Saturday, February 12, 2011

You're Perfect

I am only one, but I am one. 
I cannot do everything, but I can do something. 
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. 
~ Edward Everett Hale

You can read more about this lovely man from an article in The Daily Californian newspaper or get to know him on one of his many Youtube 'satsangs' :). Enjoy! here

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Carneys, Good Deeds, and Cackle-Bladders

All this winter snow is getting tedious, so recently I parked at our local Starbucks with my eyes closed to soak up some sun. I was also supposed to be sitting silently in a public place (for a class I was taking) listening, so my windows were rolled down, in the spirit of being more public.

There was a car parked on both sides, and the one on the driver's side also had a woman in it, who was busy working/writing/ possibly drinking Tequila.

Pretty soon a woman came up to both of us, asking for help. She'd been loudly talking to another woman in the parking lot by the bank before approaching us. She was chatty, volunteering lots of personal information about why she needed help--her car was towed by the police, but they wouldn't give her a ride to the next city but suggested a bus, which was next to Starbucks, but she didn't have bus fare, which was odd because her ex-husband, an Arizona sheriff, would give stranded people vouchers and she needed to pick her kids up in Salt Lake City....blah, blah, while simultaneously talking to said kids on her cell (master multi-tasker!).

When she said she only had four dollars to her name, the woman next to me put down her work/notes/Tequila and said, "And the money the lady from the bank gave you." Stranded Lady repeated she had only four dollars. Working Lady said, "Sorry, can't help you." Stranded Lady then looks at me, and I say, "I have no cash, but I can drive you to the Trax station" (the Trax is a two-line rail system that runs through Salt Lake City).

Not sure why I blurted this out, because the Trax was a 25 minute drive, one way, and I don't normally give strangers rides. But I felt sorry for her plight, and at the very least, for her wacky tale of woe which suggested she might be incapable of riding a bus to the Trax station. Taken aback, she said, "Umm, okay, but give me a minute. I have to go inside. I have to go to the bathroom." Well, after four kids and three kidney stones, that sounded perfectly reasonable to me.

While she was inside tending to business, Tequila lady and I looked at each other, and I shrugged. She said, "It's hard when you really want to help people." I agreed. Then she said, "She's lying, you know." I said, "What?" She said, "The lady at the bank gave her twenty dollars. So she has money. I don't know if she's working this corner or not (occasionally the down-and-out do) but she's lying."

Now, I didn't know if she was lying or not, but if she was, I didn't like it. Plus it was messing up my possible good deed for the class I was taking (hey, I actually look for these opportunities even when I'm not prompted by assignment). So I said, "Well, if that's true, I feel like leaving not giving some wack-a-doo possible stalker a ride where she might steal my car/purse/knock me over the head with her cell phone." Tequila Lady concurred; "I would."

And as I was cowardly backing  up, here comes Stranded Lady, still on her cell, running up to my window.

I tell her, "I don't understand why you lied to me, but it makes me uncomfortable." She says, surprised, "I lied?" Pointing at Tequila Lady, I said, "That Lady said the bank lady gave you twenty dollars but you said you only had four." She said, "Twenty-dollars? How would she know that?" And since she wasn't exactly denying it, I kept backing out. She said, in parting, "Okay, you go on ahead and leave if you have to" and went back to talking with her partner in crime kids on the phone.

Driving away, I couldn't decide if I just heartlessly dashed the hopes of a person in need out of fear and paranoia, or if I had just escaped a possibly dangerous situation that might have left my children motherless/penniless or well, something less.

Later that evening the kids and I were watching an episode of The Mentalist featuring a suspiciously identical scenario where a Carney 'con' was scamming a 'mark', only it was a little old lady in distress and the 'mark' was a naive kind-hearted woman (the Mentalist's co-worker) sitting in an outdoor cafe. Not surprisingly the Mentalist showed up and saved the soon-to-be-scammed woman, kinda like that Tequila Lady saved me (I hope).

Either way, I hugged my kids a little tighter that night, and hoped that lady got to home to hug hers too. Unless she lied about that too...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wish For 2011

What I wish for all of us this year!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life is not a Dress Rehearsal...or is it?

"God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." ~ Voltaire

First, let me just say it is never a good idea to spill water on your laptop. Ever. I don't know why PC manufacturers don't find a way to make water-proof keyboards, considering all the people in homes and offices who drink coffee/tea/Singapore Slings at their workstation....well, actually I suppose it's because THEY MAKE MORE MONEY that way, thoughtless.

Anyway, if you're like me and happen to knock over a bamboo-filled vase while trying to swat a perversely friendly fly, you want to know your PC can survive a few drops of liquid. Even now, months later, the keyboard gets all possessed and starts typing 'TTTT' on a never-ending loop until I shut it down. Guess that'll teach me not to drink and type.

Another reason I haven't posted is that I didn't have anything interesting to say, so don't get your hopes up too high, but, I recently experienced a second of insanity enlightenment that left me laughing out loud in surprise. Some of you know I can get really heavy in a finger-pointing sort of way with my former Mormon community, and I've realized that I took my religious practice very, very serious, as in, too serious. And then expected everyone "should", too. And then got all judgey when they toppled off my pedestal (really it wasn't THAT high, but still).

It drove me nuts when people didn't honor their word, slipped in integrity, or failed to show up to do something they committed to do, even allowing for the occasional slacker/bad hair day/sugar over-consumption, which by the way, is rampant in this community because they don't drink--a shame, considering it's a much more enjoyable way to get that sugar high. Much more enjoyable than the local popular fetish for green Jell-O.

Because I took it all so seriously, it sucked the fun and humanity right out of the journey, especially for me. My expectations could suck the fun right out of being Buddhist/Atheist/Muslim, not that they're bastions of frivolity anyway, but in my defense, temple-going Mormons are admonished not to indulge in 'loud laughter' (one of my favorite indulgences; just ask anyone) which made me slightly paranoid, given my irreverent nature.

Truly the apple doesn't fall far from the McIintosh tree--and we know how devoted to ancestral details Mormons are. One of my grandmothers--and she wasn't even Mormon--used to pray and weep over the departed at the local cemetery in her spare time, unless I'm remembering the family stories wrong.

One of my dear Mormon friends hangs out at pioneer cemeteries when life gets overwhelming (and since she has seven kids, I imagine that's fairly often) reading the headstones of the dearly departed whose sufferings make her feel infinitely better about her troubles. Who can complain when some epidemic wiped out a faithful pioneer woman's ten children? Or rampaging Indians took Sister Mary Elizabeth Ellswater's husband and firstborn and burned down the spacious one-room log cabin? What's a foreclosure/no healthcare/totaling the family car in comparison to the sufferings of old?

Like Grandma, I was almost sackcloth-and-ashes serious, to the point where religion became joyless, and I expected too much of others and myself. Thankfully, this approach no longer works for me. I'm realizing that spiritually connecting is not just about attaining the ethereal, but embracing humanity as well. So while I may still occasionally take things too seriously (old habits die hard), lightening up is part of the practice today. A big part (no offense, Grandma).

Go Conan! Hindus are hip to enjoying a good laugh too.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Watching Aloe Grow

Funny how things change.
Courtesy Arie Van De Graaff at

Sundays used to be a time of great stress, dressing up and corralling four kids and a husband to haul ourselves down to church for three hours of intense brainwashing gathering with our community in communion. Heh.

Not to mention running myself ragged in some calling or other dealing with actual PEOPLE outside my comfortable circle of family and friends. It's one of the downsides to being an introvert. I could write a small cupboard's worth of books on how-to-survive Planet Earth as an introvert in our relentlessly extroverted American culture (not to mention exhaustively social church).

Oh, why wasn't I born in some quiet British corner of the world to raise five cats and a luscious garden while sitting by a cozy fire, knitting mittens for orphans in a cozy stone cottage with a thatched roof covered in roses/hollyhocks/delphinium? (you see, this is the stuff of my dreams, not river-rafting the Colorado rapids or touring the pyramids with Tony Bourdain--well, not these days anyway).

Instead, I get to live the boring staid life right here, in our little condo--surrounded again, by PEOPLE who wake you up at ungodly hours blasting harp--yes, harp--music for some god-forsaken reason. Not that I don't totally enjoy a good harp concerto (I do, kinda) any more than the next person, just not when I'd rather enjoy a few more (please-oh-please) red-hot minutes with Vin Diesel in dreamland...wait, what was I saying? Oh, yes. In my Utah County neck of the woods, where no Christopher Robin resides, alas.

But at least I get to walk past my childrens' rooms, hearing their snores, and open the windows to let some Autumn birdsong in, and visit with my extended blog-family (that would be you) while waking up with a cup of lemongrass green tea and watching the aloe vera growing in the streaming morning sunlight.

No, we may not be saving the world one soul at a time, including ours, but then, it's enlightening to realize we never had to. Now go enjoy the rest of your Sunday in...

Monday, September 20, 2010

International Peace Day

I love how the world is so very, very big

or small, depending on your lens.

Your life is an album and each moment is a photo.

Are you enjoying the development?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Be The Change You Want To See

On the Anniversary of September 11, here's a thought: