Devotion

Maggie’s husband was very sick and slipping in and out of consciousness. Maggie waited on him and kept his bedside throughout his sickness. One day, when her husband had regained consciousness, he beckoned for Maggie to come close to him so that he could tell her something.

“Maggie, you have never left me no matter how rough things got. You stood by me when I lost my job, you held my hand when my parents died, and you were at my side even when we lost the house. Even now, when I’m so sick, you are here with me. Do you know what I think?”

Maggie smiled softly. “What’s that?”

“I think you’re bad luck.”
Laughter Therapy

I cheerfully admit I didn’t see that ending coming. What do you think Maggie’s response should be?


 

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Epictetus

Epictetus would no doubt have rejected Baudelaire’s suggestion to always be intoxicated, to never be sober. Baudelaire was trying to avoid being broken down by life, by being “one of the tortured slaves of Time.”

Epictetus, of course, spent his youth as a slave, but that didn’t beat him down or keep him from becoming a Stoic philosopher. A lot of people today agree with these sentiments:

Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not.

We cannot choose our external circumstances, but can always choose how we respond to them.

When something happens the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it.

It is only our opinions and principles that can render us unhappy.

Watch for how you can put certain aspects of an event to good use. Is there some less-than-obvious benefit in the event that a trained eye might discern?

Every difficulty in life presents us with an opportunity to turn inward and invoke our own submerged resources. Try not to merely react in the moment. Pull back from the situation. Take a wider view; compose yourself.

Of course, there are times when for practical reasons you must go after one thing or shun another, but do so with grace, finesse, and flexibility.

Generally speaking, we are all doing the best we can. Forgive yourself over and over again. Try to do better next time. When you know you’ve done the best you can under the circumstances, have a light heart.

Practice having a grateful attitude and you will be happy. If you take a broad view of what befalls each person and appreciate the usefulness of things that happen, give thanks.

Which of these ideas do you agree with, and which do you take issue with?

I must say, I love the expression “grace, finesse, and flexibility.” I think I can usually manage to be flexible, but finesse and grace still need a lot of work.


 

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Intoxication

I laughed out loud when I read this quote by Baudelaire yesterday.

You must always be intoxicated.

That sums it all up: it’s the only question. In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time which breaks your back and bends you down to earth, you must be unremittingly intoxicated.

But on what? Wine, poetry, virtue, as you please. But never be sober.
….
If you do not wish to be one of the tortured slaves of Time, never be sober; never ever be sober! Use wine, poetry, or virtue, as you please.

And by coincidence or synchronicity, I also read this article about a new drug, alcosynth, that gives you the joys of alcohol without the hangover the next day and without the damage to your liver.

The inventor claims it should be made cheaply available — there should be no problem with addiction or withdrawal symptoms because of the specific way it affects the brain. How could we doubt it? Thanks just the same, but I think I’ll pass and get my highs other ways.

What intoxicates you? Wine, poetry, virtue, or …?


 

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Busy Day, Short Post

Andy gnawed at the truck-in-the-ditch problem yesterday. Even with a winch on the Jeep it’s easier to pull a Jeep out of a ditch with the truck than to pull a truck and snowplow out of a ditch with the Jeep. He would be calling Orlando for help if it were the beginning of winter, but as it he’ll keep seeing what he can do first. There’s no hurry.

I had good luck with the red tape problem — getting an incorrect tax form corrected. The fellow assures me it will be sent in time for us to file our taxes. We’re relaxed about that too. The main thing is they now realize they made a mistake and are no longer arguing about it.

I spent much of the rest of the day dealing with a technical problem about a modem. It wasn’t important, so it was easy to be patient. The modem still won’t work, but I learned a lot, and I hadn’t spent that much for it. Yay, education! The non-formal kind — that’s my favorite.

How was your day?


 

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The First of the Month

Andy didn’t do much on the truck yesterday, because it was the first of the month and he had to download the data from his temperature recorders. His thirteen loggers record the temperatures in the attic, well house, shed, battery house, kitchen, outside, bedrooms, etc.

dickson

Here are the temperatures in the kitchen and outside for the month of February:

Temperatures in Kitchen

Temperatures in Kitchen

Temperatures Outside

Temperatures Outside

There’s never any lack of things to do up there.


 

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Some Days Are Better Than Others

A lot of activities down here were canceled yesterday because of the new snow, and Andy had to put chains on the front wheels of the Jeep in order to drive up there.

2-28-15-Snow-2

He replaced the windshield wiper on the truck — notice the step ladder in the second picture!

2-28-15-Snow-1

2-28-15-Snow-3

Then he plowed for a couple of hours. Unfortunately when he was taking a second pass on our driveway, he hit a soft spot in the road:

2-28-15-Snow-5

It threw the truck to the right and into a ditch:

2-28-15-Snow-4

I offered to go with him today to help dig, but he says he’ll have to see how bad it is and what it will take to get it out.

Some days are better than others. Wish him luck!


 

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Parade Of Storms

Headline in our local online newspaper:

Parade Of Storms To Continue Through Sunday

Yes, winter has returned. (Andy would say arrived, since we didn’t have much earlier.)

2-27-15-Winter

He was late getting up there yesterday because he had to jump start a car — it often won’t start when it’s very cold. He thinks a computer doesn’t shut off and drains the battery — he’ll bring it back to the shop Monday so they can try again.

He had to plow when he got up there, and it was more difficult than usual because it was hard to see — it was snowing and the windshield wiper on the driver’s side had broken. He says it’s a good thing he’s familiar with the road!

He’ll probably have to plow again today, but he’s bringing up new windshield wipers, so with any luck it will be easier.

I hope your weather is more pleasant!


 

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Being Sad

I’ve been feeling a bit sad the past couple of days — it’s a predictable side effect of watching Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts, An Intimate History. The story of Franklin and Eleanor, the Depression, and two world wars are enough to do it for me.

It reminds me of this excerpt from an Expat Mom post:

Dorian: “Are you about to cry, Mama?”
Me: “Yeah. This show is really sad. The baby is going to die.”
Dorian: “Don’t you know you shouldn’t watch movies with dying babies? They always make you cry. Stop watching stuff like this!”

Should we avoid all sad things? I think not. I agree with the saying,

The purpose isn’t to shield ourselves from life. It’s to make ourselves stronger so we can let a little more of life in.

It pays to choose well, though. I still remember one weekend years ago. Andy kept asking me if I was all right. I would nod yes and say, “Yeah. I’m fine.” Finally I asked him why he kept asking. “Because you’ve been crying all weekend.” “Oh, that. I watched the Grapes of Wrath Friday evening. It’s a sad movie.”

I’m not sorry I watched it, but that’s one I’ll never watch again. Once was enough!

What about you? Do you ever watch/read things you know will make you sad?


 

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Skill Development

I read this quote by William James years ago, and it has always intrigued me.

Keep the faculty of effort alive in you by a little gratuitous exercise every day. That is, be systematically heroic in little unnecessary points; do every day or two something for no other reason than its difficulty, so that, when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test. Asceticism of this sort is like the insurance which a man pays on his house and goods. The tax does him no good at the time, and possibly may never bring him a return. But, if fire does come, his having paid it, it will be his salvation from ruin. So with the man who has daily inured himself to habits of concentrated attention, energetic volition, and self-denial in unnecessary things. He will stand like a tower when everything rocks around him, and his softer fellow-mortals are …. winnowed like chaff in the blast.

I cheerfully admit I’m one of the “softer mortals” who would be “winnowed like chaff in the blast.” Still, I have purposely created some challenges in my life, and when “bad things” happen, I try to use them to develop patience and resilience.

I’m dealing with another red tape matter at the moment. The details don’t matter, the important thing is I’m practicing not getting frustrated and on generating just the right amount of energy — enough to get me to work on the problem but not enough to get upset that it wasn’t settled early this month as promised.

I’m getting better, but I still need all the practice I can get! And focusing on skill development rather than on other people’s lack of understanding is a lot more satisfying.

Do you agree with James at all? Do you ever think in terms of skill development?


 

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Yay, Razor!

Razor is a little dachshund who tried everything in his power to tell humans that his “sister” Jazzie, an 180-pound St. Bernard, was stuck in an icy, muddy ditch and couldn’t get out. His hu-dad just didn’t get it:

…he was really excited and was running around and kicking up dust and barking. I guess he was trying to alert me, but obviously I didn’t see that.

Razor then tried to get a neighbor to help, but the neighbor didn’t understand either. He told Razor to shut up and get inside. Instead Razor ran back to the ditch and kept barking for help. Finally a passing motorist heard him barking, saw poor Jazzie trapped in the ditch, and called 911. Belen police and fire fighters came to the rescue.

So now Jazzie is safe, Razor is a hero, and no doubt the hu-dad is feeling a bit foolish.

Yay, Razor!


 

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