Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Talking to myself


I talk out loud to myself. 

It’s especially pronounced when I go to the market since, even though I have a list at home, I always forget to bring it along, so I have to keep the shopping list in my head, where I’m sure to forget at least half of what I came to pick up. 

So, I talk my way around the grocery market trying to recall the essential things I need: Oatmeal, salad, dinner... 

Today, as I talked my way through the available options in one aisle, a lady was nearby. Finally she said, “What is your name?” I told her, and she said, “I realize you’re having a private conversation, but, you know, because of your smile, some people may feel invited to respond.” And then she added, “It’s not a bad thing being known as the guy with the biggest smile in the room.” 

Her comments made me laugh and enjoy continuing talking my way around the market.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Today is my birthday

I bought an endurance road bicycle two months ago. As I tend to do, I'm all in. I know that I won't race bikes, but I enjoy getting out. (Let me know if you have questions about types of bicycles. If you're older, like me, you'll probably want an endurance or sportive bike instead of a race or mountain bike. E-bikes are also an option, but I know nothing about them.)

I started my day with an early morning bicycle ride, which was fun. And then I got caught up on my favorite bicycling vlogs: @BikerLawrence,@CyclingCam, and @FrancisCade.

Lawrence Carpenter (@BikerLawrence) is on an adventure with James and Francis. They’re cycling in the US – in my region of the county. They’ve been in America for less than a week and are already “fed up” with the crap food we eat. Lawrence talked about the lack of fresh food in today’s vlog.That got me thinking about food – why do people in the USA eat so thoughtlessly?  I’m included in that. 

It prompted me to be more thoughtful today about what I ate. I started with oatmeal for breakfast. It was great and is a common breakfast for me. However, I wanted food when I got to the airport today. I went to the “fresh market” at John Wayne Airport, but it was actually packaged processed food.  I picked up two bananas at Starbucks, and then nuts at another stand. I felt good about my good choices, even though I’m not home.  

I think that Americans, including me, eat thoughtlessly because of lack of planning. I’m going to work on planning meals while I’m on this trip.  

I’ll let you know how it goes.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Andalusia Farm: Flannery O'Connor's World




I've read Flannery O'Connor short stories for decades. Last Sunday, while visiting the University of Georgia, I wondered how far I was from Flannery O'Connor's Georgia. It wasn't terribly far so I drove to the small town of Milledgeville, to the farm she lived in until her early death at age 39, and where she wrote her published works, on a typewriter, on this small table, in her bedroom.


Wandering the farm was an incredible experience because it brought her stories to life. Many of her short stories are set on a farm run by a widow woman, living with her highly educated, invalid, daughter who lives in the words of ideas. The mother's confidant is usually the tenant's wife.  The tenant house is just yards away from the main house at Andalusia. And, the barn and milking shed are just beyond that.

The visit was an ah-hah experience for me, like a pilgrimage. It tied together many lose ends. It also led me to think about how a few acres were fertile ground for so many deeply insightful and complex stories. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Camping List

I drive a Subaru:
Therefore I camp.

Camping packing list:

Extra car key
Sleeping bag
Inflatable sleeping pad
Ditty bags
Tent
Tent broom and dustpan
Tent stakes
Tent light
Headlamp
Flashlight
Extra batteries
Knife
Stove
Stove fuel
Lighter
Cooking pots
Utensils
Plate
Cup
Resealable bags
Can opener
Dish towel
Dish scrubber
Dish soap
Food
Ice chest
Shovel
Toilet paper
WATER, WATER, WATER
Cash
Toiletries
Camera gear
Camera cleaning gear
Day pack
Bandana
Hat and Beanie
Gloves
Insect repellent
First aid
Allergy relief
Wash cloth and towel

Sunday, July 5, 2015

St. Margaret's at Westminster Abbey

Good morning from London. I attended Sunday service at St. Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey. St. Margaret’s is the smaller church on the Abbey grounds that was built to serve lay people when Westminster Abbey was an actual Benedictine abbey. 

I arrived early, which allowed time for me to chit chat with the ushers. I mentioned that I work at a school with that is named St. Margaret's.  That piqued interest and prior to start of the service, the Verger came up to me and asked if I'd like to participate in the service by bringing up the elements at the offertory. I was happy to do so. 

I sat in a pew near the front of the church, on the left side. However, I noticed that a group of pews opposite me were reserved. I caught a glimpse of the placard on each of those pews: Reserved for Members of Parliament. There were a few MPs on hand this morning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

One of those quotes

There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man less, but Nature more. - Lord Byron
This captures so many of my feelings when I'm out with my camera. It's meditative to me.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shotgun Lovesongs

A few months I heard National Public Radio commenter, Scott Simon, talk about Shotgun Lovesongs, a novel by Nickolas Butler. I was taken by the piece and ordered the book from my mobile phone as I had my coffee and a bagel at Brugger's. 

I was drawn to Lovesongs because it sounded like the book was about friendships and place.  I like friendships, especially those that are long term.  I also like "place" as a human theme.

Even before I got my copy of the book, I contacted members of a bookclub that last met over a dozen years ago and told them about the book. One of the bookclub members recommended that we read the book and meet online to discuss it.  

The book was everything that I'd hoped it would be, including good friendships, a strong sense of place, complexity, warmth, surprise, understated heroism, and good doses of redemption. 

Lovesongs is written differently. Each chapter is written in the first person point of view of a character. I had to catch on and I wrote down notes on each character to keep things straight in the beginning. That style takes a while to build a framework for who is who and their relationships. But it works for this book. Once the framework was in place, which was about the first half of the book, the story takes off with intensity. At that point, I couldn't wait to get to the next page.




Thursday, July 3, 2014

Short take: What happens when ...

What happens when a person intentionally tries to treat others better? For example, when talking to a telephone service representative? You know, someone who is anonymous and you'll never deal with again.

It's hard to do so. It's easier to quip back at people, rather than to great the service agent warmly before communicating my concern - even if I've had to wait for 20 minutes to get to a human being. Then communicate my concern, listen to the service agent's response with patience, and then work through what I hope can be done to satisfy or resolve my concern. I've been aware of that recently; and, to be honest, it's worth the effort. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Erosion


I heard a reference yesterday that is sticking with me. It was that erosion was the big threat to a rock. Think, the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.  Subtle.  What happens when erosion happens to the values a person holds dear, or to guiding values? Does one lose something important?  Does one become desensitized? Uncaring? Frightened? Brazen? This conversation can go in multiple directions.

It would be a healthy exercise to recall decision points in life where things went well, or went poorly, and to look at what triggered a good decision or a bad decision, and then follow the thread.