Thursday, 23 September 2010

Dad Update - no change

...
I phoned the hospital this morning. There's still no change and they have no idea why. They still also have no idea what brought the pneumonia on in the first place.

The doctors say dad's a big puzzle, but they are amazed at how well he looks and acts, considering the read-outs from all his machines, which are pretty bad.

So, we keep on waiting.

Thank you to everyone who has sent Get Well messages.

...

Monday, 20 September 2010

Brief Update

...
Dad was put into hospital, last Friday morning, because he couldn't breathe. He was moved about three times over the weekend and is now on a machine and on oxygen. He's more stable than he was and he's managing to eat, which is great as he hadn't been eating at home for several days last week.

So... we wait and we take it a day at a time.
...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Game of Life

...
Yesterday a friend asked me a question and to answer her I had to go back and looked through my old journal. I have one where I write my dreams and any other interesting experiences. On the first page for 2004 there was an adventure I'd completely forgotten - an attempt at "journeying", to meet my totem animal/s (when I was more into shamanism than I am nowadays).

Now... I'm not a purist and big explanations just confuse my brain, so here's my own very personal explanation of that term. For me Journeying is something between meditation, imagination and lucid dreaming. Sometimes it works... sometimes it doesn't.

On this particular Spring day in 2004 it did work. I did meet a whole bunch of critters, but what I'd forgotten was what else had happened during my adventure.

I had walked into the courtyard of a big castle and there, sitting on the edge of a well, was an old man with a long white beard. He was playing tic tac toe (a game I hate), drawing on the stone with pieces of chalk or charcoal.


He gestured to me to join him and I realised I was in a position to win the game. So I drew an X... but he drew a daisy! I drew another X... he drew a heart.

HUH???

The closer I got to winning... the more he messed it up with his doodles. I started to get fed up and angry, but he just LAUGHED. The more he laughed, the more I wanted to laugh too and then I finally got it...

and I drew a star instead of a X.

I realised the game wasn't about winning or keeping to the rules - it was about being imaginative and having fun. Then we were off playing game after game drawing all sorts of silly doodles and laughing ourselves silly.

It took me till this day (six years later) to remember and realise the bigger point to that experience. First of all... I didn't realise back then who the old man was. I only "met" him a few years later as my jolly naughty old man Spirit Guide, Sol.

And I now can see how the game is really THE Game...

Life.

But everyday life can spiral downhill fast with all our "serious adult responsibilities" and we forget that playing a game means just that - PLAYING.

The Game of Life is yours to do what you like with - have fun, experiment... break the rules. Draw daisies instead of 0s and kittens for Xs! There are no rules, except those limitations we create ourselves. We knew it as children. Heck, even Jesus knew that children knew! That's why He told everyone that you needed to be like a child in order to play the Game right.

So this morning I went and replied to that friend and then I decided to write my experience up here on my blog. In between I stopped by Facebook for a quick coffee break and browse. I found another friend had left me another playful link I'd forgotten - A Whack on the Side of the Head, on the website of the brilliant Roger von Oech.

So, just for fun, I went and picked a card for my daily whack. I got...


Here's what the website has to say about this card.

According to Heraclitus, creative mastery comes from having an attitude similar to a child playing a game. If you can playfully “push and move” the various pieces of your problem — to see what works and what doesn’t — then you possess the power to create something new.
An important by-product of play is fun, and it is a very powerful motivator.
For example, Rosalind Franklin, the scientist whose crystallography research was instrumental in the discovery of the structure of DNA, was asked what motivated her. She replied, “Because our work is so much fun!”
Similarly, Murray Gell-Mann, the physicist who coined the term quark after a line in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, was asked to comment on the names of the various types of quarks — flavor, color, charm, strange, etc. He said:
“The terms are just for fun. There’s no particular reason to use pompous names. One might as well be playful.”
Finally, the renowned chair designer Bill Stumpf was once asked what criteria he used to select new projects. He responded:
“There are three things I look for in my work: I hope to learn something, I want to make some money, and I’d like to have some fun.
If the project doesn’t have the promise of satisfying at least two of these, then I don’t sign on.”

Today I wish you all more play-time, more imagination and lots more...


...

Monday, 13 September 2010

Summer's End

...
Our long Summer twilight has started to fade into an actual night with stars. Time to share the last few photos of Summer, before Autumn arrives.

This first one was taken at the Heather Centre on the weekend of my birthday in August. They've made water features out of mill grinding stones. You can see the forest behind the parking area. :-)

A bumble bee on thistles. Not a clue when or where I took this one.
Daisies... one of my favourite flowers. :-)
And last, but not least - Cottontail, glaring at me while I weed the back lawn! I don't know if he was annoyed that I was "eating" his favourite dandelions or if he was just annoyed that I was disturbing his nap.
.....

Friday, 10 September 2010

One of Those Weeks

...
This was a mad week. On Monday our kitchen radiator had a nervous breakdown and started spitting water all over the floor, we lost our internet and my dad (who had the day off to take care of some business stuff) felt breathless and lost his appetite.

By the end of the day our landlord had booked a plumber to fix the radiator (and he turned off the gushing water, yay!), our internet was still off... and dad was in hospital.


Dad couldn't get an appointment to see the doctors so he drove in to the hospital to ask if they'd just check him out, since he does have blood pressure problems. I couldn't go with him as I was still busy mopping water at that stage. He phoned from hospital to say they were keeping him for tests, but it was only when we all drove to the hospital at 7:00 that we found out what was wrong. He has pneumonia, but they caught it early enough that he should recover without too many problems. Both my dad and I have had pneumonia in the past so we both know how bad it can get.

He's back at home taking things easy - watching a lot of TV, taking naps and doing loads of sudoku puzzles.

The internet was off almost three full days and the only way the phone engineer could get it back working was to cut all our phones off, except one. So we now have only one phone line in the house, which means I'm doing a lot more running when the phone rings!



The most annoying part was that I was over half way through writing my "Contemplation" post when the internet vanished. :-( I had to wait three days before I could find out how much had been saved. It turned out to be 90% there, thank goodness.

I hope next week turns out to be a bit less exciting!
...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

In Quiet Contemplation

...
When we were in Edinburgh last month we stopped for coffee at the docks. It was hubby who noticed "him." My eyes aren't that good and at first I wasn't even aware there was something out there...

A lone figure standing at the edge of a ruined pier. Surely he wasn't a real person?

There was something haunting about his stillness in all that dockside bustle. Something meditative in the way he stands, staring out to sea.

I must admit I forgot about him. I came home from our fun day out only to wake up with severe vertigo the next day. I was flat for two days (no idea why!) and once I was feeling better I had too much to catch up on to remember singular statues staring out to sea.

Then last weekend I was uploading photos and remembered. I was curious and went looking for more information.

It turns out that my mystery man is one of six statues. The exhibition is actually titled "6 Times" and it's by Antony Gormley. The same cast metal man is set out in six different places through Edinburgh along the river Leith. The man I saw is the last one, man VI. Interestingly, I actually did see man I on the day, as we drove through Edinburgh, but I never realised they were part of the same exhibit.

I'm not one for modern art. I've never really loved anything beyond the Expressionists, but this exhibit... this one gets to me. I think have fallen in love with this one. hat is a surprise for me, since Antony Gormley's most famous art work, Angel of the North, is one of my all time loathes. (sorry Antony!)

I personally feel really good art should:

1. make you curious to know more.
2. make you react - either by making you think or feel.

For me these figures do both. I love the calm meditative feel about them, especially man III, who stands in the Leith with the trees over his head. There's such a feeling of peace in his staring down the river, water rippling around his metal feet, the trees whispering around him.

Even though they seem "man made" these statues are just as much an elemental part of Nature as the elements they stand in... metal that is deliberately been left to rust and be weathered by those elements.

And I love the feeling of returning to Nature, not only in the literal sense of the fact these statues are made to degrade, but also in the sense of an everyday man contemplating Nature and his part of the cycle of water, air, earth... birth and death.



You can see more of Antony's works on his website.
...

Dreaming Awake

...

Hang Insomniac Jam

Hang improvisation by David Charrier and his cousin, Silvain.



...

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Monster under the Bed

...

glitter-graphics.com

This Monday I was pottering on Facebook and got into reading a long discussion on an "-ism". You know them... the monsters under the bed - racism, sexism, ageism... and a whole lot more I really can't be bothered to type. There's just too many, because for every personal petty peeve of humanity... there's an -ism!

-isms like to think they're scary, but once you pull them out into the sunshine you realise they're really not that different from us. That's the whole point of isms - they're our fears of anything different from us - different religion, different culture, different race, different language... different clothes, age, gender, class, career, politics - DIFFERENT.

...but different is what also makes us marvelous and exciting.

Different is twenty-five flavours of ice cream
and seven colours in a rainbow.
Different is more than one TV channel to choose to watch.
Different is a hundred kinds of traditional and popular music to listen to.

Different is fun!



I love the fact my friends belong to different religions, races and cultures. I love the fact they have shown me views of this world I'd have never known existed without their eyes to take a peek through. I love their wonderful amazing imaginative different-ness, but I do know how easy it is for a difference to snowball into a really nasty -ism.

In the case of that Facebook discussion I mentioned we all grouped together, hauled that -ism out into the sunshine, and showed it up for what it really was - a rather smelly lump of paranoia!



While there are smelly paranoid -isms out there, a lot of -isms start out as nothing more than a difference of opinion or belief. Nothing wrong with that as long as we remember to respect those differences, as we expect our own beliefs and opinions to be respected. I can eat meat, but not be nasty to vegans. I can be a vegetarian and not hate meat eaters. I can crack a joke about typical men/women gender flaws and not automatically turn into a seething sexist bigot. I can love my spirituality and not automatically think everyone else is hated by the Creator or going to Hell.

I can be proud to belong to my Nation/culture/race and not automatically think my "group" should be the supreme power controlling the entire world.

The problems start when we leave those -isms in the dark for too long. Then they start getting a little crazy. They start to take themselves seriously and they make us take them seriously in return. We start believing that those differences are vitally important and we start feeding all our fears and resentments into those -isms. We start to label everything different from us as...



I'm sure you've heard it yourself. When people get together to complain about anything from sports to politics there's always a THEM involved somewhere. THEM that look different, think different, believe different or behave different. It's always THEM that ruin everything for us. So we complain about THEM and we say how nice this world would be if there were no THEM. How much better things would be for us all if we just got rid of THEM.

And that's when the real Monster stirs in the dark...
...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Let's do Lunch...

...
Last week hubby and I were out and about on everyday chores, bill paying etc, when we stopped at Burghead sea front to enjoy the view. It was hubby who saw the pirate flag in the distance, waving above a little white caravan right on the edge of the harbour...
He knew exactly what the caravan meant - FOOD. All over Scotland you'll find them...in parking lots, on the side of roads. People selling food. I love it. :-) It was lunch time, so we went to take a closer look...
... and discovered the best bacon rolls I've had in Scotland. :-P I'm drooling thinking of them! Really good food cooked while you look out at this view...
Could anything be more perfect? ;-)
...