It was just about a year ago that I started writing reflections for my faux-blog on, which is a bit hard to believe – one of those “which end of the telescope am I looking through?” sort of events. It feels like just yesterday – except for when it feels like 5 years ago.

Lots of changes have occurred in the months between then and now, encompassing mind, body and spirit. A few of those things have been captured here, many more have not. But it’s been a nice way to trace my musings and set time aside to ruminate. Even so, I’m moving into a phase of living that requires a different cadence and different attention, and I think blogtime is at an end. Time for a new interval, time to map some new territory. Hope you all get to have similar adventures in your lives (if you want them!).



I love the visual mapping of data. This includes your typical maps, but also charts, tables, and all kinds of other tools and visualization methods. If you like that sort of thing, take a look at You Are Here, by Katherine Harmon, a compendium of what the author calls personal geographies. The illustrations are fantastic and wonderful. Another great source for analytical design is Edward Tufte, Professor Emeritus at Yale University. Yesterday I was pointed to a blog called strangemaps and found some really good stuff. And I’ve had Indexed in my blogroll for a while.

My friend Jim Allen has a really great example for the holidays. And the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods puts  it all together in one place.


mississippi riverbed changes

Last night I sat in the dark of the concert hall at UConn, and listened to the wind ensemble play several compositions from minimalist and neoromantic composers from the past century. It was a great performance, really tight and beautifully conducted. This music keeps me alert – the intervals are everything, and the percussionists are fascinating to watch. And one euphoniumist really catches my eye (love seeing that boy play!).

I thought about traffic on the highway, how everything flows in one direction but at varying speeds, all different shapes and colors but all heading down the same pipeline; how that pipeline of road bends and curves and grades and merges with others.

The music made me think about similar patterns in a lifetime of experiences: the continuity of the birth process and how people meet and spend time and then move in different directions, how a life is carried over different geographies but all processed by a mind and heart that somehow creates a continuity.

I thought of Robert Altman soundtracks: dialogue fading in and out, overlapping murmurs and laughter, whispers and clapping and footsteps and and dogs barking and music and background everything funneled together.

I thought of money at the mall, how it flows from pocket to register drawer, through plastic, ATMs, gift certificates; it’s green, it’s shiny, it turns into bags of clothes and perfume and movie tickets, shoes, a pair of candlesticks. How the cash flows with emotion: satisfaction, desperation, contentment, anxiety, excitement. The power behind it.

The final piece was an interpretation of Carlos Casteneda’s account of meeting shaman don Juan Matus. Of course it was magical and riveting.

It was good stuff. A nice way to end my day. Thanks, son.

If the other day was characterized by circles, I think today will be long dashes, lines and slash marks. I’m up to Boston, back to Providence, over to Storrs by the end of the day and then back to Providence to sleep. A few long phone calls and several short staccato ones to accomplish while on the road, punctuated by non-business hellos when I need a break. The clock is driving the day, along with traffic conditions, but at least at the end of it all I can sink back into the concert hall chair and listen to heavenly music as my son performs on stage.

Today is a day of repetition, cycling, and circles. There are no straightaways, no shortcuts, and no distant lands. Everything that I’ve come across today seems to lead inwardly to that which has happened or been experienced before. New context or dimension or detail, but conceptually familiar. I think this is probably always true, always findable – patterns of recognition and subsequent classification of experience are an inescapable part of how we live- but today I have been aware of all of it, and it’s been very interesting though a bit acid-trippish. I’m a little dizzy from it, and think I will stop work a bit early to go have a good dinner and reflect a bit more.

In a few minutes the boys will be getting up and we’ll begin the trek to Logan to fly Henry back to Pittsburgh, the drive to Storrs to send Jack back to UConn…everyone back in their respective places today.

The week was filled with these big tall boy/men, towering over me and saturating the house with deep voices and laughter, music and friends. It’s been a great week. It’s a good feeling to be able to relax from the heavyduty parenting and just enjoy your growing-up children. The best part is, I LIKE these guys. We’ve played games and cooked, played music and talked. I’ll be missing them this week…

We had a good holiday meal with WAY too much food. I haven’t learned to cook small yet. John came up and helped with the cooking and the playing and the talking, and there was a big pie party in the evening with lots of fun. It was a very good day, a happy day.

I ran the Trot Off Your Turkey 5K yesterday morning – it was cold but still, perfect weather for a good run. I came in at 9:50/mi. which is pretty good for me, esp. considering all the pie I ate!!!

Jack turned 20 yesterday, so I had some great reflection about that day years ago when he put in his first appearance. He came home on Thanksgiving Day and we took him to his grandmother’s house for the big family dinner. His cry was very distinctive, a bit like the bleating of a little lamb. Sweet boy.

Henry has me set up with one of his electric guitars because he traded the acoustic to a friend for a big amp. These kids are always pushing me into new realms…We bought new strings and he showed me how to string it and use the small amp he’s leaving behind. I bought a book of christmas music so I can practice some stuff for the next time they come home. ha ha!! In the interest of complete disclosure, I’m not a very good guitar player/student, but I do try! and I do have fun with it! and I will get better! dammit!

This year I am thankful for all the many kinds of love in my life, the beauty I see in my world, the ample chances I have for moving any confusion and inadequacies into opportunities for growth. I appreciate the comfort I enjoy in so many ways, and the freedom I have to express my life as I please. Blessings abound.

just in case you were wondering:

beard – Male turkeys (and a few females) have a bundle of long, thin, dark feather on the chest, called a beard.
bill – Turkeys have a hard, pointed bill (also called the beak) which they use to get food. They eat insects, worms, fruit, seeds, acorns, grains, slugs, snails, and many other foods
caruncle – The reddish-pink fleshy growth on the head and upper neck of the turkey.
eye – Turkeys have two eyes and excellent vision.
snood – The flap of skin that grows from the base of the turkey’s bill and hangs over the bill.
spur on leg – Male turkeys have a spike above each foot.
tail fan – The long, colorful tail feathers of the turkey.
wattle – Bright red skin that hangs from a turkey’s neck.

…work goin’ on.

Tired of hearing me say I’m having a busy week? There is payoff- I’m taking half of tomorrow, and then the rest of the week, off for Thanksgiving. I’ve been enjoying the company of my oldest son since Friday night when he came home from UConn for the break. His birthday is this Saturday – 20 years old! Wow. Can’t believe this tall rangy young man is the same person as the fat baby who rolled instead of crawled because it was more efficient than fighting gravity. He’s got a faux grunge trucker sort of thing going on with his look these days, accented by a nose ring that encircles one nostril. Not bad…he likes his salvation army clothes and I like them too – throwback to punk days in college. But I did buy some Urban Outfitters stuff to wrap since I gave him the accordion a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately I had to yell at him about smoking in my car. I asked him not to on Saturday, and then this morning I opened my car door to drive to a meeting and was greeted with that stale smoke smell. I haven’t gotten pissed off like that in months. It was weird. My throat hurt all afternoon even though I didn’t really belt it out. More the fact that he didn’t respect my wishes – ME, AN EX SMOKER!!!! – than that the car stinks now. But I think he got it. And if he didn’t, he won’t be driving my car anymore and I won’t have to worry about it. At this point in my life, I only go for one transgression. Why draw out the misery?

Snowflakes in Boston today. I was there for a meeting and it was exciting to see them flutter down, so relaxed, so incidental, barely white. Just a get-ready for a real snow later in the season…

This week has been a lesson on numerous levels. I started out with a shamanic healing session last Sunday (a friend is studying these techniques and I volunteered to be her practice victim this month) and moved through an extraordinarily full week battling dragons of all sorts – finances, work relationships, house issues. I’ve felt like St. George slashing my way to Friday, and got a lot of big stuff done this week as a result. That’s liberating! Although I have to say I generally prefer the non-slash approach; gentle disintegration of things in your way are easier on the system.¬† Having studied shaman practices myself, I know the value in keeping your chakras balanced and straddling the seen and unseen worlds with clarity and perspective. Last weekend’s tuneup certainly got me moving!

My second son left in August for University of Pittsburgh at the tender age of 17 with a headful of groovy hair. Just before Halloween he shaved it off, his shiny white dome forcing him to find alternatives to his planned Jesus costume. Now it’s growing in a bit and I keep tabs by video chat. Can’t wait to see him next week so I can rub it! Here’s a before and after:




"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?" -Hillel
all the entries are found early in the march 2007 archive...