mamculuna: (Default)
( Jul. 11th, 2017 04:36 pm)
 It's been so long since I posted, but I will leave this meme here in case anyone else would like to waste some time...

What's your favorite cereal?
organic rolled oatmeal

Is there a bus stop near your house? 
indeed there is, in all the places I stay except the beach. I ride it a lot in Chicago.

Do you prefer red wine or white wine? 
dry rose from Provence

What's the last airport you were at? Why were you there? 
Charlotte (CLT) coming home from California, and a very nice employee helped me find my car (running late when I first got there so forgot to note parking place in my phone....)

Who do you live with?
husband, cat--Columbia; husband only (usually)--Chicago; sister, BIL, my cat, their dog, and whoever--beach; son, partner, granddaughter, their cats--California.

Do you read reddit? If so, how often and what subreddits do you like? 
Occasionally if there's something I want to talk about that no one on any other site is interested in, but it's not very satisfying.

Have you recently broken up with a significant other or even just a friend?
broke up with a prison a couple of years ago (though still visit others); rightly, it turns out (that guy who used the drone was there)

What's the weather like today? Is it nice enough to go outside? 
really hot and humid, as usual, and no outside in the middle of the day if possible, but hoping for some rain to cool it down


Do you know anyone who's had a baby recently? 
son's partner's brother's wife...son's partner's sister is due soon

Have you used a pen or pencil today? What did you write down?
not yet

What does your last text message say and who is it from? 
reminder to call Senators about healthcare vote, from Daily Action

Can you count how many times you've seen your favourite film?
probably five or six, but there are lots of them.

When was the last time you ate marshmallows? 
the last time I had somemores, and when was that? or maybe it was hot chocolate...

Do you listen to any podcasts? How do you listen to them? 
when I'm working out. I like Lovecraft stories and To the Best of Our Knowledge, and use my phone.

How old will you be in the year 2030? 
88, if I'm around then.

How often does the kettle in your house get used? 
at least twice a day

Does your skin bruise easily? Do you have any bruises right now? What from? 
no, one fading, probably from kayak paddle

What was the last thing you spent $150 or more on? 
refinishing an antique table that people had made water rings on

Do you prefer yes or no questions or more open-ended questions? 
depends on the question!

What brand of toilet paper do you usually buy?
Publix 100% recycled

If I knocked on your door right now, would you be acceptably dressed? 
by my standards, but probably not everyone's (old shorts and tanktop)

Why did you leave your last job? 
retired, if we're talking paid work, but I'm still a volunteer at various things

What color were the last socks you wore? 
white, with running shoes (no socks after March down here, otherwise)

Are you studying currently? What level of education and what do you study? 
Studying Buddhism always, and the actions of politicians, and human oddness, and the beauty of the natural world, and whatever I'm trying to write about--refugees, just now. I have a Ph.D. in linguistics, but don't do serious scholarly work with that anymore

Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and left without paying? 
no! would not do that.


What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud? 
a dinosaur trying to do Warrior Three asana (video...)

What's your favorite scent of air freshener?

I so much dislike any kind and never use it. 

How many weddings have you ever been to
many, many --can't recall

Do you know anyone named Nora? 
I had a friend in school, but she was Norah

Are your hands and feet in good condition or could you do with a mani-pedi? 
They're a mess in various ways, including a blue polish on my toes that needs to go

When was the last time you played a board game? What did you play? 
Last week--my family plays all the time. I think the last one was about growing wine--Viticulture, a variant of Tuscany, maybe?

How old were you when you first became sexually active? (consensual sex act)
15--isn't that a good age? Depends on what you mean by the term, though.

Have you ever been to a festival for beer or other type of alcohol? 
no, unless you count Octoberfest in Chicago

Do you own a record player and/or vinyls? 
yes, but never use them. The vinyls are old and scratched.

When was the last time you went out for drinks? 
I think Bill and I went to a bar sometime last fall?

Have you ever been to a strip club? 
no, not that I remember. I went to dinner with a porn king in SF in the 60's, but didn't get involved in his activities!

What's your favorite kind of smoothie? 
something with mango and bananas--other stuff varies

Do you know anyone with a 'virtue name'? (Google it) 
I've had students with names like that, and Hindu friend named Anahata (heart)

Would you ever wear real authentic leather? 
i try to avoid when possible, but my most recent shoes are..

Have you taken out the trash today? 
big plans for when it cools down a bit later

How often do you wear make-up? 
pretty much never, and same for jewelry

What's your opinion on The Simpsons? 
funny, but I watch only if someone else turns them on or they're still on when I tune in for something else

Do you prefer horizontal or vertical stripes? 
I'm very tolerant of both

What's your favorite brand of deodorant/antiperspirant? 

Do you know anyone who has been through a divorce? 
me and lots of other people

If you had the money, would you take taxis everywhere instead of driving? 
In Chicago and SF, yes (Lyft, actually, though in Chicago it's so easy to hail a cab right there and not wait). Other places it would be too complicated.

Have you ever done a juice cleanse? 
no--don't quite get the point, with all that sugar in juice. I've done colonoscopy prep, but don't think that's what you're asking

Do you have any friends who you can't decide if they're attractive or not? 
don't know what my friends think about their own attractiveness, but they mostly seem very at home in themselves at this point

Is the inside of your fridge clean right now or does it need a clean out? 

Needs to be cleaned out! Too many condiments pushed to the back.

When was the last time you washed the dishes? 
I always put everything in the dishwasher and run it when full. Bill's not here, so not full yet this week.


Are there any magazines that you read on a regular basis? 
New Yorker - Harper's--Tricycle

Do you have to pay for parking in most places in the town/city you live in? 
All the cities downtown, but not the beach

What's the first thing you tend to do when you have a headache? 
Take an ibuprofen if it's bad enough, otherwise ignore it

Tell me about your responsibilities at work. 
I can't imagine you want to hear. I edit loans for Kiva, discuss Buddhism and meditation in prison, coordinate communications for the Buddhist group, rent a beach house (phone calls, contracts, etc). Today I sent a mass email for the beach house rental, and Saturday I helped lay pavers at our retreat center. It varies!

What's your favorite style/cut of underwear? 
all cotton, even over elastic, bikini cut panties, and underwire bra (preferably Warner's)

Can you hear lots of traffic from your house? Does it bother you? 
Sadly, I can hear the interstate from my deck here. Other places, no.


Have you ever had proper Canadian poutine with the squeaky cheese? 
Yes, in Montreal and Quebec, and I loved it! The best had lamb gravy, but it was all good.

Do your parents know how to operate smartphones and/or computers? 
My mother was learning to use a computer in her 90's but she died in 2001, so no smart phones. My father died in 1983, so neither for him. My kids were just starting to play with a TI keyboard then, but it didn't interest my father at the time.

How old are your parents, anyway? 
My mother was 90 and my father 78 when they died, long ago


Are you allergic to anything? What do you have to do to prevent them? 
not sure what, probably mold, and I take Zyrtec

What song is stuck in your head at the moment? 
none! don't make me think of one!

Do you hate it when people try really hard, or do you kinda like it
depends on who and what and when

What's your boss' first name? Do you call him/her by that name? 
no boss, and that's how I like it, but when I had them, I usually called them by their first names--not the college presidents, but anyone below that

When was the last time you wore a uniform of any kind? What color was it? 
 wore a waitress (that's what we were then) uniform back in 1966--black skirt and white blouse and white laced leather laced shoes, like nurses used to wear. So ugly.

Do you complete a survey before taking this one? Will you take one after? 
Is this a survey?

Have you ever lost enough weight to drop a dress size? 
yes, and gained it back (several times...)

What's your favorite kind of bread? 
homemade with lots of grains and things

When was the last time you got pizza? What toppings did you get? 
last night, with anchovies

Do you own Monopoly? Is it the original or a special version? 
I think there's part of a set at the beach, the original.


What was the last thing you said out loud? 
thanks, and bye, to telephone solicitor.

You have to choose one: cats or dogs? 
cats, but I do like dogs, just not quite as much. But then I don't have a dog right now.

Would someone being either a cat or dog person effect you dating them? 
dating probably is not ever going to be something I do again, but I don't think I'd get on with a person who didn't like animals.

How do you travel to and from work? 
Mostly by computer and phone, but I do drive to prisons

Do you primarily use cash or card for your purchases? Why? 
Card when possible (need miles!)


Have you ever been to a stadium concert? 
several, but my favorite was listening to Paul McCartney from the street outside the stadium (outdoor football arena) and dancing in the street

mamculuna: (Default)
( Jun. 29th, 2017 08:59 pm)
 I know I've been out of sight for a while--traveling, politics, family, you know...and here is some shameless self-promotion, but I did promise to let some of you know when this book was available in paperback--and now it is. The Dying Tide is a sort of cozy mystery--not a high-action thriller--but a book that might be fun if you like the southern coast and that world. 
mamculuna: (Default)
( May. 14th, 2017 08:19 pm)
 So here's a really long meme! From [personal profile] seaivy . (NOTE: First time I've tried a DW cut. Please let me know if it didn't work--and apologies, in that case)

The very very long meme )
mamculuna: (Default)
( May. 5th, 2017 11:23 am)
 I don't love taking Cipro and Flagyl, but it's amazing how fast they work. I woke up yesterday with a flareup of diverticulitis, my only real disease--for me, it's somewhat painful, but the 103 temperature knocks me down to the ground. Blessedly, my gastroenterologist is a friend and was willing to call in the antibiotics so I didn't have to go through ER and catscan like last time. Still, I was pretty much immobile (to the extent of not even being able to go upstairs and get in bed, after getting the meds) until they kicked in, around 6. Today, I'm almost back to normal. 

Ironically, this was going on while the evil bill was being passed. I've used my new-found energy today to call senators and write to others about calling theirs. What if I had this with no access to a doctor? What if I had a job and young children and no way to cure this?
mamculuna: (Default)
( May. 1st, 2017 10:30 pm)
 Suddenly realizing that I have disappeared from view, I'm here to say I'm at least reading!  For those who think you can stop the crazy life when you retire, I'm a good example of how not to do it. I didn't intend to get back into political stuff just when a visiting monk arrived, needing chauffeuring and organizing and publicity for talks, didn't realize that family members might at that same time get ailments requiring attention from other family members, didn't think about how all of that could possibly get shuffled into my nomadic life. And cat, and house, and car, and friends, and now American Gods and The Handmaid's Tale both need watching.

And in fact there is writing that needs to be done, but it doesn't wave its hand and text me at midnight, so too easy to keep tending to that other stuff instead. 

I hope all's well with all of you!
mamculuna: (Default)
( Apr. 4th, 2017 05:14 pm)
 I see that there will be another exodus from LJ to DW. I'm the same user name in both places, so hope to see some of you here. It used to be that I hated to leave the LJ communities, but few of those seem active anymore.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Mar. 16th, 2017 09:52 am)
 I really loved this article about the amazing black tank top on everyone from Starbuck to Trinity to Angelina in various roles, found in the Tor newsletter.   It's not just action heroes who have to convey a complicated message through what they wear--I think many of us do this at various levels of action. And don't think it stops as you get older...or matter whether you are real or fictitious.

What do leggings say? How about bright colors in hair? A denim jacket? Jewelry? Cosmetics? 

mamculuna: (Default)
( Mar. 10th, 2017 10:47 pm)
 I want to say more than a word for all the men I've known who've supported women's strength. Today I was with my son and his four year old daughter at the playground. In her natural habitat, she's a fearless, tough girl, but walking on to this new place with a gang of kids four years older who all knew each other was a challenge even for her. And then we came to the pole. You've seen them--the playground equipment that has a pole about a foot away from a stand that's about 6 feet high. Kids jump from the platform and slide down the pole--the bigger kids just swing down. But J was afraid. I was glad to see that, because sometimes she's done such daring things that I worried that she didn't have a realistic idea of the harm that could come to her body. But clearly she does. Her Papa (my son) stood by the pole with his hands up to catch her. She said she was afraid, he said she didn't have to, but that he'd catch her if she did. Finally she held on tight and swung her legs over, and slid down. She ran right back up and then was afraid again, but finally did it. They did this many times, and then he began to lower his hands, and finally told her she could do it without them. She was reluctant, and he kept saying she didn't have to do it, but she kept wanting to. Finally she figured out how to wrap one leg and then the other to climb over without a jump. She'll be leaping from it soon enough. 

I remembered my father taking me out into the ocean, over and over. You've got to jump the waves, he kept saying, lifting me up, until finally one day I caught the crest and flew all alone.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2017 11:14 pm)
 The memories and tales in my family go back to a woman. I'm not even sure of her name. She was my grandmother's mother, so what I know of her dates from probably the late nineteenth century. She married my great-grandfather who had a farm in the northwest part of SC up near the mountains, but settled by the French. She had two daughters and a son, and convinced my great-grandfather to move 25 miles to a tiny town that had a college. It was a men's college then, but my grandmother finished the girls' school and then was the first woman to graduate from the men's college in 1904. But the story I know of her mother, the great-grandmother, is that she'd ride back to the old farm by herself, her youngest daughter with her, and at the old homestead light all the lamps so a passerby would think the house full of people.She'd ride back with her youngest daughter a toddler sleeping in a wagonload of cotton. I remember her. 
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 18th, 2017 09:10 pm)

So many good things lately. Best was a kayak paddle in a swamp near Charleston--a perfect bright clear day, no bugs, no leaves, just dark water and silver trees that rose high and slender but spread at the bottoms, like a whole ballroom full of elegant ladies in trumpet skirts. And my friend's son, a naturalist/historian, knew so many fascinating things about the inland rice culture that had been there, hundreds of years ago, the enslaved people who dug the mud and harvested the rice, the rich Yankees who came down to shoot the birds, the way the  different trees, cypress and tupelo, maple and gum, adapt to rising and falling water.

A walk on the beach next morning with my friends, a huge wide beach full of dogs! They can be off-lead before ten, so everyone takes them then. Now dogs know joy, when they're free to tun on a beach with other dogs! I'd love to have just a minute of that ecstasy.

A demonstration against he-who-must-not-be-named. We were relegated to a Free Speech Zone, a mile and a half away from where he actually got off the plane (this is what democracy looks like!), but we got to shake our signs at him as he flew over, and that was very gratifying, even if he didn't bother to look out the window of his plane.

A good writing session, giving me a little hope that this book could yet gel into something resembling a book. Anyway, a good time digging deeper into characters I'd let get by too easily. 

And now, a new episode of This Is Us.  And then I'm very happy to be able to turn to the last of The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman, which I suspect some of you would like--the first of a series (yay) about a Library that collects books from all dimensions, and the very astute and brave young Librarian who tracks them down, with the assistance of very interesting men, women, and other...beings.

All good.

mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 14th, 2017 12:34 pm)
 A joy to think about: Seeing wonderful pictures of my granddaughter playing in the rain.  It's sort of two joys--one is the second-hand relived pleasure of doing that myself, a joy that's contagious from seeing her feeling it.  I can think of that as a pure joy without attachment--the pleasure of the senses without clinging, something I could leave without any need to hold on to it. But the joy of Julianne herself is a very deep attachment. I don't expect to be able to loosen the bonds of attachment to people I love, least of all her, any time soon. It's very clear to me since I don't get to be with her all the time, and she changes so quickly at her age (4) that I know that the next time I see her, she'll already be a different child. Although it is so very hard, I do have to work at loving her like playing in the rain--wonderful when it happens but letting go when it changes. 

So how to work with attachment? I'm taking lessons from what I've read about working with negative emotions, oddly enough. The first thing is to become aware of the problems of attachment, the inevitable problems it causes for me and others. I can remember relationships long ago  that were messed up because I was clingy and needy. I can remember the feeling that I wouldn't exist if the person I was attached to left me.  It made me insatiable and made them trapped. And that can go on not just in romantic relationships but in families. I think we've all known or read about the mother who kept her children too close...Attachment is not the same as love or joy, because when I'm attached, I want to hold a person or place or object or event too close, so close i suffocate the object of my attachment and myself. It can only lead to suffering. 

But, as with anger, knowing that a feeling is problematic is not the same as not feeling it. I can't get rid of it just by pretending I don't feel it. Just as suppressed anger comes out in spite of all my efforts to keep the lid on it, so will attachment reach out its tentacles if I try to deal with it by denying it. 

I have to face my feeling, bring it into the daylight of my full attention. I have to let myself experience with that hopeless desire feels like, the longing to hold on to a child who will grow up, a friend who will move away, a flower that will fall off the branch, a body that will get older and die. I have to see how much I want to hold on, how impossible it is to hold on, and how much it hurts to let go. I really have to let myself face that clinging and that pain. And then I can let go.

Anyway, this is how I'm trying to work with attachment.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 12th, 2017 07:44 pm)
 So in my own life, lots of joy. But I've been thinking about this joy of the day thing. Joy is great--as long as it doesn't turn into attachment. To me, joy is something that I can love and relish and then let go of, but attachment is the feeling that I must have this person, event, thing, moment, experience, or I can't be happy. And from my Buddhist perspective, that attachment is a sure route to suffering. So I'm going to start thinking about whether I'm dealing with joy or attachment, with aversion or momentary pain, with equanimity or indifference. 

I thought about either putting thoughts like these behind a cut or creating a "spiritual thoughts" filter, and both are still possibilities. For now, I'll just keep writing, but if anyone doesn't like reading these thoughts, let me know and I'll choose a way of keeping them limited to people who want to read them.

Anyway, back to the good day yesterday, being with a group of friends working on a project. So beautiful to be outside in the warm sunny day, so good to be with people I'd known a long time and new people, such good food, so good to have a feeling of accomplishment.  Thinking of the day still makes me feel good--but not sad that it ended, and not craving to do the very same thing again next weekend. So maybe I'm not attached to that. But I also remember when there was a chance that I could never do that again, and I didn't want to let it go.  Right on the edge, there. 

"He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise"

Thanks, William Blake.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 10th, 2017 06:16 pm)
Taking care of yourself:   Several people have mentioned how stressed they are since the election--and I'm sure the people who haven't mentioned it have felt it. There are lots of great ways to lessen stress and get away from that awful sinking feeling, but one of the best is breathing. I don't know if you've tried meditation and thought it didn't work for you, or if you've never tried, or if you have a great practice, but just in case you'd like to try again, this short video (very secular, not connected to any belief system)  is really good. 

I know guys who've survived a lot of months of solitary confinement in prison doing just this, and it's made my own life a lot better, especially now. The great thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere, anytime--no equipment needed, and you can do it for just a few minutes or a long time, as you like.  
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 10th, 2017 06:06 pm)

 Today's joy:  Followed from yesterday's--several hours at my book club discussing The Tsar of Love and Techno. We're all very good friends who taught English together for 20 years and more at a community college, so we had a lot to say about the connections and themes and people and ideas in the book. And then we spent at least an hour talking about death--the kind of death we'd like to have and the deaths we've tended. That sounds unjoyful, I know, but it was very rich and not sad, even if some of the memories were.  There's something very comforting and liberating about that kind of conversation with people whom you love and who have good insights, kind of like what Wordsworth said about the power of poetry being "emotion recollected in tranquility.”

mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 9th, 2017 02:47 pm)
Joy of the day:  Reading The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra.  Tragic, funny, amazing.

mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 8th, 2017 03:07 pm)
 Joy of the day: Going to a tai chi class. I used to do tai chi for many years, and loved the careful, slow, mindful movements, the organic rhythms,  and the way it made my body and mind feel. But when I started yoga again, I let it slide--the teacher then seemed to be losing interest, too. This class is extremely basic, but it's good to get back. When I'm ready for more, I can find a more advanced group. I can do it alone, but it really is much better in a group.

But just to remember, here's a list of online tai chi for beginner sites. Might want to use them while traveling.  
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 7th, 2017 09:11 am)
 Joy of the day: Actually of the night--a very vivid dream of being on a big touring boat on a river near my house (not navigable in daytime reality), sitting with some various students and someone who was important a long, long time ago. We go past so many old ruined Victorian-era houses on the riverbank, partly vine-covered and surrounded by trees dripping Spanish Moss. Someone brings up a net full of seafood, conveniently ready to eat (shelled and cooked) but weirdly from the ocean (shrimp, squid, etc), and we eat it. Someone starts playing music and I'm dancing with old flame, who disappears, maybe to another deck of the boat, so I'm talking with one of the others, a young boy with some kind of disability---and then flame appears, but is seasick.

I'm sure reading other people's dreams is about as fascinating as watching ice melt, but it's been a long time since I remembered a dream so vividly or understood it so little, and I wanted to write it down while I remembered it. And it was mostly a very joyful dream, even if very strange. IRL, old flame has been living with a man all these years, and I've been twice married. Didn't expect to have memories like that return.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 5th, 2017 12:49 pm)
 Joy of the day: Since I've been posting these at midday, I'll start including the last half of the previous day. My mornings are generally joyful, but always the same joys, so I need some afternoon and evening variety.

And yesterday a friend and I went to a local black history festival with the intention of seeing some African dance that yet another friend was doing.  We had the time wrong and missed her performance (not a joy), but did get to hear some incredible gospel and saw two very darling sets of kids doing dances--the special joy was the little guys in black pants, shirts, and tail coats, accessorized by hipster hats, white gloves, and bow ties with electric lights in them. They could dance! Midway through, they took off the tailcoats to reveal bright gold suspenders. I tried to get pictures, but I was too far away. They were awesome, though.


mamculuna: (Default)


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