Smoke – The Movie
I rented a very interesting movie this weekend – Smoke – with Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, Stockard Channing and several other very talented actors. It’s all about nonstereotypical relationships. The men are fabulous. I loved this movie.
To read a detailed review and analysis, go here: http://tinyurl.com/6mgvp
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i’m hoppin’ mad. it’s 101 degrees at 3:30pm in kansas, and i just got back from a quick walk around the block. no, that’s not the stupid part of this story. as i was heading back i passed two women who parked their car in the full sun to go into one of the state office buildings. their windows were down 2 inches and there was a small dog barking inside. of course, i stopped to show my concern. they said they’d just be in the building for a few minutes. but even 5 minutes in 101 degree temp with the sun beating down into their windshield, it would quickly get scorching in there–yes, even in 5 minutes. and when you (the human) are cool and comfy and on an errand, 5 minutes can quickly turn into 20. let’s say they didn’t get what they needed and were sent to another agency, or they wanted to stop and get a pop, or they saw somebody they hadn’t seen in ages. g-r-r-r-r-r-r-r. i don’t want to read one more story about a child left in a hot car (even 70 degrees can get hot fast in some circumstances) or a dog or even groceries! g-r-r-r-r-r-r. and yes, they heeded my warning and brought the dog with them.
what made me so mad was that they couldn’t figure out how serious this situation was by themselves. if i hadn’t happened by, that little doggie might have gotten very sick or died. please help me stamp out stupidity and spread the word about the dangers of leaving ANY living thing in the car when it’s hot while we run an errand. and why not just leave the poor creatures at home if it’s not critical that they come along!
A little experiment
those women should do a little experiment. put on a fur coat, roll the windows down two inches and draw straws to see which one will sit in the hot car while the other one runs an errand in the cool air conditioned building. that would be telling.
i just found out that several cities have laws about leaving children or pets unattended in hot cars. check to see if your city has one and press them to get one if they don’t. here’s one such ordinance in lawrence,ks (makes me proud to be a kansan): It is "unlawful for any person to leave any animal confined in a vehicle for more than five (5) minutes in extreme weather conditions, defined as less than thirty degrees Fahrenheit or more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit" (section 3-105 of the Lawrence City code). Violation of the ordinance is punishable by a minimum fine of $100.00 and a maximum fine of $1,000.00 per offense. The Municipal Judge does not have authority to suspend the minimum fine. In addition, the Municipal Judge does have authority to sentence the convicted defendant to a maximum six (6) month sentence in jail.Leave a comment | Print This Post
As an Enlish major and writing instructor (past lifetime) and lover of words, Ilike to think about writing, write, and write about writing. Now and then I include grammar lessons in this blog. I you’re up for that, here goes.
I think everybody knows how to use "to" – I am going to the store. And most people know how to use "two" – A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Numbers are spelled one, two, three, etc.
But lots of people misspell "too" – Here are some correct examples of usage: I am going too. Did you enjoy that tofu too? I don’t think I’ll be too late. Dictionary definition of too – 1) also, besides (I’m going too) 2) to an excessive degree (too much food) 3) so (you did too! or nu-huh!)
Cheater’s tip If you can’t remember how to spell too, just avoid using it. I always avoid using who and whom because I can’t remember what’s correct….and because I never want to use whom (yucky uptight language) unless I’m referring to the book, for whom the bell tolls.
Ways to avoid using too (if you can’t remember how to spell it):
* Are you going with them vs are you going too
* Can I have a pickle vs can I have one too (actually you also should avoid this usage because the correct phrasing would be may I have one too (yucky uptight language)
* Will tofu work in this recipe vs Is tofu too bland for this recipe (the second sentence is actually more specific and therefore a better sentence). It’s better to misspell something and write clearly than it is to spell everything correctly and communicate like a dud.
That’s enough for this lessonLeave a comment | Print This Post
There are way too many stories to enumerate, so i’ll just talk about one. but to set the scene……….do you ever get the feeling that humans are in a crisis? that we’re headed for big trouble? that we’re ready to join the dinasaurs in extinction? frankly sometimes i don’t know how we can put one foot in front of the other successfully.
this morning i got a call from an agency that one of their employees was murdered at a car wash last night and their employees needed critical incident counseling sessions with our employee assistance program. the victim’s wife worked at the same agency so around 40 employees were in shock, turmoil, dismay, and total grief. i haven’t got all the details but this man was at a car wash and an argument started between him and two teenagers. they shot him dead in front of his family who was in the car ready to get washed. he was 39, an environmental scientist, and probably not somebody who would say something like "bring ‘em on."
with the war in iraq and bloody battles around the planet, it’s mystifying to me that we continue to find new ways to torment, torture, and kill each other. and powerful individuals and groups continue to amass elicit fortunes while losing their souls. as a human my first thoughts is, what in the heck is going on here? how can we be so screwed up? and as a coach my first thought is, what’s the problem here and what can be done about it? i need to do some more thinking about this, but my first thought is that people do not know how to get their deep needs met….needs like love, security, committment, fullfillment, abundance, acceptance, honor, power, understanding, appreciation, and on and on.
thomas leonard produced a great program to help people get their needs met. it’s called the needless program. it’s a good program. it looks to me like job 1 is getting our needs met. it may sound simple because we think sure: tv, ice cream, shopping spree, sex, etc. those are gratifying but they don’t meet our deep needs. i guess first we need to get clear on what our needs are. then maybe we can meet them. then maybe we can stop torturing and killing each other. stop stealing from each other. stop trying to be better than each other.Leave a comment | Print This Post
sitting on my deck last week, i noticed two sets of baby birds in my red bud tree – doves and robins. i know very little about baby birds so i watched with delight as the mothers fed the babies. the babies sit with their mouths open a lot – demanding attention. dove mothers repeatedly jam the food down the throats of the young – a rather violent action (undove like?) the robin mothers poke the food into their young just once or twice – gently.
the baby doves always sit together, one facing one direction, the other facing the other direction. the dove and robin "children" never hang out together, though today one baby robin hopped down to check out the baby doves sunning on the ground. even though the babies fly around easily (they’re full size), looking almost like adults, they still demand food. there must be something about getting food that they still can’t do (or maybe they just don’t want to).
they seemed a little bit like spoiled brats to me. because they look a lot like adults, when they land in the tree i look closely to see if they are the adults or babies. their feathers aren’t fully developed and their coloring is a work in progress. now i see less and less of them–they’re growing up and moving away and
I’m staying inside blogging and eating peaches. i guess we just all do what we do.Leave a comment | Print This Post
i’ve always been a presenter….but recently i’ve dramatically increased the number of presentations i’m giving to test new ideas i want to share with people. several things happen when you step out in front of people with ideas, programs, yourself, your soul.
here’s a short list of things that are happening to me:
* i am getting better at designing presentations
* i am getting better at giving presentations
* i am getting a chance to try out new material and see if it flies
* i am getting feedback – some of it not very good, some of it glowing
* i am getting puzzled . . . which provides an opportunity for introspection, discussion, and opportunity.
the most recent presentation i gave at a whole foods store was either a smash hit or a dismal failure (or some of each). i’ve been trying to figure it out ever since that fateful night. 4 people walked out before it was over, two people contacted me afterwards and asked me to be their coach–and that’s a big commitment (financially and emotionally). as i was leaving the building one of the cashiers called me over to talk about the class. he was interested because two women who went through his line were raving about it. but i later learned that a couple of people slipped their unfavorable evals into the coordinator’s mailbox.
wow, what to do with this mixed bag? lose sleep? yes a little. what in the world did i do that so divided the responses of this group? that’s the burning question. i talked it over with my sister and an intuitive friend. i’m looking at this as an opportunity, though it doesn’t feel like an opportunity. it’s been on my mind and i’ve felt some pain as snippets of the presentation float back to me. ouch, i could have done that better. the gift is that i have an opportunity to become a better presenter.
what i think i’m learning so far:
* i’m content driven. i enjoy attending content-rich presentations and get annoyed if there’s too much touchy-feely group interaction. i basically want great content and to move on. efficient, fast, good content. consequently that’s the way i design many of my presentations. i have to stop and think real hard about how to make them more interactive. (action step: group interaction components need work … look for ideas and resources–maybe partners who can chime in). yes, i love content but i don’t want to just dump content into people’s heads and i don’t want people to do that to me (yucky stuff). what i want is some great content that is compassionately, interactively delivered and received. a great goal, yes?
* as i’m developing the presentation, i think about what would be of interest to people. i think through exercises, quizzes, q/a. i usually feel very good about my content. (action step: design a "new class model" that consists of three components: a pilot/beta version on the phone to see what people’s biggest interests/obstacles are, a live class incorporating what i’ve learned about their interests/obstacles, and a follow up class to see what they’ve implemented and how their goals are materializing around the new content.)
* when content is king………..these are the negative things that can happen: people don’t feel heard, they get bored, they feel you’re being condesending, they don’t feel connected. (action step: take the time to connect from the heart to the class without putting people off with woowoo. ask them what they MUST get from the class to feel that it was a worthwhile investment of their time, energy, and money.
If it’s a big class, open it up for general discussion vs asking each person to response.) a presenter has to keep track of a lot of things: assess the crowd and their response to the material and the flow, move the discussion along but not rush it, be thoughtful and thought provoking, be sensitive to individual members’ expectations for the class, make it enjoyable and experiential, inspire action, let them know who you are, etc. whew! a lot going on. even so, it’s still pretty cool. just gotta keep it in perspective.Leave a comment | Print This Post
on my daily walk around the state capitol of topeka, i saw a big brown furry animal just a few feet away from me headed toward a busy street. when he saw me he ducked into some bushes to contemplate his next move. everybody was looking at him. in the middle of downtown he was a surprising site. how did he get there? was he going to be able to get to safety? why don’t those people leave him alone?
so what kind of animal is that? i dunno. me neither. nope, don’t know said the passersby. then an old man parked in a pickup truck motioned me over and said "it’s a woodchuck." really? i’ve never seen one before (and apparently neither had any of the rest of this crowd). when i asked about the safety of the creature and if he could get away from the curious onlookers, the old man said he could do things a squirrel could do like a climb a tree. judging from the creature’s physiology, i rather doubted that he could climb a tree. and considering that he never tried to climb any of the trees on the capitol grounds, i’m guessing he couldn’t climb or couldn’t climb well.
contemplating the whole scene as i walked on, it occurred to me that the only reference point i had to this creature was the old tongue twister: how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? i got an immense amount of pleasure repeating it as i continued to walk. made me chuck chuckle.Leave a comment | Print This Post
yes we need to look at our feet to be sure we’re not going to stumble into a hole or step on a worm. and we need to look straight ahead to see a friend coming our way, to avert an accident (defensive driving), or to enjoy a panoramic view
. what we seldom do, in my opinion, is crane our necks and look up, straight up. i look up a lot. any time i see a flying thing, i look up because i love birds. every winter on the kaw river levee i see bald eagles fishing in the open water by the dam. they come in numbers to this spot when other bodies of water are frozen over. that’s the only reason i really wish for cold, cold weather. after the spring thaw they have many other fishing holes to choose from so i rarely see them.
even though, they’ve long since left the levee, i find myself continuing to look for them. the other day, this paid off. i looked up, way up, and saw one. i had to watch it for quite a while to make sure it was a bald eagle and not a hawk. you can tell it’s an eagle when the wings are in a straight line when they soar. a hawks wings form a slight v. i looked around to see if anybody else was looking up….and no one was.
sitting on my deck reading last week, i looked straight up when i caught a glimpse of a mass of birds flying overhead. i had to look and look and look because they were an endless body. my guess is that they were grackles – black bodies, long tails. i can’t begin to guess how many there were. infinite is my guess. it was an endless sea of birds. breathtaking. i wondered how many others were also looking up to see this massive migration. so impressive.
on my walk just now – enjoying the crisp blue sky and clean air after a spring rain – i looked straight up as i walked under a blooming bradford pear tree. the canopy of white blossoms was there in full beauty just for me. such a happy feeling it brought me. and it’s in my memory now for continued enjoyment. i can still see the mass of black birds and soaring eagle too. these images put a special bounce in my step.Leave a comment | Print This Post
the urge to simplify my life has been coming up recently. compared to most american’s my life is pretty simple. but i want it to really FEEL simple. so i typed up a reminder slip to post every place that tends to get complicated like my computer, filing system, refrigerator, closets, etc. It just says "How can I simplify this?" I think that simple question will get my creative problem solving juices flowing. I want this to be the year i take simplifying to a new level. questions beg to be answered, so i know i perfect answers will bubble to the surface. i’m eager to interact with this goal. i can feel a vision forming. some initial thoughts:
1. let it be simple. think "simple."
2. choose not to struggle.
3. downsize my domain (one set of dishes vs two or three, reduce number of things hanging in my closets, empty nonessential things out of drawers, etc)
4. meditate regularly.
5. mark off "do nothing" time every day.
6. hang out with people who know how to simplify.
7. read about simplifying.
8. write about simplifying.
9. see simplifying as a process not as an end point. 10. enjoy the entire process . . . even the part when things feel complicated and there’s no hope on the horizon. i think this is a good start for me. if you have anything to add, go to the comments link.Leave a comment | Print This Post
i went out for a brisk noon walk even though it’s snowing like crazy. it was a little more challenging than usual, but still fun. but then the snow crew came out and scraped the walkways. and then it got really slippery. i still kept up a pretty good clip because i have great balance and strong legs. but then, bam. i fell. i was shocked because i almost never fall. again, great balance.
i got up and brushed myself off (after looking around to see who saw me) and thought about this slip as a metaphor for life. if your life is in balance and you’ve got a strong personal foundation, you’re less likely to fall. and if you do fall, you can get up easily without (much/any) injury. we all trip and slip and stumble. we can reduce the incidence, though, if we watch what we’re doing and continue to strengthen our personal foundation.Leave a comment | Print This Post