11-30-11

I’ve liked this month. I’ve liked the symmetry of it. The elevens. All the elevens. Every day. That’s been pretty awesome. It makes me smile to write the date. Yeah. That’s pretty cool. When something makes you smile every day. For real. That is a good month.

I suppose now, I’ll be sad to see it go. I’m happy with today anyway.  It was a good day to end on. The last eleven eleven. The electrician came. I’ve been wanting to put a new fixture in the entryway for more than a year. Done today. Yes! On the check I wrote 11-30-11. Pretty nice for sure. Made me smile.

And I got my haircut. You know – taking care of business. 11-30-11. Nice.

So now. Me and the dogs are sitting by the fire. The candles are lit on the mantel. Pretty content we are. 11-30-11.

Thanks November 2011, I am grateful.

The Perfect Daughter

During the 10-hour car ride to Grandma and Grandpa’s (my parents) for Thanksgiving I got to read a lot. No doubt, during that time, I was bound to come across something enlightening, earthshattering, you know, some piece of serendipitous advice I didn’t even know I was looking for.

So, I’m reading a little of this, a little of that and finally settle into the book, Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment, by Ezra Bayda.

He says in Chapter 6, “A wise person once said, ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing half-assed.’  Can we give up our ideals of perfection and simply lighten up and do the best we can at the moment?”

This struck me. Whenever visiting my parents, I try so hard to be perfect. And I always blow it. I get pissed at my dad when he recounts for the millionth time my most embarrassing moments, or I snap at my mom when she just won’t let me be. It’s just the way it’s always been.

So, I tucked Ezra’s advice in the back of my mind, “It’s ok to be half-assed,”  and waited to see where it would take me.

As the holiday progressed, sure enough, my dad said x and my mom said y and I lost it as usual. I was not the perfect daughter. And then life went on.

I untucked Ezra’s advice and thought about how we always seem to just move on after I get upset with my parents. Then, it struck me like a lightening bolt, it wasn’t my parents who were disturbed by my behavior, it was me. In fact – they seem to get some sort of thrill at seeing how long it will take before I do lose it.

So, I finally figured it out. They don’t want a perfect daughter. They just want their half-assed daughter and family to visit for Thanksgiving.

And anyway, as luck would have it, their son-in-law and grandkids are perfect.

This Morning

I wake up at 3am.

The list begins:

What if I forget band again?

Did I return Lisa’s e-mail?

Is there any bread in the house?

OMG what will the boys have for lunch?

I’ve got to pay the bills before we go.

How am I going to get everything together for the pet-sitter?

How much do you tip her?

I’ll google that.

I’ve got to get to Target.

Why did I wreck Peanut’s bed by trying to wash it?

Stop!!!

I pick up my Kindle and read a few chapters. Time for sleep.

4:24am

What if I forget band again?

Did I return Jane’s e-mail?

What will the boys eat for breakfast?

I think I left laundry in the washer.

I pick up my Kindle and read another chapter.

I put it down and do some meditating:

Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Breath in Breath out and so on and so forth.

I finally drift off.

6:15am

Tim brings me coffee in bed as my alarm chirps. He reminds me,  “Don’t forget, Max has band.”

I’m on it!

The Hawk

A flash of great wings filled the window bringing me to attention. I watched (in disbelief?) as the hawk landed by the fence. I didn’t actually see the capture. I found the binoculars and focused in. There he was, the hawk, bigger than Peanut (our Dachshund) standing in the ground cover with a beautiful bright red cardinal in his talons.

My heart sank. I always thought one of the chorus would be his prey. I could handle a sparrow for his meal. They seemed so disposable. But a cardinal. I wasn’t at all ready for that.

I watched him for a while. He stood on the ground for a very long time. Maybe he was working at the cardinal with his claws, I couldn’t tell. All I could make out was a very big grey bird standing on a medium sized red bird.

And then, from what cue I don’t know, he spread his great wings and with more effort than I thought he would need, lifted himself and the cardinal off the ground to land on the fence. I was looking again with the binoculars. The cardinals black mask and yellow beak were bowed in submission. He seemed pretty dead. I hoped he hadn’t suffered.

The yard was quiet the whole rest of the day. The birds and squirrles must have watched along with me. I wondered how they were dealing with the loss.  Was he a son, a father, a brother?

Late in the afternoon, I sensed some activity. A few sparrows were back at the feeder. Then a brave cardinal ducked in. Then another. Business as usual.

Aliens and Umbrellas

Let’s talk about experts. With just a little thought, you can see how easily experts can get stuff really wrong and for varying reasons, run with it.

One way experts get stuff wrong is to jump to conclusions based on faulty reasoning. Another way is to make a conclusion without sufficient evidence to support it (remind me to look up the Black Swan thingy we all learned about in Philosophy 101).

So, faulty reasoning. A very common way that experts lead us astray is to misconstrue cause and effect. For example, let’s say an alien (the expert) comes down to earth and  lands on top of the John Hancock building in Chicago where he can observe all types of people walking along the Magnificent Mile. He watches for a few weeks and for sure sees lots of strange beings of all shapes and sizes. Finally after about  a month or so he starts to see a pattern emerge. Whenever people carry umbrellas, there is rain. Trying to make sense of it all (he’s gathering data about earth to bring back to his planet) he takes copious notes and even works out some algorithms to support his findings. He pours over all his data and sure enough it all adds up:  if most people aren’t carrying umbrellas it doesn’t rain, but when they do – it does. Umbrellas cause rain!!  Eureka!

Isn’t that the best example!  I wish I could site where I originally heard it – but suffice it to say, it has stuck with me and has allowed me to start reexamining a number of things I do every day. It has given me the license to eat like a cave-girl and run barefoot. More on that tomorrow.