31 March, 2007


Nomad Son is off at the moment on a demonstration. Once a year, the right extremists (neo N*zis) demonstrate (under another pretence, of course) and then a whole slew of high school students (my son included), university students, churchgoers, trade union members, parents, concerned citizens etc. also demonstrate against the horrible theology of the right extremists.
So, far so good, for this is how a proper democracy should work. Unfortunately, or fortunately, a large contingent of left extremists also show up to assure a much louder (and often violent) protest against the right extremists than the concerned citizens do. The left extremists are also there to voice a protest against the State (police).

So, in the end, you have a very volatile situation of thousands of demonstrators, probably thousands of police all converging in one place, and slim hope that all will pass over without “incident”. Protesters, police en masse, helicopters flying above, police buses lining the streets, roadblocks, no public transport, no cars, transform the city streets into something out of a film.

Last year the left extremists ended up on our street in a clash with the police. It was very alarming, because it happened so quickly and there were all sorts of pedestrians around trying to figure out what to do in this surreal situation.

(P.S. Nomad Son has returned safely. He has to prepare for his trip tomorrow to Kaliningrad in Russia. He and some other St. John’s Ambulance volunteers are going there for the next ten days. Amazing. Though, admittedly, the mother-in-me is a bit nervous about him going off to a country we know so little about; and the little we do know makes it sound potentially dangerous or threatening for sixteen-year-old foreigners, who do not speak the language. Just have to pray and also, have faith in Nomad Son’s ability to cope with the new surroundings.)

(P.P.S. After looking at some of the photos from local newspaper (here and here), there was this wonderful huge banner hanging down from the DGB union center which said "No Sex with Nazis!".)

28 March, 2007

Another World, Another Life

Somewhere along the line, I missed out on a fashion gene. Pathetic! I’m truly, completely, pathetically lacking in any fashion style. Yet, in the last years I really appreciate the passion of people whose life (here and here) or hobbies (here) concern making and wearing fine clothes.

Maybe in another life, I will be born with the necessary gene, which gives me a fashion style motivated by adventure, taste, aesthetic, and humour.

26 March, 2007


Many years ago, twenty-five to be precise, just before I graduated from electrical engineering, I applied for a job as a research scientist in Antarctica. I also applied for a job in Peru on a stellar observatory station. Well, for whatever reason(s), I was not invited for an interview on either of the positions. (Instead, I came to work in the medical engineering field in Germany. Hardly the same is it?)

I hadn’t thought about those failed job applications since then. That is, until today when I looked at this unbelievably beautiful slideshow (here : under “The Frozen Desert” and “Photographer’s Journal”). More than just unbelievably beautiful, watching it made me ach with longing. No, not a longing to pack up my bags and off I go. Rather, a longing to relive dreams long gone.

The best medicine, I’ve discovered to alleviate this longing, is to read this blog. It is a joy to follow (admittedly virtually and vicariously) Ben’s adventures. I first came upon Ben in a talk he gave at TED 2005. I find his stories aspiring, he epitomises the modern day explorer.

What I particularly like about his blog is the fact that he presents his own adventures without fuss or frills, points out other wonderful sites (1, 2, and 3), he generously talks of other people’s adventures (here and here), and like his journeys – the website design has no pretentious excess luggage, yet presents a great eye for detail. He inspires both the young and the old.

24 March, 2007

Spring Teaser

Oh, what a marvellous day. A spring day. What is more to say.

23 March, 2007

Innocence And Civil Manners

Charlotte of Charlotte’s Web wrote a funny post about attending a Sommertagszug procession in her hometown. This is a procession, which is carried out in order to scare off winter; they parade around like busy spring creatures and burning snowmen to welcome in springtime.

One of her readers commented on the fact that in the States they probably wouldn’t allow public burning of snowmen, as is customary in the Sommertagszug. It made me think of our Summer Folks Festival parade, which announces the beginning of the summer fairgrounds and summer festival. There are people participating in the parade that you might not always see in other countries. This parade is long (takes over two hours to pass our living room window) and it consists of the craziest mix of local lore riding on floats, trucks, tractors or marching on foot.
They have, of course, the normal marching bands, politician riding in convertibles, all of the different clubs (e.g. amateur theatre, quilting, American football, gymnastics), but the parade also hosts a few strange bedfellows. My favourites are the two disco trucks playing techno music and gyrating young folk and the Squatters Alternative group (a group of squatters living in caravans on a squatter’s paradise just off the island of Luebeck). The group I like the least always come at the end and it is the gun club, shooting off old muskets, which make so much noise children cry and adults swear.

But, what I like is the fact there is room for all of these people in the grand scope of things.

There is even a quaint custom of throwing candy into the crowd of on-watchers, which I can’t imagine being allowed to happen in the States. The children (and some adults) keep rushing into the streets between the floats and marching bands scooping up any left over candies. All the other children jump up and down and catch the candy as it is being thrown to them from the people in the floats.

I have this sense of the world being still quite innocent, watching children run up and down the streets, alongside the floats catching the candy, and no one saying this isn’t hygienic, or even, this could be dangerous. Or, allowing people from intrinsically different poles of the social spectrum (e.g. squatters and gun guys) all the same chance to participate in the festivities. What could be a better show of civil manners?

22 March, 2007

Change Of Perspective

Yesterday morning, while riding the bus to work with all the other sleepy grownup passengers, a 1st or 2nd grade class came onto the bus. The quiet ride burst into cacophony of children’s excited laughter and shouting. They rushed up and down the centre aisle; trying to find or fill the empty seats closest to their best friends. When the bus drove over a bump, a few of the girls gleefully screeched. Some of the boys made quite a show of standing up and trying to do balancing dance during the constant braking and accelerating movement of the bus: only to fall over each other when the bus driver braked too quickly at a red light. It was such a crazy, loud, rambunctious scene.

I wonder what would happen if adult bus commuters could, all of sudden, adopt the children’s joy-filled, excited attitude to riding a bus. Wouldn’t that be hysterically funny?

21 March, 2007

Idle Occupation

Last year, Garr Reynolds, of the Presentation Zen blog, wrote an intriguing article about Brenda Ueland’s book, If You Want To Write, A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit (here). The book was originally published in 1938, but it’s premise that we are all creative beings and we can/must write, can be seamlessly applied to blogging.

The book arrived a few days ago (new reprint) and I am enjoying one of those slow reads; savouring every paragraph, putting the book down after each chapter, giving myself time to digest the ideas presented. A joy.

Today I am reading about the imperative importance of idleness in writing. And, as so often happens in life, a dear friend writes me a beautiful description concerning idleness in her email this morning at her daughter’s soccer game,

“… I love those stolen hours when taking a child to a swimming lesson or soccer or some other thing that engages the child and leaves the adult free to read or watch or (my favorite) head out on the bicycle for an hour. Last summer Miranda had a soccer tournament on a day that was the most perfect fall day you could possibly imagine; crisp and clear in the morning and all the trees changing color and by 11 in the morning warm enough to peel off layers down to a t-shirt and bask in the sun. Her first game was at 8:00 and the next one was not until 12:30, not enough time to go back home or run any errands but still almost three hours free. We watched other games, talked a bit with other parents and friends, I watched the girls tumble around on a blanket and braid each others' hair and from time to time Miranda would come over and drop into my lap and rest there for a precious few minutes. It was a time out of time, a magical suspension in which every moment was filled with a kind of joy that can't even be described, completely free of any sense of hurry or anxiety about getting something done. So different from normal everyday life.”

My friend and I, two decades ago, used to be experts on idle occupation. We spent one cold and mushy winter reading all of Jane Austin’s work out loud. That is, my friend read out loud, and I made delicious soups and knitted the hours away. We also regularly spent hours in a local tea café, quietly working our way through all 117 sorts of tea, and talking about every topic under the sun and beyond. We were master idlers, in the good sense of idling, which Ms. Ueland expresses as:

“… the imagination needs moodling, - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”

What we need is time to watch daffodils grow: sit reading on the sofa with the afternoon sunlight shinning in: chop up vegetables and sautéing them until they glow. I wonder how much effort I’d need to exercise, how much mindfulness, how much time “wasted” before rushed haphazard menial tasks can be transformed into idle occupations.

P.S. Here is also a wonderful illustration of idle occupation from the woolgathering blog.

20 March, 2007

The Bookish Meme

Charlotte from Charlotte's Web tagged me on this meme. Since I’ve never been tagged before and I am always willing to try something once, if not twice: think giant roller coaster ride, eating rubbery whole squids swimming in garlic and a tab of oil, a few fellows along the way, here I go…

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback? Anything. I am not discriminating in any way. This also concerns some of my choices in books as well, not just in the form of the books.

Amazon or brick and mortar? Now that Amazon seems to be doing very-well-thank-you, I am back to purchasing books from two wonderful bookstores. One is just down the street from our apartment and the other (here) is just down the street in mind. The owners of both stores really really know their stuff and are interesting people to boot.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Been to Barnes and Noble in NYC and Borders in Ottawa and Montreal. This was years ago, at a time when ordering English books in Germany was a Very Expensive affair and it took forever (weeks, if not months) for the books to arrive. So, a trip to Barnes & Noble or Borders was like visiting Disney World. I came away, literally after spending hours there, feeling a bit nauseous and contrite with sinful quilt. I can’t explain this at all.

Once, when Nature Girl was three years old, she lost her favourite stuffed bear during a visit to Borders in Ottawa. We went back every day for a week to ask whether someone had brought the lost stuffed animal back. Each day we had to explain to our teary two year old that maybe her bear would be back tomorrow and drag her out of the store by tempting her with a visit to some playground or ice cream shop. By chance we decided to go through the whole store ourselves and, much to our surprise we found Nature Girl’s bear sitting amongst the animals-for-sell shelf.

Bookmark or dogear? Bookmark: a crumbled receipt, a ripped corner of an old envelope, and now real bookmarks kindly placed in each purchased book from my two bookstores. Never dogear. This is considered very bad manners in our family; comes second to writing in the margins.

Alphabetise by author, or by title, or random? Random doesn’t even do my (non-) method justice. It is someone between haphazard to pure flagrant chaos.

Keep, throw away or sell? Keep only those books that I’ll read over and over again. The rest are given away to friends or a certain second-hand bookstore in Luebeck. I could sell the books to the storeowner, but I want to encourage the owner in her business venture. I don’t like receiving money on second-hand books because the only way the authors’ receive money for their work is if I buy their work new. I know, this is rather a silly standpoint, not very logical, but so is life sometimes.

Keep dust jacket or toss it? Toss.

Read with dust jacket on or remove it? See above.

Short story or novel? Definitely novel, though there have been some collection of short stories along the way.

Collection of short stories or anthology? If I have to read short stories, I definitely prefer a collection. I don’t like the stop/start of an anthology and with a collection I get some sense of authorial voice even if the characters and narratives change.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Not Harry Potter unless it turns out, like Nature Girl and I suspect, that Dumbledore lives. Overall, not Harry Potter because, unlike most wonderful children fantasy series, there is no true wise and guiding adult mentor in the series; someone confirming how strong and resourceful the children are to meet the challenges they face (Dumbledore always manages to be missing when needed). Neither Lemony Snicket because, like Harry Potter, the children are left to their own without any meaningful assistance. My vote goes to Artemis Fowl: hurrah for Butler.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? When my eyelids close and I continue to read and then realise that I am not actually reading any more, but making things up, I finally put the book away.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? Both.

Buy or borrow? Both.

New or used? New.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse? Love recommendations, they don’t even have to be well-based. Will ask a friend or stranger about their choice of book and will give it a try, just on a whim.

Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading? Any time, situation, location, or state of wakefulness.

Favourite series? A whole slew of American murder mystery writers. All of the books lent to me by my dear friend around the corner from us. I’m very bad with names, but Stephanie Plum’s series, the series of the women in the southern States (Virgina) who has a close relationship with her house ghost/ex-slave of the family; who is concerned that she procreate, the Malory series, the west coast caterer with her gay handsome business partner, the private detective (west coast again) with her delinquent niece series, the folk art museum curator series who murders have a form of a quilt patternl. Gosh, and so much more.

Favourite children’s book? In my childhood: the Narnia series, The Blue Castle, The Girl of Limberlost, The Secret Garden, The Swallows & Amazons series. During my children’s lifetime: just about everything from Astrid Lindgren or Emil Erich Kästner, Lukas und der Lokomotiv series, Petersen and Findus series, Philip Ardagh and the six books of the Eddie Dickens Trilogy, Leon Left Hand, and Artemis Fowl series. The list goes on and on because I never stop, and I’ll never stop, reading children’s literature.

Favourite book of which no-one has heard? The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, by G. B. Edwards

Favourite books read last year? Sorry, my brain is sore tonight and I just can’t remember though there were quite a few.

Least favourite book finished last year? These I definitely forget on principle.

What are you reading now? As usual a whole slew of them: What was Lost, Catherine O’Flynn, The Shadow of the Sun, My African Life, by Ryszard Kapusconski, If You Want to Write, A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit, Brenda Ueland, book 2 from the Christopher J. Sansom series

What are you reading next? On the slide in next shelf of books to read: Mulit-media Learning, by Richard E. Mayer, My Life, Anton Chekhov, The Tenderness of Wolves, Stef Penney, Quarantine, Jim Crace, Moon Tide, Dawn Clifton Tripp, The Ventriloquist’s Tale, Pauline Melville

P.S. There are a few people I would like to tag with this meme, but the jury is out, as far as I am concern, about whether or not memes are a bit like chain letters (which I despise). I’m doing this for Charlotte and I will leave this at that.

18 March, 2007

No Time To Play

A few years ago, I read an interesting article in the New York Times about how busy our society had become. The journalist described how his five year old daughter talked to her imaginary friend on an imaginary cell phone and how they (the daughter and her imaginary friend) were forever making and breaking play dates because they were either “too busy” or “didn’t have time” to meet.

I found the article so interesting, not because it sadly exemplified a current social malaise, but because it reminded me of my younger brother’s imaginary friend, Dobby, and how the two of them used to play together day-in-and-day-out. Endlessly long days. Reflecting on the difference between the cell-phoning-date-cancelling New York imaginary friend and my brother’s ever-faithful Dobby, I was overcome with a sentimental yearning for times long gone... (more).


Oh, I’ve been stumbling around the Internet again today. It’s been so stormy that I haven’t had the courage or the motivation to put my walking shoes on, but I’ll do that now. I’d like to leave you with something smart, and a here is something even smarter: the video podcasts are a must-see.

Whispers Of Spring


The last days have brought whispers of spring. Only to be lost in the roar of hailstorms, torrential rains, and fierce winds battering against our windowpanes.

16 March, 2007


Pssst! Over here… I just spontaneously combusted into a Boston Legal junkie. In the last two days I have gone on a Boston Legal rush: I saw the whole first season in this short, but intense period of time. My brain is mush.

A friend of mine came back from a six-month trip to New Zealand and Australia with a few tips about American drama series. None of the Grey Anatomy and Heroes for her, no, she suggested Boston Legal. For all I know, this could be such a passé series, but the first time around it was quite a ride.

Admittedly, I found William Shatner very irritating, but the rest of the cast had their moments. James Spader was highly intriguing. Nature Girl doesn’t like him at all (she only saw bits and pieces when asking for meals and permission for computer time and found him mean). Nomad Son and I just adored him. Why do charm and mystique and intelligence win out every time over moral and ethical ambiguity? Or, at least in American drama series.

And, can you imagine my delight at seeing Odo, Rene Auberjonois in the series. He was one of my favourites in the Deep Space Nine series. Strange, but like William Shatner in Boston Legal, I found Avery Brooks as Commander Benjamin Sisko the true weak link in the series. Maybe I have problems with the top boss character in general. Or maybe these two guys don’t share more then two dimensions between the two of them. Or, a third possibility is they just can’t act well.

15 March, 2007

Adrian Pascal and Jellybeans

In Germany, they have a series of tests children take from the first ten minutes after birth, until the children are eight or nine years old. These tests are supposed to monitor whether our children are developing “normally”. My children had the tests done until they could speak, run, play, and beat me at Memory games… so, until they were two or three years old.

After that I stopped taking them for their tests, because I figured they were as “normal” as any doctor could judge in a half and hour*. I also suspected that these tests might not only be there to record a child’s development, but also to assure the parents that their child’s behaviour or misbehaviour is just a part of their momentary development.

The following story is one in our family journal. It is one of my favourites because the experience really brought home how ridiculous expectations we have sometimes about our children’s behaviour.

(* These tests are wonderful, it goes without saying, if your child is having development problems. Early diagnosis and therapy is one of the wonders of this program. In this posting, I am referring to friends and myself, whose children did not have any serious problems.)
My mother has some American friends, who have an only son, Adrian Pascal. Adrian Pascal is the same age as Nature Girl. Now, for all the wonderful attributes my mother’s friends have as parents, they are somewhat anxious and competitive parents. (Is this a particularly prevalent parenting trait in the American culture?)

When our children were two years old, the two families had the occasion to share a few days together in Grenada. It was just one of those fluke phases when Nature Girl was an angel: she delighted in “swimming” in any water or playing in the sand, was verbally articulate and amusing, ate her food neatly and with a good appetite, went for a nap when she was tired, and woke up with a smile on her face. Unfortunately, Adrian Pascal was drowning in his Terrible Twos and didn’t do any of these things.

The more Adrian Pascal showed himself from his spoilt, possessive, loud, troubled, and well, (normal) terrible-two-side, the tenser his parents became. My husband and I tried to stay away from commenting on Adrian Pascal’s behaviour because there was the risk that if we said anything consoling they would interpret this as being condescending, or if we gave them any advice they would see this as criticism.

The whole Angel/Tyrant dynamic between Nature Girl and Adrian Pascal escalated into what our family now refers to as the Jelly Bean Episode. We were all sitting together on the terrace, just having finished eating lunch, talking about whether we had time for a cup of coffee or not. Lunch had been a Difficult Affair. Adrian Pascal suffered having another child sitting next to him quietly eating her lunch, while he kept his parents on the edge of their seats with all of his demands and antics.

Even though he hadn’t eaten much of his lunch, his parents decided that he and Nature Girl could each have a small bowl of Jellybeans for dessert. It was their vain attempt to create a quiet situation so the adults could have a cup of coffee and talk together. This worked for about two minutes.

Adrian Pascal looked over in Nature Girl’s bowl and discovered that her jellybeans were far better than his. He gestured to her that he wanted some of hers. Nature Girl was very generous (or intimidated) and patiently kept on giving Adrian Pascal some of her jellybeans. Adrian Pascal’s parents were embarrassed because their son’s goal was obviously to have all of Nature Girl’s jellybeans every time he thrust his hand in her face. He wasn’t going to stop before he was the king of the jellybean castle.

They asked him to share his jellybeans with Nature Girl. He thought this was a terrible suggestion and demonstratively threw his body over his bowl of jellybeans and screamed out, “They’re mine! They’re mine!” At this point his father lost his patience and swept Adrian Pascal up and brought him into the bedroom. As he was taking him into the room for a Time Out, he said to him, “You’ll go into the room and you can only come out to the table when you can behave as an adult!”

Honestly. I swear this happened. I didn’t dare to look over at my husband because all I could think was, this could be a very long lunch: about eighteen years long.

14 March, 2007

13 March, 2007

Long Distance Relationships

And for all of you who live the trials of long distant relationships..,here.

Very Nice Indeed

Take a look (here). For some reason this video struck me as magical. Actually, it was the idea of the roaming cinema. Tell me what you think, please.

Glimpse Of Things To Come

I am home sick. My friend is also home sick. So, we got together over a phone call this afternoon and had one of those the-doctor-said-and-then-I-said types of conversation. Describing symptoms and possible therapies. Hysterically funny. The scene was a glimpse of things to come. That is, if my friend and I are one of the lucky ones who are given the gift of growing old.

It is such a wonderful moment, to be transported briefly into the future. Or, a bit into the past… My father used to complain about the Old Farts, his friends, who would meet for a lunch at a wonderful beachside restaurant, and then spend the time talking about sickness and death. He just hated that. Think that is why he always nurtured friendships to younger folk as well. There was only so much he wanted to know about prostates, liver functions and creaky bones. He said the point of going deaf with age, is so you don’t have to hear your bones moving.

10 March, 2007

Strawberries and Wine

A friend and I were in Wales years and years ago in the summer: no money, lots of time, and a wish for adventure. So, we spent a few days picking strawberries. They paid by the bucket. If we wished to eat some of the strawberries, that was fine. Well, it was only fine the first few hours: too much sweetness of taste and smell. This experience taught me about sensory overload.

This was before the strawberries and wine time…

Strawberries, Erdbeere (earth berry)

Fraise et créme fraîche

Clotted cream

Whipped cream

Vanilla ice cream

And my personal favourite…

the delicious,

the delectable,

the divine… mascarpone.

09 March, 2007

Films In My Mind


As a young adult, I lived a life of inner dialogues, films in my mind, desperate sentimental and romantic yearnings, and diffused illusions. Reading old diary entries is a remarkable, often embarrassing, humbling experience. In all the ups and downs of those years, what most often is missing from my agonising reflections is the thought “Am I wrong?”, or “Could I do this differently?” I counted on the sympathies of my friends, the wise words of poets (whose remorseful meanderings were synchronous with my disillusions), to encourage me to continue conducting my (messy) life in the manner I was accustomed to.

Life, growing up, growing old(er) is one of the most consistently ruthless, brutally honest, unsparingly divine teachers we have. Thus, the longer I live, the greater the opportunity to experience a startling shift in perspective when I (finally) change my mind; the joy of turning off the film currently playing in my mind; or the sense of release when I (at long last) discontinue conversing with the annoying person of my inner dialog. What all these acts do is allow me to experience the immediacy of spontaneity.

08 March, 2007

Salute To My Grandmother

My maternal grandmother was a dear soul. She was also a martyr, being married to my Irish grandfather over fifty years.

He was a terrible patriarch, but what did I know as a child. I assumed he like us, adored us as much as my grandmother did. This really wasn’t true, there was no one he adored or was concerned with above himself. Grandchildren don’t realise this. This realisation happens much, much later.

My grandfather became engaged to my grandmother when she was eighteen years of age (he was much older than she). They remained engaged for the next eleven years. In the meantime, he lead a lively life of a ballroom dancing bachelor. He was called “a ladies man”.

During the long long years of her engagement, my grandmother’s father required that she work. And so she did, as a secretary in an insurance agency. Year in and year out, while all the other young women left to marry and raise children, she stayed behind adding to her hope chest.

As a result of these agonising years of employment, my grandmother could not understand why my sisters or I would ever want to study and work. It made absolutely no sense to her.

Today is International Women’s Day. I’d like to salute my dear circle of friends, both near and far, and thank you for living such wonderfully diverse lifestyles. And, even more, this is also a salute to my dear grandmother, who taught me that even if she could not understand our lifestyles, choice is everything.

07 March, 2007

Food Poisoning

Fresh fish
Bad tuna, bad night, trying to recover, well on the way…

Keeping with the theme of fish… try listening to Ron Hynes (here) poem. Just fantastic.

If you prefer to read about fish or fishing, or the life of a fisher, here are three excellent books:

Fishing with John, by Edith Iglauer

Voyages, At Sea With Strangers, by Joan Skogan

Tawler, A Journey Through The North Atlantic, by Redmond O’Hanlon

06 March, 2007

Trying To Do Right

I must confess that I do not watch the Oprah show (we do not have television at home), nor do I buy O, the Oprah magazine. I do loyally look at the Oprah website every day. It is a well-designed website (though I often wish there was more video material on it) and the content is interesting. The website presents a short summation of the daily television program, information about her book club, her monthly magazine, and radio program, as well as other things both spiritual and material.

The main reason I read the site derives from my belief that the topic material Oprah discusses both influences and mirrors certain aspects of American society’s concerns. Yet, I must admit that I do not necessarily feel a personal connection to the subject material (e.g. here) or the way the material is handled (e.g. here). Since I do not watch the show on television, I presume this lack of connection is due to the limitations of acquiring information by reading the site.

That said, I do very much enjoy and connect to online articles in the O, the Oprah magazine written by Martha Beck, Suze Orman, and Lisa Kogan. What they write is inevitably insightful, informative, and very funny. Even if the articles are shortened for the online magazine version (I don’t buy the magazine, so I don’t know if this is so), they are still complete in being able to excite and entertain.

In this month’s magazine, Martha Beck* writes an article titled, “Martha Beck’s Five Best Pieces Of Advice”. Advice number four is “It Is Good To Be Wrong”. She explains how being wrong, or more specifically, a willingness to admit that we are wrong, allows us to open our minds to other possibilities. Here’s the closing sentence in the online version of the article, “You'll see that while insisting that you're right is gratifying, accepting that you're wrong can be transformative”.

I’ve decided to spend the next few days writing about this humbling process of learning to admit to being wrong. Or, more specifically what day-to-day experiences or challenges teach me how to do right.

* If you want to experience Ms. Beck in another medium, Pamela Slim, author of Escape from the Cubicle Nation blog, published an interview/podcast with Ms. Beck back in January of this year.

04 March, 2007

Other Perspectives

Here and here are two wonderful perspectives of the lunar eclipse.

Is it just me, or are any of you having trouble sleeping these last few days?

03 March, 2007

Drafted Insomniac

Pea in pod
I’m listening to the audio book of Pascal Mercier’s “Nachtzug nach Lissabon”. The main protagonist in the story suffers from insomnia. He has a friend, also an insomniac, who he calls in the middle of the night, if he can’t sleep. The two converse on the phone… sharing company through their long stretches of sleeplessness. Later in the book, there is mention of the protagonist also going on long walks through the city in those early morning hours when the city is not yet awake.

These are things I would never have thought of doing during the seven or eight years I had insomnia. Maybe this was because I am not by nature an insomniac. I was what I called a drafted insomniac. Drafted into being an insomniac by a higher cause. Nature Girl.

You see Nature Girl did not sleep through the nights the first four years of her life. She did not sleep during the day either after the first six months. When I say she didn’t sleep through the night, I don’t mean she woke up, drank a bottle and went back to sleep. No, that would have been fine. Instead, she got up and stayed up for the next two to four hours.

So, there I was, previously one of those sleep-while-standing-up-in-a-bus sorts of person, living in the world of no-sleep. Even after Nature Girl finally managed to sleep through the nights, I didn’t. I’d go to sleep around eleven at night and then wake up four hours later; just at the time Nature Girl used to wake up. Except, after the first four years she didn’t, there was only me awake until dawn. The doctors explained to me that three years of sustained sleep deprivation reprogrammed the neurons in my brain. This didn’t help me in any significant way, but it was, at least, an explanation.

The idea of calling a friend or going out for a walk in the middle of the night never ever came to my mind. Basically, I thought I was loosing my mind during those early hour vigils. The essential lesson I learnt is that sleep is the next on the list, right after being able to breathe, when it comes to what you need to stay alive.

It’s not late, but still, time to go to sleep. What a luxury.

02 March, 2007

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

This presentation given by Carl Honoré is absolutely brilliant, brilliant... just completely brilliant!

To celebrate the message, I watched it twice. Here is Carl’s blog concerning slow living.
This collage is what went on in my mind after listening to this talk.

01 March, 2007

A Glimpse At Another Culture

One of the things I like the most is to get a glimpse into another culture or world that runs parallel to my own. I’ve recounted once or twice about such encounters (here and here) and how intriguing it is to have the door to my day-to-day existence opened up and out.

Today, through this website, I got a glimpse into the snowboard industry, snowboarders, their culture, their spirit, their humour, and why people live for snowboarding. My two nephews in Montreal are snowboarders. It is easy to understand why after looking at a few of the website’s videos.