Thursday, May 26, 2011

Great Wall of Lettuce a Year Later: Failure Report

While the Great Wall of Lettuce was a wonderful experiment.  It was a failed gardening technique.  Because I was unwilling to go the full 9 yards into hydroponics, the plants were spindly and undernourished.  I wanted to use worm tea as fertilizer but it didn't really work that well.   And while the plants got sufficient water, they lacked sufficient sun.  If I had more energy this year I would try it again in a more felicitous exposure, but I suspect that the roots would burn.  Maybe in the fall.   Maybe one of you guys is willing to try the project and report back.  I would like to find a way to make it work.  And I hear that persistence is the character trait most responsible for successful living.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Advice for Living Well

Now that I feel old, here's my list of things I use to manage my life.

(1) Don't get angry... nothing gets me off kilter more than anger.  And I've learned that nothing is worth the damage it does in terms of the impact on my family.  So whenever someone pisses me off I have learned to ask myself: it is worth it?  As a result I walk away from a lot of potential conflict.   

(2) Nothing is worth getting sick over ... nothing.  I do less at work.  I care less about volunteer positions.   I make mistakes, say I'm sorry and move on.  I blow off high maintenance people.  I define my responsibilities in a newly narrow band.  I mute a lot of emotions that would otherwise take over my life. 

(3) Yoga, garden and walk.  Limit aerobic activity to days when I feel marvelous (1x per year?). Gardening... some days it means dragging myself outside, sitting on the grass and scratching the dirt with a fork -- but touching nature is very healing for me. 

(4) Art and dream therapy... both really free me from the stranglehold of untended emotions.  When emotions get stuck in my body but don't have a path to my rational mind, art helps release them.  I draw impressionistic images that feel to me like the sensations in by body then I list words to describe what I see in the picture. 

(5) Forcing myself to stick to a routine and good sleep habits.  Up by 8am weekdays, 9:30am weekends... no matter what.  No naps.  In bed by 10pm.  No media before bedtime.  If (when) I get into a cycle of waking up at night I just get up and read or practice mindfulness meditations lying in bed.  I let go of my fear about being exhausted the next day... oh well... a slow day tomorrow... so it goes.  Pasta for dinner again.

(6) Mindfulness, forgiveness and boundaries.   Read a lot of books on these topics.  Seek out experiences that bring them into focus for me.  I really like the books "Boundaries" by "Townsend and Cloud"

(7) Speak like a preacher when necessary.... I find myself blathering a bunch of aphorisms from my youth like a mantra... They are very soothing.  Other people look at me like I'm a nut case but so what. 

(8) Get outside in the sun as often as possible even if that means sitting in a chair wrapped in a blanket.  Direct sunlight helps me regulate the body clock.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to Draw a Tiger in Adobe Illustrator

Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals inspired the instructions below where you can learn how to draw a tiger in Adobe Illustrator.

(Click image to for a larger view.)

Click to see more Ed Emberley Drawing Books

How to Draw a Tiger in Adobe Illustrator

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ding Dong Bin Laden's Dead: Munchkins rejoice at the death of the Wicked Witch

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?  Dorthy frees the Munchkins
Just as the Wicked Witch of the West terrorized Munchkinland in the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Osama Bin Laden has terrorized the United States and the world since the tragedy of 9/11 with the destruction of the Twin Towers, the assault on the Pentagon and the downing of flight 93 in a Pennsylvania field.  Much like the Munchkins celebrated the death of the Wicked Witch of the East, the United States is celebrating the end of this bully and the cloud of fear we lived under as a result. Ding Dong the Witch is Dead indeed. 

Bin Laden wasn't a witch.  He was a maniac and the world is well rid of him and his malicious hatred. But underneath This American Munchkin-like joy at his death, there's ambivalence too.  To quote the Colbert Report:  "I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl who just shot bin Laden in the eye... I hope I am never again this happy over someone's death."   This quote from Martin Luther King in his book Strength to Love captures my sentiments: "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."  But so does this quote from Clarence Darrow of Scopes Monkey Trial Fame: "I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction." 

The emotional reality of Bin Laden's death lies somewhere between Munchkin like joy and a Christ-like total forgiveness.