Friday, October 30, 2009

Update on the Bar Fight

Not much is happening on the efforts to prevent the corner bar from serving liquor to their noisy littering patrons on the sidewalk outside their bar. I called the city help line to find out how to protest the fact that they got a sidewalk cafe permit without posting a notice, so nobody in the neighborhood could attend.

The city help line said to call my city councilperson. I called the councilperson's office shortly after 8 AM. Nobody was there and no machine picked up. Finally about 10 AM, someone did pick up the phone and told me that the person I need to talk to was not available. I gave my name, phone number and email address. I also obtained the edress of the person I needed to contact. When nobody had called or emailed within 3 hours, I called again, sent an email.

I explained that at the Liquor Control Board hearing, the bar manager had stated that he had obtained a sidewalk cafe license and since he never posted a notice about a hearing, I want to void that zoning permit and if he still wants it, he should start over and go through the required posting procedure.

The woman emailed me back that he would have to post the sign in order to get the permit.

I emailed and called her to tell her that he did get the zoning permit without posting and I want do get the permit voided. She said she'd talk to the streets department.

I have no idea what the streets department has to do with zoning permits. I called the zoning office. They told me that a zoning decision cannot be appealed after 30 days. I told the man I have no idea when the zoning permit was issued because no notices were posted. He thought my case was hopeless, but said to call a woman who could look up the date the zoning permit was issued. I have now called her twice and left messages both times. She has yet to return my call.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trying to Fix the World, One Place at a Time

I know. I'm supposed to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and try not to waste my time by putting things in the opposite category.

Yesterday I think I wasted my time twice.

First I met with the administrator of radiology. He kindly showed me the x-ray access screens that the doctors use. These screens do display the patient names by default. It is possible to move the x-ray around and partially obscure the name, but that obscuring would be temporary, and it could not happen by accident.

I asked to see the laptop version. I was shown the erroneous x-ray on a laptop.

The administrator told me that they don't show people x-rays on laptops. He said laptops don't link reliably with the network and they use different software. I told him I know I was on morphine, but I did not hallucinate a 17" diameter laptop computer with somebody else's x-ray on it. My husband saw it, too.

He said he asked the radiology residents if they ever showed x-rays on laptops, and none of them said they had done so. He agreed to ask the trauma residents if they ever showed x-rays on laptops. He claimed that the standard procedure is to give patients a printout of their own x-rays with their names on it. That would be a good idea, but that is not what happened.

I also suggested it would be a good idea to send somebody in with the x-ray who can discuss it. Just showing somebody an x-ray is not really enough information on which to make an informed decision. That is not the job of radiology. So, as it stands, surgery gets to look at the x-rays, schedule people for surgery without telling them, and nobody admits to bringing me that laptop. I guess they're going to have to find somebody who admits bringing me the laptop before they'll believe me.

Since it did happen, the odds are that if they keep asking, they will find the person who did it, and they will put a stop to this practice. Now, if I can get them to start sending a surgical resident to explain the x-ray and the intended surgery and the likely side-effects, progress is possible.

Then I went to the hearing about the noisy messy corner bar that wants to start serving liquor at outside tables. The manager was there. He admitted he was never there at closing. But he insisted there is no noise problem, so he refused to do anything about noisy drunken patrons leaving his bar at 2 AM and waking the residents. He says he hires trash cleaners, but they aren't there at closing and they aren't there in the early morning when I walk my dog. They come at 10 AM and sweep up. He even said that cats get into his locked trash bin and take out the beer bottles that we find all over the neighborhood, including in our flower boxes.

I think there's a good possibility that the examiner will oppose the license, but last time this bar wanted a new license -- for the noisy DJ they have on weekends -- the examiner opposed it and Harrisburg approved it anyway.

I'm not holding my breath for justice or sanity to prevail. I don't see how allowing this noisy littering bar to extend its serving area beyond its walls is going to have a positive outcome. But there is still a possibility I might get somewhere. The bar did get a city permit for the tables without posting a zoning variance request on their premises. Maybe I can get that variance revoked. Or maybe I'm tackling another thing I don't have the power to change.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dizziness Update

I thought the dizzy spells were nearly over. The only time I had them was when I watched a ceiling fan. And to stop them, I only had to look away.

But with all the rehab physical therapy exercises and my regular exercises I was spending well over 4 hours a day exercising. I dropped my eye exercises.

I figured I could get by with a pair of over-the-counter 1.25 glasses. That's the weakest model. I pulled them out to read small print and put them back in the drawer.

Then on the plane back from York, I decided to read a book with small print. I wore the glasses nearly 7 hours. And the dizzy attacks came back in full force. I didn't connect them with the glasses at first, but after a day without using the glasses at all, the dizziness is gone again.

When I turned 40, I noticed that I was holding reading material further away from my face. I thought I might need to get longer arms. Then I discovered eye exercises. I like the Bates exercises and several others. If I keep up with them, I can read type as small as 6 point.

There are plenty of eye exercise websites. This page lists a good variety.

Now I have to rearrange my days again to fit in even more exercises. Already, I don't watch television shows. There isn't much more I can do to become more efficient.

Tonight we're having a neighborhood meeting about what we are going to say at the hearing to prevent the corner bar from serving alcohol on the sidewalk.

And I've been getting angry again. I know it's just temporary thoughts and emotions, but I'm letting them feel real and permanent. So I need to start doing more Sedona Method exercises.

Meanwhile, I finally received a letter from the hospital that mixed up my x-rays with somebody else's. The radiology department administrator is willing to show me how their x-ray system works and he says he will listen to my suggestions for improving it. I gave his scheduler several possible appointment times. She is supposed to get back with me today to confirm one of them or suggest alternatives.

Monday, October 26, 2009

York: Ghosts, Chocolate Shops, Big Clocks and Stores with Funny Names

My husband and I spent a week in York UK. My husband went as a chemist (not a pharmacist). I spent the days as a tourist with my camera. This report is tempered by my prejudices. I don't like British cooking, so I ate at Indian, Chinese, Asian, Portuguese and Pizza places. I have a preference for older architecture, so most of my photos are of buildings I found fascinating.

Here is York from my American, academic, and somewhat silly point of view.

York is a city of ghosts, chocolate shops, big public clocks and stores with funny names.

There are three ghost tours. And in October they run every night. I tried to take the one described as “Historically funny” but only 4 people showed up for that one, so the guide dropped us off on a much more gruesome tour on which most of the ghosts were children who died by accident, plague, or cruelty. Compared to Philadelphia, where I live, York doesn't seem to have very many ghosts. They just love them more. One of the bakeries even makes chocolate ghosts.

I toured a haunted house which has been inhabited for over 700 years. The tour is like a radio drama in which you walk from room to room as guided by the radio voice, and learn about the ghosts who feel more and more real as you progress and the house, which is dimly lit, feels gloomier and gloomier.

You'd never find the Haunted House, if you didn't know where to look for it.

This is the fireplace in the haunted house.

In addition to haunted places, some shops choose have ghosts on their signs. A dress shop is called Ghost. And another shop has only a picture of ghosts for it's business sign.

I don't know what kind of business takes place behind this sign.

In addition, several buildings have gargoyles. Some old, some modern.

This building also has one of the many huge clocks of York.

York is also famous for its snickelways. That's the name for passageways that are too narrow for vehicles but are often the only way to get from one place to another inside the city. Some are covered and some are open to the air.

Here are pictures of some more big clocks. Many buildings also have coats of arms. And some manage to look silly because their old architecture houses a modern franchise. And, the access holes to underground sewers are square or rectangular. I did find one round one, but it was not a perfect circle – it had petals like a flower.

Here is a Subway Sandwich shop.

Here's a square access hole cover.

And here's the only round one I found in the whole city:

York is a growing city. The inner area is walled, and during business hours, cars are excluded.

Here's a picture of a stairway up to the wall.

And here's part of the wall.

In addition to ghost tours, you can tour the York Minster, which is a cross-shaped church with a circular room off to one side.

While I was there, a local man came up to me and started telling me his life story (his version of it.) He was a plumber. He's writing a book called Humanity, that's going to be a best seller. He's getting divorced, but he doesn't know why. He's never told a lie in his life.

I much preferred the 4 and a half-year-old I met at the Jorvik DIG center. She wanted to know if I'm older than 95. I told her that even my mother isn't 95 yet. But we do expect to get that old. Then we started talking about how she's never met anybody 1000 years old. But some of the things we were looking at were that old and older.

Jorvik (pronounced Yorvik) Center is a recreated Viking village. The Jorvik folks have an archeology site and have also created an archeology center where you can have the experience of digging up treasure from 4 different eras, including Roman and Viking, without getting dirty. This center, called DIG, is in an old church. It is usually full of school children until about 3 PM.

And finally the silly shop names. Slug and Lettuce, Anti-Gravity, Give A Dog a Bone, Zikzak, Next, and hundreds of others. But the best is the completely incomprehensible sign on a wall, that reads Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate. Gate means street. According to Wikipedia this is the name of the shortest street in York (35 meters long) and means Neither One thing Nor The Other.

York is an amazingly clean and ecological city. The litter boxes are few and far between but most people use them. The most notable exceptions are the cigarette butts all along the sidewalks and clustered near the litter boxes.

Every shop I bought things in, from the bakery shop to the toy store asked me if I wanted a bag. At one shop, I said yes, and the clerk told me that would cost an extra 20P. I changed my mind. I think the city is going for the Disneyland effect. Cheery, clean and green.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Airport Security Variations

At the Philadelphia Airport, I was careful. I put everything, including my passport pouch, shoes, and cane into the scanner. I got flagged as a BIP. They refused to tell me what a BIP is. They pronounced it bip. I expect it means Body Incarcerated for Patting. I got put into a corral. My guard said it was because my sweater was loose. I told the guard I had a t-shirt on under the sweater, and I was willing to remove the sweater. He looked shocked. "Once you are in the corral you stay in the corral, until you've been patted down." He requested a female patter. I told the man I was ordered to strip down to my bra in public at LAX. I wore a sweatshirt to the airport. The man running the scanner asked me to take off the sweatshirt. I told him all I had on underneath was my bra. He insisted I remove my sweat shirt anyway. I really wished I hadn't been wearing my bra. He could have been embarrassed, too.

When I finally got patted and released from the corral, I discovered that somebody at the scanner station had tried to disassemble my cane. It's a collapsible cane. I don't need it for walking. I need it for my ouchercises. I hold one end with my left hand and then push my arm into stretched positions using my right hand on the other end. Fortunately, I'm mechanical and I was able to get the cane back together.

At the other end, returning from York, UK, they were sweet to me. They didn't even make me take off my shoes. I wore the same sweater. Nobody wanted to pat me, or corral me. Three people asked me, "Where is your luggage?" I explained to curious bystanders as well as Travel Safety Personnel, "I pack lightly, and do wash." One man was particularly curious how I could go one week on only one pair of shoes. Everybody was friendly. One woman asked me if I had anything that might look like a weapon. I held out my cane. "You could do real damage with that," she said. "I can do damage with my socks, if I want to," I replied. She laughed and did not take away my cane. But someone must have been curious about the volume labels on the liquids in my zip-lock baggie. I didn't check the seal on the baggie -- just popped it back into my backpack. When I got home, I had slime inside my backpack from goo that leaked out of my hand lotion and mouth wash containers. England is the country that convicted so-called liquid bombers even after their chemists testified that there is nothing you could make during the length of a cross-Atlantic flight that would do any damage.

Glad to be home. Time to do laundry. This time in a washing machine instead of a sink.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Classmates is a Dud

I abandoned my high school year books many moves ago. I didn’t have many friends in high school, and after I left, I lost touch with the few people I had liked. But, I started wondering what had happened to some of those folks. And I joined Classmates.

I had hopes of reconnecting with Cheryl. We always had stuff to talk about back then. But we exchanged a few emails and couldn’t find topics of mutual interest.

Then I got an email from Marilyn, whom I remembered as a fellow writer. All she wanted was for me to find free art (not clip art, but new original art) to illustrate her work (no examples provided) because her agent told her that it would be easier to sell her work if it was illustrated.

I never ask artists to work for free or on spec. I did when I was much younger, but it was unfair. And I have since paid them for their work. I explained this to Marilyn. I also told her that her agent isn’t familiar with publishing. Most publishers have artists they like to work with, and would prefer that work arrive without illustrations. I haven’t heard from her since.

Another woman got hold of me basically to vent. She liked my picture. Do I look like somebody who has an ear on the front of her face? I don’t care. It’s just email. She wanted to get stuff off her chest, and now she has.

I think there are good reasons I’m no longer in touch with the folks I knew in high school. If we really had things in common, we’d have run into each other on the web through channels of mutual interest.

Then again, I was at outcast in high school. Maybe the popular kids are getting something out of it.

How to Write a Great Children's Book

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Initiation Theme in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

GUEST BLOG by Jean Lorrah

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + BD Live w/ Blu-ray packaging) [Blu-ray]

I recently had the opportunity to see the remastered release of Disney's 1937 masterpiece, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. At the same time, I have been teaching the all-time most important plot archetype in literature over at my Twitter page, Tips on Writing. I'm not going to explain here why initiation appears far more often than the hero's journey--you can look that up at Tips on Writing.

Snow white is a perfect example of an initiation story: the heroine undergoes tests and rituals that turn her from a child into a woman capable of taking her place as an adult in her society. What that place is, of course, derives from the culture of seventy years ago--we must always remember never to criticize a work of art for being a product of its time.

Disney's animated musical features have one sine qua non: the main character's first song establishes that character's fondest desire, and the rest of the film shows him or her earning the right to that desire. Snow White and Simba (from The Lion King) have in common that they are both children wishing for something they don't understand, within minutes they get what they asked for, and both run away from it because they are unprepared, uninitiated. Simba's story (based loosely on Hamlet) is far more modern and easy to understand, but it's not quite so easy to see the initiation theme in Snow White.

First of all, we know that on the very day that the story opens, Snow White has reached physical womanhood. The Magic Mirror for the first time informs the Wicked Queen that Snow White is now the most beautiful woman in the land. We then see Snow White herself, wishing at the well. Most people misremember this scene, and think it is where she sings "Some Day My Prince Will Come." Not so--her first song is "I'm Wishing."

Snow White has only one wish, "for the one I love to find me today." It is a child's passive desire, and extremely vague. All she can imagine about her Prince Charming at this point is "the nice things he'll say."

Her wish instantly comes true: Prince Charming rides by, hears her, and appears at her side. Her response is to run and hide. She peeks at him through the window, and listens to him sing "One Song," pledging his love to her and her alone. It's a fairy tale; in the land of "once upon a time" love at first sight is a reality. Show White's adult fate awaits her, but she is not at this point an adult woman who can accept it.

Her initiatory tests, though, are about to begin. The Wicked Queen orders her murder, the huntsman cannot bring himself to kill her, and Snow White flees into the forest in panic. It is very clear that all the horror in her flight scene, even the darkness, comes straight from her imagination. When she finally collapses, we see that it is broad daylight, and the sounds and eyes that so frightened her belong to typical sweet Disney bunnies, chipmunks, and deer.

Snow White passes her trial by terror when she looks up, and discovers where she is and what the creatures are. She laughingly informs them that she was the source of her own fear. Never again do we see her exhibit a child's fear of the bogeyman. From now on, if she is frightened it is of a genuine threat.

Next, she encounters the test of her skills. She is a princess who has been forced by her wicked stepmother into the role of scullery maid. But a princess should be trained to run a large household. The animals take her to the cottage of the Seven Dwarfs, where she assumes from the seven small beds that orphaned children live there. So she takes on the role of mother as well as chatelaine, with the forest animals as her servants.

Even when the dwarfs return and she discovers that they are "little men," she still treats them as children, making them wash before dinner and teaching them manners. In other words, she passes the test of skills appropriate for the wife of a prince and the mother of his children. She is prepared for her role in life. Again, don't judge a work from 1937 as if it were created in 2009! Furthermore, it isn't set in our world, but in the eternal pseudo-medieval world of fairy tales. In that world the role of a woman as wife and mother is crucial to the survival of the family. Otherwise why should the absent mother precipitate the conflict in so many fairy tales, Snow White included?

Now that Snow White has passed the skill testing part of her initiation, she gets a second song, her signature, "Some Day My Prince Will Come." "Some day I'll find my love," she sings, and alternates throughout the song between the active prince and her active self. No longer is she passively waiting--she is ready now to sing of kissing, and of saying "I do." She is ready for marriage. If we missed it in her song, the dwarfs let us know that they now see her as a grown woman by addressing her as "ma'am."

Now Snow White has nothing left to do but sin against her own initiation. She has moved from child to adult, passed her tests--and is just too perfect for any man. She is tempted with that iconic apple, but the meaning of the fruit is far different from the meaning of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Wicked Queen, disguised as the old hag, gets Snow White to make a wish--the same wish expressed in "Some Day My Prince Will Come"--and then, instead of trusting her prince and herself to find one another, bite the apple to make it come true.

Snow White's sin is to revert to childish wishing after she has become a woman. Her punishment is to be turned totally passive, even more passive than she was as a child. But of course her sin is a very mild one (and Disney certainly didn't want to make wishing in itself appear to be wrong, as they were already developing their theme of wishes coming true).

When Prince Charming finds Snow White this time, and kisses her awake, she is ready for him. No more childish running and hiding. She kisses him back, and accepts without question her role as his wife: now that she has passed her initiation, she is prepared to become a queen.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

me and my cat named tumnus

by Alison

When Keith was six, I separated from his father. Keith and I moved into a duplex in the worst neighborhood within the Albuquerque city limits. I understand there were worse barrios in the South Valley, but in the city proper, the Eugene Fields School district-- south of Lead and Coal Streets-- was very scary. Our house was a lovely renovated Victorian (about every fourth house in the neighborhood was renovated and gentrified), but the whole area had a long way to go.

The other half of the duplex housed a nice young woman I made friends with; I can’t remember her name any more. One night I was awakened by a tremendous crash on the other side of my bedroom wall, which was the wall of her living room. In my dazed, just-awakened state, I thought maybe her TV had fallen down by itself. I called her phone number quickly and she answered, knowing it was me: “Alison, call the police, someone just broke my door in!”

It was probably a drunk person. There was a big apartment house next door to us (later condemned) which regularly released late-night squeals, and screams, and bellowing demands. Perhaps one of the denizens there, or a friend-of-denizens, had mistaken her doorway for an annex of the apartment house. Anyway, the landlords came and fixed her door and we went on living there.

All this is by way of introducing how we obtained the best cat in the world, Mr. Tumnus. One day in April of 1985 Keith, a kindergartner, and I, a graduate school student, exited the car in front of our place. I was getting some stuff out of the back seat when Keith said, “Look mommy.” (He was so unbelievably cute then.)

(Not that he isn’t just as cute now, in an older way.)

I turned around to see him holding a very handsome male kitten, white with dark gray markings and with dark coloration around his eyes that made him look like he was wearing eye make-up. Being an incurable cat-lover, I did not say, as parents are supposed to do, that Keith should put the kitten down and not encourage him. No, I invited him in and began to feed him milk. As the days went on, the kitten hung around more and more, friendly, gentle, likable, purring, winding around our feet, letting Keith love him with all his might and main. One time he got on top of the roof our the duplex and cried for about six hours before finding his way down. We could only call up to him to be brave and try to risk it. I began to buy cat food.

Then one day it was clear the kitten had been in a terrible fight. One of his cheeks was twice the size of the other, all puffed out with an abscess, and it made him have trouble eating. I sighed and took him to the vet where they fixed the abscess, “fixed” his reproductive capacity, and gave him his shots. He was a nice kitten and had attached to us and he seemed by now to be my responsibility. We named him “Mr. Tumnus” after the half-human, half-goat faun in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, one of my truly favorite childhood books and one that Keith had enjoyed when I read it to him.

Shortly after all this, you can imagine our dismay when a boy across the street, who lived in a structure best referred to as a “hovel,” told us that our Mr. Tumnus was his cat and that his name was “Crystal.” This boy, whose name I also forget, was a member of a large and very poor family. The kids used to show up at my door regularly asking for things “their mom” needed: a cup of sugar, some aspirin, a cigarette or two. I obliged at first, but one day when one of the girls showed up and said, “My mom says give me cigarettes, or money!” I put a stop to it. (I think now the kids were eating the sugar straight and smoking the cigarettes themselves.) Anyway, it turns out the kitten was theirs, or had once been theirs.

So at some point I went and talked to the mom about the vet bill and so on, and she ended up telling her kids that if I had paid for the cat to have all that work done, it was our cat. But the kids were so heartbroken that I said we would “share” the cat. But Tumnus stayed at our place and always came when I called, and it didn’t seem the kids across the street missed him all that much. Their tiny house was full of many other animals: a puppy, some gerbils, a hamster, Keith says some other kinds of rodents. He remembers many animal droppings on the carpet. I remember roaches all over including on the walls. This was a very bad place for people to have to live.

So the day came when Keith and I left that duplex to go stay with my dad in Iowa for the summer. I was reeling from the emotional stress of the separation and impending divorce and really needed to feel okay in the bosom of a loving family for a time. I got a U-Haul rooftop carrier and moved out of this apartment in the slums after five months. I took a few things to Iowa and stored the rest at my husband’s place, knowing that Keith and I would not be moving back in there. And Keith and I snuck Tumnus out of the Eugene Fields neighborhood early in the morning, with a catbox on the floor of the car in the back seat and cat food in the trunk.

Tumnus learned to travel well. When we got to Iowa, he walked with us up to my dad’s front door, and when my dad greeted us, he was surprised: “You didn’t say you were bringing a cat,” he said, smiling. (I come by my suckership with animals honestly.) We had a good summer. Tumnus learned the neighborhood quickly. After the summer was over, we moved back to Albuquerque and Tumnus re-adapted to a new neighborhood there, a much more middle-class place.

Keith and I went back to Iowa again, sometimes to visit and sometimes to stay, over the next couple years. Tumnus always went with. When we came back to my dad’s after the first year away, Tumnus ran far away from us as soon as we opened the car doors in my dad’s driveway. I was quite distressed because I had no idea if he would remember anything about having been in this area before. I need not have worried: hours later he showed up meowing at the front door as he had done the year before. He remembered everything and was just checking it all out.

One final Tumnus story: One time my closest and oldest friend Jodee and I were talking in my dad’s living room. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but she was sad and crying a little. The phone rang and I went to get it. When I returned to the living room, Tumnus was on Jodee’s lap, and she said in a strange voice, “Alison, the most amazing thing just happened. I was sitting here wiping my eyes and sniffling, and the cat walked up to me and sat and looked at me for a while. Then he jumped up on my lap and reached his paw up and patted my cheek.”

Tumnus is still alive. He is living on a farm in southwest Iowa; he is healthy but has no teeth any more and is visibly old. I miss him. When I went to the farm most recently, he did not respond to my old call and seemed not to recognize me, but he still purred when I patted him. Sigh, it makes me sad. I haven’t been able to give my heart truly to a cat since him.

Alison reports that since she originally wrote this post, Tumnus died at the age of 20 on the farm that he loved.

Misbehaving cat? Click Here!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

guest blogs coming up

I'm going on a trip. I've got one blog that will be posted later this week. All the other blogs will be guest blogs.

I'll write a travel log when I get back.

It's going to be weird having a week without my biking and yoga and swimming and Pilates. I'm bringing my rubber bands so I can continue to strengthen my left arm. I travel light. Everything must fit into my book bag. No dumbbells or ankle weights. I'll be doing a lot of walking. I have memorized some yoga sequences and about 4 minutes of t'ai ch'i. I'm not even bringing a yoga mat. I'm not up for carrying any extra weight this time.

Please feel free to comment on the guest blogs. You'll get responses next week.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Aim Your Forehead to the Floor

I thought my yoga teacher was telling me how to angle my neck. "Aim your forehead to the floor." Then she demonstrated downward dog. She actually placed her forehead on the floor. I tried to copy her, thinking, "that's impossible!" Then she came by and told me to grab the edges of my mat with my hands. Suddenly, my forehead was much closer to the floor. Not on the floor, like the teacher's but within 6 inches. Such a tiny change in hand position and such a huge change in the height of my head off the floor.

It seems everything is like that. Little changes can make huge differences. Yesterday I heard a talk by Guy Finley in which he asked the question: Do you remember the first time you saw a lizard? How about the first time you tasted chocolate?

Then he asked: How many times can it be the first time you taste chocolate?

Don't go for the easy answer here. Now is always new. Now is always changing. When you tasted chocolate before, or saw a lizard before, it wasn't now. Things were different. Things are always changing. If you keep that in mind, you can approach each lizard, each chocolate bite as something new, open to surprises. That attitude increases your enjoyment.

And the corollary, which is just as important -- when you don't like something, you can remember that now is always changing. This thing you don't like will not last forever.

A month ago, I couldn't do downward dog at all. Now, I'm doing downward dog slightly better than before the accident. Now is indeed new.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ghost Walk

Last night I went on a Ghost Walk. The air had a light chill. The Fall dark settled in long before the 7:30 tour began. It was a perfect night for ghosts. Philadelphia is one of this nation's oldest cities and thanks to wars, yellow fever, criminals, and ordinary people, Philadelphia is reputedly home to a large number of ghosts.

I thought ghosts were supposed to be scary. Most of the ghosts on this walk were friendly. Ben Franklin haunting his library. A woman who protected the potter's field burials from being dug up for medical students to study, continues her vigil after death. A servant who now haunts the house where she cooked and cleaned. Even a tavern that has been rebuilt totally new after a fire, has ghosts from the previous tavern.

The scariest tale was of a ghost who had been exorcised from her home and now wanders her old neighborhood, a homeless ghost, screaming at passers by.

The guide said she got her stories from actual witnesses, some of whom currently serve as rangers, who give tours at historic buildings. She even said that one of the tourists taking the Ghost Walk on a previous night had photographed a ghost in an ancient cemetery.

I don't want to ruin the tour for anyone who might take it. The guide was an excellent story teller. Ghost Walks seem to be an international trend. Several of the people on the tour said they take ghost tours in every town they visit. My only advice is to dress appropriately for slightly colder temperatures than you expect.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sedona Method Day #39

I have a correspondent whom I used to think of as Grouch Lady. She has neighbors who don't like her. She has health problems. She has competitors who steal her ideas. She has a boss who is "out to get her."

I used to play her game and suggest she be nice to the neighbors, suggest alternate treatments for her health issues, remind her that she has no shortage of new ideas, and that her boss really just wants her to get her work done.

Foo! That only brought on more of her grouching. In Sedona Method terms, I was trying to control her, and my efforts were complete duds.

There is no way Grouch Lady is going to stop grouching if she gets answers to her current problems. She can always get new problems to grouch about.

So I tried a new tactic. I tried congratulating her on anything positive in her emails. Ignore the grouches.

Her latest email tells me she is exercising to improve her strength so she can enjoy nature more. She's drawing up plans to rearrange her furniture so she won't feel so crowded. And she's looking for another job.

I like getting emails like that.

Get a copy of Sedona Method book here:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sedona Method Day #38

Just when I think I'm getting good at something, I get plomped into a situation where I must see it in another context.

This morning I got discharged from Physical Therapy. The PT said my left shoulder is up to 80% of normal function and that's good enough for him. It's not good enough for me, but I could see that nobody else in physical therapy that morning was anywhere near 80%. The other people need more of his time and attention. I can be trusted to do the exercises without a weekly visit.

Then I went to my yoga class where I'm now one of the weakest students, and need to modify most of the poses. Nothing like going from the head of the class to the bottom in one 5-mile bike ride, or to put that in context, in one half-hour.

Yoga is not about having an average body. I'm not satisfied with an average body, let alone 80% of an average body. Nevertheless, I was feeling proud of myself for getting discharged. I needed to put that pride into a context of progress, not achievement.

My mind is the same way. I can feel a sense of accomplishment when I see an argument coming and I don't fall in. I start to think I'm getting the hang of the Sedona Method.

But this morning, when I was biking in the dark (6:45 AM) to get to the PT appointment, my mind started grouching. Why is so much of my time being taken up with appointments and boring exercises, and now this ride in the dark -- just because some doofus hit me with a car? He makes a mistake and I have to clean it up. What kind of universe is this?

Then my training kicked in. There is no value in that kind of thinking. It's a lovely morning. The clouds are beautiful, there isn't much traffic, the air has a pleasant chill. Enjoy the present. If that doofus hadn't hit me I wouldn't be out enjoying this ride this morning.

I'm not going to go thank the doofus -- he is a neighbor -- but he hasn't bothered to walk over and check on me since the accident. But I don't need to blame him for things being out-of-kilter when in fact, I'm having fun.

Get a copy of Sedona Method book here:

Monday, October 12, 2009

True Love is An Hallucination

I don't feel like working on my head today. I'm way behind editing my book of plays. I'm organizing my neighborhood to protest an exterior liquor serving license at the corner bar. I went to yoga. I rode my bike. I walked my dog. I did my ouchercises. I've had it with being responsible today. Here's a story I wrote to submit to an anthology.

I did not date in high school. I did not like any of the boys well enough to want to spend time with them in school, let alone after school. Shortly after high school graduation, my friend Eloise and I decided to go to a folk dance café. Since these types of cafe’s don’t exist any more, I’ll explain that in addition to serving food and drinks, a folk dance café had leaders who taught folk dancing (dances from many countries). These were mostly circle dances in which everybody participated without partners. It was a relaxed place to meet people without having to spend the evening with somebody if you didn’t want to.

That night, I SAW a young man who appeared to be wearing a green neon sign that read, “Whatever you do, do not hurt this man.”

In high school biology class, the most interesting thing the teacher said was, “You can only know things through your senses. All your senses can hallucinate. Therefore, you can never be sure you know things.”

Even if the young man’s glowing green sign was an hallucinaton, I figured – okay, I’ll just stay away from him. That way I can’t hurt him.

He had other ideas. He squeezed his way through the crowd to dance next to me. He completely ignored Eloise who was considered to be a beauty. I on the other hand wore no make-up and dress I’d made from curtain remainders (No, nothing like Scarlet O’Hara’s). He held my hand. He insisted on a date the next night. My initial plan, was clearly not going to work. It’s much harder to avoid hurting someone when you spend time with them.

Up close, he was no longer wearing the green neon sign. He was a Caltech student. He was capable of making such a sign. It would be years before I had the courage to ask him about it, and when I did, he found a polite way to tell me I must have been hallucinating.

If it was an hallucination, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Under injunction NOT to hurt him, I could not refuse a date. And I discovered he was worth spending time with.

We went to a movie that neither of us liked. He was willing to walk out. Talk about a way to earn points on a first date!

When we decided to marry, he had no interest in the wedding I had pictured – turquoise dress, barefoot in the park. As I told everybody at the wedding, “The only thing I got that I wanted was my choice of husband. And that’s the only thing that really matters.”

His parents, and my parents and grandparents were all pleased by the traditional wedding. And I learned a lesson that my children appreciated. When they decided to marry, I did not interfere with their wedding plans – they got to have the weddings they wanted.

That hallucinatory sign has saved my marriage many times.

My most difficult struggle began when our younger daughter carried an eleven pound mutt, crawling with fleas, into our house. She took him straight to the tub and scrubbed him with flea soap. He had no collar, and he had obviously been abused. His throat was healing from a knife slash, and his neck was scarred where a collar had grown into the skin. His ears had that chewed look of a street fighter. He had an eye infection and he was hungry.

After his bath, my daughter and I took him around the block, asking any of our neighbors if they had lost a dog. Nobody recognized him. He was thin, bug-eyed and cuddly. He looked like a miniature black Doberman, down to the little brown markings where his eyebrows should be. We took him home again, and arranged a vet appointment.

He reminded me of the Pooh story about the woozle and the wizzle who left tiny footprints in the snow when Pooh and piglet followed them around the tree. But this dog was even smaller than a wizzle; he was a miniature wizzle, so I named him Miniwiz.

We left him overnight at the vet’s to treat the eye infection, and get his shots and license.. Miniwiz didn't seem to recognize me when I came to pick him up at the vet's, but he came home willingly. He made friends with our older dog, and ate another big bowl of food.

When we let him out into the yard, and turned our backs, he promptly burrowed his way under our fence and went out to explore the neighborhood.

Our older dog loved my husband best. Miniwiz liked me. He cuddled me when I felt sad. He jumped to see me when I came home. I loved him as much as if he were one of my human children.

My husband was thrilled when he returned from his trip to find that we now were a two-dog family. He loves dogs. I grew up without dogs and he had to teach me how to play with them. I had never noticed all the dogs in our neighborhood. Now that we had Miniwiz, I saw them all. And I especially noticed Fifi, a 19 year old brown 9 lb dog that looked a lot like Miniwiz. Miniwiz instantly fell in love with her.

I bought cement blocks and buried them in the dirt under our fence. For a few weeks, Miniwiz stayed put. Then he learned to climb the fence. All the neighbors got to know our dog, as they kept putting him back into our yard. We took him back to the vet to get him fixed, but that didn't stop his roaming.

I bought Miniwiz a chain and harness. It took him about an hour to get out of the harness. Then he ran to the elementary school to play with the children. The cook brought him home to play with her six children, but she gave him back when she saw our Lost Dog poster. Miniwiz was not happy about leaving all those children. I'd heard of children asking their parents for a dog. This was the first dog that I knew of to ask his people for children.

I tried a stronger harness. Miniwiz dug up the stake that held his chain, and dragged the chain and stake over two fences to get to his girlfriend's house. Fifi was arthritic and usually walked unsteadily. But when Miniwiz came to visit, she perked up, and ran like a young dog.
I knew how she felt. I still feel that way about my husband. We took him to visit her twice a day.
But Miniwiz did not think that was often enough.

I bought a different stake – one that twisted into the ground. Miniwiz broke his chain. I bought a chain designed for a 20 pound dog. Miniwiz broke that. I bought a chain designed for a 50 pound dog, and he broke his new harness. Finally, I found a combination that held him, and my husband started complaining that he didn't like to see a dog chained. He was going to train Miniwiz to stay in the yard without a chain.

A friend suggested we buy a fence with slanted spikes on it that couldn't be climbed. My husband persisted that he could teach Miniwiz to stay home. For a few days it worked. Then our daughter caught him out front again. And my husband promised to always chain Miniwiz when he put him in the yard.

Our daughter went off to college, and for a week, my husband remembered to chain Miniwiz when he was the last one to leave. Then one night, he was only going to be gone two hours. He was sure Miniwiz would stay in the yard that long. But when he got home Miniwiz was gone. He looked in all of Miniwiz's favorite haunts, including at Fifi’s house, where we'd always found him before when he went exploring. When I got back from my meeting, I too scoured the neighborhood.

When we came inside, the answering machine was blinking. The call was from our vet's. Miniwiz had been hit by a car. I could tell from her voice that he was dead, but her message just said to come down in the morning.

My husband only said, “He was supposed to stay in the yard.”

I thought about leaving my husband because he couldn't take care of my dog. I thought about never having a dog again because it hurt too much to lose him. I cried into the night, "I want my dog!"

My husband didn’t care enough about me or my dog to keep his word and put my dog on a chain when he let him outside. Plus he did not know how to apologize. He kept blaming Miniwiz for leaving the yard, for going into the street, for wanting to be with Fifi.

But his actions, and my pain did not nullify the injunction. I had to find a way to forgive him.

I’d have broken out of my parents home if they forbade me to visit my husband whenever I wanted. And I know that when I’m upset, I’m not the best driver. Miniwiz was upset. His humans only took him to see Fifi twice a day. His humans didn’t give him any young children to play with.

And my husband imagined that he’d taught Miniwiz to stay in the yard. He was wrong. He made a mistake.

I was still furious and miserable. And then a miracle happened. My husband apologized. “This is the worst thing I’ve ever done.”

I cried again, this time because I could forgive him. And a few months after we buried Miniwiz, we got Buffy, who loved us, loved our older dog, and was not an escape-artist.

I have always felt that I am an alien. The fact that we were able to have children together indicates that he is an alien, too. After 42 years I am happy to see him beside me when I wake up in the morning, happy to receive calls from him during the day, happy that he comes home for dinner. I love it that he reads stories to me and does the voices for the characters. I love it that he eats cutely, which makes cooking worthwhile. I love it that he has a different perspective from me and his ideas help me shape my own.

I’m also glad I saw that sign (hallucination or not).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sedona Method Day #36 - raspberry chocolate chip cookies

Yesterday, my husband, the alien, went to the corner store for milk. He also bought raspberries. The corner store has an inconsistent quality in the fruit department. I suspect that alien smell-sensors aren't as sensitive as human ones. The raspberries were sour.

I love raspberries. We have a raspberry patch in our yard. We have left raspberry patches in the yards of most of the homes we have ever lived in. There had to be some way to enjoy these raspberries!

Then my alien said he'd really like some chocolate chip cookies. I asked if he'd mind if I put the raspberries into the cookie dough.

It was a go! You have to expect that I don't make ordinary chocolate chip cookies. I use whole wheat flour. I leave out about 1/3 of the sugar. I use Celtic sea salt which I taste test in increments. And I leave a good chunk of the dough raw for alien snacks.

I think we just invented a new family favorite. If the corner store sells you sour raspberries, make raspberry chocolate chip cookies.

What has this got to do with Sedona Method? It's the attitude. Is there something good that can come from this?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sedona Method Day #35

I'm just back from a mixed level yoga class, in which the teacher demonstrated a variety of ways to do each asana. I'm used to doing mostly mid-level and some of the advanced variations. Now, I'm doing the beginner level variations because I'm not supposed to put weight on my collar bone until it has healed.

I caught myself thinking crabby thoughts: If that car hadn't hit me, I could be doing the yoga I enjoy. And the teacher tries to motivate all the students to try the more difficult versions. I have to remind myself that I'm not trying them because I'm protecting my health -- not because I'm a wimp.

The fact is that that the yoga I can do is good for me. And it feels good. That is the point of doing yoga. It doesn't help me heal when I waste time on thoughts about how I wish the world wasn't the way it is.

And when the teacher tries to encourage students to try something harder, that's his or her job. The teacher also wants students to take care of themselves. I don't need the teacher to make a special comment like: don't do this if your body isn't up for it. I already know that.

Yoga is supposed to be mind training as well as body training. I used to take this to mean -- put up with discomfort while you learn to stretch and strengthen your muscles. But now it means, do what is safe and don't waste your energy wishing things were different.

It's the same kind of mind focus. The same skill. Now, it has an emotional component that it didn't have before, but the goal is still the same: Work with your body as best you can. Focus your mind on your body.

Iyengar yoga was designed to be modified. And so are our bodies.

Going back to the beginner variation of a backbend that lifts up only with the legs, I was able to focus more on my thighs and pelvis. I exercised these muscles with more attention than I usually give them. I expect they'll be able to do what I need better when I'm able to attempt a full backbend again.

Yoga is another place to apply Sedona Method. Let go of being angry at what I can't do. Let go of being angry at the world for not being the way I wish it was. The teacher was willing to help me with yoga at the level I was able to do it. That's what we were both there for.

Get a copy of Sedona Method Book here:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sedona Method Day #34

The Sedona Method "Clean-Up" is the gem of this book so far.
It systematizes most of the things that bother me. When there's a system. I can cope.
It asks: Did you feel ____ tried to control you? Did you try to control that person back? Can you let go of wanting to control them? Can you let that person be the way s/he is?

It goes through the same system with approval and security.

I love this. When I get mad at people it's usually because they are not acting as I wish they would. I can be a terrible wanna-be puppeteer sometimes. The problem is that nobody wants to be a puppet.

Of course they don't act as I wish they would. They are not me. They do not have my world perspective. And they are going to be who they are no matter what I wish. I can only state my wishes. They make the choices. And ultimately, I'm the one who has to admit that they are going to be the way they are. And what has happened has happened. No amount of getting angry is going to change the past or the future.

All I can change is how I respond. I may wish I could change more than that. I can try to change things. But getting angry is not a technique that has ever worked for me. Getting angry is like hitting myself because I don't like how the world is.

I'm not mad today. I'll need to wait until something upsets me to try this out. I like having this tool available. I have great hopes for it. The rest of this book has helped so far.

Get a copy of Sedona Method book here:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sedona Method Day #33

I did it again. I stopped reading too soon. I wasn't supposed to make lists of advantages and disadvantages. I was supposed to write them down one at a time and release fully on each one before beginning another one. I'll have to do yesterday's work over. No harm in that, but why bore readers with it?

Just in case you don't have an issue at the moment (who doesn't) the book has a list of suggested topic that include: calmness, stress, joy, sorrow, fear, freedom, illness, health, giving, receiving.

I admit these are issues for me. In my morning yoga class, we did asanas on both sides. One side of my body is healthy and strong. The other side, which got bounced on the side of a car and then on the pavement is weak and difficult to balance. The teacher is almost as frustrated as I am with my weak side. Meanwhile, I get to alternate between calmness and stress, between joy and sorrow, between freedom and fear, between illness and health.

Yes, I know my mind is supposed to be still during yoga. But when I'm in pain and struggling to keep my balance, I'm also dealing with a noisy mind. But just saying that is enough to swing the balance towards calmness.

Since I like calmness, the assignment is to release on the advantages and disadvantages of calmness. The claim is that releasing on the advantages makes the good aspects even better.
Advantages of calmness -- I feel safe. The word safe inherently includes the opposite -- unsafe.
And that brings up a disadvantage of calmness -- I might be so calm that I would fail to notice danger. So, calmness, for me, is a security issue. And the assignment is to release on wanting security.

That is familiar territory. I just never expected something I like to bring up thoughts I don't like.

Giving brings up -- what if they don't like the gift?
Receiving brings up -- how can I show proper appreciation if I don't like the gift?
Joy brings up -- is this fair, considering that the world is far from perfect?
Sorrow brings up -- is this ingratitude for all that is going well?

You get the idea. This is a planet of illogic and opposites.

It's afternoon. I've spent the day doing other things than Sedona Method and this blog.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sedona Method Day #32

Today's section in Sedona Method is Advantages and Disadvantages. It's basically the same procedure as likes and dislikes. Write down a question or a choice you are facing and then lists the advantages and disadvantages, and the wants that each one brings up (approval, control, survival).

A question I'm facing is my choice of career. I've pretty much killed my computer repair business by sending my clients elsewhere while I've been unable to do the work. I've been wanting to get out of the computer repair business anyway, and been reluctant to kill it off myself. If I have to get new clients all over again, I may as well pick something I'd enjoy more. Should I go all out for Hollywood connections to sell my screenplays? Should I go all out to get into the magic show / party business? Should I try to do both?

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Hollywood business:
I love to write. (wanting approval)
I'd love to see my stories on film (wanting approval)
I'm afraid of how producers might produce my stories (wanting control)
I'm afraid nobody will want to produce my stories (wanting approval, wanting survival)
I'm afraid my stories might not be good enough for people to want them (wanting approval)

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Magic / Party business:
I love doing magic with children (wanting approval)
I love having an audience for my storytelling (wanting approval)
I don't know how to handle kids when they misbehave and their parents won't help (wanting control)
I hate selling (wanting approval)
I don't like finding new addresses (wanting control)
I don't like traveling with a bunch of stuff (wanting control)
People might not want to hire me (wanting survival)

Looking at these, the Hollywood career is much more within my comfort zone. But the odds are lower. There are far more people who hire entertainment for parties than people who buy screenplay scripts. I have more control over my own show if I present it.

Based on this, I'm going to try the Hollywood route first. I need to do a lot more work before I pick up the phone. I don't want to sound scared when talking to strangers (wanting approval, wanting survival).

Get a copy of Sedona Method book here:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sedona Method Day #31

When I was waiting for physical therapy, the man sitting next to me looked at my Sedona Method book and said, "You want 'lasting happiness, success, peace and emotional well being'?" That is what the book promises on the cover.

Something in the man's voice implied that I was asking too much of the universe, or that I was being suckered by a book full of impossible promises.

"Absolutely!" I replied.

His response proved that he'd been listening to my discussion with the Physical Therapist the week before. "I thought you just wanted your life back."

"Getting my life back means not being angry all the time about being hit by a car."

He looked a bit more sympathetic. "I'd be angry, too, if I'd been hit by a car."

But he still didn't think the book was on the up and up. I don't know how to discuss that. Either he's up for the experiment, or he's not.

I was reading the section on likes and dislikes. There are things we like and things we dislike about every choice we ever make. SM suggests writing down the choice and then writing down the likes and dislikes. Note which want (approval, control, security) these likes and dislikes bring up. Then release on the wants. SM claims that this process will make difficult choices easier.

My ride to Physical Therapy was there for his last visit. This means I won't be getting rides any more. When we started, I needed the rides. I was not allowed to ride my bike. I had to go on his schedule. He gets up late. He likes appointments at 11 AM. I'd rather be there at 7:30 and have the rest of my day free.

Now I can ride my bike and go on my schedule. I like being on my schedule. I like riding my bike. But I also like getting a ride because I work hard in physical therapy and I'm tired when I come home. Now I'll be riding my bike home. I could take the bus. That would undo the bulk of the time advantage.

It takes about an hour each way by bus with the transfers. I can bike there in less than half an hour. I could take a cab. That's not how I want to spend my money, and it's an eco-crime. This is a simple decision. Of course I'll ride my bike. And my legs will get stronger. The likes and dislikes here are all control issues. I don't have to want control. I can take control.

There is the security issue --I could get hit again on my bike. I know that's always a possibility, even when I'm not on my bike. That is really a non-issue. There is no such thing as a secure life.

But the likes and dislikes process applies to any decision. My trip to York just got postponed a week. Big deal. I can go whenever. I already made the decision to go and to do things that I enjoy. My brain training is working at the moment.

Get a copy of Sedona Method book here:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sedona Method Day #31

Yesterday I found out that I'm going to York, UK either next week or the week after. My first thoughts were about missing physical therapy and yoga classes and getting further behind on my editing jobs. All negative stuff.

But from my work with Sedona Method, I figured out that's nonsense. So I go a week without getting new exercises -- I can do another week with the ones I have. These exercises aren't magic. They take time to work and what is one week in a lifetime? So, my editing gets delayed -- it's not like a week matters there either. And according to the York websites, they've got great architecture, archeology, and a ghost tour. They even have yoga centers.

I don't like British cooking -- but York has Portuguese, Thai, Indian, Chinese and other ethnic restaurants.

It's true that sending a custom-made DVD would be a better value for the folks in York. They are the ones who will pay for this trip. They don't want the DVD.

I don't like flying. They are willing to pay for business class seats so I can recline. I've never flown reclining before. That might not be so uncomfortable.

Training my brain is working. Yay!

Get a copy of Sedona Method book here:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sedona Method Day #30

Looking at my goals list, I can see that I'm wasting time doing things that have nothing to do with my goals, like Twitter. I joined Twitter, hoping to find people who might be interested in buying my books, or chatting about my interests like teaching science or doing magic with children. Instead I've been sidetracked with political discussions that went nowhere and fending off flirters.

Also, I discovered that I paused in the Goals chapter too soon. There's more to releasing on a goal than just the hangups about the goal itself. The next step is to make an action list of things I think I need to do to accomplish my goals and release on them.

When I look at my list, I start to feel like a basket case.
I want my screenplay to be broadcast on the Hallmark channel, or a major movie theater.
To accomplish this:
I need an agent.
To get an agent, I need to do cold-calling.
I hate calling people to ask them to pay attention to me.
Also, from what I've read, Hollywood runs on friendships. Asking somebody to do something for me does not seem like a way to start a friendship.

Another way to accomplish this would be to find an interested producer. I bought the Hollywood Creative Directory. I've spent hours and run up my phone bill calling production companies, telling strangers my logline. Some ask to see the script. None get back with me.

Another way to get into Hollywood is supposed to be getting Recommend ratings from professional script critics or winning contests. I've gotten two recommend ratings and one contest win for this script. Other scripts have also gotten Recommend ratings and won contests. Zero connections.

So, I'm back to the cold-calling.
I know it's an agent's job to find great scripts. And I have a great script. But when I call, the people who answer the phone act like I'm a pest, a beggar, someone asking for a handout, an undeserving leech.

I need to treat them with compassion. I haven't done anything to deserve this kind of treatment. They may be having a bad day. Just because they are gatekeepers, is no reason to treat them like on/off switches.

The thing is that I have lousy social skills. I think this is the first thing I need to release on. This is the first thing I've written that truly raises my emotional hackles. I was a picked-on kid in school and I'm still wary of being hit, having my lunch or homework taken, and being insulted at random. Yikes! I'm not in elementary school any more. My NOW experience is that I'm dealing with adults who have more important things to do that beat up on the short new kid.

As a kid, I didn't have much to offer. I was terrible at team sports, so nobody wanted me on their team. I was smart, so I was competition for the brainiacs, who liked their secure posts. None of that applies now. Nobody cares how far I can throw a ball, and brains are the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. Yes, there is still competition. But the folks who answer the phone are not my competitors.

I may be onto something.

Get a copy of Sedona Method book here:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sedona Method Day #29

I’m trying to figure out why I’m having trouble getting my work and projects finished.

I'm still very slow to do things. I usually bike to the gym in about 15 minutes. I gave myself 25 minutes and I was still about 5 minutes late. I'm slow at editing that plays book. It has a lot of weird word hyphenations that are time-consuming to fix.
I'm trying to edit a piece I wrote cupofcomfort. I know it's clunky but I'm having trouble focusing on what to cut and what to clean up.

My arm PT exercises take half an hour. My leg PT exercises take half an hour. I do them twice a day. In addition I walk my dog twice a day. That takes half an hour each time. I do an exercise video with my husband, the alien. That’s another half hour. I go to a yoga or pilates class. The classes run 90 minutes and I bike half an hour each way. This is already over 5 hours out of my day. I’m no longer doing the 90 minutes of arthritis exercises. I just don’t have time. And I’m paying for it. My hips are stiff. If I go for a swim, that’s another half hour, plus two half-hour commutes.

Then there are all the details I get bogged down in. My external hard drive died and I’m having a tough time downloading 181 gigabytes of data. These files are video files from a science project I’m working on. They’re huge. They take about 5 hours each to download from my external backup.

I meditate for an hour every morning.

And I’m still trying to get somebody to fix the x-ray ID problem. The President of the hosptical hasn't done anything so I wrote the Ombudsman, who just went back to the President. I talked to the surgeon. He blamed HIPAA. I wrote to HIPAA. They didn't do anything except send me a form letter. My daughter is connected to somebody who works at HIPAA on LinkedIn so I wrote a letter for her to send that person. This takes time that really should go elsewhere. I just don't want anybody else to have unnecessary surgery because of a x-ray mixup.

I went to a History of Jewish Humor talk today. I've got mixed feelings about having gone. The source of all the jokes was pain.

And Southwest Airlines won't let me fly if I don't update my contact info on their website and their website has been fighting with me for about an hour and their phone is busy.

And I'm corresponding with the local yoga school that closed right after I bought a $400 lesson package. Mastercard will try to get the money back for me.

I hate details. I'm doing something wrong that I'm letting these details gobble my time. Gotta figure out what the hangup is here and release on that.

Based on my reading of Sedona Method so far, I need to list my long term goals and my short term goals and then consider everything in terms of how it will affect my list.

Number one is getting my body back in shape.
Number two is getting my career (which career?) Going again.
Number three is having fun.

Get a copy of Sedona Method book here:
The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-Being

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sedona Method Day #28

Yesterday was another unproductive day. Phone calls. Neighbors. Clients. Remind me of when I was learning to meditate and everything in the world conspired to distract me. Today's Sedona Method goal: I allow myself to get done what I can get done, and feel okay about that.

Today will be complicated. I've got a story telling session. A client. A chiropractor appt. All my exercises and ouchercises. Editing that book of plays. And if I can squeeze in the time, I'd love to go for a swim. That may have to wait for tomorrow, after my yoga class.

Yesterday I learned a groin relaxation move in tree pose. Rotate that lump on the inside of the knee over the top and towards the outside of the leg. This not only relaxes the groin, it allows the leg to move more to the side, instead of jutting forward.

You can do this exercise sitting. You'll need to have your knees naked. I hadn't noticed the lump just above the inner upper corner of the kneecap until the teacher pointed it out. You'll see it. Just put a finger on it to focus your mind and try to move it up and over to the outside of the knee. You can't really do this, but trying relaxes the groin and helps you move your leg to the outside.

Get a copy of Sedona Method here:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sedona Method Day #27

I goofed. I didn't notice the section in the chapter on goals where it said to concentrate on only 1 or 2 goals at a time. So, I wound up exhausted and finished almost nothing. And yesterday was one of those days when people called me on the phone with problems. And there was laundry. And. And. And.

Today I'm going to yoga in the morning. I already did the 1st round of my ouchercises. I still have to do my strengthercises. Plus the new inner thigh work from my yoga teacher. And I've got a computer client at noon. Then in the afternoon I can get more editing done on my book of plays. And put laundry away. And download more files from my online backup of my external hard drive. That will be enough for one day.

Get a copy of the Sedona Method book here: