back "the good old days."

You can't. I can't. Even if we could agree on when those days were.

There is no back button, no time machine, no Tardis, we can only go forwards.

Where are we going?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

And, an actual New Years resolution

I am giving up using Google Reader. It has allowed me to become rather promiscuous in subscribing to blogs. I find that when I read from the Reader page, I go from new blog post to new blog post, without ever visiting the actual blog sites. It has become the only way to keep up with all the places that I had become subscribed to. As a result, I was reading quickly to get to the next blog and I wasn't leaving comments, even at places where I had something to say. Since it is community and human relationships that are important to me, and Reader was getting in the way of my participating in conversations and community, Reader has to go. And so, it has.

Bright and Shiny

It's the new year, and just past the eclipses. Did you make your serious, life changing new years resolutions? No? Good for you! After all, why start your new year by setting yourself up for failure?

I am a personal (fitness) trainer. I spent years working in, and then running a gym. Every year, we would get floods of new members in January. You always knew who would stick it out, and it was never the person who would say with a sigh, or a rueful smile that "this year, really! this year I am going to get into shape!" By Valentines Day, they would be gone and life would get back to normal for the people who wanted to work out. That is the difference. The people who stuck it out were the ones who wanted to be there. Whether it was because they found the actual workouts pleasurable, or whether they had specific, reachable goals or a death threat*, those who found the specifics of working out useful, hung around.

Many of the bloggers that I read have made resolutions/vows/promises to blog more often, and post regularly, on a specified day. To them, I say "good luck!" But as for me, been there, done that, and I don't like setting myself up for failure.

The best resolutions are the ones that you can keep, and that resonate in your life. Gordon has a post here:
on well, happiness. And finding the small sustainable ways to happiness are your best bets for those resolutions that resonate. From small acorns mighty oaks grow, people! Or the single grain of sand starts the landslide, or...fill in your own aphorism.

As an example, some years ago, overwhelmed by the needs of motherhood, and working and filling what I saw as the requirements of being a good spouse, much of my life was that of utility, necessity, corner-cutting, and a lack of "ease." Frankly, I wanted a life with grace. My resolution that year? From that point on, I would use only slices of actual, real lemon in my tea, rather than bottled lemon juice. It was where I drew the line on short cuts and "good enough" in my life. And, you know what? Since that time, I have never gone without lemon for my tea. A single point of grace, and the constant confirmation that 1. I can keep a resolution and 2. small happiness's every day brighten my life far better than the rare big deals. (DH, if you are reading this, it does NOT mean that my upcoming significant birthday shouldn't be treated as a rare big deal!) Another year, I gave up cheap ball point pens. I only write with fountain pens or with a specific brand of gel pen. Why? Because the smooth flow of ink gives me pleasure. And, yes, every time I write something, I am aware of it. This year? I am going back to doing the New York Times crossword puzzles. I am not putting any conditions of success in finishing the (especially the end of week) puzzles, although I wouldn't mind getting the Monday puzzles done in under an hour...

Here's the deal. These little joys do not really cost anything except a little bit of thought right at the beginning. But they become self perpetuating very quickly because they cost so little in terms of time or money. I become a happier person. All other things being equal, a happier person has a far better life than a less happy person. Isn't there something that will do this for you?

*Death threat-usually surviving a heart attack or stroke, merely being threatened with either is insufficient.