Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Spider and the Fly

This spider lives outside the front door of our relatives' house in Nova Scotia.
It's huge.
As creepy as it is to go out the front door and see her there, it's way creepier to go out the front door and not see her there because then you're left wonder where she is and when is she going to jump out and scare the bejeezus out of you.

song: The Spider and the Fly • artist: The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Penny Lane

Have you seen the new Canadian $20 bills? They are all high tech and shiny with a clear window in them and holograms and made to be more durable. Why can't the U.S. get with the program and start printing up some cool money? Why is there always so much resistance when the government proposes changing our currency? I mean we can all get used to our new iPhones but no one can handle dollar coins?
Canada has also done away with the lowly penny. I guess to make more room in the coin purse for all those loonies and toonies. No longer will Canadians be able to give each other a penny for their thoughts or offer one another their two cents worth. A penny saved won't be a penny earned. Lucky pennies are apt to be significantly less so. It will never again rain pennies from heaven and seeing a penny and letting it lay won't bring one any more bad luck that seeing a penny and picking it up.
Canadians can still complain of being nickeled and dimed however, and they'll still have to maintain vigilance again anyone trying to give them a wooden nickel - at least for the time being.

song: Penny Lane • artist: The Beatles

Saturday, August 24, 2013

On the Road Again

En route to Nova Scotia.
Christine once explained that vanity plates are ridiculously cheap in New Hampshire, hence, everyone has one. Not to have one would in fact make you appear to be at most a stingy bastard and at the very least someone who lacks imagination.
While a vanity plate isn't as permanent as a tattoo one can't help but wonder what happens when PRLJAM decides he likes the band Nirvana better or when BFYMAN loses weight (or becomes a vegetarian)? What happens when VL+MC split up?
And what about the van that sped past me while I was going 65 with a plate that read ZAZEN? Late to a Buddhist retreat?
Lastly there was a mini bus with the marque Jesus Saves emblazoned on the front. It was towing a medium-sized U-Haul. So what exactly does Jesus save? A lot of stuff if that U-Haul is any indicator - Jesus in fact - might just be a packrat.

song: On The Road Again • artist: Willie Nelson

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Shall Scream

I hate it when there's a decomposing mouse smell coming from your kids' bedroom and your kids aren't old enough to be leaving ham and cheese sandwiches in their beds so you gotta figure that there really is a decomposing mouse. Somewhere.
And then you go looking for said mouse and while you're picking up a swim shirt off the closet floor you uncover  -  a finger puppet mouse!
And you scream bloody murder.

song: I Shall Scream • musical: Oliver

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yellow Submarine

C was humming "Yellow Submarine" a few weeks ago and I mentioned that not only was that a song - it was also a movie.
"Let's get it," he said.
And so - courtesy of the Edgartown Public Library - we did.
I'm not sure my kids liked it although they wouldn't admit it because then I would have suggested turning it off and going to bed. They did admit that "it's colorful." I might have enjoyed it more since I at least had a glass of wine to drink while watching.
The day following the movie everyone went around chanting "we all live in a yellow submarine," and pulling the black felt circles we'd made out of their pants pockets and exclaiming, "there's a hole in my pocket!" They all agreed that Ringo was their favorite Beatle.
At one point H asked me if I'd seen the movie before.
"Yes, a long time ago."
"I thought so Mommy, because you knew a lot of those songs."

song: Yellow Submarine • artist: The Beatles

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jailhouse Rock

Newsflash: Whitey Bulger is found guilty.

song: Jailhouse Rock • artist: Elvis Presley

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Harbor Lights

Some people are afraid to swim in the ocean because there might be sharks.
I, on the other hand, am afraid to swim in fresh water because there might be snapping turtles.

song: Harbor Lights • artist: Bruce Hornsby

Just Breathe

For the past year I've been attending a sangha and trying to get my zen on - so to speak. Some people might think that when you sit zazen you're meditating but it's not really that. Meditation carries with it that notion that one is meditating on or about about a certain something. "If I meditate on this dilemma perhaps I'll discover a solution." 
The purpose of sitting zazen is to think of nothing. It is to sit, while all the thoughts that are in your head bubble to the surface, but to not latch on to any of them. "Thinking not thinking" is what I've heard it called. Think it's easy to think of nothing? Think again. First of all - it's hard just to sit still. Take me for example. I'm a leg swinger and an arm twitcher. If you want to sit zazen you first have to physically sit still. Then you have to mentally sit still. Try it. Try thinking of nothing. At best I might have a second when there's nothing but most of the time it's just me trying to chase thoughts out of my head as they come along.
But that's not what even what I want to talk about really.
When you join the sangha there's sitting zazen, but there's also the dharma talk. During the dharma talk members of the sangha might read from an assigned book - or the teacher might read, tell a story, explain a concept - or do all three. The idea for the students, again, is to listen without latching on to one single idea at the expense of all the others. Maybe it's just me but I find this so hard to do. I can listen up to a point, either the point when I find something in the words that I can agree with or relate to - or the point when I become completely confused by the concept being presented. What happens next is that I go off on some tangent in my head where I relate some thought or event to the idea that was just presented, thereby tuning out what going on in the present - namely the rest of the talk. Or I loose focus altogether because I don't understand, "did she just compare a problem to a grapefruit? How is a problem like a grapefruit? I hate grapefruit." And so on.
Think about when you've listened to speakers in the past. Maybe it was in a school situation and there was a text book to follow along with or there were notes to take. It's not often that we simply sit still and listen - to ourselves or to someone else.
Sometimes I wonder if the point of the dharma talk isn't so much to get me to understand Buddhism as it is to simply get me to pay attention to something in its entirety. It's the opposite of multi-tasking and yet we think of multi-tasking as difficult when in reality just the opposite is true. Doing many things at once is easy. Doing only one is hard.

song: Just Breathe • artist: Willie Nelson

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Surfin' Safari

Who knew that endless days of sunny weather spent at the beach could be so exhausting? 
I've invented a new idiom: Beach Reach. It's the arm's length a Mom (me) has to reach in order to apply sunscreen to her offspring. Like the universe the length is not fixed but constantly expanding.
You know you've been spending too much time at the beach when you start forgetting to flush the toilet at your house because you assume your home commode is just another porta potty. 

song: Surfin' Safari • artist: Beach Boys

Monday, August 05, 2013

Parenting is ...

... remembering to take deep breaths.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Many Rivers to Cross

S and N have a new favorite word: billion.
As in it takes "a billion years to drive to Woods Hole" and "a billion minutes for the 10 minutes before swim class to go by." There are a billion grains of sand on the beach and today we needed "a billion quarters to fill our five gallon bottle at the water store" (four really), and there were a billion American flags on Main Street when we drove by.
Yesterday we picked "a billion blueberries" at Coonamessett Farm.
That one might be true.

song: Many Rivers to Cross • artist: Jimmy Cliff