Monday, September 12, 2011

Actual Conversation #101 - Internet memes are exercised.

We are standing in the kitchen while I am packing up for my work day, when I slide my purse in to my messenger bag and decide to make verbal note of the ridiculousness of the gesture.
Me: It's just a fun little mini=game.
*Bob pauses*
Bob: You dawg, I heard you like bags....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Mustard Seed

A long time ago there was a woman by the name of Kisa Gotami. Stories vary on who she was or where she came from, but this is what happened next - she married and gave birth to a baby boy that gave her great joy.
In time the boy grew and she delighted in him like no other thing. But one day the boy grew ill and died. In her grief, Kisa Gotami could not accept this and began to travel from house to house begging her neighbors for medicine to cure him.
No one, of course, had this medicine. They sent her away telling her this, but again her grief was so deep she could not comprehend. Finally she came to a doctor who realized what was occuring. He said to her "Go see the Buddha. He will have what you need."
She thanked him and hurried off, carrying the body of her dead son.
Buddha saw her approaching and knew immediately of her great suffering. He listened to her as she begged him to bring her child back to life, provide her with some medicine to cure him. Knowing that death was not reversible, he set her to the following task-
"Go find for me a mustard seed, and I will heal your child. But it must come from a household where no one has died or it will not work."
She eagerly did so, traveling from house to house within her village. Each door that she visited revealed that this household and that household had all experienced a death. She then traveled further to other nearby villages to beg for the same miraculous mustard seed. And every time was the same, with each household explaining that it had known death in some form.
After a time Kisa Gotami realized that there was nowhere that she could go to ask for a mustard seed that death had not touched. Thus enlightened, she returned to the Buddha at peace with the death of her son and began to study the Buddha's teachings.

Today a friend of mine died unexpectedly, and not for any of the reasons we feared she might, having been ill for quite some time with several ailments. It is most assuredly a shock to the system and one that I am still processing. I suspect she is probably just fine in Whatever Comes Next and it is us left behind having the most hard time of things. But in the meantime each time I begin to feel overwhelmed, or the thought "It isn't fair" crosses my mind, I will try to picture a tiny mustard seed, and gain comfort that this is the one common experience we all have. Everybody knows loss and death. This is not unique and we will live through it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Actual Conversation #100 -wherein lifetime accumulations of words are covered.

Bob: I found this website that tests your vocabulary. It says that I know 29,000. You need to take this, I want to know what you get.
Me: What's the website?
Me: Okay, one sec.
Me: Is there a "select all" button for this first part?
Bob: *chuckle*
*still testing*
*Bob looks over shoulder*
Me: Crap. What does 'strop' mean? Now I gotta look that up.
Bob: AFTER the test!
Bob: What the heck does inveigle mean?? How do you know that??
Me: It means to make stuff vague.
*testing, hits submit*
*mutual blink*
Bob: 36,200 words??
*I blink again*
Me; I has wordz!
Bob: Bob read good, but Helen read gooder!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm not dead yet! (...again?)

Though I have not been making entries, I HAVE been working on this trying to keep it going. It’s been long enough, however, that I could not give a detailed littany of what was done for every week. I just know that when I lose track of things I tend to over-compensate by doing them far more often, and I’m probably good until the end of the year in terms of good deeds at this point.
Every chance I have gotten I have dropped $1-$2 on the “hey, while you’re buying something from eBay, donate to a good cause!” thing they have going on at Paypal. I like that. I don’t have to balk at giving out a HUGE chunk of change, and I know they’re working the crowd-sourcing thing so chances are a lot of those charities are getting a great deal of funding. That sort of thing makes me happy. They’re like Kiva loans. :)
I’ve also done more in terms of cleaning up and donating (I found a bunch of old purses and shoes that could go to other homes) as well as funded a few more little things on Kickstarter. And, of course, the ubiquitous being nice in traffic trick that I try to practice nearly every day since I know the other commuters around me are very stressed.
I have on my plate to gather up and give a donation to the Shakespeare Theatre of Philly’s summer education program, as they recently delighted the hell out of me with their production of A Comedy of Errors. I look forwqrd to being able to help fund that.
All in all I think that the hidden agenda of this goal to make me more mindful of the needs of others and responsive to them even if it is just in some small way is accomplished. I have become infinitely more compassionate and willing to just wait half a second in line if it means someone who looks very stressed out gets to go through the line faster. It also means that I am far more aware of when acts of kindness are done towards me. I not only feel like I’m a better person for doing this, I feel like a happier person. And I like to think that those around me also experience side benefits from this.
In fact, I’m going to go set myself a new goal, as a sub-set off of this… to be a Vector of Awesome. It seems like an equally good goal, and one that could be applied in multiple circumstances. _