Friday, May 30, 2003

loki's comments a few posts back reminded me of a great story:
a zen master created the most beautiful rock garden using only 4 rocks. when complimented on it he said: "it would be better still if there were only 3..."

p.s. alternate answer to #5 below
i'd tell this story:
student: master, what does an enlightened person do?
master: an enlightened person eats when hungry, sleeps when tired.
student: well, what should i do until i am enlightened?
master: eat your dinner and go to bed.

ok - i lied (this is why i will never announce a blog sabbatical - as soon as i do i know i'll feel compelled to post)


1. What do you most want to be remembered for?
a good person, dad and husband.

2. What quotation best fits your outlook on life?
gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha (from the heart sutra)
the tao that can be spoken is not the eternal tao (from the tao te ching)
a smile is a flower you can give anyone at anytime (paraphrased - thich nhat hahn)

3. What single achievement are you most proud of in the past year?
transitioning into being an educator

4. What about the past ten years?
raising a family

5. If you were asked to give a child a single piece of advice to guide them through life, what would you say?
love your enemy as yourself
trust in allah, but tether your camel
do not mistake the moon for the finger pointing at the moon
look both ways before crossing

busy day today. daughter getting an award at school, then we are going away for the weekend. i start at nasa monday. so no posts for a while. take care - have a good weekend...

Thursday, May 29, 2003

p.s. - when my wife got home she said she gets whatever dry cat food is on sale. go figure. i thought certain brands caused one of our cats to puke - oh well. come to think of it "buy whatever is cheapest" was my former neighbor's advice too. see women DO know about these things...

feeling a bit cheeky, i decided to go after another item on the "things to do rather than watching vh1 classic all day eating malted milk balls" list - grocery shopping. now i don't like grocery shopping, but i don't hate it either - (besides, we were out of malted milk balls) my wife does most of it and i really don't have the store layout figured out yet - see later comments about being "maddeningly oblivious" - what a productive day, btw - and i didn't even blog about cleaning the bathrooms or dusting the basement/organizing the kids computer games...

so anyhow, one thing about myself - i can be maddeningly oblivious to details around me - i am always asking my wife when we got a picture or a lamp or something when we've had it for months. my most dreaded words coming from my wife are "do you notice anything different around the house?" cause i guarantee i don't (for the record, so you don't think i'm totally insensitive, i'll match my batting average on noticing spousal hairstyle/color changes. nails done, etc... against anyone). so anyhow, at least i know this about myself, which means i can deal with it. so i do a quick pre-scan of the list and the items which i have no clue about (what dish detergent we use, what clothes detergent we use), i look up and painstakingly note the details - note: i don't need to do this for every item. the malted milk balls, for example. i know EXACTLY what brand of those to buy (whoppers - actually, they weren't even on the list - no need to - no chance of forgetting those). so i go to the store and everything is cool, until i notice near the bottom of the list an item i didn't notice at home - dry cat food. merde. i am clueless about what kind of dry cat food we use. i'd have a better chance remembering the brand canned food (although as it turns out, when i got home and looked, i didn't recall correctly what canned food we use - fortunately, it wasn't on the list). so i stand in the cat food aisle looking at the literally MILLIONS of brands of catfood - hairball management (uh - i don't want them managed, i want them gone), food for old cats, food for new cats - i bet i had a very dumb blank stare and felt like the guy from memento - staring at the food looking for a glimmer of recognition...i started to think, if i were a cat, what would i want to eat. given that most cats are (apparently) not vegetarians, this strategy was fruitless. then deux en machina. as i was standing there, i heard a little kid call my name - it too me a minute to recognize him - it was our old neighbor. his mom came buy in a minute and we started talking. i asked her if she had a clue what kind of cat food we used (women often know that kind of thing). she asked how would she know and i told her she'd have a better shot than i would (she knows what i'm like - so my cluelessness was not a shock - it's part of my charm) she said she thought we used can cat food (hah, i KNEW she'd have at least some idea) so, with no help - i decided to take a shot - no sense agonizing over a $4 bag of dry cat food. well, i decided against meow mix (hate the singing cats) - i got nine lives chicken and salmon (with real broth! - yum) cause it's purportedly good for all ages of cats and we run the gamut. and the bag looked familiar - kinda. now at home, we must be completely out cause i can't find the bag to see if i got it right.

anyhow back home eating malted milk balls - van halen's hot for teacher on vh1 classic....

another thing. because of the medication i am on, i can't drink alcohol. uh - i don't want you thinking i'm a drunk or something, but i do enjoy a beer every now and then - so it's been a bit tough. i mean there are a few certain special occasions when a beer was almost automatic - meeting friends, sat night after the kids are in bed watching trading spaces, 5 o clock (just kidding). i guess i could have a beer or so, but i don't want to risk it. so i am drinking non-alcoholic beer. i can't believe they can put a man on the moon, but can't make a non-alcoholic beer that doesn't taste like ass. anyhow, so far, i think coors is my favorite - fairly weak taste - but with n/a beers - that's cool - by fortuitous coincidence, it's also among the cheapest - the other good news is that a six pack of n/a beers seems to last longer...

did some weeding...

my wife, probably figuring (rightly so) that rather than having a mopey guy laying around the house, it would be better to have a mopey guy getting things done around the house, has started to "mention" things that need done around the house - being married long enough to recognize a hint when i hear one, i've been trying to take care of as much as i can...

so, anyhow, weeding was one of today's activities, which i took on w/trepidation. i have always been shaky on the whole weed vs. plant distinction - i mean it seems arbitrary - ever since as a little kid and was told that the dandelions which were my favorite flower, were,in fact,a weed. this continued into my later years, when my wife told me to just raze the weeds with the lawnmover - which i took to heart - and razed everything green - not realizing she was referring to only a specific section of the yard - oh well - live and learn....

so anyhow, the "weeds" which today were the enemy were described as being thorny - so i took out just those fitting the description (well and maybe a few other obvious ones) and leaving anything questionable - hey, i can always get those another day, but i can't put back something i pulled...

what a pain in the neck


last night, my neck cracked and it's hurt since. neither constant or severe, it just hurts periodically hard enough just to remind me - uh - i don't know what it's reminding me of - that i'm not as young as i used to be? (as though i needed one more thing to remind me of that)

perhaps it's because of my recent habit of dozing off on the couch at night, then getting up in the wee hours and coming to bed - anyhow - ibupropen - work your magic...

anyhow - i swear, my next post will be happy even if i have to make something up...

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

well one of my friends is prob cancelling for dinner tonight - at least my other friend can make it...
and tomorrow's lunch plans are out the window - everyone at my old workplace is too busy or whatever...
i don't think there's a conspiracy against me or anything (remember, i'm depressed, not paranoid) yet it really is good for me to make contact with folks and my relatively full social calendar for the next few days has suddenly opened up - perhaps i'll go into oberlin/take a long skate - or something - tomorrow...

well - at least i'm sure (uh relatively) that my weekend plans will hold - we're going to an indoor waterpark and i doubt if anything could keep my family from making it...

"could be worse."
"could be raining."

"what knockers!"
"oh, thank you doctor!"

perhaps i will running blog my favorite lines from young frankenstein

"pardon me boy, is that the transylvania station"
"yah, yah, track 29 - hey, can i give you a shine"

back from skate: hbo comedy is conspiring to keep me in front of the tv - young frankenstein on now...
perhaps i can work on my bacteria simulation while watching it giving the illusion of productivity - i am good at multi-tasking...

watched: 20 dates - v funny "mockumentary" - at first i thought it was real - but pretty clear after a certain point it wasn't - hilarious none the less

about to: go for a skate - new skates work like a charm though there is a puzzling little rattle periodically - hey, friction costs time and i can use all the help i can

grocery shopping: our young cat killed and left by our door a baby bird. featherless. one of my kids said it looked like a tiny frozen turkey. touching in a completely gross kind of way. ted nugent would be proud.

later on: going out to dinner with actual friends - wow - been a while - while i still get along very well with my friends - i sometimes feel an odd distance between us - weird - but anyhow - i really miss and enjoy their company, so this should be fun...

i am following a cycle that i have followed before when faced with time off - extreme boredom and a very antsy feeling off the bat, followed by slipping into a "hey, laying around the house all day ain't that bad" kind of mentality - anyhow - my r&r is coming to a close - i have at least some stuff planned for the next few days then we're going away for the weekend - then start at nasa on monday for my 10 week fellowship....

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

with the kids in school and myself and my wife with nothing better to do, on the spur of the moment we caught a matinee of the movie identity. really didn't know much about it - so didn't have many expectations - and it was very suspenseful and enjoyable. often spontaneous things are more fun than the planned...

i decided to back down from teaching a special crystal reports training session. i feel bad because i should have turned down the offer right from the start. but taking this on would over extend me - not a good idea - especially at this point of time. anyhow, saving what's left of my sanity is a higher priority at this point in time. i do feel as though a bit of a load has been removed.

Monday, May 26, 2003

today has got to be the longest day ever. sooo bored. i believe esp. when one is depressed that what one feels least like doing is what one ought to do (kinda like the episode of seinfeld where costanza realizing he's a loser, decides to go against his every instinct and ends up being wildly successful) - in one respect, this advice might seem trite, but in another i think it's profound - after all if doing what you have been doing makes you depressed, perhaps doing something else might help- yet i seem clueless about specifically what i should do this time around. being depressed often draws one inwards - which creates a vicious cycle - being depressed forces you inwards - withdrawing makes you more depressed - which of course causes you to withdraw further inwards - etc.... thankfully, i have folks around me keeping me from feeling too bad - i figure, these two weeks are my time to recharge - i wish i felt better for them, but if i'm going to be sub-par, now is the time to do it...

watching vh1's diva duets, i fear i am becoming like one of those little old ladies who continually watches soap operas only to complain how they are appalled by them - with turning them off NOT a possibility. anyhow as you might imagine - they were fairly gruesome. however two moments elevated (or descended?) the show from mundanely bad to transcendently horrific:
a. lisa marie presley and pat benatar's duet on benatar's heartbreaker - no one - i mean - no one should have to put up with that. forget elvis spinning in his grave - that one had suzi quatro spinning in her grave - btw - how tall is lisa marie anyhow - pat benatar is tiny - but was towering over the former mrs. jackson
b. jewel's makeover - i mean don't get me wrong - she looked great in the dress she was - uh - for lack of a better term - wearing - but apparently jewel has had enough of being a nice pop-folk singer and has joined the britney/christina camp - and you know what? besides sounding far better previously, i thought she looked better before - at least had her own personality both musically and in terms of appearance - i know a lot who read my page don't have much respect for jewel, but i have always found her an entertaining singer - occasionally pretentious perhaps - but always worth a listen - her new "look" and single don't bode well for the future...

the commercials for vh1 diva duets were classics however - featured a guy playing with dolls pretending to be the different divas (golly, i hate that word)

anyhow - back to vh1 classic - saw a darryl hall and elvis costello duet (the only flame in town) that i completely forgot about. year in and year out through all kinds of changes daryl hall had the consistently best hair in rock music - he is missed.

the way i figure it, there are worse ways to deal with my mental state than watching vh1 classic while munching on malted milk balls - pathetic, perhaps, but at least not overly self-destructive...

Sunday, May 25, 2003

the odd thing about my being depressed is that it comes without rhyme or reason. it's not as though i'm depressed about something; it seems to come irrespective of my external circumstances - for example, i was not depressed when i got laid off, but i am depressed now. - i have noticed it often comes after a stressful time - almost like my resistance get's worn down and it's able to take hold - like if you're over tired you're more prone to catch a cold or something- i mean - all in all i'm a lucky guy and i genuinely appreciate it - a job i like, reasonably healthy, no family problems to speak of - of course, i have problems, but nothing that huge.- but depression is like a beast that sucks the will and the drive and the joy out of everything - it makes the smallest problems seem insurmountable.

wow - a few more posts like these and people will ask me to stop posting again...

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