Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In honor of Halloween, write about a time you were scared.

I have become much easier to scare since I had kids. My subconscious seems to enjoy scaring the crap out of me from time to time, usually as I am trying to fall asleep (which is why I take Lunesta). It dredges up things I read or watched decades ago and waves them around until I am too scared to sleep. I can calm myself down but then it starts back up. The last time I wigged myself out really well was the last time DH went camping & I was alone with the boys. Our garbage can corral is near the window of our bedroom and wind makes the cans bump into one another and occasionally varmints get in them & are noisy as well. I know this. Rationally I am perfectly certain what I am hearing is rattled garbage cans and eventually I can talk myself into that but before I get there my subconscious gets convinced that what is actually out there is a couple of guys with knives or something wanting to kill us. So for awhile I sit there scared to death, plotting how to get back to the boys room, barricade it and get us all out of the house & which of my distant neighbors I might reasonably try to run to while carrying 2 small boys and chased by a couple homicidal maniacs. It never occurs to me to just call 911 in these situations. So I laid there for awhile, listening in fear, waiting to hear something, scared to death. I wanted to turn the porch light on but there is no switch for it our room (9 years I have been asking DH to fix that but so far, nothing). So in order to turn on the porch light & actually see what is out there I have to go into the kitchen, past the French doors, where anyone out there can see me, and then flip the switch. This is where sanity comes back. I sleep in the nude. I am 39, carrying around about 20lbs excess weight and a bit...um..saggy all over shall we say. I also have a gun safe in my room. So I am thinking that whoever is outside lurking with murder on his mind might just reconsider when confronted by a naked, shotgun wielding, crazy woman shouting that she knows damn well she is legally allowed to shoot his ass for being on her property. The thought of which sends me into a fit of giggles. I then get up and walk naked (and unarmed) through the kitchen and turn on the porch light. Back in my room I look through the window and see a varmint of some sort rooting around in the garbage. So I open the window and shout at it & it lumbers off. but I can't really get back to sleep because I keep remembering all the Unsolved Mysteries episodes I have seen with families in isolated homes being murdered in their beds by unknown people.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

favorite day of the week

I think it would be Thursdays because I have finally managed to get the hang of Thursdays (and will do just about anything to toss a Douglas Adams referance into my posts). Thursdays are my slack day. DS1 is usually in preschool (they are on vacation this week). I run my errands on Tues & Wed whenever possible. Mondays & Fridays is gym and tumbling class with both boys adn require lots of running around. Weekends are so variable it is hard to know if I am going to be able to relax or not. Thursdays though almost always mean I can do whatever I want for the whole morning. DS2 & I can go to the gym, go shopping, stay home, whatever. Apart from dropping off & picking up DS1 I have no requirements

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 4

Dealing with Anger

  • Family life demands a volume of work & it can be a source of anger.
  • Skilfully managed anger can equip us with inner resources & provdes an opportunity for wisdom as we exlore & resolve it.
  • Anger includes many behaviors - sulking, withdrawing, behaving coldly, making snide comments
  • Anger does more damage to ourselves than to the object of our anger - it takes our energy, threatens our health & undermines our ability to make wise decisions.

Buddah said : Hatred can never cease by hatred. Hatred can only cease by love. This is an eternal love.

Angry actions tend to induce angry or defensive responses.

Anger has 3 components

  1. We perceive an object that we find unpleasant
  2. We exaggerate the perceived harm
  3. We develop a wish to harm

Anger leads to a harming mind which, if we want to make spiritual progress, we must abandon.

  • First recognize the negative force of the anger
  • Next look within to understand & eliminate the cause

Meditation can be used to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger. Repeat a mantra such as "I will not give in to anger". It programs your mind to dealwith events that can trigger your anger & help develop a mind of patient acceptance. Life will always present irritations & suffering. Develop equanimity so that a calm wisdom rather than emotional extremes will inform our actions.

Make a point of apologizing when you lose your temper.

Remind yorself that it is not always your job to punish offensive behavior - karma will see to them. We can even challenge ourselves to feel compassion for those creating bad karma for themselves.


  • We can reach a point where the only way to get on with our life is to forgive & offer amnesty. To harbor resentment can make our mind too small for any joy in life. In some cases forgiveness is the ultimate act of love & compassion.
  • Don't force it, wait until you are ready & that can take a lot of time & work.
  • It may help to remember times when we have caused harm to others, acted selfishly & required forgiveness. Or maybe we need to face up to our responsibility in the conflict


We need to notice our thoughts, not go for a ride with them every time. When that happens we need to stop it.

5 options for dealing with disturbing thoughts

1. Dwell on the positive - remind ourselves of the positive qualities of a person, or their acts of kindness. Practice giving people the benefit of the doubt - maybe it isn't about us & we shouldn't be so quick to take offense
2. Consider the results of our thoughts - anger does more harm to you than to the object of your anger. Everytime you respond in anger, you condition yourself to respond in anger again. Ask yourself - what kind of mother did I want to grow nto? what kind of relationship did I want with my children? Do i want to add to their suffering?
3. Distract ourselves - be mindful of when we are paying inappropriate amounts of attention to negative emotions & stop yourself. Breathe deeply to ground yourself
4. Consider the alternatives - question your thinking. Thoughts come & go & often have very little to do with what actually is. Our mind creates our reality. Its up to us to decide how important we choose to make a disturbing event.
5. Use our willpower - be firm & tell yourself "enough" or "let go". Use meditation to to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger.

What We Can Do

  • Remember angry words & thoughts are bad for your karma
  • Remember anger is a passing state, so don't empower it
  • Be present with your anger without indulging it - be aware of its effects on your body
  • Look inward for the causes of anger so you can eliminate them
  • Use meditation to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger
  • Share some of your struggles with your children so they can learn from your mistakes
  • Apologize to your children when you're in the wrong
  • Inform your children when you are in a bad mood so they don't take it personally
  • Consider forgiving those you are angry with if only for your own sake
  • Remember the 5 options for dealign with unwholesome thoughts

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 3

Finding Calm

Nothing lasts. The bad mood will pass. We can weather it for now & avoid assigning it any major significance. Motherhood forces us to reflect onour lives, on what is important to us & how we want to live the rest of our lives.

Motherhood is the world's Greatest Learning Experience.

Assume an attitude of hospitality toward the emotion - Oh its you again anger. Don't avoid it & don't judge it, just attend to it without getting too involved in it. Accept the existance of the negative emotions. Stand back& watch them, how they affect us. Labeling helps...anger...anger...anger..watch it rise, have being & pass away. A negative mind state can only sabotage your efforts to improve a situation.

Confusing because it undermines our happiness but it's easy to tell ourselves that it's a worthy mindset. Treat it the same as others. Be mindful of it. Identify the beliefs making us feel the guilt, monitor how much time is spent on it & how much is helpful. Writing out your thoughts is very helpful. Meditate, creating space around your problem.

The ability to perceive all aspects of our lives with acceptance & patience rather than our usual extreme reactions. The ability to keep calm.
  • inclusiveness,
  • even-mindedness,
  • non-attachment,
  • non-discrimination,
  • balance,
  • freedom from extremes,
  • letting go

Buddah taught that the greatest happiness comes from a peace uneffected by changing conditions. Accept what is & stop trying to control the inevitable & the impermanent

8 Worldly Conditions - gain & loss; pleasure & pain; praise & blame; fame & disrepute

Tolerance does not mean being relaxed & comfortable. It means accepting discomfort & finding ease in that accepting of discomfort. The irritations around you don't need to control you. Use them to practice patience.

Each moment is of equal importance, make it precious. Perceive it with complete acceptance, free of judgement, rating & demands.

Buddah said -
Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
In the very here & now,T
he practitioner dwells
In stability and freedom.

The keys to peace & calmess are within. We all have a Buddah Nature. To find comfort we only need to turn inward

What We Can Do
  • Be compassionate with yourself
  • Remind yourself this emotion will pass.
  • Share this knowledge with your children
  • Ask yourself what you an learn from this situation
  • See each new emotion as a visitor worthy of hospitality
  • Watch & label your emotions
  • Be aware when you find your are caught up in a negative emotion & stop & give yourself a chance to think of alternatives
  • Write or meditate to help resolve your feelings
  • Strive to accept imperfection & discomfort
  • Choose a spacious response to petty irritations when you can
  • Try to appreciate the preciousness of every moment

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tell us five things you plan to accomplish this weekend

1. Drive an hour to return the cell phones we bought last weekend & cancel the service
2. Start over with new cell phones with a different company.
3. Not lose my mind while dealing with the cell phone fiasco and 2 small boys (yeah,right)
4. Find the source of the cat pee smell in the living room (it has to be the sofa or the carpet but while the air around them smells like cat pee, neither of them actually smells like it)
5. Do the Mission Possible assignment.

Really the only thing I am looking forward to is the mission possible assignment. I'd gladly pay large sums for someone else to deal with the other 4.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


People are often unreasonable,
Illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
People may accuse
You of selfish motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
You will win some false friends
And some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,I
It is between you and God;

It never was between you and them anyway.

~Mother Teresa~

If you could live in any era of history, what would it be, and why?

This is always a challenging question for me because there is so much to take into account. The thing is, for most of the eras that I find interesting & would like to have lived in, I would be dead now due to my appendix rupturing (I just remembered that it was exactly 4 years ago today, 11 days after my csection when i had to have out) The first successful appendectomy was in the late-19th century. That is assuming I survived the breech birth of my son right before it. Let's just ignore these things....

I'd love to live in Tudor times because that is my favorite time period. The age of discovery, so many new things being learned or old thing being rediscovered. New countries, new people, new foods, etc. The Reformation going on. It would be an exciting time to live. But I'd like as not get burned at the stake, or persecuted in some other way for my beleifs, which dampens my enthusiasm just a bit.

I'd also love to live in Roman times, between the rise of Ceasar and say 200ad or so. When Rome was out conquoring the world & again new things were being discovered as the world expanded. Plus there would be the chance to participate in the actual pagan rites of the mystery religions, like the Eleusinian Mysteries. I'd love to know what the true rituals were & how they vary from our own modern day practices. I'd love to experience a ritual at the temple of Vesta or Aphrodite. Just from a point of faith it would be fascinating, then add being able to see the 7 Wonders of the World, and all teh other incredible places now lost to us. I'd like to live in ancient Egypt for the same reason, and I'd love to visit the Great Library or see the pyramids actually being built.

Monday, October 16, 2006

new holiday

It's Bake a Pie Day! Today is the day when it is traditional to bake a pie. Pies are traditional food - both sweet and savory. Theya re the original convenience food, something nutritious wraped in a bread crust making it easy to take with you. Pies come in all sizes, from small 'pocket pies' to the mammoth "4 and 20 blackbirds' sized pie. People love pie but nowadays most just dont have the time to actually make one, or they don't know how. It used to be there was help in the kitchen for most people, even that help was a daughter or sister or mother. But now there is usually just one person in the kitchen and that person has to make breakfast,lunch & dinner, nevermind adding a pie to that. So since WWII, one day a year has been set aside to just make pies. Permission is granted by society to have pie for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or even all 3). There are many kids of pie so that does not mean you have to eat chocolate cream or apple pie only. You can make chicken pot pie or quiche. Let me also point out that it is Bake a Pie day, not Make a Pie day. It is perfectly acceptable to get a Swanson pot pie or a Mrs.Smith apple pie because you bake them yourself. So go bake some pie and enjoy!

We made pumpkin pie, from a fresh pumpkin with the help of Joy of Cooking. It's cooling now. And we have about 5 more cups of pumpkin puree to use up.

the weekend

We were going to go to get new cell phones Saturday morning. It's an hour drive to the place with the service we needed (that is a whole other story in itself). Tower goes down Fri night so DH has to go deal with that first thing but he said he had a plan so someone would relieve him by 10:30 so we could go. 10:30 rolls around....11....11:30 no call from him, no sign of him & his cell goes straight to voice mail. (he is standing AT a cell tower & his phone barely registers a signal, that is why it needs replaced) right before noon he calls& says somone is on their way. Now,I am a bit testy at this point. Ok, I am furious (it is that time of the month & I know I am furious hormonally & merely testy situationally). We finally meet up with him & drive into the traffic hell of the shopping plaza in question. It is 1:30 when we get to Circuit City. 2 hours later we leave with phones. The boys were great for about 20 minutes but the other hour & half or so they were rampaging demons, running around & touching everything. We had no idea it would take 2 hours to sign up & get phones. So being wildly distracted by demons I failed to ask a specific question, or perhaps I asked it & was misinformed or misunderstood the answer. Possibly I didn't really understand fully what I wanted to do in the first place. Whatever. Out of 14 phones to choose from I somehow managed to select the ONLY one that doesn't let you download ringtones from the internet or from messages. You can only get them from the Get It Now thing. So now I have to go back to the traffic hell plaza and exchange it. But it gets better. We may be switching carriers so DH & I (and our little demons) all have to back return everything to Circuit City and then go to a DIFFERENT store and repeat the process.

I love technology, but by and large, technology hates me.

So that trip sucked up all of Saturday. After the phone marathon we took the demons to an indoor playground & let them spend an hour climbing around a habitrail thing & then we they were tired enough we went to Olive Garden for an early dinner (good thing we were early too because about 15 minutes after we sat down every high school student going to the Homecoming Dance suddenly appeared looking for a table the wait was 90 minutes by the time we left.

Sunday we went to Applefest. We were going to meet up with various people and we'd said "we'll call you when we get there & work out wehre to meet up". There is NO cell coverage at all where Applefest is. No ATMs either & nothing takes visa. I was misinformed about the location of an ATM by the clerk at the lodege, walked a quarter mile to a store where I was told "Oh the bank took that out MONTHS ago because it was hardly used. They know that at the lodge". (further evidence of technology hating me) Fortunately she very nicely cashed a $25 check for me and the mess hall also took a check. I brought the checkbook because I wasn't sure about the ATM situation at the lodge but I knew none of the vendors took plastic. Despite all this walking we were there early enough to get on the second hayride of the day,which was only half full & the line waited about a minute. When we got back the line was huge and the tractors were full. So yeah us! The kids also got to enjoy the haybale playground largly empty, except for some other small kids. We went back later with Mel & family & it was full of 10-15 year olds who tend to knock down and bowl over the small kids in their play. But the boys had a blast both times. We also spent a lot of time by the creek with the boys tossing rocks into it, along with all the other kids there. Not sure what the attraction of tossing rocks into a creek is but it occupied a good half hour. We stayed much longer than we intended & had a great time. Depending on how the phone thing shakes out we may go again next Sunday.

We got a pumpkin there & Havoc insisted it be made into pumpkin pie. From the way he was holdign it & talking to it I had thought he might not want it cut up but he was all for it being made into pie. DH found a recipie but first the pumpkin had to be baked for 90 minutes in pieces, pureed and cooled and THEN you can start the pie process. Well, it was almost 7:30p when the pumpkin was pureed. So the pie will be made today. havoc insists that he LOVES pumpkin pie. it is his favorite. He last had pumpkin pie a year ago, one my mom bought from a store. Canned pumpkin pie makes a sweeter pie than real pumpkin. Different texture too. We;ll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Moving Beyond Definitions - Over-Identifying With Labels

As humans, we possess the tendency to name and categorize things. This applies to everything from plants and animals to styles to ourselves and others. Everyone who walks the earth carries or has carried some label, such as white, old, artist, animal lover, parent, child, or liberal, that either they themselves or others used to define them. While labels can help us form useful first impressions, they can also act as a thick filter between the world and ourselves. Expectations are derived from labels. When we begin to define others in terms of their profession, looks, wealth, or political background, it becomes harder to accept them unconditionally. And when we define ourselves with strict labels, we limit ourselves and our potential by effectively pigeonholing our identities. The challenge lies in finding a balance between that which defines us and our evolving natures.

We first learn who we are when we are children. Identity is forged by society, which labels us so-and-so's children, a boy or a girl, a reader or a jock, or shy or outgoing. This is natural, considering that characterizing others upon first meeting is an automatic process. But when we regard these initial impressions as unchangeable, we deny the fact that we are all blessed with roles that can change from one day to the next or exist simultaneously with other roles. It is possible to be both a parent and an artist and a runner and a businesswoman. If you were to choose a single role, such as artist, it would limit the paths you could take. If you were, however, to say, "I am a creative person, though that creativity is sometimes blocked," it would open new avenues of exploration because you could express your creativity in many ways.

People are so much more than what they do or what they have done and all people are potentially capable of taking on a new identity or letting go of an old one because of emotional or environmental factors. You may choose to be "a strong-willed executive" in one moment in time and "a nurturing parent" in another. Yet you remain wholly you. Though labels can be a good stepping off point, they are no substitute for understanding who we really are. If everyone was encouraged to look beyond labels, open-mindedness and tolerance would be the inevitable result.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Would you choose differently if you could choose your occupation again? Why? How?

No I would't. Not either of them. Though I didn't actually choose my last occupation. I just sort of fell into telecom, or drifted. Yeah, it was a slow process so drifted is probably a better description. I really enjoyed it & can't really think of anything I would have prefered to do then. Now I am a SAHM, which I did choose, and cannot imagine not being. it was a good choice. 3 years from now, when both little boys are in school all day 5 days a week I will be able to choose again what I want to do and so far I have no clue. I'm taking the winter off & doing absolutely nothing (i will have spent the previous year driving back & forth from the Primary school 3x a day with one kid in half day an one in full day. That is 6 30 minute drives 5 days a week. I deserve a couple of months of not needing to go anywhere), assuming we have no urgent need for me to work, but then in Jan 2010, or thereabouts I will return to something in the workforce.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Oh yeah. I've got clutter. If it wasn't hiding my camera batteries in it I would take a picture of it. :) DOes it bother me? No not really, as long as it is organized somehow. Like in piles. Clutter in piles is fine; clutter scattered around all over the place is just a big mess & needs put in piles. I also like it to be contained in bins. I have lots of mesh pop up bins and plastic bins all around the house, piled with clutter. It's clutter because it is unorganized. If all the trucks were in one bin and all the Little People in another then it would just be storage, but since they are all jumbled together in various bins piled hapazardly ontop of one another, they are clutter. People say "how do you keep your family room so clean?" I say, "lidded bins". You can't find a darn thing without opening all of them & scattering stuff all over the place, but once yu toss all the stuff back into whatever bin is convenient you suddenly have the appearance of being neat & organized. Only you know your deep dark secret. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Definition of Unconditional Love

"I love you as you are as you seek to find your own special way to relate to the world, or the way you feel that is right for you. It is important that you are the person you want to be and not someone that I or others think you should be. I realize that I cannot know what is best for you although perhaps sometimes I think I do. I've not been where you have been, viewing life from that angle you have, I do not know what you have chosen to learn, how you have chosen to learn it, with whom or in what time period. I have not walked life looking through your eyes so how can I know what you need.

I allow you to be in the world without a thought or word of judgment from me about the deeds you undertake. I see no error in the things you say and do, in this place where I am. I see that there are many ways to perceive and experience the different facets of our world. I allow without reservation the choices you make in each moment.

I make no judgment of this, for if I were to deny your right to evolution, then I would deny that right to myself and all others. To those who would choose a way I cannot walk, whilst I may not choose to add my power and my energy to this way, I will never deny you the gift of love that God/dess has bestowed within me for all creation, as I love you so I shall be loved, as I sow, so I shall reap.

I allow you the universal right of free will to walk your own path, creating steps, or to sit a while if that is what is right for you. I will make no judgment of these steps, whether they are large or small, nor light or heavy or that they lead up or down, for this is just my viewpoint. I see you do nothing and judge it to be unworthy and yet it may be that you bring great healing as you stand blessed by the light of God/dess.

I cannot always see the higher picture of divine order. For it is the inalienable right of all life to choose their own evolution and with great love I acknowledge your right to determine your future.

In humility, I bow to the realization, that the way I see is best for me, does not have to mean that it is also right for you. I know that you are led as I am, following the inner excitement to know your own path.

I know that the many races, religions, customs, nationalities and beliefs within our world bring us great richness and allow us the benefit of teachings of such diverseness. I know we each learn in our own unique way in order to bring that love and wisdom back to the whole. I know that if there were only one way to do something, there would need to be only one person. I will not only love you if you behave in a way I think you should, or believe in those things I believe in, I understand you are truly my brother and sister though you may have been born in a different place and believe in another God/dess than I.

The love I feel is for all of God/ess world. I know that every living thing is part of God/dess and I feel a love deep with every person, and all trees, and flowers, every bird, river, ocean and for all the creatures in all the world.

I live my life in loving service, being the best me I can, becoming wiser in the perfection of divine truth, becoming happier in the joy of unconditional love."
-- Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

TV programs

Of all the TV programs, which one have you watched the most? Why?
Is it connected in some way to your life and/or perspective?

I think the show with Most Episodes Viewed would have to be Good Eats. I love that show & have watched it from it's debut on FoodTV. I love that Alton explains the reasons behind why you do the things you do when preparing food because it helps me make similar things on my own. He's convinced me to try foods I don't generally like - though he has failed with cabbage & onions. It is entertaining & I always take something away from it.

The show that has been Watched the Longest would be Dr Who. I have been watching it since I first encountered it on PBS in the late 70's but there was that 10-15 year or so hiatus between the last Doctor 7 episode and the first Doctor 9 episode. (I'm not sure how long it was because I relied on erratic PBS viewing & who knows how long after they first aired on the BBC they made it to PBS. I recall watching new to me Who in 1993 or so, but as much as I love the show I have never managed to know the actual BBC dates). I have not seen every episode, in fact I have only seen 1 episode with Doctor 2 and maybe 3 with Doctor 1, but I have seen nearly all of Doctors 3-7. Dr Who & Battlestar Galactica were my intro to the world of SciFi and started a life long love of the genre. (Star Wars was around that time but it was a one off movie in 1977 & didn't have the memory power of TV shows with endless repeats). Nowthat they are on back to back on SciFi on Friday nights I am in geek and nostalgia heaven (despite the tendancy of both to get a tad bit preachy about US policy).

Monday, October 09, 2006


I've been reading Buddhism for Mothers. It's very good. Right now it is talking about the importance of meditation & how moms haven't got time for that. So she likes the concept of 'mindful meditation' that many Zen monestaries teach. It's totally focusing on what you are doing. Putting your mind completely in the NOW of folding laundry or washing dishes or whatever. Not thinking about what you need to do next or what you might cook for dinner or whether the car's registration is due yet. Just "Folding the sleeve in, now folding the oher sleeve, smoothing it down, the fabric feels smooth & cool, folding up the bottom half" etc. It is supposed to be very calming & soothing. It also makes things take a bit longer but the tradeoff is mental peace & the laundry is folded. So I decided to take a mindful shower. That was probably the most decadently sensuous experience I have had in ages. 10 minutes of just thinking about how the water felt, how my scalp felt when I washed my hair, the slipperiness of soap on my arms. I also dried off & put on lotion mindfully. I was so incredibly relaxed when I was done & really it only added about 5 minutes to my usual shower time.

Tomorrow I am going to try cooking mindfully... or as mindfully as possible with toddlers. But she said that is the important part - do what is possible, when it is possible & don't worry about how much or how little you are doing it, just take the opportunities as they come & try to be as much in the NOW as possible, being as mindful of things as you can & after awhile you will be able to summonthe relaxed calm feeling when you need it without needing the meditation. But you should still keep meditating even then. The more you do it, the more opportunities you find.

The weekend highlights

We spent it in Maryland. We met up with friends Saturday & went to the Aquarium, stayed in a hotel & went to the Ren Fest Sunday. It was so rainy on Saturday. We managed to get from the parking lot to Cheesecake Factory for lunch without getting too wet and there was a lull in the rain when we dashed to the Aquarium. We were there about 3 hours. We saw everything in Pier 3 (exhibits are broken up into 4 Piers), which was Australia, the rain forest & reptiles. Mayhem was on his harness, which looks like a puppy backpack, so he was free to run all over the place & was loving it. We looked down on the area with the stingrays & he was convinced they were leaves floating in the water. Every time we came to a tank of fish he would shout CHIFSES! And point. Havoc was enjoying just looking. He was rather quiet, I think he was a little overwhelmed. We gave him our old digi camera to use and he took about 10 photos there. We left to get something to eat (the others had not had lunch, we'd arrived early to eat), intending to come back & visit Pier 4, which is dolphins. We went to this place called Pete's, got soaked to the skin in the rain running there and then waited FOREVER for our food to come. It wasn't like it was that busy at 3pm. But the gap between appetizer and the meal was so long we started helping ourselves to coffee & bread from the nearby server station. (3 people ordered salads, 2 an actual meal & I had ordered an appetizer, which for some reason arrived with the meals) The kids were great for about an hour - 6 kids under 5. They sat & colored & played quietly but by the time our food arrived the kids were bored stiff (so were the adults) so they started running around the table (we were in an alcove) and behaving like normal active toddlers. If they had fed us with any sort of promptness we'd have been long gone before the kids reached hyper stage. We then gave up on the Aquarium as they close at 5 and it was nearly 5 when we finally got out of that lousy restaurant - and the food was not that great & overpriced. Then we went for ice cream for Havoc's birthday at Marble Slab Ice Cream. A good time was had by all.

Then we headed to the hotel. Havoc loves hotels. He took more pictures of our hotel room than he did in the aquarium. :) It had an indoor pool and we took the kids down to it to swim for about an hour. Havoc swam with water wings for the first time, really swam, using his arms & legs, not just sort of kicking around on a noodle like he usually does. It was a late bedtime but the boys were asleep by 9:30 & we joined the others across the hall for Chinese food, but we all crashed by 10:30.

Sunday was the Ren Fest. OMG! The traffic! I guess since it rained Saturday everyone held off going until Sunday. We left the hotel about 9:45 for a 16 mile drive. It should have taken about 20 minutes top. Ren opens at 10 and we figured we'd be there just after it opened. WRONG! The line to get to the parking lot began on I97, 5 miles from the faire site. It took us over an hour to travel those 5 miles. Our friends left the hotel about 15 minutes after we did and arrived at the faire 45 minutes later than we did. It was packed with people inside. Too crowded to really be as enjoyable as usual. When we left at 3:30 there was still a mile long line of traffic waiting to get in to the parking area! We did not do garb for only the 3rd time in 14 years (we didn't in 1992 because that was the first time & we didn't have any & we didn't in 2002 because I was 37 weeks pg & nothing fit). It had been so rainy we just didn't want to deal with mud in garb. We only took about a dozen photos which is an all time low for us & just proves it was too crowded to see anything. Havoc had his camera and took about 50 so we have lots of toddler eye view shots (people from the waist down). The boys dropped off to sleep before we even got out of the parking lot & slept about 90 minutes, waking up just as we were pulling into Pizzaria Uno's. We got home about 7pm.. I was bone weary, still am. It was a fun weekend. I'll have to put up a "Havoc's vacation" collection of his photos. He takes well composed photos, only slightly marred by the occasional finger in the shot or extreme blurriness, but about 2/3 of his photos are good ones. Pity they are almost all of people's legs. :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers thoughts so far

This is slow reading, not because it is tedious, but because it is a lot to absorb. I read maybe half a chapter & then have to think about it. I'm at the part about being mindful & that includes watching your thoughts & reactions. Not judging them, you are suppoed to be kind to yourself as well as others, but just watching them & considering why you do what you do. I tend to read things & then try & place myself on a scale in my mind. How good am I at doing that? How likely am I to do that? How far short have I fallen of this? This is all ego & wanting to rank myself, compared against some ideal me that exists in my mind. It doesn't matter what went before. It matters what is now. I need to let go of my need to rank myself in the past & just strive to succeed in the present. The present makes the future. So I need to accept - yep, you weren't mindful of these things before. You acted right but not from the best motives. It's done. Today try to do better & not worry about what was.

The idea is if you start deciding to do things out of compassion & kindness for others, rather than for your needs & wants; you will get into the habit of doing them for that reason & you will become a compassionate & kind person. Become the change you want to see in the world. Positive thoughts & actions make positive things happen. You get what you expect. These thoughts have been a part of my pagan life, but this idea of karma is different. Buddhism has no savior or god head so there is no one waiting to punish or reward you. Not sure how I feel about the idea of there being no Divine. Or is it that we are all part of the Divine, so the Divine is part of us & not seperate. I beleive that we are part of the Divine but I guess it is the Catholic in me that wants to think of the Divine as also a seperate entity, just as we are all seperate entities.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 2

Mindfulness - knowing what is happening at the time it is happening

We all are a bit scatty sometimes, there is no need to beat yourself up about it, just be aware of it & do your best to overcome it. Be aware of the moment & respond to what it needs

Mindfulness is is an awareness of all the present moment contains: the sensations of your body, your feelings, perceptions, assumptions & tendancies. This helps you understand what is actually going on in your mental process & can help you head off the negative reactions.

Mindfulness saves energy & time. You make fewer mistakes when you pay attention to what you are doing & saying.

Meditation & mindfulness give you a mental holiday from the usual round of worries & plans. They helpyou understand that negative emotions are transient states so there is no need to get too caught up in them. We can watch them develop without identifying too closely with them.

Telling yourself what you are doing, while you are doing it,is a way to hold on to mindfulness. Avoid rating the experience. Not rating helps build feelings of acceptance instead of judgement.

Practice mindful meditation by being in the moment without the mental commentary. Be aware of just walking or washing, notice every detail of the task, pay attention to the sensations of your body, listen attentively & pause before responding, focus on your breathing

If you want to know what the future will be like, look at your life right now.

We chose our responses & our responses are far more important in the long run than the event itself.

Ask yourself - how can I best use the present moment?

Karma is not about the Universe judging you & punishing or rewarding you. It is about cause & effect. Everything you do, say, or think has an effect of some sort.

Buddah said: Wherever we go, wherever we remain, the results of our actions follow us.

He also said this about creating Karma:
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought & its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all living beings.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 1

4 Noble Truths
There is suffering
Attachment causes suffering
Suffering can end
There is a path to send suffering

As mothers we understand there is suffering in life; and we have experienced a truer love. Through loving a child we deepen our capacity to be a loving person for others as well.

Buddhism teaches compassion for all living beings & that must include ourselves - don't waste energy on feeling guilty & self-recriminations, just be aware & pay attention. Be gentle, patient & persistent with all you do.

Be self-aware, be in the now

The 8 Fold Path
1. Skillful Understanding - seeing life the way it is
2. Skillful Thought - being serious about Buddhist practice

3. Skillful Speech
4. Skillful Action
5. Skillful Livelihood
Speak & act in a way that shows compaasion & kindness to others. Path to wisdom requires living ethically

6. Skillful Effort
7. Skillful Mindfulness
8. Skillful Concentration